4th of July and New Things

Friday, the 4th of July; Indepdenence Day.  What did I do for it?  Nothing like what I’d have really preferred to . . . but altogether, it wasn’t a bad day anyway.  I had a stressful phone call with Maria . . . that whole situation is complex and I’m still not sure how to deal with it, what to do.  I’m just sort of starting to get used to getting along without her, and then talking to her again on the phone really sort of stressed me out.

So, after ending the conversation with her, paying my rent (well, dropping a check which I hope is for the right amount into the dropbox at the apartment complex office), I decided I really just needed to get out.  I wasn’t sure for what, exactly, but maybe a movie.  Kung Fu Panda looked good . . . I could go see it at the Rave . . . or I could wait until 5 and see it on IMAX at the Space & Rocket Center . . . or at the same time as the showing at the Rave, I could catch it at the Monaco.  Well, I hadn’t managed to see anything at the Monaco yet, and I hadn’t been to Bridge Street yet either, so I headed off in that general direction.  I was still a bit stressed, and just wanted to get out, enjoy things, even if I was perhaps a bit reckless.  So, my car’s a nice car, it’s got some nice features I don’t use much.  Like Sport mode.  I popped on Sport mode and just drove, not really knowing precisely what the best way to get there was.  Let’s say I had a rather roundabout route, and if there’d been more cops around, I’d possibly have been busted for breaking the speed laws a lot.

So, I eventually make it to Bridge Street, and get an “ok” but not great parking spot (though being the 4th of July, as I later really realized, I really should have been happy to get any parking spot even semi-close).  I walk up to the Monaco, gazing around a little bit to see just a bit of the shopping center, and head on in.

Damn, but the Monaco is nice.  I’ve judged pretty much all movie theaters on the Harkins Standard.  In the Phoenix area, there’s a (well, there used to be, I don’t know if there is still now or not.  I’ve not consulted the Guru Google to find out, either.) family-owned theater chain called the Harkins Theaters.  They were nice, all their employees dress in black pants and shoes and tuxedo shirts with cummerbunds, and they have a gourmet concession bar.  Great picture, great sound, great seats.  Well, the Monaco either ties or beats the Harkins theaters on every front except the concession bar.  Just pretty much standard theater concessions – Pepsi products, slushies, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, candies, bottled water, energy drinks.  But man, the rest of the place is damned impressive.  Employees are in all black (not tuxedo wear, but still slick), the place is -very- nice . . . oh, and they have both the Prive’ VIP theaters, and The Scene, their own full-blown small club/bar.

So, I saw Kung Fu Panda.  Not a bad film.  Enjoyable.  I kinda wish I’d looked up the voice actors before seeing it, I think it would have added to my appreciation of the movie.

After seeing Kung Fu Panda, I wandered out into Bridge Street (and into rain of varying degrees).  I didn’t really have any particular aim.  Just wandering around, checking out shops, watching people, admiring beautiful women and girls (always on the lookout for that just barely possible chance hot girl by herself that looked like she might be the gamer/goth/alternative type).  I saw a few of the hot alt girl sorts, but they were invariably with some guy (or guys).  Some interesting ink on the backs of some girls.  A huge variety of dress styles.  My friend Shaw (Kelemvor in Warfare) said that Bridge Street had the hottest girls working there . . . and now I see what he means.  The Fossil shop, for example, had a huge number of very pretty skinny blonde girls working there.  Pretty much all of the female employees in the entire shopping center, and at the Monaco, and in The Scene . . . gorgeous.

I blew a couple of hours wandering around, checking things out, and finally getting hungry.  People were starting to pile into Bridge Street in large numbers, sitting down anywhere they could, many of them bringing folding chairs, collapsible camp chairs, etc.  They were staking out their viewing spots for the fireworks show to come that night.  Oh yeah . . . July 4th.  I’d given some thoughts to going to some lake that Rocket 95.1 had been talking about for the last week or two, that was supposed to have the largest fireworks show in northern Alabama allowed by law.  I had no idea where this place was, or how to get there, how long it would take, etc.  So hey, maybe I’ll catch the fireworks here, but first I’d like to get something to eat.  Ok, it was going to be sort of expensive.  I can deal with that, I guess.  It’s a special occasion of sorts.  Well, the steak and seafood place I tried was going to have an hour and a half to two hour wait.  Right, fuck that.  Johnny Rocket?  Big line, people lined up outside waiting for their parties to be called, with menus in hand to decide what they wanted before they even had a table.  Ketchup?  Similar wait.  Ohhhhkay, so, let’s try The Scene.  The whole “movie theater lounge” thing sort of appealed to me anyway.

I got seated in The Scene promptly.  They were busy, but not packed.  They charge too much for pretty much everything, in my opinion.  I had a $6 bottle of Kirin Ichiban, paid $11 for a chicken florentine pesto sauce sandwich and cumin fries that I didn’t even eat half of.  I should have just gotten an appetizer or gone with the chicken ceasar salad one instead.  Hot hostesses, hot waitresses (of course, I got like the one male waiter working the floor), and a really super-hot asian manager sort.  I felt a little dejected about spending as much as I did there, but enh, I’ll get over it.

I head back out, wander some more, and then eventually go park myself a little after 8 to get a decent spot to watch the fireworks.  They were supposed to start at 8:45.  I waited from like . . . 8:15 or so, and they didn’t start until 9:20.  Still, I got a pretty darn close seat, and was able to watch something that was pretty interesting to me (especially since I’m down here in Alabama missing Firefest), I was able to see (from about a 150 yard or better distance, but still) the pyrotechnicians at work (not nearly as interesting as when Mike Rowe did it on Dirty Jobs, these guys used all electronic ignitiion), and see the mortars and cakes and so forth as they launched their payload upward.  I got the see the pile of cakes on the crane they had raised up catch fire, and them run to lower it down – ever so slowly – and then knock the potentially volatile bundles of explosion and pretty and doom off the crane.

After the fireworks, I wondered back to the Monaco again, and bought a ticket for The Love Guru.  Decent, but not great movie.  Definitely one of Mike Meyers’ weaker offerings, but still an enjoyable flick.  I think it came out with really bad timing against much stronger films, and got crushed and panned for it.  If it’d been released in a much softer period, I think it would have done far bettter.

After the movie, I walk outside, to see it pouring down rain.  I talked to a black girl outside (I wish I’d said more, talked to her more, found out something about her, was she here with anyone, waiting on someone, what?  If she’d been there by herself, alone . . . yet another possibility, another opportunity to regret.) and she said it’d not only been going for quite a while, it’d been raining much harder too.  I waited around for a bit . . . I dunno, maybe 5 minutes, maybe 10, then just decided “Oh what the hell” and walked out right into it, headed to my car (which was a pretty good distance away).  I tried to make a point of just striding into it like it didn’t matter, keeping my head up, not running, not hunching or trying to shield any part of myself from the elements.  I got soaked by the time I made it to my car, of course; I think it started raining harder when I was about halfway there.

I drove home in the rain, kind of enjoying it, feeling my car just plowing through everything, and came back home to a cat that was very happy to see me (I’m sure she’d been hiding and quite frightened from both the weather and lots of fireworks being set off and making booming and cracking noises).

Altogether, not a bad day . . . though it has, once again, really driven home to me a few things.  I need to make regular exercise, even if just walking for a while, something that I DO.  I also really, really want to find a girlfriend.  The lonely hurts sometimes.  I think that perhaps having been with someone for a while, even though it was very unintentional, makes being alone again now harder than it was when I’d been used to being alone for years.

Actually, there is one person I’d really like as a candidate for the whole girlfriend ideal . . . or maybe friend with occasional benefits, or something.  Someone intelligent, attractive, interesting; only slightly geographically inconvenient.  I just have so much second-guessing, self-doubt, etc.  Bah, this is a sucky way to end this entry.