Mischief in California

Yesterday was insane to say the least. Take it from the fact that I am used to relatively mundane daily life. I get up too early in the morning, go to work, struggle through rush hour traffic on the way home. I eat take out for dinner most nights, and play on the PC or watch TV until I pass out. Lather, rinse and repeat. That’s it. Yesterday was such a departure from that, it was phenomenal.

We started out the day a bit late. We went to IHOP for breakfast around 11:00 AM, after sleeping until our bodies naturally woke us up. The lack of an alarm clock is a beautiful thing without a doubt. We came back to the hotel after IHOP, showered and cleaned up for our adventure for the day. Alex got a call on the way to the hotel from his boss, something was broken. The best I can tell with my limited knowledge of Cisco networking and the world he operates in, there was a bank branch in downtown Philadelphia that was having a problem with logging into a specific, business critical application. Alex is a network engineer, and gets this call from his boss in NJ, that they need to go to work getting the issue resolved. He tried to explain to me what the issue was, I comprehended a little of it, and just smiled and nodded through the rest. 2 hours after getting the call, things were back up and running, and we were free to begin our adventure. 2 PM Pacific time, and we hopped in what we have dubbed the ‘shit-box’ KIA we have for a rental. I fired up the Delorme Earthmate GPS, and we headed off to Santa Monica, about an hour drive north of Anaheim. Our ultimate goal was the Geek Squad Store in Santa Monica, and the beach of course.

The drive there was quite possibly the worst hour in a moving (sometimes) vehicle that I have ever spent. Interstate 5 north from Anaheim towads Santa Monica runs through East L.A., and is under construction for much of the way. Now we figured that at 2:15 in the afternoon, traffic wouldn’t possible be too bad. We figured wrong. Stop and go traffic the entire way, with trucks, motorcycles and every other imaginable vehicle cutting us off, running around us and otherwise bothering us on the highway. We did however eventually make it through the insanity, and to the general Santa Monica area. We arrived at Geek Squad Precinct 1202 in Santa Monica around 3:00, and visited with the Precinct Chief and two of his Agents there for quite some time. I learned a lot about how they operate, and they learned a bit about how Geek Squad City operates. I could tell Alex was getting bored, so around 4:00, we left the store with the intent to get something to eat, and stop at a local Best Buy, so that Alex could buy a new camera, since the one he brought with him was no longer functioning…

We had taken directions from the GSS on how to get to our destinations, but by the time we left, had basically forgotten them, and circled around a couple of blocks without success. I did not have my web-enabled cell phone with me, so looking up the address on the Internet was out. I decided to call Best Buy’s customer service line, and locate the store we were trying to get to. Once I had the address, and located it on my GPS, we were finally back on track. Another 1/2 an hour gone…

Best Buy was relatively uneventful, Alex bought a very nice camera, and then we decided it was time to eat. We tried to get directions to a good spot to eat from our sales girl at Best Buy, when she told us…”I don’t know, I don’t really eat” — Needless to say we just walked out at that point determined to feed our hunger somehow. About 2 blocks down, we found a Burger King, and had some quick sandwiches to tide ourselves over. Next stop, Santa Monica Beach. One very nice thing about the Delorme GPS program is that it can locate and direct you to what it calls Points of Interest, beaches included. Within a half an hour, we were parked just off the beach, and getting ready to get in the Pacific Ocean. I guess that we spent about an hour in the water and on the beach, just simply enjoying the fact that for once, at this point and time in life, there was no requirements of our life whatsoever. We were free to come and to go as we so pleased. If you haven’t felt that ever, or in a long time, I highly suggest you search out this feeling, it is incredibly rewarding.

We left the beach and got on the Pacific Coast Highway, intent upon reaching our destination of the previous night, Huntington Beach. Our only mistake here was not using the GPS, which would have showed us that this highway winds and twists all along the coast, and going straight down it was not the most efficient way to reach our beach. After passing through the likes of Hermosa and Redondo Beaches, we started to get quite hungry, as it was already after 7:30, and we had been on the beach, working off our BK lunch. I fired up the GPS, and we were able to navigate towards the Huntington Beach area, hunger still waning.

Somehow, I managed to locate the only ‘dive’ bar restaurant in the town of Huntington Beach, place was called ‘Eat at Joe’s’. We stopped for a couple of brews and some chicken fingers to tide us over. I must say even though from the outside and the appearance, it was definitely a dive place, the food, service and ‘sights’ continued to please us with our California experience. We asked the waitress where we could buy some more beer, looking for a six pack to take down to the beach. She politely informed us that we couldn’t drink on the beach, but we could buy beer a couple of blocks down at a gas station. Back in the shit-box, and towards the sand we went. 9:20 PM Pacific Time.

Once we picked up a six pack of Corona, realizing that the State Beach would close the gates at 9:30, we began looking for alternative locales to imbibe our beverages. Alex also began to complain of being cold, and thinking he wanted to go get his hoody from the hotel. I had already mapped out a prime spot where we could walk off of a public street, and based on the GPS map, straight onto the beach. We decided that we would head back to the hotel, where Alex could get his hoody, and we could retrieve some caffienated beverages to keep us going for the rest of the night. He also decided that I was more apt to drive the shit-box for the rest of the night, as I was more alert, and more adept at driving a small vehicle. He had been struggling with this go-cart-with-a-roof all day long. Back at the hotel, we got some energy drinks, I picked up a pack of cigarettes, and Alex retrieved his hoody. Then it was off for the final adventure of the night!!

30 minutes later, we were back in Huntington Beach, and trolling along the coastal communities looking for the perfect spot to get onto the beach. We found it in a small area that had two blocks of homes backing straight up the the sand. Parked the car, and concealed our beverages in our clothing, off to the beach we went! The spot we chose to enter the beach happened to be directly behind a lifeguard station. We thought this the perfect spot to sit without getting too covered in sand, and knock back a few under the moon on the Pacific Ocean. We settled on there around 11:15, and just watched the waves come in, and the other inhabitants of the beach. One such group was apparently a couple about my age from the area that was getting physical in the shallow water. They were there for about 45 minutes before departing back to the row of houses. We managed to partake in the entire 6-pack of Corona, by around 1:00 AM, and headed for the hotel.

I woke up briefly this morning as Alex left for his seminar on Cisco networking equipment, and have had quite the lazy day today. It is now 5 PM Pacific Time, and we are both in the hotel, continuing to recuperate from the adventures of last night…

Life Guard Meade
No LifeGuard, Just Alex
Cap’n Meade
Just Chillin’

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