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I Want My LA Back
My LA story, Posts

It’s 2017 in LA but something’s not quite right

It’s 2017 in LA but something’s not quite right. It’s been a while since I’ve written.  And I have to confess to you straight up that I’ve been a little obsessed. 

Yes, I’ve been a little obsessed, but not with the things I should be obsessing about in LA.  For starters it’s award season: my favourite time of the year. Who’s wearing what, what Celebrities are in town and just who you might bump into going about your normal everyday business.  It’s great, too, driving around as huge Billboards as far as the eye can see are advertising TV Shows and the latest movies “For Your Consideration”.  There are “screeners” sent to everyone in SAGs or the Academy or the various other memberships around town; and the mad rush to see all the movies in time for the major award shows.  Yes, this is the time LA is alive and thriving on its Entertainment roots doing what it does its superficial best.  And I love it. Unashamedly so.

But something’s not quite right.

Friends in town

To top it off we had friends from Australia in town last weekend and you always know it’s going to be a beauty when you do.  What’s not to love? You’ve got like-minded people ready to embrace your town. We had an Awards night after-party to go to and a ticket to the highly coveted “G’day USA” (formerly known as G’day LA) Gala. Sweet: Life is Good.  This is why “It Started in LA”.

Yet something’s not quite right; there’s something hanging over us.  Something worth obsessing about.

LA weather

Then there’s the weather.  You must know LA is blessed with shoot-perfect weather (that’s shooting entertainment style not America’s blazing guns style).  Yeah, a typical LA winter starts at around 13C to 16C with the sun beating down then peaks somewhere between 18C and 23C before it cools down again at the end of the day.  This is just in time to come home, put the fire on and open a bottle of red wine.  It’s heaven.  You even manage 25C to 28C days—on the weekends if you’re lucky enough—and just might be able to crank the spa on.

But this winter has been freakishly cold, starting out at 1C last week and only peaking at about 10C—if you’re lucky.  Despite the sun being out the wind was bitterly—New York—cold.

That rain though

And wet.  LA loves to talk about the rain.  And, let me tell you, there’s been some rain. Not only has it been constant but it was heavy.  It was Sydney heavy.  We were all in a state of shock.  Of course we all know we need the rain so no one was game to whinge and bitch and moan about it but in the end, at our LA selfish best, we were saying, “enough already!”.  LA doesn’t do rain.

And, with the rain has come the mudslides.  It’s been dry here for many years and our dry, baron land got a bit of a shock.  With many of our communities built around the canyons—it couldn’t cope with all the rain sending muddy wet dirt skidding down the hills taking with it walls, fences and in some cases actual houses.

So you see there’s been quite a lot to talk about.  Quite a lot to distract “us” Los Angelinos.  Enough happening around town to ensure we are firmly locked away in our own bubble.  Relishing our bubble crying out how lucky we are to do what we do living where we do.  What a time to be alive.

But something’s not quite right.

How did you get here? Which way did you come?

And of course with the weather comes the traditional LA talk of how bad the traffic is and how LA doesn’t know how to drive in the rain (it’s true: it’s fact).  With one of the busiest links between the flats & the Valley, Laurel Canyon, blocked because of one of these landslides that’s a whole lot of “which route did you take?” talk to start every conversation.  LA Perfection right there.

SuperBowl

Not to be outdone, it’s SuperBowl time.  We’ve got Lady Gaga doing the half-time entertainment and we’re gearing up for the ads—not only at half-time but during the whole telecast. Mr H’s company is responsible for the special effects of at least three-quarters of the ads so not only are we excited about the ads themselves but thrilled that we’re a part of it.

And in a SuperBowl trifecta each year we go to a friend’s Superbowl party which is always so much fun I often miss the ads.  (Don’t actually ask me who’s playing, or who has played; but I can tell you who’s been the half-time entertainment.  Yes, there’s a lot to look forward to.

In LA it’s always a great start to the year.  A lot to obsess about.

But something’s not quite right…

So what’s going on that with the stars aligned (pardon the pun) and all of our ducks lined up that’s interfering with what should only be a bloody good time?

You might already have guessed.  It’s actually taken over the world and because it’s so early on it’s hard to know how long this will last.  Facebook & Twitter are filled with opinion posts, and if people aren’t sharing news stories or rants they’re ranting about how they’re done with (or about to abandon) Facebook because of the number of political posts.  And let me tell you some of them are so bloody good it’s really hard NOT to share them.

Yep, there’s that word.  There’s your clue: Political.

Politics

That my friends is my obsession. This anti-news, anti binge-CNN-watching, Celeb-loving, LA-loving, superficial-loving Blogger can’t get enough of the news.  My friends, I can’t escape to my LA bubble because everyone keeps asking me what life is like with our new President.  And the world is reminding me everywhere how our new Pres is affecting me.  My. Everyday. Life.

If you’re a regular you’ll know one of my last posts was a very upbeat post about staying in the US under Trump leadership. It’s true that once I got over the hangover and utter shock of Trump being our President elect (and subsequently our actual President) I thought that campaign rhetoric might give way to the confines of the job.  You know? There was a lot of talk in my three years here about how little power the President of the United States actually has.  So slowly as she goes the Wall wouldn’t be built, our President would have to defend his first mass shooting and his popularity would be largely diminished it’s just a four-year countdown until America realises its mistakes and life goes on as usual.

Reality TV binge fest

But this is Hollywood and day after day we’re in the middle of a Reality TV binge fest of the real kind. If we miss an episode—or a day—we miss a big piece of news; a reshuffle, a new executive order, a sacking.  Alternative facts.

I really don’t want to get all political here—it’s bad enough that my time is consumed with soaking up all the various news stories, people’s shared Facebook news posts, Tweets (not the Pres’s), opinion pieces, videos and everything in between.  If CNN wasn’t so repetitive I’d be on that 24/7.  I even tuned into Fox News.

But I want my life back.  I’ve had enough.

California is not the rest of America

It’s hard to get a sense of perspective here in LA though. LA—California—is obviously largely a democratic state.  They abhor Trump. It’s like preaching to the converted. Every meeting with every friend is an update on wtf is going on.  Even my Republican friends (yes, I do have Republican friends and they happen to be very nice, intelligent people).

Yes, we participated in the Women’s March.  How could I not? How could one person with the signing of an Executive order set women back 500 years?

And what’s with these Executive Orders? Why haven’t past Presidents signed more of these in the past?  Well it seems they have.  It’s just that this one makes them count—Reality TV style.

One of my (US) friends asked a great question though.  If being President was as easy as signing Executive Orders why then didn’t Barack Obama sign one to ban guns here in the US?  Could it have been THAT simple?  Wouldn’t that have been a good way to make use of this Executive Order caper?

So…  You get the picture?  I don’t need The House of Cards or Scandal anymore. I’ve got this new Show: The Trump House.  And I’m addicted.  But I hope it doesn’t get renewed.  I can only cope with one season.  It’s intense, it’s real, it’s scary.  And I don’t know how much more of this I can take.  What a way to be educated in American politics.

A couple of links to keep your sanity

Before I go here are a few links to two cracker videos that made me chuckle.

 

Till next time: I want my LA Back!  I want Reality TV Hollywood style, not Reality TV (scary) reality style.

xx It Started in LA xx

Differences between America & Australia, My LA story, Posts

Returning things (taking stuff back)

The difference between Americans & Australians

I’m starting a new series of differences between Australians & Americans prompted by today’s shopping experience. I’m not talking spelling or speaking but reactions and situations. Join in if you’ve got a story to tell.

Returns Bloomingdale’s style

I bought some candles for a friend whose birthday is coming up. I ordered them online (of course) and opted to pick them up in store because I wouldn’t receive them in time for her birthday dinner.

Cut to the chase I got the candles home and my daughter was snooping in the bag (she is obsessed with candles AND snooping!).

“Ew,” she screamed. “This candle has been lit.”

And sure enough it had. No sign of real lighting action but that wick was not white (or clear) it was black.

So I headed straight back to Bloomingdale’s the next morning so they didn’t suspect me of being the mysterious candle-lighter.

“Oh my god,” said the checkout chick (who is actually a bloke but then I couldn’t use the term ”checkout chick”), “that’s terrible. Ew. Let’s get you another one shall we?”

So off we went looking for the same product—but one that hadn’t been lit. Each time he passed someone who worked at the store he’d call out, “Hey Larry—or whatever their name was—look this poor lady got sent a candle that had been … (gasp) lit.”

“No way,” they’d reply in shock.  “That’s terrible.”

It took us a while to find the same product but he looked up the stock and knew there were some somewhere. So off he went digging out the back to try to find more. And he did. And he sent me away a happy—albeit still shell-shocked—customer.

 

Returns Australia style

Let’s imagine how this might play out in Australia…

Me: “Hi, I bought these candles online and picked them up here yesterday but one of the candles seems to have been lit.”

Checkout chick (CC): “Oh,” glaring at me sizing me up to see if I hadn’t in fact lit the candle myself. “Do you have the receipt.”

Me: “Yes,” showing her the receipt.

CC: “And when did you say you bought them? Where from?

Me: Politely answer the question.

CC: “I’ll have to speak to someone about this, wait one minute please,” while walking up and whispering to her colleague both looking at me making me feel guilty like I deliberately lit that candle and took it back wanting a new one.

“OK, mam, this is an unusual situation. We won’t give you your money back we can only exchange and since the candle has already been lit then we can only exchange it for exactly the same product.”

Me: “Well that’s good because I want the candle, I got it home and found that it had been lit and it’s a gift and I really want to give them a brand new one, not one that’s been lit by someone else.

“Do you have anymore in stock? I couldn’t find them anywhere.”

CC: “I’m not sure you’ll have to look around and see if you can find another one.”

Me: “I’ve had a look around but can’t seem to see any. I only bought them online yesterday there should be more here somewhere shouldn’t there?”

CC: “You’ll have to wait while I serve this customer and maybe I can check stock for you. Or you might go back online and see if you can find some more.”

You get the picture? I love shopping here and not being treated guilty before being proved innocent. Plus the prices are better and it’s so convenient online!

 

xx It Started in LA xx

 

HHG
Posts

Homeless, Hermés & Godspell

I went to my first Kings game of the season last week.  Great way to cure jet lag.  I love watching the Ice Hockey, it’s so action-packed.  (Going to a game of any sort is on my top 10 things to do in LA).

I have been going with a friend of mine who is a staunch fan with season tickets.  Kings fans are like Collingwood fans—crazy.  But (in the King’s case anyway) great.  That guarantees that the atmosphere is electric and the stands are like a sea of King’s jerseys.  (For those of you not clued into Hockey trivia the King’s won the Stanley Cup (Grand Final) last year so we’re talking big deal for LA).  My favourite by far are the goal keepers.  I can barely follow the puck let alone stop it going into goal.

GKG

Go Kings Go

 

Two funny things about the ice-hockey though:

  1. The scantily clad girls who clear the ice every few minutes. And yes, they have their own website.
  2. The “control” of the fans.  When they want the fans to start chanting and cheering their cry, “Go Kings Go” they play the theme.  That cues everyone to start the chant.  At one game I tried to start the chant in our group and couldn’t get any momentum at all.  Unlike at the footy or cricket at home, it just takes one person to start and they’re all in.

Anyway, on our way to the car park there’s a homeless guy asking for money.  My girlfriend says to me, “Oh god I’ve got nothing for him today.  We usually collect ones and fives and when we go to the game we give them to him.  Oh well I’m back Saturday so I’ll give him some then.”

I thought nothing of it.  Over the summer holidays a homeless guy was standing at the exit to the car park at the Pier in Santa Monica with a sign saying, “Need money for beer.”  My girlfriend and I thought his honesty was worthy of a couple of dollars.  Then, when I took the wrong turn and ended up back in the car park again we gave him more money.  Seeing people asking for money is just one of those unfortunate things you get used to seeing here.

Then the guy yells out to my friend, “Hi!”  Now the good thing about (most) homeless people is they don’t yell out to you.  My girlfriend winds down her window (figuratively speaking of course but pushing the button to open her window doesn’t quite sound the same) and holds her hands up and says, “I know.  I’m sorry, I don’t have any spare cash today.  I’m back Saturday I’ll give you some then.”  He’s yelling back at her all happy and she says again, “Yeah I know, I’m sorry.  Saturday.”

“Oh my god,” I said to her.  “He full-on knows you and remembers your car.”  Of course he does but I was blown away that this guy knows my friends car and waves to her because he knows there’s a 95 per cent chance she’s giving him some money.

“Congratulations,” I said, “you’ve made my Blog”.

Only in LA.  Well maybe only in America?

Hermés

I love tennis Fridays.  I’ve been playing tennis for years now and I’m still bad at it yet I actually love it.  We have a really nice group of girls (I was terrified of joining a tennis group here in the US for fear they’d be so competitive and it couldn’t be further from that—still we all like to win!).  One of the girls’ sons is going to Australia for Christmas to stay with his (ex) girlfriend’s family so she’s been asking me for advice regarding “gift giving”.

She covered off a Christmas present for the girlfriend and next she wanted to know if she should get the mother something.  “That would be lovely,” I said.  “Just something small to say thank you.”  I said (quite unimaginatively) like a candle or a coffee-table book.”

She thinks for a minute.

“Oh, I was thinking of a Hermes scarf.”

“Oh, OK.  How sweet,” I said.  “That’s so Beverly Hills,” I said with a loving giggle.

If this was my sitcom and there was a soundtrack there would be brakes screeeaching right about now.  Oops.  Didn’t go down so well?

“You’re so sweet, I was just thinking something little, you know? to say thank you.  A nice little token.  God if it was me I’d love a Hermes scarf.”

“Well I was thinking of the bracelets, you know the coloured ones with the H on them, but I think the scarf is a little more appropriate.”

“Yes, I know the ones, you’re right, the scarf is much more appropriate.”

“Of course, that’s you, you’re so gorgeous that’s a lovely gift.  Yes, she’d love it.”

Did I get away with it?  I think I got away with it.

My Chinese name is “not one to dwell” (in joke) so of course I couldn’t help but ponder my gaff.  Then I had a horrible thought.  What if this girl’s mum is a bogan who won’t like the Hermes scarf let alone appreciate it and to make matters worse scoff at it?

So I continued to dig my hole.

“What area does she come from?”

“Sydney.”

(OK, good start.)

“What area of Sydney,” I asked.

“I’m not sure.  Why?”

“Well, I was just thinking that … well … if she lives in certain parts of the City she may well … ummm … not … ummm … appreciate a Hermés scarf.”

“Really?” she looked at me puzzled clearly thinking who in the world would not like a Hermes scarf.

“Yes, well, ummm, there are people who may not … well … appreciate it.  Yes.  I mean … ummm if it were me of course I would but … well … some may not necessarily …  And that would be such a shame because it’s such a lovely thought and … (help me!) …”

“She’s English so I always pictured English women very stylish, they always are when I visit.”

“Oh, yes, absolutely, in London they completely are.”

“Well I guess that’s where I always go, yes, London.”

“..  But .. well .. umm .. in other parts, say the Country, they’re not all stylish, some can be … well …  a little more … ummm … dowdy.  (Then I picture Penelope Keith from The Good Life who would definitely consider herself very stylish and very Hermes-worthy.  Barbara on the other hand would not be Hermes-receptive.  There I rest my case.  And of course my friends are—stylish—but they’re different, they’re not all like them.)

Oh my god, can this please be over.  (Now I’ve just offended my English friends–you get what I mean though don’t you?).

She’s still puzzled (possibly even more so) and extremely perplexed.

“So,” I continue positively, “let me know where they live and I’ll let you know if that will go down well or not.  Don’t forget!”

“OK,” she says, “I will.”

Is it over?  Is it safe for me to rear my ugly head?  Oh god.  Sixteen months in 90210 and I’m still digging myself a hole.

I do wonder if she’s from the North Shore, Eastern Suburbs or way out west.  You know there is a difference.  The same as there is be a difference here.  Now curiosity has got the better of me and I’m dying to know where they live.  Sometimes “not-one-to-dwell” should be “leave-it-the-hell-alone”.

Stay tuned to see if she gets back to me re where they’re from.

Godspell

On Saturday night we went to the final show of the school production Godspell.  School productions aren’t quite what they used to be are they?  I’ve been impressed by all the productions schools have put on—since we’ve been at a few school now such is the life of an Expat.  I’m the one with tears rolling down my eyes and beaming with pride.  I am, in fact, quite embarrassing.

Those of you who know me will know I have a penchant for singing.  It started in the shower then turned more serious chasing karaoke nights—first around Japanese restaurants in Melbourne and then more seriously around Balmain pubs and has graduated to trying desperately to get myself up with the band to sing a few numbers.

I used to be an amazing singer.  I made the choir in Grade six and we went all the way up to Ballarat to sing in an Eisteddfod.  I wanted singing lessons  so badly but they never happened(you know, only to get much better of course).  I don’t know why I never tried out for any of my school plays.  My ex-boyfriend was in a band and I tried so hard to get a gig as the lead singer.  Somehow they never took me up on my offer.  I think it must’ve been because they didn’t want a couple in the band.  Yeah I’m sure that’s it.  If I had my time again (and there was such a thing) I’d be in Glee Club.  And form a rock band.  What a waste of talent right here …

My kids go to a very small private school here in LA.  If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll know that there are a number of famous alumni and a number of famous parents.  Well tonight I saw a number of performances that I’m sure will make the number of famous alumni grow.

It’s not often I name names but watch this space for Cameron Defaria, Kylee Evans, Rio Thoroughgood, Greta Pasqua and Ella Beatty who each gave stand-out performances with great voices.  I hear you protest that you’ve seen some amazing performances at your school and local productions.  I couldn’t agree more.  But when there are Hollywood agents and famous parents in a small and extremely intimate audience you already have a headstart.

As usual the audience was packed with famous identities.  But tonight must be the first time my eyes didn’t wander, no my eyes didn’t leave the stage.  So much so that when we left the carpark my son said, “Wow mum you sat three seats away from Gary Oldman.”

My son, the most celebrity-adverse in our family.  Saw Gary Oldman.  Sitting next to me.

“I what?  Stop it.  Get out of town.”

Epic fail.  I confess looking for Wazza and Annette in the front row but that was the extent of my rubbernecking.  My girlfriend had also jokingly said to keep a lookout for him (Gazza—she has a rather soft spot for him) and I forgot all about it.  Damn you cast of 12 talented boys and girls.  Damn you.

I guess it’s back to LA life with a bang.  Never a dull moment.  I’m so thankful I live where I do and this is part of my everyday reality.  There’s no time to be homesick or worry about what I’m missing at home.

xx It Started in LA xx

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