The Loft Bar & Bistro Tab: $289.00
Drinks consumed at Jason's 25th Birthday:
1 7&7, 1 Hennessey & Cranberry, 1 AMF, 1 shot of Patron = 3 drinks + 1 shot
Hours of sleep before driving down to San Luis Obispo the next day: 6
Receipt for Romeo & Julieta cigar: $17.00
First drink consumed on Saturday: 5:15pm (60oz Peach & Mango Margarita on the rocks)
The Graduate tab:
$90.00
Drinks consumed at the Grad:
2.5 AMFs (felt like 5 tho) and 1 Jack & Coke
Bill at Denny's for after the Grad munchies:
$12.00
Hours of sleep before driving back to the Bay: 4
Fondly remembering the night's events on the drive back: Priceless
Fully remembering the night's events after checking your camera's pictures: Heart attack!


Hello all! It's been a bit of a stretch since I last posted but I am back to run down the exciting and very memorable weekend that just past. Let me set up the scene first. A high school-college housemate-best friend turned 25 this weekend. His name is Jason and he's "pretty much a big deal." He decided to have his extravaganza the night before our trip down to San Luis Obispo for an event called 'Lantern Festival.' Desiree's founding chapter for her sorority hosts this event with another fraternity and other chapters come down to visit, etc. to show support. I knew some guys in the fraternity that hosts this event and so, myself and 2 other good friends from high school decided to carpool together. Desiree was catching a ride with her sisters. Well, a bit of a wrench in the system since Jason decided to plan his birthday shin-dig the night before our 3 hour trek. However, that didn't stop us from partying Friday night into the wee hours of the morning and then heading out at about 11am down 101 South.

If Friday night was an indication of how the weekend would play out, then this has to be one of the greatest weekends of my adult life (minus the loads of cash I dropped this weekend). Let's dive into each day/night respectively so I can explain my reasoning:

Friday:

A bunch of us decide to go shopping at the mall after work. I decided to buy a new vest since I couldn't find my old one. All my friends said I had a "JT" thing going on, but I was going for the whole David Beckham look. I recommend going to the mall with a female friend, especially when trying to add to a male's "club/bar - wear" options. Guys'll say "Yeah, that looks cool," whereas Girls will explain why it looks cool, pros and cons of getting it in another color, etc etc. Good stuff to know when a $80 price tag is staring you down. Need to be well-informed to make the best possible decision.

Friday Night Memory #1: Hanging out with people I haven't seen in years

The night was fun since I was able to hang out with people I haven't seen in years, plus, add alcohol into the equation, equals good wholesome fun. Majority of who I talked to were on the same track as me: surviving this thing called "life after college" and just biding time until the 'raising a family bug' hits. But for now, we're mid-twenties living it up!

Friday Night Memory #2: Hey do you know...?

Ok, maybe it was the alcohol or whatever, but this guy's standing next to Liz and Desiree, right, near the bar, and he looks over to me. Course, I say what's up thinking he probably knows the celebrant, plus he's in the area where we're all hanging out. So, just trying to be nice, right? So I'm like,

"Hey, do you know Jason?"
"No, do you know Eddie?"
I say "No."

And we continue having a conversation. Turns out he was just there at the bar, probably trying to pick up chicks, and "not so much sober" I thought he was one of Jason's friends. He did compliment the vest though. So, cheers!

Friday Night Memory #3: Cover your cooch!

This phrase kills me because it was when Liz and I were immersing ourself in a carne asada burrito (plus, a heavy dose of orange sauce) from La Victoria's, another friend of mine who was currently celebrating her birthday as well got crazy hammered at the same club. Her boyfriend (the legendary John Pham) was a bit crazy as well and yelled "cover your cooch!" because her dress kept riding up as she was dancing. Oh youngsters, these days! And so this story lives on even if it is from word-of-mouth.

Friday Night Memory #4: You have a nice smile!

I think the best part of Friday night, personally, was a random event that happened as I was chatting up a college friend's brother who just entered the "real world." I think we were talking about the fact that we don't really go out much during the week, but once-in-a-while on Fridays or Saturdays to have a little fun, etc. Well, this chick comes up to us and tells me,

"You have a nice smile."
Naturally, I say "thanks" and to commemorate the moment, we hi-five.

Now, a compliment like this is pretty cool considering it came out of left field. I'm pretty sure the chick was drunk, ok, at least a little buzzed. The funny part though was she was dragging her friend with her and her friend was texting on her phone or something like that. She stops what she's doing and asks,

"What did she say?"
And, I tell her what her friend told me. She says,
"Oh" and gives me a hi-five as well.

As my friend was my witness, we just looked at each other and laughed. Sweet!

The night ends at around 3:30am and I catch some needed zz's to make the drive to continue the weekend and the memorable party!

~ ~ ~

Saturday morning rolls around and I'm driving down 101 with my 2 high school friends, JV (John Vincent) and Charlie. We're pretty close so it's basically a back and forth about drama, mostly about girls, etc. We arrive in SLO around mid-afternoon and immediately headed to Firestone's to get our fix of Tri-Tip. There's nothing like a Firestone Tri-Tip sandwich. It just makes all my worries go away.

As we were finishing up lunch, Desiree calls me out of the blue and tells her that the show starts at around 5pm. She says the majority of her "girls" weren't showing up until like 6pm so with 3 hours to kill, we decided to walk around downtown. SLO downtown is getting to look like Santa Barbara more and more. We get bored within the first hour or so and decide to get the party started right and headed to Vallarta's down the street from Cal Poly. The last time I was at Vallarta's, I remember a bunch of my friends got "silly" on margarita's. The best part of it all though was since it was a busy college night, all the 60oz margarita glasses were being used, so they just poured them into pitchers. So, we were walking around with pitchers of margaritas the entire night. Good times!

Remembering the drinking festivities of the night before, we decided to split the 60oz Peach-Mango margarita between the 3 of us. The sun was shining and we were enjoying a 60oz margarita. We were having a pretty good time until Desiree calls me saying that her and her sister's were performing at 5:45pm. At this time, it was 5:20pm and we were barely chipping away at the margarita. So, what do 3 guys do in a situation like this? The logical choice we thought of right off the bat was to down it hella quick and drive down the street to the school. We rationalized that if the driver got there quicker, he wouldn't feel the full effects until after we reached the campus and parked, etc. So, we did that (disclaimer: we are not condoning drinking and driving) and made to campus right when the buzz was clearly settling in.

The performance was pretty good, but I swear I saw it somewhere before. You see, Desiree and her sorority sisters started to perform a Chinese ribbon dance, but then stopped mid-way and started to perform a step dance routine. Come to think of it, the beats sounded like the ones from Stomp the Yard! Anyways, it didn't really matter to us since we were tipsy. The youngest of my 2 friends in my entourage, Charlie, was a little too tipsy and agreed to Desiree's sorority sisters that we'd supply the alcohol for the pre-party before going to the after party at the Grad. He was eying this cutie named Beth. Typical male. My other friend, JV, quickly suggested my place for the pre-party since it wasn't too far from the club. He was eying a brunette named Natasha. So with 2-against-1 I just smiled and gave them a "you owe me big time" look.

Lantern Festival ended at about 9 o'clock, but we didn't leave until like 9:30pm since the clubs and organizations were selling their food dishes at cheaper prices. Hey, why not get a cheap dinner before hitting the club? My dinner consisted of Korean beef and Teriyaki chicken on rice, Thai ice tea, and a pineapple Italian freeze (which should have been strawberry, but my order got messed up). But overall, filling. Desiree drafted up an alcohol list and with it we headed to Bev Mo!

The Pre-Party wasn't too bad. Since I lost a bet with Desiree, I was deemed "DD" that night and so my pre-party consisted of Crown and coke, while Desiree and her sorority sisters took shot after shot of Patron. Charlie and JV chased their shots with a vodka-redbull. At around 10:30pm, we headed out. Desiree, Beth, Natasha, and Charlie were packed in tight in the back of my Camero while JV and I were blasting hyphy music in the front.

At the Grad, Charlie, JV, and I started our second round of drinks (1st was the 60oz margarita) with AMFs which they poured into carafe looking glasses a little larger than pint glasses. After toasting to an 'awesome weekend,' our first sip left us reeling. The drink was so strong and the after taste made me drink some more which didn't help since the cycle kept me drinking and reeling from the strong after taste. The next hour and a half was left sipping and trying to finish the strong drink. After a while, I took the rest of Charlie and JV's drink so they can hit the dance floor with the two chicas. I was fortunate to have Desiree keep me company since the rest of the crowd at the bar were frat heads drinking long islands and what not. But we finally got on the dance floor when another one of Desiree's sorority sisters grabbed the rest of my drink and downed it. Thanks Mara!

My buzz was in full effect with the neon lights and fog machine fog creating an atmosphere of craziness. I really don't remember the songs being played, but I do have an image of JV and Natasha dancing in the cage they set up in the middle of the dance floor dancing quite inappropriately. I believe I have a picture or two of that. Course, he says it wasn't as bad as Charlie "rubbing his junk" all over Beth at the base of the cage which fortunately I didn't witness.

I ended up helping close the bar with my last drink of the night since it was my lil sis' birthday (through Desiree's sorority, I went through the process of becoming a lil bro. My big sis, Kat, is an awesome big sis and through her sorority family I met Laura). It was Laura's 21st and so we ended up drinking something tame to end the night. They pretty much herded us out of the place and my entourage and myself ended up eating at Denny's.

All I remember about my dinner is eating the chicken fried steak part of my dish and giving the rest of whomever wanted to eat it. Thankfully, Desiree finished it up. Charlie and Beth couldn't stop making out. Good thing it was like 3 in the morning because the majority of the people sitting at our section were half-drunk, college kids anyway. JV disappeared for a bit, but I saw him outside on the phone with his ex when I was paying the bill. Not too sure what that was about but he assured me on the drive home the next day that it's not a big deal. I think it was but this story isn't about his life, it's about mine.

Overall, the night's events were pretty memorable. We crashed at my parent's house and ended up leaving the next morning at around 7:30am. Charlie had to be back before 10am because he was teaching a hip hop class. JV and him both crashed on the way back to the Bay. It was nice to have some quiet time after 2 days of loud music, alcohol, and shouting to have a conversation. Plus, being that it was so early in the morning, I got to use my cruise control for the majority of the trip to save on gas a little.

Thoughts from the weekend: PRICELESS

Looking back at this weekend and just my life after college, this weekend was really fun. It joins the list with some of my memorable weekends / trips including Thanksgiving weekend 2006 in Vegas and my first Lantern Festival in 2002. The pictures are pretty insane and just being able to leave for a weekend and not worry about work, stresses of life, etc. makes life that much more worth it.

Though I'm back at work and still really really tired from the weekend. I can look at the pictures and laugh about JV making a complete *ss of himself or of us three trying to down a 60oz margarita within 15 minutes of getting it. It's these little things in life that makes me want to go on and look forward to the weekends ahead. At the Lantern Festival, I met some freshman and young-ins and the like, and I thought to myself, 'wow, they have so much time to have fun and not have to deal with the real world. I hope they do enjoy themselves and lay it out there.'

I personally try not to have regret or anything like that. Though I'm only human, I know down the line I will have regret. For now though I can relish in the thought that I'm not old enough to throw in the towel (though other quarter century folks can say they're already there) and I'm not young enough to be naive. Not knocking all those youngsters or older hipsters out there, just showing some pride and love to those of us who are holding it down for all those of us out there working their 9-to-5 and partying the nights away!

I end this long, but necessary post with what Charlie told Beth outside of Denny's when he thought we weren't close by:

"We'll see each other again, baby, don't worry. But for now, remember me as tall, dark, handsome stranger in the night."

JV almost split his pants from silent laughter and me, yeah, I admit, I almost peed in my pants because it was the cheesiest line I'd ever heard Charlie say. Cheesy, but oh, so fitting!

Stay tuned for next time! In the meantime, "stay classy San Diego!" (or insert your city or town before the exclamation point)

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