Family Trip: EMP Museum

The full name of the EMP Museum (Experience Music Project) is a little misleading since it covers the latest in pop culture in general and not just music. Probably why it usually goes by its initials, though there is a cool little music studio on one of the floors where you can actually record your own songs.

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Family Trip 2016: Seattle & Pike Place

Now that we are all in separate states–me in NJ, Justtwomorethings in NY and our parents in OH–it takes a great deal more effort to get together. While we still spend Thanksgiving and Xmas together, we also have been trying to do 1 family trip somewhere for a week during the other 75% of the year.

Last year was Hawaii–this year, we decided to try Seattle.

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Christmas Walks & A Kitty

We went home for Xmas again. Mango was quite excited about it…

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Though less so for the plane ride to get there. I didn’t quite luck out as much as for Thanksgiving, but there weren’t many people on the plane again so the flight attendant let me keep him on the seat next to me at least.

He did settle in quite quickly once we got home, though.

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Home for the Fourth

I went home for the Fourth, packing up the melon for a ride on Ultimate Air Shuttle again (and they are running a BOGO special this summer, so I get a free flight in 2 months, score!). Mango was, to say the least, not a great fan of the experience, but to me it sure beat paying extra for parking, going through the terrible security lines, and having to get up 3 hours earlier than the actual flight time.

Its been about 6 months since I’ve been home, and I think that’s the limit of the kitty memory. Save for Mia. Mango had almost forgotten everything else, but he instantly recognized his little auntie and made a beeline for her furry face–much to Mia’s vocal dismay.

But I did do other stuff besides watch live kitty TV in the house. Every year our hometown shuts down the main road to put on a street fair. Most of it is what you expect from a Midwestern street fair, but its fun and there were some newcomers this year. Also, the fair food–where else are you going to get chips on a stick? Dad also did his awesomely yummy grilling–with an Asian spin, which means thin slices of beef and pork are marinated in soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, oyster sauce, jam and other secret goodness that Dad makes new everytime. This year we also grilled corn and peaches, which took in the smokiness of the meat cooking at the same time to add an extra dimension of deliciousness.

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Roadtrip: Morristown and Surrounding Areas

Justtwomorethings arrived around mid-day on Thursday–and I felt bad about it since I was still at work and she had to spend 5+ hours wandering around doing god-knows what. So I let her pick the dinner place – the somewhat non-sensically named The Office Tavern Grill – and made it my treat.

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Weekend in the City: Tribeca 2

Sorry this is a little late…just to cover off, Justtwomorethings came down for the last weekend of Tribeca–unfortunately, weather wasn’t quite as nice as previous weekend, but it wasn’t snowing so I’ll take it.

We went to this little Thai place by our hotel for dinner. Neither of us had actually been before, but it turned out to be pretty good–I had the softshell crab with papaya salad, and Justtwomorethings had the noodles. The Crab wasn’t quite as good as the one in Hong Kong–It was a little dry, but not greasy, and the papaya salad was the right amount of light sweetness to counterbalance.

The movie–Mojave–was all the way over in Battery Park. Again, I’ll leave the full review to my sister, but it was…weird. And this is the second time I’ve seen Oscar Isaacs abandon an animal, and the third time he’s played a deviant, so…

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The next day we returned to NJ to meet Justtwomorethings’s friend for lunch. We ate at the Committed Pig in Morristown–I actually pass by this place everyday on the way to work, so was intrigued and meaning to stop by. it does do pig products well–my bacon was yummy and so was justtwomorethings’s croque madame (though the latter was too heavy to finish)

Weekend in the City: Tribeca Film Festival

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Spring! And it actually felt and looked it!

Last weekend, Justtwomorethings and I were in the city for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

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I had just spent the last two weekends stressed out over a very important presentation, so I was ready to relax. The films we wanted to see were in the evenings, so that left most of the day free to walk around. Union Square is always a staple, though we resisted buying food at the Farmers Market so we wouldn’t have to carry it around (though I was tempted by the world’s tiniest radishes).

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Random street art (with felt pigeons) is always fun too.

Lunch was at Momofuku. I hadn’t eaten there before, but it’s an NYC attraction. The apple and bacon chutney thing was a little disappointing (decently good, but not a standout) but the Momofuku O.G. bowl and roast duck were very yummy. As was the Thai tea cake, though it could have used a little softening up. The tamarind top layer was nice and bright, balanced out by the smooth almond cheesecake-y base.

Justtwomorethings: Momofuku Ssam Bar.  Apple and bacon kimchi, actually, and the problem was that although the apple slices looked like they’d been kimchi’ed, in reality they didn’t taste the least bit like kimchi spice.  Great idea in theory (spicy heat playing off the sweet apple), poor execution.  And the Thai tea cake was just a little too chilled to sink a spoon into easily.  Roast duck, as always, was delish.

Our evenings, on the other hand, were spent in the theaters. Justtwomorethings is better at film reviews than me, so I’ll leave those to her. But I did get to see 4 famous people during my first TFF though, so that was cool. Alas, I did not get an autograph from any. We were too far away from Katie Holmes and Nadia Comaneci, Amber Heard was swamped, and Christopher Walken booked it to the door 😦

Justtwomorethings: For the record, the only autograph I would have been interested in was Christopher Walken (Nadia Comaneci is cool, but I’m not into gymnastics).

Guam

Entropyenator headed back after Hawaii, but the parents and I had another eight-hour flight to catch, as my cousin decided that Guam was a reasonable place for a wedding.

Guam has its points, but accessible from the U.S. is not one of them (I understand it’s  easier coming from Asia, but not by much).  There’s one flight in and one flight out per day.  Each.  Which means you must get up at awful, awful times in the morning or else.

Anyway, once you get to Guam, you’re on an island that takes approximately half a day to drive around when going an average of 30 mph, with three different branches of the military sectioning off various parts from the general public.  The rest of it consists of one high-end luxury resort town, where the hotels are, smaller government installations and WWII historical stops (every single public bathroom is U.S. Park Service-maintained, and yes, there is still unexploded explosive ordinance lying around), and the odd very neat village.  It’s definitely not economically rich, but I’ve been in areas of the Deep South that have looked dumpier.  Mostly, it kind of reminds me of the non-Rust Belt rural Midwest, places that were never booming so they never ended up with a lot of rotting infrastructure from the glory days.

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The landscape is lowkey beautiful, especially after coming from in-your-face roaring gorgeousness that’s Hawaii.  Nothing showy, but everything is easy on the eyes, and if you drive the highway that goes all the way around the island, you stumble on these little places that are like the fun little hidden spots from your childhood.  Guam has history beyond WWII, too.  There was a Spanish outpost from the conquistador days, which now is just a great view and a couple crumbling stone buildings, and the native islanders used to build their meeting houses on a base of stone towers called lattes, which without the wood around them look like stately monoliths.  And it’s all very casual, no ropes or guards, and you can walk right up and touch the same rocks, and look over the same cliffs.

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But the food, I am sorry to say, is not worth writing about.  Believe me, we went outside of the resort area and tried very, very hard to find something that was not an imported American burger, and…nope.  You just grab a cold drink and drive out and chill.  Food, you’d better wait on that till you get back.