Friday, January 18, 2008

UPDATE (01.18.08): From Sin City to the City of Angels, and other sweet distractions

LIFE wafts like unexpected rain on late winter. When they do happen, you just have to dig the “disguised misery” or “inadvertent blessing”—and enjoy. It's all good--in the long run. That, pretty much summarizes my most recent journey...
So this is final—we (me and Marta The Nicer) are leaving Sin City USA (aka Las Vegas) next week, Jan 24—for the City of Angels, Los Angeles. My publishers/managers deemed it “economically-smarter” (?) that they move me to LA, to (editorially) help handle our south California bureau. For those who don’t know it yet (as though it matters)—I currently write for Philippine News, the oldest/largest, nationally-circulated Filipino/Asian-American newspaper in the US. (Yup, I gotta say that... it sure makes me feel better. This is the BEST Filipino paper outside of the islands.)
Surely, this’d be a LOT better—higher pay, wider coverage, “better” environment. Additional perk: Free housing and utilities in the next five months—after which, I can renegotiate my contract for an even better deal. Or they could fire me, too, of course.
What's good all-in-all is, I get to escape the incendiary neons of Las Vegas. All these (almost) three months of “fear and loathing” in the desert, I kept on wrangling and whining to (mostly, of course) Marta, “I don’t belong here in Vegas, I don’t want to stay here longer than a few months. I don’t know who Celine Dion is, and I can’t afford The Blue Man Group—we just have to move later... or I cave in.”
What do you know... We are moving at the Lakewood neighborhood of LA County, 36mins to Venice Beach (of the Doors birthing), and 42mins to Santa Barbara (of the coolest Cali wine)—yup, we are a few minutes to the freakin’ ocean. Who cares about Hollywood’s Sunset Blvd; I relate more to the subversive romanticism and risky exuberance of Echo Park.
People, I gotta see “real” people—the nonstop activity, the quiet exhilaration, the pesky exuberance, the probable dangers, the barenaked humanity... these are the rough textures and sweet distractions of life and living that keep us writers writing.

REDEMPTION comes in the form of my recent work as journalist. It feels good to be practicing journalism again as a Correspondent or Reporter. I get to interview important city and county officials and (some Asian-American Hollywood) personalities—especially during these recent presidential party nominations race.
Next week (Wed, Jan 23rd), I will talk about my views/responses in re Asian/Pacific Islander/ethnic minority “voting block power” in the coming elections in a radio program interview called, "Views from the Ethnic Media." It’s a pre-recorded show that’s produced and sponsored by New America Media (, based in San Francisco. This is an offshoot of my continuing coverage of the Democratic Party stump/caucuses/primary (including the headline story in this week’s Philippine News issue— I think it’s webcast. (Then, next month, I will talk before Southeast Asian studies students at UCLA.)
There is also an interesting coverage of the WBC super featherweight fight between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on March 15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
What’s good about writing on-deadlines is I get to motivate myself to write ceaselessly. I’d like to pursue at least 1,000 words a day. If I could attain that level, then it’d be easier to get into the right, apt work groove—like, writing lengthier stuff like novels and screenplays.

MEANTIME, I am also looking forward to scouting/cruising my new `hood—for artists/poets subgroupings, especially at Venice Beach. There should be lots of cool cafes in my Lakewood community, as well. Meantime, Frisco is just a four hours drive—pretty much like Asheville to Durham.
Vegas has a small poets community but they’re intensely divided between slammers (those who memorize their work and exuberantly flash fingers like Snoop Dogg) and traditional readers (those who don’t memorize their stuff and just mumble onstage, like bored turkeys). The slammers inhabit Ceasar's Palace's Poetry Cafe ($5 to get in, $7 Corona--no PBRs, sorry); the "old-fashioned" readers bring it home at ReJAVAnate Cafe down east of Flamingo Road. But, don't get me wrong--there's pretty cool poets here, too. This is where I also met Mary L. Carter, the poetry organizer/”poetry mistress” who is also a professional photographer—she’s my on-call fotog for my Vegas coverages.
So here I am, preparing to move--packing my books and DVDs again in boxes—in between writing my new Philippine News submissions. Also, I am back to selling stuff, all my furniture (that we bought when we got here) via Craigslist. The house that we are settling in in LA is furnished so I don’t have any need to bring these with us on the road, and I’m not keen with renting a storage to stock them up.
Ah, life keeps on rollin’. For sure, later this year, I will visit Manila. Who wants to visit the islands with me?
Well, that’s my update for now... As ever, love good, live good, and eat only good food!
8:09 pm.
Las Vegas, Nevada


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