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Month: September 2004



Friday after work I went to straight to Amy’s house. We went to the Los Angeles County fair. It was a lot like the Ohio State fair, except bigger. She bought tickets to see Live a few days before. It was a little weird because they ended up performing on a horse racing track. Our seats turned out to be pretty good though, not too far from the stage. The band played four or five songs off of Throwing Copper, two or three from Secret Samadi, one or two from Mental Jewelry, a few (that I recognized from radio play) from their new album, and some extras that must have come out on the albums in between. It was good that the majority of the songs were older, otherwise I would not have been familiar with them. They played well, Ed sang well (albeit dancing around like a member of the village people). The lead guitar player had a collection of some nice guitars. I saw a sunburst Les Paul, a flame burst Les Paul, a grey strat (like Clapton), and a sonic blue jazzmaster (although it could have been a jaguar…I couldn’t tell from our distance). I also saw that the cooler at the back of the stage used to keep the band’s drinks was ….MY COOLER!! The same blue and white combo that mom bought for me before I moved-and did double duty as a couch these past few weeks. The band’s music was together, but their clothing choices were all very disjointed. Ed thought he was either Maynard or the cowboy from the village people depending on the mood of the song. The lead guitarist wore a suit and thought he was in Cheap Trick. The rythym guitarist thought he was in (put any lame pop band that wears “cool” t-shirts and jeans’ name here). The bassist had flannel, ripped jeans, long scraggly hair, and a beard…he must have thought his singer was Ed Vedder, not Ed Kowalczyk. All in all it was a good show. I thought Amy wasn’t into it at first, then she told me during the wait before the encore that she had been needing to go to the bathroom for the past hour.

This morning I went to that little armenian fruit market again…I’m still amazed at that place. Red bell peppers for 59 cents a pound…that is per pound…not each! They also had a really fresh selection of dried fruits, peaches, and tomatos.

Short update today because I’m so busy.

Short update today because I’m so busy.

I went on three interviews last week, and another on Monday. The first interview was at Roman’s Café on Ventura Blvd. The job didn’t pan out, but I had my first celebrity sighting while I was there. I saw Harland Williams ( eating lunch and reading the paper. He seemed very disappointed after awhile that nobody made a big deal or recognized him. I personally can’t stand his stand-up routine, and his movies are even worse.

On Thursday I went to Las Vegas with Amy. We spent a few days there. I only ended up going to the Venetian though because it was raining. Overall I wasn’t really impressed. Television makes Vegas look like a giant wonderland…but it is really just one street, and then housing for the surrounding miles, and as soon as you get over the hill outside of town, you get nothing but desert for hundreds of miles (not counting the “town” of Jean, Baker, Barstow, etc.). The place might be nice to go to and spend a bunch of money and live like royalty, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I found out gambling isn’t really that fun either. The hotel gave us $20 free to gamble with…we both agreed that the slots were boring.

On Monday I interviewed with Ethos Design in Glendale. After waiting two hours (yes you heard right ladies and gentlemen), I finally got interviewed by the owner (?) of the company. He seemed very angry for some reason and kept asking me pointless questions that I couldn’t answer like “tell me what you could do for us” (before anybody explained to me what the company does) and “what production assistant skills do you have” (that term varies in meaning from company to company). The “interview” lasted about two minutes. After giving (and getting) the worst interview of my life, the man said “ok, well, how about we start you off at 20 hours a week and go from there. Come in Wednesday at 10.” So, I had a job. So, I bought professional clothes. So, I get a voicemail from Aaron around 8pm saying that the secretary at Ethos called and said they decided to go with someone else for the position. Very Very unethical. Before buying the clothing I went and got a smog check. “Thng” checked my car and said I passed everything but the computer link up. He said he would make a deal and only charge me $20 to have it tested again after I got my car fixed. I had another idea.. After getting back to Amy’s house (I was visiting with her that day) I looked up some information on the internet. It turns out that all new Mazda’s (and many other makes and models) are not supposed to connect to the “OBDII” computer system and can bypass the test. I got that information from the official DMV website. The site also said that all smog check technicians were responsible for knowing that information. So, I had caught “Thng” red handed.

The next day I went back to the smog check place with Amy (it was by her house) and demanded that he give me my smog certification and not charge me twice. He agreed. While he was doing the computer work-around, I received a call from a company I interviewed with on Wednesday last week. They offered me a job. I took it. I then had to go out and buy even more clothing because this job requires a button down shirt/ tie/ dress shoes. All in all, I ended up spending $250 on clothes in two days.

I started work today and worked for 9 hours. My morning commute was about 40 minutes, and my evening 30. I think I can reduce both of them by changing my hours. The company is a little flexible about when I come in as long as I get in 8 hours a day. My supervisor seems nice; in fact everybody there seems nice. I’m getting paid more than at my previous job, and once I’m off new-hire probation I’ll be eligible for some benefits. The job is on Wilshire Blvd, the heart of downtown Los Angeles…well…more like across the street from downtown. Oh…and the company serves free breakfast every day.

As Elvis Costello says: “Welcome to the workin’ week”

two day

two day

Friday I spent another wonderful morning at the DMV. I had my oil changed Thursday night and Amy had told me to get a smog check. I wasn’t able to get my plates on Friday because I didn’t get the smog check done. I should really start listening when Amy tells me things…this has to be the 8th time I’ve ignored her advice and felt stupid for it later. I made an appointment at the DMV this time (for next time) so I don’t have to wait three hours again.

Friday night Amy and I went to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. We ate dinner at a Greek place on the sidewalk and discovered that she was allergic to every single soup that they had (we both ordered the “gyro and soup special”). Then we went out onto the pier. It was sort of like New Jersey’s Coney Island with little rollercoasters and ferris wheels right there on the pier. The best part though was going out on the lower (further out) deck of the end of the pier to watch the sun set. This is the only benefit I’ve seen of having smog around, it doesn’t hurt your eyes to look directly into the sun and watch it go down. Eventually it disappeared in the hills north of Venice Beach. The Pacific water seems much greener than the Atlantic.

The plan for this morning was that I would meet Amy at her Honda dealership (she had here 30k mile check-up) and we’d go to National Sports Bar (or something like that) to watch the OSU game because it is only on “ESPN Regional Plus”…which only satellite users get. Well, we got to the place about fifteen minutes before the game started and found out the place had closed down a long time ago. Then we proceeded to “Clancy’s Sports Bar” across town. A woman on the phone at Clancy’s had assured me the night before that they would be showing the OSU game. Clancy’s had a sign that said they didn’t open till 10am. We decided to try this chain sports bar in Pasadena called Moose McGillidullicuddywhatevers because it was on this:

Apparently whoever maintains that site is full of it, because the Moose place didn’t open till 11:30. So, needless to say, I missed (ALL OF) an OSU game for the first time in a long time, or perhaps…ever. We went back to my apartment so Amy could watch the US Open, and I could try to find the game broadcast online. It wasn’t (for free), but after much hassle I did find a radio station broadcasting (the audio feed of) it.

After lunch we went over to Amy’s mother’s house and I washed 3000 miles of dirt and grease and bugs and bird shit and nastiness off of my car. We stayed there for dinner, and then went out to an Asian restaurant called Maxim with Amy’s friend Marie, and her brother (also named) Andrew. The place was ok; we were all pretty full so we just got drinks. I had a Lychee shaved ice drink that was pretty good.

I’m starting to learn the freeways and learn how to get around out here now.

By the way, here is where Byron and I had dinner a week ago:

I had the El Rancho Special

12 days

12 days

On Sunday August 22nd I went over to my Aunt Esther’s house for a final visit before moving. My Cousin Denise’s daughters were there. I haven’t seen those girls in about ten years, and they are both in high school now so it was quite a shock. We went and picked up my Aunt Alice who lived not too far away. They took me to O’Charley’s for dinner. Alice and I had a lively conversation about politics (she has a Bush 04 bumper sticker). After we dropped off Alice, Esther showed me Denise’s store in downtown Pickerington. When I got back to my apartment the moving guy/s showed up and asked what time I wanted to pack my stuff on Monday. I told them nine a.m. and they left. Then, fifteen minutes later they came back and asked if we could pack the stuff Sunday night. I was caught a little off guard, but most of my things were packed and ready to go, so I said sure.

There was one problem though. I had to western union them the money for their services two weeks before that…and apparently nobody at the company went and picked it up. The woman I talked to on the phone initially two weeks ago had given me a misspelling of the person’s name who was to pick it up too… So I would have to keep calling the moving company and western union back and forth for the next four days. Very big hassle considering western unioning the money costs $41 and if the company would just take credit cards it wouldn’t have cost me anything..

Monday morning I got up early, dragged my old futon mattress to the curb and started packing up my car. I finally finished packing/cleaning around noon and headed to Marietta. I wasn’t able to meet up with Brian that day, but we hung out Tuesday.

Wednesday morning at 9:15 mom and I were on our way to Charleston West Virginia. From there we would go on through Kentucky and Tennessee before getting a hotel room in West Memphis. We ate dinner at an Outback in Nashville. I was not impressed. The burger was so-so, but the bloomin’ onion wasn’t good. The fried part was all dark brown and crusty, not tan and crunchy like in the ads. When we got to Memphis we tried to visit Graceland, but it was closed, so all we could do is make a turn around in the parking lot.

On Thursday we went through Arkansas, the most god-awful state I’ve ever seen. The state is so poor that their highways don’t even have signs with mileage to the next town. They do grow a lot of rice there apparently. I had never seen completely flat rice paddies before. We hit Texas around 12:45 and had 535 miles to go to get to Houston. My cousin Ann lives in Woodlands which is a suburb of Houston. We got to her place around six and went out to eat at a Ramano’s Macaroni Grill. I had never eaten at one before (even though they are in Ohio) and I was impressed. We left Ann’s condo around 11pm and headed to a very ghetto hotel in the bad shopping area just outside Houston. Think Morse road where the white castle is, that is what this place looked like. When we first got into the hotel room, I went to the bathroom. I saw a roach, killed it, and flushed it. Then I got out of the bathroom and discovered mom had spotted one on the wall above a bed. We got a different room. We didn’t see any bugs in the second room…but who knows…

Friday we zipped over to Byron’s house, about a three hour drive from Houston. Friday night Byron and I went to Red Robin to eat. I’d never been there before. It is good, but a little pricey I think. After that we spent a few hours trying to find places with free wireless internet (turns out starbucks makes you subscribe to a service). We were unsuccessful. We caught a late showing of AVP and then played some fighting games on the PS2 before retiring.

Saturday we spent the morning and early afternoon boxing stuff up at Byron’s old apartment while mom went shopping. Saturday night Byron and I headed off to a Mexican restaurant in downtown San Antonio. It was very authentic, lots of decorations, mariachi guys walking around playing and singing, all that good stuff. The food was very good, but not as good as El Vaquero. After that we took a cab to the River Walk mall. We walked to the Alamo, and then got margaritas at one of the little restaurants on River Walk. It was good to see Byron again and reminisce about old times. Originally I had wanted to spend more time in San Antonio, but I realized I had a lot more work to do once I would get to Los Angeles than I thought, so we left Sunday.

Sunday morning we left around 8:30. We started the day in central time, and crossed over to mountain before the end of the day. I drove the entire day minus rest stops, gas, and eating subway for dinner at a truck stop. The day started off horribly though because I got a speeding ticket less than two hours into the drive. We stayed on the 10 freeway for the entire trip after Houston, and everyone was passing me. So, I sped up to 85 (in a 75). As soon as I did a trooper came up behind me. He sped up and went around me. That made me think I was safe at 85, so I put the cruise on. A little while later, an unmarked (no badges, lights, etc.) sheriff saw me coming the opposite direction and cut through the median (full of Texas cactus and other nasty things) to pull me over. Unlike Ohio (and a lot of other places) in Texas, the fine amounts start at $110 and increase in $15 increments with every 5 MPH over the limit. So…a few minutes of 85 MPH driving cost me $125…and unbelievable contempt for the trucks that would pass me up later as I already going the speed limit. Originally we had planned on making it to El Paso by Sunday night. After looking at the map though, I realized we needed to get more miles under our belt if we were going to make good time on the second day. So, I decided we’d shoot for Tucson. When we reached Benson I decided we would plow through Tucson and head all the way to Phoenix. We got to phoenix around 11pm central time. So, not counting stops, I drove about 15 hours that day.

Monday we headed out for Los Angeles. We stopped in West Covina to visit Amy around 3. Once we got to the apartment that was only the beginning of what we had to do. We would spend the next two days trying to get a fridge (the apartment didn’t come with one) and trying to pick up my bed.

Tuesday. The fridge was found at Lowe’s. It ended up being only a little smaller version of the one that I had in Columbus. Mom also bought me a nice fan for my room since it doesn’t have central air. I had stayed at Amy’s house the night before because by the time we got back from (unsuccessful) fridge shopping she was too tired to drive back. Tuesday night I also stayed at her house because we borrowed her friend Marie’s van after mom and I ate dinner at Amy’s and I was too stupid to take the apartment key off of my key ring when I left mom and my car ( and keys) at Amy’s. Mom was just going to be picked up later after we returned Marie’s van, and then I would drive us back to North Hollywood. Since I forgot my keys (and Aaron was going to be at work until 10:30) mom had to drive over by herself. She made it to my street and then missed the apartment. Then she somehow managed to flip some switches and deactivate my horn and alarm. I left her at my apartment and took the van back to Covina with Amy and then slept at her house. I left very angry with mom and I carried the anger with me the next day I think.

Wednesday we dropped mom off at LAX. After she had gone I felt bad about the way I acted the night before. I know she means well and she has helped me a lot, but that kind of a trip would probably have been better as a father-son kind of thing. I realize though that this sort of move would have been 100% harder without the support I’ve had over the years from my parents. Maybe I wouldn’t travel well with anyone under those circumstances though; it was very stressful driving more than I ever had in my life. Mom offered to drive some of the way, but I wanted to do it myself just so I could say I had done it. Amy also helped me some by trying to find an apartment for me before the thing with Aaron came though by finding a bed and putting down the deposit, finding a van to transport the bed, and making me feel at home in a place that initially seem very inhospitable and unforgiving. In the afternoon Amy and I set out to get groceries at the Panorama City Wal-Mart. It turned out to be the most ghetto Wal-Mart I’ve ever seen. They had no produce, so I got all the dry foods there. Then we went to Food 4 Less and they had produce but it was horrible so I didn’t buy any. I feel bad about taking Amy to such horrible places, she had tried to warn me before that it was a ghetto area, but she has high standards so I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. It was.

Thursday (today) I went with Mr. Machine to the Van Nuys DMV office. It was about twenty minutes away. Once I got there they told me that I couldn’t get my California license without showing them my passport. ….so I had to drive all the way back to the apartment and get my passport. I had an appointment for 10am, but since I had to leave, they dropped it, and I ended up spending about two hours at the DMV once I got back. I had to take a written test and cross my fingers (we don’t have green curbs or bicycle lanes in Ohio). I probably wouldn’t have passed it if Amy hadn’t copied her test from her and her brothers’ renewals for me. I put five foot eight as my height on the license and Mr. Machine gave me endless shit about it because he thought I was taller. Then, right at the exit (conveniently placed, huh?) we found a height scale. Mr. Machine is 6 foot 2 and he measured me in at just under 5 foot 10 with my shoes on…so I suppose I’m at least 5 foot 9 without shoes. I’ve been underestimating myself.

After lunch we went to Burbank again so Mr. Machine could buy a pot to cook pasta. Then we went to this little Armenian grocery store only a short drive from our apartment. The prices there were crazy. I’ll never go to Wal-Mart for produce again. They had big green peppers for 79 cents a pound… I got three huge grapefruits, three medium size green apples, a green pepper, and a yellow pepper for $3.02. Now that’s a deal! They also had fruits I’ve never even seen before. They had a big bucket of dried cranberries too, for $4.70 a pound. I know Amy will be excited about that one. They also had the “Asian pears” that she likes. All of it fresh.

I broke the 10k mile marker on my car somewhere around Arizona and the car desperately needs an oil change and washing. I’m going to take it to the Jiffy Lube after dinner. It is awesome having everything I need so close. Burbank is right down the road and they have just about everything you could ask for, although US Bank seems to be scarce in this area. We drove down to the closest one in West Hollywood Tuesday and it took an hour to go 8 miles and back. That made mom and me fifteen minutes late to Amy’s house, so even worse.

Tomorrow should be fun; I have to go to the DMV and try to get new registration/plates. It will probably ring in at a few hundred dollars. I spent about $250 on gas driving over here, which is accurate with my estimate. All in all, with gas, bedding, deposit, moving company, DMV, etc. I’ve spent about two grand on this move. Now it is time to get a job before my savings runs out! I found out my cell phone gets no reception in my apartment so that might make finding a job a little more difficult, but if I can get an interview at least I can GO now!

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Oh, and check this out: