take a long drive with me

My cousin Gabe lives a block from this. Can you friggin' believe that?

Hey folks, I'm back. I got home from LA last Wednesday, but catching up & sloth have kept me from posting until now. I spent much of yesterday on computer maintenance & updating/editing my sidebar links, all a part of what has become a fairly anti-social Labor Day weekend. But alas, I am finally back to blogging. Sorry to be away from my desk for so long.

MP3 The Decemberists - "California One/Youth & Beauty Brigade"
Okay, I know I've been going a little overboard with Portland, OR's The Decemberists in the last month or two, so I'll try to mix it up a little more in the near future. But it's hard to resist sharing such melancholy pop bliss when it seems to jibe so well with what's been going on with yours truly. In this case, I was actually driving down California highway #1 on a number of occasions while I was out on the west coast, so this track, from Castaways & Cutouts, seemed like an obvious, yet appropriate choice to accompany my Cali wrap-up. The lovely & wistful "California One" segues into the album-closing, borderline athemic & tongue-in-cheek (I suspect) "Youth & Beauty Brigade", which again provides a ying & yang viewpoint on a state governed by Mr. Freeze (can you believe that fu**in' "girlie men" crack, btw?).

our hearts become sweetly untied

So, I really didn't see any good celebrities while I was out in Los Angeles, though I don't really thrive on that sort of thing anyway. I did manage to run across a couple of C-list actresses though, as I caught Wayne's World babe Tia Carrere (wearing a gaudy-but-not-too-gaudy leopard-print skirt suit) on her way into my hotel for an Elizabeth Edwards luncheon, and I spotted Starship Trooper & 90210 alum Dina Meyer (on rollerblades) in the Apple store in Santa Monica. My cousins saw cool celebrities like Sharon Stone, Morgan Freeman & Alec Baldwin amongst others, as those famous faces turned out for a dinner/fundraiser for John Kerry at my hotel earlier in the week. While my fam & I went out to dinner, my cousins all hung out in the lobby to spot celebrities. By the time we got back that nite, the celebs were gone, though the joint was lousy with California democrats.

The best part of the trip was the family stuff. The initial reason for going out to Los Angeles was my cousin Craig's son Simon (the suity young man above), who was going through with his bar mitzvah. Normally the whole jewish "becoming a man" thing is pretty banal for me, but I've got to hand it to Simon for going above & beyond. Here's a kid who at age 9 told his parents he wanted to do this, despite little to no pressure to do so, and went through with it. If I had actually been given a real choice when I was that age, being faced with three years of preparation & going to hebrew school etc, I doubt I would have followed through like he has done. Here's a kid who totally walks to his own drummer at his age, which I think is remarkable. And he's bilingual. Mad respect, Simon.

The whole bar mitzvah extravaganza came off exquisitely, from the suprisingly powerful service, to the outstanding dinners (I over-ate the whole damn week) to the eye-popping party on the Warner Brothers studio lot. Good times. So much of my extended fam is freakin' amazing. My cousin Steve & his wife Jen have the cutest kids ever, my cousin Carolyn & her husband Stuart's kids are incredibly smart & funny & brilliant, and Simon's older sister Marta has got to be one of the happiest, most well-adjusted teenagers I've ever met. They all astound me, and I just had to say so. Please forgive me for getting so darn familial on y'all.

While my folks & sibs left town after the weekend, I stayed on for a couple of days since I hadn't been out to LA in forever & it's always a possibility that I might move out there at some point (probably sooner than later). It also provided me with an opportunity to see a few people that I haven't seen in quite some time since they left behind NYC for the left coast. My cousin Gabe was kind enough to put me up for a couple of days (thanks again, dude) at his little place in Hermosa Beach, which he said is the first city in California (and perhaps beyond) to be completely hooked up via Wi-Fi. I don't know if that's true, but I was able to jump online with my old school iBook & stay at least somewhat connected during my stay. Now I wasn't able to see everyone I wanted to (due to my own lack of time & poor prior planning), but I did manage to meet up with old pals like Emily, Mimi & Andy H, who I hadn't seen in several years, not to mention my friends Dayna, Kait & Sarah (and their dog Ella), who I hadn't even talked to since they made their move out west last year. It was nice to touch base with them & see how the all the sun & smog was effecting their dispositions.

I also managed to catch the end of this month's Channel 101 screenings at Cine-Space in Hollywood, which was fun even though I got their late & missed many of the shows. I saw Mimi's boyfriend Andy from The Lonely Island, whose latest episode of the popular OC send-up The 'Bu dropped from the #1 spot, mostly because this month's episode was all a set-up for the big climactic showdown that should take place in the next episode. All the new shows & failed pilots from the screening are now up at the Channel 101 website, so head on over for a good chuckle.

BTW: Thanks again to JRDN & Marc for their brief stint at guest blogging. You might just hear from those two again - if you're lucky.
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Blogger caley @ 9/07/2004 10:31:00 AM:

Good to have you back!    

Blogger JRDN @ 9/07/2004 05:29:00 PM:

Great to see ya back, that pic of your dad sleepin is hilarious.    

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