Thursday, September 06, 2012

2012 - The Final ChapTour part 1 - When The Sun Burns Red

8/4 - Beverly

The sun, as it has all summer, continues to beat down relentlessly, even at 7AM.  Between one thing and another, my travel paranoia got me to the station about 45 minutes in advance of the first train, and after reading all of the Metro and the "metal issue" of the Phoenix (Nachzehrer getting press again), there's nothing to do.  There's a lot of that on tap for today, albeit mostly in New York, but right now, I can't even go replace this dying pen.  Nothing at all but to wait and sweat.

001. Merch for export.

The final total turned out to be two shirts, six tapes, like 15 authorized CDs, ten or so promo cards, like five spare new buttons, and about a hundred stickers.  I wish, Schindlerlike, that I could've gotten more on this last pass, but what's here is choice.  And what's not....

002. Scurrilous betrayal of the entire New England scene.

When life doesn't force you into asking "well, I could ditch all the camping stuff, then sleep on tables in the bar or drastically lower my standard of 'bangable'", you make comps out of it.  41 bands, 160 minutes.  I can't apologize enough to the bands whose stuff I put on here without permission -- or to those who got left off through no fault of their own, like Nachzehrer and Darkwor, who had slots before giving me actual CDs, and Faces of Bayon, who I couldn't find a track from that was both representative and short enough to fit without knocking two other bands off.  Like always, and more so, I owe you guys, to an extent that is difficult to assess, let alone pay back.

- Logan -

That hike under load must've been more dehydrating than I thought.  20-ounce water bottle, completely drained in one go.  This doesn't happen usually.

With half an hour from through security to boarding, it's a good thing that the gate is literally right across from the scan complex.  Just hoping the tapes made it through ok.

- Kennedy -

New York has a severe shortage of bars in this part of the airport, but at least you can buy a Hustler to read on the plane.  Wait, what?  I've been here about two hours with another 2 1/2 to go, and despite getting turned around and having to do security again, I'm starting to rethink going for the 5-hour layover over the 45-minute one.  Especially in the summer, there's almost nothing that can delay the BOS-NYC leg, and I didn't even have to leave the terminal.  Shoulda skimped and taken the Acela.

The only snag in this is that the dumb flight doesn't have its gate announced yet, so I need to keep checking.  If there's nothing by 4, I'll go check with someone in person, but that's a couple hours out yet.  Literally every other flight does have gate information, but of course this is how my luck seems to go.

003. Finally.  Ship's in.  Now I should be able to get a goddamned gate reference.

In this empty time, I can't help thinking ahead to the hike portion.  My pack tipped the scales at 32.5 pounds in Boston; add another 5 in kutte, water, and detatched carryon and you can see where the problem is.  It's heavier but more manageable than the training load, so that's at least something.  My legs may explode at the end, but at least I won't tear my pecs in half as well.

I fully intend to actually go to Summer Breeze, despite the record (I was supposed to go back in 2005 but couldn't get the time off due to other demands), but there's a provisional escape hatch, I won't deny.  To enable it, I need to clean myself out at Party.San, which will help on not dying on the hike as well, which then avoids the trigger.  The decision point isn't until Schweinfurt, so this will continue to hang over for a while.  Feet-down in Germany, though, and I'll have enough to do to put it from my mind, and enough cycle-up time that maybe I can stop doubting my own strength.

No official announcement yet, but by playing "spot the tail" I was able to hike over to what looks like the most-probable gate.  This may or may not pan out, but at least hiking to and fro around the terminal is something to do, and with the crew just mounting up, less than 90 minutes to presumed takeoff on an international flight, it seems unlikely that they'll move the embarkation point from the only AirBerlin-flagged gate noted so far.

There's a lot more people about with digital-slab-thingies than I recall from the last time I was this long in the air transit system; I don't know if this is a legit accessibility change or just different sample demographics.  As far back as HK, at least, I've occasionally considered upgrading my travel electronics, but never have yet.  The reason is a branching problem.  I'd like to have a reader thingy, but I'd also be wanting to take digital notes when I'm in range of power to save paper and avoid the time cost of later transcription, and at that point you're talking about something that also replaces the netbook for general connectivity -- and a tablet that can do that is like six million percent more likely to get stolen than an ancient clamshell Linux netbook covered in death metal stickers that doesn't even turn on when it isn't plugged in.  My current gear is light and robust and unwanted enough to do what I need it to, so I can just live with not being able to read Gutenberg novels until the battery explodes.  Maybe in the future I won't need to plan around the risk of tent burgulary, and will be able to justify whatever tricorder-emulator is then current, but not on this trip, and probably not for Russia either.

8/5 - over Britain

Feet-dry for the first time, somewhere over Ireland.  About two hours to go, after nearly an hour derping around on the ground in New York.  I'm definitely not adjusted, and parked behind another bigdood, albeit one without the social self-sacrifice complex that I have (translated: I don't put my seat back on planes.  Other people do.  Bad news if your knees go all the way to their seat back.), won't be adjusted by ground time, so more latency and less hanging about under load waiting for the hotel to come available is actually better.

- Berlin -

FILO.  It sucks.  End of story.  My bag ended up the dead last one out, but I made the bus and subway connections bang-bang-bang, ending up vor Ort at about 10AM.  Something to eat is probably a bridge too far -- since it's Sunday and nothing's open -- but I've got some water and some beer, and I should be able to work the clock a little closer to eleven.  After check-in, the plan is to unpack/repack, take a nap, and afterwards get dinner.  Since my pack made it, this stop isn't strictly necessary (included only due to previous trips where things and people didn't make the designated LZ on time); the main objective is Leipzig tomorrow morning.

004. Brilliant green on Meierottostr towards the hotel.

005. Modernistic church.  Due to coming in just before 10, bells were ringing and echoing everywhere as I found the hotel.  This is the source.

Scooters, in Berlin, appear to be the domain of fat dudes.  No idea why.  A benefit of this area, a residential neighborhood south of the KuDamm, is that there's no shortage of bakers and cafes.  The debit is that they are all too classy to go in strapped up like this.  After dropping gear, maybe, if the heavens don't open.

If things were now as they've been previously, I'd be packing up a soaking tent right now, cursing my luck and heading this way.  I'd also be treating Party.San as an afterthought rather than the main course, and losing the chance to hike the Grenzgebiet.  It's weird to not be at Wacken, after seven years in sequence, but all things eventually do and must come to an end.  This trip has me optimistic but bushed at present; we'll see how everything shakes ot from here.

006. Better view of the church tower.

007. Interesting sculpture-thingy by the Hohenzollernplatz subway stop.

008. ((not germane))

009. Plaque commemorating a former resident; there are a bunch of these in this area.

010.  Bassists aren't allowed to miss this.  I looked in, but I was hungry, their selection of food was unimpressive, and the place was as dead as you'd expect at 19:00 on a Sunday, even in always-hopping Berlin.  I kicked on and got some gas station cuisine and a new beer cap.

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