All right. So. Most of the summer happened. I'm going to copy paste an email about my vacation and then write some more shit.
Vacation started on Saturday June 25th with a 3 hour drive from Albany to Canandaigua with the nerd children Sadie and Colby. We made it to Barb's house to find Emily and Chris already there and we spent the afternoon mostly playing Superfight. That was the last time I'll be at Barb's house; she's moving to Virginia at the end of the month. Around dinnertime we decided to go get food and get to the venue early, even though we had assigned seats and didn't need to be there super early. I'm glad we did, because it took like 45 minutes to get to the front of the merch table line, and I just barely squeaked into my seat before Andrew McMahon came on stage. So many people in the crowd were teenagers who weren't even born when I started listening to Weezer, I felt really old in that merch line. Andrew was great-- he's always great, I think he is just made out of sunshine-- and he played a brand new song, and if he has new music that means he's working on a new album and I am ALL ABOUT THAT. Panic! came on second, which shouldn't have surprised me because none of their previous setlists had an encore, but I didn't put that together before they took the stage. They were AWESOME, Brendon Urie did backflips twice, I had a sore throat by the end of their set from singing along. I always get a super thrill out of seeing people I've used as faces for my characters in person, and Brendon is the face of one of my main characters in the novel so that was just really exciting. Weezer came on last and despite the fact that I haven't been a super fan of theirs in like ten years I still knew most of the words to all of the songs. And I think Rivers Cuomo is a vampire because he doesn't look much different from how he did in 1997. But it was a REALLY GREAT SHOW and I had a fantastic time with Emily and Sadie and Colby (and Eric, who drove there with us but had lawn seats so he wasn't with us for the show).
On Sunday I wanted to spend more time at Barb's but Emily wanted to get going early so we took a brief dip in the hot tub and then set out for Ithaca via Penn Yan. Emily brought me to her mother's house but I'm... honestly not entirely sure why, because it's obvious that she doesn't enjoy being in her mother's presence. And then after we left she was like "play armchair psychologist, what's wrong with her?" and I was like "....she wasn't talking to me, she was talking to you, I really can't say what's going on with her." We stopped at Seneca Farms for lunch, where I had the best fried chicken I've ever had, and tried corn fritters for the first time (they were very tasty). She drove me through her hometown and pointed out places, and then we headed to Ithaca and spent the rest of the day relaxing at her apartment after a Wegmans run. We watched the final episode of this season of Game of Thrones together before bed.
Monday we went to the mall in the morning and the Commons for the afternoon, spent a couple hours in the Tompkins County Library (which does not require proof of residence to get a library card!!! I have one now.), then met up with Josh Brutscher's mom, Crystal, to have dinner at Taste of Thai. I spent a lot of money on the Commons, like I always do, but I got some pretty dresses and some fancy chocolates and a couple of books. After dinner Emily took me to her local game shop, the Enchanted Badger, and I bought a few games.
On Tuesday we went hiking! We went to two different state parks to go look at waterfalls. The first one was super easy, but the falls were very thin because Ithaca hasn't gotten any rain in about a month. The second one was BRUTAL. We went for the trail that said "steep", not realizing that "steep" meant "1/2 mile of stairs straight up". We didn't make it to the top, we came to a stopping place by a pool and had our picnic lunch of caprese salad and lemonade, then went back down. We spent the rest of the afternoon recovering; I took a nap (or laid down and closed my eyes, anyways) and wrote for a little while while Emily watched her video podcasts and did crosstitching.
On Wednesday we went to visit Perri and spent a few hours hanging out with her and her cat. It was very low-key and nice, we played Exploding Kittens and did spa face masks and nibbled on cheese and crackers and had ice cream. After that we came back to Emily's and she made ribs for dinner, and I packed all my stuff up to be ready to go in the morning, and then we cuddled on the couch for a little while.
Thursday morning I woke up at like 5:30am because Emily had to leave the house by 6:30 to get to work. I had to haul all my stuff into Wegmans and sit in the cafe for a couple of hours, and then I had to drag all of it to the Greyhound station. Luckily, one of my friends picked me up at the bus station and brought me home, so I didn't have to drag it all home from the bus stop too. I had about an hour and a half to empty my suitcase and repack it, and then Amber and her mom came to get me and we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner before heading upstate. I stayed with Kristin and Damien almost the entire time I was there, which was really great actually! They have a whole nerd room and I slept on the couch in there.
Plattsburgh was basically board games and weed, haha. We went to the mall a couple of times, I went to Fantastic Planet, the comic book shop I used to frequent when I was a teenager, and the same people still run it! That was really nice to see. We swam in Damien's parents' pool. We ate a lot of good food. Damien's been running a D&D campaign for Kristin and Sadie and Colby, and I got to guest star for a session as a drow sorcerer who ended up having a battle of the bands with Sadie's halfling bard. That was a LOT of fun. I don't mind 5th edition, I really disliked the earlier versions of D&D I tried, but this was pretty simple. We played a lot of board games-- Pandemic, Star Trek Panic, Superfight, Sushi Go, Slash, and Dead of Winter. It was very low key and relaxing and I had a really good time there. On Tuesday I went into Plattsburgh and walked around and hit a consignment store and found leather hi-top Converse for $20, that was pretty great. And I had a poutine, and met up with Jeanne for the last time before she moves to Maine, and spent a little while in the library, and when I got back to Keeseville Amber and Jenice came over for games and we all decided that it would be a lot easier if I took my stuff and stayed at Amber's apartment in Plattsburgh that night instead of having to get all my shit to Plattsburgh from Keeseville in the morning to take the train. But Amber was going to Saranac Lake to spend time with her gentleman friend, so I got dropped off at her apartment alone and spent the night with her cats Angus and Rango. Very sweet kitties. I took the train home on Wednesday and it was 90 minutes late and the cafe car was basically demolished before it even got to Plattsburgh and it was just a very disappointing Amtrak ride. But then I took a cab home and... I was home! It was nice to sleep in my own bed again.
So that was my vacation. It was excellent, I had a wonderful time.
That weekend was the library Summerfest, and CMS ran a book/DVD sale and made about $500. A successful experiment, and one we will be repeating probably twice annually.
Pokemon Go came out that week. It's basically been eating my life since then. I've caught 1500 Pokemon in a month. I'm at level 24 now. It's been a lot of fun, it's been getting me out of the house and walking around when it's not so fucking hot that I can't manage a walk through the park. I've made some PokeGo friends. It's cool.
July 15 was the Brand New/Modest Mouse concert with Julia and her friend Eric. My dad picked me up in Worcester and we mostly talked about smoking weed on the way back to New Bedford? which was WEIRD but also really funny. And then Julia and Eric and I left for the Xfinity Center. Brand New was a lot whinier than I recalled them being from their albums... Jesse Lacey just has a super annoying voice live. But Modest Mouse was FUCKING AWESOME and their playlist was golden, I could not have asked for more of my favorite songs. It was really nice. I spent the weekend home and my mom facilitated my Pokemon habit by walking around Fort Taber with me and driving around downtown. She drove me home to Albany on Sunday. Julia was babysitting my rat while my apartment was being inspected, but I didn't really want to take her back, so now Zoe is Julia's. She seems to like Julia more than she liked me, anyways. And it was nice to be in the car with my mom for that long. I know I'm really really lucky that I get along with and love my mother a lot. I'm on good terms with all of my immediate family and it seems like most of my friends can't say that. I know I'm lucky.
For my birthday on the 19th I got another tattoo. (Oh, I got the bluejay wings finished before I left for vacation in June. They turned out really beautiful.) But the one I got for my birthday was like... Dana Scully's silhouette, but inside her face is an alien abduction scene. It sounds weird but it looks awesome. That's the last ink I can afford for a while; I've been putting it all on a card and now I need to start paying it down instead of charging more to it. I'm not fucking up my credit the way I did when I was a teenager, but I do have to be more careful and responsible about it. I've been trying to close out my higher APR cards and doing a decent job of doing that.
On the 21st there was a free outdoor concert with Bloc Party in Tricentennial Park and I found out for the first time that this band I've been listening to for over a decade actually has a black lead singer and a female drummer... neither of which I knew before I saw them walk out on stage. It was a good show, really really hot out, but I had an iced coffee and a good seat with a full view of the stage, and it was just cool. I treated myself to dinner on my way home and got a cajun BLT that was pretty good, and a black cherry hard cider that was fucking amazing.
On July 23, Amanda Palmer was playing this little venue in Hudson called the Basilica, but at 3:30 before the show she did this like town hall Q&A thingy outside of the venue and it was just like... 50 people sitting on picnic tables and chairs having a discussion with her. And I got to sit directly in front of her and she made eye contact with me and smiled a lot and then I actually got to inform her about 8tracks as an alternative to Pandora/Spotify which she had never heard of before and said she'd check it out. And then at the end she wanted a picture taken with everyone so... there is an existent picture of me standing right behind Amanda Palmer holding her beautiful baby, literally close enough to touch her like RIGHT BEHIND HER. Then there was a couple hours intermission before the show, so I went with the people I came with (Ben Palmer, who I was friends with all the way back at SUNY Plattsburgh, and his fiancee Leslie) and we walked around Hudson which is just a really cute little town with all kinds of great shops and I spent too much money at a letterpress store and we got drinks at a bookstore/bar and dinner at this taco truck and then headed back to the Basilica for the show which was just fucking phenomenal. The opener was "Thor & Friends" which is a bunch of Austin-based musicians making like... trippy ambient jams with xylophone and marimba and strings and spooky wordless vocals, and that was super cool. And then Amanda had a ~special guest~ come up-- Ben Folds' daughter Gracie, who played an original song which was FUCKING AWESOME and as soon as I got home I looked her up on Bandcamp and threw her money so I could have a copy of the demo of that song. And then Amanda played In My Mind and Machete and then she did a like 25 minute long spoken word poem backed by Thor & Friends which was just heartrending and beautiful. And then she had her dad on the stage, and that was the point of the tour, her and her dad supporting the covers album they'd put out together, and that was also beautiful and awesome. And after the show Amanda signed my ukulele and gave me a hug and it was just... an absolutely transcendental day.
And then, of course, I crashed HARD, and got super depressed for a week and had a very messy few days emoting way too openly all over Facebook. And then I got better again. Because that's bipolar disorder. At least I don't stay down for long. I got bad, and then I got better.
August 2 was a Tuesday, Julia came up to visit me, and we saw Motion City Soundtrack on their farewell tour at Upstate Concert Hall. I have never been in that venue at this time of year before and by the time MCS came up on stage it must have been 110 degrees in there, but I still jumped around and bounced through their entire set singing along like the fangirl I am. I'm sad they're breaking up the band at the end of this tour because they put on a great, super high-energy show all the time. Justin Pierre is like a squirrel on crack though, he talks so fast and never stops moving, it's just amazing to watch him in motion with that hair flying all over the place.
And that was three days ago. Sadie's birthday was August 3 and she came down to visit and has been here since then, we went Pokehunting, we went to Zombie Planet and the nerd children played D&D and I walked around and found about $500 of games I badly want (including an absolutely beautiful deluxe edition of Tokaido that's $120, ouch), and then last night they dragged me to Suicide Squad, which was terrible, and we didn't get back to Rensselaer until 12:30 and I didn't fall asleep until after 2:30 and I woke up at 5 so I feel like some kind of hell right now, let me tell you. But yesterday, also, my new phone came in, so when I woke up early I just spent the entire morning porting shit from my old phone to my new phone and getting that all set up how I want it, and it's blue and beautiful and has a massive battery and I'm just so happy with it. I'm calling it the TARDIS because it's blue and bigger on the inside.
So... Next weekend is Film Night at Tanglewood, I'm seeing the Dresden Dolls at their warmup show in Kingston on the 24th, and then in Boston on the 26th, but I'm seeing Nick Offerman and Megan Mulally in Albany on the 25th with citizenjess
who I'm also going to the Boston show with and it's going to be AWESOME!!! I'm so stoked about it. Then Labor Day weekend I'm going up to Saranac Lake to do a photoshoot with Dan Hausner. The last week of September I'm seeing Ben Folds on Monday by myself and Postmodern Jukebox on Friday with Kristin and Amber and Jenice. Nothing on the schedule for October, Frank Turner on November 2 at UCH, Ani DiFranco November 9 at the Egg, and that's all I have on the calendar for concerts this year. I was hoping to see Andrew Bird in Ithaca in October, but I can't swing $150 on bus tickets and $40 for the show. Ithaca is just not an easy or affordable place to get to. And I went to Emily the last two times. Next time she has to come to me.
And that's what's been going on with my summer.