It's good to be 29

Hey everybody. Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days, I was just enjoying my “birthday weekend” celebratory festivities, from which I have some great stuff to share. To sum it up, I definitely enjoyed myself. Spent time with family & friends, got the $h!t scared out of me, and finished it off with a truly incredible experience.

I was off from work from Wednesday through today, so I had a handful of days to myself. Wednesday was fairly uneventful, since I hadn’t planned anything for that day just some “me time” to get some of my own things done. Had dinner with the fam as a pre-birthday celebratory thing, then got to bed early for my impromptu work day in the middle of my hiatus from the job.

I made a “guest apperance” at work for the launch of the new iPhone – went in and helped out w/ the launch, as well as left with my very own iPhone 4 that I absolutely love. I hadn’t worked on my birthday in 10 years up until this year, but of all the past jobs I’d had I wouldn’t havewanted to work on my birthday at those anyway. What better way to celebrate than usher in an amazing new device, and party with some of my colleagues and dear friends.

In the evening after the launch, I had originally planned a bowling outing and invited everyone from work as well as some friends. Being that it was a major work day, I understood that nobody from work showed up, but two of my best friends came and bowled with me which was great. We went to Applebee’s afterward and I got nice ‘n’ tipsy. Thankfully I didn’t drive. 

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Then, Friday’s great adventure…to…Great Adventure! I was really fortunate to have one of my other friends come along who had moved out to CA last year. He was back in NJ visiting, and it just happened to work out that he could join us. We had a blast. It wasn’t about how many rides we could go on, but how much fun we could possibly have despite the immense heat and increasing lines at the various rides. We decided to hit up the brand new Kingda Kafirst, which currently holds the record for being the tallest and fastest roller coaster on the planet. (Right here in Jersey, yeah! Fist pumps!….j/k)

Here’s a video of the experience – someone else recorded it, but you definitely get the feeling of the speed of it. For best results, view full-screen and don’t skip ahead. The 10-15 seconds of “nothingness” is intentional!

So, as you can tell, that’s definitely what you’d call a thrill ride, to the tune of 0-128 mph in 3.5 seconds, going up a 450+ foot drop, then going (practically) straight down at almost 90-degrees. I found out on that ride that I could scream in ways I didn’t think possible, I evidently made noises human males don’t typically make… thank goodness I wasn’t being videotaped. I was, however, photographed. Apparently one of the newest things for theme parks to do is put speed cameras along the way on roller coasters, to capture the reactions of the riders. Let’s just say on Kingda Ka my picture was less-than-flattering, but still hilarious to look at. I digress… I haven’t been subjected to those kinds of feelings, ever. To say that it was exhilarating is quite the understatement. To say that it was “a rush” is putting it lightly. For me, it was a “once in a lifetime” experience – it was so crazy, so nuts, so insane, so intense, I couldn’t imagine doing it again. I loved it, but I also love that it’s left such a vivid memory in me that I don’t ever have to do it again. Watching that video from YouTube is just fine with me.

So after that, we tried to get on the Superman ride, but the 90-minute wait made that a lost cause. We grabbed some lunch and did some go-karting afterwards, then a sedate-but-beautiful parachute ride. It looked pretty boring from down below, but it was actually quite nice. You’re strapped into a chair, hoisted up about 15 stories, then dropped to fall at a controlled speed peacefully back down to the ground. No crazy G’s, just really nice views and some fun with gravity.

After an ice cream visit at Coldstone (I tried the Birthday Cake remix (it seemed appropriate), I now have a new favorite flavor), we decided to get on one more “oh shit” ride before heading out. We had to make it an early day because of some other commitments. We decided to visitEl Toro, the newest wooden roller coaster at Great Adventure. This ride was exhilarating as well, but in a totally different way.

Before I continue, here’s a YouTube video to pique your interest. Also, not recorded by me (I wouldn’t dream of trying to hold a camera on that ride, I could barely hold on to the provided handlebar.)

So, yeah. This was more of the “psychological thriller” of a roller coaster. Turns that came up out of nowhere, banked corners that had the side planks a mere inches from our scalps, and speeds in excess of 80mph. This one I’d love to go on again, but the restraints were so tight I might have to drop a few waist sizes to be more comfortable on it. The attendant was able to get me tight enough but only just, I could barely breathe during the whole run but I don’t know if that was completely the coaster’s fault. More incentive to spend more time on the treadmill.

We had some great laughs, some great company, and all seemed to get some good color to boot. I had a great time. Let’s fast forward to today, Sunday. I rounded out my “Birthday Weekend” with a trip to see the new production of La Cage Aux Folles in NYC. For those unfamiliar, this is the original story on which the movie The Birdcage is based. I went into the show expecting some cheesy and corny dated Broadway/Vaudeville antics, but what I got was far better.

The show was incredible, and I even got to see one of my all-time favorite actors (Kelsey Grammer) in one of the leading roles. I’d been a fan of his since Frasier, and I even thoughtDown Periscope was a funny movie, despite not being one of his better roles. He was hysterical, and seemed perfect for the part. I highly recommend seeing La Cage if you get the chance. I’m not going to give anything away, just take my word for it. I laughed, I almost cried, and I laughed a lot more. I left feeling great, and actually wanting to go see it again. Anyone want to go? 

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So, I’m 29 now, starting my 30th year of life. Who knows what the future brings?

“All will be well, you can ask me how but only time will tell…” — Gabe Dixon



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