How I spent April

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by violist, Jun 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Very quick security at 9. After the cancer machine, though,
    I was subjected to a secondary that consisted of a bit of
    unexpected rough nipple play, speedy but slightly unpleasant.
    It was a young fellow with a hairnet in the farthest right
    lane, if you're interested in being handled in this way.

    I hurried to the gate to see if I could get onto the earlier
    flight (for a couple more beers at the club), but before me
    I heard the engines rev and saw the plane head away from
    the door, about 7 minutes early. No biggie, I'd be drinking
    enough beers in any case.

    After all that hustle, I felt rather peckish, or my blood
    pressure meds had kicked in, or something, so went to the
    Manchu What, where the spicy tofu is generally edible; it
    was off, and the other offerings seemed unattractive. My
    next choice was a slice of greasy doughy pepperoni pizza at
    Mamma Ilardo's next door, but the place is shuttered! which
    shows at least a little good taste on the part of the
    customers at BWI airport. I thought of doing the Airspace
    lounge and getting a sandwich and the wi-fi, but there
    wasn't time to fully take advantage of it. McDonald's was
    still serving breakfast at extortionate prices, so I
    retraced to the Asian place. General's chicken looked
    bizarrely glazy, and the sesame chicken didn't look quite so
    sticky, so I went for that. Turns out it too was coated in
    sugar syrup polluted by almost no flavoring at all - and so
    I was bamboozled into eating stuff of less food value than
    doughnuts, pretzels, McMuffins, or pretty much anything else
    available. After which I went off to my own little corner
    and minded my own beeswax until boarding, when we all piled
    in and were off right on time.

    US3839 BWI PHL 1108 1149 CRJ 3C

    A jolly FA made the flight more pleasant. We landed on time
    but had a looong wait for our gate-checked bags; one beer
    worth at least. So I had time for two beers only, but as I
    am known at the club, they were the 20-ozers; there was a
    little tardiness boarding the next flight as a result.

    US634 PHL B0S 1415 1539 E90 4F

    A really puny and pathetic bag of crunchy salty snacks,
    which I passed on.

    Took care of my biz in Boston but couldn't get out until
    next day. The Airport Four Points was cheap, though, and
    I need as many Sheraton stays as possible to maintain gold
    status, which is supposed to get you next to nothing, but
    sometimes the fancier hotels have been good to me with it.

    The complimentary shuttle goes half-hourly from oh dark
    hundred to noon only; after that it's by pre-arrangement
    only. Make a note of it.
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  2. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    US1908 BOS PHL 0700 0842 320 3A

    We took off 30 min late; after a certain amount of what the
    pilot called "the Philly factor" we landed 50 minutes later
    than expected, but owing to the miracle of schedule padding
    we ended up technically an on-time arrival. Allowing 102
    minutes for a 30 minute flight and all that.

    Aside from when I was wakened by the extremely loud PA, I
    slept through this (apparently relatively bumpy) trip.

    The A club is a shadow of its former self, at least in the
    morning. It used to have a nice clubby aspect and serve
    a decent snack buffet, including soup, but now the nicer
    part is closed off before the afternoon block of
    international flights.

    I got a glass of red wine and made myself a rather nasty
    sangrialike substance with breakfast orange juice. This
    works better at places that offer a cinnamon shaker for
    fancy coffees, which the A club doesn't.

    US4118 PHL IPT 1108 1201 DH8 4A

    A not unpleasant but a little OCD FA who checked people's
    seatbelts multiple times before the flight, most of which
    I slept through but did notice some turbulence as we wung
    our way over central Pennsylvania.

    Annie came screaming in about 30 seconds after I got to the
    curb. Am I late? she said - apparently the status report was
    that we were getting in 20 ahead of schedule (true).

    As there was some issue with Billy and the doctor's office,
    there was no formal lunch - I just played with the cats, had
    some leftovers (Annie is leftover-o-phobic but deigns to
    start collecting a supply shortly before my arrivals).

    Dinner: she had been waylaid by a number of 2+ lb lobsters,
    so that's what I fixed, with garlic bread on the side. I got
    three lobster bodies so abandoned the tail of mine, which
    currently sits in a pool of butter awaiting my return.
    Unfortunately, I've since gotten sick as a canine.

    Annie wanted a scrapple and eggs over easy breakfast, and as
    most of my role here is easing the way for her and Billy,
    that's what came, but they were really late getting up, and
    beforehand I had some leftover beef that had apparently been
    thawed in anticipation of my arrival: promptly got nausea,
    cramps, and yellow nether water. Quite unpleasant, and it
    made my later visit to the Country Store in Pennsdale less
    attractive. The candidates were: the beef; the lobster; the
    sugary mess Chinesoid food at the airport.
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  3. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Syd (mentioned here before) and her friend Dorothy wanted to
    check out the Pennsdale Country Store, which has started
    advertising a new BBQ enterprise; back in the olden days it was
    the place to go for sausages, scrapple, and so on, but now it's
    trying a new line. Funny, as Syd doesn't eat red meat, but
    whatever, it's an outing. We met at this mall where Dorothy
    had had her nails or hair or something done and carpooled it
    the 10 miles down the road. The grills were full ablaze out
    front, and the aromas, normally enticing, got on my nerves
    immediately; when we went in, I ralphed in my mouth with the
    cheese and butcher shop aroma. I did so two more times
    during the trip and thought I'd have to spew out the car
    window once. I am not sure if it was the leftover beef that
    did this or the sesame chicken from the Manchu What or even
    the otherwise quite toothsome lobsters from dinner before;
    inclined to blame the beef, though the sesame chicken was an
    awesomely nasty thing. Dorothy picked up some vegetable mess
    and some salmon cream cheese something; Syd bought pulled
    chicken and, flirting with the guy behind the register, got
    some free turkey jerky (I am not kidding). Annie asked if
    she could see the contents of the smokers, which included
    several racks of ribs, a dozen pork butts, a top round, and
    pay dirt - three tri-tips, of which she said, in the grand
    imperial gesture way, I'll take 'em all. A hundred buckaroos
    of tri-tip, and all I could think of was not barfing. They
    gave us two pounds of smoked beer brats as our lagniappe.

    Syd and Dorothy wanted to go out for lunch, but we begged
    off, and a good thing that turned out to be, as as soon as
    we had gotten back to the house, I was promptly ill in all
    directions. Pity, as some bone-in ribeyes were on tap for
    the evening, and I couldn't partake - had a glass of
    brandy and a Compazine, neither of which did any good,
    followed by an Imodium, which didn't do any good either, and
    now I'm sick out of both ends and hungry to boot. By the way
    I checked out the side effects for Compazine, and listed are
    such interesting phenomena as "widening or narrowing of the
    pupils," blank facial expression, drooling, breast milk
    production, "uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body,"
    "fine, worm-like tongue movements," "seeing everything with
    a brown tint," "decreased sexual ability in men," and
    "erection that lasts for hours." I am planning on going off
    this as soon as possible, especially as it didn't do what it
    was supposed to.

    Later: the only substantial effect was that I slept six
    hours straight in the afternoon and then eight hours
    straight overnight. I'm inclined to think the stuff a
    miracle drug; another Cognac taken between the sleep
    sessions might have abetted things, though. I could
    conceivably become addicted to this regimen so must take
    care not to do it again unless totally desperate.

    Turns out that I didn't miss anything at dinner - Annie
    and Billy postponed the steaks and called out for pizza
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  4. opushomes
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    opushomes Silver Member

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    Very interesting report. Interesting subject matter and more information than really necessary.

    Next time think Cipro. Fast acting and very effective. Available most places other than the U.S. or Canada without a prescription.
  5. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    TMI is my specialty.
  6. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Linda, a former colleague of Annie's, and her husband JJ
    drove up from Washington. JJ was supposed to bring homebrew,
    but it wasn't ready, so I had to make do with Hofbrau dunkel
    - a great tragedy indeed - to go with my brats (one smoked
    from the Country Store, lagniappe from the tri-tip episode;
    one Johnsonville). JJ and I had a heated discussion about
    how to cook brats - my position is split and grill lightly,
    his is a multistage process of parboil "to set the skin,"
    grill whole, then dunk in the Johnsonville hot tub - a
    concoction of stewed onions, beer, and butter -, then split
    before bunning, with a helping of onions and/or sauerkraut
    on top. I deferred to him, as he grew up 6 miles from
    Johnsonville or something like that. What he actually did
    was to grill them quite brown and then serve them on rather
    sturdy hot dog buns, with a slather of my onion and pepper
    An easy meal, much of it premade, but not an easy evening.

    Annie reheated the tri-tips from the country store. She
    wanted to use an electric knife that she'd just gotten. I
    just shrugged. My cutting was at least as good as the
    electric one would have been. One of our rituals is that
    Billy sharpens the knives before my visits (he forgot this
    time, but the knives were plenty sharp). Eleven people
    ate all but a couple pounds, and that was with me not
    participating much - though smoky and tasty, the meat
    had been salted within an inch of its life and was in
    general too done for me: of the three, one was medium-rare
    to medium, one was medium, one was medium-to-medium-well.
    The medium-rare was gone before I was finished carving, so
    I was content with a bunch of fat and a few pot roasty bits.
    By the way, though the product seems pretty good, and the
    business is really rolling in, I predict that this new
    venture at the country store will flame out. Just a feeling.
    It's so alien from what it has traditionally done (been a
    country store) - now they're offering eat-in (in what used
    to be the meat locker!) sandwiches and dinners, free
    delivery within an x mile radius, that sort of thing.

    I was supposed to make German potato salad, but then Annie
    decided that the other Ann liked hers better (it's a mayo
    potato salad with olives and stuff added), and also Billy
    has been getting the greps from bacon. I had a teaspoon of
    hers for politeness' sake. Urp. Mayo.

    Peas - on our trip to Wegmans yesterday, the only must-get
    on the list was frozen peas, without which such a meal
    is not complete. Annie and I had just wrestled our 10 bags
    of groceries into the car when !facepalm (should be palm
    forehead, right) - we'd forgotten the peas. So I went back
    and got a couple pounds.

    Baklava from the same Orthodox church that sells the famed
    pierogies for fundraiser. You know how it's cut into
    diamonds? Annie served squares (double servings for all) -
    I had half of somebody's. I saw a bunch of diamonds go into
    the bin. Annie (who seems to have a weird phobia about
    leftovers and a weird compulsion to give everyone double
    portions - if I managed the food budget, the household
    would eat exactly the same, and the expenditure would be
    40 to 60% less). It was a pretty decent baklava, lots of
    nuts, the pastry fairly flaky. Annie neglected to make
    syrup for it, though, so it was somewhat unsweet, which
    was fine with me.

    Beverages included Kutztown root beer and sarsaparilla,
    less carbonated and thus tasting a bit sweeter than the
    mass-market product; also spicier and rootier, with the
    sarsaparilla having much more of a birchy wintergreeny
    aspect; various kinds of Yuengling as usual; and a case
    of Hofbrauhaus dunkel to make me feel at home.

    Billy gave up early. He is very tired and under the weather.
    Linda and I leaned hard on Annie to contact the hospice
    people again. It's not necessarily that he's going to die
    right away, but if he can taper off gracefully that would
    be great. It could be a year, but I'm thinking more like
    months and fearing more like weeks: and I can't promise to
    be back before July.

    Annie broke down after dinner. Ann, Dan, Linda, and I
    comforted her in turn, Linda and I by having extra
    drinks with her after normal bedtime. So I couldn't
    really sleep this night, oh well.
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  7. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Steve was supposed to invite Linda and JJ and Billy to do
    some shooting at the rod and gun club. Come the day, Billy
    scratched from fatigue, so I saw Linda and JJ off and turned
    my attention to supper. Which had evolved quite a bit from
    its original Eastery plan.

    We had enough pate left over from last night to use as an
    appetizer for our little party, and it had if anything
    improved in flavor.

    There was going to be a ham, but Annie had done two, no,
    three things to render a ham redundant. First, there were
    still a couple pounds of that tri-tip. Second, she'd made
    shiskebabs sometime in the past and had saved the trimmings
    (there were more trimmings than kebab meat) for me to, as
    she said, do my magic on. Third, she'd bought those $20/lb
    lamb racks. About 7 lb of meat for 8 people, and it turned
    out to be just enough, even in the absence of teenagers.

    I'd proposed to make mac'n'cheese, which goes famously well
    with ham, but as that was off, I made a saffron and fruit
    (apricot and raisin) pilaf with brown basmati instead. The
    brownness made it more crunchy than ordinary rice, which I
    didn't like much. It also made it taste like brown rice,
    which I don't like much.

    The tri-tip was sliced thin and served at room temperature.
    No sauce. It was too better than the day before, partially
    because I'd sliced it cold, and the colder, the thinner
    you can slice, unless you're a machine.

    I made a lamb curry out of the trimmings - a big pot full.
    This was sort of between a bhuna (the tomato thing) and a
    vindaloo (vinegar and cloves, also some potatoes) but not
    fatally spicy. Usually I don't keep full track of what I
    do and have to sort of recreate my method if I report a
    recipe. This time I just lined up a bunch of spices (clove,
    coriander seed, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, black pepper,
    red pepper, ginger powder, onions) and went my merry way,
    fueled by a bunch of beers. I could sort of duplicate it
    and reconstruct the recipe that way, I guess.

    The baby lamb racks were smeared with mustard mixed with
    salt and pepper and then packed with a mixture of chopped
    parsley and garlic. They went under the broiler for maybe
    six minutes, until rare rare; then one of them was cooked
    until medium. Then all were carved for lollipops. I was
    surprised to note that all of the extra-rare ones (super
    tender and very garlicky, delicious if I may say so myself)
    went, and some of the mediums were left.

    The veg was asparagus - we'd picked up a couple pounds at
    Weggies before we found out that JJ had brought a pound
    from his garden; so we had plenty of it, stir-fried in
    smoked tri-tip fat.

    More baklava for dessert, of course. It had held up well.

    Annie was only somewhat overwhelmed, partially because Billy
    actually made it pretty much through the meal intact.
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  8. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    US4118 IPT PHL 1221 1319 DH8 4A

    Guess who was on the same flight with me. Syd, on her way to
    Greece. She insisted on getting to the airport 2 hours ahead
    - so instead of having Annie drive us both, she got someone
    else to take her. Annie got me to the airport around 1145,
    by which time it had become clear that the weather was being
    uncooperative (high winds). We ended up taking off an hour
    and half late, which meant that Syd had communed with her
    friends at the TSA for something like 3 hours, at an airport
    that consists of one gate, one check-in counter, one snack
    bar, one pair of restrooms, an upstairs restaurant that is
    closed but is occasionally used as a viewing tower where the
    locals come to see the airplane come and go, and two TSA
    facilities that use up as much space and more personnel than
    anything else on the premises. It was a bumpy ride, and we
    didn't gain any time, which means that the choice of the IPT
    staff to put me on a subsequent flight out of Philly was a
    wise one. It was 2:40 by the time I got to the mainline
    terminal, and though my 3216 hadn't gone yet, it's certain
    that my comfy seat up front had. There was a long waiting
    list for first on 1878, but I for some reason jumped to the
    head when I was taken off the previous flight. Turns out
    there were two seats left up front, the second going to the
    consort of a lady who had already scored her upgrade.

    US1878 PHL BOS 1515 1636 E90 4F
    US3216 PHL BOS 1445 1608 E70 3D

    The flight was fine though really windy; the Glenlivet was

    I had (cleverly I thought) booked the Hilton Boston, a
    20-minute walk from my listening post at the music school; I
    was given a corner suite that was rather nicely appointed
    in a 1970s sort of way, with an exceptionally comfy bed.
    I thought about resting a while, but then the gaggle of
    scholarship candidates wouldn't be heard and pronounced
    upon, and I'd feel guilty; plus I'd promised the chair I'd
    make this set of auditions. It was a windy walk, and when I
    went past the Doubletree halfway (available for the same
    price) I began to regret my choice.

    It was a worthwhile session, as we pinpointed some
    candidates of real talent. My disappointment was in not
    having the reinforcement of our other string person, which
    meant that one of the cheap tricks candidates, a violinist,
    got voted into the next round, instead of a pianist whom I
    favored, who relied too much on Debussy, who, I was
    informed, is the choice of C minus students. Let that be a
    lesson to those entering piano competitions: Debussy is
    officially on the shoot list.

    Another of the committee members was taking the T back to
    Cambridge, so walking her to the station and accompanying
    her on the dreaded orange line was my excuse for avoiding
    that wind on the way back.

    Slim pickings on the continental breakfast buffet, and they
    tried to do an upsell to the cooked breakfast; I said that
    I really didn't need more than those slim pickings, which
    slowed the service down considerably, so I had a goodly
    wait for my orange juice refill.
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  9. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Boston to Baltimore the long way (a repositioning run)

    An easy trip, two stops to the airport. PMCO route, so out
    of Terminal A, which is somewhat nicer than Terminal C.
    Reasonably friendly and unobtrusive TSA attention, so hours
    at the club to do e-mail and stuff.

    UA1228 BOS IAH 1258 1613 738 4B

    Pretty good crew. The meal was the choice of chicken calzone
    (not too bad, but very salty chicken) or chicken Caesar;
    tomato bisque, pretty good. Plane smelled like a pizza
    parlor. Oatmeal raisin cookie. Courvoisier x2.

    UA 970 IAH LAS 1750 1914 319 2B Ch9:td:

    An hour at the club, then a quick hustle to the gate, where
    I discovered that there was no crew, and they were
    estimating a 1845 departure, so I went back to the club.
    The agent at the desk decided to call the gate to have them
    give a heads-up when they decided to board, and, uh huh,
    all right, they're boarding now, hurry up. So as soon as I
    got back to the gate, they boarded us, and we sat there for
    an hour. To spite them I kept drinking the excessively
    mediocre Canyon Road Pinot Noir that they offered as a
    consolation prize.

    PMUA plane, channel 9 dead air. Pretty good crew.

    A cheeseburger or a shrimp salad. I said, surprise me! Got
    the burger, not a surprise. It was very much like a Carl's
    Jr. burger, that's to say, filling and not bad though salty
    as anything. Chocolate chip cookie and Courvoisier for

    In order to get from the D gates to the A gates inside
    security, you have to get someone to unlock the door between
    C and D; then it's a byzantine little jaunt through the rest
    of the airport until you finally get to the other end. It's
    a little bit amusing.

    US 390 LAS CLT 2310 0624 321 1A

    Lots of room. I was the last upgrade, owing to problems with
    pushing the tix back and forth between US and UA. Snack basket.

    An hour at the big club. The agent had a hard time with the
    (United Club) card swipe and wouldn't let me in until another
    agent said to do so.

    US 1852 CLT BWI 0800 0927 734 1D

    Slept through catering, which I think wasn't much. Landed
    right on time, which means that I had a few minutes before
    the MTA 201 bus, which is a big boon for me, as it's faster
    and cheaper than the alternatives of Metrobus-Metrorail-
    Metrorail-Metrobus or MARC train-Metrorail-Metrobus.

    Segue to here.
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