Cinema in the 21st Century

In case you didn’t know, I like making lists. It’s how I seem to organize most of my life. This next list of items will only apply to a very small population of people because this list of annoyances are common problems that I see as an avid moviegoer. Going to the movies is a weekly pastime that is a necessity for my sanity. I take most films seriously because most are a physical art form intended to arouse emotions and imaginations of those who view them. Hundreds (if not thousands) pour a lot of time into producing just one film and to dismiss the art form as a whole would be a decline in our culture. Therefore, I have made a list of things that I would like to see happen in film to advance the integrity of what it was meant for.

  1. NO MORE GIMMICKS

I don’t care if they give out free things before the show or whatever, but during the show, leave it alone. I don’t want to go to Monty Python and the Holy Grail to hear people quoting the movie, I don’t need fake frogs to throw during Magnolia, and I certainly don’t want 3D. Yes, I hate 3D. It is unnecessary to wear glasses that make it seem like a superhero is reaching for your face in order for me to enjoy the film. I just want to sit in a silent environment and get enthralled by the story.

  1. EFFICIENT DINE-IN THEATERS

Being able to eat and order your drinks during a movie is great, but most of the time when you are in a heavily packed theater, it’s terrible. I would fathom to guess that 70% of patrons still don’t understand the concept even though a third grader could figure it out. Ordering during the movie is also disruptive. We have to hear you place your order, complain about the time it takes for the server to come by and get to see your food go right in front of us during what could be the most important scene in the movie. So could we please arrive early, order before the previews so that your food comes out just in time for the beginning of the movie? Thanks!

  1. DISTRACTIONS

People have been attending movies for almost a hundred years and yet nobody knows how to act. I don’t need to hear where you think you saw that actor before and whom they may have impregnated. I also don’t need you to grace us with your texting habits, because unless you are a doctor on call, it can wait.

  1. STREAMING/DOWNLOADING

I stream. I stream Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, etc. on a regular basis, but I still go to the theater. It’s hard to complain when a theater is almost empty, but it’s showing that the younger generation will either wait for it to be streaming or just steal a movie. This is causing film industries to not take chances on films that don’t play it safe and generating their money into another Adam Sandler piece of shit just to see returns. It has been predicted by industry leaders that small theaters will be nonexistent in a few years even though boutique theaters are the ones that keep the charm of going to the movies. They show what the others won’t (NC-17, David Lynch, documentaries, etc.) and sometimes provide 35 mm experiences for classics that you can’t get on your TV. Going to the movies is an event that just can’t be replicated on the sofa.

If things keep going the way they are, only big box theaters will be around with bored teenage employees that don’t care about film. Nobody will get the experience of seeing their favorites or hidden gems on the big screen. Imagine if Tarantino only could’ve gone to the local AMC instead of the New Beverly. Even in LA, most of the little theaters are only running because of donations by people who care. I really want people to care about the failing industry and open their mind to great writing and hardworking artists that create films beyond Michael Bay’s imagination.

  1. THE MPAA

MPAA is the association that hands out a film’s movie rating based on the content. Now I’m not saying that we should do away with it completely because it is a good guide for families, but it has gotten out of hand. Giving an R rating to a documentary about bullying because kids are saying obscenities makes the movie inaccessible to the kids that need to see it. Also, I’ve heard worse things said in big studio productions, but they are paying the board’s salary.

Indies are the films that often get hurt the most by the MPAA. Historically, they get tougher restrictions than the big studios and their whole distributing plan is on the line. If a film receives an NC-17 (the death rating), big theater chains won’t show it and their advertising campaign goes down the drain in terms of monetary resources. The MPAA will suggest what to change to receive a desired rating. That’s right, a room full of regular people telling artists how to alter a film. This should not be happening. Of course, a rating doesn’t have to be accepted and a film could be released unrated, but that’s worse than an NC-17. Want to discuss freedom of speech and censorship, The Interview supporters? Maybe you should look into a more common form of film regulation. I suggest viewing a fabulous documentary called This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

Top 10

2015 is only a few hours away and with the time winding down, everyone’s “Top 10” lists start popping up. Therefore, I thought I would take part in this annual tradition with my own set of lists (albums and films) because, well, I don’t have anything to really do at work today. So here it goes:

FILMS*

1. Boyhood

2. Whiplash

3. Nightcrawler

4. The Guest

5. Life Itself

6. Enemy

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

8. Listen Up, Philip

9. Only Lovers Left Alive

10. Snowpiercer

Honorable Mention: Nymphomaniac Vol.1, The Babadook, The Overnighters, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, We Are The Best

*2014 releases, but 2015 releases for KC that could alter this list: Map to the Stars – Foxcatcher – Inherent Vice – A Most Violent Year – Two Days, One Night

ALBUMS

1. They Want My Soul — Spoon

2. Most Messed Up — Old 97’s

3. Everything Will Be Alright In The End — Weezer

4. Disgraceland — The Orwells

5. Rips — Ex Hex

6. Sonic Highways — Foo Fighters

7. Sun Structures — Temples

8. Ryan Adams — Ryan Adams

9. Turn Blue — The Black Keys

10. NVM — Tacocat

Honorable Mention: Brill Bruisers — The New Pornographers, Lazaretto — Jack White, Hypnotic Eye — Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Do To The Beast — The Afghan Whigs, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman — Broncho

Won’t Be Home

DISCLAIMER – So in spirit I’m giving this toast. I’ve never written one of these before, nor did I do any actual research on how to write one. Enjoy! 

To my best friend, her new husband, and everyone else…

Caitlin and I have been best friends and cohorts since that fateful day in math class when we discovered our love for Asian horror cinema and Chuck Palahniuk. We’ve endured tattoo artists, band members, car accident, drunken nights, and road trips to shitholes to see our favorite bands perform to obnoxious crowds. To sum up our friendship, we just have many mutual obsessions with weird crap and hatred to just about everyone.

Now today is the day she marries Derek Poor and I couldn’t be happier for the two. He seems to make her genuinely happy, even happier than that McDonalds by her apartment. He too likes weird shit and from what I’ve heard (which I’ve heard A LOT, believe me) is kickass cool.

The couple plans on moving to Colorado in September so they can make a lot of cupcakes and sandwiches, I’m sure. Hells bells, what dis shit? Anyway, I’m going to be nice and give Derek a handy guide to a happy (PG) marriage because I’m obviously the expert of experts:

1)   You (Derek) must take her to every Old 97s concert while also letting her be awkward around Rhett Miller…because he is like our god (not in a creepy Manson way…oh you get it).

2)   Get used to reruns and marathons of Girls, Doctor Who, and the IT Crowd. In sweatpants.

3)   Modcloth boxes everywhere. Suck it up.

4)   Drive through touristy parts of the city and blast offensive songs. This always makes for a good time. Side note: Make her sing “It’s Tricky” and thank me later.

5)   Pizzaaaaa. French friesssss.

6)   Bad things will happen if you interrupt our weekly skype dates.

7)   Finally, just let her be her crazy self. The coolest people are those without a clear path in life. Go on adventures, let her get all the tattoos, encourage her modeling, try new foods (which includes bone marrow from Extra Virgin), and most importantly let her know that she doesn’t have to be and will never be a lifer bank teller.

Here is my semi-drunken wisdom from two nights of trying to figure out how much goes into this and getting sidetracked by Mitch Hedberg videos. I wish I could’ve been able to be in lovely KC today. I wish nothing but the best for the adorable Mr. and Mrs. Poor. Now go get hammered because now Derek will actually be there if Caitlin ends up having a little too much Vodka and gets alcohol poisoning again. Cheers. 

DISCLAIMER II: The title has nothing to do with this story, just a memory from a page of “It Was All Fucking Awesome” 

 

Californication

Look who’s back…from outer space. Just walked in to find you…ok, you get it. Anyway, it’s been some time since my last post (I almost said “it’s been a minute”, but I’m not a douche) and I’m here with an update of my glamorous/depressed/anxious life:

So you may or may not know, but I’ve been out here in LA since January and I’ve only been back to KC twice. The last time I went back was just a couple of weeks ago and it really sent my emotions into overdrive for two reasons. One being that I missed everyone and so forth, but I also notice that everything has changed. I felt so distant from everyone I knew, especially since I knew that I wouldn’t be back for another few months. The cherry on top? It might’ve been the last KC adventure with my best friend Caitlin, who will be moving to Colorado soon with her new husband.

I decided to drive to Lawrence (my old college town) on my last day. That town isn’t like anything out here in LA. By no means is it beautiful, but it has an energy you can’t shake. It brought me back to my three years in college and all the little worries I had that I thought were just earth-shaking way back when. I remembered all the people that I encountered and the little adventures during that time. Why I wanted to get out of that place so bad, I will never know. I just knew that there was a whole life of adventure somewhere outside of the midwest and I was achin’ to join that chaotic mess of a big city.

Driving on the back roads from Lawrence to my hometown of Wellsville was probably one of the nicest parts of the trip. Nothing around but me and the radio. No traffic and just miles of pure nature. I drove past my old K-12 school and realized that what I thought were the worst years of my life were actually just a blur of insignificance, really.

My flight landed back in sunny LA and I realized that my lifelong dream was nothing more than a fantasy. Yes, LA has a lot going on and it’s really cool, but it doesn’t feel like home. It’s too shallow, crowded, and sunny. Everyone here has to be classified into their own group. So while I do love all the film activities out here, it’s exhausting to be around these obsessive and arrogant “film buff” characters aka struggling filmmakers that work at Whole Foods.

 I know that this is supposed to be an adventure, but it’s not the path that I want to keep following. I need rain, I need to be the only one in a movie theater, I need to not pay more than half my salary on rent for a crappy apartment, I need to not develop an eating disorder/shopping habit/plastic surgery addiction. What do I want to do? I want to be able to afford to travel, I want a place that’s quiet, someplace that I can get back into art again, I want to be around civil people and people that I actually like. I never thought I would be less of myself out here, but I seem like I’m faking it the whole way.

Los Angeles, I love ya but you’re only good for random hookups. Is Kansas City the place that I love? Not sure, but I have plenty of time to find myself back in a place where I can be myself and can actually afford to go on adventures. So this post is my first public announcement that Los Angeles is on limited time in my life. I’ve had fun and I will truly live it up the next few months, so put on Good Riddance by Green Day and let’s call it a year of learning.

Songs Shuffled During the Creation of this Post:

Got It All-Portugal, The Man/I Got a Feeling-James Brown/Janie Jones-The Clash/Fred Astaire-San Cisco/Portions for Foxes-Rilo Kiley/Teenage Dream-T.Rex/Foolin’-Def Leppard/Josie-Blink-182/Paper Planes-MIA/Poison-Alice Cooper/Jaded-Aerosmith/Time to Pretend-MGMT/Don’t Stop Me Now-Queen

In This House That I Call Home

Bonjour, stranger dangers. Happy Wednesday or what I know it to be as the one week anniversary since I left Kansas.  What have I done during that time? Well, I…

  1. Said melancholic goodbyes to my parents
  2. Amazingly packed all my crap into my tiny car
  3. Found an amazing pub in OKC
  4. Visited Roswell
  5. Became disappointed in all the hubbub of Roswell
  6. Saw the amazing southern New Mexico scenery
  7. Visited family in Tucson
  8. Drove through the beautiful California desert and Joshua Tree
  9. Looked and applied for a beautiful apartmen
  10. Didn’t get said apartment
  11.  Considered moving back to KC
  12. Looked at a cute, but small and overpriced apartment
  13. Got said apartment
  14. Picked up a friend from KC and showed her the cit
  15. Ran around with said friend to get a cashiers check for the apartment before it would’ve been handed to another person
  16. Made the deadline and signed the lease
  17. Took said friend to do whatever she wanted to do in Hollywood out of guilt
  18. Went to Hollywood and Highland (side note: I hate Hollywood and Highland)
  19. Visited a wax museum
  20. Almost wrecked a billion times
  21. Had my first lazy day in what seems like years

I’m exhausted. I don’t move into my new apartment until Saturday and work doesn’t start until Monday. I have a million things to do for both the rest of this week. I’m just ready to unpack my stuff and finally have my own space after living out of a suitcase for the past five weeks. I need a place to put my watch on the little kangaroo.

Want to hear about my apartment? Well, it’s one room (10×15) with a bathroom, street parking, and a “kitchen” and by “kitchen” I mean just some cabinets and a mini fridge. For the cost of this place I could have gotten a big, modern downtown loft in the crossroads of Kansas City with a view. Ok, I’m just making it sound awful, but it’s really not that bad. It’s in one of the safest and cutest areas of Los Angeles county (El Segundo) with a new bathroom, a beautiful closet, wood beam ceiling, hardwood flooring, natural light and all of my utilities are included in the rent. It’s also 1 ½ miles to the beach, 12 miles to Hollywood, and 1 ½ miles to work. I love it so much. I’ll post pictures in a few weeks when I finally get done domesticating the place with oddities I find on Melrose and Mike Ness’ antique store.

 Songs Shuffled During The Creation of This Post:

Goin Goin Gone-Old 97s/Chump-Green Day/Funny Funny-Groovie Ghoulies/Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta-Geto Boys/Shake Your Hips-The Legendary Shack Shakers/Shot-Gun Boogie-Tennessee Ernie Ford/Joker and the Thief-Wolfmother/Kicks-Lou Reed/Caught Up In You-38 Special/In This House I Call Home-X/Goin’ Down-The Monkees/I Walk the Line-Johnny Cash/Warwick Avenue-Duffy

Terminal Boredom

Heading back to Kansas City–Not looking forward to temperatures under 60 degrees and coats. Oh well, it’ll only be for a few weeks or hopefully sooner rather than later depending on my living situation. I just applied for a little (emphasis on little) studio apartment in Hermosa Beach. It is in my price range AND two blocks from the beach and four blocks from the bar district. Perfect. Oh, and only 15 minutes from work and 30 from Hollywood. It’s so adorable and the renting agent for the apartment also went to KU. Fate? F-yeah if I get the place.

Anyway. Being an airport always makes me envious of other departing flights no matter where I am heading. I feel like a going to Austin today.  Unfortunately my flight is heading to the other big (but boring) Texas city: Dallas. Then on to the little big town of good ole Kansas City.

So what else am I going to do on this three-hour flight? I have a book, this month’s Cosmo, thousands of songs, and a Jack and Coke (first class is always worth it for the free alcoholic drinks and the awkward glances of coach passengers). I get bored easily and I really don’t want to talk to my neighbor…who looks like a cheap Andrew W.K. with bad breath. Luckily he’s too enthralled with The Big Bang Theory.

Looking down at beautiful Los Angeles had me missing the craziness of the city. I am looking forward to going back home to say a final “good-bye” to everyone before me and my little car suffer through the 23 hour drive. I’ll obviously need to find a few side stops that aren’t too close to the adult bookstores for truck drivers. Those places freak me out. I don’t really think too many are in there to pick up a well-written book either. Do you ever wonder who takes the job as a cashier at that place? I feel like they have a few stories to tell…or they’re just insanely creepy and perverted.

Ok, on to the real point of this post.

As I am sitting here hating myself for making my flight (I could always miss my connection, but I rather be stuck in Darfur than Dallas), I got excited for the people I’m going to see in Kansas city early next week. Yeah seeing my friends and family will be all gumdrops and rainbows, but I’ll be seeing the motha-flippin (Morris Moss voice) Pixies on Tuesday.

When the show was announced a few months back I didn’t think that I would be in KC to see them. However, due to great planning and a super cool new boss, I was able to make miracles happen. I am just shocked that this wasn’t sold out. Who doesn’t want to see one of the greatest bands of our generation?

I was able to see them back in September in Chicago. They played on Sunday night right before The Replacements (the ‘mats’ first US show in 20 years). It was one of the best nights of my pop-culture life. While Frank Black did look a little uninterested at first, they were amazing to finally see live. That was the first time that I had ever seen them live after listening to them for years (dido for The Replacements).

I am looking forward to this show. I’m so glad that I’m going to be here for that and the True Romance showing at the Alamo. Perfect timing.

With all that said, let’s make a list!

The Pixies are one of those rare bands that you can just shuffle through their catalog and you really won’t care what comes up. Their energy is unlike a lot of bands currently making music today. Their songs are just so strange and avant-garde that you cannot NOT like them. So, as I was making this list I decided not to rank them, rather just treat it as a playlist for Pixie beginners. But if you’re a beginner, just check out the whole Doolittle album because it’s just perfection from beginning to end.

I now present my top 10 Pixies songs that I hope to hear on Tuesday:

No. 13 Baby

How can you not love this song? This is one of my few “obsession songs” in which I come back to it every-so-often and just put it on repeat.

U-Mass

-Actually, if I were ranking these songs, this might be number one or two.

Hey

-Is it weird if I find this song strangely sexy? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that…

Tame

-“I’m making good friends with you. When you’re shaking your good frame. Fall on your face in those bad shoes.”

Head On

-Because who doesn’t love cover songs?

Gigantic

-In the back of my head I associate this with the band Garbage for some reason. Probably not going to be performed live. Thanks, Kim.

Palace of the Brine

-I was obsessed with this song for like two weeks when I was 16. I remember playing this song loud with the windows rolled down on my Cobalt driving around Wellsville. I was so amazingly cool back then. The rhythm of this song is just amazing.

Levitate Me

-Why do I get the image of that levitation scene from The Craft in my mind when I hear this? Goddamn you, 90s teen-witch movies! That incudes Skeet Ulrich (whatever happened to him?).

Where Is My Mind

-Two words: Fight Club

Debaser

-The feel good song of every year.

Hmmm…I feel like I’m forgetting one about a boxcar and a man. Like something Joseph Gordon Levitt would sing in a movie. I’m sure all of y’all know it, so it would be redundant.

There you go! I hope you fall in love with at least one Pixies song from this list if you aren’t already a Pixies fan. On a side note: my neighbor is now watching Wolf of Wall Street. How the hell did he get his hands on that illegal download? I’m watching it from the corner of my eye even though I’ve already seen it like four times because it’s such an amazing movie. Things are about to get weird.

Songs Shuffled During The Creation of This Post: (Not including Pixies music listed above)

I’ll Do Anything/Knock It Right Out/Let’s Not Belong Together/AAA/Silent Film Star/Between Love & Like/Eyes Like Sparks (All by Paul Westerberg)

Capote - Everett Collection

Unlike Any Other Day

Today was a sad day for cinephiles, today was the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I exchanged many text messages with people today discussing the passing of this great actor and I feel the need to express what the passing of “celebrities” means to a group of film lovers versus what I call “regular people”.

“Regular people” have it easy. They’re not too attached to something that is completely far from the reality they live in. They take entertainment as an as is form. Those of us who are film lovers live in this world where we expect films to not only entertain, but enrich us. We’re constantly searching for the next great movie, when we find it we will re-watch it, study it and leave it for another search. We know there’s no feeling like seeing a great movie for the first time.

I like to say that I was raised on movies. Which is basically true. I ran out of movies for kids at a young age and craved more. I watched, re-watched the films of the Generation X Sundance Kids and could give you a lesson in 70’s counterculture horror while other kids my age were obsessing over Harry Potter. To me, films make up a great deal of my life. I don’t know if others outside this little world of mine can understand, but it’s hard to explain a fixation.

That being said, I know many (including me) develop an attachment to the filmmakers of movies that we love. We have a select few go-to people that we will watch whatever they do simply because we expect so much from them. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of my go-to people. I loved watching him onscreen whenever I could. His roles completely varied, but he rarely disappointed.

The cinema world lost a good friend today. He will never visit in something new (other than the last few uncompleted projects), but he will live on in the memory of his past films.  Even though today was also the big football game, I hope his passing did not get overshadowed. I’m hoping the “regular people” understand what Hoffman has brought to the cinema world by watching one of his great films.

To celebrate his career, I have compiled a list of my 15 16 favorite Hoffman clips. I started and ended with one of my favorite movies, Almost Famous. Even though he did not have a huge part in it, he just completely stole the film in his scenes.  If you haven’t seen it (or any one of these movies), you need to completely rework your iTunes rental list.

Almost Famous

Happiness

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Boogie Nights

The Big Lebowski

Flawless

Pirate Radio

Along Came Polly

Ides of March

Magnolia

Hard Eight

The Master

Doubt

Capote

Charlie Wilson’s War

Almost Famous

 Songs Shuffled During The Creation of This Post:

My Valentine-Rhett Miller/Ball and Chain-Social Distortion/Backstreet Girl-Social Distortion/Rehab-Amy Winehouse/Good Vibrations-The Beach Boys/My Sweet Lord-George Harrison/Love Whip-The Reverend Horton Heat/Jaan Pahechan Ho-Mohammed Rafi/All Right Now-Free/Daydream Believer-The Monkees/Hot Love-T.Rex/Live Wire-AC/DC

Photo: Capote – Everett Collection

First blog entry. Ever. What do I write about? Don’t be surprised if this blog goes all over the place, from personal essays to anecdotes to movie reviews. I guess I feel the need to write SOMETHING now that I’m no longer writing any more papers for school. This blog is mostly just a weird 21st century place for me to therapeutically vent. So after that little disclosure, I present my first entry:

P.S. I will bake you something if you can guess where I got the name of this blog from. 

California

I’ve only been here for almost two weeks. If you did not already know, I’m testing the waters out here to see if this is really the place for me. I’ve always dreamed of living out here since I was probably 8 years old. I knew at that age that California was the place where films were made. Yes, I was a little movie nerd back then too. Even though I could probably never put together a script (thanks ADD) or even want to act (have you seen me try to tell a lie?), I knew that I had to be surrounded by film culture. What better place than a town filled with movie nerds?

So you may be wondering, will I get on that flight back home (that leaves next Friday) and say “goodbye” to LA for awhile or will I get off that flight, pack up everything and head out? Well, you’ll find that out next Friday. I actually don’t even know if I will stay. It’s all depending on a career prospect and my final feelings towards the city. I will tell you that visiting LA and living in LA are two completely different worlds. Not entirely bad, but I’ve compiled a list of Pros and Cons of the city of angels, mostly in comparison to Kansas City.

 Pros

-Driving Culture

I enjoy driving (to an extent, see the Cons category). If I lived in any other large city I wouldn’t need a car, but I would hate that. I find it relaxing to sit back and have some time to think while listing to music. Which leads me to:

-Radio

Seems weird, but there are fan-freakin-tastic radio stations here. There are so many different varieties of rock stations that play more than the same 10 songs (looking at you 96.5 The Buzz). I’ve discovered so many lesser-known gems from bands ranging from Smashing Pumpkins to Elvis Costello to Led Zeppelin. I’ve heard songs that I haven’t even heard since I was in middle school. It’s hard to scroll through the channels and not find something good to blast while screaming singing along at the top of your lungs.

-Record Shops

I’ve only been to Amoeba Records on Sunset and Headline Records on Melrose (which specializes in punk). These places are little slices of heaven for two different reasons. Headline is great to find anything punk, including CDs, patches, stickers, posters, etc.

Amoeba has more CDs and vinyl than any place I’ve ever set foot in before. It has just about any band you could ever think of. I found tons of band shirts here, including a Cars shirt that I’ll probably have to go back and get for fear of eternal self-kicking. The highlight included a hipstery-looking sales associate who asked if I needed assistance. I said that I had no idea what I was even looking for as I searched for the mysterious Replacement album that I had never heard of but will miraculously find (is this a sign of insanity?). We got talking about the members of the band and after probably 5 minutes, he drops a bomb: “Have you heard of Bash & Pop, Tommy Stinson’s old band in the early 90s? Only had like one album”. Why no, I haven’t. Turns out they had a song in Clerks, one of my all time favorite movies, called Making Me Sick. I now have a new favorite band. I highly recommend everyone to check out this store…and Bash & Pop.

-Nature

LA is one of those mysterious places that is 75 and sunny in January. Too hot? Go to the mountains or ocean. Too cold? Go to the dessert or, dare I say, the Valley. This is a city that can keep flowers alive all year. The trees are never bare for months on end. Yes, there is smog, but not as much as there used to be. Being someone that suffers from seasonal depression, this place is my Prozac.

-Movies, movies, movies

Theatres are not in short supply and you can find anything from a blockbuster hit to the limited release to a classic playing here on any given night. Old, new or chain theatres, you can find them here. Yes, they might sell out, but it’s proving that you’ll have a theatre of other movie enthusiasts. You know what else they have here? Movie rental stores. They do still exist in La La land. You can find just about any insane movie here.

-Museums

I’ve only been to a select few museums here, but I have two favorites: the Getty and Museum of Death. Two different ones I know, but I love them so much!

The Getty is a great art museum in a beautiful modern structure on top the city. See everything from Rembrandt to Van Gogh to Munch. I wouldn’t say that it is the best art museum I’ve ever been to (I would even say that it ranks below the Nelson), but the whole experience makes for a great day.

The Museum of Death is a little building situated on Hollywood Blvd. I didn’t expect much from the reviews I read online, but I still had to go. A ticket is $15, but sooooo worth the price of admission. It’s divided into little rooms with artifacts. The first room, my favorite, was about serial killers. It had a little history about famous serial killers, crime scene pictures and artifacts from the killer. A strange coincidence was that most of the serial killers liked to paint and draw, very well in fact.  Then you move on to rooms about capital punishment, cannibalism, cults, dead animals, war crimes, preserved human body parts, and famous murders of LA. The crime scene photos displayed were brutal, not for the weak of stomach. I was even a little uneasy after 45 minutes in the museum. All in all, it was very interesting.

-Food

If you have not been to In-N-Out, then you need to leave right now and see what the fuss is about. Just try it. I’ve heard that people think it’s too hyped up, but I’ve tried burgers  from Kansas City to New York to London and I keep coming back to In-N-Out. The cheese is amazing, the beef is fresh and the fries are delicious. Try the fries “animal style” and thank me later.

So to avoid a clogged artery, I had to eat food other than burgers. The Mexican food here is insane. Shrimp tacos are everywhere! Even the ones from the food carts are better than anything you get in dear ole KC. I’ve had deli sandwiches, ice cream, cupcakes, fish sandwiches, and microbrews here that are cheap and out of this world good.

Cons

-Traffic

I do enjoy driving around, but I don’t enjoy sitting in a standstill for an hour. Everyday. Word of advice: plan travel efficiently. This town is just a bunch of freeways on the outskirts of the real action of the city. The best parts of the city are only accessible through about a billion stoplights to get from A to B. It truly does take at least 30 min to get just about anywhere. Luckily I was born with crazy LA driving skill (my normal driving). You’ll constantly be surrounded by crazy drivers and there’s no such thing as the left lane being the passing lane. Remember: Don’t talk on your cell phone or you’ll get a ticket.

There’s also no such thing as a quick stop off the freeway. First of all, there are no signs that indicate the restaurants or gas stations located off the exits. Even if you get off the exit to find one of these places, they’re never right off the exit, usually a few traffic lights away.

Godspeed if you drive here. Parking is a bitch, public transport is crappy and good luck finding a taxi. So you’ll be forced to drive here and add to the congestion. It’s actually not so bad between the hours of 10-3 during the day and anytime after 9.

-Expennnnnssssiiiivvveee

Trying to find an OK studio apartment in an OK neighborhood is next to impossible for under $1100/month. Try to find one with parking because just about every street parking is closely metered (a la my $60 ticket). Gas is just a tad over $3.00 a gallon in KC right now, I was excited to pay $3.44 in the Valley today as opposed to $3.65 in the city. I will say that the sales tax is relatively the same and the food is very reasonable.

-People

Competing for a job out here is fierce. It really is all about who you know because there are just so many applicants. You seem to always be competing with someone: that parking space, the last empty table, movie tickets, concert tickets, etc. The people here are nice; I haven’t had a single complaint about anyone. In fact, I’ve always thought (still do) that people out here have better attitudes than those in Kansas City.

My biggest con is people, though. Only because this city is missing the people that I miss: my friends and family.

Voila (how do you use foreign characters in this thing?), observations about this city. I have a lot of deciding to do between now and next week. Another interview tomorrow, but we’ll see how it goes.

 Songs Shuffled During The Creation of This Post: 

MoneyGrabber-Fitz & The Tantrums/Pentagram-Cake/Wreckin’ Ball (Ra Ra Ra)-The Vaccines/Attitude-The Replacements/Delta 88-X/99 and a Half Just Won’t Do-The Detroit Cobras/Can’t Hardly Wait-The Replacements/Photograph-Def Leppard/Highway To Hell-AC/DC/Learn to Fly-Foo Fighters/99 Red Balloons-Goldfinger/Four-Eyed Girl-Rhett Miller/Cheating at Solitaire-Mike Ness/Barracuda-Heart/Bankrobber-The Clash/Beverly Hills-Weezer/Judy is a Punk-Ramones/Brown-Eyed Girl-Van Morrison/Human Fly-The Cramps/Save Me-Aimee Mann