Thursday, December 22, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Again, I'm sorry for the infrequent blogging but I'm out having fun with my friends and that's probably more important anyway. I hope you're ready for a monster post because I have a lot to retell.

Dave and Tasha picked me up on Friday night and we headed straight to Marcus' apartment to get our drink on. Marcus has a sweet place in Queen Anne with a good view of the Space Needle and Puget Sound. The apartment is called Athena, a name that will always be dear to my heart. We drank a few Coors Lights and PBRs then moved on to the airplane bottles of booze. It's hard to take shots directly out of those things but I figured it out eventually. You have to hold it at a 45 degree angle to allow air to flow into the bottle and push out the liquor. If you have the bottle straight up and down, obviously it's harder to get the liquid out and if you hold it parallel to the ground, the booze comes out too slow and no one likes sipping on Cuervo. All of this may be old hat to some of you but I'm slower than most. Gonzalez showed up eventually as did Renee, Amanda and Steph a short time later. Steph hates the Jafro but Amanda thought it was really cool. I guess Steph just has no appreciation for true art. She went home after Marcus' place but the rest of us headed out to Tia Lou's. Tia Lou's is a club in Belltown that's pretty popular. It's not really my cup of tea since I prefer a more laid back atmosphere but there were so many close friends there that I couldn't help having a great time. Tye's shot exchange was in full effect and I bought double shots of tequila for Tye, Quang and myself. Quang is a short Vietnamese friend and he always makes the best faces after consuming tequila. At the end of the night, Tasha drove Dave and me back to their place in Auburn. Dave and I were planning on heading down to Vancouver, WA on Saturday morning but I was skeptical that we would actually wake up on time. I flt really bad for Tasha, driving our drunk asses 40 miles, so I tried my best to stay up and make idle chit-chat. Dave just passed out and only woke when we skidded though and icy intersection. He barked at Tasha, "Why are you driving so fast!" even though she was driving really carefully and the road was just really messy. Nice guy, Dave. After we regained control, we saw tires marks up onto the curb and tearing up part of someone's lawn. I think those people may have been the ones driving too fast. We got to bed around 3 AM and set our alarms for 9 AM.

Miraculously, we woke up on time and got on the road at a decent hour. Jimmy was only in town for a few days and we really wanted to see him. I had to drive Dave's car because he thought that he was still drunk. We stopped off at McDonalds and I got an Egg McMuffin meal with orange juice. Dave didn't think that he could hold down any food so we just got him a to-go bag that we would use as a barf bag if needed. He fell asleep pretty quickly and I powered though to Vancouver. He has one of those Nissan Z things and it's a really nice ride. I hadn't driven a stick in a while and it was an adventure getting used to the power but I picked it up after nearly making Dave puke a few times with my jerky shifting. We got to Jimmy's house around 1 PM and decided to head to Portland to do some tax-free Christmas shopping. We walked through Target and saw some cool stuff but didn't end up buying anything. Dave, the sweetheart that he is, shopped for some jewelry for Tasha but they didn't ever come over to help him so he left disgustedly. I told him that it looked like he was casing the place for a robbery, not shopping for his wife. He was hungover as shit, had a dirty beard working, and smelled a little like alcohol...or a lot like alcohol. We tired of shopping pretty quickly and headed to BJ's pizza to watch the Giants-Chiefs game. The Giants are a damn good football team and I hope they get the #3 seed in the NFC so that they'll have to meet the Bears in Soldier Field in round 2. I think the Bears are beatable when they have to go on the road but they're pretty damn near invincible with that defense at home in January. The perfect scenario for the Hawks would be to clich home-field throughout and have the Bears and Giants beat up on each other in their 2nd round game while the Hawks hopefully take care of business agaist the Panthers/Bucs. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let's clinch homefield throught first. I can't wait for the game on Saturday. Go Seahawks! Where were we?....

At BJ's Pizza, Jimmy and I ordered the combo pizza and Dave got a calzone. The pizza was really good but Dave felt liek his calzone was a little small. We're all spoiled by the monster calzones from Varlamos. I used my Treo to look up directions to the nearest Costco and we headed out there to see if we could spend some money. It was windy as christ(but how windy is christ, really) and Dave's car kept getting blown all over the road. We walked in and they had a Karaoke machine going and a tall lanky white guy was singing "Hero" by Enrique. Enrique is one of my faves so I instantly started serenading Dave. "Am I in too deep? Have I lost my mind? I don’t care... You’re here, tonight. I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away the pain. I will stand by you forever. You can take my breath away." I'm obviously a loud singer so when I turned around it was no surprise to see everyone in the store staring at me and lughing their asses off. I needed a new camera so I headed to the camera display, right next to the Karaoke machine, and they teased me a bit about my love for Enrique. I ended up buying a Kodak 5.0 megapixel camera because it came with an extra battery that I'll be able to use while traveling. It was $339 originally but had an instant $40 dollar rebate AND was tax-free. I like the camera a lot but I left it in someone's car and I'm not going to get it until tomorrow. I should have a lot of pictures to unload by next post. So here are my best purchases of the year:

1) Treo
2) Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Canceling headphones
3) New desktop computer and 2nd LCD screen
3) Magellan Navigation System
4) Digital Camera
5) Usher live in Atlanta DVD
6) Hooker in Barcelona

The Treo is amazing and I love having the internet at my fingertips everywhere I go. If I ever get into using the planner/contacts features it will be even more amazing for me. The headphones were really expensive but they are so awesome to have on the airplane. I love them. The computer works really well and having the second screen really helps while multi-tasking. The Magellan Navigation hasn't been used too much but I've really liked it when I've used it and I think that its value will truly come out during the baseball roadtrip. I've had the digital camera for less than a week so the jury's still out but I like it so far. The Usher DVD has been watched 3 times in the last 2 weeks, a sick amount of use. I didn't really buy a hooker in Barcelona but you could imagine how great it would be if I had! The only bad purchase is my laptop. It's very powerful and very fast but I wish I had focused more on portablitlity. It's a little bigger and heavier than I want it to be and it only has 2 hours of battery life because of the more powerful processor. If I had to do it over again, I'd spend more money and get something smaller and better. Oh well.

After Costco, Dave and I drove back to his place in Auburn. This time I got to sleep while he drove. I always feel bad when I do that to people on road trips but I was really damn tired. The original plan was to drive me back to Seattle on Saturday night but we were both so beat that we decided to head up there Sunday morning. It was really great seeing Jimmy, even though we had to drive about 5 hours to see him for about 4 hours. I slept really well on Saturday night and ended up getting about 9 hours of solid rest.

We woke up Sunday morning at 8 AM and headed up to Seattle. I had to pick up my luggage from Marcus' apartment because I had changed there before going to the club and couldn't find him again Friday night before going down to Dave and Tasha's. If you're paying attention, I wore the same clothes for 3 straight days. Sue me. Davis had mentioned on Friday night that we should watch the Seahawks game at his place so we headed over there. Unfortunately, Davis had a rough night and passed out somewhere else so we didn't get to watch the game with him. Luckily, his roommate Gough was home so we watched the game with him. I love Gough even though he isn't quite as crazy as the rest of us. My brother, Cliff, came over and we got to see a good game. At one point, the Titans scored 24 unanswered points to take a 24-14 lead so I went to brush my teeth to change our karma(if you're keeping track, I didn't have my toothbrush all weekend, you do the math). With fresh breath, I was able to rally the Seahawks back and we got an important road win, 28-24. I kept saying "who brushed his teeth?" as I high fived Dave, Cliff and Gough. After the game, Cliff and I headed to his ex-girlfriend Alex's place and we ate a nice lunch at Jai Tai in Belltown. We had the swimming rama, garlic pork, tofu phad thai and fresh spring rolls. It was the After lunch, Alex drove us to our mom's house where I got to take my first shower in Seattle. It felt glorious and Cliff and I did a bit of Spring Cleaning downstairs. We ended up getting rid of 5 large garbage bags of clothes and freed up a lot of space for our poor mom.

Monday was pretty uneventful. I went to Costco to buy groceries and Bellvue Square for more shopping but again didn't buy anything. I don't know what the hell I'm going to do. I always procrastinate like a mofo and can never decide what to get people until the night of the 24th. Oh well. Tuesday night I went out to trivia with Morgan, Cliff and Cliff's friend, Laurie. Laurie is really cool and we had a great time with her. She was kind enough to DD so Morgan, Cliff and I went a little bonkers. We had few pitchers of PBR, an insanely big double shot of jager and an Irish Car Bomb. What do you think they call those in Ireland? Surely not an Irish Car Bomb. Maybe they just call is "A shot of Jameson and Baileys, dropped into a glass of Guinness." That sounds about right. I ended up leaving my camera in Laurie's car at the end of the night so I have to wait until tomorrow to get it back. Boooo.

On Wednesday, Morgan woke up on our couch and we all had fairly wicked hangovers. Morgan caught a cab home then drove back here to take us to Yoshino's teriyaki. They have an incredible tofu teriyaki dish that is one of my favorite foods in the world. For some reason Cliff and Morgan got a pork/chicken combo and both immediately regreted it after they saw my tofu bombness. After lunch, Morgan ran some errands downtown while I napped in the back of his car. He dropped me off at home around 2 PM and I hung out for a while before Renee came by to pick me up for Happy Hour at Pesos. I had the chopped cobb salad with avocados and bacon and a delicious dressing. The plate that it was on was too big and the salad would look better if they used a smaller plate. I also had some really good calimari and shared Nachos with Tori and Renee. Laura, Noelle and Vik showed up a little later and it was good to see the girls since one lives in Japan and the other in Boston. I started off slow with a few Gin and Tonics and had no idea where the night was about to go. Davis showed up a little late and whenever we're together, it spells trouble. Noelle and Vik had to leave around 7:30 so we decided to kill the first check of the night. I had a $50 bill that I had gotten as change somewhere and I wanted to get rid of it because they're bad luck for gamblers. I told everyone that I wanted to put down the $50 bill and didn't want any change back because it would be a remnant of the $50 bill. Somehow Tori convinced me to take $10 back but we still ended up tipping the waitress $39 dollars on a $96 tab. She even came back, asking if we accidentally left too much money, I love taking care of service people, they're usually so appreciative. Duane, EJ, and a bunch of others showed up and that's when things got out of hand. Iwon't go into details but there was a lot of jager and Patron Silver involved and when the smoke cleared I had spent more money that I've ever spent at a bar before. And that's saying something. I won't give the exact amount because my mom reads the blog and I don't want her to have a heart attack but let's just say it was money well spent. I had a blast and I've really missed nights like this. There weren't even any incredible stories or defining moments, well maybe the huge double shot of Jager we had, but it was just a great overall experince. Afterward, Eric drove me and John do Goldies for some $3/6. Eric's sober ass cleaned up and he hit quad Aces for $1100. Not a bad little jackpot. I lost about $200 but I'm pretty sure at least $100 of that went to the dealers. I'm not really sure what time we got home but I hit the hay real hard.

This "morning" I woke up at 1:30 and made my way to the computer. Poor Davis wrote a group email at 7 AM saying, "I can tell work is going to suck". I really don't know how they can have nights like last night and still make it to work. I haven't done a damn thing all day and I'm going to have to shower soon for Sabrina's party. It's a rough life.

I guess that's catches me up to today. I really would rather update daily but someimes life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. I love Ferris.

I've been trying to work on my travel schedule and I'm probably going to head to South America with my mom in February. Right now it looks something like this:

January 3-11: Bahamas for PokerStars tournament.
January 11-15: San Diego
January 15-23: Seattle for (hopefully) 2 playoff games.
January 24-February 1: San Diego
February 1.....hopefully Detroit for the SB, if not, I'll head to Ecuador to see my mom and Will, my friend who came with me to Barcelona. I'll probably be in South America until March 7th.
March 12-19: Party Poker Million Cruise V
March 19-April 1: San Diego
April 1: Move Back to Seattle
April 3-June 4: Baseball Road Trip
June 12-24: Germany for the World Cup. I'll be around for all of the Pool play.
June 27-August 10: Vegas for the World Series of Poker.
August 10: Moving back to Seattle for reals.
September: Back to school at UW I hope.

Looks pretty good, huh? Merry Christmas, y'all. I'll try to update more frequently and have more pictures next time. Next stop on the tour: Party with High School friends tonight. Should be fun.


Anonymous said...

Dude... glad to see the food synopsis. Sweet! You were true to your word.

p.s. no mention of bala aka evin??


Evin said...

I'm HEARTBROKEN. BALA didn't even get a mention as showing up to the Peso's Happy Hour? Don't be a hater...

knugs said...

man.......two final table finishes for me in the last week or so and a 19th in the $10 tournament, but no big money...:-(. too bad my final tables were on a $1 and $3 tournaments on stars. took fourth in both of them, very disappointing. in the $3 i had 66 utg and raised 3x BB, 3 callers and the flop came 678, got my money in against Q8, and it came runner runner 5, 9 for a split pot, that would ahve given me the chip lead with 6 people dissappointed, but really happy with my tournament play lately, been playing extremely well. don't know if you will read this, but just thought i would share my poker ventures with you. god it sucks to finish 4th.

Anonymous said...

you are lacking in the Heather Brooke material. God bless the 80 GB portable hard drive. and Heather Brooke.

brian said...

Hi Bran and friends,
Pops here. Merry Christmas.
Camping nearby, and writing this in Starbucks to get the internet. I came in here to search on-line to give a Christmas donation in your name to some charity that might help Iraqi kids injured in the war.

Reading your blog, I was reminded of this quote from Radford’s site. (Last week, I sent you a copy of his syntax book for Christmas--- to JoAnn’s, it may not have arrived yet.)

“The Kuczaj files on the CHILDES data-base show that (when asked by his linguist father how babies learn to talk) a boy called Abe (at age 3 years 9 months) replied ‘I think they…they hear their mother and father talking to them and they listen, and that’s how…how they learn how to talk.’ And when his father went on to ask ‘Does somebody teach babies how to talk, or do they just learn how to talk?’ Abe replied ‘They just learn’.”

Some people might find it difficult to believe that a 3 year old would say that. To me, it sounds very believable. I remember when you were 3, Brandon, you were a fountain of wisdom, and you were learning so fast. I still have a letter somewhere that I wrote you when you were 3. I’ll look when I get back home, and post it here if I find it.

I also remember when I was the age you are now, how many times I acted like the biggest jerk at university. Alcohol had a lot to do with it, boat races at Waterloo, championship cup for the team that drank the fastest….millisecond photo finishes etc.

I wonder now why I did it.

Human nature, I think. Millions of years of acquisitiveness built into us. If we didn’t grab it before someone else grabbed it, we went hungry.

A good bit of showoffedness and pride built in --have to show the guys that we are leaders and got the most balls. --have to attract the chicks, showing off our vigor, and action, and excitement.

It’s all a blast, and fun, and spending time with friends; like you say, that’s important.

Unfortunate, though, that this lifestyle is so punishing to poor kids, caught in the wrong places around the world.

It’s also a shame that guys like you and I kill so many of our brain cells, we’re not as effective at creating change as we could be.

On the internet search “Iraq crippled children’s fund,” Google gives 170,000 hits. A lot of them just statistics. One has this:

'Looted Orphanage Kids Wander in Baghdad
After the Americans came, an official from the Social Ministry came to the gate and told us to open everything. ….looters set the pharmacy on fire. Many of the children were screaming and crying. They started to run away and we couldn’t stop them….Meanwhile, a United Nations watchdog …report, ..suggested scientists carry out a risk assessment of sites struck by US depleted-uranium munitions and that the Iraqi public be given advice on how to avoid potential exposure to depleted uranium.”

on another site:
“Apparently anticipating complaints, the US defense department briefed journalists about depleted uranium - making it plain it would continue to be used.
“US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium (DU) shells had no medical basis.”
"They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them," he told a Pentagon briefing.'

Tough guy, behind his high tech armor.

I’ve been sitting here for quite a while now, reading these sites. I’ve been crying. I expect the steady stream of flakes flowing through the Starbucks Frappe line, are a little worried about the guy with the red eyes, typing on his laptop, drinking his Odwalla spirulina.

I’m camped in the Half Moon Bay campgrounds, and was listening last night to Bocelli sing different versions of Ave Maria. Next to me, is a mega-castle-on-wheels motor home, extended side rooms, picture windows, through which I could see the jagoff watching football. Couldn’t help but contrast the heights of human accomplishment that Schubert, and Beethoven, and Mozart produced compared to the garish waste of resources that brain dead asshole personifies.

I expect that the Mexican family sleeping in the tent on the other side of me, might have the same murderous thoughts about me, sitting there in my sleek gas guzzling 1997 Honda mini van.

Americans are in Iraq, obviously, for the oil. Pure and simple. Iraqis have five times as much oil as we do, and our lifestyle and economy cannot function without it. We especially need it for the massive motor homes, and the frequent flyers, and commuters.

Too bad we have to “kick the crap out of” so many kids to get it.

Why is it that such a fortunate and free and mostly well-intentioned nation as ours has such a record of violence; of even deliberately targeting civilians when we feel we must, to protect our own interests?

I apologize for putting this on your blog, Brandon; just an off chance hope that you or some of you friends might have an insight someday, or discussion, or winning thought that could help change the world for the better.

Today is Christmas; obviously, I am not a Christian in the religious sense. I don’t see Jesus as the son of god in the way that most religions think of ‘god.’ But I do think he was a genius. The ‘god’ that I think he was the son of, is the billion years of life that struggled and blossomed to produce guys like him. He certainly gave some of the most incredible gifts of comfort to the destitute, and some of the most decent advice to everyone.

His answer was to turn the other cheek. I can’t seem to do that. Unlike he, and Ghandi, and a few others, most of us don’t have the guts, or the faith, or the courage, or something, to try it. His idea might have been: sure a lot of you will perish turning the other cheek, but gradually and eventually the example you set, and the organization you enable will produce individuals that will be more non-violent naturally. I have to admit, I’m not capable of comprehending the idea. Actually, I might even have the guts, if it were just my own ‘other cheek’ that I was turning. However, if I saw someone hurt my child, or any child, I could not say ok, hit him again.

I might also reflect afterwards though, on the fact that I had somehow not prevented, (or had permitted, or had helped create) an environment that allowed it to happen to the child in the first place.

“Let the little children come unto me. For such is the kingdom of heaven.” How can anyone put it any plainer than that? Being around children is the closest feeling I get to heaven. That is another built-in trait of human nature, I expect. Those of us that loved and protected our children the best, probably had more children survive.

Aristotle created some logic I am still studying today. However even with his foresight, I know he could not have possibly imagined the technology we have today. So I give myself zero chance of imagining the technology that we will have 2000 years from now. Probably by then, even robots will have more useful things to do than stand in a Frappe line. Surely sometime between now and then, someone will discover a way of giving a better break to all children. I hope they find a way that allows nature and other species to flourish as well. The other vision is it that it will be all gone by then, a planet as barren as the moon. Because too many of us fucked around, and boozed, and cheered.

We can’t change the world all at once, and all of our individual contributions are infinitesmal and incremental. I suppose the direction of the increment is what counts. It may be very hard to determine what the right direction to work toward is, and mistakes and failures are no shame.

No one's judgment, or opinion of our effort, matters more than our own. What I really wish you all, is that in your own heart, you know that you are doing the best you can with the talent and opportunity you have been given.