We's in California

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dodging the draft one week at a time.

We got a fresh taste of Canadiana last week when we went to BC to visit my sis and her husband. I somehow managed to smooth talk (ie: quiver my chin, sniff a few times, and pee just a little bit in my pants) my way past both the US and Canadian border agencies without a passport or a proof of citizenship of either countries. This proves my theory which I am constantly presenting to Dayna that I would make a really good spy.

We covered most of the bases: Hike in the Rockies, Grandville Island in Vancouver, golf and a dog show. We learned
that only people with dogs in the show ever really go to the dog show, but it was still awesome. Vancouver sure is creeping inland. It's sad to see 75 year old farmhouses get surrounded by new suburbs and mansions filled with 6 Indian families a piece, but I suppose people need to live somewhere. Above we see Gareth intently following his shot from almost in the bush as it goes directly into the bush. After this I ran and jumped onto a moving golf cart in a very spy-like manner.

Talking to friends in Winnipeg it sounds like the movie biz is really swinging into full gear there. It's funny that star sightings seem to be on the rise in Manitoba, but here in LA all we've seen the last few months is a minor character from Gilmor Girls (Dayna made the spot, really) get up from a table beside us, leave a weak tip, and drive off in a rusted out Jetta. Ouch.

This post is me trying to get myself "back on the blog". I did remember Memorial Day and observed it by trying to figure out God Save the Queen on the violin before I was distracted by an episode of Arrested Development. Mark if you ever read this I am so so sorry it took me so so long. Today was the American Memorial Day but being in Van Nuys most people are actually Mexican so other than listening to NPR sadly we didn't hear or see alot.

Although spy training and yoga master parties in Beverly Hills have really been cutting into my weeknight blogging sessions I promise the next one will be about something. Wait for no no....wait....

"Well you wouldn't be so tired if you weren't up IM-ing all night." - I recently overheard those extact words

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Six Stages of Man

Since I am limited to the paragraph width of this blog, I won't be able to lay out the structure of the surfer taxonomy but be sure that there is indeed a structure, and all pass through the many branches at one point or another. I will list the types that I have personally identified and cataloged in my short time here in approximate order through which they are passed:

A) Painfully Obvious First Time Outer - This individual can be easily identified by the rented board and wetsuit. The wetsuit is more than likely flourecent and the board is beat up, but not in a way that says look how much I've used it. Usually is quite determined, but mainly because $40 has been dropped on the rental. More than likely never to be seen again.

B) Classic Beginner - At this point the individual has purchased their own gear.
This is just about the only thing that differentiates them from category A. They are also telling people "I surf.". This person is actually standing up on the board 2-3 times a "session" (which has now entered their vocab), but they fall right away. This person is thinking "My board's a bit short I think." or "My board's a big long I think." or "The pattern of my board is preventing me from surfing well I think.".

C) Johnny Go Surf - Things are pretty fun at this stage. The basics have been mastered and you officially don't look like an idiot. This person has moved on to the finer points. Style is becoming a factor. The walk from your car to the beach involves checking out how your bits look in your wetsuit and thinking..."Ok I can live with that." More and more time is spent thinking about surfing while not currently surfing.

D) Mr. Serious - After spending possibly years as a Johnny Go Surf, this individual is now sacrificing many things in their life for the sport. All their friends are surfers. They have several types of boards at this point and the entire collection is being referred to as a "quiver". They have their own spots that some people don't even know about.

E) I'm Not Even From Here Guy - This guy's "not from here". He has a funny accent, but he sure can rip. He probably doesn't have a job and he's so good that at this point he doesn't even bother having specific surfer friends because everyone who sees him surf wants to be his friend. His name is probably Chet or Slater. He probably listens to Atreyu. He is the best surfer you've ever seen and you would love for this man to take you out to a nice restaurant and teach you the secrets of not only surfing, but life itself.

F) Just Quit Already - Mr Just Quit Already can be broken into two categories. Category 1 would be the guy who is 55 and you can see that he's living in his car. He's pretty good...I guess. But he probably stinks and is high. Category 2 is a little better and consist of retired rich older office surfing buddies. Usually pretty clean cut and consistent. Usually wears hats that are still dry after about an hour in the water. They've been doing this "longer than you". They believe that their age
confirms upon them the right to take any wave they want without sharing it. I'm Not Even From Here Guy knows what to do with your typical Mr Just Quit Already 2.

F) Old Lady in a Helmet - This one is exactly what it sounds like.

Changing topics, someone needs to stop Ticketmaster because things are officially out of control. We are now at minimum 1/3 of the ticket price to actually buy the ticket and it is infuriating. It's like Spring Break Capitalism Gone Wild 2006: Daytona Beach. Just AltaVista-ing "ticketmaster sucks" makes me realize I'm not alone. Basic free market economics with regulations on competition = good. Monopolies = bad. Monopoly the Game = good, except that time my dad somehow came back from having $1 and no properties to winning the game. As if!

Finally, on Sunday I was surfing, and getting my mind blown all the while by the man in this video. The two main things to note here are the two girls RIGHT in front of him, neither of which he actually knew (but was evidently about to get to know), and the cool swagger at the end of his bit. For the fact that I turned the camera sideways halfway through, I apologise. For the actual quality of the video I apologise, it was my digital camera. But for the quality of the beach karate, I do not apologies.

I do not

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

These houses suck.

You may not realize it, but these pictures were actually taken from my car, it's true. Now it's not that I don't care about the quality of the pictures on this blog, it's more of a general feeling of malaise mixed with indifference towards the blog as a whole that has been in direct conflict with my motivation in keeping it up to speed. But nevertheless the struggle continues and I fight on, pumping out observation after marginally insightful observation about LA and why it can be and usually is ...... rediculous.

So, the houses. Despite the impressively poor quality of the pictures I managed to get of these houses due to the fact that I was driving, one can still get a feeling of how, ummm, bad and average they are. I guess they're big. But not that big. In the pictures below, that sign at the front of the development used to say "Starting in the 950,000 thousands" a few weeks ago, but these babies must be going like hotcakes because the developers now think they can squeeze a cool million out of the owners to be! This development is just off the 101 by Los Virgenes Road. For those who don't know where this is (95% of anyone who reads this) it's basically the outskirts of LA on the way to Malibu and is quite far from anything remotely cool. I just can't believe that's what a million dollar house looks like now. In Winnipeg I think I saw somebody asking that much for East Kildonan. Am I wrong? Am I wrong here?

Now I don't think everyone has to live in an art-space downtown loft with a rooftop garden and a box of acid jazz records on the windowsill, but these houses are just terrible. It takes a total lack of imagination to build these in the first place, then a lack of integrity to sell them for a million dollars. I believe that every hard workin' family man that has bought one of these houses wakes up at 3 am on the first night in the house and has a panic attack when he realizes what he has just purchased and how much he purchased it for. Then he sneezes and the crappy new drywall falls off the bedroom wall and now is having a heart attack. Then he listens to Massive Attack which puts him back to sleep. Then he wakes up the next morning and works for 60 years and passes the mortgage on to his kids.

Next week I'm going to break down real life surfers into their different phyla. From how does someonethat big find, nevermind get into, a wetsuit guy to look at my face and how I'm trying not to look really excited by the fact I actually caught a wave guy (that's me),
to no seriously, you are 260 pounds and shouldn't be able to surf guy. It's going to be detailed and mostly true. Bye!