Tag: los angeles

Sketch 8

Last week was a busy work week, as it was the week leading up to my big monthly event.  Since my event was on Wednesday night, I didn’t quite get to writing up my sketch as I was preoccupied with last minute details for the event.  Mainly, I just worked this past week, but I did manage to fit in a couple trips to the beach though, so that was nice.  It is definitely one of the things that keep me sane in LA.

I had a good conversation with my boss/housemate about what will be happening after the semester is over and my job ends.  We talked about the different scenarios I’m considering, and how we can work on making one of them work.  I really think my top choice is trying to figure out a move to Santa Rosa.  Its in Northern California, which is closer to home, and has at least a little more rain than LA.  Its also about an hour outside of San Francisco, a city I enjoy quite a bit.  The challenge now is to find a job, that I can start in May.  At the very least, I need to work through the end of April, but I’ll probably end up working through the end of finals.  Either way I’ll get paid through May 15th, which is a good thing for my finances.

I’m trying to relax a little today, and will definitely be relaxing this weekend.  I think I’m going to check out the Getty Villa on Saturday.

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Whole Wheat Couscous with Feta, Sun-dried Tomato, Porcini and White Truffle Honey Asparagus

Because my favorite food blogger, Nicole at Pinch My Salt, hasn’t been posting much, I thought I’d do a food related post tonight.  Since I’ve been in Los Angeles, my diet has definitely deteriorated and I haven’t been cooking near as much.  So when I was thinking about my Lenten discipline this year, I thought it would be good to break a bad habit.  So I decided to give up fast food.  For the most part, its been pretty easy so far, however it does mean I’ve also given up In-N-Out for the course of lent.  Sad.  Anyway, one of the things I hope the breaking of the fast food habit would lead to, is more home cooking.  I haven’t cooked at home as much as I would like so far, but I’m getting better about planning time into my busy schedule to do it.

Tonight’s dinner was something that just came together in my head while grocery shopping last Monday.  I was thinking about how I could prepare the couscous I was planning to buy.  While in the produce section I noticed that the organic Asparagus looked pretty good and was a good price.  Remembering the White Truffle Honey I have in my pantry, the dish began to come together in my mind.  I don’t really have a recipe per say for dinner, I just did things by personal taste preference.

Ingredients:
Whole Wheat Couscous
Feta Cheese
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Dried Porcini Mushrooms (Rehydrated)
Asparagus
Butter
White Truffle Honey

Preparation:
Pan-steam Asparagus for approx 5 minutes.  Drain water.  Put some butter in pan (being careful to only brown, not burn the butter) with asparagus, add white truffle honey to taste.  Cook approx 2 minutes longer, making sure asparagus is fully coated with butter/honey mixture.  Remove from heat.  Prepare couscous.  Stir in Feta cheese to taste.  Stir in porcini and sun-dried tomatoes to taste.  Put couscous mixture on plate and top with asparagus.

couscous-asparagus_0004.JPG

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Sketch 7

I’m really thinking hard about what I’m going to be doing after my contract ends in May.  I’m thinking about trying to do some schooling/training in wine making (aka oenology) and/or fermentation science (with an emphasis on brewing).  But I have to figure out where and how I’ll do that.

The skinny on schooling:
There are a couple community college programs I know about in oenology.  One is in Santa Maria, CA at Alan Hancock College.  The known pros so far: I’m already in California and technically a resident.  CC tuition is super inexpensive in Cali…$20/credit.  Also basically in the middle of one of the major central coast wine regions.  Would be good for eventually transferring to one of the BS programs at UC-Davis or Fresno State.  The cons:  Santa Maria is a small town.  I have no job, place to live, friends there.  Chemeketa CC in Salem, OR also has a wine making program.  Pros: in Oregon.  Good for transferring to Oregon State’s program.  Close to Oregon Wine Country.  Cons: Much more expensive ($70/credit).  In Salem, which I’m not too excited about the prospect of living there.

*update: I just found a program in Santa Rosa (which is a little north of San Fran). Pretty much the same pros and cons of the Santa Maria program. Only instead of central coast wine country, i’m close to Napa and Sonoma and in the Russian River wine country.

What I don’t know yet…is it enough to just go to one of the community college programs? Should I just take some targeted science classes at a community college and then try and apply to one of the BS programs?  Is there a CC program in WA that would help facilitate transferring to WSU’s program?  Should I just stick to beer and try and find a brewer to apprentice with in Portland?

Anyway, that is the main thing stewing in my head (at least when I get a few moments away from work).

I finally made it up for a brief visit to Griffith Observatory on Friday night.  By the time I got up there it was only open for twenty minutes, but it was still pretty cool.  The sprawl of LA is both impressive and depressing at the same time.  Saturday was largely a day of relaxation, running a few errands and trying to get my desktop computer working again (I didn’t succeed).  Then I went to Sub-Level with some friends later that night.  It was out in the middle of nowhere in an empty warehouse Sun Valley (ewe…i went to a party in the valley).  I was out until almost 6am Sunday morning.  I had lots of fun, but getting up at 10am for church and then working Sunday afternoon wasn’t as fun.  USC observed President’s Day, so I got an extra day of relaxation over the weekend.  Made a trip to Venice Beach and finally did some long overdue cleaning on my room.  It was a very nice weekend.

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a rhino walks at the end of 2007

I made my first trip back to Oregon since moving to Los Angeles for Christmas.  It was an interesting experience, having been so homesick for much of my time here in Los Angeles.  I drove up to Eugene with a friend (though in separate cars), stopping in one of my favorite places, Ashland, OR, to break up the drive.  A nice relaxing evening in Ashland was just what was in order after a long day on I-5.  We were lucky going over the Siskiyou Pass, as if we had been another 10-15 minutes later, we’d have needed chains (which neither of us had).  After a late breakfast and a walk around downtown Ashland, we headed North on I-5 to continue our treks to our respective homes.

It was good being at home, seeing my Eugene friends, dancing at 80s night.  There was the typical family drama/stress…but really it was ok (I can say that now with some distance…while I was there, I was ready not visit the folks the next time I went to Oregon).  Really the important thing is that I was able to see my sisters.  I just have this feeling that any time now, we won’t all be able to gather as a family for the holidays.

As I look to the new year, I am still trying to settle into life in LA.  I’ve been here five months now and am just really starting to find my places around here.  My job is much more challenging than I ever thought it would be.  I often feel as if I am over my head.  I’ve been thinking a lot over the past couple weeks about whether or not I’m really ready to begin the process to go to seminary.  My thoughts are definitely leaning towards that I am not ready.  This of course brings up the question of what do I do in meantime.  Do I go back to school to teach or for law school?   Do I stay in Los Angeles beyond this school year?  These are the questions I’ll be trying to answer over the next few months.

That’s it for now, one of my goals for the new year is to make at least a weekly post here…so keep checking for updates 😉

I hope everyone has a great New Year!

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on thanksgiving…

I realized that this was first thanksgiving I’ve ever had without spending some time with my family.  It’s kinda weird how much its got me down, since holidays at home are always kinda stressful.  It is a weird dynamic, even though they often get on my nerves, I would give pretty much anything to have been home this weekend.

I’m struggling a lot right now.  I’m not adjusting as quickly (or easily) as I thought I would.  I’m not doing my job as well as I thought I would.  I’m doubting if its really the right fit for me.  Which makes me doubt whether or not the vocation I’ve been journeying towards is really where I should be going.  I miss Portland.  I miss the rain and grey skies.

But yet, I do not doubt that Los Angeles is where I am supposed to be right now.  I can’t completely explain it and it often doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Things aren’t all gloom here either.  I’ve got a couple of old friends that live down here that I get to hang out with once and awhile (though not enough).  I’ve also got a new close friend that I’ve met since being here.  I’ve found a really good church (in Beverly Hills of all places) to be a part of.  These are some of the things I’m thankful for this weekend.  I’m also thankful for my friends in New York, Portland and Eugene…who’ve listened to my whining over instant messaging chats.

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Finally…it rains!!!

It took over two months…but the rain has come tonight…I’ve missed it so.

(Yes I even walked around the block when I got home…just to be in the rain a little longer)  

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2007/finallyit-rains/

things i find amusing about LA

during the morning news…the weather guy kept talking about how today was going to be the start of a cold spell.

the highs today were projected in the mid-70’s

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life in los angeles

It has been a busy few months here in Los Angeles so far.  I think that this has in some way postponed a lot of the homesickness I fully expected to feel.  There has definitely been moments, but those have been quickly put on hold to concentrate on work.  Over the last week, however, it has really begun to sink in that I really live here, and how far away many of my friends are.  Living in LA without a car is challenging and its been difficult to find ways to interact with people outside of the USC community.

Highlights of the first few months:

  • Amazing food discoveries (Like the biggest burrito that I’ve ever seen at a restaurant…and it not being the biggest in LA)
  • Diversity (It’s kinda cool to hear people talk in languages other than English…even though I don’t understand it)
  • The Music Calendar (there is so much going on…its really just a matter of time and money…not whether something is actually happening)
  • Running into old friends at a conference for work in San Francisco that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to initially…but so glad I went to in the end (and seeing a friend from Eugene while I was there as well).
  • Sleeping under the stars on the beach at our Fall Retreat in Oceanside, CA (and the fairly warm ocean water)

Lowlights of the first few months:

  • My diet has been horrible…way to much fast food and eating out in general (and not finding a good grocery store nearby with organic/local food)
  • Adjusting to much longer hours and different sleep schedules
  • Having a hard time finding a “me” outside of USC
  • The Ducks loosing on the second to last play of the game to Cal while surrounded by USC fans.

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Labor Day

The toughest part of living in LA so far has been my days off.  Because I don’t have a car yet, and I only really have two other friends other than my housemate, I end up feeling a little trapped on my days off.  This is further magnified by the fact that I still have quite a different natural schedule than my housemate (I get up when its still the morning).  This coupled with some extra hot days…and I end up just sitting around my room bored all day.

I’m hoping to get the car situation worked out fairly soon.  But I am dependent on my buddy getting it ready for me (like getting new tags for it).  At least then I can get out and more easily explore things.

I still feel this need to find some friends outside of my work world though.  But I’m not really sure how to go about that at the moment either. 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2007/labor-day/

A Few Weeks in LA

I’ve been in Los Angeles almost three weeks now and it still really hasn’t sunk in that I actually live here.  I don’t know if it is a result of my only furniture being a borrowed Aero Bed and a small bookshelf or the fact that I don’t yet have a car.  Whatever it is…it still just feels like a long vacation or perhaps more correctly business trip since I have been working since the 15th.

Not having a car in LA is definitely a much tougher thing than in Portland.  There is public transportation but for some reason it just doesn’t feel as accessible.  Perhaps that is more of just the general mindset of the city around me.  I do have a lead on getting a car from a friend, but currently that’s on the back burner.

I’m living a few blocks from USC in a pretty nice townhouse.  The rent is pretty much double what I was paying in Portland, but for the area, its proximity to the University (and therefore less need of a car)…its a pretty good deal.  The neighborhood is pretty interesting.  The immediate area is largely the college crowd, however a few blocks away the neighborhood becomes largely Latino.

Most of my explorations of the city so far have revolved around food.  There has been a lot of eating out these first few weeks.  The highlights are the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen at La Barca (in the neighborhood) for under $9 and some amazing ramen at Daikokuya in Little Toyko.

I’ve been to the beach (and got the resulting Norwegian Sun Tan…ie redness).

I saw Diana Krall at the Hollywood Bowl, which was a great show at a great venue.  Probably the best sound at an outdoor venue I’ve experienced.

I’ve been to a club in Hollywood (for DJ Heather & DJ Collete @ Deep)

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