Wednesday, July 27, 2016

HE'S GOT YOU HIGH
AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW YET

(music: She's Got You High - Mumm-Ra)

So about a week ago, I got to the Venice/Santa Monica part of town. I walked down Main Street, saw an outlet for Bulletproof Coffee, etc. I haven't yet been to The Bungalow, but am hoping I go sometime soon, maybe with Keith but I dunno.




I walked to the remnants of the Venice canals, because apparently Venice Beach in LA was developed to be similar to Venice in Europe, I didn't know that!

I haven't been to European Venice (or any part of Europe, for that matter) but I'm guessing they look wildly different.



I'm amused by their half-numbering of apartments. It's like Platform 9 3/4. Speaking of which, there is a Harry Potter Studio in the Universal Studios here in LA, and I feel like going. Haven't found a suitable Potterhead to go with, yet.




The Green "Doctors", dispensing medical marijuana, could be found along Venice and Santa Monica beaches.

The next day I went to Abbot Kinney, named the "coolest block in America". It was hipsterish, and there was lots of good food, and very nice quaint shops with one-of-a-kind knick-knacks that I would have loved to buy back for my best friends and family.


I Dream of Ice-Cream --- me, always.


I got a book of dirty jokes for my host, Keith, who seems to be very straight-laced. He's so focused and so decent I decided to get it for him, while worried that it might be a little inappropriate.


Keith is one of the most accomplished people I've known. He saved a movie theater from going bust (and therefore his wifi signal password was "isavedthemet", thankfully you don't know where he lives so you can't leech his wifi HAHAHA) and he had government clearance (it's true, I saw all the certificates in his house) and would go through drug tests so he's never taken drugs in his life and I was impressed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I called him the Alien of America.

And he won one of those software hijacking tournaments thing, I think. Not that I know exactly what goes on in such things, I'm a tech dinosaur. He was such a decent cutiepie, like every time I saw him I wanted to pinch his cheeks, but of course I didn't, because I'm not crazy.

I was sick when I left Keith's, which was a real pity. He had set up a surfing lesson for me as he also lives right by Santa Monica/Venice beach, so he was friends with the surf instructor, but that morning I was already sick and my ears were ringing and throbbing, so I had to give the surfing lesson a pass. :(

Then I moved to Patrick's. Patrick works in TV production and he loves his job because "there's rarely a typical day", and he's also writing a script so there are notes on his walls.



I read a few of them.





Please note the shelf in the above and below photographs are two different shelves.





Patrick also had books, almost literally everywhere.


He also had pawprints in his dusty furniture, because he recently dog-sat for his friend.

I wanted to help declutter his place by even a little bit (my Asian is showing) so I collected his massive pile of beer/wine/vodka/alcohol bottles and brought them out of the apartment. I'm sure there were at least a hundred of them.

After having brought out piles and cartons, his neighbour Betty took pity on me so she brought a shopping cart to me, so it would be easier to move them all at once.



This was the final pile.



Patrick says Betty is like the "fairy godmother" of the apartment building, and I liked her so, so much! She was so adorable, and she hugged me when she found out I was sick. Like, if I ever come back to LA again, I'd want to see Betty.

Patrick was the coolest host, as he had actually pinned out all the food/attractions/activities onto a Google Map for his surfers.





It was so helpful. Unfortunately, I was mad sick for most of the time I was there, so Pat and I just hung and watched TV. Fortunately, Patrick works in TV production, so he seemed to know everything. Like, everything I asked about TV, he would know.

He got me into watching BoJack Horseman, a Netflix original animation, which is hilarious. Aaron Paul is in it, and I feel like they just took Jesse Pinkman's character out of the Breaking Bad universe and plopped him into the BoJack universe.

We also watched NFL, where Patrick fanboyed his team, New England Patriots, and taught me the basics of American football. I asked if he watched soccer but he says "any game that can end in a 0-0 tie is not a sport" and that it's too boring for him.

Patrick also reads a lot (read: books ALL OVER HIS HOUSE) so I read his copy of Fight Club to compare it to the movie. He just let me watch TV and read books the entire time I was there which means I was basically in heaven (except sick and out of it).

I Skyped Han for slightly more than an hour while I was at Patrick's, and it's really strange how we could be so far apart, and not have talked or texted for ages, but when we Skyped, I just feel instantly at ease. Like, she feels and gets me, yknow?

When we were ending our video call, Han said she had been waiting for it so she could let go of a fart she had been holding in. Oh Han. #classic

Besides watching BoJack, we also caught an episode of Chef's Table, which made me really, really hungry, and also made me wanna go to Slovenia, stat. I think, of all my hosts so far, Pat was the chillest one and I felt comfortable just reading and eating and watching TV.

After Patrick's, I headed to Kam's. Kam works on a Disney Channel show that my sisters watch (I used to watch some Disney productions but this particular one, never have).



He has a cat named Spaz. Apparently when Spaz was a kitten she would have spasms at 5pm everyday, so that's why they called her that. I like Spaz, although she isn't very manja.

Kam has been driving me around because I keep forgetting nonsense like returning Patrick's key to him before I left his place, etc etc. I wanna blame it on being sick, so I shall. I'm kinda sure I'm not so forgetful if I'm at 100%, anyway????

While driving me around, Kam always passes me his iPod and says I'm welcome to play DJ, which is like (100) (100) (100) emoji. Y does Blogger not allow emoji, I need this to happen now.


We had tacos, which I liked!


I had a "Mexican Coke" which is supposed to taste different from a normal Coke, because they use real sugar instead of corn syrup. The thing is that I've never tasted a "normal Coke" which is I guess an American Coke. I don't know which one the Singapore Coke uses, so I don't taste any difference between a Singapore Coke and a Mexican Coke. Gotta try an American one and let you know.

On Sunday, Kam and I were watching Stranger Things (I kept saying it looked like Twilight Zone, and I haven't gotten past the fourth episode, but will finish the season tonight, hopefully) when he let me have a small piece of this:



This was a Vanilla Chai Milk Chocolate, and if you know me, you'd know I love vanilla and I love chai, so I loved the flavour and I wanted more, but it also contained "medical cannabis". I had that small piece above, half of a small perforated square of the chocolate bar.

Kam gave it to me not thinking much of it, and nor did I, because it was tiny??? Also because he knew I'd had prior experience, so we didn't think it was a big deal. It was chocolate, it was delicious, no big deal, right??? WRONG.

So if you recall me saying, we were watching Stranger Things, and then it started to hit me. The first thing I thought was I was becoming paranoid, because "omg what am I doing, I barely know this guy, and he's gonna do something to me" and Kam heard me saying it, so he held my hand and kept saying "it's okay".

To be honest, in retrospect, it should have been pretty funny because Kam ate exactly the same amount as I did, so he was high while I was having a bad trip, so he was trying to calm me down while he was zen or whatever, we were like a see-saw.

So I told Kam to change the channel to Friends, which I watched and it was just a whole blur, I did not get what was going on. I began to ask Kam how long had passed, and for him to start counting how many times I asked him to say "it's okay". I think at one interval it was 5 times, after one hour and fifteen minutes.

While tripping out, I said to Kam, this would be the perfect time to write my play/musical. Artists like Lady Gaga use drugs all the time to create art, right??? Unfortunately, try as I might, I don't have a musical bone in me, and I didn't have much control over myself or my movement to write anything down. I barely knew whether anything that happened was going on in my head or if I was actually saying it aloud to Kam, I couldn't feel myself.

All I know for sure (and Kam confirmed it) was that I wanted ice-cream, because I wanted things that made me happy, so that I could change my high to be a good, happy high. But for the life of me, I couldn't pinpoint anything happy in my life or even in my recent LA trip, and I started talking about my family and all our problems (at least, I think I did).

It was such an emo, sad trip. I think I asked Kam whether I was talking nonsense, and Kam said some other people would have said much more nonsense, but that I was still being pretty articulate about what I was feeling and experiencing. Actually I don't know if this really happened, might have just happened in my brain.

Neither of us knew why I was going through such a bad experience (Kam kept saying sorry for it), but here are my tips, in case you need any. I am in no way condoning this experience, but if you were ever to try it, I'd rather you have a happy experience instead of a bad one.

Eating it is not at all the same as smoking it. When you eat it, it gets digested and released through your bloodstream, meaning it is a way more intense experience. If you were to eat the same kind of chocolate as I did, or you wanna have a weed brownie sometime in Holland or something, please be aware that it does not kick in the way smoking does. Eat a small piece first, maybe the size of a fingernail, and see how it hits you in half an hour.

Secondly, don't be a doofus and watch Stranger Things or anything remotely morbid or dark (this one I dunno whether to fault Kam, he shoulda been more aware of the consequences than I was!), it may steer you towards fear and paranoia. Have your happy things around. Have ice-cream or sushi in the house. Watch Friends or your favourite Disney movie (Wall-E!).

Be with someone you trust. Eat it with your best friend or your partner or anyone whom you've generally had in your life for a long time. I'm gonna hang myself out to dry, here, but my bad trip could have actually turned into a horrible nightmare experience in real life, if Kam was an asshole but thank goodness he's not. I trust people very easily, but from this moment on, I am not consuming anything without really weighing the pros and cons of it.

If you're an artistic/musical type, or you just wanna monitor the extent of your creativity while on a high, I suggest turning on the voice recorder on your phone or filming the entire thing, if you're really curious. I highly doubt there would be any gems, but it might make for nice keepsakes to pass down to your grandchildren one day. ;P

I 100% do not recommend being under the influence of any drugs while you're sick. I would guess that I was feeling not too good about life and about myself while I was sick, and that would have been amplified while I tripped out, so. No. Unless you are in tip-top shape, don't take anything you're not familiar with.

For something considered to be "medical" cannabis, it didn't help make me feel better at all. I knocked out for an entire day and night.

Yesterday, I watched Friends, this time sober and functional, and I sobbed when Monica and Chandler proposed to each other.



At this point, I no longer know if I'm team Ross & Rachel or Monica & Chandler. All I know is I'm a crybaby.

If you're wondering about G, last week was a physical test of his perseverance as much as it was a mental test of my endurance.






He climbed the Mont Blanc! It is the highest point of Europe, according to him (I didn't fact-check this) and he also sent me a video! I can now confirm that he has an appealing French accent indeed. ;P

Today I got a text from Nick saying I had sent his girlfriend a message on Couchsurfing (I didn't know who she was, obviously) to request for a stay. I felt really bad and told him to let her know to ignore it, but then he said I was "not ready for this trip and I should head home".

It's funny, my best friends and family have all been cheering me on and rooting for me to get better despite knowing of my monetary issues, and the methods of me looking for places to stay and the creeps I've stayed with and then left because they were creeps. But despite all their encouragement, nothing has given me more motivation to continue with this vacation and get better ASAP as that message from Nick.

He thinks that just by using the disclaimer that he's "concerned", he can actually believe that he sent me that text out of concern. Hey, Nick, there are people on Couchsurfing who haven't even hosted me yet, who are giving me the addresses of free clinics, because they see that I'm sick. That's called concern. There are people going out of their way to get me medicine or honey and lemon (that's Patrick) or getting reduced prices for surfing lessons because they know of my financial issues (Keith) or driving me around town to cross food off my checklist (Kam), I think that's concern.


The above is an example of concern.

You haven't done squat for me on this trip, and I don't hold it against you as you have a girlfriend. But please don't say anything to me anymore on the pretext of being "concerned". I don't need it. You don't own LA, you don't get to say who gets to be here and who doesn't. You're not my mother, and even my mother doesn't ask me to return 'cos she has "my best interests at heart".

I could have told you, out of concern, that you shouldn't have got Lucy, 'cos you're not ready to take care of a pet, you only got her for your own selfish reasons of being depressed and lonely. But I didn't, because that's not concern, that's spite.

And now, out of the sheer perversion of human nature, wanting to do something even more when they are told they can't, I'm gonna get better and have an even better time once I'm fully recovered. Mark my words. Who says you have to be ready for anything? There's no such thing as ready.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TO MY HEART I MUST BE TRUE

(music: The One That I Want - Lo-Fang)


Last week, the French girls let Jesse and I listen to this slow version of The One That I Want, from Grease, which has been an on-and-off earworm for me, the past couple days. The short video clip makes no sense to me but I figure it features the beach so it's kinda apt for this post and also, Chanel No. 5 is my favourite, go-to perfume ever since Mum got it for me for my 21st.

So last week, you'd have known that I was staying at this guy Bill's house. A reminder that it was at the nice end of Glendale, on top of a mountain/hill and the view was spectacular.


His son was adorable. he hijacked my phone and headphones and went through my songs for a track he could dance to.






Unfortunately, his dad was not so adorable.


Even before I'd gone over to the place, his messages seemed a little off, but I thought "what the hey, maybe he just types very unfortunately" (especially because he actually had nice references from other previous travellers) but when I met him, his behaviour really was quite off and off-putting.

Initially I thought it was just me overreacting, but then the other female couchsurfer who was also there at the same place said something, and we both opened up to each other. Apparently he would isolate each of us and say weird stuff, so neither would suspect the other received the same treatment.

His son told the other girl, that the dad got mad and has to go to "drunk school"/AA. We both felt so bad for the kid. Anyway, after both the girl and I didn't warm up to the dad, he made us feel unwelcome although he had initially agreed to hosting us for much longer periods, so we left and reported him to Couchsurfing.

Yeah, no surprise, that happens on Couchsurfing. They don't or can't really force anything on you as their identities and addresses are open to us, but it can get pretty damn uncomfortable just by being around them and the weird pressures.

I guess so far most of my experiences have been safe and warm, so I'm glad for that. I've just learned my lesson to be more wary of hosts before I make my way over. It's sad that people abuse such a system though, I mean most nice, decent people would do it just to interact with travellers and show them the side of their localities that tourists wouldn't normally know of firsthand.

Most of them don't expect anything besides some treats/tokens of gratitude, or to be hosted when they visit the traveller's home country. Why would you prey on travellers and depend on them to hook up? There are other platforms for that. Gross.

(By the way: to my best friends and family, I didn't tell you because I didn't want yall to worry, and really, everything is fine now, do not worry!!! Everyone else I've met is really nice and helpful.)

Also: another lesson I learned from actual experience is that money can't buy class nor happiness. He lived in the biggest house I've been in in LA, but his behaviour was unappealing, and his life didn't seem all that great.

Anyway, while waiting to go to my next place to stay, I watched The BFG, my first movie in the USA! It's more expensive here than in Singapore.



It's spacious as all heck, though. I stretched out my legs and could barely reach the next row, and as you know, I have rather long legs.

The BFG was enjoyable, both visually and character-portrayal-wise. It was sufficiently whimsical and amusing.



The Glendale Galleria/Americana at Brand is a pretty nice mall, there's an area where kids were blowing bubbles and running around on the grass. It all felt very, posh.

In any case, I was at a loss for where to stay, and I recalled that Radhika, my friend from primary school, works and lives in LA now, so I asked her if I could crash for a while, and I'm so grateful she said yes. I'm sorta glad that creep-thing happened because it was really nice to have caught up with her.

It was weird to just initiate something after fourteen years of not having talked to her, not even on Facebook, but we had the Singaporean hometown spirit in common, so I felt at ease knowing this was someone I could still pretty much identify with, more so than most of the rest of LA.

She works at Faraday as an engineer, I think it's an automotive company that positions itself to rival Tesla. It's quite cool, and I was very impressed by her. I dated a guy once, whose idol was Elon Musk. Didn't work out well. I wish I could see the SpaceX facility, still. Anyway, not relevant.




She set up an air mattress for me at the very last-minute's notice (like a couple of hours). Really sweet!


She had quotes from Albus Dumbledore printed and pasted on her wall. I recall her being a full-on Harry Potter geek (as was/am I) so it was good to see that some good things never change.


Her books made me wish I could have gone/was going to university.

Anyway, when I arrived, she said the house wi-fi password was "CharlesShaw2" because apparently, there's a Californian wine from Charles Shaw's vineyard, and although it's decent wine, it sells for $2 per bottle at Trader Joe's (at least it used to, now it's $2.50). Charles Shaw and his wife divorced, and he didn't want his wife profiting from the business so he undercut the prices of his own wines!

Amazing!!!!!! The things you learn!

The upstairs/living room of her apartment was gorgeous, because one of her housemates is an interior designer. 218928 points to them!














I loved the house, it was just so comfortable and yet plush-looking. Very tastefully done. My mum would have loved it.

Another thing that was great about the house was it was literally a two-minute walk to Manhattan Beach. My Uber driver was telling me that it was prime property and I was like, yeah okay, I geddit, but I didn't actually get it until I woke up and walked down to the beach.











On the first day, I sat on the beach and read my book.

That evening, Radhika drove us to a Thai place, called (very original, #sarahcasm) Thai Dishes.


Have you ever heard of Kang Mus-Mun, Muslim curry? Americanised Asian food fascinates me to no end. What in the heck is Muslim curry???



I had a roasted duck red curry. The flavour was good, but they added bamboo shoots which is confusing because bamboo shoots are found in Burmese food, not Thai! But hey, when in America... Eat as the Americans eat, right?

After dinner, we went to watch The Secret Life of Pets at AMC. My second movie in two nights! I am now a full-fledged American!!!! It was also entertaining and I laughed much more than I expected, and the animals were really cute. Also, it opened with Taylor Swift's Welcome To New York, which is when I already decided the movie could do no wrong. ;P

The next morning, I busted out my running shoes (well actually just took them out of my shoe bag) and ran by the beach.




I ran from Rosecrans Ave to the pier. It wasn't the most productive 'cos I kept getting distracted by friendly dogs and guys playing volleyball or cycling or surfing, etc etc. But I don't complain. ;)

After my run, I put on my swimsuit and tested the waters. The waters were fine but some guy surfed his board right into my head and I went under. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even that didn't faze me, I just swallowed some of the Pacific Ocean and decided I survived a hit from a surfboard, I'm less scared to learn to surf now.

After my run and swim, I went back to Radhika's place for a final change of attire, and walked down The Strand, just to take in the views of/from all the houses there.





These houses are legitimately right by the beach. You know the feeling you have when you wake up in a beachfront resort apartment and you take in the sea breeze, stretch and think "ahhh... this is the life"? You know that feeling?

I wonder when the people who live in these houses have that feeling, 'cos they wouldn't be thinking it if that's their life everyday, yes/no? I mean, once you've got it made like that, then what? But also, how do you get it made? Who are the people living in such houses? Are they born into the families? Are they self-made? The nouveau riche? I need to know!!!!





This kid was the cutest, he was waving at everything. Even plants. SO CUTE!





Some poor kid left his or her shoe behind.



When you open your French doors and let in the summer sea breeze, THAT IS THE LIFE!!!!!!!!! (Thinks back to Bill and reminds myself: money cannot buy class nor happiness. Repeat over and over as mantra. ;P)






I didn't quite get this place. I liked the wooden exterior but the yellow glass panels, what are they? I don't get the aesthetic??



My mother would die of envy looking at all these houses.


Unflattering gratuitous photo of myself.




"If I visualise myself in the house, I will live in it one day...." thinks every single person who walks by such a house and doesn't live in one themselves.



This guy had this pose out from like a mile away, when he first saw me with my camera, hehe.

For dinner, I ate alone at a sushi place back on Rosecrans. It's a good thing Americans are so friendly, even when I'm dining alone, people from the other tables are always saying hi and asking about me. #phew








I had carpaccio, crispy lobster and chocolate flan for dessert. I decided to indulge myself as I hadn't spent that much last week. Everything tasted really good, but somehow I just feel like it would have been better if I could have shared it with good company.

That night, Radhika drove to a Ralph's to do some grocery shopping.


Ben & Jerry's is like a third of the prices of those in Singapore! Because it's made here locally. I am so peanut butter and jealous!!!!!!! Ben & Jerry's is my favourite!!!


I bought four flavours and spent less than half of what I would have in Singapore. I had two for breakfast on Saturday, and then..... I died.

Completely forgot that my period was impending, and I usually avoid cold things and especially ice-cream during my period/PMSy days, so that afternoon I just had cramps and wasted the entire afternoon curled up on the air mattress and groaning and wishing I would die.




I was whining to G all the while, which is ridiculous if you think about it! We have never met each other, and yet he's pretty much in sync with my period cycle.

I took a nap after drinking some boiling hot water, and when I woke up, Radhika's cherry tomato pasta sauce was ready.




It was delicious. She added some chilli flakes so there was a tinge of real spiciness there, unlike how the people here always just add sriracha to everything for some hotness in their food. Pasta was also much-needed carbohydrates and comfort food for my crazy menstruating body.




Radhika's fridge photo.... I left her place that night as her fourth roommate would be returning from her vacation and I didn't wanna impose on them too much. Radhika gave me some tips for if I would be flying to NYC sometime this summer (I have to do this!!!) and I'm super stoked, and will always be indebted to her!

The next place I went to, for a night, was Josh's, and his cousin collects -get this- pinball machines.







I played on two of the machines, and was endlessly amazed that there was a collection of pinball machines in someone's house. LA APARTMENTS ARE THE FUCKING COOLEST!!!! /goes batshit crazy



I was still pretty out of it from my period, so I crashed the night away.

Yesterday, Josh drove us out to some hipster area in Long Beach.


"The universe will open doors where there were only walls" yesssssss I love quotes like this. :)

We went to The Attic for brunch.





Say hi to Josh. He's a dick. No don't worry, we've gotten to such camaraderie. He called me a dick first, so. I was nothing but nice to him!!!


I had a really good hot chocolate. (OMG why doesn't the world live with hot chocolate as a staple? This world needs to wake up its idea.)


Josh had their legendary Mac & Cheetos, which. was. incredible!!! I wanna get one on my last day in LA and bring it back to Singapore, and tell them LA is the land of mindblowing things like Mac & Cheetos mac and cheese.


I had a Blue Bayou, which is eggs (served scrambled or omelette but I chose for scrambled this time) with crab and shrimp, with avocado, toast and potatoes. This might not be their signature dish like the mac & cheese but it was so, freaking, good. I completely forgot about the sushi I'd had by myself, and thought this was the best meal I'd ever had in LA.

Also, for 15 USD and very good service, super recommended for a great brunch experience!!!

I haven't been posting photos of myself because I've been a doofus since I arrived and experienced issues with my skin versus the sun.


First I was peeling like an actual snake, until I discovered the miracle of Vaseline.



And then my sunglasses/panda tan is crazy, my nose is a completely different skin colour from the rest of my face!!!! I need to take better care with sunscreen/sunblock/aftercare lotion/Vaseline. The sun here is crazy.

Last night, I made my way to my newest host, Keith's place, in Venice. When I arrived, he showed me around and he gave me a pink towel to use, and he remembered that I like pink. The moment he started being sweet, you know I was like "game over, here, have all my feelings" lololol.

How do you indicate your attraction to a host? You don't. What if he thinks I'm a creep and it's awkward for the rest of my stay here, or what if I get thrown out 'cos he thinks I'm crazy! Also why does this always happen. Dyou guys know/recall the 40DOD experiment? I'm basically Jessica Walsh. Lord, help me.

I haven't taken many photos, but I'll start exploring today. I think I'll have a really good time walking around this place. Keith is working but he gave me so many pointers on things to check out, and I'm pretty sure they're incredible.


This morning, he made me a cup of Bulletproof coffee because his description of it was intriguing enough (made with butter, taking Venice Beach/the world by storm). I actually enjoyed it and lapped it up 'cos it was delicious, which is like ?!?!?!? I don't drink or like coffee, I'm a tea person!!!!

He was explaining that it's made with expensive butter from Ireland, and the Omega-3/Omega-6 was good if the cow eats grass instead of being corn-fed, and that the caffeine from bulletproof coffee is fat-soluble or something, so it's slowly released through the body instead of regular caffeine which is instantly sent through the system.

I'm not exactly sure what the mechanics were, while he said all that my brain was still just processing that I liked this coffee.

This morning, I did my laundry and had a slow start because it's still the third day of my period, but I think I'm game to walk around Venice/Santa Monica for the rest of the day. I wanna watch Swiss Army Man, I'll go and see if I can do so anywhere nearby this week.

Have a really good week ahead! So Much Love! xxx