Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please remove your shoes before entering this blog

Thank you. The carpets here are brand new and I'd like to keep them that way as long as possible. Now that that's settled, thank you for for joining me here on this server located somewhere near Peshawar I'm sure. If you're unsure of Peshawar's location, get out your world map and find a country with cheap labor that hates us. Peshawar will be pretty close.

By the way, if you like acerbic humor, keep it parked right here.

Meanwhile, I was born in New Haven, CT, heretofore known as NooHavn (just say it really fast and run it all together). While I love my New England roots, there are few opportunities there for people who make noises for a living so I headed west seeking fame and fortune in the hardest subgroup of the hardest industry to crash. Yes, you guessed it: The Entertainment Industry in general and voice-over in particular.

I call this blog Notes from the Outpost because I feel like the westernmost office of the east coast. Certain sociological aspects of west coast society elude me still, especially the parts involving the aforementioned Entertainment Industry.

Picture if you will the world's largest high school. Everything important in high school is important here too. Who has the nicest car, the most stuff, who's dating the captain of the basketball team or the captain of the cheerleading squad all have parallels amongst the showfolk here in LA. Having said that, the grand majority of folks here are focused, hardworking and intelligent. However, one never hears about them. Just like in high school.

Los Angeles is a study of extremes. The nicest people I ever met reside here. The biggest jerks I ever met reside here too. God help you if one of them lives next door. The jerks here are world class.

On the east coast, altering your property requires variances from pretty much everyone in your town. In LA, I wouldn't bat an eye if someone erected a nuclear missile silo in my neighborhood without asking first. A good friend of mine bought a house in the Hollywood Hills with a spectacular close-up view of the Hollywood sign. A couple years later, someone bought the lot next door, tore down the original house, raised the lot level six feet, then built a house stretching from one side of the lot to the other. So the spectacular Hollywood sign view is no more. However, I understand the sound effects emanating from the neighbor's bathroom are quite striking.

Right now, there is a jerk in your town drinking his or her morning coffee thinking, "You know, this little town of mine can't possibly contain the entirety of my jerk-ness......I think I'll move to LA."

I spent 33 years in New England and never used the term "unmitigated gall" once. Since moving here in 1989, the term tumbles off the tongue quite a few times a week on average. Unfortunately, a few world-class asses resonate far more greatly than thousands of cool folks.

The average Angeleno is totally immune to the comedic possibilities contained in healthy cynicism. Remarks sparking howls of laughter in people who live where it actually rains once in awhile elicit responses here like, "Oh your so negative. Can't you say anything positive?"

Yes I can but it wouldn't be anywhere near as funny.

So what's the allure then? Los Angeles is the only city of its size in the world with a national park running through it (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area). The city is ringed with national parks and forests. I can jump in the car, drive to a trailhead and summit an 11,500 foot mountain. The Pacific Ocean is minutes away. You can ski and surf on the same day. Or lay in your sleeping bag in the middle of the desert and watch for meteorites. Or walk across a dry lake bed and find meteorites. There are about 30 million legit theaters, art galleries, museums, music and comedy clubs with world-class entertainment. Somebody stop me. People who don't find something to like about LA spend way too much time looking at their shoes.

LA is where I met my beautiful wife. She is a Marin County girl and the most reasonable human being I've ever known. LA is where I am lucky enough to experience great career highs. There are crashing lows too, sometimes within minutes of the highs. Those are stories for another time. Before I tell them, I have bigger fish to fry....

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