Life Changes (Part 2)

In case you’re just joining us, this post is a continuation of my first attempt to bring my blog up to date since my previous update left off in September, 2006 (about two years ago). I had to give up around 3 AM, and that only brought me through February, 2007 (five months), so I’ve still got a way to go. To pick up where I left off last night, I was explaining at the end of my post:

And at the very end of the month [Feb ’07], I apparently bit the bullet and bought the airplane tickets and hotel reservation for the vacation to Los Angeles, CA we planned for March.

March ’07

After talking about a vacation for a while, and sucking at decision-making for a while longer, we’d just sat down one night and talked about various options. I don’t really remember the other things we discussed, other than skiing in Colorado, but Adrianne had never seen the ocean, and she disliked the cold, so Los Angeles seemed like a good option. If memory serves, we left mid-to-late evening on a Thursday or Friday, so that I wouldn’t have to take extra time off work just for the flight. We did take a rather charming photo (direct) during the otherwise uneventful wait in the airport, after which I think I probably slept during the flight (yay!). I don’t really remember the L.A. airport, but I do remember driving. It was probably after 11 PM by the time we left the L.A. airport and got on a five- or six-lane highway (each direction), which was still fairly heavily trafficked, mostly by people driving about 85 mph–I loved it.

We eventually made it to the hotel, but it wasn’t entirely clear to use where to park, so Adrianne ran in, and they directed her (us) to the underground valet parking–how very L.A.. We were on vacation, and living it up, so I embraced the situation, and started my healthy use of of the big wad of $1-bills I’d stocked up on for tipping. Once we got into the lobby, it became apparent that I had successfully picked a fairly swanky hotel (by my standards, anyway), with a ~6-floor tall open lobby (with fountains, of course), four glass elevators … this was no Residence Inn. (I later learned, from a plaque in an elevator, that parts of True Lies were shot in this hotel, and specifically that elevator.) We checked in, and the room was nice, though nothing particularly extraordinary. I’d picked a nice hotel, but just an average room therein. (<aside>I wonder if the best room in a crappier hotel would be nicer and comparably priced? An experiment for another time, I guess…</aside>)

I don’t remember the exact order of events (I could probably reconstruct it better if I had the photos in front of me, but alas, I’m writing this on my laptop on the train), so I’ll just give you an unordered list of things that happened:

  • I was able to successfully bypass the hotel’s lame attempt to gouge me for internet access. Take THAT (and the several hundred dollars I already paid to stay there)!
  • We received a phone call or voicemail or both from the front desk informing us that we would need to move to another room. They were sorry for the inconvenience, so they were going to set us up with a really nice room. It seemed pretty much the same to me, but I didn’t particularly care.
  • We took an expensive shuttle bus to the Getty Museum, due to somewhat deceptive advertising and impulse clicking. Morals of the story: Oritz sucks, and don’t ever buy the add-on packages/offers on travel sites. At least they did give us a nice tour of some parts of the city on the way back from the Museum. Other than the unnecessary/expensive shuttle, though, the Getty Museum was a pretty cool place (assuming you acknowledge that art is cool).
  • We drove over to Rodeo Dr., which is apparently the premier area for designer clothing stores (think Prada, etc.). I most like poking fun at the store that’s so pretentious that they don’t even have a sign up. The closest analogous example I can think of in Mineapolis is Chino Latino, a trendy uptown restaurant/bar. It’s also apparently considered luxurious for these stores to crank their AC as cold as it can go, and leave their front doors open. And people wonder why California suffers from brownouts? I think the only thing I probably could have afforded on Rodeo Dr was a $100 white t-shirt, and that prospect just didn’t jump out at me, so I walked away empty-handed. Tear.
  • I believe it may have been the morning/day that we were leaving that we drove up a little ways into the mountains and hiked around a state park. The weather was gorgeous (if not a touch too warm for my taste), and while we really had no idea where we were going, and didn’t really find one or two of the destinations we had casually decided to look for, it was still a great time. I was tempted to hop in the river briefly, but abstained. Driving on the winding mountain roads was also rather enjoyable (though, whenever it was that I happened to have to drive back into downtown L.A. during rush-hour was less pleasant).
  • Adrianne was assuredly more excited about this than I was, but one morning we had tea and crumpets (and other little breakfasty items, I believe) in the Tea Room at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. After the brunch-like thing, we walked around the gardens for probably a couple hours, which got to be a little hot, too, but they were beautiful (as you might expect). I especially liked the Japanese section, including bamboo (direct) :). There were also some really massive cacti, which I’m not sure I’d seen on that scale before, so I suppose that was kind of cool, too.
  • What would bringing someone to the ocean for the first time be without going to a beach? I guess I wasn’t prepared to answer that question, so I took the easy way out, and went to a beach :p. Rather than going to a potentially crowded beach right around L.A., Adrianne wanted to drive north about half an hour to some other beach she’d found (though, they have quite a few out there). Driving along the ocean is pretty fun, too, so I didn’t mind terribly, and while I do believe we missed our turn the first time, or possibly missed our beach entirely, we ended up at some sandy public oceanfront property, so I’d consider the endeavor a success. It was still only spring, which the locals consider too cold to visit a beach, so we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. I admit that the water was a tad brisk for actual swimming, but laying on the sand was still pretty fantastic. (After the beach we drove another 20 minutes, maybe, to some outlet mall, which was of little interest to me, but whatever.)
  • Although we didn’t make it up to the big HOLLYWOOD sign (I don’t think you can actually really get up there, anyhow), we did make it over to the famous Chinese Theater (wikipedia entry). We saw parts of the walk of stars, shopped at an American Apparel store (apparently novel–before one came to Minneapolis), and I bought some dress shoes (at Aldo, maybe?) while we were waiting around before our movie started. I believe we saw 300, which, I imagine, was pretty much the same as if we’d seen it for $10 per person less at a theater in Minneapolis. This strikes me as an attraction whose sole draw is that it’s an attraction. Skip it.
  • The last major activity I recall from the trip was a piano concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert hall was apparently designed by Frank Ghery, and looks rather striking both externally and internally (direct). We didn’t have the best seats in the house, but the acoustics really left nothing to be desired, and the music was spectacular, so I appreciated Adrianne planning that for us (which I think may have mainly been for me). Alas, I couldn’t tell you what pieces were played or by whom, but of the approximately half-dozen classical piano concerts or recitals I’ve attended in my life, I don’t think there’s been one that’s let me down yet. Maybe I’m just too easy to please, heh.

I’m sure there’s other crap I’ve forgotten, but I’ve now written far more about one long weekend in March than I can probably write about most of the remaining months of 2007 combined. I guess that probably qualifies it as a good vacation!

April, May

I’ve looked through email and facebook (haven’t had a chance to try to check out my own photos yet), but as best I can determine, virtually nothing took place during these two months. I know that it was during this span of time that my former roommate, Sweeney, (at this place) volunteered to move out and I invited Adrianne to move in (and she accepted). I somehow got out of helping Sweeney move (perhaps related to the fact that he, unlike myself, was a smart renter, and didn’t accumulate a myriad of [large] belongings), but definitely did not get off as easy when it came time for Adrianne to move in.

Adrianne was moving approximately three blocks from her old place to my place, but she still decided to rent a U-Haul van to speed the process (though, for some reason I still carried her desk by myself over to the new place). The weather was fine, and I think most of the move was pretty easy, but when we had to move her big wood wardrobe dresser contraption, things got a little dicey. The monstrosity must have been about seven feet tall and nearly 100 pounds, and while we had enough space to maneuver it out of Adrianne’s old place without tremendous issue, the same could not be said for getting it into my place. There was a delightfully tiny common entryway at my apartment, with the interior door to my unit immediately to the right of the exterior door. This meant that we needed to lift the wardrobe in upright, by its side profile to fit through the door, rotate 90 degrees to the right, and bring it through the inside door. And while this admittedly sounds straightforward at first glance, it was compounded by the fact that there was hardly room for the dresser and a person inside the entryway, and the discovery that it was apparently too tall to fit through the interior door. Due to the confined space, there wasn’t enough room to tip the unit to bring it through on its side (we tried a couple times), but eventually discovered that if we screwed down the feet the ~3/4" they were holding the base up off the ground, that we were able to force the dress through the doorway (a little worse for wear). Once inside, we were satisfied to leave it in the living room … for the rest of its time in the apartment :).


Despite having just moved in, Adrianne promptly had to leave for about 2.5 months for an internship at Nike corporate headquarters in Portland, OR (Beaverton, technically). I bought a used laptop off craigslist for her, since her old laptop was absolutely abysmal (a situation that I’d already mostly remedied with the desktop computer I bought her around February), and and she was going to need a laptop to use while she was in Oregon for the summer. I was adventurous enough to load up a fresh install of Windows (XP Media Center 2005) and Ubuntu Linux, and encouraged her to give Linux a try. To her credit, it’s my belief that she did almost exclusively use Linux for those 2.5 months, with the exception of needing to boot into Windows to use the Nike+ integration with iTunes. I have to admit, this was sort of a selfish experiment for me, to see how Ubuntu was perceived by a non-techie, but I think the only real issue she ran into was a result of my own poorly executed attempt to optimize the partitioning scheme on her system (and /home filling up). It had been quite a while since I’d even installed Windows, and was unpleasantly reminded of how much nicer the Ubuntu installation process is than Windows (at least, on all the hardware I’ve ever tried it on). But I digress…

It’s probably mostly a testament to how relatively sheltered/easy my life has been, but Adrianne leaving for Portland was incredibly hard for me. I don’t cry very often (perhaps not often enough?), but I certainly made up for lost time that day in June. But, we talked on the phone a lot (never before have I actually come close, much less had to actually worry about going over my 1500 minutes per month on my cell phone), talked on IM, and things were pretty alright.


…But how does the summer end?! What did I do with my time?! What did I buy to fill the void in my life?! The answers to these and other questions you didn’t ask and wish you never had to hear about are yet to come!

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