tek2way: Nature - Lightning Storm (Nature - Lightning Storm)
..what an oddly appropriate title to the journal entry in which I detail my trip to New York.

As much as I'd love to inundate you with a detailed retelling of the full eight days, I am going to break it up into manageable chunks, because too much of a good thing quickly becomes "TL;DR" instead.

We will start with...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

While some of this may be suspect due to the passage of time and lack of sleep, I am going to hold that this is the truth.. "from a certain point of view," at any rate.

I slept maybe a couple of hours that night, and woke at 3am instead of the much more reasonable 330am I had intended to use for my alarm. Oddly, from showering to dressing to finalizing packing to breakfast, I was pretty much perfectly on time. This meant, of course, that I'd originally subconsciously intended to rush and hurry to get to the airport. Thank the heavens I didn't give into that temptation.

I arrived, printed my boarding passes, and checked my luggage. Turning toward the TSA security checkpoint, I saw why my tickets said to arrive two hours early: the line to get through security was easily 40 feet long. To their credit, it moved pretty steadily, and soon I was headed toward my departure gate. (NOTE TO SELF FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: Your backpack has two straps, and you are carrying more than a pair of schoolbooks. Put that shit on your back, dork!) I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do at that point, because I was probably at least 30 minutes early for boarding, and I hadn't paid enough for my ticket to qualify for boarding as soon as they announce it.

Fidgeting, I watched the sun rise out of the window by the gate, and even thought to take a picture (which became the first of over 200). I was a good little Facebooker, and kept up photos of my trip, as well as posting updates throughout the day. The drain on my battery was significant, though.

Soon, I was on the plane, and had the entire row to myself! I learned, though, to my embarrassment, that the seat belt wouldn't buckle with me in it. I kept my calm, and kept trying, but finally settled for tucking the ends under my loose t-shirt and acting nonchalant, all the while praying that the plane didn't go down in a fiery ball of death, because I was totally going to get blown FAR away. I might have gotten up and looked more closely at the belt ends, but I didn't want to call attention to it, and I was deathly afraid that I was going to get thrown off the plane, and not get to New York after all, so I shut up.

I departed my first flight in almost thirteen years when we landed in Detroit, Michigan.  photo IMG_3002_zpswbskb4mq.jpg For those who have never been to the airport in Detroit, let me say that it is BIG. Thankfully, it all seemed to be in a straight line, with plenty of moving sidewalks to help you get from one end to another. I had to pee something fierce, though, so I opted to go to the restroom before making a mad dash for my gate (I was at A9, and my departure gate was A55).

For the second time that morning, I became horribly embarrassed. I tend to prefer stalls to urinals, because I'm rather shy when other people are around. The only unoccupied stall door, though, wouldn't fucking open. So, with a ton of nerd shit in a bag that kept trying to fall off my shoulder, I sidled up to an empty urinal, feeling horribly self-conscious. While I was peeing, my bag slipped off my shoulder twice. When I finally was done, I realized I'd gotten some urine on my shirt tail. Thankfully, it was a black t-shirt, so it didn't show up terribly obviously, but I was self-conscious until much later.

The second leg of the flight wasn't as bad, even though I had to share my row with someone. Thankfully, it was a thin girl. Also, my seat belt fit just fine, which perplexed me, and left me wondering if I really had grabbed the wrong belts before. They came in handy, because the plane came in so fast at Scranton that I thought the tires were going to explode from either the pressure of landing on them, or the speed at which we were slowing down. He also didn't seem to have lined up his landing, as we went from "in the air" to "on the ground" particularly abruptly.

Going down to baggage claim, I saw Ricky and Brittney out of the corner of my eye, and since they were pretending like they didn't know me, I played the game, and even walked around a post they were circling, so that they couldn't find me.

Eventually, they did, and we hugged as only those who truly have missed each other do. We grabbed my suitcase, and headed for his van. The trip back to Endicott was uneventful, except that I was completely blown away at all of the mountains in the region. (It's easy, at times, to forget that the Appalachian Mountains start up in that area.

We went to the Blue Dolphin, where Brandy was working, and had lunch. I had a burger and fries, which were pretty good. The strangest thing for me was that Ricky warned me off ordering the sweet tea, saying that up north, sweet meant "raspberry-flavored".

The food was pretty good, though, because I must have eaten too fast, for I got a horrible bout of gas. I wound up laying down for about an hour when we got back to Ricky's apartment. When I woke, I felt much better, and began to dig into my suitcase for the things I had brought people (an Iron Man shirt for Dakota, the D&D cartoon series on DVD for everyone, and three bottles of Dale's marinade for Brandy).

At that moment, Dakota came bursting in, thrilled beyond words that "Uncle Anthony" was there. He immediately wanted to show me his "Star Wars" room, since I'd sent so much to him. I was certainly impressed, and pleased that my gifts had such an enthusiastic recipient. Not to be outdone, Brittney pointed out all of the Doctor Who stuff in her room (where I was staying while I was in town -- she preferred to sleep on the loveseat anyway).

(I have to admit, it was a surprisingly good feeling to have someone that happy to see me. As adults, we've grown cynical and mistrustful, and so even the most heartfelt greeting has a hint of that cynicism layered underneath. Put another way, no matter how happy someone seems to be to see us, we automatically assume that they can't possibly be as excited as they are acting. With an 11-year-old, though, that cynicism doesn't have much room, particularly when he cites exactly how long it's been since he last saw you, and later extracts a promise that you not wait that long to see everyone again.)

I was asked not long afterward about playing D&D. Well, folks can't play D&D without dice, and I never had time to pick up any sets*. So, Ricky, Dakota, and I piled into the van to get some dice for the kids. We went to "SoundGoRound" in Vestal (literally the other side of the highway from Endicott). Let me tell you about that place. They sold new and used video games and systems, LPs, cassettes, CDs, comics, geek toys, anime DVDs and Blu-Ray, collectible card games, board games, and RPGs (like D&D). I've never seen a store so certain to get most of my discretionary income in my life.

All that was missing was a bookstore section (and I didn't get to check out the whole thing, so I may have missed something). The clerk who ran the RPG/CCG section had the dice by the Magic cards, and Ricky immediately began to ask about those as well as the dice. Eventually, we both left with a pair of preconstructed decks, and a few packs of the newest expansion. Oh, and we got dice (yes, almost as an afterthought).

We stopped by "Price Choppers" on the way home, and spent a little too long shopping. Part of it was because they didn't have a lot of groceries at home (it was time for them to shop anyway), and part of it was that I was taking pictures of the store, so I had some frame of reference for later, should I decide to put in an application and move up there. Those I told that I was considering this probably figured I was just stressed out, and didn't mean it, but I decided that I could do a lot worse than do some very preliminary legwork about moving.

When we got home, there wasn't enough time to play D&D that night. I explained that we would definitely play on Wednesday, bid good night to the kids, and went to sleep myself. At least, I tried to. Going from a room with a constant fan blowing in cool A/C to one that had neither fan nor a reliable source of A/C was significant. It was cool that night (mid-50s), so I made the most of it. Besides, I had too much to do while there to worry with something like sleep!

P.S.: Oh! I almost forgot. My first new beer in New York was Middle Ages Brewing Company's "Sparrow Wit". Good beer, but I wasn't quite in the mood for a witbier (think Blue Moon or Hoegaarden). Regardless, it was a tasty start to my introduction to all New York alcoholic beverages, as well as a nice nightcap before bed.

* - Sets for them, that is. I have enough dice to fill a large movie theater popcorn bucket. :)
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Art (Frazetta) - Death Dealer)
I answered this on his blog, but my browser froze when I tried to post it. I'm posting this here, so that 1) people can reply themselves if they feel like it, and 2) so I don't forget I need to redo it for Hal.
36 Things I Want to Know )

Today was uneventful. I found out that FX has started the reruns of "That 70's Show" over, so I got to watch the first season today. Gosh, I really enjoy this show (and Laura Prepon doesn't hurt matters either!).

Charles came home, and we had grilled pork tenderloin, corn, and beer. Then I lost a close game of chess to him.

Now, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to go out with Charles and H and some other people to a haunted house and then out to eat. It should be fun.
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tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Art (Escher) - Hands)
I've been off for the last two days, and boy howdy, has it been pretty good.

You all know how my Sunday after work went, and I still am happy I did that. No regrets at all. :)

I woke up Monday morning, feeling pretty good, just a little achy, and that was gone before long. I cleaned up a little, but it was mainly picking up my room, though. I worked on my Warlock's Inscription, and farmed herbs for it with my Druid. During the day, Charles (and his girl) invited me to hang out with them at her place last night. So I hit 225 inscription (max level right now since she is 33), and left to go hang out.

Mapquest's directions kinda sucked, in that distances and directions were questionable (i.e., WRONG). Still, I found her place, which means that I'll never forget as long as I need to remember it. We went out for dinner, and since I really tied one on at the Flying Saucer on Sunday, I was chauffeur for Charles Monday. We went to Sekisui on Belvedere, and I suffered valiantly. (Honestly, I really am not a fan of seafood, ESPECIALLY when I'm hungry enough that my criteria for dinner was "cheap and lots of it".) I had the chicken teriyaki, and it wasn't bad. I got to show off my mad anime-inspired chopstick skills to eat rice! /flex

Afterward, we went back to her place, and hung out in the living room, listening to bellydancing music set to a techno beat while they smoked and drank wine, and I sipped a glass of wine. It was a white wine, with a nice aroma (is that what they call the "bouquet" ?), and a pleasant flavor, reminiscent of fruit like peaches, but it had a dry aftertaste, which wasn't altogether unpleasant. Finally, Charles went to bed, and we (his gf, her roommate, and a friend of hers that had stopped by) watched part of a comedy routine involving a Latin American who married some "hillbilly" from Kentucky. He was hilarious, though it was past 11pm when I left.

On the way home, I gave in to my hunger, and stopped by Kroger around the corner from my house to get some food. I picked up a box of some mini-tacos, sour cream, and shredded cheese. YUM! They hit the spot once I drizzled some Taco Bell sauce on 'em. (C'mon, you know you have a bunch of the packets stored in some random drawer in your kitchen....at least if you like Taco Bell, anyway. :) )

I crashed at 1am, feeling somewhat uneasy around my place for some reason. I figure it was in my head, but I did hear one cat meow and arch her back when she never meows, and that "damaged my calm", so that could have been responsible for the creepy sensation I had when I got into bed (I had to enact my "defensive barrier" -- i.e., my blanket over my head!). I fell asleep, and woke up around 7am, so I called Charles to make sure he got up for work, and then I settled into checking web sites and such, since Tuesday is WoW maintenance day.

I saw C briefly, but it was long enough to express my disappointment in something he did. Around 1030am, I left to head to the Dexter Kroger, because that was where I met my old friend Dee Dee for lunch. How old? Well, she's only a little older than I am, but we've known each other since the second grade. I played the priest at her wedding (they'd been to a justice of the peace.. I was just a stand in for the ceremony they did for the family later). We ran around with nearly 10 other people back in 1991-1992. It was great catching up with her, though now I like the idea of a reunion for as many of that group as we can safely manage. We were all great friends. My house was effectively the clubhouse, and they all called my dad "Mr. A."

I was struck by how grown up she seemed. I even commented on it to her, to which she replied, "I don't feel like a grown up yet." Haha.. I guess it sneaks up on us all.

It got me to thinking, and not in a self-destructive, negative way. First was the post I made several days ago where I said what I thought of myself. Now, I see that I have to change. Not for anyone but me, though. I don't quite know how to begin, but I could almost see a plan (5 year?) forming in front of me. What I wouldn't give for another moment of clarity like that. I *will* discover what it was. Something's nudging me that first, I gotta get to biking on a regular basis. So that'll be my first step. Next, I must establish a start date. Perhaps November 1? That's a Saturday, but it's a good clear starting point. (Should I actually grab my notes about the story I once wanted to write, and participate in NaNoWriMo? Even if it's just for me?

Anyway, after lunch, I came back and just wasted a couple of hours playing WoW. I got sleepier and sleepier, until I dozed off around 430pm, and slept in my chair until a little after 5pm. At that point, I decided that I was done with WoW for the night, made dinner, and fired up the last two weeks of "Chuck" and yesterday's "Heroes". I cannot get enough of those two shows (I missed "How I Met Your Mother", because my TiVo failed to record it for some reason. :( ).

Tomorrow, after work, I think I'm going to catch up on Supernatural (two episodes behind already, and Thursday will make three). Then, Charles has promised he's going to spend the evening in his own home, without his girlfriend around, so I suggested we play a board game or something instead of watching TV. Don't get me wrong. His girlfriend is pretty dang cool. She has printings of the Lord of the Rings from the early 70s (I should get a pic), and her personality puts you at ease. The two of them really get on well, and I'm happy to see that.

I don't know why, either, but lately I've been feeling more "big brotherly" towards Charles than in times past. Before, he'd listen to me, and give advice, and he was clearly the alpha. Now, though, I feel this shift in roles almost. Of course, I'm insane, so it's probably all in my head. :)

Now, to settle in for the night, and get more than six hours of sleep. Huzzah!
tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Art (Ciruelo) - Ship)

(NOTE: I do not drink like I detail in this post on anything remotely resembling a regular basis. It's a 2-4 times a year thing, usually less.)

I worked 6a-3p yesterday, as I usually do on Sundays, so that I could do Time & Attendance. It went pretty well, and I even avoided taking a lunch, so I got to leave at 2pm.

When I was getting ready to leave, I came to the conclusion that, since I am off Monday and Tuesday this week, I was going to get some beer, and cut loose a little. I grabbed a 12 pack of Yuengling Light Lager, and headed home.

Boy howdy, I wasn't kidding.

I got home, started on a beer, and talked to Charles about some things that have been bugging me. Before long, I was eating a hamburger I made (ultimately had about three over the course of the evening), and drinking beer 6. I was remarkably clear-headed, though, so I hopped on and played some WoW, healing for a bunch of Headless Horseman runs.

(WoW has holiday events that tie into real world holidays. Right now, "Hallow's End" is in-game, and the pinnacle of achievement right now is to confront the Headless Horseman [who's been terrorizing the towns of the world] and take him down.)

Anyway, after I had spent about an hour doing that, Charles came and asked if I wanted to go to the Flying Saucer with him and the girl he's currently dating. I hesitated, since I had not yet met her, but more so because there were supposed to be a lot of people there. A short while after I declined, I learned that it was just gonna be C, his new girl, and one of her friends. Figuring I couldn't ask for better odds than that, I agreed to go.

The Flying Saucer (www.beerknurd.com) is great. I don't think I've ever really been to a place whose sole purpose was to cater to adults. Not like that. Their list of beers was mammoth, and they had food that goes with beer, too (pretzels! brats!). It was fun. I started with a Hoegaarden (which, to my everlasting horror, was brought out in a brandy glass!), and then grabbed a Paulaner Oktoberfest. This was a nice beer with a rich flavor reminiscent of spices and something else.

While I was working through that, Charles suggested that we both do a Jager Bomb. Seemed like an innocent enough suggestion. Holy crap! Not only was it crazy, it was fun AND tasted good. Thankfully, he didn't suggest another one.

He stopped drinking at that point, but I was clearly hitting my stride. Talk around the table got on the subject of vodka, and I commented that I loved vodka. She suggested that we do a shot. So, we did. I've gotten good at shooting alcohol, apparently. :-p

We headed home, and I picked up on the twelve pack where I left off, and we all sat around and talked a bunch, until finally it was bedtime. I played a LITTLE more WoW after that, but finally crashed out around 1am, after making a point to drink some water.

I woke up twice overnight, and got more water each time. As it is, I just mildly ache in a few joints, but no headache and no light sensitivity. Huzzah for water! :)

I *really* needed that. I've not really relaxed and cut loose like that in a long time. I won't say that alcohol was why I had fun, but it definitely made me more receptive to just enjoying myself, and not worrying about what folks thought of me.

I am thinking about joining The Flying Saucer's club, and sampling different beers occasionally. Once I try 200, I get my name on the wall. :) It'll take a while, though.

Now, I'm going to play some WoW, do some laundry, and -- maybe later -- mow the front yard (that might be tomorrow, though).
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tek2way: Anime - Valkyrie (Default)

July 2017


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