A solitary Sunday at the Grand Vista Hotel. I spent the entire day in the company of no one but Joe. Probably a good thing as I didn't shower today.
Awoke at 7-ish and try as I might could not get back to sleep, though I tried real hard till 8. Made coffee, flopped back into bed and flipped on the TV. Watched the end of Wonderland and the accompanying DVD, Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes. Very interesting bit of film making, more so for me because the documentary was co-produced by writer and fellow blogger, Rodger Jacobs. In addition to the following hyperlink, you'll also find a link to Jacobs' blog, 8763 Wonderland under my "Blogs I Like" section. For you trivia buffs, 8763 Wonderland Ave was the location of the infamous "Four-on-the-Floor" murders that took place on July 1, 1981 and which some people speculate Holmes participated in.
Went in search of breakfast around 9 or so and ended up ordering something from the hotel restaurant and lugging it back upstairs. Food in hand I continued the drugs and violence movie theme with Blow, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. Ehhh, it was OK. Well not even OK, mostly boring. And Depp's horrendous 80's style haircuts and clothes were not only horrendous but laughable.
After breakfast and a movie I took a run over to Robinsons-May. I had $75 worth of gift cards that I'd been sitting on for about four years. Received them from a So. Cal appraiser back in my former insurance life. Being that there are no Robinsons-May stores in No. Cal they simply sat in an envelope. They're gone now. Spent the full $75 and then some. Get this. During my first purchase the dumb kid behind the register accidentally handed me back the card that he'd zeroed out while throwing one with a $25 balance in the trash. I discovered this almost an hour later when at another register I was told that the card had a zero balance. It took me a little time to figure out what happened but needless to say that when I did I was flagging down a manager toot-sweet. The kid in question was an F.N.G but still that's not much of an excuse.
Sat at the bar at Red Robin's for lunch then came back to my room and my bed. To my dismay the maids had not "maid" up my room. No big deal. I dropped trou and flopped back on the bed. Imagine my surprise when about a 1/2 hour later I heard a couple of quick knocks and a key being inserted in the door. The old maid entered just about the time my zipper made it to half mast.
Before I knew it, it was 6PM. I needed to think about dinner so I drove to the video store to drop off a few and pick up a few more. Deciding on pizza I swung into Topper's and took a small 6-9 (that's pepperoni and mushroom for you current and ex Skipolini's folks or Two Can Chew for my Asian brethren) back to my room where I consumed nearly all of it while watching The X-Men. And speaking of The X-Men, they've been on pause for nearly 45 minutes now. Back to work tomorrow. For you too I imagine. Yes misery does love company.
So where was I? Oh, yea, getting up to speed. So it's 9:00 on a Thursday night in Simi Valley. I'm sitting at the desk in my 2nd floor hotel room. It's a nice room with a king-size bed and a little couch, a refrigerator and a microwave. My room looks down on the courtyard and pool. This hotel has been my home for the better part of the past two weeks and will remain so until next Friday. My family was with me until last Saturday when I drove them home. Now I am alone. It's nice to be responsible for no one but yourself and yet I miss them.
We left on Saturday, July 8th, driving first to Monterey where we spent most of the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. After dinner we continued south on 101, stopping along the way to visit one of the California Missions. I'm sorry but I don't recall which one. My wife will have to post that info below. We spent Saturday night at a Day's Inn in San Luis Obispo. We went to mass at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and walked around Mission Plaza which was bustling with activity for (gay)Pride in the Park. We even got to see Rupal, sans dress and wig, doing his sound check. Very exciting indeed.
So after helping a knock off sun-glass vendor display his wares (for which we received a free pair of sunglasses after buying two pair) we headed back down 101 toward So.Cal. Somewhere along the way we stopped at Mission Santa Ines where the boy and I chased lizards. To get to Santa Ines we had to pass through the oddity that is Solvang, a town with windmills on every corner and probably more than one pair of wooden shoes in every closet. Maybe it's just me (it usually is) but I think I'd find living in a place honoring all things Dutch to be just the teeniest bit annoying. Maybe it's the haircuts.
Anyway we had one more mission to hit and that was the Mission Santa Barbara, by far the most beautiful of the missions but by this time we (OK, I) was pretty anxious to get further south. And of course as soon as we were back on 101 we hit a shitload of traffic. The plan was to head to our hotel in Universal City, drop the bags, head over to Universal Studios for a few hours then drive down to Buena Park and catch Medieval Times , a dinner show complete with horses and jousting knights and eating with your hands. Great fun. Long story short, traffic sucked so bad that by the time we got to the hotel all we had time to do was throw the bags in the hotel, jump back in the car and head straight for Medieval Times where we cheered the Green Knight on to victory except that he lost. Boo.
OK, I'm supposed to meet some folks in the bar for a few rounds of billiards. Sit tight until I return...
5:12 pm. Friday, July 21
I'm back. No I haven't been playing pool all this time, in fact I never even played pool. The folks that I was expecting to meet weren't there so I hung out with some folks that I was not expecting to meet. Well actually I did expect to meet them because all they ever do outside of class is drink so odds were good that I'd find them in the bar. I am referring to the Texas 6; Monty, Forrest (yes, as in Gump), Aaron, Troy, Sean and Glenn. Five good ol' co-workers from various Texas hell holes who like their beer. Actually I'm not sure "like" is quite strong enough to describe an object with which, if possible, they would probably experience carnal knowledge. That being said they're the nicest bunch of guys you'd ever meet. If most Texans are like these guys then maybe it's not the shit hole I've always believed it to be. Do I want to travel there for a first hand report? Hell no.
So let me wrap this up. I'm at the end of my second week of training which has included a whole lot of pretty dull classroom instruction re: cars. Thankfully one of our instructors is quite entertaining, if you happen to find hyperactive schizophrenics entertaining. I certainly do. This Saturday I plan to drive down to Santa Ana and visit with an old high school friend of mine, her husband and their two daughters, ages 4 and 4 mos. I've not yet met their kids and have not seen the two of them in several years so I'm very much looking forward to it. My Sunday is currently open but will most likely involve time at the pool, perhaps take in the Reagan Museum. I've also got a stack of movies to watch including Wonderland, 28 Days Later, Blow, The Paper, The Kid Stays in the Picture,and Short Cuts. So you see, I've got important things to do. Is it any wonder that it's taken me so long to update my blog?
Mystery writer, Mickey Spillane has died at the age of 88. So far as we know there are no suspects other than Lady Death.
Spillane was best know for his Mike Hammer novels including "I, the Jury", "The Girl Hunters" and "The Killing Man." "The Girl Hunters" became a movie starring Spillane himself as Mike Hammer. Many other Spillane books also became movies.
Spillane considered himself a writer as opposed to an author, defining a writer as someone whose books actually sell.
"This is an income-generating job," he told The Associated Press during a 2001 interview. "Fame was never anything to me unless it afforded me a good livelihood."
My apologies for being absent the past week or so. I am currently in Southern California for three weeks of exciting, spine tingling insurance training! I'm in class from 7:30 to 4 Monday-Friday and in the down time have been spending a lot of time with the family at the pool or dining at some of Simi Valley's finer restaurants; Chili's, Island's, Denny's. And we would have dined at the very upscale Johnny Carino's tonight but apparently Friday is a big night to do the town here in Simi and we opted for Red Robin instead of the 30 minute wait.
I will add more trip details later but in the mean time allow me to bring you up to date on the recent celebrity deaths, of which there have been quite a few.
Enron Founder, Kenneth Lay
Croaked before he could be sentenced. Bastard.
June Allyson, actress
Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd founder
Kasey Rogers- Played Louise Tate, actress from Bewitched
The weather in Tahoe has been averaging about 80 degrees, perfect water weather, so today we took advantage of another beautiful day and spent several hours drifting down the Truckee river. It's been a few years since the last time we rode the river and last time it was not over a holiday weekend. Today the river resembled Spring Break: Truckee. Huge flotilla's of rafts and inner tubes, coolers of beer and tattooed and bikini clad youngsters. Oh yea, and an inflatable doll with which one young woman appeared to be engaged in an act of 69 as they navigated the icy waters of the Truckee. Yes it was a colorful few hours, both in sites and language. A little more colorful than we would have liked as the boy and girl were with us. But for the most part they seemed oblivious to the revelers, to busy jumping off the raft to float in the cold currents.
At the end of our three hour journey we lunched at The River Ranch. Now I'm beat. A long day of sun, exercise and food. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
I'm sitting on the back deck of our Tahoe pad. The sun is starting its downward slide, just below the tops of the pine trees. A cold beer by my side, my wife doing her nails. discussing The DaVinci Code, a book I have not yet read but that she's almost finished. She spent a few hours reading at the beach today while I finished Bukowski: A Life, by Neeli Cherkovski. I don't really want to read it (DaVinci) but probably will. Need to know if we truly are just "blind souls following the church". Regardless, I suppose we're all blind souls following our own church; the church of money, the church of happiness, the church of love, the church of fulfillment, the church of sex, of alcohol, of drugs, of acceptance. What's your religion? Bukowski's was the bottle and truth.
Speaking of bottles, mine's getting a little low. And I've a flank steak marinating that needs to go on the grill soon. Hope your evening is equally enjoyable. I'll pray that it is.