It’s a bit annoying that I have to leave now, while I’m in the middle of some ubercool perl-hacking, but I have a plane to catch. I will not takeJames to Hawaii with me, so I will also not see any email or whatever.I’ll be online again on Tuesday (around 17:00 CET), hopefully I’ll have a whole bunch of supercool photos to upload and great stories to tell.

Have a good weekend everyone!  (I’m sure I will 😉 )

Life and how to live it

California is treating me great. Here are some more stories of my adventures here to make you jealous (if the photos that I posted on flickr hadn’t already done so).

The weekend started off wonderfully with a little party Laura and I threw at our apartment just because we felt like throwing a party. Around 19:30 people started to show up, as well as a dog which I was going to look after over the weekend and there was food and wine and beer and whisky and fun. At some point Laura and Mike decided to brew some Jagermeister bombs (in Mike’s version a rather large shot of Jagermeister with Red Bull), which was cool, although it kicked in a little bit too hard, so I must confess that at some point I decided to leave the party for what it was and go to bed (after I discreetly and much to Jerié’s entertainment, had gotten rid of the alcohol and everything else in my stomach). Luckily people weren’t too offended by my somewhat embarrassing behaviour although I didn’t make a fool of myself too much. I woke up around 03:30, feeling great, so I put on my PJs, had a glass of water and went back to sleep until about 08:00, when I got up to walk the dog. When I got back, the cleaning lady had arrived too. Quite a luxury, and quite a good timing too, although it wasn’t that messy, the apartment just needed hoovering etc. I wasn’t feeling quite 100% yet so I did take it easy on Saturday, so instead of taking out my surfboard, I went for a relaxed brunch on Santa Monica Main Street with Paul.The weather was amazing, so we sat outside in the sun on comfy chairs nibbling away on fruit, garlic bread, soup and an omelette. Then we lazed the afternoon away on the beach, pre-tanning for Hawaii :). Late in the afternoon it was getting a bit nippy, so after a quick stop at Rose for a jumper we went back to the beach again to enjoy the sunset. In the evening there was Lorelei’s birthday party, and the two times I’ve been at Jon and Lorelei’s now the food has been splendid, as well as the atmosphere. I did eat a little bit too much though, but the peaches with chocolate and cream from the oven were just irresistible. I also got to play with a Nintendo Wii for the first time, so yeah, it was a great evening.

On Sunday the weather was still great, but unfortunately the waves weren’t so good, so I had to just hang out on the beach again, bummer ;). No sunset watching on the beach this day though because I went to get my nails done in Santa Monica (OK, really just around the corner, but that’s where Santa Monica starts) with Laura. It’s really not my thing to have manicures and stuff, but the massage chair and one person massaging your feet and the other your hands is quite enjoyable. Although the nail polish is already chipping and frankly I’m already fed up with the colour (even though it’s quite close to normal nail colour). It was a relaxing experience though :).

Monday was a work day again, although I did manage to sneak out for a longer lunch break to walk the dog who was still with me in Venice. I also had a meeting with my professor here, although I was a bit bummed that I hadn’t managed to finish what I had wanted to finish but he didn’t seem to mind it that much. This morning I also had a telephone meeting with my professor in the Netherlands which was cool, I feel I’m really getting somewhere now and that we’ve found an interesting and novel direction to take. I left the office at 17:00 today to get back to Venice in time for my haircut at a cool place called “Sit Still”, just around the corner from where I live. I love getting my hair cut but I always forget to get it done so it’s usually in quite a state when I realise it’s been 5 months since my last haircut. I think I can safely say that I just had the best haircut ever. I had the coolest hairdresser ever, who took an hour just to wash, cut and dry it and he made it look just fabulous while recommending me cool things to do in New York.

I feel all glamorous and happy now 🙂

Life in the big city

Stuff happens here. Cool stuff, like my unexpected trip to the LA Opera. It kind of went like this:

Wednesday 17:55: I’m still at work at ISI when the phone’s Paul, asking if I would like to go to the opera with him (of course I do, duh!). OK, he says, I’ll get tickets, and then I’ll meet you downstairs because it starts at 7 and it’s downtown.

Traffic is a pain in LA, but we were lucky and made it just in time to the wonderful opera venue (very fancy chandeliers!), across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall (still on my to-do list). Most people had obviously had some more time to prepare themselves, as most of the (elderly) women wore fancy dresses and I even saw some fur coats…luckily I was wearing one of my more decent outfits (OK, jeans with my checked cherry Vans and my Chicago Blues festival shirt, not that ‘chic’, but fortunately I also had my black jacket on).

The opera we saw was Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner. I’d never seen this opera, actually this was my first encounter with Wagner and it was good. It was also a very nice performance, with quite a simple but ingenious stage that rose towards the back so they could use the whole stage and still everyone could see every character (especially for the people down in the orchestra ring, as we could see the whole stage from the balcony anyway). Isolde was very strong, Tristan didn’t seem to reach the end of the room in the beginning but got more impressive as the performance progressed. But undoubtedly the best performance was that of the part of King Marke, sung by Eric Halfvarson that night, which made the second act quite impressive as he managed to make you feel ashamed for feeling happy for Tristan and Isolde that they managed to schedule a secret date. Tristan’s friend Kurwenal was very touching in the third act when mourning over his dying friend. Every time it amazes me how music can elicit such strong emotions, it’s really cool. We were only a bit unprepared for the fact that Wagner really takes his time. Verdi usually gets it over with in two hours, but this performance took 4.5 hours in total (that included 2 breaks in which they put up a completely new stage set). Not that it was boring or too long, it was just that the seats were getting a bit uncomfortable and we were getting a bit tired. Fortunately, after midnight LA traffic is quite OK (people go to bed early here), so we got back to the Westside in under half an hour, that is, once we managed to get onto the motorway, since they’re really not big on signs here and a few entrances were closed.

Yesterday I didn’t get up until 8:30, had a quick shower and stumbled into the office around 10 (and still I was quite early, you see, work in academia doesn’t start very early, most people tend to be more productive later in the day). Productivity-wise it wasn’t a very good day because I’m (to put it mildly) a bit pissed off by people sending me information that I would have liked to know about a bit earlier. So at 18:45 I decided to call it a day, even though I still had a shit load of stuff to, and went home to cook some crazy stuff for a little dinner with my housemate and our boyfriends. I went a bit crazy on the dessert because I wanted to try something from the chocolate cookbook that Diana got me for my birthday, which involved a chocolate almond meringue, and I’d forgotten I needed the oven for the salmon too, so dinner took place a bit later than intended. Mike had brought some excellent wine to go with the wonderful salmon that Laura had bought, and we even moved all the furniture around so we could sit properly.

No waves this morning but it was warm enough to cycle without a jumper again 🙂

Surfing (blind date style)

Earlier this week a little mailinglist got compiled with people from ISI and ICT (also a USC institute, it’s located just down the street from ISI) to go surfing on Friday mornings. Since we don’t all know each other and not everyone has photos on their homepages we exchanged some things like `I have a board that’s white on the top and blue on the bottom’ 🙂

Anyway, the guy with the blue and white board couldn’t make it, but there were two other guys with blue and white boards in the water, not part of our little ISI/ICT surf initiative. Luckily, there was another guy also shouting `hey are you the guy from ICT with the blue and white board?’ to them, so that’s how we found out that of the whole group only two people showed up at the Venice Pier this morning at 07:15.

I’d never surfed at the Pier, but I like it, maybe also because it had been quite a while since I’d been in, but the waves were nice. I saw a seal pretty close by also having fun in the water, and the sun helped keep me warm (as the water is actually still pretty cold these days, it also provided some nice rainbows in the sprays). Surfing just makes me so happy!
I am a bit annoyed with myself though, or rather the level of not-fitness that I have reached by not surfing much for nearly a month now (stupid rain season). But the rain should be over now, and if the swell cooperates I can get back into shape before Hawaii :).

Comments are fixed

Not that you were using the option very much anyway, so most of you had probably not even noticed it, but for a while it wasn’t possible to comment on blogposts here. I had temporarily switched off the option to comment because my spamfilter wasn’t working, but now it’s all fixed, and you can only comment on the 5 most recent posts…I hope to hear from you!