Saturday, Mitch, Doug and I took off late (around 16:00), bound for New York city. Doug drove about the first half at his request (his car's been broken for a while, so he doesn't get to drive much) and I drove the second half. We got in at about 22:00, at which time we brought our stuff into Mitch's stepparents', parked, and ate at an Indian restaurant about a block away. After this I was passing-out tired, which I did on a couch in the apartment shortly after we got back.
Sunday we got up around noon and took the subway south to meet a friend (Johnny?) of Doug's. We went to a diner, but everyone else decided that the show tunes there were intolerable, so we instead went to another diner, where I had a spinach and cottage cheese omelette. Then we tooled around some Time-Warner labelled mall, spending most of our time in a Samsung store-that-wasn't-a-store (it was more of a walk-through ad). Some of the products there were nice, but it was sort of creepy in a way. When we got bored with that (and also when we were about out of time), we took the subway back north to Mitch's stepparents', whom we met for brunch at a somewhat fancy restaurant in the middle of a park next to their house. I had coffee, but I seem to be firmly in the middle of a caffeine-tolerant cycle now and though it kept me awake, that was about all it did. My blood sugar was also quite low due to taking to much insulin at the diner before, but that resolved itself over the course of the meal.
After that we went back home where I talked with Bill (Mitch's stepdad) for a while about contracting and consulting. He seems to know a bit about this as he's been a computer contractor for quite a while (he says he's only ever received 1099 forms). I'm astonished by how expensive everything is in the city, although I guess I shouldn't be—though the prices are a hike, it's often not that much of one, and the particular example onto which I seem to have latched—subway fare is $2.00—actually isn't that bad when you consider what fills the same function for me (my car) and its expense.
Anyway, we took off at about 17, planning to take the subway a bit south of where the concert would be held, working our way through Chinatown to get there. This we did, stopping in at a Japanese outlet store that pretty much just had normal products one could have bought anywhere but with Japanese labels, and also at a cute little Chinese place practically right next to a police station, where we had dim sum which was originally intended to be only a snack but ended up as more of a meal. We found some chairs sitting outside as trash and carried one a piece, but we ended up leaving them outside of Piano's when we arrived there, and not picking them back up afterwards.
While waiting in line at Piano's (the bar was one room, the concert room (standing room only) another), one of the members of Future 86, the first band that would be playing, chatted with us and some of the other people in line. Then we waited to get in. The sequence of bands was Future 86; The Noodles (also from Japan); Daddy; and The Pillows. The Noodles were pretty good (read on for more about them), but Daddy didn't really fit in at all—it was sort of goth and the lead singer had an incredibly obnoxious stage persona (though I'm pretty sure it was just a persona), kind of a cross between uber-slutty and arrogant-with-no-real-point. The whole evening I'd been kind of down and wondering whether this all had any point, but when the Pillows came on I suddenly felt happy. They were truly awesome, as well as deafening with my head perhaps 10 or 15 feet from the speaker (small venue).
After the concert we hung around. Mitch gave one of the posters he had made for the Pillows to them and got the other one signed. We bought some merchandise which was being sold by the Noodles, specifically Ayumi, the drummer. Somehow we ended up sitting at the bar offering her a toast, and talking, and drinking, and several hours passed. She knew a little English, but Mitch's Japanese was better, so he acted as a translator a lot of the time. I had about 4 drinks all evening and was perhaps not smashed, but certainly intoxicated. Meanwhile, this 4'6" or so Japanese woman was on her sixth beer! The whole thing was truly an incredible experience. Afterward we walked and took the subway home, finally getting back and collapsing some time around 4:30 in the morning.
The next day, given that I was the first one up at about noon, not much happened during the day. By the time everyone was awake, showered and so on, it was about time to get my car and get going. I asked Mitch if I could drive, just to have the experience of having driven in Manhattan. It wasn't terribly difficult, though I doubt I could have navigated without Mitch's assistance, and some of the roads are incredibly bumpy. Anyway, we found a parking garage so we could meet Mitch's stepmother for dinner at a little Russian restaurant, which was very good.
Having finished eating, we picked up my car and drove south towards the Knitting Factory, the venue for Monday night's concert. Amazingly, we actually found a parking spot on the street where parking was allowed from 19:00 until some time in the morning by which point we would be long gone. I must admit I was slightly skeptical that my car would still be there when we returned, but you can't argue with free parking in Manhattan.
The concert that night had better acoustics (or so I was told), but the venue was larger and thus less personal, and we weren't able to get nearly as close to the stage. This time the Noodles opened, followed by Daddy, then the Pillows, then something called Male Room (I guess as a cool down band?) for which we didn't bother to stay. The concert was all right, but I did find it a less impressive experience overall than the previous night. Afterwards though, Doug noticed that the door to backstage was open, and when asked if we had wristbands he said that Ayumi had asked us to meet her backstage (which, granted, she had the night before). I got a couple of pictures and Mitch did the poster thing all over again with the Noodles, and then we took off.
Mitch drove most of the way home while I faded in and out of consciousness. We got home just barely in time for me to throw my suit on and get to my interview with Combinenet. I didn't feel so great, but apparently I didn't mess anything up too badly, since they've now asked me in for a second interview. But this is another story (if I ever find the time to tell it).