My personal highlight of 2004...

December/2004: Personal Ramblings - So an undisclosed amount of time ago in 2004 (My blog is the only blog on the internet which operates under a time delay. Most things I talk about which involve things I do usually have happened quite some time ago) I visited New York City with the woman you know as Harvey. I myself had never gone past Nevada. And the only time I was in Nevada, I was around twelve and never got outside of my hotel room. I know I watched a movie, but I can't remember what it was. I'm pretty sure it was an action movie. Tell your friends.

In Oregon, if you're poor... you make that one trip to Disneyland/Six Flags. So we did that when I was ten or twelve, probably ten. Of course if you're down in LA, you might as well loop back through Nevada to Oregon. So we stayed there for one night. Then I came back. that was as far East Coast I had travelled until I got the opportunity to visit New York City.

Of course, it wasn't a vacation, it was work. And it wasn't work we got paid for. So I guess it's a hobby. But the trip was free and I got to hang out with Harvey, whom I had never met before, so that's more than enough payment. Originally I was supposed to have about twenty four hours in New York. The problem was that my flight was delayed two hours here in Portland. Why? Because the pilots were late. No, not because of mechanical, nor because of weather... the pilots had simply overslept and were late. They actually announced this to us. "The pilots are late." Once they arrived, they then had to run diagnostics. This did not bode well for my expectations of their flying ability.

And yes, we hit the ground very hard at my connecting destination. The connecting destination sucked as well. For you see, I missed my connecting flight. Having never needed to fly with a connecting flight, I was totally unaware of what to do. Once I found some help, they immediately announced a delay of two hours because "There are too many planes flying into the" airport in New York I was destined to land at. So... we wait. They do maintenance. Then they have the great idea to herd us all on the plane to sit on the ramp in 90 degree weather for two hours.

I was less than thrilled.

I left my place in Portland to go to the airport at around Five AM PST. I got into New York at roughly 12:24 AM EST. Yes, I was less than pleased, really. This cut down my time in New York to less than... that's right, 20 hours since I was delayed well over five hours. Yep, less than thrilled. Futher compounding the problem is that the airline carrier I was on didn't have powerplugs... meaning I couldn't plug in the laptop, which charge had already been exhausted. Thankfully, the airlines all have their little magazine. I read that magazine three times. Wasn't too great.

All that bitching though, and it was worth it. New York is New York. You can't call it anything else. I had ten major goals in New York.

1. Have fun with Harv.
2. Do the work I was supposed to do.
3. Observe someone yelling at someone else.
4. Witness illegal activity.
5. Talk to mouthy people with a New York accent who would be mouthy.
6. Eat at fast food.
7. See Times Square.
8. NOT act like a tourist.
9. Watch a movie on the laptop.
10. Overall, have a good time.

I am happy to report that I completed all ten tasks. Having fun with Harv was easy, since she and I got along swimmingly. The best part about the last sentence is that doing so required no swimming. Trust me folks, I'll be here all week. Doing the work I was supposed to do was quite easy as well. Since I was supposed to do it and couldn't get out of it since they were my only means of transportation. Which is funny, since they went way overboard (Not that I don't appreciate it baby, ring a ding ding) with the accomodations.

I mean, I step off the plane and there's this little guy holding a sign with my name. That's cool. That's a major goal in life, to be one of those people just once. I've hit that milestone, now I can move on. That's accomodating enough. But then, I find out that it's a limo. It's a freakin' limo. For me to go from the airport to the hotel. That's goofy. I'm not a limo guy. I don't even know how to be a limo guy. Feels so weird. You've got this poor guy up front driving, which is just not fun, and there you are with plush leather couches. The whole time I just really wanted to go sit up in the passenger seat and pretend I was supposed to be there. The best part about the limo though, was the driver. This guy has been driving for years, and he's got a really thick New York accent. So he's used to driving around pricks.

This guy I knew I could get along with. So I go sit up by the window to talk to him, figuring I can get some dirt on who the pricks are. Shit, this guy had all the stuff. I could tell he appreciated that, and the fact that I curse quite often. He liked to curse too, so we cursed together. I mean, really... why should I act snooty just because he's the driver? He makes more money than me. I think I'm probably one of the few people who have ridden in a limo where the driver makes about 10 times what you make. In a sane world, we would have swapped places.

So he's telling me all this stuff about people who have ridden in his limo. Which is cool, these guys have great stories and if you're just a regular person to them ( And who the fuck am I if not a regular fucking schmuck?) they'll open up to you. He told me some pricky stories about Richard Gere that were just great. To even recount them wouldn't do the stories justice because you gotta hear this dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker with requiste accent telling those stories. Can't be beat. And he went on a curse-filled rant about his old job driving people to the Ricki Lake show and how he wouldn't even hold up the sign because he could tell who they were just by standing there and looking. Always mutants.

You can't buy culture like that.

I was proud to out-curse him too. He had me on the "shitheads" but I more than made up on it with variations of El F-Bomb. Got to the hotel, which was way too swanky. The problem with the hotel were that the fucking pillows were terrible. It's this rich expensive hotel, beautiful place... and you put your head into the pillows thinking, "geez, they can put televisions in the fucking ELEVATOR... these should be some fucking quality pillows!" Then you lay that head into them and you feel like you're going to suffocate. YOU CAN'T AFFORD FEATHERS OR STUFFING? In fact fuck it, YOU... HILTON... CANNOT AFFORD FUCKING FEATHERS? WHAT? FEATHERS! There's a fucking cable television built into the wall of every elevator, but the fucking pillows feel like they're made of foam. I had two pillows and nothing. Just nothing. No support. Fucking christ. So rather than sleep, I stayed up with Harv telling obnoxious jokes in-between random 1-5 AM jaunts in Times Square.

That's when we accomplished numero quatro. Nothing like being asked if you want drugs by three different people. First guy is a homeless guy with a fucking helium can. He was selling fucking Helium in front of Hard Rock Cafe. Later, we see this guy and he's got no Helium. I honestly admired that, I mean, how many people don't even want to get up to go to a desk job... and here's this guy hustling balloon air at two AM in the goddamn night in the middle of Times Square. That's a hard worker. The other drug dealers weren't nearly as interesting. One asked if we wanted to party (Answer = No... ever) and another was so blase that what he did slips my mind. Bottom line: We got offered drugs walking around Times Square. That's America, bitch.

Number three took care of itself rather quickly as well. Harv and I are jaunting up the street and we observe a firetruck, lights on, trying to save some people. You know, good firefighters, not that asshole Ryan Hogan. He's right to take a right, and there's just this little yellow cab... sitting there... doing nothing. I've seen this here in Portland, but the Portland fire department can't match New Yorks. Out of nowhere, this Italian Firefighter gets on a loudspeaker and yells "HEY CABBIE! MOVE! MOVE CAB!" Hell, that took care of goal three in grand and glorious fashion. Harv and I cracked up, of course. It was great. We hit up a two-story Sbarro (Here in Portland, Sbarro is only at the malls... not two damn stories) which completed fast food. Thankfully, we'd have time to complete another fast food run too, due to some shenanigans that happened later on.

The best thing about hanging out with Harv is just how easy she is... to hang out with. Of course. She's just like me. We're not tourists. We don't want to see the Statue of Liberty. Nor do we want to go to a Broadway show. We just want to walk around and pretend we're New Yorkers. No fancy foods, no lavish entertainment other than the surroundings of the city itself. That was perfectly aligned with me. Additionally, she and I are scary similar. Like the same movies, the same music, the same comic books... yes, comic books. Harv is such an uber-female that she enjoys comic books. We sat around for three hours reading comic books at one point. Ridiculously cool and fun. We also hit up ice cream and McDonalds. When you're hanging out with a female that suggests McDonalds and reading comic books, you're pretty much made. Let alone being in New York. So that being pretty much my major reason for wanting to go so badly worked out well. It made the problems at the airports worth it. I did my voices, she did her voices, and we had fun.

We were supposed to be ready to go do the "work" about Nine AM. Remember, I got in at midnight. We, being the irresponsible twentysomethings we are, stayed up until about Eight AM. That gave us about an hour before we went and did work. I'll go more into the work at a later date. Suffice to say, some stuff happened and we ended up scoring another 24 hours in New York and a new hotel. The new hotel had good pillows, which I'm sure you were really wondering about. We watched a movie on the laptop, got some soda, and caught up on our damn sleeping. And wandered Times Square some more. However, most of our time was spent brainstorming new ideas for PeeJ, which resulted in Human Shields, Most Active Perverts and a few other additions to the website. Fortune was definitely shining upon me though, as soemtimes the Christians really pull for you. We're walking around Times Square and some crazy lady with an agenda spots Harv, walks over, and hands her a pamphlet letting her know that god really wants her to be straight, and that she should find a man to marry. I feel that I have one impeccable gaydar, but that crazy Christian put my gay-detection system to shame. Remember, she didn't hand me a pamphlet, just Harv. I really didn't think it was that obvious, but crazy pamphlet lady had it going on.

Really a fun time, one of the most fun times I've had in the last several years.

I departed early for the airport the next day, which resulted in the mouthy person with a New York accent who was mouthy.

The car service picks me up, and I get another great driver. No limo this time, thank god. This guy is about 40 or so, dyed in the wool New Yorker. He knew what my work there was, so he asked me about it. The guy was classic. He couldn't believe there were pedophiles online. I started telling him about PeeJ, about the New York group media bust, and he was just dumbfounded. He kept repeating that he had girls that age and that they have computers in their room. I guarantee those computers were moved later that night. The highlight of him was easily telling him what the West Coast was like. Look, I love Oregon. I love the weather here. I love the weather in California. It's really great. But the people are atrocious. So I told him, just as I'll tell you, what makes the people so atrocious. In New York, they just tell you what they think. Someone thinks someone is an asshole? You tell him that he's an asshole. I like that. That appeals to me. Here in Oregon... people will think you're an asshole and then never mention it. They'll just snipe you behind your back. It's just not a proper way to be. The driver understood that, and got really pissed off at the idea of the West Coast being like that. "Hey, if imma think youse an asshole, I just tellthaguy he's an asshole and then y'know, we're friends. I can't believe that shit is like that outta there."

Ain't that the truth, brutha.

The flight back was nice. Managed to watch Eternal Sunshine for a second time while waiting for my three hour layover at another airport. Otherwise uneventful on the way back home. The worst part was just having to leave. New York City is absolutely perfect. It's urban, it's busy, it's mouthy... it's alive. Seeing a downtown area packed at four AM during the week showed how a city should be. Businesses everywhere, with apartments built on top of them. If it weren't so expensive year-round, and cold during the winter, I'd be all about moving there tomorrow. Even with those two negatives, it's an attractive idea. Experiencing New York like I lived there was far superior than acting like a tourist, even if I could have used the pictures to spice up this blog entry. Not pictures of myself, of course, but pictures of El Del... and of course, the crazy fucker with the helium.

Hopefully I can figure out a way to sucker our "work" into shipping us to New York together again, and this time for a few days rather than one and a half. I don't normally take flight offers to further PeeJ projects (I've turned down flights to Texas, Florida, California and New York in the past, preferring to pass off "work" to either people in the area of the project, or other contributors) but this time was an exception, and a very memorable exception at that. Perhaps one day they'll find a way to slam Oregon's weather into a state filled with New YOrk City honesty. Such a combination would be heaven on earth.

Nah, fuck that, it'd be way better than a heaven.