Traditionally, my Saturday morning routine has consisted of sleeping until eleven, wandering downstairs for some coffee, and then watching TV until it's time for my mid-afternoon nap. And by "nap," I of course mean "two hour sleep." And I wonder why the weekend is never long enough.
In an effort to get the weekend started at a more reasonable hour, I've been meeting up with friends Jay and Cameron on Saturdays for breakfast over the past several months. Not only has this given us a more productive Saturday, but it gives us a chance to catch up on a regular basis, despite Jay's busy workload and Cameron's now-successfully-defended thesis and the impending arrival of his first child. And we get to eat breakfast. I love breakfast. I would eat it three times a day, were it socially acceptable to do so.
Over the course of our breakfast excursions, we've been making an effort to patronize locally-owned eateries over the big-chain style restaurants. After the obvious selections were visited, we had a little trouble finding some of the smaller, less-well-known locations to check out. As chock-full-of-useless-information as the internet is, apparently there isn't much of a good reference for smaller breakfast places in Columbus available. I'm going to try to make an effort to fill this gap by sharing our breakfast adventures here.
This past Saturday, on the recommendation of Cameron's dad, we visited Marshall's Restaurant in Grandview. Marshall's is a bit of a strange place, as when you first walk in you're given more the impression of a semi-trendy restaurant / nightclub than that of a place the serves biscuits and gravy. It almost looks like two different restaurants are missing their adjoining wall. Apparently Marshall's does serve standard bar food and drinks during the evening hours and has been bestowed with such accolades as "Best Single's Scene" and "Best Martini." By whom, I'm not exactly sure, as their website doesn't really go into details on that. I can't speak to that directly, as I opted for coffee over a martini, and the "single's scene" has never really been my niche.
As to the breakfast, I think the three of us agreed that it was definitely in the top tier of places we've visited so far. Jay and I showed up a bit before Cameron and were immediately seated, which is rare for a Saturday morning. While the coffee wasn't the best I've had, I'm admittedly a bit of a coffee snob. Adding a little cream and sugar brought it right up to par with most breakfast places' offerings. I'll give you fair warning, however: there is a reason that there is no breakfast plate on the menu that has both pancakes and hash browns. Jay and I both made the mistake of ordering the #3 plate (two eggs, two pancakes, and side of meat) plus a side of home fries. Someone should have warned us that the pancakes were approximately a foot in diameter. Needless to say, we were more wasteful than we usually are that morning.
On that note, Jay made a very good point in discussing our proposed reviewing system, and that is the need to classify the different styles of hash browns. Or "home fries" as the southern folks may call them. Just about every breakfast restaurant serves something called "home fries" or "hash browns," but what you end up getting can vary widely. Marshall's version of "home fries" are basically the fried potato cube variety as opposed to the shredded potato kind. And they're plentiful, just like the pancakes.
At the end of the breakfast, everyone was full and the restaurant was starting to fill up. Apparently with marathon runners? Marshall's certainly wasn't the greasiest restaurant we've been to yet, but I was a bit surprised to see that many apparently-health-conscious people there. Maybe there are some options on the menu that are more healthy than the "giant stack of pancakes" platter i opted for.
But I, for one, will never know.
1105 W 1st Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
This past weekend we celebrated a watershed event in my life: The final days of my twenties. And we celebrated this momentous weekend in the most appropriate way possible -- gathering all my friends in one place and pretending like we were rock stars. That's right, I'm talking about Rock Band.
I've been a fan of the Guitar Hero series of games for several years now, but I was skeptical about how well the concept would translate into a "full-band" approach. I had heard the reports and read the reviews, but I still wasn't sure how well it would work. We took a chance, though, and picked up the full set as my birthday present. It turns out that my fears were completely unfounded; Rock Band is a lot of fun, especially when you get a bunch of friends in on every instrument. Whaling away on the drums is at the same time challenging, fun, and exhausting. I completely understand why real drummers are always the sweatiest of the band at the end of a show.
So with the rock star simulator acquired and tested, January also took the risky step of organizing a 30th birthday party for me this past weekend. If you know me, and I'm guessing you do, you know that I don't really like to be anywhere near the center of attention, so a party thrown in my honor is a bold move. It went off without a hitch, as there were plenty of distractions to keep party-goers attention, including an array of mini-mexican treats, a custom-made tabletop beer taper courtesy of Josh Matko and of course rock band. Cameron and Jay were also, somehow, able to get their hands on a copy of Mario Kart Wii for us to try out, even though it wasn't being released until the day after the party. I was also honored by the attendance of Bhouse and Gavette, direct from Chicago. These guys took the six hour drive just to hang out for the evening, which was an awesome surprise and really made the evening great.
In keeping with the Rock and Roll theme, I put together a two-disc compilation of favorite songs from each year I've been alive. They went quick, so I thought I'd put a copy of the playlist up here for anyone who wasn't able to make it to the party or who missed out on the CD version. Enjoy!
My friend Mark was in from Chicago over the weekend, and we made good use of the visit by playing more of the Nintendo Wii than I had played in the previous six months combined. I've always enjoyed playing it, but it's true that you get the most fun out of it by playing with a bigger group of people. Ed and Nathan came over to round out the player roster, and while the bowling and golf were fun, I think we got the most entertainment out of making celebrity-inspired Mii characters. Below is a screenshot from one of our later bowling matches, when Jesus barely edged out Satan in a bowling match for the ages. If the match had a soundtrack, it would most definitely have been Carman's The Champion.
Magnum PI didn't even stand a chance. Neither did my shoulder apparently; After we discovered the game mode that requires you to try to hit an increasing number of pins in rapid succession, starting with 10 and culminating in a 91-pin-showdown, we went on a bowling tear that ended up with Mark setting the house record and me pulling a muscle in my right shoulder. I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that this isn't my first Wii-related injury. All I can do at this point is wait another month for Wii Fit to be released.
In completely unrelated news, we've been turning up the heat on Gus' training. A month ago, I would have never thought a this would even be possible, but here I am with photographic evidence that our dog is, in fact, trainable.
All credit goes to January on this one. We started trying to teach him this when we were on vacation in Gatlinburg a few weeks back, but she's really kept up the training to the point where we're actually getting results. I'm not holding out any hope that he'll ever be a Chuck-caliber performer, but it's good to see progress.
Anyone who knows January knows that she is one of the most stubborn people in the world. It's no big secret, and I'm not going to get myself in any trouble for pointing it out; It's just the simple fact of the matter. But what surprises some people, the ones who feel like they know me fairly well but haven't had to deal with me on any basis other than a social or casual one is that I'm equally, if not more, stubborn than she is. The difference between us is that whereas January is stubborn in the conventional "I'm going to prove to you that I'm right, and I'll prove it right now" kind of way, I'm stubborn in the more annoying "I know I'm right, but I'll pretend that I agree with you and then completely disregard this conversation in the future" sort of way.
When two people decide to join their lives together, they tend to spend the rest of their lives working out their differences and learning to communicate. But when it's two extremely stubborn people together, this tends to turn every difference into micro-battles that go on for years and years. For example, me? I hate being told what to do. I don't even really liked to be asked to do things, but I absolutely hate instruction. Now January, while she's not bossy, her default mode when she is looking to get something done is to phrase it in the form of a statement. Somehow, in her brain, when she means to turn to me and ask "Can you schedule some time this week to get the oil changed," what actually comes out of her mouth it something along the lines of "Hey, the car is overdue for an oil change," followed by an expectant stare. Conversely, while her actual words are "Hey, the car is overdue for an oil change," what i actually hear in my head is equivalent to "Drop what you're doing right now and go get the oil changed!" Similarly, our first year of marriage was filled with extended conversations about how adding the word "Please" to the sentence "Go get me some Kool-Aid" does not turn that mandate into a request.
At the halfway point between our first and second anniversaries, I think we're making some progress. Some dialog from a conversation this weekend:
me: I'm heading out to the coffee shop to do some work.
January: OK. When you get home, I need you to hang up that mail sorter.
me: ... Is that a request?
January: When you get home, are you going to hang up that mail sorter like I asked?