Category Archives: videos

Sushi and Bats

Ryan and I did a couple of new things that we hadn’t done before on Thursday.  We went to a place called Sushi Caliente in Cedar Park to try out the Japanese-Mexican fusion (yes, you read that right) menu.  It was kind of a long drive out there, and it wasn’t very busy when we went in.  It’s an interesting idea… there is everything from traditional sushi and sashimi, to teriyaki, to fish tacos, to enchiladas… and then there is the stuff in between.

Like this:

That’s what was left of our Mariachi Roll when we decided to take a picture.  It contains crab, avocado, onions, a little Monterrey jack cheese melted on top, serrano pepper inside and out, and topped with what they call “Caliente sauce.”  It was an interesting roll… a little spicy, but not too much.

We also tried someting called the Leander Roll (left) and the Latin Lover Roll (right):

The Leander roll contains eel, masago (flying fish roe) and cucumber with avocado on the outside (I would rather have had a plain unagi roll with avocado and the sweet sauce).  The Latin Lover roll was a little sweet and had crab, masago, and “flamingo sauce” – a little sweet – on the inside.

There was a nice touch in that they served miso soup and a little cup of edamame with roll orders, but I don’t know if we’ll be back here.  The sushi was just okay, and it’s not really worth driving that far to get it.

After dinner, we decided to drive downtown and check out the bats that live under the Congress Avenue Bridge.  I had never been to see the bats, so it was fun to do the little touristy thing.

We parked in the Statesman “bat parking” area and hung out under the bridge for a while, where I got this cool picture of all the bat watchers on the bridge (click to expand):

We stayed down near the bottom of the bridge until the bats started coming out, even through seeing Leslie in a cheerleading outfit with black pompoms, even through the little kids wailing for paletas from the vendor that was down there, even through the sprinkler systems coming on and sending people scurrying in all directions!

After a while, Ryan thought we should go above and check out the view from the top of the bridge, and it was really cool… we got a great view of them feeding in the tops of the trees.  Head over to my tumblr blog to check out a short video!

We headed back to the car after watching for a few minutes and drove back home.  We had a great night of trying new things!


Tex and the City

It’s so good to be back home… even with a cold. I think Mama Nature wrapped Texas up in green wrapping for us, because spring is definitely here! It’s a little chilly today but nothing like it was in New York. We even saw some bluebonnets yesterday along 635 in Dallas on the way back from the airport, so I am at peace with everything right now.

So here’s a recap of our trip… we drove down to Dallas Wednesday night to have dinner with Janette, and settled in at her place to go to sleep. But we couldn’t sleep, we were too excited! I finally turned off the TV after Craig Ferguson’s monologue so I could get about 5 hours of sleep.

We woke up around 4:15am and were on our way to the airport by 5, and made our early flight with no problems. We arrived at Newark Airport at about 11:30 and were looking forward to making it into the city with some time to spare so we could drop our luggage off at Todd and Rachel’s apartment before going to pick up our tickets for Late Show with David Letterman. Ryan was really excited about the show and anxious for us to get there in time to get our tickets. Unfortunately, we had some holdups at Newark and so we had to catch a later train into Penn Station.

Me and Ryan at the Ed Sullivan TheaterWe finally made it into the city but decided to go straight to the Ed Sullivan Theater to meet Rachel and pick up our tickets to the show. We had guaranteed tickets, which was good news, but we had to pick them up between 2pm and 3pm. We arrived at the theater at about 1:50, so we made it into the line and were #58, #59, and #60.

Ryan with Rupert JeeAfter we got our tickets (and checked our luggage with them, yay!) we wandered around the corner to the Hello Deli and Ryan got his picture taken with Rupert Jee. Ryan ordered the Alan Kalter (smoked turkey, avocado, sweet peppers, romaine lettuce and pesto on a baguette) and I had the Letterman (turkey, ham, American cheese, sweet peppers, lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil and vinegar on a hero), and we ate our sandwiches.

Biff HendersonMeanwhile, on 52nd Street, the Late Show crew was doing a test run for the night’s “drop crap off the roof” gag… they were going to drop 500 baseballs off of the roof onto a car below. Ryan spotted Biff Henderson, the stage manager, outside and snagged a picture of him through the window of the Hello Deli.

After we finished our sandwiches, we left the deli and wandered around Times Square for a little while. Rachel pointed out some of the sights, including the ABC studios and where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. We went inside of the Toys R Us store and saw the ferris wheel inside (!) the store, and looked at some of the giant Lego scupltures, includingMe, Rachel and Ryan in line for Letterman the Empire State Building and Captain Jack Sparrow. It was getting close to time to wander back to the theater, so we went back with our tickets and got in line to wait for the show to start.

The waiting experience was as much fun as the show! The interns and staff work really hard to make sure everyone has a great time and is pumped up for the show. We went into the studio and the CBS Orchestra played a few tunes to warm up the audience, and then Dave came out and answered a few questions (“I hear your birthday is coming up! What’s on your list?” “The same thing that’s been on it since I was 16… I still haven’t gotten it!”). Then, the band struck up the theme song and they went right into the show!

Here’s the monologue from the night we were there!

After the show, we retrieved our bags and went back to Todd and Rachel’s place in Harlem. They have a cute apartment and we had a great stay! Rachel made spaghetti for dinner and we drank wine and had a nice evening relaxing.

On Friday we had tickets to see Late Night with Conan O’Brien, so during the day Todd took us down to Midtown and we had lunch at Soupman. The original owner is the guy that the Soup Nazi was modeled after. It was kind of hectic and confusing in the restaurant and I ended up eating Ryan’s sandwich instead of mine. Bummer!

Ryan with Matt Lauer! Really!We went down to Rockefeller Center to see where we needed to end up for the show, and then wandered around the NBC Experience Store (sorry CBS, their store kicks your store’s butt). Ryan got a picture with Matt Lauer! No, REALLY!

We had some more time to kill before Rachel was done with work and could meet us at Rockefeller Center, so we walked down to see the CBS headquarters. It was an office building. So we ended up walking over to the CBS store. Ryan got a hat and a mug, and I got a Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson mug that I am really excited about… so excited that I forgot to bring it to work today. Dangit! It says “tomorrow’s just a future yesterday” on it, and I like it a lot. 🙂

It was getting close to 3:30, our meeting time with Rachel, so we headed back to Rockefeller and hung out in front of the GE Building, watching people and birds and such. Ryan got a little anxious about us making the show and so he went in to check out the line situation. Rachel got there a few minutes later and we all wentConan ticket in, got our wristbands and tickets and then had to wander around the building for a… while… before we could line up for the show. Todd and Ryan had a soda while we waited, and then we finally went upstairs back to the waiting area. The waiting experience was *so* not as much fun as it was for Letterman… since it was in the GE Building, not its own theater, they were constantly shushing everybody and it was hard to get excited about the show. But when they ushered us all into the studio, we started getting more into it and ended up having a lot of fun. You can watch the episode that we saw here.

Friday night Ryan and I cooked chicken stir-fry with udon and then we went on a tour of some secret bars in New York. We had been in the dark about what the plan was, so we just followed Todd and Rachel to this back alley without question. Once inside, we learned that it was a place called “The Back Room” which was an old speakeasy, and that Tim Robbins was one of the owners. They served mixed drinks in teacups and beers in paper bags, and it was all very charming, but still kind of crowded. Stop #2 was the most exclusive of the night, a super-secret place called “Milk and Honey” that caters to regular folks (i.e. not celebrities) and served up delicious – and very pricey – cocktails. I had a pineapple ginger fizz kind of drink that started sweet and ended spicy, and it was incredibly tasty. Our third bar was a place called “PDT” (Please Don’t Tell) that you enter via a telephone booth in a hot dog shop. I couldn’t begin to tell you how they found out about or got into these places, but we did get into all three with no trouble at all.

After we left PDT, we had a long walk to the subway, but it had started to rain. It was cold, and Rachel and I were wearing heels (and I was in a skirt!) so we hoofed it as best we could. By the time we got home we were soaked and cold and tired, so we changed into pajamas and called it a night.

Saturday we slept in for a looooooong time. We had a nice leisurely afternoon to make up for some of our debauchery the night before. We had an exciting evening, though… we went to Baluchi’s for some awesome Indian food and then made our way to Lincoln Center to see the Metropolitan Opera performance of Ernani. It was an amazing show, and I really enjoyed myself. Unfortunately, right at the show’s climax near the end, someone’s cell phone went off a few rows ahead of us… I’m glad that I don’t know exactly whose it was, because it was so disappointing. Especially since they answered it!!

We made our way back home and out of our fancy clothes, back into our pajamas, and played Guitar Hero. I really enjoy the game even though I hardly ever get to play it. We stayed up late drinking beer and playing the game and finally went to bed around 2:30.

Sunday morning Todd, Ryan and I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for church. It’s a beautiful sanctuary and the choir was incredible, but a lot of it was really different. Everyone always says how close Lutheran and Catholic services are, but I have to say that it was different enough that I really felt out of place. Of course, when they had Communion we weren’t welcome to partake, so we decided to just leave at that point because there wasn’t much left after the service.

Me and Melissa at Cafe LoupAfter church, we went down to Greenwich Village to meet my friend Melissa from the Weight Watchers message board for the jazz brunch at Cafe Loup. She’s the first board person I’ve met since starting Weight Watchers about 6 months ago, and she is a lot of fun! She lives on Long Island and we had a great time talking. And neither of us had any of the bread basket, and we both had Eggs Benedict. And I may have had some of her pommes frites. Yummmm.

We all wandered over to the bookstore where Todd works after brunch. There’s a cupcake shop next door, and Melissa and I gawked at them but didn’t get any. (Yay for us!) We looked at some of the books and chatted a little more, and then we walked her to the subway.

We went to Battery Park and saw the Statue of Liberty from afar, and then walked up Broadway and Wall Street to the South Street Seaport. Of course, we didn’t actually make it to the Seaport because we saw a great brewpub – The Heartland Brewery – and stopped there instead. We each had two beers, and they were all absolutely delicous!

Rachel made turkey burgers for dinner and we had some margaritas and beer, and then played more Guitar Hero and chilled out. Rachel was getting sick (and it turns out that I was, too) so she called it an early night. Todd and Ryan hung out on the roof for a while and so I got to play a lot of Guitar Hero by myself. It was kind of nice. 🙂

We had a half-hearted intention of getting up on Monday and going to see The Early Show, but tiredness got the best of us and we slept in. We got up and walked up the giant hill at Morningside Park, through the Columbia campus and over into the UWS to meet Rachel for lunch at Sal and Carmine’s, a great pizza place on Broadway between 101st and 102nd. I had a plain slice and my first Diet Dr Pepper since we had been inDoor into The Daily Show studio NYC. (Amazing how I didn’t miss it, but it was sooooo good to have one again.) After lunch, we all walked down to H&H Bagels and picked up a couple, then Rachel took our bagels home and Todd, Ryan and I went over to see The Daily Show. It was a long walk from the subway, and a long, long wait in the cold and wind. But we had a really great time once we got in, and the show was funny. One of the audience members who was sitting in the row in front of us asked Jon if he would spin her dreidel at the beginning of the show (because he always “fiddles with shit” in her words), and he agreed to do it. (Clip here! And there’s other clips from our show on that page, too.)

Before we went back to Harlem, we stopped by Junior’s to get some cheesecake, because of course we had to. We made our way back to the apartment, and Ryan and I made salmon, potatoes and squash for dinner. We settled in and watched some TV (including the episode of The Daily Show we had attended) and ate our cheesecake, and then called it an early night so that Ryan and I could get up to finally make The Early Show the next day.

We got up around 6:30 and got dressed, turned on CBS2 and caught their talkback with Harry Smith before the show, and then hit the subway so that we could make it down before their first 8:00 outside hit. We actually arrived at around 7:30 and met a guy named Sam, who is the audience coordinator and the assistant to Steve Cohen, one of the producers. Sam told usHarry Smith and Dr. Debbye Turner about what he did and said that he would try to get us in after the show to see the studio. We hung out in the Apple Store where it was warm, and came up a few times to see some of the outside segments, including one about taking your pets on vacation.

We got to say hi to Harry Smith, and then after the show we went in and saw the studio. We met Steve Cohen, who was an interesting guy (and a super producer, I think!), and he showed us around a little more. We got to hang out in the control room while they taped a couple of fixes and teases, and then he took us down to peek into the newsroom.

It was about 10am by the time we left, and Ryan wanted to get some more of the pizza from Sal and Carmine’s. We rode the train up to the UWS but they were still closed, so we got back on the train and went back to the apartment to pack up. We said our goodbyes to Todd and Rachel and headed for the subway… but we did stop at Pizzeria 123 for a couple of slices before we left the city. Yum, yum. And I got another Diet Dr Pepper.

We made it onto the NJ Transit train with no problem, rode the AirTrain at Newark a little extra (they need to update some of their signs, that’s all I’m sayin’) and then got on a standby flight so that we would be back in Texas a little earlier. We went out to dinner with Janette at Pei Wei, picked up my car and came back to our house and our dogs.

It’s so nice to be home. Did I mention that?

It’s snowing again!

Big, white flakes are falling in Sherman… again! Just when all the snow had melted from Monday night!!
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Gym rat

I made it to the gym in the snow!
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A snowy evening

It’s snowing in Sherman! We’ve gotten several inches of snow so far – at least on our picnic table – and so we went outside to check it out. Ryan took some pictures and I took a couple of (dark) videos with my cell phone, and we had a good time letting the dogs chase snowballs and frolic in the backyard. What’s a little melted snow on the kitchen floor compared with the memories?

Click to play Snowy Evening
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A Charlie Brown Christmas – performed by the cast of Scrubs!!

Oh yes, NOW THIS is the way to kick off the holiday season!!

shut up and sing

Just watched the trailer for Shut Up and Sing, the documentary about the Dixie Chicks after Natalie Maines’ famous comment about being ashamed that President Bush is from Texas. This movie looks really interesting, and I really like the Dixie Chicks, too… even though there have been a few too many drunken karaoke outings involving a gaggle of gals, two microphones, and “Goodbye Earl.” But I also find the video for “Not Ready To Make Nice” very visually striking and powerful, too. Definitely not the usual CMT fare.

Of course, the usual CMT fare of late isn’t bad… see any Billy Currington video for details… especially the “Must Be Doin’ Something Right” video that I can honestly say puts “Wicked Game” to shame. (Maybe it’s the more upbeat subject matter… or maybe it’s just all that sand.)

I’m ready for the weekend to be here, even though it’s gonna wear me out. Still have some logistical issues with what to do with the dogs while we’re there… but I’m sure we’ll get it all figured out.