SATURDAY, 27 JANUARY9:17 am: After a brief stop back at Submarine Base New London for some last-minute supplies, we're off and running. Despite two recently developed problems with the Minivan o' War - the driver's side door doesn't open from the inside, and an off-and-on issue with the (supposedly disconnected) alarm that actually prevented the van from starting on Wednesday - she runs smoothly through the entire trip. The Coca-Cola was flowing in significant quantity throughout - I've been up since about 11 pm the previous night.
10:50 am: I reach the Forest Hills section of Boston, after nearly missing the exit off I-95; I swear I saw no sign until I was right on top of it. I overshoot the Forest Hills "T" stop on my first try, and park the car to search for lunch and a bathroom. My first attempt, a pizza place, had no bathroom, and as I would later find out, it was probably a good thing that I not eat that particular fare. I finally find a Dunkin' Donuts, and decide that my lunch would indeed be donuts, consumed as I read that day's Boston Globe. I also make my first call to Ryan in this interval, serenading him with the words, "I'm in Boston, where the hell are you?"
11:40 am: I park the car in a lot next to the "T" station. Despite the sign clearly stating that overnight parking was prohibited, I was assured by the attendant that a single night would not be a problem. I was very thankful that I would not be taking my car anywhere near the center of Boston.
12:05 pm: Two stops north on the Orange Line, followed by a brief walk, puts me on Germania Street in Jamaica Plain, home of the Boston Beer Company - aka the makers of the Samuel Adams brands. I overheard my friend Brooks mention this at work on Thursday morning, and it immediately occurred to me that this would be a great way to kill the three hours before my friends arrived. I got to learn about the Samuel Adams brands, and brewing and beer in general, and most importantly, got free tastes of three different Sam varieties. The one thing that sucked was having my cell phone ring at 1:00 - right in the middle of the tour. Ryan was calling me back, and I hadn't silenced it. I enjoyed the beer - so much so that I drink the Boston Lager throughout the weekend, and buy a twelve pack of them upon returning. In fact, I'm downing the last of those twelve right now. Following purchases of merchandise from the brewery's gift shop, I take the Orange Line back to Forest Hills.
2:20 pm: I get my packed things from the car and re-board the Orange Line, taking it to New England Medical Center. At this point, I dismount, thinking that a transfer to the Silver Line - and then the Green - was in order. There was a problem: I didn't realize that the Silver Line is a bus, and would require another fare, plus another for the Green Line. I thus elect to hunt for the hotel on foot. I walk in what I think was the right direction - briefly ducking into a McDonalds for a pit stop - and my intuition turns out to be dead-on; a street sign with the words "Park Plaza" appears before me.
3:00 pm: I check into the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, with Ryan and Dave calling me again just as I arrived. After I get settled, I return to the lobby, and finally meet the other two triplets in crime for the remainder of the weekend. The boys settle their things, and we get our tourist on.
3:40 pm: We begin our walk westward on Boylston Street, ultimately heading toward Fenway Park (on my insistence). We traverse the Public Garden in Boston Common, and even walk on the ice in the Garden's lake. Along the way, we also stop at First Act, a specialty guitar shop from which many well known bands have purchased. When we reach Fenway, I get some pictures in front of the old historic yard, but just as I'm about to take a shot of the famous Citgo sign, my camera's batteries die! Bad times. Fortunately, Ryan got the shot for me. We then walk back eastward on Commonwealth Avenue, interrupting the drive towards dinner with a Ryan-suggested stop at...
5:00 pm: ...Newbury Comics. I didn't think I was going to like the place, but I end up buying some stuff, including a "Jon Stewart for President '08" bumper sticker. After we leave, Ryan informs me that the cashier was "vibing me." I had no clue - I thought her comment that Stewart would easily win the 2008 election (if he were to run) was just idle chitchat. Yet more proof that I don't have the first inkling about women, and never may.
5:45 pm: We commence dinner at Vinny T's on Boylston, another Ryan suggestion. The portions were gigantic; I don't even come close to finishing my chicken parmigiana, which was quite delicious. It was made even better by Ryan picking up the tab.
7:30 pm: We return to the hotel to regroup and prepare for the evening, and the to-be-mentioned centerpiece of the trip. Dave hooks his computer up to the television and pops in some Futurama, I call my brother and then shower, and Ryan showers while I change into my service dress blues. I got to experience firsthand one of Ryan's legendary lengthy showers - at about half an hour, this particular one was on the shorter side.
9:25 pm: We leave the hotel and board the eastbound Green Line to Government Center, and following a seemingly interminable wait, take an eastbound Blue Line to the Aquarium stop, close enough to Quincy Market for us. After the short walk, we find...
9:50 pm: Ned Devine's, inside of which is Parris, our destination for the evening. The wait outside is short, but once inside the building, there's a much longer wait to get upstairs. But it's worth it, because as we enter Parris (nearly leaving Dave behind), I tell my friends, "Gentlemen, I give you..."
10:25 pm: "...Kristen and the Noise."
The band is in the middle of the first set as we enter, and we settle in at the back of the crowd as Dave buys me a drink. Both Ryan and Dave give their approval in short order.
11:00 pm: I've already downed three beers and am going for a fourth; I check my watch and realize I'm drinking at warp speed. The fourth beer would end up being my last one of the night. I make my way to the front to fully and properly enjoy K&TN.
11:20 pm, roughly: Kristen and the Noise take the stage for their second set. Dave and Ryan are still at the back - a grievous error on their part. At two separate points during the set, girls ask me for my hat (which, being indoors, was not upon my head). I immediately produce it, and fun was had. Late in the second set, a girl takes my hand, and dances with me for about thirty seconds. She introduces herself as Katie, and mentions her unfamiliarity with K&TN - at close range, it being very loud on the floor. In retrospect, at this point, I should have offered to go to a part of the club where it would be a little quieter. But remember - this is Petty Officer Carberry we're talking about here. ZERO game whatsoever. And sure enough, five seconds later, one of the male friends she came with whisks Katie away, and the opportunity is lost.
12:30 am: Ryan and Dave depart the club, as Dave had been hit on - by a guy. Bad, bad times. Since we all had keys to the hotel room, I stay behind for the band's third set.
12:50 am: The third set commences. A few songs into it, the microphones malfunction. The DJ spins Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop," to which Kristen improvises nicely. The microphones are recovered in short order, and the set resumes.
1:15 am: Kristen informs the crowd that the coat check is closing. I make my way over there, only to be pulled back to the stage a few minutes later when they break out "Your Love" by The Outfield (you know, the song that begins "Josie's on a vacation far away, come around and talk it over..."). As the night's performance closes with Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me," I am the subject of a near-fight at the coat check. One guy, seeing the uniform, tries to get me to the front of the line; but another guy, in front of me, would have no part of it. The two nearly came to blows; I try to reassure everybody that it wasn't a big deal, and certainly not worth throwing down over.
1:35 am: The lights come up, and I make my way to the stage to finally meet Kristen (this being my sixth K&TN show). The first thing I say to her is "Hey, don't we have another two hours? Oh wait, yeah, we're not on Long Island." (Boston's last call is 2 am, vice 4 am in most of New York State.) Seeing that there were no potential leads in the crowd, I elect to exit - and then the "fun" truly begins.
1:45 am: Somewhere in the back of my head, I know the T stopped running fairly early, yet I was still unprepared for it when I reach the Blue Line's Aquarium stop and found the doors shuttered. At the juncture, my stubborn side kicks in, and I decide not to pay a Boston cab driver - I elected to walk back to the hotel...in a light snowfall. I mean, come on! What kind of a city has a subway that closes up before the bars do? When I reach Scollay Square (aka Government Center), I know I'm walking in the right direction. I keep walking in the right direction until I reach Massachusetts General Hospital, at which point, not being sure of my location, I whip out my map of the T subway system, and decide I needed to proceed south. I walk through Back Bay and Beacon Hill, and as I near Boylston Street, two young women, obviously drunk, notice my uniform. A brief exchange identifies them as Tiffany and Julia, but at that point, I was much more interested in getting to the Park Plaza and climbing into a warm bed - with or without female companionship.
2:40 am: I reach the Park Plaza, and after some issues with the elevator, get to my room about five minutes later. Ryan is sound asleep; Dave, however, is still awake, and he tells me about the guy that hit on him, and we compare notes on the show. I myself drop out about twenty minutes later.
SUNDAY, 28 JANUARY10:20 am: I awake, followed by Ryan about five minutes later. He showers up and I pack. After continually turning on the lights, Dave wakes up about 10:40. As he showers, Ryan and I decide to skip the USS Constitution due to time constraints, and instead head to the Prudential Center and do the Skywalk.
11:50 am: Lunch at the Prudential Center's food court. I ask Ryan for his true, unvarnished opinion of the previous night's show - and find he really did enjoy it.
12:30 pm: We take the elevator to the Prudential's 50th floor to visit the Skywalk Observatory. I get both some spectacular views and some spectacular shots.
1:30 pm: We return to the Park Plaza to pick up our bags and part ways. Ryan left his car in the valet, and he remains behind to pick it up so he could shuttle Dave out to see his family. I, on the other hand, head back to the T - with the hope that my car doesn't have any sort of citation on it.
2:20 pm: Green Line to Government Center, one stop east on the Blue Line to State Street, and then all the way down the Orange Line to Forest Hills, and I'm back at my car. And as promised, there isn't a ticket on it. I check my map, and then call my friend Kenny, who I promised to pick up on my way back so he could take his van off of Submarine Base. However, since he's in the process of moving, he elects to wait a few days to deal with his van, which restored my original route down I-95 back to Groton.
2:33 pm: I depart Forest Hills, and it takes seemingly forever to get down Washington Street and VFW Parkway back to I-95. But I do, at which point I crank the tunes.
4:20 pm: Final arrival, Naval Submarine Base, Groton, CT. I'm back in plenty of time for dinner, and also to pick up those twelve bottles of Sam Adams Boston Lager from the base package store - the only place in southeastern Connecticut where I can buy alcohol on a Sunday.
THE AFTERMATHI drink ten of those twelve Boston Lagers Sunday night; I refund probably three or four of them near midnight. I'm very fortunate to make it to work on time and in reasonably good condition Monday morning. On Sunday night, I certainly didn't feel like going to Mohegan Sun; but I went tonight, and won another $330. That puts me at an astonishing plus-$1,515 for the month.
We are about to shoot our very radioactive stuff overboard, and are going to twelve-hour shift work for this. I'm on the night shift, and we'll be in this configuration for about two weeks.
And upon further review, I have returned to a well-heeled previous state - I'm not re-enlisting. More to follow on that, but not right now.
All the pictures from the weekend are on my newly created Photobucket.