Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fuzzy Math

I think I've been drunk for three days. And I'm down about a hundy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Coffin Nail #647

Williamsburg has been over so long it doesn't even matter, but the Gap putting out a pair of jeans in a "Williamsburg" cut is something that that horrible term 'jumping the shark' was coined for. I wonder what the Greenpoint will look like: covered in fake carpenter dust, acid-washed and smelling like Zywiec?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Darkest Before the Dawn

The dawn in this case being: VEGAS, Baby...I'm off tomorrow evening for 4 nights in Vegas at the Golden Nugget with many of my dearest, oldest and bestest friends from across America in attendance for Ms. Anne Miller's wedding.

The past two weeks have been harsh, so it truly couldn't come a better time. I always seem to get black this time of year, with winter taking me down with its final gasps of the season. Add a several-month romance finally going south after a few weeks of pretending it wasn't, and the continuing struggles to find new ways to deal with the reoccurring problems of being HUMAN (dammit!), beyond shutting it out with weed, have made the recent days no fun. That said, my friends have been amazing as I find a new way. I know that taking a few positive steps, including being a fascist about the musts of regular exercise, will pay off with a little time. And you gotta love the anxiety taking off any extra winter weight.

Let the sun shine in and let the gambling heal my wounds.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Horses and Cheetos: Two Great Tastes that Go Great Together

From Deadspin, someone is selling a Cheeto on Ebay that looks like a horse's head, claiming that the spirit of Barbaro is alive in his bag of snacks. Bidding is currently up to $46. Ten hours left.

I love when people see religious figures in untraditional forums, (called religious pareidolia) such as Mary of the Underpass in Chicago, or the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese that was bought for $28,000 by a online casino. And don't forget the acclaimed "Nun Bun" a now missing cinnamon bun showing the likeness of Mother Theresa. Although for the life of me, I cannot see her face in that bun.

Denis Leary Watch 2007

Rescue Me is back filming on my street today. No Leary sightings yet, but did see Tatum O'Neil, who plays Leary's drunkypants sister Maggie on the show, going into her trailer on the way to work.

Their craft services table was lame. Mealy tomatoes, wilted salad and boxes of cold cereal.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lips to Broadway

Who would've thunk while seeing the Lips in 1987 at the Top Hat in Newport complete with lasers, smoke machines and loads of drugs, that they'd ever have a show on Broadway?

From the article:
The show will be based on songs from the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and elsewhere in the Lips' catalogue. For a hint as to how the narrative will sashay around them, over to singer Wayne Coyne:

"There's the real world and then there's this fantastical world. This girl, the Yoshimi character, is dying of something. And these two guys are battling to come visit her in the hospital. And as one of the boyfriends envisions trying to save the girl, he enters this other dimension where Yoshimi is this Japanese warrior and the pink robots are an incarnation of her disease. It's almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that."

Which you have to admit is somewhat more imaginative than the plots of Mamma Mia or We Will Rock You.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I was eating some soup I got from a Jamaican place for lunch. It's pretty tasty, the broth is thick, there's some fatty dumplings, potatoes and some chewy stuff that I can't quite bite through.

Turns out it was foot cartiledge. Two chicken feet were at the bottom of the container. Bummer. Yuck.

Mars Needs Guitars

Had just arrived at the theater for Zodiac in the 42nd Street Cinemas (I like the big theater seats and it's on the 7 line for easy access to home) when I got a call from my lil' buddy Kappy asking if I wanted to come see the Hoodoo Gurus at BB King's at 9. Funny since 10 seconds earlier I had noticed when I was riding up the escalator that they were playing right across the street, and thought...

Hoodoo Gurus?? One of my favorite bands of 1986-87, when Shellie and I played Stoneage Romeos and Mars Needs Guitars about 2 million times? I didn't even know they were still together, much less touring.

Kaplan said they were amazing in a 30-minute set at SXSW over the weekend, and some quick research showed that they had been putting out records throughout the 90's, reformed in 2004 like all bands seem to do these days (remember when bands actually broke up, forever?) and were now touring the US for the first time in 13 years. Still huge apparently in Australia, regularly playing festivals with the Strokes and Metallica.

I had to cut out of the 2 hr and 40 minute Zodiac 20 minutes early but I knew how it ended (no, they never catch him - but I liked the movie, excellent cast. David Fincher's generally decent, and it was like a big episode of "Law and Order") and cross the street. We walked in just as they kicked off with "I Want You Back" and ran full-throttle through all the songs I wanted to hear: "Poison Pen", college radio staple "Bittersweet," "What's My Scene," and "Tojo" along with some of the music they put out in the last 15 years since I'd last heard them.

Overall: the old stuff is more rocking, the newer not as good, it was an old stock broker looking crowd, BB King's is a lame place to see a band, and hoards of fist-pumping, singing-along Aussie men are only entertaining for a max of 80 minutes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Paper Memories

I've been sorting through a few boxes of old letters and papers that I moved from my Mom's house when she moved in December. It's pretty wild how many letters I used to write and receive: phone calls were expensive then. My best friend Trish literally sent me three letters a week during my first year of college--and we were only living 45 miles apart. And there are letters from amazing friends who were my life and soul as a 17-year-old, but who have since disappeared with time, and growing up and apart.

My family sent me lots of mail: postcards from my brothers, letters from my grandma. During the first few months on my own in the fall of '86, my parents wrote me a few terrific, supportive letters. I've always claimed they didn't approve of anything I did, but maybe that came after I left Xavier, catholicism and my volleyball scholarship behind. One three-page tough love letter from my Dad that did nothing but encourage me to become everything I could possibly be simply dissolved me into tears.

I found papers from my first couple of boyfriend-types: one was the first ever musician in my life (and btw, thanks for starting that trend). His band, Rhino 39, played around Dayton covering "Rebel, Rebel" and R.E.M., along with some originals. He took me to the home of punk rock in Cincinnati, the infamous Jockey Club, and into a recording studio for the first times. Another boy was a short, blonde skateboarder who chased me forever, and covered his letters with the logos of hardcore bands and pictures he drew of our friends. And summer letters sent by the bass-playing classmate from Omaha I met during my first year at Xavier, but never confessed my huge crush on. He sent me 10 lovely, personal letters during the summer of '87, when we were both young, afraid and stupid. All of it makes me think about how much, and how little, I've changed in the past 20 years regarding such matters.

A couple stranger pieces of ephemera: I forgot that I used to write to bands I liked, for it was the only way to find out anything about them or hear their music. I have no memory of liking them nor a single album by the band, but apparently I wrote to the Sheffield, England-based Pulp in 1986. Jarvis Cocker wrote me back to send me tons of flyers and buttons along with a chatty letter. I also wrote to Drivin' n Cryin' right after Scarred but Smarter came out, and had a two letter correspondence with Kevn Kinney. I remember meeting him years later in Brooklyn when my friend Shanie was dating him, and possibly scaring him by telling him that I wrote him fan letters 15 years earlier.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Eatin' Out - Silent H

79 Berry St @ North 9th, Williamsburg
Located in the old home of the much beloved Oznot's Dish, or at least by those of us who sat at the bar there a lot because Meghan ran the joint for a couple years, I was thinking semi-schmancy Vietnamese in the 'Burg was going to suck wind.

I'm happy to say I was TOTALLY wrong. Although the decor is generic like a Holiday Inn bar, and the place seems so much smaller than when it was the mosaiced, high-ceiling and airy Oznot's, the food was absolutely great. Freshest goi cuon (unfried shrimps/pork/mint/sprouts roll) I've ever had--Vietnam included--and my thit kho (caramelized black peppercorn pork) was amazing: a huge chop served over rice with layers of flavor. Dish of the dinner for sure, for the sauteed lemon grass chicken paled in comparison although it was tasty, too. The place was packed on Friday night, but we sat at the bar and had helpful and friendly service from the owner and staff.

Three of us ate for under $60, and I loved the small bowl of longan they had on the bar, a delicious reminder of eating them freshly picked by the handful this summer in Vietnam. And I am very curious to try the Banh Mi they have on the lunch menu only from 12-4. What a fantastic addition to the often-mediocre food choices in Williamsburg. BYOB. PS: Please start delivering!

National League MVP?

Lots of buzz about Josh Hamilton, a backup outfielder for the Reds, who is batting 17 for 31 with a .541 average in spring training.

The 25 year old Hamilton was the #1 league pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, but was suspended the last 3 years from baseball due to ongoing drug problems and a serious crack habit. The Reds picked him up this year for $100,000 from the Cubs, who got him after Tampa Bay left him unprotected thinking no one would take him given his problematic history.

Could be the greatest pickup ever but we'll see.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Quote of the Weekend

Camille on hooking up with someone you just met:
I thought it was love at first sight...but it turns out it wasn't.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Like a Death in the Family

My internet and cable has been out at home for 2 days, and won't be fixed until NEXT THURSDAY. Geez, thanks for getting on that, Time Warner. Christ. I seriously am having an anxiety attack and now have to get all my internets in at work today. I had no idea what do with myself last night when I was chilling out at home. Listen to music and read a book? Quelle horreur!

Rocky Mountain High

I have a secret, long-time love for John Denver. When I was growing up, Back Home Again was one of my favorite albums, along with Poems, Prayer and Promises, and Rocky Mountain High. And Annie's Song? Still kills me. Romantic as all get out. So I'm glad to read that Colorado has voted in Rocky Mountain High as one of its official state songs, even if there is controversy about the implied pot smoking line in the song (“friends around the campfire, and everybody’s high").

The one time I went to Denver with my brother's family, I realized I had NO John Denver to listen to while driving around in Rocky Mountain National Park. I phoned up my friend and native Coloradan Lil' Susan (thus dubbed after a trip to Derby where there were two Susans) and she rush messengered me a CD containing 12 of John's greatest hits. Now that's a good friend.

Denver had a bit of drinking problem and you gotta figure that in 1972, dude was definitely getting high with some friends around some campfires, and not just on nature. And he talks about getting high in about 1/3 of his songs. But if Coloradans wish to claim different, I'm cool with that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Eatin' Out - Bliss

45-20 Skillman Avenue @ 46th Avenue, Sunnyside
When you walk in a place, tell them you want to order bottle of wine and they say "We don't have a wine list but I can tell you what we have." Then when a list is given of Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet as options but with no specs, you have to know that the meal is probably not going to be great.

Enough said about fine dining in Queens.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Music This Week

Checked out one of my regular favorites on Kaplan's roster, The Raveonettes, for the umpteenth time last night. This show was a little more special than their last sold-out night at Webster Hall, as the Danish duo played an acoustic show at Mercury Lounge. Not the usual wall of Jesus and Mary Chain-like sound, but still pretty damn good. This old dude came in and was chatting up Kaplan, so I said something like "Who's your grandpa?", assuming it must be some industry bigwig if he was at Mercury at 11:30 pm on Monday night. Turns out it was their producer, Richard Gottehrer, who has produced about a million people including Blondie, Richard Hell, The Go-Gos, and Link Wray; plus he wrote "I Want Candy." Alas, Kaplan couldn't tell me if he 1)had a girlfriend or 2)a house in the Hamptons that a said younger girlfriend would need to live in. And I went home before he did like a big granny.

I also find myself wondering why when W&G said "Let's go the Pogues on St Patrick's Day for Gina's 40th", I thought it was a good idea. Seriously, stuck on the floor at Roseland with 3,000 wasted people? I shudder to think how ugly it's going to be. But knowing my penchant for Micks, perhaps I'll make some some new special friends to squire around--I mean, once they get done punching each other out and bellowing Pogues songs. I suppose we'll have to try and one-up by going to Helen's first Saturday afternoon bartending shift at the Nest.

Friday, March 09, 2007

My Favorite Flavor

Highly underrated and perhaps not the most common flavor (although Mr. Softee has the sauce in the trucks for shakes and sundaes), what's not to like about butterscotch??

From the article in the Washington Post:
So exactly what is butterscotch? And how does it differ from caramel?

Caramel is simply white sugar that's heated until it begins to caramelize, or turn brown, explains pastry chef James Sinopoli, a culinary instructor at Stratford University in Falls Church. Butterscotch is created when caramelized sugar (most recipes today use brown sugar) is paired with butter. The two are cooked together until the sugar and fat react under heat (what chemists call the Maillard reaction) to create the browned flavor that is so rich and irresistible.

Bartender's Lament

Nice piece in today's Times written by someone who I must assume is a bartender at Sunny's in Red Hook.

The Never-Ending Story

Back in Montreal for 24 hours on an "emergency press check" for VMan. Jason flew up here Monday and Tuesday, and was only able to get half the book done due to a badly milled batch of paper that ink would not adhere to. So we cut down a bunch of paper normally used for V, moved it to another press, and I came up this morning like some print production superhero to save the day. Or whatever.

The real question in Montreal is: "Is he gay, or French-Canadian?". It's often hard to tell the two apart. The clincher here is that super straight dudes seem to wear a lot of cologne and hair gel. Even while in the printing plant.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Mix

Can't stop listening to Bob Dylan's NY Blood on the Tracks, Patty Griffin's "Moon Song," and two songs mentioning the apparently drug-ridden Bonnie Brae section of LA, Neko Case's "In California,"(this song is KILLING me right now) and The Twilight Singers "Bonnie Brae."

Currently reading Zadie Smith's On Beauty. Shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker prize, it follows a bi-racial family as it changes in both the UK and a fictional Massachusetts college town. As much I'd like to dismiss her simply to run contrary to overriding public opinions (example: Dave Eggers' output of crap-o-rama), she's such a great and funny writer that I'm enjoying it almost as much as I did her first, White Teeth.

Too Much L Word?

I had a dream last night I was making out with the latest subject of Louis Vuitton's ad campaign, Scarlett Johannson. WTF? 1)I don't even think Sco-Jo's that hot, 2)nor am I really into women, AND much less if I was to be into one, 3)it surely wouldn't be a blonde.

I gotta figure it was brought on by having to print too many ads with her recently, too much lesbian-related TV before bedtime or perhaps a new medication (anyone want some?) Weird. Whole new world.

Images This Morning

A Chinese man on the J train, inserting something brown and very mysterious from a small glass bottle with a colorful paper label into his nostrils on the way to work. A Hasidic man chasing his big round black hat, covered in snow, caught by the wind as it tumbles down Broadway under the subway tracks. A quiet, large-flaked snow falling on Calyer Street, nearly untouched by footprints and hushing Greenpoint in all the right ways as I shuffled through it, trying not to slip on my way to work.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Derby Trail

The first big race of the three-year-old 2007 season was run at Gulfstream on Saturday, with Todd Pletcher's Scat Daddy taking the field by a nose in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth over the favored Nobiz Like Showbiz.

It's a total crap shoot this time of year, with favorites coming and going weekly, injuries knocking out these babies instantly, and one bad performance relegating the colts down to the lower ranks of racing instead continuing on in their pursuit of a win on the first Saturday in May.

Predictions are tough at this point, but I currently like Circular Quay, Any Given Saturday, and Summer Doldrums. I always count on my goto squad in the trainer/jockey combination of Pletcher/Velazquez for winners. In fact, they are the only preseason lock-ins in my Derby Fantasy stable, The Newtown Creek Stables. PS: I came in about 9,032nd last year in this online competition.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Eatin' Out - Totonno's

1524 Neptune Ave@ 15th St, Coney Island
Often proclaimed as the "Best Pizza in New York", (and not just by the 10 millionth place called "John's") Totonno's is the real deal. No kidding, no bullshit, no grease, and no needing to fold the giant slice in half nonsense. Millicent and I took the dog out to Riis Park and stopped in to give this much touted brick oven pizza a try at its original location. Perfect crust (thin and crispy on the bottom but gently doughy on the edge and top), a smattering of not-too-sweet tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella topped with our one ingredient choice in pepperoni, all served up alongside cops having lunch; families catching up; plastic plates, and a wait staff that gives you a good pie along with Brooklyn attitude. They don't have to give you a smile -- their food speaks for itself.

Pert'near damn close to perfect. Often crowded, with no slices available but carry out is always an option. Order ahead for that Cyclones game.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Today in Brooklyn

It was warm enough that I was woken up by the tune from the Mr. Softee ice cream truck, cleaned out my planters and put in tulip bulbs in hopes that they may sprout in a few weeks, and Chuck the Mayor of Calyer Street was back holding court, with his winter gut hanging over his sweat pants as he asked me what I've been up to and promised me a bag of pills from his day gig.

I dropped off my rent check across the hall to my landlord, and again, got the sentence from one of her sons that seems to be their go-to phrase "Hey Sue. You'll have to forgive me, I'm kinda fucked up. I think I'm still drunk from last night." The other son walked with me down Franklin the other day on his way to his weed dealer. Nicest family in the world, but a passle of drunks, right down to Uncle George upstairs. At least I know they'll never come down on me or Meghan for any inadvertent late-night shenanigans.