The tour was terrific. We went to the headquarters of Industrial Light and Magic in the Presidio, and from there Greg drove us to Skywalker Ranch in Marin. Whatever else you can say about George Lucas, it's clear that he has absolutely perfect visual taste -- and, of course, you can see that in things like the backgrounds of his movies and the sets and costumes. Both places were furnished in Arts and Crafts style, and Skywalker Ranch, especially, contained so many delightful cozy places to go and work that it looked like paradise. Greg said that the library, in particular, was the best room in the world, and I'd have to agree.
Greg and Sheila
But really there was a lot to look at. The ranch has Charlie Chaplin's hat, for example, and a framed letter from Charles Darwin, and a conservatory, and what might be the only covered bridge in California, and an observatory (which we didn't get to), and a working farm.
The headquarters has more things associated with the movies -- the bicycle from E.T., and props and matte paintings and old equipment and movie posters from around the world. Hanging between two bathrooms was some squashed guy from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, life-sized and perfectly made and about one inch thick.
Sheila and E.T.'s bicycle
They both looked like pretty great places to work (though now, of course, there's tension because they've been bought by Disney, and they don't know what's going to happen). We were talking to the librarian at the ranch and a woman came in carrying a butterfly net. Did she need to capture some butterflies for some reason? Was she chasing after some worker who had run mad, surrounded by so many strange and beautiful things? We never found out -- but the thing is, it didn't seem at all odd to see her there.
It was great to see Sheila again, and Greg was the perfect tour guide. He knew an amazing amount about the place and could answer every question we asked -- but then if I worked there I think I'd learn as much as I could about it as well.
Greg and dining area
(I'm not going to the Nebulas themselves because, well, it's an hour drive both ways and I'm just not up for it.)