I start this post with Grace’s shoes because all posts about Southern California should start with a fine pair of strappy sandals. Everyone knows I don’t do strappy sandals but I think Grace wears them very well. I absolutely love the toenail polish! If you want to see more of Grace’s style you should hop over to her blog What If No One’s Watching? (and she’s doing a giveaway right now too!). Grace is everything I wished I was going to grow up to be: six feet tall (okay, I was aiming for 6’3″ and stopped a little shy of it at 5’7″), stylish, smart, funny, and completely down to earth. Plus she has the best laugh EVER.
The panels I went to this year were great, as I expected them to be, especially the one about writing book pitches. I have one tiny complaint and this goes out to all panel speakers: I would like to see your face when you’re talking to me please! The whole time this panelist talked this was my view (though often I saw even less than this). I do understand that sometimes they need their laptops to do their presentations but pushing it to the side would be helpful. It has been suggested to me by more than one person that I am perhaps not appreciating the 21st century lifestyle that includes live-blogging, being connected online even while trying to connect with actual live people… I accept the criticism. I think it’s true. My expectations are very 20th century. I’m not dissing anyone who hid behind their laptop, I’m not saying they didn’t still give plenty of value, but I’m sticking with my wish that when I go to see people talk I actually get to see them. I traveled 900 miles to hear what all of them had to say. I still think the quality of information and discussions was very high so please don’t hate me for having that one little complaint.
This picture is for Skye because she asked for it even though I told her it was not a good one. Skye took a ride down the sidewalk in Liz’s wheelchair sitting on Liz’s lap. If I’d known they were going to pull this very funny stunt I would have run to the bottom of the hill and got a much better snap of it. Or caught it on video. It was so funny! Alas, once I saw what they were going to do it was all I could do to search my capacious bag for my camera and get this one. So this is for you Skye!
When there are hundreds of people swarming all around you for two or three days and then suddenly they’re all gone it’s eerie. I like ghostly spaces like empty theatres and empty stadiums. Think of all the asses that sat on those seats. Do asses have their own ghosts?
The Amtrack train station in San Diego is in this gorgeous old building. I would like to live here. The windows reminded me of the living room window of my old stucco early thirties house. Which always gives me a little stab of pain but then I remind myself that everywhere beautiful I’ve been allowed to live is an experience to be celebrated. I’ve been lucky in that way.
As is my usual habit I couldn’t help but watch the sides of the tracks for dead bodies. I always do that on trains. I was slightly distracted by the ticket-taker from hell who was mean to a little kid, sharp, impatient, and basically accused me of lying about moving seats at one point (I hadn’t). It was a tense ride from San Diego to Los Angeles with all the passengers (adults) terrified of the blond terror, but I forgot all about her when we stopped for passengers in San Juan Capistrano. This was my view out the window and it is eloquent of everything that is good in California. The old mission style architecture, the bouganvilla spilling itself all over the state, and the light which, when it’s not making me angry, is beautiful.
I am writing from the land of palms and honey. The land of perpetual mean light, wide streets, very few pedestrians. San Diego is a city of trains. Really long-ass trains. So long that it cost me $3 in taxi fare to wait for one to pass. San Diego is a city I’ve known since I was a young child. I have never liked it. It has always struck me as a reflection of what hell would be like for a person like me. I still don’t like this city at all. It’s creepy because there are so few pedestrians. In New York it doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is there are people walking the sidewalks everywhere. Here the streets are eerily empty. I’ve never seen a downtown more devoid of people.
What San Diego does have, and which I appreciate, is the food. The place to go for food is 5th Street in the gaslamp district. Within a ten block radius there must be at least 50 restaurants of every type: Indian, Thai, pub food, fast food, Mexican, Persian, Retro American, Italian, and Irish. There’s one place I’ve found outside of the gaslamp district that I really enjoyed. The food is mostly pedestrian but the beer is stellar: Karl Strauss. They brew their own beer and you can buy and fill growlers.
Some travel notes:
- People ignore the directions and mandatory edicts of flight attendants. I find this disturbing when it’s for everyone’s safety like “turn your electric devices off because they might interfere with the flight signals”.
- 500 West Hotel is shabby. There’s a stain on the carpet in my room that looks suspiciously like a male pissing contest. My first impression was Barton Fink without the delicious antique charm but with all the sense that things happen here behind closed doors.
- I have never seen so many uncomfortably high heels in my life. The wedge is queen. 6″ heels are the new stocks. Heels are everything and most women are not good at walking in them.
- Tube top maxi-dresses are everywhere. I have a word of advice if you want to wear this style: wear real underwear with them. You’d think no one can see what’s going on underneath a maxi-dress but your butt will shimmer and shake and – oh wait, you wore that so we would be transfixed by your ass! Job well done.
- Lots of half-naked men here.
- Lots of mostly naked women here.
- No air conditioning in my hotel. !!!!!!
That’s all I’ve got for now because it’s 1:30 am and I have the hiccups.
I leave tomorrow morning for Southern California. I have not gotten my business cards yet. I really need them. The package requires a signature. This is one of those times when I really wish I had a doorbell. And maybe that I didn’t have a ghetto gate instead of a proper and easy way to get to the front door. Which we actually don’t use. Everyone uses the kitchen door. In order to encourage the mail-person to come knock on the “front” door I must be sure the dogs are locked inside. Especially Chick who will hurtle herself over ten feet walls to get at anyone daring to enter our yard. Only twice in three years has any mailman been brave enough to enter the ghetto gate to actually knock on the door.
So I hope it’s fairly clear why I’m feeling a little anxious this morning. I’m writing a note to the mail-person right now explaining that I will die of shame if I go to the Blogher conference yet again without business cards. It is the height of ridiculous to go to a networking event without cards. If the mailperson doesn’t get a signature he’ll take them back to the post office after he’s done with his route and it won’t really be available to me until tomorrow for pick up. But I’ll already be on a flight out of town.
The biggest blessing is that it’s not supposed to be hot while I’m in Southern CA. It’s almost as if the universe heard my pleas and decided to give me a break. Now that I’ve said that I’m sure a surprise inferno will streak across San Diego and Santa Monica.
In other news, we met up with my friend Taj and her partner Joey at the Kennedy School while they were in town last weekend and we had a great time! Max and Philip came with us and Max made them a little comic. It’s very violent, of course. Joey posted it on Reddit and it’s gotten a ton of comments. Both good and bad. Lots of it is amusing. If you want to see it you can check it out:
Here are some things people are saying about it.
I’m really surprised by some of the comments about how kids can get arrested for drawing pictures like this. It’s my opinion that the more you repress the expression of violence the more you encourage actual violence. Being able to express it, apply humor to it, and understand its place in our world, the less likely you are to need to exert actual violence. I really don’t think that most of the world’s most violent criminals and monsters drew violent comics prior to committing heinous crimes. I don’t believe it’s an indication of maladjustment. It’s surreal that all those people are talking about MY SON. I may need to become a member of Reddit just so I can take part in the conversation.
So what do you think? Is he the next Tarantino or the next Columbine kid?
OR the next Jim Henson?
Seriously, get a load of that violent puppet persuasion. (“If you don’t drink this coffee you will be blown up…” yowza! And notice how parents across the states feel damn warm and fuzzy about him? )
Well, I have some sewing to do so I’m off.