Real Life On Hold - these are the adventures of California native Travis Emmel, as he takes time off from the rat race to travel and see the world.

Journal Entries

Y'all got Pabst on ice?

Monday, March 26, 2007

First off, I would like to publicly thank everyone who has helped me so far by contributing to the Ride4AIDS event. Your outpouring of support and generosity has been nothing short of amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you - you have helped to make a difference in the lives of many people!


This weekend, I attended a wedding for Sara, one of my really good friends who I’ve known since kindergarten. The wedding was held at the Karl Strauss Brewery Garden in Sorrento Valley. For those who haven’t been there, the restaurant sits over a giant koi pond and is surrounded by Japanese gardens; a backdrop that made for a very nice ceremony. A couple other old friends from back home (Bonnie and Krista) were in attendance, as well, and it was great to see them. Being at a wedding always reminds me of the following:

Travis’ law for weddings and funerals - No matter what the circumstance, there will always be somebody at the ceremony who’s dressed worse than you.
With the exception of a beach wedding, that new Hawaiian shirt has no place at either of these events. Yet, every wedding (and, sadly, even some funerals) I go to, someone takes it upon themselves to show up looking ready for a luau. I appreciate you left the faded Metallica shirt and your other pair of ripped jeans at home, but just because your black, short-sleeved shirt with the flames has a collar doesn’t mean it qualifies as evening wear. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this sort of behavior very disrespectful to the people whose event is being attended. The hosts have gone out of their way to throw a lavish party and you show up looking like you’re ready to sit down, pop a Pabst and watch reruns of Hee-Haw. For the sake of argument, let’s say even as a grown man you don’t own a suit, at least put on a collared shirt sans flames and slacks. That is all…

AIDS Ride Revisited (sort of)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Things often have a funny way of working themselves out. After making my previous post regarding my decision not to do the AIDS Ride, I checked my email and found a similar event happening down here in a couple weeks (albeit on a much smaller scale). Being Alive San Diego is sponsoring the Ride-4-AIDS cycling event to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS research. All the money raised through the event will go to the UCSD AIDS Research Institute, a non-profit organization focusing on bench to bedside research, treatment and education about HIV/AIDS and Being Alive San Diego, a non-profit direct service organization helping those whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS.


On a much sadder note, immediately before I found out about the San Diego ride, I learned that a close friend of a very good friend of mine (and someone who I have spent some time with, as well) had just been diagnosed as HIV positive. I can’t even fathom the range of emotions and tribulations that this person and his friends and family must be going through. He will definitely be at the forefront of my thoughts for the duration of the ride.


The ride I will be doing is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 1st and will consist of a 25 mile loop through Harbor Island, the Cabrillo National Monument and Seaport Village. I have set my fundraising goal at $400 which I think should be very doable. Training starts tomorrow…


**If you would like to help support me by making a tax deductible donation to this cause, please visit: http://ride4aids.kintera.org/travisemmel**

(Thank you very much!!)

She Said 'Yes'

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I finally took the plunge today and purchased my plane tickets for Europe. For something that has been talked about, mulled over and researched ad nauseam, the actual purchase felt…spontaneous. It was akin to being in junior high and getting ready to call up whoever the crush du jour was to ask them to the dance the following week. Minutes, hours and, perhaps even days, had been built up to become that one dynamic moment of fate. Would she say ‘yes’ or was there some hair that desperately requiring washing that night? New Zealand Air is my current crush and we’re meeting up in LA on May 28th.


If you’ve been following along, you will note that my original plan had me bicycling across California around the time that I am now scheduled to begin traversing Europe. I put a lot of thought into my decision to skip the AIDS ride this year. My training has been far, far behind schedule and my fundraising efforts even further behind. That, coupled with the cost of the plane tickets being almost half as much to fly out that week prior provided enough reasons for me to postpone the ride until next year, when I can really commit myself to the cause.

A Tradition Continues

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Back in college, I used to work for the Residential Networking department. I would go out to students’ rooms and help them to connect their computers to the campus network and, in some cases, date them. But, that’s beside the point; it was at this job that I met and worked with Erik, Eric, Michael and Nik. I’m not sure where the tradition started - I think Erik (our boss at the time) took us out for a ‘thank you’ dinner once after a particularly busy move-in week or something along those lines. After that, every couple months or so we’d all get together to go out and just catch up with each other. Also part of the tradition was always trying to pick a different and, hopefully, new-to-us restaurant for our meetings. The tradition continued long after we’d all parted ways with the ResNet office, although the dinners became less and less frequent as our lives got busier and busier (cue up “Cats in the Cradle”). Since it had been a good six months since we’d all sat down to eat together, and I wanted to do a get-together with the guys before taking off, I proposed that we meet up last night.

Per Nik’s suggestion, we went to Villa Capri over in the Carmel Valley area. I’d never eaten there before and once dinner was served, I was sorry I hadn’t. I had the Bocconcini di Manzo al Gorgonzola (beef medallions in a Gorgonzola sauce) and, I have to tell you, it was nothing short of amazing. It was, by far, the best steak I’ve had in long time. I think my toes were still curled when I walked back to the car.


Incredible steaks aside, it was great catching up with everyone and without noticing, our dinner turned into a two and a half hour affair (as any good Italian meal should).

Progress Report

Monday, March 05, 2007

Actually managed to be somewhat productive over the past 24 hours:


Solidified some of the Europe timetable with my fellow travelers (Sabina and Po-Ling), including booking a room for the wedding and the travel plans for the two weeks surrounding the ceremony.

Did the requisite research and then picked up and started filling out an application for health insurance.Hopefully it will provide some comfort when I’m being run down by 2000 pounds of angry Spanish bull.

Went by the post office to fill out and submit my passport application, including taking a new picture; incidentally, the woman who took my picture makes the folks at the DMV look like Ansel Adams.

Juan seems to have lost his speech impediment courtesy of my recovered Walkman and we’re making steady progress into Tape 2. ¡Dios Mio!

Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster

Friday, March 02, 2007

Emotionally, it’s been a crazy couple of days. On Wednesday, I was up in Hemet to attend a funeral for the passing of my good friend Corey’s mother. You know someone has done a lot of good in the world when their funeral is well-attended. I can safely say that Corey’s mom definitely left her mark on a lot of people as evidenced by the large crowd that came out as well as the very moving speeches that people made during the ceremony. Corey’s speech was especially touching and I know that he would have made his mother very proud.

Yesterday was my last official day of work; well, technically, Wednesday was, but I did go in for a bit to pick up my last paycheck. As I sit here, now, it’s a very strange feeling to know that I’m truly unemployed.


Last night, I met up with my parents to see George Carlin at the Pala Casino. As we sat down for the show, I couldn’t help but overhear the woman behind us. “Oh, you’ve got to be shittin’ me. Really, you’ve got to be shittin’ me. This is unbelievable!” She continued on her whiney, passive-aggressive tirade, “every time I go anywhere, I get the world’s tallest people sitting in front of me! I guess I’m just going to have to sit on my leg for the whole show…” As I turned around to let her know that she should probably buy front row seats next time if she couldn’t handle having people of average height sit in front of her, my mom piped up and offered to switch seats with my dad (which she had been planning to do regardless since a couple tall people had just sat down in front of her), so we wouldn’t have to listen to this woman’s bitching any longer. Angry Whitetrash Lady (AWL) suddenly tried to be friendly, repeatedly thanking my mom and patting me on the shoulder. Of course, the nicest thing she could have done was to keep it to herself and let us try to enjoy the show.


That wasn’t going to happen. All through the show, AWL is laughing as loud as possible, clapping obnoxiously and shouting words of encouragement, e.g. “you tell ‘em George!” and “ain’t that the truth!”


Annoying people aside, Carlin did put on a good show with all new material. And, given the past 36 hours it felt good to be laughing again.

Copyright 2007, Travis Emmel