So Brian kept telling me about the greatest Christmas present he had for me but gave no other details other than all I would need was an extra hour to spare. As it turned out I was so busy over Winter break that it took nearly a month for me to find out the surprise.

Since Brian and I had plans on a Saturday night I picked him up early so I could finally find out what the present was. His only instruction: Drive down Valley Blvd. That, in itself, made me nervous; nothing good happens on Valley Blvd.

After driving though Arcadia, El Monte and Rosemead Brian suddenly admitted he didn't exactly know the location of the place we were visiting. Evidently he had heard about this place through the grapevine but didn't get an address. Great. He had me drive about 25 mph down Valley as he was scanning the buildings. Finally he had me turn left on Gladys Ave in San Gabriel. After parking Brian got nervous and had me park on the opposite side of the street for better "getaway". Now I was nervous. We had a clear view of a building that we were apparently going to patronize but I still had no idea what the dealio was.

When we saw someone at the backdoor, Brian finally fessed up: we were getting massages. And not just normal massages but...

...foot massages! And not just normal foot massages but $15 foot massages! And not just $15 foot massages but hour-long $15 foot massages! Note the look of trepidation on Brian. Before we went in we agreed on a buddy system: we wouldn't allow them to separate us so that no "funny business" occurred. Yes, while sitting in the car we discussed the reputation of these types of places and realized this could go terribly wrong. This is one time a "happy ending" would not be. But life is an adventure, so... we went. Immediately inside there were about 20 massage couches with probably half being used by men and women. So far, so good. When Brian told the older Asian woman at the desk that we were there for the $15 foot massage she smiled and led us down a hallway, away from the crowd. Uh oh. She took us around a wall partition to an area with only three reclining chairs. We sat there by ourselves for about 20 minutes, wondering at times if they had forgotten about us. But because we could see people walking back and forth (and also because we were together) I wasn't nervous.

Eventually they brought buckets of warm water in which we were to soak our feet. Then came the fun part. This 40-something Asian woman came in, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She looked at Brian, then at me, then back at Brian. As if she had made a decision she moved to Brian and started to work on him. I was thinking, "WTF?!" Did I have something in my teeth, or something? So I sat there for the next ten minutes watching Brian first get a scalp and face massage, then have his feet worked on. I'm then wondering if I have to watch this for the next hour until she finishes Brian. Just as I'm getting ready to call bullshit, the hottest Asian girl in her early 20s walks in. She was dressed in one of those traditional Asian silk dresses, except her skirt was a few inches above her knee. I instantly looked over at Brian and was met with the bitterest look. I guess patience really is a virtue.

When all was said and done we had our feet, legs, arms, back, butt (over pants, of course) head and face massaged. We were even given tea afterward during the relaxation period. I began to think maybe the woman misunderstood Brian at the beginning and ordered us the deluxe massage. When we were leaving the lady said $15. Word up.

Best $15 experience ever.

Then we headed to Echo Park for the main event.

After parking the Prius on the sketchy streets of Echo Park I gave it a goodbye hug in case I never saw it again.

The main event? Derby Dolls Roller Derby, son!

Check out Kelly Kaboom of the Flight Crew.

Full body shot. This girl could kick my ass.

Check out G4's segment on the Derby Dolls.

We watched them warm up.

The Flight Crew skated by.

Cokkie Monster? WTF?

A hot version of Cookie Monster, but still, WTF?

I have no idea.

And they were off.

And they were off again.

These ladies are quick.

Derby Dolls wave.

I couldn't get too close to take pictures because of a safe zone called "the pink".

Checking the scorecard.

Love the disco skate hanging over the rink.

They have the wittiest names like Laguna Beyatch and Axles of Evil.

Even the referees had names like Oliver Clothesoff.

We left to find food because we were starving. We ended up in South Pasadena at Gus's BBQ.

But they were closed. As was everything else in this damn hick town by Midnight.

So we ended up down at Twoee's.

Brian has a delicious burger.

I finished off a great night with a dark chocolate sundae.