New York City
I spent about 48 hours in Hollyweird. It would be the second of five cities that I would visit within ten days (Las Vegas, LA, NYC, Amsterdam, and Denmark). I was mainly there to be with Nicky during Valentine's Day since we didn't get to spend it together last year due to that crazy blizzard which almost put JetBlue out of business.
After Nicky picked me up at Long Beach airport on Wednesday afternoon, we headed to Canter's Deli for dinner. I was craving a pastrami sandwich and also got a knish. They also have a bakery counter up front. I used to love eating the chocolate cupcakes, but I've been trying to stay away from chocolate and sweets. That did not deter me from grabbing a black and white cookie for Showcase and a couple of mini ones for me.
I put on 6 pounds during the Australia/New Zealand trip. It took me about a week of healthy eating to shed the excess pounds. I had stopped the chocolate binges and all the cakes... and replaced that with fruit. I seriously cut back my bacon and red meat intake, along with lots of starches, cheese, and breads. I have been eating salads and vegetables, despite my aversion to both. I wanted to at least attempt to eat a little more healthy during a period of time where I'm not traveling. Maudie would be proud. Plus Nicky is on a new diet, so I wanted to try to eat similar foods.
Hopefully in NYC, I'll be able to add exercise to the mix, which will allow me to eat some of my favorite foods. If I'm not going to exercise, I have to eat much better. If I'm going to run a lot, then I can indulge a bit more. My goal is to shed about 15 pounds in between now and the end of May. I'm at 188 and I can get down to 173. I got 100 days to do it and that should not be too tough.
The main reason to get in shape is that during the summers in Las Vegas over the last three years, I have put on a lot of weight from bad eating habits. I put on as much as 20-25 pounds in 2005 and 2006. I'm hoping that I can have a more flexible work schedule this summer which means I'll be eating meals at normal times instead of whenever I had a chance. Plus, I need a ton of stamina during the WSOP... with all those long days... and I handle the abuse better if I'm healthy both mentally and physically.
I already bought Nicky a gift while we were in New Zealand... the scenic flight where she puked. When we got back to the apartment, Nicky gave me a cool V-day gift... a portable putting green and machine, including a putter and some golf balls. It took less than a minute to set up and if you plug it in, you can have the balls shoot back at you. We messed around with it for a while. Nicky and I played mini golf in New Zealand and she enjoyed golf and the fact that we can gamble on the outcome. Golf is a game where you can compete by assigning a handicap, and we managed to figure out Nicky's.
Anyway, we gambled on whether or not I could sink a putt. It started out at $20. I missed. Double or nothing for $40. I missed. Double or nothing for $80. I missed. Double or nothing for $160. I missed. Double or nothing for $320? Nailed it. I broke even.
We almost went to see a flick. I wanted to see Atonement due to my fascination with Keira Knightley, but Nicky vetoed that since she preferred to see PT Anderson's new flick There Will Be Blood. However, a 10:30pm showtime for a 2.5 hour movie was not going to happen. It was fitting that we found Caddyshack on cable. It had been a while since I saw Caddyshack from start to finish. Forgot how much I loved that movie. And Nicky realized that a lot of odd sayings that I'll blurt out had origins in Caddyshack quotes.
I stayed up late on Wednesday, mostly catching up on email that I blew off while writing in Las Vegas. I was up early on Thursday to write, then spent most of the morning/afternoon uploading flicks and writing posts for LasVegasVegas and my music blog.
Since we ate breakfast early and skipped lunch, by mid-afternoon we were both starving. We knew that most of the LA restaurants were going to be slammed on Valentine's Day, so we decided upon a late lunch/early dinner at Swinger's. They have a great jerk chicken dish on the menu with black beans and fried plantains.
On Thursday night, we smoked blunts and watched Annie Hall and it made me miss New York City. My schedule is hectic the next month and I'll be spending a handful of days in New York City, which is much more like an aircraft carrier. It's a launching place for me in the next month with upcoming trips to Europe, Florida, and back to Las Vegas.
I woke up on Friday and felt blah. It seemed like a cold was brewing. We went to breakfast at Nick's. I had been ordering egg white omelets, but went with a normal omelet. I knew that I needed some extra protein, especially since I'd be flying into NYC at 10pm and JetBlue does not offer meal service. I got the turkey sausage... and what's the point? It tasted blah and I won't be getting that ever again.
Flying with a head cold is a nightmare, so I did what I could to prevent the onset. I hoped that I could shake it before I got on my flight. However, as soon as I arrived at Bob Hope airport in Burbank, I felt worse. I popped some cold meds and drank lots of liquids.
I had flown into Burbank a couple of times, but never flew out of it. Bob Hope has two terminals. My terminal had eight gates and the closest magazine stand sucked. It had tons of men's health and fitness magazines and a horde of fashion and beauty magazines. The rest were tabloids. I couldn't find the new Rolling Stone or even a random sports magazine. Instead of reading, I played online poker while I waited for my flight.
My flight was delayed for 45 minutes. All on tarmac too.
Flight Delay and Stuck on Tarmac Music...Lucky for me, our flight was about 1/3 empty and had less than 100 people on an Airbus 320 that seats 168. I had an entire row to myself. Of course, without fail, there was a baby three rows in front of me. He started out chill, but started acting up about ten minutes in the air. He did not shut up for the first three hours of the flight. The Xanax and Bose headphones helped, but I could still hear his wailing from California all the way through Ohio.
1. The Bees
2. The New Mastersounds
3. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan
I rarely watch TV and the only time I have free time to surf the boob tube is during cross country Jet Blue flights of five to six hours in length. I watched the Dog Whisperer and checked out two next channels... Big Ten and ESPNU. There was a doubleheader... women's Manhattan College/Iona game on ESPNU, followed up by the men's teams.
I ignored all of the news channels. The NYC channels were up in a frenzy over the brutal murder of a psychiatrist. It sounded something right out of Law & Order. I ignored all of the alphabet news networks. I could care less about the election and the last thing I need is to be bombarded with distractions and white noise. And if they weren't talking about politics, they were sensationalizing another campus shooting.
My new favorite TV show, Ramsay Kitchen Nightmare, happened to be on BBCAmerica. After that episode, I watched a couple of hours of the Food Network, and then opened up my laptop and wrote for the last two hours of the flight... until the juice ran out on my laptop while we were in a holding pattern over western Pennsylvania.
In Burbank, I checked my big backpack even though it was not filled to capacity. It's a little too big for planes. I had to wait for it to get spit put at baggage claim. It's filled with lots of summer clothes for my trip to Florida in less than three weeks.
The taxi line at JFK was ridiculously retardedly long for a Friday night. I negotiated a nice deal with a gypsy cab driver. He drove fast while he listened to a right wing talk show host. All she did was bash Obama for the duration of the drive. I caught a glimpse of the construction on the new Yankee Stadium and realized it's been a long time since I've been in NYC.
When I finally arrived home, I sorted through a huge bag of mail after accumulating almost seven weeks of mail. I had my mother mail me a couple of paychecks in Hollyweird, but I managed to discover two checks from freelance clients. That was a nice discovery.
I sorted the rest of the mail into piles.... junk mail, maybe junk mail but I have to open it to find out, bills, and other. I sorted through all the magazines... alumni mags, poker magazines, comped magazines that I write for, and mail order cataloges. There was also a lot of tax stuff, like W-2s.
I had a couple of packages, like a couple of used books that I ordered. There was a Christmas present from Molly! It's always cool to get a gift when you least expect it.
And my new backpack from REI arrived. I didn't have a bag that was a size between my book bag and my backpack. I can use it for my laptop or I can use it for luggage for a long weekend trip. I might break it in for this upcoming week in Europe, but I'll have to do a test pack first.
And then there was something from American Express... a brand new gold card. I forgot that I applied for it during Christmas. They must have approved me. My credit is still shit, but over the last four years it's perfect. I'm surprised that I got it because I had run into some problems with Amex when I had a card and never paid my bill. That was in 1999 and it was like $140. I guess my credit is much better these days. In the last nine months, I managed to get a Banana Republic card and an Amex.
And I shredded the dozens and dozens of pieces of junk mail that I got from other credit card companies that want to hook me up with credit.