I spent this past weekend (a long weekend, to boot!) as a special guest in the Sock Zombie household. Erin and Randy are seriously amazing people, although I have a feeling they've realized their mistake and won't invite us back. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT! I had such a fun time!
Erin and Randy opened their home to not just me, but also Ryan and Adam -- and even some of the weirdoes that we rounded up from the area. That's a major undertaking, let me tell you. It's not enough that I am so obnoxious that I talked myself completely hoarse but there were 2 dudes who brought some more dude-ishness to the table.
I had flown to Phoenix directly from a business trip, bringing only dirty clothes and a throbbing headache and was super worried that Ryan and Adam - who'd been road tripping from California - would be lost or late or maybe even just changed their minds and were in Mexico or Vegas. WHO KNOWS WHAT BOYS DO WHEN LEFT UNATTENDED?? I was greatly relieved when they announced that they were 13 miles away, although as it turns out they had the wrong address. But they made it to the convention (with all of my stuff) and called to tell me they'd be pulling up to the curb to unload. What they failed to mention was that they'd rented a convertible that was... well, it was freaking awesome. The top? It converts like Iron Man's face. No joke! Check out this clip:
One night, after a long day at the comic convention, we all convened on Erin & Randy's back patio for some pizza and Bugles and Slurpees (disclosure: that was our disgusting menu choice, not theirs) and then a half-frozen Apple Tart for dessert. It was going to just be a catch-up of the day and time to wind-down (and also a chance to sew more sock zombies, because holy farts were those popular at the convention!!) and recharge our batteries for the next day. WHAT ENDED UP HAPPENING WAS that we stayed up so late that the desert was cold and we sat around the firepit discussing the finer points of highbrow literature and the classical underpinnings of prudence in the works of Rembrant (at least, I think that's what we were talking about. It might have been a discussion of Canadian strip clubs.) until 4:30am. The only reason that the party even ended there was because Erin suddenly yelled "HOLY SHIT! IS THAT THE SUN?!" and, indeed, it was (just the first light of day, not the actual SUN, but still...) and then she died of a panic attack about the fact that we had to be up and at 'em again in 4 hours. Ryan and I, as nightowls and early birds, were pretty non-plussed so we acted as a sunrise surrogate for someone who assumed she was living in the Truman Show.
Oh, that was also the night that Randy was showing the guys his sand rail car (click here to read Erin's post - and see pictures - on how to tip it over!) and I was fretting that we were just moments away from the three of them barreling down the street (at 3am) and going for a joy ride. Fortunately, a scorpion stung Randy's driving foot so the keys never met the ignition (Although, in his defense, the scorpion did not even slow him down. Legend has it that he mumbled 'fucker' and then continued with the tour of the crazy double engines.).
The whole weekend is kind of a blur of fun times. I even got a chance to catch up with my friend Mark, which was awesome. He's one of those people that you always want to see when you're in town but then it turns out that either one of you only has 7 minutes available in your schedule, so you have to just drive by and wave from your window. But he was able to make some time on Sunday and hang out on the back patio with us and The Jake and engage in some
Erin had put. her. foot. down. about Randy crawling into the attic in the hopes of there being a sparkler or mortar or something leftover from last year and so he excused himself momentarily ("I'm going to the bathroom. No, I swear. I really just have to... pee. I'll be right back. I'm not even going into the attic."). Ryan glanced over at Randy walking back, and said "Is he going to play the snare drum for us?!" and we started clapping to the Little Drummer Boy. Only, no. He wasn't going to drum anything. Except this:
This is Mark taking a picture with his iphone - so you can see the perspective of the size of this thing in comparison to a man's hands! It had to at least be 12" tall. God bless America.
WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS (is this supposed to discourage us?!)
When Randy brought this thing out, I ran to grab my camera - remembering that hey! I like to take pictures and make memories! So I snapped these and then readied myself to take pictures of the fireworks spectacular, only...
WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS
I took 2 pictures - both of them were of me fleeing the scene. It was GODDAMNED AWESOME.
The next morning, we had to get going in order to beat the holiday traffic. We were making really great time, so we decided to get some lunch in Blythe. Ok, so Blythe is... hardly even a town anymore. Nearby is a prison and a lettuce farm, so everyone in town works at one of those two places. 98% of all buildings are abandoned and, in general, it's just a down-on-it's-luck place. So, of course, they have a FANTASTIC little diner!
Everything about this place was straight out of a movie script, including our ultra adorable waitress (21-23 years of age) with these hypnotizingly lovely eyes. She knew every customer in the place by name and brought their coffee without waiting for an order. Once the three local elders (3 old guys) all situated themselves at their booth, Hollywood came in an scripted every word.
Waitress: (approaches table with three old men, bearing coffee pot. Bends across the table to refill mugs) I have a date tonight.
Old Man 1: With who?
Waitress: (giggly, joking) Nobody you know!
Old Man 2: Where are you going? Is he taking you someplace fancy?
Waitress: The fanciest place in town - I'm making dinner at my grandmother's house!
Old Man 3: You're not going to get yourself into trouble, are ya?
Waitress (twists her face into a half-hearted smirk): Well, I'm not going to marry him. (Mumbling to herself) I'm not gonna make that mistake again.
Old Man 3: That don't matter none! Lotsa ways for young girls to get in trouble, you know!
Waitress (turns her back, closes her eyes. Waits half a beat before turning around again, with her composure regained): What kind of girl do you think I am? It's my grandmother's house! Shame on you!
Old Man 1: Aw, he don't mean no harm. He's just worried about ya, is all.
Waitress: Well, I am fully capable of taking care of myself thank you very much. (winks at Old Man 3, to ease the tension and demonstrate that she's not upset)
Ryan was itching all day on Tuesday, wanting to call and find out how it went. Because her suitor HAS to be a vampire or a werewolf, right?!
The rest of the drive home was pretty crappy. The traffic backed up to Twenty Nine Palms (home of the wind farms!) where it was over 100 degrees but there was still snow on the mountains.
It took about 2 hours to get from there to Cabazon (~40 miles) - which is the next and only exit - where we had to pull over and stretch our legs. It's also home to the Cabazon Dinosaurs which we were not going to see, since Kate couldn't make it out with us. But we had no choice. It's the ONLY exit on the freeway. And since we were there, I snapped a few pictures. But I didn't go inside the dinosaurs -- not even the one that is a Creationist Museum (!!) inside.
After crawling through hours more of traffic, we finally reached the Moreno Valley, where the temperatures plummeted to the 70's and we were able to put the top back down on the car. It was pretty damned awesome.