Last weekend I went on a trip to California with Ken and Jeff. Prior to that, Ken and I went to a party by ASU on Friday night after work - I brought a six pack of PBR with me and we showed up. The only person I knew there was Chloe, and I hardly know her to begin with. I wanted to expand my horizons, meet new and interesting people, the rest.
I met a lot of strange people, a lot of very close-minded people trying to act open-minded, and a lot of easily forgettable people trying to make an impression. We ended up leaving because we got too weirded out by everyone. I'd probably not go again, simply because I spent a lot of the night feeling uninvited, and I don't particularly like people like that.
After a long night I went to sleep around three and Ken arrived and woke me up at five thirty. I think the only thing that saved me was the stress and water before sleeping. I woke, washed my hair, packed my things, and Jeff arrived at six and we were off.
The drive to California was surreal. I ate bad McDonalds breakfast and had indigestion most of the way. We aired up at a Quik Trip off of the I-10 and 57th Ave, using the high power truck air pump. Jeff is strangely responsible about checking his fluids and tire pressure before a road trip. I think his father imbued him with that quality. After QT we did not stop again. We rode into Los Angeles and Ken kept commenting at how dirty it was, and how Phoenix was much more clean. I marveled at the anthill of society, the graffiti and the multicolored worn buildings.
We exited on Hollywood Blvd and headed West to Gabe's house, windows down, sight-seeing. We drove past the Museum of Death and Chaos, which looked fantastic. I was let down later when I found out it was a Scientologist trap. The rest of Hollywood Boulevard was fantastic. We turned on Gabe's street and eventually found a parking spot which appeared valid (when getting in the car to drive back we would find it was not).
We said our hellos to Gabe, who was bearded and thin, wearing stylish Aviators. Gabe has a way about him. We needed food, and walked onto Hollywood Boulevard in search of Pizza and a beer.
We made it to the Pizza place but they didn't serve beer - we were directed to Snow White's Tavern across the street. There I had an incredibly cheap (for the location) 34oz beer and an above-average cheeseburger and fries.
Gabe's girlfriend Jess met us here. Jess is a very smart and capable woman who I would come away from the trip very impressed with. Her relationship with Gabe is brilliant and inspiring. After Snow White we went back to their place and they smoked. I passed because I was pretty drunk from my beer and did not want to get sick.
We left and went to Happy Endings, a Sports Bar, to watch the Suns vs Lakers game. We all wore our Suns gear, except for Ken, who had nothing, and Jess, who proudly wore her Lakers t-shirt. There were a few celebrities at the bar, and it was quickly full of rowdy drunk Lakers fans. I ate the best Penne Vodka of my life. It was fantastic. I drank only one more beer, and the Suns lost. We had to take a walk of shame past well over 150 Lakers fans.
Went back to the place, smoked, which I participated in this time, and went to El Capitan theatre to see Prince of Persia. The organ player before the movie was awesome. He played all Disney songs, and did so wonderfully. The movie itself was awful. I had a blast, though.
We retired for 10 hours of excellent sleep. I had no trouble at all falling asleep, it was amazing.
In the morning we ate breakfast at Swinger's cafe and then headed to Santa Monica. We walked down 3rd Street Promenade and watched street performers, and then walked down the pier to the little amusement park there. For memorial day someone had put thousands of crosses on the beach, each to represent a soldier who died in Iraq and with a little rose. It was haunting.
We played a lot of air hockey in the little arcade and walked back. We all decided the water was too dirty at this beach and it was a little too crowded. We drove down Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down, moving slowly. Gabe and Jess have good taste in music. We finally decided to park in the vicinity of Malibu beach at one of the many parking lots down PCH. We smoked in the SUV and walked to the beach. We were horribly unprepared, all of us wearing close-toed shoes and jeans, and nobody with a towel. This didn't stop Gabe and Jeff from stripping to boxers and running into the Pacific. I stayed and relaxed in the sand. It was very peaceful.
After a while we went back to the apartment. We played scattergories and I had a great time. Then we walked to In and Out. I discovered that Lemon with Dr. Pepper is a great combination.
Afterward we went back to their home and played a game we invented at work to kill time. Basically one person thinks of a famous person, and tells everyone else the first letter of that person's last name. For instance, if I though of George Harrison, I would tell everyone the letter is "H." The other people get to ask Yes/No questions about the person, such as "is this person a male?" or "is this person alive?" If the answer is No, they must ask the chooser trivia questions where the answer begins with the letter, until that person gets one wrong. For instance, if I had chosen George Harrison, and they asked me if the person was alive, I would say No, and then they would ask me trivia questions where the answer began with "H," such as "what is the name of the lightest noble gas?" If I could not come up with the right answer, they could then go back to Yes/No questions.
It sounds complicated but it is really easy to pick up after a few minutes, and it's a wonderfully stimulating game that can kill a lot of time.
We went to Cantaloop, which is a ridiculous place. It is self-serve frozen yogurt with dozens of toppings - you make it all yourself and pay by the ounce. It is just unfair to be in this place after smoking.
I had an intense argument with Jeff about geometry outside, and met a couple of Gabe/Jess's friends who seemed uninterested in the Phoenix visitors.
We stayed up late playing the unnamed person-guessing game. We woke up around 10, went to breakfast at a sub-par Pizzeria, and left.
We stopped at Ken's house to drop off and pick up some things, and then went to the Cornish Pasty. A truly stunning girl working there hung out with us and I had some great conversation with Ken and Jeff in the interim periods. I drank a bit too much (we got some free car bombs), got home at 11 and passed out immediately.
It was one of the best weekends of my life, and it was exactly what I needed. Refreshing and bright.