Brief Movie Review: Skyfall [Unimaginitive Title] OR Skyfa…My hyper-abbreviated Thoughts on the New Bond Flick

Hey everyone! (I have to laugh when I address “the people” with these posts as if anyone besides my mom and I read this blog). I thought I’d do a super quick little movie review today for Skyfall!!! I saw this film a few weeks ago but hopefully everything is still fresh!

Ok, so I thought this here movie was FANTASTIC! It was one of if not THE best Bond film I’ve ever seen. Sam Mendez, who has got to be a fucking weirdo in real life (given the motifs in his movies), knocked another one out of the park. I think the biggest reason why I loved this so much was the emotionally relatable villain. Maybe I’m personalizing on this because I have false teeth and a long history of making sexual advances at Englishmen wearing slim-fitting suits, but I had so much empathy for Javier Bardem’s character in this. And I thought every element of this story had a really solid emotional anchor to reel the audience in like a trout on a fishing line. While it may have spared a marginal level of ACTION and GOVERNMENT ESPIONAGE that people are probably used to with Bond, I thought it more than compensated for that with emotionally ripe characters (seriously, Brett…how many times are you gonna use the word ’emotional” in this ting???). Anyway, back to Bardem. That guy acted the shit out of that role. I just wanted to watch every little thing he did on that screen. If the entire movie was 143 minutes of him sitting on the toilet and picking at his feet I’d be like “pass the popcorn, he’s on!!!!”. I do have to notice though that there is always some kind of queer element in all of Sam Mendez’ villain characters. The uptight Military Colonel in American Beauty? Even Daniel Craig’s character in Road to Perdition? Come on…god forbid gay people be upstanding members of society. Sheesh that’d be silly, right? Hahahahahahahah!

And it wasn’t just Javier who kicked ass but Judi Dench as M had so much more personality here than usual. Don’t get me wrong, I always love my Dame Judi, but she can play an uptight British chick, we get it..but HERE she was so fragile and delicate and exposed you just wanted to pick up that pixie-sized patootie and take care of her forever. I’m still not sold on Daniel Craig, however…I almost get him but I’m not quite there. He just has this oily layer around him at all times. He’s too damn smarmy to be debonair. When Sean or even Pierce walked into a room, they COMMANDED a room. Like “OMFG look at that guy…he OWNS that room”. But instead it’s “Wow, this scene is gorgeous! Oh look, a questionably handsome, overly worked-out blond dude is there too”. But don’t get me wrong he’s fine. He’s adequate. He’s suffish. He does his job yadda yadda. Sometimes I just want MORE. But hey, that’s just me.

Again, because it’s my boy Sammy M, this movie looked BEAUTIFUL. When he ushered us into that casino in Macau I just wanted to take that frame, cover it honey and eat it as a snack it was so damn rich! In pretty much every new setting I would turn to David and say “I want our living room to look JUST like that…let’s make that happen”. And of course his response was always the same: “Get your hand off my inner-thigh, we’re in public”. And ugh, that scene in the hotel in Shanghai was just such a lustrous labyrinth of lavishly lush lighting (I don’t know if you noticed but that was an alliteration 🙂 I wanted to swim in it! It’s been a while since I’d seen a movie that had such a delicious visual landscape. But for every flamboyantly stylized moment like the hotel scene, they had very elegantly beautiful scenes with such an effortless lightness to them (like the bits at Skyfall towards the end). Suffice it to say I was into it.

If I were to change one thing about the film, though, I would have let that final moment where Javier gets killed linger a LITTLE bit longer. That genius moment where he says “free us both with one bullet” I wanted there to be a few final moments just pregnant as all get-out with emotion (yes, I said it again) as he SLOWLY slips away. Just let the whole film synthesize into that one moment until it fades into blissful oblivion…(who’s this uppity gasbag writing this thing? Oh, it’s me)

So, long story short: I was totally into this film and would see it again in a heartbeat. I think everyone else should see it too! Unless you have zero taste. In which case you should go re-watch a Christopher Nolan film or something. And that’s all I have to say. Ok, bye!

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The Dark Knight Rises: Rising Out Of Chaos

**SPOILER ALERT**

So, this past Monday I decided to listen to what the media and my compatriots were telling me to do and see The Dark Knight Rises. In a bit of a change of format for this here blog, I thought I would take stab at writing an actual movie review. First off let me say that overall I was very pleasantly surprised by this film. I definitely ENJOYED it. I say “surprised” because Batman Begins bored me to TEARS and I didn’t even see the Dark Knight. Plus I thought Inception was steaming pile of shit. So suffice it to say my expectations were a smidge low.

My biggest complaint was simply that there was just TOO MUCH GOING ON. Christopher Nolan, we’re acutely aware that you have 10,000 ideas going on in that head of yours, and we realize that you’re so uber successful that Warner Brothers would probably distribute a film that was 4 hours of you taking a dump at a child’s birthday party, but I think there is a certain level of tact to be considered when executing these ideas. I felt like the hero of the story, Batman, not only was a secondary character, but was totally engulfed in the “action” of the story. Because there was so much solid plot in the movie, and there were so many characters doing their own separate things, I didn’t know who I was supposed to be identifying with and why I was supposed to be so invested. I think the only character I was truly empathetic with was Michael Cane’s Alfred. That man played the shit out of that role! Whenever he would start to get teary I would have to clench my jaw and try not to get all misty with him! He was totally heartbreaking! But Bruce Wayne just seemed way too passive for his own good. The only substantial point of conflict was when he was trapped in that remote prison facility. And even then it was hard to hook onto what he was supposedly overcoming in that scenario. There was the old senile medic giving him advise, there was the other man taking care of him who was guiding him, but what the hell was the message or lesson he was learning there? Maybe there was something highly profound but I completely missed it. The whole thing seemed very thematically disjointed. What I gathered was mostly that he had given up on the society that turned its back on him, and then it was inevitably in jeopardy again, so he overcame that and came to its rescue. No the most nuanced emotional subtext as far as I’m concerned. I wanted to feel like there were some huge stakes that Bruce Wayne was involved and I didn’t get that.

Perhaps one of the reasons why I wasn’t as interested in Batman was because Catwoman kicked so much ass! I was a tough sell with Anne Hathaway: I think she’s annoying and goofy and looks like a freaky porcelain doll that talks and wears ballgowns. But that girl blew me away! From that first scene where she meets Bruce and she totally flips from the young ingenue bit into Catwoman…I was glued! Maybe I kinda sorta missed the Tim Burton/Michele Pfeiffer sexy-ass costume at first, but within 5 minutes I was thinking “Michelle, who?”. What really won me over about Hathaway’s catwoman was that she was clever; she’s a criminal and she’s a thief and she’s all about the bottom line, so she has this “I don’t give a fuck, a girls’ gotta eat” attitude that I thought was hot as hell. And PS it took me a good hour to realize that those “cat ears” she was wearing were really just her goggles that she flipped over her head…nice touch. I think also what’s so compelling about Catwoman is that she is so morally ambiguous and interesting. You have to wonder: “what IS it about that Selina Kyle?”. She’s a mystery. But people love mysteries, right? Plus she flips and does acrobatics and looks hot so there’s that.

However, as a counter to that, I wasn’t really feeling Tom Hardy as Bane. He was probably my least favorite part of the movie. He just wasn’t scary enough for me. Maybe it was just me, but when he was on screen I wasn’t exactly terrified, it was more along the lines of “oh yeah he’s back…he’s probably going to beat someone up again”. And when he finally executes the overthrow of Gotham’s government and frees all the prisoners, I wasn’t even totally sure why. He just wants the world to live in chaos? Or he wants to enforce his own brand of justice? And if so, then why is he even bothering if he’s going to blow the place up anyway? I wasn’t toally buying his whole shtick. Not the mention that with that vocal effect from his mask I couldn’t understand WHAT he saying half the time. And in true Christopher Nolan fashion, he turns out to not even be the real villain! Why does he do this to us!!? He spends so much time setting up one thing, and then pays off something completely different that we didn’t even care about! WHY!? So when that “pivotal” moment comes where we realize that Marion Cotillard is the real villain, Bane just suddenly gets very unceremoniously killed and that’s it. Then she dies a few minutes later. And the problem is, it’s not that this twist totally changes the circumstances of the story, it’s the same thing, the same plan, just with a different person. What’s the point? In The Sixth Sense, for example, that revelation TOTALLY changed what we thought we knew about the story. This did not. If anything it just deflates our interest in Bane. The ending in general is where the whole thing unraveled for me. Instead of everyone coming to an emotional crux, everything just kind of fizzled out and the plot just went exactly the way you thought it would: Catwoman obviously comes back, the bomb is discarded and the city is obviously saved, and then that’s that. It was missing something.

One thing I was impressed with though was the acting: in my observation, Christopher Nolan simply does not know how to properly direct actors. Did you see Inception? Ok, well so did I and I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a smarmy asshole in that movie. He also just bugs me in general: “Oooh, you wear argyle sweaters and play acoustic guitar. We get it, you’re cute. Whatever”. But I thought he was kind of great in this. He embodied that character remarkably well. He obviously had that snarky side to him, but we got his emotional back-story and understood where he was coming from. He was compassionate but still with an edge which I personally totally responded to. My only criticism is that he was almost too compelling to be a young Robin because he would have completely upstaged Batman in this film. So, hat’s off to you, Joe!

One thing I have to bring up is the set design/cinematography. I get heat for this all the time, but I PERSONALLY don’t think that Nolan’s films are that visually interesting. Maybe (ok, most likely) I just don’t respond to his specific aesthetic, but I, yet again, wasn’t terribly impressed with the look of this film. I mean, he clearly has a thing: dudes in suits, chicks in gowns, hotel lobbies, palatial mansions, urban city streets, etc. But I’m getting a weeeee bit tired of the same dark, muted colors and generic costumes and same 3 sets in every movie. Not to mention all the shadows and side lighting that feel totally stale. Although given the “dark, gritty, real” take on the Batman franchise I suppose it was fitting. And the scene at the football field was undoubtedly badass. I just want something wacky to happen like a purple Nurf ball to come in and bit Bane in the face or something. That’s most definitely just me, though.

Oh and also Gary Oldman was good obviously.

So, that being said, I still definitely enjoyed this film. It kept me totally engaged in the plot the whole time. Perhaps that’s because the entire film was basically driven by the plot. So, in that regard, it was highly successful. But nothing really lingered for me. It didn’t inspire much thought otherwise. But, as Joe Gilis would have said, I guess I’m just “one of the message kids. Just a story won’t do”. Maybe I WOULD have turned down Gone With The Wind. But as chaotic as it may have been, I’m glad I spent a ridiculous amount of money at the Arclight to see it.

Atist Spotlight: Cindy Sherman

So, while taking a virtual stroll through the internet the other day I stumbled across a little photographer I once followed named Cindy Sherman. Now, I’ve taken a handful of photography and photography-related courses throughout my schooling, but I don’t think I’ve ever really studied Cindy Sherman’s work in the arena of academia before. So, if any of what I’m about to say seems glib or under-researched, I apologize. There is just something really compelling about her stuff that I thought I’d take a minute to talk about. And it’s not just compelling in each piece as one salient image, but in the bizarre range of her catalog. Her photos (and her sculptures, to that end) straddle this bizarre line between formal and experimental. Between glamorous and grotesque. Between classic and cheap. First and foremost, I’m particularly interested by her representation of the female gender. I like to think of her progression of her work as a dark process of self-discovery. In her earlier photos, she always seems to situate herself in very rigid societal “sctructures” in which she’s somehow marginalized by her own presence. In her early self-portraits, she really plays up her role as a woman. Look at what she’s doing: she’s washing dishes, she’s fetching a book from the library, she’s all dolled up in her best gown standing by her vanity. Everything is poised to perfection, but she as a subject seems peripheral. When set against the backdrop of a New York cityscape, she looks bewildered and out of place. At the kitchen sink she’s distracted and staring down some imagined third person outside the frame. Even when she’s all done up in her finest clothes, all she can seem to do is languish on her bed. To draw a silly yet more contemporary comparison, she reminds me of the female protagonists in an animated Disney film: they’re always so bored and wistful within the walls of their regimented, relegated female lives. It seems like she’s just waiting to make some kind of escape. However, she also seems hyper-aware that someone is looking at her. For every wistful gaze and pregnant sigh, she has this poise to her that makes it very clear she wants you to look at her.

It’s still a voyeuristic sensation, though. We’re looking in at her as if she’s in a fishbowl. Everything that she does is staged and, in a sense, contrived. In her later work, we see her finally get out of that head of hers (or, actually, even deeper in her head). From a more obvious visual standpoint, she transitions from black and white to color photography. But as her photos get more “colorful”, they also get much darker and more personal. In every way that her earlier work seems staged and voyeuristic, the later pieces completely unravel as if the grotesque innards of her mind just come dumping out. Here she ditches the visual landscape of, arguably, the “hyper-real” and dives head first into the surreal. She takes herself as a subject and completely eliminates any context at all. It’s not about that anymore. It’s not about this space that she’s forced to exist in anymore. The new “space” that her photos exist in is the often frightening space of her own psyche. She is bearing herself to us.

But the visceral shock of these images would never have been so starkly punctuated without the notion of her earlier work. And the role of gender starts to blur in these later photographs. We see Cindy herself augmenting her body and her face to look more like a man in some cases. And, on the other side of that coin, we see her completely augmenting her form to exaggerate and even satirize her own femininity. She also plays with segmenting the human form. She creates models or replicas of bodies that are simply disembodied genitalia. Some of which feature both male and female genitalia at once. So this motif of contradiction extends beyond just the style of the photograph, but the form of the subject itself (how terribly post-modern, for lack of a better buzz-word). It’s as if the body is just this thing. We all have one, some are different, but so what? Let’s just deconstruct it and play with the pieces.

But what makes this so interesting is that tension (bearing in mind her tendency to blur forms/styles) between how bizarre and yet how funny they seem to be. They’re stylized to the point of being campy. But even with that obvious level of camp, nothing ever feels too gimmicky or exploitative. You feel the sense that Cindy feels genuinely compelled to embody these characters. As if we’re peering into her brain and seeing these different cogs of her persona working all at once. And in every person, there are so many facets that exist simultaneously; everyone has a glamorous side, a grotesque side, a silly side etc. She is able to visually manipulate herself to embody these sides of herself. Of course in doing so, she takes these sides and exaggerates them to a whole new extreme. And of course, aside from all that, her photos are all just dynamic and interesting and intriguing. So, let’s all tip our hats to that wacky lady who is totally comfortable bearing every side of herself to us…Cindy Sherman.

Album Review: Women – Public Strain

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Women have always been a band of contradictions. Blending sleek, tight songwriting with unpredictably experimental riffs. After every blissed out nugget of pure, feel-good pop, the band leads us down a darker, more uncertain road where their rock-leanings start to weigh heavy. On their self-titled debut, the band found itself having a harder time negotiating the space between these two worlds. While each track fit one way or the other, the album felt somewhat polarized and at odds with itself. On Public Strain, Women are more comfortable in their own skin. This sophomore release finds a much more mature and confident band fleshing out their sound and effortlessly collapsing the line between the experimental and the pop.

If their first record was a cursory exploration into the genre, Public Strain finishes what Women started. Here, each song is given time to gestate. From the languid, yet sonically ripe opener to the poetically optimistic closing track, each song feels like more of a complete statement. Where earlier tracks like “Cameras” or “Group Transport Hall” felt staunched by the band’s somewhat gratuitous brevity, songs here like “Heat Distraction” and “Locust Valley” are able to harness the band’s pop-sensibility while still fostering that wandering sense of discovery that makes the band flourish.

Public Strain also leaps ahead of the debut in its much more evolved sense of grandeur. Each song here sounds bigger, more resonant, and, most importantly, more emotionally charged than ever before. On “Venice Lockjaw”, the band shows itself not being afraid to be vulnerable and sincere. The gentle strum of the guitar, the understated beat, and the earnest but never mawkish vocals flow like water in this ballad. Each delicate little pluck of the strings feels like a drop of rain falling outside while someone lies in bed with you and tells you their deepest secrets. This is somewhat of a new territory for Women, one that they fit into beautifully. With this newfound sense of emotional intensity, the album feels more poetic and cinematic, and hits with much more impact.

There is one unfortunate flaw here, however. “Penal Colony” sits in the middle of this album like a dead weight. The repetitive, tedious beat, the half-baked melody, and the unimaginative sonic arrangement languish in this track, and to no good end. As Flagel croons “faces start to blend/meets a sudden end/ and you’re gone completely”, it feels less like a wistful, nihilistic meditation and more like a sad, pretentious cliché.

Having said that, Women have crafted an outstanding second album here. Public Strain is still very much loyal to the band’s signature sound, but further investigates what they are capable of. While the songwriting expands and wanders deeper into new territory here, the album ultimately feels tighter in scope and vision. Every rough edge from the debut is deftly smoothed out on Public Strain. As the wall between the traditional and the unpredictable slowly crumbles away here, Women show us that there is a very powerful and exciting space in between.

Album Review: Ducktails — Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics

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Well, it’s that time of year again…spring is approaching. Sort of. In spite of the fact that most of the country is still getting hit with torrential rain storms and cold fronts, Ducktails is ushering us into the warm glow of a new season. On Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics, the foggy, low-fi haze of Landscapes has burned off. In many ways, Arcade is the exact opposite of its predecessor: Landscapes was the boardwalk at dusk, it was west coast beachy, it was sparse, spacey and twinkly. Arcade travels east to the Hamptons in the sun. It’s riding bikes along the lake, it’s white sweaters and Keds. On the surface, this record is more full-bodied, more dynamic and more fun than anything the band has done. There’s just one problem: with a brighter, more traditional songwriting style, Ducktails has lost the beautiful, atmospheric ambience that made it great.­

After the release of Landscapes, the Mirror Image EP seemed to be a good indication of where their sound was going; Ducktails found itself a bit stronger and more confident, without sacrificing the whimsy and dreamy. On “Apple Walk”, the band found itself hitting with more force, but the light, spacey strums of the guitar created an aura around the song. For as “sunny” as the song was, it was still imbued with emotion. It felt like a road trip through the countryside. It flowed, it had feeling, it was evocative. The band was still letting the songs wander and drift through different sonic spaces. The sound moved and turns like a sine wave; keeping a constant rhythm and pattern, but still drifting in and out freely. On Arcade, the band loses this sense of freedom.

With this new release, the music has a much too much structure for its own good. The overall template is the same, but there’s something missing. Nothing wanders, nothing drifts, that sense of nostalgia that once pervaded in the songs seems dulled. Because the hazy atmosphere of Landscapes is gone, the sound on Arcade seems dry and over-regimented. There doesn’t quite feel like there’s the same level of magic. For all the glistering, effervescent flourishes Landscapes had, Arcade feels uninspired by comparison. The beats are over-structured, the light pluck of the acoustic guitar feels neat and orderly, but nothing transcends. Without the moody ambience, Ducktails sounds too trapped by their own sound.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a very fun record. From the first note, Ducktails is able to do what they do very well and that is conjure an image. When you hear this music, you think of a time, a place, and a circumstance. You can taste the saltwater from the beach. You feel the sea breeze. It’s not to say that this music is completely non-emotive, but after these songs are done, nothing lingers. It doesn’t leave the listener with feeling, but feels more like a fleeting visit that is staunched too soon.

The album, however, has one key track: “Killing the Vibe”. This song has the pizzazz and the sense of youth that the band seems to flourish on, here. This is the perfect anthem for Spring and, eventually, Summer. The track exists in its own little world. As if you’ve pushed off your raft into the lake and are enjoying a cocktail with your closest friend. When Mondanile asks us “can’t you just sit a while?/and try your hardest to smile?”, we have no choice but to acquiesce. The simple, light guitar riff and the lively snap of the tambourine entice us to join that party. It’s as if all sense of responsibility and obligation are left behind in this track.

So, that being said, there is nothing wrong with this album per se. It’s lovely. In fact, it’s delightful. But being delightful is not the same as being memorable. Ducktails have ditched whatever magical essence they used to possess in this record. Arcade is able to stay afloat with its levity and sense of charm, but doesn’t echo with much emotional resonance. And any sense of sonic experimentation is virtually gone here. But, while this might not bode terribly well for Ducktails, it’ll do just fine for this Spring…so pour yourself a nice cold dink and enjoy the sunshine. And just try not to kill the vibe.

Whole Lotta Trouble

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I don’t know about you, but I am NOT a Whole Foods kind of guy. In fact, as far as I care, those jokers can take their food and stick it right up their wholes! There’s just something about the pretentious atmosphere and the trendy yet clueless staff that really rubs me the wrong way. Not to mention their horribly overpriced, corporate brand of health food that’s killing smaller, independently owned markets’ chance to stay afloat. And of course the highly conservative investments that the company makes aren’t a selling point either. I mean, as much as I LOVE paying $47 for a burlap sack and a peach, I think there are other establishments I can patronize with perhaps some better deals and a better attitude. Plus it’s always nice to avoid the Prius melee in the parking lot. Ahhh, yes, all those liberal minded health-conscious moms in their stilettos and designer jeans getting out of their Priuses that in 10 years will be expelling horrible noxious hybrid-battery chemicals right into our soil. God bless those trail-blazers.

So, I am at a loss as to what to. My favorite spot in the world to buy groceries was a charming little nugget of a market on Hillhurst called the Nature Mart. Anytime I needed some nice organic produce, some interesting pre-prepared snacks, some good supplements or good eco-friendly soaps/cleaners, I could pop over there and avoid that oppressive haze of upper-middle-class haughtiness. Don’t get me wrong, their prices weren’t exactly a STEAL, but I’m sorry, it’s still better than, well, its larger competitor which shall be henceforth be referred to as “IT”. Because, let’s face it, smaller stores can’t get as good of a deal on their stock because of the considerably smaller quantity in which they’re forced to buy it. Regardless, I’m not necessarily discriminating solely on price. Every time I would shop at the NM the staff was warm and friendly and not only knowledgeable but passionate about their product. All the time I would hear “Oh, dude, I didn’t know we had this in stock again! I’m gonna pick up some of this for myself!”. And definitely not too staunch on their prices, either. One day I was buying this fun, wooden toothbrush that I think was $5.99. The cashier remarked “Oh I have one of these! $6??? I only payed $3 for mine so that’s what you’re paying too” and rung me up at a discount. Another time the friendly older woman cashier pretended I had a gym membership and gave me $10 off the probiotics I was buying. Meanwhile over at that IT place I asked an employee if they sold kefir grains and was met with the reponse “Some what? Keifur what?” Apparently he couldn’t hear me through his shaggy blonde, Disney-sitcom hair and purple zip-up hoodie he was wearing. But, thank god he was able to call 9 different tiers of department supervisors to confirm that they in fact did NOT carry that item!

Anyway, the reason I’m at a loss is because the Nature Mart, in a sad and untimely twist of fate, was forced to close its doors a few months back. I’m assuming the colossal juggernaut that is Whole Foods…sorry…IT, was probably a big part of this. There’s something very bleak and unsettling seeing that quaint little market completely dead and picked over just before closing. The older woman working there was on the verge of tears. “We’ve been here since 1974 and it still looks exactly the same as it did the day we opened” she told me. Oh dear…

So what the hell do I do now?? Well, I did have one misadventure of note recently where I attempted to find a new store. After having lunch in North Hollywood with my friend this last weekend, I googled “health food store” in the area to try and find some produce and some granola on my way home. The most promising on the list was a place called A-1 Organics. It wasn’t far, it had solid reviews, so I thought I’d check it out. It was in a little bit of a dodgy area but whatever! I can handle it! I’m real (ish)! So i get there and all I see is an unmarked building with A-1 written on the front. No one else seems to be around, which was kind of unnerving but I proceeded. I noticed that the windows were blacked out and there was a smaller sign tacked to the wall saying “entry in rear” so I head around the back (completely not getting that this place was obviously not a grocery store). I head around back and all I see is a SECURITY GUARD perched on a stool reading a magazine in front of another white, unmarked door. Thinking “this clearly isn’t the place”, I pace around trying to find the REAL entrance to this reputable and high-quality store. After a few minutes I came to the conclusion that this had to be it. I go up to the guard and ask “I’m looking for A-1?”. “This is it” he tells me. I go to the door and he buzzes me in (that’s right, buzzes me in. Still not getting it). I walk in and i see a long hallway followed by another door. However, something was amiss. The room was drenched in green light and there was this funky, lingering smell. Being the blithely clueless individual that I am, I head to the second door but this one was locked. I hear a few unintelligible murmurs from some chill-sounding dudes behind the door, but then a woman from behind me shouts “HEY! EXCUSE ME!”. I turn and walk back to the first door and see a little office attached. “Are you new?” she asks. “I guess so. Am I in the right place? What is this?” I say. She responds with “This is a medical marijuana dispensory”. So I panic and apologize and run out there feeling like a total jackass (which, I mean, if the really lame shoe fits…).

So, then, in a moment of desperation, I visit IT. And while I did see Newman from Seinfeld, it was not the most fruitful experience of all time. So, fellow bloggers and members of society (especially those in the greater Los Angeles area [even more specifically those on the east side]), if you have any tips or recommendations, please share with me your wisdom because, as it turns out, there ain’t a WHOLE lot of options out there!