wine by the color

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guess who's back ... back again ...

To my throng of faithful readers (hi Mom), sorry about last week. It kind of got away from me. Food poisoning is no way to begin a long stint on the road. Fortunately, that suffering was short-lived. But guess what I finally found on the outskirts of Tacoma:

Perhaps it's best I didn't find this outfit during my desperate search for Chinese food last weekend. I don't know that bargain Chinese would have been the way to go during my tummy's dark hour.

A few random things I missed during my hiatus...

Curtis Martin retired and although the news was a surprise to no one, it still made me a bit sad. The linked article provides a great look at why Martin was such a tremendous J-E-T.

Apparently, Crazy Nephew #2 knew this was coming. A week before the announcement, he wore his #28 jersey to his birthday celebration.

While in Tacoma, I was pretty good about hitting the hotel's gym before going to work each day. One morning, a fellow exerciser wandered in shortly after I'd begun a program on the treadmill. He was planning to use the stationary bicycle. How did I know this? Because he was wearing an official, Lance-Armstrong-esque bicycling outfit. Black padded shorts, red-and-black striped spandex shirt, the whole deal. To ride a stationary bicycle.

I offered a polite hello and went back to my business. But inside, I was having a hard time keeping it together. I was experiencing fits of giggling at this ridiculous get-up. For the next 30 minutes, I contemplated whether I could take his picture without him noticing. I hated to admit defeat but knew it would be impossible.

I should be in Oregon right now. My original plan called for me to head to Portland to visit friends after my business in Tacoma concluded. But my friend's grandmother died, thus necessitating she (and her less-than-one-month-old daughter) travel to Oklahoma. So I needed to come up with Plan B.

So Sunday, I planned to visit Mount Rainier. However, that got sidetracked thanks to a bevy of cocktails Saturday night (hmm, perhaps it would be more accurate to call the hour at which the shenanigans ended Sunday morning. Well into Sunday morning.) So instead, I spent the majority of the day in the throes of an admirable,well-earned hangover. I did finally rouse myself from bed to make a quick trip to Pike Place Market to buy some pasta here. And that was about it for Sunday.

But I did make it to Mount Rainier and I'll discuss that tomorrow. It's kind of hard to believe that yesterday I was 2,836 miles away, wandering around a mountain with an elevation of more than 14,000 feet, and today I rode my bike 15 miles at an elevation of 0.00 feet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I went from Phoenix, Arizona, all the way to Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A.

Which one of these places is not like the other? I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt.

It's Tacoma.

Saturday night, an unfortunate choice was made when it was time to select a dinner venue. This led to a robust case of food poisoning, which led to a sleepless Saturday night and a foodless Sunday. Late Sunday, I thought I might be ready to eat a little something, so I set out in my rental car to find a Chinese restaurant, with the hopes of getting a takeout carrier of white rice.

According to Wikipedia, Tacoma is a city of more than 200,000 people. It is part of the airport's name (SEA-TAC - Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). It is the third-largest city in the state.

So can anyone tell me why a city this large does not have a Chinese restaurant? Seriously. I drove for more than an hour, up and down the streets of downtown Tacoma. Nothing.

Back to Wikipedia, which tells us that Tacoma suffered a prolonged decline in the mid-20th century as a result of suburbanization. A local reporter, upon hearing my tale of woe today, told me Tacoma has had a history of trouble with the Bloods and Crips, and that the downtown area's decline is directly related to the Tacoma Mall, which is caused much of the downtown businesses to bail for the suburbs.

I also learned Tacoma is the birthplace of Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson, former major leaguer Ron Cey, actor Blair Underwood and crooner Bing Crosby, and is where serial killer Ted Bundy spent his formative high school years.

The city was recently listed as one of the most walkable cities in the country (no doubt because there's nothing holding you back like other people in the streets, or open businesses to distract you while walking). It also ranked as the most stressed-out city in the country in 2004 (because there is NOTHING to eat and people are hungry) and, in 2006, was named Self magazine's "Most Sexually Healthy City" (I've got nothing here).

Apparently, the city is enjoying a revitalization and I'll agree there are some bright spots. But until this town has a Chinese restaurant, where a sickly girl can get a bowl of white rice to help put herself back together, it will remain on my shit list.

And the worst thing ESPN could have done to itself - make itself such a dignity-barren garbage mill that you feel sorry for the good people who work there, especially those now forced to make clowns of themselves in exchange for their paychecks - is exactly what ESPN has become.

Note to self ... move Phil Mushnick to top of list for 2008 Valentine's Day cards.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Did a little Fishing not Catching yesterday.

I've spent the past few days visiting friends in the Pacific Northwest en route to a tournament outside Seattle. We went fishing yesterday, hoping to catch some salmon for dinner. What ensued was six hours of nonstop pelting rain, sturdy waves and no salmon.

And it was awesome.

The "Not Catching" isn't entirely accurate, as we did catch lots of dogfish and halibut, although none large enough to be keepers and all of which went back into Puget Sound. But the six hours of shtick was enough to make the lack of salmon a mere afterthought.

The above picture is the only one I took, because it was raining so hard I didn't want to expose my camera to the elements. It's a huge Coast Guard ship that sailed by midway through the day.

I've made an important note to self for future reference ... when fishing in this part of the country, suntan lotion, flip flops and shorts are not needed. Sturdy rain suits, boots and gloves? Yes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gap Inc.
Two Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Dear The Gap,

Might I have a word?

You are The Gap. You make comfortable clothes that are suitable for work and play. You don't go completely crazy with wacky colors or styles. You are a dependable option for anyone who enjoys wearing classic khakis and oxford shirts.

But I'm afraid you might have lost your way...

According to the promotional e-mail I received this morning, this is a piece from your new "Shirt Dress" line. The following helpful blurb was provided:

Be the first to try the new menswear-inspired trend, the shirt dress. We've added feminine details to his buttoned-up silhouette. To complete the look? Pair with the latest patent belt or shoes.

You know what I'd like to pair this with? Pants. And four less inches of fabric around the thighs. And no ruffle around the neckline. And no dopey belt resting just under The Twins.

If I want to wear a man's shirt, I will do so. But should I be venturing outdoors in it, it will be accompanied by a pair of pants. Or, if I'm feeling saucy, perhaps a skirt. Either way, "shoes" will not be this garment's only partner.

It took some brief research on your web site to discover this frock is only offered under "Dresses," not "Shirts." So even you're confused. Allow me to help: Shirts are shirts. Dresses are dresses. Ne'er the two shall meet.

You are not Mandee's or Forever 21. You are The Gap. Please get it together. A nation turns its in-need-of-dependable-and-wearable-clothing eyes to you.

Hugs & kisses,
Jersey Girl

Monday, July 16, 2007

I mean, what good are Halloween costumes if you can't wear them year-round?

For the past few years, I've been referencing the Crazy Nephews. Clearly, there needs to be a name change, as their little sister, Sweetie Pie Princess, is coming along quite nicely with the crazy. Under their tutelage, that was never in doubt. She has spent the last 11 months watching her brothers, taking in their shenanigans. And she is about ready to join in the fun.

New name suggestions are welcome. The Crazy Kids? Trio of Trouble? Clown Collection? Silly Siblings?

Scenes from a weekend...

1. I planned to get an early start Saturday morning so I could hit the gym before getting involved in the day. Let's see how that went:

7:30 a.m. Awaken
7:31 a.m. Turn on television while getting ready for gym
7:32 a.m. Realize Grease 2 has just started
9:25 a.m. Carry on with day

I can't help it. Grease 2 is glorious crap, way up there in my Watchable Crap ratings with Urban Cowboy and Road House. If the folks at HBO can find it in their hearts to air the film that brought us such classic tunes as "Reproduction," "Do It For Our Country" and "Score Tonight," who I am to not take advantage of their good will?

2. Macy's fitting room near the women's bathing suits section, midday Sunday

I'm not sure how or why, but there seemed to be three women in the fitting room next to mine. Median age: early 50s. Favorite word: Fuck.

Actual phrases all overheard:

- "Holy fuck, would you look at my ass?"
- "Fuck me. I look like a heifer in this thing."
- "Who the fuck would this look good on?"
- "This fucking music is fucking killing me."
- Woman 1: "Gloria, the little skirt on that bathing suit looks really cute." Gloria: "Fuck you."
- "Fuck it. Maybe I'll try again next year."

Trying on bathing suits is a torturous exercise for anyone. Particularly anyone who ate something called the Honey BBQ Chicken SuperMelt at Friendly's the previous evening. But listening to my neighbors, I felt just a little bit better.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

So I go to Mary Ellen's blog and see all the wonderful dinners she's whipping up (in particular, this one), which made me consider my recent culinary adventures. For example, my dinner this evening consisted of four Yuenglings, seven handfuls of spicy peanut bar mix and nine fries off a friend's burger platter.

My dietary tips and recipes are readily available, should anyone be interested.

Tonight marked the first time I've hit Happy Hour (akin to a holiday, it should always be capitalized) in months. My favorite ex won the state's biggest golf tournament today and there was celebrating to be done.

And it may have been just what I needed to hoist me out of this current funk. Work remains Le Shit, but until that situation settles itself out I've decided not to let it ruin any more of my days. I have limited time at home during the summer, and I am determined to enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Apparently we went on a little hiatus around here without planning to do so. Sorry about that.

But The Man has been kicking my ass recently, so I wound up shutting everything down for a while. There are major decisions to be made, as the situation at work has reached the breaking point. So I have spent the last week, including many sleepless, late-night hours, developing a solid list of options (including the percentage of likelihood for each):

1. Suck it up and continue in my current situation (15 percent)
2. Quit my job, get in my car and drive around the country, come back and get a new job (30 percent)
3. Quit my job and start my own business (18 percent)
4. Hope rumors of a pending Springsteen/E Street Band tour are accurate, quit my job, and follow the band around the country for a few months (28 percent)
5. Win the lottery, quit my job, move to the shore and operate a duck pond on the boardwalk (9 percent)

Outside of developing this list, my five-day weekend was spent hanging with the crazy nephews and riding my bike around the Jersey shore. When you're working through major life drama, might I recommend lots of gritty, reflective Springsteen on the iPod as you wheel away the miles.

But things are looking up a bit. Late last night, I flew to Seattle, where I led a quick media day this morning before heading south on I-5 for Portland. And that's where I am now, visiting one of my dearest friends and her eight-day-old daughter, which is providing another nice break, along with a little perspective.

I hope to return to the regular shtick-filled programming soon.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It's time to play one of my favorite games: "What Would You Do?"

Let's say you are a woman in her mid to late 30s. You are walking through the airport with your two small children. You are toting a rolling suitcase, as are both of your small children. And oh, by the way, you are on crutches.

Given these factors, when it's time to get your traveling party up one floor in the airport, would you:

A) take the elevator, which is 15 feet away? OR
B) take your hobbled self, your two small children and three suitcases up the escalator?

I know you can see where this is going.

The inevitable disaster wasn't as spectacular as I feared. Oh yes, I stood at the bottom of the escalator and watched it. If people wish to engage in stupid behavior, who I am to not sit back and enjoy the show?

One suitcase went tumbling down the escalator. Fortunately, neither of the children did.