Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Ever wonder what happened to some of your classmates?
Yeah, you've googled them but those searches came up empty.
Check out myspace.com. There's a chance you might come across the page of someone you know. Use the "Classmate Finder" and you can search by School and Year of Graduation.
And for those of you really looking to kill time and display stalker-like capabilities, you can always search TheKnot to see if anyone you know has set up a wedding page.
He gets to compete in real rigorous business scenarios - like trying to drum up more people to sign up for Sam's Club through street marketing and the use of a blimp. Remind me again how this is good practice for running one of Trump's companies?
But back to this Mensa thing - isn't this just some bullshit organization like that Who's Who publication that was popular back in high school? Couldn't anyone be in that as long as you paid them to be in the publication? Yeah, I know there's an actual test involved in Mensa, but its credibility and relevance in this day and age seem awfully suspect. Why don't they just say you have a high IQ if you can solve a Rubik's cube or one of those Sudoku puzzles?
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Corny title? Yup.
But the food at Press 195 on 5th Ave. in Park Slope was definitely impressive. It's a great sandwich place. I had the #26 - Turkey, smoked Canadian bacon, smoked Gouda, fresh tomato and roasted garlic spread. My wife had the Soup Special - pumpkin and coconut soup.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
It's stunning how poorly run the Knicks organization is and the fact that Isiah Thomas is still allowed to keep his job. He continues to stockpile players who have atrocious contracts and completely no defensive abilities. None of the players mesh with each other or with Coach Larry Brown's system. It's an absolute mess.
Toward the end of the game the Garden crowd began chanting "Fire Thomas!". Amen.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
When I shared this with a friend who also used to work at XYZ company, he called it immediately. Former Supervisor (let's call him ABC), was probably reaching out because he was now promoted and wanted to gloat about how great the organization was now that he was in charge.
I decided to bite the bullet and call ABC since he contacted me and I hadn't spoken to him in years. Basically, I wanted to be polite and reciprocate the effort. My friend was correct, however. ABC went on and on about how lots of changes were being made and how it was a great place to be, etc. ABC really didn't ask me much about my life. And it was transparent - he didn't call because he was genuinely interested in hearing about me, but because he wanted to tell me how great he was doing. He wanted to talk to me to make himself feel better.
Sadly, I could really care less. I hadn't really thought of this person since I left. Hell, it was two jobs ago! But obviously this person took my departure (and my friend's) personally. His attempt to find us is akin to a jilted lover calling an old flame to tell him/her about a new love they have found. There's a part of me that regrets calling because I gave this person some satisfaction in being able to talk about how his life and the organization were so great nowadays. But there was also a part of me that kind of felt sorry for this person who obviously has carried this grudge (or whatever you call it) around for a while and was just waiting for a moment to say "I told you things were going to get better but you didn't stick around."
It's pretty pathetic and then it struck me that so many people are nuts. I mean, I've got insecurities and neuroses with the best of them, but I'm pretty sure they don't affect other people.
Also, I've decided that fundamentally, people don't change. If you were an insecure asshole back in the day, you probably still are one. If you were a decent, considerate person in high school, you probably still are a nice guy today. For some naive reason, I always held onto the ideal that people matured or improved with age, but I've encountered so many individuals who still exhibit unprofessional, immature, or straight-up kooky behavior despite advanced age or high positions of power. People are insane.
-Yesterday, I had my bag randomly searched by NYPD at the Grand Central Station. It was fine - they said "Excuse me sir" and motioned me over. I opened my bag and they thanked me and I was on my way.
Maybe they singled me out because I looked ornery. But hey, that's how I look after a long day's work!
-Yesterday I was asked by a co-worker where I was from originally, to which I responded "New Jersey." She seemed miffed (maybe an exaggeration) when I didn't share her Jersey pride in Bon Jovi. I told her I liked Springsteen and Sinatra. Sorry - I draw the line at Bon Jovi.
-Today, a young man (with his friends in tow) asked me where Rockefeller Center was and being in NYC mode, I pretty much ignored him. He was annoyed by this and responded saying "Don't be nervous, I am not going to mug you." Maybe I naturally gave off a disturbed look but I am not going to respond to a bunch of thuggish looking dudes coming out of nowhere and asking me for directions. What did he expect?
I've been reading essays here and there and really like it so far. One of my favorites is a piece titled "Everyone Knows This Is Somewhere, Part I" by Glyn Maxwell.
Here's an excerpt:
"And to walk the blocks of New York is to experience a warm anonymity. I've lived in the kingdom of the smirk and the chuckle, I've passed through the town of the sneer and the village of the snarl - we all have - but I'm at home now in the city of the shrug. It's not the shrug of not caring, but the shrug of having cared, the shrug of acceptance that so many have come, so many have suffered, so much has happened."
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Woman on cell phone: "So Julie inadvertently slept with some other chick while they were supposedly patching things up...."
I didn't know one could inadvertently sleep with someone!
Monday, February 20, 2006
I have to admit that I don't know a ton about myspace but apparently it is a big deal - so big that Rupert Murdoch (he of Fox News fame) and his company News Corporation paid $580 million to acquire myspace.com.
You know I am getting old when I start to not "get" what kids are into. I still don't get text messaging by the way. Comedy Central's Daily Show did a funny piece on social networking sites. Click on Trendspotting: Social Networking.
And speaking of the idea of socializing through an arguably impersonal technological and virtual environment, what's with all the laptop users at coffee shops like Gorilla Coffee? No matter where we go in the Slope, it seems like they are dominated by individuals looking at their laptop screens rather than interacting with each other. Maybe they're talking to the person next to them on Instant Messenger, or hating on their neighbor on their blog, or maybe they're listening to Federline's awful song on myspace....
Where the heck did today go?
In honor of President's Day, we spent some dead presidents and continued to bolster the local economy.
Took in lunch at Miracle Grill. I had the Breakfast Burrito while my wife had the Lunch Special of half of sandwich (BLT) and soup (black bean). The food was okay but nothing to write home about.
We continued down 7th Ave. and stopped in at Cocoa Bar for a Pear Tart and some hot chocolate. Good stuff but no Steve Buscemi sightings this time.
Tonight we had a really nice time at Peperoncino. The atmosphere was good, service was attentive, and the food was of high quality. We started with the Insalata Formaggio (Seasonal mixed greens with gorgonzola, pear, carmelized walnuts in a pear vinaigrette). We had the Pizze Peperoncino (Cherry tomato, shrimp and zucchini) and finished off with some tiramisu. All in all, a great dinner that will be sure to have us coming back for more.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
We finally tried out some NYC bagels (or is that like calling food "Chinese Food" in China?) at La Bagel Delight. The bagels were tasty but the setup for placing orders and paying for your bagels was inefficient and confusing. Thankfully, the bagels were well worth the hassle as they were flavorful and not that expensive - we got two plain bagels and cream cheese for under $4.
Later in the day, we finally explored Atlantic Terminal Mall, home of Target and other budget-conscious stores like DSW, Daffy's, and Old Navy. We were pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness and orderliness of the store and will definitely be making return visits to Target. For all the independent charm of Park Slope, it's also nice to have a slice of suburbia close by with a chain store like Target.
We also checked out Union Market on the corner of 6th and Union. It's a really cool neighborhood gourmet food market in the vein of Whole Foods. I think we'll be back there for sure.
There weren't a ton of people there but it was a nice, welcoming environment and the food was satisfying. We started out with the escargot and French Onion Soup. My wife had the sauteed cod with butternut squash, carrot puree and sweet potato crisps. I opted for the classic Steak Frites.
It's nice to know we have a reliable French restaurant to go to when the mood strikes us.
He's so delusional and such a "little bitch" as my wife likes to call him. He never really had a career - 15 minutes at best through the old ABC reality show where they formed a boy band called O-Town. There and Back chronicles his attempts to make a "comeback". Meanwhile, he is living with his pregnant girlfriend (who's a total pain in the ass) and apparently they are both being financially supported by his girlfriend's mother. It's awesome.
He's spouted off such verbal gems as "I just hope I can keep taking care of all of us." I'm pretty sure he's not bringing in any income so this makes his statement even more hilarious. And once she has the baby and they're ready to have sex again, he proclaims to her: "Dude, I brushed my teeth. I never had so much deodorant on. I'm tryin' to set the mood here." What a charmer.
I can't believe I've been in NYC for only a few weeks...maybe it's because there's been too much going on.
Earlier this week, I went to Austin, TX for a business trip. I hear that it's a pretty cool, liberal town (by Texas standards, of course). And apparently, it's also the home of yuppie foodstore Whole Foods.
I didn't get to spend too much time there but I might like to visit again down the road. Then again, what's Austin got that NYC doesn't?
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Man, he can't even do that right!
As if the illegal wire-tappings, prisoner tortures, and oh yeah, starting a war with Iraq for no reason weren't enough, this jerkoff can't even hunt properly without harming someone. And shouldn't he and his a-hole buddy George be working? Why are they always on vacation - hunting or clearing brush?
Honestly, I don't see any reason why he should be on television.
I'm sitting here, paying bills, taking care of some tasks, etc. and had 60 Minutes on in the background and overheard his weekly end-of-the-show segment.
It's not witty or insightful. Or intelligible for that matter. He's like the crazy old relative that everyone tolerates.
Andy, you one crazy M-F'er.
But anyhoo, we did have some good Thai in The Slope yesterday at Mango. Could this be our new fave Asian spot? The Tulip Dumpling and Sweet Black Noodle could very well be our designated comfort food moving forward.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
What a day. It flew by way too quickly.
Started out at our new favorite breakfast place, Cousin John's, which has awesome croissants and other assorted baked goods. We then did some grocery shopping and I binged blogged at home.
We went back out to run some errands - including looking for a granny cart. Man, walking around the Slope and up a few flights of stairs in a brownstone takes the wind out of me! Unfortunately, the hardware store was out of granny carts so we will have to carry our groceries on our own for a while.
Next, I tried out a new place in South Slope for a haircut. If anything, he was certainly a character but he did do a good job. Now we will hunker down for this supposed winter storm....
This morning we went grocery shopping at the local Key Foods and I noticed a bag of Stella D'oro Swiss Fudge Cookies. I held back from making the purchase but it did bring back memories from my childhood. That and the Apple Puffs from Entenmann's.
Man, did I eat a lot of junk food growing up!
Just kidding. I never go to clubs.
So it was a bit comical to have to wait in line at Taj on West 21st St. Granted, we were there solely because our friend was having her birthday party gathering. But as I approach my 30's, I promised I would never wait in line for anything - except for perhaps the men's room and only if I really had to go.
It was such a stereotypical NYC club experience - the manufactured hype, the fact that they make you stand in the cold to create the impression that it is a place worth waiting for, the ridiculous mandatory coat check ($3 per coat!) and the $9 Grey Goose and Tonic that I ordered. It was the only drink I had, needless to say. We made our appearance and got out of there.
Across the street, I noticed another so-called trendy club, called Duvet, which apparently has a bunch of mattresses that hip Manhattanites and wannabes from Jersey can lounge on. It then struck me that I should open up a new club/lounge called Bidet. People could sip overpriced martinis on toliet bowls and bidets. C'mon, it's just as ridiculous!
We ended up going home and I am glad we did because we got to try out La Taqueria, on 7th Avenue. It was good - from the crispy tortilla chips to the crabcakes we had as appetizers and the shrimp fajitas that we shared. I was thoroughly stuffed at the end of the meal. Hmm, maybe I should join a gym...
That's right, the cable guy arrived.
And he installed the digital cable, the cable modem and the DVR.
It's the first time I've ever had digital cable. The amount of channels and choices is dizzying. And I never thought I'd say it, but I don't miss TiVo. They did everything they could in their power to keep me, but it was no use. I wanted to consolidate our utilties under one provider.
The cable company provided their own DVR, and though its interface is not as user-friendly or familiar as that of TiVo's, the functionality remains the same.
Honestly, who has time to explore NYC? There's too much on TV.
So, finally our things arrived on Tuesday (depicted by this photo I found on Google Images).
It took the movers most of the day to bring our things up the three flights of stairs and to unpack most of our belongings. Unfortunately, a few things got damaged along the way but nothing that was of high value or emotional attachment. We'll just have to fill out the necessary paperwork, etc.
We also took in some lunch at Trattoria Mangia on Fifth Avenue, and though it did satisfy our hunger pangs, ultimately it was a pretty forgettable place.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
There is definitely a strong liberal vibe - from the rainbow-colored "Say No to the Bush Agenda" signs posted in a few brownstone windows to the plethora of ads I saw in the local papers for yoga, alternative medicine, and holistic pet boutiques!
There's also more than one organic grocery store and places like Postmark, a coffee shop whose profits are returned to the community and trendy boutiques like 3RLiving which has lots of eco-friendly home and lifestyle products. There are the coffee shops, bookstores and restaurants with fare that reflects the varied backgrounds of the neighborhood's residents and the world, for that matter. There are lots of schools, lots of churches and yes, lots of kids and strollers, which can be alternately endearing or annoying depending on the parents or kids.
There are artists, writers, actors, grad students, and even a share of celebs from Jennifer Connelly to good ole Steve Buscemi. There are yuppies. And there is crime. It is the big city, after all.
There is culture, from the Brooklyn Public Library to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the events at the local Barnes and Noble. And there definitely is a sense of community. We'll see how things go....
Day #4 in The Slope -
We're still chillin' at the B&B, living the life of wealthy, liberal retirees. At least that's who seem to be residing at the B&B with us. They're all very pleasant and it seems that all of them (and/or their children) pursued nonprofit careers - social workers, authors, executive directors of nonprofits, actors, grad students pursuing MFA's or MPH's, antique dealers, etc.
The weather was really crappy today - nonstop rain and a lot cooler out than it has been in recent days. We headed to Grand Army Plaza to check out the Farmer's Market, which apparently takes place every Saturday, all year round. We then stopped at a subway station to purchase our monthly Subway passes and grabbed some lunch at Bar Minnow. Sadly, our streak of good dining experiences in Park Slope came to an end. My wife ordered a Lobster Bisque soup and the waitstaff brought out some combo of bisque and chicken chowder. It's as if the chef ran out of lobster and said "Fuck it - throw some chicken in there, they won't know the difference." What the heck? At least the waiter took the item off the bill, but there was zero communication about the lobster bisque running out until after the new concotion had already arrived.
On top of that, I overheard two other gaffes - apparently they forgot to bring out the fruit one patron had ordered and another patron's scrambled eggs were NOT scrambled. The cheeseburger I had ordered was actually good but not enough to overcome the fact that the service was bad. It'll be a while before I give Bar Minnow another chance.
Thankfully, dinner at Olive Vine Cafe made up for the culinary shortcomings of the day - from the freshly made pita to the tender lamb meat and falafel, this restaurant provided good Middle Eastern fare at a reasonable price with friendly service. Even better - we just found out they have multiple locations, including one closer to our new apartment.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Day #3 in the Slope - tonight we tried out a place called Beet, a Thai restaurant on 7th Avenue. We had an interesting appetizer called a Golden Puff. The menu describes it as "crispy stuffed with minced chicken, potatoes, curry powder and onion". It was really good and different. For our entree we shared the Sweet Massaman Curry with chicken. It was a little too spicy for our liking but next time we go back we will simply ask them to turn down the spiciness a bit.
Okay, to confess, we really want them to do the mild curry chicken the way we are used to having at a favorite place we had in Chicago. It's akin to somebody asking a new boyfriend/girlfriend to act more like his/her ex. You know, it goes something like this: "Do you think you could wear your hair back and put on these glasses? Thanks. That reminds me of my old girlfriend." C'mon, am I the only who remembers when Alex (Michael J. Fox) asks new flame Lauren (Courtney Cox) to look/act more like old flame Ellen (Tracy Pollan) in Family Ties?
Along the same lines, we would like to respectfully suggest that the people at Beet use sweet potatoes (instead of regular potatoes), add some peas, and remove the onions and peppers from its mild curry chicken dish. C'mon, Beet, do it for us.
We got our library cards at The Brooklyn Public Library, which appears to have lots of cool events from classes to film series to lectures.
Next, we took a stroll in Prospect Park and ended up taking in the sites at The Prospect Park Zoo. Our favorite animal was without a doubt The Red Panda (pictured here). Rounding out the countdown: 2)Porcupine; 3)Meer Cat; and 4)Sea Lions. Better luck next year, Sea Lions...
Well, we thought we were going to be smart and cut across the park to get back to our B&B but man, this is one big park! Yes, we got lost...sort of....and long story short, it took a while to get back. On the plus side, we did see lots of cool things in the park and got to enjoy a beautiful day.
Lunchtime provided a chance to try another new place and we ventured to the Chip Shop, voted Best Fish and Chips by Time Out New York and The Village Voice. We had - you guessed it - Fish and Chips. Okay, I had the Battered Cod and Chips and my wife had the Fish sandwich. I washed it down with a pint Boddingtons. We really enjoyed it.
Later that evening we checked out Sottovoce for an Italian dinner. It was a pleasant experience overall (and come to think of it, we haven't had a bad meal yet here). The rundown - my wife had the Penne Pomodoro and I had the Fettuccine con Pollo e Funghi. Translation - Fettucini with Chicken and Mushrooms. The service was very attentive and prompt and the food was well-prepared and satisfying. The only disappointment was that they were all out of the Homemade Apple Pie served with Cinnamon Gelato. Thankfully, we had a backup plan in selecting the Pear Tart served with Hazel Nut Gelato. Grazie, Sottovoce.
So, the big move went fine. Actually, cross your fingers. Our stuff's not here yet. But the actual packing seemed to go off without a hitch. Of course, a couple drinking glasses became casualties in the process. But broken items are fair game when three guys are packing up your entire apartment and loading a truck in the span of one day.
We got to Brooklyn on Wednesday and immediately checked out the new 'hood, walking up the main drags of 5th and 7th Avenues. We ended up having dinner at Bogota, a Latin Bistro. It was good overall - it didn't blow us away but was tasty nevertheless. My wife had the Chipotle Corn Crusted Salmon with Cilantro Mashed Potatoes and Shredded Kale. I opted for the Plantain Crusted Chicken with Cilantro Mashed Potatoes and Red Beans as my sides. However, I will say we were disappointed with the Coconut Shrimp as the appetizer as it was overcooked.
Bogota was good enough to make us want to come back for another visit....