Birthday dinner

So Jill had me meet her at the closest Metro stop to where she’s interning. I wasn’t sure where she was driving us to until we turned onto H Street. I’ve been watching the Atlas District become a hot thing and been tempted to go, partly because of a new music club, but mainly because of Dr. Granville Moore’s Brickyard. It’s a Belgian place that leans heavily on the beers, and the reviews have been looking good. Apparently I’d mentioned the place when we’d been talking about Belgian beers (maybe at Rustico?), and Jill had found out it wasn’t far from her work.

I was kind of surprised she went for it – the neighborhood’s still kinda sketchy, but we parked on H a block away and walked in. Some of the reviews had mentioned it being noisy, so we asked the waitress which floor would be quieter, and she sent us upstairs. Of course seconds after we arrived, the bartender was cranking the tunes. But he was just playing songs off his iPod, and he asked us if there was something we wanted to hear (there was). It was fortunate timing to get there at opening, as we were the only ones up on the second floor while we were there, and got excellent service. The food and drinks have to receive high marks as well. I started off with a Chimay Red – I’d had the white before, but couldn’t resist a description that included “hints of candied dates”. Jill was also thinking of the red, but went with a similar brown the bartender recommended. The mussels are the house specialty, and she had those (the “regional” flavoring) and some of their frites, while I had a beer sausage sandwich (fabulous), paired with a Tripel Karmeliet (the bartender said it was his personal favorite) that was delicious. We were too stuffed for dessert, but I had a Kasteel Rouge (cherry beer) that had just the right amount of sweetness.

I forgot to mention – my folks and sis had gotten me some nice gifts the prior night, cool books like a His Dark Materials story, the last Neil Gaiman movie companion and awesome Dilbert figures, but Jill went for the ultimate with Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii. The only bad thing is we’d need two controllers to play at the same time, but it left us winded enough that we could catch our breath while the other played. We’ll see if we can get out of the beginner levels anytime soon.

Birthday weekend

Ok, not really my birthday – that’s tomorrow, but we started the celebrating early. On Friday, a neighbor had her birthday party, and we were there late, having a bit much of a good time. Saturday morning I was hurting a little, but took Illa and my car over to the mechanic so they could replace my door handle (plastic wore out) and I walked Illa home and made myself the classic slab burger (with egg) before going outside and reading on the deck.

In the evening I headed over to the Cheesecake Factory in Bethesda for a coworker’s bachelor party. Since the group started arriving around 5, we got a table in less than half an hour, pretty good for that place (the line when we left was incredible). No cheesecake for me – after appetizers, a chicken and avocado club, and a side of asparagus, there was no room at the inn. Good thing, as the second part of the night was laser tag. That was a lot of fun, even though I was worn out at the end. It was also cool to find out the place has a location very close to work, may have to do that again soon.

Sunday I really slept in, but did make my classic schmorgles for breakfast, also making some deviled eggs for later in the week as the 6 eggs a week we’re getting are piling up. For dinner, we packed Illa in the car and headed over to Mom’s. This was Illa’s first chance to meet Tati, her new dog, and they were quickly roughhousing in the backyard. Dad and my sister soon showed, and we went inside to eat. I’d requested something I hadn’t had in a while: Mom’s homemade crepes, with ham, asparagus, and hollandaise sauce. Those were scrumptious, and she also had homemade applesauce. She also made carrot cake from scratch for dessert, very tasty (and we wouldn’t have known unless she told us that she’d had to substitute vanilla extract for lemon extract, ’cause it had evaporated). Got to get to bed soon, as I’m meeting Jill in DC early tomorrow night for our dinner.


Going to be a busy week – the only nights I’ll be home are tonight and tomorrow, and that’s through Monday. But last night was worth it, because I got to see amazing guitarists, all performing the work of Jimi Hendrix. As I walked into Constitution Hall, there was a sign up that Jonny Lang would not be performing due to a family emergency. That was not upsetting to me, as he wasn’t even in my top 5 of the guitarists playing. What was disappointing was the sign said Corey Glover (from Living Colour) would be there, and he didn’t show.

Still, the night was packed full of musicians. To kick things off, Eric Gales (I’ve liked some of his work, particularly “Resurrection”) played “Foxy Lady” with Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, who are also known as Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band. Andy Aledort (Hendrix guitar instructor) played bass for “May This Be Love”, then Double Trouble reformed to play with Mato Nanji (from Indigenous) on a smoking “Little Wing” and “Hear My Train A Comin’”. I wasn’t familiar with him before, but he’s definitely someone to watch. Some guy I must not have caught the name of correctly came up next (because Curtis Dangler only gets 3 hits) to sing “Spanish Castle Magic” (edit: it was Kurtis Dengler) with Robby Krieger (guitarist for the Doors). They had a little audio problem with the drums, so Chris Layton got in a short solo before Noah Hunt (singer for Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band) and Andy Aledort joined the group for a nice take on “Manic Depression”.

Next came something I was looking forwards to, as the rhythm section was comprised of Jimi’s band members, Mitch Mitchell (drummer for the Experience and Cry of Love) and Billy Cox (bassist for the Band of Gypsys and Cry of Love). Mick Taylor (guitarist for the Rolling Stones) joined them, Noah Hunt and Robby Krieger for what should have been a nice run through “All Along the Watchtower”, but it was a trainwreck, mercifully stuttering to a stop after a few minutes. Mitch Mitchell apparently doesn’t have much interest in keeping a beat anymore, which is pretty crucial. Just Mick Taylor remained on stage with Mitch and Billy for a slow take on “Catfish Blues” that was somewhat better, but then Andy Aledort and Curtis Dangler (edit: Kurtis Dengler) returned to sing “Stone Free” and left me wishing for the end.

I was cheering (on the inside) as Double Trouble returned to join Noah Hunt and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on a blazing romp through “I Don’t Live Today”, “Voodoo Chile” (not the famous one, that was later) and “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)”. Next up, Buddy Guy and his band took the stage for some blues classics (only some of which Jimi played, but it’s Buddy Guy, he does what he wants). They opened with “Mary Had A Little Lamb” (I’m most familiar with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s take), then had Hubert Sumlin (guitarist who worked with both Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters) join them for “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Five Long Years”. Buddy and Hubert have a lot of respect for each other, because it showed as they traded licks, pretty good for a pair of guys in their 70s.

The number one reason I wanted to go to the show was to see Robert Randolph, the pedal steel prodigy I’d seen join the Dave Matthews Band a couple years back, take on Hendrix. He joined Buddy Guy along with Mick Taylor and Mitch Mitchell (thankfully not as noticeably bad with another drummer) for some nice solos during “My Time After Awhile” and “Drowning On Dry Land”, astounding even Buddy. After that Buddy Guy’s band left (except the drummer), and he had left too, but returned one more time for an epic “Red House”, with Billy Cox on vocals, and Robert Randolph, Andy Aledort and Chris Layton. I thought “Purple Haze”, with Robert Randolph singing and playing his heart out (with Andy Aledort and Double Trouble) would be the highlight, but that was before Noah Hunt and Kenny Wayne Shepherd joined them and started trading solos during “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. The furious, ecstatic ending made the crowd go nuts, and was worth the price of admission on its own. They were running late, but Noah Hunt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mitch Mitchell, Robby Krieger, Buddy Guy’s keyboardist and Double Trouble came back for a quick encore of “Hey Joe” to cap off the night.


Friday I hurried home and turned some Hot Pockets into a quick meal (they work better if you slice them so they fold open) so Jill could head out, and I went out shortly after, to see Porcupine Tree at the State Theatre. I’d seen the same opening band when I saw them in Baltimore, and wasn’t impressed, so I tried to time it exactly, but got there a little later than planned and missed a couple songs. But the rest of the show was outstanding, and the material off their new EP was really good.

Dar party

Saturday was filled with cleaning, as we were hosting a party for the new Dar Williams DVD. Her record company had asked for volunteers, and I’d offered, thinking it would be a fun evening. We asked people to bring potluck, and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of food. Stuart stood out for his celebration of “Folktoberfest” – he brought many kinds of brats, fresh sauerkraut and bread from the German Gourmet, and we ate hearty. The DVD was good, a sampler of the real thing, here’s a taste:

By the time everyone left and we finished cleaning, it was close to midnight and we were wiped. My sleep was disturbed several times by raccoons, who fortunately didn’t get into our trash can. Today I slept in, took Illa on a long walk just before the disappointing game, then made a stir fry dish using pork chops, Chinese broccoli and oyster sauce. Now some dessert, then to finish the paper.

Your daily WTF

I know it’s hard to get new music heard these days but this?

The Music of Seal on Ice
One time only, live skating production

Verizon Center
Tuesday December 18 @ 7:30pm
Presale: Thursday, October 11, 10am until Friday, October 12, 10pm

Presale Password: Rose

Click here to buy tickets:

Seal Brings His Music to Life In One-Time Only Live Skating Production
Grammy Award Winner will perfrom live along with Olympic Gold Medalist Brian Boitano, special guest Kristi Yamaguchi, and other world class skaters.

The internationally acclaimed, three-time Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter, Seal, will perform live in a one-time only music and skating production, “The Music of Seal on Ice,” with a cast that features Olympic Gold Medalist Brian Boitano. The show is set at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, December 18, and will be televised nationwide on NBC from 4:00 p.m. to
6:00 p.m. EST on New Year’s Day.

Seal will perform several of his hits live, including music from his new album, while a cast of Olympic and world-class skaters interpret his music on the ice. Skaters confirmed for the one-time collaboration include Olympic Gold Medalists Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano, six-time U.S. champion and World champion Todd Eldredge, and three-time U.S. champion and two-time World bronze medalist Michael Weiss with special guest Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. Many more Olympic and world-level skaters will be added to the cast soon.

In addition, $5.00 from every ticket from “The Music of Seal on Ice” show will benefit Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism
epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure.

“Performing for a live audience is always a thrill for me, particularly with songs from my new album that is really a return to my musical roots,” said Seal. “The addition of these world class skaters as a visual element to the show will make this a fantastic event benefiting a wonderful cause.”