Monthly Archives: September 2011

Secret Clubs…sussh!

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Have you ever wanted to become a member of a secret club?

“Oh, yes, Sally, these groups really do exist. Susssh.”

When I think of secret societies, I first think of the Free Masons, a group alluded to in movies such as “National Treasure” and Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code”. And who could forget the secret password Fred Flinstone would utter when meeting up with a fellow member of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes? Well, I did and had to google it, lol. 

Outside of fiction and saturday morning cartoons, The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Loyal Order of Moose, the Shrinners just to name a few, no longer require a well guarded password or secret hand shake to gain entry. Still retaining a certain mystique about them, mainly due the fact that they don’t advertise or promote their activities outside their own circles, these groups are constantly looking for new members. Though some require an invitation, it’s not hard to come by and could be well worth your time to seek one out.

Keeping a low, sometimes, invisible profile, these groups contribute to high profile needs in their different communities. All sponsor charitable causes such as providing college scholarships, blood drives, books for schools and aid to those with disabilities. These clubs are also a great source of social entertainment as they sponsor pick-a-nicks, dinners, dances and trips for their members. Some of the club house’s contain pools, spas and billiard rooms. Not to mention the low drink prices charged at their respective bars.

“Oh, yes, Sally, I’m talkin’ cheep booze.”

So the next time you pass a windowless building tucked into the corner of a dark side street with an American flag fluttering proudly above it’s entrance, be sure to read the sign on the door before you step in to investigate. I wouldn’t want you interrupting a bike club meeting. But it will probably be an Elks, or a Moose Lodge or a VFW and they’ll be happy to give you a tour.

“Ack, Ack, A-Dak!” K.L. Parry




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Ramp it up, Your Highness!

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As many of you may have known from my last post, I spent the good part of last week and into the past weekend suffering from a flue…ugh! The only good part of it was that I got to enjoy my couch and the flat screen TV my thoughtful children gifted me with this last Christmas. Oh, yeah…, made even better once I hooked it up to my 80’s style stereo, a welcomed hand-me-down from my sister. (Thanks, Sis.) Because of this I was able to enjoy one of the funniest and raunchiest movies I’ve seen in quite a while. Your Highness starring Danny McBride and James Franco, an epic comedy adventure. Wow!

Hysterically funny! Just a warning; this movie is not for kids. It contains a lot of fowl language and suggestive dialogue and some nudity. The setting resembles the Middle Ages with castles and swords and all that stuff. A parody on all those saving the fair maiden tales, it tells of two brother who set out on a quest to rescue a virgin from an evil wizard. Lude, full of action and explosive bloodshed. Natalie Portman plays a gutsy, sword slinging heroine, James Franco the charming prince who’s moronic bride is stolen from him, and Danny McBride the bumbling brother. This movie was slammed by reviewers and I say they’re all a bunch of prudes! Where is your sense of humor? I loved it and plan on adding Your Highness to my personal collection right along side Blazing Saddles and Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Now for some foodie talk. Last Sunday evening I had the pleasure of accompanying a friend to Gary Brick’s Ramp 7730 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA. 818-768-6499. I have grown to love this place though my first experience there 4 yrs. ago was less than epic. Maybe the trick is to show up late or on an off night, I don’t know, but I’ve got to say that my last two visits there have been very rewarding. I originally had ordered an item off the menu, asking our waiter about how the fish was prepared. He literally stopped me with an “I don’t recommend that.” Nice, I thought. A waiter that actually cares about his customer. That immediately scored points with me. He then recommended an item from the list of daily specials, Halibut steak w/ a garlic butter sauce, twice baked potato and fresh broccoli. Soooooo, good. Delicious! Moist but flaky fish, fresh broccoli cooked perfectly and retaining a bright green. I also liked that the portions were adequate but not over much. The dish ran about $21.99, I think. I was in a bit of a food delirium by the end of the meal. Great service and awesome food. I highly recommend it.

Until next week, K.L. Parry

Hazardous Co-Workers and The Movies

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Last week I had contemplated hitting up my local CVS for a Flu Shot. I look back on that fleeting moment and laugh sarcastically in the face of  the vague intuitive warning as body aches and a stuffy, foggy head plague me through this week. It is one of the woes to working with the public and sharing such devices as a telephone with other potentially hazardous coworkers. (I will be toting a box of sanitary wipes with me when I return to work on Friday. Not that it will do me any good at this point.) That being said, I hadn’t the energy or the inclination to do much this week other than what I must to maintain a roof over my head.  So I decided I’d share with you my thoughts on a few flicks I’d recently seen.

       About three weeks back my BF and I went to see “The Help”.  Now I know this film, based on the best selling novel by Katheryn Stockett doesn’t need any help from me, it’s still raking in the bucks at the box office. And I must say that I really liked it. It touches on the lives of several African American maids during the early 60’s. (Was that politically correct?, because I first wanted to use the word black then thought negro but wasn’t sure if we were still using any one of  those terms.)  If I were asked to sum up a description I’d compare the film to 1985’s “The Color Purple” only with a lighter side to it, if that seems possible. Though I saw nothing new introduced to the viewing audience that wasn’t already voiced by it’s earlier counterpart, I do see the relevance of the reminder to the next generation. It is a sad and painful part of our history that, as a nation, should not be forgotten.

What I didn’t like had nothing to do with the movie itself but the half hour of previews before the feature started. The film’s run time was 2 hr 17 min. Burbank’s AMC Theater‘s start time was 12:10, we didn’t get out until 3:00. That was a total of 2hrs and 50 mins. Not good AMC. And PLEASE, do something about that horrible yellow stain across the screen. It looks like a pee stained bed sheet!

This week, as I lie on my death bed, I rented “The Lincoln Lawyer”. This is not typically the kind of movie that I watch. I’m more of a sci-fy, fantasy, adventure fan when it comes to that. I must say that I liked this one too. The film starring, Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tomei, along with a bevy of other notable actors, is the story of a shady defense lawyer who’s more concerned with how to stack up his fees than whether his client might actually be innocent of the crime he has been charged with. I found the writing good and the characters believable. The story takes a couple of interesting turns, which kept me engaged and watching into the wee hours of the evening. And, thank you Hollywood, Matthew is still hot in that bad boy way. But girls don’t get confused, it’s not what we want for the long haul.

Last but not least. This is a flick from my own personal library and one that is always sure to lift my spirits and make me laugh no matter how bad I feel. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you 1999’s, “Austin Powers as The Spy Who Shagged Me”. Yes, classic Mike Meyers at his best!  Love it Baby, and the one before that and the one after. Shagg-a-riffick!

Until next week, keep it Groovy, baby!

K.L. Parry

It’s a Mini-Road Trip

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Earlier this week I decided to perused my Westways magazine, provided by AAA, as I sat in one of Burbank‘s local frequented restaurants. Usually the free rag that turns up each month in my mailbox gets the slightest of glances before I relegate it to the recycle bin but this time I decided to toss it into the backseat of my car. I had  thought that I might have some moments of down time that might allow me to actually read it. I was glad I did. As I was waiting for my dinner to arrive via the slow boat from China, I came across a local garden spot I had neither been to nor even heard of. It was Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, 2001 Thousand Oaks Blvd.  I dog-eared the page when my over cooked snapper arrived, which I disappointedly hacked apart with a knife before I buried it in mashed potatoes. So, don’t order the Red Snapper at Lancers, have a T-Bone instead, (I know that it’s decent).
When I got home, I checked out the gardens on-line to get a little more information. The first word that caught my eye was FREE, though it was in very small print. “GREAT!”, I thought. “Fits my budget perfectly.” So after a pleading phone message left for my BF, I made tentative plans for an outing on my next day off.

Photo by Jolene M.

Despite the fact that the temperature was in the triple digits, I needed this mini-road trip as did my friend. So with Linda in tow we headed out, hopped on the 134 to the 101 frwy pointed towards Ventura. Exiting on Hampshire Road, right to Thousand Oaks Blvd we found the garden’s entrance just past Conejo School Road. In fact, I passed it up the first time and had to come back around. The parking is almost non-existent so park where you can. We found a strip-mall down the street that didn’t have any threatening tow signs.

Photo by Jolene M.

It was well worth the drive. 4 Acres of beautifully manicured grounds and gorgeous water features at every turn. It didn’t matter that it was September and most of the flowers had passed their bloom, the lay out of the gardens, the culturally influenced designs, the structures were still a pleasure to view. I wish we had discovered the brochure that explained the more detailed elements of the gardens at the beginning of our unassisted tour instead of at the end as we were leaving. For some reason it had been placed off to the left of the entrance. Hummm?   (Here is where I shrug my shoulders at the logic in that.)   Linda read it to me later making me want even more to pay another visit to the gardens in early spring.

 I do have one legitimate complaint about Gardens of the World. That would be the annoying signs posted everywhere, Don’t Walk On The Grass. “Are you kidding me?” It’s like telling a kid in a pool not to splash. 

Photo by Wayne W.

 Once we’d returned to the car, my first thought
was to head over to the beach.
My BF,  her thoughts returned to all the pressing things on her plate, was looking more towards home. So I said, “OK.  But, were going back another way.”

(Hee, heee…Yes, my precious, the long way home. Muhaaaaa….)

I continued down Thousand Oaks Blvd and jumped on the 23 towards Filmore. The freeway doesn’t run for long before it directs you off onto the surface streets and you had better keep your eyes on the signs or you’ll miss the turn that takes you through the back side of Moorepark. (I love two lane roads that seemingly go no where.)

Now it was Linner-Time and I was hungry so I pulled onto a golf course out in the middle of farm country. Having had a couple of good dinning experiences at Del Bell in Burbank, I wanted to try out this restaurant. It was more akin to a fry shack, smelling of grease, so we scratched that idea. However, as we were politely but quickly heading for the front door, the four employees manning the deserted establishment did invite us back to hear the live band playing there on friday night. I didn’t have the heart to tell them, probably not.

After picking up a few vine ripened items from one of the produce stands, we searched for a suitable place to eat. We found it in the historical section of Filmore. (It was all of two blocks and sported a closed theater, an antique store and a couple of restaurants, one of which was a bar and grill named Central Station. EUREKA! We’ve struck gold!

I loved the place. Great service from the bartender/waiter who went so far as to google the ingredients of the BBQ sauce on the Pork Rib Tips to check for any gluten. (Yup, the plague of the new millennium, Celiac Disease. An allergy to wheat and barley. Key ingredients in everything tasty.) Linda could only rave about her tri-tip stuffed sandwich.

So that’s it, folks. From there, it was a leisurely drive home. Took the four lane 126 East to the 5 South and made it home before dark. The trip only took about $13.00 in gas, our meal with drinks was another $22.00 and change. A lovely day in good company, I’ll definitely do it again. 

Until next week, K.L. Parry