Monthly Archives: June 2004

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well, so much for vegas…

After realizing that it is a HUNDRED AND FOUR FAHRENHEIT in Vegas this weekend, my mother asked if I really wanted to go to Vegas.

OF COURSE I don’t want to go someplace 104F. It’ll be hot, and crowded, and full of people in tacky clothes. And the roads will be crowded. No way. And really, I’m happy in Los Angeles. There’s enough stuff here to occupy a weekend with Mom – more than there is in Vegas, anyways. (Not that I would try to sneak out to see friends or anything if I’m here on Saturday night. Of course not) So, hooray, I don’t have to schlep to Vegas!

Today is my one monthiversary in Los Angeles, and I’m shockingly happy here – so happy that I don’t want to leave for the weekend at all. How disturbing is that for a West Coast girl raised on the anti-L.A. attitudes of the Pacific Northwest?

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a call to action (bad canadian, better american)

Despite the maple leaf tattoo on my right hip, I have never been terribly active in Canadian politics. I’ve taken my share of Canadian political science as part of my Comparative Federal Politics minor, but I have forgotten to register to even vote the last two elections (as a Canadian in the States, both time).

By contrast, the night of the Canadian federal election – which is right now – I was at a MoveOn House Party listening to a live webcast of Michael Moore. The support for the movement is incredible. Hundreds of people came out to support the anti-war and anti-Bush movement. I went to a party hosted by Code Pink, a women-for-peace movement. And with fifty other people, I listened to Michael Moore speak about the reaction to Fahrenheit 9/11 across the country, and for the first time since November of 2001 – I have a little more hope in America.

Michael Moore said something tonight that really struck me, and shocked me out of my apathy. He said that being cynical is what the administration wants. Believing that one vote doesn’t matter, that one voice is meaningless, it’s that kind of cynicism and apathy that the people in power love. It lets them stay in power, lets them keep selling out the American people, lets them keep eroding the country and its values, because who’s going to care or bother to stop them?

It’s true. Part of the reason I didn’t get involved in 2000 to keep Bush out of office was because I didn’t care. Part of the reason I don’t follow politics like I used to years ago (Before I Moved To America The First Time) is because it seems so goddamn hopeless, and I’m cynical. I don’t believe that I can make a difference, that any of us can. Not against the media, not against the masses who believe and support Bush, not against Capitalism and Corporations. Not against Exxon and Haliburton disguised as democracy. Not against any of it. The line that comes to mind is off NIN’s “Broken” CD: “just some flesh caught in this big broken machine.”

So I’m thinking it might be time to go back to work. Starting with the phone parties on July 11th. MoveOn.org is organizing house parties that Sunday, where everyone will bring their cell phones. And cell phones all seem to have free weekend long distance these days. And we will call people in swing states (ie. not California) and get them registered to vote.

They think that these phone parties will get 35,000 people registered to vote in one day, and THAT will make a difference.

I have a half-and-half split on my journal readers – probably a little heavier on the Canadian side. But for my friends in Vancouver? WASHINGTON IS A SWING STATE THIS TIME. Sign up on Michael Moore’s website and help register and campaign in the less left-wing zones. I think I’ll go to Arizona this fall for a weekend to register voters – I’ve never been anyways. I think I’ll go remind the rest of America that they should ALL be out voting. I think I’ll help Code Pink hang banners – I’m sure as hell experienced enough in hanging banners and giant paper robots off buildings and overpasses.

(Actually, I’m realizing – my Arts County Fair experience could be very valuable to my local PAC)

I’m a bad Canadian. I forgot to register to vote abroad. I’m a better American than that. Who wants to help phone unregistered swing state voters on July 11th?

APPENDED: I haven’t actually SEEN F911 yet because it keeps selling out here. And I’m not an OHMYGODMICHAELMOOREISBRILLIANT liberal either. I loved Roger & Me, and I think his work is great, but I also think his schtick of being Everyman (or rather, Every Fat American) wears thin. I do not take everything he says as gospel, and I expect to see a lot of holes in F911 – but I admire him for calling so many issues to light, and really questioning everyone on what, really, American values are, and how the corporations, money and power take those values away from the majority of the population.

best celebrity sighting yet

I saw Viggo Mortensen buying a cooler and an L.A. Times at Rite-Aid last night. How L.A. is that?

Definitely a better celebrity sighting that Jerry O’Connell in the Coffee Beam in WeHo when I was there for my Big Job Interview (and therefore could not cough, “Ultraman” at him)

(I posted this fact late last night, but re-posted for easier visibility & non – friends status)

in which jillian makes new friends

So I posted a couple weeks ago about meeting a girl in the local supermarket, and chatting briefly with her about being New to L.A. She turned out to be a recent transplant from Cincinnati, and she told me about how she’d made friends so quickly, and knew all these people, and reassured me that this is an easy city to meet people in. Then gave me her phone number, and offered to introduce me to her friends, partly because she knew it was harsh to move someplace new and not know people, and partly because she thought I seemed cool.

I called her this week, and after some phone tag, we finally managed to connect. She invited me to a party for tonight, Saturday, at a friend’s house. Said friend is the lead singer of the “post-punk” band she plays keyboard for. Random house party with strangers? Well, a stranger is a friend you haven’t met, right? Sign me up!

I met up with her and her roomate this evening, at their place not far from mine. We were joined by two more of their friends, and stayed put, chatting, while they explained to me a brief narrative of how they all met (various jobs, connections, etc), how they made friends in L.A., how they knew so many people. Apparently, they meet people randomly all the time, and add them into their live-action Friendster-style networks. Including lonely Canadians in grocery stores.

We piled into a car, and set off for the party just after ten. Of course, we had to stop for liquor at the Rite-Aid (they sell hard liquor at the drugstores here, it’s insane) and that’s where the Viggo Mortensen sighting happened: the four of us whispering and giggling while waiting to buy a two liter on sale bottle of Bacardi. Poor Viggo. He was having credit card issues, and was already agitated. We didn’t say anything to him, of course, because the poor guy was just trying to run an errand on a Saturday night, and really, what the hell do you say? I’m sure he’s sick of hearing LoTR references by now. And he’s much greyer in real life – but we all knew that.

The party itself was in a house in south Culver City, which is a few miles south of my corner of West L.A. The house itself had a dozen or so people scattered around – the residents, the birthday boy brother, friends, connexions, well wishers. But everyone was involved in or connected to local music in Los Angeles, either as part of a band, or friends with someone in a band, or romantically linked, etc. It was a mix of punk-rock musicians, some older than others, and their hipster friends and associates. And all of them were nice, kind, welcoming people.

The plus side to not knowing anyone here is that I talk to more people at parties. I don’t have my little cadre of friends to hang with, so I’m forced to circulate. I started off just chatting with the girls who brought me, but as they started talking to other people, I found myself in long, left-wing agreement discussions with new people. I had a fantastic time ranting about W. I had a great time ranting about the electoral college. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Ended up talking with yet another recent transplant, a guy from NYC who had moved out to L.A. last fall, and now lives in the hipster district of Los Feliz, right by the infamous Dresden. Simpsons were quoted, and a lengthy discussion was had on the brilliance of Sunny Day Real Estate’s first album. And somewhere, an hour later, phone numbers were exchanged. Apparently, SDRE had quite the following on the East Coast. I actually imagine that will result in a phone call, or a few.

Sometime around 3am, the other girls (two of the four who were still there) were ready to go, and they returned me to my car. On the way home, the driver (the roomate of my initial grocery store friend) asked me who my favorite music artists were. Upon my response of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and Tori Amos, the girls deemed me perfect, and confirmed that I had, indeed, met the right people running into my Cincinnati friend at Ralphs. In fact, I’ll probably go to Curiosa with them – and I’d wanted to go to that, except I didn’t know anyone to go with. Obviously, I’m now thrilled. By pure dumb luck, I somehow managed to network myself into a group of girls with dozens of friends, who seem to like me, and who are into the same classic alternative genre that I am.

Oh, and as a final coincidence, one of their friends that we went to the party with is three degrees from me via Anton. I was mentioning the Self-Destruction Handbook party I’d gone to two weeks ago. She mentioned that she knew about that. “Oh, those were friends of K.” Yeah, well, her good friend and co-worker K is also a good friend and fellow concert band member of Anton’s. I knew there was no way I could possibly meet anyone in West L.A. I couldn’t link back that way, I was just wondering where the degrees of separation would come in.

There’s so much hope for my social life here. It was so awesome to be walking with a group of girl friends into a party again. It was awesome to meet and talk to so many new people. I had an absolutely fantastic night, and the thought of potential friends makes me happy. Hooray for being at the right place at the right time two weeks ago – and hooray for being an overly sociable Canadian who, apparently, can make friends much more easily than she could five years ago.