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Something from the Prop 8 trial today triggered a recent memory. One of the Plaintiffs stated the difficulties of having to have people understand what your partner means to you, especially in some casual encounters, like saving a seat for them on a plane, or at a theater.

When Chris and I were headed out to San Diego last month we were some of the last to board the second flight headed to California. Our connection had come in a little late and the flight out was three terminals away.

We already had our boarding passes with our seats together. We got to nearly the back of the plane and there in the three-seat row were two people. Some guy who was sitting next to the window and some sheepish looking woman.

At first she didn't acknowledge us. He didn't even look our way. As I fumbled with the boarding passes and started to ask out loud in my usual I'm-getting-frustrated way about that there should be two seats she took about a minute and then finally told us, "Oh, I thought it would be alright to sit here, my seat is just up there."

She pointed to the middle seat three aisles ahead with no intention to get up and go to it.

Again after another pause, she finally said, "I just wanted to sit here with my husband, that's OK, right?"

No, it's not OK. He's not even in his correct seat, which is the aisle. Chris can tell I'm getting pissed and I really want to tell her to move.

Heck, what I really want to tell her, was "I want to sit next to my husband, too!"

Chris just gives a look and heads towards the seat a few aisles ahead. I guess it didn't really make sense to go into the whole thing, having to explain that we're a couple, and we are traveling together, and at least we had the boarding passes for where we wanted to be. No, the flight was finishing boarding and we just wanted to get on with our trip, so we let it be.

I never spoke to the woman. I think she tried to say a meager "thanks", but as soon as I could turn on the iPod and leave her behind, the better. She didn't even really talk to her husband from what I can remember.

Still, it's that difficulty with explaining your relationship. If I was married to a woman, people would just suspect the woman with me would be my wife, or at least my girlfriend. It takes more effort to describe my relationship to Chris, and it's one that I don't always want to go into the full story about with just anyone.

I wish it was simpler. Sometimes when someone asks, looking at my ring, if I'm married, I say yes. Then if they start asking more, then it's the though, am I coy? Do I just say it? Do I go into the whole California marriage thing? Why can't this be easier?

I love the whole "I'm married in selected states" thing, but having to explain it gets tiresome. You never feel like yours is a relationship equal to those that straight folks can jump into so easily, so carelessly. And when they come down the aisle in some plane, you think, well, they could be a couple. Us? I don't know what they think.

Sure, violence and more obvious discrimination like firing or in refusal of service is one thing, but just that little thing of being considered unworthy of an institution, well that's a deep discrimination that really gets to feeling a resentment and being labeled less than worthy. Boy did Prop 8 do that in spades.

Given that a similar scenario came up when one of the plaintiff was asked about the equality of their relationship, they way they feel discriminated against, or at least find things more difficult by the simple act of having marriage denied them, well it just makes me that much more interested in how this case is going to go.

And if you see the two of us coming, yes, I do ant to sit next to my husband, and not the back of the bus thank you.
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☆ Well, again I'm having to say something about how long it's been since I've written in my journal. For weeks I had a half written post about TBRU that never got off the ground. Partly it was due to stress at work and trying to get through tax season, and now that's over, thankfully. It may not have been as hard as we thought, but it's definitely been a stressful time at work. Otherwise I just haven't been so inspired to write and have been lazy, watching TV in my spare time.

Lets face it, TBRU can be boiled down to a few things. There was great people there, I did my best to stay out of crowds and kept the drama to a minimum. That's not to say that going to Six Flags during Spring Break was not frustrating with the long lines and rude people, but luckily the guys I went with were good company. Also, the Battlestar Galactica finale went great and it was fun to have fellow geeks come over to watch. It made viewing it much more of an event. The finale itself was good, not great, but I think there was a lot of expectations. I saw people I knew and was glad to see them, and met a couple of new people, mostly introduced by people I knew since I'm too shy to go meet them myself.

☆ I'll just a paragraph or five about politics here. I think Obama and his administration are doing fine. Sure, I don't agree with everything he does, but I do appreciate that he seems to be able to plan for the long term and doesn't get caught up in the day-to-day news cycle. Politicians are often too reactionary (see AIG bonuses) and try to respond too often to what the polling shows rather than getting out there and making real plans. I find it refreshing.

The tax day tea parties were ridiculous. What began as a libertarian thing suddenly became some way for disenfranchised Republicans to find a voice, but the problem with that voice is that it seems to find outrage but no substance or solutions. For many people there they seemed to be outraged, but didn't quite know what they were outraged about. Of course you have Fox News out there, actually adding their name to the event. If my parents ever try to tell me that Fox News is balanced again, all I have to do is point to this moment where the right-wing network didn't report the news, but tried to be an event organizer. While I don't find much in the way of objective journalism from any of the cable news outlets, I can't see either CNN or MSNBC trying to actually create a movement for their benefit. For anyone on fox who wants to remain a journalist, it's time to leave.

Funny that these tea bag protests about spending come after several years of Republicans raising deficits while Bush was in office. All this sturm and drang only seems to come around now that they are out of power. I'll take your message as seriously as I do the Code Pink housewives.

Oh, and our governor here in Texas, Rick Perry, is worried about a primary fight against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson next year, so naturally he decides to go to these tea party events to campaign. He's a complete idiot, but he knows the Republican Party here is a bunch of rabid fools (Just check out the Texas Republican Party Platform) so he knows he has to play to these guys. Kay is much more the moderate, and she would do better in a general election, but it will be harder for her to win the primary.

So Governor Good Hair, as we call him, goes out to start talking about Texas shouldn't be ruled by Washington, that states are sovereign and we need to look at secession from the US. Great! Just what we need here is an idiot telling us that we should leave the US. If we left the US, the US would also leave us. Do you think Texas would keep the US companies that headquarter here? Do you think that the US military would just leave all there equipment to us? Do you realize that there isn't a large enough bank based in the state to do commerce with? We are so tied into the US, that...why am I even arguing this, our governor is an idiot.

☆ Lastly, tomorrow we head out to LA for our cruise. I'm excited about going out to see a Dodger game tomorrow night and Saturday getting on the ship for a Mexican Riviera cruise. It's the Lazy Bear cruise, so there should be lots of good people on the ship. chris was on this same cruise a couple of years ago - as were a couple of other LJer's. I'll admit that I am not excited about any of the ports of call, but it will be nice to relax and get away from it all.

I'm packing, trying to get everything I need into one suitcase. You'd think going away for a week wouldn't require so much, especially going to somewhere warm, but I'm struggling to keep the bag under 50 pounds. Luckily this cruise I don't have to bring formal wear.

I have been on one other all-gay cruise, and that was the one to Alaska in 2007. I liked that one because people were dressed a little more warmly, but I see this cruise as a little more body competitive - beaches and pools and such. I'm sure there will be several people in skimpy swimsuits both on and off the ship. I'm already in my mindset that I will be the largest guy on the ship and won't want to be out at the pool area. Hopefully this feeling will change and I'll be able to let go and have a good time, but I'll tell you, it's easy to feel that you are very unattractive going into something like this.

Still I can't just stay in our little cabin all vacation long. This will be odd for me because I'm always looking for things to do on vacation but this one seems to be more about doing nothing. I hope I don't go crazy with boredom as I can't think of any of these ports that I want to explore, or anything. I'll be missing my internet access, too. I'm guessing I'm going to be on deck reading a book quite often. We will see how it goes.

Now if I can just cram all these T-Shirts in the bag!

☆ Oh, and it's possible that California's Supreme Court will rule on marriage next week. I guess we'll see if our marriage is still valid (in selected states) or not. We'll be without internet, but I'm sure we will hear the news on the ship. not that I'm expecting it, but if they rule for marriage equality that is going to be one big party boat.
eggwards: (Scared of Tech)
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above: Nakia ([livejournal.com profile] austinchubbylimits) and His Southern Cousins rock the stage formerly known as WaMu.

Well, I started today with a horrible cold, possibly flu that had me looking for medicine at an HEB at 4:30 am. After that there was the crazy guy at the McDonalds that seemed to be yelling about some conspiracy theories about Louisiana cops and gay firemen. If this wasn't a bad enough sign, then a bird crapped on me as we entered the park for the last day of the festival.

Just about all the bears and several other people to come to see Nakia and his band make their ACL debut. He rocked, sweated and thrilled the crowd.

Since there wasn't another band we wanted to see until the evening, we went back downtown to go to the Lone Star Bears Beer Bust. While there I started feeling worse and worse. I wanted to get to the hotel before I felt too weak to get back to the parking garage. I spent most of the afternoon and evening here in the hotel bed.

Chris along with Sean and Karl went back to see Gnarls Barkley and the Foo Fighters, who close the show.

I'd rather be having fun with the boys. Boo for being sick. Hopefully I'll be feeling better before we drive home tomorrow.
eggwards: (Scared of Tech)
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Sean ([livejournal.com profile] alphaschnitz) and Karl ([livejournal.com profile] bookbear) brave the sun in the Austin evening. The heat isn't as bad this year, which is nice. Crowd is huge as always. Caught Vampire weekend, Hot Chip, Patty Griffin, What Made Milwaukee Famous and David Byrne today, and that was before leaving the park early to go have "real" dinner at Katz's Deli.
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A few notes today:

● First, I watched the season premier of Heroes the other day, and I think we can start a drinking game with the number of stolen plots. Sure, they say there are only 153 plots in the world, but when you can clearly see they are stealing from “The 4400”, “X-Men”, “The Sixth Sense” and every other movie where the villain is somehow related to the hero. It doesn’t feel fresh and new. Of course, reading comics for so many years makes most of the plots and characters seem kind of old.

Although they didn’t introduce many new characters, there’s too many of them out there, and they rarely work together in any meaningful way. Sure, the idea is that at the end of the story, everything comes together, but the writers seem to have a hard time with that. Here are a couple of thoughts. Kill some characters. We’re starting to get some redundancy in powers and it just muddles everything. When you do kill some of them, then let them stay dead. There’s no way the audience can feel for the danger the characters are in if everyone can easily come back to life.

Speaking of new characters, there was the one “villain” who was locked up with the others in the paper factory. He is a cute Hispanic cubby, but since he apparently has been switched out with Peter Petrelli, now that he’s escaped, we the audience only see Peter, and the cute cubby in mirrors and reflections. It’s a lazy way to not have to explain to the audience that he’s really Peter, but that could be explained in dialogue. I’d rather see the cubby.

It’s also interesting how they are spending their effects budget. Some effects look great (the freezing, the speedster’s streak) others look terrible. I know you are working on a television budget, so you need to choose carefully.

Hopefully with the extra time off, Heroes writers worked harder to put together a season-long story arc like there was with the first season. There’s some indication of this, but it is tough to see how some of the storylines work together. One last thing. Too many characters can see the future. One is OK, but you have dreamers and travelers and sometimes they see different visions. It’s confusing to the audience and it’s used as a cheap way to build a threat – much like our current administration warning about attacks that haven’t happened. Let’s limit the visions of the future on this show.

● The Emmy Awards show was terrible, but I like both Mad Men and 30 Rock. It’s rare that I like the shows that win.

● I love that to try to preserve the economy until at least a week into November the Bush Administration wants to have an unelected official have the power to distribute 700 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money to banks and investment firms that couldn’t control their own businesses? No way. The Bush Administration has done terrible damage to the country grabbing powers that were not a part of the executive branch, or once had oversight by other branches of government. Congress has too many times rolled over to let them take it’s oversight power, or allowed the administration to write in restrictions to judicial oversight. Sorry, but this time we need to say no, even when the economy is tanking.

The bailout will happen, but it needs to be on terms that protects taxpayers and works to protect the government from falling into deeper debt. Mortgage lenders don’t like the idea of the government coming in and re-writing loan provisions, but it’s better to prevent foreclosure and have people pay back the loans rather than to have them just walk away. This was done in the great depression and can be done now. I hope Congress will have the guts to demand it.

I’m sure Republicans will try to block the bailout legislation if it comes in with a lot of oversight. They will say that the Democrats were just trying to grow government and put in a lot of wins for them, but the Republicans can easily use the bill to try to make political points as well by refusing it. Since Republicans like to say they are for free and open markets, they can say, oh, the bill didn’t pass because there were too many demands (like the CEO pay bit) that made it unpalatable to business, and argue that business will drive the economy if it’s left alone. Bull. These companies got into trouble and are driving the economy to ruin. I don’t want long-term oversight, or government ownership, but there has to be restrictions and accountability. I don’t think the Republicans are up to the challenge. Hopefully the Dems will be.

● I’m getting ready with Chris to go to Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) this weekend. I’m ready to get away from the calls and callers we’ve had these last two weeks. It’s been crazy as people are looking for advice, but we can only provide information and a bit of guidance. People always pick the worst time to take action with their retirement accounts, selling out of funds when they are down, and buying “hot” funds when they already are at their highpoint. It’s tough to tell them that. I also hate when we are told to reduce our lunchtime due to the high volume of calls. I’d be happier to stay later than cut my lunchtime.

● As for ACL, I don’t think there are many people we know going. I’ve heard from a couple, and of course we are excited to see Nakia ([livejournal.com profile] austinchubbylimits) take the stage at the event. It should be cooler this year, too. 90 degrees instead of 108. There’s a lot of overlap this year during the afternoon hours where two or even three good bands are on at the same time. There will be lots of choices to be made.

● Damn, I’m already wanting lunch and it doesn’t come until 2:30 today. The person who popped popcorn needs to die.
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It's so hard to come back to the humdrum land of work when you've been gone on a good long vacation. I'm definitely feeling the pull of the blues here, wishing I could be back in New York.

I love sending picture posts, but they only tell part of the story. I have many, many more pictures and if I can get motivated, I'll send them up to Flickr, but at the moment they are in the same limbo as befell my pictures from Boston two years ago, and from the cruise I took last year. I'm not sure why it's hard to come back to those, but procrastination is my middle name...I think.

Walking around New York is like feeling you are on a movie set. There's so many things that you've seen, but there they are right in front of you. 30 Rock, The Flatiron Building, The Empire State Building, Times Square, even the Unisphere way out in Flushing Meadows Park. All have that familiarity, and many seem much, much bigger in real life.

From where I left off the other day, Laura and I had breakfast with Ryan ([livejournal.com profile] bobo_dreams) and followed him into the Toys R Us in Times Square for some hilarity. Then we went in and sat for a while in the studio for the Frank DeCaro show on Sirius Out Q. Frank was nice enough to give us a tour of the now Sirius-XM studios and gave us some restaurant recommendations for the rest of our stay. We instantly went out to the first one he mentioned, having lunch in Madison Square Park at the Shake Shack. Man those cheese fries were good!

Leaving the Shake Shack we went downtown so Laura could see Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty. I saw it the other night when I rode the Staten Island Ferry. While looking around Wall Street near the charging bull statue we spotted Chris Noth who was working on a Law and Order episode. We then went to the Brooklyn Bridge. After a twenty minute walk, we were in Brooklyn. We didn't get to stay long as we needed to go to Union Square to meet Kurt ([livejournal.com profile] bigboychb) who was working at Virgin. We finished the evening at the observation deck at Top of the Rock.

By this time I had blisters on my feet, and almost didn't go out, but it was bear bar night so i felt I had to deal with it and head out to Christopher Street. It certainly wasn't what I expected, with a lot of kids hanging out. by the time I got to the Dugout it was already midnight and the crowd was already heading out the door. There I didn't meet many of the locals, buts saw Bob from Michigan (not on LJ), and met Ed and John ([livejournal.com profile] cubbies76 and [livejournal.com profile] johnboi76) from Chicago. It was good to meet them and have someone to talk to there. After a bit we decided to leave the bar and go on up to Ty's which seemed to be hopping. Of course Ty's is a tiny place, so even a small crowd would make it seem crowded. There I ran into [livejournal.com profile] theoctothorpe (who has a dreamy accent) and [livejournal.com profile] joebehrsandiego. before Ed and John had to head back to Long Island we stopped by for some late night New York style pizza with some surly waitstaff.

Saturday found Laura and I first setting out for breakfast at Billy's Bakery in Chelsea, then off to see [livejournal.com profile] naylandblake's installation "Guys We Want to Fuck" at a very small warehouse gallery. Then it was off to Central Park for walking, walking and more walking. I was definitely having to tell Laura to slow it down as my feet were in bad shape after having to walk so much in the city (really, I've built up a lot of stamina in the last couple of years, but it's more stamina as far as time, not wear and tear. I'm used to gym conditions, not the real street). Sure, there's plenty of public transportation but you still end up walking a lot, and there's many, many sets of stairs in the subway. The whole trip was a workout. We walked a circuitous path from Columbus Circle to the Guggenheim Museum. Sadly the museum was filled with tourists and was under renovation. Lincoln Center was also under renovations, also a disappointment. Still, we ducked into a McDonald's (another place with bad service, how do New Yorkers put up with it?) and saw Michael Emmeron, aka Ben on Lost, getting cash from an ATM. I told him I liked his work which he thanked me in that strange voice he has.

Exhausted, Laura and I went back to the hotel (the Muse near Times Square, highly recommended) and cleaned up before meeting the Jersey Boys, Tom ([livejournal.com profile] evilcreamsicle), John ([livejournal.com profile] txredneck) and Ed ([livejournal.com profile] njbearcub1) for dinner at a sort of cajun place on Restaurant Row. Sadly, Laura and I did not know about Restaurant Row until this, the last night. We had a great meal and spent a long time at the restaurant just talking and hanging out before sending the Jersey Boys back through the tunnel. It was a good night and I was glad they were able to join us, if just for a few hours.

Sadly, we never saw the Cash Cab.

We looked a little more at Times Square on Sunday morning when there weren't so many people running around before heading back to Penn Station and to the train back to Baltimore. It was nice that the Square was calmer than it had been for the last few days with tons of tourists standing around gawking. Sure, it's quite a sight, but when you realize that it's all just advertisements and encouragements to buy, buy, buy, you figure out there's a lot better sights to see in New York than this.

Frankly, I was impressed. There's a lot packed in the city, and even more that we didn't get to. It will definitely be worth a second look, to go back and see some of the smaller things, and like our walk through Chelsea, see more of the real New York, not just the big postcard items. With the two new stadiums coming on line, there will certainly be an excuse to come back again. Hell, I never even found the Apple Cube!

Hopefully by then my feet will have fully healed from all the walking.
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I'm having a blast here in New York City. There's still so much to see, and I think I'm getting to the point where I'll need to take things off the list to see. This is why Chris didn't want to come, he knows I get obsessed about running all over town seeing everything I can. My legs are getting a great workout, though. My legs are sore every night from walking.

I have only to go to Brooklyn today to have visited all five boroughs.

My sister, Laura joined me yesterday, and we saw the Mets game, and walked over to the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows park. The Unisphere is the huge steel globe that was the center piece for the 1964 world's fair. I know many people would know if from the movie Men in Black, but I know it's the cover of the B-52's greatest hits album.

We saw Xanadu on Broadway last night. Man it was great. I laughed the entire time, and they even acknowledge in the show that their target audience is gay men in their 40's. It was a perfect send up of everything that didn't make sense in the movie, and still uses the movie music you are familiar with. I thought it was fun that two of the muses are guys, but yet still "sisters". They are the two best dancers, too. There was a cute cubbie usher who gave us our glowsticks for the finale.

After having a great Italian meal, we tied to see if we could make a late trip to the Top of the Rock, the observation deck on 30 Rock. We were a little late, but we were wondering why there was a crowd of screaming girls out at midnight in Rockefeller center. We asked an NBC hand who was helping set up for the Friday morning concert for the Today show and he said the girls were waiting for Miley Cyrus (aka Hanna Montana). He said some of them were camped out from the night before. He also said they were closing more streets than they had for any other artist. We were happy to get out of the area.

I find that I can't quite walk as fast as most of the locals, but I can outpace the tourists, and they annoy me! If you want to gawk at the sights, move over and let us get through! I find I'm already getting to be a local!
eggwards: (Yardman)
Tomorrow it's off to the East Coast again, probably for the last time for a while. Airline ticket prices are rising, and once I see the two stadiums I'm going to see next week, I will have seen all the east coast ballparks. I'll need to start getting out to some other parts of the country!

It's been nice to have my sister Laura and her fiancée (still a fiance after 7 years) living in Baltimore that has made it an easy way to travel the upper east coast. It's been a good jumping off point. Over the last few years I've seen Boston, Washington DC, and Philadelphia, and now finally, New York City. I'll get to finally say that I've walked in the city, not just taken an AMTRAK train under it!

I leave for Baltimore early tomorrow morning (apparently no one wants the early flight on a Saturday), and then take the train up to New York City on Tuesday. Laura will join me there on Thursday. The only things I have planned are the Yankees game on Wednesday, the Mets game on Thursday, and Frank DeCaro is going to let us watch him do his radio show at Sirius on Firday. Hopefully our New Jersey boys, [livejournal.com profile] evilcreamsicle, [livejournal.com profile] njbearcub1, and Texas ex-pat [livejournal.com profile] txredneck will join us on Saturday. It's a good long trip.

I decided not to book any Broadway shows as it's cheaper to play your luck and try to get tickets the day of, also, who knows what you might decide to see. I do need to find out more about the water tour that Dan ([livejournal.com profile] musicbearmn) told me about a few weeks back. I know Chris will think it's not true, but this is about as unorganized and unscheduled as I get on vacation. Still, I know once I hit the ground, I'll be running like mad trying to see everything I can!

Now I'm getting excited. I'll have camera in tow, of course, and I'd love to meet other people up there! Is there anything you guys say I HAVE to do while there?

_______________________________

On the home front, since I haven't posted in a while, things are good. Chris has been getting into the summer pool party season, and I've been opting out more times than not. The circuit seems to call for a more trim man than myself, so I feel really self-counsious about it, and it makes me a miserable guy to be around, so I tend to stay home. Not all of the pool events have been this way, and I've been pleasantly surprised by some new friends this summer.

Still, work has been taking up most of my time, and it's been going well. If there's one thing that's bothering me is that I'm often more of an operator than someone who can get something accomplished. I hate getting an issue and having to document it and give someone else an order. I want to be able to resolve it myself, especially since I have little confidence in others at the company to do it.

The sales aspect of the job has been going better than expected, so maybe it's not the problem I thought it was going to be. Still, being tied to a call center schedule is very annoying. Here's hoping I shine and I can eventually move up to other jobs in the company. for now I'll just have to pay my dues.

Hey, but a week of vacation just may get me through the rest of the day!
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It's 71 degrees and the coolest it's been in a couple of weeks. Ahh Texas summers.

Here's a few upcoming things that aren't, thankfully, work related.

★Chris and I will be attending the True Colors Tour on Sunday the 22nd at the rechristened Starplex (or Smirnoff, if you know that name). It's now the Superpages.Com Amphitheater. Apparently naming rights are feeling the economic downturn as well.

We didn't attend last year's show, but seeing the B-52's and having $10 tickets (with an $8 convenience charge, thanks ticketmaster) made it more attractive this year.

★In September we'll be going back to the Austin City Limits Festival. It's a really good lineup this year, and it's two weeks later than in the past, so hopefully it won't be 108 degrees like it's been in the past. they actually have the schedule out - early this year, so now I know when I'll see Nakia ([livejournal.com profile] atxchubbylimits) with his full band.

I hope some other guys will come down to Austin as well. It's always fun to enjoy the event with friends. If you're thinking about coming now is the time to get tickets and plane fare!

★Lastly, I'll be going to New York City for the first time towards the end of July. in my quest to see the major league ballparks I have to see Yankee and Shea stadiums before they are torn down at the end of the year, so I found a week where they both had day games.

I won't be there for the full wee, as I will be visiting my sister in Baltimore again. I'm actually flying to Baltimore, will take the train up to NYC, and then go back to fly home from Baltimore. Strange, but we'll see how it goes. Who knows, maybe I can work it out to spend an evening on the Jersey shore as well.

I know very little about New York City, so any ideas are welcomed. I think my sister will be joining me for a couple of days as well, so maybe we'll see if we can get tickets for Avenue Q or Xanadu.

So if you only have a few days in New York City, what do you do? Any suggestions?
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Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox
Characters from Song of the South in front of Splash Mountain


Chris and I made a really short trip to the OC this past weekend. Chris' brother Andy was getting married and Chris was asked to be an usher for the ceremony. Since I can't get much time off for the new job as we are still in training, we had to leave on Friday night and I came back on Sunday.

Since the wedding wasn't until Sunday, Saturday was completely ours. Since we decided not to rent a car, the choices were limited for us. We could either go hit Newport Beach, or go to Disneyland. Since I have only been to Disneyland once, and that was before Chris was born, it was definitely time to go again.

Disneyland was definitely interesting. It was hard to try to remember how the park was when I was 5, and then not to mix it up with trips to the Magic Kingdom in the years in-between. Still, a few things stood out, mostly the Disneyland exclusives like Casey's railroad, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and the Matterhorn.

I enjoyed some for the changes like the new Indiana Jones ride, Toontown and Splash Mountain. I did bristle at others, like the fact the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Ride has now become a Finding Nemo ride, and Capt. Jack Sparrow appears too much in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. At least Eddie Murphy was kept out of the Haunted Mansion.

I loved the Indiana Jones ride, but the best ride at Disneyland was Splash Mountain. not only was it a great log flume ride, but i was really happy that Disney actually acknowledges the characters from Song of the South. I remember seeing the movie as a child, but now you have to go out of the USA to buy a copy due to the story teller, Uncle Remus being a slave in the south and the stories being old slave fables. Uncle Remus isn't in the ride, but Brer Bear is, and he seems to be tied up, and showing off his big bear bottom all of the time. Who knew he was into BDSM?

Each and every time we went over to Space Mountain it broke down, which was a great disappointment to me. We couldn't ride everything, the lines were long and we wanted to get over to California Adventure, but Space Mountain was the one I was really disappointed to miss out on.

We crossed the former parking lot and went to Disney's California Adventure in the evening. The themeing is really great at the park, though it can take a while to walk to a ride. I wonder if they will slowly fill the park with more attractions. Still, there were some great rides there, like the mouse coster, Mulholland Madness and California Screamin', the really great coaster. It's built to look like a wooden coaster on the pier, but it's a well made metal coaster with some great banks and drops. It's good to see Disney make some thrill rides that a 4 year-old can't ride.

One of the good things about Disney is how immersive the themeing is. Many times the ride isn't very intense, but you sit there looking at the environment. The haunted Mansion and Pirates are both very immersive rides, but so is Thunder Mountain Railroad. I found the soundtrack that played out of the headrests in the cars on California Screamin' really did enhance the ride. It's interesting not that Disney has a rollercoaster, or a log flume ride or a free-fall ride, but what they do with the ride in the look, story line and atmosphere of the ride.

We both packed wrong for the trip, and as we got into the evening the temperature dropped to 50 degrees, and the rain started to come down. We were both in T-shirts expecting 70 degree LA weather. Chris and I both had to pay a good price for Disneylad-branded warm ups so we could keep going into evening hours. At 11pm we gave up, too tired, cold and still somewhat wet. We couldn't make it to midnight and crashed in a few moments of getting back to the hotel.

The next morning we made it down to a marina in Newport Beach to board a sort of hybrid yacht and party boat for the wedding. The wedding, dance and reception were all on board the ship as we moved along Newport Bay, looking at all the big houses by the sea. It was a relaxing, casual ceremony and really a great way to do it. I still had a seasickness patch from last year's cruse, so I put it on, but it wasn't really something I needed as we didn't leave the calm bay. Still, when we got out to the jetties, I could see the much more turbulent waters of the Pacific.

Chris' family also always treats me very well. Not to say that my family doesn't treat chris well, but they've had less experience with Chris around. It was funny that as Chris' brother and parents didn't remember my last name, I was told I would have to check onto the yacht as one of the Brides (not THE bride, that's a whole different thing). So at least for one day, I took Chris' name. I also sat in the front row with the rest of the immediate family. It's nice to be included.

After four hours at sea I had to go back to the airport and get crammed into another full flight so I could get back to do nothing at work on Monday, tired after getting to bed at 1:30 am.

So I guess we'll have to get back out to Southern California again sometime soon to start to see the ballparks in LA, Anaheim and San Diego. I'll need to go back to Disneyland again to hit Space Mountain and a few other rides we passed up to get to the important ones. Now if I could only find my disneyland board game i used to have as a kid.
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Shannon and Kendall

Shannon Grady and Kendall in Tulsa, OK


Other poorly lit iPhone photos from Bears on the Run are located HERE. (Chris has better photos HERE)

After dropping Joey off at the kennel pet hotel, Chris and I drove up to Tulsa on Saturday. We got off to a late start and thought we might miss some of the show, but Bobaloo called me saying they'd be on gay time. Well, after a boring time driving through dozens of small Oklahoma towns, and a few speed traps, we checked into the hotel, and made our way to the industrial area where the Tulsa Eagle was at.

Oh, and I got princess parking. Why? Because it was a bit too early for people to show up at the Eagle. The bar isn't too big, though there's a sizable patio, and there's a decent stage area. It seems that Chris and I go to the small shows, as there weren't many people in attendance in Dallas, and fewer in Tulsa, for a while at least.

Let's just say Tulsa is weird not only is it a city where most every way in or out is a toll road, but there's just something off about it. I've been to Oklahoma many times, and yes, it's a strange world - this from someone who lives in Texas, but Tulsa, we'll that's another story. From the reactions and talking to a few locals, I'm guessing they just don't get a lot of visitors. Of course a couple of the guys were smitten with Kendall - not unusual by any means, but this was in a creepy, stalker way.

I think that one reason the crowd wasn't too big was that there's not an LJ community there. Not one of the performers, nor those of us who traveled to be there, knew anyone from Tulsa. It's like an LJ black hole.

The show itself was awesome. Although the locals seemed to react in some mysterious ways, the boys put out a fine show. Since seeing them in Dallas, they seemed much more sure of themselves. Transitions between artists went better and they were just more seasoned. There were more collaborations and fine tuning to make sure the set lists worked with the crowd. Adding Josh the violinist helped round out the music.

You could tell that they were better in relating to the audience, too. Despite the small crowd, they were there specifically for the event, and stayed with them. some folks who came in at the tail end of the show, ready for their Saturday night out, weren't quite so respectful of the performers, though

I know that on future tours I'd like to see a closing set featuring all of the artists. I understand on this first tour they didn't have a chance to collaborate while on the road, but perhaps next time.

I couldn't be more happy that the tour has been a success and will likely spawn more opportunities of these guys.

It was cool to be able to be groupies, heading out to a late dinner after the show (I still can't recommend Denny's, for food, or waitressing, but we had a good time), and then seeing them again, and talking about their road experiences the next morning (we stayed at the same cheap motel). We exchanged a little bit of contact information with those we didn't know so well, but hope to keep up with, and sent them on their way to Wichita.

Chris and I turned west and went to Stillwater where I showed him where my fraternity's national headquarters was, and went to Eskimo Joe's for lunch. I've gone there many times with frat brothers when we would visit, so it's always a special, fun place. I've bought several of their famous T-shirts, too. Chris wasn't so impressed, but I think it's just a place that has fond memories for me.

We drove up on US 75, but took I-35 back through Oklahoma City. The swing around the city is still bad where I-35 and I-40 meet. Here I thought they fixed that. I thought about going to the memorial where the Murrah Federal Building once stood, as I was there back in 1995 when it was bombed, but I've never returned to see the memorial. Unfortunately it was already getting late and I didn't have good directions, so we kept on going so we could pick up Joey at the pet hotel.

It was great getting to see another show, and to meet Mark from Homopod Radio - which I guess i need to listen to. It was also great to see the BotR guys (Elijah, Shannon, Kendall, Bobaloo, Matthew and Josh) again and see how well they had done, and spend time with them after the show. It made for a very special weekend, even if it was in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I'm impressed with what they did, and how they pulled it together, and makes me want to find the courage to put myself out there and do something bold, too.
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Chris and I have been packing for our trip that starts on Thursday. There's still a lot of things to get ready. I personally am trying not to overpack, but with 11 days to account for and the possibility of several costume changes (it is a gay cruise, after all), it's hard not to want to bring the entire wardrobe.

We're on the ms Amsterdam. We start in Seattle, then head up to Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan before returning to Victoria and Seattle. I wish we were visiting Vancouver instead of Victoria, but you go where the ship goes. We're heading out to a Mariners game in Seattle with some friends before we go back home.

Now this I hear is true with any cruise, the evening wear, and what you wear to dinner is somewhat controlled on the ship. A guide book I picked up talks about casual, informal and formal dress. I do not own a tux, so I'm bringing the "shiny suit", but that only covers a night or two. There's the informal, which can be anything from polo's to sportcoats, and then casual, but casual can only be worn on board until 6pm PDT (9 eastern). After that time, you should no longer be wearing jeans or shorts. Whatever.

I've never had to plan my wardrobe so much, and that's not including the colder weather and rain.

There's also theme parties on this ship, and due to the nature of this cruse, they have miner and lumber "jock" themes. That will go over well with the lesbians, Im sure. There's also a costume party. I know it's cliche, but unless we get a better idea in the next two day, we're going as Mario and Luigi. It gives me a chance to wear the overalls.

I guess I'm feeling some anxiety about the trip because it's all new, not so much the trip to Alaska, but the way were going. I'm having to learn the rules of the ship, when to be on, when I can go off, what facilities there are, and when to use them, but we also have a whole ship full of men, gay men, in all shapes and sizes. I've seen one website where you can check out some of the people who will be on board, and yep - I'm one of the biggest guys, pound per pound, that will be on board. I'm having some trouble with like wanting to go to the pool, and using the gym, and not feeling like I'm the most out of shape undesirable guy there. Hopefully that won't be the case, and I can just learn to relax and not worry about it.

We've invested a lot of money into this trip, probably the most expensive trip I've ever taken - but hey, I travel cheap. we don't have money left over for the excursions, so we'll be doing it our way. So glaciers, we'll see you from afar. Same goes for you, wildlife. Still, we may get into a town and see something the others don't. Who knows. I just want to feel like my money is well spent.

Oh, speaking of money well spent. I did buy something frivolous this weekend that I'm taking on the trip. Let's just say there's a leather party on the ship. See it behind the cut. )
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It's Friday night, and I'm tired, and I really would like to be able to take a short vacation. Unfortunately all my time for this year is devoted, most of it to the Alaskan Cruise coming up in september (spaces may still be available!). Still, I often think of many places I'd like to visit, if not stay for an extended length of time.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know one way I'm working on seeing more of the country is to take in a ballgame at each Major League Baseball stadium. I've hit 10 of them so far, so I have several to go. I'll pick up a game in Seattle as a part of the Alaska trip this year. I'm thinking of making New York City my primary destination next year as I've never been there, it would be good to see Mikel again, and I'd love to see Yankee Stadium before they tear it down.

I also have to go back to St. Louis someday as they built a new stadium there, and I still need to go back to Chicago to see Comiskey Park and to Oakland. I really don't have a problem with visiting either city again.

I'm trying to convince Chris to do a baseball and coasters tour of Ohio, seeing the parks in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and then going to King's Island and Cedar Point. If were really daring, that would be a good time to pick up Pittsburgh as well or Detroit.

The ballparks I've see are, from west to east, San Francisco, Texas (Arlington), Houston, Kansas City, Chicago (Wrigley), St. Louis (old Busch Stadium), Baltimore, Philadelphia, Montreal and Boston. Lots more to go, and my rule is I actually have to see a game there, not just do the tour. This means I'll have to go to Phoenix again sometime.

This means there will have to be a Southern California tour eventually, and a trip to Miami, Tampa Bay and Atlanta (not necessarily together), and some sort of stretch that may include Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Somewhere there also needs to be another visit to Washington DC, and a trip to Toronto, and Denver. It's a lot of criss-crossing the country, but I'm hoping I can have it all finished before my 50th birthday. 20 stadiums in ten years - given if they don't add any more teams.

like I said, I've seen some of these cities, like washington DC, without hitting the stadium. I'm trying to decide if I want to wait until the new one is up, but since my sister's in the area, it's always easy to drop in.

I've been to San Diego and Los Angeles (and Anaheim) before, but that was when I was five and my grandparents took me to Disneyland, Sea World and Knotts Berry Farm. That's three more places i wouldn't mind seeing again as an adult. I've been to florida too, but the only cities I've visited were Orlando (Disney again) and Pensacola due to some family ties. I've not visited the other cities, and I hear Key West is an interesting place to visit.

Of course, not every dream of travel is ties to baseball, but it does define the closer to home, more affordable travel. If money weren't an object, and I had the time to really get out there, I'd love to visit Australia and New Zealand, Great Britain and Germany and possibly Japan. Those are much longer range goals, but hopefully I'll get to his some of them before I get to old to really enjoy them.

It's not something that I can do all at once, but it does me good to have a goal in mind with my traveling, and getting to discover so much more, beyond the baseball field, about the cities. I find it really life changing to travel and learn. My trips have involved getting to know people, like my trip to chicago a few years back, or my first trip with Chris to San francisco. Heck, one of the trips - to Montreal was the one to see baseball in the city before it lost it's team, but ended up being the trip I went to my first gay bar, and my first pride parade - safely far from home - that led me to where I am today.

Who knows where the next trip will take me? Still, I'll be happy to know the words "Play Ball" will probably be a part of it.
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Chris' flight back from San Francisco was delayed and hour and a half, so I have to wait until midnight to go pick him up. Thanks American Airlines.

Still, I had plenty of time to watch the start of Top Chef 3, which was good. I like Dale, but I think he's going home really fast. It's not Project Runway, but it certainly is a favorite, and probably the best thing on this summer. I'll say that until the new series of Doctor Who starts up.

I'm at a bit of a fashion crossroads. For the last several years I've been wearing boxer shorts - mostly the heavier cotton boxers from Big Dogs that have the embarrassing sayings embroidered on them. This is all well and good, but I find now that my body must be changing a bit, and these things ride up in ways i don't find goo or amusing. i guess all the workouts on the elliptical machine are starting to pay off with my butt and thighs.

So I'm just not enjoying the boxers anymore, thought they do make great loungewear. I recently bought some boxer-briefs from UnderArmour. they sell some larger sizes on their website, and they feel great - a little snug, but it's great for my workouts. Working out in the boxers, well, that was just stupid.

So the UnderArmour boxer-breifs are good with all of that sleek feeling that makes me feel a little sexy even, but the underwear is a little expensive. Yeah, the Big Dogs boxers weren't that cheap either, but they have lasted a long time and they are often on sale. Buying off UnderArmour's website means no sales and a shipping charge. I need something cheaper for more of an everyday kind of thing.

Here's the question, who makes good boxer-breifs that I can easily get in a 2X (or maybe 3X, depending on fit)? I looked at the JCPenny website and didn't like anything they had. I have a couple of pairs of old Hanes Boxer-breifs when Target used to carry my size, many years ago. their fine, but I can't even find them on the Hanes website.

Let's face it, I loathe shopping at Casual Male. Dillards has no-name underwear, and little of it in stock, and even worse, seems to have stopped having sales on their Big and Tall clothing all together. Does someone have a supplier I don't know about?

Last question, does anyone know where I can get square-cut swim trunks? Am I just too big to show off like that? Maybe so, but I'd at least like to try it if I can find it. Come on guys, where do you go shop for this stuff!?
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A week ago I was coming home from Baltimore after being dropped off at BWI airport by my parents and my sister. It was the most family-centric thing I've done in a while, and I felt really odd about it.

Things started out badly as American Airlines decided to cancel my 6:25 am flight, and we found out about it as I was trying to look up the gate for the plane on Chris' Trio as were were driving out to DFW. By the time I could get an agent on the phone to reschedule, we had already gotten to the terminal. we turned back and tried to sleep for a couple of hours at home before again making the trip out to the airport for the 10:50 flight.

By the time I land in Baltimore, and my sister, Laura, picks me up, it's really to late to do much besides pick up her still-finance (6 years now) Ed, from work and go out to dinner. As I love to do when I'm in Baltimore, I love to go to Little Italy and have some of the best food. Sure, some people will tell you about crabcakes and seafood, but give me a bowl of tortillini and I'm in heaven.

Laura then tells me the little thing that sets me on edge for the entire visit. My parents are coming out, and yeah, it's been a hard year for them, with some medical issues. my dad's been in recovery from his chemo treatments for a while, and this is there first trip away since then. First laura tells me that my Dad got so weak that he had to be hospitalized and almost could have died. no one had told me this, and it happened two months ago. Secondly, she tells me that he's had a lot of downtime to be thinking about things, and he's come to the conclusion that he's really bugged about my being gay. I thought this was the case, but my family doesn't talk to anyone directly about anything, and in fact, Laura said I should probably not talk about it at all over the visit.

Let's be real here, I'm not going to shut up about what's happening in my life to please my dad. Yeah, I won't outline what happens in the bedroom, but if I'm talking about going to bed, at night to sleep, yes, I'm going to say "we went to bed". I'm going to say Chris' names, and say wee, to say that we're going on a cruise to Alaska. I won't edit Chris out of my life to please my dad.

In a way, I wish Chris could have been there, for one thing, we would have all been in the same bed and breakfast, which could have been real interesting. (Being on my own, I saved by sleeping on my sister's couch.) The Bed and Breakfast is owned by the parents of Laura's hairdressing couple. My parents seem to like the innkeepers, so it's probably the closest thing to a PFLAG meeting I would ever be able to get them to, if they would actually get on that subject. I'm guessing that they didn't, though.

Well, My parents didn't land until late on Sunday, so Laura, Ed and I went out for brunch where Ed and I had our usual political debate (I think he likes Guliani for Pres right now - *shudder*). Laura sits by and waits for us to have it out. Ed gets all blustery while I usually calmly counterpoint. Chris hates this, and my Dad would be on Ed's side, so it was good that neither were there at that point.

We went out to the B&O Railroad Museum that day in the rain. lots of old trains, a few models and some other memorabilia in a large roundhouse once used by the railroad. the B&O is long gone now, merged out of existence by several steps now. There were large diesel engines and small horse-drawn carriages of a long-gone era.

Once my parents got in, it was off for another Italian dinner. We all talked, but mostly things stayed on the safe topics of my parents medical issues and what new buildings were going up in Conroe, Texas since I left a year and a half ago. Can you believe that they have two Best Buys now?

On Monday Laura and I dropped Ed off at work and took their car up to Philadelphia to see the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Field. Laura and Ed only have the one car, so we would have to come back to pick him up after the game. It had been raining for the last few days and I was worried that the rain would call the game, but as we travelled up I-95 the rain ended and we settled for an overcast day of watching the Phillies and San Francisco Giants.

The field is nice, another somewhat retro park with lots of steel beams and brickwork. Different from the more modern Eagles' Football stadium across the parking lot. Our seats were high and in a corner, but still had good views. Except for the Philly Phanatic, we really couldn't see him except for when the big green mass was on the Jumbotron. The Phanatic is probably more famous than any of the Philly players. of course the whole thing was overshadowed by Barry bonds coming up and the crowd booing, hoping that he wouldn't get any closer to Hank Aaron's home run record. Luckily he went 0-4 for the day, but the Phillies lost.

Otherwise, we had a little bit of time to kill to let the main rush hour, so we went downtown and out to Penn's Landing which was pretty much deserted. Back home we went to meet Ed and the parents who had been on the inner harbor of Baltimore most of the day. We went out to Pei Wei where my parents had never been, and I paid, because it looks good.

On my last day we went out to a new hanger in Fairfax, Virginia where the Smithsonian puts it's very large collection of Air and Space vehicles that don't fit into the building in DC. the building is next to Dulles airport and it's huge. They have hundreds of aircraft in there, including the Enola Gay, A 747 and the Concorde. They also have the Space shuttle Enterprise there, the one the fans of Star Trek named. Of course, if they waited a ship or two, they could have had one that actually went into space. You can go up several leves, which is good because they have many of the planes hung like they were model aircraft in a kids room.

Now we had to get from Dulles Airport to BWI so I could get on my 6:25 flight back to Dallas, so it's time to get on the never ending parking-lot of the Washington beltway. luckily my dad was driving, so i slept. i had been getting a cold, so I was on corisidan and was out of it. luckily the traffic was so bad that we couldn't go to my Dad's destination - the NRA museum. it would have only been good if Charlton Heston was stuffed in it.

i hadn't seen my parents in a year, and it was remarkable the changes. they are both in their mid sixties, so I wouldn't necessarily think of it as old - that's more like 70's and 80's now, but they were looking old, and moreso, frail. My mother has developed a pronounced stoop, and my dad's hair had fallen out from the chemo and was now coming in white. I guess I'm coming to grips that they won't be here forever, but it seems like it may be coming faster than i thought.

I would have liked to talk to my dad a little more about my life, and let him know I'm OK, and I'm very happy to be who I am. I guess it will have to wait until we can actually have some time apart from everyone else, but I feel like I'm going to have to have that talk with him soon. I don't like him telling my sister things, and not coming to me as well, especially when it's serious.

Well, Laura said that she sees herself staying in Baltimore for another year. Last year she seemed to think that she wanted to move back to Texas, but now see sees some other opportunities on the East Coast, so i may get another chance to get up there and see a National's game up in DC. For now, I've got another park crossed off my list.


If you want to see a few pictures I took, take a look at this flickr page. There's a couple of pics of my parents in there.
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In the morning - the very early morning, mind you, I fly off to Baltimore. I'm going to see my sister and her fiancee again, but this time will be strange because on Sunday my parents will be flying in. I haven't seen them in over a year, and of course we all have to fly halfway across the country to see each other, rather than staying in the state.

This will be the first time I see my dad since he started chemo treatments for prostate cancer. I've been told that he's lost all of his hair, which will be very odd since the Edwards men aren't really bald guys. Mom's supposedly got a big sightseeing schedule for them, so it will be interesting to see if my dad can keep up. He hasn't been as active as he used to be. Dad goes under the knife for the final cut out of the cancerous cells this fall.

Most of what they'll be doing will happen after I'm gone. I'm flying back Tuesday night, and the parents will stay for about 10 days. I'm sure Laura's thankful that they will be staying at the bed and breakfast, and not in her house. I'll be futon surfing again - keeps costs down.

We don't have much of an agenda. We're thinking of going into DC for a bit. and I'd like to stalk Duff, the Ace of Cakes at his Charm City Cakes store. We'll see if that happens. the only thing that's confirmed is going to Philadelphia on Monday to catch a game at their new ballpark. It's a day game, so we'll probably be baking in the sun a bit (reminder, bring sunscreen).

If anyone has some good ideas for what to see on a quick jaunt to Philly (we did the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall last year), just let me know. If I was smarter I would have asked [livejournal.com profile] murphy or [livejournal.com profile] anglicub earlier. If anyone's in the area, baltimore, Philly or DC, just leave me a note here, or text me using the link on the user info page!

Otherwise, Chris will be all on his lonesome for a few days. Not to worry, he just bought Paper Mario for the Wii, so I think he'll be busy. Once i get home I have to take him off for his flight to California next week. Separate vacations now, a big one together this September (there's still room on the cruise for you!)

I'll check in from time to time here, but it's more about rest, relaxation and family this weekend. I'll catch you all later.
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Yesterday started well with a trip to the Magnolia Cafe on South Congress where I had some yummy gingerbread pancakes. We had to wait a while, but it gave Chris and I plenty of time to talk to Scott ([livejournal.com profile] xkot) and Peter ([livejournal.com profile] texaspenguin) and allow John ([livejournal.com profile] gtijohn) and David ([livejournal.com profile] metacub) to arrive from the northern location, where they went first.



Lines were longer to get out to the park today, and the crowd had swelled. Where on Friday there was a different crowd from one stage to another, yesterday there was more of a mass that just turned from stage to stage. A big deal is made out of grabbing territory, but there's a real difference in people, some sit down early, if possible, try to get a good comfortable space, and others like to run in in the last second and take up any remaining space you carelessly tried to control a few minutes ago. Case in point, we set down chairs about half an hour early for a band, and we were the only ones there for a while. The crowd comes in like a tide and suddenly there was a person sitting right where my legs would go. A minute later, this thin cowboy is actually using my legs for a seat back. If he was cute...but he wasn't. As it is usually with these guys, halfway through the set they were bored and gone.

David and John had it bad for the Shins set where a gaggle of pot-smoking teens descended in front of them. These kids were talking, tripping, calling more of their friends over to the already small space. They seemed to have no reason to be there, because they weren't into the band. I had to tell one of them to shut up when they were yelling for their friends to come over.

Again it was hot, but not too hot, and some welcome clouds came over for Aimee Mann's quiet acoustic set. We had occasional visits from Ben and Nakia as they hopped about the park, and saw some other bears as well.

Here's what we saw:
Phoenix - good and energetic of a early afternoon show
Ben Kweller
The Shins
Aimee Mann
Kings of Leon
Willie Nelson
We caught a little bit of Massive Attack, but we found them a little boring - probably because we were about ready to go.

I have to say that Ben Kweller is a real trouper, as he came on stage late because of a nosebleed - well, two nosebleeds. He tried to make it through a few songs, but the nosebleed remained, and he was not only reddening a towel, but also his guitar. We're talking gushers here. At one point he asked for, and was given a tampon from the audience, but couldn't make it through the song before it had expanded and was unusable. We were in the audience thinking, man, this is going to be his last show, ever. He got through one more song, this time on the piano, which when he begged our forgiveness, had also been stained with an octaves worth of red keys.

The audience was happy he tried, but happy to let him go get some medical attention, too.



John and David (photo by Chris) joined us for dinner (or might I say we kidnapped them). It's been really nice getting to know these guys and I hope they will come back next year.

My allergies have been on overdrive. Let's just say that having to go for Benadryl at 5:00 so you can sleep is entertaining, but not entraining enough that there is a story there.

Still one more day to go here. There's not as much going on, but I'm still interested to see KT Tunstall and the New Pornographers.
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So we're in Austin for Austin City Limits Festival 2006. So far the festival has been sunny and hot, but not nearly as hot as it was the last two years. The grass is greener this year, and more lush, and there's more water stations this year, but since the heat is not quite as oppressive, and the breeze is up, we haven't been going through all of our bottles of water. I think it's supposed to be warmer today, so we'll see how it goes.

Guster Plays over there

I don't think I actually saw a band yesterday. Sure, they were there, but generally I was far enough away that they looked pretty small. No big deal, none of our little possies seemed to really mind. Much of the time we seemed content to just listen, gab a bit and to look at the shirtless hotties in the audience.

Bands Chris and I heard yesterday:
Guster
Stars
Gnarls Barkley
Gomez
Thievery Corporation
The Tragically Hip
then we hopped back and forth between John Mayer and Van Morrison both were good, though Van was much more subdued. Both had large crowds, but they really turned out for Van Morrison.

At various times we were surrounded by Jamie ([livejournal.com profile] dwdsevenbelow) and his friend, Mike ([livejournal.com profile] austinmike) and David ([livejournal.com profile] davidtx), and hotty Jared ([livejournal.com profile] geisel). We also ran into Ben ([livejournal.com profile] qualitykill), Nakia and Roger over at John Mayer's set. We knew that Scott ([livejournal.com profile] xkot) was over at the AT&T stage waiting for Van Morrison, so we never saw him, but he should be at the Magnoila Cafe this morning for our bear brunch.

Do you have a flag?

We flew the Bear Flag all day, attached to my chair, which was having a hard time dealing with my weight. We'll probably throw the chair away at the end of the festival. We got a smaller flag this year, and it flies great and is easily visible. We could hear other people around us on their cell phones trying to explain it so they could meet their friends. Dog Paw? Brown stripes? Still, friends found us, and we attracted several other bears and cubs strolling the park. [livejournal.com profile] alphaschnitz's brother and his girlfriend also found us in the crowd.

More today. Now i just have to keep my arm from getting further sunburned than it is now.
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in another week Chris and I will be heading down to Austin for another great Austin City Limits Music Festival. I might actually listen to more music this year since we won't have the horde of bears that we've had the last two years. I know that there will several bears I don't know there, since there were several we found here and there last year.

I only know a few LJ Bears who are coming, and we'll need to see about getting together Saturday for a big pre-show breakfast, since people are scattered all over this year. I wonder if we should re-make the bear flag signal this year?

I'm looking forward to seeing Guster, Stars, Gomez, the Shins, Amy Mann, Iron & Wine, KT Tunstall, The New Pornographers and The Flaming Lips. I'm sort of so-so about the headliners, but I guess I should see Van Morrison, since he's a legend...still, I'll more likely spend some time seeing John Mayer, as he's on at the same time.

To see more about what you're missing, see the ACL website. Even better is to HEAR what you're missing by looking at this playlist on iTunes!

I just hope that this great weather we've been having lately will continue through that weekend because it's been terribly hot the last two. Please not 108 again!


Oh, since I'm talking about getaways, Chris ([livejournal.com profile] f__k) will be heading off to an RSVP cruise at the end of October and is looking for a cabin mate. This is his revenge for my going off to Boston without him. Still, I'll be looking for a party for Halloween here since I'll be going stag!
eggwards: (Fenway)
I've been writing this for days...and something was keeping me from finishing, after travel blues, I suppose, but I regained some inspiration watching Fever Pitch - the movie about the Boston Red Sox fan tonight. It brought back a lot of the feelings I have for Boston.

On Monday I had only one real objective, go see a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. I had the concierge at work find the ticket for me, and I must say that she did a great job. I paid about twice the original value for it, and seeing that the game had been sold out prior to the beginning of the season, that was a pretty good price. There were several times during my trip that people were surprised that I even got a ticket, including the guy who sat next to me, who was a longtime fan.

I jumped onto the T line and went out to the nearest stop, crossed over the Mass Pike (with it’s Pilgrim hat logo), and stepped into the neighborhood which was crowded with people, some Yankee fans, many Red Sox hopefuls, all wondering if the Sox could stave off a five-game sweep. There were plenty of food venders and musicians in the street. I walked around the entire perimeter and entered under the banner on Yawkey Way, the same entrance now immortalized in that picture of Owen and Dave kissing.

The Red Sox have taken over the street with food vendors and a store, so no longer do you have to enter in the small gates that are actually part of the building. They make it a great street party atmosphere there with people talking and eating. I grabbed a pizza slice. I never got around to eating a Fenway Frank. I went into the stadium, down into the small concourse that was actually named the Big Concourse. Given the food and restroom areas I’ve seen in other stadiums (except for tiny Wrigley Field) this was like stepping into a prairie dog’s hole. The bathrooms were pretty much as advertised, cramped, for sure, but they had individual urinals…not the troughs as some had said.

I then went to find my seat. I knew it was out in right field, and at first I thought it was located on the upper deck, but once I went through the walkway and out into the bowl, there I was, just 20 rows up from the field. The seat was amazing, and luckily on the aisle, so I only had to hold one arm over my body and cross my legs to stay in it. People kept walking up and down the aisle during all parts of the game, but luckily it was on the right side of me and didn’t disrupt my view of the game. I looked right over to the famed “Green Monster” in left field, now decked out with seats of it’s own, which looks very strange when you’ve seen the stadium for so many years on TV. My seat was plastic, which I was glad for when after the game I looked up another couple of rows and saw that the seats were even smaller and made of wood. Old wood. I’ll have to thank the concierge again for that.

A highlight of the event was seeing the beefy David Wells warm up in right field. He threw a pretty good game, too, but alas, the Red Sox lost the game 2-1 and the Yankees swept the five-game series. It was a pretty bad blow for Red Sox Nation, and pretty much dropped them out of the playoff hunt this year. The fans held on to hope for the entire game…though there were some Yankees fans off in the bleachers who got rowdy and were kicked out of the stadium.

Sitting next to me was a retired man from Florida who was formerly a native of the area. He had brought his son to the stadium, and his wife, daughter and granddaughter had seats in another area, as they couldn’t get tickets all together. We got to talking about the Sox and the stadium, and it sounded like he had seen a lot of games here. He lamented that he used to get bleacher seats for $2 and beer for 50 cents. He was happy to talk about the bygone eras and talk about seeing Ted Williams in his later years of his career. That’s one of the unique parts of Baseball, and it’s great to find someone like that to talk to in such a storied place…and we all booed Johnny Damon together.

After the game I tried with much futility to find the “Big Papi” shirt that I saw in the stadium, but it wasn’t something the official store carried. Then I decided to walk back in the rough direction of the hotel. A false sense of distance had taken over when over the weekend I was able to easily walk from Long Warf to the Back Bay, or when we had quickly circled the city by car. It was different coming from Fenway. First you have to circle around the Back Bay Fens, then go through the Christian Science Center and Copley Square into the Back Bay. From there I chose to go up to the Charles River Esplanade. By the time I reached the Hatch Shell, my legs were really hurting, and it was still a ways to the nearest T stop.


More, non Red Sox memories behind the cut )

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