My Fav Place, Girls & Season, Plus Labor Pains: My Review

Remember how I mused about not knowing you need something until it's thrust upon you? Probably not, so follow the link if you'd like a refresher…

Well my trip to Salem last weekend did not fall into that category - October is the greatest month to visit my favorite place on earth! Since I had to take two days off last week and haven't been made officially full time (no paid time off) going to visit on Halloween (this Thursday) wasn't going to happen. So last weekend was the next best time for this excursion. 

The best thing about being from the area is knowing my way around (and not having to pay for a place to stay!) Both Maria and Kim told me go into Salem via Beverly, which is a few exits past Salem on 128. The traffic to get into Salem (which is several miles from the exit) was backed down the highway. I sailed on passed, mentally cajoling all the tourists not-in-the-know "So long suckers!". 

The 24 hours passed, as they always do, way too fast. Kimmy and I caught up, I called Maria and she said she and Jenny would meet us at Finz (totally awesome restaurant right on Pickering Wharf). The place was rocking at 5:00 when Kim and I got there. We hung out and snagged four corner seats at the bar after an hour - twenty minutes later Maria and Jenny and their friends and son arrived. The pics below are just after they arrived, before we were seated at a table. 

Hadn't seen her since Garbage - FAR too long!
Don't know where'd I'd be without her...

It was REALLY funny! Wish I could remember what IT was...

The only thing that tics me off is that I forgot to get a pic with Jenny. It was a priority, then a few drinks later I forgot. I had tuna tartare for an appetizer and followed Jenny's lead and ordered the filet mignon for dinner. However, mine was medium rare (more rare) and hers was medium well. It was a bacon-wrapped filet - never had one of those because I never saw the need to wrap bacon around such a fabulous cut of meat. That opinion has since been corrected. The entire time was filled with raucous, joyous conversation, we all left together. Kim and I walked to Finz from her house, Maria and Jenny parked at their friends' house, which was closer to the restaurant. We strolled on back to Maria and Jenny's car. On the way, we passed a Bentley that I was told had been parked in that crosswalk for several hours. (Little sidebar, I was passed by a Bentley on my ride up - 2 Bentleys in one day! Not a regular occurrence).

ANYWHOOO… I was offered $5 to go up and sit in the car. Being a sheet or two to the wind meant nothing, as this is something I would totally have done sober. But I sauntered on up to that vehicular pice of art and pulled on the passenger handle. The door actually opened! That was way more shocking than seeing two Bentleys in one day. I settled my tushie on the soft, supple leather and breathed in that unctuous, wealthy leather-scented air and reveled. I was sitting in a Bentley! I got out and shut the door, then was told to go back so a pic could be taken. I did, then we bolted just before a cop rounded the corner. I was told not to spend the five dollars all in one place. But I did. On Sunday, I covered the back end of Kim's perfume at Aroma Sanctum (the ONLY place to buy perfume) because the shopkeeper needed small bills and Kim had given me two $20s.

Can't wait to go back!


FINALLY! After completing a completely different draft, then realizing that it wasn't a book review, I almost punched the computer. Monday, Inspiration's want tapped me on the noggin, and below is what spilled forth from my fingertips. It can also be read on Amazon, where over a half-dozen authors have requested for me to critique their work! Last week yet another requested my opinion. 

Labor Pains

Despite countless laugh-out-loud moments that normally elicit my seal of approval, Labor Pains, by C.A. Huggins left me wanting. The main character, Kevin Taylor, is a lazy, self- entitled misanthrope – a piece of flotsam floating atop the ocean of society whose often hilarious degradation of his co-workers is the best he has to offer. Kevin’s ability to verbalize everyone’s flaws with colorfully profane diction is superb, as is his inability to see his own flaws as personal detriments. He’s perfect the way he is – flaws and all. 

The cadre of characters that comprise Kevin’s world is bizarre (i.e. “Creepy Bathroom Chuck” Robbi – a homeless guy who insists that Bobby Brown stole his music, and his boss, Floyd, a rich middle-aged douchebag who has no business inhabiting a high-level corporate position).

Because of his laziness, perpetual tardiness and horrific customer-service skills, Kevin has been stuck in the same position for seven years at the insurance company Schuster, Thompkins and Dykes (STD). After a promotion he expected was to be bestowed upon him goes to someone else, Kevin has a “come to Jesus” of sorts. He spends an evening prowling for advice on how to get ahead, and what he’s told is not mind-blowing (work harder and stop slacking off). He then throws himself into proving he deserves a promotion. I shook my head several times, amusingly flummoxed by the actions he thought showcased those of a responsible employee on an upward trajectory.

Throughout the novel, my suspension of disbelief was punctured several times by scenarios, while funny, were highly improbable (a knock-down drag-out fight at an interview and stint on a ghetto-version of Judge Joe Brown, to name a couple). These, and other over-the-top scenes, only fostered in me further detachment from characters I had trouble caring about to begin with.

Try as it might, Labor Pains, is not a verisimilitude to the obnoxious trappings of a corporate work environment ala Office Space, but a morose manifesto of a supremely flawed character with a zero-growth potential.


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