Monday, October 29, 2007

Endoscopy completed!

Ive been having problems over the last several years with swallowing discomfort when eating, my throat would actually close, and I would not even be able to drink anything, sometimes it would last 10 minutes, sometimes a few hours..I never knew what it was, thought maybe I was eating too fast, or not chewing enough, but finally had the doc(actually a GI-gastrointerologist) tells me its acid reflux, I had silent heartburn,(casue I never feel heartburn pain) and over the years was causing my espohogus to sometimes close. It was so haphazard....soooo anyway, had the Endoscopy done today at the Tampa Bay Endoscopy Center, what a great experience, just need to get there very early, the place was jumping by 8am....the nurses, staff, doctors, all very friendly, explained everything two or three times, nice HOT blankets to keep ya warm while waiting, but I was in and out of there within 90 minutes, the procedure only takes like 5 minutes, they put you to sleep, and wake you back up when its over...That's it! Well, hope its nothing serious, the doc also dilated my throat, doesn't feel bigger, can't wait to eat!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween in Tampa

Well, it's that time of year...Tampa seems to have geared up for Halloween, this holiday as come a long now ranks up there with Christmas it seems, all the decorations inside and outside the homes, and the many parties and festivals for the occasion. This year I decided not to partake in Guavaween, the cities annual raucous festival of nearly 100,000 in Ybor City, and partake in the many Halloween parties. Friday it was up in the Carrollwood neighborhood, the Wendy's girl with the red hair and pig tails seemed to be very popular at that party. Then Saturday a few parties in South Tampa, the first house was decorated all out for the occasion, the second house we went to was a HUGE old Victorian just of Bayshore Blvd. Very wild characters, it's interesting to see people not only don the costumes, but play the characters as well(video below). After leaving the last party, I thought I was going to have to wait forever for a cab, but they were all over the South Tampa streets, running back and forth from Ybor City, so I was able to actually flag one down within minutes after leaving for the night.

My travels take me to NYC this week for work.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stiff Drinks and a Film Festival Downtown Tampa

Im taking off for Chicago today, and wanted to at least participate in the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF)here in Tampa for two weeks until Sunday the 14th...i'm a HUGE fan of all kinds of movies, and there are usually some great independent movies that rarely make it to main stream, and it's a once a year festival. What I didn't know was that it's the 5th largest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in the country, and this is the 18th year here in Tampa, and it takes place on both sides of the Bay(Tampa and St. Pete). There is also nothing like the experience of seeing a movie in Tampa Theater.

Prior to the start of the movie, we stopped by another Tampa icon next door to Tampa Theater, The Hub, for some of the stiffest, cheapest drinks in town. A mish-mosh of people in this dive lounge with a great juke box, a few video games and an attached package store, from lawyers and business people just getting off work to the true Hub drinker that had been there since opening to a few college students from nearby University of Tampa.

The movie we went to was "For the Bible Tells Me So"...I knew alot about the bible being raised Catholic, but watching this documentary was very eye opening, especially for those that seem to only choose which parts of the Bible they wish to read and interpret. All in all, it was well done, funny and enlightening and entertaining. A must for those who are closed minded and that believe that according to the Bible, homosexuality is an abomination(hmm, so is eating Shrimp, wearing linen and wool, mixing crops).....

Off to Chitown till next Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Great Channelside Addition - Zelda's Cafe and Deli

Finally went to see Transformers in IMAX at Channelside yesterday, what a great blockbuster of a movie, and to see it in IMAX was even more adrenaline rushing. Its out on DVD next week, so figured I should get to see in all its glory from an IMAX experience before it goes to DVD. Afterwards we went for a light dinner in the Channelside area, and wanted something different than what is offered in the Entertainment Complex, so we ventured a few blocks to Zelda's Cafe and Deli on the corner of Kennedy Blvd and Channelside Drive(behind the BP). AT 7:30pm there was no one there, a very nice, clean cafe, dimly lit with windows in front and back. A very friendly woman welcomed us and invited us to take a seat anywhere. They had just opened about three weeks ago, and mostly do a breakfast and lunch time crowd. They had three dinner specials, and the regular menu that had breakfast and lunch items(we were informed you could get breakfast all day). The dinner specials were Baked Chicken, Kielbasa, or Pork Ribs, each served with Vege of the day, a starch(fried rice, potatoes) and a dinner salad - all for $6.95. We decided to try one of the sandwhich's, the Italian Hoagie, and the Kielbasa dinner. A large portion of Kielbasa, grilled perfectly, moist and juicy w/ cooked onions, with a large side of green beans and I chose the Fried Rice which was ok. The dinner salad was a small plate of crisp cold iceberg lettuce, tomato slices and olives and onion. Very good meal, with a home cooked appeal. The Italian Hoagie was on an 8" Hoagie roll that was cold(like it was refrigerated), it would have been better on a fresh soft hoagie roll, but there was plenty of meats and toppings, and it came with a very generous portion of potato salad. The owner came over to talk with us, and advised us that they just finished the outdoor patio that overlooks onto Channelside condo complexes Ventana and Grand Central, along with the emerging studios and lofts that are taking over this area. He plans on having beer and wine license soon, with outdoor seating and live music some nights. Just another positive outlook for the Channelside neighborhood.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Clearwater Beach by day to St. Pete Beach by night

Its been quite some time since I was over at Clearwater Beach, its typically a very busy beach, used to be the prime spot to go when I attended USF, and there are only a few great restaurants I like to visit there now(Frenchy's, Post Corner Pizza, Palm Pavilion, and Island Way Grille). Only about a 30 minute drive from my house in Tampa, I grabbed my bike and headed to the very northern end of Clearwater Beach, a small neighborhood of mixed homes, and private area at the very tip. Biking from one end to the other takes no time, but around the traffic circle you need to watch for novice drivers. I was amazed at the amount of construction on the beach front, towards the South end next to Spyglass there is a huge project, and a new Beachwalk being built. Seems Clearwater Beach is losing its mom and pop type places along the beach, but when riding back, there they all are a block or two away from the beach, some are closed, some in dire need of upgrading and repair. It would be nice to have a more upscale beach area(like a mini Fort Lauderdale Beachwalk) in the Tampa area. Clearwater Beach still seems very touristy and tacky at points, especially when you notice a huge difference going over the Sand Key bridge into Sand Key, with its High rise luxury condos along the beach front, and then Bel-Air. I'm glad I was able to make it back home to watch my Bulls for the USF-FAU game, was an aggravating game, but the Bulls pulled it out to go 5-0 so far for the season. I see them maintaining their #6 standing or possibly moving up one or two at most. GO BULLS!

Saturday evening we headed for a friends birthday get together at St. Pete Beach. He got a few rooms at the Travelodge on St. Pete Beach, which was nice so we did not have to drive back to Tampa after a few cocktails, even though its onyl about half hour ride back to my house in Tampa. The St. Pete Beach Travelodge was just what I had expected, no frills, paper thin towels and pillows, but it was clean. We had his birthday dinner in the attached Shells restaurant. Its been quite some time since I visited a Shells, and I wasnt too impressed. There were about a dozen of us, the service was great! Now for the food, we ordered Calamari, Buffalo Shrimp and Chicken and Onion Rings for starters. Calamari very breaded and crispy fried, Buffalo Shrimp and Chicken were sort of soggy, not as crisp as I thought it should be, the Onion Rings were winners. The bread they serve with dinner is amazing, veyr soft and doughy with alot of garlic butter. Now for the entree's, Shrimp and Scallop skewers on rice with veges consisted of three medium sized scallops and 7 medium shrimps, such a small amount for the price, and were just OK, the shrimp pasta, which they are known for, was very bland, and smaller shrimp than the ones on my skewer. Clam Chowder soup was full of onions, just not a good meal, but as far as service and the company we were with, things were good.

We then ventured to the Swigwam, which is the Tiki Bar behind the Travelodge located on the beach, the breezes were great, the drinks were cold, the crowd was a little less than desirable. It just seemed people had been drinking there all day and could hardly walk, and they just seemed a bit "laid back"..there was a very good raggae band playing, but the courtyard area was very brightly lit which seemed unusual for a beach tiki bar. The good news was that you can walk bar to bar along the beach, and we went next door to Jimi B's. I love this place, much better atmosphere and crowd, and the band playing tonight was Edge of Red, playing classic rock tunes, keeping the beach crowd on their feet and happy. Jimi B's is a grat large tiki area, with three bar area and different levels, and a nice boardwalk out to the water that is dimly lit. Great atmosphere, people and music, we spent most of the night here, before retiring back to Travelodge to sleep on the flimsy mattresses and pillows.

Its off the Madre's for dinner with the family, and watch the Bucs this afternoon!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Just another Kudos to TIA and special Thanks to JetBlue!

Just have to mention again how much I love coming home to Tampa and Tampa International Airport. I travel a few times a month, last night my flight from JFK to TPA was delayed leaving JFK(of course) due to fog, so there we were on the Tarmac for over 90 minutes, well JetBlue kept us informed every 20 minutes, there were 36 channels of TV, cookies and bottled water kept us refreshed, the time passed by quickly, no one was angered and understood it was not JetBlue's fault...but landing at TIA, and then the quick walk through the terminal to Long Term Parking, I was off the plane and in my car within 10 minutes...ahhh, convenience, clean, organized, THANKS TIA and JetBlue!