I spent the last couple of days in Los Angeles. The brain dead locals think it's cold, but it's maybe 55 degrees. That's heaven for me. Aside from one day of rain, it's been good weather. Bad weather affects my mood. I missed an entire month of winter once again by escaping to the southern hemisphere. Talk about being one step ahead of SAD.
SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder. I saw that acronym in a book on insomnia. One chapter was dedicated to SAD. I was more interested in the author's opinion on sleeping pills. Supposedly more than one a week is bad for you. But there was a juicy chapter on old school sleeping pills, the ones that killed rock stars in the 1960s and 1970s when they mixed it with booze, coke, heroin, and whatever else they could ingest at the time.
I was killing time at Borders with Nicky. Most of the bookstores in Hollyweird are empty because nobody reads in that town. The music and DVD section are the post popular along with a few retirees bored shitless while thumbing through magazines at the cafe in the back.
I had a $50 gift certificate from my mother, but could not find any books that I was dying to buy. I almost bought Superbad on DVD, but skipped that impulse buy.
Nicky lingered in the travel section. She needed a Copenhagen guide book. We found one from Time Out and another from Lonely Planet. Nicky got a nice writing assignment in Denmark lasting almost a week. I'm on hiatus, so I was not offered the job. In fact I would have most likely been offered the gig if I was available. Alas... Nicky got the assignment and she's off to Denmark at the end of the month.
I checked out some of my favorite travel sites and found a super cheap flight... NYC to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to NYC... for about the same price as NYC to LA. I decided to spend a week in Europe and split the time between Amsterdam and Copenhagen. That trip was unexpected and came out of the blue. Nicky was just offered the assignment. I originally planned to be in Las Vegas doing research that week, but figured a week in Europe might do me some good.
I'm off to Las Vegas tomorrow for a week of research and a couple of meetings. I expect to be holed up in my hotel room writing, but you never know.
The last couple of days have been scattered, yet somehow productive. I had over a thousand emails to sort through. I'm about 90% done with all of my January email. That piles up so fast...
I managed to upload almost two hundred pictures. I completed my Australia II gallery which included pics from Melbourne and Byron Bay. I will be uploading the New Zealand pics shortly.
Nicky posted a slew of cool New Zealand and Australia pics over at her Flickr gallery.
I returned to the States with several deadlines lingering around. I had very little time to adjust to being back and quickly cranked out three articles. I finished the first draft for a column, which is due on Wednesday. I also finished an article for an overseas magazine with circulation in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia.
I also wrote two pieces for a new client, about the Superbowl and the NBA, which are two topics I'd much rather bullshit about than poker. I also worked on the new issue of Truckin', which will also be out sooner than you think.
I have been spending a the majority of my morning hours plugging away at my laptop while sitting at Nicky's dining room table. I have not had the chance to run or exercise at all. I put on five pounds since I left for Australia. That's not too bad. I can shed those in a week or so if I watch what I eat... but I always go on a slight eating binge when I return for an extended stint overseas. I always crave my favorite foods when on the road, but when I'm not in America, I crave some basic staples and go absolutely nuts for them. I think it's all the addictive chemicals that's in the food I consume on American soil.
We ate a lot of Indian food in Melbourne. The best place in the food court at the casino was an Indian joint. Nicky ate it more frequently than me, since I was always up early and went for the Australian breakfast sandwiches. Anyway... I had been craving Indian food since we left Oz. On a trip to Trader Joe's, I found a yellow curry sauce and suggested some sort of chicken breast with curry sauce. Nicky added a chickpea masala to the side and I found garlic Nan to finish off the dish.
Nicky did a great job with cooking the dish, which ended up being spicy, but not too spicy that it destroyed the taste of the chicken. Most Indian joints give you shitty pieces of chicken, which is why everything is so spicy... to kill the bad taste of old chicken.
We ate out almost every night over the last month, so we relished the opportunity to cook our meals. Well, more like Nicky cooks and I eat. I like how that works. Anyway, one night she whipped up grilled salmon with a cajun rub.
I watched a couple of flicks on cable over the last couple of days including The Good German and The Pallbearer. Gwyneth looked so young in the Pallbearer and to think Ross from friends was more famous than her at that point. The Good German was a Steven Soderbergh flick set in Berlin in 1945. He shot in monochrome with stock footage of bombed out Berlin interspliced with his own material. The opening credits were circa similar 1940s war films. It had a packed casted with George Clooney, Tobey Maguire, and Cate Blanchett, who plays a German woman who turned tricks during the war (and at the time of the occupation by US/British/Russian troops) just to survive. Nicky passed out about twenty minutes into the flick. It's sorta film noir and it would be a good plane movie to watch. I would have been irked if I spent money at the theatre for that flick.
We went to the new Landmark theatres near Westwood to see The Savages. When you buy a ticket, you are buying a reserved seat and have to pick your seat from a floor plan. When we picked ours for a 4:20pm showing, only two other seats were taken. The Savages is a dark (very dark, borderline on morbid) comedy/drama with two adult siblings having to deal with their ailing father and putting him into a nursing home. Phillip Seymour Hoffman always shines. He played a broken-hearted college professor from Buffalo, while his sister (Laura Linney) is a neurotic pill-popping playwright from New York City.