Virginia Trip 2014 Part 1: Trains and Winter Rains

7:00 AM: I rise to the sound of my iPhone alarm, brutally silencing it with a harsh glare and harsher touch. The air is wet with moisture. Hardly an ideal day for long distance travel, but a little late to do anything about it now.

7:15 AM: Basically screw around.

8:00 AM: Realizing at some point I need to get my act together, I stop screwing around so much and get to work packing. Though initially I endeavor to fit everything in my back pack, it was not to be, and I am forced to use my old gray duffel type thing.

8:XX AM: I stumble into Dunkin Donuts eager for a quick fix of energy. The cashier is bewitching and slyly manages to convince me to buy some manner of coupon card for ten slightly less expensive coffees. Confound it all.

9:50 AM: I arrive at Pennsylvania Station, noting immediately that my train is projected to be 15 minutes late. Putting all the years of cunning I have acquired from Amtrak at my disposal, I subvert bathroom lines, escalator lines, and even the expensive food. I am seated before most customers even know the train has arrived.

11:XX AM: The train departs, and we zoom out way through wretched New Jersey. Though I cannot see them, it is safe to assume the vile denizens attempted to claw their way in to feast upon my soft and delicious brain meats throughout the journey. Somehow we bypass the final boss entirely, but he no doubt awaits another encounter.

12:XX PM: A woman sits next to me, there being few other available seats. She is taken with me immediately, intuitively knowing that I am a dominant alpha male who can be trusted to protect her bag while she gets food. She knows it is not to be, however, and I applaud her restraint.

2:XX PM: We arrive at Washington DC. My love-struck companion departs, bravely hiding her tears. I sit in darkness and quiet, contemplating the weird way DC’s Union Station isn’t a thrice-damned basement like Nee York Pennsylvania Station. These are thoughts for another time.

5:XX PM: After a few hours in Virginia, I become aware that we are somewhat more behind schedule than I first assumed. Hacking the Amtrak central database using my username and password, I am able to deduce that we have been going really slow and are becoming later with each station and interlocking. Mildly annoyed, I decide it is counterproductive to destroy the train right then and there.

6:XX PM: I give in and eat Amtrak’s expensive food. Such a tiny can of soda. 7 oz, what the hell.

Christmas Trip: The Part Where I’m Not Actually On A Trip Because I Didn’t Go Anywhere

Saturn’s Day

2:55 PM: Having completed my most productive day of work for the entire week, I clock out using my magic name tag, and depart for home. I pass two of the managers on the way out, and say absolutely nothing to them as I do so, but in all fairness they didn’t say anything to me either. You can hold my taciturn ways against me when others act the same way.  Stop judging me!

3:0X: As I enter Queens Plaza Station, I notice that both the E Train and the R Train are at the platform. Almost as though it were an elaborate joke, the doors of both trains close just as I am descending the stairs, and depart soon thereafter. Cursing under my breath, I start pacing the platform, wondering when the next train will arrive. As I am doing so, I can’t help but notice that there are an awful lot of people waiting around here. People that by all counts should have gotten on one of those trains. Particularly attention grabbing were the number of Asians in olde timee clothes, as well as the astonishing number of cameras everyone, Asian or otherwise, was holding.

3:1X: As luck would have it, the mystery of every situation is neatly solved by the arrival of the most unusual train of subway cars I have ever seen. They looked so…old. Was it a trash run? Some kind of bizarre emergency thing? Oh no, none of those things. It was the special olde timee Holiday Train, that I knew absolutely nothing about, but that everyone else here had been waiting patiently for. Following the lead of everyone else, I board the train and travel several decades into the past.

The train was pretty much the best and most amusing thing ever. The cars had odd colored floors, cushioned chairs, actual fans installed in the ceiling (some working, others not) and adorning the walls were all sorts of olde timee advertisements for things like U.S. Bonds, floating school, announcements for events from several decades ago, an old schedule telling me how long it would take to travel from station to station along what is now the A Line (which was a bit odd because this train was travelling along the M line). There was even an ad for the Miss Subway Contest, deciding who the most beautiful subway rider was. Also the fair was about 15 cents at one point. That would be cool if it were still the case.

As we traveled along, some people got on and off, while others just stared incredulously at the rolling anachronism. Eventually it stopped at the 2nd Avenue Station.

3:4X: Growing bored and impatient, I decide to leave the magic time train and go home, jumping on an F train as it comes into the station. I get off at the next stop, believing it to be West 4th Street Station. It is not. Annoyed and still too impatient to just sit still and wait for the next train, I decide I’m just going to walk somewhere for a little bit. Maybe catch a taxi. I just really hate standing around waiting and not moving or doing anything. I don’t pretend to be rational.

3:5X: Walking Northish, I take in the sights and sounds of a city with a depleted population (thankfully there was little in the way of smells). I walk past some part of NYU, and remark to myself “oh there it is”. At some point, I encounter a thrift store named Monk’s or something. It is the sort of place you see on hipster TV shows or hipster movies, where you can find something totally awesome that you didn’t even know you wanted. Sadly, life is neither a TV show nor a movie, and I am far too heavyset and my glasses rims too thin to be a hipster. The only thing that catches my attention is an old flask, and I don’t drink nearly enough to make use of it. Sides it was $35 and I’m not paying that much just for the novelty of some Christmas Eve thrift shopping.

4:0X: I walk through Washington Square Park, and it then occurs to me that I am the only one in the whole city not wearing a jacket or coat of any sort. Then I punch the Washington Arch a few times before heading on my way.

4:0X: I decide to see a movie, and start heading towards where I think the one near Union Square is. Despite not being completely sure where it is, I manage to find it anyways. Then I go see The Muppets. It’s a great movie. Some people brought their children to see it. They clearly didn’t appreciate it as much as I did. In fact they barely laughed at all. Freaking kids. What, do parents think they will enjoy a movie just because it has puppets in it? This isn’t freaking Sesame Street. Sure The Muppets are still family-friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to have nothing but dumbed down physical humor that kids will actually comprehend, let alone enjoy. Don’t take kids to see The Muppets. They are too dumb to enjoy it.

6:XX: The movie ends. I don’t stick around to see if there is anything after the credits because I have to pee pretty badly. Then I leave and get on the N or R or Q train to head towards home. I don’t really remember which one it was.

6:XX: I get off at Herald Square, because the plan is to then ride a B or D train further North, where then I’ll switch to an A or C train at some point. I get impatient again, though, and leave. I hear a train arrive as I finish ascending the stairs, and I tell myself that it can’t possibly be one of the trains I wanted.

6:XX: I take a cab home, because screw rationality and sound spending habits. I give a 20% tip because screw miserly behavior.

6:3X: I am home now, and proceed to run the single best D&D game over an IRC thing in the history of ever. Nothing but murder and in-jokes. The only thing missing was a bunch of pizza and soda.

Sun’s Day

12:XX: I go to bed.

10:XX: I get out of bed.

10:XX: I play some DC Universe Online, but don’t really accomplish much aside from arresting The Ultra-Humanite. You either know who that is or you don’t. Eventually I shower and eat breakfast and such.

11:xx: It finally occurs to me that I never picked up my laundry yesterday.

12:XX: I go pick up my laundry.

12:XX: I leave my apartment to go to the movies, having decided to go ahead and see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

1:0X: I spend way too long in the concession stand line. Luckily I wasn’t behind the woman next to me, because I swear she took like ten minutes to decide to just buy freaking water. At that point I come up with the brilliant plan of having a separate line just for people getting popcorn and soda, thus leaving more elaborate items for other lines, and getting everyone through the lines faster as a result. On second though being in that woman’s line might have been better after all, because the guy who took my order was kind of a jerk who tried to sell me a pretzel when I distinctly said Nacho Combo. I mean come on. Those don’t even sound alike.

1:1X: I finally get into the movie theater with my snacks in hand. Since saying excuse me is beneath me, I just climb over some seats to get to where I want to sit. I then proceed to watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which is a lot different than The Muppets. I  recommend children not see this movie as well.

4:0X: I get out of the theater, and get on the A Train. At 59th Street, however, I get back off because for some reason I feel like walking home. Probably because of all the nachos and such.

6:0X: I get home slightly faster than Google Maps thinks I should have. Suck it Google. I even took a small break to buy some Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate. And a donut.

6:4X: I start writing this very blog post. That’s meta and cool, right?

Texas Trip 2011: The Part Where Texas Trip 2011 Comes To An End

Venus’ Day

8:XX: Do laundry like it was going out of style. And it is in fact going out of style for me, as I haven’t done my own laundry in months, thanks to the shockingly convenient services provided by my local laundromat.

12:XX: Take my brother out to lunch. We end up finding ourselves at a Steak & Shake. The food is okay but not great, and for what I paid I think we would have been better off walking to a McDonald’s. Despite the nearest McDonald’s to my parent’s house being a very long walk.

X:XX: Dig through a bunch of my old stuff that is at that house for some reason, find my high school transcripts. As it turns out, I did in fact graduate from high school.

X:XX: Thanksgiving Dinner Redux.

Saturn’s Day

X:XX: Go to an sporting goods/outdoor whatever store that I can’t remember the name of anymore. Cabela’s or something. Anyways, it’s covered in dead animals. Like elk and wolves and such. Very inspiring to the part of me who wants to slay mammals for food and sport.

X:XX: Dairy Queen Redux. I buy a box of Buster Bars. Immediately after leaving, I regret not getting a Peanut Buster Parfait as well. This will haunt me for years to come.

Sun’s Day

7:00: Wake up to the sound of my cellphone crying.

7:XX: Begin doing laundry again so my luggage isn’t full of unwashed clothes. Certainly don’t want to dig through that when I get home.

9:XX: Amazon Casey drives us to McDonald’s. I get some manner of breakfast, as does she.

9:5X: Arrive at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. The goodbye is brief and unemotional, just how I like it.

10:XX: Attempt to get on an earlier flight out of this place. It fails spectacularly.

10:XX: My father, who works at DFW, finds me, and we proceed to stare at each other for the next hour or so. Occasionally one of us says something.

11:30: Boarding for my flight begins. A full half of the passengers get to board first. The station attendants continue to remind us that it is a very full flight and we need to cooperate.

11:XX: Finally get on the plane. For some reason they decided to board the back rows last, for maximum problems for everyone. I still manage to get some overhead luggage space for my luggage, which is now overhead. Sadly, this plane has no audio jacks with which to listen to music or anything.

12:00: Take off time. We don’t take off, because the A/C is broken or something. It totally isn’t, but that’s what the captain tells us. He is made of lies and sleep deprivation. There are so many babies on this flight it’s not even funny.

12:3X: Finally take off.

X:XX: Leave the state of Texas. Texas Trip 2011 is officially over.

Several Days Later

X:XX: Realize I never finished off this stupid travel log, do my best to remember what I did, and put together a half-assed conclusion to it.

Texas Trip 2011: The Part Where I Narrowly Avoid Giving Thanks

Mercury’s Day

X:XX: Video games or something I guess.

X:XX: Nothing.

X:XX: More nothing.

12:XX: Go to Cici’s Pizza, one of the necessary stops whenever I visit Texas. It is a pizza buffet place, meaning I don’t have to be considerate of others. Nor do I have to eat the crust. I ate 20 slices, 2 cheesy breadstick things, and drank a bunch of soda. Well done, AJ Bulldis.

5:XX: My Aunt and a few of my cousins come over to visit. We eat snacky foods, drink alcohol, and comment on things for several minutes.

7:XX: Tacos for dinner. After what I did for lunch, I eat only 3 tacos.

8:XX: Get introduced to some friend of my dad’s via Skype.

X:XX: Make further progress with Super Mario 3D Land.

Jupiter’s Day

X:XX: Wake up unfathomably late.

12:XX: Make the punch. Tragically, there is no vodka to be found in the house.

1:XX: Eat Thanksgiving dinner. My eatings include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, crescent rolls, jello mold, and maybe some other things that I can’t think of.

2:XX: I am thankful for…something. I can no longer recall what. It was a joke, though. Mildly humorous.

3:XX: Beat Super Mario 3D Land 100%. Kind of typical for Mario games these days. Aside from the Galaxy ones I guess. Haven’t played those.

3:XX: Chocolate pieeeeeeeeee. Yeeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh…..

X:XX: I play, and win, Trivial Pursuit. Booyah.

X:XX: More pie.

X:XX: I come to the dreaded realization that I’ve run out of clothes and will have to do laundry the next day.

Texas Trip 2011: The Part Where Very Little Happens In Texas

Moon’s Day

X:XX: Wake up, eat some kind of cereal.

X:XX: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTHIIIIIIIING.

X:XX: Make admirable progress in Super Mario 3D Land.

X:XX: Play some other video games I guess?

X:XX: Some stupid show on TV.

X:XX: More nothing.

X:XX: Attempt to build a 3,000 piece LEGO set.

X:XX: Give up at around 700 pieces because I keep not finding necessary pieces.

X:XX: Dinner.

X:XX: More Just Dance 2. Get much closer to Samantha’s scores.

X:XX: WILL THIS DAY NEVER END!?

Mars’s Day

X:XX: Beat the main mode of Super Mario 3D Land. Find out there is a whole other set of special levels that prove notably more challenging. I will overcome.

12:XX: Have macaroni and cheese for lunch.

X:XX: Play Yahtzee. Win one round, lose the next.

5:00: Leave with sister and mother to go to a nail place. Receive my first ever pedicure. Do not get nails painted. Approximately four pounds of skin was scraped off the bottom of my feet with a cheese grater. Lots of chemicals involved. Tickled at certain points. As of writing this log, feet still feel rather nice.

5:XX: Decide that, in order to rebalance my manliness, I will have to murder an endangered species with my bare hands. Preferably one of the large ones. An elephant should do nicely.

6:XX: Eat Chik-Fil-A for dinner. It is as glorious as I remember. Through a mix-up on the part of the ever friendly staff, I somehow find myself in the possession of not one, but two dinners to bring home to my other sister. Needless to say, I eat one of them, becauase YUM.

7:XX: The two present sisters and myself head off to Dairy Queen, another necessary stop for whenever I vacation in a place that isn’t New York. But first, we go clothes shopping at like half a dozen places, because one of my sisters needs a something for Christmas pictures that she is taking with her fiancee. We end up buying absolutely nothing, and go to Dairy Queen anyways. I get a large Butterfinger Blizzard.

Texas Trip 2011: The Part Where I Am Now In Texas

7:XX: Arrive at my parent’s house, greet Mother and Trevor, and have home made pizza, just like Mother used to make, which was fitting because Mother made it. Drank root beer with it, as is tradition. Then we played a really cheap game consisting of a peg board, some pegs, and dice. I won, due to my skill at rolling dice and the vagaries of chance (thank you Dungeons and Dragons). Some sort of television is on, with shows of an either informative or entertaining nature. I couldn’t tell you what kind.

10:XX: Go to bed. Specifically Trevor’s bed. He shall sleep on a cot in the living room. It is only fair.

Sun’s Day

3:XX: Get a phone call from a friend soliciting advice. I give her the best advice in the history of advice. I’m fairly certain world hunger and gender inequalities are now ended forever. Racism is probably still popular, though. Eventually I fall back to sleep.

9:4X: Wake up, shower, shave, and lament the fact that my face likes to react to shaving with REDNESS. REDNESS EVERYWHERE. “I hate you, AJ Bulldis”, my face says to me. It literally spells this out. Someday my vanity will get the better of me, and I will become a masked villain out sets out to destroy beauty everywhere he sees it, since he is envious of it. Or I’ll finally get the right combination of products and practices necessary to make my skin behave.

11:XX: Post part one of Texas Trip 2011. Travel logging travel logs is the best part of travel logging, in my glorious opinion. Did I say opinion? I meant fact. I don’t have opinions.

11:5X: Myself, Samantha, Trevor, and Amazon Casey go to IHOP, because we had coupons. IHOP pancakes get smaller every time I go there. I know I’m not getting bigger, because my friends aren’t getting smaller. Just the pancakes. Maybe New York City diners have me spoiled, except being spoiled by a diner is impossible. It’s a diner.

12:3X: Go to Target, because Amazon Casey works there. Go shopping for a few items, like lots and lots of Trident gum. Addition is a powerful thing. Habits less so, but still generally heeded. In time, a plan is hatched involving the movie we will see tonight and who is driving which vehicle.

2:0X: Finally leave Target. Did we seriously spend an hour and a half wandering around that place looking at stuff? Yes we did. What the crap. Did get a root beer Icee though, so it wasn’t all tedium and horror.

2:XX: See Father. Discuss my computer, his computer, his new motorcycle, and other such things.

3:XX: New Super Mario Bros Wii with Trevor. Beat a few bosses and then got bored.

4:XX: Just Dance 2 with Samantha and later Mother. Hate this game in a way, because it’s hard to know how to do the moves perfectly. Dance Dance Revolution is advantageous in this regard. The dances are kind of fun sometimes though, partially depending on the song (Take Me On is the best one in my fact).

5:XX: Eat dinner. Chicken and rice.

6:XX: Try out Rage. I hate it. Then I play Serious Sam The First Encounter again. Don’t hate it, but I don’t do as well as I ought to. I should play one of the old timey FPS again; there is something simple and gratifying about blasting demons/nazis effortlessly by the thousands.

8:2X: Go to movie theater, where we will see Breaking Dawn. It won’t start until 9:10, though, so we stand around for a while.

11:XX: Get out a Breaking Dawn. Decide I’ll have to review it tomorrow.

Texas Trip 2011: The Part Where I End Up In Texas

Saturn’s Day

3:0X AM: I am alerted to the fact that it is wake up time by my cellular phone. I am fairly certain I was already awake at that point. Briefly, I weigh the pros and cons of just lying down for another five to twenty minutes, but then I remember that I need to be at work early so I can leave early and catch my plane.

5:XX: Despite the best efforts of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, I make it to work. For breakfast I have a snickers bar and a bottle of Cherry Coke, because there aren’t any bottles of Dr Pepper left in the vending machine. Who drank it all? What is their home address? Do they have an assortment or knives or guns to defend themselves? These are the questions that plague my consciousness, subconsciousness, unconsciousness, and perhaps my superconsciousness, if I in fact have one. I suppose I could have walked to a different vending machine in hindsight.

11:0X: Order “Chinese” for lunch. General Tso’s Chicken lunch special with white rice, an egg roll, and some fries. I only get the fries because free delivery is a $6 minimum, and the General Tso’s is only $5.50. With it I drink my last can of that not-s0-great low calorie Dr Pepper. It’s passable, but I’d rather drink the real stuff and just walk home or punch a wall for half an hour than spare myself the calories.

1:XX: Depart from my work environment and begin wandering the surrounding streets, hoping to hail a taxi cab. After several false leads, I end up locking eyes with a limo driver. A point and a nod is all that is needed to communicate the point. I tell him I am heading to LaGuardia Airport, he asks which airline, and I tell him American. No further communication required.

1:3X: Arrive at LaGuardia. While I suspected limo guy would charge me some absurd amount of money for his services, his price was actually reasonable enough that I saw fit to tip him. What I don’t know is if I brought him out of the way of his final destination…or played right into his hands…

2:0X: Get to my gate. As I am filled with Chinese, I feel no need to acquire additional overcharged foodstuffs, and instead sit down and start playing Super Mario 3D Land on my 3DS. No one dares sit anywhere near me, not even the woman with the drugged up dog. Especially not her. They all know who I am, and their fear is justified.

2:40X: Board the plane. I am frequently fortunate when it comes to seating, in that I am not placed along side another gigantic dude. And since I had an aisle seat, I only had to sit to one person at all. I plug my earphones into the earphone jack things, and without an ideal station to listen to the whole way, I am forced to switch back and forth between the classical music station and what appears to be the music from other countries that doesn’t have lyrics station (fairly certain that its precise name).

3:XX: We are flying through the air without a single care. This plane is equipped with little television screens, which means that A) there is an in-flight movie and B) you’re going to have a heck of a time trying to not watch the in-flight movie. The movie in question? Monte Carlo, which is about Vanessa Hudgens and some other girls stealing the identity of some other girl who might also be Vanessa Hudgens and living the high life, and then falling in love with some dudes and some interspersed hijinks here and there. About half-way through I change my audio back to the foreign music station, as I could follow the entire plot of the movie without a single lick of dialogue. For some reason I keep thinking one of the girls is either Kristen Stewart or Christina Ricci, but IMDB tells me it is someone named Leighton Meester. Also this movie only came out this year, yet I never heard of it. Can’t imagine how that happened. Surely a movie with this sort of target demographic would have been advertised at the sort of movies a young white male such as myself would go see!

X:XX: This flight just doesn’t end. What the hell.

X:XX: I dehydrate and die. Seriously this entire flight is absurd and warm and gross and I hate it and then I died.

6:2X: We finally land and get off. I inform my sister of my presence in TX, but she is caught in traffic. I get some water, a large bag of Peanut M&M’s and play more Super Mario 3D Land while I wait.

6:XX: Don’t even remember when, but I get called and Samantha says she’s almost there and in a black car. I head out to meet her, accidentally walking towards the first black car I see, which is full of fat blonde people (two things Samantha has managed to never be). I end up finding her, and we get caught behind a bus. For several minutes.

To Be Continued…