Finally decided to make my Youtube channel that I have been debating on making for a while now. The first video has been posted and I hope you all enjoy it. The link to the video can be found below. Warning the sound quality is not as good as I would have hoped.
Third Time’s the NY Charm
As the the title gives away, I recently went on my third trip to New York City to celebrate my anniversary with my beloved. This time around we hit a few bumps in the road getting to our hotel, but we eventually figured our way to our destination. We decided to stay once again at Hotel Pennsylvania, but this time around we got a much better room. A smaller size that fit our needs, a better TV, comfy bed, and warm to come back to at the end of the day. Rumbling erupted from our stomachs as we traversed the streets of New York City. Dallas BBQ seemed like a good choice as we entered the building. Instantly, our noses agreed with our choice as we took the escalator to the second floor. Great artwork surrounded us as we made our way to the table. So many tasty things to try, it was hard to decide what to chose. Eventually, I got a rack of ribs, crunchy wings, fries, and a frozen, alcoholic pineapple crush drink. Scoffing does not even accurately describe how fast I ate my food. It was delicious in every aspect, a little too much so when it came to the drink having to remind myself that it was alcoholic. In my rambunctious hunger, my love was nice enough to give me a bite of her pulled pork sandwich. Delicious as well and made me want to try more, but I did not want to be rolled out the building.
After seeing how well the army of police and ambulances responded to a situation outside, we made our way for a quick stop at Midtown Comics. Lots of items in store, but nothing that really caught my eye as we continued on our way to our main destination. As my love and I do every time we go to NYC, we booked tickets to a Broadway musical; this time they were for Aladdin. What a awesome show. Spectacular dancing, splendid music, terrific visual effects, and that Genie just stole the show. Friend Like Me was my favorite song of the whole production and that actor just brought on a whole different take on Genie that had me intrigued from the beginning. My apologies to the cast and crew for not giving a standing ovation at your performance; I was afraid of falling over the railing with my stiff knees. Having enjoyed the show, we made our way to a Qdoba near our hotel where we picked up our food from a stressed worker who appreciated our understanding of working in a fast paced job. The gentlemen was nice enough to give us coupons with a genuine smile on his face. We retreated to our lair to devour our food; mine being Stromboli that I absolutely loved. Partly because I did not have to make it from scratch like if I was at home, but the flavor itself was pretty great. Unfortunately this trip was a short one as we made our way to work the next day. NYC is such a large place with so many more places to visit and experience. I look forward to the next time we explore the city to find more hidden wonders.
An Unexpected NYC Journey
In truth, I was not expecting to be taking another trip to New York City so soon, but I was given tickets to see Lion King on Broadway by my father which I could not pass up. Along with some other expenses being paid for such as some spending money and gas; the latter which my brother paid for, the trip was relatively inexpensive. The first day heading down we survived the traffic and craziness of getting into New York City. This time around we stayed on the Upper West Side near Harlem. Different from Midtown in two very distinct ways. One, traffic was not bad in the least. Honestly, it was much like Manchester in New Hampshire; still city traffic but without the intensity of a river full of rushing salmon. Another difference was this time around I heard a lot of English instead of a mix of foreign languages. I must say it was very interesting to see that different parts of New York City have different traits and characteristics. Any who, back to the journey as we found ourselves at the hotel, the Marrakech. A nice and cozy hotel with interior inspired by North African designs, it offers a fair prices for a room to stay for the oncoming nights. We did not have much time to explore for we had an escape room to rush to. With minutes to spare, we arrived at Hoodwinked and found that we would be the only two doing the room. Perfect considering how well my fiancee and I work together. The name of the room was called the Spirit of Harlem where our late uncle had left us a fortune to find. So many puzzles of varying cleverness left us with laughs, face palms, and admiration while we cleared the room with ten minutes to spare. It wish not to reveal any of said clever puzzles, but I will say that I had seen some riddles there that I had not seen elsewhere. After our narrow escape, we headed to something I was looking forward to, a jazz club. Now you must understand that I do not know New York very well and at first I did not realize where this club was establish. It was not until we had gone inside of Minton’s Playhouse that it hit me that we were going to listen to jazz in Harlem. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance, jazz was born in this region. Mark that off my bucket list as we enjoyed the band playing and the fine food in front of us. I enjoyed a New York Steak with garlic mashed that was absolutely delicious. French fries were ordered to partake in as the band played and I spoiled myself by getting a brownie ala mode. At one point in the evening, I looked over to my fiancee who, like myself, was asked by the club to wear something nice for the evening. I do not think I could accurately describe how beautiful she looked to me that night with the candle light flickering next to us. After enjoying the creative, bouncy, and smooth sounds of the bands last set, we headed back to our hotel for a nice long rest.
A quick nights sleep led to the next day as our stomachs rumbled. Guess we knew what we were doing first that morning. The previous night, my fiancee had seen a bagel place called Broadway Bagel that she wanted to try. What a great choice. A little crunchy on the outside while fluffy on the inside, so divine. With our stomachs satisfied, we began our journey to the American Museum of Natural History. So many floors of knowledge that we barely were able to complete. I found it quite interesting to learn of other people’s cultures from around the world. Of course the dinosaurs on the top floor were really cool as well. Once we were done taking our mini trip around history, we decided to head to the highlight of our trip. But before getting to that, our stomachs once again needed our attention. We took a quick stop at a place called Angelo’s pizza, not really knowing what the place. Oh my were we surprised. It just so happened they did brick oven pizza that is so well done we mowed through a whole pizza in five minutes. It was absolutely delightful with a sweet marina made in house and stringy mozzarella cheese. The crust was perfectly crisped that complimented the rest of the ingredients. It was soon time for the show as we took our seats in the theater. Without spoiling anything I will simply say it was amazing. From blending classic African music styles to pop culture jokes and references, it was truly a most enjoyable show. My favorite part by far was when Rafiki sings “He Lives in You”. Such a mystical and touching moment as the theater is filled with lights, voices, and feeling as every word is song with such purpose. Truly, it was one of those moments I shall never forget. After the wonderful performance, we headed back to the hotel on the subway. I commend New York on having one of the smoothest subway systems I have ever traveled. It was easy to pay, hop on, hop off, and come out right next to our hotel.
Alas, the last day came and we had only time to grab food before leaving this land of NYC. Pretty good diner food at a place called Broadway Diner that was a pleasant start to our day. The ride home was smooth, until we hit Connecticut where two lanes tried to merge to one. Narrowly avoided a multi-car accident as two lanes turned to one. After that we arrived home just fine with our memories firmly set in our minds. Trips to see the Big Apple again are already in motion. We want to explore multiple parts of the city, but every time seeing a show on Broadway. For now, I hope you enjoyed my telling of my adventure and the rest of what you might find on my site.
The Trial of Goldilocks
In the kingdom of Berne, it came to past that the only daughter of the noble King Iomair came of age to claim her birthright. Preparations were made while the father and his daughter, who had locks of gold, met in secret to discuss the trials that lay ahead of her.
“This trial will not be easy my child.” Stated the king cautiously. “Not even I can know the details of the perils that await you. It is decided by the people who have placed their trust for you to rule as their future queen. In this way, you will have an unwavering faith from those you have sworn to protect. That does not mean that they will go easy on you. I have been told that they even enlisted the help of some of our high priests to ensure that you are thoroughly tested. Take heart my dear Goldilocks and know that I support you from afar.”
“I will my father and I will make you proud. There is nothing that will deter me from achieving that which I have trained for all my life. No more words for now, let me go forth to prove my worth to the people that will follow me.” Eagerly responded Goldilocks.
The man moved to the side as he followed his confident daughter out the door, feeling nothing but pride. They were met with cheers as the royal duo paraded down the streets to a great maze. The two looked at wonder at the greenery that stood before them. Not even the night before did this stand where it grew now. It was clear to the royalty that the people wanted to ensure their future.
As they stood flabbergasted, a priestess dressed in a white dress approached them. Upon her head she wore a ring of flowers and a golden belt carved with knots that sat around her waist. Across her skin were painted marks that faintly glowed.
She addressed them, “Hail King Iomair and his daughter Princess Goldilocks. I sincerely hope that you succeed today your highness. Allow me to explain the rules of this trial. You can bring within the maze a sword, shield, flint, hammer, wrappings, and a pot. There are three trials you must overcome before seeing the end. Only then will you be allowed to exit the maze, otherwise the vines will keep you closed in. Here are you supplies, now venture forth and may you find victory!”
Goldilocks nodded before raising her fist to her people. A cry of support came from them as they watched their princess cross the threshold and into her trial. As the priestess said, the vines closed the entrance behind her while the warrior shrugged at the mist that creeped and darkened her view. She feared not what lie ahead of her. Carefully, she followed the winding ways until coming to a clearing. To her surprise, she found stuck on top of a high tower a full size adult bear. It growled and snarled at the intruder but had no means to reach her. Vainly, it pawed at her from the edge of its platform before reeling back in fear of falling from such a height. The princess smirked at the ferocious creature before passing the tower. She only stopped when she heard a whining coming from behind her. Hopelessness was beset in the creature’s eyes as she felt a pang of pity hit her heart. Looking around, she found rubbles of wood and nails scattered about. One nail after another she constructed a great staircase to reach the beast. At first, the princess put her shield up and sword pointed at the bear. She was certain the creature would attack her at first sight, but she was soon surprised as the bruin walked gently towards her and nuzzled into her neck. Patting the great animal on the head she continued her journey, followed closely by the male bear.
Together the duo moved ever down past what seemed like miles of vine until again they came to a clearing. This time their lay in the middle of the plain a female bear. It slowly began to arise only to fall in a faint. A growl emanated from the creature but not from its mouth. The poor bear had been starved to the point of exhaustion. In her mind, the princess ridiculed the treatment her people had given the creatures as she pulled out her pot. Growing close by were stalks of wheat of which Goldilocks broke down to grains. Next, she went to a nearby pool of water and filled the pot. A mixture began to brew as she threw the grain in with the boiling water and spurtled the meal. To finish, she picked from her armor bits of sea salt that had fallen off the salted pork she had eaten earlier in the day. Once the food was ready, she placed the pot in front of the great female. With what seemed like gratitude, the bear gobbled down the meal spilling it everywhere. It was only mere moments before it got back on its feet and cuddled into the male bear. A sweet sight even for the abrasive princess. The creature duo began crying out into the open ear and then listened. Curious, Goldilocks listened too as she could hear a faint cry. It seemed the bear couple had heard it too for they barreled through the walls of the maze. Closely following behind, the warrior could hardly keep up. Finally, the two in front of her stopped and gave a sad sound. There in a bed was a cub with two of its legs broken by human hands. The parents watched over snuggled into their cub as they tried to comfort their offspring. An anger whirled inside the warrior, someone was going to pay for this when the trial had ended. Grabbing the bandages and ripping two legs from the bed, she made a support cast for the young creature. It seemed to help as it stumbled onto its feet and leaned on its parents. The warrior smiled seeing the three together as she continued onward, followed closely by her three new friends.
Only an oak tree lay in front of the groups escape toward beams of light. They made their way toward the exit before the land began to shake. The tree came to life as it swatted its limbs at the intruders. Fearing for the cub, the warrior caused her new friends to retreat behind a nearby wall of the maze. Over and over in her head she tried to think of a way to get around the creature but could not find an option. At last she cried to the gods to help her against this new foe. Her prayer was answered as a beam of light shone in front of her. The bears bowed at her coming as the goddess Artio stood before them. Quickly, the princess followed suit but was brought to her feet by the deity.
“Arise my child. You have not faltered yet in this trial; so why should you start now? I have chosen you to teach a lesson to the mortals of this realm to respect nature; something they sorely lack. This I know you can achieve for you are my daughter through the King Iomair, who kept it secret to protect you from harm and prodigious. With these, you will not only be able to communicate with these great creatures, but instantly heal any of their injuries. These are called the Wheat of Leigheas and any leftover you will be able to grow more of, but only by your own hands. Now go, claim your birthright so that you may impart my will against these mortals.”
Quickly, the warrior gave some wheat to each of the bears as each was strengthened and healed of any affliction. The adult male talked for the three as he looked toward the princess.
“My thanks from myself and my family for helping us in our time of need. Those vile humans know not of natures true intention; only how to warp it for their own plans. For now, let us focus at the task at hand. Our bite can easily break that tree to bits if we do so in the correct locations.”
Goldilocks thought for a moment before answering, “If we take out its roots it will have no life to continue upon. Follow my lead and we will attain freedom only together.”
The creatures nodded as the princess led them into the fray. Limbs and branches swatted at the group as they ducked the onslaught. One such swing almost took out the warrior if it were not for the youngest bear breaking the limb in two. Goldilocks used this to jump up from its back and strike the tree at its core. Of course, the creature seemed almost unfazed until it came toppling down from the two parents that had torn off the roots from the trunk. The battle being won, the new friends set forth towards the exit. A rain of cheers came from the crowd before it came to terrified screams. No one had expected her to return with those beasts, they wanted her to let them die.
Loudly, Goldilocks screamed, “Who is responsible for this?! Who dare disrespects these magnificent creatures?! Speak now and I may just spare you.”
No one dared to utter even a whisper. It was only broken when shocked murmurs spread once they heard bear noises erupt from their own princess. The murmurs turned to screams as thirteen men were dragged to the stage by the great bears. With a single slash of her blade, Goldilocks beheaded the disgraceful men. Then she looked toward the crowd and shouted.
“Let them be an example of what happens when one decides to disrespect nature itself. Under my rule we will attain peace with the land around us, healing it from the wounds we have inflicted upon it. For I, Goldilocks, Daughter of King Iomair and the goddess Artio, will not stand for anything less. Go now and release any wild animals you chose to tease in your homes and help saplings grow to mighty trees.”
Both scared and admired at the strength of their new queen, the villagers did as they were told. Next the warrior turned onto the priestess who stopped her with her words.
“Hold great queen. I am not your enemy in this cause, for I too serve the gods, more specifically the god Gwydion. You see, it was I that set the final obstacle, unbeknownst to the villagers that now lay dead at your feet. My lord wanted me to test you to see if you could live up to the name of your mother, the great goddess Artio. This you have succeeded and more for you could have only gotten past the mighty oak with the help of all three. I look forward to seeing how you transform this kingdom.”
With that the priestess of the trickster god vanished in a puff of mist, cackling before fading away. King Iomair was delighted at his daughter’s success and bestowed upon her his crown. The next few years were a form of transition as the human town soon grew side by side with nature. Bears were not uncommon to see walking beside the citizens and helping them with their day to day activities. All the while Goldilocks remained upon the thrown knowing that some day that her and the alliance of the bears, would be put to the test.
The Slaying of Humpty Dumpty
There once was a kingdom where not an ounce of conflict grew. No one sought ill will from one another and they prospered under the rule of King Humpty Dumpty. All was well until the jealous brother of the king placed a curse upon his sibling. Violently, his victim began to change into a great stone egg. As the monster tried to attack his brother, another spell was placed upon him. His once kind mind was erased and left hallow. The wicked brother claimed the throne while placing Humpty as the guard to the castle. Day in and out, allies tried to enter the castle, but were stopped by the former king. This monster would only allow them to enter if they could beat him in a game of riddles. If they lost, the egg would swallow them whole and gain their knowledge to fill his empty head. Soon, Humpty had an unfathomable hunger for information. Time passed on as the kingdom lost hope and was forced to live in a state of chaos. But, as fate would have it, a hero came to save them.
Aurora, accompanied by Captain Phillip and a werewolf known as Red, came abound into the royal city. They could see for miles the obstacle that awaited them while it sat upon the wall of the castle, Humpty Dumpty. Quickly, the group ducked into a local tavern to discuss their plan.
“Ah, finally I can get a drink.” Sighed Red as her hand reached for the bottle. It was soon slapped away by Captain Phillips who looked at the werewolf sternly.
“What do you think you are doing little man?” Questioned Red.
“Keeping you on task. The booze will only cloud your judgement and comprehension of the plan that Lady Aurora has developed.” Answered Phillips. A low growl came from the woman as the man put his hand on the hilt of his blade.
“Enough.” Commanded Aurora as she sat down between the two. “In fighting will never accomplish our goal.
“What is that exactly? You were not very forthcoming on the details while on the ride to here.” Asked Red.
“Our mission is to slay the great beast Humpty Dumpty and then his master. They have long held this land hostage in a state of chaos. Once they are disposed of, this kingdom can then again prosper.”
Red shook her head, “And what exactly is wrong with this land? As far as I can see, it is the same as any other pathetic village that we have passed.” As if the gods had taken the cue, swords poked the back of all three foreigners. Slowly, they turned to see the whole tavern was armed.
One of them spoke boldly, “We will be taking your valuables if you please. It should sustain our kingdom a little while longer. Maybe we can even have some fun after each of you are stripped of even the clothes on your backs.”
The man saying this had begun to touch Aurora’s chest. In turn. She grabbed one of her arrows from her quiver and dug it into his shoulder. The man screamed in pain as he began to panic, realizing that he had also lost his sight. A brawl broke out as Red smiled. With a howl, she transformed before the terrified townsfolk. In vain they tried to slash at her, not landing a single blow. Red grabbed one of the blades and broke it to pieces, to the horror of the wielder. One punch and the man was sent flying across the room. She grabbed a bottle from the floor and took a swig before smashing it at an incoming opponent. It shattered to pieces knocking the man out as she used the remains to stab another attacker. Captain Phillips had begun meticulously slashing down one foe after another with expert swordsmanship, much different than the barbaric tactics of his ally. Parry then a blow before his enemies were struck down. Aurora, on the other hand, had not moved since stabbing the man who had dared to touch her. Her arms were crossed as she watched the display of strength from her allies. Finally, some of the villagers rose up in arms against her. She looked at them with a stern look before slowly pulling forth her sword. Immediately, the battle was over as their attackers looked at the cursed blade; pale as death from the blood of Dain. They fled screaming in terror from the tavern and the inevitable death that would come from even encountering such a weapon. Pleased with herself, Aurora sheathed her blade and sat down with her comrades once again.
“By using the Amulet of Go Léir A Fheiceáil as we rode here, I noticed that there is a weakness on a corner of the castle. For three days and nights, I will distract Humpty with a game of riddles. While doing this, the two of you will hack away at this weakness with pick axes. Once the wall begins to crumble, Red will attack from the other side and push the beast forward. Only then will he fall to pieces. After that, his master should be no problem.” Finished Aurora. The three spent the rest of the night enjoying each other’s company; sharing wine and good food that was left in the tavern.
The next morning came as Aurora approached the great beast known as Humpty Dumpty. Rumbling came from the creature as it snored in its sleep. Slowly, his colossal eyes opened as they looked upon the maiden in front of him. To Aurora’s surprise, he began to chuckle a guttural laugh.
“Aurora the Warrior, the hero that saved her kingdom from the sorceress Carman and her three sons. Flying from her bow, arrows covered in the blood of Dub that blinds anything unfortunate to get struck. Her blade dipped in the blood of Dain of which a single cut will kill any living thing. Wise enough not to wear Dother’s armor of which her father was not. Once an ally of my kingdom, it was somewhat unfortunate to hear of his passing. Now upon his throne sits a goddess since his lazy daughter does not want to take her birthright and now comes to challenge me. I suspect you wish to restore this kingdom due to your father’s and I’s former friendship?” Lectured Humpty.
The warrior thought for a moment before answering. Obviously, the creature had attained much knowledge by the way he spoke; surprised that the beast had recent information that happened only a few months ago. She had to be careful about how she proceeded.
“Such a sharp mind for someone who used to be so empty headed. I am glad that you remember my father Humpty. He did speak fondly of you while he waited at my bedside.” Started Aurora.
The great beast chuckled again as he interrupted, “You misunderstand warrior. I have none of my memories, just others’ knowledge of who I was as a king. A fool I used to be, trusting others and insisting on peace. Only conquerors and deceivers get what they want in this world. Enough reminiscing, you know there is only one way to pass me. So, which battle of wits shall we partake in today?”
“A game of riddles. Back and forth we shall go, telling and answering riddles until one of us can neither solve or concoct. Over and over we will go with no breaks to ensure that only the smartest prevails.” Explained Aurora.
The egg rubbed his hands together before he said, “Good. This should provide with some much-needed stimulation for my brain. I shall begin this game of riddles. It grows more and more with every passing minute, breathing while consuming all around it. Its hunger is never satisfied while its anger grows. Dancing and leaping in destruction while it makes its way. Its roar terrifies every being that stands in its path. Only when it no longer breathes can the creature disappear. What am I?”
“A fire.” Answered Aurora. The egg nodded before the warrior gave her riddle, “It flies ever straight as it screams along, the very air fleeing from its path. From one end to another it flies, only stopped when something crosses in front of it. Its victims scream as its bite digs in deep, sometimes it poisons and others it burns. What am I?”
“An arrow. My dear if you are going to make it this easy you might as well climb into my mouth already.” Remarked the egg.
The warrior smirked as she looked up defiantly at the monster. “You are in for a surprise then Humpty.”
Back and forth the two went, each of them getting more clever and clever with their riddles. All the while Captain Phillip and Red continually pick axed the corner of the wall; cracks began to crawl through the bricks as each day ended. Three days and nights came and passed as the two riddle makers never stopped. The fourth morning came as the eyelids of the egg were heavy.
With a groggy voice he boomed, “How are you not tired by now child? Neither one of us have gotten a moments rest and yet you stand as if you have gotten several nights of sleep.”
“For twenty-one years I slept, I no longer require much to function. You will soon no longer need it.” Commented Aurora.
“What do you-“ The egg began to say before the wall started to crumble. Bewildered at the commotion he did not notice as Aurora pulled back her bow and landed an arrow in each of his eyes. Blinded, the creature panicked as he was pushed forward by Red. He took a great fall and broke into many pieces. The knights behind the walls rushed out to see what had come of their protector. In vain, they could not put the great beast back together and fled at the sight of Aurora walking towards the castle. Captain Phillip and Red soon joined her as they made their way into the inner throne room. Cowering behind the throne was the being who had caused this catastrophe. The king’s brother held his hands in front of his face as Aurora picked him up by the collar and threw him into the wall. With a steely resolve, she looked at the man, who to her surprise was blind.
The warrior smirked as she spoke, “The man in the bar. My does fate smile upon me. You scurried out of there like a coward, only able to be so daring when you can rely on others, then leaving them to die. The audacity you had at touching me with those sickened paws, let’s just say I hope the gods find you the most ill-fated end for your miserable soul.”
Not even giving the man his last words, she slit his throat with her sword. His dead body turned to ash before flying off into a swarm of flies. The three finished with their task, sat in the floor of the throne room. Each catching their breaths before laughing at the simplicity of the adventure.
The laughter soon ended as Red arose and asked, “Am I free then from my curse? Was that the mission you needed me for? If so that was incredibly easy and way too nice of the gods.”
“Unfortunately, that was what I would call a team building exercise. Before we can even hope to undertake the task that will free you, we must learn to work together as a team. Fear did strike me when you and Phillips were not getting along in the bar. It seems it was for not. I promise you that you will be free, but you must humor me so that we all survive the oncoming trials.” Admitted Aurora.
Red nodded in acknowledgement, although she was bitter at the lack of trust from her leader. The werewolf looked over to Phillips who had an apologetical look on his face and held out his hand. Tentatively, she grabbed his hand and gave it a shake, a symbol of a new kinsmanship between the two. Aurora smiled as she saw comrades that she could live and fight for.