Friday, April 28, 2006

World Champion Best Trouper Ever!

Shout out to Helen, who, despite a serious and impairing hangover, despite having to detour off the path a few times to hurl, managed to be the most fantastically upbeat and charming marning-walk-to-Venice buddy a girl could ask for. And shout outs to the City of Santa Monica Parks and Rec department for having the forsight to install loos at approximately every 100 yards. Genius move. Honestly though, Helen, I don't know how you did it, but you set the bar for for fantastic hangover attitude. Really. Not a moment of whining. Just the ocassional quick purge followed by, "Do you have a piece of gum...ooh...there's a nice skirt over there." Way to keep focused!

Venice Beach is a Velveeta as I remember it, but we made it to the Canals, which I missed last time. Very pretty and charming, again, probably better in pictures, but a lovely break from the commercial nightmare of endless stalls of cheap sunglasses and bikini print tshirts that is Venice Beach. Incongrously tranquil, really.

Helen had to be back at the hostel for a 2:00 ride to the airport, so I spent the afternoon doing the retail wander on the promenade. Some good stores, but pretty much Robson if Robson had the good stuff like Urban Outfitters and Anthropolige. Apparently there is no one in this zip code over a size 10, so I saved a lot of money by virtue of the fack that I am to Chunk for the good clothes. Jeesus. And even the shoes - which you really have to be orrca fat to not fit - were a bust. None of the 3 pairs I was eying online were in the stores, and what I did find was too cougar for me. I'm not quite there yet. Did get a cute pair of flats, but the Puma's and sandals I will be hunting online. As well as the Stella Sheer perfume which, in true jackass form, I didn't pick up when I waw it at the Santa Monica Sephora, where it is possible the last bottle in California. Der.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stomping All Over Tom Cruise

I never made it through that early night sleep on Sunday, my lovely Kiwi room-mate Helen roused me from my restless attempt to sleep for a late night beer with some of the hostel lads. Glad of it too, living isn't really complete until you've witnessed a gargantuan, affable Sasquatch of an Aussie bring down the house with Welcome to the Jungle. Long live karaoke, long live GnR!

Helen, Jamie (one of the aformentioned lads) and I got our tourist on on Monday, braving the LA transit to Hollywood Boulevard, the mecca for arcane, tacky LA LA Land goodness. Really the sort of thing I'd have felt an ass doing on my own, but Jamie and Helen proved to be game for some serious touriste action. Really, I think there isn't much point trying to explain it until the pictures are uo next week, but there was some Scientilogy recruiting attemtps, and a little Tommy Cruise star stomping in retaliation. Pictures, pitchers (at Hooters...natch) and general cheesiness ensued until we were all suitable buzzed and burned, and we stumbled our way in to the Metro to begin the arduous journey back. Seriously, bus rides take FOREVER here, and all the buses smell like mildewy socks. They do, however, have in-flight entertainment in the form of tv's, and the bus drivers are fantastic. No shitting, I actually heard one say, "No problem sir, I'm here to help."Like totally seriously and unironically. This trip is really messing with my Canadian superiority complex, I've arrived at the conclusion that the Canadian kindness/hospitality thing is a ruse, we're just apologetic and nonconfrontational. Compared to the approachability of Americans we're almost standoffish. I don't think it's a rude thing, on the contrary I think it's in effort to not impose on or disturb people, but I really hate that my natural reaction when people randomly approach me is suspicion. Sometimes they're just some friendly dude named Paco offering M&M's, and if you want, access to a party with piles of blow. Don't worry Mom, I didn't go, I just got the blow report from the affable Aussie, and no I didn't eatthe M&M's either.

Where did that paragraph go? Dear lord, someone is verbal tonight! Anyhoo, Hollywood = delighthfully/horifically cheesy. Biggest dissapointment, the Kodak Theatre is in a mall. IN A MALL, YA'LL! Only in America would the most watched show in the entire world (The Oscar's...duh) be broadcast from an (albeit glorified) mall. Seriously.

By the way, I know these entries are a veritable web of typos and spelling errors, but at 10 cents a minute on less than high speed computers I'm not spell or grammer checking. So go ahead, feel superior. I'm a crap speller.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

First LA Brush With Fame

Note that this posting was started Sunday evening, and just made it's way to post Thurs. Morning.

So I've been in LA exactly 6 hours and I've already been in a film, witnessed the stalkeratzi in action, and been moved to tears (ok, welled up a bit) twice. And all this on 2.5 hours sleep, and without the benefit of any caffine today.

The flight was lovely, it's been so long since I've flown out of Vancouver in the daylight, I'd forgotten how breathtaking it is. Absolutely clear, fabulous view of Mt. Saint Helen's. Stunning.

I got in to LAX early, took a ride-share van to Santa Monica, and registered at the hostel, fighting the strong urge to drop right on to my bottom bunk and pass out. Instead I got my tourist on and headed to the pier. Oh lord, the bastion of tacky tourism that is. I also found it very distressing that the kid's meal at Taco Bell is 2 soft tacos, nachos with cheesy-byproduct dip, and a coke. I know that because I ate it. And barely got through it, which would probably expain all the fat kids on the pier.

I was accosted by a large flock of blue shirted tweens who asked me to be in the documentary project about the environment. Despite the fact that they were some sort of Zionist youth group and sort of freaky, I said yes. Because you never know, it could get passed to Robert Altman inspiring him to track me down and cast me in his next opus. But I digress. So read 1 line for the kiddies, something about how many kazillion pounds of junk mail Americans receive every year that ends up in the landfill. Shocking.

I wandered down to the beach to cross over to The Nomadic Museum, and compelled to check out the adjacent Arlington West - a monument to service men and women that have lost their lives in Iraq. There are over 1000 white crosses planted in rows in the sand, each one representing a fallen soldier. And in front there is a sign declaring that if a cross was erected for every Iraqi life lost the beach would be covered in crosses, and it is a big ass beach. It sounds cheesy, and I was typically skeptical, but moving along the info boards and reading the indivisual stories and hearing the man behind me crying brought me to tears. People can leave messages on the crosses of sepcific servicepeople, and the messages from families and friend are laminated and marked with a star. I was particuarly taken by the cross of PFC Lori Ann Piestewa, heavily adorned with messages, most with silver stars. Messages I can't imagine leaving for a sister or friend.

I moved over to the Nomadic Museum, which is as impressive for the building it is housed in as for the photography of Gregory Colbert housed inside. The building is constructed of hundreds of shipping containers, huge cardboard tubes and suspension wires. The interior is earily tranquil for something so industrial, the photos (mostly sepia prints of animals interacting with man) are suspended on either side of a rough plank path, both sides of which are flanked by smooth river stones. Unfortunately I couldn't take any photos inside, but I'll try to scan and post a piece from the brochure. Second welling of tears occured here.

I came back to the hostel and met my room-mate Helen - it is an 8 bed room, but just us so far - she went off to explore and I am going for an early sleep.
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