Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: August 1st

Sup fellas?

I put together a detailed recap of that night's "America's Got Talent" in my last blog entry and most people skipped over to my comments about fermented apples.  Hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaahaha, I thought that was awesome!

I know what my audience really wants.... they want cookies.


I have a "Toblerone" chocolate bar at my desk.  An co-worker on her way out gave it to me and I put it next to the chocolate truffles.   I can't eat the chocolate truffles -- its way too many calories per morsel so I am still sitting on those months later.   The Toblerone was more manageable.  Yesterday I went after a few pieces.  The day before I went after a few more.   Just a couple pieces at a time won't kill me.  I love a good round of Toblerone!

This would be a TRE-MENDOUS day for the Starbucks breakfast sandwich and Pike Place Roast.  Did I mention that yesterday?  Bah!  So be it...

One of my buddies wrote "I Like Steak" on Facebook.  This gives you an idea of the kind of buddies I have.  He is a good buddy.   A buddy of steak is a buddy of mine.

Coach, on the other hand can't eat steak.  He just doesn't like it.  Then I asked him about beer, and he doesn't like that either!  I always thought beer and steak were two of the fundamental building blocks of man.   To know someone who doesn't like either one is rare.  He'll eat red meat but usually tries to avoid it.

Coach is smart about all this.  Avoiding steak and beer are two keys to tremendous health.  I just couldn't avoid it completely myself.   Steak!  I mean its juicy, roasted, and succulent.  That is hard to say "no" to. 

I wonder if the Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich is out now at Carl's.  If it isn't, time to go make one!  Probably the strawberry pop tarts to start, and vanilla ice cream.

Here's a funny thing about Pop Tarts.  Am I right in stating the Pop Tart used to not have any frosting on them?  When I was a little kid, I remember there being numerous non-frosted pop tarts.  Maple I think, Strawberry, one other one.   Today, nearly ALL pop tarts have some form of frosting.   Was the regular pop tart too bland??

The America's Got Talent Results show as disappointing last night, to say the least.  The two stage performances by established acts Robin Thicke and Brad Paisley were awesome.  I'm referring to the voting results.  I don't even want to get into the deets because I have bored enough people with my #AGT opinions.

BUT... the group "Innovative Force" advanced, and congrats to them, but I saw them dance, and they were "Derivative Bore" to me.

B-OO-T-Y did *not* advance.  I think that's a disgrace.  I know it's just "one song" and theoretically you have no ceiling with that, but these guys were taking their one song and sending it to whole new levels.  They brought the HOUSE DOWN.   Are the people voting for these things watching the show?  It's their prerogative to vote but man... America's Voters let me down last night.

I got ten votes, and all ten of them went to Tone the Chiefrocca aka the inventors of the "B-OO-T-Y" song.  They were really good sports.  In fact, they had what some would call a "Vid" moment when they thought they were eliminated a step early.  

Usually at the end of the results show, you get three acts remaining, they vote one in, and the other two then are pitted to be selected by the judges.  If there's a judges tie, it goes to the total vote as all the previous acts did.  So "Forte", the opera singing group advances, and host Nick Canon sets up the final two candidates, but Tone actually thought he was bounced already!  He started congratulating Forte, gave them fist pumps and were about to leave but then towards the end Nick does the buildup.

So Tone goes over to Nick and says "I thought we were done."  HAHAHAHAHAHA,  Nick's like "You ain't done yet!!"

DAMN that would have been a great setup to them advancing, but no.   America voted for Angela the Female Caliendo instead.  I'm a fan of Angela's as well but she didn't bring the house down though... I gotta be fair!

If you could make a sandwich of anything using pop tarts, how would you play it?   A Pop Tart Pastrami?  Pop Tart and Peanut Butter?  Don't need the jelly, right?

Pop Tart toast with butter in the middle?  An atomic Pop Tart spicy chicken sandwich?  A Pop "Torta" with carne asada, avocado, and sour cream?

Pop Tarts, Chocolate, Marshmallow, and Banana.. the campfire sandwich.  What if you put salsa in between the pop tarts?  ooh, that wouldn't taste to good.

Know what?  in addition to the above, tonight might be a good night for souplantation.  If I bring a box of pop tarts to Souplantation, I can sneak in some soft serve onto some pop tarts for a special pop tart sundae, do the dance!

...granted, it works just as well with Souplantation's cookies.

There's a friend I know on Twitter who was really satisfied to have Girardi instead of Mattingly as the Yankees manager.  Hey listen, if ignorance is bliss, I'll leave him be.  Personally I think Mattingly's a much better manager than Girardi and that one's easy.  Less is more, my friends.

Imagine a taco the size of a whole *table!*   What a great meal that would be.   

That's all from here, goooooood morning everybody!

Dave's Thoughts of the Day plus AGT Recap: July 31st

THIS is the last day of July, promise!

and what a day!   Did you all see "America's Got Talent" last night?  There was a sheer enjoyment watching America's hopefuls unfold while on another screen Mark Ellis singled home Andre Ethier to win the game for the Dodgers over the Yankees.  The whole thing -- BEAUTIFUL!

Let's get into the particulars... oh I know I could recap my dinner last night: Father's Office burger with the lady friend, shoestring fries, North Coast Beer, and garlic aioli better than gold, but this entry we dedicate to AGT.

If you remember my predictions from yesterday, oh wait, I didn't post those.  Let me go Phil Steele on you and recap it all...

Basically, I predicted, BEFORE the show that I'd eliminate these acts before the show even STARTED.  That's how much I either disliked them or didn't think they'd vote for em:  Hat Guy, Those Dopey Little Punk Kids from Staten Island (sorry Staten Island folks, nothing against SI, just these jokers), the guy who kept grossing people out Brad Byers, and Aquanuts (Synchro Swimming)

AND I thought to auto advance the "B-DOUBLE-O-T-Y" group aka Tone the Chiefrocca more on them later.
 Forte was auto advanced in my mind as well.

Even so, despite my predetermined advancement, both of these acts above blew me *away* with their performances.  I mean WOW with an underline!   Forte, first of all, overcame my presumptions about chemistry issues and took *over.*  They sang a ditty from "West Side Story" and just hit a grand slam... I mean THAT would have stolen the show on any other night, but not tonight!

B DOUBLE. O. T. Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!  Watch it and you'll understand.  Tone the Chiefrocca -- one mission -- one hit.   That sounds so ridiculous right?  It is!  Yet, they sell it, oh they SELL it baby.

It seemed like even as much as I loved that group, they could not possibly do the exact same song and improve upon it.  Boy was I wrong!  End of the show, they run the highlight package... even show them doing their "one music video"  (I laughed so hard at this folks, I was in tears seeing them go after this idea so much that they did a video), then they went on stage.  Major effects, props, a whole team of backup dancers, full production values even Nelly would be jealous of, the entire production was siiiiiiiiick.   These guys dotted their "i's" and crossed their "t's."   Every part of that performance was brilliant.   Brought the HOUSE down.

To summarize, the last two acts described were easily the highlights of the night and frankly the highlights of BOTH weeks so far.  Last week was very underwhelming... I'm glad I could count on this week's acts to give AGT a boost.

Now to summarize the rest.  We knew Forte and Tone were in... after seeing them NAIL it last night, it's pretty much a done deal.  America, I swear to you, would have to be complete boneheads not to advance these two.  So ten acts to compete for two spots suddenly!   Who advances?

Well, let's return to the question of (Dave's personal) auto eliminations... to avoid this fate you really had to show something, and baby, the Hat guy showed me something.  He still kept dropping his hat, but at least here his mistakes were minimal and his charisma took the crowd by its hand and strolled it along. Hat Guy, Kid the Whiz I think, was *good.*   People are really rooting for him.  That guy was a fun dude to watch.

Other than that, everyone else I auto eliminated pretty much justified their dismissal.  Now we'll get through the rest of the acts in chronological order:

Okay, first of all, to an act I had on the cusp of advancing, Innovative Force.  I was being WAY too generous with these folks.  There was nothing innovative nor forceful with these ladies... look it's nice that they can show some incredible athletic feats, but for goodness sake, nothing about that said "WOW!  I gotta run to the TV!"  As Franceser would say, "Good, not great."  I just wasn't blown away.  I can't advance em, I'm sorry fellas.

Magala was next... holy smokes is this guy riding the edge.  He did a pretty good job but there was a visible stumble in his act.  All the judges gave him a pass, and for good reason.  They revealed that Magala cut himself internally during rehearsal, while swallowing swords, couldn't eat for two days, and was really in bad shape.  But within the week he came to and put together a big show.   The way he stumbled worried us all.  I think people were more concerned with if he was hurt than how he did.   Inspired act for sure, and I'd advance him myself, so that's three spots in Dave's predictions now solidly taken.

I believe the Hawaiian Kid Singer was after that.  She wasn't bad, but it wasn't very memorable either.  I'm afraid she's not going to make it.  One writer said it'd be a joke if she was bounced but Anna Christine wasn't.  Ok ok, one key difference here.  Hawaiian Kid singer at her best wouldn't come CLOSE to Anna Christine at her best... it was clear that Christine made a huge blunder, but she can just as easily overcome that and put in an enormous performance the second time.   This other kid was pretty good, but it seemed like a linear "safe" curve... no breathtaking heights in effect.  and, I hate to say it, but as Coach says "she sang like a kid."  That's not good.  Someone has to be good in their own right to be a serious contender, I think so.   Not just "good *for a kid.*"

There was another guy who swallowed swords but he was more of a gross our act than a showman.  Brad Byers.   All this guy could do was either troll the audience or gross out the judges.  I had to cover my eyes for both of his big stunts.  One was him trying to put his tongue into a fan... damn miracle the tongue didn't bleed to death.  The next stunt was him lying on a bed of nails, then getting some guys to put a speed bump over him AND get his brother to drive an ATV over him.  It was more gross than entertaining.   Especially when you consider that he performed AFTER a similar stuntsman of far better caliber, Byers had no chance.  NO CHANCE.

I can't remember who came after what anymore so let me just run down what comes to mind.

Dave Shirley, the man with the video screen illusion of changing "sides" so to speak.  So he'd dance with the top half and the bottom half would be him dancing and wearing something else.  Very high concept theater, but man the execution as bad.  I mean it was BAD... dancing way out of sync... his positioning would be nearly half a body length off...  imagine the two halves of your TV split and shifted in opposite directions.  Shirely needs some refinement of his act, but I don't think he should give up either.  But HERE... it was a fail.  So he's probably done.

I can't hold my opinions on these punks any longer, let's get to "Struck Boyz."   Can you imagine a bigger brasher more pompous set of hacks this side of Mike Francesa?  Give me a friggin *break.*   They're just little kids so I really shouldn't be this harsh with them but they act like they are the schiz.   I don't even like this behavior with adults so you can bet I'm going to have very little tolerance for that arrogance for 8-12 year olds.  After this act of them patting themselves on the back during their intro package, they go on stage and their choreography is sloppy, their timing is off, and their performance is just a bunch of kids dancing at the neighborhood party.  Look, this is probably mean of me to say, but let's face it, these kids are not National Stage Material.   Hey more power to 'em for having great self confidence, but they're just NOT that good.  It's a nice story... Staten Island's own and all that good jazz, but we have to evaluate the performance itself and I can't see much potential.  Oh, and what were they doing flashing their abs and grabbing their body parts.  These are little kids!!!  LOL...  

My preemptive apology to all the good people of Staten Island.  I suspect Struck Boyz might be neighborhood heroes, but the West Coaster in me has seen many an amateur dance/singing act on Third Street Promenade, and I'm quite ready to see something more.  I wish the Struck Boyz the best in all they do...

All right, NEXT!  Angela Hoover, one of a very few remaining comics on the AGT program.  It's for good reason... so many outlets exist for a Comic to hit the big time -- Comedy Central, Local Clubs, Youtube, HBO, and on and on.   Any comic on a general talent show is going to have to be extraordinary or extremely memorable to put a dent in it.

Hoover is an interesting case... she hits her niche very nicely but it is a pretty limited niche -- female impressions.   She was riffing on Mel B. and Heidi Klum (both of these impressions were pretty hilarious and spot on) but goodness, weren't all of you waiting for her to switch to impressions of Howie and Howard to complete the package?   That's where her narrow niche killed her.  Imagine her re-enacting the entire judges table!  That would have been epic.  Instead she had to quickly change subjects, with no segue even, to a take on Christina Aguilera on "The Voice."

For her simple objectives I thought she hit all her spots.  Not all the acts can be loud and bring the house down.  She was good!  I don't know if it's good enough for her to advance, but she didn't hurt her cause last night.

Now then... Aquanuts.  The judges last night were being as diplomatic as humanly possible in brushing aside what's otherwise a pretty headscratching idea on the show.  Synchronized Swimming on a Talent Show?   It's pretty *good* Synchro but it's still just not grabbing America as they might hope.  The Judges were always quick to point out how well they did what they did... but they pretty much said without saying it that what they DID was not going to bring people running down to Vegas to watch them on stage.

Beyond that, they weren't even on the stage... they did their performance in a pool, naturally.  Let me say something else: Synchronized Swimming is *boring.*  I tried very hard to give it a chance, but the art and potential eroticism, even, of such a sport is defeated by the long amount of time spent stationary in the water.  I know it's REALLY hard to do, especially with a dance style, but it's still very difficult to watch on TV or in person.  It moves too slowly to really appreciate the artistry involved.  Nothing Aquanuts did was bad... it's just that their entire genre is not going to be that captivating.  It never really has been and I'm afraid most of America will end their journey today.

I think I may have told the story once of how I saw a Team USA Synchronized swimmer board my bus to UCLA once early in the morning.  I wasn't sure if it was her, but the backpack said "USA Synchronized Swimming" so I went to their website and lo and behold the face on the team roster was a lot like the face of the woman on the bus!  I was mesmerized.  I saw her one other time on campus but never got the nerve to say hello.  What was I going to talk about anyway?  Synchronized Swimming?  I can't lie and pretend that I found interest in it.  Ergo my conversation was defeated.  The best I could have done was congratulate her for representing our country.  Very odd situation but I digress.  We continue...

Kid the Whiz dazzled the crowd, but he did drop the hat at least once.  I don't think it was intentional.   With that said, he brought way more to the table than I remembered.  Kid can dance too!  Good spirit, good heart, he has a chance...

Oh man... biggest bomb of the night had to be Marty Brown.   There was an ominous line I used in my email preview of AGT which I sent to my buddies:

" face value, this guy's pretty good BUT we gotta see if he can handle New York.  Stay tuned."

And, GOOD LORD, the answer was a resounding NO.  What an unfortunate performance last night.  His voice cracked 3 to 5 times... he was missing notes left and right, and it was clear he tensed up.   The stage ate him for lunch... poor Marty.

Then to compound it, Mel B had a senior moment and kept calling him "Dave" while criticizing his performance.  Dave???

Marty was so bad that I didn't even think to advance him.  By that logic, I think Kid the Whiz just made it into my top four!

So, to summarize, some spectacular performances, a few pretty good ones, and a number of out and out bombs last night.  From all of that here are my predictions for who advances.

1. Tone the Chiefrocca... easy one to call.   I'll be shocked if they don't advance.   I mean you saw how they took down Radio City.   The voters are sure to respond accordingly no?
2. Forte... even if they did just a halfway good performance I was putting them in.  Ladies love their opera singers!   Thankfully they destroyed it with their song.  It was FAN-tastic.
3. Kid the Whiz... he made it!   Not a perfect performance, but his charisma is winning a lot of people over.
4. Alexandr Magala... captivating, scintillating, plain thrilling.   Wasn't his best performance last night... might even have been his worst in terms of execution, but he is full of ideas and he knows just what will up the ante.

Tonight, we'll see how America picks the winners.  Good luck to all.

This entry took over an hour to write... there won't be time for quickies, but will express great interest in drinking alcoholic apple cider someday soon.

Can you ferment apples in the same way grapes are fermented?  What does that make in that case?  Apple Wine?

What was popcorn named before people decided to pop it with heat?  Just "corn?"

I miss peaches, but I don't miss them enough to pay twice the price.

This feels like an excellent week to get a pastrami sandwich.  Stay tuned.

That's all from here!  Have a good Wednesday everyone.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 30th

This is *not* the last day of July.

The number of days in July vs the number of days in June can get mixed up sometimes.  I always knew that June had 30 days and August had 31 days, but I often would forget that July had 31 days as well.  I was worried because I thought the rent would be due a day I got my paycheck but no!  This was not the case, do the dance!

So tempted to drink another Cactus Cooler.  I can't drink them every *day*... that's very bad for me.

The peach season is over.  Peaches doubled in price from 99 cents to $1.99 a pound, so I moved on to something else.  It was a good three weeks!  I now chew on plums and oranges.

Time Warner and CBS are now at a standstill.  CBS cut off *all* of its networks from Time Warner Cable systems nationwide.  People in our Nation's larges markets are now deprived of CBS, CBS Sports, Showtime, and others. 

...but for the rest of us!   We still got our CBS shows... we're good to go for the moment.  

It would be really mean if CBS also cut off its websites from Time Warner Cable internet subscribers, but I don't think that kind of technology exists yet.  but it would be a *scene!* 

I subscribe to Time Warner internet... imagine if I tried to go to and got a forbidden/error message?  That would be a problem my friends!  CBS Sports too.

Ladies out there, you know when you look good?  You look good when you talk to someone and the guy can't come up with complete sentences.   Savor those moments...

They always say you can tell a person's attraction in the first fifteen seconds.. or, maybe I said it wrong, I meant you can tell if two people are attracted to *each other* within the first fifteen seconds.   How amazing is that?   You already know, zing!  Doesn't even take any analysis... that's the magic of love.

Did someone write a song about the "Magic of Love?" I'm sure they did!

We have songs about the Language of Love, the Book of Love, the Art of Love, the Power of Love, the Glory of Love, the Sea of Love... we could go on and on...

I was doing all this research trying to find a quality microphone for the guest commentator on podcasts, then I found this Shure SM58 microphone you can get *anywhere* for 99 bones or less.

I was like, geez, I wasted all this time looking at MD 421's and RE-20s when this baby is just as good.  Especially for the in studio guest... this might be a tremendous enough microphone to get for myself too.

Sometimes you just want a Sausage and Egg sandwich and some Starbucks Coffee.  Those are good days.

My buddies at work yesterday ordered in some Ramen, and one of the fellas emailed to ask "how do you deliver Ramen?  Won't it get soggy?"  He had a point!  Apparently they just delivered the soup and noodles in separate containers.  I didn't join in on that -- I went swimming instead, but I bet it was good food.

That's all from here.  Have a good Tuesday!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 29th

Happy Monday everyone.

Oh do I have a story for you!  When I last left you on the blog, I was drumming up a trip to a Kenny Chesney country concert.   Bad news folks...  it didn't happen.  The entire trip was contingent on ticket availability from my lady friend's company and they didn't deliver.  Not only did they not deliver but the whole thing came undone.   So apparently, the lady friend in question wanted to just go buy tickets, which was fine, and I even offered to buy a tick to go w/ her but long story short, by the time we got into any of that there were barely ANY seats left so she convinced me to just not worry about it and try a different concert.  So, fairly enough, I obliged and let her go it alone, or with some other people from her company or some jazz I have no idea.  The point is, it didn't work out.

In the beginning, I was mad.  I was stewing for a few minutes wondering what happened there.  Invited and suddenly it was me who was home.   Ultimately I was not mad for long.  I knew it was going to be tough to get into a Country concert, and it was an act I only had lukewarm interest in anyway.   At the end of the day, it was all right.

Now I had to figure out what to *do*  Saturday night.  You plan it all out, even think of possible belt buckles and cowboy boots and it all goes to pot.   I was a little lost.  I was going to try for the Dodger game that night, but no!  The Dodgers were on an unbelievable string of consecutive sellouts, something like five straight sellout games including Saturday night.  I couldn't even find a seat on stubhub or the other ticket brokers.  I stopped at a Goodwill store in the bleak hopes of finding a Technics used turntable, no dice, and then tried for the ticket brokers, no dice there either.  So I said "well!  I may not have a country concert, but I bet SOMEONE huge is playing right here in LA."  All they had that night was Bruno Mars, oiiiiiii...

I was NOT going to pay dollars to watch that hack in concert.  I mean can you imagine a bigger Michael Jackson ripoff than him?  No way.. let the teeny boppers go after him.  So, basically I was hosed.   No Dodgers, no concert, and in the middle of Los Angeles.   Fortunately it was still about 4pm.  

To ease the pain I checked out a pretty neat Vintage Audio shop in Echo Park, near where Dodger Stadium is, then I went up the street to a place called "Burrito King" on the corner of Alvarado and Sunset.  I got the California Burrito with the little thimble of red sauce.  It was FANTASTIC.  Then all these hipsters were going over to the ordering window to get the same thing.  Good thing I had the tight black jeans on right?  When in Rome or some jazz?  I sat at the barstool along the counter, watching cars go back and forth, more hipsters meeting friends, chilling, getting burritos among the other bohemians.  Echo Park was very, very cool. 

Let me tell you, this California Burrito was almost as good as the ones in San Diego.  Big fan.  It made me feel much better.

So, it was back home to Santa Monica to regroup.  I got back in time for the Dodgers game on TV.   Coach wasn't around this weekend, he had a family vacay so it was just me and the TV for a while.  I looked up some places to go out for singles and a couple articles mentioned the "Bungalow Bar" by the beach over in Santa Monica.  That bar's right by me!  I walked by it a couple times, in fact.  It seemed festive.

It was going to be weird to go to a bar by myself with no wingman, and I even texted a couple buddies but no one was available, so I went for it alone.  Walked several blocks to Wilshire and continued toward the Bungalow Bar.   This is when the whole thing got interesting.  Some cutie stopped me on the way over and asked me if she could park the car on the curb.  She was confused by this sign on the parking meter that said "Taxi Zone" with some other jargon.  I looked at the sign and I was confused too.  So she asked some valet guys at another bar across the street and they said the spot can't be used but the spot behind it was fine.  So she's getting back to her car and I asked her "Where ya headed?"  She goes "Oh, Bungalow Bar."

And it was like BANNNNNNNNGGG!!!!!!  Several Jackie Chan/Mindblown images in my head.  Blew me *away*.  So I yelled "Meeee too!"

I waited for her to park the car, but I *didn't* want her to think I was following her so before she got out I kept walking.   My logic was, if I just got to a red light she'd catch up with me anyway.  Bazinga, she did so I did some small talk.  She was pretty nice about everything but it was clear from her body language she had no interest in me... she was there to meet some other friends and she drove all the way from Newport Beach an hour away.  We had like zero chemistry in conversation but she was affable enough to help me get to the line at Bungalow Bar.  I thanked her for her help and let her go... her friends had a spot saved for her.  Now if she was *really* interested in the cow, she'd convince her friends to let me join all of them.  No dice, so to the back of the line instead.

What a line it was.  For goodness sake, this was not the Bungalow Bar, it was the Bungalow *Line.*  I waited in that stinkin' line for an hour and 35 minutes.  It was so long we started to have conversations with other people in the line including one other joker who drove down from Sherman Oaks, apparently on his own.  Then both of us talked to a group of girls behind us who were pretty much out of our league (well not COMPLETELY IMHO but more or less from the way they seemed to gravitate toward each other).

After this mind numbingly long wait, which I stupidly rode out.  Any sane human being would have bailed a half hour in, but anyway... after all that we were in the bar.  Now the bar was *all right* but it was NOT worth 95 minutes... the place was some noice back yard decor a little bungalow, and a ping pong table.    Festive crowd though.

There was a lot of produce here at this market... I went for a drink: a 7 and 7... big fan here.  Seagram's 7 and 7-Up (sometimes sprite).  A couple other highlights from the evening.

-- I was over at a heat lamp scouring the scene and some lady in a flowery dress (different lady not flower pot) she comes over for a second.  She says to me "I'm cold blooded, I like going over to the heat.  This is good stuff!"  and I went "This is good stuff indeed!"  Then she disappeared.  --I want to marry her.
-- Really WEIRD playlist that night... even more random than Jack FM... mostly 90s hits mixed in with some CD of oldies or something.   Nothing was off limits... 50's Bubble Gum Rock, 60's, 70's, it was weird.  Anyway, I was deep into the 7 and 7 and Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" (don't ask) starts playing, so I start to shuffle, then I'm doing the dance, and in this group in front of me, one of the ladies sees me and starts doing the dance with me for a few seconds.  Hahahahahaha, that was a riot!  but then her group kinda swallowed her up or something.

So, all in all, a few binks, but no real action.  No numbers, no real conversations... it's tough when you go one on five..  a lot of the babes here were in big groups and in many cases, big groups that had a dude in it.  I like this place though, it's just terribly overrated in the sense that it's not worth waiting over an hour for.  Like Pink's Hot Dogs!

All right, quickie time.

I HAVE A NEW PHONE!!  Yesterday I went to Best Buy and purchased the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone.  Hallelujah!  It's fast!  It's current!  I can use the "!" and "?" keys which failed on Saturday on the DROID X2.  I was done with the DROID.  Thankfully, Best Buy offered a 50 dollar gift card trade in value for the DROID.  Really really nice of them to do.   I actually applied it toward the purchase of the new phone.

The phone is a world of difference -- faster, better graphics, more memory, GOOD battery (at last) and I only have used the most basic features so far.  The hand swiping and retina features may be tried out pretty soon.  I like how light the phone is as well.  It's wider, but it's thinner and maybe easier to handle with the rounded edges.  This is my first attempt at purchasing a top of the line phone -- it's a dream so far, one day in.

People at grocery stores are more helpful than anywhere else in the  neighborhood.  You ever notice that?   The kindest, most helpful, resourceful, people in any business happen to be in the business of groceries.   On Friday I was looking for some Cactus Cooler and Hebrew National Hot dogs, and the guy there helped me with both.  The Cactus Cooler was not on display so he went to the back and got a case for me.  Do the dance!  

On Saturday, I had pondered some possible alcoholic cocktails that could incorporate Cactus Cooler.  Nothing's coming to mind, other than maybe a Seagram's 7 or some Vodka and Cactus Cooler.  What would it be named?  I thought -- "The Cactus Twist." 

On Sunday night, I posted a real doozy on the board... I wrote something about Bud Selig doing what it takes to help the Yankees and Red Sox but not the Dodgers.. in retrospect, I was going back to material way in the past that had nothing to do with today.   I didn't think that one through.

In all honesty, I'm rather shy.  It probably doesn't come through on the podcast or anything, but I find it difficult to put myself out there and trust other people.  Maybe a fear of rejection or something.  No idea.

I'm better than I used to be, though!  The other night, going to that Bungalow Bar, wasn't the storybook ending but it had plenty of juice.  One could have worse nights in Santa Monica.

Speaking of, did you guys know Chris Mad Dog Russo was *in* Santa Monica that day?  BLEW MY MIND.  To think, I could have gone to the SM Pier and found him there, but no!  I was just too absorbed in my Phil Steele College preview magazine.

It's a great magazine, but gee whiz does Phil Steele love his own stink.  Every page of that damn magazine is him bragging about predictions he made ten years ago, with a *little* actual information and analysis.  Each article in that magazine I go "would you get on with it???"  Then he gets to the good stuff.  Once you get his actual recaps/stats/etc it becomes very useful.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed his constant back-patting.  He writes every single page and article in the 352 page magazine!  Every one.

I find it simultaneously impressive, consistent, and self-serving.  Nonetheless, it has some very great information, full charts, stats, power rankings, even every single NCAA FBS team's schedule.  It's not only a good preview magazine but it will prove to be an amazing reference during the year.

How long has my buddy Umberto's been away from the grid now?  His texts don't get replied to either.   This happened a year or two ago.  Now I'm starting to wonder...

Yasiel Puig might want to calm down with the bat flips and the baserunning errors.  Kid is raw, but come on, yo, get it together young man.   Great work on his part winning the game with the home run, though.

My Dad's been asking all of us in the family to start fasting on two days out of the week.  That doesn't sound too healthy but I'll try it today.  I didn't pack a sandwich for lunch.  Part of my motivation to fast was my utter laziness in not wanting to pack a sandwich last night.  Shhhhh!  Don't tell anyone!

Every time I write, I know I run the risk of putting myself out there, but I enjoy the thrill of the output.  I hope you do too!  Have a great Monday everyone.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 26th

Keith Olbermann as a sports journalist again.  I don't think I'm used to that yet.

Speaking of his "worst person in the world" award, I have to give it to A-Rod this week.  Is there a bigger, whinier, more self centered yet wishy washy player in the game today.  AND, according to some, he's a cheat!   That's just all the bad cards rolled into one. 

I'm trying to make sense of it all... A-Rod basically tried to convince an independent doctor that he can play.   Oh you know what's up... he wants to get in some reps so that the Yankees have to pay him his contract.   The Yankees are waiting around for MLB to suspend him for the season.  Yankees: stand your ground.   A-Rod doesn't have a leg to stand on and there is no way it'd be worth all that money to pay him. 

Most Yankee fans agree with this strategy.  The only clown that doesn't is Mike Francesa... but while this is true I do not hate him or want him to shrivel up and die.  Mike's consistent -- he defends his own, and if a guy is "his guy" he's going to go to the whip for him.  That's the case here with Alex Rodriguez.   In fact, I am *loving* Mike Francesa's shameless defense of Rodriguez, turning into a real mouthpiece for the guy.  I don't think A-Rod's agent was this good at promoting the guy!

We'll see what develops, get the popcorn ready.

Speaking of, I punted on every conceivable summer movie out there this year.   I intend to make good on this down the road.  Just not right now.   Man!   Where we live, movies are 11-13 bones.  That's no way to live, paying over ten bucks to watch a movie?  What if the movie isn't any good???   It's a whole lot of pressure.

No matter how hard they try with the commercials, those Casinos out in the boonies are *just* not going to have the true Vegas experience.  You see commercials for San Manuel and Pechunga, or Mohegan Sun out in Connecticut, and it makes it seem like "it's just like Vegas!"   Go there... all right they have the blackjack and slots all right, but the vibe man.. not EXACTLY the same... not EXACTLY the same showstoppers you see in Sin City.  

One thing about the "other casinos" that I like though, is the relatively accessible, sometimes affordable, live music.  Yeah, I know, a lot of these acts are part of the "has-been" tour (grins/adjusts mic) but I can get into it.

I want to invite a buddy to that King's Hawaiian restaurant I blogged about a while ago.  I'm telling you, those nachos are out of this world!  Can't decide when to do this... maybe Friday, *maybe* Saturday afternoon.   The trip is out there for the taking.

I love the sound of a bat when it hits the baseball really hard.  You're talking about a major league CRACK.  It just sounds so good, so authoritative.  It's the best.

I think if I had to rank the top five nachos I've had in the L.A. Area, I'd go something like this...  1. King's Hawaiian Nachos,  2. Tony P's Nachos, 3. Juquila Mexican Restaurant Nachos, 4. Dodger Stadium Nachos (I know this is bogus but I'm being a joker), AND I have a soft spot for the 5. the Nachos at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Not quite how the director intended, but B-Dub Nachos are surprisingly satisfying.

Went for the 90 minute swim last night, which they offer two times a week: Tuesday and Thursday.   Very long amount of swimming, but it was a blast!  Extremely challenging.  Ever try 100 free, 2 x 50s kick, 2 x 50s swim, then a 200 IM, all in a row, THEN repeat the sequence four times?   Whew!   I got through all of it though... the first trial of the set -- we did the 50s as butterfly.  THAT was really hard!

I got through it!  I was determined to complete the entire workout and it succeeded.  My only error was when I kicked too wide for the 50 breaststroke kick.  My pinky toe slammed the lane line and I had an audible yell.   I was worried that I broke the toe, but no!  It was fine, just in pain for a while.

The pinky toe is deceptive.   One might think that it's not that important, but while tiny, it really is critical for good balance and proper kicking when you swim.   It also helps you walk.   It only LOOKS insignificant.  It really isn't.

I feel great right now... my swimming is hitting another level.  I think it is, anyway.

Yes, I too am ready for football season.

This weekend could be a big one for me.  I have the potential to get a new bed and a new phone all in the same weekend.  The bed is not likely (too soon) but the phone... it is ON.

My malfunctioning phone will soon be no more, and I hear Best Buy will let me trade it in for a $50 gift card.  Do the dance!

Imagine a breakfast sandwich on a NY Bagel Co. Bagel in Santa Monica?   Imagine no more!  They have just the thing.  I'll try it one of these days, maybe Saturday.

That's all from here.  Have a good one everyone.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 25th

I have it on good authority some of our readers find the material covered in this space to be trite and unnecessary.  At one point in time I was compared to a barely functional autistic child.  In light of recent comments and in the interest of serving our audience, I would like to take a moment to present an intellectual slant for today's blog entry.  Feel free to absorb some of this material as we go into several items of interest.  Here we go:

The debate between a belt-driven record turntable and a direct-drive record turntable rages on.   There are supporters for both sides, but in terms of which kind sounds better, it is a matter of your personal preference.  There is no definitively correct answer.  Observe:  the advantages of the belt drive is that the motor is handled on a separate axis not directly connected to the platter which reduces rumble noise in playback.  The advantages of the direct drive is that the platter is fully on the same axis which means, inherently, that there can be no wear-down of a presumed rubber belt.  Thus, the direct drive is subject to more consistent rotational speed, and a reduced wow and flutter.

In terms of pure listening, it's possible to assume that both kinds of turntables produce tremendous, balanced, properly sped sound at their best.  However, it is much tougher to manufacture a consistent, well weighted direct drive turntable by most accounts.  Ergo, the Belt Driven turntable, vis a vis the Direct Drive has a greater chance of providing noise free playback across the board.  To put it in laymans terms, you can get a good quality belt drive turntable at a lower price than that of a direct drive turntable.  As the adage goes, your mileage may vary.

Many have speculated the plight of the music program in schools across America.  I too am dismayed to see a diminishing investment in our nation's in-school bands and musical courses.  It's really too bad, but I also think that the impact of same has been overplayed in the media.   My feeling is, the lack of emphasis on math and science is equally as alarming a trend as the reduction in music.  As much as I enjoy and appreciate the liberal arts, music among them, I feel that the less than desired aptitude rates in math and science put America's youth at a disadvantage.  One can only imagine the improved state of engineering were we to make arithmetic, trigonometry, geometry, calculus, and the sciences a priority.  Physics alone could do quite a lot to add to our already big real-world discoveries.  I hope a resolution is afoot, although I grant you that a tangible outcome would be unrealistic in the short-term.

One other area that disappoints me lately is the improper marketing for Core i-series processors for in-store PC computers.   The other day I was joined by my friend at a local Staples office supplies store to recommend a computer to him.   I was under the impression that more machines would offer the Core i5 processor or, at worst, a Core i3.  To my mild surprise, most units instead offered a Pentium processor instead.  Some had an AMD processor, which might be statistically as good, but fundamentally not as desirable.   Bear in mind, the Core i5 processor has numerous internal registers which handle video processing really well.  This creates more efficient computing and less of a lag when watching videos online, generating spreadsheet, and other visual tasks within a two dimensional space.  In essence, I thought this was well understood to become a standard feature.   Alas, the powers that be still thought to sell off the cheaper quality processors in an effort to save money.  I would not be surprised to find most consumers unaware of the difference.  Nonetheless, I took it upon myself to explain the differences to my friend and recommend one PC which contained the Core i5 processor instead.  He was satisfied with the explanation and he opted to buy the Dell Inspiron 660 Desktop Computer, using the Core i5 configuration and 8 Gigabytes of RAM.  Even with my background in client workstations, I was impressed with these specifications, especially for the low price of $480.

When I was younger, about the age of 7, I used to watch the Nickelodeon kids cable channel on our TV set in the early morning.   In the 5 am hour, Nickelodeon would air a rerun of the science program "Mr. Wizard."  This program fascinated me immensely.  Mr. Wizard, known to the outside world as Don Herbert, presented a series of experiments, real-life physics, and even took viewer questions via Mail.   It's good to know that Don Herbert impacted so many.   To this day, I look back at his program fondly.

I'm afraid my mind is at a loss for further commentary, but I hope these paragraphs have generated interest on your end.   I bid you a good Thursday, and hope to see you back at this space tomorrow.

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 24th

I get the sense the internet could be brutal today with more political scenarios in the works.  I owe it to my audience to deliver a good blog entry.  Here we go!

My buddy and I saw "America's Got Talent" last night, and let's be honest here, it didn't seem like anyone was blowing me away.   There were a couple pretty good acts but I don't see anything with the style and creativity of Harp Guy from last year, or even the sand dude.   Most innovative act we saw last night was the "Tellavision" group which used nine LED flat panel screens to illustrate a story.

I mean it was very well designed, but it wasn't the kind of act where I'd go "wow!!!  Can you believe what they just did?"  Actually I could *really* believe it.   Nine screens on a matrix... timing, animation, its not easy but entirely plausible.  I might be too harsh with them but it was a similar themed act to the shadow group (which didn't perform this week), but I thought the shadow group was way better.

I was disappointed in the ten year old piano lady... man... I really like her singing style and her voice but she *flubbed* a couple scenarios during her performance.  Oooooh that is not good.  The other half was, I didn't feel the same presence with her on stage at Radio City last night.  It really was too bad:  I was clinging to her as a top four candidate all the way until the last fifteen minutes of the program.  I just couldn't after a while... it was not a big enough performance to advance.  BUT, I hope she makes it anyway.  If she does, you can bet she'll make up for it.

There were a lot of kids involved in last night's show...  kinda odd.  There was a five person dance troupe called "Fresh Faces" and let's face it, they owned it.  I mean they *owned* it with their number... great energy, choreography, style, everything.  When they got on stage, I thought "Oh here we go another kiddie dance group, I've had enough, I'm going to automatically rank them at the bottom..."  Then they did *that*.  Blew all of us away in TV land.

Then there was this complete nutjob with a bad haircut who did some jokes and he'd scream AGARRRRHGGHGHGHGHGHH between every joke.  His material was hit and miss, but his "character," and boy he was a character, was selling it!   So I can dig it, even though I didn't laugh at all his lines.

Kevin Downey Jr's his name... here's his picture!

Good stuff...

I got an email from CNET titled "What is my Computer Doing?"  What an obvious question.  The computer is doing email.

Last night, I went for the Tuesday night swim, so I missed the *entire* Dodgers game.  I didn't even know they had a huge comeback (saw it later on "Quick Pitch").  Anyway, there's this smaller woman there, probably an undergrad and she was a middle of the pool swimmer, meaning she was faster than the slow folks where I swim on one end, but not as fast as the superb swimmers on the other end.  So -- middle of the pool lanes.  Anyway I said hi to her on Friday and she just went "hi" back but didnt really take it anyplace.

That was aight, since not everyone's the talkative type.  Went to say hello again last night and she just said hi back, same routine.  So you know what I did?  While we were doing our set, I'd line it up to where I and she were making the turn at the same time, adjacent lanes... and I *BELTED* it down the other way.  Just took off... fired all the jets with a virtual sprint.  We were supposed to do that anyway on these 300s, "every 4th lap go strong."  But with this less than talkative cutie I was like "I'm going!"  I beat her out!  Even though she's generally a faster swimmer I was proud to be fast enough to beat her on that one lap.

I really had fun with that set yesterday: the "swim strong every fourth lap" addendum was inspired -- I was motoring on every 4th lap, going all into it.

I've been racing people in adjacent lanes here and there throughout the last two weeks to keep it interesting.   I doubt they even know I'm trying to race them.  I just want to see if I can beat out anyone in faster lanes at their regular, normally faster, swim speed.

I also did it once or twice during our sprint Fridays.   I'm a loon but these mini challenges are lots of fun!

A friend of mine pointed me to a "Swimmer Smurf."  They have smurfs for every flavor, and in all the years watching smurfs cartoons I never knew about a "Swimmer Smurf."  It's legit -- apparently a long running character?  The things you learn every day... how about that?

I had been concerned about the lack of tater tots in our universe.  At my local on-campus cafe, they won't serve tots at lunch.  Good news!  A Fab's Hot Dogs outpost opened nearby in Westwood Village.  Now we can have tots whenever we want!  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even the late night snack.  Fab's is open 'til 2am.   I had the Fab's Tots at their original location in Reseda.  Oooohhh, they're very good!  The key is to get 'em fresh.

Ah!  On the subject of "Fresh" do you get a little perturbed by the term "Fresh Baked" or "Fresh Grilled?"  I am confused about the syntax.  It doesn't sound like good grammar.  "Fresh" is a condition, it's not a verb.  You can't "Fresh a peach."  You can wash a peach, fresh-EN a peach, but it can't be "Fresh'd" really.

So when commercials use phrases like "Fresh Baked Cookie" is that a proper phrase?  Or do they mean "Fresh, baked cookie."  The COMMA would make the sentence correct, but otherwise I would presume they need to say "FRESHLY baked cookie"... proper use of the adverb renders the statement correctly.

I suppose I could also say it renders the statement "correct" but to do so would require an implied "as", meaning "the statement is rendered [as] correct."

I bet you're reading this and you're probably like "you must have no life at all."   Iono... my weekends are usually pretty good, but those days in between get my mental motor running.  Or, perhaps I'm just plain mental.  Hahahahahahaha, I just love writing goofy things is all.  In fact, I'm due to go to a concert with a lady on Saturday.

A *country* concert!  Can you believe that business??   I've never been to a country show before.  Country isn't really the kind of music I listen to.  I like it all right, though.  It's a tad hokey, but that's all right with me.

AND, I forgot to add, I may go after a new bed at IKEA.   There are a lot of possible outcomes in play, but it should be fun.

I had never, at any point had literal intention to stuff my buddy a new one.  I was just being a joker, that is all.  I'm sorry for insinuating that any part of a friend's existence could be stuffed.  I made this tweet in error, and I intend to be more sensitive to what I say to people on a day to day basis.

You like hokey, fellas?  Go to this Thousand Oaks bar by the freeway called "Borderline."  Line dancing and doe-see-doe to your heart's content.  It has a reputation for being a redneck bar -- why was *I* there?  I went to get salsa dance lessons one day back in college.  It was fun!

Then I think the line dancing took over again.  Don't be intimidated -- Borderline is legitimate fun.  Try it!

Would it get awkward if you had a lady friend or some other girl you know and you took her to Hooters?  Now what if you just wanted to after the wings there and some beers?  This assumes the girl in question also likes Hooters wings and beer.

I'd like to shoot a round under-par someday.  I thought, if I just concentrate and put my effort into every hole, I'll do it.   Get in that shot off the tee, send it toward the hole and then make all your big putts.

All it takes is some concentration and a few breaks from the windmill at Golf N' Stuff.

That's all from here.  Have a good Wednesday!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 23rd

It's really true what they say!  Peaches are great for digestion.  You eat peaches and you almost never encounter issues with digestive efficiency.

I tried to grill a steak on a gas grill last night.  My buddy told me that I'm supposed to put the cover on when I grill.  Is that true?  Most of the grill process last night had the steak uncovered.  Then, at the end I put the cover down.  I wonder what the impact is on meat.  Anyway, the steak turned out very nicely.  Medium rare, just as I wanted.

There didn't seem to be enough of a crust on the steak, but that was my fault.  I think some more pepper would solve that problem.  Minor quibble; the beef was delicious.

Isn't there a special taste to New York Strip?  I can't define it but it's a tinge of flavor that reminds me of champagne... a high quality taste to that strip that I can't identify on any other steak.  Perhaps it's a particular freshness.

Got this link to an article in the OC Register which had a *paywall.*  I am NOT paying extra dollars to go read something from the OC Register, try again.

Still gotta finish off the last of the Bludso's this morning.   Barbecue keeps, but only for a few days.

I've always thought of sushi as "deli meat for fish."

This seems like a good day for a cookie.

I saw in the last few weeks National Hot Dog Day, National Fried Chicken Day, and National Ice Cream Day.  Do we have a national peach day coming up?  It's gotta be out there.

That was basically all I had today, so I leave you all with an episode of "The Lost Society."   It's my fake sitcom I wrote a decade ago.  Three episodes posted up to now, and now we have our fourth, but bear in mind we were posting them out of order.  Anyway, enjoy!  Here it comes, with more after the jump....

Revenge of the Bums (#003)

            On another warm day in the summertime, at the humble abode of Mr. Hewitt and his funky inventions, with all the light noise going on outside the window, Jenkins, Martinez, and Thomson slouched on the couch as they were watching television.  They melted onto the couch like cheese melted onto a hamburger patty.
            Needless to say, Hewitt came into his home, only to find his slumping nobodies feeding off his corn chips and sucking onto his cans of Mountain Dew that he was saving for later tonight.
            Obviously upset, Hewitt threw his arms up into the air and wildly flailed them as he shooed his junkies out of his apartment.
            “What are you doing sitting around my couch all day!!” Hewitt exclaimed, “Get out of here!  Go find something else to do!!”
            So they scattered away from him out the apartment door, scared to see Hewitt in such a furor.  Hewitt went to his nearby window to see them scurrying out onto the street, yelping and screaming in fear.

[continued after the jump]

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 22nd

I made the trip to Bludso's!!

I did a complete write up about it, and you can scroll down for the full review.  Check it out.

Now to some other stuff:

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson for winning the Open Championship.  What a great performance on Sunday with a final round 66.  Well done!

Why does One Direction's band logo not have an arrow in it?  It would have been perfect for the name!  Missed opportunity.

I don't know if this is true for the Starbucks in your area, but the one by me offers me a special deal for every purchase.  With my receipt, I can get a free refill for 50 cents for a same day purchase.  I also... get a deal, at least on Sunday, where I can get a grande blended beverage for two bucks!  Look at all this hidden value at the Starbucks.

I didn't take advantage of either of those, but boy is it great to have that power.

I went to a party yesterday and was asked to bring a dessert.  I selected a pack of Oreos and a bucket of Ice Cream.  Cookies... and cream!  Ah?????

I was checking out at the local store and the checkout lady was excited about the combination.  She said to me "Wow, Cookies and Ice Cream!  What party?  Am I invited?"

She would have been if it was my party, do the dance! seriously, it's a "1" and a "D".   From a distance it looks like "id".  I could have designed a way better logo.  Would they have settled for "1↑"?

I tried to look all over the place for the Alt-Code for that arrow symbol and couldn't get it to work, so I gave up and copied and pasted it instead.

You could make up a baseball stat for literally anything...  Saw this on twitter:

In Clayton Kershaw's career, Dodgers are 8-1 in games he starts with a chance to finish off a series sweep

This is a more conventional kind of trivia, but they have stats for people on 3 days rest, 4 days rest, coming off the DL, after a haircut, with a mustache, without a mustache, I mean you name it, they got it.   How do they keep track of it all?

Band names that are derived from verbs... Squeeze, Exile, Rush, Cream, Clash, there's a bunch of them.

Band names named after cities and states... Toronto, Chicago, Kansas, Boston, Alabama, Golden State, Lonestar, and on and on.

I had no point to this; it was fun to point out.

That's all from here, have a good Monday!


I did it.

Speculated for week about this trip and yesterday I went for it.  So!

Let's talk about Barbecue at Bludso's... it's a small barbecue stand over in Compton.   For anyone to get out there is an effort.  I know about the other location at LaBrea, but my rule is:  if there's multiple locations of anything, unless it's a chain, the original is always the best.   I'll get my opinion out of the way:  it is TREMENDOUS.  If you have the time, and it's going to need a lot of time folks, it is worth every penny.

Getting to Bludso's is an adventure from anywhere but doubly so from the edge of Santa Monica.  Just getting on the *freeway* is a challenge.   Lincoln Blvd was a disaster!  This was around 2:15pm on a Saturday.  I had no chance.  I cut my losses and took SM Blvd. straight to the 405 freeway with a stop at the local Shell station.

Then the mighty 405 freeway.   It was a scene... even at 2pm it was touch and go the whole way.  Usually it's not as bad going south as it is going north.  This was still the case:  Northbound was even worse!!   It took 25 minutes just to get down to the 105 freeway East.   That took me the rest of the way did the 105.  I got off at Long Beach Blvd and went South, grazing the edge of Lynwood and into Compton.

Bludso's has a few parking spaces on a tiny lot once you pull in.  Diagonal spaces facing inward so going back out was a challenge (dead end scenario).  Anyway, right away you get out of the car and the smoky smell of 'Q was in the making.  It was awesome!   You can see all the magic right in front of you to the side of the building.

Next, to the ordering window.  Line wasn't very long but these orders get complicated so I was there for a little while.  Many speculated about how dangerous Compton is, but at least here at Bludso's I've seen worse.    The people at Bludsos were tremendous.  Really nice people behind the counter and even the people in line were very friendly.

I wanted to get my order in over the phone, but to show you how popular it is, the line was busy all five times I called on the drive over.  So, it was to the ordering window.  This short little cutie took my order and I tacked on the beef ribs for $2 extra.  More on that in a moment... but it's entirely worth the extra cabbage.

I don't think I waited too long after ordering for the food... it took about 20 minutes to prepare everything.  I ordered the "Texas Sampler":  every meat you can conceive of basically... the aforementioned beef ribs, pulled pork, brisket, pork sausage, chicken, baby back ribs, *spare ribs* too which took me by surprise, then two sides.  I chose Mac and Cheese and Baked Beans as the sides.  It all came in this enormous bag, sealed tightly with plastic wrap, styrofoam and foil (not in that order).

Whew!  While I waited, one of the customers dropped a soaked paper bag with sodas in it and one of the pepsi cans broke open like an egg and spilled soda everywhere.  I helped her clean it all up while she asked for a replacement soda.  Bludso's hooked her up.  I'm telling you, great customer service!

Then it was time to take all the food home.  There was no way I'd take the 405... it was red-level traffic for miles going northbound, so instead I went  105 West to the 110 North to 10 West.   It was moving the whole way.. big time decision.  Had I done the 405 I'd take an extra hour to get back.   Made it home at 4:45 and unwrapped everything... it was so tightly sealed, I mean, it's like unwrapping Christmas Presents here.

Everything was tremendous, some more tremendous than others even!  Coach, my room mate, had in on the meat too.   Tons and tons of leftovers.  Not because we didn't like it, but because there was so *much* food.

First of all, the sides were *excellent.*   The Mac and Cheese was on par with Dulan's over in Inglewood, which means, it was FANTASTIC.  The Baked Beans were pretty good too.  Big fan of both.

Next, the other meats.. the spare ribs were a nice bonus... about spot on, a tad dry but really not bad at all.   Chicken was impressive... you can absorb all the mesquite smoked aroma with each bite.   Pulled pork was solid.. I would say that I've had better pulled pork at Jim's in Woodland Hills, but that's hardly a knock.  All it means is that Jim's pulled pork is out of this *world.*  Sausage was noice... lots of flavor and spice on the inside.

Now to my favorite items from the cavalcade of meats: brisket, baby back ribs, and beef ribs.   First, the brisket, so tender, so flavorful, it really just melts in your mouth.  Phenomenal.  The Baby Backs... wow!   Jim's Baby Backs are also pretty elite, so too are Houston's', but wow.  Just WOW these Baby Back ribs have it all at Bludso's.   Smoky aroma, great sauce, tender meat, quality cut pork.  It's all in order here... I loved 'em.   Then it was my favorite thing from Bludso's... the beef ribs.  Beef ribs are impossible to get tender like this... it is a minor miracle to taste such succulent, fall of the bone ribs of *beef*, couple it with Bludso's great sauce and it's a winner from end to end.

Over the years I found the Tee Off Restaurant in Santa Barbara served the best beef ribs.  They only serve them on Wednesday nights.   Bludso's ribs are this but even *softer* and fresher, and with an iconic smoky aroma all their own.  In essence, the best Beef Ribs in California.

Now listen, if there's a contender in the rest of the state that wishes to stake its claim, get in touch with me.  I'm at @diningwithdave and at daveinthecityoutwest at yahoo dot com.  For now, Bludso's is the pound for pound beef rib champion.   Nothing but kudos from me.

Texas Sampler, a major hit.  A home run, even.  (tss tss?)

Thanks, Kevin Bludso... when you decided to move you made this blogger's day.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 19th

Happy Friday!

I have a tough time coming up with a single band to name as my favorite.  When you listen to music, your mood determines the style of music you listen to that day.   I'd be hard pressed to simply do one blanket band as the one that rises above the rest because I'm not always in the frame of mind to listen to a specific kind of music.

So, to answer the question you really want a group that was exemplary at performing every possible music genre there is.  To that end, my band is: Queen.

Did they have a miss anywhere?   From their first album up through "The Game" they were on FIRE... in some cases literally on fire.   I have yet to find anyone who actually hates them.   Pretty much anyone I know likes them, loves them, or is indifferent.  Technically a fantastic band... and artistically an inspiration to many, maybe even all, who ever listened to them.

This is an odd response considering the music I listen to most:  80's Pop and Rock music, with a lean toward Alternative Rock of the 80's.  Queen didn't have much of a say with that movement except for some notable exceptions:  "Another One Bites the Dust," "Radio Gaga," and "I Want to Be Free."

Lady Gaga's stage name is derived from the song "Radio Gaga"  as was told by Gaga herself and many others who associate with her.  It's quite a legacy, is Queen.

Now!  The answer to "What is your Favorite Song?" is easy.  I've listened to it 10,000 times and still haven't gotten tired of it.  To this day it is the only song I haven't gotten tired of at any point in time.  The song is: "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds.

Needless to say, as I was walking this morning with the radio on, the song came on and I was *doing the dance!*

I was a taken by surprise when I learned that Simple Minds themselves don't even care about the song that much.  I read that they just set up the song, played it a few times for the song recording and went about their business.  They were like "Here, Universal, go ahead and put this in your movie."  Then they forgot about it!  The song went on to be the biggest hit of their career.  Here in the USA, it peaked at #1.   Staggering results for a song thought as an "afterhtought."

The one reason why Simple Minds wasn't into it -- it technically wasn't their song.  It was written, at least in some form, by some other jokers from the "Breakfast Club" production crew or something and they wanted some other bands to do it including Billy Idol.   He and the other two guys (the guy from the Fixx and Brian Ferry) turned it down.  Simple Minds themselves turned it down!  They had to be convinced by their own record company to try it out.

It's really too bad Simple Minds abhorred the song so much... they *killed* every aspect of that song start to finish.   That tune was the defining song of a generation!  Haha, I will admit it was not my generation but I still enjoyed it immensely.

Would you believe I haven't even seen "The Breakfast Club" movie?  All this talk about the song from there, and I haven't seen the film it was made for.  Angsty movies aren't really my bag anyway, and John Hughes was pretty big on that.

I've seen quite a bunch of Hughes films:  Ferris Bueller, Planes Trains and Automobiles, and Home Alone (this was as much a Chris Columbus Film as it was Hughes).  I may have seen a good portion of "Weird Science."   The others I just hadn't gotten around to.

Anyway... "Don't You Forget About Me" is my favorite song, period.  I'm a big fan of it... hopefully I'll stay a big fan for a while.

This was such a high note, no pun intended, that I don't want to drag it down with more material.  Let me throw in a few quickies anyway:

I tried to search my own name, "Dave Medina" in Google Image search and I didn't find any pics of myself.  I *DID* find this!

Hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahaha, the DAVE MEDINA BAND!!!  That is a riot!!!

Now friends, I'm sure you all wondered if you could find video of the "Medina Band" in action.  Yes you can!

I can't embed it due to YouTube restrictions.  This is fantastic... I'll go seek these guys out if they're in town and check out a concert.  I also like how the guy in the band's picture, above, on the right looks like Tank.  Hahahahahaha!!  No need to put Mike's face on that one!

People wonder if my laugh is real or fake... oh it's real baby.

Sometimes you'll get an email announcement for cookies at the main office, but sometimes it's the "boring cookies."  Like those wafer like cookies with very little sugar?  Or the Graham Crackers maybe?   That happened yesterday and I just peeked to make sure... and yes, it was the boring cookies.

That's no biggie.  It's still very nice for anyone to offer cookies for the office, even if they aren't my personal favorite cookies.

Now just a moment -- why would they call Graham *Crackers* "cookies?"  Isn't it more sensible to call 'em Graham Cookies?  This is all very mis-leading.  Yes, it looks like and feel like a cracker, but a cookie is a cookie.   We're not going around selling Ritz Cookies are we?

I have a party with my swim team on Sunday.  We're going to say farewell to our 6'4" assistant coach.  What a sad moment that she's leaving.  Sad for us, but great for her as she's finding graduate school in Vermont.  That's great news for our East Coast audience.  They may run into her.  People call her "Flamingo"...kinda looks like one too actually.

I even asked her once on Facebook what the "Flamingo" part of her name meant and yes, she corroborated it had to do with her physical likeness to that of a flamingo.

I thought *maybe* I saw her at the bookstore on campus the other day, but I was not about to go clear across the bookstore and flag her down lest I look like a total creep.  I'll get to see her at the farewell party and possibly during the Friday swim.  Stay tuned.

Ooh right!  We're also going to say goodbye to another fella who'd been on the team a while as a swimmer.  He's been all right... definitely supportive of the club and even of my own goober efforts as a developing swimmer.   We'll miss him too.

SongPop is so crazy now.  When I upgraded to VIP membership I got the chance to challenge and be challenged by 9x more people than I do now.  At least it feels like 9x more challenges.  Oh it is a scene!  Now I wonder if I will ever finish out all my challenges within a week.   Tons of fun.

I should mention I tried the combo burger at Marty's, a Hot Dog on top of a Hamburger, and it was phenomenal.  I added chili and cheese to the burger with grilled onions.  Loved it!

This might be a Tito's Tacos kind of a weekend but I'm also not letting go of my quest for Bludso's BBQ, probably against everyone's better judgement.  Might try for a Bludso's run on Saturday.

Knowing LA Traffic, it could be just as good as a Bludso's "crawl."

and speaking of "crawl" today at work may be dragging by.  I have that feeling but hope you all get that good feeling for the weekend.  Have a good Friday!

PS:  I'm telling you guys... that guy in the "Dave Medina" band in that pic looks like Franceser... here's a shot of him rocking the bass.

I'm laughing my butt off!  Ok fellas, have a great weekend...

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 18th

I think the verdict's in... Mistress is a cool cat.  She had a great spot on last night's podcast!

Ever have a hamburger with a hot dog on top of it?  It's occurred with me a couple times.  Today my work colleagues and I are going to have a great combo burger like this at Marty's.  Can't wait!

Is there anything in particular that is off limits to put on a pizza?  I say there is.  Strawberry Jelly!   Fruit... who puts fruit on a pizza?   Maybe a fruit like fig would be ok, but not an orange or an apple, holy moses.   Stuff like that.

ESPN must be really bored.   The Johnny Manziel thing is *not* that big a deal.

I did not get a good night's sleep last night.  I had a very difficult time uploading last night's show to Podbean.  In fact, I still haven't done it yet, but I'm working on it.

That's all for now -- much to do!  Catch you all tomorrow..

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

America's Got Talent *Almost* Beats America's All Star Game

It was close!  but... the MLB All Star Game still won the TV ratings last night.  AGT got a 2.5 rating (very good actually) but that was less than the 2.9 rating for Fox's MLB Telecast.  More deets here:

PS: "Hollywood Game Night" got a 1.1 rating.  There's not much to the show so 1.1 is pretty darn good.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 17th

Mariano's entrance in the All Star Game, with "Enter Sandman" played by the *Mets* P.A., even in the 8th inning: that was a pretty darn good moment!

...and if you think about it, the only thing memorable about an otherwise dull and uninteresting All Star Game.   It's really too bad there wasn't more juice there.

Lately I've found the Home Run Derby to be more interesting than the All Star Game in baseball.  I don't really know why but one reason for it is because the Home Run Derby is more competitive.  More dazzling moments in the form of monster home run shots.  Yesterday, Yoennis Cespedes launched many of those dazzling shots deep into the stands at Citi Field.

All in all, a big success for the borough of Queens this year and the All Star Game.  It's not Citi or the Mets' fault that the NL's players couldn't deliver in the big game.   It also wasn't their fault the 7 train soiled the bed on Monday night.  Oiiii!  I really had to feel for all the fans who were trapped at the Willets Point station.  My sympathies to all.

You know what espresso shots are?  They're the equivalent to sucking straight out of the soft drink syrup carton.  Usually you combine the soft drink syrup with carbonated water to form soda, but imagine just drinking the syrup?  It's potent!  That's also the effect of espresso at the cafe.

At the bar, you get this little drink gun with a dozen tiny buttons on it.  Two of the buttons shoot out Coke and Sprite.  One other one shoots out regular water, and I believe one is for carbonated water.  NOW... there are still 8 other buttons on the gun!  Why don't they use it for orange soda, root beer, and the like?  Or do they?  As far as I know I've only seen the two basics on that bar-hose.

Imagine 8 soda flavors on that hose.  It would make the bartender's life so much easier!

To this day, I do not know why, WHY they never came up with "Diet Cactus Cooler."   They have diet flavors of every other soda invented, but not cactus cooler.  It boggles the mind.  I *love* cactus cooler... maybe we want to watch calories and enjoy the combination of orange and pineapple at the same time.  Ah well.

Keith Olberman returns to the ESPN Family via ESPN2.  I'll give him a year.

I could use a soda now.. haha.  Good times ahead.

Oh!  My work colleagues and I are heading to Marty's Hamburger Stand tomorrow... it's over on Pico Blvd near Fox Studios and the golf course.   I'm a fan... they use Vienna Sausage hot dogs and cook good hamburgers.  Apparently their best item is the burger with the hot dog on *top* of it.   This is a damn good fast food stand my friends.

That's all from here.  Enjoy your two sports-less days you all...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 16th

Whoeee there's not much sports action going on.

Home Run Derby last night.   All Star Game tonight.  Nothing else until Friday.  This is a good time to talk about anything else.   ..good news, fellas, you came to the right place.  Do the dance!

Actually, not much going on.  Nice calm week at work.  Good weather, life is all right.

The issue with my new amp continues... it's under repair at the West LA repair shop.   In the meanwhile, I, being the goober that I am, saw a special for a used audio receiver some place in Northridge, another Audio Dealer specializing in custom installation, but just like Northridge, this place was more blue collar in nature.

Refreshing and interesting.  I went out there on the same day I met the snooty guy in Santa Monica.  In fact, I went to the Northridge place just afterward.   Anyway, it was in the store, a 30 year old receiver with meager looking facilities... just a couple knobs and a few switches.   It was very clean though!  So, I took it back.

I know, what am I going to do with *two* audio amplifiers?   Well I'll worry about it later.  I'll tell you why.  On Saturday when I connected it, after a long LONG day doing all this audio stuff and going to a Dodgers game with my family *and* visiting some nearby family in Hollywood, I was dazzled by the great audio quality on what was said to be a 20 watt amp.  Now, I have a small room now in my new apartment, but sound appropriated the room like a symphony.  So much depth and dynamic range.  Instruments loud, soft, left, and right.  Even front and back.  It was a very three-dimensional sound.  I loved it!   --this was all coming from the old receiver.   It was tremendous.

It's a pickle all right, but I think it's a problem I want to have.  There's always the possibility of returning the lemon, the "new" piece, but I doubt they'll take it back.  Instead, I could just advertise it on ebay or just keep it and A/B the music on the new amp and then the old one.

I think what happens is this:  if the new amp returns and it works, I'll use it for the bedroom.  The old one can go into the living room and become the "party amp."  We can play music on it during parties and set up two sets of speakers on the unit (the old amp has two sets of speaker terminals).  Bazinga, problem solved.

Might just use one set of speakers for the old amp, but either way, there's room for two!


I wish I had snappy lines today but they're not coming to me.  Let me do the best that I can...

Well friends....  I now have a strong desire to try the "Texas Sampler" at Bludso's.  They, my fellas, are way over in Compton.   It's a ways from where I live here in Santa Monica.  In fact, the only time I could even do it is a Saturday or a Sunday or when I have a day off in the middle of the week.

I'll tell you what, the Texas Sampler is HUGE.  The other thing is, no beef ribs in the mix.   I may include one or two since everyone raves about those beef ribs too. 

Worth a shot!   I look forward to that future trip.

Over the years I collected a handful of these Lounge Music CDs from Capitol Records called "Ultra Lounge"  Each volume has its own theme to it, like Organ Music, Cocktail music, A Morning in France, Space Race, Mambo, Jungle, etc.  There were 18 of these CDs!  They're all really cool. 

Now I'd like to see if I can get all the discs.   I have roughly four of them right now, I haven't counted.  I can find the rest if I try really hard.  I bet many of them are on Amazon.

Dang.  I think that's it for today.   Hope you enjoy the archived blog posts in light of this shortened entry.  Til tomorrow...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 15th

Midway point of July, HOW ARE YA?????????????

Anyone would be so privileged to have a night with Lola Heatherton... I don't know if she'd follow through with having one's children though.  #sctvreference

If I wanted to, I could write about 50 lines here that would be confusing to almost everyone.  On the other hand, why would I alienate my audience like that?

I still don't think Chris Davis hits more than 52 home runs this year, but.... BUT...  *37* at the All-Star Break, most since Reggie Jackson who had the same number at this time, still the AL record, is really impressive.

Now let's break this down.  If Reggie Jackson had 37 home runs in 1969 at the break, how did he finish?  Here's your answer:

47!  That means he only hit ten home runs the entire second half, including half of July, August, and September.  I wouldn't be surprised if Davis had a similar total, but I will be more generous and get him 51 total home runs, or 14 homers from now until season's end.

So that's all for the moment.   Check out my previous two entries which I wrote during the weekend.  Enjoy!  Have a good Monday...

The Story of the Snooty High End Audio Salesman (and other assorted jokers)

If we take the time warp machine to one day earlier, I can show you the story of the snooty High End Audio salesman.  Here we go!

It's not a mainstream industry per se, but when you factor in Home Theater and Projection equipment, the High End Audio/Video Industry is very much alive.  I've been a big Hi-Fi (as they once called it) enthusiast for quite some time, going back to my undergrad days at Cal Lutheran.   *With* it comes the inevitable "I'm better than you" attitude of audiophile writers, salespeople, and fans.  Oh it happens baby.  It's not much different from your local Jaguar dealer, "it matters more because it costs more," you know, that kind of thing.

All right, long explanation over, here's how it went down:

I went to a place in the area to look at new equipment.   Stores these days are focused more on "custom installation" whatever that means.  Basically, you call them up and set up a whole system and an home install.   Even new furniture, screening rooms, we are talking about potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment.  Well, as it turns out, guys who sell these things which require mortgages to pay are not going to want to waste their time with Joe Blow looking for a $500 integrated amp.  BUT, be that as it may, I went over there anyway and the awkward exchange went like this:

Guy stares at me.

I say, "Hello!"

Guy looks at me like I have four eyeballs.  He asks, "What can I do for you?"

I didn't have an answer... I just wanted to check out the equipment, so I said as much.

Flustered, he goes "Do you have an appointment?"

An appointment?  Is this a store or not?  It's almost as if I tried to break into a country club... "ohhh how can this average joe ethnic character be going into *our* club," and again, with Country Clubs, they're private institutions so actually I don't really care about whatever elitist attitude they have because its their membership and their right to be as elitist as they want and the onus is on the membership group to either deal with it or go somewhere else.

BUT!   I did not have an appointment so I just explained that I wanted to see what you had in stock.  Begrudgingly he let me check out their meager two show-rooms.  He directs me to the home theater group and brags about all the expensive equipment, emphasizing all the time that they cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

I think either he asked me about it or I just told him that I've been a big audio enthusiast and said I love NAD (this place was a NAD dealer), and he goes "Oh, have you heard of Simaudio?"

SIMAUDIO?!   Is that the brand name sitting on the couch next to you?   I told him I was not familiar with this esoteric brand.  He goes "Well you must not be that big an audio enthusiast or read any of the magazines if you've never heard of Simaudio."

Gee whiz... looks like I knew what I was in for.  How dare I try to intercede with his usual hobknobbing with people carrying too much money on their hands?  I mean, right away you knew that I was out of his league, or he was out of mine.  I have *NEVER* heard of Simaudio, in all my reading of Audio Forums or reading of magazines here and there in 20 years of following high end Audio.  I've heard of Adcom and Arcam, Marantz, Krell, Linn, Creek, NAD, McIntosh, Rotel, PSB, NHT, B&W, Monitor Audio, Audioquest, Kimber Kable, Tara Labs, Sonus Faber, and a bunch of other brands.  So *maybe* one of them slipped by me.

He leaves me alone and I go into the "Audio Room."  THEN, I found this thing:

HOLY MOSES, folks!   What is this monstrosity?  A drink cart?  A fancy shelf?   No!!  It's a record turntable!   This right here is the essence of High End Audio Pomposity.   It looks like the whole thing is made of glass no?  If I knocked it down I would owe $900,000.

I swear, one of these days I'm going to go back to the store and ask them, DARE THEM, to play a record on that damn thing.   I want to prove it works.  I mean the delicate geniuses who have the money to buy one of these -- would they actually play music on this on a regular basis, or worry too much about breaking it?  It would seem to me that such a piece is primarily designed to wow people at parties.  "Ooooh look how expensive this looks!"  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

If you look really carefully, there's a stack of LPs to the left and behind this turntable, and sticking out just a hair from the stack is a copy of Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" album. *This* would be the defining piece I want heard on that turntable.  I'm quite familiar with that recording so I would be very intrigued by how much this mantle piece could enhance the sound.   If I go through with this, I'll keep you all posted.

Anyway, to sum it all up, this place just reeked of elitist attitude, but some of the products were pretty damn good... the thing of it is, you gotta go through the hoops or have a lot of money to get the salesperson's respect.   That whole afternoon was a *scene!*  Some places have less of this attitude with the same products.  Some places have more of it too.   Even so, I get a kick out of all the crazy equipment, so I'm happy to tough it all out.

So just in case you had some morbid curiosity on the whole thing, the place is called "Definition Audio/Video" and they're at 2934 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.  Just make sure to call them first to give the folks fair warning.  The NAD product, upper crust material at just about any other store, winds up being their "low end, phillistine" product here.  Arcam is somewhere in the middle, and it's a legitimately great audio amplifier brand, and hard to find but they have Arcam too.  The key to a place like this is to know what you want already and just ask them to tell you about it.  Make a deal... there's so much markup with these goofy audio products that you'd be a damn fool to pay sticker price.  It's just like buying a car.

One more thing before I go -- every music and audio store will get in cahoots with one specific audio brand and position that brand with more prominence than the others.  For Definition, the brand is Moon by Simaudio... their amps are front and center in both showrooms... they're also REALLY expensive.

At some other places, NAD *is* the featured brand.  I know this was true at a store in Goleta several years ago.  It just depends on the dealer.

That's my story, I'll stay to it.  Happy listening everyone!

The Story of the Snooty Barista (and other such counter persons)

I'm sure almost all of you have run into the delicate genius snooty barista at Starbucks or similar guys and gals behind your local counter, right?   Well, today was another one...

We set the scene around 8:55 this morning, Santa Monica's richest and nicest neighborhood.  I went to Marmalade Cafe for a coffee and some breakfast and I found a new guy behind the counter.   And I think he saw me and it seemed like I was just getting in his way.  We've all run into those...  I went over and looked at the menu, right?  Just to see what all their signature items were, and the guy goes.  "It's BREAKFAST, here's the *breakfast* menu."  Then he hands me the breakfast menu on a small laminated yellow paper.

Now, first things first... did we really need the attitude for me looking at the lunch menu?   Just because I saw it doesn't mean I was going to deliberately order fliet mignon chili at 9am in the morning!  Come on now!  I was just curious as to what the fare *might* be.   Now, I know he wants me to order something they can help me with but here it wasn't really what he said it was how he said it.

On a separate note, Filet Mignon Chili sounds really delicious today... might be worth a look if it's not expensive.

Moving on, I looked at their fancy breakfast menu.  All really good choices, but man!   So expensive!   All I wanted today was a breakfast burrito and the thing costs 9 bones.   I don't have an issue with 9 bone burritos so long as we have the understanding that its a sit down restaurant and the burrito came with sides.  That was the case here, but I was really looking forward to a $5.99 takeout version instead... I just had no idea which way they'd go.

So I ordered a French Roast coffee.  It's Peerless Brand coffee, one of my favorites.   I asked for it in a large size, and he goes "We only have ONE size."

WELL EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE ME!   For most of us jokers who go to Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Peet's every day we are used to having multiple sizes.   Anyway, I ordered the damn coffee.  He gives it to me and I don't even bother with a tip this time.  He didn't say thank you or have a nice day or anything, so I'm done with it.   That guy is going to have to face his own demons.

Now as for the coffee, the french roast was pretty good, but I also think that Marmalade does their Peerless coffee differently than NY Bagel.   Marmalade is watering it down... and I know that because at NY Bagel, one sip of their Peerless French Roast feels like a kick in the pants.  I mean it is *good.*  Here, it's like the same thing but dialed back quite a lot, so it's more like a pat on the back.   I mean ugh, ok, but not what I was hoping for.

To put it in perspective, I drank the Marmalade version without much hesitation at all.  I drank it black, even.  I usually put milk in the NY Bagel coffee and it still kicks me solid.

Then I microwaved two Hebrew National hot dogs and had a most unusual breakfast.  Those hot dogs, when you microwave them in the bun, taste really good.  Seems counter-intuitive, but the fact is, microwaved hot dogs wrapped in a paper towel create the effect of a steamed hot dog.   Huge fan.  I'm tempted to have two more... must resist!

Where was I?   Yeah, attitude in Santa Monica is very real, but it's only with a few select jokers, and to be honest, I prefer this over the disingenuous "fake nice" demeanor I'd get from servers in Beverly Hills.

Hey, if you're going to be a jerk, be honest with it right?   I can respect that.

Speaking of respect, wait until I tell you the story of the snooty High End Audio salesman.   I'll get to that soon.  More to come...