As I have been for nearly half of the year at this point, I’m in an uncertain, volatile employment situation. I spend a good deal of my time stressing about when my next opportunity will present itself, and the rest of the time somewhat actively looking for another, whilst enjoying the works of my favorite YouTubers, jamming on my piano, video gaming in the evenings… and writing? Not so much, but I’m trying to find my voice again.
Anyway, in October, feeling just this way, I realized that perhaps my time in California was coming to an end. In fact, it still might be; without employment by March, I’ll have no choice but to return to New York, but I digress. As I noted in a few previous blogs, I’d still never been to Los Angeles. Being just a short five hour drive to the southeast, I decided it was time to head on another road trip, a la the quest I found myself on through Cascadia in July.
It began by entering the ticket lottery for Conan. I’ve been a fan for years, and had long thought of seeing a taping at some point. I picked a date in mid-November (11-12-13), because it seemed like a time I’d be free, and with a month in advance I would have the ability to alert prospective employers as to my plans, as well as perhaps increase my chances of being chosen to attend the show. I have no idea if that’s actually how they operate. I think maybe the fact that I was requesting a single ticket allowed them to accommodate me better, but I once again digress.
Shortly after filling out Conan’s online ticket request form, I stumbled on the fact that the Buffalo Sabres were heading out to California the week before, traveling from San Jose to Anaheim via Los Angeles over four days. I was trying really hard to be frugal in this uncertain period and I had already accepted that I probably wouldn’t be able to see the Sabres when they come to town again… well hey, you only live once right? (I’m not even sorry for that) I caved and bought the cheap tickets, which for hockey games aren’t all that cheap, for all three games. I discovered that Sharks tickets seem to be on the more expensive side of the league. Meanwhile, I got decent Ducks seats for $33, all fees considered.
Two weeks later, I saw a tweet in my feed from Andrew McMahon. You know, this guy! His annual Dear Jack Benefit was happening on November 11th in Los Angeles, of course. At this point, tickets had already been on sale for a few weeks. I had assumed they would have sold out in minutes; somehow there were apparently a ton available still. Falling on a date right between my expected attendance at Conan and the Sabres’ games, I sucked it up and bought a regular general admission ticket. It was too perfect not to. Now, unlike my trip to Vancouver and back, I had a plan; places to be, people to see.
Given that Los Angeles is a massive sprawling city, I wouldn’t be able to use my car as a resting place without driving an hour to the north, south, or east. I thought it better to find a hotel, so I booked the cheapest thing I could find while still being nearby, in a relatively safe area, and a decently rated lodging place. I ended up with a Ramada in lovely Commerce. It would work. The days following were spent formulating a loose daily plan, finding things to visit, mapping out the best places to go, et cetera. All things set by the end of October, I counted the days until November 5th when my adventure would start in San Jose, take a day off, and then proceed down to Southern California for an extended weekend.
I couldn’t have been more excited. I had no idea just how excited I should have been.