Cleveland

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Cleveland, OH

You know Cleveland. Don’t you? The setting for The Drew Carey Show, a rival city for Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, Ted’s hometown from How I Met Your Mother? Yeah, that one. Don’t be fooled, Cleveland is more than a plot device and setting for network TV sitcoms; it is a real town, albeit slightly magical, tucked away in the Midwest (Midwest? Is that what you call it?) on a Great Lake.

Fantastic food, clean city, friendly people, three sports stadiums (in town) and blocks away from each other. Cleveland is wonderful. In fact, it may be one of my favorite cities in America. There, I said it.

Last weekend, my wife, my visiting brother in law, and I traveled to Cleveland for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. I was initially scheduled to run the half marathon with my wife, but my knee decided to be a bastard on me. Since, I have played the role of supporting spouse for my wife who thrashed the Hell out of that half-marathon. Boom! I couldn’t be prouder of her. She was great. Running a half-marathon is hard enough, but doing it by yourself is something I’m not sure I would have the wherewithal to do. Three cheers for my wife!

Among my favorite highlights:

  • The sketchy and delicious Greek food place in the Arcade.
  • Seeing Johnny Cash’s tour bus (see pictures)
  • Losing $5 playing an Airplane (the movie) themed slot machine
  • Morning coffee at Erie Island Coffee Co., a small cafe near the Corner Alley
  • Room service dessert
  • The marathon starting with the theme song from The Drew Carey Show.

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Attitude Alignment Algorithm (or, Sour Neon Worms)

What’s worse than runner’s knee? Knunner’s ree. But that’s another story for another time.

Yesterday my wife and I were training for our half-marathon—one month away in Cleveland. It was a ten mile run. The weather was a surprising 80 degrees; other people were outside. I waved. Mile 2 my knee became stiff, and I ran through it. Mile 5 my knee seized and my body dug into the asphalt like Iron Man falling from the sky. “Ah poop,” I said.

Kneedy

The great thing about living in Rochester is that I’m constantly given opportunities to have a bad attitude a great attitude. It’s been a tough winter (as I’ve said and said and said) but we’re finally out of it! (Tomorrow a snow storm is expected). And though I’m limping like a sailor, I’m happy to say—

Okay.

I can’t do it.

Guys.

I’ve reached my max here.

This knee thing is the pits. I’m well aware that I signed up for 23 credits with a part-time job and, well, what should I have expected? But this marathon? It was going to be everything. It would represent my ascension into post-Spring semester heaven. I would be running. Those cheering on the sidelines would be yelling, “Kevin, you made the right choice moving to Rochester. Way to go!” Or, “Keep up the good work, Kevin! Never mind the opportunity costs associated with uprooting and college. You’re almost there!” And finally, as I’m given a small cup of water, with extra, because I deserve it: “You can do it! Your wife’s career is mildly suffering but it is worth it for you to study at a private school! Woo!” (more…)

Proof My Life is a Movie and That I’m On To You

My favorite all-time movie is The Truman Show. I think its Jim Carrey’s finest hour on screen (Eternal Sunshine, of course, is a very close second). As a child (1998!), I remember exiting the movie theatre convinced that my life was one big TV show and everybody was in on it. There has since surfaced a mental delusion called Truman Syndrome or The Truman Show Delusion where people believe their lives are really staged plays, TV shows, or films.

I’m proud to say that I am not a sufferer of Truman Syndrome. However, I am on to you bastards. Some strange things have been happening this last week, and the only logical explanation is that I’m trapped inside a hilarious, yet tragically poignant, reality television program and/or movie. (more…)

Brave New World: Days 3 & 4

10 states, 36 driving hours, and upwards of $40 of toll-road fees later… WE MADE IT TO ROCHESTER!!! There was no better feeling than the one we experienced early Wednesday afternoon. Yes, we were tired. Yes, the car smelled weird. Yes, I’m convinced if I had to take one more rotation of driving I would’ve revolted with vomiting and God knows what else.

But we made it.

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Illinois (to be even more annoying) had no welcome sign due to road construction.

Truth be told, we had fun. The road trip, though troubling and challenging at times, has given me memories and experiences I will cherish my whole life. My wife has an incredible person to travel with; I’m spoiled to have her.

I’ve already written an update in the form of “Brave New World: Days 1 & 2.” Here’s a recent batch of lessons I’ve learned from the road.

1. Toll roads. Holy geez. If you’re driving through Illinois (ill-annoys, as I’m calling it), Indiana (indy-and-I’ll-take-your-money), or Ohio (nothing clever, sorry), be prepared to have cash. Better yet, get one of those I-Pass or EZPass things. It’s cheaper and faster, apparently. Well, that’s what the sign said every other quarter-of-a-mile.

2. 30 Rock didn’t lie; Cleveland is incredible. Megan and I were both very impressed—despite our grumblings from having to pay to exit the freeway, stupid tolls—in the Ohio big city. It was clean, friendly, and safe. We passed two Irish themed restaurants (ate at one of them) and saw a couple other buildings offering corned-beef year-round. I could live there.

3. It’s hard to relax after a long drive, especially when your new apartment has no furniture. Yes, we were thrilled to be “home.” Unfortunately, “home” has no “furniture.” It is beautiful though. Check it out! (We have just an apartment, not the whole house).

photoAny readers with Upstate New York experience who have a little advice to give? Restaurants? Jobs? Furniture? … Furniture???

Brave New World: Days 1 & 2

We’re two days into the four day trek across the continental United States. Right now, I’m writing from Madison, Wisconsin. The hotel window has an intriguing view of a store called “Menards,” which I’ve put together is a hardware store.

My last blog (about traveling, not my usual self-righteous religious ramblings) was “Breaking Sad“—a post that explored the up and down emotions of leaving everyone you know and love behind. As a quick update, I have to say that once Megan and I hit the road our outlook changed.

I’m excited. We’re both excited. FINALLY, right? Rochester, New York for goodness sakes! (And I never even say “goodness sakes”). I’ve been fantasizing about moving to the East my entire life. Yes, the West Coast is the “best coast;” it’s beautiful and has always treated me fair, but I’m an explorer at heart and the experience of the unknown is a need I crave.

I’m back on the road, with the lady I love, exploring a brave new world. Best yet, it feels wonderful. Glad to be back!

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Every road trip has its lessons. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. South Dakota is a state full of road-side attractions. You’ll never see them all, and unless you have a week to spend in SD, choose wisely. To give you an idea, we passed up Mt. Rushmore, an 1880 town, a Corn Palace, and some auto-museum with the “Real General Lee.” What did we do in South Dakota? The Wall Drug Store! Duh.

2. We traveled through one of the largest gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts in the US. Since our car was “loaded to the gills” (as my brother would say) and all my blind spots were magnified, my stress level was a little higher than usual. What’s the lesson here? Always Google your stopping points before you go! We could’ve traveled through North Dakota and missed the leather gang completely.

3. No matter who you are and who you are with, you’ll eventually run out of things to talk about. Megan found a great app that gives endless “conversation starters.” WARNING: They don’t always work.

4. Most of the I90, east of South Dakota, is corn. You think you’ve seen corn before? YOU HAVEN’T!!! Corn for miles, for days!!! Americans love and use of corn is both sickening and impressive.

5. Speaking of corn. If you stop at a gas station and see a grade labeled “E-85,” don’t assume it’s the normal low-grade. It’s 70% Ethanol and is not for every car! Good news, I only put in a half tank.

Wall Drug Store, Wall, South Dakota. So awesome.

Wall Drug Store, Wall, South Dakota. So awesome.

Cleveland is the next stop! Any good tips for the city out there? We’re looking for a great local place to eat and maybe somewhere to explore. The Rock N’Roll Hall of Fame was going to be the main stop, but it’s a little pricy and who cares about the Rolling Stones?