Thursday, March 5, 2009

12 months (and 30,000 visitors) later...

Wow, how quickly time flies when you're having fun!
Runyon Canyon Cooper and Jason
Can you believe it's been a year since we moved to these U.S. West Coast shores? I can't, and yet here we are getting ready to embark on another twelve months of living in L.A.
Cooper's Boxing Day Runyon Canyon hike
It's already been an amazing experience since leaving the London rat-race.  Having the luxury of not working (or not being allowed to here in the U.S.A.), you have the time to look at things in different ways and you appreciate the world around you more - the sky looks bluer, sunsets look spectacular, the sprawling city more impressive and you get to enjoy life more.
Spectacular Santa Monica sunset over the Pacific Ocean
With this in mind, I have a new objective for this blog that I started all those many months ago. Along with chronicling our adventures in entertainment, Los Angeles and life, Jason in Hollywood will also strive to offer its visitors a ray of bright sunshine to dispel the economic doom and gloom around the world (well someone has too).
10 month old cheeky pup Cooper
I think we've become more adventurous since we've been here. We don't plan too far ahead anymore and tend to live day-to-day, living in the moment. I know I've seen more movies, eaten out at more restaurants and made a bigger effort to do things whilst we've been here than I ever did before (in fact just last night we enjoyed another comedy night at the Improv Hollywood).Jason in Hollywood with the biggest slice of cake in the world
A big part of our new lease of life has definitely been because of our continually surprising and always entertaining ten month old yellow Labrador pup, Cooper.
English yellow Labrador Cooper on the beach
Our Hollywood Hound has been a big part of our lives and our adventures and after flirting with celebrity these past few months, in the pages of SFX magazine and puppy of the day on The Daily Puppy.com, he now has a brand new Kennel Club name... 

High Hopes Hollywood Star.
Yellow Labrador Cooper in Hollywood
I was watching Cesar Millan on The Dog Whisper the other day and he said something which made a lot of sense. You don't get the dog you want, but the dog you need - he can change you for the better (or words to that effect). 
Seaweed puppy fun at the beach
I can assure you that's true and there's never a dull moment when Cooper's around.
Blue sky pup Cooper
It's been an astounding year living here in America. We've followed the intricacies and vicious political scheming of a U.S. Presidential Election and delighted at the result, enjoying witnessing the first black President, Barack Obama, inaugurated this year on 20th January 2009. 
Super President Obama poster
Plus it's been interesting to see how Obama has been elevated to almost iconic proportions - let's hope he can live up to those heroic expectations.
Super Obama supporter house on Fountain Blvd
Living in West Hollywood has also been a fantastic experience. Aside from being in a liberating openly gay environment (we will overturn Proposition 8), we're also so close to the joys of 'Hollywood-land'
The infamous Hollywood Sign
Here events like the Golden Globes and Oscars seem to have that much more relevance and importance, especially when you see films being shot on location and celebrities roaming the streets and hills on a daily basis.

E.R.'s John Stamos narrates 'The First Christmas' at the 
Candlelight Ceremony at Disneyland California
john Stamos at the Disneyland Candlelight Ceremony December 2008
I've spotted a variety of Hollywood stars and TV personalities including comedy movie star Ben Stiller, Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher, Entourage's Adrian Grenier and Jeremy Piven, Kevin Bacon of Footloose fame, Eagle Eye's Shia LaBeouf, Little Britain's Matt Lucas, celebrity on-again-off-again couple Balthazar Getty and Sienna Miller to name but a few, along with a host of reality TV Z-list wannabes.
Santa Monica Beach and Pier
Another big change in my life this last twelve months is that I can finally drive, after years of relying on public transport in London, which has brought a new sense of independence. 
Beach houses in Malibu
Having my own car has allowed me the freedom to get from place to place on my own, whether it be driving with pup up to the coast to the beach or to hike at Runyon Canyon, or to catch a film at the ArcLight Hollywood cinema (and see all the movie costumes and props on display there).

Heath Ledger's Joker costume from The Dark Knight movie
The Joker costume from The Dark Knight movie
Our travels have also taken us on a visit back home, where we witnessed London's heaviest snowfall in over eighteen years.
Snowy Chiswick House grounds in London
Even though the snow slightly hampered our plans it didn't stop us catching up with British friends and family, whilst managing to find the time to take in a few famous London sights like a proper tourist. 

Jason on the banks of the River Thames in front of the 
London Eye and Houses of Parliament
Jason by the River Thames in London
Although I have to say I'll take the warm, sunny climate of L.A. over cold, wet and foggy London any day. We do love the weather over here!
Jason in a classic British red telephone box
In the past year we've also travelled for some sight-seeing and Broadway musicals in New York... 
New York City skyrisePluto at Disney Parade in Florida
But as regular Jason in Hollywood visitors will know, my blog is primarily about our adventures here in L.A., so we've tried to see as many of the local sights and landmarks that this interesting city has to offer...

East Garden fountain at the mock-Roman Getty Villa in Malibu
East Garden fountain at The Getty Villa Malibu

The Urban Light installation of 202 vintage streetlamps outside LACMA
Urban Light streetlamp sculpture at LACMA

Seat of Design chair sculpture at the Pacific Design Center
Seat of Design chair sculpture at Pacific Design Center
 
The La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum
La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum

Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles

The Sculpture Garden at The Getty Center

Henry Moore's Bronze Form Sculpture
Along with taking in the delights of Santa Monica's Pier and walking Cooper in Palisades Park, shopping at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, walking along the promenade at Venice Beach, sun-bathing at Paradise Cove in Malibu, singing-along to the Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl, watching 9 to 5 The Musical at Downtown's Ahmanson Theatre and hiking in Griffith Park to name just a few things, we've also ventured further afield to dog-friendly beaches in Sycamore Cove in Ventura County and Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara.
West Hollywood Gay Pride June 2008
We've also had lots of fun in our local neighbourhood, from dining out at local bars and restaurants to enjoying our first West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade in June and fright filled Halloween Costume Carnival in October (even Cooper got to dress up).
Halloween pup and Spiderman Jason in Hollywood
We celebrated our first Christmas and New Year in L.A. and our pup was even immortalised in chocolate - anyone fancy a 'Cooper Kiss?'
Cooper kisses - M&Ms chocolates
I'm sure I've missed lots of things we've seen and done, but hopefully this gives you just a flavour of the adventures we've been having.

People always ask me what I do with my time.  Can't you tell? Maybe over 30,000 visitors to my blog is a clue. I do enjoy bringing Jason in Hollywood to life and it is creatively and mentally stimulating (now I just need for it to make me a millionaire). At the very least I'll keep writing if you folks keep coming to read it. 
Labrador Cooper at 9 months
I'm sure Cooper will keep letting me take lots of pictures of him for your amusement too.

The answer to the question above though is that you just fill your time, the stuff you used to have squeeze into a two-day weekend you spread out throughout the month and of course the sunshine and good weather mean you can enjoy your time even more. 
Jason and Cooper at Arroyo Burro dog beach
Sorry to ramble on, but as you can see it's been a busy twelve months. 

Let's hope the future is as bright, fun-filled and fabulous...

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