Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weekend in San Jose

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

So… my brother came and visited this last weekend. Rather than ramble on with my personal opinions on him or anything of that sort, I think I’m just going to talk about what we did and keep it to the pictures for the most part. Why? Because I’m trying to stay positive… and I just don’t want to get into another rant about all that stuff. Friday night, he & he buddy J-Ron showed up… and so after a long 9 hour drive in the car, I drove them down to the lake for some Taco Bell for dinner (it’s what they wanted). We had a nice little dinner on the beach around sunset. Good times. Then we went straight from the beach to Reno to get a few drinks and wander along Virginia Street to show off the neon lights and get our gamble on. The drink of the evenings was Jack & Coke… and there was plenty of it… but of course, I was able to drive home safely because I’m responsible like that. Great time though.

Saturday, we decided to drive down to Silicon Valley to finally check out the Winchester Mystery House. Okay, so why would my brother & I want to check this out? First, we’re nerds… and this stuff intrigues us. Secondly, we both have memories of his crack whore ex-whore going on and on about how it was one of her dreams to go check out the Winchester House… so we took pictures of us smiling in front of it and sent her a few copies. “B**ch!” Also, we just wanted to check it out. See, the story goes… this is from memory, so don’t quote me, but back in the late 1880’s or so, Sarah Pardee Winchester & her husband (of Winchester Rifle fame) bought this small farm house to live in with their son. Well, in a very short time afterwards, her husband & son died in separate health related events. Over the next 38 years, she conducted séances and said that she was told by the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles to continuously build, non-stop, and because she was a billionaire heiress, she could afford to have about two dozen architects living at the property and building constantly… and she didn’t know anything of carpentry or construction, just what the spirits told her… so it made for some interesting designs… like balconies with no doorway to go on them… and windows in the floor… and doors to nowhere. The architects tried to tell her it was crazy… but allegedly she had her orders from on high. The thing is… some people might just think she was crazy… but I (and shockingly enough, my bro felt the same way) felt sorry for her. She was just a woman in severe mourning for nearly four decades and just trying anything she could to bring back her husband & child. Why do we say that? See, my brother & I kind of dabble in the study of the occult, and there were signs everywhere. The wallpaper, window designs, stained glass, doorways, fixtures, lamps, all this stuff had lots of symbols meant for bringing back the dead. We were kinda talking to each other about it… and then the tour guide mentioned something about them finding an old obituary in the newspaper along with a lock of hair from each of them… and we just kinda looked at each other like “Jackpot!” Poor Mrs. Winchester. She was just trying to appease the spirits… and spared no expense in doing it either… and it still couldn’t bring them back. Anyway, enough of that depressing stuff, here are some pictures that I wasn’t allowed to take… but still did with my ninja skills… so please enjoy even more because they are forbidden images…
All the glass in the house, courtesy of Tiffany & Co.
These are just the spares left over...
Window in the floor...
Hookah on the bannister...

After that, I took my brother to his first In-N-Out Burger and even though it was a little cold by the time we got back to the hotel, he still enjoyed it enough to have it the next day as well. He really digs the animal style… but not nearly as much as the doggy style. Maybe we are related. Anyway, Sunday the two of us (J-Ron was broke & has a heart condition) went to Great America Theme Park because we were in need of some big kid ride excitement. Now, we are both tall strapping men, and we’ve decided that theme parks rides simply aren’t made for us… and if we were dicks, we would sue them for not building the rides to our incredible superhuman dimensions… but alas, at least half of us aren’t dicks. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get the pleasure of hearing about it a lot… but that being said, the rides there at Great America are pretty f**king awesome. I highly recommend. Here are some pictures…
A preview of New Orleans in a few weeks?

After the park, we headed back to the hotel for a dip in the hot tub to relieve our aching shoulders & backs (like I said, shoulder restraints suck balls when you have to slouch, especially on REALLY fast herky jerky rides) and then watched a few episodes of “Man Woman Wild” with everybody’s favorite special forces host Myke Hawke… and his hot reporter wife with a British accent Ruth… but her name’s not nearly as fun to narrate with as Myke Hawke. “Myke Hawke needs to stay warm.” “Ruth is in need of protein… and there’s only one source readily available – Myke Hawke.” Yeah, okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea. Just watch a few episodes and you’ll notice a few things… like you can survive on very little food & sustenance, but shelter & sleep are pretty much essential. You can survive just about anywhere… as long as you’re willing to eat questionable things and drink your own urine. His wife Ruth is a fantastic compliment to Myke… because I’m fairly certain that she wouldn’t last an hour in a parking lot without him… but she’s great eye candy and a sometimes refreshing dose of sanity. “You want me… to drink your pee… to wash down the tree bark & grubs that you just had me eat?” I almost expected a few times for her to turn to the camera crew and say “Dude, give me a trail bar & I’ll whisper naughties in your ear.” But the number one thing that I pulled away from this show… is that Myke Hawke is a great name to use in every day conversation. “$teve, I was just trying to tie down my boat, can you help me.” “Absolutely. You know, Myke Hawke says that square knots are the best to use because they are simple, strong & effective.” “That’s… great.” “Yeah, Myke Hawke knows a lot about this kind of thing. He’s been in some PRETTY sketchy situations in his day… and he’s got the scars to prove it.” “Thanks for your help $teve but please… stop talking now.”

The next morning, my brother wanted to go see Alcatraz… but I had already seen it & didn’t want to spend an extra $50 to see it again, so I thought that I’d arrange a lunch rendezvous with Bubbles to check out her new crib since she was home with her sick puppy Brutis, while my brother & his J-Ron went to see the Rock. Well, my brother didn’t take to that very well… kinda threw a tantrum… and said that he just wanted to see Alcatraz because he thought I wanted to. Sigh… so anyway, I didn’t meet up with Bubbles… and we did a quick drive through San Francisco, stopping at the Golden Gate Bridge… and then heading back to Truckee. Here are some pictures…

When we got back, we watched “Fanboys” starring Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell & a bunch of cameos. The story is about a group of friends in 1998 who are Star Wars… we’ll say fans… to the tenth power. They REALLY like their Star Wars. I would say they were geeks… but then that would be admitting that I’m a Star Wars geek because I knew all of the answers to the quiz questions and own a Chewbacca outfit. Anyway, one of the friends is diagnosed with cancer… and they decide to go on a dream road trip to basically steal the soon-to-be released “Episode One: The Phantom Menace” from the Skywalker Ranch before it’s publicly released so that their friend can see it. Feel free to re-read that last sentence again to wrap your head around the premise. This is why it took so long to release and wasn’t a huge hit. Apparently cancer isn’t as funny as originally thought in that first pitch. So they set out on this cross-country mission… and shenanigans ensue along the way as you might expect. All in all, it was pretty funny at some points… especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. However, the thing that really threw us for a loop in this movie… was that apparently, we drove right by the Skywalker Ranch a few hours earlier… and had no idea. Yeah. Instead of being in SoCal, the Skywalker Ranch is just north of San Francisco… and we literally took the exit AFTER Lucas Valley Road (yes, THAT Lucas) to take CA-37 back to Truckee. Had we known this mere hours earlier, we would’ve investigated the Ranch… but alas, we did not. Next time, I guess. Anyway, yeah, watch the movie if you like Star Wars. If not, you’ll probably just be bored and think the guys are nerds.

Tuesday was back to work… and boy was there plenty for me to do. No worries, I’m used to it. Not sure what’s going to happen when I actually take a full week off… but we’ll see when I get back from New Orleans. When I got back home though, my brother had bought some groceries and things… so we just kinda chilled and watched some movies. First up was “The Losers” starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Thandie Newton & Jason Patric. Based on a comic about a team of elite soldiers who are thought to be killed by a mysterious supervillian named Max (Patric) and are now trying to find a way to clear their names and reenter the United States. Think of the A-Team… but without B.A. It’s an okay movie… but you can tell why it wasn’t highly received by critics. There are a few funny moments, some big explosions, and Thandie Newton’s easy on the eyes… but yeah, pretty predictable.

Next up was “Cop Out” starring Bruce Willis & Tracy Morgan from director Kevin Smith (“Clerks”). The main thing that I remember about this movie from before… was that the original name & working title was “A Couple of Dicks” but for some reason, the studio or MPAA or somebody didn’t think that would work well… so they changed it to “Cop Out” because… well, it was a cop-out move. The story is your usual buddy cop comedy like “48 Hours” or “The Other Guys” where you have two complete opposite personalities paired up (apparently for nine years in this story) and they get involved in some international drug cartel or something. This time around… it’s involving a kidnapped mistress and a baseball card. No joke. It has a few funny moments… but honestly, if I were Bruce Willis’ character, I would’ve probably shot my partner (Morgan) on multiple occasions. Don’t look at me like that. Same rules apply to you. If I’m ever in a situation where I get shot, stabbed, beaten up, kidnapped, tased, robbed, ran over, tortured or anything of that sort… because you are on your f**king cell phone just talking about nothing… when you should be watching my back when I’m in a potentially dangerous situation, I will harm you in accordance with the degree to which I have been hurt. Let’s say I’m just tased and robbed, that cell phone will be found in your large intestine by way of the back door… and I won’t be gentle. Anyway, back to the movie, it’s okay. The plot and situations are not really of the most realistic nature… but hey, they hired Kevin Smith for his dialogue… and even then it’s really just having to listen to Tracy Morgan talk nonsense most of the time. Didn’t really care for it. Sorry Silent Bob. The good news is that I’ve almost completely forgotten about “Jersey Girl”.

Wednesday, after work, I brought them a map of the area… because for some reason, they hadn’t left the house all day because “there’s nothing to do” but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because J-Ron’s a killbuzz and my brother just wants someone cool to hang out with. Plans were to go to Reno to maybe check out Zepparella at Harrah’s… but thanks to an incredible stop in traffic on I-80, we decided to just go to Crystal Bay and check out the casinos there. I made a few bucks… but yeah, pretty uneventful. Then when we went back, my brother played “Dante’s Inferno” for a while before I went to bed. Like I said, pretty uneventful day overall.

Anyway, on that note, I’m going to stop rambling about my wonderful time with my brother. Hopefully my mom is enjoying her vacation at home with the grandkids & she isn’t purposely delaying the renovation of my brother’s condo so as to get more time away from him… because that would be uncool… and as you know, my mom is not uncool. Have a great day everybody!!!

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