We's in California

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


We have found one of the few actual pedestrian areas in LA county and it's Santa Monica. Santa Monica is pretty much like every scene from White Men Can't Jump, except the Jeopardy scene. ("I'll take vegetables that start wit' Q!" -Rosy P). There were basketball courts along the beach and off in the distance...dudes working out. You may also know Santa Monica from Sheryl Crow's song "All I Want To Do". We didn't see Sheryl, but I wished she was there playing basketball outside. Then I thought if she WAS there playing basketball, and I was on the other team, then I would probably just take her down low and post her up. Work from there.

Santa Monica is pretty cool, there are lots of pedestrian areas, some local businesses, and a pier that I think I've seen in the movies before. At the end of said pier we came upon the man you see in this picture. This guy was super sweet.

Note the organ pedals made from pvc piping.
Note that he is big time: Jimmy Kimmel.
Note, most importantly, the drumstick at the end of his guitar.

He sounded awful.

(PS: While "googling" how to spell the word awful, I saw this. Awful. Warning, there is a side-boob, no big deal though)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Off the record, on the QT, and very..hush..hush.

We've been watching alot of LA crime / film noir movies, like Kansas City Confidential, LA Confidential, (I just realized how rediculous that sounds), and Mulhullan Falls Confidential. Lots of good shots of Los Angeles, lots of smoking, lots of fast talking and sexual innuendo, and finally lots of knocking people out from behind with those black rubber things. Anyway, all great movies, Chinatown is next.

I've done some reading on the history of the LAPD and there's a reason organized crime never made as big here as is was in Chicago and New York. In the 20's police chief Vollmer created a "Crime Crushers Division", in the 70s the LAPD became notorious for routinely using chokeholds for any reason (by the time this policy was stopped after 15 people died), and we all saw what happened to Rodney King. These dudes are pretty serious. But you know what's not serious, Hollywood!

We took a walk around Hollywood on Friday. When we parked and got out of our rented Focus, we realized we were right by Paramount Studios. Yawn. We still haven't seen the Hollywood sign. Apparently it's hard to see. Which is why we haven't seen it.

Also, I figured out where that $11 goes every time someone sees Harry Potter 3:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Three favorite things so far.

A) Notorious B.I.G. (rip) on the radio. Alot.

B) The advertising in the "what's happing in the indie music scene this week" community magazines are still very Hollywood. In one page you'll think "Wow. From now until Dec 15th I get $1650 off all nose, breast, lip, and chin (?) procedures including an extra %50 off my second Botox, Restaylane, or Captique purchase. Oh and look, apparently Broken Social Scene are taking their music in a new direction. Awesome.".

C) And this one I am actually serious about...all the local businesses around here. (Wait a minute, I'm serious about the first one. In terms of seriousness we'll go A, C, then B.) When we came we were expecting nothing but big box stores and fast food chains with little or no sense of community. It turns out that on every corner is at lesat 3 or 4 family owned businesses. Whenever we drive somewhere we notice an old breakfast joint or an independant donut shop that we simply must try out. It's actually quite encouraging. I think this is because a large part of the population here is second or even first generation immigrants and they are more imaginative and willing to take risks. I love it. I've decided at this point that I will break this list of three into yet another list...of three.

Three favorite local donut joints so far:
1) Donut King. Classic name. Nice and close.
2) Randy's donuts. Established 1952, still making payments on a 22ft cement donut mounted on the roof. Not that close, but balls anyway.

3) My favorite: U.S.A Donuts. It's so...U.S.A. Hacksaw Jim Dugan works here (just part time) making this the second reference to a wrestler so far in my blog. And if you're looking for a new background for your desktop, look no further.

PS: You don't need to sign up anymore to post comments. You can choose "other" in the comments page, so comment. And no more anonymous comments. It freaks us out!

All Alone. Still.

Because Dayna or I haven't started working / interacting with other people, yet we still find ourselves all day running abject tasks neccessary when moving to a new country, this:

is what seems to go on most evenings from about 7:15 until bedtime. Then we go to bed.

Monday, November 21, 2005


It's hard to wrap your mind around the scale of environmental damage that's being created while idling in traffic on an LA freeway. You hear your own engine, you look to your left and at eye level you see the door handle of a car that you can't even tell what it is because in order to do that you would have to exit your vehicle and walk about 10 feet back to see the whole thing at once, then you look ahead and see 8 lanes of this (each way) stretching into the distance and the scale of it makes you not even care.

So you do this for a few days without thinking about it and one day you're buying groceries and after putting all the bags in the trunk, (we never brought our re-usables with us), you look at the trunk and can't believe the actual food/plastic ratio there is. I think in one of these bags is an orange. One orange. And you are just so mad that you want to write a poem about it for the next "poetry-slam"...and then you get back in your car and go idle on the freeway some more.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The dreaded panorama flyover shot.

Our quest for a church continued today with another Anglican church in the area. It was a little bit more contemporary than we prefer. It appears as though a lot of churches have moved past the powerpoint-projector stage to video behind the words. I don't want to be a cynical old coot because many people may find it assists them worshipping and that's fine, but I find it fairly distracting and unnecessary. And it's always the same video: Flying over fields with tractors plowing, flying over mounains, flying over the Washington Monument, etc. I feel like I'm in Futureshop on Pembina shopping for a new plasma TV. You know, in the back there. You know.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let's make an orDEAL <- a little play on words there

I can't believe it. I think we're going to buy a new car. A Mazda 3. In LA there's no real "transit system" per se so our hands are tied. There's a dealership near where we live called Galpin and apparently it's actually the biggest car dealership IN THE WORLD. I believe them. This place makes Winnipeg auto malls look like me that time I tried to start a business taking viruses off peoples computers. (I did alright at the start but the marketing just wasn't there, no offence to my brother Warren who DID hand out homemade business cards to everyone in his university phys-ed class).

I never thought we would ever actually buy a brand new car because they were a rip-off but around here every used car dealership has nothing but "repossesed" vehicles which doesn't sound very good to me. Repossesed means that someone tried to lease a 2004 BMW (they are all BMW's or Mercedes Benz) but as it turns out you can't make the payments if you're working the drive through window at the local Pollo Loco Tacos. So the bank takes them back.

Here's a picture of the car I wanted to get, but that would be retarded.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mire, allí es Big Show

While perusing the local Goodwill store for "retro" (aka almost free) furniture the other day, Dayna and I are leaving out the side door when we see some cameras and vans in the parking lot beside us. Then some Mexican kids start pointing and saying to each other "skala kala kala kala Big Show" (culturally insentive? yes. are those the exact words the kids were actually saying? probably).

Anyway, there he was shooting some sad B movie and it just shows how funny life can be. Things can be going pretty're body-slamming Bobby the Brain Heenan for millions of dollars and adoring fans...then BAM, you find yourself in a pair of tapered dress pants in a dirty parking lot in the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Two pictures here. The first one is a stunning side profile of the Big Show. Now is it Big Show or THE Big Show? The most interesting picture though is the second one, which shows us just where Big Shows career is at this stage. In the scene is another large man dressed up as the ancient god of war Zeus who is standing on what appears to be a 1997 Toyota Corolla hatchback. How did things fall apart so quickly Paul? (That's his real name, I "Googled" it. Google. It's a website that matches up wrestler names with their real names).

Sunday, November 13, 2005


We found an Anglican church in our area and went to the service in the morning. We sang the star spangled banner half way through. We may keep looking for a church.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Get rich or die going to the movie.

Tonight we went to Fidy Cents new movie Get Rich or Die Tryin' (no G at the end of that verb). In front of the theater complex were a few crouds of real Latino gangsters. They would all stand in a group on the sidewalk and every few minutes a different lowered SUV with a lot of bass coming from it would slowely roll by and then they would all sort of nod their heads in approval and mutter something under their breath to the nearest person. Probably something like "Sure there's alot of bass sound out here, and we know he's hearing the highs because I know there are 14 "tweaters" in that homie's vehicle, but I bet you he's missing alot the mid-range".

Anyway the point of the story is that Dayna and I were already feeling a bit conspicuous because we were the only two white people in the theater, when at one point in the movie (and I don't think I'm ruining it for anyone because I know you've all seen it) 50 gets thrown from his jail cell into solitary confinement and guy sitting directly behind us says to his friend "Oh man, I remember that". At that point we both wished we were back in our hotel room the night before watching this guy:

I had heard in the news the night before that someone in LA actually got shot in the bathroom of a movie theatre where Get Rich or Die Tryin' was playing. Don't let that stop you from going though, great movie. Just great.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Van Nuys: breath it in.

After spending a night in a motel (that's Motel, not Hotel), a night in another motel (again, note the M) that had internet access which we desparately needed so we paid way too much for it, and visiting many overpriced / undermaintained apartments, we walked into the Mi Casa Apartments.

And let me tell you, life is good at Mi Casa, which is Spanish for a whales v--. I think it actually means "my house".

Van Nuys is nice and it has an interesting history. After double-yu-double-yu two and the post war boom that was happening, the San Fernando Valley was where your average working class American MAN was able to afford a house with some space out back called a "yard". It really was America's first suburb.

Them rich white folks have apparently moved out of these suburbs and into the...suburbs (?) because around here is has come to our attention that approximately 15% of the population is caucasion, the remaining population being mostly hispanic or under that "other" column that you check off when applying for your licence because nobody can really tell what you are anyway.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


So we landed in Sacramento and rented a car. Actually it was a minivan and cost us WAY too much money. Partially got Dayna's nursing lisence and drove "the van" to LA. Getting behind the wheel of a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country, I felt alive for the first time in years. So alive.

Comparing northern California to southern is like comparing Boissevain to Toronto. We drove through the Sierra Nevada's. They looked quite arid.

Freeways in northern California are mostly very nice. Freeways in southern California (where we'll be for at least a year) are for the most part absolute crap and usually not even worth getting on, for example:

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Off tommorrow night.

Well after many months of planning, procrastination, traveling, and the odd cigarette, Dayna and I are leaving tommorrow night for the US of A. Should be good.