I had to fly back to NC to record some video of Gears of War for use on the BradyGames Connected website (and possibly for use as Xbox Live Marketplace downloads) on Tuesday night and despite my two-hour delay Wednesday morning in Newark Airport, I was done with what I needed to do at Epic by mid-afternoon. Which left me with a day to while away in the Raleigh area.
My first instinct was to head to the Carey Town Center mall and wander around for a little while. Although the mall was a bit on the podunk side of things, I did manage to snag the carbon-fibre faceplate for my Xbox 360. I hadn't ever seen one outside of the display case at the E3 Expo, so this was a great find. A couple of crappy Sbarro slices of pizza later, and I found my way back to the Red Roof Inn where I promptly fell asleep. After all, I was up all night on the plane and pretty beat.
I woke up in time to watch Game 6 of the NLCS and wound my way over to the Carolina Ale House in Cary. This is a pretty cool place. It's one part neighborhood bar, one part ubiquitous chain restaurant, and one part frat house all rolled in one. It was a Wednesday night and the place was packed. I ordered up a Newcastle and a buffalo chicken sandwich and was happily surprised when my beer was served in a Redhook ESB pint glass. "Hey, Redhook ESB is one of my favorites bak in Seattle. Do you have it?" Nope, just the glasses. Foiled again.
With the Mets victory in hand, I went back to the hotel, gave Kristin a call and fell asleep watching Discovery Channel. My flight wasn't scheduled to leave on Thursday until 2:55, so that left me with plenty of time to kill. I should have brought my trail shoes and hit up Umstead State Park and ran the trails I used to train on, but I didn't. Instead, I drove over to Crabtree Valley Mall (don't ask) and wandered around for a while. Not much going on there, so I ended up wasting an hour or so at the bar in Cheesecake Factory, eating lunch and talking with the lady from Baton Rouge to my left.
Finally, it's time to head home. I get to the gate at RDU Airport and find out my flight has been delayed by 90 minutes. So I sit and wait. And wait. And wait. We finally get on the plane -- I've now already missed my conncting flight in Houston -- only to wait some more on the runway. I was really looking forward to stopping at the Bubba's Bayou restaurant in the airport in Houston and having another bowl of gumbo (had one last week and it was great) but now I would be running to catch my flight to Seattle once we landed. And it would be for nothing. I ran from Terminal C to Terminal E -- right past the restaurant I wanted to eat at -- only to find that flight too had been delayed. The sign said we'd be leaving just 20 minutes late, not enough time to go back to the restaurant, so I settled for a premade sandwich from Starbucks. 20 minutes turned into 30 which turned into a 50 minute delay by the time we actually started rumbling down the runway.
But I did make it home. And the sandwich made for good bartering onboard the plane when I traded half of it for a pair of headphones from the guy next to me. Adam Sandler's movie "Click" certainly helped pass some of the time and was easily worth half a sandwich.
So, if you're counting, that's 6,000 miles in the air for 90 minutes of work and I was back home exactly 48 hours after I left. Not the worst two days in my life, but definitely among the most uneventful.