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Archive for October, 2010

The weekend travelers

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I’m back again with another summary of the past few weeks. Tuesday, September 20th Jill flew to Hartford to spend close to a week with family, so Illa and I bach’ed it for a few days. On Friday the 24th I left work early, parked at the Metro and headed over to Union Station. Purely for timing I needed to take the Acela, but I was glad I did. It’s not only the fastest train, but it was a very smooth ride and the quiet car was filled with people reading, quieter than usual. I plugged my Palm Pre into a power socket and enjoyed the included Wi-Fi on my trip up (even though this blog is blocked due to it being classified as porn for some reason).

When I got to NYC, I went straight to the subway, then 2 stops and a short walk and I arrived at the Heartland Brewery, where I sat down at a table – that happened to be occupied by Jill, her dad Bob and his brother Jerry. Jill had the black bean soup and the Buffalo chicken spring rolls and I had the chicken sandwich, plus some lovely beer on a stick.

Bob and I are both big fans of Porcupine Tree, and although I’d seen their most recent tour when we were in Florida, I wanted to see them at Radio City Music Hall since they promised it was a very special performance (and the only other one would be in London). And it was an amazing show, three sets starting with an acoustic one then two rocking ones, but all going throughout their career, going as far back as 1993.

Porcupine Tree

After the show I headed to the subway and everyone else went to the nearby parking garage. Unfortunately the next train wasn’t until 3AM. I went back to Penn Station, found a bookstore that was still open, then read until my train got there. I slept fitfully on the train, getting in to Union Station at 7, home by 8:30. There were a number of concert possibilities that Saturday including the FreeFest, but I didn’t get tickets and was tired, so I took a nap. That still meant I had time to go to Clarendon Day, see my friend Susan, as well as sets from Honor By August and Schiavone McGee (ex Fighting Gravity). I had some excellent bacon from the vendors, and made it to the Clarendon CD Cellar. Too bad you now have to pay for parking in the garage.

Schiavone McGee

Sunday I was pretty lazy, except for going out in the kayak, and taking Illa for a nice long walk. He seemed to enjoy himself. I picked up Jill at the airport that night.

Illa

The following Friday, October 1st, we were traveling once again – this time to Boston. We headed to Baltimore in mid afternoon and flew to Logan in the rain. We were staying with Sharon for the first time in her new house, and she thought she could come to the airport, but rush hour traffic was crazier than usual. It was ok – we like taking transit anyway, and Boston is a city both of us know. We got to Jamaica Plain and relaxed at Sharon’s for while before we all headed over to Cambridge.

We met Chris and Jess at The Elephant Walk, a Cambodian/French restaurant. Jill and I both liked the sound of the Prix-Fixe Menu, and both went Cambodian all the way. The Rouleaux (spring rolls) were very good, I liked my Salade Cambodgienne and she liked her Leah Chah (mussels), but the entree sealed the deal for me: Loc Lac (sautéed beef, caramelized in black pepper, garlic and mushroom soy sauce; served over shredded lettuce with a lime & black pepper dipping sauce). We hadn’t ordered the optional dessert, but they brought one anyway, and we didn’t say no: Le Péché au Chocolat – a chocolate truffle cake paired with a raspberry sauce.

We dropped Sharon off at the T, then walked over to OBERON for Cabaret. The draw for me was Amanda Palmer as the Emcee, but Jill had really enjoyed the last production we saw by the American Repertory Theater, Sleep No More. It started out strong – set at a nightclub, and we were in a nightclub, with bar service and scantily dressed ladies. The first act was good, but we’d chosen the late show in case of travel difficulties, and by the time the second act started it was well after midnight. Combine that with a depressing ending intensified by the staging, and we left not quite feeling great. That won’t keep me from seeing what they do in the future, though.

Saturday morning we slept in, then Sharon made us Belgian waffles that we ate on her porch. Then we headed up to Rockport, MA with Sharon, where we met up with all the Cannons. Most people were hungry, so we stopped in the Fish Shack Restaurant. Jill and I split a cup of chowder and a lobster roll (both superb). We spent the day wandering in and out of the shops and down to the little beach and back.

C and V

The Cannons headed home, and we moved the car, then had dinner at Brackett’s Oceanview Restaurant. We had side salads then split a fish and clam platter, very good. We’d chosen the place wisely, as it was right next to the church the concert was in. The opening act had already started, but we didn’t miss any of Antje Duvekot, who was lovely and funny as always.

The next day was a little crazy, all thanks to me. I’d wanted to fly back in the afternoon, but had found some crazy prices for flights, so when I found one I liked I’d booked it quickly. Too bad the return I booked was for November, not October. The cost of rebooking was horrendous (actually worse than buying new), and everything was expensive. The cheap route and what I chose was to fly back to Dulles in the morning using frequent flyer miles. Of course, my car was still at BWI. I told Jill I’d take the hit, so she dropped me at the Metro on her way to Old Town, and I took the subway and the bus up there. Thankfully, that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve done for travel in a while, and hopefully we’ll have good travel karma the rest of the year.

Wednesday the 6th we went to see Todd Wright at Jammin’ Java. Happily not sold out like his previous show (I know the artists like it, but there’s barely room to breathe when it is), and Linda saved us a table in the front (right next to Stuart and Mike of course). He played a lot of brand new and slightly older songs (using his iPad as lyrics cheat sheet), but they’re great, and we completed our 40×40 collection on CD. The next night was Robbie Schaefer at the Barns. Good show, ended with him off mike singing “America”.

Todder

Jill worked on Saturday the 9th and I spent time helping Dave and Hannah. I got in a kayak session before Jill got home, and made pork fajitas for dinner and we tried to catch up with a cranky DVR. Sunday we left early in the morning as Metro had shut down the Orange Line and we needed to get on in Springfield. We met my dad in Largo, then he drove us to FedEx Field. We got hot dogs and ribs for lunch, met up with Chris (a college roommate and fraternity brother) and got to see a really good football game (overtime games are fine as long as the Skins win).

Skins

After the game Dad dropped us off at the Metro; we went downtown and had dinner at Zengo. It was excellent Japanese Mexican fushion – the charred tuna tacos with guacamole were the highlight, but the pork steamed buns and duck tacos were also excellent. Jill’s went home after dinner, and I went to RFD and had a pint before going into Verizon Center.

I left early as I didn’t want to miss a minute. I’d seen Roger Waters three times before, but he’d only performed The Wall once since the initial tour in 1980, and I was eager to see it. I went to his last tour when he did all of The Dark Side of the Moon, and while I enjoyed it, let’s face facts – most of the vocals were done by David Gilmour (plus I saw both of them that year, and Gilmour just put on a better show). But The Wall’s vocals are mostly Waters, and it’s such a personal story for him, so I thought he’d really give it his all – and he did. The staging was tremendous, the technology is at a level it can support the show as a touring production. Waters really makes the whole thing his – if it was written as him having a problem with crowds, he now enjoys the adulation. And it was well deserved, the best show I’ve seen all year.

Hammer Time