Notes from Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory
My first-ever trip to L.A. I liked it a lot. I had a feeling I would. I might even like it more than New York, but that’s still to be determined. The weather was perfect. 70° down to 45-50°. Sunny sunny sunny. Great neighborhoods. Some observations not necessarily about Los Angeles:

  • The pleasing effect of variety in terrain is not to be underestimated. One thing I love about Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reykjavik (and to a lesser extent Portland and some spots in Nicaragua) is the quick changes from coast to city to mountain. It’s nice to feel that even if where you are is cool, something very different is nearby.
  • There is a certain joy in seeing stereotypes/archetypes in real life: Homosexual guy walking back from a gym in West Hollywood. Asian tourists with cameras and fanny packs. California girl finishing a coffee on the way to yoga. I think archetype-spotting is a subconscious expectation of travel.
  • I am tired of carrying a camera. I’m getting to the point where a crummy cameraphone snap is near-infinitely superior to toting a separate camera. Speaking of me tending to pack light…
  • If I am going somewhere with multiple others (esp. females, sorry), transitions always take longer than I expect. I tend to be a quick packer and get-ready-er. But for other folks, there is clothing, hair, makeup to deal with; keys, phones, sunglasses and odds and ends to gather. So I twiddle my thumbs and keep the conversation going while the sartorial I’s are dotted and T’s crossed. I wonder how much time, over the course of my life, I will spend waiting for people to get ready, and if there is a better way to use it.


  • Traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected. I think this is partly because I wasn’t doing a morning or evening commute, and partly because I’m used to trafficky Atlanta. Even so, not that bad.
  • Los Angeles looks bigger on a map than it feels in real life. I get the opposite feeling in Manhattan.
  • The Getty is really great. That said, here’s a tangent: When I’m in a museum, I prefer to stroll on the quicker side. I’ll glance at everything, but usually while in motion. The ones I like, I’ll linger for a few minutes. This is most definitely a museum burnout-avoidance technique, but also simply could be a way to avoid boredom, the pressure to feel edified. Would I enjoy more the ones I tend skip in a different context? Setting up high filters the way I do, what kind of art has an easier time getting through? What do I like more when I’m alert vs. when I’m tired? Hmm.

Scientology compound

4 thoughts on “Notes from Los Angeles

  1. As soon as I saw the post title I thought, “Oh, I hope he went to the Getty!” I similarly cruise in art museums, and Getty remains one of my favorites, ever.Also, the tram ride up the mountain makes you feel like you are entering some sort of magic kingdom, and the restaurant is wonderful.

  2. I walked up the Getty hill, but yeah, the whole experience of going up there is so nice. The view just opens up and there’s all this sunlight and landscaping and cool buildings. “Magic kingdom” is exactly the phrase.

  3. “I wonder how much time, over the course of my life, I will spend waiting for people to get ready, and if there is a better way to use it.”

    This reminds me of a Miles Davis quote I stole from your blog last year:

    I really started to sketch again after I married Cicely. Because she takes so long. You know how actresses are. They take so long to get ready for anything, you know. Rather than scream at her, I just started sketching.

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