Category Archives: California – November 2009

Second Youth

Basically, I relived my whole youth while in California.

I’ve only realized this now as I sit down in rented office space in Portland for right now, I am working (or rather taking a break from working) as my friend Keith continues to tip-tap away behind me on his laptop. See, in retrospect, I took a full spin through my old neighborhood of youth for a full week before moving on to an older youth at my cousin’s house in Los Angeles.

In my second childhood, I played the week away with my friend Chad’s kids, Max and Rhett. We were on the go constantly. This was in large part to Chad’s wife Shay who has the energy of a woman half her age. I would wake up around 8 or 9 and work while the kids (or babies as I call them jokingly) scurried away to their school (which only had half-days the week I was there and had 3 recesses in each of those half-days – thank you budget cuts, recession, and California’s general crumbling infrastructure). Around 12:30, the babies would return and we would almost immediately head straight out the door to hike. The first day it was the crumbly dirt bikepath on the rolling hills around redlands, the next day it was Forest Falls – an awesome waterfall/mountain oasis 45 minutes from the desert of Redlands, and the next day Joshua Tree. I felt like I was a kid again being carted around to the great outdoors with my two brothers who mom and dad decided to have 16 years after me. My little brothers looked up to me and envied my independence in being able to put myself in whatever harm’s way I wanted as their real mother worried for their lives as they followed me up waterfalls, crumbly hills, beautiful Joshua tree boulders, etc. We would then return home and eat till our belts burst and play four-square in the driveway and hockey in the garage and shoot airsoft guns and play with the rats and make a ruckus on the drums and guitars and avoid going to sleep and put showers off as long as possible and crashing hard eventually from expelling so much energy that day. It was great. Of course when they went to bed I would have some very unyouthful beverages. In a way I was like the coolest peer I could ever imagine myself being as a kid. I related to them and played with them while still being able to stay up late, drink beer, drive, not go to school and toss myself in dangers way as much as I wanted – basically, everything you wish you could do when you’re eleven but can’t.

When I traveled on to Los Angeles, I entered my teenage college-ish years. My cousin works for AB and as such receives perks that completely suit a visiting irish family member. Everywhere we go – drinks are given to us without any thought of what kind of tab we may be running up; this can make you a popular person in any bar setting. I also visited my good friend Zack who has been in LA for the past 5 years. We always have a good time together as we have a general lack of awkwardness in our interactions; we’re dorks. We jumped around the boulders on malibu, looked for broads in bikinis, played basketball, trespassed into hot tubs and raised hell in general, all while talking about our current situations and misfortunes with girls. We always seem to enter into some hugely deep conversation that starts off talking about current events before veering into recent transgressions with the fairer sex which transcends into past transgressions with the fairer sex before a sharp dog-ear into destiny and fate and meaning and substance and elements and dark matter before u-turning into head-on traffic about girls once more. It’s always a good conversation. And it’s carefree while still being so damn important at the moment.

Back at my cousin’s bachelor pad, I refound my love of parlor games – mostly darts and pool. We would play these games while betting money we didn’t really want to lose until 3 or 4 a.m. only to have our bets refunded for some less expensive duty the next day. Thanksgiving was basically a non-stop dart and pool marathon with a break for dinner in-between. All we wanted to do was play darts and pool and we did and it was a lot of fun.
Also:
– Laker’s game which was cool I guess. I think I peered down at the back of Jack Nicholson’s balding head more than at the game.
– Irish Pubbery; after which we almost got towed. As Zack’s friend says – you need a degree to understand when it’s okay to park in LA.
– Golfed at the hardest golf course I’ve ever played which, playing with my cousin’s roommate’s (who is the asian version of gary coleman) clubs, did not boost my score. Also, 20 bucks for a two hot dogs and two beers. Welcome to California; bend over please.
–  Walked down Hollywood again which is less glamorous the second time around. Celebrity footprints and handprints are only so entertaining.
– Running; Running in LA is one of the most interesting and possibly life threatening things you can do in this life. Aside from the threat of sidewalkless roads and crappy terrain, you have a thin layer of ash that rested upon everything every night – presumably from some fire further north. Not to mention, California drivers are supposedly 43rd in terms of knowledgeable driving. Google it.

More days passed and before I know it, I’m in Portland. It’s cold and cool-looking and there are alot of bicyclists. And here I am, a little older and a little more re-experienced. I’m thinking of home and trying to decide if it’s someplace I really want to get back too… now that I’m officially an adult.

I’m not really sure.
But whoever is?

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Colofornia

Yesterday I woke up to -2 degree weather only to have a warm front move in ending the night at 57 degrees fahrenheit. Interpretation: I woke up in Colorado and went to bed in California.

Damn it felt good to fly again! I can only say this because it’s been a year since i’ve been 30,000 up but I was really looking forward to flying again. There is something that is still insanely mystifying about hopping into a phallus with wings and ending up thousands of miles from your origin in a few short hours*. (*see: the power of flight)

I woke up cracking early at 6:15 a.m. to finish packing up my room and my bags. I had a few dark stouts the night before and severely underestimated the remaining time it would take to tidy everything up. Instead of coming home from the local watering hole and taking care of business I instead came home and grilled some pork chops and potatoes and fell asleep to the Season 2 finale of Dexter. I awoke groggily the next morning with a dry mouth and no desire whatsoever to organize my life for the next 3 weeks. But with some supernatural power force stoking my engines I was able to clean up the room, pack my bags, move unnecessary belongings into storage, clean the bathroom, and toast some bagels for the trip to the Denver airport. Good to go.

Becca graciously volunteered to ferry my behind down to the airport – super nice of her and we traded some funny traveling stories in the process. A note on early morning travel: When you have to wake up early and pack up your life and eat and clean, you don’t exactly have much time to “take care of business”. Thus, a storm was brewing inside of me that needed a release of some sort.  The intensity of this storm reached an unexpected fury when I realized upon arriving at the airport that I had left my boarding passes and business cards in Estes. Now, I normally deal with stress pretty well by just not talking and heightening my senses. But for some reason, the stress of leaving my passes and my business cards (a.k.a tickets to future finances) hit me directly in the bowels. A wave of prairie doggin’, turtle-head madness swept over me and I had to squash it back like the gopher hole game oh so popular in arcades of yesteryear. The clenching strength that I possessed was on par with industrial machinery and energy reserved for steel bending. There was almost no hope in sight. I stood at the curbside check-in, sweating brown bullets, as the gentle septuagenarian patiently and methodically (MOVE YOUR ASS OLD MAN) ran my information and presented me with new boarding passes. I stumbled into the airport, knees locked and palms sweaty as I searched for the nearest lavatory; almost as if I was trying to find the kill-switch for a nuclear bomb counting down at 00:02. Thankfully, I found the red button and pushed hard – right as the timer settled at 00:00; neutralizing the bomb into a bright white bowl of defusing water.

Whew…

My first flight landed me in Las Vegas – which was actually very cool to check out on the descent. The first thing I realized was that Las Vegas is in fact a very large city with much more than one expensive strip of fantastical hotels; housing and commercial buildings spread out from the strip as far as the eye could see. I have to say, the hotels really are awesome looking and very imaginative. Also, the needle thing is a massive and recognizable landmark that appeared very cinematic looking from my airplane window. I was curiously wondering to myself what kind of epic airport would such a visually stimulating city have in store. The answer is: an architectural style based off of midwestern Dillards & Famous Barr department stores circa the early 1990’s. Yah there was the slot machines in every nook and cranny, open bar areas, best buy vending machines (nuts) and an irrepressible energy inherent within. But Lord. In a city with that much money floating around you would think that they could update their main hub of traveling humanity as not to look as bleak as Vegas (in reality) likely is. Oh yea, I also lost $5 to a promising looking machine that was really just a money pit. (I sat close by and watched unknowing gamblers plunk a total of $100 in to the same machine just to make sure).

A 40 minute plane ride and a strong Jack & Ginger later, and I was in the great state of California. I really mean this too when I call it great. When I’m in Cali, it’s like a mental heaviness of the rest of the country has been lifted off of me and I’m walking around the land of sunshine and happiness (ya also incessant materialism, the headquarters of the porn industry, and more than suspiciously ran government) but man, this is wear you effing surf and relax and see incredibly gorgeous girls in the most normal of places* (*YMCA front desk). I’m staying with my friend and traveling confidante Chad Daniel and his wife Shay and their insane little babies Rhett & Max. I’ve only been here for one quick evening and in that time I’ve already rode a scooter and heavily accelerated it up and down his neighborhood street, eaten hummus and pita as hairless rats (pets) crawled across the counter top sharing the food and beer with me (they also cleaned Chad’s teeth as he kept his mouth open), jammed out with the boys in the living room, petted an unmoving iguana, watched Chad clean a digested mouse corpse out the biggest damn spider I have ever seen in persons cage  and slept for a good 9 hours in Baby Rhett’s bed. I don’t think I slept that soundly the whole time I was in Colorado. I was in a real home with a real family and it relaxed me… and my bowels.