All posts by Hobie

Miami with the Schweids!

When we went back in January for Larry’s funeral, one of the first things I talked about with family back there was I’d like to go to Miami for the annual Burger Bash.  I actually wasn’t sure if it was going to be too late to make this request, but it ended up not being the case.   Jamie, Brad, and the family all made it happen, and to them, I say thank you so much.   They hooked me up with a flight and hotel and admission to the Burger Bash, which was amazing.   I’m definitely going to break down the weekend with pictures, naturally, but just the fact that they were so kind and able to make this happen was wonderful.  Enough preamble, let’s talk about the weekend!

I flew out on Thursday afternoon from LAX, getting there in the evening.   Jamie and Rachel were already there as Jamie was part of helping get everything going as the Schweid & Sons company was helping present the Burger Bash event.   Brad and Tina were not in town yet and would be there Friday afternoon.   Unfortunately, my late request did mean I wasn’t able to stay at the same hotel as them, but I ended up at the Nautilus, a few blocks north of where they were at the Lowe’s.  It was fabulous, and the room was wonderful as well.

Rachel and Jamie already had dinner plans, so I was on my own the first night.   I didn’t know Miami and it was already 9:30 so I was content to just eat at the hotel, and so I went to the hotel restaurant which was closing at 10.  They were accommodating though, and after sitting at the bar, I was chatting up the bartender and the manager like some kind of chatty cathy.  It made the time go by and Evan, the bartender, gave me some intel on interesting places to visit in Miami outside of Miami Beach, which is basically their Times Square and meant for tourists.  That helped me on Saturday when I did go sightseeing!    Evan and the manager definitely had a DGAF attitude by the end of the night, and I may have paid for one glass of wine but they easily poured nearly a bottle’s worth of it in my glass, even letting me pour my own glass once.   Needless to say, I got a LOT o’ wine.

Anyway, the next day I wasn’t feeling as bad as expected, although a little dehydrated.  I went down to the restaurant again for breakfast, sitting in the outdoor area to enjoy the weather.   It wasn’t too warm which was appreciated, and comfortable enough for shorts.   Rachel walked over by the time I was finishing breakfast, and we then proceeded to walk north up the shore, with Rachel giving me a tour.  It was nice to catch up with her as we really don’t have a lot of time for that typically.  She’s also noticeably pregnant at this point, which is so exciting.  Here are some pics from that walk along Miami Beach:

It was around 1 or so when we had walked back to the Lowe’s to meet up with Jamie, as well as Brad, Tina, Zach and Jake, who had flown in and arrived by that point.  Always a joy to see them, and of course my Tina, and we all had some lunch in the Lowe’s restaurant, at which point Donna and David also arrived.  They live in Florida a big chunk of the year, so they’re about an hour away by car from Miami.  After lunch, we then wandered around the beach a little, and I took a fantastic pic of Brad & Tina’s family on the beach, and then we took a peek at the Burger Bash venue from the outside, although not allowed in just yet.  It was a good time.  Obviously what was missing was that Larry wasn’t here to celebrate, but I sincerely and truly hope that in some way, he was, whether it was mental or spiritual energy from us bringing him there.

The rest of the group was going to do other stuff after that, and while the Burger Bash wasn’t starting until 7 or so, Brad and I decided to walk around the famous part of Miami Beach that you always see on TV and movies.  Places you’ve definitely seen, like in The Birdcage, run up and down Collins Blvd.  It’s awesome.  Lots of eating, drinking, and merry making.  I never made it back to see it at night due to how things played out, but that would be fun one day.  Plus, it’d be fun to go back and see the gay scene once I’m in a bit better state.

After Brad and I got back, it was time to clean up and change for the Burger Bash.   I met up with Rachel and David to get our badges at the back entrance of the venue, and we were able to walk around a bit before the major crowds came in, and believe me, they did.   So what the Burger Bash is is basically a bunch of restaurants come to the event to show off their proud burger creation.  A panel of judges gets to sample all the entries, and after a few rounds of judging, one entrant is judged the best of the year.  It’s all very scientific!  🙂   I managed to try about 5 of the burgers before I was basically done.  I wish I had been able to get one of my friends to come as I think it would have been more fun, as the Schweids really had to work during this event.   I really missed Larry at this point as if he and I had been there together, we could laugh about it all or at least keep each other company.  So it did get a bit emotionally exhausting to be there after a while, and I did take off before possibly getting to see or meet Rachel Ray, the presenter of the winner (who turned out to be a place called Butter – I am pretty sure I tried their burger and it was great).  Here’s an article about it:

Here are my pics from around the event!

The next day, I wasn’t sure what the plan was, but I didn’t really have anything mapped out for most of the day except for at night when Jamie had invited me to dinner with Rachel and his friends. I didn’t want to just putt around at the pool or beach, as that’s not really my thing and also the weather wasn’t quite right for that.   So I remembered that Evan the bartender from my first night had recommended the Design District and the Wynwood Walls as places worth seeing, so I was like, let’s do that!   I downloaded some walking tours that helped me plot a route to go along, although it wasn’t Rick Steves quality with explanations of what I was looking at.   But that was okay – it was worth just going out and exploring.   So I took an Uber over the bridge back to the main Miami area and got dropped off in the Design District.   It has a lot of fabulous architecture mixed in with a Rodeo Drive caliber of retail, if that helps set the picture.   See for yourself:

I enjoyed walking around this area a lot.   There was an institute of contemporary art there with one floor open for visitors, and it was free, so that was great.   Sadly, much like every other big city, there is a long street of deserted gallery fronts covered in colorful paper to hide from the fact that this section of town is a ghost town.   It’s not a surprise, I guess, as likely the rents are insanely high and who the hell are the patrons of galleries anymore?   That seems very much like a 1980s thing.  Anyway, I wandered around and got my fill of the Design District, and then plotted my walk to the Wynwood Walls, which was only a half mile walk away, so there I went!   Of course, the rain started coming down, but it’s Florida, so you can likely just wait 30 minutes and it’ll go away.   So I spent some time getting lunch at a ramen restaurant.  Of course, the moment I step out, the rain comes back even harder.  But still, just wait 10 minutes, and it went away, and I was able to continue my walk.

The Wynwood Walls is an arts area where you can walk through this space of public art.  It’s not graffiti per se, as it’s literally art painted on the walls.  Maybe tomato/tomatoh, but it’s not just beautiful tagging – it’s full on art on the walls.  It’s gorgeous.   You walk through, with tons of other people/tourists, looking at a lot of installations.   There’s also small galleries mixed in along the way, which was great as the sun did come out and when it did, it would get hot.  One of the galleries was for Shepard Fairey, and I was this close to buying something before realizing it probably is something I could just buy online and delivered home.   Anyway, Wynwood Walls is definitely worth a look if you’re in Miami!

On the way back, I grabbed some pictures of the Nautilus as I really hadn’t gotten good shots of it when arriving or the day before.

Finally, that afternoon after I got back, I met up with Jamie and two of his friends, Michael and Abby, at the Lowe’s pool bar, who were in town for this event and are old friends of his.  They were fun as hell and we had a good couple of hours there before it was time to change into dinner clothes and meeting at Katsuya in the SLS Hotel.   Here’s where things get a bit hazy for me – as folks, I drank like a muthafuckin’ fish that night, and I really don’t think I ate that much at dinner.   Not that I don’t like sushi, that’s for sure, but I think just kept drinking sake instead of eating.   whoooooo boy, I left consciousness.   Like, I can remember things, but really, it’s just images and such.  I know we went to a different area (of the same hotel? not sure.   I think we walked to a different hotel too), and then I think there was conversations with strangers and dancing a little, and I’m not even sure I continued drinking.  I honestly don’t think I did?  LOL, the funniest part of this story is that I got to get a picture with Neil Patrick Harris because Jamie and Rachel are friendly with him and his husband, David.   I did not ask to get a picture but maybe Jamie thought I looked like I needed a random celebrity encounter, so guess what, there’s a picture of me and NPH below.  He looks thrilled, and it cracks me the hell up as I am clearly drunk.  Wow, haven’t been that drunk in a while – and I guess it still wasn’t technically blackout drunk, but certainly adjacent.  I remember walking up the street with Jamie’s friends and got to my hotel – really not sure how that happened that I got into my room and bed, but amusingly, I guess I left all my lights on overnight.  Like it mattered, as I passed the hell out.   Probably the best that the lights were on and the curtains were open as I did wake up with plenty of time to realize how hungover I was and that I had to pack and go to the airport in a few hours.   Folks, hangovers for a 5.5 hour flight are NOT GREAT.   I made it though with plenty of time.   I think I’m still fighting the sleep debt from this weekend, what with the jet lag and the hangover.

And that was the grand finale of the weekend.   The pictures following my decadent last night are from the plane leaving Miami and arriving in LA.   Getting home was bittersweet.   It’s always nice to be on home turf, but my home turf is no longer the same place with Larry dead.  I got very sad being home, and I guess it’s to be expected.  I’m doing better two nights later, but yeah, this weekend was a way to briefly not have it be all encompassing.  Life goes on though, and my grief continues.  But for one weekend, it was a different thing, one that made things quite interesting.

The Next Conversation – Follow Up

I had written a little while ago about how the podcast Larry was a huge fan of responded to a note I had written them telling them about his death.  A thing they’d noted was they’d read my message on their next podcast…and part of me highly doubted that would actually happen.  Just thought it would be too sad.  Well, color me happily surprised, as they did indeed read my note on the next TNG podcast episode.  They’d been doing some Picard episodes in the time since, so I was kind of not sure but yep, the next TNG episode they did included it!

It’s Episode 113, regarding TNG episode “Masterpiece Society”:

Shortly after the 16:30 minute mark is where you can listen to the part above.  It’s awesome, and of course made me cry, but I know Larry’s thrilled somewhere.

Another Week

Going through each week is definitely an up and down experience.  I’m blessed to have the friends I do, as they are happily keeping me engaged and doing stuff.   As you’ll see in these pictures, I do have fun.  And I can at times not think about Larry’s death, and I don’t feel bad about that, as I know it’s good to embrace life however I can.   There are points of each day though that still break my heart and I need a moment.  Like today.  I decided to do another little bit of cleaning.   Last week I worked on streamlining some of Larry’s stuff out of the bathroom cabinets.  I thought that would be the easiest to do, and it probably was, but it was still emotional, as there were still some medicines and things that he had to use during his cancer fight.   There was also stuff from before that, like LONG before that, that Larry should have thrown out years, if not decades ago.   So at least I could laugh at times.  Today though, I tackled the top of the dresser in our bedroom, as it was stacked with the clothes that he could wear at the end.   It hadn’t made any sense to try to organize the while he was alive and needed them, as sometimes it was necessary to grab a quick change of clothes to keep him clean.

The dresser before I finally went through and cleaned it up

Obviously, this was harder than cleaning his bathroom stuff.  I did clean it up, and decided which things really weren’t worth keeping, but I couldn’t get rid of it all yet.  I kept some things for myself, and some things I folded and put away.   Larry’s side was on the right in the dresser, and just opening those drawers up was painful and caused me to cry.  I really don’t know when I’ll be able to move to the phase of getting rid of his stuff.   There’s obviously no need for me to immediately, but I also recognize it has to happen some day.

I then was in the office trying to just straighten some stuff up down here as it’s admittedly a small mess here with a lot of paperwork and things kind of anywhere there is a flat surface.   I looked in his small drawers there and found a small Hallmark bag – apparently he had gone and bought a few cards for me, including a birthday card, a Valentine’s day card, and an anniversary card.   That did the trick, and I had a full-on meltdown.  The cards hadn’t been written in yet.   But it was nice.  Then of course at that moment, work called about some bullshit thing that just was like, thanks for reminding me I hate everything.  I’ll never get rid of some things, and those cards definitely aren’t going anywhere.   Glad I was able to see the Valentine’s day card today – yesterday sucked but it was never a holiday that Larry and I went crazy for, but still, a “holiday’ about loved ones still hurts a lot.

Anyway, I had a full week at work, although I only made it into the office once.   Had a few days where I just couldn’t make it out of bed early, which is not good.   One night I had a full on panic attack about everything going on, so yeah, couldn’t quite get the energy to go in.   But as I was getting to at the beginning of this post, my friends are really my rock and my strength at this point.   I don’t want to take advantage nor become solely dependent on their presence, but some days it’s just good to be with them.  I am on my own again at this point, and I am finding the strength to be okay with it.  I’m sad of course, as I don’t really see me finding anyone else with how I look and my age, but I can still find things to occupy my time and be happy with, especially with friends, and hopefully just find some kind of meaning or purpose until it’s time for me to die.

So here are some pics from the last week or so – there’s been some really fun stuff.   To start, here’s what I was doing last week with friends.  Rekha was celebrating her birthday in WeHo a little belatedly, but it was a blast.   Started at Rocco’s WeHo for a drag brunch, and it was flamazing.  A few hours later, we walked over to the Abbey to enjoy the ambience and fun.   Can’t deny by the end I was a little drunk and got melancholy, but my friends were there to help and support, understanding exactly what was happening.   Just miss Larry a lot.

Rekha’s WeHo Birthday Fun – February 7, 2020:

The next day, I was a bit dehydrated from Saturday’s activities!   Nicki and I had gone to dinner afterwards, so it wasn’t like I had been drinking until the late night, thank god.   But still, a lot of beer (which is what I focused on that day) has consequences.   Anyway, on Sunday, it was the Oscars, and Ken had invited me to his annual party.  It was a lot of fun and I got to see the whole family, of course.  Before then, I had been assembling my Lego Empire State Building (which is massive, btw) and making my world famous chocolate chip cookies for the party, while watching Arrival.   What a movie that is, and it keeps rising in my rankings.  It’s easily in my top 15?   Such an emotional movie, and even more so with how I’m feeling.   What a weird thing to contemplate – would you go through something having the knowledge of how it will go and end?  I know I would, and that’s why I know that the 11 years I had with Larry were magical and worth it all.   I wish the cancer hadn’t been part of his story, but that’s neither here nor there.

Oscars Sunday, February 9, 2020

I enjoyed the Academy Awards – very glad Parasite won.   Sveta and I watched that a few weeks ago and it blew us away.

This past week, work kept me busy and in the evenings, I did usually have somewhere to go, which was nice.

On Monday afternoon, I did go into DTLA for work, but mostly so I could have lunch with Barb.  We went to the Joey’s DTLA which is the same restaurant (but in Woodland Hills at the Warner Center) that Larry & I took Fran and Joel to one of the first times they stayed with us when we had moved in here at the Glen.  Always fun catching up and talking with Barb, and one of those people I’m so glad to have in my life.  You never know when a new addition to your friends is actually going to stick, and she has.

On Tuesday night, I met up with Nicki down at the Century City mall to eat at the Din Tai Fung there.   It’s huge!  We wisely got there early enough and found a seat in their bar area.  But it gets packed, even on a Tuesday night.   That mall is a trip too – so much money there.  And lots of attractive guys?

On Wednesday, Sveta came over and I had a puff too many on the weed and got pretty fucking high for a brief moment.   I braced for a NYE 2014 situation but happily the wave crested and I came back down.   I think if I was expecting and aiming for super-high, it would be fine, but I am really aiming for just chilling out.  So yeah, two puffs is my max in a session.   That gets me to a nice place.

On Thursday, I went to a PwC going-away for a cool associate, Danny.  It was at this Korean BBQ in a mall in Little Tokyo I’d never known about – it was a lot of fun.   We walked over to the Angel City Brewery and played an epically long game of Sorry, which really is a bitch of a game.   Very funny though.  Mel and I won, of course.   And I was out till like 12, on a school night!!!  WTF.   I can’t hang like that too much.  Was way tired on Friday.

And yesterday, on Friday aka Valentine’s Day, Nicki took me out.   It was very sweet, and I appreciated it, as it is a hard day to not be doing something, especially with it being so close to Larry’s death still.  We first went to dinner at El Coyote near her house on Beverly.  It tied together with the second part of the date, as we saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the New Beverly Theater, which is owned and run by Quentin Tarantino.  Kind of a cool thing.   Plus, in the movie Sharon Tate is shown having dinner with her friends at El Coyote (the real one) on that fateful night.  The movie also shows Cliff and Jake having dinner that same night at Casa Vega, which is also a place we’ve now been to.  I’m such a hipster.   It was a blast of a night and that movie does not get old, and if anything, it just gets better for me.   Still can’t get over how insanely violent that 10 minute section is.

Valentine’s Day with Nicki – Feb 14, 2020

Finally, to end this ridiculously long post, I’m sharing this video that makes me ridiculously happy and has motivated me to even buy the Just Dance 2020 game for my Switch, just so I can play this and learn the moves.   In the 2000s, some of you may remember how obsessed I got with Dance Dance Revolution – who knows if it’ll enter that level, but still, watch this video and be amazed at the dancing skill of the group and chuckle at how awesome the “Rasputin” song is!

You’re welcome.

A Month Later

Not really much else to say – I just miss Larry so much.   He died a month ago today – and it feels like it’s shocking that it’s already a month later, but it also felt like one of the longest months I’ve ever endured.  He never leaves my mind and I find new reasons to get sad about his loss every day.   Going through my pictures on this site and updating it to be a bit more photo-friendly hasn’t probably helped, but I love to see our adventures.  I just updated this page’s photos from Istanbul:

Istanbul, Day 1 (2011 Trip) Pics

Look at that smile.   I miss you so much, Larry.   I love you.

Cooking For Myself

I was this close to making this a new entry in my “Larry Loved” series of posts, but I don’t have the energy to do that just yet, as honestly, a huge part of who he was was cooking, and to try to just throw a little post about me having a good cooking night isn’t fair to what should be discussed.

So instead of that, I’ll just kvetch about the fact that I’m back to having to cook and feed myself again.  I’d managed to do so before I met Larry and when I was in the military, but looking back at it now, I really didn’t do that great a job of it.   Lots of mac and cheese, lots of sorta sad attempts at chicken…and a metabolism that allowed me to make plenty of crap and not blow up to the size of a bigger Hobie.  The last 11 years though?   I got used to living it a little bit nicer with Larry’s ambitious and delicious views on cooking (and gained the weight to prove it).  He loved it.  And now I have a kitchen full of any device a reasonably ambitious cook would need.  I don’t want it to go to waste, and I actually enjoy having nice(r) meals.

What sucks about cooking for yourself is that it’s work, both in prep, execution, and cleanup.  Larry and I had split those duties up (probably not fairly, tbh – but it worked) but now it’s all me, and do I go to a ton of trouble for just me?  So I started sorta basic this week – making chicken, brown rice, and green beans.  Kind of a balanced meal, right?   I think Larry would have been proud: I found a recipe online for salt and pepper chicken in the oven, and bam, it fucking tasted amazing.  I made the rice on the stovetop and kind of found out things to do better, like keeping the heat a little higher as I still had water in the pot even after 20 minutes.  Also discovered that brown rice is better for you but certainly doesn’t taste that great.  But I gotta say, the food was overall delicious and it did make feel like Larry’s energy was with me.

A random aside:  Larry kept all his recipes in the Paprika iPad app.  All of them.  So like, it’s a total Larry treasure trove.  I did worry I’d lose them though as they’re all on what is literally like an iPad 3, so it’s supa dupa old.  If that thing died, I’d lose the recipes.  So I bought the app on my iPad, and finally figured out how to export the recipes from Paprika to the cloud, and then use my account, and re-import them.  Now I’ve got all his recipes, and I can breathe a sigh of relief as losing those would just feel like losing a huge part of him.  We had so many “go-to” recipes that I’ll one day get the motivation to make.   So between this week’s chicken combo (which I’m making again), the Instapot, and now these recipes, I think I should be able to be a functional, well-mannered man who can cook meals for others soon.  I definitely want to sign up for some cooking classes to just get confident in certain skills.  But that’s a post for another day.