Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Los Angeles

A court date gave me a great excuse to head down to my old home, Los Angeles and spend some time with family and friends. I was armed with my camera and also my newly acquired iPhone (can you believe it's my third one?!) and was ready to see the town through my shutter.

My mom and cousins surprised me by coming into the terminal and greeted me with tons of cousin love. First stop, In and Out! Just looking at this picture is making me want one. We then took PCH all the way out to my families house in Camarillo, where I would be staying.

The drive was just beautiful and we had this flock of huge pelicans that followed us almost all the way to Ventura. Evidence of the recent, and not recent, fires was every where. The burned trees reached eerily to the bright blue sky and I so badly wanted to stop and shoot some of them, but the cousins were tired and wanted to go home so I resisted, thinking I would have the opportunity again before I left.

This day was for the family, so I hung out with them the rest of the night. My aunt Carolyn and my mom were really into watching the Olympics, and I hadn't seen any of it yet so we settled in to watch the swimming, and I got hooked! Carolyn and I finally stopped watching around 1:00 am. I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and I was surprised that I even lasted that long, but I couldn't stop watching the darn thing. At one point during the weekend I actually watched a 30 mile marathon. I sat and watched people run. Crazy.

Around 2:30 am that night I was awoken by the house shaking and a loud rumbling. I thought for a second it was an earthquake but then realized it was thunder! I walked downstairs to find the whole family outside, my uncle in his underwear and Carolyn with her camera trying to capture the lightning. It was all around us, swirling in a huge weather pattern that was basically right over the house. I ran to grab my camera and realized right away that this was a tripod moment, and I didn't have mine with me. I still got quite a few shots, but the above one is my favorite. I even like the way the house lights are blurred.

The next day was friend day. I headed out to LA and my first stop was to see Bill, who was working. They are remodeling the hotel and it was really loud, but I still enjoyed a really nice pomegranate martini and the Tunapica, which I had been craving almost as much as In and Out animal style fries.

Then to court. Blah

After getting all my tickets paid, I picked up the 157th funniest man alive, and my good friend, Dane. We headed over to the Cat and Fiddle for happy hour and ended up spending a couple hours just chatting and drinking. He and I met in Seattle and he moved to LA before I did. When I finally made the move down, he welcomed me with open arms to the city and introduced me to a lot of his friends, making it a really enjoyable first year in an unfamiliar place. I've even helped out with a couple of his projects and was second assistant director on one of his productions. Please check out his comedy page on myspace and also if you are down in LA he's opening for Damon Wayans tonight, how cool is that?!

After dropping Dane off I headed out to the Valley to spend some time with my little ninja, Lisa. I was a little overwhelmed being down there and she invited me to rest up at her house and just veg watching the Olympics. She was working on some music placements for Lincoln Heights (on ABC Family) and it was cool seeing her do what she really came to LA for. It also really made me miss my old job and the creativity that it provided me.

I hung out for a couple hours with L then drove over to meet one of the Jens at the Shoe Pavilion before heading over to the restaurant to meet everyone else. She was in true Svejda form and I loved her for it. She was supposed to have spent the day in Venice Beach filming, but I lucked out and she canceled her shoot so we were able to hang without her being all tired. After being flirted with by a married couple at Starbucks, we headed over to Mexicali to meet the other Jen and her man Travis and my friend Dupe. Tequila was flowing like mad and I was pretty hammered. I don't even remember Svejda leaving...oh golly.

Jen invited me to come stay at her house and after a quick stop for a mixer at the local grocery we headed back to her place and I proceeded to consume more alcohol before passing out on her couch, god bless her. I woke up early and left her a quick note written on a paper towel and headed back out to my families house. I had a hike to go on!

Wow, this was a crazy hike. My uncle and cousins go geocaching and they really love going into the mountains to hike, so I asked if we could organize a little adventure for me. It was about noon when we hit the trail and it was about 89 degrees out with humidity, so honestly it felt about 112. I was so hungover that I was shaking and the heat wasn't helping at all. I think the above shot was about as good as I did out there. I tried macroing a cactus and fell into it. I told you it was bad!

My uncle was so mountain man. It was neat to see, actually and I felt a little closer to him because we share the love of the hike. He likes to go up into the hills alone sometimes and I really related to that. I love being alone, and spend a great deal of time just being quiet to the point where sometimes I can be a bit anti-social. It's nice though because I've surrounded myself with people that are the same way so they never complain about me not being around. Uncle George is a lot like that and I could only imagine that with wife and three kids all in the house with not a lot of time to just be alone, that the trail provides a much needed rest and "me" time. 

When I go to see my family most of the time I have my cousin Jolie attached to my hip. She usually never leaves my side and so I don't get to do a lot of things with Blake. He initially didn't want to come out with us, but I'm really glad we dragged him out there because it was really nice spending some time with just him. He's such a smart kid and so much fun to be around. Of course it was not the easiest thing to explain to him why cousin felt like throwing up all over him! "You see Blake, when grown ups drink too much alcohol they tend to feel really bad the next day".

The trail wound around a series of hillsides and some large rock formations so I got in a little rock climbing as well. We were pretty high up and if you look closely at the middle of the above picture you can see the marine layer from the ocean.

On the way back George spotted a huge cave and wanted to go exploring. Reminiscent of a Del and Stacy hike, we created our own trail and forged our way towards the cave, following critter trails. It was cool because most of the time no one wants to go off the trail and explore and George was all for it. After falling a couple times we came to an impasse of a really large drop off so we decided to head back to the trail. We stumbled across these bones and I could kick myself now because I am thinking of all the ways I could have shot this little guy. I was so hot and hungover that I just snapped a picture. Grrr

argh...and now, I present you with fishy island:

My mom was nice enough to drive me to the airport on her way back to Arizona. I know she hates LAX so for her to have not only picked me up, but also have dropped me off was very cool. I hadn't seen her in almost a year and I welcomed a little alone time with her.

My trip to LA was exactly how I thought it was going to be. Family, friends, memories and traffic court, typical. The only thing I was surprised about was that I did not get a parking ticket. I'm positive that the new parking structure at the Santa Monica courthouse was funded entirely by ticketing me.

I honestly thought I would be more sad to leave, but I didn't cry once. When I got to Seattle I was greeted by a very welcoming and friendly face and spent that night (and every night I've been back, for that matter) laughing more than I did the entire time I was away. It strange because while in LA all my friends and family wanted me to move back and when I got back to Seattle most people were telling me it would be ok if I moved back! I wish I was able to have a home in both cities. Each one has something to offer me that the other doesn't. LA gives me creative freedom, music, culture, art, family and friends. Seattle gives me mountains, beautiful hikes, waterfalls, ferry boats, the opportunity to live downtown and not drive my car, close proximity to my best friend and a reconnection to my family here. I'm not ready to leave Seattle yet, and I think that's the biggest thing I took away from this trip.

Besides, LA doesn't have friday nights with the arch :)

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