April 08, 2008

Look Ma - There Really IS a New Jersey!

I have been trying to find time to write even a short post about the recent foray into the urban jungle that is New Jersey.  Details of the efforts to clear the way in order to find the trail taking me to the place where bloggers converged... well that takes time (something that has been in short supply the past few weeks).

Therefore I decided I better get my act together and get it posted now or it would never get done.  And it certainly deserves to be a journey immortalized in the mists of the blogosphere. (I traveled, I met people, and I returned... all of these are remarkable things)

I'm going to put the rest below the fold because I believe this will get long.  If you aren't interested - be sure to skip it.

First of all I took the train.  Air travelers everywhere had tears of gratitude in their eyes and made sacrifices to their gods to thank them for this.  Entire plane loads of people actually made it to their destinations on time because I was not traveling with them.

I took Amtrak and it was excellent.  It was comfortable!  I was on a train listed as having business class seats and I don't know what others are like - but these seats were big, plenty of leg room and large trays if you wanted to do some work.  Nice wide aisles if you wanted to stroll to the cafe car or restroom.  I'd say it really is the way to travel.  No disrobing, no unpacking, just get a ticket (ahead of time please - both my trains were sold out!) and board. Viola!

Penn Station NYC - not a bad place but very crowded.  The plan was to meet  Erica (aka Joo-ese) in an effort to re-enact the Thelma and Joo-ese travel fun we started in down in Tennessee last October.  Long before I got to Penn Sta. I was receiving text messages from our cute little Joo-ette telling me she was on her way to the rendezvous point and hoped to arrive there at nearly the same time.  When I eventually pulled into the station and wended my way out - there she was sitting on her suitcase on the corner resting her poor sore ankle which she had badly sprained last week. No crutches were in evidence - I took this to be a good sign.

Since we were both hungry we started walking and keeping an eye open for something appealing with which to stuff our faces (something that hopefully would not land me in bed with a migraine). We ended up at some little place called the Seattle Cafe.  Not too bad, not great, but not not not KFC or some other drek.  So life was good.  I was looking quite desperately for a Starbucks.  After all I had been going since 6am (far earlier than my norm) and I figured I needed more caffeine to make it through the evening.

Oddly enough we found one... not in a regular storefront, but inside the door to the building for the Path train to NJ. (turns out this is the Manhattan Mall which we did not realize at the time). One assumes that people headed to NJ need all the fortification they can get.  So, I bought my soy mocha and thanked the young woman profusely for making my day.

We figured out tickets with the help of a nice young man who works there AND seemed inclined to give us information (so what's all this I hear about NYC and those who work for the trains... this guy pointed us in the right direction - excellent!)  We got on the train and every stop they would announce that it was the stop we were looking for... how confusing is that.  Not having any idea of these trains and how they work - not to mention now having something on the order of 6 shots of espresso on the day - I kept thinking it was time to get off.  (maybe I was trying not to go to NJ - hmmm)

Eventually we arrived in Newark - gah-den city of the gah-den state.  We were met by Jimbo and his bodyguard Ken and the Big Fat Black Capitalist Car.  It was wonderful.  We got the grand tour of the areas Jimbo and Kenny know best. (after all the Sopranos lore they were spouting - I begin to wonder if these two know where all the bodies are buried...)  Then we headed south to Princeton. 

This is the alma mater of the wonderful and charming Elisson I had fully intended to get at least one picture of us in front of his old dorm.  But Erica's ankle rather precluded extra walking so we had to wave as we drove by.  One day I want to go back and see the campus again.

So, we finally make it to the hotel, courtesy of Jimbo's Tom-Tom with voice directions.  After driving around the huge parking lot a while, we figured out we missed the turn for the front door and backtracked.   As we pulled up, out walks a man all in black - very gothlike.  It was Gregor the Sad Old Goth (how appropriate is that!) who is the most delightful person.  (this is why I love blog meets - so many excellent people!) 

We started the evening in the hotel bar with cute little Joo-ette playing pool with the son of Kenny the bodyguard.  Along with nearly the entire contingent consuming vast amounts of Chocolate Vodka (trying to drink the entire hotel supply dry) - I had a glass of wine.

Then we headed off to the Triumph Brewery which was a beautiful place.  Getting there was half the fun of the evening.  Jimbo with his Tom-Tom insisted we use it even though we had Gregor in the back seat with us and he knew the way.  Unfortunately Jim programmed it for finding the hotel. This led us down the road to make a u-turn and after driving back past the hotel parking lot... it wanted another u-turn before we figured out it wasn't right.  After he put in the correct coordinates it seemed to work okay - but the bodyguard finally decided it would be better to listen t Gregor so we could get to dinner sometime that night.

Fausta outdid herself planning this shindig and luckily we were able to comport ourselves with a modicum of propriety.  As per usual - I got a chance to hang out quite a bit with some people, a little while with others, and only a hello to yet others.  Time is never on our side.

Fausta, BTW, is a beautiful woman and so very nice!  She also was wearing terrific shoes.  I had my black heels on but hers were a terrific red pair and she looked outstanding.  I also had a chance to chat with her son later in the evening and he is a very nice young man - trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life - ah to be young.  I got a chance to say hello to her husband but not a lot more - thus the flow of the blog meet imposed itself.

It was wonderful to see Denny again. I cornered him after dinner and even chatting about all the techy stuff that made other people look a bit glassy-eyed - he took it all in stride.  I finally met Suzette who is just as wonderful as I thought she would be.  Sadly I didn't get to spend nearly enough time talking with her.
At dinner I sat with Mary of Exit Zero and a man named Paul who said he is a commenter and was an excellent person to converse with, and (this is killing me!) another young woman whose name I can't remember - I can see her face... I don't know why, but her name is gone. *sigh* It's especially annoying because they put up with my caffeine + wine driven chatter very nicely. (see the note on my sidebar about coffee for more info)

I also had some short conversations with the Baron of Gates of Vienna, Eric of Classical Values, and the very nice Joated.

Then there was Kate of Katespot, Shamrocketship, and Mr. Bingley of Coalition of the Swilling all of whom I have seen comment in various places over the years.  It was great to talk to them even if it was only for a few minutes. 

Last of all there was Tigerhawk and Judith of Kesher Talk both of whom I only said hello to and never got a chance to speak with again sadly. 

After the big doin's at the Triumph, we headed back to the hotel where Jimbo's son-in-law Mr. Surly of The Idiom joined us at the bar.  He had been at the dinner, just across the room most of the time. If he hadn't come out drinking with us afterward, I wouldn't have had a chance to talk to him at all. Therefore I met yet another excellent person... New Jersey was full of them that night!

Next morning.  Jimbo and Kenny dragged their sorry selves downstairs and decided they couldn't possibly drive over to the brunch where the other bloggers would be, so we had breakfast at the hotel.  It was a good breakfast if a leetle busy.   Sadly this meant we didn't get to see Suzette or Fausta or anyone else who went to the other brunch... maybe next time. *sigh*

Then it was time to head back to NYC to catch the train home.  We did the trip back with far more ease than getting there.  And the second Amtrak voyage was just as nice as the first. 

Now if you've gotten all the way to the bottom of this - congratulations!!! You win nothing except maybe a blue ribbon for staying power.   I hope I didn't miss anyone - I was trying to remember everything which is why I didn't want to wait longer to post... I have no memory!  I hope to very shortly have everyone added to my sidebar and feed reader so I can keep up with all the new bloggers. 

Wow - I talk way too much. Heh.

Posted by: Teresa in Ultimate Blog Meets at 05:45 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 1734 words, total size 11 kb.

1 Sounds like a WONDERFUL time. And how great....no travel woes.

Thanks for the recap. Living vicariously like I do, I live for these things!  :-)

Posted by: Tammi at April 08, 2008 06:19 PM (53IQq)


You? Talk too much? A blogger? I'm shocked...shocked.

A great roundup, Thelma, I mean T. I had a blast hanging with you.


Posted by: Erica at April 08, 2008 06:58 PM (QvlE2)

3 Two Crippleanches. Come to blodgemeets and that's what happens. Just think, when 24 finally starts back up you'll get some more. Looking forward to seeing you again at Eric's.

Posted by: Denny at April 08, 2008 09:31 PM (mzhDN)

4 Glad for you has great time with heathen Ericklaw and fwends!
Great Reader Ruv's Yoo Looong Time!


Posted by: JihadGene at April 09, 2008 12:51 AM (no8nn)


It was a pleasure meeting you, too, T. As for Jimbo and Kenny knowing where all the bodies are burried...NO ONE knows where ALL the bodies rest. Just ask the Hoffas.

This was my first meet but after reading about the one down in GA last fall, I had to give it a go. Not nearly enough time to talk at length with all that were there, so I guess I'll have to attend another! ;-)


(Who IS that guy with the funny accent and name of Great Reader/JihadGene?)

Posted by: joated at April 09, 2008 12:44 PM (Ns5OY)


You've got to come back for the next one - then we can chat all night!  : - )


Posted by: Kate at April 09, 2008 01:19 PM (XargM)

7 Sounds like a wonderful time!!  : )

Posted by: Richmond at April 09, 2008 04:17 PM (VbTiz)


Ahhh... I so do love Amtrak. 

I'm glad you had a great time!  But that was a given... the Thelma and Joo-ese, it was a given.

Posted by: Bou at April 09, 2008 06:41 PM (mPTKU)

9 It was a lot of fun and I hope we do it again soon!

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at April 11, 2008 11:28 AM (jii9y)


Thank you for your very kind words, and I'm so glad I slipped you that $20!

Posted by: Fausta at April 12, 2008 03:34 PM (4/8fy)

11 Mr. Bingley - I believe people are already hinting at setting up another. 

Fausta - LOL. 

Posted by: Teresa at April 12, 2008 05:04 PM (rVIv9)

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