Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Speedy Holiday Wishes

Photo by my wife Laura

I had planned something longer and more involved for this update but honestly (and I mean this in the best way possible) I had better things to do. It's our first Christmas in our own house and it's also the first Christmas where we haven't been running around to see either my or my wife's family. This is truly when we get to start setting the holiday traditions that we'll be keeping for years down the road, so I was not about to stop in the middle of this holiday revelry and say "give me an hour to make suggestions about what to give a tranny for Christmas." Maybe next year.

Anyways I want to be sure to wish anybody and everybody who actually reads this thing a Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Hanukkah and a Joyful Solstice. And if you don't celebrate any of those... well at least try to have yourself a Happy New Year. I'll be downing a whole bottle of champagne and with a little luck the rest of that night will be a blur of debauchery. See you next year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home Ownership and First Time in LA

Welcome to our home!

Well it's FINALLY over, Laura and I are now happily in debt for the next 30 years so that we can be home owners. Actually it's been official for a few weeks now, but we haven't had the chance to move into the house yet because there's renovation work that needs to be finished before we can live in it. However that should be finished enough for us to move in next weekend. Needless to say we're extremely excited. The process has been nothing short of a nightmare but it finally did have the desired outcome.

In other news, a friend's wedding in California afforded me my very first trip to Los Angeles. I've been to California a number of times in my life, much of my family lives up in the northern part of the state. However I'd never had occassion to venture down into southern California before now. I honestly wasn't sure that I was going to like it. Four years in New York kind of burned me out on cities in general for the time being and I had never really had much desire to go to LA before. Sure I'm a movie nut and there's that aspect to it but the city never really held any appeal to me as a visitor or tourist.

Well I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised. LA turned out to be a much more worthwhile place to visit than I would have thought. Since we only had a couple of days in LA itself before heading further south for the wedding we did the most generic tourist things. We drove on Mullholand Dr and saw houses that probably have minimum down payments that are more than our entire new house cost. We walked along Hollywood Blvd and Laura got to walk the same beat as Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" (from Fred Astaire to Ella Fitzgerald for those who don't know.) We went to Grauman's Chinese Theater and I found out I have the same size hands as Humphry Bogart (though I'm sure I look much better in a dress.) We went to Venice Beach and a few other places, having a pretty good time overall.

A few general thoughts about LA. I know I could never live there because I quickly found myself having love/hate issues with many aspects of the city. For example I think it is a city where you really look just about any way you want and get away with it. When we went to lunch at a restaurant we were seated by a guy with multiple facial piercings, hair that was bleach blond on one side and black on the other and had a green contact in one eye and a blue contact in the other. He was trying to hard obviously but the fact that he could get away with that is awesome. At the same time I think probably the fastest way to get an inferiority complex about how you look would be to move to LA. I thought it was bad in New York but the emphasis on body image over there is insane. It's all encompassing and yet somehow intangible, it's just a vibe the whole place has. The fact that anybody who wasn't shopping seemed to be jogging might have been part of it.

"California: bordering always on the Pacific and sometimes on the ridiculous." - George Carlin

Another odd mixed aspect to LA is it's general attitude towards the seedier sides of life. Take Hollywood Blvd, only a few blocks down from the major tourist traps (and right near most of the parking) are porn and fetish clothing stores. No secrets, right there for all to see. Sure New York had them too but they were more hidden away, kept to the less reputable streets. LA by contrast wears it's sleaze on it's arm, which I kind of admire. However this open acceptance of what some consider "daker" sides of humanity has a flip side. Namely I saw more obvious drug addicts in two days in LA than I saw in four years living in New York. In a way it felt worse that the problem was right there for all to see rather than being hidden away, especially since Los Angelinos are clearly so good at ignoring this particular problem.

All that said it was a fun place to visit and I do hope to get another chance to go there and maybe spend a little more time. Actually California in general is a place I'd like to spend more time in, and I probably would if flying wasn't both expensive and a big pain in the ass. Oh well, that's it for now. I'm not sure when I'll get another update since I'll be occupied with moving things and then the holidays, but we'll see.