Sunday, March 15, 2009

jfk > burbank

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I woke up on Saturday morning in utter darkness. Friends in Las Vegas were sending me drunken texts. It was not that late their time but super early for me. I put on a couple of old Jazz records, the only thing that pierced the silence, as I wrote while the sun slowly awoke with the rest of the city.

I walked a couple of blocks to the bagel store as soon as it opened. I was starving and wanted to feast upon one last authentic NYC item before I split for the West Coast for an undetermined amount of time. I honestly don't know what my schedule will be the next two months. I might pick up a freelance assignment or two while I finish off Project Z... or I might stay put in LA while I finish it off.

I quickly packed my gear on Saturday morning. I acquired a couple of new things on this journey and I also left behind some items for the next Phish tour. Kinda cool to know that I'll be covering both poker and Phish this summer. I had been waiting a very long time for that to happen. I'll finally reclaim my summers back after being a whore in the poker industry for the last five years.

I stopped off at the Greek diner and picked up a couple of bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for me and my brother for lunch. I realized that my knee was stiff as I walked back to his apartment. It had been creaky all morning. I slept on it wrong and a bum knee was the last thing I needed on a 6+ hour flight to the left coast. I actually popped a half of a painkiller to dull the pain.

My cab driver was five minutes early. My favorite driver was unavailable, and instead, I got the chatty guy. I hoped for no traffic to JFK because I knew that would be five to ten minutes less of inane conversational that I would have to engage in. Within ninety seconds, he asked me about Twitter. He told me that it's his new addiction. I didn't tell him that I have an account.... because then I couldn't make fun of him. Awww, just kidding. He was a nice guy and got me to the airport kinda fast. It was interesting to hear his views on the latest rage in the social media world. He was in his 40s and not quite the tech-geek type. He used Twitter to follow his favorite porn stars, who have also embraced the Twitterverse. I wish that I acquired his username so I could check out the porn stars who he followed.

Somewhere on the Triboro Bridge, he told me about the different shows that he TiVo'd. He covered the shows by the days of the week starting with Sundays. He would spend about three minutes on the virtues of each show, before he moved onto to the next program. He said he loved Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and 30 Rock. That's when I sent Nicky a text and pleaded her to call me to save me from the banality.

Luckily, there was no traffic for a Saturday afternoon and we arrived super early. I had two hours to kill and I tried to get on the flight before mine that had been delayed an hour. There was only one seat left... it was a middle seat. Nothing else was available, so I opted to stay on my flight. I would have gotten in LA one hour earlier, but stuck in the middle. Nothing is worse on a cross country flight.... especially with a bum knee. If it bothered me, I wanted the option to stand up and stretch.

As I wandered through the airport, I quickly noticed the influx of young women wandering around in packs of five to eight. They were everywhere... at Jamba Juice... at the food court... in line at the gift shop. The airport seemed crowded, but it wasn't as bad as Thanksgiving week. It was just that the stores and shops had a reduced staff, so long lines were the norm with only one cashier in some places.

There must have been some sort of volleyball tournament because a different groups of girls dressed up in athletic outfits. And then of course, there where hordes of horny young women about to go on spring break to sunny destinations. Fort Lauderdale. Aruba. Cancun. Santa Domingo. San Juan.

A group of chicks in Columbia sweatshirts and Uggs, carried around copies of the Economist and US magazine and couldn't wait to get loaded and post tit shots to their Facebook pages. A group of three of them were huddled around a laptop and watched bootlegged version of Twilight.

I sat down and watched college hoops. The conference championships were the last chance to see teams play before the March Madness tournament. I liked to scout out teams at this juncture and figured out who I'm going to wager on in the upcoming weeks.

I put in a bet against Syracuse. Their magical run would need even more magic if they wanted to beat Louisville. I based my decision on the rest factor. They played seven overtimes in the previous two-games versus a Louisville squad who was well rested. Made sense to me to bet Louisville heavily.

I kept an eye out for Showcase's beer commercial. He filmed it last year and he thought it was shelved forever.... until he got a few emails last weekend asking him if that was really him in a beer commercial during a college basketball game on CBS. He's hoping that it gets heavy rotation during March Madness. That could translate into some big bucks. Of course, I watched a blow out in the Purdue game just to catch a glimpse... but I missed it. As soon as I boarded my plane, they aired it.

I watched the Pac-10 championships on CBS to catch a glimpse of Showcase's commercial. They aired it, but I missed it. My TV service went out ninety minutes into my flight. I was bummed out and called over a male flight attendant. I told him the truth...

"Bro, I have a big wager on the game. Any chance you fix my TV?"

The TV could not be fixed, but he offered to find me a new seat. There were no aisle seats available, but Seat 1A was empty. It was a window seat with no one in the middle. I grabbed my headphones and trudged up to the front of the plane. By that point, I had popped the other half of the painkiller. My knee still bothered me, but they rest of my body was set for smooth sailing.

I missed the commercial but luckily, Nicky TiVod it. I watched USC upend Arizona State and then Louisville finally pulled away from Syracuse in the second half... just as I hoped would happen. Dead legs.

I watched a couple of other things such as some special on the History channel about Aliens in ancient cultures including the bible. I'm a big believer in those myths and assertions that a lot of the gods from different cultures were actually aliens. Interesting program to flip back and forth to during timeouts in the hoops game.

For some reason, my flight was over 40 minutes early. We flew below 18,000 feet for about twenty minutes before we landed. Apparently, my cell phone worked and I was able to send Nicky a message. She had been following my flight online and knew that it was due to arrive at Bob Hope airport in Burbank much earlier than scheduled. For once, she was actually early... even though our flight arrived super early.

It was good to be back in California. When I walked into my office, I put my things down and remembered that I still had a lot of work ahead of me.

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