"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

MARCHing into April 2015

March and early April 2015 were busy for us with three short return-trips to some of our favorite places including New York City, Memphis and Destin, Florida; plus some music, comedy and hockey thrown into the mix.


Snowy Percy Priest Lake and the dam from take-off
Friday, March 6  - We flew to NYC around noon today, lucky once again to miss another snow storm like we did last year.  We stayed at the super-convenient (and quite affordable) Hilton Garden Inn Times Square.  Our 12th floor room had a great view looking westward toward the Hudson River.
A snowy Manhattan sunset
After checking in we walked a short distance to an interesting dinner at Inakaya Japanese Restaurant which was offering a nice three-course discounted menu for NYC Restaurant Week which was just drawing to a close. After dinner we took in a spur of the moment Off-Broadway production called The Gazillon Bubbles Show.  It was pretty fun, albeit much more oriented towards kids than we thought it was going to be.

This billboard in Times Square under the famous NYE Ball had it right.  It was Brr-tastic!
After a couple brews at the bar of The Beer Authority and a walk through Times Square in the brisk below-freezing air, we retired for the night.

Saturday, March 7 - We slept in a bit and then took a cab to the south end of the island for a scheduled visit to The Meow Parlour.

Ashlee had read an article recently about this cool concept of pet adoption where you interact with the animals before you adopt them instead of just seeing them sitting in a cage.  Now while we aren't in the market for another cat, we still wanted to check the place out and, of course, mess around with the cats for a charge of $4 for a half-hour.  That's about the best deal in the city!!  That's our favorite one, Kris, pictured above.  He was very playful and friendly.

On our walk from the Cat Parlour through Chinatown toward the new Freedom Tower (background), we stopped for a look at the cool little fire station made famous in the film, Ghostbusters.  We happened upon a hearty and delicious brunch beng served just across the street at Walker's Bar.
The new Freedom Tower is an amazing site from all perspectives.
Here's Ashlee on The Highline, a new park concept in Manhattan that converted an old elevated railway into a green area.  We walked the entire length of it and booked over 10 miles overall for the day according to my Fitbit.
We had a tasty dinner at Braai, a South African restaurant, before attending the Broadway show, "Constellations" starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson.  It was an excellent show and we were lucky enough to see both stars after the show and have them sign a poster we bought.

Thanks for the autograph, Jake!
Sunday, March 8 - With nothing really planned before we flew home today, we booked a last-minute mid-morning 20-minute helicopter tour from Helicopter Flight Services IncThe weather cooperated in spectacular fashion as we lifted off from the East River Heliport, came around the south end of the island over The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and then up the Hudson River and back.  We've become pretty addicted to helicopter flights as this is our 4th in the last year or so and this one was exceptional.

A grand view from the helicopter of the gleaming Freedom Tower and the rest of lower Manhattan.


Pampered ducks.

They are "The Boll Weevil Club" or something strange like that.
At least they're green I guess.  Happy St. Patty's Day Weekend!
Saturday, March  14 - We took a road trip this weekend back out to Memphis with our friends, Mike (who had never been there before), and Brenda and Danny (who used to live there, but hadn't been back in over 20 years). We started the day by watching the March of the Ducks in the amazingly beautiful lobby of the Peabody Hotel.  A total hoot and a total must for any visit to Memphis.  This is something that Ashlee and I have both witnessed before, but never together.

Then it was on to an awesome lunch at the famous Rendezvous Rib Joint.  Again, an absolute must for any visit to the Bluff City.  We walked off lunch with a nice walk over to the Civil Rights Museum at the infamous Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was killed.  Again, this is a place that both Ashlee and I have been to before, but never together.  And once again, an absolute must when you visit this area.  The mood was lightened on our way back toward Beale Street as we happened right upon an early, but very festive, St. Patrick's Day parade.   After catching a few flying bead necklaces, we had a few libations at the Memphis location of The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium before checking into our sweet rooms at the Hampton Inn right on Beale Street, one of which included a balcony which we enjoyed hanging out on before heading out for the main reason we picked this weekend to visit Memphis: a home game for the Grizzlies at the nearby FedEx Forum.
Sweet $9 seats for a first-place team.  Go Grizzlies!!

The Memphis Grizzlies. who are currently in 1st place in their Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the NBA took on the Milwaukee Bucks.  It was a dominating 96-83 win for the Grizzlies. We celebrated after the game out on famous Beale Street late into the night and grabbed a delicious bite at Dyer's Burgers before turning in.
Hey, a fair warning is all you can ask for from our hotel on Beale Street.
Collage Flashback to July 2000,
our last pre-blog visit to Graceland
Sunday, March 15 -  After sleeping in a bit, it was time to take in a couple last must-sees before leaving Memphis.  First was the eclectic time-warp home of Elvis Presley, Graceland.  Ashlee and I have been here before (pre-blog), but we had forgotten what a great tour it is, and they have improved it as well including a new audio-tour via your own personal computer tablet.  We opted to see Big E's private planes as well which was quite interesting also.  None of our friends had been here before, and it's always a treat to show something this interesting to people for the first time.  Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.

Secondly, was lunch afterwards at one of our favorite spots, Uncle Lou's Famous Fried Chicken.  Again, this was a repeat for us, but the other three in our group had not been here.  It was the flavor sensation it always is and Uncle Lou made three new fans today of his Sweet Spicy Love sauce.
I think I liked Elvis' swanky billiard room more than even the famous Jungle Room
$15? Man, what a deal!!


April 1-4:  I flew down to Pensacola, Florida, today to meet up in Destin with Ashlee and her family again  for a few days of "spring break" on the beach.  They had rented another large, beautiful house with it's own pool in a gated community.   It was just a couple blocks to the beach from the house and we had a cool 6-seater golf cart to use to get there.  The weather was perfect for laying around on the beach (see the short video below of  the beautiful beach that we shared with a cute sandpiper).  The water was even warm enough to get into and goof around in as well.

We had a couple of awesome dinners while we were down in Destin at Louisiana Lagniappe and The Craft Bar.  On Saturday, we packed up Ashlee's car and headed back together to Nashville for a concert (see below).

A limited view of some of the beautiful house we rented down in Destin.

Saturday, April 4 - We attended the SOLD OUT Mat Kearney show at The Ryman tonight.  Our sweet 6th row main floor seats were perfect and when Mat came into the crowd during one song (see video below), he was right beside us.  He had to great openers as well with Judah and the Lion, and  then Parachute.

I stole this great pic from Mat Kearney's Facebook page.  That's me on the far right side holding up the gold Preds hat.
Thursday, April 9 - We attended the SOLD OUT last Preds home regular season game tonight against the Minnesota Wild.  It was actually the first and only game of a four-pack that we bought with our friend, Wayne, that we could actually attend together.  Icy weather prevented us from going to the first game, a conflict in Ashlee's schedule prevented her from going to the next game, and the Mat Kearney show mentioned above was a conflict for both of us on the third game.   Despite a quick 2-0 lead in the first period in this game, the Preds dropped this one 2-4 and also lost their chance at their first-ever conference title.  Bummer. On a brighter note, we did qualify for home-ice during the playoffs which start next week.  And on an even brighter note, we surprised our friend, Wayne, with a meet and greet of Preds winger, James Neal, after the game.

Our first-ever ticket package bought with the Preds.
Wednesday, April 15 - The 2015 NHL Playoffs began today and our Nashville Predators locked up a berth more than a couple weeks before the regular season even ended with a second place finish in the Central Division and a # 3 seed in the West.   Tonight was Game 1 of the Western Divisional Semifinals against the hated (but talented) Chicago Blackhawks.  We had great seats in the 200 club level behind the defend-twice goal  secured with our Smashville Passport along with our friend Wayne.  Our friends, Danny and Brenda, also got a passport and had seats right beside us, and our friends, Chris and Tarryn, did the same with some upper level seats.   It was a soul-crushing 4-3 loss in double OT.  The longest game in franchise history.  We didn't get home until well after midnight.  Jumping out to a fantastic 3-0 lead in the first period was the toughest thing to swallow about this loss.  On a positivie and fun note, we did get on the jumbotron for about 30 seconds during the game just dancing like fools.

Don't let Ruxin get in your mind
 about his skewed fantasy football trade offer!!
Thursday, April 16 - I was lucky enough to win two Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) Gold Laminates  recently (thanks www.nowplayingnashville.com !!)  that gave Ashlee and me full access to the entire event and the ability to view  up to 40 films (that's a $400 value). Tonight we attended the NaFF Opening Night Party and a screening of the film "Adult Beginners" which was written, produced and stars comedian/actor, Nick Kroll, who we know best as "Ruxin"  from the hilarious TV comedy, "The League" which is centered around fantasy-football.  The movie was very good with a great cast and Nick was even on hand before the film to introduce it, and to take some Q and A afterwards.  Later, out on the red carpet, we even got to meet him and Ashlee grabbed a patented "selfie with a star."  We enjoyed some complimentary food and libations after the film as well.

Friday, April 17 - We attended the SOLD OUT Game 2 of the Western Dvisional Semifinals vs. Chicago tonight. It was a different story tonight as we laid waste to those stinking Blackhawks with a 6-2 trouncing evening the series up at 1-1.  We had our same sweet seats as before.  The boys are off to Chicago next with two hard road games ahead of them.  We hope to be back here soon for more Preds playoff action.
I was goofing around with the panoramic feature on my IPhone and got this cool picture
of Bridgestone Arena during Game 2 with our friends Wayne and Danny and Brenda book-ending it.

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