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Well, let's see:

On Thursday, when I got home from work (around 5ish), I'd headed upstairs to chill on the computer for a while, then hopped in the shower and got changed and ready to head out around 8:30-ish.

I went out to the Wheat Road Tavern about 9:15ish or so and when I got there Terri and Marni were already there. Apparently, some things had changed since the old days (it's been at least a year (April 2002) since I'd been to karaoke and probably close to another year since I'd been out to karaoke as a patron not as a host and had the chance to sing at Doug's show). The kitchen now closes at 10pm (which I think is kind of odd...they used to stay open at least until about midnight with the bar calling last call at 1am). I got a cheeseburger, Terri got clams casino (which looked wonderful) and Marni got a club sandwich.

We started putting our songs in, but since we were pretty much the only singers, Doug didn't start calling people up until about 10:30/10:45 or so...(when two other guys showed up and started putting songs in).

We still only got three rotations in cause we did two rotations, then he played music for another little while before starting the third rotation. I dunno. I don't think I like that. Next time, we're going to try to bring a whole big gang with us, so we can ALL get to sing more throughout the night (we may shoot for a Wednesday night with Russ Chappius at the Bridgewater Pub).

I guess it was okay...I did three songs: "On the Dark Side" (from "Eddie and the Cruisers"), "867-5309 (Jenny)", and "Drops of Jupiter"...
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For Third Friday, I was going to be accompanied by my friend, Irene, and her two young daughters. However, it was POURING. We decided that we would, instead, do lunch this afternoon so we can still get the chance to see each other while she's home. I decided I wouldn't let the rain ruin my night and I headed out anyway.

I grabbed my umbrella and went out into this horrible downpour (if this weather keeps up, I'm thinking we may be seeing Noah go by soon in the arc...this is really getting ridiculous. We live in SOUTH JERSEY not SEATTLE!).

Anyway, I get to High Street and I find a space near "...In Progress" studio, since that's where I intend to end my night.

I walk down to Wind Chimes Book Exchange and I shopped for a little bit, but I didn't end up picking anything up for a change (nothing really jumped off the shelf at me this month).

From there, I headed into the Fath Building to see the stuff at the Tawes. I got to chat a little with Mary Wijsmuller and Don Shaw who were there. While I felt bad that the weather was keeping a lot of people away, I selfishly enjoyed it 'cause I sometimes don't like to stay in the little galleries when they get crowded. I got the chance to look at a lot of great stuff there (and there are some great affordable pieces at the Tawes). I grabbed a couple little ham and cheese sandwiches and some dried fruit trail mix while milling about at the Tawes.

I then headed down to the RRCA building (figuring I can save the other stuff I skipped on the way for the walk BACK). It was QUITE crowded HERE. I grabbed a little sub sandwich slice and some little chocolate things (don't know where they were from, but they were lovely). I also saw some great stuff on display here that I really liked. When I'd gotten into the smaller gallery here, there started a hideous wailing that sounded like cats f****ing out in the hall. Apparently, there was a group of children giving a string concert. Such a cacophony is not meant for human ears in such small quarters. I quickly hightailed it out of there!

I went into the Clay college and they had a pair of musicians playing there. The singer was very attractive. He looked to be Samoan or Hawaiian. He wore a muscle shirt (and had a right to). I bumped into Claire Riley here and we chatted. She's doing something kind of fun in her neighborhood in Millville. She's begun to leave an envelope out near her mailbox labeled "Free Poetry - Take One" and puts about 25 copies of different poems in there (that she's found either in different literature books or on the internet...various classics, etc.) and has been excited to see that the neighborhood kids/teens have been reading them voraciously. I guess it's better when you aren't FORCED to read (in a classroom atmosphere). Apparently the kids are LOVING it. I told her that she should gradually put more copies out every week and see just HOW MANY actually go. I definitely need to tell her about bookcrossing.com...I don't know why I didn't think of that...

Anyway, I crossed the street and stopped into Edible Art (the stuff in here is really beautiful pastries and such). I grabbed a pair of turnovers, which I'm going to consume when I get downstairs after writing this. One cherry and one lemon...yum!

I then decided it was time to put my package back into my car and go upstairs to Rita's. I wasn't sure what food she'd put out and was thinking that I might go downstairs and order some Chinese or a slice of pizza or something. I didn't have to.

Similarly to last month, Rita put out a selection of comfort foods to help us reach our inner child. There were chips/pretzels/cheese doodles/cookies. There was bread with peanut butter/jelly/marshmellow fluff for self serve sandwiches. There was a pot of Spaghetti-O's warm on the oven. For beverages, we had Hi-C juice boxes (Blueberry, Grape or Fruit Punch) in addition to a selection of wine. I made myself a bowl of Spaghetti-O's and sat down to make some trading cards. I was happily surprised to find Terri and R.J. Garvey were already there.

Later on in the evening, we were joined by Joey Sales, Josh Gonzalez and Frank Cerione. They were actually only there to pick up something from Terri's shop, but Terri had stepped out. While they were waiting for her, they decided that "while in Rome.." so they joined us at the table making cards. I happily have a very nice one by Joey.

At about 10:30, R.J. and I headed out. I went to the Wa-Wa and grabbed some gas and we began a drive down to the Hamilton Mall. We didn't really need to be there (Paul has already ordered his copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), but we just had to see the frenzy. We got to Border's at Hamilton Mall about 11:40 or so and EVERY single space at the Borders, at the Applebee's and at the Chili's were taken, so we had to park at the regular mall parking lot and walk. It was a madhouse. There were TONS of people there. It was crazy. You could barely move through the aisles for all of the people who were there to get their hands on Harry. Many were dressed in witch's robes. One rather large gentleman was dressed up as Hagrid...the crowd swarmed around the workers as they began to bring the boxes of books out to the front counter at around 11:45 or so (they wouldn't open them and begin selling until after midnight). The lines started forming and they swirled all throughout the front of the store. When we walked to the front of the store to get a better look, we both started to get a little wigged out by the crowds so we left. However, we were both happy to see this much excitement being generated not over a pop star but a BOOK! All of these people were here because they were genuinely excited for the opportunity to have something to READ!

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