Thursday, December 29, 2011

The WORST of Hampton Roads 2011 Official LOSERS

After a typically timid and meager response to my call for suggestions - I'm proud to announce the OFFICIAL LOSERS in my inaugural "Worst of Hampton Roads" list.  Of course I realize that if someone or something makes it on a list in a normal contest they are called "winners" and "losers" would be the ones that did not.  Not so here.  I've switched it around.  You don't want to be on this list.  Therefore the "winners" are called "losers".

As if we already didn't have enough places to buy greeting cards, 
Diet Dr Pepper, and Vicodin.  Soon we'll all live in a drug store.
Eat good, fresh food and get some exercise once in a while.  Crush 
all your pills up into a fine powder and blow it in your doctor's face.

Yep.  Go take a look for yourself.  
On the Boardwalk at 18th Street. 

This place.  Wonder if it still smells like one?

Dave Parker on 790 AM almost got this distinction, 
but once I saw this photo of 97.3 The Eagle's 
Jimmy Ray Dunn, my mind was made up.  Gross.

It's not suitable for children any longer.  Or shorter.

If it doesn't promote binge drinking, drug use, 
or sexist thoughts it simply doesn't belong there.

Courtesy of my far superior doppelganger, Tidewater Eyesores, this
crappy nod to the craziest day in recent history is near Hilltop in 
Virginia Beach.  Maybe they bought their house that day?

Too easy.  

1st Place?!  Unless it was built by a blind kid with tweezers, 
this thing should have been disqualified.  Simply horrible.

Ooops!!  I didn't notice that guy when I took this picture.

She needs to do this in a dim, private barn.  What if
a child or a timid single man in his mid-50s saw this?

Pocahontas Pancakes has some mighty fine (a tad expensive)
   breakfast food, but this is quite possibly the worst muscular 
Indian illustration that I've ever seen.  At least he's smiling.

Sad and disgusting.  Stop being a bad influence.

Giovanni's  has been using this horribly offensive caricature since
1966 and nobody has said anything.  His hands are all wrong, too.

None.  At least I didn't see any.

This monument is full of statues depicting people running
around doing busy war-type things, but this guy is standing with 
his arms outstretched to his family.  The weird, big tooth smile 
lets us know that he's now some sort of battle scarred robot, back
to work for a few years at a job he hates, and then snap like a 
peppermint stick and go on a killing rampage.  The empty shark 
eyes don't help either.  And speaking of unnecessary 
military art in public spaces....  

Are they actually trying to make war vets have bloody combat
flashbacks while simply crossing a parking lot?  I have nothing
against what this mural is trying to raise awareness of, but jeez, 
this one just sort of makes me lightheaded and I get that metallic
taste in my mouth.  Yuck.  Also, the moral of this mural would
have been better expressed on a wall without the restaurant's
name and a huge marquee on it.  Just sayin'.  Can we just have
murals with dancing shrimp wearing sunglasses?  Please.  

I don't even want to think about this place right now.  It makes me
nauseous.  Read the review I wrote about it on yelp.  It should be
at the top.  Scroll down if you don't see it, dummy.  

Food photography is an art form.  It involves careful lighting, lens
selection, and layout.  You're trying to reach people's taste buds
through their eyes and you don't have a chance to tell the viewer 
that the food actually tastes better than it looks.  If it looks like
crap, that's what it is.  I could make a separate list with 100s
of images like these, but these are the bottom of the lowest.  
I did no contrast, brightness, or focus adjustments to these.
They are exactly as they appear on their facebook pages.

(Bill's Hot Dogs would have been in 1st or 2nd place, but
they were saved by their cool hot dog man logo sign)

The Icehouse Restaurant comes in 2nd for their glistening ham dinner.

Path Norfolk takes the top spot with this shot of....some brown vegetarian 
gloop pile.  Trying to get life long carnivores to take the plunge into the 
world of healthy veggie dishes is a difficult task, so pictures of your food
must look mouth-wateringly scrumptious.  Not like this!  Bluh. A rough 
crayon doodle would have possibly done this dish more justice.

Finally, Coolin' Out with their mysterious "drums free"
drumming takes the coveted Worst Band title.  It was
after watching Dwight, fake drum (very poorly) through
a set at the Oceanfront that made me start this blog in 
August of 2009.  Not only have they continued to rake
in money and fame, Dwight has made no effort to place 
microphones on his drums and play them in concert.
The drums are provided by the keyboard and nobody
in the audience has the beach balls to call him out.

Okay, that's all.  If this list is wrong or I forgot something. Tell me about it later.  I've been working on this all day and only about 17 of you will read this and enjoy it.  I'm pretty much doing this for myself and one day I'll stop and you'll wonder if I got trapped in a walk in freezer.  


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thrift Store Review: CHKD, the one up at Hilltop

This is one of 20 Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters thrift stores in the Tidewater area (22 if you include Elizabeth City and Kitty Hawk, NC).  While I applaud the noble cause for which they stand, the 7 stores I've set foot in all suck.  I've been going to the Hilltop location regularly for at least 12 years and I think I've just bought a blank t-shirt and an empty record sleeve (just for the art). Overpriced.  Loosely Organized.  Crappy electronics and books.  Tons of worthless records, coffee mugs, and furniture.  Rack after rack of clothes that wouldn't even be useful for a "Make Anything You Want" challenge on  "Project Runway".  Tiny aisles with dumpy people that smell like fast food always bumping into you.  Dumpy people's dumpy children running around screaming and farting on each other. Bad top 40 radio blaring on the speakers.  All at 1:45 on a Monday afternoon.  If you feel like supporting the CHKD, just gather up all of your old poofy sweaters and Tom Clancy books, shove 'em in a garbage bag, drop them off up front, then walk right next door to Tida Thai, order the green curry, and reflect on your good deed for the day.

Of course, this is my opinion.  If you love this place - great. Start a blog, keep it going for over two years and write a glowing review of this place.  I'd love to read it.  And there's no real reason why I should keep returning to a place I don't like, is there?  You better bet your bottom lip there is - I'm looking for one of these.  

Oh, and if you think this is the worst thrift store in Hampton Roads, you're wrong.  I'll reveal that, along with all the other craptomundo things in our noodle neck of Southeast Virginia next month in the first ever, brutally honest and 100% official  Worst of Hampton Roads.  Hurry up and send me your last minute nominations for stuff on facebook.  Or just ignore this and get back to posting those dumb inspirational quotes and creepy self portraits.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Concise Parade Description: Neptune Festival XXXVIII

Did you sleep through the Neptune Festival Grand Parade again this year?  Don't worry - I witnessed the whole thing and here are the only things I bothered to take pictures of.

Look.  It's the mayor and his favorite rocking chair.

Not sure who this dude is, but he's this year's King Neptune.  That means he most likely works at an investment firm or a real estate delevopment company of some kind.  Wonder what he's got on under that robe? 

A big ol' flag.

A woman knitting in a DeLorean.

The ACTUAL Norwegian Lady.

Weird.  A serious, creepy religious float blasting loud Christian music and people holding signs about how everybody's a sinner and going to hell.  Everybody just watches it go by.  No clapping or cheering.  Some dude with a microphone shouts "Give it up for JESUS!" and nobody says anything.   

Oh my God.  They're about to do some sort of ceremony or something.  They're CHAINING up some poor guy.  Even the skeleton with one eye can't believe what he's seeing! 

This parade is sponsored by the City of Virginia Beach. What is this float doing here? 

There aren't ones promoting Buddhism or Islam.  Odd. If you include one religion - you gotta include 'em all.  That's the fair thing to do, right?  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

VB Thrift - Thrift Store Haiku Review

Brand new at the beach
Unsold garage sale items
Cluttered and tiny

(more information here)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The WORST of HAMPTON ROADS 2011 - Open Call for Suitable Suggestions

In the several minutes that I braved without power during Hurricane Irene, I decided that NOW is the time to roundup the WORST of things in the area and do so in a regular, timely manner each following year until the internet explodes.

I want your own AUTHENTIC accounts of downright horrible experiences at LOCAL watering holes, chinese buffets, seafood restaurants, thrift stores, car dealerships, shopping malls, pizza places, shoe stores, intersections, parking lots, hardware stores, golf courses, coffee shops, museums, surf/skate shops, drugstores, ANYTHING and ANYWHERE in the seven cities.  Repeat offenders are also worth noting, but if you keep returning week after week to a place after you found a dirty mop string in your hot & sour soup - I have no pity for you.  

Please just give me your top 3 or 4 experiences.  If you simply send me a list of 436 local businesses and how they have wronged you in the past - I'll jot your name down on my "loony list" and make fun of you.  

If you have a neighbor or a cousin that had a genuinely horrible experience somewhere that I should know about - SEND THEM THE LINK TO THIS PAGE or call them and have them write it down on that little pad of paper EVERYBODY has next to their phone.

Priority will go to messages that are sent straight to this brand new Worst of Hampton Roads facebook page.  That's where I figure I'll hear most feedback anyway.  "Like" it and share it with your friends.  You can also leave a comment below if you want.  You're probably on facebook right now anyway, so just do it there.  

The categories will evolve over time.  I don't think it's necessary to include "Worst Peruvian Restaurant" just yet.  I'm hoping to have at least 10 or so at first.  I'll release the official "Worst of Hampton Roads 2011" list sometime later this year.

Oh yeah, and I can tell who's bullshittin' and who's not.  It's easy for me to spot genuine outrage and don't forget that I'm the reigning king of local bullshittin' so try, try, try if you want, but the unfortunate winners of this contest will have several corroborating entries from various folks that have never met.  

UPDATE 12/29/2011: As expected only about 13 people submitted serious suggestions.  Most stated that "the whole kitchen staff was Mexican" or "I screamed back in her face that I'd buy my kinky Mrs. Claus costume somewhere else".  So, I made a list mostly based on my own impressions.  Big surprise, huh?  Click here please.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Demusement Park

There's a whole bunch of amusement park rides and junk in the parking lot behind the Belmont Inn.  On 7th Street.  Between Atlantic and Pacific.

Get off the internet for a little while and go check it out.  If someone asks you what you're doing there - pretend like you don't speak English.  And check out the little, wooden shed.  There's a whole bunch of stuffed Bart Simpson toys in it.  Probably not for long.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oath of the Virginia Beach Tourist

I, ________________________,  do solemnly swear to do the following during my vacation in Virginia Beach this summer...

- Sunburn parts of my body only tourists would sunburn (nostrils, tongue, between toes)

- Walk slowly and aloof on the clearly marked bike path

- Feed seagulls Cheez-Its and Funyuns from my hotel balcony

- Bury my cigarette butts and fast food wrappers on the beach

- Change my child's diaper in full view of everyone and leave it to bake in the sun

- Complete no more than 2 successful football/frisbee exchanges with someone in knee-deep water

- Take "The Wave" bus instead of walking half a block to my hotel

- Wander into the surf zone and ignore all whistle blows until the lifeguard is pointing directly at me from the shore

- Climb onto the jetty rocks and ignore all whistle blows until the lifeguard is pointing directly at me from below

- Tip the lowest amount possible

- Listen attentively and take notes every time a perky Gold Key/PHR representative stops me and proceeds to talk about a timeshare at Turtle Cay Resort

- Choose attire that reveals the most unflattering aspects of my body

- Pee in the ocean and jokingly say "Ooooh!  It just got warmer!" so everyone in a 12 foot radius can hear me

- Be thankful that there are only 9 Sunsations locations between 5th and 33rd Street 

- Fail to understand the basic dynamics of wave behavior and render my boogie board/skimboard purchase pointless

- Remove my hat and sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" every time a jet passes overhead

- Get lost and frightened after sunset in the dangerous wasteland west of Pacific Avenue

- Watch the local news and think how weird the local news anchors look

- Enjoy the first few putt-putt holes, then take it real seriously and sulk if losing

- Spend more time in the pristine, disease free hotel pool than the filthy Atlantic Ocean

- Take 173 pictures of the King Neptune Statue

- Spend $58 on games at Flipper McCoys and redeem 1400 tickets for a $2 Stewie Griffin keychain

- Assume the guy flying the plane with the Geico banner back and forth all day long isn't stoned out of his gourd

- Flirt unsuccessfully with the girl/guy from Belarus working at Dairy Queen/bike rental stand/breakfast restaurant/parking lot/gift shop/hotel/amusement park/etc.

- Rent one of those multi-person bikes and realize how embarrassingly out of shape my entire family is

- Admire the Atlantic Avenue street preachers for exercising their right to free speech

- Be thankful the "No Cursing" signs are keeping my kids from hearing people say naughty words

- Waste 130 gallons of water at a Boardwalk shower rinsing off every grain of sand from my body

- Take an additional shower in my hotel room to remove any additional grains of sand

- Purchase a laser pointer and aim it at people's crotches on the Boardwalk

- Enjoy local seafood delicacies shipped in from the Philippines

- Accept men in their 40s in matching Hawaiian print shirts playing "Mustang Sally" to a drum machine beat as an authentic "Beach Music" band

- Pose in every ridiculous, unnatural pose those photo peddlers on the beach forcibly command me to do

- Pretend my hungover waitress actually gives a crap about my kid's peanut allergy

- Drive to Lynnhaven Mall and realize that, away from the ocean, Virginia Beach is just like the congested, sprawling, ugly town I came from

- Tap on every aquarium I see

- Believe that nothing unholy occurs on lifeguard stands and beach playgrounds at night

- Envy the carefree life and deep tan of the homeless man sleeping on the Boardwalk bench

- Refuse to drink tea that has been pre-sweetened

- Go home and consider Ocean City, MD or Myrtle Beach, SC next year

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Search for Bored Walkers

I tried this once before and received a somewhat whelming response, so I'm trying it again with a 1931 photograph of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.  Click on it to inspect it closer...

Notice how classy everybody looks.  They didn't dress this way to be quirky - they actually wanted to look halfway respectable in public!  Amazing!

Once again, I'm looking for ANYONE that can identify ANYBODY.

Particularly, THESE people -

Professor Peanut

                                       Mr. Sniffles

The Ol' Stogie

                                               Miss White Glove

Wide Open Robe Guy

                                                  Kid Twisty Arms

...and the Lady Friends

Please show or describe these people to the older, "less aloof" members of your family.  I'd like to turn this photograph into a mime routine or a stomach tattoo and need everyone's permission eventually.  Thanks.  

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Curse of the Meaningless Signs

These signs are all over the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach.

Ask anyone what they mean, and they'll say it means "No Cursing".  Right?  That's the essence most of us get from this city approved, "must-be-some-kind-of-official-law" sign. "Obscenity (the lightening bolt and number sign and stuff) is Prohibited in the Vicinity of this Sign (hence the big red slash)".  It's pretty easy to understand.  It wouldn't mean something else.  Cities don't purposely confuse people with nonsensical signs on street posts. Barring a few that confuse everybody on the DMV's test, signs should be universally understood by geniuses and morons alike.  

However, this sign has a "companion" sign that's posted nearby every now and there.  A reference sign.  It explains what the small round one means a little more in-depth.  Just in case you thought you could get away with something not addressed by the other one.  Just so the city officially covers everything they want the small one to imply.  

Got all that?  It starts off cordial, but then it tells you what you're supposed to do on your visit so "others" can enjoy it, too.  However it's rendered totally moot because what you, the people around you, an officer of the law, and a judge consider "obscene or vulgar language or gestures", "sexually explicit", "revealing", "inappropriate", or "behavior which is likely to intimidate, harass, or disrupt" is all different.  Keep in mind that these signs aren't posted in a preschool play area.  Or an area inhabited solely by sexual predators.  Or around the perimeter of a privately owned theme park.  They're in plain sight.  All over the main, public resort area of a living, breathing American city.  The biggest city in Virginia.  They're meant to scare you into speaking and behaving a certain way.  Don't be tricked.  You can say whatever you want. Curse as often as you like.  Curse as often as you can.  Curse right now!  Why?!

You're in the United States of America! 

In 1998, a guy fell out of a canoe in Michigan and began cursing.  A man, his wife, and two kids heard it.  He was given a $75 ticket and ordered to work four days in a child-care program. Ridiculous, huh?  Well, don't fret.  The conviction was thrown out and the law to blame for the whole mess was struck down.  Read all about it here.  The tide is turning against a cursing ban in Pennsylvania, too.   A cursing ban was struck down in North Carolina earlier this year. Those laws were on the books for ages, too.  Over a hundred years in one case.  The city of Virginia Beach isn't even 50 years old.  These signs didn't go up until the early 90s.

Cities can't dictate morals.  Signs don't control human behavior.  People shouldn't be fooled into thinking they can and do.  Therefore, the "No Cursing" signs at the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach must come down.  By Labor Day 2011.  If the signs remain where they are now - the City of Virginia Beach is formally acknowledging that the signs are for dumb people.  Hence, the city is firmly stating, without any protest, "the majority of people walking up and down Atlantic Avenue are so dumb that they need signs to remind them not to do anything that might be considered naughty.  And yes, dumb enough to believe that a cartoonish metal sign, affixed high up on a pole can dictate public decency."  You've got roughly 5 months to come up with a good plan.  Folks don't like being called "dumb". Especially dumb angry people.       

Most of us know how to act in public, right?  You have an inner voice that tells you when to stop short of burping something rude and hairy in somebody's face.  I hope so.  Even after a bathtub sized Brandy Alexander, you still have a loose idea of what can get you punched in the gut.  We all do.  Free thinking "No Cursing" sign supporters claim "Well, the signs are just a reminder to tipsy out-of-towners that tots are present and they should watch their bawdy language" and "Atlantic Avenue is better off with the signs than it was...(leans in closer)... you know...(in a barely audible whisper)... the night Greekfest happened....(looks over shoulder)... shhhhhhhhhhhhh!"  Bullshit.  Stroll Atlantic Avenue, from 17th Street to 25th Street after 9 P.M. on any June, July, or August night.  You'll see blatant examples of filth and obscenity all around you.  T-shirts, for sale and being worn as attire, glamorizing binge drinking, sexism, and drug use in full, unavoidable view of any creature with eyes.  Tops so tight, shorts so short, and bikinis so flimsy that your appetite and all respect for humanity both fight it out to be lost first. Street preachers fill the air with a tense, thick mood of anger and fear making children cower in their strollers and everybody else needlessly embarrassed.   

Plus, when most people see the signs for the first time - what do they do?  This!

Ha!  I love it!  If you've done the same thing, go to the special facebook page I started just for you and add your picture.

Please contact me through my facebook page if you or anyone you know has been issued a ticket in Virginia Beach for cursing in public.  Not streaking the Boardwalk on acid, stealing a police horse, riding it to the top of Mt. Trashmore, and then cursing - just plain "cursing or using abusive language towards a person".  Oh, and not if you threatened to kill somebody. Death threats to anyone are just plain ill-advised in all situations.  Even wars.  Seek counseling to manage your rage and we hope your dark reality turns sunny in no time.

Share this blog with your pals.  I have more research to do,  links to click on, and, with your assistance, some hot leads to investigate - so please check back soon.  Take the images below and use them for your facebook profile picture.  Add them to your wall photos.  Do anything you want with 'em.  

Don't support a sign that has no basis in any law.  Don't support a sign that is meant to scare people into undefined "decent and moral" behavior.  Don't forget to flip it the bird and take a picture of it.  I wanna see hundreds of 'em.  Dammit!