Posts Tagged ‘lobster’

A Busy Week: Elections, Moving, Murray, Turtle and Lobster

Sorry it’s been silent for a bit. Last week Evan and I went on a frantic apartment search, spending nearly every day scouring Craigslist and Westside Rentals, and driving around neighborhoods we liked. We saw nice places that were out of our price range, terrible places within it, and places that just didn’t quite seem worth what was being asked.

After all the calls and meetings, shortly after 5 on Friday we were driving around in an area near a place we’d just seen and didn’t like and we saw a sign for an open house. The building looked nice, so we went in, saw the place — a nice-sized two bedroom, two bathroom, that had cookies and water and flowers out for the open house. The manager was friendly, too. Best yet, it was in our price range and had the lease terms we wanted. By the time we walked out to the car, we decided we would take it, submitted our applications and got the tray of cookies to go. An hour or so later, they told us the place was ours.

We had the homecoming football game on Saturday — a total blowout where USC beat Washington 56-0. I flew up to San Francisco for a meeting on Sunday. Then Monday we started moving. We unpacked Evan’s storage unit into a truck, and while we were heading down to my parents’ place, we found out their dog had died.

A photo of Murray as a puppy

Murray was 12 years old, and he wasn’t doing too well. He had recently gone totally blind and he was very confused and disoriented. My parents had put up the pool fence since earlier in the year he’d fallen in, and though we’d never seen him get past it, he must have wandered past it in the bushes where it’s not completely closed. My mom found him at the bottom of the pool when she came home from work. She dove in a pulled him out, but it was already too late. Though we didn’t think he had a lot of time left because of his deteriorating health, we never expected his life to end like that.

He was a wonderful dog since we got him as a puppy. He was so cute and fluffly and tiny when he was little, people used to ask if he was a stuffed animal. He was independent and stubborn at times, and he would bark during dinner and when you were on the phone, but what he always wanted at the end of the day was to curl up next to someone to go to sleep. He also slept in later than anyone else in the family, hopping from bed to bed to be with whoever was still sleeping, and then sleeping some more.

He only knew how to do a few tricks, and then only when you had a treat dangling above his head, but to see him sit, lie down, and roll over was always great. Especially when he’d sometimes get so excited about the treat that he’d try to roll over without lying down first. He loved having his ears scratched, he loved sunbathing on the lawn chairs in the back yard, and he loved going in the car. He loved my mom more than anyone else, and she always did all she could to take care of him. The house is really lonely without him, and the whole family is really going to miss the Mur-boy, Mur-man and the “stupid pachyderm,” as my dad liked to call him (unfortunately, this led to some confusion as to what a pachyderm is for my little sister).

Needless to say, Murray’s untimely death put a hold on our moving, so we spent the night hanging out with my parents and got back to moving on Tuesday. First I needed to vote, though, so I went to my polling place at 6:45 a.m. and was the 10th person in line. It was the first time I’d voted at the polls instead of by mail-in ballot, and I was excited to be there. Also, I’d been purged from the roster before 2004, so I was duly excited to be back on the list and able to vote.

Such a satisfying little sticker

Of course, it wasn’t that easy. They still had me listed as vote-by-mail, though that was news to me since I never received a ballot. Because of the mix-up, I was only allowed to cast a provisional ballot. I was upset that they were still jerking me around after all these years, but at least I did cast some sort of ballot, and I did get my sticker.

Once that was done, we were ready to get moving. Our friend Jared helped us unload the truck, and we started unpacking and rediscovering all the items we had that had been in boxes for more than a year. We really missed having only a suitcase or a backpack to unpack like in London.

We took a break from moving to go to an election party at our friends’ place in Glendale to see Barack Obama’s historic victory and incredible acceptance speech. As the electoral votes starting pouring in, we were worried we’d still be on our way to the party when they made the call. We did make it, but we weren’t there very long when at 8 p.m. CNN called the race. We celebrated with champagne, and our friend Annie cooked an incredible dinner. However, I’m very disappointed with California that Proposition 8 passed. Maybe if they count all those absentee and provisional ballots like mine…

We spent the whole day Wednesday cleaning and organizing and sneezing because of all the dust. We still have a ways to go, but the basics are set and there are only a few more unpacked boxes.

Today, we couldn’t spend much time unpacking because we had to do some work, and tonight we went out to a friend’s birthday party a The Happy Ending, a dive bar in Hollywood. We saw Turtle from Entourage–he looked and dressed exactly as he does on the show–and we also gawked at ther claw machine that lets diners pay $2 to try and catch their own lobster. If they catch it, the restaurant will cook it. It was a bit disturbing, though I suppose as a vegetarian, I’m a bit biased. We asked the valet about it and he said that people have caught them before, but some spend a ton of money trying to do it.

Sunday in Brighton

It’s been a busy weekend! After my trip to Oxford yesterday, I was inspired to venture out of the city yet again — this time, taking advantage of the lovely sunshine and heading to the seaside — to Brighton.

The train was packed on the way down. I was lucky enough to get a seat, but there were lots of passengers left standing or sitting on the floor. When we finally got to Brighton, there was this huge flow of people heading downhill from the station toward the water.

old brighton pier
West Pier

The first thing I did was check out the coastline. I was surprised that there was no sand, just pebbles. I took some photos of the old, twisted metal pier frame still standing in the water (though just barely), and also photographed the current pier, with its rides and arcades and traditional piery things.

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

It seemed like every shop was hawking fish and chips, and there were signs for eels and puns with plaice and even a giant lobster by a poster that said “I got crabs in Brighton”!

brighton lobster shack
A giant lobster, lots of fishy signs and beach kitsch

I decided to do a little sightseeing before relaxing, so I went to the Royal Pavilion, the bizarre Asian-inspired seaside palace of George IV. From the outside it was striking, with its white pointed domes, and from the inside, it was truly spectacular.

Royal Pavilion
The Royal Pavilion

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos of the inside, but the highlights were the dining room, which has a 30-foot-long chandelier with dragons holding lotus-flower light shades in their mouths suspended from a giant dragon’s claws in the middle of a domed ceiling painted with plantain leaves. (Seriously, it’s sort of shockingly insane.) The music room was also interesting, with a similar shockingly dramatic look. And it was interesting to see the king’s chambers and some of the more private areas like the kitchen, which came complete with stuffed animals (including rats!) to make it seem like it would be used today.

After the Pavilion tour, I went to check out the Lanes, a shopping district of alleyways, which was once a fisherman’s village. I was surprised by the quality of goods there, especially their fair trade, locally made and recycled/reused offerings. I was tempted to buy a lot, though I didn’t indulge. There were also some spectacular looking bakeries and ice cream shops. One particularly cute cupcake shop even sold little felt cupcakes and other goodies.

felt cupcakes
Cute fake cupcakes!

Once I was done window shopping, I took a stroll down the crowded pier. It seemed like everyone had an ice cream cone with a flake bar sticking out of it in hand, and everyone also had a sunburn. Almost as soon as I started walking the pier, I saw some guys jumping off and even diving — a big no-no according to all the signs posted. There were some angry looking security guards around and tons of spectators.

Jumping off brighton pier
Boys jumping off Brighton Pier

Some of the guys tried to climb back up onto the pier, but I think they all ended up just swimming to shore. There are plenty more pictures, including ones of divers and the boys climbing back up on Flickr.

Once I was done on the pier, I went to North Laines to walk around a bit and see the artier side of the city. I caught an interesting street performance where people dressed as mimes were putting on a show for a person sitting in a peep-show sort of contraption that had lots of windows that someone would open to tell the story. I only watched it from the outside, but it was pretty funny and most certainly absurd. There was also lots of street art to check out, and I took some good photos of the graffiti and graffiti-style murals in the area before catching the train home.

Take a look at the rest of the day’s photos on Flickr.