Tag: Los Angeles
4:40 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I look up and the sky is a perfect shade of intense blue, so velvety I think I could touch it. If I turn around, towards the mountains, the blue dissolves into a hazy white, fading into the rock. On the opposite side, the sky mingles with the ocean, creating a smattering of stripes, from grey to baby blue and every shade in between.
I often think cities are best explored in solitude. The hustle and bustle, the myriad unknown bodies scuttling about, rushing somewhere, the traffic, the cacophony of noises create a barrier that invariably makes me look in. At the same time, when walking around without the company of a friend, or anyone with whom conversation is sustained, I find it easier to notice.
I live so much in my head that visual details escape me. So bogged down by the images I concoct, I am unable to see what is in front of me. I would make the worst witness, picking someone out of a line-up – translated into more prosaic terms, this means I make a very poor photographer. And an even worse selfie taker – it also doesn’t help I freeze in front of the camera, whether held by me or someone else, pulling all kinds of obnoxious faces.
1. Breaking news – We take reporting from the front lines for granted too often. Whether reporters and photographers put themselves in the arms of danger out of a compelling duty to report a story or to satisfy an adrenaline addiction, the end results don’t change: the best reporting puts us in the midst of world events and allows us to make up our minds and to become more educated in the process. Alissa Rubin of the NYT recently reported from the mountain where Yazidi refugees were trapped, and when her refugee-packed helicopter crashed, with an impressive amount of broken bones – including both wrists – she still dictated her moving account from her hospital bed. In the wake of the brutal beheading of photo journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS, I thought I would share some of the best video reporting being done at the moment, by those daredevils at Vice News. If you are still foggy on what ISIS is or does, this 5 part video footage, which gets up close and very personal, will dispel any doubts.
One might argue that living in Southern California, weather wise, is an endless sequence of the same blue sky and 70 degrees sunny days. And one would be wrong. We might not have the falling of the leaves or the gently falling snow, nor does the light change in any dramatic fashion, but there are clues that Spring has finally stepped aside to let Summer in, while we were too busy to notice.
1. Little felt friends
Stuffed animals are not quite my thing – I prefer the warm and stinky live variety – but these little felt characters, clearly a labor of love, had me love struck at first sight. Cleverly conceived and expertly put together, they do look like the “real thing” while retaining an artsy and quirky quality. I went so far as to contact Leonor at Feltbuddies to enquire about creating a couple of boxers for me. An unusual gift for the animal crazy friends – do reserve in advance as it takes a while to make them.
- Retail Therapy. About 25 years ago, expecting a nice year-end raise, and receiving instead a paltry UKL250 bonus, I blew out my rage by wasting nearly the entire amount on an extravagant Bluemarine silk top (emphasis on extravagant), worn maybe half a dozen time, and still lurking at the back of my closet. But I felt so much better afterwards. Let me be clear: I don’t advocate spending money I don’t have and I have never gotten into credit card debt – but, once in a blue moon, I will treat myself to extravagant to improve my mood. As was recently the case with this Stella McCartney jumpsuit that I tried on a whim – it looked just perfect, the way certain items do. I knew I had stepped out of my financial bounds when bothsofa girl and my sister missed not one, but two beats, when I informed them of my splurge. The silence was followed by “How much?”. Am working like a dog next week to make the money back…..But I did feel so much better.
- Everyone and their mother will tell you flying has become a hassle of gargantuan proportions. My otherwise flawless trip to New York was marred by technical difficulties/bad weather and the shutdown of LAX, all within the space of three hours. My usual bearish attitude towards airlines, which will make me complain and demand upgrades or other goodies at the drop of a hat, did not make me cast any blame on Virgin America, so I rolled with the punches and got home 24 hours later than expected, taking it all in stride. Imagine my delight in receiving, a week later, a $125 credit from Virgin America and profuse apologies for all the mishaps. My first instinct was to forward the e-mail to American/Delta/USAirways etc. When it comes to airlines, Sir Richard Branson does have better manners.
- On the hottest day of the year so far, my friend Bonnie and I celebrated her being back on her feet after a back injury by climbing to the roof bar of the Hotel Shangri La in Santa Monica. One of the few original art deco buildings on the coast, the real treat (beside the company) was the vodka and passion fruit cocktail. Bonus points for the view and the (slight) breeze.
- Unusual and roundabouts descriptions of love have me swooning for days.I am currently reading “Life after life” by Kate Atkinson, a curious book whose heroine keeps on dying every few chapters. In it, a doctor who has been called to deliver a baby and spends the night at his patient’s house on account of bad weather, wakes up in the morning thus: “He lay in the cold bed, the piccalilli repenting unpleasantly. He wishes he was at home, next to the slack, warm body of Mrs. Fellowes, a woman to whom nature had denied elegance and who always smelled of fried onion. Not necessarily a disagreeable thing.” Best description of the comforts of a long-standing relationship I have read in a while.
- If you are offended by curse words, please accept my apologies. I couldn’t resist when I saw this on sofagirl’s FB page. At a time when we are flooded daily with inspirational quotes that, let’s be honest, nobody takes to heart, this summed it up the best: just don’t be an asshole. It goes a long way.