Epcot/Boardwalk/Magic Kingdom – Day 3

Monday 8/11/14

After eating breakfast and setting up our Mears transportation for Wednesday at the concierge, Kyra and I met up with Mom at Epcot. Dad was golfing with Michael so we decided to polish off the rest of the park. The first thing we did was to go to Captain EO. Though dated and super silly, the music is timeless and, to my surprise, Mom loved it. I then went in search of the EO t-shirt I’d seen but didn’t buy in 2010, only to find that this, the one souvenir I was planning on buying for myself, was no longer being sold.

Next Mom wanted to ride The Land but I was not into it, so Kyra and rode that while I walked through Innoventions. The side I chose was kind of boring and not very crowded at all. Again, for the most part people don’t want to educated on their vacation. I then walked over to Test Track and saw that the single rider line only had a 10-minute wait. I really wanted to go but I knew the second I got in line, they’d call. And, even if I did get to ride before they were done, Kyra would be pissed that I rode without her. So, I angrily waited for them to meet me outside Test Track before deciding our next move.

Not wanting to ditch Mom this early in the day, we went to the nearby Universe of Energy ride. This 37 minute attraction is a combination of slow moving ride though a land of dinosaurs, and movies starring Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ellen Degeneres talking about alternative sources of energy. (Bill Nye and Ellen were added in the 90s to modernize it but now that’s even out of date. It used to be slightly different but don’t ask me how, I was too young to remember). The ride is not very thrilling but still somewhat fun. It’s nice, now that I’m older, that I’am able to fully understand all of the concepts that are under discussion. Things like fossil fuels, global warming and alternative sources of energy. Additionally, It is a staple amongst our family as it is famous for my sister peeing on it in 1995.

By the time we got done with the ride it was raining out. Kyra and I attempted to wait in the now 30 minute single rider line for Test Track, but shortly after entering an announcement was made that, “due to inclement weather, testing is being postponed.” This really annoyed me because I could have ridden it earlier, but we moved on the World Showcase section of the park.

We started over at Canada, then made our way over to England before exiting the park for a side excursion to the Boardwalk. I like going to the Boardwalk anyway, but this time I had a plan to fulfill a lifelong Disney dream. At the Beach and Yacht Cub resort there is a water slide themed to look like a Pirate Ship’s broken mast. It goes over the Boardwalk and into the resort pool.

Upon arriving at the slide however, I found that it too was closed due to inclement weather. I walked over to the lifeguard and asked if he knew when it might be open. He told me to wait about ten minutes and sure enough, ten minutes later, the sign was down. I made my way up the spiral staircase to the top of the slide. On my way up I passed a troubling sign, “This slide is reserved for resort guest only.” If they were going to scan my Magic Band I was screwed. I got to the top and chit chatted with the female lifeguard for a bit. The water in the slide hadn’t been turned back on yet so I had more tense waiting to do. She looked at my wrist and said, “Oh, by the way, be sure to grab your pool wrist band after you go down the slide.”

Suddenly, the water came back on and shortly after that I was given the green light. I rode the slide… and it was good. Upon exiting the pool, the life guard asked if I was staying at the hotel. “No,” I said. “You can’t ride the slide,” he replied. I just smiled, “Too late,” and walked away.

Achieving this goal put me in a much better mood. After drying off and getting my shoes on, we continued our way around the Boardwalk, checking out some shops along the way. We then re-entered Epcot and breezed through the rest of the countries until we reached Mexico. Ever since the Disney trip I went on in High School with the chorus, I have wanted to eat there. We, Kyra and I, had made it our plan to do it this time.

DinnerInMexicoDinner in Mexico.

We entered the pavilion and asked for a seat. The man gave us a buzzer and told us it was a twenty minute wait and that the buzzer would only work inside the building. Seeing that there was no line for the boat ride, we got on. After only riding a short time, our buzzer went off. What was the deal with twenty minute waits being less than five!? We anxiously waited for the ride to end, then rushed back to the check-in counter to be seated.

CheesecakeCheesecake for dessert was my consolation prize since they didn’t have the Captain EO shirt.

Our meal was very enjoyable. It was nice to accomplish yet another goal of mine. After paying and exiting the pavilion, we parted ways. Kyra and Mom took more time to dig in to the World Showcase, and I was finally going to ride Test Track. I made my way to the front of the line and was told where to go. After getting there, I noticed that the girl who had been standing behind me in line (to whom I had been paging little attention) was told to wait for the same ride vehicle as me. When she came over she started talking to me about the ride and asking me questions. By her accent she was clearly British and by her looks she was fairly attractive. The only thing niggling me was not being able to tell how old she was.

When the ride was over, I said maybe on more thing and then just walked away, I didn’t even say goodbye. I didn’t, I guess want to seem annoying or like I was following her, but at the same time what harm would have come from saying goodbye. I never saw her the rest of the day : (. And so, I have this missed connection to pose to the internet: If you are that British girl who spoke to me in the single rider line for Test Track and are at least 18, go to the contact page and send me an e-mail.

After that foolishness, I made my way over to the England section of the World Showcase, maybe subconsciously thinking that she’d be homesick and our paths would cross again. Instead, I found to my surprise that I was in time for a small concert. This band called British Revolution was doing covers of all sorts of British rock bands from Queen, to The Beatles, to Cream, to The Who, to Black Sabbath. It was corny, but fun at the same time.

Once it was over, I met back up with Mom and Kyra. We went back to Test Track to try once again to ride it together, but, once again the clouds rolled in and the ride shut down. After that we contemplated riding Mission Space, but decided instead, since we had our bathing suits to go back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to check out, not only the pool, but Mom and Dad’s hotel/hotel room.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a very impressive facility. Regardless of the fact that I’d seen pictures of it before, it is a hole other thing to see it in person. After being floored by the lobby, we went to the room which was just as good. I mean, the room was basically a room, but they had a balcony that overlook the animal park. You could see giraffe’s and impala and zebra’s right from their bed. It was really cool.

After that we made our way to the pool. Their pool was huge, and it even had a small water slide. Though probably meant for kids, Kyra and I went down the slide a least ten times. We all had a surprising amount of fun in the pool and even were briefly joined by a duck that landed in the water, swam around for a bit, then flew away. The more I thought about it though, it’s odd to me that stuff like that doesn’t happen in outdoor pools more often.

InTheMineIn the mine on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train coaster.

By the time we got back to the room, Dad was done golfing and after we changed, we got dinner at the hotel before heading to the Magic Kingdom. Once at the park, we rushed past the crowd that had formed for the impending parade in order to get in line for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train coaster. The wait time was 60 minutes, but it seemed to move right along and I was glad that this time we were all going to be able to ride it together. I was especially glad that Mom stuck to her guns and rode it.

SnowWhiteFireworksFireworks over Snow White’s cabin.

As the ride got to the end we got to experience a bit of Disney magic. The fireworks began to go off as we were riding the ride and in spite of not being right in front of the castle, we had a great view. When the ride was over, we were able to watch the fireworks from Fantasyland. Once they were mostly finished, me, Kyra and Dad went over to Space Mountain to get one last ride in before going our separate ways for the night.

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MGM Studios/Epcot/Downtown Disney – Day 2

Sunday 8/10/14

Kyra and I started our morning by meeting our Mom and Dad in line for Toy Story Midway Mania. The wait was 55 minutes but the ride is, in my opinion, one of the best family attractions at any of the Disney parks. It is super interactive and literally anyone can ride it. Just as was the case with Buzz Lightyear, I dominated with a score of ~88,000 points. After riding that, we made our way over to Tower of Terror. The wait was only 40 minutes or so, so me, my sister, and my Dad got in line. My Mom went off and did other stuff as this would get her sick, or rather, give her a headache for sure.

HollywoodTowerHotelThe Hollywood Tower Hotel aka Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as seen from the queue.

Tower of Terror is another one of my favorite attractions. Not only is the ride fun, but the theming is Disney at its best. Theming is one the things Disney is known for. The sign is weathered and at night you can see the words “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” appear glowing in front of the embossed Hollywood Tower Hotel. The queue leading up to the hotel plays eerie jazz-era music and there’s a thick mist on the grounds.

The deserted and cobwebbed lobby combined with the Rod Serling intro leading into the basement level of the hotel really helps to sell the whole atmosphere of the ride. You can go on drop rides anywhere, but I guarantee you none are as intricate as this. Rather than relying on our innate fear of heights, T of T really tries to impact guests on a psychological level. The ride as usual never fails to thrill and after it was over and we rejoined with Mom, we went across the way to Rockin’ Roller Coaster.

RocknRollerCoasterTheming outside the Rockn’ Roller Coaster ride building.

While we rode that, Mom rode another family favorite, The Great Movie Ride. Probably one of my favorite parts about Rockin’ is, again, the theming. Sure the launch makes your stomach drop and the loops are great, but the loading area is one of the best they have ever done. Set up on the night of an Aerosmith concert, guests are sent a “super-stretch” Cadillac limo. You board the limo in an LA parking garage then turn the corner into a deserted back alley before launching into the night.

I don’t know what it is, but something about emulating reality in a physical environment makes me really happy. Every time I go step into the LA alley and it’s “night time” and I see the first train launch, I’m a kid again. For that alone, the ride is worth it. After riding, we met up with Mom and decide to split up. Kyra and Mom go to the Back-Lot Tour, a ride I could care less about at this point, and Dad and I go on The Great Movie Ride.

Though the whole ride is fun, for a slow family ride, the part I was looking forward to the most was, ironically, the part that used to scare me as a child… Alien. Alien is undoubtedly in my top 50 favorite movies and before leaving for the trip I even had a craving to watch it that sadly went unfulfilled. What I love about this section of the ride is that you get put in the middle of one of the most tense parts of the movie, even if it is just briefly. My plan was to try and get a picture of the creature when it pops out from the ceiling, but I messed up my timing and didn’t get the shot. I could have tried again but the ride is kind of long and not really worth riding a second time just to try and accomplish this.

Starspeeder1000The Starspeeder 1000 inside the queue for Star Tours.

After getting off, Dad and I went to yet another favorite attraction of mine, Star Tours. Not only am I a Star Wars nerd, but the ride has been updated since last I was there and so I was excited to ride it. The queue was filled with even more nerdy details, like an arrivals and departures chart that displays in both the English alphabet as well as in galactic “basic”. The two other updates to the ride are that it is now in 3D, and travels to multiple destinations. This means that, in theory, every time you ride it, it could be different.

SingingInTheRainComparisonSingin In the Rain comparison.

As expected, the ride was good and after getting off we rejoined with Kyra and Mom. Next we made our way over to the Singin’ In the Rain umbrella. One of the small goals I had for this trip was to pose like Gene Kelly does in the movie. It was a dumb goal, but I was glad to accomplish it.

Sci-FiSnackBarSign for the “snack bar” at the rear of the drive-in.

After this we made our way over to the Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre. This is my favorite restaurant in any of the parks. I remember going to this one of the first times we went to Disney. The concept is a drive in theater with classic monster movies and old advertisements. I’m pretty sure we hadn’t eaten there since the only other time we’d eaten there, so it’d been a while. I had tried making a reservation using the Disney App but it didn’t let me.

So I walked up to the desk and asked if they had space for four and how long the wait would be. To my pleasant surprise they weren’t fully booked and, on top of that, the wait was only twenty minutes. The only down side was that instead of seating us in a “car” they were going to have to put us in a round table with an umbrella. Though not ideal, I was glad just to be able to eat there, and, as luck would have it, our wait was closer to five minutes than twenty. Also, when we were seated, they brought us to a car! I guess a group had just left.

Sci-FiDineInTheaterThe view from our car; kinda reminds me of Jack Rabbit Slims.

This worked out about as good if not better than I expected. The restaurant, though indoor is themed to look like it’s out doors at a drive in movie theatre. Again, I don’t know what it is about these false realities, but something about them makes me happy every time. We enjoyed the shows and the meal, and when the check came, Kyra and I paid the bill. We felt it was the least we could do seeing that our parents had paid for basically everything else.

—Hotel

After eating we promptly left MGM and took our parents back to check out our hotel. We showed them our room and took them on a tour of the grounds before making our way over to Epcot.

—EPCOT

SpaceshipEarthSpaceship Earth aka the Epcot ball, nothing you haven’t seen before.

The first thing we tried to do at the park was to see the movie Captain EO starring Michael Jackson. It had ran for a few years in the late 80s and early 90’s but was replaced with Honey I Shrunk the Audience shortly after Honey I Shrunk the Kids came out. However, after MJ’s death, they brought Captain EO back and out of the four of us, I was the only one to have seen it. Unfortunately we got to the park at around 7pm and that night it was closing at 9. Because of this, by the time we got to EO it was closed for the night.

WorldOfTomorrowI found this image on one of the walls while making my way into the park. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before, though I’m sure it’s been there since the park’s inception. It looks to me, like concept art for this Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

Since there was nothing much else we could do, we did the go to attraction, Spaceship Earth. SE is the ride contained within Epcot’s iconic “golf ball” or geodesic sphere as it is technically called. Spaceship Earth, though not very thrilling, is a staple of any Disney trip, and, unlike most who can’t be bothered to learn a thing or two on their vacation, I actually enjoy the ride and learning about the evolution of communication. Because this was basically the only thing the four of us could do, and none of us were interested in seeing Illuminations, the fireworks show we’ve seen a million times, we left the park.

—Downtown Disney

The next stop on the list was Downtown Disney as Kyra and I wanted to show Mom and Dad the Marketplace Co-Op. However, after a quick tour, I only had one thing in mind, beer. Ever since my trip to Celebration V in 2010, my first time in the Orlando area when I was over 21, I wanted to go to the Raglan Road Pub. So, after getting the green light, I bolted to it.

KilkennyIrishAleLiquid diet.

Raglan Road is an Irish pub that has live entertainment, step dancing or music, every 10 to 15 minutes. I really was just looking for some time to myself with my thoughts and with a couple of Irish friends. The two in question were twins named Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. I enjoyed them and the entertainment a lot. Eventually, a duo went up and performed some songs.

I asked the bartender if they took requests and he said they did, handing me a turned over coaster and a pen. I wrote my request, Drunken Lullabies, on it and brought it up to the stage with a couple bucks. Unfortunately that song was not part of their repertoire. They instead played a different Flogging Molly song for me, but, being that I only know the one, this was of no use.

Hashtag#hashtag

After finishing my second beer and snagging the coaster I’d written on, that they would have probably thrown away anyway, I rejoined my family before we each went back to our respective hotels for the night.

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20th Anniversary Disney Trip – Day 1

You may have noticed that I have not posted anything in a while. That is in part because I haven’t had much interesting happen, and in part due to the fact that I knew I would have the following posts coming up. So, for those of you who don’t know, this past Saturday (August 9th) my family and I left for Disney World. This trip was special because it was the 20th anniversary of the first time we went to Disney World as a family back in 1994!

Now to be honest, I was not 100% excited to go on this trip. Though it is/was something 20 years in the making, I was still not thrilled to go. I’ve been to Disney several times since ’94 and to me, it’s gotten a bit stale. When I go on vacation, I like going somewhere new, and even though there were some new or updated attractions, overall, things don’t change.

Additionally, I have been jaded by age. Things I never gave a second thought to when I was younger, I now see as corney. I think and worry about how much power each ride uses and how much AC the park wastes by keeping doors open. I get bothered by all the stupid dorky people that go there and can’t help but roll my eyes at.

And lastly, I was afraid that I would be stuck with my family the entire time and not have enough time to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. However, in spite of all that, I couldn’t let literally years of thinking about and planning this trip ruin my vacation. So, here is how it went…

ArtOfAnimationSignThe sign guest’s first see upon arriving at the Art of Animation resort. The resort is split into four sections; Radiator Springs (Cars), The Little Mermaid (where Kyra and I stayed), Finding Nemo, and The Lion King.

We left Logan Airport at 6:05am. In the row behind us was a guy about my age I later found out was Johnny. While we were taxiing to the runway, he kept making stupid jokes to his sister. Stuff like, “I’m not gonna read 50 Shades of Gray, get it out of here.” They were stupid but funny and they kept the flight entertaining. Upon our arrival at MCO (at approximately 9:14am) I turned around and introduced myself and told him how much I appreciated his humor. It was a cool way to start the trip.

After taking the Magical Express bus to our respective hotels, Kyra and I stayed in The Art of Animation and our parents stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. After checking in, Kyra and I went to our room to find that there was only one bed. We called the front desk and in less than five minutes we were told a different room to go to; we didn’t even have to go back to the front desk. They sent the info to our “Magic Bands” (a bracelet with an RF-ID chip that serves as your room key and ticket to the parks) and by the time we got to our next room, our “keys” were programmed for that door. I was really impressed with how quickly and smoothly the issue was resolved. On top of that, our new room was on the other side of The Little Mermaid section, so now we had a view of the pool, rather than a view of the parking lot.

We finally got to our first park by 11:30-ish. Naturally, the first the first park we did was The Magic Kingdom. It is the quintessential symbol of Disney World and home to the new-ish Fantasyland expansion. Specifically, about a month or two ago the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train roller coaster finally opened, so it was not only new to us, but new to the park as well.

BalconyViewThe view from the balcony of our second room.

We tried to go right to the ride, but the attempt was futile. The 75-minute line overflowed out of the designated queue and back towards the carousel. Being that we were itching to get on a ride, we made our way over to Splash Mountian. This was going to be a big deal to ride because my Mom, who hates “thrill rides” was going to brave this one with us. The line was only 15 minutes shorter, but it was at least in the shade. Finally, after what seemed like endless bumps from the man behind us in line, we got on the ride. It was great as usual and really only gave my Mom a slight headache; could have been much worse. We (I) bought the on ride photo and we then made our way towards Liberty Square.

WheelWellHotelThis was at the back of the Radiator Spring/Cars section of the resort. I can only imagine they’re building Sally to put in place of where the box on the left is.

On the way, we ran into my Dad’s old friend Michael (which whom he had plans to golf later in the trip; additionally, we had plans to meet about him potentially hooking me up with a job, but more on that later) whom he used to work with at the Disney Store. Michael, who is now a big muck-a-muck at the parks, was there with his family (wife and two boys) as well and he and my Dad spoke for a while before they each went their respective way. The next thing we did was ride the classic attraction The Haunted Mansion. The wait was only 40 minutes and it went by pretty fast. However, when we got out, in typical Florida fashion, it was raining and lightinig. These cloud bursts never last too long, but they do make things uncomfortable. After dodging the worst of it in a nearby restaurant, we continued on to Tomorrowland.

FilmoreRadiator Springs is the section I would have preferred to stay in. Not only was it closer to the front of the resort, but the theming was way cooler.

There we configured our FastPass+ at the kiosk to include Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Space Mountain. We then slowly made our way over to Fantasyland because we had plenty of time to kill before our FastPass would be active. Eventually we got on the underwhelming ride and then made our way over to Gaston’s Tavern. There we got some snacks and drinks before going back to Tomorrowland. We were too early for our Buzz Lightyear FastPass, so we rode a family favorite, The People Mover. This was fun and relaxing as always and by the time it was done, we were able to get on Buzz Lightyear.

Sarge

I scored the highest with something like 400,000 points. The rest didn’t come close but regardless, it was a lot of fun. After that we were all pretty tired, as we’d been up since 2:30am, so we decided to leave the park. I made the mistake of saying we should try and find our brick (our family has one of the hexagonal bricks with our names on it on the path that leads to the entrance of the park) before leaving. We searched for a long time, but, not knowing the number on it, didn’t have a great idea as to where it was. After a few minutes, Kyra and I got bored and went back to out room.

LionKingSectionThe Lion King section of the resort.

After getting back, taking a dip in the pool (just me), grabbing some food, and walking around the hotel (just me), we made our way out to Downtown Disney. There we found the Marketplace Co-Op, a store I had heard about just before we left for the trip. The Marketplace is home to some exclusive merchandise that is potentially only there for a limited time. I had had in mind to buy three plates for Kyra’s apartment that I thought were really cool, so, upon finding them all almost right away, that’s what I did. I got the items shipped back to the hotel and then we moved on to the next store.

BeautyAndTheBeastPlatesThe three plates in question. Photos borrowed from the Marketplace Co-Op website.

Somehow somewhere along the lines we got into an inevitable fight about how we both envisioned the trip going; both visions drastically different from the other. This lead to tension, and after making a quick, angry jaunt through the Lego Store, I stormed off and got on a bus back to the hotel. Kyra and I reconvened over the phone, and, after getting a late dinner at the hotel, I went by myself back to the Magic Kingdom. Being that it was Saturday, they were having “Extra Magic Hours” meaning that for guests staying on Disney property, the park was open until 2am!

HipsterMickey“Hipster Mickey” art piece for sale at the Marketplace Co-Op.

Upon arriving at the park I bolted to the Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride. The wait was still 60 minutes, but, it was now dark and much cooler out. Before entering the ride, the Cast Member asked me what hotel I was staying at. This was to ensure I was staying on the property. I then began the wait. Eventually, at the main part of the queue, there were some mini-games. The first was a gem matching game that was much more fun than it should have been.

MineTrainTurnSeven Dwarves Mine Train roller coaster testing with no passengers.

All you had to do was fill a wooden crate with three empty slots with the matching gem color and shape with the gems floating by. It was a touch screen game and as the gems floated by, you dragged to appropriate one to it’s place. Once the crate was full, it lit up and made a noise. That was it, but it was a lot of fun for some reason. Plus it made you forget you were in line, so by the time you looked up, the line had moved substantially.

The next involved seven barrells filled with gems that were real, not touch screen. You had to spin the barrells and if you spun them fast enough, one of the seven dwarves images would be projeted on the ceiling. If you got them all spinning -a woman in line told me- an images of Snow White would appear dancing the center. Sure enough we got them all the spin and she appeared. The ride ended up being pretty short, but it was cute little coaster with a lot of fun theming.

WaterGoofeyWhile making my way out of the park, a Cast Member was using a brush and water to “paint” character faces on Main Street USA.

I finished with the ride at 12:43 so I decided to check out the line at Space Mountain. Upon my arrival it said 20 minutes, but surprisingly, the queue was out the building. It moved fast though, and I soon found out that the hold up was due to the Cast Members scanning room keys and “magic bands” to make sure you were in fact staying on the property.

Once this was done, the line moved pretty fast. This too was now equipped with mini-games. I got to play them a little and they were pretty fun too. But, the highlight of the night was finally getting on the ride. I always forget how much fun that coaster is. It’s not fast and it’s not long, but being in the dark with all the sharp twists, turns and drops, it still provides a thrill. It was a great way to cap off a long and sometimes frustrating day.

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When I grow up…

This is who I want to be when I grow up.

Not only is this dude super cool and stylish -without looking like he’s trying to look young and hip- he also is his own boss and does his own thing.

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British Beer Company

The British Beer Company or, as it’s known by its clever abbreviation, BBC, is a chain of British themed pubs that are located throughout New England. I first heard of the BBC while driving past its -at the time- soon to be location, at the beginning of the month. I knew instantly that I wanted to check it out, so periodically I checked their website to see when they were opening.

Finding no definite information, on June 14th, I finally decided to send them an email asking when their opening date was. The response told me Tuesday, June 17th. Unfortunately I had other things going on that day, but the next day, after a particularly frustrating day at work, I decided to go.

This video is not about the Danvers location, BUT, I wanted to give you an idea of what they’re like.

I invited my parents to join me, but only my Dad was interested in checking it out. So, after getting showered and changed, we made our way to Route 114 in Danvers. I had been wanting to take my Dad out for a beer for a while now and I wanted to check out this pub, so going out allowed me to kill to pints with one gulp (terribly reworked pun, I know).

Looking at the pub from the outside, it felt more like a theme park attraction than a restaurant. There were theming objects everywhere to really reinforce the idea that this was a BRITISH PUB. The inside was just as “bad,” with wooden booths and Union Jacks in every possible location. However, as much as it may sound like I’m complaining, none of these things really bother(ed) me. I just wanted to make clear that this will not provide an authentic British pub feel, if that is what you are looking for.

My Dad and I grabbed a seat at the bar and sat right in front of four Fuller’s (beer) tap handles. Fuller’s is a legit British beer, and, one I’ve never tried before. The one nearest to me was the London Porter, and since I’ve been going for darker beers lately, that is what I tried. From the first sip it was exactly what I was looking for; full bodied taste with rich creamy chocolatey/coffee notes. My Dad went for the lighter, more middle of the road, but still respectable London Pride. I had a taste and for a “regular” style beer, it too was very good.

Then, because I hadn’t gotten a lunch that day, I decided to get some food. I kept it simple and ordered a burger. I must admit that I was a little underwhelmed. Despite ordering it cooked “medium,” the outside of the burger was burnt. Regardless, I could have dealt with that, but it had very little taste, just meat, nothing special. I was sort of expecting more. That being said, I didn’t let it tarnish my good time. My Dad and I engaged in some good “bar-talk” with one another, as well as with these two guys that were sitting adjacent to us.

The guys were making it their goal to try every beer they have on tap; all 32 (a pretty respectable number). However, they weren’t ordering pints. Instead they were doing it the “smart” way. BBC allows you to order a wooden paddle or “flight” of any four beers in sample sized glass for a set price of $8. This inspired me because after finishing my porter, I was perplexed as to what to get next. I had several choices in mind and the paddle offered the solution.

The four I order were Hobgoblin, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Founder KBS, and Arrogant Bastard. The only one I really liked was the hefeweizen as my pallet like light and fruity belgian stuff or really dark and heavy stuff. I hated the KBS because it is aged in bourbon barrels and you can definitely tell. I am not a fan of hard alcohol so naturally this one was a miss. I had about two sips before giving up. Our waitress was cool though and offered me a substitution beer, but, by that point I was full and ready to leave. I picked up the check and then we were on our way.

It ended up being a very satisfying night. Between the food, the beer, and the conversation, I was very full. I would definitely recommend the British Beer Company to any family for pretty much any ocasion. As long as the somewhat tacky decor wouldn’t be off-putting, I’d say that overall, the atmosphere was fun. However, if you’re too snooty for this sort of thing, I recommend you stay away.

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My New Job

So after five years as a disgruntled cashier I’ve now decided to change paths and try my hand at being a bike messenger. I really don’t know if I’m crusty, scrappy, or assertive enough to do this job, but I’ll soon find out. My thought, on the “glamourous” side of things, is that my office is my bike and my office space is the city (of Boston). However, that may be a little misguided. From what I’ve heard, and according to the video below, things might not be as fun as I think they’ll be.

I really want a legit full time job (like with a desk and a work space) and have been searching for one ever since I graduated college. However, since none of those are biting and I don’t want to be a cashier anymore (but I still need some form of income), I figured I’d give this a try. Additionally, I don’t want to sit around all day, unemployed, waiting for the phone to ring. I know that the days are long, the work is hard, and the pay might not be great, but it’s a change of pace and I won’t know if I like it or not if I don’t at least try it out. This is the world I’ve gotten myself into, hope it doesn’t suck.

—Afterward

I wrote this post before ever having started working and was written based the ideas I had about what I thought it would be like. Now however, I have more insight. As to not sure if I’m “crusty, scrappy, or assertive enough” this is not an issue. I don’t feel I need to fit in to the “hipster” bike messenger scene because at the company I work for, I am probably the most hip person there. Everyone else is, for lack of a better word very different from me in both style and personality.

I don’t really fit in, but it doesn’t really matter because 80% of the job I am on my own. The work is actually super simple and it’s not hard to ride around the city and up and down elevators all day dropping off packages and collecting signatures. My phone makes finding my way from place to place super easy and my dispatcher is really chill. Plus, now that I’ve gotten some of the same buildings, I’ve begun to connect the best way to get from drop to drop and even associate the address with their location on my mental map of Boston.

Every building has its own quirks, but once you learn them, it makes it that much easier. The only real shitty day I had was Thursday and that was only bad because it rained… hard, all day. I was cold, wet, and very uncomfortable. I was miserable all day. However, if I can get some rainproof gear, then I will be all set for the next time it inevitable rains.

The only other negative is that, though it is technically “full time” in the sense that my hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday, I am still not fully satisfied because it is not a “career type job” and because I have yet to find my path. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than being a cashier (so far), I just wish I had quit Target sooner and had switch to this because there’s so much less bullshit to deal with.

Lastly, though I typically don’t give a shit about money, I will be interested to see how good or bad my paycheck is. Unfortunately the job is commission based and the pay per job is low and also varies from job to job. Not that I made bank at Target, but at least I knew how much I was making per hour there. Here’s it’s gonna be a different story. So, again, we’ll see.

—Unrelated (but somewhat related) side note

In other news, I promised you in an earlier post that I would have a picture of my Bike Polo mallet once it was complete. Well, without further a due, here it is…

PoloMalletStickered up and ready to go. All in this cost me ~$25 but, I have extra materials for a second mallet. Fixcraft charges $25 for a mallet head alone. So it’s worth it to DIY.

Thanks to Legit Bike Polo dot com for the tutorial, and to my Dad for helping me with final details. All I have to do now is play with it and see how it works.

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Separated GIF

So this all comes back to one time when I was watching Return of the Jedi with my family a couple years ago. We were at the scene right after the speederbike chase where Luke rejoins the group.

SeparatedAtBirth

Upon his return, Han asks him if he’s know’s where Leia is. To which Luke tells him that they “got separated.” However, my sister added a bit more subtext to the scene that I thought was hilarious and have thus finally gotten around to turning into a GIF.

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Dope, but…

Aight, so I feel like a bit of a rip-off because I got the idea for this post from another blog. However, it has to do with biking, and it’s cool, so I’m sharing it. Skylock is a bike lock for the technology era we live in. It uses the wi-fi in your smartphone to unlock itself and can even alert you if there is a threat of theft. There’s a few other cool features too (see vid).

However, there is one slight drawback, the price. The pre-order price for Skylock is set at $159* and the regular MSRP after that is set at $249! Plus, it doesn’t even ship until “…early 2015.” Kind of a long time to wait. Now there is something to be said about cutting edge technology and the fact that they are willing to give a break to early adopters, but still, 250-bucks for a bike lock seems fucking crazy.

*The one piece of silver lining in this ridiculous price tag is that, according to their FAQ page, for every referral you make, Skylock gives you $10. So you can, and I quote, “…potentially get yours for free!”

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More Bike Polo Stuff

1) This past Sunday I played my first Pick Up game of Bike Polo. As expected, I was terrible at it. I fell several times, crashed a few more, and got more in the way than actually contributing to the game. However, none of that would have been possible if it weren’t for the hospitable crew of gents  who helped me. Someone let me borrow their mallet. I had my own bike, but, like I said before, the brake is on the wrong side so I kept running into problems. When they saw I was struggling, someone else let me borrow their bike which had the brake on the proper side.

Though this was better to stop with, it was hard for me to use because I was having trouble reaching the pedals. When they saw that the seat was too high, they called me over mid game to adjust it for me. Everyone was very accommodating and I met a bunch of new guys who were all really cool and easy to get along with. After the game was over, someone else lent me a tool so I could switch my brake over to the proper side for the next game. Unfortunately for me, there was no next game.

Towards the end of the day there were seven of us and when it came time to toss in a mallet to join, I had no mallet to toss in (order to show my interest in playing). I stuck around to watch for a bit and was going to see if there would be one more game, or if everyone was gonna head out to a bar or something, but by that time the mosquitos were out in full force, so I just bounced.

2-a) That however leads me to my second point; getting/making a mallet. One of the first things I did upon arriving was to ask where to procure a mallet. This led to two answers, make one or buy one, the latter of which will be covered in point #3. (I also asked where I could buy a Boston Bike Polo t-shirt but got less of a solid answer).

When I was told how simple it was to make them, I thought [once home] to do something I should have thought of from the start; Google “how to make a bike polo mallet.” The search lead me to this “how to” video from Legit Bike Polo.

2-b) This “Quick n’ Dirty” guide was exactly what I was looking for and so the next day, I began my search. All I needed were some used ski poles, a few nuts and bolts, hockey tape, and ABS pipe. Simple enough, right? This has actually proved to be more difficult than I imagined.

On Monday I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to see if they had any BP equipment. The woman I spoke to had no idea what I was talking about, but the trip wasn’t a complete loss, I ended up buying some street hockey balls to practice with and some hockey tape (for the mallet grip). I then went to REI which was [also] useless. Lastly, I went to Play It Again Sports but they were closed for the holiday.

So today, I went to Play It Again first thing and was able to grab a pair of used ski poles for $9. I then went to Lowes, two Home Depots, and a local hardware store in search of ABS pipe, only to come back empty handed. Well, that’s not true. I did buy the nuts, bolts and washers I needed, but the key ingredient, the piping needed for the mallet head was/is missing. So, I ended up just ordering some pipe on Amazon.

I worked on as much as I could, hacking the ends off the poles, taping up the grips, and sticker-ing & spray painting them respectively. For now it’s a work in progress until the ABS arrives. I’ll update you when the mallets are finished. I realize I only need one mallet, but a) the poles came in a pair, b) I’m going to have left over pipe anyway, and c) I can either have the second one as a spare, have it to let others borrow, or I can sell it.

3) Lastly, the aforementioned BP retailer, Fix Craft. Fix Craft is a great site that was recommended to me by Nick and has all things Bike Polo. I could have bought a mallet head and shaft (very phallic sounding) from them and put it together on my own. The reason I didn’t is because a) it is more expensive and b) I think it’s more badass to make your own. Plus, since I still don’t know how committed I am, I don’t want to drop a bunch of cash on something that I might be bored with in a week or two, you know?

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Drift Spot 3

The following is a video that was shot back in April. I randomly stumbled upon it and thought it was cool. This is from Drift Spot which takes place that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway or NHMS. I was gonna go to this event but was working all day that day.

I have posted a couple (or at least one) Drift Spot video(s) before which were shot by Pete and edited by me. However, this one was both shot and edited by Pete.

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