Life on the Rails: Prologue

Sorry about that false alarm back in December, but things are finally back on track!

After months of hemming and hawing I officially took the plunge, and am moving to San Francisco. In my continued spirit of procrastination, I figured the best way to move across the country would be to take a train and stop in several cities along the way.

Of course before doing that, I had to say goodbye to the East Coast!

DC

I feel like I did a pretty bad job saying goodbye to DC. I missed seeing a handful of friends, and I never even fully wrote my DC bucket list let alone completed everything on it.

One thing I did get to do was check out the African-American Museum of History and Culture, which was amazing. Thanks to my sister Katie (Break and Bake) for scoring the tickets! I barely had enough time to get through the history section let alone go upstairs for the cultural half though, so even that was a failure.

I guess what I’m saying is that I really need to go back to DC at some point. It won’t be for a while though, because I also definitely left DC like t(-_-t).

PA

If I did a bad job saying goodbye to DC, I did even worse saying goodbye to PA. I didn’t go to a single Wawa!

I really should have scheduled more PA time considering that I showed up like an hour late to friendship hangouts with my friends Zack and James, and I only saw one of my aunts. GUESS THEY’LL ALL HAVE TO VISIT ME IN SAN FRANCISCO.

NYC

The first thing I did when I got to NYC was walk 8 miles. I was just so full of energy that I didn’t know what else to do. I walked from the Port Authority to Central Park and up and around the Central Park reservoir. When I was done I still had some time to kill before meeting people for Happy Hour, so I went to Prospect Park for even more wandering in nature. It felt a little weird spending all my time in the city trying to seclude myself, but considering how much time I’m going to spend crammed in with others, every second of solitude counts.


Ever since it opened, all I wanted to do while in NYC was to go to Hinterlands, which is Stuart Wellington from the Flop House’s bar. In the past my friends Luke and Paolo would complain that it was too inconvenient, so we’d go to somewhere in Bed-Stuy instead. Since this was my going away party, I put my foot down. They weren’t wrong about it being inconvenient, but It was definitely worth it.

The bar itself is awesome, with funk and R&B music playing and a bathroom papered with different RPG Guides and Monster Manuals. I was more than ok just hanging out and enjoying the bar, but then Stuart showed up to bartend and my friend Paolo immediately blew up my spot. Luckily Stuart was exactly the cool party dude he claims to be and actually gave me a free t-shirt (or a dramatic discount on drinks, I’m not positive)

Plan your campaign as you pee!

Our happy hour accidentally ran late, and we were out until about midnight. Luke and his girlfriend Emily tapped out, but Paolo and I grabbed another beer before I passed out on his couch. Still, I managed to wake up at 6 AM, get showered and dressed and make it out the door with plenty of time to catch my 8 AM bus.

Boston

My trip to Boston started out inauspicious enough. Despite giving myself over an hour to get there I still managed to miss my bus when it took over 20 minutes for a 7 train to show up. It was entirely my fault for trusting such a shitty train line instead of just taking the C train.

When I finally made it to Boston – two hours later than I expected – I met up with my friend Cal to hit up some breweries. We started at his apartment where I awkwardly crashed a pot luck his wife was hosting for her fellow marathon runners and tried some beers from Trillium Brewing Co.

Once we hit the road we stopped at Lord Hobo for some delicious IPAs, and Mystic Brewery for some much more experimental belgian style beers. I wound up buying a bottle of “The Null” at Mystic a smoked quad they made in collaboration with Backlash Beer, another Mass. brewery, that was fucking delicious.

Cal took this photo to taunt our friend Krysti. My amazing hair was a bonus.

Cal had to get dinner with his family, so I ended my brewery tour by meeting my friend Shreya at Sommerville Brewing Company. Sommerville apparently has a Niles Crane beer, but it wasn’t on draft. Instead I got their malty and delicious winter warmer and Shreya and I just watched some Frasier to make up for it.

On Sunday Shreya and I agreed we were going to do cultural things and then get ramen for dinner instead of watching the Super Bowl. We went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Public Library and the Mapparium. I took 0 photos because I’m a terrible traveler, and also photos of the Mapparium are forbidden. It was a little weird how dead everything was in the city. Public transit was like a ghost town, and all the museums were close to empty.

Oh wait, I took one museum photo!

After a morning of museums we snuck a to-go order of tater tots smothered in mushrooms and gravy into a showing of I Am Not Your Negro. We housed the food almost immediately, which was good because the both of us spent almost the entire movie being transfixed or sobbing uncontrollably. I can’t even begin to write a full review of I Am Not Your Negro,  there’s way too much to unpack, but when the credits began to roll the audience was dead silent. Slowly, we came out of our collective daze deeply shaken but ready to take on the future.

Shreya and I probably spent too much time drinking after the movie, but we had a lot to process and one bartender offered us shots because Shreya is a rockstar fighting to defend science. We were too late for ramen, and while waiting on Indian food found ourselves in a bar with too many tvs to ignore, so we saw the Patriots take the game into overtime. We left before they officially won, but the loud cheers all around us as we walked back to her place confirmed the obvious.

The only photo of Boston I took

NYC Redux

My original plan was to go from Boston to NYC and immediately hop on a train for New Orleans, but then Amtrak decided to start doing construction on the line between Atlanta and New Orleans, so I could either take a 17 hour bus ride or spend 3 extra days in NYC and take a direct 30 hour train ride. I definitely made the smart call.

I kept up my museum kick by hitting up the Met and doing the 3 guided tours Nate DiMeo has released as their artist in residence. I generally hate The Met, and DiMeo does a fantastic job providing historical context for the pieces he discusses and in the process demystifies the museum itself. It repeatedly forces you to ask the question “why is this even here?”

“Seriously, fuck these bottles” – shorter Nate DiMeo

On Wednesday, I went out to the Brooklyn Museum with a quick detour to check out the abandoned City Hall subway station (I actually tried to take a photo, but the light is all messed up so my phone couldn’t do shit. Just rest assured it was beautiful.). They were still exhibiting Iggy Pop Life Class, which is just sketches of Iggy Pop from a life-drawing class and is 100% my aesthetic.

Sketch by Guno Park

Wednesday night is when I first started hearing rumblings about a snow storm, but based on every other weather event that people get paranoid about I wasn’t really concerned. When I woke up on Thursday to about two inches of snow on the ground my opinion changed a little bit. Luckily Amtrak is on top of its shit, and the only cancellation  was a local train to Albany.

Suck it, snow!

Next Time:

Life on the Rails: The Road to NoLa

 

A Christmas Together 

Let’s just go ahead and expect these posts in the afternoon now. Save everyone some stress.

Highlights!

  • John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together is up on YouTube. It definitely doesn’t hold up, but that just makes it all the more amazing. The songs are a mix of Christmas standards and weird fucking shit, and the end features an all puppet Nativity Play that is horrific at best. You should all watch it.
  • I actually got to go to trivia with my friends instead of having to work. It’s was pretty fun, but we were overly cautious with our wagering and came in second by 1 point.

By the Numbers

Sobriety: 7/10. They had hot cider with bourbon at trivia.

Healthy Eating: 2/10. All I ate were some french fries and two meatball subs.

Sanity: 8/10. I went to REI to look at backpacks, but was too anxious to actually ask anyone for help.

True Love: 0/10. One day I’ll find a girl who wants to talk about obscure Muppet shit.

Steps: 8,336

Wedding Adventure Part 1: The Hideout

I figure instead of trying to summarize a whole week of crazy adventures, I’d split this into two posts: Zack’s bachelor party and the week afterward, then preparing for Zack and Diana’s wedding/the wedding. Enjoy part 1!

For the bachelor party we rented a lake house in the Poconos, which is seriously one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. Everyone was pretty sad we had to leave the peaceful tranquility and go back to the real world.

Highlights!

  • I didn’t factor it in when I was planning the bachelor party, but god damn was just the drive up to the Poconos worth it. A drive through the mountains in the beautiful fall weather looking at the changing leaves while blasting funk music is all I need to relax. Oh, the cabin itself wasn’t too bad either.

  • One of the first things I did when I got to the cabin was walk through the sliding screen door bending it and knocking it off its tracks. Hopefully the homeowner doesn’t read this blog.
  • Zack was worried that the group wouldn’t get along and have nothing in common. His fears were assuaged when we almost immediately formed into a circle and started viciously mocking him. Zack has a real knack for picking friends.
  • Nobody wanted to go to The Pleasure Dome for Zack’s bachelor party. It’s apparently an inflatable dome in a field that is BYOB, so there was full nudity. According to their all-caps, terribly spelled facebook page they are the best club in the state.
  • I am an old man, and despite not drinking that much, I woke up Saturday with a headache and upset stomach.
  • Zack’s brother Jake and I went kayaking and we met a bald eagle.

  • Zack’s buddy Matt handled cooking for Saturday, which was delicious as hell, but didn’t help my stomach because it was now also full of  delicious food.
  • I crashed out pretty early on Saturday and couldn’t really figure out why. Turns out the ibuprofen I bought was actually PM, so I spent the whole day dosing myself.
  • On Sunday we went to the Tobyhanna State Park to hike, but it slowly devolved into a photo shoot.
photos by Forrest
  • James and I accidentally started a new band. Look for our EP soon.
photo by Jake
  • We played The Quiet Year which is an RPG about rebuilding the world after a horrible war and I love it so much. I think what makes the game so special is that despite it being a cooperative game there is absolutely no collaboration. Each person spends their turn doing whatever they want, which usually makes people act selfishly. Our game got crazy and dark pretty fast, but I guess a group could play it and actually work towards a Utopia.
  • On Monday, I drove back home on a different route and got even MORE beautiful views of foliage.
  • Our friend Steve was sick at the cabin, and managed to get 4 of us sick, so I spent Monday and Tuesday downing all the cold medicine in the world.
  • I watched Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein with my parents on Tuesday night. Those movies hold the fuck up. I really love the part at the beginning of Bride of Frankenstein where Mary Shelley herself comes out and goes “No, idiots, the ‘monster’ isn’t the villain of Frankenstein, it was about hubris and ignorance! It’s not hard!”
  • Zack, James, Steve and I went to see Shin Godzilla in a weird, abandoned building pretending to be a movie theater. I still can’t stop thinking about how good it was. Hideaki Anno does such a good job of putting you in the moment of a government trying to respond to a massive disaster, and it just gets so wonderfully overwhelming. The movie is so deeply cynical, but in the end hopeful and inspiring. I need them to make the sequel they so perfectly set up.

By the Numbers

Sobriety: 5/10. I drank a not small amount at the bachelor party, but spent the rest of the week too sick to drink.

Healthy Eating: 8/10. We ate really well at the bachelor party, but then I stopped eating because I was so sick.

Sanity: 10/10.

True Love: 0/10. Not much good dating app action in the burbs.

Steps: I dunno, a lot?

Day 116: Road Trip Again!!!

I managed to drive from DC to PA completely without incident. I’m kinda sad I don’t have anything wacky to report.

Highlights!

  • I had to get a stupid haircut for this dumb wedding. Now I look like an almost normal person.

  • The car rental place gave me a Toyota Camry for my trip to PA, and I hate it so much. It’s just not designed for a person of my size and posture, so I can’t sit comfortably unless my seat is basically on the floor of the back seat. It’s also kinda dirty. Luckily, I’m trading it for a different car next week.
  • I considered not stopping at Wawa on my way up here, then I only ate half my hoagie. The other half is sitting in the fridge, mocking me. Am I sick?
  • So apparently the strangers who randomly stumble across my blog really liked my ramblings about Westworld. I should stop doing them before they get popular.
  • I argued with my dad about unions, which is fun because it’s like arguing with myself, but he’s much better at just saying nonsense to be an asshole.

By the Numbers 

Sobriety: 10/10. None for me, I’m driving. 

Healthy Eating: 1/10. My mom made “Cowboy Food” for dinner. It was delicious.

Sanity: 10/10. Literally never got stressed or angry during my 5 hour drive. 

True Love: 0/10. There are a lot of single moms out in the suburbs. That, or there are a bunch of babies on Bumble tryin’ to fuuuuuuck.

Steps: 7,386. Some of those steps were definitely slow-moving traffic. 

Day 115: Dangerous Precedent

I’m not doing a full post, mostly because I don’t feel like it and it’s almost noon already. I’m going to be traveling a lot over the next two weeks, so posts may become intermittent or I’ll just do a full recap of “Zack and Diana’s Wedding Adventures” when I’m back. IT DEPENDS ON HOW I FEEL!

Highlights!

  • I’m already in love with Westworld. I’m intrigued by the framing conflict that is basically “what is the purpose of storytelling?” Westworld itself allows Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins’ characters to exercise their personal demons while trying to build toward something unheard of, and Ed Harris gets to live out some bizarre personal obsession, but what about the people who just want to have a fun day in the wild west? Should characters exist in a vacuum, or does building a rich, personal history strengthen the story? I also never expected “Ed Harris is a human” to be such a mind-blowing twist.
“I’m your Huckleberry”
  • I also watched Zootopia, which was ok. When the movie first came out, I thought it was genius that Disney was actually embracing the furry community and using them to market the movie, but after seeing it I’m pretty sure everyone at Disney just likes watching anthropomorphic animals fuck.

Day 113: Deadly Weapons

I think my sleep schedule is slipping again, that or I’m just still tired and sore from working all weekend and trying to get in shape for my friend Zack’s stupid wedding.

Highlights!

  • I’m trying to clean out my apartment and start downsizing for my move, but there isn’t as much to throw away as I originally thought. This has kinda been disappointing.
  • I met up with my sister Katie (Wake and Bake), at Target because we hadn’t hung out in a while, and it’s always good to trade notes on Funemployment. Turns out neither of us really wants to apply for jobs and face rejection, so except both our blogs to keep churning out nonsense for a long time to come.
  • I bough these sweet fucking nunchucks for $2 at Target.

  • I finished Jessica Jones and have lots of opinions about rape culture and toxic masculinity. I mean, I had these opinions already, but Jessica Jones was a really good show.

By the Numbers

Sobriety: 8/10. Katie forced me to grab a beer with her before her signing lesson.

Healthy Eating: 2/10. Nope

Sanity: 5/10. I’m never sure if my random compulsions to clean are a good sign or a bad sign. Better play it safe in the rating.

True Love: 0/10. I don’t have time to date right now is what I tell myself.

Steps: 4,305.

Day 108: Back to Normal

I think I fixed my sleep schedule. All it took was several days of drinking and travel to knock me out for 13 hours.

Highlights!

  • At Atlas, an old man kept telling me “you’re doing a great job, young man!” every time I brought him a beer. Later in the night he started exhibiting signs of dementia.

By the Numbers

Sobriety: 5/10. I only had a taster of beer at work, but I’m pretty sure my blood is still full of alcohol.

Healthy Eating: -10/10. I ate the rest of the Boo Berry.

Sanity: 10/10.

True Love: 0/10

Steps: 2,512