Tag Archives: starbucks

Self-Sacrifice For The Greater Good. Yours.

For inexplicable reasons, my friends Monsieur Shinn and his wife turned into American Idol fans last season. The rabid kind. The glued to the little screen ones who won’t go out three nights a week for fear of missing something idolly earth-shattering. I believe they may even have voted once or twice, not that they would ever cop to that. Sigh.

Last week, the Shinns informed me the AI try-outs would take place on the 26th in Arlington at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. My interest was purely photographic, of course, as I have been known to kill wee animals when I attempt to sing anything. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to capture the madness. For you. My faithful readers whom I’ve neglected lately because of a cute French man. Who could blame me?

I thought about planting a small tent in the stadium parking lot the night before, hanging out, being down with the peeps, roasting s’mores on a makeshift fire, and bursting into spontaneous Thriller choreographies with the kids. However I do not own a small tent (nor a big one.) My idea of camping generally involves a chalet and room service. And, let’s be honest, all these pretenders to the throne are artists, bohemians if you will, and probably not proper company. So scratch that.

I woke up early instead. A few unexpected events foiled my initial plan to arrive at the Stadium well before 7 am and photograph the mad crowd: a half hour struggle with the snooze button, the absence of Starbucks coffee dripping down my veins, and the fact that Arlington had decided, since the last time I was there, to add 1) a new street with a stupid name right where I was supposed to veer off the highway, and 2) a new stadium. In close to 20 years in Texas, I have yet to set foot in a stadium. My ignorance showed. I ended up at the Ballpark, the baseball stadium, instead of the football stadium. After realizing the error of my ways, locating the right stadium, and taking 15 minutes to find an illegal spot to park, I realized with great dismay the 10,000 hopefuls had already vanished in the confines of the new shiny building.

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All that was left for me to photograph was the lazy ones, those with not enough drive to get at the audition on time like the other 10,000.

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Some looked just too cool to care about the time.

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Some looked like bad reincarnations of the Village People

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Some brought home-made paraphernalia

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Others, their good-luck tattoos, some of which looked… original and frightening at the same time:

AI_007Kinda looks like me when my brother shoots my portrait!

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Even scarier than the above-referenced tattoo, Heather Elmer, 27, who has already auditioned SEVEN times (some folks do not know when to call it quits), and was going to sing… Yeah, that’s right. Over the friggin’ Rainbow. Incidentally, she made it to the next round. How creepy is that?

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And oh surprise, reporting for the TV Guide Network, Alexis Grace who finished 11th last season. She is minuscule.

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Here she is, interviewing Jason Castro’s brother, Michael. For all of you non-Idol initiated, Jason was a semi-finalist on Season 7, and Michael got eliminated at Hollywood’s final round of Season 8. Was Michael going to audition again? I have no idea! I did not ask. I’m a crappy reporter. I’ll have to ask the Shinns next Season.

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While all of this exciting stuff was going on, Pat was chilling. Numerous were the peeps who did not know they could have registered to enter the stadium as supporters. Pat was waiting for her granddaughter. 7:30 am. A forecast of 100 degrees for the day. The auditions concluded at 6 pm. I hope she found a way to stay cool.

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This girl got the cooling part down pat, sending herself to oblivion.

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Some, like this lady, had brought their own sitting apparatus. 10 hours of wait. I would have brought a damn sofa. And fluffy pillows.

Not auditioning but making a lot of noise anyway, a bunch of youths with ‘tudes:

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The kids and not so kids were part of a new step ensemble, managed by a savvy business chick (mommawonder, I suppose) who immediately made them pose with the banner displaying her contact number. I need an agent like that.

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The band was led by a tough cookie, a small girl who, I’m sure, could kick my butt in one minute tops.

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I hung out a bit, being all hip and stuff

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The boy with the light colored shirt up front is Dominic who speaks French. Salut Dominic!!!!

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DJ Wild Hair (on the right) was in da house (see how I’m down with it?)

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And there were also very menacing looking men (who were actually the sweetest kids ever and who posed for me forever – we were having a swell time!) But a hot time too! Too hot for comfort. Time for me to head home but not before snooping a bit and taking a photograph of the $1.15 billion Stadium.

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This is what a $1.15 billion stadium looks like. Some call it “Six Flags over Jerry” (that’s Jerry Jones, the footballers owner. Even I know that!) The City of Arlington participated to the tune of $325 million. Personally in my own opinion, I think that I would have insisted for the Cowboys to be re-baptized Arlington Cowboys had I been the City of Arlington. To thank them for the $325 million, the new Stadium will only charge the honorable citizens of Arlington and others $40… for parking at major events. That’s $40 for a parking spot. Let’s say you decided to attend the U2 concert on Oct. 12. The ticket in the nosebleed section would cost you $30.00. Parking: $40.00. In other words, it would be more expensive for you to park your car than to attend the concert. Mmhmm…

I continued snooping around and guess who suddenly appeared in my line of vision?

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That’s right! The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, all decked out with their sparkly pompoms, their wholesome cleavage, and their almost non-existing shorts!

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They were being filmed saying something very intellectual like “Texas is hotter!”

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A dude snooping next to me screamed at them: “I thought you’d be taller!” I turned to him and told him “I’m sure they thought you’d be slimmer!” That silenced him. Don’t you be rude to my sistas! Anyway, this did not excite me much but I thought that, after depriving my readers from Miami models, I owed them the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. It was time to hit the road and find the closest Starbucks. I felt I deserved a extra humongous  latte. After all, the snooze button could have totally won…

South Breach

Standing on the sidewalk, he crumbles his Starbucks paper bag into a compact ball and throws it in the air.

“Wherever the wind blows us” he says to his companion. The ball lands smack in the middle of the street.

“That way!” he says. They begin to cross the street.

“Excuse me! How about the wind blows you towards the beach instead, eh? Like that I could take cool pictures. What do you say? Yes? Please, pretty please?” Well, obviously I can’t let these two escape without at least trying. I had been eying them for the last half hour on the Starbucks patio, building up the courage to talk to them.

bsobe3_0401Villte and Brother Ra

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vsobe3_037Listening to the music of the wind playing the pan flute

Villte was on her way to Peru. I assumed she was hitchhiking her way there but modern hippie chicks take the plane nowadays. Brother Ra… Well, I’m not exactly sure what he was doing in South Beach. An artist from DC (link), he seemed strangely out of place among the rest of us, non-dreadlocked tourists. Still, I can’t imagine Haile Selassie hanging out at Starbucks, eating coffee cake…

The Starbucks Dog-Thru

On my first morning in South Beach, I googled Starbucks locations on my iPhone (how anyone lives without one of these is beyond me) and I walked around the block to the nearest venerable institution. If you overlook the palm trees and the sun darting lovely rays on the large patio, it looked just like mine. I ordered my regular venti non fat latte with whole milk foam (a compromise latte of sorts), paid a dollar more than usual  for palm tree maintenance, no doubt, and sat on the terrace among the indigenous population and an unusually large number of dogs .

Not one minute after I deployed my stuff on the table (I never travel light even to Starbucks), a guy sitting nearby introduced himself , his friends, and all their pooches. Two minutes later, he was cracking a mildly tasteless joke – something about “hands-on work” (sigh), 5 minutes later he was informing me that his life revolved around making money and making love, and 15 minutes later, I had a new Starbucks family to come home to every morning. Voila!

sobe2_029Bob, Brian, Rich, and Meryl

I was settling in amidst the new compadres when a young guy walked up to the group and asked:

“Hey, can I borrow one of your dogs?”

Now, I thought that sounded a bit strange… until I saw the guy with the borrowed canine walk to the end of the patio, knock on the window which opened 5 seconds later, and get his drink almost immediately… as well as a cookie for the dog. The man had effectively bypassed a very long line of people waiting inside the store.

In light of the dog-thru, several facts appeared under a brand new prism of perception: the reason why so many people brought their dogs to Starbucks, and also the reason why so many dogs seemed so well fed.

In South Beach, if you like coffee and instant gratification, you must own a dog. Here are a few of these lovely Starbucks accessories:

sobe1_066Bentley (no Mike, this is not a Jack Russell! Or if she is, she must have eaten a copious amount of genetically modified dog food!)

sobe1_077Bob’s pooch, Malibu

sobe3_024Rich’s Zeta

sobe3_021Kenneth’s and Tom’s lovely Doberman Diesel

sobe3_028Branching out… A non-Starbucks dog on a wall

sobe3_032A very touching Basset Hound

sobe3_033The back of said Basset Hound… in precarious equilibrium

sobe2_040Yorkie transportation on Ocean Drive

And to end my Starbucks post which I segwayed into being about South Beach dogs, the Oscar goes to Alvaro and…

sobe2_025Alvaro’s seven Italian Greyhounds.

Even the dogs are Italian around here!

note to Razz: non Monsieur, don’t you dare sermon me about going to Starbucks in the land of Cuban coffee – after an incursion in Little Havanna and seven Cuban coffees later, I was unable to sleep for a very very long time.

Starbucks

Not everybody owns a large collection of Starbucks barrist-art cups.

I might be the only collector in the world.

Drinking a lot of coffee is a pre-requisite for a large collection.

note: Barrista artists are not barris-tarts.

double note: do they have Tsarbucks in Russia?