Hyper-Chondriac: One Man’s Quest to Hurry Up and Calm Down – Brian Frazer

Hyper-Chondriac - Brian FrazerHow to decscribe Brian Frazer? Brian Frazer is quite frankly a little bit of everything…body builder, standup comedian, author, nutcase, and author somewhere along the lines of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs.

In his self-deprecating memoir, Hyper-Chondriac: One Man’s Quest to Hurry Up and Calm Down, Frazer retells his life story filled with neuroses, family, medication, alternative medicine, marriage, anger, violence, tragedy, and comedy.

Chronicling his journey through life thus far, this is the story of Frazer’s quest for inner calm. It begins with an animated account of his dysfunctional childhood. When little kids were playing Little League, Frazer was concocting new diseases and seeing his very first hypnotherapist. Is that a children’s book yet? My Very First Therapist? If not, it should be.

Frazer definitely has some anger-management issues at the beginning. The man will threaten anyone from dog walkers, to neighbors, to fellow drivers. Even himself, from time to time.

Not to spoil anything for you, but a guy actually shits in his driveway. SHITS IN HIS DRIVEWAY. That’s some revenge if I’ve ever heard it.

Frazer delves into a search for the ultimate relaxation. Everything from yoga, Kabbalah, knitting, pharmaceuticals, tai chi, anger management, and even puppies.

If you can’t be saved by puppies, you cannot be saved!!!

This book is absolutely hysterical, especially when you can appreciate neuroses as much a I can. The guy’s a total nutcase, in the best sense of the word. It takes some balls to put all that out there on paper for the whole world to read.

I flew thorough this book. I think it took me about two or three days to finish. It’s a quick, fun read and I look forward to reading more of his work. And dammit, I hope he can calm down someday, but he amuses me so just the way he is.

Also, just found out he has a Myspace. Check that shit out.

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Wright’s Seafood Inn – Heidelberg, PA

Wright's BoardWell, this blog is certainly shaping up to be a random mix of things…cartoons, TV, music, theater, rants…and restaurants?

I am no food critic, but when I receive appalling service, as I did at Wright’s Seafood Inn on Tuesday night, I have to share.

Let’s start from the beginning. We have been there twice before, once for an early dinner with a friend and once for lunch with another couple. The first time was the early dinner and that time we did have great service, tried a bunch of beers on the list (mmmm Lindeman’s!), hung out and genuinely had a good time. I got a delicious fish sandwich and we shared an appetizer platter. I do remember that the spring rolls were delicious, if not a little small. Our waitress was very, very nice and quite knowledgeable about the beer selection.

The second time, we went for lunch. Service was a little slow, but not all that terrible. Drinks were filled in a moderate amount of time and I believe we all got salads. They were nicely portioned, if a little pricey. Also, they played Underworld and other various trip- hop. That’s okay with me. Our waiter, quite frankly, seemed like a dick, but he got our food out and our drinks filled. That’s all I can ask for.

Wright's DeckDinner. Just say NO! This time, we went with a friend to celebrate his birthday. Once again, I’m sorry, Casey! We get to the restaurant at around 7pm, right before the dinner “rush”. Whatever rush there may be on a Tuesday. I ask to be seated outside, since you can smoke out there. Instead of at least giving us the option of the deck or the sandbar, they lead us directly to the deck. That’s fine. I’ve been in the service industry, I understand that you need to rotate sections, but it would have been nice to have the option! In fact, a few of the tables that were seated on the deck with us, requested to be moved to the sand bar, and were.

So the hostess seats us and gives us menus. Awesome. Then the waitress comes over about 10 minutes later to take our drink order…Adam get’s a Young’s Chocolate Stout, Casey gets a Dewar’s on the rocks, and I get a Magner’s. Nothing fancy. Nothing that even needs mixed for christ’s sakes, as well as an order of calamari to get started with. I don’t eat calamari, but it did seem that Adam and Casey enjoyed it.

So 45 minutes later, with our empty glasses and appetizer plates, our waitress finally decides to come back to take our order. How delightful! I’m so glad she was able to take time out of her busy schedule of chatting with the other waitresses and fixing her hair to take our order! So I order a bacon cheeseburger, well done, no tomato. Not so bad, right? Adam gets the peppered tuna, and Casey get’s the Mahi Mahi.

Wright's FoodI am a huge fan of the well done burger. I want a burnt, ashy, hockey puck on a bun. I am well aware that it takes some extra time to burn the fuck out of my burger, so I don’t mind waiting a little longer. Usually, I even apologize to my dining companions in advance.

So about another 40 minutes later, our food comes. Adam’s tuna is the smallest portion of tuna I have ever seen in my life, especially for being listed in the entree section of the menu, not the appetizer section. It would have been small for an appetizer! It was five or six pieces of tuna about 1.5″ x 1″, and came with no side dishes. Absolutely not worth the money spent on it. On the plus side, Adam said it was truly delicious.

Order #1 that they screwed up: Casey’s Mahi Mahi. He said it was far too dry, and they served it with cumin rice instead of pineapple rice. At least the vegetables looked good? His portion was rather small, once again, especially for the price.

Order #2 that they screwed up: My fucking burger. Really? You really fucked up a BURGER? I got the Inn Burger, which is cheese, bacon, onions, tomato (which I asked for none of) lettuce, and pickles. MMMM yummy! What do I get? Cheese and lettuce. Cheese and fucking lettuce on my bun. I have two problems with this: #1, obviously, the kitchen fucked up. #2, not only did the kitchen fuck up, but the waitress also should have checked the order.

So I sit there for another 15 minutes, at least munching on some fries until the waitress comes back to check on us and I’m able to tell her about this issue. She takes it back, they fix it, she brings it back. All is good in the land of dining. I will admit, it was a good burger. The fries were good too, but it just wasn’t worth the time, effort, and frustration of this whole experience.

Wright's Food 2Then, the waitress comes back and we ask about desserts. She raves about this famously succulent cheesecake! I love cheesecake! So do Adam and Casey! Great choice, right? Wrong again!

I have had similar out of the freezer section of the supermarket. It was actually pretty dry, too sweet, not tart at all, and had a plain, graham cracker crust. On the plus side, it was a huge slice. Casey, Adam, and I had trouble splitting the thing.

On top of all of this was the sad state of the patio. Where we were sitting, lucky Adam got the spring board seat! W00!!! There was a plank of the deck that had warped and become a loaded spring board right under Adam’s seat. What bouncy fun! Also, (poor Adam) the cardboard underneath of the table was taped on, poorly, so the tape gives way and Adam spends the entire meal with cardboard on his lap. Charming, huh?

I believe this was a case of a terrible waitress and a confused kitchen. More so, the terrible waitress. The other tables around us, who were seated after us, all had their food before we did, full drinks, and smiles on their faces. At least someone was getting friendly and prompt service.

In our TWO HOUR dinner, Adam had two drinks, I had three, and I believe Casey had three. Not that we wouldn’t have drunk more, but we weren’t given the option! Anyone who has served in a restaurant with a bar know, the more people drink, the higher their tab is, and the bigger tip YOU get! Our waitress simply didn’t get that apparently.

It’s really a shame, they have a gorgeous facility! The deck is filled with lush ferns and now they have the newly added sand bar. Even the interior is pretty decadent. They have a sultry cigar bar and a lush dining room. When you come in there’s a warm, tiled entry way with the hostess’ station. This place has so much potential, but they really need to work on their staff and service!

I can’t see us going there again. It seems like every time we go back, it gets worse. DO NOT WANT!

Stage 62’s Production of Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of HorrorsThis was the third time that we have seen Stage 62 at our local library and it’s been pretty damn good every time. This time, though, I would have to say is the best.

Stage 62 consistently has good actors, delightfully eccentric for the stage (c’mon, you gotta be!). It was better than the black and white version, not as good as the Rick Moranis version. But in the Stage 62 version, Audrey II actually says, “Om nom nom” while munching on Mr. Mushnik (Leon Zionts), which is a complete WIN!

Seymour (Chris Martin) and Audrey (Cara Walkowiak) were absolutely spectacular. Audrey was perfect actually. From the hair to the pencil skirts to that way that she stands. For all you Little Shop of Horrors fans out there, you know what I’m talking about! Seymour was wonderfully geeky and awkward, as he should have been.

Even Orin (Michael Naccarelli) was pretty good, and those are some big shoes to fill. He could have been a little more…insane (and high), but hey, everyone’s a critic.

Audrey II was sensational! In both voice (Korey White) and puppetry (Ryan McGrogan). It kinda sucks that you HAVE TO lease the puppets for this, but I’m sure it does make it easier on the behind-the-scenes crew.

Chiffon (Brittany Babjack), Crystal (Natalie Hatcher), and Ronnette (Amanda Varceletti) were absolutely fabulous. I would have to say, probably the best vocals in the show, especially for Babjack. Damn, that girl’s got a voice!

This was also the last performance for the historic(ally uncomfortable) seats at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, PA. The new seats can be enjoyed this fall, in time for All Audrey, All Heart and Titanic: The Musical.

I’m telling you, Stage 62 is a hidden gem of Carnegie and I’m really glad we’ve been introduced to them. Personally, I’m looking forward to Deathtrap, a dark comedy coming this winter.

For upcoming shows, visit:
Carnegie Carnegie or Stage 62

A minor site update…

In case you haven’t noticed, there is now rating on WordPress.
So please, when you visit, click on that 5th star and show me how much you love me.

It’s been entered underneath comments, blogs, and whole pages. Click away, my friends, click away.

That is all.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Aaaaand…just because a post looks naked without a pic or video or something…

Enjoy such classics as:

George Washington!

Porkchop Sandwiches!

and The Touchtone Genius!

I <3 The Decemberists

Hardcore. It’s bad. It’s obsession on a Phoenix level. Have some awesome videos and lyrics. It’s July, how appropriate for the first video, and as for the second…one of the most disturbingly romantic songs ever. It’s on The Crane Wife, which is actually based on the old Japanese folk tale. Watch!

July! July!

There is a road that meets the road that goes to my house and how the green grows there. And we’ve got special boots to beat the path to my house and it’s careful and it’s careful when I’m there.

And I say your uncle was a crooked French Canadian! And he was gut-shot runnin’ gin, and how his guts were all suspended in his fingers and how he held ’em,  how he held ’em held, ’em in.

And the water rolls down the drain, the water rolls down the drain, oh what a lonely thing! In a lonely drain!

July, July, July! Never seemed so strange
July, July, July! It never seemed so strange

This is the story of the road that goes to my house and what ghosts there do remain. And all the troughs that run the length and breadth of my house and the chickens how they rattle chicken chains.

And we’ll remember this when we are old and ancient, though the specifics might be vague. And I’ll say your camisole was a sprightly light magenta when in fact it was a nappy blueish grey.

And the water rolls down the drain, the blood rolls down the drain, oh what a lonely thing! In a blood red drain!

July, July, July! Never seemed so strange
July, July, July! It never seemed so strange

Oh Valencia!

You belong to the gang and you say you can’t break away, but I’m here with my hands on my heart. Our families can’t agree, I’m your brother’s sworn enemy, but I’ll shout out my love to the stars.

So wait for the stone on your window, your window.
Wait by the car and we’ll go, we’ll go.

When first we laid eyes I swore to no compromise, ’til I felt my caress on your skin. Well, how soon we were betrayed, your sister gave us away and your father came all unhinged.

So wait for the stone on your window, your window.
Wait by the car and we’ll go, we’ll go.

Oh Valencia!!! With your blood still warm on the ground. Valencia!!! And I swear to the stars, I’ll burn this whole city down.

All I heard was a shout, of your brother calling me out, and you ran like a fool to my side. Well, the shot, it hit hard, and your frame went limp in my arms, and an oath of love was your dying cry.

So wait for the stone on your window, your window.
Wait by the car and we’ll go, we’ll go.

Oh Valencia!!! With your blood still warm on the ground. Valencia!!! And I’ll burn this whole city down. Valencia!!! With your blood getting cold on the ground. Valencia!!! And I swear to the stars, I’ll burn this whole city down.

The Decemberists’ Site

The Well of Lost Plots – Jasper Fforde

Well of Lost Plots - Jasper FfordeThe Well of Lost Plots is the third installment of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I’ll admit it…when I began this book, I honestly didn’t even think I was going to be able to finish it! I jumped into this series on this book and really should have taken the time to read the first two. It would have made this book make sense from the beginning, but even without all that back story, once you get into the swing of how things are done in the Book World, it’s a really good read.

This book, and the rest in the series, have an incredibly complex story-line, but I’ll do my best to summarize for you:

A little background on Thursday:
Thursday Next was introduced in the first book of this series, The Eyre Affair, as a literary detective who rescues a kidnapped Jane Eyre and returns her to the Emily Bronte novel, with a surprise ending of course! She then teams up with Miss Havisham from Great Expectations to stop an evil villain who has escaped into the Outland in Lost In A Good Book. Somewhere in those two novels, her husband, Landen, is eradicated. Another evil villain, or maybe the same evil villain, travels back in time, killing Landen in his childhood and leaving Thursday Next pregnant with a baby who’s father never technically existed. To make matters worse, Thursday is having her dreams and memories invaded by Aornis, a mnemonoporph and sister of Hades, who is changing and erasing those memories of Landen.

Onto the book!
In The Well of Lost Plots, a home for un-published and half-finished stories, a pregnant Thursday is trying to have a little down time. She’s set up shop in a houseboat in Caversham Heights, a detective novel so bad, it’s on the verge of being dissassembled and thrown into the Text Sea.

Working part time as “Mary”, the lead in Caversham Heights, and part time as a Jurisfiction agent, along with Miss Havisham and Beatrice from Dante’s Inferno, ensuring that things in the Book World are regulated so that reading is not disrputed in the Outland.

During all of this, the Book World is almost ready to launch Ultra Word, “the greatest advancement since the invention of movable type”, revolutionizing the way we read.

Something goes terribly wrong however, and Tursday and Miss Havisham find themselves chasing an escaped minotaur, loose gramasites, and the mispeling vyrus through various books and trying to find out who set them free in the first place, and why.

I don’t want to give too much away, but there are some seriously evil people in that Book World.

It’s really a unique book and I’m sure series of books. Never before have I read anything like this and once you’re able to actually get into it and understand how the Book World works, it’s downright charming. Definitely check it out!

Jasper Fforde’s Site

Sheep in the Big City

Sheep In the Big CityOh, Sheep In the Big City, how I miss you. While it ran for only two seasons, this was one of the greatest shows ever. At the time, it was the highest rated premier of a Cartoon Network original series.

Created by Mo Willems, Sheep In the Big City is exactly that…a Sheep in the big city. Fed up with Farmer John and rural life, Sheep goes to the big city! The lights! The buildings! The sounds! The…poodles? In the big city, Sheep meets Swanky, an upperclass poodle with a coat simply to die for.

Sheep In the Big City 2Amongst trying to track down his canine love, Sheep is being hunted by The Secret Military Organization’s henchmen, Angry Scientist, Private Public and General Specific, for their sheep-powered ray gun. (If I were to build a ray gun, it would be sheep-powered, no doubt.)

This show is absolutely bizarre and I really don’t think it was made for children. So much humor lost on those young ones. Sheep In the Big City regularly breaks down the fourth wall by making numerous references to the show’s script, structure, and premise.

Sheep In the Big City 3Example: After finally catching Sheep, General Specific brings him to the lab to be hooked up to the sheep-powered ray gun. Angry Scientists then admits that the ray gun is actually not ready because he never thought that they would actually capture Sheep, with it “being so contrary to the set-up of the show”.

I miss the good old days of Cartoon Network, with their snarky attitude and mischievously inappropriate content…and Sheep In the Big City. They never even put out a DVD. I am forced the watch the same episode featured on a Powerpuff Girls DVD that I picked up at the Record Exchange, FOR A DOLLAR! (Gotta love that place.)

Some Sheep In the Big City for your enjoyment:

AND! The RANTING SWEDE!

(See pictures for links on Sheep In the Big City!)
And to see what Mo Willems is up to these days, check out his site, here.