Friday, June 30, 2006

Waiting, waiting...

Did you know that Gene Autry was the only person to be honoured on the Walk of Fame in all it's categories? Now you do.


I'm sitting in the Maple Leaf Lounge at LAX. I volunteered to bump my flight till today, so they upgraded me to "executive class" and I'm taking full advantage of the perks.

Well, not full advantage. I don't drink beer at 8:00am. I am drinking green tea. Trying to recharge my computer. I'm sitting in a comfy chair by the vast picture windows overlooking the runways with the palm trees and the hills in the distance. It's a beautiful clear day.

Got some writing done already this morning. Not much further than my last report, but I'm at 45 230 words.

I wish I hadn't availed myself of the mediocre "continental breakfast" at the hotel, 'cause the stuff here looks better. I'm just not hungry. And I'm jonesing for coffee, but I don't want to be all dehydrated on the plane. So it goes.

The last weekend in L.A. we visited Santa Barbara, where b/f treated me to a concert - Fiona Apple at the Santa Barbara Bowl. What can I say, she's amazing. Damien Rice should still be practising his craft in smoky dive bars. He's got potential, and he's cute, (ok, and the Irish accent doesn't hurt either), but he's no Rufus Wainwright. David Garza is worth another listen - he played sort of electro-latino ballads.

We also walked around Santa Barbara, hung out at the beach, and checked out the old Presidio - which was essentially a Spanish colonial fort designed to protect settlers and the Fransiscan missions. We also walked around the Santa Barbara Mission - known as the Queen of Missions. It was the 10th mission set up in California in the 1700s. As I learned in the gift shop, Santa Barbara is the patron saint of contractors, builders, and construction workers, mainly 'cause she re-designed the tower she was locked up in.

The Native Americans of the area (whom the Spanish were converting) were the Chumash.

My last few days in L.A. were mainly packing and bumming around the apartment, but I did head to Hollywood and Highland to buy some last minute tacky souvenirs, and eat Baja Fresh - essentially, fast food we don't have in T.O.

And I went with A. the Housemate to see The Break Up. I didn't read the reviews beforehand. I really enjoyed it. I did laugh, and I also found it poignant and sweet. I understand some of the bad reviews - I can see how someone might compare it to a sitcom highlight reel, but despite the flaws, I think it's a good movie. If you're not going to see it in theatres, it's still well-worth a rent.

Et, voila. That's my last missive from L.A.
I still have plenty of photos to share, but they'll be posted from T.O.
Happy Canada Day (tomorrow) to everyone. Anyone heading to the Islands?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Going, going...

Y'know when you type and type and then you accidentally shut down your browser before saving your new blog post?

So rather than type all that stuff all over again, I will post some pics and go to sleep. Maybe I'll fill it all in later.

This is from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

After trying several times to post more pics, I am giving up and going to sleep. Either blogger's slow or the wireless connection's slow or I'm slow.

So one pic is all there is to see here. I'll be here tomorrow. Goodnight, and try the polenta.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Comments Fix Up

Thanks to everyone who tried to post a comment - hopefully you'll now be able to see it on the blog. I guess I had turned on the "moderate comments" option on Blogger when I just wanted the word verification. I didn't realize I had to approve each comment individually. Sorry about that!

Thanks for all the encouragement and visits.

My sister mentioned in one of her comments. Check it out, it made me giggle.

I'm now at just over 40 000 words. Hooray! (No, I'm not writing 4000 words a day. But at least I know I could...?)

B/f & I went to Manhattan Beach tonight to visit the ocean. I liked it, but I wouldn't mind seeing it again in the daytime. Oceans are so lonely at night, aren't they? There were people - families - night-fishing off the pier. I heard one guy say the fish he'd caught was a small shark. (It was quite small.)

There are so many beach communities here still to check out.

More photos tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Silver, Art, Tea

Today: Silver

Walked along Melrose, from Harper almost to La Brea - checking out the little boutiques. East of Fairfax the cheaper shmatte shops pop up, as well as the vinyl collector shops, the skater stores, and the little eateries. Went into the Paris-based Metal Pointu's, where they carry beautiful pewter based jewellery, plated with silver or bronze. It's a very distinctive sculptural line, and the bracelets I tried on had a nice heft to them. They also carried some delicate pieces by the French line Clio Blue - including whimsical plastic bangles inlaid with sterling silver.

Yesterday: Art

Went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art yesterday (LACMA).
Saw the David Hockney exhibit. I really like his static realistic portraits from the late '70s/early '80s, but I'm not such a fan of his newer stuff. One of my favourites from the exhibition was his earlier "A Rake's Progress" - I'd link to it, but I can't find a decent example. Probably 'cause it's still under copyright.

I also saw most of the modern glass exhibit, "Material Matters". There's a discussion with the co-curator on their site.

There are currently five Klimt paintings on display - this was the first time I'd ever seen them "live". The unlimited reproductions do little justice to the originals. Especially the paintings of Adele Bloch-Bauer. The colour - the translucence - of her skin in the originals is stunning. And her expression is captivating. So beautiful and so strikingly different from the modern California ideal.

The same evening, my b/f alerted me to the fact that Ron Lauder had just purchased it for 135 million dollars. I can't fathom that kind of disposable income, but I can understand wanting the painting.

I ate at one of the museum cafes, "Pentimento", where they were advertising an afternoon tea. I was too late for the tea (which seemed worth returning for), but I had a delicious eggplant sandwich instead. They served surprisingly good coffee too.

Day Before Yesterday: Tea

Previously, I had tea with a friend at The Tudor House - a tea room in Santa Monica. It was like a little bit of England on the west coast. Besides a lovely tea, they also offer a little store full of British edibles (or should I say curiosities?): salad cream, pickle spread, yorkshire puddings (frozen packs of 12), awesome Cadbury chocolates I've never seen, and best of all, Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisps!


And of course, Saturday was our party!

Margaritas, yummy food (marcona almonds, anyone?), and super friends! And of course, everyong BTOB (brought their own beer), so now we have enough left over to have another party.

More soon.
I have worked on my novel since the last post, but not enough to impress you with.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Glamour Glitter and Flashbulbs

So, I suppose that being in L.A. might conjure impressions of partying at trendy hotspots, but the truth of the matter is I'm waiting for the plumber to show up and fix the kitchen faucet and waste-disposal thingy.

It's really exciting.

Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be writing.

That's why I'm going to go make cornbread.

(running away before y'all can glare at my flagrant avoidance tactics...)

Monday, June 12, 2006


B/f bought How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker (based on his sister's recommendation). I started with the 'sense of smell book', and then onto the 'recovery from brain injury book', and now onto the 'how the mind works book'. The brain is just so fascinating.

Also reading Story-Wallah - an anthology of South Asian writers, edited by Shyam Selvadurai. So far I've only read one story, but I read half of it in the store and it convinced me to buy the book, so I already recommend it.

That's all the news that's fit to print for now...

Lazy Sunday

Palm trees are growin' on me. Not literally.

There are more vanity plates here than I've seen anywhere else. I've seen ones like "BUSYMOM" and "INDABIZ", but this was different:

Last few days have been much fun and no writing.
Tomorrow, I gotta get back on the writing wagon.

I am not going to this Writers' Conference in Santa Barbara, but their links to resources page is cool.

I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday, which was fun. Went to a friend's birthday dinner at a rockin' sushi joint.

Was invited to a lovely barbeque earlier tonight at a couple's house in Eagle Rock. I can eat vegetarian a lot of the time, but I don't think I could ever fully give up steak. (Yes, it was kosher steak.) Yum!

Other things I haven't blogged about yet:
The boutiquey shopping area of Larchmont.
Today was the Pride Parade in "WeHo" - or West Hollywood. We actually missed it - not on purpose, more out of just lazing about on a Sunday. Besides, Toronto's Pride is supposed to be the best, isn't it?

And here is a photo of the water lily pond/architecture at the The Skirball Cultural Centre. B/f & I either call it "The Furball" or "The Screwball" -but it's a cool place.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Feelin' Groovy

Well, yes, it's a quarter to three in the morning, but I feel much better. The thought of having to write almost 4000 words a day was unsettling me, so I figured I'd give it a good try right away to see what it would feel like.

This evening's effort, combined with this afternoon's brings the grand total to 4587 words written today.

So hooray, it's possible!

Now I'm going to sleep!

If you're reading this at three in the morning, you should too.

The title of this post reminds me - anyone listened to the new Paul Simon record yet? Any opinions?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lost Parrot

I took this picture a while ago, but I don't think I posted it before. (Did I?)

There seem to be many dogs in L.A. and many bird stores.


I need a new book to read. Any suggestions? I was thinking of buying Larry McMurtry's biography of Crazy Horse, but I could be persuaded otherwise.

On a road trip with my family, I visited the site in South Dakota where a statue of Crazy Horse is being carved into a mountainside. I've been interested in his life ever since. The progress of that statue is fascinating too. The actual carving, the info building, and the proposed site for a university and museum are much more impressive in person than as a (unfortunately tacky) website, but worth checking out.


Wrote slightly over 1500 words today, but that's after a few days of not writing. However, to actually reach my goal of finishing by end of June now, I'll have to write almost 4000 words a day. On that note...

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Tonight is the beginning of Shavuot.

Shavuot celebrates the day that G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people. It's also a harvest festival, signaling the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. It's traditional to stay up all night (what's known as a tikkun) studying Torah, Talmud, and other writings. Then at sunrise, you do a really early morning service.

There's also a tradition to eat dairy, possibly stemming from the notion that Torah will be to our hearts as milk and honey are to our tongues. So, cheese blintzes, cheesecake, ice cream? Bring it on!

There's some more info here from Judaism 101. And I've also referenced Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

Gotta run! Chag Sameach (happy holiday) to all observing!

(And feel free to correct me if I've gotten my information wrong.)