Saturday, June 24, 2006


My plan to take Sarah and some friends to a cozy sports bar named "Standings" in the East Village ended up a bit of a bust; it was fun enough until the baseball games ended an hour after we arrived, but ten minutes later the place was empty. It's the first time I've ever been part of the only group in a bar at 11PM on a Friday night.

So Sarah's friend Kelly led us to "Planet Rose", an astonishingly sketchy-looking karaoke bar on Avenue B just south of 14th. The facade was of metal and glass-brick, with only a porthole in the door to let outsiders peer in. The bar was bathed in dim red light, and several seating areas were bordered by long couches built in to the wall. It wasn't particularly swanky, and that was perfect. The karaoke line was long, and we ended up sitting around for a couple of hours before we got to sing, and had several (reasonably priced) drinks in the meantime.

One of the best performances of the evening was "Kevin Jesus" (the moniker by which he was summoned to collect his microphone) singing Prince's "P Control". He was dead on, which is really saying something for a skinny white guy. He also inspired me to purchase the single online this evening.

I had signed up to sing "Any Way You Want It" and "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, while Michelle had volunteered to sing "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Unfortunately, the bartender, two songs before we were to start, decided to sing "Any Way You Want It". Prick. He was also phenomenally good.

However, we got everyone off the couches for "Don't Stop Believing" ten minutes later, strung them along with "Baby Got Back", and then brought the house down with "Sweet Caroline". It was a stirring finale, made far more fun because the whole crowd decided to sing along. If there's anything four years of college taught me, it's that everyone always sings along to "Sweet Caroline", especially if drinks have been quaffed.

A fitting ending to an abnormally crazy night. Love that muddy water.

COMING NEXT TIME: Adventures in Home Decorating, Chinese Tea For White Guys, and some other crap.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wayback Machine: Grape Nuts of Wrath.

In searching the local video archives, we discovered this breakfast incident:

Filmed in Sarasota, FL. ::sigh::

Back From China.

We landed at JFK two weeks ago tired, happy, and stuffed. I'm not sure I've ever eaten so well on a vacation; hopefully Sarah will soon upload her pictures of all the food we ate in the ol' Orient. Macau was particularly (pleasantly) surprising, full of spicy prawns and African chicken and Portugese soups and tasty wines. Having lived under Portugese rule since the 16th century, the Macanese have had quite a bit of time to practice their fusion cuisine. And it's damn tasty.

I've started putting pictures up on Flickr, and I'll keep them rolling over the next week. First, there are pictures from Hong Kong, and then ones from Guangzhou. Still to come are the pictures of Macau, which was a wonderful old-world oasis, and then more from our last few days in Hong Kong.

Hopefully before too long I'll find time to write more about China. Experiencing the culture was even more interesting than I expected. It's quite evidently a society in transition, and there are tens, hundreds of millions of people at each stage of that transition. The situation makes for some strikingly imperfect markets: meals for 2 to 1000 yuan; shirts for 20 to 400.

I'm really just a huge dork.