Comic Con: Great Expectations

I am going to San Diego Comic Con.

I AM GOING TO SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL COMIC CON

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I just had to say it more than once to prove that it is real because I can’t believe it. My whole geek life has been preparing me for this moment. For years I have sat at home on the east coast following the events of SDCC via twitter, tumblr, and television. And now I will be there, in the thick of it, waiting in lines and running into celebrities and getting more swag than I can carry and watching exclusive clips from some of the biggest and best films and television shows.

I can hardly contain my excitement.

But I’m also a little worried. Comic Con is a HUGE event. I’ve spent the entire month of June doing research and still I don’t feel ready. There is just so much to see and do and plan. I never really knew what a huge undertaking just going Comic Con would be, even basic things like parking and eating seem complicated.

Tv The Big Bang Theory animated GIFThank goodness for the internet. I have studied for Comic Con more than I ever did for the SATs. There are posts on what to pack and which after parties to go to and how to survive Hall H lines. Which is perfect for me. I am not a go with the flow type of person. I am the person who makes a ride schedule for a family trip to Disneyworld. I write packing lists for overnight trips. I believe in color coding. I have read countless blogs and harassed twitter friends and still I worry about packing and panels and lines and FOMO (probably my biggest concern).

For me the most important thing will be relaxing and taking it all in. I tend to get so caught up with worrying and planning that I forget to actually enjoy myself. Going to San Diego Comic Con is a dream come true for me; yet another item that I can cross off my bucket list this year. I still cannot believe how lucky I have been, even as I type this.

My plan for Comic Con is this: have fun. (It’s not my only plan, I am making a schedule and there are things I definitely want to do, but it is my main goal.) I am going to enjoy every moment, even those spent waiting in line. I am going to meet my twitter friends and  (hopefully) make some new ones. I am going to spend time people watching. I am going to remain calm when I have to make impossible decisions like whether to see the Game of Thrones or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D/Agent Carter panel. I am going to take too many pictures and wear all of the geeky shirts I own. I am going to enjoy this experience.

And what an experience it’s going to be. Here are some of my predictions of what I think is going to happen at SDCC:

  • I will plan on blogging every night, but I will only make it to Friday because I will be too tired/excited.
  • I will cry 3 times. (Once upon arriving, once out of hunger, and once out of happiness during a panel.)
  • I will be convinced to start watching at least 2 new shows.
  •  I’m going to ask myself, “Do you really need that?” before buying anything. And more than likely the answer will be, “Yes of course…oh wait is that the price?”
  • I will fall in love with (at least one) cosplayer I spy across the crowded convention floor.
  • I will use the words “omg”, “fangirling”, and “dead” way too often in my tweets. Also, 98% of my tweets will be in all caps.

Wish me luck! And if you see me in San Diego, say hello. I’ll be the one in the Agent Carter shirt with the huge smile on my face.

Final Thoughts

  • For some reason I decided it would be a good idea to go home to New York the week before Comic Con and arrive back in Los Angeles the day before I plan on leaving. I am already planning on being exhausted/jet lagged (but if people come from all over the world, I can come from across the country).
  • My first plan is to run straight to the Marvel booth Thursday because I WANT THAT AGENT CARTER POSTER LIKE NO OTHER.
  • My go to sites for Comic Con info have been the Official Comic Con Toucan Blog, Crazy 4 Comic Con, and The Nerdy Girlie. LIFE SAVERS I TELL YOU.

True Life: I am a ‘Game of Thrones Fan’

*Warning: this post contains spoilers*

Dear George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Game of Thrones fans everywhere,

I would like to issue a formal apology.

I was wrong.

Four years ago, when Game of Thrones first premiered, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Why was everyone was obsessed with this fantasy show that seemed like its target audience should be people who play Dungeons and Dragons? I thought the fans were annoying and obsessive, the storylines convoluted, and the deaths of the most beloved characters as only another excuse not to watch the show.

The thing is, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was watching Game of Thrones. I would sit in the room while my friends watched it in college and with my roommate once I moved to California. My dad constantly has the show on at home, as soon as he finishes the last season he starts over again from the beginning, and I would find myself getting caught up in a few scenes. I would go out of my way to read the spoilers online just so I could keep up with what was going on. But still I insisted I wasn’t a fan.

I think it was the billboards that changed my mind. Living in Los Angeles I’ve seen more advertisements for television shows than I have anywhere else (duh). Around the end of February when I was working on the Oscars at the Dolby Theater, I would pass a billboard every single day. The image is now familiar: Tyrion, on a boat shrouded in mist looking up at a dragon approaching in the sky. Without even really knowing that much about the show, that image excited me. I wanted to know more. I wanted to watch the show. I wanted to be able to truly call myself a fan.

As soon as the Oscars ended and I had a fews days off in between shows, my marathon began. I thought I had seen most of the episodes and that I just needed to watch them in order to get the lay of the land. I thought I knew everything; all the major story arcs and characters. I thought that I would just watch it and become a little bit more than a casual fan.

I am never a casual fan of anything. I became attached to Game of Thrones the way I become attached to everything else: obsessively. I knew about Ned, my dad had called me after the Red Wedding, and I had actually watched “The Watchers on the Wall” (4.9), but it didn’t matter. None of that stopped me from getting invested in the Stark family or falling in love with characters I knew would die (Drogo. Renly. Robb. Grenn.) or worrying about characters who I knew would survive (Dany. Jorah. Tyrion.)

I became one of those fans I had mocked.

This season I watched the show every Sunday night with my friends. I read every review come Monday morning (and called my dad to discuss each episode). I sobbed for Shireen. I cursed Ramsey. I screamed bloody murder at the finale. I watched the Red Nose Day “Game of Thrones: The Musical” to the point where I can sing along. I am planning on going to any and all Game of Thrones related things at San Diego Comic Con and even want to buy a shirt to wear for the occasion. I am currently reading A Clash of Kings. 

The main lesson I learned from my experience with Game of Thrones (besides “Do not get attached to any character”) is to not be a Pop Culture Hipster. I didn’t want to like the show because everyone else did. But everyone liked it for a reason. It’s an amazing show. From a production standpoint it is one of the most impressive on television. It has amazing scope, scale, visuals, costumes, and cast members. The story is intriguing and intelligent and the dialogue sharp and oftentimes funny. It is part of pop culture I am happy I am now getting to experience, no matter how late in the ahem…game.

(But really, this experience sucks! What do I do with my life now that there are no more new episodes to watch? Is this how you all felt for this last four years? I don’t know how you all survived. How long do we have to wait to see what happens next? If R + L=J, he’s going to be fine, right? Right??)

Final Thoughts

  • I almost hope GRRM doesn’t finish The Winds of Winter before the next season comes out. Or if he does I hope I’m caught up by then, I’m sick of getting things spoiled by the book fans. Their smugness and willingness to ruin things for non readers was one of the main reasons I stayed away for so long.
  • It is a lot harder to figure out which Game of Thrones house you are in than which Harry Potter house (Puff Pride!). I can’t decide whether I am a Tyrell or a Baratheon.

#WesterosBestDressed

Hold Onto Your Butts: ‘Jurassic World’ Review

Seeing Jurassic World is like going to Disneyland as an adult. First you are afraid it won’t live up to you expectations. Then once you arrive you realize how expensive everything is and that the rides are all just made of metal and wood. But the magic is still there.

The original Jurassic Park is one of my favorite films of all time. (It is also my time machine movie.) I went into Jurassic World with my usual Marvel level combination of excitement and fear. This was a film I had been waiting to see for a very long time and I was scared my expectations would not be met. 124 minutes later I left the film with a face that hurt from smiling so hard. Jurassic World is not perfect, but it combines a potent mix of nostalgia, dinosaurs, and action which makes for a fun viewing experience.

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I was hooked from the very beginning. As the camera panned over the island of Isla Nubar, I was transported back to my very first time in Jurassic Park. There were kids digging for fossils in the sand and a helicopter flying over the ocean to the lush tropical island and sweeping views of dinosaurs running (in herds!) through fields. It felt like coming home, just with everything a bit flashier, a bit brighter and newer. But the feelings remained. Director Colin Trevorrow gives the audience the sense that this theme park could easily exist outside the film (crazy genetics aside). There are beautiful exotic creatures in their “natural” glory, but there are also petting zoos and Sea World style shows. We see the T-Rex for the first time behind a glass window crowded with people taking pictures on cell phones. The website for the film looks like a page belonging to an actual theme park with animal info pages and ride wait time updates.There is a Starbucks and a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville, and an IMAX Theater. The rides have sponsors!  Jurassic World is a completely immersive experience, one that “spares no expense” in order to put the viewer into the world of the film.

This world also plays an incredible homage to the first film. There is a John Hammond memorial statue, a Mr. DNA cameo, Bryce Dallas Howard says, “Welcome to Jurassic World”. The best tribute to the first film is Michael Giacchino’s score which combines new pieces alongside John Williams’ iconic original theme. There is one particularly wonderful scene that references the first film in a way that gave me goosebumps (but I won’t spoil it for the 5 people who haven’t seen the film yet).

The experience of just looking at the screen and absorbing everything is so engaging that it was not until the end of the film that I realized I didn’t care about any of the characters. Sure I wanted the boys (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) to live. And I did really liked Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani, John Hammond 2.0. But the only reason I liked Owen was because he was played by Chris Pratt. Chris Pratt is a likable person/actor and therefore I have to like him in a movie where he is friends with a velociraptor. But his character lacked development besides the fact that he is the Hero who must be laid back while still getting the job done.

I am usually not a Bryce Dallas Howard fan, but in Jurassic World she did a good job running and yelling and generally looking scared. It was just that her character wasn’t written very well either. She is The Business Woman; she doesn’t have kids or care about animals and worst of all she makes plans for dates! Her romance with Owen was unnecessary and unbelievable. There is also a vague sense at the end of the film of Claire’s character needing a male/children in order to be happy/fulfilled.

The best characters in the film were the dinosaurs. They had personalities. The camera spends a lot of time on close ups of the dinos’ eyes where you can really see the (awesome CGI) emotion shine through. These are creatures with feelings and intelligence. They are loyal. They form bonds. We grow attached to these dinosaurs and are rewarded at the end of the film with one of the most satisfying fight scenes in recent memory. Maybe it is because there were no robots or cities getting destroyed that I enjoyed it so much, but by the end of the film I was cheering along with the rest of the theater.

While Jurassic World has average characters and a sometimes silly story, it makes up for all that with the engaging, well crafted world full of action, adventure, and just the right amount of product placement.

RATING:

Needs Milk

Final Thoughts

  • I really hope it was extra who made his own decision to run back for those two frozen margaritas while the pteranodons were attacking.
  • Dinosaurs as soldiers/weapons? Okay plot.
  • The songs on the soundtrack have some great titles including, “Love in the Time of Pterosauria.”
  • If you haven’t seen Colin Trevorrow’s first film Safety Not GuaranteedI highly recommend it.

Fangirl Friday- 6/5

I am always excited about trailers. Going to the theater, seeing the trailers before the film is one of my favorite parts. The anticipation that comes with finally seeing what the movie you have only been reading about for months looks like is a powerful thing. This week, many trailers from films I am most eager to see in the fall were released. Needless to say, I am very excited about them all.

1. Everest 

Since reading John Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air I have become obsessed with Mount Everest. The idea that people would risk their lives and limbs just to say they have climbed the tallest mountain in the world is fascinating to me. Like war (another one of my favorite subjects), it is something that I will never understand, but desperately want to. That is why when I heard about Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest I could hardly contain my excitement. It’s based on the events from Krakauer’s book. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal. And Keira Knightley. And Robin Wright and Michael Kelly (Doug!) and Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin.

The trailer gave me goosebumps from the very beginning and by the end I was already getting teary eyed. I know what happens. I know the story. And that only makes the visuals that much more powerful. This story of survival and bravery and also death in the most dangerous place on earth will be an incredible film to watch, but also one tinged with sadness at the very real lives that were lost and are being lost even to this day. Somehow it feels wrong to say I can’t wait to see this film, but it’s true. These men made the choice to climb the mountain and I will see this film as a tribute to their memory and for all those who are brave enough to dare.

2. The Walk

Another movie I can’t wait to see based on a true story of incredibly brave, but possibly insane people is the film The Walk. At least this one has a happy ending. Everyone knows the story surrounding the events of Philippe Petit and his tightrope walk across the Twin Towers. The reason I am so excited for this film is for the experience. The scale and spectacle of it all. The trailers alone are heart stopping, I can only imagine what this film is going to look like in IMAX 3D.

(Side note: I love JGL, but they couldn’t find a French actor because…?)

3. The Good Dinosaur

It feels like I have been waiting for this film forever. Pixar. Dinosaurs. History rewritten. A Thanksgiving release date. It seems like a match made in movie heaven. And although this is just a teaser, I am already so excited. Pixar films are some of my favorites and I can’t wait for another original story from them. I hoping this film (as well as Inside Out) will be a redemption for the studio after a supremely underwhelming Brave. 

4. The Overnight 

I watched this trailer because someone put it in one of those “Anticipated Movies of the Year” posts and I have to say I’m intrigued. Mostly because Adam Scott. I love that man. I would watch him be awkward slash adorable in anything. Jason Schwartzman looks like he is going to be at his wacky best based on the hat he is wearing alone. Plus the premise of the film is about people who are new to California and enter the world of (from the looks of it) the Very Californian. I can’t wait to watch. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Macbeth trailer was very pretty; the imagery reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones. I love Fassy and Marion Cotillard, but I’ve always been more of a Hamlet girl.

Honorable Mentions (Non Trailer Related):

  • A Dunkin’ Donuts is opening 10 minutes from my apartment. In California. Which is a big deal for an East Coast Girl like me. If you need me, I’ll be there all summer with my caramel iced coffee.

“It’s a time machine”: A Farewell to ‘Mad Men’

Sunday night was the finale of one of my favorite shows of all time, Mad Men. Sadly, many people I know didn’t seem to care. When I spoke of the mixture of excitement and sadness I was feeling many people responded with, “That show is still on?” or “Sunday is all about Game of Thrones” (which I now see is valid)

The most common reason I hear for why people don’t watch Mad Men is that it is too slow moving. There is too much talking. Nothing happens. Those people obviously haven’t watched more than a few episodes. Mad Men is one of the best shows on television because of its pace and focus on characters. The entire show is built around the study of Donald Draper (Jon Hamm), his journey, and the people in his life. The show works because it is well crafted and rich with small details of life in the 1960’s and 70’s. It flawlessly includes historical events such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the moon landing while still weaving a story all its own. Plus there are the gorgeous costumes, the often outrageous hairstyles and beards of the male cast members, the set pieces and the music that all help to create a television show that functions as a truly immersive experience.

No this show doesn’t have dragons or drug lords or superheroes or fight scenes (although there was that one time Lane beat up Pete), but it doesn’t need them. Creator Matthew Weiner knows how to tell a story, about people, about the times they lived in, the careers they had and their hopes and dreams and desires. It is not a show that instantly rewards viewers; rather the more time you spending watching and delving into the lives of these characters the more enjoyable the show becomes. In today’s world of instant gratification and binge watching it is nice to see something that requires a little more time and thought to enjoy. (That being said I fully endorse binging Mad Men on Netflix if you have yet to watch this amazing show.)

I pity the people who don’t know Roger’s one liners or Joan ‘s amazing facial expressions or what happened with the lawnmower in season 3. People who have never experienced elevated heart rate during a pitch meeting or wondered what would happen after every merger. People who can hear “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Zou Bisou Bisou” without thinking of the defining scenes that came from those songs.

So thank you Mad Men for bringing style and substance to my Sunday nights and for always giving me something to think about long after the credits roll and the closing song ends. I’m getting nostalgic already.

Final Thoughts

  • The series finale was perfect. There is nothing I would change.
  • Peggy Olson is one of my favorite TV heroines right alongside Leslie Knope, Liz Lemon, and Lorelai Gilmore.

  • Until I re-watched that clip I linked to above I forgot how much I used to hate Pete and what a “grimy little pimp” he was. My how his character changed.
  • I love to hate Harry Crane. Mostly hate.
  • Stan has always been my favorite. (Even more so now.)
  • I am going to miss Roger and Caroline’s interactions most of all.

Favorite Episodes:

  • Nixon vs. Kennedy (1.12), The Wheel (1.13), Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency (3.6), The Grown-Ups (3.12), Shut the Door. Have a Seat (3.13), The Suitcase (4.7), A Little Kiss (5.1), The Other Woman (5.11), Favors (6.11), In Care Of (6.13), Time Zones (7.1) and Lost Horizons (7.12).

Track by Track: Wilder Mind

Mumford and Sons is my favorite band that currently plays together (since you know John and George…can’t). So when I heard they were releasing a rock album without their signature banjo I reacted the same way you do when you see your best friend from high school the summer you return from college: you both have changed, but you try to love them despite all that because of the history you share.

My first listen of Wilder Mind, the band’s third album, has left me torn. I love it because it’s Mumford and Sons and I’m sad because it’s not the Mumford and Sons I have come to know and love. I do like that as a band they want to grow and evolve and play the music they are passionate about. And I know the more I listen to the album the more I will come to love it. This is just my first reaction listening to the tracks the first couple of times.

1. Tompkin Square Park

It is startling listening to the complete album for the first time and hearing an electric guitar opening. They are really making the differences known right from the start. However, hearing Marcus Mumford’s voice, deep and crooning is a reminder that not that much has changed; the key elements that made me fall in love with this band in the first place still remain.

Favorite line: No flame burns forever/You and I know this all too well/Most don’t even last the night

2. Believe 

I loved “Believe” from the very first time I heard it, maybe because it was the first new Mumford song I had heard in a long time. Or maybe because I actually just like it. It manages to sound like a lot of rock/alternative songs out there today and yet there’s also nothing quite like it. I really like almost ambient sounding of the opening and how it builds.

3. The Wolf

“The Wolf” is probably my favorite of the three singles released. This is their arena song. The song with which I believe they will open many a concert with it’s sing-along lyrics and upbeat, high energy tempo. This is the song that says, “We have arrived. Here is our new sound.” It’s also the song I belt in the car with the windows down.

4. Wilder Mind

I think this is one of those songs that will grow on me the more I listen to it. It definitely isn’t “Babel” which is one of my favorite songs from their previous album and a really strong title track. It does have a nice beat though.

5. Just Smoke

I like this song. The band’s voices blend really well together and it has a rhythm that makes you want to move. The lyrics are also good for singing along. There is a lot of imagery in the album so far of weakness and being held back which is interesting.

Favorite line: I thought we were done/And young love would keep us young

6. Monster

Mumford and Sons always have one song with really good use of an f-bomb and this one is it. (Although nothing comes close to, “I really f*cked it up this time/Didn’t I my dear?” from “Little Lion Man.”) The guitar is strong in this one, almost sweet sounding. It complements the lyrical imagery.

Favorite lines: Yours is the face, that makes my body burn/And here is the name that our sons will learn:/Curse the beauty, curse the queen/Curse the beauty, leave me

7. Snake Eyes

“Snake Eyes” was the last single released, but it still holds up to the rest. It starts out slow and then builds with nice momentum. When I first heard it I was really just ready to hear the whole album so I didn’t actually listen to the lyrics, but really hearing them this time is adding new power to the song. I love the guitar riff at the very end (and I wish I had any kind of musical ability/knowledge so I could write more technically about it).

Favorite line: We had it tonight/Why do we always seek absolution?

8. Broad Shoulder Beasts

I love how much New York City influences this album. There are two songs with names of places (“Tompkins Square Park” and “Ditmas”) and this one name drops Manhattan itself. The song touches on such a relatable theme: being a stranger in a strange land and taking out your fear on those close to you. It evokes such strong imagery especially in the beginning.

9. Cold Arms

At first listen probably my favorite non-single song. That probably has to do with the fact that is sounds so much like the old Mumford I love with Marcus’ angelic voice leading and the rest of the band’s harmonies raising up to meet him.

Favorite lyrics: But in my cold arms/You don’t sleep/In my cold arms/Your fear beats/In my cold arms/You stay

10. Ditmas

After the last couple of slower songs I really like the energy brought back by “Ditmas.” I am getting into this new sound of theirs. Definitely a toe tapping song. I would like to see which member of the band wrote each song because I know this is the first album where they all contributed material. I bet anything this is either a Winston or Ted  song since they both were going through break-ups at the time of recording.

Favorite line: Your words are empty as the bed we made

11. Only Love

There is an overwhelming sense of loneliness on this album which I think is fitting. My experience is that big cities tend to be full of people and yet extremely isolating at the same time. People yearn to make connections and this album and especially this song seems to echo that sentiment.

Favorite line: Didn’t they say that only love could win in the end

12. Hot Gates

Oh hello piano and beautiful harmonies. I can picture this song live with just four spotlights and an otherwise dark stage. A great song to close out the album (even though the deluxe version does have a live versions of the singles and “Tompkins Square Park”).

Favorite lyrics: But I will love you constantly/There’s precious little else to me/And though we cry, we must stay alive

I can’t wait to listen to Wilder Minds a thousand more times. See you at the Squamish Valley Music Festival lads! (Yes I’m driving over 1,300 miles from Los Angeles to British Columbia to see them play. And I can’t wait.)

A Little More Personal: ONE YEAR LATER

One year.

365 days.

525,600 minutes.

That is how long I have lived in California.

IMG_1266Where did the time go?

It seems like just yesterday my friend (now roommate/soul sister) and I hopped into my car and drove cross country with no plan, a few suitcases of clothes, and a vague idea of what life would be like on the golden shores of Cali. In my original blog post about my decision to come to California I called it a, “work-cation, half work and half vacation, since it’s not a permanent move.”

Oops.

This has become way more than a vacation. California has become the place where I live and work. The place where I own furniture and have registered my car. Recently I traveled to Texas to work on the Academy of Country Music Awards and when asked, “Where are you from?” 9 times out of 10 I replied, “Los Angeles.” I have gone home to New York three times now and each time I bring back more stuff (including all of my Harry Potter books) to make my apartment more homey. Honestly I’m not sure if I ever thought I would come back, but if I had thought that at the time it would have been almost impossible to get in my car and drive away.

A year ago I was struggling. I couldn’t find a job. I wasn’t happy. I was living at home wanting only to go back to college because I missed my friends. I needed a change of scenery and a kick in the pants. California was exactly what I needed and nothing like I expected.  I found not only the change of scenery I was looking for and many, different jobs, but along the way I changed. I became independent. Stronger. Braver. Happier. A little bit tanner and blonder.

Living 3,000 miles away from home has taught me some very important lessons. That family is everything and you2015-04-12 23.10.25 should appreciate every moment you get to spend with them. That technology is amazing because when you can’t be there you can at least Facetime sing happy birthday to your sister at midnight. I have learned that friends are the family you choose and that it is best to choose friends from Texas because they love to cook and share their food with you.

I think the most important thing I’ve learned though is that it is okay to ask for help. I call my parents daily to ask everything from how to best clean my bathroom to why my car is making weird noises. I ask my friends for rides to the airport and if they’ve lived in California longer than me for the best places to eat and drink. 95% of the jobs I’ve had came about because I emailed a co-worker and asked if they needed someone for their next show. I have never  been very good on telling people what I need, but I am getting better. You need people to survive in this world, especially in a strange place. More than ever I have come to understand that the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” is very easily applied to adults too.

As much as I have learned this adventure has not all been easy. This is the furthest I have ever lived from home. I get homesick all the time, most days it seems to come out of nowhere. The worst part of homesickness is that there is no cure. It hits you in the gut and the only thing you can do is wait for it to pass. Another problem is the physical distance itself. Lately my grandmother has been in and out of the hospital and there is nothing worse than feeling helpless because I am on the other side of the country. Those are the worst days. The days where I cry and question what I am doing with my life and why I moved all the way out here. Sometimes I wonder if I should move back. But then my mom tells me how proud she is of me or I tell someone the story of how I moved out here and watch the awed expression on their face or I stand next to Chris Evans backstage at an award show or I do my taxes on my own and I know I made the right decision. Moving away from home is hard, it’s the hardest thing I’ve done so far, but it has been worth it.IMG_4030In one year California has already brought me so many amazing things. I can only begin to imagine what this next year will bring. Whatever comes, I’ll be ready for it, armed with my family and my friends and a newfound appreciation of what it means to find a home.

Los Angeles, I’m yours.