We's in California

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

1,2,3,4, immigration, facial scarring, sharks, and The Dude.

I'm not really sure how big a deal this is in Canada right now, but there has been a lot of noise here in the States and especially in LA about the new US immigration bill that basically sets out to make illegal immigration illegal. The proposal basically is to not only make it easier for low skilled workers to come to the States to work legally, but to also give citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who have already been here for a while, (which Dayna or I would never ever have a shot at by the way). If we wanted it. After the protest of about 1/2 million people in downtown LA over the weekend, on my way to work on Monday I saw about 40 latino highschool kids walking down the boulevard holding signs about the bill. All this week Mexican/Mexican-American highschool kids have been walking out of schools and onto freeways to protest and also replacing American (as in the America that is giving them a free education and health care, yes I said health care, which they wouldn't have a sniff at in Mexico), with Mexican flags outside their schools.

Dayna and I, who have just legally moved down here as skilled (I'd like to think so anyway) but technically one year temporary workers in the healthcare and IT industry, have had to spend literally months filling out forms, waited anxiously for legal documents in the mail, have driven down to the Mexican border no less than three times to wait hours in the sun outside the immigration office, and worst of all once before I got my California driver's license I was refused the right to purchase a lighter at a gas station! I guess it feels like right now it's almost impossible to move here legally, but it seems fairly easy to get by and receive citizenship once your come here illegally and use services other people pay for for a few years. Once you hop the border you're home free, which is not to be confused with "making a run for the border" which involves skipping 3rd year comp-sci classes at the U of M twice a week and driving to that Taco Bell near the Macs and the Liquid Lounge. Or is it the Lava Lounge? You know the one.


If you don't personally know me, at least you may have discerned by now that I'm in my 20's, have learned to both read as well as write, and can tie my own laces (unless they're on my skates, which is a whole new ballgame). So then why on Monday did I test to see if then iron was hot by holding it close to my face and accidentally burning myself? I really wish I had a short witty answer for that. I think the real answer is that I'm a complete idiot.

It's the kind of thing that you sort of have to bring up and explain to people at the office. Either they know you ironed your own face, or they think you get in crazy knife fights on the weekend, which I do not. Apparently I iron shirts on the weekend. And my face.

I bought a little book that lists most of the spots in California and Hawaii to surf. For each spot it shows where the break is, directions to get there, and info about conditions, best times to go, etc. One of the spots it described as "sharky" during the fall. I thought it seemed a bit casual to be talking about the fact that you may have your torso snapped in half by a 15 foot animal with about 9 rows of teeth as "sharky". Is this how real surfers talk about these things?

So how was surfing today?

Pretty good. Bit sharky. Still pretty good though.

Hot Dang!

It's really fun to go to showings of movies that have been out for a few years. The audience is completely in tune with the film because not only have they seen it before probably many times, but they like it enough to gather with others and see it again. We saw the Big Lebowski this week at a small theatre on Beverley. Aside from confirming my belief yet again that it has the best opening ten minutes of any movie ever, Van Nuys gets it's named dropped like it's, well, hot. After The Dude's car gets stolen it turns up in a parking lot in Van Nuys. In movies it seems like you could almost always replace the words "Van Nuys" with "A Poo And Pee Filled Poo Hole on the Edge of Town" and you would get the same effect desired by the writer. Anway, we missed this earlier this year which looks pretty fun.

We're coming back to Manitoba the last two weeks in July so, you know, get really excited for that.

Monday, March 20, 2006

If you don't love this post then you don't like blogs.

California is a source of many forms of culture that get disseminated throughout the world. Music, film, technology, surf culture, skateboarding, and leasing cars you can't afford. But what you'll find is that these things last in the culture long after they fade away in the rest of the world where these things have been adopted rather than developed.

It sounds cliche but those who live in Winnipeg know by now that trends:
A) Are never invented in Winnipeg.
B) Come and go quicker and quicker every year.

This is true from the UG boot, to Limp Bizkit, to the jacket with fur on the collar, to the mega-big sunglasses, to the wearing really short and tight shorts every Halloween fad that I started a few years ago.

The main thing all these trends have in common is that, after being disseminated by Much Music, Teen People, The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network ( in the case of the feathered headdresses you will all be seeing on the hip freshmen at the couches in University Center at the U of M next September), they disappear as quickly as they came. One good example is that unless you live in some California surf town, owning a big sunbleached mop of surf hair and talking like a Ninja Turtle means you're stuck in the early 90's. But those people still exist where it was
started. I'm also confused with a lot of the music radio stations. I was surprised at how much Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Offspring that's played. Grunge and popular early 90's punk was mostly a west coast thing (yes, mostly Seattle of course) and really seems to have stuck around in these parts in at least some forms of the media. But in this case it may due to the fact that there is just a larger audience here, who knows.

Let's see, what else was created here, was really popular even in small town Manitoba, then went away, but is still big here? How about Apple computers. They were big in the early 80's even in Neepawa, Mb. but I don't think you can really get them now other than places in California.

I got hit on my bike last week by a car while I was biking on the bike path beside the Orange Line. I immediately called the law offices of Slippe, Falle & Sioux. Acutally people were voicing their safety concerns last year when they first built the busline because car drivers were crashing into the busses because they weren't used to the new sets of traffic lights on their street that crosses over the busway.

Remember those animals you put in water and they get 100 times bigger? They don't work anymore.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Did you hear about the two antennas that met on a rooftop?

They fell in love and after much consideration decided to have a wedding. The ceremony was beautiful but I heard the reception was horrible.

That goes out to Al and Tim, who hopefully read it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I love to ride my bicycle. I love to ride my bike.

Now that work is a little bit closer, I've been riding the bus to and biking back from work. If you too were to ride a bike through the San Fernando Valley it may look a little something ... like ... this.

I finally have a picture of the Orange Line, which is a bus/bike/walk/meet in the middle of the night to buy small bags of icing sugar-way that runs from Hollywood to somewhere that's not Hollywood. I saw someone hanging around the busway a few days ago who walked back to his car after buying a little bag of icing sugar from another baker in a black Monte-Carlo. And it was 11:30 at night. It's wierd because there was a big grocery store around the corner with really big bags of icing sugar. I guess we've all been there, you're making a cake late at night, you take it out of the oven, then oops, no get my point.

believe the Orange Line is very similar to what they've been proposing in Winnipeg since...June 21, 1919. Bloody Saturday. It seems to work pretty well, and it's only $1.25. I could definitely see one of these buses cruising south beside Pembina Highway, although I think that accordian section thing in the middle seems like it would snap in the cold. Unless you never turn. Maybe they could just make a new one for every run, then when it gets to the final stop at the Log Cabin McDonalds, everyone gets out and the bus driver pushes it into a big hole. Problem solved.

Don't be fooled, this ranch is completely surrounded by malls, houses and offices.
Rumor has it that the whole Valley looked like this less than 60 years ago. Then again I heard a ru
mor in grade 2 that Vanessa Gillis had a crush on me. We know where that ended up. Gareth's left sitting in the corner alone with little knee pads sewn into his sweatpants while Taras Turko heads to the jungle gym with Vanessa wearing his wicked jean jacket. Now I've got the jean jacket Taras, I've got the jean jacket.

Close to this massive field of perfect grass that is sold off to the highest bidder is an elementary school with about 5 acres of beautiful black asphalt for the children to play on. Maybe they take field trips to see the grass: "Wow Mrs M! What is it? Can we walk on it?", "Heavens no children, this is 'grass' and it's for looking only." I don't know, fight the power I guess. I would have taken a picture of the school but just as I pulled the camera out I realized a sure way to end up cell mates with a guy named Jared is to take pictures of children at a school from across the street.

Especially if you're wearing these running slacks all the while.

I am still trying keeps this blog readable for people
who don't know us and may still be interested in how two young prairie Canadians moving to Los Angeles experience and interpret the bohemoth that is America.

So here are my apologies: If I don't know you, then sorry for the personal day to day (I guess it's more week to week) garbage I dump here. And if I do know you, then sorry for trying to sound smarter and more insightful than you know me to be.

Other than Dayna coming into contact with a girl who has "Welcome to the Jungle" tattooed just above her crotch, that's pretty much it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dude, Where's my Film Industry.

So the Oscars just happened. While Dayna's family visited us here we walked around the Kodak theatre earlier in the week while they were setting up the red carpet. I'm proud to say that I was able to last until Monday night without knowing who won a single award. I just really, really don't care. I care about not caring about the Oscars.

Since we moved here we've met a quite a few people involved in the film industry and, being Canadian, we always get a few jabs (that may be silent J, I'm not sure) talking about how Canada is stealing all the film jobs. I used to just give a laugh, a nod, and say something about how a Hollywood Hunk comes to Winn
ipeg a few times a year and we get articles like the Winnipeg Sun's infamous "Richard Gere Pee'd Here". But this past week a guy named Al made me realize that I don't have to take that crap anymore. All I really need to do in defense to the majority of these people is ask them how much their houses/apartments are worth. It just doesn't make sense that someone is paying out the nose to live in LA and at the same time complains that Canada is stealing jobs where films can be shot for 1/2 the price. Anyway, I guess I hope none of them read that.

We also drove to San Diego this weekend. There are a few amazing beach towns between LA and San Diego that are accessible by....train! We will make this trip soon and report on passenger rail travel in North America. In Canada rail travel has been relegated to thousand dollar vacation type trips, but it in the US there are a few places along the east and surprisingly the west coast where the railway is a legitimate mode of transportation. We'll see if the age old saying "In the land of the cars, the one-eyed man on the train is king." is more than just the sentimental credo of a generation gone by.

The trip was highlighed by a few classic "Canadian prairie family road trip through urbanized California" moments such as
A) "Hey look that's Jamie Fox! Oh...wait a's just a black guy in a Porche".
B) "Hey look that's Jamie Fox! guy in a Porche again."

C) "Hey look that's Jamie Fox! Oh...wait, that's my father in law."

The San Diego Zoo is world class. Here is a picture of a bus full of rubbernecking lazies that were waiting for a squirrel to cross the road.