We's in California

Monday, February 27, 2006

Mo-ka-la-ka-li-ki, come on you wanna...

So the So-Cal surf scene is pretty lame. Some places, according to some people, if you're not a local you shouldn't be on the the specific beach in question. There are several criteria that disqualify you as being a local, but these same criteria do qualify you however to have your ass kicked if you try surf there and are as follows:
1) If you have to drive down a certain road to get to a certain beach.
2) If you have to drive a car at all to get to the beach
3) If you make more than minimum wage
4) If your name's not Curtis,

Etc, etc. I haven't experienced the wrath of these idiots but the few times I've been there haven't been many people around. If you look around on the web on surfing newsgroups and the like you'll find it all there. I think with other board sports (skate-snow) this mentality exists, but it's not nearly as bad as surfing. Anyway, I still suck really bad and when I do actually stand on my board it's about 2 seconds before I "eat the foam". I was so sure my skateboarding skillz would carryover to surfing....oh wait they did.

Sadly my daily weekday trips to Calabasas will be coming to an end as our office is moving to Woodland Hills this weekend. The upside is that I'll be able to take public transport (peace be upon it) to work, meaning that now both Dayna and I will not rely on cars to get to work, and this makes us feel pretty darn good about ourselves.

Yet there are downsides as well. I will be much further than the 1/2 mile from Nick and Jessica's house on Newly-Weds than I used to be, I will never be able to tell people that I work in the town with the first outdoor smoking ban in history (which comes into effect soon), and I won't ever get to hang out again at the Coffee Bean with Winston from from Ghostbusters 2. (He's the black one.) Oh well. I mean Oh Well I don't mind leaving Calabasas, not Oh Well there was a black Ghostbuster. But Oh Well.

Dayna's family is arriving today. That can mean only one thing for me and Al: The In 'N Out Burger. It's an American burger chain that's really good...with a REALLY bad name.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What Ghetto?

Another failed second attempt to find and experience a real LA ghetto. Granted we never took the proper time to explore, as the big R and I merely took a detour through the hood on our way home from a long day of floating around in the water with surfboard, not to be confused with surfing proper. I've buried a picture of the big R sporting a wetsuit with an unfortunate color scheme that he was given in our flickr photos so won't receive as much "guff" over the whole situation.

Dayna and I have driven all over LA and have yet to feel threatened or uneasy about the
surroundings. And this is through places even Canadian prairie boys have heard of (by listening to the West Side Connection in grade 11) like Watts, Compton, Long Beach, Inglewood, and South Central. Is this because these places are merely figments of the media machine's imagination? Does this mean that "drive-by's", "krumping", and Jazz from Fresh Prince don't exist (or was he from Phili?) and are made up to sell cd's and TV advertising? The answer is Yes. Yes they are. End of post. Next week - "Canter's Deli Pastrami Sandwich: Just for Jews? Think again!"

Well of course they're not. But it is because perched upon the great California freeways in the sky in a super-awesome black 4 door Mazda 3 (just the sweetest car ever) all you can see are rooftops, neon lights, and more freeways.

After thinking about this, feeling g
uilty about my penchant for voyeurism of those who do find themselves ghetto-ized, I realize that Los Angeles is layed out like this for a reason. The stated function of these freeways is to move as many people in the shortest time from point A to point B. The major caveat here is that these people are in cars and probably driving alone. The result of this master plan is that people like us can drive from Van Nuys to Huntington Beach through the most notorious neighborhoods ever and not have to interact with, let alone look at, the people living there. I could commute my whole life through South Central from the suburbs to downtown and never have to look a person from Watts in the face. Perfect!

So why would I care about a neighborhood that, even though I live near, I literally drive "over" to get to all the very important places I have to go. I don't care, and neither does the rest of LA who doesn't have to live there. Once again, I've done a great job at identifying a problem, now if only...

"Love is not miles caged in steel. Or denial at the wheel." Of the few things I truly love and remember in life, that line I read in a book somewhere a few years ago (I can't remember exactly where or when) is definitely one of them.

I guess at the end of the day, all a man can really say for certain is that this is way bigger than a normal doughnut.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Olympics. We're Really Stoked For It.

Last night we wanted to show our visitor the real gritty heart and soul of Los Angeles so we took him to Chilies. Our goal was to find a place that had the Olympics on TV. Because people care more about the Lakers than the Olympics we had to ask our waitress to turn the channel on the one TV we were watching. Not only did we find out that you must change the channels on half the TVs in Chilies to do this, but 5 minutes later half the bar was forced to watch extended coverage of pairs figure skating. Awk....ward. We thought we were vindicated when they switched sports, but it turned out to be 35 minutes of womens half-pipe snowboarding, which should not be an Olympic sport. It's pretty dumb. I shouldn't feel obligated to get "psyched", let alone "stoked", when someone wins a gold medal for doing a trick even I was busting out in 2001 on the jump they built for Youth Encounter at Prov. 360. Whatever.

The winter Olympics are definitely not as big a deal here as they are in Canada. Aside from the obvious fact that it's colder in Canada (duh) apparently one factor is American media's collective hangover from the Superbowl. I believe it. Electronics stores have huge sales drives to sell plasma TV systems just for "the big game". People bet big money and their "retirement savings" on the Superbowl but still I don't "care" for it unless there's a big party with other people who don't really care about the game either. Thus, we didn't watch it.

Tonight we are going to South Central/Compton/Watts to see what we can see. We're bringing Ryan along so if anything gets heavy, there's a big tall white guy with glasses to take all the violence while we drive away unscathed. If I don't post anything about it tommorrow, I'm either dead or lazy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Links are updated.

I've added another link that in no way represents the views of the other people in the list . Please please see the zombietime hall of shame. It's the reason I'm still awake and it's 3 am on a school night. I can not get this guy out of my head.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Another sensless victim of a drive-by recycling

It's quite hard to be environmentally responsible while living in Los Angeles. At least the part of LA that we live in anyway. It's hard for the city to find a common vision of how to deal with problems like these because LA is comprised of many different communities fused together across three different counties. Yet I don't believe this is an excuse.

Other than the fact that you pretty much have to use a car to get to anywhere you want to go, there are other issues as well that stem primarily from the attitude of the general public. I believe I posted a picture here of how bad most grocery stores are with their overusage of plastic bags. Starting, Dayna and I are going to do what we should have been doing all along and bringing our own bags because currently we end up playing an awkward game with the bagger. After he puts one orange in a plastic bag and puts it in the cart, I then grab nine other pieces of fruit, before he can grab them and stick each in it's own bag, and put them in the bag that he had
designated for one orange. It's a race that we realize when we get back to the car the bagger always wins. I seem to remember a few places in Canada that at least ask you if you'll be needing bags, which is a great thing. Of course I would probably be an idiot and say "Ummm, actually I forgot my own again so I'll be needing about 30 bags today."

Then there's recycling. Although I've heard that many other communities in LA have the blue box recycling program, we sure don't have it for our apartment building in Van Nuys. So we must resort to storing up our recyclables in a big container then driving it to the depot which, as you can see here, reminds me of a Vietnamese POW camp. The worst part is that they used to only be open Monday to Friday 8-4:30 so Dayna and I tried to just leave it on the sidewalk after hours. This was justified in our minds because you actually get money for bringing your stuff in so technically whoever shows up for work the next day gets some money.
But I'm sure it was still illegal, leaving crap on the sidewalk. It went something like this: (and remember what we're trying to do here, and that is mainly to RECYCLE.)

It's late. Really late, like past 9pm. We pull up to the compound. Through the mist we can see the barb wire sillouetted by the moon. A dog barks. In the distance a baby is crying.
Me: "This looks good. I don't see anyone around let's do it."
Dayna: "Ok. I'll pull up and pop the trunk, you deliver the package and we're out of here....I love you."
She pulls up to the curb. I spring into action, stepping out of the car and grabbing the lid of the trunk. It doesn't budge, my heart begins to pound in my chest.
Me: "Dammit! It's not open!"
Dayna: "Yes it is!"
Me: "No, you pulled the gas lid thing! It's right beside that. You always do that!"
Dayna: "Oh.
The truck pops open, I grab the container, throw it on the sidewalk and frantically, but ever so neatly, stack the recycling in front of the main gate. I throw the container back into the trunk, close it, close the gas lid thing on the side, and dive back into the car. Dayna punches it and we speed off into the night.

Now that the depot is open 7 days a week we can do it safely and legally during the day on the weekend. Today, dressed in my Sunday best before church, I walked into the depot with the recycling in hand only to realize that around here, the only people who bring recycling in bring it in stolen shopping carts and do it for the money they get back. Everybody pretty much stopped what they were doing and stared at me with my "shave" and my "pants" when I walked in. Ok, that was mean, but I have a right to feel out of place when I obviously am.

I think the root of the problem is that the modern city and especially this modern metropolis are so completely separated from nature that it takes quite an active imagination to correlate our actions with effects on the environment. Nature, being literally out of sight, is out of mind.

On a less serious and far less important note, with each passing day we realize how you can get anything in LA if you want it. You may be thinking "Surely you don't literally mean anything.", to which I reply "Be quiet because yes, if you want it and have enough money you can get it. " Any sort of gun, sex, animal, kitchen utensil, vehicle, furniture, butler, and entertainment you can think of, you can find it. A friend of ours told us that she actually managed to buy a midget telegram for her friend's birthday because she thought it would freak her out. Apparently when she called the agency they informed her that for an extra fee the midget would stay at the party for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours of "shenanigans". Shenanigans? It's the sort of thing that you know is definitely wrong, but still hard to not laugh at.

Ho hum. Hey Ryan's coming out! That should be fun.