A New Jersey Thanksgiving

"Only a couple more days," I found myself thinking as I trekked across campus in clothes that would be considered foolish for the 30-degree weather I was walking to class in, "a couple more days until break."
Of course, I had a few more reasons for looking forward to heading back to New Jersey for Thanksgiving break than to do the laundry I had been putting off for too long.  Thanksgiving held promise of warm meals, friends and family, a break from my end-of-semester workload, and, of course, a glorious shower without flipflops.  As my dad, little sister and I slowly rolled our way through the 5-hour crawl that is I91 in Thanksgiving traffic, I looked forward to what I knew would be a packed weekend.
 
When we finally pulled into the driveway, my mom and big sister Cara were home and waiting.  The tiny reunion, as expected, led to a host of ridiculous games of Scrabble, one of which I actually almost won for once.  Thanksgiving was very much the same, with the board making a few more appearances throughout the day.

Before I continue with what I did the next day, I feel the need to justify my participation in the awful idea that was Black Friday.  I learned the hard way that this pseudo-holiday is not a game for the weak.  After a pancake breakfast that morning, my two sisters and I decided we would head to the mostly-unpopulated mall in our area; the tiny bundle of shops hit its heyday in the late 90s, and the remaining four or five shops in the huge space seldom receive any notable sort of patronage.  I wanted to grab some winter clothes before heading back to the Valley, so we decided to give the normally deserted mall a shot.  Three hundred-person lines later, we returned home, a little discouraged and a little bit wiser.  A little while afterwards, I met up with Alexa, my friend from high school, to do what we do best: trade hyperbole about Black Friday, gossip about school and watch funny Youtube videos.

I spent the next day doing a shoot a musician I know from high school who's producing his own electronic music now. He was totally on board with the weird photo ideas I had for him; you can check out some of the LED and projector-fueled photos over here.

It finally came time to say goodbye to my big sister and, soon, the rest of my family as I readied myself to return to UMass.  The difference between UMass, where something's always going on, and home, where things are far more subdued and there's far less I need to get done, is a little jarring sometimes, but if this Thanksgiving was a teaser trailer for the month-long winter break coming up in a few weeks, I'll be happy.