Thursday, November 29, 2007
It was sleep on Monday night then, to get rid of my icky feelings, and apparently I was cranky, speaking to Eric on the phone that night, so I definitely needed the sleep. Next day I woke up, still tired but a little more refreshed, and decided to go have lunch with Eric in Glendale. Now, that's a drive, but not much more than going to Odessa, for example. But it did require a little knowledge of highways and connections and best ways to go, which Eric supplied me with, and, along with the GPS Penelope Cruise, I managed to make it to the Glendale Galleria quite easily, and in fact, it was a really beautiful drive. As noted way back in part one, Eden got to have some highway time, and it was good for her. She handled it splendidly, and we didn't have to stop much at all for traffic.
So I waited for Eric's lunchtime by looking at stuff in the Glendale Galleria. They had a macy's where I could get in trouble buying Christmas presents for certain people. And a store called MetroPark where I found a $230 or so jacket that I really wanted and in fact, still really do.
But I didn't buy anything. Eric and I went to a Peruvian place for lunch, he being of Peruvian descent, and, because I've been having bad luck with restaurants and what I order, I let him order for me, so I ended up with a meat and potatoes combination, with rice, and an Inca Cola. It was all very good, the beef was excellent quality and I liked the spices. At first I wasn't sure about the meat/potato combo, but, it was yummy. Yummy is a fun work.
So we drove back to the Galleria and I was supposed to get the stuff I brought for Eric but I misunderstood and didn't do it, so we said goodbye and off I went to find Eden in the parking garage. But I have an innate sense of parking garage direction, which I tapped long ago when I worked near Christmas-time at the Fossil store in the Dallas Galleria, and I think I had to park in downtown Dallas (far from the Galleria) but, when the day was done, I managed to find Nemo, my truck at the time. So yesterday I found Eden far more easily than I first thought I would.
I exited the parking garage and was going to reverse engineer, as it were, the directions Eric gave me. But, I went, counter intuitively, in the wrong direction to start, and, decided to let Penelope get me home. Well, Penelope loves to take me through downtown LA, which is almost always a mess. So, we did that, and now I understand why I followed Eric's directions getting there, because downtown is always congested, and it has those fun left, right, right, left, left, left, quick right, quick left, right, quick left exit things going for it. Or, against it. Still, I made it back to Lincoln boulevard, and, in a move that perhaps proves I'm ready to be in LA at last, was texting, checking on an address, entering the new destination in Penelope and yes, driving, and not killing pedestrians. Hooray!
The point of that was to get myself to IKEA, which was my original Tuesday destination, though it was really just an excuse to visit with Eric. Still, I decided, since I was adventuring, to go to IKEA. Penelope got me there just fine, though at first she tried to turn me back to Burbank, until I got the exact address for Carson's IKEA, which is technically closer to the house on Venice, though Burbank's IKEA was probably closer to the place where I entered the address into Penelope. Anyhow, if this is confusing, trust me, yeah it is. Even more so when I explain that Daniel's stern voice, the British personality of Penelope, also ably assisted me in finally getting to IKEA in Carson, although this involved taking the 405 San Diego freeway which is, apparently, always congested and especially at around 4:00 pm when all this was transpiring.
But, I made it to IKEA and was in Wonderland. Claire had warned me to go to IKEA with a plan. She was right. It was way too overwhelming. I got really excited because I could outfit a room with really cool, modern stuff, and for not that much, and be really happy. I could even make this garage room work for me. But, there was too much to process, and I'm still not sure what's going on with living arrangements in the near but not immediate future. So, I just made some mental notes (excellent Christmas present ideas) and wandered about dazed.
And then there was a Target right beside the IKEA! A beautiful Target full of the wonderful and well arranged Target things beloved by me and others! AH! So I bought a new pillow, king size (it was on my list) and a pillow case for it (I'll be damned if pillow cases don't cost more than the pillows!) and that was all. I ate dinner at chili's because, for all the talk of loving new and different things, the fact is sometimes it's nice to be in a relatively familiar place. And at chili's I know I can get a good burger at a decent price, which I did, and it was nice. That doesn't mean I want only chains wherever I go, but I won't pretend that it's not good to go somewhere that makes you feel like you are somewhere you've been before. Not deja vu, but, well, I guess it makes me feel safer, especially since, right now, I'm dealing with this feeling of vulnerability.
After dinner (mushroom Swiss burger) I drove back home to the Venice house, stopping first at Ralph's (grocery store out there) to pick up a couple of items, and when I parked, I patted Eden for doing such a great job (yes, I talk to my car). Traffic was not bad at all on the way back, and I would have made it even without Penelope, which is the eventual goal, of course. It's not unlike driving in Dallas here, the stretches are just a bit longer. So, I will adjust.
Thus my Tuesday was filled with a lot of new things, which probably seem not that new in retrospect, but, this moving thing is definitely not the easiest thing I've done in my life, so, I take the small, medium and large victories.
Oh and, the title of these three posts? Well, the first four numbers are the highways/interstates I took that got me to Glendale (don't take the 5). Then, I took 5 to 10 to craziness on the way back. Easy enough.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I like window seats. I don't mind the engine. I like to see the mechanical stuff in contrast to the land below (though for this flight it was mostly clouds, then dark). I also love to read all the little warnings and instructions that are stenciled onto the plane. "STAND CLEAR OF EXHAUST" (hmmm...seems obvious but go figure) or "OSCILLATE THE BUSSARD COLLECTOR TO ACHIEVE NOMINAL VARIANCE." I made that one up, but if I remember I'll put it on my designs for the sINjets (see League of Super Saints index).
So I was saying, I didn't have any real problem with this seat. Plus I thought, yeah, I'd get to have space. I wasn't in a talkative mood this flight. I did so well on the way Home to Midland, talking to strangers, even starting up a conversation with the lady in the Vegas airport, so I felt excused from the general company of humanity.
But no. Just as the Flight Attendant is about to close the plane door, a rather large, swarthy, inked, and extremely sweaty man lunges into the plane. He barely made it. And ran a lot. And was dripping with sweat. Guess where he sat? Yeah. In the empty space I was planning on enjoying. He filled the space with great gusto as well. But, not his fault, that he was sweaty. I guess, I mean, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt as to why he was so late.
Anyhow, 2 hours and 20 minutes later, with him coughing all the while, we land in Vegas. The flight was a bit bumpy, I hadn't eaten, and my stomach didn't really know much of what was going on with me. In Las Vegas the guy beside me deplaned. I knew better than to expect my space to remain unoccupied. The further you get from Midland to Los Angeles, the fuller any given plane will be on a stop. I didn't have to deplane at all, and contemplated going to the restroom, but thought, well, I can make it for the 40 minute LA flight. Bad idea.
Meanwhile a lady had lost her purse, so we all spent time looking for it. "Is that your bag?" this helpful woman asks regarding my computer case, as if yes, I were indeed sitting there, trapped in the aluminum tube of an airplane, and in broad planelight was holding this woman's purse under foot, as if I could get away with it. Boris and Natasha I am not. "Yes" I answer, and start looking in my vicinity for the lost purse. They found it somewhere, I think someone else had accidentally picked it up or something. There's no good end to the story because my involvement with it ended early on, since I had not stolen the purse and so wickedly stowed it right under my feet and thus everyone else's nose, so to speak.
I may be exaggerating a bit. I don't know if the "helpful" woman (dark black hair, shoulder length bob, glasses, very white, red lipstick, yellow sweater) really thought my bag was the bag (it's a leather computer case, not a purse, by the way) or not. But I'm thinking now that I thought then that it was true. Because I was in a bit of a bad mood. Also I needed to go pee. Yeah...did I say I made a bad choice on the not going to the bathroom then thing? Wait, wait, don't get ahead of me, I did NOT pee in my pants. Yikes, nothing of the sort. I was just uncomfortable for the remainder of the flight.
Now, no one except we few, we happy (?) boarded from Midland going to LA few, was on the plane at this point. Lots of space. Then the Vegas folks begin to board. Please, let someone cool sit by me, someone attractive even, because I'm shallow that way. But, as the folks filtered in, well, some passengers were, I have to be honest and just say it, in desperate need of some deodorant. The offending party or parties were also very close to me. My stomach turned (no there is no vomit in this tale, it wasn't that bad) but between my bladder and my stomach let's just say it was a very long 40 minute flight. Luckily the fresh air from the vent helped things, but, not much.
I have to pause here and say when I got to LA, and I did get here, because here I am, I started to wonder if I was smelling myself. After all, I had been using some Axe body deodorant, and it doesn't always last long, but it was all I had at Mom and Dad's house. But no, I didn't smell it on the first leg of the flight, and otherwise what I smelled on me was APOLLO, the particular flavor of Axe body spray. (It makes me as sexy as the god Apollo, don't you know.)
Also of note on the flight was this Asian man and his blonde, flowerdy haired girlfriend. They had to sit separately on the plane, and this caused much alarm for them (she was loud and a bit obnoxious). When we were in the air he actually went to the bathroom and she followed suit. They went in together right under the flight attendant's nose, and I thought wow, they're joining the mile high club. But he promptly exited, and then stood at the front of the cabin where you're not supposed to stand because FAA restrictions prevent any passengers from congregating at the front of the plane (protect and survive). But the flight attendant caught this and told him about the rule, and then announced it to the whole plane.
So...he stepped a couple of steps back and waited there, still too close to the flight deck in my opinion. But when his girlfriend came out (ok, I assume that's what she was, I don't know for sure) then he went back into the restroom while she went back to occupy his seat. So I have no idea what they were truly up to, but I suspect drugs were involved. Perhaps I should have alerted the flight attendants, but, if I'm no Boris and Natasha, I am also no Inspector Clousseau.
So, after the longest, smelliest, drug/sex infested(est) (conjecture) 40 minute flight of my life (so far) we landed at LAX, my bladder full and acting very much like those animated bladder type things we see on TV, for bladder control medicines. Stomach was still turning. Of course, at LAX, when you land, it takes another bit of time to drive to the gate where you need to be. It's the whole, 1 hour, gate to gate thing the Captain tells you about early on in the flight, when you still think it might have been wise to save going to the bathroom until you were on the ground. (Again, a mistake!) But at least on the ground you know you will get somewhere at LAX, and that there are restrooms, so I just stared back at the lines of planes, all at different levels, headed for the same runway. It's an amazing thing, all the planes stacked and scurrying to get out of the way for the next plane that's landing in the exact same spot.
Eventually we found our gate. Then of course, deplaning is another thing, waiting for everyone to squeeze out, and getting one last whiff of the body odor from...wherever. But hooray, when I was able to walk I felt a little better, and found the first restroom, and the first available stall, and peed for like, 30 minutes, because of course after I waited to pee so long, I could no longer pee all at once. The human body is an amazing and totally confounding thing.
After that 30 minutes I then called my Mom to tell her I was on the ground, and proceeded to find a taxi. I found one, and told him where to go, and he said "how do I get there?" Lucky for him I wasn't a newbie from Texas just off the plane, but, had 2 weeks worth of LA time under my belt buckle. So I told him to how to get me home, and updated him along the way, and told him where to turn, and where to stop. I also still tipped him, even though I put way too much thought into the whole process of paying someone else to use my limited knowledge of the streets to get me back to Venice, CA.
But he dropped me off and I got home and ate some oatmeal when my stomach settled down. Then before too long I went to bed and crashed (bad word choice, but I'm on the ground).
Looks like I better cut this off and save the rest for part 3. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
More on all that later, but, I really need to go back to Thanksgiving week and my return here, which is home but not yet Home, and as noted earlier, I'm working on that bit.
Anyhow, so Thanksgiving was, overall, really good this year. I got to meet up with almost everyone I wanted to see, though didn't get to see a few for various reasons, mostly the weather. Yes, it snowed Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Luckily not Monday, or else my flight might have been affected. This fact was good for me, not so good for my niece and nephews who go to school. Had it been icy/snowy, they wouldn't have gone to school, but, alas they did. I remember those days and why snow was so much "fun" then, yay, unexpected day off from school. But these days I can't say I'm in love with it, and the cold, hanging around for that long.
Still, Thanksgiving was great with my family, even if dinner out on Tuesday night was a production beyond the usual. For you see, a certain nephew, who will remain nameless, but had a bird themed cake, apparently threw a bit of a fit which involved, much to his surprise, punching his hand through the window at his house. We are all over it, and thankfully he was not hurt except for a minor scratch, but it did result in a late arrival for that part of my family, and otherwise a bit of a sober tone in all the kids. But it was great to see them, and Bram has now earned the name Fist Through Glass. I think it was all over a pair of Wrangler jeans, too.
The rest of the Holiday passed with the usual stuffing, both the edible kind and the fact that we all stuffed ourselves. Every Thanksgiving very nearly centers around my Nene's stuffing recipe anyhow. It's a perfect cornbread dressing, and I get to taste test for accuracy every year, well, since Nene died. No taste test was needed with her, she just knew how it should be. When she left us, we worried about Thanksgiving dressing without her, but, Mom picked up pretty quick and my judgement is usually pretty sound. The only potential wobble this year was salt, I kept tasting it and telling Mom it needed salt, odd for me because I do not usually request salt on things. Turns out the chicken broth was the low sodium variety, so there was the missing salt and the explanation. In any event it turned out perfectly. We were at the table eating and Madeleine didn't want any of the dressing and gravy. I turned to her and said "you don't want any stuffing, it's your recipe?" I say this because my sister, my Mom, and indeed, most of us in the family, are convinced Madeleine is Nene sent right back down to us.
I have to pause for a moment and note that Figaro, my Chewbacca, that mass of black curls and eternally youthful energy, standard poodle, died over a year ago just before Thanksgiving. Truth be told, he kept me in Midland longer. I knew I could never leave him behind, and couldn't take him with me to make him get accustomed to a new place. We all miss him so much, but he had the best life ever, example to me, as Dolly would sing, that "you better get to livin'" (and when is her new album out?).
I met up with Earl and Rice on Wednesday at Starbucks, so we had a chance to talk then. The following Friday I met up with the entire Starbucks gang. I got to see Sarah's sketchbook, brimming with new stuff since October, and always stunning. David, Keith, Becky and I talked about avocados. I will leave it at that because we were reprimanded (mostly David and I) for laughing and being merry. I had gone without a shot of David, Keith and Becky for two whole weeks, and I don't know when I will be back to have fun with them again. Hell, everyone knows if you get me around caffeine and David, I will laugh my arse off and then some. Thank goodness he wasn't drinking (oh wait, that was later, at Jorge's, and we got in trouble).
I am not exactly in the easiest place in my life right now. Granted I have saved some money so I can find my footing better than most, but I know very few people here and even fewer of those would I trust when in need. I'm 1,200 miles from everything I've known and loved, so, know what, I can be a little selfish and ask for help from the people back home who Love me (big L). All I'm saying is that the embrace of laughter works better than wallowing in despair. It's taken me a long time to learn that, but, it helps just to say that I will be fine and dandy, so I'm holding fast to my "Hard Candy Christmas" theme from last year and yes, I made two count 'em two references to Dolly Parton.
The snow kept me from seeing Deborah and Ester, because Odessa is much further away when you are not sure the roads will permit you to pass. I am sad about that, but, we will catch up sometime. Deborah promises she has a Southwest freebie ticket (frequent flyer miles) that's reserved for visiting me here in LA, so, she better know that I'm holding her to it. Ester I get to talk to online often enough, if she's not idle, and it's too bad she can't control herself on the webcam. Haha. ;) I don't actually know if she reads this or not, but I love to tease her.
Despite not seeing those friends, the Holiday break still energized me. I got to see Amy at Barnes and Noble twice, once with Meghan, and since David and Keith and Dan were there, they all got to to meet each other, finally, because it seems I can never connect Amy with my other circle of friends. But it worked this time and we had a great conversation and everyone liked everyone else. I also got to see Amy on Sunday, so that was great. I teased her about her Devil hoodie and also about being in LA. She's my favorite person to talk to on the phone when I'm on the beach because I tell her "you hear that, it's the ocean" and she usually responds "I was pretending it was something else." I do this because Amy lived in LA for 6 months or more (now I forget what she said) and also because, in my heart, I really wish she was here to be part of my LA experience, because we get along together so well.
Okay...it's possible that I'm being sappy but I don't care.
I even ran into Misty at Barnes and Noble as well. Seems we always run into each other there, so it was nice, nice, in a good nice way. Everything sort of changes and stays the same all at once.
Now on Monday I left at 5:30 PM, which was not the best planning, because now I realize if I leave so late in the day, the day's pretty much just spent waiting. But it was waiting with Mom, so, treasured waiting. I love my whole family so deeply, but, Mom is closest to me because she's one of the main reasons I react to beautiful things as I do. So, it's really hard to watch her drive off in Rowdy, the big red Ford truck, as I walk into the air terminal. But, it's easier than having her sit there in the terminal and progressively get more nervous about my departure, making me more nervous.
Also in the Monday mix, Dad and Simon got back from the ranch having found themselves snowed in on Sunday. They produced a videotape which documents the weather and the nature of their being stuck, so, I guess they are off the hook. Dad comes home whispering to Mom "when does he leave" "does he know he can come back if he's not happy" and such things, which, in that whispered way, makes me know I'm well loved, even if he and I don't always, or often, see eye to eye.
Thus went the Monday, slow and fast waiting. Mom dropped me off at about 4:00 and I made my way through security...I think the guy asked me if it was okay if he tested my laptop, while I was thinking, why is he asking me, it's his job, I can't really say no, can I? Haha.
Anyhow, so I sat at the desolate gate, because Midland's airport is much like Midland, lots of space and mildly empty. Eventually it filled up and, around 5:00 or so, we lined up to get on the plane. I'll end this post with that, and Part 2 will continue the flight and the return.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Knock on wood.
I'm on the iphone so it limits my eloquence if you will, so bear with me. I've learned some stuff about myself and when I can sit and process I will share. In the meantime, it has, overall been a great Thanksgiving. I'm always thankful for my family, and the friends I have here now. They make it hard to leave even as they'd all kick my arse if I stayed!
Anyhow...back in LA at 7:30 tomorrow. Check later for further thoughts.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Also, I'm thinking about a new idea for a contest. It won't require any drawing, sketching, photo bucketing, or any such thing. It would require just typing or writing some thoughts, and the assumption that you know a little bit about the League of Super Saints.
But I don't know if I want to do it or not. So I'm just teasing here to see what happens.
Now I'm waiting for someone to arrive and we're going out for a bit, so I thought I would upload some overdue photos, which I have promised (likely) more than a month ago. Since I'm playing hard and fast with linear time anyhow, just pretend they're all exactly where they should be temporally, in a specific post.
First up is the birthday cake I decorated for Bram this year (pre-Halloween). Bram was supposed to be an Edgar Allen Poe type, dark and mysterious baby, (it was my concept for him) but when he met the world it was with the lightest blond hair of all the kiddos, and blue eyes. Never mind, there is a demon that waits within the fair haired child. For that reason, and since his birthday is so close to Halloween, we do scary themes for him, and this year's choice was based on Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.
Here's what I did with the theme, cake wise:
The next photos are from my room before I left for California. I took a couple of quick shots of the "mess" (little bits of cut out paper, dolls, etc.) from the Genesis of Darwin 665's paper doll form. That's Isaac, a Living Dead Doll scarecrow, sitting in the decorator's chair (which I found in miniature, but would love to have full sized) and watching over things.
At last I get around to posting the fantastic Love Gun Becky made for me, the one I mentioned with the extra blue heart for bluebird to give away to someone. I brought this with me to LA and it's on the platform bed right beside me as I sleep, with Binky (ah! have to get some shots of Binky!) and other items close to my heart.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I got more than my fair share of exercise no doubt. After all, when you walk one way, you typically (unless you get a cab, $$$) have to walk the other way. But there's so much to see. People on one side, ocean waves with people in the water (sometimes) on the other (the water is mighty chilly, but it was warm, and I'd probably dive in the water myself, so they're not insane, unless I'm insane, which is possible).
Now, because Claire (fabulous roommate from Calgary) said something about men in Speedos, and not wanting to see that, now I have to report back to her on my Speedo Spying. Yesterday the number was three. One guy was wearing a red Speedo and it looked like he could pull it off at least, in shape, but he was smoking a cigarette. Go figure. That was on the way to the Pier. On the way back, there was a guy, probably German, maybe Italian, who didn't need to be wearing a Speedo, as his belly was overhanging into Arizona. Finally there was a purple Speedo, and this guy had long curly Romance novel cover type hair, and I thought he must have been Greek or Italian (note how I'm trying to blame it on the Europeans) but he didn't sound foreign when he was talking to his family. His Speedo was ill fitting, baggy. So I figure the rule is, if you're gonna try to pull off the look, and maybe you can, make sure you get one that fits well at least.
That's the Speedo report. Haha.
Later I went to Staples. I was going to walk, as I've been doing, because it's really not a far walk, but after the Santa Monica Pier jog, and because it was close to dinner, I drove. Which, in a sense, probably takes longer than walking but expends less energy. So I waited in line for the employees to get what I needed from the back and then waited for a person to check me out. This gorgeous black woman with dreadlocks emerged, manager type, and kind of gruffly looked at me, saying "were you being helped" and I told her the guy said to wait here for check out, then I smiled and I think I twinkled my blue eyes, because that can be affective and effective here, and she shot back a great smile. It wasn't a big deal, but, it made my night, because, in this city that never sleeps (haha, I think that's New York, and the start of a movie, but I'm stealing it) you have to give and grab back the little moments like that.
I'm working on something else, too, but I don't want to say anything and possibly jinx it. Because I'm superstitious that way.
Now, because it made me laugh so much, and made me miss her, too, I'm going to post this little YouTube ditty for your pleasure:
A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.
Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. Ed.
People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.
A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one'll talk 'til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?
Well listen to this. I am Mister Ed.
("Mister Ed" by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston)
Folks, that's the fabulous Rice (two dots over the e, can't do it on my laptop for some reason) teaching you how to heat-set, and cracking herself up, and if you're like me, it's cracking you up, too. The voice, James Earl Jones-esque behind the camera, is the Ever Gorgeous Earl, who is perhaps the only person on the planet who could film this woman doing this and not crack up with laughter, and that, gang, is LOVE!
Monday, November 12, 2007
Don't get confused, I'm not the ambassador of quantumly physical infinite parallel universe hopping. I'm not Dr. Who. I'm just starting it over today because I want to.
You see, I'm going to be completely honest. Despite meeting some cool new people who have shown me kindness (I have always depended on...let's not go there) I have to say that, until today, I have been regretting the decision to move here. It's not like that's a great secret, something I kept hidden on the blog. You don't even have to read between the lines. You can read the lines and see I wasn't doing cartwheels.
(Confession: in between looking at jobs, apartments and trying to find places to network in life and online, I was also scoping out the scene in Austin. Preparing a get away from my get away. Because the rule is, still is, should this feeling wane with the crescent moon, my happiness.)
So yeah. Now, what about today? Because today was friggin' gorgeous. The sun came out in its full glory and poured upon sand and sea. For my past beach encounters I've been sadly looking at my old lover blanketed in a chill of clouds. She looked forlorn. She was in a Thomas Hardy novel, the one I've been trying to live for too damn long.
But today, not a cloud in the sky, and the ocean mist only barely there as it should be. Today I went walking to a spot and had brunch, with myself and unconsumed by the self-ness of it. Then I went outside of my head and talked to a woman and her small daughter at a table near me (large portions started the conversation). She asked what I did and I said I was an artist and just moved here. And believe it or not, I gave her a moo card! (Note to self: order more, and make sure plenty are in your wallet.) But it doesn't matter if she never sees that card again or if she tossed it in the gutter, I gave it to her.
Now, for the socially adept, you may think what a goofball I am, and yes, I am a goofball, though charming, but still, it's a minor triumph. I am not known for stepping outside of my box, and my box is, trust me, a very tight fit (don't go there David). So yeah, good.
And then I went to the beach and saw the Pacific in her glory. I went and did my Rocky Balboa style "I don't need a gym" workout (next challenge: joining a gym). Then I took my shirt off! Yes! The reason I came here, not the only reason, but a good one, to wander around shirtless as much as possible. I walked along the surf and sand, where the freezing water lapped at my feet and made me catch my breath. This! This! (I'm motioning to the sand, the water, the blueness, the sun reflecting off the water, the people in the water, the--I think--Asians in Speedos, probably not needing to be in Speedos, the kids building sand castles, the surfer/boarder laying face down in the wet sand--resting I guess, he was alive though--all these things are why I moved here.)
So I walked up and down the surf, investigating the ephemeral sandbars, which I hadn't seen before. Shirtless, jeans legs rolled up, shades on, cool and warm, the sunshine on my shoulders making me happy, and the cool breeze keeping it from oppression.
Welcome to LA, Gabriel.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Today I went out though, I walked to meet someone for coffee then when had lunch. He's a theologian (graduate degree in theology) I met online, Damian, who is very intelligent and articulate. We talked so long that he got a ticket (they keep track on Sundays, because LA is godless so the police can't go to any Churches because they haven't got 'em, godless liberals in LA). We then went to lunch and talked more. I guess for anyone who knows about my strict, only white underwear wearing, women stay silent don't cut your hair or wear pants, don't go to the movies, one bread one cup o' grape juice church, you might imagine that I would have a lot to talk about with someone who has degrees in theology. You would be right. However, I can't really detail the conversations because they would be esoteric in the realm of my personal religion, and Rice's warned me about that, plus it might make her run away screaming, and make her head explode. I've done that before and Earl has to clean it up. Or up it has to clean. Or whatever.
After lunch, I went to Santa Monica with Kevin, who is also intelligent and what we call a "stand up guy." I looked at bikes, then we looked at books, comic book stores and a few other places. We were on the promenade in Santa Monica, so I stayed out of the clothes stores even though the Diesel store was right there beckoning me. I have plenty of clothes for now...well, except for hoodies. I need more freaking hoodies! Luckily they're a dime a dozen on Venice Beach.
Where was I...yeah, after we went for sushi, but the place we wound up was charging $32.50 for the sampler tray thingie, a bit overpriced, and I wanted a spicy tuna roll anyhow, and I'm not fond enough of sushi to pay THAT much, at least not yet, and everyone seems to think it's a bit overpriced at that price, so I ordered seared scallops and damn, they were good. As was the asparagus to go along with them (this reminds me I need to email Deborah).
So, then Kevin dropped by here for a bit, chatted about football with Rachel and friends, then I showed him the Saint stuff (paper dolls, packaged) and his mind started firing off some connections.
So, it's a start. And even if it rained today, well, it was a good day.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Today after a groggy start I went with Claire, one of my new roommates, to see a Salvador Dali exhibit, "Dali: Painting and Film." It most definitely must have been the most LA art thing I could have gone to in my first art excursion. I have a love/hate thing going with Dali anyhow, but, let's face it, he's a rock star of the art world. Put his name on a billboard, and people will come to the show, no doubt. They'll flock to see the chaotic rumblings of a sexually charged earthquake, psychoshowings and so forth and so on. It's hard to take Dali out of the commercial context I'm familiar with, as in, when I worked framing prints and every college dude came in to buy a Dali poster for his wall. Either the Narcissus one or the whole Dog/Vase thing.
But there were a couple of smaller postcard type paintings, which, of his output, I prefer, and find them to be the more truly accurate at capturing the whole dreamscape psychobabble unconscious phootey-tootey, as opposed to the universal phootey tooteyness of god, per Wendy.
Following that we ate a late lunch at a Vegan place, where I had a Paninio Tuscaninio (all very special sounding) that approximated mostly barbeque. I don't think that was exactly what it was suppposed to do, I think it was supposed to taste like Italian meat stuff, but for me it was BBQ. Funny enough, since it was all vegetable, but did a really good job masquerading as meat. Undoubtedly this masquerade was so meat missing vegans could fill the void without any guilt. I also had an overpriced IZZE soda.
Yeah, that's another thing, and no it's not like I didn't realize it before now, but, yeah, everything's over priced. Over priced, and often tacky, I say remembering the sights in the stores outside the window as we rolled down Melrose. Anybody remember Melrose Place? Haha. Maybe I need Heather Locklear to come and rescue this show.
Enough, enough. That's the day so far. I'm not going out tonight, I'm still apparently not ready or just don't want to. I'm meeting a couple of people tomorrow--I hope. So far I'm learning you can't count on too many people here.
Except Canadians like Claire. She is awesome and I love Canadians!
Friday, November 9, 2007
Halloween night was more fun, though, and was like the really good punch served with the cake, because we don't want too much icing. The kids came out to the house and Mom had created yet another fabulous home made carnival for them. I mean really a carnival, with the dart/balloon thing, bobbing for pickles (witches nose), beanie ghoul toss, a few other things and even a cake walk. The cake walk was the biggest hit, and lasted the longest. I was in control of music and played, what else, but the official 2007 Gabriel Lewis Halloween mix. Eventually I was forced to tell the cake walkers "get your prize, no drama, get back in the circle" or something like it, as there was too much drama about prize picking to be sure. But it was fun.
Mom reminded me that last year Figaro was walking the cake walk with everyone else. It's such a good memory, but I still miss my Chewbacca so much. I can only imagine him in LA on the beach, romping around like the puppy he stayed for his whole life.
(Figaro was my black standard poodle, best dog ever, who I always told, in Virginia Woolfe/Orlando fashion, "never grow old." The truth is he really didn't, but he died less than a year ago, his body was just finally outpaced by his youthful spirit and mind.)
Anyhow...I have tons of memories and they're always so clear, but I need to get back on track.
Carnival over, I went to meet up with the gang at Carino's. Earl, Rice, David, Keith, Becky and this time Lynn from Starbucks came for the final outing with Gabriel. We had a blast of course, Brian the Flying Hawaiian, Manila Ice himself, was our waiter, so it was appropriate. David and Lynn, both coming from the same mold, made us laugh. When it was time for goodbye, though not goodbye, Rice stoically said "he'll be back, his family lives here and they love him" and mentioned "airplanes." And, she's right, I've already booked my Thanksgiving flight, but still, yeah.
I went home and slept. Next day I started getting things ready. I spent time with the family, hugged the kids who came by after school to say (not) goodbye but you know, goodbye, to me. Then I met Becky and Sarah at Barnes and Noble, after I washed Eden, so I spent some time with Sarah and got to say a proper (not) goodbye. Then Amy came up with Jade, so I got to see her and say goodbye.
Then I went home and we started packing Eden. She was stuffed for the first time in her life, suitcases, hats, jackets, my computer. I had to lay the back seats down to make room for everything, but we made it happen. She was ready. After all, moving to California is what Eden was born to do. Now, it doesn't mean she has to stay there, here rather, but she was made to make the journey.
Ok...bedtime for now and I'm running out of juice. More on this tomorrow.
Now it's tomorrow. I'm basically lollygagging about. It's hard to get started as the sun is still being held hostage by the clouds or the sea mist or whatever it is. Last night my roommates turned on the heater. I didn't think this was supposed to happen here. Years and years of sunny Los Angeles based television and cinema...lies, all lies. I mis-named my blog.
Pardon the Emo moment.
Back to the adventure...Eden was packed and I slept well that night. I spent the better part of a month getting my room in order as much as possible, and was quite happy with it. It's important for me to know everything is arranged well and that my room back home exists in a state of happiness.
So I got up about 6:30, which was the old usual for working as a laborer in the days that were not so long ago but seem so long ago. I dressed and ate breakfast, loaded the last remnants, hugged my Dad and my Mom, and hit the road. Mom tells me "you know how to get on I-20" and of course I said "yes" but I missed that exit. Very funny. And had to loop back to I-20. Silly me, I was arguing with Penelope Cruise and her personality Daniel (what I named the satellite navigator) and it happened.
But I was off. Odessa's not so pretty from I-20. The drive wasn't bad, some beautiful scenery all the way through. I arrived in Phoenix about 6:30 or so, and got stuck in traffic two miles from my hotel. Once I finished with traffic, turns out the hotel was barely accessible due to construction, so I detoured myself and finally found the entrance. I'm gonna have to say I'm not a big Phoenix fan. Looks like it's growing too fast for itself. There were five or six cranes working on high rises downtown. Lots of trendy lofts, and, joy for me, an outdoor concert that reverberated through the hotel windows. Never mind paper thin walls. I won't stay there again, and, Phoenix isn't too high up on my places to go list.
Still, I managed to sleep OK, and headed off about 8:30. This was a spectacular drive, the mountains are just so lovely, with lots of sun. I made good time and hit no traffic until around West Covina, where it became bumper to bumper. Even when the bottleneck cleared up there was pretty heavy traffic until downtown LA, where Daniel told me to go, even against my own intuition, and of course once ensnared there it wasn't so fun. So far I can say no one on the road here is too polite. Even when it would help traffic, they just won't let you in a lane, no space, so you pretty much have to make the space for yourself if you're forced into one of those "left exit" "right exit" "left exit" "south exit" thingys. Which I was.
But I finally arrived at the house here in Venice. I unloaded Eden and began thinking of how I could get the garage room in order. The fact is it's a bit gloomy, with no storage space. (Yes, I've already been to Target in Culver City to help alleviate this problem.) There's a clothes rack with (now) mostly my stuff, and on the end a few of Vanessa's clothes still hanging around (pardon, I had to pun) so it looks like I cross dress occasionally. I had to buy hangers and organize my clothes from no sleeve to long sleeve, color coded though not separately from sold to stripe to pattern because I don't have enough colors to make that look organized, and I've already run this by David and we're both ok with it.
I did go down to the Venice Pier my first day here, when the sun was shining, and took this picture to send to my sister and the family. Sunset on the Pacific. I ate Thai food, salmon and shrimp with a coconut curry sauce and some jasmine rice. It was very good.
Yeah, so, here I am. I haven't done much, and I'm sure to get in a great deal of trouble if I don't get my ass in gear and work it off soon (not hustling, art related work my ass off stuff). But so far I'll be quite honest and say I'm not extremely impressed. I put a down payment on sunshine and shirtless weather, and so far I'm getting gloom and chill.
I have to give it time, though. I know only about 6 people here, and not many of those I'd count on for anything. So, it's not like I can run around with the crowd here, since there's not one, as the six I know are spread thin. Still, I'll make my niche. But honestly, if it turns out I'm not happy here I'm gone. And right now I'm not thrilled, except when I'm by the ocean which is still so beautiful, but I'm giving it time, time time. It was just a week ago that I headed out, though it seems longer now. Ultimately though there's no reason to pursue a dream if it's making you feel bad. I'm lucky, I have time and no ties (as in wife and kids) so, I can figure out where I need to be. The only thing I have to prove is to myself, and the proof I need is that I can find the somewhere I belong and be happy.
Yeah. (And what do you know, it looks like the sun might come out today, I see patches of blue sky!)
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
The Big Halloween Post, Part 3 (and final); or, The True and Goodly Picture of the Rocky Horror Picture Show
Where did I leave on the Halloween subject? I think I had everything down to Earl and Ricë’s house, her laughing until she couldn’t eat, pretending to be askeered of my ghost cowboy lips (whilst shortly after admonishing all Halloween participants if they were not something ghoulish or day of deadish, and heaven fofend if they were sexy-ish). David with his flight suit and helmet. Keith with his blond Johnny Depp pirateishness. Earl refusing to have any makeup come near his person. Before Night Falls with Javier Bardem, paused on the television, and according to reports not watched that night, possibly to due significant laughter.
Anyhow, Ricë filled David’s flight suit pockets with numerous things not usually found in flight suit pockets: chopsticks, some rubbery lip thing which was just slightly left of icky, a wooden animal and of all things a meat thermometer. Presumably this was to allow all manner of conversations to occur, with a spontaneous eruption whenever David pulled an item out of his…pocket. Get your minds out of the gutter.
We did then assemble, David Keith and I, at the Bar (that’s its name, yessir) along with a gaggle of Universitarians. This is a term I created for Universalist Unitarians, or Unitarian Universalists, precisely because I really cannot remember their exact title, and it’s long anyhow. They had been there a little before us, and many of the ladies were sort of drunkish. We laughed for a bit, and indeed David began producing items out of his pockets, much to the delight of all. And much to the delight of all, the meat thermometer was a big tit…er…hit.
Sorry, I’d never use that term but really it was a great pun. You see, it has been reported that David svengalied the women into placing the meat thermometer between their breast cleavage and declaring themselves “medium well” or “broiled beef” or “set oven,” all phrases gleaned from the thermometer itself. And David definitely could Svengali many, many people, he is that charming, so I don’t deny the possibility. But the fact is these UU women know how to party, and all David had to do was pull out the meat thermometer (yikes, it sounds so very dirty) and they were all over it (it doesn’t get any cleaner).
Having said that I was deemed “tender lamb.” It’s largely because I’m so shy and innocent. :)
So post The Bar we headed to the Yucca theatre in glorious downtown Midland to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. First up was the costume contest. We cheered loudly for the Universitarians, and generally managed to get those we wanted to win in the winners circle. Alas many of the flock seemed to be in the bathroom when Keith went up there, and only David and I were left to cheer and though we were loud, and even joined by the (mostly) cool people below, he did not make it to the final round.
I’d also like to point out that there was a sexy female contest but no sexy male contest. Ahem. So I had to stay seated.
Then the movie started and one of the UU Ladies whose name I’m protecting proceeded to uhhh…have a lot of fun. At some point she said something which just made me laugh in the high, unstoppable laugh which David refers to as my being broken, so he uttered “M____________ broke Gabriel!” It was then that a lady in her prom dress (that’s the story so it’s true to me) looked back and said “could you be quiet, seriously.”
Now, it’s well known that I’m not always the loudest in a crowd, being so shy and all, but that when I begin to unwind I will have fun and there’s no reason to think I should stop. I was taken aback. Apparently this creature in front of me thought she had arrived, despite the props bag, at a nice sit down showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, perhaps followed by a discussion of the postmodern and gender identification implications of said film. Oh, wait, not the latter, because I don’t think she’d understand what the hell postmodern and gender identification meant.
But she somehow did get the impression that I and I assume those around me should shut up and watch Tim Curry run around in a corset and fishnets. Oh wait, she didn’t make it there. You see, despite the fact that most of her entourage was cool and even dressed up, she didn’t have a clue. I also doubt she realized she was sitting behind the party hard Universitarians, who, in a protective move that fills me with glee, started making more noise in her specific direction, and pummeled her with bubbles (even before it was time for the bubbles in the movie).
Her boyfriend, who was well and ghouly clad, took her to the front to do the Time Warp again, where she stood, arms crossed, like a petulant Shirley Temple who got dropped off the Good Ship Lollipop in the middle of Amsterdam’s Red light district. Or at least Odessa’s red light district.
After we had all time warped, what happened? The dear little miss made her entire entourage leave. It was about three tables of people. Now, you know, I have to say, trying not to be horribly sexist, those were some hen pecked men.
(Perhaps not surprisingly, M_________ had asked the guy in makeup and a pink shirt, with fake breasts under it, if he was gay, to which he said no, to which she said “well you look gay,” to which he was a little freaked out, in his buzz cut and red lipstick. Not that she henpecked him, but, she did unsettle him.)
Okay, so, when they left I have to admit some of the energy left with them. But we still had fun. Occasionally I yelled out “Tim Curry is a hot bitch” which managed to shock David. It was fun and un-Midlandy. Let’s face it, prom night girl wouldn’t have made it through much more of the film even if it had been a regular, dignified screening.
So that’s the night, mostly. I got to talk with the UU ladies who are all very nice, we weighed in on our meat thermometer readings, I got to crack David up, we briefly tortured a future Woman of the Junior League, and we even had popcorn, which, as the popcorn Nazi told us, was for eating, not throwing.
(The Popcorn Nazi himself looked like a barber shop quartet reject, or else a street organist whose monkey was even too cool for his owner, so said monkey left for a job in the animal testing sector, hey at least it was more thrilling. I bet he (the Popcorn Nazi) spends all of Summer Mummers thinking “just wait until Rocky Horror comes around, then I’ll get them, slimy popcorn oiled bastards!”)
But, thanks to his officious orders, there was no slimy popcorn oiled bastard-dom. Just the cap, the decorative icing on the frosting as I referred to it earlier, on one of, if not the best, Halloweens ever.
I promise PROMISE there's a little bit more Halloween stuff coming, then I'll empty my brain of its travel contents and I'll muse about being here and the insulated world of my head.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Anyhow...Halloween 2007 was great. Well, we mostly celebrated on the Saturday before, as the kids actually had a Halloween Carnival at their school. Not just a Fall Festival mind you, but a "scary" carnival. Even though it was sort of halfway done, it nonetheless was a step in a positive (positively EVIL mwah-ha-ha) direction for Midland.
I knew the day would be a riot when the kids arrived in their spectacular costumes, all made by my sister this year. The theme was Ghoul School. Madeleine was a cheerleader witch, Bram was a cool kid Werewolf, Paladin was a nerd vampire, and Armanae was a demon bad girl. (Simon was out of town with his Granpa.) Of course, my sister was Ms. Stein, the Frankensteinesque headmistress, replete with her Wal-Mart ironwood ruler.
We loaded up and went to school, and the kids and Chan got lots of compliments on the outfits. Then we went to eat at Texas Roadhouse. Everyone was staring, of course, but not in a fun sort of way (well some) but most seemed like "why the hell are they dressed like that?" Seems odd since most people celebrate Halloween, often that is, on the weekend before if it falls on a non workable day of the week. But I guess that's just Midland.
Now I'm in LA. ;)
Onward and forward...we went to Cheddar's later that night, again in costume, and this time I had a see through spider web shirt on, with a cowboy hat. Seems as though the kids and Chan still got the odd stares, even odder I thought since it was at least NIGHT now on the Saturday before Halloween. Oh well. I spent the night drawing my favorites from the Nightmare Before Christmas on available napkins, with crayons, but the funniest part of the evening came when Bram was taken aback by my see through shirt. Apparently he asked my Mom if I was going to wear that out in public to which she responded he already is. ;). All that fun made it the Best Halloween ever (even if officially before Halloween).
We had a good dinner and then I left to catch up with David and Keith at Earl and Rice's, just to put a little more icing on the perfect Halloween cake. We proceeded to make Rice laugh so much that she couldn't finish her dinner, but she'd rather laugh than eat, as she says, so our job was well done. Keith had some make up and made me into a ghost cowboy, which I would have been earlier but no one had any make up so I couldn't wear it to Cheddar's. Actually I was going to be a vampire cowboy, but no teeth to be found.
After the make up session and much primping by the Pirate (hehe) we went to the Bar and to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Much fun was had, I lost my voice yelling, and oh the things you will hear when I'm not so sleepy eyed from two days of driving! Not only that, I still have the beginning of this adventure, the dream three years in the making, to detail.