Thursday, October 30, 2003

a snow day is much cooler than a fire day

on friday, i bought a parakeet. i still don't have a name for it yet. i almost got around to go clubbing, but everyone all of a sudden got the urge to just stay home and chill, which i had no problems with. so we ended up watching pirates of the carribean instead.

on saturday, me, ray, casey, stan, steve, mark, mark's friend, and trish decided to hiking at mission trails. it was a afternoon hike to watch the sunset, and a hike back after dark. i went on a last minute whim having been decided all day that i wasn't going to go because it would be a lengthy 4 mile hike (2.5 hours). but the day passed by rather fast, and having slept through the whole day, i just decided to go, and took some vicodin with me as insurance. before i went though, i asked ray how it compares to the very easy torrey pines trails. he said it was pretty similar, just not much to look at. boy was he wrong. long story short, if it was even 25% of the difficulty (and change in elevation) that it actually was, that would have been my threshold of what i would have agreed to. amazingly, i was able to complete the hike both ways, but i did take my time. at some points of the hike, i could only go about 30 feet and i would have to rest again. i amazed myself than more than anyone. and the amazing thing was i felt fine later that day, and the day after. my quads and hamstrings felt very sore for a day or two after that. i think the hardest thing wasn't the legs or the back that was killing me. about 75% of all that made it hard was the lack of any cardiovascular fitness.

so after exerting myself quite more than i do on a normal basis (at least the last 9 months), i got to sleep before midnight. sunday, i woke up around 7am to find something interesting up in the sky. half the sky was half blue half orange. naturally, i got out my camera and took some pictures. a few minutes later i started smelling it in my room. i first thought it was rather unusual for a fire at camp pendelton to make smoke in la jolla appear that thick. so i turned on my tv and realized there was a fire nearby.

i wasn't too surprised to find out that they would be closing the campus (and most of san diego) on monday. ray and i decided to go to mt soledad to get a better look at the fire. but mt soledad wasn't high enough, and even if it was, we'd still be in the middle of it. later that day, we found out that the mission trails we went to go hiking on the day before was going to be burned down.

school and work for me was closed again on tuesday and wednesday due to horrible and unbelievable air quality concerns. i decided to keep myself busy by doing what makes me feel comfortable during these uncertain times which meant pleanty of comfort food like (boba every day, 2 trips to bully's, greasy mexican food) and just hanging out with friends.

on tuesday, the air was so bad outside (note the time), i went in search for better air. i went to coronado bay and was disappointed to find out that the air still wasn't clean. i drove back to la jolla to find out that it was still about 100x better than the air we were getting in La Jolla, so Nguyen met up with me and i drove to coronado bay the second time with him. we just cruised around national city/chula vista afterwards, then came back. i don't know who brought it up but i had an itch to play some blackjack, and nguyen wanted to get some prime rib, so we decided to head out to a casino. viejas (power) and barona (fire) for sure were closed. pala casino had a crappy buffet. so our only choice was sycuan. we tried calling but their line was busy, and since it wasn't too far, we decided to just drive there. so we got off the 8 at El Cajon blvd. driving about 5 miles in, we noticed some nice houses. the roads were a little too quiet though. even at a crisis like this, there should be some gamblers on the road. so we keep on driving, and it is unusually dark. and we look around, and we are passing houses, but they all have their lights off. it didn't take much to realize the power was out. we kept on driving hoping for a miracle that the casino would still have power. but once we're about 200 yards from the casino, we see a small spray painted sign that says "casino closed". nguyen still feeling like getting some prime rib, we decided to go to bully's. that would be the 2nd day in a row i would be going there.

wednesday wasn't too eventful. i spent most of the day at home, preparing for the return to work after an unexpected, unplanned, uncertain, expensive, and bittersweet 5 day weekend.

this fire was something that no one was prepared for, especially san diego. even i for about a day felt threatened when the fire hit about 5 miles from us in 2 directions (clairemont mesa and miramar). i always assumed that if the apartment burned down, i'd be covered, but as the fire got closer, it dawned on me that that probably wasn't the case. i never had to think about it before. luckily the fire didn't advance further than those areas, but i will be getting renters insurance for sure. my boss erik wasn't as fortunate. his beautiful house on scripps is gone. but he has insurance that looks like they will take care of everything. hopefully everything will be just fine once he gets settled.

this surely will be a wake up call for all of san diego to be more prepared for something like this in the future.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

an embarassing night at pampas

the weekend didn't start out too well. i got stuck in traffic on the way home on friday. it took me 40 minutes to go 4 blocks on genessee. i got sun burnt (sans the sun) and i pretty much couldn't sleep at all. i took 20mg of vicodin within 4 hours to just make the night pass by. by saturday morning, i was running on fumes and in no mood to go to the air show. casey came over, and tommy came down from LA. we just chilled for a bit at home. then it was dinner time. friends from LA were getting out of the air show. 10 of us plus nguyen went to go have dinner at pampas. i must have done some pretty good convincing, and people must have been in the mood for some steak because 10 of us all got the same thing. the 12 oz filet mignon (bife de lomo especial). nguyen was the only one that got something else, a rib eye. the waitress after taking 5 of the same orders was kinda amused and asked us why we were all ordering the same thing and if someone told them that if the filet mignon was what was good there. naturaully, they all pointed the finger at me. if that wasn't embarassing enough, i had printed out coupons for all 11 of us for free empanadas. empanadas are basically hot pockets, just not as good. i was kinda annoyed when they mentioned that there is a 5 free empanada limit. she asked if we wanted to just order 5 or 6 more empanadas, and i promptly said "nah....". which a lot found funny, even though i felt terribly embarassed. still, as usual, the filet was top notch. people that could tell the difference all commented that the steak was amazing. i've been there about 8 times so far, and they have yet to disappoint. i really hope that the place is around for a long time.

after dinner, we all went to tapioca express. surprisingly, i met ray and jen there...they were supposed to meet us for dinner, but couldn't make it. we chilled there for a bit, and then just went back to my place and watched pirates of the carribean.

on sunday, andrew, jeff, kat, thomas and i went to go eat at potato shack. after making the mistake of ordering a sandwich there last time, i decided to get breakfast there. i got the combination with the top sirloin steak... even though i had pampas last night, the top sirloin they serve is really good quality, and i enjoyed every bite of it. i don't think i've ever seen anyone order the man hole sized pancakes, but the pancakes they serve with breakfast were friggin' huge. after brunch, i took the scenic drive home and relaxed the rest of that day.

supposedly, pat & oscars had a big e.coli problem, and a lot of people got sick. they lost about 75% of their business, and for the next couple of days, you can eat there for free. pizza, salad, bread sticks, and a drink. not bad. i'll be going there today. i hope they don't have crappy pizza there. it would suck to go there and find out they only are giving out cheese pizzas.

off the subject of food, everyday i'm starting to realize more and more that i'm not completely happy with what i'm doing with my career. i don't think i'm using my brain to the full potential. sure, a nice stable job is all fine and dandy, but i feel like i should be doing something more important and ground breaking. maybe i'll start looking into night school and get a second bachelors or a masters in computer science or engineering.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

my first real DMV experience

i've been to the DMV a few times, but it was years ago when I was getting my license. and the torrance DMV must be a good one because I don't remember waiting in line for more than 15 minutes the 3 times i've went. also, i was fortunate to qualify to not take the on the road testing at the DMV (i took it at the driving school). people always joke about how long you have to wait at the DMV. i always laughed with them kinda understanding what they are talking about.....but it wasn't until yesterday that i experienced all that is wrong with the DMV.

so i took wednesday off to get all my car things taken care of. my air bag (SRS) light was going off, low gas sensor was broken, i had 3 nails in my tires, and my car registration was expiring in october. so i make it to Cush Honda of San Diego off Mission Gorge...(I don't take it to Pacific Honda because they are all greaseballs there trying to replace something you don't need...air filter, brake pads, rotors way before you even need them replaced. and they don't even wash your car for you. Pacific Honda puts Honda to shame....but i'll save the ranting for another day.)

while my car is getting serviced at Cush, I walk around Home Depot (get stared down and approached by people looking to be picked up for temporary manual labor work...there's a thin line seperating these guys from prostitutes). then i wanted to get some breakfast...only place open? Taco Bell. every bite I felt like I was violating some rule as a resident of San Diego. Why eat here when you can eat at an authentic mexican place? So I had a 2 chalupas and a taco. At the end of my unfulfilling meal I get a call from Cush. Everything is done. No additional repair is necessary.

My next destination, Discount Tire Co. I pay them $16 to get the 3 nails removed and holes patched in my tires. i'm really convinced that there is some guy that gets paid by the tire company to throw out nails onto the road. its the perfect crime. They take a reasonable time to service my car and as I assumed they were going to do they underinflated my tires so that i would wear them a lot quicker so i'd need new tires sooner than later. did they think i wouldn't notice the difference having my tires change from 35 psi to 25 psi? they do honest work, but try to pull some scams at the end.

having 40 minutes to kill before my optometrist appointment, i decided to drive to the DMV that was around the corner. unfortunately i got lost for about 10 minutes trying to find it. I went in to peek and realized, there wasn't much of a line at all....even though there was an unusual amount of people standing outside the line for something. I was kinda suspicious, but I didn't want to be late for my optometrist appointment, so i decided i'll just come back later. went to costco to get my eyes checked, and also to get some tamales that everyone's been raving about. it wasn't to my suprise that they were sold out of tameles.

back to the DMV......oh...even less people in line...doesn't look to bad at all. I told them i needed the sticker for next year, so they gave me a number. hmmm....i look to my right.....all these people (about 100+) are waiting to be called. i sat for about 5 minutes and realized this was going to take a very long time.

so i gave myself about 45 minutes to roam around. luckily the DMV was right where El Cotixan, Hollywood video, and El Pollo loco was at, so it gave me something to do. Also, that plaza had a lot of small stores that I could check out. one of the stores was called TANNING... i walked by it, and being a novice to the whole thing, i was a bit hesitant to go in. not sure why it seemed like such a foreign thing to me. i felt though i was crossing some line, going against the rules i have set for myself. but i said what the hell, i'll just see whats involved since i got so much time to kill.

the girl at the counter was very knowledgable, and explained the whole process. basically, you put on some tan accelerating lotion, and you stay in the tanning be for about 10-20 minutes. basically you gotta establish a base tan after a few sessions, then you can tan however dark you want to be...then you gotta come back a few times a week to maintain it. it was a lot more work that i had originally assumed, but i thought it would be an interesting new thing to try so i gave it a go. all done. a few more sessions needed before i notice any changes. no big deal. not a bad experience. other than worrying the whole time about the girl setting my tanning bed for too long. next time i'll take my watch with me to make sure they are setting the clock correctly.

I left the tanning place, hurried back to the DMV to find out i'm only about 40% done on the waiting. I went back to that plaza to eat at El Pollo Loco, and this time I take my time to come back. When I get back, they are calling #168...being #172, I thought, whew...I got in just in time. I avoided all the frustration of waiting senselessly. I beat the system! Only a few more minutes to go. They call #170....then I read the sign "No credit cards or debit cards. Only cash and checks." FUCK!!!! What place doesn't take credit cards? This is San Diego, not the ghetto. even if I run to the liquor store, most likely I won't get back in time, and even if i could make it back, i won't be able to withdraw more than $300 (registration for this year is $326). Knowing it was going to be impossible for anything, I just went to the clerk and find out what they could do for me. she gave me something I can mail in with my check due Oct 20. Hopefully I'll get my sticker before November... What a day.

Friday, October 10, 2003

pain update

well, this week started off pretty bad. it was mostly due to the fact that i got used to the anti-inflammatories and the pain killers. i talked to my doctor and he said that i definitely could take more because i was just taking the bare minimum. so i started doing that on tuesday, and things have been a lot better.

i went to travis' birthday dinner at bucca di beppo in downtown san diego. that was a lot of fun. you can't not have fun when you meet up with a bunch of people to celebrate something.

i got 2 more birthdays this week. celebrating nik's tonight, and diem's tomorrow.

i found out about this game called simpsons hit and run. it is a fusion of GTA and the simpsons. the reviews say more than i have ever expected from a simpsons game. i'm gonna get it today. can't wait.

Friday, October 3, 2003

Jesus won't dump you.

i haven't been up to much....still dealing with a quite a bit of pain at times. mostly at night. walking around seems to be more comfortable...can't seem to sleep without taking just a little bit of vicodin. good thing i still got quite a bit left. i'm not taking much. probably the smallest dosage you can ever take of that stuff.

one of the things that sucked about the injury was that it happened at the favorite half of the year. i love the crispness of spring, and the long days of summer. now, its too damn cold it seems, and the sun goes down way before you have the chance to fully enjoy it. i went walking at torrey pines/blacks beach. i really want to go hiking/walking in that area as much as i can. its a shame i only discovered it just this year. but i hope to enjoy it from now on.

i've been eating a lot of pho and boba this week. my new tivo definitely isn't getting as much use as the one i was borrowing from casey. i think i'm gonna cut out the real forensic science shows. as much as i loved it, i got my fill. its all the same to me now. luminol, blood spatter, DNA, electrogas mass spectrometer. even the MO (method of operation) is all too familiar. people kill other people out of convienience, greed, or pleasure by people who see other people as pawns in their game of life. i've been still trying to keep up with the major shows, CSI, smallville, alias, nip/tuck, dead like me, etc.

not sure what i'm up to this weekend. i do want to do something big...go to vegas or NY....but would that be wise? i need a comfortable place to sleep. who knows, maybe i might just say fuck it, just do it and see how it goes. i'm not in that much pain.