Sunday night was interesting and eclectically fun. I spent 4 hours talking Alison online. Apparently I've sparked some curiousity in her. Our conversation started out about a debate I'm participating in, which, I agree, my opinions are unique given the fact that I don't subscribe to right versus wrong or good versus evil. She peppered me for details of my inner most thoughts and qualities, which was an interesting self reflection, something I'm usually not inclined to participate in.
Monday continued the hell that is Freshman registration setup and coordination for the big tomale on Tuesday (today). The boss pepped us up about the next two days and we returned to our alcoves to ready ourselves for the onslaught that afternoon and all day Tuesday. I spent a good part of the day upstairs directly interacting and helping folks with their problems, getting to know the new faces and making myself known to all.
I ended up, after work, selling my 3 baby birds into slavery. The store wanted them, and the parents wanted to get rid of them. Unfortunately, they are wicked hyper all the time and the one flew head first into the door window and knocked himself out cold for 10 minutes. I got $24 for the three of them and used it to purchase bird materials for the next couple of months and of course a nice dinner for myself. Gotta treat the bird-daddy to some pampering, right? It was nice catching up with the people at the pet store. They of course remembered me and "Willy" and were glad to spend 30 minutes catching up on the happenings in my life. Store is doing well, no stolen puppies lately, but someone keeps stealing rabbits. RABBITS!! For god's sake people. I can see stealing a candy bar, but what the heck does one do with a rabbit anyway?
I finally got a good 30 minute workout for the first time in a week. Tried to watch "Real Time" that I downloaded, but apparently my computer refuses to play the file. Ugh. I downloaded "Rome" from HBO, so I'm looking forward to this series. It has a lot of scandle and backstabbing thrown about, and the occasional affair and love scene. Hmm, soft porn while I'm eating breakfast? I guess.
Today was the climax of excitement and loss of control at work. My god, I've never had so much fun doing a job. Well, this is how is used to be when we did manually registration 2 years ago, but this was close enough. The freshman unfortunately get really excited and nervous about getting closed out of classes they must absolutely MUST have, and they clog the system minutes after it opens and crash the server 2 hours into it. This has happened every year since we launched web registration. Today was no different. But fortunately I was able to sneak it a great lunch with JB and Nola before we returned to hell.
I was upstairs helping people for 6 hours today. This is stark contrast to my usual 8 hours of solitude I have every day. Today I was the saviour of one boy (he even hugged me strangely enough), the hero of a gaggle of girls and the know it all for parents and children alike. Someone got wind I went to this school (well, I make it no secret when I'm helping folks out) and I started getting asked dozens of questions about everything from which BIO classes to take (don't!), to which HIS professors rock (Pierce) and to whether or not the history of war was worth taking (YES!). Was Creating Writing challenging and helpful? Yep. Did I find it necessary to have a computer on campus? Uhhh, yes! And when should...
Ugh. The power went out. In the middle of registration. The entire building went black, our terminals died, and we soon learned that 85% of the campus was dead. But hey, our phones still worked, and boy did they use em. And then we heard voices from people in the elevator! Poor souls. Sirens. Police. Security. Facilities. Soon our lobby was filled with folks with uniforms and axes and flashlights, trying hurridly to get the women out of the elevator. That was fun.
The rest of the day was hectic, hellish and downright a blast. I even stayed late to help the kids dwindling in after we closed at 5. My boss finally told me to close up shop and go home. Oh, but it was so fun. Oh well. Perhaps it will continue again next semester. Or not. We'll see.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I got a call last night inviting me to dinner and a movie. From who, you ask? From my lovely neighbors Jake and Rachael. Why, how nice? In the background you hear a shout, and quip.. Jake adds "if you fix my computer." Ahh, how nice. Jake gave me his CPU last week and said "fix it". Since then I've gotten 2 calls telling me "is it ready yet? is it ready now?" This after sitting in Jake's computer room for 2 months. Now I don't mind fixing his computer one bit. We know how much Jake does for me.
My only complaint is 1) getting invited on the condition of fixing the computer within an hour and 2) being asked for the 3rd time in a week whether it was fixed yet seeing how I was doing it out of the goodness of my heart (eyeroll).
I decided to suck it up and just fix it. From first impressions, it looked like the boot record had been corrupted by a worm or virus. Easy enough fix, even if I wasn't given any Windows cds. Worked on that for awhile, god the boot record fixed and it stopped repeatedly rebooting. But the screen would go immediately black after the Windows XP logo disappeared. Fun.
I figured maybe the virus is being loaded in the boot up routine. So I spent the next hour manually cleaning all .EXE files from June 27, 2005. That's the day Jake's computer broke. And there were a lot of them. I might even say 100. That done, it still wouldn't work. So I figured perhaps his display drivers were corrupted.
Six hours and a very anxious and tired kitty later, the problem was fixed.
Earlier that night, we had planned to go geocaching on Sunday So Sunday morning I ran a couple errands, which included visiting campus for a paper, visiting Tops for my week's supply of soda, and installing hours of computer updates and virus definition files on Jake's computer. A firewall and nortan antivirus later, I headed over yonder to join the fun on Roxborough.
We spent the mid-day geocaching in Hamlin Beach, up on Lake Ontario. A lot of fun, even if all 4 of the caches were simple to track down and incredibly easy to spot. But Dave got a taste of caching, I got to smell the nasty dead fish along the Beach and Jake got to take all of us to Unos Pizzaria for a really late lunch.
Fun. But now we're planning to go camping either in September or October (since I'm incredibly jealous of Laura this past weekend and the fact that I don't want to wait another YEAR to go camping with my family in California). Camping and caching in Letchworth. The only problem: I would ideally like 4-6 people there. Jake wants 10+. Oi. ;)
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Friday afternoon at work was.. well, let's do an analogy.. imagine this giant bucket of water. That's the environment we were in. We're 3 stones at the bottom of the bucket. Then comes the lava.. which instantly and unexpectedly turns our nice little bucket of water into a steaming hot and crazily hellish environment of dozens of people running into each other, demanding attention and being rude and inconsiderate.
Well, I enjoyed it nonetheless. I love it being crazy like, especially when its happening to other folks. Most of them didn't need stuff from my office, which meant we just sat there and watched. We offered, but were told we can't help. O. K. Fine by me.
I got to see "Crash" on Friday night and enjoyed a fine Mexican Burrito from Paola's on South Ave. The movie was very interesting and very eye-opening. I'm not sure the message was caught by my fellow audience members, but it was definately something to think about: racism, bigotry and hate are all around us and we each contribute to it in our own little way. Though I think it was funny that they had Sandra Bullock as a headliner but she had 8 minutes of screen time.
Saturday morning I was called into work to create and solve a "major problem" by our office. After 2 hours of programming and 3 hours of alphabatizing and another 30 minutes of integration and installation, my solution to the problem (which I gave Friday @ 4:55pm) was implemented to great success. Hurrah. Luke is our hero.
Ahh, plus I got to get the 3 hours of must-see tv from Friday night and spent the afternoon enjoying a fine Pelligrinos sub and fine TV from the SciFi channel. Life is good.
Posted by Luke at 4:22 PM
Friday, August 26, 2005
Above you see the video of my cat reacting crazily to the laser pointer. Promises kept. :)
Work went extremely slow yesterday. The entire freshman class has moved onto campus, which means we had a hundred of or so folks come in asking questions that our office has no answers to. And it's funny how often the naive freshman are so embarassed for their parents asking questions. "Mom, please.." Ha. But I enjoy being upstairs and meeting all the people, oh, and the occasional flirt too. O:)
Last night Jake and I went into the city, into High Falls, to find that cache we couldn't find the other night. We were on the deck for at least 2 hours trying to locate it. We considered risking our lives (well, Jake's life) trying to climb up the wall over the ravine to see if that red cup was the stash, but decided against it. And people kept coming and spoiling our search. No sooner were we reaching around trying to find it along beams did someone come around and we have to stop and pretend to be "hanging out." I wonder what they thought? ;)
But we did find it finally, well, Jake found it. He's actually found all three so far, actually. Not that I didn't help, but I'm more into the GPS device than the actual dirty work of pawing through dust and dirt to find a tiny box filled with paper. ;) We left a buck and decided to check out the falls at night. Lo and behold, a laser light show was about to start. We got a free Coke Zero (everyone had them) and walked to the middle of the bridge and experienced an interesting if not slightly neat laser light show. I think it was designed in the 70s the way the music and whatnot were going, but nonetheless, it was a lot of fun.
We did get a little further in our game of Champions, but it was already pretty late, so alas, it ended at 11:30. Hmm, what to do this weekend. May rent a movie tonight and spend a little time alone, may go out and hang with some folks, may order in and watch some of the dozens of DVDs I own but have never watched or may bug Jake at his place for once. Tomorrow is the usual round of must-see-tv and Pelligrinos (this is quite the habit I've formed) and perhaps even some Simon homework before we do another all-day cache-a-thon with Jake and Dave down south. Nice.
Woohoo. Survivor starts in a couple weeks. Now mind you I'm not fanatic, but I enjoy watching the show for sure. Seeing how some weeks we're up to 3-4 episodes behind (Jake and I), it gets funny trying to avoid who was kicked off. Folks at work, CNN, the radio.. everyone ruins it. Annoying. Last year we had to avoid who WON for 2 weeks because we didn't get to it. But now we can watch it at Jake's place, so maybe we'll be better about it.
Enjoy your weekend folks.
Posted by Luke at 9:35 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2005
tipper and his stick
Is it me or is it unseasonably cold all of a sudden? Not that I'm complaining, I love having the window open and no air conditioning on, but it seems odd that we're in the midst of the supposed hottest part of the year and people have to close their windows at night to keep warm.
Had a demonstration this morning for work, had to be in an hour early to set up. Went well, except a major error occured in the middle of the demo and we had to call the tech folks across the street to have it fixed. And as we were packing up to leave, caterers starting rolling in huge trays of food and drink. Hello? Couldn't they have moved stuff in early? To be, ya know, extra ready? O:) Not that I need any danishes or juice, but hey, a guy can wish.
Saw my boss from job #2 there, she was going to be watching the next demo. She said she had spoken with the provost about me and had highly recommended me for a promotion and raise. And that I'm underutilized. Let's see if words turn into action, people. She said I was a resource "we've only begun to exploit." How nice. Now pay me more. Heh.
Jacob asked for my blog URL yesterday so he could read what I wrote about the caching incident 2 nights ago. He was taking the plunge: "Where's your stupid blog again?" But about 25 minutes later I got another reply, "Dammit. I actually seem to be enjoying reading your blog. Dammit." Muhaha. See, while my daily dribble may not be as scandlous as some of the LA or London bloggers I read, enough folks tune in to see whats up to keep me going.
Yesterday's flush went extremely well, a lot easier than the last time I did it last year. I feel better now, and feel revitalized and ready to continue on. Have to be careful though, since today there have been so many obstacles to staying on course. But without my trusty rubberband on my wrist, how will I remember? Back at Deb's party 2 weeks ago, Jennifer told me she knew a woman from school that had her hand 'die' from having a rubberband on her wrist. Ick. That's all it took for me to shed my rubber-reminder.
I'm in the middle of a tiny experiment. I've been criticized for not buying certain things for myself, when I need them or want them. I just always take a cost/benefit analysis into account first and usually pass. This sometimes causes me to go weeks without something I could use. Well, gonna try to buy stuff when I want them and see if it truly makes me life easier or just simply makes my weekly expenditure go up. We'll see.
Not much going on tonight. Jake may drag me out into the city again to try another cache or two. Maybe he'll decide to stay in and perhaps get a bit further on our game of Champions of Norath 3. Tried to play it last night alone and ugh, too hard. I was sick of it within 10 minutes and changed the channel to watch "Garfield" on HBO. Yes, I sat through it.
The cat goes insane with my laser-pointer that Laura & Luke gave me. Tipper was insane around it to. He was actually up and over my furniture, on the falls and knocking over crap trying to get to it. The cat will fling herself across plants, DVD cases and dishes just to try to catch it... even though she doesn't want to eat it. Tipper wants to eat the little red dot. Oh, so much fun. But my cat realizes where its coming from and gets excited when I pick it up. Then she starts looking where it's pointing, even if its not on. So crazy. Maybe I'll take a video sometime and show ya. ;)
Today we're celebrating my birthday at work. Cheesecake = fun. Ugh. See what I meant by temptation?
Posted by Luke at 11:35 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
So we just got back from romping around Rochester GeoCaching. Fun stuff. We left around 6:30pm and just got back at 12:30am. Yes, six hours of walking. Tell me about it. We started out in High Falls, a really cool place in Downtown Rochester. Nearby you could see the waterfall and the river and a dozen old warehouses clearly too old to do anything with. The first cache was located at "The Old Mill" that apparently burnt down in 1977. While looking around for any sign of the cache, we got to learn a bit about early Rochester.
The cache general location was simple to locate, but we couldn't find the cache. I had to hoist Jake up to look in crevices and whatnot, but it simply wasn't meant to be. I saw a slight red object in a corner, but there were onlookers, and it's against the rules to find a cache with people watching. So we abandoned that one and plugged in the coordinates for the next. It took us to the MCC campus, and down a path I was pretty sure would lead us there. It sounded and looked familiar according to the directions, but we were over a mile away. We drove around and eventually found ourselves at this Jewish home and outback was this gigantic forest.
Walking what seemed like forever to get to the forest, Tipper (the dog), Lindsay, Jacob and I ventured off the beaten path into an area of broken glass, barbed-wire fencing and wicken bushes that could take out an eye.
But we found our first stash! And boy was it a big one. We stayed there for prolly 20 minutes just reading the journal left behind and looking at all the stuff. Tipper chose a toy from the cache, we wrote a piece in the journal and off we went, back to the car and on to our next cache. By this time it was already 8.
We decided to finish off our night we'd do at least half of the Mt. Hope Cemetary cache. It had 6 parts, plus the final cache find, so it would definately be a challenge. The first parts involved finding certain graves (with clues buried in the names, dates of death and family members left behind). Waypoints 4-6 involved doing math on previous clues and doing calculations to figure out new lattitudes and longitudes. Fun! And waypoint number six was adorable.. the guy who set this up has such a great sense of humor. We ended up in one of the veterans areas trying to figure out which "Charles" began the row we had to look down. There were a million Charles! :)
Tipper had a ton of fun. He kept running off, into the dark (since it was like 11pm already) and finding sticks. At one point, when we got really stuck and had to rerun our calculations he ended up bringing 3 different sticks over the course of 25 minutes. We almost gave up for the night several times. We were tired, thirsty and just frustrated, but it was still a blast. We got our last clue, ran some calculations and found the coordinates for the cache.. and OFF we went. And we walked. And walked. And did some more walking. Finally finding the "area" we needed to find the last cache (which was a .50 ammo box, colored green, under leaves) we search for a good 45 minutes for this thing. Oi. So difficult to locate, especially since it was pitch black out and one of our flashlights was dying off.
But we found it! It was in a spot impossible to see from the clearing. And had WAY too many bugs, spiders and brush for me to crawl through, but Jake got it! It's in the lower right hand corner of that photo to the left. He's such a proud GPS owner now. The cache (famous for its super goodies inside) was packed with a ton of exchanged items. There were 2 journals, since one was completely full starting in May 2001, a disposable camera, a bunch of dodads, some coins, and a couple other junky things. Seeing nothing of value, we left behind a cool book, packed it all up, took a couple pictures and off we left..
So it took us 3 hours total for the last cache find.. and it was considered moderately difficult. Jake is already looking forward to the next adventure in finding more caches. I need a brake! My legs are still asking for a break. You should try it, it was a blast.
Posted by Luke at 12:44 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
The adventure last night was short, sweet and to the point, and I forgot to do one major errand. You see, I came home and found out that my birds had yet ANOTHER baby. At least one. They were freaking out when I tried to look closer. If they're having more children, obviously I need to get rid of the existing 3 birds they hatched last month. That was the goal, and to stop by Borders to buy some stuff with my gift card from Laura. ;)
Only one problem, I forgot the birds. Alas, I still managed to spend an hour at Borders and came home with two very thick and awesome Ben Bova books. You see, Ben Bova was the reason I didn't get Cum Laude in college. He took too much of my time up. I would read in class. I would read in bed. I would read any chance I got and spent more time on that than homework. ;) I am looking forward to reading them, plus the two Ben Bova books I got from Uno on my birthday, as well!
Jake called me while I was at Borders and wanted, immediately, to go geocaching. You see, he has this habit of deciding to do something and immediately doing it. I told him we'd have to do it Tuesday, since I had plans at 8:00. With a big sigh, he agreed, and instead brought his PS2 over and we played for a couple hours.
We had another staff picnic at work today. It's funny, my boss made mention of what I had said the other day about doing more stuff "out of work" together and away from our daily routines. No problem! Just keep buying the food, and we'll be there, obviously. I'm gonna see if some of them are willing to do another happy hour soon. Kelly just returned from her maternity leave (of 9 months) and flagged me down for a half hour yesterday. She looked anxious to talk to me, and we had fun catching up.
Tonight I'm off to geocache with Jake and Lindsay. I've chosen 3 caches and Jake has 5 ready to go. I'm looking forward to it. I've chosen this site at an old mill that has burned down ages ago. Cool.
Posted by Luke at 5:38 PM
Monday, August 22, 2005
We had fun in Greece. As much as one can have fun in Greece, of course. We shopped until we dropped at Petco and Petsmart. Alison bought her cat this huge cat stand filled with catnip and I bought some more litter. She bought a bunch of other things her cat will probably hate and I was happy with cat litter.
She donated a bunch of her cat's interesting toys and thingies to Ashley, and she absolutely loves them. She immediately got into the cat bed and fell asleep. She's been playing with the new ball toy and sleeps on her 'cat pad.' She's one happy kitty.
I have this knack for choosing passwords that means stuff in hebrew. Apparently one of my passwords means "sleeping around" and the other means "to engage in rauchy sex" Honestly, I had no idea. I just made these words up in my head and used them for passwords for like a decade. And apparently if you put them back to back and add "eh" to the end, it means "a changed or sleeping fucker". Nice. I'm not usually this vulgar! It was totally unintentional. :)
Alison came over last night, admired my clean and nice-smelling apartment, and we watched the series finale of "Six Feet Under" a show she loves, adores and wants more of. I didn't understand much if anything of the show, so I drifted in and out of TV-watching over the hour. It was too confusing since some people were dead on the show and I didn't know it, so ever so often a guy would be walking around and he was actually dead and invisable to people. Confusing.
I need to register for classes at Simon soon. Carrie is taking marketing and organizational business this fall, so I'm gonna take at least one class with her. I don't know if I can remain sane if I don't know anyone else in the class. But then again, I didn't know anyone when I first started either. Need to finish some Simon crud this week. But I have so much work to do after work now for my 3rd job. I need to finish that up before too far into September. Annoying, yes. But pays so well I'm stupid to delay.
This is going to be such an uninteresting week.
Posted by Luke at 12:52 PM
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Only 1 post in 4 days, hmp, I'm slipping. I've just been busy this past 3 days, with everything going on that is. Friday night was fun, so was Saturday night.
Saturday during the day Jake invited me to this work picnic of his. Wasn't so much his coworkers, but his billiards buddies.. which all happen to work with him. But they don't work together directly. It's like my volleyball team (which is starting up again in September!).
The picnic was a blast, but they only had beer to drink, which would have been fine, but it wasn't good beer. But I did get to try something I've never had before. The guy in charge of the grill, who also happened to own the house and was throwing the party with his wife, was kicked off the grill since he didn't know how to cook meat. Anton was his replacement, and we had a good time talking about a host of topics (including teaching Jake what Myth Busters were, and the finer points of english prepositions).
There was so much food. They cooked chicken, beef hot dogs, pork kabobs, boca burgers and potatoes on the grill. They also had a range of salads on the table, with appetizers strewn about. I got the impression we were supposed to have brought a dish to pass. Jake doesn't ever think about that kind of stuff. I was also posing as his wife, since she couldn't make it. It seems they all have a good relationship, and a wide range of ages. Some guys are 40 while many are in their 20s. It'd be nice if my workplace had more of that out-of-work effort going on. One of my coworkers had a picnic like this last year, but I was in CA at the time and missed it.
Tossing the football around, playing badmitten, talking of politics and pizza restaurants in the area, the time made it to 7 and Jake and I left in a hurry. I was wisked away to Comix Cafe for an evening of laughs and jokes (and some not-so-funny jabs at people of different ethnicities). I didn't laugh the majority of the time, but booya I enjoyed my $7.50 glass of 'root beer float'. Oi.
Sunday Alison and I are headed to Greece to stalk someone she knows, and shop for cat toys and the like, and maybe headed to a great asian restaurant Cindy and I used to eat at with fantastic Pho and eggrolls. Yum. I'll keep you aprised. Oh, and she wants details desperately of what I was doing and with who this weekend. Ha.
Posted by Luke at 11:22 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I received the flea medicine in the mail yesterday and applied it last night. I am pleased to report that the cat is no longer scratching, thank the heavens. Unfortunately, I now have to wash a lot of bedding and blankets due to flea eggs. Ick. She's still super clingy, which is strange. Makes me think she's dying.
Last night I went over to Alison's place on Park to visit, eat and watch a movie. Wasn't sure what to expect with her apartment. She lives in a really nice area. Quite jealous in fact. But her apartment is a bit small for my tastes and too high off the ground. I'd hate to take an elevator every time I needed to come and go.
If you need to shop, we advise against shopping at the Eckerd on Park Ave. Apparently, some serious crud is going down in that store. The workers were snapping at each other, we had an extremely timid register clerk and the prices are all out of wack. $1.50 for a .5L of soda, but 69 cents for a 2 liter?? $6 for a can opener? Can you tell what we bought? :)
Her cat is really nice (and handsome) but bites at awkward moments.. like anytime you pet him. He's a great color.. a dark orange/brown. Really nice squeeky cat. Watched Alfie, which is a helluva long movie. Alison looks good, she's lost a bunch of weight. We swapped war stories before I left. Didn't get done until 11 and I drug myself home.
Talked to CindyV today. She's doing well. Keeping busy as always. She doesn't know if she's invited to Laura's wedding or not, so that's got her stressed. She really wants to visit DC. I just politely ignore the question. Laura, help? But she's saving money for the trip. As am I. After my CA trip went $500 over-budget, I've got a ways to go before I feel comfortable throwing out cash and dining with the best of them. Plus Laura deserves the best wedding gift of all time. ;)
Friends and people are stressed all around me, either right next door or 2,000 miles away. Best of luck to each of them in finding solutions to their issues, even if nobody could ever understand how they feel. Just take it one day at a time, folks, and don't freak over the small stuff. Life should always lead to happiness. If not, you're not looking and feeling in the right places. :)
Tonight I'm going out for dinner and a movie. Should be fun. Looking forward to a break. Who am I kidding, my mind is still on vacation. But perhaps I'll finish up some more Simon todos before Monday. Nola is coming over this weekend, so I have that to look forward to on Saturday. This is the last weekend before she heads off to college. So sad. Gonna miss her.
Posted by Luke at 4:50 PM
Had a great meeting with the boss this morning. Seems we may be starting a new project for one of the committees she's on, and I'm a resident expert. Sounds good to me. Gives me the chance to flex my programming skillz. ;)
Last night I ended up going to Jake's for the evening after getting the photos from Walmart. Even though he said he'd be there at 6, he wasn't until 7:50. Lindsay and I hung out, played with the dog, ate a bunch of their food (and freezey pops) and waited, listening to music. She had the right idea.. she brought her laundry. I'll do that next time... ;) Jake made some great chicken-wing pizza (out of fake chicken of course) and we ended up watching god-awful teevee on a half dozen channels.
Oh, their bathroom is looking a lot better too. They've stripped off the wallpaper, and the tile and have painted and such. Should look great when they're done. They bought a bunch of new fixtures and new tile. Except Lindsay used the toilet.. even though it was unhooked. Ick. Yuck.
I got Ashley a new anti-flea/tick/deerfly collar, for the time being, until the good medicine comes from mother. Hopefully this will help calm down the itching. She's driving me nuts. I finally had to tape her old collar together so she stopped jingling all over the place. She was waking me up itching.
The gym here at work has wisened up. My ID no longer works, 2+ years after it should have stopped working. The guy looked at me like 'duh'. Oh well. I just wanted to go swimming anyway. And my boss asked me for some diet advice today. So funny, I'm a diet guru. ;)
I went home during lunch and actually got a bunch of stuff accomplished. I feel so productive today. Will it last into the night? We shall see...
Posted by Luke at 4:10 PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I just got back from getting the Kayaking pictures developed from Day 2 of my vacation. This was when we went to La Jolla outside of San Diego and went kayaking and whatnot. The pictures came out wonderfully! (Sorry to those folks on dialup!)
This was us, right before we left, in our getups (lifejackets, no shoes, large paddles)
Cindy and Cynthia, on our way our to the cliffs.
Me, being all serious-like pushing through the water with Cynthia is tow. Is my rudder broken? :)
And the creme-de-la-creme, yes, there were sea lions all around! (look carefully.. click on the image to enlarge!)
And for the grand finale... this is us, back at our hotel swimming pool, giving the camera one last hurrah before we left!
Posted by Luke at 6:22 PM
Monday night was as successful as I had anticipated. It'd be great to be able to share those 4 shows with someone, but alas, nobody else close by likes them. I think I've gone my entire life watching certain shows alone.. whether it be Star Trek in the 1980s, to Sliders and Voyager in the 90s, to Stargate in the 00s. Perhaps that will change, one day, but I'm happy having this time to myself anyway.
I spoke with more folks at the Simon School about my admission. Things are looking way up in that regard. I should know before the start of the next quarter on my admission. And then I'll have to celebrate, since I know I'll get in. ;) I got my letters of recommendation from my two bosses.. and they were glowing as expected. I'm glad I'm regarded in such high light by the only 2 people that I have to listen to at work.
So I found out my cat was given a nice big gift from her caregivers last week. She came home with fleas. It's grossing me out. She's been itching more than usual (since cats seem to itch whenever anyway) and when I combed her with a flea comb, eggs and bugs came out. Yuck! I feel so bad for her. She either got it from my mother's dog or my sister's new kittens. And now there are eggs all over my apartment. My mother is sending me some flea stuff from the dog warden near her, so hopefully we'll be all cleared up in a couple weeks. If not, I guess I'll have to [flea] bomb the apartment.
Has anyone actually won a free coke from the "1 in 12 wins a free coke" under the cap contest? I've drank at least 3 dozen and haven't won yet.
Had lunch at "Thai Palace" in Mt. Hope Plaza yesterday for lunch. The food was good! Not a big lunch menu selection, but the service was great, the food was hot, and I was in and out of there with Nola in under 45 minutes. What a quick lunch hour.
Tonight I have few if any plans. Was gonna have dinner with Jake, but he said I should have talked to him yesterday, since he was doing nothing and was just too lazy to call me. Was gonna have dinner with Alison, but she said she's busy Monday through Wednesdays. I might go for a walk or something. Jake invited me over, but only to watch him work on his new bathroom. After working out for an hour last night, I realize how utterly out of shape I am. I need to get more active again. It's been almost a month since I worked out. How sad is that? Going for a walk today during lunch. Maybe that will help.
I got a birthday card from Laura yesterday, how wonderful. My birthday continues! Update on the teeth situation.. they hurt! He was right. And they're moving. They've already moved at least 2mm outward, I can see it. Fun fun.
Posted by Luke at 11:22 AM
Monday, August 15, 2005
Sunday was one long and fun day. I'm very fortunate to have the family I do. Sometimes they can be loud. Sometimes they can be annoying. But overall they are very caring and very funny people. People starting showing up for the 2nd party around 4:00 and we didn't stop eating and joking until well after 9. This one was strictly a family affair and my uncle Neil was involved. Lots of jokes. Lots of stories. Nothing to share. But I did manage to burn 5 copies of pictures for different family members on my laptop. The thing was smokin by the end of the night.
CindyV had sent me a message asking me how things were going and how the waterproof camera pictures had come out. Eeek. Through the last busy 4 days I had neglected to drop off the camera.
I couldn't get up this morning, I felt like a lead weight. I don't know if I'll ever recover from this vacation. I've slept plenty. I'm just beat. I had an ortho appointment this morning.. got my stainless steel wire in. I had told him I haven't felt any real pain my mouth in months.. (which you'd expect) and he guarenteed I'd start to feel pain with this new wire. Goodie. I ended up dropping off the film for developing this morning, spent a birthday gift card at a store and got to work by 10:30.
Spent the next 4 hours trying to diagnose a problem, which I ended up figuring out only to have to call my boss in from his vacation to fix. At least he was pleasant. I'm not sure I would be if I had been called in. I've been called in when I've been horribly sick.. and that was bad enough. :)
I decided to get everyone's Windows machines up to date after a big worm started hitting the net this weekend. Most everyone's machines are so far out of date it's taken the better part of the day to get everyone squared away. I even had a computer to update Windows Service Pack ONE on someone's computer... let alone pack 2 and the dozens of updates after that. I'm surprised we haven't had a severe system meltdown here, yet.
Aaron, Francis, Nola and mom had come up and had lunch with me at Jay's Diner. Aaron and Francis are leaving today around 5 back to California. I think Francis is pretty ready to leave. We're pretty backward in NY when it comes to people, manners, dresscodes, teeth and whatnot. I think it scared her a bit. The city I live in is not bad at all, but you get out in the stix and even I get scared. :)
Ahh, tonight is gonna be a big veg-out. Four hours of must-see-tv plus hours of mindless recorded crud over the past 2 weeks. I love my DVR.
Posted by Luke at 4:03 PM
Saturday, August 13, 2005
So I learned my cat doesn't like the vet. Well, she liked the vet, but hated the car ride to the vet, which she was in a small box with small holes. The experience wasn't fun, and she kept finding a way to make the box top burst open. She even got her head caught in the hand somehow and I had to wrestle with her to get her out of that bind. She got 2 shots, one for distemper and one for rabies. Equipped with a new coller tag, she jingles wherevershe walks now. She even woke me up several times in the night as she itched the two insertion points for her shots.
Last night Jake, Rachael and I went to Dim Sum on East Ave. Golden Port was really quiet, even though East Ave Fest was going on outside. Everyone was hunched under the awnings to keep out of the rain. We ate a bunch of new foods, and also old favorites. I had a great chat with the owner Wayne about his new restaurant, Cindy's happenings in LA and other fun stuff. Jake kept shaking his head because he thought I was trying to butter him up for free food. I guess it didn't help when I told him it was my birthday! heh
I got going pretty early this morning, started a couple loaves of chocolate bread and ran a couple errands while they cooked in the oven. Got to the party pretty early, but enjoyed the festivities as everyone started to arrive. Got to see a lot of folks I haven't seen in a decade, got to see people I saw before vacation. My bread was a big hit, and there was enough food to feed an army. Aaron and Francis finally showed up and all of us (sisters, brother, Francis and I) enjoyed a couple hours of stories, jokes and fun. It's great that we all get along so well. Plus my one sister has lost 15 pounds and looks absolutely wonderful.
Unfortunately we needed to leave the party early, but we got to go to Sorah's wedding. We got there just in time to watch the ceremony and sit down and eat another large meal. I ate pretty light and we enjoyed a review of mom's vacation in Nebraska. We left after several hours and headed back to the party at Deb's. My uncle and his daughter (my cousin) had shown up a couple hours prior and we staying the night. Fun fun. Everyone eventually left.. and there are only a couple of us staying the night. Tomorrow everyone is coming back (family) for leftovers pretty early in the day, after church. Should be fun. Food is always very good reheated. ;)
Posted by Luke at 11:54 PM
Friday, August 12, 2005
To say traveling cross country sucks is an understatement. We had a quick breakfast on Wedneday at Dennys before Aaron dropped us off at the San Diego airport around 11. He was heading back to Riverside and we were gonna sit at the airport until our flight at 9:30. They wouldn't let us check our bags early and they said even if we flew standby at 4 on another flight, we would still end up sitting in Newark for 5 hours until our flight in the morning.
Mom and I decided just to keep everything as it was and just sit and wait. Mom read several books and I watched several shows on my laptop. The time did go by rather quickly and we ended up eating McDonalds for lunch and some pizza for dinner. They had these really nice rocking chairs in the terminal that we got to snag for our 4 hour wait once we checked in. But the flight was horrible. I'll never take another 5 hour flight nonstop without much much more legroom. Mom even said next time we'll fly business class. It was bad, and hot.. and so many people kept getting up and walking around even though we had so much turbulance. So annoying.
But by the time we got in at 7:45 on Thursday morning, Jake was ready to pick us up and he dropped us off back at my apartment. My fish was dead, so was at least one plant. Another is iffy. I was tired. But I was wide awake, even though I had been up for 36 hours already. I tried to sleep but it wasn't working. Mom got ready to go home and Nola arrived and her and I ran some errands, did some shopping and went to the Olive Garden for lunch (using the giftcard Aaron gave me). I started falling asleep in the booth, and then in the car, and then in Walmart, and I knew it was time for a good long nap, which I took when I got home.
I met some coworkers at a bar for 'happy hour' at 5:30, even though I didn't work on Thursday (draining another 8 hours of vacation time and down to 25 now). Food, drink and conversation were fun, and I hope we do it again. Maybe a regular thing. We'll see. Aaron and Frances arrived by plane at 7 and we picked them up and dropped off all our stuff at my place. We headed downtown for Dinosaur BBQ and had a grand time during our 45 minute wait and eventual meal. Frances and Aaron were much impressed (especially since I treated)and cold (by NY air conditioning) and we left very full and very tired.
But hey! the night didn't end there. We got back to my place and decided to walk next door to the Distillery, a great place for drinks and ice cream after 10. We stayed there for awhile, drank Margaritas, beer, ate chicken wings, oreo cookie madness and hot fudge sundaes. Aye, see, the vacation appetite is still in full gear. :) But the night eventually ended, and we all crawled into our respective beds (mine with new sheets and pillows for my guests) for the night. I think Ashley finally figured out who I am again, as she slept on my chest last night and woke me up at 7:30 for her can of catfood. Ahh, back to the routine at last.
This weekend we have a ton happening. While Aaron is home, we're having family dinners, Deb is throwing a massive 150 person party, a wedding of my childhood friend and much much more! Eeeh, I need more sleep to prep.
Posted by Luke at 1:00 PM
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Lazy Tuesday, for sure. We napped so much today and also slept in until 9:30. Breakfast at a little diner and off to the Mexican border by 11. A little quicker this time than it was last week when I went. But it was funny parking in the same parking lot and taking the same shuttle across the border.
We took another bus to Rosarito, which was a 20 mile and 40 minute drive away. Along the way we got to see some of the driest, poorest and hottests areas I have ever seen. The government has sponsored public housing for a lot of their people and the areas its built in is all dirt, and all the housing is connected in huge chains. So you see a large hill with hundreds of brown apartment type housing on it. Amazing to see the difference. Along the way you see scummy and dirty people just lounging around, cars broken and stripped along the road and other fun things.
Rosarito felt VERY cool. We were right on the ocean and the breeze coming up from the beach was terrific. We walked the strip, walked the beach and found some food pretty easily. I was a bit disappointed (since Tijuana was so loud and so happening that this felt empty) but then we found a HUGE open market. Once in there, we spent 3 hours shopping. It was amazing. There were over 100 shops selling everything from shirts to bracelets to bongs to cigars to plaster crap to shot glasses and yes.. even surf monkeys. ;)
I only brought $50 over the border on purpose.. cause I knew I'd spend it. I bought this beautiful blanket, a t-shirt, a shot glass and some other fun souveniers. Mother bought a bunch of jewelry and stuff for family members and Aaron stuck to buying beers and margaritas. Smart man. I blew through all my money by the time we left Rosarito, which was around 5:00, after we spent an hour at this fantastic street bar. 2 for 1 drinks and the best damn tacos I've ever had in my life. My god.. this food was amazing. I had a beef burrito earlier in the day and these pork tacos were beyond description. The flavor was exhilerating.
Moving on from eating.. we got pretty drunk before getting back on our bus. Just before we left this tiny little woman wouldn't leave mom alone when it came to this bracelet she liked. She started out at $28 and finally I gave her $5 just to shut her up. So we got this fantastic bracelet for $5. The ride back to Tijuana was basically a nice nap and we walked the streets of Tijuana like pros (since I knew where everything was). We even explored side streets I hadn't been on (scarily and eerily).
We stopped at another bar for about an hour, enjoyed the street performers, drank a half dozen beers and ate some churros. Ahh, a great day in Mexico. The border crossing back to the USA was simply. A lot quicker than last week. We got through the border in under 10 minutes. The crossing guard was like "what did you buy.. good day" and that was it. I couldn't even finish "t-shirt" before I was told to move on.
Hot tub and Law & Order finished up our night and now I'm just finishing up a download of "The 4400" before I head to bed. I need something to watch during our all day travel-a-thon Wednesday. Aaron is going to drop us off at the San Diego airport before he heads back to Riverside and mom and I have to entertain ourselves for the day. Hmm.. what to do what to do.
Posted by Luke at 2:58 AM
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
This morning we got a slow start. Slept pretty late and had a quick breakfast before showering and getting ready for the drive down to San Diego. Packing up all my stuff and fitting it into 2 bags was a challenge, but stuffing all 5 bags into the car with a cooler and 3 people was harder.
Traffic was heavy. I could never get used to it. Aaron said you do eventually, but it was noon! Why are there hundreds of card on the road? We got to the San Diego Wild Animal Park around 1 and headed right to the food area since we were ravenous... but hot dogs were really disappointing (especially $7 hot dogs).
We got to take this really neat train ride through the park, to see the animals up close and personal. We went through different zones.. the 4 major parts of African, the 3 areas of Asia and other neat places. They had most herbavores out, as the carnivores tend to eat the other animals, and it was neat to see the zebras and giraffs and elephants doing their thing. A million animals (and pictures) later, and we headed to the elephant show to watch them perform tricks and moves.
They were pretty lazy elephants. It took the one 10 minutes to do anything and the other 35 minutes. I guess positive reinforcement isn't the BEST way to train an elephant. They would raise their foot and get a carrot. Make a noise.. get a carrot. I fell asleep.. and I didn't get anything. Most of the crowd left in the first 15 minutes.. the rest of us waited for 45 minutes and finally got to see an elephant shower. Yay.
But it was relaxing (and free since Francis got us tickets to the park) and we got to see a bunch of birds (which are my favorite) including a really cool yellow one I got 3 inches from. And the ducks were so friendly! So quacky and babies everywhere! That was the one thing most prevalent in this park.. all the babies! They had had 12 new rhinos, 30 new deer, etc, etc.. babies everywhere.
We got out of there and made a quick stop at McDonalds (don't flinch!) and headed to our hotel in San Diego Hotel Circle. My brother got a great place to stay. Hot tub jacuzzi and all.
We stopped by El Torito for happy hour and drank drank drank until we were all a bit happy, had several appetizers and enjoyed a good conversation about life and taxes. Ahh... but as soon as we got back.. right into the hot tub for us! We're so bad.. it closed at 10 and we just got back. Man, I'm tired. Tomorrow is Rosarito in Mexico. Looking forward to it!
Posted by Luke at 2:09 AM
Monday, August 08, 2005
Remind me next time I have the opportunity to sleep in my street clothes on a single mattress in the middle of a hot apartment in Long Beach... to skip it. Rent a hotel room or something. Nah, I kid, but it was uncomfortable. But at least it's over and it was a lot of fun hanging out with Francis and her mother.
We woke up this morning and took over an hour to get ready and get moving. Aaron left for his pregame warmup and the rest of us stopped at Denny's for a hearty breakfast. Francis lied and told them were needed to catch a plane (to rush them) and our food was out in under 5 minutes.
The baseball field was only about 45 minutes away and we got to hear many stories about Francis growing up and other such fun things. Plus mom shared her insights into Aaron and I and growing up with her sisters. Yay. Fun.
The game was great and mom took a million pictures. She loves my camera and was all over the place taking shots. She took over 20 videos. And you thought I was bad. :) The baseball game lasted over 4 hours and it was well past 6 by the time we got done and back on the road. Aaron's team won 7-6 and move onto the next stage of finals. They won $500 for this game and if they win next week they get $3,000. That's fun.
We stopped at this really awesome Italian place in Pasadena called Buca di Beppo. It was absolutely huge. The food was massive and really tasty. It was served family style, so we had fun eating off community plates. We got this great eggplant dish, rigatoni dish and a chicken marsala dish. We also had fantastic balsamic salad and canonis for dessert. Wow. Mom tried to pay for dinner but Francis insisted and so mom lost another payment battle (4th one this trip).
We parted ways and left for Riverside. As soon as we got back, we turned around and headed back out to Aaron's friends house. His name is Bob. He played for a baseball team as a pitcher in the 80s and has this huge house that Aaron wanted us to experience. He's a great guy. He has a huge pool, hot tub, batting cages, slip and slide, basketball court and a big garden. He also has 2 large plasma TVs, 4 computers and enough liquor and soda to out-do the holiday inn. Pretty interesting stuff. Plus the guy teaches middle school, DJs, coaches adult baseball pitches, has a photography business, is an artist and deals in real estate. Amazing.
Bah, I'm so tired. But tonight I get to sleep on a futon. Woohoo! (as my friend Cynthia would say) :)
Posted by Luke at 3:48 AM
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Can you believe I've been on vacation for 10 days? It's hard to believe, in my case, since it's all been such a blast and so full of stuff. I've only had a couple days to simply chill, which have been nice, plus all the sleep time in cars, but today was no different.
We stayed the night at Francis' apartment in Long Beach. I was assigned a matress on the livingroom floor, a single, and I made the best of it. I am more than grateful for the fact that my family is paying for everything now.. and we're getting free lodging and whatnot. After the first leg of my journey I've spent a bit of money I wasn't expecting to pay, plus the extra night at the hotel. But that's dirt under the rug now (and credit card payments for August!) and we've got a bunch of stuff left to do over the next week.
Oh, and I figured out where I get my money thoughts from (which CindyV commented on as being [condescendingly] disturbing.. from my family! It's been fun to be around penny pinchers again. Ahhh.. the bliss of talking about walking an extra 10 minutes to avoid paying $20 parking. It's made me happy again... not to say I wasn't happy. ;)
Today we got on the road and over to the marina to watch the X games water sports where the men's and women's finals were taking place. The boats would drive 50 miles an hour down the waterway towing behind a person that would flip and do tricks in the air. It was a lot of fun, even if the sun was super hot.
We stopped by this terrific place called Hawaiian Loft, which was a BBQ joint for Hawaiian food. It was a LOT like chinese food, except more tang and sweet food choices. We had lunch with Francis' mom and neice and the 6 of us had a great time eating 12 different entree choices. I even taught them the new trick I learned from CindyV about using the butt-end of the chopsticks to pick food out of the community dish.
And Francis confirmed a couple items I mentioned I learned from CindyV.. in CA you don't finish your plate of food (yes, even if you paid for it) as its considered rude. In NY.. if you don't finish your food, it's considered rude. In CA.. you don't touch food with your hands.. ever! In NY, some foods only are eaten with your hands... and in CA.. you eat with your mouth shut.. which they do.. which is nice.
I got yelled at enough this past week about my eating habits that it will take quite a bit of time before I fall off the wagon again. Ahh, the joys of eating.
flips and tricks
The entire afternoon (intil 8pm) we stayed and watched the X games at the USCDH Home Depot stadium (which were on ESPN live all day). We watched motorbikes do flips and tricks for a couple hours, watched bicycles do jumps and flips on dirt hills (more often than not messing up and falling down) and then moved on to watch several bands perform at the XFest nearby. Mom got a ton of free stuff for the cousins back home and we got to watch a couple girls do crazy dancing for about an hour.
We returned to the field to finish watching the events in progress and finally left the stadium the apartment by 8 or so. Had a nice quiet dinner of 5for5 at dominoes and enjoyed a healthy (??) conversation about marriage and politics (ick). Everyone fell asleep at least an hour ago, but I'm still on Cindy/Cindy time, which means I'll be heading to bed very shortly.
Tomorrow we're off to Aaron's baseball game in Northern LA, then back to Riverside after a couple meals with Francis and the gang. Keeping busy... plus I got burnt yesterday and even more tanned today. The sun is HOT. I guess it waited for CynthiaA to leave the state before it went back into the 80s. But Rosarito is supposed to be 69 at most, so I'm looking forward to that again. And the beaches down there are wonderful.. but that's a couple days away.
Night night. :)
Posted by Luke at 3:27 AM
Saturday, August 06, 2005
hungtington beach pier
We were able to sleep in a good long time this morning. Mom and Aaron went to the gym around 9, which gave me a couple hours to catch up on email and other fun online stuff. They brought me lunch back from the store and we packed up for a long haul to Huntington Beach and Long Beach. Aaron's house didn't have any hot water so while the rest of them braved through cold showers, I went without, even though it was sticky and yucky already at noon. Plus they have a fly infestation (which luckily has gone away now) which made everyone feel a bit gross.
sunset at the coast
The drive was really quick, especially since I watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica which took up the entire drive. The episode was excellent, plus I got to explain the whole plot and background to Aaron and mom is our superpacked car, which was fun. Though I doubt either of them care at all about my ramblings about a TV show. Neither of them are into scifi.
We got to the beach by 1 or so and found a great spot to the right of the pier. The waves were fantastic but the water was very very cold. Plus there were jellyfish floating in the water and I overheard that several people had been stung already. Eeek. I laid in the sun for a good hour and finally worked up enough sweat and heat to cool off in the ocean. The waves were a lot of fun. I road several from 75 feet out all the way into the beach. And I avoided the floating jellyfish with no problem at all.
Another bout of lying in the sun (which I've finally finally have darkened me extremely white interior) and we packed it up and headed to Sharkees bar and grill in Long Beach. We arrived during happy hour, which meant cheap food and really great drinks. We ordered what must have been 15 things and ate happily for the next 2 hours. Taquitos.. bbq wings.. you name it, we ate it. I also got this gigantic marqarita that was made with REALLY strong liquor. I got through 90% of it and boom, it hit me and I felt like I was gonna tip over. My brother got a kick out of me being so tipsy, and I enjoyed the feeling while it lasted.
Francis got there a little late, we ate some more, I got Cold Stone (woohoo, thanks Laura for introducing me to that!) and walked off any alcohol in our system (which was a lot by that time).
video games at the arcade
We all headed up to Long Beach for the night with Francis, as she lives there and Aaron and her spend quite a bit of time there. We ended up a huge arcade which reminded me of Jillians in Rochester. Tons of video games, arcade stuff, and fun fun crud to waste time and make fun of each other. We tried out skee ball (getting good, since I got a 100,000 point score!) and then motorcycle racing (which my mother got an absolute blast out of) and then dance dance revolution (which we absolutely sucked at since I forgot how to play).
Ahh, the joys of not needing to do anything. We're in Long Beach now at Francis' apartment. Tired tired.. tomorrow we're off to the X Games (check them online or on ESPN) and eating eating eating... I do love spending time with my family. I'm taking tons of fun photos (to the annoyance of Francis and Aaron) and will be glad to share them with you soon.
Thanks for checking up on me, I appreciate the thought!
Posted by Luke at 2:39 AM
Friday, August 05, 2005
drinks! on the house...
Yikes is right! We woke up late! CindyA's flight from the airport was for 7:20am, and we woke up at 6:20. The airport is at LEAST an hour away during light traffic, so I don't know WHAT we were thinking that we'd get Cindy there in time. I was in a fog, with only a couple hours of sleep. But I was handed the keys to the car, told not to pack my stuff and to DRIVE.
We got through traffic and to the airport just in time to be told her plane JUST left. Sigh. We got her on the next flight (standby) and hand breakfast in the food court. We went back to the car to sleep for awhile and left Cindy at the airport at 9 and went back to the hotel.
Traffic was awful. It took us well over an hour to get back to Hollywood, just in time for me to shower and check out. I was so tired. I had very little sleep, and what little I did have wasn't very restful. I can only imagine what CindyA and CindyV felt like. V was a bit hungover and A was sitting at the airport all day. Apparently she couldn't get on the next 2 flights, so the last I knew she was still on standby for flights in the afternoon.
I drove down to Anaheim to meet up with my family. We got there at noon and my mother and brother came out to say hi to Cindy before she left back to LA. She needed to get back to run errands and go sit with CindyA or even pick her up. I don't know, I didn't get in touch with them. But now I was with my family and we ended up at the Angels baseball stadium around 1.
The game was fun, except out of the 4 of us watching, 3 of us were in and out of naps. Sammy Sosa hit a homerun (the only one of the game) and the Angels lost pretty bad, 5-1. My mother had her picture taken with a bunch of Angels fans that had made up placards ripping into Sosa. Funny stuff. We got back on the road and back to Riverside in a couple hours, shopped for groceries and made it back to Aaron's house by 6 or 7. Aaron made us a fantastic dinner and we've been hanging out for the rest of the evening.
Plus I have super fast wireless internet here. :) I've been uploading pictures, videos and emailing out stuff all evening. It's good to see Billy again, and Aaron has 2 new roommates here so its nice to meet new people. He turned on the AC for us, thank god. It's hotten hot all of a sudden, and tomorrow is going to be a scortcher. We're off to Huntington Beach, a fantastic surfer beach I LOVED last year. Maybe I'll finish up my tan. We shall see, we shall see.
I got a TON of birthday calls on Thursday. I am so utterly happy and appreciative with all the love. :) I got 11 emails wishing me happy birthday, 9 voicemails and 3 phone calls. CindyA and CindyV treated me to dinner and drinks, CindyA bought me Ben Bova books! My brother got me a gift card to Macaroni Grill (yum) and mom got me this great card. Aaron's girlfriend Francis even bought me this wonderful silver watch (which matches Aaron's).
Thank you to all that called me! Especially to Laura for singing me happy birthday over my voicemail and Deb for calling me Big Toe Luke.. ;) Sorry I didn't get back to you, by the time I have a moment to do anything.. it's 2am and you are asleep. I will talk to you all soon, I promise. I miss you all.
Posted by Luke at 2:25 AM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
pictures with the boat
Oh, the joy of sleeping in. The first time all vacation. We all slept in until 11am, which for you NY visitors to the blog.. is 2pm. By the time we got up, got dressed and ready, we were ravenous, so we made our way to a thai food place called Pho99, which Cindy said was pretty damned good Pho. I ordered meatball Pho and it was great. We also ordered a bunch of wonderful eggrolls and spring rolls.
at the bar, the stone
We hung out at the pool for the next 3 hours.. until the last possible second that the sun was hitting the cement where we could lie. We all look great with our tans and redness, a perfect end to a one week vacation in LA. It was an amazingly lazy day, a relaxing day to forget about all the road travel and flying that would come on Thursday.
We headed off to Claim Jumper, which was over an hour away in Pasadena. We got there and ate a fantastic meal. I ate a BBQ chicken pizza with a crunchy asian salad. The servings were huge, but the waitress was pretty unimpressed with the fact that by the time we sat down and ate (and 9pm) it was August 4th back in NY.. which was my birthday. Not impressed. No free dessert. And the desserts were HUGE. The cakes were the size of my head, plus some. But we had no room for dessert and headed back home around 10.
We had planned to go see a movie or something, but we ended up visiting the Hussler adult store (which was really busy for 11pm) and then headed back to the hotel to meet David (CindyV's friend) for drinks and kereoke at The Stone, that bar we had went to earlier in the week.
coming home at 2am
The bar was fun. We stayed until 2am until they kicked us out. I was the only one not drunk, but not for the lack of trying. They kept giving us free shots and I had several interesting drinks that I have no idea what they were made of. I just kept drinking what they gave me. While I didn't sing at all, the rest of them had a blast singing their hearts out. CindyV even sang in trubute to Laura. Check that video out here. All in good fun, plus they were very drunk.
A guy came in toward the end of the evening.. completely plastered, in a wheelchair and very angry. He was spitting, ripping up paper, spilling his beer on the floor and knocking over barstools. Good times, good times. Dave almost got into a fight with him. He only had one leg, so I guess he could run away from him if need be.
On the way home, which was dizzying and full of shopping cart goodness (and holding onto CindyA for balance and coordination) we continued the party to the hotel room (which might have been a bad idea.. but HEY it was our last night!). Dave stuck around for awhile and we laughed and joked for a bit before falling asleep in our clothes and far far too late. I fell asleep at the keyboard (which explains why I had no post until now) and we only had a couple hours before we had to get up for the airport!
Posted by Luke at 5:13 AM
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
My goodness. Waking up at the god awful crack of dawn sucks, especially since I would normally be at work at the time we woke up.. :) We got to our pick up point right on time and were on our way to Tijuana in no time. And by no time, I mean we got there by 1:00, which was 6 hours after we left our hotel. The bus ride down was the longest freaking thing in the world. Plus we had to stop and pick people up along the way and drop people off at Seaworld and the zoo in San Diego.
But we got to the border and crossed in no time. Apparently, Mexico could care less about people coming in. But we had to take a shuttle across the border, which was PACKED full of people. I felt like I was sneaking into the country.. in a large red bus. :)
They dropped us off and immediately we were barraged with stuff for sale. Everything from necklaces to clay figures to masks to noisemakers and much much more. So much in fact that it was hard to find any keychains and shot glasses. I ended up getting what I needed, and bartered my way down from $20 to $11.75. Not too bad for a first timer! Muhaha. ;) Though CindyV did an excellent job. She bought a $35 pancho for $10. It was amazing! Reminded me of going garage saling with my grandmother.
We walked the strip, which was the safe part of town, a couple times. I got some churros and drank all the water I brought with me. It was very warm, but not hot. What is it with this place and not being HOT while I'm here?? It's great, I love it. Cindy said as soon as we leave it'll go back to being 105 every day.
We took a ton of pictures, everything from the street vendors to the McDonalds and KFC on the main street corner, to Cindy taking picutres of 50 drugstore vendors. She was looking for her medicine for her headaches, but the discount was actually more expensive than she can get them with insurance. But she may send CindyV down here in a couple months when she runs out of insurance! Tho Cindy will drive down and not take a damn bus again.
Every restaurant was in depseration to get us to eat there. They were shouting "2 for 1! 3 for 1! please, just check menu, please!" It was hilarious. After awhile I got numb from all the shouting and just kept shaking my head in refusal. the little kids kept trying to shove brancelets in our hands and the little old ladies were walking around trying to get some spare change. Old men were walking around silver bracelets and a vendor even asked me if I wanted to buy my "two wives some pretty for their wrists" Ha. Some wives. ;)
I got a bunch of sun on my arms and face. I'm turning into a local tthe way I'm browning up. CindyV has actually gotten so dark she's avoiding the sun now. CindyA's legs are so red that pressing on them makes them white for 3 seconds. So funny. When we finally sat down for lunch, my arms were bubbling with red dots. I'm like.. great.. some rash I got down here.. but it was just a sunburn coming to fruition. Sunscreen applied, lunch ordered and we enjoyed fantastic local cuisine. I got some chicken tacos and the Cindys got some mixed plates. Too much food to eat and the guac was really good.
But alas, we only had a solid 3 hours there before we had to leave. The way the schedules ran, our bus would leave around 5:10, and that meant we needed to leave Tijuana at 3 to get across the border in TWO HOURS. Ugh. Bus we had fun talking and taking pictures with our camera phones... except we don't have camera phones. CindyV thought she saw 'the troll' which won't mean much to everyone, but will to those that know her. She kept text messaging me about it, even though we were 4 feet away.
We got back to the parking lot 45 minutes early, checked out the local outlet mall and sat around waiting for our 3 hour bus ride home.. which turned out to be a 6.5 hour bus ride home. Ugh. Next time, I will RENT a damn car and drive us down, I swear. :) Our shuttle bus driver back in LA had no idea how to get us home and CindyV had to give her directions. It was like the movie Collateral where Jamie Foxx is telling Tom Cruise the best way to get across LA to get to Hollywood. She wouldn't even drop us off a mile down the road even though she was so late. Ahh, I just love to complain.
We got home to the hotel around 10, far too late to eat anything special, so we went and ate at Canters, a great 24/7 in Hollywood. I remember seeing it on MTV once, and we ate there last year right before we left for the airport. I couldn't finish my meal, and it was 1am here and I was exhausted. So much food. Cindy rescheduled her flight for Thursday, CindyV extended the car rental, I rented the room for another night... Wednesday is going to be full of beaching, swimming, eating Korean BBQ and maybe even Claim Jumper, a steak place that CindyA has been talking about ever since we saw it.
Posted by Luke at 4:07 AM
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Today we woke up around 8 with the goal of getting to the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood by 9:30. Showered, pampered, geled and on our way. We got there a few minutes early only to find out our tickets said 7:30 and not 9:30. Sigh, we missed our departure by 2 hours! Luckily, they let us reschedule for Tuesday. So what to do on such short notice on a Monday? We decided to think while walking, and then running as we tried to catch a bus. CindyA fell down and skinned up her knee pretty bad and we ended up walking to the metro, slowly, sadly. Hmp, the day didn't start out well.
We got back to the hotel and stopped in the lobby to get some ideas from the brochures, and saw that Catalyna island had a second ferry service that ran several times a day (rather than once a day like the other ferry) and we made reservations for noon. So we hopped into Cindy's boat car and rushed down the 110 and 705 to get to Long Beach in a little under an hour. After a quick wrong turn, we were in the terminal checking it and buying tickets for tours on the island.
We got there by 1:15 and immediately hopped in line for our island tour, which took us all over the harbor, up and town the city streets, mountain roads and whatnot. We learned about the history of the island, the Wrigley family that owned it and the eventual use in World War 2 and the like. Interesting stuff, especially since they used to sell 20x40 feet plots of land for $50. They called the town "tentville" because people would put tents up on their plots of land for the first decade.
Our next tour was of the harbor and "Lover's Cove" around the bend. Our boat was 6 feet underwater and with a full view of the ocean surrounding. We toured for an hour with thousands of fish swimming all around us. They kept feeding them and all of a sudden they'd all come in huge groups and be wildly running into each other. The kelp was thick, the bottom floor was fantastic and the colors were amazing. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the entire environment. Pictures were poor, but it made for some great memories.
Our next stop was parasailing out in the ocean. CindyV was immediately exciting when we pulled in on the Ferry and she saw the giant colorful parachutes in the air over the ocean. She said "We're doing this!" and immediately, it was so. Around 5 we were headed out of the harbor and into the rough ocean. CindyA didn't want to do it and couldn't come with, so she sunned herself along the beach and watched us from afar (and apparently was hit on by a guy from Phoenix, AZ).
The experience of parasailing is beyond words. It's so peaceful, so exhilerating, so amazing. It's very safe and very comforting. It feels as if someone is gently holding you up in the air hundreds of feet. The island was gorgeous from afar and the water was so blue and magnificient. I actually saw sea lions in the water and could see ferries coming and going. I couldn't imagine not loving this wonderful island, and am amazed at how much fun I had. We had to refuel after I went up, so we had a little delay before CindyV was able to go. But she ended up having a blast after the very rough (and exciting and bumpy) boat ride into and back out of the harbor. That was worth the $65 itself, let alone the parasailing!
But alas, we ended our evening on the island is a quaint little bar where we enjoyed guac and chips, several drinks and a lot of laughs. CindyA got a bit tipsy (which isn't too good with an already bum leg!) and we stumpled our way back to the boat.
Our trip back to LA was quick and painless. The view of Long Beach at night is splendid (again, pictures came out poorly) and my camera ended up dying on the island, so I was unable to adjust shutter speed. We drove around, back to the hotel and then out to dinner at the Patry, a famous diner that is open 24/7 all year long. Food was amazing.. not really diner food (at least at night) but it was.. wow.. amazing. Big portions, tasty selection and amazing bread. I didn't even finish my meal and left very satisfied.
Wow. Simply wow. CindyA is adjusting her plane flight (hopefully) to stay an extra day, so that's great. We're all going to be together for my birthday. We're prolly going to stick to the hotel and only leave to eat. We're all exhausted, and we've still come hot and sweaty Mexico to do tomorrow! Heh. That's in 6 hours I have to wake up again.
Good night. I sent a bunch of pictures to a bunch of you. Enjoy!
Posted by Luke at 4:01 AM