Friday, August 31, 2007

One more day
it is friday and I go on vacation in about 8 hours. We're pretty darn excited. We watched a show on the food network last night and the highlighted a roadhouse in Illinois. It had good cheap food. I want to find a place like that on our trip south or even north. yay! roadtrip!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Alas, LA, goodbye

Friday brought the last day of class and my last day in LA. I have been to enough classes to know that Friday afternoon usually ends around 2pm. Yet, when I was in San Diego, it went until 4:30 and worth every minute of learning. So, I scheduled my return flight for 6:45pm. We got out around 3pm and I hung around a little catching up on email and doing some busy work. Finally, I decided to head to LAX. Everyone said it could get crazy with lines on a Friday, so I gave myself extra time. After dropping off the car and getting to the airport, I whisked through all the lines like a bat out of hell. I was at the gate almost 2 hrs before my flight. The story of my life. I hit the bar, had a beer and read my book. When 5:45 rolled around, I went to get some food and then off to the gate. Upon arrival, I was informed that the flight was now delayed until 8pm. Argh! I took it in stride, sat down and began to read, eventually nodding off for a quick nap.
Around 7:15pm, I wandered over to the departures screen for an update and now the flight was listed as canceled. OMG.
I'm not going to go into the long story of my return trip. The flight was canceled, we were rebooked, the flight was re-instated, we were rebooked and then the flight was canceled again. In the end, I was rebooked through SFO and then home. I got back to Portland around 1:30, yet my luggage was left behind in SFO. Got home around 2am after a little fight with the cabbie over if he would take a credit card or not. A very very long day, but I was glad to be home.

In the end, LA was awesome. Wish I could have spent it with my honey and didn't have to spend all day in class. Wish I had stayed closer to the fun instead of so far away which required so much driving. Wish I had been able to hang out on the beach and either watch the sunrise or sunset every night. Though, it was a great trip.

Hammies on Sunset

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Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Nope, not a foodstuff. Thursday in LA brought a meetup with Andrea, a friend we met through Allison and Tiger. Andrea offered to meet me in Hollywood and take me out. Once again, I had to endure the traffic from El Segundo and both of us were playing phone tag giving each other updates as to how close we were to where we were going to eat.
We ended up at Toi Thai, a great place just across the street from the hotel where A and I stayed the last time we were in town. That was also the hotel where our new car got keyed one night. Ahhh LA. During dinner, I complemented Andrea on her outfit as I felt a little underdressed. She laughed and told me that she had spent most of the day out east in flip flops and casual clothes shopping at thrift stores. When she realized she wouldn't get home in time to change, she changed into her winnings from the thrift store and I tell you, it was a great outfit from head to toe.
Andrea took me down the Sunset strip to the Key Club to see a musical - Debbie Does Dallas, a raunchy musical. Everyone remembers Debbie does Dallas, but this story was a little soft-core and provocative. Pretty funny honestly. Andrea had a friend who was in the cast, so she was on the list. When we go to the door, all I said was, "I'm with Andrea" and the bouncer blinked and let us both in for free. Pretty darn cool. The performance was spot on and fun. I laughed a lot and experienced one of those LA moments. After the show, we hung out with the cast who were high on adrenaline and had some good convo. The lead was a beautiful blond bombshell from Tennessee who had more energy than an energizer bunny. We were outside smoking (them not me) and her and a friend were joking back and forth when she suddenly pulled up her dress to her breast to prove she was wearing underwear. Right on Sunset, she essentially flashed everyone. Totally LA and yet no one batted an eye.
After the Key Club, we wandered down to B of A so I could get some cash and came upon a homeless man playing the keyboard. His schtick was that he had two hamsters on a wheel next to him. When I got the camera out, he immediately stopped playing, stating, "$2 for a photo." I agreed and proceeded to take the photos. I gave him $3 and we hung out looking at the paper for whatever to do. During that, he launched into a song where he completely called me out for not paying beforehand. He was mean. It was so crazy and funny all I could do was laugh and chalk it up to LA.
The night proceeded on to a club called Respekt on Melrose. When I saw the line, I got a little concerned as it was already 12am. But I muscled through and we were only in line for about 5 minutes. Once inside, it was an excellent scene. Andrea described it as a drum' n' bass club and they were really ripping it up. One of the ladies on stage was Shorty, a well known DJ according to Andrea. Well I have to say, they were amazing. And the venue was just right. Not too crowded, not too loud, and not angry. Everyone was happy and dancing and just having a groovy time. While standing around watching, one of the people we met in line came up and asked if I liked what I saw and said, "Welcome to LA." I thought that was amazing. That this woman would take the moment to say that. Thanks.
Eventually we had to cut out. I headed back to El Segundo, but was a little wired, so stayed up and packed so I could maybe sleep in a few minutes in the morning.

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Debbie does Dallas

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Gentleman with Hammies

Four Ways for a Whiskey

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Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
There are 4 ways to order a whiskey, according to 7 Grand, a bar in downtown LA. 1) Neat with a water back, 2) Put it on the rocks, 3) Have it as a sour, and 4) Make it an old fashioned. Booya! I love it when the bar tells me how to order my drinks. Wednesday evening took me to the center of downtown LA. Downtown LA is interesting. First of all, it is rather large and full of some amazingly tall buildings and architecture. It includes some museums and concert halls to boot. Because of the nature of the buildings, it is mostly a business oriented type of place, so when it comes to 6pm, it is quite desolate. I was walking around after my 45 min drive searching for food and drink and really needing to pee. Note to self, don't drink any water while in traffic in LA. You'll get stuck in traffic and need to pee.
I hit this bar named 7 Grand where, according to locals, all the cool kids hang out. If "cool kids" means guys in blue oxfords and kackis, I don't think I want to be cool. It was an interesting crowd, but I didn't care much. I just needed to pee. I had a couple drinks also.
7 Grand specialized in whiskey and I partaked in a Sazarac with rye whiskey and a Manhatten with rye whiskey. Both were true jems. Truly works of art.
I was to meet my buddy @ 9 at a place named The Edison and it was 7:30. I walked around trying to find a place to sit down and eat and also the place where I would eventually end up and couldn't find either. I eventually went back to the car in order to move it closer to where I thought the Edison may be. While moving it, I found A and I's favorite LA bar - Bar 107. I parked, went in and grabbed a beer at the end of the bar.
Bar 107 is a bit divey and attracts some interesting fellas. Next to me at the end of the bar was Chavez. He was a larger fit individual, someone who at the blink of the eye you wouldn't want to make mad. Well, Chavez was a bit drunk when I sat down so he was pretty friendly. We chatted and he revealed that he had just spent the past 10 years in jail and had only been out for about 3 days. Wow! I think I believed him. We talked a little, mostly him talking about god and future and introducing himself a few more times. It was all fun and the bartenders kept looking at me rolling their eyes. It was a game. In the end, I bought him a beer and headed to The Edison.
The Edison is bar created out of the physical plant in the basement of a building. This plant created electricity with turbine engines and other big equipment. The people who rebuild this location into the Edison preserved much of what was there and made it into a premier locale. It was amazing and huge. And expensive.
At The Edison, I met my friend and whom I would call a mentor of sorts and had a great conversation. We had a great time. Some of his friends showed up, including some tattoo artists who knew Atlas tattoo and Albina Press. Interestingly enough, I had two pounds of Stumptown coffee from Albina Press in my bag. It was a good night.
In the end, I couldn't stay out too late. Around 12:30, I decided to bow out and head back to El Segundo. Argh, the 45 minute drive. But, all in all, a wonderful night in downtown LA.

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tall buildings

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Bar 107

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Only in LA

El Segundo

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Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Tuesday. Class was fine. Planned on heading downtown to meet a friend, then plans got changed to Wednesday. Suddenly, I had no plans and didn't really want to head north again. I headed into El Segundo and to the beach. I was trying to find a restaurant that someone recommended and then decided to go hit the beach. El Segundo is known as "business friendly. I assume that means they allow pretty much any business that wants to come by. Around my hotel there are numerous corporate parts with huge big name businesses - Raytheon, Boing, Air New Zealand etc. It is 5 minutes from the airport, so probably pretty easy for business. One downside is that on the shore, there is a huge wast treatment plant and a chemical/oil refinery. Seriously, two huge (huge people) plants right on the beach. Oh well, the sunset was still pretty awesome.

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Chemical plant on the shore.

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Plant 2

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Who dat?

LA, night 2.

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Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
So, class is good. We went over the schedule and the instructor asked if it sounded good for everyone. He was wondering if we were all in the right class. I was ready to answer - what if we're not? Some of us traveled a fair bit, so we'll deal. Needless to say, the morning was review and the afternoon was pretty intensive. I am going to fill in the blanks here and that should help me in my job hopefully.
During the day though, I was bad. I kept logging on to gmail to check if I had received any email from my LA blogger friends. Indeed I had and we setup a meet at Barney's Beanery on Sunset in Hollywood. I understand Jim Morrison hung out there. Well, I google mapped the place and it stated a 20 minute drive. The locals said it would be 1hr. We were meeting around 7:30, so I took off from El Segundo @ 6:15 to make sure I had enough time. Wow, LA is huge. I did some freeway, but the directions I had put me on surface streets, specifically La Cieniga. Nice drive with little or no heavy traffic. What was weird though was cruising along though dense neighborhoods and then hitting a working oil field. I asked later and they stated that it is the last remaining working oil field in greater LA. Parts of Swordfish the movie were filmed there with Hugh Jackman golfing. I guess oil is more valuable than real estate still. huh.
I got to Hollywood early and drove around a bit. While finding a parking spot, I endure the craziness of LA parking signage. I finally found a spot and headed in. After a couple of brews, my friends showed up and we had a great talk. Dave and Mack are both bloggers for blogging.LA and had some amazing stories. They also had some great advice and guidance for my own blogging. Thanks guys. After some beers and a great Kobe beef burger, Mack led me to Amoeba records. WOW. This is probably the largest record store I have been to and I have been to some of the Virgin stores and the Amoeba in SFO. It was around 10:30, so by the time I found the vinyl and picked out a couple of records for A, it was time to close. I think I actually saw a celebrity there, but couldn't put a name to the face.
The drive home was surreal. I was directed to head down LaBrea all the way to Slauson and almost back to El Segundo. I kept driving and driving, wondering if I had missed the street when suddenly, I came upon it. I ended up back at my corporate hotel around midnight. Monday down, 4 days left of the great LA adventure.

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so close to Crenshaw - remember Boyz' n' the hood?

El Segundo

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Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
Editor's note: This was supposed to be posted sooner, but something with moblogging from the treo failed. Ergo, the following posts will not be timelined well.

In el segundo ca for the week and want to bring you along on my adventure. I plan on taking advantage of one of the world's most lively city. Pictured here are my neighbors to the hotel. I could shoot a machine gun around here and get little reaction. The hotel, a doubletree is the same as every other business hotel in the world. Normal. Oh well. Close to my training class. I ventured over to manhatten beach to find something other than corporate fine dining and am at OB's Pub. They actually have Longhammer IPA, so that is a plus. Also, non smoking in CA. The sun is going down and the sky is a beautiful mix of grays, light blues and burgundy. I can only assume this area is a little $$$$. The only sadness is that I am the only person in the world wishing the Steeler's pre season game was on. Oh well. I am going to drink my beer and eat my tuna melt and enjoy the atmsphere. More to come.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Originally uploaded by dieselboi.
I never knew you could grow coconut plants like this. Pretty fricken cool!

Friday, August 03, 2007