A Wedding, A Meetup, A Woman Never Happier– Part 4

I woke up Sunday morning and was able to chat with Megan for a bit before she headed out for her flight. I gifted her a bottle of Sicilian wine that we hoped to sit down and share, but, due to the crazy weekend, that shall be the next time we meet. The other bottle I gifted to Graham Doyle, of The Irish Pubcast fame, via Simon.

I packed up my stuff and took it over to Kevin and Roz’s room, since Cindy and I couldn’t check into our room until later that day. Cindy and Simon headed for NYC to see Spiderman: Turn off the Dark and I had plans with Paul and moTT to go tag along with the Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave! guys to Collingwood Flea Market.

I got down to the hotel lobby and it took me almost an hour to head out of there because everyone was saying goodbyes. Linnitt gifted me a beautiful bracelet from Guatemala.  After all the “see you later’s” were said (and I was starting to feel a little bit of the post meetup blues), Carrie, Steven, Crystal, and Ed were all heading back home, so they swung me by to meet up with Paul and moTT for our big adventure.

We drove about 45 minutes or so, and finally arrived at the fabled Collingwood Flea Market. moTT went off to do some bargain hunting, so Paul and I began our search for the TESD guys. We found them inside at the messy comic book guy’s stall (his name escapes me right now). We browsed a bit and came across a pellet/BB gun stall that had their guns made to look like real weapons (or to me, anything I could name off of MW2 or Black Ops).

The guys were already towards the end of their time there, since they had gotten there earlier to try and sell some stuff before recording. We met up with Git' ‘Em Steve-Dave and listened to Q and Walt interview this guy who was full of conspiracy theories before heading for the car.

Since moTT was heading in the opposite direction for home, Paul and I hopped in with Ming to head back to Red Bank. He dropped us off at the train station because we were going to head up to NYC to meet up with Cindy and Simon. Good thing, we didn’t hop on the train since Simon texted back and said they were coming back after the show and were heading to dinner with the British contingency.

Paul and I grabbed a snack at the bakery near the train station and walked back to the Stash. I’m so glad Paul is a patient guy and was having a conversation with Sunday Jeff, as I probably did a good 20-30 laps around the Stash. I had been in the Stash every day up until that point, but never had enough time to actually browse. When I finally felt I had browsed enough, I bought my collection of books and headed for Jack’s Music Shoppe across the street.

The day before when I was shopping with Chase, I had found a couple vinyls that I liked. I found a few more this day that were perfect, including Rise Against’s new album. Paul joined me after a bit and we were in Jack’s until closing time.

Since Cindy and Simon hadn’t returned from NYC yet and neither Paul nor I had lunch, we headed to yet another fabled TESD spot, Zebu Forno. This place is just like Panera Bread but with more of an Italian take. I can’t quite remember what Paul had, but I had a sandwich and a balsamic strawberry arugula salad that was delectable. As we had time to kill and there was free wi-fi, Paul and I just chilled at Zebu for a bit chatting, tweeting, and charging our phones. Just a nice comfortable atmosphere to relax.

I think it was about 2 to 3 hours later when we got the call that it was time for dinner, so we met up with quite the number of people at Olive Garden. Cindy, Simon, Paul D, Kevin, Martin, Cally, Karla and Dex. I believe we were there until closing time. Paul, Karla, Dex and I finalized our plans for NYC the next day, and headed to sleep.

The next morning, we got up and headed for the Big Apple. We got into Penn Station, where someone swore that Dex was famous and Karla, Paul and I were his entourage. Dex played it up real well too! So we walked from there to the Shake Shack to meet up with Frank #3 for lunch. I have been hearing about the legendary Shake Shack for quite some time, and it definitely lived up to its legacy.

Following the Shake Shack, we decided that we wanted to be touristy on this trip and headed for the Empire State Building, where Crystal met us for our trip to the top. I got us a reduced entrance fee due to my military ID and we headed up. New York City looks so small from up there. I think at one point I said to Dex something along the lines of “But Central Park is right there!”. Yeah, good one, Mandie.

I really have a tempting to Photoshop King Kong into this picture. It was really sunny and hot on the ground, but very overcast and breezy at the top. Still an excellent view though.

After the Empire State Building, we had to part from Paul as he headed for his plane back to Canada. Crystal still had some time before work and led Karla, Dex and myself to Midtown Comics. I sincerely wish Paul had a later flight once I got in there. It’s what geeks think about if they think of the promised land.

I wandered about Midtown Comics for quite a bit. Picked up some T-shirts books, and some odds and ends. I was very glad that I brought my hefty backpack since I knew that if I made it to Midtown, I’d be buying a bit of stuff.

From Midtown, Dex, Karla and I headed for Times Square. Crystal had departed once we had reached Midtown as she had to get ready for work. We just kept walking until we finally hit Central Park and then we hit the Subway to meet Robb at S’Mac for dinner.

By this point in the day, my feet were absolutely killing me. I had decided in all my infinite wisdom to wear my unbroken-in Clerks Etnies. Bad idea. Karla and Dex still wanted to walk around a bit. There was no way that I was going to be able to keep up so I decided to head back for Penn Station. Robb accompanied me over there and saw me safely onto the train back to Red Bank.

I made it back just fine, besides getting a headache from the chick who had “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne as her text notification. Every 20 seconds it was “Hey Hey, You You, I don’t like your girlfriend”. Quite a few of my Canadian friends got a kick out of this.

The next day, Cindy and I got up a bit early because it was our last day, but also because it was Podcasting Day! Cindy and I did a special episode of The Irish Pubcast with Simon at the Dublin House. Along with having our last meal of the trip with Simon. I definitely wore my brand spanking new Pubcast t-shirt and we got some shots for the Pubcast Facebook page.

We, then, followed that up with watching the guys from Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave record both their regular episode and TESD: Overkill. It was seriously like having my own private Smodcastle show. The guys were absolutely awesome and I am so glad to meet them. I can’t wait to see them in live-show mode in October.

Ming met Cindy and I at the Stash and we went for dinner at Boondocks Fishery, down on the river. A few months prior to the trip, I had sponsored Ming in the Superhero Half Marathon. He surprised me with a medal from it. I’m still not sure where I want to hang it. I think I’ll save it in the box that I have with all my stuff for when I have an office again. My Mini Cooper is too small to have things hanging from the rearview.
Boondocks was an awesome place to eat. The food was fantastic. This is what Ming and I split for dinner.

After Boondocks, we headed for the park right on the river, as Red Bank was hosting movies in the park that week. So Cindy, Ming and I all watched Austin Powers in the park. It was seriously the perfect end to a perfect trip and my first big VA meetup.

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