A story about Darrel and chili, and Kris: When Kris was an occasional overnighter at Darrel the Bachelor's house, Darrel had worked out a number of easy and filling meals. One of which goes like this: You grill some onions until they're nicely carmelized, add some chili, throw in parmesan cheese, and lots of dried onion. Add cream cheese, to soften the flavor and take some of the bite away, and get it boiling again; then throw in an egg, and poach it. Have it with a nice big glass of milk (or as Darrel also described it, "propellant").
That was dinner one night, when Kris came over very late (she'd been up in L.A. at the clubhouse). She comes to bed about 2am, throws back the covers, and makes a noise which Darrel finds out later was "Christ, what's that smell?"
So Kris said we could take him out for chili, seeing as we were keeping him overnight.
Darrel L. Exline enjoying an Oki-Dog (two weiners, chili, cheese, and pastrami wrapped in a tortilla).
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Chaz Boston Baden at Oki-Dog.
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Scott Beckstead, Michael (obscured)
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Jumbo's Clown Room. When we headed into Hollywood it started to rain. When we got to Jumbo's Clown Room, it was definitely pouring down. Jumbo's had no cover charge, and had five dancers. They used a jukebox (controlled from backstage) to play the music, which the girls picked. One of them, Natalie, we really liked; we got to talking with her, and she said that we could pick the song and she'd dance to it. Darrel asked for "Satisfaction" and for her favorite slow song. Her favorite band is AC/DC. And yes, AC/DC has a slow song. It was kind of surreal to see her dancing while the lead singer is singing in his raspy voice, but then surreal is all in a day's work at Jumbo's. So is talking to the audience or bartender from the stage, between songs. So is interpretive dance numbers, and (remember the dancers pick the songs) sometimes some really long songs. Christian says one of the songs was 10 minutes long.
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Another of the dancers, who says she likes to "dance hard" puts a lot of energy into her dances; it made me tired just watching her, when I wasn't worried she'd hit her head swinging around the way she did. (The pole on the stage isn't very far from the railing at the edge of the stage.) They don't do private dances at Jumbo's. They're also one of the few remaining pasties-and-g-string bars around, I understand. Most of the ladies had two pieces of tape on each breast - X marks the spot, as it were.
One thing I really liked about the place is that the dancers looked like they were enjoying themselves. When we moved to the stage's edge seats, I started watching the faces, trying to see how much eye contact I could maintain. (Hard when they're spinning around; not difficult when they're facing the back wall, because it's a mirror and I can see their reflections.) There was one dancer who had some very exagerrated dance moves. She did one number to the tune of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" plus the other song, the one that's a sequel to it. ("Ashes to ashes, fun to funky, we know Major Tom's a junkie.") I thought the moves didn't quite seem to follow the storyline of the song, then later (when she came up again - they had five dancers taking turns) I realized that she just had the one set of moves. Ah, well, and here I thought she'd worked out a whole routine to go with each song. But she did seem to flash us a look once in a while that said "I know this is ridiculous, but I'm in on the joke too."
Another amusing moment happened when one of the dancers worked her way to the far end of the stage, and just stood with her foot on the railing. Not wiggling, not shimmying, just looking into the far corner... and, one by one, everyone in the bar turned to look where she was staring. At the couple in the corner, necking. And when the couple realized everyone was watching them, she said "It's my show, damn it" and went back to her routine. (The couple left not long after.)
Jumbo's had the most character, and was the most entertaining, with Wild Goose a close second.
Darrel is an expert on the strip clubs in Dallas, and even came dressed in case they gave him the typical Dallas clubs' bachelor party treatment, i.e. they pull down the groom's pants so his boxers are showing and all the dancers get on stage and taunt him. That's why he wore his boxers with the yellow rubber duckies on 'em, we found out later.
Chili My Soul. From Jumbo's we headed up to Encino, and ate dinner at "Chili My Soul." A dozen different kinds of chili, with heat ratings from 1 to 10.
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Darrel L. Exline and his laptop at Coldstone Creamery. I'd been lobbying for dessert at Claim Jumper. I say their 12-inch-high "Motherlode" chocolate cake is for the tourists. The real desserts are the Chocolate Chip Calzone, the I Declair, the milkshakes with the thick, rich, home-made whipped cream, and so forth. Just flip through the back of their bar menu and judge for yourself sometime. But Darrel wanted Coldstone Creamery, and this was his bachelor's party, so off we went, down Ventura Blvd. He had the French Vanilla ice cream with white chocolate chips mixed in (he said next to the F.V., the white chocolate chips tasted salty); Glen had the Cheesecake ice cream with some kind of candy bar (like a Twix or a Snickers or something) in it, and I had the double dutch Chocolate with Crunch Bars.
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And while we were hanging out there, Darrel opened up his laptop and showed us silly cartoons. Most of them are from weebls-stuff.com. We saw "Kenya" (Where can you see lions? Only in Kenya...), we saw "Scampi" (I've seen things, I've seen them with my eyes), we saw "Cows With Guns", we saw a Korean cartoon ("There She Is") of a rabbit falling in love with a cat (or, as it was nicknamed, "The Cutest Little Stalker") which is from sambakza.net... It was all very silly. Apparently Darrel got "infected" at G-con last weekend, when Glen told him to copy these cartoons off of his lipstick drive.
Michael Mason, Christian B. McGuire playing poker
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Glen Wooten, Chaz Boston Baden
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The morning after, TMI observed that he felt like he'd been to a bachelor party the night before. Not that any of us were hung over, but I certainly still had a rumbly in my tumbly... We sat around the living room and watched appropriate morning video fare: most of the "Muppet" episode of Angel, and the complete set of episodes from Happy Tree Friends: First Blood. To quote their website: "The Happy Tree Friends are cute, cuddly animals whose daily adventures always end up going horribly wrong. No matter how innocently their day begins, it always ends in mayhem. The ensemble cast includes Cuddles, the cutest darn rabbit you'll ever meet, and Petunia, a sweet girl skunk always mindful to wear air freshener. Traveling through picturesque settings and speaking in a kooky language all their own, the Happy Tree Friends never know what chaos lingers just around the bend."
Places we didn't visit: we didn't make it to Theory Labs for The Brewery Artwalk or the performance by Big Band Theory (JPL's brass band). We didn't go to Hooters to waitress-watch. (If you're going to do that, go on Friday night, at least for the Anaheim store; they wear the tighter-fitting black outfits instead of the usual white t-shirts.) We also didn't go to the Jack-in-the-Box in Christian's neighborhood that apparently is the major hooker hang out. And, finally, we didn't go to Thirsty's or any of the other southern California strip clubs. We just wanted to do a sampling, for Darrel's benefit. Darrel enjoyed the day, especially considering he didn't have to pay for anything - I put the drinks on my credit card and Christian & I kept him supplied with tipping money.
Oh, and Darrel's ready to get married now. He most definitely had his "guy's night out" - one we're not likely to repeat until the next guy we know gets married and needs a similar send-off. Good luck to Darrel and Kris, and much continued happiness together. (And if you do it right, with the right person, you only have to get married once.)