Our first stop today was Central Park, of which we walked just enough to "get a flavor." We took a couple of pictures around the entrance, and then took the subway back down to the NBC Studios.
We arrived at the ticket counter at around 2:00, and purchased tickets for the next available tour, which was at 3:00.
We used the hour to walk the streets in search of some post cards and refrigerator magnets. On the way, we had a hot dog from a street vendor.
We ended up at one of the gazillion souvenir shops in the northeast corner of Times Square, where I bought 7 postcards. Steve bought 3 postcards, and a refrigerator magnet for his mother.
We looked for a street vendor selling hot nuts, but didn't find one. Steve had another hot dog from a different vendor that we passed on the way back to the tour.
While waiting in the "Candy Store" for the tour to start, and for Steve to return from the bathroom, I came across one of those families that makes me so angry about the fuss over gay people having or raising children.
My introduction to them was the father arriving at the top of the stairs, looking around, then spinning around toward his two kids and wife coming up the stairs. He screamed as he spun around and pointed, "Ohhh boy!!!" Like, well, like a kid in a candy store.
From the start it was obvious that this guy should have had to have passed some kind of test before bringing kids into the world. As soon as the son got to the top of the stairs, he yelled to his sister something about some gummy lips, or some kind of candy in the shape of lips.
Later Steve was in line purchasing his Sweet Tarts, while the son of that family, in line behind him, elbowed his way trying to make his purchase before Steve's.
It' situations like this when I think of all the nerve and the arrogance of straight people trying to create laws to "qualify" gay couples as "fit" to raise kids, when all they have to do is fuck. But I bitterly digress...
I enjoyed the NBC Studio tour again, and it actually had changed a little since I did it in March of 2003 with mom and dad. The irony of someone who hasn't owned a television in 3.5 years seeing the NBC studio tour twice during that time was not lost on me.
Thank [insert deity here] that moronic family wasn't on the 3:00 tour with us.
There were these cute (and I use the term loosely) little old ladies on our tour. Three of them. They were dressed pretty nicely, but just a little too pushy and loud. I dubbed them, "High Brow, Low Country."
After a while with them, I also began thinking of them as "The Bronze Girls" -- at least two levels lower than "The Golden Girls."
The tour started with a stop in front of two framed pictures of the Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast. One frame held a picture of the original cast of the debut year of 1975. The other frame contained this past season's cast, which was almost double in size of the original cast.
One of the two "NBC pages" for our tour - Jamilla, whom I really liked, and Veronica - pointed out that one cast member was born in 1978, so is the first cast member to be younger than the show itself. She also commented, "Of course he's just the first, as the show continues to age, and the cast change there will be more and more of them."
The first studio we toured was Studio 3B, the studio from which SNL is broadcasted. They were rehearsing a sketch which will be on this Saturday's night show. It included several of the cast members, and at least two coffins were involved.
Veronica was pointing out the people, and the guest host, who was also participating in the skit, but none of the names were familiar to me. I thought they said that Napoleon Dynamite was the guest host, but I'd never heard of him.
We also toured the studio from which NBC Sports is broadcasted, where it was explained that we would normally have seen another studio on the tour, but wouldn't today because it's the one from which they broadcast any late-breaking world events, and with the terrorist alerts going on this weekend for the NYC subways, they want to keep it "available."
Our final stop was in a studio where they demonstrated what goes on behind the scenes during a broadcast. There were two "sets" in this studio, one from which they demonstrated how newscasting is broadcasted, the other from which they demonstrated how the weather is broadcasted.
They started off this part of the tour by having each "party" in our tour group of 30 sit at the news desk set, behind which they had a panoramic scene of the city, to have a photograph taken, which of course, they tried to sell you at the end of the tour for about a 5000% markup. This was not done when I took the tour in 2004. Always looking for new revenue streams, I suppose.
After the pictures were taken and we'd all taken a seat in an "audience section" of the studio, the pages asked for two volunteers to help them demonstrate how things worked.
One lady volunteer sat behind the news desk, and read the teleprompter, which contained a few (fake) headlines, and then she turned toward the weather set, and said, "And now over to the weather. Kathrine?"
Kathrine, who was a young teen, did fairly well with the weather map, which was solid green behind her, but projecting a map of the United States to the audience.
The page took a piece of what looked like a green carpet, and showed how when it was put across a part of Katherine's body, she disappeared. She told us that that's how they did "The Hand" on the Addam's Family, and how often times it's how they portray missing limbs when necessary.
The tour ended with us sitting in a special new "high definition TV projection room," where a montage of hundreds of clips of NBC shows were flashed across the screen. I didn't recognize a lot of the people and shows, and I was reminded of the page's comment earlier about future SNL cast members being younger than the show itself. This is how it will be with me, as I continue to live without a TV. Fewer and fewer television celebrities and shows will be recognizable to me.
Exiting the building, Steve and I checked out the picture of us in the studio, now available to view and purchase of course, but it contained two fat people that neither one of us was impressed with, so we saved $12.95 for a 5x7.
They gave us a stub with a web address, in case by the time we got home, we'd convinced ourselves that we could make our friends and relatives believe that the camera really adds 40 pounds.
We took the B D F V (orange) train downtown with the intention of transferring to the 7 (gray) train at 14th street. As has happened a couple of times, the V train we ended up on did not stop at 14th.
We got off at Canal Street, took the same train back uptown to the West 4th St. stop, where we transferred to the A (blue) train back to 14th.
After dropping some of our things off at the room, we walked over to Diner 24 for dinner. We both had some killer Tomato and Vermont White Cheddar Cheese Soup. Steve had Tilapia, and I had a chicken, fettuccine pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccoli dish, both of which were just delicious.
We sat in a corner seat, with floor-to-ceiling windows, out of which we watched beautiful men go by. It was a really nice dinner.
While walking back to the room, I got a cell call from Phil, Joe's (ex) friend from Charlotte. He told me that he was just checking to see if Joe was alright as he's left him several messages over a period of time, and he hasn't heard back from him.
I told him, that as far as I knew, everything was alright, and that I'd let him know he was asking about him.
Back at the room, I took about a 45-minute nap, and then got ready for tonight's play, Mama Mia! The subway terrorist alert was all over the local, and national news, and we quietly ignored it while we got ready.
We picked up the 1 train at 14th & 6th, and got off at 50th, right around the corner of the theater. These were the "worst" seats we've had all week, but they were still ($100 for which we'd paid $81.25) orchestra seats, and "full view."
While waiting for the play to start, I called Joe and told him about Phil's call.
Our seats were in the last row of the orchestra section, and they backed up against a sort of shelf that was behind us, behind which people were standing. They turned out to be "standing room only seats," and later, during the intermission, I noticed they were even numbered.
We tried to take our seats with our drinks, and a drill sergeant usher told us, "Un-uh, you can't do that."
Steve tried to find a place to buy the soundtrack CD from the play, and the same lady got real friendly helping him find the nearest place.
He returned all happy, and smiled at her while thanking her as he passed back by her to his seat.
She kept smiling, as she bent over and said, "But you still can't drink at your seat." This cracked us all up.
During the second half of the show, the girl in the "standing room only slot" behind the person sitting just to the left of me started singing along with some of the songs.
Now, I know this is ABBA music, and it's hard not to sing, but I did not pay $81.25 to hear her singing. Fortunately for her, she did it to only three songs, was singing very, very quietly, and was on key. If not, she truly would have been "shushed" by me.
When I turned my phone on at the end of my show, it immediately beeped with two voice mail messages. The first was from Joe telling me he had called Phil.
The second was from Phil telling me that Joe had called him.
We caught the 1 train directly to Christopher Street, where we returned to Tye's. It was butts to nuts in there, well over the 71-people capacity allowed by the fire code.
We expected to see Patrick there tonight, but he never showed up.
After a while, we caught a cab to The Eagle, where the drinks were cheaper, and the men hotter.
We caught a cab home, and had some pizza at Due Amici, a 24-hour joint right across the street from our hotel.