Oak Island 2018

Cara Christian and I spent a week on the beach this year. My cousin Mark Sowa recommended Oak Island and Cara found us the perfect spot, from the thousands available. The beach starts at the south end of the NC outer banks beaches, and tracks pretty much straight west from there.

We checked all the boxes of a perfect sea-soaked getaway, from skim boarding and boogie boarding and frisbee and paddle ball on the beautiful wide beach right outside our door, with a huge tented umbrella as our base, to surf shops for sunscreen and board shorts and skim boards, from sun burning to bronzing and browning, to recuperation on a perfectly shaded second-story-balcony view over the dunes and grasses to the beach and nightly sunsets, to a breakfast at Old Bridge with all the locals, to Italian dinners at Castucci’s, to endless breakfasts lunches and dinners from the trunkload of groceries we brought in, to tons of multiplayer Beeswarm Simulator and Gary’s Mod (Christian you rock!), to a spontaneous adventure to Bald Head Island that turned into an amazing DOT ferry ride to an incredible natural maritime forest tour via golfcard (where we stopped to see a family of small deer cross our path, including a curious fawn, before they disappeared into the reeds…) to a 5-story run up to the top of the oldest lighthouse in NC, to fresh Raleigh-roasted Larry’s Beans and locally-roasted The Rooster and The Hen french presses, to Frosty’s frozen goodness, to the healthy and local goodness we found at Inergy, to the best tacos and burritos ever at Kai-Joe’s, to a boat tour of the Atlantic and the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway and all its sights, ending with the most beautiful sunset. Blissful.

Chicago birthday party with Cara

Big break time!  I took the weekend in Chicago for my birthday, a nice long Friday through Tuesday weekend.  On the plane ride out I saw the biggest tablet I’ve ever seen.  Envy….

Christian and I had so much fun creating and destroying universes in the Universe Simulator, shooting planets at each other and colliding galaxies.    Just watch this guy lose his mind and you’ll have an idea of the fun.  (Now I have it in VR too, unbelievable…)

Cara and I always have a beautiful time, just existing in the short time and space we have together.  She found us a fantastic eatery, David Bowie approves.  Heading out with Christian and Christina, we found a whole world of Chinese lantern art, some of it huge.  We mostly own whatever city we are in, through walking.

On the plane ride home, I sat next to Melvin, who played football and trades stocks.  He saw me coding AbetterTrader, and told me about his system and his “mentor”, Tim.  They really have a good thing going – and they live in Raleigh, I’ll have to meet up with them soon.

 

Camera Yurt

Cara and I love the NCMA Park and have walked it many times, but this last weekend we made a new discovery hidden within: the Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky. Basically a huge vertical camera, a pinhole in the roof lets the sun and stars shine through to the floor and walls of the small yurt-like stone hut. We went in the middle of a blazing sunny day, and were rewarded with brilliant laser-like sunbeams. Which we of course used to comic effect. So fun.

 

Animal Show is live and in the house

Animal Show on Soundcloud

I finally got out for an Animal Show in NYC! Landed on Friday and found BKLYN House Hotel, our base of operations for the long weekend that included a Reiley move.

We met Al for lunch/dinner at Loving Hut, which I will always be grateful for.  Hi Al!  Great to meet you.  :-)

First night, Reiley took me out to Bruno’s bar, Cape House, and he took far too good of us. His favorite, Fernet-Branca, a very complex tasty digestif, left me feeling far too happy and DJ’ing until 4am. I regret some song choices.

Saturday started out with recovery – sleeping and Champs breakfast in the afternoon – well worth the 30 minute wait for takeout of scrambled tofu, seitan strips, vegan sausage, hash browns, and coffee, which when combined made a miracle.

Al got a bass string replacement at Johhny Albino Music Center, and we picked up a tuner for Rei too.

We were ready to walk to the gig. Al said we are NOT getting an uber that is NOT Animal Show, awesome oops my bad, rofl… Reiley held out for Julian to skateboard up, and a ride with Dave that we heard rumble up from a couple blocks away. Dave’s southern charm had us all at ease and instantly smiling. This gang is beautiful and thick as thieves, I have to say.

The show was beyond high expectations, the videos speak for themselves.  SO GOOD.

The Brooklyn Bazaar venue was crazy fun on multiple stories.  Lower level was a barcade with pool and sweet potato fries that Eli and I had been obsessing over (and they payed off).  Upstairs was the stage and dancehall.  Highlights included the passing of the pink cowboy hat from stage to crowd and eventually landing on my head for most of the night. My first green room experience was full of friendly folks and free water (no drinking for me thank you!) and plenty of free second hand smoke, heh. Met Andy and Dale and Jonathan the MC, lots of band members including introducing myself to headliner Brianna who politely gave me a warm hello, spun on her heel, stepped up two steps to the stage, and crushed the audience within a moment.  After the bands played, Jonathan and crew hosted a dance party, with Reiley and the other band members as judges.  Reiley called me out to join the dance party!  I again proved my cowardice.  Next time I’m all in.  Dave drove us home, what a gentleman, and I hit the sack at 2am while everyone else carried on.

Sunday started with vegan donuts at Dun-Well the vegan donut Mecca, as I watched the owner pour hand-brewed french presses one after the other into a huge tub from which we filled our silk-creamer-primed cups.

Monday morning allowed for another donut indulgence, you can never get enough and its a good thing I dont live close…. Then Reiley and I went shopping for some basics, and finished up with a game of Palace, before I headed to the airport. Wow!

Cara’s birthday in Washington D.C.

Cara is so good at finding fantastic places to stay.  She found us the top story of a cute house in the best neighborhood in DC, just east of the Mall in Lincoln Park, an area full of cute tight houses of various flavors.  Ours was the second story of a fully appointed house – we had a stocked fridge and bikes to ride and everything else you could want.  Bike riding was definitely a highlight, we biked all around the Smithsonian and Capitol and White House (with middle fingers out) and African Museum and all the incredible sights packed together.

We saw a magic dual in “parlour” style at The Mayflower, a famous Hotel, and ate at Iron Gate, a romantic little swanky restaurant with an outdoor patio covered in lights and vines that made a custom vegan gourmet meal that was divine – i’ve never eaten chickpeas in the shell before, wonderfully steamed and spiced.

Weekends are ALWAYS so perfect with you, baby.  This one was somehow even better.

Chicago and Perfect Weather

Didn’t think they went together did you? They sure as climate change did this weekend. Cara and I biked and walked all over the balmified windy city, doing yoga betwixt the skyscrapers on 100o F astroturf, getting my feet analyzed at Fleet Sports (and Cara’s new favorite footwear!), to Sweetgreens, through the Chicago Cubs fans exiting on a high (chanting “USA USA” suck it Trump), on to pure-lefty palsy-frisbee… Also: devouring Nepalese food and playing Roblox with Christian, and getting 100% down with Johnny Lang at the House of Blues. Whoo!

Birthday in Chigaaaaaaaaaago

Of course I don’t talk about my birthday!  No one my age would be so foolish.   But this one was too good, I can’t help myself!

Watching Guy King play the blues at Buddy Guy was smooth and delicious, Cara and I agreed his happiness was outright contagious.

On Saturday we flew kites in the famous Chicago lakefront wind, with hundreds of others on Cricket Hill.  Epic!

And on Sunday we ripped it up from downtown out to Northerly Island on the world’s most freewheeling Segway tour ever – our host was so cool and chill, the day was beautiful, and we covered miles jumping curbs and banking through fast turns.  Whoo!

Thanks baby for the best weekend ever.