Thursday, September 30, 2010

La la land, part two

Well, I thought I was beginning to recover but then I must've caught the cold my mother is just getting over. So much for my plan of writing the trip up once I felt better. But here it is - the riveting conclusion of my 48-hours-in-Los-Angeles saga!

Saturday morning found me a mighty unhappy camper, partly from time zone-induced confusion but mostly from being some unidentified variety of ill and the lack of sleep resulting therefrom. There, alas, went my glorious plan of stopping on the way to the reading to get a *gluten free dairy free* breakfast burrito. (Yes, Virginia, there is a GFDF breakfast burrito, but apparently only in L.A., and apparently not for me. *sigh*) Instead I stopped at a Trader Joe's that I happened to drive past on Santa Monica Boulevard and that turned out to be perhaps the only TJ's in existence with neither gluten free pretzels nor gluten free bread. Alas again! Rice cakes for me.

I managed to find my way to Beverly Hills High School - oh yes, 90210 - and bumbled my way to the auditorium. People began to convene, chairs and music stands were arranged, a group of 60th-reunion BHHS alums stopped by to say hello... we were definitely underway.

Here's the important bit: Everyone was super nice, everyone worked really hard, and all in all the day was great. It was so exciting to hear the music played by fantastic musicians and sung by a bunch of talented singers! I managed to not cry the first time the chorus came out with "It's fooouuur A.M. agaaaaiiiinnnn" in harmony, but it was close. I've always been that way when I first hear something I wrote realized by people aside from myself. It's like "ohmygod, that sounds so good!" and "wait, I had something to do with making that happen?" and "YES! THAT'S IT!" all wrapped up together with a load of je ne sais quois. In rehearsals, in the studio... I will never cease to love that moment.

As if that wasn't awesome enough, everyone said really nice things about the songs. I write songs that I want to hear, but my hope and my goal is that other people will want to hear them too. And if my songs excite them or move them or make them feel anything at all - JACKPOT! The feedback from both the singers and our small audience made me feel great about the songs I've written. Of course I've got my work cut out for me going forward. There will be lots of rewriting and new writing to do. I'm excited to do it. ...once I get over this cold.

The rest of the trip involved Vietnamese food at a restaurant called - wait for it - 9021Pho, another quiet evening at my friend's apartment, and a lot of flying eastward. I was in L.A. for almost exactly 48 hours - just enough time to feel the heat, see the palm trees, take hardly any photos, not sightsee at all, and read through one (1) brand new musical. I wonder when I'll get back there. I wonder what I'll do when I do. I don't think I've really formed an opinion of L.A. yet, though I can see why people feel so strongly about it in either direction.

Now, I was going to post photos here but apparently my camera doesn't want to play nice with Ubuntu, so it'll be another day or two while I get that figured out. Sorry. Since my father is a master of all things computer, it shouldn't take too long to sort it out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

La la land, part one

(written Friday, September 24)

And here I am in L.A. The flights were mercifully uneventful, except for the fact that I almost froze to death from Newark to Charlotte. I remedied this by putting my pajama pants on under my jeans for the remainder of the trip, and I succeeded in arriving in California sans hypothermia.

The first thing I did upon leaving the airport - after the ridiculously long rental car process - was to visit a gluten free AND dairy free bakery. I actually considered buying a whole pile of stuff and fed-exing it back to New Jersey, but that seemed excessive. So I contented myself with buying some bialys (to heat and eat here, once I'm in a place with heating capabilities) and a bread mix (to make at home). My friend who lives here should hope that I don't like either one, because she is in danger of being asked to become my supplier. (The shop ships but only in the Southern California region. DAMMIT!)

After acquiring my goodies I discovered that I had left my camera in the shop, having taken it out of my bag to snap a photo (coming in the next post). Mild panic ensued, but since this was all of about three minutes after I'd left the place I pulled a U-turn and found the camera sitting exactly where I'd set it on the counter. Travel disaster averted.

The rest thus far has been a LOT of traffic (really annoying, but not actually stressful to drive in because no one is aggressive or in a hurry like they are on the East Coast), too-hot sunshine, and some tasty iced coffee while I kill some time and try to recover from trans-continental travel. And heat. Didn't L.A. get the memo about that equinox thing?

Tonight will be fun, and then tomorrow will be mostly business... sandwiched between fun. Well, sandwiched between a GF-DF breakfast burrito (hell yeah!) on one side and fun on the other.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22nd

In the midst of the chaos that is life, I am pausing today to celebrate the autumnal equinox. In the coming days the world will fill with gorgeous color and indescribable light. Yes, I get a little cheesy when it comes to my favorite season, but how could I not? Fall is crunchy leaves, slimy pumpkin insides, snuggly sweaters against crisp air, hot tea, everything made with cinnamon, and steaming soup. It's early twilights and chilly nights that make it easy to believe in witches. And it's the coming of my two favorite holidays, all about baking and eating and spending time with family.

The one thing I don't necessarily enjoy about fall is people's propensity to wear orange - dull, ugly, Halloween orange. Now I do happen to think that orange is a beautiful color...when found on leaves, and squash (and the top of my head if I may say so, but that part I can't help). But most people really should not wear orange, and definitely not with black. Unless, of course, said person is specifically trying to look like a jack-o-lantern (in which case rotundity helps).

Oh, there's also the fact that fall is followed by winter. I hate January, and I hate February more. I think the guys who made the modern Western calendar HAD to make February only 28 days because otherwise no one would survive it.

If only autumn could stretch straight through until spring. A light snowfall might be okay, but the kind you get in mid-December that makes you excited to remember childhood sledding, not the kind that fills up the whole world with dirty slush and leaves you with cold wet feet all day.

But we get three whole months before winter arrives. Until then, we get to revel in the fall. I'm going to go home and get out all my sweaters and just be happy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

An Open Letter (6)

Dear lady in front of me at the theater,

I can see that you're of another generation. For that I will forgive you your ugly shirt with the weird embroidered cutouts. But have you, as the years have passed, lost your sense of smell?

I appreciate that public perfume-wearing doesn't (yet?) fall into the same category as public smoking. I get that scents have not (yet?) been shown to cause cancer, even second-hand. However, for some of us, sitting behind someone like you for two hours is beyond unpleasant - it is actually, physically painful. Did you forget that you'd be around other people besides just your husband on that evening? Or that you and those other people would be seated in very close quarters without the option of moving around for approximately 120 minutes?

And in the end, even if you were aware of all those things and still decided to flaunt your perfume in all our noses, couldn't you at least have spent more than five dollars on the bottle?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Whole-ly Over It.

I used to love shopping at Whole Foods - it was like a magical land of organic foods, products I had never seen in an ordinary grocery store, things I'd never even heard of! When the first one opened within driving distance of where I lived at the time, a friend and I went just to wander around and were so enthralled that we didn't even heard the announcements that the store was closing. An employee had to come up to us and tell us to leave.

Then I started not eating certain ingredients that are basically essential to every packaged food in your typical grocery store (i.e. gluten), and I got excited about Whole Foods all over again: there were multiple gluten free products, and they were marked as such on the shelves! I didn't have to spend hours reading labels to weed out things that would make me feel terrible - I could just go to the gluten-free section! Amazing!

But I just got back from Whole Foods, and instead of "wow" it was all about "I know it was weird that 'snack' bars were here and some of the 'energy' bars were over there and some were somewhere else but it's far more confusing now that they've all been moved to be near the cosmetics," and "since there's a shelf full of the white bread variety and zero of the whole grain variety, as there has been the last few times I've been here, why haven't they changed their ordering yet?" "There's a sale tag by that gluten free item! ...which is in the wrong place, and it's something else that's on sale." And on and on.

I guess I should just add to my fantasy list:
"Someday I'll find a food store that carries real food - including some gluten free convenience items - at reasonable prices, organized in a way that makes sense to anyone other than the one guy who set it up."

Thursday, September 2, 2010


When you have a shitty day, with people cutting you off and spewing unrelated information at you instead of listening to and answering your question, and everything taking ten times as long as it needs to, and air conditioning so cold you leave the building with a sore throat, and through it all it's nearly a hundred degrees outside, and on the drive home behind the asshole who insists on going 10 mph below the speed limit you decide that even if you can't have a slice of pizza or a submarine sandwich or really anything that you'd like to have for dinner when you eventually get home, as long as you can have a little chocolate cake you'll be okay, and then you get home and mix up your Betty Crocker GF chocolate cake mix and wait for it to bake and wait longer for it to cool and it has exactly zero flavor - that's disappointment.