Friday, December 30, 2005

I Kiss the Floor On My Way Down

I'm surviving! It's been a really crazy week..while most people are having time off, I'm working harder than usual! It's okay though. Nothing like ending the year on a high note, financially.
So, the Genders were AMAZING!!! I strongly encourage you to seek them out. They're on myspace, you know. Just straight ahead punk rock and roll, with a lot of humor and a good attitude. They just seemed to be having a blast on stage, and it was infectious despite the really bad turnout. I was surprised that more young people didn't take advantage of the all ages Sci Fi Idols show, but I guess most of the young people were either gone away for the holiday or afraid to come to Garfield. In any case, it was a great night.
Christmas was FINE! I was afraid to go to my dad's house till after the Steeler game, but as they totally ran all over Cleveland all was well. We got drunk and watched James Bond movies. Christmas day I was able to commandeer the TV and watch all 5 hours of VH1's Top 100 One Hit Wonders. It featured William Shatner as the host and Alice Cooper as one of the commentators. I was in heaven. They had a performance clip of DAVID NAUGHTON!!!! Makin it, woah woah woah, I'm makin it. He was the "I'm a Pepper" guy from the old skool Dr Pepper commercial. I had a major crush on him and still have the 45 of the theme song from his TV show, which lasted all of like a month. Also, Nick Gilder. Dad's comment: "he's a weird looking guy" Ha!
Eventually the kids came home and we opened presents and dad did not disappoint with the cash outlay, thus essentially paying for Christmas. I love it. Also got a nice photo from the wedding, some cool fake fur cuffed gloves, jewelrys, candles, and bath products(oh to be a girl) and another copy of GTSYA Alice Cooper. That's okay.
Had a good meal and a great time playing the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit Game, even though my brother crushed the opposition. It's pretty impressive how much he knows about that stuff. Becky and I have plans to one day make a heavy metal trivial pursuit game so we can retire. I feel like now is the time.
Speaking of heavy metal, next Sunday is Metallica Theme Brunch!!!! Woowoo. Don't kill em all....give em some cheesy grits instead!!!!This is going to be fun, and also weird. I love it.
Also speaking of heavy metal, tonight is the last Anita Fix show before Al heads into exile. I hope it is fun. I'm a little nervous about six bands in one night, but hopefully I can relax and have a good time.
Finally, I received my netflix Gothic Industrial Madness video comp. Oh boy! So far all I want to do is watch the Chemlab video over and over because Jared is so fucking incredible. Dancing with a big flourescent tube. There's like 40 videos on this thing, and since I can't get anything new until next month anyway, I'm going to take my time and enjoy it. Right now I'm feelin' Die Krupps and Big Electric Cat, and of course, Throbbing Gristle and Test Dept. Woohoo! Bring on the gothic industrial madness!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Don't Ski Down the Mountain Without Skis

This helpful piece of advice comes to you courtesy of David J. Don't say he didn't warn you.

All my clothes are in a big heap on the floor. All my dishes are in a big heap in the sink. I actually STARTED the process of xmas shopping/crafting tonight. It looks like I am going to have the late afternoon into early evening of the next two days to carry on. I'm hoping to get the cards out and get to squirrel hill for a little shoppie.
I'm really, really excited for the show tomorrow night at the garfart---Fangs of the Panda, Science Fiction Idols, and some hot guys from Tel Aviv called The Genders. Merry Christmas to ME!
Last night was a Merry Christmas present also...had a blast playing with Anita at Mod Forms. The Hollow Sisters really blew my mind...especially Deb. Had no idea she had the pipes on her! Modey Lemon freakin covered Not To Touch The Earth....they totally nailed it. I swelled with pride. It feels so good to see a band you coddled in its infancy not only mature into incredibly accomplished, assured musicians...but also achieve a measure of WORLDWIDE success. Wow.
I never seem to be able to get enough sleep these days.....I wake up spontaneously feeling somewhat refreshed, but then three or four hours later I crash big time. Maybe I should stop drinking coffee at night?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Is It My Honey You Need

That may not be such an appropriate title for this post...but it's really sexy when Daniel Ash sings it. Unfortunately, I don't think I had any honey whilst in Toronto, so I can't make a clever tie in. Deal with it.
First stop on the eating tour of Toronto actually happened in Mercer County. (which, you may or may not know, is where Trent Reznor grew up. Funfact!) Aunt Bee's was a welcome respite on our long and slightly snowy trip up the map. A fine diner with the circular counter design of days gone by. Nice bathrooms, good diner coffee, lots of locals smoking their hearts out, and really good food. I had a delish burger, Jilly and Deb had delish omlettes, and Sarah had a delish BLT. The whole experience felt like something out of an indie film. While we were there, one of the waitresses started to bring out more and more bee themed decorations. It was adorable.
We soldiered on, stopping briefly at the weird rest stop in New York where you have to walk down a freezing wind tunnel to get to the actual food court. I think in principle this is a brilliant idea...why build two rest areas when you can build one right over the top of the freakin highway?...but the freezing wind tunnel kind of turned me off. Sure, it's exhilirating. Maybe that's the point.
Deb got ice cream. I couldn't believe it.
We finally arrived in Toronto and after settling into our luxury accomodations, we set out to eat in Toronto for realz. Our first stop was Fran's, a delux style diner with a very eye catching marquee. Once inside we were charmed by the wall of press stating that it had been around since the 40s and had some award winning rice pudding. Sounds good. Also, there's a bar. Sweet.
Not so sweet is the fact that our server immediately confirmed our worst smoking inside any restaurant, anywhere. The "new healthy Canada", he said with a smirk. We instantly hated him...not just for being the bearer of bad news, but also for recommeding the horrifying Upper Canadian house brews. Ye Gods. Only Sarah escaped unscathed with a Heineken. The dark was not quite as awful as the pale ale, but still pretty nasty. We learned our lesson quickly.
After waiting a while for the server to flirt with the young asian girls at the next table, we placed our orders. Everything was pretty ok, nothing really awesome(except that they served a nice bright crunchy frozen vegetable mix) My steak and mushroom pie was tasty, but not at all what I expected. It was very greek in inflection. Actually, the greek salad was pretty darned good. The potatoes were ok. The poster on the wall for some kind of tropical drinks company that said in large rainbow letters "PACKED WITH FRUIT! Happy Pride Toronto!" made me laugh incredulously. Weird waiter guy came back and chatted with us for a while...we admitted to being from Pittsburgh instead of pretending to be from Europe, and he started telling us a long story about how he knew of Pittsburgh because he was an inventor and had sent his information to the inventor's patent organization there. No, we did not ask him what his invention was. We kinda wanted him out of our hair. All told, the experience was mostly blah, blah, except that the rice pudding was indeed fantastic. So it ended on a good note.
Tuesday we drank decent in room coffee, and then went to Bloorblah(the blah will eventually be made clear...wait for it!) for some pretty good local chain coffee. I also had a croissant, which was a good thing because our walk to lunch was arduous.
Finally, we arrived at Annapurna, a vegetarian restaurant run by devotees of Sri Chimnoy. It would be hard for me to say enough good things about this place....I felt completely nourished by every aspect. The food, the ambiance, the delicious Tiger's Milk beverage which I swear I have not encountered at all anywhere in 15 years. It's an acquired taste, I guess, but damn. Good stuff. (note....I can't find any recipes online for it that really approximate the drink I was similiar in taste to the Tiger's Milk energy bars I used to enjoy when I worked at the co-op. I think I must have had a cookbook at one point that had the recipe though. Anyway)
The rest of the party enjoyed some delicious chai tea. For appetizers we had bonda(chick pea flour breaded deep fried potato balls...what's not to love?) and some vegetable fritters which were called something other than pakora. Can't remember what though. Fantastic coconut chutney.
I chose the macrobiotic plate of brown rice with vegetables, seaweed, tofu, and tahini dressing. Yowza! I could have run a marathon after that. A+ Jilly had a tofu burger which she loved, Deb had an eggplant sandwich which she loved(tho it was a little oily) and Sarah had the special vegetable chili with homemade cornbread. Which we all loved. Deb disappeared for a long time to the bathroom and it turned out she was discussing Sri Chimnoy with one of the servers. Apparently, there was a photo on the wall of him lifting 7,000 pounds over his head with one hand. That's what tiger's milk will do for ya, I suppose.
Our dinner spot Tuesday night was a place Jilly had picked out ahead of time..Epicure on Queen Street. It was cozy and warm and the fellow working there was very nice. We settled at a small table and ordered up some drinks. I had a Boddington's. Why mess with perfection? Our appetizer choice was a smoked salmon pizza with red onions and capers...really delicious, although we were all a little surprised that it had red sauce. It worked. I chose the Canadian Burger, which featured canadian cheddar and "peameal bacon." I didn't know what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting THAT. It was okay...I didn't love it. I did however love the burger, and the fries were also pretty good. Deb got the duck which was apparently fantastic. Sarah had a really fucking good steak and a great vegetable medley. Jilly had some kind of veal of which she heartily approved. She also heartily approved of the turnips, much to her great surprise. We definitely had dessert, but I can't remember it...chocolate mousse, I think? yeah, that was it. Good.
Wednesday morning we breakfasted at Accents(see bar review for the link) It was plenty delicious...I especially liked the basket of breads. My potatoes were kinda hard but since it was actually after breakfast service time I am sure they had been sitting in a warming tray for a few hours. The real American style bacon was great. Since we breakfasted late we didn't really do lunch, although we did stop for some slices of heavenly and fucking huge pizza at the big pizza joint on Queen Street. We enjoyed the pizza so well that we almost got the car towed...more on that in the shopping breakdahn. ( I'm sure the pizza place had a name, but all I can remember is that they serve pizza until something like 4am. It's an awesome place and you can't miss it if you are walking Queen St West. It's a giant window full of pizza!)
After a long nap and primping session, we set out (mercifully by cab!) to The Red Tomato which we had spotted on our Monday night walk. Jilly had determined that this would be the perfect place for the actual birthday dinner, and she was not wrong. My goodness.
First of all, the place is underground, warmly lit, and very, very cozy. The bar has lamps all across it making it look very homey. The server/bartendress was freakin HAHT in a smart black pantsuit and sounded like Kathleen Turner. I was immediately in love. I had a glass of shiraz and basked in the warm glow. She made some special drinks for the other ladies and seemed truly interested in how they liked them. Swoon.
The place has an open kitchen and we had a great view of the chef who was just cranking it out, all by himself. Of course, we arrived right at the end of service so at some point earlier there might have been more than just him, but was mesmerizing to watch him.
Kathleen Turner told us that she didn't care how we ordered, so we got two combination dinners and a few other plates. The New Wave Ceasar Salad with Blackened Chicken...insane. Perfectly dressed, fresh crisp greens, and the most tender succulent flavorful chicken you can imagine. It was like butta. Escargot Stuffed Mushroom Caps with Garlic Butter and Melted Cheddar. Snails! Ma, I'm eatin snails! ha. I couldn't really tell you if I liked the snails or not...but the cheddar was good. The girls ate Fried Baby Calimari with Chipotle Aioli. I didn't try it, but I reveled in the Sautéed Curried Garlic Shrimp W/Olive Oil, Red Pepper Flakes & Jalapeno-Chili Biscuits. Probably the best thing I put in my mouth in Toronto. Kathleen Turner brought a basket of bread with butter to sop up the juices. Did I mention she was haht?
There were "entrees", too...Grilled Alberta "High River" Ribeye Steak, Blue Cheese Butter w/ Yukon Gold Frites. God damn. The steak was good. The potatoes were good. The blue cheese butter was orgasmic.
"Sea angel" Angle Hair Pasta w/ Mixed Seafood, Sauce creole was for me the closest thing to disappointment of the night. The sauce was not very creole-y at all, but the pasta was pretty good and there were chunks of fish in amongst the seafood which had a nice sturdy bite. Disappointment is hardly the word.
Kathleen Turner brought us the Cranberry Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Saboyan and ice cream with a sparkler in it. Ummmm...swoony swooon swoon! We sat and lolled around for a while and then headed out into the cold night for post orgasm cigarettes. If I ever go to Toronto again(like, in the summer time) I will so go and see Kathleen Turner again. Sigh.
Departure day we got all the way to Niagra Falls without eating. We decided on the lush disney atmosphere of the Rainforest Cafe. I had previously told Jilly about this place where it rained INSIDE and she wanted to check it out. We were not disappointed by the atmosphere, nor the ginormous mugs of coffee. We got a booth near the giant fishtank. (apparently it used to have 6,000 gallons and live sharks, but when we saw it there were only various nicely colored tropical fish) I had a great barbecue beef wrap, Jilly and Deb were happy with their burgers, and Sarah loved her buffalo chicken salad. The waiter (jason?) insisted we have birthday ice cream. That was nice.
Then, we headed home. The end part two.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Alcohol is My Yoga, Baby

Let's start the Toronto review with a review of the bars we visited, shall we? Since alcohol is my yoga, and all.
Monday night we rolled in and rolled out into the very cold street. After a little meal(which will be discussed in the "restaurant" portion of the Toronto review) we walked a lot more in the cold till we ended up on King Street. After ducking in to a British or something pub, we walked across the street to Hey Lucy, which looked promising. It was very cute inside, and we were fooled into thinking that maybe they had a heated smoking patio by the large banner that said "rooftop patio" strung across the front of the building. It didn't, but they did have a small corral in front where one could take one's drink out with them to smoke. The place was dead enough that we could take two seats at the bar and a small table across so we could talk to each other which was nice. Little Mama was very excited about the Red Bull martini menu---until the talking cleavage behind the bar let her know that they no longer had Red Bull OR Champagne, and she didn't know why they hadn't bothered to change the menu yet. Oops. She ended up getting a lychee martini, which was very pretty and tasty. I got something that was creamy and good, but I can't remember what it was called or even what was actually in it. The martini glasses they used were squat little things that looked kinda weird, but we decided they were probably a good idea in the long run. Jilly and Deb both ordered White Russians, and here is where the real trouble began. Jilly took one sip and said to the cleavage, "Is there vodka in this?" The cleavage looked at her and looked at the drink and said "No, White Russians are never made with vodka, just Kaluha and milk." I bristled and immediately rummaged in my purse to see if I had managed to pack any LUPEC business cards, which of course I had not. So they suffered through some of their unpleasant milk cocktails and got some other alcohol, and then we beat it out of there and went to smoke.
After a good deal more walking and smoking in the freezing cold, we decided to hit the hotel bar for a nightcap.Accents is very old fashioned stately charming, and boasted lots of faded 8x10s of past celebrity guests on the walls. I was very excited to see that David Lee Roth and Foreigner were among the dignitaries. The service was very fine and the bartendress helped me with my selection by suggesting that a coffee cocktail was a good way to warm up. So I had a very delish baileys and coffee with whipped cream on the top. I can't remember what the other ladies selected, but we were all very happy and warm when we went to bed.
Tuesday we walked a long way in the freezing cold(sense a pattern?) and in the afternoon we settled happily into the Bedford Ballroom, a very pubby spot on the campus drag. Here we had our first run in with the ginormous Hoegaarden glasses which were to be a constant hilight of the trip. The barkeep insisted that they really were a pint, tho it was pretty damn hard to believe. I had my first delicious Boddington of the trip, and was very satisfied. There was some pool playing and hangin out on very comfy couches and smoking on the fucking freezing cold patio. Then we walked a long way in the cold. On our walk we passed the BSC, Bovine Sex Club. It is with great sadness that I report we did not know at the time that they have a smoking room and also that Slash and Nikki Sixx hang out there when they are in town. As they probably weren't in town, we didn't miss them. But we did check out the "intimidating metal sculpture" on the outside.
Later in the night we went out for dinner, and then ended up at The Done Right Inn(can't find any really good links for it) This was a very chill little place with more comfy couches, a good DJ, some vintage pinball machines, and a very fucking cold heated smoking patio. I had a Red Stripe and chatted with some lame locals in the smoking patio. We heard Joanna Newsome and Jilly went and bought her CD the next day in Greektown. I can't remember what the other ladies had. I should have paid more attention.
Wednesday we walked a lot in the fucking cold, including Greektown and most of Queen Street West. We had our afternoon libation at Squirly's probably my favorite place we went of the trip. Not just because it is called Squirly's and has an adorable little squirrel with a martini on the matchbook, but also because the place was gorgeous and chill and I had a mad crush on the lady working the bar. She made me a brandy alexander which she realized as I told my companions what it was she had failed to put the cream de cacao in--instead of trying to pretend it was supposed to be that way like the cleavage at Hey Lucy did, she took the drink back and remixed it. Classy. She was also very informative and sweet and HOT, whooboy. She told us where the Lush store was and where we might be able to get American cigarettes. She also gave Jilly a free birthday shot of bourbon. I tipped her big. We didn't get a look at the tiki patio, but I am sure it was awesome. The bathroom has a lovely mural of a geisha on the walls. You should totally check this place out if you ever are in the area.
Later in the night we went to the Red Tomato for Jilly's birthday dinner. I'll talk more about that when I get to the restaurant review portion. After dinner we tried to find dancing, but people don't dance in Toronto on a Wednesday night. We peeked into the Bovine Sex Club, but it apparently wasn't happenin. So we went to the Velvet Underground, which also had some mildly intimidating metal sculpture out front. There was supposed to be dancing there, but first there were some punk bands to get through. The door guy was really friendly and they had a nice smoking torch out front, where I bonded with a funny guy who was also having his birthday and was out with a giant group of multinational friends. The import beers there were really expensive and we started to fear running out of Canadian money(luckily, we feared drinking Upper Canadian even more) so we got well drinks instead...which weren't much cheaper. I was digging the punk music and the crowd but the rest of the ladies wanted to try to find real dancing, so we left after one game of pool.
Walked a long way in the fucking cold trying to find Cobalt, which we thought was really going to provide dancing. Somehow I had gotten the address wrong by one number and we stood staring agape at some kind of insurance building where the club was supposed to be. Next door was Sneaky Dee's, where Becky and I had pretty good food when we were there while waiting for the Cineforum films. Some of us had to pee, and all of us were fucking cold and a little despondent, so we decided to go in there. We got a booth and used the bathroom which was apparently horrifying, and we counted up all our Canadian money in a pile. I grabbed a newspaper and discovered that Cobalt was actually across the street, so we gathered up the money and went back out. Found Cobalt, and it was another little chill spot. The drinks menu was fantastic, and I was so very excited to try their Grasshopper, which somehow had brandy and lemon in it in addition to the cream and creme de menthe. The gorgeous gay barkeep came back about a minute later to tell me that the cream smelt like a turkey dinner and he didn't want to serve it to me, so I got a scotch and ginger instead. The other ladies got gorgeous martinis which I forget the name of, but they were big and beautiful and delicious. Jilly got the feeling that it was a gay bar,but I don't think it was. I think it might have been a particularly gay-ful night though. Another spot I would highly recommend if you are in the vicinity. A couple got up and danced amongst the tables and chairs to the smooth indie beats, but we were all a little too tired out by then.
This concludes my little drinking tour of Toronto. Hope you have enjoyed it. Stay tuned for shopping, eating, and cabbie tours of Toronto.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Toronto! Do Sutton!

Some random word associations about our little four day birthday jaunt to the great white north, which will probably mean little to the people who were not there:

Bloor blah; do sutton!; ted danson; whachoothank; kathleen turner; cold; walk; galoise; aunt bee; fran's/inventor; velvet underground; doneright inn; squirlys; LUSH; cobalt; epicure; did I mention cold/walk?; spodeena/spodiina; red tomato; hey lucy; sri chimnoy and the 7,000 pounds; croissantree; intimidating metal sculptures; you are small people!; praisin jah in the street!; rainforest cafe; something ballroom(I already forgot!); honest eds; blingin and ballz; the fucking new healthy canada.

I will endeavor to flesh out this impressionistic account of the trip in the coming days.
Rest assured that we all made it back in one piece(despite the best efforts of Ted Danson!) We walked a helluvalot in the bitter freezing cold. We also smoked a helluvalot in the bitter freezing cold. We also ate and drank very well and shopped a bit and enjoyed each other's company and celebrated Jilly's vault into the new decade.
Next time I go to Toronto, though, it will be in the summer months. Mark my words.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I got the Einsturzende Neubauten DVD in my netflix and it is playing in the other room as I type this. Everytime I go in there to peek because the sounds are totally amazing, something totally amazing is going on onscreen. Just now they were all beating on the Iron Man. Earlier, there were about 8 people dressed in different costumes dancing wildly. And then there's little elfen Blixa screaming and jumping around. And the other guys beating randomly on stuff and setting stuff on fire. Wow wow wow. When I watch stuff like this I so want to live in a giant warehouse space where I could have a band like this. Seriously. Yes I love to listen to and watch pop music and new wave, but when it comes down to what I really love to DO, it's definitely beat on shit as hard as I can for hours while someone screams and someone else sets something on fire. One day, maybe.
Yesterday was a beautiful blur of a day off. We went to the EatnPark breakfast buffet and then hit up the Westcoast Video goin out of business sale. I got two of my favorite Ken Russell films (Crimes of Passion and Gothic) for $5. Becky got Cafe Flesh and also the KISS movie, and some other stuff. We also went out to the Waterworks for some soul sucking shopping(she had to go the fabric store, and I needed some things from the grocery) Man, just being around that much commerce tires me right out. I cashed in all my change and got "free" toilet paper and toilet cleaner, which made me feel good. Nice not to have to "pay" for things that are going down the toilet.
We had a nice dinner and some Mateus Rose and put up the sad little leany to the side silver tinsel tree. I really love my little sad tree, though. It's covered in aliens, reptiles, ninjas and spacemen. Becky said I need to make a Trent ornament, and that led me to saying "Merry Fistfuck" which kept me amused for hours. And still does amuse the hell out of me. I blame Meathead.
Speaking of TR, one of the other movies we got on the cheap is "Light of Day" which features a very young TR in a cameo role as a band member. I haven't watched it yet to see if I can locate him, but I am figuring he will probably look much as he did when I had that fateful conversation with him about Adam Ant in my boyfriend's mother's laundryroom. If you don't know that story, I'll tell it again. I love telling that story.
Also speaking of TR, rumor has it that he will be playing March 7th in Erie. We are SOOOOOOOOOO going to be there. It's almost like Trent heard me being sad about not seeing him in Cleveland and made sure to give me another chance. Except that I am not one of those Nine Inch Nails fans who believes I have some sort of psychic connection with Trent Reznor. I swear I'm not.
So, the rest of the day today is going to be about watching Einsturzende Neubauten and getting ready for my trip. I have to clean out the refrigerator and I have to do one more load of laundry, and I have to PACK. Packing sucks ass, as everyone knows. NO matter how carefully I pack, there will come a day in my three day jaunt to Toronto when I will want something that I have neglected to put in the bag. It never fails. So I will just have to assume that as a given and do the best I can. One thing I will make sure to do is pack multiple long underwears, because the last time I was in Toronto I froze to death. As our esteemed president says, fool me once....
I'll no doubt have lots of tales of debauchery to report on my return. Be good, stay warm, and, uh, don't get fooled again.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy Birthday Pirate Ryan!!!

Today is the birthday (I think it's the big 4-0, even!) of my darling Ryan Roxie. And as a birthday present for ME, someone posted a photograph of him on Halloween wearing a pirate outfit. So now I know that the facial hair was at least partly inspired by Halloween, and I can be comforted and resume my full on adoration.

Today there will be listening to DPM and R77 and tonight there will be watching Brutally Live and playing the sexual muppet Corona drinking game. (that's the one where every time Roxie's gorgeous blonde dreads flop around you take a drink. My six pack will be gone by the fourth song, I am sure)

There's some sad stuff about today too, but I'm going to try not to think about it too much. Today I'm going to celebrate how good things can be.