Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Zuma Days

When I walked outside my apartment in Henderson, I could see Black Mountain. When I walked down the street from the Joker's house in Boulder, I was greeted by the near by Flat Irons. In Hollyweird, when I step out into the alley of Nicky's apartment, I see Nakotmi Plaza the building that the first Die Hard was set in. It's actually pat of Century City, but that's one of the first things I see everyday in LA.

My intention were to re-read Jack Tripper Stole My Dog five times before Labor Day and that never happened. Truckin' took longer than I expected. Motivating myself to read when I was busy catching up with television and movies was more difficult than expected. Oh and the highgrade medicinal marijuana caused a major slowdown as I slipped into full vacation mode. It was either the Northern Lights or Cali-O that lulled me into writing mode more than reading/editing mode. As soon as I finished the August issue of Truckin', I spent most of my time writing about non-poker things and playing online poker late at night.

On Wednesday night, Nicky and I had dinner with Spaceman who was in town covering the Legends of Poker. Since it was around 9pm, our food options were limited. That's my biggest gripe about Los Angeles... is the sparse late night food choices. Since Doughboys closed at Midnight, we settled on that trendy eatery on 3rd Street that originally started out as a bakery before adding a cafe part with outdoor seating. I prefer eating breakfast and brunch there. Doughboy's specialty is the Stuffed French Toast which is filled with strawberry jam and cream cheese.

I ordered the Monster... a huge slice of focaccia bread topped with melted emmanthal cheese, grilled onions, mushrooms, and tons of beef. It's an open faced sandwich that comes with horseradish sauce. I also ordered a dish of taters White Trash style which comes with bacon, onions, chopped beef, and tons of velveeta cheese. Nicky, Spaceman, and myself ate it for an appetizer and we couldn't even make a dent. With almost 50% of the Monster left over, I surrendered and asked the waitresses for a to-go box. I was forced to bring the Monster home.

During the days when Nicky was away at work, I'd sit around and write in the steamy apartment. Showcase would bring a couple of dogs home with him during the afternoon. He's a dogwalker for uber-rich and somewhat famous clients such as an ex-spouse of a cast member from a popular HBO drama and he also takes care of a dog owned by of the actors from a famous NBC sitcom. The dogs of the stars roam freely in the apartment when he stops by.

Two months ago I was in Tennessee at Bonnaroo and watched a dude with possum-made boots snort coke off a buck knife in the middle of the crowd at Sonic Youth show. A month ago in Las Vegas, I lost $400 because Otis proved me wrong and ate two Keno crayons. And just the other day, I sat in a Beverly Hills apartment and played online poker while gay, nut-biting, toy humping sexually overactive dogs of famous actors hung out on the couch next to me.

One dog was nicknamed Gay Mack because he only liked to hump other male dogs. One was a a tiny red Dachshund named Billy. He was a pussy for a dog and could not leave Showcase's side. Billy would also chew and bite his testicles in order to masturbate. He did it for a few minutes while I sat on the couch and stared in amazement and jealousy. The other dog was a pug named Pug. He was the "biggest fuckin' pug" that I have ever seen. Pug liked to hump a squeeze toy that would moan when he mounted it.

One night after consuming copious amounts of medicinal weed, Nicky and I headed to Ralph's for a late night stoner's shopping spree. We only went in for a few items and $84 and thirty minutes later, we walked out with four bags of things. I dunno why I bought a bottle of Maraschino cherries bathed in sweet brandy. We bought three kinds of ice cream; Haagen-Dazs Vanilla, Ralph's version of Mint Chocolate Chip, and Ben & Jerry's Vermonty Python. We also bought a bottle of Aloe, whipped cream, Snapple iced tea, and Vanilla extract.


There are two types of LA people... day citizens and night zombies. Earlier in the year when I was in Hollyweird, I spent most of my time partying hard avoiding the daylight and roaming the city late at night during one of the most rowdy benders I've undertook in the last few years. We were vampires and slept during the days and partied every night until sunrise. I would not crash until 6am and by the time I woke up, everyone on the East Cast was leaving work for the day.

I tried to get up early on this trip, being a part of the healthy LA scene. Part of that was eating much better... lots of fruit and juices in the morning. For a couple days in a row, Nicky and I were up at 9am and we're out of the door by 10am headed to the beach. We needed to get an early start during the holiday weekend. Since I'm on a donut diet, I could not eat the donuts at Yum Yum on La Cienega, which we would pass on our way to the freeway. I would always order a croissant and an apple fritter. Although a fritter is just like a donut, it's technically not one so I found a loophole in my donut diet. But I've been donut free for over 12 days and counting.

The drive up to Zuma Beach in Malibu was not bad if we left the city around 10am. We'd be physically on the beach no later than 11am in a decent spot too. Zuma is one of my favorite places to hang out. The beaches are very clean and the view is magnificent. We'd stay for two or three hours while Nicky read Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live and I tackled my novel. I had a photocopy of JTSMD and a pen from the Excalibur in Las Vegas. The chapters were short (roughly 30 of them) and I pretty much tore my work to shreds.

Before we started going to Zuma everyday, I found it difficult working on JTSMD. There's something about the ocean or the beach or Zuma itself that inspired me to get my shit together.

It's strange re-working something I originally wrote four years ago. I'm a different person now and a different writer. I was working on Wall Street at the time I wrote JTSMD and I rushed it inside of ten days. Four years later, I'm no longer in the trenches and miraculously supporting myself as a writer. I'm a much better storyteller today so in a way, I'm not destroying my previous work. Instead I'm just telling it in a more concise manner. I'm eliminating a lot of the unnecessary filler and I will be adding more backstory to clarify some of the troubled areas in the book. The song remains the same. Ivan the Russian Cab Driver is alive again.

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