Los Angeles

Something I’ve never done before in life is surf so I figured I’d give it a go while out here and with nothing to lose. I was never a big skateboarder or wake boarder growing up, but I feel comfortable with most things having to do with water, so I figured I’d be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly. Boy, was I wrong.

I met up with my friend Mike, a fraternity brother from Northwestern, early Friday morning to try out said surfing. He lives out here now and has been surfing for just about a year so I figured it was a safe time to try out this sport. I found out very quickly that I am not meant to be on a surfboard. Not only am I uncoordinated when it comes to anything having to do with balancing on a tippy board, but I’m also too impossibly tall to have a center of gravity anywhere low enough to stay upright for more than two seconds. I’ll give it a go again in the future, but maybe next time I’ll allow myself a lesson or two from a professional beforehand.

Weird people I went hiking with

I was unaware of how many Northwestern people are living out in LA now, but after Friday night I’m now aware that it’s really just an alumni hub for 80% of the people I went to school with. We went out in West Hollywood and by the end of the night had a solid Northwestern crew of fifteen plus. It was really great to see a lot of my fraternity brothers, many of whom I haven’t seen since graduation three years ago. Everyone is doing their own things, and I’m continually amazed at the skills and talents of many of the people I went to school with. Everything from internships for law school to being an assistant to one of the main writers on The Mindy Project, each of them seems to be impressively achieving in life.

On Saturday a few of us decided to go for a hike up Runyon, a hike which I now know to be the most popular place to hike in all of LA. Unfortunately no celebrities were spotted, and my goal of meeting Taylor Swift (my celebrity crush) out here was quickly smashed, but the hike itself was a very fun event. Not too far of a hike, it quickly provided us with great views of the city below and the blanket of smog hovering on top of it. I’m continually appalled at how much smog there really is out here and my environmental background quickly kicks in in an attempt to figure out how to possibly eliminate the density of pollution from the air. My thought would be implementing a public transit system to eliminate the unending population of cars on the road, but people from here will likely not go for that. Ford, actually, briefly helped the situation when they came out with the EV1, the first electric car in over one hundred years, but after realizing that if the EV1 was successful they’d need to completely eliminate their entire line of gas-powered cars, they recalled the electric car from the road and thus continued the never-ending story of lackluster innovation in the car industry that has remained stagnant and without change for over a century (see a great article by my favorite blogger Tim Urban on his site Wait But Why about said recall and the amazing company that is Tesla).

After our hiking was done, we grabbed some coffee at a small café in West Hollywood, Freneti’s, before finishing our day with a fun house party in the same area.

View of the smog.

Sunday was a slow day for everyone, sleeping in until too late in the day followed by an afternoon at a flea market full of vintage clothing and beautiful artwork. I capped my weekend in LA with a beer with two old high school friends who have moved to LA as actors. Still hoping for their big break, I was pleased to hear both of them have been successful to some extent in some smaller movies, and they were equally pleased to see me, a reminder of home which is a long ways from here. It’s comforting to see that not only are my college friends having success in early adulthood, but many of my high school friends and classmates are as well, having emerged from a very small town in central Michigan which most people have likely never heard of before anyways or ever knew existed.

Today I’m beginning my trip north up the PCH, a road I’m really excited to see in real life. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful drive, so hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.