What I Liked This Week: Hill People Edition

In NYC, this space would cost $3,000/month.

In NYC, this space would cost $3,000/month plus utilities (oxygen surcharge).

That is my wife, Rebecca, about as happy as I have seen her. I like that, which is part of the reason why…

Redwood Forest

…the first thing on this week’s list is the Armstrong Redwood State Preserve in California. We took a short trip there this week with family, hiking a short loop among a forest of towering redwoods — many of which are over one-thousand years old. That’s amazing. And amazingly humbling.

To get there, we took a shortcut (via GPS) that led us through some hills. At one point, in those hills, we discovered a large community of people living essentially in the middle of nowhere, about halfway between the nearest town and the forest. They seemed nice. It was an eclectic group of tree-hidden homes.

Rebecca wants to move in with the redwood forest hill people and I can’t say some part of me wouldn’t enjoy it. I am back in New York now, which from another point of view might seem equally insane as a choice for a home.

Venice Beach

Photo credit: Rebecca De Ornelas.

Photo credit: Rebecca De Ornelas.

We drove down from northern California to LA before flying home, to see some more family and to flash through the city for a day of tourist-y activities. We checked out the Hollywood Sign and even made a quick stop by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre — but one of my favorite jaunts during our whirlwind stop in LA was our walk along Venice Beach.

I was disappointed to discover that there were no studio executives handing out money at the top of the hill. I feel misled.

I was disappointed to discover that there were no studio executives handing out money at the top. I feel misled.

When we got to Venice Beach, the sky was overcast and we were tired and had just been in traffic for an hour (which means we had only been driving for about half a mile). It was getting late in the afternoon and we had a few more stops planned and a lot more traffic ahead of us. I think we were both a little cranky.

But the walk (the actual locomotion of it) and the unique character of the boardwalk and its unique brand of artists and salespeople, quickly improved our mood. We watched the goings-on around us, sampled some street music (and paid for it by dropping some cash in the performer’s guitar case), declined some other street music, and stood by to observe a unique performance that I’m probably going to write about in a different way, soon.

Much like the forest, but also in a very different sense, it felt like a reduction of America. On the one hand, we had a sampling of the vast natural landscape upon which everything we know has been and is built. On the other, along the boardwalk, we witnessed a mixed-bag of what all that has become. It’s not all bad, either, what’ve we’ve become (to be clear). In many ways, it’s just what we’ve got.

Subconscious Energization 

On second thought, it could have just been the cookie.

I am so on board with this cookie.

Something happened to my brain over the past week or so. After a little bit of catching up (mostly in regards to the podcast) for the first few days of my California trip, I settled into a routine of waking up early, meditating a bit, having breakfast and coffee and then…vacillating between chill-out time and different (moderate) physical activities. I also watched my cousin get married to a good dude in the middle of it all, which was wonderful.

But the relative liveliness of it all got into my bones. I jogged. I floated down a river (twice). I hiked, on a few separate occasions. There was a lot of movement and not a lot of thinking.

The effect has been a profound re-energization of my subconscious. I woke up this morning with a lot of hope for the near future, and a lot of passion for trying out new ideas, for growing this space and improving it organically, and generally turning back to a more active and experimental mindset, following the necessary monomania of making a low-budget indie film.

It feels good. Be on the lookout for more stuff. Let me know if you like it. Don’t be shy.

And have a good week.

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