Tales of San Francisco echo through the air

I’ve been having SUCH a good time in California that I’ve hardly found the time and energy to even download my photos onto the computer, let alone post them anywhere. I’ve been in Los Angeles since last weekend, but I’m really missing San Francisco, so here’s a handful of random photos that I took.

I’ll hopefully, eventually get around to blogging all the details, but for now I’m just going to make a list of my San Francisco highlights:

$2 Tuesdays at The Ambassador – includes shots!
– meeting and hanging out with a bunch of awesome people from all sorts of different places
– SF Museum of Modern Art
– ferry cruise around the bay which entailed going under the Golden Gate Bridge and going around Alcatraz
CABLE CARS!!! And acting all blase on it, trying to not piss the locals off like all the other tourists, haha
– walking miles and miles instead of using my transport pass so I can see the streets and details
– staying up all night hanging out with the night shift people at the hostel
– nobody thinking I’m anywhere near underage here
– the Exploratorium being next to the Palace of Fine Arts (last photo)
– the intense customer service at Victoria’s Secret
– finding out that the hipster bars are universally the same, apparently
– and that people try to make clubs like on MTV + skanks are the same on this side of the Pacific also
– meeting someone I wish I never met because it got my hopes up about someone breaking my “golden standard”
TOUCHING A SHARK and stingray (ref to photo)

and so many other things that my tired brain cannot think of right now. But it’s a city that I will definitely revisit as soon as I can. I just loved so many things about it.

Back to current reality though, I moved out of a hostel in Hollywood today and am now crashing at Malibu. Watch this space.


Everytime I hear the word “California” I think of that Phantom Planet song that used to be on The OC. Point is I am now in California! Currently, I am sitting at a kitchen table in a hostel in Hollywood, and tomorrow I am heading up to San Francisco.

Somehow I was very lucky wth my flight that, not only were my tickets so cheap, but I managed to get 3 seats to myself! Cheapest, BEST seats onbaord, I’m pretty sure, and  I savoured the luxury of being able to spread my legs out to sleep. Liv and her roommate picked me up from the airport and we headed off to a mall, for Pinkberry’s frozen yoghurt and then later dinner at a place called the Grand Lux Cafe.

Very irrelevant, but I really feel the need to show off the rainbow cake and cupcakes that I made for my friend Liz’s birthday party on Friday night:

Moscow Mule:

Deadly walking stick:

Heading to the City of Angels

1 year down, 2 to go – I can’t believe I’m 1/3 of the way through my degree already. This year has been the longest yet fastest year of my life, I swear. I also cannot believe that…

…I am going to California! Namely, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I’ve always been an impulsive person, but this is probably the biggest impulse-buy that I have ever made – I managed to get $999/return flights from Auckland to LAX and I leave on the 7th November. So far I’ve got it planned so that I spend my first day (I arrive in the afternoon that Sunday) with my sister as she has no weekend classes or activities, and I’m staying at a highly rated hostel in Hollywood. Based on my phone calls to them, they do indeed have superb service so I’m not anxious about it and I’m super excited! The other great thing about the USA Hostels chain is that (amongst other places and services offered), they have a $45 shuttle from their Hollywood hostel up to the one in San Francisco. I had been considering flying out to New York and crashing at a family friend’s place, but the flights are just far, far too expensive – a flight from LA to NY would cost almost half of what I’m paying to fly from NZ to LA, which does sort of make sense, but at the same time, urgh. I’m just going to have to go to New York next time, on a more extensive trip. Although my heart aches at the prospect of missing out this time… But the good news is, it means I’m saving all my weekends with my sister, and also any half-days of school she has. I’ll also be staying with her in her dorms at Pepperdine University – which is a promise of spectacular views and apparently a very amazing machine in the cafeteria that offers all beverages imaginable!

The other major, major thing is I have a ticket to see the Lakers vs. Bulls! It took me about three bloody hours to get a ticket last night, because Ticketmaster USA is a dickhead. For some unknown and unexplained reason, their website kept failing to sell the ticket to me. Then I rang (luckily for free, thanks to Gmail) them up and spent a couple of hours wrangling up a fake US accent and shouting down the line to their automated system. I can understand why it took several attempts to recognise me saying things like “Chicago Bulls” or “November 23rd”, but when it failed to recognise me saying “yes” or “no” – that was just too far. I ended up trying to emulate the recording’s voice in an attempt to sound, uh, more understandable? I hope when I’m thirsty in a restaurant I don’t have to try and say “water” in a US accent, because that would absolutely kill me and my dignity. I know Liv had to do it once, because us NZ kids say “war-ta” instead of “waaah-terrr”. On the other hand, I’m a little curious to see as to where people will guess I’m from, based on the fact that I look asian but certainly don’t act nor speak particularly asian-like. In fact, I can’t even put on an asian accent when speaking in English – I know white people that can do it and I can’t!

Ramblings aside – does anyone have any recommendations for food/music/sights/shopping/galleries/museums/etc in LA/San Fran or any general tips on visiting the states? Mum and friends have been trying to teach me how to tip but I don’t think I’ll ever understand completely until I have to do it in person. I’ll probably look like a moron sitting there trying to work out the smallest amount I can get away with leaving though… haha. Oh yeah, I’m also tossing up whether or not to go and see Best Coast’s gig, but the problem is, I’m apparently going to Disneyland on the day of the gig that isn’t sold out, and I think people stay at Disneyland until nighttime?

Below: miscellaneous pics from Friday, after my last assessment of the year. You won’t believe how goooood it felt. Although now I’m anxious about marks, passing, etc…
Charlotte and I had a feast at Wagamama with a voucher I had. It came to under $20 each, and we both had a big serving of noodles, edamame and lemon iced tea.

The hoodie I bought for Liv upon her request… she wanted some kind of “NZ apparel” because apparently wearing things from your hometown is big thing to do in American universities:

Rip up the proof before the damage is done

I’m not going to lie, and I’m not exaggerating, but I royally screwed up my technical assessment today, and I’m currently hoping I scrape a pass. You know something has gone terribly wrong when your teacher says you did better in a class for which you weren’t prepared, than you did in the assessment…

Anyway, I’ve told myself this is a kick up the butt, a wake up call, I need to stop procrastinating, or having bad practise habits. I have a bad tendency to get obsessive about getting one thing right at a time, and ignoring a lot of other factors I need to practise simultaneously. For the next couple of days I really need to focus my attention on completing an assignment and presentation for jazz history that is due next week.

The “substantial” text in this post is after the list.

A contrast to my usual “decent photographic posts” but all these photos are from the last couple of days and are just relevant in my day-to-day right now, I guess. They’re placed in a random, erratic order, but here’s the list:

1/ The star-shaped metal caged light – it was originally intended for a candle when we bought it, but we never used it, so mum got a friend to alter it into an electronic light. I like it better this way, and we’ve been leaving it on in the lounge at night, rather than a lamp. In fact, lots of changes seem to be taking place at home at the moment: we’ve had a new stove top installed the other day, and the new air vent thing that goes on top of it is coming in tomorrow; mum’s bought a new, oh-so-amazing mattress for her bed, as well as surprising me this morning with a big mirror over the fireplace this morning. We’d talked about getting one for years, but it never got done… til now.

2/ The cupcakes I made for Ed’s 18th on Friday. It was a bit of a scramble as I only got home from uni after 6pm, and mum made delicious scones at the same time. Our kitchen is small, and one entire bench was covered with stuff we hadn’t cleaned up, so it was quite domino effect when something was knocked over…

You can’t see it in the picture, but the cupcakes spell out “HAPPY 18TH BDAY ED”. They don’t look amazing, but it was a quick job – and luckily I had the sense to pick one up off the plate and force Ed to eat it, as they disappeared within seconds of being brought out into the party.

3/ Some of the most recent postcards I’ve received – I collect them, and always request them when people travel, or from friends overseas. I would be over the moon if I got more postcards sent my way, so please do offer! And I’ll send you one back. I loooove them. Most of these pictured ones are from mum and Liv when they went to San Francisco, Yosemite, etc before her semester started.

4/ This is the pile of books I plan on tackling tomorrow for references on Ron Carter. With the exception of Catch-22, which I still really, really need to finish, oops. Asides from that, and the Ron Carter biography at the top of the stack, the rest are all library books. That damn biography took an arm and a leg’s effort to get hold of. First I tried all the big bookstore chains in NZ to see if anyone had one, or if I could get it ordered in – nope. Then I had to order it off Amazon and try to get it delivered to my sister’s dorm in time for mum to bring it back for me, phwoar!

5/A pic of Rome and I from Friday’s party. He’s doing my usual photo-face!

Note the red cup. How American. I forgot to ask the birthday boy but apparently they bought them from an American shop. I wondered how much they cost cos usually country-specialised stores aren’t cheap. Those things were sturdy as heck, though, and I can’t wait until I get to go to the states and use them at a real American party furrealz.

There is something that’s been bothering me for a while, but I think I have mostly come to peace with: breaking up with a friend. There are big businesses made in the “help” industry with aiding people deal with breakups and heartaches – all sorts of seminars for the broken-hearted or books and stuff like that – but what do you do when it’s breaking up with a friend? It seems to be a taboo subject that is brushed under the carpet and we’re given a “live with it” kind of response from most people. But reality is, often times breaking up with a friend can actually be more painful than with a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Why? For starters, you’ve probably been with them longer (I know that’s true for myself, and for the particular person I have in mind). There isn’t meant to be some kind of ulterior motive and vested interest when it comes to a close platonic friend, therefore, if it seems that egos, face and other silly things are getting in the way, it really makes you wonder whywhywhy?!

I don’t know what I’ve ever done to a very close friend who is amongst the people I’ve known longest, but I have decided to give up seeking their approval and blaming myself for the demise of our friendship. Everyone agrees that their behaviour indicates that something is bothering them, but since they won’t tell me – I just have to live with it, and keep reminding myself that it is not my problem – at least until they have the integrity to tell me so, and make it that way. It hurts, it really fucking hurts. He was my best friend. For years and years.

I know, there’s the distance, growing up and growing apart… we’ve all been there and done that with a friend or few at some stage in our lives – where our lives simply take us different places but we drift, but that is on good terms, without feeling some sense of trauma over it. In this case it’s different, very different. I have said that I wished that we had some sort of huge argument and actual falling out, because then perhaps I would feel like I got closure, rather than constantly clinging to the fraying edges of this stupid, hurtful ordeal.

Stoplights are swaying and the phone lines are down

My absence has been due to over a week spent in Sydney, Australia – which followed a 5-day/nights’ series of events, which were all blurred into a very long, extended lump in my memory – and I’m not too sure how I feel right now. Until I can conjure up the effort to sort through hundreds of photos and thoughts, I’m not going to write about where I went, etc.

Families are supposed to be the comfort zone. The people who’ve known you your whole life, know all your embarrassing childhood stories, who care for one another the most. At least, that is the family that I was brought up under the illusion of, despite having been disillusioned over a decade ago about its idealistic ways vs reality.

Unfortunately, over the past week in Sydney, my (immediate) family – who usually live in different countries – have been crammed into one single hotel room. It was large, yes – the size of half our house, but a single space nonetheless; and all the things we usually pretend is all okay could no longer be contained. My parents aren’t getting along. They haven’t for a long time. But under the facade of not living under the same roof for majority of the year, everything is “okay”. In the middle are me and my sister. Whilst she still has to put up with the same problems, same fights and outbursts as I do, she doesn’t have the older-child syndrome of taking on all these problems as my own. I don’t want to take sides. I have two sets of opinions and views on these problems, and how I think they should be dealt with: one, being the daughter, I want them to work through things, slowly, fine, but surely, and just at least do something productive or argue productively rather than stupidly about anything, everything and absolutely nothing at all; and two, being from a completely objective point of view – get it all over and done with, if it’s so painful to coexist.

I shouldn’t be saying this.

In the most selfish manner, also, I have so much else on my plate that I am stressing over, but the whole family thing is an overbearing darkness and source of stress, pain, guilt, troubles, internal and external conflicts that I can’t conjure up the strength to deal with anything else. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been sick for a week and a half, and it’s only draining me more, physically.

I know people out there go through much worst than me – in fact I have close friends that have, let alone all the people whom I don’t know. But it feels soo bad I don’t know how people get through it. I guess they develop some coping mechanism to subtract themselves from the equation of their parents’ misery. I can’t seem to. I am so latched onto every bitter/icy/frustrated/angry/defeated/confused/hopeless/unreasonable word that comes out of their mouths, and I catch all the hurt/vengeful/loathing/sad/intolerable look that the other doesn’t.

I can’t sleep. I was already insomniac enough without the jetlag. Skytv’s ceased working sometime over the days that we were away, so there is nothing to brainwash my sleeplessness with either.

My ipod is currently lost somewhere in the pile of luggage in the lounge, next to the couch on which my father is sleeping – so no music to dither away to.

If there was ever such a time I felt I needed sleeping pills the most – I lied. I really need some now.