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Entries in Santa Monica (6)

Saturday
May022009

Eat. Shower. Canada.


LA to UtahLocation: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Oh no… my plans have changed a lot. No, that is not a mistake, I am in Salt Lake City, Utah. How I got here though, is somewhat of a blur.

Dan mailed me around 6 to ask if I wanted to grab dinner at King’s Head with him and a couple buddies from the hostel. I hadn’t eaten so of course I agreed and headed that way. By the time I got there, they had already eaten and were ready for beer, which was even more to my taste, so we left King’s Head and walked over to the Promenade to Barney’s Beanery (yup – my #2 spot to take surfers… I know, I’m boring). At this point, it was Dan (the Aussie), Mark (a guy in Dan’s room from Scotland who is in his 18th or so month of traveling after quitting his job and just leaving town) and Max (a German vegetarian who doesn’t drink – yes that does exist). The pool tables were occupied when we got there, so we headed for the shuffleboard – which none of them had played before. After losing miserably at shuffleboard (partnered with Dan – I’ll blame it on him) and then playing probably the worst game of pool I have ever played (again… Dan appears to be bad luck), we dropped off Max back at the hostel and I drove us over to Main Street to Finn McCool’s. So much for asleep by 9…

There was a great band playing at Finn’s. It was a cute little punky looking girl accompanied by a guitarist and a drummer/bongo-er who covered some really unique songs not usually sung by a girl or in an acoustic setting (love her style… oh wait, ya that’s what I like to do too). We had a couple beers (Corona for some reason) and started chatting about next steps. Dan was scheduled to leave at around 7:30 AM for Calgary out of LAX and we schemed about how he was going to get to the airport, and Mark decided he couldn’t take LA for much longer and needed to get to San Fran. Both boys were headed out in the morning.

Next thing I know, my hand is laying on top of Dan’s and Mark’s on the bar and someone is saying “alright, let’s make a pact… we’re actually going to do this… k?” Oh wait… that was me saying that. We pact and then throw our hands in the air in celebration before ordering another beer and contemplating the decision we just made.

After determining that Dan would have to catch the earliest bus possible to the airport and if he missed it he would be late for his flight and Mark casually asking if I would drive him to San Fran instead of having to take the wretched greyhound, It was suggested that Dan skip his flight and Mark and I drive him up to Panorama, Canada instead. Huh? How did that happen… “Do you have any friends that may want to come along as well?” Mark asked… actually… I thought… I do. I joke to Dan and show him the incredibly simple text message I’ve drafted… I guarantee this guy’s response will just be… Yes. So I texted Brian:

12:30 AM (Abbey): Hey, roadtrip to Canada tm? I’ll pick you up at 11… you in?
12:35 AM (Brian): Uhh… ok, sounds good. Seriously good timing.

So we swung by the hostel, grabbed their packs and headed back to the APT. We set our alarms for 7 and passed out. When I woke up at 7, I remember kind of wondering why I was getting up so early on a Thursday (generally a work from home day for me) and then realized that there were two men sleeping in my house. Oh wow… what am I doing? But I can’t back out now, Dan already missed his flight. Shower it is and pack. Once the boys woke up, I tasked them to pack as much of the heavy furniture as they could into my car. While they worked on that, I made a couple calls, got myself ready for the long trip ahead and packed up some weekend clothes.

We got on the road by about 8:45 and headed down to Long Beach. I dropped them and the furniture off at the new place in Belmont Heights and then we made a stop at the Port of Long Beach and Valero to do a little work and fill up the tank with some cheap gas. We still had to run back to SM to pick up the packs that we hadn’t loaded to cram as much furniture as we could into the car and so we decided to do a quick drive through Compton (I warned that it wasn’t going to be as exciting as what they were expecting, but we went anyway). “Alright guys,” I asked, “what’s the plan?”

Eat. Shower. Canada.

Simple enough. So we stopped on our first of many Macker’s trips (YES! Haven’t been around Aussie’s in too long… loving the déjà vu fast food abbreviations) and took quick showers back at the APT in SM. Naturally, it took us about 2 hours to get out of LA once we finally got on the road – traffic is something you can count on when you’re heading towards Vegas via the 15. And that’s just where we were headed.

We arrived in Vegas just before sunset and took a quick drive down the strip. Brian and I (who between the two of us average a trip to the Sin city every other week) point out the big sights, spit out some facts and then I drop the boys all off at the Bellagio to run in and play a quick game of Blackjack. We had a quiet (HA) dinner at the Hoffbrauhouse after this, which is a great off-strip German restaurant with somewhat reasonable prices and great beer. They also had a live band in Lederhosen with an accordion (love it!) and lots of drinking songs and “Prost!”-ing. Turns out our waitress is from central Arkansas and went to U of A so we had a nice long chat about life in the Ozarks and that was that. We were on the road again.

I was sad that we were going to be going through Zion in the dark because I really want to see this part of the world. Just when we crossed the Nevada/Arizona state line though, we realized the area was still going to be pretty amazing. We found ourselves driving down a road with huge walls jutting on either side of us. We pulled over to see what going on and found ourselves deep in a gorge. The perfect clear sky straight above with thousands of stars (can you find the Southern Cross… HA! I’m smarter than you think Mr. Kytic). We were dangerously parked right around a corner and Tay Tay bravely guarded us from massive semi’s rounding the corner just barely under tipping. We did a lot of yelling to hear our echoing voices and I think Mark attempted to take a couple pictures, but the beauty of this place was not in what you could see, which was minimal, but rather on how it felt. When there were no cars driving by, it was completely silent and the tranquility and emptiness of the moment was unrivaled. So much so, that my scardycat-ness set in quick and I felt this overwhelming need to get back in the car and lock the doors… *shiver*

On we went, stopping at the Utah border to take our 3rd state line picture. Utah was mostly dark so not a lot happened. The boys slept on and off for the next couple hours and we passed by quite a few Mormon temples and not much else. The sun started to rise as we passed downtown Salt Lake City and so we found a place on the lake where we could sit on the beach and watch the sun come up. The lake was beautiful and we did confirm that it is wide enough that you cannot see to the other side (just like the great lakes!). We sat on the edge and observed nature do it’s thing. I may have tasted the salt water to see how salty it is (not at all) and we stopped to get some more fuel (for Tay and ourselves).

According to our GPS, we have 27 hours left, but we only had 23 to start with so that can’t be right. The trusty iPhone says 14 hours… so we’ll go with that.

Long Beach, CA --> Salt Lake City, UT
Miles travelled: 789
Time travelled: 22 hours

XOXO

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Now playing: No Doubt - Don't Speak
via FoxyTunes

Friday
May012009

A typical spring day in LaLa Land


The new digsLocation: Santa Monica, CA, USA

So I have officially begun moving into my new place down in Belmont Heights. I haven’t gotten much moved, just the first load of miscellaneous accessories, household items and decorations, but it’s a start nonetheless. I’m pretty excited about this place, it’s going to be so much more spacious than the place in Santa Monica, which I am looking forward to. I also got all of my utilities and cable set up and turned off at each respective house. All in all, things are looking positive!! The parking situation is a little iffy… there’s not really a lot of place to park around there, but it doesn’t seem like too busy of an area. We’ll see how it is for real once all the beach traffic starts showing up.

After I left BH last night I drove up to West Hollywood to meet up with Mary Sullivan who is the CEO and founder of MommyMixer. Now, those of you who live in Austin likely already know about this service, but for those who are not as familiar, here’s the scoop. As a sitter/nanny, you put together a resume with all of your kid watching experience and sign up for a “mixer.” As a mom/dad, you pay a fee and sign up for a mixer. At the mixer (which is usually hosted by some sort of boutique of children’s clothes or toys) all of the sitters get up and do a brief introduction of what they are looking for and where their experience has primarily been. Meanwhile, the moms listen and follow along with a resume book of everyone attending. After all of the introductions, moms and nannys mix together over lemonade and cookies and attempt to find the perfect mutual match. It’s the greatest way to find a nannying job and is primarily focused at college aged girls and middle/high income families.

Anyway, so Mary and I have been talking about expanding mommymixer into LA for a while now but just haven’t been able to get anything together. She hired a city coordinator who put on the first of hopefully many events to come in the area and I ran by to say hey. While there, I got a chance to throw some ideas out and hopefully I’ll be able to help her to establish a little more presence in the city. I know taking on ANOTHER thing doesn’t seem like a good idea right now, but this takes priority because I really feel like I owe her something for all of the great families I had a chance to work with when I was in Austin.

After I left Mary, I headed back to SM to pick up Dan who is a couchsurfer I unfortunately couldn’t host because of the move, but who I promised I’d go out for a beer with when he got to town. We headed to King’s Head (duh – where else do I take my surfers) and one beer accidentally turned into about 4. Needless to say, I’m not a big fan of Dan today because of this massive headache I am now plagued with. The company was great though, which is why the “one beer” limit disappeared relatively quickly. He’s going to be working up near Calgary at a place called Panorama in their golf club for the summer and then he’s going to try and get a job as a ski instructor come next season. I’m pretty jealous. Although I’ve never been to Panorama itself, I know the area around there and it has to be one of the most beautiful places in North America, so I can’t imagine it’s too bad of a gig. He’s stopping in LA for a couple days on his way from Sydney to Calgary. He flies out Friday morning so I think we’re going to try and grab another drink tonight. Since I got little to no packing done when I left him last night at about 4 AM (which ended with about a 2 hour drawing session at the front desk of the hostel on 2nd St and the acquisition of one stuffed koala), I don’t really have anything to unload out of my car, so I’ll probably be back before sunset and in bed by 9ish.

Work should be light today… Most of my clients are relatively light this week and I am definitely looking forward to this weekend when I can hopefully move the rest of the apartment and enjoy a much needed detox period. I’m thinking 12 hours of sleep a night and a lot of veggies… I’ve eaten enough queso in the past couple days to feed an entire Mexican village for a week.

XOXO

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Now playing: Mott the Hoople - All The Young Dudes
via FoxyTunes

Thursday
Feb262009

I'm over it... MEH!!


Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

So, I'm over the whole thing. It's really sad how it all turned out, but I'm pretty confident that the big dude knows what he's doing and has something better in store. Just hope he let's me in on the plan sometime soon.

In the mean time, I've applied for a couple part-time writing positions for various travel blogs/journals/magazines all over, and so hopefully, one of those will turn into something of value. Until then, I'm just going to keep traveling and keep working and see what turns up!

Thanks so much for all the support and love and prayers and please stick around and keep reading the blog!! I would love to gain a bigger and more global following, so if you like what you read, pass it on and hopefully we can get something real started :)

Alright... on to planning this Flogging Molly Chicago trip!! Any ideas?

XOXO

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Now playing: Flogging Molly - Between A Man And A Woman
via FoxyTunes

Thursday
Feb192009

Now the competition REALLY begins...


Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

Not a lot of time to chit chat or Jennifer will wring my neck. I spent all day yesterday filming (yay sunny day!) and then all night thinking that with Kyle and Alex's help, editing would be a breeze. But unfortunately, that was the understatement of the year. How come no one told me ahead of time that iMovie on iLife 08 does NOT have the little turtle/rabbit button? Literally, my life was ruined. I tried recording myself in a goto meeting, with screenfreez software. Finally... you want to know what I ended up doing to speed up the frames? I manually moused over them at a fast pace, while I literally recorded my computer screen with my video camera.

Absolute nightmare.

Anyway... the video is up! The application is SENT and accepted!! I am so excited and SO relieved to have this all taken care of. And now, I am off to schmooze the boss a little more before I head out of town for Las Vegas for Jennifer's b-day!!

Don't worry, there will be plenty of updates on all of the wonderfulness :)

XOXO

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Now playing: Johann Sebastian Bach - Hallelujah
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday
Feb172009

Oh the rain, keeps on comin' down


Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

Fate, is just not working with me this week. I bought the camera. It's beautiful. However... it's useless because...

IT'S RAINING!!

And who is going to want to come chit chat with me about some stupid trip to Australia in the pouring rain. Who even goes to the promenade/pier when it's raining? No one!

So... yet again... we're putting this off for another day.

XOXO

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Now playing: Cross Canadian Ragweed - Sick and Tired
via FoxyTunes

Saturday
Feb142009

And.... ACTION... wait... wait... no not yet


Location: Santa Monica, CA, USA

Well, I was SUPPOSED to start filming today. But... I am not. Reasons? Well... I have lost all three of my potential cameras. First one was lost to a job (I mean, c'mon... money? Sell-out). The second was lost to the forces of nature (now, I know camera's are not waterproof... didn't you learn that lesson as well?). And my final camera was lost to Africa... ok fine, that one is valid. So what do I do now?

Well.. I have an idea. I'm just going to buy one!! I mean... I have to do this video, right? and it's not going to happen easily, as I have found out. So I am just going to go to best buy this afternoon and buy a camera.

Plus, they have a 14 day return policy on electronics.

XOXO

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Now playing: Eagles - Life in the Fast Lane
via FoxyTunes