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Sunlight and the Ocean

Thu, Feb 15, 2001 4:30PM -0800

It's terrible how dependent I am on sunlight. On days like this, I feel like I'm completely at the mercy of biochemical reactions, and I'm nothing more than a reaction flask. You'd think I'd swallowed a whole bottle of Tylenol #3, the way I was smiling like an idiot all day. But today was really, really nice. The sun was shining and it was warm. It was the perfect day to go to the beach, so I headed out for the Westside.

The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica has evolved rapidly since the first time I went there--I think it was sophomore year in high school. Bram, my friend since elementary school, who at the time had just gotten his driver's license (and had just experienced a wild accident involving the Foothill Freeway, some rain, a 720° spin, and a center divider--but that's another story...) decided to take me along on a trademark exploratory trip. We soon found ourselves regaled by a man with wet hair standing on one foot. The foot that was in the air had a tube sock partially on, and he was singing "In Your Eyes" (by Peter Gabriel, from the "Say Anything" soundtrack). Nearby, another guy was shouting profanities at a light post and wiping his snot on it. I have to say, it all left a huge impression on me.

It was quite a popular hangout spot when we were in high school. A whole bunch of us once went there after prom, and because of the dress my girlfriend-at-the-time was wearing, and because of, I suppose, the apparent age of another guy in our party, a bouncer thought we had just come from a wedding and let us into a bar. I think the last time I actually walked around Third Street was after my famous J Paul Getty Museum debacle (also another story), which was at least three years ago.

In any case, it's certainly changed. They used to have all these eclectic independent stores, most of them selling bongs and/or books about necromancy. The only thing that was mainstream there was Urban Outfitters. Now it's basically another mall, with the requisite Gap and Disney Store. I think I only counted three stores that weren't some kind of franchise. It was kind of depressing. But it was really such a nice day. I didn't really think too hard about it.

Afterwards, I drove down to Venice, seeing as how I was already out there, and I don't think it's changed much at all. Sure it's a little cleaner, and probably a little safer, but it still feels comfortably counter-culture. Although I must say, it no longer smells of marijuana. I wanted to stay out there for a while, but the parking meters maxed out at one hour. I don't think I've walked around Venice Beach since Bram got his tattoo there. I don't even remember when that was anymore.

The reason why I've been driving throughout the Southland (besides being bored) is that my sister has kind of put me on this quest. I'm supposed to find four posters that will make her forget about our money and material object obsessed culture. I know it's impossible. She laid this geas on me after she watched the Superbowl half-time show and realized how disgusting NSync is--well, in reality, how disgusting what NSync and all those other boy bands stand for--the death of creativity. What can I say. Welcome to the Brave New World.

In any case, all I've managed to pick up is a Radiohead poster for OK Computer and a poster of Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" , which she was for some reason obsessed with last summer. She even read the book by Truman Capote, and was devastated when she found out that George Peppard pretty much ended his career on the A-Team. I have a feeling she won't like either of the posters, though. Oh well. She can't say I didn't try. Heh.

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