Friday, April 30, 2010

Derby Daze: Day Three

We woke to the Maids shouting in the hallway, letting us know that another glorious Derby Day had begun. We showered and dressed for the 136th Annual Kentucky Oaks, which consisted of 12 races or so and ran the duration of the day. The idea was to catch a shuttle to the event, then spend the day getting the lay of the land, as the wife knew we'd spend the entire day there tomorrow, so we'd planned to maybe call it an early day at the track. The shuttle ride was also a bit odd because the two couples were comprised of rather unfriendly folks who were obviously older men with their 2nd or 3rd wives that had zero interest in even saying hello to anyone outside their party. The shuttle guy seemed relatively clueless as to where we were meant to actually be dropped off, but we eventually made our way to the gates and were allowed inside with the rest of the billions of folks milling about.

The wife had secured seating in the Triple Crown Room, so we headed up there into a nicely air conditioned room, assuaging my fears that I'd soon be sweating through the nice new linen suit we'd bought for this occasion. We settled in at our table, taking in the tables full of folks around us, as there was a lot of fashion to check out, and naturally hats galore. We got some cocktails, scouted out the various buffets located throughout the room to see what types of food were on offer and generally people-watched for a time as folks trailed by in their various finery and others in what could only be referred to as 'get-ups'. I snapped a couple pics here and there for posterity, a few of which I include here for your entertainment. The redhead up there looked cute until you realize her crazy outfit is being worn by a 40 year old woman rather than a 15 yr old girl., then it gets a bit silly.

The Short Breezy Skirt May Not've Been The Best ChoiceThe sounding of the horns indicated that another race was gearing up (maybe the 4th of the day?), so we eventually migrated outside to the little observation deck to see what it was all about. We caught the tail end of a race, then took in some more women fighting with short skirts and the wind while trying to keep their hats on, which is an interesting sport in and of itself.

We returned to the table to find that we'd gained some tablemates in our absence, a small group of Canadians. They're also 1st timers to the Derby and super friendly, which was a nice change of pace from the folks in the shuttle, so we hit it off with them pretty easily. It's also a relief to know that they'll also be there tomorrow, so we won't have to acclimate to another random group of assholes. We visited a bit, Morris and the wife bet on a few races, then we decided to watch one final race (the 8th maybe?) while finishing up our cocktails and heading back to the hotel via cab, as we'd already decided that the shuttle was probably going to be more of a pain than it was worth.

The cab got us back to the Seelbach with little hassle, our cabbie was a moonlighting bus driver who takes a week of personal time each year to drive a cab during the Derby to make extra cash, hwo we interviewed him enough to learn this I have no idea.

The wife caught a nap, I decided to lose the vest and tie, then head downstairs to the bar with Morris to continue our boozing a bit further. We chilled there and visited a bit, then I started trading DM's on Twitter with someone I'd hoped to meet while we were in his area, The Samurai, who is one of the two hosts from The Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema. We left that with me supposed to contact him once we got through with our dinner at The Brown Hotel, or more accurately The English Grill inside the hotel. We'd seen the place on the drive back to the Seelbach, so we hoofed it up the street to our dinner reservations.

Nerds Of A Feather!The food at this place was amazing, though the 5 courses really packs it on, so by the time we'd finished up it was almost a tad ridiculous. We headed back to the hotel, where Morris played around on his phone while I started trying to nail down a meeting place to connect with Sammy. We eventually ended up meeting him at a halfway point where he grabs dinner on the way home from work, as he has a hellacious commute to deal with. The wife and I drove out to a Steak & Shake a few lights off I-65 where we met the man, then visited for about an hour or so while he had his dinner. I always dig meeting up with any of my interweb/blogging/Twitter/podcasting pals and this was no exception. The man proved to be as charming in person as he is on the show, and the wife was kind enough to snap a pic for us, the posting of which Sammy beat me to on Twitter. I also have to note that I am constantly dismayed at how balding I look in photographs, as I have a high hairline, but it's not going anywhere. I feel like I always photograph like I'm well on my way to looking like Ben Franklin, but it's not really the case. Weird.

We said our goodbyes (with Enrique Iglesias playing from the overhead speakers, it was quite a moment) and then the wife and I headed back to Louisville, where the complete clusterfuck downtown in front of the hotel eventually gave way slightly and let us get close enough to dump the Jeep off with a valet and head upstairs.

We fed the Yorkie one final little snack, the wife crashed out and I started in on this stuff.

I notice with alarm that while the time on the laptop tells me it's pushing 3:00 AM in the morning, it is in actuality almost 4:00 AM here in Kentucky, which could be bad for my day tomorrow.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Derby Daze: Day Two

I was up late Blogging it last night, then was awakened by the vigorous knocking of the Maids across the hall at the crack od dawn this morning. "Housekeeping!" I was a bit surprised that it was barely 8:00, but I guess it's the early bird that re-makes the bed.

Maker's Mark TourguideI forced myself to sleep in at least until the alarm went off at 9:00, though the wife was texting an checking e-mail on her cell for awhile before I got up. The plan for today was to tour the Maker's Mark Distillery, which was about an hour and 20 minutes from the hotel, or at least according to Mapquest estimates. We had the car brought around, grabbed a coffee from the Starbuck's downstairs and then headed out for Loretto, Kentucky. The directions were good, though the more and more remote we got, the easier it is to begin convincing yourself that you've gone off the map somewhere, but we eventually rolled up just in time for the 11:00 tour. Our tour guide walked us through the entire history and process, ending up in the gift shop where we sampled both the normal bourbon as well as a mint julep flavor that was surprisingly tasty. We picked up some souviniers and then stopped for lunch at a small restaurant just outside the distillery called the Toll Booth or something to that effect (sorry, I'm tired and Google isn't playing ball on such a vague name tonight), then headed back toward Louisville.

We stopped on a wild hair at the Jim Beam Distillery, as we'd noticed how easily accesible it was on the drive down to Maker's Mark. This tour was a big pile of ass, consisting of a few factoids, a browse through a room full of pics annd memorabilia, then a 7 minute video played for us like we had a substitute teacher who didn't want to really deal with us. Then we were dumped back out at the gift shop for a sample before they let us shop. We left empty handed, as it was just a blah experience that I really felt I could get by searching the interweb a bit, as we never actually toured anything, just basically watched a short film.

The wife stopped at some kinda quilting store on the drive back, so I stepped next door to have a cocktail, the afternoon's samples being something of a tease. Sitting in a random Mexican restaurant I had a couple drinks, eventually joined by the wife and Morris, then we headed out to the Pegasus Parade or some such that the wife wanted to see as part of her Derby experience.

Stilt Girl Caught On BreakI snapped a few pictures before my phone crashed on me, including the one to the right before we even got seated. The parade was fairly cheesy (I'm just not a parade guy), made a bit moreso by some confusion among the organizer folk about seating (we had three seats 'together', though one of them was across an entire aisle?) and the people surounding our general area were just annoying as all hell from the moment we sat down. Couple this with the seating being faced directly into the sun and you know I was hoping for something awful to happen to everyone around me, including myself. We had the overly patriotic folks behind us who saluted anything with stars and stripes until it'd fully passed, but immediately sat down and ignored the flags of any other country, because if it's not from the USA, fuck 'em. I've never seen so many high school marching bands and drumlines in my life, but evenually the sun relaxed a bit, which was nice, though the people and their rodent children surrounding us remained a nightmare. Kids picking up confetti off the ground and throwing it around long after it'd been tromped on by anyone and everyone, parents never telling them to stop picking up trash, it was a bit ridiculous. My phone had spent a good portion fo the afernoon trying to find service, which was spotty in the hills near these distilleries, so I naturally missed out on the chance to snap a picture of Parade Marshall Diane Lane, though she was very cute in person, from what I could make out from a distance.

We left the parking garage after the parade in search of Pat's Steakhouse, where we had 9:00 reservations. This plan was completely flummoxed by many a' closed street due to the parade, as well as the amazingly frustrating proliferationof one way streets in this city that fucked us at every turn as we tried to get turned around and back onto our Mapquest directions. We eventually called and had them direct us, finally getting turned around and in the right area, but man, what a pain the the ass to get there. The food was great, then we retraced our route backwards to end up at the Seelbach, in spite of a one way street that sent us out of our way a bit and brought us past a totally nude strip club not 3 blocks from the hotel, which makes this place seem even less classy somehow. I mean, shit, it's not Vegas for fuck's sake!

Tomorrow we have some sort of Derby event that sees us dressing it up a bit, then attending for an afternoon of racing-related nonsense before the big event on Saturday.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Derby Daze: Day One

We woke early this morning to pack and get ready for the trip to Louisville, Kentucky, then headed out for the private airfield. The runway that we needed was naturally closed for some sort of random inspection, which is just typical, so the wife and I wasted about 30 minutes piddling around the offices of the airfield with the Yorkie while waiting for the go ahead to board the plane.

We made it to Dallas with no issue, the Yorkie's doggie downers doing thier job fairly well and allowing her to sleep on the wife's neck like a stole for the extent of the flight. We re-fueled in Dallas, picked up Morris and the wife's hats and dresses for the Derby, then were airborne again in about 30 minutes. The next leg of the flight was about an hour and forty-five minutes, putting us on the ground at roughly the same time as we'd originally estimated, the pilots making up the odd waiting time back home on the flight.

Our FUCKING AWESOME VIEW. Thanks, Seelbach!We headed into Louisville, where our directions were meant to lead us directly to the Seelbach Hilton, but were somewhat cocked up by some construction in the area before finally making our way to the hotel. The rooms have a rather awesome view of some duct-work (and a dead pigeon if you look closely), so we spent a bit of time looking into upgrading to a different floor or side of the hotel, but were eventually told that it wasn't really available in the same form that we were staying in, IE: we could get one room with two beds, but not a suite with two bedrooms or anything like that, so we passed.

We all changed and headed downstairs to make our way to The Great Steamboat Race the first event of the weekend. We elected to catch a cab to the event, as we figured that parking would be a nightmare in the general area, as it was also where the construction was happening. The cabbie seemed clueless as to the location, which Googlemaps had told us was roughly five blocks away. Hell, we even saw the Goddamned ship on the way to the hotel, yet this guy who lives here has no idea where we're going and starts putting info into a GPS on his dash!

Thankfully we made it there without any real hassle, though the guy seriously seemed sketchy as to where he was taking us even when we reached our GPS'd destination.

Toot Toot Bitches!The Steamboat Race was already gearing up as people boarded the ship, so we picked up tickets at the will-call area, then boarded and found seats near the railing that we figured would give us a decent view of things. We had a couple drinks, I made sure the wife was having fun, then we finally started edging out into the water for the race. It's about this time that it became apparent that the other ship would be on the complete other side of the ship for the duration of the race, so we kinda stood until the other ship easily outpaced us, then sat back down and just watched the scenery go by. I got a nice little buzz and traded Twitter messages with a pal trying to nail down the possibility of getting together for dinner or a beer, eventually giving up on things after it started getting more complicated than we were ready to deal with. I sometimes forget that people have real jobs and other shit to deal with, living the wife's lifestyle has left me a little out of touch. I had been admiring this cute little older couple seated next to us, so at a certain point I struck up a conversation with the gentleman. They turned out to be from Tampa, Florida and were in town visiting their daughter and looking into buying some land to build a couple houses on. They'd been to the Steamboat Race and the Derby last year as well.

I asked the wife if we could be that cute older couple one day and she agreed, so I've got that to look forward to later in life. We'll be awesome.

We ended up at a place called Bristol for dinner, where we had a great meal in spite of having to listen to a loud couple behind us on what one had to assume was an early date in their courtship, as their asinine banter would drive a normal couple to violence against one another. We headed back to the hotel to chill out, early for all of us, as we're an hour ahead in this state.

And now I'm doing this silly shit while half ass watching this evening's Adult Swim line-up.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free Day....

So we leave tomorrow in the AM for Kentucky, so for whatever reason that left me feeling like today was a free day, so I ran a couple of last minute errands to the bank and that kinda thing so that we'd have cash to tip with and the like, as I know cash is just something that the wife normally doesn't carry.

Wow, that sounds amazingly Richy Rich elitist, doesn't it? I swear we're not just a couple of douche-bag fuck-faces, my hand to God.

I ran my errands, brought lunch back, which the wife ate with me while the Maid finished up her routine and went her merry way. The wife caught an afternoon nap while I watched a few things off the TiVo, including the latest episode of The Ricky Gervais Show, which was as entertaining as usual.

The wife had meetings this late afternoon into this evening, so I popped in a movie I could quasi-watch or ignore and chilled on the couch with a cocktail, as I felt that I should ready my poor liver for what I was planning to do to it at the Derby this weekend.

He's Rich, Bi-Yatch!I re-watched Creepshow as well as Dave Chappelle's Block Party, both from the To-Watch Pile, the later of which I really enjoyed, mostly for the music involved; who knew I'd actually heard a Kanye West song before? He's still most likely a self-important douche though, the evidence in media is astounding.

The wife got home from her meetings and then she and I watched the latest episode of Justified before calling it a night. She hit the bed while I did a load of laundry to give me some options of lounge-wear and that sort of thing on this trip.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Let Me Vague It Up For You...

Slept like the dead last night, a nice change from the past few evenings. I did wake with chest congestion though, just because the news can't be all good, right?

I wanted to try and meet my buddy EL for lunch, as he'd tried to get together with me this past Monday, so I gave him a call and got that planned out before hitting up a few places to do some birthday shopping for the wife before I spend most of tomorrow getting things lined out for this Kentucky Derby trip on Wednesday.

Since this is the smallest town ever and we are predictable creatures of habit I managed to run into the wife in one of the stores I visited, so that was a bit frustrating and obviously forces me into something of an embargo on how much I can say about the nature of my shopping, even though I'd fall over stone dead if she ever expressed any interest in this stupid shit that I write every night.

Suffice to say, I got a few things done on the birthday front and then stopped into Big Lots since I hadn't been in there in a few weeks. I ended up dropping about $20 on stuff I'll presumably watch before my death, if the ever-growing To-Watch Pile doesn't collapse on me first.

Dy-No-Mite!I had lunch with EL, then headed over to Odessa for the afternoon, where I made the odd rounds with El Vox, hitting up the other Big Lots as well as a couple pawn shops, one of which actually had a used copy of Black Dynamite on Blu-ray, a flick I'd been hoping to find cheap ever since it first came out. The great $10 price tag was somewhat offset by the fact that we had to stand around for nearly 30 minutes waiting on the clerks to finally get free of other customers to wait on us. I actually considered blowing it off after awhile, but then realized that this was a struggle of wills, and I'd already wasted 'X' amount of time, so to leave empty-handed after all that would be even more maddening.

I dropped El Vox back at his place and headed home once I realized how late it'd gotten. On the drive I noticed a missed call from Skincarver, so I rang him back to see what was up.

He began: "Well, continuing our tradition of not talking unless something really fucked up happens..." and then proceeded to tell me that his 2nd ex-wife (the mother of his two daughters) had died in a car accident when she went off the highway during a rainstorm and hit a tree. We discussed what this meant for his life and kids, and I offered my condolences for the suffering his kids would go through, but we both had to admit that this simplifies his life dramatically. I'm not an extraordinarily cold person (though I'm sure many would argue differently), but this is a woman who has put my friend through all kinds of hell and was tied to him for the rest of his life and this is suddenly no longer the case, so while I'm sorry that his kids will have to grieve this loss, they have a step-mother (his 3rd wife) who loves them and that they have bonded with remarkably well, so it's hard not to see a bright side in this for the people that I care about.

The wife and I spent the evening catching up on some random television shows off the TiVo, ordering in some deli stuff for dinner and otherwise just relaxing on the couch.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Showering Babies: Day Four - More Effing Travel

I made the command decision to forego the usual 'Cinematic Sunday' trailer dump nonsense that I doubt anyone but possibly me cares about, just because I could easily breeze through this post of errata from the day and head to bed, because it's been kind of a long day.

I ended up sleeping like shit again, because why wouldn't I? The allergies and drainage were still killing me, though as I write this back on our home state things do seem to be clearing slightly, so maybe it's just a weird climate issue.

We were all up by 9:00 of thereabouts, visited about brunch options for a bit before we all got our stuff packed up and ready to go. We headed to a brunch place whose name escapes me, though it was oddly enough directly across the street from the U.S. Pizza Co. location where we had the party last night, so that was kind of amusing. Little Rock has a weirdly small town feel to it, in spite of how big it really is, it's sort of disconcerting.

The food was good, then we chilled back at the house for about an hour before we had to be at the airport. J From Little Rock drove us out there, we said our goodbyes and started checking bags and that sort of thing. Morris, the wife and I then made a slow trek to our gate at the other end of the airport, as we had about 30+ minutes to kill even after being fondled by security and all the usual rigmarole. Once we started lining up to board the guy taking tickets mentions over the intercom that for 'extra security' random people will be asked to show their ID in addition to their boarding pass, despite the fact that we'd done this same song and dance not 20 minutes earlier, but whatever, y'know?

The two people randomly selected to show their ID to prove that we're just bored passengers and not a really oddball terrorist cell? Morris and I, naturally. A woman of no less than 60, wearing a security uniform and strange blue gloves asks me "May I please see your ID young man? It's a random formality..." I handed it over to this woman, who was easily of an age where she should be at home mailing birthday cards with $5 tucked into them to numerous grandchildren, not spending her Sunday acting as the last line of defense between sketchy terrorist groups and all these assholes on this flight.

I guess that Morris and I thankfully didn't 'fit the description' of anyone that the National Transportation Safety Board might be keeping their eyes peeled for, so we were all allowed to board, though we'd checked in too late to secure seating together, scattering us to the four winds as we had to squeeze into all of those middle seats that're left and everyone's PRAYING you won't ask to sit in. Our luck with quiet children on the flights ran out today, as there were kids on the plane playing with a toy that actually has a squealing siren noise, which seems remarkably irresponsible when you're on a plane to have a sharp siren noise sounding from time to time.

Constant vigilance! Otherwise, the terrorists win, right?

I finished a book on the flight, we said our goodbyes with Morris when we reached Love Field in Dallas, then the wife and I kinda chilled for the 40 minute layover. The wife knew a few people on the flight, so she passed the time catching up with a few ladies in the terminal area. I started in on the 2nd book I had brought with me, but had to pause and nudge the wife to point out the guy snacking by the handful from a full size bag of chips, because you don't want to get on a one hour flight with one of those paltry snack size portions, now do ya? You need at least the family sized bag that's roughly the size of a throw pillow and full of enough chemicals to kill a small village.

We got fairly lucky when we boarded this 2nd plane, as it was equally full, but we were still able to find two seats together, so that is always a plus. The downsize to this was the woman and two children who were in the row directly in front of us, because we were in the process of buckling our seat belts when the children both began to shriek and whimper as if monsters were attacking them or something, it was quite strange. They settled after a time and were were on the ground in our hometown before 6:00 and home by 6:30 with some takeout for a small dinner.

We caught up on the normal Sunday night television and then called it a night, which I'm going to do right now.

Be seeing you.

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Showering Babies: Day Three - The Actual Shower

I actually slept well last night, then we got up around 9:00 this morning and piddled around the house a bit before driving to Starbuck's to pick up coffee. We started planning our day once we had some caffeine in our system, which included some more errands with J From Little Rock at this store or that as well as the customary trip to Dillard's, an Arkansas staple. We eventually met JFLR's husband at a restaurant downtown called Sticky Fingerz, where we had a pretty good meal, though my opinion may've been colored by the 3 Guinness that I downed during the meal.

JFLR's husband is in the habit of spending part of his Saturday with her brother D, so he suggested that Morris and I join the two of them for a few more beers at their normal haunts. We agreed, as the other option was spending the afternoon watching JFLR and the wife get their hair done for this evening, which wasn't sounding all that enthralling.

Morris and I rode with the Hubby to another bar, where JFLR's brother met us. We chilled out on an upper deck area, where we drank a few beers, and saw a guy at a nearby car detailing place get thrown from the vehicle he was sitting in when it spun out and hit the building. I don't know exactly what happened, but the car suddenly accelerated, throwing up smoke from the tires, sending the driver rolling from what was obviously an open door and then striking the building before coming to a rest; it was really weird. We then headed to another bar called the Town Pump, which was a nice quiet place, even if it sounds like it's named after the town slut. I switched to whiskey at this place, drinking 3 Maker's Mark and Diet Coke and we eventually played a round of shuffleboard before heading back to the house to chill out for a bit before the party this evening. I grabbed a shower before we were set to head out to the party, JFLR took the wife to drop her off so that she could help the other hosts decorate for the party.

JFLR and her hubby got fairly close to an argument immediately before the party (we might've spent more time boozing than was thought appropriate), which left both Morris and I feeling slightly tense, but we made the party on time and headed upstairs at the U.S. Pizza Company. The party was cool, we visited with the normal group of folks that we see when we're in Little Rock, including one certain couple as well as JFLR's girlfriend with the fake boobs who looks a tad like Britney Spears, which is always entertaining for obvious reasons. We eventually headed back to the house after loading a pile of baby gifts into the proud parent's vehicle, where we visited with another couple for a bit before calling it something of a late night around 11:30.

Now I'm doing this silly shit before I have to get ready to catch a plane tomorrow afternoon.

Be seeing you.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Showering Babies: Day Two - Shopping

Since the very idea of me sleeping straight through the night obviously angers God on many levels, in spite of going to sleep fairly early I found myself waking time and again last night, feeling like acid reflux was about to rob me of my life precious. I made a point of not checking the time on the cell, as I figured learning exactly how little sleep I'd had would piss me off even more.

Sinus drainage finally forced me from the bed on the verge of throwing up, which I was thankfully able to fight down, so I headed back to bed with a cool towel for my forehead to try and rid myself of this damned fever once and for all at about 5:00 in the morning. I finally fell back asleep and later turned off the alarm that went off at 9:00, as I figured that our early rising friends would come bugging us when they wanted to get the day rolling. This was indeed the case, as eventually J From Little Rock popped into our room to say that she and Morris had returned with donuts for breakfast, so the wife wandered upstairs to see what they were up to while I lay in bed for a few to collect my thoughts and see how I was feeling after my less than restful evening.

I dressed for the day and headed up to see what the plan was for the day, eating a donut or two to try and wake up.

The ladies had a shopping agenda to get started, so everyone got dressed eventually (I have to point out my amusement at the earliest risers being the last ones ready to leave the house), then we headed out to greet the day, or at least the late morning. There was a tornado warning on for the day, but we felt no fear, as it was barely even cloudy out when we left the house. We ended up picking up JFLR's sister's child, who is a young boy of about 4, which kinda had me wondering if we'd be chaperoning him for the entire afternoon, as I was certainly not feeling up to it. The sister's house is something of an arty jumble full of her art and that of other people, all of which absolutely reeks of incense, sending my sinuses reeling immediately, and the sheer amount of stuff she's collected had me wondering what the line is between collecting, art and outright madness?

Being a bit on the fence about the idea of watching children for the day, I quickly realized that we were only watching the boy until we met JFLR's mother for lunch, at which point she'd take him for the afternoon. I was relieved, as I would otherwise have asked to be dropped at the house to chill out and read or something not involving kids; call me an asshole, but I don't have children and I don't necessarily have any interest in yours. This stance was definitely exacerbated by the fact that the last leg of the flight was so cramped and the car situation for the weekend involves five people riding in what is ideally a four seater car, so I wasn't keen to spend the afternoon piled up with a kiddo, but my concerns were thankfully moot.

We had lunch at The Whole Hog, a barbecue place that I realized we'd eaten at before, as their set-up of six different styles of sause on each table jogged my memory. I'd had a Twitter buddy mention that we should try it, so it was kinda funny to think we'd eaten there already.

We spent the afternoon mostly bouncing from one maternity store to another with different errands that JFLR had to run, though there were a few little gift shops in there, and we even found a Big Lots that I could check out, even though I came up empty-handed on the DVD front. We did pop into a Target (I love shopping stores we have back home when we're in other cities, it always seems so silly) for a few odds and ends, I actually found a couple pair of shorts, so that's cool I suppose.

We headed back to the house to relax for a few before we naturally started thinking about dinner, as the only thing we seem to do when traveling is eat every 2-3 hours. I put in my request for something Asian (get your mind out of the gutter!), so our hosts suggested a restaurant called Fantastic China, so we headed out into the rain to have dinner. The food was great, they actually have a full bar, so I enjoyed a few martinis with my meal, it was an all around great experience. We stopped into a Barnes & Noble afterward, as the wife wanted to check out the regional books and I found a few bargain books because we don't really have all that many books around the house, so that was fun.

We picked up a completely unneeded dessert item on the way back to the house, from a place that sells frozen custard, which was as good as you'd imagine, but also the final nail in the coffin for food or drink for the evening. We chilled with some television for a bit before calling it a night, as tomorrow will be busy all over again.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Showering Babies: Day One - Travel

The wife and I both slept fairly poorly last night; I found myself awake with what felt like a fever from around 6:30 until almost 8:00. The wife got up and showered, starting her packing routine while I slept through the alarm and caught an extra 45 minutes or so of sleep.

I finally got up and showered, then started gathering up my clothes for the trip, which naturally caused the Yorkie no end of distress. The wife and I eventually split to meet Morris at the Mother In Law's house shortly before noon, as he was dropping off a borrowed vehicle there as we left town.

I drove to the airport for the 4th time this week, feeling only slightly like a cab driver, then we hit the security line that never really moves and got settled for the flight. We made it to Dallas with no incident; even the toddler seated in our immediate vicinity was amazingly quiet on this leg of the journey. I texted our friend Robbb (who works at the airport) to see if we could say hi and maybe visit for a few, so he met us as made our way to the gate for our connecting flight. He was unfortunately shadowed by his boss, so we only got to speak to him briefly before he had to split, never to be seen again.

LOVE your hair!Our next flight was delayed by about 20 minutes, adding to the already one hour layover, so we went and ate at the little Chili's in the airport, where one of the waitresses sported a super-cool afro ala Sugar Hill or Coffy. We had a quick bite to eat, then got a text from J From Little Rock (who was keeping an eye on our arrival schedule) saying that our flight was suddenly on time again, so we headed back to the gate. Imagine our surprise when we find that the entire flight is already boarded (10-15 minutes early, mind you!) and we were barely able to find seats together, crammed into the last row of seats at the back of the plane.

Despite being slightly uncomfortable at the back of the bus, we made it to Little Rock fairly fast and met JFLR near the baggage pick up, where she was happily surprised to see that Morris had joined us for the trip. The wife and JFLR headed to the car while Morris and I waited on the bags, all of which thankfuly arrived. I watched as a woman picked up and tossed back at least 4 different bags, I dunno if she was color-blind and didn't know what the hell color of bag she was looking for, but she was checking out anything that was green or black, it was a bit ridiculous.

We headed to JFLR's house, where we chilled for a bit until her husband got home, then we met all met her sister and her kids out for dinner at a place called EJ's in downtown, where I'm pretty sure we'd eaten one of the last times we were here.

That's My Wife, Dammit!We picked up some beer, then retired to JFLR's place to relax and watched the movie Brothers, which was an okay experience but nothing to really write home about once it was all said and done. The performances were all good enough, but overall the film never really went anywhere, even as we get to what amounts to the climnax of the action. Oh well, glad it wasn't a blind buy.

I'm catching up on this before crashing for the night, I'm beat.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Ducks, More Rows...

I was up with the alarm this morning and got the reviews I'd been working on submitted to the various sites, then spent a bit of time getting bills paid and another review written before I got our plane reservations confirmed for tomorrow's trip and then headed out to drop off the recycling and pick up a late lunch. I also left a load of laundry drying in the dryer so that I'll have a few more options when I start packing for the trip to Little Rock.

I was kinda stunned that McDonald's still managed to have a line at 2 in the afternoon, but a short wait later I had a couple small hamburgers to tide me over until dinner. I ate back at the house and went through some more of the nonsense on the TiVo to make certain that we wouldn't be losing stuff whilst out of town, or missing out on things that were meant to be recorded.

Bang, Fuck I'm Dead!The wife got back from some errands of her own and a lunch meeting, we caught up a bit and then watched this week's episode of Justified just to stay current with things on at least one of our shows before we head out of town. Afterward we both actually laid down for a short nap, then got up and started puttering around for a bit before we were supposed to pick the Mother In Law and the Beau up at the airport. They'd been to Belize for a week (did I even mention that?!?), and were to arrive home around 6:30, so we headed out there to grab them around 6:00 or so.

I was feeling sketchier and sketchier, having woke up with a sore throat from sinus drainage this morning, so by the time we got the In-Laws home and headed back to our place to meet Morris for dinner I'd started to really feel like shit. Then we sat for like an hour waiting on Morris to show up, by which time I had what felt like a fever that the Advil I'd taken still hadn't kicked in at all. We headed out to a restaurant after Morris finally arrived, and after a full meal I finally began to feel like myself again, so that's nice. Had I went to bed feeling as shitty as I did before dinner there would be no way in hell that I was getting on an airplane tomorrow afternoon.

Now I'm wrapping up the last few things on the web before I crash for the night and get up tomorrow to pack for this trip.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Ducks Into Rows And Other Errands

The wife had a lunch meeting today, then we were set to attend the funeral of an acquaintances' mother, who'd passed away recently. The woman's death over the past weekend had brought Morris to town for the funeral, so we met he and his own mother at the funeral home for the service. After paying our respects and offering the customary condolences that always sound asinine and trite when you say them, the wife and I elected to pass on the graveside service and instead headed back to the house, where she relaxed for a bit in anticipation of her evening meeting.

I headed to the den to catch up on the final film I had for review for Pop Syndicate, as I'd gotten an e-mail about due dates for that kinda thing. Not a shitty e-mail mind you, just firm. I want to get that stuff sorted before we head out of town, then I may send an e-mail of my own, as I want to know what's up with some stuff they supposedly sent my way about 2 weeks ago that still isn't here.


We leave for Little Rock to visit one of the wife's girlfriends for a baby shower this Thursday, so I have about 24 hours to get all the various writing rat-killing done before the weekend gets away from me, thus tomorrow will be rather busy.

I need to pay a couple of bills, get all the interweb shit taken care of, then do at least one load of laundry before I start packing and freaking out the Yorkie, as she is staying home on this trip. We've got someone staying with her, but who knows what the poor dog will think about all that?

$9.99 Cheap! As Mad Magazine Used To Say...The wife split for her evening meeting while I started going over my notes for a flick called $9.99, which is an interesting (if occasionally surreal) stop-motion animated feature based on the short stories of Etgar Keret, the man behind the novel that the equally odd indie film Wristcutters: A Love Story was based. The man's work seems to share the same quirky drama notes throughout, tinged with black humor and a certain fantasy or surreality that might limit an audience, but will win hardcore fans in those it appeals to. A series of tales set around an apartment building, the cast includes an out of work slacker, an angel who recently got his wings, a dreamer of a young boy and a fashion model who just moved into the building. The diverse crowd mixes well, and I 'd definitely recommend giving this one a look if you have the chance.

I eventually moved back into the den and sorted through some of the stuff on the TiVo in advance of our trip, so we won't be missing out on anything whilst we're out of the state. The wife got home and we jumped into the latest Lost, sharing some chips and salsa since we were both kinda peckish. Lost continues to impress and I feel kinda weird about it having only a little over a month left, unless they start skipping weeks just to draw out the suspense and irritate the shit out of me.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Music Monday

I'm not really feeling it this evening, so here's what you get. We spent the afternoon getting some clothes lined out for me for this coming trip to the Kentucky Derby, so I'm now the proud owner of both a linen as well as a seersucker suit, so I'm pretty well covered. This was sorta in spite of the clerks we encountered, the first of whom seemed very disinterested in dealing with us, and the 2nd one (at a different store) started telling us that we'd have to come back later to get the pants altered because I was wearing sandals. Her point was that the break on a cuff was effected by whatever shoes I intend to wear with the pants, so I listened to her ramble about the reasoning, then she double checks with her boss, who says that they can naturally take the measurement with me wearing a pair of shoes from their inventory. She comes back and starts telling me this and I just kinda shut her down by saying "Oh, don't worry, I wasn't about to leave here without these pants being hemmed." I mean, sorry lady, but do you want to sell this stupid expensive suit or do you just not wanna drag out a pair of loafers? You do the math.

I spent the evening with several music DVD's that I hadn't looked at in quite some time, including the Criterion release of the Beastie Boys Video Anthology, as I had an odd hankering for some kinda old school rap. Great stuff, filled with numerous re-mixes and different angles to view the videos from, it made me listen to a few other things on Youtube later this evening.

Next I popped in the Eminem video collection called E, just because I was already into the white rapping thing, then rounded out the night with the first Rage Against The Machine collection, which features an assortment of live performances as well as their first 6 or so music videos. Here's a video that's not included on there, but something I wanted to hear this evening.

Okay, I'm out, maybe tomorrow will bring something interesting, as there's a funeral and other stuff to be involved with.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cinematic Sunday One Hundred Thirty Six

Again with this?

First up this evening is Gaspar Noe's film Enter The Void, the story of a small time drug dealer Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) and his stripper sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta), newly arrived in Tokyo. When Oscar is gunned down in a drug bust his spirit leaves his body as he lays dying, fulfilling his promise to never abandon his sister, it roams the city in search of her, his experiences becoming more nightmarish and hallucinatory. I have no idea when this will be released in a form that I will be able to check out but I'm living in anticipation of this one, it looks great. The trailer isn't red-band or anything, but I'm pretty sure I saw a titty or two in there, so be wary of co-workers lurking behind you when you make with the clicking.

Next up we have Sickle, from director Robert Conway. It stars Kane Hodder as the titular Sheriff Sickle, who offers up brutal justice to a group of punks who turn up in his town. Co-starring indie horror cutie Tiffany Shepis, the teaser recently turned up online.

Finally we have the Japanese trailer for Takeshi Kitano's film Outrage, which is unfortunately without subtitles, but still very watchable if only for a hint at the Yakuza action and violence contained within. I really love the presence that Kitano brings to the screen and he looks like a real bad-ass in this one as well. Check it out:

Be seeing you.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sorry School Girls, You're Not As Entertaining As I'd Hoped

Starting this one later than usual...

Nothing To Write Home About, Sorry Ladies...I spent my evening with the Bloody School Girls boxset from Shriekshow, which was pretty corny all the way around. I mean, I got the $8 or so I paid for it worth of entertainment out of it, though I have a small amount of buyer's remorse in that I feel it may be a single viewing's worth of fun, most of which can be chalked up to a commentary track on one of the films by Joe Bob Briggs. Ah well, the blind buys can't all be winners.

I spoke to the wife this afternoon to find out that she is feeling under the weather in Florida, so that's frustrating, as I'd hoped she'd get a little fun out of the trip at the very least. On the upside, she gets home tomorrow and can try to recuperate for a few days before we both have to leave for Little Rock to visit her friend for a baby shower.

It's amazingly late (4:30 AM) as I write this and I've found myself chatting with a friend on Twitter and with the wife via text on the iPhone, it's a weird evening all the way around. I can't wait to see the wife in about 7 hours, I just hope I can squeeze in a few hours sleep sometime between now and then,

Be seeing you.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Et Tu, PC?

I'm starting this early this evening, and on the laptop while the PC runs this or that diagnostic, because it's naturally acting weird for no apparent reason, which happens every few months or so and frustrates me to no end. I came into the Office in the late afternoon to just hop online for a bit, check e-mail and the like, only to find that neither Firefox nor Internet Explorer would open, hell, it didn't even give me the little hourglass to indicate that it was trying, so I have no idea what's going on there.

I'm crossing my fingers on this one, as we've had the PC for about five years, which seems like a long time in the world of technology, maybe it's time to move on and upgrade to something newer and faster.

I slept in later than I wanted to, but I think that the weird hours I've been keeping finally caught up to me, so I stumbled out of bed late to see if the weather was still as lousy as it'd been yesterday. It was actually sunny outdoors, so I decided to gather up our recycling materials and drop that off when I went to pick up a sandwich for lunch. I also had something in our mail that I wanted to drop off at Grandmother's house, so I got the dog fed, dressed and loaded up the car to head out. I hit Grandmother's place first, visited for a few, declined a cup of coffee, as I was more interested in lunch, then split before she could start trying to cook for me or something.

I got the recycling done and picked up food at a little deli. I decided to grab two sandwiches and split them up for both lunch and dinner, since I had already pissed away half my day and didn't want to have to worry about getting out later in the evening. Watched a couple Boondocks re-runs off the TiVo while I ate and went through the mail, then I popped in something from the To-Watch Pile for another look, a bizarro flick called The Boxer's Omen.Splattery Fun!

It was every bit as disgusting and strange as I remembered, that much I can happily report. I love the oddball sensibility of certain Asian films and this very much fits the bill, as it never really defines itself fully as an action film, nor as a horror flick, it straddles both genres in a truly puzzling way. Great stuff, well worth a look, the Image DVD even comes with several pages worth of liner notes, it's a great little package.

Then of course I step into the office to find that the computer's completely shit the bed and start in on the process of reviving that, using all of the dubious half-knowledge available to me. Bah.

...several hours later...

Still Hot, There's Gotta Be Something Wrong With Me...I spent my evening watching Hellraiser on Blu-ray for the To-Watch Pile, then popped in the DVD copy of the second one. These re-watches were inspired by the skinned woman in the last half of Boxer's Omen, so I figured I'd finally give these two another look, especially since I have the third one on the TiVo and wanted to refresh myself before diving into it. Long story short for the two movies: I still think Ashley Laurence is cute (hell, I even think she's hot in that picture up there!), and the 2nd film is actually a little better than the first one, despite the continuing wonky plotting and sketchy 'rules' for the Cenobites and their universe. I mean seriously, is it just opening the box that gets you dragged to hell, or do you have to have a burning desire for something freaky and naughty? Can anyone tell me once and for all, because these movies yadda yadda over the rules quite a bit.

The computer issue was amazingly frustrating, but I think I was able to finally sidestep it by actually opening Safari (of all fucking things!), which finally allowed me to get online, where I was able to download and install the latest version of Firefox, which seems to have righted any issues; things are opening properly and I'm surfing the web on the PC again.

Of course the pessimistic side of me says that this was also the case last night when I went to bed only to find it all fucky the next time I turned the computer on, but here's hoping for the best.

Be seeing you.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Classic Horror Afternoon Plus Amazingly Shitty Weather

I had made an appointment to get a much needed haircut today, so it naturally rained all night and did a pretty damned good job of flooding the town. Not to say things were impassable, but it just meant tons of standing water and rain still coming down as I tried to navigate my way across town shortly before noon. I had also made plans with my buddy EL to have lunch afterward, which I started to kinda regret as I drove across town with dudes in giant pickups throwing water over my car as they blew past me.

I visited with the Hairdressers, then had lunch with EL, chilling for almost 2 hours while we caught up on life in general, as we don't see a lot of one another in spite of living about a mile apart.

Once I got back home I started a load of laundry, beginning with the jeans I'd been wearing because I had gotten water splashed almost up to the knee due to the flooded parking lot and God hating me.

I watched several things from the To-Watch Pile this afternoon, just because the dreary weather left me with little motivation to do anything else, so I chilled in the den and went through the mail while watching the 1963 version of The Haunting, which I'd only seen the re-make of. I was kinda surprised by how close the re-make seemed to stay to certain events of the original film, or at least as well as I can recall, I haven't seen the newer version in forever.

Oh Victor, When Will He Ever Learn?I also watched a double bill of Hammer Horror, the really enjoyable Curse Of Frankenstein which was backed with the fairly mediocre Taste The Blood Of Dracula, which features very little actual Dracula action: Christopher Lee dies in the opening and isn't seen again for what felt like 30 -45 minutes, then he quickly lurks and gets revenge on three spoiled, rich assholes before being thwarted in the final act, as is his luck.

I spoke to the wife for a bit about her day, catching up a bit and hearing how fairly cheesy this trip is turning out to be for her. I really feel for her, as she still has two full days left before the day of travel to get back home, that's gotta really suck to have laid out in front of ya.

Click To Embiggen ImageI got a complete wild hair as I was finishing up my last movie, so once it was over I spent about an hour tinkering with the layout of the Media Closet. I'd bought some cheap posters awhile back with the intention of placing them on the walls behind the shelving units, eliminating the stark white walls that show between the DVD racks and the upper shelving. I was pleasantly surprised that the frames I had stored away were the proper size for the posters, so once I popped that together it was a simple matter of moving the shelving around to place the posters on the wall.

The only downside to this process is that it used a frame I originally had something displayed in to decorate the Library, so I may need to go and try to track down another frame for that later in the week if it ever stops raining.

I'm out kids.

Be seeing you.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Indie Drama Wenesday

The wife left today for a trip to Orlando this morning, which is her final conference for this particular organization, so there's at least a light at the end of the tunnel. This is her 10th (?) trip with this group in three years, so it's been a long ride that's drug her all over the country, I'll be happy when it's over.

I had volunteered to take her to the airport, which also involved picking up one of the other girls going, just to save everyone a few bucks on parking, so I got up early this morning and dressed while the wife packed and the Yorkie almost lost her mind. Any sign of a suitcase and she gets all antsy, which you can never tell if it's about the possibility of getting to travel with us or about the anxiety of having to go on a trip. Either way, she was wigging out right up until we walked out the door, and was then as mopey as ever when I returned without the wife an hour or so later.

Sneaky Bastids!I picked up breakfast on the drive back into town, listening to an episode of the Mondo Movie podcast along the way. They were covering Christopher Nolan's early film Following, which just so happened to be something I picked up cheap to toss onto the To-Watch Pile over the past few months. I decided to pop it in before listening to their review of the film, so I watched that while eating my breakfast. It's an interesting tale about a would-be writer who gets into the habit of following strangers in the streets of London to observe and make up little backstories for them, until a thief catches him in the act and offers him the chance for bigger thrills. It's a good little flick, I'm happy I grabbed it at Big Lots a few months back.

I spent my afternoon on the computer in the office, listening to several podcasts in my vain efforts to catch up on my listening before I die. I also worked on a couple reviews in my concerted effort to catch up on all the notes I have piled up. I got a few things submitted to the various sites, then finally came up for air around 2:30 and headed to the den to pop in a movie and see what the Yorkie was up to.

I popped in something else from the To-Watch Pile, the Blu-ray of Southland Tales, which I'd been curious to check out again if only to see if my opinion remained the same from my initial viewing. The film is still on the flimsy side, but honestly, on a second viewing it plays a lot like a dark comedy for most of the running time, regardless of the apocalyptic themes. I also had to note that the film is more music influenced (in its use of lyrics as dialogue and chapter titles) than anything I've seen since The Crow first came out. I'd still say it's worth a look if you haven't seen it, as it has its merits even if it is a bit of a mess and too reliant on the viewer checking out the prequel material that'd been presented in comic book form.

The movie is also a tad overlong, so by the time it was over it was getting close to dinner time, so I went out and picked up a sandwich for myself, then fed the dog before settling in for something else off the old To-Watch Pile, since I was on a roll.

Your Friends & Neighbors...Are Assholes.I hadn't seen Your Friends & Neighbors in years, but I really dig early Neil LaBute, back when he stuck to simple dramas featuring his unwaveringly bleak view of humanity, populating all of his films with extraordinarily toxic characters that you wanna beat the hell out of by the time the film is half over. Great flick, it makes me want to pick up the rest of his catalog, as I'm only missing about four movies if I'm not mistaken.

I decided to get a jump on this nonsense for the evening, so I started pecking away at this post while I watched a final flick for the night, something from Netfux that I originally believed that the Gentlemen's Guide To Midnite Cinema had reviewed, though the version they reviewed was actually a straight crime film of the same name, not the comedy I got here.

Whackity Schmackity DooCrime Busters is my first exposure to the series of buddy comedies that Terence Hill and Bud Spencer made together, and it's been pretty entertaining, even if the comedy is a tad broad at times, that seems to be the nature of most foreign comedies. On the truly ridiculous side, poor Bud Spencer has worn a tacky jacket that reads 'Jumbo' across the back for most of the film, and now toward the end he's wearing a pair of purple pants like he went to the Hulk's fucking tailor, if I were him I'd have beat the shit out of the wardrobe person.

I'm out kids, it was an early day.

Be seeing you.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hunting And Pecking My Little Heart Out

So the wife and I are still together, which is nice. We ended up talking things out late last night/early this morning, so we lost some sleep but at least went to sleep not pissed off at one another, so that's something I suppose.

We had the Maid in today, so I spent most of the day in the Office working on a couple reviews, one of which is now up for your viewing pleasure over at the old Big Suck Loser, if you're into that sort of thing. The wife had errands in the early afternoon, then she got back a little after lunch, so we visited a bit, then I got back to the writing and let her deal with some e-mails of her own on the laptop while the Maid finished up.

Shortly after we got the Maid out from underfoot the wife had to head back out for more meeting stuff, so I piddled with some laundry and then popped in a flick for a re-watch, as two of my podcasts had suddenly decided to review it recently.

All This And Fenech Too! All The Colors Of The Dark is something I'd watched and reviewed ages ago, and since I'd noticed how easily certain Edwige Fenech films go in and out of print I've been picking up cheaper copies from Amazon dealers when I happen to notice a bargain. This film had arrived in the mail a few weeks back, so when I noticed that two of my favorite shows were reviewing it within a week or so of one another I decided to give it a look to refresh my memory before listening. The film held up really well, I need to make a point of checking out more stuff from director Sergio Martino, I know I have at least a few things by him in the To-Watch Pile, so maybe I can make that happen sooner than later.

I made myself some pasta for dinner since the wife was going to be tied up until fairly late, then popped in something from Netfux to pass the time while I went through the newspaper and mail from today. Law Abiding Citizen wasn't anything to really write home about, but it was an okay way to pass a couple hours, as I wasn't expecting too much from it. I'm actually kind of amused that everyone is shitting all over the movie over on Rotten Tomatoes, but I've also noticed that I don't have a lot in common with most people as far as movies go, so who knows what these critics were looking for when they watched it. I got some violence, some silly plot twists and Jamie Foxx being a cocky ass through most of the film, but it's a breezy little affair, so no harm, no foul in my book. Oh well.

The wife got home as that film was ending, we watched Lost to avoid any spoilers on the web, then she headed to bed, which I'm about to do myself. The wife leaves tomorrow for a conference and I will be up early to drive she and a friend to the airport.

Be seeing you.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Less Motivation Than Usual

Uh, let's see...

I watched a movie today, but when don't I? I wrote some bullshit today, but when don't I? I find myself in the middle of a stupid argument with my wife as I type this, pretty much due entirely to my own stubborn bullshit, so I really don't feel like doing this tonight, and I doubt any of you will care.

Come back tomorrow, maybe something fun will have happened, though I kinda doubt it.

I foresee going to bed with things tense and weird with the wife, then having the Maid underfoot most of tomorrow, preventing any real conversation about anything deep. Oh, and then later in the week the wife gets to go out of town with a bad taste in her mouth, just because I'm an asshole.

You should probably stop reading this, it will gain you nothing.

Be seeing you.

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