Monday, October 29, 2007

Sports in L.A.

As I write this at 2:30 p.m., it's less than 3 hours until the start of Monday Night Football - tonight, when I head to a neighborhood bar, I'll be able to catch my Packers play. It is strange getting use to the NFL kickoff times out here. Yesterday morning at 10:00, while eating breakfast, I was watching the Giants/Dolphins game - and the late games were over by about 4-4:15. So Sunday evenings could be productive - though I guess they haven't really been so far - but the point is: they could be...

On another note, I don't have any TV stations yet (gotta love Time Warner, incompetence at its finest -- at this rate though, I may just skip cable all together) which means I listen to a lot of sports radio out here. And out here there are really just two sports: 1) USC Football 2) the Kobe watch. I guess since L.A. doesn't have a pro team, USC kind of falls into that spot, but it's absolutely nuts! They've got more pre-game and post-game coverage for USC games than Milwaukee/Green Bay has for Packer games. They have coaches shows, call-in shows, strategy shows - you'd hardly know a school like UCLA has a team, and I do believe the Bruins are actually ahead of the favored sons in the conference standings.

As for the Kobe watch, it's a daily soap opera of "will he go?" "will he stay?" with everybody from celebrities to former athletes to talking heads putting in their two-cents. I think he'll stay, and once again be a dominant force. But, one thing is certain, if the Lakers do trade Kobe, and do not get another absolute superstar in return, there will be an angry Laker fan mob roaming the streets of Beverly Hills looking for team owner, Jerry Buss.

Go Pack Go!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Befuddled Internal Compass

Living in L.A. means erasing 30 years of hardwiring in my brain that says "If I am moving away from the large body of water (Lake Michigan), I am heading West, and if I am going towards said body of water, I am going East." Even if you're four years shy of your Geography degree, you know that the big body of water in these parts (namely one Pacific Ocean) lies on the West coast of California. So, now when I head towards the water, I'm going West, which may seem trivial, but I find myself having to really think about it when I'm going somewhere. Lucky the sun still rises and sets the same way ;)

Furthering navigation complications is the fact that unlike Chicago (and most cities for that matter), there is no real grid system. In Chicago, if you tell someone you live at 4000 North and 2400 West, they can know exactly where you are, how long it would take them to get there, etc. However, while there might be some semblance of order at various points in the city, out near me it just gets insane.

You may be heading straight east at 2000 North and a mile later the sign lets you know that -- even though you went at a straight eastward heading -- you are somehow now at 2400 North, or as we'd say in Chicago, you are now 4 blocks north of where you began. Confused yet? Now, imagine driving that way all the time. Of course, the hills and canyons have a lot to do with the winding streets and such (which gives some streets N + S numbers some of the time and E + W numbers at other points). These unique bits of traveling in L.A. just make it difficult to know where you're going when just given a numbered street address. I've been told you just need to memorize where things (streets!) are and what their numbers are at those points. It may not seem like a big deal, but for someone who prides himself on his ability to get around, this gets a bit frustrating. Anyway, I'm glad I have my trusty compass in a bubble affixed to my dashboard. (and yes, all you technology savvy folk, I could jump into the 21st century and get a GPS device, but that would be too easy.)

Oh, and now I believe I've made it so anyone can post Comments and that you don't need to create an account and sign in? At least I tried to do that - still learning the mysterious ways of the blog...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cost of Living & the Fires

Coming out here, I assumed things would be more expensive. Actually though, most things - movies, groceries, gas - are priced quite similarly to Chicago. In what should be a surprise to no one, I have yet to really hit the bar and club scene, so I have no working knowledge of those costs... However, there have been a couple pricey differences that I've taken note of.

1) Rent. Now, granted my place is larger and nicer than my Lincoln Square studio, I was paying absurdly low rent for that place, AND I wanted parking off the street here, but when I first came out here to look, I couldn't find a studio for less than $900-$1000 - and those were the ones in not-so-desirable areas, that had walls that were made of wafer board or that sported a courtyard swimming pool straight out of The Karate Kid. It's bad when I think I'm probably paying the same to rent a studio apartment as my sister is paying for her mortgage on her huge and beautiful condo. I hear rumors that for those sensible folk who work regular jobs, wages are supposed to be higher to at least somewhat compensate for the higher rent. However, I'm not quite looking for a regular job just yet, as they tend to frown upon leaving during the day for auditions, etc. That being the case, I think I will soon find out if waiters are also paid more to compensate...

2) Car Insurance. I thought, "Hey, I come from Chicago, a big city where there is snow and ice, slippery travel, terrible drivers and a lot of traffic, my insurance should stay about the same." And I thought wrong. In fact, my Geico insurance premiums just about doubled. Ouch. But, while the insurance is higher and there is more traffic, drivers in general are more courteous, which is good or else no doubt they would make us all buy road rage insurance, too.

The Fires
The fires out here are crazy and have affected many, though thankfully this area is fine. I appreciate those of you who have e-mailed and called. I guess earthquakes and fires are California's answer to tornadoes and blizzards. Seeing what nature can do (with or without man's help, as I see they are looking into arson as the initial cause of the fires) in this case with the winds spreading the fire like a ferocious blowtorch, is once again very humbling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting Settled & Celebrity Spotting

As many of you know, I moved out to the land of sun and movies earlier this month. I am slowly getting settled in my studio apartment which happens to be the remodeled former servants' quarters in a large, brick pre-WWII home at the foot of the hills in Los Feliz. Los Feliz, my neighborhood, is in northeast Los Angeles and just east of Hollywood. The owner of my place is a nice lady, a retired USC professor, and I've met my neighbors - the estate is actually divided into 4 separate 'apartments', so there are a few neighbors on the property - and a cat named Mae Rose who often wanders into my place to get her belly rubbed.

My first quasi-celebrity sighting: Last night, Gina and I went to a screening of "Lars and the Real Girl" at the Vista - a giant old-school style theater in the neighborhood with throbbing bass whose inside looks like a Pharoah's tomb - and I look over and Chris Parnell of SNL Lazy Sunday and Anchorman fame is sitting a few seats down from us. He applauded loudly before the film when they played the well-worn concession stand/popcorn/fizzy soda circa 1980's short trailer - funny stuff, that Mr. Parnell.

At dinner the other night, my friend Levin told me that I will see people that I recognize and try to place where I know them from - home? college? Chicago? - only to eventually realize I saw them on TV or in a movie I just saw. Should be interesting and amusing as I wonder if that guy that just walked by was in my fifth grade class or if I just saw him on "Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?"

Now, I need to get to work. I'm enrolled in a 5 day acting intensive next week, but after that if anybody has any leads on work out here, please let me know! ;)

Anyway, I hope to keep this blog up to date, though since I still have yet to get consistent internet access at my abode, updates may be spotty for awhile. Oh, and as soon as I do get better access, I will post some pics. Thanks for reading!