Friday, September 02, 2005

Where the Bloody Marys Are Bad and the Karaoke is Badder

Last night we met a friend for drinks at this place on our side of town that's basically a bar masquerading as a Japanese restaurant. (We have a couple of those in town.) The food--even the sushi--is passable, but chiefly people seem to go there to a) get drunk and b) sing karaoke. Because yes, like many of the otherwise unassuming restaurants in town, Torii has a teeny little stage set up for your craptastic listening pleasure.

And craptastic it was. But let me back up a bit. A few weeks ago, Sam, a colleague of mine from my Welsh language group, was in town for a night. I picked him up from the train station on a Monday evening and conversation eventually rambled to the fact that not a hell of a lot of places are open in Modesto on a weekday night. "But," I said half-jokingly, "I can take you to the steak house with the cowboy karaoke." "Cowboy karaoke?" was his incredulous answer. For he found it difficult to believe that not only did "legitimate" restaurants such as Lyons offer karaoke, but that a large amount of the karaoke done in this town was to country music.

I should have told him that he'd lived in Menlo Park too long. Because, yes--as I'd found on a previous visit to Torii--people like to sing karaoke country songs. But they also like to sing bad 80s music and non-melodic aggro rock, too, the more off-key the better. Which brings me to our latest jaunt into the Modesto karaoke scene.

We'd met Nick there because it was conveniently located on our side of town and also had Japanese food. However, we forgot how likely it would be that we would be unable to hear ourselves think, let alone talk, over the deafeningly bad tunes being belted by the same three people who apparently suffered under the illusion that people wanted to hear them take the stage again and again and again. Oh. My. God. Some people just should not be allowed in front of a microphone. I almost thought about going up there just to clear the air, so to speak, with something sung on-tune for once. But instead, these two young, surely-not-drinking-age inebriated ladies took the stage and screeched out some terrible aggro song with heavy-handed lyrics about death and maiming. They capped it off with an immaturely overenthusiastic flinging of the microphone onto the ground, which earned them a public chastisement by the bartender. Then they left in a huff. A male friend illegally took an open beer bottle outside with him, which was angrily flung to the pavement after the restaurant owner told him he couldn't leave the premises with it.

Naturally, in order to put up with the continuously crappy crooning, I had a drink or two. For some odd reason I had a craving for a spicy bloody mary--I just can't resist that celery stick. But what I received appeared to be a glass of V8 with about a teaspoon of cayenne in it and some vodka. There were other things wrong with it as well:

  1. There was no celery. I really wanted the celery.
  2. There was, however, an olive. I hate olives. Especially the green ones. Guess which color this one was.
  3. There was also a piece of lime. LIME. In a bloody mary. Blech. You can put the lime in the coconut, but you CANNOT and SHOULD NOT put the lime in the V8.
  4. Plus the aforementioned lack of actual bloody mary mix.

So I drank about half of it before I got repulsed and switched to Corona. Now that, children, had a lime in it, and it was good.

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