Archive for September, 2005

My First Grown-Up Vacation (part nine in a series)

(Start from the beginning)

I took the first exit that had a gas station listed on the friendly blue sign. It in fact had three listed. And all three were closed, because it was after 11 PM by this point. Commence serious freaking out. Commence Mike getting mad at me for not filling up before we left. Commence feeling guilty. Get back on the highway and start hoping and praying.

All for naught, the next exit had a sign explicitly stating there was a 24-hour Mobil. So we went to that, and realized that McDonald’s is “now open ’til midnight or later,” and so we got some dinner. At 11:15 PM. But who’s counting.

It turns out that the drive down I-95 to Foxwoods is ridiculously long. I didn’t think Rhode Island was that large. And for fun, I totally got us lost in the Foxwoods complex.

We were absolutely exhausted when we arrived at the hotel, where they had saved a room for us – but not the kind I’d reserved! I was so angry, but too tired to make a fuss like I would have liked, so I did what any thoroughly emotionally and physically exhausted person would do. I cried. Not heaving sobs or anything, just straight tears. It sucked, and I was angry, but I was too tired to fight for anything, not even a free meal ticket, let alone a free room. At least I hadn’t paid full price for the room to begin with – Wampum rewards or whatever they’re called.

We went to our room, set the alarm for 5:00, and collapsed into a heap on the small bed, thoroughly pooped.

Small alarms probably went off in your head at this point. Why the hell would we be waking up at five o’clock in the morning the day after not getting to a bed until after one o’clock in the morning? Well, for a poker tournament, obviously!

Foxwoods has these $80 + 20 NLHE tournaments on Fridays (and most other weekdays) that I was exceptionally excited about. Not excited enough to not sleep through the alarm… but excited enough to wake up naturally at 5:30. Shower. Wake up Mike. Wait for Mike to shower. Check out of hotel. Drive over to the casino. Get duplicate Wampum cards since we forgot ours. Sign up for the tournament.

Well, now it was 7:00 and the tournament isn’t until 8:00. I had been counting on being able to have the breakfast buffet, which I think I read somewhere was pretty good, but that doesn’t open until 8:00! So we went to the one place in the casino serving food and I got a muffin and a juice. Mike was still asleep and so not hungry.

Eventually 8:00 rolled around, and I was sitting in seat 6 on table 1. I was extremely excited, and once I got through my first bought pot (I knew he had nothing, I just hoped he didn’t know I had nothing), I was settled enough. I was a slight chip leader at my table for quite a while, until the first bust out happened. This was when the gentleman to my right had his pocket aces busted by the gentleman two to his right’s pocket kings. Obviously kings-guy was now the chip leader. But that really would turn out not to matter much to me.

The person who replaced aces-guy was a very tall man. That was about all I knew about him when I got stuck in a pot with him. I flopped an openender when 9TJ hit the board with AQ in my hand. I bet a significant amount, hoping to just buy the pot from the two people already in it, who had checked to me. One left the pot quickly. The other… reraised all in. I had him covered, but it would only leave me with 8 big blinds or so if I called. Of course, it would only cost me about that many – for a pot that was already well over what would make good pot odds. Really, I forget the math. And maybe I did the math wrong. And maybe I should have listened to my gut that was telling me “He has KQ – FOLD!” Or, maybe I should just forget the whole thing and move on.

Which is what I tried to do after he showed the KQ, and my saving K never showed up on the turn or river. The rest of the table was routing for me – we were all friends now, and he was the intruding newcomer. I knew it was all-in time, so when my next hand was AJ, I just did it. There had been a couple limpers before me, including KQ-guy, they all folded, except for him. He called saying he had to gamble. His gamble paid off when he hit a baby flush on the flop, and I was out.

I checked on Mike, who seemed to be doing pretty well, and went over to sign up for a little ring game action. I knew I would be blowing off money there, but I pretty much needed to get the tilt over with. So I just blew through a small stack of chips while constantly getting second best hands. Not my best poker day ever. But it was quite fun.

Since I was already on a -EV day, I figured why not go for some roulette while Mike keeps beating on the tournament. For some reason, my luck chose that moment to turn around, and I went up $17. Sweet! I also had quite a bit of fun doing it. There were some friendly people and the dealer (I guess that’s what you’d call him) was very entertaining. Mike joined me after he busted out of the tournament, but his luck didn’t hold out from our last trip where he won $40 or something ridiculous like that. (We are not high rollers. We really just go to Foxwoods because it’s fun, and expect to “pay” the casino a certain amount for the entertainment before we leave.)

I decided to try out some Caribbean Stud poker with my new winnings. My parents had talked quite a show about how awesome it is. This is also a -EV game, but it seems like it would be a slow leak, and possibly fun. After tipping the dealer, I was down $3, so basically even. But it actually was kind of fun.

We went to the buffet for lunch, and I took advantage of the peel-and-eat shrimp and topped it off with a staggering waffle sundae. We dumped some remaining quarters into the slot machines, and decided that we were thoroughly exhausted. We packed ourselves into the car, and drove on home. Mike slept in the car. I stopped to pick up the mail from the post office (it was a ridiculously huge pile, and of course it was mostly spam).

And then we were home.

September 30th, 2005 • 10:56 am • dinane • Posted in Poker, Vacation4 Comments »

My First Grown-Up Vacation (part eight in a series)

(Start from the beginning)

Let’s start this part of the epic with some foreshadowing. (I love being obvious.) I was nervous about running out of Canadian money, so I stopped at the friendly ATM machine just outside the subway station to get another $20. This would turn out to be a very, very good idea. We bought our last two tokens, and boarded the train. The first trip was quick, and the switch to the east/west line was simple. This would be the last time that day that something could be described as both quick and simple, or even one of the two.

When we finally arrived at the end of the Bloore line, we were already tired of traveling. The train was rather full, and we were forced to stand for the majority of the trip. At the station, we spent a fair amount of time looking at bus maps because I’d stupidly thrown away the nice map that the tourist assistant booth people had given us, since we were no longer going to wander the streets of Toronto. Unfortunately, it was where the bus number was written.

The bus maps on the wall of the station were confusing, and just as we were getting frustrated we saw a sign for the express bus to the airport. It had a number as well, but that didn’t matter. We went out to join the bunches of other luggage-lugging folks out on the sidewalk.

Not our bus. Not our bus. Our bus! Drives by without stopping? Not our bus. Our bus!

We did manage to board the bus when it came back around. Ever have the pleasure of standing on a bus while it drives on the highway? I didn’t think so. Allow me to assure you that it’s terrifying.

We got off at our terminal – the flights to the USA terminal – and spent a fair amount of time searching for the American Eagle desk. There wasn’t one. But the American Airlines desk also had American Eagle written on the sign in little letters. We got our boarding passes, had our luggage weighed, tagged, and handed back to us (huhwha?). We were then handed forms and directed to customs.

There were no pens on the tables in the customs room (which looked like a high school gymnasium with posts and tape keeping people in orderly lines), so I dug into the luggage and pulled out the pen I’d bought at the CN Tower. Name. Address. Reason for visiting Canada. Value of items purchased. Boring. Boring. Boring.

We waited in line, and when my turn came, I told the “friendly” customs officer that the purpose of our visit was baseball. Move on to another line, at the end of which my checked luggage went through an X-ray dohicky. I moved my luggage, as they told me to, over to the belt. Now for human security. Another line. Off with the shoes. X-ray for the carryons.

Walk, walk, walk. Grab some food at the primary terminal, wait for the shuttle. I find this entertaining, as it is basically waiting for the opportunity to wait. The shuttle comes, we go over to the satellite terminal (which is apparently temporary in Toronto – they’re building something better – Boston should try that).

After sitting down and starting to eat our snacks, I started to notice that everyone in our terminal seemed kind of upset. I overheard people on phones saying they’d be home late. I saw franticly gesturing people at the desk in the terminal. Then I heard the tragic word “delay.” So I brought my boarding pass over to the desk and asked about our 5:00 flight. She said it probably wasn’t going to be wheels-up until 8:45, if not later. In shock, I asked if there was anything I could do about that, and she told me, “No.”

So we started the waiting game. We watched as one trio of business people spoke quickly and firmly to their secretaries on cell phone earpieces, trying to schedule a different flight. We saw an anxiety ridden father continually bother the people at the desk while his twenty-something daughter rolled her eyes. We heard one lady say she would be home on time because she got to the airport very early and rescheduled (if only I’d thought of that!). We learned that the delays were due to major flooding in Boston, NYC, and Phili. And hours slowly passed.

I realized that I’d better call Foxwoods and let the Two Trees Inn know that we were coming and please, please don’t give up our room. Of course, I don’t have a phone number. After trying some less intelligent ways, a friendly nearby passenger suggested 555-1212. Duh. After discussing new and interesting ways to spell Ledyard, we got a hold of the desk at the hotel, and they said they’d leave a note and not give up the room.

We ended up chatting with the father-daughter team bound for Maine and with an exhausted looking girl hoping to get home to Australia. This, along with various bits and pieces of food, purchased with my last remaining Canadian dollars and cents (I was left with precisely seven Canadian cents), carried us until 7:30, when a plane pulled up to the gate that was “our plane.” We could not be guaranteed that we’d get on early, since the pilots would have to be asked begged to get right back into the air after having just landed.

We did get on the plane “early” at about 8:00, and the first good thing in hours happened. They bumped up our wheels-up time, and we were in the air at 8:15 or so. The flight was uneventful in itself, with a good amount of turbulence, and we landed at… well… I didn’t look, but it was late.

Luggage, where’s our luggage? Oh, right, back downstairs where we came in. There’s the bag. Now where the hell do we go to catch the shuttle back to our car? Ah, it says it on the ticket they gave us when we arrived.

Another waiting game. We watched as bus after bus for different rental companies passed by. And everyone we saw getting onto these busses looked as exhausted as we felt. Finally the shuttle came, and we went back to our car.

Pay the “cheap” $60 fee to leave. Miss the turn to get out of Chelsea. Spot a sign for I-93. Take a tunnel. Take a bridge (the pretty Tobin – this made up for getting lost). Realize I’m low on gas. Commence freaking out…

September 29th, 2005 • 2:36 pm • dinane • Posted in VacationNo Comments »

Free Money!

It had been a rather long time since I logged on to an internet poker room and gave away took in money. The last time I did was over a month ago, and it was my last attempt at two-tabling (not good, not good at all). So, when Mike signed on to Pacific last night to try working the bonus he got from my referral, I felt I ought to work on my end of that bonus as well.

Let me just say that Pacific Poker has made me its bitch. I’ve tried their $.05/.10 NLHE tables, their $.25/.50 HE tables, their $.25/.50 O8 tables, their $.50/1.00 HE tables, their $8 SNGs, their $5 SNGs, their $2.50 SNGs, and once when desperate their $.05/.10 Stud tables. I have not had a single winning attempt. Not one! They say even a broken clock is right twice a day, but I’m just never right there!

Also of note, I make no claims to be any kind of card shark. I’m a slightly larger than average fish on a good day. I can identify good starting hands, I can calculate odds, and I’m learning how to put on pressure bets, but I’m really only better than the guppies. But of course, I really only started getting serious (and not really that serious, compared to real poker bloggers) about learning real-money poker (as opposed to valueless-chip wild card poker with my cousins) in the last six months or so, and I play with a bankroll of around a penny (okay, more than that, but basically not a bankroll so much as some money I use for playing with).

So last night, when I “sat down” to play Omaha Hi/Lo on Pacific, I had no expectations whatsoever. I was down, then up just a little, then back down. I eventually got frustrated and spewed money out to the table. I’m sure everyone else there was thrilled to see my bonus money go their way.

Wanting to prove myself, I went back to my preferred site Poker Room. [Side note: anyone else play poker on a Mac running OSX know of any other sites that work?] I didn’t just go running to the site, I went running to the Turbo SNGs – also known as Coins for Bowser where Bowser == me.

I suppose if I was in this poker thing just for money, I would never go anywhere else. I’ve won more than 40% of these tables, came in second (which also pays, though just a pittance) another 20%. Plus, they’re over quick, so you can do a few of them in an hour. First table – the $5 variety I usually go for. I got to heads up, and then got unlucky at the wrong moment and ended up in second. Then, for some reason, I decided I’d try something new.

A few weeks ago, Poker Room had a promotion where whoever won the most SNGs in a weekend would get some ridiculous sum of money. That same weekend, they added new Turbo tables at the $10 level, as well as $20, $50, and probably higher (I don’t scroll down that far). I was curious to see how the play was up one level, so I put my $10 in, and was pleased to find the same level of play (a.k.a. passive and occasionally stupid) as at the $5 variety.

Unfortunately, though, I got unlucky at the wrong moment, and went out in third. I got all my money in on the flop when I was best, and the turn and river did me in. Such is poker. But even with the bubble loss, I was confident that I could beat this table. So, I signed up for another.

Before I go on to talk about that, though, I’d like to mention one particular ass who was seated to my left during the first $10 table. He got royally pissed when my full house beat his straight (like they are prone to do…), and started gunning for me. But not in the “I’m going to be smarter than you and take all your money” kind of way – more like the “I’m going to make fun of you and call you ‘gay’ a lot” kind of way. I think he was trying to get me on tilt. I laughed at him and said “thanks” every time he said something rude about me. And I laughed even more when the guy who took me out unceremoniously took him down in one hand later.

Moving on. At the start of this second $10 table, I was getting crap for cards. But I decided to make myself the bully of the table, and for some reason it was working. Pre-flop raise, two callers, bet the flop, both fold. I did this probably six times in a row before someone got the nerve to call me. Then I calmed down a little, but by that point I was already a staggering chip leader. Aggression is awesome. Aggression won me the table.

There was one hand I played through to showdown that I am a little uncertain about. I flopped top pair and a baby flush draw, and was in with one person. I bet half the pot and he called. The turn brought my heart flush, but I was scared for a bigger flush. Apparently, though, I was not scared enough to fold. I checked, he bet half the pot, I called. The river came, it was not a heart, I checked, he bet half the pot, I called. I’m pretty sure that was wrong. If I thought I was beat, I should have folded. And if I thought I wasn’t, I should have raised. I’m also pretty sure the “check-call” is not a real popular poker “move.” It turned out okay, as the other guy just had two pair.

All in all, at the end of the day I was up $17 on Poker Room. (Let’s not discuss Pacific. That money is dead to me.) Also, and this is really the important part to me, I was excited about poker again. My heart was racing when I bet, and when I had a good hand, I was shaking. It was awesome. Not as awesome as playing at Foxwoods, but way more awesome than driving three hours round trip.

September 29th, 2005 • 10:00 am • dinane • Posted in PokerNo Comments »

My First Grown-Up Vacation (part seven in a series)

(Start from the beginning)

This time, we finally had it. We confidently walked up the stairs from the Union Station subway station across the alley into the bottom floor food court of Union Station. We took a right, went past the Commuter Bar (I think that’s what it was called, literally!), and ignored the sign that told us how to get to the Sky Walk. We went up the stairs, passed the candy store, and went up the ramp and up the escalator into the glass tunnel through the sky.

The Sky Walk is an interesting device. It is wide enough to be a two-lane road, separated into those lanes by narrow metal columns. It is a continuous archway, made completely of glass with varying degrees of tint. It is not air conditioned – it is a hot house in the summer (though I imagine it is quite pleasant in the bitter winter). It first crosses a huge number of train tracks; I stopped once to watch a two story tall commuter train leave from Union Station. About two-thirds of the way through, there is an exit on the left which goes to stairs that go up a level and back across the train tracks to the convention center. At the end, there are some glass doors which unceremoniously drop the walker into the Sky Dome / CN Tower area.

Now that we were familiar with the trip to the stadium, everything just breezed by. One change, however, was that the previous two days’ super-talented drummer (who screamed “Go Jays!” every time someone threw money in his hat) had been replaced by a mediocre guitarist. Mike commented that they should possibly get together and start a band.

We went to our seats (two to the right of the previous two nights) and settled in for the game. Just as the first inning was getting going, the two seats in front of us were filled by Jays fans. This would not bother me; it is their stadium. But the guy on the left had a habit of screaming rather nasty things about every Red Sox player, and in a tone that actually screamed to me, “Mental patient!” His buddy was a more quiet type, but he did jump to his feet along with his friend on every yell. This again would not bother me; excitement is good for baseball. But this guy was wearing pants that were a bit too big and a bit (okay, completely) belt-less.

After seeing this guy’s ass-crack and hearing his friend’s terrifying scream for the fifth time, I got up to go get a pretzel. Mike came with me, and when we returned… well… we didn’t. We chose seats about 10 rows further back – the area was empty, since the Blue Jays don’t really come close to selling out their games. We had a much more pleasant time watching the game from that point on, especially as the Red Sox eked out the win in the rubber match.

Food consumed at the park on day three: 1 pretzel, 1 bottle of salty mineral water, half of a bag of alternating blue and pink candy floss.

[Side note to the people at Fenway: The pink stuff resembling cotton candy in a cup sucks. Please go back to real cotton candy. And have it in blue. Thank you.]

We went back to our hotel room that night, after checking the news to see about Gabe Kapler. That night, he had snapped a tendon in his leg while rounding second from first when Graffanino hit a home run. At the game we had no idea what happened. I was too busy cheering the home run to see Kapler hit the ground, and we were all wondering what they would be able to do to get his run to count!

After heaving a big sigh, we went to bed.

I snapped awake early the next morning, because I wanted to do some real exercise at least once this week. I got dressed in my sweat pants and tank top and decided I was hungry. So I threw on a sweatshirt and went down to grab a muffin for breakfast. I then tried to figure out how to get up to the 27th floor. I knew I couldn’t take the red elevator – it only went to the 2-7 and 25th floors. I eventually found the blue elevator which went to the 26th. Before looking for the stairs, I grabbed a bottle of Dasani (non-salty non-mineral just-plain water) from a vending machine.

It wasn’t a long search, and soon I was swiping my key card to get into “Deck 27.” There was a huge pool, and as I signed my name, I spotted a Jacuzzi, a weight room, several cardio machines, and a training circuit. Perfect!

I had a lot of time, so I did a huge variety of things. I started with the treadmill, moved over to the stationary bike, and then started weights. I went into the weight room to work on my abs, and came back for some circuit machines. I finished the day with a long stretch session, and felt much better. I went back to our room for a shower, woke Mike up, and we commenced wasting time before our flight.

While we were checking out, the lady asked us if we’d like to leave our luggage. We said yes, and she pointed us to the bell man station again. She then asked if we would need transportation provided to get to the airport. We politely declined, saying we were taking the subway. She seemed shocked, but we assured her we knew what we were doing. Mike figures the hotel must get a cut of the airport express fee.

After we left our luggage, we went over to the mall. It was pointed out to us from the Hippo Tour on Tuesday, but it was difficult to distinguish from surrounding buildings – It really did not look like a mall. We went in one entrance, and started poking around the stores. We found a neat board game store where we wasted most of our time. We went up various escalators and down others. This mall is five stories tall and three city blocks long. It has TWO food courts, in addition to a variety of other restaurants. Ridiculous!

We took advantage of one of those restaurants for lunch. It was a very nice place, with an insanely exciting dessert menu. We each got a light lunch anticipating the need for dessert. We chose to share a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate icing, chocolate sauce coating the entire slice, whipped cream dollops surrounding the plate, and chocolate shavings sprinked over the entire thing. Chocolate!

After lunch, we went back to the hotel to grab our stuff and started the much-longer-than-it-ought-to-have-been trek back to the states…

September 28th, 2005 • 9:02 am • dinane • Posted in Sports, VacationNo Comments »

My First Grown-Up Vacation (part six in a series)

(Start from the beginning)

It was my turn to pick the touristy event of the day, so I chose to go to a museum. We looked at the map, and staring at us in big letters spanning a few city blocks was the Royal Ontario Museum. We studied the map a bit more to figure out which subway stop to go to, and after a quick breakfast, headed on over.

When we got out of the station and looked around, we were once again lost and confused. So we picked a direction and walked until we could see street signs. Luckily, this time we picked the right direction. Unluckily, there was construction, and where I thought the museum should be there was plywood. We kept walking anyway, and eventually saw what Mike lovingly refers to as the spaceship that landed on the museum. He calls the new part of the New England Aquarium the same thing.

The “spaceship” was not yet complete. The metal framing was up, and there were construction workers hanging from various places doing… something. But we knew we were close. We walked around the corner, and there it was – the old museum building. We followed the signs, and walked in the door to what was obviously the backup lobby.

It only cost $8 Canadian to enter the museum. That’s pretty darn awesome. We got our maps, and headed over to the stairs, where we saw the first awesome thing – two huge totem poles. They reached up and up and up… four stories high! And every carving was beautiful. I really love museums.

We went up one flight of stairs and found that the first floor was closed for construction. Up another flight, and half of the second floor was also closed! Not to be deterred, however, we began traipsing through the natural history portion of the museum. We looked at lizards and turtles (stuffed), birds and butterflies (preserved), deer and lions (…some other euphemism for dead…). We went through the bat exhibit, where they made you feel like you were in a cave surrounded by bats – definitely creepy.

This whole wing took us more than an hour to peruse, so we headed back down to the lobby to grab some lunch. I had an egg salad sandwich and Mike had a hot dog. My sandwich had far too much mayo on it, but it was still pretty tasty.

Once we were done eating, we went back over to the stairs to go up to the third floor. This floor had all its’ wings open. First, we explored gothic and renaissance art. This was followed by armory, including an exhibit showing the commonalities between mideval armor and hokey goalie’s padding.

Next we found the exhibit explaining the construction. The new wing(s) of the museum will be housed in a “Crystal.” The models and mock-ups were all on display, along with a framed window to the outside where you could see the construction workers putting up dry wall. It is sad we would not be able to see the wing – it looked like it was going to be very exciting. But it was interesting to see the evolution of the idea from napkin (literally!) to drawing to model after model to computer rendering to blueprint. I find architecture fascinating.

We continued along the other end of the museum, investigating the history and artwork of Muslims, Egyptians, and Greeks. We saw transcriptions of the Quran, a real live… I mean dead… mummy, a reconstructed wall from an Egyptian temple, and a scale model of Athens. The temple wall interested me most of all, as they had a 10 minute story to go along with it. It was about a queen who brought a group of heroic people to a new land and brought back riches. I could not do it justice; just know that it was fascinating.

We had finally finished the museum, nearly 6 hours later. I cannot imagine how long it will take to go through the entire place once they reopen the first floor and open the Crystal! I’d probably go back to Toronto just for the museum – it was pretty awesome.

We were in need of some dinner before the game, so we headed back to the downtown area to look for a restaurant. There was a light drizzle in the air, but it didn’t bother us too much. We ended up going to this restaurant that we’d walked by a few times earlier in the week. The neon sign outside read “Jack Astor’s” and had an interesting defect. The letters “tor” were slowly blinking on and off.

This place had an extensive cocktail menu, so we each ordered something that interested us. I got a frozen drink which was half raspberry and half lemon. Like literally, they poured two different drinks into one glass, but as they were frozen, they stayed mostly separate. It came with frozen raspberries and was extremely tasty. Mike got something that tasted like coconuts. I dislike coconuts. He loves them, so good for him :).

While looking at the menu, I noticed that my choice came with two side dishes. I found the list of such things, and decided on the mixed veggies and the one pound baked potato. Now think about that for a minute. How big do you figure a one pound potato is? Let me tell you, it’s pretty huge. It could make a meal all on its own – especially if you got all the toppings (butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon). I chose to get just the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Oh, and I had some awesome chicken along with that potato :-D. Mike got some stir-fry thing that he was pretty excited about.

After our awesome dinner, we went back to the hotel to change for the final time into our Red Sox gear…

September 27th, 2005 • 11:32 am • dinane • Posted in VacationNo Comments »

It Was a Perfect Day for Football!

Too bad I was going to a Red Sox game…

All day, I kept looking out of windows muttering, “Damn, it better not rain.” When four o’clock rolled around, I stood up and started my long trek out the door at work. I packed up my crap, stopped to talk to Matt about… well nothing really, and sauntered out to my car. I knew it wasn’t going to take me an hour and a half to get to Riverside (no, not the old amusement park that is now technically Six Flags New England but which I prefer to refer to as Riverflags – the T stop at the end of the D line of the green line).

I actually got out to my car at 4:30 or thereabouts. The clouds were threatening, but no actual precipitation had started. I began to regret not bringing a long sleeved shirt. I even thought of heading over to Shoppers’ World to pick up a long sleeved red shirt to wear under my Trot Nixon #7 jersey (home jersey, no name, the real thing). But the traffic on Route 9 did not look favorable, and as I drove up the ramp to the Pike, I was rewarded with the announcement that, in addition to the normal afternoon traffic report, Route 9 was backed up by Shoppers’ World.

The Pike wasn’t particularly backed up, but it wasn’t moving at full speed. I stopped at the rest stop for a muffin and some cash, and drove the rest of the way to Riverside without incident. I waited for about 5 minutes to pay for my parking, and then sat in the car for a while, waiting for Mike to arrive from work. I was more than a little early.

When I called Mike, he said he had no cash and needed to stop for an ATM. Not wanting to wait much longer (I’m an impatient person), I told him I was looking straight at an ATM (because I was). Then he reminded me that without cash, he could not park, so we made a deal by which he would call as he approached the station, and I would run out to his car with some money. This happened flawlessly, and he asked if I wanted to just get in his car. I was not dressed in my full regalia yet, so I declined, and returned to my Jetta. While inside, I crammed various necessities into various pockets of my cargo pants, readjusted my pigtails, straightened my ball cap, and put on my #7 jersey.

Time passed. Cars slowly moved towards the ticket stand. More time passed. I got bored. So I locked up my car and started walking for the gate. I saw Mike’s car, waiting about where I had started when I arrived 20 minutes before he did. He’d been waiting in line for at least 15 minutes already with another 5 to go. So I ran over to his car and jumped in.

When he finally got to park, he asked if I thought he should wear his long sleeved shirt or his fleece. I grumbled and pouted, since he was the one who talked me out of bringing a long sleeved shirt in the first place! He offered me the long sleeved shirt and took the fleece. I changed shirts in the parking lot. Whatever.

We are rather familiar with the trip into Boston from Riverside. We’ve done it a lot. A lot, a lot. And every time, we laugh at the tourists and townies who haven’t got a clue. There’s always at least one person surprised by the $3 charge out this far, and one other confused by the fact that the train runs above ground. The trolley slowly moved towards the city, and we got off at Kenmore (after informing a good number of people that the Fenway station really isn’t the place to go).

Sprinkles were falling from the cool cloudy sky. But I’ve seen worse. I’ve been to games where they played through worse!

We got to the park, bought our regular food (sausage for Mike, chicken fingers for me), and ate it under the cover of the stadium. Our seats were in the bleachers, and we didn’t really feel like eating rain for dinner. We then went up to our seats. And up. And up. Turns out that row 50 is the last row in section 42…

We wiped off our seats as best we could and settled in. At 7:00, the sent the singer out into the rain to perform the national anthems (both, since Toronto was the visiting team – yes, Toronto, as if we haven’t seen enough of them this year :-D), but the infield tarp was still carefully laid across the field. After a too fast rendition of the Canadian anthem and a too slow rendition of the American, we sat back in our seats, and waited for the game to begin.

And waited…

And waited…

The tarp was still out on the field, we were saturated in rainwater, and Mike was cold, so we went back down to get out from the rain. I got a beer. We watched a silent NESN broadcast rain delay filler. And then I heard some muffled announcement sounds from the stands, but couldn’t decipher it. And people started pouring out. Not wanting to accidentally leave a game that was going to happen, Mike went out to check the scoreboard. It did in fact say the game was postponed until 1:05 the next afternoon (today).

*sigh*

Back to Kenmore. Wait in line. Pay the man $1.25. Wait for a train. Three go by without stopping. Get on the fourth train. Get off the train. Drive home. Dump clothes into washing machine. Put on pajamas. TV. Ice cream. Sleep.

So, today, I leave work at 11:45. My boss is on vacation, my group lead is away, and I have no looming deadlines. (Plus my group lead did answer his email and said it was fine – I’m an honest girl.)

Let’s go Red Sox!

September 27th, 2005 • 10:58 am • dinane • Posted in SportsNo Comments »

We Interrupt This Broadcast…

…for an important message from our sponsor. I mean blogger. I mean moron girl who thinks she’s a blogger. I mean… me.

I was hoping to blast out the entire vacation story before formally introducing myself and this blog, but I got excited. Or bored. Or both. Who cares? I felt like putting the blog out to the public, so I’m doing it.

That’s not to say I won’t finish the vacation story! I definitely will! Just that it’s going slower than I thought it would. I didn’t know I had that much memory for details as I appear to. Or that much interest in spewing it out there for all to see. Or that much foaming at the mouth… wait… no, I talk a lot, so that’s not a surprise.

So, anyway…

Welcome to the beginning of dinane.net. I’ve set up some various about pages which you can get to from the sidebar, if you want to know things. Pretty much everything you could possibly want to know is there. For that matter, I’m not sure why I feel like I need to write this welcome message. But then, why not? I enjoy babbling, and this is just another babble to start a hopefully long chain of babbles on this here internet address.

Really, I was starting to get frustrated with the things I thought of that I wanted to blog about, but was holding off until after the vacation epic. Not that I remember what they were, or anything, but I wanted to give myself the opportunity to write whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Censoring yourself is probably worse than letting other people censor you.

So, since I decided I want to share, and since I was kind of bored at work today (note the two parts to the vacation multi-part story I wrote today), you are seeing this welcome message. And I welcome you!

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogosphere. Go read something awesome. Like, by someone else.

September 26th, 2005 • 3:24 pm • dinane • Posted in Site5 Comments »

My First Grown-Up Vacation (part five in a series)

(Start from the beginning)

After going a quarter mile up away from the earth, we decided to go over to China Town for dinner. I had heard so many people say that we had to. So we went back over to Union Station, and promptly got lost again. That station is horrendous for tourists! I’m not even sure how the locals manage it. We eventually found the streetcars were looking for. Yes, streetcars! So neat! When we got off, we just started walking along the road, looking at makeshift fruit markets, tourist trap gift shops, and the occasional restaurant. We decided on a place that had dumplings in the title.

It was rather early for dinner, but we’d decided to eat early and go back to the hotel to change into Red Sox gear afterwards – in order to be friendlier to the locals. So when we got in there, the only people eating were the staff. We were told to pick our seat, and then were brought menus. We obviously got dumplings (you have to get the item in their title!), along with some shrimp & noodles, beef & broccoli, and some fried rice. Holy food, batman! And boy was it delicious.

When we got the dumplings, it occurred to me that there were no forks in sight. This is not a problem for me; I’ve been able to use chopsticks almost as long as I’ve been able to use forks. But poor Mike could not get a dumpling to his plate, let alone to his mouth. I asked the proprietor for a fork, and after a couple jokes, he found one somewhere in the back.

We thought we would be able to easily walk back to the hotel. We jumped up a block to College Road, and started trekking. When we finally reached University Ave (about 20 minutes later), Mike pulled out the map and said, “Well, we’re one third of the way there!” Good grief! There were three avenue blocks between where we came from and where we were going to, and we thought they’d all be the same size, give or take, as the blocks in the other direction. Boy, were we wrong. So, since we were getting tired, we pulled out our tokens and got on the next trolley traveling east. 300 feet later… “Dundas Street.” Woops! Stupid map lied to us!

Turns out there were two maps, actually, a walking map and a public transportation map. The walking map was to scale. The transport map… not so much…

We got all dolled up in our Red Sox gear (#7 Trot Nixon jersey!), and took the now familiar trip down to Union Station. After a bit of wandering about, we found the Sky Walk, and landed at the Sky Dome. We had the same seats as the previous day, 31st row, directly behind home plate. I cannot express how awesome that is. It’s awesome, I say!

We made friendly with the folks around us, many of whom were also wearing Red. We spread out across our row a bit, and had more room than the night before, as the guys to my right did not make a repeat appearance.

I had previously decided that today was going to be drunk day, so I started off the second inning with a beer. I was kind of intimidated by the beer guys, to be honest, so I had to get up and go to the bar. I understand how bars work. I ordered myself a Labatt, and apologized to the bartender for having only a twenty. He punished me by giving me only coins as change. Twelve dollars in coins isn’t quite as bad in Canada as here in the US, though, since they have toonies – the two dollar coin.

The game itself was actually kind of depressing. We never really led, and the game ended with a lot of happy Blue Jays fans. Labatt is pretty good, though, so the game also ended with a couple of drunk Red Sox fans, in the form of Mike and myself.

Food consumed at the park on day two: 3 and a half Labatts, 1 Bud Lite, and some peanut M&Ms. Okay, so it was mostly liquid food.

We were giggling and wobbling all the way back across the Sky Walk into Union Station. Greeting us at the station was a candy store! Candy is awesome, and seems even more so when you’re drunk. I selected a few different kinds of jelly beans while Mike went for the sour patch kids and jelly feet (FEET!?). Candy, drunkenness, and passing out ensued…

September 26th, 2005 • 10:16 am • dinane • Posted in Sports, VacationNo Comments »
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