Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chili's Fail

chilis-logo Pictures, Images and Photos

We are a Chili's family.  We love their casual atmosphere and their good food, but their service at our local Chili's has been 50/50 lately.  Some visits the service is great, the food comes out on time and is tasty, and we enjoy ourselves.  Other times we get inattentive servers, slow kitchen and cold food.  Yet, we keep going because we do like their restaurant.

After not having gone in a couple of months, we headed to our local Chili's (Saxon Blvd. in Orange City) last night for dinner.  We were seated in what I like to call "the problem area;" left side of restaurant as you're walking in.  No matter what, we always have problems when we are seated on that side.  It's weird but true.  As the hostess (who looked a lot like Rosario Dawson) sat us, I muttered "Nooooooo, not this side!"

The server was very nice and attentive.  "We're in luck," I thought. "Maybe tonight would be the exception to the  "left side stinks" rule."


Although the server was great, our food (simple items: two orders of big mouth bites and one order of quesadillas) took a very long time to arrive.  Other tables seated after us were eating their main meals before we got ours.  Par for the course, but it got worse.

We were at a table, not a booth.  Behind out table, close to the front door, were 3 other tables the same size; seat 6 people each.  A second hostess, not Rosario, started turning them side by side, for a large party.  LARGE.  The hostess tells the group that they will be sitting at those tables, but they would have to wait until "that table over there leaves" (pointing to us.)  I have bat ears and I could read her lips.  Large group looks over at us. We had *just* gotten our late meal.

Super-large group decides to sit down anyway.  There are about 5 or 6 people left without seats.  They are scrunching at the end of their long table, squishing into David as we eat.

Our waitress is trying to take their order.  We're talking over 25 people.  As "Rosario" hostess walks by, one of the members from the other party gets up, walks over to us and asks us if we could move to the table on the other side of us.  If we could move.  You know, 4 plates, 4 cups, forks, napkins, cell phones, purse, kid lying down on my lap because she's tired because the meals were late.  Move.  We just got our meals after having waited 40 minutes for it.  I just stared.  David and the hostess at the same time said "No, they/we are not moving."

The Rosario-Dawson  hostess looks at us with incredulity in her eyes and says "You sit right there. You enjoy your family meal and have a good time. You are paying customers and you have a nice meal."

I could not believe it.  Why would Chili's SEAT that party if they were not ready with the tables.  What makes these people think that because they decided to sit when the tables were not ready, they can ask us to move for their sakes?

What a weird, awkward experience.  I tried to complain online at the survey they gave us, but there's limited space to put comments, so I could not fully explain to them what problems we had.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm Busy!

Hello All!

I won't be posting much this week. I've just been consumed with making a special cake for my daughter.  I'm doing the prep work right now before I actually bake and decorate.  The little details are time consuming, but I am excited to see it come along.

What's her theme?  Here, let me give you a hint.

Talk to you later!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Eyre Affair

I just finished Jasper Fforde's 'Thursday Next' book 1, "The Eyre Affair" and I had to tell you all about it because it was such a fun read.  Recommended to me by a friend (Hi Niki), I ordered it through Paperback Swap and finally got it.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde Pictures, Images and Photos

See what the New York times says right there?  That is pretty much a perfect description of this book (and no, I didn't know the Journal included "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in their review when I ordered it.  That was a bonus!)  This book came out in 2002! Why didn't anyone tell me?  :)

We're in an alternate universe in 1980's England.  Time travel is possible, cloning is an every day occurrence (I would love a dodo, but you have to get a "Splicense" to do so), a ginormous and slightly ominous corporation, The Goliath Corporation (who helped fund the reestablishment of England after WWII)  has its hands deep in the government, media, etc., there's a ridiculous war going on with Russia over a piece of worthless peninsula, and people REALLY love their literature.   There are even police divisions specifically for Literary crimes; the Literary Detective Division of the Special Operations Network (SpecOps). They're not really the top of the police ladder; they're SpecOp 027.  The higher you go, the more clearance you have.  No one quite knows what SpecOp 01 even does.

Thursday Next is a LiteraTec, A SpecOp 27 agent.  Her job is to stop Literary crimes; theft of original manuscripts, forgeries being sold on the black market, etc.  LiteraTecs take their jobs seriously; they love literature.

Thursday is thrown into the fray when someone manages to steal original manuscripts and starts taking people out of stories, and killing them!  Thursday and her SpecOps team must stop the evil mastermind before something truly horrendous happens to Jane Eyre, who has been kidnapped from her book.

It's great fun.  If you're a bibliophile, a sci-fi nerd, a steam punk fan,  you will love all the references, barbs, asides, etc.  I laughed aloud several times throughout the book.

  • An internal security agent for the Goliath Corp. is named Jack Schitt.  
  • There's a SpecOp Division dealing with Vampires and Werewolves.  The agent is Mr. Stoker.  But you can call him Spike. (!!!!!)
  • The ending of Jane Eyre in this reality is not our ending.  They had me confused for a bit.  I thought "Wait. What?  Am I remembering wrong?"  Then I remembered; alternate reality.
  • People love literature so much, they change their names, but to avoid confusion, you get a number after your name. Milton496, for example.
  • The commander of Thursday's division is called Braxton Hicks.  *SNORT*
  • There are airships with propellers, rather than jet engines. Very steampunk.
Thursday's dad is a ChronoGuard on the run.  He is evading the Guard through time on his own personal war to right wrongs in time that Thursday does not understand.  He does pop in at random times to say hi.  Thursday also has an uncle, Mycroft Next, who is a famous inventor.  He creating sending pizzas via fax. Nice!  He also created the machine that enables the enemy to steal Ms. Eyre from the pages of her book.  Ooops.  This machine uses little bookworms, literal worms that Mycroft splices together (even though his splicense was revoked) who eat pages and make things happen with the machine.  This passage had me howling:

He patted the large book that was the Prose Portal and looked at Mycroft's genetically engineered bookworms.  They were on rest & recuperation at present in their goldfish bowl; they had just digested a recent meal of prepositions and were happily farting out apostrophes and ampersands. The air was heav'y with th'em&......... "That's right, Mis's Next."......"In he're the Pla'sma Rifle work's perf&ectly.  All we ha've to do is open' the book........ " 
 The bookworms responded by belching out large quantities of unnecessary capitalizations.
 "Any'thing That The Hu'man Imag'ination Can Think Up, We Can Reproduce.  I Look At The Por'tal as Les's of A Gateway To A Million World's, .....etc."

For a split second I thought, what the heck? Then I realized what the author was doing and laughed aloud.

It's a fun read and if you're like me (geek, nerd, literature lover, etc. etc.) you will love it too.  I've already ordered the second in the series; it's on its way through the mail!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sci-Fi Hoedown: Sanctuary Season 2

After watching Season 1 of "Sanctuary," I moved on to Season 2.  Season 1 was a cliffhanger (aren't they all?) so we're catching up on what's going on with Magnus' daughter Ashley.


Click the "read more" link below this picture.

Sanctuary Season 2

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And You?

I've noticed something about myself within the past few years; something negative.

When someone I don't know (cashier, teller, phone operator, etc.) asks me how I am doing, I say "Fine, thank you" or "Not bad, thanks" and that is all.  I never follow up with "and you?"  This was brought to my own attention when at one point, someone expecting to hear "and you?" and not hearing it still answered, "I'm fine, thanks."  I felt like a heel.

I  am not a rude person  I don't know why I do this!  I mean, I have thought of a logical explanation, but I still don't like it.

My logic is: I don't know these people; should I care to ask back how they are?

How rude is that?!?  Very!   Shame on me!

I have truly made an honest, heartfelt, conscientious effort to ask the question.   "And how are you?"  I may not know them, I know what the answer will be 95% of the time, but I am going to ask it anyway!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful husband David
 and my kids, Jacob and Isabel.

They are the glue that holds me together.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to Embarrass Your Kids: The British Accent

On this edition of  "How to Embarrass Your Kids," I'll show you how randomly doing a British accent will make your kids cringe with annoyance and discomfort.  (Because posting pictures of them that they don't like isn't bad enough!)

My son Jacob used to look like Harry Potter when he was 10-12 or so.


One evening, B.I. (Before Isabel), he and I were at the mall, eating at the food court.  Two young girls (maybe 7-8 years old) are sitting at the table next to us.  They whisper "He looks like Harry Potter!"  Of course with my bat hearing (name given to me by a former manager), I overhear and tell Jacob this.  He was used to it and rolled his eyes.

As we get up to leave, in my best (worst) British accent I say loudly, "Let's go, Daniel!"  (Daniel being the actor. And if you don't know this, you're on the wrong blog.)  Jacob just stared, shook his head and started walking away.  From me, that is.

More recently, as in last week, I called a phone number to talk with someone about an activity for Isabel.  I got voice mail.  This is a person I have never met.  So what do I do?  I left the entire message in my best (worst) British accent.  Why?  Because I'm strange and off-putting.

I later tell this to Jacob. (Isabel's really too young to embarrass yet).

The question that follows is always the same; "Whyyyyy are you so weird?"

Don't worry, son.  One day you too can embarrass your kid with your best (worst) British accent!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Off to State!

Congratulations to my son Jacob and Encore (auditioned mixed choir) & also the Men's ensemble, Teal Sound, on making it to State!

We have embedded an MP3 player so you can hear the songs they sang.

 If you have a short attention span, forward to 3:56 for "Il Est Belle et Bon" by Encore and to 8:15 for Teal Sound's "Tshotsholoza."

Encore (name of mixed choir you have to audition for.  Jacob sings bass.)

Song 1:    0:00 - 3:53:  "Requiem" by Eliza Gilkyson, Arranged by Craig Hella Johnson
Song 2:    3:56 - 5:23: "Il Est Bel et Bon" by Pierre Passereau

Teal Sound (name of men's choir you have to audition for.  Jacob sings bass.)

Song 3:   05:25 - 08:12: "I'm Bound Away.
Song 4:   08:15 - 10:34: "Tshotsholoza," traditional S. African Freedom Song.

The two songs after are by the school's auditioned women's group, 'Bellisima.'  We won't find out if they made State until Monday.   The two 'Bellisima' songs are: "Beau Soir" and "Dance on My Heart."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buffy Season 8: The Motion Comic on Blu-Ray

My nephew Jonathan surprised me last week with the Season 8 Motion Comic on Blu-Ray!  Yay me!  I was not expecting it and opening the envelope, I squealed loudly and jumped around a bit.  My daughter looked puzzled, but what can ya do?

 After my workout and shower that evening, I went and popped the Blu-Ray in on our PS3.

Tee Hee!  PS3 Blu-Ray Avatar.

I was JAZZED!  Excited!  Woo to the Hoo!!

And then, I hear the voices.  *thunk*


Holy bad casting, Batman! WHAT happened?  They weren't even trying!!   

I am sure they are all perfectly wonderful voice actors, but they were not cast right for the roles.  Should I care that the voices don't match the actors from 7 series' worth of episodes?  YES!

It's not even about the voices. The inflections were wrong.  The cadences were off.  I was distracted by the NOT-NESS of them. Buffy is played by Kelly Albanese.  No idea who she is, but she did not have the cadence and the "hipness" of Joss-speak.  I will say out of all the characters, she grew on me the most.   

Xander is played by Daniel Taylor (the 23rd 'Daniel Taylor' on IMDB.)   No idea who he is either.  He has a fine voice, just not Xander-like.  

Dawn I hated as a character anyway, so who cares what she sounds like.

The two characters who did a pretty passable job were the actors for Giles (J. Anthony McCarthy ) and Faith (Whitney Thompson - Winner of America's Next Top Model?  SHUT the Front Door!)  Sometimes they grated, most of the time they were spot on.

Most awkward, IMHO?

 Willow is played by Natalie Lender as a squeaky Minnie-Mouse version of our wonderful Will.  Yes, Willow is dorky.  She's hip-dork.  The voice was TOO young or too small.  Not sure how to describe it.  Willow gets some of the best lines in the show.  She's one of my favorite characters, so I was most disappointed here.  My son walked in on a Willow/Buffy conversation and thought the voices belonged to the opposite character.  "That's WILLOW?!!?  WOW, that's bad."

I GET that these are not the same actors that played the tv shows, and they don't sound like them, etc.  I just wanted them to attempt the fun Joss-speak we all are so used to.

ASIDE from the distracting voices, guess what?  I love the comics in motion.  It was well done visually and kept me interested.  The music from "The Gift" was a nice touch during the sadder moments.   It has helped me understand SO MUCH BETTER what is going on with the entire series.  I truly got lost a lot of times, even reading the books 3 times each and was exasperated.   Seeing them and hearing them (painful as it was) really did help sort the stories a bit for me.  Things I had forgotten or taken for granted (why the heck was the government after them? Oh yea, Buffy's stealing, etc.)

This disc included episodes/books 1-19. Here's to waiting on Disc set # 2.

P.S.  They panned to a scene in London at one point and I said "Whoa."

Anyone else think this guy looks a bit like The Dr.?