Monday, July 14, 2008


I have today off, but I have to teach tonight, so these are the last hours of my vacation, which has turned out to be more relaxing and well-needed than I expected. I'm tanned, rested and ready to return to work (well, as ready as possible). I finally finished the Carl Hiaasin novel I've been trying to read for over two months (and started on a John D. MacDonald book). I'm caught up (somewhat) on my Netflixes and TiVo's. And I feel really relaxed. Got to catch up with friends and family, and spent a lot of time lounging poolside. My Dad's condo overlooks the inlet, so you can stand on the balcony and watch ships go by all day. On the first night, I had a couple beers with dinner (after having gotten up at 4 in the morning to catch the flight) and then went to lay down around 7:00. Bobbie woke me up around 9, and we went out on the balcony. It was July 5, and apparantly there had been a big storm the night before that had put a damper on the fireworks, so Saturday was a redo day. We could look south along the whole coastline towards Miami, and could see 4 seperate fireworks displays.

A few hilights from my trip to Ft. Lauderdale:

Tom Jenkins' BBQ: This place has a strong reputation, and it's right around the corner from my Dad's condo, so we got take-out from their the first night. It's a small place, and when you walk in, it's filled with smoke. In the open kitchen behind the counter, you can see them chopping up BBQ. The walls are lined wiht old concert posters, the kind that had the performer's names in huge letters. Otis Redding, Miles Davis, Billy Holiday, Roy Orbison with special guest Willie Nelson, Muddy Waters vs. Howlin' Wolf, and my favorite, in order of the bill, Jimi Hendrix, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin. Must have been early '69. And the food was, of course, pretty damn magnificent.

Laspada's Original Hoagies: My Dad claimed these were the best subs he'd ever had. They were very good (I got an Italian combo with pickled peppers on it), but maybe I'm a bit spoiled by Dave's.

The Mai Kai: My first trip to what is rightly considered the best tiki bar in the world. It's certainly well beyond any of the L.A. places. Drinking in the lounge is like being on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. This place is crazy. Had a couple mai tais, bought a couple mugs and Hawaiian shirts in the gift shop. I kinda fucked up by not checking the prices on the shirts first--I eneded up spening $60 on one shirt! But fuck it, it's a vacation.

The Aruba Cafe: Left the Mai Kai to meet here for dinner. A noisy tourist place on the beach. I had a burger with teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple just to stick with the night's theme. They had a lame cover band playing, and you really couldn't tell when the band was playing and when it was piped-in music between their sets. The big excitement was when the couple at the table next to us started making out, lapdancing, and generally coming way too close to having sex in their seats. The management eventually threw them out, and the girl had to be carried out (she almost knocked over a computer on her way).

Radio Active Records: I picked up some good vinyl here. Dictators Go Girl Crazy! for $15, a couple Ike and Tina LP's for around $5 each, Yma Sumac's Voices of the Xtaby for $3 (cover a little beat up, but vinyl looked good).

Conchy Joes: One night--I'm having trouble remembering which--we drove up to Stuart to visit Zane. Went out to Conchy Joe's, one of my favorite places in Jensen Beach. This place is the essence of the South Florida experience, however contrived: A wooden shack overlooking the river selling reasonably priced seafood and drinks (when they opened they used to have a guy with a guitar who went from table to table singing calypso songs). Later, Zane loaned us the Nathan Barley DVD, a pretty hilarious British sitcom.

The Happening (1967): Silly hippy movie that I TiVo'd while I was gone, but I'm willing to bet it's better than the Shyalaman movie of the same name. Anthony Quinn is a gangster who gets kidnapped by some wacky beach bums (including a hammy Ray Park, a young Faye Dunaway, and another guy who seems to be spoofing Jean-Paul Belmondo from Breathless). It's filmed entirely on location in Miami!

Hellboy II: I dunno, this was a good summer action flick, but it wasn't really exceptional. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it just seemed kind of commonplace. Probably better than the first one, but I have to say, of Del Toro's popcorn movies, my favorite is Blade 2. Maybe it's because the goals of that film are so simple (just to be a cool, dumb action movie), but it works for me better than either of the Hellboy flicks.

Pictures may be coming.


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