Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Trip to the Lights? Fantastic!

Last year at this time, I posted a list of my three favorite places to see Christmas lights in the D/FW area. Last night, Halfling, Angie and I hit two of them--Spring Park and Deerfield--in about two hours. Thankfully, it was a "slow" night in both places, and most people kept their lights on way past ten o'clock.

The newest trend this year seems to be the multi-colored miniature lights; to me, they're only good in small doses, but some houses were redlining on the Overkill Meter in that department. Still, most of the houses were really done up nicely, and there were a lot fewer "Scrooges" (i.e. the houses that aren't lit up) than any of the past several years. (Granted, this is probably due at least in part to an improved economy. Perhaps in years past, people just couldn't afford the lavish decorations or the electricity to keep them going, or maybe the Scrooge houses were just unoccupied.) New to the Deerfield lineup this year was a hot chocolate stand at the end of one of the cul-de-sacs; it was the best of its kind that I'd had in quite some time (I bet they used real milk). Oh, and I think we saw only two displays featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, which was a good thing; the three of us are unanimous in our distaste for the square-trousered one.

Light-seeing is a major part of my holiday tradition, and it was great to have my best friend and his best girl along for the ride. Next week, when things calm down, we're going for Interlochen.

What a gas: Usually, gas prices go up during big holiday travel periods, but out here, it's going nowhere but down. The lowest price I've seen so far is $1.56 for regular at a RaceTrac on the Tollway; hope I can find something like that before I go out of town on Thursday.

Panda-monium: The list of eating choices in my part of town continues to grow; tonight I sampled the new Panda Express near Super Target. I've been to other locations many times, and the food is, and was tonight, quite tasty. It's a little more expensive than, say, Chick-Fil-A or Subway, but, like most Chinese food, it's quite filling. The only downside was that it was so new (opening yesterday, I think) that the huge construction dumpster hadn't been moved out of the parking lot yet. This ate about four parking spaces and made for rather close quarters in the spaces that remained; I almost got backed into twice on my way in. I don't know if this place is a school-day option or not (forgot to check the hours when I left), but it's a great addition to the local mix.

PLAYING THIS WEEK IN THE KEVMOBILE: Yellowjackets, Peace Round (Heads Up HUCD 3090) . As you can tell from a few recent posts, it's been 'Jacket weather in Kev-land. I was totally psyched when I found this CD at my first stop yesterday for a reasonable price. It served as our official "soundtrack" during the Spring Park visit last night, and it offers some really fresh interpretations of timeless holiday classics. Plus....it's got Mintzer; what more needs to be said? I'm happy to have this one in my holiday mix, which, just a few short years ago, consisted only of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and a Mannheim Steamroller CD (don't get me wrong, Vince Guaraldi is awesome, but the whole soundtrack barely tops thirty minutes). I also picked up a new Christmas CD by Dianne Reeves, one of my favorite female vocalists ever since I saw her live in college. I'll post a blurb about that one after I've heard the whole thing.

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