Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Back Home...in TAMPA!

Yes, I was supposed to be back from Vegas on Tuesday of last week the 20th, but unfortunately had to extend my stay in Vegas due to some not so good reasons. On Monday, upon leaving Vegas, about an hour before the flight I passed out at the gate and was rushed to the ER at Desert Springs Hospital in Vegas(just off the strip). It seems my ticker was beating so fast at 190 bpm, that it caused me to go into hypo tension and pass out. Well, I discovered that a mix of Hypertension, Stress, Caffeine, Alcohol and Dehydration can cause Atrial Fibrillation - my heart was firing all over the place. Not a good thing. After a few days in the hospital and many tests, I found out I have an extremely healthy heart, but one that doesn't take so kindly to 24 hour alcohol, coffee, red bull, lack of water, and little sleep. Very scary situation, especially being away from home. With some good friends stayin behind(who would refuse to stay behind in Vegas to watch over an ill friend..LOL), I was finally able to fly back home...to TAMPA. And I missed it!! Kudos to Southwest Airlines who offered free flights for friends and family to be with me, and get me back home to Tampa, they are AMAZING! I'm looking forward to get out to the Strawberry Festival and Gasparilla Arts Festival this weekend.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tampa Sushi

It was Yoko's on South MacDill Ave again. They have expanded and opened another section of about 6 more tables and 12 more seats at the Sushi Bar. I LOVE this place even more now!! The BEST rolls tonight were Bucs roll, Fresh Roll, Love Roll, and Mexican. YUMM!!!! We then headed to Urban Body in Hyde Park as I needed to pick up some new clothes for my trip to Vegas this weekend, but closed at 7pm??? Sad. So instead went to SteinMart in Britton Plaza - why are all those clothes for men look so bright(pastel red, green, orange), and why are the shirts so darn long - like down to my knees and i'm 5'9". I just feel everything is irregular, but I did find a Polo I liked...uggg, hate the shopping! Wish me Luck, be back on Tuesday!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gasparilla weekend.....again?!

Yes, it is another Gasparilla weekend in Tampa..for the third time in 2007!! My buddy is still in town from San Diego, Friday we went over to Centro Ybor after work to see Eddie Murphy's "Norbit"..movie was just ok, but these theaters in Ybor have to be the finest i've ever been to, state of the art, modern, all stadium seating, the inside looks like a small village as you go to your theater(there are 24 in all)..and having the "Premiere" theaters(4 designated theaters) means no one under 21, plush huge leather seats, and all the free popcorn and soda(it does cost a lil more, but worth it). Shows here during the day and weekday evenings are rarely crowded. I have heard that they are possibly closing half these theaters to build condos..im hoping that dont happen!
After the movie we attempted to look for some clothes for our Friday night out...Urban Outfitters and Ocean Drive Fashions, both in Centro Ybor, did not make the cut for any stylish rags. Unfortunately, I HATE shopping so I need to find something that totally pops out and says "buy me"..and that wasn't happening. So we headed to Macy*s at Westshore Plaza, and after an hour of lookin around, and a huge headache afterwards, went home empty handed...is it me, or are there just crappy clothes out there...again I LOATHE to shop..need to find me a personal shopper. My frustration led to me hang at the house, and watch "Talladega Nights, the Legend of Ricky Bobby" on Pay Per View!
Saturday feeling refreshed cause of a mellow night last night, we headed to Cracker Barrell in Oldsmar for breakfast...The Cracker Barrel Country Big Boy Breakfast has to be one of the best breakfast meals out there...HUGE ham steak, three eggs, hashbrown casserole(yum), grits, biscuits and gravy and fried apples-all for around 8 bucks! I like to substitute the fried apples and grits for extra servings of hashbrown casserole. We then headed to Land and Sea to pick up some grub for our Pre-Gasparilla Night Parade BBQ. A few bacon rapped filets, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed baked potatoes, and vege kabobs..Land And Sea stores are great for BBQ's. It was another beautiful day in paradise(my friends were still in sub freezing temps up north), so took the boy the Picnic Island's dog beach to play for a few hours. The dog park/beach at Picnic Island is one of the best in town, very long, wide open beach and grass areas for the dogs to run, and it is relatively quiet and not as crowded as the other city dog parks.
We ended up in Ybor around 615pm and the garages were all ready full, so we ended up at the HCC parking lots for 10 bucks, quite a bargin for this night. Walking down 7th Ave prior to the parade starting we found it not nearly as crowded as we thought, especially on the south side of 7th Avenue. We ended up watching the parade from Gaspars Grotto stage, had an amazing view, and made it through the nearly 3 hour night parade. A lesbian couple from St. Pete wound up joining us(not sure how that happened, but the blonde was HOT!), and we made an appearance at Wranglers...again, a great time at this gay country dance club, it was definitely a mixed crowd in the really nice, large club. A few rounds of pool, watchin the dudes line dance to dance tunes, and lots of socializing and laughs, we headed to Green Iguana till closing, and then bought a Pizza over on 15th Street just north of 7th Ave(TASTY Pizza) and scarfed the whole pie down. Attempting to hail a cab on Palm Ave at 330am was mistake, we were trying to do the right thing and not drive of course, but there were NO cabs to be found, so after 30 minutes of attempting this, we slept in the car until around 8am, and headed home. I LOVE GASPARILLA!!
The Gasparilla Distance Classic is next weekend, the Gasparilla Film Festival starts on the 28th of Feb, and lastly is the Gasparilla Arts Festival March 3rd and 4th downtown Tampa....

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Kudos to TIA

Just another kudos to Tampa Intl Airport. I travel a few times per month for work, and I can't say it enough how convenient Tampa's airport is. With a quick drive to Long term parking, plenty of spots today, a quick walk into the terminal(I'd rather walk, but there is a quick people mover from Long Term to the terminal), then a smooth security procedure at the Southwest terminal. Maybe this is why I see so many flyer's like myself at TIA content and in good moods, rather than angry and frustrated as I see at most other airports. It's even nicer to hear others say how nice TIA is, and how they wish their airport was as modern, clean and convenient as TIA. It can't be like this everyday, but I have yet to be disappointed.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Howard Ave - 7th Ave

Last night my buddy came into town from San Diego....soooo..it was time to go out on the town AGAIN!(As if last weekend wasn't enough with Gasparilla). He's staying at the Econo Lodge on Dale Mabry and Henderson-they call this area 'Midtown' on the hotel brochure which I thought was kinda funny. Never been here, and always passed by thinking it was some kind of 'crack den' or 'whore house', but is was actually nice, with updated rooms, and decent guests. It is in a nice area with many the restaurants in walking distance, and a great weekly rate.
We wound up meeting my friends Lisa, Ashley and Leah at Lime on Howard Ave. Ive been here for drinks, but not yet to eat. Free Valet was nice as parking around Howard Ave can be tricky. Kind of trendy place, with the typical 20's/30 something's Hyde Park good looking crowd. For a Friday night, I thought it would be packed, but there was at least half dozen empty tables, and room at the bar, so it made it nice to be able to eat and drink with no wait. The drinks were good, but for 9 or 10 bucks a pop, i'm expecting a 16oz margarita or martini, not an 8oz cocktail. The sangria was bland compared to Ceviche's, there was no fruit and alot of ice. Calamari was amazing, no tentacles/all rings, very lightly fried, perfect. The food was great as well(Quesadillas, FajitaBowls). We listened to Mexican/Latin American music in the background until after 9, when it changed to more of a dance beat.
After dinner, we walked over to Whiskey Park to play pool and wait for another friend of ours. We wanted to go to Dubliner, but to get in the car and drive 6 blocks, then find parking is rediculous in this area, I have to wonder why the Pedicab business or a simple trolley service is not running up and down Howard on weekend evenings like in Ybor. Not a big fan of the Whiskey Park, but tonight there was a good crowd for so early in the eve, and pool tables were available. The DJ was awesome, which all lended itself to a good time waiting for our friend to show up.
We decided to go see my friend Rob, lead singer and amazing musician in a great band called Buffalo Strange. They mostly play on the beach(Jimi B's/Gators), but tonight that were at The Rare Olive in Ybor. Ybor can be funny some nights, driving down 7th Ave it was about 11pm, and just an array of all walks of life, older, younger, country, redneck, thugs, preppy, rockers, punk, etc....definitely makes for good people watching. The Rare Olive was hopping, and Buffalo Strange sounded amazing. I haven't been to this bar in quite some time(maybe 10 years), and I know why, the WORST mixed drinks, unless your having a beer, I wouldn't recommend ever going to this place for a cocktail. The bar staff was very inadequate as well, 6 people behind the bar, yet most people waited at least 15 minutes for one of those lousy, weak cocktails. Its a good thing a great band was playing.
Since it's Ybor, we decided to get out and walk around 7th ave, it was around midnight by now, and there were people everywhere, but it wasnt that busy, the sidewalks were walkable, and traffic was moving on 7th ave. We went for a drink at Green Iguana, one of my fav places down here, dance on one side, live band on the other. Again, plenty of room, not a bad crowd. My buddy wanted to check out the alternative scene, so we headed to Wranglers, a very nice country/western/dance gay club...good crowd, not too busy. After there it was to Flirt, which is known to be a lesbian bar, but tonight it was a very different crowd, mostly listening to rap. Last stop was Gbar, a new gay club at the other end of 7th Ave. And another surprise, it was all lesbians, I think I saw one male patron. It really surprises me how often clubs and bars change their scene, crowds, etc. Leaving Ybor around 2am, we ended the night with a final beer at City Side, which was very convenient to his hotel. A good crowd, he ran into people he knew(small world I guess)....so goes another Friday night in Tampa.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Convenient South Tampa

Just a brief observation today living in South Tampa. It's nice to be able to run errands and have then all completed within 15 minutes, and no more than a mile from home. At lunch I ran to the dry cleaner, dropped off a Fed Ex, picked up a prescription, got some fresh veges and milk. Its just nice not to have to fight traffic, 4 lane highways, long drives out of a subdivision. Just a simple observation, it's not for everyone, but I sure enjoy it.