Seriously…isn’t it fun to go out and act like a kid sometimes?  To stay up late, play games, and goof around with your friends with no cares in the world?  It’s so rare to have those truly special days, but there’s nothing better than the sheer bliss of truly innocent happiness.  And this time of year makes it even better…who doesn’t like to see the bright lights, the decorated trees peeking through windows, and the possibility of a snowy night and hot chocolate?  The best part?  You don’t have to spend a lot to reap the benefits of the holiday season…or to feel like a child again!

Light brite

I’ll be honest, the past few years have been kind of quiet for me…money’s been tight and buying a hot holiday outfit to go out and party wasn’t always a possibility.  Add to that, anyone I was dating at the time just had so much going on that it was almost impossible to check out all the holiday happenings.  However, I found ways to enjoy the season flying solo at a price that didn’t break the bank.  One way was by checking out the local light shows.  Crank up the carols in your car, crank the heat, and enjoy a hot beverage while driving through the Holtsville Ecology Center or Camp Edey…the best part is that the money raised at these displays goes to good causes!

Go green

The tree…such an important symbol of the season due to our memories of Christmases past.  Nix the plastic this year, and think about getting a live tree in a pot.  It will stay fresh, be less prone to being a fire hazard than a cut tree, lose less needles, and the two best things–you can plant it outside when you’re done and you won’t have to worry about where to store it (a definite perk when you have a small place like I do!).

Winter warmer

Troegs again produces a winner with their Mad Elf beer.  With heavy dark fruit notes and a high alcohol content, this sweet and heady brew is not for the faint of heart (or for those who are driving, either!).  One glass had me feeling warm and fuzzy.  One oversized bottle left me stumbling over my words.  Any more would have left me unconscious.  Beer nuts and those who like malty beverages like scotch and aren’t afraid of a flavorful brew should check this one out!

Babes in toyland

Lastly, Live in the Lobby is hosting “Love in the Lobby” this month…enjoy some great live music, and if you bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots, you’ll get a $5 beer voucher.  $10 gets you in.  Come on down and say hi to me when you are there!

Sorry about the short post, but it is the holiday season!  I’ll be back with more events in just a bit, so make sure you check back often!

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Yup, that’s what happened to me tonight!  Speaking in front of a crowd of people and my dean…my brain cramped up and I started freezing up.  Anyone who knows me knows I have no problem with speaking in public, except for tonight…oh, well, I guess that’s what happens when you try to tone down a hyper chickie and make her sound normal!

Anyhow, it’s going to be a relatively short post as it’s a holiday week, and though the bars will be packed Wednesday night, there’s not a whole lot going on.  Instead, I had gotten an email from the New York City Newswire asking about great cheap eats here on the Island, and I figured that as some people just aren’t into turkey in all of its various incarnations, I’d run with that theme tonight.

Burgers, brews, and BBQ

I’m doing my first Turkey Trot this week, and as meat has not been my friend as of late, I’ve been avoiding these places like the plague and loading up on carbs (rice and beans, anyone?).  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know where to grab some reasonably priced carnivore chow and brewskis to wash them down!  Forget Checkers, Burger King, and other big chains…check out some of these reasonably priced local spots!

All American Burger is a longtime favorite of mine…burgers, dogs, fries, and killer shakes can be gotten here and definitely won’t break the bank!  Be prepared to wait on line, though!

American Roadside is another great burger joint that gets rave reviews from my honey and friends…

Peter Pan Diner makes EVERYTHING good!  The Royal Oak is a close runner up when it comes to burgers, though!

Howard’s Cafe is a place you can often find my honey and me on the nights we don’t feel like cooking.  Killer burgers, awesome steaks, and free sangria, soda, salad, and certain tap beers make this sports bar a popular place with locals.

Spicy’s is THE place to go for great BBQ when out East…with locations in Bellport and Riverhead, this joint is always jumping!

As long as you avoid the $16 specialty microbrews at Bobbique, this affordable blues joint has meat platters such as pulled pork, smoked sausages, and ribs cooked the real pit BBQ way.  Make a point of stopping down on an evening when there is music playing…you’ll be back!  (My pick?  The Caesar salad with pulled pork…you’ll have plenty of leftovers!)

Smokin’ Al’s is my pick if you aren’t going to travel quite as far out…with two locations, this place is still always packed but worth the wait…get the Burnt Endz–you won’t be sorry!

For the non-burger crowd

I’ve mentioned Gallo Tropical on here many times, with good reason.  Once I bring my friends here, they always want to come back.  Reasonably priced Colombian food, cafe style dining, and huge portions are the standard here.  Make sure you try the Five Milk Flan, and the spicy green sauce!  Even my non-adventurous parents like this place.

Fried seafood.  Oh, so unhealthy, but oh, so good!  Watch the ferries come in from your seat at The Steamroom!

Looking for something a bit healthier on the fishy front?  My long time go-to place is The Village Fish Market…get the cole slaw, too!

Looking for something a bit more exotic?  Try The Curry Club!  Indian food at its best–in the evenings, check out the Velvet Lounge as well!

Pub fare

I’ve got a long list of places I’d like to list here, and I’ll get around to it eventually, but I’m going to list two that come immediately to mind…Skipper’s and Two Morrows.  Make a point of checking them out!

Steak-ummmmmm

And lastly, two places that won’t break the bank for a steak dinner:  J and R’s Steakhouse is a growing chain with coupons on their website; and a great place to check out after holiday shopping in Suffolk County is The Good Steer.

All for now, you kooky cats!  Got something that should be here?  Let me know at cheapdateli@gmail.com!  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Slip sailing away…

November 22, 2009

TONIGHT!  The event that has been a topic of controversy here in Patchogue…the Christmas Holiday Boat Parade!  6PM, tonight, on the Patchogue River.  Where to catch these festively lit up vessels?  The Off Key Tikki, the Harbor Crab Company, The Oar, and the Waterfront. See you there!

I think most of us have gone through times in our lives when it seems like someone truly special coming into our lives is just never going to happen.  The websites show the same old tired profiles (and seriously, I think some of those folks are going to be single for the rest of their lives…it may just be the anonymity of the Web, but if you’re trying to meet someone, acting like a flake is NOT the best way to proceed!), and bars…well…beer goggles are not always our friends.  I think that some people have forgotten the best ways to meet other singles with similar interests, and sometimes the best relationships don’t start with a spark but with a smile.  So before I get into listing some great events, here’s some sound advice from a gal who never stays single for long:

1. Get involved.  I can’t tell you how many great singles I have met from doing volunteer work.  Let’s face facts–if you’re looking to meet someone who likes the same things you do, it’s a lot easier if you join a group of some kind where you will meet others with the same interests and passions.  Join an arts council, volunteer at a shelter, help out on a campaign.

2. Save the drama for your mama!  Nothing turns off a potential partner faster than airing out all your dirty laundry!  It’s one thing to be truthful, but it’s quite another to spend all your time whining and crying about loves gone wrong, financial problems, and workplace woes.

3.  Hygiene.  Need I say more?  Most people are incredibly turned off by nasty teeth, bad breath, greasy hair, and unkempt clothing.  If you haven’t been on a date in a really long time, this may be a factor!

4.  Being selfish or too selfless.  A partnership is about two people…don’t be too pushy and don’t give in all the time, either!

5.  Being a disaster.  If you can’t get your act together, a quality partner is not going to spend their time doing it for you.

6.  Don’t judge too harshly.  I see way too many folks who won’t date someone because they don’t look like a model.  Most of you who read this are a little more mature anyway, and trust me, ain’t NONE of us perfect.

7.  Trying too hard.  This is another one I see all the time from my “admirers”.  Incessant emails, calls, and offers to do things ALL THE TIME can get a bit trying, to say the least.  Act like a friend, not a sick puppy in need of attention.

8.  Do NOT spell out in detail all the things you’d physically like to do to a potential mate.  I can’t tell you how many guys have sent me some pretty graphic messages over the years…including one who kept emailing me EXACTLY how he’d like to make me the mother of his children.

9.  Manners and decorum.  This should go without saying.

10.  Don’t lie.  It may be tempting to “dress up” some things to impress a mate, but trust me–in time, all will be revealed.

Don’t get me wrong–there’s nothing that beats the euphoria of a new relationship.  However, that burning flame will soon fizzle if it’s not based on something more substantial.

Have a great “bad date” story?  I’d love to hear it!  Email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com and the “winners” may find themselves featured here (anonymously, of course!).

Mine seems to be a recurring thing and doesn’t qualify as a date, but I seem to attract the “gentlemen” (I use that term VERY loosely) who out of nowhere grab me around the waist, bend me over backwards and plant one on me, telling me and my friends, “I decided I was going to kiss the prettiest girl here.”  Um, yeah, newsflash, you morons…that does NOT get a girl’s heart all a-flutter, and doing that has just ruined your chances with every other female in the place.  Look ahead before you liplock, ok?

I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship with a great guy, but it’s amazing the things I see when out with the galpals!  Guys, I’m sure you have a few things to add…let me know!

And now, for something completely different…

Like wine?  Want to meet singles?  The Singles Cafe was kind enough to let me know about two great events this week!  (Thanks, Loretta!) One, they are having a meeting this Thursday at Middle Country Library…I’ve met some of the folks and they are really nice.  It’s definitely worth checking out!  Two, they are offering FREE tickets to a Singles Mingle this weekend at Martha Clara Vineyards…check out their blog and get your tickets by clicking here!

Not sure where to find groups that you might be interested in joining?  Or maybe you would like to start one of your own as you don’t know of other people who share your interests?  MeetUp is a great social networking tool that has groups for foodies, folkies, wine nuts, wired-ups, and more…and VolunteerMatch has listings of all kinds where you can help others!

Question:  Do you think Cheap Date should start its own MeetUp group for no pressure single mingle events?  From events that range from nature walks to cinematic events to wine tours?  Let me know!

Looking for someplace to go for Happy Hour that isn’t your typical bar scene?  Blue Point Brewery has a tasting room with free samples and affordable pints of microbrew, and often features live music, events, and more.  Check their website for info.

Like live music where the performers can play more than three chords and no one is screaming profanities at you?  (Yes, I am getting old…) Acoustic Music Scene is my source for finding out the best gigs!

While we’re on the topic of music, don’t miss this great event this weekend!  The Patchogue Theatre’s Second Annual Folk Festival has something for everyone…make sure you catch the afternoon showcase of the best local singer/songwriters for FREE (the evening show, however, still has a few tickets available!)

All for now…I’ll be back next week with some great Thanksgiving week events!

This has been a big week for change–so many people I know are making some kind of job transition (including me…it’s my last night at the library), people I know are splitting up or getting together, the guy who sits in his underwear watching me at night is no longer doing so…wow…and for the most part it’s all good things!  I don’t want to jinx it…I just hope that the momentum keeps going!

Speaking of change, I’m making some huge changes myself.  Getting rid of twenty years’ worth of antiques, actually.  I’m keeping some, but for the most part, they are going.  It’s not that I’m a pack rat, but I’m at the point in my life where it’s time to get rid of things that have tied me to my past and move on.  If anyone is interested in vintage pieces at reasonable prices, let me know.  (And no, I’m not one of those lunatics who prices things astronomically thinking that what I have is worth a fortune.  I went to NYU for Appraisal Studies and know EXACTLY how much things are worth, and am listing them far below fair market value.)  Some items I am getting rid of include a typewriter the same model as found in the JFK Library, a church pew, Johnson Bros. Old English Chintz chintzware, possibly a Depression Era china cabinet, and more.

Take a hike, pal!

One of my absolute favorite things to do is to go hiking by the water.  The smell of the bay and the wind on my skin make the stresses of the day just melt away.  Add to that it’s great exercise!  Now, the streets, trails, and beach I go to several times a week are private property that I sneak onto (ooops!), but there are some great trails all around our Isle of Long that are worth checking out.  Click here for a list of great North Fork trails and make sure you bring a camera with you, as you never know when that picture perfect moment will come along!

Wine me, dine me…

Like wine?  Like The Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead?  This event is for you!  The Reckoning will be playing at Martha Clara Vineyards this Saturday!  $5 tix must be purchased online before Friday.

Guitar hero

By now, y’all have to  know there’s nothing I like better than live music and a nice microbrew.  Too bad I’m broke this week…I may have to miss out on some of these great gigs!  This Thursday kicks it off right with the Second Thursdays Concert Series featuring John Wort Hannam at Astoria Federal Savings Bank, West Main Street, Babylon, 7:30PM,  FREE.

On Friday, Ken Korb and friends will be playing at a Miss Chris fave, the Grey Horse Tavern.

Miles to Dayton is back to performing and will be at the Homegrown Music Café, a new monthly series, at St. Gerard Majella Church in Port Jeff Station this Saturday night!

And, to close out the week, Gathering Time will be playing at the Port Washington Library this Sunday…hey, that show is FREE…I can afford that!

(Hey, on a serious note here…I want to start taking guitar lessons again!  I can’t play at all…long story short I learned to play righty on a left handed guitar, which I no longer have.  I went out and bought an Ibanez classical and I now have to unlearn everything and relearn.  I barely got through “Ode to Joy” when I ended up working insane amounts of hours and had to put it aside.  If there is anyone out there who can be patient with a 40 year old who plays like she’s five…let me know!  I will now have some time to have a life again and do some of the things I really want to do!)

Who knew?

Did you know that our feline friends can catch the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) from humans?  This is not a joke or something you’ll find on Snopes, it’s been documented and has made national news.  If you’re under the weather and your kitty catches cold, don’t waste time!  Get her to the vet so that she can get on antibiotics as well!  Click here for Swine Flu updates for us two legged folks, and here for low cost vet care.

All for now…if you’re interested in some of the pieces I mentioned, or if you have something that should be here, email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com!  Chat soon, you kooky cats!

I’ll come back to my opening quote in a little bit.  This is a GREAT week for live music, so that is where I am starting today!

Rock me gently…

Wednesday night, Acoustic Long Island hosts both Jann Klose and one of my faves, Dan Mills…this FREE show is definitely worth checking out!

This Thursday, get your olde-timey and bluegrass on with Free Grass Union at Patchogue Theatre’s Live in the Lobby…$10 gets you in.

On Friday, Peacesmiths’ Topical, A-typical, Folk Music, Poetry & Whatever Coffeehouse features Sonny Meadows and Bob Westcott. $7 suggested donation.

This Saturday, the Folk Music Society of Huntington presents its First Saturdays Concert Series with David Jacobs-Strain and Joe Iadanza…this gig is a bit over Cheap Date limits, but is definitely worth checking out!

Two great shows this Sunday…one local, one not so much but for a good cause.  The Patchogue Walking Arts Festival will be kicking off at 1PM at the Patchogue Theatre with an artists’ reception…don’t miss this FREE event !  Also, Glen Roethel was kind enough to email me about this fundraiser: “I’m performing with Gathering Time in a special concert to raise funds for a local family faced with rising medical bills. It’s just a $5 suggested donation. Music starts at 2:30pm; Gathering Time performs a 40-minute set at about 4:45. Songs for Stacey–Join us for an afternoon of music! WHEN: Sunday, November 1st 2:30pm – 5:30pm WHERE: Reformed Church of Bronxville, 180 Pondfield Road, Bronxville.”  If you are in the area, make a point of checking out this incredibly talented band!

And, um, Glen…if you read this, remind the Chantey Man to email me his gigs…

Feed me, Seymour…

It’s Long Island Restaurant Week!  Click here for participating restaurants!

Home movies

The Found Footage Festival…one of the strangest, most disturbing, and sometimes hilarious things I have ever come across.  Definitely worth checking out!

Mmmmmmm….beer…

It’s the harvest season, and what could be more appropriate than a pumpkin brew?  This weekend I had the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale on tap…all I can say is get yourself a growler today!  Yummy!

Home is where the heart is

For some reason, many people think that I make lots of money and that I am just cheap.  I’m frugal…there’s a difference–and you learn how to be frugal when you’ve gone through things in life that make it tough to pay the bills or even just get by.  Hence, I have done a lot of research on resources that come in very handy when living on a very stretched budget.  I am lucky enough to be doing ok right now, but we all know it just takes one emergency to push many of us over the edge, so I am going to list some resources here that I hope some people will find useful.

HEAP (the Home Energy Assistance Program) is officially up and running for the 2009-2010 year.  If you are having trouble getting by and need help with your heating bill, this is a great resource!

The Long Island Housing Partnership has some wonderful programs, such as credit counselling and mortgage assistance that make it possible for those of us who work hard but are not wealthy find quality affordable housing (a.k.a. workforce housing).  I myself participate in this program, and think it’s a great opportunity for working class folks to get into homes we might never have been able to afford without a little help!

And, finally, getting back to my quote about shopping–I only recently started shopping in stores like K-mart and WalMart as I always favored mom and pop stores (and still try to shop in those as much as possible as it’s good for the local economy!); however, I am now hooked on K-mart’s Country Living collection!  I am now buying everything from the Classic Vintage grouping, and I have to say I couldn’t be happier with the quality (in fact, I’m shocked!).  If you’re trying to spruce up the house in time for the holidays, it’s definitely worth checking out!

All for now, you kooky cats!  Have a gig or event that should be here?  Let me know at cheapdateli@gmail.com!

Before I update y’all on some great Halloweenie things to do, I am going to take a stand against something that is REALLY ticking me off.  Why is it that some people feel that their beliefs, etc., are the ones that are the most correct, and will resort to email bullying to push their point?  Let me explain:

I recently expressed my opinion about an event that I felt was a bit too “biased” in terms of pushing one particular religion, especially as the event itself is NOT a religious event, not even close.  I am now being inundated with emails pushing God (the one that gets capitalized, not the concept that is the base of many theologies) and painting those of us who don’t agree with this view as atheists.  I am not an atheist or an agnostic.  I am, however, spiritual and believe that there are many different kinds of people and that religion is not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition.  I was raised Catholic and minored in Theology for my first degree, and believe first and foremost that the holiday season is a time of many religious celebrations and ALL should be given the same amount of respect and exposure.  For someone to threaten to withhold financial backing of a commercial event so that they can push their religious agenda to me is blind to the world around them. And to paint me with a brush of the wrong color is ignorant, at best.  (As an FYI, I will be celebrating Christmas at home with family and friends, and I do have a creche…and I will also be celebrating Hanukkah, Eid-al-Adha, and Kwanzaa with friends, and Diwali has already passed.)

Pfffttt!  I think someone needs to read Smith’s “The Religions of Man”.

And, I’m off the soapbox now…

It’s almost Halloween weekend, and if you don’t have your costume and plans yet, it’s not too late…you do have options!

Need a costume in a hurry?  Check out this list of shops for something that goes beyond the typical store bought varieties.

Friday night–I know I mentioned the boat burning at the Maritime Museum in a previous post, but it really is worth  checking out.  For $5 per person and kids under 12 FREE…well, this is a great family bargain.

Saturday is Halloween…and I’m sure everyone will be busy checking out the costumes on all the boys and ghouls that come a-knocking, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit more grown up, the Cinema Arts Center will be hosting a costume party and doling out a douple dollop of Vincent Price for $12 per person.

Sunday features a very special Live in the Lobby with the CD release party for Katie Pearlman.  $10 gets you in.

It’s time for me to sign off, so I’ll be back in just a few days with more great Cheap Dates…chat soon!

As promised, this edition is dedicated to all things Halloween-ie!  (I may include some gigs and such if I don’t run out of time while writing this…)

Ooooh, spooky…

I’m going to cheat a bit here and lift some info that is already out on another website…Long Island Haunted Houses is a site that lists, well, all the haunted houses here on LI (I’m talking about the ones with the actors here, not the ones that you’d find on Ghost Hunters).

Speaking of Ghost Hunters, there are a lot of people who really enjoy researching the paranormal…I get to hear many of the stories as I research folklore as a hobby.  Long Island Oddities has pages dedicated to the strange stories that are attributed to many abandoned or historic sites, as well as UFO sightings, the Montauk Project, and more.

Pumpkins, cornstalks, and more

There’s little I like better than dressing up my deck in the colors of the season.  Mums and astors, pumpkins and cornstalks…find them all here at Pick Your Own.

American Pie

Nothing says Fall like pie…and no one makes pies quite like Briermere Farms!  Take a road trip and pick up one of these delectable delights, and get your holiday orders in NOW!

A little this ‘n’ that

No party?  No problem!  There are still plenty of things to do on Halloween…just click here for a list!

Well, here come the students for tonight’s workshop…gotta run!  Have an event that should be here?  Email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com…chat soon, you kooky cats!

Another night covering the library.  I can’t complain…the money is good, it’s pretty easy work, and considering I came down with a killer cold this weekend and am just recovering now, I’m really grateful I’m not teaching tonight.  I’ve been home most of the weekend, enjoying my fireplace while nursing a glass of wine in my jammies and watching movies while having the cat shiatsu take care of my aching shoulders.  I’ve kept the lights out so my Peeping Tom can’t see too much (though he WAS in his underwear, sitting on his floor and looking in my window yet again Saturday night), and caught up on some much needed rest, so in another day or two, I will be back on the horse and ready to start living large on a tiny budget once more!

Hold me…I’m scared!

No kidding–I’m horrified!  Proclaimed to be one of the worst movies of all time, Troll 2 has developed a cult following and will be the featured film at this week’s Theatre of the Wild at the Cinema Arts Centre.  I just wish I wasn’t working late that night!

If you can’t make it Wednesday night, there are plenty of really bad horror flicks out there that are worth checking out!  Save yourself the Blockbuster fees and get yourself to your nearest library…believe it or not, many have a wide selection of movies available, and can do an ILL (inter-library loan) if you find that the movie you want is not at your branch.  My picks for some really fun bad movies:  look for anything by George Romero, Ed Wood, or produced in the 80’s.

Sing me a song…

It seems to be a quiet week gig-wise (however, that could be because certain musicians don’t post their gigs on their websites–come on, folks!  If you want to be seen, you have to update your sites!  If you are desperate and a complete luddite, start a blog…all you do is type, publish, and then email a link out to people so they can be kept up on your latest and greatest!  I REALLY should do a workshop on this sometime…) but the gigs I have found look really good–quality over quantity is always my preference!

This Thursday, catch a Miss Chris fave–Gathering Time is playing the Dine Huntington Outdoor Promenade…Wall Street, FREE!

This Friday, Tom Chapin performs at the Our Times Coffeehouse, 8PM, $15.  Also, Finch Mountain House Concerts features Terence Martin and Dan Bonis (with Ken Korb opening). For reservations and directions, call 631-661-1278. Potluck supper at 7PM followed by 8PM concert. $20 suggested donation per person.

This Saturday, catch Jenee Halstead and James O’Malley at the Hard Luck Cafe...$10 gets you in. Or catch the Rhythm Kings Acoustic Duo at one of my favorite places, the Grey Horse Tavern…

And rounding out the week on Sunday, University Cafe presents Willie Nile…don’t miss this show!  $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

(I’m really hoping my schedule lightens up again…my poor guitar has been relegated to a corner and has been untouched for the better part of a year now…I’d like to go back to taking lessons again!  However, methinks this time it won’t be with some 20 year old trying to teach me in the local music store where people who know me are walking around and making fun of me!)

Wine me, dine me…

…get yer mind out of the gutter!  And again, I must bitch and complain…why, oh, why are all the vineyards pricing their events way out of the budgets of most normal folk?  It really makes me crazy when I see event prices of $100 and up!  There’s a reason I only feature the same vineyards and wineries on this site again and again–they cater to the working class pocketbook.  I make a pretty decent living, and have been known to spend some serious coin on a wine if I feel it’s worth it.  However, I think I’m going to repost a link that’s been on this site before…Wine Spectator’s online courses are well reviewed and come in at well under the cost of tastings at most of the local vineyards.  Grab some friends, head on over to Swiftway for a few decent bottles, and make a night of it.

I’ve got an art on for you…

Okay…I KNOW it’s a really bad pun…but those who know me know I have a bawdy at best, and crude at worst sense of humor!  Sorry!  Anyhow, a couple of things worth checking out…the Heckscher Museum has a few new exhibits, and the Phoenix Gallery in Bellport just installed a new show this week…

All for now…next post will feature all things Halloweenie, so check back soon!  Have something that should be here?  Email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com…chat soon, you kooky cats!

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!