31 August 2006

Fargo: Saturday Night At Friday's

When I lived in Fargo, Saturday nights meant TGI Friday's. A few of us news people would go there after the 10pm news for the happy hour and the nachos. A few months after I moved away, A TGI Friday's opened up just down the street from us. I was really excited about it. Not because my Vegas news friends would ever go (they like the glamour), but because I could bring my Fargo news friends there when they came to visit.

Long story short: Jesse and I went to test it out and it was a huge let down. The happy hour prices were doubled, making me not so happy. The drinks did taste the same but the nachos did not. Instead of the very simple (and delicious) nacho chips, cheese, & jalepenos, they served us this multi-colored, layered business with sour cream and beef (2 things I don't eat) mixed in. Disappointment all around. I think I've only been there once afterwards to kill some time. But for my intents and purposes the only fun TGI Friday's is on 13th Avenue in Fargo.
After my dinner with Jerimiah, Ryan and I went to Fridays to meet up with whoever could come to the party. When we frequented that place more than a year ago, we had Drew as our waiter. I like Drew. We have the same birthday. When I made my return to Friday's, Drew was still our waiter. As it turns out, he went to school with Ryan. He also remembered that I drink Strawberry Long Island Iced Teas. I'd like to think he just remembered me because I frequented his station for months. But as the sole party in Fargo's African American tourism delegation, I know better.

Nothing spectacular happened at Fridays. A few people who couldn't make it to Paradiso came. I ended up ordering six drinks and buying a souvenir glass. And I only paid $28, plus tip. If we had been here in Las Vegas, I assure you there wouldn't have been any of that. Naturally we took pictures, mostly of the drinks. Here they are. This first picture is to show you I am always ready for a picture. And I know there will be those (Ryan) who will ask why I didn't crop the picture. Well it serves him right for showing that stain on my shirt.

After the bar closed, Lisa, Ryan and I were the only ones up for some continued socializing. And there's something I'd like to clarify. As one of the Heathers commented, Lisa should be described as Lisa the Meteorologist, not Lisa the Reporter. Lisa does do weather and only dabble in reporting.

But Lisa is not an official Meteorologist. You have to have years of practice and meet the other
criteria and I'm sure there's some cost involved. So Lisa's not a meteorologist, nor does she want to be a report, and "weather-girl" is such a derogatory term. So I'll just call her Lisa.

Back at Ryan's, we were up for a long time. Even if I wanted to tell you all about it, I couldn't possibly remember it all. Plus I'm sure much of it is a secret. As you can see from this picture, Lisa was using my phone for mischievous activities. We also ate some leftover potato ole's from Taco John's. Greasy and delicious. I think sitting around and talking is one of my favorite activities. Of course that often leads to gossip. But how much gossip could I possibly hear? I was just there for a few days. So there's no need for anyone to worry.

Anyway, eventually it was time for bed. Jesse saw this picture of Ryan and said something foul-mouthed (as he is wont to do) and demanded to know the story of that night. He said he's rarely seen Ryan smile so wide, and that obviously he was up to no good. Too bad for Jesse much of what was discussed that night is a secret. But just look at that smile.

30 August 2006

Fargo: Saturday

July 29

After being up so late on Friday, I was feeling less than awesome Saturday afternoon. That meant it was time for another Fargo treat, Taco John's.

To know Taco John's is to love Taco John's. It's better than Taco Bell and more flavorful than authentic Mexican food. There are 25 Taco John's locations in North Dakota. That's enough to get a girl like me addicted.

By Contrast there are only 2 in the state of Nevada. Two in the entire state! And the one that's nearest to me is on the Air Force Base. One day I pledge to have enough money to open up a franchise here.

Anyway, Ryan and I went to Taco John's and it was there we had one of the funniest exchanges in our history. If you've heard it, you want to hear it again. If you haven't, here it is:
Ryan K: "So you really don't think you & Jesse will ever get
Danie D: "Nope. Why does it bother you so much?"
Ryan K: "I don't care. You're not going to get married but you're going to
have little chocolate chip babies."
Now this not for anyone to be offended and if you are, I'll just call you dumb. It's also not for delving into the issue of us having children, so slap yourself for thinking it. It's for people like me who visualize words. Chocolate chip babies. Where does one get such an idea? Apparently in South Fargo.

After we ate, we really didn't have anything planned. And just so you know, lounging is my favorite part of any vacation. The less that's planned, the less I have to think about and schedule. Jesse (of course) is the opposite. He says he can sleep at home. And he can. But he can also sleep at Ryan's house. Well not really but that's another story for one of them to tell. But I can sleep at Ryan's house. And that's what we thought about doing Saturday afternoon. Instead we watched Troy. Around 5 or so we decided to shower and start the day.

I left Ryan Saturday night for dinner with Jerimiah. Jerimiah and I have almost the same birthday. It's not in July, but we went to celebrate anyway with dinner at the Timber Lodge Steakhouse. Look at that fish. Take that Vegas. We haven't seen Walleye on the menu since we got here.

Jerimiah and I talked shop. It's a hot topic among people who work in news. The business is only so big. Jerimiah and I didn't have any great revelations but (at least for me) it never gets old. So we had a good dinner. Only I left my phone at Ryan's and Jerimiah refuses to get one. And neither of us wear watches. So it was like being caught in an abyss. It was fine to start but I admit I became a little hysterical towards the end.

After dinner, Jerimiah brought me back to Ryan's where I wad reunited with my phone. Then we went out for drinks. But that's another story for another day.

27 August 2006

Fargo: Paradiso

When last I had time to blog, we were in Fargo and having drinks at Paradiso. That's my friend Ryan. He so graciously accompanied me through all of my drinking and drinking in Fargo. In exchanged, I did some minor cleaning.

At some point, I had my favorite Paradiso meal (Chicken Fajita Burrito) but I was also ordering margaritas by the pitcher. But I wasn't only there for the drinking. A lot of people came by to say hi, ask about Vegas, eat, and order some more pitchers. There's not a whole lot to write about. I basically told and re-told the same stories and caught up with the people who don't email all that often. And of course I took pictures. So here they are.

First up, pictures of some of my myspace friends. This is Heather, Heather, and Brandon. The Heathers are both producers and Brandon works in production. The Heathers also comment frequently on this blog. So we thank them for that.

Also in attendance were Production Assistants Erik The Red and Dan The Scary. Erik likes cars and cars. He also dabbles in weight lifting. Dan looks tough but he's not a skinhead and he's got Jesus tattooed on his forearm. I'm not sure if it's to remind him to be nice, but it's there.

Sean The Director and Emily The Reporter were at Paradiso as well. Neither wanted their pictures to show up on the internet but here they are. For Sean, it was kind of a guideline. Emily was more insistent. She said I make her look miserable. I told her she should smile more and stop being so vixen-esque. She didn't listen.

At the end of the night (as in when the bar closed) the group dispersed. Ryan, Emily, Erik, and I tried to recruit Lisa The Reporter to our party, but were denied. She even made it rain on us (she does a bit of dabbling in weather). The four of us ended up at Ryan's drinking and talking. Mostly they drank while I talked. I've always been a talker. It was written on my first grade report card.

Then I got a suspicious phone call at 5am. The details are not worth reporting, but it was indeed suspicious. It ended our festivities and after my call (and after I stopped Emily from stealing my spot in the room with curtains) we all went to bed.

19 August 2006

Fargo: Friday

July 28

After that whole shower ordeal, Ryan and I went to eat. This time the eatery of choice was Grand Junction. Technically, Grand Junction is in Moorhead, not Fargo. However, Fargo are Moorhead are pretty much the same city. They even share a convention and visitors bureau. So while choosing to dine in Fargo, one might very well end up eating in Moorhead.

Grand Junction promotes itself as selling East Coast style subs. Having lived on the East Coast, I don't think that's true. But the East is large, so I could be wrong. Personally, I would say it's more like the West Coast, because of all the pot-smoking employees. They give off that apathetic surfer vibe. It's awesome for Californians but not as awesome for the people responsible for taking (and remembering) my order.

After we ate, we stopped at KVLY / KXJB. I used to work at both stations. From the moment I walked in the door, it felt like home. Many of the faces are the same but (in keeping with the nature of the business) a lot were different. I gave myself the tour (with Ryan as my escort) and told (and re-told) stories about my life in sunny Las Vegas. At first it was therapeutic but before we went to bed that night, Ryan and I went over the stories not to tell the next day. I talked a lot about the weather, both there and here.

When I was there, it was 100 degrees. I'm pretty sure it was about the same when I left Vegas. I was pretty comfortable. Ryan on the other hand was miserable. That's a picture of Ryan getting gas. This is a picture of my chariot. I know! It's huge. I wasn't paying attention but I'm sure with gas prices as they are I should be glad I wasn't paying for the gas it took to haul me around town.
Anyway, we stayed at station for close to an hour. It was really fun to be around and see people and almost just as much fun to watch people decide whether to ask Ryan who he was. People there know Jesse, and he was not around. Plus, at that point I surely smelled like a boy, so they might have thought I was shacking up with Ryan while Jesse's back was to the Midwest. Technically they would have been right.

After the station we ran two errands (to get soap remember) and I had to return a book at Barnes & Noble. After that we went back to Ryan's and watched some television. I use the phrase "watched some television" very loosely. We did watch programs on a television. But they were not hosted by cable, or dish. And there weren't any commercials. That's all I'll say. I'm not one to give away Ryan's secrets.

Around 6:30, we went to another unique eatery, Paradiso. Paradiso doesn't have it's own website, but I did find it on a 10 best website, although it hasn't yet been rated. When I lived in Fargo, people from the station (not me because I always had to work) would go to Paradiso for happy hour. The food is yummy and (as Ryan and I learned together) the Ultimate Margaritas come with a shot on the side. It was the start of the party.

18 August 2006

Fargo: My First Shower

July 28, 2006
On July 28, I was in North Dakota, but I called Maryland as soon as I had a moment because it was my mother's birthday. I gifted her with something she's wanted for a long, long time. Deep down I think all moms want a cheesehead fresh from Wisconsin. Now my mom has hers. Thanks to Lucy for the cheesehead hook-up.

So that Friday, I woke up in Fargo on my side of Ryan's bed. Oh, you thought I was going to sleep in the room without curtains? Well I didn't. I slept in Ryan's bed. We had a sleepover. For some reason, Ryan was up and showered before I had even picked out something to wear. He then left me to go register his car.

Meanwhile, I set out to take a shower. But I forgot to pack soap. I went scouting about in the hallway closet and found Swiffer Cloths, but no soap. Then I ventured into the master bathroom and into that closet. All I saw there was hand soap. So I went into the shower (I know, totally invading) and there was no soap. Instead, there was what I will call "dude soap." The only body wash in Ryan's house was Old Spice dude soap, guaranteeing me 8 hours of scent. Hooray.

I grabbed the bottle and stopped. Maybe it was better to shower with hand soap than to smell like a guy. I seriously gave it two full minutes of thought before I decided to use the dude soap. The scent was pleasant, like something I might want to be next to, but not actually be. After my shower, I put on all my girl scents and I felt confused.

Later in the day, we went to Target (and to Starbucks) to put this soap debacle behind us. I found that I love anything travel sized. Look at the cuteness! Anyway, the whole thing made me want to say this: I don't ever want to hear guys complain about the scents girls wear. I've never ever put on anything as pungent as that body wash.

17 August 2006

Have You Called Your Bank Lately?

I bank at Wells Fargo. They're all over this town so it's pretty convenient. About a month ago, I went to one of those convenient automated teller machines and I noticed I had an extra account. There was Checking, there was Savings, and there was Direct Deposit Advance. Since I did not sign up for that, I didn't know what it was. I'm sure there was a mailer but I admit I don't pay attention to those things.

So I did what any inquisitive customer would do; I called the bank. They explained that it's kind of like a pay day loan with a better interest rate. It's not something I see myself using but it's good to know. So today I log on to check my transactions and this is what I see:

08/16/06 PHONE BANKER CALL 08/02 $2.00

So what does that tell us? It tells us that Wells Fargo charged me $2 to tell me give me information I didn't really need, but asked for. I asked around at work at apparently it's common knowlege. Once you call back (and ask) the charge is reversed. I'm not sure if I'll be charged for THAT call. I doubt it. I was straight to the point. After they verified my identity, it went like this:

"Well there's a $2 charge on my account for calling you and asking a question. I want that to disappear."

"Well let me check on that. Okay I see. Okay I'll go ahead and reverse that charge."

So you see, it's very simple. You call, you get charged. You call again, you get un-charged. Another person at my job said someone on the Wells Fargo end told her they charge for any question they think you should have found on your own. Which sounds stupid and is stupid and might be true. She said she begins every call with "I'm looking through your website and
I don't see..." She ends every call with "Please do not charge me." That's no way to bank.

So that's what annoyed me today. Here's what got Jesse's blood boiling.

12 August 2006

Fargo: Vacation Destination

This spring I found myself missing Fargo, North Dakota. Well, it was actually after spring (and the springtime flooding) but early this summer I started to miss Fargo. At first I thought it was just my friends. Eventually I realized I did actually miss the city. When I moved here, there were lots of jokes about how Vegas in the exact opposite extreme from Fargo. While that's not entirely true, when I wanted a break from Vegas, Fargo was the perfect choice. Not that I would have gone there if I had not lived there beforehand. But as it stands, when I decided to take a vacation, I decided to take it in Fargo. So I'm an odd duck. Quack!

July 27, 2006
This was a particularly busy day. I technically did not have to work but there was a project I needed to at least start before I left. Is there anything worse than going into work when you don't need to be there? Yes. It's having to be there longer than you wanted to be. It made me grumpy. I also baked some brownies for Jesse. I figured he was going to miss me terribly. I also figured brownies would help. I don't know if I was right but the ate the whole pan in five days or less. So at least he was full.

If that day were this day, my carry-on could have been a checklist for what not to bring on a plane. I love lotions and gels. I need to stay moisturized. I had lotion for my body, lotion for my hands, lotions for my hair, hair spray, a curling iron, sanitizing gel, deodorant, nail polish, saline solution, and toothpaste. Plus I loaded up my bag with all of the chargers and cords associated with my phone, the camera and my Bluetooth. I basically had a bag full of gels and electronic devices. That's exactly what we can't have now.

$&@$#@ terrorists.

I had a direct flight, courtesy of Allegiant Air. I was also seated in an exit row, which means I had more leg room than you can shake a stick at. If you don't know what that means, it means I had leg room for days. As my seat buddy said, it was "luxurious." My flight was good, but I got thirsty. And the last thing I planned to do about was pay for water. So I chewed gum. Then I fell asleep, then I started reading a book. I should have started the book first. It's quite good and it would be days before I could finish it.

Anyway I arrived in Fargo a little later than planned at 9pm. But it was still light outside so it didn't feel late. Ryan picked me up you might remember him from my birthday party, but I doubt it. Not that he's not memorable. But I've written a lot of stuff since January.

Part of my Fargo Vacation Plan (or FVP) was to eat at places we don't have in Vegas. That's right. There are restaurants in Fargo that we don't have in Vegas. For example, after he picked me up, Ryan took me to Granite City. Sadly, I did not have the waffle fries. But I did have some blackened chicken that was surely not approved for hypertensives, like myself. I survived.

Ryan recently bought and built a house. In the beginning, that's what was all about. It was fun to watch the place go up. Now it's up and it's very nice. It even has a nice new house smell. But as you can see, Ryan doesn't have time to sweat the small stuff, like window treatments. Apparently he has nothing to hide from his neighbors, except in the master bedroom. The lack of treatments normally wouldn't bother me so much, but the sun pops up early in Fargo (actually it pops up early everywhere) and you don't want to be sleeping in a room without curtains when it does. But we worked a way around that.

After Ryan gave me the tour, we went to Duffy's. Duffy's does not have a website but in my search I did find a blog dedicated to it. Wow Jesse. Are you jealous you didn't think of it first? I'm not. It's kind of creepy. Chris and Emily also came out to Duffy's that night. We did not take any group pictures but don't fret - I have pictures of them filed away. Let's see. Here are Ryan & Chris in a picture someone took of them in January. Followed by a picture of Emily trying really hard to not smile. I think that's a California thing.

Anyway, we stayed at Duffy's until 2. Then Ryan and I went back to his house and went to bed. And that, as they say, was that.

11 August 2006

Oh And...

I also changed my hair. Remember it used to be long and fake? Then I changed it to short and mature. Well now it's back to long and fake. Let me take you along my reasoning.

I had my hair braided because it was easy. Then it became costly. So I decided on something short and low maintenance. Only Nic Style's (former hairdresser) definition of "low maintenance" was to come get it cut every two weeks. And guess what? That became costly as well. So I decided to grow my hair out (a very slow process) and just do it myself. That became time consuming. Plus, my hair did not love the constant styling. Jesse did not love the hair hanging out in the sink area. I did not love the time it took from my sleeping.

So the way I saw it, the only solution was to go back to getting my hair braided. So I asked a woman who gave me the number to a lady who gave me the number of another woman who knew a girl who eventually braided my hair. It was a very painful process. I took ibeauprofin for two days and my scalp was throbbing for three. Just look at my scalp.

Maybe one day if you really want to know I'll explain the whole process. Basically the braider takes all of the hairs on my head and assigns them into braids. The pain comes from the tiny hairs around my hairline. I don't think those hairs were meant to be grabbed. I'll include some pictures but they do not accurately convey the pain. But like I said, it's long gone and I'm enjoying my tresses. The only drawback now is that some are falling out. I told you some hairs were not meant to be grabbed.

10 August 2006

San Diego: Fin

Sunday, July 9, 2006
After each of my previous trips to San Diego, people asked me if I went to the zoo. Until now, the answer was no. The next question was usually "How about Sea World?" That answer had also been "no," until now.

After we sent Janna on her way and ate bagels, we went to
Sea World San Diego. I remember going to Sea World Orlando a few times when I was little but this was my first time on California.

We were mainly going to see Shamu's show but we did stop to see the Beluga Whales. They float around with a Walrus or two. I learned all kinds of whale facts while we were there but I have since forgotten them. But here are some pictures.

Our last and most important stop was at the Shamu Show. It's supposed to be fun and inspirational. I think I'm just too old for it. I thought the theme was lame. All I wanted was for the whales to come out, splash some water, throw their trainers, and eat some fish. I was not interested in discovering future marine biologists.

But the production was good. They made good use of several cameras and 4 monitors on either side of the pool. The whales (it's not clear which is really the new Shamu) seemed like they were having a good time. The kids were squealing and enjoying themselves. It was fun. And here are the pictures to prove it.

Now it really was time to hit the road. Actually it was time to eat, and then it was time to hit the road. Four and a half hours later we hit Nevada. At exit #1, traffic slowed to a stop. Lanes had to merge for construction. It was misery for a few miles but we did get home.

And that concludes our most recent trip to San Diego. The next day, Steph went back to Colorado. Lucy left the day after that. And all was once again quiet on the Desert Front.

09 August 2006

San Diego: After the Zoo

Watching animals lounge is grueling work. Afterwards we were hungry. We followed Jesse's nose downtown to a Kansas City BBQ place he remembered seeing the last time we were in San Diego. It's a little place surrounded by huge buildings. It's also the place where the sleazy bar scene in Top Gun was filmed. As you can see, the bar is really proud of that. But nevermind the fame, the food was delicious and we will certainly be returning.

So we ate. And it was still hot. So we went to the beach. This time we went to Coronado. It's really picturesque. I'm sure it's been used in more than a few movies. Coronado is not as fun as La Jolla. I mean beach is beach but Coronado is more like a "sit and tan far away from the water" beach while La Jolla is more like a "anywhere you sit you will be hit by waves" beach. As a non-swimmer who likes to sit on the beach, I prefer La Jolla. As a wave-jumper, Jesse also prefers La Jolla. The water was clearer at La Jolla too. But as girls who like to tan, Lucy and Steph preferred Coronado.

So in one day we went to the zoo, ate a famous restaurant, and went to the beach. I think that qualifies for exhaustion. Back at the hotel we showered and we must not have done anything exciting because I have no pictures or memories of what we did. I know a little later, Lucy and Steph went dancing. Jesse, Janna, and I played phase 10, Jesse and I watched a movie until bed time. Not bad for a Saturday.

On Sunday Janna went back to North Dakota and the four of us headed back to Vegas. We were all up and packed by 11 - which was no small feat. We waited for Janna's shuttle to whisk her to the airport. Then we set out on a ridiculous journey for Brueggers Bagels. Once we were all fed, it might have been a good idea to hit the road. But good ideas aren't usually the most fun.

08 August 2006

San Diego Zoo: View From Above

The rest of the zoo pictures are from the top of the tour bus. I didn't see any signs naming the animals so I don't really know what a lot of these animals are. But I know zebras. And I know zebra butts. Did you know butt stripes are the only way to tell zebras apart? Well I didn't either, until I went to the zoo.

Of course there were giraffes. They were a foot or two taller than the double decker. Their snacks were kept up high and aside from huddling together they really weren't that cool. They just kind of stood there being tall. But I guess that's what they do in the wild. Plus, they were more interesting than a lot of other animals who were hiding in their little caves.

In fact I have several pictures of caves. At the time I thought I was either going to be able to see them in the pictures or remember what they were. I was wrong on both accounts. Most of the cave pictures are dark so I will not include them. But I was able to crop and examine some other pictures. One of a black bear and another of a lioness. They look cute and cuddle-able. So obviously I wasn't really close.

We rolled up on the elephants. They're kind of in the middle of a big street surrounded by a little wire. That wire may seem like nothing but it's like the great wall of china
for an elephant. Apparently, thy don't have knees flexible enough to allow them to jump.
Too bad, so sad.

Anyway, the elephants were better than the giraffes. The zookeepers keep treats for them hidden in bowls hanging from trees. It keeps the elephants stimulated mentally. They also use dirt (which they have plenty of) to keep cool. I guess it works, they were among the more active animals we saw.

One of the least active animals was the rhinoceros. He had a little lake-like thing and he enjoyed it thoroughly. Unlike the hippo, he did not have little fish friends. I don't remember if that was the last animal we saw but it was certainly the last zoo picture I took. It was hot and I was getting hungry. I'm sure there was much more zoo to explore but after the bus tour and a quick stop at the gift shop, we were off to eat.