This week’s shows

Monday’s show was Garrison Starr and Anne McCue opening up for Thea Gilmore at Iota. I knew Garrison Starr from her song “Superhero” a couple years back. She was decent, but I didn’t feel the urge to get her CD. Anne McCue was a very small Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist who made me pay attention with her blistering take on Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”. She went from blues to folk to rock, good set. I kept hearing about Thea Gilmore from Neil Gaiman: “I think Thea Gilmore is excellent, I love her approach, her passion and the way that she uses words – she’s probably the smartest songwriter that England has produced since Elvis Costello.” And she was excellent – my inital impression was a weird mix of Milla, Tori and Dar. Worth passing up Dream Theater that night even.

Thursday, going to see The Bobs and the Austin Lounge Lizards at The Barns Of Wolf Trap. The Bobs are an acappella comedy group in the tradition of Da Vinci’s Notebook (Richard ‘Bob’ Greene has been the producer on all the DVN CDs). I think the Austin Lounge Lizards are a band with comedy stylings, but I’m not sure, because their web site has NO sound clips! How can you have a music site without sound? Ok, rant over.

Sunday, Liz Phair returns to headline a sold out show at the 9:30 Club with Rachael Yamagata and Wheat. We saw Liz there last summer, but Jason Mraz was headlining and she only got an hour long set. Hopefully she’ll be able to play a lot longer this time, especially since it’s the last show on her tour.

The weekend

If it’s Tuesday, it must be the weekend wrap-up. Especially since I didn’t get to it yesterday. Saturday I didn’t get up ’til 1 (since I didn’t get to be ’til 3 – damn body clock wouldn’t reboot, no matter how many times I pressed the soft reset button). I hurried off to Bethesda to see my myotherapist, then went to the Fairfax City library to their booksale and picked up a couple books. Puttered around the house until it was time to go to the Googleplex to see Kevin Smith’s “Jersey Girl” with Jill and Sandy.

I enjoyed the movie immensely. While he doesn’t avoid some of the obvious cliches about fatherhood, there are long stretches where we were laughing so hard we missed some dialogue. Particularly memorable – Ben renting porno while his daughter’s there, the “Sweeney Todd” subplot, and George Carlin in just about every scene he’s in. Afterwards, we headed to Pablo’s for some Mexican food. As we always do we had the queso to start, but I had a combo (soft chicken taco, spinach & poblano enchilada, and a beef rellano) and a low carb margarita instead of my usual El Matador combo and beer.

Sunday Jill was off at Mel’s bridal shower, but I found plenty to do (clean, rollerblade, shower, change & clean screen door, clean furnace filter) to occupy myself until I picked her up. We met up with a group from the ski club at the Bethesda Jaleo. It’s another tapas place (but the original one around here). I had the shrimp with pimentos, blood sausage, Spanish sausages and a Bare Knuckle stout (not a bad Guinness copy from Anheuser-Busch, only thing decent they had on draft), as well as splitting some green beans in garlic sauce with Jill.

We headed home in time to watch last week’s “Alias”, as well as watch this week’s, “The Simpsons”, and “Deadwood”. Alias is getting intense as the traitor will be revealed soon to the CIA. Can’t stand Syd’s new haircut, though. Simpsons was good (Bart in jail), and I like Deadwood – Swearengen (based on a real guy) is an amazing villain, you just love to hate him.

Fire alarm

It rang for real today. About 11:30 I thought I smelled something, but it was electrical, like a monitor blowing. It was for real – but the alarms weren’t going off, although you could see the smoke coming off the roof from the eastern facing windows. I got outside; I took my laptop, but not my jacket or phone – I don’t know where my priorities are. We found out later that they were working on the alarm system when the fire started in the Rio Grande restaurant. They put it back in quickly, but luckily a fire truck was passing by and saw the smoke and alerted some other stations.

We waited outside the front watching the smoke for awhile. We were supposed to meet on the side, but the smoke was blowing that direction, so we moved. After 30 minutes the fire still wasn’t out, so five of us went to Chicken Out (in Ballston Mall) for lunch, then I went and got a haircut. When I got back, the fire was out, but they were still flushing the HVAC, so we sat in the courtyard for another 20 minutes. Of course I’ve still got to get all my work done – good thing I was already planning on staying late for a show.

Vancouver wrap up

Woke up Friday morning and checked out. We headed downtown, and did the Stanley Park drive again (no good pics out of the nighttime visit). Jitesh and Woody went souvenir hunting, while I looked for books and comics (best one was Golden Age Collectables). I was running short on time before we left, so I hustled over to Olympia Seafood for some of their acclaimed fish and chips (I had the cod). Very tasty, hot and fresh. And fortified me for the long day ahead. Vancouver airport takes a long time to get through (checkin, airport tax, customs, security), then we had a 4 hour flight to Chicago. Watched “School Of Rock” again, still funny. The O’Hare airport has a Billy Goat Tavern branch in terminal C, so I got a nice fresh double cheeseburger (like I did on the way back last month) for dinner. We got into National a little after midnight, and I was home by 1:30AM.

Revenge is sweet

We didn’t make it to Sweet Revenge, but we did make it to Death By Chocolate 10 minutes before it closed. I had the Fudged Out Fudge cake with hot fudge (in addition to a roast beef sandwich and a salad) – very tasty, but I think I hurt myself getting it all down. Oh well, more fuel for the late night coding – we’re almost done.

Go with the flow, Yoko

When we were waiting for our fully booked plane in Montreal, they made an announcement about upgrades and vouchers to go on a later flight. We decided to check it out. When we got to the front of the line at the counter, the clerk in front of us (skinny balding Bob Cratchit type) was harassing his coworker. She was wondering about what to do, and he was yelling at her, sending her off in near tears, but not before he gave her this advice: “Go with the flow, Yoko”. We’ve been using it as a mantra all week (along with “Hemi!” – we’re renting a Durango).

Lunch yesterday was at the mall – I had a pita, pretty decent. We got out of work the earliest yet, at 7PM. At one point I thought I might get to go skiing – there’s slopes 15 minutes north of the city, but it’s been rainy since Monday (and they’re open ’til 10 – not a lot of time). We thought we’d hit Chinatown, but went to find a bookstore first. The nearest one was a Chapters (Canadian Borders) in the Metrotown mall. Not a great selection in the bookstore, but the mall has a Playdium (Canadian Dave & Busters) and we spent an enjoyable hour there. When we got to Chinatown, we discovered nearly the entire place shut down at 6PM. The one restaurant we found that was open didn’t have much vegetarian for Jitesh (and no duck for me), so we went wandering up Main Street. I found a good Chinese place mentioned in my Frommer’s book, and it was near Sweet Revenge, so we went up around King Edward’s Street and parked.

We found out why we couldn’t find Sweet Revenge the night before – it was tiny and closed. And the place mentioned in the guidebook wasn’t there – there was a Vietnamese place there instead. Luckily, two doors south there was a Chinese restaurant. I’d love to give the name (it was in kanji), because it was fabulous. I ordered the braised duck with meat, which turned out to be surrounded by bok choy and covered in seafood – fish, shrimp, squid, octopus and scallops. Best meal I’ve had here yet. And so much food, none of us were in any mood for dessert.

Back at the hotel, it was noisy – my floor had screaming kids and slamming doors. I headed down to the gym again, tried my luck with the balky weight machine. Happily, things had settled down when I got back to my room.

Today, since it was our last lunch (we’ll be at the airport tomorrow by 11:30), we went downtown to the Thai House on Robson Street. We shared some spring rolls, then I had the Gai Pad bai Grapau (chicken with Thai chilli, onions, mushrooms & fresh basil). I was only paying attention to the 3 chili spice level and missed the evil fungus, and had to spend time picking them out.

I’m waiting on a bug fix now, looks like it might be a late night. We want to finish as much as we can so we don’t have to come in for two hours in the morning before we need to leave for the airport (that redeye got changed to come in late tomorrow night instead). We found that the mall across the street has a Death By Chocalate Express, so we may go for a sugar boost soon.

The Passion vs. the Python

I’m on the Monty Python email list, so I thought it was interesting that they sent out this press release yesterday about them planning “a theatrical re-release (or second coming) of Life of Brian.” in response to the ongoing coverage of “The Passion”. All well and good, and maybe it’ll make it to DC I think to myself.

This morning, what do I see on the front page of the Vancouver Globe and Mail? And a Google news search shows a number of other papers have run with the story. Publicity means a much better chance of us getting to see Brian on the big screen in DC, so that’s a good thing.

‘nother day, ‘nother dollar

Another long day yesterday, so we went immediately to the Yaletown Brewing Co. for dinner. We split some Firecracker Green Beans (nice and spicy) and spring rolls to start, then I had the Roast Chicken Gremolota (lager marinated, and falling off the bone). I tried the Red Truck and Hill’s Special Wheat (their version of a Hefeweizen), both pretty tasty.

Andre and Leila joined us for dinner, then Andre split. Leila navigated us through downtown and Stanley Park, where we were when the Nine O’Clock Gun went off (supposedly to have ship captains reset their watches). We dropped her off, then went to try and find Sweet Revenge. We failed and returned to the hotel, where we decided to try our luck at the casino across the street, I dropped $10 on the slots, and Woody abstained, but Jitesh came out $70 ahead. I didn’t see the end – I elected to return to the hotel and try out the stair climber. After 20 minutes, it told me I had climbed 73 floors – 3 times as tall as the hotel. I dedided that was enough and went to bed.

Temptation taken

Presale is on now and I bought tix. I avoided the pit because tix weren’t available close and Jill has a hard time seeing; I got section 101 row A which is pretty decent.

Also coming soon: Van Halen (with Sammy).