Monday, October 19, 2009

East Coast v. West Coast

No, this isn't another blog entry about moving.

But a thought did come to mind tonight.

What's with the whole 'east coast v. west coast' thing?

I admit - I don't follow rap music.

But isn't there a huge west coast v. east coast rap feud?

And wasn't there "west coast swing" and "east coast swing"?

I never quite understood New Yorker's disdain for all things Los Angeles. I mean, New Yorkers seem ok with San Francisco.

Are they jealous of LA's perpetual sunshine?

Or do they detest the entertainment industry and all that it brings to the city - the fake boobs, the fake personalities and people?

I'm not sure.

I've said this before - LA is just like high school. It suddenly matters again what kind of car you drive, how you look and what clique you hang out with.

I don't think Angelinos have anything against New Yorkers after all!

We love visiting the city for bagels, pizza, shopping and all things New York.

So where does this rivalry come from?

Having lived on both coasts now, I'm still trying to figure it out.

I will say though, that it's rare I've ever questioned anyone's sincerity in New York.

Is that it?

Anyhow, both coasts seem to have a lot to offer.

The west coast definitely wins on the sunshine and weather - and the sushi and Mexican food.
The east coast definitely wins on the scenery - grass, trees, plants, birds, flowers, all that stuff.

Probably the only way to do it right is to be bi-coastal.

What should I blog about?

Ok, so I guess I need a new topic to blog about.

Any suggestions?

Why the sky is blue?
How to pick out a puppy?
101 uses for toothpicks?

Never in a million years

11 years ago I made the bold decision to pack up all my belongings and move from Connecticut to Los Angeles.

It made a lot of sense at the time.

Rents were relatively cheap.

Warm weather year round.

Younger people and plentiful jobs in entertainment.

Better dating prospects?

However, things have changed.

Ballooning unemployment and rising housing costs have created the perfect storm of strange in Los Angeles. Of course, I'm sure things are strange/sucky everywhere but LA to me seems particularly 'off'.

And come to find out, friends have said I've been unhappy/griping about LA for the past 3 years. Wow, really? 3 years is a LONG time.

I guess it amounts to a few things. I mean, who would want to give up the California lifestyle? The weather? All the things to do. You can hike, bike, run, walk, play tennis or golf outside, year-round in Los Angeles. And let's not forget work. I've worked my ass off for 11 years, building up 2-3 different businesses. Throwing that all away is no easy decision. So thank you to those of you that have been caring, concerned and have read this blog! I know I probably haven't been the "funnest" person these past few years - but we've never been through such tough times in my lifetime anyhow!

Now, unless you bought real estate 5+ years ago, LA is pretty ridiculous for a number of reasons. I mean, sure, some areas in LA are affordable (??!) but in CT you can buy a house for $300-500K. In LA, you can barely find a decent condo for that price. And CT gets you good schools and a safe area. Oooh but the weather....if they could just do something about the weather back east...

I've realized lately that everything in life is a trade-off.

In LA, you have annoying traffic to deal with 24/7. It's pretty unavoidable.
In NY, you have annoying weather to deal with 24/7. It's pretty unavoidable.

Neither one are going away anytime soon.

In LA I've always felt like things were "dirty" - anytime I go out in almost any part of the city, I feel like I need a shower after. Esp. Hollywood.
In NY I don't feel dirty. Sure, places are cramped, but for some reason, unless I've taken the subway, I just don't feel the need to shower after a night out in NYC.

Anyhow, if you'd asked me 20 years ago if I would be living in LA, working in the music/entertainment business, I'd say "no way".

And if you'd asked me 10 or 5 or even 1 year ago if there was any way I'd ever consider moving back to the east coast, I'd have said "no way".

However, you get older, people move on with their lives - they get married, and have kids. And while that seems to happen everywhere, as you get older and go out and "do less stuff" - where you live seems to matter less. At least in terms of the weather. I mean, it's not like I go surfing every day.

Never in a million years did I think I'd be moving back to the east coast.

But things change.

So, we'll see.

The last thing I want to do is move 3,000 miles away only to find that in 6-12 months, things in LA and CA improve.

The last thing I want to do is stay in LA only to find that in 6-12 months, nothing in LA or CA has improved. And I'm still miserable.

See, it's not an "easy" decision.

I just hope I make the right one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to be successful in business & blogging - consistency

I'm a very consistent person.

And after years of developing relationships from keeping in touch with people, I'm noticing something.

Many people aren't consistent.

Take blogs for example.

I follow 4 friend's blogs on here.

And you know what?

Only 1 of 4 has updated their blog in the past 6 months.

6 months!!?!

Now I know we all get busy but what's the point in blogging if you're not going to well, keep doing it?

How can you develop a following if you don't update your blog regularly?

But people are fickle.

So I just unsubscribed from 3 of the 4 blogs.

Nicole, if you're reading this, you're the only one left.

I believe one of the KEYS to success in business, not just blogging but ANY business, is consistency.

Didn't anyone see "Julie & Julia"? She had to keep blogging and then she finally developed a following!

Why start something you're not going to continue?

If you haven't updated your blog in 6+ months you might as well delete it now.

And leave for blogspace for the rest of us :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

LA LA land indeed

When I first declared to my New York friends that I was moving to Los Angeles, I'm sure many were shocked. Saddened. Happy. Surprised.

"Why would you want to move there?" they asked.

LA, after all, is known for its beautiful weather, eternal sunshine and fake, plastic people.

It's no secret than New Yorkers have a secret dislike for all things Los Angeles. San Francisco? Not so much. But Los Angeles? After all, how can you take seriously a city nicknamed "la la land" or known for its "California dreaming?"

Yet, I read articles like this,0,7931005.story and yet my friends in LA say "don't worry, things will get better".

And I'd like to believe them. Really I would.

However, having such blind optimism - I'm not quite sure what good that will do me.

I mean, how long can you stay living in a city that has the highest unemployment rate in 70 years. 70 years! Ok, so I'm not sure if that was for all of CA or just Los Angeles. I believe it's not just LA that's messed up but the ENTIRE state.

So is the glass really half full? Perhaps. Things could get better. And they will. But this is definitely the worse recession I've seen in my life and from the looks of most LA city streets and "for lease" signs, it appears more like a depression to me than a recession.

Yet, all the information points to the glass being half empty. And I certainly am increasingly afraid of staying here and being swallowed up by either a horrible earthquake, one of the 93 million fires that rages here every day, a mudside or god forbid, a tsunami.

And sure, I know, nowhere in the U.S. or world are you safe from natural disasters. The east coast and Florida have hurricanes. The midwest has tornadoes. The south has hurricanes and drought. Oh yeah and LA has the mother of all natural disaster combos - the fire, earthquake, mudslide, tsunami and now drought seasons.

So I'm sorry to all you cheerful Californians. I'm really trying to hang on. Hang on for hope. For a sign. Any sign that our economy is improving.

But so far, well, I'm not convinced.

And from what I've read, this state is worse of than almost any in the country. But at least the weather is nice.

Ironic to me that in LA, it's so warm out, yet people are so chilly. Yet NY is so cold, yet people are so warm. Hmmm.

I know it's not socially acceptable to talk about "negative" things in this city. Or expression any negative thought at all.

But what if I'm not being negative?

What if things are bad. And going to continue to get worse?

What if I'm just facing reality?

La la land indeed.

Now I think I know where the city gets its name.

But don't worry.

I'll be out of your hair soon and can return to my east coast roots.

Where it's still socially acceptable to complain.

And I don't have to pretend.

Good things about the recession - part 2

A few months back I wrote an entry about good things about the recession - like easier parking, good deals on travel, less traffic, etc.

Here's part 2!

1. Sucky companies going away. Sure, there are some really sad losses from this recession. I've had some heartbreaking news of things like Yahoo's Launchcast radio going away. But we've had some sucky companies leave too.

*Linens 'n Things - Did anyone ever shop there? I might have bought something there once but they were far more expensive and had a worse selection than rival Bed, Bath & Beyond.

*Washington Mutual - Now while I certainly found it cute when they officially changed their name to "WaMu" I never really liked this bank. And while the marketing genius who decided the "WaMu" name change would work, how can anyone take a bank seriously that has a "cute" name? I want a bank to safely protect my money, not be clever like a Carl's Jr. or Jack in the Box commercial. Anyhow, the "free" checking or whatever was good but you get what you pay for. Waiting in line forEVA with every other Tom, Dick & Harry. WaMu you won't be missed.

*Merrill Lynch - While times were good, I think in the 1980's, I was probably making 18% interest on my money. But generally their advice was poor. Like my broker, who told me it was "silly" and "a waste" to buy only $1000 worth of AOL stock in 1996. Well, flash forward a few years and that $1000 of stock skyrocketed to $50,000! I wish I could say I sold it at its peak, but like most suckers who believed things like "housing prices go up ForEVER", it seemed like it would keep going up. If only I had sold at the peak. Instead, I made a few thousand dollars. Still, a nice gain from my $1K investment. And because of this lesson, I learned that nothing goes up "forever" and when your gain from an investment seems "too good to be true" that's probably when you should get out. I bet a lot of homeowners are kicking themselves for not learning that lesson sooner.

*Earth Wind & Flour - I think only one location went bust but this West LA restaurant always served bland, mediocre, blah Italian wanna-be pizzas and pastas. Some Lebanese restaurant is moving in. That's gotta be an improvement.

*Lehman Brothers - I am never happy to hear of anyone losing a job but I'm pretty sure if it has to happen, it should happen to the greedy bastards that worked at this company, not school teachers or social workers. (The only exception to this is Kathleen - she is a good person and no doubt an exception to the rule - so if you're reading this Kathleen, here's a shout out and a "get out of jail" free card for this blog entry). If you're making so much money you can blow it on an overpriced car, expensive shoes and clothes and other wasteful things, maybe it's a good thing you lost your job. I read an article on CNN recently that featured many people laid off from the financial sector (investment banking) and how they've all started new careers and wouldn't go back if they could. They now come home early and spend time with their kids. That's gotta be a good thing.

2. It's GREAT for the environment. People driving less, eating out less, buying cheaper items, cooking at home, recycling for the $2.85 in bottle return money, that's all good news for mother earth. I bet people are also drinking less bottled water! Yay. Now if only we could get India and China and other overpopulated countries to clean up their mess...and stop using so many cell phones that are no doubt killing all the bees...

3. In many ways, the people that just cared about the glitz, glamour and MONEY in the entertainment business have left or are leaving. As the money gets pulled out of the entertainment industry, the only people who are left are truly passionate about their jobs. Of course, as things get worse, I've also seen people becoming increasing unethical and greedy. But oh that's the topic for another blog entry. This one is supposed to be "positive".

4. With more free time on one's hands, we have more time to eat right and exercise. After all, if you're unemployed, you have nothing better to do but work out every day and make dinner.

5. Your Tivo/DVR is never lonely. With so much time being spent at home, people have more time to keep up on their favorite TV shows.

Got anything to add to the list?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


When do you move?

It's a topic I've been thinking a *lot* about these past few days, weeks and months.

Because I've grown increasingly unhappy with life on the west coast.

And yet it's a hard lifestyle to give up.

Life in LA is so easy compared to the east coast.

Just dealing with the weather every day - from the heat and humidity of the summer where you sweat like Bernie Madoff in a room full of angry investors, to the cold snow and harsh rain, the weather impacts your life every day. I hate the cold.

But I think I hate shady people even more.

I moved out to LA because I wanted to work in the entertainment business. I bet you've heard that one before.

And it worked out pretty well I have to say.

But as the economy continues to spiral down, I have lately come to the conclusion that it's not worth it anymore. I love music and I love what I do but is it worth behaving horribly just to stay in the business?

And lord knows if I'd continued working in the Internet field, I'm pretty sure my pay would be astronomical right now. Imagine, me with 10+ years of Internet experience.

This is a really hard decision.

Because there are so many things I will miss about LA. The weather. The beach. Some of my friends here.

But it's a hollow, empty shell of what it used to be. It's no longer "fun" and carefree. Instead, the nice parts of the west side of LA have been overrun by foreigners. Rich, unfriendly foreigners as they are evidently the only ones who can afford to live around here.


I never thought in a million years that I would move back to the east coast.

But I think, as I get older, I realize quality of life means more than good weather.

It means being around people who are caring and not flakes.

So I guess it's time to pack my bags.

Maybe with global warming the winters won't be so bad...

Whip It - You can't make other people happy

I was reading a review of Drew Barrymore's film "Whip It".

Now I haven't seen the film yet. I probably will next week.

But the review said something interesting to me.

Something about the "lessons learned" in the film.

Finding your own happiness.

And not trying to please other people.

One can't help but wonder if these statements come out as a page from Drew's own personal life.

And so I thought, "Wow, amazing as this so applies to me right now."

Because I'm finding, god forbid you express a feeling or say something, anything at all, offer up an opinion, everyone in your life with either choose to agree or disagree. And there certainly is no way to please everyone.

So I say, "screw it" - don't listen to the naysayers. I mean, make sure you're being a good person and doing the right thing. But beyond that? Just tune out.


Because, in life, people will enjoy telling you what to do. How to act. How to live your life. Even how you should feel. And you just can't please everyone.

So do you ignore them? De-friend those naysayers from your facebook? Move away?

I hate hearing all the crap about, "Only YOU can make yourself happy." It always sounds to me like some church preaching crap about "finding your inner peace" and "do undo others". Sorry, random tangent here but one of the reasons I particularly hate organized religion is many of the very religious people I know have the WORST values out there. Sure, that's maybe an unfair statement as I also have churchgoing friends who are the most kind, caring and considerate people. But, like any club, I guess you can't control who joins. I just don't see the point of being so hypocritical. But then again, many people in life front that they are "good people" and stab you in the back faster than you can say, "Please pass the sugar."

Anyhow, back to my original point.

I never thought of myself as a people pleaser. But I guess the female or Asian stereotype part of me just wants everyone to be happy and everyone to get along. That's a nice thought but certainly not very practical.

Anyhow, the best way I can think to live my life is be a good person. And that means leaning on friends when I need to. As I hope they would feel they can lean on me when they need to.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

People are losing their @#$T

Today someone called me childish.

I find that amusing.

I've been called many things in my life.




A hard worker.



Even overly sensitive.

But childish?

And it all stemmed from an email I sent saying that I am planning to move. And sure I alluded to my disappointment in the behavior of some of my current and former "friends."

But I was most chastised for expressing how I felt. To people in my life that have disappointed me. Wow, I guess I could have taken another approach. Let people think they were behaving ok when they weren't. I mean, people don't change - so why tell someone if they've let you down?

I don't know. I guess it just feels wrong to leave and let people think bad behavior is ok.

Maybe I'm just going to be disappointed with everyone. At least everyone I meet in LA. My expectations are "too high" I've been told.

Yet I can't think of one single friend from the east coast who I'm disappointed in. No, my former co-workers there are so caring, they will send me a long email giving me helpful and encouraging advice. Co-workers I barely knew then let alone 10 years later. Yet my "friends" or so called "acquaintance friends" here in LA can barely be bothered to invite me out for a drink or coffee. Maybe they are too absorbed in their own issues to deal with being a good friend to me or anyone else. Fine. Then I need to move somewhere where people have less problems than LA.

Anyhow, I've come to realize that it's VERY hard to live in LA.

Not just because it's expensive.

And the parking.

And driving everywhere.

And that everything is so spread out.

And that we're running out of water.

And that it's 24/7 on fire.

It's biggest fault, in my opinion, is the people that are drawn here.

My friend said, "think about the type of person that is drawn to LA" - someone interested in becoming a celebrity or being around lights, cameras and ACTION!

No, sane people do not, for the most part, pick up and move thousands of miles away from their families to work in "show biz".

Oh well.

It was the right decision at the time.

Things have changed.

People all over the country are losing their collective @#$T and it ain't pretty. And it's getting worse.

Why just last week, I talked to yet ANOTHER music industry contact who was packing up his house, wife and kid and moving to Utah. People are defecting to some seriously remote places - Utah, Vermont, rural Pennsylvania etc.

I guess this is to be expected.

So, it's time to get out. Before things get even worse.