Travel

Christmas in NYC (Or, Kevin Lost in New York!)

I’m currently writing from the stunning Ace Hotel in midtown Manhattan. We are enjoying an upgraded hotel room with a view of the Empire State Building. Did Megan and I recently come into a large sum of money? Good question. Actually no. Credit card miles have covered the whole trip. And as a bonus, we originally booked a small room with no view and (hopefully) a toilet. To our wonderful surprise, the first room’s heater was stuck on high-heat, full blast, so the manager offered us a king size room on a higher floor with a better view. I like this place.

Also, a Stumptown cafe is located in the building (one of two in NYC), which is a wonderful surprise. In case you’re unaware, Stumptown is a Pacific Northwest coffee, so it’s great to have a taste of home on Christmas, even so far away.

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As a child, I watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and I’ve been dreaming of Christmas in the Big Apple ever since. Walking through snowy Central Park, eating a cheese pizza in a limousine, throwing a well-intentioned brick through the window of Duncan’s Toy Shop.

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Okay, so maybe it’s not really snowing. And I won’t be getting into a limousine anytime soon. And Duncan’s Toy Shop doesn’t really exist.

But here’s what does exist.

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Boston, MA

That’s right, folks. It’s time for another installment of our nation’s favorite weekend road trip blog: Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors! Or, it’s summer and let’s hit the road.

But wait a minute. It’s not summer at all. In fact it’s snowing everywhere.

Buffalo logged 6 feet of snow in one day.

Alright, alright. You got me. The wife and I went to Boston a few weeks ago, before all the snow. And yes, summer was definitely over, but fall was doing fine at the time. Amazingly enough, the Boston temperature was quite warm and welcoming, if not brisk. We lucked out wicked big time.

Here’s the thing.

I’m totally obsessed with Boston. It’s sort of a nostalgia thing, which I recently swore off, I know, but the nostalgia is earned. I had never been to Boston; however, the city of clam chowdery love had played a big role in my life, once a week, for at least a year straight.

Okay. Here it comes.

In California, years ago, when I shared an apartment with some friends, we hosted “Boston Night,” every Tuesday night.

Yes, dorky. I’m aware. Boston Night. Why would random young Californians obsess over Boston?

Well, Boston movies for one. They are their own genre. And the movies are frequently wicked excellent. Boondock Saints, The Departed, Good Will Hunting, Mystic River, Fever Pitch

Maybe not Fever Pitch, but you get the idea.

Really, Boston Night was an excuse to get together. To bring people under one roof. I always loved hosting Boston Night. I’ll never forget the movies and Sam Adams, the Boston Baked Beans and clam chowder, my friends and their bad “Southie” accents. It was a good time. (more…)

Please Support My Two Week Hawaiian Missions Trip

Dear Friends and Family,

When my Twitter ministry failed to find traction earlier this year, I realized I misheard the Lord’s voice. He does not want me to start a Twitter ministry after all. I guess, as I say it out loud, the idea of a Twitter ministry sounds ludicrous. If God were to launch a social media ministry, he would probably stick with LinkedIn. Most of those users have jobs.

Anyway, God is calling me to Hawaii.

I know what you’re thinking, “Kevin, for how long and how can I help?”

Great questions. God wants to send me to Hawaii for two weeks. It is not a very long time, which makes it incredibly convenient and easy to commit. Really, I don’t have to sacrifice much. Spiritual commitments that require only short term sacrifices, I find, are usually best.

But the time is plenty and the impact immense! Building long lasting relationships, for instance, will serve as a primary purpose in this two week period. Not only will I minister to lost locals, but I will also bring the Light to all first class flight crew as well as hotel and restaurant staff (at least, those who speak proper English).

More specifically:

The game plan

Days 1-4: Spread the Gospel exclusively to surfing instructors. No doubt, they are empty, sinful creatures. I will “act” as a normal customer. I will partake in the surfing instructions. I will even surf. Because as Paul says, “If they surf, you must become a surfer.”

Days 5-7: Continue to surf; when done, visit schools and poor villages for premium photo ops

Day 8: Hike a volcano

Days 9-10: Inevitably, hide from the sun to heal your sun burns (God doesn’t always make it easy, does He?)

Days 11-12: Leave gospel tracts for God to work his magic to sushi cooks and barkeeps in some scenic strip of town

Days 13-14: Shopping (more…)

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: New Hampshire & Maine

Originally, we had decided to cancel this road trip. See, we’ve been traveling like bandits this summer, and though a budget has kept us in line, we still couldn’t justify another weekend getaway on our current funds.

But then an unknown monster broke into our apartment, and we said, “Hey, now’s as good a time as any to get out of town.” Sometimes you just need to leave.

There was no way we could swing Boston, the original destination, on our budget. So we had to think of somewhere new and cheaper. Megan was craving the ocean, and I didn’t blame her. Neither of us had ever seen an Atlantic beach town before. Ocean towns are generally cheap, since beaches are free (usually). We also decided to save on hotels and sleep in the car, i.e., the Walmart Parking Lot Express.

New Hampshire and Maine were both on my East Coast bucket-list, Maine especially (Stephen King fan, ova heer!). New Hampshire was intriguing because their state motto is “Live Free or Die,” so… As it turned out, New Hampshire has a small sliver of ocean-front property, just below Maine. Perfect.

Massachusetts

While we didn’t necessarily “do” anything in Massachusetts, we did drive through the entire the state. This was exciting for me because I have fantasized about visiting Boston for years. My California friends and I used to host “Boston Night” every Tuesday at my old apartment; we would watch a Boston based movie, eat Boston Baked Beans, and swear a lot. Just being in the state was enthralling. My big purchase? A slice of pizza and soda at a rest-stop. Go Sox!

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New Hampshire

Besides the motto, we didn’t know anything about the state. We Googled “Walmarts near coastal New Hampshire” and the results returned a town named Portsmouth. (more…)

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Lake Placid, NY & Burlington, VT

Lake monsters, teddy bears, camping and ice cream—watch out, folks, this was the quintessential Number Kevin weekend. Megan and I have road-tripped and explored many new lands this summer, but this trip (I know I say this every time) was easily my favorite. It was my first time in the Adirondak mountains as well as in Vermont. Believe it, guys and gals, believe the hype.

Lake Placid

Our weekend began in Rochester, NY, where we live. Megan had Friday off, and I took a half day. This afforded us the extra time we needed to get into town and set up camp before sunset. From Rochester, Lake Placid is a five hour drive without hitting traffic or giant alligators. I’m referencing the monster movie, Lake Placid, of course, which was a favorite of mine as child. Sadly, the town seemed more interested in its Olympic history than its cryptozoology.

SIDE NOTE: IMDB told me the movie was actually filmed in British Columbia. Lucky for me, a neighboring lake held its own monster legend (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

As it turns out, the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics were both held in Lake Placid, home of the “Miracle” USA Hockey Team which I found pretty endearing. Also, I found a bobsled.

Not yet sponsored...

Not yet sponsored…

The town itself was quaint and beautiful; its downtown strip was among one of my favorites yet. We filled up on candy-by-the-pound, got some coffee, and did a little magnet shopping for our travel fridge. Because cheesy married couples need magnets. We’ve accepted it. Moving along…

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Main Street, Lake Placid

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Starting Over in Flower City, NY

Lately, it has occurred to me that Rochester and I, maybe, perhaps, have got off on the wrong foot. It’s no secret my wife and I have been detesting where we live. We moved last August from the West Coast, and it’s just been… well… it’s been…  it’s been exhaustingly frustrating: rabies scare, smoke-ridden apartment, under employment, Polar Vortextation, stranded for hours because of shoddy mechanic work, knee injuries, rude strangers, us leaving every other weekend just to feel normal, underwhelming food…

And we’re not pessimists, I promise. We moved here with positivity and high hope. Like breakfast, we prefer the sunny side. Unfortunately Rochester had other plans. There’s this cycle. Every time we begin to think positive about where we live, we look up, smile at the sky, and then get crapped on by a metaphorical seagull (i.e., Rochester), crapped on right in the kisser.

But that is neither here nor there.

Like a rat in a maze hitting his head against the wall over (and over), I need a fresh start. SO here it is. I’m starting over. I’m giving Rochester another shot, a fair shake, a second chance, some water under the bridge, a lumberjack handshake, a cough syrup detox and other clichés…

And why not? It’s summer, the first day of summer; this is when you get to go outside.

Lake Ontario–give it another chance!

I remember the first time I saw Lake Ontario, my first Great Lake! What a sight. Immense and infinite. I couldn’t look away, and like an ocean, I desperately yearned to know its secrets. But then I smelled Lake Ontario. And then I saw the grossly polluted Genesee River endlessly dumping into it. And then I said, “Hmmm, that’s too bad. Guess I’ll never come back here again.”

Well, nearly six months later, Megan and I took a trip up to the lake, and, I have to admit, I had a wonderful time. The smell wasn’t bad (we weren’t as close to the Genesee), and I enjoyed the lake’s serenity. I skipped rocks like a boss (that is, a boss who skips rocks), and Megan found some neat “ocean” glass. The sun was out and the breeze was perfect.

photo1 (20)photo1-6The Food–give it another chance! (more…)