Thursday, September 26, 2013

News & updates

I just looked up and lo, a month has flown by! I didn't intend to take such a long break from blogging, but as I always say to my online friends, life gets in the way sometimes. It’s been a very busy time, as I alluded to in my last post, full of good things and a lot of job work. Let’s start with the biggest news and work our way down.

I guess the biggest news is that Kacey and Becker, who are getting married on Jan. 19, are talking with me about the possibility of becoming roommates next year. The plan is that by combining what we all pay in rent, we could get a place that’s big enough to host larger events and movie nights. It’s exciting but also a little scary. I haven’t had a roommate since college, and I’m guessing neither has Becker.

I certainly don’t need to live with anybody for economic reasons, but I see this as a rare opportunity to make a change that makes sense to me if I don’t want to live alone the rest of my life. And if things don’t work out, I can always go back to living solo. But I would have given up my cozy place that I will never get again, because as soon as I move out, they will remodel my apartment and rent it for 30% more, putting it out of my comfortable price range. But there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome yet, so stay tuned.

The weekend before last I had two concerts in 72 hours – Anathema on Saturday night and Pet Shop Boys on Monday night. Anathema was at the Gramercy Theater, similar to Best Buy Theater where I saw Steven Wilson earlier this year. I got there early and staked out a good position near the stage, but after the first two acts, I was pretty exhausted from standing so I gave up my spot to get a t-shirt and DVD and sit down in the lounge for a while. When Anathema came on, it was about 10:30 pm and I had plans to meet Liz and Josh at the nearby People’s Improv Theater (PIT) for Josh’s “Johnny Kink” show. So I watched about three or four songs from the rear of the theater before heading out.

After Josh’s show, we went to a nearby bar for a surprise birthday party for Josh, who just turned 30. We all wore mustaches in his honor, which made for some fun photos (one of me and Liz is on my phone wallpaper now). It’s interesting how I've gone from spending most of my time with one other person to spending time with couples. Josh and I also spend one-on-one time together sometimes. We've been to the movies a couple of times and last Saturday I took him out to dinner after we failed to win the Book of Mormon lottery.

The Pet Shop Boys concert was way awesome, especially since I got upgraded at the door to seventh row center orchestra at the Beacon Theater. My original seats were center mezzanine, so they were going to be great, but sitting at the front of the house was incredible! I got showered with confetti at the end of the set. Unlike the last concert, we all had seats to take a break from standing and people couldn't press around you from all sides. So it was comfortable and the band played all my favorites, with a laser light show that rivaled Muse’s earlier this year.

Over Labor Day weekend, I did a couple of significant things. I climbed Mount Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap, something I've wanted to do for years, so that was a big accomplishment for me. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. The next day I took my defective turntable to SoundStageDirect in Doylestown, Pa., a quaint little town with an amazing record store, Siren Records. I hung out at SSD while they tested the turntable and browsed their shelves of LPs. It was the first time I’d ever visited the headquarters of an Internet store, and it was interesting how “real” the people are behind the storefront. They bring their kids to work, they all pack records in a room together, and they have the same kind of camaraderie as I do at work sitting with my colleagues. In the end, they couldn't fix the turntable that I’d bought on eBay, so they swapped it out for a new one from their inventory. So after a lot of hassle, I ended up with a brand new turntable and I've been enjoying it ever since.

I've rediscovered the Princeton Record Exchange near my office and I've bought about a dozen records there so far. I visited it once with Tara and once with Morgan, but now I go almost weekly during breaks at work. Last night I took one of my out-of-town colleagues there and we had a great time talking about and looking for music. I left with two early Bowie records, the 10th anniversary version of Postal Service's Give Up, Def Leppard’s Pyromania, and Synchronicity by The Police – all for about $50. Soon I’m gonna need a bigger shelf to hold my records, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

Kacey came over last night after an event, and we spent our time listening to music. I introduced her to Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Roxy Music and the Pet Shop Boys, which I can't believe she hasn't heard before. I think she liked them all. Next time I'll show her the Smiths, Jeff Buckley and maybe Cara Dillon.

Back to Labor Day – Puck, Natalie and I met Morgan and Bruce at the New York Renaissance Faire. It was a humid, overcast day, which was only a small blessing that it wasn't sunny. It was our first time meeting Bruce, and he seems very cool and laid-back. I'm glad to see Morgan happy with him and I get the sense they are very right for each other. I didn't have any luck finding a new pendant, but I still have a month to look – best get on that.

Way down on the importance scale, my legal birthday just passed without comment. Another biological year older.

And finally, I've added a couple new items to my collection of fine spirits - my first bottle of sake and Kentucky bourbon. The sake was described thusly in a trade magazine - I wonder if I'll be able to taste all these flavors:

Hiro Junmai Gingo Blue Label Sake Japan "Clear with a platinum blue cast. Delicate vanilla maple nut fudge and spicy pear custard aromas; fruity and fresh, with banana undertones. Palate is crisp and smooth, with hints of fruits and vanilla, and a savory sweet potato bread, white mushroom, tart cherry and jicama subtle nuances. Smooth, medium body-to-full body for a very well balanced finish." -Winery Notes

The bourbon I found as a "Best Value" in Whiskey Advocate Magazine - here's a review on a whiskey blog. I had quite an adventure when I broke the cork opening it, which I posted about on Facebook. But it's very tasty with Diet Coke, I have to say.

That's all for now - I'll try to be a little better about updating.