It was dark on Friday morning as I silently dressed and packed the last few things. I only brought a small back pack home to NYC with me (including my laptop) and just the clothes on my back. I knew that it was warm in Hollyweird and it's the summer in Australia, so I avoided bringing any heavy winter stuff.
The car was waiting for me when I arrived downstairs. My usual guy was not available. They gave me some other dude. I told him, "JFK. JetBlue terminal." And that was it. We didn't say anything to each other the entire time. He left me alone, which I prefer, especially at 6:40am.
The trip to JFK was fast and took less than 30 minutes door to door. The driver did not say a word until we got into the airport and a gypsy cab had stopped in the passing lane to change his tire.
"Fuckin idiot," the driver snapped.
That's all he said. I thought about giving him a fat tip for such a quick trip, but the lack of traffic was not his doing. Traffic was light because of the time I went to the airport coupled with the fact this is a holiday week and a lot of people were off from work or out of the city.
Although the road were empty, the airport was super packed. I guess people were going away for NYE or returning home after Christmas.
Lines. Lines. Lines.
Lines to get through security. Lines to get to the Dunkin' Donuts. Lines to get into the bathroom. Lines at the newsstand. Lines to get on you plane.
One kid crawled on the floor next to me as I fired up my laptop and checked my email. He played with a toy garbage truck, an obviously Christmas present. The truck made sounds and announced, "Backing up!" and then it would beep like a real garbage truck.
The kid was crashing his truck into my backpack and messing around underneath my seat. I was worried that the kid would have dug into my backpack and found my pharmies. The last thing I wanted was a three-year old jacked up on my Xanax.
I bought Iceland Spring water at one of the gourmet stores at JFK. It was not as expensive as Fiji, but I wanted to try it. Not too bad. I ended up drinking 40% of it then dumping an Airborne packet in there.
A super hot chick stood behind me at the security line. She was on her cell yapping to one of her friends and complained the entire time about the line and how JetBlue fucked up her flight and she would be delayed. I noticed that she wore a NY Giants football jersey underneath her winter coat. When it was her time to put her things through the X-ray machine, she took off her Uggs and her jacket. Then I noticed she had a Jeremy Shockey jersey on. What a friggin' tool.
My flight to California was full of random SoCal freaks and LA Douchebags. I usually fly into Long Beach, but for some reason Burbank was like $50 cheaper, so I flew into Bob Hope airport instead.
There was a baby in the row front of me, but it didn't act up at all. I popped a Xanax as soon as I got on the plane. I watched Sportscenter for the first hour, followed up by an hour or so of the Food Network and a couple of episodes of that Dog Whisperer dude.
My flight was delayed by about twenty minutes but aside from that, it was smooth. I got ever so closer to another free roundtrip flight. I have one in the can which I have to use by this summer. Hopefully by March, I'll have two free round trippers.
Nicky picked me up at Bob Hope Airport and we went to lunch at Mo's in Burbank. They supposedly have the best burgers in the Valley. I had never been before and was excited to try it out. The curly fries were bland and nothing special, but the burgers are thick and juicy. There's a special fixings bar where you pick up your burgers at and add whatever you like to your already monster burger. I ordered a bacon and bleu cheese burger. Heaven. The lighting was poor inside Mo's otherwise I would have taken a photo.
When we got back to the apartment, Nicky showed me her nasty burns that she got when a container of hot wax exploded all over her hand. It was pretty nasty but she didn't bitch and moan or ask for extra special attention. She's a trooper. We had already exchanged presents before I left for NYC, but she had another one for me... it's was a pack containing all three of the Jason Bourne flicks... Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, and Bourne Ultimatum. Very nice.
On Friday night, we watched Stardust Memories. My brother had bought me a collection of Woody Allen movies on DVD for Christmas. That by far was my favorite gift. And Stardust Memories was one of the flicks in the batch. It was always one of my favorites, but these days, the themes running through the film have a lot more sentimental value then when I saw it five, ten, or fifteen years ago.
I woke up early on Saturday and set up my laptop at the dining room table. I opened up the window and wrote as I listened to Grateful Dead radio and a Charlie Mingus CD that GMoney gave me. I worked on Truckin' and finished up editing a video.
During lunch at Nick's coffeeshop, Nicky suggested that we go see a movie at The Grove. I wanted to watch the football game, and she was totally cool with that, which is one of the many cool things about Nicky. We postponed the flick (either Juno or Charlie Wilson's War) until Sunday night.
I watched the game and couldn't believe that the Giants were actually ahead in the first quarter. I called Derek to discuss the game and he had forgot that it was on. During the game, I paced around a lot in Nicky's living room, something I do when I have money on the game... but that time I didn't. I'm not even a Giants fan, but I wanted the Pats to lose badly. At the same time, friends of mine had bet heavily on the Giants +14 or 14.5 depending on where they put the bet in (online or in Vegas). So I had plenty of other reasons to root for the Giants. By the time the 4th quarter hit, I knew that Eli would get cold and act like the total goober that he is. Alas, the Giants lost and the Pats ended up undefeated. Once Moss scored that TD to put the Pats ahead, I told Nicky that it was time to go to dinner.
Showcase joined us for Mexican food. Since we'd be spending a month in Australia and New Zealand, we picked foods that we wouldn't have access to... like Mexican food. El Cholo is a favorite of mine, located near Korea Town on Western and Olympic. Showcase and Nicky drank Cadillac margaritas and I went for beer. We drank a bit and Showcase and Nicky told me some random stories about kids from the musical theatre department that they went to Northwestern with.
El Cholo's chili burritos are kick ass with big chunks of beef in there. And when you order a bowl of guacamole, a waitress comes up to your table and mixes the dish right in front of you.
I was in a food coma when I got home. I played a little online poker, then logged off and passed out. I woke up at 12:30am and didn't get a chance to write. I smoked a bit, watched a couple of minutes of Star Wars, then crawled into bed. Around 5am, I was wide awake and slowly made my way back out to the dining room table, which automatically transforms into my office when I'm in Hollyweird. I fired up the laptop and finished off my Year in Review post for Tao of Poker.
And that's when I finally had the chance to write this post as a cover of the Beatles' Julia is playing on Phish radio. It's Sunday and football comes on TV early on the Left Coast. I have just three more hours to write before it's time to fire up the bong and monitor the games. I have an outside shot at cashing in the Pauly's Pub football pool. That would be cool since I took second place during the March Madness pool.