Christmas Stories: Aftermath

I hope everyone had a good Christmas Eve and Christmas. I didn’t have the foresight or the energy to schedule a post for Christmas day and hope everyone had better things to do than check out my blog (though now there’s no excuse). I wanted to share some pictures of our trip into NYC for Christmas Eve with you guys. We–that would be the missus, her parents, my parents and myself–got up bright and early and headed down on the Connecticut/New York train into Grand Central. After a much-needed bathroom break we headed over to 30 Rock and went ice skating, which is something my mom wanted to do last year, but the line was way too long. We actually only waited in line about 20 minutes after the rink actually opened. The room where you rent the skates is way WAY too small and should probably have two doors for in and out, but the skating itself was a lot of fun. It’s been a while since I’ve been skating, but I felt pretty sure on my feet, even though they hurt like crazy thanks to the weird skates. Anyway, here’s some pictures of that big statue and the big tree from the ice I took with my phone.

From there we headed over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Saks and then got some lunch at a place called La Bonne Soupe. I took another pic of St. Patrick because it’s just an impressive-looking place. Lunch was pretty great, La Bonne Soupe is, as I’m sure you’ve deduced, is a French place. I had a mushroom and barley soup that was fantastic. The meals also came with soup, bread and I got a Spaten, so I was happy all around. After lunch we swung by a friend’s workplace and got a nice little tour. Thanks again for that! From there we walked straight down Broadway about 20 blocks south. We passed through Times Square and even the Charmin Bathroom, though we didn’t stop in cause we didn’t need to use it, though the line didn’t look too long from outside. We then made our way down to Madison Square Garden where we saw the Cirque du Soleil show Wintuk, which was pretty weird (more on that in an upcoming post).

After the show, I walked them to Grand Central the way I used to walk to work when I was working in the city. I can’t walk down 6th without the lyrics to “This Used To Be Our Playground” on a loop in my head, but it was nice. Then we walked by Bryant Park and I was shocked to see all kinds of temporary shops, an ice skating rink where I used to eat and a bar and restaurant. It was nuts. Then we came home and that was that.I don’t know if you can see it in this picture, but one of the temporary shops had these sculptures made out of metal parts. They had a c-3PO, R2-D2 and Yoda that looked awesome. Maybe I’ll get those for Christmas next year.

Christmas itself was great and much more relaxing. The presents flowed like wine and everyone got some pretty great stuff. I scored a bunch of geeky stuff I’m sure I’ll be posting about more specifically and also a mandolin, trumpet and drum machine. I don’t know how to play any of those things, but expect some rad music to be posted at some point. Breakfast and dinner were fantastic and then we played a few rounds of Apples To Apples which was a lot of fun. So, I was pretty exhausted after the last two days, but I think a good time was had by all. Hopefully it was the same for you!

Weekend Warrior

As loyal UnitedMonkee readers will have noticed, there wasn’t much (or anything really) in the way of posting this weekend. Well, that was because, I actually did stuff this weekend instead of sitting around the house watching movies (mostly because my lovely wife Em made plans, also it was really nice out this weekend, so nice I got an awkward sunburn, but more on that later).

Friday night we kept it a bit low key with dinner at Woody’s, the best all natural burger place I’ve ever been to (also the only, but it’s still really good). If you’re ever in Cornwall, NY stop by and have a Portabella sandwich, burger or Falafel, you won’t be disappointed. After that we went to my favorite movie theater The Destinta to catch I Love You, Man which I loved. I’m sure I’ll post something on it shortly, I can tell you’re just dying to read what I have to say about it. We finished the evening off by watching more of the last season of Avatar before falling asleep. Hey, it’s not lame, we had a big day planned on Saturday.

And by big day, I mean heading down to NYC to visit with some friends from college Adrienne and Katie (you can check out Katie’s rad NYC food blog here). Before meeting up with Katie I showed Em and Adrienne the Wizard New York City office that I will be relocating to at some point in the future and they freaked out. Apparently it’s in a building called The Atlas Building which is where something having to do with Project Runway happens, which makes sense because it’s in the middle of the fashion district. That’s right folks, keep an eye on the background of future episodes of Project Runway for me looking lost and confused wearing a Batman T-shirt and boat shoes.

After meeting up with Katie at those red bleachers above the TKTS booth, we went to a magical place I’d never been before called the East Village. Heck, I even recognized the name of the area: St. Mark’s. How did I know that’s where we were? We passed a place called St. Mark’s Comics that I wanted to go to along with some record stores, but kept my mouth shut because I was hungry and didn’t want to look like a bigger nerd than I am.

Katie guided us to a place called Yaffa Cafe where we had lunch and I had a couple beers. After having an awesome lunch Katie suggested that we spend the rest of the day drinking, so we went to a couple of different bars (the first had $3 Blue Moon’s but didn’t have orange slices, so Em wasn’t impressed, but they also had a picture of Duke from G.I. Joe in front of an American flag that was clearly printed off of someone’s computer in a frame) and then a place with $5 flavored mojitos and Bloody Maries. I wish I could remember the names of either of these places, especially the second because they had these awesome apple mojitos that tasted like candy. I wish I was drinking one right now. All I know is that they were both on Avenue C and were east-ish. I tried finding them using Google’s street view with no luck (probably because I was on the back patio and not staring at the front of the building).

I gotta say, I felt very cool eating and drinking on these various patios. As Em pointed out, there’s really nothing better to do in NYC than sit around drinking all day because you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere. Just hop on your train, bus or subway and you’ll be home. Even we sobered up by the time we got home (an hour and a half train ride will do that to you). Much fun was had by all. Even though I was tired, I tried watching Girls School Screamers on Netflix when I got home only to fall asleep about 20 minutes in. More on that later too.

Sunday was a lot more mellow as we went to Emily’s friend from work Constantina’s house for Greek Easter (it’s a week after “regular” Easter for some reason). There was SO much food, it was awesome. We basically sat around and ate for five hours in the mountains somewhere kind of close to our house (about 40 minutes or so away). Everyone was super nice and the food was amazing, they even had a lamb on a spit cooking all day, but by the time it was done, most of us were so full we could only eat a little. It was awesome though.

All of which brings me back to my weird sunburn. We were sitting outside under an awning or tent or something all day and the weather was really nice, so I enjoyed being in the sun. I even wore shorts because it was so nice out (and it didn’t even snow or anything). Well, later that night when we got home, I was reading and then playing video games and realized that the tops of my legs right above my knees were irritated on both sides. It wasn’t until I scratched at itch and felt that all-too-familiar burning feeling that I realized that my legs were sunburned. But it was only from the point where my shorts stopped to my knees, so a splotch of about 4-5 inches. Awesome.

We also finished Avatar, I finally beat Portal and I finished Girls School Screams, but expect posts on those separately.