Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What the hell?

Good question. In more ways than one. A question that is sure to lead me on a different path than most of my blogs to date, but might actually prove to be a little more interesting for some of you. Strap on your reading glasses as this is gonna be a long one. Let's get started.

Last month we received an eviction notice from my landlord. Nothing we did wrong, except for living in a house that he built and decided he wanted to sell. Upon hearing the news we were certain we would receive some compensation under the Ellis Act. Not a bad deal to get paid to move. If that was in fact the case. Turns out that "awesome modern place" I moved into, was a little too modern - only buildings built pre-1979 qualify. So, we were about 30 years off. Shit. This meant we had, as the landlord mandated, 30 days to vacate the unit AND would not be getting paid to do it. Hooray. Having just moved my stuff in back in December, it was fair to say I was less than pumped about having to do it all over again.

After a couple of weeks of looking for places that would work with the current roommates, I realized it was too difficult to find a place that would be comparable with the same guys and ventured off on my own. As it turned out, a friend of mine (heretofore known as Bob) was desperately trying to get out of the Inner Richmond. Can't fault him on that one. In a matter of days we found a solid two bedroom, two bath, duplex with backyard and laundry on site North of the Panhandle at Golden Gate and Lyon. Before President's Day weekend we had solidified a year lease and had our move in date set for the 21st - in honor of FDR, naturally.


This timing actually worked out well. For one thing, it gave me a week to move all of my stuff before the technical eviction date. Anyone who knows what it's like to move their life in one day understands the huge sigh of relief this provides. The second, and clearly more important benefit, was that I wouldn't have to cancel my planned trip to Santa Barbara for the long weekend. Having had a slightly difficult Sunday from the booze (read: 11th Annual Double IPA Fest/house party with 4Loko ans shots and...), I was definitely looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend of soaking up the sun on the beach and slowly but surely raising my BAC. Ha.

Turns out the deluge from Karate Kid II (do yourself a favor and click that link, you won't be disappointed. The beat down at the 6 minute mark is the most ridiculous fight scene ever filmed) followed me down there from the Bay. When this happens in Santa Barbara, there really isn't much you can do. Oh. Except drink. So we did. Since I had just driven 5 hours straight from work, Thursday night was pretty easy. Al and I had a few pints at the James Joyce (a place that would be visited numerous times that weekend) and pretty much called it a night. Friday was awaiting and would be one for the ages.

Friday was a pretty shitty day, weather wise, which meant we would be back at it - only this time, we had the whole day ahead of us Luckily Al and I were able to get a decent hour long run in before the rain really started coming down. After grabbing some "breakfast" at a Vietnamese place, we ended up heading to the local bowling alley in hopes that there would be some refuge from the storm awaiting us. In fact, all we found was a bowling alley full of elementary aged children and a bar. Guess which one we chose?

After spending a good 4 hours playing pool and drinking 23 oz. glasses of Pabst, we decided we had had enough and figured we'd change the venue, head around the corner and grab a drink at Break Time - an old dive that has way too many reminiscent qualities to mention. Another pitcher of Pabst and we got back to the pool table. To my surprise (read: uncontrollable glee) I saw one of my UCSB Professors walk right by me and sit at the bar. Neither of the people I was with had any clue who he was, but it was none other than the legendary Econ Professor, Robert Crouch.Yes, he really is as crazy as he looks. After my mind (and body) stopped uncontrollably orgasming, I turned around to see someone walk in with what looked like a foil wrapped Thanksgiving Day turkey. Looked like one of the regulars was in a giving mood, but there was no way I was going to risk eating a turkey in a dive bar. As the patron unwrapped the foil, we were greeted with the fresh smell of grease and some sort of meat product. Yep. They had brought in a good 100 homemade Jack-in-the-Box style deep fried TACOS. This day couldn't get any better. Could it? Oh yeah.

After slamming down a few tacos, we head to IV to pick up another friend and head downtown. After grabbing some food at one of the breweries, we decide to venture to The Neighborhood - by far the best bar in Santa Barbara that I have ever been to. it truly reminded me of The Mission, Isla Vista, and Butter all in one (please watch the low bit video the owner put up...please). This place had ping pong, pool, cheap pitchers, buck hunter, and an outdoor patio where pretty much anything went. Needless to say, near the time we left The Neighborhood things were starting to get a bit spotty. Over the course of the next 8 hours, we raided Raley's for all the Caguama we could find, played some absolutely unnecessary drinking games, was attacked by a chupacabra, and passed out on the floor waking up trying to use the couch cover as a blanket. Pretty decent little Friday.

Saturday was a horse of a different color. I spent most of the day napping, taking a slight break to attempt some more Vietnamese food but realizing it wasn't going to work, I rushed to the bathroom to handle business. I'm pretty sure I described it as forcing me to "scorpion kick" it was so powerful. Not bad. Finally, 5pm rolled around and there were no more excuses - I took a shower, changed up and we were back downtown for another night at The Joyce. Knowing how I felt that morning I was convinced to take it easy(er) than Friday. Which I did. Still had a blast, ran into some old friends and made some new ones. The camera even made it out, so you know I was keeping it (fairly) under control.

See. Carbombs are the BEST way to maintain for the evening. Right?

Well...this was much later and we look pretty alright, so I guess we can say it worked out well for both of us.

Waking up Sunday had me feeling fantastic. I was certainly out of the doldrums from the morning before. No hangover, and I was pumped to get out and get another run in. The rain had finally let up, and though I initially planned on heading back to SF in the morning, I knew there was no way I was going to leave Santa Barbara on a day like that. I headed up Mission Canyon and even caught a few glimpses of the snow on the mountains.

On the way back down the road, I was intrigued by the idea of cutting through the Botanical Gardens. Running with a backpack on, full trail gear, and having my headphones in, I ran straight past the ticket booth and began my exploration. Despite there not being an official "other way out" that sure wasn't going to stop me. I was able to cut a little path out to the other side and continue my way back to Allison's place. The sunny, yet crisp day had me feeling awesome by the time I finished and I was ready to finally enjoy the sun - beer in hand.

Knowing there was only one place to completely capture the essence of Santa Barbara on a day like this, Al and I headed over to Isla Vista. With sandwiches and beer on the brain, we rolled over to Sam's To Go. A couple of pitchers, a walk around IV and a couple more pitchers set the tone for the remainder of the night. This sunset didn't hurt either:

For the evening, we ended up going back to the James Joyce. Again. But this time it was for a VERY good reason. Sunday is karaoke night. Needless to say, it was as sloppy and amazing as one would imagine me and my very amateur group of friends attempting to sing. The highlight (read: lowlight) is when my buddy Bobby signed up for "Just A Friend," by Biz Markie and about 30 seconds in he realized he didn't know anything beyond the chorus. In a drunken attempt to save him, I hooped on stage and told him to just repeat the chorus over and over. Whether the crowd knew it, or decided to even pay attention to us, I'm not sure, but I felt it went over fairly well. Our friendly host Emmet, felt a bit differently, quote: "No. That's a great song. You guys just ruined it."

Aww, Santa Barbara. 'Til we meet again.


What else...? As one of my last "real" posts talked about, I've been training since the beginning of the year for the 50 mile AXS race in Moab, UT at the end of March. Training has been pretty solid and for the most part I've stuck to the prescribed schedule verbatim - every other day is either biking or running, with a few rowing workouts or gym circuit training days thrown in there. Most workouts only last an hour, but as we've approached the actual race date, I've seen a steady uptick in the duration of the weekend workouts - this past weekend for example, was a 3 hour 3o minute mountain bike ride on Saturday, followed by 1 hour 35 minute run on Sunday. Not too crazy, except that last Thursday I noticed a strange rash on my inner thigh.

Not being one to bitch or complain, I put some hydrocortisone cream on it and thought nothing of it. I sure as hell wasn't going to see a doctor over a heat rash. Next day...

Fresh 'friends' on my other thigh. This was suspicious to say the least, but the striations simply made me believe that I must have irritated my leg while running. No biggie. The workouts go on...Yet, the next day...

Alright! What the fuck!? Now I'm thinking something has got to be up. My right ankle is covered in what look like little mosquito bites. When I was little my mom told me I was allergic to some detergents, but I hadn't changed the detergent I was using. Hmm...Could it be? Noooo...yes? DO I HAVE BED BUGS? Freaking out now, having awoken in the middle of the night scratching at my legs like a dog scratching away when getting a good petting, I'm truly scared/confused/pissed. I throw off my sheets and begin feeling around my mattress with one hand (mind you it's 2:30am) and scratching my crotch area like a bonobo chimp. I don't see anything, but I don't want to get back in my sheets since there may be critters hanging out in there. Instead I throw on a pair of sweats and a hoodie and sleep on top of the covers. Waking up pouring sweat was better than the thought that I was being chomped on all night by some fucked up parasite.

Needless to say, I called the doctor and set an appointment to be seen the next day (yesterday). Anyone who knows me knows that this is rare. I've always fought through most illnesses and ignored the doctor's office like the plague - especially since that's where everybody goes when they are coughing and sneezing germs all over the place. Makes sense right? ANYway, I get to my appointment and I'm greeting by a nurse that looks dead on Blake Griffin. Size, stature, everything. Seriously, THAT Blake Griffin. It was daunting to say the least. We go through the standard weighing, height measurement, temperature, etc. We get to the blood pressure test, and I rank in at 110/70. Considered a perfect score - highly physical athletes, very healthy folks typically score here. (BOOM! Score one for Rick!) He then asks me a few 'lifestyle questions' - uh oh. While most are fairly innocent, he rattles my brain with this one:

Nurse: "In the past year, how many times have you had 5 or more a day?"

Me: "In a day?!?" (sideways smirk, big exhale) "psssshhh, man...I don't know..."

Nurse: "...........Well, there are 52 weeks in a year. So, once a week...? Twice a week?"

Me: (Motorboat sound with my mouth) "Uhhhh, sure."

Nurse: "So, twice a week?"

Me: "Not always."

Nurse: "So, 100?"

Me: "Whoa. (Quick calculation in my head...Fridays+Saturdays+ some Sundays and not really wanting to drag this on further than was absolutely necessary) Sure. Let's go with 100."

NOTE: Looking back, this number is completely false, but I figured since I didn't try and overshoot my height when asked (5' 8" not 5' 9") I wouldn't try and undershoot my drinking, neither.

Needless to say, he gave me something to think about - did he really just round 104 down to 100 when I said "not always"? Man, what a jerk. Anyway, he takes off and about 3-4 minutes later the door cracks and I hear a voice greet me. It's my NP who was assigned to me. And, of course, she is bangin'. Awesome. I get to show my rashed up crotchal to perhaps the best looking doc I've ever seen. Oh yeah, she's also got a skirt on. And when she sits down dead in front of me neglects to cross her legs - or even put them together for that matter. I'm thinking, "Am I being punk'd right now?" Sadly, Ashton was nowhere to be found. Instead she cut right to the chase and asked what I was doing there. I pulled up the left pantleg of my shorts and showed her the damage.

"Oh, that looks like it itches." Really? You fuckin' think!? "Umm, yup." Dipshit. "That's definitely poison oak." What? "I've never had it." Bitchily, "And there's some more on your leg. It got you good. Where were you that you might have come in contact with this?"

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens. You win this round. Karma for not paying, I suppose.

As we wrapped up she gave me some topical ointment and oral medication that I need to take for the next two weeks. Shitty.

I'll let you know how it goes. Or not.

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