So this past weekend, kind of spurred on by the seemingly endless vacations taken by one of the few podcasters I listen to, Aaron Clarey, I decided to pack up, catch the train and head down the coast to visit my brother in San Diego. Its not a long trip, but seeing as how the wife is still out of state I figured “Why not?”, and set out on my journey.

The train I am referring to is the Metrolink that ties pretty much all of the L.A. area together. The closest station is about an hour away and the earliest train was 6:20 am. I decided to take Friday off and got up early enough to get my stuff together and get out of dodge.

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Santa Clarita Platform @ 6am!

The ride to San Diego consists of two parts, the first part being from an outlying station to the L.A. central station. I jump on board at the Santa Clarita station at 6:20 am. It was quiet and there were a number of people on board the train with me, though not nearly enough to fill all of the seats. Everyone was on their phones/mobile devices, though I did my best to avoid using my own. I was hoping to strike up some conversation, but maybe it was too early in the morning for that. I did introduce myself to the Indian gentleman setting across from me and tried to start up some dialog, but after awkwardly introducing himself he put on his headphones and made a call, which he stayed on for the full hour ride.

Once I got to the L.A. station I had about thirty minutes before catching the next train, so I wandered around a bit. The station was pretty cool with some neat architecture, but since I was on a short schedule I didn’t get to wander around outside of it too much.

From there I caught the next train from L.A. central all the way down to Oceanside with quite a few stops on the way. Unfortunately all you see for the first two of three hours is the backside of Los Angeles, and its not a pretty sight. Though I’ve always been intrigued by businesses, office architecture and construction yards the amount of graffiti and trash is almost too great to comprehend. Every surface of every wall, almost every building, every standing object be it old automobiles to train cars, was covered in spray paint. Trash lying in piles and piles, seemingly having sat there for ages with no one caring enough to pick it up. Bums and tent cities behind homes, businesses, under bridges. It was really sad to think that this was once the “Golden State”, but now its just trash.

We had to stop several times to wait for freight trains to pass us by, I guess. I couldn’t really hear the conductor, but that was the basic message I got. I nabbed a couple of shots of some standing engines while we passed, and the platform of one of the many stations we stopped at along the way. The entire trip by train takes around four hours, give or take with stops and waiting. The actual drive down to San Diego takes four hours as well, but with the train I dont have to deal with gas and traffic.

During the trip I spent time jotting down notes and drawing some simple shapes and designs for some 3d work I hope to do this week. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was on their mobile phones either talking, gaming or watching videos. That’s all fine and good, as I’m sure for many of these people this is just their Friday morning commute, and they have seen the sights plenty of times.

As we got closer to Oceanside I was finally able to see the coast and some of the coastal homes, which I am absolutely jealous of! I love the look and aesthetic of  most of the homes so close to the shore, and would love to live in one:

Once past the most occupied areas we came to the state beaches and an old nuclear power plant. Pretty cool stuff. Lots of surfers out there in the water and, though I couldn’t really tell, I think, as we got closer to the military base, there was a destroyer posted right off the shore. I could tell it was a big ship, and apparently a large military style helicopter was headed from it direction. Its kind of tough to see through the fog, but you can make out the shape through the mist.

Once in Oceanside my brother came a picked me up and I spent a nice weekend with him and my sister-in-law. He and I hit up some Cajun fish and chips for lunch then headed to both Turners Outdoor to scope out some guns and the Rockler to check out some woodworking gear (I ended up buying a glue bottle with a roller on it. Much needed). We also hit up a rather large comic book store close to where he works, then retired back to his place to watch The Foreigner with Jackie Chan (good movie, btw) and enjoy some delicious bourbon. One of his co-workers was moving from San Diego to Victorville, some several hours North (sucks for her!) so they had her over for dinner, which I also partook in.

I was going to just head back on Saturday but decided to stick around until Sunday. Saturday morning we hit up a spot my bro likes for some breakfast burritos, and both of us got sick for a few hours! Fortunately it wasn’t until after we had gotten back from the local Fry’s, where I picked up a awesome retro fighter stick for my laptop. I guess its supposed to be for the NES/SNES mini, but it came with a USB adapter for PC’s and, hot dang, it works like a charm! Funny too because I was lamenting on Thursday night that my best friend, Draxon, had bought me Street Fighter V a while back but I never played it because I HATE playing fighting games with gamepads. This one was not only inexpensive but the stick and buttons are all on switches so its super-clicky and cool. I also love the retro color scheme and the fact that its not huge. In fact, its probably just a bit bigger than the original Capcom fighter sticks Draxon and I bought years ago when Street Fighter came out for the SNES. I hope to have my bro grab me another one before they disappear.

super edge

We spent the rest of the day playing Dissidia co-op on our phones, drinking more bourbon and then watching Altered Carbon on Netflix after checking out some Zebraman stuff on YouTube.

My trip back Sunday was a mess, as the train was held up long enough that we missed our connecting train at the L.A. station and had to wait another hour for the next one. To boot they were doing work on part of the track on the second half of the trip so we had to ride the train to the station before the work, get off, get on a bus, ride past the work, get back on a train and then proceed to our destinations. Where I should have gotten back to the Santa Clarita platform at 330 and been home by 5, I instead got to the platform at 5 and home by 630-700. It was irritating, but not too bad.

I look forward to another trip, probably with the wife next time, but not until November, since the work on the track will be all through October and I dont want to have to sit through the bus trip and stuff again.

While on the way back I also noticed a ton of these horribly wicked trees which I thought only existed inside Disneyland. They look beautiful but have evil, satanic thorns on them.

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I dont know if you can zoom in on that, but the branches are like tentacles from hell, and I pity the person who has to make the choice between a wild animal eating them and having to climb this tree to safety.

Well, that was my weekend. I’ve been slow on the posts and even slower on the next episode of the podcast, which I think will come out of testing after this upcoming third test episode. Though I’ve only had a few listeners things seem to be working well.

Until next time!