That Girl With A Blog

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.


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!

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

{July 24, 2009}   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!

{July 24, 2009}   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

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

{July 16, 2009}   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:


(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.

A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal - Asne SeierstadFrom the publisher: “From January until April 2003 — for one hundred and one days — Åsne Seierstad worked as a reporter in Baghdad for Scandinavian, German, and Dutch media. Through her articles and live television coverage she reported on the events in Iraq before, during, and after the attacks by the American and British forces. But Seierstad was after a story far less obvious than the military invasion. From the moment she arrived in Baghdad Seierstad was determined to understand the modern secrets of an ancient place and to find out how the Iraqi people really live.

In A Hundred and One Days, she introduces us to daily life under the constant threat of attack — first from the Iraqi government and later from American bombs. Moving from the deafening silence of life under Hussein to the explosions that destroyed the power supply, the water supply, and security, Seierstad sets out to discover: What happens to people when the dam bursts? What do they choose to say when they can suddenly say what they like? What do they miss most when their world changes overnight?

Displaying the novelist’s eye and lyrical storytelling that have won her awards around the world, Seierstad here brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters to tell the stories we never see on the evening news. The only woman in the world to cover both the fall of Kabul in 2001 and the bombings of Baghdad in 2003, Åsne Seierstad has redefined war reporting with her mesmerizing book.”

Usually, I’m not all that into politics. I try to keep connected to what’s going on there, but this is not the sort of book I would normally read.

A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal, by the New York Times best-seller of The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad, is so much more than politics. In fact, that’s very little of it. As the publisher’s statement says, this book is about a woman reporting for various news sources, including the Dutch, German, and Scandinavian media, and her quest to find the voice of the people. Chronicling from before to during to after the bombings by the American and British forces, from the deafening silence of oppression under Saddam Hussein to the destruction of his infamous statue. From the government monitoring everything to no running water or electricity. From people who had lived like this for years to children and their views on war and their wild fantasies. For a while, Seierstad works with a team of child psychologists and interviews families. That’s probably one of the more disturbing parts of this book. This is less about bombing a country than bombing families.

This book brings into blatant light the oppression of a people and just how common it is. About how human rights are denied day in and day out by these dictators. It’s a shocking reminder of how costly freedom really is.

Especially with news from today, only six years later, and people still fighting for the same freedoms, it makes one wonder if there will ever be universal freedom. If people will ever be filled with empathy and compassion.

All in all, it’s kind of a depressing tale. There is no happy ending, only truth. It truly makes you appreciate what we DO have, as Americans. There is an element of fear in this book that I simply can’t comprehend. If Americans were jailed, tortured, or simply vanished because of slander against the president or the goverment, christ, there wouldn’t be any of us left!

Here’s to being able to be smarmy bastards. Check out this book.

She doesn’t seem to have a website, but you can check out her Wikipedia page here.

The W's - Fourth From the LastAhhh, Christian ska bands, how I miss thee. This album was released in 1998, amidst the popularity of bands like Squirrel Nut Zippers, Five Iron Frenzy, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. It’s a shame that The W’s kind of got lost in that third-wave ska/swing era, because damn they’re good. Kind of like The Cheese, awesome band far before their time, and another reason I can cite for hating the Nirvana/grunge movement.

The amount of information on these vast intertubes about The W’s is meager and sad. Really. Google them and you’ll get one page of results. At least their Wikipedia entry is half decent. Thank you to whoever made that page. If you search Wikipedia for The Cheese, you get nothing…except some results from Wisconsin.

Onto the band…formed in 1996 in Corvallis, Oregon, they became an immediate hit in the Christian market, touring with Five Iron Frenzy and DC Talk, eventually doing the “Holy Rollers Tour” with The Insyders, playing skating rinks across the country. They even had a song on Veggie Tales. Ooooh creepy, talking Christian vegetables! If you’re really bored one day, go watch Larry-Boy and the Rumour Weed, and listen for “The Rumour Weed Song”.

The band broke up in 2000 after releasing only two albums, this (in case you’re dense, W is the fourth from the last letter in the alphabet) and The Trouble With X.

This debut album from The W’s is fun, slightly religious and downright silly sometimes, as all ska should be. Really, the only “religious” songs on this album are “Moses”, “The Devil Is Bad”, and “Open Minded”, the latter two being two of the best songs on the album. Then you have “The King of Polyester”. You’re just not a ska band until you’ve sung about polyester.

This album has those swanky vocals and blaring horns that remind me of being 14 years old, skanking my ass off in friends’ basements sipping warm PBR and smoking Lucky Strikes. Jesus (no pun intended), just look at the cover. I can SMELL the hair wax. Plus,  I’ve always had a soft spot for those young Christian boys. I should have been a priest.

Also, I love horns! Honestly, you can get a copy of this album for $3.32 on Amazon right now, INCLUDING shipping. Just do it. B

They don’t even have a website, so here’s their Wikipedia entry.

{July 10, 2009}   Christopher Moore – Fool

Christopher Moore - FoolThe best selling author of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, has done it again with Fool. The tawdry tale of King Lear and his empire…a comedy? At the very beginning of the book, Moore warns us:

“This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that’s the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!”

I don’t even think I can paint a better picture of this book than Harper Collins already has:

“A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been Lear’s cherished fool for years, from the time the king’s grown daughters—selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia—were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege’s side when Lear—at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester—demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father’s request is kind of . . . well . . . stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

Well, now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. The whole damn country’s about to go to hell in a handbasket because of a stubborn old fart’s wounded pride. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket, a small and slight clown with a biting sense of humor. He’s already managed to sidestep catastrophe (and the vengeful blades of many an offended nobleman) on numerous occasions, using his razor-sharp mind, rapier wit . . . and the equally well-honed daggers he keeps conveniently hidden behind his back. Now he’s going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering—cast some spells, incite a few assassinations, start a war or two (the usual stuff)—to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear’s good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia’s twisted sisters, to rescue his gigantic, gigantically dim, and always randy friend and apprentice fool, Drool, from repeated beatings . . . and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who’s amenable to shagging along the way.

Pocket may be a fool . . . but he’s definitely not an idiot.

This book isn’t all King Lear, however. Moore himself explains that this book is a bubbling brew of Shakespearean tales including a rhyme spinning ghost a la Hamlet (because there’s always a bloody ghost!), and the three haggard witches, Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary from Macbeth.

This book is a deliciously wicked take on the Shakespearean tragedy, filled with blasphemy, war, betrayal, revenge, bonking, drool, boobs, codpieces, puppets, and more hilarious vulgarity than I have ever seen out of Moore. I’ve been a long time fan of Moore’s and this one is every bit as good as Lamb. While taking a multitude of liberties with the general story of Lear, Moore does keep parts intact, almost quoting from the original. Within all the mayhem, silliness, and wild bonking, there’s a fondness for the original that Moore exudes. He laughs with Shakespeare, not at him.

In the afterward, Moore concedes that people who have now read Fool, will be tempted to read (or reread) the original. Herein lies the path to madness, states Moore. I can see why. They’re two genuinely distinctive stories, they just happen to have the same characters. As in the Harper Collins description, the lead of Moore’s story is not Lear, but his loyal jester and black fool, the randy little Pocket who’ll stick it to anything lukewarm (princesses, kitchen staff, anchoresses…). But there wouldn’t be a tale here if all of Pocket’s deviously designed plans didn’t go recklessly awry.

I don’t want to give away too many of the good parts, but this book is truly laugh-out-loud funny and I highly recommend it!

Christopher Moore’s Site

et cetera
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