Saturday, August 14, 2010

Caaa li for ni aaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Days 2-5

[Current date is 4/12/11. I began this chronicle quite some time ago as you can see on the post date. I decided not to change it. A reminder to myself to keep up with this blog. Thanks for bearing with me. On to it...]

For those just checking in, this is an entry of part of my trip to California 7/28-8/5. No it wasn't my first trip out there. I used to live there years ago and still have friends and family out there. Here is the first part of the trip. Now we will continue:

So, Kristof warns me right before we crash that he's got several alarms that will go off and he doesn't always hear them right away, so don't kill him. ;-) Okay. So, we go to sleep and the next thing I know I am awoken to some really strange foreign language music. I crane my neck around and see that he is not waking up. Okay. I carefully extract myself from this freakin' hammock, step over to the bed, and tap his foot. He wakes. Hey. Hey. He turns off that machine, I carefully crawl back into the hammock. Slowly drifting back into la-la land then suddenly, more music! I turn and look but this time his eyes pop open and he stops that one. Drift away. I slowly drift back into reality to the beat of what seems like techno house music but is actually the sound of a real annoying alarm clock. The BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP kind. I turn and crane again. He ain't wakin' up this time. Quick contemplation: I get up I ain't gettin' back in this damn hammock. I'm already comfortable, I don't want to move. Wait...He still ain't movin'! Shit! I proceed to extricate my long form out of the hammock once again, I turn his super fan away from the bed, then I crawl into the other side while simultaneously shoving him awake. Hmmm, thanks man. You're welcome. He turns off the the offending machine, we drift again. The next one goes off. He woke up finally with that one. I vaguely acknowledge that he is actually up and moving around, getting ready for work. He asks me something and we converse for a few then I drift off and he goes to work. When I wake up a few hours later I think, What a hell of a morning.

I get up and get a beer out the 'fridge and park myself at the desk to check facebook. A few beers, cigarettes, a tea, a coconut water, some links, articles and blog checks later Chris calls me around noon. I think. Might have been a bit later. But not by much. Don't stay on the phone for long because, you know, I'm in Cali already, so I get the new address and get ready to hit the road. Don't remember if I mentioned this yet, but, I really really like my new iPhone4! Between that and Kristof's computer I mapped a route to Chris' house. He made mention that I might find the area familiar and he was so right! It is the same exact exit I used to take to get to the hospital that Veronica used to always go to, except in the opposite direction. He was back in the I.E., that's the Inland Empire for you non-Californians. I called Kristof and let him know that I was on my way back to the IE to see Chris. I left the address on the desk so he could come out, too. I pack my stuff up, grab some drinks out the 'fridge, no beer of course, and go get Bumblebee. Traffic in Cali is still as fucked up as it was when I used to live there, if not worse. Here is where I discover that the map app on my iPhone has a built in GPS. Reeeeeally?! I was so stoked about this and still driving that I didn't have time to fully figure out how to work it but I was really happy. Driving on 91 I see there are quite a lot of new buildings and developed areas along the freeway and it just drives home how long I've been gone. Doesn't take me that long to get to Chris', pretty much a straight shot on 91, so, I pulled into his driveway in no time. Chris comes out of the house as I get out of the car. I don't even think we said hi, we just hugged each other. Ever hugged someone and had a complete conversation within the hug? Yeah, one of those. Pulled away looked at each other grinning big and hugged again. Yup, we're friends in the truest sense of that word.

Continued in next post...

Caaa li for ni aaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Day 1

[Current date is 4/11/11. I began this chronicle quite some time ago as you can see on the post date. I decided not to change it. A reminder to myself to keep up with this blog. Thanks for bearing with me. On to it...]

So, the last week of July into the first week of August I went back to California. The reason for the trip was to see friends and family not seen for some years. Except for V's Mom I haven't seen my Cali peeps in 3 years. Long overdue trip. (I was thinking 5 cause that was a fun time. 3 years I go I went for a quick trip 'cause V died. I don't think I've written about that yet.) SO, needless to say this was a fun trip. [I'm sure I've forgotten some details but not a lot.] So let's do this from beginning to end.

A while ago I decided I needed to go back to Cali. I missed my
friends. And I needed a break from NY. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE NY! NY is HOME! But I'm a bit older now (just a bit) and I've, actually, been around the world, so I don't really want to live in NY anymore. It's just convenient for now. Anyways, I call Kristof and let him know I'm comin'. "Cool,' he says, "just call me right before you come so I'm ready." Not ready in preparation just that he's busy and he forgets so I literally called him the day before to remind him. No problem. I flew on JetBlue 'cause 5 years ago, when David and Lisa got married, they flew Jetblue and David said it was a nice flight. Ever since wanted to try 'em. So I did. Nice flight, too. In the airport I wound up buying some noise-cancelling headphones after consulting with David. He'd bought some for his recent trip around the Mediterranean and had nothing but great things to say. Right again. If you travel and have the means I highly suggest you get some. Wonderful! And they were compatible with the plane system so I didn't have to buy the cheap airline headphones for $7. They actually had satellite cable and xm radio on the plane. One of the first times I stayed awake for a whole flight. I was watching Natl.Geo. and Anim.Pla., and VH1. I actually watched the Behind the Music for Courtney Love. It wasn't that bad. Flight went well. Took a lot of pictures in flight for those who've never flew or flew cross country before. Interesting and big country we live in. Most people just don't know.

So, I land in LAX and call Kristof from the plane and he's basically already waiting for me at the curb when I come out of the terminal. Love that dude. We find our way to Hertz for my rental car. I had registered online for a Pontiac G6. I like those. They drive really nice. Got a ticket in one once. But while waiting in line I see they are advertising they have the brand new 2011 Chevrolet Camaro for rent. Uhhhhhh yeah. I think I might upgrade ;-)! But the damn line was so long that by the time I got to the counter I forgot about it, I just wanted to get my car and go. The Customer service rep. asked if I wanted to try out the Camaro. Oh yeah, I said, I meant to ask about that. We have red she says. Nah, what else you got. She clicks some keyboard keys, Yellow. Hmmmm, me in a yellow car? She laughs. I can see that, I say. But any other colors. I was hoping for a nice charcoal grey. I really like that colour on cars. Alas there were no others. Yellow it is. At this time the big robot didn't occur to me. (If you don't get that, you will soon.) I get my paperwork and proceed to leave. Oh wait, she says, I forgot to tell you I gave you the satellite radio for free, and she tells me how to access it. Cool bonus! It pays to be nice and smile with people who are helping you. I been on the other side of that counter, good customers so make a difference. Out to THE CAR. It is SO beautiful in the warm bright southern California sun. I immediately whipped out my new iPhone and began taking pics. And sending them out. My Big Bro was the first to send me a response reminding me of what this car is (remember I mentioned a big robot?): BUMBLEBEE!!!!!!!!!!

I was going to be driving Bumblebee around for a week! SWEEEEEET!!!!! Couldn't believe I forgot that. However, I was very excited to see my friends so I may be forgiven my lapse of geekiness. In a very controlled manner I drive to the exit and pull up next to Kristof. He grins big. Sweet!, he says. Oh yeah. So we stop at a Bk down the block for a bite to eat. When we come out an actual bee is on the car. By the time I get my damn phone out to take a pic it flew away. I really mention this little detail because it happened several times during my week in Cali. Several! Not once did I get the pic of the bumblebee on Bumblebee. That would have been so cool! Ah well, I have the memories and my mind is sharp. Onwards, I follow Kristof to his apartment. Familiarly comfortable. I have stayed there every time I have visited since I left. [He really needs to buy a house, but he is super picky. But so am I ;-)] I like that little aparment, though. Kris has to go back to work, so he gives me the key and he's gone. I walk across the street to the equivalent of a NYC bodega. It's a liquor store as well so even better. I buy a bunch of stuff I figure I need for a few days of crashing: a bunch of teas, coconut water, chips, ramen soup bowls, a six pack of Dos Equis Dark and a 375ml JW Black Label. Always wanted to try it and figured the pint would be too small for a week. I drinks :-). Didn't really do much but lounge around and unwind. Now here is where the uncanny luck of my charmed life begins to kick in. I didn't really prepare and plan this trip out. I didn't have an itinerary. I just came out and wanted to see my friends. My nimrod ass didn't actually call anyone prior to arriving except Kristof. Oh and Oui on facebook. But that's it. SO, later that afternoon I decide to call Chris. No answer. I leave a message hoping that it is still his number. I then proceed to send an email, again, hoping it is still active and used. [Been a few years, remember?] Much later, he calls back and I'm ecstatically bouncing around Kristof's tiny apartment. He's out with the family and on vacation this week. He will call me back the next morning. No problem! I am a happy dude at this point. How lucky am I that not only is the number still good but he happens to be on VACATION the very week I show up out of the blue?

Anyways, Kristof is working late, which has become a habit of his I find out for the last few years, and a reason for him telling me to thank god I don't work in Acctng. and Finance any more. Done. So, Beersingh calls me up. His name is Chris too, but when speaking about him he is referred to by his last name. One, there are just too many Chris' in the crew, and two, it's a cool name. And easily used to humorous effect. [He's a New Yorker, like me, though, so I wouldn't suggest that last unless you really know him. ;-)] Beersingh comes to pick me up. He wants to show me his new house. It is nice. And he still keeps his protections close at hand, also like me. We chill and talk. His brother starts playing a game but quickly turns it off and we flip some channels until we settle on The Best of the Best 2. Cheesy movie but I like it. Some decent fights in it. (The first one is classic.) Eventually Kristof shows up. He chills a bit but he is tired so we leave not long after he arrives. Back at Kris' we talk while drinking a few beers and smoking cigarettes. And eventually crash for the night. Now Kris used to have a futon but now he has this indoor hammock contraption. Once you situate yourself properly on it it's actually not too bad to sleep on.

That's day 1 of being back in Cali. I was going to write the whole trip in one blog but my visit with Chris and his family truly deserves it's own post. So take a break, then on to the next one.

More Bumblebee!!! And ME!!!!!!