Monday, October 25, 2010

Polka, beer, bratwurst and cheer!

This weekend turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Sometime last week, Michael pointed out we hadn't actually been doing much and we both constantly complained about how stressful our schedules are. So with that thought of our inactivity in my head, I did a little research and found out that Oktoberfest was coming to a city near us. Naturally, I did some further investigation to discover the celebration was taking place in Long Beach. Beer, bratwurst, and polka? It was a definite yes.

I got out of class at three on Friday and took the bus over to Michael's, anxiously waiting for him to get off work. By five o'clock, we were in the car (stuck in traffic) and headed towards our night's entertainment. Once in Long Beach, the park where Oktoberfest was being held was surprisingly difficult to find. After an added thirty minutes and winding, dimly lit roads, we cautiously drove my car across the rain-mudded grass field of El Dorado Park to a large makeshift parking lot with a minuscule number of cars parked under the temporary lights.

Excitedly, we both jumped out of the car and squished our way through the muddy lot to pick up our VIP tickets. The tickets guaranteed us unlimited rides, non-stop entertainment, one free beer and a Bavarian feast dinner. The park was itself was also dimly lit, only illumiated here and there by the carnival rides scattered towards the back of the festival and the stage to our immediate right as we walked in.

Sounds of polka and men in lederhosen playing from the stage welcomed us to the festival. Since I was starving, Michael and I found our Bavarian Feast Dinner booth and in exchange for each $30 ticket, we received a plate full of bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and red slaw. As it turns out, German food (or at least this German food) is not my favorite kind of food. I ate some of the potato salad, all of my bratwurst, and drank my free Sam Adams Octoberfest beer, but both mine and Michael's sauerkraut and red slaw went untouched.
One free beer ticket: one Octoberfest beer coming up.
Our Bavarian Feast Dinner. I was still hungry after.
After dinner, we walked around considering which of the few rides that were there we should try. Seeing as how they were all free, we just figured we’d try them all. I spotted a Ferris wheel towards the back of the park and begged to start with that since I had never been on one. Michael agreed. But as we started to get closer, I realized it wasn’t your typical spin-around-and-enjoy-the-sights Ferris wheel, it was the kind that spins around and upside-down to make you sick as it turns. I needed a warm up. We started with Cliff Hanger, then some other ride that flung us around at high speeds, then ventured back to the Ferris wheel ride. No one was in line. No one was even near it. And as we approached I realized the maintenance guys were working on the ride. I started to slow down as we got closer, but Michael grabbed my hand and pulled me along. Next thing you know the guy is shutting our cage and telling me, “If it gets to be too much, just let me know and I’ll stop it. Really.” Great.

The ride starts up and we go around slowly facing forward at first, but as we hit the top and round the other side, we are dangling there in our little cage upside-down with all the blood rushing to our heads. I keep saying “I don’t like this, I don’t like this,” but all Michael can do is laugh and poke fun at me. After one more slow trip around the wheel, the guy stops it and says, “Something fell off, I’m gonna stop it. Come back in an hour.” Hm. Done with the rides for the nights.

Next we wandered off to a fun house and chased each other through the maze of mirrors. After that we hit up the merry-go-round (thanks to my coercion), took some pictures and decided it was time to hit the road. Michael surprised me with caramel apples he had picked up earlier in the day and we happily munched on those on the drive home. 

Greetings from (Long Beach's) Oktoberfest!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pizza and Pumpkins

Being in L.A., the seasons seem to blend together. Although it's been fall for a little over a month now, L.A.'s weather is finally catching up. The past few days have been cold, misty, and overcast; a combination that is perfect when paired with sweatpants, homework and Michael. Unfortunately, I've been working a lot and Michael has had a lot of school work so we've been trying to make the most of the time we have together.

This weekend I was blessed with all opening shifts so Michael and I got to spend the majority of our weekend together. On Friday night we were hell bent on getting to a pumpkin patch, but, as it turns out, they are somewhat hard to come by down here so we settled for a Ralph's. Two pumpkins, one carving knife (this is key), and $13 later, we were back at home and ready for a little friendly competition of whos pumpkin would turn out best. Michael was so convinced that the cheap little pumpkin carving knives you buy at the store worked better than any kitchen knife, and I was sure that they broke easily.  As it turns out, I was wrong.

For a moajority of the night, I stole Michael's carving knife and cut out my evil queen from Snow White stencil, while Michael popped up a batch of popcorn and put in "The Crazies." Turns out I'm not a fan of horror movies, made evident by the nightmares that followed. Nonetheless, our pumpkins/horror flick combo turned out to be just the thing we needed to jump start our holiday season.

Michael eats the pumpkin guts (or at least acts like he's going to).

Holding my pumpkin stencil and trying to be evil just like her.
Michael puts his 50 mm lens to use in this amazingly artistic photograph. Getty, here he comes...(Obviously Michael wrote that in and deleted what I wrote.)


Enjoying dinner and Sierra Nevada's Autumn Tumbler.

We cheated.

Only ones on the block so far!

On another note, during a recent trip to Target, we bought a mancala board and have become addicted. The past few nights have consisted of wine and board games. We were both very excited about the purchase of OUR first board game. We have plans to slowly continue to expand our collection. Up next: Michael says definitely Catch Phrase. We'll see. I'm feeling more like Battleship.

Mancala.
-S

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hi!

So, being the rebel that I am, I have skipped English 1a tonight mainly for the sake of all of my fellow students.  Seriously, who knows what would have happened had I subjected myself to another three hours of school today.  So, in an attempt to amend my absence from class, I have decided to showcase my informal English on this here blog. Enjoy!

It has been a fast paced and exciting few weeks.  For the tail end of summer I piled around Santa Monica missing my friends, family, and most of all, Sarah.  As she has already said, I got the opportunity to help her move down here and spent an awesome weekend with Ron and Anne Clifford too. (and friends!) From what I hear, Sarah's rents will be back in town in a few weekends for "Parent's Weekend" at UCLA.

Unfortunately,since we have been re-united, we haven't been as active as we both expected.  Turns out 16 units and an internship take up quite a bit of time.  Still, we recently went to a weekend art show on the beach in Santa Monica and met up with Sarah's long lost compadre Lauren. Glow was pretty strange but HEY!we got a few free drinks at the bar before hand thanks to a tipsy bartender and we even got a few shoe fulls of sand out of it. OH and the cab driver drove us home for $20.00 which was less than the actual fare. =)

Here are some from GLOW:


 Um... Techno?...



 Lauren and Sarah. Long exposure...



 This picture is cooler than the actual installation.



 Long exposure of the pier. SM



 A walking art man. He had metal mechanical wings. We flew Together



 lolz the above were from glow...



We were also treated to Zengo, a fancy Asian/Hispanic restaurant. Thanks Mom and Dad! Speaking of which! here's a story for ya!


Sarah and I took the bus to her apt. to grab some nice clothes for our date night. On our way back, we couldn't agree about which bus stop was the right one to exit.  Sarah, confident as ever that her stop was the right one, stepped off, leaving me alone in the far back seat.  Panicked that I would be forced to ride the bus a whole block by myself, I ran off of the bus just before the doors closed.  Just as the bus rounded the corner, Sarah turned and with a ghostly pale face reminded me: "Michael! Your backpack is in the bus!!!"
what she really meant was:"Michael! MY CLOTHES!"


Without hesitation, I turned and sprinted after the Big Blue Bus which, on any other day, would have been 50x slower.  "great!" I kept thinking; as the bus would approach a red light. Just as I would get close the the bus, the Godawful light would switch to green and the bus would pull ahead.  After what seemed like a few miles (maybe 3 blocks), my battered lungs and oxygen deprived legs gave up.  I turned, and staggered back to Sarah who had called the company.  Together we frantically ran home, jumped in the mustang and raced after the bus.  Number 8, number 8, number 8.  20 minutes and a couple miles later, after breaking just about every vehicle based law in existence and giving Sarah a couple heart attacks, we closed in on the Big Blue Bastard.

Straight out of cops, I cut the bus off at a scheduled stop. Sarah ran into the bus and acquired the bag which was in the possession at that point of a few L.A. teens.  Bag in hand, Sarah jumped back in the car and off we went. 


Its fair to say we were both rattled by the situation and the life threatening tactics we had taken to get our prized possessions back.  We struggled to talk to each other for a while knowing it would be better to avoid the blame game.  Still, this story was the topic of many discussions at school and work for the days to follow.  oh jeez lol.

I guess the last couple weeks have been relatively quiet.  Sarah got promoted to Manager at Victoria's Secret so shes been working longer hours which means I get more lonely time... I guess that's okay because I have about 15 sheets worth of papers due next week and another round of mid-terms coming up in two weeks.  Plus, I've been in contact with some guys with Santa Monica Rugby Club who have invited me to start training with them starting November 1st.  Eh, I guess its better to stay busy right? At least we're not bored! =)

 I'm going to leave you with a little sample of one of the endless reasons why I love my girlfriend Sarah Clifford. lol Shes going to hate that I put this up but I could hog it to myself!


video