Had a pretty awesome vacation with Mary Beth! Unsurprisingly, it primarily consisted of chillin' and buying a massive amount of cds in surprising places. Yeah so we got on the road alright and started driving up to the north. I don't think much of consequence happened that first Friday. We stopped off somewhere along the road in Virginia and woke up and made good time to get up to Massachusetts and Cape Ann before sundown. Managed to get the trip split up pretty evenly in two ten to ten and a half hour days. The house Mary Beth's parents rented was, as her mom put it, "rustic." Kinda weirdly complex, in that old house retrofitted to do stuff it didn't initially do and get stuff added on. It had a weird arcing floor plan, little single steps into different rooms up to the middle and then back down to the other end. It was all stone and had that stone country manor sort of feel. There was also this little arched bridge that was off-limits attached to one of the back doors. It was kinda picturesque though a shame we couldn't get on it. The driveway was also stone which is kinda quaint until you realize that bees or wasps or something had built a nest in the ground between the stones. And this is right by where we had our cars parked so you get out and they're swarming all around you. I was fine that first day (night, really), but coming back from the grocery store the second day, I went back out to get something from the car and got stung. It was really annoying 'cuz it took days to heal, til we were almost off the cape and heading back home. That first whole day there, we mostly took it pretty easy in Gloucester ("glosster"). Wasn't expecting there to be a record store right there in town, but there was! A Mystery Train. After all, Cape Ann isn't nearly as big and isn't nearly as deep and insular as Cape Cod. Had a little look-see in, they had a bunch of stuff (not all good, but within that I made some finds) and it was all especially cheap so that was nice. I ended up with: Amon Tobin: Chaos Theory, Windsor for the Derby: How We Lost, The Velvet Underground: The Boston Tea Party July 11th 1969, Stereolab: Margerine Eclipse, Owls: Two, Oxbow: The Narcotic Story, Low: One More Reason to Forget, William Hooker: Armageddon, Cul de Sac: China Gate, and Caribou: The Milk of Human Kindness. We had lunch at Lobsta Land (really good lobster rolls! and ciopinno that was delicious). It was our low key day and we didn't do a whole lot else. I'd brought my chromecast so I'd be able to watch Twin Peaks that night! Sadly getting it set up was a damn ordeal that took forever and it was almost an hour before I got it working right! But Twin peaks was watched and all was well.
Monday was our beach day and we did a few beaches right on the cape. First was Good Harbor. I did my best to keep the sun off me until the end and then I got in the ocean and swam a little. It irritated my sting so I stayed out of the water the rest of the trip. We had lunch at Farnham's with some really deliciously sweet fried clams. After that we went right over to Wingaersheek. It started to rain a little and we jumped on outta there. We'd had a pretty good run by that point though.
Tuesday we took a trip up to Maine. We went just south of Portland to this park area around Portland Head Lighthouse. Very beautiful rocky coast and lots of old shells of buildings and stuff. It was some of the most memorable scenery of the trip for me. There was also Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse (I had to look that up, at the time it was just an old decrepit lighthouse on an island barely big enough for itself out across the water) off in the distance. Then we went south down to the Two Lights area to The Lobster Shack. Talk about a goddamn location! They're right there on this rocky ledge on the water. We had our food outside (I had a clamburger) at these picnic tables with the waves crashing right below. We took a little time walking out on the rocks. Pretty damn scenic lunch. Then we went up to Portland. Didn't do a whole lot up there. Mostly just to wander around and see the city. It was a little more than I'd expected. Not the hugest city, obviously but it definitely felt like you could find some stuff to do there. I found a small record store called Strange Maine and found a couple cds: Chicha Libre: ¡Sonido Amazonico! and Thurston Moore: Flipped Out Bride. Mostly a bit of driving around and enjoying the city. On the way back, in the southern part of Maine, we stopped off at a couple of beaches: York Beach and Long Sands Beach. They kind of blend together a little for me. At one of the beaches I finished reading The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy which I enjoyed. Again, I was still out of the water. Just hanging out on the beach, reading and looking at seagulls.
Wednesday was our day to go up to New Hampshire (that's really two new states I've spent some time in, and Maine I've never even been to at all, New Hampshire I think I once drove into and turned around way way way back in the day). We took the scenic road up and back. We stopped at Plum Island (still in Massachusetts) on the way. It was pretty nice and isolated but it's full of these damn flies that bite and kinda hurt a bit. So the whole time we're walking around I'm making these exaggerated movements with my legs and arms to shoo them away. We went to Portsmouth. It was also a little more than I was expecting. It's a little bit touristy, but there's still a bit of citiness about it (not like Portland but still more than a chintzy cape town). We had oysters at a place there and then wandered around some. On the main strip we found a game store. Mary Beth picked up a few things and I got Boss Monster 2: the Next Level (a card game based on being the bad guy in an old nes game, sweet!). We hopped in a couple of bars. I noticed a record store that's a regional chain called Bull Moose. I didn't think it'd be much of anything but I was surprised by their selection. I mean, they had a lot of stuff crammed in, but within sections they had some well chosen items. I got: Oneohtrix Point Never: Garden of Delete, Piano Magic: Open Cast Heart E.P., Hans-Joachim Roedelius: Durch Die Wüste, Tangerine Dream: Atem, Klaus Schulze: Moondawn, Klaus Schulze: Mirage, John Cage: Works for Piano & Prepared Piano • Vol. II, Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mantra, Coil: Ape of Naples, and Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Lick My Decals Off, Baby. We also happened to run into Mary Beth's parents who were also making the trip separately that day so I guess it reflects some of the smalltown vibe Portsmouth still has. We'd kept our eyes open for beaches on the coastal drive up so on the way back we stopped at Wallis Sands Beach and Mary Beth enjoyed it! I sat on a bench and enjoyed the atmosphere. Also, on the drive up and back I enjoyed all the touristy but anachronistic boardwalk areas. They'd probably be lame to be in, but they were a treat to look at. At night we played a little of my new game.
Thursday was our other "nearby" day. We passed through Manchester-by-the-Sea with its fancy name and fancy people. Then we spent most of the day in Salem. Given Salem's whole thing, I thought it'd be more tourist-trappy but it wasn't as bad (I mean, there is a little bit of cheesiness, but not as omnipresent as I thought it might be and it was really pretty enjoyable). We went up to the House of the Seven Gables but didn't go in. We admired it from the outside though. We walked around some. Had tea in a pretty cool place and I got some tea leaves for my manager as a thank-you for letting me go on vacation. We went in a wiccan shop Mary Beth wanted to go to. I found a record store nearby (I know, I'm sick!), Record Exchange, and picked up a few used things: Swans: Filth (the three-disc reissue so now I have three damn versions of the damn thing at least I didn't have to give money to get this one new), Orange Juice: The Glasgow School, Cabaret Voltaire: The Conversation, Bardo Pond: On the Ellipse, Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah's First, and The Temptations: Psychedelic Soul. Okay, so then we hoof it back. We end up picking lobsters up from the grocery store for our dinner with the family and the Connors. I really didn't mention any of that, but every day we made sure to wake up real early to go out and get a start doing our stuff and got back early in time for dinner with everyone which was cooked at "home." That night Mary Beth and I played Elevenses, a card game she'd picked up at that store that's tea themed.
Friday we got up and just started on our voyage back home! I'm pretty annoyed that in New York I got a damn speeding ticket. At least it was coming back and not a week early when I was coming up and going even faster. Well, I kept it lower the rest of the trip anyway, damnit. We made pretty good time and made it into Pittsburgh (ironically the biggest city of our trip and the one I didn't do any record shopping in!, the stores all closed just a bit earlier than we got in town for, for the best though really considering the rest of everything). We did get in early enough to go eat some rabbit pasta for dinner at Piccolo Forno (we'd eaten there when we were in town before). Then it was straight back to the hotel to crash relatively early.
We got up early Saturday morning and went over to Rachel and Rachel's house (one of the Rachel's is an old friend of Mary Beth's from back in Rochester, we went to their wedding a few years ago). They now have a baby named Ruth who's super damn cute. Also I really liked their cat Poe who was hanging out. We hung around and chatted for an hour or so before Rachel went to work at the library. Then we went down to the strip and had some a mung bean pancake and an egg roll for breakfast from this stand. Popped in a few shops. We picked up a sandwich from Primanti Brothers to share for the rest of lunch (still so goddamn good). Then it was time to hit the road again. We stopped in Wheeling, WV for pizza at Di Carlo's as is our wont and enjoyed a few squares of that back on the road. We made it into Louisville just in time for me to do some more record shopping, ha ha ha ha ha. Modern Cult, the place I went to last year that was so incredibly amazing, does not seem to be in business anymore (apparently it'd had a reputation for being weird about being open anyway). But Underground Sounds was my second favorite in town and literally around the corner so I went there and picked up: Earth: Phase 3 Thrones and Dominions, Tortoise + The Ex: In the Fishtank, The Velvet Underground: La Cave 1968, Black Flag: Family Man, Brigitte Fontaine: Comme à la Radio, The Haters: These Things Happen Volume 1: 7-Inch EPs, The Haters: These Things Happen Volume 2: Compilations, Sun Ra: The Creator of the Universe, Sun Ra: Intergalactic Research, and Sun Ra: Untitled Recordings. The guy at the checkout said it was a very eclectic purchase. Then we had fancy ham and cheese selection at Garage Bar and I enjoyed Ale-8-One in the lovely evening weather. Again we're tired and just head back to the hotel after that.
We got up a little less early on Sunday before the drive back. We got breakfast coffee from Sunegros and doughnuts and things from Nord's Bakery right next door (almost didn't but I saw all these doughnut bags and had to check it out, and really Nord's is the locally famous one it turns out). We'd parked half on the curb (low as the curb was) and thought we were low on air so we made sure to check our air when we got gas. Stopped at a Kroger so we could also pick up some Ale-8-One to take back home (oh, and we got Moxie in Massachusetts too!) while filling up the gas and air. The air wasn't really bad but I reinforced it nice and good anyway. I love that the two sodas I came away with in bulk are kinda polar opposites. Fine drive back. We stopped in Nashville for some of those amazing burgers at Riverside Grillshack. Then much to Mary Beth's chagrin there was one final record stop at Grimey's. First was the used side and I got: Harmonium: Deluxe, Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak, Brian Eno: The Drop, Grifters: One Sock Missing, The Knife: Silent Shout, Mogwai: Earth Division EP, Portastatic: Scrapbook EP, Public Image Ltd.: Flowers of Romance (some reissue with bonus tracks, okay!), and The Stranglers: The Raven (which was dumb 'cuz I have that one in a two-album package with La Folie but the cover art's different and I only remembered that La Folie was in it for some reason, maybe because it has "Golden Brown" to triumph, at least I spent very little on it). Then over at the new side I got: John Carpenter: Lost Themes, Cluster: Konzerte 1972/1977, Pauline Oliveros + Musiques Nouvelles: Four Meditations/Sound Geometries, Tristan Perich: Noise Patterns, Pharmakon: Bestial Burden, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani: Sunergy, Com Truise: Iteration, Arca: s/t, and Raymond Scott: Three Willow Park: Electronic Music from Inner Space, 1961-1971. Then I bought so much they gave me a free shirt (and that's only based on the new side!). Do I have a problem? Uh, no comment. Then we went back home and all was well. Aside from two days of sporadically reading about the crazy nazi shit in Virginia between long bursts of driving. But we get home and settle in and watch the last episode of Twin Peaks last night (and damn it was a good one, a real good one and they're all real good and the week before was real good, but this was damn!). Oh, also I came home to a couple pieces of mail. One was from the Numero Group getting-rid-of-cds clearance sale (sad prospect): Bedhead: Live 1998, Eccentric Soul: the Capsoul Label, Antena: Camino del Sol, Eccentric Soul: the Bandit Label, and Eccentric Soul: the Deep City Label (and had initially ordered a live Codeine thing but was later informed they were out of stock, sadness). Also had a cd in the mail I'd preordered a while back: Allen Ravenstine + Albert Dennis: Terminal Drive.
Okay, and back to work today and it was all fine and dandy. I did forget my badge though. Gotta find it. I seem to recall realizing I was still wearing it as we took to the road at the beginning of our trip so it may be somewhere in Mary Beth's car. We'll see. Now I've got so much work to do cataloging my cds! And I haven't even finished cataloging the damn hundred I got from Important Records! Yeah, the problem's becoming apparent, but fuck it. I went a long time not getting much. Hopefully I didn't forget anything. If I did maybe I'll remember it up later.