Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 45: Holiday from the real

On Thursday during the day I was on a mission do get some work done, and do some old fashion 'sploring of the area around Toluca Lake/North Hollywood/Burbank. I drove around for half an hour or so looking for some breakfast; I was hoping for a bagel shop. No such luck (I ended up at one of the many Starbucks in the area). After pretending to look important with my laptop reading Slashdot for about an hour, I didn't feel like I could justify taking up their space anymore (I had only bought a muffin or something), so my mission continued. Laura had provided me with directions to the local Burbank Public Library, which I followed more or less (meaning I missed the intersection the first two or three times I drove by it, but found it eventually).

Not pictured: my eyes burning from cutting
up chilies.
The library was amazingly productive. I spent a good couple of hours working and blogging, only interrupted for an hour or so for me to hit up In-n-Out for lunch and read the LA Times.

I met Laura back at her apartment after work, where we planned the evenings itinerary of debauchery. First, dinner; we hit up a Thai grocery store and Ralph's for some ingredients, Twinkies, and Tequila. The plan was to cook up some fried chicken and rice with chili pepper infused soy sauce. The Twinkies were bought on a whim; with the oil ready to fry the chicken we thought "Hey, why not try and deep fry a Twinkie or two before we much it up with chicken and batter! It has always sounded like a delicious and absolutely not a nutritious treat!" As the oil came up to temperature, I looked up the actual Twinkie frying recipe on Laura's phone. Reading Wikipedia, I realized the consequences we would unleash were we to continue our plan of just dropping the Twinkies in hot oil.

"STOP! This will be a horrible error!!" I yelled.

Apparently, to properly deep fry a Twinkie, you must first freeze them for at least a day, then batter them in some sort of egg based batter. Otherwise, the cream filling will melt and the whole thing will fall apart in a gooey, bready mess. We were not prepared.

Chicken and rice were sufficient, in the end, with normal slightly cold Twinkies for dessert.

We now had been fueled for the main event: a night at a karaoke room. Now, for those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a karaoke room, like I was, let me elaborate. A karaoke room is an establishment which is really just a collection of rooms (this one had about 10 or so probably), each one has its own TV, karaoke machine, pair of microphones, pair of tambourines, and apparently sometimes a fog machine.

"This is just a tribute"
We met up with Laura's friend Pam, her sister Jenny, and Jenny's boyfriend, who I had been led to believe hated everyone and was extremely infatuated with Jenny. This turned out to be not entirely true, the guy was actually pretty nice; although for most of the evening the rest of us were just background to the couple as he swooned over her, implicitly dedicating every song he, or anyone else for that matter, sang. He did kind of look like a member of the Aryan nation, though, and he completely threw me off everytime I sang with him. Not that I am any kind of an amazing singer or can even keep a pitch, but come on, give me something to work with.

For four hours, we sang our hearts (and voices) out. Rest assured I sang the crap out of the likes of Tenacious D, Radiohead, 80's butt rock, and many R&B/pop songs that I don't actually know. However, don't assume that this is some sort of indication of future forays into the world of karaoke...

Friday rolled around, and the day itself was much like Thursday; Starbucks for breakfast and the library to pretend to work.

For dinner that night, Laura and I went to Pam's mom's Thai restaurant. Needless to say, it was fantastic; Thai Orchid eat your heart out. After stuffing ourselves, we hung around drinking the free-refills of Thai ice tea while waiting to be able to move again.

We finally got moving again after a good hour at least, heading to a bar called Bar One to meet up with some ex-coworkers for drinks. The bar was a neat hole in the wall kind of place, specializing more in wine than beer but still having a fairly decent selection of brews. There was a live DJ, although we didn't really notice the fact that it wasn't just a jukebox until actually seeing him (in other words, not so impressive).

The last stop for the night was a birthday party for Laura's roommate's boyfriend. So I don't have to type that ridiculous identifier anymore, here is a reference list of names to people so I can just use names.

LauraMy friend from Santa Cruz
DreLaura's roommate
AaronDre's boyfriend, the birthday boy
ChadFriend of Aaron's. His real name wasn't Chad, but thats what everyone called him. I think it was Dan.
RenaldoAnother friend of Aaron's. May or may not have eaten some soup when he wasn't supposed to.
JoeThe last friend of Aaron's, his real name isn't Joe but for the life of me I can't remember now what it was. Sorry Joe.

The birthday party was quite fun, filled with some Santa Cruz beer (almost all of us there had gone to UC Santa Cruz), sopa, funfetti cake (which Dre had made the night before while we were cooking dinner; it took all of our will power not to eat it in its entirety when Dre left), and a game of Taboo. I was on Aaron and Joe's team, with Laura, Dre, and Chad on the other; I think Renaldo had passed out on the floor by this time. Taboo, apparently, is not Aaron's strength, a fact I found out while playing and which was later confirmed by Laura later with an amazing anecdote. We lost, but not badly.

Interesting side story: It seems the guys living in this house (Aaron, Joe, and another who wasn't present) either don't believe in washing their hands after using the bathroom, or they don't believe in using towels for this purpose. Despite which it is, I found myself with wet hands and nothing to dry them on while there. Looking around I realized I had three viable options.
  1. Use my own clothes, a popular trick among males but one not taken to lightly
  2. Use the shower curtain, it seemed to be made out of some kind of cotton product; should be absorbant enough
  3. Use the floor mat, I'm not sure why I thought this might be a viable option

I ended up deciding on option 2.

We eventually ended up back at Laura and Dre's studio around 4 am. Saturday morning came, and went; we arose around noon. That day we had to head out to Santa Monica to pick up Meghan, then down to Redondo Beach to meet Scott for lunch.

We arrived in Santa Monica and quickly found absolutely no place to park. Meghan was having tea with her boss, but said she'd be good to go when we got there. Circling the block, Laura dropped me off in front of the Tudor House, instructing me to be charming to Meghan's boss, flashing my biggest smile, and then retrieve Meghan. I walked in what turned out to be a side door, and stood for a good couple of minutes looking around. I must have looked quite the creep, bearded and scruffy, scoping out the scene. I finally spotted Meghan chatting with her boss. For some reason, it seemed to me that the conversation looked quite important and uninterruptable, so after fidgeting for a few minutes hoping to catch her eye, I just kind of wandered back out. This made for a humorous story the rest of the day.

Luckily they finished soon and departed of their own accord, and we were able to pick up Meghan and book it down the coast to Redondo Beach.

The spines were still moving...
The three of us met up with Scott who was already waiting there (sorry Scott), and headed down the pier to the fresh fish market. This place was amazing; every kind of shellfish, fish, and even strange edible sea creatures you could imagine were ready to be bought and cooked (most were still alive). I was strongly advised to get the crab, as the experience was pretty phenomenal, not to mention the taste. Laura and Meghan split a smaller crab, Scott was more adventurous and purchased a sea urchin, and we all shared about three dozen oysters.

Now, I have never been one for shellfish, or really sea food in general. I had certainly never had freshly steamed dungeness crab which not 30 minutes ago had been alive and kicking. Setting my thoughts and preconceived biases aside, I dug in; tearing limbs and claws from the de-shelled body (I received helpful advice from Laura and Meghan on the proper techniques, and Laura kindly ripped the things top shell off for me). My conclusion for crab: not too bad of a taste, extremely messy, not convinced it was worth the cost (well, maybe the first time for the experience as well).

Removing bits of crab and "ancient Chinese secret"
Scott had to head back to downtown LA to pick up a painting for Rachel, so he left us to finish off lunch. Also, to get the full Redondo Beach experience, I still had to do three more things: win a plate with a roster on it, win a mystery box, and eat a churro. We headed to the arcade that Scott had described as "very scary, I felt like I would get an STD from a child there", and played the easiest game to win prize tokens. In the end, we had enough for 13 plates and a mystery box. We purchased the box and went to get churros. These boxes are notorious for containing completely random crap, used or new. Previously, Meghan and Laura had received such prizes as used makeup, broken toys, trinkets with bits missing, and other such gems. Before opening, we registered our predictions about what ours would contain. After shaking the box, I guessed an article of clothing and a pencil sharpener. The actual contents:
  • A small fake Christmas wreath to hang in your car, complete with cigarette lighter power cord
  • A half bandana
  • A bottle of nail polish (seemingly unopened)
  • An American flag with suction cup to attach to a window
  • A bracelet with the name "Angie" on it
  • One of those wooden ducks you hang up and the wings spin in circles with the wind, except one of the wings was completely rusted and wouldn't spin.
  • Two plastic coasters
  • An unidentifiable round bottle
It was like Christmas in September. After finishing our churros, we headed back to the arcade to purchase the cock plates, then headed out. Back at Laura's, I packed my stuff, said goodbye to Laura and Meghan, and drove on over to my last LA destination: Upland, to stay for a few days with Scott and Rachel.

Back status: It hurts, I think I tweaked it this morning. Good thing I'm just going to be mostly driving today.
Miles: Somewhere around 12000.
Jack's Mannequin - Everything In Transit

1 comment:

g said...

fresh crab... mmmm tasty man.

i had dinner at a place called 'frickers' tonight... yeaah, not exactly fresh crab, ha.