Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Dear Readers! I am still in California and I am about ready to go home. Luckily that happens tomorrow night.

I've been here for nearly two weeks now and have spent a significant amount of time in the hills of Beverly where I have witnessed enough jackassery from people with more money than good taste to last me for a long time. I thought Florida was bad, but the Rich and the White out here, Lord have mercy. Florida is full of amateurs.

If I lived out here my blog could be called "Enormous, Sprawling Lawns and No Brains Whatsoever."

I happen to live in an area in Florida where massive wealth is concentrated in a small area. Most of our Florida rich are new money, a lot of them are criminals, and the majority come from New York and New Jersey and only live in Florida part of the time. My town is a huge vacation destination because it's beautiful, has fantastic shopping and restaurants and the wealthy flock there from all over the world to buy boats. Because of this, my home has a resortish, almost rakish quality and because it's hot all the time, no one wears any clothes. The resort atmosphere and lack of clothing causes people to behave a bit more wildly than I suspect they do at home, hence all the oddness I've written about.

In Beverly Hills though, life for these people is nothing but indulgence. I've seen decadence and stuffiness taken to whole new depths and breadths of idiocy. I couldn't survive working for rich people here for 30 seconds. I would be fired instantly because I simply can not muster the sense of urgency to lick ass the way the shop and restaurant employees and all the frantic personal assistants here do. I just don't care if Ms. Susanna Arabella Mayhew Fortuna needs fresh meyer lemons for her spa water or if the Fendi mink hoodie is available at Neiman Marcus because she wants to wear it out to Spago tonight and nothing else will do.

One of the first strange things I saw here was a homeless man completely decked out in Ed Hardy. I had to do a doubletake on that one. He was old, bent and feebly pushing a loaded shopping cart down Wilshire Blvd wearing a bejewelled Ed Hardy tee shirt, a pair of Ed Hardy jeans with rhinestone skulls and roses on the butt pockets and I kid you freaking not, Prada sneakers. He looked like a hipster walked out of Hyde and exploded on him.

People here also do asinine things to absurdly expensive cars. In my first five minutes standing on the corner of Rodeo Drive I swear to God ten million dollars worth of cars must have been stopped at a red light and most of them were pimped out in ways I just haven't seen at home, which is bad, because people at home do terrible things to cars too. I once saw a mercedes with a swarovski encrusted grill. Here I saw a mercedes, which my dad assured me cost $350,000 that was painted in matte charcoal paint, had those kind of spaceship doors that open vertically, and had oversized bright purple rims. I saw this car again last night at the gas station and the guy driving it looked exactly like the Millpond local meth lab operator.

Truffles are in season right now and every hot restaurant here features a second, secret truffle menu, where, for astronomical sums, the chef will come out and sprinkle a microscopic amount of white truffle dust on your dish. A tiny saucer of fettuccini starts at $140. I can't even comprehend such madness.

My parents' upstairs neighbor, the aforementioned Ms. Susanna Arabella Mayhew Fortuna, is a trustfunder/ divorcee who won both the parental and ex-husband lottery and as such never has to do anything for the rest of her life. She is in her 20s and sleeps late and has two Mexican maids who appear to be petrified of her. The other day we were in the parking garage and the two maids came out of the elevator as if they were on fire, panicking that Missy Susanna Arabella was on her way. I guess she calls them and lets them know of her imminent arrival so that everything can be perfect when she gets there. I watched as Missy's Range Rover pulled in. One maid opened the car door for her and took the keys while the other opened the elevator door and pushed all the buttons, because you know how strenuous that can be after a day of shopping. I mean, I've always become enormously fatigued at having to push elevator buttons. Then the first maid opened the back of the SUV and removed Missy's purchases. I expected to see loads and loads of large boxes and bags, however, the first maid took out one, itty bitty, teeny weeny bag, about the size of a short novel, which contained a single tube of lipstick.

I've noticed here that people are all about waiting in lines for things, notably, hot dogs, frozen yogurt and cupcakes. Pinkberry is all the rage. I tasted it and it was horrible. Sour, flavorless and thin, Pinkberry just sucks, yet people wait an hour for a cup of it. The fresh fruit they put on it was very appealing to me, but I couldn't get past the tart, fermented taste. Eww. I haven't been able to get into Sprinkles Cupcakes because the line twists down the block and my parents told me the cupcakes aren't so great. Plus, they're $50 a dozen. I clearly need to start selling cupcakes at home so I can afford a $140 saucer of fettucini too. I drove by Pinks Hot Dogs a few times and have never been able to even find the end of the line, and since I don't like hot dogs, I didn't stop. One of the locals told me the trick the wealthy use to get to the front of the line. You get your driver to stop at the curb, then go to the first person in line and hand them a hundred. Then you tell that person to order for you and give them more money to cover your order and theirs so by the time you're done you've paid $120 or more for a hot dog, but at least you saved an hour and a half of standing outside with the unwashed.

Last, I'm pleased to have finally seen some famous people. I've been to LA several times in my life but haven't had any celebrity sightings. Finally, I've seen some famous people.

Regis Philbin - old and bad hair. His hair looks like it came out of a spray can.

Wladimir Klitscho - some boxer or something. He was in a restaurant eating the truffles and getting a big fuss made over him. I don't know anything about boxing. He was pretty hot though and I have no clue how to spell his name.

Jay Leno - the man is orange.

Monica Lewinsky - she's really pretty and my mother would not stop saying "She's as big as a house!!" Monica Lewinsky is not as big as a house, though she is voluptuous. She has gorgeous hair.

Steven Stills - My dad had to tell me who he was. I didn't recognize him. He looks pretty regular.

John Voight - Wow. He was my favorite celebrity sighting. He was smiling and with a family (his?) and looked very happy and really handsome in real life. You can really see the resemblance between him and Angelina in person. Also he is very tall and was polite and gracious to all the restaurant employees and signed an autograph for the hostess.

Hopefully I'll be able to add to the list before I go home.


Heather said...

Before you go home, you have to buy/eat some See's candies. They are the best chocolates in the world, I promise you will not be disappointed, and you can't get them outside of California. Plus you should see Juno if you are looking for something to do, you would like this movie immensely.
My ex dated Monica Lewinsky after he dated me and reported back that she is in fact very clever and funny, but she has poor taste in men. Minus my ex, of course, who is a lovely South Carolina boy.

Patti said...

I had the same feeling in LA. I was constantly staring in amazement at the stupidity, wastefulness and arrogance of people and then would find myself staring in starstruck idiocy at some celeb. Donald Sutherland, Lauren Graham and the nail lady from Legally Blonde and Best in Show are the ones I remember. It is a great place to visit, but I couldn't take it on a daily basis. I would never look good enough to leave the house there, and I totally suck at kissing ass.

Anonymous said...

I love being able to peep into a window of the lives of the rich and famous through your highly entertaining blog. People-watching is my favorite thing, ever, and I can tell that you like it just as much as I do!

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, the lovely idle rich. It's pretty funny, when it's not pathetic. I'm not very good at celebrity-spotting so it's good you had someone who is. It can be a fun game.

I disagree about See's candy; it's ok. Rocky Mountain chocolate factory is better. :) Or get some from Trader Joe's, though I'm not sure they have those in Beverly Hills. Might have to travel out for that. At least TJ has reasonably normal prices, unlike the places you're likely to find in BH.

Enjoy your last few days here!

Anonymous said...

It's so interesting to read a tourists version of LA... having lived here my whole life I love to get a different perspective. See's is available west of the Mississippi. I like it and usually give it as gifts.

My daughter drives into the city for sprinkles cupcakes (I'm NOT a fan) and is totally addicted to Pinkberry. I'm on the fence about this stuff... kind of sour and the fruit doesn't really sweeten it up much... and it's expensive.

Blu Jewel said...

Happy New Year!

I know I don't get to read your posts as often as I used to, but you're still a good read when I do.

WOW! I've always thought the LA/Beverly Hills scene was overrated, but hearing your depiction of it makes it super-overrated to me. With all the poverty and waste that occurs in this country those people could help reduce the poverty rating by simply cutting out their indulgences.

Anonymous said...

oh, but you do Jonathon Swift proud!

Seriously, I know satirizing these mindless, soulless nutters is shooting fish in a barrel-- but you do it with SUCH style!


Anonymous said...

My chocoholic friends swear by See's candy. I think they have the best non-chocolates around. Try the vanilla caramel pecan's - they are my favorite candy in the world.

Anonymous said...

You were really close, just change the W to V, Vladimir.

Anonymous said...

Kerry: of course there's Trader Joe's :)

Regarding Sprinkles... I FINALLY got to try one the other week in Newport Beach (another haven for the rich & stupid) - I have to admit that their signature red velvet cupcake REALLY IS QUITE GOOD. $3 for a cupcake is a lot, but then I think of how much Starbucks charges and realize it's not that much of a markup over that. Nearly died from sugar shock between that and the vanilla latte I'd gotten from Peet's to go with it.

Pinkberry was "meh". I mean, it was tasty but not something I'd stand in line for the way I would Sprinkles or Pink's.

BTW: if you can catch one before you leave, the bacon-wrapped hot dogs that the street vendors all sell are fantastic too, and you don't have to wait in line for those - make sure you put everything on it to get the full experience.

Oh, and Heather's right... try some See's.

CarmenSinCity said...

Do you live in Boca Raton? I was in Boca, Delray and Ft. Lauderdale. Also, $50 for a dozen of cupcakes? Holy shit! I love cupcakes. I love them - but I am not spending that much for a cupcake or a hotdog. Crazy!

Dave said...

Thanks for reminding me why I hate LA! Haven't been there in the last 3 years and I hope I can delay the next visit indefinitely! As some wag once said "Hollywood is a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottom boat."

LittlePea said...

Oh man, we could totally compare some notes my friend. I used to live in Palm Beach county and I laughed at those people for the very same reasons. .... valet parking at the grocery store, ridiculously long hair extensions, 70 year olds dressing like teenagers, the list goes on. I once heard a woman throwing up in the ladies room and when I asked if she was ok, she laughed it off and said she wanted to fit into her bridesmaid dress the following week. Nice.

BTW thanks for the visit and kind comment on my blog. I look forward to reading your future- and past posts. This was hilarious. (I wonder why in hell anyone would stand in line for hot dogs?)

Anonymous said...

You get some rich loons over here too. I don't mind wealthy people if they keep half way human but so many think that those poorer in money are somehow lesser people when it's usually the reverse that is true.

Sauntering Soul said...

The neighbhor having the maids carry her bag of lipstick reminds me of a dinner party I went to. It was full of rich, stupid people but I had to go because it was a work event for my ex-husband.

A lady at our table started talking about how she can only get her lipstick in France. She flies to France (and only first class she made sure to inform us) to buy a freakin' tube of lipstick.

One of the men at our table who is also quite rich (but apparently not stupid) said he was almost out of toothpaste and asked her if she thought he should fly first class to France for another tube. I was the only one paying attention to him (because quite frankly he was the only one at the table I could stomach - including my ex) and I busted out laughing when he said it. He started laughing at me and then the dinner got a little better.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! If you have time, PLEASE try and come up to Santa Barbara - with Montecito (part time home of Oprah and about a jillion other celebrities and The Idle Rich) next door, it would make for excellent blogging fodder. Plus we've got some fantastic places to eat that don't cost the earth for some truffle-y crap. (Of course, we've got that sort as well)

Pleeeease? Pretty pretty please?

JoeinVegas said...

Wow, you seem to live/vacation at the most interesting places. How about coming through my dull town and finding things to talk about?

booda baby said...

I'm forced to say: told you so. It's gotta be sad, when identifying stupid rich folk can become sport.

Anonymous said...

You can get See's Candies in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. It's a western thing, not just Californian. Very good candy.

I find a lot of fast food LA places are overrated, including Pink's, In-N-Out, Tommy's, etc.

But So Cal. is totally into that fast food culture. They created it (well Miami created Burger King, but they created McDonalds).

Southern California turned its first McDonalds into a museum, a shrine of sorts.

Miami's first Burger King operates in the hood with grafitti-infused bathrooms and absolutely no fanfare.

Trader Joe's is a great store. Good selections and prices. Hopefully, we'll get one in Miami soon.

We seem to be getting a lot of California imports lately, like Ikea, California Pizza Kitchen, Fatburger and Baja Fresh.

Maybe we'll even get a Cost Plus. That's a good store.

I wish we could get a Von's or a Safeway here to replace our lame grocery stores. Maybe even a Pollo Loco, which blows Pollo Tropical away.

Luckily, LA is not just Beverly Hills just like Miami is not just South Beach.

If the world judged us by what's on South Beach, then no telling what they would think.

They need to know that we also have Hialeah and fighting roosters and sacrificed chickens.

gulfsidebo said...

i haven't read your blog in a bit. life just seems to act like a series of standing dominoes ready to tip. i've missed it.

i saw stephen stills at a neil young concert back in high school. i think he's really sick right now with cancer :(

some of my college friends became famous. two of your and my high school friends became famous. one married kevin smith and the other married adam sandler. yep. bet you didn't know that. after working in radio for so long the idea of "famous" really loses it's value. actually, it was working in radio that reminded me that i didn't want to be a famous.

glad you had a good trip.

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