One of my best (worst?) obsessive habits is keeping a calendar. I’m on my Google calendar all day on my work computer and often check the synced version on my phone. It keeps me organized, though not typically punctual. Just because I know where I am supposed to be and what time to be there doesn’t mean I’ll arrive when I am supposed to. I like having dates and events to look forward to. I like knowing if I’ll have a work appointment and if I should comb my hair. I like looking into the past for where I ate dinner on that random weeknight.
The recent landmark date I had circled was this past weekend where I rendezvoused in Las Vegas with my parents. This was their first time visiting me on the West Coast since they accompanied me on my drive from Arlington to Long Beach. But in this instance, they didn’t make it all the way to the coast and we instead met on the Vegas Strip. Unfortunately, I’m contractually obligated to not divulge any of the details from our time in Sin City. You may have gotten the gist from a flurry of recent tweets that most time spent in Nevada was deep in the bag.
My commute from the office to Las Vegas was a stressful one. I was warned of the traffic and the how difficult it is to Escape from LA at rush hour so I ducked out early. It mattered not as it took over two hours to leave the metro area. The next hurdle once getting up to speed was finding a gas station. My gas light turned on at 60 miles to empty. I noticed it again in the low thirties. Then fifteen miles til empty and no gas station or shoulder to pull over. It seemed like my options were to run out of gas or drive off a cliff near San Bernadino. Thankfully I was able to stop for petrol and granola and Red Bull before I had to seriously consider Option B. Did you know there is a town in California called Zzyzx?
I made it to Las Vegas after 8:30, having given my parents a head start on the slot machines and adult beverage consumption. I washed off the scent from the open road and met them on the casino floor. Hilarity ensued…
What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas, right? Because most of my weekend there has been rejected and blocked and deleted from my memory thanks to concoction of whiskey and vodka and slot machine sound effects.
Las Vegas: Thursday 1/29/15 @ 8:30pm – Monday 2/2/15 @ 1:00pm;
I got my trip started about two hours later than I wanted, departing unshaven and scattered and with seven dollar acai smoothie in hand. The return home along I-15 through rural Nevada and congested California freeway system was relatively smooth, though I did make a stop in Barstow to fill the gas tank and my stomach. Podcasts kept me company and alert for the lonely road and I was back in Long Beach before 6:30. Unpacking and lounging took priority over grocery shopping and I wandered Pine Avenue for a bite to eat. I must have still been in a drunken haze since I willingly chose to return to Pier 76 for calamari and Brussels sprouts.
It was great to see my parents and celebrate in their good fortune and enjoy a taste of home. We are all making an effort to limit spans between family time spent together. I will see them again in March (remind me to do the dishes before then) and plan for a trip back home to Chicago this summer. And I will most certainly meet up with the ROAMING team sometime soon as they embark on a new tour. Despite the lovely California winter and not missing the snowy Midwest, an Old Style at Wrigley Field in early July sounds fantastic.
Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon, formerly known as Akeem Olajuwon, is a retired Nigerian-American professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Listed at 7 ft 0 in Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. He was nicknamed “The Dream” during his basketball career, for his grace on and off the court.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Olajuwon traveled from his home country to play for the University of Houston under Coach Guy Lewis. His college career for the Cougars included three trips to the Final Four. Olajuwon was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the first overall selection of the 1984 NBA Draft, a draft that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton. He combined with the 7 ft 4 in Ralph Sampson to form a duo dubbed the “Twin Towers”. The two led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, where they lost in six games to the Boston Celtics. After Sampson was traded to the Warriors in 1988, Olajuwon became the Rockets’ undisputed leader. He led the league in rebounding twice (1989, 1990) and blocks three times (1990, 1991, 1993).
Raised as a Muslim, Olajuwon became more devoted to the faith during this period and corrected the spelling of his name from Akeem to Hakeem. Despite very nearly being traded during a bitter contract dispute before the 1992–93 season, he remained in Houston where in 1993–94, he became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards in the same season. His Rockets won back-to-back championships against the New York Knicks, and Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando Magic. In 1996, Olajuwon was a member of the Olympic gold-medal-winning United States national team, and was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He ended his career as the league’s all-time leader in blocks, with 3,830.
(via Basketball Reference and Wikipedia)