Longing for the Oldies

If my first eleven weeks at the UDub were marked by one thing, it had to be the incessant oldies coming from the cubicle next door. Every day, I was nauseated by Blood, Sweat, & Tears' "Ride, Captain Ride" and some awful song about Cherokee people- so proud to die!. Of course, I also got four different Beatles songs at 4:00 every day and gained a new appreciation for the Hollies and some of Chicago's early work.

I learned this morning that weeks twelve through fifteen will be entirely oldies-free. The station has switched to a 24-hour Christmas station, and the old man next door doesn't seem to have noticed. It's not even 2:00 and I've heard a Christmas original from Britney Spears, the worst Christmas song I've ever heard, "performed" by what I can only assume was Clay Aiken, and "Feliz Navidad" twice. Some towns can't put Christmas trees or nativity scenes up anymore and most public schools can't have Christmas concerts anymore, but nobody's stepping in to assure that I don't have to hear Amy Grant sing "Sleigh Ride" twice a day for a month. Christ.

On a happier note, I had a lovely Thanksgiving with the Jeffreys in Framingham. Food was plentiful and delicious, mornings were full of sleep, and evenings were full of alcohol. Jill and I caught the hilarious new Christopher Guest movie, "For Your Consideration", on Saturday, in between Jack Arnold's burritos and Vietnamese food with Nick and Heather in Allston, and were able to relax in our home on Sunday. Not half bad.


Riding in Cars With Boys... and Girls

Despite cutting my daily commute from roughly 100 minutes to under ten, I found a way to spend well over forty hours in one vehicle or another over the past ten days. Let me explain.

On Friday, November 4, I took the day off from the UDub, picked up a roomy Kia Sedona from Hertz, and hit the road for a trip that's been called "epic," "bold," and most likely "retarded," through ten states and a district and into game-huntin', marriage-restrictin', car-racin', camoflouge-in-WalMart country. I picked up Jaron in Boston around 10:15am and was taking his picture with a cobb salad and a Hooters waitress in Wethersefield, CT, by noon. By 3:00, we'd merged from seven lanes to one on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway for no apparent reason and gotten our first look at Jason's new Brooklyn apartment, where we picked up Jason, Mark, Nick, and Pat. Mark took the wheel and the trip was on, through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Jaron's note-for-note bleating recetation of the first half of "Dookie" and everything else on the radio in the 90s, and into backwoods Virginia, where I'd rented a log cabin for the weekend.

Remarkably, we pulled into the cabin's driveway at exactly the 10:08, the same time Mike and AJ rolled in from Buffalo and Eric and David sauntered in from Staunton. Ryan and Chuck had beaten us there from Saratoga by twenty minutes. A tame night of Yuengling, T-Rex, and Trivial Pursuit ensued.

Morning brought Shayna, Liz, and a delicious breakfast from the South, and afternoon, delightfully, brought dingers. This year's derby was a sad showing all around, with the exception of an inspired performance from Pat, who blew away the field in every round, and a few bombs from runner-up Mark. Nick left satisfied with a third-place finish and Jaron shocked the world with a homer that nearly catapulted him into the second round. We were able to fit in 16 innings of baseball before the sun went down, including a game I won with a walkoff double in the ninth, and another in which the derby champ was rocked for five first-inning runs in a 7-5 loss. Jason, Nick, and Mark played for both winning teams.

Saturday evening was a classic manfest, complete with Miller High Life, burgers and dogs, more Trivial Pursuit, and competing factions of Scrabble and Asshole. Sunday morning, Eric signed derby-used baseballs for all present, and we piled back into the van for fifteen hours of fun, including an ill-conceived layover in Paterson, New Jersey to avoid a four-hour delay on the George Washington Bridge. By 3am, I was back home, unpacking the van and putting out a weekend's worth of garbage and two months' worth of recycling. After three hours of sleep, I returned the van (but not the keys) and returned to the real world (read: my bed).

I had another Friday off this past week, thanks to our brave veterans, and spent much of it sitting in Metrowest traffic on I-95, traying to get to Jill's going away party at the 'Source. I made the tail end of the party and sat in more traffic on the way out to Framingham, where we met Colleen and took off for a family weekend in Queensbury.

The weekend was marked by Lauren's adventures with Typhoid Mary, a low-hanging toilet paper roll, and a banana (all separate events), and by dirt dogs, Mattsons at LARAC, and post-Trivial Pursuit family secrets. Traffic struck again on the return, when an accident in the Berkshires left us stuck behind a deer carcass-toting Mercury for longer than necessary, but I was able to spend a few hours with my downy-haired youth (you probably had to be there) and eat my last dinner at 13 Pond Street.

I'm getting used to coming home late on Sunday nights to a wet newspaper and unfed fish, but the fish have survived, and so have I, and in five days there will be two residents at 38 Ashmont and my car can rest. And all will be well.