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by: -RoG-

Los Angeles. Wow... no really... WOW. I moved here in May and it's easy to see how people find the place to be so overwhelming. It seems to span as far as the eye can see with no apparent end. You talk with people who've lived here for their entire lives and they've barely even seen all there is to see within a 10 mile radius let alone the rest of the city. It's just that big.

Being from the East coast, there's clearly a lot of new things for me to see in this gargantuan land of bars, cars, and stars... that's to be expected. So here's a list of just some things I've noticed so far about Los Angeles.

Donut Shops: Considering this town is known for being absolutely insane about eating healthy and staying fit, it's amazing how many donut shops there are. It's not even chains like Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme... all too often it's some little independent donut shop. What's more, they all have awesome names such as "Faster Donuts," "Big Mama's Donuts," "Super Donut House," "King Donut," "Happy Donuts," "Johnny O Donuts," "Hola Donut," "Sexy Donut," and of course "Yum Yum Donuts". And that's just the tip of the iceberg, believe me. If you ask me, all of these donut shops are owned by the liposuction doctors. They're guaranteeing themselves repeat customers!

Hummers: I knew the whole Hummer thing got started out here thanks to one Ahnuld Schwarzenegger, but GODDAMN! I had no idea just how popular they were out here, and considering the gas prices, it only makes it all the more absurd. Granted, it seems like half the people in this city have more money than they know what to do with, but come on. They could at least get something a little less douchebagish than a Hummer for chrissakes, especially since 90% of the ones I've seen are that hideous school bus yellow color. What's worse though is the amount of stretched Hummers I've seen in this city. Just the other day, at a very large open intersection, we saw this huge stretched hummer try to turn onto another road, but because it was so long, it couldn't make the turn without stopping, going in reverse and then straightening itself out some more. What was great is that EVERYBODY was furiously blasting their horns at the Hummer and shouting. Watching 20-30 cars all angrily honking at one big stupid Hummer stuck in the middle of an intersection is a moment in my life that I will always cherish. And speaking of honking...

Tunnel Honkers: Can somebody explain this to me? For some reason, whenever I've been driving in tunnels, I've noticed that the people of Los Angeles like to playfully honk their horns at one another. This only happens in tunnels for some reason. You'll just be sitting there in your car and all of a sudden one person will honk their horn and start laughing, which starts a chain reaction of people honking their horns. Sometimes they even mimic each other's honking rhythms. If only everybody's horn was at a different pitch, we inhabitants of Los Angeles could perform some rockin' car horn tunes any time we enter a tunnel.

Waiters and Waitresses With Catchphrases: This has to be one of my favorite amusements so far. All of the waiters and waitresses, er, pardon me... "actors and actresses who are doing character studies of waiters and waitresses" seem to have their own special little catchphrase. How do you spot their catchphrases? Simple. Anytime you order something or ask them a question, they will end their response with the same word each time. My favorite one so far has to be "Perfect". This waitress asked me what I wanted to drink: "Eh, I'll just have a water for now." and what does she respond with? "Perfect!" Wow! I didn't know that ordering a glass of water, something that's free mind you, was considered such an accomplishment here in L.A.! Seriously, if you want to feel good about yourself, just go to a restaurant here and you'll quickly discover that everything you say and do is... well... perfect. I'm sure some of these waiters & waitresses have blown a fuse after working at their restaurants for far too long and now can only respond with their catchphrases.

"Pardon me, miss? Yeah, this meal isn't what I ordered."
"No, it's not perfect, if it was I would be eating it instead of talking to you."
"Hello? Are you ok?"

Other catchphrases I've heard so far are "Thanks bro!", "Excellent!", and of course the ever-popular "Fabulous!" I'm tempted to get a job as a waiter just so I can come up with my own catchphrase to use whenever anybody orders. Only my catchphrase wouldn't really make the patrons feel good about themselves, it would simply be used to confuse the hell of of them:

"Yes, I think I'll go with the cheese pizza please."
"Scabby nutsack, sir! Scabby nutsack!"

Apartments Sans Refrigerators: For whatever reason, it appears that 75% of the apartments in Los Angeles don't come with refrigerators. Yep, refrigerators are considered luxury items. Apparently people here don't eat at home. And why should they with all those donut shops, right? So yeah, unless you're lucky, chances are you'll have to buy a new fridge for any apartment you rent. Word on the street is that the city is pushing to make toilets a luxury item next. But don't worry, I've been shitting on the carpet for weeks. They won't catch me off-guard!

Colonics Colonics Colonics: Who would've thought that the path to a cleaner, healthier lifestyle was up the ol' poop chute? Well, at least that's what the ads in the L.A. Weekly paper want you to believe. Personally, I think I'll just try to not gorge on too many fattening foods, exercise regularly and leave the rest up to nature. You're not living your life the way you should be if you're voluntarily going into an office to have somebody flush out your bowels each month with a jetstream of water. What amazes me even more is how lightly people treat this "colon hydrotherapy" stuff. Friends actually scheduling appointments to go get colonics together? Ok, listen up and listen up good people: Feces do not equal fun. If you wanna go have fun with some friends, go to a movie, the beach or on a roller-coaster together. If you're so desperate for having fun together that you've decided to have your intestines filled with water, I suggest you find some new friends to spend your time with.

Mysterious Signs: You know how you'll be driving down a road and you'll see a handmade sign on colorful cardboard paper that has an arrow on it and reads, "Yard Sale" or something like that? Well in Los Angeles, there is a bizarre phenomenon I've been noticing since I moved here. For no apparent reason whatsoever there will be handmade signs in random places that make no sense at all. Just yesterday I saw a sign that read "Hammer" with an arrow pointing down the road. I drove down the road and saw nothing involving a hammer, hammers or even M.C. Hammer. Furthermore, there were no more signs about "hammer" to be seen anywhere. Other signs with arrows pointing down the road that I've seen said things such as "Porcupine," "Beat" and more. Perhaps it's all the work of a street artist. Perhaps it's all a joke. Perhaps it's something completely different. Whatever the case may be, I now always look forward to seeing the next random sign when driving around L.A.

(update: some people wrote in to let me know that the signs are actually notices for filming locations. apparently actors and crew members can't use Mapquest, so they need cryptic hand-written signs to help guide them along)

Well, I'm sure I'll be seeing plenty more interesting oddities such as these here in Los Angeles in the coming months. When I do, I'll be sure to report back to you with my latest discoveries. For now, I'm off to go find out where the handmade sign on the road that reads "Chum" leads me to. Maybe it's a shark-bait convention.

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