Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Baltimore and more

It has been a busy week, so I'll try to go through the high spots day by day.


Not much happened. Very boring. Watched Survivor. They kicked off the gay guy. He was a good character.


I wasn't looking forward to Friday, mainly because Aly and I were about to start our trip to Baltimore/Washington DC, by car. Ugh. Just getting out of Massachusetts is a pain in the ass, but adding seven hours to that is going to kill me. We managed to get out of Boston around 5:30. Around 7:00 we decided to stop at a rest stop in Charlton for some grub.

If Dante's Inferno ever took place in the 21st Century and in Massachusetts, it would take place at the Charlton rest stop. First there were the four hormonaly-charged teen agers who couldn't make a decision on pizza toppings, but apparently decided to take out their sexual frustrations on each other by pounding the shit out of one another. There were also the white trash parents who let their children scream and run through the restaurant. Then there were the pizza people themselves who took 40 minutes to make a pepperoni pizza.

In fairness, there were a lot of people there, but the Papa Gino's manager looked like she was going to murder her underlings. That was sort of funny.

After we ate, we motored our way to White Plains, where we spent the night at Danna and Rick's. Danna is seriously pregnant, but seems to be in good spirits. The one good thing is that all four of us were beat, so we went right to bed.


Woke up early and Aly got behind the wheel for the first time in about four months. Sort of scary. I was the navigator, but I was half asleep and we got lost in New Jersey for about an hour. Obviously that sucked. We werethisclose to getting into a little skirmish about it. But cooler heads prevailed and next thing you know we were on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. For the second time in my life, I was in fucking Delaware! That rocked, in a Delaware sort of way.

An hour after that, we were in Baltimore. Not a bad ride at all, I was sort of scared, but it was pretty quick (four hours). Any way we found her friend Amy's place rather quickly and settled in. BTW, I have to correct something from my last entry, I said that we were staying at her friend Anne's house for the weekend. We weren't, we stayed at Amy's.

Amy has a pretty cool place, not too big, but not as small as a postage stamp either. It's perfect for a single gal. We were starving, so she brought us to Canton Square and we went to a place called Nacho Mama's. Sort of a cheesy name, but the food was awesome. I had the hot wings, but I should've had the nuclear wings because they weren't that hot. Canton Square is pretty cool, there are about eight bars and the funny thing was, even though it was 2:00 on a Saturday and there wasn't a game going on, every place was packed with people just drinking beers.

It was a beautiful day outside, but people were just having a good time drinking and eating and shooting the shit. You never see that up here, it sort of felt like I was in college again.

After we drank a bit and ate, it was time to go to Johana and Brian's wedding. They are the reason why we are down here, so we made our way to Columbia, MD for the big day. It was cool, as I met a lot of Aly's friends. Including one guy who wrote this book:

Winning Secrets to Online Poker. The dude's name was Doug Frye, and he is a nice guy. I met him a year ago at a NCAA tourney party, but I didn't really talk to him until now. Very interesting, not pretensious at all. He works for a government contractor and sort of fell into the whole book thing.

Even though I'm not a huge gambler, we talked a bit about strategy and what I should look for when playing and stuff. He really was a cool shit. I also talked a bit about how to get published and what he found the most tough/frustrating about his experience as a writer.

The other few people I met was a guy named Scott White and his girlfriend (whose name I can't remember, unfortunately). Besides being super-laidback, they are professional cartoonists. So, I talked their ears off about comics, how to get stuff out there and what sort of tools to use. They were really helpful and Scott really encouraged me to just sit down and draw. He said to pick a few hours a week and just do it.

This was a great thing to hear because I've been completely slacking on it lately and I spoke to Rye about the creative process the other day and he told me the same thing. But for some reason, it stuck when Scott said it. Maybe it's because he and I are in the same boat as far as drawing after work. He said often he comes home and just wants to hang out and just chill, but he makes himself work a few hours a night.

This is his web site, check it out:

He's got a lot of awesome stuff, so give him a few hits.

The wedding went off without a hitch, and we were back in Baltimore by about 1 am. I was dead tired.


We woke up sort of late, but there is this really white trash place across the street where they have a few pit bulls. They bark all freaking day, it must drive Amy nuts. We were out of the house by about 11:30 and were on our way to Washington DC. We were seeing just the third home game of the Washington Nationals as they took on the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was really pumped for this game, I love going to new parks and just seeing what the place is like.

RFK is a dump, not as bad as the former home of the Nationals nee the Expos, Olympic Stadium, but it was a piece of crap. For one thing it's real old and in a crappy part of the city. Secondly, since the Redskins moved to Maryland, no one but the MLS DC United have played there. Thus, it's not in the best shape and the concessions were pretty crappy too. They're building a new place in about three years anyway.

No matter, we were there to watch a ball game, not compare architecture. We had fairly decent seats and the game was good. The Nats have a pretty good team with sluggers who all swung from their heals. All of them from Brad Wilkerson (who batted leadoff) to Vinny Castilla to Jose Guillien. They had the former Yankee Esteban Loiaza on the hill who pitched ok. The D'Backs had another former Yank, Brad Halsey, who looked awesome.

Whether it was because he was facing the free swinging Nats or not, Halsey was mowing them down. Unfortunately for Arizona fans, they have Bob Melvin as their manager and he has zero clue as to when to take out a pitcher. He left him in there an inning too long and Halsey lost.

As bad as Melvin is, at least he's not Frank Robinson, who for some inexplicable reason has Christian (.108 batting average) Guzman batting second. They actually walked Wilkerson to load the bases to get to him. Guzman walked.

After the game we went back to Canton Square and went to the Cladaugh bar, which they pronounce as Caladaugh. We all just started pounding beers and eating as much as we could. I had a blast. Amy is really, really cool. She works for the Baltimore Blast (an indoor soccer team) so she had a bunch of good stories. After the Cladaugh we went to a few more bars before ending up a Nacho Mama's where I had my first National Bohemian beer, or as the locals call it Natty Boh.

They have the mascot of the beer everywhere, including a huge neon sign in the downtown area. Amy said it winked, I didn't believe her, but it did. So, she won that round. Anyway here's a picture:

I thought the logo was so cool, I bought a t-shirt. We went home and I sort of passed out.


We drove home. Actually, I drove all eight hours. We were up at the crack of ass and were in the car and on the highway by 8:30 am. Again, not a bad ride. It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong, and I have two things to admit:

1. The car ride did not suck. It actually wasn't half bad. On the way home I got to see two of God's beautiful creatures bounding through the morning dew on a Maryland field. That's right, I saw two deer. That was for you, Tim.

2. When Skaus, Archie and I were in Baltimore four years ago for a Sox game, I vowed never to come again. I thought it was the worst city in the world. It is actually a lot of fun. I had a great time. I wouldn't mind going back again.

In all fairness, the time we went there was three conferences going on in the city (including a Sci-Fi fest), there were a ton of Boston people in town for the Sox/O's, there was a fire beneath the city, a chemical spill in the harbor and it was hot as balls and twice as humid. So, maybe it wasn't the best time to see the city.

When we got home, Aly and I just crashed.


Went to the Sox/Blue Jays game at Fenway, it was Bronson Arroyo vs. Roy Halladay. I think I forgot to tell you the pitching line for Opening Day last week, it was Tim Wakefield vs. Mike Mussina. It was a quick moving game, it was the seventh inning at 8:50.

Manny Ramirez hit the longest homerun I have every seen. It was a shot that had to go well over 500 feet. It came really close to bouncing on the Mass Pike. It was so high and got out of the park so fast, I didn't even see it. The Sox also got a huge dinger from David Ortiz, but they blew it in the eighth and ninth when Alan Embree and Keith Foulke blew a 3-1 lead.

Three things happened last night:

1. Nick got engaged to Debbie on Monday. He and she ran the marathon and when they both crossed the finish line, he dropped to his knee and popped the question. She said yes. They were on the news Monday night, the Globe on Tuesday and the front page of I'm happy for the old boy, Debbie makes him very happy and I know he is finally where he wants to be.

2. I lost my ID. I was in line for brews and when I went to flash the woman my license, it was gone. So, no beer for me, even though Nick tried to sneak me one and almost got tossed because of it. After the game, Ryan and I went back and retraced my steps and couldn't find anything. Today I ordered another license, literally 20 minutes later my dad called. He said that some guy found it on the T and was mailing it back to me.

3. Brownie got seats in front of us with a bunch of his friends. One of his buddies started picking on some guy in front of him because the dude was smoking. Brownie's friend rode him for three innings. Finally the game ended and this guy got up and was sort of jacked. He went over to Brownie's friend and wanted to get him out of the park so he could kick the shit out of him. Brownie's friend got nervous and all they did was jaw back and forth for about 15 minutes.

At first it was funny, but then it got boring and finally it was sad. Brownie's friend turned out to be quite the pussy. If you're going to talk shit for 45 minutes, the least you can do is back it up. He didn't.

This is quite a long blog. Tomorrow I'm going to post picks from Opening Day and RFK. Try to contain your excitement.

1 comment:

kevbosnafu said...

National Bohemian! I have an old conetop with that guy's mug on it in the Beer Can Museum!