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!