Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reality TV

"It's the primary America we're in... There's this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught up in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what's immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what's right around them is unimportant. And that's why they're lonely. You see it in their faces. First the little flicker of seraching and then when they look at you, you're just a kind of object. You don't count. You're not what they're looking for. You're not on TV." from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cultural Commentary from the Entertainment Capitol of the World

'Slow Ride, Take It Easy'- Los Angeles, CA

As I still reel from creeping culture shock over these past three weeks since returning to my native Southern California, I'm amazed at how easy it is to revel in first world culture.
Southern California is on FIRE - literally! Currently there are about twenty-something fires out of control throughout the southland. I flip on the tube and the news flash says 'Breaking News - Lake Piru'. That's where I went to elementary school with Dave McCutcheon - Piru elementary. They are saying there's no current danger to the condor preserve behind the lake where they used to shoot the Dukes of Hazards and that Magic Mountain to the east is safe, reporting from News Chopper 2. I could go on and on about the southland fires but the media is doing such a good job there's really no need. I can say that over the course of the entire day the sky was blanketed in this smokey orange-filtered haze that changed the color temperature of the light dramatically. This is a once every-other-year type of natural disaster with the hot easterly Santa Ana winds, something that we SoCal natives are used to.

What's up with 'Cavemen' - the new comedy on ABC? I mean the Geico commercials were funny and the premiere episode a few weeks ago was... mildly entertaining, even borderline clever at times - "Eagle! And I just got this yesterday!!" says Andy, in reference to his Nintendo Wii golf game - but WTF?! I guess it has something to do with discrimination... the cavemen just want to be seen as regular people? But they're not regular people, they're cavemen! They just want to be treated like regular people. "Hope you like the smell of RUBBER!" was the best line so far in tonight's episode.

Even though the fires have tragically forced hundreds of thousands of residents and movie stars from their homes, it still makes for good TV entertainment news. Here in LA its hard to tell what's news anymore. "See John Travolta fly over the fires..."

Other current TV shows I've caught up with since I've been home: Dancing with the Stars, David Letterman (rerun with Jude Law hopped up on blow, Sara Silverman and John Fogerty), Carpoolers (on now), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report (the one where he announced that he was thinking of announcing whether or not he will run for the Presidency), CSI-Miami, a bit of South Park and... a whole bunch more that I don't have the time or energy to write about. [There was more to this brilliant social commentary but I came back to reformat this post and it went bye bye - oh well]

Did I mention that LA was on fire?!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lost in La La Land

And the one line that keeps running through my head of late as I plot my next move is:

"Anyone can get a job. It takes a real man to make it without working," from Mickey Rourke in Barfly, screenplay by Charles Bukowski and cinematography by Robby Muller (Down By Law, Wings of Desire and one of my all time favorites, Dead Man).

Time to catch some rays of sun outside... it's Friday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Whoa... Back in the First World

Here at the top of humanity, life in San Francisco, the upper crust of all of human kind - the super first world - the best city in the US other than New York, which is something other than a city entirely.

Thanks to those few faithful readers out there who have been crying out for more digital scribbles on this here blog (via email) and with way too much going on in such a short amount of time I had to stop and get something up so I'll go list style as my creative Latin writing mojo is on the wane here in the only America that most North Americans know, the America of the US of A!
  • Went to traffic court to replace my lost/stolen drivers license and the judge waived the 'failure to appear' charges against my outstanding seat belt ticket. Thanks Bro!
  • Now I can't find my passport... after all of this travelling. I came here with no ID and was carrying my passport in my back pocket, just like the Lonely Planet passport campaign recommended and it must have slipped out somewhere and is... G O N E.
  • However, I received a notarized copy of my birth certificate so that I can now apply for a British passport when back in Los Angeles here in the next day or two. Hello London and the European Community!
  • After deciding that I'm going to dedicate every waking moment here on out to photography and chasing the light, I got pulled into a J O B interview here in the Bay Area this. "So... what have you got to loose?" asked the CEO this afternoon. "Basically six months to find out if its going to pay off. Another start up... hmmm.
  • Everything here is like, really expensive.
  • I am super lucky to have some of the coolest people as my closest friends - thanks.
  • I practised Tai Chi for the first time in my life (thanks Gary)... actually, that's the first martial art I've ever tried other than getting kicked in the thigh by the Fletch Monster
  • No injuries yet to speak of... (fingers crossed). And if you knew some of my friends, you'd be surprised... like the Fletch Monster, or Cal Santos when on getting it on with the Hornitos
  • Religion continues to be at the forefront of my brain after finishing Sam Harris' book 'End of Faith' and as I come back to the land of the free and the Christians and silly presidential politics and 'will Hillary win' and feel compelled to make a documentary about faith...
  • Speaking of film making and faith, check out these super silly short Los Toros Films staring yours truly.
  • Umm...
  • Oh yeah...
  • I've eaten way too many chocolate chip cookies, watched too much TV, spent way too much dinero, drank too much tequila but am happy and thankful for now.
  • Oh yeah, check this out - the new Cannonball Run!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nature Air - Carbon Neutral

And they actually call themselves the world's first (only?) carbon netural airline. Try figuring out what that means! It's actually pretty great (*), especially for all of you that are socially, environemtally and politically conscious. Is there anyone who isn't these days? Gosh!

These pictures were taking on one of the clearest days I'd seen in weeks, flying out of Puerto Jimenez down on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica back to San Jose. I LOVE flying!!

(*) and somewhat complicated to the point where I don't quite even understand it. basically, there's a specific tax on all... actually, i'm not going to have time to explain it now. they pay an additional tax on all of the fuel they use to cancel out the damage they are causing to the environment. more on this later... maybe.

Out on the Weekend

Here are a few more pics from the whirlwind Costa Rica trip. What I really want to say is thank you to so many very kind people that I met along my travels - Don Juan and all the friendly folk at Rancho Margot, Pedro up in Liberia who was my driver, guide and friend, the gringo couple in Mal Pais that gave me a lift from the ferry in Punta Arenas, the other gringo couple that gave me a life back from Montezuma, Amos Bien at Rara Avis for that great hiking tour through the rain forest jungle trail in the rain and mud with rubber hiking boots, and thanks to Nicole Newman at Rough Guides for these cool opportunities. The list could go on and on but I especially wanna thank Caro Goodfellow of who made this trip doable as opposed to impossible. Thanks Caro!