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One more entry for the year: 12.29.06

I really thought about just shutting down this little site. Honestly, it seems a bit silly to update so infrequently and without any of the bells and whistles I keep envisioning for my photographic visual treats. But, boredom at work has indeed driven back into the comforting (and forgiving) arms of ye olde blogge. And boy, it's nice to be back (for now).

Earlier this week, I was in L.A. And by L.A., I mean West Hollywood. And by West Hollywood, I mean OH MY GOSH, is that STEVE SANDERS? Yes, I am still flush and loopy from my very first EVER celebrity sighting. No matter that I walked right past Ian Ziering at the mall (c’mon he was in gym shorts and looks old) and had to be redirected to his 90210'd glory by my friend. It was my first c-list celb sighting and I will continue to gloat.

The remainder of celebrity culture was not so generous. I was turned away from Teddy's, Area, and Hyde, and in response can affirm that I never really wanted to go in the first place. Turned away! Really, the nerve! That’s alright. I have other things to do in Hollywood.

Just as I enjoy fresh seafood at the shore, I like to see movies when I’m in Hollywood. The fact that they were negotiated and made just down the street makes it a little bit more fun. Also, particularly in the smaller theaters, audiences stay put in their seats for the entire running of the credits. It’s cute. One movie that I should not have bothered seeing though is The Good Shepherd. (hehe, when we were in line for the flick my friend, E. engaged in one of my favorite leetle word games when he suggested we kill two birds with one stone and see The Good German Shepherd…get it?)

ANYway, this movie was totally stupid and boring, and I’m not just saying that because I couldn’t really follow the long, tangled plotline that spans 30 years and multiple Cold War spy shenanigans, not to mention LSD. Couple that with Matt Damon’s icy (read: blank, perhaps comatose) stare and flat delivery, the disconcerting specter of Angie Jolie wafting in and out of things, and the introduction of their movie son—a boy who gets his acting skills from his daddy and certainly has his mommie’s lips—and it’s a complete flop.

Perhaps it stems from the righteous indignation I feel on the part of Jenn Anniston, but I have grown to loathe Angelina. She inhabits some bizarre plane of reality, one where the laws of physics have been suspended and allow for her to easily resemble a bowling ball balanced on a pipe cleaner. Her head is huge, people, huge, I tell you. Shudder.

Ah, but what would our drab little world be without those shining stars? WeHo would just be any other cute, urban hood and The Ivy an overpriced lunch joint. In addition to cultivating the meta-hobby of stalking the paparazzi—that’s right; you wait to see where the paparazzi are lurking and then lurk around THEM—my time in the City of Angels also allowed me many opportunities to muse on a phenomenon that has not hit my little slumbering burg: valet parking.

Sure, when you go to the shwanky restaurant or club, I think it’s fine to indulge in this luxury. Particularly when you’re in the city and parking is limited. But what about when the restaurant is located RIGHT NEXT to a parking lot—it’s own parking lot, actually—and all you have to do is simply drive a few feet around the side of the restaurant to park your car? Hm. That’s a tough one. You might as well just pay someone else to drive your car around to the OTHER side of the restaurant and park your car for you. Or how about this? You are at the mall, and you know that the 10 minutes you will spend driving around the parking garage looking for parking will drastically reduce your allotted shopping time. Why stress? Valet! At the mall, folks.

It is no exaggeration after all, people in L.A. loooove their cars. The whole city is geared to them. Those wide streets, the killer hills, just the sheer SPREAD of the place—where would you be without your car? In fact, L.A. has so oriented itself to the car, it’s where cars come to be oriented. One night, E. and I were whipping around town in his own European automotive toy and got behind a car with Michigan plates. So what? The funny thing was, the whole car was covered strategically in what looked like black masking tape. Most notably, the little manufacturer’s icon was all covered up. “Gee,” I’d remarked, “Usually that’s the point of the car you drive here,” and E. told me that it was a car that hadn’t even gone into production yet. The manufacturer—most likely Nissan in this case—had it out in L.A. for it’s very first taste and test of the road.

Luckily, Los Angeles has the beach. The beach communities, from Santa Monica, on down the line through Venice, Huntington, Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo, are a nice respite from the speedway ways of the city. The streets finally get narrow, you feel invited to actually walk, and then, of course, at the end of the block is the ocean. And not your usual urban swath of beach trash and polluted surf (a’ la Coney Island?)…L.A.’s beaches tend to be actually picturesque and pleasant.

LalaLand. You gotta love it, right?

Because if you don’t love it, then you’re either indifferent or you hate it. And how can you justify that? Yes, fine. NYC is the urban paradigm. I accept that, never would I challenge it on behalf of another US city. But L.A.—West Hollywood in particular—has its good points. I love the saturation of the town with the “business”…looking over at the coffee shop to see someone poring over their head shots or editing a script; sometimes the sense of longing and hope for fame is palpable—like when you chat with the salesgirl and she says she came out from Western Maryland to act. And the beauty; I’ve never done so many double takes in the grocery store…is that…? oh, no, just someone who looks like her; Even if you’re not a star, that shine rubs off on some in Hollywood. Maybe it’s just the wealth. But, so what? The traffic passing is like a parade of show cars, Ferraris waxed to a blinding shine, European convertibles cruising in their true habitat (that sun, what smog?). Look up at the hills and they are stacked with striking homes, each a modernist gem, they jut and angle or curve and undulate, dangled above the sprawl; from them you can look out and see the ocean and Catalina Island, the spiked industrial profile of Long Beach just down the coast. And above the hills, the sky. Deep blue, cloudless, it sets the whole scene perfectly.

reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...

the black apple... the girl who... sarah brown... thunderpie... evany... jenny b harris... posie... claude le monde... artsy... fartsy... jeff... random person in texas... another rachel... smitten kitchen... more of me... still more of me... even more of me...and yet still more of me...more of me but not for free...

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