Monday, September 29, 2008

New York City

Another long bus ride, crossing across the state of New York. I woke up at 6am to the Greyhound colliding with a semi-- nothing serious. The Greyhound dropped us off at the Port Authority, in downtown Manhattan, so the first thing I saw was Renzo Piano's New York Times building. Danielle, an old roommate from Chicago, let me crash at her place on the lower east side, so I dropped my stuff off there. It was the day of the MLB All-Star game, so I went up to the Bronx to see if I could score a ticket. I was prepared to spend $200, but don't think I even heard anything less than 500. And, btw, Yankees fans are true assholes. I met up with Danielle when she got out of work, and we grabbed some NY pizza. She took me out to a couple bars around her place-- I won a 'Best Beard' competition. I met up with Brian the next day and went over to Williamsburg for some food: bagels and guacamole and beers and amazing artichoke pizza from Artichoke Basille's. I met up with Jenna for sushi and then went over to Brooklyn to meet up with Mark and Dan. I had missed seeing Mark in San Francisco, so it was cool to catch him out in New York-- plus he was with some other people I hadn't seen in years. I had an amazing falafel from Oasis before taking the train back to Manhattan with Dan and Capi. On .., I walked to the Bowery to see CBGB's-- it's now a shitty clothing store. For lunch, I ate a falafel and grape leaves at nearby Mamoun's. I wandered around the city before meeting up with Danielle for soul food at Mama's. Later, we went out for drinks with some friends of hers. The next day, I walked through Central Park, ate lunch at the Modern with Alex and toured the Met.
I checked out a few more Renzo Piano buildings: the Morgan Library and the Whitney. I ran into Jory outside the Whitney, and he taught me how to get in for free. I went in with him and his friend for the Buckminster Fuller exhibit, but left early for the Yankee's game. The trip to Yankee Stadium was pretty terrible: no jalapenos for nachos, no ice for sodas, no beer in the bleachers. 2 HRs for A-Rod, Yankees win; big whoop. I also got to see the new stadium under construction. That night, I crashed at Brian's in Williamsburg and caught the early Chinatown bus to DC. The bus wasn't as crazy as I expected, but it was cool to drive through Philly on the way down.


The ride from Pittsburgh to Toronto was never-ending; 10 hours, I think. We made stops all the way up the eastern side of Lake Erie and went through Buffalo. I've been to Buffalo several times, but didn't know where the Greyhound was going to leave us for our 2 hour layover. Luckily, it was right downtown-- the only area I know. It was 10pm, but the rain had caused a delay in the Buffalo Bisons game, and I was able to catch the second half of it for free. Turns out former Astro Morgan Ensberg plays for them. Afterwards, I took off to Washington Square, a sportsbar that Simon and I went to a couple years ago. The bartendress said they were closing, but started the fryers up when she heard I was from out of town-- definitely the best buffalo wings I've ever had. It was around 3:30am when the bus got into Toronto, and nearly everyone at Antonella's party was passed out, then Gordie showed up. He was in town from Montreal. The next morning, Antonella, her roommate and I grabbed a hot dog and went to a Blue Jays game-- AJ Burnett got a standing ovation and we saw a dude with (at least) 3 Canada tattoos. After the game, I met up with Ben Prus-- I hadn't seen him since 2004. I grabbed lunch with him and his girlfriend and took a nap. Later, Ben made gazpacho. I took a cab to the Opera House to see Municipal Waste open for At the Gates-- the Waste killed it. Tony hooked me up at the door and brought me backstage-- we watched the whole set from the side of the stage. What a wicked night; it was awesome to get to meet those dudes. The next day, I stopped by Ben's work for lunch, shopped in Kensington Market, grabbed some pizza and went to dinner at Fressen with Antonella. That night, I got on a bus and headed to New York for my first time.

Eastern Ohio

So, Jimmy picked me up from Pittsburgh and we headed west into eastern Ohio. It was about an hour drive to St. Clairesville, Ohio. We went to Pick's, the bar where David Allen Coe got his start and shot a rack. Jimmy's cousin has a big ranch out there and had asked him to watch it while he was on vacation. No problem. And, Alex came up from Florida too. We rode 4wheelers, shot guns and fed the goats. I was feeling particularly sick from traveling, so it was nice to be in the same place for a few days. We also got to see the local attractions: Jill's strip club and Buffalo Wild Wings-- Spicy Garlic, please. We had breakfast, Jimmy mowed the yard and Alex did laundry-- how domestic. After a couple days of relaxation, we dropped Alex off at the airport in Pittsburgh and I took a long bus ride to Toronto.

Richmond & Pittsburgh

Nic arranged for me to catch a ride with the Lower Class Brats from Richmond to Pittsburgh. I met up with them all at their show in Richmond. They had an extra day off between the two shows, so we stayed in Richmond for an extra day. This worked out well, because I got to take Nic around and show him the city. We went record shopping and then out to Mojo's with Eva and Tony for dinner. The next morning, we took off for Pittsburgh-- it was a long drive, but I had done it before with Rager. So, Ryan and Dallah met up with us at the show in Pittsburgh. We hung out with some of the dudes from Wednesday Night Heroes and shot some pool, but bounced from the show pretty early. Ryan had just got back from a weekend in Detroit and was pretty wiped out, but Dallah took me to the Brillo Box. Garrett was there-- apparently, I met him four years ago in Boston, but didn't remember it. Carnegie Mellon had its International exhibit-- it was awesome to finally see some of the Barry McGee stuff that I had seen in magazines for years. His Bic pen drawings were my favorite, and the .. cave made of cardboard and packing tape was awesome. I ate at Primanti Brothers-- apparently, it's the quintesential Pittsburgh eatery. Later, Garrett, Dallah, Ryan and I went to the Pirates' game-- the Astros were in town. I have always wanted to see that park; it's wicked. The Astros won-- we celebrated. We kicked it at Garrett and Tommy's apartment before heading out to some club. On Thursday, Garrett, Dallah and I went out to Thai Gourmet for an amazing vegan lunch, and Jimmy came to pick me up to head to eastern Ohio.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back in North Carolina

I left North Carolina for about six weeks, but found myself back there for my birthday. I really didn't take all that many pictures, mainly resting before continuing north. I skipped out on Denver and Chicago and got to Chapel Hill on 24 June. I got some wicked sleep and then went to Durham with Brian and Genardo. Later, we were out on bikes, riding around for Brian's birthday. The next day, I watched some EuroCup and Russian Circles played the Local 506. Erin and Maps & Atlases were also in town, but at a different venue. On Friday, I heped Brian run some errands and people came up to Johnny's. Saturday, I went to a Durham Bulls game. Sunday was my birthday-- I went to Wet 'n Wild in Greensboro. Other than that, I just tried to chill out: Neal's Deli with Jan, North Carolina BBQ and lunch with the King at Sandwhich. On the 3rd, I was up in Richmond, on my way to northern Virginia. I had to stop at Cafe 821 for a hurricane burger. Later, I met up with Tony, Maggie and Murty for a show. For the weekend, I was at a pretty wicked house on the Potomac River. Afterwards, I headed back to Richmond to meet up with Nic, who was in town selling merch for the Lower Class Brats.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vancouver, BC

Rafael came up from Portland and we took a bus to Vancouver. Out of all the people on the bus, he and I were the only people to get hassled at the border. Rafael was super nervous-- he had never been to Canada before. After 40 minutes of questioning, we made it through. I have two friends up in Vancouver, but Rafael lined up a place for us to stay. Jesse picked us up at 3am and took us to Aaron's house, so we crashed. I woke up to my friend Julia giving me a hug-- her and Aaron live together. Everything in Vancouver was a hassle, from finding the 'most American' cigarettes to getting cash. We grabbed some wicked Indian food before going on some adventures. We grabbed some Tim Horton's and walked some tracks. Walked through the park, hopped some buses and grabbed a great burrito from Budgies. Jesse's girlfriend owns the place, so we kicked it there. Simon met up with us after work and he and I headed back to his place. Simon lives in Kits Beach, so the next day, I hung out there, ate breakfast and watched some EuroCup while he was at work. Afterwards, we saw a Vancouver A's baseball game and grabbed some Chinese food. The next day, I grabbed some wicked vegetarian food from The Naam. We grabbed some Tim Horton's and Simon showed me around the city. We ate dinner at Stepho's, which was probably the best food I ate all summer. We grabbed some Timmy's after dinner and hung out on the beach. The next day, we grabbed breakfast and watched Holland lose in the EuroCup. Later, he got one of his friends to drive us around. We were out at Stanley Park and rode bikes for a bit. We got some really good pizza and headed to Wreck Beach, supposedly it's a really crazy nude beach with pot brownies and mushrooms. But, it was a cloudy day, so it was just full of creepy old men. Later, we grabbed some cheap pitchers at the Cambie and hung out with the locals. I needed more coffee to keep me awake. Apparently, these steam clocks are a big deal-- I saw it. Cool, I guess. The next day we walked around Kits and then hit a greek festival. The next day, I decided to head back to North Carolina before my birthday. I walked around Hastings and Main. I took the bus back to Seattle, and another to Spokane and flew to Oakland to grab my connection to Raleigh-- 24 hours of traveling. I did manage to grab some sushi in Seattle, another drink with Thom and see Phil for 30 minutes in Oakland. I was exhausted when I returned to North Carolina.

Seattle, Washington and Camping

I got into Seattle on the afternoon of 15 June. Thom picked me up from the Amtrak station, which is right near Safeco Field, where the Mariners play. I dropped my stuff off at his place, started some laundry, grabbed a much-needed shower and headed out for Thai food. We stopped off at a bar on Capitol Hill for a drink, but ended up crashing pretty early. Thom has been planning a weekend camping trip with some of our friends from Texas who are also Seattle transplants. We got up early to pick up Justin and his 2 long-haired dauchsands before heading to the Bainbridge Ferry. Arthur, Perry and Brad missed the ferry, so we had time to do some shopping. We grabbed lunch before driving up to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. After we set up our tents, Thom, Brad and I went canoeing while waiting for the beer to get cold. Later, we snacked and played cards before Thom made food. The scenery was unbelievable; this was a good break between rushing to different cities. The next day, we packed up and headed back to the city. I met up with my sister, Libby and she took me around the city. We went to a Mariners game, where she told me she was pregnant. I walked her back to her hotel, and we stopped by the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park. The next day, I walked around Seattle, grabbed lunch and saw the Pike Street Market. I had dinner with Libby and Thom before heading to the bus station. To be honest, I didn't think Seattle was going to be that cool of a city, but I actually had a really great time.

PDX: finally in the northwest

I had never been to the northwest-- which is odd because I know so many people from there. Both Dylan and Phil are from there, and Jacob has lived there for most of the time I have known him-- but, I'd never gotten up there until this summer. Unfortunately, Dylan and Phil are both living in California, but I got to spend a lot of time with Jacob and some other PDX transplants.
So, on Wednesday, 11 June, I landed in Portland and Lisa picked me up from the airport. I've known Lisa since I was in 7th or 8th grade; she was actually my first girlfriend-- ha. We went out for dinner and then for a drink. Later, Tai came out and we went out to a couple different bars. I had a pretty killer streak of RockPaperScissor matches. The next morning, Tai took me to Junior's-- the best veggie breakfast in Portland. The weather was unbelievable while I was in Portland, and the plants and flowers looked beautiful. I met with Lisa and went for a drive around Portland. I thought this was weird. Then we walked around downtown and ran into Matt. He was working, but we made plans to meet up later. I saw the community bike shop, the Doug Fir and Lisa's new apartment. The Doug Fir is a pretty cool place, but I think a lot of locals kind of hate on it. In the afternoon, I went up north to meet up with Jacob and Sean. Matt got off work and met us at the Note, where I met a bunch of wicked dudes from Portland. Claire called and scooped us all up to head to a dance party at ... . This was a pretty wicked party, and I met a lot of people that I have heard about for years-- like Steve and Rafael. It was kind of a bummer to be out in Portland without Dylan or Phil, but Matt, Claire and everyone showed me a wicked time. After the party, we went to Raf's to hang out. I crashed here-- thanks Rafael. The next morning we went to a pretty wicked veggie place for breakfast. Everyone had to go to work, so I wandered around Portland and met up with Jacob. He took me on a tour of Portland's famous strip clubs-- well, just Union Jacks and Mary's Club. We also went by Burnside, which was really, really cool to finally see in person. Matt finished work, and we decided to have some fun downtown. We filled up some water balloons and talked with some locals. Later, I went out for crepes with Claire, Raf and some others. Raf is always a lot of fun to walk around with. The next morning, he took me to Hungry Tiger Too for breakfast. By this point, I was exhausted, so I turned off my phone and caught a train to Seattle. I needed to eat and relax and knew Thom's place would be comfortable.

San Francisco/Oakland: Best Friends

Phil was a little late meeting me at the bus depot, so I wandered around the city. Luckily, I was close to Pac Bell Park was nearby, so I was able to see where the Giants play. We grabbed some tacos in the Mission district before heading back to Oakland-- Brian Moss was having a party. It was great to see some old faces. Afterwards, we headed back to Phil's place and woke up Lizzie. The next morning, Phil and I went shopping at Whole Foods so that he could cook Lizzie and me breakfast before we headed into the city. We grabbed some beers before taking the BART to Dolores Park. I hadn't been there since November 2004, but every time I go, I have a wicked time. Lizzie took a nap while Phil and I drank beers, played frisbee, drank beers, met a gay porn star, drank beers and talked about cars-- just like an old pair of gal pals. We went out for Indian food and over to a beer garden where I met Davey from Portland. Phil was pretty drunk at this point, so we headed back to Oakland. We were walking down the street when I heard someone yelling at us-- it was Jeremy. He came back to Phil's place for some beers. The next morning, we rode bikes over to Phil's shop to pick up some cash before grabbing lunch. We both got pretty hammered and had to take a nap. Later, Lizzie came with us to get some food in Oakland. That night, Phil and I went back to the Mission and hung out at the Casanova with Diane. After a night of drinking and dancing, Phil and I got a bit lost on the way home. We wandered around for a bit before finding our way. The nexy day, we did a little grocery shopping and relaxing around the house, we grabbed some sushi and ate in the park. Later, we had some beers and missed the Athletics' game-- but, we walked around Oakland for awhile. I booked a flight for Portland the next day-- I needed a break from partying so hard. I think Phil did too. Before leaving, I went back to the mission district to grab lunch.

the idle rich

Well, the whole idea of keeping this updated with photos throughout the summer kind of fell apart. Simply, uploading photos from libraries or from friends' laptops just isn't practical. I'm in England now-- Sheffield to be exact. There is so much going on here that I want to post, but I'm going to do my best to upload the photos from my summer. If you'd like to see more from when I was in your city, email me and I'll mail you additional photos.
After uploading photos in LA, Julia picked Ryan and I up and we went to In-N-Out. Naturally, Ryan and I ate Animal Style. Ryan and Julia both had to work and I snuck off to wander Los Angeles. In the afternoon, Alex and I met up and went to the Dodgers game. He had never been to a MLB game before, so I was stoked to take him. I showed him typical ballpark fare, and we lucked out: it was bobble head night. I planned on leaving the next day, but Dylan convinced me to stay an extra day. He had been working most of the time I was in town-- plus, he offered to pay half my bus ticket. How could I resist? Naturally, he showed me a wicked time. In the morning, we kicked it in his garden before dropping Alex off at work, giving us a car for the day. Dylan's car broke down, so we had to take care of that before eating a wicked lunch. Damn, I wish I could remember the name of this place. He showed me some landmarks: Amoeba Records, The Standard Hotel and Chateau Marmont. We planned to do some rooftop swimming, but the pool was closed. Ryan's friend, Ben, was having a party, so we headed over there. It's kind of tradition for Dylan and I to play scratch-off tickets-- I won, he lost. Later, Alex, Dylan, Adam and I went to the Cha Cha lounge to meet up with Julia and Tim-- Tim just got into school in London. I stayed in Hollywood, but woke Alex and Dylan up early so that we could go to brunch at Ye Rustic Inn. We had bloody marys before they dropped me off at the bus station. I took the MegaBus to San Francisco.