My apologies folks…I know it’s been some time.  I started a new job, turned forty, and have been looking for a new place to live as my apartment complex has suddenly been overrun by a cavalcade of freaks, including a guy who sits on the floor in his underwear and watches me, the new people next door who party like rock stars, curse incessantly, and smoke so much pot I can’t imagine how they function, and the woman who picks through my trash all the time.  A few years back, and I would have just laughed it off, but I think I’m getting cantankerous at my (middle) age!

Seriously, is it just me getting older?  I no longer enjoy listening to music where I feel I am being screamed at (and anyone who knew me back in the day knows I was a huge metalhead and punk fan…and we’re not talking Poison or Warrant, but Suicidal Tendencies, early Ramones and Metallica, Motorhead, the Buzzcocks, etc.), but now prefer bluegrass and folk (Cat Stevens, anyone?), White Castles at 2AM on the way back from L’Amour East in Queens has now been replaced by organic veggies at 7PM and in bed by 10, and Pabst Blue Ribbon out of a keg has been replaced by rieslings and viogniers from local vineyards.  Having a place to crash (usually on the floor) after a night of pubcrawling was a beautiful thing not too many years back…now high thread counts and a fireplace are what I want after a night out.

CRAP!  Not only am I getting old, I’m turning into my parents!  MAKE IT STOP!!!!!

Nah, I gotta say, getting older has its perks…people take you more seriously, usually there’s a bit more money in the bank than when we were younger, and we know so much more.  For the most part, I’m enjoying life a whole lot more now than I did when I was younger.  Granted, my jeans don’t fit quite the same as they used to, and I have to work out and watch everything I eat, take medication every day, and do what I can to fight the aging process, but I have to say, life is good.  And on that note…on to some Cheap Date ideas for those of us who aren’t teenagers anymore, but still like to have a good time!

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle…

This is a plea to anyone out there looking for companionship, or considering starting a family and want to start with a pet before taking the plunge and having a baby, or may want to add to their family.  Patchogue Animal Hospital at (631) 475-5110 has a number of kittens that need good homes.  In this economy, people are abandoning their pets in large numbers as they can no longer afford to feed them.  Won’t you do your part and open up your heart and home to a new furbaby?  Email me directly at cheapdateli@gmail.com if you would like to see pictures of the kitties.

Wine me, dine me…

Like wine?  Like rockabilly? Would you like to enjoy both at the same time?  Jason’s Vineyard will be featuring the music of the Long Island Hornets on September 19…I think you’ll probably be finding me at this event!

One of my faves, Mora’s, will be hosting a tasting of Martin-Scott’s portfolio from 3-6PM, also on the 19th.

Looking for a wine boutique that offers something other than the usual Bogle and Yellow Tail?  Quench is a cute little shop (and I’m lucky enough to be able to walk to it!) that has many unusual wines and hosts tastings on a frequent basis.  One little gem I have tried out recently and plan on going back to buy once my paycheck clears is Clean Slate Riesling.  This wine is both sweet and dry, but not overpowering or cloying.  Pair this with Chinese food, barbequed pork or chicken, or a salad that’s a bit more than veggies (say with some kind of stinky cheese, nuts, grilled meats, fruit, and the like).

Speaking of stinky cheese, take a road trip out to Mattituck and visit the Village Cheese Shoppe.  They currently have a Chimay Grand Cru that smells pretty bad, but tastes oh, so good!  Mild, with a very slight beer taste, this cheese also had a bit of a nutty flavor like a Swiss, and a soft texture that made it a perfect pairing with crackers.  Next trip, I’m planning on picking up the mascarpone/Maytag Bleu that I saw in the case…

Love will rock you…

And so it begins…the autumn brings us back to all sorts of acoustic jams and shows that shouldn’t be missed.  Starting this Thursday, Live in the Lobby is back with their “world’s oldest boy bands night (just check the website)–say hi as I take your money or bust your horns as you try to sneak out with a beer!

Gathering Time and Lucky 13 open the season this Friday for the Our Times Coffeehouse, at the Ethical Humanist Society building, 38 Old Country Road, Garden City. 8PM, $15.

Also, this Friday, The Grascals play the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts. 8PM. $15; $10 for members.

Next Saturday, there are two great shows to chooses from:

Fourteen Feet plays acoustic roots rock at RS Jones, 153 Merrick Avenue, Merrick. 7:30PM.

Rough Folk–Hank Stone, Todd Evans and Mike Christian play Homegrown Café at 300 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station. 8PM, $5 cover.

Avast, ye mateys!

Greenport is definitely a place to be for the upcoming weekend…with both the Maritime Festival and a Gallery Walk, how could you go wrong?  Pirates, live music, art, and boats?  Count me in!!!

The Un-Hamptons

I have to say, I’ve been saddened by the influx of high end shops that have taken over the East End.  I’ve been heading out east since I was a kid for the beaches, the salt air, and the rugged, rustic beauty of life in towns full of maritime history.  The crowds, the glitterati, and the fact it’s hard to find a place that sells a good ol’ cup of joe for under two dollars have really turned me off.  Give me a place where I can go in ripped jeans, a sweatshirt, baseball cap and Birkenstocks and walk around a quaint town with a funky little Main Street, an arts scene, live music, and can grab a glass of wine and a bowl of bisque for under $20, and you’ll find me there!  Check out some of these great little places while the leaves are turning and it’s still nice enough to be outside:  Bellport Village, Patchogue Village, Sayville, Stony Brook, Bayshore, Brightwaters, Freeport, Northport, and Port Washington.

All for now, you kooky cats…I’m back on a schedule now, so keep checking back for more Cheap Dates!