Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cutting Edge

Time Out New York boldly declares Greenpoint "the Next Next Hot Neighborhood" on their cover this week. Uh, thanks.

My favorite thing is that Cheaters, the new Irish place, Van Gogh's and Lulu's or whatever it's called now i.e 75% of the places in the hood are left off the list of bars. The crowds on weekends down on that illustrious corner of Franklin and Greenpoint are pretty nuts these days anyway, so suppose that's not a bad thing. Whatevs. Sick of these kind of articles.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My Other New Hobby

While I'm talking all this shite about making cheese in my kitchen under the guise of the newly-named Newtown Creek Farms label, I've found another hobby that will go hand-in-hand with that. Fresh eggs plus cockfighting for fun and enjoyment on Sunday afternoons.
Farms have chickens, right? Although a friend just told me he would no longer speak to me if I get chickens for the backyard, and has to describe me as "You know, the one with the chickens."

...Cripes, just read the chicken directions. Even I am not that insane to try it out.

The word 'hobby' is strange. It makes me feel like I should do some hooked rugs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


And the living is eeeeeeasy.... I never get tired of that song, especially Billie Holiday's version, and it was playing in my head since the start of this 4-day Memorial Day weekend. It's been (almost) all good things in the last week, and with much to do, who wants to sit inside and blog??

Things that made me happy: a "personal day" on Friday after not wanting to come home on Thursday night; driving in the hot summer sun with sunroof open; vodka, lime and sodas; oysters with smart ladies at happy hour; a bolstering, kind, and hassle-free booty call; folks stopping by for cocktails on the veranda; Sunday AM coffee klatsch on the veranda; the gottdamn veranda in general; baseball; hitting Bloomingdale's with a new credit card; the first day of the season and 75th anniversary of Riis Beach; a date with a fella who just dished out the compliments; a birthday party (groaningly turned too lengthy) locals-only night out; the baby pool filled up again at TQH; and M. and I both hitting trifectas on Met Mile day at Belmont, allowing us to come home solid winners.

Although this is the first summer in five that I won't be renting at my beloved Shelter Island, I have rediscovered that summer in the city soothes my spirit, ups the energy, improves my appearance, and quiets the discontent. I'm surely crowing and clanging a bit, but it is nice to be back.

No Longer Filling in the Blank

Charles Nelson Reilly, star of the brilliant Match Game shows of the 70s has died. Obit says he never hid his homosexuality; but I feel like a total dumbass, like I did when I suddenly realized the Village People were gay when I was about 12. How did I not know this? The pipe and the cravat should have been dead giveaways.

Whatever. He + Brett Somers + a half in the bag Richard Dawson = pure comic genius. And still viewable on The Game Show Network.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Open Space

The East River State Park down on Kent btw N 7th and N 9th is finally going to open this weekend. Will be nice to have some green space along the riverfront. Very midwest like. And can't wait for the soccer players to kill all the grass and wildflowers. Now could someone please put in a sand volleyball court??

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Taxis Going Hybrid by 2012

I oddly enough don't have a strong opinion about Mayor Bloomberg one way or the other, but you certainly can't fault him for his measures in taking baby steps toward a healthier, greener city. And smoking friends, I'll admit it: I love smoke-free bars and restaurants. Although the transfat ban is a a little too nosy.

NEW YORK - Every yellow cab in this city will be a fuel-efficient hybrid by 2012, and stricter emissions and gas mileage standards for taxis will be phased in starting next year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday.

There are now 375 hybrid vehicles among the 13,000 taxis rolling on New York City streets. Under Bloomberg’s plan, that number will increase to 1,000 by October 2008 and will grow by about 20 percent each year until 2012.

The standard yellow cab vehicle, the Ford Crown Victoria, gets 14 miles per gallon. In contrast, the Ford Escape taxis get 36 miles per gallon.

Automakers said hybrids are uniquely well-suited to be taxis. Many of them, like the Ford Escape, run solely on battery power while stopped or at low speeds, so they don’t cough exhaust while navigating through city traffic. At higher speeds, the gas-powered drive system kicks in and the two work together.

Selective Memory

Had a most animated conversation last night with my old Ohio chum Texas Liberal, after we had barely spoken over the past 20 years for some asinine reasons that he remembered much more of than I did. I had not a clue, but certainly knew I had been mad. And that it was probably his fault.

Memories are interesting stuff: He did not remember calling me at home in SF in about 1996, or contacting me again right after 9/11 when I was quoted in his now-hometown Houston Chronicle, but clearly remembered me spurning a mutual friend of ours at age 19; I forgot he went to Xavier for 7 years, only hanging out in UC's student center for socializing reasons, and why I stopped speaking to him. Yet I vividly remembered his job running the lottery machine, and his predilection for curly-headed women with large breasts. He married one, in fact.

The NYC streets do this to me on a regular basis. Recently, I've been walking through Washington Square Park regularly for the first time in a couple years after my class twice a week at NYU. My Irish ex-boyfriend used to live on Thompson and Bleeker, and I still associate that area of the West Village with him. With the smell and feel of NYC's almost-summer air, I'm recalling the times we pulled ourselves out of our mutual self-destruction to sit in the park in the late evenings and people watch. I haven't forgotten that that there was a lot of heartache then due to the recent loss of my dad and nearly 2-yrs of back-and-forth with said bf, but the light in the park this May only makes me remember the good, and how crazy we once were about each other.

At any rate, I am told that I am officially back on TL's A-List. Ah yes, the internets, bringing people together.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Water Sports

Thus far, 4,740 Brewers fans have pledged to pee their pants if the Brewers make the playoffs for the first time in 24 years.

Wow. Milwaukee is hot in the first quarter of this season, and also a huge a beer town, but I have been stunned into silence. I am clearly not a die hard baseball fan.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Preakness Preview

Too much going on and not enough sleep to give my own preview, but an excellent wrap up can be found here. I've never been to the Preakness, much less Baltimore, so you won't find me rhapsodizing about the redheaded stepchild of the Triple Crown. I'll leave that to Ope. I surely do need to go to the one Triple Crown race I've never seen. And I say that every year.

Betting a $5 tri box on Street Sense, Curlin, Circular Quay. I will, perhaps foolishly, bet the Pletcher/Velazquez combo for eternity, and I still don't buy Hard Spun.

Eatin' Out - Momofuko Ssam Bar

207 Second Ave@13th
The much heralded Ssam Bar was the site for my last overly-indulgent weeknight meal with the soon-to-depart- for-London Lisa (B)H. Since I'm still semi-refusing to mentally acknowledge my dear friend's move next week after 12 years in NYC, I'll move onto the food.

We went in at about 7, and were seated quickly at the bar right in front of the lovely Julie Farias, in her first week at the new job. We shared the pickles (a can't go wrong dish from David Chang), steamed pork belly buns (again, can't miss), grilled veal sweetbreads (yum) and the hanger steak ssam. The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and god knows I like wrapping any kind of grilled meat in lettuce. All in all, everything was tasty. Really courteous service, too, very friendly and helpful while we tried to figure out how much to order.

That said, I think after reading all the hype about this place, I was expecting truly transcendental, and what we got instead was really good for about $50 each. And that's just fine. I'd go again, but if there was a line, I could skip it without much fuss and go to Dok Suni instead.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Big Oyster

I'm really enjoying The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky right now. Full of useless facts that will help me dominate Trivial Pursuit, and old ephemera including maps, recipes, photos, drawings, this title traces the history of New York via the rise and fall of the oyster. The author also explores how NYC began to lost touch with the waterways that surround Manhattan Island, in tandem with the dwindling, poisoned and rapidly depleted oyster population. Did you know that in the 1600's, New York Harbor was estimated to hold HALF of the world's oysters? And that the Lenape Indians, Manhattan's first inhabitants, loved oysters as much as the encroaching Europeans, as evidenced by the giant centuries-old shell piles (called middens) found all over the five boroughs? Damn. What a loss. Imagine being able to buy some fresh ones down the street right now: All you can eat for 6 cents on Canal Street.

On that note, Spike Hill up on Bedford now has a 5-8 Happy Hour special with oysters selling for a buck a piece.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Daze

Warm weather is here, the garden is planted and growing, softball is back, friends are out and about in full force, my French class at NYU starts tonight, pork banh mi for lunches, Anne arrives tomorrow, and the new veranda was inaugurated on Sunday via sharing a bottle of prosecco with friends at twilight (shoulda busted it over the prow?). Some real living-in-the-moment for a change. Bliss??

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pet Peeve

Walking down the street, and some Greenpeace person says to you "Can you spare a minute for the environment?" The automatic answer when anyone asks you a question on the street is "NO," of course, but then you sound like a dick. Uh, yes, I hate the environment...most especially when I'm trying to get lunch and you are insisting on blocking my way with a petition.

Same thing with the comedy show guys up in Times Square. "Hey, do you like comedy?" At least those guys never knew how to respond when you said NO and sailed right on by them...

Derby Talk

Nice piece from John Pricci on on why this Derby was a really good one. Couldn't agree more. I'm still grumbling about the 2005 Derby when Giacomo won, then went on to only capture one more race in his career. In my perfect world, the Derby would only be won by great horses, not lucky, mediocre ones. As for Street Sense? He's damn good, and a viable candidate for the Triple Crown. I'm not automatically ruling it out this year, as I did for Funny Cide or War Emblem (the gay one).

P.S. I finished 7576 out of 21238 in the Kentucky Derby Fantasy challenge.

Book Club

Was fortunate to have enough sitting around time while traveling in the past few weeks to rip through some books. Brookland was by far the best one, although the last third of the book gets a little heavy into bridge construction. I read most of The Great Bridge by David McCullough (and liked it a lot), and you know what? I'm not enough of an math geek or engineer, to really care about all the intricacies of building the Brooklyn Bridge, especially in my fiction. (McCullough always spins a good tale, though.) The bridge holds me up: 'nuff said. That said, Brookland is worth a read.

Moved on to Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda. This book was a huge bestseller in France--I got roped into reading it after being drawn in by the good-looking cover design at the fantastic McNally Robinson. Only okay, it's a a bit too sentimental "chick-lit"-ey for me, telling the story of three roommates who bond together to create their own family. I often found the writing banal with lots tired images, although the three main characters were interesting and decently portrayed. Claire Danes in the main female role in the movie? Sure to be an Oprah pick.

Then I checked out The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova after a friend mentioned the title in passing. I would love to read a good historical novel that actually works and doesn't embellish facts, but this piece of shit does neither of those things. A page turner, written in the best blockbuster style, with truly awful writing and a plot line that barely holds itself together as the story travels all over the world in search of the still-alive 'Dracuyla.' I have never understood the vampire fascination, all that Anne Rice shite back in the early 90s in SF, yuck...This must be being made into a movie with Angelina Jolie and Ralph Fiennes.


The breakneck pace of the past few weeks is finally slowing down a bit. I'm tired. And my allergies are murdering me this week. It's hard to find time to sit down when the weather gets warm, and then add in two major fuckups (maybe because of tired eyes?) on the current issue of V. Urgh. With both errors being ultimately my fault after four stages of errors that happened BEFORE the last one, it is still a good issue overall with the best cover in a long time (above), but has been a long (tho' awfully fun) month.

The deck goes in this weekend and it's free compost day tomorrow. What could be more fun? It occurred to me the other night when out with Gina discussing the bougainvillea on the deck at UPB that we used to go out and check out boys. Now we talk about the plants. Sweet.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Derby Pix

1. Carving big ol' ham in party dress, as Strath anxiously awaits his meat. Don't ridicule the electric knife until you try to carve off more ham (four juleps in on Derby Day) without one.
2. Loretta n' ham. Two great tastes that go great together.
3. Atmosphere. Mirror by Craig Falbe.
4. Mr. Kentucky Derby 2007, WAC4, in the finest seersucker with a garland of roses and biscuits.

1-3 courtesy Miss Alyssa.
Ham ® Kurowycky Meat Products

Friday, May 04, 2007

Running for the Roses

I'm exacta boxing Circular Quay, Any Given Saturday and Street Sense in tomorrow's Derby.

At least that's the plan right now without digging too deep into the Form. May throw a couple more in there.

The Derby Pie is baked, and the bourbon is a-ready. As they say to you in Louisville all day on the first Saturday in May, Happy Derby!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Loneliness of Technology

I've been tossing these ideas around in my head a lot lately, especially the more I travel and and rely on technology to keep me in touch with my "real life". So my postulaton is that all the technology today -- internets, texting, blackberry, myspace, facebook, online communities, caller ID, dating sites, etc. etc. -- that should lead to greater connectivity is actually more isolating. The more connected we are, the less we actually connect.

I think back to when I had no answering machine in college; then only had an answering machine with a landline that I shared with 5 other people. I met my first TWO boyfriends in SF in 1991-92 (yes, a nerd fucker from way back) using a thing called SF Net where you could chat with people at home and coffeehouses via a 1200 baud modem connection and a Procomm account. Got on the online with a UNIX shell account in '95 using some form of gopher (those commands Sparky wrote out for me!); remember the first use of a buggy browser called Mosiac that became Netscape; and so on. With each advance, the world became smaller and the personal circle bigger.

Back in my younger days (says granny), you'd call up people, make plans, meet up when you planned without calling back 5 times to check in, and that'd be it. You'd actually talk to someone to make plans. Or you'd walk down the street to see if they were at home sitting around. Eventually, we all "progressed" into being able to screen calls, or pick up messages using the answering machine, but I don't think that became a regular occurrance until the mid 90s. Before then, if you missed a call, you tried to guess who might have called but really have no way of knowing so didn't think about it much.

Most of my friends know that I hate the lengthy text message conversation, for to me, it seems to be a way to hold someone at arm's length, to not engage too TOO much (And my thumbs get sore, as they did composing this post almost entirely by Bberry.) I've surely used texting to keep distance with someone. Who hasn't been puzzled by the perceived 'tone' of a text, and asked a friend to help interpret? With the more ways we can send messages now, the less we actually communicate face to face. What we're missing is the ability to gauge and understand a person by their body language, an emotion written clearly on their face, or a catch in their voice: the most basic forms of human interaction are unavailable for interpretation.

We're so connected that if someone's out of touch for a few days or you are getting the high hat, you become painfully aware of it. Nope, no text. Nope, no message. Nope, no email. Yep, I'm out at 2 am, and I know there's been no reply because my damn phone is ALWAYS WITH ME. And you always know you didn't miss a message, because there are 5 different ways for someone to reach you, each finally appearing as a little yellow envelope on your phone signaling a hi. I do think, in retrospect, that I liked it better when I came home to a single blinking light, or a letter in a handmade envelope from a 40 oz bag in my mailbox, or a $50 phone bill because I spent 15 hours talking and laughing with my best friend in San Francisco.

I realize we have put ourselves in this position by getting Blackberries or whatever for work and personal use and, honestly, I do love (and by love, I mean addicted to) the positive things my little square waffle-iron like machine adds to my life. I seriously have a semi-panic attack when the phone goes out. I've always been an information junkie, so having Google Maps at my fingertips in any city in the world to help me find a street, or to text a friend for a quick confirmation, or to get on the web from the subway platform and find some dumb fact, or having a phone that works in every country (but Japan), or having email, or a blog, to keep in touch with people and dump your thoughts out on a page is often pretty durn cool. And sure, you could leave the phone at home, as I'm trying to do sometimes. Should be an easy habit to break, right?

Yet I'm thinking that all this technology leads to greater loneliness simply because we are all more aware of any silence or downtime. The times alone with no instant always-available connections are just that much louder.


Who woulda thunk that the Yanks would be 5.5 out and in last place; Cleveland would be 1.5 up on the Tigers and Twins; and the BREWERS would be 4 up on the 2nd place Reds, with the Cards 6.5 back in the NL Central??

I know it's early but still.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fringe Benefits

It is cool or pathetic that on my 12th trip through the Montreal/ Dorval/ Pierre Trudeau airport in the past 18 months, the following happened?

1) The dude at customs said "oh, you come up here a lot for your magazine, right?"
2) The rental car guys at Enterprise upgraded me to the fanciest car they have, saying "we haven't seen you since March, and we want you to have a nicer car" Of course, I didn't mention to them that we continually rent there only because my assistant and I decided they were the cutest and nicest car-renters, but its swell we are all such pals now. Der.

If only I could get some airline employees to make sure I always get to sit in business class. Now that would be real pull.

Good news is my friend Dave is on the overnight shift tonight, so there's someone crank out good work with, and to talk to all evening.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

I'm off to Montreal in 2 hours to print V47. Two nights away with little sleep, back Thursday evening, Mom arrives Friday AM and then begins one of my favorite things of the year, the Derby Party on Saturday.

It's been amusing trying to organize my thoughts, make lists and avoid cracking up, but for now, there's too much to do, and I can't even think about planning the next thing until the prior stuff is completed. Very hard for little miss organized to do.

But in this order: Vienna. Kate. 12 hour train ride. Verona. Printing job. Day off. Milan. Blow off tentative date. Garden. Main Drag Party. Catch up with friends. More Garden. Catch up with work. Shrink. Make some phone calls. OK deck plans with carpenter. Montreal. V47. Hair appointment. Clean. Mom. Plan menu. Shop. Cook. Figure out Derby bets. Throw party. Muddle through hangover. Clean up ham/jello/mint bits from floor. Broadway play. Mom back to Ohio Monday PM.

Pass out cold on Tuesday. Until Anne arrives for a week in about 10 days.