First of all, thanks to cuplix (Patterson, my co-worker and friend) for the gift of "The Mighty Wind" on DVD...
This morning, pabsungenis (my partner of nearly eleven years) and I got up early. He finished work on his show ("The Pab Sungenis Project"), which he produces all on his computer, while I went downstairs and watched some stuff that had piled up on the TiVo.
Once he'd finished his show, we headed out, shipped his show (which was burned onto CDs) at the local UPS depot (to his affiliates). If you go to the website for his show (click the link above), you can listen to streams of recent shows. If you would like to hear his show on your local station, download a copy of this PDF of Pab's promo kit, print it out and mail it to your favorite radio stations!
When we were on the road, I settled down to reading my comics and the latest issue of Weird NJ magazine. Before I knew it, we were out of New Jersey and into Delaware and then Maryland. Paul's shortcut really does work to get to the Delaware Memorial Bridge faster than the two old ways that I knew (Route 49 a/o Route 40). We stopped at "Maryland House" (a huge highway rest stop) on i-95 and got the breakfast buffet at the Bob's Big Boy. I ate at least two plates worth of bacon and eggs (had cheese and salsa on my second helping of eggs), two biscuits, two mini blueberry muffins (that were out of this world) and one plate of mini pancakes (I could have lived without them).
We soon arrived in Baltimore at the Inner Harbor, found a parking garage with a bridge access across the street to the Harbor Place mall and walked to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, arriving just in time for the next dolphin show, which was about to start. There is construction being done on the building which looks to double the size of the building and the attractions with an Australian Reef. Construction is expected to be completed in 2005. Paul and I watched a 3D computerized rendering of the new facilities and they should be breathtaking!
The dolphins were fun, the fish were beautiful, there was a new temporary exhibit on seahorses that was just a treat for the eye (especially the "leafy" seadragon, which looked like living parsley).
I hightailed it through the African Rain Forest since there are birds flying freely in there...I'm deathly afraid of them...
We then headed into the "Power Plant" (which used to REALLY be the power plant, and was once even an indoor amusement park owned by Six Flags, but now housed stores and restaurants). We went into Barnes and Noble, where Paul bought a Star Trek novel and bought me American Splendor, written by Harvey Pekar (this is the dual reprint of the first two collections of the series of the same name, the basis for the recent independent film). I've had some of the later comics, having started with a book called Our Cancer Year, written by Harvey Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner.
After walking through the three little malls there at Harbor Place, we settled on eating at the Cheesecake Factory (which is funny, because months before I'd suggested we go to King of Prussia Mall and eat at this same restaurant for my birthday...before I decided I'd really wanted to go to the aquarium again). I ordered a Mojito (since I felt it was time to finally see what I'd been missing when the Calendo sisters (my friends from my original "Rocky Horror" cast whom I go out to eat with once a month) rave about them all the time. Every time we go to a restaurant, it seems, Dawn will inevitably order a mojito and it will be good but "not as good as the one at Cheesecake Factory"
...I think one of three things: 1) it was the first mojito they ever had and therefore maybe their tastebuds welcomed it with open arms. 2). This was a larger glass than we've gotten elsewhere. 3). This one had maybe a little more mint and less lime than some of the other ones I've tried with them (I do like this drink, I do like lime, but I think the main feature of the drink is the mixture of the lime WITH THE MINT...I also think they get better after a little stirring and allowing the mint to settle into the liquid (there are actual sprigs in the drink)).
With that, I ordered the Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps, thinking it was only an appetizer and would therefore, hopefully, leave me room for cheesecake. However, the portions here are quite large (the wraps come with leafs of crisp lettuce with which to make sort of a taco with Thai/peanut crusted Chicken, carrots, cucumber salad, bean sprouts, thai noodles (coconut flavored...the only thing I didn't really like) and three kinds of sauce (also sprigs of cilantro).
Paul got the popcorn shrimp, which was served with cocktail sauce (which he doesn't really like) and a roumallade (sp?). He got ketchup to go back and forth 'tween that and the roumallade.
We enjoyed our meal and the view of the table next to us. Two HOT guys. One was a little hotter than the other. He was a bit more rugged looking with nice furry forearms. When I caught a piece of their conversation here and there, I kind of got the feeling that they were a gay couple and that this was one of their first dates (they were asking each other about schooling, parents, religion and other early "get to know you" type stuff). I also saw a waiter there who looked like our friend, Matt O'Neill (who played the son, Jimmy, in "On Tidy Endings", which I directed this past spring). This guy looked like Matt will very likely look in about ten years...if he's smart and starts hitting the gym while he's still young to maintain his looks.
We made it back to the parking garage with barely a minute to spare and got out before the price was going to rise from $12.00 for five hours to $17.00 for 12 hours max. We drove a little bit around the city while maneuvering around to get back on I-95 and head home.
I napped a bit through Maryland on the way back and took over the driving at "Chesepeake House" (the next stop AFTER "Maryland House" on the way back) after taking a potty break.
We were home roughly at 7:30pm and I websurfed and watched television for the rest of the night. That's how I spent my 36th birthday.
Everyone send best wishes to kevinduran, who is recouperating (sp?) from surgery on his shoulder! Kevin, I hope that the positive energy I've been beaming to you is working. I've been thinking about you through the day...