It was just a little over 3 years ago that I last visited California. I needed a short fall break and – since I have a new lease on life this year – wanted to visit a few friends I had not seen in a while. Matt moved out there a year ago, and I have not seen Karla or Elizabeth since my last visit. They do not make it out to Indiana very often, for some reason.
Traveling was interesting. This was my first time flying since the pacemaker was put in and I became gRegorus Prime (presuming you call the device “the Matrix of Leadership”). I had heard a couple things about this. A card I was given had instructions to go through the metal detector as normal and if the device sets it off, screeners should not run the wand over it. Previously in the hospital I had been told I would just have the hand pat down. I had my device/information cards out, but they did not even look at them when I told them I had a pacemaker (nor did they look surprised?), they just directed me past the metal detector for the pat down. Thankfully, it was not humiliating and only took a bit longer than the line. To those wondering: they do same-gender pat downs, so no – no ladies feeling me up.
I arrived midday Friday, got my car, enjoyed some LA traffic, and finally made it to Matt's work. The weather was great; sunny, but cool enough for hoodies (glad I brought one). Matt works at Reality Check, making animations for sports networks, such as the game/player statistics you'll see on TV. He showed me some of it and it is pretty rad. If you are watching the Colts game Thursday on the NFL network (DirectTV), you will see the new animations he is responsible for launching. He is a pretty creative guy as evidenced by his Zombie Ninjas series.
Matt and I hung out, ate some good food at Doughboys and Swingers in Hollywood, caught up on life, and played video games (Super Mario Galaxy is fun). Had some good conversations, including some ideas of what it takes to move out there. More about that later. I did not bring my camera because 1) it's slow 2) it's a bit too big to put in pockets, so thus is not very convenient. Matt took plenty of pictures though, so those should be online at some point.
Sunday was quite fun. Awkward at times, but Karla was there, so that's to be expected. :] Matt and I went to her church service, which I enjoyed (and was not awkward). It is a young, casual church that meets on the Crystal Cathedral campus (huuuuge church that you have probably seen on TV), but not in the Crystal Cathedral itself, as Karla kept assuring me. The message was good and I liked the way they did communion; they had a 10 minute selah for everyone to be silent and go to one of the various stations around the room. There was a bit of liturgy to it, somewhere between Catholicism and Protestantism, which I found interesting.
Afterwards we went to lunch with a group from church, including the pastor (who is younger than me, criminy! [or “oh my”, Karla]). At this point, I should mention that Matt is a vegan. The pastor and some others joined us at lunch a bit later. Apparently there was some talk of how tasty the fajitas were and some jokingly-macho talk; one person said that every guy likes to eat meat, to which someone else responded, “There's a fair amount of guys who don't eat meat.” Karla apparently saw where this was going and tried to stop them, but it was too late because the pastor said, “Yeah, gay guys.” It's not often you get to see a pastor stick his foot in his mouth quite like that. Matt was not offended and we all had a good laugh. It might sound offensive to read, but it was in jest and he apologized profusely; nobody write them off because of this anecdote, because it is a good church with good people. :] On the plus side, before that the pastor had told him he looked like Thom Yorke, and apparently someone else at church had asked earlier, “is that Thom Yorke?” Matt is a rockstar and he doesn't even know it.
We went to a nearby mall where Elizabeth was meeting us, with the intention of bowling or maybe watching a movie. She seemed pretty quiet, but now that I think about it, she had just come from a shindig with her junior high girls at church, so maybe she was enjoying the rest. There was not much rest from the weirdness, though. We had impromptu photo sessions in the middle of the mall, group shots of us using various technological devices (I was twittering, of course), and stuff. Again, I had no camera, but they will be put online soon enough, I am sure. We saw Across the Universe which everyone enjoyed, played video games (including a knock-off DDR where the pads are diagonal. Matt and I bombed; I blamed the diagonal pads.), ate dinner, then went our separate ways.
Back to what I mentioned before: Matt and I talked some about my interest in moving out there. Anyone who knows me a bit knows that I rather love California and have wanted to move out there at some point in life, to try it for a while, if nothing else. Being in school was one consideration, previously. Being away from my parents was another. This year my health threw me for a big loop, so such a move seems a bit scarier (again, being far from my parents). He asked me what it would take for me to move out there, and we discussed some of the costs and considerations. Depending where I am at financially, I think it is feasible within 2 years, and I should be able to keep my current job – a big plus. Even if I did not keep my job for some reason, there is plenty of good-paying programming work there. That would raise the consideration of getting new health care and what it will/will not cover (or, the astronomical premium I would have). Those are pretty big concerns, honestly. That is just an if, though, and I really think I am going to go for it.
While talking to my friend Jenn last night, she said “just do it” and suggested I shoot for doing it within a year. I just might take that challenge. Stay tuned.
My trip in a nutshell:
jenn: share one highlight?
(watch Demetri Martin)