But that's enough reading for me. Now it's your turn, for, lo, I have been gone two weeks and have so many tales to tell about my tripartite vacation! Today, you get the first part, which focuses on my time with my family.
The Road Trip: I had BARTed down to Millbrae on Friday and been picked up by Rajumama, who gave me his fifty-thousandth lecture on why I should buy a house, even though he had promised not to bring up the damn subject again.
On Saturday, we left a little later than planned, but soon after we got on the road, I pulled out my Sports Night DVDs and proceed to hook my cousins. I was unsure how they would take to it since it's a little more serious than most comedies, but after each episode was over, another one played. After a few episodes, I even began to hear actual laughter! It was my third time watching these episodes, and it was still a fantastic show. Once we finished the first disc, I taught them Botticelli, which took them a while to get the hang of (and Shivam, the youngest, never really grasped the subtleties of the rules). But, like Sports Night, they clearly took a liking to it. Unlike the strange wraps we got from a random Indian restaurant that consisted of primarily rice and...fruit? Why would you put fruit in a chicken wrap? Geez.
I drove the last two hours, listening to a couple mix CDs I had made for my future hosts in L.A.
Family Drama: Minimal, as we hadn't actually all gotten together yet, but there was pre-drama drama! Because, originally, we were all going to stay at this Country Inn and Suites, but then my mom thought she could find better rates, so we cancelled, and then we made the reservation again, and then my mom found some rooms at the Rodeway Inn, so she cancelled again, but Minamami didn't want to cancel twice in a row, so she and her family were going to stay at the Country Inn and Suites even though everyone else was going to be at the Rodeway Inn. FABULOUS.
San Diego Zoo: I suppose it was just as well that mutinousmuse had reserved Sunday for Christmas shopping because we were off to the zoo. I was appointed navigator because, I don't know, I have a Master's in pharmacology and that makes me qualified for such things. I tried to come up with the most efficient way to see everything and hit all the shows in the time we had.
Well, there was a sea lion show starting in ten minutes, so that was our first priority. Before the sea lions came out, we got some bonus macaws flying around the theatre, and, damn, those were some pretty birds. Such bright, vibrant colors! Then the sea lions came out, and I wanted to be a sea lion, all sliding around and slicing through the water. Next to the sea lion show was the herpetarium, so we looked at some neat reptiles and snakes, and I wanted to be a python.
I pulled us out of there eventually because we needed to get to another show. I hoped I was reading the map right and took a shortcut...successfully! Fear my mad cartography skillz! In the next show, we saw a cheetah, and I wanted to be a cheetah. They're so sleek and lean, and they can hit their top speed (between 60 and 70 miles per hour) in 4 seconds. (Okay, they can only maintain that speed for about thirty seconds before they have to cool the fuck off, but still. That's awesome.) They also brought out a snow leopard, which was interesting to compare because it has a completely different body type. It's shorter, with thicker legs; it's more agile in the air. It hopped from platform to platform, and I wanted to be a snow leopard. Last of all was the Arctic wolf, which we got to make howl by howling at it, and, you know what? A wolf howl sounds exactly like you'd expect it to sound.
We had taken care of the shows (really, famous San Diego Zoo, only two shows?), so now it was time to see all the cool animals. Like...meerkats! And, in honor of schnappycat and all other fans of Meerkat Manor, I took a bunch of pictures.
We saw such unusual creatures as the tapir, capybara, and anteater, which...holy Christ, have you ever seen an anteater? They are SO FUCKING WEIRD. They don't look like they belong on this planet. They look like nothing else. I mean, tapirs looks like mini truncated elephants, and capybaras look like giant chipmunks, but...an anteater is just bizarre. Zoos really remind you about the diversity of animal life on this planet. CONSERVATION WOOOO.
We also saw everyone's favorite bears! Koala (not a bear):
Panda (recently confirmed to be a bear):
Polar (totally a bear):
Another animal I wanted to be: the Andean condor. Which can fly close to 100 miles WITHOUT FLAPPING ITS WINGS. The dirty bitch can just glide that far. How awesome is that? It's like an airplane with wings!
You know what other animal is cool? The hippo! It's so huge! Yet it swims so easily! And it kills more people than alligators and tigers and lions and all those other animals you consider to be more deadly!
As the park was closing, I led Minamami to the gorillas, which she had been wanting to see. The Texans had arrived earlier than expected, so we went straight from the zoo to the Rodeway Inn, where I met everyone. We waited for a prematurely hungry crew to return from an excursion to Jack in the Box before heading out to Olive Garden, which proved somewhat difficult with two vehicles with two different GPS systems. But we got there. Because we had fifteen people in our party, there would be quite a wait, so my brother (Kiran) and I, accompanied by my cousin Kavi, set out to see if Toys 'R' Us had this five-dollar Wii RPG my brother wanted.
This also proved somewhat difficult as the store was across the highway, and we were on foot. I asked a random cameraman (still have no idea what sort of news story he was doing) if he knew how to get across, and he offered us a suggestion. We went down the hill toward the overpass, discussing video games and video game consoles the whole way. We ran a little to burn off the inevitable calories Olive Garden would give us. I think my relationship with my brother can be summed up in the fact that, while running, I could yell, "Nigga stole my bike!" and he would laugh.
At Toys 'R' Us, we had no luck, and we got the call that we had a table soon after we got there anyway. On our way there, we had noticed a large, steep hill that led directly to the Olive Garden, so, to save time, we were running up that hill like Placebo covering Kate Bush (I think my brother can be summed up in the fact that he actually said that, basically). It was an ill-advised tactic, since I only had one arm with which to properly stabilize myself and my brother was in open-toed sandals, but we made it up, triumphant.
Inside, I took the seat at the head of the table, which caused people to joke that I would be paying for dinner, which...just because I have a job doesn't mean I'm rolling in dough. At the table were two doctors, a dentist, and a couple who owned two million-dollar homes and a significant stake in a new hotel. Comparatively, I am poor.
My brother had never had gnocchi before, so I got the chicken and gnocchi for us to share. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, my mom was playing Hangman with Maeha, and she kept asking for my help. The first time, I went over and solved it immediately, but the second time, it was my brother who figured it out. The third time, I did finally get it but didn't tell my mom because I promised Maeha I wouldn't. I simply gave her the clue that she wasn't very creative. Because she was using phrases from the menu and anything else she could see from where she was sitting (like "Fire Door Emergency Alarm Will Sound").
Because I didn't have my luggage with me, I had to go back with Rajumama and Minamami, the latter of which wanted to stop at J.C. Penney's to buy some perfume or something. So Akash popped in more Sports Night.
I think if aliens ever come down to Earth and ask us to justify the existence of humanity, we should just show them "The Quality of Mercy at 29K."
Family Drama: Now that we had three families together, things were heating up! My mom claimed the Rodeway Inn was so much better than Country Inn and Suites (it...wasn't, really; it's just that it wasn't the shithole you might expect from the name). There was confusion on where to meet up and where to eat dinner. There was doubt over Satishmasa's ability to lead us to Olive Garden. My mom was miffed that I hadn't brought my luggage (No one had told me to! I thought they were coming later and we would have been back from the zoo by then!) and tried to get me to stay with them at the Rodeway Inn anyway even though I had nothing but my backpack with me.
San Diego Wild Animal Park: More Sports Night on the way to the Wild Animal Park, which we, surprisingly, beat the rest of the family to. Again, I am somehow given the responsibility of navigating and plotting a course, this time by Satishmasa, and it's much harder when you have three times the people. We just sort of end up breaking into groups, all heading toward the Journey to Africa tram ride.
I'm with the boys, and we walk along and stop in the petting zoo, where I make friends with some deer. From India!
We get a pretty sweet spot on the tram, which takes us along a habitat populated with African animals like giraffes and rhinoceroseseseses.
I really like that last giraffe picture, where it's loooooooming like a dinosaur.
Next was an animal game show, and I accidentally took us a long way to get to the amphitheatre, but everyone was following me because that was my job. I thought it would be animals playing a game show, but no. There were trivia questions about animals, and then they would bring animals out. This is where I learned about an awesome little beast called a serval, which could jump ten feet straight up into the air from a standing position. It was fucking amazing. I wanted to be a serval. God, being a human is STUPID. We can't do shit. Bipedal movement? Opposable thumbs? WHATEVER.
Harshamasi wanted to see the elephant show, so I led everyone to the location. We got there early, so we rested our feet and played Botticelli and ate. The elephant show was amusing because the elephants weren't being very cooperative, so they had to switch things up a little and try to get certain elephants out later. I...felt kind of bad for them. I'm not sure what it is about elephants, but performing elephants look sillier and unnatural than other animals. Sea lions appear to be having fun, and the big cats are just sort of doing their regular thing, and dolphins and whales are just playing in the water, but elephants are just...there's something wrong.
Then we went up to see the California condor, and then I brought everyone back down for the bird show, which featured the prettiest pigeon I'd ever seen and a falcon ravenously chewing on a mouse.
After that, there was some more wandering/playing Botticelli and brother-brother time, followed by, around closing time, gorillas.
For dinner on Christmas Eve, we headed to a nearby On the Border, where I got the Superior Dinner (with a name like that, how could I resist?), comprising a taco, a flauta, and two enchiladas (chicken and cheese). I told the waiter it was my mom's birthday (it was actually the next day), making it her second "birthday dessert" in a row.
This time, I had brought my luggage and could properly relocate to the Rodeway Inn and party in the boys' room. I didn't know whether we were doing any sort of Christmas present exchange, so I wanted to give my siblings their birthday presents individually, not in front of the whole family, since they wouldn't really get them.
Inside a box of pav bhaji she herself had written on, my little sister (Jigna) found a pink My Pretty Pony shirt and We're Toast! (she had expressed a liking for my brother's Cylon toaster shirt even though she didn't understand it).
My brother had recently turned 21, so he got a special supergift wrapped inside an xkcd shirt: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (past: a movie he loved), The Hives' latest album (present: a CD I knew he wanted), and Cryptonomicon (future: a book I knew he would love). Even though he had been saying he didn't want any gifts, why'd I get him a gift...he was obviously very happy and pleased with what I got him. I kind of rule at gift-giving.
My little sister also brought a card to sign for my mom's birthday the next day.
TBS was running its Christmas Story marathon, so I finally got to see that movie. Yes, I had never seen it. What, my skin is brown, shut up. I liked it! It was pretty funny, and the kid was just great. I loved his weird fantasy sequences, and the narration style was amusing.
I also did some work because people don't not get sick over the holidays. All hail Remote Desktop Connection.
Family Drama: At the Wild Animal Park, my little sister kind of got ditched, as all the other girl cousins stuck together and went their own way. This is a common occurrence, much like I always stick with my brother and don't spend as much time with her as I ought to.
After the elephant show, my mom whispered to my sister not-so-subtly, and, suddenly, my sister just wanted to take my picture! Right there! For no reason at all! Certainly not to show prospective wives! I was not in the mood to have my picture taken, although, in retrospect, I realized that since I was wearing my Hypotamoose shirt, I might have attracted a good wife with such a picture. I stood there without smiling, and when my mom asked me what was wrong with smiling, I said I didn't like being forced to smile. We got over ourselves pretty soon, though.
Legoland: We crashed the Country Inn and Suites for their much better breakfast in order to split up for some pre-Legoland social visiting. Then: Legoland!
But take a closer look at the admission booth:
It looks like the direct inspiration for Itchy and Scratchy Land. It says, I shit you not, "The exchange rate is fun!"
Inside, as you might expect, EVERYTHING IS MADE OF LEGOS.
I told my brother I was going to greenscreen him so that he was just a floating head and arms. So he went and fought Darth Vader.
So I'm a nerd.
The first thing on the docket was an amazing 4-D Lego Racers movie. 4-D, you say? Yes! It's the new hip thing! (There had been a 4-D fucking Spongebob movie at the Wild Animal Park.) So they already have a 3-D movie, and they add the fourth dimension of...water! And wind! And heart! Basically, there are some external effects to make you feel more like you're in the movie...which was a very silly animated feature with no voice actors. And we were kind of rooting for the "villain" because he had a way cooler car.
After the movie, we checked out the place where you could build your own Lego racer. When you signed in, they gave you wheels, and it was up to you to find all the other parts in the bins. It was really hard, honestly, because even after you grab the right axles, the pieces necessary to build atop them seemed to be in short supply. We didn't get very far at this point, and it doesn't really matter because we're going to come back (spoiler warning).
My mom had secured us some handicap line jumps for the Knight's Tournament, a popular ride. On the way, we passed a series of Lego busts, and I had to run back and pose with a couple of my favorite dudes. Like Shakespeare:
So I'm a nerd.
Knight's Tournament was a bit daunting because I was afraid for my shoulder. You were allowed to choose the intensity, and I was too chicken for Extreme so I dropped us down to Turbo, hoping I wouldn't hurt myself. And I didn't, but I was cursing the entire damn way. They strap you into a seat and then just completely fuck with you, tossing you back and forth and upside-down, presumably simulating a fight with a dragon IN SPACE. In addition, someone (like YOUR MOM) can put fifty cents into a thing and waterbomb you during the ride, getting you wet. It was pretty fun, but I shudder to think what Extreme would have been like.
Then we rode inside a dragon on a little rollercoaster.
On our way to the Lego pirates, I got some Granny's Apple Fries because they were "famous" and intriguing. I thought they would be more like fried apples or something, but it was more like sticks of apple pie with some vanilla cream and cinnamon. They were good, and the kids ate them up.
The Lego pirate area was all water rides, and no one felt like getting soaked. By this time, the "everything is made of Legos!" thing had lost its luster. Yes, we get it. You spent a lot of time making things out of Legos. Good job.
I suggested we hit the ventriloquist show, and we did, and it was actually pretty funny. It seems like it takes an awful lot of talent to pull that kind of thing off, coordinating your hands and expressions and throwing a couple different voices all while basically talking to yourself. In addition to his puppets, he had this really amazing whiteboard that, once a kid drew a face on it, appeared to animate all by itself in a very freaky-ass way. I have no idea how it worked. He was erasing stuff on the board directly, and the board surface looked to be flat, but the mouth animation seemed to come from a slit behind or something. I don't know.
Then we rode on something called Coastersaurus.
Shivam wanted to get his Fun Town (yes, it's called FUN TOWN) drivers license, so we went over to the cars. The lady didn't even ask me if I was 14. I might have said yes! Geez!
Finally, we were all itching to get back to the Build a Car shop, which turned out to be the best part of the whole damn park. Because we soon discovered that the best design for these cars was just WHEELS AND AXLES. No frills getting in the way. Just the wheels. Or four wheels on one axle, of varying sizes and placements. We seriously must have spent close to an hour in there (I say this because when we eventually left, a woman was making an announcement that if you had been in there over an hour, you might want to explore the rest of the park [because they were running out of wheels]).
The cool thing was the inclined tracks that had a little stopgate so you could place all the cars and then hit a button to make the stopgate go down. We raced dozens of times, trying to see whose design was the fastest. We casually tested and tweaked on another incline that didn't have a working stopgate, just watching the mechanics of the motion; some cars tended to drift. One woman noticed us and commented to her son, "Watch out, these guys are engineers!" I assumed she was making a joke based on how into it we were, but then, a few minutes later, as I was messing with my car, she asked me, "First of all, what kind of engineer are you?"
I told her I wasn't an engineer. It was at this point I assumed that she had assumed I was an engineer because I was Indian, which is what I had faintly suspected earlier too.
Then she asked, "Who's Paulie Bleeker?" It was not the first time that day someone had commented on my Juno shirt. I told her he was a character in Juno. It was an indie film about a sixteen-year-old girl who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby to adoptive parents.
"Do they make a lot of movies like that in India?" she asked.
I was so confused.
"You said it was an Indian film."
No, an indie film. Independent.
I...really don't know what to take away from that interaction. Moving on!
At least her son was cool. He built me a really good car with a slanted design, but I felt bad using it as my own, so I dismantled it and just put three wheels on an axle. I later added another one. At one point, we all had cars that were just wheels and axles racing each other to determine whose was the best. Mine did kick its share of ass. Man, that shit was so much fun. We could have stayed in there all day, messing around.
But, as I said, we wore out our welcome. It was time to go check out the famed Miniland, which featured Lego replicas of cities like Las Vegas, New York, and San Francisco. See how much you recognize.
Then we did some crazy Lego robot programming fun, which was pretty neat, if uncomplicated.
Then there were fireworks!
After Legoland shenanigans, we tried to follow Satishmasa, who was leading us to La Jolla Beach. Or something. We passed Cardiff, which amused me. We ended up having Christmas dinner by taking over a Jack in the Box and ordering a couple dozen veggie sandwiches and half a dozen chicken sandwiches.
Back at the Rodeway Inn, I started downloading the Doctor Who Christmas Special. My little sister brought me my Christmas gift: pants! Yes, some nice Dockers dress pants. Yay.
Then she brought me the good stuff: Threadless shirts I had asked for! They're, Their, There and Imposter. The latter of which GLOWS IN THE DARK! I had not known that!
My little sister had also sneakily procured a cake for my mom's birthday, so we went and surprised her with it. She was surprised.
That picture is actually from the reenactment for photography/recording purposes.
We didn't have candles, so we lit the cake with cell phones. Also, the one holding the cake is my little sister.
I went back to the room to watch Doctor Who. It was my least favorite of the three Christmas Specials. It was all right, but irritatingly generic. And nonsensical.
Family Drama: My mom and aunt expressed bemused horror at my green-and-orange combination. Later, in Legoland, my mom told me I should get rid of my awesome green corduroys. I told her they were awesome. She said they weren't awesome, they looked stupid.
"I don't care what you think!" I said.
"What?" she snapped, reading more into it.
"I don't care what you think about these pants. All my co-workers like them, all my friends like them, I like them, the only one who doesn't is you!"
She stormed off at maximum speed in her electric wheelchair. "Oh no, you made her mad!" joked my brother. But it blew over pretty quickly.
While we were waiting in line for Coastersaurus, someone was on the phone with Minamami telling her that, sure, we would all eat pizza, since we were somewhat hungry. When we got back from the ride...they had eaten all the pizza, and she was all, "You didn't tell us you wanted any pizza." And I was really irritated.
After Legoland, we had a hell of a time following Satishmasa to "La Jolla Beach" because he was completely unclear as to the actual destination and we couldn't put it into the GPS. Then they told us they'd gone to a Jack in the Box long after we had passed it, and I was certain they meant the one we had passed, but they were supposed to have been way ahead of us, so Rajumama thought it might be ahead of us, and it was the same big mess it basically was every night.
While I was watching Doctor Who on Kavi's laptop, my dad knocked on the door and asked if I wanted to go on a walk with the rest of the adults or something, and I said no. He asked if I had to keep going on the Internet, and I said I had to check in for work. He said I was spending too much time with my brother and cousins, and I would have to spend time with the adults tomorrow.
Sea World: Everyone's been to Sea World, right? You all know how it goes? We went to Sea World, the end.
Oh fine. Upon entering, we made a beeline for the Sea Lion and Otter Show, which we missed the beginning of. That show was entertaining because it featured a Sarah Silverman-esque woman and a guy who kept screwing up his lines. He forgot his line at one point, and she tried to prompt him a couple more times until he realized, "Oh, that was my line." Also, there was an adorable little otter who came out at random moments to cause mischief although his appearances were marred by stupid voiceovers. From there, we hit the Shamu show, called "Believe." Aptly named, because half the show was overwrought video and music about the POWER OF BELIEVING or whatever. Also, there were some killer whales jumping up and doing shit, and that was pretty cool. The trainer wore this special whale's fin necklace that he awarded to the kid volunteer...and then we saw someone selling them for five bucks right outside the stadium.
Some people hadn't made it to the sea lion show before, so they went there, but my brother and I took off on our own to explore some of the aquariums. At the tide pool, I met a starfish.
I'm giving myself pentapox!! (If you get that joke, you are clearly awesome.)
The World of the Sea was kind of lame, but the Aquarium of the Seas had some pretty sweet creatures. Oh, aquatic beasties! You are so wondrous and cool! I want to be octopus! Eight arms to hold you! And the freshwater aquarium had these awesome transparent fish whose internal organs were showing. And some neon fish. And some jellyfish.
It may have been here that my brother told me he was contemplating eating fish. It was supposed to be healthy, after all, full of those omega-3s. And he had had a bite of his friend's tilapia, and it was really good. And, you see, my brother is sort of a cooler version of me. I think we're kind of each other's role models: our Facebook profiles are almost indistinguishable since we have the same favorite books and movies and TV shows and music. And while I had never considered eating fish myself, all it took was his suggestion to give it serious consideration. Everyone assumed I ate fish anyway, after all.
The dolphin show was pretty great, and it even had a plot twist where the volunteer "mom" turned out to be a trainer! I felt incredibly duped, it was done so well.
The Journey to Atlantis ride was neat because, to get you to the top, it propelled the car up with a shaking elevator that had screens on either side making it look like you were underwater and being knocked over by a whale. Er, it was cool. Also, we sat behind two girls who used the phrase "Epic fail."
The Wild Arctic ride was like the Back to the Future ride except with a helicopter. And then we got to see a cute beluga.
Sharks are cool.
I don't know what a pet show was doing at Sea World, but it was pretty cool too. I was surprised by how much some of the dogs could remember. One was going back and forth performing multiple tasks all in a row without any additional goading. Ironically, this was the show I got the most wet at.
The 4-D business at Sea World was R.L. Stine's The Haunted Lighthouse, which I was interested to see because I was an R.L. Stine fan. And it was silly enough, and it had Christopher Lloyd in it, but he'll be in anything. Except then the ghost parents at the end looked familiar. Was that Michael McKean? And who was that woman? Kavi later identified her as the woman from Caroline in the City: Lea Thompson, of course! And, hilariously, there's a fucking cameo by WEIRD AL at the end. The IMDb entry confirms it all. But there's more. The girl ghost is fricking Daveigh Chase: Samara from The Ring! Lilo! And the boy ghost, who had looked familiar...was frickin' JUSTIN SMITH FROM THE VERONICA MARS EPISODE "MEET JOHN SMITH"! Also, it was directed by Joe Dante. How in the living hell did they manage to scrounge up all this talent for this crappy little movie?
Then there was the holiday version of the sea lion and otter show, which included a hilarious pre-show by stagehand Biff messing around with Christmas presents. The actual show was extra entertaining because the sea lions were being somewhat uncooperative. There was one part where it was clear he was supposed to pull Santa down a chimney, but instead, he just passed him and dove into the water. The voiceover covered really well, making me think it might have been part of the show, but then a trainer poked her hand in when the sea lion returned and goaded him into trying again, but, again, no go, at which point Santa said, "Oh, wait, I can pull myself up!" And did so. Later, the sea lions didn't dance like they were supposed to, and the trainers visibly shrugged at each other, all, "What can you do? They're six times our weight." Even the otter had a bad night; a mechanism it was supposed to pull to drench one of the actors didn't work, despite the sound effect playing on the soundtrack. The sea lions had a good time in the water, though! Most of the kids had sat in the front, where they got completely soaked.
Last on the agenda was the holiday Shamu show, which featured a completely awesome routine set to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells" (that killer whale had impressive timing) and a signing chorus.
Dinner was at Pizzeria Uno, and it was...not authentic. It was a regular deep-dish pizza with the cheese on the top (which meant I actually liked it).
On our way out, we passed some rowdy frat boys yelling out their vehicle. We yelled back, exuberantly.
Luckily, it was really late, which meant I didn't have to spend extra time with the adults!
Family Drama: As had become traditional, Kavi sort of led his own group in the park because he was far too cool to hang with everyone else, and his mom wouldn't bother trying to tell him any different because she thought he was a jackass. At least we agreed on that.
Dinner was complete wankery, as no one could decide on a place. One of the girls suggested Chinese, and the only Chinese place Satishmasa would eat at was P.F. Chang's, so we looked for a nearby P.F. Chang's in the GPS. We found one a few miles away. A few minutes later, it came out that my dad didn't like Chinese and neither did someone else. But they weren't saying to change the restaurant on their behalf. Calls flew back and forth until Satishmasa abruptly turned around before getting on the highway, saying that everyone could just go to In-N-Out. Then everyone calmed down and we continued toward P.F. Chang's, except it appeared to be in a mall. We parked in the mall lot right by a Cheesecake Factory, which I said could work as it served everything, but there would likely be a huge wait. Everyone settled on Pizzeria Uno, even though I wasn't a fan, and we ended up waiting for a long time anyway. At least there was a cute woman at the bar to steal glances at.
Old Town San Diego: My brother spent the morning introducing us to Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series, which was pretty damn hilarious even though I hadn't seen a single episode of the stupid thing.
The Texans ended up tailgating and going to the zoo, whereas we Californians made our way to Old Town San Diego, which was historical and educational! For instance, I did not know that the nineteenth century had produced the COOLEST CHAIR EVER:
I did know, however, that the nineteenth century was full of hilariously stupid rules:
Those are worth clicking on and reading. You'll learn that Misbehaving to Girls is worth 10 lashes, and Boys and Girls Playing Together is worth 4 lashes. That's the same punishment you get for Calling Each Other Liars. Also, men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly. And women teachers who marry or engage in other unseemly conduct will be dismissed. Oh, 1872!
We also some saw old stagecoaches, which was neat. Like the Wells Fargo ones!
We had lunch at La Piñata, which turned out to be a pretty authentic Mexican restaurant with really tasty food. That I, for once, paid for, thus paying off my food karma for the week. I was just that excited to have a really good chimichanga.
Afterward, we went to a beach, where I got to see a gorgeous San Diego sunset.
Rajumama tried to take a picture of me with the sunset. He had mixed results.
These are all right.
But I love this one because it looks like I'm standing in front of the FUCKING APOCALYPSE.
And we're left with the latent glow of orange.
Once the sun had gone, we tried to meet up with the Texans to say goodbye before we left for Redlands. We eventually rendezvoused at a gas station and exchanged hugs and all that business.
The six of us drove up to Redlands, which meant more Sports Night! Also, I got to do my laundry since I had run out of clothes.
Family Drama: In the morning, my dad randomly tried to take my picture, and, again, I wouldn't smile. My mom told him I'd done the same thing before. My dad told me to zip up my jacket to cover up "the Princess" on my Princess Ida shirt because God forbid I find a wife who's a Gilbert and Sullivan fan. When we were packing up the Suburbans, he took me aside to tell me that they were still looking, and they would prefer someone from America, but if they didn't find anyone by December, then we would go to India and find someone for me. There might be a cultural difference, but my cousins had found good wives in India. In the next year or two, it was going to happen.
There was some sort of college football game that Satishmasa and Kavi were interested in, so they wanted to go tailgating, and we followed them to the stadium, but parking was fifteen dollars, and no one was really sure what the plan was, and somehow the other Suburban had managed to get in for free, and Rajumama was getting completely frustrated driving around in circles and peeling down the street in anger. Finally, we decided to go our separate ways.
When we tried to unseparate our ways in the evening, it was hard to coordinate the meeting place, and Minamami got a little irritated, saying we should have just gone and not attempted to meet again.
Redlands: The morning found us parked in front of You, Me and Dupree for some godforsaken reason. It wasn't as awful as I expected, and I watched enough of it to see it try to be a real movie, but I didn't really care. Minamami and Nidhi were going out, so Akash and I took the opportunity to get out of the hotel room.
We hung out at Target playing video games for a while, and then I sat at a Barnes and Noble reading, noticing cute girls. I observed this one guy getting a cute bookshelver's number, and I couldn't tell whether he was living my fantasy or he actually knew this girl in some fashion.
In the afternoon, I learned that everyone around me had apparently seen Annapolis, even though I couldn't even remember the name for half an hour.
That night, I took the boys out to a movie, and it was like nothing I'd ever seen. The theatre must have been the only one around because the line to get tickets stretched down some stairs and around the corner and they were announcing all the movies that were sold out or only had front-row seating. I was pleased to hear that Juno was sold out. We were there for I Am Legend, which gave us awesome trailers for Cloverfield and The Dark Knight, both of which I'd already seen online but were of course cooler on the big screen. I really liked the movie; I thought it was really well made. I loved the whole mood of it, especially the first half, where you're just trying to figure out what's going on and what happened. Like in Children of Men, a lot of the story is told through the set design: you can piece together important details by reading articles/flyers/magazine covers that are hanging on the walls. I kept reading criticisms about how the movie turns bad in the last half hour or something, but I didn't see it. It all seemed like a natural progression of the story to me.
When we got out, the theatre was still a zoo. So many people!
Family Drama: None that I can think of. Amazing what taking two families out of the equation will do.
The Hand-Off: Rajumama had decided to save me from questionable public transportation and just drop me off in L.A. on his way back upstate. Ivy (ivyisgilgamesh) had named a library in Hollywood as a safe place to wait for her. On the way into town, we made it through episode 17 of Sports Night, at which point I had to take it away from my cousins. Perhaps one day they will experience the rest of its wonder and glory.
Hollywood was looking kind of sketchy for a while coming off the highway, but it cleaned up before we hit the area where the library was. My uncle still didn't trust the area, though, and he told me not to stay too long. When he asked how long I'd be waiting, I lied and said half an hour, when it was more like a couple hours. Besides, no one was going to shoot me in a library. Right?
Family Drama: NO MORE FAMILY!