Friday, June 27, 2014

Philly bucket list

If only I hadn’t gotten so lost in a meandering way, if only I hadn’t stopped to get something to drink, if only I hadn’t swung by Ross to get a replacement pair of cheap flats…I may have gotten to my car 11 minutes earlier and not gotten the $36 parking ticket for the expired meter! Damn Philadelphia, I was liking you but your parking is ridiculous and expensive. The downside of city visiting: gotta pay if you wanna park near & safe. Oh well. Could be worse. Philly is nice. Has a lot going on and tons of museums. I spent all day today just at ONE museum and there was still more I could see. Tomorrow I’ll go to the Mutter and get that Philly cheese steak, and then that is that. I’m staying with Kathryn, one of Celia’s friends. She is out of town for a bit of my stay, but I can still stay here! How nice is that? Very nice. I’ve also met her daughter Clare and her son Eamon. Their house is very nice, with tons of pretty rugs and nice tapestry on the couches and monkey wallpaper in one of the bathrooms. I love seeing all these houses.

It was an easy drive out here from Marietta, though I did have to pay a toll, though not the costliest of tolls. I sat at the house and hung with Clare and Eamon for a while, before heading downtown. I went to Reading Terminal Market, which was a block of food stalls under one roof. Tons of restaurants of all sorts, and the place smelled great. Very hustle and bustle. I eventually decided on artisanal grilled cheese. A brie and pine nut and cranberry grilled cheese. It was so good. And I finished it off with some fudge. I then wandered down to Mostly Books, a used book shop with other used stuff. I rifled through the antique photos. I sweated. And as I mentioned, after all my wandering and shopping I returned to my car just a bit too late.

I didn’t linger in the evening. I just went back to the house and showered and chatted and tucked into bed early. Big day tomorrow!

All day was spent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was HUGE with a massive collection of essential fine art. I parked in their lot and used my Olympic College ID to get student discount. I peeled off the “fall 2011” sticker first. I have my PNCA ID, but I look younger in that. If I’m going to cheat the system, I might as well use the less obvious cheat. And it worked! Hurray!

I started with the prints and drawings. They had some WPA prints which were lovely, even if their registration wouldn’t have passed my standards. Then I went into the American Art section. I totally missed The Gross Clinic on the first go around, but I returned to it at the end of the day. Yes. The. Gross. Clinic. By Eakins. I’ve seen so much fine art in person now. And some of it was stuff I’ve seen when it was on tour at Portland Art Museum. I saw Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the European Art wing. Saw a bunch of Winslow Homer, who I didn’t know existed till now but damn I love him. In the Modern and Contemporary Art wing I saw a massive Alex Katz, instantly recognizable out of the corner of my eye.

The museum had the mandatory women artists: Alice Neel, Mary Cassat, Judith Leyster, and Berthe Morisot.

Duchamp had his amazing section at the end of the wing. I grabbed a selfie with Nude Descending Staircase. I think Duchamp would approve. There was The Bride Stripped Bare by her Grooms, Even in all its shattered glory. And a recreation of R. Mutt. And just tons of stuff I’ve seen in art books, but there! I didn’t know they had that much in one spot, but damn there it was. And Etant Donnes was there. Duchamp’s final piece. 20 years of work. It’s an installation that you have to approach. There are these bar doors and you peek through a hole in the door and you are looking at a reclining nude woman holding a glass lamp. It’s a sculpture in the scene, though as much as you lean over, you can’t see her face. And the figure is laying on a bed of sticks and the whole scene is painted in the background. It’s a bit pervy, amplified by having to peep at the art. I learned about this piece years ago and knew I’d have to see it one day. Philadelphia has been on my list for ages. Seeing this piece was on my bucket list. Was. I’m accomplishing on this trip things I’ve wanted to accomplish for so long. I’ll have a short bucket list when I’m done. I still can’t believe I’ve seen it, though I was pressed against that door for a good long while, gawking.

There is a Picasso Minotaur print exhibit. That was nice. I do like his line work and intuition. And a photography exhibit devoted to the use of flash in the medium. At the Perelman Building was a Patrick Kelly exhibit with lots of his fashion on display. Utterly delightful! I was starting to flag but getting outside and eating a bagel got a bit of pep in my step for the last leg of it. The museum was open late, but my energy ran out at 5. 6 hours!

But I’m not even done talking about the art that I saw. You see why I’m so tired? I like to take my time and look. There was a kid who powered through the Eakins gallery just snapping a picture of each painting and moving on, not even looking. And there was a cluster of loud German tourists. And a kid that was whining to his mom and wanted to go, even though it was like… noon so the kid couldn’t have been there long. Brat!

Saw an epic Rubens. The galleries have some exhibits that are set up like old rooms. Old Flemish rooms, Dutch rooms, Victorian rooms. So you can see some of the stuff in context instead of behind glass. I saw Frans Hals and a Vermeer, which was authenticated because the canvas came from the same bolt of cloth that another Vermeer was painted on. That is s ome CSI shit right there.

Here is a list of artists I made note of: Antonio Fransconi, Alfred Bendier, Jacob Eichholtz, Winslow Homer, Sir Frederick Leighton, Charlemont, Vuillard, Kay Sage Tanguy, Noel Mahaffey, Kamisaka Sekka, Collin Son(Sun?), and George Stubbs.

I feel like I’m forgetting something. But damn it was an epic wander of art. I got back to the house at 6 absolutely pooped. Now I’m just going to chill. Tomorrow: Mutter & Cheese Steak. And then probably more chilling. And then Sunday will take me to New Jersey. Taking my time. Eight weeks! I keep forgetting to reset my odometer, but I’m not putting on too many miles these past few days, so it shouldn’t throw the next two weeks count all that much.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Eight weeks on the road! I'll reset my odometer before I head out this morning, but I think I've been rocking 45mpg this past stretch. I've got less than 2 hours of driving to do today, but it looks like there are some tolls. Boo.

So! Yesterday! Got up at a respectable hour and Wilson took me to the Royal Restaurant, which is a diner that is his usual morning haunt. We talked matters of things that matter and took pictures with our phones and then we returned to the apartment. I packed up my stuff, got a tip on where a free air pump was nearby, and headed off. Wilson gave me the scenic route map, so that I could avoid the tools going up to Pennsylvania (i.e. by not driving through Washington DC).

So I took the scenic route across Maryland towards Gettysburg. I didn't stop at Gettysburg as I wanted to get to Marietta to meet Anne and Terry (Rainbow's parents) and say hi so they knew who I was as I'd be crashing at their place. So I arrived at 3ish and said hello and met Anne. Then I drove on down to the riverfront park and had a nice chat with Ma & Pa. Gotta call the parents every once and a while, ya know? Can't just blog into the void.

I got back to the house and Rainbow arrived soon after and it was awesome to see an old school pal! And I haven't seen her in longer than I have other people, because she graduated in 2009 and has been abroad working. She is the same delightful person though. She treated me to Chipotle and then we went to the park where a free summer concert was happening, the concert in question was 7 Bridges, an Eagles cover band where every member looked like they belonged in a different genre. I bought a funnel cake. There were people dancing in the front and I met Bob and Brooke and... uhh I forget the name of Bob's son, but Bob was a friend of Rainbows. We got a spot in the main seating area (it was pretty full). Unfortunately the concert ended early due to a storm coming in, but they got Hotel California out so that's something.

The thunderstorm coming in was beautiful. One side of the river would be dark, the other light from reflecting the remainder of the sky. Just such punctuating contrast and colors. Really nice.

We both retired to bed pretty early. Well I stayed up on my computer and mooching wifi, but I did get some sleep. Had the porch door open (I was in the guest bedroom which had a porch) to let the air circulate, because it was stuffy and hot. Still hot, but every now and again a breeze would come through. But there was also the lightning and rolling thunder. Very nice.

In the morning, Rainbow, her 7k+ skydiving jumps Dad, Chris, Maddy, and Maddy's mom and I met up for breakfast at Gus's. Maddy is maybe going off to college and got a barrage of advice about life decisions. It really is so complicated how many decisions have to be made at such a young age, and how much debt and stuff is foisted onto kids. It's not right. There should be more time between high school and college and it should be cheaper and accessible and all that.


So now I'm off towards Philadelphia! I've only got about 2 hours of driving, so that's nice.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

brutalist architecture

Had a very nice day going about. Being driven in an unfamiliar city is awesome. Had a nice rest. I'll be sleeping under roofs for the next few nights! So awesome! This is the social stretch of my journey, I suppose. Anyway, we had oatmeal for breakfast and Wilson added marshmallow cereal which gave it a nice nudge of texture and sweetness.

From there we went into DC and I am SO GLAD I didn't drive in it! Lots of weird turns that send traffic in odd directions. Parking was expensive in a garage but we managed to find a spot on the street. But uhg, yeah if I had to drive in DC I would just just forked over the 20-something for the first garage I found and legged it from there, and even then I probably would have spent oodles of time in traffic getting agitated. I'd like to visit again, because there was only meter time for one museum and there are so many!

But you know me, so the museum we went to was the American Art and Portrait Gallery museum. They had an awesome photo exhibit going on about coolness in America. Just great photos of iconic cool people through the years. A couple Halsmans. A really nice assortment. And there were a couple great Sargents. And those huge majestic landscapes. And oodles of Catlins. Even with the hours spent, it was still just a taste. Could spend several days going around to all the museums. If only I didn't have to drive...

Shake Shack was lunch, with locally sourced food and they pay their employees well and all that good business practices. I had the blondie concrete (like a shake but deluxe or thicker or something) and this hot dog with fried shallots on it. Mmm! Wilson had a burger and a float and confirmed they were also delicious. My treat in reparation for Wilson paying for parking and heck, driving!

Fully fed, we walked around downtown a bit. Saw the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building which is FUGGGLYYYY!

Back at the apartment, a nap was had. Then there was some lounging by the pool and I read Lost for Words. Then in the evening there was an outdoor hang out with some of the people in the neighborhood. Heard Bigfoot stories, and stories of the wheel coming off their Land Rover, and travel suggestions, and it was just overall a nice night to sit and hear about wacky antics. This whole being randomly social is so foreign to me. I love it!

Tomorrow I think will start with a diner visit, and then I'll head north to Pennsylvania.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Anita & Dan & Delaware and Wilson & Marc & Virginia

6/22/2014 7:48 pm Slaughter Beach, Delaware

I'm in Delaware! Number 23! Well 24 if you count Maryland, but I'm not quite counting it just yet, as I just drove straight through. After McDonald's I got in contact with Dan and Anita, who are in Delaware, and so I just was like "yo can I kick it at your place?" and they were like "yeah!". Dan and Anita had me over for Thanksgiving. Anita is Ryan's sister. So four hours, a bit of rain, the sun going down I was in Milford, Delaware! Driving around Washington DC was a trip. Just a ring road skirting it with lots of lanes and cars and everyone not going anywhere near the speed limit. And Maryland's state flag is totally an odd one out.

Anyhoo, I got in at 9:30ish and met them at Abbot's and met their friends and had a pint. It was nice to chill out. After long drives, I always have a bit of energy to come down from, so I'm all jittery when first talking. Jittery or hard to focus. Dan and Anita are spending time between this beach out that is being repaired and Dan's grandma's house (grandma lives in Santa Cruz). So it's two of grandma's properties and stuff. I forget all the specifics, but the point is one house has an eclectic collection and the other is being remodeled and we are split between both of them kinda... sleep at one, shower at the other. So after hanging at the eclectic house, we went to the other to crash for the night. I got the fold out couch and just conked out and it was amazing.

In the morning we went to the Starlight Diner and I got scrabble! And eggs and toast and home fries. Very filling and I did not consume it all, and priced pretty low for all that food. Scrapple. I mean scrapple. That is what I had. Regional food!

Then we caught a matinee of Edge of Tomorrow, which lacked shakey cam. And I didn't know it was going to be the kind of movie that it was. A neat scifi film. Hurray for more original scifi! Well made. Emily Blunt is awesome and Tom Cruise went against casting at the start of the film (played a bit of a coward).

Now we are back at the repairing house. I put my tent out earlier in the day and it was dry upon my return! I've got my tarp out now. So hopefully I'll be able to pack up my car in the old organization system.

Tomorrow I'm meeting my friend Wilson in Alexandria.

6/23/2014 7:55pm Wilson & Marc's apartment

I'm in Alexandria. Which is in Virginia. I can't break free of this state! But today has had awesome weather thus far so yay for that.

So last night in Delaware, we just sat about watching True Blood and eating food and having a good ol' time. Dan and Anita are fun company. We all talked at length about Orange is the New Black. In the morning we went to the Milford house and had our showers, then parted ways. I filled up my tank and went south to Alexandria. Easy drive, just really dense with traffic. Wilson is online friend #4 on this trip, and not a serial killer, just like the others! He is a reenactor and works on a boat and is a photographer and might go to Mongolia in a few years on a language expedition. Basically a cool, well traveled person. And he (and his boyfriend) are letting me crash here tonight and we (Wilson & I) are going to DC tomorrow!! Yaaay!

Wilson took me out for a little drive in his motorcycle. I sat in the sidecar! I've never been in a sidecar before and now I want to go again! We drove down GW Parkway and it was beautiful and perfect and I saw trees and we sat by the river and talked about travel and how to make travel work in different areas and that stuff. I need to get a sidecar so I can have someone drive me around in it. So much fun.

Look how cool I am!

Wilson, Marc, and I got food. Mmm big burger. Now we'll be hanging out and tomorrow Wilson and I are going up to DC!