Thursday, February 23, 2006

If There's A Dive Bar, Yo I'll Find It...

I don't know what it is about me, but I can find a dive bar in any city I visit! Last night I went over to Orlando, to help sell the Orlando area to one of his reps' wives (they're moving from Minnesota, so it wasn't really a hard sell!) We were actually in Altamonte Springs, spitting distance from the house that my ex-hubby and I shared. Dinner was at Crazy Buffet (yum!) where we enjoyed 2-4-1 wine and loads of sushi. P. and I decided to have a nightcap, so I suggested that we check out the bars at a strip mall (in Florida! Quel surprise!) that was across the road from the restaurant. I had been to the sports bar there a loooooong time ago, and was fascinated with the bar next door to it - Cooter Brown's. Yes, Cooter Brown's. As I have an affinity for bars with "Cooter" in their name (as in the lovely bar we hung out in before my wedding), P. and I headed inside. There was metal on the jukebox (Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood") and the drinks were cheap and strong. The clientele, however, led me to believe that this bar could be categorized as a "place where someone's gonna get in a fight". The petite flower sitting on the bar stool next to me was fascinated with my hair color. She complemented me, asked for my hairdresser's name, and promptly fell off her barstool. Oh, and before the tumble, she almost got into a fight with a rather harsh looking middle aged woman with a cowboy hat and bad implants. Let the good times roll...

By the way, I miss Orlando. That's sad. I think what this really says is that I just don't like the Tampa area. I don't get a good "vibe" about the area. Could also be the huge image of my favorite anchor/crush from the tv station I worked for that was plastered on the "Super Duper Doppler" tower! Oh well...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Married? Yeah, married...sheesh!

I don't know why I get a kick out of the title of today's blog entry - I used this "Sixteen Candles" quote when telling a few friends that my youngest sis was getting married sometime soon (the wedding date and location have moved around quite a bit). First it was September in Illinois then March in New Orleans. If she can pin down a date, I'd love to go!

So anyway...I really wanted to write about my big weekend in Hooterville. I really didn't know what to do - we wanted to do something but didn't have the motivation to drive to civilization (Tampa), so we chose to make do with the cavalcade of entertainment that only Port Richey has to offer. Of course, we ended up at the movie theater (much more pleasant since they enforced the curfew!) Saw "Date Movie", which ranks up there with the worst movies I have ever seen (and that's really saying something!) It was just bad. Not "so bad it's good" - a la "Showgirls". Just godwafully bad. Usually chattering and texting teens annoy the hell out of me, but this time they were a welcome diversion from what was going on onscreen. I felt ripped off. So anyway, after such a promising beginning, how to end an evening like this? Why, the "Jale House (yes, that is actually whay the sign says - "Jale". Maybe the guy who owns "The Karl Reef" owns this one too -'s just that no one in Pasco County can spell) Karaoke Cafe"!

We approached the rundown building and saw a sign that said $10 cover. Since we were only staying for one drink, we didn't want to pay the cover. We started to head back to the car and a guy popped his head out the door and yelled to us that there was no cover. So we ventured, hesitantly, inside. There were about 15 people on the cramped dance floor doing "The Electric Slide", so things were not looking good for a lengthy cocktail stop. There was an assortment of motley folks in the club (about 25 in all) - there was the guy who looked like Greg Allman, the lady in the blue velour track suit (very tight and not too kind to her shlubby physique), a guy in a cowboy hat, and the obligatory black guy/fat white chick combo. There was a karaoke "host" floating around, wearing one of those dumb rasta wigs from Spencer's. He didn't sing, he just contributed a few "Awwwwyeah"s over the mic. Actually, for a karaoke bar, there was a strange shortage of karaoke. There were fat binders, full of songs on the tables, and a few people perusing them (Greg Allman for one), but no one took the stage. Until...finally..."Let's bring Rose to the stage." Rose, who was most likely in her mid 50s, proceeded to launch into "Roses Are Red" by Bobby Vinton. She got to about the second line when P. said "That's it" and made a beeline for the door. Guess we'll have to find another place to hang out. At least it was a concrete, tangible example to show P. what was wrong with Port Richey - and insurance that we'll soon be moving to civilization!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Midnight in the Garden of Freeze

Thought that since it's V-day, I'd give a little recap of the past weekend, which was my present from P. - a weekend in Savannah. Savannah is "our place" - when we lived in Atlanta (sniffle!), we used to go there every few weekends, as it's where P. kept his boat. Now it's a really big treat to head up there. P. went up before me, as he had a reservation with Captain Judy to fish and really wanted to go (I had to work.) He called me when he got there and said "It's COLD!" I packed a bunch of sweaters and 3 (count 'em) jackets to make the trek up to our frosty retreat. We stayed at the River Street Inn, right in the center of the action. The hotel was absoultely awesome - historic, balcony overlooking the river, chocolates on the pillow even! I got in late Friday and we wnet to dinner and had a few drinks (Wet Willie's - which I can't believe I patronized so much with the chilly temperatures outside! Kevin Barry's Pub too - where some girl was wearing a backless halter top in 30 degree temperatures. BY THE DOOR!) Didn't really have a plan for Saturday, which was good because we didn't get up until 1pm! Did some shopping (which mostly entailed looking at novelty t-shirts and drooling in the candy stores - but P. did find a stuffed chicken that did the Chicken Dance, which was amusing for about 5 minutes) and had our traditional dinner at the Shrimp Factory (yum!) Then the night got weird...

I was at Wet Willie's alone (Paul had to go up to the room to drop our stuff off) and these 2 large gals bellied up to the bar (they had a lot of belly, so they had no difficulty with that) and one of the babes proceeded to dump the scrawny, redneck (well, we are in Georgia! At least he had all of his teeth. He told me he went to Clemson, but I'm thinking the city, not the university!) dude that was with her off on me - presumably so she could keep his Colts baseball hat. So, even after I told him I was married, he stuck to me and stayed even when P. came into the bar. Then in comes a Bachelorette Party (the girls were making the bride-to-be earn badges for completing her "tasks." I thought the Girl Scout theme was appropriate for Savannah - birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low - their founder. Quite creative.) Poor scrawny dude couldn't get any play from any of the Bachelortettes. Poor guy. Kinda felt sorry for him. Felt sorry for myself the next morning! I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that Wet Willie's frozen concoctions, wine and Chatham Artillery Punches don't mix!

Went to the sloooooooweeeessssttt restuarant Sunday morning (well afternoon, you know how that goes.) We waited "20 minutes" to get a table (I guess "20 minutes" is Savannah Speak for "a real long time".) P. was seated next to a petite flower stretching her sweatpants to their limit, displaying her "summer teeth" and topping it all off with a cap emblazoned with not only a Playboy bunny, but also the annoying phrase "Git R' Done". Yup, Georgia. I think they had 6 out of the 75 tables in the place occupied and the service was awful. I think they had one host (who spent most of his time hiding - he was never at the podium), one waiter, one busboy and one cook (or maybe that was where the host kept sneaking off to...) At least the food was good.

I'm sure I could say more and relate more amusing anecdotes, but I am actually burned out! More on that later...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cupid, draw back your bow...

Just wanted to enter a quickie today. Everytime I check my email lately, I get a million reminders to get my Valentine a present next week. I don't think my husband wants candy and flowers. I don't know why I keep getting these, but it is amusing watching companies try to market their wares as good Valentine's gifts. Say "I love you" with a new Food Saver. Give your Valentine the gift of meat (yes, even Omaha Steaks is in on the action!) I don't know about you, but a nice card and a small bauble in a light blue box is fine with me (kidding, you don't have to get a card...)

Honestly, do we really need Valentine's Day? When I was single, I hated it (but not as much as New Year's, but that's fodder for another blog entry.) And it's hard to get a guy a gift - I hate when they get me a gift and all I have is a card. Maybe I should give the gift of meat? And the cards! Back in the day, I would get cards for my friends for V-day, but it was gettng increasingly hard to find cards for someone you hadn't seen naked (in a romantic way - I was a fraternity little sis, so I saw a lot!) I almost resorted to getting one of those boxes of Valentine's that we used to send to each other as kids (the ones with pictures of cute, fuzzy animals and really bad puns - or if you had dough, they were emblazoned with the popular cartoon characters of the day.) Now I just reserve cards for hubby and my folks (our family has single-handedely been keeping Hallmark in business for over 25 years!)

But really, if you have a good idea for a guy gift, let me know...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

43 Things

As my faithful readers know (all 2 of you), I like to surf the Internet and find things to do to occupy my time. Lately I came across a great site called 43 Things. So, of course, I signed up. Heck, I can accomplish 43 more things before I die, right? I actually have done quite a bit since I set this list up a month or two ago (So do I add new things or just finish the list first? They don't really tell you...)So here's my list (complete with snarky comments):

1. Learn Japanese - pretty self-explanatory. This might be a good time to say that these aren't in any particular order.
2. Meet Peter Frampton - obviously, this would be my number one thing!
3. Learn to play guitar - I am not counting the guitar classes I took in third grade, where I single-handedly took "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley", a nice old folk song and reduced it to a funeral dirge, thanks to my awkward chord changes!
4. Move to Australia - easier said than done, right mate?
5. Be a better wife - this one will, I'm afraid, always be on my list!
6. Write a book and have it published - working on that! Started writing class yesterday, and I have promised myself I'd work on my book for a half hour a day. Let's see how long that lasts!
7. Make new friends - trying...
8. Figure out what I want to do with my life - 36 and floating! Maybe if I write that book...
9. Clean out the clutter - this could be taken a few different ways. I'm sure it's the literal way here. I have put a bunch of my books up for sale on Amazon and gotten rid of 3 bags full of clothes - but I'm nowhere near crossing this one off!
10. Go back to Improv comedy - I am trying that too...hard to find the time!
11. Finish my Master's degree - my biggest recent regret. I am going to do this - I was all the way up to my thesis - darn it!
12. Bone upon my Spanish - para mi viaje a Costa Rica en abril. I don't want to have to ask for "cow" at a restaurant because I forgot the word for "beef" again!
13. Go back to Ireland - I'd like to go as an adult - and just live off Guinness and chips for a week!
14. Swim with sharks - I don't even know if they still do this. I knew someone who did this a few years ago and it looked so cool. Of course, I would prefer for this to be a pre-arranged, supervised by professionals kind of experience!
15. Be more diligent about exercising - going to the gym after work is hard, but I have been better at staying away from the TV at night, so this is achievable, I think...
16. Take dance classes - I'd like to find something that is not like classes I've taken in the past - me and a gaggle of pre-teen girls trying to learn a cutesy hip-hop routine (we never even made it through a whole verse of a song!)
17. Join a writing group -actually did this! Now I just have to go to a meeting...
18. Be happy - this is a hard thing to get my arms around - should have put be happy more - no one can be happy all of the time - that's freakish.
19. Cook more - I did do the chili thing on Sunday, so that's a step in the right direction, right? It would help if P. shared my taste for low-fat, mostly vegetarian foods (this will never happen, P. could be the poster boy for Omaha Steaks!)
20. Be more confident
21. Not be stressed - hopefully this will be resolved real soon - like July, perhaps?
22. Be happy with my body - next.
23. Spend more time with my family - this entails more drives to Naples down the nightmare that is I-75. And expensive dog boarding. I still want to see everybody more!
24. Be better with money - I am working on this. I'd be great if I made more though!
25. Stop drinking so much soda - I'll get to this, as soon as I finish this Coke Zero...mmmm....Of course, I can't give up soda completely, as I'd have nothing to mix with my rum! Rummy, rum, rum....
26. Figure out how to play Playstation 2 - I miss Atari. I have tried to play Madden 2005 but get so confused with all of the buttons - I can't spend my down time keyed up about pushing the "X" when I'm supposed to push the triangle and push the left button to move. Frustrating.
27. Learn computer graphics - I used to know some stuff, but you know how technology goes. I think I learned Flash 0.5 or something!
28. Fix my web site - need to do this badly.
29. Learn as much as I can - never getting crossed off either!
30. Learn to sing - not just karaoke.
31. Go to Japan - P.?
32. Get motivated - for what I'm not sure. How about everything!
33. Move - I think this was literal. July...
34. Fix my tattoo - I have to do something with the dumb shamrock on my hip. I got it at a really bad time in my life (long story) and I'm reminded of it everytime I look at it!
35. Win the lottery - who doesn't want this?
36. Keep in touch with friends better - I emailed Eric today...
37. Fish more and better - this one goes with being a better wife!
38. See Hawaii - this should happen within the next few years.
39. Find the perfect hair color - as my self-esteem ebbs and flows, I like my hair and alternately hate it. Blond? Red? Brunette? I have been all of these (currently red) but still haven't found the "mack daddy" color.
40. Consolidate my belongings - did I mention I'm selling some books?
41. Stop procrastinating - I'll do this after I check out eBay...
42. Get my first pedicure - did this on Saturday! Had a fancy-schmancy chocolate manicure. Quite decadent. Cross this baby off!!
43. Be in a movie - SeaQuest doesn't count - I want to be on the big screen!

That's it - seems like I can realistically cross everything off the list. I (as always) will keep you posted...

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Great Tot Conspiracy

They're closing in on me! Just when I start to lose weight (yay on one resoultion at least), my biggest crave in the world is getting closer and closer, surrounding me in a whirlpool of hot oil and potato goodness. Yes, the tater tot.

Let me 'splain. Ever since my Atlanta days, my taste for tots was re-awakened and for a while, I could not get enough of them. We would try to end every drunken night at the Highlander, a bar in Midtown with a very ecclectic crowd - bikers, nouveau-hippies, goths, a few guys who looked like washed-out Glam Rock stars from the 70s and us. The highlight of a visit to the Highlander was ordering a heaping "pitcher o' tots" - literally, a beer pitcher full of the crispy treats. I am a "tot virgin" myself - I don't like 'em scattered, smothered, covered or even dipped in ketchup, just lightly salted, fresh from the fryer. My friends like a little more variety, and one night got more than they bargained for, as some tacks mysteriously appeared in their bowl of chili-covered tots ("tacks n' tots" as my friend Kib dubbed them - he was the one who picked around the tacks to eat all of the tots he could - waste not, want not, right?) On nights I couldn't get to the Highlander, it was Ore-Ida to the rescue! I have a bad habit of cooking under the influence - and not anything that can just be microwaved - oh no, it has to involve the stove or boling water or some other potentially dangerous activity (pasta was one of my favorites - and one night in college a friend of mine and I had a craving for tempura - I had little red oil burn marks all over my arms for the next few days!) So, one night after I got home from some local tavern, I proceeded to bake some tots and watch TV. I fell asleep on the floor, only to awaken, bolt upright and inhale the smoke. The resulting charvoal briquettes killed my tot craving pretty effectively for the night. The whole low carb/South Beach thing kind of changed my relationship with tots, but some new alarming developments have seen the re-awakening of my tot cravings.

Napoleon Dynamite. Yes, damn you Napoleon! His lunchtime tots looked way better than anything I was ever served at school! As tempting as they looked, and thanks to whatever is going on in my body that has reduced my drunken munchies (it's not for lack of drinking, that's for sure!) I am able to resist, with the occasional hiccup or 2 (P. likes the tots too - what kind of wife would I be if I didn't share the tot experience with him?) The other recent development is more disturbing. There have been an alarming number of Sonic fast food restaurants popping up all over my neighborhood. Coincidence...or conspiracy??? Not only is that disturbiong in itself, but Sonic and it's competetors have seemed to have taken over Port Richey - as soon as a new Steak n' Shake, Taco Hell, Wendy's, etc. pops up, a "good" restaurant (where your food isn't served on a plastic tray) disappears! I am well aware that Port Richey is not the first place that comes to anyone's mind when one thinks haute cuisine, but come on! I can't be the only person who wants to live in a world where everytihng isn't fried! I'm scared...hold me...

Image courtesy of

Friday, February 03, 2006

I have a good excuse...

I have been busy (at work, no less!) this week! I haven't had much time for the usual activities - such as scouring the 'net for more trivial information than anyone would ever need and looking at wacky videos and movie trailers, and I am actually happy about it - it makes the days zip by!

In other news, the pooch finally gets to lose the "satellite dish" tomorrow. Thank God. It makes her head an enormous battering ram that has left the backs of my knees bruised and sore. She has become more of a chicken as she's gotten older - yeah she's only pushing 7 months, but come on - she's supposed to be a watchdog for me when P.'s away, and she's terrified of cardboard boxes, tin foil and thunder (as I found out this AM.) She's a 53 pound chicken!

It's Super Bowl weekend and I have been drafted to make my (almost) world-famous chili (I actually got the recipe off the wall at Chili's years and years ago - my own personal take on it involves every hot thing I can find - habaneros, scotch bonnets, jalepenos, get the point.) I almost got away without having to prepare it, as P. and one of his buddies were supposed to be fishing in Louisiana until late Sunday, but the weather changed his plans quite drastically. It has been the nastiest winter ever - rain, wind and yuck. I need Spring. I need renewal. I have been getting rid of stuff like crazy (but I did buy a new Pink Lady album - I had to!) Some things I still just can't part with - like my stupid collectible KISS and Austin Powers action figures (got 2 sets of Gene and the gang!) I also can't explain the appeal of my Ginger Spice doll collection (I guess it's because she was so sassy!) The Cher doll - don't need to explain (unfortunately, my 1970's pre-mummification Cher doll is long gone, but I have made do with the milennial version.) I suppose if some of this stuff was worth a few bucks on eBay, I could easily part with them, but last time I checked, you could get all of these for about $10 total. I'll just keep 'em. With my luck I would sell them and the next day there'd be some freak accident where a plane carrying Mike Myers crashes into the KISS tour bus or something! Wow, did I go off on a tangent!

My writing class starts Monday, so maybe I will have some better material on here soon!