Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Karaoke Blog

Over the past few years, I have become a fan of Karaoke. There are a lot of Karaoke bars in Portland so I think that has something to do with my growing interest in it. I have noticed that there are few different types or groups of Karaoke bars, which I am going to break down. But first Karaoke in general has a few rules that must be followed

Rule # 1 – The song you choose must be funny or ironic.
Song choice is a very important feature of Karaoke. The song must either make people laugh, dance, or at least draw a reaction of “What the fuck???”. If your song does not do one of these, pick a new song. No one wants to hear you sing your rendition of the new Nelly or P-Diddy song. Seriously, no one does so shut it. My songs of choice are Unskinny Bop by Poison and a duet with my friend Paul of I got You Babe (Paul’s the bitch in the song!).

Rule # 2 - You can’t be professional singer
Actually you should have a pretty bad voice when singing. It is ok if you can carry a tune, but the whole point of Karaoke is to have fun and look like an ass. This isn’t American Idol people. No one is impressed if you can sing all the high notes to a certain song. If you are a professional singer and do Karaoke, everyone now thinks that you are a douche bag. Keep your singing to the Church Choir where people actually want you to sing well.

Rule # 3 – You MUST be intoxicated
In my opinion, this is the most important rule of them all. I mean imagine having a company tent party and they have karaoke (yes I’m referring to you St Jude Medical). Are you really going to get up there and sing “Baby Got Back” sober? If you do, it means you are trying to show off and therefore probably breaking rule # 2. Most good Karaoke stories should end with “I sang Karaoke last night???? Wow was I wasted”

Ok now that we got the rules out of the way, let’s look at the different types of Karaoke Bars.

The Dive Bar Karaoke
The characteristics of this are pretty obvious. A bar you can smoke in. People drinking Tall cans of beer or well drinks. A lot of times have a mix of local drunks and Hipsters who swear they started going to the bar when it was still a local hole in the wall. Crappy floor, sometimes velvet wall paper, a few local drunks who sing every night, possibly an old black dude that sings Shaft (see rule # 1, good choice my friend). For some reason in Portland, a lot of the Dive Karaoke joints are also Chinese Food Restaurants. I really don’t get the connection since Karaoke is more a Japanese thing. Some examples are:

Sunset Lounge – Fullerton, CA

Kopa Room (inside Linbrook Bowl) – Anaheim, CA

The Stargate Lounge (i.e. Chopsticks) – Portland, OR

Galaxy – Portland, OR

The Rock Star Karaoke
This version of Karaoke consists of a live band playing. At first, this sounds like a good idea, but once you break it down, it’s a horrible idea. Typically you see this in higher class joints where there’s a bunch of dudes wearing shiny shirts, Douche bags with Popped collars or Huntington Beach Meathead Fake LA Rockers. You’ll see a lot of top shelf liquor and Corona’s flowing with this crowd. This style in my opinion is really lame for a few reasons. You don’t have a big book to pick songs from. You are limited to what the band knows. Typically they only know a bunch of new songs, which could break rule # 1. People who usually do this type of Karaoke are really good singers, which breaks rule # 2. Again people it’s not American Idol. Here are some examples that I’ve witnessed:

Martini Park – Plano, TX

Slide Bar – Fullerton, CA

The Japanese/Asian Karaoke
For some reason, the Asians love them some Karaoke. The funny thing is they only like doing it with their close friends. Because of this, they set-up a Karaoke store type place where you rent out private rooms. You have full control of the songs you select, who sings, the option to stop a song half way through and so on. Basically its like you are at home (see below), but you are paying by the hour to use their equipment. I’ve been to one that was in a mall, but they allowed you to BYOB. I’ve been lucky enough to go to one in Japan where it was all you can drink. The only kicker was you had to call the front desk every time you wanted more and they would bring them up to your room. I think we got cut-off at one point because we called them like every 5 minutes (See rule # 3). I don’t know the names of places I went too so you’ll have to find them yourself.

The at home Karaoke
Everyone’s been to a party where they’ve had a Karaoke system set-up. These systems range from DVD and a microphone in your stereo system to a full blown system where they have its own monitor. Now a days, like in my case, my cable company has Karaoke “On-Demand” for free. This works out perfect because you don’t have to set-up anything, put in dvd’s bla bla bla. Even at home all 3 rules must be followed. In my case, we usually close out the neighborhood bars, then come back to my apartment and sing until 5am. Oh and for everyone in the Plaza, the microphone broke.

In summary Karaoke can be a very fun activity to partake in or just being an observer. Just make sure you follow the rules so no one gets hurt.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Burrito blog

Yes, I said it, the Burrito blog. I am a huge fan of the burrito. I eat them all the time. What else is better than having a whole mean put into an edible container. I would like to shake the hand of the person who invented this amazing culinary creation. The term "burrito" is very vague as now a day there are many different types and styles of burritos. This blog is to go over the different categories of them. I love them all, but each serve their proper time and place.

1. The Mexican Burrito.
This is the common burrito that you would find at a local Mexican takeout/lunch truck or downtown cart. I guess they would be found in Mexico as well. They consist of mostly just rice, beans, and meat. A lot of places now put cheese in them, but if they have anymore ingredients than stated above, you are not eating a "Mexican Burrito". It must, and I mean must be made by a Mexican, preferably one that doesn't speak English, becuase you know it's probably an original recipe from Mexico. The size ranges in the medium to large size depending on how much they stuff it. The meat is usually really greasy so a cool call for those hung over days. Typically cost around $4 for a carne asada burrito. My favorite is from Molcasalsa in La Habra, CA

2. The Fast Food Burrito.
The burritos that fall into this category are ones from places like Taco Bell & Del Taco. Typically consist of just refried beans, cheese and some sort of red or green sauce. Made by either a Mexican or a High School student, depending on where you live.. Typically small in size compared to other burritos. Typically cost around $1. Great for the late night munchies or drunk food. My favorite is a Green Burrito from Del Taco. I drove 20 miles last week just to get one.

3. The Suburban Burrito.
I call this category the Suburban Burrito due to a recent trend of the openings of higher scaled fast food places like Chipotle and QDoba. These burritos still have the same basics of the Mexican Burrito, but with all the bells and whistles. I'm talking grilled bell peppers & onions, sour cream, guac, a pico de gayo and a sauce. Also, the beans are not refried anymore, either pinto or black beans. If you get all the fixin's with the burrito, the poor lady folding the thing can barely wrap it into a burrito shape. At places like this, they are still made my Mexicans (typically) and cost around the $6 range. I'm split 50/50 on Chipotle and QDoba. They both make a mean fajita burrito.

4. The Hipster Burrito
This type of burrito is becoming more popular with the Hipster kids. All organic ingredients, a vegan burrito option, other weird stuff (for a burrito) like spinach, organic brown rice, designer cheese (i.e. Tillamook). They also have variations of burritos, like Asian or Thai burritos with asian veggies and a thai sauce. One of the big difference is that they are made by hipsters. You got guys wearing Metallica shirts to dudes with staches. Girls with bob cuts taking the orders. There is a joint like this by my house, Laughing Planet. My favorite there is the Holy Mole Burrito. it costs about $6.

5. The Breakfast Burrito
I think the name says it all. They come in varieties from your typical breakfast food like eggs, hash browns, some breakfast meat, you get the picture. To me a real breakfast burrito has to be chorizo and eggs. This is perfect hangover food because chorizo is filled with grease. These usually run about $4. at a takeout place and $7 at a sit-dwon diner. There is a big difference in a take-out place vs a sit down place. I prefer the greasy take-out place.

Don't be scared to try something new. Mix up the burrito in you. With all these different varieties, you could eat a burrito everyday and have a completely different meal. So go on out there and eat some burritos!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cure for the common cold

I have had a cold for the past few days. I'm not one for taking a bunch of pills or med's. The only thing I usually take is DayQuil when at work. People will be sitting in my office and I'll ask them if they "wanna do some shots". They give me the weirdest look because they think I'm talking about liquor, but then I pull out the DayQuil.

I have heard people say that drinking booze actually helps with cold. If you think about it, a lot of cough syrups have alcohol in it (c-mon, you know you've gone "robo" at least once in High School). What got me thinking about this is last night, I was having a few drinks with my friends at the local bar. I was all congested and had a runny nose. I was drinking a beer (PBR of course) and was feeling like crap. Then I saw someone walk by with a hot drink. Then it popped in my head HOT TODDY. A hot toddy is basically Whiskey, lemon, sugar water, cloves, and hot water. I started drinking it and my head completely cleared up in minutes.

I have heard of other people saying what their drink of choice is to fight a cold. Here are some of them:

1. The Hemlocker - Once you feel a cold coming, shot of Jameson in the morning, shot of Jameson at lunch, glass of scotch before bed. He claims that the whiskey and scotch kills the cold

2. TRTM - Only drink screwdrivers. He believes the combo of alcohol and vitamin C in the OJ fights off colds.

3. The Russell - a glass (or bottle) of red wine each night. She believes that, well actually she thinks that red wine goes with anything so nothing is stopping her from drinking the big cat.

Who knows if this actually works, but I know for sure I'd rather be drunk when I'm sick rather than just sick. I did read on wikipedia that the American Lung Association "now recommends avoiding treating the common cold with alcoholic beverages as they have no curative effect and cause dehydration". But what do they know. I don't feel any better this morning, but I did feel better last night when I had a nice warm buzz going on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

After Hours Party at my house.

For some reason, on the weekends after drinking for 7 hours straight, my neighbors and I always think it's a good idea to keep the party rolling in my apartment. On a typical weekend, we start drinking around 7 or 8pm. Then we go to a bar or party around 10 or 11, close out the place at 1:45 so we can get to the store to buy beer and drunk food, then end up at my place by 2:15. This is when the trouble starts. I love cable, but why do you have to have Karaoke "On Demand" on my cable system? It doesn't help either that I have a PA and a mic (I used to play in bands so it's ok to have this crap). next thing you know, my drunk ass is singing karaoke to "Baby Got Back" or some crap like that. Next thing you know, I wake up as 10 am, probably still a bit drunk, and wake up to knocked over beers, chip crumbs, empty packs of smokes, 100's of can's & bottles and people passed out all over my apartment.

Since at this point, like I mentioned, I am typically still drunk, I have motivation to clean my house before the hang-over kicks in. Oh on a side note, when we go to buy beer, we go for quantity, not quality, so the hang-overs are that much more fun. So this exact scenario happened on Friday night. Here are pictures of the aftermath, after I cleaned up.

So after kicking everyone out of my apartment, cleaning up all the cans and bottles, eating some food, I now go back to sleep until 3pm. Now I'm hurting, hurting real bad. I run into my neighbors and they are hurting just as bad. So we walk to Zupans, get vitamin waters, juice and Jeno's pizza (the best hangover food besides a bloody mary). That would be the only time we leave our apartments all day. Now it's veg'ing out on the couch and watching stupid Will Farrell movies. The sad part is I can't wait to do it again this weekend.