fj: (Default)
Now you live in LA. Now you live in London. Now you work here. Now there. When will any of it feel real?

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fj: (Default)
I can has sofa! And clothes! And the moving brutes who get it up the stairs!

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fj: (Default)
I didn't want to blog because there is so much to say, and now i am ready to say it i am here in a cafe with just my phone to type with.

Short, then. Every minute in LA was a blast. My friends and the things we do are such fun. Gossiping in gyms, moonlight parties in altadena, rescuing happy drunks, watchine trash TV, hanging, beaching at the Geffen's, everything. The Loft is still so beautiful to me leaving it broke nw heart. I love DTLA.

I am completely torn now. And San Fran will not sort me out, but that is not what this city is for, anyway.

My apologies to everyone i did not get around to seeing in LA.
fj: (LA)
I haven't been able to blog because when I come home I am so tried from having been everywhere and seen people. I can barely keep up with just reading before I fall asleep at my desk.

It's like I never left, but condensed into a week. Everything is here and I can't fit it all in but I am having fun trying.

I left behind a lot when I left to London. A lot.
fj: (Default)

Paulina And Her Dogs
"Paulina And Her Dogs", Nokia N73, Los Angeles County, 2008

fj: (Default)

Paulina And Her Hat
"Paulina And Her Hat", Nokia N73, Los Angeles County, 2008

Miss Me?

Jul. 1st, 2008 10:00 am
fj: (travel)
Seems I'll be going to LA July 18th and then the weekend after that to Dore in SF.

It is extravagant since I do not know where my next paycheck will come from and I haven't fully stocked up the savings accounts from my move, but I wanted a holiday with friends and beach, and it turns out that, while the ticket is kind of expensive, accommodation is free.
fj: (LA)
First thought upon queuing the video: I wonder if John has a SAG card by now.

Does anyone want my thoughts on yesterday vs Nokia S60?
fj: (travel)
It happened every time I drove on Sunset Boulevard. Not Hollywood Boulevard, not the squares, because those look in reality so tacky and run down compared to what you see on TV. Not in West Hollywood, because you don't see that Starbucks across from the 24 Hour Fitness much in popular consciousness either. Not just a palm tree in North Hollywood, or anything in the Valley, because I had never, and still haven't, seen Valley Girl. It happened on Sunset, when I tuned on to it from the 101. Every time. At night.

The shape of the tall palm trees and how they related to towering billboards, the chasing neon signs, the architecture I had seen a thousand times over my life from establishing shots, the shape of this wide road, Donna Summer's "Sunset People" starting to play in my head, and my brain goes "Holy shit, you live in Los Angeles". This is an amazing feeling for a middling Euro boy.

It's not going home. It's like stepping into the UFO you have heard about all your life. One of the values that are important to me Helen helped me tease out was that I want a certain level of glamor, of interestingness in where I live and what I do (although we should get in touch again to nail it down better what that means). And living in Los Angeles, yeah, even with its challenges, really had that for me, being from far and having grown up Gen X TV, in a way that Boston never did. Fuck hell yeah, I was there now. Sunset Blvd. Every time. It made me constantly miss the supermarket I should have been looking out for to turn into Poinsettia.

I get it now in London too, in spades. It's not The River. It's not any bridge, or Regent street, or Carnaby or Seven Dials or Soho, although I like going to all those places. For some reason it happens now every Thursday or Friday, after having stepped out of the Heathrow Express train from Heathrow to Paddington Station, having walked off the platform into the station, my back straight, backpack pulling my shoulders back, walking briskly after all the sitting, going down into the tube station to take the Bakerloo line to Lambeth North. I take my wallet, where I have just put my Oyster card and Tesco Clubcard and British Pounds back in from the compartment I keep them in my backpack in when I am in Germany, out of my pocket and without changing my stride, slap that wallet on the round yellow reader so the RFID chip in the Oyster card can be read and the gates can swing open and I can go home. Because home is in London, you see. I live in London now. Holy shit fuck yeah.
fj: (LA)
One of the first people I met in The Loft building was Cidney Hochman. Cidney used to work in The Industry -- ok, for people not from LA, that means movies -- doing something on or about locations during shoots. I forget the exact term. Besides that, Cidney painted, as a hobby, and as an exploration, and to sustain her soul. She took classes, she worked in workshops, she did the whole thing, and one day when work got too much, she chucked work, bought a loft in downtown, and started painting full time.

It was Cidney who I started going to galleries with in Culver City. She wanted to see what was hanging and become part of the circuit, as this was supposed to become her livelihood after all. I have no training nor formal education nor background in art, but hey, I was up for something to do. She taught me about modern art that came from LA -- always with the car paint -- and the interplay between current art and graphic design going out into the open, how abstract artists used to hide in the 60s that their day jobs were commercial graphic design and now you can't get anywhere unless you reference manga or comics or pop in an endless cross pollination. I remember this one dusky evening where she was telling me about this and I wondered about current examples, after we had just stepped out of a gallery into the street, ready to go to the next opening, after having seen walls of large canvasses of flat figures with paint splatter and gore, and she just points up at the local billboard looming over this neighborhood then clad with a poster for 300, which is a large canvas of a figure with paint splatter and gore. She taught me to never say within earshot of anyone "That's interesting..." unless I was being ironic, and mostly that what I always should look for was whether a piece would sustain me. Not shock, not enlighten, those wear off, but nourish and sustain, whatever that meant for me.

And to hate lolita / war / torture / cartoon shock art. LA was full of that shit. The most elaborate opening we went to was art directed from afar by the actual artist, who we found out was a set designer in NYC by day. The gallery walls were all draped in black fabric, with blood red ribbons on top falling from the ceiling against the fabric, falling through holes in the hands of mannequin arm sticking out from the black fabric. That was the best part. The paintings were all Betty Boop Babies showing gartered legs in the fields of Iraq. Something like that. The snacks were excellent.

She didn't crack the circuit while I was there, although she was making inroads. She would ask me to come upstairs to look at whatever she had finished, because she liked my lack of background, and that we had different opinions of what would sustain us, me constantly looking for serenity, she for meaning in chaos. I remember the day I saw one of her first works, all geometry with faint squiggly smudges behind the grid, and I kept looking at it and saying it reminded me of the regularity lofts we were in, but hey, that's almost like writing, a message coming out from behind. Her face lit up. Only after my opinion would we discuss her meanings and intentions, and as I grew more comfortable and experienced I would be able to tell her more about what elements I liked or missed, at one point even daring to go so far that this one piece seemed so flat without her code and her structure and what made her work hers, and she agreed, and months later I saw it again completely reworked and it was one of the best I had ever seen. Her code morphed, her regularity morphed, and one long effort she took all her love and sadness about urban cityscapes, and the losses in her family for generations, and the string of terror that punctuate our lives, both future and past and, mostly so terrifyingly, present, and cracked her own code to make "September Morning Downtown".

Which is now online for viewing, and sadly, is not done justice at all in pixels. You have to see the feet and feet of meticulously placed paint in the white squares fall on you, especially after just having discussed how Willem De Kooning painted teeth, and being a 2nd generation camp survivor. She's now contantly making me think how much or little value there in seeing one work by itself, without the information that comes from seeing works that lead up to it. It was so much fun to see this progression appear in just the 17 months I was there. How would I know how new this use of gradient blue was, or how she worked to make her squares release themselves more and more every time she painted them again, if all I ever saw was that one piece?

And then technology strikes back: the text ad above the mail where she pointed me to the page was, and continues to be every time I open the mail
"Thomas Kinkade Paintings - - Framed Art Collectibles, order and save online!"
fj: (talking)
Not so good day. I am missing LA bad since the Tuesday Night group I was slowly becoming part of did something really cute last weekend that I might have been invited to, and the coming weekend would have my favorite party and two bar nights where I would see my friends who were making it fun for me to go to bars with and even meet new people and carouse, after a decade or so of being bored trying that in other cities because I never had bar friends.

Instead, the not working after a week of working has ceased to be fun, I am tired of how London actually does nickel and dime you for everything when you pay the foreigner-tax. Examples of that are how I can't get a landline without a deposit, I can't get off my mobile PAYG plan for a regular monthly mobile plan that works for me because I am not passing the credit check, so calling 'free' sign-up and information numbers will keep getting billed at my standard mobile rate, I can't get a tax identification number until after April 8th so I will get taxed heavier but I can get refund at the end of the year if no-one screws anything up, which these burocracies cannot be trusted not to do: I have already, at my mobile rate, had to call back my electricity company after they left a concerned voice message that they couldn't get my account right and had to verify everything again. I even gave them the serial number of my meter the first time, yet they asked to verify it as if I hadn't. They had already sent me a Welcome To Your New Account letter.

I really like my flat, I really like my neighborhood, but getting lost today around Bond Station under gray skies to find an Uniqlo store to replace my sweaters because they had a sale on cashmere advertised in all newspapers, and then once I was in one finding out they mean goddamn "cotton cashmere" (89% cotton, 10% cashmere, 1% wool) made me, well, pissed off. This city can be such a rip-off. Meanwhile, my agent is trying to sell me on a 4-day-per week 3-month contract, commuting weekly to Germany. Airport security every week twice a week, living in hotel rooms or some business apartment mid-week, trying to sort out a gym and my food for four days a week without eating restaurant food that will leave me unhappy all the time, hanging out watching TV in the evenings from boredom, for 3 months... I am really not sure I left LA to go do that. The day rate is pretty darn good, though. Maybe I could write one of the three books I have in my head. Who am I kidding, it'll end up with me taking work to the room.

Oh yeah, the sweaters. So one lazy afternoon I am in The Loft (still not selling and the article in the LA Times about how DTLA "has failed" is so not helping), on the fashionable platform futon bed, languishing in the afternoon with the sun coming in, probably waking up after napping, and I am looking at my huge beautiful organized clothes closet of which I left the door open. And I see, wings delicately lit against the shadows, a moth flutter out. Out of my clothes closet. Out of the sweater drawer, to be exact. A moth. So much for cedar blocks. I went in denial, but when I unpacked my sweaters here the damage could not be denied, nor the uncanny accuracy of that damn insect to chew holes always in the belly-button area. One Comme des Garcons, one Montana, and two basic cashmere V-neck sweaters have been thrown out. I am chalking them up as a casualty to the move. But one needs sweaters here. So I bought two anyway, it was a sale.

So, one of the reasons I moved here was to be closer to my family. Well, all of them are converging this weekend. Let's find one of those super-cheap European flights I have been hearing all these years about so I can spend Sunday morning with ten nieces and nephews instead of sleeping in from kissing new hot men in the early hours of Sunday morning in LA. Where do I find these Ryanair Easyjet things anyway?

I need a hair cut.


Feb. 27th, 2008 01:11 am
fj: (Default)
[01:09] [ profile] fj: geezus, 18 months in LA and I felt nothing, 1 month in London and I wake up to the house violently shaking.
[01:09] [ profile] jpeace: :3
[01:10] [ profile] jpeace: god is telling you to farm wheat
[01:10] [ profile] jpeace: in kazaksthan.
[01:10] [ profile] jpeace: ktaahlzhzlt
[01:10] [ profile] jpeace: SLOVENIA
fj: (LA)
Whirlwind weekend of seeing LA friends at private parties, bar nights, at their homes, having beer in thick crowds or having cake at birthday parties on Pico Place, being called by East Coast friends to say goodbye. [ profile] sabin was here to make everything even more fun on my last weekend together with [ profile] jeffla and [ profile] likethecandybar whom I finally saw in their natural environment, and the birthday party today at Pico Place. Tomorrow I have my last workout with my trainer, go to the supermarket to get party food, and pack my two huge new suitcases, decide what to wear for the next two days, and get ready for tomorrow night's goodbye.

Most large things have been arranged: keys to realtor who will sell while I am away, movers have been retained to be let in when the place is sold to pack up everything I do not get rid of Monday night or Tuesday morning. I want to not worry about objects any more, they need to be off my mind while I go to work on shelter and income  in another country.
fj: (LA)
No. No we don't.

I have to say, though, this last quarter of unemployment, even through the hectic DIY in the loft, has been really nice and helped me appreciate Los Angeles even more. When I was working it seemed like every moment I was 5 minutes behind in schedule of where I needed to be, even when I wasn't, just trying to get through everything in the day. This change of pace, even though I still got work done, has been nice.


Dec. 20th, 2007 02:17 pm
fj: (Default)
Anybody any experience with international moving and shipping? I guess my personal items -- pictures, vases, Christmas ornaments, all fragile, and my few books and most of my clothes -- I will want to send to my Dad to store in the basement until I have settled somewhere. I think that's not just a Take It To FedEx job, because some of these things are big paintings and will be bulky when protected and there is no need for speed at all. I would like to do that before I leave, now tentatively the end of January.

Then there's the furniture, of which I will not want to take much. I'd rather sell most of it with the house because really, how likely is it that I will need 12 feet of table in London or Amsterdam? The small tables, the desk, that is all IKEA and West Elm, almost disposable after the sale. But I doubt I would get what I want for the couches and the console table, so those will need to come over on the slow boat too. It would be better if those stayed until The Loft has sold, even if I have left, in case they could become part of the sale.But if they are not, I need a company that my broker can call, will pick it up, put it on a slow boat, and end up somewhere in storage until I decide which country I will live in. You know, for just a set of couches, that could be more money than what I would want for them. Sigh. Who do I call?

As for my tools, cookware, impressive collection of cables and peripherals (among which one will find a PCMCIA to SCSI card for example), linnens, stereo, loudspeakers, TV, TiVo with lifetime service, everything else? I am not attached to any of it and it is not required for staging, so I guess I will just have an open house and hope my friends go through my space like locusts.

Freecycle the rest? I don't know. But it is the shipping that is keeping me up at nights. But the hard disks go with the travelling clothes. Oh yes.
fj: (Default)
What happened last night was that I was [ profile] qnetter's date to the Instinct magazine's holiday party for leading men or whatever. Chris Crocker came by with some friends while we were saying goodbye to an editor, and then when I said I was glad to have seen a celebrity, [ profile] qnetter told me I had been standing next to Ross The Intern when I was at the bar.
fj: (Default)
Stood next to Chris Crocker and Ross The Intern tonight.
fj: (Default)
Anything that involves drilling into the concrete parts of my domicile -- like the 11 foot high ceilings -- counts as a major project, even if it can be finished in 30 minutes. It is a dreadful thirty minutes, balancing with a vacuum-cleaner hose and a heavy drill on the top of a tall ladder, using every core and other muscle I have to push that fucking hammer-drill, pounding against my joints, into the fucking ceiling. Then I need the drill again to turn the anchor into the hole. Of course, hanging up four cabinets with seven glass doors and a hood that requires sawing custom holes into the cabinet counts as a major project too.

Well, I think I have done all the ones I can do myself now but one. It involves taking down the curtains off the tracks so I can re-attach a small part of the track to the ceiling, straightening it out against the other tracks so the curtains will fully open. The curtain guy simply never came back to fix this a year ago, and we stopped calling. Now I have done so much myself I think I can do this too. Of course, again, this track is in the ceiling 11 feet off the ground, and the one curtain I have to take down for it is, what, 9 feet tall and 10 feet wide? Made of heavy cloth and a light-blocking backing? In any case, it's one heavy mofo to handle. But when I do, the big things are done, done, done. It's just a little painting, patching, and getting some shelves cut to fit around the duct in the cabinet properly.

I keep being in situations where I think "You know, this would be a really bad moment for a major earthquake."


Nov. 29th, 2007 07:26 pm
fj: (LA)
By night, the highways are open and free, and I zoom at 80 miles an hour over the 10 from Santa Monica to downtown, a 20 minute ride at those speeds. By day the highways and streets are full, all stoplights are red, a constant message from Los Angeles to you that you are not in control, that this city happens to you if a car is your choice to get around. But not at midnight, when I zoom from West to East, crossing all the streets that connect this highway to the hot spots and icons; La Cienaga, Washington, La Brea, Highland, all going north to the places where our collective cultural memories of highlights and despair are formed. Every time I cross them I think of what I have done there, which is often too much of nothing. But I am not going to the spots North, I am going East, to the cool towers of downtown, the skyscrapers always lit at night, looking down on their forgotten neglected reviving surroundings, looking down on my building with The Loft. And as I slide closer to that place in my Scion, the searchlights of the new developments beckoning into the sky, I start thinking in slogans. "New York is where people go when they have something to prove. Los Angeles is where people go who have something to be proven to them; they were given a coupon by their parents, or their town, or their drama teacher, or their friends, or their delusions, that they are the prettiest, the most talented, the most mesmerizing, and they intend to redeem it." I chastise myself for thinking in platitudes.

Pico Place is a small cul-de-sac in Santa Monica, the city West of LA that is on the beach. Pico Place is lined with wooden cottages built by a drunk builder, inhabited by amazing people, all of them so Santa Monica relaxed, getting together some nights to sing and laugh around a firepit, all of them complaining when they are alone with me, that everyone else drinks or tokes too much. There's [ profile] epilady and [ profile] chestertodd, which is how I arrived there, and met all these people who seem like they should just take walks on the beach in their sweat pants and have jobs filing semi-important data, but who turn out to be high-powered video game designers and fashion stylists and Burning Man-aficionados and members of fraternal societies that throw social events. One Sunday I was sitting in a patio while [ profile] epilady was sketching her homework and [ profile] chestertodd was making art and Helen was going through an astrology book to find her anti-sign as an exercise in her development as a life-coach now that she is leaving fashion styling, laughing as she told me how they had settled on "Frumpy" as [ profile] epilady's anti-nickname, the one for the woman whose lipstick, camisole, and flip-flops match when she takes out the trash at 9 AM complaining about her hang-over. We were looking for "emo-kid" or "demure" or something like that for Helen, while I was working through what to charge for consulting. Helen grabs her room-mate Todd; he turns out to be a Consultant CIO who can help. I never knew. Oddly enough, even amidst all that, Pico Place is one of the few spots in LA County where I do not get the message I am inadequate, something LA loves to tell its inhabitants: life is a velvet rope you are just still on the wrong side of, always.

Night falls and I am getting ready to go home, but there's this party being thrown, a party where the hosts hope the guests will show up extravagantly dressed, a dismal hope in LA where a sweatsuit can count as couture if it has the right label on it. I'd love to go but am not dressed for anything but sitting in a patio for an afternoon, but everybody else on Pico Place just assumes I am going, certain clothes for me are here -- I seem to be the only one who even has a question about it. Of course they are, Helen pulls out a Lucha Libre wrestling mask and a gold top hat made out of some kind of foam and a Chinese black jacket with embroidery and yellow silk trim. I am going, and I have to go, because I have to take care of [ profile] epilady, [ profile] chestertodd tells me, even though [ profile] chestertodd is more qualified to beat anyone up than I am. It's just that  in my height and get-up I just look the part better, and that is half the battle as a guard. And [ profile] epilady of course attracts people to come to her instead of us having to mingle, as she crowns our festive group by wearing a powder-pink long fuzzy skirt with a train, fuschia platform shoes, a wig of terrycloth dreadlocks in pink and white, a pink knit shrug, and a candy-pink corset, not a bustier motherfuckers, but a real corset that makes her breasts heave with every breath and makes her 39" hips, symmetrical to the chest, look unreal against the 22" inch waist. I stand next to her when she poses for photographs, holding her coat, visible in a mask and taller than ever in a hat, in the garden of this party place somewhere in a warehouse district where some men dressed up by wearing a suit, some women wore an evening dress, and everyone took their outfit too seriously. A former Chippendale 15 years ago, now singer and event producer, talks to her as he is intrigued, and I can't flirt or cruise in a mask, I can just be. I realize I am gesturing bigger than usual as we talk to the former assistant of Ms Bette Davis who now works for an astronaut who has walked on the moon. I steel myself to handle standing out so, even as we all get compliments in our group, but then realize I do not have to because none of these people can identify me ever, and I can thus fully not give a crap. No, it is not logical. We do some revelry, I escort [ profile] epilady and friends when they go to the ladies' room, making sure to make way, and after some more hanging and talking we all pile up in cars and go to Pico Place and then I glide home again. Another Santa Monica night ending.

Thanksgiving, the next week, was pretty much just like that. Go to Pico Place, hang with people, and end up at tables in the back yard having food and talking to people I have known for ages and people I have never met. We all just amalgamate there, and eat turkey and lobster, and then pie and ice cream. They sent me for ice cream, so their freezer ended up full. [ profile] chestertodd pulls the box of lobsters out of the fridge, 18 of them upright in cardboard cubicles. They get tapped with a spoon to see which ones still are moving and thus are still alive and good to eat. It reminds me of images of a slave ship with a full cargo from Africa, and I go in the back room to play Katamari. That night I zoom home again, and it is cold and damp in LA, almost foggy. "But because all the best come here to LA, there is always someone better, stronger, thinner, faster, more talented, better voice, and thus this city doesn't care that you came. It is not waiting for you at all." Again with the slogans.

I am spending Tuesday evenings chez [ profile] e_ticket[ profile] fidgetcub's, where a group of media bears come together for food and reality TV. Very Gay Reality TV; Project Runway, and America's Next Top Model. We eat, we snark, we try to get through the shows without everyone talking too much. I love it, these guys are nice, and they have so much going on in their lives. One just came back from a comedy/singing tour he helped make happen, one gets up at 6 in the morning to write, just write, and I find out later he has two Ph.Ds, recently we started a major-network show on the TiVo so one of them could point out how he was an extra in the background, one of them, oh, he just decided he needed to direct this movie he wrote, so he got it financed and made it and is now shoving it through the festival circuit and will get it on DVD soon, two of them have books out and are writers for mainstream websites, and it just goes on and on. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears that has been lived through by the people getting together in that living room every week dwarfs anything that set of stupidly self-invested girls being rejected by Tyra are going through and likely ever will. You can send a tape and wait passively to be picked, or you go out and make your own chances, and simply just not to take it personally when you fall flat on your face. Take a temp job, save the money up, go do it again, and find your friends to keep you grounded in the meantime. Just make it work, but not for someone else, make it work for you.

It's pretty darn interesting to be around that. It really makes me wonder just how much I want the next job to be safe in a cubicle going over designs for ideas that will never be made by people who could not care less what the results actually look like, and how much I want actual responsibility, actually pulling my weight again, actually flying around and listening and making things happen. Every time I visualize my perfect job I am living in 3 major cities for long stints in the year, pulling work from various groups together into coherent strategies for products that make life better and are a joy to use. They cure cancer or feed the poor or something else relevant. And I get to fly business class. First, maybe, even. To my 3 tiny apartments, and my friends everywhere. While I save the world. Gotta make it happen.

Because I guess the thing is that I want to be in LA and leave it. It hasn't been two years yet and I already have a small collection of truly wonderful friends here. Antidotes against the inadequacy LA makes me feel, which LA is good at if you let it. Stuck in traffic, stuck around party worlds you'll never be part of, stuck between houses you will never get to touch, stuck between gods and godesses who will only acknowledge you if they have something to promote, it becomes too easy to forget to take responsibility for how it impacts you -- "makes me feel" my firm hairy ass -- and instead slip into joining the hordes of people trying to have cuter shoes and thinner waists to just not fail too badly on the other side of the rope, instead of developing you, letting everyone be them, and making your own chances. Which doesn't mean I don't want more cute shoes. But, so, the US is going to be a difficult place financially in the next 6 years. The nexus of where my current expertise lies, enabling the mobile pizza-coupon-delivery industry, is in Europe. I don't want to be here. I want to be here.

I paint over another smudge on a wall, hang another gleamingly beautiful kitchen cabinet door. Am I staging for sale or prettyfying to live? Staging or pretty, staging or pretty. My final Disney check came in with all of my holiday time in money, it will easily last me to the New Year. I grab my sabre saw to cut a hole in a cabinet for a vent and hope for better weather to go to the beach again. In Santa Monica. It will take me an hour to get there by day. 20 minutes to come back at night.

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