Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

*Disclaimer: While I was writing this, I realized that it had a LOT of explaining involved because many people may not know anything about what I'm talking about, so I apologize if this post seems ultra boring! I also apologize for the lack of pictures, due to a dark theater and a dying phone. If this isn't your cup of tea and you stop reading, that is entirely understandable! 

Hi again! I'm writing this at quarter to 9am here, which wouldn't be so bad except for we didn't get home until around 3am last night! It was quite the night. It may not come as news to you all that Patrick "does theater." I've mentioned it to some but it hasn't even been a topic of conversation for others that I've talked to. When I say he does theater, I don't mean he gets up on a stage for a show and dance. It's more like he helps produce theater. And when I say theater, I mean ONE theater show. He is part of a Rocky Horror Picture Show cast in the Bay Area and is the head of tech, sound, lights, and occasionally security. It's actually one of the first things we talked about when we first met. In the beginning of our relationship, he had a show to do, so he recorded probably close to 40 videos and took quite a few pictures in order to try to help me understand what it was. Of course, because of Kerry, I do know what it is, however I didn't know that the movie had what is almost a cult following!

Before, when I thought Erin was going to be road tripping with me, Patrick had just been planning on skipping the show (which the director and other cast would have understood). However, when plans changed and Kerry was now my road trip buddy, I knew she would want to go and experience the Rocky scene!

The day started off with trips to Target, a BBQ restaurant, and Kmart (which is actually a really nice store around here and is a huge step up from Walmart and Michigan Kmarts), to try to pick up some things that would make our lives easier (chest of drawers, shelf, little things that I knew I would need such as face wash and unscented body soap). Then, because poor Jackie had to work (BOO!!!), we headed back to the house and just chilled for a bit. It has been a hectic few days, so we all really needed some down time. We got Chinese food for dinner and began getting ready for the show.

The BBQ was delicious!

The BBQ joint was actually across from the PlayStation headquarters. How neat!

Before I even left the state of Michigan, Patrick and I had mutually decided that, because he would have to work during the first show I would be there for, it would be best if Kerry and I didn't draw attention to ourselves and essentially be other people during the show so that I wouldn't have to deal with any awkward introductions without Patrick (because I can be an anxious mess, as we all know, and I recognize that being the center of attention is never a good thing). So we parked around the corner, they got out of the car and started doing cast member things, and Kerry and I waited a few moments before we went and got our tickets, completely ignoring them as they passed by.

We then walked down to a small coffee shop and passed the time there while we waited for a line to start outside of the theater. It was quite the scene! A lot of people wore lingerie (men and women), fish net tights, and stilettos, for example. Others were dressed normally. Some carried bags of sliced bread (which I still don't understand), toilet paper, and glow sticks, along with a bunch of other random things.

Kerry: "I'm trying to decide if I have too much self respect for a selfie right now." 
Me: *takes out camera and takes a sassy selfie*

Waiting in line! 

Patrick has explained to me that the thing about Rocky is that the movie was actually a total flop. It didn't become popular until audience members started attending the midnight showings and participating in the movie, shouting things back to the actors' lines and throwing things at the screen. Eventually, people treated the showings as somewhat of a weekend party and became regular audience members. From this grew the Rocky Horror Picture Show that we know today. Casts all around the country get up on stage and, while the movie is playing, act out the scenes in the movie. And many of the "call backs" and "cues" that started it all are still used in audiences today. Last night, it seemed as though almost every line had a call back. Kerry and I went inside, were searched by security, and found some seats.

There's not much to say about the show unless you know what's going on (which, honestly, I really didn't). I liked how open and cool everyone was and how it wasn't like a normal theater showing, where you would be quiet and respectful. These people come to have fun and interact with the movie and the cast members!

At the end of the night, all four of us were exhausted. I was, eventually, recognized by someone, but I wasn't called out on it. Instead, they mentioned it to Patrick, and then he called me out into the lobby to meet two of the cast members, Lena and Siobhan (pronounced Chivonne or Shi-von). They were super nice! Everyone here is super nice and it's really throwing me off!

So here I am on five hours of sleep, writing to anyone who cares to read. When I'm no longer incognito at shows, I'll take more pictures and better explain what's going on (which, hopefully, I will understand what's going on by that point). I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. Today we're going to the Pride parade, wish me and my anxiety luck!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hello, San Francisco!

Hey guys! It was a crazy day yesterday! Because I'm still on a Michigan time schedule (which is, actually, really good for my sleep schedule here, because it means I get up earlier and fall asleep at a decent time), I was up super early for my standards. Before 3pm it was hard to do much. Some of you know that Patrick works from home most of the time, but sometimes he is on-site in different places. He is what he calls a "data scientist," meaning he uses software to organize data and then teaches people all over either remotely or in person how to use said software. The day we arrived, he had been teaching a class from home all day, and was also scheduled to teach the next day, too. In order to do this, he does need the house to be quiet because, obviously, his students can hear him and whatever else goes on around him. So Kerry and Jackie and I mostly played on electronics all day while he taught. Then, during breaks during his class, Kerry and I would go out to my car and bring things in so that we could start putting all of my stuff away. I'm mostly all unpacked, it's just a matter of organizing and meshing our things together in a way that makes sense. Today, we're going out to purchase a couple of things to make this easier, like a chest of drawers for me to finish putting away my clothing, a fan because I'm from Michigan and we don't do "hot" there with no A/C (which most apartment buildings around here don't even have, like ours), and a shelf to put up some of my various knick knacks that I insisted on bringing with me.

Finally Patrick finished his class and we got to the part that we'd all been waiting for. San Francisco! We actually don't live too far from the city, however, public transportation is the way to go around here since traffic and parking are downright absurd. So the four of us drove to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Station, parked, purchased tickets, and I got on my first train.

I look much too happy and at ease for the way I was feeling, but that's because this was taken before the train started moving!

Obviously, we don't have "trains" in Michigan. Here, the BART is kind of like a subway. This enormous "bus" with a ton of trains attached runs underground, above ground, forwards, and backwards. Being from the Detroit area, it's pretty much ingrained in my brain that public transit is terribly unsafe. You don't take a bus unless you're carrying pepper spray and a large blade, and taxis are somewhat of a newer thing, and mostly not in budget unless you plan on going out of town and need a ride back because you've been drinking. But here, the train is a normal thing. Jackie takes it every day to school. But even though they were totally comfortable with getting on the BART, I was definitely a nervous wreck, especially when I learned that it goes underground, which I was not comfortable with. Then, when the train took off, I was definitely not prepared. I get car sick easily, so the momentum and jerking around made me really queasy and nervous. I couldn't wait to get off.

I knew I was in for a culture shock when I got here, but I've never seen anything like it. We got to our stopping point and got out and the first thing I saw was a guy playing guitar and singing. He was really good! Then we went on our walk. Our goal was an ice cream store, with a whole bunch of weird flavors. On the way there, we stopped in a Mexican pastry shop and got cookies. I'm not a very adventurous eater, so thankfully there was a safe ice cream option for me (Dulce de Leche, which is like a caramel ice cream), but Kerry got Lime Basil sorbet, Patrick got a Bourbon Coke Float with Secret Breakfast ice cream (which is bourbon ice cream with corn flakes in it), and Jackie got Brown Sugar Fennel. So weird! I was not prepared for all of that. We finished our ice cream (but we all know I prefer Han D Dip!), then we went back to the BART and continued our journey to the heart of SF.

There, we wandered around a lot. We went into the Disney store here, which was really neat. Two stories! Patrick, being the non-Michigan person that he is, got really cold while I was still sweating, so he bought himself a pair of jeans from American Eagle, and we continued walking around. The buildings were really neat! As we were walking around, Patrick's friend Sarah was talking to him. She's been really excited to meet me because she, too, isn't a native Californian. Our situations are very similar, actually. She moved out here from Maryland (!!!) to be with her boyfriend, Brian, and was in for a huge shock! But, surprisingly, after we initially met, she was the one giving me a serious tour of the city, telling me all of the history and little facts. When I learned later that she's only been here for a year and a half, I was relieved. She knew so much about everything we passed that I decided that not all hope was lost for me!

Where we waited for Sarah. It was like a little "mall" hallway with shops in it. It was enclosed but there were no doors, it was just all open! There was even a pigeon hopping around inside!

The mall hallway even had a giant chess board! I wish I knew how to play!

There are hearts like this, painted differently, all around the city by different artists. I can't remember exactly what Sarah said, but it was something about a hospital!
(Update: Here is the information!

The city had trolleys! Sarah explained that they are very old and if you actually ride them, there are informational signs that are inside that will tell you their history. From what I understood, they're donated to SF by other cities!

What is this? It's significant, right?

The city had some super cool things that you'd never see back home in Michigan. For example, Pride day is this Sunday (which I am super excited to attend), and in preparation for the parade, the city was showing off its colors! It's definitely going to be a crazy day with the new Supreme Court rulings (three cheers for progress)!

I'm not a very adventurous eater, so when we went to a French restaurant for dinner, I was, at first, really irritated with the menu. I'm not going to eat raw steak or rabbit or blood sausage! Gross! But I ended up finding something that I really enjoyed paired with a yummy Cosmo. We even got some really cool key chains from France of the Eiffel tower from our waitress!


After dinner, we went back to Sarah's apartment, which was really cute! Her building is super fun, there's a dog park for service dogs, no smoking on the grounds, and then comes the fun part... We went all the way up to the roof and it was like a party ready area! There were high-tech grills for the tenants to use, really nice chairs that you could lay/sit in and view the skyline, and a small area with a really nice sized hot tub and a view of the Bay Bridge! We were literally hundreds of feet from it. We sat up on the roof while it got dark and chatted, and we got to see the bridge light up! There are tons of tiny lights on it that go in different patterns up and down the cables. It was really neat.

 The view from the roof of Sarah and Brian's apartment building!

 Sarah! Hooray for new friends! She's super fun!

 Jackie, myself, Sarah, and Kerry all girl-talking by the roof top hot tub! 

The view of the bridge from the rooftop after dark! The lights are pretty, but I still hate that bridge!!!!

When we decided it was time to go home, we started walking back to the BART and were most of the way there when I realized that I left my purse at Sarah's, so we had to walk back. It wouldn't have been so bad, except for she lives at the top of a very large hill. On my way down said hill (the first time, when I was still purse-less), I decided that it would be a great idea to jump on this very springy metal grate that was on the sidewalk, but I jumped on the outer edge, which wasn't so bouncy. This was especially bad because a couple of weeks ago, I twisted my ankle twice in one day. So coming down hard on it on a surface that I expected to be bouncy but was not a good time. I iced it this morning for a while (I have a feeling that I aggravated a tendon which is causing the swelling) and it seems to be doing better, but a long walk through the city probably isn't happening anytime soon!

Kerry and Jackie bonding at the BART station!

Though I hate the BART, I was relieved to get on it so that we could finally go home. It was definitely a long day and we were all very tired. There was no discussion when we got back, it was just bedtime!

This morning, I woke Patrick up from his little bed on the couch. At first he was groggy, but then what did he do? Make me breakfast! He's a keeper!

Feed me and I will love you. 

Today's adventures also include something that I'm very excited to take Kerry to, although I'll update everyone about it tomorrow so that I don't ruin the game plan by letting everyone know what it is! Adios amigos!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Road Trip!

Hello everyone! I've been planning on doing this for a long while (even before my move), so here it is-- my very own blog to keep everyone updated with my life since I'm no longer in Michigan! Of course, I will still keep in touch individually, but I'm definitely not going to mass text 42 different people to tell them about my life on a daily basis.

Let us start with the day I left the state! It started out a little bit hectic, actually. My friend Kerry and I had been planning the road trip for a few months. I would have liked to fly here, but I did need my car to get around the state, so I opted to drive. The other option would have been to ship my car to California, but every shipping company I looked into was going to cost me close to $1,000. Thus came the road trip! After only a few hours of sleep, I woke up quite early (which, if you know anything about me, 5:45am is much too early), and started to get ready, only to find that my mom's GPS was no where to be found! I overlooked such an important detail that I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out what to do. Thankfully, my grandpa was awake (thanks Pop!), and was willing to lend me his GPS. My plan was to get on the road at 7am, but since I definitely planned a good chunk of time to get "ready" (aka brush teeth, pick up Kerry, and get gas-- hey, it's a road trip, not a fashion show), I was only set back by about 15 minutes. We got on the road and I drove. We originally planned to just play it by ear with the driving portion of the trip, which we definitely did. We found out by trial and error that driving for 6 hours straight each so we could hit our 12-hours-a-day goal was NOT a good plan. By the end of the day, we were both exhausted and admitted to getting extremely sleepy during the middle of our shifts. We made it through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska. None of these states were at all interesting or even picture worthy. We found a nice little hotel, showered, found a restaurant, ate, and then promptly returned to our room and passed out. Needless to say, I was very crabby.

Day two was much better! Kerry and I both decided that we hate Nebraska very much. Everything smelled like cow poo and the people on the road there were jerks. I'm definitely not sorry that I insisted on going the speed limit during the entire trip. Though we saw probably less than 10 cops, I was very paranoid when Kerry told me that when her friend Lauren drove to Iowa, she came home to a ticket in the mail from a speed camera. I'm definitely not interested in any more tickets (hey, we all start out as bad drivers, don't judge!), so cruise control was always set on the speed limit while I was driving. After I taught Kerry how to use cruise control, she became a fan, too. Point being, people got angry that I was following the law. But let's think about this for a moment. The speed limit for most of the trip was 75mph. It's obvious that if you go 75... You will drive 75 miles in that hour. Is it really worth a ticket to go 80 or 85 just so that you can go 10-15 miles further in that hour? That doesn't seem like much to me. Besides, we made GREAT time even though we drove on the safe side.

P.s. I hated semi trucks before the trip. I despise them now.

Instead of 6 hour shifts, we each drove two shifts with three hours per shift, not including bathroom breaks or stops for gas/food. I tried to take on the harder shifts because I knew Kerry was doing me a huge favor by driving with me, so I would drive first thing in the morning and then in the afternoon, but because of this decision, I got a really gnarly sunburn on my left arm since I drove when the sun was pretty hot and high in the sky. I have dubbed this phenomenon "Traveler's Arm." That being said, there is definitely a 2-3 shade difference between the skin colors on my arms.

Probably the best part of this leg of the journey was that Kerry witnessed a bug fly into the car and started screaming. I thought she was an idiot until the bug came at MY HAIR and I started screaming (all while trying not to crash into the construction barrels). THEN the bug landed on my stomach and what does Kerry do? She starts beating me in the stomach with her Nook until the bug is finally dead and laying on my shirt. THANKS.

 I look like Alfalfa!

Prairie Dogs in Wyoming!

Day two got us through the rest of Nebraska, Wyoming, and all of Utah. That night, we stopped in Salt Lake City, Nevada! Kerry and I loved Wyoming. "Big" things scare me (examples: lakes, oceans, the concept of "outer space," ect.) but having taken Geology in my second year of college, I was nothing but in love with the mountains and rock formations in Utah and Nevada, which I originally thought I would be terrified of. We arrived just around sunset in SLC. It was incredible! Again, we found a hotel, a Denny's, a 7-11 (by this time, I definitely needed sunscreen), and finally, sleep.

Miles and miles of sky! So pretty!

On day three, I decided to take one for the team and get us up an hour earlier than usual ("usual" being 7am), so that we could get on the road sooner, which turned out to be a HUGE help. I was really concerned about having to drive through San Francisco during rush hour, which, we discovered, was a very valid concern. Kerry slept while I drove. I was really excited when I found the "meaning" of Salt Lake City. For those who have never been there, it could be obvious, but the best way to understand is to SEE. Miles and miles of "salt flats" left by dehydrated salt lakes. A inch of salt lies on top of the ground where the lakes used to be. When I saw an opportunity to stop at a rest stop where you could walk on the salt flats, I definitely jumped at the chance. I stopped and used my keys to dig salt from the top layer. I put it in a Ziploc bag and I plan to bottle it and ship the tiny bottles to my sisters. They might not understand now, but when they get older, I hope they'll think it's really cool!

The sun rising over the mountains was awesome! I wish the picture was of better quality! That's what you get for purchasing a $20 camera. I could Photoshop this, but I'm way too tired after 3 days of driving to care. 

This was the coolest part of Salt Lake City. I got to watch the sun rise on the mountains! Up top, you can see where it is illuminated and the rest is still in shadow! 

Salt flats! 

Kerry was asleep for this part so here I am in what looks like snow but is actually salt! No boots and scarves here!

Note that I don't really talk much about Kerry because while I was driving, she mostly napped and listened to her music on her iPod while I listened to my music via the radio, and vice versa. We did occasionally have conversations, but that was difficult. Kerry is deaf in her left ear, so when she's in the passenger's seat, it's difficult for her to hear me without me first alerting her that I'm about to say something so that she can turn her "good" ear towards me. Similarly, from a couple of really bad ear infections due to the shape of my inner ear, I have lost hearing in my left ear, also. Not much, but enough for it to be much easier for me to turn my head, as well, so that I can hear clearly. Combine that with the need to keep the windows open because my air conditioning doesn't work, and you have a disastrous conversation situation (do you see what I did there??)

FINALLY! There was so much cheering!

I drove for most of the day, which was my own decision. I wanted to be the one to actually arrive in the destination, so it didn't even cross my mind to switch with Kerry after my second three hour shift until after I was already driving, which was fine with me. When we finally hit California, there was a lot of cheering. We drove through Tahoe which was GORGEOUS (which also reminded me very much of driving "Up North" to my grandparents' cabin, which is in Hubbard Lake, MI). The mountains were super cool apart from all of the ear popping that occurred from the elevation shifts! We started getting closer and closer to our destination, which made us both a little giddy. We got stuck in traffic twice, but that traffic was NOTHING compared to the traffic we hit in San Francisco. I called Patrick while in the midst of traffic to inform him that I am never driving anywhere in the area ever again. It is definitely not worth the number of Xanax I would have to take so that I wouldn't be shaky and stressed out at the end. The first bit of traffic was stressful because the GPS suddenly decided to inform me that after staying to the left of the highway to continue on I-80 the entire way, we suddenly needed to get over to the right. So in stand-still traffic, I needed to get over three lanes to the right within the next mile. And let me tell you, these people are aggressive. You actually have to cut people off because they will NOT let you in. So when you see a three foot opportunity to start moving in, you do it.

Almost every other sentence out of my mouth during this part was "NO ME GUSTA," which is a phrase I use in Spanish that means, roughly, "I don't like this!"

Mountain tunnels! Also NO ME GUSTA!

To top off the end of our journey, we had to go over two bridges. I hate bridges. The bridge into San Francisco the WORST. I would have to look it up to be sure, but it was probably a good two or three miles of bridge. When we finally got to the apartment, I was shaking from a combination of nerves, excitement, and hunger. We did a lot of greeting and then groaning, arguing over pizza toppings, and finally, relaxing. I met Jackie for a brief amount of time before she had to head off to work, and Beep the kitty-- BeBe for short-- aka my new best friend! Thankfully I haven't had too many allergy issues with her yet, except for when I pet her and my hands start to itch. I'm hoping that, like before, with my past kitties, I will develop an immunity to her. If not, there's always hand washing! Genetics can not stop me from loving ALL the kitties!

My new best friend! I'm such a cat lady. Beep is 16 years old and very chubby. She's also quite the princess!

I'm writing this from the couch in our living room while Kerry scrolls through all of her social medias, Jackie does whatever Jackie does, and Patrick teaches a class remotely from the computer area. I'm probably going to be exhausted for days, but the up side of life is that because California is three hours behind Michigan, I'm already on a decent sleep schedule. As soon as Patrick goes on break for lunch, he's making us waffle sticks for breakfast. Woo!

As excited as I am to start my new journey here in California, everything is very different, and I definitely miss everyone back home. If I'm important enough to you that you're reading this, I probably miss you terribly. I'm definitely going to try to keep this thing updated as frequently as I can so that you all can share in my adventures!