July 04, 2006


In many ways, L.A. was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be. There was disgusting decadence, of which I joyfully partook in the form of an all-you-can-drink champagne brunch (have you ever been hungover at 3pm before?), and a trip to Diddy Riese, where they’ll make you a sandwich out of a scoop of ice cream and two soft-bake cookies; there were palm trees and heat and lots of ridiculously tanned, attractive people; there was a pretty good comedy scene (I saw the Groundlings, and laughed so hard I spat a little on the person in front of me); and everywhere you went, there was something to do with the movies.

Everybody in L.A. either works in movies or knows someone who works in movies (or they are Ryan Seacrest, which I think is easily the worst option of the three). And there’s also this strange, self-adulatory reverence about the film industry that seems to affect almost the entire city. Sunday afternoon I went to a pre-July 4th cookout, and found a roomful of people raptly watching an HBO documentary that was literally nothing more than movie industry people talking about the movie industry. That was the point. There was no greater issue at stake. It was really just talking about movies for the sake of it, and everybody was fascinated (except me, needless to say— but I kept myself entertained by reading Joss Whedon’s script for the upcoming Wonder Woman, which had been cavalierly left lying on the coffee table). The whole afternoon was completely surreal.

Having said all that, L.A. was also, in many ways, pretty much exactly not what I thought it would be. For instance, I was expecting a smoggy, concrete hellhole where everybody drives everywhere and the landscape was a hideous mass of commercial pap. In fact, although everybody does drive pretty much everywhere, the place was still oddly picturesque and quite pedestrian-friendly, in parts, and really quite nice— I even found myself reneging on my earlier vow that I would never even consider living there (I seem to be doing that a lot, lately).

Also, I was expecting to see some celebrities, but the closest I got was a guy dressed as Hellraiser on the Walk of Fame— and he was on his break so he was just sitting there with his mask next to him, drinking a bottle of mineral water and chatting with Michael Myers from Halloween.

Thus ended my travels, seven thousand miles of flying/driving later. Full and copious pictoral documentation can be found through the following links:

Seattle & Mt St Helens
The Oregon Coast
Redwoods (and more coast)
Wine Country
San Francisco


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