Friday, November 6, 2009

10 ways to take November on...

November is here. And although the days are deceptively warm, as soon as it hits 5 or 6pm, or whatever dismal, early hour it now gets dark, the cool fall atmosphere descends upon our unappreciative So Cal terra cotta homes. This whole clock set-back and winter solstice gig really throws off the Southern California habits we so enjoy for 10 months out of the year. Suddenly, we're forced to deal with something fairly foreign and fearful to us: Seasons [Cue shrieking horror soundtrack violins]. For most Southern Californians, the temp drops below 65 and they start grabbing for their "The End is Near!" sandwich board signs. But don't worry Orange County, as a former New Yorker I can assure you that this mildly chilly winter we endure in Orange County will not kill you, and in fact can be enjoyed! Here's my 6-point list of recommendations on how to herald in and suck full enjoyment from the duller, darker, and damper time that is fall and winter.

1. Coffee: What better way to celebrate the colder, darker times than heading to a low-lit coffee shop for any warm beverage with the word "spice" in it? My picks: Peet's Coffee (my personal haunt is the one in The Arbor in Lake Forest) or The Koffee Klatch in Laguna Beach (1440 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, 949-376-6867. This place is open late, they serve a vast array of goodies, and have an eclectic environment that will make you a willing stowaway).

2. Jay Buchanan:
The man himself is not available for purchase, but his music is...or will be. He's recording. The point is, you need fall/winter-appropriate music. Cold, dark nights require a warmer, soulful sound to be emitted from your sound machine, be it radio, tape deck, or iPhone. My pick is Jay Buchanan, a soulful Long Beach singer who describes himself as all things between Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, John Prine, Bob Dylan, the public library and his coffee maker. All you need to hear to be convinced is his song "Feel Better" on his myspace page here.

3. Nordstrom: Not the clothes or people, not even the cafe (although their creme brulee is delicious), but the store holiday decorations and the pianist. Want to feel the warm, fuzzy nostalgia of the holidays? Then go to a Nordstrom near you (mine is at Shops at Mission), park yourself at the sofas by the shoe department between 12-4pm and listen to the melodious tunes of the house pianist. It's splendid. And he takes requests if they're valid. No Liberace please.

4. Reading:
Archaic, i know, but whether it's your 20th round of Pride and Prejudice (guilty as charged), or a leisurely chuckle through Calvin & Hobbes (some of the best comedic social commentary out there), reading is one of the best ways to enjoy the cold. Curl up in a warm space by a window, and peruse some pages. (Need some literature? Peruse the Gazette! See Here).

5. Movies: Movies can be enjoyed from the warm comfort of your own living space. Make a night of it. Invite friends over. Make hot cocoa. Pop in a classic.

My picks: A. The Brothers Bloom (By director/writer Rian Johnson who's from our very own San Clemente! It's an off-beat conman story. See the opening sequence clip below)

B. The Volunteers (Tom Hanks at his best, in my opinion. A hilarious throwback. See the trailer below)

6. Hats: Beanies, fedoras, berets, ushankas - whatever the genre, they're warm, they omit the need to fix your hair, and they tell everyone that you're ballsy enough to wear an ornament on your head. It's a brave thing to do and it'll keep your ears warm.

So don't live in fear. Embrace it. Winter's coming.


-On my nightstand: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Will it be as interesting without sweeping musical numbers or Liam Neeson? I shall see.

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