Santa Monica is the GOAT

Life

Alysha Tsuji

I wrote the following for the student-produced 2015 Pepperdine Housing Guide. Traditionally, the articles within it haven’t made their way online, so I thought I’d share it here.

I’m going to start with the obvious: Malibu is not a college town. Malibu is the antithesis of a college town. It is isolated, it is quiet, it despises chain store establishments.

Pepperdine, as you all know, is in Malibu. I chose to live on campus for the majority of my time as a student. I spent my freshman year in Hayes House, my sophomore year abroad in the London house, my junior year in Lovernich and part of my senior year in Drescher.

I moved off campus to Santa Monica in the middle of senior year. I thought it would be horrible. The idea seemed scary at first. However, what I learned is that change happens, change is inevitable and change is awesome.

Santa Monica changed my life.

Leaving campus was like a breath of fresh air — the cleanest, freshest air. Malibu had slowly started to suffocate me. Sure, there were perks to living on campus. It’s cool to see Gerard Butler at the Starbucks down the street and to be a 10-minute walk away from classes. But moving brought me a pleasantly surprising sense of peace.

The people of Santa Monica are quirky in a charming way (especially the people at the Starbucks on Wilshire), everything is in walking distance and, if you split apartment costs, the rent is affordable (when put in direct comparison with Pepperdine housing charges). Plus, out here I can’t get expelled for having an unopened bottle of wine in my fridge.

Late Nights

The only asterisk to the overwhelmingly long list of pros is the drive. Although, it’s not as bad as it seems. I’ve yet to run into more than 20 to 30 minutes of light traffic. The one exception was Jan. 15 when men’s basketball played Gonzaga. I sat on PCH for 1.5 hours to make it to Firestone in time for tip-off, but that was an anomaly. After the game, ESPN reported that Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said about the traffic jam, “I’ve done this 26 times and I’ve never seen anything like that.”

PCH is amiable most of the time if you give it a chance.

Now you may be wondering who I’m living with, how I went about finding an apartment way out in the mysterious lands of Santa Monica in the middle of the year and whether or not I’ll have to keep my lease for 12 months.

My move happened to be unexpected, so I’m living solo in a studio (I didn’t have time to find roommates). Finding the studio simply required a strong sense of urgency and a little bit of Googling. As far as the lease, I managed to score a shortened 5-month lease for a 12-month price on a special holiday deal.

The act of suddenly shifting cities wasn’t particularly fun, though. The abrupt change of location was stressful (it involved me sleeping on an L-shaped couch for a month), but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If you’re contemplating living situation plans for the next school year, just know that Pepperdine housing, Villa Malibu, Malibu Villa, the Stinkies and other Malibu-localized accommodations aren’t your only options.

Soak in the college experience and create bonds with your classmates, yet don’t fear stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing freedom.

Social Media Butter: Kendall Marshall

Sports

Prior to December 2013, the majority of Los Angeles had no idea who he was. And unless you hang tight with the Lakers or the NBA, you still may not recognize his name.

The Lakers pulled up Kendall Marshall from the D-League this past season after the point guards on their roster began dropping like flies to injuries. Marshall held his own on the staggering squad, finishing with an average of 8 points, 8.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game, according to NBA stats.

In the Lakers Kobe-less stretch, Nick Young stole the show on the court, claiming the nickname Swaggy P and becoming notorious for his shot celebrations. However, Marshall was able to build a following with his off the court personality — @KButter5 reigns supreme.

@KButter5Marshall’s follower count on Twitter trumps every Laker on the 2013-14 roster with the only exceptions being All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. His Q&As, fast food cravings and comedic comments have garnered an audience.

As everyone has said since Twitter took off, it provides a platform for athletes and celebrities to connect with fans like never before. Marshall has mastered it. Scroll through his feed and it’s immediately apparent that he leaves up no walls between him and the world.

He’s for real and his social media reach doesn’t even stop at the blue bird. You can also join his 36.6K Vine followers to follow his life in six second bursts, most of which feature him singing or lip-syncing.

Or if you’re more into photos, of course he is on Instagram as @jethrowellington to the tune of an audience of 102K.

Third 2014 draft pick Joel-Hans Embiid has made noise on Twitter lately with his failed attempt to sway LeBron James to choose his team in Philly. And his most recent tweet at Kim Kardashian (he quickly apologized).

Yet Embiid’s wild antics still don’t quite bring him to the threshold of @KButter5’s 212K.

Marshall loves his Chipotle, he loves sharing across social media and we’ll have to wait and see whether or not the Lakers sign him up for another season.*

@jethrowellington: “safety first babygirl.”

Until then, he is worth keeping tabs on. You will be entertained.

@jethrowellington: “just bc one doesn’t tweet about it daily, doesn’t mean the work ain’t happenin. This is my job, what I’m SUPPOSED to do. No need to broadcast it. don’t let this social fool shit fool you from what’s fact. sidenote: spider push ups ain’t no joke. sheesh”

*UPDATE:  Kendall Marshall is no longer a Laker, but rather a Milwaukee Buck. He’ll jostle with Brandon Knight for the starting PG spot. The Bucks have the promising second lottery pick on their squad (Jabari Parker) and the unpredictable Jason Kidd as the new coach. Marshall said the following fittingly via Twitter:

“It’s been a roller coaster these first two years! Learning so much about basketball and business, loving the process. I’d like to thank the entire organization for giving me a chance. from management, coaches, to teammates. and lastly, I’d like to thank chipotle. I’m lookin forward to seein what the chipotles in MIL have to offer.

Sorry I Couldn’t Concentrate During Church Worship This Morning

Life, Sports

Hillsong LA

A tall guy in a backwards snapback snuck into the Belasco Theatre from the left of the stage in the middle of the opening worship songs during the 11 a.m. Hillsong LA service. He was non-disruptive, no one noticed.  But I did. This guy was towering over the two other men that walked in with him.

Then, I caught a side profile of him, and he really looked like Kevin Durant — as in 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant. I kept glancing over to the front row where he stood, each song passed and I tried to catch a better look.

Hillsong is similar to most Christian churches in that there is a point in the beginning where you’re urged to introduce yourself to those around you. Finally, the mysterious tall guy turned around, and surely it was Durant. While no one around me seemed to realize the great baller standing smack dab in the middle of the front row, I could recognize that face from a mile away. He left in the middle of the closing worship songs, the same way he entered. He swiftly and quietly hugged and fist bumped a few guys as he passed while exiting.

I’m guessing he was there to support the guest pastor from the New York City Hillsong, Carl Lentz. The two have photos together on both of their Instagram accounts. In the following snapshot, KD writes, “Shoutout my bruv @carllentz ! Happy birthday, love u man!”

And here’s one of the two catching some breakfast together with KD smiling.

The first reaction you may have to those photos is that this pastor is working for the wrong reasons, and that there is no way he’s a real pastor. Anderson Cooper touched on those skeptical views in a segment he did for Anderson Cooper 360º called, “Inside Hillsong’s ‘hipster’ church.” 

I challenge you to think otherwise. The way I see it, Lentz hanging out with the likes of Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields (I’m sure there are more athletes/actors/etc.) demonstrates that these big names are human. They need spiritual guidance as well.

To those who say that flashy pastors and concert-like worship sessions shouldn’t count as “church,” I ask, “Why not?” Matthew 18:20 says that God is present where two or three gather in his name. If the pastor happens to be tatted up, an NBA All-Star happens to drop in, the service happens to be held in a theater, that’s all circumstance. The truth lies in the motives, as it does in everything in life.

Anyway, Lentz gave an incredible message about Psalm 23 titled “Like it or not,” I caught a glimpse of Durant. I’m overly excited for the next NBA season, despite the fact that the 2014 NBA Draft hasn’t even happened yet. And I highly recommend Hillsong if you’re interested in checking out a church.

 

 

Kings prove sports are awesome

Sports

I remember when the LA Kings were down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks. At the time I was interning for NBCLA Sports, and I befriended a security guard who was a huge hockey fan from Michigan. I’m new to the world of hockey, so I would talk to him a lot and pick his brain. He told me that out of all the teams in the NHL, he would never want to face the Sharks in the first round. He said they’re the type of team to put up a hell of a fight.

Little did we know at the time, this Kings team is incredibly special. They rallied back, beat the Sharks and advanced to the next round to face crosstown rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. That round rocked Los Angeles, pushing to the brink of seven games — the Kings prevailed again. Then, off to Chicago they went to face the Chicago Blackhawks where — surprise, surprise — they hit yet another Game 7 and yet another clutch win.

Finally, against the New York Rangers — West Coast vs. East Coast — the Kings took control, jumping up 3-0. Tonight, following Game 5, they hoisted the Stanley Cup trophy after a grueling, nail-biting double overtime.

Defensive veteran Willie Mitchell told NBCLA’s Mario Solis postgame: “We scratched and clawed. It’s pretty damn cool.”

Cut to Puig:

 

Sippin’ on Summer: White Hot Slush

Sports

LeBron has two NBA championships, four MVP awards, his own phone app and — most recently — has created his own limited-edition Sprite flavor dubbed the Sprite 6 Mix. It’s Sprite mixed with flavors of cherry and orange, according to the press release.

This week 7-Eleven released the special flavor in Slurpee form. Today, I had the chance to try out the drink, and it’s a solid selection. It reminded me of the traditional white cherry flavor, but with a twang of Sprite mixed in.

LeBron Slurpees

As I was sipping on the slush, my NBA playoffs-obsessed mind wandered to compare the Slurpee flavor to the journey of the current Miami Heat squad. The drink is cold and refreshing — perfect for a hot summer day. Similarly, the Heat are talented and they go hard — a prime team to watch for any fan of the pure game of basketball.

At the same time, the Slurpee faintly reminded me of something I’d tasted before, just as watching the Heat succeed has, in my mind, loosely resembled the 2000-02 Lakers. For those three seasons, my eyes were glued to the purple and gold in NBA playoff games. I believed that Lakers team could’ve won eight straight. Now, the Heat are in the same position: They are on the brink of a three peat with endless possibilities ahead.

According to the Sprite press release, LeBron’s Sprite 6 Mix is only around for a limited time. Likewise, will the Heat fade away in the next couple years, or will they muster enough strength to fulfill the (now overused) prophecy of “not five, not six, not seven …”

I’ll let tonight’s dominant performance in Game 6 versus the Pacers speak for itself.