Thursday, March 7, 2013

5 years of Jason in Hollywood...

How do you sum up five fabulous years in words? The answer is you can't really, but fortunately because I've been sharing my exploits of living in L.A. on Jason in Hollywood these past five years, I have lots of memories and photos to share to help explain how I got here.

Loving every moment
Racing through waves Sycamore Cove
When we took the scary decision to relocate here from London for a work opportunity in March 2008 we never imagined what a wonderful experience it would be. Yes, there've been some negatives to our adventures, but overall it's been such a positive, life-changing experience and to be honest it all started with this little fella.

8 week old pup Cooper
8 week old Yellow Labrador pup
Our Yellow Labrador Cooper came into our lives in June 2008 and has kept this House Husband of West Hollywood more than occupied for almost five years.

My most memorable marathon in Los Angeles 2011
Running LA Marathon 2011
Another highlight of our life in Southern California for me, has been ticking running a marathon off my bucket list. Whenever I used to watch the London Marathon on TV I always thought how cool it would be to one day do that. I never thought that as I mark my fifth anniversary of blogging, I'd be getting ready to run my fifth marathon on March 17, 2013. However my most memorable marathon moment has to be running my first L.A. Marathon in March 2011 in extreme, torrential weather conditions.

Crossing the Finish Line after 26.2 painful miles in Honolulu
Honolulu Marathon Finish Line 2012
I've also completed all four of my marathons to date in under four hours (my personal best being 3:47:50), which is a huge personal achievement and I've also got to explore and run other U.S. cities, from L.A. to San Francisco and Honolulu in Hawaii. All the while I've personally raised around $10,000 for AIDS Project L.A. from donations and blog sponsorship opportunities (and met a great bunch of running teammates in the process).

Dog beach fun in Santa Barbara
Hendrys Dog beach Santa Barbara
It took a while to adjust from the busy rat-race of London to the more laid back and alfresco lifestyle of L.A., but we soon got into the swing of things and love going to the beach with Cooper in Huntington Beach and Santa Barbara, ultimately just enjoying the beautiful California sunshine and coastline as much as we can.

Cooper enjoying the sunshine
Yellow Labrador enjoying the sun
I now take the 'elevator' rather than the 'lift' and often say 'trash' rather than 'rubbish', but I still get confused when asked to take my pants off for a medical exam (do they really want me to take my underwear off?!?). People still have trouble understanding my accent when asking for the simplest things, like water at a restaurant, even though most Americans think we're from Australia and not from Britain.

Wonder Woman fun at West Hollywood's Halloween Carnaval
Wonder Woman costumes West Hollywood Halloween
Another highlight every year is taking part in West Hollywood's annual Halloween Carnaval when 400,000+ people flood Santa Monica Boulevard in costume (yes, that's me as Zombie Wonder Woman last year).

Oscar time in L.A. is always fun
Academy Awards Hollywood Boulevard
We've also made the most of the culture on offer here in Hollywoodland, from watching the annual Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globe ceremonies live (which you could never do without staying up half the night in the U.K.), to enjoying the Summer season at the Hollywood Bowl.

Opening night fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl opening night fireworks
I've also got to see Kylie Minogue perform live at the Hollywood Bowl twice, which has been a real treat, Britney Spears in concert at the Staples Center twice, the amazing Pet Shop Boys live at The Greek Theatre and even seen the Scissor Sisters at the Hollywood Palladium (which was awesome, another word that I've picked up these days).

Kylie Minogue returns to the Hollywood Bowl in May 2011
Kylie Minogue Hollywood Bowl May 2011
Even though we don't live the A-List Hollywood life, you can't help but be surrounded by it, whether it's finding yourself sat next to someone famous at dinner one night, walking beside an actor at Runyon Canyon, waiting in line to pay for your groceries behind them, exercising opposite a Hollywood starlet at the gym, or even see them calling the bingo balls with drag queens at charity events.

Thor's Chris Hemsworth at The Avengers World Premiere in Hollywood
Chris Hemsworth Thor Avengers Hollywood premiere
Being a huge Marvel Comics fan I've even been lucky to attend a few World Premieres whilst I've been here, like Thor, Captain America and The Avengers and even got to meet the lovely Jaimie Alexander who plays 'Sif' in Thor.

Meeting Sif from Marvel's Thor movie
Meeting Thor actress Jaimie Alexander
Living in L.A. has also allowed us to explore more of America's big cities more easily, whether it be traveling to San Francisco to run the 12k Bay to Breakers race or piggybacking a business trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

I ran over the Golden Gate Bridge during the 
San Francisco Marathon in July 2012
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
We've also taken the opportunity to catch up with friends living in New York and to take in a few Broadway shows like Curtains, Newsies, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert The Musical and more. Ideally one day I'll get to run the New York Marathon if I'm lucky enough to win the lottery.

Billboard spotting in Times Square New York City
Times Square New York City
In December last year we took our first trip to Hawaii, first to run the Honolulu Marathon and then for a quick stay in Maui. We took the infamous road to Hana and one of the highlights was hiking the Pipiwai Trail in the Haleakala National Park and being surrounded by the bamboo forest, like something out of the House of Flying Daggers movie, which culminates in the impressive Waimolu Falls. I have to say it was quite a trek after running a marathon.

Pipiwai Trail's stunning bamboo forest
Bamboo forest Pipiwai Trail Maui
We've also made it across the border to Canada in our time here and we really enjoy exploring Vancouver, so much so in fact, that I'm returning in May to run my first Vancouver Marathon.
Vancouver's 33rd Gay Pride Parade in August 2011
Vancouver Gay Pride Parade Aug 2011
As you can see it's been a pretty amazing time and I'm not saying my life is better than anyone else's by any means, but being able to chronicle my adventures here at Jason in Hollywood has certainly kept me sane when I've not been able to work here in the U.S.

Cooper is the real star of Jason in Hollywood
At Runyon Canyon overlooking Downtown LA
Over the five years my blogging empire has grown to include Hollywood Movie Costumes and Props (as the name implies for all you movie memorabilia enthusiasts out there), plus Daily Billboard which has me snapping all the eye-catching billboards lining the skies of L.A. every month. It keeps me busy to say the least.

Marriage in the plans for 2013?!?
Looking to the future, I hope that in 2013 California's Proposition 8 will be ruled unconstitutional and allow gay marriage to be legal once again in The Golden State and that ultimately same sex marriage is recognised Federally in America, so that this country can live up to its name as a leader of the free world and land of equal opportunity.

Here's to many more years of wonderful adventures (and blogging about them)...

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