Saturday, September 02, 2006

West LA Hideout

On Monday morning, I woke up in Boulder with a wicked hangover and felt like overall crap. My weak body ached after three tough nights of partying. I was fighting a losing a battle with a cold-like symptoms. Nothing is worse than flying hungover... well possibly flying hungover with a nasty head cold. I did what I could and smoked a ton of weed, popped a few NyQuil day capsules, and took five Motrins.

The Joker and I ate a quick lunch on Pearl Street as the Colorado town buzzed with the latest news that the charges against John Mark Karr were dropped by the DA due to the false DNA match. Science proved what everyone in Boulder already knew... the creepy guy desperately wanted to be known as JonBenet's killer... but he didn't do it. The media circus was shut down just as fast as they pitched a tent and set up camp a few days earlier.

I arrived at Denver airport early. I drank an iced tea and played about twenty minutes of online poker on my laptop. I also read a small percentage of my email. Just after I finally caught up on 90% of it during my last week in Las Vegas, a new batch flooded my inboxes. It's been getting so bad that I actually dread opening up my email. The volume is stupendous. The junk mail is multiplying as we speak. I despise email which is bad because there are somethings I need to find for work related things or hearing from old friends.

I desperately need email for communication and work, but at the same time I'm loathing it's mere existence. It takes me too much time to sort through the junk and find the real meat. It sucks away my time and energy and I need a solution otherwise I'll be a slave to my email two hours a day for the rest of my life. I might have to do what Wheaton or Paul Phillips do... read email but not always answer it back. I really don't see any other choice.

I'm gonna ask my friends and clients to call me if it's something important instead of shooting off an email. I only get about 15-20 calls per day versus several hundred emails a day. If I don't check my email for a few days, it builds up to over a thousand. Nothing is more annoying than getting a gripe, "Dude, didn't you get my email?" when they could have simply called.

I eventually do get it, but it takes me twenty minutes (on a slow day) or two days (during a busy stretch) to find it. A quick phone call can change that.

Before I boarded the plane to LAX, I made myself another shallow and empty promise to avoid spending too much time on my laptop aside from cranking out Truckin', my daily two hour free write, and the occasional hour or so playing online poker. I was supposed to be on vacation and relaxing before I start my new project next week: the rewrite on Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. I reminded myself that's why I was going back to Hollyweird... for a vacation and to spend time with Nicky.

Of course, my flight to LAX was delayed, which happens when you don't fly on JetBlue. I knew we'd be late when I looked out the window thirty minutes before my schedule flight departure and didn't even see an aircraft in front of me. Ten minutes later the plane arrived which began the forty minute process of unloading those passengers while the crew got the cabin together for the flight out to LA.

We ended up only being 15 minutes behind schedule. I sat next to an unfriendly actress/model/whatever. The six foot tall brunette wore skimpy designer sweatpants and carried two blankets with her. She wrapped one around her legs and the other wrapped around her thin body. She looked like a model burrito in two uncleaned American Airlines blankets, as only her head popped out of the red cocoon. She slept for most of the flight and missed the beverage service. For $109, I got a cup of bottled water with three oversized ice cubes and a pack of peanuts. She didn't miss anything.

I sat and listened to my iPod, specifically early Grateful Dead during the infamous Pig Pen years. I finished reading a book that a colleague of mine wrote... Why You Lose at Poker by Russ Fox. I made a few notes for a review I'll write over at the Tao of Poker. The model next to me woke up around thirty-five minutes outside of LA. She asked the very flaming flight attendant for two glasses of water and thumbed through a copy of Rolling Stone magazine.

I didn't have to walk far from my gate to the baggage claim at LAX, which could be a logistical nightmare sometimes. I've done my best to avoid flying in and out of that crazy airport, preferring the JetBlue route out of Long Beach. It's not as close as LAX, but it's a substantially smaller and more pleasant airport and the last time I checked, Islamist fundamentalists didn't have Long Beach on their list of hard targets like LAX.

Nicky was patiently waiting for me by baggage claim and it took only twenty minutes for my bag to appear on the slow-moving belt. She told me about her latest car trouble and how her breaks went out on the freeway. Luckily she was OK and the car was in the shop. Instead she had a rental. Just when I thought I escaped the PT Cruiser... it reappeared. Nicky's was a white convertible. The best part was the free satellite radio included in all Hertz rentals. On the ride to her apartment in Beverly Hills, we listened to the Jam On station which featured two Phish songs, Bob Marley, String Cheese Incident, and Widespread Panic.

On Monday night, we headed over to the Farmer's Market for a quick bite. I love this tiny Italian joint all the way in the back that serves amazing chicken parm panini sandwiches. Nicky settled on Cajun food and we actually ran into her rommate Showcase and his new lady friend as they were walking around. I usually down a shake for dessert at Bennet's, but passed because I was trying to consume a more balanced and healthy diet in order to shed the 15 pounds I added while on assignment in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, we woke up early and headed to John O'Groats for breakfast. It's one of my favorite places to eat in Hollyweird. Plus they have the best French Toast and bacon in all of LA county. I skipped the breakfast potatoes in an attempt to eliminate too many carbs from my diet. I feasted on four thick slices of bacon that are hard to the touch, snaps when you bite into it, but it quickly melts in your mouth. It's crispy, but not burnt. Yes, it's the perfect bacon. And O'Groats uses real cinnamon bread for the French Toast.

After breakfast, Nicky headed off to work for one of her freelance assignments while I sat in the apartment by myself toiling over the late August issue of Truckin' and dodging flies that were dive-bombing my head every four minutes. Editing Truckin' can be a bitch and figuring out my story for the month was harder than I thought. Nicky's apartment is spacious but has no AC, which is a shocker. That's due to the ancient windows (circa 1955) in her old apartment. She has plenty of fans, but it wasn't the same as the frigid AC that cranked 24/7 in Las Vegas. It was a minor adjustment and I found myself stepping outside every half hour to get some fresh air.

I played poker online for a few hours and wrote up my review of the Galactic shows in Colorado. I also had a list of random things to do like set up the Pauly's Pub fantasy football pools, fax some paperwork over to Fox Sports, and clear off some space on my hard drive. I sent thousands of photos that I took during the WSOP to the trash but it took my three hours to look through most of them.

For two days while Nicky was at work, I sat in the semi-hot apartment sitting as close to the fan as possible. I struggled trying to squeeze a week of work into two days. Editing is a pain in the ass and grunt work is not my specialty. I ran into a few snags (like the template) but got the August issue out and was reminded why I love writing much more than being on the other side. I also made another vacant promise to get the issue out much earlier next month. My goal is to have the January 2007 issue come out no later than January 5th... the latest. I publish August's issue on August 29th or 30th. My gameplan is to have September's issue done by the 20th, October done by the 15th, November by the 10th, and December 5th. That gives me 25 days to work on Truckin' the next few months. With a light work schedule the next few months, that should not be a problem.

Of course, the best part of being in Hollywierd is having access to Nicky's cable TV. I went without TV the last couple of months. Grubby didn't have cable and I missed some of my favorite shows. Nicky has the entire season of Entourage saved via HBO On Demand. It's an amazing feature and she has it for all the premium channels. I watched a few episode of Weeds on SHO and finished the entire season of Entourage. Like Derek, the Joker, and everyone else told me, the Las Vegas episode was one of the best of the season. I really dig that show and can go back and see everything from this season.

Recent Writing Music...
1. John Coltrane
2. Ben Harper
3. Jerry Garcia Band
4. Radiohead
5. Neil Young

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