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Simply put, the state of California is massive. The place is so fuckin’ big that it could be a completely separate country in its own right. To put it in perspective, it may be only one of 50 states within the US, but there are only 8 countries in the world with larger GDPs than that of the state of California. Hell, the GDP of California is larger than all other countries in North America, which includes both Mexico and Canada. At nearly 40 million, the population would rank in the top 40 of all countries world-wide. In addition, the geography is amazing. You can find anything you want in California. Lush forests in the north. Beaches to the southwest. Desert to the southeast. Mountains down the middle.

I really love the state of California. After all, it’s the home of the In-N-Out Burger. How can you not love the state that produced the best burger joints in the world?! The only problem I can see with the state… are the Californians. I realize that I’m not gonna make any friends in California by saying this, but allow me to elaborate. I’m not talking about all people of the state of California. I’ve made a great many friends within the state. I’m talking about a certain portion of the population, not unlike the fanatics you can run across in Texas. These are the people that are ridiculous about their state pride. Their only too quick to tell you that they’re “born and raised”, though many are not. They’ll condemn anyone from anywhere else. And, God forbid you move to California from somewhere else. These fuckers will drive you right back out of the state.

There’s another problem with the general population of California that I’ve seen over time: there isn’t a very strong representation of the middle class. The state is made of primarily of two classes of people: the haves and the have-nots. It’s dominated by rich people and those that service them. That’s not to say that the middle class doesn’t exist. It’s just that California is so damned expensive that middle class people from the rest of the country would be lower class in California. Middle-classers from California often move to the rest of the country and live like kings. You’ve got to make a lot of money to live comfortably in the state of California. As such, there isn’t much of a middle class within the state.

California is essentially divided into two distinctively different halves: Northern California and Southern California. Residents of the two places are only too quick to let you know where they come from. Don’t accuse a northerner of being from the south or vice versa. They’ll correct you pretty quickly. I should make it known that a vast majority of my experience with California lies within the southern portion. I’ve lived there twice, for a total of about five years. Like I said before, Northern and Southern California are completely different animals. If I advance one of my opinions, it should not be considered as one that encompasses the entire state all of the time.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you come to California is the air quality. Pollution is rampant within the state, especially when you get near the cities and even more dramatically in Southern California. Go to LA. It won’t take you long to see what I’m talking about. From what I understand, this isn’t especially true in the far northern portions of the state. There are so many more people in the south and, by extension, so many more automobiles and factories. Without a doubt, though, automobiles are the main culprit. Even though California has rigid pollution control standards associated with owning an automobile, the sheer volume of automobiles in California is overwhelming. Years ago, representatives of the automotive and petroleum industry bought up the old railroad lands and had highways and interstates built. This created a car culture within the state the likes of which does not exist anywhere else in the world. The result is expensive fuel, an intricate freeway system that’s usually over-crowded, and air that you should be afraid to breathe.

If you travel to Southern California, you’ll quickly ascertain the reason why the region attracts so many residents. The weather is phenomenal. Snow is extremely rare in Southern California and you can find people in shorts and t-shirts at just about any time of year. And the beaches are wildly popular at any time of year. There’s a hell of a surf culture in California in general and especially in the southern portion of the state. I’ll touch on that a bit when talking about the individual communities. Because the weather is so excellent, though, what you end up with is an overcrowded society where a small piece of tranquility is tough to find. You’ll find yourself surrounded wherever you go. Expect to wait in lines on a regular basis. Doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the supermarket in the middle of the afternoon or through a drive-thru in the middle of the night. Expect to see people in front of you. Shit, everybody wants to live there. It’s driven the price of real estate through the roof. Good luck finding a cheap place to live. They don’t exist. You’ll have better luck finding Bigfoot. And, more than anything, you’ll see the big-city mentality rear its ugly head just about everywhere in the state. At least the places I’ve been. What I mean by “the big-city mentality” is that there’s a general lack of people caring for their fellow man. Good luck if you break down in California. Don’t expect anybody to stop and help. It sucks that when you get to the city, you’ve got to be guarded. If you’re nice to people, they wonder what you want from them. If they’re nice to you, the sad fact is that you have to be on your guard. They might be trying to rip you off. Trust me… I’ve been on the victim side of that.

One of the main things that sucks about California, in my estimation, is that the state government is overly intrusive. Basically, it sucks and it’s what makes it a pain in the ass to be a Californian. You wouldn’t believe some of the bullshit that the state government pulls. It’s frustrating. They always fight the strangest battles. Even worse, they avoid the real problems. You never hear about legislation designed to help cure the homeless problem. And, believe me… homelessness is a problem in California. I mean, if you’re gonna be homeless somewhere, you might as well choose a place were the weather is fuckin’ fantastic. You wouldn’t believe the shit I’ve seen in relation to homelessness. Hell, one time, I saw a complete living room-style setup underneath an overpass, complete with a working TV. Don’t ask me how they got the power, but they had it. Apparently, they lost their house, but said, “Fuck it. Let’s move under the overpass.” It was fuckin’ crazy.

If you’re planning on heading to California to party, expect to get hit in the fuckin’ wallet. It’s an expensive place to play in. Just about everything in California is expensive. Hotel rooms, gas prices, food bills... shit like that. Drinking in the bars can get real expensive, real fast. Expect small drinks for a hefty price. Especially if the bar is located in a tourist trap. If you wanna find any sort of value in California, you’ve gotta find a bar that’s off the beaten path. But, then you won’t be in near as much action. I guess if you wanna play, you gotta pay. The really weird thing is that buying booze by the bottle is cheaper than just about any place I’ve ever been in my life. You’ll go broke drinking in the bars, but you can stretch the shit out of your alcohol dollar by buying from the supermarkets, liquor stores, or drug stores. You can legally buy all types of liquor at any of these locations. The selection is pretty good, too. You should be able to find just about anything you’re looking for in California. Specialty shit can be a bit difficult to come by at times, but within reason you should be able to find whatever you’re looking for.

Consumption of alcohol is a pretty big part of the culture in California. It won’t be a challenge finding a place in which to whet your whistle. There are an abundance of places for you to accomplish that. For starters, the wine country in the northern portion of the state produces a number of excellent wines and, if that’s your thing, I urge you to take a trip up to check out some of the vineyards. It’s a cool way to spend a weekend. State law prohibits drinking establishments from serving between the hours of 2am and 6am. Some places close earlier, but for the most part, you’ll be able to drink until 2 just about anywhere you go. There are no bans on Sunday sales, so you don’t need to worry about that. Open containers are pretty much banned in all public places in the state. You used to be able to consume at some of the beaches, but a riot between the cops and a drunken mob put a stop to that a few years back. That’s kind of a drag. Southern California has such a great beach vibe. It sucks that you can’t enjoy a beer or two while you’re experiencing the great outdoors. Just know: you go out in public with an open container and get busted, you’ll get hammered… and not in the good way. Another odd law prohibits the sale or distributions of alcohol higher than 153 proof.

California’s alcohol laws in relations to minors are pretty cut and dry. It’s illegal for minors to purchase alcohol and it’s illegal to sell to minors. Sounds the same, but it’s not. However, California is one of 18 states that do not explicitly ban the consumption of alcohol by minors. Minors in these states are not permitted to possess it; however, since it’s not illegal for minors to consume it, they cannot be punished for consumption that did not occur in the presence of a law enforcement officer. If you think that that means that you’re gonna get a minor drunk, then take advantage of him or her, you might wanna be careful with that. The age of consent in California is 18, strictly speaking, and the statutory rape laws are pretty harsh. You’ll get a misdemeanor if you’re less than three years older than the victim. Once you pass that magical three year mark, though, the penalties get worse. You can, and likely will, be charged with a felony. It gets way worse if the accused is over 21 and the victim is under 14. Just watch yourself with the underage crowd, okay?

Generally speaking, though, I’ve found the attitudes toward sex to be a little bit more liberal than in much of the rest of the country. It can be easy to hook up in California, if you play your cards right. It varies from place to place, though. For instance, as a guy, it has been my experience that it’s much easier to hook up in a laid-back place like San Diego than it is in someplace where money talks, like Los Angeles or Santa Barbara. It all depends on where you go, though. Prostitution is not legal, but as a last resort, you can probably talk an “escort” into giving you a happy ending. Plenty of strip clubs to choose from, too. There’s a semi-complete list in the Useful Information section, and I’ll also list them under each of the individual cities. The general rule with strip clubs in California is that if they allow full nudity, the club is a juice bar that doesn’t serve alcohol. If the club has a liquor license, the dancers probably only get down to panties and nipple-pasties and the lap-dances are likely to be low contact. But, at least you can get drunk and even the ugly strippers will look hot. Generally speaking, the contact rule is touch not lest ye be touched or one of the bouncers will bounce you out the door onto your fuckin’ head. As a last resort, there’s always pornography. You’ll be able to find plenty of that. California does have a few nude beaches or other places for social nudity. Scroll down to find a complete list. I’ll provide some locations, but it’ll be up to you to locate these on your own. Now, I’m not telling you about these so that you can go be a perv. If you’re planning on going, be prepared to bare all or just stay home. This isn’t a peep-show, people.

As far as drugs and drug culture are concerned, much of the jurisdiction lies at the federal level. What that means is that the laws are essentially set at the federal level. However, unless you’re arrested for crimes that are distinctly federal, like smuggling or trafficking, the penalty portion of it all will fall under the jurisdiction of California’s state court. Pretty much, across the board, the so-called hard drugs, like heroine, cocaine, crack, speed, LSD, PCP, and stuff like that are illegal. You get caught with those and you’re up shit creek. In addition, law enforcement officials have recently been cracking down heavier on party drugs, like ecstasy. Apparently, there is no such thing as a “victimless” crime anymore. On the contrary, marijuana legislation has been getting a bit more lax in recent times. California was basically the first state to allow marijuana for medical purposes. In addition, California is one of the eleven states that have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of pot. If you’re in possession of less than an ounce (28.45 grams) of weed, it’s considered personal use and usually only results in a misdemeanor offense entailing nothing more than a fine. You’ll likely lose your stash, but you won’t likely get taken to jail. Penalties are harsher if you’re under 21, on school grounds, or in possession of more than an ounce. Also, you can get hit harder if you’re a repeat offender or are guilty of multiple offenses. Petitions currently exist that are attempting to put an initiative on the ballot that will completely repeal all marijuana penalties. As you can probably guess, there is a strong drug culture that exists in California. The state is the home of celebrities and socialites. It’s not hard to find whatever you’re looking for. You’ve just gotta ask the right people.

You wanna be careful if you’re looking for a score. It’s not uncommon for undercover cops to pose as dealers. Make sure you know your sources. Cops in the US, by and large, have a tendency to be assholes, so I don’t recommend you run afoul of the law. You’re unlikely to get any mercy. Make sure you know your sources or you’re likely to find yourself studying the inside of a jail cell. The crazy thing about California, though, is that there are so many people, but so few cops. It’s not uncommon to go hours or even days without seeing a single cop. There are just so many damned people that law enforcement can’t even keep up. And, for the most part, I’ve found cops in California to be the least intrusive of any that I’ve come into contact with. I think that’s because in California, the cops have real police work to do. As such, they don’t fuck with people that don’t need fuckin’ with. They’ve got more important shit to do. Not only that, they don’t fuck with the people that they come into contact with that much because there is a higher likelihood that they’ll get their asses shot off. Not to say that California is a more inherently dangerous place. It’s just that when you’re dealing with nearly 40 million people, you’re gonna come across a few crazies. The threat of a cop taking one in the line of fire is a lot more real in California than it is in some of the less-populous portions of the country.

Based on the sheer population numbers of the state, you’re bound to run into a criminal or two. I wouldn’t go so far as to call California unsafe, but crime does have a bit more presence in California than it does in many other places within the country. I lived in Nebraska for about 25 years of my life. I don’t really recall being a victim of much of anything during that time. I lived in California for around 5. Got my car stolen. Got scammed by a guy who earned my trust. Shit like that. Just be smart and you’ll minimize your exposure. Don’t start a fight. You don’t know what the other guy is packin’. California is not necessarily the home of a bunch of lawless rebels, but it does rank around 15th on the violent crimes per capita list among the 50 states in the country. Don’t be scared of crime in California but respect the fact that it does exist. If you’re a chick, don’t walk down an alley, don’t put yourself in a bad situation, and, for God’s sake, watch your fuckin’ drink. I don’t know how many girls I’ve met that have had their drinks spiked in the club. It’s okay to accept a drink from a stranger, but go with him when he buys it. And, don’t leave your drink on the table when you go out to the dance floor or into the bathroom to do a line of blow… I mean powder your nose. That goes for guys, too. I’ve had a couple of buddies get spiked by people who intended to rob them. Luckily, nothing happened. You’ve gotta be smart, though. Easier said than done when you’re inebriated, right?!

As far as the gambling culture is concerned, it’s well represented in the state of California. There is an abundance of Native American land within the state, and since casino laws are different on Native American lands, there are a number of casinos in which to play whatever casino game tickles your fancy. In the state of California, only tribal casinos are allowed to have what’s known as Class III gaming. These are games like craps, blackjack, roulette, and the like. These are games that are backed by house money. You’ll find a list of full-fledged casinos in the “Useful Information” section. I’m only including those located on Native lands where Class III gaming exists and pretty much anything goes. There are a number of other “casinos” where you can play Class II games, like poker and such. These are known as “card casinos” and they games are backed by consolidation of the money of the individual players. A number of these exist, but there really isn’t much of a reason to list them here. If you want one, you’ll find one. In addition to casinos and card houses, California also has a state lottery. They don’t participate in the PowerBall jackpot, but they do offer MegaMillions, which is the main competitor of PowerBall. You must be 18 to purchase tickets for all jackpots available within the state. Dog racing is not legal in the state of California, but horse racing is not only legal but widely represented and extremely popular. There is a number of horse tracks located throughout the state. A list will be provided below, but most of the information will be listed within the write-ups for the individual cities.

For the most part, I haven’t found California to be an especially racist society. There are, of course, a number of pockets of ignorant people who hate for reasons that they don’t even understand. For the most part, though, California is a diverse society. Thus, since the races are generally exposed to each other, there is an overriding sense of familiarity with members of other races. I’m not gonna say that the races live in complete harmony, but they intermingle pretty well. The world heard all about the Rodney King riots, of course, but in my opinion, shit like that is the exception, not the rule. What I have noticed is that the individual races don’t intermingle all that much in their choices of residency. This means that you’re likely to run into neighborhoods that are comprised almost entirely of members of a certain race. That’s why you have places called Little Italy and Chinatown in almost every major city within California. In addition, different places within the state have different racial breakdowns. The closer you get to Mexico, the more Mexicans you’ll find. The close you get to the Bay Area, the more Asians you’ll find. Overall, the state is comprised of the following race statistics: Caucasian - 59%; Hispanic - 36%; Asian - 12%; Black - 6%; Mixed - 3%; and American Indian - <1%. These are, of course, estimations.

All right… now you know about all that you need to know to enjoy the state of California. Have fun while you’re there. You’d better get a move on if you’re going, though. You wanna get there before that fault line has its way with the state. If you don’t get the lead out of your ass, California is gonna fall off into the ocean and instead you’ll be stuck with Bill Hicks visiting Arizona Bay!!

Click HERE To See The Table Of Useful Information On The State Of California.

Which City/Area Do You Wanna Go To?

Los Angeles
San Diego

(Sorry... that's all I've got so far.)