Category Archives: driving around in LA

Malibu Wedding.

sunset beach malibu

Once I accidentally went to a Malibu wedding. Sort of. My friends and I decided to spend a day at the beach. Living in Los Angeles, one gets spoiled and treats the beach as though it was another Starbucks; a sort of, “Oh, yeah, it’s everywhere, it will always be there.” At least my friends and I do, not being surfer types and not having beach houses of our own. So one day we thought, right, this exists, let’s hang out there. We sat on a Harry Potter blanket and discreetly drank wine coolers while we watched a fat man play volleyball with another fat man. They seemed to be having a good time.

After that, we all got stuck on the idea that we simply had to go to Moonshadows. Moonshadows is the restaurant where Mel Gibson famously got arrested and let a beautifully horrendous tirade spew forth. The infamous “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” and “What are you looking at, Sugar Tits” the greatest hits of Gibson all happened just down the beach from us. We thought perhaps we’d get a drink from their lounge but as the responsible and decent adults that we are, because we are not Mel Gibson, and if you are around Mel Gibson and he is around alcohol, you should just save everybody time and call the police. By the time you hang up the phone he’s going to be cursing Jews and stomping on houseplants like he’s King Kong all the while panting and screaming.

We made it into Moonshadows, feeling very grown-up, which is different from feeling very adult. We didn’t feel, “Ugh I wonder how much valet is going to cost and how much these drinks are going to cost” or anything of that nature. We felt, “Man, we look so cool. Are we allowed to even be in here? This is like being in a Bret Easton Ellis novel.”

And then it really got into Bret Easton Ellis territory. We’re sitting at a small booth and to the left of me is a very cool old woman. Cool in a different cool than we were. She was an established, kooky, “Fuck it, I’m old” cool. I noticed the owl pendant hanging around her neck. I told her much I liked it. She seemed thrilled by this. I really adored her. I thought she looked familiar but maybe I just wished I knew her.

Then it started. That beautiful pop new wave sound, with bittersweet undertones, all in earnest, of “The Promise” by When In Rome. And a bride and groom were dancing. It all happened very suddenly. The song, perhaps a dimming of lights, the swelling of joy — this was their moment, they must have planned it. And they’re dancing in the middle of this lounge, mouthing the words to each other, blissed out of their minds. I stared at them, respectful, slightly confused, but quietly enthusiastic. They saw me and smiled. The groom looked into my eyes, and said, with more joy in one sentence than I’ve heard in hundreds, “I’m marrying my best friend.”

My cynicism halted. I smiled back. I promise you, I promise you I will was all I heard and all I saw. Later my cynism about marriage would return, replaced with a bitterness once I watched helplessly as divorce took another marriage away, all the while with me stubbornly refusing to ever get married, ever.

I do want to get married. I don’t know if I want to marry my best friend. I’m still unsure about that idea. That the person you marry should also be your best friend. But that’s not important right now.

Ever since that night, I’ve fallen in love with that song. I hear it and even though I’ve forgotten what the couple looks like, I see them dancing, laughing, holding onto each other, have an occasional goofy moment, lip-synching, smiling endlessly.

I was so full of joy that I asked the kooky old woman next to me if we could take a photo with her. She seemed shocked and said, “Really?!” I said definitely. “Let’s go outside,” she said. She had a friend with her. “Do you know who that is?” she asked me. I paused. Yes, I knew now. “Phyllis Diller?”


And yes. She was.

“You made her night,” her friend told us. “She made  ours,” I said.

We took more photos, got into the car, and drove with the windows down back to where we once belonged. I looked at the ocean and in my head, over and over, If you need a friend don’t look to a stranger. You know in the end. I’ll always be there…I promise you. I promise you I will.

And that’s how I accidentally went to a Malibu wedding. Sort of.


The Promise by When in Rome on Grooveshark


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Best coast?

Today I bring you a guest post on the war of the best coasts from Doniree. I’ve said a lot about LA and NYC and LA vs NYC and how I love them both and I thought why not turn this over to someone else who isn’t from either place? Not because I’m an elitist jerk (though let’s be logistical, I am) but because I want to see the shoe on the other foot or the table turned around to face the wall or whatever.


Long ago, in a Midwestern town [probably not that] far, far away, I once heard someone say [something to the effect of],

You’re either an LA person, or you’re a New York City person.

The critic in me immediately questioned this, wondering why someone couldn’t simply be *both*. Were they really that different? They’re both big, coastal, diverse, culture-rich cities, right? Why can’t you love both?

And then I actually visited LA, and then I visited New York City, and I just got it. And I know, beyond a shadow of a shred of a doubt, that I am in that right-hand, East coast column: I’m a NYC person.

I don’t hate LA

It should first be stated that by categorizing myself as a “NYC person,” I’m not saying that I dislike LA. In fact, I kind of like it. (Kind of. I think). It’s sunny. I like sunshine. I like beaches. I like fish tacos. The Pacific Ocean is cool.

However, I hate [driving in] traffic. Like, a lot. I don’t even own a car, and here in Portland, Oregon, that’s totally fine. There’s no way I’d willingly subject myself to the clusterfuck that is the L.A. freeway system on any sort of regular basis.

I’m a total pansy, I know.

However, if I had to choose one over the other, I can safely say I’d choose New York City. Here’s why:

State the Obvious: The Traffic

I like to walk, and I’m totally down with public transportation. I actually think the Subways in NYC are kind of cool. Maybe because I’m always there as a tourist or for work, and the novelty hasn’t worn off, but still. I don’t have to drive anywhere? And I can get everywhere? SIGN ME UP.

Ooh! Shiny!: NYC is Sparkly

There is something absolutely magical and mesmerizing about the NYC skyline, whether you’re looking at it or smack dab in the middle of it, at any time of day. At sunrise, it’s kind of serene and lovely. During the day, it’s busy, bustling, exciting. Even the “quiet” neighborhoods are lively. And don’t even get me started about New York City at night. Maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of all things sparkly, but I LOVE city lights and New York City just makes me feel magical.

Om Nom Nom: The FOOD

There is absolutely no shortage of amazing restaurants in NYC, and I’m not talking about the fancy ones. I like the tiny little cafes, tucked in between cheese shops and boutiques. The coffee shops and bagel shops on the corner of an old brick building.

Before you stone me for implying that the food in LA isn’t amazing, wait just a hot second. I know that’s not true. But I can’t name a single restaurant in LA that I’ve ever been to (the closest I can come to remembering places that have impressed me is that there was once an awesome patio and mimosas at some place on a hill that Nico and I had lunch at once; oh, and the food trucks). On the flip side, I’m fairly positive I can name every single place in NYC I’ve ever had a single bite. Because NYC food is memorable.

Caveat/Conclusion: More time in LA is needed

Here’s where I admit the root of my complete and utter bias preference towards New York over Los Angeles: I’ve spent waaaay more time in the Big Apple than I have the City of Angels, so one might assume I’m simply more comfortable there because it’s more familiar. And sure, that might be true.

Here’s the thing though: I know a gut feeling when I have one, and I know that something magical happens on the inside, in my heart, in my pants (where it counts), when I get to NYC, and it’s different than the feeling I get when I get to LA.

New York City feels all romantic and like a first love, whereas Los Angeles feels like that cute guy you flirted with in middle school art class: it’s fun, it’s cute, but there’s not really a spark that’ll last.

Or maybe I’m just totally and completely jealous that my Scotch-Irish skin will never be California-girl tan. And this is my way of dealing with that.

Ok, your turn. LA or NYC? And if LA, tell me why and I’m totally willing to show up with an open mind next time I’m there.

Doniree Walker is a freelance writer/blogger based in Portland, Oregon. She spends her free time frequenting Portland’s farmers’ markets, training for her first 5K, and daydreaming about the places she plans to travel. She blogs at and, and you can follow her on Twitter @doniree., and her clients include UMoveFree, a service helping renters find Rockwall, TX apartments.


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Driving At Night mix.

Please enjoy this mix CD I made and want to share with you, for being patient with me. It’s called “Driving At Night” and it’s good to listen to while driving at night. I mean, I guess you could walk. As long as it’s a safe area.

The awesome cover art was made by Emily. Follow her on twitter. I wanna get her to 100 followers! She’s real neat.

Here’s the tracklisting:

Download Driving At Night

Let me know what you think. What songs do you like to listen to while driving at night?


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High And Dry.

Photo of PrettyBoi by Ian Asbjørnsen

Hello everyone. I’m sorry I’ve been away. Like I mentioned before, I have a lot of insane things going on in my life right now. But not good insane, more like a “Let me tell my story on Oprah” insane or, to quote this dude Max, “Season finale shit” insane. I’m still not ready to talk about it, but I want you to know that I’m sorry I haven’t updated and I’m sorry I have responded to your emails. Don’t give up on me!

It’s very tempting to give up on people sometimes. We have all been guilty of that at some point in our lives. Maybe not Julie Andrews, but everyone else. And I am telling you, as someone who knows, please do not give up on your friends when they need you. Don’t assume that they’ll want to be alone or not want to be alone — just ask them. Ask them how they’re doing but really ask. Tell them to put on a party dress and take them somewhere, and it doesn’t matter if that somewhere is a party or a Supermarket, just do it.

My friend Kimme did exactly this. Despite the fact that she lives in Beverly Hills and I live in the valley and the restaurant was in Laurel Canyon and the party after that was in Los Feliz, she picked me up at my house. Now that is friendship. If you’re from L.A., you know that what I have just described is hardcore friendship. The theme of said party was psychedelic, post-apocalypse 60’s  esque pop stars or something, so naturally Kimme and I decided to dress in serious 80s fashion. She wore a boxy business suit with hair piled over to one side, and I dressed like a dancer from Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video. We got to the party and Kimme introduced me to her friend whose mom actually was one of the dancers in the video. I apologized for accidentally dressing like her mom but thankfully she thought it was awesome. Then later I sat down next to this dude I’m pretty sure I’ve met like six times, who was wearing a jumpsuit and talking about how Prada’s new tan leather suit collection is “too mundane.” But it was exactly what I needed.

Reach out to a friend today you haven’t spoken to in a while. Call them, say hi. They’ll probably say hi, after a long pause. Then you’ll say, “How are you?” and they’ll say “…Fine. Is everything okay?” And you say, “Yes, why?” And they’ll answer, “You haven’t spoken to me in like, eight years.” And you can say, “This internet blog told me to call a friend.” And they’ll say, “What?” And you can tell them, “Yes,” And they won’t be able to hear that, so you’ll have to repeat it for them. You’ll have to say, “No NO. It’s A-P-O-C! CCCC-A-L-Y-P-S-T-I-C-K! K! LIKE APOCALYPSE, BUT WITHOUT THE E. TAKE THE E OFF. ADD ‘TICK’ TO THE S. IT’S REALLY NOT THAT HARD, CHRIST.” And they’ll say, “What is your problem?” And you’ll get frustrated and say, “THIS IS WHY WE NEVER TALK.” Then a few months from this you’ll get a text from your friend Cristy or something that says, “PARTY 2NITE!” and you go to the Party 2Nite, and guess who’s there? It’s your friend you tried to call and reconnect with. You’re going to pretend like you don’t see each other for the first hour of the party but then you’ll both me a little loosened up and you’ll hear Radiohead’s “High And Dry” play in the background and you’ll reminisce about that crazy middle school/high school/college trip and together you’ll join into the chorus, “DON’T LEAVE ME DRRRRRYYYYY-EEEYYYEEE” and you don’t even like Radiohead. And you’ll say it was good to see each other.

So do that and tell me how it goes.


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I Know It Sounds Absurd.

I’m near-sighted but tonight, as I’m trying to work on my book (and I swear this isn’t an excuse), things are a little blurry. Is it possible I’m also far-sighted? Or am I going blind? I AM GOING TO BE SO FUCKING PISSED OFF IF I GO BLIND.

It’s these damn big pupils of mine. For some reason, they’re larger than most peoples’. I’m pretty sure of this. One time I went to the eye doctor and he leaned in and said, “You have beautiful pupils.” And I said something like, “Oh…heh, uh, okay, thanks.” And he said, “They’re very large.” And I couldn’t even say, “Eyes up here, buddy” because that’s exactly where they were.

Don’t people who have large pupils have a better chance of going blind or something? I will be so angry if that happens. But on the plus side, I’ll take up smoking! I’ve always said, if I ever get an incurable disease, I’m just going to say, fuck it, whatever, and start smoking. It’s Manhattan, who gives a fuck? I’m also going to drink a lot too, but like, unabashedly. The great thing about that is I’ll never have to worry about being a designated driver. For a couple of reasons.

No, seriously, I don’t know how people do it. Once I interviewed a man for my documentary on Marilyn Monroe fans (that seems like it was in another life) and he was blind and I wish I was still in touch with him but I lost his address and I stupidly asked him if he had email and he said no, because, he’s blind. I mean he didn’t say that, he was kind and said that the technology for web surfing for the vision impaired wasn’t up to snuff yet. It was like on American Idol when Secrest held up his hand for the blind dude to high five or when George W. Bush waved to Stevie Wonder. Coincidentally, Ryan Secrest and George W. Bush really defined my later high school years, in their own special ways. Anyway, I was interviewing this guy for my documentary and we started talking about his life and I didn’t want to ask him, “Why are you blind, what happened?” because he mentioned when he was a kid he could see, but I didn’t want to put him on the spot and you can’t just ask people why they’re blind. So I asked him about work, fishing around to see if maybe it was a work-related injury. I know, I’m horrible! He told us about work, it was a perfectly normal desk job. He asked, “Is there anything else?” and I stared at my friend Erika and it’s like I was saying with my mind, “Ask him when he went blind” and I could almost hear Erika saying back, “That’s so awkward, you ask him” “No, you” and there was a strange halted pause and Erika finally just asked him something else.

I’m a vain person. I like putting on make up and spending money on hair products, and essentially, you know, not being blind. I worry that no one would want me anymore. That my friends would stop calling. They would probably keep texting, though, and I’d have to ask my mom to read the texts aloud to me. Because my generation hates talking on the phone. This is the internet’s curse.

Two nights ago I was in a hurry to drive over to my bestie’s house and so I quickly smeared face moisturizer on, focusing under my eyes, because Proactiv dried out my skin and now I’m worried if I scratch my cheek I’m going to cause a DAMN FIRE, and I put on lots of mascara and other essentials and drove off. I put on the air conditioning, as I tend to do, and on the drive over I felt my eyes starting to sting. Before long they were tearing, and burning, and I had to pull over. Thankfully I decided not to take Mulholland on the way there. When I pulled over and saw my red eyes, mascara running down, I realized that my moisturizer had sun screen in it and I essentially used it like eye cream and the cool breeze blowing into my face caused it to seep into my eyes. Then I realized I’m an idiot. Then I bought eye cream at Costco. But that happened today, and it’s another story. Except it’s not really story, it’s me wanting to buy $80 Chanel eye cream at Costco and my mom convincing me to get Olay.

My point to this stupid story is, what if I’m causing my own blindness? But don’t we all, in some metaphorical way, make ourselves blind? We never want to see what might hurt us. We make ourselves deaf, too, not wanting to hear what might hurt us. We do this to ourselves. …No? Yeah, I tried.

The Logical Song — Supertramp


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A Strongly Worded Letter.


Dear West Hollywood,

You are out of your FUCKING MIND if you think I am going to pay for this parking ticket. You need a pass to park, I know, and guess what? I HAD the pass. It somehow FELL off of my REARVIEW MIRROR and onto the FLOOR OF MY CAR BUT IT WAS STILL THERE. The ticket says the pass had to be “visible.” ANYONE WITH EYES COULD SEE THAT THE PASS WAS IN THE CAR BUT ON THE FLOOR. That is visible. Were the pass shielded in an invisible forcefield then I could understand the ticket. But by your literal standards, the pass was visible.

If someone were to come up to me and say, “Which part of Los Angeles should we burn down?” I would without a doubt point to you, West Hollywood. YOU ARE FAKE. You are everything that is wrong with Los Angeles. I doubt anyone would miss the Sunset Strip. The Whiskey and The Roxy were last famous in 1979 and that’s being generous. You are now known for the Hustler store and the lot that used to be Tower Records. DAZZLING ACHIEVEMENTS.

At least the Valley has a thriving pornography industry. At least it’s honest. YOU ARE NOTHING BUT SHIT, West Hollywood. You are where B-list celebrities like Seth MacFarlane decide to make their residence, and that’s being generous. That is all you have. I am allowed to say this because I am actually born and raised in Los Angeles which is a fucking rarity in this town, apparently. I am not from Ohio. I am from here. I decree that you BURN, WEST HOLLYWOOD. I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU SO MUCH. GET MORE PARKING, ASSHOLES. FUCK YOU AND ALL OF YOU.


Willem Dafoe



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