Category Archives: Los Angeles

poor character

It was the afternoon/evening rush hour. A line of cars waiting at a short signal. This street is always packed during this time. As I walked by, I heard one car honking a very long honk. It’s when you hold your hand down on the horn and not let up. It’s shorthand for extremely angry/agitated.

I wondered who could be so angry (or possibly deaf or dead at the wheel) when there was simply a line of cars and I saw no accidents or anyone hurt anywhere. Where was that honk coming from?

An elderly lady in her silver car.

Complete with handicap tag, she was waiting in line behind a red car with two younger women. She partially opened her door, pulled her cane out, and started banging on her door to get the red car’s attention. She also started yelling obscenities at them. I was amazed that an old lady could be so grumpy, so mean, so ugly. She wasn’t in an accident. I think maybe the red car pulled out in front of her in the line of cars inching toward the intersection.

The women in the red car were distressed. I didn’t want to stand around and watch this ugliness from the old lady. I felt sorry for her because I knew what it was like to get really mad for other people’s driving, especially in Los Angeles.

But that degree of ugly made me think of an episode of “The Mind of a Chef” where a NYC chef said it was hard for her to love people of poor character.

It’s easy to not love people of poor character. Not hard at all.

It does take a miracle to love people of poor character. And we need lots of those on a daily basis.

the fall

This week the weather was summery, with highs in the 80s. It’s already September. On Monday I was thinking how long until the weather changed and then the next day the highs were in the 70s. The weather has changed. The kind of change where in LA you can wear shorts or not. Wear a hoodie in the evening. Perhaps skip the flip-flops for socks and shoes. Et cetera.

For me, I’m wearing the shorts, tanks, and flip-flops as long as I can.

I also did some “fall cleaning” of my phone. I have years of photos and videos and backed them up to my computer and then deleted about half off the phone. I suddenly have many gigabytes to take more photos and videos without worrying about running out of storage or having the phone freeze up when there’s not enough free space. I felt cleaned, pruned, detoxed, indexed.

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Don’t forget that there are families who could still use some help, post-hurricane. Take a look at this post and donate. It will go toward helping them rebuild their lives.

 

triple movie review

In one day I watched three movies on Netflix. Yes, there will be spoilers.

Star Wars: Rogue One

The Queen of Katwe

Philomena

Overall, I liked them even though there were things I didn’t like in each film. What I noticed was that each film has a female lead and the co-star was a non-romantic-interest male actor. Maybe Rogue One was somewhat romantic, but not enough to say it was so. There was a hug but no kiss, thank goodness. It would’ve ruined the movie.

Rogue One was really boring for most of the movie. It’s as if every SW movie must have the same scenes in it, repeating themselves in every film as long as they make a SW film. The best part was actually the last act of the movie (which was very not-SW like), with the principal cast of rebellion fighters. They brought a freshness with their different faces and skills. Even the robot was refreshing with his distinct personality. Yet why did almost everyone have to have a British accent? That seemed to distract me.

I actually liked how each of Jyn’s gang of rebels died in the film. It was heartless how everyone had to die, even Jyn and Cassian, truly tragic. It seemed like a hopeless movie for these characters. Oh, but then they get you in the end with the last shot of the movie with Leia saying “Hope,” as she holds the plans for the Death Star in her hands. In that sense it portrayed the brutality of war. However, this is SW, so it can’t ever get that tragic.

After seeing Rogue One, it did make me want to see the original SW trilogy again. How is it that those three old movies still seem fresh while every SW movie made afterwards seems derivative?

The Queen of Katwe is based on a true story of an African slum kid who becomes a chess champion. It’s a really sweet feel-good movie. There were many scenes where I just wanted to cry, maybe because I miss Africa and want to go back someday. The ironic thing is that the screenplay was written by a white American male telling the story of a Ugandan girl. The scenes sometime get confusing and bumpy with the time jumps in the beginning, which make it hard to get the viewer settled in. After that it gets better and you can just enjoy watching a story of a girl who shifts her place of belonging from where she was born to where she was born to be. That really is the best message of the movie.

Philomena is also based on a true story of an Irish-Catholic woman who searches for her son 50 years after the nuns who took care of her during her teenage pregnancy forced her to give him up for adoption. The news reporter who helps her is her non-romantic co-star and a pretty good foil for the Irishwoman, played by Judi Dench. It’s a British film, so it’s a lot more subtle in everything, from action to dialogue to climax and ending. Sometimes it really frustrates me, but I’m sure every British person is deep down frustrated by having to be so reserved.

The best part is the character contrasts of the Irish mom and the British reporter as Catholic vs Atheist and some of the discussion about religion is good but like most of the movie, it doesn’t get too deep into any topic. It mostly touches on the main themes so you can think about it without having to preach to you. Religion, God, adoption, family, what’s important, what you believe in, forgiveness, etc.

This post is now too long and so I’ll wrap up saying I ate some ramen today at a place that’s highly rated and popular, but after I tried it I had no idea why it was considered good. Overrated and overpriced. I only went there because the place I originally wanted to go to had shut down and I didn’t know it until I saw the empty restaurant and a couple legal notices on the door. A sad day for ramen. But tomorrow ramen will rise again.

Price: $16.02
Was: $28.99
Price: $7.99

random June thoughts

In LA there’s a “season” called June gloom, which is basically cloudy days with cool temperatures. For locals the lack of constant sun can turn someone into a depressed person, as if they are severely deficient in Vitamin D and moping about as if the world is ending.

Personally, I love the June gloom. The temps are comfortable enough to leave windows open and the clouds keep the sun from frying my skin. The sun in SoCal is rather intense.

Yet, like the rest of this year, it’s been abnormal weather, for good (with the extra rain) and maybe bad (a sunny, hot June). Perhaps this year will simply not be normal.

This makes me want to go to a cloudy and cool place. Maybe Portland? It’s on my list of places to go.

I also randomly want to eat a lot of wheat products like ramen noodles, croissants, and bread. I also want to go to Paris but I think it’s actually hot there too.

But honestly, I am in the best place to be right now. I love LA.

I watched the rest of the first season of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime. When the show originally premiered I watched the first couple episodes and thought it was terrible, which is terrible to say about these three brilliant car freaks. I stopped watching.

Then, after I saw a news story of one of the hosts getting into a serious but non life-threatening accident, I decided to watch another episode. Turns out the show gets better towards the end. It’s still got parts I really don’t care for or are completely stupid, but overall I’m a fan again.

buy and sell

Today I walked into Buffalo Exchange with bag of clothes, hoping to get something for things I haven’t worn in a long time. There was a line, with mostly skater guys, which surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t since it’s LA and skaters + fashion is a real thing. I wondered if anything from my closet would be considered trendy enough for the store.

Turns out only a few items were, mostly plaid and striped shirts, and I now had store credit. I browsed and found two pairs of designer jeans that would be $100-200 each brand new that I got with store credit and only paid 12 bucks for. It seemed like a good trade off. Jeans I would never buy with their huge price tag I now own and am becoming more trendy than ever. Who am I?

hole-y denim

A trend in denim jeans is having holes in them. Depending on your age, you may immediately think of the 80s-90s where holes in jeans were cool, just like big hair.

I never got into the trend of holes in jeans unless it was made naturally through normal wear and tear. Plus they cost more to have someone to cut the holes in fashionably appropriate places. So that’s a hard pass for me.

Until…I went to a clothing swap.

I was looking for some new-to-me jeans and wasn’t having much luck on finding anything that seemed remotely like my style. Towards the end of the swap I was willing to look again at the denim piles and saw these 1969 Gap jeans in really good condition. As I turned the pair around, I saw the holes and thought it was a so-close-but-no-cigar pair. But, as I said, it was toward the end of the swap and I needed to find new jeans. So I just took them home without trying them on.

I put them on and found they fit perfectly. The holes were kind of annoying and I figured I would wear them casually, in the level of formality above joggers and below jeans with no ripped anything.

But they were so comfortable and the right shade of blue that I ended up wearing them often. What made the jeans truly mine is when I got compliments on the jeans, for the holes. Suddenly, I was cool. And I’ll take that anytime. No need to reject a compliment on being fashionable.

So now I am trendy with ripped jeans. I never would have bought them in a store, and I probably never will. In that sense I am still me and that will never change.

Joggers and ripped jeans. Who am I becoming?

bread

Last time I talked about nutritional yeast; today will be about bread.

Mmmmmmmm…bread. I like bread. I love bread. All kinds, like plain ol’ white bread, wheat bread, hot dog bread, hamburger bread, artisan bread, baguettes, ciabatta, sourdough, flatbread, cornbread. And all the other varieties you like, I probably like too.

But I can’t eat these delicious breads because of the wheat factor. Darnit. Oh, but you can eat cornbread, can’t you? It’s made from corn, not wheat.

Not totally true. Even cornbread has more wheat flour than cornmeal in it. It’s actually a combo of wheat and corn. There’s the rub!

So I look at bread from afar and try to remember the texture and taste of just-toasted bread. The crunchy crust, the melting of butter on warm toast, the smell of baked goodness, the chewy middle.

The latest season of Netflix’s Chef’s Table has an episode for a local chef known for founding La Brea Bakery. The bread there is very good, even though it’s all industrialized now. But the episode is a lovely story about food and a person’s love for making something extraordinary out of something ordinary.

If I had the work ethic of a chef, I might have been a chef, but the reality is that I like to eat food more than making food. And when it comes to bread, I have to look at it and not eat it. Sad, but not sad.

The great thing about today is the variety of wheat alternatives available. If this was 10 years ago and I knew I couldn’t handle wheat, then it would have been sad. But then, maybe I would have become a chef, having to make my own wheat alternatives? I might have been a lot healthier back then, too. Now we’ll never know, and it really doesn’t matter.

athleisure

Wearing sweatpants in public is a crime in my book of fashion law unless you are actually exercising. And usually you don’t exercise in malls if you are under 60 years old (although there’s always exceptions).

However, things all changed a couple years ago when I was at H&M and saw these baggy elastic-band pants on sale. I needed lounge clothes (i.e. clothes you don’t wear in public) and they were cheap and looked comfy. I tried them on and I was instantly hooked by the comfort and the appeal of not being overly flashy, which meant I could discreetly be fashionable at home. Two benefits for the price of one!

Later on I learned that they were not pants at all, but they were called “joggers.” But I wasn’t jogging in them. Before I knew what they were I had gone on some errands in the baggy comfy pants because the pants were sold in the section of clothes to be worn in public, not the loungewear section. Then I discovered that they were “joggers” and were basically modified sweatpants to be more fashionable than functional. I was duped into wearing sweatpants in public and didn’t even know it.

Then I found out that joggers were part of a larger fashion trend called “athleisure” and I was already a part of it. I did once wear my workout clothes to Costco and felt very self-conscious about it all day. I felt terribly guilty of a fashion crime and was waiting to get a ticket in violation of wearing inappropriate clothing: wrong clothes in the wrong place.

Then I realized the world had gone athleisure and nobody was complaining except me to myself. Then I decided to embrace it, not because the context and clothing matched, but because joggers are so darn comfortable.

Now I have a few pairs of joggers with interesting pockets and cuffs thanks to H&M and feel very fashionable. However, I do have a pair of straight-up sweatpants that I will never wear outside the house or outside of an exercise environment.

Except for today, when I wore my sweatpants in the rainstorm of all the past seven years of rainstorms in LA. Give me a ticket.

deluge

Previously: snow. Today: rain.

The California drought is over. Everyone thought El Nino would take care of that last year, but it ended up being just like another dry winter.

Then, this year is the year of the deluge of rain. So much rain it reminded me of Paris, where the winter rains are so freaking dreary, cold, and miserable. It’s better to have cold snowy weather instead of cold rainy weather.

But so much rain has come, with days of very heavy rain, that I think every house in the state has shifted a little with the drenched earth affecting foundations. And roof leaks. I had rainwater leaking from my AC vent onto my bed. It was great to wake up at 3am to a wet bed and floor. Luckily it wasn’t over my head but at the foot of the bed and the bed wasn’t drenched yet. Soon afterwards I¬†bought a waterproof mattress cover because even if the handyman fixed the leak, it wasn’t guaranteed.

And then it rained hard again. And I was okay. How nice to be dry, warm, and snug in bed on a cold rainy day!

Then the leak came back. The rain was too much. At least I was ready and the mattress was dry. The bed frame was also dry because I wrapped it in plastic wrap, so no danger of warping wood or rusting metal.

Then the leak was fixed again, but there hasn’t been heavy rain since the second leak, only showers that seem like wimpy showers compared to the leak-inducing downpours of this year.

I thought the rain would finally let up and any rain now would be the quiet, peaceful showers of drought years past. But then I saw the forecast and it’s going to rain again. It might be the heavy stuff again.

Again, I’ll be ready with plastic-wrapped bed, large bucket, and plastic sheeting.

Just FYI, I do some light editing of my posts, but I’m not going to try that hard. So sorry if tenses are mixed or there’s repeat words that indicate I need a thesaurus, or I don’t use my commas right, or whatever.

wrapping

Previously: necks. Today: scarves

The best thing about winter is wearing scarves. I don’t recall wearing or owning a scarf until I lived on the east coast, where the wind is bitterly cold and the snowfall can get inside your coat unless all entry points between coat and skin are closed off with overlapping warm clothing.

It was so cold I had to wear a scarf. It wasn’t for fashion. I think I had a plain green fleece scarf from the Gap that was very functional but lacked style. I didn’t care; when you are freezing cold after walking in the snow all you care about is if something works well or not. Fleece worked really well.

I even had to buy earmuffs, but I refused to wear the old-school type of the headphones style. Instead, I had seen other people wearing these earmuffs that looked more techie, like a fleece for your ears. So I admit that when it came to ears, I wanted to be fashionable.

At least they were fleece, so I matched, sort of.

And I had to wear leather gloves. Any glove that’s just fabric is useless in snowy weather.

But perhaps most importantly, I had to wear wool socks. Because if your feet are cold, you are miserable and if your feet are frozen, you can’t walk. If you can’t walk, you are stuck in the snow. And if you’re stuck, you will get frostbite. And then you can lose your toes or your feet. Just because you didn’t want to pay a little extra for woolly socks. And they must be SmartWool socks.

But now I live in the land of mild climate, and I wear a scarf for fashion first, function second. Ear warmers are not necessary, fabric gloves are actually¬†practical, and I’m happy with not having to drive on black ice, scraping a frozen windshield, or digging my car out of a pile of snow.