with 4 inadequate hours of sleep underneath my belt, i woke up saturday morning at 6am to get ready to drive that 5 hour trip down to long island. i drove out to a fleet atm machine to get some cash, then filled up my parents' ford explorer with a full tank of gas. i got to dan's place in allston 40 minutes later, waiting for him downstairs, my body still adjusting to the early morning hour. two phone calls later he came down at 7am and we stopped by a dunkin' donuts to grab some breakfast food to go before hitting the turnpike.

armed with two maps, the gps, and some mapquest printouts of the final few miles of our trip in westhampton, we drove 90 to 84 (through hartford) to 91 (through new haven) to 95 to 295 to 495 (the long island expressway, aka l.i.e.). we also had the speed pass suctioned on the window below the rearview mirror, which afforded us the opportunity to sneer at non-speed pass cars as we quickly sped through every toll booths. a smooth ride until we got to long island, where we got stuck in some congestion, and then we got a little bit lost trying to find deanna's place. throughout the trip we listened to the radio, the stations fading out as we got beyond their ranges. somewhere in connecticut we discovered some early morning christian radio show for kids involving pirates, then later a length treatise on the life of the doll sheep of alpine alaska and how the lord created the sheep with different special adaptations (including hooves like pliers and a four chamber stomach), followed by a morality play involving a biology teacher who doesn't believe in god and a father and son team we wants to spread creationism into the school. the radio also provided us with other entertainment: the john tesh hour, michael "the bolt" bolton, "'my baby got back.' that was sir mix-a-lot. you're listening to npr.", hair metal hour on the local community college radio station including the song "don't fear the moon," and singing karaoke to eric carmen's "hungry eyes."

when we finally arrived, we were greeted not only by john and deanna (whom we originally thought would be the only other people here this weekend), but also deanna's friends megan, christine, and marianne. megan and christine we met last year, but marianne was a new face, a doctor in real life. soon afterwards all the ladies (except for megan) left to go get groceries while the boys stripped down to our swimming trunks and jumped into the pool (megan read discreetly off to the side). i had brought my flippers, the pool a little safer swimming wise versus the 103 feet depth of loch walden. when the ladies came back it was their turn to get into the pool. deanna's friend erin arrived during that time as well, erin a school teacher in real life.

for dinner we had beef and turkey burgers, corn on the cob, and ziti. we all retired inside, and while john and deanna went out to buy some coffee, the rest of us had watermelon. it was interesting to hear these new yorkers talk about their post 9/11 lives. the topic was a little morose but before it could bring everyone down, john and deanna came back with the goods, and we all had coffee and cake for dessert. the big discussion this weekend was composing a top 5 list of sexiest actors/actresses. as the evening winded down to a close, erin left the party to drive back home. while everyone huddled in the tv room watching a saturday night live repeat (josh hartnett with musical guest pink), i made my way to the camp crystal lake cabin in the dark (armed with my mini flashlight). i took a shower, and came back outside with a lawn chair to look at the stars. something special was in the air that night, as the sky was crystal clear and absolutely dark, dark enough for me to see the milky way for the very first time in my life, a long band of smokey blotches that looked like stationary clouds. initially i had a hard time recognizing the constellations because there were so many more stars than i'm use to. using the milky way i picked out cygnus, and from cygnus the summer triangle, and after that i got my orientation set and could pick out the other remaining constellations one by one. i went back inside eventually, my tolerance for mosquito bites coming to an end. after some reading, i went to bed.

i got up at 9am, after spending a cold night in the cabin (with dan, who slept in the second guest bedroom), the ocean breeze blowing through the open screen windows. i took a shower and read in bed. john came out with the morning call. i got out of bed and went to the house to get some cereal. i met megan's boyfriend david, who arrived late last night (i had already gone to bed). once everybody was up, we decided to go to the local beach. deanna couldn't go because she had to drive erin back to the airport. the rest of us left without them, all crammed into the ford explorer. we got to the beach close to noontime, it was already pretty crowded. while everyone else went into the ocean to take a dip, i stayed on land, sweating in the heat and reading my book. about an hour later we decided to go back home.

deanna was already back from the airport, and the rest of the day was spent lazily. if not in the pool, then somewhere sleeping, lunch being whatever leftover items we had from last night. christine drove home around that time. i had a chance to do my first gps drawing of a single-stroke elephant, but it didn't come out too well. i also saw a black swallowtail butterfly, approaching it slowly so i could get a good photo. later, we watched some television, saw the decisive tennis battle between jelena dokic and venus williams, venus winning of course. but in terms of garnering new fans (especially male fans), dokic probably won. jelena, will you be my girlfriend?

as the afternoon slowly transitioned into evening, megan and david went out to buy groceries. david, a professional chef who owns his own restaurant in nyc, was going to make dinner for us. while they were out, the rest of us watched rollerball, deanna's assignment movie to write a capsule review for entertainment weekly. i've never seen the movie before, and the added attraction of "seeing what john stamos sees" in the special r-rated edition of the movie was a bonus. after seeing the film, i wholeheartedly agree that i've never seen a worst movie than rollerball. it lacked in every single department, from interesting characters, to coherent stories, to even simple film editing. i thought it was a joke, but that part of the movie shot entirely in green night vision mode will be legendary in cinema history as what happens when a movie runs out of money and the director has to resort to nightshot in order to get something out. the movie was a good laugh though, i'm glad i never paid money in the theatres to see it.

while david and megan were busy in the kitchen making dinner, the rest of us were outside playing croquet. i have never played before, and all my knowledge of the game comes from watching heathers. it goes without saying that this game is not my forte. deanna beat us all by many strokes, john coming in a distant second. through the whole game we took turns making inappropriate comments about balls and strokes.

elsewhere, back in the kitchen, david was putting on a cooking show. here was a guy who was my polar opposite in terms of cooking. while i can't cook to save my life, david was in his elements, like watching an artist work. you have all these raw ingredients, and just looking at them you could never imagine that viola! delicious food can be created from them! we had this pasta with lobster meat, potato with roasted garlic, a zuchinni dish, and barbecued sausages.

after dinner, while cleaning up, there was some kind of fireworks display going on outside. it wasn't very long but there was a lot of big fireworks. later, we watched the anna nicole smith show, probably the last time we'll ever watch that horrible train wreck of a show. with so many original guests gone, dan and i moved back to the house instead of sleeping in the cabin.

i got up at 9am to the sound of cleaning downstairs. it was the hired cleaner tidying up the place. i grabbed some cereal and watched tv with deanna in the tv room (regis & kelly and the cosby show). besides us, there was just dan left, john and megan and dave having gotten up early to take the train to go back to work in manhattan. when dan got up we thanked deanna for all her hospitality and left, not to go home quite yet, but to visit the long island ikea home furnishing store (hicksville).

ikea! the mecca of home furnishing, every poor home owner's interior decorating wet dream fantasy come true. it was a sensory overload, i didn't know what i wanted to buy, i just wanted to buy everything. in the end, i just settled for a paper lantern desklamp for $10.

for lunch, we went to the on the border mexican cafe across the street from ikea. i had a non-alocholic strawberry margarita, and for the main course we both got the chimichangas, which neither of us could finish after the chips and hot salsa plus appetizer.

our four chamber stomaches filled, we drove back to civilization. although i wasn't sleepy driving to long island, leaving it was a different story. there were times on the highway when i could barely keep my eyes opened, the suv slowly leaning into another lane. sleeping dan had no idea how close he was to dying! when we made it into boston it was right during rush hour traffic so we faced some congestion. we didn't make it back until almost 7pm.

i was suppose to go see a battle of west coast versus east coast indie films at the milky way lounge in jamaica plains with eliza, but she canceled at the last minute. i ended up going anyway because i was already out the door. i've been to the milky way lounge one time before, the indirect result of an after work run with julie through the arnold's arboretum. driving to said location was a different story, my lack of jp geography knowledge plus the fact that it was at night got me lost somewhere in the boston/brookline area. eventually i found the place through sheer driving miracle, just happened to come upon centre street. i didn't recognize the place at first and after parking my car walked 100 numbers in the wrong direction and then backtracked before finally showing up late. after a $5 cover charge and a quick id check i was inside, the place already filled with people sitting in the dark watching some film. i ordered a coke and stood watching some student movie about a stylist contest (you know, beauty school). the second film was this unbearable story about finding an apartment in boston. at least i think that's what it was about. i was expecting found footage but discovered something else, more like really long and boring student films on display. i think it was more of a hangout for my supposed peers, lots of drinking, lots of smoking, swanky shit that i can't tolerated. so i left after only 30 minutes (after i finished my expensive $2 coke of course) and then proceeded to drive home. oh, i mean, proceeded to get lost again and finally get home after some unnecessary wandering. a most unpleasant night in jamaica plains! i was glad to be home, north of the charles river. counting friday when i drove to rhode island, i must've logged about 14 hours worth of driving the past four days.