Sunday, July 22, 2007

And We Now Return You To Our Regularly Broadcast Blog

I got in from New England last night around 9. No major traveling problems either way this time. I ran into a little traffic going into New York on Monday, but nothing that caused any major delay; I also got lost in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (Really, whoever designed that nightmare maze ought to be smacked with a fish. A lot.) The bus coming to Pittsfield going home was late; I barely made the New York bus.

I had a fun time with Lauren in North Adams, Massachusetts. It poured during the middle of the week, which did cancel out some of our plans. We spent a lot of time wandering around in malls. We did get to do the two major things we'd planned, though - we visited Six Flags Great Escape in upstate New York on Tuesday, and headed down to Wolf Road in Albany, a mecca of malls and huge shops, on Friday.

FYE was having a buy three used DVDs get one free sale; I picked up Galaxy Quest, Grand Hotel, Superman: The Movie (the original cut on DVD), and Superman Returns, the last of which I've been dying to see. The massive FYE in Albany yielded a huge room filled with nothing but heavily discounted jazz, country, oldies, and import CDs and random weird videos. I picked up CDs for Mandy Patikin, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy (who are impossible to find on CD), and two British imports featuring Broadway music and performers. Lauren picked up seven CDs (though two country discs were for her father).

Great Escape was probably the most fun of our excursions. Between my bad knee and Lauren's motion sickness we were only able to go on a few rides, but we enjoyed what we did. The Grand Prix Raceway-with-50s-cars Thunder Alley and the Raging Rapids water rapids rides were the biggest hits. Lauren loves Raging Rapids so much, we rode it four times, three in a row. (We also rode the carousel, snapped a few pictures of the gorgeous view from the Ferris Wheel, and saw a very good Elvis impersonator and a cute Loony Tunes stage show parodying American Idol.)

The Arcade proved to be a disappointment. Last year, it had many Skee-Ball machines and other games of chance that could allow you to earn tickets you could turn in for points. Sadly, the skee-ball machines were moved to another building (and were all broken), and the other games were gone, replaced by basic video game machines. We did win some stuffed animals on boardwalk-style games, though. (I got a white lamb. She's adorable. :) )

Making up for this somewhat was, probably thanks to gorgeous, 70-degree weather, the characters were out in full force. I think I got a shot of every Loony Tune in Warner's roster at one time or another, two or three of Daffy, my favorite. (It was so hot when we went last year, we only saw two characters, and that as we were leaving.)

We spent a lot of a rained-out Wednesday and Thursday playing Lauren's new Nintendo Wii. Once you get the hang of it, that thing rocks. We played just about every two-player game we could open in Mario Party 8, and Lauren showed me Big Brain Academy and Super Paper Mario and even made a Mii of me! (She's slightly plump, wears red, and has wavy-ish hair and a round face and glasses.)

The other big highlight was seeing the new version of Hairspray in a brand-new theater five minutes from Lauren's house. I had to talk Lauren into it, but I'm glad I did, because we had a blast. That movie so sooo fun. As awesome as Michelle Pfiffer, Queen Latifa, James Marsden, and the kids were, John Travolta and Christopher Walken stole the show as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad, the supportive parents of vivacious Tracy, a big girl with an even bigger heart and an amazing talent for picking up hot dances. Their "You're Timeless To Me" duet had the theater in stitches and was probably the film's best number. Travolta was so good, there were times you'd forget he was a man in a fat suit and really see a timid, large-waisted housewife coming out of her shell.

We ate out every day. In addition to small food court booths, we took in Uno Bar and Grill (coming back from Great Escape), Olive Garden (in Albany - the Venetian Apricot Chicken was divine), and two local restaurants that are favorites of Lauren's, Boston Seafood in North Adams and The Highland in Pittsfield. (The latter has great spaghetti at terrific prices.)

I'm not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I hate work so much, and this week off just emphasized it. It was so nice to spend a week with someone I felt comfortable with, who accepted me for what I am. I'm gonna miss Lauren this week. She went on her second week of vacation with her folks, taking a bus tour to Cleveland to see a Red Sox-Indians game.

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