Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blue, White and Green

Anyway, since she’s practically my sister now, she will get some of Mark’s grief henceforth. She won’t get nearly as much as Mark, but I’m honor bound to give her some. Anyway, I stood up and told her that I really came for the food, not to see(so to speak) her and Mark. I think she just laughed and said she understood, but I can’t exactly remember now. It must have something to do with the chocolate martini.
      I made Matt’s(the best man) night when I drank a whole chocolate martini. By this point, I think it became a mission to find some alcoholic beverage I would drink, since nothing at the bachelor party served. I don’t remember if we were leaving or I went out to the bar with Matt, but he tried one last drink, the chocolate martini. I didn’t like the chocolate whiskey on the vino tour, but I figure I’d humor everyone. The martini was pretty good, though Mark said later that you’re supposed to sip it, not drink it like soda. See, that’s how little I know about drinking, and sometimes I called it a chocolate margarita.
      My mother says that would be disgusting, but I don’t know why. By the end of the weekend everybody probably knew Mark’s brother Joe who never took more than one sip of any alcoholic drink, finished a chocolate martini. We joked that maybe I should down a couple stiff ones before the wedding, since it might help me walk straight. After all, everyone else walks crooked after downing one too many, and since I walk crooked anyway, I might walk straight after downing one too many. Anyway, after the excitement, those of us staying there staggered back to the Omni, and congregated in the bar area for a little while.
       When we eventually went back to our room, the sofa bed was made up for me, and we got ready for the following day, which proved very eventful. There was a view of the Battleship New Jersey out our window, but unfortunately I couldn’t see it. Maybe I should have imbibed a few more chocolate martinis. Eventually, I fell asleep, and woke up ready for the wedding.
     Jess had the gall to schedule the wedding on opening weekend of the Penn State football season, so needless to say most of the Penn State alumni gathered at an undisclosed location to watch as much of the game as they could. I was awake by the time my parents left so I get dressed in street clothes for one block walk to the Monaco later in the morning.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


This wedding blog will cover 6 entries I think but I'll tell you when it's over

I believe my aunt and cousin came in from California on Thursday, August 28, and the next day we drove to Philadelphia in the morning. The drive down was uneventful, other than no one telling me when we were approaching the tunnel, so I could hold my breath. I’m sure Mark would've told me, and then held a hand over my mouth.
Anyway, we got there, checked into the Omni Hotel, and then unpacked our suitcases, including the tuxedos Mark made us rent for the wedding, something about looking nice. We rented from Savvi by Sarno, and the monkey suits felt fine. Thor looked positively awesome in his, but that will come later. I offered to park the car instead of using valet parking, but for some reason no one took me up on it.
Wanting to be unusual, I brought green pants and a golf shirt for the rehearsal. After sitting in traffic for a while, we eventually made it to the church, St. Gabriel’s, and I got my first unsight of everyone in formal attire. I got to sit in the front, since someone said something about me being a groomsman. There were five groomsmen altogether:  Matt, Rodney, Adam (all college friends of Mark’s), Dave (one of his co-clerks), and me. I put my cane and visor next to me to stand in the for two of the groomsmen (Adam and Rodney) who weren’t there yet.
Then, Father Dominic entered, and the rehearsal began, but this time there was no music, not even Born in the USA. We didn’t rehearse this, but father Dominic said where the groomsmen and bridesmaids would stand in an arc on the dais. We rehearsed the rest of the ceremony, and then the groomsmen and bridesmaids processed to the back of the church. One groomsman escorted one bridesmaid except for me because I’m just that special.
Since Mark has one brother, and Jess has two sisters (and one more bridesmaid than Mark had groomsmen), it was decided to have all three of us process together—more later. I gave my cane to my father who was sitting behind us because I judged it easier to walk with both my arms held without it. As it turned out, I was right, but I think between the rehearsal and the wedding I used up my ability to walk relatively straight for 20 years.
After we got to the back, they released me on my own recognizance, and eventually I recovered my cane. Then we left the church, and headed to The Continental for the reception. The drive took longer than it should because of traffic, but we got there.

They served the dinner family style, and everything was excellent. I don’t normally like cheesesteak, but even I ate several of the small cheesesteak eggrolls. Throughout the night, people were circulating between the tables, and at one point Jess was standing at the table across from us. I asked my father, I think, if that was Jess standing behind, and he said yes. By now, I know Jess quite well, but I will probably never be able to tell who anyone is from the back.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Until next time

Afterwards, we went to City field to watch the Cubs play the Mets later, but before that we went to McFaddens for something to eat. I ordered mozzarella sticks and a chicken Caesar salad, and for a restaurant under a baseball stadium, it wasn’t bad.
Then we headed to our seats to watch, or in my case not watch, the baseball game. At one point in the game, I went with Mark to get a Sierra mist and a soft pretzel, but the soda was flat.
On our way up the stairs to get out of the stadium seats we saw a blind kid with his father on the other side of the stairs, and I actually saw his cane. Once we reached the top, we walked to an elevator, and it descended a grand total of two floors. For some strange reason, it stopped there, and we had to take the stairs the rest of the way. I have no idea what possible good an elevator is if it doesn’t descend all the way to the bottom.
Mark decided to take us to downtown Manhattan to see Times Square. We first walked through Grand Central Terminal. None of us (except Mark) had ever been there before. So now when someone says what is this Grand Central station, I have a physical comparison. It’s large, but most of its grandeur is probably lost on me. Mark said there were constellations on the ceiling, which I could only see tiny bits of.
Then we walked past office buildings, apartment towers, and more, heading to Times Square. As we walked, I got a view of the Chrysler building and the Empire State Building. Then the square itself blotted everything out. Here everything glowed fully not just outlined in lights, and I saw two Elmos and a Minnie. Evidently a few people always come to the square dressed up as characters from various shows and movies, and I had my fill of Times Square. With all the people wandering around, I shudder to think how many pack it on New Year’s Eve, but I will never be one of them, even if I could see. After that, we went home and crashed for the night.
Next morning, when everyone got themselves ready, we went to La Bagel Delight, and I ordered a breakfast sandwich on a bagel. We took everything back to Mark’s apartment building, and then sat on the roof to eat. I give it two thumbs up, and while I was on the roof, I heard plenty of trains.
Matt left first, so we all walked him to his car which, based on the distance we traveled, I think he parked just outside of Washington DC. Rodney left next, to meet a friend who lived in New York, so we walked him to the subway station, and that left me. I got myself one last chocolate chip ice cream sandwich at Jacque Torres Chocolate for the road. At about 2:30 we left for the subway station, and then rode the subway to the bus station. I said TTFN to both Mark and New York, but I’ll be coming back because for New York, Brooklyn wasn’t so bad.
Disclaimer: the record of this bachelor party has been edited to protect the guilty.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nothing To See Here, Really

After leaving, we walked down to the waterfront facing Manhattan, and I saw the Freedom Tower all lit up, which was pretty cool. After a while, we went to a bar called The Bridges near Mark’s apartment, where I tried a hard apple cider. I prefer apple juice.  When Rodney started getting close, we went back to the apartment to meet him. Then the ninja turtles were complete. Mark and I independently came to the conclusion I was Michelangelo but I forget who we decided the others could be. Matt poured out some moonshine, which I didn’t like after a sip. Then, we went up on the roof deck, and I was able to see the Manhattan Bridge all lit up. I also heard the trains passing by, which I really liked.
After some time, and discussion of plans, we all got our sleep in preparation for the day to come.
After everyone got up on Saturday, we went to Clark’s Restaurant for breakfast, but I think everyone except Rodney actually ordered lunch. I had a Gyro, which I very much enjoyed. I wish it had more sauce on it, but may be because it was so large; they couldn’t without making a huge mess.
After finishing, we used the Uber app to get a car to go to the Brooklyn Brewery for a tour which resides in an old warehouse I think. I believe we got in line around noon, but while we waited, all the 2 PM tickets had already gone. As 1 PM approached though, I was able to do my civic duty. We went to where they were letting people in for the tour, asked where to get tickets, and then they told us we could join the one that was starting right then. They showed us the process by which they took grains and other components, making them into liquid courage.
Then, we walked back into the beer hall, and sampled various kinds of product. They drank the full cups of everything they ordered, while I only had one sip from each, disliking all.
After leaving to recover our hearing—many dozens of people, many beers, and concrete floors and walls are not a quiet combination—we took another Uber to the King’s County Distillery, where among other things they made chocolate whiskey. After walking the winding path to the main building, the person showed us how they turn corn into whiskey, and how they make their other products. Our guide showed us the barrels where they kept the aged whiskey in 5, 10, 15 and 53 gallon barrels.
Mark said it looked like they could fit me in one the of the 53 gallon barrels, and those barrels looked large enough to fit a dwarf in each, for anyone who hasn’t read or watched The Hobbit this will mean absolutely nothing.
          Then we drank samples of their three products, including the chocolate whiskey, none of which I liked.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nothing to See Here Part I

On Friday, August 15 I took a Martz bus to New York City for Mark’s bachelor party, and I told him next time I travel here I’m chartering a helicopter. For most of the way there was nothing wrong with the traffic, but once we got into Jersey City, it took us an hour to go 5 feet. I asked Mark if this usually happened, or if Governor Christie threw a traffic jam just for me. Mark said the traffic wasn’t anything special.
Once I got there, at about 4:40 instead of 3:50, Mark got my bag, after I kind of told him what color it was, I think, and we went to the subway station. Unfortunately, there were no sewer crocodiles running around or anything else, so we got on the subway. It didn’t fill me with confidence that the train’s brakes screeched and whenever the doors opened a burning smell wafted in. Also, you couldn’t hear the conductor announcing stops or anything else very well. No giant worms from Men in Black II chased us from stop to stop, and we eventually got off at ours.
Walking to Mark’s apartment building, we passed Jacque Torres Chocolate and an ice cream shop, and also a row of stacked bags of garbage. This row looked shorter than me, but not by much. The city should put a large trashbin there, much easier to keep animals out.
Entering the building, we took an elevator to his floor, and then went to his apartment to eat pistachios. They seem like more work than they’re worth, and I prefer almonds dusted with dark chocolate anyway. Putting all my paraphernalia down, Mark poured me the obligatory glass of water, and then we went to investigate chocolate and ice cream.
After looking through both, well him telling me what the places had, I got a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich from Jacque Torres Chocolate. Taking it back to the apartment, and eating it there, I give it two thumbs up. Neither Rodney, nor Matt was there, the other two groomsmen who could make it to the shenanigans, so we waited. Matt got delayed by—what else—traffic, and I got to watch the evening news in a different city.

Sometime after the news, Mark went to retrieve Matt, and when they came back we walked for pizza. At first, we stood in the line for Grimaldi’s, but then walked to the line for Juliana’s, both pizza places. After a pretty short wait, we got in, and were seated. We ordered one kind of pizza with buffalo mozzarella, among other things, and mushroom and meatball pizza. They were both very good but I liked the meatball pizza better. Normally, I don’t like mushrooms, but that wasn’t the problem there (the fungus fell off). The problem was that this pizza was flimsy. We also met the owner, who’s been in the business a long time. Juliana’s is named after his mother. For dessert, I had a “brookie bridge”—a brookie is a cross between a brownie and a cookie.  The brookie bridge is a brookie on top, ice cream in the middle, and a brookie on the bottom. You have to eat it with a spoon because the brookie I expect would disintegrate if you tried to pick it up. I’d definitely eat there again, but I also want to try the other pizza place five doors down or so.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Off the Air

First of all, I haven't blogged for a while because I've been off the Internet. Now, we have wireless, so I'm back for good.

On Saturday, June 29, we went to see Man of Steel, and we would have been better off seeing the kids movie Epic. I liked the intro to the movie, actually on Krypton, but the introduction of Superman’s character on Earth used some bad writing. I don't think I'm spoiling very much when I say Superman overcame all obstacles, but the human good guys didn't acquit themselves very well. I thought it was a fairly realistic portrait of what would happen if an alien came to Earth, but when I go to see a Superman movie, I don't need realism.

Staying with movies, on Saturday, June 22, my mother and I went to see Monsters University, and I have to say, that it was much better than Superman. The story is a prequel to Monsters Inc., and shows how John Goodman(Sulley) and Billy Crystal(Mike Wazowski) become friends. One more thing, you don't need to have seen Monsters Inc. to enjoy this one.

On Saturday, June 15, my mother and I went to see Now You See Me, which was also better than Superman. The story is about a group of street illusionist who perform together now, but I can't tell you much more than that. I don't want to spoil the movie, but it is worth seeing. In summation, I highly recommend you see Monsters University, I recommend you go see Now You See Me, but I don't recommend, with two thumbs down, you go see Man of Steel.

While I was off the Internet, I have been working on various stories. I have a series of four chapbooks in mind, two of which are almost complete, one is somewhat complete, and one isn't started yet. The first three will be a trilogy about a boy who discovers a new world of talking animals who act quite like people. They listen to music on a boombox, and watch Alvin and the Chipmunks movies on a DVD player. He also discovers the world goes much deeper, and he's given tasks by Mother Nature.

The fourth one which may or may not be a trilogy, is about a boy who discovers mermaids. He visits the world in secret because he knows his parents wouldn't believe him. When I write more of this story, I'll tell you more.

I'm still working on Sense of the Dark, but I needed to write down these ideas while I had them.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

At the Movies

        Saturday, April 20, my mother and I went to see The Croods in 3D at Cinemark, and I think the Regal Cinema has better 3D. Some scenes could have been done in 3D that weren’t, so either the film used bad 3D, or the Cinemark theater does. The movie is about the adventures a cave family has adapting to the new world, and it stars Nicolas Cage. I liked the movie, and would recommend it.

On Saturday, April 27, my mother and I went to see 42 about Jackie Robinson, and I thought it was both a good movie, and pathetic at the same time. It continues to amaze me why anyone would dehumanize their fellow human beings, especially after World War II, when the black divisions fought as bravely as the white ones. The movie depicted some of the torments Jackie Robinson went through before and during his first season with a professional white team, but I’m sure it glossed over much worse.

Harrison Ford also played a good part as a team owner more interested in, can a black man play baseball? than the fact he was black.

I also take issue with the rating of the movie. It was rated PG-13, even though the N-word was used pervasively in spots. The N-word is a derogatory word for a person, yet it only gets you a PG-13 rating. The F- word, is a plain derogatory word, but gets you an R rating. That seems backwards to me, and don’t understand the thinking concerning that decision.

On the home front, I recently listened to the book The Gangster Squad, and it was interesting to note the differences between the book and the movie. The movie was mostly factual, but the producer and director took great creative license in its arrangement. I am glad though I saw the movie before listening to the book because I would’ve been comparing them, even if I tried not to. I won’t tell you the differences because I don’t want to spoil either for anyone.

Today, May 4, my mother and I saw the IMAX version of Iron Man 3, and I highly recommend it. It takes place after The Avengers, but doesn’t contain any other character from that universe. As always with the series, the movie contains just the right amount of humor and action.