Thursday, April 16, 2009

Diver Down

This past Friday we decided to go to a new bar called Drifter's after I passed my CLU test (YES!). We had a great time and enjoyed their draught beer selection. The bar is very nice and open with lots of light. Now, some of you may be wondering where this bar is. Well, for those of you with shorter term memories of the downtown area it is in the old Paulie's. For those of you with longer memories, it is in the old Lizard's Lounge. Many of you who have known me for some time will remember that I basically had my mail forwarded to the Lizard's Lounge in the late 90's.

Lizard's was one of those great dive bars without being scary or too sketchy. It wasn't the place for the cool preppy college kids. It was where people just looking to have a good time and listen to bands went (especially after the Gallery closed/succumbed to termites). The place was dark and loud. The floors were cleaned once every decade. The bathrooms were slightly above the quality of a Mexican road house. You get the picture.

Anyway, I have a ton of good memories (admittedly, some, ok, a good portion, of them a taaaad fuzzy) from that place. I used to frequent the place with my good friends Traci, Jeannie, and Lynda, serving as their bodyguard (it's a wonder I wasn't picking up chicks when I came in with 3 already...). We had many adventures and spent a good portion of our meager paychecks there.

Now I'll get to the point. Where are the dive bars now? I know there are the ones on the West side, but those are all populated by old and/or verrrrry sketchy people. No, I want to know where young adults can go to throw back some drinks and listen to original live music without having to dress up like they're going to a club. I don't know, maybe times have changed and the new generation just wants pre-packaged 4,000 decibel martini bars. Speaking of the new generation; what is with not going out until 10 or 11? When I was a regular patron of the adult beverage dispensers you had to get there by 7 or you didn't get a table. Is it a cost saving measure? Are people getting drunk before they head out? Is it because the guys are contemplating which Abercrombie and Fitch distressed vintage t-shirt they are going to wear with their pre-stained, pre-frayed, pre-torn baseball cap?

At the risk of sounding like an old codger talking about how things were so much better in the old days, I must say that I prefer the way we partied. However, I will say that I do appreciate cleanliness now that I'm well entrenched in my 30's. And, as we informed the nice 21 year old waitress who hadn't heard of many of the beers on tap, it is nice to have a selection of beer other than AB and Miller (not that there's anything wrong with Miller, especially Miller High Life).

Well, I'm off to hug a tree.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


To borrow from Wallace Shawn in Princess Bride, there are three classic blunders. First, never get involved in a land war in Asia, second is: never go against a Scillian when death is on the line, third: never kidnap a U.S. Captain of a freighter and then pop your head up from the lifeboat when there are Navy SEALS abord a U.S. Navy destroyer.

Now, I'm not a supporter of violence but this is one incident I can get behind. As for the snipers, I take a page from my Dad's friend Mac, please keep them employed by the U.S. military until they are 80. I would like to keep theirs abilities on our side and not with a private contractor.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blinds, Blinds, Everywhere There's Blinds

Many of you may remember that the house has Roman shades. If you are not familiar with Roman shades, they are basically one piece of fabric. The big downside is you can't let just a little light in while still maintaining some semblance of privacy.

To address this, we went to Lowe's (after discovering they were cheaper than Menard's, plus we had a 10% off coupon) and purchased some plantation style faux wood blinds. We bought blinds for the living room (4), master bedroom (2), full bath (2), and the stairs (1). Thankfully, we had previously purchased blinds at Menard's on clearance that we thought would fit perfectly inside the bathroom windows. Why am I thankful? I'm thankful because I didn't get them cut (nor did I buy all the blinds and have them cut) prior to attempting to install them. Once I took one set out of the box I quickly learned that our windows are not deep enough for inside mount. So, I guess we have shallow windows (we're working on expanding their emotional depth).

Now, as we were purchasing the blinds I was happy with a feeling of dread. Happy because we were getting rid of most of the Roman shades. As for the feeling of dread, I couldn't quite place it but I remembered that installing blinds were a pain in the ass. Wasn't sure why, just knew I was not going to have any fun.

Sunday I quickly remembered why I hated putting up blinds. Two reasons: 1) You have to hold the blinds up (plantation style faux wood blinds are HEAVY to hold above your head) while your partner traces the outlines of the brackets; 2) The screws the company gives you are made out of something akin to lead mixed with pewter mixed with clay. Let's just say that after the 10th screw stripped I was making up curse words. It was at this point I remembered that the last time I installed blinds I promised myself that I would get different screws. Away to Farm & Fleet I went and purchased screws made out of actual steel (what a novel concept), though, the package I bought didn't have enough screws (found this out at home) to install all of the blinds (I have one window left).

As for the tracing problem, i found that due to the size of our windows, if I used the valance as a template, it solved the problem. After I figured all of this out, it was smooth sailing. I must say the windows look muuuuuuch better and it's not as gloomy inside the house when you can crack open the blinds without the crazy lady next door looking in your window.

If you need to install blinds at your house, I would be happy to tell you what to do while I'm watching you with a beer in hand.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Saddle up the high horse

I was watching the series finale of ER, which was terrific by the way, and in the episode there was a patient who had been living with AIDS for 20 years. A thought struck me. What if we took the money we spend on the Iraq war for a week and instead spent it on AIDS research, or tuberculosis, or cancer. Say we spent that money for a good cause. Say we also found a cure for one of those diseases and then gave the cure free of charge to the rest of the world. Imagine the pride we as Americans could have knowing that our tax dollars contributed to the welfare of the world.

Anyway, that was just something I thought of. I'm sure it isn't a unique thought, or should I say, I hope it isn't.