Wednesday, December 26, 2007

West Coast Driveby

Holy Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future that was fast. My Norwegian brethren have left for the airport and I am alone with my thoughts for the first time in two weeks. Though it's undeniable dork proof that I immediately ran for the computer, I have to get this down before it's ancient history.
For those oblivious to my Xmas '07 plans, here's the scoop: On December 16th I got on a plane to Seattle, only to embark on the road trip of a lifetime. My partners in crime, the K-brothers Andreas and Fredrik. Over the next week we would journey down the west coast of in a rental car starting from the cold rainy state of Washington, penetrating the phallic forests of Oregon and winding up in sunny California. The result, hedonistic behavior in three states and more existential conversations than you can throw a Bible at. The fellowship of Ring 3 visited Seattle, North Bend, Portland, Crescent City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and yes, San Diego - where the Santas are Swedish and the SeaWorld Otter Show is not to be missed. I wouldn't dream of putting everything that happened into this illiterate blog, but GOSH DARN IT I'll try!

Our story begins in a little town called

Them be smarter up North. The average Seattlian is definitely a different species than your typical LA guy. Converging on buses, these environmentally aware scholars pair up on the benches, armed with coffees and books. I guess the humidity keeps them on their toes, it was raining constantly for 3 days. Bergen-like weather probably did me good, I'm spoiled in the that department these days. Getting out of a cab on Capitol Hill, the streets reminded me of the reindeer splattered neighborhoods of Home Alone 1. This area used to be the hippie part of town according to Andreas, now heavily populated by homosexuals and hipsters. Though, as gentrification goes, it eventually attracted the cash heavy wannabe hipsters that would pay top dollar to live in a "happening" area, ultimately driving the broke artist community out. The newspaper said there was an uprising of violence against homosexuals, when some of the newer residents suddenly realized they moved to a gay neighborhood. Gentrification, gaytrification. Potato, potato (Wait! That expression does not work in written form!)

Andreas' place was great, a four bedroom house that he shared with fellow students. Once accommodated we quickly ventured out to explore the nightlife and went wild in some of the better bars I've seen in the states. Chop Suey and The Something kept up happy for the night! Dollar fifty beers, talkative employees and red. Lot's of red. Lucha paintings over the doors and Gremlins on big screen. Doesn't get more Christmasy than that!

They morning after our host took us to see the Downtown area to show us one of his favorite buildings, the Central Library. An intricate maze of knowledge and vertigo it was! Between the many skyscrapers it stuck out like a loose anomaly in a rigid environment. Yellow escalators took us to the top, and the thousand diamond shaped windows played mind tricks on me. There is definitely logic to what appears to be chaos.

For lunch we had a horrendous meal at the diner that Tom Hanks hangs out at in Sleepless in Seattle. Buried in the Pike Place Fish Market the rustic charm of the place still made up for the lacking cuisine. As we passed through the corridors of the marketplace crabs were flying in the freshly filled crustacean booths, so if you ever go there you'll be amazed at the juggling skills of your average butcher! See!

Next on the agenda was climbing Seattle's boner. The Space Needle stood there in all its glory and for a sixteen dollar elevator ride we could gaze upon the city landscape through bloodshot eyes. I celebrated this victory by taking the days first dump in the middle of the tower. Totally worth 16 bucks! Aren't you glad you're still reading my insightful blog?

The next day we went to pick up our cheap Hyundai Accent rental. Lady luck had apparently turned her head, so they were all out and we got a Chevy Impala instead! A lush automobile that would later overcome erosion and an the incredible lack of driving skill demonstrated by yours truly.
It might have been a moronic idea to set out on a road trip of monumental proportion only a month after getting my license, but I believe in paradigm breaking and out of the box thinking and that's precisely the kind of naivety that can get a guy killed! And that's the only kind of naivety I like! HAHAHA! /cry

The plan at hand was simple: Get to Twin Peaks, and fast!! Just half an hour from the big city lies North Bend, a quaint rural community that was the location for history's greatest TV-show. Twede's Cafe, the place where Agent Cooper get his coffee and pie promised great things for a visit. When we got there however, the place had been completely rebuilt after a fire some years ago and looked nothing like the diner I've come to love. Sad really. The coffee and pie were both, in the lack of a better word - shit... I wouldn't dream to criticize Kyle McLaughlan's taste, but rather applaud his acting if he was served the same thing we were (he must be method!). La-di-da. I'm turning into a pretentious negative douche here... ehh... the waitress was hot. So they got one thing right! (Not as hot as Shelley though! Whine whine!)

We sped onto the misty highway and set a course for... WAIT FOR IT!!!

Portland (there you go)
I love King Cobra. He must be the most happy go lucky person I know. Keeping in contact since we first met in San Francisco, he turned out to be a groovy host, showing us the Portland underworld and the finest restaurant I've ever been to, Le Bistro Montage. Cajun cooking blows my mind. Something about spice, garlic and wine that puts juice in my funnybone. During the hour we were there, we might as well have been on the other side of the continent in the bosom of Louisiana. Bits of alligator, jambalaya and authentic gourmet macaroni and cheese melted this blue eyed boy's heart and physique.
It was Tuesday night and the few people that were out congregated inside the insane amount of dive bars spread throughout the city. With a thousand yard stare Kansas Steve must have taken us to at least 15 bars that night, one crazier than the next. Portland has a huge music scene, because of the overwhelming amount of stages and the cheap real estate. Gotta love those odds. It's also the location of Powell's Books, the biggest bookstore in the west. The K-brothers being heavy readers, persuaded me to go and we spent two hours in the place, getting lost in each section. Fredrik who reads at light speed and must have blasted through five books on the road alone. Good on him. We said goodbye to King Cobra in the morning and headed South.

With no particular travel plan we stayed on the I-5, the fastest interstate on the West Coast. When we reached the mountains our path was hindered by an element soon forgotten. Snow. God I hate that shit. There are no winter tires in this country, they use chains instead. Not wanting to put chained metal spikes on the wheels of a rental car, we quickly rerouted to different highway that would lead us to the coast. This is where it gets exiting. Halfway into unknown territory we came to an abrupt halt. A rock slide blocked the path in front of us, boulders and mud leaking into the road. A self-proclaimed ranger was playing hero in the midst of it, tossing rocks aside attempting to clear the path. In an act of retarded bravery me and Fredrik exited the car and tried to help him. Andreas perhaps had a clearer view of things, and as more rocks started coming down and slid out towards us, we were commanded back in the car and attempted to turn around and get out of there. The first car passed through the semi-cleared path, however, and making a hasty choice I decided to do the same. Perhaps it was the adrenaline doing the thinking, seeing how potentially dangerous the situation was. I doubt I would have done the same again. Luckily we got out of there in one piece, the car unscratched. With an eerie vibe in the car, we could feel the ominous silhouettes of giant redwoods passing on each side. From time to time the rain would stop because the vegetation above us was too thick for it to drip through. I was tensing up at the wheel. Time to stop and sleep.
The first town to greet us was just after the border to California. Crescent City. Not much to say about it. For us it was all about finding the cheapest motel, and Econo Lodge fit the bill. Since We decided to get up at 7am and get most of the day's driving done in the morning.

Northern California looked amazing in daylight. Giant pine trees and elks decorated the landscape. We passed through one derelict ghost town now and then, commenting on the abundance of land in this country. You can actually disappear here. We stopped for food, gas and CD's at a nameless small town halfway to San Fran. With the best of The Turtles banging on the stereo, the next 5 hours felt like 4 and a half! As traffic grew denser we could knew we were close to our next goal. And suddenly there it lay.

San Francisco

The city looked encased in some kind of mythical haze, viewed from the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Joyous cursing was heard throughout the vehicle. You can help but murmur some no-no words at the beauty of this place. The hypnotizing architecture enhanced by the whopping topography is unlike any other place on earth. Having some hours to spend before we could meet up with Andreas' friend, we parked the car in the Golden Gate Park and did the De Young thing. It was a second time for me, but the view from the top floor was still awe inspriring. On the way out the guard in the door made a joke about the three of us looking like the biker gang in the 80's classic "The Lost Boys". Made sense at the time.
We then went Haight Street, trying on cheap clothes in the many thrift stores and each wound up with some weird shit. At 7pm we jumped in the car again and headed for Jeff's parent's place that lay in one of the many areas that begin with the word San. We were greeted at the door by this caroling family, practicing for this years production of Requiem on their baby grand. We had a couple of beers in San Mateo then went to sleep in soft beds!

The following morning after beefing up on scrambled eggs, we went down to Haight Street again, to fulfill Fredrik's dream of testing every shoe on this continent. The day passed quickly and when the sun started setting we made our way downtown to the Mission District, my favorite part of town. Dive bars, homeless and shysters all over. That evening I was the designated driver for the first time in my life, and let me tell you it sucks beyond proportion. I am never living in a suburb. Not until I'm old and gray/gay.

When will this blog end!!!! Too much info.. Too lazy to finish writing it!!!

The next day consisted of the lengthiest car ride of my life. We drove for 11 hours, pulling into Downtown Los Angeles around 9pm. Fredrik announced to his friend Daniel, who happens to be Owen Wilson's cousin, that we were in town and ready to roll. The night turned out to be one for the history books. After doing some serious Korean dining, we set a course for the Standard Hotel and it's rooftop bar, that lies amidst the sea of skyscrapers in the Business District. With a classic TGM movie being projected on the wall building next door, an infinity pool and Japanese rich guys coming out the yin-yang, you can't get a better feel for the LA scene in this part of town.
One overpriced drink later we were back in Daniel's car headed for a bar in Silver Lake. The place was rugged and androgynous rocker stereotypes filled the room around us. One of them knew Daniel from before. He told us to check out a party in Culver City and feeling way too up for it we went, hoping for more upscale bliss! After 20 minutes on the I-10 we exited into a quiet suburban neighborhood. Leaving the car we could here the dampened sound of what appeared to be some kind of punk band coming from the address in question. When we got in the door, I again, as I have many times over here, felt like the whitest person alive. We were outsiders in a toned down Mexican teen party, a band of three playing random emo hits in the corner. We took obnoxious photographs of ourselves and were out of there in a jiffy. When we got back to our pad, we found Tommy and his gathering in our pad. We ate ice cream until we passed out. Lovely!

The drive to San Diego is two hours, which to an experienced driver such as myself IS NOTHING!! BEEEYOOOTCH!! Once there we finally met up with Hilde as planned. This being the day before Christmas, she had decided that we would spend the 24th celebrating xmas the Swedish way, with some pilots she new from said country. And sure enough we did. Funny people the Swedes. These techno music loving all year tan SAUSAGE ON CHRISTMAS eating funny remark nudge nudge type emigrants provided us with a great feast! Honestly, we freeloaded that party like K-Fed during the Toxic days. (Pop reference y'all!) At least we brought some wine and a bourbon. They even supplied us with that prince of beverages, the akvavit. It contributed immensely to my sudden urge to dance when we later hit the town. Before that however, we suffered trough the dubbed version of the Disney Christmas Special. Funny how every character sounds like and old man in Scandinavia. Then we got a visit from Santa Claus. Literally. One of the dudes bothered dressing up and handed out presents in a nice manner. I must admit I found that pretty swell. I got two pens. Huzzah! Am I sounding ungrateful. I assure you it's just the way you're reading it.

Hilde rocks, for the record. Not just because she reads this blog, but because she puts up with three random douche bags for four days, building forts in her living room. She chauffeured us around as if we were royalty and we got to see the beach, The Salk Institute and La Jolla. We even rode the merry-go-round in a marketplace downtown and went to SeaWorld. The main attraction, Shamu - the killer whale, was to busy for us, but we caught a glimpse of him posing it up for some eager Germans. We also sat in on the amazing Sea Lion and Otter Show. This left me with a heavy heart as these animals have skills I will never possess. Like the skill of being a sea lion or an otter. The next day we decided to have our own little gift giving ceremony and I wound up with some great stuff. I got 4 books, yo! One on skyscrapers, one about different artists, On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Breakfast At Tiffany's by Capote. Zing!

And so it was that the voyage of a thousand kilometers came to a halt. The memories many, the feeling of accomplishment enormous! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Andreas and Fredrik for their impeccable companionship. Spending every waking moment together can be a tedious affair, but we managed to get along at all times. The lonely child in me needs to be challenged at times, and thankfully they put up with me, pissy remarks and all. I wish them both the best of luck in Seattle and Bergen. Go forth and multiply!!

Some things were left out of this post for obvious reasons, but some honorable mentions will now follow in a fast paced manner. Such as: the hideous Science Fiction Museum next to the Space Needle, when Fredrik lost his ipod, when Fredrik lost his credit cards, when Fredrik lost his innocence in Hollywood, exploring the Embarcadero in San Fran, playing California Games on the NES in the Mission Disctrict, the fruit market in the middle of nowhere, when we went to The Eames House, when we went to The Schindler House, the rooftop "Nå hører du her!" session, the original Amoeba Records Store on Haight, ice skating in Pershing Square, dollar tuna and dollar salmon at East on 1st Street, the steak at Pete's, the Animal Style burger and Neapolitan shake from In-N-Out Burger, getting lost in the Barmuda Triangle- Charlie O's, Bar 107 and La Cita and last but not least the amazing new year after party dress up session! Good times, good times.

So don't tell me I don't do stuff, OK! I am after all making up for four years of procrastination here! To those back in the old country, I still miss you when I'm in my bed curled up in the fetus position, alone in a city full of strange and sometimes scary magic! Merry Christmas ya bastards! Hope the packages were hard. I know mine is!! GET IT!!??

PS: Check the book of faces fer photos later. AND! Look what I did:
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

San Fran Roundtrip For Dummies

Ahh.. Thanksgiving. The time of year when Americans give heed to the illustrious feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Average folk migrate in numbers over state lines in order to cuddle up with mom's freshly stuffed fowl. Long I have dreamed of pressing my lips into the crevice of a succulent roast and feel the basted ingredients stream down my clefty chin. And because I am the luckiest fuck this side of the Mississippi I actually got the chance this year. Maybe not in such a graphic manner, but I nonetheless had a traditional turkey dinner with everything, even pumpkin pie which I can tell is the bees knees. The gastronomical bliss actually made me forget about the Indians suffering lifetimes of oppression, being forced off their land and wiped out, later having to live in reservations to uphold their fading cultural heritage. That's how good it was. May well be a conspiracy of foods!

Me and my often mentioned roommate Jonathan got up at 3am to set out on the train ride from LA to San Francisco. Cheap tickets from AMTRAK would get us there. The train however proved to be the lesser part of the trip, as we were mostly directed onto buses. It was an inland trip, LA to Bakersfield to Stockton to San Fran. Cruising through orchards I could slowly see the vegetation shift from the dry rock of Southern California to the temperate and green north. It felt close to home. It was a tedious ride as the train seemed to go at paralympic speed. Jonathan explained: "These tracks are privately owned, so freight trains are always prioritized, therefore every commercial train ride is slow as shit". Figures. Eventually we made it to Stockton. Of all the seedy places I've been to, this one takes the cake. The scenery was post apocalyptic. Apparently a lot of prisons thrive in this part of California. We soon found ourself sharing the bus with ex convicts fresh out of jail. They were all wearing the same outfit, a manila envelope and a cane. I guess few people make it through the correctional system without getting messed up in some physical manner. *flinch* Armed with an ipod and sunglasses I kept to myself for the rest of the trip and soon got off by the Ferry Building of San Francisco, greeted by my Uncle John (who will from now on be referred to as UJ and sometimes even John).

John immediately took me to see my relatives. My 94 year old great aunt, uncle Fred, his wife Dorothy and their two kids Chris and Jennie. I felt like the scruffy ghost of Christmas past having not showered in 36 hours. But thanks to the miracle of caffeine and a luxurious gold studded shitter I was soon fresher than Fran Drescher. That's Nanny Fine YO! Fred and John must have come from separate testicles as they were almost complete opposites personality wise. This lead to a healthy amount of rude comments around the table. Once the bird was out of the oven we watched the game and gained weight. I used what little knowledge I had of the NFL to converse about other things than Norway, seals and whales. I grew tired of talking about the old country on my first day in the states and as you can imagine the questions were many. After digging into the pumpkin pie I found myself out of breath. I always overdo it during the holidays. Soon I found myself on the road again in UJ's sweet Volvo heading for Palo Alto.

BTW. Get your reading glasses boy, this blog is long.

Palo Alto is a place you go to live. My uncle settled there many years ago when it wasn't only for people with skid marks on their credit cards. It's a quiet place and the suburban part of it is surrounded by thick and finally - authentic green vegetation. Keep in mind that northern California is the location of Endor, the Ewok forest. Especially you mom, that reference is so you. A big part of the town is the community belonging to Stanford University. A place of great brains and greater funding. Us poor are allowed to cruise around campus, though. And so we did, we even stopped by the museum that held many of the early minimalist pieces that came out of SoCal after the war. The place altogether was pretty awe inspiring. God, I wanna go there. Perhaps in another lifetime.

It's a slow paced life hanging out with people over 60. A speed that suited me well after stressing like Ranch Dressing in West Hollywood. We stopped by some of John's old hippie friends and I had my second turkey dinner served with a side of mind bending philosophical questions. New Age questions about life is definitely something to ponder upon if you have an open mind about that sort of thing, said the atheist. Mwell.. maybe I'm becoming agnostic.

After two days of gluttony and existential conversations the time for goodbyes was at hand. UJ dropped me off in Golden Gate Park. I roamed around for an hour, stopped by the De Young Museum, but I was too stressed out to really enjoy it. I sometimes baffle myself at the lack of interest I have when introduced to 200 year old stuff. Too much coffee or ADD I guess. I parked my carcass on a bench until Jonathan showed up with his wild and opinionated possy of locals. In a rebuilt greyhound bus, equipped with everything but a self cleaning oven, we cruised around the park until we found a place to play. (The ride reminded me of the infamous Love Goat, bus of the ages. May it not be purged - but thrive at the hands of sinful yuppie puppies from Northstrand!!) Field games are fun. Especially when there's Corona involved. The games of choice were Egg Toss, Egg Running, Sack Race, Tug-o-war and the oddly named Chug-o-war. The latter was only for multitaskers with unquenchable thirst.
After two hours everyone was at a state of geriatric fatigue. Time for nutrition! Another day, another turkey dinner. Suffice it to say that I've had my fill of facially unaesthetic bird for the year. The evening went by at lightning speed and alarming amounts of intoxicating beverages were consumed. Jonathan AKA Horse Feather introduced me to one of his buddies from the south. Kansas Steve AKA King Cobra. We played dart and talked about Portland. Twas a fine time! I wound up with the trucker name Mudd Flaps (the reason escapes me. Filthy man boobs come to mind).

The morning after we went to lunch and quickly found out that we needed to take it slow for the day. After countless hours on the couch watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force we went to dinner on Hate Street, the old hippie part of town. Again we met great people. One of them is a publicist working for a bunch of lawyers who after receiving their law degrees found out that they didn't want to be lawyers... Go figure! They now make do-it-yourself books for immigrants, one of which is "How to get a green card". I persuaded her to send me a copy. Hopefully I can put it to good use! For those of you who don't know, a green card provides non-American citizens with a lot of rights you cannot get on a regular visitor or student visa. Like the opportunity to work legally. It would be nice to be able to pay my own bills in the long run and not worry about getting the IRS or Immigration on my back. Obtaining visas is a tedious paper mill that I don't want to go through again. I imagine however that the green card process might the peak of bureaucracy. Should be worth it, however. More on this as it progresses.

Early Monday morning we got back on the train and swished through the countryside at walking speed, again having to deal with Stockton and sociopathic bus drivers. Ahhh...merica. My grand children will definitely hear of this - provided my sperm quality hasn't degenerated to a lifeless kefir-like state. On that positive note I bid you a fine night of rest in an angels crest, and cross my chest at your behest. See you in space gangsters!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Where Art Thou!!

I went loco for MOCA today. That's the Museum Of Contemporary Art you effing ignoramus! Located Downtown, right by the Disney Concert Hall, it is one of many galleries that contribute in making this part of town the place to go for art buffs. Using Peter's membership card I got into two exhibitions free of charge, which suits me fine. The first was Gordon Matta-Clark's "You are the measure". Fascinating stuff. From one regular schmo to another, what he basically does is cut holes through buildings. He then takes pictures of the rooms from different angles and combine these photos to create the same rooms but with a distorted perspective. The style reminded me of Escher in a way. Clever guy this Matta-Clark. He should do art or take pictures of holes through buildings or something.

Next up was the Murakami exhibit. Remember his name. You'll be seeing him in the future whether you like it or not. To mention one thing, he designed the latest Louis Vuitton handbag line. An LV shop was set up inside the exhibit so as you can imagine the place was packed with people with fat wallets and a license to spend.
The non consumer based side of his art show was the one to blow minds though. His take on Japanese pop culture, or rather expansion of the J-pop and J-art genres. Some pieces depicted stereotypical Anime figures. Like in regular Anime, certain body parts were immensely exaggerated. He however took it one step further, making them ultra pornographic. Though the Japanese are advanced when it comes to their comic book stimuli and virtual sexual icons, these pieces seemed to me a great way to comment on the obvious vulgarisms and banality of the Anime genre. Saying this however does not make me against the obvious vulgarisms and banality of the Anime genre. I'm just saying, you know, it works or something. Yeah.

His other work was a mind trip. Brain melting color choices were sight for hungry eyes. Murakami has been mentioned as a new Andy Warhol on several occasions, because his art is not just art, but also just a depiction of modern Japanese culture. Ehh.. he says it better: "When I consider what Japanese culture is like, the answer is that it is all subculture. Therefore, art is unnecessary". -T. Murakami. So: "When I consider what Murakami said, the answer is that I will paste his words in my blog to seem cultivated. Therefore, I am unnecessary". -Me

Apart from these huge galleries, there are also plenty of small ones spread around the city. I finally dragged my ass to Gallery 1988, a place I've been following online for years. It was fucking great. Totally worth an f-bomb. I brought home a fresh copy of their publication Hi-Fructose and tore the pages out and stuck them to the wall. 5 bucks is my budget when it comes to fine decorating.
Another place worth mentioning is the Ghetto Gloss in Silver Lake. Every Thursday there's a new exhibit with punch by the gallon served to you by a man in a gorilla suit. Don't ask. They also have frozen bananas. GET IT!? Monkey and bananas!! Whatever, the place still rocks socks.
Set up by fanboys, these petite art shows have become the scene for up and coming painters and sculptors allowing them to test out their stuff and to thrive in a young city, where crazy shit like theirs is actually appreciated. If I were a rich man, these artists would no longer be poor nor struggling. Sucks for them that I'm not.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What is busy?

Hey sexies. Long time no read.

The last two weeks have swished by without a second to spare for recreational blogging. I guess I'm getting into a kind of routine here. But as I keep getting questions about what I'm REALLY doing over here, I'll try to fill you in on the everyday patterns of my wasteful existence. Since most of my time is spent at school, the remaining minutes of the week falls into the two categories: "Weekend self destruction" and "OCD meals".

It's hard to break the viking habit of meaningless weekend boozing. I in fact welcome it as a reward for ending a week of "acting but not acting". Although science has proven that the brain is never full, I might be an anomaly, for mein kopf is certainly at a collapsing point come Friday. I seldom hang out with people from Strasberg's after hours, mostly guys and girls from Sci Arc. Architects have proven to be great conservationists and heavy drinkers. They're also busy like no other students I've met, so a collective toast at the end of the week proves to be the best punctuation on all parts.

OK, as far as the obsessive compulsive shit goes; every morning starts like this: Wake up, bowl of Special K + an apple + one Kavli knekkebrød with jam. This is why. Moving to the US presented me with one overbearing fear. Becoming a fat ass retard. I don't know about the retard part, but my fat ass is held in place by this very healthy breakfast and sometimes repeated lunch... I figure as long as I eat healthy shit during the week, I can binge on the weekends and be alright. Food is a weird thing over here as going to the grocery store is pretty much just as expensive as eating out. I think I can count the number of times I've actually made myself dinner on one finger. Pathetic I know, but when a world of weird tastes are within free delivery range you just have to go for it. I actually save money when ordering Thai food. Me and my roommates in crime swear by one restaurant and one restaurant alone. That place of culinary orgasms known only as: Charm! I believe I have been put on this earth to get a "The usual"? relationship to this place. Pad Thai, Kee Mow, Panang. No, I'm not quoting imperatives from old Batman episodes (dry joke much!!??). These meals have broadened my taste and pretty much scorched off my taste buds by now. If you won't take my word for it, just read these professional endorsements! YEAH!!

Let's for the sake of interest say that I have very few friends on this side of the world. It's true, they don't come as a bonus with the plane ticket. Therefore I take great pleasure in the company of one of my roommates: Jonathan, and our Saturday ritual lunch. He has introduced me to the new and very gluttonous world of Breakfast in America. If there's one thing I've learned about this country it's that you've never leave a table wanting more. More often it's staggering away in search for air or a place to empty your bowels. (A big minus on the charming, sorry ladies (though I've been told that you also defecate once every full moon! (just wanted to use a triple parenthesis))). A place called The Brite Spot in Silver Lake is quickly becoming a favorite lunch stop. I brought my brother Torbjørn there when he visited me two weekends ago. He had the pancakes with maple syrup and butter. They will prove the death of him. I had the Denver omelet. It will prove the death of me. That's how we eat round here, mothafuckas! I had a great time with him, we rode the elevator at the Wells Fargo Hotel from the 1st to the 34th floor in 15 seconds. Sweet. He later presented me with Brunost and Mills Kaviar. Thank Jehovah for family!

On that note, I leave you once again. There might still be some random bullshit to come... Who knows. Just me. Gratulerer med dagen Jon og Mette. Holla at yer bitch, and don't itch the stitch near the Wrath of the Lich Kings kitsch light switch. EHHHHHH!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Incubation LA

There was a fire this week. A big one. I was oblivious. Living without cable or a subscription to the Times does that to you. I went jogging on Tuesday. When I came home I felt like I had been sucking on charcoal. Then, after receiving countless "Are you alright?" inquiries I picked up a paper and to my surprise all of SoCal was currently ablaze. Out of the hundreds of counties that make up greater Los Angeles, about 10 were struck. Malibu being the most known. Thousands of evacuees. Thousands of homes burnt to a crisp. If that doesn't tell you how huge this town is, nothing will.

Two people my school live in Santa Clarita. Both of them were evacuated. They were strangely cool about it. Apparently this has happens quite often. Both of them being from wealthy families, they were aware of the risk when they bought their houses. "The place is great, but it might burn down in the next six months". Make no mistake about it - LA is as dry as a nun's gusset.

Since I'm obviously a novice on this subject I'll let the keen photographers of the LA Times say more than a thousand words with these unbelievable shots:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Farmer's Market, place of hedonism.

Sometimes you hafta eat food. It's right there at the ground (and apparently peach colored) floor of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. See:

When I feel insane hunger and my wallet's burning a hole in my pocket I visit the LA Farmer's Market. It's a cultural clash of foods, exploding in color and taste (Oooh, it was simply marvelous). In a perfect world - armed with an insane metabolism and cash to last me five lifetimes I would go there to binge until I dropped. They got it all, I mean'aa... Crepes, hours d'oeuvres, coffee, buns, enchiladas, kebabs, moussaka, tortellini, finger sandwiches - I don't know - draped in mustard. You name it - they got it.

Make no mistake about it, this place is pricey. The veggies and fruit will set you back for months if you go on a spending craze. But it's worth going just to have a look and to dust the exhaust off your shoulders. Celebrities even pop by once in a wile. I was two feet from Jeff Garlin (The fat dude from Curb Your Enthusiasm). When you see that guy, you know you're at a smörgåsbord.

Trivia: Did you know that corn was originally many colored!!! Looks kinda like unprocessed poop.


More about school you ask? Of frigging course.

As the weeks progress I find myself more and more confused. Am I doing anything right and am I really getting this method thing? The sensory work is the mind boggling culprit. If you don't know what the hey I'm talking about let me elaborate: it's the technique in which we try to get in touch with years of bottled up emotions, stored in the body, in order to convey a sincere and truthful reaction. By building up a toolbox of these emotional reactions, I will HOPEFULLY some day in the future be able to incorporate them into the characters I'm playing. At this point however, when I try to put it to work on stage I feel like a freshman medical student who attempts to perform a myocardial biopsy a month into his study. I find myself constantly hitting the wall and not feeling anything when I'm supposed to. I HAVE to concentrate, which is hard when stuck in ADD mode. I shared my frustration with a fellow student to which he replied: "It's hard, dude". To which I said "Yeah".

Thankfully, not everyone at school is that short on info. I'm getting to know a Mexican guy who seems to understand the concept quite well. He told me a fascinating thing. The original Latin meaning of the word remember is based on remembering stuff with your members AKA limbs. Not to be confused with remind, which is remembering stuff with the mind (duh) AKA noggin. In the Spanish language they apparently also have a word for remembering things with the heart. Now that's beautiful, innit? The hole Re - member thing is pretty much spot on, in terms of what we're trying to achieve. To release muscle memory.

Sounds pretty new age, right? 'Tis! 'TIS!!! For at least 10 hours a week I am in a chair going Aaaaaaaaahh (sometimes even "HAH!!"), getting rid of tension. This is a core part of the method. Apart from being a method actors' tool it has also proven to be quite therapeutic as I've been able to rid myself of everyday bullshit, sadness and frustration, giving me better focus on the task at hand. As I get more and more into it, however, I feel I might be a bottomless well of snot and tears. Who knows? That might come in handy if I'm ever asked to play Edith Piaf or Slimer from Ghost Busters.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Crying Game

School's tough these days and doubt rears it's ugly head quite often. The last two weeks have been weird - emotionally, and I've ranged from feeling like shit to feeling like The Shit on and off. Had a little breakthrough on Tuesday. That's right Esseh. I finally popped my cherry and cried on stage. I wept like a five year old who finds out there is no Tooth Fairy because daddy's an alcoholic and spent his entire salary on corn holders (for some reason that escapes me). Felt good to be on stage, but I have to keep in mind that this is school and not the real deal. It's about the work not the applause. Besides, the real deal can be pretty ugly over here.
Wednesday night was industry night at the institute and a chance for some of the senior students to show off their skills. The result was a one hour play full of nudge-nudge humor and stereotypes. It was many things, great was not one of them. My biggest concern was the lack of method, which we are being taught. When there is such an emphasis on bringing realness to your performance in class, it was sad to see that thrown aside and replaced by caricatures for the sake of amusing the two casting people that came. Tsk tsk. When asked what she thought of it, our teacher replied: "I fucking hated it".

I'll admit it's easy to get on a high horse about these things, though I will probably find myself in similar situations in the future. Sometimes you just suck it up and smile. In the meantime I can practice being a pussy and let the tears do the work!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Chemical Romance sucks ass in hell AKA Your garden variety rage fit

My chemical romance... The name says it all. You would need to administer Prozac rectally after hearing this filth.

Last Saturday I woke up to the harshness of reality after an unintended Friday night chug contest at La Cita - one of Downtown's cheaper waterholes. "Oh, the harshness of reality - how can I go on", I pondered. Failing to get up, I reached for the remote - you know, the thing that turns the TV on. "Mind-numbing escape is what I need"! From the depths of my pillow, unbeknownst to the horror that was currently airing on everyones favorite channel : Music Television I witnessed the apocalypse as brought forth by 5 white kids from New Jersey.

The band that spewed out these hellish whines (this is getting pompous, sorry) bore the name My Chemical Romance. Or as I have so cleverly named them "My Hemorrhoid Retards". (Yes, I am in fact 25 years old. Sad really.)

I shuddered, yet somehow I could not turn away - the The spokesperson for this fantastic quintette had put me under a spell. He was the handsome and brilliant Assface McShit.

This guy :

(LOOK! He's thinking.)

He looked like he had been injected with concentrated Jim Carrey leftovers. His facial poses shifting at a rate of which rabbits mate (No rhyme intended). I believe the dramatic term is "presence". Though the urge to move into the forest rose within me, I felt it was my responsibility to witness this degeneration of mankind, so that I could one day tell my grandkids. And so I did...

What was that!? I'm an asshole.. sry sry (sorry sorry). I'll bet those guys are really awesome in RL (real life). And when they're not fitting each other for cups and trying out new hair colors, they probably enjoy a nice stroll down the boulevard of broken dreams and wake each other up when September comes as American idiots. (See what I did there?! I used the song titles of another shitty pop-punk band to diss them. WOW. Pulitzer candidate anyone? I suck.) Luckily they have enough money to get me killed. At least there's some justice in this world.

Katharsis complete

Friday, October 5, 2007

The DMV And Other Acronyms

If you have a green light, but traffic is blocking the intersection, you should:

Go bonkers and feed on the souls of infants.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is easily on the list of the more unpleasant locations I've been to during my time here. One good reason could be that the people working there basically hate humans, and for some reason it doesn't help when you're a foreigner. After having my passport scanned an uncomfortable number of times I was told that I in fact don't have a student visa. When in fact I do. Which brings us to multiple choice question number two.

You have just argued that you in fact do have a student visa - in response you are asked "Sir, are you telling me that I don't know how to do my job"? For which the correct response is-

No mam.
No mam.
Yo man.

Wow. For future reference. Keep mouth shut. Anyway! After an hour of tedious standing in line I was finally photographed and given a pamphlet no thicker than a bees' penis. This grail of conduct contained the well kept secrets of driving in California which apparently is different than anywhere else. Having been chauffeured around for a month and getting a feel of traffic I can tell you first hand that the these laws look a lot better on paper than when put to use. People ride like effing maniacs over here. Understatement much?

I returned a week later having read up on things and passed the test with flying colors. Thank you me. When bragging to Jonathan he simply stated "Congratulations, you are not retarded". So you can imagine, as multiple choice tests go, this was no Rubik's Cube. OR IMPOSSIBALL!!!!

I promised acronyms, didn't I? Then I will try to retell this entire post for those who speak the language. Here goes: LOL @ DMV. ASL VISA IMBA FFS MOB AGGRO. BRB EMO. OOC ASAP. OMFG MILF. WTB CAR FTW. LTW AA.
God I suck... some of that might have been 1337 speak. Now who's the geek?!

Well that's enough for now. Are people actually reading this blog? I hope you are as this is my only vent to the outside world. Until next time schmos! I love you all!

"Smell me said the man - and so they did".

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chinchilla Beer Pong

American sport becomes me. Last night I participated in the ancient art of beer pong. For those of you who don't know this game I will now try to explain. You have two teams with six or ten plastic cups filled 1/3rd with that sweet nectar of the gods - Beer. The two teams stand on opposite sides of a table, with their cups arranged as in the lovely picture to the left. Armed only with a ping pong ball you MUST manage to throw it into one the other teams' cups - and if you do the result will be quite satisfying. Satisfying indeed. Ehh...they have to drink that cup. Ingenious huh!

As for rodent control our neighbors' apartment leaves something to be desired. Chinchillae were constantly on the move. Skipping across shoulders, clawing up pants and running around in circles for no apparent reason! Having never seen this freak of nature before I was grossed out, assuming that there was indeed a mutated rat problem in our building. I felt kinda like this guy:
For more on these fluffy critters visit CHINWORLD.COM

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Proof of Your Rosey Elephant... with some hills and stuff

Shizzah! School keeps me bizzah! I'm up to my knees in plays. Last night I was tested for the first time in improvisation class, led by feared mentor Marc Marno. Proud disciple of Mr. Strasberg himself. I took the stage nervous as hell, and sure enough - I sucked!! Thank Jehova. There is still much to learn. And learn I did. Marno proved to be quite understanding and helpful and devoted two hours of class to me and my scene partner, provoking thoughts that will ultimately better our performances. So, three hero stars and a big gulp to Marno, for making my day.

Improvisation is only one of six classes - and the only one that doesn't follow written plays. I am at this time reading my ass off whenever I find the time. The ones that I'm currently working on are The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams, The Time Of Your Life by William Saroyan, Proof by David Auburn, I Never Sang For My Father by Whatshisface McWho and The Hills Look Like White Elephants by Hemingway. So, sho'nuff daddy's a busy bee.

Certain classes revolve around sensory work. The ability to feel objects and provoke emotion through the help of muscle and sense memory. Sounds nucking futs. And quite frankly it kinda is. It's a looooong (notice the use of multiple o's to emphasize the longevity) process which will take me many months to master (+ for bokstavrim). I'm am no Helen Keller - yet. However I am not giving up on this, as I find it increasingly interesting and helpful in my Road Runner-paced present life.

Another honorable mention is face of stage and screen: Tom Badall, whose class is called Acting on Camera. Whenever he teaches I feel like I'm in the presence of someone who actually knows what the fizzah he's talking about. At the same he is an unconventional man, and I'm again inspired by the fact that a person such as him is part of the schools roster. I'm reading The Rose Tattoo for him on Monday. Better put in some work! I seriously want to get in with his good graces.

In the meantime, if you're still with me in this lamest of lame posts I tell thee: Suck not when sucketh can, and spray your golden grace on the filthy sheets of oppression!

Holla at yo man in Turkmenistan, I'm out!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't make eye contact!!

LA's public transportation system is perhaps more underused than Stephen Hawking's Singstar set. There's always room in the heavy metal train cars of the Metro Red Line, that speeds through Hollywood and ends up on Union Station near my place. The thing is that everyone in this place has a car and would rather sit in a two hour queue on the highway than ride these "peon" transporters. Ehh, it's an image thing. Yours truly however - will be spending a lot of time in this comfortable environment getting to know his feet a lot better. Me and Hiro from Heroes. He rides it. Rides it good.

The Fashion District

WHERE ARE WE??? Downtown is weird man. My friend Lara was showing me a part known as the fashion district. You go around a corner and suddenly you're in a tight market street in Mexico. Everything is cheaper than everywhere else. They have everything from unreleased DVD's to Jimi Hendrix shirts to Jarlsberg (well, maybe not THE Jarlsberg, but close). I bought - wait for it - 6 pairs of socks!! The place looks kinda like this and this (click on the far side of the image to turn around). Pretty weird huh!

Heard "It's real Egyptian cotton man, it's cheap homes"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

1% inspiration, 99% perspiration -TJ

Hey cheese!

It's finally here, the blog no-one wanted to see! The place where the moronic half-wit who goes by the name Einar Wist ?ien (fill in the blanks) will attempt to keep you and yours updated on what the hell he set out to do on September tenth 2k7 and will be doing for a year. Any useless piece of information will find it's way here if time allows it. I'm writing this mofo in English so my two American friends can read it. Seems only fair that they should get an insight into the warped mind of a Norwegian stranded in Lalaland.

I'm sitting in my new residence, a loft in Downtown Los Angeles, in a neighborhood where most people are students, artists and Chinese-Japanese-Korean-Thai-Americans (not to mention homeless crack heads and rugged ass gangstas). My street - Vignes Street lies in Little Tokyo, a charming if somewhat run down part of town, just ten minutes from Union Station. Until two days ago I've been staying at "The Sexiest Hostel In the World" in West Hollywood, an extremely giddy place, with more Germans than you could throw a beat off rag at, not to mention forced interaction around every corner. Felt like what I imagine summer camp feels like. I did however meet an Australian traveler, Ed, who I spent most of my time with up there. The hostel was four blocks away from my school: "The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute", the reason I'm here. Through the year I will be taught the divine secrets of method acting which hopefully will make me a better actor, not just an aspiring douche. After attending classes for a week I'm really satisfied with what I've been learning this far. The process is nothing like what I had imagined. This is going to be a lot of work. I need that. For a short history of Mr. Strasberg and the method check out the institute.

The guys I live with are Jonathan and Tommy. J is studying architecture at the prestigious school Sciarc, that's just a couple of blocks away. Tommy does special effects for movies and is always working on some strange stuff. We share interests when it comes to weird Americana and grown up toys. The guy whose room I'm now living in is Peter Dang - a graduated Sciarcee who recently got a job working for Snøhetta. I imagine Oslo will be as weird a trip for him as LA is for me. So if you run into an Asian Canadian on the streets of Oslo who goes by that name, buy him a beer and show him the town. Ikke Stargate er du snill. I've only been living here for two days so an in depth experience log is non-existent at this time. But I got a good feeling about this. Kind of a beatnik hippie vibe around this place - Lovin' every minute of it! I'll be posting a video tour of the place as soon as I get my piece of shit camera to work - wonderful investment that I really haven't used since I was in the band Timeless Appearance \ Pygmalion \ Pigmalion \ Couch (later to be known as Officer Downs, and in the future: Only time will tell!)

Holla at your sweet stuff and sniff the grits where the butt splits! I'm out!

Einar AKA Luren AKA Michael Hammerstrom AKA EHHHHHHHH!!