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"Looking over the edge on Half Dome wasn’t nearly as scary as this! I think this is the scariest thing I have ever done!"
- "Solo Max"

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USA

Not your typical Hollywood experience
by Solo Max, 22, on the road somewhere
Feb 6, 2000

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December 29, 1997
Hollywood, California, USA

In that moment, an image filled my mind. I imagined myself on stage in front of two thousand people saying, "Now take a look at this...! This is my friend Riley hanging off the side of the O on the HOLLYWOOD sign. Is this guy crazy or what!?! It must have felt amazing up there! But... I decided not to try it. It was getting dark. And it definitely wasn’t a safe thing to do. And... And... And..."

When he had reached the top and his hands were on the last rung of the ladder, I told him, "Okay... Now take one more step up, and hang off the ladder using just one hand and one foot. YES!!! I love it! Okay... hold it like that. Let me get a couple." "MAX..." Riley hollered back. "Looking over the edge on Half Dome wasn’t nearly as scary as this! I think this is the scariest thing I have ever done!"

"Riley... I left my camera back there." I called out, scrambling along the steep rocky slope. "Be sure to get both verticals and horizontals."

An hour later I was sitting in the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard watching TITANIC. It was the most captivating movie I have ever seen. And so it should have been; it was the most expensive movie ever made - costing two hundred and twenty million dollars. The theater was sold out. I felt honored to be in attendance. It was only a week earlier that the movie premiered in that theater, on the very same screen.

There was never a dull moment. The sound was phenomenal. The whole theater quaked with each thunderous explosion and horrifying shriek as the mighty ship sank. I was near the front row. The screen filled my field of vision. I was totally into it.

During one scene in particular, it felt as though I were personally being portrayed on screen. Leonardo DiCaprio played the role of Jack Dawson, a care-free adventurer in his early twenties, riding 3rd class aboard the Titanic. The story begins with Jack saving the life of an attractive young woman -- a first class passenger. To thank him, the young woman’s fiancee invited Jack to join him and his family for dinner. During the dinner Jack made a toast, and It felt as though he took the words right out my mouth. He spoke about the importance of having adventures and being spontaneous; and then ended the toast by stating, "A few nights ago, I was sleeping under a bridge... and now here I am in first class with you fine folks!" I could think of many occasions on this journey where such as toast would be appropriate. Jack was me --I was Jack. That night, sitting in the Chinese theater, I found the magic I was in searching for. It had little to do with the fact that I could have been sitting in the seat Leonardo DiCaprio had sat in a week earlier, or that I was actually in Hollywood.

A great 39 and a half hours..

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