Monday, August 31, 2015

Lobster, Windmill, Pollock, and One Not So Big Duck

The final Sibling Daytripping Summer event: Windmill in Watermill, lobster rolls at The Lobster Roll, awesomeness at the Pollock Krasner house, and the Big Duck in Flanders.

I was up for the long drive because Southampton was my MFA home.  I drove out there once a week and spent 10 days each summer there as I earned my degree.  I love the vineyards.  I've been through corn mazes out there.  Visited the lighthouse a few times.  It's my territory for fun stuff.

On a Thursday midmorning, it took like three hours.  What the?  I understand summer traffic going out east, but this was ridiculous.  My brother was getting a kick out of my astonishment of the traffic.  We saw some cool roadside art and I noticed an art museum I'd never seen before, so that distracted me from the drive.

We finally got to our first stop in Watermill.  We were wondering how we'd find the windmill when suddenly, it appeared. 
Oh, there it is. (Anthony Rau photography)

(Anthony Rau photography)
Then back in the car!  We'd parked behind a car from Maryland on the side of the road, hoping that we wouldn't get a ticket.  Also hoping that they didn't come all the way from Maryland to see only this windmill.  It was pretty and nice, but it took maybe ten minutes to walk around it and take it in.

Back in traffic, we finally found The Lobster Roll in the middle of nowhere in Amagansett.  The parking is tight but we luckily pulled in right as someone was pulling out.  It was busy but we didn't have to wait long to get a table.  I'd been thinking I'd have to split something with my brother because the serving sizes looked huge, but on the menu they offered sliders.  Lobster Roll Sliders!!  He got a shrimp roll and I got a lobster roll slider and we basically devoured our food, saying over and over again, This is so goooooood!  We'd driven three hours to eat for maybe twenty minutes.  It was worth it.
Famous people who've eaten lobster rolls
Lookit how tiny it is!
Because you gotta make it black and white (Anthony Rau photography)
Then we found the Pollock Krasner house.  It's a museum as per the wishes of Lee Krasner upon her death.  The tour is $5 unless you have a SUNY ID.  Which means for me it was FREE!  We took the spiral bound book self-tour and followed its instructions to take in the view of the water first, the studio second, and the house third.  While we were in the studio, we had to put on these ridiculous slippers, and my brother somehow found the wrong size and was busting out of his.  While we went around reading the explanations on the walls, some guy was talking to the docent really loudly, namedropping artists and actors and telling the story of how he worked on the set of the movie Pollock.  That was a really good movie, but reading was difficult with the guy's yammering on.  Everywhere else was quiet, and the guy finally stopped talking and we were able to take in the rest of the studio in peace.  It looks very much the same as it does in the photos from the past.  Very eerie and quite exciting.
There's a photo of Pollock and his mistress sitting on these rocks the day they died.
I kinda wanted to keep these.
Name Those Artists!
Dried paint and a turkey baster
I'm an ass.

The rest of the book had the entire history of Pollock and then of Krasner and of the grounds.  I read a lot of it out loud, but then it got to be tiresome, especially after we'd seen everything.  At the back of the book was a map of how to get to the cemetery where Pollock is buried, but we didn't do that.  The house and studio were the best way to remember him.

We headed Westward, homeward, and The Big Duck was kind of on the way because really anything West of where we were was homeward and on the way, so we decided to stop to see it.  It took like an hour to go five miles.  I took my traffic frustrations out on the duck.  When it finally appeared roadside, I was like, It's not that big!
Lame duck
I was expecting a gigantic duck, and really, it's more of a medium duck.  We went inside, and I was delighted that we could actually go inside, and the woman there explained to us the history of the duck.  There used to be a duck farm there.  Also, any building shaped like what it sells is called a duck.  So this building shaped like a duck sells duck stuff, so it's a duck.  A boot-shaped building that sells boots is called a duck.  An apple-shaped building that sells apples is called a duck.  And so on.  This duck is also a national landmark.  Because we learned fun facts such as these, I was no longer disappointed in the duck. 
Duck with a door
Not much smaller than the duck but okay, it's still a big duck
Sepia duck (Anthony Rau photography)
Back into the traffic once more, and this time, it was rush hour.  However, when you're so far out, rush hour isn't really the issue.  Once we hit more civilization, we flew towards home because we were pretty much behind rush hour because no one who lives that far out should be commuting this far in.  Thinking it over, however, sitting in traffic for a few hours at a time to see everything we saw ain't all that bad.  One trip Eastward and we got to take in art, seafood, wind mills, and ducks all in one day.  Day tripping at its best.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Coney Island Koi

Seriously, who wins a koi fish and two gold fish from Coney Island and takes it home and buys a tank and a catfish to keep as pets?  Seriously?

But before that happened, Eddie sank one of those near-impossible baskets and won a stuffed monkey for me.  Then we rode the scary haunted ride and I spent the whole time screaming and hiding behind the monkey.  When we came out of the ride, I was clutching the monkey, and people were laughing, and AF was laughing and pointing at the booth where our pictures were on screen.  She was like, You have to see yours! In our picture, Eddie had his eyes closed and was laughing and you couldn't see me.  All you could see was the monkey in front of my face. 

I mean, I don't mind scary, but when the ride is pitch black--so dark that I couldn't see my own hand--I'm not into that.  Eddie kept saying, You have to look!  And I was like, Nope, I absolutely do not.

We watched fireworks with AF and SMM.  They were fun.

Then Eddie got this brilliant idea to win a fish.  We walked over to the fish game and the guy gave us four buckets of balls to throw into these tiny fish bowls.  I was throwing them trying to miss on purpose and I got two in.  In total, we all got in a whole lot, enough to win a koi.  When we went to collect the fish, the woman gave us two goldfish too, and she would have given us more had we not stopped her.

On the way home, water kept sloshing out of the tank at odd times.  However, the fish made it home.

The next day, we went to the pet store and bought a tank with a filter, and Eddie put the whole thing together because I wanted nothing to do with taking care of other living things.  He also bought a catfish because they help keep the tank clean. The catfish is crazy and was biting the koi's tail. Actually, all the fish are crazy. They go nuts whenever you walk into the room.

The one thing that matters most however is that the fish are still alive.  Good job, Eddie.
Stupid fish

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fox Free Preview With Even More Free

Do I look suspicious?
I won free passes from Fresh 102.7 to go to the FOX Fall Preview at AMC in NYC.  I'd already had plans with my officemate to go to dinner, so we had salads in Bryant Park first.  I'd arrived at the park a bit early, so I sat by the carousel because I liked the music. I felt like I was kind of in Paris, and I'm in the middle of reading The Paris Wife, which is amazing, so it was as if I was in the book.

I was keeping to myself, reading my book, sipping my free Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (this DD gift card I have is lasting forever!), and listening to the carousel music.  Usually I'm one to avoid where kids go to scream, but no children were screaming.  It was a perfect evening to wait in the park.

And then came along imperfection.  Some guy came over and pointed to the empty chair on the other side of my table, asking, Can I sit here? I do not feel like talking to people, I want to be anti social, and you seem to be quiet and reading, and I don't want to deal with anyone right now.

Then he did a shaking shuddery motion as if to shake off the thought of talking.  I glanced up and said a quick, Sure no problem, and went back to my book.

A quick search on Bing will offer the definition of anti-social through the Oxford English Dictionary as "not sociable" and "not wanting the company of others."  This is what I understood this dude to mean when he said he didn't want to talk to anyone.

Apparently, he either forgot he wanted to be anti-social or he doesn't know how to look up words in a dictionary because after a few moments of silence, he piped up, Are you in the FDNY? You look suspicious like you could be.

Now I've been accused of being lots of things--usually by irate students--but a police officer is not one of them.  So I responded, Me? No, I am not.  I sipped my coffee, barely looking up.

Mr. I Don't Know What Anti-Social Means then replied that he'd been in a park and met a woman who looked like a tourist who was actually an undercover cop.  He said he never would have thought it because her cover was so good.  Then he indicated my sunglasses and large book and repeated that I looked like I was undercover NYPD.

Apparently, Mr. I Don't Know What Anti-Social Means frequents parks and asks strangers if they are undercover.

For the record, I wear sunglasses because the sun is bright.  I wear big sunglasses because I can't get over the fashion trend of wearing sunglasses the size of my head.  The bigger the better, really.  And I read books because I like books.  I didn't explain this to him, though.  I simply responded, Nope, I'm just reading my book, waiting for my friend.

The conversation ended there with him nodding and agreeing to accept the fact that I was not undercover NYPD (though I could have been a Russian spy or something! Maybe he asked the wrong question! But I'm not a Russian spy.  I have been asked if I'm Russian before, however.  See how it all comes around?)
A few minutes later, he once again spoke up, but this time it was more of his being a detective, saying, Here's your friend now!  Maybe he was relieved that I actually was waiting for a friend and not simply blowing him off.  SD appeared from behind me smiling, and I greeted her saying, He thought I was in the NYPD.  She laughed and we walked away, not really knowing where we were going except for away from him.

After walking a loop to check out the food stands, one of which had a delightful selection of waffles, we settled on salads from Pax and eating al fresco.  And then it was time for the previews.

Only no one knew where we should check in.  Neither of the tables set up in the theater's lobby was for FOX.  I asked someone at the box office, and they told me to go up to Customer Service.  I asked Customer Service and they told me to go up to the theatre where the preview would be.  Then after waiting around a few minutes, someone told us to go outside because there was a line.

 When we went outside, we saw a line that was totally not there before.  We waited on this line for about 45 minutes and I didn't have a ticket like everyone else.  When we got to the front of the line where the guy told us to have our tickets out, I explained I had no ticket.  He said, Did you win passes?  I said yes, and he said to go into the lobby.

There in the lobby, where I'd first gone, was a table set up with FOX stuff, and the woman who had told us to go outside on the line was at the table, checking IDs.  So really, we were back where we started.

Really, it didn't matter because we got in before they had to turn people away (they always give away more tickets than seats to ensure that the theatre fills).  They also gave us each a free small popcorn and a free small soda.  SD was like, I'm glad we didn't have waffles for dinner, and I concurred because once we got into the theatre, they also gave us ice cream. So let's recap so far: FREE tickets, FREE popcorn, FREE soda, and FREE ice cream.
Then when we found our seats, we saw that we had swag waiting for us.  A tote bag for Scream Queens, a t-shirt for The Grinder that has Rob Lowe's head on it, and a hat for Grandfathered.  All that for FREE.
The staff encouraged us to take selfies and spread them on social media with the hashtags for the shows.  Then they told us about each show and I think we run in different circles from some of the girls who were there because the staff was announcing the names of some of the actors and girls were cheering and shouting and we were like, Who are they talking about??  BUT we knew Fred Savage and John Stamos and Rob Lowe.  We also knew Emma Roberts and Ariana Grande, so that bridged the gap.

We really liked Grandfathered, we kind of liked The Grinder, and we had no idea what to think about Scream Queens.  That show is supposed to be funny thriller killery, but mainly, it was over-the-top mean and offensive.  Like, the girl kills someone in a fryer in a kitchen, and that's not the mean, offensive part.  The mean-offensive part is how she talks to everyone around her and then there's a character who's deaf and sings Taylor Swift songs and the joke is that she's deaf and then SPOILER ALERT she gets killed.  The only part that was remotely funny was when Ariana Grande's character was fighting with someone who was trying to kill her, and instead of screaming at each other, they were texting each other. 

Every time a show I watch ends, I do my best to not replace it so that I have more time to read and write.  This whole FREE passes thing might make me check out some FOX shows this season, which is totally the point, but even so, free is free is free.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fun With Blacklight, Monster Mini-Golf Style

Once the anniversary celebration came to a close, Eddie and I took AF and SMM to play mini golf.  Still reeling from his incomprehensible tie, Eddie was out to prove something.  I was out to have some fun in blacklight.  I got a Groupon to play Monster Mini-Golf, which is an actual thing.  It's an indoor mini-golf course that's in the dark under blacklight where scary things glow.  We got stuck behind a group of 8, most of whom were not very good at mini-golf.  We were all actually doing pretty well at first, which meant we would complete a hole really quickly and then we'd be smushed between the 8 girls in front of us and then the four people behind us, and the entire course was basically backed up.  Good thing they play fun music.  AND we got to entertain ourselves for a while by taking pictures in blacklight even though they don't come out really well.  Because I wear contacts and have light eyes, I looked pretty creepy. 

We are idiots.
In the end, I came in last and Eddie won and AF and SMM were somewhere in the middle.  Eddie can now sleep better at night, reigning mini golf champ.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Beacon, Bannerman, Fishkill, New York

Anniversary weekend!  A trip upstate, which is not really upstate or even central state, but it's norther than we live, so upstate it was.  What should have been about an hour and a half was two and some minutes, which isn't all that bad considering we've taken like three hours to go to Staten Island.  I drove, which means Eddie was in charge of Taking Pictures of Fun and Pretty Things. He's getting the hang of it.
This is where bears live. -- Eddie
I near flipped out when I saw this bridge.  Because it's pretty.

Then we saw our first piece of art when we got to Fishkill.
Plus a pretty lake thingie!
We settled quickly into our hotel and headed to the diner across the street because we like diners.
Then we headed into Beacon to take in the town.  It's a small town and very artsy, so it's really cute.  They have public art.  I love public art!  Eddie loves that I love public art!  They also have some galleries.
Okay, this might not be art.  But that kinda makes it art, right?
There are also a bunch of small independent shops, which I love.  They have a bookstore that supports the library.  It's very small, and though the shelves are labeled with genres, there's no real system of organization.  Some bookcases were labeled All Books Here $1.  There was a case in the back that had plastic bags next to it and the sign said we could fill a bag with any books from the case, and the bag would be $2.  We actually spend a whopping $10, but not on these.  I found a book about football and showed it to Eddie jokingly, and he was like, I want this.  Then I found a book entitled Texts From Jane Eyre, which ponders what if characters throughout literature texted each other, and I had to have it.  They were each $5.  Later on, I noticed that the plastic bag was from a grocery store and not from the actual bookstore.  Awesome.
The rest of the town was basically pretty, quirky, and pretty quirky.  We walked it all in about an hour and a half.  It got to be boiling when we were on the sunny side of the street, so we headed back to the hotel to go through our amazing purchases, which included the aforementioned books, a small notepad for writing, and some stickers, but not the hip hop cookie pressers that Eddie debated about.  By the time we got back to the hotel, it was mid afternoon snack time, so I grabbed a healthy-looking cookie which was out of this world delicious and some free tea. FREE!

At dinnertime, we took in downtown Fishkill.  It's smaller than Beacon. It offered a few restaurants, so we chose Five Guys so Eddie could eat a burger and I could eat FREE peanuts--and they were giving away free samples of milkshakes so I took one.  I shared his fries because Five Guys gives you about a gallon of fries and then we went to Frozenberry for froyo and it was yummy.
I devoured the milkshake before I could take a picture of it.  Because it was free AND delicious.
That night, we watched The Interview on Netflix.  Because that's how we party.  We laughed out loud and hysterically and often.

The next day, we were ready to go to Pollepel Island to see Bannerman Castle!  We woke up early, got ready early, lazed around for a while, and then headed to breakfast.  We ate bagels as slowly as we could.  We were still super early to the dock, so we took in the local park first.
We found our way to the dock and camped out until people showed up.  We were there so early, but then everyone kind of arrived at once after us.  Our boat came in and we were ready to sail!  As we waited for 12:30, the time to shove off, the boat got extremely hot, but once we were on the water, the breeze felt cool.  Then the island appeared ahead of us.
On the boat!
Now I could go into the history of Bannerman Castle, but really, that's what the tour is for.  All you need to know is that there's a broken down castle in the middle of the Hudson, and it's Uh. May. Zing!  What I will tell you is that while the website warns that you have to walk up 75 steps from the dock on the island to start the tour, what it doesn't tell you is that those wooden steps are the easy part.  There's lots of narrow trail walking and rock crumbling and curvy windy path following.  AND if you go on a day when it's like 103 degrees out, it's friggin hot at the top.  I enjoyed it all very much, but in the heat, it was a little long.  I would love to retell you every single detail, but I missed some of the details towards the end when all I was thinking was, Get me off of this island.  It was that kind of hot.

However, the tour was still fantastic.  I chose to go with the tour guide who was wearing a Yankee cap because I figured if Eddie was completely uninterested in what the guy was saying, he could talk sports.  And what we learned was really interesting, and our tour guide presented everything to us in a gossipy kind of way as well as an informative one (he told us that Polly Pel wasn't much of a looker as he passed a picture of her around--he was really entertaining).  There was a second guide with us who knew some other stuff, including why there was a flag emblem engraved into the stone of the house, which is a secondary structure aside from the castle.  When asked what the square footage was of the house, the guide replied, It's a round house so there's no square footage.  This was my kind of tour.

We saw the ruins of the castle.  We saw the ruins of the house.  We saw the gardens.  We saw what used to be an outhouse.  We saw the remnants of a well.  We passed around newspaper clippings and posters about the island from the past.  We stood in the shade as much as we could.

Side of the castle
Around the other side
We have about 87 pictures of the same thing.

The house. We learned a lot about the stone and the flag but I don't remember any of it because I sweat it all out.
Pretty garden under the beating hot sun
This is what the living room looked like.  Then there was an explosion.  I'm missing some key elements of the story.

There are some places that look really iffy.  Thankfully, they don't let you go near them.
Around the side of the house
At the end of the tour, the boat came back to pick us up.  We saw a lot of activity in the water as we made our way down.
The guides were deciding who was going to stay behind for the next tour.  Fun fact: If you don't want to visit the island via boat, you can kayak there.  That's someone's idea of fun.  We did not see the kayaks when we were leaving.

Once we got back to the mainland, it was time to head home.  But first, we blasted the air conditioner in the car because we were gross. Oh!  And before leaving, I saved this little squeezy chicken from certain death in the parking lot.  I lodged him in the mirror of the minivan next to us, assuming that if you have a minivan, you have kids, and this probably belongs to them.  Changing the world one kindness at a time.