Friday, February 27, 2004


I went to see Big Fish with Clare last night and was treated to a wonderful movie. I felt like a could relate very well to the character of Edward Bloom. We both have adventurous spirits, and love to meet new people. We are inspired, driven, and determined. We are passionate about life, and love to tell stories about our adventures. We are drawn buy our thirst.

There were so many fantastic stories and events from this past couple weeks that came out of trip, and I still can't find the ways to explain what happened there. I tried telling Clare a little bit about what happened during the trip, and she just kinda looked at me. I doubt people will believe half the tales I'll tell from this trip. I may have the picture to show them some of the stuff, but it still doesn't quiet capture the individual moments of our experiences. But that's OK, I have two wonderful girls that will always share certain moments with me during the trip. All three of us are bound together from this experience whether we like it or not.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

How does one capture with words a trip that I cannot yet digest? There were so many poignant moments that will affect me for the rest of my life in this trip. I have fought and struggled so hard to achieve a certain level of success and happiness in my life, and this trip just re-affirmed my place in this universe.

The whole idea arose from my disappointment of not being able to experience Berlin, Germany with Alex, and eventually having to end that relationship. The breakup took its toll on me, and I really wanted to find another focus and purpose in my life for me to heal and grow. During New Year's Eve, Mardi Gras in New Orleans became a spontaneous goal. Whether I was going to go there by myself or with friends, I was diving in head first.

Steffi was the first one to jump in the picture, then Brook decided to join us as well, and as they would the rest is history...

Meeting Geoff after a year and a half was a special occasion. I had finally met his girlfriend, Xaviera, and she was simply amazing. They were both wonderful hosts, and I am indebted to them. I fell in love with the city of Austin. I had a thousand stereotypes of Texas, and Austin shattered all of them. Austin is lively, creative, beautiful, and full of music, it is eccentric within itself without the pretentiousness that is present in cities like Berkeley or Santa Cruz. Art and music were omnipresent. The women were beautiful, University of Texas (one of the largest universities in the world) is a wonderful campus. Downtown Austin rang with music even on a slow Wednesday night. Everyone had the genuine friendliness that has made this state famous.

We were supposed to stay only for a night, but with Steffi not feeling so well. We decided to spend another night, which I did not mind at all. The second night was a little bit more chill, Geoff and Xaviera invited us to see an amazing performance of Amadeus. That's where we met their friends Summer and Stevie (Stevie is a defensive tackle on the UT football team, #93, check him out next fall). We enjoyed the play and went to a historic Austin restaurant, Magnolia. Texas food was amazing.

I want to come back to Austin. Texas sucks, but I love Austin, TX.

We arrived in New Orleans after a traffic-filled drive from Austin. The first thing that struck me about Louisiana was the swamps. More than half of southern Louisiana were swamps. I had never seen the vastness and size of these swamps. Then we crossed the mighty MIssissippi, and I could feel the history of this famous river transcend over the bridge. I felt a little tingle in my heart. New Orleans slowly creeps up to you, once you drive pass the bayou, civilization starts to reach its head. The city is anchored by the Superdome, a gigantic concrete structure devoid of any emotion. It looks like a giant toilet bowl. We ended up at our hotel at the Radisson in the heart of Canal Street a few blocks of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.

Once we were all settled down, we all felt the energy of the crowds of people walking around the streets. The parade was still a few hours away, and people were already getting plastered and reaching a feverish and debaucherous state. We drank a couple of beers and hurricanes and hit the parades. Clean is not a word that I would us to describe Mardi Gras, but maybe Mardi Gras isn't supposed to be clean. We quickly collected tons of beads to our hearts desires, we met a group of South American guys that we joined up. Once we arrived at the French Quarter all bets were off. I usually get clusterphobic in tight places, but I was feeling the energy of the people, they were friendly and I felt safe. The cops weren't assholes, they knew this was Mardi Gras, and they gave us a certain degree of freedom, as long we didn't cross the obvious line. That first night was all about getting our feet wet, before we jumped head first on the madness. I didn't remember much from the rest of that night. There were a lot of moments that skipped my memory banks, but I remember waking up the next day with all these scars on my legs, and bruises on my ribs.

We woke up the next day and strolled through the historic French Quarter. We continued our frenzied collection of beads and ornaments. Brook was a little bit more aggressive in getting the beads, while Steffi was a little shocked and surprised about the debauchery. I don't think she expected this level of madness and sinfulness to occur on broad daylight. I think she was also taken aback by all the old and fat men with cameras that were ready to pounce like jackrabbits on the first woman that revealed her breasts. Walking around the French Quarter, I wasn't too impressed with the women showing their goods. Perhaps its because I'm a little spoiled from living out in Los Angeles.

All three of us ended up in some random bar, where Brook ended up meeting another girl from San Diego, and she invited us to her V.I.P. party later on that night. We exchanged numbers and made our way out. The French Quarter is a long strip, and at the end of it is the gay district; that's where the tables are turned and guys have to show their pieces to get beads. I had a few guys yell at me to show my cajones, but I wasn't drunk enough to do that yet.

10. Meet girl in bar.
9. Invite girl to V.I.P. area, even if it's not your V.I.P. area.
8. Sing Westside Story songs for girl.
7. Take girl on dance floor and dance with her.
6. Kiss girl, but don't slip the tongue.
5. Sit on couch with girl, and discuss the ramifications of the democratic primaries coming up.
4. Wrap arms around girl and do not let her go.
3. Defend girl, if some stranger tries to grab her, fight back.
2. Look at her eyes when you're talking to her.
1. Buy a $100 bottle of champagne, rinse and repeat steps #10 to #2 if necessary.

There were so many names and so many faces, I don't remember most of them. Thank god I have a camera.

Mardi Gras is not for amateurs. If your party experience is a couple sips of wine and a hop on a dance floor, Mardi Gras may not be for you. Mardi Gras is extreme, it is dirty, filthy, nasty, drunken, crazy, dangerous, and full of sparks. Mardi Gras is not for everyone, some people should just stay at home and experience it on E's Wild On. Because if you're not ready for Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras will just leave you behind

Saturday night was the craziest and most incredible night of my life. We stormed through Canal Street all the way to Bourbon, but before we could even reach the French Quarter, Steffi was done for the night, so we took her back to the hotel. I'm not even quiet sure how we ended up in the club, but Brooke, Gonzalo (our new South American friend) ended up at the bar. We were there for a few moments before we get hustled up the V.I.P. area. The guys we had met earlier were there and hosting us wonderfully. There just weren't that many girls up there, so I decided to go commando and picked up every single hot girl in the club to join us upstairs. They were very happy with my selection.

The night was full of love. I met so many fascinating people. And we were all in a tango, listening to the rhythm that New Orleans exploded with throughout the night.

As with any roadtrips, conflicts arise, especially when you're together for 10 days on the road. Steffi and Brook had various disagreements as the trip was winding down. I did not want to be forced to pick sides, but I felt like I had to so. They both had different perspectives and visions of this trip which were valid.

STEFFI - wanted to see as much of Texas, Louisiana, and everything else in between. She wanted the tours and the views. She was pretty gung-ho about waking up at 8am, working out, and enjoying every single precious second of the trip. She wanted the history, the ambiance, and the experience of these places.

BROOK - just wanted to party. She felt very much that this is her last hurrah before Ken comes back from Iraq next month. She could careless about the tours and views, and was pretty much set on partying all night and sleeping in during the morning.

RYAN - as for me, I wanted a little bit of both. I wanted to get a sense of history about Texas and Louisiana, but I also wanted to party 'til the break of dawn. I don't know how I did it, but I was able to wake up early enough sometimes and workout with Steffi, and yet party all night with Brook. There were times in which I felt like I stretched myself out to the limit, but I wasn't about to let anything get in the way of me enjoying this vacation. I definitely felt like I was the glue that held them together.

We all learned about each other's strengths and weaknesses. I think we will all be better and closer friends because of this trip. Some of my friends thought I would go crazy by the end of this trip, but instead I feel stronger.

After leaving New Orleans, I definitely felt blue and depressed. It was so sad to say goodbye to everybody. We ended up staying for a couple of days in Houston. I wasn't impressed with the city at all. It was dull, hazy, foggy, and the roads were confusing as hell. Steffi and I decided to spend the whole day getting lost in downtown Houston. We ended up University of Houston, Rice University (a beautiful campus by the way), and we walked around Hermann Park, and saw the ugliest geese's in the world. We ended up having dinner at McCormick's and I was finally able to try a delicious meal of crawfish. I'm sure crawfish was much better in New Orleans, but I never got the chance to sit down and try it. We then hit all the dive bars on Richmond Ave., got lost in downtown again and eventually made our way out safely.

This trip was full of remarkable moments. I still remember driving out of New Orleans. I was feeling blue, having to say goodbye to so many new friends. I was lying in the backseat of the car. Steffi was driving, and Brook had shotgun. I was kinda just looking up at the ceiling and smiling. Brook then slowly turn towards me, and we just both smiled at each other. No words had to be uttered, we both new the magnitude of the moment and experiences we shared.

How are we going to be able to tell our friends about this wonderful night we just had? The pictures, the words, and the hand-written notes we passed each other are simply not enough to comprehend this adventure. But our eyes seemed to communicate, and all we could do was look at each other and smile, from ear to ear. It was two people acknowledging something that may not be explained. I'll never forget that moment.

Friday, February 20, 2004

The rest of Texas could suck for all I care, but I've really fallen in love with city of Austin. There is a lively and creative energy that manifests throughout the city. We were supposed to stay for only one day in Austin, but I just couldn't get enough so we stayed for a couple. The girls are physically falling apart around me, and I've had to play Daddy for most of the trip so far. I'm trying hard to be strong, but it seems that my only salvation is Mardi Gras. We are about 8 hours away from New Orleans. Geoff and his friend Steve, who is from Louisiana, has given me some wonderful pointers about the event, which has made me pretty excited.

I'm learning a lot about my strength as a person in this trip, but emotionally and physically. I'm proud to be able to keep my wits around me when others are falling apart. It can be a struggle some times, but I try to keep things positive and motivated.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

So it is about 2:37AM Central Standard time. I am here in the heart of Texas, Austin. It has been a treat to hang out with Geoff after all this time. And Geoff and his girlfriend have been wonderful hosts to us. Steffi got sick on the first day of the trip, she got strep throat, so Brook and I have been carrying the load of the trip so far. The first half of western Texas was really boring and desolate, but now that we're in civilization it's been a lot of fun. Brook, Geoff, and I went out tonight and hit downtown Austin and had a great time. We went to a strip club afterwards and I think I spent way too much money for one night at the place, but it's all good. We're more than half way to New Orleans. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but so far so good. I've been able to keep my sanity with these girls so far. I hope I can make it last for eight more days. I'm sure I will...

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Well it is 7:37 AM. We are about to embark on a journey through the heart of the Old West. I'm making this a lot more dramatic than it should be, but I think this will be a wonderful trip. Played two games last night, won one and lost one, but we came together as a team. I love road trips. Its honest and it never lies to you. You earn each mile as you battle the horizon that seem impenetrable. More pictures and stuff to come soon...

Friday, February 13, 2004

I'm leaving for New Orleans on Monday for Mardi Gras. I'll be going with Brook and Steffi for this wonderful road trip. I can't wait to see my friend Geoff in Austin, Texas. During the trip I challenged Brook and Steffi to write their experiences in a travel journal with the hopes that we can write book about our adventures. It's going to be a lot of fun. We have a really wonderful and interesting group dynamic, which is very hard to find from people. And Mardi Gras is going to be a blast. I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

People always ask me why I hate Valentine's Day, and its always a tough question for me to answer. Usually I'll get around the subject by bringing up all the shitty situations that have occurred to me on Valentine's Day, but I think ultimately it boiled down to one faithful Valentine's Day in 1990 when I was in 7th grade.

Entering 7th grade, I had slowly realized and became more interested in girls. Before that I was too preoccuppied with boys stuff like sports and hurling insults at girls. I had noticed Maya late in 6th grade, and made sure that I got in the same honors programs with her so that I could get closer to her. So in 7th grade, I was delighted to learn that I had 4 classes with her.

As the year went on, and guys started to reach puberty and discover girls, I realized that all the guys had a crush on Maya as well. My closest friends, Jesse and Bryan, all liked her but realized that she was way out of our league, so they never really pursued their emotions. I on the other hand, had no concept of what league I was in. I wore bright pink surfer shirts and shorts, and had slicked out thick gel in my hair. I had yet to discover rock music. And my idea of a good time was playing football and basketball with the boys.

Maya was the princess of our class. She was smart, charming, beautiful, caring, and interesting. I remembered that she was obsessed with dolphins and Tom Petty. And for that reason I took up surfing and started to listen to Tom Petty. She was tall (like most of the girls at that time), she had shiny brown hair, and was pretty proud of her French Moroccan heritage, which gave her a very exotic look. Even at 7th grade, she already had the attention of all the high school boys. She was that beautiful.

A month before Valentine's Day, I decided to formulate a plan to ask her out. I would've been the first guy in our class to actually go out and ask a girl out. The pressure was on, but I accepted the challenge. The boys definitely supported me, and we all sat down and formulated a plan to win her heart. This was one of the best kept secrets in class, we all knew that if we told a girl, that our plans would be spoiled in a nanosecond.

As the day drew closer, I was beginning to feel the pressure and strain of being the torchbearer for every guy in my class. They knew that if I succeeded in this mission, that eventually this would open up more doors for the boys to get together with the girls. All the girls in our class looked up to Maya, but I couldn't say the same about myself. I felt very much like the underdog. I wasn't the most popular. I wasn't the richest, and I was definitely not the best looking guy in our class. But I had ambition and determination, and at that time in our lives, it took you a long way.

So as Valentine's Day approached I was ready to confront the obstacle. I started the day wearing my best shirt (Pink Quicksilver shirt), and fanciest pair of jeans (Levi's). I slicked my hair, and had my staple main all slithered up by a thick layer of gel and mousse. All my friends brought their colognes, and I got to pick which sent I wanted. As I strolled into school, everyone definitely felt the tension. The girls somehow sensed something was up, but never realized that anyone from our class would actually have the balls to ask Maya out.

The plan was simple, divide and conquer. We had to get Maya away from her entourage, and give me a chance to get on a one-on-one situation with her, where hopefully my charm could win her out. First, I wrote this personal love letter to her, expressing my emotions and feelings about her. Which I dropped into her locker slot early in the morning. We had my friends spy around her locker to make sure the message got to the right person. Then my friends attacked and distracted her entourage. But she slipped away from my grasp, and the bell rang for my first class. She already had the note in her hand, but it was obvious she hadn't read it yet.

As the class started, I sat across the room for her. At first, I coudln't tell what her reaction was... then I saw her friends group around her. Some of them started giggling and laughing. All the boys weren't happy with what was going on, our plans had blown up right in front of our faces. The room was very surreal, all the girls were loud and lauging, and all the guys were stark silent. But I noticed that Maya had no reaction at first. Then after a few minutes, she asked to be excused from the class, and ran out crying. The whole room was now silent. When she got back, I definitely felt the emotion from her face. She sat down in her desk, and wrote something down. And she smiled, and gave it to me...

It was a note expressing that she didn't have the same feelings for me, and that she was flattered by my interest, and would love to be friends with me. In my 7th grade mind, it was like the end of the world for me. All the boys felt let down, and it would take a while for us to recover from this. I accepted her gentle rejection, but I was disappointed. All I had really wanted was just a chance, but I wasn't going to get it. I transferred schools the next year, and even though its been almost 15 years since that happened Maya still creeps up into my thoughts every once in a while, especially during Valentine's Day. This past Christmas, one of my friends from those days, Bryan tried to get me in touch with her, but I'm not quiet sure if I wanted to open those doors again in my life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tommorow, no tommorow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous

No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

This song, covered by Gary Jules, has resonated within me for the past few days...

Monday, February 09, 2004


Went down to San Diego to party with Brook and Steffi, and we had a Saturday night I won't soon forget. After a long day of hiking and boating in Lake Murray (or as Steffi would say "Lake MUH-RAY"), we all decided to invade the San Diego nightlife. Brook introduced me to one of her closest friends, Dove. I was already intrigued by that name before she introduced me to her, and she definitely had an energy and joy in her life that was addicting.

We hung out at Dove's place, which had a great view of the bay. Then we made our way to Hometown Buffet to have dinner. It was so surreal. These girls were dressed to fuck, and we were eating at Hometown Buffet, it was too funny. Then we made our way back Dove's place again to partake in some illicit behavior. It was still a little early so Dove invited us to a private party in downtown SD, and that's where I met their friends, Amber and Frankie. They had the best condo I had ever seen. It was small, but it was designed like they had just gone through a Queer Eye makeover. Amber and Frankie sported matching Von Dutch tractor hats, which made me quiver, but they were really cool and they made me drunk. There were a lot of beautiful women in the party, and the whole collective beauty really struck me.

Then we get invited to this expensive party in the Gaslamp District. We were supposed to be in the guest list, but when we hit the bouncer, our names weren't on it. But Brook and Dove whipped out their magic wand, and got us in for free. Once were in, Deepsky played a great set, and Dove and I jumped to the dance floor. We met a whole bunch of people later on that invited us to the V.I.P. area, where I was treated to free alcohol, and cheap women. I spent the end of the night in a jacuzzi with two half-naked girls. This must be how it feels like to live like a rock star. It has to be...

You know it was a rockin' weekend, when I passed out from 2:00pm on Sunday, and didn't wake up until 8:30am on Monday morning.

Things I learned from Saturday night:
- Hanging out with hot chicks can get you a lot of free stuff (i.e. free booze, free passes, no lines, and the envy of men.)
- It's kinda fun to be single again. I haven't had a crazy and wild night like this in a long time.
- Girls are getting too comfortable with me, I never thought I would say this, but I need some testosterone in my life. Thank God, softball season is back, I can hang out with the boys again.
- I've been getting a lot of attention since I've lost all the damn weight, which is very liberating.
- I love not having any drama in my life.
- I don't think its quiet going to work out with Steffi as I expected. And I just want to be single and meet as many people as I can.
- Mardi Gras is going to be life-changing trip for all three of us.
- There is nothing wrong with exploring my options...

Friday, February 06, 2004

I'm going down to San Diego to see Steffi tonight. I haven't seen her in a couple of weeks, and I'm nervously curious to see her again. I'm excited though, I'm feeling a good vibe about the weekend. I also got hooked up Geoff, so we're probably going to hang out with him in Austin, TX, and I think that it will be a lot of fun. I haven't seen Geoff in over a year, and he hasn't seen the new Ryan. I miss hanging out with him and Jacob. We had our fun.

On Saturday, I'm taking Steffi to Michael's Birthday celebration. Which will be a lot of fun, as I will be reuniting with a lot of my Johnston College friends from U. of Redlands. I haven't been this nervous about a weekend for a while. I'm trying not to put too much in to it... So wish me luck...

Thursday, February 05, 2004

I don't know what's going on with Steffi and I. I sense that we're both hesitating just because we just finished going through a tough break-up. And I don't really want to push the envelope too much, I'm kinda enjoying being single, and being able to meet and date new girls. I'm feeling some intimacy with Steffi, but she's so hard to figure out, that I don't know where I stand in it all. I don't like to play games, and such, so I'm just trying to play it cool, and see where we go with this. I know I want to come down and see her this weekend, but I have movie night with Brooke on Friday night, and I got invited to Michael's party on Saturday night... And I want to see all my Redlands friends... In a little more than a week, I will be leaving with Brook and Steffi for New Orleans. I am so excited. I like the energy between the three of us. Brook can inspire me, and Steffi allows me to be introspective and focused. This is what life is all about. The pursuit of happiness... Driving through an open road... And having a lot of fun with great friends. No drama. No excuses. No complaints. A balls to the walls adventure through the heart of the New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. Let the debauchery begin...

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


The Superbowl was one big giant drunken festival for me. I loved it. And if it weren't for Tivo I would've missed Janet Jackson's nip. An old childhood playmate, Jayann, stopped and joined us for our poker game. It was a lot of fun.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Everybodys' talking about. We replayed it on my Tivo countless times. Did we just see Janet Jackson's boobie on live TV during the Superbowl? Yes we did... and we're smiling today...

I don't doubt that Janet Jackson is one our most talented artists, but she gives me the creeps sometimes because she looks so much like Michael Jackson.

Went hiking with Javier, Clare, and Brooke to some desolate canyon off Santa Anita. It was a great hike; we all reminisced about our high school experiences. Javier and I seemed to really enjoy our high school moments, while Clare and Brooke seemed to have more scars from theirs, and we all went to the same high school. I was amazed at the various ways we all experienced a certain period of our lives.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), How To Fight the Loneliness (Wilco), Jesse's Girl (Rick Springfield), Four To The Floor (Starsailor), Shade and Honey (Alessandro Nivola), and Northern Star (Leona Naess).