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California Dreamin'
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This is the story of a boy who needed to get away for a while. He was jobless, bummed out, and one of his closest friends recently jumped off the face of the planet. Looking for answers, looking for adventure, and looking for something different, this boy was invited out to Los Angeles on a whim. This is what he discovered...

300px-PIA03445.jpgThe Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry offshore winds that characteristically sweep through Southern California in late fall into winter. With them they bring heat, wildfires, and a subtle volatility that sits in the back of most Southlanders' minds. This season of threat, this time of conflagration is overwhelming in it's uneasiness. One dropped cigarette, one false move, and the entire world could end tomorrow. And so, on someone else's dime, I decided to live like it was my last night on Earth.

Scaramouch asked if I wanted an all-expenses paid trip out to Los Angeles to cover the Behind the Unscene party being thrown by Proximity by AXE for a few days. With nothing holding me back, I figured I'd take him up on his offer. I could use a trip out of New York for a bit, and I needed to make peace with a city I once loved. Within hours, I had a round trip flight, first class accommodations, a private invite to the party, and transportation. It seemed as if someone finally realized what I'd been saying all along: I'm an important person and deserve to be treated as such.

My flight out to the West Coast left a lot to be desired. Virgin America has exceptional services, yet their advanced touch screen on the back of each seat turned my seat-mate into Sean Penn from I Am Sam. She literally could not grasp that, simply by touching the picture of the meal she wanted, it would be served to her. I spent five minutes plugged into my iPhone and listening to the classic sounds of Hilary Duff before I grew frustrated with her huffing and puffing and offered help. Within seconds, she ordered the Cobb Salad, and all was right with the world.

Except that she used my pleasantness against me.

I helped, and immediately put my headphones back on. She had other plans. She wanted to talk. She wanted to complain about how technology was ruining the world. I was her outlet. For the next two hours, I heard rant after rant about how "You can't even buy a damn blender these days without a degree in aeronautical science." During all this, I carefully slid my iPhone under my chair so she wouldn't see I was playing for the other team, and would voice my agreement with her ... hoping she'd shut up. And she did, once her "show" came on. (I'm not sure which soap opera it was, but the people were beautiful, rich, and seemed to be in peril.)

proximityproduct_LR.jpgOnce in Los Angeles, I checked into my hotel, and was given a bag full of goodies by the people at AXE. This was when the trip started to get good. In my shower in New York, I have an array of different body scrubs, exfoliating loofahs, shampoos, conditioners, after-conditioners, after-after conditioners, and the list goes on. I like to smell nice. I like to feel clean. And, more importantly, I like to think of my shower as an all-you-can clean Las Vegas-style buffet. I encourage guests to try the chamomile enhanced body gel. Feeling summery, why not use the completely herbal orange blossom face cream? In the bag were the three types of AXE's latest product, Proximity. In a nutshell, these are hand (or is it nose?)-designed body deodorant fragrances that you wouldn't balk at wearing for a night on the town. Personally, I can't wait to get back to Manhattan and ad them to my collection.

During the flight, it occurred to me that I forgot my most important Moleskine book. The one I use to jot down all the random notes I take during the day. (Yesterday's note: discover what that smell wafting from under my refrigerator is.) Low and behold, there was a fresh Moleskine notebook in the bag. It was then that I assumed AXE created their fragrances with tiny nanorobots capable of entering our brains and reading out thoughts. And then came the biggest surprise of all. A digital camera. Not just some Walmart "here kids, run through the sprinkler with this because it's a piece of crap" camera, but an actual nice Olympus 8 megapixel camera. Which I promptly opened, and charged and played with. It was sort of like Christmas morning, minus my pedophilic uncle getting gooned on eggnog.

A quick trip to the pool, a nap, and I was ready to tackle this event.

STK is a steak lover's dream. Half of the menu is devoted to those of us of the carnivorous persuasion. (They have an option for a $79 steak, which I passed up for fear my fellow eating friends would find me ostentatious. But damn if I didn't want to try it.) We hit STK to get our mouths watering for the main event, the Behind the UnScene party at the Stone Rose Lounge.

AXE Proximity Presents UnScene Chicago 006.jpgHere's the deal with Behind the Unscene. The UnScene Tour travels the country showcasing upcoming (and talented) photographers. At this particular event, they had celebrities auction off photos they took, with the proceeds going to support the tour. I don't get star-struck. 4 years of slaving away at the Late Show with David Letterman taught me that celebrities are just like you and me, only with nicer cars, bigger houses, hotter wives, and the ability to cook popcorn with their minds. So I assumed that there was no star in the world who could cause me to fall into a fit of hysterics. I was wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, last night I was in the same room with a man who defined a generation ... and made us all want a duck phone and a train in our living room.

I'm talking about Silver Spoons' own, Ricky Schroder. Who, by the way, was calling himself "Ricky" last night even though there was a supposed moratorium on using that name.

One unique feature of this party were the specialized drinks, designed with the essences of the three types of Proximity sprays. In other words, I got loaded on drinks that smelled like Amber. This was a nice touch, and if I wasn't so intoxicated (and, let's face it, probably still a bit loopy) I would have remembered the ingredients.

That, in a nutshell, was my California experience. I'd like to thank Ashley, Jake, Leslie, Cheryl, and everyone at Edelman and AXE for setting it all up. Thanks also to Bradley at Gear Patrol for being our LA ambassador and an all around good guy. (I also realized, in my drunken state I may have referred to him as "Patrick" for a good portion of the night.) That's it. I'm off to travel the wilds of Los Angeles, and drop a few lit cigarette butts into dry plants on the side of the road.
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7 Comments

Wow. You saw "The Ricker"!

said ConservaLiberCrat_08 on October 24, 2008 11:09 AM.

When I was 18 a close friend of mine had an encounter with the Ricker. My buddy was working at a tire shop in a small town and the Ricker needed tire repair.
My friend chewed tobacco and coincidently so did the Ricker.
They had a chew together.
He told me the story with tears in his eyes.
That experience changed his life.

Echo, Do you mind if I use your shower?

said Dave on October 24, 2008 12:00 PM.

Just make sure you don't use the good towels.

said Echowood on October 24, 2008 12:09 PM.

Dave,

The good towels are the ones that say 'Butt' on them. The ones that say 'Face' are his everyday towels. It's all a ruse ...

Lindsey made that clear a few months back during my post-flight, pre-encounter bathe.

Post-encounter, I used Grandma's linens for the spritz.

P.S. The pussy likes to be fed every couple of hours.

said Tim on October 24, 2008 12:22 PM.

I'd like to be refunded the minutes I spend reading this...

said jonathan on October 24, 2008 1:26 PM.

Jonathon, I give the refund to your momma. Right after I get done giving it to your momma.

I think I'll go purchase some Axe Body spray so I can get some action with Jonathon's mom.

I got your back Echo.


and your woman...
and your cat.....

said Dave on October 24, 2008 1:50 PM.

but you'll never take my pride Dave

said Echowood on October 24, 2008 2:30 PM.
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