Living in Los Angeles Part 3

Well, The big news between this edition of Living in Los Angeles and the last one is that now I have a car! That’s right, I now drive a motor vehicle in a city where the car is king. So what does that mean for me now? Traffic.

  • IMG_0318The independence and freedom associate with owning a car makes LA a much better place to get along with. I’m not at the mercy of public transportation (or the lack thereof), or friends to drive me or offer me a ride.
  • Now I deal with the world of congestion, gas prices and parking. Not my favorite things, but it’ll make a decent trade.
  • Los Angeles is a crowded placed, but not as crowded as some other cities. There’s a certain kind of crowding that can be fun or annoying. London is crowded, but it’s great; It feels like dancing shoulder to shoulder in a crowded club and everyone is dancing with you. Los Angeles is crowded, but it’s obnoxious; It feels like standing in an elevator with one other person who’s obliviously standing uncomfortably/annoyingly too close.
  • IMG_0452Sometimes–outside your apartment–you find really great used office chairs for free. Other times you find dozens of toilets lined up in beautiful rows.
  • Beverly Hills is ridiculously swank.
  • South Central is ridiculously poor.
  • Food trucks are a way of life. There are so many different food trucks out here in every shade and variety. Some are tasty, others are repulsive. Example of good: The Melt with their “Grilled Macaroni and Cheese” sandwich. Example of bad: Egg Slutz. Just the name makes me want to vomit. Some are cheap, some are just as pricey as a sit-down restaurant. Cheap example: Armondo’s burritos are pretty generous and typically under $5. Expensive example: Lobster truck’s very small lobster roll with very small clam chowder: $20. Again, vomit.
  • Finally took the time to go see the shuttle. It was more amazing in person that I expected.

Again, just my experiences. Others may see things differently.

Singing with the Rolling Stones

Did I forget to mention that I recently sang with the Rolling Stones for three of their shows a few weeks back? Well, I did! USC Chamber Singers got invited to sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” for their two shows at the Honda Center in Anaheim and then at the Staples Center in downtown LA.

It was a great experience and a good way to end my first year at USC.  We all got in-ear monitors, got to rehearse with the band, was given our own suite, and got to watch the show three times. I have to admit, I’m not that big of a fan, but at least I can understand how big of a deal this is.

Because of an agreement I signed I couldn’t take any pictures or videos while onstage or during rehearsal. However, someone in the audience got a great video during that actual show. You can only really hear us at the beginning and end, but I was there (on stage and screen). Here it is:

New Job at KUSC

kusc cat top media_2This last week I started an internship at KUSC, the classical radio station for the Los Angeles area. Currently I’m writing content for their apps Soundsnips, WorldVenues, and Geotunes (an app with Spotify).

Soundsnips which lets you listen to great music and then gives you some info about the music and it’s composer while you’re listening. WorldVenues is a great little encyclopedia about various concert halls around the world which pictures and video. Geotunes is like geocaching with music showing different music written for different locations.

It’s been great! I get to read and write about classical music all day and work with great people. The work I’ve done so far won’t be available until we do an update, which we’ll do soon. Until then, go ahead and download these and see what you think. You can also download KUSC’s regular app.

That’s one bit of news. I also got a car! More news might come later.

Some Thoughts on Living in Los Angeles Part 2

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After my first semester I’ve got some more thoughts on LA.

  • Helicopters.  They are EVERYWHERE.  In Provo it was either a LifeFlight or an Apache, here it’s traffic or news, police or private or whatever.  Not a day goes by without several helicopters flying overhead.4743833327_5a5fa01478
  • Weather is still beautiful.
  • New years resolution: Go to the beach more.
  • While driving, people are way too eager to honk their horns.  Don’t get me wrong, a horn is necessary for the safety of drivers, but it gets ridiculous.  The light has been green for less than half a second, someone 5 cars back is honking his horn because people haven’t reacted fast enough.
  • The way to clear congestion is to make public transportation a more convenient option.
  • Maybe the answer to LA’s congestion problem can be solved by a solution London came up with.  A congestion tax.  In order to drive your own car into London city center you have to pay a tax and indicate on your car.  Driving there without paying the tax would result in penalties.  That’s one way to make public transportation more convenient.  Very unlikely to get any real support, but at least it’s an idea.Mudd Hall
  • On a clear day, I can see the Hollywood sign from the Culver City Metro Station.
  • It’s a bit jarring to attend a university that has students who hand out fliers from PETA and then sing for the university’s donors who wear furs.
  • I still haven’t found a place that I can call my own.  But Mudd Hall at USC is pretty close.
  • Some days, all I want to do is go to the Getty and get lost…for days.
  • Despite the surrounding neighborhood, whenever I’m at USC, I feel safe.  Probably because the place is crawling with law enforcement.
  • I love how bucolic the campus is.  It makes me forget that I’m so close to downtown LA.  Having said that, I miss the redwood forests around the Bay Area.  I know we a few redwoods on campus, but they look so sad and starved for water.
  • Across the street, in Expo Park, we’ve got a space shuttle.  How cool is that?!

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Some Thoughts on Living in Los Angeles

Well, I’ve been here in LA for almost three weeks now.  I thought I would take a minute or two and talk about some of the things I’m discovering/learning about living in this HUGE city.

  • I’m living in a rather quiet neighborhood on the west side not too far away from some very busy streets.  I’m surprised how calm and quiet it can become after only a block or two.
  • I love living in a place with lots of palm trees.  They are everywhere, and I mean everywhere.
  • There are so many people here in all shapes, sizes and colors.  They come in all temperaments as well.
  • I have been noticing a great disparage between the rich and the poor here.  My train travels from Culver City through West Adams to the financial district downtown so I see a lot of “haves” and “have nots” on my journey.
  • You might have noticed that I’ve been walking everywhere rather than driving.  Some people who have lived in LA might be wide-eyed in shock.  It’s common knowledge that a car is an absolute necessity in LA.  Well, that’s not an option for me right now.
  • Most of the time, when I hear someone say, “I hate LA,” it’s usually preceded by, “I’m looking for a place to live,” or “I was driving/I need to drive to/I was on the freeway.”
  • As far as public transportation here is concerned the Metro Rail is great.  I take the Expo line train to school everyday and it’s gotten me there in under 20 minutes.  I got an unlimited use, semester-long pass from USC for about $80.  Try spending that much on gas for just one month!
  • The Metro buses, however, are terrible.  They’re crowded, not very friendly towards “novice riders,” and VERY inconsistant with arrival and departure times.  They’re also very infrequent which is surprising because of how crowded they get.  In addition, they don’t cover the city very well.  Where I live I have to walk 9 or 10 block before I can find a Metro bus stop at all. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the public transport in London, but I feel that even Provo’s bus system is more efficient than this.
  • Everything is expensive.  Food especially.  I need to find a way to get cheap/free food.  Any ideas?
  • Speaking of food: Jack-in-the-Box.  Talk about a blast from my past, I haven’t seen those for almost 9 years.  Food’s still great.
  • The weather here has been amazing.  A bit on the warm side, but I like it a lot.  There’s always an amazing, soothing ocean breeze flowing through the city.
  • I’ve now been woken up by two earthquakes this week.
  • School at SC has been great.  I like all my classes, professors and colleagues.  The campus (at least where I go to class) is very beautiful and bucolic.  People here have been very friendly and I’m finding it to be a great fit so far.  I was just walking around campus the other day and thought to myself, “This is where I need to be right now.”
  • I still haven’t been to the beach yet.  I’m only a bus ride down to either Santa Monica or Venice and I still haven’t been.  Many friends and family will probably be shocked to hear this because I LOVE the beach and try to go as much as I can.  I’m planning on this Saturday and NOTHING will stop me!

This is its own city.  It’s nothing like Dublin, London, Vienna, Frankfurt, Chicago, Las Vegas, Salt Lake or even San Francisco.  I’m still understanding it.  There have been several days when I’ve woken up, walked out from my front door and thought to myself, “Whoa.  I live in Los Angeles now…how exciting!”