Rain is Romantic

In Los Angeles, a light drizzle will cause a surge in shameless news updates, all geared to hike up ratings and paranoia. Men with booming, uber-masculine voices say things like, "Storm Watch, 2009!" Blonde weathergirls in purple pleather wring their hands and sigh, "It will be over soon folks, hang in there."
Seriously? While Louisiana is blown sideways by hurricanes and Wisconsinites are trapped in their houses from three feet of snow, we whimper over drizzle? We are drowned in year-round sun, zero humidity and ocean breezes. But we are living in a desert, and for those of us fortunate enough to afford gardeners, we can hide that fact with lots of upkeep. Writer Tom Robbins lives in Seattle, and has dedicated volumes to how that drizzly grey weather makes for good writing. A few lucky Angelenos know it too, and look at it as an opportunity.

When I was on the East Coast, I loathed the rain. But I had every reason to. It rained during weddings, beach vacations and turned to dangerous sleet during the winter. It was too much. Here, where the land is parched and the sun beats down every day, those who know better would never take rain for granted. Fashionistas feel validated and drop buyer's remorse when they sport their designer rubber boots. Gardeners and car washers can enjoy a day off. Movie theatres fill up. Writers make a pot of coffee and get to work. That's what I do, anyway. With my oversize sweaters and my mug of warm goodness, I bang away at my laptop. But that's just the beginning of it. I sit on my covered back porch and think of old friends. I watch black and white movies, rearrange my closet, and best of all, become amorous. Rain is romantic. Falling asleep to the sound of rain tapping on my cabin roof is almost as sensual as when I intertwine limbs with my husband, warming myself away from the chill in the air. And if rain is romantic, thunderstorms are plain damn sexy.

I feel sorry for Angelenos who can't stand the rain. Can they be so averse to change that they can't see the obvious benefits? We get a free car wash, our cracked, dusty lawns get fed and the filthy smog gets pounded out of the air, drop by drop. Fresh air is delicious. We rediscover the comfort of our homes, we finally get to use our Burberry umbrellas, rubber boots and raincoats like true Londoners.
Perhaps being indoors forces people to think too much. To remember too much. It's a lot easier pushing away negative thoughts and memories when you're playing volleyball on the beach in Santa Monica or window shopping at The Grove. My advice to these people? If rain makes you feel sad, then let yourself be sad and get it over with. It's bound to creep up sooner or later, and better in your own home than after too many drinks on Sunset, crying into a toilet with a patient girlfriend.

Just sayin'.


Saved By the Bell

Everyone knows that Los Angeles is a mecca for Mexican food. Baja-style fish tacos and gooey bean and cheese burritos abound. Yet every time I crave Taco Bell, some know-it-all loves to point out, "Um, that's not Mexican food." As if they were wearing a sombrero with that smug grin. Hey genius, I didn't say I was craving Mexican food. I said I was craving Taco Bell, which of course, is in its own food group.

Comparing Taco Bell to Mexican food is like comparing boxed mashed potatoes with real ones. They're both good, but they're not the same thing. Like Taco Bell, fake spuds have all kinds of inventive flavors, such as bacon cheddar and sour cream and chives. Like Mexican food, homemade spuds are made from simple ingredients and are pure heaven.

And anyone who understands the pure, unadulterated love I have for Taco Bell knows there is no substitute.


What Happens When You Drop Out

High school and college dropouts in the United States usually make ends meet by working one or two customer service or labor jobs they can't stand. But the options in Los Angeles are more glamorous. If you want to make more than self-righteous shop girls at Robertson boutiques no one can afford, and possess their good looks, the options are endless.

Waitressing is profitable, but in this town, you can't get in without an extensive resume and headshot. You heard me, headshot. You could be a high-profile escort for the Charlie Sheens of Hollywood. If you can't get into Playboy, you can pose for Penthouse. If you can't get into Penthouse, there's Hustler. If you can't make it into Hustler, hello Internet! If pornography in general makes you uncomfortable, you could always be a spokesmodel. Sort of like the girls on stage in the above video. They arrive in skimpy outfits at red carpet events (albeit the sleazier ones) and plop down in the Reserved section. It's usually roped off with a sign that reads Playboy or MTV and people gawk at them, trying to place a face with a name. There usually isn't a name to go with the face, it's just a stunt. But if the Average Joe gawks and walks away wondering and intrigued, the job is done.

I went to a pre-party for the American Music Awards, and it seems that these girls were hired to look interested on stage as a PR stunt for Marco Banderas. Marco who? Exactly. In short, he's an Ecuadorian porn star who is turning to Latino music. These Penthouse "spokesmodels" climbed onto the stage and flopped around, trying to look as sultry and horny as possible through their fake smiles. Was the crowd convinced that Marco Banderas was the next best thing?

The only thing we were convinced of, was that there was no reason to roll out a red carpet at this event. No gift bags, no open bar and no one's talent to admire. Oh well, at least we got a good red carpet shot.


Fast Friends

Lately, Californians have a lot of things spilling over from Mexico that we don't appreciate, such as drug cartels and the swine flu.

But let us not forget the good that spilleth over. The kickin' Mexican food and friendly natives are obvious. I'm talking about the greyhounds. Thankfully, greyhound racing is a dying sport. Dogs are cheaper than horses, so instead of being resold to ranchers, they're often killed after they retire from the tracks. I usually have it in for the naturally skinny, as they remind me of my curse. But if you're a greyhound, your curse goes beyond cellulite. Even if the svelte couch potatoes mock me by sleeping all day.

El Caliente racetrack in Tijuana recycles their racers quite often, and Fast Friends, the local chapter of Greyhound Pets of America, swoops in and grabs each fresh batch, cleans them up and preps them for adoption. Our close proximity to the border allows us first pick at these gentle, affectioante pups. I would know, I have two.

All you naysayers who say nothing good is coming from Mexico should take a second look.


He Stacks Rocks, People!

Last week, L.A. Weekly released their special edition, People 2009. Cover to cover it's filled with people who make Los Angeles the sick mecca it is. Most of the entries I agree with. Cutting-edge vaudeville circus troupe Lucent Dossier? But of course. Drew Barrymore? Why she's our homecoming queen!

Then there's um, Kevin Morgan. He's concerned about drugs and violence in Venice Beach, which is changing the scene, making it a darker place. So what does he do about it? He doesn't provide counseling. He didn't open a rehab center. He doesn't volunteer. He...stacks rocks. That's right folks, he takes rocks and puts them on top of one another.

They call him "The Rock Star."He quotes,"It's a memorial to 89 lives. They came from all over the world, [but] lost their lives to bad influence choices. They are the forgotten souls of Venice Beach." Of course they are forgotten! Meth heads roam around like zombies, engaging in petty theft for their next fix, and Mr. Morgan is playing with stones!

I appreciate the art he's providing takes patience. It looks fantastic. I even appreciate the man's fine bone structure. But how can L.A. Weekly praise him as a man of the people, someone who's giving back? How is a drug-crazed gangster going to see a pile of rocks and think, "Sh** yo, I better quit this bidness." Um, no. In fact, calling him a "Rock Star" and tagging him as a philanthropist makes me want to take drugs.