Ashlee Simpson – No Show

“Ashlee Simpson Is Dead To Me.” Those were Steffie’s words tonight. Ashlee was scheduled to appear at Foxwoods’, Fox Theater.

Why Steffie would want to see Ashlee is a totally unanswerable question. But she did, and she couldn’t have picked a better venue to see her than the Fox. It’s beautiful, comfortable, has great sight lines and acoustics.

Helaine and I planned on taking Steffie and a friend to dinner, then dropping them at the theater while we pursued more adult pastimes. We left the house about 3:10 PM.

At 3:21 PM an email came for Helaine.

Hello Ms. Fox,

Just wanted to inform you the Ashlee Simpson Show in the Fox Theater has canceled for this Monday, July 3, 2006.

OK, we were already gone, but it’s the thought that counts. Can someone tell the airlines how to do that?

As I pulled the car in, the valet asked if I was going to see Ashlee? No, but my daughter was. “Canceled,” he said. We headed to the box office to confirm what we had been told.

Well, at least dinner was good. We ate at Al Dente, the nice Italian restaurant. I had linguine with clams, which was great. Desert was the real killer – Sicilian Taco.

Almond Nougat Shells Filled with White Chocolate Mousse, Mixed Berries and Shaved Chocolate

Somewhere in the world there is a richer, more tasty dessert… but it has to be against the law.

With no show, Stef and her friend Sam decided to walk and people watch. Helaine headed for parts unknown, while I went downstairs to the poker room.

This is now the third or fourth poker room location since Foxwoods opened. It’s in the basement! That being said, it’s pretty airy and thankfully smoke free. It very well may be the largest poker room in the world.

Instead of sitting at a ‘ring’ game, I bought into a ‘sit and go’ tournament, like I play online. I like the idea that my monetary commitment is fixed at the beginning. Unlike the games I play at home, pajamas are not allowed.

The games are played with 10 at a table. I came in tenth! It took a few minutes – poof I was gone.

A fluke, I figured. So I bought in for another. This time it went much better.

I hit a lucky hand early, but the rest was just good playing. I’m not always happy with how I play, but I was tonight. When the smoke cleared, I was the last man standing. I had doubled my investment for the two tournaments.

Before the game was over, while it was just me and a nice guy from Wolcott playing, Helaine came by. I like that. All the guys in the poker room look jealously at me, because Helaine is quite the babe.

While she was sitting, and as the game was in its final throes, a buzz came through the casino. James Woods, big time actor and big time poker player was there!

They even made an announcement on the PA that James was entered in a ‘sit and go’ (much higher buy-in than my game) and they were looking for more folks to play.

I asked nicely and then took his photo. He seemed pretty unassuming and was quite gracious when I asked.

We met up with Stef and Sam. They had spent much of the evening sitting near the box office. People with young kids would walk up, hear the news… and then you’d hear the kids cry. It happened more than once.

I often wonder if that enters performers minds before they cancel?

Ever Been Followed Into The Men’s Room? I Have!

This story starts a long time ago – nearly twenty years ago. Helaine was pregnant with Stefanie. It was fall, as I remember, and we were on our way to the North Haven Fair.

We wanted dinner, so we stopped at Danny’s on Route 5 near I-91. I’m not sure if it’s still called Danny’s, but it was a nice family style Italian restaurant.

We were seated, ordered, and then I got up to go to the men’s room.

So, there I am, in the men’s room, standing (as men do), when in walked two small kids. “Are you Geoff Fox,” they wanted to know?

OK – that’s the weirdest place I’ve ever been asked. And, as far as I know, the only time I’d ever been followed into the men’s room.

It’s a good story, and I retell it from time-to-time. In fact, I told it to Steffie last week.

Flash forward to this week – Tuesday night, to be specific. I’m again out to dinner, this time with two co-workers from the station. A nicely dressed man walked up to me and asked, “Do you remember Danny’s in North Haven?”

“Uh… yeah.”

It was the guy whose sons had followed me to the men’s room! He had pictures. They’ve grown. Both are in the Air Force – one a pilot the other a navigator.

Here’s the strange part. He said he and his family had told the story recently too!

50 First Dates

Steffie went out with friends tonight, leaving Helaine and me the opportunity to go on a date. OK – maybe date is an overstatement, but we went out.

First it was dinner at our local, family run, Italian restaurant. We love this place. The food is very good. But, even more, we feel like we’re part of their family. And, it really is a family place with parents, children and spouses working in the kitchen or at the tables.

Being on The South Beach Diet (which within this first week seems very much like Atkins), an Italian restaurant is normally a bad choice. Over time, on and off diets, they’ve grown used to me and prepare something close to, but not quite from, the menu. Tonight, the chicken, Parmesan cheese and spinach were just right.

There’s not much playing at the movies right now that appealed to us, so it was off to 50 First Dates. We’d seen Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer – a movie where their charisma outweighed a stupid script. They were enjoyable and we were hoping they’d be just that again.

We got to the theater in plenty of time, but I wanted coffee… and they had none. I am about to give in to the fact that I’m addicted to caffeine. There’s a Barnes and Noble, with Starbucks inside, about a block away. As Helaine got two seats, I walked over. Their coffee is much too strong and bitter for my taste. That’s how I know I’m addicted. I drank it all.

The premise of the movie is a reach, at best. I’ve heard it compared to Groundhog Day, but I don’t think the comparison is in order. Drew Barrymore, having suffered a car accident, only has one day of short term memory. So, as she wakes up each day, it’s the day of the accident.

The problem with the script is, she is forced to be more savvy about her situation than she could be if starting from scratch every day. It really doesn’t make any difference. The success of the movie, and it is a success, is totally based on the two principals. I’m not a fan of either, yet together they’re great. We probably don’t have Doris Day and Rock Hudson here, but what we do have is a couple who are fun to be with.

Now, an admission. Throughout the movie, filmed mostly in Hawaii, are native Hawaiians. Sandler’s movie ‘best buddy’ was a Hawaiin… or so I thought. It was actually Rob Schneider. If Helaine wouldn’t have told me, I would have never known.

Actually, if I would have known, I’d have been a lot less likely to go.

Also in the movie, in a small role, is Dan Akroyd. He’s good, but what’s he doing here? Does he need the work that badly? Shouldn’t he be taking larger roles?

Also seen, and in a truly minuscule role, Maya Rudolph from Saturday Night Live. I’m a big fan of hers, but Hawaii sure seems like a long flight for so little screen time. This was a nothing role – a shame.