Friday, January 27, 2012

In my life, I've loved them all.

At least once a week my wife and I have an urge. A desire we can never fulfill. This usually leads to wailing and sorrow and resorting to a less satisfying alternative. Drizzly cloudy days like today stir my desire even more. But it's all for naught.
We really miss the Pufferbelly.
The Pufferbelly was a bar/restaurant not too far from where we live. It was dark and noisy and had an awesome salad bar. The chicken pot pie was home made and meals came with a slice of spiced apple. She, being a local girl, had gone there with her folks as a kid and we brought our daughter there when she was only days old.
Despite having a loyal clientele and always being moderately busy, the Pufferbelly closed a little more than a year ago leaving us with no good local options for pub food that we can bring a kid to.
There's a Walgreen's on the spot now. We'll never shop there and I give the place the bird when I drive by.

On my way to work from the babysitters there was a closed McDonald's.  About a year ago someone started doing some work renovating the place and it reopened as Good2Go.  They were a "healthy" fast food place that used fresh chicken and beef, cooked to order, hand made fries and the best breakfast sandwich ever... pork roll, egg & cheese on pretzel bread. Gah! So good!
But their location wasn't great, I'd imagine the rent was atrocious, and they were never very busy. They closed within 6 months.

When I worked in the chemical lawn maintenance industry I found a little gelato place next to an Acme. They were called Dolce Crema. Their banana gelato was the most delicious frozen treat ever. It was frozen creamy ├╝ber-banana. Even though they were a 45 minute drive away, they became a destination spot. We got to know the owner and always had fun visiting... until they closed.

We try to visit my folks every couple weeks. For a while we had a routine where, 15 minutes away, we'd call Lulu's Mexican and place our order for pulled pork quesadillas and chips and guacamole. We'd pick it up just before we got to my parents and start our visit with a wonderful feast. We knew the end was near when the owner got rid of his employees, raised his prices a bit and extended his hours. Every week we waited for the shoe to drop... and it did. One day he just didn't open. Skipped out on his rent and his loyal biweekly customers. Chipotle and Baja Fresh are poor substitutes.

Last night I took the family to Pizza Hut. While they weren't as awful as I recall from my childhood, they were not spectacular. For most of our meal we were the only diners in the joint. The waitstaff was inattentive. And yet, since despite spreading their meh pizza and halfway decent bread sticks (and terribly barren salad bar) from coast to coast they will survive forever.

Go enjoy something locally owned today. Tip them well and enjoy your meal... they won't be around for long.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Hate Commercials (Issue 1)

Ok, so this lady is walking through the Mac/PC void world when the T-Mobile chickie in the pink dress tries to stop her to push her cell-phone agenda on her.
"Can't stop, I'm going to be late for the game!"
"No problem, T-Mobile can bring the game to you!'
"Wow! Look at that! A 4 inch screen is just exactly the same as being in the crowd at a basketball game! I'm amazed!"
Uh... sure, it's been 15 years since I've been to a basketball game, and I'll admit I spent the whole time hitting on a girl in the pep band... and I know there've been great advances in cell phone technology... but I really don't think I'd be placated by signing up for a new phone plan rather than going to the game I probably already had tickets to.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Next Great Shut the Hell Up.

Somehow the latest offering from Buddy the New Jersey Baker ended up on my TV tonight. Four whiney-ass "bakers" were competing for who was the Next Greatest... whose title are they usurping? I have no idea.
So after, tough guy Buddy shows them how to make a dainty rose out of chocolate (he seemed to take a perverse pleasure in spreading the petals) they have 15 minutes to each make flowers that look exactly the same, but apparently he can discern enough difference in them to tell the old bald contestant that he sucks just a little less than the girl who didn't even finish.
Then we got introduced to a former Miss Teen New Jersey who wanted "a beautiful cake." Fueled by so many other cake competition shows, these idiots set out to make overly elaborate super-cakes by themselves in under 10 hours. Yeah. Cakes that take a team of four eight hours to complete these fools are gonna do solo in 10.
They start whoofing out saws and power drills and... aren't they bakers?!?
Make a goddamned tasty cookie or some scones and shut the hell up!!
Since when do bakers need to be engineers and architects. They don't have a team of art school kids like Duff does. The one girl's giving this whiny monologue about how she didn't care about high school and didn't go to college but she followed her baking dreams and now she's melting down on a baking competition show....
Ugh... go back to Panera or making donuts at Wegmans and get off my TV!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Like Boutros Boutros Ghali?

After a cousin's playdate today, my wife and I had a nice long drive home with an exhausted 2 year old in the back seat. As usual we spent the time talking about things expecting couples talk about...
Baby Names.
We're both pretty sure, via a combination of old wives tales and gut feelings, that this one's going to be a boy. We think it's especially possible because we can't agree on a boy's name. At all.
The only name we really really liked would've giving him the initials A.S.S. and I can't be responsible for that...
Though we did agree that the name Jefferson Airplane Schlitz would be awful enough to be totally awesome. He'd have a great conversation piece later in life.
"Hey, Jeff, what's your middle name?"
"Uh, nothin..."
"No, really, what is it?"
"A. Just A. Like Harry S. Truman."
"Aww, c'mon! I saw your driver's license! What is it?"

According to our daughter, Nora, we should name the baby, "Booter."

So, since we can't think of anything better, until further notice, "New Baby" shall be dubbed "Booter."

We are awesome parents.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Voices In My Head

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.
"We hope you're enjoying your work day, where the local time is 11:58am. It would appear we're heading into a patch of irrational irritability and we'd like you to return to your seats and buckle your safety belt. This is just a precaution, I have no doubt we'll all make it through just fine.
"These events generally occur when a low-blood-sugar area meets with upper-management-incompetence creating a swirling grumpy turmoil. They can also occur when any of the body's extremities quickly come in contact with solid immobile objects.
"If anyone has access to a Zagnut or, perhaps, some sourdough pretzels we'd appreciate them signaling a flight attendant and help get us out of this situation that much faster.
"Otherwise, just buckle up, put your seat backs forward and stow your tray tables until our regularly scheduled lunch at 2pm and we'll get through this fix with a minimum of property damage.
"Thank you again for choosing to travel with Will's Brain."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

'Allo, Govnah!

Sorry I've been missing lately, but between a bout of gastrointestinal unhappiness and a week of having to be at work an hour before I usually wake up, it hasn't really been feasible.

But I'm back today and ready for fun!

Our illustrious Governor, Mr. Chris Christoph Christie held his first town hall meeting of 2012 in the Macys court of the Echelon Mall... oops, I mean Ye Olde Voorhees Towne Centre or whatever they're calling it these days. (I'm sure I'll get into it another time, but the old Echelon Mall has kinda played a bit of a role in my life, to say the least.) Well, the meeting started at just about the time I'd be passing the mall on my way to get pick up the kid at the sitters. I'm always down for a free chance to see someone that I've seen on the Daily Show in real life. (Hell, he was even spoofed on the Simpsons a couple weeks ago.)

Upon entering the parking lot the first thing I noticed was the total lack of parking. If there's one thing that's never a problem at this mall, it's parking. Even during the Christmas rush you can usually find a spot pretty close to any entrance.  Not today. Today I actually had to walk to get in. and even then I had to cut through the food court. Police and fire trucks and TV news vans were blocking the court entrance.

I didn't know what all to expect, but a crowd like this was not it. They did a good job of making the place look less like a court area of a failing mall, and more like an official fancy speech givin' place. Every seat was full. People were crammed together standing on tip-toes to see the action. I was going to try the second floor, but it didn't seem you could get anywhere near the railing. Other than rappelling down the outside of the place I wasn't gonna get a good view.

After playing a little intro video thingy da Gubna came out and people clapped. In the shifting standing crowd I was able to finagle my way between a column and the escalator.  

Ahhh, that's more like it. 

Oh, wait. Never mind.

Mr. Christie-face made a decent speech. He told us all the cool stuff he's done, explained some of his less popular moves, told us what he's got planned (10% lower income tax? Yes, please.) and ragged on the kids from Jersey Shore. He's definitely a dynamic speaker and very comfortable in front of the crowd.  Too bad I was stuck standing behind Lurch the whole time. Sadly, a late start meant that I couldn't stay for the actual Q&A portion, so if anyone got a can of whoop-ass opened on them I missed it. I had to boogie out to pick up the kiddo. Oh well.

When my wife got home she accused me of "sneaking off" and of being a closet Republican. 

A Libertarian can't catch a break, these days.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Survivors

As I was taking out the trash this evening I realized I suffer from a disorder I've decided to call McClaneatosis. (Not to be confused with McLeanitis which involves an American Pie earworm. That's actually called ChevyLevee Disease.)

No, McClaneatosis is the irrational fear that you're somehow under-dressed for some out-of-the-blue disaster. See, I was wearing slippers and a sweater, and it's about 18 degrees out. "What if there's a plane crash next door? Or a zombie attack? I'll freeze to death! Or at least lose a toe to frost bite! Never mind the fact that my shoes and coat are just 20 steps away.  I'm just not prepared! Hell, I don't even have a dressing gown and a towel!"

At least I'm no longer concerned with the possibility of having to save the day in a strappy t-shirt or even topless. After 34 years I am finally at a weight/size that I am comfortable with taking my shirt off.

At least from the front.

From the back I look like I was shot with paintballs full of Rogaine.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

An auspicious start.

A few days ago it I had a bit of a Baader Meinhof experience with Blogs. Everywhere I looked it was "Blog this. Blog that." It felt like 2004 again.

I had a Livejournal for a while, but after it became the public forum for the demise of my first marriage I kinda soured on it. Go figure.  But I do miss the writing and the Facebook really doesn't lend itself to long-winded diatribes.  It also seems like life is about to get interesting again so I figured I should get back into the swing of documenting it before it gets too hectic to even try.

So I figured it was time to jump back into the pool, work out the kinks and get into it again. (As my disjointed paragraphs and shit grammar indicate, I'm rusty, so bear with me.) I set myself up with one-a these here blogger-blogs only to find the name I've always wanted to use (first for a comic strip that never got off the ground in college, then an aborted web comic, then every other failed creative outlet ever) was already taken by some guy who hasn't updated in 6 years. Just my luck.

So, I watched some Dragnet, wandered the Wikipedia, scraped some ideas outta my skull and tried anything that came to mind. Nothing was available.

Until I turned on the 2012 Miss America pageant just in time for the talent portion. The first thought that came to mind became the name of my blog.

Thank you, Miss America. Something good came out of your awful awful program after all.