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Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
After a series that should have ended much sooner, the Red Wings have finally won the Stanley Cup!
Game 6 (which also happened to be the final game) took place on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, this was the same day that southern Maryland was experiencing severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Despite the inherent dangers of such weather, I was more concerned with weather or not we had power and cable television at home so that I would be able to watch the game. Our power and cable never went out. If it had, I would have dragged Robin out to watch the game at a local sports bar, which would have been ok, but not as much fun.
That night, after the victory, I shaved off the playoff beard I had been growing for the past couple of months. I'll post before and after pictures once I get them off my camera.
Robin and I already had plane tickets to fly into Detroit on Friday afternoon for a wedding, so I worked to switch my ticket to early Friday morning. This was an easy process, until I accidentally switched Robin's ticket to Friday morning instead of my own. I noticed the switch immediately and called Northwest and had the flights switched again (they were understanding). Since the tickets were purchased by Robin, I pretended to be her (thank god she has a name that can be androgynous) and I had no problems, but it still scared the crap out of me.
My parents picked me up from the airport Friday morning and we headed to the parade. It was fantastic. I loved being there with the other 1.4 million Red Wings fans who attended. The parade was just a big party and the fans and players were all excited to be there. Robin gave me a hard time for taking around 100 pictures, but it's an event that I probably won't get a chance to attend again and I wanted to make sure I got some good shots. I'll post a few once I get them off my camera.
Picture updates to follow. Until then, enjoy this picture of the Wings' captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, hoisting the most coveted trophy in sports.
Friday, May 30, 2008
There's no way around it, I am going to die while watching a sporting event. It will probably happen on my couch at home and most likely during a Red Wings playoff game, as these seem to evoke my most passionate responses. In typical fashion, I'll be sitting there enjoying the game when something will happen that will set me off and I'll go crazy.
Maybe it will be a bad call by a referee. Maybe it will be a cheap play by a player on the opposing team. Regardless of what sets me off, I will begin yelling at the TV as if the ref or player to whom I am directing my anger can actually hear me. The more I scream, the more my blood pressure will rise until my heart finally decides to give up.
I won't blame it. I put it through a lot, especially during the playoffs. Some people eat too much. I get too worked up over sports. Considering how little I exercise, a sudden increase in blood pressure like that can't be good.
I could try exercising more (yeah, right) or taking sports less seriously (not going to happen), but I'm sure there are worse ways to die.
What peaks my curiosity is where this passion for sports comes from. My dad enjoys sports, but they don't matter to him like they do to me. My mom certainly doesn't care. Maybe I just have an overactive victory glad that pumps liquid competitiveness directly into my heart, requiring me to win at all costs.
If you have a better theory don't tell me, because I'll just have to come up with something to beat you.
Monday, March 31, 2008
On Friday, Robin and I took a short trip up to Baltimore to visit Justin and his brother, Matt, for their birthdays, which happen to be just three days apart. Matt wanted everybody to go out to a strip club, but I wasn't interested and Robin obviously wasn't so we managed to kill that idea pretty quickly. They didn't seem too upset.
We had some drinks at Max's on Broadway in Fell's Point and spent the night socializing. Max's was a pretty cool place because it was a bar where you can actually have a conversation with someone without having to yell. On top of that, they had an excellent beer selection that included a few North Coast brews that I hadn't yet had the pleasure of tasting. I had a good time and it reminded me that I need to hang out with Justin more than I do. We're still hoping to do another fishing trip to the Chesapeake Bay. Hopefully that will pan out.
I came across this Dilbert comic and it seemed like something I would say. That's not necessarily a good thing, but I don't really feel like it's a bad thing, either.
Check out my Google Reader links on the right side of the page. Just some stuff I enjoyed reading that I wanted to share with anyone who's actually reading this (thanks, mom!).
It's strange to me to think that the NHL playoffs start next week. It seems like it's too early for the season to end, but I guess that's what happens when you get used to your team dominating the regular season for years at a time. As a Red Wings fan, I'm a bit spoiled, but I still get pumped up at playoff time. I'm hoping the Caps make it too, because that will give me two teams to follow.
So far Robin hasn't had any problem with my sports obsession, in fact, she usually enjoys it when I watch sports because it gives her time to read or do other things instead of constantly entertaining me. I just hope it doesn't start to annoy her once I'm watching a different hockey game every single night (often multiple games at a time) and completely monopolizing the TV.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I keep thinking that I need to start writing and posting here again and the only way to actually start doing that is to go ahead and make that first post, so here it is. That's pretty much all this post is, just to say that I'll actually be updating once in a while.
So here's to hoping I'll actually do it.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Picking one day in New York as better than the others is difficult because they were all so enjoyable, but, if forced to choose, I would have to say the second day was the most fun. After going to bed sometime between 2 and 4 in the morning, we slept in until about 10 and left the hotel around 11 or 11:30. We stopped for a quick bite at a diner we had noticed the day before, which was just around the corner from our hotel. The food was good and relatively inexpensive.
Mother Nature decided it would be a good idea if we experienced an extremely light, but constant rain all day long. We did bring umbrellas with us, but barely used them because the rain was so light. It was slightly annoying, but other than that didn't affect our plans at all.
After lunch, we decided to head over to Times Square again in search of the Nintendo World Store. It was a fun place to visit with lots of Nintendo clothing and a small section that was almost a museum of old systems. They also had a large inventory of Wii Nunchucks, so Jeremiah picked up one of those along with a really cool hat displaying the original Nintendo controller and the words "role model". I picked up a shirt with the original Nintendo controller that said "old school". I was disappointed the store did not have any Kirby figures, but the store wasn't terribly big and there's no way they could have carried figures for every character Nintendo has ever invented. Thanks to my awesome friend Don for giving me the directions after calling him from the diner.
The Nintendo store was located on Rockefeller Plaza, so we were able to stop and see the famous ice rink there and watch some people skating. It was neat to see something that is such an icon and depicted in just about every film that takes place in New York. It was smaller than I had expected, but like many other things I've experienced it just proves how easy it is to deceive on TV or in movies.
After visiting the Nintendo store we made our way over to the theater to see if we could pick up our tickets early. The driving force behind our whole visit was the show we had bought tickets to, Evil Dead the Musical. Unfortunately, Jeremiah had taken the precaution of leaving his credit cards in the hotel room in case he lost his wallet or we were mugged and the box office required the credit card to pick up the tickets. At least we were able to find the theater for later reference. The tickets we had bought were in the front row, designated as the "Splatter Zone," which meant we were going to get covered in fake blood. We had even bought white clothes for the specific purpose of getting red on us.
One of the things I enjoyed about going to NYC with Jeremiah and Autumn was that they were not too concerned with making detailed plans. We spent most of our time just walking around and experiencing the city, which I don't think we could have enjoyed if we had tried to cram a lot of different attractions into our short time visiting. I would recommend this approach to anyone who can visit NYC and will have the ability to go back again. The city is an attraction all by itself and if you try to see too many things at once you could miss what NYC really is. Don't take my word for it, experience it for yourself.
We were in no rush to pick up our tickets, so we decided to leave that until later and instead made our way to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). We lost our bearings for a bit while searching for the MoMA, but were able to find it after a short detour. I'm sure it would have been interesting to see, but the price of admission was close to $30 and none of us had our hearts set on stepping inside, so we bypassed it.
Instead, we went to visit Central Park. Of all the places we visited during our time in NY, I think we spent the most time in Central Park. It was such an amazing place of calm in the big, busy city. The Park itself was much larger than I had expected and even though we walked for a few hours, we did not come close to seeing all of it. There was a zoo in the middle that seemed interesting, but because of the cool, damp conditions we thought the animals might not be as active as they could be and were content with seeing as much of the rest of the Park as we could. Central Park is Jeremiah's favorite park about NYC, and it's easy to see why.
This depiction of Alice in Wonderland was dedicated to someone's family, which we thought was an odd tribute considering the content of the book and the history of its author. Still, the statue was interesting and the picture gives a good idea of the day, overcast and wet.
The only thing remotely like Central Park that we have in DC is the National Mall, which is like comparing the actual Statue of Liberty to an overpriced souvenir. The Mall is completely flat, where Central Park is full of hills and rocks. And trees. This point cannot be overstated. The Mall has almost no trees, at least on the main part, while Central Park is nothing but huge trees, blocking out the skyscrapers and buildings that surround the Park to the point where you almost forget you are in the middle of New York City. Sure, the Mall can be used for things Central Park cannot (Screen on the Green was a really unique experience), but I would love to have a place like Central Park here in the city I work in.
By the time we emerged from Central Park it was getting late and we decided to grab some dinner and head to the theater for the show. We stopped back at the hotel, picked up Jeremiah's credit card, and finished off the remainder of the beer we had purchased the night before. We changed into the clothes we had purchased specifically for this show, which was a little weird because now Jeremiah and I were wearing the same outfit. Autumn said we looked like her bodyguards and insisted on taking a picture of us looking angry with a pretty flower between us.
After picking up our tickets at the box office, we stopped at a very small sushi place just a block or so down from the theater. The problem with eating amazing food is that it forever ruins your future enjoyment of that particular food, and that's what we experienced at Sushi Jun (302 W 50th St, New York, NY). I haven't had sushi since then, but Autumn assured me that it pales in comparison to what we ate that night.
After sushi we went to the theater. Finally, it was time to see the show that was the reason we were in NY in the first place. Almost. We had about an hour before the show started so we had a drink at the bar located in the theater. Slightly buzzed, we made our way into the theater and took our seats in the front row.
The show surpassed all of my expectations. Going in, I was a little worried that it would not live up to the joy I had extracted from watching the movies, but I my fears were unfounded. Although it seems impossible, the show may have actually been better than the movies, combining hilarious jokes, talented performers, and blood. Lots and lots of blood. It sprayed all over the stage and once it started it never stopped coming. It was easy to see the actors took immense enjoyment from what they were doing, pouring gallons of blood on the audience and interacting with us whenever possible.
[Actress wipes blood off the stage onto everyone in the first row.]
Jeremiah: "Why do you keep doing that?!"
Actress: [Makes mocking crying noise at Jeremiah.]
Another actor poured blood directly onto Jeremiah and one of the actresses grabbed my arm.
Possibly the funniest part of the whole show was when one actor was supposed to throw a few pages of paper into a trap door in the stage and missed, prompting him to curse, "Get the fuck down there!" The other actors could barely maintain their composure, grinning on stage and nearly bursting out laughing as the audience enjoyed this joke with the cast. Because the cast enjoyed what they were doing so much and didn't take themselves too seriously, this only added to the show and I'm thankful it happened.
Walking back to the hotel, we received a number of very strange looks, possibly because I was carrying a garbage bag of unknown contents while covered in blood. Possibly because we just looked like freaks. We returned to the hotel, changed our clothes, and, because we were still wired from the show, Jeremiah and I went out in search of food. Being used to DC where everything shuts down at about the same time the metro does, I was amazed by how active the city remained at 4 in the morning. The number of lights, billboards, and flashing signs lit the night as day. It was incredible. Even at 4 am we had to fight the crowds as we made our way through the streets, finally picking up some pizza and beer before returning the hotel.
What a day! We indulged our inner dork, wandered through a forest in the middle of an enormous city, enjoyed the best sushi of our lives, laughed until we cried, and got red on us. What more could a guy ask for?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
And now, for New York updates!
If I had to sum up my trip to New York in one word, that word would be "awesome".
Getting into the city took longer than I would have expected because 5 lanes of traffic have to condense down into two lanes in order to go through the Lincoln Tunnel, which caused huge delays. Once we finally arrived in the city itself, late on Friday night, I was nervous. It was obvious that this city was a lot different from DC, which is the only big city that I've ever lived in. All of the people, lights, and general craziness made me a bit uncomfortable, but that didn't last.
Our hotel was $200 a night, which really isn't bad considering we were right downtown, just a couple blocks from Times Square. The hotel had its own parking garage attached where we parked for free during the entirety of our stay. That was pretty amazing because we estimated parking for all four days would have cost us around $90.
Once we got settled into our room, we decided to wander about the general area for the rest of the night and see what we could see. We scoped out a couple diners close by (because we would have to eat eventually) as well as the local convenience and liquor stores (because drinking is fun), then headed off in search of fun and adventure, which is seemingly around every turn in that city.
We had dinner at a small burger place near our hotel that was recommended by Jeremiah and Autumn's Not For Tourists NYC book. Huge, delicious burgers and about 50 different kinds to select from, along with thick, creamy shakes. The restaurant did not serve alcohol, but we discovered after the fact that you were allowed to bring your own in and consume it with your meal. It was a cool place with so much character.
After dinner, we spent the remainder of the night just walking around Times Square. What a place! That part of the city was unlike anything I had seen in my time in DC or my trips to other big cities like Detroit, Chicago, or even LA. Every building had some form of flashing sign to draw your attention. Instead of looking up at windows into offices or the simple sides of buildings, I was looking up at giant TV screens that completely covered the building they were posted on. Even McDonald's had a bright flashing sign that gave off the impression that customers would get a show with their Big Mac.
As we wandered around the city, I think the thing that struck me the most was how cool every single bar we passed looked. Every one of them appeared the type of place that I would enjoy just sitting down and having a beer. As Jeremiah put it, "Matt, you aren't a serious drinker, but you taking your drinking seriously." I considered that a fantastic compliment. Also, I never once had a problem with anyone being rude, as the stereotype of New Yorkers would lead us to believe. I think on my first night in NY I witnessed more displays of people holding doors for others than I have in my entire time in DC. I wonder why that is.
Once we started getting tired (not of Times Square, just of walking and because it was 2am) we stopped at a 7-Eleven, picked up a couple six-packs, and retired to our room for the remainder of the evening. Coming from DC, where the whole city closes down at about the same time the metro stops running, it was awesome being in a city where everything is open 24 hours a day. We spent the rest of the night having a few drinks and being continually amazed by the fact that we were in New York city.
Stay tuned for day two. I'll try to post some pictures if I can get some from Jeremiah and Autumn.
For those curious, we stayed at the Travel Inn.