Friday, March 17, 2006


Everybody's very happy
'Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day

I love L.A. (We love it!)
I love L.A. (We love it!)

- Randy Newman, "I Love L.A."

So Kris and I are finally back at work after a nine-day span that saw us visit both Los Angeles AND New York City. We were in L.A. for six days of fun, and we were in Manhattan Wednesday and yesterday for both business and pleasure (I call it "pleasness," but the boys down in marketing didn't think that was so hot).

It was my first time in SoCal, and I'm still not sure how to encapsulate it. It may take years to be able to absorb and describe the essence of any place, let alone a city as huge, decentralized and diverse as Los Angeles. Asking me to hold a singular concept of L.A. in my mind right now would be akin to asking me to contemplate the sound of one hand clapping. It's a zen koan, only with crippling traffic and plentiful souvenir T-shirt stores.

That said, I do have some pertinent thoughts/observations.

- I got the sense that most Los Angelinos just don't get the Northeast, nor why anybody would want to live there. One older woman made idle conversation with us in a hotel elevator and was truly shocked when we told her we were from Philadelphia. "Why would anyone want to live in Philadelphia?" she asked. No joke. She looked at us as if we belonged to some subspecies of insane ape.

- Why can't we have the fast food places they have out there? Carl's Jr. was pretty good, and In-N-Out Burger was sublime. We never did get to try Jack in the Box or El Pollo Loco, despite seeing about 1000 locations of each every day we were out there (nope, no exaggeration there). But I can only assume they're scrumtrulescent.

- We stayed with my uncle in Irvine the first couple days we were out there, and I think I liked the O.C. better than L.A. proper. Also, when I mentioned that to Kris, she threatened to hit me if I ever voiced the phrase "the O.C." again.

Orange County seemed to be a little more relaxed, a little nicer; definitely more suburban, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The sleepy coastal communities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach were charming, and Irvine was nice.

- My uncle engaged in a cultural practice that the East Coast would do well to take up; I don't know if it's at all prevalent in Southern California, or if it's something only a select few support - he called it "wine time," known to the rest of us as "5 p.m." The concept of "wine time" is pretty simple - at five, the workers throw down their blackberrys, wipe their weary arms across their sweaty foreheads and stare dramatically into the fading sun. Then they walk from their home offices to their kitchens and/or media rooms to pour themselves glasses of wine. Kris and I both thought there was merit in this particular custom.

So in our five days in L.A., we ended up hitting Disneyland (where Kris let me win at Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters; see Figure 1.01 below); the Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace; a Stockton Thunder-Long Beach Ice Dogs ECHL hockey game at the beautiful Long Beach Arena (courtesy of David Perez y Perez, who helped build the Thunder's arena); the Getty Center; Griffith Park (we wanted to see the observatory, but it was closed for renovation); Six Flags Magic Mountain; the L.A. Zoo; and finally, the Santa Monica pier. We didn't do too shabby. Hopefully I'll have pictures up soon.

New York, as always, was cool. I was there for some business yesterday, which allowed Kris and I to see many of my friends from high school and college on Wednesday. We had lunch with Adam Rosenbloom, after which Kris and I checked into our hotel and stumbled upon the National Geographic Channel's in-depth show on "Hogzilla." We followed that up with dinner - we met Brad Moore, Jordan Burg, Clifton Jackness and Clifton's new ladyfriend at Lederhosen in the West Village (where one could order liters of German beer); then Brad, Jordan and I met a host of ex-DP folks (including Spector) for Jon Margulies' birthday party at Pete's across town.

It was a great, fun, exhausting vacation, and now Kris and I are back in our respective workplaces for a grueling one-day week. It's been a little hard today getting back into the groove, but at least there's Penn basketball tonight - the #15 Quakers dutifully play the role of "Opponent" against second-seeded Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament... in Dallas. Which is in Texas.

Good luck, guys. Let's go Quakers!

Figure 1.01: Kris letting me win. Also, you'll notice we're in a complete vacuum without protective spacesuits of any kind, yet still carrying out our duty in dispatching the forces of the evil emperor Zurg. Now that's professionalism!


Jeff Porten said...

The proper reply to the woman in the elevator: "Why would anyone want to spend 1/3rd of their waking hours in their cars driving somewhere?" My main memory of LA was a "short" drive to dinner took nearly an hour.

There used to be a Jack-in-the-Box on Montgomery Avenue in the Philly burbs. Near the Royal Bank. This was around 1977, so your mileage may vary. Good french fries.

Ryan said...

Actually, Kris and I came up with a little staircase wit after talking to the woman; we agreed we should have politely joked about how it was warmer in Philly the entire time we were in L.A.

Which was true.

That woulda learned her.

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