Happy New Year, my friend, and welcome to 2011. On the horizon this year, I see no changes at all to the ol’ D-fish site. We plan to continue pushing the boundaries of sensitivity and good taste this year as well as the last.
Right off the bat, a brilliant "Non Sequitur" cartoon in the paper today.
But I don’t care to get into all that right now. Instead, let me tell you about my New Years Eve. I have time to kill now before the Winter Classic, anyway, which was rain-delayed until 8:00 tonight.
When I first started seeing Pinky, we started a tradition of going to downtown Baltimore for NYE and staying in a nice hotel. We normally go to the Marriott Waterfront Hotel, which is smack dab on the Inner Harbor and has a splendid view of the annual fireworks. We’d have a late dinner there, kill some time listening to the jazz combo they have in the lounge, roll outside for fireworks, then dive back inside and go to bed. (Remember, we’re old.)
The last couple years has had a lot of job uncertainty for me, in that my company is up for sale, so we haven’t been out for NYE since 2007. The situation hasn’t really changed, but I’ve been laying in cash for a while and figured it’s time we stepped out again. But this time, I decided to try out a new hotel.
A couple years ago, they put up a big Hilton directly across from Camden Yards (where the Orioles play baseball). In fact, it completely wiped out the view of the skyline from inside the park, which is why I usually call it “The Eyesore Hilton.”
The Eyesore Hilton as seen from deep down the 3rd base line.
But I’m not one to hold a grudge, especially when a room there was going for about $150 less than the Marriott, so I booked one with a ballpark view. Might as well try something new… maybe it will be better, maybe not.
We got a room on the 10th floor (roughly where the arrow is in the above picture.). I’d have preferred one higher up, but didn’t care to fuss about it.
The view from our room.
There must have been some kind of tint to the window glass. When I turned off the flash, like I always do when I’m shooting out a window, everything looked blue. Later at sunset, I tried both with and without a flash, and using the flash gave me the actual colors.
The B&O Warehouse; picturesque backdrop for Orioles Park at Camden Yards.
I had taken the subway into work, so Pinky drove into town to pick me up at the office. From there we drove the next few blocks and parked at the Hilton. I’d already eaten lunch, but Pinky hadn’t, so we had to go out and get her some lunch and a couple beers. Our reservations weren’t until 8:30.
If I had any willpower left, I’d have just let her eat, but where’s the fun in that? I don’t remember what she got, but I had a nice pulled pork sandwich. I really should have taken a picture… it was beautiful!
Speaking of, I got to snap a few more pics on the way back to the room.
The famous Baltimore landmark, the Bromo Seltzer Tower. You used to be able to see it from inside Camden Yards, until they built the Hilton.
The Warehouse, from ground level, looking down Eutaw Street.
I saw a trailer out front of the Hilton, which explained why there were so many happy young white kids swarming all over the place. The Baltimore Convention Center was hosting a big Evangelicals Jamboree. There were a bunch of them staying at the Hilton. And I’ll have you know that I totally refrained from baiting by showing them that Non Sequitur cartoon. I was just thankful it wasn’t a more typical Baltimore-style convention… like the Atlantic Brotherhood of Crack Dealers.
On the way back in, we noticed that the hallways were kind of weird… walking down them seemed like something out of The Shining, only in bright orange.
I see one kid on a trike, I’m outta there.
So after killing some time in the room, we eventually got all dressed up for dinner and even though it wasn’t time yet, we were bored and thought maybe we’d get a drink somewhere before going to dinner. Turned out, we peeked in the restaurant and it was almost empty.
I said to the hostess, “We have reservations at 8:30, but it doesn’t seem like it will be a issue to eat now…”
Dinner was great. We both got scallops, because they were fairly light, coming after my two lunches. What I really wanted to know was “what the hell is up with this mutant spoon?”
What’s for desert, cocaine?
I know I have some very learned readers… Do me a favor and tell my why they have a big knife and a big fork but a tiny little spoon? Pinky got one two, so I know mine wasn’t an accident.
On the way out of the restaurant, we went right by the Baltimore Sports Hall of Fame, which looked very nice, all lit up.
Maybe this is where Ray hid the knife.
All along we’d been asking people where there was a good spot to watch the fireworks. Unfortunately we were about 4 blocks away from the Harbor, where masses of people gather to watch the show. I was hoping to find a patio or viewing deck at the Hilton, but there didn’t seem to be any. We considered taking the free bus to and from, but ultimately, we just didn’t want to go stand around, mashed up against a bunch of drunks. Or evangelicals… they might think it’s The Rapture and start a panic.
We ended up finding a window up on the 18th floor. (We had to sneak up the stairs… the elevator wouldn’t go up there unless you had a key-card for that floor.) There were already some people at the window, but they weren’t taking up much room, so we got to have a look. The fireworks were lovely. Then we got to watch the replay on TV back in the room and then called it a night.
This morning, my primary missions were to A) Finish sleeping, B) get to a McDonalds for our traditional First Egg McMuffins of the Year and C) be home in time to download my pictures before the Penguins/Capitals Winter Classic came on at 1:00.
Obviously, I didn’t know it was delayed until I got home and put on the computer. On the plus side, I got to bang out my First Post of the Year. You're welcome!
Tomorrow, it’s off to Jilly’s to watch the Steelers last regular season game. I’ll probably just twitter-post my game gear mojo. I’m sure life will carry on…
Best part of the year so far: I got to write a check with the date: 1/1/11. It was like I was tallying hash marks up to five.