Friday, June 23, 2006

L.A. exposes me for the nerd that I am

San Francisco definitely has its charms, but sometimes I need a break from the foggy weather, geek culture, grimy streets, and crummy expensive parking.

So every year it seems I find my way to New York, L.A., and Chicago. I have friends and relatives in all of those places, so it gives me a wonderful excuse to explore these great cities.

This last week, I took a 5-day trip through the neighborhoods of L.A. Here are pictures from the trip (all taken from my handy little mobile!).

After the trip, I realized two things:

1. I would never run out of things to explore in L.A.

I went to UCLA, and even took the 5-year route to finish. I didn't even restrain myself to campus that much. But on this trip I explored all kinds of fun new things I didn't do before in L.A. I suppose it helps that I have a job now and can afford more, but there's even cheap things to do, like the Garment district in downtown L.A. Or fried chicken in Culver City. Or dumplings in Arcadia. Or hiking in Runyon or Temescal Canyon (which I didn't even get around to.) Or walking along the Venice Canals. Or tricycling (triking?) from West L.A. to 3rd Street Promenade, where I bought a $10 dress.

Also It's very inspiring also just to be around my creative friends and their creative friends, who all know about different things to do.

2. I am a big eNerd.

Well, I was always a nerd, but I didn't realize how much of an e-Nerd I was. And I know there are way nerdier people than me at work. I mean that in the nicest way. (I heart Nerds! Seriously! I have only ever dated nerds! Ask my friends!)

Anyway, working in a high-profile internet company has warped my expectations on what is normal. Back in college, I was the one asking classmates on how to use my software properly. I still think my friends are more tech-savvy than most, but I found myself having to explain myself more than I expected to, for example:

2a. Mobile Texting 101

I asked one friend to text another friend's number to me. He just got his new Razor phone, so he didn't know how. Nobody had bluetooth on their phones, or if they did, they didn't know.

Another friend didn't know how to text numbers. It is a confusing thing to figure out. (You hold the key down until the number pops up, so it will skip the letters.) And then I was teaching this friend how to use SMS text search to get a business phone number or address.

You can do it with Yahoo or Google; just spell the business name, then zip code or city/state, and send it to "92466" (YAHOO) or "46645" (GOOGL). It is so handy!

2b. WTF is FTP?

Another friend was showing me pictures she took from my last birthday. They were really funny, because I spent it at Tokyo Delve's, a zany sushi bar in North Hollywood.

There were several photos of me dancing on a chair. And we had a mini-keg of Sapporo in the middle of the table, on a special swivel lazy susan thing. You'd think the photos were from a 21st birthday, but it was my 30th! Tokyo Delve's is more popular with the ladies than with guys. Great for birthdays and not much else... But I digress...

So of course I wanted copies of the photos. (To show my grandkids someday!) She didn't have a computer cable or cd to burn, and these were hi-res files, so I figured I'd copy it to my site's web host. So I asked, "Do you have an FTP app?"


I said, "You don't know what I'm saying, do you?" And I don't know why I would expected her to know. Oh wait, it's because I am a big eNerd.

(FTP = File Transfer Protocol. It's a way to get files from your computer to a web server so you can get to them from a browser or website. I used Transmit on my friend's Mac to do it.)

2c. Blogging 101.

I was checking email at my friend's place, and then browsing another friend's blog. She started asking me about it, so I showed her mine, and I showed how easy it was to attach images with Flickr, and how I added my Amazon wishlist and my recently bookmarked sites with an RSS feed from Yahoo! My Web 2.0, and how handy it is to keep up with all your favorite blogs and news with RSS readers... blah blah blah...

This friend is working on some creative writing, so after showing her my blog, she is thinking about starting a blog herself!

Luckily my friends don't seem to be annoyed by my brief tech introductions; actually they get really curious and want to try it themselves, because they're cool like that! :D

-- I am pushing up my black-rimmed glasses as I blog --

2d. Internet Dating, the Musical

L.A. is all about movies, entertainment, and the arts. So of course what do I do? I take my friends to see a musical about internet dating.

It was in a tiny theater in the theater district of Hollywood, which I had never been to. It's great because even if you sit in the back, you get a good view. And my friends enjoyed it quite a lot. My favorite was the "I love to laugh" song (about all the things women write in personal ads to sound appealing).

In addition to the funny dating scenarios, there are other goofy scenes, including one where an innocent travelling Email gets trapped by the Evil Computer Virus, and another scene in Antarctica where a guy is talking to the cute little penguins.

The musical was very relatable for anyone that's ever tried dating, not just internet dating, so I'd recommend it! I just wish it were showing in the bay area, so all my internet nerd friends could enjoy it too.

2e. Arithmetic and the Stroop Effect at 2am. Par-TAY!

My Nintendo DS Lite arrived in the mail just before I got to L.A. I bought it for Brain Age, the new game designed by a Japanese doctor to keep people like me from getting senile. (Let's hope it works.) You are supposed to play it for 10 min./day, and it involves things like practicing arithmetic, reading colors, or counting moving objects. (HOW NERDY DOES THIS SOUND ALREADY??) It even detects audio, so there are games where you respond vocally.

After seeing the musical, my friends and I stayed up too late watching Arrested Development on dvd, and for whatever reason that was when we decided to try Brain Age. They tried a game demonstrating the Stroop effect. But for some reason it didn't understand us when we said "blue."

So there we were, screaming "BLUE!", until we were blue in the face, giggling, (we weren't even HIGH) at 2am into this iPod/cosmetic-case-looking thing, which then told us we were mentally about 80 years old each.

Anyway, I meant to talk more about L.A., but I guess I'll save that for the next entry. Now I have to go play 10 more minutes of Brain Age before I go to bed early for tomorrow's 17-20-mile training walk!

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Blogger Whatchamacalit said...

Yay! A new entry! My friends, the misocrazy groupies, will be so happy. :) Sounds like you frequent the same cities as me. I just went to SF, NY, and Chicago this year already! I love those places. It was great meeting up with you during your trip down here. Hopefully we'll meet again soon!

6:04 PM  
Blogger the.nicole.harvey said...

one: I need to play brain game.
two: last time I went to losangeles, I couldn't easily check on what shows were going on because most of the venues didn't have websites. how insane is that? sorry, but I choose san francisco, despite all of our possibly questionable technocracy. even dives have sites here.

12:01 AM  

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