Short North Adventure

As is typical any time that I go out and do something fun, the first half of the day was spent dreading the idea… the waiting, the getting ready… but once it was in progress it was exactly the distraction that I needed for the evening. This “hang out” was even a little more significant than usual, since not only was it me, Jim, and Adam… but Brad came along this time, and so did Rick. I’ve been the missing component, but it’s been a long time since all four of us hung out together. It’s nice still having friendships today (even if the communications are a bit less) that were formed decades ago.

Brad’s currently living in a group home near Bremen, so I went and got him before I headed up to Columbus. Jim already has a long way to drive just to get to Columbus, and there was no sense in him going all that rest of the way to get his brother. He seems to be doing really good there, and that makes me so happy to see. Brad’s been through some shit, most of which is his business alone… but it was good to see him doing well, and the drive to and from was actually nice thanks to the conversation.

The main “spot” for the evening was a store called Big Fun in Columbus’ Short North. Adam had been there a time or two before, and he wanted us to see it – so that was where we met up. Man what a store. I don’t think there was a horizontal or vertical surface in that store that didn’t have some sort of kewl vintage toy, doll, or game on it – and that’s not even counting all of the different retro spaceships hanging from the ceiling. You could spend an entire day in that store, looking through the glass cases, digging through the tubs and drawers of vintage toys and goodies – and you’d still probably not have seen everything.

Transformers, GoBots, HeMan, SheRa, Thundercats, Voltron, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, My Little Pony, Smurfs, MUSCLE, Care Bears, GI Joe, Batman, Superman, etc. Loose things, boxed things, NIB things, pieces for things, things with all their pieces… there’s just no way a few paragraphs or a few dozen pictures can even start to do that place justice. So yeah, Adam was definitely right… that place is truly amazing. (I’m even considering offloading a bunch of my own shit to that place, should they make the right offer. Better than eBay’ing one piece at a time…)

After that we walked up to the Short North Food Hall. What a bizarre place that ended up being. 😳 We knew it was a restaurant. Actually, it was several restaurants, all cooking out of the same kitchen… multiple burgers, dogs, philly steaks, fries, tots, pizza, nachos, subs, varieties of tacos. But when we walked in there was club music playing, and we could see that a huge bar occupied the center of the interior. Okay, great. But then in the seating areas all around the bar… children. And lots of ’em. Parents, drinking at the bar, while their children wandered around inside. 😧 Granted, most of the kids were with family that were just eating… but what the actual eff? Ohio law allows a big-ass bar to have probably two dozen children just hanging out, eating, wandering around, sometimes looking lost? πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

We all ordered different stuff. My tacos arrived in about 10 minutes. Adam’s burger and mac and cheese took 30 minutes. Jim’s burger and tacos… well, at least his burger… 45 minutes. And Rick and Brad’s food took nearly an hour. 😠 It was completely inexcusable. Oh, and they forgot Jim’s tacos, so he had to wait even longer for those. Adam finally gave the manager a piece of his mind, and she just replied about how many people were there, and how most people come here and chill before they plan to eat.” 😐 So, see, we were doing it wrong. πŸ™„ Thinking we could order food and receive it in a timely manner – or at least at similar times for our party of five. Heh… Adam was livid, and plans to contact a higher up tomorrow… I think he felt sort of bad, since that’s the joint he originally chose.

But it was all fine… “adventure” as I said, a couple times on our way back to our cars. The toy store was amazing, walking around the Short North or campus is always interesting, and despite the clusterfuck with the food – it was all really good. We had to hustle back to Adam’s car, since his meter had run out a half hour before we even got out of the “food hall” but luckily no ticket. So we parted ways, I got Brad back home, and got my happy ass back home as quickly as possible. The whole evening probably passed my brain’s tolerance point by about an hour, so I was ready to be home when we had only just gotten to my car to leave. 😬 But I’m home… home is good… mmm… home.

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Amish Country

So, the very next day after all of that dumb shit happened around my doctor appointment, that was the day that we had already set aside for going up to the “Amish Country” up in NE Ohio. 😐 The entire evening before, I was still livid – so I already knew what my plan was… stay up all damn light, do as much research and “planning” regarding my WC stuff as possible, and then as soon as the sun came up (as long as Genesee woke up early)Β we could be on our way. πŸ™‚ And that’s actually pretty much how it went, thankfully.

I’m not sure how I did it… all of it… but the trip was a success, we had a good time, I kept my mind fairly free of the previous day’s drama, and I also didn’t feel myself falling asleep until we were about a half-hour from home. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Despite it being off-season, and rather gray and plain up there, we still made it a “full sized” trip – leaving home around 8a and getting back somewhere around 7p. 😧 And I even made myself to stay awake for several more hours, which allowed me to force my sleep schedule back on a “normal” track. Honestly though, I give all of the credit for anything “good” like that from the day to Genesee. (Actually, she gets the credit for that for the entire duration of her trip here. 😏)

I drove, so we did the official Batina path and itinerary – as if we were traveling with Aunt Carol. πŸ™‚ I’m not gonna spell check any of this… but we started by going up through Charm, then to the Guggisberg Cheese place – where I got some gummy bears and meat sticks, over to Miller’s Bakery – where we stocked up on cheese crowns, followed by a short drive to Hershberger’s farm store – where there were unfortunately no flowers or critters, but I did get some Amish sweet pickles, and then it was off to Berlin for a stop at an antique/craft mall and thrift store, along with the mandatory stop at Heini’s Cheese – where we taste tested all sorts of weird cheese and fudge, and I left with some co-jack and green onion varieties… 😳 and then the last stop was at Wendell August… the place where they create every type of carved and stamped metal “thing” that you could imagine. 😊

Dinner was also at the traditional Aunt Carol place… a huge pretty-much-Amish-style restaurant / buffet – where we both poofed ourselves on potatoes, noodles, stuffing, shredded chicken, rolls, misc salad goodness, etc. 😁 It was too cold to sit out on their long wrap-around porch to un-poof a bit before hitting the road again, and we were starting to lose the light anyway – so we decided to just keep moving. (We took 77 south to 70, and even stopped off at Gabriel’s in Zanesville… and I’ve got no idea how I summoned the energy for that.) Then we took 22 to Lancaster from Zanesville, basically cutting a south-western path that saved us quite a few miles compared to taking the freeway over to Millersport and down. πŸ€”

It wasn’t an ideal trip on paper… off season, cold, no sleep, having already been busy all week… but it ended up being perfect. ☺ Got all the goodies that we wanted, kept myself distracted from anything that might have made me angry, had quite a few flashback memories from different trips with Aunt Carol and my grandparents, and the “goody” from the trip lasted through the evening, even after I was home and Gen was off to her next stop. πŸ™‚

Phil Collins: Not Dead Yet

Last night was concert night in Columbus, seeing Phil Collins with my friends Jim and Adam at Nationwide Arena. 😊 I was already nervous the day before, thinking of the handful of things that could make my day difficult, and despite doing my best to screw it up from the start – waking up at 4am and not being able to fall back to sleep – everything ended up alright and the show was great.

For anyone that’s a fan, it’s common knowledge that Phil is pretty gimped up from a failed back surgery and a “fucked foot” as he put it, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. 😳 But despite remaining seated for almost all of the performance, he seemed to get along reasonably well with a cane, so it didn’t feel as… um… I guess I was just worried that it would feel a little “Wheel the old man out and make him sing.” but that wasn’t the case at all.Β πŸŽ€πŸ‘΄Β It was a relatively long show too, playing his stuff and some Genesis songs, and he seemed to be enjoying it all. (And another “bucket list” concert checked off for me.)

Since he’s unable to play the drums, his son Nic filled in for him.Β πŸ₯πŸ˜Ž The kid is pretty amazing… he’s 17 now, he was 16 when the tour started in the UK, which means he was probably learning and perfecting all of his dad’s songs by the time he was 14 years old… knowing that he’d eventually be going on a huge tour like this. 😯 (Oh, and he plays piano too πŸ™„) It was all the way back in May of 1992 that I saw GenesisΒ in The Shoe at OSUΒ (26 years ago… holy shitballs)Β but I never thought that I’d get to see him perform his own songs solo, since he swore quite a while ago that he’d never tour again.

Jim’s an awesome friend, surprising me and Adam both by getting us all tickets.Β πŸ˜ƒΒ (Five years ago this month we were in Kansas thanks to him as well) And like I told him, I have enough “concerns” about myself that I wouldn’t have even thought about buying a ticket for myself if he hadn’t. The neck and shoulder pain, the thyroid stuff, the random back stuff, the anxiety that comes in times and ways of its own choosing… I don’t think I would have trusted myself to be able to go – but when a friend makes not going not an option, you just put your head down and keep moving forward.

Oh, there were moments that I still wasn’t sure… even up until the point that I was standing in line, waiting to get in…Β πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘«πŸ‘«πŸ‘¬πŸ‘«πŸ‘­Β … but I’m absolutely glad that I went.

I’ve been a mess since getting home last night around midnight though.Β πŸ˜• The “post-concert buzz” ended up keeping me awake until about 5am, and man did I hurt. 😣😒 It’s mostly better now, but between the cold, the sitting, the standing, the singing, the recording of video, the crowds, the traffic… as usual, my body and brain eventually weren’t having any of that nonsense, and they let me know as soon as the show ended. 😟 I think Jim and Adam could see it in me once the lights came up, so we all sat for a bit and let the crowd clear. After we left the arena they walked along at my pace until we parted ways at the parking garage. Luckily Jim gets me though, so he knows that all of that “beat-up old man” stuff doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do it all over again.Β πŸ™‚

Turning The Corner

Well, the last day of the three-day weekend went by a little too quickly. πŸ˜• Got some stuff done around the house, but just as importantly, got the number of a repair guy to come look at the AC unit outside. Rick and Amy used them when they had central air installed in their house, and they’re based on Bauman Hill – not too far from where we lived when I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s still been near or in the 80s during the first week of October. πŸ˜“ Thought for sure that I’d be fine waiting…

So tomorrow morning I get to call the AC guy, the pharmacy (of course), the endocrinologist’s office, and Ricart. I have three recalls on my car, including the one that says my steering wheel could fall off, so it’s about time to get all of that looked at. 😧 I might also see about having them repair the cracked plastic around the mirror housing on the driver’s side. But yeah, lots of calls.Β Yay. πŸ™ Oh, and I almost forgot the billing office for my WC doctor, since they accidentally billed me for my last appointment. (As if I haven’t been going there on WC’s dime for over a decade… heh… wth)

Talking with Bri yesterday, she asked if I was going to be going to the fair at all this week. Jim G is already coming down on Friday, so I was planning on at least making an appearance there with him… but now it looks like I might be making a sooner-than-expected trip to the fair tomorrow with her. It’s not a done deal, but if she’s not doing anything else I know she wants to go. And between my stuff, her stuff, her mom’s stuff… we’ve got plenty to catch up on. I just hope I’m up for all the walking.

If I do end up going, I’ll probably take the new camera with me. We were talking about just looking at critters and eating shitty food, but I’m sure I can find something worth covertly recording. 😎 A viewer request has asked for a comparison between “as shot / true 360”, “standard HD with focus points / target tracking”, and “little planet” modes. One of these days I’ll even do the “bullet time” mode, even though I think I’m gonna look goofy. I guess there’s also a hyperlapse mode somewhere in there as well… this camera really is amazing compared to my first 360 camera. πŸ˜ƒ

I dunno… just trying to get back to feeling “normal” and not dwelling on medical stuff each day. 😐 I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten the house straightened up some and got the bills all done up, so now I’ve just gotta keep doing the normal adulting that’s required and just hang out until I know what the next step’s gonna be. πŸ˜” And whatever “big” stuff that I’ve got to do… I’d rather just get to it. πŸ™„ This waiting isn’t doing my brain any favors.

Trip Report: Extended Edition

This trip to ‘da boat was one of the better ones that I’ve had in recent memory, at least since the times when me, Mom, and Dad all used to go together. πŸ™‚ Great weather on the way down and back (which is more important than you’d think), awesome lightning over the Ohio River during the couple of evening thunderstorms while we were there, and Cassi and I were able to play and play and play – and I still came home with the same amount that I took to spend, andΒ she was able to go home over $200 ahead and with some comp’d jewelry and goodies from the gift shop. πŸ˜ƒ

Oh, and of course we poofed ourselves on the awesome brunch buffet. Mmm… 🀀 not just theΒ regular buffet food, but also all of the important breakfast stuff at the same time. 😁 They must be doing alright, because the entire place is in the middle of renovations. From the giant entry way, to the lobby, to the hallways, to the rooms… everything is getting cosmetic updates. 😯 They’re still in the middle of ripping up all of the faux “stone” flooring in the giant common area and laying down “wood” strips… and for the rest of the hotel, the entire color scheme has changed. The only inconvenience in all of that was that the updated WiFi wasn’t working yet. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Our time on the actual boat was limited the first day, because the machines kicked our asses. πŸ™„πŸŽ° That was okay though, because the trip was as much about “just getting away” as it was for gambling. We got one of the nicer rooms with probably the best view of all of them, looking right out onto the boat, the river, and the outdoor patio area for the indoor pool. 😎🚒 And, as it often goes, we took our swimsuits but couldn’t muster the “oomph” required to go down and actually swim with the larger-than-normal amount of assholes already in the pool. 😏 (For some of them, I think it doubled for their weekly bath.)

Day two on the actual boat was much better. πŸ˜€ I hit a big enough bonus that I was able to set back (to take home) the amount that I took with me to lose, and still have enough to keep playing and to share with Cassi so she could do the same. πŸ€‘ And it wasn’t just that one win. (I missed catching all the winning “sevens” in that video… meh) But both of us kept hitting nice “little-big” amounts that kept us going for the better part of the day. It felt like a totally different experience than the day before. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŽ‰πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸŽˆ

It sucked to wake up after that second night, knowing that we had to head back home, but the winning came at a time and in a way that it let us both come home with a decent amount money, so we sure couldn’t complain. Besides, we were both anxious to get home to our kitties… especially me, since I knew that Maven was all by herself and probably wondering if I had permanently disappeared. 😿 She was happy to see me when I got home of course, but she didn’t even act grumpy… so perhaps I wasn’t as missed as I had presumed. πŸ˜„Β We absolutely had a good time on this trip… the last one we might be able to take for a while… but it was sure nice to be home again too.

Pre-Post Post

Got back from a little trip yesterday afternoon/evening, and surprisingly got a decent amount of sleep last night, so today’s all about readjusting to being back home and getting back into the groove with some things that I want to accomplish today. 🀨 I guess I wanna prove to myself that I don’t always have to be completely worthless the day after getting back home from doing something fun.

My shoulder is killing me, but that’s to be expected… you know how it is when you go on vacation and put the negative things to the back of your mind. In my case, that meant somewhat forgetting to take it easy and probably talking with my hands way too much. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Oh, and this time-lapse video… it was with the digital camcorder, so there were no bells or whistles applied – just a shot every 10 seconds with no extra processing or filters or anything. A “meh, why not” project for while we were there.

(I was going to make a super high resolution image of the boat by using the digital camcorder at high zoom and panning back and forth over it until I had the entire area covered with video – and I was going to use Microsoft ICE to process that video into a panorama… but it just wasn’t quite working so I ended up shelving the idea.)

But yeah, I just wanted to make a little pre-post post, so I’m gonna throw this up to the blog and then start figuring out what I’m gonna do with the day… and I already know that’ll include being on the laptop to do bills (since the WiFi wasn’t working at the hotel), to check and reply to emails, and to do a real trip report here in a bit. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ–πŸ»