Daytripper: Our Saturday in Manhattan

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On Saturday we went to New York City, to celebrate the older boy’s 18th birthday. It was on-again, off-again and I wasn’t sure the trip was actually going to happen until Friday evening. Too much chaos. There’s no planning anymore… gone are the days of the planning.

At the beginning of the week “they” were saying it would be rainy and 55 on Saturday, which didn’t sound very good. But it turned out to be perfection. It was sunny and warm: the first gorgeous day of the year. Stuckes, the ancient god of travel, was cutting us a break.

The older boy’s girlfriend went with us, and we left our car at a Park ‘n’ Ride in beautiful Secaucus, NJ. As soon as we got there a bus pulled up, and we were in a frenzy trying to buy tickets. We miscounted, due to the rush, and when it got to me… we were out of tickets.

The driver sighed with annoyance, but told me to go pay and he’d wait for me. And as soon as I stepped off the bus he closed the door and drove off. WTF??

Well, I guess I’ll be taking the next bus, I thought. So I leisurely bought myself a ticket, and went back outside. And the bus was stopped, about a football field away. The driver stepped off and yelled, “You coming, or not?!” And I had to jog a great distance, for reasons unknown. What was with this guy? I certainly hope he was enjoying himself.

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Toney informed me the birthday boy wanted to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. “What?!” I whisper-shouted. “It’s like Friday’s with guitars. In fact, I think Friday’s has guitars.”

“Well, that’s where he wants to go,” she said, drawing the negotiations to a close.

They told us it would be an hour wait, which made me grind my molars for a couple of seconds. But whatever. I’ve gotten pretty good at rolling with it. Much better than I was ten years ago. The place was pandemonium, and we found a semi-quiet spot to hole up for sixty minutes.

The kids left and wandered around Times Square for a while. And Toney and I chatted with a Hard Rock employee, who was very friendly. She lives in Queens, ya know, and commutes every day.

The meal was fine, but WAAAAY over-priced. I think a little poop came out when I saw the check. Sweet sainted mother of Harold Hecuba! But again… just roll with it.

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Something kinda funny happened there, though. Toney told our cool-cat waiter that the boy was having a birthday, and he said, “Great! We’ll hook him up with a free dessert later. We don’t do all that embarrassing stuff here. It’ll be cool.”

And after lunch was finished he brought out a sundae with a candle in it. Then he asked our son to go with him, to “meet a few people.” They walked out into the middle of the floor, and the waiter let out some kind of insane Tarzan yell, and the place went quiet. The music went off, everybody stopped talking, and it was total silence.

“May I have your attention? This is my man’s eighteenth birthday today, and on the count of three I want everybody to wish him a happy birthday!” the waiter hollered, at a stadium volume. Yeah, very subtle.

Then we started walking. We cut through Central Park, which was packed-out. The weather was perfection, and folks were taking advantage of the situation. The older boy and his girlfriend wanted to go the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so we walked all the way up there — which was about two miles.

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And then Toney, the younger boy, and I kept walking. We ended up inside some crazy candy store, called Dylan’s Candy Bar. Upstairs there is an actual bar, and Toney had a Pop Rocks martini. I just had a bowl of ice cream, and a gallon of water. We still had a shitload o’ walking to do, and I had no desire for booze.

We were on the Upper East Side, home of the zillionaires. Very fancy, indeed. We just wandered around, went into some stores, etc. No plan, no hurry. But plenty of walking.

We gave the museum-goers a three hour window, and once that closed they called and we told them where to meet us. NYC feels so safe, and easy to navigate now. I first went there in 1978, or thereabouts, and it was a crime-ridden shithole. Or, that’s what it felt like to me, anyway. Not anymore. I had no qualms whatsoever in letting the boy and his girl walk to the Central Park bench we’d staked out. It was twenty blocks or so.

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It was getting dark as we made our way back to Port Authority, and the bus to Secaucus. I snapped the photo at the top with my phone, in the middle of Times Square. It almost looks computer generated, but ain’t.

The second photo is our view from inside the Hard Rock Cafe, while we waited, and waited, and waited. Then, of course, Central Park. That’s followed by a rare photo of my son and his girlfriend on a sunny day. And finally, the view from our park bench, as we waited on them to return from the museum. All the photos are clickable, in case you’re interested.

We got home around midnight, and the next morning I felt like I’d been run over by a street sweeper, and dragged for a few blocks. I know we walked ten miles, maybe more. But it was pretty close to perfect: no problems, no stress, great weather…

Some other semi-interesting things happened, too. But I’m out of time here. We’ll catch up next time. How’s that sound?

Have yourselves a great day, my friends!

Now playing in the bunker
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Filed under: Daily

  • Early Porn Nostalgia, and the Internet Has Burned Out My Pleasure Centers!

    hiding somethingToday I saw a headline on Drudge which featured the phrase “lab-grown vaginas,” and I didn’t even bother to click through. It was mildly intriguing, but not enough to make me want to investigate further. It’s amazing how high the bar has been set, in this internet age. Right? A news article about a team of scientists harvesting a fresh crop of vaginas from the vagina vine? Ho-hum. You’re going to have to do better than that.

    Yes, how far we’ve come… When I was in sixth grade or so, a friend of mine spent an enormous amount of time and money at a seedy little carnival in our town, trying to win a deck of playing cards with photos of semi-nude women on them. He finally reached his goal, and the worker was hesitant about handing over the prize to us, because we were… you know, twelve.

    Anger flashed in the eyes of my friend, and he said, “If you don’t give me those cards, I’m going to turn over your fucking trailer.” He meant it, and would have at least tried. The carny could sense that fact too, and relented. “Just don’t get me into trouble,” he muttered.

    The two of us walked about a block, and ripped into that deck. The photos looked like they’d been taken around 1964, and were extremely tame. There was an occasional nipple, and that was about it. But it was super-exciting to us, and we kept giggling like Beavis and Butthead.

    I also got my hands on a catalog of “naughty” novelty items somewhere, and hid it in my room for a couple of years. I don’t think there was any actual nudity inside, but TONS of innuendo. They sold things like swizzle sticks shaped like naked women, and that sort of thing. Heh. I can’t remember where it came from, but felt like a renegade every time I looked at it. And a lot of energy went into hiding it from my mother.

    Later, we graduated to Playboy and Penthouse (and Swank and Oui), and had that stuff hidden all over town. There was so much planning and coordination… It might be why I worked in logistics when I grew up? Hey, I bet that’s it! It never occurred to me until now. I owe it all to porn.

    One day Steve and I found a stash of filthy magazines on my paper route, like nothing we’d ever seen. I think it was foreign, possibly German. There was actual sex going on in some of the photos, and everybody looked like drug addicts. One page featured a close-up of something that resembled a plate of manicotti with Parmesan cheese on top, but was somehow human.

    It was my own personal ‘Nam. Sometimes I still wake up in the middle of the night, screaming in terror.

    In any case, I’ve burned millions of calories through the years securing and hiding forbidden materials. Especially when I was young. And in 1976 I think I would’ve tunneled through a cinderblock wall to read an article about a vagina farm, or whatever. Today? I couldn’t even be bothered to click the link.

    For a Question, I’d like to know about your early porn days, where you hid your stash, where you got it, etc. Also, what tame things passed for “naughty” back then? If you have any good stories to tell on those subjects, please share in the comments section below.

    And have you noticed yourself becoming jaded because of the internet, and finding it more and more difficult to be surprised by things? If a person were teleported from 1975 to today, and plopped in front of a computer – what do you think would happen? Something like this? What are your thoughts? I suspect it would be too much, all at once.

    Thank you guys for contributing to the Surf Report fund, yesterday and today. You’ve already gotten me out of a minor bind, and I appreciate it. I will be thanking each of you individually, but wanted to do it publicly as well. Of course, if you’d like to donate and haven’t, you still can. The Buy Jeff a Beer page never sleeps.

    I hope you have a great weekend. It’s gray and rainy here: perfect!

    See you again soon.

    Now playing in the bunker
    Treat yourself to something cool at Amazon!

    Filed under: Daily

    The State of My Fat Ass: April 2014

    man-frowning (1)Hello Surf Reporters! Today I’m going to interrupt the sporadic, questionable, and inconsistent “comedy,” and bring you up to date on a few things: behind the scenes kinda shit.

    First of all… I don’t do this as much as I used to do, mostly because it makes me sad. But if you ever felt the urge to contribute to the Surf Report fund, today would be a perfect day to indulge your urges.

    I appreciate your support, in any way you offer it. But the cash way actually helps me pay the bills. I make a little money from the site in November and December, because of Christmas shopping at Amazon. But other than that… it’s minimal. So, if you’d like to contribute to the “beer fund” (only a small percentage — no more than 75 — actually goes toward beer), please do so. I’ll be forever grateful.

    Here’s your link. Thank you guys, and sorry to get all NPR on you. But the site costs money to maintain, and I’m not exactly Ted Turner over here. A few things are starting to fall through the cracks.

    And the t-shirts… It’s been a disaster, which I could honestly lay at the sandal-feet of the hippie motherfuckers I was dealing with. At least for a while. I had three different people say they could make the shirts for me, and eventually backed-out. This ordeal dragged out for months, and spawned many sleepless nights, not to mention loose stools.

    It’s the bar scene shirt that’s the problem, with the fish smoking a cig and drinking a beer. As it turns out, it’s super-complicated, and nobody wants to touch it. I shouldn’t have chosen that design, but had no idea. It was a rookie mistake.

    Anyway, it’s gotten to the point where it’s no longer the hippies’ fault. It’s mine. The whole thing was stressing me out so much, I shut down. I didn’t even want to deal with it. I work all the time, have crap coming at me from every direction, and trying to navigate a world of flaky Wavy Gravys was the last thing I wanted to do. So, I just didn’t deal with it.

    I’m sorry about that; it’s inexcusable. But the black shirts are done, and are really nice. The same place swears they can do the complicated one, and will be starting on them soon. I will send both out to you guys ASAP, and will never wade into the murky t-shirt waters again.

    Finally… I had a few setbacks with the book project, and everything is currently on hold. I don’t want to talk too much about it, because there’s still a tiny glimmer of hope. But, in a nutshell, my agent sent the manuscript to several publishers, and we had no offers. A few of them had nice things to say about it, but didn’t bust out the check book.

    It was a disappointment. I’d been working on it, off and on, for a couple of years. Plus, I’d never gotten so far into the process before, and was excited. But, it goes with the territory. Rejection is a HUGE part of writing.

    The project isn’t totally dead, unless I decide to pull the plug. Jenny, my agent, tells me it’s salvageable and I shouldn’t give up. But, I’m discouraged. Over the next few weeks I’ll have to make a decision. It might be time to move on to the next thing.

    And speaking of that… this summer there will be a gigantic change coming to our little world here. A few of you won’t like it at first, but I’m convinced it’ll be a positive, in the long run.

    It’s no secret I’m not as engaged as I used to be, and that bugs me. This past Sunday I sat down with my laptop, and wrote an update the way I used to do it. I spent a couple of hours on the thing, and was laughing to myself as I wrote. It felt like old times, and made me realize how far adrift I am.

    I’ve been toying with a few ideas over the past year or so… and Sunday convinced me it’s time to implement the most radical of them. So, stay tuned for that. You guys will be the first to know, once I’m ready to go with it.

    Thanks for your indulgence today. Once again, here’s the Beer Fund link. And I’m not working tomorrow, so I’ll post a real update Friday afternoon. This thing will only be at the top of the page for a few hours.

    In the meantime, what’s going on in your worlds? Anything new to report? Please bring us up to date in the comments section below.

    Have a great day, my friends!

    Now playing in the bunker
    Treat yourself to something cool at Amazon!

    Filed under: Daily

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    So, who is this guy?

    Thanks for stopping by! My name is Jeff Kay, I was born while JFK was president, and it's all very embarrassing and corny. Today I'm a suburban husband and father, who is sometimes accused of being a bit tightly-wound. The West Virginia Surf Report! is my creative outlet, and insurance policy against completely losing my shit. I hope you'll stick around and participate in the lively community of geniuses and curmudgeons who hang out here every day. I love a full 87% of them! And while you're at it, please follow me at Twitter and Facebook.

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