Ok, so I've let this go for long enough, and I'm certain that you're dying to know what I did, this past weekend. Before the euphoria of our kickball win on Wednesday had faded, I was back at work, fixing things and writing reports. That night, Julia was flying in from Boston, on a supposedly nonstop flight on Midwest Airlines. Upon closer investigation, I found that it was not a nonstop, by any stretch. She had to land, get off the plane, and get on another plane, in Milwaukee.
Unfortunately, she was flying out of Boston, so her flight was hopelessly delayed. She landed in Milwaukee about four minutes too late to catch her connecting flight, that for some reason, didn't wait for twelve connecting passengers. In fact, the plane left five minutes early, completely ignoring the paying customers that needed to connect.
She was placed on standby for a later flight, scheduled to leave Milwaukee at 9:45pm. It wasn't off the ground until about an hour later, however, which wasn't reflected in the flight status page on Midwest's website. So, I arrived at KCI to pick Julia up at about 11:15pm, only to find that her flight wasn't expected until roughly 12:20am. I was more than a little upset, and due to the weigh station hours the airport bars keep, I made a beeline for the closest open bar I could find: the KCI Marriott. I whiled away the hour, with a five-dollar bottle of beer, talking to out-of-towners about regional beers.
Julia's plane finally landed, and we drove straight back to my place and went right to bed. There would have been things to do and all, if not for the horrendous delays, and perhaps a little customer service and honesty from Midwest Airlines.
We slept until after ten, on Friday morning, got cleaned up, and went for an ambiguous stroll around downtown, looking for something that Julia might want for breakfast/lunch. Finally, I intervened, arbitrating that we should go to the food court in Town Pavilion. When I failed to find that, I directed us to Winstead's, in One KC Place, for tasty, mayonnaisey burgers.
That afternoon, I went to Roeland Park and got an estimate on my car($2600), while Julia took care of some homework. When I got back, at Julia's stern urging, we began cleaning the apartment. I found, however, that she had managed to waste a lot of studying time by chatting with my friends on Google IM. We removed dirt and grime that I wouldn't have even noticed without her help, and scrubbed it away.
The the cleaning was done to her satisfaction, we went for some errands. Julia needed a couple things at the grocery store, and we decided while we were in Midtown, to stop by Office Depot or Max, I don't remember which, and pick up some nametags, for the impending party. Just before the previous party, I got a brilliant idea, made even brillianter with a suggestion from Julia this time. As each person would arrive at the party, we would make them draw a made-up name from a bag, and a description from another.
When we got home, we brainstormed a bunch of adjectives and adjective phrases to use for descriptions, and came up with about forty or fifty cards. When people started to filter in, the nametags were a hit. Cole, for example, drew "Ennuomarsicon the Incromulent," Jeff drew, "Tentaculon the Purple," JC drew, "Emasculon the Theoretically Impossible," and Liz drew, "Susan the Unreasonable."
The party's initial invitation wasn't as well-received as the first party's, so we expected it to be a relatively minor affair. It definitely was not. I can think of 43 people that came, most of whom were not expected. That's not to say they were unwelcome, though. There were only a couple people I didn't know, and it was fun talking to them, to find out who they knew. "I'm friends with Tracy." I have no idea who Tracy is.
We ended the evening with a group of closer friends, and some neighbor dude that crashed the party at like 2am, sitting around the living room, reading off Trivial Pursuit questions. We called it a night at about 3:30am, when everyone was starting to nod, and I left the dishes for Saturday. I woke up the next morning at about 10am, and the whole place reeked of beer. Well, not the whole place, I guess. Just the places in the place that had beer glasses in them, which is to say, almost all of them.
Two loads of the dishwasher, some scrubbing, vacuuming, and nose-turning later, the apartment was semi-presentable again. By about 5pm, Julia and I were both ready to leave the apartment, and walk out into the blood-boiling heat. We took the bus down to Union Station. I usually walk that route, but just sitting still caused us to sweat through our clothes, and that day definitely called for some serious air conditioning.
We rolled to a stop in front of Union Station, and walked the LINK over to the Westin's lobby, where we looked at the jungle/waterfall, and deftly dodged slow-moving tourists and suburbanites. We walked back, and found that the Union Station Cafe has closed at 4pm, so we went instead to Pierpont's, and enjoyed their atmosphere instead. Julia, as one would assume, was quite impressed with the interior of Union Station, and made me stop walking, so she could get a proper eyeful. There was a wedding reception gearing up over in the old waiting room area, which now has some corporate name, and the sinlight from the elevated windows was hitting the tables with late-afternoon rays very attractively.
We walked from there over to the Freighthouse for some Fiorella's, for dinner. We met up with my friend Chris, who was in more of a drinking mood than an eating one. I had a whole plate of lamb ribs, and was unable to completely obliterate the crock of baked beans they brought me. We went from there to Grinders, and were disappointed to see that it was too crowded to be any fun, so we went down to Harry's instead, where we argued about the waitress' age, and the identities of the country music legends painted on the walls and columns.
It was about that time that fatigue got the best of us, and we made a quick stop at 12Baltimore on the way home, and went home. That night, Julia showed me the, "More Cowbell," sketch for the first time in my life. Yeah, yeah, I've been out of touch. Sue me, I don't watch television, especially on Saturday night.
We got up the next morning, and ate some overly soft french toast at the Peanut. It was a fun weekend, and I look forward to Julia visiting again.
After my little sprint yesterday, and the fact that I've been playing kickball and softball for over a month without any major problems, I've decided that my heel is in good enough shape to endure some deliberate jogging again. And, now that it's comfortably back down in the 90s, outside, I further decided that today was as good a day as any to get back out there for a run.
So, I ran down Baltimore, on and off, to 17th, over to Summit, and back up to downtown. The uphill parts were generally not run, in favor of a brisk purposeful uphill, orc-style march. When I got back downtown, I was awash with sweat. My underpants looked like I rather enjoy peeing myself. I guess I just have a really sweaty crotch.
Enjoy your lunch.
I have pulled another feature I've been working on, from the Bahua Dot Com Labs, and rolled it out on the front page. Look right below this entry, on the front page. There's a link to a story in another section. Yeah, that's right. I'm awesome.
In a half-hearted IM conversation, Jeff and I agreed to meet down at 75th Street Brewery last night. When the appropriate time came, I walked over to the bus stop at 13th and Wyandotte, only to find a taped-up sign that said, "Southbound riders: go to 12th between Wyandotte and Baltimore to catch the bus." So, I turned around, and started walking back up the hill. Just as I crossed 13th, I saw the MAX turning left onto 12th, well out of my range.
I walked closer, and saw a 51 bus making the turn too, but I was much closer by this time. After some quick goat-thinking, I decided that I didn't mind making the four or five block walk from the 51's stop on Ward Parkway over to the brewery, so I put my arm in the air to get the driver's attention, and started jogging toward it. But the bus just kept rolling.
The driver saw me, and so did many people on the bus, but he just kept going. I started running at a full sprint, and managed to catch up to the bus enough for it to be blatantly obvious to anyone on the bus that I wanted to board, as the bus came to two semi-stops at stop signs. But as I got close enough to touch the bus each time, he just steamed on. I put a great deal of my common sense away, to make that chase, as I was determined to catch that bus.
Finally, with no stop signs or red lights to slow him down, he picked up enough speed that I couldn't have caught up with him if I'd grown five feet. He pulled away irrevocably near the Hotel President, about a quarter mile from where I started chasing him, waving my arms like a madman, and whooshing past other people on the sidewalk.
I took a moment to catch my breath, and realized that it'd be about a half hour before the next bus came, so I just started walking down to the MAX stop at 19th and Main. By the time I got there, it was still going to be about 15 minutes until the next bus came, so I threw my arms in the air. I didn't feel like standing around, and letting the sweat get noticable, so I just continued on to Union Station.
The bus came about eight minutes after I arrived there, and I got on. On the way, the bus passed a couple banks, and they variously reported the temperature as 101 F, 103 F, and 104 F. Whichever was correct, it was certain that it was really hot outside, and the sudden woozy dizzy feeling I had was explained. I had just sprinted at full speed, and then walked a mile under the beating 101-degree sun, sweated a lot, and now I needed water.
I arrived at the brewery, and the very helpful waitress kept the glasses of water coming, until I had consumed some 40 ounces of water, which I then washed down with a liter of cask brown beer. Jeff and I watched the Royals start their game against the White Sox the same way that start most games: winning. Then, they lost.
Erp joined us later, when we decided to go to Harry's, a good deal closer to home. Jeff called it a night, and Erp and I talked and schemed about the upcoming trip.
I was a typical Kansas City Tuesday.
We played in round one of the kickball playoffs, last night. It would seem that we were properly seeded, as the number one team basically had their way with us, and any children we ever might have. We played very badly, but the biggest part of last night was not the poor performance on our part. On the contrary, we regret nothing. The highlight of last night was "the accident." First, a little background.
Since just after the Fourth of July, we have made a new CD every week, with songs burned thereupon to be played for each player as they approach the plate. Incidentally, this has been an expensive pursuit, as D-sized batteries don't come cheap, these days, as they are principally purchased by a certain sort of woman, with a certain sort of equipment. You can probably imagine the looks that Erp, myself, Kelly, and Holly have gotten from excitement-starved convenience store clerks when we go in, and purchase eight of these batteries.
Anyway, Brad's song, last night, was Yakety Sax, by Boots Randolph. The culturally affluent will recognize it as the theme song from the lamentable Benny Hill Show, in which he would chase scantily clad women around in high-speed video. The pedestrian Kansas City reader will recall it as the music that is played during the hot dog race at Royals games, which, I am ashamed of the Royals for this, draws more attention and applause than anything else at the games.
On Brad's second or third turn at the plate(if we did well enough for him to be up three times), Kelly stepped out onto the sideline, and started doing some kind of crazy dance to Yakety Sax. It was as nonsensical as the music, and obviously unrehearsed, as she must have taken a bad step or something, because when she was in the midst of her routine, she, for some reason, sprang backwards in a frankly hilarious motion, landed on her back, and did not get back up.
Everyone was too busy laughing to realize that Kelly had hurt herself, until she was unfashionably late in resuming her feet. A group of people ran out to her, when they saw her with an anguished look on her face, clutching her ankle. She was walked back over to the dugout, and played no more kickball in the summer league. By the time the game was over(it didn't take long), her ankle had swelled to the size of a grapefruit, and she had turned white as a ghost. She also complained that she felt nauseated. Everyone urged her to go to the hospital, as the general opionion was that she'd broken something.
Even so, she was taken straight home, to face the judgement of Brooks, who would most certainly make sure that she went to see a doctor. I can only imagine the pain she felt when she woke up, this morning.
The folks that didn't injure themselves to the Benny Hill theme song went to Grinders, and on to Harling's.
Today, I called the place where I took my computer(no link, because their website is terrible), and they said they were able to fix everything dandily. It would seem that the power outage and subsequent restoration of power destroyed the power supply in my computer. This is understandable, and in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. But, if left to my own judgements and devices, I would have purchased a new motherboard, then possibly a new processor and memory for the computer, which would have cost me hundreds of dollars before realizing what was actually wrong.
Anyway, my linux machine, "vesuvius" is back up and running, and I now have access to my mp3s, movies, and TV shows again.
Chris and I decided over IM to meet in the Volker/W 39th area last night, so I started looking at bus routes. I should have looked harder. I just assumed that the 39th Street bus offered frequent service all the way west to KU Med, just a hair on the evil side of the state line. Without really thinking it through, I ran over to my bus stop at 13th and Wyandotte and caught the next southbound that came by. My bus stop is "named" by the Metro, "CONVENTION CENTER," due to its proximity to Bartle Hall, Municipal Auditorium(or Arena, or whatever it's called), and most importantly, a whole bunch of hotels.
As such, there were a lot of out-of-towners out and about that evening, including a small aimless herd at the bus stop. It occurred to me that they might be going down to the Crossroads for First Friday. And who could blame them? The weather was sensational, comfortably in the high seventies. Whenever I hang out in that area, I tend to kind of step outside myself and see KC from the point of view of an outsider that's never seen any of it before.
I took a moment as I rode the bus south through the south side of the Loop, through the Crossroads, past Union Station, and through Crown Center, and remarked at how beautiful Kansas City has become. I felt a pinching of civic pride and a hint of a goofy smile.
I got off the bus at 39th and crossed Main and 39th to get to the westbound stop for the 39. About five or ten minutes later, the dilapidated bus clunked to a stop in front of me. I hopped onboard and swiped my transfer. The bus rolled four blocks, and turned left on Broadway. Apparently, the bus wasn't going to KU Med at all, but to the Plaza. I got off, and walked the remaining mile with the sun in my eyes.
I arrived at Gilhouly's about forty-five minutes after I left home, and found Chris almost done with either his first or second beer. There were no worries, though, as an uncrowded bar is a lovely place to pass the remainder of the daylight while awaiting a friend. Jeff joined us about forty minutes later, and helped us enjoy watching the drunken forty-somethings all around us. We agreed to meet back up somewhere downtown, later that night.
I got a call from Terra while I was there. She said that all the cool kids were going to Harry's Bar and Tables in the epicenter of Westport, so Chris and I hurried there to find that nobody in the group had arrived yet. After a while, Brad, Terra, and Holly arrived, and we got down to business. Nathan unexpectedly joined us at Harry's. We all agreed after a short time that Harry's wasn't exactly pleasant, or more importantly, cheap. With this in mind, we hurried over to Dave's Stagecoach. Dave's was a sardine can. That is, if sardine cans are filled with smoke and neighborhood toughs. This didn't bother us, of course, but we wanted to sit, so we reconfigured our plans for Harling's instead.
I got a pitcher of Pale Ale when we walked in, and everybody else proceeded to get their own drinks, so I was left with an entire pitcher. That was the beginning of the end. Nathan said good-night from there, and the rest of us left for McCoy's within about an hour. We walked in the door, and some DJ was spinning crowd-pleasing songs. Terra and Holly wasted no time, and started moving and shaking like they had the shivers or something.
Amanda, Brad, and I sat and watched them, but on occasion, either Brad or I would jump out of our seats, and drop some dance moves until we couldn't breathe anymore. For me, this is about forty seconds. At about 2:30, someone spilled an entire mixed drink on my crotch, so I decided it was time to head home.
With a severe hatred for taxicabs, I walked the three and a half miles back home, and made myself proud keeping up the same brisk pace for the whole way, including the three-quarter mile nasty hill between Southwest Boulevard and Truman. When I walked in my front door at about 3:15, I noticed that there wasn't a stitch of clothing on me that wasn't completely soaked, so I showered copiously and hung up the wets.
Heidi rang my bell at 8:30, lost somewhere in Kansas City, asking for directions, but ignoring any I gave her. I woke up in earnest just before noon, and enjoyed the air conditioning of a lovely but mercilessly hot saturday pseudo-morning.
I went over to Heidi's new place at 10th and Wyandotte, a beautiful corner apartment in Library Lofts, to help her move in. Once again, I got completely soaked in my own sweat. I am now enjoying a root beer, and putting off showering and shaving for a bit. I'll stop stalling now.
I discovered, last night, the ease with which an entire linux system can be transferred from one hard drive to another. I got my new serial ATA drive working with a linux kernel update and decided that since the BIOS doesn't treat it like a normal hard drive, but rather as a SCSI drive, I figured it wouldn't hurt anything to try.
So, I copied all 629 MB of system data over to my new drive, and extracted it all in the places it would need to be in the new filesystem. I figured that the kernel was responsible for populating the "proc," "sys," and "dev" filesystems, and that just making empty directories would be enough. I was right about the first two, but after my first attempted reboot, and telling the BIOS to boot from SCSI, the system wouldn't come up, complaining that it was unable to create an initial terminal.
I changed the boot order back to using the main hard drive again, and when back into my old installation, which came up fine, as I had changed nothing on it. I tried tarring up the "dev" directory and extracting that into the new filesystem, and to my great surprise, it worked like a champ when I rebooted into the SCSI disk.
My linux machine is officially back up and running and in better shape, concerning both hardware and software, than it has ever been.
Here's to another 487-day uptime!
I just watched the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when Ally is born, and I'm all teary-eyed. Needless to say, I'm in no condition to relay any facts to you. Stay tuned. Suffice it to say, I'm 28.
I have a lot with which to catch you up and frankly, I don't feel like it. So I'll give you the USA Today version, and let the forthcoming pictures tell the story. On the day before my birthday, I went to the Power Plant Brewery in Parkville with Jeff, Erp, and Chris. Erp and I moved on from there to Harry's in the River Market, and then on to Davey's Uptown for the exact stroke of midnight on my 28th birthday. We got some Pancho's and went home.
Yesterday, I took care of some business, and met up with Geoff, Erp, Brody, and Andrew at the River Market Brewing Company for happy hour, before all of us except for Brody went to the Royals/Red Sox game. The game was very exciting- back and forth the whole time. Ortiz, Brown, and some other dude hit home runs, and Royals came out on top in the end. They even managed to keep the Sox scoreless in the 8th and 9th innings, which is something they usually are unable to do. The park was totally packed. It was maybe three or four thousand shy of capacity.
Erp, Geoff, and I went to Harry's after the game and hung out with Rose, our favorite waitress. We closed the joint at 1:30am.
It was an excellent birthday.
I stayed in all weekend, except for a crazy six-bar love-in in Friday, in which Erp and I talked politics until everybody else was falling asleep in their chairs. It was awesome. I spent Saturday and Sunday doing more programming than I have done in a long while, as I had something of a breakthrough on Saturday afternoon. In the rest of the time, I have reacquainted myself with one of the greatest RPGs of all time: Tales of Phantasia, which is now over eleven years old. As far as geeky Super Nintendo RPGs played on a PC are concerned, it is pretty much the pinnacle of achievement in graphics, sound, and in my opinion, gameplay.
My sister turned 21 yesterday, and celebrated by waking me up with a drunken text message at 2am. Good times.
I took my car in last week for repairs. The lady that cut me off in June will get the bill. Rather, State Farm will get the bill, and will adjust the lady's rates to reflect the bill. When I dropped off the car, the folks from Enterprise picked me up and set me up with a Chevy Cobalt. I had seen the commercials about this compact American-made sedan, and was actually kind of looking forward to driving it. I was wrong. I despise my rental car.
It has no power windows, no power locks, no power mirrors, no remote entry, no back locks that lock when you lock the driver door, and the coup de grace is that it has no cruise control. This is maddening beyond belief. My commute is over 35 miles of highways, so I have to hold onto the gas pedal the whole way with this car. Understandable, but still frustrating is that it has poor suspension, low quality tires, and an automatic transmission: all the marks of a cheap car that i probably should have seen when I picked it up.
But here's the thing: Car rental companies seem to equate "small" with "shoddy." Their position is that if I want a small car, it's because I am trying to save money, and not because I actually like small cars. But because of their line of thinking, every American rental agency I have dealt with has given me a piece of shit with no features, and I never learn.
I called the body shop today, and they said that the last part needed to fix the car has arrived in town and is allegedly on the delivery van to the shop right now. This means that either at the end of the day today, or some time tomorrow, I will have my beloved car back.
I left my place for the evening at about 5pm last night. I was going to walk down to the new liquor store between downtown and the Crossroads, called Cellar Rat. From there, my plan was to walk down to the bus stop at 19th and Main and catch the next bus to Waldo, where I was meeting the kickball team for off-week drinks.
It escaped me before I left that traffic is abominable downtown at 5pm, but it was absolutely horrible. There were cars stopped in every direction. I walked with ease between gridlocked cars peopled with angry suburban drivers, cursing the city. When I got over to my normal bus stop, at 13th and Wyandotte, I saw what was holding everyone up. A semi truck was rolling back and forth, assisted by police, diagonally across the intersection, barring the way for anybody to move. As I got past this spectacle, I saw two northbound MAX buses within three or four cars of each other. These buses run ten to fifteen minutes apart, during rush hour, so these two being right next to each other showed me that they had been stopped there for quite a while.
This made me worried about the bus at 19th and Main that I'd planned to catch at about ten 'til six. But that was over a half hour away, so I put it out of my head. I arrived at the new liquor store to find a relatively austere beer selection, but still worlds ahead of anything else within walking distance. Theresa, who I assumed was the manager or maybe the owner, told me that they were going to add a lot more beer, and also pointed out that they had no Big Three beers on display. To my delight, she pronounced it the same way I do: Budmillcoors. I think this is a great idea. There are plenty of places where Big Three swill can be had downtown, and it doesn't need to gum up the shelves at a nice liquor store.
Even though I wasn't there to buy anything, Theresa was happy to help me out, and answer any questions I might have. After perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, I thanked her, and went on my way. I cut across the parking lots to get over to Main, listening to something or other on my mp3 player. I started walking south toward 19th, past the big construction project at 18th and Main on the old TWA building, where Barkley Evergreen will be relocating sometime in the future. As I passed Gallup Maps, three MAX buses roared past me, one after another, in what appeared to be a frantic attempt to get back on schedule.
I was in no hurry, so I just kept walking, past the Crossroads, past the Freighthouse, past Union Station, through Washington Square Park, and stopped in the shade of the Sycamores at Crown Center. I waited for about ten minutes, and a Waldo bus pulled around the corner. I arrived in Waldo just as Chris was parking his car. We went inside to enjoy some delicious Katy Trail Pale Ale from Flat Branch Brewery in Columbia, while we waited for all the others to arrive. Everyone filtered in, some grievously late but welcome all the same, and KC's best St. Louis-style pizza was had by all.
We went over to the brewery for an after-dinner drink, and shortly after I got there, I decided it was timwe to head home. I got to the bus stop at 74th and Broadway, and saw on the electronic readout that the next bus wouldn't be departing for twenty-five minutes. So, I stepped into Tanner's and grabbed a quick pint. I came out 19 minutes later, and saw that it was still about six minutes. For whatever reason, I didn't feel like standing around listlessly for another six minutes, so I just started walking. I walked to 59th before I'd had enough, and waited perhaps fifteen minutes for the next bus.
In other news, I got my car back today! I'm back in my properly-functioning, cruise-controlled, power-locked, power-windowed, remote-entried, well-engined, well-suspensioned, standard-trasmissioned car now, and I suppose absence made the heart grow fonder. It was a joy to drive after that crappy, no-feature Cobalt that I got from Enterprise. I liked the newly-reacquired performance so much that I drove down to Waldo and got a hair cut, drove up to Westport and got groceries, drove to the bank in Midtown and deposited some checks, and drove happily home, not to drive again for several days.
I went to the Embassy with Chris yesterday afternoon. I was pretty disappointed with it. In its previous incarnation as a bar, it was lamely called "Slammrz," and had a reasonable tap selection. Now the taps are all gone, and they're more interested in overcharging you for a mixed drink. We each had a bottle of Pale Ale, but each found them to be shockingly tasty. Mine almost had a fruity quality to it. I guessed that these beers had been produced in the new brewhouse that Boulevard finished in May.
Anyway, we each had two beers, and I had a cuban sandwich that tasted like a lunchable, before we decided to head to Mike's on Troost for some more divey surroundings. We enjoyed ourselves there, with drinks being served by a Tara Reid look-alike, and despite the drunken antics of a couple of post-work guys next to us at the bar. 4:45pm rolled around, and Chris had somewhere to be, so I wished him good day, and stepped outside. There was a stop for the 25 line conveniently located right outside the door, and the next bus came in minutes.
When I got home, I lay down for a while, tired from my afternoon boozings.
I went out later with Heidi and a couple of her friends, and called it a night at about midnight with lovely, refreshing walk to the bus stop in a steady but gentle rain.
I have been hesitant to write any updates lately, because there's been a lot to write about, and I haven't felt like writing it all down. I'll give you the condensed version.
Last Friday, I hung out in Westport amid intolerable crowds with Heidi and her friends at the Dark Horse and Harpo's. On Saturday, a group of us played some whirlyball out in Shawnee. After the fun, everyone else went to some bar to go boozin', while our car(Jeff, Josh, Kelly, and me), went to Denny's for massive quantities of cheap delicious food, and everybody fell asleep in the car(except me, of course) on the way back to town.
We started the new season of kickball with a three-inning slaughter-rule loss, on Wedesday. I think our team is actually getting worse, all the time. We followed that with a quick run to Fric and Frack on 39th, before and after which I gave a bit of a tour of KC to Julie, who was generous enough to drive me all over.
This past Friday, I went out to Village West to have some beer with Jeff, and then he was called away, because he quite suddenly became an uncle. His parents have already bought plane tickets to Oregon to visit their first grandchild. I was diverted to Power Play in Shawnee, where I met up with Erik, and where we were both informed that we needed more people if we wanted to play whirlyball. Dejected, we went down to 75th St Brewery and had a nice time, calling it a night at only 11:30pm.
This Saturday, I met up with Jeff and Eric at the Power Plant Brewery in Parkville, where we had a nice conversation over IPAs and Pumpkin ale. Last night, Cole and I took the bus down to the Carriage House on 43rd, right next to the Levee, for Geoff's 30th birthday party. The central event of the evening was cup races. My team made it to the semifinals, but lost on a technicality.
By about 1am, I decided that I'd had enough, and stepped outside with a mind to put on my headphones and walk the four miles home, but was greeted with torrential rain. The water was three inches deep going down the hill on 43rd eddying ten inches against parked cars that it looked like it would carry away. At about the same moment, my stomach heaved, and with almost no warning, I vomited over the rail, muddying the gathering water on the lawn with a mix of stomach acid and what I had been competitively drinking. I did this twice, and followed it with a stint of uncontrollable sneezing. I went from jolly to miserable in all of about twenty seconds.
Walking wasn't going to work out, as it was just raining too hard. I would become completely saturated, and probably catch a cold. Also, my phone and mp3 player would probably suffer some adverse effects too. So I called a cab, came home, cured my hiccups, and went drunkenly to sleep. I woke up after about eight hours of the screwy, unpleasant dreams that usually accomany inebriation, and felt a terrible pounding in my head. I took care of some business, washed my hands, brushed my teeth, took three aspirin, and tried to get back to sleep. I managed about three more hours of light sleep, as the aspirin took effect.
That pretty much brings you up to speed.
I don't think I've mentioned on this website that I'll be on the road for all of this coming week, and half of the next. Erp and I agreed to meet later today for what I call the "Great West Coast Brewtrip." I'll be arriving at LAX at 6pm, and he'll pick me up. We'll hang out in Santa Monica tonight, and hop on the train in the morning. It will be awesome to the nth degree. We'll spend time in San Francisco, Chico, Portland, and Seattle, checking out all the excellent breweries that we can find therein.
I've purchased a wireless card for my laptop, so I'll try to keep the site updated as we go, but it might prove more difficult than it looks on paper.
In any case stay tuned, and watch for tons and tons and tons of pictures.
I felt hungover and wretched all day yesterday, and by the time that Jeff took me to the airport at 2:45pm, I still wasn't feeling much better. Much more apparent as well, yesterday, was the fact that what appears to be my tailbone is in increased agony with each passing day. After another day, I can safely say this is true.
Anyway, the plane we were to take from KC to LA was twenty five minutes late in taking off, because of a rain delay coming in from Indianapolis. All things considered, it went well, as it arrived at the gate at LAX only and twenty minutes late. It could have been much worse. I've had it much worse. The really bad part of the trip was some of the stuff that couldn't be helped.
The torturously uncomfortable seats played hell on my aching tailbone. Just sitting still was painful. It wouldn't have been quite so bad, however, if I didn't have to keep getting up. The woman sitting next to me must have suffered not only from an acute fear of flying, made apparent by her audible humming of Mary Had A Little Lamb during takeoff, ascent, descent, and landing, but also incontinence. In the three hour flight, she got up to pee(forcing me to get up too) no fewer than four times. Each time I rose from my seat, no matter how gingerly, a surge of pain would wrack the kickable part of my buttocks, and a similar one would afflict me when I sat back down.
We arrived at LAX and I only had to wait about fifteen minutes while Erp and Ashley worked their way through traffic to get to the terminal. We hopped onto Lincoln Boulevard and headed north toward Santa Monica, where we had planned on getting some dinner and some drinks. As we crossed Pico, Ashley asked me what kind of food I wanted. She asked me a question, so I gave her the answer that was on my mind. "If I'm in LA, I feel like I need to have some In-N-Out." I was expecting both of them to shrug it off, and possibly even agree to accomodate me, but to my delight, they both jumped on the idea.
Twenty minutes later, I had an animal-style double-double dripping into my plastic tray, and a carton of the best fries available in the fast food world. Recently-turned vegetarian Erp tried to feign disgust, ut it was a poor betrayal of his feelings. He wanted some of that tasty tasty Southern California burger.
After that, we made a beeline for Main Street in Santa Monica, and went first to the Library, a fantastic bar that specializes in draught beer of the regional variety. I had a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, a Mad River Extra Pale Ale, and a sublime pint of a Jamaican Red, the name of whose brewer eludes me at the moment. This of course being LA, the bar's televisions were tuned to the Emmys, and most of the patrons were paying rapt attention.
We then went to what Erp referred to as a "dive bar," called Rick's, which I found to be anything but. It was definitely accessible, but there was nothing unsavory about it. On the contrary, it was lined wall-to-wall with twentysomethings that were uncharacteristically abundant for a Sunday night. From there, Erp, Ashley, Ashley's neighbor Mimi and I came back to Ashley's place and played some battle-of-the-sexes Jeopardy on Ashley's amazingly still-functional 8-bit Nintendo.
Naturally, the boys won, and we called it a night at about 2am. I spent a night listening to Erp snore like a lion, and never really getting tired enough to sleep through it. In the four hours I lay there, I slept for perhaps one, until 6am, when I had had enough, and just decided to get up. Ashley had set the alarm for 7am, but I couldn't toss and turn for that long. It's 7am now, after I've written all this, my bag is packed, I've taken a soap-light shower, and dressed in my wrinkled packed clothes.
Bring on the train!
You'll never know how far Los Angeles and San Francisco are from each other until you try to travel between them on a train. In the distance's defense, the change in elevation between San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles caused the train to cover the same ground that it takes twenty minutes in a car, in two hours.
Ashley made us breakfast in the morning and drove us to LA's Union Station, downtown. We caught our train, and I inadvertently distracted the ticket teller from looking at my ID at all. WHAT IF I HAD BEEN A TERRORIST!?
Anyway, the ride up the coast is very boring and ugly, going from LA up through the San Fernando and Simi Valleys, and then, all of a sudden, just past Oxnard, a gorgeous vista opens up to you, and you're peppering the coast for the next three or four hours, culminating in a sixty or seventy mile stretch with no visible roads in any direction, and no other signs of civilization besides the train and track.
Then, at San Luis Obispo, the pretty countryside starts to dwindle, and by just past Paso Robles, it ceases altogether. That begins the high-speed segment of the trip, racing up the "fertile-because-it's-flat" valley, 200 miles to Salinas. From Paso Robles to Oakland, the trip was something of an ordeal for me; not only of boredom, but also of the pain in my tailbone, as the train bumpily trundled north.
We pulled into the station in Oakland just over 12 hours after we boarded the train in LA, and agreed not to walk the twelve blocks to the BART station, but instead to just take a cab. We stepped out of the cab in the middle of Oakland's surprisingly scenic downtown, and stepped down into the station. The next train to the city came shortly thereafter, and soon we were standing in front of the Embarcadero, waiting for Erp's friend Alicia to pick us up.
Alicia, it turns out, is awesome. She has a fantastic new condo/penthouse in SoMa, and just couldn't wait to show us around, and show us all the improvements she had made and planned. Soon, she uncorked a bottle of some Cabernet Sauvignon, and we soon found out that we wouldn't be excused until it was empty. As we worked on the bottle, she showed us some great pictures of her six-month vacation across Southeast Asia, and a smattering of other pictures from other parts of the planet.
On top of this, she is a perl programmer, which made me melt. Her company is actually hiring talented perl people, so I asked for her card to give to my brother. She dropped us off in front of our hostel, and before both of my feet had touched the ground from getting out of her car, some guy was already hitting us up for change, claiming to be from New Orleans.
Erp and I declined, said thank-you and goodnight to Alicia, checked in at the hostel, and made ourselves comfortable for a true, eight-hour sleep, which we have only now just completed. Note the time difference. Today, we'll hit San Francisco.