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Archive for September, 2001

Springfield, MA (Sorry Ultraman, I’m going back to sleep)

September 24, 2001 Leave a comment

Now where was I? I really don’t remember. I think I was about to leave for Boston, so I suppose I can begin with a brief update of my trip to Boston.

Wednesday afternoon I got into Copley Square at approximately 5:00PM. I was supposed to meet my friend Laura (with whom I was crashing) at 6:30, so I was just a bit early. I went into the shopping mall there and bought a newspaper to read while waiting. I sat on the benches across from the library as I thought we had discussed until about 6:00 when a crowd starting gathering. A peace rally sprouted up right in front of me. All these people surrounded the square with candles and signs reading things like “No World War. World Justice” and “No more victims.” A peace rally was breaking out, and I was afraid it was going to get violent! I made sure not to make eye contact with any news organizations or peace ralliers, as they were giving fliers and starting conversations with everyone who decided to enter the square. But since I was already trapped there, I must have been safe – once inside the forcefield of candle-holding hippies, you are safe from their power, I suppose. When the crowd cleared at around 6:45 or so, Laura was across the street waiting for me in our designated meeting place, which was actually supposed to be on the library side. I’m such an out of towner!

On Thursday, I drove over to Cambridge to spend the day with Jeff Quinlan, who is generally referred to as “Q.” No, not because his house is full of James Bond gadgets (although some of his boyfriend Stever’s computer stuff is pretty cool), but only to distinguish him from our other friend named Geoff. Since Geoff’s last name begins with R, the guy with the Q name was definitely going to get the nickname. Especially after he came out of the closet. Like my mother said, “now we know what the Q stands for!”

Jeff had been telling me for months that next time in town, we were going to Mary Chung’s for “Swanashosho” or “Schwanlichoochoo” or some such dumpling thing. I never heard the same thing twice, and now that I’ve even eaten them, I am still not sure what they are. I’m guessing (and if Q ever read this thing, he could correct me) “Suon Le Chow Shou” is the name of them, and unlike a lot of food that has been built up for months, these rocked. They were basically dumplings (don’t ask what’s inside, don’t ever ask what’s in a dumpling) of amazing caliber with a sauce of more amazing caliber. Indescribably delicious, make a point of going there if you are a dumpling fan. (As an aside, the former best dumplings anywhere are the steamed vegetable dumplings at Ollie’s Noodle House in NYC – the Swanachoochoo dumplings are better, but the Ollie’s ones are still the runner-up).

We then headed over to downtown crossing because, well, it was there, near Chinatown which is a fun place to walk around, and also centrally located. We stopped into H&M, this clothing store chain from England that is about to take over America. Fancy urban fashions for less! Of course nothing in my size, so we moved on. I ducked into Strawberries to pick up a Phish live CD and a CD single that has the Weapon of Choice video on it. (OK if you haven’t seen Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice video, it is time. Find a computer with a fast connection, head over to launch.com and watch it. You could also buy the Star 69 Remixes single and get it on there. What’s the video, you ask? It’s Christopher Walken dancing. And since you probably can’t afford the VHS of the musical version of Puss in Boots in which he plays the Puss in Boots, this is the thing to see.)

Next stop was a rare book store. Not your average rare book store, but one of those ones where if you have to ask, you generally can’t afford it. It’s James S. Jaffe’s Rare Books and they even have this nice fancy bound catalogs of some of their newer acquisitions. Whether or not they still have it for sale is inconsequential – they just want to let you know they had it for sale at one point. (And of course, if they still have it for sale, feel free to make an offer.) So did they have any Philip Dick? Sure! They had a first edition reviewer’s copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It was in fine/fine condition with the reviewer’s slip still inside. And how much was this gem? $8,000!!! I asked if they would take an out of state third party bad check, but unfortunately they would not (I could easily have written one of these, too, as I happened to have my checkbook with me!) The clerk was surprisingly uncondescending for a bookstore with such expensive (and overpriced at that) books.

Moving on now into Chinatown where I found the usual array of bootlegged crap. So I passed on all of it, although the Ultraman alarm clock is calling to me – I have seen it in 6 stores in the last two weeks!! The walk continued through Back Bay, the Public Garden, a clothing store called Louis Boston to get pants for Stever. After one of those lenghty what next discussions, we retired back to Q’s apartment for some freshly made Tom Collins and a few games of Go. We played a couple of games and each won one, which of course results in a tie, which seems like the right thing to do for a game like Go. Jeff wanted to play a rubber match, but I refused, both for the Zen-like peace that comes with a tie, and because I suck at the game and I knew I would lose had we played again. (The truth comes out, but since Q never reads email or this journal, perhaps he’ll never know. Although come to think of it, he may have figured it out on his own). Because the drinks were strong, I took the T back to Laura’s to sleep, which was a slight mistake. What I should have done was drunk less, as now my bags were in Allston and my car was in Cambridge and I was planning to walk around town on Friday before leaving in my car. Oh well.

On Friday, I took the T to Cambridge with my duffle bag, backpack, satchel (purse) and . . . .AFGHAN?!?!? Yes, I carried an afghan around with me on the T which was so not comfortable in the humid morning weather. And of course when it started pouring walking from the Porter stop to Jeff’s apartment, the afghan and I got soaked. Q and I drove into the city to go to Old Trinity Church and see the weekly organ recital, which was good. If you ever get the chance, you should go to at least one of these in your life. No recording can capture how cool an organ sounds in a big church like that – since you are surrounded by the pipes, it’s like the original quadrophonic sound. Pink Floyd has nothing on these church organs!!!

This journal to be continued- – I gotta sleep . . .

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Categories: Uncategorized

Springfield, MA (I finally say something)

September 19, 2001 Leave a comment

I know I know I know it’s been a while since I have updated this thing. But since I am on the “visit with friends and family” portion of the journey, and therefore not going anywhere new to me, I don’t have much to say about these places. How do I describe the glory of seeing the Springfield skyline for the first time when I have seen it so many times before? (And no, seeing the Springfield skyline is not glorious, although the view coming from the Memorial Bridge heading west right around sunset is pretty cool) Also, since I am not holed up in a Motel 6 in the middle of nowhere, my time is being spent doing the visiting thing and not the sit by myself on a bed with my laptop writing a journal thing.

OK, I think that is enough excuses.

Saturday, as I said, I played board games at the Complete Strategist on 33rd Street. We played Azteca, which is an English version of a French game. I hated the game, both for the theme (raiding tribes and sacrificing the captured warriors to the Gods) and for the clunky rules, which I imagine had never been play-tested after being translated into English. We then played Star Fleet Battle Force, which is a Star Trek Universe card game of ship to ship combat. We had fun with it, but I am not sure if it is all that good of a game. I’d play it again, unlike Azteca which I never want to see again!

I then journeyed on to my cousins’ David and Felice’s place in Rye, NY. We chatted for a while, had some dinner, went to sleep. Next morning we found out that the wind woudn’t be good enough for sailing, so David and I played with the two year old Allison while Felice took the four year old Emily to a mermaid-themed birthday party. Then David and I went to an electronics store in Stamford on our way to meet Felice and Emily at an auction. This was a regular auction of antique and antique-like items. They had some cool stuff and some crap. The thing started at 2 and was over by 3, so then we moved on for a light lunch at the Broadway Diner. (Now you see? Did you really need to read this last paragraph? Couldn’t I just have skipped the whole thing?)

Back on the road after lunch on to my friend Tad’s mom’s apartment in South Windsor. Tad worked on hooking up AOL while his mom and I caught up with each other. Then we were fed heavily by Mrs. D – meatloaf, potatoes, spinach, peas (yes I even ate a few peas), apple sauce – am I leaving something out here? After dinner, we chatted some more before we headed up to Tad’s house.

At Tad’s, he made the mistake of showing me this program called MacMame. I had heard of the Mame family of programs before, but had never witnessed them. Basically, it is an arcade game emulator downloadable for free. Then you download ROMs which are the actual programs that run the arcade games. Then, right there on your home computer, you are playing the ACTUAL arcade games that you know and love. Now what is my favorite video game of all time? Tournament Cyberball 2072 of course. And there it was, the actual game, in all it’s glory, with the bugs still intact. Now learning how to play it using a keyboard instead of a joystick took some time, but after about 7 or 8 games of it, I was back to a decent level of play.

I looked around for other games, and basically every arcade game I could think of was in this folder. Over 2000 games in all, I hadn’t even heard of most of them. So if you are ever looking for me once I get my desktop PC set up wherever I live, you’ll likely find me rotting in front of my PC playing UN Squadron or Double Dragon.

I’ll be heading out to Boston soon, so maybe just maybe I will have some adventures there to share with you. Until then . . .

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Teaneck, NJ (When all else fails, go shopping)

September 15, 2001 Leave a comment

That’s my big stress reliever – I buy crap. On Thursday, after a morning of reading more of my Motley Crue book (did I mention I was reading their autobiography, The Dirt, in which they tell many many stories of sex and drugs and a little bit of rock and roll), Aaron and I decided to go to the mall. Why the mall? Why not?

But first we had to find the CD store we had shopped at a couple of years ago, and Aaron only had a general idea of where to find it. So we drove up and down a few streets in the area until we finally spotted it. But not before we found a store named Plastic Bag Outlet. Yes, all they sell is plastic bags. So went in! You see, although you might not know it, plastic bags come in very handy to game collectors. Large bags are good for storing entire magazine games, and smaller bags are very useful for holding game pieces and counters. The prices at the store are very good, although not when compared to online bag companies. But who wants to order 1000 ziploc bags online when you get 100 ziploc bags down the street at Plastic Bag Outlet! I mean – it’s PLASTIC BAG OUTLET! The place where you never need to ask “paper or plastic?” Every town needs one.

No bags were bought (at least not today – anybody need 4000 6×9 2 mil plastic bags?), so we moved on to the CD store. Still as we left it, full of lots and lots of used cheap metal CDs and stuff we had not thought existed. Plus, they had two copies of the rare and out of print Rush biography, so we each got one! We had read that morning that Dream Theater was considering recalling (in fact, they have done so) their new triple live CD just released Tuesday. The cover art depicts New York on fire (because it was recorded in New York and their shows set the town on fire I suppose), so it was deemed inappropriate for release this week. This store was sold out of it, but I wanted the album for three reasons – one, because I buy everything they put out, and two, because it is a recalled item and I don’t want to wait months and months for it to come back to the store, and three, because it’s collectable. However, this CD store was sold out of it, so we would have to look at the mall.

Next stop, The Wiz. They had pulled the CD set from the shelves. Then Sam Goody. Same thing. Then Borders. They had about 8 copies. We bought 4 – one for me, one for Aaron and one for my friends Ben and Adam (whom I’ve mentioned previously). We considered buying them all for resale, but I decided I would feel weird selling them for a profit considering why they would be rare. We went home late to find them already going for $100 on eBay, but I stand strong in my decision not to profit on it.

While at Borders, I also bought a few books. I grabbed The Big Damn Book of Manliness, which was way too expensive on its original release, but has since become a bargain table staple. I also picked up Nancy Cartwright’s book on The Simpsons (she voices Bart), now in paperback. The third and, I guess neatest, book is called The Gospel According to The Simpsons, which is an analysis of how the Simpsons deals with Christianity and is in fact a good role model for a modern Christian family. It’s great stuff, and I hadn’t actually thought about how much material there is that relates to the topic.

Next stop, JC Penny so that Aaron could get some swim trunks for a swim at his fitness center. We went in for one piece of swimwear for Aaron, yet we both walked out with a bunch of clothes. The $1.99 clearance rack was full of Hawaiin style rayon shirts – Aaron got 8, I got 4. Plus they also had some nice 100% cotton button down short sleeve jerseys for $1.99, so I bought a couple of those. I also bought some swim trunks two sizes too big for me for $1.79, but with the string, I managed to get them on, so now I can go swimming, too. (Although we haven’t gone). Just wait until you see my new Tiki shirt!

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory followed. Aaron’s dessert caused much laughter – he took two bites and quit. He now has it in the refrigerator, where he figures it will take him a month to eat. This is the Blackout Cake, and I would recommend this as a dessert for four. It’s ridiculously rich and gigantic. No one person should have to eat this in one sitting. I think next time I go there, I will just get two desserts and skip the meal.

Another lazy day followed on Friday. There was lunch at the Sereni-Tea Cafe in downtown Teaneck and then 2-3 hours in the Brier Rose Bookshop. Then dinner, then The Wicker Man on DVD, then sleep. (Yes, that was the short version, but I need to pack up the computer)

Today it’s back into the city to play games at the Complete Strategist with the 33rd Street Chitkickers and then on to my cousin David’s out in Rye.

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Teaneck, NJ (It did WHAT?)

September 12, 2001 Leave a comment

Tuesday was perhaps the most surreal day of my entire life. Perhaps of anybody’s of my generation. Aaron left for work at 6:15 in the morning yesterday and I was planning on leaving in time to get to the city at around 9:30 so that I could get in line to see The Producers. They have a cancellation and standing room line and I was advised that getting there by ten would get me in.

I caught the 8:39 bus into the city which was due to get into the city at 9:28. We made excellent time to the Lincoln Tunnel, but as we were about to enter it (and were waiting in line at the toll plaza), I noticed a really cool looking cloud sitting low over the World Trade Center. I wished I had my camera, because it looked like the building was on fire! Oh goodness, then I realized it was on fire!!!

About 4th in line to get into the tunnel when a cell phone rings and a woman behind me is told that a plane flew into the building. Everyone’s reaction was “holy crap what a moron to fly into the World Trade Center!” Pretty much everyone considered it a loony, except for one gentleman who commented “No no no it’s election day, it’s probably some terrorist.” I called Aaron and asked him what the heck, and he told me that Keiko (his ex-wife) works in the other building on the World Trade Center. I said they would probably evacuate both buildings, and I was mostly right.

Next thing I know I’m in the Lincoln Tunnel. We pull into Port Authority and the loudspeaker on the bus blares:

“TWO PLANES HAVE CRASHED INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER! ALL BUSSES INTO NEW YORK ARE NOW STOPPED!! DROP OFF YOUR PASSENGERS AND HEAD BACK TO NEW JERSEY!!”

So now I had a choice (it was offered to us). Get off at Port Authority and possibly be stuck in New York or go back into that tunnel. Hell if I was going into a fucking tunnel when terrorists were wreaking havoc on New York. But did I want to be in Port Authority?? I chose the option picked by about half of the passengers on the bus. I got off the bus and ran as fast as I could out of Port Authority. Then I walked into Times Square to look at the pictures. A huge crowd had already gathered to watch the televisions – at this point they were showing a corner of the White House on fire as well. I decided at this point that I did not want to be in Times Square either.

My cell phone was dead at this point – I am guessing my antenna was on top of the World Trade Center. I stopped at a payphone and left a message for Aaron telling him where I would be. So now I did something pretty silly, but it was the only thing I could think of. I went to the Producers box office and got in line. I was sixth in line. We were talking about the World Trade Center a little, but more about cheap Broadway tickets. About 15 minutes later, some guy walked by and said “I think the show is probably cancelled – you can go home now. The World Trade Center just collapsed.” It did WHAT? I hardly believed him – I thought maybe the part on fire had collapsed. But he was probably right about the show being cancelled. Must the show go on? Of course not. About 10 minutes later, they cancelled the show.

So now what was I to do? Where was I to go? I walked over to Port Authority. If I could get a bus to New Jersey, I could get to my car, and although I would be locked out of Aaron’s house, I could find something to do. So I walked over there, but the busses had stopped. So I looked for a pay phone and every phone in the area had lines 10-12 deep with people making calls. Now what?

I walked into a bar where people had gathered to watch the news. Everyone in the city seemed to be coming west towards the bus station and it was getting mightily crowded. The stores in the area were all quickly closing themselves up and shutting their metal doors. I am sure fears of looting had a lot to do with this, although the stores that remained open seemed to be doing brisk business. Anyway, I watched in disbelief the video of the two towers crumbling to the ground like an implosion. I saw today on the news (nothing else is on TV) that these buildings were designed to collapse in that manner if it ever collapsed. Eventually the fire alarm went off in this bar (bad sense of humour?) and I didn’t see any need to stick around.

So I walked downtown as far as 38th Street and East a little bit and found a pay phone with a line of only 4 or 5. When I got my turn, it took me about 15 attempts calling both my cousin David and Aaron to get through to someone. Aaron told me he was in the Hotel Benjamin at 50th and Lexington. A long walk, but what choice did I have?

Walking a 20 minute walk in 45 minutes as I was walking against the sea of people heading west. Crowds of people were huddled around car radios listening to the news. Dozens of people sat on park benches staring in shock or weeping in disbelief. I was completely freaked out myself, but I had somewhere to go where I hoped I would be safe. My heart sped up every time I walked by a Ryder truck or a delivery vehicle – would it explode? I couldn’t believe how frightened I was.

As I walked, I heard “the news.” They blew up the Sears Tower in Chicago. They flew a plane into the Pentagon. They bombed Pittsburgh. They stopped a plane in Cleveland full of explosives. Eight planes were hijacked. The rumours came fast and furious. All I knew was if I saw Kurt Russell, I was going to seriously freak out.

After I got to the hotel, I could not find Aaron anywhere. I went to the payphones and began the phone calls. I tried to call my grandmother collect to let her know I was OK, but she wasn’t there. I called Lori to say I was fine and ask her to try Grandma periodically and tell her I was fine. I then asked her to try Aaron’s phone for me and find out where the hell he was? Luckily, this payphone took incoming calls as well. Aaron eventually got in touch with me and told me he was in Room 1207 and then he told me that already! Well he had, but I guess I had heard it as an address or something like that.

It turns out someone at Aaron’s company had gotten 5 hotel rooms as soon as the second plane hit – she had once worked somewhere where they had a fire and they needed hotel rooms, so she thought of it right away. Probably 15 minutes later, every hotel room in Manhattan was booked up. There was a crowd of about ten people in the room all huddled around the television, attacking the in-room bar with verve. I’m glad I wasn’t paying the bill! There were two phone lines in the room, a land line and a cordless, and both phones were being used non-stop to call around to friends and family.

I finally got my turn and made as many calls as I could. I have friends and family in New York. Where were they? My Aunt Ellie and Uncle Allen live a couple blocks away! Were they OK? I spent about an hour calling as many people as I could possibly think of calling. It turns out I didn’t call as many people as had called me (about 18), but I hope I did what I could. I also decided to let someone (whoever it was) pay the $10 to use the in-room Web TV to post a brief journal entry, which some people have told me was the only contact they could have with me.

As it turns out, everyone was just fine. I didn’t find out with certainty until this morning that my aunt and uncle escaped without a scratch, which was the final relief for me.

Aaron, however, was completely freaked out because he had not heard from Keiko. While others went for walks or went for food, Aaron didn’t seem to have the urge to eat. At three o’clock (seemed like HOURS later), I decided to get some lunch and to make Aaron eat something. I hope this helped.

On the Keiko matter, we still hadn’t heard anything by 4:30 when Aaron managed to get through to his home answering machine again, and there was a message from Keiko where she said she had been late to work and missed it. But then Aaron talked to Keiko herself and got a completely different story.

She had been on the 79th floor of Tower 2 when the plane hit Tower 1. As I had expected, they began evacuating her building. But when she got to the 44th floor, they announced that the fire was in the other building and they could go back to work. All of her coworkers and she, save one, continued down the stairs. When she was on the 30th floor, the plane hit her building, and she made it out with 40 minutes to spare before it collapsed. Her coworker who went back up to Floor 79 also made it out, although just before the building came down.

After that news relaxed the room, we continued to watch the endless coverage hoping for some word that we would be able to get back to New Jersey tonight. (Whoever thought I would ever be in such a rush to get to New Jersey for anything?) No word came, so when we were invited to dinner, we went. It was a very nice meal, at Oscar’s inside the Waldorf Astoria. They had only two waiters, so they made a buffet with a limited drink menu. They were doing great business, as I suppose anyone serving liquor would have done last night. I had a glass of wine, as I was pretty darned jittery. The meal was excellent and I was eating with some of Aaron’s coworkers and their friends and family. Basically it was the New Jersey and Staten Island crowd as methods of getting to Westchester, Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens were already open. KBC paid for dinner, too. (Thanks KBC!)

When we got back from dinner, I turned on the Web TV again to http://www.njtransit.com and found out the PATH was running from 33rd to Hoboken, shuttle busses were running from Hoboken to a spot in Teaneck about a 20-25 minute walk from here. At 10:15 we were told that these busses would run until about 11:00 which gave us 45 minutes to get to Hoboken. So the last adventure of the night was about to begin.

A cab was dropping someone off in front of the hotel with his “Off Duty” light on. I asked him if he could take us to 33rd and 6th, but he said he couldn’t go lower than 42nd. So we had him take us to 6th and 42nd. From there, we ran to the PATH. We got on the train at about 10:28 or so and got to Hobken by 10:40 as it wasn’t making any stops. When we came up the stairs, we found that the Hoboken station had been turned into a relief facility and shelter. We got offers of free water, but I didn’t need any (sure I was thirsty, but I didn’t NEED any). We asked about 4 or 5 people to tell us where the busses were, as we kept getting pointed closer and closer.

When we got to the busses, there were two there, and about six people waiting for the bus. All of us were going different places. We asked the drivers where they were going, and they didn’t know as the dispatcher hadn’t told them yet. Finally, the dispatcher showed up and said there were no more busses. But what about these two busses right here? So he asked us all where we were going and after much negotiation, it was decided that one was going to Secaucus and one to Fort Lee. Aaron called his friend Kristoff who said he would rather pick us up in Fort Lee, so we got on the Fort Lee bus. We were dropped off at some random corner in Fort Lee and 15 minutes later, we were in a car on the way back to Aaron’s house. And by 12:15, just two hours later, we had made it home!

We both made a bunch of phone calls to concerned citizens and I finally just crashed out on the couch. Then Aaron sent me upstairs to the guest room because I was snoring too much!!!

Of course New York was basically closed today, so we stayed here all day. We watched a little Red Dawn (looking for something patriotic), played an extensive board game, watched an Ayumi Hamasaki concert video, ate a chinese buffet, and now I am finishing up this journal as the news is reporting of a bomb threat at the Empire State Building. This kind of thing is going to go on for a LONG time.

Who knows what my schedule looks like from here. Ben Folds is obviously not playing his concert tomorrow night in downtown New York City. We don’t know if Major League Baseball will be playing this week. All I know is that I am going to stay here, on this side of the Hudson, for the rest of my time here. And when it comes time to pick a new home, Butte Montana is going to get some big consideration! Far away from famous buildings and when the war comes, I am sure there will be a militia nearby that I can join!

I’ve said to everyone I’ve seen on this trip that there are always more stories in person. I hope I haven’t left anything out in this report. I went on the road expecting an adventure, but I never wanted it like this.

Categories: Uncategorized

New York, New York (All Hell Breaks Loose)

September 11, 2001 Leave a comment

I am not going to say much right now – I am using a wireless internet remote control at the Hotel Benjamin at Lexington and 50th, and it is a little tough to use. The keyboard is slow and fairly unresponsive.

But I thought you might like to know that although I am trapped in New York (for as far as I can tell), I am OK.

I was on the bus when I noticed the World Trade Center was on fire. The second plane hit while I was in the Lincoln Tunnel. When the bus got to Port Authority, I chose to get off as opposed to going back to New Jersey. No way was I about to go back into that tunnel!!

So here I am, in New York, “stuck” in a 4 star hotel that Aaron’s company is paying for. I have a lot to say about today, but I will do that later, when I have unlimited time. But I thought you might want to know I am OK.

Until then . . .

Categories: Uncategorized

Teaneck, NJ (No money, just like earth)

September 10, 2001 Leave a comment

George Carlin tells this joke about heaven, where he says you get everything back you ever lost. Every pen, every sock, etc. And you also get back all your wallets. No money, just like earth. Well Aaron lost his wallet on the bus Saturday night. He got the wallet back on Sunday when a bus driver found it. No money, no bus pass. Because this is earth.

Saturday morning, we got our stuff together and prepared to take the bus into the city. (For the uninitiated, the city is New York City, specifically Manhattan). First I played a few levels of Space Channel 5 on the Dreamcast. This is the most bizarrely fun game ever. Imagine Barbarella as a videogame, I think. Anyway, that wasn’t the point of the day. We were on our way to the city, the big apple, the one that never sleeps . . .

We got to town about 3:00 and we had a 3:30 movie, a showing of Apocalypse Now Redux, the extended version of the Francis Ford Coppola classic. I have never seen the movie, but Aaron has. Aaron has passes for this theater, so it is going to cost $7 instead of $10. (This is an important detail for later). We take our seats in this gigantic theater, the Astor Place. The screen is the size of a small city. And of course Aaron wants to move a LOT closer. We compromise and get a seat that is too close for me, although in the headache inducing range. When the trailers start, I am disappointed to see a gigantic black line going through the middle of the frame with many other smaller ones surrounding it. I tell Aaron that if those are there when the feature starts, I’m leaving.

So the feature starts, a helicopter flies across the screen to the opening of The Doors’s song The End, and of course the big gigantic scratch is still there. So I pick up my things, tell Aaron I am leaving and I’ll meet him here at 7 and I go. I knock on the ticket office and ask to speak to the manager. And while I’m waiting for the manager, who should come up the escalator but Aaron? Seems he couldn’t keep his mind of it due to my complaining about it. Frankly, I think anyone who doesn’t complain is a fool, for they are paying TEN DOLLARS to see a poor presentation of a “Newly Remastered Print” that will soon be on DVD in perfect focus and clarity for $15. So the manager comes out, hears our complaints and issues us a full refund of $10 per person. Of course we had only paid $7, so we made a profit!!

But of course what we really had wanted to do was see the movie, but there was no chance of that today. Even though other theaters in town show it, we had an 8:00 concert at Radio City. We had Yes with an orchestra!! So off we went looking for something to do. We tried Barcode, this new combination of a bar and an arcade right in Times Square. I tried Dance Dance Revolution, but it was broken. About a minute into the song, the screen would freeze while the music continued to play. Eventually it would come back on, but it had counted every step while the song was frozen as a miss. I got the guy to fix it – he said he did, but it happened again. So the people who where watching decided to play and I had to explain to them that the machine was broken and that it is not supposed to act like that. They didn’t know and the people working there refused to put an “Out of Order” sin on the thing.

Golly – I couldn’t get anything to work! So Aaron decided we should do something where there would be no complaining – we would go to St. Mark’s and look at DVDs and CDs. Well twist my arm, why don’t you?? So we did a little bit of shopping before time got short again and we were on our way uptown to Radio City. We got there in plenty of time for the show to begin, which it did almost promptly at 8:10 PM.

Yes with an orchestra brought about some surprises. Close to the Edge actually had a pretty poor use of the orchestra, whereas Long Distance Runaround probably made the best use of it. Some songs were played without – Perpetual Change, Roundabout, I’ve Seen All Good People. Starship Trooper only used it during the Wurm section that closes the song. The show lasted 2:40 in total. Radio City Music Hall has fantastic acoustical properties. Every note could be easily and clearly heard from our seat in the first mezzanine. There’s nothing particularly ornate about the inside of the hall – perhaps that is why it sounds so good?

It was an extremely good Yes concert, although the setlist tread extremely close to the one from the last tour. Subtract Heart of the Sunrise, add Perpetual Change and a couple of new songs from a new album and it is practically an exact match. You’d think that with the orchestra they would have brought back some of the Time and a Word songs that were recorded with an orchestra originally. Oh well.

After the concert, we turned down the $32 t-shirts and moved on to dinner. A nice late dinner at Ollie’s Noodle House before racing to catch the midnight bus back to Jersey.

Sunday morning I was awoken by Aaron telling me his wallet was gone. We knew it disappeared on the bus or between here and the bus stop, because he had paid for the darned bus. He had been up all night looking for it by calling NJ Transit and walking back and forth between here and the stop and it just never turned up. And the bus people’s Lost and Found doesn’t open on Sundays. Inside Aaron’s wallet was the tickets for the Yankees/Red Sox game. Well, being 12 games out made this less than traumatic, almost to the point of relief.I am going to tonight’s game, although it is raining like crazy right here, right now. Perhaps by game time in the Bronx it will be dry. Then again, perhaps not.

Anyway, so yesterday I was going to be meeting my friend and fellow Fruhead Lisa in the Bronx after the Yankee game. But since I wasn’t going to the game, I had to make a big change of plans. So Aaron and I went to the local bar to watch the New England Patheticiots lose to the Bengals. The Bengals?!?!? This gives the PatriRots a legitimate shot at an 0-16 season. It’s gonna be a long one, but I’ll keep watching.

After that, I made a trip into the city for dinner and CD shopping with Lisa, and I even bought my first CD of my stay in New York! It won’t be my last as new albums by Ben Folds, Yes and They Might Be Giants all come out tomorrow. Eek!!

Anyway, I’m going now – gotta get ready to catch another bus into New York. Catch you later!

Categories: Uncategorized

Teaneck, NJ (Finish What I Started?)

September 9, 2001 Leave a comment

I’ve had a few people ask me what the deal was with the small heads remark. That’s a good question, because although I used it within my subject, I failed to actually say what I meant by that, so I guess I had better get to it.

So I believe that when I left you, I was just about to try and kill a few hours in Chapel Hill. Thanks to a couple of guys at the Video Store/Newsstand the night before, I knew a couple of things I had to check out. One was Cerebral Hobbies, a game store, and the other was Second Foundation, a comic book/science fiction store. The AAA book said the best thing in town was the Planetarium, so I decided to start there.

I parked in one of the “Permit Required” spaces because a sign said “Get Permit at Ticket Office” and since I planned to see a show, I should be able to get a permit. I went inside, inquired about the show schedule and found out they don’t run public shows during the day in the autumn as they use it for school and community groups. Autumn? It’s summer . . . well I suppose they mean during the fall semester, and school was in session. There was a bus in the parking lot, so it is possible that there was some group seeing a show. I didn’t ask that, but I did ask if I could have a parking permit. I was given one, so I could leave my car there all day. So shopping I went!

First stop was the game store, which was below the Subway in a little city mall. You go down the stairs to the mildewy floor and enter the store. The shop has some tables set up for gaming, some computers for internet gaming, a very good selection of board games, RPGs, CCGs, as well as a rack of gaming related t-shirts. I saw a couple I liked and they were even in my size! Seems like everything they carried they had in large sizes. There was one particular shirt I wanted to buy for someone (I refrain from saying what it is in case I find it later) who is quite a bit smaller than XXL, but they only had it in XXL. You see, they have learned from experience that gaming people tend to be XL and XXL. Very smart – I can’t imagine they would move too many mediums.

Picked up a couple of card games there and moved on to Second Foundation. But wait, what’s this next door? A CD store? Yes, next door is Back Door CDs, perhaps the world’s smallest CD store. Yet crammed into a space the size of most hotel bathrooms was about 6000 CDs. One or two at a time can browse unless they are three particularly slim people. Everything was $1 off, and the owner was in the mood to negotiate. I looked at this three CD Elvis boxed set and next thing I knew, the owner was trying to negotiate the price. I was trying hard to explain that I just wasn’t interested, but he wasn’t buying it. Of course neither was I, so it was time to move on.

Next stop, Second Foundation. Here is the classic comic book/science fiction/toy shop combination – no question here, of course I’m going to like the place. Right? Well, I’m not sure. The store was set up in a mildly confusing manner. There’s a certain intuitive quality to this kind of store – new comics here, back issues there, graphic novels somewhere else. But this store was really complicated – some new comics in the shelves, some on a rack, some in a box on the counter. Graphic novels in a few places – science fiction hardcovers sorted into expensive authors and not expensive authors or at least that’s how it seemed to me. Don’t get me wrong – here was a store full of the stuff I dig, but laid out in such a way that made it difficult to find what I may have wanted. Therefore I did only a small amount of browsing before picking up a couple of comics and heading out.

I thought that I should get some sort of UNC merchandise and I found that there is no shortage of places to do this along Franklin Street, the main drag next to campus. I hunted around a bit and found this baseball hat I really liked – it was dark blue with light blue NC on the front and the little tarheel footprint logo on the back. These were fitted hats, which are my favorite. However, this store only had between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 for sizes. It’s not particularly common for stores to have my size (7 7/8), but they usually have 7 3/4 (just right but no room for shrinkage) or 8 (just way too big). Undaunted, I moved onto another store. They also had 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 and no larger. They told me they don’t think they come any bigger. Seems unlikely, so I moved onto the third and final store on this block. Same small head sizes there! What is it with Tar Heel hats and small sizes? This is the beginning of the school year, after all. You’d think they would have all the sizes available. So there you have it, why I said that Tar Heels have small heads. I hope it wasn’t TOO much of a letdown.

Unfortunately there was still about an hour and a half before I was going to pick up Ben at school. So I decided to go to Jiffy Lube. Although this was a very nice Jiffy Lube with internet terminals, a clean bathroom, nice vending machines – it was not, however, a very Jiffy Lube. So two hours later I left Jiffy Lube, already having missed the pickup time and therefore dooming Ben to ride the bus. So I went back to the apartment, and heck, I had beat Ben! Luckily I had a couple of comic books to read, so I sat on the welcome mat and read until Ben came home.

Then I wrote the last journal entry, watched the Simpsons (for the first time since I had left California and it was one of my favorite episodes – the one where we hear the tale of how Lisa got her saxamaphone), went grocery shopping, had dinner and finally returned home so that Ben could make some brownies. Then it was off to the airport to pick up Jen and her best friend Melinda, although not in that order. Melinda’s plane got in at 10:30, so we had an hour and a half or so to kill in the airport. This is a pretty boring airport at that time of the night – everything was closed. The bookstore had an actual book vending machine, though, and I really wanted to buy a book out of there, just because it was there, but there was no book in the inventory worthy of being bought by me. So we found a collection of sections of newspapers lying around and waited by Jen’s plane. Couldn’t they keep a bar open until midnight?

Next morning we went to brunch at a restaurant near campus, hung out for a bit longer and then I headed out at around 2 oclock. At around 7:30 I found myself just south of Baltimore and although I could have stopped there, I decided to finish the drive and just head all the way up here to Teaneck on Friday night. This way we would have plenty of time to get to Manhattan for Saturday’s viewing of Apocalypse Now Redux and the Yes concert at Radio City. So I arrived at Aaron’s at about 11, hung out with him and his parents (who were staying over on their way to Delaware for a wedding), then stayed up until sometime resembling 3AM playing video games.

And when the next entry hits, you’ll read about day one in New York City.

Categories: Uncategorized