Tuesday, September 2, 2008

East Infection 2008 : The Movie

The multi-ethnic Gypsy punk band known as Gogol Bordello writes songs.

Most of them are supercrazy.

As it turns out, one of those supercrazy songs is entitled "East Infection."


It's like they wrote the song just for us.

Except they didn't.

That isn't stopping us from using the song in our final post for this road trip blog.

And so...without further adieu...I present to you -- "East Infection : The Movie."

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed blogging!


The Infection Trifecta: The New England Tales

First off, allow me to offer my apologies for being so lax in blogging over the last few days. Jon and I were, to put it politely, fucking exhausted and so we chose sleep over your entertainment.

Whatever, you were on vacation anyway for Labor Day. And I didn’t see any of you blogging. So shut up!

Anyway, Jon and I are both home in LA, safe and sound now. I spent the better part of the day completely unconscious yesterday, and today was kind of the same... but I wanted to give you the last few episodes of the road trip in one handy, dandy post. And so, without further adieu--here is The East Infection Trifecta!

Part One:

The Maine Event

On Friday morning, Jon and I took the train out of New York City and picked up a car in Connecticut. By Friday evening, we were in Portland, Maine. After a (way-too-brief) nap, Jon and I asked a helpful Holiday-Inn-By-The-Bay employee for a decent seafood place, which is how we wound up at J’s Oyster House.

J's is a local hangout that overlooks the water, and it's full of wacky Portland characters. Sandy, a bigger gal with a gruff no-nonsense attitude, took our name down and told us to wait outside until she screamed it. After a while, it seemed that they had stopped calling names altogether, although tables were opening up left and right. As people began seating themselves, I asked the (much more meek) waitress if it was ok to take one of the empty tables. She replied, with a look of fear, “You have to ask Sandy at the bar.” Clearly, Sandy was not to be fucked with.

We asked Sandy who told us the table was ours (although she did glare at us for a bit). Jon and I were starving (as usual) and we were ready to order immediately.

When the food arrived, it was kind of the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. I got a seafood casserole, which featured crab, lobster, mussels and other assorted delicious fish. I don't know if it was the exhaustion or the wine or the night sea air, but I swear the food was so good, I almost started to cry.


As I tried to pull myself together, some of the locals began to argue. The main culprit wasn't exactly someone I'd want to meet in a dark alley: He a dead ringer in size and hair to Hurley from Lost. He seemed to be arguing with some other customers as well as a busboy I think. I’m not really sure what the fight was about, or many of the details during it, as I was too busy devouring the most delicious meal of my life. But I knew one thing: If they started throwing punches (or each other), I was to save my food at ALL COST.

Eventually, Sandy came out and everyone ran. Like I said, she is just not to be fucked with. I love that woman. Seriously. We had to eventually track down our (frightened) waitress for the check, at which point Jon and I meandered over to a floating restaurant for dessert.

The ancient woman at the front of this boat (who's name, coincidentally, was Jay) told us they were closed, but then had a change of heart and sat us down for some delicious Maine blueberry pie and Irish Coffee.
Not a camera effect--this is Jeff's actual view of Jon during exhaustion.

The next morning, Saturday, Jon and I woke up after only about 4 hours of sleep (Bringing the trip's total hours of slumber to approximately 10.) We asked a trainee at the front desk of the hotel for a breakfast recommendation. She explained to us that there was a diner down the street, but that we couldn't drive there because, it's a one-way street.

We were so tired, that we accepted this as fact and started the ten minute walk to the diner, which, for the record, was easily accessible by a thousand other roads that we very easily could have driven down. By this point, I was limping like a crippled person due to some unnamed foot injury from the New York era of the trip... so it took us five times as long to get anywhere.

While in there, we were treated to more Maine Notes--which apparently aren't just for the highways:

Those do NOT go in there!

On the way back, Jon cursed out the Hotel Trainee, because we were now walking (or limping) up hill to the hotel to get the car. I was still full of seafood casserole of love from the night before, however, so I was fine, although a little limpy.


Conquering Concord

Jon and I then drove to Concord, New Hampshire, where we met up with my former co-worker, Katya. Katya and I worked at a radio station together for years at my first job out of college. My co-workers and I always felt bad about being dirty around her, because she was a mom and always seemed so proper! In fact, when people found out I was a homo, they were scared to tell her. Once she found out, she rolled her eyes and said, "I know. For Christ's sakes, I grew up in the Village!"
Aww, Katya!

Of course, the first thing Katya the Innocent Mom wants to show me when we get to Concord was the Main Street/Downtown area--specifically, the adult store called Thorne's.

Afterward, she took us on a tour of the rest of the downtown, where we ran into a fella that worked with her daughter at the Candy Shop (he also works at Thorne's, although Katya swears she's never been in there) as well as a man Katya refers to as "No-Nose." There was also a guy who was a dead ringer for her dog Charlie:

In addition to its colorful locals, Katya showed off some of Concord's other features, such as a fake Liberty Bell...
The crack is fucking painted on.

Un. Acceptable.
...a giant cement turtle....


...and a trap designed to ensnare and kill visitors to their lovely city.
Perish Station
We met up with Katya's daughter Morgan and ate delicious Bison Burgers for lunch while Katya & I caught up on old times as Morgan and Jon pretended to be entertained. It was way too short of a visit to KatyaLand, but Jon and I had to say goodbye and head on out to Boston....which brings us to:

Part Three:

The Boston Uncommons

Jon's college roommate Mollie, who was kind enough to let us stay with her and her fiance Jonathan during our time in Boston, booked us into a wacky "Duck Tour" for Sunday afternoon.

The Duck Tour vehicle takes you around the city's streets for a while before turning into a boat and bringing you into the Charles River for a look at the city from the water.

Jon and I were pretty much the walking dead by Sunday afternoon, and the thought of climbing aboard a crazy land-boat with a loud guy yelling at us for 80 minutes didn't seem like something I could handle without being at full capacity, so I will admit to being a little terrified.

At the beginning of our tour, our guide, Hawaiian Howie...

...instructed us on how to quack at passersby while on the tour. Anytime he said the phrase "How are ya?" we were to reply back with: "Quack! Quack! How Are Ya!"

OK, maybe I was a lot terrified.

Howie began to unravel the tale of Boston for us, in a pretty entertaining way. Well, I was in a daze for most of it, but it seemed to be fun at the time. I imagine this is how old-age will be, and I welcome it.

Anyway, Howie was totally awesome and let us drive the boat while it was on the water...
To the left, to the left.

Everyone Out of the Water!

We took in some of the spectacular views of Boston from the water...

...and from the land.
The wind beneath his wings...

For all your tooth-painting needs.
After the tour, as Jon reported, we all went over to his friend Andrew Chang's House of Pasta...

...and enjoyed a home-cooked meal before we had to get up at FOUR AM to make it to the airport for our flights home.

And even though I was exhausted from the rest of the awesome trip, I loved Boston--thanks in no small part to Mollie, Jonathan and Andrew...who all perfectly captured the Spirit of Massachusetts.

Thanks to everyone who played with us during this crazy adventure! I can't believe it's already over... and I can't believe it only lasted a week!

Now go clean your infection up. You're grossing everyone out.

Five States. One Post.

The final three days of East Infection were pretty much a blur.

We squeezed a lot of activities and people in the span of 72 hours (there was only time for one CAN picture). Every moment was filled with EastInfectionJoy.

Don't believe me?

Well, get ready...because you are about to embark on a blog journey through five states (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine) in the span of one blog post.

* * *

Once we got out of NYC at 7 in the morning on Friday, Jeff and I picked up a new rental car in Stamford, CT. It was a Red Pontiac. It didn't have a NeverLost. I never thought I'd say this, but I missed the Impala.

After driving through Connecticut and a good portion of Massachusetts, we arrived in Natick...to have lunch with my former college roommates, Kim and Emily.

They were nice enough to drive out from Boston proper and meet us at the Natick Mall (now known as the "Natick Collection"), just off the freeway.

East Infection Trivia Factoid: the "Natick Collection" is the largest Mall in all of New England and the twelfth largest mall in the country.

The mall was VeryNice and VeryClean, but it contained some very "modern," questionable looking mall shrubbery...

If you can't tell from the picture, those are birch tree logs stuck in small cylinders of cement. Instead of fake plastic leaves, the leaves consist of triangle piece of green plastic hanging from the mall ceiling. For some reason, the faux-modern/college art project-ness of it all made me a little uneasy.

We said goodbye to Kim, Emily, and the "Natick Collection" and then headed up to Portland, Maine for about 16 hours.

It was VeryNice.

(FYI, Jeff is taking on Portland in another post.)

After Portland, came Concord. Jeff's former coworker, Katya, was nice enough to give us a quick tour of the town.

It really was VeryNice.

Once we said farewell to Katya, Jeff and I headed to Boston...where we immediately got lost. I lived in Boston in the summer of 1999, so I thought I would be able to find my way around. At least, I thought I would be able to do it long enough for us to drop off the Pontaic at the Boston Sheraton.

As it turns out, the streets of Boston are filled with pain, misery, potholes, and scantily clad Red Bull girls driving Red Bull minis.

I would go into further detail about our driving tour of Boston that nearly ended in death, but all that really matters is the fun that followed...

Once we left our car worries behind, Jeff and I arrived at Mollie and Jonathan's apartment in Brookline. (Mollie was my best friend/roommate in college. And Jonathan is her fiancé.)

It's been years since I've seen Mollie (December of 2002 to be exact), but it felt like no time had passed. Jeff and Jonathan were immediately subjected to sitting through numerous college stories...including one where Mollie threatened a "hardened" townie for nearly running us over on our way to Dunkin' Donuts at 1:45 in morning.

Hardened Townie: "What do you have a f*cking death wish?"
Mollie: "Yeah! What are you gonna do about it?"

After we got ourselves situated, Mollie, Jeff and I headed to dinner at Sonsie on Newbury Street...where we met up with my high school friend, Andrew (who I hadn't seen since my five-year reunion in 2001).

Post-dinner, we all decided to checkout the Boston nightlife.

The first location, Club Cafe, didn't seem to be much of a club. Or a Cafe. It looked like they tried to convert an old Ruby Tuesday's into a club...which unsurprisingly turned out to be a poorly executed idea. The whole non-decor decor made me nostalgic for those stupid faux birch tree leaves from the "Natick Collection."

The only thing that was at all interesting about the place was a giant television, where you could send a text message to a number and the text would show up on the screen for all to see.

Now, I'm pretty sure this screen/text message thing was supposed to be used by the shy boys in order to be an ice breaker with the other shy boys...but Jeff found another use for it. Confusing the boys of Boston with a hilarious "bit."

(User 9278 = Jeff)

Hilarious, eh?

Since no one was dancing on the dancefloor, we ended up heading over to "the Roxy." Which was located on the first floor of the downtown Marriott (ofcourseitwas).

Inside, the Roxy was filled with gayrageous-ness.

This guy was working the glow sticks (not pictured)...

And this guy was working the Castanets (pictured)...

Despite the crazinesses surrounding us, I think we made the most of it.

The next night, for our final bit of BostonJoy, Andrew had us all over for homemade pasta and deliciousness.

As I watched one of my best friends from high school serve homemade pasta to one of my best friends from college and one of my best friends from Los Angeles, I started grinning like an idiot. Worlds were colliding. And I couldn't have been happier.

Day Six: Portland, Maine to Boston, Mass

Mile 541.8 - Bye, bye, Portland, Maine! We'll miss you. Except we're lost, so we're still here!

Mile 542.9 - Found. Okseeya!

Mile 544.3 - We might be a little tired. Ugh.
Mile 549.6 - More people pulled over in Maine. Hi, everyone slow down!

Mile 574.8 - 70 Miles to Boston!

Mile 586.6 - Jeff throws gum out the window. Or, more accurately, back into the car again. Jon: "Idiot."

Mile 593.1 - Hi, we're back in New Hampshire! Live Free or Die! Again! Jeff is definitely considering the second option.

Mile 596.6 - More Police activity--this time a car is being searched!

Mile 600.6 - We pass the 101 freeway, just like in LA!
Mile 608.5 - Jeff thinks that New Hampshire looks a lot like Maine.

Mile 614.8 - Gas Break in Epping! Where's the Jippy Loo?

Mile 623.1 - Candia! Jon shouts: "It's Canada with a little bit of I in it!" Jeff takes Jon's coffee away.
Mile 626.2 - Bumper Sticker: "Eat Bertha's Mussels." HOT!

Mile 639.1 - Jon wonders why everything is a toll road. Apparently, Jon's got a lot of money, but he can't afford a freeway.

Mile 642.2 - New Hampshire: Common Sense for all. Maybe they should export it to LA.

Mile 651.4 - In Concord, looking for Katya's Chocolate Brown Bungalow!

Mile 652.0 - We found Katya!!

Mile 652.7 - Back on the 93!

Mile 656.0 - Screw you, opposite direction!

Mile 664.4 - New Hampshire = Pretty

Mile 666.9 - Jeff fears the massive spiderwebs he sees in the trees:
...and Jon has to explain to Jeff what Tent Caterpillars are. Jeff is still terrified.

Mile 670.1 - AHHH! No Road Lines!

Mile 670.5 - OK, they're back.

Mile 670.7 - Jon: "We're taking the high road!" Jeff glares. Jon: "What? It's an inch higher than the lane next to us!"

Mile 673.5 - 49 Miles to Boston!

Mile 673.8 - It's gettin cloudy!

Mile 691.3
- Mass Welcomes us!

Mile 700.0 - AHHHHHHH!

Mile 709.4 - 11 miles to Boston!

Mile 710.5 - New Black Bear exhibit at the Zoo! AHHHH!
Mile 713.4 - Hi, we can see Boston!
Mile 717.9 - We're dropping off the car in Boston!

Mile 721.0
- Oh God, so lost. And we need gas before we return the stupidcar.

Mile 724.8
- Found Gas.

Mile 726.6
- Jeff & Jon drop the car off, happy to be rid of it. Too tired to function. Must die. They opt for a cab to Mollie's place where they will be staying, thus the Miley Cyrus notebook retires once and for all! Good. Day.