Other than the nagging, though, we did have a good trip. Over the course of the trip, we did the following: Reagan Library, parents met my brother's new girlfriend, Hollywood Walk of Fame (total tourist trap, as expected), watched the sunset at Dume Point, Thanksgiving dinner at a very nice restaurant in Malibu, LaBrea Tar Pits, Automotive museum, Black Friday shopping at a mall, Placa Olvera, dinner at a garlic-themed restaurant (The Stinking Rose), and hopped on the plane still smelling like garlic for the flight home.
Pics here, will leave the account public for a few more days before I lock it up: https://www.instagram.com/richaarde/
- On the flight there, someone in another seat was watching All The Way, starring Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon B Johnson. I was listening to music and kind of watching along from far away. It looked like a good film. I kind of want to see it now.
- Somewhere along the way, I picked up a case of bronchitis. I was coughing through most of the vacation. This morning, my doctor gave me some industrial-strength cough syrup and some antibiotics this afternoon. Blah.
- I am supposed to have a job interview tomorrow, but I'm really in rough shape. I should probably call them tomorrow morning and ask them to move the interview. It probably seems like poor form, but if I'm in bad enough shape to go to the doctor then I probably should stay home.
- So I am flying out to Los Angeles for a second time, as I may have mentioned. This time, the whole family will be spending Thanksgiving together. I will once again be making my Instagram public, so if I take photos you will be able to see them here: https://www.instagram.com/richaarde/
In addition, the pics I took with Vermin Supreme are there.
- Speaking of Vermin, I read his book to take my mind off of the recent election. Oh my Lemmy, is that man ever batshit insane...
The man is absolutely hysterical in person. Obviously, we did some of the sing-alongs he heckles regular politicians with, but since he was with a friendly crowd, he also threw in a few highlights from his long and storied career. Like in the early days when he started doing this, running for mayor of the eastern seaboard, he was at Rutgers University doing a sing-along while a police officer was searching him for weed. He also did a Q&A in character, where he gave absurd answers to anything people asked him.
Most of the people there were teens and college-aged people, though there were a few people there my age and older. He was pretty impressed that I drove all the way from New Jersey to see him. I got his book autographed, and I also got a t-shirt and bumper stickers. I'm totally glad I drove out there to see him.
Not from the event I was at, but here is Vermin giving his stump speech:
▪ Med update: I switched from topiramate/amitriptyline for the headaches to just topiramate. The topiramate is kind of sedating, though, worse than the amitriptyline was, but it's working and at least it doesn't cause weight gain. I also didn't like that I was effectively taking two antidepressants, Luvox for mental health and amitriptyline for headaches. That really muddied up my mental health plan, and I wasn't really comfortable with that.
▪ A big farmer's market a few towns away from me had Indian bitter melons, so for the heck of it I bought a few. I ended up with a chicken stir-fry of sorts. I liked it, but I like all sorts of weird-tasting foods. I'm willing to bet that most people that aren't used to that cuisine wouldn't be big fans. I will probably be buying that vegetable every so often in the future.
▪ Just in time for Halloween, here's how to make a leg cake:
I was in California two years ago (those photos are in my Instagram, too, just scroll down further), but that time we headed north from Los Angeles. This time we headed east through the inland empire and into the desert.
( Cut for TLDR... )
It's interesting driving around in the southern California. First of all, everywhere you go, there are broad, flat valleys surrounded by high mountains. That is completely unfamiliar terrain to me. Secondly, I come from a state where every square inch of land is incorporated. It's weird driving dozens of miles down the highway without seeing anything. No farms, no towns, nothing but desert scrub. Thirdly, except where interrupted by hills, the developed areas are laid out pretty much rectangularly (is that a word?). Where I am, people set towns up wherever they found a spot, and the roads that connected those place form a tangled web.
I did enjoy the trip, but I'm also glad to be back.
For those that aren't aware, the Salton Sea was a lake accidentally created in the desert when an irrigation canal broke through its banks and flooded a large area in the California desert that lies below sea level. Initially, it was a resort area. However, since water can only flow in and then evaporate, it slowly became saltier and more polluted. The resorts around the lake are now mostly abandoned. I don't know why, but stuff like this fascinates me, and I've always wanted to see it. More info here, if you're interested in reading about it: http://www.vice.com/read/i-went-to-
I will temporarily make my Instagram public during and for a short while after the trip, so you all can take a look.
Also, if any of you have any ideas of some fun things to do in LA for the day the two of us will be in town, let me know.
♣ An international food market opened in the place of the Pathmark supermarket in my town. They've stocked a number of fruits and vegetables I've never seen for sale before. They have had fresh breadfruits, jackfruits, mameys, and even frozen durians.
As a side note, if you ever have the opportunity to try a cherimoya fruit, do so. They have the most wondrous fragrance I've ever gotten from a fruit. I probably should have let it ripen a little longer than I did, but it was delicious nonetheless. I will have to buy another one and let it ripen up.
♥ The amitriptyline and topiramate combination seems to be mostly knocking out the headaches, and it isn't scrambling my brains nearly as much as the gabapentin was doing. But the neurologist wanted me to take one drug at a time, and it didn't work unless I took both drugs. I see him again on Tuesday, so I'll have to see what he says. The psych was ok with me taking the amitriptyline with the luvox, since I'm taking a fairly small dose of both drugs.
♦ I dumped way too much money into my car, but it passed my state's emissions inspection. (Six months late, but oops.) Now, after I put new tires on it, I won't have to worry about it for another year and a half, so there's that. And every month I drive this car is a month I don't need to make a monthly car payment, so I'll hang on to it for a while longer.
● The life odometer has rolled over to the next number and now reads 40.0. Funny how our culture seems so hell-bent on clinging to youth, selling us chin lifts and hair dye and facial fillers and whatever. I'm not 20 years old anymore, I don't feel it anymore, and I see no reason to pretend to be something I'm not. I'm finding more and more gray hairs in my hair and beard, and my face and body are a little fuller than they once were. And you know what? People still find me interesting and still want me around. So I'll just keep on doing what I've been doing, trying to keep myself healthy but not getting bogged down with little stuff.
● I was just at my cousin's wedding yesterday. I don't know how they found this chapel... The building and grounds are absolutely beautiful, on a mountain with a clear view of the New York City skyline, and then once inside, the place was finished so modestly. Ordinary ceramic tile floors, plain painted walls, cheap suspended ceiling with cheap plastic-lens fluorescent light fixtures. The carpet they rolled out was this flimsy fabric thing that people kept slipping on. Neither the organist nor the violinist were particularly accomplished players, and they didn't seem to be able to keep in tune or in time with each other. And the microphone on the violin kept cutting in and out.
Then again, judging by the amount of alcohol that was served at the reception, my guess is that most of the guests won't be remembering much of the event anyway. So maybe it didn't matter? And the wedding reception was absolutely phenomenal.
● Off the gabapentin. I was given topiramate and amitriptyline to see which works better for the headaches. Except that I was supposed to take one for two weeks and the other for two weeks, and he didn't give me a strong enough dose of either, so I've been taking the topiramate in the morning and the amitriptyline in the evening.
Holy hell, is amitriptyline sedating. I've forgotten how bad the TCA drugs are. This is not going to be a good option. Topiramate has this wonky side effect where you can't remember words while you're talking, but it isn't as thoroughly stupefying as gabapentin was. So far it seems to be the most tolerable of the drugs I've taken for headaches.
● I am out of work AGAIN. Officially, the company was out of work, but I'm really suspicious it was the gabapentin that did me in.
Seriously, I don't even know if I still want to do this for a living. I've been averaging a new job a year for the past five years. I can't keep doing this.
● My brother talked me into visiting him in LA again, and my parents said they'd pay for a plane ticket. So I will be on the west coast for a few days in the upcoming weeks. We talked about driving east into the desert this time, maybe seeing Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding area.
● Mental note: Don't crush a durian.
Keeping you all posted: Maple bacon pop tarts are ok, but not great. Also, they don't actually contain any bacon.
I'm usually a bigger fan of the fruit-flavored ones anyway. The s'mores ones and the cinnamon ones never really did it for me.
I went shopping for suits with my parents, since I need one for my cousin's wedding next month, and my dad and I could take advantage of a two-suit deal. I found a nice red fuzzy velvet jacket, but my mom wouldn't let me get it. She poo-poohed the leopard-print tie, too. She never lets me have fun. :P
Back to work tomorrow. My boss took a few days off, so it looks like I'll be fielding a ton of calls on a project we're working on. Hopefully it won't be too crazy.
I cleaned it up the best that I could, but it's still going to leave a splotch. I hope the condo association doesn't yell at me for messing up the driveway.
And seriously... goddamnitsomuch...
Dad threatened to help me buy a new car, but even with his help I'm a little worried about taking on a car payment right now. So we're going to repair the carnage, and I'm going to squeeze a few more miles out of the old car for now.
The gabapentin is wiping out the headaches, but it's making concentration very difficult. I don't know how I'm getting anything done. I'm surprised my boss hasn't said anything to me about not being all there for the past month.
So the post isn't totally miserable, here's a video of a police officer singing karaoke in Glasgow: http://news.sky.com/story/cops-karaoke-