the longest vacation, part four

This was supposed to be our last full day. Instead, I extended our stay until Friday. I regret nothing.

I’m not ashamed of how much I’ve played this song.

Aug. 28

Oops. I do regret something. On Aug. 28, 2019, I had the worst steak I’ve ever had in my entire life. It wasn’t rancid or anything. It was just cooked in a impressively bad fashion. I nearly spit it out. I ever send food back, but I nearly sent back that garbage. It was not medium rare like I ordered. It tasted like it was steamed. It was tough. It was woefully underseasoned. And don’t get me started on the abomination that was supposed to be pancetta macaroni and cheese. I usually name the places we go in my travel posts, but screw this place. Screw this place so hard. Never mind that all of the seafood was cooked well.

Yep, still angry about that more than a month later.

Anyway, before I was insulted by a dead cow, I got the sunrise over the Atlantic I’ve been looking for. Despite spending more than half of my life within two miles of an east-facing major body of water, I’ve never seen a sunrise over one. I tried once in high school, but we had been up the whole night and were facing the wrong direction.

So, within weeks of seeing the sun sink into the waves as I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel after celebrating my aunt-in-law’s birthday in New York, I got my sunrise.

The forecast called for rain that day, and I rained to the point that we bought an umbrella while we were at the outlets. I essentially overhauled half of my wardrobe and retired my Pulp Fiction wallet.

Don’t worry. I’m still a BMF.

The rainy day was short-lived. We walked around downtown for a while and also headed out to the Second Avenue Pier as the sun set.

Additionally, we finally went out for drinks beyond the hotel bar, and I also decided that I wanted a lot of drinks. Because vacation. Since everything is Tropical Sugar flavored, I couldn’t fall asleep. I wandered around the beach near our hotel deep into the night and then slept for a part of the night on the balcony for the ambiance. I managed to take one picture that was somewhat close to decent while I walked.

A creek enters the Atlantic here, and I forded its sandy delta. For the second time during this time off, I had hoped that any accident would be fatal because I would otherwise be killed.

I did a good job of hydrating, so our new last full day wasn’t miserable.

the longest vacation, part three

I didn’t have my phone with me for the first half of this day because we were at the beach.

To be honest, I spent a lot of late August/early September listening to a lot of Pretty Lights.

Aug. 27

Clouds thwarted my attempt to see sunrise on our first morning. I woke up a few minutes before sunrise and decided to stay up for it. I had hoped the clouds would burn off or something, but all I got was dark clouds gradually becoming brighter clouds. After that, I set an alarm for the next morning, headed off the balcony and went back to sleep.

Boohiss.

Despite the clouds in the morning, it turned out to be a pretty nice day.

A very, very nice day.

And you could tell how relaxed I was.

Remind me again of why I used to hate going on vacation?

We finally ventured away from the Ocean Reef Resort at about 5:30 p.m. The night before, we also grabbed some takeout from Sol y Luna and the décor compelled my wife to suggest that we start our evening there.

Afterward, it was my pick. I wanted to go on a Ferris wheel. I don’t know why. We researched one of the multiple ones we saw while riding around and went with SkyWheel. The sun set while we were on it.

We then walked around the boardwalk for a bit before going into an old-timey arcade.

We very briefly thought about going to a bar. Briefly.

the longest vacation, part two

Welcome to Post No. 2,300! Remember when I used to mark every 100 posts? That was 300 posts/nearly exactly four years ago. (Do you remember when I used to average about 180 posts a year?) When I hit 2,000, I decided to switch to marking every thousand. So, at this rate, expect that when I’m in my early 40s.

But I digress.

I played this song multiple times a day for like a week in early September and haven’t listened to it since.

Aug. 26

North Carolina is large. I keep forgetting that. It’s less than 1,000 square miles smaller than New York and nearly 10,000 square miles larger than Virginia. I’m reminded of its enormity when I decide to go somewhere there because it’s just the next state over. And then the ride is slightly shorter than a trip to New York because the far southeast part of the Tarheel State is as far from Charlottesville as Brooklyn.

Our voyage through North Carolina on our way to South Carolina took about an extra hour because because we had to go to Hampton first to drop off Missy. It was our belated fifth anniversary trip, and getting Missy into/out of (semi) public spaces always is a thing because she does not like other dogs.

We went to Myrtle Beach because my wife used to vacation there with her family and liked it. I was just ready to go on vacation overall because of a large project that ate up my life for a good chunk of the year. While I was at the racetrack, I felt relaxed in a way I hadn’t felt in years. I knew the newsroom was capable of running for a few days without me, so I seldom thought of work. I purposely did not bring my computer. It was fantastic.

The sunlight was perfect when we arrived.

We had a room with an ocean view.

I resolved to see the sun rise one day before we left.

Due east is slightly to the left of our balcony.

We almost immediately went to the beach.

My mom’s comment upon seeing my getup (not seen: my second pair of customized Chucks): “Well, that’s your husband.”

I’d didn’t know how much I missed the Atlantic. Growing up in Hampton Roads made me take it for granted. Although it was great to be back, I was missing the Blue Ridge the whole time.

I’ve always wished the Chesapeake Bay was clearer. This photo does no justice to the water because the sun was setting and I never got more than my ankles wet this entire trip.

And then I discovered the resort bar.

I’ve had enough coconut-flavored drinks to last a lifetime.

Because we’re wild and crazy thirtysomethings, we capped off the night with a trip to Target. I now own about three pairs of shorts. The taste of the weather I had before the sun set made me reconsider my exposing my calves moratorium.

the longest vacation, part one

This is my favorite song of the moment. It does not go with the theme of this post.

Since the beginning, I used Roman numerals for all of my trips. I jammed two, technically three vacations into the nearly two weeks I had off in August, so I initially didn’t know whether to label this xxii; xxii and xxiii; or xxii through xxiv. I’m going to count it as one, as it was contiguous time off, but I’m going to break this into parts.

Aug. 23 & 24

TAUDELT ROAD TRIP.

It’s Year Two of being Lamborghini VIPs. This time, instead of heading back 15 miles to Danville this time around, we decided to camp out with the other fans at the track. We’re thinking about making this a largely yearly tradition and getting an increasing number of fraternity brothers joining us, regardless of whether we get to go to the fanciest of the hospitality areas. This year, we did get a third brother to come and almost had a fourth.

The first order of business was setting up the tent, and I’m glad we did because it unexpectedly rained a lot the first afternoon.

Not pictured: The rain.

That night, Beanie showed up, joining Butler and me. Then, since it had dried out enough, we went exploring the campground. Our first stop was a Tiki bar we noticed the year before. After that, the night devolved into going to several party sites, riding precariously on the backs of souped-up off-road vehicles and entirely too much alcohol.

“If we crash this thing, I hope I die because, otherwise, my wife will kill me.”

The next morning, we definitely dragged a bit. We caught some of the practice runs and early races. We also caught up with some of the people we met the night before. Their night wound up being a lot wilder than ours, including a dude who work up in a strange person’s camper and had to retrace where some of his valuables were.

Prototype cars.

Along with needing to be around for the big race on Sunday, a constant, overwhelming urge to go back to sleep and the chilly temperatures after the Friday rains, we took it easy. We didn’t make it to 1 a.m.

Aug. 25

Gradually, the sun came out, but the previous damp conditions mad the track slick in spots. We saw a lot of vehicles slide off the track during the races. The races were pretty good overall, though. And, as usual, the hospitality area had amazing food. I’ve been trying to eat a lot less lately, but I ate a lot during that trip. I also walked a lot, so there’s that.

After learning that once can rent a Lambo for less than a golf cart at the track (RENTING A GOLF CART IS FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE AMERICAN DOLLARS), we headed for home. I was happy that it was early because It would be time to hit the road again in a few hours.

I apologize for this posts being a bit short on words. By the time I catch back up, I’m going to be talking about the first full week in July. And then I need to reference June when I finally get back to last weekend.

family weekend

It’s weird how something that looks so unfamiliar feels so much like home.

There only are three buildings in this photo. Technically, two of them were there before I graduated, but they did not look like this.
This view and what’s directly behind me, Santoro and James River halls, are the only things that look they way it did in the 2004-2005 academic year.
At least Rita’s still is there.

Last month (which seems like a century ago), I went to CNU Family Weekend at Michael’s request. His sister was supposed to come with us, but she decided to hang out with friends after I bought tickets to the football game. Michael’s in the and he wanted us to see him perform.

He’s down there somewhere, Part One.
He’s down there somewhere, Part Two.

There were a few musical performances, so I only got to see him in person for about two whole minutes, but he knew we were there. We spent most of the day on campus, including visiting where we first met. The doors were locked, since it’s no longer an academic building, so we couldn’t go in. Additionally, exactly where we first met is now a server room. This was good enough.

Ratcliffe Hall.

Oh, since I haven’t posted any photos and such in a while, I haven’t cut my beard in more than a year, and I got a backup pair of glasses for when I don’t want to put in contacts/it isn’t advantageous to have contacts in. Of course the frames are orange. They’re also an Easter egg.

(Also behold how blind I am.)

Anyway, it felt so great and comfortable to walk around the campus. There was a brief moment when I forgot I wasn’t a student. (I had a work assignment due over the weekend and I tried to remember what class it was for.) As I said before, it makes me very happy that Michael is there. CNU wasn’t my first choice, but so many things in my life would not have happened if I didn’t not wind up in Santoro 202 in August 2001.

Despite the changes, the New Great Lawn does look pretty at night, though.

Go Captains.

‘wasn’t EVERYONE just kinda nekkid during this time period?’

We’ll get to the title of this post in a moment.

The order of albums isn’t exactly random. I took a cursory look at what was in the box which had a horizontal divider, and separated them into albums into two partially random layers. (I know that albums should be stored vertically, which is what I intend to do as I listen to them all.) The first are albums I wanted to hear or I judged by the cover. The second are compilation albums, albums I judged by the cover and albums I didn’t exactly want to hear. While I did this, I also decided to group multiple albums in chronological order. This is the first Allman Brothers Band album, or the first half of Beginnings, depending on your feelings on the original mix of its first two albums.

This album was not mixed to their satisfaction.

Because it was the first album, it had some other firsts, such as having the first version of Whipping Post. As mentioned in the caption and alluded to earlier, which I just realized is in the same typeface as the body text (it might be a function of this layout that I can’t fix), the band didn’t exactly like the mix of the first two albums, and it was remixed along with the second album and released as Beginnings.

The other thing of note was the gatefold of this single album. It has the most strategically placed head of 1969.

When I shared this on Facebook, one of the comments was the title of this post.

i believe in miracles …

Where did you come from, baby?

Anyone who say they’ve never heard this song before either is lying or has been living under a rock since Hot Chocolate’s debut album was released in 1975. It was this British band’s biggest hit, and it would have been No. 1 in the United Kingdom, but some band asked whether something was the real life or just fantasy because of a homicide.

I always expected Errol Brown to be extremely ugly just from how emphatic he was in You Sexy Thing. And, as you should know by now, I’m not going out of my way to properly crop/frame the photos for this.

Much like Jamiroquai, the band was a one-hit wonder in the states, but constantly charted high at home. Personally, I did not find the remaining nine tracks on this album to be bangers. I kept it in the party pile, though. You Sexy Thing is the last track on Side One, so it would be the sneak attack in the background.

black rock

Unfortunately, this does not sound like the intro to an actual evening news show.

The Bar-Kays were going through some things when this album was released. Cultivated in part by Otis Redding and Booker T. and the M.G.’s, members of the band perished on the day soul music died in 1967. This reconstituted band, which in 1969 backed Isaac Hayes on the epic Hot Buttered Soul album, had its turning point with 1971’s Black Rock. They went on to be one of the quintessential funk bands.

The Bar-Kays to you: You don’t know fashion.

Despite making 8:37-18:42 of Hayes’ version of By the Time I Get to Phoenix is the greatest song of all time, I think this album marked a transition and nothing more. It’s not in the party pile.

factory sealed for your protection

I swear, if anyone does this to a photo of me when I die, it will be the first scientifically confirmed haunting.

This entry is coming soon after the previous one because I’ve been too lazy to post these in advance. I totally could because I’m 21 albums in. I have a backup needle, and they both are good for about 50 hours of music, so I have about 20 records to go before I need to figure out how to change the needle and 70 before I need to figure out where to buy more.

In my mental Star Trek canon, Capt. Picard is named for this guy.

Upon the Wings of Music is Ponty’s first album for Atlantic. Although it’s not his first, it is his first major label debut. He plays electric violin and other electric and acoustic strings on this 1975 release. Also of note is that it mostly retains its plastic shrink wrap, which had a sticker noting that it was “Factory sealed for your protection. I want to say that came from somewhere else, but it’s clearly behind what was the price tag.

I don’t even want to know.

damn, damn, damn!

This one’s for John Amos.

I did a cursory search of the albums before I took the box home and divided them into two stacks. The first were albums by bands I’ve heard of and ones with cool album art. The second were compilations, bands that didn’t pique my interest from the covers, bands that I know don’t pique my interest and ones that looked damaged. I made Brass Construction the second album of this adventure because I’m a sucker for anything with brass.

This album also has a track that’s an ode to an exhibitionist/voyeur relationship.

The lead track, Movin’, was playing in the background when we found out that James Evans Sr. died in Good Times. The back cover of this 1975 debut album features head shots of the band members with various expressions. It makes a perfect mood chart. Today, I’m a Morris.

If the City Council meeting lasted any longer, I would have gone full Joe.

Overall, this album is very much a product of its time and is fun to listen to. Much like the Evans family, I would play it in the background of a party. I just hope no one gets bad news as soon as I put it on.