Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Pictures!

Here are some more pictures from the past few days. The bottom ones are from Reshae's camera, she put a bunch of them up :-)

Look, they have big buildings in Kansas City, too!













The street sign for 18th and Vine (Jazz District)













I don't know why, but I've always really loved these old-style clocks in train stations...













Awwwww...this is me showing my appreciation for Reshae going to a jazz club with me haha













Reshae and me at Andy's Lounge in Chicago














Reshae and her friend Rachel at Dublin in Chicago where we ate dinner...this is like the 42nd picture that was taken of the two of them...the first 41 didn't come out too well, and then I said "Hey Reshae, why don't you let me take the picture instead of trying to do it yourself?" And look how great it turned out!









These are a couple of the guys from the band Collage that we saw at Andy's Lounge...they were really good...we had a little chat with the guitar player during their break...I think Reshae had a little crush even though she says he was too short haha...










I have no idea what to say about this picture...

Day 4 - Well I'm Goin to Kansas City, Kansas City, Here I Come!

You've gotta love a city that's so big that it covers two states. For the past two days, I've been trying to figure out where I'm going with the GPS on my cell phone, and completely forgetting that the next address that I go to might be in Kansas City, Missouri, and not Kansas City, Kansas. Talk about confusing...

Today was a great day. It's so much fun exploring these new cities that I've never been to. I had no idea that Kansas City was actually a pretty cool place. When my old manager suggested that I check it out along my way, I was like eh, what the hell, I've already been to Missouri, so it'd be nice to check Kansas off my map, too (I haven't actually talked about this yet, but my friend Kerry and I were saying how cool it'd be to go to each one of the 50 states at least once...I'd say there's more to come, but that's about all of it...). But this place is actually pretty cool!

I woke up pretty late this morning, like 11:30, and after yesterday, I freakin deserved it! But after I woke up, I went through some morning stuff, you know, checking emails, doing some core workouts, having some of my now defrosted food (it froze during that lovely 2 degree evening in Chicago...I don't know if you've ever tried eating a frozen apple, but it turns into more of a slushy type of thing at that point...not incredibly pleasant), and checking out the "fitness center" here at the Best Western (which I didn't bother trying to use, it was so beat). Then I sat down with the hotel guest directory and figured out what I wanted to do. I decided that I was going to drive around and explore a little bit. The directory gave me some good information, so I figured I'd check it out.

My first stop was Union Station. It seems like almost every town has a beautiful train station that's not used nearly as often as it should be. Now, like most places, Union Station has been turned into more of a mall with an Amtrak station inside it so I decided to walk around a little bit. Now, there wasn't too much in there, and I didn't feel like going to Science City (the science museum that has taken the place of a large portion of the station), so I didn't spend too much time in there. But before I left, and I have to say, this speaks wonders for the educational system here in Kansas City, I stopped at the Visitor's Center to find out where the Jazz District (18th and Vine, more on that in a minute) was. This is pretty much verbatim (I can't say if it's exact, but it's pretty close) the conversation between the volunteer and me:

Ian: "So where's this 18th and Vine that I've heard about?"
Volunteer: "You mean the Jazz District?"
Ian: "Yeah...like is it an actual intersection that I should be looking for?"
Volunteer: "What do you mean?"
Ian: "Is 18th and Vine an actual intersection?"
Volunteer: "I'm not sure what you mean..."
Ian: "You know, where the two roads meet...like where 18th meets Vine..."
Volunteer (with a rediculously confused look on her face): " oh...so wait...what is it you're asking me?"
Ian (sighing with frustration): "Where is it?"

HOW IS SOMEBODY GOING TO LOOK AT ME AND ASK ME WHAT AN INTERSECTION IS????

Ok, so now that that's done with, I finally left Union Station and headed to the jazz district armed with the map that she gave me, and it was actually pretty cool, although pretty run down. There's not too much there anymore, unfortunately, but from what I understand, it was booming with almost constant live music years ago (I swear, sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era). But while I was there, I did go to one of the two good places that were still around, the American Jazz Museum, which was really cool. By now, you've probably figured out that I'm a big fan of jazz, so this was a real treat for me. It was a pretty small museum, but they had some really cool stuff there. They had a saxaphone that was played bvy Charlie Parker at one of his most legendary shows in Montreal, they had one of Duke Ellington's suites, one of Ella Fitzgerald's dresses and glasses and one of Louis Armstrong's trumpets. It was a great experience. They also had a great Charlie Parker quote on the wall that I wrote down:

"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." - Charlie Parker

After I left the museum, I headed up a little bit to the cultural district so I could check out what that was like. I wasn't able to see too much of that, unfortunately, because I wanted to get back and get ready to go to dinner.

Now, remember that guy that came into Lou Malnati's who gave me some tips on some places to go around Chicago? Well he also told me about this place in Kansas City that was supposed to be the best bar-b-q around. It was this place called Gates Bar-B-Q, and I went there for dinner, and it was freakin awesome. It was a pretty interesting place, too. It was set up kind of like Wendy's used to be in the 80's, except with good food. If you ever find yourself in Kansas City, you should definitely check it out. The one that I went to was on Main St, and technically it was in Missouri, and it was great, but there are like five or six of them, and I imagine all of them are more than likely the same. So remember, Gates Bar-B-Q! Check it out!

Tonight I'm heading out to hear some Kansas City Blues on Westport, which is an historic nightlife district. I'll be heading out to this place called Blayney's which has music Tuesday through Saturday, so I'm gonna head over there to see what's happenin. And tomorrow, I head to Colorado Springs, so I'll let you know how things go tonight and tomorrow! Hopefully there won't be anymore crazy car troubles...

I've got some pictures that I'll be putting up in a second post today, too, so take a look!

Also, it's been great to read your comments as I go along, too. Thanks to all of you who have been wishing me well! Keep writing me back! :-)

Love to all,

-Ian

Pictures!

I tried to put these in order as close to chronological order as possible...more to come!




The Jeep the last time it'll probably ever be in Rochester...












Me and Laverne before we left :-)














I don't know if you can read this, but it says that Pennsylvania welcomed me...and it did...it really did...you can't tell, but there's a little guy beneath the sign giving out hugs haha...














I tried to come up with a joke for this because I found it really funny...unfortunately, no one else I showed the picture to did...but I put it up anyway...




This is Reshae after she gave in to the camera haha...
Would you like me to tell you your future with your sub?
A Foggy Day in Chicago Town
A specially trained, super-secret group of agents fighting their arch-nemesis: The Cruelty Society (they're still not so good at the super-secret part...)
I judge you when you use poor grammar...especially when it's two feet tall and costs as much as this ad space must have...
So apparently Reshae didn't want her picture taken...
But I don't give up that easily...I almost had the whole forehead!
But then she went right back under the pillow...
But here's a good shot of her dog, Brason
I told her this morning that I wanted just one good shot of her alone to put on my blog, but she was like no way, you're just not cool enough...so I put them all up...I showed her ;-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 3 - Davenport? Isn't That a Couch or Something?

Well today was an interesting day...

Remember how I was saying that nothing really goes off completely without a hitch in any of my plans? Well today was no exception.

I walked to my car this morning and it was a lovely eight degrees and sunny (God, I can't wait for San Diego...). But I packed up my car, hitched my bike to the back, said goodbye to Reshae and hit the road...

So about an hour and a half into the drive, my car starts to stutter...yep...more car problems...

So I did what anybody who knows nothing about cars would do and pulled into a gas station, filled up and checked the oil. And that's when my guessing game ran out haha. So I called my dad and we hashed out a plan, and armed with my cell phone gps, I found a Valvoline Instant Oil Change and asked them to do their thing, and they did, so now my car is running much more efficiently. But it's still stuttering.

When I noticed that the "Check Engine" light was on, so I went over to Autozone and had them check it out, and they told me that it was a problem with the spark plugs, and sent me to the shop that belongs to their old manager with some new spark plugs.

Now, one of my sayings to live by is "It's not the desitnation, it's the journey." Now, I believe this more than ever because today was really one of those days where I came across some really good people who went out of their way to help me out, and if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have made it to Kansas City at all today.

The shop that the guys over at Autozone sent me to is called Kizer Auto Service and it's in Davenport, Iowa, and it's owned by a couple named Wroy and Monica (at least I think I remember that as her name, she didn't have it sewn onto her shirt like Wroy did haha). Now, Wroy really helped me out by squeezing me in and replacing the spark plugs, and it was only a half an hour, but still, I'm sure there were tons of other things that he could've been doing. I had a great time sitting there talking to Monica.

I remember driving out of their parking lot thinking to myself that this is the point behind the road trip. Even though it's only been a few days on the road, I've seen enough people in all these different places to realize that it's amazing that there are still people around who will go out of their way for others, and are genuinely good people.

So if you find yourself in Davenport, Iowa and find yourself in need of some car service, give them a shout (563-324-8888). My car (whom I named Laverne today...I've had the damn thing for five years, I still haven't named her) has seriously never run better.


Anyway, I finally got here to Kanas City, and, outside of getting a little lost, the trip went great! Tomorrow, I'm gonna go and check out the city and see what kind of trouble I can get myself into, and I'm I hear there's some great Kansas City blues somewhere around here, so I'm gonna look around for that, too.

But, at the moment, I'm exhausted, so I'm heading to bed, so I'll be in touch tomorrow!

Love to all,

-Ian

Day 2 - My Kind of Town

Ok, first a little housekeeping...the women in Chicago are amazing...they're everywhere! And georgeous, too! Tall ones, short ones (spill the wine...dig that girl! spill the wine...dig that girl! haha).

But seriously...I'm sorry I didn't get the post out yesterday, it was a pretty busy day, and there weren't too many times I could hijack Reshae's computer :-) But now I have mine, and I'm sitting here at the Best Western Inn and Conference Center in Kansas City with wireless access, so I'm gonna catch up. Tonight, I'm going to post three blogs, one about yesterday in Chicago, another about my trip here today and the last one with all the pictures from the past few days that I haven't been able to post..

So back to Chicago.

Yesterday was freakin crazy! I woke up yesterday and it was about 45 or so, so I thought it'd be a great time to bundle up and go for a run. I got about two and a half miles in (and was finally in a place where I could use my Under Armour and Duotherm base layer stuff) and I found out that going for a run in a new city is a great way to learn it! It was awesome. I loved exploring Reshae's neighborhood...there's a lot of cool stuff there!

So when I got back from my run, I changed out and looked up the restaurant that I was going to go to for my authentic Chicago deep dish pizza. I found this place called Lou Malnati's about a mile and a half away (and apparently, from what I heard, it's the best deep dish pizza in Chicago). So I walked down there, and had my pizza, and hung out with the bartender and some other dude who popped in to grab some grub. Awesome dudes who gave me some great ideas of places to go and check out...

So I decided that it'd be a good idea; but first, I had to get back to Reshae's to meet up with her after work and change and stuff. Now you know that feeling you get when you're packing for a trip or moving or whatever and you can't stop thinking that you forgot something? Well yesterday, I figured out what it was: a freakin umbrella. And I'll say, forgetting your umbrella in a place nicknamed the Windy City (and yes, I know it's not named that because of the actual wind, but it seriously should be) when it starts raining is not cool. I can't tell you how pleasant it is to be lightly kissed by 35 mile per hour raindrops...

So anyway, a little later, Reshae and I went to dinner at this place called Dublin, and one of her friends came in and had a drink with us. Then we decided to go to this place called Andy's Lounge. Now at this point it was probably around 9:30 or 9:45, and that 45 degree, great day for a run morning that I woke up to...GONE. By the time we left Dublin it was about 2 degrees with a -25 degree windchill and snowing in a way that would rival some of the worse Rochester winter days we had this year (does anybody remember Thanksgiving night? Yeah, that was tons of fun...). So needless to say we took a cab to this place.

So it was jazz night at Andy's lounge last night, and it was a great time (and Reshae, I don't care what you say, you were diggin it by the end of the night haha). It was pretty dead there, but it was still pretty cool...it was a classic old school style jazz club, that if they hadn't banned smoking in the bars and clubs, it'd feel like you were back in the days when jazz ruled (the good old days, and I can still call them that, even though I wasn't technically alive yet).

Chicago really is my kind of town. And if it weren't for that weather, I'd live there in a heartbeat; I know I haven't even scratched the surface yet. But, like I told Reshae this morning, next time I'm gonna visit in the summertime and on a weekend :-).

So remember, tonight you're getting three blogs, so keep reading!

Love to all,

-Ian

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Inspiration

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'"

-Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 1- Trip to Chicago

Well, it's the end of my first day, and I'm finally here in Chicago. You know, it's pretty cool; I've never been here before, and I have to say, that I didn't expect it to be as big as it is. I'm not totally sure why, but I kind of expected it to be more of a Rochester-sized city. But it's freakin huge! I'm staying with my friend Reshae, and I'm stoked to check out the city tomorrow while she's at work, and then do a little bouncing around a little bit afterwards, too (I'm gonna try and get her to check out some good old Chicago blues).

Now, anyone that knows me at all knows that nothing is done with me without some sort of complication busting up my good time. Now I rarely ever let these complications affect me, I just deal with them and move on, but this morning, I thought my goose was cooked...

I started out on my trip this morning armed with about $500 cash on hand and a credit card around 11 or so after saying goodbye to my family, and everything was starting out great. I filled up my tank and off I was. I drove down 490 W and got to the Thruway, grabbed my ticket and started on the 10 hour drive to Chicago. After about 20 minutes or so, all of a sudden I noticed the temperature gauge on the control panel skyrocket into the red...my freakin car was overheating...again (some of you may remember me having this problem back in March or so (Alyssa)). So I pulled over and let it cool down a little bit, I called my dad, and he said that I should try to get over to the Batavia exit and get to an auto parts store. So I tried that, but I had to stop and start so damn much that it took me about 45 minutes to drive the nine miles to Autozone! I had to drive a couple miles, and then stop, then drive a couple miles, then stop...it was rediculous. Then there was the State Trooper who kept pulling up behind me because apparently the Thruway Authority called him after I tried to get a hold of AAA...yeah...I could keep going, but you get the point...this morning turned into a huge production.

Now, needless to say (hopefully), I made it to the Autozone, bought some coolant, filled my radiator and everything was running smoothly, so I hit the road again.

The rest of the trip went pretty smoothly, but I'll tell you what, I've never driven with a bicycle rack on the back of my car, and it's crazy! When the sun started moving through the sky, my mind started playing tricks on me and it would look like all different things...a cowboy hat...a face...I don't even remember what else...but it was a crazy trip.

But, I finally got here, and I have an
awesome parking spot like half a block from Reshae's apartment, so I think I'm just gonna leave my car there until I head out and walk around all day tomorrow.

I think I'm gonna try some authentic Chicago deep dish pizza...

Oh, and I have some pictures, too, but I may not be able to upload them until tomorrow or Wednesday, so stay posted.

Talk to ya soon!

-Ian

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Goodbyes

They say that commencement is not only the beginning of one part of life, but also the end of another; and while I wasn't able to find any dictionary definitions to support this, I still like to believe it's true. Well, over the past week, I've been dealing with the conclusion of this part of my life and anticipating the next.

If you didn't know, I'm moving to San Diego. I'm starting my journey tomorrow morning (I guess technically it'd be later today, given that it's 1:30 in the morning), and will be arriving in San Diego (Lord willing) on Wednesday, February 6th.

It's funny how mixed my emotions have been about this move. I don't think I've ever handled so many different feelings bouncing around my head at once before. I'm incredibly excited about the adventure, finding my soul again, and seeing how well I can scrounge to make a new beginning (I haven't had to figure this out since I kicked my roommate out of my town house and he took all the furniture and stuff). But I can't tell you, how petrified I am to have to start over and leave the life that I've built here. I've made a lot of sacrifices over the past 10 months or so since I decided I was going to go to SCUBA school in Florida, and when that fell through, I was heartbroken. Now this opportunity is presenting itself and I know that if I pass it up, I'll never forgive myself, and all of the sacrifices that I made will have been for nothing. So, I'm leaving...finally. And I know that for some people, this move has not come fast enough; there are plenty of people who are very much looking forward to having me out of their way. But what I've been realizing, and what I've been focusing on is just how great it feels to find out how much of an impact I've made on people in Rochester. There's no greater feeling than to know that you'll be missed, especially when it comes from people you never would have expected.

As most of you know, I've been having a lot of goodbye parties and saying goodbye to a lot of friends, and it has been a blast (an intoxicating blast, but a blast none-the-less). My party at Jeremiah's on Tuesday, at Prepps on Wednesday, Temple Bar on Thursday, back to Jeremiah's on Friday and all over the damn place on Saturday. And, of course, I can't forget my girls at the Cookie Nook, the Public Market Saturday morning with Lory (she bought me tons of food :-)), my first Korean lunch with Cindy Wu on Saturday afternoon, and all the other goodbyes that I've said to people over the past week.

For all of you reading this, you've meant so much to me, and I can't tell you how grateful I am that I've gotten to be a part of your lives and you a part of mine. I'll never be able to forget any of you, and I hope to see you all again very soon.

Love to all,

Ian