Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Long Weekend, Vol.2: Dinner At 8

There's a place on a pier that we like to go to when we come to Florida, called Sharkey's. And no, sadly, it is not owned by venerated TV star Ray Sharkey. We could only have hoped. In any event, the food is great, the drinks are fast and generous, and being on the beach while you eat is usually a relatively pleasant experience.

On the other hand, they usually also have some majorly shitty cover bands doing their thing, while you try to enjoy the outdoor warm weather and booze... and this weekend was no different. The first night, there was some nitwit who thought he was the best parts of James Taylor and Jackson Browne mixed togtether, with a smidge of Van Morrison thrown in for good measure. Needless to say, the excrement from any one of those performers could put on a better show. And I'm not exactly a huge fan of either of them. So that's saying something.

The second night, there was a duo, basically doing karaoke to backing tracks. The lady was a dead ringer for Ann Wilson (chub-tastic) and sang pretty well actually, but I definitely could have done without her little surprise. While I was mid-conversation and mid-chew at one point, she came a-grinding up on me (since I was on the aisle) and attempted to intrigue me with her portly feminine wiles. Not working. She sauntered away, apparently disappointed that I didn't take her up on her wordless suggestion to suggestively dance with her in front of my family. Oh well, I only hope she didn't kill herself later from the disappointment.

There was a guy there, by the name of “Crazy Joe” who managed to dance like a retard on crack the whole night; he's apparently a regular, and hopefully satiated her need to see people other than her dance to her Heart-esque bleatings.

Although these older women were really getting down to the groove at some points too, they seemed a little shy. Perhaps Crazy Joe could have been the man to have brought them out of their shells? We'll never know.

We got take out the next night, but the last night we were there, the final band was actually musically pretty talented, but they made the mistake of sucking ass regardless. They had a steel drum, and it was like three older guys kind of doing a half-assed reggae, where they could have done with a whole-assed anything else. The guitar player was pretty good, but again, saddle it with suck, and the whole thing goes under quickly. I drank a lot, without really realizing it, so I probably was less scathing than I might have ordinarily been, had all my senses been as acute as they often are.

A special highlight to Sharkey's was enjoying the cell phone conversation of some jackass who worked there while I was using the bathroom on our first visit. It consisted of something like this:

“Yo – yeah, I'm at work. I don't know, like 9, or 10? Are you there? Are you THERE? Are you AT THE CONCERT? Are you THERE? Yes. No. Oh yeah. Cool. Is there free beer? Is there free beer? All you can drink? ALL YOU CAN DRINK? ALL YOU CAN DRINK?”

Something to that effect. Mmm hmm.

But the REAL highlight to the dinners was the DIRTY PIRATE HOOKER. As soon as she sat down, my sister, brother-in-law and I exchanged glances, and collectively muttered “well, you're just a dirty pirate hooker. Why don't you go back to your home on whore island” and then proceeded to laugh our collective asses off. This lady was a piece of work! Bopping to the mediocre music, wearing her half-shirt pirate blouse, while I can only assume her date was vacillating between thoughts of “I'm totally scoring with this nasty chick” and “What the hell is my problem? I should probably kill myself because I have obviously lost any sense of standards for the quality of my life”.

Check out these AWESOME pics. Oh yeah.

Yes, Sharkey's is a veritable goldmine of wacky folks. A real high water mark on The People Show, every time I'm there.

Long Weekend, Vol.1: Sunshine... On My Shoulder... Makes Me... Cranky?

So I decided to join my family on a trip to Florida recently, as I desperately needed a change of scenery, as well as some massive bourbon intake and possibly a few rounds of golf. Also, it's nice to have some time to tinker with my Eee, as I've been busy lately. I'm actually writing this from my new BFF the Eee PC, which has absolutely changed the way I think about the world around me. It is seriously the most awesome thing I have ever owned, and that's saying a lot, because I have a lot of cool crap, and anyone who knows me also knows that this borders on heresy, as I love my Treo more than life itself. But I digress.

In entering the airport, I remembered I haven't flown in a long time, and my brother-in-law (who flies constantly for work) was running down “the rules” for me.

“Take out your laptop and have it ready.”


“And your cell phone, and your DS.”


“And did you bring any lotions, or shampoos, or hair crap?”

“Well, some...”

“You have to have them ready, But don't worry, they probably won't check them anyway.”

I start to feel my face get hot, as the situation becomes more ridiculous...

[And this is why I don't fly often – it's security theater at its best. A bunch of trained apes, pretending to keep us safe. It's absolutely silly.]

I decided I would calm down, as opposed to getting hauled off by TSA goons, and in my flustered state, forgot to take a bunch of metal shit out of my pockets and off of me. So when I walked through the metal detector, I went off like the 4th of July. It was kind of awesome, actually. I made everyone wait longer. Ha.

So then we board the plane, and I notice that in the years since I have flown, things are different all over. Like for instance, those big old bland, boring jetways that you use to board your plane are now emblazoned with HSBC logos, because they want you to know that no matter what flight you're on, they're partly responsible for you being on it. Without them, you would have had to leap from the terminal gate to the plane, and you probably would have twisted an ankle at the very least. Thank God HSBC was there to provide a way for me to go on vacation. Without them, I'd be bloodied and broken on the runway in Newark, and in no way enjoying my time on vacation.

We decided to fly first class. Let me just say that if the difference between coach and first class is like a hundred bucks (which it was in this case), do not hesitate to do it. Within 5 minutes of boarding the plane, I had a whiskey in my hand as all the other shlubs glared at me enjoying my delicious JD and reading Electronic Gaming Monthly (nerd alert), as though I didn't have a care in the world. I felt like a king, and the realization that every time I was getting to the bottom of my glass another drink came was only reinforcing this fact. The dinner was freaking amazing, and I streched out in my seat like I was at home.

The lone downfall was the kindly old German businessman who COULD NOT STOP FARTING NASTY TOXIC FUMES as I tried to relax. Other than that, it was totally rad. It seemed to take no time at all, and suddenly I was in Florida, totally ready to rock.

Only problem was, we landed in Tampa, and our house is in Venice, an hour away.


Good thing I had like, a million whiskeys on the flight. I'm in a fantastic mood. We go to rent our car and on my way to the bathroom, Feist's 1-2-3-4 comes on, and I have two thoughts simultaneously:

1. She's completely penetrated the market in a way she probably didn't expect when she's being played in a car rental facility (as opposed to like Michael Bolton or Sheryl Crow or something)

2. I still freaking love this song, despite its complete and unmitigated market penetration. So I start stepping in time with it, on my way to get rid of all the whiskey I sloshed during the plane ride. And I see a completely messed-up physically disabled guy calmly and casually rocking out as I passed, obviously enjoying Feist as much as I was, and I had a third thought:

3. Rock on, dude.

We get to Venice, and I have one further thought: where am I going to buy more whiskey at this hour? Luckily for me, there is an Albertson's open, and I pick up a handle of JD. The old guy behind the counter at the liquor store mutters something about not having much time to browse, to which I reply we wouldn't need hardly any. Because I am on a mission at the liquor store – surgical strike. No questions asked. In and out.

I love how I can make borderline alcoholism seem like it's so cool. Kind of loserly, kind of awesome.

We drink, listen to some tunes, I sloppily shower, fall asleep on a pullout bed that's roughly as comfortable as a slab of concrete with rebar exposed. Oh, also, it's freezing in the room I'm sleeping in. Yeah, exactly. Freezing? Florida? DOES NOT COMPUTE. Totally. And what's the only thing I find to stay warm?

Pillow shams.