Friday, July 21, 2017

All things considered

This morning I was walking to the train and a guy skateboarded into me.  I took a step back and felt someone crash into me then saw him stumbling over and a skateboard shot past my feet.  He was behind me and should definitely have been far enough away in the first place that I could take a step and not get hit.  Naturally I apologised profusely to him and asked if he was ok then as I walked away
I thought 'wait...he was behind me...he could see me...he skateboarded smack into me...'

At Steps things were a little wacky.  The guy who was supposed to take over from me at the front desk at 12.30 didn't show up so I was still ringing people into class at 1.  Managers let me sign out even though it was the middle of a big rush (because I had two shifts today so I needed the time) so everyone else had to stretch themselves thin.  That guy should have showed up on time.

I managed to rush my way into a theatre jazz class (arriving late at 1.15pm due to aforementioned late arriver) and was feeling good but half way through one of the times my group danced the routine, my knee tweaked and there were shooting pains and it couldn't bear weight.  I stepped out and sat down, someone brought me ice, I stayed in the room watching for the final 10 minutes of class.  I hobbled out and the other Work Study girls were very kind and sweet.  I sat with more ice for a while then returned to the front desk for my second shift of the day.

Someone was late again, not for me this time thankfully but it made everything generally crazed and confusing for a while.  We had a lull - Friday afternoons/evenings are slow.  A lady called at 7.15 who turned out to be someone infamous at Steps, banned in fact from taking classes, because she is possibly mentally ill and always extremely abrasive and venomous to staff, faculty and management. She calls almost every day and demands to be allowed to speak to the owners (they're not here, it's 7.15 on a Friday).  She called my friend Madelyn, who had to deal with her on the phone, incompetent.  Very unpleasant.

I had to skip the second class I planned to take today because I was afraid of my knee screwing out again.  It feels fine to walk on and it can comfortably take all my weight.  It was tap with one of my favourite teachers and someone of my favourite frequent classmates, and I had to sign them all in and answer 'not today' when they said 'are you taking class?'

For such a sad list of things, I feel pretty great - tired, and cautious, but I spent 12 hours in my happy place today and now I'm chilling with Game of Thrones and a dopey retriever in another happy place so...that's alright! Huge love to all my lovesxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Still young still fun!

So that was last week.  I did tech, dress and performances, worked at Steps four days in a row, worked at ASG every day, babysat, took classes when I could and just about every day saw me leaving the house at 7.30 and coming home at 10 or 11.

All of which meant that when Saturday evening rolled around and I finished up my cafe shift at Steps at 6.30 and made my way to the Village to settle into my dog sitting digs (me and Maverick for the week, yay!) I felt compelled to revel in an evening free of commitments, completely's almost overwhelming when that happens, so unaccustomed am I these days!

I made plans to have dinner with a friend in Brooklyn in my old beloved neighbourhood and I spent a leisurely time enjoying the space and sunlight bestowed upon me by the dog sitting gig before going to Mayfield where we ordered a series of small plates so we could have lots of options and avoid indecisiveness - mushroom ravioli in cream sage sauce, French fries, collard greens with bacon, fried oysters, spoonbread (I had never had spoonbread, I have now had it and oh. my. goodness - it's a very soft corn based bread that almost feels like you're eating some kind of flan but with the mealiness of semolina, absolutely delicious) and had a great catch up.  It was amazing to feel for the first time in weeks that I am in fact a 20 something and I can wear nice clothes and go to nice places and enjoy the nice things in life without needing to worry or feel guilty about something.  I truly earned rich food and a charming setting (we ate outside on a small greenery-decked back patio).

From there I went back to Manhattan now to the Lower East Side to join the housewarming party of my friend Connie.  Connie is a fantastic Oxfordshire transplant who I met in April when she performed in the Peter Shaffer Memorial that Sam and FTP put together - I don't remember now who it was that brought her in for that but I'm so glad they did because she's an excellent new friend.  Nice to meet someone from a home county and not London.  Apart from being a very gifted actor and singer she's great company.  We clicked the first time we met and haven't managed to hang out since so we pretty much had our own party for the night.  She'd also come to see my first night of Dickless preview and was very kind and supportive re: that.  Once again, a house party full of people my own age is an unfamiliar setting nowadays and this one had all the bells and whistles: cup sport-based drinking games, vodka jelly, endless supply of beers and spirits, crisps, someone who overindulged and threw up, extra guests in the form of upstairs neighbours who the hostesses had never met before and people sneaking into someone's bedroom to smoke plants.  Like, if you're going to have a house party might as well tick all the boxes, right?
I got there at 12.30, and at 4am (after the sick person had been dispatched in a taxi with another, slightly less sick person) we headed to a bar that shall remain nameless because it's known for having the odd lock in.  No details but I eventually walked back into the dog sitting apartment at 6am, ordered some carb-heavy breakfast foods from a cheap corner store that delivered, scarfed them down in three bites and conked out for four hours.  No hangover to speak of - it's not the drinking that I enjoy about revealing in my 20-somethingness, it's just the being there and celebrating the moment and seeing the wrong side of a sunrise for the first time in a couple of years.  Brilliant time with a new friend, a well-deserved night of cutting loose and to top it off an absolutely blissful New York day.  They come along once in a while, the kind of day touched by magic that makes you feel like the protagonist of a beautiful film or charming book.
Glorious blue sky, a walk with Maverick, a nice languid start to the day and even managed to get some things done like emails and laundry.  Then a visit to Lauren at work, Tea and Sympathy, where I knew I'd be able to get some nosh and a coffee - chef Miguel indulged me with a Welsh rarebit and Lauren and I caught up from the two days its been since we saw each other last.  She also thinking and moving a bit slow today as she celebrated her final show by going to a party on a boat - rocking boat combined with a glass too many of wine, picture at your own risk. After setting the world to rights for a bit with Lauren and Tash the other girl working today, went and lay down on the grass in the nearest park for an hour's snooze (covered in suncream natch) and on the neighboring patch of grass in a deckchair was John Cameron Mitchell reading a book.  He's the creator of the recent Broadway hit formerly a cult movie/musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  V. cool.
After a bit of shut eye, a walk to my current favourite purveyors of ice cream La Newyorkina, Mexican style and flavours such as horchata (cinnamony rice-based drink), cajeta (goat's milk caramel), cactus pineapple and coconut lime.  Eating my ice cream as I went, strolled my way through sunny streets back to Maverick and took him for his evening walk before prepping for the thing I've been waiting for since last spring - the return of GAME OF THROOOOONES
Fellow GoT nerd friends and I have had our tin foil hats on theorising and speculating all week (which is half the fun of the show honestly) and I curled up with some snacks, a Mav and my phone on silent for an hour of thrills and chills.
Perfect end to a perfect day - and I will sleep WELL tonight, I guaranzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Gun Show

Some snaps from Dickless previews at East to Edinburgh.
Phew! We did it.

I went up on Tuesday and Thursday, Lauren on Wednesday and Saturday.  I preferred my Tuesday to my Thursday but overall happy with how both of them went, especially considering some weird circumstances (old people nodding off, people being incredibly rude and loud - we break the fourth wall so not just audience looking at us, we are looking at them, difference is we didn't pay to look at them whereas they did pay to look at us so you'd think they'd try to do it properly!) and doing both my nights on the back of a looong day.  I had a blast.  As with all performances but especially performances that utilise direct address and fourth wall breaking, you can truly never get a real handle on it until you do it for a full house of strangers - that's when the adrenaline pumps, you have people to tell your story to and you discover new things by really living in the story you're telling, because the stakes are higher now that there are people who need to understand it.  The feeling of being so fully immersed in a role that you do new stuff you never did it rehearsal as an instinct of the character rather than of you - that's a pretty spectacular sensation.
It was well received by most people as far as I can tell and I had a pretty full audience both nights, the strangest part being that there were so many strangers - I'm so used to audiences made up mostly of my friends!

It was a stressful and exhausting week but satisfying and triumphant. I am glad now to be able to take a deep breath and relax a bit.  We will be having a couple of rehearsals between now and Edinburgh and some when we get there to re-set in a new space.  

A frequent FTP photographer got some good snaps of us in dress rehearsal, most of which certainly captured the intensity of the play.  It's a raucous ride. And its no wonder I lost my voice two weeks ago! Surprise breakout star of the show was apparently my arms as at least five times in the past week people have commented on them, some specifically in reference to the show and a couple just randomly out in the world - I think I've maybe been doing stress-induced sleep press ups? Either way, POW POW GUN SHOW

So that's the past week, I'm very proud of myself Lauren and Jamie for our work and very grateful to the rest of the team who did everything else required to put it together.  

L-R Virginia producer, Downie co-star, Stacy lighting and sound booth technician and warm up/vocal/diction coach, Jamie director, Myself, Aisha playwright

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Two angles same song - Thanks to the gracious invite from the excellent Jessie and Kiley, this is what I sang in a laid back cabaret at Thalia Bar, and the cross-fire hurricane that has been life for the past few weeks made me want to do something familiar and comfortable that I have been singing to myself for a long time. It should once again be noted that the TLOGs played a gig on the same night and while Wild Horses isn't part of their standard repertoire it fits in perfectly so it was like my own little satellite gig.

It's ON

In two days I'm gonna be doing some stuff a bit like this ↓
on stage at 59E59 Theatres.  I am v. excited.

Last night I sang Wild Horses in a cabaret hosted by two friends.  It's called Family Liquid Dinner, it was a lot of fun they are super cool girls one of whom will be coming to Edinburgh also with her own crew and their show.  So, technically ALL the Old Gits had a gig last night!

I just gave myself the precious gift of lots of sleep in the form of a lie in, and I'm working at the Steps Cafe this afternoon, and somewhere along the way I'm getting myself some kind of carbohydrate heavy breakfast foods.  

Pray for me and my blisters!

Saturday, July 1, 2017










Woohoo! Time to subletmyroomgetmyshiftscoveredatstepswashmydanceclothesfindsomecostumepiecesfordicklessdepositsomecashpaysomebillstakeacoupleofdanceclassesearnsomemoneydrinkwaterkeepcalmandcarryon

Saturday, June 24, 2017

You Are.

Today during class, in between exercises, Ray Hesselink said to me (and he pointed to me and looked me right in the eye and it came from the blue) 'You are a beautiful performer, you can see that you have so many different styles in your body'
and I honestly almost cried.

Then someone from the front desk came to take the register of who was in the class today, and when they called me I said 'here' beaming all over my face and I caught his eye and he gave me a little wink.

I can float on that for what feels like forever.

I really needed to catch a break this week, and I'm truly delighted by this small piece of recognition, and I am proud of myself and I absolutely deserve to be.  I work very hard and I try to do right by everyone, and I don't give up.  So, thanks be to Ray, it truly meant a lot to hear that and I feel great after a long and tough week.

Leave it all behind

There was a time when I would leave a dance class and just go about the rest of my day.  I might have been happy with how I did or not that happy perhaps but either way I would just leave and that would be that.  Probably I’d be tired, usually that satisfied kind of tired from a long day’s hard work and sometimes a more frustrated kind because I had a long night still ahead, or maybe so beat I could think only of getting home and putting on my pyjamas and collapsing in front of the TV. 

I would leave the Sports Centre and whatever feelings I’d had during class, being proud of nailing a sequence or being annoyed with myself at repeatedly not getting a step, wouldn’t come with me.  Not in a negative, ‘I want to forget that ever happened’ way, it just never occurred to me to spend time dissecting my class experience.
At AMDA, too – I would enjoy my dance classes and in general feel fine with how they went – I don’t remember ever having a class there that I really beat myself up over, and to be fair some of that is probably because they were on the gentler side of challenging, the teachers each having only a short time each term in which to impart movement information. Not that we didn’t sweat like mad.  But even when I ran up against things that I wasn’t great at or that I didn’t know how to do, I had a narrative for myself that just kept me breezing on by and never questioning my dancerism.

Maybe around the time of AMDA dance workshop, the extra curricular program you auditioned for (which…I did and got in so already it’s crazy that I doubted so hard) when I started to come up against phenomenal dancers  from the Dance program who have been trained a totally different way than I was – in essence they’ve been trained to be acrobats – I started to doubt myself and stew over not being able to do tricks and gymnastics.  I started to develop a different narrative, one where the story didn’t go ‘I’m a great dancer.  Oh, so and so is better at turning right than me.  But I’m better at x y z.  My leg doesn’t go as high as whatserfaces, but I’m more stylistically versatile’. The story went ‘I don’t belong here.  I don’t know how to do that.  My body won’t do that.  I don’t know how to be a dancer’. 

I’ve been stuck in that mind trap for quite a while now, which means that instead of just leaving a class and continuing with my day, I leave class and analyse and wonder why me or why not me and remember what I did wrong and everyone who did what I did wrong right and wishing I’d done it right and being cross with myself because it was a stupid mistake that I got right every other time and I wish I could do box splits and where does everyone buy their dance clothes? Is there a secret shop I don’t know about I search all the time and I’ve never seen any of these leggings or tops

And other things like that

Which really serves no one least of all me.  I’m sharply aware of its futility and also how completely untrue a lot of the thoughts are because – no one knows I’m feeling any kind of way except me.  The teacher doesn’t know what I’m thinking and I don’t know what they’re thinking.  The other dancers aren’t looking at me they’re looking at the teacher and themselves in the mirror.  (My jazz teacher today shouted out during the warm up ‘I love that green hair’.  That’s dope! That’s what he was thinking about, when he glanced my way!)

But it’s a pattern and a habit and sort of a defence mechanism because if I’m super down on myself it will somehow transmit to the teachers, the classmates, the world that I CAN do it, I’m really good, I know I did that wrong see? See I know it was wrong so I know what makes it right

If I make a mistake in class sure the teacher probably sees it.  But they don’t suddenly hate me or like…take the rest of the class out for drinks so they can laugh about it.  I’m so in my head and I am going to have to work on returning to the mindset that used to allow me to just go in, do it, leave and carry on. 

It’s not just about confidence – I can be confident, I felt very confident in all three classes I took today.  It’s about knowing, without question, that I’m a dancer.  What do dancers do? Dance.  No further analysis needed.  No need to leave class hauling a bag of feelings and doubts.  Just leave and go do the next thing.  And tomorrow, do it again.

I took theatre jazz with Richard Pierlon (I slayed it) tap with Alex Macdonald (it’s my third class with him and every week I’ve felt myself improve hugely, also I nailed the choreography every time until the last two times we did it when I made the same mistake twice because I just had a mind blank) and commercial jazz with Nicholas Palmquist (again, slayed)
4.5 hours of dancing today.

And then I came to sit in Troy’s studio and cool down and obviously think about screwing up in Alex’s class and how the really friendly girl next to me didn’t screw up and she videoed herself doing the choreo with the teacher after class and I didn’t and I couldn’t anyway cos I messed it up and about how no matter how great I felt about the work I did in Palmquist’s class if I’d been in class with some other dancers I know I would have been the worst one because I can’t do the wacky leg things they can do without tearing a hamstring and…I won’t continue because you get the idea.

Even though I did nothing but good today, I still come away with all these bad things to think about myself.  That’s quite an upsetting thing to confront, but it must be confronted because how else will it ever be improved?

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  And I don’t want something done fast, I want something done right.

So tomorrow I’ll go to contemporary class and I challenge myself now with Blog as my witness to finish class and however it may have gone to go into the changing rooms, cool down, put my streets on, leave Steps and go onto the next thing with zero time spent over if and but.

Challenge on.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

'You dance with so much joy'

I was told yesterday by Ray Hesselink that I dance with so much joy, and that is pretty much the best thing anyone can ever tell me.  Ray is an extremely popular and beloved tap teacher here in New York, he's been in the biz forever, he's a wonderful and fun teacher and having finally taken a Ray class I understand exactly what all the hype is about.  He teaches in a style that perfectly balances 'Broadway' style, very MGM inspired, with rhythm style footwork.

This week I took lyrical jazz, rhythm tap, Broadway tap, Ray Hesselink tap and this afternoon will be another round of rhythm with Alex Macdonald, a super dope teacher.  All of these classes pushed me hard and gave me something to work on as well as something to be proud of and something to appreciate about myself as a dancer.

All these classes are made possible by my induction into the Steps work study program.  I work in the cafe Wednesday mornings and as a cashier checking people into classes on Friday mornings, and in exchange I receive unlimited $5 classes and a huge discount on studio rentals.

Well, that's the baseline of the work study program - it's a way for Steps to save money on employees and it's a way for dancers to save money on classes so it's a win win for everyone.  The bonuses that you get from being part of the program, which are really important to me, are things like community, connections, a sense of belonging to the dance world, consistency, new friends, being in a team.  After my first day, I was left feeling so fulfilled and comfortable and I realised that it's because I'm not used to having coworkers.  Babysitting, it's just me.  All Systems Go, just me.  Both great jobs that I'm lucky to have with nice employees and all kinds of good stuff but they both at times can be quite lonely or isolating because I'm the only person who has that job.  At ASG there are adults around all the time but I essentially work alone, and babysitting of course I have the fun of being around lovely kids but rarely adults.  So spending a whole four hours working alongside people who are my age who share something that I love was really wonderful for me and just 8 hours a week is making a huge difference.  Not to mention the high volume of people that come through the studio, during a shift you're constantly talking and interacting.  I haven't done a customer servicey job since I finished working at the AMDA store and I'm happy to be back in it, I've always been good at and liked that aspect of my many jobs over the years.

Going to the same classes regularly means I can build a relationship with favourite teachers, being around dancers makes me finally feel like I'm supposed to be there - not like I'm an outsider looking in to the dance world and wondering how to get in.

It's all good.  Work study is exciting and valuable and I'm quite evidently delighted by it.

Jacob - a constant rock and source of endless comedy - took this picture of me last week.  It looks terribly arty and what have you - here's the secret: he told me to do the Macarena

Happy Father's Day!

This one for some reason is the same in the UK and the US, even though Mother's Day is totally different? I'm confused.

In honour of the one and only John Nigel Fairey let's all enjoy the first Beatles song I remember (to this day my favourite) and appropriate because it was supposedly about a picture that John Lennon's son drew at school one day and not about psychedelic drugs.  Ok John Lennon, suuuure.

Big love and also big love to Grandparent, Uncle, Family Friend, Employer and other sub Dads I've been privileged to have and to cherish dearly.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Eddy Lee

Eddy Lee is a friend of mine, I had the pleasure of dancing with him a couple of times, he is one of those people who when you mention their name three people nearby go 'oh my gosh I LOVE that guy he's the best!'

And Eddy just became the first Asian American cast member of the insane smash hit Broadway musical 'Hamilton', making his Broadway debut.  There's practically a parade, so great is the public outpouring of joy and pride and congratulations, and it's just really, really nice so I wanted to share it a little further.  Noone deserves such an accolade and achievement more, and I don't think that about many people.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Have You Seen LA Lately?

Obligatory 'on my way' picture 
My First Freeway
A beautiful day in the neighbourhood
LA public transit: the EXPO line 
Santa Monica beach! My first of several trips here, a 20 minute ride from my digs
LA: a lot of sand, a lot of people 
Santa Monica Pier
First steps into the Pacific Ocean!
Selfies are totally justified when travelling solo
Also LA: a lot of cars
Colour saturation
Streets and alleys of Culver City 
Echo Park, Downtown LA in the background 
More Echo Park where I spent a glorious few hours drinking iced coffee and scribbling in a notebook
Also witnessed a girl rescue a dog from the inside wall of the lake where he had somehow wandered
Little tiny wildlife reserve in the centre of the lake 
Arrived here by taking a train to Downtown LA then 15 minutes on a bus.  Downtown LA is pretty seedy.  This park however is pleasant and well cared for.  LA is a weird weird town.
They have ducks on the West Coast, who knew
Palm trees continue to inspire in me the thrill of the exotic
Yes I took a lot of pictures but I really had a wonderfully lazy day here
See? Half asleep
Later that same day... 
Everybody wants to go to - HOLLYWOOD
This is Hollywood.  This is the weirdest place I've ever been.  It's like Times Square on crack.  It's a looong strip of touristy souvenir shops, cheap burger places, sex shops and the Harley Davidson shop, and it's also the place where the most famous, wealthy and beautiful people in the world gather sometimes to walk on a red carpet in $1000s worth of designer apparel.  And everyone's just cool with it. What?!?!?!
I unfortunately couldn't get good pictures because it was dark and the stones are light so when the flash goes off it all gets washed out.  In front of the Chinese Theatre (where they have the Hollwood premieres) are the hand and footprints of decades of stars, with a signature and often a message.  This is Gene Kelly - my feet and his were EXACTLY the same size.  I mean.
Front of the Chinese Theatre.  Again...this is a strange place. 
This is In-N-Out burger.  It's a thing on the West Coast.  I enjoyed it, it was very cheap...but NICE TRY Los Angeles.  The clear winner is New York's own Shake Shack - it costs a little more but the burger buns are better, their special sauce is more special and the French fries are superior.  But it was a good effort.

At 9.30pm, I went to see an improv show at The Groundlings theatre.  This a famous LA improv troupe that has some alumni now huge on the USA comedy scene - Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell are the biggest.  I saw an evening of comedy sketches and one improvised scene - it was fantastic, the performers were stellar and most of the sketches were laugh out loud funny.  


A cookie with pink icing because Birthday!
Same face new age
Venice Beach - the kind of wonderfully tacky place that is just fun to stroll through so that's exactly what I did, surrounded on all sides by head shops, places to get henna tattoos or (polyester heavy) vintage clothes, the smell of marijuana and guys on skateboards.  So rad, dudes.

After strolling through the chaos on the boardwalk I took a looong walk all the way along the beach until I got up to Santa Monica Pier 
All the while listening to one of the two huge playlists I made for my trip, featuring Animal Collective, The Flaming Lips, Communions, Ibeyi, Antony and the Johnsons, Beck, Elbow, Spiritualized and Yo La Tengo among others.
Somewhere around here I passed someone I knew from AMDA.  They didn't spot me but I thought it was a fun coincidence.

I went home from Santa Monica on the train, cleaned up and got ready to go out for a very nice evening of French food followed by bossa nova and a cocktail (and a surprise Birthday pudding) in the Culver City Hotel, which is the hotel where all the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz stayed while filming in nearby Culver City studios.
Guess I didn't take many pictures on this day...I went to Santa Monica again, this time with a friend, we walked, we sat, we ate, we bought postcards and I got Lauren a keyring, we had amazing ice cream
AND about 30 seconds after this picture was taken we saw a SEAL swimming in the sea right in front of the end of the pier - he popped out of the waves and disappeared, then reappeared much closer and looked straight at me before popping back under for good.  I squealed and I'm not ashamed, it was so cool.
Here's a cat who was staying in the same place as me.  
Union Station is a very beautiful art deco building, I should've got more/better pictures

Hiking the Hollywood Hills! Aka walking uphill.  But you're supposed to call it hiking I don't know why. I had a green smoothie in my hand when I started and I felt terribly El-Ay
Also when I set out two people were jogging and they passed me and I recognised them both as former AMDA NY students, they recognised me too and we had a fun moment of 'omg fancy seeing you here!' so that's two AMDA NY encounters in a week, we really are everywhere.
First sighting of Griffith Observatory
And there's the Hollywood sign!
There...look closer...
See?? Yeah fun fact, it's REALLY FAR - films TV and photographs, and probably also time spent in New York/other cities where you can get up close to all the famous landmarks, have led me to believe that the sign is very accessible, you can climb on it, sit by it, take pictures right in front of it.  Well you could but you'd have to know how to get there over all the hills.  I did not and alone at 6pm on a Wednesday didn't seem like the moment to try.
So this is the 'in front of the sign' picture requested by Lola.
The famous LA sprawl
The famous Observatory where parts of Rebel Without A Cause was filmed and more recently La La Land...I did see it, and according to that film I was going to come here and dance-levitate my way into space.  I did not.
Closer to the sky

Not pictured: the random luxury homes dotted around the hills, from one of which I could hear someone doing their trumpet practice
Another, sliiightly closer attempt

Such good Me time
After I came down out of the hills and stumbled upon the very cool and interesting neighborhood of Los Feliz (to which I shall return) I got back on the train to return once more to Santa Monica
To watch the sun go down.

This was the beginning of the sunset - it became quite spectacular, the sky turned pink and with it the Pacific which is a very beautiful thing.  I stayed at the beach for a while until after it got dark, standing in the surf and enjoying its meditative effect.

If it seems like I didn't do an awful lot during my time in Los would be right on the money.  That was exactly the point.  I read, I wrote.  I strolled, instead of striding.  I SLEPT. I ate really well and enjoyed every bite.  I watched films with friends. I hung out with a cat.  I listened to so much music that I've been meaning to get to.

Part Two of my West Coast adventure to come - a new city awaits