Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hollywood freaks on the Hollywood scene

Last weekend was my 2nd annual birthday/bachelor party trip. For those of you who haven't heard me mention this annual spectacle before, it's basically a bachelor party which happens to coincide with my birthday. In 2005 it was Las Vegas. This year: Los Angeles. And by Los Angeles, I mean Hollywood. What a bunch of freaks.

We started by driving down I-5 at the convenient hour of 6:30 pm because the bachelor, Cory, had a tough time getting off work in time to start drinking in the car. We picked him up from the Fruitvale BART station where we had a half-rack of Heineken mini-kegs waiting. I felt like a commando in the passenger seat handing out cans like I was loading ammunition into imaginary machine guns (our non-toned bellies, really); handing a fresh silver mini-keg to the back seat when they would hand me an empty shell.

It's never a good idea to drink in the car on a road trip unless you don't mind stopping every few yards to piss. Especially with 3 guys whose bladders aren't in sync. LLMB Reader #6 was driving, not drinking, so he didn't have the bladder issues the rest of us were having. But he was kind enough to oblige us our piss stops. That is until we reached Los Angeles. His patience having worn thin, he started pushing the bathroom stops to the exit AFTER we'd said we gotta go NOW.

Okay, enough with the pissing stories. For the actual bachelor party, we stayed at The Standard in West Hollywood. Hipster central. When we pulled up to valet park the car, the guy who took the keys looked like straight out of the Sabotage (Beastie Boys) video, complete with 70's moustache, shaggy hair and cop sunglasses. I thought it was a costume, but I soon realized I'm not hip enough to understand the fashion in Hollywood.

We went out for sushi at Miyagi's which included several sake bombs, more sake and more beer. Then more beer and beer. Our local Hollywood tourguide Luke met up with us and took us to Cahuenga, where we bludgeoned Cory with shots of Tequila, Jack Daniels ,and Jaegermeister (pause to vomit here). He ended up having to leave our second bar and wound up puking in the cab while his 22-year old brother tried to cover up the puking sounds with chit-chat about where to go for fun in LA.

LLMB Reader #9 and I got into a fight using the rubberbands that two hired hotties were handing out to promote some new phone service. I earned a pretty intense laceration on my upper arm that made me look like an S&M aficionado, while he managed a series of welts up and down his arm that he's probably having a fun time explaining to the clients he's in town to see this week.

After tucking the bachelor in his bed of pillows next to the toilet, the rest of us went to the lounge in The Standard. It was like a visit to India in there. I inadvertently told some women that it was my birthday and we got into the "how old are you/how old do you think I am" game. I wound up telling one of them I thought she was 34. She was 30. Ouch. I suck at that game.

We spent most of the next day hanging out by the pool. The real freaks started filing in at around 2 pm. A couple of guys looked like they were trying to sport Beck's hairstyle. One guy was bold enough to have a look that reminded you of Michael Jackson. Lots of kids drinking champagne. The buffed look is definitely out. You absolutely must look like a rockstar, moviestar, pornstar, or a hollywood player to hang by the pool at The Standard. If you look like you're gonna swim in the pool, you're invisible.

I won't get into the details of the rest of that evening, but I'll leave it to your imagination as to what goes on at a bachelor party.

To top off the weekend, at Sunday breakfast I had my most hugest star sighting ever: Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake snuggling over toast and eggs. How cool is that? I guess the Justin part isn't so cool. I should have shown him the moves I learned a while back from his boy band's music video while working as assistant editor with LLMB Reader #1. Well hopefully next year I won't see anybody from a boy band anywhere near my birthday. That is, if I'm lucky enough to have another friend get married next year. If you know anybody who intends on having their bachelor party the fourth weekend of June 2007, send 'em my way. Third time's the charm.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shinin' Star

We road tripped up to The Great Northwest last week. It was all fine and dandy until my first caffeine-deprived headache of the journey. I never thought I'd say this, but: Thank God for Starbucks Coffee.

Normally I try to keep my distance from Starbucks. Not that the coffee isn't good, it's because they're a little like Wal-Mart in their blanketing the block mentality. But the problem with being nowhere near a major city is that the coffee is almost guaranteed to taste like swill. You can tell it's swill when you're:

a. In a hotel and the coffee carafe displays the sign "coffee".
b. Standing there with a styrofoam cup in your hand and considering using the non-dairy creamer packets in front of you.

So Starbucks is the old standby. You're assured of at least the same non-swill because it's a chain. But as I found in Roseburg, Oregon, even Starbucks can be bad. How? I have no friggin' idea. But they can do that at Safeway in Roseburg.

I guess I haven't spent enough time working on my specialty coffee lingo, since I always order a house drip coffee. Because when I went into the Starbucks near my sister's house in Kent, Washington, I had a brain-cramp trying to figure out what those folks were ordering.

Kent, Washington is a little like... well it's not a little like anything. In fact, there isn't anything there but strip malls and houses. And trees. As we were driving into town, we saw a Kent City Center exit sign from the freeway. Lily and I looked at each other in amazement that we'd never checked it out before, so we looked from the freeway for the downtown. We saw a huge pile of dirt. We kept scanning. Nope, just a huge pile of dirt. There's Kent, Washington for ya.

Anyway, back to the Starbucks near my sister's. As I stood in line, I overheard a man ask for a vanilla double latte, sugar free with an extra shot of decaf. Even the cashier was confused. He said it again, like he says it every day in rote memorization. I stepped up to the counter and ordered my tall drip. The barista handed the man his drink and said "I didn't really know what to call it, but I guess you do." He giggled and said "The extra shot of decaf puts some of the flavor back in." I grabbed my coffee and headed toward the sugar station, and I overheard another man tell the cashier "vanilla double latte, sugar free with an extra shot of decaf." Lily assured me it must have been some frat prank. Yeah, a fraternity of 47 year old men. Thank God for Starbucks Coffee.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mr. Mom

My wife left me on Saturday. Okay, it's not really as dramatic as that. She had an all-day outing with the girls up in the wine country. So I became Mr. Mom. Because we've taken Judah in his stroller through our surrounding neighborhoods so many times that I could do it blindfolded, I decided to take Judah down to the Embarcadero to check out the farmer's market, and then to the Giants ballpark.

I grabbed the stroller, the diaper bag, my backpack, and of course Judah and headed toward the F-car line (for you non-public transpo types, it runs down Market street). When we got to Market, the F car pulled up across the street from us. I briefly considered jaywalking, but I'm sure Judah wouldn't appreciate it, given the amount of cars racing by. So we waited, and luckily the streetcar didn't make the light so I asked the driver if I could get on.

He opened the door and I fumbled to quickly get Judah and the diaper bag out of the stroller and fold it up. The driver was nice enough to grab the stroller and put it on board so I could handle the rest. I reached into my pocket and grabbed the buck fifty fare. The streetcar began moving. I lost my balance and had to take a step sideways so's not to drop Judah, then I was able to get the money into the coin box. Whew.

Not 5 seconds later, the streetcar made a lurch forward and I lost my balance again, nearly putting Judah on the floor. Luckily for him I have decent balance, so I just absorbed the motion with my knees and crouched for a sec and then made for the nearest seat.

Some 50-something tourist ladies in the nearby bench seat chuckled and one of them said something of which I could only make out "Britney Spears", and they laughed again. Ha ha very funny muthafucka. Judah and I settled into our seat and he seemed to enjoy the ride (as much as a 5 month old can anyway), and the tourist ladies gushed about how cute he is.

We had the same sort of adventure getting off the streetcar, except with no assistance from the driver this time. Same thing getting on and off the N going home. If I was a woman with a child, people would be tripping over themselves trying to help out. Man!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (part 2)

Because we aren't going to be seeing each other before Tuesday.

And keep going on this one, you'll get there eventually.

"We've got nothin' better to do, than watch TV and have a couple of brews."

Musical-bee robot - LLMB