Last days on the left

This may be the hardest one of these I’ve had to write and for a number of reasons. I’ve already explained why I made the decision I did, but now I have to face that decision. Along the way of this journey I’ve made many people proud, I’ve learned so much about myself and I made some great memories. On the other side of that coin; I’ve let close friends down, spent $5,000 of my hard earned savings (I know talking about money is gauche but I’m honest and vulnerable on this blog so I’ll put it all out there), I’ve walked away from a place I idealized to the point of impossibility, and put myself in a type of purgatory. Some of you see what I did as brave, and to all of you I want to say thank you. Some of you see what I did as foolish and cowardice, and to you I ask you to see things through my eyes. I could be angry at my friends who think they know what’s best for me. I could say “fuck you, only I know what’s best for myself”and I would be justified in that sentiment. The hard truth is, it kills me to know the ones I love could see me that way. Almost all of my friends welcomed me back with open arms, almost being the key word. Some say I didn’t give it a chance, maybe they’re right. Some say I followed my heart and that took balls, maybe they’re also right. The one thing they don’t see, and it’s the thing as clear as day to me. That thing is the area code my family rests inside of, simple as that. I could have left and built something, it would have taken years (which I was willing) but those years would have been a desert without an oasis (no Wonderwall. Dated joke). One must suffer to get the things he or she wants, this is true. Perhaps a simple Sunday dinner with four familiar faces is all I need to be truly happy. I’m honestly getting sick of trying to justify this to the masses, I’m getting sick of feeling I failed without trying. I faced a fear, laughed in its face then headed back to my true home. That’s how I see it, perhaps you don’t. For all of you who see it as a failure or as me running away, Fuckkkkk. Youuuu. I would never turn my back on a true friend or make them fell less because I disagreed with them. I would carry them through a fire even if they lit the match, because that’s friendship, that’s family. You know who you are that made me fell ashamed, and you know who you are that made me swell with pride. It’s possible I’m blowing this out of proportion. All I did was drive really far, hang out in the sun for a few weeks then fly home. On paper that’s not too impressive, but what it represented to me was indescribably important and valuable. It’s a shitty feeling to be both overjoyed and painfully ashamed, I hate it and it’s a crown impaling my heart. I want to punch a hole through the screen just thinking of all the snickering people (to be honest I’d rather plant one in your fucking faces) but I’ll try to rise above. In a time of adversity your real friends show their true colors because “true friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient, it’s about being there when it’s not.” I pride myself on always being there but don’t always get that back and I’m ok with it most of the time. I know my true loved ones just want me to shine, spread my wings and not drive a fucking fork truck my whole life. I love you for wanting more for me, wanting the most for me. I also want you to love me when my mind isn’t clear or my path isn’t straight. I’d love you if you were dumping a dead body in an open field. Hell, I’d dig the hole and never ask why. You don’t have to do the same for me, you don’t have to get your hands dirty, but I will. For you, I’d always get my hands filthy if it meant you didn’t have to shoulder the load alone. Well fuck, I haven’t said one god damn funny thing this whole time so far (minus that lame oasis joke). Sorry for that, maybe I just needed to get some serious shit out. I hate the feeling of being upset and happy at once, lost but found.

Let’s switch gears a bit and talk about my final days in California. Just a warning, some moments are happy and some are pretty dark (fun read right?). Thursday day I didn’t do a ton, little bit of writing and random meals. The important part of Thursday was the fact it was my last night together with Ben and Riquel. They were heading to Vegas Friday Afternoon to see Slayer that weekend (pretty bad ass). I wanted to thank my host family by taking them out to dinner, but where? The only place we all agreed on was Morfia’s BBQ.

IMG_4853

Morfia’s is some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been there a few times now and every meal is sweet ambrosia. Sweet ambrosia? Who the fuck talks like that? I already regret writing it but sadly it fits perfectly, sorry. I treated Ben and Riquel to piles of meat and sides; ribs, brisket, pulled pork, mac and cheese, beans and corn bread. Every bite swelled our bellies to discomfort but we pressed on. Once we were done we grabbed a quick drink next door then headed home to loosen our belts a few notches.

Friday was my last full day in LA and my hosts (B and Q) last few hours before their Vegas trip. While my roomies were at work I wandered around Santa Monica, got some Jack in the Box for lunch.

IMG_4856

Never underestimate the deliciousness of a meat lovers burrito with hot sauce. After Jack I strolled over to Sonny Mclean’s for a beer or two. I was happy to hear that Benny would meet me for a drink after work. I sat there in the poor excuse for a Boston bar (points for effort) and wished I was 3,000 miles east.

IMG_4857

Gas is fucking expensive out here! But those flowers are pretty!

We enjoyed our drinks then headed back to the apartment so Ben could pack. Ben surprised me by saying “fuck it, let’s get In and Out” so we jumped in his car and headed for the best burgers in the west. Ben packed it in, I ate way less because of the Jack in the Box but still enjoyed every fresh bite.

We made our way back to 9th street (Riquel and Ben’s beautiful neighborhood) and I said my good byes and thanked my friends for hosting me so long. After B and Q were gone I figured I should make the most of my last night in LA. Shockingly all my west coast friends were MIA that night, which was cool but emblematic of the whole experience. I decided head to Big Dean’s for a farewell drink. On my way to the ocean-side watering hole I had an interesting conversation with my uber driver. I told him the cliff notes version of my journey and he laughed. He apologized and said it made for a great story and he wasn’t laughing at me, he was laughing that I hit the nail on the head so quickly. “Family is the most important thing” he told me, so that made me feel really good. I indulged at sizable Dean’s with two tall beers while I sat there alone.

IMG_4866

IMG_4868

Fuck this place and The Eagles.

After the tables and chairs were stacked up at slightly above medium Dean’s, I made my way to Chez Jay. Just some back story about Chez Jay, it’s a historical dive bar in Santa Monica that hosted the Rat Pack, Marilyn (Monroe, duh) and JFK’s secret canoodling in the back, an elephant (not sure how he fit in there) and a steady surface for many penned scenes of “Good Will Hunting.” Oscar winners Jason Borne and Batman rested their neophyte (at the time) asses in these booths to craft cinematic magic. That’s Chez Jay, it has its own unique pulse, I both love and loathe it (you’ll see).

FullSizeRender (7)

In Chez Jay I ordered a beer and sat in an empty bar seat then was quickly kicked out by the bartender who informed me that seat was occupied. I stood awkwardly for minute and spotted an empty booth. I plopped down and started to feel more lonely than before (didn’t think that was possible). Partway through my second beer a girl politely asked me if her and her friends could join me. I was pretty confused by the odd request but welcomed the company. The girl was incredibly interesting and told me tales about hanging out with Keith Richards and doing drugs with him. Then another yarn about her friend switching pants with the infamous Rolling Stone. I might have chocked this up to embellishment but then she provided me with photographic proof. I told her she should write a book then informed me her quiet friend (sitting next to her) was a writer for Vice magazine and penned many of her encounters (good, people need stories like that). She and her friend took off and I was alone again. After about 15 minutes two gorgeous tall blondes asked to join me. I was perplexed at first but in the theme of the night, I went with the flow. These girls told me a couple stories but were more interested in mine. I told them all about my road trip then decision to leave, if I knew girls like these wanted to spend time with me I may have stayed (not really but it was nice). Fuck, I’ve been writing this blog for almost three hours. It’s 2:36am as write this, I’ve already cried once, almost smashed my laptop, had a couple drinks and debated just deleting it all. We press on, because I got a really big team and they need some really big rings! Sorry, Drake is playing on my phone. Where was I? Oh yes, Chez Jay with the impossibly hot blonde ladies that were really friendly. After hanging for about an hour we planned on going somewhere else. They asked if I wanted to go to downtown LA to a dance club (never ever folks). I declined because I hate clubs and was ready to call it a night. The more vocal girl looked really disappointed by my decision then thanked me for not being boring with the conversation and they headed out. Two gorgeous blondes asked me to get in a car with them…perhaps I fucked that up? Oh well, I’ll assume it could have been amazing but I played it cool and stayed behind. Yea. I fucked up, oh well.

While at Chez Jay I wrote some poetry while inspired by the ghosts of former greats who graced those walls. The first time I was there with Ben (a year ago) I wrote something and this time I did the same. It felt important to create in the same location as Oscar winners, even if my creation was small. We still shared an inspirational space and made something, granted theirs was much better. I must warm you, these prose are on the dark side (sense a theme?).

FullSizeRender (8)

First take.

IMG_4869

Second take (darker, I agree).

After missing the opportunity of going home with my leggy booth-mates I headed back to Ben’s and crashed. Saturday morning rolled around (my last day in LA). I hung around most of the day then packed all my shit. I got my last Krispy Kremes (had to do it), some more junk food then took a nap.

IMG_4874

My flight was at 9:30pm so when I woke up at 6pm, it was plenty of time for a last west coast meal. I landed at The Misfit for that impossibly perfect chicken sandwich.

IMG_4879

I was running low on time so I scarfed it down then flew back to grab my bags. I locked the house, called the uber and went to the airport. I got through security and headed to the bar for a pre flight/good bye LA drink.

IMG_4880

The lady next to me was so annoying I had to listen to my headphones to avoid pushing her off her stool (not literally). She finally left and I chatted the clearly Boston-bound man next to me. He bought me a shot, we toasted the bean (Boston) then headed to the gate. I was graced with the middle seat but I didn’t mind really. I had some movies loaded on my Ipad (since United Airlines lives in the dark ages of air travel and doesn’t have screens on the seats somehow). Ordering drinks was a god damn process so I limited my Jack and Coke consumption. I watched “Spectre” (new James Bond) for the second time and still didn’t love it but liked it more the second time around. I really had to pee (from the aforementioned Jack and Cokes) and my row mate was doubled over the fold down tray so I was trapped.

FullSizeRender (6).jpg

I poked that broad right in the ribs when my first attempt to wake her failed. When you gotta go, you gotta go. We were ahead of schedule and as we started our decent, I couldn’t see anything cool out of my window. I happened to glance out the window across the aisle and saw the sweetest sight in the distance, the glowing Citgo sign that hangs next to Fenway Park. It was like seeing my own heartbeat again on an EKG machine. I grinned and knew it would be a hard few weeks but I had what it took to survive. We landed and filed off the packed plane. I stepped off and felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

IMG_4882

My father picked me up at my gate and I still had a weird purgatorial feeling. I explained it all to Chip (that’s my Dad’s name) and he tried to set my heart at ease. I got back to 14 Sunset Dr, the place I grew up and left not one month before. I was back, was my tail between my legs? I say no but many would disagree, you fucks know who you are. I grabbed a couple hours of sleep then had to bring my parents BACK to the airport. They booked a trip to Washington DC for Easter weekend to see the cherry blossoms because they were upset I wouldn’t be around for the holiday (jokes on them!). As soon as I was reunited with the very people I wanted to return to, they left (haha ironic right?!). Mom left me a lovely Easter basket (just a reminder, I’m 32 but welcome infantilization on holidays).

IMG_4883

Ignore the Miracle Whip, inside joke with me and Val.

My sister Taylor (biologically my cousin but we’re very close and have been all our lives) wanted to cook for me, her boyfriend Joe (also like family to me) and my aunt (second mother to me) for Easter. She came by with all the food, cooked it like a damn pro (it was her fist time too, well done Tay).

It felt really good to have family around after this fucking excursion. Jesus god damn Christ, I’ve been writing for over 4 hours! Anyway, we laughed, told stories, ate great food and even watched a video of me at my aunt’s house when I was 3 years old. Trust me, I was painfully adorable. I wore a backpack everywhere, always had a bottle in my hand and chased cats around the house. After cleaning the dishes and dealing with a large water leak on the floor, I got in the car and headed to meet my man Keegan to finally see “Batman V Superman, Dawn of Justice.” I know this blog is getting longwinded but I must say the critics are wrong on this one, this movie fucking RULES! Movie review to come on this bad boy I think (stay tuned).

batsup.jpg

Keegan and I had to sit in the car and discuss the movie for about a half hour (pretty short for us). I felt more at home that I had in ages, talking in depth about superhero movies with one of my best friends. That brings us to today (Monday). I met with my old boss to discuss my trip and possibly coming back to work (looks decent but not guaranteed), watched too much TV then got the best pizza in the land, Little Italy (shout out to my man Garret).

We are now all caught up on my fucked up and complicated life, the blog shall continue though. Just to recap it all; I drove 3,825 miles (90% alone), spent thousands of dollars, drank out of a boot, made countless memories, found myself, had a change of heart, came home and now I’m close to broke, I’m single, unemployed and living with my parents. Who would have thought 32 would be this jagged of a path, luckily I find straight lines boing. This isn’t the last you’ll hear from me folks, thanks for reading!

Keep smiling (even when the answers you want come at a large price)

IMG_3659.JPG

 

Art, tar and Hollywood

Well shit, I dropped the writing ball the past few days. How many days behind am I? THREE?! Time to handle this scandal and get to pecking these silver keys. Like the color silver, not actual silver. That would be a baller ass keyboard. Monday night was Riquel and Ben’s four year anniversary (congrats roomies!) so as promised I made my way to Big Dean’s. Big Dean’s is one of my favorite spots out here and for good reason, great burgers, fun scenery, tall beers and wall to wall characters. I hobbled down there and it was incredibly painful one mile trek. When I don’t drink enough water or get enough exercise my hips and legs lock the fuck up. It feels like I have a broken tailbone and walking is like slow torture but I’m a warrior so I pressed on. The sun had just set so the sky was that magic bright orange color. It feels horribly cliche to describe the sky anywhere near sunset but I’ll try to put my spin on it. The sky looked like a bush covered in multicolored Christmas lights after a fresh snow. Hundreds of tiny beacons glowing softly under a thin, cold blanket. I spent way too much time trying to find a poetic way to describe a god damn sunset when I actually took a picture. I’m such a jackass sometimes.

IMG_4773

IMG_4772

I made it to my seat (barely) at Big Dean’s, got a delicious burger and a tall beer. I ate pretty quick because I wasn’t really in the mood to stay there. It was incredibly windy and the heat lamps were off. Big Dean’s is an outdoor bar by the way.

IMG_4775

IMG_4779

Matt! Is LA turning you soft to cold weather. No you dick, it was chilly for southern California standards. After not small Dean’s I hopped in an Uber to Sonny McLean’s but got a text from Ben in Riquel saying they wanted to hang. Met my temporary roommates and we popped in Macgruber, indulged in an edible and laughed ourselves stupid. Edibles for those folks who don’t know are candies that contain the fun parts of weed and can be a fun time. That was only my second time doing one so I didn’t feel it a ton but I still had fun.

macgruber-poster1

The next day (Tuesday), legs and hips feeling better due to the healing power of THC. Just kidding, I drank a ton of water and stretched. Tuesday was my last full day with a car in LA so I wanted to take advantage. I dicked around in the morning then headed to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). What a beautiful facility, galleries spread over four different buildings. I saw some great Warhols and Picassos which is always hard to wrap one’s mind around. These pieces of art are so iconic it almost seems impossible the actual creation exists.

IMG_4781

IMG_4782

 

After about an hour I was getting pretty bored so I headed to the LA Brea Tar Pits. Also I don’t feel the need to defend being bored amongst countless pieces of gorgeous and priceless art. I endured 4.5 years of art school, I’ve spent more time in museums then you’ve had hot meals. That’s just fun rhetoric, I’m sure you’ve had many hot meals. Unless you’re super into sushi or some shit. The Tar Pits were kind of boring too but fun to see briefly. I pictured actual deep reservoirs of tar with large dinosaur statues sticking out, I was a little off.

IMG_4800

Most of the tar pits looked like mud puddles and I’ve seen loads of those. I sprung for the double museum visit and took a look at the fossils in the LA Brea Tar Pits museum. I saw loads of fossils, bones, full skeletons, a research lab, wall of wolf skulls (little creepy), I also think I saw the little person that was in “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

MartyGunP3

This dude.

IMG_4816

They also had a tar pull station in the mu. The small handle had a smaller rod and was easier to remove from the black goo. The larger handle was attached to a large rod and was incredibly difficult to remove from the sludge but your raconteur hero (me) dug deep and yanked that bad boy out of its midnight vacuum.

IMG_4803

I said black, rod, goo and yank in that last couple sentences and was not describing porno, weird right? Gross Matt (my parents read this you know). On my way out of the tar pits I noticed all these yellow cones that were covered in tar throughout the park. Apparently the tar leaks out of the ground, and me being the curious kitten I am, I just had to poke it with a stick. Obviously I got some on my hand but it was totally worth it, for science. I wiped my hand on the grass, snapped some pics then headed to the Wolf.

IMG_4818

I made my way to the Commerce Casino in LA, my old stomping ground for one faithful summer. For those of you who know me know I lived in Huntington Beach for a summer and played poker as my job (I was a full time player for about four years). At the Commerce Casino about 7 years ago I won a bad beat jackpot for ten thousand dollars. After taxes it was about 7 grand. Tipped the dealer $500, two floor employees $100 each then kept on playing. At the end of the day I gave a security guard $20 to walk me to my car because I had over ten grand in cash on my person (those were the days).

IMG00117

This money went to something really cool I bet, it’s long long gone now.

Back to the present, I played for about 4 hours and lost $200. Poker is less appealing to me than it used to be in the past. The players at the table are annoying, gambling used to be fun but now I’m not much of a fan. I’d rather just spend or save my hard earned money than risk it (look at me mom and dad, adult talk. I still need to move back in though. Thanks). After my failed poker venture, I went to meet Chris to grab all my crap out of his storage locker. Filled the car back up with my worldly possessions, thanked/apologized to Chris and Hillary then headed off into the night. The mighty Wolf is now ready to be picked up and sent back home. Wednesday morning rolled around and I was awoken by a call at 6:30am from my confused truck driver. He assured me he was out front and was sorry for being so early. I tossed on shoes and went to meet him, no truck driver to be found. I called him back and asked where he was “I’m on Lemon street” with a thick accent. I responded “well I’m on 9th street so be on 9th street” he quipped back “No. no. Lemon, L-E-M-O-N” I came back at him “spelling Lemon doesn’t change the fact that I’m on 9th street, you know 5,6,7,8, NINE” bit aggressive by me but I was tired and annoyed. Finally he realized he called the wrong customer and will be at my location in an hour. I went back inside, couldn’t sleep and watched Hulu (shoutout Ben) for 2 hours when he finally showed up. He loaded the car up and I sent my baby back to its home. Now I’m without a car for 4 days. What’s good Uber, holler at a brother.

IMG_4823

Bye wolf.

I know this blog is a long one but this is what happens when I fall behind, more bang for your buck (you all owe me a buck). Wednesday I had evening plans but was free most of the day. I spent the day wandering around Santa Monica then finally landing at a highly recommended spot called The Misfit (Thanks B-Butt).

IMG_4830

IMG_4829

IMG_4828

Fuckkkkkkk

The Misfit has this grand interior with a giant wall of booze bottles and books behind the bar, great art, amazing bartenders, unique architecture and the best fucking chicken sandwich on this planet. I got a cocktail and a sandwich and was not disappointed. My friend had been hyping up this place for weeks and I finally went and she was 100% right. I loved it and wish I got 3 sandwiches. It’s just a fried chicken sandwich with cole slaw, sliced apples, special sauce and possibly a magic spell or voodoo incantation? Hard to say, the dark arts are not my strong suit.

IMG_4827

I popped in here one more time for dessert, don’t you fucking judge me! AHHHH! Sorry, sugar high.

After my delicious and pricey lunch I hopped in an Uber to meet two of Boston’s finest, Nick and Kate. Fairly recent additions to the area and they’re bringing the heat so I had to visit them. I met Nick and Kate through my hetero life mate Ethan Norton while we worked with them at Diesel. I decided to forget all the rules of LA traffic and jump in my Uber a little before 4pm and that didn’t shake out well. I was meeting my friends at Birds in Hollywood. You guys remember Birds, I went there Sunday and ate a pile of chicken while surrounded by pictures of arguably the best director to ever live (Alfred Hitchcock, in case you didn’t read that blog post). Partway through my ride the driver was extremely apologetic and said he had to drop me off sooner because he had to pick up his wife. That was pretty annoying but I grabbed a Lyft (cheaper than Uber but not as nice) and about an hour later I was at Birds (hour and a half late, I suck).

IMG_4831

IMG_4832

It was nice to see Nick and Kate, I literally always have a good time when one of them is around and both is the double up. We enjoyed some beers and whisky then headed back to their apartment. We walked by one of the Scientology buildings and made piles of derogatory comments and they were all accurate and hilarious, those guys (Scientologists) are fucked. We chilled for a bit while Nick did a good job convincing me to stay in LA but I stuck to my guns. I adore it out here but the things I love here are a little fleeting and I adore my home and family too much to want to be this far away, it’s that simple.

IMG_4833

Two cover variants to Joe vs. The Volcano VHS tapes SON! Also that’s Nick.

We hit the road and ended up at this awesome diner, The 101 Cafe where I tried to charm our adorable waitress into giving me her Molly Ringwald pin. It was so damn cool and I thought my smooth talking would earn me a button, wrong. I did get some delicious french toast then we got the hell out of there to watch “Days of Thunder” back at Nick and Kate’s.

IMG_4847

Oscar!

IMG_4844

Oscar on Kate’s face.

IMG_4840

Inception.

Nick continued his campaign for LA and again did a great job but I still stuck to my guns. I got to play with their awesome dog Oscar for almost 2 hours then crashed on the best air mattress I’ve ever seen. Before going to bed I was peer pressured (not really) into a hit of marijuana, I had to sleep because I could hear myself babbling too much. I’m not much for weed, it tastes like shit and never makes me feel great. It makes me too aware of my own existence and that is a bit too much for me. It’s now Thursday afternoon and a few fun things have happened today but I’ll save that for tomorrow. Thanks for reading folks!

Keep smiling (even when you feel torn between two lives)

Funny fowl

This title is pretty damn good and you’ll get it when you’re done reading, what a treasure I am.

How is everyone doing after my Earth-shattering announcement yesterday? Some excited, some disappointed, many confused, some aroused? Probably not. I’m doing what’s best for me and that’s the end of it so let’s move on.

Yesterday was a pretty fun day, it would have been nice to have a copilot on the journey but we’re making the best with our time. We? What am I talking about? There’s no “we” it’s just old Matty McFly out here. When I was bored in my first AirBnB last week I booked a ticket to see a live podcast. For those of you who do not listen to podcasts, they are long form radio style shows that you can download on itunes. The podcast in question is “Doug Loves Movies” where comedian and cinefile Doug Benson hosts a movie trivia show with himself and other comedians. Sometimes actors or film makers make an appearance to promote a project or just fuck around with Doug. The show is hosted in the back room of a comic book shop on Sunset boulevard called Meltdown Comics.

IMG_4762

Doug loves movies.

FullSizeRender (4)

IMG_4761

They record some of my favorite podcasts in this room.

IMG_4760

Amazing painting inside Meltdown Comics, Killer Mike!

It’s a great comic shop and serves many purposes for the comedy community. The show was a blast but the chairs were insanely uncomfortable and now I’m in pain the next day (I’m getting old). The show usually lasts about an hour and a half, once it was over I was starving. I hopped in my car and headed to a place called “Birds” which was suggested by a good friend who has guided me throughout my whole trip. Birds is a Notorious Alfred Hitchcock themed restaurant with amazing food and decor.

IMG_4766

best-Alfred-Hitchcock-films

I Confess, I felt like a Psycho that it took me so long to go there. I had a Suspicion I wold be Spellbound but it was a Frenzy of great dishes. The service started off a bit slow and I felt like saying Bon Voyage but by the time I was at the end of my Rope the waitress showed up. Can we see what I’m doing here? I’m using Hitchcock movies to describe my experience (they are capitalized for those playing along). I’m so clever, talented and lovable! Right? RIGHT?! Anyway, I was advised to try the fried pickles. I ordered the frickles (I didn’t come up with that but wish I did) and ate every single one of them. Holy smokes Dial M for mmmmm, yummy. See, I did it again. (Dial M for Murder is another Hitchcock movie, geez guys!).

IMG_4763

IMG_4764

After getting freaky with frickes, I got half a chicken with dipping sauces and some mac and cheese. All of it was incredible, I was so full that they’re gonna need to call me a Lifeboat to get me home. Yes, the Lifeboat one was forced but I’m not apologizing. “Hey Matt, did you dip any of that chicken in the mac and cheese?” That’s a really dumb question and you should be ashamed for asking it. Of fucking course I did! I’m getting hungry just thinking of it, it’s almost In and Out o’clock for old Matty pants. Perhaps I’ll go to Big Deans and get a burger there, catch the sunset. Awwww super romantic! Kidding, I’ll be alone and depressed I’m not accompanied by my favorite Bostonian Cali co-piolot, Ethan Norton. Ethan lived out here for years and lends a great balance of East/West coast mentalities and says funny shit a lot. Also one of my best friends on the planet.

I said Bon Voyage to Birds and headed back to Smithy’s place. Alight! Bon Voyage is the last one i’ll do (and that was the second time using it).

Alfred-Hitchcock

Parking was a bitch by Ben and Riquel’s but I finally found one, headed inside and scared the shit out of Riquel while she was cooking. Which is appropriate because I just got back from the master of suspense’s restaurant.

Wow Matthew, that sounds like a great day, are you maybe rethinking your escape? Two things; one, only my family members (usually the female ones) call me Matthew so relax on that shit. Two, no it has not. My love for California will never fade as a great place to visit BUT not my home. Boston is my wife and Cali is my side bitch (This is Ben’s hilarious quote). I always have a great time here but the plane ride home is usually the best part. I’ll explain because that might have come out strange. Almost every great moment of my life from fun times, getting laid, crazy nights, movies, concerts,  adventures, getting sugar from a lady (yea, I said it twice but in a cooler way, sup ladies. sorry for saying “sup”). The best part of all those moments is the walk to the car (this is both literal and figurative so that’s clear). That’s my time alone to reflect on the experience, sitting in silence while bathing in the endorphins. Listening to the vibrations rattling through my ears and feeling the adrenaline wear off as I come back to reality. Those are my best moments, a post-credits scene all to my self (those scenes are called stingers. fun fact).

This week is bonus time and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can. As for today (Monday), I haven’t done a ton but it’s still early. I caught up on New Girl (shit is going downhill on that show) watched Always Sunny reruns and got more Krispy Kreme, I only got two doughnuts this time. Don’t you dare judge me.

IMG_4770

To be honest, I think I lost weight on this trip from stress (good it’s almost beach season, woot!). Yay or nay to the excessive parenthetical use? Rhetorical, they’re staying (get used to it. SEE!). I also was pretty heavy handed with the exclamat!on (look what I did here) points this blog. Oh well, this blog is solipsistic (sometimes I use big and obscure words so I sound smarter, dickhead move) anarchy.

As for tonight, It’s Ben and Riquel’s four year anniversary  (congrats you two) so I’m going to make myself scarce while they “celebrate” and whatnot. I’m thinking maybe the aforementioned Big Dean’s then maybe a movie. We shall see. Thanks for reading folks.

Keep Smiling (even when you’ve had 5 doughnuts in less than 24 hours)

IMG_3850.JPG

There weren’t enough pictures of me in this blog post so here is a stock Matt in a Suit pic. Impressive right?

LAX-BOS

Can you figure out what I’m about to say based on that title? Let me clear it up, I’m coming back to Boston. This will require a lot of explaining but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’ve always wanted to live out west, since I was 19 and first tasted the mist of the Pacific ocean on my lips and In and Out burger filled my belly. I longed for the west coast, thinking it was the answer to all the things I didn’t understand while in Boston. Since the tender age of 19 I’ve visited the west coast roughly ten times (I honestly thinks it’s more but we’ll round down). Each one of those ten visits were at least a week, a couple were 2 weeks and one was for 7 weeks. That’s 17 weeks of sunny days and palm trees (not counting this trip). What have I learned in that accumulated amount of time? Tons of shit; Disney is great, weather is always perfect, Hollywood reins supreme, amazing food, fun shit to do and chill people for the most part. What is it missing? My heart.

I set off on this journey with an important goal, find myself and start a new chapter. On the trip I experienced crippling loneliness, fear, excitement, hungover from boot juice (side note: when the word juice is used to describe anything but juice itself, it’s pretty gross), long hours, crappy hotels, beautiful views,  great food and lifelong memories. When I got to Vegas the idea of being in California kind of started to lose its luster. The second I pulled up to Santa Monica something felt way off. I put on a fake smile and breathed a sigh of relief that I made it, alone. A few days went by, staying with friends, AirBnBs, doing some fun stuff and exploring. But that feeling was still there. That empty hole. What the hell was it? Am I homesick? Of course. Am I scared? A little but it’s not that. What the fuck is wrong?! I made it! To the beautiful west coast! Then something hit me. I don’t want this. That creeping feeling inside me is my gut telling me I’m not home. Well Matt you’ve only been here a week, you have to give it more time than that. Great point, I need to get into a groove, make some new friends and welcome the challenge, this is what you always wanted. Or is it? California (sorry, I know I’m saying that too much) was that girl I always admired from afar, building her up in my head to be perfect but never giving it a real effort. Time passed and I grew into a different person. Then one day I got the courage to ask her out and she wasn’t those things I built her up to be. There was no chemistry or butterflies. Maybe the goodnight kiss will change my mind, lips prepped, I leaned in and we connected. Nothing. No fireworks, no lightning storms in my pants, no goosebumps or butterflies (god I sound like a pussy, but a romantic pussy right?). She’s not for me, should  we try dating a few months? Should we get engaged and have some kids, maybe it will change. No, I will not. When you know, you know. I’m a 32 year old man who knows exactly who he is, what he loves and what makes him happy. Sadly, I know deep down in my gut that it’s not here (California). My heart will always be floating in the filthy water of the Charles River. It’s not perfect but it’s my home and always will be. “Matt! give it a chance.” This is my decision and I’m going to make the best move for myself. I could stay in Cali, start a new life and maybe it will be great but I won’t have my family or closest friends. Sure, I have some amazing friends out here but they have their own lives so they don’t need old Matty around. I’m not running away because I’m scared, I’m leaving because I know this will never be a home that makes me happy. This decision was a hard one but when I made it, it feels right. I’m going to have a pile of people ecstatic upon my return and some people who will label me a coward or failure, so be it. I braved a storm to get myself here and figured out who I was at my core, I’d call that a victory. Do you know who the fuck you are? It’s hard to see sometimes and most people never figure it out.  I have not given up my dreams of being a professional writer, I’m just going to do it in a place I want to be. I want to follow my dreams in a place where I can wrap my arms around my parents any time I want. I want to spin words on the page where the Bruins are in my backyard and the Citgo sign stands tall in the distance. I want four seasons, my best friends and as far as my dreams? I just need a laptop and some readers (psst, that’s you guys) and this blog will continue as a start my new chapter. That chapter will be in New England, where this Boston Boy belongs. To everyone who has supported me, thank you. To everyone mocking my quick return, eat shit. I’ll be back in a week if you want to grab a drink and talk about my adventure.

fenway

Now Matt, What the hell else have you been up to since you decided to run back home like a bitch (kidding, I’m proud of this decision). Friday night I met up with Chris, Hillary, a solid crew of Boston fans and a late coming Smithy to see the Bruins take on the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim (this looks an awful lot like a run on sentence, we’re gonna leave it). The game was a blast, for Ducks fans.

IMG_4723

IMG_4728

Our “we’re getting our balls stomped by Ducks” faces

The Bruins got smoked 4-0 and Chara lost a fight. The tickets were on the house, as were the beers and some cash was strangely handed to me from new friends. Perhaps a welcome to California gift (oops, still keeping it).

IMG_4727

We filed out after the loss and headed back to Lakewood to grab food. I campaigned Deltaco and got my wish. Four chicken soft tacos and two grilled chicken burritos later I was a happy camper. Then we went back to Chris’ place to watch “Goon” since we were in a hockey mood.

goon

A pile of beers later we all decided to crash. Chris blew up a massive air mattress for me and managed to squeeze it into his bedroom (not sure why). The air mattress covered all the empty space of the floor and was the same hight as Chris and Hillary’s bed. Essentially  we were all in one large bed, kinda weird but fuck it. After only sleeping a couple hours an alarm with nursery rhyme type music kept going off from one of their phones. It was driving me insane so I made my way to the living room couch. It was on that couch I made the decision to come home. I broke the news to Chris in the morning. He was kind enough to get me a job and offer me a place to live in his new house. I had to later turn down both, he understood and chuckled. “You gotta do what’s right for you” he said. Saturday I headed to Ben’s place (my home for the next and last week in California). Ben Riquel made a deal with me, I can stay as long as I help them wash their carpet. I’m an expert carpet cleaner so it’s a natural choice to ask me. Actually I’ve never cleaned a carpet in my life but I look good operating machinery so let’s do this.

IMG_4757.PNG

We handled that dirty carpet hen grabbed tasty middle eastern food for lunch. At least I think it was middle eastern? Chicken Kabob with hummus, rice and garlic sauce (pretty damn good). After that I narrowly escaped a panic attack at Costco while Ben and Riquel did some shopping. While at Costco I noticed the name of the employee of the month, Kash Register. I SHIT YOU NOT! This man’s name was Kash fucking Register. You know the thing that all grocery stores have? The machine that allows you to pay for your purchases, that’s his god damn name. He’s probably and alien and while he was applying for jobs he just saw a register and was like “the name is Register, Cash” “Sir spell Cash for me” “Oh I spell it with a K, give it a little more pop, now hire me human” I could do this bit for hours but it’s a little too easy.

KASH REGISTER, employee of the month AND year, get it KASH!

 

We got back to the house then I grabbed an Uber to meet Rubin and his wife who had extra tickets to the Bruins/Kings game at the Staples center. Matt! Back to Back free hockey games and you still want to leave, yes I do. I know, I’m insane. Before the game I got to pick Brain’s friend’s brain about being a writer in Hollywood. He worked on Californication and is shopping new scripts around. He told me some of the horrors of being an assistant writer then being a staff writer. He was really nice and gave me a great glimpse into the life I’ve been working towards and he didn’t sugar coat it one bit. I think it was something I really needed to hear. He told me it was basically dumping every idea you’ve ever had, every memory, joke and experience and handing them over with minimal to no credit and you’re all out after two weeks. Fuck man, that’s brutal. Maybe not for me? I never lived it so I can’t know for sure but when someone says something tastes bad, I don’t really feel the urge to snatch it from their hand and take a big bite. It was nice to hear that side of the business first hand though.

Our seats were incredible, private box, no beer or bathroom lines. It was a great night, minus the Bruins losing AGAIN! Three god damn losses on the Cali trip, guess we should all leave, right B’s? B’s? Hello? Wait for me!

IMG_4735

IMG_4742

My oldest hockey friend Brian Rubin, great dude.

After the game we all went home and crashed. That brings us to today, I woke up, watched American Ninja Warrior, started breaking the news to people that I’m coming home then got Krispy Kreme (raspberry filled glaze, lemon filled glaze and regular glazed) way too many doughnuts for one sitting but fuck it.

IMG_4756

Also fruity Starbucks drink that’s delicious.

Now I’m talking to you guys! Tonight I’m going to a live podcast in LA so that should be fun. I figured since this move turned into a vacation, I’m gonna make the best of it. Ticket home purchased, car transport set up, Boston, I shall be back. Thanks for reading folks!

IMG_4731

See, I wasn’t fucking around. Hope I can get my job back, better call Carl.

Keep Smiling (even when you’re taking heat for a swift exit)

IMG_4751

Someone I adore sent me this today, filled my icy heart with joy. Later gators.

 

Kevin McCallister

I’ve been here in California almost a week and still haven’t be able to shake a few feelings. All the things I used to love about this state have started to taste bitter. I used to love the sunny days, beautiful people, the film world, and beach culture. Oxford comma alert all you sexy grammar fans out there. The sunny days are a bit annoying, makes the people here soft and makes every single day feel there same. An empty void of sun that brainwashes its victims. Too dark? Fuck it, don’t care. Let’s discuss these beautiful people, I hate them haha. Alright, let me explain because now I sound like a sad single man with 26 cats and a gripe with the sexy folks of earth. That’s not my point, obviously because I’m beautiful myself (we can’t and should not deny that). What I hate is these people who look like they are on the way to or just came from an audition and have this smug look of entitlement because they are easy on the eyes in tinseltown. I want to whisper to all of them “these sunny days will melt your perfection away and you’ll never be self-aware enough to see how shallow and pathetic you are.” Woa! real dark! Not really. There are tons of people with great heads on their shoulders out here (have yet to meet them other than my friends). I’m the kind of guy who values intelligence, wit, boobs and a sense of humor. Sorry, I had to write something superficial to balance the heady rant. Heady? I don’t like that word, let’s say “deep” yea, I hate that too. Screw it. That brings me to the beach culture of it all, which is my jam. I love sunglasses, vans, skateboards, Hawaiian shirts, sand, ocean and relaxing. Here is my issue with it in California, you didn’t earn it. I could be on the beach working my dad bod, that term is funny to me but not totally accurate. Let’s say I’m working my Wolverine with a beer belly body on the beach. Like I said, these beach days aren’t earned. It’s always fucking “nice” here so you can roll your ass to the beach and enjoy with no real concept of the months you can’t. Maybe it’s because I was raised on my brother’s borrowed Beastie Boys Cds  but I firmly believe you need to fight for your right to party. I shoveled snow to get the privilege to lay on the beach with Brendan Powers and rant about what superhero movies are the best or how beautiful the horizon looks with a lonely sailboat on it. Sorry Brendan, I know that must get annoying. The California natives who inhabit the beach are like trust fund kids, you might have the means but you don’t properly appreciate how it came to be. Every grain of sand under my feet was scratch and clawed  for, I paid my cover charge to look at the ocean while the sun warms my skin. Now let’s get to the biggie (smalls) here, the film industry. I’ve wanted to be involved in the film industry since I first saw Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” it inspired me, sent me to film school and turned me into the movie geek I am today. Movies are precious to me, knowing how they’re made, especially written almost ruins them for me. I know the structure, tempo, peeks and valleys of most stories and seeing the matrix code doesn’t always make them better. What I’ve come to see here and seen glimpses of for years is the shallow and pure surface aspect of the movie industry. I’ve met a few people at bars and whatnot who have played a part in some shit movie and kept talking about it. I met a cool old guy yesterday at Big Dean’s (love this place still) and he was in “Protocol” starring Goldie Hawn. Pretty cool if you ask me, Me and Val (my mom) love Goldie Hawn. Here is my thing, I don’t want to act so that’s less appealing to me. What I want out of the film industry is to tell stories. I love to tell stories and entertain people, but at what cost? Do I want to be a production assistant? No fucking way. Do I want to be the bitch doing whatever just to say I lent a hand telling a story that wasn’t mine? NOPE! I want to tell my own stories, because that’s what I know and I believe I have the skill to communicate those stories in a fun and interesting ways. I also am great at softball, sorry I got a real bragging tangent so I had to break the tension. Holy shit, I just saw the most beautiful pregnant woman on earth in the Starbucks I’m at. Shit, that was crazy. That’s pretty LA, being hot AND pregnant, you go girl. Sorry folks, we got sidetracked, I blame the hot pregnant woman. Telling stories is really important to me, but how? Do I want to write movies (yes but that’s next to impossible to break into). So how? Maybe writing books would be the most fulfilling thing to me (that’s easy right? haha). I don’t have to worry how much producers want to change and trim, I don’t have to deal with fake people and above all, I could do it from Boston (my heart). Everyone is telling me to stick it out and get into a rhythm, I just got here but I have a great sense of who I am and what I love, I’m not sure this is it. This trip might have been the soul search I needed. It’s taught me what I loved about Boston, what a great life I had there. So I had a dead end job? That was my choice and honestly, I loved that job haha. I did. Dealing with dumb truckers and fucking with them was funny, I loved my coworkers, bosses and I made an ok living. I also had my family, which I miss a great deal. They say distance makes the heart grow fond, and my heart hurts. I feel like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2, lost in New York. I wanted my independence so bad, I wanted a new place, I wanted to do it alone. Why? to prove I could do it? Yea. Which I did. Look, I got a gilded pair of balls that most people would die for so why do I want to run away? Is it running away or is it realizing what I loved most was right under my nose the whole time. Kevin (McCallister) was having a blast in New York and flying high with limos, personal pizzas and hotel suites. When he realized he wasn’t home he did everything he could to get back. It’s been said that home is where you make it, and I haven’t given this place enough of a chance yet. I don’t even have my apartment for another 11 days. My new job doesn’t start until Monday but none of this is exciting, it’s annoying and not me. Maybe it’s not me yet but I’m planning my escape as we speak.

IMG_4708

We get it, it’s sunny here.

What did I do with my St. Patrick’s day? Got a delicious Acai (healthy LA shit) bowl at Dogtown Coffee, walked around Santa Monica then finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens and I loved it. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan (sorry fellow nerds) but I had a blast watching it.

IMG_4704

yum.

IMG_4712

These were all throughout the halls of the Arclight theater and they’re dope (clearly).

After that I got a green beer at the best bar ever, Big Deans. Then I met up with Rubin and his pals to celebrate an Irish holiday in the least Irish place in the county. Do I sound bitter yet?

IMG_4714

It’s mean, green and Dean (s).

Benny met up with us and we tried to get into bars but the lines were stupid long. We went to one that had Rocky V on the TV which I saw as a good sign. Then we left to go to a more hip place that looked like someone’s house who’s parents had gone on vacation and they were throwing a huge “Can’t Hardly Wait” type party, a lot of pretty dames (who gives a flying fuck, they are a dime a dozen here and vapid wastes of oxygen). Sorry. That place was too packed so Rubin and I retired and I crashed on his couch.

IMG_4716

This place was odd.

Rubin has a great place less than a mile from the beach and the cutest French bulldog on earth, Frankie. Today I got up, went back to my weird Airbnb, packed my shit and headed to get get food. I haven’t been eating much the past 2 weeks so I need to keep an eye on that. I made my way to Lakewood to meet up with Chris because we are going to the Bruins game tonight, which should rule. Take me back to Boston Bergeron! Please! No, I gotta give this place a chance. But honestly, If i don’t shake this feeling by July, Fuck this. I know myself, I’m 32 not 22, wet behind the ears and taking my shot at a new place. I know what I love and what I’m made of. The shimmer of this shiny town isn’t blinding me, It’s annoying me. Give me a Boston fan, dropping R’s and saying “kid” any day of the week. At least it’s fodder for me to mock but secretly enjoy. That’s it for today folks, thanks for reading.

Keep Smiling (even when you feel incomplete in a weird place)

IMG_4717

Thanks Brittany.

Purgatory

We got through the road trip, I say we because you folks have been nice enough to follow along with the blog. Also I hate the word “blog” it sounds stupid and I don’t like saying it. I need to think of a better name than that, like digital journal or babble site. Fuck it, stick with blog. I’m currently living in California, what part? A few parts, I’ve been bouncing around AirBnbs for a few days and I gotta tell you, I fucking hate it. I really do. I know I just got here but I don’t know many people and after Sunday night, I’ve been pretty lonely. At first my days were at first looking for apartments, which sucked but I still did it. One place I saw was pretty tiny and I’d be a third roommate. In that apartment were two gentleman, both with dead fish handshakes (bad start). One was a full time student and one was “between jobs” that wasn’t even the part that bugged me. They had one of those fancy lizards as a pet. When I say fancy, I mean the type that will smile at you but still eat bugs. I hate reptiles so I’m not going to give that creature the dignity of properly identifying it. The bedroom was tiny so I turned it down, actually I just left. The Next place looked really cool but before I could go look at it, the person looking for a roommate informed me his friend was going to move. Fair enough, 0-2. The next place was similar to the first, the guy renting the room seemed really nice but the place was dirty and I hated it. 0-3, moving on. My friend Brian (former hockey captain in high school now hollywood powerhouse), informed me of an available place near his house. I went over and checked it out, studio with minimal space but good location. How much will that be property manager i’m on the phone with? $1750 a month? Great, I thought it might be an insane number, how reasonable. Fuck you. My airbnb Monday night was pretty nice, it seemed like a very high end hostel. It was even close to Sonny Mclean’s, a Boston themed Irish pub. I had been to Sonny’s a few times, Ben lives about a mile down the street.

IMG_4681

I went there for dinner thinking I’d be right at home, nope. Food was decent, as was the service but it’s not home. After dinner Ben invited me to watch the Batchelor season finale with him and his girlfriend Riquel. I’ve never watched the show before but I can see it becoming addicting, minus all the contestants sounding like absolute morons and then breaking my heart by pouring their feelings out on national TV. After the show I hit the road and walked back to my Airbnb, attempted to sleep but couldn’t.

I never lived in dorms in college so I imagine this type of unfamiliar living space is something people learned at 18 or 19 years old. Not me. I lived with my parents and commuted to college to save money (no student loans for me kids). Then After college I lived with two of my cousins in my first apartment (Kyle and John), which was a god damn blast, we even hosted an less than legal poker game (don’t snitch). Then after that, back home with mom and dad, Ethan’s couch in Huntington Beach CA for a summer (poker), then Kyle’s couch while attempting to play poker, home for a spell (mom and dad) then Brighton with Ethan and Ben (Neirgarth) for many years, then Ben moved to New York and Keegan moved in. I loved every moment of Brighton (not sure why I left. oh right, dream chasing or whatever).

Now I’m a lost soul in a strange place, trying to keep it together. It’s sunny at least. Tuesday I met my new bosses and took my drug test for my new job doing i’m not sure what but it’s only temporary. Then I drove to the Santa Monica pier to walk around, it was crowded and dumb but I thought I saw Gavin Rosdale from Bush.

IMG_4689

Which would be cool. I then kept my promise made to my therapist back in Boston to let her know I made it west and thanked her for everything. I then took pictures of myself trying to smile on the pier.

I suck at smiling right now.

I thought “in and out burger will brighten my spirits” so I headed there to feast, it DID lift my spirits, for a brief moment. I used to only eat alone, but that’s fine when I had Keegan and Ethan right outside my door. Not anymore (that rhymed!).

IMG_4690

IMG_4691

 

Tuesday night there wasn’t much to do so I returned to Sonny’s to watch the Bruins. I was excited to watch the game with some Boston fans, maybe this will cheer me up. Nope. Back in the Uber and back to my new AirBnb in Culver City. This one isn’t as nice as the last but the host is friendly and she has two cute dogs.

It’s now Wednesday and I took the day to explore Culver City! Which was boring but looked nice. I visited the filming location for Tron (Flynn’s arcade), got some gross sandwich at a place called the school house or some shit, had a drink at the supposedly haunted Culver Hotel.

IMG_4696

Flynn's_Arcade

Tron is pretty good.

IMG_4698

fries were good but fuck this sandwich.

IMG_4699

That place was pretty beautiful but I saw no ghosts and it sucked alone. Then I went to the Arclight to see “The Brothers Grimsby” which had a lot of cheap laughs but kept me busy for an hour and a half. Now i’m back at the airbnb questioning this decision (to move) with every fiber of my being. I know it has only been a few days, I have no place to live yet and my job hasn’t kicked off. I’m gonna grind it out and see what happens, I guess this isn’t supposed to be easy. As of right now fuck this place, but I know things can change. Thanks for reading folks.

Keep smiling (even when the thought of trying hurts your sou, that was dark. sorry)

IMG_4688

I feel you lonely sailboat.

Glitter to gold

As you folks already know, I started Saturday off by throwing up and not in the best “Vegas” mood. There was a time in my life where I would do anything to plan a trip to Sin City but I’m getting to a point in my life where the shine of that glittery town is truly fading (to me). I love the Bellagio (mostly just the brunch, poker room and fountains) but beyond that it’s a little too much bullshit surface for me.

IMG_0325

(old pic but works here)

I have had so many fond memories there but also some truly dark nights of the soul. I once played poker for a living (not well but it paid the bills)and  Las Vegas is where I melted down, quit the game as my profession and sheepishly asked my father to wire me a plane ticket home. Chip (my Dad) being one of the greatest and most altruistic men in history, obliged and even had a job waiting for me when I got home. This was roughly 6 years ago and that job was at Axcelis Technologies. I was a real asshole when I started that job, brazen and lazy (horrible combination, like being stupid AND arrogant. They just don’t mix). At this job I learned the value of hard work, being humble and rolling with the punches. At first I really didn’t get along with my boss but after time he taught me some truly important lessons. He showed me that you may be better than your current station in life but you should never act as such, work hard and go after those things you think you deserve. Carl, I want to thank you for that and you told me to have a drink on you during this trip and I quipped “Technically you’ve paid for all my drinks the past 6 years by signing my paycheck.”

For now, back to Vegas. Saturday was rough starting but Ben and myself hit the strip to find some food and we landed on “Pin Up Pizza” a small pizza spot in the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino that offers comically large slices of pizza for an inflated price.

IMG_0322

(stock pin up pizza pic)

After we fueled up with pizza we decided to put some desert on top. Ben had been raving about the desert selection at “Sprinkles” and I trusted him. We navigated our way through the impossible amount of dirty tourists, cloying street performers and potentially homeless people (but also potentially not, sadly some people pose as such to make money and it makes me angry).  We eventually made it to “The Linq” not sure if I’m spelling it right but it was a nice change of pace from the strip. It was set up like a swanky Los Angeles outdoor mall, sans Vegas riffraff and charlatans. We both indulged in delectable Sprinkles deserts, I got an ice cream sandwich made with two salted oatmeal cookies and strawberry ice cream in the middle. After we stuffed our face with sugar we looked at some flamingos (don’t ask) then made our way to play some cards at the Wynn. Benny and I were sat at the same table and had a pretty great time. Ben made some really strong folds, I ran horrible and lost a couple hundred but got the best massage of my life and made a memory or two, more than worth it.

After poker we all decided to go to the Hofbrauhuas House (authentic german cuisine and beer) near the Hard Rock Casino. This place was great; myself, Ben, Kyle, Jen and Adam all attended and had a blast. They had a band, a beer chugging contest (none of our party participated, I had to drive and Ben didn’t give a hoot).

IMG_0350

I was a dope and never got a new picture with my brother and his future wife, so here is a stock pic from one year ago.

IMG_4658

IMG_4655

Translation: “Thirst is worse than homesickness” fitting right?

IMG_4654

We had some great food and Ben wasn’t going to let me leave without the traditional spanking. What the fuck does that mean Matt? You’re burying the lead. Sorry folks. Apparently when one orders a shot, the shot girl who provides said shot also administers a spanking with a wooden paddle. Ben negotiated to do the shot himself and let me get the spanking (good deal if you ask me). The mistress (possibly just waitress) held up her end and attempted to damage my powerful bottom to no avail. Nice try lady, maybe these other softies would flinch but not this hero.

IMG_4657

After our authentic german beer hall experience we went our separate ways. I said good bye (more like see you later) to Kyle, Jen and  Adam then Ben and I headed back to the Luxor in the Wolf. I was beat and ready for bed But Smithy (Ben) wanted to battle at the poker tables some more. I was sound asleep and around 4am Ben returned to the room a few hundred dollars richer, well done my brother!

The next morning we rallied quickly and got out of the room. We packed the Wolf then fueled up with some smoothies and crepes (both were delightful and overpriced as all fuck). Before we left I secured a place to stay for the next week. Ben’s tonight (Sunday) and an AirBnB for the 5 days after  while I apartment hunt. Smithington was feeling saucy and decided to buy us both matching Luxor casino crew neck sweatshirts (If I’m being honest, they are dope and we’re twins now, thanks Ben). We packed into the Wolf and kept heading west. This was the last leg of my road trip and was ecstatic to have one of my best friends on earth as my copilot. After piles of traffic, overpriced gas and having to pee for hours we made it to beautiful Santa Monica California.

IMG_4662

IMG_4665

I did it folks, 3,825 miles traveled (mostly alone) and I conquered this great nation of ours. I’m extremely proud of myself and grateful to everyone who helped me through it; Ben, Kyle, Jen, Keegan, Ethan, Shane, Jason, Mom and Dad (of course), Riquel, Adam, Autie Di, Uncle Don, Nana, Jamie (even though he got me sick) Brittany, Amanda, Tanya, Randie, Rosie, Rubin, Ethan and everyone who kept pushing me to make the leap.

How does one celebrate making it to the west coast almost all by himself, he gets an unbeatable burger and large beer at Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe (my favorite place in Santa Monica).

IMG_4677

I look fat in this picture and it’s upsetting me.

Funny story; the day I made the tacit agreement with myself to move to California was at the end of one of the best days of my life. Ben and I drove down the PCH (pacific coast highway) on a beautiful afternoon listening to Beach Boys Pandora and making our way to Neptune’s net. We got there, had a great lunch then took our drinks to go and crossed the street.They’ve filmed countless classic movies at Neptune’s Net, including; the original “Fast and the Furious”, “Iron Man 3” and fucking “POINT BREAK”.  Across the street from Neptune’s Net was this great surf spot. From our point of view the soft white sea foam colliding with the dark blue sea made the waves seem slow and peaceful. The surfers knew the truth, taming the liquid beasts and making it look easy, like a conductor orchestrating a symphony. That moment I stared out into the endless ocean and decided this should be my new home.

IMG_0516

 

Now let’s back up a little, I’ve always had a love affair with California. Ever since I was 19 and made my first trip out here to visit Ethan while he was at Cal State Long Beach, I was smitten. One night all of us grabbed skateboards and hit the warm streets to cruise. They were all on longboards and I was the odd man out on a trick deck so I was far behind the pack. We sailed down a street, the group about 200 yards ahead of me but not out of reach. I basked in the moment as the warm air caressed my body, sliding above a sea of smooth asphalt, crouching down and running my hand over the cement as if it were and extension of myself and I knew I was home.

IMG_2969

Many things kept me from moving here; relationships, school, family issues, and honestly just fear. I was never sure this was the right place for me until too many signs to ignore sent me on this trip. My last visit a year ago saw me and Ben sitting at Big Dean’s and the sun was about to set. Ben looked at his watch and said if I hurry I can catch the sun setting. I sprinted down the Santa Monica pier and landed at the very end, leaning over the railing and watching the sunset. I grew up on a street called Sunset drive and one would think the concept and sight of one would be old news/boring, wrong. I loved every moment of it, including a man on acoustic guitar playing “somewhere over the rainbow” behind me. That very moment sealed it. Today when Ben and myself had a delicious burger and sizable beer in hand at Big Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe, what song came across the radio? “Somewhere over the Rainbow” maybe it’s a sign and maybe it’s just a coincidence but in life it’s said to look for the breadcrumbs, this was a large hunk of bread in my eyes. I think I’m home, my new home. It would just take me some time to make my way out here.

IMG_0529

After Big Dean’s Ben and I made our way to Bungalow to meet up with another great friend Brian Rubin who got us some amazing tequila and shared some old but hilarious memories. Today was incredible and I have high hopes for my new life out here on the west coast, now I just need to find a place to live. Thanks for reading folks, sorry if this was a long one but I made it!

IMG_2422

Keep smiling (even after driving 3.825 miles and have no home)

In addition I’d like to dedicate this beer/burger to two men, Carl Stankewitz (Carl I know I butchered the spelling of your last name but in my defense you’re saved in my phone as “Stankoboss” which is fun if you ask me. I’d also like to dedicate this beer/burger to a former coworker who was recently terminated, Hugh Mckenna. Carl was an amazing boss and Hugh was a fantastic coworker. When I heard word he was let go (sorry Hugh) I was actually really angry. Huge is Hard worker, smart, kind and always went the extra mile. Trust me, I suffer no fools and Hugh was (still is) an all around great man and his termination was a massive fuck up if you ask me. Hugh slipped me a $20 my last day of work and asked me to have a drink on him, well Hugh, this one is for you (and Carl). Thank you both for the faith and kindness. Hugh you’ll find something better, I’m sure of it and Carl, thank you for everything. I’m aware this last paragraph was a little inside baseball for my old job but I assure these are two great men. Keep smiling guys (even when Axcelis beats ya down, hold strong).

IMG_4673

Cheers.