cptntiller: (THP - New Default)
[Be warned. I have not edited this post. If you think it's because I am lazy, you are correct!]

I departed the Hein/Darke abode, and was on my way across Texas! WHEEE! It was a 10 hour driving day, and I finally hit the Hostel in the wee hours of the night. I was grateful to be done, and as I carried stuff into the N'awlins Hostel, which is, by the way a really awesome and really cheap place to stay in New Orleans, I passed 4 guys on the porch with a 40 of beer. It was one of the initial weekends of Mardi Gras, and I had picked up some french fries at a local place as I rolled in to the city, so I offered them some fries. Politely they declined, but instead they offered me some beer. I told them I'd be back, dropped my stuff off on my bunk, and came back to the porch, where I happily downed their beer.

New Orleans

We hung out on the porch for a bit, where I learned their life stories. They were visiting from Pittsburgh, had already been out the night before, and were planning on getting royally shitfaced. And, they quickly informed me: "So are you." Who am I to deny the request of four complete strangers on a porch in Louisiana?


We sat and talked for a bit, amusing ourselves with discussion of King Cake and the drunken ladies who continued to flirt with me as I repeatedly told them I was gay. It was a good evening. Soon, we were out the door and headed towards Bourbon Street, where I was informed "my mind would be blown."

Two promises!

We arrived at Bourbon Street around 12:45 a.m. and. Well. It was blown. Have any of you seen Season 2 of True Blood? You know when MaryAnn is in the town, and she basically causes this orgy and everyone basically just starts fucking in the street partially or completely naked and completely drunk or stoned out of their minds? Ok. That is the closest I can come to describe this experience. Except that there were police horses. And there was no *ACTUAL* fucking. I think.

New Orleans

It was vaguely incredible, but as someone with space and crowd issues - intensely overwhelming. I followed my hosts to a bar where they supplied me with grain alcohol. [!!??!!] and we wandered the street aimlessly.

One of my compatriots found a packet of pamphlets intended to convert the heathens of the affair to Christians lightly trampled in the gutter and took it upon himself to begin distributing them himself. I admit that I found it quite hilarious, but as I mentioned above, I found the entire experience enjoyable, but a bit too overwhelming, so after an hour I bid good evening to my compatriots, and made my way back to the hostel for a night of sleep. Sleep was great! I highly recommend it.

New Orleans

The next morning, surprisingly, did not come too early, though I was the first in the hostel awake at about 7:30, and I quietly showered and prepared for the day. I had gotten accustomed to traveling now, and I was enjoying the rhythm I'd created. I burst out of the hostel with my camera bag on, enjoying the crisp but fairly warm day and determined to wander aimlessly for hours. Success, kids.

I walked down to the waters edge, and made my way to the Cafe Du Monde, where I was informed I was to try their Beignets.

terry got beignets!


Have you had beignets?



They're pretty amazing.

I arrived to a line stretching a good quarter of a mile, no exaggeration, and I wandered down to an area behind the restaurant to get a better look, attempting to decide if I actually had intentions of waiting in this line. There I noticed a man in a wonderful striped uniform, wandering. I smiled at him, and he came over and asked me how many Beignets I would like. I felt like I had just discovered a cheat code. I asked for a bag, and gave him the money needed. Two minutes later, he came back with the Beignets. SUCCESS. This is the best system ever.

New Orleans

I walked a bit further as I destroyed what had become the new best-thing-ever-to-eat-ever and hopped on a trolley which would take me to the main drag. I had done my research and discovered the N'awlins bear group was meeting along one of the parade routes that day to drink beers, talk, and watch the parade. Scary though this was to me as a shy-folk, I decided it would be a good thing to do, so I wandered my way to where the watching was occurring.

Everyone was really friendly as I've come to discover is the norm in the south. I encountered two LJ folk, though I didn't really get to interact with either, as I didn't know one was an LJ user [[livejournal.com profile] lightthewayhome] and I wasn't yet friends with one of them [[livejournal.com profile] charliebearnj]. The parade was a hoot, too. I was glad to have found people I could hang out with in the city again, though I had enjoyed wandering aimlessly on my own, it's always more fun to do things with others. We sat and talked and watched the world walk by, and soon it was late afternoon and I was invited to a super bowl gathering at a bar called John Paul's.

New Orleans

Did I mention I was in New Orleans during the Super Bowl? Oh. I was in New Orleans during the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl that the Saints won. OH my. Do you want to talk about an amazing experience? That was unbelievable. I was really glad to be in a bar with locals, far away from Bourbon Street. Sharing in their genuine joy and spirit of the game was unbelievable. I keep using the word unbelievable, which is probably getting redundant. It was infectious, and I, who have never once gave one shit who won the Super Bowl, found myself caring deeply, and getting into the game. What a community.

And the saints won, dudes. And the city EXPLODED in fire, light, and joy. I was away from the downtown and I could hear it from where I was. It was an unrepeatable, irrefutably amazing moment, that I will certainly not forget within my lifetime. I stayed with them and celebrated in an incredibly welcomed way for a good many further hours before attempting to drive back to my hostel. I made it in tact, and snuggled into my bunk for my last slumber in New Orleans.

The next morning found me awake early again, so I did not have to fight for the shower once again. Joy! I threw my every belonging in my bag with a few beads as souvenirs, and said goodbye to my hostel.

terry and i are departing the hostel

Drove downtown for one last walk-about before my long drive to Atlanta. After parking, I made my way to Cafe Du Monde again, this time getting two bags of Beignets because I had already become an addict. I found my new best friend in a striped uniform again, and he hooked me up in the most subtle way possible. Is this what doing a drug deal feels like? Are beignets drugs? Why aren't there beignets in Boston? When can I have them again? I think I have a problem.

I had one goal in New Orleans when I began the trip, and that was to find the Ignatius Reilly statue I had heard rumors of. I have read A Confederacy of Dunces a large number of times, and in fact, it is one of my three favorite books of all time. I love it. It was thrilling to be in the city it was based in, and even more so to discover I loved this city [I would like to live there some day - a fact that makes my sister stare at me like I'm vaguely insane, and my mother quiver] I am not sure where they are hiding this statue. I tried hard to find it, and failed. Thankfully, I found this hot dog cart on my journey, and I was getting close to the time I had to leave by, so I counted it as a close second ACOD reference.

New Orleans

And then I wandered to my car, sadly, wishing I had far more time to explore the city. I turned my keys, cranked the stereo, and enjoyed the final bits of neighborhood as I made my way towards my one night stay in Atlanta.

New Orleans
cptntiller: (PANDA?)

I awoke in Austin, fresh-eyed and all that stuff. Powered on the computer and got a note from my next hosts telling me I could come over whenever. So I did! I hopped in the car and pointed towards San Antonio. Can we talk about how wonderful it is to only have to drive an hour and a half? After many days of intense hourage, it was amazing. It also ended up being my first sunny day since Chicago, and for me, it was quite warm. [Matt and Alex feel differently]

Before I knew it, I had arrived at the door of my gracious hosts [livejournal.com profile] chibi_masshuu and [livejournal.com profile] darke. I was especially excited about this stop, as I've become very good friends with Matt [[livejournal.com profile] chibi_masshuu] over the past months, and we talk most days. He and Alex are both excellent people.

Anywhozle, so I blooped the doorbell, and then waited nervously on the porch, 'til the door opened. and it was all uphill from there [for me]. We sat in the living room for a bit and talked, and I had a grand old time. From there, Matt and I made our way out for a bit of adventuring. We began with lunch at a Mexican restaurant nearby, which was thoroughly delicious, and from there we worked our way towards the Alamo.

Oh, the Alamo. We've all heard stories about this fort, right? Well. I'm a bit of a geek, and so when asked what I wanted to do in San Antonio, I had obviously suggested seeing this. Wow. What a large error in judgement. Do you see this picture of the Alamo? Congratulations. I've just saved you 30 minutes of time in San Antonio. Regardless, we had a good time making fun of how ridiculous the Alamo was, and then we wandered over to the Riverwalk, which was very pretty, and littered with live cajun style jazz. We enjoyed a nice walk-a-bout and chit chatted before heading back towards the car. Matt is very camera-aware, so I didn't take too many photos. [I was trying to be subtle and shoot from the side.. as you can tell, he was very aware of the camera.]

Truth be told I didn't take many photos because I was just enjoying the company and the time, and I chose to focus on that. We hopped in the car and talked back and forth about this, that and the other. He showed me where he worked and we just kinda talked. It was nice.

Soon enough we arrived at the chibi/darke residence and settled into the couch to correct the fact that I had never seen Enchanted, even though I know Amy Adams. We had a grand time. Luckily Matt had already seen it so my talking about it throughout didn't [seem to] bother him. When the movie was finished we went out and got Thai. I had never had Thai food before [holy crap pad thai is awesome kids.] and it was a good chance to converse whilst enjoying new noms and crossing something off my 101. Also, I got to know Alex better, which was fun. We bonded over a similar liking of the musical the-ate-er among other things.

Home again afterwards to change into trunks and enjoy their heated pool. I hadn't been swimming since the summer, and it felt damn good to be in water again. Not to mention it led to relaxing and conversating. It was a nice nightcap to the day, and we all retired to bed shortly after.

Sleep was wonderful - their guest bed was superbly comfortable and it was nice to be in a real bed for the first time in several days.

And when I woke up, I learned that everything is bigger in Texas. For shiz. We went to a local breakfast joint called Lulu's which had chicken fried steak.



First of all, I had never heard of Chicken Fried Steak and zomg is it delicious.

Second of all. This is how big Matt's Chicken Fried Steak was. FOR REAL LIFE, PEOPLE.

Matt and Alex, both!

Alex had talked Matt into getting the super ginormous sized one to show off Texas' sized things. They shared it, so it all worked out fine fine. Hell, I couldn't finish mine and it was like a quarter the size. Did I mention they had cinnamon rolls at this place the size of my very literal torso. MY ACTUAL TORSO, PEOPLE.

I was sad when food was over, because it meant time was coming to a close. We made a few stops on the way home, and then procrastinated by watching various and sundry youtube clips on their TV for a bit. Sadly, eventually I had to get on the road [I had a 10 hour drive ahead of me] and I had to say goodbye and hit the road.

Not nearly enough time in San Antonio. The one downside of meeting people you're friends with from the interwebs in real life is when you leave you're like "damnitt. We would totally be awesome in life friends, and now I don't get to see them 'til god knows when." As a result I drove away with a bit of sadness, but also excitement as my next stop was one I was greatly looking forward to: N'awlins!

Matt's account of this adventure be here, y'all: click click

Holy crap dudes. I don't post for eons, and then you get this loquacious post. Almost done with wedding photos, and working through a backlog the size of georgia - all the while shooting 2 rolls of film a week!
cptntiller: (THP - New Default)

The next morning came early! Around 5 or so. Maybe earlier [jerry?] We awoke, and Jerry prepared us Breakfast. Jerry is a member of the crossfit program, and in addition, a casual follower of the paleolithic diet. If you google it you can find more. It's a neat concept. So for breakfast we had smoked salmon with poached eggs and cheddar cheese:

It was appropriately tasty, and filling. That done, we headed off to Crossfit, where I was to experience the most intense work-out yet. We started the day with some hot yoga, an hour class which was really amazing. Yoga is without a doubt something I am going to pursue at some point. And then crossfit happened. Let me tell you. If ever there was a compelling program for fitness, it is crossfit. Basically it is a [reasonably] short, in-tense workout using basic methods that really pull everything out of you. It was exhilarating and amazing. After a warmup that included a number of physical activities I won't bother listing, we entered the main workout, which was 2 sets of the following: 2 minutes as many pullups as you can do, 2 minutes as many situps as you can do, 2 minutes as many double-unders as you can do, 2 minutes as many air squats as you can do. Twice without stopping. It was intense and amazing. I will consider pursuing crossfit, too at some point.

From there, Jerry my gracious host, gave me his house keys, and he drove off to work, while I went to his apartment. I crashed for a bit longer on his extremely comfortable couch, and then took a shower in his outstanding shower. NEITHER of those are exaggerations. They were both heavenly. From there, I hopped in the car and departed for Austin! It was a short 3.5 hour drive, in the still cold and rainy Texas. Texas refused to be Texas. Having arrived in Austin, I made my way to the Hostel. I was a bit uncomfortable, never having been in one before, but I soon settled into the space, and took a little bit of time to relax and chat online before heading in to the city for the night.

This was my first stay by myself where I knew no-one, and I was a bit home-sick and lonely, but my camera and the extremely friendly southern folk were of great help in that process, and I had a wonderful night wandering a very large amount of the city, and stopping in at various clubs and venues.

cptntiller: (DUG)

Today I got up at an abhorrently early hour, and drove to Texas. Just short of a 12 hour drive. I managed to amuse myself pretty heavily with billboards, twitter and my camera. Let me tell you a little something about Missouri! There are about ninety billion billboards for Meramec Caverns. That is not even a horribly large exaggeration. In fact, I counted at some point, and within 1 minute, I went past 15. Also high on my enjoyment list was going past a billboard for the Precious Moments headquarters, that advertised it as the "Sistine Chapel of the U.S." If only I'd had time to stop and visit this no doubt miraculous and frightening gift to the American public. Not just that, but I passed the Vacuum Museum. And a sign that offered Bulls For Rent! [anyone want to go halfsies!?]

Oklahoma was not nearly as boring as I'd imagined. They have gas stations that have dinosaurs on them: Sinclair. And the speed limit is 75. It probably helps that I got terrifyingly lost for the first time. No maps and my gps was failing. So I drove amongst the corn fields as my gas approached empty 'til I somehow found a gas station and the highway. Terry helped pump the gas. The Texas Border Came! and with it a nice round of rain and cold - immediately shattering every image of Texas I had. This was saved by a billboard for sporting goods, gifts, and christian supplies. [Yes. Really.]

I landed at Jerry's! Some of you may remember him from his LJ days, when he ruled the interwebs as [livejournal.com profile] dinoadventures. We've been pretty well in touch the entire time, talking pretty much every day, and it was nice to meet up with him again. I no sooner touched base than we were OFF with a night of awesome planned.

First, we went to his rock gym! We both climb alot, so it just made sense to go together. These photos are by Jerry, and I haven't asked permission yet.

From there, he took me to a Texas Burger place, where I quickly learned what a horrible job we do making burgers in the north east. Holy Crap you guys. Hollly Crap. They are wide instead of thick, and they taste like awesome. Just kinda blew my head away.


After this, we traveled our way to The Flying Saucer home of tons and tons of beer. Here, Jerry introduced me to all kind's of local beer I couldn't have tried in cambridge-land before we retired to his 'partment to sleep and prepare for the next morning!
cptntiller: (Default)
So, then I met up with Chris and we headed to an abandoned asylum to take some photographs. I had never played with real lighting, and I got to play with some of Chris' lighting equipment. which was really fun.

3 more photos under the cut! )
cptntiller: (PANDA?)

A nice relaxed morning with Joe and house, talking and relaxing and just generally enjoying the downtime and company. After a nap, noon found me saying good-bye to the friends I could now say I actually knew, and heading into the car with Terry, my trusty terrier.

This was a day of driving I could get behind. Only 5 or so hours of driving. I pretty much got on the road, and just headed down. I saw a hawk pick up a mouse and eat it. Illinois! I saw not one but TWO Wooden Elephants!. ILLINOIS!

And just like that, the arch was in sight!

I called my St. Louis host, Chris Weiss [[livejournal.com profile] xxfalling_outxx] and he directed me towards a parking lot on his SLU campus. We met up, and, after dropping off my crap in his apartment, set off in quest of food. Pizza following through, Chris brought me to a sub/deli place called Jimmy Johns that he was shocked I had never heard of. It was quite tasty! I rather enjoyed it. It was now dark out and he had homeworks to do, so we went back to his room and shot the shit, while I figured out my plans for while he was in class the next day.
cptntiller: (PANDA?)

The morning came to early on day 2, but my alarm roused me, and after a scrub-a-dub-dub in Jim and Alan's shower, I was dressed and on the road, exactly at 8 AM - which was the exact time I had hoped to depart at.

Thus began the longest day of driving in the trip. Between Albany and Chicago is 817 miles, about 13 hours of driving. So I slammed the radio in high gear, and set on my way, traveling 90, pretty much the entire route.

During the day I passed through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Ohio. Oh, Ohio. Ohio is officially my least favorite state of all time. It is 5 hours of Nothing. There are rarely even trees. Even Cleveland was a disappointment. It was a 5 minute long city, the highlight of which was a building with whales. Maybe it's a better drive in the summer, I don't know. All I can say is that to drive through in January, it is made of suck. Indiana was a little more interesting. It had the Museum of RV's and Mobile Homes.

The list of things I saw that I cannot make up on this trip is unreal. A museum for RV's and motor homes? I mean. Really. Does that need a museum? Apparently.

I cannot describe the length of saturday. Driving that length of time is incredibly draining. A couple of LONG phone calls to the pooch and a few other people helped. But I finally made it.

Somewhere around 7:30 middle america time, I made it to [livejournal.com profile] killerjoe and [livejournal.com profile] tamingblue's casa. I was the guest of Joe, and it turned out I got to meet some other people I'd interacted with too, like Jason and his boyfriend Chris. I no more than arrived, and threw my bags on the floor, and we turned and drove to chinatown for real chinese food. It was delicious! I rather enjoyed my orange chicken, and I followed it with my first bubble tea. It was tasty, albeit a bit odd. I don't know how to respond to the bubbles. But fun.

We made it home, and after a short bout of video games, crashed for the night. Sleep was a welcome guest. Oh, sleep. Thank you for your wonderfulness.
cptntiller: (Lomo)
Between The Buried And Me

A few months ago, I was thumbing through the tour dates of bands I like, and I stumbled across the fact that Between The Buried And Me was going to be soon playing in Albany. Now I learned about the band from my friend and amazing photographer Angry Alan [link]. Alan lives in Albany, so I contacted him to see if he was going. Not only was he going, but he managed to score us free tickets and photo passes. This was my first time having a photo pass to a concert, and it was pretty effing thrilling. I pretty much lost it.

Between The Buried And Me is a heavy metal band based out of Raleigh, NC. The members of this band are some of the most talented musicians I have encountered. They provide sharp tactful harmonies at a speed that is dizzying to jet fighters. But they aren't simply hard or fast to be hard or fast, they have carefully thought out rhythms, every instrument and vocal working together to make a song that is more like an artistic piece. The lyrics are impacting and powerful, and they slow it down occasionally, showing their diversity and skill as musicians is not limited to one styling. Seeing them live was a rather unbelievable experience.

10 more images under here - including my 3 FAVORITES. )
cptntiller: (DUG)


What a great start to the trip. After lunch with [livejournal.com profile] bix02138 I bolted to my car and got on 90, where I rocked my way to Albany. I had my travel buddy, Terry in the car, with instructions and the desire to take photos of him wherever I went. For this I used my schfancy cell phones flickr connectivity. Introducing Terry:
terry, my traveling terrier companion

The ride to Albany was uneventful, only a few hours, and 90 through beautiful western mass and upstate new york the entire way. I did pass a rather amusing completely unmarked van spouting political advice. Well. I found it amusing anyway- I get all my opinions from the backs of unmarked vans.

I was welcomed into Jim and Alan's home, and after some chatting, we got tasty dinner at a delicious asian restaurant whose name I don't remember. I had a noodle dish which I quite enjoy, and was encouraged to try the [quite delicious] monkey roll. Om nom nom. Afterwards, Jim settled in at home, and Alan and I bounced into his jeep to roll down to Northern Lights for a Between The Buried and Me concert [photos coming in a post literally seconds after this]. Northern Lights is an interesting venue - it is in an abandoned storefront of a strip mall. Quite possibly the best use for that space I've ever seen. The ambience is just right, and it works well for both concerts I've seen there.

Alan knows the lighting designer for the show, and managed to get us photo passes, something which fulfills one of my 101's, and which I've always wanted. I was thoroughly excited. When we walked through the door, the woman working informed us we didn't have them. It was heavily disheartening, until after confirming with his source we walked back and asked again- this time she noticed the "1"'s she had glazed over before and apologetically gave us our passes. I was glowing.

The opening bands finished up and we walked to the side of the stage [there was no room between the barricade and the stage]. And in what felt like seconds, Between the Buried and Me was on the stage and my face was being melted away with awesome. They are an amazing group of artists, and they SHOW it live. Just as strong as on any album. Unbelievable, really. And having a photo pass was icing. I shot through the entire thing, and think I got some pretty good results [like I said. post in literally seconds. It's all ready to go.]

We got home around 12:30 and chatted with Jim some more, then a bit of late night TV - watching Groundhog Day. Around 2:00 I declared myself dead, knowing I needed to wake up at 7:20 or so the next morning to get out at 8:00 am for my drive to Chicago.

A wonderful stay in Albany, indeed. Great great people.
cptntiller: (Baloo!)
Hey Interwebs !

So. Big news. Two weeks ago tomorrow I gave my two weeks notice. As many who have gotten to hear me bitch in real life know, this is exciting. I am not in love with my current job. Equally exciting is the fact that I will be, on February 16th, returning to my former position at CIDC in Cambridge. I was laid off from there March 31st, got this job May 7th, and have been missing them ever since. Long story short I was told if I wanted to go back I'd be able to. I did, and now I am! Hooray!

And now you're thinking. Todd! There are two whole weeks plus a few random days in between January 27th and February 16th! What are you going to do with that stretch of time? Hopefully something reckless and awesome?

YES, Interwebs ! I AM doing something reckless and Awesome. Introducing the Tour de THP '10!

Yes ! in that time period I am drivin' all aboot the U.S. in the fashion shown above, on the following schedule based on where I will be on which night:
  • 29: Albany
  • 30, 31: Chicago
  • 1, 2: St. Louis
  • 3: Dallas
  • 4: Austin
  • 5: San Antonio
  • 6, 7: New Orleans
  • 8: Atlanta
  • 9: Raleigh / Durham, N.C.
  • 10: Washington, D.C.
  • 11: Baltimore
  • 12: Philadelphia, PA
  • 13: NYC ?Still in decision mode?

I am looking forward to meeting / Re-meeting a bunch of lj folks along the way. It should be awesome. I know the schedule's aggressive - but so am I. Well. No. That's not true. But I am enthusiastic and determined!

I'm going to connect my high-falutin' phone to my flickr account over this time and post the occasional from - the-road photo and video. I may upload a photo or two from my real camera, but most likely that will wait 'til I return.

If you think I'm so excited I am doing a total dance right now. You are absolutely correct. This is three bits of effing awesome news.

Lock and load, LJ. Get ready, country.


cptntiller: (Default)

June 2015

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