This morning I got back from Los Angeles! The whole thing was a crazy, sick ridiculous time, and I'm really glad that I went even though I am really busy right now. There's a lot of stuff I could talk about, but I have kind of a knack for forgetting the coolest things, so I'll just sort of go in a random order, mentioning things as I think of them.
In LA I stayed with my best friend Rand who's now a masters students in nerdy robots at USC. One thing that got a little depressing while I was living in LA (and probably why I have such ambivalent feelings about LA in general) was that I was living near campus for all four years, and there's not really a whole lot going on around campus except for USC house parties/frat parties. So therefore when I came to Pittsburgh and started doing other kinds of things around town, it felt like a big contrast. Staying with Rand I realized how much of that had to do with being by campus. He lives in Echo Park, which is this cool area near downtown full of hipsters and rock 'n roll type people. It felt so much more vibrant than South Central, as you can probably imagine. There were neat bars, we went to some boutique comic book store, there was a gelato shoppe, a bunch of awesome places for breakfast, and more. It was just like more of what I would have liked to get out of LA when I actually lived there.
We hung out a lot with Rand's friends which was great cause they are tres tight. Some of them I knew from my USC days, but big-ups go out to all those whom I had never met before and yet still turned out to be dope individuals. We went to bars, we hung around the girls' and boys' house playing music and watching tv, we listened to tons of rap and pop music, and we even got to spend one glorious night in a hot tub out in Santa Monica.
Rand and I spent a fair amount of time nerding out, talking about programming languages and the like, which I guess was kind of a change of pace for him. For me it was a kind of a change of pace to be talking about mostly art, music and pop-culture with Rand's friends. In particular, a fair amount of our conversations centered around the concept of "Purp" aka "Drank," which is some kind of drug referenced in a lot of rap songs. I had heard of it before, particular w.r.t. the Houston Hip-Hop scene, but I had never realized how pervasive it was. In particular, that song "Let Your Shoulder Lean," or whatever it's really called is an implicit reference. You can see more fascinating stuff over at Urban Dictionary.
Anyway, I was really kind of bummed to leave. I was surprised how much I enjoyed LA. But don't worry, it still feels great to be back in P town. The flight home was rough, since I decided to take a red-eye flight. The whole city had this really low cloud cover when we left. Once we broke through, it was amazing to see the stars perfectly out of the airplane window right above LA. Looking down, I could see erie patches of light coming through the clouds. It almost felt like traveling under water, and seeing faint, glowing lava on the sea floor...
So much work back at school. Time to hunker down, extreme style.