I visited a handful of Southern California cities this weekend. Here's how it went.
On Friday morning I went down to La Jolla for The Firm's Intellectual Property Practice Group Retreat. The plane was a teeny, tiny American Eagle jet, that was mostly filled with people from my firm. The plane was so damned small that before we could take off they had to ask someone from the front of the plane to move to the back of the plane to balance the weight. This did not make me feel comfortable about soaring through the air in this thing.
The retreat was fine. Junk food for days. Literally. I learned a lot about a lot of things I'm not that interested in. On Friday evening I ditched the poker tournament/karaoke party after a few hands of T3x@s H01d'3m (coded to throw off Googlers) and grabbed a drink with my brother in law Mike and his girlfriend at the hotel's sports bar, since Mike wisely suggested we avoid traveling out into greater San Diego on Cinco de Mayo. After the drink I went back to the poker/karaoke imbroglio with the good faith intention of maybe banging out a song, only to find that the song list was completely devoid of any respectable hair bands. No Boston, no Journey, no Def Leppard. I went to bed.
After the half-day festivities of day two, my dad picked me up and we drove up to see my grandparents in Mission Viejo. Beset by a sudden obsession with their own mortality, they had covered their kitchen table with all the pictures of their grandchildren that they own, and gave me almost all of their Matts. This was sad, but also kind of nice. We had a pleasant visit, during which I borrowed some Tums (I just can't shake a hangover like I could when I wore a younger man's clothes). Afterwards we headed up to Redlands.
Redlands is home to my two teenaged half-a-siblings who barely know I'm alive. Their interactions with me were a delightful mixture of garden-variety teenager surliness and the awkward detachment of a member of your immediate family that you hardly know. I don't have a pithy conclusion for this paragraph so I'll just move on.
Saturday night I borrowed my dad's car and drove out to Hollywood to attend Julie's birthday party, which had a Quentin Tarantino theme. As you can see from the photos, I was the only one not in costume. This is because I wanted to pack light for the weekend, and I'm also lazy. It was great to see John and Julie, since I keep missing them when they come up here, but my lingering hangover and the long drive back into the barren wasteland of the Inland Empire forced an early departure. But not before I ate more snickerdoodles that I should have.
Sunday I played golf with my dad in Redlands. I was worried about this, since I am a bad golfer and my dad has notoriously little patience. I'm pretty sure he almost strangled me when he was trying to teach me to drive a stick shift. Much to my surprise, however, he was surprisingly patient, and even nagged me about proper technique and proper club selection. This resulted in a net gain to my golf game, since I can now hit with woods but was having trouble hitting with irons. Woods make the ball go farther than irons. The only bad part about the golf outing was getting attacked by a swarm of bees on the seventeenth fairway. That was something that I didn't enjoy at all. I didn't get stung, but I did get scared. It was a lot of bees.
I caught a morning flight on Monday, came straight to the office from the airport, and worked all afternoon so I wouldn't have to burn a vacation day. Fortunately nobody was looking for me all morning so I don't think anyone noticed. It's nice to be unimportant.