I endured a juice cleanse the other day, thinking my body needed to be zapped from the inside-out. Believe it or not, one day of drinking six carefully prepared juices does not correct the previous months of punishment administered by brown liquor and Neapolitan pizza. I would attempt the cleanse again, and recommend you do the same. I wish it had been more extreme or painful, so I had tangible evidence that it worked. At least I know it was among the most healthy things I’ve done so far in California, and certainly the most nutritious concept I have introduced to my body. Those disgusting-looking kale concoctions aren’t so bad after all.

The cleanse was needed after another weekend bender, this time of the four-day, holiday variety. My favorite pastime is taking a three-day holiday weekend and adding a vacation day to one end to make for an extended time away from my desk. I had big plans for Memorial Day weekend, to venture off to Santa Barbara or Palm Springs or somewhere down the coast, but that idea crumbled into pieces. I was left with an empty agenda and did my best to fill it up with as much California sunshine as possible.

FRIDAY (2 BEERS): There was no trip to Santa Barbara, so the day was instead filled with poor decisions. After an elaborate texting exchange between the foursome, we decided on a decently familiar golf course for a reasonable rate at an allowable distance from home for all players. Security greeted us at the gate to ask if I was aware of the recent aeration procedure. (No.) We debated before setting off which tee we would play from and if there would be any money on the line. (Iron, Brass, Copper; the markers all looked exactly the same in the blistering sunlight.) We scuffled and complained our way around the track, cursing out the missing beer cart girl and wondering if we would even bother playing ALL EIGHTEEN HOLES and how it was possible we all repeatedly were penalized with bad bounces. Alas, we made it off the course after all, where our next bad decision took us to a sports bar where I ordered the wrong beer and a mediocre happy hour appetizer before sitting in rush hour traffic all the way back to Long Beach. It wasn’t the perky start I hoped for on this patriotic weekend, but at least it was an extra day with good friends on the golf course.

SATURDAY (5 BEERS?): There were better decisions Saturday after a solid night of rest. I rolled out of bed in time to take a long walk around my typical route throughout downtown and along the water. The priority for the day was another adventure into Los Angeles via public transportation. Thankfully this weekend the Metro serviced its entire route and brought me to the end of the line, where I would then walk to Angel City. I awkwardly hovered near the bar after ordering my first beer hoping some group of taster-ordering hipsters would evacuate and open a barstool. I patiently sipped on a pint of Marilyn Cream Ale, elbowed a mustachioed soccer connoisseur out of the way, and comfortably took my seat. Rather than ordering the flight, I made my way through the menu sixteen ounces at a time. I took the train, after all. The friendly bartender must have realized my situation and gladly poured a few sips of the other brews I had not sampled, making the walk back to Grand Station slightly more complicated.

I detoured for a turkey burger and made it to the platform en route to Long Beach. I chose a PERFECT seat on the train, allowing the life of the party to sit next to me. It didn’t matter that my ear-buds were deep inside my aural cavities, he was going to make conversation. He was going to invite me to party. He was going to tell me about his plans to buy steak and lobster and grill out with friends. He was going to give me his business card and insist I stop by later. Despite his aggressive invitation, I politely declined and crawled into bed after dusk.

SUNDAY (0 BEERS, 4 Arnold Palmers): Long weekend meant multiple rounds of golf. And another 18 at somewhere not previously attempted. I made the familiar journey inland to Corona and pegged it at Dos Lagos. I do not speak fluent Spanish, but believe it loosely translates to TWO LAKES. It was a challenging course with tricky layouts I’ll know better the next time, but still managed to post my best score of the year. I didn’t actually play all great, but did score well. Perhaps I was under the influence of Angel City or still buzzing from the steak & lobster invitation. More likely, I was motivated to play quickly and reward myself on the ride home with SUNDAY NIGHT PIZZA and a cannoli. I have craved one of those sweet treats for months. I’d say I came back to Long Beach and worked it all off, but actually I perched on the couch to watch tape-delayed golf.

MONDAY (2 BEERS): Okay. I did polish off an entire pizza and giant cannoli, so I should probably do something active. I drove back across the bridge through San Pedro and explored some of Sunken City. It’s an eerie wasteland of treacherous concrete and cliffs along the ocean that were once home to homes and hotels. NO TRESPASSING signs are posted and fences discourage visitors from venturing too close. I braved the perimeter to get close enough for the view but was never quite comfortable to scale any of the jagged concrete. Next time I’ll bring a backpack full of spray paint and tag my name near the base of a palm tree. On this visit, I started in Sunken City, ventured through Point Fermin, and continued up to White Point Beach Park. I decided along the trek back that I probably deserved a delicious beer for my efforts and rewarded myself again at beautiful Brouwerji West.

Sitting alone at the bar alongside an obnoxious day trader / photographer / entrepreneur / brewer / renaissance man, I elected to look busy while looking at my dying iPhone researching the proper one-day juice cleanse to correct the bad decisions of an extended holiday weekend.



Since it costs only 47 cents to shuttle a letter across the country, you’d think we’d be happy to follow a couple of simple rules without asking a lot of questions. It seems reasonable enough that the United States Postal Service requests we place postage stamps on the upper-right corner of envelopes and other materials. Still, we wonder: Why not the lower right? Or upside-down? Who decided on the upper right?

“When postage stamps were first issued in this county in 1847, there appears to have been a great deal of confusion over how to use them and possibly also where to place them, at least for a time,” Daniel Piazza, Chief Curator of Philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. “Placement was less important in the days when all stamps were hand-cancelled individually by postal clerks. With the introduction of high-speed cancelling machines starting in about the 1890s, the placement of stamps in the upper-right corner became more important to be as efficient as possible.” It’s believed that placement coincided with the dominant hand—the right—of most mail handlers.

Now that mechanization has given ground to optical scanning at mail distribution centers, you can rebel against stamp placement if the urge strikes. According to Sue Brennan, a senior public relations representative with the USPS, automatic mail-sorters look for stamps so they can apply a postmark. If the stamp isn’t in the upper-right corner, it may get diverted to a pair of human eyes to look for postage elsewhere on the envelope. “Your letter wouldn’t be thrown out if you didn’t follow the guidelines,” she says, “but using them could speed up the processing and subsequent delivery.”

Getting creative with the stamp’s orientation doesn’t really matter, either. At least, not to postal workers. During the Victorian era, young lovers who feared their mail being intercepted by disapproving parents developed a code that hid covert messages according to postage placement. An upside-down stamp might mean the sender loves the recipient, while a sideways stamp could have indicated they were being relegated to the friend zone. Variations of the system are still being used today by loved ones writing to prison inmates, who are also subject to mail review. While letter carriers might sigh if they see an upside-down stamp, your pen pal may grow downright wistful.




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