Tuesday, January 25, 2011

West Coast vs Gulf Coast

The true gangsta battle.

Obviously there are going to be many differences in California and Alabama. California is quit arguably the most liberal state in America while Alabama is arguably the most conservative. My time in Los Angeles has been short so I have not picked up on too many cultural differences but I will gladly tell you a few.

The first thing that I noticed is that people out here are much more outgoing, not necessarily friendlier, just more outgoing. In Alabama we kind of have an unwritten rule not to talk to any strangers, we will smile at you all day long but we tend to keep to ourselves. We stand in the checkout lines and use the urinal rule (Ladies, this rule is head straight forward, no eye contact and no talking.) We just patiently wait our turn to be checked out. We only talk to each other when things are not going according to plan; the cashier is new, the barcode is messed up, or someone is wanting to pay in dimes and nickels. Then we turn to one another and make little comments to make light of the situation. People in Los Angeles will just start up a conversation for no reason. I kid you not, my roommate and I were walking down the body wash aisle. Out of nowhere a woman, who was on the phone, stuck a bottle in our faces and told us to smell how incredible it was. I may have glared at her a little rudely for breaking the our rule. Other times I have been standing in line with someone carrying on a conversation and had other people chime in on it. Oh, and one of my very first shopping experience in California was in Target. I was wearing a red Alabama shirt and a complete stranger stopped me and told how I should not be wearing that shirt. At first I was taken aback and ready to get in an argument with this stranger about how awesome Alabama is. She proceeded in telling me how she made the mistake of wearing a red shirt to Target once and everyone kept stopping her to ask her questions because it appeared she worked there. I guess when you live in a such a populated area you cannot avoid people and at some point you just give in and start talking to strangers.

Diversity is another huge difference that you will quickly pick up on. People of all races and nationalities live in California, and many have grown up here. This can be seen everywhere. Los Angeles has parts of town that are official known as Little Armenia, Little Tokyo and Koreatown. You will get into some of these areas where billboards and signs will no longer be in English. Church has been another place where I have seen diversity. Sadly, in Alabama (and the majority of the south) our churches are normally segregated and not for malice reasons, they just are. Our given history I am sure plays a part in this, but anyone reading this not from Alabama, please know that we do not purposefully and maliciously segregate our churches. I have been to several churches out here and each one has been beautifully diverse. Worship is a completely different experience when you can look around the room and see God's people of different races praising the same Father. It is awesome and I believe a little glimpse of Heaven.

Those are the two big cultural differences that I have noticed. As I stay longer I will pick up on more. Currently I am learning that football is not a big deal, naturally they have the Pac 10, I would not care for football either. Religion is taboo here, the only time it is okay to talk about it is when you are saying how you do not like it. Northern California is more liberal while Southern California is more conservative, this is out of complete greed not morals like in the South. Alas, It is too early in the game for me to speak on these topics.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

5 Best Free Things to do in Los Angeles

5. Hollywood Boulevard/Rodeo Drive

These are two of the most notorious strips in all of America! Hollywood Boulevard is where the walk of fame is and you can find your favorite celebrities' star. Also, there are tons of crazies out there dressed up in all kinds of everything to try and earn your money. So that is fun too, just do not take their picture unless you expect to give them some money. Rodeo Drive is in Beverly Hills and you are bound to run into celebrities. Last time I was there I ran into Tito Jackson and Taye Diggs. All of the high end stores can be found here and its fun to walk around and window shop. Also I discovered there is a Roots. Roots is a Canadian "Outdoors" clothing store, kind of like American Eagle and Abercrombie, that I fell in love with when I was in Canada for a summer with World Changers. This is very dangerous for me.

4. TV Show Tapings

I had the opportunity to go and see a live taping of Two and a half Men. I do not like the show at all but the experience was a lot of fun! These are free to go to and any show that is filmed in front of a live audience gives out tickets for the show. Anything from Jimmy Kimmel Live and Conan to Big Bang Theory and Two and a half Men. All you have to do is go to their website and request tickets! You get to walk through the studio lot that the show is being taped on and you get to see all the behind the scene action! If you are planning a trip to Los Angeles I would recommend looking up your favorite show and see if they will be taping when you are in town.

3. The Hollywood Sign
Whenever you get a glimpse at the Hollywood sign from any location in Los Angeles you get excited and someone is always quick to point it out. One of the more fun times that I have had out here is finding the sign and just driving towards it. There is a neighborhood at the base of the mountain called "Hollywood Land," and when you get in it you can just take the road that leads up. You will hit numerous forks in the road, just examine the roads and much like life, take the high roads. You will eventually get to a part where the road ends and there are large signs that say you can not go any further and its illegal to walk to the sign; but a quick little stop for a photo opp is not too harmful. Just do not get caught.

2. Mountain Hiking

Los Angeles is surrounded by mountains. Currently you can see snow capped mountains from Downtown LA. Hiking trails can be found on most of these mountains, in fact there is a famous one called Runyon Canyon Park and its' trails go throughout the Hollywood Hills and under the Hollywood sign. I walked up part of one of those trails and the view was incredible! You could see the Hollywood sign, the ocean and the tops of the buildings in Downtown Los Angeles. My apartment is at the base of a mountain in Burbank and today I ventured into it. The view was amazing; however, I was wearing sandals and that was a mistake. I was intrigued by how high I was going up and then realized it was too high... it was much like a cat who climbs too high in a tree. Here is website that has all of the trails you can take in the area! LA Mountains

1. The Beach

This is Southern California and even though you are in the mountains you are also a short drive to beach! Santa Monica Pier is fun, free (minus the parking) and there is also a small amusement park on the pier. The pier has several restaurants, street performers and tourist shops. Beside the pier is a "Chess Park" where you can bring your chess pieces and use the tabletop boards to play other opponents, this was actually kind of fun to watch. There is a playground and also a little place to workout beside the pier as well. There is a bike bath that goes down the middle of the beach, so you can bring your bike and ride on down the coast. A little ways down the coast is Venice beach, which is notorious for people going there to work out and be seen. If you are into people watching, this is your spot! Also I think it is a given that one must do the Baywatch run on a LA beach.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Los Angeles the Roller Coaster

So on December 1, 2010 I made the move to Los Angeles! It has been a ride for sure; filled with highs, lows and maintenance checks. Things started out quick. Day one was awesome and went well, until I walked passed someone wearing an Auburn sweatshirt. Literally the day fell apart after that. I did not bring my car out here with me for several reasons. One, I did not want to bring it out here and not find a job and apartment then have to take it and my stuff back to Tuscaloosa. Second, people all over the world cannot afford cars so I wanted to experience how that felt. Annnnd I did. It sucked. The LA Metro is not user friendly and several times I found myself almost in tears over frustration. But it got better, I started to get the hang of it and figured out the system. Thats all I can say about that because it would take a whole different blog to fully discuss my experience on the Metro, including have a drunk man urinate behind me at a bus stop. Thankfully there is a family out here from Tuscaloosa and they are allowing me to use one of their cars for the while, HUGE blessing!
To keep this post short I'll just give quick little blurbs of what I have experienced thus far.
New friendships, producer's party, met several celebrities, lost lots of money trying to work the Metro, got a job, saw tones of celebrities, found a roommate, went to some crazy churches, job turned out to be a bust, found a great church, found a cool record store, spent Christmas away from my family but spent it with a friend, house sat, lost my room, now sleeping on a couch, got an interview for a new job, found an apartment, finished a book, got stood up for the interview, paid the security deposit for the apartment, rescheduled my interview, updated a blog. Whew, and that was my first month in Los Angeles.
I have been doing a picture a day update on Facebook, below is a link for that if you want to check those out. Hopefully I will be able to find things to write about and do a better job of updating. The next few weeks are going to be very important and I am super nervous about them! There should be some good updates to come!