wZandria - Keep Up With Me
Age 23 * Richmond, VA * full-time college student * part-time call center * love to read and write * skeptic * quiet * thinker * independent * VISIT MY PHOTO WEBSITE


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wThursday, October 31, 2002


MORE RANDOM INFO

So I don't know if any of you guys actually read these website links that I post on here, but here are a few more that I found (interesting?/amusing?) just in case anybody is interested. :) Apparently there is this town called Biggs, CA that is weighing a request to change its name to -- sorry, you'll have to check it out to find the answer!

On another note, did you know that there are other options for a funeral coffin if you don't want to settle for the mundane? Hey, I personally think it's a cool idea.....



posted by Zandria at 1:46 AM


wMonday, October 28, 2002


THIS AIN'T YOUR GRANDMA'S BINGO

Sunday I went with Cathy, her friend Rebecca, Rebecca’s mother (Marilyn), and Rebecca’s boyfriend (Kim) to play Bingo at San Manuel Indian Casino. Cathy, Rebecca, and Marilyn have played periodically for the past few years and thought it would be a trip for me to come along since I’ve never been before. An uneventful Sunday, a new experience, the possibility of winning some big bucks….why not?

First of all, the casino has a huge auditorium-sized room set aside for Bingo, where people of all ages and ethnic groups gather to play. You’re likely to see a group of Asian teenagers sitting across from a little old lady in a suit and pearls who in turn is sitting next to an overweight Hispanic man with a tumor growing on his forehead (this last example is not a joke, I really did see this guy). People arrive hours in advance on the last Sunday of the month to ensure they get a seat (because the jackpots are bigger), so subsequently the crowds are larger. You don’t have to stay in your seat the entire time as long as you throw a jacket over your chair or tape some of your bingo-playing paraphernalia to the table, people seemed to obey that etiquette at least!

There are rows and rows of long, straight tables and padded, swiveling chairs that are bolted to the floor (which is a good thing, because when the room gets full there can be a lot of confusion and people walking around, so the chairs being in one place at least ensures that you’ll be able to get a straight path from one side of the room to the other). I’m not sure exactly how many people the room sits, but I’m sure it was at least a couple thousand or more. The room seems even larger because the ceiling is two levels high: smoking is allowed in the main ground-level area, and there is also a separate glass-enclosed area on the second level that overlooks the main floor for non-smokers.

Once everything gets started around 2 in the afternoon, the games go pretty much back-to-back so you have to pay attention and keep on the ball (which at least keeps things interesting and the time goes fast, because you’re pretty much constantly keeping yourself engaged). The warm-up games in the very beginning were worth the smallest jackpots, but the lowest was $250. The jackpot of the highest game was $115,000, but you had to "bingo" before 50 numbers were called or else you only got the consolation prize of $1000. And it wasn’t something as simple as getting a straight line and you win – on some games you had to make the design of a number or a letter, or a certain pattern that was shown on the hand-out they give you when you buy in to play the game. Nobody in the group I was with won any money, but I guess that’s not too far-fetched when you think of how many people were in the room. It was interesting though, one of those activities that would be fun to do for a diversion now and then.



posted by Zandria at 2:59 PM


wSaturday, October 26, 2002


WEEKEND IN L.A.

Last night I spent the night in L.A. with Jen and Amber. I’d been wanting to go back to this one place called The Circle Bar that we visited the last time I was there three weeks ago. It has a nice atmosphere, a wide variety of people mainly in their 20s and 30s, well-made drinks…oh, and one particular good-looking bartender that I enjoyed talking to during my first visit that I was hoping to run into again. (BUSTED!) I’m sure this comes as no surprise to those that know me, but there aren’t many guys who catch my eye. Even Jen made a comment about him looking like "my type," and she and I have just recently started hanging out again since our five-year hiatus while she’s been living here and going to college. I found out last night that he works there five days a week, and he’s an aspiring actor/screenwriter. Yeah I know – typical L.A. – but you know what? As has probably been obvious from previous posts of mine, I admire people who go after their passion in life. Rather than talking themselves out of something that may never get off the ground, they’re out there trying instead of settling for something "safer." And there are people like myself, who wish they had something they felt so passionate about that they would chase that dream no matter what. I guess that’s what I’m doing, trying to open up new avenues for myself in the hopes that I can discover what that means for me personally.

After we left the Circle Bar, we went to this restaurant/bar in Westwood called Madisons’. Amber’s older brother is the manager there, so her and Jen go there a lot. We’d been there for about half an hour when we went out to the sidewalk for some fresh air…and then there was drama. Back inside, two guys got into a physical fight – we could see the scuffle from where we were because they weren’t too far from the inside of the open main door. It was broken up by a few bartenders and the bouncer, they were brought outside and told to leave of course…and then they attacked each other again! So I got a close-up view, it was pretty entertaining (and no, it’s apparently not something that happens there all the time or anything, but it’s near UCLA so they get a lot of college students there). They closed the bar early after that second fight (it was about 1:30am), but we got to wait inside while they cleared everyone but the employees out (the advantages of knowing the manager).

This afternoon before I left, we went to this place for lunch called Islands. It’s a tropical-themed place, and I have to tell you about this fabulous burger that I ordered (substituted with a veggie burger of course). It was called the Hawaiian burger, and along with all the regular "fixings " also had teriyaki sauce and pineapple slices. OH MY GOODNESS…I don’t think I’ve ever had a sandwich so delicious. I love trying weird new things (or combinations in this case), and the best part is that I don’t remember ever NOT liking something new that I’ve tried.



posted by Zandria at 11:59 PM


wFriday, October 25, 2002


Here is an interesting article from the San Francisco Chronicle website about the overwhelming influx of the same information given to us over and over concerning the snipers being caught, when the reporters don't really know more than the same four facts that they keep repeating, and the rest of course being speculation.






posted by Zandria at 5:31 PM


wSaturday, October 19, 2002


GOLFING INCIDENT

I heard a funny story the other day from a good friend of mine, and decided to share his embarrassment with a wider audience (and yes, I did ask his permission, so I won’t be sacrificing a friendship by leaking this information – hopefully!). You know when you’re watching a movie and – for instance – some people are playing golf and one of those golf players hits the ball dangerously close to a body of water? Then that person goes to retrieve the ball and (if skill allows) somehow gets it back to where it can be played on normal ground? Well, as we all know, sometimes those good intentions go awry and things happen that we’d rather forget…such as LOSING OUR BALANCE AND FALLING INTO THE WATER.

Splish-splash, Carl took an unwanted bath. Currently living in Chattanooga TN, Carl has recently taken up the game of golf, but admits to not being quite as good (yet) as he’d like. In his own words to me via email: "Yesterday I had my worst golf outing yet….I actually ended up in a small river! I don’t mean that I hit my ball IN the river, I hit the ball BESIDE the river. However when I took my swing, I lost my footing and FELL INTO the river! I was SOAKED from head to foot, with NASTY brown stagnant water….and it SMELLED HORRIBLE. Needless to say, I was miserable the rest of the day until I got a shower! To make matters worse, it was a [golf] course that we frequent, and there were a bunch of people who work there that saw the whole incident!"



posted by Zandria at 2:32 AM


w


RANDOM STUFF

Has anyone heard this report about how a man died after being bitten to death by his wife?

These people in North Carolina decided on some interesting road names. What else can you expect from people who live in a town called "Mocksville?"




posted by Zandria at 2:27 AM


wThursday, October 17, 2002


THANKS

I haven't done this yet, but I wanted to take the time tonight and thank everyone for the support I've received about this web site. It's not only keeping a record for myself, but hopefully providing some entertainment for others. It's nice actually feeling the urge to write again, and having things pop into my head that might be interesting, or coming across a funny/interesting (and the occasionally weird) idea for a story, and jotting it down so that I don't forget. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with being here and experiencing new and different things, which I love. It's a lot harder to come up with something when you're doing the same thing day in and day out....it's nice to feel inspired. Give me some comments below: "What in your life gives you inspiration?"



posted by Zandria at 2:23 AM


w


GAMBLING

**(This was written Tuesday night around 10pm, I'm just now getting the chance to upload it to the web.)

Today Cathy and are in Laughlin NV, at the Edgewater Casino. The Edgewater is a 26-story combination hotel/casino located right on the Colorado River. I can look out the window of our room and see the water; there’s all these jet skis, tour boats, and the occasional big paddle-wheel boat.

I was lucky today, the best I’ve ever done (and this was counting my time here in both Laughlin and Las Vegas this past May). We were playing $1-per-play slot machines and I hit a $400 jackpot, and then a few minutes later (on the same machine), I got another $150 or so. The machine gives you a big heavy coin for each $1 won, they hit the metal bin at the bottom of the machine (clank-clank-clank….) so it takes a while for over 400 coins to come out (they come out one at a time). By the time I finished playing this evening I still had $400 because when I cashed in the coins for bills, I pocketed four $100 bills and wouldn’t play with those.

Some people are in their element when they gamble. I like gambling okay to a point (especially if I hit a jackpot!), but I don’t think I’d go somewhere on purpose to gamble unless I were with someone else who wanted to go. I’m the kind of person that if I gamble and actually win money, then I set aside a certain amount to keep playing with but put away a majority of it to "take home." It’s fun to do once in a while though, I’m usually good for a few hours.

Oh, and that $400 jackpot? That’s all thanks to Elvis. I was about to stop playing on the machine in question, I had four more coins to put in. I put in two as he was walking by (and lost), then he stopped and said "You’re going to get lucky this time" (or something along those lines). Sure enough, my last spin with my remaining coins hit those big bucks (and Cathy got a picture of me and Elvis with her camera, so I do have proof!).



posted by Zandria at 1:44 AM


wMonday, October 14, 2002


COMMENTS

Well my knowledge about this website-building thing is growing slowly but surely. Just a day after adding a separate website for users to post comments on, I've figured out how to add them to this actual page we're on right now, as you can see below. I'm leaving the link to the other site active, just in case this stops working for some reason or another, but this one should be easier. This link will allow you to leave comments and tell you how many people have left one so far (or not at all!), and it will pop up with a separate browser window. Too cool!



posted by Zandria at 1:39 AM


wSunday, October 13, 2002


THE MISSION TO FIND BISQUICK

Is everyone familiar with the expression "I went around my ass to get to my elbow?" For those who haven’t heard it, basically it means that you went way out of your way to get a task done, when it could have been done much simpler, or in a way shorter period of time. Well, tonight I circled my ass about three times before I finally got to my elbow. Let me explain:

I haven’t driven hardly at all around the Lancaster area except as a passenger, and Cathy likes to take all these back roads when we go places so it’s hard for me to remember exactly where everything is located. To add to the confusion, all the roads – whether major or secondary – are named with either letters or numbers. For example, my aunt lives on Avenue M-4. This means that she lives off of the main "Avenue M," and the secondary roads coming off of "Ave M" are M-2, M-4, M-6, M-8, etc (always even numbers). The roads are set up in a grid pattern, with the letters running East-to-West and the numbers intersecting with them North-to-South (so for instance, when I was at a corner convenience station this evening, I was at the intersection of Avenue L-8 and 50th). Confused yet?

You’d think that this should be easy enough to understand, but at least with me I’m used to memorizing street NAMES, and with every road I’ve been on so far either being a letter or a number, it’s hard to remember which one is which. Apparently the reason behind this grid setup is due to Edwards Air Force Base, which was the first "civilization" in this area, and set up the letters and numbers initially. Sounds like something the military would do, huh?

So to make a long story short, I volunteered to pick up some Bisquick tonight so they could make biscuits for dinner and what should have been a 5-minute trip ended up taking almost 45. I knew exactly where I was going when I first headed out, but none of the convenience stores or mini-marts on the road nearest Cathy’s house had what I needed. I knew there was a supermarket pretty near by, but the course of finding it took me much longer than it should have. Basically I recognized the names or the "look" of certain roads because we’d driven down them before, but I couldn’t remember which ones took me WHERE. And I couldn’t call the house and ask for help – because I’d left my cell phone in the living room – because I was only supposed to be going around the corner and thought I’d be right back – which also meant that when I was gone so long and they started to wonder where I was, they couldn’t call and ask me…etc, etc. But I was on a MISSION TO FIND BISQUICK, and I was resolved not to return home empty-handed. I finally found the Stater Brothers (a major chain grocery store around here), got what I needed, and returned home…albeit with a story to tell and growling stomachs since I’d taken so long.

Let me also add that I was never in the course of this trip ever actually LOST (I could have simply turned around at any time and found my way back to Cathy’s house), I just wasn’t sure of my destination, so I was turning here and there down all these random roads trying to find the right one. It actually helped to orient me a little bit better than I was before, so I guess something positive came out of the experience. I’m also going to have to insist on being the driver more often – rather than the passenger – so I can learn where I’m going!


posted by Zandria at 11:50 PM


wSaturday, October 12, 2002


ATTENTION! Check out the left-hand side of this page. I've added a separate site as a link from this one, where you can click on the link I highlighted and sign a public guestbook that I will use for any comments you may have. Or you can click here as well...I look forward to anything you may have to say! You can also feel free to give me suggestions on things you'd like to know, any questions, topics or good websites/articles that you'd like to pass along...thanks!

posted by Zandria at 10:55 PM


w


WEST COAST OBSERVATIONS:

1) In California, there is no smoking allowed in public places, including bars and restaurants. I’m still not completely used to it – I’ve gone into a few places so far for a meal and asked to be seated in the nonsmoking section. I guess it’s easy for them to tell who’s from out of state, huh?

2) At least here in Lancaster, there are a lot of four-way stop signs rather than traffic signals. I think the only time I’ve experienced four-way stops before was in downtown Richmond, and even then most of the time there wasn’t anything coming in the other direction. They’re easy to get used to, but it’s definitely different.

3) You know how you can pretty much buy beer and wine in any store in Virginia, but liquor only in ABC stores? Well here you can find it absolutely anywhere. It’s not so weird seeing it in a grocery store, but when you go into Rite-Aid and see these big displays of Jack Daniels whiskey and Absolut vodka, that takes a little getting used to. It’s definitely more convenient -- you don’t have to worry about when the ABC store closes, you can pick up your choice of spirits when you go into the local grocery for your milk and bread and Hot Pockets.

4) There is a fast food chain here called Wienerschnitzel. They sell hotdogs with your choice of toppings, and you can buy tubs of chili as well. They must be pretty popular, I’ve seen them all over the place.

5) In Lancaster you are much more likely to see foreign food restaurants (like Thai, Chinese, and Mexican), and small locally-owned pizza parlors than large chains like Applebee’s. They can still be found of course, but it’s actually refreshing to have options rather than the ones that tend to dominate the East Coast cities.

6) The 3-hour time difference is a pretty big issue, not really in a bad way (except for when my sister called me earlier this week at 6:45am because she was on her first break at work and "forgot"…BUSTED, Elissa!), but just something that has to be dealt with. Usually I don’t think about calling anybody until the evening because I have other stuff going on during the day, and then it’s too late. :(

posted by Zandria at 9:11 PM


wFriday, October 11, 2002


WE MAKE TIME FOR THE THINGS WE REALLY WANT TO DO

"I guess I have to keep in shape as I get older, but I don’t like to work out. Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes." – Al Pacino in People magazine, quote found in Reader’s Digest, Oct 2002, pg. 25.

I read a good article the other day on the San Francisco Chronicle website, entitled "Too Busy to Live." (For those who want to read the entire article, it may ask you for a one-time free registration on the site if you follow my link.) An excerpt quote from the article says: "Every task requires a follow-up. Every e-mail demands a response. Every phone message, a reply. Every appointment, a confirmation. Every lamb chop, a side dish" (the author is talking about finding something to make for dinner in the beginning of the article).

Is this not true? I may be the last person you want to hear talk about being too busy, since I’m currently on a leave of absence from work, I don’t have any kids, etc. But it struck a note in me because it reiterated for me what I DON’T want to have in my life, and I’m glad that I realized that early enough in life that I can head it off before it happens, rather than trying to fix it once it HAS happened. I’m not saying that I don’t want to work, or I strive to be lazy and only do what I want to do for the rest of my days here on earth, but I want to strike a nice balance. Getting up at 6am to get three kids (more or less) ready for school, going to work for 8 hours a day in an office where nobody really cares about what they’re doing rather than collecting a paycheck, taking an hour lunch break (ONLY AN HOUR – NO MORE OR WE’LL DOCK YOUR TIME!), running back home in time to order pizza (because of course you don’t have enough time to make something yourself before Trevor has to be at soccer practice, or Minnie has to be at her piano lesson, and while they’re at their respective practices you can run into the grocery store and pick up their favorite sugar-coated chocolate-flavored cereal for breakfast the next morning), then falling into bed exhausted, hopefully in enough time that you can get a decent amount of sleep before the alarm clock beep-beep-beeps in the morning so you can start the cycle all over again.

I know that there are tons of people who do this every day (and also tons who don’t), and they have completely fulfilling lives and they love their husband and kids and their dog, and the mortgage payment on their house and the two car payments for their four-door Honda Accord and the minivan, and they live for that week-long vacation in July when they pile the kids in that minivan and cruise down to the overcrowded, overpriced, souvenir-laden beach town. And instead of relaxing in the sand with a margarita, they’re chasing after Trevor and Minnie, who are demanding boogie boards and new swimsuits and ice-cream cones and "oh mommy why oh why can’t we visit the new amusement park and then stay inside the arcade the entire time because boo-hoo it’s sooooooo hot outside and can’t we go get pizza for dinner?"

We all choose our paths. I may read this again in ten years and laugh, as I stroke my big pregnant belly and yell for one of my many kids to bring me a jar of pickles and the pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from the freezer. I mean, I certainly doubt it, but there’s always that possibility I suppose. May we all do what makes us happy. That’s the most important thing and that’s what we should live for. Because we don’t get a second chance at living the life we’re in right now.

posted by Zandria at 1:00 AM


wWednesday, October 09, 2002


SOMETHING MORE L IGHTHEARTED

Cathy, Nana, and I went to the mortuary today to see about having my grandpa’s body picked up from the hospital and his remains cremated. During the course of the meeting with Anne, the funeral services director, Anne asked if my grandpa had any obvious scars or tattoos they could use to identify him when they picked him up so that one of us wouldn’t have to provide visual identification (I suppose they like to have a confirmation other than just what the hospital says). Cathy mentioned that my grandpa had discolored brown areas on the shins of both legs, from a bad car accident a few decades back. Nana piped up with the fact that he’d also had a hernia removed, so he should have a scar near his groin area (yes, she speaks pretty candidly – gotta love my stepgrandma, she definitely says what’s on her mind!). Cathy asked her if she was sure about him having a scar, because since my grandpa was against going to the doctor his entire life, she joked that maybe he’d been telling us a fib about having the surgery since it happened so long ago (before him and my Nana married 15 years back). As quick and pert as you please, Nana informed us – and this isn’t an exact quote, but close enough – "I wouldn’t know. I never had any business in that area."…

The director gave us a booklet during our visit entitled "Cremation Facts," which is supposed to answer (of course, hellooooo…) any questions you may have about the procedure. One of the last issues they address is what some people decide to do with the remains once they’ve been returned (for instance, in an urn). They advise that some people have the remains buried in a crematory garden (small plots that are specifically designed for burying urns, rather than coffins), or keep them in decorative containers in a home, or even scattered in a place that the deceased felt a connection to. This is a direct quote from the booklet:…"However, the decision to scatter should be chosen carefully in that it is irreversible." Whaaat? Really? You mean we can’t find those miniscule ashes we scatter from an airplane and then re-scatter them in a different location? Well, there goes all our plans! DARN!

posted by Zandria at 1:43 AM


wTuesday, October 08, 2002


DEATH

Last night right before 5pm, Pacific time, my grandpa passed away. His name was Alfred Rowe, my mother’s father, and he was 70 years old. They had transferred him from the rehab center back to the hospital on Sunday because of new complications, and we got to San Bernardino yesterday morning. He had already been placed on a ventilator, a machine that basically breathes for you when you’re unable to breathe on your own, and if they hadn’t done that he wouldn’t have been alive when we got there.

I was holding his hand when he left us. It was important for me to do that, because sometimes I feel like I can write and think more rationally in my head than I can express my thoughts into actual words most of the time. When they took him off the ventilator he breathed on his own for just about ten minutes. I don’t mean to be upsetting or morbid to anyone as I write this, but he was the first person I’ve ever seen die, and it wasn’t an upsetting experience. I felt more a sense of peace and relief, instead of all the stress and anxiety from earlier in the day. The machine was breathing for him and keeping him alive, and he wouldn’t have wanted that. We got to not only spend quality time with him the past few weeks, but we got to say goodbye, and that’s what is most important. He didn’t die suddenly in a car crash, get shot, or have his body eaten away by cancer. It was meant to be; his body shut down and told us that it was his time. It was beautiful in a way, the ending of one existence and the beginning of another, and it was peaceful. Goodbye grandpa.

posted by Zandria at 1:57 PM


wMonday, October 07, 2002


WEEKEND IN L.A.

I left at noon on Friday, October 4th for the drive to L.A. to spend the weekend with my friend Jen. It’s such a beautiful drive going down into what they refer to as "the valley." (Lancaster is located in what is called the "high desert," which is a large plateau in the mountains above Los Angeles, but considered northern Los Angeles County. This means that they get hotter weather in the summer than L.A., and colder winters because they aren’t protected by the valley.) There are mountains rising on both sides as you descend. The mountains are desert mountains; they alternate between being pure rock or covered with brown dust and scraggly bush, rather than grass and trees.

Thousands of people commute on this road every weekday morning and evening for work (it’s cheaper for them to live a little farther away from the city). If you don’t leave early enough (or late enough, as the case may be), you will get caught in traffic jam hell. The roads alternate between 3-4 lanes the entire way, the far left side being the car pool lane for cars with two or more passengers.

I missed one of the exits I was supposed to get off on, entirely my fault because it came up sooner than I was expecting so I wasn’t looking out for it. I went about 20-30 miles out of my way before I realized that I probably should have gotten to the exit by then, so I called Cathy and she confirmed that I would need to turn around. I did get to pass through the Burbank area though, and I also passed the exit for Alameda Avenue (for those who don’t know, that’s where Jay Leno’s studio is located). WHOO-HOOO, go Jay, go Jay….yes I know, I’m a freak, but it’s one of my "hopeful goals" to go to a taping of one of his shows while I’m here!

I stopped at the Getty Center on my way to Jen’s place, I had some time to kill before she got off work. The Getty is this immense museum on a hilltop, you get off on this exit and park in a massive underground parking garage (parking costs $5 but entrance into the museum is free). There were tons of cars there, I had to drive down 5 levels (of 7 levels total) before I found an empty spot. They actually had a few special reserved spaces for "Electric Cars Only," where they could park and re-charge their batteries at the same time. (Only in California! Well, I guess you can find them in other places, but that’s the first that I’ve seen.) Once parked you take the elevator to the ground level, where trams are there to transport visitors from the bottom of the hillside to the top. It’s a pretty interesting ride, you can look out the windows at the view and see beautiful houses set into the neighboring hillsides – the kind with elaborate windowed decks anchored with stilts into the mountainside.

The Getty was pretty nice, I didn’t see it all but I saw a lot of it. They have all kinds of paintings, including one by Van Gogh called "Irises" that’s been all over the world (I think it was in a museum in Paris before this). Then of course the other things that you expect to see in a museum – sculptures, ancient manuscripts, tapestries, Egyptian jewelry and artifacts, gorgeous French furniture from the 1700-1800’s, etc.

I left the Getty around 5:30 (which, if you recall, is right in the midst of rush hour). I knew this in advance but had seen everything that I wanted to see and didn’t have any other choice if I wanted to get somewhere than to get on the 405. The 405 is infamous for its gridlock of traffic, which I experienced when it took me over 45 minutes to crawl less than 5 miles. Crazy! People here take it as a matter of course though, there’s too many vehicles for not enough roadways. It’s not like living in New York where you can walk or take public transportation (like subways) to zip you from one place to another, to get from Point A to Point B in Los Angeles you have to drive. Another interesting thing about ENTERING freeways in L.A. is that they regulate your entrance when you merge from a road onto the actual freeway. Halfway up the ramp you get to a light that alternately flips from red to green so that a long line of cars won’t be trying to merge at one time.

Friday night Jen, her roommate Amber, and I went to this place called the Circle Bar (so named because – surprise! – the bar is a large circle). Saturday during the day we went to the Promenade in Santa Monica, which is an outdoor shopping mall. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but there really are so many "beautiful" people in L.A. 3/4 of the girls you pass are wearing what seems to be the uniform of low-slung pants or jeans, and a fitted shirt or tank top. Tanned and toned, perfect hair and makeup, all included of course. An Abercrombie & Fitch store we stopped in was massive, there were no less than 12 employees walking around, manning the dressing rooms, etc. And it was two stories tall!
We got back to their apartment in time for them to watch the USC football game that was coming on that afternoon. Jen and Amber both graduated from USC in May of 2001 and watch all the games that come on the local television station. And let me just say, these girls get into the spirit and aren’t worried about who knows it – half an hour before the game started, Amber put on a CD of USC band music and they were just having a good old time listening to it.

Saturday night after the game (which USC lost, boooooo….), we went to a concert at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. A band called Cowboy Mouth was opening for Better Than Ezra. I didn’t recognize any songs by Cowboy Mouth until the very last one (it goes: "Jenny saaayys – turn on the radio, Jenny saayys – turn off the lights"…well some of you may recognize it, I know that not all of you will, it’s a few years old). Better Than Ezra was really great, I think I enjoyed listening to them live even more than hearing them on the radio. When we left there we went to a few more bars, one of them was called the Saddle Ranch and they had a mechanical bull that people could ride. The bull was in an enclosed ring area and had a thick padded floor around it for when people would get thrown off. I thought that the guy that was running it looked familiar; when I asked Jen she said he was Blair from MTV’s Road Rules, I think he was on a season or two back. (So THAT’S what some of them decide to do after the show is over, I’ve always wondered about that…)

posted by Zandria at 1:03 AM


wThursday, October 03, 2002


I’m here in Lancaster now. Even though I’ve been in California for almost two weeks it feels like I’ve just arrived, since the first week and a half was spent in a hotel with my things packed up in the trunk. We came back here late Monday afternoon, then spent Tuesday cleaning out the spare bedroom that I’ll be staying in and doing some shopping that needed to be done. Today was errands, cleaning, and more shopping – funny how much shopping needs to be done when the woman of the house has been gone for over three weeks! Especially since the construction that’s been going on in their house since earlier this year is finally nearing its completion (and of course new rooms need to be decorated).

Time on your hands? This is an interesting website I came across that has a collection of old food ads and pictures from recipe books from the '40s, '50s, and '60s. Makes you wonder how people EVER ate that crap, and also the ads are funny because...well, I'll let you check it out for yourselves.

posted by Zandria at 1:10 AM


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On Sunday, Cathy and I spent a few hours at "Casino Morongo," an Indian-owned casino near San Bernardino (gambling is legal in the state of California if its on a reservation). Funny how they chose the name "Morongo" – since if you break it apart you get "moron go!" It was very crowded the day we went, much more so than in the ones in Las Vegas that we went to in May (of course there’s a lot more to choose from in Vegas).

Quite an eclectic group of people will be encountered at a casino – all different ethnicities, ages, and status levels. A businessman in a suit can be found right beside an old Mexican lady, wearing a baggy sweatsuit and a disheveled braid. There were so many people that you had to weave your way through the aisles, and actually look for an empty slot machine to sit in front of. Old, perverted-looking men will stand in the aisles and seemingly not move on purpose, just to eye you as you walk around them (of course there are some perfectly nice gentlemen as well). There are security guards all over the place, and casino attendants standing around with money belts to make change if you need it. Other attendants push drink carts around with complimentary cups of coffee, soda, or water (this is also different from Vegas in that casinos there will give you complimentary ALCOHOLIC drinks as long as you look like you’re feeding money into their machines, or participating at a gaming table).

There is a cacophony of noise at all times, but a "happy noise," if I can describe it that way. The machines blink and clink and beep and whistle, there are all kinds of flashing and chasing lights. There’s even a bank of slot machines that form a circle around a bright blue Mercedes; it’s been raised on a platform in order to be more easily viewed. Now how’s THAT for a jackpot!! One of the funniest things I saw was a lady continuously trying to feed a $1 bill into a machine. In it went, and then out it came, over and over and OVER again…she just wouldn’t give up. The problem was that she had found her way into the "high stakes" machines area, and I guess she thought the $25-per-play was actually a $0.25-CENT-per-play. The machine only accepted $50 and $100 bills!! Can you imagine betting that much per play? Your money fate is determined so quickly with those things – put in money, push button, and you either win or you lose. GONE…just like that…$25 bucks. I guess they must have enough winners on them or people wouldn’t try. Needless to say there aren’t as many of those as all the others though.

posted by Zandria at 12:14 AM