Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Entertain Two Teenagers in Los Angeles Without Going Crazy or Going Broke

One of the best things for us about hosting out-of-town guests is getting to go into tourist-mode in our own city. Los Angeles is huge (duh) and broken up in to a million distinct neighborhoods, and it can be easy, during our day-to-day, to stay within our manageable 6 mile radius of Silverlake-Downtown-Echo Park-Highland Park-Los Feliz, and ignore the glittering Westside or the sometimes underrated Valley, or the vast Southside, or even (shudder) Hollywood...

So whenever visitors are in town (note: please visit!) we take the opportunity to break out of our familiar routine and go forth into distant neighborhoods. There we try new restaurants and bars, take more impressive hikes, partake in whatever cultural activity is on offer, all in an effort to entertain and pamper our guests while giving them a taste of the diversity of this city. Also, often, we try and convince them to move here. (Note: move here!) And as a bonus, we pretty much always have an awesome time discovering new things to do.

Usually a large part of our plan consists of simply eating and drinking at interesting and delicious places, because really, what more do you ever need? But last week we were charged with hosting Jared's 15-year-old sister and her best friend for a few days, and for a moment we panicked. What do you even DO with children that age? They can't go out for cocktails, or even most concerts, they're too old for "little kid" activities like the zoo, and their culinary interests are firmly in the spaghetti-with-red-sauce/bean-burrito-no-salsa/cheese-pizza-no-toppings camp. To make matters worse, we don't have a TV, and our apartment is quite small, and we had no idea whether they would be into outdoorsy activities like hiking, or cultural activities like museums or concert halls (lol, as if)

(Diorama at the Natural History Museum, not a live elephant.)

Well I'm happy to report that aside from a few flight-related frustrations, the visit turned out to be a smashing success. And in case you are interested, here is exactly how you entertain two young girls in Los Angeles for five full days:

First you stock your kitchen full of Trader Joe's Frozen Pizzas, dry pasta, and multiple jars of spaghetti sauce. Trust me. Then you simply go to: Third Street Promenade for window shopping and watching street performers; Umami Burger for a coke and a burger with all the goodies scraped off (for them), and one with all its regular deliciousness intact for you; Venice Beach for ice cream, strolling, watching skateboarders, and getting henna tattoos; the Stairs of Silverlake to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood SignAmoeba Records for music browsing; a hike to Griffith Observatory on a beautiful day with an enthusiastic dog (making sure you run into Odd Future shooting a video (score!)) Mexcali for authentic tacos; a long stroll through Chinatown, Olvera Street, and Little Tokyo to look at tchotchkes; Pinkberry for pinkberry; the Americana for shopping and a PG-13 movie (Rock of Ages); Beverly Hills for a long drive past the fancy houses and a slow trek down Rodeo DriveSanta Monica Beach for chillin' and getting a rosy sunburn next to the screams of the roller coaster; In-N-Out in Eagle Rock for scarfing animal-styleHollywood for an obligatory walk-through including Grauman's Chinese TheaterLACMA for culture and pictures of Urban LightLeela Thai for the girls' first Thai food; the Academy 5 in Pasadena for two-dollar matinee of 21 Jump Street; the dog park for dogs; a few more walks; annnnnd you're done!

There now, wasn't that a breeze?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Future Has Addled My Brain

I'm no luddite with regards to writing. I love technology. I think computers are a gift from the gods and there is no part of me that can pretend we lost something important with the functional extinction of quills and little pots of ink, or lovely smooth fountain pens, or adorable pastel typewriters and their design-y tins of ribbon. And while I feel like it's really great and sweet when people want to scrawl hand-written missives to each other and walk to the post office to deliver them and what have you, I know that if I were forced to do such a thing A) basically no one would ever hear from me because I am extremely lazy, and B) no one would be able to read my letters anyway because I have the most atrocious handwriting in the history of ever. Seriously. I cannot even read it myself.

So, since I tend to do my only good thinking in the dead of night and then forget it all by morning if it is not immediately recorded, I know that the best way to prevent my thoughts from disappearing into the ether is by keeping my (old, weirdly heavy) laptop on the floor next to the bed. Then, cozy as I may be as I am drifting off to dreamland, if I'm hit with an idea, or a sentence, or a scene that must be noted, I'll force myself to switch on the lamp, reach down and lug the laptop up to my bed, pry it open, wait for it to wake up, pull up the giant email to myself called "notes," and jot the thought down as quickly as I possibly can in my sleepy state. Then I'll put it back, roll over, and try to sleep until the next thought comes. 

It's a pretty stupid system I know, and the fact that on a good night I have to do it about five separate times makes it even sillier, but I swear it works for me better than actually writing on scraps of paper (my previous system) ever did.

But I will admit this:

Last night, long after midnight, I had some apparently inspired, book-perfecting THOUGHT. So I switched on the lamp, reached down, lugged the thing up to my bed, pried it open, waited for it to wake up... and was met with the endless beach ball spiral of death. I panicked. Frantically I tried force quit things and restart things and press all the keys on the keyboard while keeping the THOUGHT in my flighty mind, but it was no use. The device was frozen.

So I gave up, closed the laptop, put it back on the floor, switched off the lamp, lost the thought forever, and not once did it occur to me to reach over to my bedside table to grab the pen and the little notebook that live there and THAT, my friends, is pretty messed up.

P.S. Awesome wallpaper image by Wall & Deco

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Harry!

Happy 71st birthday to my dad, who was pretty much the coolest, as evidenced by this video:

I miss you!

          (Also, I remember watching this as a kid and having NO IDEA how they did it. 
           Actually I still don't fully understand. Magic!)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Isn't it, You Know, Ironic?

Things that well-meaning people say when you are suffering from anxiety that somehow only make your anxiety that much worse:
"What you need is a nice long walk."

"Maybe you should just get out and socialize a little"

"Have you tried yoga?"

"Are you meditating?" 
"You probably shouldn't be drinking." 
"What about Passion Flower extract?"

"Maybe you should just focus on all the positive things in your life."

"Deep breathing"

"Deeeeeeeep breaths"

"Kava Kava?"

"I don't see why you can't just get off the couch, find a doctor, make an appointment and be done with it."

Things that probably help when you are suffering from anxiety:

         A nice long walk

         Socializing a little



         Probably not drinking

         Passion Flower extract

         Focusing on all the positive things in your life

         Deep breathing

         Kava Kava?

         Just getting off the couch, finding a doctor, making an appointment and being done with it.
         (ha, ha, ha.)

But we all know that what will really help is this:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Kind of Igloo

Sure your color-coded bookshelves are neat, but can they do this?

That's right, it's a self-supporting igloo made out of books. Colombian artist Miler Lagos made it and it just about kills me dead. Can you imagine how comforting it must smell in there? I would pile cushions all over the bottom of it and then just curl up reading ALL DAY LONG.


Spotted on Colossal

Monday, June 11, 2012

Love is a Battlefield AKA The Greatest Story Ever Told

Remember when we were young and we had that big fight with our parents and they were all “if you leave this house now etc” and so we waved goodbye to our kid brother through the window and took a bus from our small town to The City? Remember the men in the city? Their muscles when they bumped into us? Our father was a butcher or something, maybe a grocer? He wore an apron. Our mother worried. We wrote home sometimes, not to them, but to Billy. We made up stories about The City and had him promise to stay in school. Billy was a good kid. We didn't want him to end up like us. We wrapped ourselves in rags and dishtowels and found work as dime-a-dance girls in a place with low lights and a seedy boss who stared at us over the glint of his gold front tooth. We were tired all the time. We were barely making it. We draped over each other in heaps. The boss was taking deep cuts. He was taking liberties. We were sick of dancing his way. We took a stand...

Heartache to heartache, amirite?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Score a Refund From Your Terrible Internet Service Provider in 12 Emotionally Complicated Steps

Based on true events!

1) Decide after months of mind-numbingly slow Internet that it may be worth it to upgrade to the slightly faster version.
2) Call your Internet Service Provider to learn that the slightly faster version is only $6 more a month! Make a bunch of salty snacks in anticipation of getting to stream season three of Breaking Bad without random jumps and pauses in the connection.
3) Three weeks later, when your bill comes and it is $38 higher than expected, get disproportionally angry and call your Terrible Internet Service Provider in a huff.
4) Two and a half hours and three transfers into your call, verify your account number for the fourth time and confirm your “favorite singer” to a tired-sounding woman in Indianapolis. When she pulls up your overcharged account she will exclaim, “Well this can’t be right!” Agree. She will make keyboard clicking sounds and tell you to expect a refund on your next billing cycle. Believe her if you like. 
5) When the next bill comes, repeat step four, this time, with a fast-talking man in Philadelphia. Tersely explain your problem. Verify your account number. He will pull up your last two bills and exclaim, “This can’t be right!” in the same incredulous tone as the woman in Indianapolis. Agree. Attempt to extort an immediate solution from him with what you think of as your signature blend of “firm charm.” Fail. Demand to speak to “a higher up.” Fail. Warily believe him when he tells you to really expect a refund on your next billing cycle.
6) During the next three still-$38-higher-than-they-should-be cycles, up your calling regimen to twice a month, tag-teaming with your husband in a version of good cop/bad cop in which he plays the “Personable Southerner” and you play the “Aggrieved Harpy.” Verify your goddamn account number. Use your "mean" voice. Use your “unacceptable” voice. Threaten to cancel, knowing full well that they’re the only high-speed Internet provider in your pocket neighborhood. Know that they know this too. Use your pleading voice. Begin to see your failure to obtain this refund as a reflection of your general insignificance in the world.
7) Have a revelation. Search out your Terrible Internet Service Provider’s Twitter handle.
8) Tweet at them.
9) Receive an immediate reply.
10) Six minutes later, answer your phone to a serene, beautiful sounding woman named “Kate.” She’ll ask you how your day has been in a voice that will make you feel like the two of you have spent the last five months together in a tropical hideaway. Is that a waterfall in the background? Kate already has your account number. Kate just needs to confirm the name of your favorite singer. She will compliment you on your music taste. Then she will refund your five months of built-up overcharges with the customer service equivalent of a toss of her luscious brown hair. She will ask if there is anything more she can do to help and she will give you her personal line at the company headquarters. She will wish you a great rest of your day.
11) Ten minutes later, after you find the refund sitting placidly in your account, come up with a really snarky tweet about the power of public complaining,
12) But find that you just can’t bring yourself to do that to Kate.

P.S. I originally wrote this for The Billfold, a website which I adore, and which you should probably read everyday if you care at all about your life. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pretty Much The Coolest Stop Motion Post-it Note Music Video You'll Ever See

Justin Webb and friends made this. It took four months and 25,000 post-it notes. It is amazing.

Check out his awesome band The Family Bones, and tell 'em I sent you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...