Terrence Chan

follow me as I play poker and look for new ways to get punched in the face

Entries by tag: california

SoCal bound
My drive south begins tomorrow morning, stopping for lunch in Seattle and for the evening in Portland to visit a friend briefly. After a night or two in Portland I will drive south, crash at the Griffins' and start researching gyms while getting ready for no-gi Worlds. I'm getting very close to being on weight for Worlds but I'll still need to settle in and get my diet right in the new environment.

While I haven't decided yet where I'll be staying, I'll continue to check out gyms and neighbourhoods to see what's a match for me. I will say that I am leaning towards Belmont Shore in Long Beach since that seems to get positive reviews from everything I've looked at.

I'm also considering attending this seminar in Fort Bragg, CA. Fort Bragg is significantly out of the way and adds quite a bit to drive time, and I would basically have to leave Portland on Friday to realistically get there for a Saturday morning seminar. But on the other hand, I've heard nothing but great things about Gokor Chivichyan (famously known for turning out guys like Karo Parisyan, Manny Gamburyan, Karen Darabedyan and other dudes with very Armenian sounding names and nasty leglocks). And even my friend in Portland admitted "Armenian-style barbecue" certainly sounds like a winner.

Either way I'm probably arriving in SoCal on Hallowe'en night or the day after, and then I start gym/neighbourhood/apartment searching. No-gi worlds are on the 7th, and who knows, maybe I'll even play the NAPT the following week.

southern California info plz
I am considering 1-2 months living and training in LA, Orange County, or San Diego. The problem is that I really know very little about these places, and even less about their constituent neighbourhoods. Maybe you, loyal reader, can educate me in the comments?

My hobbies include eating out, and not getting carjacked.

Wow, what a week!
Well, a whole lot has happened since I last updated. It's barely been a week, but since then, I:

Competed in Grappler's Quest, losing in the first round of the bantamweight blue belt division by armbar. I was stupid in almost every aspect of this fight that one can be stupid in. He pulled guard right away and I felt good on top, dodging his sweeps and sub attempts. I had an opportunity to pass, but was too conservative. Finally he pulled me back down and latched on a super-quick armbar. As soon as he put on this armbar I totally panicked and forgot every armbar escape and just got owned like some 2-month white belt. Yet at the same time that I was failing to offer any intelligent escape, I was cognizant of the fact that I *could* escape, and refused to tap, while I thought of a way out. Unfortunately, since I had a dude basically deadlifting my forearm and separating it from my elbow while I was thinking of an escape, my elbow made some popping and snapping noises, and the referee stopped the fight. The guy who beat me ultimately ended up winning the division; I was unable to compete in my 3rd-place match.

I was in a lot of pain that day, and it was suggested more than once that I see a doctor, but there was no way I was giving up corporate box seats to UFC 100. I iced my arm, got Gavin to wrap it up, popped some Tylenol and head out to the fights. And thank god. This was truly a card that lived up to the hype. Those who just saw it on PPV probably didn't realize the first two fights of the night but ended with guillotine chokes which put the opponent to sleep (must have been something in the Vegas water that prevented people from tapping on Saturday). The first of those chokes was a mounted guillotine and Matt Grice, still trying to escape the choke, suddenly passed out and went limp right into the corpse/snow angel position. It was awesome. Hendo's amazing KO-of-the-year against Bisping had me jumping up like a schoolgirl. There was the great Danzig/Miller fight, the crowd going nuts for Coleman, a vintage performance by GSP and -- of course -- the first ever Buffer 360!

The UFC event -- and the subsequent nightclub outing to Pure -- was a great last night in Vegas. On Sunday morning, Gavin, Kristen and I led two Brit girls in Vegas (Louise from PokerStars and Francine from Sunset and Vine [the TV company that does the EPT]) on a 3-car convoy to their place in Orange County. Louise, Francine and I did Disneyland together on Monday. I hadn't been to Disneyland since I was about 12, and it was the first time for the two very giddy girls. On Tuesday, I met up with Laren at Venice Beach, near her new apartment, and got caught up with her.

Wednesday and Thursday were dedicated to the trip up the I-5 to Vancouver, and it was smooth sailing most of the way until Seattle. The 50-mile stretch between Lakewood, WA and Shoreline, WA took over three hours -- just as long as it took me to drive through nearly the entire state of Oregon earlier in the day.

Of course, I return exhausted on Thursday night, only to have Mike Johnson's bachelor party up in Whistler on Friday night. Diligent readers may recall I already mentioned MJ's bachelor party in a previous post a couple of weeks ago; that of course was his Vegas bachelor party, the mere warmup to the ridiculous depravity that ensued this weekend. Again, I am bound by guy code to keep things private, but I will say that I woke up to some, um, noises at 5:30 AM, the perpetrators of which were still unknown as of 10 AM this morning. Hrm.

After all that, I crashed really hard this afternoon. But no rest for me: tomorrow, I begin filming a poker show for PokerStars. Whew! I hate to sound like a jackass, but I seriously need a vacation from my vacations...

Days 4-5: West Hollywood to Northern California
Just some quick highlights here.

Tuesday AM: Woke up, got ass beaten at BJJ, as per expectation. Found out that at HBJJ they do actual wrestling in addition to BJJ, which is a good thing unless (or especially if) you suck as hard at wrestling as I do. Got a lot of help from angrygrappler. Failed to score an offensive point in sparring on anyone who wasn't a total newb. angrygrappler tapped me like I owed him money.

Tuesday PM: Drove the very scenic drive up 101 to Santa Barbara airport to pick up Yana. Had beach dinner, took pictures, etc. Continued driving up 101 until arrival in San Francisco. Pulled into a Holiday Inn. Sorry, sold out. Went to GPS and started phoning nearby hotels. Everyone sold out. Went to the Holiday Inn lobby, asked check-in desk lady if she could give me internet access code for my laptop so I could search Tripadvisor for available rooms.

Clerk: "Sorry, no."
Me: "You don't have it?"
Clerk: "You're not a guest here, I can't give you the access code."
Me: "Thanks."

Dialed over 20 more nearby hotels on the GPS before giving up and driving back towards SFO airport where we assumed they must have hotel rooms. Nada. Fail, repeat, fail. Yana asked one of the clerks who said no where we might find a room. "Oakland" was the response. So we drove over to Oakland. Success! Beautiful room for $170/night at the Executive Inn and Suites.

Wednesday: Drove back to San Francisco. Crab crepes at Pier 39. Found out Alcatraz was sold out until next Tuesday! Wasn't like that when I last visited this city ten years ago. Went on WW2 submarine. Yana slightly claustrophobic. Went to turn-of-the-century fair type thing with crazy coin-operated games that were actually really cool (think test-your-strength, fortune teller, mechanical pianos, that kind of thing). Yana wanted to walk from where we were to the Golden Gate Bridge, walk across, and walk back. Got partway to the bridge before I decided she is insane and overruled the rest of the plan. Abruptly cut short the 19 km walk in favour of coffee. Called evwhore who met us for steak dinners. Drove across the Golden Gate to Boca Steak, before continuing up the 101.

101 is a more challenging night time drive than I recall it being, since I now lack the hubris and invincibility of my 20-year-old self. Driving in the dark on this windy road is tough, and you miss out on the scenery besides. Stopped driving relatively early -- midnight -- in a place called Garberville in California, 70 miles before Eureka and about 170 miles to the Oregon border.

Today: Driving through the redwood forest, along the Oregon coast for a bit, and then back to Vancouver.

Days 2 and 3: West Hollywood, CA
Thanks to everyone out in Orange County who offered to meet up with me or hang out. Unfortunately I didn't see any of your comments or e-mails until after I started driving out to West Hollywood, where I am now.

I ended up getting a Garmin Nuvi 260 GPS, which is solid and easy-to-use, if unspectacular (no bluetooth or fancy stuff). It has made navigating the LA freeway system a snap, and has already paid for itself as far as I'm concerned.

Got in around 7 PM. Warren went to bed at 10 PM, so I was in bed (air mattress, actually) by 11. As a result I woke up at the ghastly hour of 5:30 AM. It's a bad sign when you wake up so early that you have stand outside the local Starbucks waiting for it to open.

Trained on Monday morning where Warren is teaching now, Hollywood BJJ. The school is owned and run by Renzo Gracie black belt Shawn Williams and actor Sean Patrick Flanery. The "beginner" class was loaded with blue and purple belts. Today I'll be doing the no-gi intermediate class, so I'll definitely be taking my medicine.

After class I hit In N Out (now five times lifetime, for those scoring at home) and drove down to Seal Beach to see Laren. We saw Wall-E (well recommended and cute, if a bit slow to start), ate a late dinner, and talked about life without one another, which seems to be going well enough for both of us.

Yana has finished her first weekend in pro pokerdom, and changed her flight out of Las Vegas from a return to Vancouver in favour of a trip to Santa Barbara Airport where we will drive up the 101 towards San Francisco. She expressed a strong desire to do touristy things in San Francisco, as she's never been, and since I haven't been either in almost 10 years, I'll be happy to comply.

Here's a picture from Las Vegas of my odometer hitting a perfectly reversible palindrome (thanks to Hoss for pointing this out a few days ago):

Driving home from Vegas, Day 1
I'm in Orange County, California at Gavin and Kristen's house. I left Las Vegas at 4:30 AM last night, which was the product of some poor planning. I had promised Gavin and Kristen I would take them to a BJJ gym near their place in Orange County to check it out with them. But I had also promised to meet up and chat with Yana, a friend of chrisdanek, who had impulsively decided to quit her job a few days ago to play live poker and wanted some words of wisdom to start her journey. Yana's flight into Vegas arrived at 10 PM, and weekend BJJ classes are usually in the morning. Throw in a drink at the Palms which turned into an NL headsup challenge at the house, and the end result is a long, boring drive at the tail end of being awake for 22 hours.

When I arrived at Baker, CA (approximately the one-third mark from Vegas to LA) it was 5:30 AM and I was already having trouble staying awake at the wheel. At that point I planned to make it to Barstow (approximately halfway) and crash a couple hours in a cheap motel. By the time I got to Barstow, I was feeling slightly better and pulled into a Starbucks to caffeinate myself. Unfortunately, caffeine doesn't seem to have much of an effect on me beyond placebo, and about 30 minutes after that I was tired again.

But once I got into the greater Los Angeles area around 7 AM, I got my second wind. The change of scenery and increased traffic sharpened my senses and I was able to get to Gavin's house easily. Once there I looked online with Gavin for schools and found a place with a 1 PM class. I took a 3-hour nap where I was out before my head hit the pillow.

We then went to the BJJ class at OC Kickboxing in Irvine. This place seemed interesting because they seemed to run a beginner and intermediate class simultaneously, and both are run by a black belt. On 3 hours of sleep, I found the class exhausting. In another moment of sleep deprivation foolishness, I stupidly left my gi there, and will have to go back and get it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I'm also going to go to Best Buy to get a GPS, but other than that I don't have much to do. I might meet laren if she's available, but she prefers Monday. For my part I've already told my old BJJ instructor Warren that I will be training with him on Monday, but I'm sure we'll work it out.

Probably back in Vancouver on Friday.

Western USA -- Day 5, LA to Vegas
Dan and I are in Las Vegas. He was annoyed that in all the hours we drove in California, not once did we manage to play "California Love" (Tupac/Dr. Dre) on my iPod.

We didn't end up leaving until this afternoon since I wasn't able to contact blakwngbrd last night. So we met up with Warren and saw the new BJJ movie "Redbelt". I can't really say it was disappointing simply because I didn't have high expectations. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. I started getting into it in the second act, but the third act just blew the doors off any semblance of plausibility and cohesiveness for me.

So this morning after breakfast at The Griddle Cafe (same story: good food, too much of it) we started out. I love LA freeway drivers. Traffic on the freeway in LA moves so much faster than similar amounts of traffic on the freeway in other cities. We're cruising along at 80 mph or so with a decent amount of traffic, and I'm just thinking that the equivalent amount of traffic in other big cities we'd be driving at least 30% slower. It's beautiful.

Anyway, we arrive in Vegas and both fall asleep on different couches in Dan Goldman's house. Bree invites us over because her roommate Bailey is making nachos, burritos and so forth for Cinco de Mayo. Great food, ate too much, this is a recording. Back at the house now with plans to train at Cobra Kai Jiu Jitsu, one of the biggest and most well-respected schools in all of the US. We'll be bringing Bailey, a former tae kwon do world champion, to his second BJJ class. He is prepared to be humbled (having already been to one class), and so am I, because the people who train there are damn good.

Western USA, Day 4
Our $100 match went down today. Shawn Williams was our special guest referee. We ended up only doing eight minutes, but with heelhooks and toeholds included (not that either of us are leglock guys). I was a bit disappointed from the move down from ten minutes to eight because I have a pretty solid cardio advantage, but I was still confident I would win.

I didn't though. Dan was up a bunch of points and with 2:30 remaining I knew I would need a submission. Dan was in side control and I started to just desperately try to move so that he couldn't stall out the remaining time. At some point I left my arm behind and Dan locked up a kimura to win with 45 seconds left. I think even in a 10-minute match he would have won, but I probably wouldn't have started scrambling so soon. As in all sports, if you're down with time running out, you have to start doing desperate lower-percentage things.

Immediately after the match, Dan was awarded his blue belt from Shawn. Can't believe he earned a blue belt off my back. Fucker.

Of somewhat more significance, actor Sean Patrick Flannery was awarded his black belt. He was very surprised and emotional and it made for a great moment.

We then went to the Saddle Ranch for food at 5 PM, despite this rather concerning warning:

Again I ate way too much food. I think Dan is a bad influence because I never eat this much. For appetizers we each got a "cup" of chili and mini-hamburgers. Here's a visual representation:

Yes, those are the appetizers, as in food that arrives before one's main course. The bowl on the near side with the tortilla chips in it was the chili bowl. Obviously we both ordered steaks and sides as well so now we're disgustingly full again. Really going to stop doing that.

Still might head out tonight; might head out tomorrow morning. Probably depends on our digestive processes and what our friends in town are up to.

Western USA trip, Day 3
Today was our first day not spent traveling. I'm quite tired and Dan's already in bed, so I'm going to fire this off quickly.

BJJ (gi) seminar with John Danaher was great. Everyone agrees Danaher is one of the most cerebral and intelligent people to ever don a jiujitsu gi. He was quite clearly made to analyze and think about BJJ, and teach it to people. No-gi is tomorrow.

Dan and I will be having a grappling match tomorrow for $100. We haven't rolled in over a year, when I last left Costa Rica. We're doing one 10-minute round, no heelhooks or toeholds, standard BJJ points scoring to break ties in the event of time expiring without a submission. Our old coach Warren will referee. Readers may feel free to make side bets in the comments. Dan weighs 80 pounds more than me and started BJJ before I did, but I feel good. (Originally I was offered a 1-point handicap, but Warren overruled this idea.)

After that, Dan took me to Jerry's Famous Deli. I had some of the most amazing hummus (+8) I've ever had for an intro and a gigantic pastrami and corned beef sandwich (+4). That was at 4pm. It's 1am now and I haven't eaten anything yet and I'm still full. I was once again uncomfortably full. Dan actually ate two sandwiches.

We then went to a call outdoor mall, The Grove. After walking around for a bit we went to see the new Harold and Kumar movie with Warren. Yes, it's true; it is not as good as the original. But that's a high bar to set. It was still a funny movie and worth seeing.

Back at the hotel, we realized that the seminar tomorrow will run until 3pm, so if we want to shower, we have to book the hotel for another night. We may or may not stay in the hotel tomorrow night. It's unclear whether we'll get to Vegas tomorrow evening or Monday morning.

We haven't taken any pictures yet. We suck.

So, trip is going awesome. I'm off to bed, astonished that I still am not hungry in the slightest.

in Hollywood
Dan and I are in (West) Hollywood (da na na na na na...Hollywood). I'm exhausted from the trip. Dan is more excited than exhausted.

We have a 3-hour BJJ seminar in the morning. Whee!

You are viewing terrencechan