As always! Click any of the photos in this entry to be taken to the full photo set. After several trips necessitating separate photo sets leaving the L.A.-specific one rather small, not since September have I had a September trip photo set this large, and the number of shots matches (48). That's because I had a fair number of photos taken most days, no huge amount on any given day but spread over five days that averages 9.6 shots per day. In other words, no hugely photogenic events occurred this time, yet I got a good number of pictures. The most shots I got in one day was 18 on Friday, and that's because I went to Santa Monica and I stayed to see the sunset on the beach -- the first time I had done seen a sunset from there. The weather was beautiful that day and the sunset was quite lovely.
I have all the photos tagged but most of them still not captioned. But I do have three little stories I need to tell from the weekend.
At first I was hoping to get a picture of the TSA agent who was an asshole when I walked through security on Thursday night at SeaTac. He was a middle aged beer bellied guy standing at the entrance to security check at the north end of the airport, and although he said, "Boarding pass?" the first time, I didn't quite hear him for certain. I also had it clearly visible on my phone if he'd bother looking, even though I didn't initially have it held in the air. But when I said, "Hmm?" he actually barked, "Boarding pass!" with clear irritation in his voice. I'm not sure that was called for. I then held my phone in front of his face and he waved me through without another word.
I spent the next five minutes fantasizing about telling him, "There's no need to be a dick about it." But then the fantasy was always ruined by the possibility of escalation to the point of getting detained.
And then, I was waved through the metal detector instead of the body scan machine, which happens but is not common. I was assuming that meant a quick walk-through, but then the thing beeped when I walked through. I looked around in a semi-startled state, and the guy said, "Yep, that was you." I re-checked my pockets and just as I thought, I still had nothing on me.
But then a young lady came up to me and said something about my bag had set off an alarm. She had to check it for explosive chemicals. This was new. And then she called for a "male assist" to get a full pat down. Another first. I've been patted down before but not to this extent. The guy who came over felt almost my entire body, after asking if I wanted to go somewhere private. I said I didn't care.
The guy was young and fairly cute so, honestly, I kind of enjoyed it. Maybe I should have said I was gay and preferred a woman? Or not. Since it was weirdly fun, unlike it probably is for most people. He told me he was going to feel all the way down my back and use the back of his hands on my back side.
I did not have a sexual response, if that's what you're wondering. I did get the kind of pleasant response I used to get as a kid when a teacher I really liked came and hovered over me when I asked for help -- a sort of pleasantly tingling sensation.
Interestingly, he did completely avoid my groin area. In retrospect, I could have smuggled something non-metal down the front of my pants! Of course, I would have had no idea that I was not getting a body scan.
Shobhit picked me up at LAX and we drove to a vegan restaurant called Café Gratitude for dinner. I saw it driving by last month and said we should try it. It was all right; we can scratch it off our list.
But then Friday was the day we went to Santa Monica, since it was unseasonably warm, particularly at the beach -- usually it's ten degrees cooler there than in West Hollywood, but this time the temperatures were nearly the same. Shobhit did not come to the beach with me but we did walk the Third Street Promenade together and we stopped for lunch at a place called Hummus Bar. That was a tasty lunch. Anyway, Shobhit then left me to myself on the beach, where I lay on a sheet either snoozing or reading a book, and it was wonderful. I tried getting in the water but that was actually still too cold -- I felt like my feet were going numb. I did stay until the sunset at about 5:35, though, getting to see the sunset from that vantage point for the first time, and it was very pretty. After that I went and got some dessert on the Pier before moseying back to catch the bus back to West Hollywood.
We spent all day together on Valentine's Day, Saturday, though. First was the free 11 a.m. screening of Fifty Shades of Grey, which Shobhit really liked and I thought was dumb as shit. (My C grade was actually generous, because I give points for decent editing and cinematography; it had surprisingly high production values.) I had sworn I wouldn't see it, but I went for Shobhit (if that’s not love, what is?), and was easily persuaded by a free screening. Also I knew it would be fun writing the review.
We actually had reservations, which Shobhit made while we were in Las Vegas last month actually, for Valentine's Day dinner at a place up on Sunset Blvd called Vivoli Café. When Shobhit called, he asked if he would be okay to make reservations online for that day, and the guy said yes. He was also assured we could order vegetarian items off their regular menu, not just their holiday prefixe menu. And then? We get there just before 7:00, and they did not have our reservation. Shobhit showed them his phone email confirmation, and they said they would seat us -- but we could only order off their $45/person prefixe menu. Fuck that shit.
So, we were left to wing it for dinner on Valentine's Day. Not ideal. But it worked out, and neither of us minded just finding a cheap place to eat as an alternative. Actually we went to two places: first we split a quinoa burger at a place down the street on Sunset called Burger Lounge. Then we split a burrito at Poquito Más only a couple businesses down. The food was plenty tasty at both places; I paid the bill at both places and combined it cost me less than twenty bucks. Sounds good to me! And then we went on a roundabout long walk home, stopping for some grocery store carrot cake for dessert along the way. We went down to Melrose after that and I got several pictures of stuff in store windows.
It was actually a perfectly pleasant Valentine's Day, in spite of that dinner hiccup. I even made omelets for us for breakfast, although I burned them a bit. They still tasted good.
Shobhit had his Weight Watchers meeting on Sunday morning, and I joined him. We walked there, and Shobhit asked me to hold his water bottle in my bag for him. I'm never doing that again. I know I put the cap on properly but it leaked all over everything in my bag, which I didn't notice until we sat down and the meeting began. I was there in the front row pulling everything out of my bag, including the library copy of Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices, with portions of the outer ends of about half the pages soaked with water. Wonderful. The banana Shobhit had me put in there had gotten wet and opened too. Shobhit just took it and ate it.
Worst of all, though, was the iPod -- it had gotten wet and wouldn't turn on. So, after going to see Kingsman: The Secret Service (my idea due to surprisingly strong reviews; still Shobhit liked it more than I did and my response was more "Meh") at the Grove, we went to the Apple Store, which is also at the Grove. We walked around for ten minutes until the text told us to make our way back to the store -- at which we then waited for more than half an hour. But, the guy confirmed that when the device gets wet, it's pretty much done.
So, just as happened in 2013, because I dropped that one on its face, I had to pay $140 for a refurbished replacement. They don't manufacture the iPod Classics anymore (much to my dismay) but (much to my relief) they still replace them. I think I dropped all three of my first iPods, actually, but by the time I had to replace the second one, the first-generation ones were no longer being manufactured and that's why I paid the $245 for the 160 gig one. I've actually spent a total of $591 on four different iPods now (in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015), and that's not even counting the $300 Shobhit spent on the first one, which he got for me for Christmas in 2006 (and changed my life with it, literally).
It's fun to blame Shobhit for this instance since it was his water bottle, but I have to admit I was careless about how it was placed in the bag and arguably should have known better. We then went to a nearby Thai restaurant for lunch, and Shobhit paid because he felt bad that I just had to spend $140 on a new iPod. (I had told him my last replacement was only sixty-five bucks, but I was wrong; I was remembering the cost of my first replacement in 2010. Only when referring to my budget balance sheet did I discover I also paid $141 for a replacement in 2013.)
The waitress at the Thai restaurant was a woman Shobhit often works with at catering gigs, which was kind of interesting. I had a fried rice dish that I could have only eaten half of but it was too tasty and I all but licked the plate. I did dump my broccoli into Shobhit's soup bowl. He told me to taste it, assuring me it wouldn't be too spicy -- common bullshit out of his mouth, and of course I was in agony after even the tiniest sip from a spoon. I need to stop tasting anything he assures me isn't spicy, because Shobhit is so desensitized to spice that he has no sense of what actually isn't. And I'm tired of getting burned. Seriously.
Anyway! That's all I need to tell here about the trip, except that yesterday was a pretty long day once I started heading out of L.A. First Shobhit and I went to the Griddle Café for brunch, though, and I got a stack of raspberry lemon pancakes that were delicious. The waiter tried to warn me it was a large plate of three of them, which I already knew to expect; I asked for a to-go box to come with it. (I had leftovers for breakfast this morning, and will again tomorrow.) Shobhit was really happy that, since we went out for dinner on the day I arrived and out for brunch on the day I left, he'll get five points for this weekend on the next Social Review, and will almost certainly be #1 on the list, which he really wants. I told him Ev has been largely unavailable for socializing lately anyway, which made him happy.
My flight landed at SeaTac around 6:30 yesterday evening, and I had planned with Shauna to meet her at PCC Greenlake Village at 9:00 -- I barely made it. In fact, I barely missed the first bus I was supposed to catch after getting home, being home for all of five minutes.
I had taken Light Rail from the airport to downtown. I had to wait ten minutes for the #10 from there to home. One Bus Away said the eastbound #11 at 8:04 was two minutes delayed, so I thought I had a couple extra minutes -- but I got outside, and saw the bus turning the corner on Madison. Dammit! Shauna even texted asking if I needed her to come pick me up, but I had enough time to walk to 23rd and John to catch the #48 I needed to get there. This was fine; walking kept me warm now that I was back in chilly Seattle again -- I even had to put my fingerless gloves on.
So then I rode the #48 to Greenlake Village, even arriving about 12 minutes earlier than expected. Shauna arrived while I shopped and did her own shopping so she could take advantage of my 25% discount.
While we were still in the store, Shauna said, "I have some exciting news. I got new windshield wipers!" This may seem like odd news to share except she'd been telling me she needed new ones for months. Then, when we got down to the garage, I followed her to her car, which the first thing I noticed was a different color.
Without thinking, I said, "I'm confused." And she burst out laughing. "I got a new car!" she said. "The new windshield wipers are attached to it!"
I'm happy she got a new car, even for my own sake. I never understood why she even had the last one, with its manual transmission and even manual window rollers. Nothing in that car was automatic and getting into it felt like getting into a time machine. Not anymore!
Then she drove me home. I had a tofu and capellini dish from the deli for dinner because for the first time ever they had no smoked mozzarella pasta. :(