As I hung up the phone last week after interviewing artist, Taka Sudo, I experienced a tinge of regret that I'd never moved to Canada. Taka resides in Vancouver and is a genuinely nice guy, full of energy and giggles. Most Canadians I know are similar - amicable, intelligent and inspiring.
Checkout my latest LAist article on Taka's current show in Venice, CA. Click here.
Obama's State of the Union address earlier this week failed to inspire me. Honestly, the words of politicians have little effect on me. It's their actions that ignite my interest. Though Mr. President's speech was teeming with strong quotes, the phrase/theme, "We do big things," has unfortunately stuck. Are we finally giving into the "dumb American" stereotype and abandoning any motivation to prove educated?
Appearing in my inbox shortly thereafter was a pitifully titled email from Mr. President - "We do big things." After noting a few key points from his discourse, he reiterated, "Yet the story of America is this: We do big things." I know we do. While a bit shaken, we're still a superpower. Don't get me wrong, I strongly support Obama. But team, couldn't we have dreamed up something a little better? Something with more gusto, more hope and more brain?
In another email I was offered a free t-shirt if I donated just $25 to the Obama campaign. What does this shirt say? You guessed it! WE DO BIG THINGS. Topped with a tiny picture of our country like a dainty maraschino cherry. Le sigh. It claims to be a limited edition, and I really hope this holds true.
This gutless slogan brings to my mind elementary phrases like:
See Spot run! (& just about any line from a Dick and Jane book.) I ate a big red candle. I am job. Hooked on Phonics worked for me. I like crayons. I want to go to there. Stuff is cool. I like things. Are we there yet? Have you seen my baseball? Dude, what's mine say? Sweet, what's mine say? The horse goes "neigh." Never go full retard.
Sarah Silverman and I have something in common. We both lie to our calorie counters. She revealed her treat deceit this evening via Twitter. Funny thing is, I lied to mine pretty badly last night, "forgetting" to enter the bread, cheese, beer AND chocolate I consumed during late hours of the night thanks to my dear friend Erin. It's ok though. I paid for it today, stomach growling at the crap I dumped into it, head angry at those three beers. Now that amount may not sound like a lot, but for someone who's consumed booze once in the last four weeks, it hit me pretty hard. I wonder what else she and I have in common... Obviously millions of dollars and Jimmy Kimmel. Cheers, my cheating amie. I'll probably lie a little tomorrow night, too, in your honor.
We've all see it in movies. The happy (or unhappy) couple lies next to one another in bed, both reading books, enjoying the other's presence and warmth (or not). Last night Hudson and I were happily doing the same, only instead of books, we were busy clicking and clacking on our laptops. We'd been doing so for a good hour before I even noticed the scene. I looked up from my dancing fingers at the two of us and giggled. Such a funny world in which we now live. We're so attached to our devices. Sure, there are books next to our bed. But why would I pick one up when I have my sexy MacBook Pro feeding me Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and the countless other sites and distractions that devour embarrassingly large portions of my days? Why would I bother flipping paper pages when I can simply click icons? Why would I embrace traditional learning and relaxation? I really should. And I will. Just as soon as I finish this blog, check my email, Facebook and Twitter and watch Kick-Ass.
Here's yet another reason why I love GOOD: They've scoured the web in search of the best place to watch tonight's State of the Union address. And they've landed on the Sunlight Foundation's live blog. Click here.
According to GOOD, "Not only will Sunlight be streaming video of the address, reporters from CQ Roll Call, the National Journal, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Huffington Post will be on hand to fact-check and offer context as the president speaks. We can almost guarantee that the information provided will be more objective and less dry than what the White House is offering. Happy viewing."
Merci beaucoup for making this so simple, GOOD. Provided my internet behaves appropriately, happy viewing, indeed.
This is a review I wrote last year simply for myself, simply to remember the event...
Set against a breathtaking backdrop of the winding SoCal coast, the iconic Ferris wheel turns atop the Santa Monica pier.It’s an incredible site every time I see it.Although I live just a few miles away, it never gets old.Santa Monica boasts a beautiful beach, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here today, Saturday, May 22, 2010.I’m here to preserve its beauty, to pluck the traces of human ignorance from the grains of sand.I’m also here because I deeply respect Jack Johnson.It’s my first beach cleanup with Heal the Bay, and it’s a special one.All registered volunteers who complete today’s beach cleanup will receive a ticket to the free Jack Johnson concert the following Monday on the Santa Monica pier.Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?That’s what I thought, too.Turns out Heal the Bay organizes beach cleanups every third Saturday of the month.To kickoff his summer tour for his new album, To the Sea, Jack Johnson teamed up with Heal the Bay for this exculsive combo event.
The registration line is long and impressive.It’s refreshing to see so many locals volunteering two hours of their sacred Saturday mornings.Flying solo, I team up with another solo lady, and we begin our mission.Our ammunition: two latex gloves, one plastic trash bag, one checklist and one pencil.A Heal the Bay marine biologist explains that while we may not recover giant pieces of trash from the sand, we will most likely find small shards of plastic, Styrofoam and other non-biodegradable particles.We reach for anything our eyes register as not sand.After the first hour the bag is still weightless and blowing in the wind.Our checklist, however, is teeming with tally marks.Cigarette butts and plastic pieces compete head-to-head for most common trace of human destruction.We spot 4 triple-A batteries scattered along the shoreline.Shocked, we grab them, cursing the human race while shoving them into our bag.Finally, some weight.Both hours fly by, and the feeling of accomplishment as I tie and set our bag on top of the massive pile energizes me.Burning in my back pocket is my concert ticket.As I walk away, I’m grateful for nature and apologetic that my people are responsible for its demise.
That Monday I race out of work like I was escaping high school at the sound of the afternoon bell. Coasting along the beach path towards the pier, I pedal my bicycle towards the best concert I’ve attended to date.The masses are flocking by bicycle, car and on foot.A sizable crowd of concert crashers has formed beside the pier and enjoys a decent view of the stage.The setting is intimate; the crowd is grateful.Besides the loud man a few bodies back smoking a cigarette on the wooden pier, I believe we are not only happy to witness such an amazing artist perform live, but we hold fast a sense of fulfillment and purpose.I love you California, Heal the Bay and Jack Johnson for all that you do to help the environment.We can change the future if we acknowledge the past and present.See you at the next beach cleanup.
Rejection. Oh how it hurts. Well, in my case, not really. Any communication I've ever had with a health insurance representative leaves me scratching my head, wondering why such a powerful country is incapable of caring for its people. Why doctors in London make house calls for the sick (at least they did in 2003), yet here in the states health care depletes your savings, joining you with a doctor who, not always, often does not appear to have time for you. I know reform is happening. And I know other countries are struggling with their systems. I'm not going to traipse around my choices. I shall sleuth.
When people are sick, they are in a vulnerable state, one of the most vulnerable states in which a person can be. You feel trapped within your body, and you just want, you just need help. As luck would have it, I broke my foot on 1/1/11 and lost my health insurance on 1/14/11. COBRA is offering me an affordable package that matches the plan offered to me at my previous employer. It's just $533.89 per month for medical, dental and vision. Just in case sarcasm does not carry well on my blog, I'll let you know it's currently oozing out of my finger tips. Since I'll surely be visiting my orthopedist a couple more times to ensure proper healing, I spent the majority of today flipping through pages of benefits jargon, underlining dates, noting terms I did not understand, chatting with health insurance reps. Quite the thrilling Friday afternoon. Vicki from Anthem Blue Cross and I really hit it off. After firing a few questions at me, she recommended a "popular plan for young people," which was accompanied by a whopping $5,000 deductible. Now, maybe they assume most young people don't understand deductibles, but I do. I may be in my twenties and still require a few rereads to soak it all in, but I'll never hit that deductible should my health remain as-is. Vicki and I understood each other, a far more reasonable plan was presented and we were friends. Scrutinizing the online brochure, I turned over all stones, ensuring no hidden costs, percentages or waiting periods. And there was just one thing that I'd forgotten to share with Vicki. A four letter word in the health insurance industry, if you will. PRE-EXISTING CONDITION. The ground shook. Immediately after I broached my lame foot, Vicki replied, "Oh..." while pausing for a few moments. I helped her out. "So this means I'm denied?" "Well, yes," she replied. Adding, "But we'll take you once your doctor clears you of your condition." My condition? I broke my fucking foot. I'm not dying. I'm not going to require (hopefully) extensive surgery or countless bottles of medication. I just need to see my orthopedist to ensure my foot heals properly. I need proper medical attention to avoid more health issues in the future. My future. My life. My body.
Sadly, c'est la vie. I called my orthopedist, inquiring about the fees for visits and x-rays sans insurance. Turns out, the rates are affordable. Plus, dear Josie offered to cut my x-ray costs in half. Noting my shock, she informed me that sometimes she does things like this to assist the uninsured.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but curiosity is saving me a few hundred dollars each month.
Upon looking up the definition of the word "vie" today, I found the following very interesting. The French word for life is vie. In English, vie is defined as "to strive in competition or rivalry with another; contend for superiority." C'est tres similaire, non?
I don't know much about Jessica Hische, but I do know that she created a hilariously brutal flowchart advising people to stop working for free. In one gray square she advises, "Don't be a dick," while in another she informs, "This is the most toxic line of bullshit anyone will ever feed you." Currently contemplating an unpaid writing gig for a well-known LA blog, Jessica's blunt chart took me through a short series of questions via circles, squares and lines. Where did I end up? At a big, bold, blue NO. My musing continues, though she definitely made me think thrice about this "opportunity." See! Right there! I quoted opportunity, as I'm hardly seeing it as one now. But the truth is, writing is my passion, and if I can share my thoughts with the public through a successful website, why not contribute sans pay for a little while. I'll just go easy on my cravings, like soy lattes from Espresso Cielo (I fucking miss you, you frothy cup of heaven) and freshly squeezed juice from One Life. Decisions, decisions. Restrictions, restrictions.
As of this past Friday, I am a full-time writer. Every time I write, read, say or think about my new role, my heart and cheeks grow warm, a smile stretches across my visage, my hands anxious with excitement. This has been my dream for years, and I'm using every second to engage myself in everything I have not made time to do over the last few years.
An obvious admirer of words and quotes, I'm constantly scribbling them into notebooks or struggling to type them into my iPhone. In an effort to contribute to my blog on a daily basis, I've decided to share my recorded quotes if a full entry does not present itself. Donc, voila, le quote du jour...
"But I just can’t stand the waste of throwing out a tea bag after one use. It’s like a knife in the gut for me."
-Elizabeth Warren, Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
I love that this woman has entered politics. We need more humans on stage, someone who is this aware of waste reduction.
Today I and the universe were not in-sync. Everything I touched either broke or seemed to leap from my hands. Hobbling around on crutches was most likely the main culprit of my misfortunes, but something else lurked in the air. Usually quite stable while I shower, my crutches fell as soon as I awkwardly stood up in the tub, my ceramic trinket bowl crashing to the ground with them. The soap dove to the drain numerous times. I cursed at the shrinking white oval. Upon entering my bedroom, the small trash can by my bedside, placed there for convenience during my recovery, landed on its side, popcorn kernels dissipating on the carpet. Time to sit down. The next 10 minutes were spent clipping and filing my long fingernails to a gentler length. Thank you, Trader Darwin, for your Women's Formula supplement. I simply cannot keep up with my nails these days. My stomach growled at me for only feeding it a banana that morning, so back on my right foot and crutches I went, straight to the kitchen. It was here where I unwittingly knocked over or dropped just about everything I reached for, struggling to grasp the strainer on the top shelf, struggling to do just about anything. It's been two weeks since I broke my foot; never have I experienced such a high level of helplessness and frustration. After a well-deserved Italian brunch, I retreated to my couch, hoping for some sort of synchronization to occur. Perhaps it was the universe's way of forcing me to sit down and focus on the day's goals. Perhaps it's all just coincidence, and I should think nothing more of it. Perhaps we all need a little imbalance some days, just to keep us in check.
Today is magnificent. It is so for two reasons - it's my first day as a solely self-employed writer plus the first day, thanks to my dear friend, Feaver, I discovered Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. This band. Is amazing. Included in a weekly dose of enjoyable tunes from Feaver is their track "Home." Full of folk and love and life and optimism and whistling and horns. Nostalgia flooded my thoughts. I've had no choice but to listen to it on repeat all day. Finding a new band that you instantly love, that makes you sit up and say, "Holy shit! This is brilliant!" is a blessing. If my left foot wasn't broken, I would've been up and dancing in seconds. The female responsible for the comforting, alto voice in the duet is Jade Castrinos. I adore her. Move over, Karen O. I have a new lady crush. (Just kidding, Karen, you'll always be my number one.) But seriously, if you have yet to experience this band, do it. Drop everything and do it. You deserve it. During those 5 minutes and 3 seconds, all of my and the world's problems disappeared. Daydreams of running barefoot through a grassy field consumed me, remembering how I adored dancing among damp, sweet-smelling sheets on my mother's clothesline in the backyard. It all came rushing back, warming my heart, calming my spirit. Music is powerful and beautiful. And so are good people.