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I Think The Needle’s Stuck

Hey Team,

It’s been a busy few days of travel without a lot of time to squeeze in new experiences. I did, however, get to take part in the longest train ride EVER. I left Massachusetts at noon two days ago and I got into Galva, Il (pop. 2758) last night around 8:30 pm. Roughly 32 hours of travel. I did get two sizable layovers to break up the monotony. PLUS, I got to meet some really cool people on the train.

My first pit stop was in Albany, NY where I had the privilege of being introduced to the bar/restaurant that is used as the pictorial example for the word “dive.”

No joke: The bar tender (I think his name was Skip) turned the TV on with a baseball bat. The weather set the mood too, dark and cloudy with a sultry mugginess in the air. Lightning in the background. Plus a sketchy clientele all combined to make me feel like I was in the white trash version of “The Titty Twister.” (Who can pick out THAT movie reference?) But, I did make it out alive (I guess that makes me Seth.)

That’s when the marathon leg of the train ride started. I More >

Male PMS

Hey Team,

Last night was kind of a rough night. Danielle used to call it “male PMS.” It may not be quite as regular as the chick version, but the results are always strikingly similar.

I wouldn’t exactly call it depression and I wouldn’t exactly call it loneliness…maybe more of a general malaise, or a low-grade frustration with life. It never really makes sense…and it’s rarely attached to any particular cause. But it’s usually characterized by me, in a bad mood, wanting to escape. Unfortunately, I’m kind of in the middle of my most complicated escape attempt to date. So where do I go from there?

In most cases I just want to get away from everything and everyone and do some good solid Goth style brooding (minus the creepy makeup and hair and clothing…and coffee…and clove cigarettes…and bad poetry…and the strange conformity to one given look that goes beyond any conformity that the Abercrombie mob has ever had. But otherwise JUST like that).

And it usually culminates in me getting up suddenly and going for a long, long run, by myself. But with a heavy pack full of tech I’m not very well equipped to go out for a long run these days.

Instead, More >

I Love Couch…Not Lamp

Hey Team,

I have two very important words for you. Couch surfing. Wait…maybe that’s one word. Couchsurfing. Hold on…let’s start over.

Hey Team,

I have one very important web address for you. www.couchsurfing.com. I’m sure you all know about my stubborn insistence on refusing to pay for lodging during my trip (hence the occasional sleeping on park benches). But how do I go about finding lodging when I’m not sleeping at a friend’s house or on a park bench?

Couch Surfing! (Or couchsurfing!)

It’s the coolest thing since liquid nitrogen! Couchsurfing.com is a huge worldwide network of travelers who all like to do things on the cheap and experience new cultures. And it’s absolutely the best way to discover a new city.

Before I left on this trip I was worried that having thoroughly explored California (after a lifetime spent in The Golden State) I’d already seen everything I was likely to encounter in the rest of the country. This was especially worrying when I was on my way from San Francisco to Los Angeles via the Central Valley a week before I left. In other words, I went from one of the world’s most important cultural centers to the second largest city in the country via More >

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Beercast?!

Hey Team,

Here’s the video for the beer tasting in Brookline, MA. You’ll see some honest opinions, a few confused looks and Mike shares the sound of his pants. Enjoy.

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If you can’t see the video on the site click here to go directly to youtube and watch it there.Leave a comment and let me know what you kids think of the video style. Is this the type of thing you’d like to see more of?I’m done.

But you don’t have to be, you could always take a second and…

Don’t let me stop you.

Boston T Parties

Hey Team,

I went up to Boston (again) to celebrate a friend’s Birthday and to try and catch up to an important package…and true to form the city sucked me in again. One day turned into three but it was a great three days so I guess I wont hold it against Boston. Here’s the quick outline.

Friday found me running down the middle of a street with a backpack full of technology and holding a door above my head trying to get to a park before the “Surprise!” portion of a Surprise Party.

Saturday was chock full of one adventure after another. Highlights: I spent several hours at a beer tasting with some of my favorite Bostonians and learned more than I’ll ever be able to remember about New England craft breweries. One thing I won’t forget…Haverhill brews taste like rancid lemonade (just to clarify: that is definitely NOT a compliment).

It was a great time and really well organized. Seventy-five different beers were out and I met a TON of interesting people. There’s a lot of video to go through but hopefully I’ll have another quick and dirty cut up by later tomorrow.

From there I went to “The Aquabats!” concert! They’re a More >

Ins-N-Outs of Providence

Hey Team,

I started my day wandering the streets of Providence, RI without direction. I had a map…but my inadequacies towards directions rendered it fundamentally ineffective. (That sounded kind of hoity-toity…let’s just say I suck at trying to get places.) So, next thing I knew I was in what can only be described as the slums of Providence as I passed one adult movie store after another. My impressions of Rhode Island were definitely spiraling downward and despite my usual tendency to avoid backtracking at all costs I decided to head back the way I had come, towards the only civilization I knew existed.

Once I was back in the “heart” of Providence I started making my way to the nearest geocache to knock out another 1/48th of an objective. On my way I realized my map had fallen out of my back pocket. Despite the fact that it was completely useless in my hands I still felt the need to go back. (I’m prone to extreme guilt when it comes to littering…save the planet, people!)

I made an abrupt about face and for the second time in a day started heading back the way I had come.

“That was a quick turn around,” More >

Amtrak Mathamagicians

Hey Team,

I just renewed my North American Rail Pass and jumped on a train bound for the tiny state of Rhode Island and it occurred to me that even though I’ve been traveling almost entirely by train I’ve yet to talk about those crazy kids at Amtrak.

Let me just start off by saying, “I love traveling by rail.” There. Done. Over with.

Now let me say, “You have to be a freakin’ mathamagician to figure out how they come up with their menu prices!”

Take a look at this handy little snapshot of their drink prices.

If you take a close look you’ll notice that:

1. It costs negative $0.25 to carbonate and put syrup in water. (Soda = $1.25; Bottled Water = $1.50!)

AND

2. There’s an 80% discount on water if you’re willing to let it cool down. (Hot Water = $0.25; Bottled Water = $1.50! Still!) So the energy loss in heating up water costs an additional negative $1.25?!

My brain hurts.

I have a couple more things to say about Amtrak food service. First of all it should be a federal offense to serve a Girl Scout troop Frapachinos and Red Bulls. I HATE horror movies and it’s like watching a low budget Grudge More >

I Don’t Scream, But I Do Cry.

Hey Team,

I’m sad to say I have mixed feelings about yesterday. Yes, I got to cross another one off my list (#48). But at what cost? It seems this trip isn’t just about exploration and good times. It’s also about sacrifice.

Before yesterday I could not have imagined a time or place I could have been more depressed. More importantly, I could NEVER have imagined feeling a sadness that could run so deep. I’ve lived a fairly happy life and I’ve yet to lose a close family member, so up until yesterday when discussions steered toward loss I found myself unable to relate.

Now I know pain.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough R.I.P. You will be missed.

I’m done.

Brett.

Want to help buy my way out of depression?

Seriously, it might take the pain away. You never know ’til you try.


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