Tuesday, December 19, 2006


My flight from LA to NYC was delayed a few minutes. Instead of sitting down in the terminal, I stood up and leaned against the wall of Long Beach Airport. I knew I'd be sitting for almost five hours so relished the opportunity to walk around and stand up.

There was a cute college-aged girl with curly blonde hair going home for Christmas break. She wore a sundress, Uggs, a light winter jacket, and a ski cap. She had that tinge of Lindsay Lohan trashiness that she might actually have an eight-ball on her, but only $8 in cash and a Platinum American Express Card in her pocket book. She thumbed through a copy of US magainze, then moved onto the lastest issue of Premiere. Fucking actresses.

I was assigned the exit row on my JetBlue flight, which meant more leg room. I feel confident in my ability to handle the exit doors in case of an emergency. And the best part is that I'd be one of the first people off the plane in case it happens to crash and there's that 1% chance I survive without any broken limbs, then I'll be able to pop that fucker open and slide on out leading the rest of the plane to safety. But the leg room was the best part about the flight, that and the fact there was only two empty seats on the entire flight and one of those was next to me.

I flipped back and forth between the Food Network (Rachel Ray doing holiday meals and treats) and the National Geogrpahic channel talking about volcanoes and plate tectonics. I watched ESPNews cover the brawl in the Knicks-Nuggets game and must have seen that video footage a hundred times before we even got into the Eastern Time Zone.

We arrived at JFK exactly on time due to a heavy tail wind and our flight was a little more than 4 hours and 15 minutes. Like the captain promised, he made up the time in the air. That might have been a record for me, flying from Southern California to NYC in 4:15. And then I got luckier. Although I had to wait forty minutes for my luggage to spit out on the baggage claim belt, I was the second person in line at the taxi stand. It was almost empty at 1am and about twenty cabs were lined up with no customers. The cabbies were milling around in a circle smoking cigarettes while I lumbered up with my bags.

My cabbie asked if my flight was delayed because he had been waiting ninety minutes to get a fare. That was rare for the holiday season at JFK. I felt bad for his lost time and gave him a $20 tip.

As soon as I got home, I began the routine. I put all my mail in a pile and began the sorting process. A few gifts for relatives came and I put those aside. I separated the bills and statements from the junk mail. I put aside a couple of paychecks. I sorted through all of the mail-order catalogues, alumni magazines, film & poker & sports magazines and made two piles. I threw out all of the junk mail, alumni mags, and catalogues. I kept the other magazines and would dig into them on various trips to the bathroom over the next week. I ripped open a couple of pay checks and marked off that I had been finally paid for those freelance articles.

There's a three to six month lag from the time I submit a piece to the time the piece is published and I actually get paid. Yes, I'm finally collecting paychecks from things I wrote this summer at the World Series of Poker. I won't get compensated for some of the articles I've been working on this month until after Memorial Day. If I can get everything by July 4th, I'll consider myself lucky.

I unpacked my carry-on bag which is my laptop and a few items like books and my notes. Then I took on the tough task of unpacking my big bag. I noticed that the straps were undone and as I unzipped the main compartment, I found a buck slip from the TSA. My luggage had been inspected by the powers to be in Homeland Security and they left a kind note saying that they peeked at my dirty underwear and went through my entire piece of luggage looking for Osama Bin Laden or who knows what. I'm 98% sure everything is where it should be.

On Sunday night, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at 3am and didn't wake up until 10am. I slept for seven straight hours without waking up once. That happens about once a year for me and usually I need the assistance of a sleeping aid or painkillers to knock me out. My body was so exhausted after a seven week bender which included two trips to Las Vegas and a trip to Amsterdam.

When I woke up, I was still tired and felt like I needed another two or three hours. I forced myself to get up because I had a shitload of writing to do, errands to run, Christmas presents to buy, and a month long trip to Australia to prep for. I had no time for sleep and was burning daylight. But I was glad I got seven straight hours. My body needed it.

I found an entire bottle of generic Vicodin yesterday (thanks to my mother). She was going to give it to me a few weeks ago after dental surgery, but she forgot. I stumbled upon those gems and my mouth began to salivate. Nothing takes the edge off a tough day like a Vike and a bong hit. And yes, Trey was busted in upstate NY last weekend with a bottle of the same pills!

Recent Writing Music...
1. Eric Dolphy
2. Brian Jonestown Massacre
3. Tool
4. Galactic
5. Yonder Mountain String Band

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