Picking up (more-or-less) where I left off:
This Bruce Clay guy. He turned out to be a freakin trip. Yin, Joe, and I sat in this guy's class for about 7.5 hours a day for 5 days. There were about 25 of us in the class. Almost everyone else was sent by their company to "learn SEO" so that the company wouldn't have to pay for a 3rd party service. This was EXACTLY what Bruce anticipated and wanted.
Jen made for a very suitable, if not desirable, secretary and personal assistant. She also claimed she learned new things. That's all fine and dandy. What I really cared about was that she took excellent notes. Her notes are still helping me today! In addition, Yin has become pretty damn proficient with using ole Bruce's trademarked SEO ToolSet!
Just about each one of these five mornings was PRETTY. FREAKIN. ROUGH. and consisted of 4-5 cups of coffee, multi-grain bars, water, sprite, fruit, and a cup of tea. The combination of an acknowledged hangover and anxious reality that you're about to have a whole lot of very valuable information crammed into your head worked as a perfect mix for a very valuable and memorable experience each day of this adventure.
I will never forget some of the people I met in this course. I remember these two people, in particular. I'm having a hard time remembering their names, but we all met in the lobby during the free, unlimited wine and cheese hours the second night after Bruce had finished preaching for the day.
Simi Valley wasn't the most exciting place to hang out at night nor during the day. That's why on the third day we took a trip to Santa Monica and Venice Beach... We drove through the mountains from Simi Valley down to the coast. The drastic and changing scenery was exciting and attractive. Santa Monica was gorgeous and flavorful. I'd never seen such a set up as those houses lined along the Pacific OVER the water and ON the highway. It was not only stunning, but also beautiful. Whoever these architects were did a swell ass job.
Then there were the beaches... These beaches... They were UNREAL. First we saw the freakin pier and what-not near Santa Monica. (That was after we walked the [what seemed to be entire] distance down the beach to get to the pier.) West Coast beaches absolutely lived up to their reputations.
After that we drove up to that Venice Beach area and (I at least) had a hell of an experience. The people there were like nothing else, literally. I did not understand how they survived on a weekly basis! It was incredible to see these sorts of people just "living" there like that's about all there was to live for. It was straight up creepy to be honest with you. A few times I remember asking Joe what the deal was with the whole scene. He said it'd been that way for 30 years. I had no more words, but fully enjoyed the experience, no doubt.