Sunday, November 30, 2008

Free Food & Drink @ Crunchytown's Mellow Mushroom

K.C. and her husband Solar joined me for a recent trip to Asheville, my favorite beautiful town. K.C. was hankering for pizza, so we went to Asheville's Mellow Mushroom.

It took a while to get a table, and then even after getting our table we hadn't received our menus or otherwise talked with a waiter for a good 15 minutes. So I eventually hailed a waiter, and a stout bald guy covered with tattoos came to help us. The waiter seemed genuinely apologetic for the delay, and had clearly taken it upon himself to make our remaining experience at the Mellow Mushroom a wonderful one. "I'm so sorry for the wait... I'll put your food order in as a rush order, and we'll it out to you as soon as possible!" In the meantime, I ordered the local Pisgah Seasonal beer, K.C. ordered a hard cider, and Solar a water.

A couple minutes later, the waiter came back with a Pisgah Pale, which I noted was not the beer I ordered. This might not have been such a big deal if I liked pale ales, but generally I don't. "Oh my gosh..." he sighed, apparently dismayed with himself, "Well, you can keep that one, and I'll bring the Seasonal right out." Soon I was stocked with two full beers (both were pretty good).


I get started on my complimentary beers and salad. With or without utensils...
The waiter then came back unannounced with a beautiful Greek salad, which he explained was complimentary for all the delays. This unexpected gesture was very nice of him, but after he left, I discovered that we had been left with a new dilemma, which I explained to K.C.:

"As I see it, we now have to make one of two choices, neither of them good. One, we can let the waiter know that he forgot to bring us utensils, which will probably make him feel really bad. Or two, we can just eat the salad without the utensils, and then ask for utensils when the main food comes out, and hope that he doesn't realize that we just ate our appetizer without utensils, which runs the risk of possibly making him feel REALLY bad."

In the end, we chose the first option, and were met with the predictable unpleasant wave of apologies... Poor guy...

New Photo

The new profile picture was taken by Blue Ridge Grass contributor K.C. on a weekend trip to Crunchytown. You have a gift, baby!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

STYLISTA betting pool


"Hannie" -- our hero(-ine)!!
Despite encouraging her readers to watch the CW show STYLISTA week after week... (...after week after week after week), SarahSouth confessed to me today that she probably would not find the show very interesting if it wasn't for the fact that one of her bestest friends in the world Johanna ("Hannie") was on the show. Shocker, I know! Her paraphrased words, not mine!

In contrast to FairweatherFan SarahSouth, who apparently will stop caring about the show the moment Hannie is eliminated, I have been thoroughly enjoying the show -- each seems to be replete with plenty of crying and catty verbal barbs. We even get occasional bonuses like a hospitalizing panic attack. But of course, there is a surefire way to make anything more interesting: senseless betting.

So although we are nearing the end, it is not too late to start a casual little STYLISTA betting pool. There are only five contestants remaining: Ashlie, DyShaun, Kate, Megan, and HANNIE(!). So here's the rules: Submit your predictions of the final ranks of the last five contestants any time between now and next Tuesday. After each week, you will get 1 point for predicting the people that will be eliminated by the end of that week. So for instance, if you think that Ashlie and DyShaun will be the eliminated in that order, but DyShaun is eliminated first followed by Ashlie the next week, you will receive zero points the first week (for failing to guess that DyShaun would be eliminated first), but two points the following week (for correctly guessing that both DyShaun and Ashlie would be eliminated by the end of that week). Etc.

To make it interesting, the winner at the end of the day will receive a paid lease for an apartment in downtown Manhattan, and a one-year clothing allowance at H&M valued at $100,000. Ties will be settled by deathmatch. Limit one vote per reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WFU vs. W&M -- a Tale of Two Fairweather Fans

The Wake Forest men's soccer team is ranked #1 in the nation, and so that means this year I'm a soccer fan (just as I became a new Illinois basketball fan when Illinois became ranked #1 in the nation). So on a frigid Tuesday evening, I decided to go to a playoff game with my friend Mike, who faced an interesting dilemma: The #1 Demon Deacons were facing off against William & Mary. Since Mike was an alumnus of William & Mary who now works at Wake, who would he root for? Would he pick his old school, or would he pick Wake -- OUR team, the team that paid his bills?

In the end, he took the wimpy position that he was just rooting for either team to score. As a Deac fan I informed him that his position was "still traitorious, you traitor." But mostly he just wanted the game to end, and as the score stayed locked at 0-0 and the temperature drifted toward freezing, eventually I appreciated the logic of his position. As regulation ended, we faced the prospect of spending up to another hour in the freezing cold between extra periods and penalty shots. Luckily though, Wake scored 4 minutes into the first sudden-death overtime, putting a quick end to the game. Mike and I high-fived and breathed a sigh of relief, and then parted by running back to our respective cars, turning on the engines, and blasting the heat.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

DW2's Infinite Playlist

My brother DW2 is living in Los Angeles, and I'm pumped that I will be able to see him in a couple weeks around Christmas. DW2 is positioning himself to be the next big thing in Rock N' Roll. (In particular, he intends to be the next Jimi Hendrix... he's even learned to play guitar both left- and right-handed, so that now he just has to commit to setting the occasional guitar on fire.)

To celebrate my arrival, he said he would try to play a couple songs for me at one of the open mic nights in town. I ended up sending him a CD with about 40+ songs that I thought would work pretty well in an open-mic acoustic set, ranging from the Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man" to Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life." But the one I was most excited about was to hear him try to craft a version of Joni Mitchell's "California". For some reason it struck me that with some very minor alterations of the lyrics, this would be an awesome song for a male vocalist to sing (even if it's not exactly Jimi Hendrix-esque). I'm picturing the singer giving it sort of a Greg Brown folksy treatment:
Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn't want to stay here
It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh, but California
California, I'm coming home
I'm going to see the folks I dig
I'll even kiss the Sunset Pig
California, I'm coming home
.
Oh California, I'm a-comin'! I'm going to see the folks I dig, and if I bump into the Sunset Pig I'll be sure to blow it a kiss.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fall Foliage in Review

I walked outside today and spotted a quarter inch of snow on the car roofs and on the piles of fallen leaves. This prompted a "WTF!?" and made me wonder whether our string of Indian Summer-ish fall days were coming to a close. Indeed, a look at the 10-day forecast shows a nasty run of 50 degree highs with the occasional scattered snow showers (more WTF!?'s to go around!).

So I thought it would only be fitting to say goodbye to a wonderful fall with a couple recent pictures of the fall foliage.
A view from Crowders Mountain just outside of Charlotte, NC
Walking down a side-street in Georgetown -- just minutes away from cupcakes...

Goodbye Fall '08 -- we hardly knew ya.

Monday, November 17, 2008

That's Why They Call it a "Cupcake Transport Device"

We had a couple left over cupcakes from Cupcake Binge '08, and were having a beast of a time trying to figure out how we might be able to split the remaining cupcakes among ourselves to take home. By this time Sarah had finished drinking her chai latte, and had happened upon this brilliant idea for transporting her mint chocolate cupcake back home:

Someone else suggested that perhaps she would take her own cupcake back in her bra. To which I responded, "they're not called bra-cakes now, are they?!"

Cupcake Wars


A friendly cupcake-pusher next
to the goods at Baked & Wired
I decided to visit DC last weekend to visit friends, and discovered that I had walked right into the middle of a war -- for the last two or three months, the residents of Washington, DC has been searching high and low, near and far for the best cupcake in town.

Darcy asked if I would be interested in joining the hunt on Sunday with our friends Sarah, Michelle, and Shanley. I put on my coat, surrendered my man-card at the door, and went out a-hunting for the perfect cupcake.*

We soon found ourselves at the Georgetown Mall with a dozen cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake, half a dozen from Baked and Wired, and two from Dean & DeLuca (at total of 20) to split between the 5 of us. We started our sampling by trying to match similar cupcakes from the different vendors: the red velvets, the coconut creams, and the carrot cupcakes, and as sugar-sickness set in I eventually suggested that "we shouldn't feel obligated to eat the next 10..."

A look at the Georgetown Cupcake's cupcakes. The missing coconut cupcake is in my belly.
Our general conclusion was that Georgetown Cupcake made the best, although Baked and Wired won in the important Carrot-Cupcake category. Oh yeah -- Dean and DeLuca's cupcakes were awful. At the end, we took votes for the best overall cupcake, and this ended in a split decision between Georgetown Cupcake's chocolate ganache cupcake (middle row, far left in picture to the side), and their coconut cupcake (unpictured). The key lime cupcake (upper left corner) also pulled in a first place vote.

Finally, below we have a video of some of the exercises we did along the Potomac to work off the ridiculous amount of cupcake we had just eaten:

video

* Darcy attempted to convince her husband Andy to come by suggesting that they had manly cupcake varieties like "Rock-N-Roll Razorblades" at the shops, but Andy was not fooled.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Two Americas: Part 4382910

Blue America:
I ate lunch today with an African American friend of mine who got back from a trip to Chicago on Wednesday. She had bought her ticket months ago for a conference and was supposed to fly back to North Carolina on Tuesday. But when Tuesday arrived, it had became clear that win or lose, there was going to be "The Event" in Grant Park (as it was apparently called in Chi-Town). She decided that being there represented a sort of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and decided to pay an extra $100 to delay her flight a day.

For whatever reason, I was fairly (perhaps overly) confident that Obama would win for months. Not so with my friend. She didn't suspect foulplay, she just couldn't convince herself that Americans would vote for a black President. She said that it wasn't until the results rolled in on the jumbotron announcing that Obama had won Ohio and Pennsylvania that she realized that she was going to be on hand hearing Barack Obama give a victory speech that night. Then the fact that Virginia voted for Obama -- a state that only a little over 40 years ago had "separate but equal" laws -- blew her mind.

Red America:
On the night of Barack Obama's victory speech, I received a forward from a conservative I know presenting a case that Obama was a clinical narcissistic. One piece of evidence: Obama has written his own memoirs before attaining power, just like Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler. The writer of this essay warned that the consequences of putting a clinical narcissist like Obama in the seat of power might be informed by looking at the examples of Stalin and Hitler.

In the process of responding to this email, I also made it clear that I was disgusted with another forward I received from him showing a picture of Michelle Obama side-by-side with a picture of a chimpanzee. Today the conservative replied to this email with another one of his own simply titled "Sigh..." which read:
Why are certain people so selectively offended?

Liberal "Sophisticates" thought the type of stuff below was Pretty Funny especially in early 2000:

http://www.bushorchimp.com/
http://www.mrsockmonkey.com/topics/Pictures-Where-George-Bush-Looks-Like-a-Monkey/

Go ahead . . . google “Bush looks like monkey” and see what you get.
My response to this email? SIGH. . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blue Outpost

Latest election results from NYTimes.com (11-5-08)
I've felt since I got here that North Carolina was on the front lines of the Red State/Blue State culture wars... sort of along the dividing line between the reliable reds of the deep south and the true blues of New England. On one hand, we have the Research Triangle which is home to some of the best universities in the country. On the other hand, you don't have to drive too far out of town to find Confederate flags waving proudly.

Well, North Carolina didn't disappoint me with my "blue outpost in the South" theory yesterday. It's amazing to think that after last night's votes were tallied, a female Democrat will be taking the Senate seat held for the last 35 years by Republicans Jesse Helms and Elizabeth Dole. And the state looks likely to eek into Barack Obama's column despite North Carolina never throwing their electoral votes to a Democratic Presidential candidate in the last 30 years... Amazing!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Best Thing about Being Bleeker

In no other Halloween costume that I'm aware of can you wander up to a stranger at a party, introduce yourself by saying "I fucked you!" and then watch as she gives you a hug and a free pack of orange Tic-Tacs.