Saturday Night Serenade–Super Bowl Weekend

It’s Super Bowl Weekend.
I’m no football fan and I picked the Saints to go all the way, so I know you’re wondering why I even bring it up.

In my side gig (teaching English online to children in China), they define culture as food, art, and celebrations. Well, that about covers it, don’t you think?

I think that, like Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, the Super Bowl is a quintessential American cultural phenomenon, and even if you’re not a sportsfan, there’s something in it for everyone–sports, food, music, entertainment, fireworks… It’s all there.

I love that this year, the half-time show will be Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. For tonight’s song, I’ve chosen Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever, but I had a hard time deciding. Both women are gorgeous and talented, but there’s something so down-and-dirty sexy about Shakira. Call it the erotic romance novelist in me, but that’s where my decision went.

The best thing about the Super Bowl, in my opinion, are the commercials. Several have been ‘leaked’ and I’m showing you my favorite so far. On SNL back in the days of Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch, they had a running bit featuring characters who were Southies, and this ad from Hyundai brings it all back with a cherry on top.
Okay, the cherry is Big Papi, but how can you resist Smaht Pahk?

We’re spending tonight getting everything ready for loaded nachos and hot wings. Tomorrow, we’ll relax in front of the television with about 100 million other people and enjoy the spectacle. Hope we bought enough wings…

Enjoy your weekend, and be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Super Bowl Edition

Are you ready for some football?

I’m not remotely a football fan, but I love the Super Bowl.  I love that it’s a uniquely American cultural event, with a tradition all its own.  People throw parties and gather at sports bars,  dressed in their favorite team’s jersey.  There’s a whole category of ‘game day’ snacks, from subs, to chili, to burgers.  Plus, plenty of beer.

I couldn’t care less which teams play, I tune in for the half-time show and the commercials.  This year, I’m cheering for the Eagles, mainly because they’re not the Patriots.  But mostly, I’m looking forward to the spectacle.  Justin Timberlake is the half-time performer, and that should be fun.  Fingers crossed, no ‘wardrobe malfunction’ this time out.

This week’s serenade is from a couple of years ago, one of my favorite Super Bowl performances of all time.  I LOVE Bruno Mars, and this shortened version of Uptown Funk is fantastic.

Remember when you had to wait until the actual game to see the awesome commercials?  Now, a lot of them are already out.  I’ve seen Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) from Game of Thrones in a rap battle with Morgan Freeman.  I’ve seen a rabbi, a priest, an imam, and a monk pile into a truck and head to a football game.  But so far, nothing has made me laugh like Hannibal Lecter pinch-hitting for Amazon’s Alexa.  Creepy fun!

I don’t know about you, but here at Chez R, we’ll be serving ribs and nachos when we sit down to watch.  Tonight is all about preparation.

I hope your pick wins tomorrow.  For now, enjoy laughter with those you love, and be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

 

4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

Saturday Night Serenade–Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2017

It’s back again–HBO’s annual special, their broadcast of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for 2017, held earlier this month.  This year’s inductees are talented and diverse.  The class of 2017 includes Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Journey, ELO, Yes, Joan Baez, and Nile Rodgers.  Rolling Stone posted tiny snippets from the ceremony on Instagram the following day, and if those little tidbits are any indication, we’re in for a great show.

While I appreciate all of the inductees, Journey and ELO hold special places in my heart.  Journey always takes me back to my college days.  Don’t Stop Believin’ has become a part of our cultural landscape, as a song in its own right, but also as the last thing we heard as The Sopranos headed off into the sunset.  And have you ever seen the Broadway show, Rock of Ages?  Journey’s quintessential anthem is the show’s finale.

But that seemed like a way too easy pick for this occasion.  So I went to one of my all-time favorite ELO songs, Mr. Blue Sky.  Mr. R disagrees with me, he’s not a fan of the Electric Light Orchestra, but I say he’s wrong.  Which he sometimes is when it comes to music.  I mean, he likes Bread for corn’s sake!

I hope you join us, and probably a couple of other people, tonight as we relive the glory days with some of rock’s royalty.  It’s a great way to spend a few hours.

Happy Saturday night!

The Best Indie Book You’re Not Reading

Looking for your next great read?  And no, I’m not talking about erotic romance.  This time.

Image result for larry louderback

I want to share a great new memoir I just read called Martial Arts Soul: One Man’s Journey by Larry Louderback.  Larry is a martial arts expert (and a personal friend) and in the book he shares an intimate look at his life-path through martial arts.  By the way, that’s Larry on the front cover.

Here’s the review I left on Amazon.

I loved this book! Martial Arts Soul: One Man’s Journey by martial arts expert Larry Louderback is a deeply personal and heartfelt portrait of his life experience through martial arts. Through story after story, some poignant and others humorous (the time he inadvertently karate-kicked his wife was hilarious), Louderback invites us to take the journey along with him, learning not only about martial arts, but about life.
Great book, 5 well-deserved stars!

I have even better news.  While the book is priced at $2.99 on Amazon, it’s available FREE on Smashwords.  Use THIS LINK to get your free copy today.  And please remember to leave a review.

Professional Sport Date Day

We’re on Spring Break all this week (actually, I’m on Spring Break and Mr. R. is taking a week’s vacation) and being short on fundage, we are being creative as we find interesting things to do.  Occasionally, he received free passes to events from his work and fortunately for us, he had tickets to Spring Training baseball.  And so it was that on Sunday, Mr. R. and I took in a Spring Training baseball game between the Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The Marlins are the home team, obviously.

The only point of reference I have for the Tigers is that Thomas Magnum played for them before he became a P.I.  (Was that before or after the Navy?  Who knows?)

I’m sorry.  What were we talking about?  Oh.  Baseball. Okay, so the tickets were free.  But we had to pay $6 to park.  Six dollars!  Did I mention that we’re so broke right now we can’t pay attention?  Anyway, we found a spot to abandon the F-150 and hiked about a mile from there to the stadium, where the game had already begun.

wpid-20150315_133159-1.jpgBefore we found our seats, we stopped for our only purchase, a huge soda that we shared.  It was worth it.  The day was absolutely beautiful, bright and sunny, the temperature around 80, low humidity, and a breeze that kept it from being hot, even in the sun.  Our seats were on the first base line, my favorite area, because we read from left to right, of course.  You do have to pay attention, though, because every now and then a ball comes flying your way.

I’m not a huge fan of any sport, really, but it’s always fun to attend a live sporting event.  There’s always more to watch other than the game.  I love the guy selling water.  “Got your ice cold watah, heah!”  I tried to tell him, “Dude, there’s an r in there.”

wpid-20150315_135112-1-1.jpgAt one point when the Marlins were at bat, Mr. R. said to me, “That’s him.  That’s Giancarlo Stanton.  He’s got a contract to earn $325 million over the next thirteen seasons.”  I did the math.  The first calculator I picked up didn’t have enough places, I had to use a different one.  That’s twenty-five million dollars a year.  For hitting a ball with a stick.  And that’s all he did, too.  He made it to first base where another guy replaced him, on the off chance he might have to run more bases.  I am definitely in the wrong line of work.

We had a great time.  I am just dorky enough to stand up and sing during the seventh inning stretch, although I declined all the participatory songs.  The Marlins were ahead 4-2 by the middle of the ninth inning so the game was over.  We gathered up our souvenir Marlins Spring Training cup and schlepped back to the truck.  That’s probably our only baseball outing this year unless more free tickets make their way into our hands, but I’m glad we went.  It was a perfect day to be outside and I didn’t have to go to work today.

The Great American Race

Sunday brings us the Daytona 500, baby, known as The Great American Race.  Every February, tens of thousands of people from all over the country descend on Daytona Beach for the spectacle.  Some call it the ‘Super Bowl’ of auto-racing, but the truth is that the Daytona 500 is the first race of the season.

Fun Fact: Mr. R. and I attended FIVE Daytona 500s in a row, back when we had running around money.  It’s an amazing experience, whether or not you enjoy NASCAR.  We’d been dating less than a year when I mentioned that it was one of my ‘bucket list’ items, so for my birthday in October, Mr. R. purchased tickets for the following February.  When I told one of my friends, she said, “When you break up, can I have his ticket?”  A few years later, I had to divorce that friend, but that’s a story for another post.

And so it was that we attended our first Daytona 500 in February 2007.  Our seats were on the back stretch, not the best seats in the place, but we were thrilled.  Words can’t adequately describe the moment when the cars first roar past at nearly 200 miles per hour.  In later visits we sat on the front stretch between the start-finish line and turn one, right across the exit to Pit Road.  We sat low in the stands, once on Row 2, which turned out to be the front row.  Ear plugs are necessary, and you can feel the roar of the engines in your chest.  You need to have a cover on your drink because you get sprinkled with tiny particles of rubber.  Being directly across from the pits, you have a great view of the drivers and the pit crews.

The race isn’t the only attraction at the Daytona 500.  Outside the speedway there’s a whole city set up with interactive fan activities and every driver has at least one merchandise truck.  The on-track pageantry is really something to see, from the Budweiser Clydesdales to the driver introductions to the pre-race entertainment.

The first year we went, we walked around the whole place just to get a feel for it.  At one point, we saw a place where there was a gap in the fence and you could look straight out onto the track.  A female security guard was stationed at that spot.  Mr. R. approached the woman with a big smile.  “Would it be okay if I just ran across the track and ran back?  Real quick?” he asked her.

“Uh–NO!” she spluttered.

“But I’m really, really fast,” he added.  We died laughing.

One of my favorite stories is the year that Brad Paisley gave a mini-concert directly across from the start-finish line.  Our seats were much further down and only those ticket-holders were allowed in that section but I really wanted to see him.  Mr. R. headed on in like a boss until we were stopped by an usher.  “May I see your tickets, please?” he said.

I rolled my eyes at Mr. R.  “I just put the tickets away,” I complained.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the usher apologized.

I dug them out of my purse and waited for him to tell us we couldn’t come in.  Instead, he looked over the tickets, handed them back to me, and apologized again.  “I’m sorry.  Go on in,” he said.

Some things to consider if you ever go:

  • Pay to park near the speedway, like at the mall right across the street.  Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT use the free parking.  They put out in a pasture somewhere and load you up onto school buses.  We literally spent five hours after the race was over just waiting to get out of the pasture.
  • You’re allowed to bring in food and drinks–so DO.
  • Remember ear plugs.
  • If you’re considering purchasing the official program with commemorative die-cast, do it right away.  They sell out quickly.
  • Tickets for the front stretch are more expensive, and worth it.
  • And, oh, by the way, there’s a Krispy Kreme just down the street from the speedway.  Just saying…

I’m a little sad to be watching this year’s race from home.  But we have great memories of our times at The Great American Race.