Saturday, November 30, 2013

"You Got Lucky This Time"

Simply put, the past few weeks have made my life seem deceptively interesting, as I've logged yet another Phish show, a much ballyhooed meeting of worlds in Rome, Italy, and an extended city stay, which indeed made me look about as worldly and carefree as Jacques Cousteau, minus the pruning. Attempting to catalog these three weeks in one post would be a fool's undertaking on my part, so therefore I will attempt to chronicle and cut these past three weeks into thirds (conveniently enough) and fill you in on all things existence.

With that bit of pretense aside, we will now jump into the date of November 1st, as I went straight from work to my second home of Astoria to, as is custom, visit and catch a night's rest at Ben and Deanna's. It is often that I laugh about how when I had barely a penny to my name I found the money and time to get to Astoria with friends about once every two weeks and now, with all modesty aside, I have the money to make that trip daily and simply the different direction life has pulled our group have made such gatherings and trips a rarity.

This trip had a twist, however, as while I was indeed in town for the Phish show in AC the following evening, I made it a point to arrive a day earlier in order to christen the new abode of a freshly donned Astorian Kevin Montgomery of York College infamy. Now, Kevin was well aware of my plans peruse his pad, but others present at the housewarming shindig considered my arrival quite spontaneous. As a result, I'd like to believe pleasantly surprised a great many York and Lancaster faithful that had sojourned from near and far to wish Kevin well including, Doug, who made a point of telling me he had been enjoying the party's festivities long before I arrived, Addy, the great stilted one, Brett, and of course, my one and only partner in shenanegans, Steve Murillo. In addition, Ben was kind enough to make the journey with me, which was thrilling because I never feel like there are enough activities that connect York with Long Island. The bottom line is I had a great time seeing some of my best friends and took a cliche, but nonetheless cherished photo with all York alum atop an Astoria rooftop.

Special shotout to Adam Stamm, a great friend I met in my brief time in Lancaster. My best and most sincere wishes to Adam, Kevin, and Nick on their new digs and continued success and good times within and beyond those walls.

Following the houseparty, Ben and I made our way back to his place and I had a conversation with he and Deanna, which I admittedly have little recollection of. As my head hit the pillow, I had faint thoughts that we were going to track down video evidence of Abe Vigoda's Halloween escapades, but my mind and body had other ideas, as I passed out like a light.

I wish I could say I awoke after a restful slumber, but it was indeed the call of duty that stirred me from my sheets at a most unenviable hour. It seems that one of the trips I'd planned had not had their group booked for a night at a hotel in Boston that evening. To say I wasn't feeling so hot would be an understatement, but what was a bit more the proverbial (in this case) head, was that the arrangements were pretty spontaneous and not the result of a screw up on my part. In other words, if I were up early and under the weather as a result of me messing up some arrangements, I wouldn't be thrilled, but at least I would know I made my own bed. The fact that this early morning work was thrust upon me through no error of my own was frustrating to say the least.

With that said, I'm not trying to throw my own personal pity party, as these things happen in both business and life, but I truly felt bad for one Ben Kraus, whose laptop I had to borrow in order to complete the multiple tasks before me. This laptop could only be accessed through the use of his specific fingerprint, so, long story short, I had to bop into his room on at least three separate occasions to get him to (re)activate the laptop for me, disturbing both he and Deanna a great deal as a result. I did do their dishes after the seas had calmed as a 'thank you' (I had stumbled into the aftermath of chili night), but I feel my best efforts of gratitude fell short. A thousand apologies.

After all had woken of their own accord, I very casually brought up my vague idea for a Phish shirt (as all of the best Phish shirts are homemade) entailing the universal men and women's room sign detailing the sleeping positions outlined in Phish's brief ditty (Ben wouldn't like that I called it a ditty) "Lengthwise." The idea quickly took on a life of his own as we were waiting out the arrival of Jeremy anyway, who would obviously be joining us for the trip...

Tangent: Recounting the ins and outs of this would be a silly, but Jeremy showed up in Astoria a bit later than all would have expected and cared for, and as a result Ben was a little hot under the collar. Nothing about that is funny, but when Jeremy did arrive and mentioned he had an EZ-Pass, he was a little unclear as to whether the device would work. Ben essentially let the car know that if the EZ Pass were to fail and Ben were to get pulled over, we would have to get to work promptly on Jeremy's obituary; Again, not a laughing matter. However, when we rolled through our first toll without any negative repercussions and Ben very flatly and unappreciative-ly said this post's moniker, I couldn't help but be tickled to death. Speaking for myself, it broke any residual tension and I knew we were in for great night.

Ben and I went to a shop to grab a quick t-shirt in order to bring my vision to life, where we waited on an inordinately long line with inordinately abnormal people. Yet again, Ben Kraus' reaction to the situation makes it worth all the hardship as he makes in clear that waiting on that line had been excruciating and he came very close to ditching me at the store and in addition he felt entitled to not wait on line. Now as much as I sound like I am bombing on Ben, I can't say my thoughts were dissimilar, but his willingness to say whatever is on his mind at any given moment is at most admirable and at the very least entertaining.

As if I needed proof, Ben and Deanna then displayed just how much they're some of the best friends I have in the world. The mornings events had finally caught up with me and was overtaken by the desire to sleep. Ben and Deanna were kind enough to keep and bring my vision alive as I napped quite peacefully, that is until Ben stepped on Deanna's foot, but that's another story all together.

Once we got to the show, we enjoyed it quite thoroughly, as the group has really been a pocket lately. I feel like if I went into too much detail about that I'd be out of line, because I feel like DMB is the only group I have the right to really critique, but their renditions of "Funky Bitch" "Theme From the Bottom (a first for me)" "Tweezer" Down with Disease (believe it or not)" and Character Zero" were simply awesome, and the rest of the gig was equally groovy. The one thing I will say is that it was my first time seeing the group indoors and it was cool to see them in that sense because it felt as though people had gathered more for the music that the atmosphere, if that makes any sense. A great time with all involved.

After the show, we did indeed toil around the casino scene, being in AC and all. Regrettably, I did lose 200 bucks. Not a thrilling feeling, but I lost it playing four card poker. My only true regret is that I don't think everyone I was with knew it was a game of luck and I think they thought I lost 200 bucks because I wasn't good at the game. Suffice to say, my pride hurt more than my wallet and if this post accomplishes anything, let it serve as the clarification that I lost my chunk of change on a game of chance.

Following my beating at the hands of fate and fortune, we met up at a karaoke spot, where I admit I dabbled in The Police's "Walking on the Moon" (briefly interrupting a girl clearly trying to get a record deal out of her showing) and fell in love with Rihanna's (probably not spelled correctly) "Man Down" which Deanna and I quoted ad nauseum for the remainder of the trip. The rest of the trip was largely uneventful, but did include a grilled cheese incident and a point where elevator doors stayed open a bit too long, which I'm glad Laura witnessed with me. Essentially there was no room for this guy on the elevator, but the doors stayed open for a solid 20 seconds as we awkwardly stared at the poor guy seeking passage on the vessel. You kind of had to be there, which is why I'm being a bit vague about it, but it really was a highlight of my time.

Great times with all, as Phish shows and circumstances never fail to disappoint. More to come concerning Rome in the coming days. A big thanks to Ben, Deanna, Emily, Laura, and a freshly showered Jeremy for making my time so wonderful.

Song of the Day: Ringo - Umphrey's McGee
Jazz Song of the Day: Solar - Keith Jarrett