Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Pearl Jammers at the Fleet Centah

Last night for the fourth, or fifth time, I saw Eddie and the boys play live. Like all of the other times I've seen them, it was completely awesome. They really put on a great, great show. They play some of their new stuff, but still bust out their hits.

Some sights and sounds, before I list the set list:

- Brownie and I sat in the upper bowl, an appropriate name for the amount of pot being smoked, so while we were a little bit farther away that I'd like to be, we still got a great view. One of the views was during the song "Once" everyone on the floor were throwing their left fist up in unison. Brownie and I looked at each other and said, "Damn, that looks like a Hitler youth rally."

- For some reason actor Tim Robbins came on stage during the second encore and sang a song with the band. Don't ask me how he did because with three guitarists, a bass player, a drummer and a keyboardist, not to mention a lead singer, Robbins' voice was lost. I never thought I'd see Nuke LaLuche sing ... I wonder what kind of underwear he was wore?

- I am officially old. A joint was being passed around and it came to me, I let it go by. Brownie the same thing. I asked him, "How come you didn't smoke?" He said that he had work the next day. He asked me the same question, "I have a lot of work too, and I have to get up early." I doubt that would've happened ten years ago.

- There weren't a lot of empty seats last night. And from what I hear, there wasn't a lot on Tuesday either. Many people have counted this band out as a dinosaur, a relic of a flanneled past, but I'll tell you this, there were a lot of college and high school kids there. Pearl Jam could easily pull a Grateful Dead and not record a studio album ever again and just tour off their old stuff.

- They played a song called "Alone" last night that they haven't played since 1994. That was pretty cool. They also played five and a half covers. Aside from a bar band, I don't think I've ever seen something like that.

- Eddie and his friend Jason were there last night too. Jason seemed like a cool guy, Brownie and I grabbed a beer with them at the Beer Works then went to the old Canal Street bar (it's called something else) and had a beer with our old roommate Mark. Good guy, that Mark, we were trading engagement worry stories. I don't see him too much, which is a shame. He was a good roommate.

Here is the set list:

Ed Pre-Set:
I Am A Patriot

Main Set:
Go, Animal, Do the Evolution, Save You, The American In Me, Immortality, Wishlist w/tag, Grievance, Alone, Present Tense, Corduroy, I Believe In Miracles, Once

Enc 1: (Acoustic Set)
Lukin (acoustic), Off He Goes, Man Of The Hour, Parting Ways, Black

Enc 2:
The Seeker (The Who), Daughter/(War), Glorified G, Lion's Share (The Germs), The New World (X),

Enc 3:
I've Got A Feeling (Beatles), Rockin' In The Free World

I didn't see Ed's set. Sucks because I love that tune.

Usually on Thursday nights, I go home to Amesbury and watch Survivor with my mom. For the last five years it's been our little ritual. She usually makes dinner, I offer my pithy opinions, we talk about the people we took in the pool and I tell what I'm going to write in my Friday wrap-up, etc. It was pretty fun. Not this year. It's not my mom, she's still really cool. It's Survivor.

To say it's boring is an afront to boring people. For one thing it is split into men vs. women. We've done that before. There is an equal amount of "pretty" young people vs. "ugly" old people, which is where the tribal lines are drawn. Seen that before. And every other minute it's a new argument. The debate is always between two mental midgets about something incredibly ridiculous. Yeah, I liked that show better when it was called The Real World.

Here is why Survivor worked in the past, yes, there were arugments, all good reality shows use arguments as their corner stones, but they don't make their homes out of arguments. There just weren't that many and when there were, they usually meant something pretty big. They meant something. Fighting just to fight is worthless, it's just words.

One of the worst parts of Survivor are the Jordan's furniture commercials. These two clowns are just fucking terrible. They've been recycling the same jokes over and over again, "I wish they'd vote YOU off the island. Har, har, har." "Could you survive a desert island? I can barely survive the Big Dig!"

SHUT UP! For the last two years area furniture companies have been inindating us with "local celebrities" like these Jordan assholes, Bob and his hot little blonde, and the twin hellspawn demons, Bernie and Phyl. These two down-home, country fried, small town New England bumpkins have been driving me up a wall with their terrible over acting, oat-meal thick New England accents and low quality commercials.

Bernie, who I think is the guy -- they rarely ever address each other, makes Celtics broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn sound like Winston Churchill. It used to be that car commercials drove me nuts, now it's furniture commercials. As God as my witness, I will never by furniture ... ever!

So dad and I have been making plans for our trip next summer. We have one last Hall of Fame to go to, the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. So far, we've planned that we're going to fly into Cleveland, catch an Indians game (hopefully, the Cincinnati/Cleveland tilt) then hit the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, before going to Canton.

I'm really looking forward to it. In 94, my dad and I went to Toronto and caught the Blue Jays and the Hockey Hall of Fame. I had a good time, but I don't think I really appreciated it as much as I should have. For one thing, I was still in college and was into my own thing. I didn't really get to connect with my dad as much as I should have. I'm looking forward to doing that with him next year. Especially considereing I'm geting married next year and won't really have too many opportunites to do this again.

Jay might be coming too, which would be fun. He's not too keen on flying out there, but maybe we can hit over the head with a hammer before we go on the plane.

Speaking of going places Ellie, Keri and Kristen are going to Florida in two weeks. Mom wanted to take Aly and go along with them. Ellie said no because mom never invited her to the Murray/Magrane Christmas events. I guess payback is a bitch. I'm sure they'll go the next time they all go. Ellie can't hold a grudge that long.

I think my mom is really pumped to have a daughter.

I forgot to tell this story, I'm sitting at my desk and out of the corner of my eye I see something racing behind the radio. It was a fucking mouse. I have a mouse in my house, which has caused me to rhyme all the time. I'm going to have to kill that stupid thing. Maybe I'll get a rat trap and snap that fucker's neck. I don't like rodents.

BTW, this may be my last Blog for a week or so. I'm going to Miami on Sunday for a conference until Wednesday. I'm sort of looking forward to it, but I like being home and sticking to my schedule. I'm also going with two people that I don't know very well. It would be a lot cooler if I was better friends with them. Maybe I'll find out that they're cool while we're down there.

The one thing that blows is that the Sox begin the playoffs on Tuesday and play on Wednesday, I better be able to see those games.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Honeycomb's big ... yeah, yeah, yeah

It's not small. No, no, no.

Don't ask me why I have that stupid song in my head. Ok, I'll tell you, there is this web site that I visit once every six months or so, where this kid posts a lot of different essays about 1980s and 90s pop culture. One of the cooler things he has on his site is a bunch of commercials from that time. I checked out the Honeycomb one with Andre the Giant. I've been singing it for about two hours.

If you want this craptastic song in your head, go to:

I forgot to tell you something interesting that happened on Friday morning. I had to go and get a bunch of stuff for work, so I left work at around 10 or so and took a ride into Salem. On my way back I got rear-ended by a Salem State student. It sounded pretty harsh, and I was pissed. When I got out of the car, I looked at the bumper and it wasn't too bad.

However, I still want to get it checked out and unfortunately I haven't had a chance to bring it to the garage. Hopefully, they can just buff it out, because it isn't that bad, but it does have the potential to chip and that would suck if I had to get a whole new bumper in a year because of this.

The Sox clinched a playoff spot last night. This means the next two weeks are going to be hell for most citizens of the commonwealth. Last year was insane, especially when the Sox faced the Yanks. For ten days, that's all anyone talked about. It was like those huge colleges in the Midwest, where the only thing people talk about is how the State U pigskin team did that week. Except it was every single night.

When they lost the way they did, I was in a deep funk for three days ... everyone was. That Friday after Game Seven was horrific. I don't think anyone did any real work. And speech was nonexistent. Just grunting and bleary eyes. I would guarantee that it was the worst night of the year for area bars.

But, this is a new year, and hopefully a different outcome.

I may have found someone to go to Public Enemy/Living Colour with me: my brother. The thing that sort of sucks about that day is that I'm going to the Pats/Seahawks game earlier in the day. I hope I can get back from the game in time to see the show. Jay thinks I'll be able to.

Speaking of concerts, tomorrow night is Pearl Jam. I am so pumped for this, I can not wait. Tonight on WBCN, they played the entire July 2, 2003 show from Great Woods. I can't remember if I was at that show or not. I know I was at one of them. I have a very strong suspicion that I was ... but I'm too damn lazy to find my ticket.

I was emailing Julie Kelliher earlier today and she was telling me that she reads my Blog daily. Apparently she knows Aly's friend Jeff. She has a friend from Franklin who actually dated Jeff before he went to Japan and met him a few times. Also, her husband Tom lives near that restaurant that we saw Joe Torre in, Frankie and Johnnies. She has gone there a couple of times, but has never seen the Nose.

I have not been into Survivor at all this season. Usually I run a pool and come out with a lengthy recap every Friday afternoon. This year, I'm not doing it. I was going to, but for some reason I just don't feel like it. I watched the first episode two weeks ago and it was just sort of lame. I have last week's TiVoed, but I'm not even sure if I'm going to watch that one.

I think that the show peaked with the All-Star cast. Maybe I'll give it another shot this Thursday.

Yesterday, I started doing something kind of dopey, but it should help me someday. Right next to my driver's seat I keep a mini-cassette recorder. Whenever I have an idea for my comic strip, I say it into the recorder. So far, I have 21 different ideas. Not too shabby. Now, I just have to find the time to draw them. That's the trick.

Drew gave me one of those Livestrong yellow bracelets. Basically they're yellow rubber bands that cost a dollar. The proceeds go to fight cancer, and are named after cyclist and testicular cancer beater Lance Armstrong. I mentioned to him on Friday that I thought his looked cool and that I like one. He put one under my door yesterday and emailed me saying that it wasn't "a fashion statement, but this is something he sincerely believes in."

I think Drew's mom passed away from cancer two years ago. It sounded pretty crass when I said that on Friday night, but I assured him that I wasn't wearing it because it was trendy, I told him about Aly's mom having cancer ten year's ago and my mom had Hodgkin's, so it has affected two people that I love too. I'm glad that I have it, it reminds me of those two people when I look at my right wrist.

Eddie may be having a party next week, so that should be pretty cool. I should spread the word. After I get off the phone with Aly, I think I'm going to drop my resume off at Harvard. Hopefully, I'll hear something soon. Talk to you on Thursday.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Ugh. The Sox

Wednesday night, Brownie called. "I have a proposition for ya, By." I was intrigued, "Go ahead."

"You give me a Pearl Jam ticket, and I'll give you a Sox ticket, some beer and a few dogs."


The Sox played the-thorn-in-thier-sides Baltimore Orioles. I haven't really had a bad word to say about Sox manager Tito Francona, but during these last few days, he has really sucked. I mean, Grady Little bad in terms of his bullpen management. Let's start with Thursday night, the Sox were tied with the O's 5-5, going into the fifth. Derek Lowe pitched kind of crappy and it was time for the bullpen.

He brings in Terry Adams, who pitches two no-hit innings. Good job. Then he brings in Ramiro Mendoza. He shits the bed getting no one out so Mike Myers comes in, loads the bases but gets two outs. Up comes a .186 pinch hitter, something Leon. He gets a hit. Two runs score. So, the Sox are trailing by two going into the eight, they go down one, two, three.

I guess Tito thinks that a major league game is over after the eighth, because he brings in Byung Hung Kim. He gets two quick outs and then explodes to give up two more. Of course, the Sox score two in the top of the ninth with David Ortiz hits a bomb that was about 15 feet away from going out. So the Sox lost the game and a game on the Yanks.

Two things about this game: people were completely pissed off at BH Kim. I have no idea why. Was it because he sucked at the beginning of the year? Was it because he flipped the crowd off last year? I don't know, but it was pretty freaking obnoxious. You have to cheer for your home team, unless they completely do something stupid. And being an asshole just to be an asshole doesn't make you a good or intelligent fan. It makes you a knee-jerk moron.

The other thing is that there is no other thing. I have no idea why I wrote that and since I'm on Sara's Apple laptop, editing things is a pain in the ass.

I asked Brownie to be a groomsman. He wanted to know what he had to do. I'm not sure if he's ever been in a wedding before, so I had to tell him what he had to do: give me two hours between and now next year for a tux fitting, walk people down the aisle and make sure that I don't run out of the church. He said that he could handle that. So, after the game I walked to Aly's place. It was a beautiful night, and a pretty nice walk, a little over a half hour to walk a mile and a half. Walking those roads from Fenway to Brookline made me think that I would love to live in Brookline Village and work somewhere in town.

Friday night, Aly and I met Skaus and Nick (and a few of their friends) at T's Pub on Commonwealth. Big game friday night. Huge game. The Yanks were in town, Pedro was on the hill and the Sox and Yanks were in a pennant race. The Sox were winning until the eighth when Tito decided to pull a Grady Little and leave him in the eighth inning, though he was well over 100 pitches. Bad move, a homer by Matsui and two more runs left the Sox in a 6-4 going into the ninth. Despite putting the tying run on first twice, the Sox couldn't do anything against Mariano Rivera.

What is the old cliche? "Those that don't study the pass are doomed to repeat it." Seriously, this was almost a carbon copy of Game Seven (except that last year was in Yankee Stadium). He is supposed to be a "numbers" manager and he does this? Unbelievable. On Thursday night, I didn't really blame him, a playoff-bound reliever should be able to get out a .186 pinch hitter. But this? This is entirely something different. For an entire year people were talking about Game Seven, and while the stakes weren't as high, he still screwed it up. This does instill confidence. Even Eddie was on the edge, he posted for the first time on with a scathing rant against Tito.

No one ever said it's easy being a Sox fan. The good thing about baseball is that there is another game tonight. If they win, most will be forgiven. Incidently, my parents are at tonight's game with their friends, sitting 11 rows from the field. What the fuck?

Two interesting things happened during the game. One, Aly's friend from High School, Jeff came up to visit. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, has led an interesting life. He lived in Japan for five years, teaching Japanese students how to speak English. He then moved to Los Angeles for a few years. He told us that he hated it, people were extremely mean, in-your-face and just too insane. He decided to come home because he missed Massachusetts. I liked him and I hope we see him again soon.

Ryan and Mike went to the game last night and as they were waiting in traffic a few Yankee fans started with them. Ryan threw a Coke can in one of their faces. They started to chase them. BANG! A Heineken battle spider-webbed their rear window. BANG! A Heineken bottle smashed through their rear window. The Yankee fans continued their chase, but never caught them. Ryan and Mike came over after the game, and Ryan didn't look too good. I think he knows that a line was crossed.

Today we didn't do much. Aly and I had to go and visit the priest for our compatability test, there was the typical questions on their. Only there was 156 of them. Afterwards we spoke about it and we seemed to be in agreement on the answers we put down. Then we watched movies. Saw a terrible movie, "50 First Dates". Not only was it a stupid story about a woman who gets amnesia every day, but Adam Sandler put in a shot against the Sox. Fuck him. That was a shit thing to do. Adam Sandler is one of my least favorite "actors" now. He can just suck it.

BTW, I was reading the Boston Phoenix today and it looks as if Public Enemy and Living Colour are playing a double bill next month at Avalon. I have to find someone to go with me. That is an awesome show.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Odds and Ends

Today I didn't go to work. I had to go to the doctor's, I think I may have written this before, my doctor thinks that I have Grave's Disease. It sounds a lot worse than it really is, basically my pituitary gland is shutting down sending signals asking for more hormones in my thyroid. So basically, my thyroid is getting a shit load of hormones and making my throat swollen.

There are a lot of symptoms for this, none of which I have: losing weight, losing hair (bad genes, more than hypothyroid), shaking hands, etc. So, today I had to go to the nuclear medicine wing of the Anna Jacques hospital and take a few radiation pills in the morning and then have an MRI type x-ray in the afternoon. Took a total of 25-30 minutes. Because of that, I didn't go to work.

I forgot to tell you, on Friday I sent my sitcom script into Bravo in California. It should be there by now. Hopefully, I'll hear something soon. It would be pretty sweet if I got good news.

I've been reading this Blog and I've noticed that I've been pretty much writing a journal about what I've been doing in my life. Really, who gives a shit? I should be writing about what's going on in pop culture and sports and shit like that.

Tonight, the Sox won. Finally. They dropped three straight and looked like complete shit. Curt Schilling pitched a hell of a game tonight, striking out 12 Orioles. The Sox were leading 1-0 with two outs, two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. Baltimore had the tying run on second when Javy Lopez nailed a dinger off of Foulke.

The Sox go into the bottom of the ninth and put men on second and third. There are two outs, and the human K machine, Mark Belhorn is up. For some stupid reason O's manager Lee Mazilli decides to take BJ Ryan, who is throwing gas, out and brings in Jorge Julio. Julio promptly gives up a two-run double. Game over. The Sox win. Mazilli is so far above his head, it's not even funny. I doubt that he's going to last until November.

I'm watching "NYPD Blue" with my brother. He really digs this show, and I've never really seen it before. It's good. Mark-Paul Gosselar is the young cop to Sipowitz' grizzled veteran, and you know what? He does a pretty good job. Makes you completely forget that he was once Zack Morris.

Speaking of which, I saw that show (Saved By the Bell) for the first time in a long time the other day. That show is fucking terrible, but it was always enjoyable. I don't know why I liked it so much. The acting was terrible and the plots were cliche ridden monkey-typed script. I guess the main reason was two-fold: hot chicks and predicatble stories. You didn't have to think while watching SBTB.

In the first act Zack was going to get a scheme going. Second act, Screech fucks it up, getting Mr. Belding into the plot, third act everything wraps up pretty nicely. Stupid show, but very entertaining.

Monday, September 20, 2004

A weekend in the toilet

I've had a busy couple of days, so I'll try to fill you in on the details.

Nothing really happened on Wednesday or Thursday, but Friday was a different story. Had to work, of course, but after that, I picked Aly and my mother at Ryan's parents' house for our trip to New York. We were staying at Danna and Rick's, while mom was going to Cousin Kathy's in Mt. Vernon. The ride out there sucked. My mother wanted to drive and she drove all right, slowly. It took us five hours to get there.

And then we got lost in Mt. Vernon in one of the worst slums I've ever seen. We almost get nailed by a white Escalade that was peeling away from a corner. We guessed it was a drug deal, and we were probably right. So, I haven't seen Kathy in a while, and she was really psyched to see me and was really pumped to meet Aly.

After we dropped mom off, we went to Danna and Rick's. We ended up drinking until 3:00 am. After five hours in a car, I needed more than one beer. They also busted out the champagne.

On Saturday, Aly and I went to have brunch with Mom and Kathy. We went to a diner in Mt. Vernon and Kathy gave us a really nice engagement gift. Way too generous. Aly and I were both speechless. After that we went to White Plains where I crashed hard, and fell asleep for like three and a half hours. When I woke up we went to Rye to a restaurant called Frankie and Johnnie's.

We had a nice steak dinner, and guess who we sat next to? Joe Torre. That's right, the Yankees' manager was at an arm's length from me the entire night. Seemed like a good guy, but didn't seem like a good conversationalist. I assume he was with his wife and all he talked was baseball. Which would've been cool to me, but I'm sure his wife was like, "Shut the fuck up." He talked about Sparky Lyle trying to become a manager and how he was soaking wet at last night's game.

The one thing I really felt bad about were the folks who just had to stop by and give Joe a pat on the back. He looked like, "Jesus, leave me alone I'm eating dinner with my wife and boring her with stories about shitty ballplayers." There was this one guy that took the cake; he was about 48 or 49 and he walked over to Torre and asked him for an autograph.

Give me a fucking break man, get a sack. Hey, I have to admit, I was a bit star srtuck, it was interesting eating next to a guy you've only seen on television, but let the guy eat his steak and drink his vino. But not this asshole, he had to get proof that he ate near a celebrity. The one thing that I wanted to do was turn around and go up to Torre with a camera in my hand and say, "I don't normally do this and I know you're done with eating. If you have a second can you ..."

At which point he'd say, "Fine, you can grab a picture." And then I would say, "Uhm actually I wanted you to get a picture of my fiance and our two friends." I wonder what he'd do? I bet he'd get a little pissed, but maybe he'd laugh. Who knows.

Rick was star struck. It was like sitting at a table with a jr. high girl.

Sunday we woke up early and went into the city to meet Grandma Connie because she wanted to see Aly's ring. We had a little breakfast and it was on to the Toilet, better known as Yankee stadium. There were a lot of Sox fans there, and all of us went home sad. The Sox got fucking hammered 11-1, which came on the heels of a 14-4 drubbing. The Sox also lost tonight to the Orioles, which means that they've lost three in a row for the first time in about six weeks.

They look terrible.

It took us about six hours to get home with all of the traffic and bullshit, so I am absoultey beat. A fun way to start the morning today, my chair was completely soaked. The cheapskates at work will not fix the roof, so whenever it rains my desk gets soaked. Nothing like sitting in a pair of wet jeans for half the day. This place is starting to get to me.

I went to Chili's tonight. It was supposed to be a big gathering, but Kim and Jamie didn't go (her computer crashed hardcore) and Colleen and Chris didn't show up. It was me, Sara, Skaus, Mi-shu and Nick. It was fun. The smaller Chili's gatherings are cool because you can actually talk to everyone and find out what is going on.

I finished, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them", by Al Franken. Franken does a great job of showing how conservatives are lying assholes, but at 382 pages, it sort of gets a bit repetitive. I never thought I'd say that, but whether it's conservatism or liberalism, dogmatic rhetoric for almost 400 pages gets sort of boring.

I also finished "Naked Olympics" last month, but I think I forgot to mention it. I've been on quite a reading roll lately. NO was cool, even though I hate the modern Olympic games. The author has done an awesome job with his research about how the Olympics used to be. Makes me want to go to Greece real bad and just hang out in Olympia, where they had the games every year.

BTW, speaking of the written word, I sent my sitcom in the other day to Bravo. It's not exactly what I wanted, but it's good. Jay seemed to really like it. Ok, I'm fucking tired, I'll write more tomorrow.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Some leftover thoughts from vacation and other stuff

Although I pretty much detailed, to the minute, what I did last week. There were a few things that I forgot. Friday I got a massage from the spa in the hotel. It was ok. I guess I'm not a fan of massages. Usually I get one a year to make sure I still don't love them.

The one thing that really sucked was that the massage lady (I don't know how to spell masseur) would not shut up. She talked for the entire 50 minutes. Constantly. The only semi-interesting thing that she said was that the resort is closing within a year to six months, which sucks because it's a pretty good resort. Also, she told me that there was a huge party the day before we showed up.

Apparently it was called the "Summer of Love" and basically over a thousand college kids came and just ripped it up. When we showed up on Monday house keeping was wheeling kegs, cases and beer balls out of just about every room. Sort of sucks that we missed a great party.

Yesterday after Bob's party, we went to register. Ugh. It wasn't too bad for the first 45 minutes or so, we got to see all of the dishes we'll probably never eat off next to the glasses we'll never drink out of with the flatware we'll never use. The thing that sucked was how they sucked us in for a half-hour speech from an Asian chick who didn't speak the best English. Then there was her helper who was taking down our information and would try to guess the spelling of our names, where we lived and what our ZIP codes are. She got them all wrong.

The one weird thing is that there was a couple there and we got to talking. I found out that the chick works at Babson. She "knew of" Reddish. I can't remember her name, so if Reddish asks I won't be able to tell him.

I went to work today. It just sucked. I am done with that place. If anyone is reading this and knows of some good jobs, email me at Seriously, even though I got a kick-ass review and a raise, my boss is still hounding me. She wants to be more micromanaging, but when I start letting her do it, she gets pissed at me. Then after all that, she comes in my office and sort of half-apologizes. I think she's going crazy. I really do.

It was just hard to get going this morning. I spent half the day going through my emails, there were over 300. 300 emails. What the fuck? I told a few people about my engagement and by the end of the day, just about everyone at work knew what was up. Also, some of the guys from SOSH read yesterday's blog and started a thread about it on the site. I got a lot of ribbing, but a lot of congratulations too. There are a lot of nice guys and gals over there.

The one good thing is that I was able to go to the gym and after that I bought a monitor (finally) and a scanner. My plan for the rest of the week is as follows:

Tomorrow: do resume
Wednesday: finish sitcom (I might even do that tonight, depending how I feel)
Next week: begin cartoon.

Nick is going to go over some web site shit: how to build one, maintenance, etc. And from there I just have get some stuff down on paper ... hopefully I can have this thing launched within a month.

My ultimate goal is to have this blog on the comic site, so people can see my doodles and read my ramblings at the same time. Any time after that I'm sure the men in the white lab coats should be busting down my door.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

How I spent my summer vacation

It began late on September 2 and it essentially ends right now, that was my summer vacation. Lots of stuff happened, so I will give a travelogue with the highlights.

Thursday Started my vacation at 8 pm. That's right 8 pm. My boss was acting like a real douche about me taking a week off, so I had to fucking work my balls off for 11 and a half hours.

But the moment I jumped in my car and left Marblehead, I felt awesome. It was just the best feeling. I went over Aly's house and we went to Chef Chow's in Brookline. Great Chinese food, perfect way to begin a vacation.

The best part of vacation, is the moment you wake up on the day before vacation and shut off your alarm for the last time.

Friday Aly and I went to Plum Island for the day. We knew we were going to a warm climate and needed a base tan. Easy solution, we went to Plum Island and chilled in the sun. The water was freezing, but the weather was warm. I love being on vacation while everyone is at work. It's the best.

After the beach, Aly and I went to Anthony's Pier Four in Swampscott for dinner. We got there around 7:00 and we had a table near the window, which saw a sunset over the ocean. Very beautiful. Thought that I should've brought the ring, but on second thought, it was better that I didn't. I've gone there a couple of times with some other girlfriends. I didn't want to do that.

Saturday Aly told me she had to get some stuff in Boston. The catch? The store closes at noon. We get up and decide to walk to the T. It's only 10 pm, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. We get to the station and find out that the T isn't running to the stop we need to get to. It's going to MIT and then we have to take a bus.

We get to MIT and there are a few hundred people there waiting for the bus. Fuck that. We start walking to Downtown Crossing. It's 11:30 and it's hot as balls out. We make it to the store at 12:01 ... and no, I am not kidding. Turns out the store is open until 6:00.

On the way home, we find out that Hurricane Frances is fucking up the Bahamas. And behind Frances is Hurricane Ivan. We decide that the Bahamas aren't in the cards for us. We decide to go to Phoenix.

This fucks up my engagement plans. Originally, Aly and I were to be in the Bahamas on Thursday, but the hurricane pushed our departure back to Monday. I had spoken to a woman about coming to our hotel room, and completely doing it up right: champagne, flower petals, candles, all of that stuff. This wasn't going to happen in Phoenix.

I had to snap into action, as Aly was calling her parents, I told her to drop the phone because I had to give her something. She sort of knew what I was doing and said, "No. What are you doing? Not now!" I got down on one knee, gave her the ring and asked her to marry me.

She said "Yes" and began to cry. We then had to meet my folks at our church and she was just bubbling. I don't think I've ever seen someone happier in my life. She just was beaming. It was awesome. Easily the best feeling I've ever had. So, now I can at least talk about the engagement now.

We went out to dinner with my mom, dad and grandmother at the Village Smokehouse. My entire family was more than pumped. Then we went out for a celebratory drink at Matt Murphy's with Aly's sister Lauren, and brother-in-law, Bob.

Great day. Just a great day.

Sunday Aly and I went up to my parents house where we went to Kinnebunkport with Aly's folks and my mom. After that we went to my parents' house for a cookout.

Needless to say Sunday was spent talking about weddings. Which wasn't too bad for the first six hours.

Sunday night we stayed over Ryan's parents' house in Charlestown because they were giving us a ride to the airport. We had a couple of drinks, told some stories and they toasted us on the engagement.

Bill and Ellie are like my second parents. Easy to talk to and always interesting, we had a great night. (I sound like Pollyanna with all of the "great nights" or "great times" I've had this past week, but honestly, I've been on cloud nine since proposing to Aly.)

Monday Up at 5:00 am. That sucked. Took a shower, got dressed and was at the airport by 6:15, thanks to Bill. Originally we were going to get a cab, but he volunteered to take us. When I get older and my kids have kids, I have to remember all of the kindness that my parents' friends have shown me and do the same thing.

We flew to Philly, then to Phoenix. Philly was a breeze, less than a hour. The flight to Phoenix was a bit longer, about six hours. Which, with the loss of three hours due to the time change, meant we were there at noon. Sort of a mind fuck, but nothing too bad.

Originally we were supposed to get a Dodge Neon, but the kid behind the desk thought that Aly and I were on our honeymoon, so he upgraded our car to a PT Cruiser. This marriage thing may have it's perks ...

We hung out at the pool for a bit then went to a Mexican dinner. Of course, we were both wiped and crashed around 7:00, which was really 10.

Tuesday Aly caught the hotel, which was actually Scottsdale, in a bit of a pickle. According to their site each hotel guest got $105 in spa treatments. When she called about it, they tried to say it wasn't true, but after we showed them the site, they had to pony up. So Aly got a seaweed wrap or something like that.

I sat around the pool and read a book about the Boston Braves. When Aly came back, we went to old-town Scottsdale and sort of just hung around and looked in a few shops and galleries. They really dig the southwestern and Indian themes out there.

At night, we went to the best restaurant I have ever been to in my life. It was called Elements. It was built into a mountain and had a whole zen thing going on. This was our second sunset dinner in less than a week, much different from Friday's meal overlooking the ocean. This one had the view of the desert as it's scenery. My appetizer was a prosciutto dish, Al had a salad. For my entree, I had a filet mignon wrapped in bacon with mashed potatoes with a gorgonzola sauce. Aly had the pork tenderloin and mashed yam and carrots. For dessert we had a chocolate lava cake.

Wednesday We took a two-hour drive to Sedona. The views of the red rocks were breath taking for the first 20 minutes. Then it got kind of boring. We also checked out the chapel in the mountain. It is basically it's moniker. A Catholic chapel built into the side of the moutain. Very small and very serene.

Aly was sort of hoping to see a rattlesnake or a scorpion, but since it was literally 110 degrees outside, we probably had a better chance of seeing Jesus Christ boogie board down the side of one of the moutains ... which didn't happen.

After we got back to Scottsdale, one of Aly's friends from Franklin called to say that her and her husband wanted to meet us for dinner. So we trekked to old Scottsdale and ate at this place (I can't remember the name) but basically it was a rip-off of Houston's, though it wasn't as good.

The one good thing was the beer, Fat Tire. Awesome shit. I hope I can find it out here.

BTW, Aly's friend's husband never showed. They moved out here last November and he hasn't done any work (because they made so much on the sale of their house in Massachusetts), so he just sits inside all day and watches ESPN. He hasn't made many friends and is pretty depressed. Her friend loves it in Arizona, though he wants to move home.

It really doesn't look good.

Thursday Today, I turned 30. Ugh. What a fucking kick in the crotch. I never thought that I'd make it to this age. I really didn't. The first 30 years have been fun and interesting, I only hope the next 30 can match that.

All we did today was lay around the pool. For the third day in a row, Aly and I were up at 4:00 am because of the time change. That wasn't fun. We'd lay in bed until 8 am, and then have breakfast on the terrace until it was time for Aly to hit the spa.

We only left the pool for an hour, to go to a place called the Sugar Bowl. It was an old-fashioned, 1950s style soda shoppe. The food was good, but the ice cream was better. We had an awesome sundae, but the best part of the experience wasn't the sundae it was the menu. Apparently, Bill Keane -- the creator of "Family Circle" -- lives in Scottsdale and this is his favorite restaurant (which isn't a surprise because this place is perpetually trapped in 1956 like Keane) and has put this place in a bunch of his earlier strips.

This is worn like a badge of honor as about six of Keane's circles are reprinted in the menu. I would think that one would try not to bring attention to this, but what the hell do I know?

For my birthday fiesta, we want to the tortilla factory. Good meal, not great, but the tacos were good and the waiter was right when he said that the cheese dip was like "crack".

Friday Spent seven hours in the sun, got a little sun stroked. But before that, we got tickets to the Giants-Diamondbacks game.

The D'Backs suck, I mean they're horrible. Four of their guys were hitting under .200. But they have Randy Johnson, who was pitching that night, and they won 2-1. Besides the obvious attraction of Johnson pitching, Barry Bonds was on homer 698 and we all thought that we'd get to see homers 699 and 700. It wasn't to be, he flied out deep to left, got plugged by Johnson, singled and walked.

The Bank One Ballpark is interesting. The roof was on and it didn't really feel like a ball park. It sort of felt like we were watching a game in a barn. The people around was were cool though. Met a guy from Chicago who sounded and acted a lot like Tom Arnold. We also met a minister who had two fingers. He was a nice guy, even though his nick name is probably Lucky Seven.

I'm probably going to hell for that one.

Anyway, on the way home I was cold-sweating, my sinuses were impacted like hell and my eyes were watering. I honestly can't believe we made it.

Saturday Today was pretty much spent in the air. The one funny story is that we called my mom and told her that we found a house in the Phoenix area and that we've put a bid on it. She didn't believe it at first, but after some cajoling she totally fell for it. She almost started to cry, until I felt pretty bad and let her in on the "joke". She was so happy that she said that she and my dad would pick us up at the airport at midnight.

I finished the Braves book and began "Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell" by Al Franken. Interesting so far, I'll be posting more as I read further.

The flights were a breeze. Nothing really to report.

Sunday Woke up early and had to get my car from Charlestown, I left it there when we stayed over there last week. We went to Bob's birthday party in Bellingham and then watched football.

I am so tired that I have to go to bed now. If you've read up until now, you are a braver man than I.