Salton Sunset Action by Chris Leavens

By Chris Leavens

He thinks he can fly.


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Wow. I really need to get out to California to see it. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

Question for the California-inhabiting Unloosen staff: Is LA really the cesspool that I've come to think of it as? I just picture one sprawling hate-filled concrete gang-scarred nestled under a giant cloud of smog and the collective smugness of everyone in the "industry".

Rodin's Thinker will corrode if you leave it there for too long.

Chris W,

LA is and isn't the cesspool that you've come to think of it as. There are lots of mountains, canyons, and forests dotting the city, which makes for an interesting mix of urbanity and nature. There are some amazing aspects of LA: the architecture downtown, the dramatic coastline (especially in Malibu), the nonstop onslaught of culture and cultural events. LA's also the home of the strip mall, one of the least historically aware places (especially in regards to buildings and preservation) I've been to, and yes, those industry folks can be more than a bit smug. This is the town pretense built, after all. By and large, though, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but it sometimes takes a while to get past those drawbacks because they're so immediate and apparent. The benefits are more sustaining and longer-lasting, but they're revealed over time. Kind of like one of those albums that doesn't strike you as brilliant until you've owned it for a year or two; all of the sudden you hear a song in a different way and it all begins to make sense.

That sounds rather nice. I hope you didn't take any offense to my question. It was an honest question albeit with a snarky wording.

My esteem of LA went up when I watched the entire series of Six Feet Under. That show did more for how cool LA can be than anything I've ever seen before.

I get most of my knee-jerk impressions of places I've never been from television. Television! When You don't want to think!

It's pretty much a draw between good and bad in Los Angeles, if you were to ask me. Downtown is probably my favourite place as it has spots like "Chinese Peoples Town" and "Tiny Japan." The names have been changed to keep you and others from raiding my favourite "Manga" shop. There are one or two nice beaches several miles and an hour's crawl through traffic up the coast.

Still, despite improvements, it is smoggy often; the gang scene is out of control; the traffic is as bad as it comes; much about it seems to cater to the Cult Of The Jerk; and, despite the fact that there are many pools of beauty, most of the place is a soul-crushing sprawl of low and ugly apartment blocks and bungalows.

It is where I live, though, and I guess I've gotten somewhat used to it. There's certainly plenty to do. It's fun telling people who don't live there that I live there. It looks cool on a letterhead. It's filthy and decrepit, with many a road that scarcely qualifies as "paved," and yet it's also closer to nature than most other big cities I can think of right now. That part has always been kind of weird to me...

Anyway, that's my answer right now. It changes from time to time. It's not the nicest city on Earth but it's better than Phoenix.

Chris W (again),

I took no offense to your comments at all. I've lived here for 8 and a half years at this point and it took me a really long time to appreciate LA. Admittedly, I live in Burbank, which isn't LA technically, but close enough. The streets are wider and emptier in Burbank and that makes me calmer for whatever that's worth.

There's certainly a good deal of grime and nastiness, but there's plenty of good stuff to balance things out. One of the things that I have trouble with is all of the dust. LA is a very dusty city and the dust is black like soot. The smog can get nasty, but it's not as bad as some people will lead you to believe.

I can't say I love LA, but I like it quite a bit. And like Alex said, it's better than Phoenix, but so is Orlando. About the only thing Phoenix has going for it is its proximity to the awesomeness that is north-central Arizona.

Is that Francis Ford Coppola, c. 1980?

No, of course it's not. [Chris shakes head, nervously chortles and hides his incredible new Motorola V4-T cell phone with the Diddy ring-back tone, 8 megapixel camera, Bluetoof, and the all-new wireless time-travel capability.]

Ok, but does your cellphone look like this? If not, then say goodbye to any clout you have, you has-been.

It goes without saying, but the guy who designed that phone totally copied mine.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Leavens published on February 19, 2007 3:11 PM.

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