As a child of the 90’s, the flats and sharps of the 8-bit constrained NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) still ring as music to my ears. Like many Gen Y’ers, my afternoons, evenings, and then some would be consumed by endless marathons of Zelda, Mega-Man, and Super Mario Brothers. Unlike modern era game consoles, the archaic technology of the 1990’s didn’t contain memory cards or storable disk space used to save game progress, thus any effort to elevate myself to king of the cul-de-sac by beating one of these games had to be accomplished in a single sitting.

To my chagrin, I never accomplished such a feat in the presence of one of my childhood buddies. Alas, I was never able to prove my dominance in the realm of video-gaming.

As a grown up (I just shivered and slightly threw up at that thought) my gaming has dwindled, sadly, even though I did my fair share of pwning noobs in Halo during college. My leisure time is now consumed with far more worthy and productive tasks like playing Words With Friends or Angry Birds…. no, that’s not true either, and I have 7 moves in WWF awaiting me to prove that I’m practically living without leisure time.

I mean, if I can’t pool a few minutes together each day to battle with my scrabble nemeses, what can I do?

If you are reading this post, you are likely one of the select few to be part of an enviable group: my loyal readers and friends. And undoubtedly, you have noticed my absence from the world of social media as of recent. Like an addict’s insufferable challenge to kick the habit, your anguish has only increased with each passing day without so much as a blog comment or cheery little tweet from yours truly. If these words feel like a soothing blanket of tranquility easing your anxiousness at my return, do not be startled, it is only natural to feel that way. I have that effect on people. And for me, it is flattering. Oh how I kid….

To be honest, each day away from all of you is an abominable offense, and I miss you guys dearly. However, unlike past situations when I worked myself beyond the point of selfabnegation, starving myself of JAMEY TIME… you know relaxation, an occasional adult beverage, and the pleasure that comes from being, this absence, this period of exhaustion is met with smiles, laughter and a positive disposition in place of grimaces, headaches, and pessimism.

For the past three weeks, I’ve taken part in the opening of Avondale’s Mellow Mushroom (Charleston, SC), and whoa… what an experience. Have you stood on your feet for 50+ hours per week for 3 weeks running? Although my knees are weak, thighs are sore, and feet… well I can hardly feel them anymore, the physical ailments are completely overshadowed by the tremendous success and joy that has come from this opening. When I haven’t been serving delicious stone baked pizzas or craft draft beers, I’ve kicked back to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I’ve stayed out late, drank too many cocktails, and hob knobbed with our neighborhood’s restauranteurs and patrons alike.

It was sitting around the bar after closing a few nights ago when our conversation naturally segued (I emphasize “naturally” because nothing we talk about surprises me anymore, no matter how random) from roller skating to Super Mario Brothers that a friend postulated that if he had Mario’s ability to Toot on a Warp Whistle (see right) — the kind of whistle that allows Mario (the player)  to warp into different worlds (advance further in the game by skipping levels) — he would skip forward until mid-summer when the rush and accompanying stress and exhaustion of the restaurant’s opening had passed. Momentarily, I wanted to lust after such a fantasy, too, but as I slipped further into an intoxicated fog brought forth by the wonderful brewers of Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon, I realized that this was not a moment to rush through. This is a stage worth celebrating to its fullest. I would not warp ahead, rather I’d enjoy my lethargic legs, mild sleep deprivation and periodic overindulgence of the sweet nectar’s of distillers and brewers.

Don’t get me wrong, I would use the Warp Whistle

One of the most spectacular sunrises I've ever seen

I would just play that magical flute with more judicious intentions. If I had the power to instantaneously travel through time or across great geographic distances, I would choose rather to stop time and situate my hind side in Riomaggiore, a small town on the northwest coast of Italy. There I would spend as much time as I could drinking red wine, eating fresh, organic foods, and writing, chiefly for this blog and to impart my smart little quips all about the blogosphere, all the while replenishing portions of my soul that have been loaned to the multitudes of roles that I currently play in life.

Can you blame me for wanting to go back to this place?

So it is to you, where would you go if you had the power of a warp whistle? Pictures and links are encouraged!!


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  • Brenda Lynn

    I read this very early this morning as I was battling insomia, once again. I have been thinking about it ever since, when I have had a minute…will get back with you on this. Off this evening to watch my 6 y.o. play softball, there will be 4 generations of us there, my daddy, myself, my daughter & her 3 girls there. Good times with the family.

    Brenda Lynn

    • James D. Burrell II

      Brenda, 4 generations? That sounds like a time to be cherished. Hope your team won!!

      Take care,


  • Susan

    Insane. I can’t wait to get traveling again…

    • James D. Burrell II

      Susan, that certainly makes 2 of us. Hope you’re doing well!