Monthly Archives: September 2012

Test Driving a Mustang… why not?

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Labor Day, Monday 03SEP12

 

I want a Mustang.

I’ve wanted one since I rented one off Hertz for the roadtrip through the southwest, back in 2011. I had a blast tearing through the open desert with it, and now that I’m back in the States and done with traveling for at least a bit of time, I want to be able to tear through the world like that every day.

But, I don’t have a job yet.

And, unfortunately, I’m no gullible enough to get one of the ludicrous payment plan deals that the dealerships offer me.

So whats a greedy little climber like myself to do? Test drive one, of course.

And so, I found myself outside the only dealership within 75miles that had almost exactly what I wanted. A 2007 GT Premium, convertible with a manual transmission. Seriously – why would you ever buy a muscle car with an automatic gearbox? I mean, seriously.

We chatted with the dealer for a bit, he ran my license (clear, I’ll have you know), and then left for a bit to pull it up. He even parked it right in the bay, so we wouldn’t have to go outside. Though we were about to get into a convertible, so I don’t really know why he thought we wouldn’t want to be outside.

But anyways, we were on the road. I had spent a few minutes playing around with the options (you’d be surprised how small of a blind-stop it has with the top up), but I could only take a little while of that. I needed to hear the engine roar.

I’ve driven V8’s before. Hell, I think I actually drove a V10 at one point. But none of those have been in a sports car, and none of them have packed quite the kick that this did. I brought us to a near-stop one the on-ramp of the highway, and floored it.

And was melted back into the seat. Seriously, I was a bit concerned for my bone structure… or would have been if I wasn’t too busy grinning like a maniac.

For the next 3 gallons (I didn’t keep track of time, but did watch the fuel gauge) we tore up and down the Mass Pike. I never topped the speed out, since the dealer was in the car, but I did merge a bit quicker than I usually would, and I definitely took the turn for the off-ramp way quicker than the highway administration intended it to be taken.

Honestly, I had a blast. I had to spend almost an hour afterward listening to the dealers sales pitch (not a bad one, to be honest), before I headed back home.

Now, some people would say this is silly.

Some people would say it’s just hurting yourself, by playing with something you can’t actually have.

But to those people, I laugh.

This wasn’t to torture myself, nor was it just so I could “feel rich”. This was to whet my appetite. I will have an awesome job soon. And why I do, I will get the car of my dreams. This was simply a quick reminder of what the future holds for me.

Biking the Minuteman trail

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Sunday – 02SEP12

 

The Minuteman trail is a long bike path that runs from a bit past Hanscom Air Force Base in Lexington all the way into Cambridge, terminating at a new path that goes from Alewife into the heart of the city. I’d biked part of it once before, back in High school, but when Mike asked if I wanted to do the whole thing in a go… I jumped on the chance.

I haven’t gotten to do a solidly long bike ride since the Midnight Marathon weekend, where I churned out a solid 65+ miles over the course of 36 hours. It had been amazing, but left me sore for days on end… and between this lazy Sunday at that weekend, I had barely done any biking at all.

But I felt solid – Biking is one of my two biggest things (second to Rock Climbing, and a bit above backpacking), so there was no way I was going to let a wee little ride of twenty-something miles intimidate me.

But as we worked our way into the tenth mile… Yeah, I felt amazing actually. We’d been keeping a solid pace – not too fast, but not lazy either. Just slow enough that our headlights were able to keep the path in front of us safely lit. A downside of starting into the ride right as the sun was starting to set.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why we waited so long to start the actual ride… maybe it was lazy, or just slow-Sunday-syndrome, but either way we hadn’t actually left Davis Square until nearly 19:00. And so, our most useful piece of gear quickly became the headlights on our bikes – it was far too dark to ride unlit, and the moon wasn’t nearly full enough to light our path through the dense trees overhead.

But even without the moon, the night was perfect. If you talk to anyone in New England, they’ll say that they either love or hate the Winter/Summer… but everyone that I’ve met has agreed on the perfection of Autumn in New England. It’s a bit cold, but just warm enough that you want to be outside… and cold enough that a hot coffee really makes everything better. The skies are clear, and the nights have a crispness to them that just makes you feel alive – makes you feel like you need to go out and live. It’s amazing, and that starlit night was the perfect example.

But it was pitch black out.

So when my light died out, we knew we were in a bit of a pickle. Mike had his own, of course, but it’s surprisingly difficult to ride without your own light, especially when we’d usually take slightly different paths around the street crossings and overpasses. I stuck with Mike like glue though, and so we found ourselves back at a restaurant called the Yangzee River before too long.

We’d passed by it on our way outbound (we turned around a few miles into Concord) but right about now it looked perfect. The light beckoned us inside, to the warmth and the coffee and the massive buffet of food.

And it beckoned just in time too – we walked in right about 20:45, exactly 15min before they closed off the buffet and started closing down the kitchen. Technically they were open until 21:30 though, to fill delivery orders, so we were able to sit down and I started helping myself to a rather large helping of General Tso’s chicken and Mongolian Beef.

We stayed as late as was polite, leaving just after they officially closed for the night. The way back was taken a bit slower, thanks to the food in our bellies, and we stopped off for a bit to stretch out our new cramps at a small pond in Arlington called Spy Pond. It was amazing, and we briefly debated hauling in the Kayak for a bit of midnight-exploration, but decided against the thought – neither of us knew the legaleze for kayaking in a semi-public pond at midnight, and neither of us were really bored with our jobs enough to risk getting arrested just yet.

So, we powered home, through the moonless sky, into the heart of Cambridge.

Seeing Sublime

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20AUG12

 

I love going to shows – even if I don’t really know the band too well, the energy of a concert is always infectious. People rocking out to their favorite band exude an energy… It’s really unlike any other, and it’s completely infectious. I love it.

So when Mike asked me if I wanted a spare ticket to see Sublime, I was in. At the time I honestly didn’t even remember who Sublime was, but after a quick peruse through my iPod I was up to speed, remembering some of their more popular songs and getting myself amped up to head over to the Pavilion on Boston Harbor to see them.

But, as is the usual with trips, the journey to the concert turned out to be as much of an adventure as the actual concert itself. I had left work a bit early, and left my car at Mikes apartment in favor of riding my bike through the city to the Bank of America Pavilion where the concert was being held.

But, I had neglected to write down directions. As the egotistical Bostonian that I am I thought that I knew the city well enough to make my way over without too much difficulty. An assumption that, while not completely wrong, was a bit farther from correct than I would have hoped.

My first mistake was taking the side streets, versus braving the traffic of the major roads. The problem was that I didn’t actually know the side streets and instead relied on my sense of direction to guide me. Which would have worked well, if Boston’s streets follow any discernible pattern. But they don’t, so while I knew which way I wanted to go, I couldn’t find a way to actually go there.

I was making fairly solid progress regardless though, and had stopped in for a bite of dinner when I realized my first major mistake – I had left the ticket back in my car.

So I finished up my Chinese (yay cheap Chinese takeout!), saddled back up, and biked back to Mikes… while favoring the main streets this time. After some frantic searching of my car (read: it took 20min of tearing the entire car apart to find the dang things) I finally had the tickets securely stuffed in my wallet, and was back on the bike heading back towards the Pavilion.

This time, I took the boring way – directly through the highway into Boston. It was a bit more hair-raising, thanks to the 50 mph speed limit, but the rear blinker on my bike and a years worth of commuting gave me the edge I needed to pull on ahead of the cars and make it safely to the concert in record time. Google said 45min? I did that in 30. Aww yeah.

The concert itself, at least until Sublime came on, was rather boring to be honest. Cypress Hill was playing when I arrived (a bit late, after spending a good 20min drooling near a Ferrari 458), but I honestly spent most of the time just relaxing and trying to tune them out. I mean, They have some cool songs… but when they’re bragging about being “the Highest men on earth” and then rapping about murdering people… I feel that they’re a bit confused about what “being high” actually means.

But Sublime did finally come on, right about when Mike finally showed up, incidentally. And when they came on… well, basically they were amazing. Guys who obviously enjoyed what they were doing, jamming out on stage and seeming to play songs at random. Obviously they had a set list, but… if you let yourself go for a bit you could easily imagine that they were just kicking it somewhere and playing whatever came to mind at the time.

We’d spent the first half of the set chilling at our table and listening to the tunes, but Mike was starting to get restless, and I tended to agree – it was time to head down and try to sneak into the pit.

We made it most of the way, and ended up rocking out in one of the aisles about half-way into the tent itself. We just chilled for a bit, but then found ourselves pulled into an impromptu jam-circle full of very brightly-colored people dancing around. Glowsticks and bandanas were everywhere, so we felt right at home rocking out… albeit in a very chilled way.

The show lasted until sometime around 23:00 or so, through two encores and a whole lot of shouting done by yours truly. An upside of being the former Shofar (a horn used in the Jewish High Holidays) player for our temple is that I have a rather stellar ability to project my voice… and to howl loudly when a band is pretending that there isn’t an encore 🙂

Afterwards Mike and I biked back to his place via one of the trans-Cambridge bike paths. It was chill, but soon enough we were back at the parking lot outside his place. So I said my goodbyes, re-packed my car, jumped in, and started chewing through the miles back to Medway.