Monday, October 02, 2006

Too Much For The Man

I feel like I've been on a trip. I didn't really go anywhere except StressVille -- and thank you to those of you who emailed me hoping the day went well. The Big Meeting was great, though I did nearly have a heart attack, since I was given the slides for our guest speaker LITERALLY at 9:58 a.m. On a thumb drive.

The meeting started at 10.

But I seem to be back now, mentally, after a long weekend of zoning out and drinking wine and planning some actual vacation time...

...and then I remembered. HEY! I went to LA back in MARCH. And I started WRITING about it. And then I stopped because a million other things came up. But I save drafts and so ha! I am resurrecting the post, which I suspect will mean the first part will have much detail and the second half will be a brief run-down of things I don't remember so well anymore. Whatever.

Enjoy. As much as you can.

* * * * *

So first of all, I have one question about LA:

WHERE IS IT?

Seriously.

It's not like there's no there there. I mean, it's LA. There's there everywhere. But like, I sort of expected it to be downtown-y, a la NYC. Or if not, then at least more like the neighborhoods in Boston or SF or something. But...it isn't.

It's huge and it's everywhere and the "downtown" isn't any more LA than the non-downtown parts and you have to drive to get anywhere. And I mean, I knew everyone in LA drives but I didn't realize that is because you CANNOT walk because everything is FAR AWAY.

So even though I was there in LA, driving past the Hollywood sign and having a drink on Sunset Boulevard and tooling down Rodeo Drive and cruising through Beverly Hills and seeing Malibu and Anaheim and some of the other beachy spots, I still totally feel like I have no idea where LA is or what it looks like.

But here are highlights anyway! Plus with fuzzy and off-centered pictures with my broken camera!

Friday Morning

We arrive at Oakland Airport. It is a lot smaller than I expected and a lot podunk-ier, too. And because we took SuperShuttle, we arrived approximately 389 hours before our flight started boarding. So we had time to...well, to sit. Because there is nothing else to do at the Oakland airport.


Ish sitting. He is wearing a Lucky Brand shirt.
(I know what you were thinking.)


While sitting, I decided I wanted to buy some more coffee. So I looked in my bag to dig out some cash, whereupon we discovered the sad and very, very telling contents of Kiki's Bag.

"Do you have any cash?" Ish asked dubiously, since I never seem to have any on me. Not that I don't have access to any, it's just that I'm in a perma-state of "Oh, and I need to stop at the ATM."

"I DO!" I said, spying a dollar at the bottom of my bag. Except then I realized that the dollar was not so much an indicator of having cash as it was an indicator that I had a dollar.

"Do you think they would take payment in lip gloss?" I asked.

"What are you talking about?"

So I emptied my bag. Contents:

  • One (1) dollar


  • One (1) issue of Games magazine


  • One (1) almost-full notebook


  • My pink cell phone


  • Five (5) pens


  • Six (6) tubes of lip gloss


Am I a worldly and well prepared traveler or what?



The Flight

I had never taken Jet Blue before. I approve wholeheartedly of it, but there were a few things I found sort of problematic. Like how they boarded rows 1-5 first, then "everyone else." That seems somewhat un-plan-ful, but what do I know. My currency is lip gloss.

Also I didn't see that you are supposed to pick up your earphones before you get on the plane. That's just silly. People like me cannot be expected to notice a barrelful of earphones! We are too busy getting on a plane and rolling our eyes about how the stupid people in front of us clearly don't know how to travel to notice earphones.

So Ish was kind enough to take pity on me and give me his earphones after I'd insisted I didn't need them but then almost cried when I asked for some from the flight attendant who told me he would get to them "if he had time" and then forgot entirely.


The Rental Car

Turns out, the Long Beach Airport makes the Oakland Airport look regal. You know, no fancy above-ground tunnels to the airport gate. Instead like, you exit the plane and go down the stairs and walk the 12 feet to the "gate" which is kind of a lot like a cabana.

So with the fancy cabana airport, it's no wonder the car rental place is essentially a trailer. And you know, worked as efficiently as a car-rental-office-is-trailer place can, what with their dot matrix printers and all.

It took us almost an hour to get our car, despite that there were only two people in front of us and we had made a reservation about six weeks in advance. Not only that, but the car we'd reserved was "out." But that's what they do, those tricky car rental places. They lure you in with sweet deals for a Mustang* (*or similar) and then you ask the trailer people where the Mustang is and they snicker at you and say they are all out of Mustangs but here are the keys to a 2005 Pontiac.

"Or similar" my ass.



Ish waiting to get the keys to the Pontiac Or Similar.
The real reason I took this picture is because the manager on duty is named Charlie Beaver.
The sign you cannot read says so.


We hate the trailer people. But yay! We are in LA!


Friday Afternoon

Our first stop was seeing fellow blogger, Neil, in his neck of the woods.



Fuzzy picture from car! Hooray for the internets!


We had an awesome lunch at a beachy spot because even though San Francisco is also located on the Pacific Ocean, it's really cool to see LA-style beaches that look like all the tv shows.

See?



Also, there is a place called the "Poopdeck"...



...and since I was amused enough to take a picture of a sign with the name "Charlie Beaver" I couldn't pass up this opportunity because sometimes I am juvenile.

Anyway, lunch with Neil was so...I dunno, it was so cool. Neil is an amazing blogger -- kind of in a class by himself, really -- and it was amazing to get to meet him. It felt very "yay for modern technology perpetuating the simple art of writing." In a friendly way. Neil's just a good guy.

[Seriously, read his stuff if you haven't. It's how the pros do it.]

Friday Evening

We drove on down (up, actually) to Anaheim to meet up with my sister and her family (she was there for a convention).

Anyway, this was cool because it was the first time Ish got to meet any member of my family. We had dinner just outside DisneyLand, and adjourned afterwards to Healy and Brian's room to hang out and put Charlie to bed. There, I noted with delight that their room had bunk beds (BUNK BEDS! COOL!) and immediately climbed up onto the top bunk. Before calculating the logistics of having to somehow climb down later.

(And let me tell you, climing down a bunk bed ladder with my coordination and extra poundage and bourbon was incredibly challenging. Ish grabbed my camera and snapped a shot of me trying to figure out how to back down off a bed. It is not flattering. I did mean to post it, but my subconscious apparently left it on my old laptop and didn't upload it with the rest of the batch of photos. Oops.)


EVERYTHING ELSE

So um, starting with the missing photo, this is where my last entry ended. But certainly we did more things! Like um!

We spent most of Saturday visiting with Ish's former college roommate, Dave, who is married to Karen and has two adorable kids and two adorable dogs. They are a beautiful family. Dave is a surgeon. Karen is an attorney. They live in a gorgeous townhouse in a lovely and quaint neighborhood somehwere in the LA region (Geography? All one big mystery to me).

And I will tell you, the idea of meeting Beautiful Successful Established Couple who's known Ish since he was a teenager was a tiny bit intimidating. What with Ish's whole personal life being a bit in flux and me being, for all intents and purposes, some strange girl he's inexplicably taken to dating. Plus I have issues that are better not to address at all when first meeting people and I had more than a little anxiety about how the whole thing would go.

Oh, hi! Yeah, um, oh yes, yes, Ish and I are in some sort of a gray area and uh huh? Vascular surgery? Really! An attorney for that amazing company? Really? Yes! Oh, um, me? I uh, well, and then, um, have you heard of blogging...?

But it wasn't like that at all. They were great people, and Ish hadn't been around Dave for 5 minutes before the guitars were broken out and the singing began accompanied by a mini-Simpsons quote-a-thon.


The definition of chilling.

Plus, did I mention their dogs?




(Actually, I think it's probably worth noting -- despite that Dave and Karen's children were adorable and interesting and smart, and their daughter put on a dance show for us, I have no pictures of them. But I have about five of their dogs.)

Especially since one of them decided to jump into our 2006 Pontiac Or Similar as we were heading out:


Saturday night, then, we spent visiting with Ish's OTHER college roommate and HIS wife. Now, thankfully we'd already met them once (briefly, in San Francisco when they were visiting the area), because I think two of these meetings would have pushed me over the edge. Not that I am not confident in myself or anything, but just because they're good friends of Ish's, because our situation is undeniably sticky, and because G and J are also impressively successful folks. (G is an entrepreneur; J is in television and has written and produced things you've seen.)

And for all anyone knows, I'm cute but potentially morally bankrupt and youngish and divorced and with the blog.

But again, because -- and this should not ever surprise me -- Ish has great taste in people, and G and J were as delightful and cool and down to earth and laid back and smart as you could ever hope to find in another couple.



Here, at brunch.
G decides it's a good day to wear a cowboy hat no one knew he owned.


Summary

It was a whirlwind of a trip, and was way more about seeing friends and family than it was about seeing LA. Especially since I swear I never really saw it. We didn't do anything trendy or see anyone especially famous. I did get a kick out of the fact that the sky was gray most of the time, despite my understanding that "gray and cloudy" are not words one would ever normally use to describe LA.



"gray and cloudy"


I also enjoyed driving past Norwalk, California, since I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and had heard once or twice about the OTHER Norwalk and it always just seemed like it must be a fictitious, bizzaro-world version of my town.



And you know, it kinda was. Now I can say I have had breakfast at IHOP in TWO Norwalks.


Because right. I am most definitely a world-class traveler.


Ringo agrees. He thinks I should visit more often.

9 comments:

  1. General Eric Ken Shinseki

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  2. hey! you were in my old hood! i grew up in long beach. anyhoo, that airport is small, but at least you don't have to walk for miles to get from point a to point b. never dealt with rentals there, so can't offer any real consolation there.

    anaheim.....at one point, i lived in la habra, down beach blvd about a 1/2 hour away from disneyland. went 1 time during my stint there. i think that's like the 'local' thing.

    norwalk, ca is probably nothing like norwalk, ct. trust me on this one. i know i may catch some shit from any norwalk, ca residents, but it is sorta but not quite verging on ghetto. nuff said.

    redondo beach (as well as all the other ________ beach towns in that area) are pretty damn cool. and i laughed when i saw "POOPDECK". i, too, am juevenile.

    LA....a lot of times people use the term for the actual city of LA and all the immediate surrounding areas. i think it's a very "LA" thing to do. :)

    hey, what did ish's shirt say?

    keep up the great writing! i love reading!!

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  3. I'm gonna guess the shirt said..."Chuck Beaver Fan Club!"

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  4. Glad your meeting went well last week.

    Great to finally hear all about your trip to LA. I’ve lived here for almost three years and am still not sure exactly where LA is, so you are not alone. Long Beach airport, I’ve been there once because a visitor insisted on flying jet blue. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, except I live about 5 miles from LAX and going to Long Beach requires me getting on the 405, thus adding an extra day of travel time.

    Those doggies are sooooo cute!

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  5. I think LA is more a state of mind than a geographic location. ("la la la la... doo doo doo... la la la" seems to be a common mental process, at least on the freeways...)

    I'd just like to point out that Ish's friend, G, is wearing my hat. I have proof: http://www.jestertunes.com/zenphoto/jester/P1010715_1_1.JPG

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  6. Wow! You are much better at journaling than me. My travel stories go something like this - "Oh, it was fun. We did a whole bunch of stuff. Can't really remember what though..."

    Now I have to go to LA and to all the same spots just to see if I remember them the same way.

    Those dogs are adorable!

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  7. visited la for the first time 2 years ago and ditto on pretty much all you said. found the whole "hour to get anywhere" thing quite literal and very weird.

    also...i just checked the contents of my bag (as i sit here in my office) and i have 5 tubes of lip gloss (2 are empty - but you know you dont want to forget what color they were, cause, well, they looked good and all, so you carry around empties), sunglasses, a hair clip, cell phone and a wallet with exactly $1 in it! for reals y'all - yeah i can't carry the southern thing (ny through and through)

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  8. Sweet trip roundup. I'm sending this to my wife; she's being forced to commute to LA for a business meeting later this month. (is she thrilled? Um, no.)

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  9. Hehehe...poopdeck...Hey, being sort of from my area - have you ever been to Bunghole Liquors in Salem, MA? I used to have a corkscrew from there that said "I got mine in the Bunghole" :O :)

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