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

 

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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 31: Re-evaluating

I have officially been funemployed for a month now, and so it’s probably a good time to look back at the last month and how things have been going.

Positives

  • I am a lot less stressed than before. I don’t even remember the last time I was irrationally angry at someone or something
  • Even if it’s only part-time, I really enjoy working at Atlas
  • I go to the gym regularly instead of just sitting around being shitty
  • I’m spending a lot more time outside
  • I am drinking a lot less
  • I am basically in sandwich heaven

Negatives

  • I’m becoming even more of a recluse
  • I have not applied for a single job
  • When I do eat it’s usually take-out or garbage food
  • This blog is generally terrible

So as I enter my second month of funemployment it’s time for some ch-ch-ch-changes

Image via wikipedia

  1. I’m going to actually apply or even just search for jobs
  2. I’m going to stop eating garbage and actually buy and cook my food
  3. I’m going to do social things instead of just biking around and sitting alone in the arboretum
  4. I’m going to encourage people to suggest more adventures!

Highlights!

  • So it turns out I left all my toiletries and the beautiful art that Zack brought me from India in Quakertown.
  • I didn’t leave my house or put on pants today. I spent the whole day watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend despite everyone on the show except Darryl and White Josh being severely unlikable.
  • I’m officially sick of Pokemon Go. Nostalgia maintained it for a while, but deep down it’s a shitty game in every way. Call me when the servers actually work and there is a real way to level up your Pokemon and play with friends. Luckily I got out before they announced their big partnership with McDonald’s.

Price is Right-cap

After 30 days I am officially going to retire the Price is Right-cap. It’s really inconvenient to have 11 am to noon blocked out of my day and it’s very hard to come up with interesting things to say about the show every day.

Keep an eye out for a longer piece about my thoughts on Price is Right as a whole over on Depths of TV soon.

Best Moment: The woman who won the showcase was only off by $302.

Worst Moment: A woman straight up shat the bed playing Secret ‘X’. She got all the prices wrong and so didn’t even have enough x’s to play the game.

By the Numbers

Sobriety: 10/10. It’s hard to drink when you never leave the house.

Healthy Eating: 2/10. It’s also hard to eat. All I had was my bonus wawa hoagie.

Sanity: 4/10. I feel like I should have at least wanted to go outside. I’m also dinging myself for taking the time to average out all my ratings for the last 30 days below.

True Love: 0/10. There’s a theme here, have you picked up on it?

Steps: 110. There it is

30 Day Average

Sobriety: 6.08/10. Sounds about right. It was probably a 4/10 before funemployment

Healthy Eating: 4.28/10. This is definitely more for my not eating and less for my eating trash.

Sanity: 6.08/10. Not too shabby considering.

True Love: 0.46/10. This is only so high because of that time I gave a 10/10 as a joke.

Day 30: Wish it Would Never End

Well, my vacation is officially over. I had to return my mobile fortress, and now I’m back to getting around on this piece of shit. 


Stupid bike, doesn’t even have a back-up camera. 

Highlights!

  • I met up with my friend Jenn for coffee. She is just ending her own period of funemployment and gave me a few tips. Apparently I will hit a point where I begin re-evaluating every single human interaction I’ve ever had, so get ready for those posts!
  • I’m starting to think Megabus is just a bunch of independent contractors who make up their own rules. My driver back to DC delayed the bus by a solid 15 minutes because he felt the need to shriek at individual passengers for sitting in empty “reserved” seats. He then yelled his bizarre personal rules at both levels of the bus separately, despite his intercom working perfectly. 
  • I didn’t have to bartend, so I got to play trivia with my friends. The host we thought we successfully drove away with our combined hate was back and the crowd was less than welcoming. We got second, so it doesn’t really matter.

Price is Right-cap

Still didn’t watch it. This might have been the best part of my vacation. 

By the Numbers 

Sobriety: 4/10. For some reason the servers at trivia always ignore me, but this week they were very responsive. 

Healthy Eating : 2/10. I only ate wawa things today. That’s healthy, right?

Sanity : 5/10. Fuck Megabus, BURN THE RICH. 

True Love: 1/10. I got something in the works and don’t want to jinx it. 

Steps: 9,012

Vacation Hoagies: 5 plus 1 I’m saving for later. 

Day 26: Vacation!

I decided to rent a car for my vacation so I can actually get around in suburban PA. My mom initially offered to call Enterprise, but they told her all she could rent was a full-sized car for $50/day. I went online and reserved a mid-size car for $30/day.

Not only did I get a free upgrade, but the dude gave me a discount. 

Just gotta drop the kids off at the pool

Highlights!

  • My mom and I got breakfast at Plain & Fancy diner, which is neither plain nor fancy. 
  • I got some new headphones at Target and the woman gave me a discount. Why is everyone is so friendly?
  • I went on a little roadtrip with my dad today. We hit up a couple thrift stores and I “rescued” copies of Beloved, Middlesex, and The Silmarillion from a christian thrift store that I’m sure would have burned them had they known what they were. 
  • We also hit up Zern’s, which is a farmer’s market I always heard about growing up, but never visited it. Apparently my grandfather would take my dad there for livestock auctions as a kid and my dad hated it, so that probably had something to do with it. Either way, we bought delicious baked goods from an adorable little amish boy.

  • I met up with my cousin Danny and we hit up the Doylestown Brewing Co. I wanted to say mean things about them, but they’re a very good brewery. They have an oaked IPA which had surprising notes of vanilla and a smoky witbier that was delicious.
  • Danny and I had some fascinating conversations about his Catholicism and his acceptance of LGBT rights, but then things turned to Black Lives Matter and it got awkward. I like to believe I helped put things in perspective for him, but who knows.
  • We ended our night at literally the whitest bar I have  been to in the last decade, and they refused to serve us anything aside from Bud or Bud Light.


There was also a sculpture of a woman having sex with a dolphin?

Price is Right-cap

My parents are chord-cutters and don’t have a digital converter, so I couldn’t watch Price is Right. 

I watched the new Match Game though, which is good if too self-aware. Still, any show with Horatio Sanz, Tituss Burgess, Sherri Shepherd and Ana Gasteyer is worth watching. 

Best Moment: Tituss and Sherri got into a fight about if straight people can “drill that ass”

Worst Moment: Everyone was far too sober. 

By the numbers 

Sobriety: 6/10. I drank some beers. 

Healthy Eating: 5/10. I ate 3 meals today. One was cold pizza, another was a hoagie.

Sanity: 8/10. I am a good boy. 

True Love: 0/10. There are apparently Tinder bots in the suburbs too.


Steps: 2,222

Vacation Hoagies: 1. . . so far.