03
Apr 17

Los Angeles 2017: Eats and drinks

The only activities that rival visiting museums when I travel is trying new eats and drinks.

Porto’s Bakery and Cafe

On my first day, my brother and I had lunch at this popular Cuban place. And I do mean popular. It was maybe 11:30 when we got there and already a madhouse. However, the line moved quickly.

I had a milanese chicken sandwich, which was very tasty. We also got some pastries and potato balls to go, all of which were awesome.

Grand Central Market

I went to this food court three times. The first was with my brother on a weekday. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was expecting. I got a yummy sausage hash from Berlin Currywurst. I didn’t pay attention to the name of the place so I was surprised when the sauce tasted like Japanese curry.

The only thing I didn’t like was the way the guy seemed to try to trick people into getting fries. After I said yes, I realized it was $5 extra and changed my mind. Ditto with the guy behind me.

My brother got pupusas. Again, delicious.

The second time I went to Grand Central Market was with my buds. First we hit G&B Coffee where one friend had a cappuccino, another had a tumeric/ginger macadamia milk, and I had a almond macadamia latte. The milk was tasty but my latte was really good and strong.

Next was Eggslut (which, by the way, arrived in New York just days after we came back). The line was long but not insane. I got the sausage, egg, and cheese, which was amazing, and we shared a delectable biscuit.

My third time at Grand Central Market, we hit G&B Coffee and Eggslut again. I got the same things at both, and this time, since we got there at about 8:30, there was almost no line at Eggslut. My friend got the signature “slut,” a coddled egg on top of what is essentially mashed potatoes. It lived up to the hype.

At home

While eating out is fun, sometimes a home cooked meal hits the spot. So I was really happy when my sister-in-law made a lovely Korean dinner.

Not shown was a flavorful broth, chock full of umami. The next day I scarfed down the rest of the broth, plus most of the salmon.

Salt & Straw

If you’re wondering if I gained weight on this trip, unfortunately I did. Fortunately however I got to try the incredible ice cream from Salt & Straw. I had what they called the cinnamon roll, which pretty much tasted just like one in ice cream form.

Marvin

My mom was kind enough to treat my brother, sister-in-law, and me to a nice dinner. Our choice was this lovely French bistro. For an appetizer we had the jamon tomato toast, and for entrees my brother got the steak while my sister-in-law and I both got the rigatoni with Bolognese sauce. The food was really good but the service was weird. For some reason we had two waitresses. One was nice but the other was snotty. Otherwise, it was a nice dinner.

Normandie Club

After dinner at Marvin, we tried to go to karaoke. But everywhere was too expensive. So we got cocktails at this cool kind of retro bar. I can’t remember exactly what I had, except it had mezcal, tasted good, and got me pretty drunk, especially after the wine at dinner.

Angel City Brewery

While my friends and I were in the Arts District, we stopped here for a beer tasting, but not before trying on some angel wings.

We got a flight, of which I thought I’d have a sip of each, wince, and be done with it. But, surprise, surprise, I liked two of the beers, the ones on the right.

I can’t remember what they were, only that the dark one tasted of coffee and chocolate and the light one was a like a less briny pickle juice. In other words, neither tasted like beer.

Wurstküche

After hitting Angel City and another brewery, we came to this gourmet sausage place. The line went down the street, which told us the place was popular but I was wary about the wait. We took a chance and the line moved pretty quickly. I kept changing my mind. Hot Italian? Filipino maharlika? Straight-up kielbasa? I ended up choosing the chicken sausage with jalapeno and mango, and I didn’t regret it.

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

The home of the cruffin, part croissant, part muffin. One of my friends said they usually sell out of the cruffins by noon. We were there around 10 and there were cruffins galore! I got three (for myself, my brother, and sister-in-law since I was going to their place later that day) and a couple of donuts. My brother and I split a cruffin. Not only was it all muffiny and croissanty, there was a delicious filling. It reminded of me that amazing blueberry muffin I had in Barcelona at the Catalonian art museum.

Stout

We spent part of a day in Santa Monica, which was fairly easy to get to. We hopped on an express bus that took about an hour and cost only $2.75.

After battling the wind on the beach, we came here for their early bird special: everything on the menu half off between five and six. I got the Stout Burger “skinny style,” meaning no bun, just greens. The burger and toppings were really good, but the greens were drenched in some kind of lemon dressing, which was way too much for my sensitive teeth. If I ever go back, I won’t do the skinny, or will ask for the dressing on the side.

The Misfit Bar

Next was happy hour. At first we decided against this bar because it was so crowded. We walked a little but then realized the other bars were far away. Plus my friend said the Misfit had “the best happy hour in Santa Monica.” When we returned, a few seats had opened up. I had a cocktail called the Jumping Jack Flash (Old Forester bourbon, Cocchi vermouth, ginger, and mint) which got me good and tipsy.

Beards are still apparently a big thing in Santa Monica and L.A.: all the Misfit bartenders had them, as well as random guys in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, back in New York, I feel like they’ve peaked and are fading out.

Nanbankan

For my last night, my brother and sister-in-law took me to this yakitori place. Like everything I ate in L.A., it was delicious. My favorites were the tsukune, or chicken meatballs, the pork sausage, and the okra.

Want more L.A.? Check out my earlier posts on museums and other random activities.


02
Apr 17

Los Angeles 2017: Little Tokyo, Arts District, Griffith Observatory

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to head out to L.A. for a last minute trip and, although it might be hard to believe, didn’t spend all my time at museums.

Hiking

There was a trail not far from my brother and sister-in-law’s place. It felt good to walk, talk, and be close to nature. We also saw some cute ducks.

Little Tokyo

My friend and I stayed in this part of town, in fact right across the street from the ramen place my brother and sister-in-law went to a few years ago. Our hotel was pretty nice. Not too expensive, simple, and clean.

Our other friend, who is an excellent concierge-on-the-go, mapped out several places we could visit, including Fugetsu-Do, a mochi shop which has been open since 1903; a bakery where I picked up a cheese croissant and coffee roll for breakfast; Daiso, a kind of dollar store, where I got a beauty mask for fun; and the supermarket next door, where I got a blueberry cream cheese sesame bun.

The verdict on all those buns? My favorite was the blueberry cream cheese sesame, second the cheese croissant, and last the coffee bun, which was pretty boring.

Arts District

This was a fun part of town with lots of cool graffiti. A few highlights.

Disney Concert Hall

We came here not for a show but to check out the cool architecture as designed by Frank Gehry:

We went inside and there turned out to be a free audio tour, as narrated by John Lithgow. It was pretty interesting. Disney’s widow was very involved with the design. In the rooftop garden is a sculpture inspired by her love of roses and Delftware.

Griffith Observatory

We rushed out here via Uber about an hour before it closed. But that turned out to be plenty of time. We peeked through a couple of telescopes and saw one star which I can’t remember and the a double star in Orion’s belt. We also had a lovely view of the city. Inside a whole mob of people were waiting for the Tesla coil to do its thing. Later my friend explained there’s a scene in La La Land involving that.

Our Uber driver had warned us it would take a year for us to get another Uber out there to take us home so he generously offered to turn off his app and wait. Not too big of a deal since we only took about half an hour. Either way it was wonderful to have a car waiting for us to take us back to our hotel.

Escape room

It was my first time doing this and I had loads of fun with my brother and sister-in-law. At first I was like, “This is so hard!” and couldn’t figure anything out. But the clues helped. Eventually I was able to figure out a couple of things, one of which I kept wondering, “Is this real? Am I making up this pattern?” But when I finished a key fell out of the thing I had been messing with. I was so excited I jumped up and down. In the end we were able to accomplish the goal — in our case, breaking into a safe to steal diamonds — in time.

Next up: eating and drinking my way through L.A.


01
Apr 17

Los Angeles 2017: Museums

Getty Museum

Early last month I decided to take a last minute trip to L.A. One friend was going for business while another was going for fun. Plus my brother said it was good timing for him and his wife. On top of all that, I managed to find a cheap flight.

As on all my trips, I saw a buttload of museums.

The Broad

A newly opened contemporary art museum and already booked months in advance. But my brother knew about its standby line, in which you show up, wait in line, and hope you can get in.

We got there about half an hour before it opened, and the line already went down the block. However, the museum workers did a good job of letting us know how long the wait would be. They said an hour, and that’s exactly what it was. It also helped that it was beautiful out.

The space and art were fun. Lots of Jeff Koons, Jackson Pollock, and other ones I can’t name. :P I wanted to see the Infinity Mirrored Room, but there was a waiting list. Not only that, there was a line for the list. I would definitely go back.

Japanese American National Museum

I had mentioned wanting to see the George Takei exhibit. Turns out it was walking distance from the Broad so off we went.

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I really enjoyed it. I was surprised to learn it was curated by Jeff Yang. Surprised because you don’t usually see writers curating museum exhibits. That may be part of the reason I liked it. It told a cohesive story, taking highlights from Takei’s life and juxtaposing them against points in American history, from his being interned with his family at age 5, to the racism he faced trying to make it in Hollywood as an Asian American actor, to Star Trek, to coming out, to getting married.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

I always enjoy going to LACMA, especially since my brother is a member and can bring a guest for free. Their special exhibit was Picasso & Rivera, which examines the paintings, etchings, and watercolors from the contemporaries and compared them to the classic works (Greek for Picasso, Mexican for Rivera) that inspired them.

The Getty

My friends and I spent a good three hours here, but I could have stayed for longer. I focused on the special exhibit, Bouchardon, which was fairly interesting, and the garden. I started to look at the Concrete Poetry exhibit, but it wasn’t that exciting to me. Maybe if I had had more time. I felt like looking at some paintings so I went over to that building (which was hard to find for me) and got in some Rembrandt, Dutch still lifes, and French Impressionists.

That’s not all! I did other stuff besides visit museums (if you can believe it). That’s coming up next.


26
Mar 11

Too scattered for a decent post

Somehow this week became very busy.

Work. My job has been more hectic than usual.  Lots of activities, meetings, presentations, and getting food. We also had a college student “externing” with us, and I wanted to make sure he wasn’t bored and that he was able to make his way through the wilds of San Francisco without getting mugged by a meth head.

And oh yeah actual writerly work! I was pooped by the end the end of the week.

Travel. MB will be teaching a one-day class in L.A. in a couple of weeks. Normally he does all his own travel, but since I’m joining him – and wanted to fly in and out at non-crazy times and not stay at a random hotel (and I have control issues, apparently) – I made the flight and hotel reservations.

I’m excited! I’ll be missing my brother, who won’t be around that weekend, but our hotel should be nice. I paid eight more dollars a night to get a corner room, and put us on the “upgrade standby” list, meaning if upon check-in a better room is available, we get it for just five more dollars a night, as opposed to $20.

There’s not much in the area except a mall, but I imagine while MB is teaching I’ll have a leisurely day, work on my writing, work out, do a little shopping. It’s just nice to go someplace different.

Fall anthology. Last week I turned in revisions for a piece that’s in an anthology coming out in the fall. The editors had awesome feedback, and it took me a while to figure out how to do the revisions. I’m happy with the changes though.

And this morning I just handed in copyedits for a piece that’s coming out in a literary magazine May.

Memoir. Remember my memoir? I’ve still been working on it all this time, and to remind everyone, I plan on selling it on Lulu this spring!

Recently I entered the LAST revisions, and have been in talks with my pal Eva about cover designs. She’s a talented letterpress card designer – check out her cards! they are adorable – and I’ve been so excited to see her draft designs for my memoir cover.  You’ll get a sneak peek (and perhaps a chance to vote on your favorite) early next week!

I’ve also decided to liven up the title pages for each section of my memoir, of which there are five:

  • The Rat and the Horse
  • The Rat and the Monkey
  • The Rat and the Rat
  • Rat, Horse, Rat
  • Rat

The section titles refer to the Chinese horoscopes of the main characters, and I thought it would be cool to include drawings of the animals on the mostly blank title pages.  Eva liked that idea too, and made the great suggestion of putting some action in the section titles, both to help her with the art and to give the reader a preview of what’s going on in that section.

Then I thought, What if I put pseudo-horoscopes instead?  Just a few short sentences pretending to be a Chinese horoscope but really giving a subtle hint to the reader of what’s to come.

This has been much more difficult than I anticipated.  I’ve been combing the web for the right descriptions of both animals and how they get along.  Now I need to boil all that down in a few sentences.

MB thinks I should go even shorter with three words.  For example, for The Rat and the Horse section, A complete disaster. I’m not sure about that.  I’m toying with the idea of a six-word subtitle, in the tradition of six-word memoirs and novels, supposedly started when Ernest Hemingway was asked to write a novel in six words:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

How incredibly sad is that?  Just those six words.

The Nervous Breakdown. Oh, and I’ve so been running around like a headless chicken, it took my bud Gloria to nudge me to check out The Nervous Breakdown – where I’m the featured author this week!

And of course I need to actually catch up on TNB reading, as well as post a piece before the month is out.

And now, the gym!


14
Sep 10

L.A., short but sweet

Our flight was Thursday night.  We decided to take the BART to the airport for the first time.  Usually we grab a cab.  I’m not sure why.  For some reason we had this idea that the BART would be more trouble than its worth, but actually it turned out to be very easy.

You may have heard about the gas line explosion in San Bruno, a town right near the airport.  Well, we were traveling on the BART when it happened and didn’t hear a thing.  We must have been underground at the time.  In fact, I think we were waiting on the San Bruno platform – having take the wrong train initially – minutes before the explosion.

Chalk this up to two other explosions I didn’t hear.

I forgot the airplane would be so small, and MB was pretty cramped, but the flight was less than an hour.  We flew into Burbank, a dinky little airport, and lickety split we were outta there and in my brother’s car.  Much easier than LAX (though the flights are a bit pricier).  It was already 10 by the time we got to his apartment so we just ate something, watched TV, chilled.

I slept awesome knowing there were no mosquitoes.

The next day my brother – whom I call Di, “little brother” in Mandarin – had to go to work so MB and I mostly hung around the apartment working on our own stuff.  I put in some hours for my job but also had a chance to work on my writing.

For lunch, we took a long walk out to Ventura Boulevard, eating at this random Mexican dive, Manny’s, along the way.  We walked in and saw all the customers were Mexican construction/maintenance guys, and thought the food must be good.  And it was.  I got a chorizo scramble (low cholesterol diet be damned for the weekend) and it was delish!

While it wasn’t too hot, it was still hot to be walking that much.  By the time we got back, I was sweaty, sunburnt, and grouchy because I hadn’t brought enough clothes, not anticipating that one of my outfits would stink by the first day.

When Di came home, we got some ramen for dinner and then pie for dessert.  The pie was good, especially my brother’s banana cream, but we kept smelling this weird, musty, mildewy smell.  It was strange because it would come and go.  At first Di thought it was the old woman at the table next to us, but then I surmised it was the rag they were using to wipe the tables.  I smelled the smell when the guy wiped our neighboring table, and my bro smelled it later when another walked by with the offending rag.  Gross.

More chilling out afterward.  Di had just come back from vacation in Mexico and was pooped, and MB and I were worn out from our walk in the sun that afternoon, or at least I was.

The next day it was off to my uncle’s.  He and my aunt were away so my parents were brought in to help with my grandmother.  Luckily my grandmother has 24/7 care so my parents don’t have to do much except just be there.

My mom made a great lunch of beef noodles, dumplings, and a variety of other dishes.  No pictures since I didn’t bring my camera.  (I’ve fallen so far out of the habit of taking pictures!) Since we had time, my brother washed his car, and we did laundry. Yay, no more stinky outfit! Later we hit the mall (what else?), and I actually had luck finding some pants I liked.

Then it was back home and fantastic dinner, thanks to Mom again.  There were two kinds of fish, stir fried shrimp with peas, mapo tofu, stir fried beef with pickled veggies, teriyaki chicken, tea eggs, baby bok choy, and beef soup.  I’m sure leaving stuff out as well.

Okay, hungry now.

While we were eating, my mother asked my brother, “Do you remember my hitting you with my slipper?” and he said, “Yes, of course!  Why else would I be afraid of a slipper?”

The funny thing is I don’t remember the slipper actually ever hitting me.  I remember the threat, the rushing of my mother toward me with slipper in hand, but I probably never went so far as to warrant a whack.

Then we started talking about a whole bunch of other memories.  I remember when Di knocked down the Christmas tree.  I remember when I broke the wall and all these bees flew out. (Apparently there was a giant hive growing in the wall for years.)  I remember when I used to pee the bed and Mom would get so mad.  MB was thoroughly entertained.

We left L.A. Sunday afternoon, and returned to a very chilly Bay Area.

This upcoming weekend: Seattle!


30
Nov 09

Long Thanksgiving recap

Between madly finishing NaNoWriMo and traveling back from L.A., here finally is my Thanksgiving recap.

Wednesday

While my brother, Greg, was at work, MB and I had lunch at El Pollo Loco, my first time. It wasn’t too bad. I got these grilled chicken burrito thingies. Afterwards we attempted to walk around, but it was too sunny for me so we ducked into a Starbuck’s till Greg got back.

That afternoon Greg did some prep work for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s right: he was cooking everything. A brined turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Yum!

That night we saw Ninja Assassin. The action sequences were cool, but it took forever to get started. Plus I was hungry the whole time. Luckily afterwards Greg brought us to a great Korean place, where we all had variations of sun dubu chigae, or spicy tofu stew.

Thursday

We were out early to head over to my uncle’s. While he and his family were out of town, my parents and younger aunt came to stay with my grandmother, Puo-puo. My older aunt was supposed to come down too, but she changed her mind at the last minute. This is the aunt who although she lives in California sees her mother the least. She’s also the one who made a stink about getting her “share” when my grandmother’s house in Berkeley was sold, although all the siblings had agreed that the money would go to paying for the nurse who cares for Puo-puo 24/7.

Right before we went down to L.A., I got an email from this aunt saying happy Thanksgiving. Being the polite niece that I am, I wrote back saying I was sorry we wouldn’t be able to see her, I was looking forward to seeing the family, and to have a nice holiday herself. She wrote back two messages within hours of each other.

The first said she talked to my mom and felt left out about missing Turkey Day with us, and that she was a bad daughter for not seeing her mother in over a year. (Well, then go see her.) The second one said simply that while she felt left out, thinking about how much space there was at my uncle’s house, it was just impossible for her to go. Did she not think she sent the first one? Did she forget? Weird.

Then my younger aunt told me how last Thanksgiving, this older aunt came down Tuesday night with plans to stay for a week or so, and by Thanksgiving Day was rescheduling her flight to go home earlier.

As I’ve said before, I don’t really get why she’s like this. It’s not like she has to do much to take care of Puo-puo. The nurse does everything, and my younger aunt or mother took over only when the nurse ate her lunch or dinner.

Speaking of lunch, we had delicious Chinese food my mom and aunt cooked:

traditional chinese lunch

MB who doesn’t even eat pork gobbled up those dumplings like there was no tomorrow.

Then while my dad, MB, and I lazed around the living room, and my mom and aunt hovered around giving unsolicited advice, my brother cooked. The turkey, before:

turkey, before

And the turkey after:

turkey, after

Delicious as always! This was the first time my father had my brother’s cooking, and he was extremely surprised. He kept saying over and over, “The turkey’s so good, the stuffing’s so good.” Even my grandmother, who hardly eats anything now, scarfed down some mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Puo-puo has changed immensely in the past few years. My chubby laughing grandmother has become an emaciated old woman I barely recognize. She can’t talk now or even make facial expressions. I have no idea if she knew who I was. She’s also lost some teeth and her hair, once black and permed, is now white and gray and lays flat on her head. When I first saw her, she did reach for my hand several times, but I’m still not sure if she knew me. My cousin Huang Lei was sad too when she saw Puo-puo. Tearfully she held her hands and spoke to her in Chinese.

Puo-puo seemed to see people though. For instance, throughout the evening she kept staring at MB. I had tried introducing him, but I don’t know if it registered. She kept eyeing him like, “Who’s this white guy in my house?” She also watched Mia, Huang Lei and Shane’s three-year old daughter, with great interest.

Mia was hilarious. After she got comfortable, she kept trying to get MB and my brother to play hide ‘n seek with her. They did for a while then got tired. At one point she decided she was mad. She kept crossing her arms (or trying to) and standing near us with a pout. A few minutes later, she came back and said, “I’m not mad anymore. I’m happy. Let’s play hide ‘n seek,” then grabbed MB’s hand and tried to pull him up.

mia and the feast

After the meal, we hung out watching some silly Chinese variety show before finally getting ready to leave. I knew my parents were sad to see us go. I encouraged them to visit us in the spring, after we moved into a new, bigger place.

Friday

After a relaxing morning, we headed out to lunch at the Curry House. As though we hadn’t enough food already, we had no problem scarfing down our delicious curry dishes. I got the curry katsu:

curry katsu again

Afterwards we drove out to Venice, walked on the boardwalk, and down Abbot-Kinney Street. Along the way we saw some cool graffiti:

graffiti cone, venice beach

The Venice Canals:

canals in venice, ca

And some crazy Barbies:

crazy barbie dolls

In the afternoon we headed out to Huang Lei and Shane’s. It was fun chatting with them and playing with Mia again, who kept taking pictures as we took pictures:

mia the photographer

Most of her pictures were of her finger.

Saturday

Our flight wasn’t till after 8 PM so we had the whole morning to relax. We had brunch at Hugo’s, then took the Metro out to Hollywood. The L.A. mass transit system is weird. There are turnstiles set up but you can walk around them. Then the tickets are checked only sporadically.

Hollywood was pretty crowded. We walked around a bit, had some Beard Papa’s, then headed back to my brother’s to chill before our flight. As we packed MB found a letter opener I forgot about in the black suitcase I had been using for months. Who knows how many times that got through security.

Check in at Burbank was so easy. There was almost no one there though our flight was full.

By ten we were home. Yay!

~ ~ ~

I’m glad to be back in the routine of writing, but I also need to get my butt to the gym more often. I know I’ve gained eight to ten pounds in the last couple of years. I’d love to get that weight off.


25
Nov 09

Update on the Mac + L.A.

My laptop seems to have recovered my clumsy drenching.  We let out it dry out for more than twenty-four hours, then Monday night MB thought it safe to turn it on and get my files backed up on a USB.  Then we shut it off and let it air out for another twelve hours.  Tuesday morning I started to use it, and so far it’s been okay.

“If you start to smell ozone,” MB said, “shut it off.”

No strange odors as of yet.

In other news, MB and I are in LA at my brother’s.  I was dreading the trip to the airport and getting through security, but it wasn’t so bad.  Although we hit some traffic in the taxi, we got to SFO well before boarding.  There was a line for security, but it moved quickly.

After all my trips to SF in September, I’m an expert now in terms of getting through security quickly.  Before I even get on line, I take out my laptop and stuff my jacket in a bag.  I also have my cosmetics in a an easy to get to pocket, and try to wear shoes without laces.  Then at the end, I don’t bother trying to take everything out of the bins.  I just consolidate my stuff in one bin and take it with me to the side, out of the way of the line.

A trick to getting around paying for a checked bag: hand it to the guy at the last minute right before you board.  Then when you get off, it’s right there waiting for you instead of on the carousel.  This probably only works with bags small enough to be carry on, but a good solution if there’s not enough overhead space.

The flight was very short, just an hour.  By the time I finished looking at the ridiculous things in the Sky Mall magazine, drank a tomato juice, and read some of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, we were landing.  Our plane was small so we got off lickety split.

Getting through Burbank is a breeze.  The airport is so tiny, we walked just a few feet before getting outside, and then just a few minutes later, my brother pulled up.

We were a little hungry so had In-N-Out Burgers.  Thing was I wasn’t that hungry so those were calories I definitely didn’t need. :(

It’s weird to be in LA and not have to deal with a time change.  I have to keep reminding myself there’s no time difference between where I am and where I was.

My brother had a comfy air mattress for us – which sadly is bigger than the bed in our sublet – but I kept waking up.  I think it was the vanilla latte I had yesterday afternoon.  No coffee today after 12 PM.

My bro had to work half a day today so MB and I are just chilling, working on our respective stuff.  This afternoon we’ll probably pick up a few items, then start preparing stuff for tomorrow.


16
Jan 07

40 Things about My Trip to L.A.

Back from L.A. and trying to recover from the red eye.

I thought I’d try something new since I tend to ramble on in these recaps. And plus I’m just plain tired. So, putting a spin on the hundreds list, here are 40 things about my trip to L.A.

  1. It’s better to take a whole day off from work on the day you’re leaving for a trip rather than trying to book early.
  2. Walking very fast gives you shin splints.
  3. Taxi drivers are less aggressive when the fare is a flat fee.
  4. Wireless hot spots make waiting at the airport much more bearable
  5. I need a new laptop.
  6. Jet Blue rocks.
  7. My feet swell to twice their size on flights.
  8. Burbank airport is nice and small, but you have to wait forever for your bags.
  9. A McDonald’s fish filet is delicious after a cross-country flight at 11 o’clock at night.

  10. L.A. can be freezing cold.
  11. Despite the freezing cold, a guy will be crazy enough to go swimming in the ocean at Venice Beach.


  12. The best cup of organic mocha joe in the world is at The Cow’s End.
  13. Through a Scanner Darkly is a trippy movie to watch while you’re falling asleep from jet lag.
  14. Texting a message at the beginning of a car ride will make you car sick for the rest of the trip.
  15. It’s better to get the 30 GB iPod than the 8 GB Nano. They’re the same price.
  16. It’s possible to get a bag from Tumi for under $100, if a style is being discontinued.
  17. The car wash my brother goes to uses different-colored soaps.
  18. The blueberry smoothie with almond milk and dates at a place called Leaf Cuisine in Culver City is amazing.
  19. L.A. has a lot of traffic.
  20. If there is a baby present at a family gathering, most of the attention will be focused on said baby.
  21. A tiny baby can snore very loudly.
  22. Through a Scanner Darkly is still a trippy movie to watch while you fall unconscious from jet lag.
  23. The second best cup of organic mocha joe in the world is at Hugo’s.
  24. The omelets at Hugo’s are good too.
  25. You might be able to see a celebrity there, like D.B. Sweeney.
  26. The eclair cream puff at Beard Papa is delicious.
  27. There are some weirdos on Hollywood Boulevard.

  28. Cold weather + dry air + strong sun = my fucked up skin
  29. It’s a rip-off when a Japanese restaurant will only allow you to share your brother’s pot of green tea by charging you per cup.
  30. Children of Men is a good movie though the ending is sort of abrupt.
  31. A family gathering with fewer people and not in a restaurant is far more time efficient and relaxed.

  32. The Grove is a nice though Disney-esque outdoor mall.
  33. You might see a celebrity there, like Julia Campbell.
  34. The crepes and coffee there are very nice.
  35. The Fish Shack in Malibu has excellent ahi tuna burgers and mind-blowingly good fries.
  36. Walking barefoot on the beach in cold weather is fun.

  37. Walking barefoot on the beach in cold weather is fun till the wind blows and you’re pelted with thousands of grains of sand.
  38. Award shows are a very big deal.
  39. The red eye is a killer.
  40. Even after a whole day of sitting around in your pajamas, you won’t want to go to work the next day.

I am, however, glad to be back in my own apartment and in a city where I can walk almost everywhere and not have to
ride in a car.

Thank God I have a short week.