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This is so ridic (another totally delayed TRBX post)

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Day #3 was the best day of the cruise. After reading most of this, you would wonder why. It’s called the silver liner in all those scattered rain clouds, I suppose.

The day started with ”Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 and “Walking I’m Memphis” by Marc Cohn on the TRB radio station — what a great start for music, right? Those are two of my favorite driving songs.

We were set to “land” in Cozumel for the day, but it was pointless even getting off the boat where with all the sideways rain and going-in-the-ocean gusting winds. All the water activities were canceled. All the excursions were canceled.

So, we stayed on the boat. The Rock Boat did very well with rescheduling things-to-do while we were stuck inside (you know, lots of beer tubs). The concerts were all rescheduled as well. We listened to a few by  ”Ken & Drew” in the Atrium, then walked over to the Paris Lounge  to hear Yacht Rock Revue cover the ENTIRE Thriller album. It was fucking fantastic.

At a certain point — way to early in the day for drunken stupid-boy antics — I was annoyed with my boyfriend during the GRO & Wideawake (or was it Green River Ordinance? Whatever, I remember GRO sang the “Jell-O” song which was awesome) performances in the Candlelight. Ladies, is there a friend that tends to bring out the most horrible, annoying and immature qualities of your man? AB has one of those. Separately, they’re each cool. Together, it’s “OMG! Lesbians!” and smashing beer cans on one another’s foreheads. Or something like that.

I took off on my own, meeting up with some friends I made along the trip, and saw one of the best live (and intimate) performances on the boat: Jim Bianco in some random Avant Garde lounge.

Seriously. I wish someone had a good live recording of “Sing” because it was incredibly chilling.

Throughout our claustrophobic cruise day, we also saw: Carbon Leaf, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, The Bridges, Dexter Freebish, Gaelic Storm and a jam session between Keegan (on sax) and Francisco (guitar). We even saw Tyrone Wells be a fan. How cool is THAT shit. AB & I separated again — but not after the Lobster Dinner that I could not have — so I could see the Bridges (reviewed here on Addicted to Vinyl) and he could see his buddy, Pat McGee. Another great performance that should be mentioned was Sister Hazel doing Deep Cuts.

Did I mention that it was Mardi Gras? So of COURSE, we went out with our beads and NO-regalia! Some time during our separation, AB passed out in the room (rumor was he wasn’t doing so hot in the concert hall either).

As I was still ramped up to party, I stayed up and met up with new friends again (seriously, it was so easy to make friends on this boat!). I left a note for him around midnight in case he needed to “find me.” I hung out for another late night Gaelic Storm concert (where they passed around a bottle of Jameson through the audience). and for the remainder of the live music on the Promenade until well after 5am. And well, when you party late, you get to party with the rock stars:

trbx_rockstars

I was back in the cabin (with my late-night BLT sandwich AGAIN) some time around 5:30am. My note from after midnight was still intact. The boyfriend had not moved.

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The Rock Boat X! (from January 2010)

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If this post gives you any indication how behind I’ve been… yep, FINALLY a (brief) vacation post. FROM JANUARY’S The Rock Boat X. Rock on, MF-ers.

Thursday, January 7 (Day #1) – We boarded the boat around noon (beside Ken Block of Sister Hazel – premier host of the boat). Chelsea Williams (hottie) was already playing in the Atrium. Heard some rumor she plays on the streets in LA. She’s amazingly talented. Started the day with a Wideawake Gin & Tonic. And a few shots from new friends.

We wandered around a bit, discovering all the spots my boyfriend had sex before he met me listening to music from all parts of the boat. Eventually as vacationers boarded and rooms were opened, the essential lifeboat drill was given. (Which is always hilarious — and we didn’t even need to bring out life jackets… odd). We were late. Late, like, everyone looked at us being late to class, late.

It got a little chilly during the Sail Away party. Sister Hazel played outside on Lido Deck. Party hats were passed around, and there was birthday cake…

Can you see my hickey?

Can you see my hickey?

Dammit. I didn’t get any ten-year TRB birthday cake.

Moving indoors for our next show, Dexter Freebish was performing in Candlelight Lounge. (We would end up seeing Dexter Freebish — a band, not a person four times).

Here’s a run-down of concerts on night one: Carbon Leaf (Lido Deck), Michael Tolcher, Tyrone Wells, Will Hoge and Marc Broussard (Paris Lounge).

During the Tolcher show, there was apparently some technical (sound) issues. Tolcher seemed pissed, so the Eminen cover was appropriate (I think it was “Lose It” but I can’t remember). We’ve seen Wells (opened up for Zak Brown Band at the House of Blue Cleveland), and he is such a great artist — loved seeing him at shows throughout the cruise as a fan too. Good guy. Will Hoge was meh. Marc Broussard, well, I’m surprised there were not more panties thrown to stage because holy-moly the soulful voice of this guy is penetrable. Heh. I always wanted to use that word somewhere.

Too bad the boyfriend woke the next day and was pissed he missed Broussard’s show. EVEN THOUGH HE WAS THERE. Did I mention “Buckets of Beer”?

Day #2 – We spent most of the morning in/around the hot tub. Until I developed a freakin rash. Not knowing if it was from bromine or the hurricane I had for breakfast, I got out quickly and rehydrated. Music throughout the day on deck — it was still a little breezy — hoodie-type weather. Not as bad as back home, but definitely not made for bikinis.

Yes, I'm in this picture!

Yes, I'm in this picture!

It was COVERS DAY on deck, with every other band playing a set from a popular album and artist.

B-liminal kicked off the afternoon on the Lido Deck, with their brand of reggae-ish pot music? *blink* I guess, think Sublime as an influence. I’m not sure how exactly to describe the music, but it was fun party stuff — wholly different than other bands on the boat.

Round up of the remainder of Day #2 shows: Sun Domingo covered The Police. Oval Opus (OHIO!!!) did their own set. Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers played Tom Petty’s  ”Full Moon Fever.” Mostly unknown hits, which I appreciated (even if everyone around wanted all his music of the Wildflowers era). Blackberry Smoke, a Southern Rock band totally kicked the party into high gear. I couldn’t listen to the music while checking out the promo CD — just difficult to get into the mood for genre of music — but live, it’s a completely different experience. Kudos to these guys. Good, good times.

(brief dinner, change for St. Patrick’s celebration)

Perverts. Don’t watch me undress.

Back to St. Patrick’s Day/Covers Day. “Fleetwood Hazel” played the entire Rumours album from Fleetwood Mac (I wrote a bit about that over at Addicted to Vinyl — Matt is also pissed that it’s taking me eight years to write music posts about my trip). Sister Hazel also gave a shout out to… The Cleveland Browns?! I think one of the guys from the group is hometown bred, but I didn’t catch who. Matt?

At some point during the day — could have been a bathroom break, since our room was nearby the Atrium. But I digress… Ken (Block) and Drew (Copeland) sang “Happy” acoustic and changed the words to dedicate to THE MAN of the Sixthman crew — the one-and-only, Cappy. It was an epic moment.

Shortly after Sister Hazel’s Rumours performance, we booked inside to see Tyrone Wells again, before heading BACK outside for Gaelic Storm — who are my new faves. (And coming to Cleveland’s House of Blues next Thursday!!!). Oh, and they sing my and AB’s song. I mean, our anniversary is ON St. Patrick’s Day, so is there anything more appropriate?

There are two ways to watch a Gaelic Storm show.

Exhibit A: dressing the part.

Wear green: get lucky!

Wear green: get lucky!

Exhibit B: drinking the part.

Mel + Jameson = Best Friends 4Ever

Mel + Jameson = Best Friends 4Ever

I know, you’re thinking… “WHA? Another costume change?” Well, no, this was the next night (Mardi Gras), at another Gaelic Storm concert on the boat. But let’s get to the part where I’m swigging from a community bottle of Jameson. Good thing alcohol kills all what ills. There was little evidence of my drinking the night prior. Pseh. Right.
Both exhibits lend little to the true Irish tradition of St. Patrick’s Day, but certainly enhance the greatest of yearly holidays on the calendar. Especially when it’s JANUARY. Oooh, that means I get to celebrate it AGAIN this month (you know, since it took me until March to finish this post)! Sweet.

Gaelic Storm is great fun live — encouraging everyone to drink and get on stage. Almost everyone was in some sort of St. Patrick’s Day appropriate attire (or just wearing green, as it were). Hilariously, someone dressed as the ACTUAL St. Patrick (he was called up on stage too). Storm also referenced “the only black guy on the boat” cheering along in the audience. It was kind of funny, as Patrick (from Gaelic Storm) exchanged jokes with the crowd.

“Be quiet, St. Patrick – Shut up, black man.” was by far their funniest live moment. Seriously, the demographic point was spot on — this cruise was filled with 1,998 white 20-30-40-somethings. And (I saw two) a black men. Also in the audience were three guys dressed in all green — like “Green Screen Men” in head-to-toe bodysuits. Patrick laughed at them on stage, “Where are your penises?”

Oh, and again, back to Mardi Gras night (which I’ll get to, dammit!), on the left is Patrick from Gaelic Storm:

We hung out into the wee-wee hours.

We hung out into the wee-wee hours.

One of the best things about a cruise is being able to eat whenever you want. If you don’t feel like 24-hour pizza, order something from room service. On our first night of the cruise, here was my late-night order (apparently for breakfast the next morning?): Cheerios AND Cinnamon Toast Crunch (no milk), a giant carafe of coffee, wheat toast, some bran-ish muffin, honey & strawberry jam (that looked eerily like chocolate). And a banana. Right. Decisions are made famously at 4am.

Day #3 and #4 are coming soon. This time, I promise not in another two months.

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Poop & Rally!

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Day two in Tampa. It’s still freaking cold. I’m beyond feeling breakfast, and feeling the need for a big sandwich. Before heading off for vacation, I looked up a few restaurants and places to go while visiting Tampa. One of those places was Datz Delicatessen and Foodie’s Market (and Loft Bar). Oh, the irony upon opening the complimentary local paper in the hotel room and finding it also listed in the Taste section as one of Tampa’s best.

For a Clevelander, the best manner of describing Datz’s is comparing the sandwiches to Slyman’s, but a restaurant with the attitude of Melt Bar & Grilled (including wait time for a table — although they DO take reservations), stuffed inside a Mustard Seed with beer coolers containing all your favorite small craft brews. Concept: awesome.

We shared the #15 Ty’s Two Fister (corned beef, pastrami, Swiss, muenster & honeycup mustard on pumpernickel) & #21 Matt’s Wild, Wild West (smoked beef brisket, fire-roasted green chilies, provolone, Datz zesty BBQ sauce on sourdough). Both were served with sweet AND salty chips drizzled with creamy blue cheese.

Datz’s also has a cheese, wine AND beer club – whatever all those entail, I want, I want, I want! We grabbed a Pick-a-Sixer for our happy hour later (AB found a 120 Minute Dogfish IPA. Thankfully, he only bought one because that shit was fierce).

But where’s my pickle? *sigh*

While waiting (in the cold with no coat) for a cab again, I warmed up in the bakery next door — Kalupa’s Bakery. (Sign in Datz’s restroom said, “We like Kalupa’s Bakery. Kalupa’s likes to tow cars.”). I grabbed a couple sugar cookies and sweet bars (lemon / raspberry) to nibble on in the hotel room. The sweets were OK; nothing overly remarkable in the cases.

We met up with some of the aforeposted “awesome girls” in their adjoined hotel rooms (also at the Marriott) for a little pre-partying before leaving for the “official” TRBX pre-party at Gaspar’s Grotto in Ybor City. The artists were performing OUTSIDE. Have I mentioned how cold it was in Tampa? With only one heat lamp on the patio (and a random pit fire), after a couple drinks, we decided to group cab near the airport for yet-another-pre-party.

Blue Martini sits in a Crocker Park-esque lifestyle center. It reminds me of a large Bar Louie (there was one of those too). John Tag, Jackson Rohm & Francisco Vidal were a few of the artists I remember performing. “Remember” being a wholly loose descriptor of the night.

While standing around, enjoying the music, one of the girls from hotel pre-party came over and took a big, long bite at my neck.

Uh, that was awesome… RIGHT?!

I was stupid, silly drunk for the first time in a long, long while. I cracked up endlessly upon hearing a random girl tell her friend, “poop and rally” in the bathroom  – which is now my new mantra. Somewhere in the night, AB cut me off — for the FIRST TIME EVER (typically, I’m the one to call a party over). Passed out in the cab, we still ended up with McDonald’s drive-thru back at the hotel with us. Awesome (but ew).

Ew, mostly because our clothes REEKED so badly of cigarette smoke that we had to place our clothes outside on the patio to “air out.” Yeck.

And… AND, I woke up with a giant hickey on my neck in the morning for TRBX.

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Come to room E84. TRBX!

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While I pace myself writing about the fantastic music and artists on The Rock Boat, I figured it’s been a week, so time to sum up the vacation itself.

BUT THERE ARE NO WORDS!

No question, this is one of the coolest and most fun vacations ever planned. You know, without all that shitty weather. I met so many awesome girls, AB & I had an absolute blast and um, drinking and eating (albeit rather crappy, unhealthy food) whenever you want.

AND NOBODY JUDGES YOU because we were all there to sing and dance and drink our asses off in the same manner. Mine didn’t fall off until well into Day #4.

While I didn’t take any pictures aside from the Towel Dog in our room on Day #3. Here’s a few pics from my shitty mobile cam and others to tide you over (heh, tide. FUCK THOSE WAVES!):

View of "backstage" during load in on Day #1

View of "backstage" during load in on Day #1

Group shot the only day it was "warm." (I'm in there)

Group shot the only day it was "warm." (I'm in there)

I love all these girls!One of these girls gave me a hickey!

Coming up, a post about Tampa — a place I haven’t visited in ten years. We spent two days in Tampa before we even got to the boat. Too much fun…

Don’t you love I keep teasing you with posts?

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January does a good job in ending quickly. Pseh!

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I cannot believe it’s past the mid-point of January. Week-long vacations have a way of taking a big ass chunk out of the month.

Another vacation, another year of not dying from alcohol poisoning.

Both our road trip to Indiana for New Year’s Eve and our vacation on The Rock Boat were fantastic. Now, it’s January, and we’re in the throes of house shopping and cat adoption and general muckraking. When AB said this would be a big year, he wasn’t kidding. 2010 is cranking out well into a fast pace.

Heh, cranking.

We’re only a couple months away from our downtown lease ending — and searching for our next home in Ohio City/Tremont area (likely the latter). I need to start the arduous task of packing up my condo (with hopefully dumping majority of the excess shit stored there). Mel meet Craigslist. We’ve decided that with kids NOT in our future, the adoption of animals is the next appropriate step in our relationship — and while in our current location and not knowing our future location, a cat was the reasonable option. That, and that a cat can take care of itself much more than a dog would. So, this weekend we bring a new furball into the mix.

Hopefully, kitty likes spiders.

Last week, on top of unpacking and realizing I LOST my original birth certificate, my (secondary) ID, two sets of earbuds and apparently MY MIND, we had two new restaurant openings to attend and my grandmother’s 86th birthday.

And AB & I trotted through our ten-month mark without nary a hand job tutorial.

Yes, I am severely disappointed with myself too that the previous statement made the same blog post as my own grandmother’s birthday.

First up for the weekend was meeting the parents for dinner at Dante in Tremont. Delicious night of food! (More to come on the restaurant and meal itself in a future post). Oh so delicious that I AM DROOLING. But let it be known, this restaurant has moved into our top 5. No question.

For gram’s Saturday birthday, my two aunts, my dad’s girlfriend & I met up at No. 10 Palmer Place in Painesville for lunch. This tea room is so cute, and the staff and food are both fantastic. Sadly, the owner has decided to sell after only three years of ownership — I truly hope a vibrant person exists to take over the reigns, as they have a well-oiled location running. *wink* On top of turning 86, my grandparents recently celebrated their 67th (YES, 67th!!!) wedding anniversary. Could you imagine? Her response to my inquiry of her “secret”: it took work to get through the rough stuff.

WORK! Do you hear that? Relationships take work. Age old secret of marriage. Now, while I don’t intend to be “wedded” to anyone anytime soon, I agree. You can’t just quit when the shit hits the fan. Behind “work” (without the awful negative connotation of the word) is communication.

So, make it work, people. Then talk about shit. ALL THE SHIT.

I absolutely adore being around my grandmother. She’s so spunky, and I beam for days after being able to catch up with her. Ironic that I feel an 86-year-old woman is more in tune (and in love) with my life and how I live it than any other.

After a mad dash to locate dry milk at several local shopping locations (really, don’t ask), we had to ready ourselves and our food donations for pommes frites at The Greenhouse Tavern (and nibble on the new app on the menu — some “Devil” wrapped dates…. must order!). Seeing that GHT has a completely new menu, we need to make another trip soon. Soon after a couple beers and too-many-french-fries, it was the soft opening for Chinato on East 4th Street. Again, another delicious addition to our food-heavy weekend. (Yeah, bitches, I’ll get to a review of that too). But Christ, that meal took up three-and-a-half hours of potential writing time.

There was also more drooling.

Food. Food. Food. Crap…

I’ve got MUSIC to write about! My goal was to get a post up about TRBX in a week, so I’m aiming for the first installment of that in another day or two (over at Addicted to Vinyl where it belongs).

And can you believe it’s already Penis Tuesday tomorrow?!

Shit. I need a vacation.

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The Rock Boat (and vacation) is mere WEEKS away!

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Got our TRBX schwag in the mail today!

Got our TRBX schwag in the mail today!

And I promise I’ll come home with a tan!

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One month away.

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You peeps might be excited for the upcoming holidays, but I’m looking two weeks past that to my annual week of vacation. Yes, I almost always use up my week of vacation at the beginning of the year…

This year: Rock Boat X – from Tampa to Cozumel.

AB invited me to share in his annual TRB experience. I haven’t been on a cruise since 2003, nor have I even taken a “warm weather/beach” vacay in years. Heading to Cozumel again makes me giddy — although from what I hear, I’m up for a raucous boat ride, which makes me wonder if I’ll even get to view the beautiful natural park of Chakanaab. Crazy memories of the lizards just freaked me out in a deja vu kind of relationship way… weird.

So long as I see at least one wet t-shirt contest ore Penis Tuesday (intentional or not), I’ll be set. Adding: not to suffer any three-day hangovers, please.

Be that as it may, I will essentially be partying and going to concerts for the entire length of the cruise (two of my fave things to do!) — artists include: Sister Hazel, Marc Broussard, Oval Opus, Augustana, Tony Lucca, Tyrone Wells, among others (and apparently, a secret hideaway artist). Yes. I fully intend to do shots with one or all of these artists. Be prepared to make some awesome, lifetime friends, Mel.

Now, while on the boat, I’ll be completely void of communication with internets (ahh, serenity), and since the cruise is based on music, I’ll be posting those reviews and memories on Addicted to Vinyl. And no, the boat is sold out, so you can’t come too. The only way I was able to book was because I am rooming with an alumni. Seriously.

The crazy excess stories will, of course, remain here and true to what you should expect of my vacations: Capital-D-bauchery.

To prepare, AB has made me a few Rock Boat artist mixed CDs, I’ve started memorizing packing lists, I’m in the depths of Taebo/Billy Blanks Hell morning workouts and doing all things necessary to be “body perfect” for seven days in a bikini (5 on the boat; two more in Tampa) — which is obvs difficult to do while living under the cold, gray skies of Cleveland.

And all of which does not include a Winter beer belly.

So, how do I train for all that drinking?

BTW, bonus: this was taken on my cruise in 2003. Heh. I look so… little. FWIW, I think I’m hotter now.

Mel & Paper Bag

Mel & Paper Bag Cruise Guy

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