August 20, 2013

Huzzah, New England!

A couple of weekends ago I made a trip up to New England to visit some friends.  In fact, I have two friends in New England whose names are Tim.  Henceforth, they shall be known as Boston Tim and NH Tim to differentiate between them.  I headed up on Thursday to Boston to see Boston Tim and his wife and daughter.  I got there early enough so that I had a few hours to kill before they got home from work.  Cambridge is awesomely walkable, so I parked at their place and headed to Harvard Square.  Of course I went to the Harvard Book Store.  I can't resist bookstores, and this one is pretty great.  It's huge, and the basement is all used books.  I didn't get to go to BerryLine last time I was up there, so I walked around the corner from the bookstore and got a smoothie.  YUM.

I spent some time wandering around a bit.  I popped into two different comic book stores looking for The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel.  Success!  I was excited to find it.  The Thrilling Adventure Hour is, I will quote from their website, "A staged production in the style of old-time radio."  I listen to the podcast.  Many thanks to NH Tim for recommending it.  I can't mention The Thrilling Adventure Hour without pointing out my favorite bit, "Beyond Belief."  This part focuses on a pair of married mediums, played by Paul F. Tompkins and Paget Brewster, who drink too much and are always having a good time.  I'm determined for some future Halloween to find someone to be a Frank Doyle to my Sadie.  Anyway, I bought The Thrilling Adventure Hour's first graphic novel and set out to find a place to read it.  This is when I came across Peet's Coffee.  I had only ever seen Peet's in the supermarket.  I was surprised to stumble upon an actual Peet's Cafe in Cambridge.  I got myself some coffee and sat outside.  I started reading the book and realized that I must have looked like an insane person, sitting there laughing out loud.  It was time to head to Boston Tim's place, anyway, so I put the book away and walked back.  For those familiar with Frank and Sadie Doyle:  CLINK!  

When I got to Boston Tim's, his daughter gave me a big hug.  I didn't think she would remember me.  It has been a few months since I've been there, and she is fairly young, but maybe she did.  Boston Tim had a contraption called Yonanas on his kitchen counter.  When I asked him about it, he wouldn't tell me what it did.  Instead, he got out some frozen fruit and made us mushed frozen fruit.  Okay, it tasted like sorbet.  I liked it.

Boston Tim and I both like to bake, although he is a much better baker than I am.  Hanging out with him usually leads to us discussing recipes and techniques.  This time was no exception.  He tried to give me some advice on my blueberry pie disaster.  He also made hot chocolate for me.  He did this because he knew I was going to Burdick's with NH Tim, and he insisted that he could make hot chocolate that was better than theirs.  Boston Tim's hot chocolate was excellent, but was it the best?  Keep reading.  Most of my friends don't like sports, so I had to get in lots of sports talk with Boston Tim while I was there.  Who doesn't want to talk about soccer?!  I don't know.  We played a soccer video game, too- FIFA '10.  Needless to say, Boston Tim kicked my ass.  He always does.  It reminded me of when we would play NHL '99 in college.  Tim was the master of NHL '99.  In FIFA '10, I played as Liverpool; Tim played as Arsenal.  Liverpool didn't humiliate themselves too badly at Anfield.  I lost by fewer goals each successive game.  I'm pleased that in the final game, I only lost 2-0!  Believe me, that's good against Tim.

Visiting Boston Tim also means that Boston Tim and his wife stuff me full of food.  We had some good stuff- lahmajun (Armenian pizza), mouhamara, Indian food, and the previously mentioned hot chocolate and Yonanas.  We also had some chocolate chip cookies that I had brought with me.  I'd like to point out that Tim didn't drink any of the hot chocolate himself.  He said it was crazy to drink hot chocolate in the summer.  I think it's crazy not to drink hot chocolate any time.

I got to spend some quality time with Tim's daughter, too.  There were lots of hugs.  I had stickers put on me.  I read to her, and we played catch.  She is a great kid.

I've known Boston Tim for almost twenty years.  It was great to be able to see him in person.  It was nice to be able to talk to an old friend.  Sometimes you need to talk in person instead of through texts and emails.

On Saturday morning, I left Boston and drove to New Hampshire to see NH Tim.  NH Tim packed lots of goodness into my visit.  We went to the fabled Burdick Chocolate for the previously mentioned hot chocolate.  They have several choices of hot chocolate.  I got a mix of milk and dark.  So, how was it?  It was amazing.  It was the best hot chocolate of all time.  That's right.  It was better than Boston Tim's.  I could drink this hot chocolate every day.  I want to try all of their hot chocolates!

NH Tim drove us around his section of New Hampshire.  It is incredibly beautiful there.  We went to an orchard on top of a huge hill, from which the view was spectacular.  We drove through a few local towns.  We stopped at a cool flea market.  Oh, and I saw the house where Ken Burns puts together his documentaries.  I thought that was neat, although I think NH Tim thought I was just humoring him when I said that.

Tim had some family stuff to do, so I snuggled with his kitties and watched a Too Cute! marathon at his place while he was out.  (NH Tim has an awesome dog and several awesome cats.)  That night, we played Cards Against Humanity with some of his friends.  After that, we watched some Rifftrax before calling it a night.

Sunday morning, I left the magical land of New England and drove home.  I had a great weekend.  Hooray to Boston Tim and his wife and NH Tim for having me stay with them.

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