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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tattoos and Tornados...

Currently enjoying the fact that I can stream HD episodes of Prison Break, straight to my parents' HD TV from Netflix. And I'm finally getting a chance to sit down and blog about the past couple of days of my vacation. The house is quiet and I've been relaxing all afternoon since getting back from Boone.

I rose at 7 this morning and left with my bro and his wife, heading into downtown Boone where I hung out at one of my favorite coffee shops, Espresso News for a few hours, working on the laptop researching ad agencies and the like in NYC. I left off from Boone around 11 and arrived in Chapel Hill to visit a friend and meet her six week old baby. From there we took a drive over to Jordan Lake with some salads I'd bought over at Trader Joe's. Even with that nice few hours sitting out by the lake I feel like I've been riding around in a car most of my day.

The mountains were a nice break too, even if the trip was brief. I left Monday morning and arrived in the early afternoon in time for a brisk hike at Rough Ridge Overlook followed by a yoga class at a local holistic health clinic and a nice evening in watching youtube videos with Paul and Rosalie.

All this taking it easy comes after a comparatively hectic weekend, marked by all manner of excitement and activity. Friday night there was a cookout at the Oakwood Inn in Raleigh, where the wedding ceremony was to be held. The bride's parents own the inn. There I met most of the wedding party and the family from both sides and got to catch up with old friends while eating two types of hot dogs, one made in Rochester where the groom was from and the other, a brand from Michigan where the bride's family is from.

Saturday daytime, I had to first plan getting my tattoo. Originally, my brother and I intended to each get one done at a parlor in Boone but Paul received a recommendation against the one where he had made the reservation. He called me up while I was at the cookout the night before to see if I could call up Blue Flame, a fairly well known Raleigh tattoo parlor, and find out if they could slide us in on Saturday afternoon, when he planned to arrive from Boone.

The guy at Blue Flame told me to come in when they opened Saturday morning and let them know what I wanted to get so they could determine if they could fit us both in.

So, I went first thing to Blue Flame and made sure we'd be able to come in later in the afternoon and get inked. After that, I went to the Pit in downtown Raleigh to meet my friend Emily at a bluegrass and barbecue festival called 'cuegrass. Unfortunately, the weather was threatening to put a damper on that whole endeavor. They were forecasting severe thunderstorms for the day and by the time we were heading to downtown there was already a tornado watch in effect for Raleigh and almost all of the surrounding counties. When we arrived at 'cuegrass, the wind was picking up quite a bit and people were frantically taking down the stage and wheeling all the food back inside. I ran into an old friend of mine from high school and after chatting with him for a few minutes, Emily and I decided to make our way to somewhere inside where we could get lunch. We decided on Brewmasters down on the corner of Dawson and Martin Sts. and ordered a few beers and burgers to wait out the storm. We were able to get most of the way through our meal before I noticed, through the wide windows facing Dawson St., the construction cranes a few blocks away, spinning wildly in the wind. While fixated on them and trying to shoot some video with my phone, I heard an alarm, and simultaneously, the waitress yelling for everyone to get back in the kitchen because the tornado was coming right down the street. In all the excitement I didn't think to actually try to get a glimpse of it (that has always been a dream of mine to witness a tornado from a safe distance). Instead, I took one wistful look at the remaining bites of my burger, one more gulp of my beer and spun on my heels and ended up being the first one into the kitchen. The waitstaff suggested everyone get into one of the two walk-in coolers but with the lack of space most of the 30 odd patrons in the bar just hung around where we could fit, as far from the door to the kitchen as possible where we all joked about the danger until it passed.

When I surveyed the damage later on, we couldn't even really tell where the tornado had touched down. And while we were out walking the rain started up again in earnest and we were stranded several blocks from our cars and soaking wet. It wasn't until the following day that I drove past some of the actual damage on the way to the wedding and then again in Moore's square where there were a few downed trees. Shaw University apparently had to close, I heard a few days later, due to a few buildings that were destroyed by the storm.

By this time, 5pm had rolled around and it was time for me to go get my tattoo. I had spoken with Nathan earlier and he said that one of their artists, Christy, would be able to do my tattoo and my brother's. I decided to go ahead and get started before my brother arrived to ensure that we would both get a chance to get our tattoos done. Christy found a suitable Om off the internet, which she then printed and made into a stencil which she placed on my back. The whole process of tattooing my back took about 15 to 20 minutes and wasn't nearly as painful as I'd been led to believe it would be...but it was painful. Felt a bit like someone dragging a needle across my back. And the residual sensation afterward felt a bit like I was missing a layer of skin or had been burned. But now, the center of my back has a nice Om symbol tattooed on it. See here. My brother showed up shortly after Christy finished mine and got the same tattoo from the same artist but lower down on his back, while I watched and made fun of him for wincing. He's been tattooed before after all...but on his finger.

After finishing up at Blue Flame we stopped by the Whole Foods and picked up some groceries for making Indian food and headed back to my parents' house. Later on we met up with the wedding party at Capital Club 16 in downtown Raleigh for another night of drinking and catching up.

Sunday, the wedding was scheduled for 4pm at the Oakwood Inn so we had plenty of time for breakfast with our sister in Durham before heading back to Raleigh to get ready. The ceremony itself was brief but beautiful, the weather perfect. The reception was held in the City Market area of downtown Raleigh in the building where Greenshields pub used to be. The power was still out from the storm so they had generators set up but that didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves and dancing well into the evening. I even managed to sprain my thumb trying to break dance at one point. Here are some pics spanning from Friday afternoon through my trip to Boone on Monday and including the wedding.

Raleigh Trip Best of

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