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So tonight I took Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy to Mickey Mantle Steakhouse in Bricktown. To cut right to the chase, it was a disaster of a dining experience.

Ratings (Key)

Overall: 1.50
Presentation: 0.75
Taste: 2.50
Service Quality: 1.00
Service Promptness: 1.25
Service Accuracy: 2.50
Menu Selection: 3.00
Menu Clarity: 2.75
Value: 1.50
Queer Friendly: 2.50
Hot Staff: 0.75

Lets be clear from the get go that this was not a date, Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy has a husband and despite the fact that I find him extremely attractive (which he knows) this is a friends night out and nothing more. I enjoy his company a lot and so I don’t mind spending a little money on him as one might spend on a boyfriend. Many people don’t understand the dynamics of the relationship and mistake it for, well, whatever. As he often points out, its hard to find a “complete package” of beauty and brains in Oklahoma City. While it was not a date, we do go to nice places and I do expect the same level of service I would expect on a date, after all, it’s not any cheaper because it isn’t a date and I expect to get alot of the same things out of it most people expect on a date, like the ability to talk one on one.

To put it bluntly, the atmosphere, presentation of the food, service and the arrival of the check made me want to vomit. For starters, the place bills itself as a top of the line steakhouse. Its nothing of the sort. Undoubtedly the most over-rated restaurant I have ever had the misfortune of dining in. I wound up leaving $170 on the table for a meal that wasn’t worth $70, this includes the customary tip of 20% which was left out of respect to my dining guest and my desire not to raise a stink right then and there not because it was earned. If I were dining alone, I would not only have not left a tip, but I would have left an address to mail the refund check to and I would have taken the manager back into the kitchen and shown him how to make food presentable before it hits the table.

The atmosphere reminds me of a nice Dennys on the good side of town. People sit right on top of you, so there is no privacy (which makes talking about blowjobs, anal sex and who has a nice penis over dinner and wine without offending neighboring tables difficult) and there is nothing in the place to buffer the sound, so its like sitting in an echo chamber. Here is a hint, fancy restaurant designers: people go to nice restaurants to relax, unwind and enjoy peace and quiet. They also go to talk to the person they are taking out to dinner, to enjoy their company and enjoy being with them. None of these was possible, and I often had to ask Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy to repeat himself, much to his annoyance. I couldn’t hear him over the clatter and roar of the restaurant. If I want to hear everyone yap about their lives, I can go to Applebees or TGI Friday and pay $40 for two including drinks.

The presentation of the food was awful, save the cheesecake which we both agreed was attractively presented. When it arrived, Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy remarked “Wow, I think this is the most attractive thing to come to the table yet”.  I had to agree. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have snapped a picture of it with my iPhone, because the presentation on the desert really was well done. Ironically, it was also the cheapest thing on the ticket and probably the only item not prepared in the restaurant.

His Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo was presented with a touch of class – with four shrimp set at compass points on the rim of the plate and the pasta piled in the center – but it still was not what you’d expect to have gotten for the price. It looked like an Olive Garden specialty. My Surf and Turf was just thrown on the plate with no particular attempt to make it attractive. Neither dish was garnished. Every chef knows that presentation is one of the most important aspects of the dining experience and they made little effort to do so much as throw some parsley at these dishes.

The service was for shit, I have gotten better service at sit down burger places. The server filled the drinks a total of three times, often left them unfilled for a long period of time. The server made an awkward show of reaching across my face and over my plate to remove my lobster tail from its shell without asking me if I’d like it de-shelled. Prior to that, some guy who was not even our waiter walked by and took my shrimp cocktail off the table without a word – and without noticing we were not done with it as there was still a jumbo shrimp clinging to the side. Before I could object after a moment of speechlessness and shock, he was already half way back to the kitchen. A few minutes later, he returned to apologize for taking it, saying he didn’t see the shrimp there and gave me the cocktail back. Never offered to make me another one, or asked me if I wanted it back.

This incident was probably the biggest screw-up of the evening here. Proper procedure in what is supposed to be a high-class restaurant dictates then when you fuck up and snatch someone’s food off their table and don’t realize they weren’t done until you get back to the wash pit, you don’t bring the same thing back to them without offering to make them a new one. First off, it was your error and the establishment should eat the cost. Second, you have just had your grubby little hands all over my food, to bring it back to me and suggest that I eat it is an insult. Finally, you took my food back to the wash pit. How unappetizing is it for you to bring me something from the trash can to consume? Give me a break. Never mind the fact that the kid clearly doesn’t know the first thing about waiting tables in a decent restaurant, if he did he would have asked before reaching to the middle of the table while we are talking to ask if we were done with that dish. Heck, the even do this at family restaurants!

Finally, we get to the bill. Before the check arrived, I asked Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy what the check would be. I wasn’t adding it up and my surf and turf was a  market price item, so the price wasn’t in the menu. He guessed about $80 and I concurred. I felt that was about what it was worth, sort of. When the check arrived for $141.75, we both exhaled at about the same time and said words to the effect of “no way, not worth it”. They charged $75.95 for my surf n turf, and I must say that while the lobster tail was good size, the turf portion of my dinner was barely larger than a business card. I don’t believe it was a 7 oz filet, even if that’s the precooked weight. We both agreed that it wasn’t a $75 plate. Of course, presentation goes along way to making a diner feel like they got a good value

The bottom line: Mickey Mantle is an overpriced steakhouse that touts its ritzy location on the Bricktown canal to the hilt, charges way too much for what they deliver and is extremely over rated. I don’t mind paying for quality, but when you are gonna stick a bill for $170 (including 20% tip) on my table over a diner for two that didn’t even include drinks (Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy rarely drinks), you had better be doing something doing something exceptional to earn your asking prices. At the very least, give me competent service from a wait staff that acts like they have worked in a world-class restaurant before. These hacks were a complete disgrace to the profession. Its clear that the management does not provide training and has terrible hiring procedures.

Now, lest this review find its way to the wait staff who served us this evening, I want them to know that I don’t blame them for the awful experience. I blame their boss. Its clear they were doing the best they could with what they were given. They were polite and caring, but are clearly just ignorant of the proper way to wait tables. The responsibility for that, my friends, rests solely with the management, as it is the management who is ultimately responsible for the performance of the wait staff or lack of it. Oklahoma’s Most Beautiful Boy owns several businesses and while I don’t always agree with his business decisions, there is one thing about his approach to business that is spot on and that is that management is always responsible for the success or failure of the business and satisfaction of the customers. Knowing that, he often chooses to manage everything himself rather than delegate that to anyone else.

The buck stops with the management, period. All failure or success in a business, regardless of who actually screwed up or did good, is a product of the management and therefore they are directly responsible for it. This is something that Mickey Mantle could apply to its business methods. Start taking responsibility for its staff and get them on par with other area restaurants, because this one is far below par to say the least.

I am printing a copy of this blog post (along with a cover letter) and mailing it to the owners of the restaurant with a copy of my receipt along with an address of where they can send me a refund check. The experience was that awful. I wouldn’t recommend Mickey Mantle Steakhouse if it was the last restaurant in Oklahoma City unless they had a dollar menu, because they don’t deliver much above fast-food levels of service.

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With most broadcasters and even cable networks putting their entire shows (and not just clips) online, one has to wonder if the television as we know it has not been rendered obsolete. From full length movies to an entire season of a television series, its possible to get pretty much everything online now. Of course, watching everything on a computer is not the most comfortable thing to do.  So perhaps televisions may do other things in our homes, like act as large monitors to display images from our computers.We know this is possible with the technology of today, in fact the center of most progressive home entertainment systems is now a powerful computer and not a home theatre box.

But has the idea of television as we know it – a device dedicated to displaying signals received either from a pay cable service or over the airwaves – become nothing more than a memory? I think we are getting closer to that day as companies with products like Netflix with its streaming on-demand TV and Apple with its iTV begin to offer ala carte content on an as needed, when needed basis. It started with the DVR, the ability to watch things when we wanted to watch them, not when some suit in a corporate office somewhere decided they would air. We are moving into a world when we can be entertained when we want, where we want and how we want.

Blackberry and Palm showed us a cellular phone could be more than just a phone. Apple with its iPhone showed us that a phone can be fun and productive at the same time. The possibilities are kind of exciting to think about. Next week, Apple is expected to announce the debut of a tablet computer. What kind of innovation will this bring about? Are we about to enter an era where the laptop becomes irrelevant?

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Most people who know me know I have a special place in my heart for Showtime’s Queer as Folk. It was a show that changed lives, my life for one. When I was a wee little boy in an Indiana home, I knew I was different. I didn’t understand it all, I just knew I didn’t like the icky girls like everyone else and not just because they were icky, either. Most kids have that phase, but I never outgrew it. I never was attracted to girls. While most boys have the “Eww, girls are icky!” phase, they usually don’t have a “Mmm, that guy is hot!” phase. So I always knew I was different, but I didn’t really understand it or what it meant.

My parents didn’t have cable, they were too cheap to subscribe to it. Grandma did though. Trips to Grandma’s house were to be looked forward to for that reason. Grandma has free cable – and not because she sent her grandson to the top of the pole to tap the line. When they were cabling the Midwest, the cable company needed to put a pole in Grandma’s yard. There is no easement where she is, so they had to get her permission. She refused to give it. They finally offered her free cable for life  and she consented to it. The deal allows her to have two movie channels, too. One of the networks she choose was Showtime.

So one fine evening, while getting ready to go to sleep I was channel surfing and found Queer as Folk on Showtime. Of course, like most, I watched for the sex but stayed because it was a fun show. Of course, it was the first time that I had ever encountered gay people in any format. For all I knew, I was a freak, a victim of some government experiment gone awry that had escaped the lab. QAF helped open the door for me to eventually come out and be a proud homosexual, proud of who I am, proud of what I am and proud of what I do.

So QAF has a special place in my heart. I have listened to all sorts of opinions on the show which range from breathtaking and revolutionary to accusations that it glorifies everything wrong with gay culture. For me, it will always be appreciated for the superior acting that it was and the celebration of gay life – as the actors say – warts and all. So today I have been watching the special DVD-feature for season five that ran before the last episode. Its the actors talking about what the series meant to them and how it affected them.

Take a watch: Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

So today I read a few QAF shooting scripts. Yes, I have them all in PDF – for every episode – saved to a thumb drive. Since I have lots of free time today, I decided to do absolutely nothing important. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite lines of dialogue I have run across in some of the scripts.

Brian Kinney: I don’t believe in love; I believe in fucking. It’s honest, it’s efficient. You get in and out with the maximum of pleasure and minimum of bullshit. Love is something straight people tell themselves they’re in so they can get laid, and then they end up hurting each other because it was all based on lies to begin with.

Debbie: Now, you’d better get out of here before me and my fag friends beat the living shit out of you!

Ben: Michael, we can’t tell him not to use drugs if we do it ourselves!
Michael: Of course we can! That’s what being a parent is all about!

Justin: I should have told you about him.
Brian Kinney: And taken all the fun out of it? So how big’s his dick?
Justin: That has nothing to do with it.
Brian Kinney: Since when? You love cock, you love it down your throat, you love it up your ass, you love riding it, and after you cum, you love to fall asleep when it’s still inside of you.

Brian Kinney: The first time you came here, you didn’t know anything about me. I could have done anything to you.
Justin: I was pretty sure you were gonna fuck me.

Michael: Well, if it isn’t Little Mary Sunshine.
Emmett: Little Mary Sunshine died. I’m Little Mary Go Fuck Yourself.

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… then set the Facebook page up right. Some of the events folks list on here are almost comical in the way they provide a complete lack of information as they beg for attendance. Good event flyers answer the five Ws: who, what, where, when and why.

Most Facebook event pages fail at least one of those. You’d think that since these events are often hosted by socialites, they’d know the proper way to setup events but I guess perhaps they need a little help from Keith, the friendly gay homosexual to get it right.

Tips for Successful Facebook Events:

  1. If you are holding an event at a church, recognize that while not everyone is not a church or religious person, they’ll still come out for a worthwhile cause even if the event is held in a church. So don’t get offended when I ask if there is going to be preaching or church service involved when you were too ignorant to provide a description of the activity to take place. Always provide a description of the event. This is best done by providing an itinerary. That way guests can decide for themselves if they feel comfortable with the level of religion.
  2. If your event is only open to certain people (like your secret handshake club, or members of a given group), then its not an open event. Set it up as such when you create the event in Facebook and invite only the people you want to attend. If you list an open event, don’t be surprised when people you don’t know (or do know but didn’t really want to see) show up.
  3. Indicate the type of dress you expect your attendees to have. Its embarrassing to ask “what should I wear?”, so take the discomfort away from your quests and answer the question before they have to ask it. Simply stating something like “come as you are”, “dress casually” or “dress to impress” is suitable.
  4. If there is a cost for attending or a donation requested, this would be a good place to state as much. Nobody likes financial surprises and some folks are not rich and yes, that $20 admission or “suggested donation” may be a hardship for them. Don’t put guests on the spot by surprising them with such things.
  5. Always, always, always provide the full street address of the location where the event is being held including the city, state and zip code! I cannot tell you how many events just have the name of the establishment, like “Bills Bar”. Where the hell is that? Don’t assume that just because its your favorite place to get tipsy, pray or whatever it is that you do there, that everyone else knows where it is.
  6. Always state who is responsible for organizing the event and their contact information, preferably a phone number so that they can be reached at the last minute even if they are away from Facebook or their e-mail. Who do guests call with questions? And this should be someone in charge, not the guy who will be cleaning up. There is no use in having someone who cant make any decisions play phone jockey.
  7. Be sure to tell everyone where to park. Its not always obvious. Don’t repeat the mistake of The Libertarian Party of Indiana, which failed to warn convention delegates that you could not park on certain streets in downtown Indianapolis after dark, resulting in cars getting towed. Nothing quite polishes off an evening of fun like getting your car impounded.

Following these tips will make your Facebook page a more effective tool for recruiting attendees to your event. So use them next time, everytime and watch your attendance soar.

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