Saturday, December 16, 2006

Eating Chinese Food on Christmas Song

In addtion to Adam Sandler's classic "Channukah Song", checkout these two, courtesy of YouTube:

Eating Chinese Food on Christmas (good lyrics and even better piano chords, but I'd avoid the high-pitched voice that remind me of Sandler's niche):

A classic from the queen of Jewish songs, Debbie Friedman (are there any Jewish songs that weren't written by her?):

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Breaking News: Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas and Not Everyone Should Be a Reporter

Ugh. I remember a time long ago in J-School when I learned it was a reporter's job to report without bias, without imprinting his/her opinion, and without verbiage that leads the reader to unsubstantiated conclusions. I was told to let the facts speak for themselves. Lo and behold an article from Reuters comes along with an update on the Seattle Rabbi who is drawing the ire of the general population's ignorant sect, when he asked Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to recognize more than just one religion this holiday season.

The Rabbi asked the airport's officials to install an 8-foot Menorah as a compliment to the 9 to 14 Christmas trees (depending on which article you read). It's a simple request to recognize there is more than one religion celebrating its happytime holiday in December. The Rabbi did ask for an official Menorah lighting ceremony, but if there was no Christmas tree lighting event, it's only fair to not have one for the Menorah. Fine. Let's not have a lighting ceremony and just setup the Menorah so we can all go home and sleep well. If only common sense would ever prevail.

The Rabbi's desire to have equal (as equal as 1 Menorah is to 14 trees) representation and acknowledgement is fair and understandable, so why do members of the media (not those talking heads/pundits) still insinuate the Rabbi is wrong? Snippets of the lazy Reuters writing follows:

..Seattle airport officials took down its Christmas trees in response to his request to include a giant Menorah in the airport's holiday decorations...

Excuse me? A "giant Menorah"? Some of the trees are 15-feet tall (depending on the source) so how does that make the single Menorah "giant"? A 20-foot Menorah would be giant, gaudy, and probably a fire hazard.

...Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky threatened to sue the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, if it did not include a menorah into its holiday decorations.

Nevermind that threatening legal action isn't worthwhile because the trial probably wouldn't occur until it'd be time for a Valentine's Day lawsuit, but the copy editor needs to ensure Menorah is properly written with a capital "M". This has nothing to do with this post's central topic, but the editor has to take some blame - not only for the "m", but for the article's content.

The removal of the trees sparked a public outcry over what some say was political correctness run amok and part of a trend to adopt a secular tone toward Christmas.

Mr. or Ms. Reporter, would you mind quoting a specific person instead of letting us know that some say this? Just how many people is some? Political correctness run amok is one way for the majority to hide behind its desire to keep ignoring the minority. A secular tone toward Christmas is patently ignorant. Heaven forbid the some realize the world is not viewed only through their faith's eyes. 33% of the world follows a faith that celebrates Christmas, so by my shoddy math that means 66% of the world doesn't. Let's ignore that and, while we're at it, the Constitution that requires all faiths to be recognized. While I'm here, public outcry is way over-the-top.

A fine movie on TBS a few weekends every year...and Reuters' style of writing.

The rest of the article reads well, but thanks to the inverted pyramid, the majority of readers (because most aren't of a certain mindset) will gather that the Rabbi, and therefore all Jews, hates Christmas - nothing could be further from the truth.

I wanted to post this entry last night until news came that the airport was reinstalling the 14(?) trees (some of which were 15-20 feet tall) in the airport. Courtesy of the Associated Press:

Airport managers believed that if they allowed the addition of an 8-foot-tall menorah to the display, as Seattle Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky had requested, they would also have to display symbols of other religions and cultures.

It's okay to only display Christmas trees and no other religions? How can someone be so insensitive? If the airport managers were in the Rabbi's shoes and saw what it was like to not have your faith placed on equal footing (bad pun), they would certainly have come to a different decision.

Airport workers did not have time to do that during the busy travel season, Airport Director Mark Reis said.

It really takes THAT much time to setup the Menorah and plug it in? How about installing "only" 13 trees and using the time that would've been spent on the 14th tree to setup the Menorah instead? As long as it's not a union issue, I'm sure the Rabbi would gladly setup the Menorah for Mr. Reis. I'm sure Mark Reis is a very busy person, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have enough time to be anything more than a coward.

Is it that hard for those sending hate mail and leaving angry phone calls to understand where the Rabbi is coming from? What if the airport was adorned with dreidals, Menorahs, and manequins wearing Uwole, and every worker asked how your Eid was? The some would suddenly feel disrespected that they and their beliefs weren't recognized in a public building. The Rabbi never asked to remove the trees, but to just add one (not 14) Menorahs. Asking to be recognized with a tree in the lobby would suddenly become a priority for the ignoramuses.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Curse you Giants and Redskins!

Another enjoyable Sunday watching the Redskins lose was once again ruined when the Giants blew it today versus the Cowboys. The Giants had just tied the game with a minute to go, only to let the Cowboys and (my fantasy team's QB) Tony Romo march down the field with a long pass that gave way to the winning field goal. As great as it has been to watch the Redskins struggle through another season of hype and promise, it has been very taxing to watch the Giants go from contenders to pretenders in a very weak conference during this 4-game losing streak. Knowing the NFL and all of its parity, the Giants could just as easily win out the rest of the way, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mom, can you pass the side of norovirus or gastroenteritis?

My SO and I rode north to New Jersey for Thanksgiving this year for her first turkey eating with her soon-to-be in-laws, while I return the family visitation over Christmas. There were two events of note this day…neither my sister nor I had to do any leaf raking and I voluntarily peeled all potatoes and apples (it helps that I negotiated a deal to watch football on the HDTV in the kitchen). We sat for dinner around 4, said thanks, released some tears, and enjoyed some laughs. The food was great (as usual) and I made sure to enjoy my can of cranberry sauce. After cleaning up, my mom’s friend visited and we enjoyed mommy’s homemade apple pie and (thanks to my SO’s request) pumpkin pie.

Friday was spent visiting friends, showing-off the ring, and finishing off my faithful Chicago reader’s chocolate chip cookies. Dinner was leftovers so when my SO and I arrived around 6:30 for chow, we saw that the leftovers were still leftover.

This was no match for my stomach virus.

My sister was upstairs where she got to view Thursday’s meal another time. My dad was in the same boat and occupied the other bathroom on the second floor. My mom had been showing signs since Thursday afternoon that she wasn’t feeling so hot either. I wasn’t feeling bad, but I also wasn’t hungry – something I should have been because lunch was seven hours ago. The only non-stomach virus members went to the store to buy soup, coca-cola (for its syrup), and some gaviscon. As we were checking out, my stomach started its freefall.

I left my SO around 10 to test my old bathroom’s flushing capability and share the company of my sister and mom. My sister and I were on a bike chain that was constantly in motion from her room to the bathroom. We took turns on 3-minute intervals and eventually worked our way to 10 minutes. By then I was trying to sleep in my old room, but still woke-up at least twice an hour to take care of business.

Rumble, rumble, rumble goes the tummy.

Flush, flush, flush goes the toilet.

Dawn broke on Saturday with my immediate family still feeling the wrath of gastroenteritis. Our plans to go into the city to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have dinner weren’t going to happen. I needed to rehydrate, but I only felt worse after a few sips of water. My SO showed no signs of the illness and was relegated to a day with her soon to be in-laws who felt horrible. She was a trooper though and stayed with us. By 4 that afternoon, my sister was feeling much better so she and my SO went to the mall to break their cabin fever. My mom was also feeling better, but my father and I weren’t 100%. My body still ached and my stomach could barely stomach (haha) two slices of toast. My dad got a violent case of hiccups and was taken to the ER by my mom. My sister and SO returned and we checked on my dad who was doing much better. We picked-up some Chinese food (white rice for my sensitive stomach) and waited for my parents to get back from the hospital.

The meal was without incident until 9. That’s when it became apparent that my SO’s hunger pains a few hours before weren’t hunger pains as she got to see her Chinese food again and again. She and I switched roles as I got some restless, but bathroom-trip free sleep and she was upstairs in my bedroom for quick access to the bathroom. This proved our theory wrong that it was the turkey’s white meat to blame. My SO only ate dark meat and since she hadn’t gotten sick we thought it was a combination of eating white meat, the turkey being organic, and the refrigerator not working well enough to prevent bacteria. Lo and behold, it was something beyond my mom’s cooking as she has never undercooked anything, always using a meat thermometer and a very sterile kitchen to prevent any illness.

You know it's coming back up.

By Sunday, my parents, sister, and I were feeling better so we had our reliable breakfast before leaving of lox, bagels, cream cheese, tomatoes, and onions. I thought my stomach was ready for the acidic combination, but I was uncomfortably wrong. My SO and I stayed later than we expected and left around 3 when we had a window of no nausea. The drive home only took an hour longer than normal and we timed it well so we missed traffic for the Jets, Ravens, and Redskins home games at 1. It also helps when you have zero desire to stop for dinner. From Friday's lunch through Tuesday, I had gotten by on some white rice, a few slices of bread, and soup. Things are better now having had a real lunch today, but I’m not about to be the first in line for any heavy significant food for a few more days.

I think this should be a new diet. The best way to lose weight over the holidays is to get yourself a horrible stomach virus, but at least we weren't on a cruise like these folks.

Monday, November 20, 2006

One-Shoulder Shirts: The Next Scarlet Letter

I know my limits when it comes to fashion and style since 99% of my clothing comes from stores found within every mall in America, but that doesn’t’ preclude me from asking a question…why do women still think one-shoulder shirts are attractive? Fashion fads come and go (they are fads after all) yet the one-shoulder shirt continues to be worn by all types of people…from the fashionably inept to those with even the most sensible fashion sense. What gives? I have five theories about this as I fail to comprehend the shirt’s attractiveness.

Theory #1: Different for the sake of being different. The shirt is so different from a normal (two-shoulder) shirt that you can’t help but be fashionably hip. The shirt looks like something on a fashion runway (preferably trampled). It could be confused with those runway designs that are completely impractical to mass produce and only serve to inspire a style made for the general public…or not. Just because it doesn’t align with the norm doesn’t guarantee greatness. A designer (or painter or writer or musician for that matter) working while on LCD doesn’t automatically mean their projects (though off-center) are worldly either. With plenty of one-shoulder shirts being worn, it’s neither rare enough, nor non-conformist enough, nor stylish enough to be hip. When the style is on sale at Old Navy, it’s safe to say that it’s not so unique that you have to go to a small boutique in SoHo to find one in your size.

You're better than this.

Theory #2: It’s sexy to tease with one shoulder. I really hope that this is not the case. Only someone with a serious shoulder fetish would be enticed by this. I have nothing against showing some skin, but why one shoulder? Nobody would ever say the sexiest part of their body was their shoulder…specifically the shoulder being shown fresh air. We’re not living in the time of Quakers where showing a shoulder was scandalous. Nobody ever tries to “put their best shoulder forward” (not that “foot” is much better) because nobody cares about one shoulder. It’s some skin covering your ball and socket joint…how hot is that?

Theory #3: 80’s exercise clothes are the latest fad. There is no need to buy a shirt that is so wide it can’t stay on both shoulders. You could probably save money by buying a smaller size that fits and rests on both shoulders at the same time. What a concept! If you wear a one-shoulder shirt, all you need to complete your “I’m a 1987 aerobics instructor” costume (Halloween is 348 days away) is a headband, leggings, and lots of spandex (preferably fluorescent for greatest effect).

Just add the shirt, mix well, and serve.

Theory #4: The wearer has poor equilibrium and must wear the shirt not to tip over. The first thing I think when I see a one-shoulder shirt wearer is that she’s going to tip over. The shirt forces her to counter-balance its gravitational pull. Since walking upright animals (let’s call them “humans”) have shoulders parallel to the ground and the shirt creates a diagonal from the top of one shoulder down to the opposite armpit, the wearer doesn’t appear to be level and is simply fighting the laws of physics by not falling over to either side. It has to be impossible not to favor one side over the other because the shirt isn’t equal.

Hurry...she's going to tip over!

Theory #5: It’s practical. Maybe the bare shoulder got too large from uneven weightlifting and can’t fit under cloth. Akin to guys wearing sleaveless shirts because their arms are too large (not that this couldn’t be avoided by just buying a shirt the correct size) (at least I have enough class to cut my sleeves off due to permanent deodorant stains), if a woman did enough shoulder presses with one arm, she would have no choice, but to cut the shoulder area out of the shirt before her over-muscled shoulder freakishly tears through when she lifts her arm. There’s a reason Hulk Hogan ripped his entire shirt from the center of his chest and not from his shoulder.

Listen to one-shoulder shirts!

The one-shoulder shirt is neither trendy, nor attractive, nor different enough from the norm that people just assume the wearer has tremendous fashion knowledge. Just as people use nicotine patches to quit smoking, it’s time to develop an over-the-counter cloth patch to repair all one-shoulder shirts addicts. We must break this addiction cycle and the first step is the offender admitting she has a problem with her eyesight and clothing taste. Now where’s my pitchfork and crazed mass of people to hunt these well-meaning, but poorly thought out one-shoulder wearers?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

To the Rosslyn Metro Station: So Long and Farewell, Until We Meet Again

After nearly eight months, my daily Rosslyn Metro station visits have ceased. With new work comes a new commute around the Bethesda area with the occasional Metro ride. The Rosslyn station will be part of me and I will never forget what we shared together. From counting the stairs (160 for the large escalator, 24 for the small) to the delays when the blue or orange line was single-tracking, we had something special, but it’s time for me to move on to the bright lights of Maryland. I will miss watching people run to enter the already-cramped elevator during rush hour and the crowds gathering at my door after stalking my now empty space like vultures when I’d get off at Rosslyn. You were a rack to hang my shirts on those humid days and my cot for 3-minute naps.

Oh Rosslyn. I was not without my faults either, but I worked to overcome them. You did not. It was you who moved the up escalators at inconsistent speeds (a rider taking the 2nd from the right finishes two stairs faster). It was you who had the unexplained smell that was a mix of burning rubber and plastic at least twice a week. It was you who allowed train operators to honk their Metro horns that echoed throughout the station. It was you who gave space to the drummer by the bus terminal who used a CD to play 98% of the sounds (music) coming from him, while only playing a live note or two every few seconds.

Despite our differences, you will always be the best “first/last transfer point for the orange and blue line” and always in my heart.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Damn You Pet Peeves!

The sound of fingernails scratching a chalkboard makes most people cringe and curl into the fetal position. This pet peeve doesn’t rankle me as much, but there are a few things that get under my skin and irk me to no end (that’s right, I wrote “irk”).

-Sound and feel of nail filing: When I am in the vicinity of someone using a nail file, I have to close my eyes and cover my ears. The texture of the file just rubs me the wrong way (haha). When I have my nails manicured (don’t laugh, even Juan Dixon has his done every week, though I’m good for one or two per year), I try to avoid nail files on my fingertips. Either my message is lost in translation, or the manicurist has too much professional pride at stake to not give me the best service and use the file, so I make the sacrifice for a better appearance. Whenever I see someone using a nail file, I run for the hills until the coast is clear.

Take your pick, they all give me goose bumps and hee-bee-gee-bees.

-Cross-handclapping: This pet peeve developed around the time I entered college and went to every MD football and basketball game I could go to, where I saw lots and lots of clapping. When it was time for more noise and people clapped, I couldn’t understand why anyone would cross their hands (forming an X) instead of clapping with parallel hands. Parallel handclapping is safer as you’re less likely to break your fingers because your hands are staggered (at contact, one hand is higher than the other so that the lower hand’s fingers strike the palm on the upper-hand). Parallel clapping is also louder because it is more difficult for air to escape the two-handed enclosure than when hands are criss-clapped (how many ways can I write this?). I think this is something for the next episode of Mythbusters.

Oh the humanity!!!

Back to the peeve at-hand (chortle, chortle, chortle), if I’m cheering with you, you had better not bring me down with clapping that isn’t up to its fullest potential. Go ahead and cross-clap in the privacy of your own home to turn-off the lights, but not around me. Cross-clapping is lazy and too yokel-like for me. We’re in this applause together so let’s give it all we’ve got. There’s no need to be the weakest clapper. Make it your New Year’s resolution to properly clap.

It's not too late to save the next generation from improper clapping.

-Feel of a popsicle stick on my tongue (especially wooden): This pet peeve began when I was young lad of 7 years and being tested for strep throat at the pediatrician’s office was a bi-weekly event. Having the doctor place a wooden stick on my throat made my gag reflex start sooner and sooner – eventually leading to my wooden stick disdain.

Oh sure, start licking a popsicle, but getting the last 2% isn't worth touching the wooden stick.

While a wooden stick is required for throat cultures, it is also the foundation for every ice cream popsicle in the land. Despite being lactose intolerant (or lactard for the un-PC out there), I love ice cream popsicles as much as anyone, but to eat 100% of the offering, I have to contact my tongue with the dreaded wooden stick. Talk about a double-edged sword. Like nail filing during a manicure, I remind myself that the pain is temporary and worth dealing with for the reward (the hand massage after the manicure (no happy ending) and the bonus ice cream stuck to the stick).

In retrospect (all of five minutes worth), my pet peeves aren’t too bad because they do offer rewards if I can stand them for the reward at the end (I’m not giving-up on clapping so easily). For the record, I will never be locked in a nail salon with the Good Humor man and people applauding the quality of manicures while making sure they eat every last drop of ice cream.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Missing: A Bus Driver Drop-off Lane for Wisconsin Avenue

The area around the Mazza (or Mazda as I always thought it was called) Galerie is a center for foo-foo, upscale, don’t have enough decimal places in my bank account to afford products (Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany’s, Prada, and Gucci). The not-so robust mall offers other shopping choices that are more expensive than what you’d find at, let’s say, Arundel Mills Mall. This is all fine and dandy (does anyone else my age write “dandy” anymore?) except during my rush hour drive on the three-lane southbound Wisconsin Avenue.

The dropoff lane in question is enclosed in the squarish-circular red line (that creates confusion instead of alleviating it).

Directly in front of the Hecht’s store (that’s now a Macy’s), there is a drop-off lane for cars that is separate from the three lanes, yet Metro buses do not receive any assistance. Of course a bus stop sign is placed at the corner of Wisconsin and Western Avenues (marking the MD/DC border). When a bus makes its stop, it blocks the right lane which is also a right-turn only lane. Since the left lane is left-turn only, those driving through the intersection may only use the center lane to get by. Thanks to those who don’t know how the lanes work, a forced merge from three lanes into one is created; guaranteeing a backup.

A Metro bus blocking the right lane occurs throughout the drive into DC and isn’t much of an issue, but when it’s combined with a backed-up left lane, it’s hard to crack 10 MPH through the area. If there was any foresight, buses would be allowed to use the right-lane drop-off and cars would have to fend for themselves without blocking Wisconsin Avenue. I won’t even start to complain about the people who cross well before the intersection’s crosswalk…well, I already did complain…I say they’re fair game.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How Not to Prepare For The Army 10-Miler

Back when you were a young lad (is there any other kind?) and a test was upcoming, did you ever kind of study the material, but realized there was no way you'd do as well as you could've if you had given it your all? Though this hasn't happened to me since college, I'’m about to break my streak with this Sunday'’s Army 10-Miler. A few months ago I announced the benefits of a new found running addiction that lasted a few months until my knees and ankles took turns telling me that regular running can't be sustained. My body breakdown spread to my SO whose knee began locking-up on her and can no longer run on inclines.

I'll keep up with people like this for the first second, then they'll be a blur and I'll be struggling.

Fast forward (because just forwarding oneself isn'’t fast enough) to the present day and we'’re three days from a race that I haven't practiced for, let alone ever run as far, and I'm a little worried. There i’s a "Recovery Bus" that scoops you up if you can'’t finish under the 2-hour, 30-minute limit. I will not let myself get on that bus. I can certainly walk 15-minute miles so I should be fine as long as I can keep that pace when my body has already given up on me. If thereÂ's any saving grace, Columbus Day should give my SO and I a chance to recover enough to get out of bed for work on Tuesday.

Is this really the best picture the makers of Nip Guards could find to show how it's applied?

Until my race wrapup blog, I just have to pickup my race packet and timechip, and triple-check that I've got my running socks, shoes, t-shirt, and of course, ample amounts of baby powder for those areas sensitive to chaffing. I hope 10 miles is less then the minimum distance needed for any nipple guards.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Who Knew You Could Sample the Clinique Counter On Metro?

I have never had the greatest olfactory sense, but my SO’s sniffer snuffs out the faintest of smells. This hasn’t worked in my favor when I try to get away with certain things, and has also made her prone to sensory overload when something comes our way that even I recognize as smelling too strong. The other day we were riding up a Metro escalator when we came upon a man who was unaware of what a shower could do for him. As long as I’ve been alive, showers have successfully cleansed people and even improved their scent. The addition of cologne and perfume is supposed to be in moderation as most everyone realizes that cologne and perfume are very potent. You could easily do without it, but it’s fine to go above and beyond the smell your flufa and body wash supply. Unluckily for us, the escalator rider in front had taken a cologne bath. I don’t know his brand, but it didn’t matter. Your face/neck area is supposed to receive one or two sprays, not one or two ounces.

The uglier/weirder the cologne bottle, the cheaper/worse it's going to smell.

My SO smelled him about 20 steps away and I made the same discovery 10 steps later. We were trapped with no exit route or emergency escalator slide to avoid his presence. We booked it like step aerobics instructors with too much caffeine and held our breath from five steps before Calvin Klein’s #1 customer until we were five steps ahead. My SO was a little overwhelmed by the man’s scent so we pushed forward and kept stepping (not this kind of stepping) until we exited the escalator well before the man, who gave Pig-Pen some competition, made it to the top.

The police sketch artist's rendering based on my description.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What? Is My Button Pressing Not Good Enough For You?

When people get on an elevator, why do they feel the need to press the button that I’ve clearly pressed already? Are they unable to see the backlighting that indicates which floors the elevator will stop at? Maybe they feel awkward getting on the elevator and press the button to keep themselves busy or to make sure they don’t look lazy.

Don't even think about it.

All they did was just walk on the elevator, but I not only walked on the elevator, but also pressed the button. While I’m at it, why do some people keep pressing the same floor button when they get onboard. Once it’s illuminated, the elevator’s computer knows where you want to go and pressing it more than once isn’t going to speed things up. If anything, it’ll slow us down because you’re asking the elevator’s computer to consider the extra button pressing instead of letting it (and us) go on its way. When the floor’s button is already pressed, it’s okay to just get onboard and keep your fingers to yourself.

You're not getting away this time.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

2006 Tecmo Super Bowl

Someone updated the Tecmo Super rom so when it's run in an emulator like Nesticle, it has this year's rosters...Reggie Bush is there, Donte Stallworth is on the Eagles, the Baltimore Ravens actually exist, etc. There's also a Tecmo Bowl Players Circuit if you think you're ready. Thanks to Brian for pointing me to this article that lead me to the files.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Politicians Are Good At Aerating the Soil

With a full slate of elections in the DC metro area, comes an abundant, or rather gross amount of campaign signs stabbed anywhere grass is growing and people cross. As someone who did not invest any time learning out about the candidates and issues, I know for certain that seeing a politco’s sign on Wisconsin Avenue will not sway my vote. There are more signs per square yard than you’d see at a WWE event, including those provided to the fans by steroid Vince McMahon’s subordinates.

Attack...of the killer signage!

Is it really necessary to have 10 Adrian Fenty or Linda Cropp signs on the same plot of grass? Is Joe Six-Pack going to think, “Oh, I’m going to vote for Adrian because he has so many more signs than Linda, and I like his name because Rocky Balboa fought for his female counterpart’s heart. Therefore, he’s the best person to run DC (or at least reap the benefits of a new baseball stadium, while the education system won’t see any improvement again)"?

I am full of hope that I’m hopelessly naïve in thinking that some voters will choose someone solely because they remembered his/her name from a sign. Actually, that’s most assuredly the case. It’s how it’s done these days so you might as well play the game. No matter anyone’s reason to vote, it would have been nice if everyone could have voted that wanted to, unlike a few hundred people in MoCo. The right to vote is a wonderfully democratic power, but you can’t empower a voter’s power by not having electronic voter cards ready on election day.

Area soil loves election time.

I will be happy once these elections are finished and the signs, printed at Kinkos and attached to wood from Home Depot, are finally removed. I haven’t heard of any campaigning about environmental issues, but the candidate with the most signs could claim he/she is doing the most for the environment once the signs are removed, afterall, they’re not only campaigning, they’re also aerating the soil.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Pilgrimage to Mike’s Famous Harley Davidson

Two weekends ago, I was looking for a place to eat, equidistant between DC and NYC, and near I-95, so some of the SO’s family and I could enjoy some food with my parents. The most convenient restaurant was Mike’s Famous Harley Davidson in New Castle, Delaware . I’ve passed Mike’s plenty of times in my commute to and from the tri-state area and always wondered if it was any good. I never needed to stop at that point because it’s just before (going north) the Delaware Memorial Bridge and I’d much rather get over the bridge and reach the Turnpike while I can before any traffic builds. This gathering gave me a legitimate reason to stop at Mike’s. We started our drive on a Friday afternoon that would normally take a little under two hours without traffic, but it being Friday afternoon, the drive morphed into a three-hour slug. It’s this reason that I always wait until after 8 PM before driving home.

Bikes, bikes, and more bikes.

I'm looking for a bike with chrome, got any suggetions?

The five of us arrived 30 minutes before my parents so we had time to checkout the dealership and buy some shirts. True to its billboard’s claim, there were tons of shiny and chromed bikes in the showroom. Souvenirs for us non-riders adorned every wall including Harley clothes for newborns, because it’s never too early to get them started. Since this is a legitimate Harley establishment, there was plenty of gear and accessories for real riders, in addition to a repair shop. There was a Harley museum, but we didn’t go there because 1) We didn’t know it was there and 2) Even if we had known about its existence, we would’ve passed on it anyway.

Chrome, chrome everywhere!

One thing I quickly realized about Mike’s is that it is much much more about selling and fixing Harley’s than it is about feeding people. The indoor dining area (there were a few outdoor tables) was almost non-existent. About the size of a single-bedroom apartment in NYC, there were booths along two walls (that did hold 8 adults) and 3 circular tables in the middle. The menu was what you’d expect at a Harley dealership’s diner with burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, bowls of chili, etc. No surprises there, but the options were too few and far between. All seven of us sat in a booth and were comfortable enough to make it through the meal aside from the occasional elbows. My non-interior decorator knowledge allows me to note the furniture was more industrial than comfortable. Wooden booths with little padding and metal seats around metal tables don’t exactly exude easiness for your backside. If you wanted to sit at the eating counter that faced the cashier, you had your choice among medieval torture seats that required you to alter the natural curvature of your back. They weren’t occupied when we visited.

Recipe to ride a harley: Mix 1 part chrome with equal parts leather.

What would a Harley-Davidson eatery be without the three stereotypical Harley guys sitting at the room’s center tables? I suddenly felt like I was in a scene from “Roadhouse” or any other run of the mill pre-bar fight movie atmosphere. I glanced their way and avoided eye contact so as not to seem that I was staring and asking for trouble. With their bandanas, leather vests, tattoos, and goatees, I made a mental note of the nearest wooden chair in case I had to break it over their backs. My two weeks of Karate in third grade (earning a yellow belt by the sheer fact my parent’s paid for it) probably wouldn’t have held up with those guys. I knew I shouldn’t have quit just because the class occurred at the same time as the Cosby Show.

Did I mention they had bikes for sale?

At Mike’s you go up to the counter and place your order, only to have your “waitress” bring it to the table. I swear it must be the easiest waitressing gig because you don’t have to take any orders, write up the meal’s check, or necessarily get drinks (I got up and got my own from the readily available fountain). You just have to drop off the food once its ready. Though we were joined in the room by the three Harley guys, the entire staff insisted we remember and correctly recall the table number we were sitting at so our orders wouldn’t be confused. Anyway. I got my burger and it tasted fine. By that point I would have inhaled anything you put in front of me, except chopped liver – an all-time worst tasting food, but loved by my dad.

The engine makes a lot of noise even when it's not running.

We had sat down around 7ish and before we knew it, it was 8. For some reason (other than it’s not a big part of Mike’s’ business) the restaurant (along with the entire dealership) closes at 8. All those times I considered stopping there for some food after 8 would have been a waste. I’m still flabbergasted that a place that does such heavy billboard advertising about serving food would close so early. We made our way outside, said goodbye and started our journey south, ultimately making it home in well under two hours.

For the lady riders.

Mike’s was interesting because of so many pristine Harley’s for sale in one room, but that was it. I wouldn’t recommend Mike’s as a good day trip because the food was quite lacking and you can see plenty of Harley’s together at any area dealership. Sure Mike’s might be #1 for Harley sales and service in Delaware, but what reason has anyone ever had to actually stop in the “ First State” (outside of no taxes)? Let Delaware continue to serve as that 15-minute drive between Maryland and New Jersey while we keep wondering why it hasn’t been ceded or swallowed by any of its neighboring legitimate states.

In focus pictures are so overrated.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Metro Time Saving Tip #1 (of 1)

From the “Too Much Time on the Metro Department”…If you ride the up escalators in the Rosslyn station and want to save time, make sure you choose the middle up escalator (second from the right). Over the course of an entire ride, you’ll finish two steps faster than the right-most escalator. A whole two steps saving you three seconds! Amazing! Check it out and you’ll be amazed, or you’ll just roll your eyes that someone would notice this type of thing.

Not all escalators move equally.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not Laboring Through Labor Day Weekend

Despite hurricane/tropical storm/tropical depression Ernesto's best efforts, this weekend went really well. After my SO was the ultimate trooper in joining my parental units and I at a family reunion on Saturday afternoon (that we hadn't attended in some 6+ years), we rolled back to MoCo and went back to my #1 crab eating establishment - the Dancing Crab. We arrived around 7 and expected a decent wait, but thanks to weather and the unattractive equipment (being used to remove the antenna) outside the front of the restaurant, we immediately found a booth. Though 4.5 dozen extra large crabs were available, we settled on 1.5 dozen.

To warm our pallettes, we ordered two seafood samplers, but I wasn't much of a fan with the raw oysters and clams. I'd pass on the sampler (as did we on ordering the "tomato-based" crab soup that wasn't impressive a few weekends ago). To ensure we actually got full on actual food before the night was done (as crabs are akin to eating Chinese food), we ate two crabcakes that were very very good. Just as with crab soup, if you want to make great tasting soup or cakes, you can never have too much crabmeat. Our waitress dropped off the crabs and asked if we needed the bibs. "We don't need any bibs, we're professionals," I rebutted. Chortle, chortle, chortle. The crabs were spectacular! Tons of meat, lots of "mustard", and the right amount of spices. If the Dancing Crab could repeat the great crab selection everytime, the only thing that Jimmy Cantler's Inn in Annapolis has over it is a tremendous atmosphere. Of course, if I lived closer to Cantler's than the Dancing Crab, I'd choose Cantler's, but you can't do better for a legitimate crab establishment just inside the DC city line.

That night, my parents ponied-up the money to watch "Keeping Up With the Steins" on their room's pay-per-view (PPV). For $15 you catch lots of movies well ahead of their regular PPV showing and subsequent DVD release (remember when it was a VHS release?). It was a nice flick about the competition of Bar Mitzvah parties as they overshadow the more important ceremony, as well as some typical father-son generational issues. It didn't overdo the easily made jokes about being Jewish as other flicks like the "Hebrew Hammer" did (I turned it off after 2 minutes). The shot of Shamu jumping through the Star of David while wearing a yamulke was worth the price alone. We took in lots of calories at breakfast the next morning and were off to the Maryland State Fair.

I had planned on doing another pictorial (the G-rated kind) of the Fair's sights, but, surprise, surprise, nothing was different this year except we went with my parents. We had another another great time, but we're going to pass on it for at least a few years. After eating my fried twinkie, riding the ferris wheel, and making up for a few missed cotton candy purchases at Paramount's King's Dominion, there wasn't much left to do. I briefly considered playing one of the bogus, unfair, rip-off, waste-of-money games, but paying at least $2 for a 5-cent stuffed animal just didn't get my competitive juices flowing. My mom did well with the dart-balloon game and had a medium-sized turtle to show for her skills (and $10). Sure, the basketball game looks easy, but considering the rim is smaller than regulation, the ball is like a medicine ball, and it's impossible to get a "shooter's bounce", I'd rather buy a turkey leg three times over.

My parents were making their way up I-95 when they came upon an accident with an overturned car in the southbound lanes near exit 4 of the Turnpike. My mom's critical care nursing skills/instincts immediately kicked-in and she ran out and helped whoever she could. Unfortunately, one person's fate had already been decided, but she was able to get a bottle of water from my dad and comfort the person's family. Amazingly, several other people helped including a few off-duty EMTs. It puts my faith back in people/the general public, if only for an afternoon.

On Monday, my SO and I went to a free boot camp exercise class to see if we could be all we used to be. It definitely kicked the crap out of me and my SO. Actually, a little too much. Me and my old man river body were tired and my SO's knee was really giving her trouble. Once her knee is better, we'll consider it again, but first we've got to get ourselves able-bodied for the Army 10-miler. A headache nixed my plans to shoot around with a friend so I made my way through several hours of ESPN Classic shows on TiVO. All in all, a very nice Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

So That’s Why Shampoo Bottles Have Instructions

As I was just starting to fall asleep on Tuesday night, my non-existent security system beeped twice to annunciate that we had lost power. Thanks for breaking the news to me. After using my cell phone, that did a great job doubling as a flashlight to help me find and unplug a few appliances, I returned to bed and set my phone’s alarm. I put my head on the pillow and hoped the power would come back sooner rather than later, so I wouldn’t have to have an uncomfortably sweaty sleep. Once again, as I was just starting to fall asleep, the same non-existent alarm began to quickly beep three times every 30 seconds. It proceeded to do this for at least five minutes (which is how long it took me to fall back to sleep).

Don't forget the water!

I slept through the night and awoke a little more than groggy, but I pressed forward with my showering and dressing. Things were going smoothly and I felt no residual from a poor night of sleep until I combed my hair. With each pull through, soap suds were becoming more apparent. I had put a dab of gel in my hair, but this was ridiculous. Gel is not supposed to make suds. In one of my less than finer moments, I had forgotten to fully wash out the shampoo! My streak of several thousand successful rinse, rather, repeats was over in a flash, or rather a brush, or rather a stroke of bad luck, or rather I can’t think of anymore puns.

Even a toupee needs a good wash.

You know how you’ll see a sign or instruction and wonder why someone would ever need to read them? Like a new steak knife set with a Do Not Swallow warning or McDonald’s coffee with a Caution: Hot sign on the cup. Well that’s because someone has tried to swallow a knife or didn’t want to admit to knowing that the hot coffee in their cup would also be hot if it landed on bare skin. They complained there was no such language telling them not to do it, so now there’s a burgeoning field of corporate law called, “Covering Yourself From Idiot Usage.” Though not as dangerous, but just as embarrassing, feel free to add me to the list of people who need the idiot usage naturally-understood-from-birth shampooing instructions printed on every bottle.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Metro’s Newest Express Train Works For Me, Not For Others

On Monday, I took the red line from Farrugut North up into Montgomery County’s nether regions. It started off like a typical workday with sardines fitting into spaces that are too small, and a few people (foreign tourists) who lack that one thing Americans enjoy…deodorant. Really nothing new, but worth mentioning. According to Metro, the ride from Farragut North to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan takes four minutes and covers 1.7 miles. I guess it was my lucky day because our train’s operator tried to take at least a minute off the commute by skipping Dupont Circle. No, she didn’t take a secret express rail, she (and the train) just skipped Dupont Circle entirely!

The train stopped a few cars past the platform and went dark except for the lights over the doors. A minute later we were told that we wouldn’t be stopping at Dupont Circle (really?!) and that (to Metro’s credit) a train was being held at Woodley Park to take passengers back to Dupont Circle. In the end, my ride wasn’t all that express, even with one less stop, but an express route to the MD or VA suburbs would be appreciated as long as it’s planned and we’re made aware of it before boarding.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday – Back to Life, Back to Reality (yep, an actual music reference in my blog)

We said goodbye to everyone and the makings of a sunny beach day to hit the road by 7:30. Just like the drive there, we didn’t hit traffic and were home 4.5 hours later (including a bathroom pit stop). I ordered some Chinese (lunch and dinner), we unpacked, and then sat on the couch where we proceeded to watch about 5 hours of TiVO to catch-up with the shows we missed. Sure it was nice to be home again, but it’s hard to top a week of great weather, people, and food at the beach. Next time, I’ll telecommute from my home at the beach.

Oh OBX, how do I love thee...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday – Brew-Thru Shirts and Last Minute BPHTN

As the last full day of the trip, everyone did their last minute purchases including Brew-thru t-shirts (I went with the green this time). My SO and I went to Sonic for my first time. It’s a shame there aren’t any around MD, despite plenty of TV advertising that implies the contrary (the nearest one is 84 miles away). In addition to my cheeseburger, I went with a cherry slushie that hit the spot. After some seasoned shrimp for dinner we held our semi-annual fireworks showcase. We upgraded our set this year, but it started repeating itself after a while. There are only so many ways you can fire sparks without repeating. Other people along the beach were launching real fireworks that we learned were available in South Carolina (and illegal to use in NC).

Legal fireworks don't leave the ground.

Afterward, we went out to the deck to look at the meteor shower. I saw two “shooting stars”, but by 11 we had all had enough and went inside for one last game of Taboo. I was suddenly very tired, but I pressed on since it was the last night in the OBX afterall.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday – Labia, Labia, Labia

This was one bad weather day, but did have a few moments of sunshine. The ocean was still rough and coming up to our small sand dune so the beach was a washout (chortle, chortle, chortle). We made a quick trip to urgent care to take care of an infection in my big toe from a hangnail. I was given a choice of antibiotic and lancing it, or antibiotic and soaking it in hot water. I went the easy way and continued soaking it as I had done before. Within 24 hours, I was able to push on my toe in the hot water and fire a pus rocket (it was as gross as it sounds), nixing the infection and any thoughts we had to using the jacuzzi in the room. The tap water throughout the house had an odd smell, so outside of using the bottled water we bought for drinking, the tub wasn’t going to be used.

It wasn't as bad as drinking water while in Mexico, but we definitely needed the bottled water.

After we returned, I decided to setup my modified Xbox and play a few old school games with my cousin’s boyfriend and my younger cousins. Before I got them going on a history of videogames with Frogger and Super Mario Brothers, my cousin’s boyfriend and I played Tecmo Bowl (Nintendo version of course) and some Super Nintendo NBA Jam. We even played some WWF arcade games too, but the links were calling so we left to play 9 (errr, make that 12) holes of golf at the Goose Creek Golf Course while all of the women left for the outlets. I am thankful my aunt decided to buy me a Polo t-shirt after everyone took notice that my MD t-shirts were not in the best condition. My SO eyed a Coach purse and ended up buying it the next day.

It was my duty to start the next generation of videogame players the same way I did.

Golf went pretty well for me. After we sprinted back to the clubhouse from the first tee (though we started on the 10th) because of a brief torrential downpour, it was time to really play and look for the ball I had shot before ducking for cover. When I hit my irons well, they were still getting in the air pretty easily and I actually had a drive or two that found its way into the fairway. I had one drive of at least 230 yards thanks to my ball hitting a golf cart path across the fairway. Other than the usual golf events of missed putts, a par and a few bogeys, I was barely successful in jumping the golf cart across a small trench. We also took some pictures of my playing partner’s ball that found itself lodged a few inches deep in mud on a few holes. The course played like a municipal, but that’s fine with me and I welcomed the length after many a 9-hole round at Paint Branch.

While I bumbled my way around the golf course, my mom decided to go for a run with my SO over the same dunes the Wright Brothers flew from. There wouldn't be much to this story except for the fact my mom had my SO run through shards, shards, and more shards of glass in the sand. I'm sure it was my mom's way of testing my SO's worth to see if she was right for me. Even without the glass walking test, I know she is right for me....awwwww.

It wasn't THIS bad, but a few shards got stuck in my SO's foot.

That night my parents, SO, and I ate at Miller’s restaurant. Unfortunately, all of our fish dishes weren’t so good. This was the only night of subpar-tasting food. We finished the night with Scattegories and had some hilarious entires like, Subject: Things that grow….Answer: Men.

However, there was one moment that surpassed all exchanges from now until eternity…

In case you’re playing at home, the letter was L…the list was #10...the item was of the human body.

The sand was in the bottom of the timer and answers came spewing out. I waited to hear someone steal mine.

“Lungs!” I’m still safe.

“Legs!” I’m still safe.

“Labia!” I yell.

Half of the players who heard my answer are laughing so hard they’re tearing. My face’s blood vessels fill and turn me into a true red-head. The other half are in the dark so I am asked to repeat my answer, but I can’t bring myself to it. Word spreads around the table and the laughter is uncontrollable. Five minutes pass and the laughter semi-subsides. My aunt waits to share her answer.


The group acutely realizes that depending on its interpretation, my aunt’s answer is the same as mine. Round two of laughter tears ensue. I did get my well-deserved point. How do I love this game.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thursday – My Aunt and Uncle Did What in a Pool? And Did They Do That In Ours?

After the prescribed BPHTN, my SO, cousin, and I went to Harris Teeter to prepare for our night of cooking. My cousin made some Cornell marinated chicken and we made two huge bowls of my SO’s colorful pasta salad. Both tasted great. That night we watched the ocean come in 15 feet further than the day before as a windy storm blew through. It was a site to see how powerful even this little storm was. I can’t imagine how any of these homes make it through a nor’easter or hurricane. This was a Taboo night (I realize I have nights and games mixed-up, but just go along and nod your head) and it was lots of fun. Nevermind my father kept cheating by covering the ineligible words from the other team’s observer, but we also learned (as my cousin’s boyfriend arrived that night) something about my aunt and uncle that I could have lived without knowing.

Uncle with clue in-hand: We did this at *undisclosed*’s pool.

Aunt (non-chalantly): Oh, skinny-dipping.

Laughter ensues and we learn WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wednesday – I Got Crabs From Dirty Dicks

That's from the best sign for a crab restaurant you’ll see in the OBX by the way. Today we enjoyed a great (as if there's any other kind) BPHTN day. I broke open my summer book, “Fantasyland” by Sam Walker. My quick review: As someone who should really be better read and hasn’t opened a “legitimate” (non-sports) book in a few years, this book was an easy read. Like any good sports fan, I was into the first 1/4, skimmed the middle, and got back into the last 1/4. If you like fantasy sports, you’ll appreciate his access and ability to do all of the things that any fantasy player would want to do: contact NASA mathematicians for stats and speak with “your” players about underperformance, etc.

This has nothing to do the book review, but you can never have enough beach pictures.

Competing in an ultra-competitive league, he did quite well for himself. He wrote some nice one-liners, but there wasn’t enough to keep me interested in the minutia of his season’s day-to-day activities and biographical sketches of the league’s participants. Read the book if you like and understand fantasy sports, otherwise you’ll think he’s a nutjob, like all of us fellow fantasy players. That reminds me, I have 3 football drafts next week which will of course lead to 3 last place finishes.

Tonight’s meal was crabs for the second time in less than a week. This batch was sweeter, but a few of them were devoid of any meat. Some corn and fresh vegetables rounded out the meal for the crabeaters.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday – Lead Foot Meet the Open Road…Open Road Meet the Lead Foot

With hopes of still playing golf on Wednesday, my uncle and I went to the Cape Hatterras lighthouse on another partly cloudy day. It’s the tallest brick lighthouse in the country at some 300 feet, give or take. Before leaving, we said goodbye to my mom’s friends who were most welcome at the house the last two days. After quickly recognizing my uncle’s grand ability to pass cars using a dotted yellow line, I certainly wasn’t going to nap during the hour-long drive. That Lincoln Navigator sure has some acceleration when a tractor-trailer is coming at you in the same lane.

Big pimpin'...P-I-M-P!

After climbing the 278 stairs (who says I don’t splurge?), we enjoyed the average views from the top. There really wasn’t much to see except some beach and the tops of several trees. The wind was very strong up there and I almost lost my DC National’s visor I got for free. I had hooked it around my camera bag, only to unlatch the cover to the camera, thereby freeing the visor. Yes, I’m an idiot. I was lucky because the visor fell to the ground and was wedged between the floor and railing.

The lighthouse before moving 3/4 mile inland.
The walk down wouldn’t have been too bad if not for some slow walkers, like the kind you find at major malls. Akin to letting better/faster golfers play-through on the course, these people should have let my SO and I pass them from the start. They finally obliged with 3 flights to go, but not before hearing us complain under our breath. Afterward, we drove to where the lighthouse used to be and then made our way back home, but not before we picked up some more NYC pizza in NC for the house.
Is it that strange to go to the Outer Banks only to eat NYC style pizza?
We spent the rest of the time doing the BPHTN and ate my cousin’s hearty turkey burgers off the grill. I think this was also our first night of Scattegories. If it wasn’t, don’t feel free to correct me since I combine the funnier moments into one post later this week. I have always loved Scattegories as it speaks to my creative, quick-thinking side of the brain. Sure, I say some ridiculous and usually bogus answers, but they’re all in the name of fun. The first night’s winner was my aunt’s daughter who averaged an impressive 7 answers per round.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday – You Can Take the B and T Crowd Out of the City…

The first full day on the Outer Banks was a prelude to the rest of the week (except for Friday). It was partly cloudy all day, with temperatures around 90 and some high dewpoints. During any normal Monday, this would be reason for me to remove my shirt on K Street, but not this time, I was on vacation. It was a clear recipe for a BPHTN day. Before we started our BPHTN day, me and my cousin did some of our own food shopping and wanted some pizza.

I stopped at the New York Pizza Pub in Nags Head and set some low expectations, afterall, it was NYC pizza in NC. Surprise, surprise, but the pizza actually tasted good. Not NYC good, but good enough for a NC version. Of note today was my parents’ dog bodysurfing and swallowing copious amounts of saltwater, mixed with chlorinated water she drank while swimming laps in the pool. She was fine and loved every minute of it. The time passed quickly and for dinner we stuffed ourselves with my aunt’s (#1 reader’s) great lasagna.

Up, up, and away!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday – This Is The True Story of 13 People and 2 Dogs Picked to Live in a House and Have Their Lives Written About

My parents headed off around 8 and I was on the road by 9. Mapquest predicted 6 hours, but we made it to Nags Head in 4.5 hours that included a pit stop for McD’s. (By the way, at least in the South, you can still order the two cheeseburger extra value meal even though it’s no longer on the menu board. It’s just something you have to know, like In and Out Burger’s secret menu.) Traffic was light and the drive was smooth with some help from the Chesapeake Expressway. There are five signs (literally and figuratively) that let you know you’ve made it to the Outer Banks.

#5 Lots of Farmer’s markets approaching the Wright Memorial Bridge. With their combination of homemade pies, jams, and jellies; fresh produce; and fireworks (?) to perhaps place inside the produce, that Deep South feeling starts seeping in.
#4 While the number of pickups in NC is equal to MD, NC is #1 in the number of pickups and Ford Broncos on elevated shocks and wheels. It’s no wonder we passed a building dedicated to the Grave Digger monster truck. Is there any real use to elevating your car? While high rollers in the rest of the country aim for the lowest low-rider and chrome spinning rims, southerners account for a Napoleon complex by raising their cars. I should give them their due, the extra height allows them to humanely drive over their copious amounts of roadkill. That’s more than I could do.
Right out of central casting.
#3 I've been told that you should pronounce Norfolk as "Nah-fok", telling me it’s the right way to pronounce it as the locals do. Lo and behold, I realized I was in the south when weatherman, locals, waiters, and cashiers all pronounced it that way. Akin to Baltimoreans (not Baltimorons) pronouncing the charm city’s name as "Ball-eh-mor", I will recognize the Norfolk folks (haha?) by not pronouncing the "r".
#2 The people of North Carolina are lucky I only act out my violent feelings on my Xbox because there were (not surprisingly) tons of UNC and Duke bumper stickers. There was even a puke merchandise catalogue in the realtor’s office. I did read the comic book and found you could purchase rat food for your dinners with Coach K, backne medicine in case JJ Redick forgot his for your sleepover, and basketball court insulation to protect it from the wear and tear of players and coaches slapping it to pump themselves up. UNC doesn’t bother me as much.
Chortle, chortle, chortle.
- The #1 sign that you’ve made it to the Outer Banks is the appearance of a Wings beach-stuff store and Brew-Thru every 2 miles. Unfortunately, you can’t help, but notice each Wings, but fortunately you do notice every Brew-Thru including the "Jr" locations. The fact that we saw a few Sonics was also welcome.
No OBX vacation is complete without one.
Eventually we got the keys to our crib and were quite satisfied. With 8 bedrooms, 9 baths, 3 Jacuzzis, 1 hot tub, pool table, and a sun deck that provided shade over the pool and hot tub, the place was huge. While it wasn’t white-glove clean, the place was in good condition. My only real gripe is that the pool table was clearly bought after being played in a bar for ten years, being it was an 8-foot table with quarter holders and a felt surface that had clearly seen better days. Over the vacation, I only played about 6 games which is understandable when the beach is right outside your door and the two young’ens were fascinated (and rightly so) with placing the balls in the pockets, finding them at the other end of the table, and making lots of noise in the process.

I think this is where the table was before it was moved to the house.
Eventually the entire crew rolled up to the house and we all ran through the halls and rooms to pick out our sleeping quarters. I felt like a cast member entering a Real World house. Sure you want to meet your roommates, but finding which toilet will suit your needs all week is key. All that was missing was some fancy aquarium and requisite cast members fitting all sorts of stereotypes. Once we got unpacked, we made sure the beach was in fact, 20 feet from the back entrance and let our relaxation begin. With no watch, blackberry, email, Internet, Georgetown University shuttle drivers, dry cleaning (only to have them burn a collar or melt a button), or work concerns, I was a made man. It’s not difficult to relax when each day’s biggest decision is choosing between the beach, pool, hot tub, or a nap (BPHTN).

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I(t) was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Now that we had decided where we’d be sleeping, the only thing left was how we would stuff our faces. Fortunately a Harris Teeter just opened a few days ago so the group walked out of the store with $419 in food. My parents had bought 4 pounds of crabmeat from a farmer’s market on the way in so the first night’s meal was crab cakes, tomatoes, and corn. Mmmm, mmmm, good. I went to sleep knowing I had 6 full days left to soak up the sun.