Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kickball - Fall '08

Signups begin tomorrow for Fall 2008 kickball leagues and I'm planning on creating my own team this time. If you're interesting in playing (Wednesday nights at Brookhaven) drop me an email or leave a comment here...Team Canada: World Mountie needs YOU! (get it?)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My New Favorite Website - thenoonerblog.com

http://www.thenoonerblog.com/

Yes, there is a blog, but the best part is a video called "The Nooner" which is hosted by Brittany Umar, who is not only easy to look at, but she's pretty funny too. It's just a 2-3 minute video every Monday - Friday that pretty much just makes fun of NY Sports. On the right-hand side of their blog is where the videos are. Check em out!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Awesomly Horrible Dining Experience

This week is "Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week". It's a yearly thing (in other cities too) where people can dine at "fancier" restaurants for a flat fee of (this year) $25 per person to try and encourage people to come back after a great experience. For $25 you get an appetizer, a main course and dessert. Looking back, I've now done this four times. Three times were, uhhhh, bad. A couple of years ago, some friends and I went to Ruth's Crap, errrr Chris Steakhouse. Not only did they barely cook my "medium well" steak, but there was more butter than steak I think. Two years ago, we went to a place called Trader Vic's. I can't really remember anything bad to say about that experience. Last year we went to a place called "O’Terrill’s". As soon as we got close to the place I realized that this ain't no fancy place! It's like a dinky sports bar, which I'd been to once after a Thrashers game. I wanna say the "fancy" menu included chicken fingers. Awesome. So much for trying new restaurants!

But this year topped any and all bad experiences. Me and some Sweetwater friends (Erica + 2 friends, Peter, Rochelle, Stevens, Alaina) had reservations at place called Fandangles (which I thought was a website to go to buy movie tickets?). It is in the Sheraton Hotel on Courtland St. Our reservations were at 7:30. Due some really bad weather we got there a little early to try and beat the storms and got into the restaurant about 15 minutes early. We hung out by the bar, Erica thought I asked for a Shirley Temple...and made me drink it. After that, due to manhood issues, I ordered a $7 (ughhh) pint of Guinness. They had a pool table set up in a terrible location by the bar, there was a wall on three sides of the table, without enough room to actually play pool, with a flat screen TV on one of em. As the Guinness commercial guys say...BRILLIANT!

By about 8:30 we finally got seated at a table next to another table who looked completely miserable. Within a few minutes we heard them complaining, ask for the manager who eventually took 50% off their check. I leaned over and asked them if we should even bother staying! We'd been seated for about 20 minutes by then without anyone coming to say hi. We all already knew what we wanted, hell, we found a pen and half the table needed a smoke break, so they circled on the (paper) menu what they wanted.

When we finally did get our waitress to come by, we ordered a couple of drinks with the idea that she could also handle taking our orders too. Uhhhhh, no. She took drink orders for 2 people...and left. We assume to get those drinks, but it took about 15 minutes or so before she came back. Repeat that process about 2 more times. They're lucky we're a laid back, fun loving group!

By about 9:30 or so, a different waitress came by to FINALLY take our order. The smokers of the group were on cigarette break #2 by now, so we were able to order for them. Progress!!!!! A few minutes later, our new waitress came back out to inform us that one of the appetizers - "Friend Calamari with Spicy Remoulade Sauce" - was not available, but they had some kind of shrimp something or other to offer in its place, which the waitress said was "awesome" (With her middle-eastern sounding accent, it made it sound even funnier)

It was about 10pm when the waitress came back with some good news! The manager has decided to buy our table a round of drinks (not quite 50% off, but he knew how to keep us happy!). The waitress was talking Erica into trying some type of wine that she kept describing as "awesome". The manager also explained to us the reason for the problems all night is that they had a "random fire inspector" come by to test the sprinklers in the kitchen. And, uhhhh, they failed. He said there was white powder all over the kitchen and that they had to use a kitchen somewhere else. WTF????? I don't think any of us believed a word of that, but, whatever, he was creative with the story.

Finally, around 10:15 they served the appetizers. I ordered "Jack & Coke BBQ’d Babyback Ribs w/ Fried Sweet Onion Petals" (really only because it included the words "Jack & Coke"). But at that point any food was gonna taste great...and they did.

For the main course, you got to choose from 3 dishes, time for some bullets...
  • Peach & Habanera BBQ’d Salmon over black-eyed peas and mustard greens ragout
  • Blackened Ribeye Steak over Roasted Garlic Mashed Red Skin Potatoes with grilled asparagus
  • Porcini Dusted and Grilled Airline Breast with wild mushroom & crawfish grits, sautéed spinach and onions and topped with a sage glace

(WTF is Grilled Airline Breast?) Anyone who knows me already knows I ordered the steak, and was daring enough to substitute the spinach for asparagus. By the time the main course did get to us, by about 10:45, I wasn't even that hungry anymore. The food was actually VERY good, but the fact that we had been there for over 3 hours kinda made that point...moot. (I don't use that word enough).

For dessert, I get to use even more bullets!

  • Southern Style Bourbon Pecan Pie with Caramel
  • Carrot Cake (how boring!)
  • Chocolate Chocolate Cake

I got the Pecan Pie, but told them to put it right in a box. It was Erica's friend Jamie's birthday, and they actually took VERY good care of her. Erica supplied the trick candles and they brought out her dessert with a bunch of candles and sang to her. They also brought her a present - a small brown fancy lookin box with a few wrapped also fancy lookin chocolates inside. The waitress actually asked for the box back, but then said just kidding. So that was funny. They also gave Jamie all three desserts in to-go boxes. Where's mine??????????

Finally at about 11:30 we were ready for the check, we gave one of the guys a few cards and some cash and he proceeded to count it in front of us, which seemed odd. Rochelle made a comment about it, then I asked her...did you just get here??? Are you really surprised by anything at this point?

In the end, we were there for over 4 hours, no one was leaving hungry or angry. We had fun, mostly laughing about the restaurant, but the food was excellent. Can't deny that. I've still got leftovers to look forward to in my fridge!

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EDIT: On Friday afternoon I got an email from someone offering us an opportunity to give Fandangles another chance, "complimentary of course". I'll be sure to report back how our 2nd try goes!

EDIT #2: http://jznole.blogspot.com/2008/08/fandangles-take-two.html

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pensacola, Day 3

And now for part 3 of Pensacola weekend, which I'm sure you've all been dying for.

After getting home at about 5am after the Molly Ringwalds show, I don't think any of us were up for any kind of excitement on Monday. Scott took the day off work and eventually the three of us got moving around enough to be in time for a McDonald's breakfast. One problem...for me anyways...There were about 12 breakfast combo's to choose from. Every single one had either bacon, ham or sausage!!!! What the hell! Maybe I'm the only jew to ever come through Pee-cola, but I was pretty upset. Didn't McDonald's used to have some kind of pancake breakfast or something? Not even a plain chicken biscuit combo? Oh well, screw them, I walked next door to Chic-Fil-A and brought that back to McDonald's. I win!

After that we went across the street to Target where Scott completed his only responsibility of the day - buying Toilet Paper. I saw that they had the movie Super Troopers for only $9, so I had to buy it! Then we went next door to Winn-Dixie (apparently they still exist) and bought me and Matt's only responsibility of the day...beer!

We went back to Scott's place and just hung out by his pool all day catching up. Scott taught us to never sign your life away to Direct TV, but I won't get into all that. We also finally found a good use for those noodle things you find around pools. We had some batting practice...

C'mon Piazza, I want the fastball!

Matt-Scott-J (Team photo!)


The original plan was to have Lauren meet back with us and leave town at about 6. Ummmmm, yeah, so 6 rolled around, we're still at the pool. Finally we actually realize this, and told Lauren to get on her way. We decided we'd have one last meal at...where else...WhatABurger. Where some more hell broke loose. Matt tried paying for his meal with his credit card and got it declined. Weird. He asked the girl behind the counter to try it again, maybe it got wet from all the rain. Nope. Eventually he wound up calling the number on the back of the card and wouldn't ya know it. They closed his account! Why? Well, they thought it was odd that he got an oil change in Atlanta on Thursday while, at the same time, bought a couple of hundred dollars worth of gas at several gas stations in South Florida!!!! Someone somehow got a hold of his credit card number, made themselves a card and got some kind of scheme going at some gas stations down there! Apparently this isn't all that uncommon, asking around it's happened to a couple of people we know. Luckily this was his credit card and not a debit card! It would probably be a bit tougher to get your money back if it were a debit card, where a credit card you could just dispute it. Or better yet, when they saw something suspicious, they just closed the account for him. They were so quick about it, he tried logging into his account right afterwards to see all the charges and nothing was there. I'm not even sure how they're gonna charge him for the oil change and all the gas he actually did buy this weekend!

Anyways, after all that drama we hit the road after 10pm...me and Lauren got back to our place at 3:30, at which point I parked, left a voice mail for my boss...and slept til about 10:30 or so.

As many complete disastrous events that occurred this weekend (hit by lightning, credit card theft!) it was still a blast!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blue Angels, Take Two

After Mother Nature had better ideas on Saturday for the Blue Angels, they rescheduled for Sunday on what turned out to be a pretty perfect day for it. The beach (and traffic to it!) was MUCH MUCH less crowded.

I am now going to attempt to put up some videos I took with my dinky little digital camera, who knows if this will come out right? I'll pretend like they will! They're only like 10 seconds a piece or so.

This first one is a fly-over with 4 planes with 2 of them upside down. The best part of these videos is the sounds they make
video

This second video, which I started late and ended too early is where a plane flies VERY close to the water, it makes a ripple affect (not seen here!) But you can hear Scott and Matt pointing it out.
video

And this last one is of the 6 planes coming towards us from over the water and it kinda looks like fireworks in the distance. I'm actually surprised that I was able to keep a plane in the picture the whole time, I really couldn't see anything because of the sun! And make sure you stay tuned for my brief yet inspiring commentary at the end of this video...

video
L->R (Ryan, Anne, Haley, Matt, Scott's head, me)

They all missed it!

Somehow I still managed to get sunburnt...must've been the "flaming" chair

Me taking a picture of Matt taking a picture of Fat Albert (the name of the plan)

And a few of Blue Angels pictures:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Molly Ringwalds and Lauren's Three-Oh!

So after recovering from our near death beach lightning experience on Saturday, we rested up for the second highlight of this trip. Me, Matt, Scott and Ryan took a trip across state lines into Mobile, Alabama to a place called "Soul Kitchen" to see what I was told was the best 80's cover band ever. And after seeing them I've gotta agree. It wasn't like going to see some cover band at a bar. This was a concert. They played for about 2 and a half hours with an encore. It was also Lauren's 30th birthday on Sunday, so the concert was the beginning of her celebration. We met up with her and a lot of her family - dad, sister, brother, sister in-law, etc...and some other of her friends. As Lauren's brother - Fielder - described em before the concert, they play some songs from the 80's that you probably wouldn't admit to liking (Wham, George Michael come to mind). But every song they played I knew. I'm kinda wondering if 80's music to my generation is what "oldies" music was to my parents. I hope not, because I never liked my parents music, I wonder how 80's music will hold up over time? The band - The Molly Ringwalds - is a group of guys, I think all from England (how the hell do these guys not have a wikipedia page?) dressed up as different characters from the 80's. The drummer was dressed as the Karate Kid, another guy dressed as an 80's chick with big poofy hair(kinda creepy), another guy was dressed as George Michael and another one looked like a friend of mine, Josh Reiter, but I may be the only one who thought that. Oh, and another guy wore a red "flower pot" hat like the guy from the band Devo. He was the only guy we could complain about, as Matt noticed, we're pretty sure he was lip syncing (lip singing?) when he was the lead singer for a couple of songs. Oh, one other complaint...no Def Leppard!!!!! But they did play over two hours of awesome 80's music.

I wasn't expecting that much, and i broke my rule of not wearing flip-flops to concerts. My feet were disgusting by the time this thing was over. On the way back we stopped at a truck-stop gas station place that for whatever reason had $15 legit NFL jerseys. I almost bought Brian a Larry Johnson Chiefs jersey but it was friggin HUGE. Sorry man, gain about 200lbs and I'll be more than happy to go back and get it for ya!!!! We got back to Scott's place at about 4am...just in time to wake up at about 7 for Sunday's rescheduled Air Show! Which I'll save for my next blog...

Me, Matt, Ryan, Scott driving to Mobile for the show

Matt's camera is better than mine...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why I Could Never be a Pierson

For those not related to me, the definition of a "Pierson" is essentially an outdoors person. Mixed in the family are 4 of such characters, aka my cousins - Rob, Dan, Jon and Liz. (This the first time I'm noticing all three of em have 3 letter shortened names). All of them are people who could survive anywhere. Hell, Jon just finished a bike trip from Mexico to Canada a few months ago. Me? I have a perfectly good condo, complete with a roof that I enjoy sleeping under.

This past weekend I went down to Pensacola, FL with Matt (and we dropped Lauren off to see her family) to see his cousin, my friend, Scott. The main focus of the trip was to see the Blue Angels perform in an air show at Pensacola Beach on Saturday.

We drove down Friday afternoon, and after a must stop a Whataburger (not quite as important as a stop up north at White Castle), we made it down in time to go to McGuire's Irish Pub & Brewery. It's a pretty well-known place. They've literally got dollar bills hanging from everywhere. As of last year, there is over $700,000 in dollar bills hanging from the walls and ceilings. Supposedly once a year they shut the place down and spend all day counting each and every one of em...for tax purposes I guess. Another tradition is a green drink called an Irish Wake. It's served in a "dirty" mason jar and is strong enough that they'll only serve you one. Another fun part of McGuire's is the trickiness of the bathrooms (see picture). On the Mens room it says, "Don't go in here LADIES this is the Men's Room" (With "LADIES" in a very large font). So of course after drinking an Irish Wake I was pretty easily fooled and walked right in. Some other guy followed me so that made me feel better.

Saturday morning, because of the HUGE crowds they get for the air show, it's important to get an early start, which isn't really my thing. But luckily Central Time bought me an extra hour. We loaded up Scott's car with beach chairs, towels, an umbrella, sunscreen and a cooler with beer and water. It took about 2 hours to make the 12 mile drive, which is better than I remember a couple years ago when we went. Eventually we were able to find a place to park at about 11am and we decided to kill some time by heading over to Subway for some food before we hit the beach. After Subway we walked back to the car (which, it's important to note that walking to the car is in the OPPOSITE direction of the beach). So it probably looked like we were leaving. So, I thought it'd be fun to, as people walked past us, to say "I can't believe the cancelled the air-show" loud enough for whoever walked past us heard. Ok, so it was funny at the time. Little did we realize how powerful karma is! Because after dragging all our crap to the beach (coolers without wheels are a BITCH to carry!) not to much afterwards...Mother Nature unleashed herself on the beach and in fact DID cancel the show!

It was actually one of the most scary experiences of my life, and which is just one example of why I wouldn't survive a day in the life of a Pierson. But, seriously, it was really bad out there. All we could do was huddle around an umbrella and wait out the storm...and wait...and wait...and wait. In the end about 6 inches of rain fell and tons of thunder and lightning pounded the area. At least 4 people were hit by lightning and taken to a hospital. It probably doesn't count but at one point I was holding on to the cloth part of the umbrella, to help make sure it didn't blow away, when I got shocked! I saw a bright blue light right on my thumb. It felt just like getting shocked by an outlet at home, but it put a good scare into me! Ryan and Anne (Scott's wife) also felt a little buzz on their hair at some point. It was just a pretty miserable experience. About 2 hours later or so when they finally announced the show was cancelled and the lightning let up, we packed everything up and started back for the car. Everything was drenched, and it was still raining. The street where we parked had floods halfway to my knees, it was nuts. I can't even imagine all the hurricanes they get down there, this seemed as bad as it could get to me! Finally we made it back to the car, but with the traffic no one was going anywhere. Me, Matt, Scott and Anne just sat in Scott's car for another 2 hours or so, completely drenched. It was pretty miserable. Finally we drove a half mile or so to a beach shop where we all bought new, clean, warm t-shirts. I also lost my sunglasses at some point in the mess, so I got new sunglasses too!

And for fun, here is an MSNBC article about all this that seems like it's written by a 12 year old.

More Pensacola weekend stories to come...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The 4th and Beyond

Hope everyone had a good 4th weekend.

Friday I actually didn't do anything (well, I was lucky enough to work all day!). But my allergies were bothering me and I'm not so excited about fireworks, so I just spent some quality time on the couch and watched the Mets blow a 2-0 9th inning lead and lost to the Philthies.

Saturday I finished up Season 2 of Weeds. Holy crap what an AWESOME season finale!!! Then headed over to Courtney & Mike's place for a BBQ and festivities. It was fun. They're big into the game cornhole. Which, I thought they made up, but apparently its popular enough to have its own wikipedia page! They make their own boards and equipment, involving the college team colors of choice. For Mike and his friend Adam, they've got Auburn colors, Courtney gets one LSU board. I may need to get me an FSU set...I think my patio is big enough to handle it! So anyways, we setup a Cornhole tournament (complete with dry-eraser-board brackets!). I teamed up with Will, but we lost in round two to Mike and Adam. We definitely got a raw deal in that setup! Courtney and Mike are also the proud new owners of a Wii. And more importantly, the game Rock Band. Which, I'd never experienced before. I've played Guitar Hero before, but Rock Band includes a drum set and a microphone! If I was ever gonna play any instrument, I'd always wanted to be a drummer. Back to the days when I was a kid, going into a music store and grabbing some drum sticks in a side room only to have some a-hole working there yell at me that I was holding the sticks wrong. I ran off crying and it crushed my hopes and dreams forever. I'm pretty sure my parents told him to do that so that they wouldn't have to deal with me playing the drums in their house :) Anyways, we went through a couple of songs, turns out I'm a good singer???? well, it helps when the "singing" is actually a Beastie Boys song! I spent most of the night trying out the drums. And it was A LOT tougher that you'd think. Especially because they incorporate a foot pedal. That makes it tough, and eventually by about 2:30am, after Courtney was long asleep and Mike was passed out on the couch, it was just me and Nooga, we decided we were ready to call it a night.

On Sunday, without really anything to do, I talked Lauren into a double-feature, which we'd been talking about doing for a while now. We both wanted to see The Love Guru, but we couldn't fit it in. We wound up seeing Get Smart (with Steve Carell) first. It was pretty good...but you've really gotta appreciate Steve Carell to really like it. I think he'd be perfect to play a real life Inspector Gadget movie. Next up was Hancock (with Will Smith). I hadn't really heard a whole lot about it, but I definitely wanted to give it a shot. We originally got seats pretty close to the screen, but after staring at the Rock Band screen all night the night before and with it being the 2nd half of a double feature, I asked Lauren if she would be cool with moving towards the back of the theatre. WORST. DECISION. EVER. Turns out we sat right in front of a family with a 2yr old wondering and chatting with himself throughout the aisle behind us. It's bad enough that I already generally don't have a lot of patience for annoying kids, but this was a movie theatre. You just don't let that happen. It's not like this was a kids movie. Without giving much away, Will Smith plays the role of a guy with super powers, but, well, he's kind of an asshole. There's a lot of cursing and drinking in the movie. Not that I claim to know anything about parenting, but this is not something I'd think a 2yr old should be subject to. This kid was sooooooooooooooo annoying, eventually, about halfway through the movie, we moved back down to the bottom closer to the screen again. I was sure to make sure they heard me use the word "obnoxious" as we left our seats, I also made sure to say "fucking" first but not TOO loud. Once we got to our new seats they did take the kid outside, so I feel like I made a positive difference in the lives of everyone in that theatre :) Unfortunately, it was temporary, the kid was back, and even way down at the bottom of the theatre, everyone can still hear this kid. With all that said, Hancock was an AWESOME movie. I absolutely loved it, and whenever it comes on DVD, Mitsa will be providing a movie night viewing party.

Last night was the return of Sports Trivia to a new bar since Frankies is no more. It was at a little hole in the wall kind of place called Charlie Mopps. It's hard to find, I will admit to one U-Turn. I met up with a coworker, Cintron and he needed at least 3 U-Turns I believe. The place was pretty cool, it had tons of beers to choose from. Anyways, for trivia, where half the fun is coming up with funny team names, we went with the recently demoted Braves outfielder, Jeff Francoeur as our target. "Jeff Francoeur, AA [minor league] All Star Game MVP". At first when I got there, our waitress, who was wearing a Sweetwater T-Shirt (a good sign, I was actually wearing mine too) took my order and I ordered a sweetwater and asked if they could turn the Mets game on one of the TV's. Well, they turned it on about 6 TV's! wow!!!! what service :) and the Mets were winning 5-0 before they even got it on! For my 2nd beer I asked the waitress to recommend something to me. She did one better. Actually three better. She brought me 3 samples of beers to try. Hell, after the samples I was kind of thinking I didn't need anymore beer, but since she went through all that I wasn't about to say no thanks, I'm good! So I got a 2nd beer and that was gonna be it. Well, as luck would have it, throughout trivia, they randomly pick team names and award a free pitcher of beer to two teams. Yep, we "won". Cintron isn't really a big drinker and I had to drive, so as sad and tragic as it was, the pitcher pretty much went to waste. I was tempted to offer it to the table next to us, but I'm not so sure they were even 21. There were too many straws in their drinks anyways. Well, me and Cintron wound up finishing in 2nd place and went off with $30 of gift certificates to spend there next time we go back. Which we most definitely will. Hopefully we get the same waitress too!

And in typical Mets fashion, after being ahead 8-0 and 10-1...they had to make things interesting, and wound up winning 10-9. Ughhhhh.