Skip to main content

What I did on my Spring Vacation -- Day 1, Sunday

Having had some PTO I needed to burn off, and having spoken to my girlfriend Jean about the time, and to my friend Ryan about what to do, it was decided that we'd take a week off, and go to Southern California, and visit Disneyland.

A note about Disneyland:  I've never been to Disneyland.  I did spend a slight amount of time in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, but mostly locating it so as to go around.

A note about these notes:  there are a lot of them.  You should just expect it at this point.

So it was with moderate trepidation that we planned our week of travelling.  Jean and I have been dating for nearly a year, and have been living together for over six months, but we hadn't traveled together yet, and I am notoriously unpleasant to be around while traveling -- I'm cranky, anxious, nervous, and usually in a moderate amount of pain due to back and leg problems -- so it was going to be interesting for our relationship, at least.  We spent the night before travelling, Saturday night, at a concert with some friends, so we probably stayed up too late for my mind, but whatever, it was a great time.  On Sunday morning, we got up early, returned the rental car we'd gotten for the weekend, and got in the security line at PDX airport.

A note about PDX:  there is no better airport.  It's pretty, it's cozy, it's not terribly large but not overly small, it's got free wifi everywhere, the prices are fixed (by law) to the prices outside of the airport, and the employees of the airport itself, the various airlines, and especially the TSA are all good-natured, pleasant, and friendly.  If the TSA was managed as well elsewhere as it was in PDX, well, it'd still be a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle, but it would at least be a nice multi-billion-dollar boondoggle.

Once through the PDX security line, which took about as long as I expected, we grabbed a bagel for breakfast and relaxed for a bit before flying JetBlue to the Long Beach Airport.

A note about JetBlue:  It's a Southwest knockoff, certainly.  They operate only second-hand Airbuses (A320s and A230s), they operate to only limited areas, and mostly to secondary or tertiary airports.  That said, the seats are pleasantly large, the rows have a very pleasant amount of legroom, they don't charge for checked bags, and they are only slightly more expensive than the other Greyhound-in-the-Sky airlines.  Two thumbs up; will fly again!

A note about LGB (Long Beach):  if PDX is the best airport ever, then LGB comes in a close second.  It's a VERY small airport -- it doesn't have gates, just places where they park the planes and roll up stairs to get people off -- and almost all of it is outside.  When we landed, I kept expecting to enter some sort of building, but since it's apparently always nice in LA, there wasn't any inside.

After a two-hour flight, the bright sunlight and fresh air was actually quite refreshing.  We got out and picked up our rental car extremely easily, and I was introduced again to the perfidious, insidious, regressive pain-in-the-ass that is sales tax.  It was late morning on a Sunday, so Jean and I were naturally inclined to find brunch before the long-ass drive ahead of us, but living in Portland has spoiled me in two ways.  The first is in brunch; as I would come to learn, nowhere in Southern California does brunch correctly.  The second is parking; for a city where EVERYONE OWNS A CAR, finding a parking spot is a forced game of "how many right turns can I make" that no one ever wins.  We faffed about trying to find somewhere that wouldn't kill us with hunger while waiting, which brought us to 10:30, which is when In N Out opens, so we gave up and had an early lunch.

A note about In N Out:  If you don't know what INO is, then I am excited for you to experience it for the first time.  It's a burger joint, kinda like Burgerville (in that they're moderately local, careful to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and they have a good word-of-mouth relationship with their customers), but whereas Burgerville has a one-of-everything sort of menu, INO has a very, very limited menu.  On the board, anyway.  They also have an unwritten, secret, never discussed unofficial menu passed from person to person via word of mouth.  And the secret menu is the best part of INO.

I haven't had INO is more than a decade, since they don't have it in either Dallas, Chicago, or Portland, and had seriously considered a road trip from Portland to Redding, CA (the nearest INO, an 11-hour drive one way) to get some.  Thankfully, I didn't do that, because having a 3x3 animal-style, protein-style was EXACTLY what I wanted to eat for the first time (for the uninitiated: 3 patties, 3 slices of cheese, with extra tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles, no bun, wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves) and I consumed it in less than 90 seconds.  I also filched some fries from Jean and her much more reasonable double-double and fries.

Then, we departed for Points North.  Specifically, I took Jean to see her mom and stepdad for the first time in a couple years, who own a house somewhere in the wilds north of LA.  And when I say north, I mean a hundred miles from the airport.  Thankfully, it was Sunday morning, so we didn't have too much trouble with traffic, but still, 100 miles.  Thankfully, we got a pretty nice rental car, the Ford Fiesta, and it was actually a pretty fun drive.

A note about the Ford Fiesta:  introduced in 2008 in Europe as a replacement for the Ford Focus Hot-Hatch, and introduced in the US in 2010, it's a sporty, spacious, roller-skate-style car with a high-revving engine and really responsive handling.  It's a great car, and I'm as shocked as you are that I'm saying something nice about a Ford car, but there you are.  If you've got 17 grand, you could do worse than a Fiesta.

Once there, we met up with Jean's family, and had a nice sushi dinner at a local sushi joint.  We visited for a while, and then went to bed.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Occasional Media Consumption: Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

There is -- I won't say no trick, but perhaps -- very little trick to introducing the reader to a character and then making us like that character. An author can make it a bit harder for themselves by making the character somewhat disagreeable, at least at the start, but eventually we get to the bits where the character does something good and then we like them. An author can do this in reverse, too: show the reader a character, and them make us not like that character. Arguably, it's slightly easier, because we just see the character being an asshole, and then we don't like them. But there is a positive magic in the trick of taking a character, and making us not like them, and then changing our minds. It's a hell of a trick, too. We're introduced to a character, and then the do something disagreeable or assholish, and then we don't like the character. And then, little by little, the author peels back the layers, and suddenly we understand. The character was li…

Occasional Media Consumption: Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire

The most amazing thing to me, in a book filled with amazing things, is that McGuire never addresses the title choice of the book, and yet it was perfectly, brilliantly obvious from about a third of the way in. No, I won't spoil it; I'm not an asshole. But it is amazing, and exactly appropriate for the story being told. There are a LOT of things being juggled in this book. Pairs of characters. Solo characters. Histories. Magic. The modern world. Alchemy. The hidden corners everywhere in the world, and some of the people who live there. And the places that exist in the social unconscious, that are there but not there any longer.

It's hard to talk about this book without spoiling it, because many of the choices the author makes are so outside the norm of the genre that to give them away is to take away from the ingeniousness of the move itself. But in the same way, I've also read several books that leverage exactly the same tropes and choices in similar ways, to great and…

"My pain was selfish. Because it was never only mine."

Y'all, I am so, so tired.

I mean that in a couple of ways, of course. It's been hot in the Pacific Northwest over the last week or so, and it's continuing to be hot for the next couple of weeks. Not that this is particularly surprising, because the world is literally on fire (THE ARCTIC IS BURNING, Y'ALL, AND THAT'S NOT A METAPHOR), but one of the nicer things about the PNW before the current decade was that mostly, it was temperate; summers were a highs-in-the-mid-80s kind of summer. This new highs-in-the-mid-90s is making it hard for me to get to, and stay, asleep overnight. And because harsh summers are a new thing here, almost none of the houses (including ours) have a central A/C unit, so we're trying to make do with window units. Which generate white noise, which is nice, but are also loud, which is not so nice. So I'm tired.

But this last week especially has been more than the physical tired. I'm emotionally tired. Drained, existentially tired. T…