Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Place: Spangles
Lunch: Classic hamburger (no tomato), fries, Pepsi


That's how much money I spent on gasoline in 2008.

How ridiculous is that.


In 2007, I spent $2697.09 on gas, and I owned a car that required premium fuel then. Not so much this year.


In May, I paid $3.92 per gallon for gas, a relative bargain compared to some areas which went above $4.

The oil companies, cartels, etc really had us going there for awhile, didn't they. They've been laughing all the way to the bank for the past few years, but especially so this year.

They're not laughing so much now.

Yesterday, I got a tank full of gas for $1.28 a gallon. And 9/10's. $1.28 and 9/10's. We never think about that stupid 9/10's, do we.

I told people we'd see sub-$2.00 gas again. Nobody believed me.


2008 was quite a year. My wife died (the hippies might phrase that as "reduced her carbon footprint"), the economy fell into the toilet,
the stock market collapsed, several big retail chains said goodbye (Mervyn's, Value City, KB Toys, Linen's n Things, to name a few)...yeah.

Quite a year.

Here's to a quiet, uneventful 2009.

I've had enough "eventful" to last me a full decade.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Very Chili Weekend

Place: Qdoba
Lunch: 3 crispy ground sirloin tacos, chicken tortilla soup, water with lime (guess what it tastes like)

So let's review all of the chili I ate on the road this weekend, shall we?

DISCLAIMER: It was a four-day weekend for me. I didn't eat all this in two days. Although I wouldn't put it past me.

1. Steak n Shake - It really sucks that the Steak n Shake closest to me (and by "closest" I'm talking 90-plus miles) doesn't open until 10am anymore. Sardar Biglari obviously hates me on a very deep and personal level. That's okay...Once he's bankrupted the chain and they're liquidating, I'm buying what's left and taking the chili recipe home. I'm thinking this won't take much more than about $12.50 to pull off.

2. Waffle House - For breakfast. Because chili is available 24/7. With eggs, toast, and bacon. Yum. I once got a Waffle House cook to make me a chili cheese omelet. That didn't come out so well. But it really excited her to try.

3. Krystal - On a chili dog. Or, as they call them , chili pups. Because they're small.

4. Huddle House - You remember the old 76 Auto-Truck travel plazas? Well one of their old buildings in Kentucky (now I think a Marathon) has the restaurant part turned into a really old dumpy makeshift-looking Huddle House, with bright red walls and more seating than any Huddle House I've ever seen. The chili was watery. Good, but it still needed some simmer time.

5. Skyline Chili - Chili 3-way. I've really grown fond of Skyline. I really have.

6. Huddle House - A shiny new Huddle House in Indianapolis. Trouble is...the chili they're serving isn't Huddle House chili. It's more like Wendy's chili. I was horribly disappointed by this.

7. Steak n Shake - On the way home. Lousy service. Very much a "Here's your food, which we prepared incorrectly. Now leave me alone" type of attitude.

I'm telling you...I'm going to be able to buy the whole chain for $12.50 by next summer.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jim of the Jungle

Place: Roy Rogers
Lunch: Double-R Bar Burger, Large Roast Beef, Coke

One has to wonder why there's a stray old Roy Rogers still hanging on in Ohio, when most remaining locations are centralized on the east coast. Until, that is, you see the zoo this place is at lunch. Then you don't wonder so much anymore.

So today I checked out Jungle Jim's. You may have seen this place profiled on the Food's a sprawling complex of a supermarket with a jungle theme and a lot of hard to find international foods. It's the place that made the bathroom entrances look like portable toilets. If I ever build a movie theater, I'm totally going to do that.

I walk in and it doesn't look nearly as big on the inside as it did on the outside. In fact, it looks kind of crappy. I walk up and down the grocery aisles and find nothing special going on here. Their prices are kind of high. The liquor section is as big as the rest of the grocery area. At least, the grocery area I'd seen. The one shocker...They stocked Tillamook butter. NOBODY east of Idaho stocks Tillamook butter. Of course, it was nearly three times the price I paid for Tillamook butter in Idaho too. In fact, initially the big deal seems to be a large selection of butter, meat logs, and cheese.

So I'm walking towards the checkouts when I start seeing signs over some items that refer to more items being "in the back". Huh? So I walk up around the checkstands...and discover a whole 'nother section of store.

The other section is HUGE. It's divided into several international sections. Asian, German, Hispanic, Italian, etc.

Some of the stuff in the Chinese section is clearly not designed to be sold in the doesn't even have English on the packaging.

There are whole aisles full of crap I've never heard of before. Imagine all the crap I could buy and never ever do anything with. Ever.


Then there's the seafood section. Fresh tilapia? They have LIVE Tilapia. Apparently, they're pinkish, have big eyes, and just hang around not doing much.

It's all very lovely, but I could find a lot more hard to find stuff that I actually want at Woodman's, and lots cheaper to boot.

But some grape Nehi is definitely coming home. And maybe some strawberry cream Piroulines. And Don Pablo's queso. Who knew Don Pablo's even had a grocery line. They're barely even a restaurant chain anymore.

Over the Rhine is doing a pair of 20th anniversary shows this tonight with their original lineup doing songs from their first ten years, and one tomorrow night with songs from their last ten years. Yet you've never heard of them and couldn't possibly care less.

Sucks to be you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Werewolves of Alabama

Place: Hogi Yogi
Lunch: 6-inch smoked turkey on white with Hogi sauce, mushrooms, pickles, onions and olives, orange sherbet twist, Pepsi

EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH MUSIC TODAY: Literally any time I set foot in a business playing country music in the background these days (like today at Hogi Yogi, for example), I will eventually hear a song that samples both Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" with some lyrics sung by some guy who sounds like John Mellencamp.

Today, the announcer advised it's Kid Rock.

I've actually heard of Kid Rock from some deal years ago. I thought he was a hard rock rapper. Apparently he figured out what Jewel did...Country is easier to conquer and profit on.

The mind boggles.