Archive for Lifecation

The Sun Sets on Road Trip 2.0


At 2:29 EST, the brave crew of RT2.0 and their trusty van pulled into Ben’s parents’ driveway, completing their arduous journey. The rest of the house asleep, Ben and Alexi celebrated quietly in their smoking jackets, enjoying illegal Cuban cigars and a 50 year old single malt. Brief moments of silence & reflection punctuated what otherwise could only be described as a solemn bout of Hi-Fiving and other forms of self-congratulation.

What’s next for these two lifecationers? It almost seems unlikely that their Herculean abilities could be duly matched. What we do know is that Alexi is traveling to the Orient on a continued search of life’s challenges (think clubs in Taipei and Thai beaches,) while Ben plans a period of fasting, meditation, and Colon Blow usage. We can only hope that these sage competitive-eaters of Life’s fruit share their lessons with us on from time to time. Godspeed, gentlemen.

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Miami Beach is the Bomb

It’s official, Miami Beach is awesome.

We drove in last night cutting New Orleans a little short; we weren’t quite up to obliterating our livers at the time. We decided to camp here with the same method we used in Manhattan Beach: take advantage of free overnight street parking (our street). It works really well. You’re close to the beach, you’re in the middle of things, and it’s free. The downside is that you don’t have a bathroom handy. Also, in Miami, it’s really hot and humid, even at 8:00am in December. Imagine waking up in the back of a van striped down to your undies and still sweating uncontrollably… or just take our word for it.

To combat this, tomorrow morning as soon as I am awakened by muggy miserableness, I’m running straight for the beach and jumping in the ocean. The benefits are two-fold: cool off (although as we found out today the water’s very comfortable), and get some exercise. The second aspect comes in handy for us, as we’re both tipping the scales higher than we ever have before. Road Trip 2.0 now weighs a cumulative 6300 lbs (you can ponder the split). Shameful.

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Road Trip 2.0 Brings the Christmas Cheer

The rules of Road Trip 2.0, the third leg; balls of holly.

  1. When in the van, Santa hats must be worn.
  2. The only kind of music to be played in the van: Christmas music.
  3. Once a song starts, you can’t stop it or skip it.
  4. When the van is on, the Christmas lights must be on.
  5. Alexi gets the odd advent calendar days. Ben gets the evens.
  6. Whoever cracks first, loses.

Merry. Freakin. Christmas.

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Thx Giving

Tomorrow morning we make our drive down to Dallas, Texas for Thanksgiving break. We’ll both be spending it with our families, me in Dallas and Ben’s flying out to Raleigh. Since we’ve been leaning more towards fast food & burrito joints, it’ll be a welcome change to get some home cooked meals. I’m also looking forward to stocking up on Christmas music and finding our sweaters for part 2 of the trip. Things resume on the 27th when Ben flies back into town so stay tuned!

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Road Trip Lives!

Contrary to the rumors, we didn’t get abducted in Roswell. We did get to see some interesting sights and talk to some interesting folk. I also had an Encounter of the 17th kind; that’s when you’re driving down the highway leaving Roswell and you see a spaceship looking thing, covered in a tarp, on the back of a flatbed semi-truck. Ben was asleep, but I saw it. Of course, no photos.

We’ve been in Denver for the past few days catching up with friends and family. Ben with his old buddy Dylan, and me with my Grandpa, Uncle & Aunt, and cousins. Until recently my relationship with the familial extremities has been mediated by my parents, so it’s nice to get out and say ‘Hi’ on my own accord. For those of you who can relate, I think you’ll find it feels good to shoot out an email, phone call, or visit to unsuspecting relatives.

Tomorrow we’re doing just that for Ben’s side of the family: his Aunt in Wichita Kansas. We’ll be there for two days and then drop straight down I-35 (a road I know all too well) to Dallas for our Thanksgiving break. Ha… Break from lifecation. Who woulda guessed!

Pictures since the last update after the jump.
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Staying up Late in a Van

Normally when I can’t sleep it’s no problem to stay up & surf around Wikipedia or the BBC. Now, it’s a blessing.

We’re currently taking advantage of the cheapest way to live in LA: park your camper on the side of the street. It seems that we’re not the only ones either, there’s tons of RVs & vans all over the place, more than anywhere else. There’s also a lot of $1M houses and I suspect a correlation. But I digress.

Living in a van is a truly unique experience. For one, when people walk through a parking lot back to their car, they probably don’t expect anyone to be having dinner near by. Little do they know of the society of folks who are cooking pasta just a thin sheet of aluminum away!

Similarly, an oft overlooked necessity of life is… how can I put it gently… relieving ones self? Not having a toilet on hand dictates that you either consume & locate yourself strategically or get creative with containers. Let me say that crawling out of the van, groggy and hungover, at 7:00am in an otherwise peaceful & orderly neighborhood, looking for a bathroom, makes you question your life choices.

So, what I’m saying here, is that there’s a lot more to consider than not having a lot of closet space. Living in a van requires that you develop new abilities to transcended comfort and societal norms, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But it will help you realize what you need and what you can live without.

Lately we’ve had to question the “luxuries” of trying to: get online, go to the bathroom, get a shower, exercise, eat well (or at least decently), and get a good’s night sleep. Hopefully you’re not taking all these things for granted.


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Laptop Doesn’t Travel Well

I knew my beautiful Sharp PC-M4000 laptop was a little fragile, but I thought if I cared for it there was a good chance that it would make it through the trip. I guess I stopped caring for it, because at some point a few pixels died and aluminum casing bent:

Dead pixels  bent body

The only consolation is that if I have to replace it and buy a new one I’ll finally get a MacBook Pro.

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Scandalous in Seattle

Alexi with BeerThursday night was a success! We started off from the coffee shop fairly nonchalantly, looking for a microbrewery that Ben plotted on our MyMaps page. I was in a funny mood, a mix of homesickness and blasé-ness, which I knew meant that I would be either “zero” or “hero” in terms of consumption. As you can see to the right, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company made such an exceptional dunkel that I was obliged to become a hero. I discovered a new and exciting beer size, “the Tankard.”

Ben and I debated long and hard on what to do next. Part of us wanted to go back to the van and sleep, but the other part (I believe in psychology it’s called “The Tankard,”) wanted to party. Desperately, I text messaged an SOS to Twitter. I expected nothing. In less than an hour one of the awesome readers of replied with a suggestion. We took it.

Alexi & Ben The rest, as they say, is history. At least it’s not fit to publish in a family-style blog such as this. A synopsis of the evening involves me asking a door man where “my drunk friend went,” discussing psychology with homeless people, and finding out about a Sander Kleinenberg show tonight which we may hit up at some point. I really won’t go in to how Ben conducted himself, but I will highly recommend that if you talk to him, ask incessantly : )

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Sleepless in Seattle

Pike's Place MarketHow can you not use that as a post title? I suppose it’s even somewhat accurate, as we’re currently enjoying some caffeine at the Local Color coffee shop near Pike’s Place Market. Both Ben and I were getting that nagging feeling to get some work done. Hopefully that’s an instinct that will allow us to soon be living in a posh Santa Monica apartment :-)

We got in late last night, leaving Vancouver after a full day of roaming around. Vancouver is, in my opinion, a really weird city. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the placement of condos, office space, or parks; everything’s just mashed up together into the second most densely populated city of North America. Streets that looked nice had a lot of unsavory types which make it hard to tell the good parts from the bad ones. Ultimately, it was really hard to tell if I liked it or not.

There aren’t too many To-Do’s on our list for Seattle, but getting stuffed on sushi definitely made the cut. I’m also curious to see the Microsoft campus and the 12-egg omelet at Beth’s Cafe. I sure do love me some breakfast food! The Space Needle has been dubbed “The World’s most expensive elevator ride” by, so that’s probably out. We have two nights here, then we’ll be enjoying the scenery down Highway 1 all the way to San Francisco.

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The Great Yellowstone Snow Jam of 2007

Having been in the car for almost two and a half days straight (note the minor deviations in the Midwest and Big Horn National Forest,) we were anxious to get to Yellowstone and out of the car. As fate would have it, that wasn’t gonna happen. The story after the jump.
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