Monday, May 29, 2006

Who's Pissing Me Off This Week

1. WalMart - We finally got around to watching our Netflix sent flick, WalMart: The High Price of Low Cost - a documentary film about how they are f#cking many individuals over. I know many corporations are evil, but damn, after watching this film I am pretty sure they are the most evil or Evilest in all of Evilville. You name the transgression and they've been there, done that - put family-owned businesses out of business, overworked and underpaid their employees, exploited foreign factory workers, polluted the environment, turned a deaf ear to racist acts taking place in their stores, failed to protect their employees and patrons from violent crimes taking place in their parking lots, destroyed the quality of life of local communities by redirecting local funds to the development of their stores as opposed to funding human services, etc.

2. Kirk Cameron - Thank God I get my information from the Internet and "fake news" shows like The Daily Show and Best Week Ever because how else would I know that this self-righteous S.O.B. has a new reality show where he tells us how evil we all are and how we should be Christian like him. Screw you, Mike Seaver!

An Afternoon at Yankee Stadium

We took the 4 train to Yankee Stadium to catch the Yanks/Royals play a sun-drenched afternoon game (picture to right found on Google as I did not bring my camera and good thing because it would have melted under the sun). It seemed like it didn't take that long to get from Brooklyn to the Bronx via the 4 as we hit all the trains at the right time (transferring from the Q to the 4). After having recently been to a Mets game at Shea, one could not help but compare the two experiences. Shea seemed a bit nicer but more sterile while Yankee stadium, although cramped and not as comfortable as Shea, held the ghosts of tradition that Shea does not possess. Having moved here from Chicago, I suppose it is akin to comparing Wrigley to U.S. Cellular Field - tradition vs. modern conveniences, etc.

The Yanks got off to a hot start, including a lead-off homerun from Johnny Damon. We ended up bailing during the Sixth Inning as it was unbelievably hot out and we were completely baking under the sun and constantly reapplying suntan lotion to avoid serious burning. We did get to see the Bronx Bombers put up 6 runs and had a couple tasty Nathans' hot dogs though.

Favorite Food Vendor Sales Pitch I heard:
"Buy your first drink, get the second one for the same price."

Song I Currently Can't Get Out of My Friggin' Head

Publish My Love by Rogue Wave. No thanks to Fuse TV's The Dive, an indie-rock video show conveniently scheduled to air at 4:30 am on Sundays. Thank God for DVRs. And no thanks to my finding our dubbed copy of The O.C. Music - Vol. 5 which I discovered had this song on it.

Lazy Saturday

Saturday brought lots of sunshine and some lazy, long-weekend activities around the city - like hanging out at the Sixth Ave. Street Fair in Union Square, getting a tasty lunch at New York Burger Company (voted Best Burger in NYC by AOL CityGuide), and catching a showing of Mission Impossible 3. The film was entertaining enough but pretty mindless as each scenario served as just another platform to showcase cool special effects/stunts but provided very little in terms of story. Ah, the summer blockbuster season is here.

A Night of NY Theatre

On Thursday night we saw a friend perform in The Ives Six Pack, a series of six plays by David Ives. Held at the Arclight Theatre (71st between B'way and Columbus), the Bang Theatre Collective entertained the 100 or so audience members with a unique of brand of comedy - favorites included: Words, Words, Words where the actors play monkeys who are locked in a room full of typewriters with the premise that they will eventually type out the script to Hamlet; Time Flies where two courting mayflies come to grips with their mortality; and The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage - a spoof on British murder mysteries.

I wasn't familiar with Ives' material prior to seeing this show but it proved to be intelligent, humorous and emotional and was well conveyed by the Bang Theatre Collective's talented group of actors.

Empanada Mama

On Friday, we took advantage of the shortened work day and start of Memorial Day Weekend 2006 by taking a trip to Empanada Mama on 51st and 9th.

We went with two other friends so shared a pitcher of Sangria, but there was no sharing of empanadas as we each had to try them for ourselves. Standouts included: beef and cuban (wheat flour) empanadas but the crowd favorite was clearly the dessert empanada - one filled with figs, caramel and cheese.

After stuffing ourselves full of empanadas and sangria, we then topped off the afternoon of indulgences with one more round of drinks at Zanzibar (45th and 9th). It looked like it could be a fun place but had typical waitstaff who appeared more interested in socializing than doing their jobs and servicing our table.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Celeb Sighting Update

The Celeb: Mo Rocca

Why Mo Be Famous: The Daily Show, Animal Planet's Whoa Sunday

The Sighting: Thursday, May 25th, My office building - 8th Floor

The Scenario: I was heading up to a meeting on the 14th floor, the elevator doors opened up and Rocca says: "Is this elevator going down? My co-worker and I say: "No. Up."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Patio Lounge, Sakura and the 5th Ave. Street Fair

Care to guess what this posting is going to be about?

Last night we tried Sakura, on 5th Avenue. It was a pleasant night so we sat outside in their garden and chowed down on the homemade gyoza and a selection of sushi rolls - the best being the "M&M" roll which had pieces of mango in it. Everything was great 'til we got to the end of the meal and it took forever to get our bill. Was our waitress too preoccupied with lighting the tiki torches outside in the garden? Possibly. Nevertheless, it was a decent dinner and the private garden in the back of the restaurant is sure to bring us back.

Afterwards, we decided to check out Patio Lounge for a drink (pictured above - courtesy of its website). It had a pretty nice vibe and beer garden but what was with the music and the fact that they did not serve cider?

Today, meanwhile, we headed to the 5th Avenue Street Festival. Running from Sterling to about 14th, it was your typical street fare - booths, beer, and fried foods galore. Why did we think the food would be good? We sampled the hot dog, kabob, sweet potato fries, paella and empanada but they were all pretty bland and of course, overpriced. The place was packed despite the intermittent showers which unfortunately did put a damper on some of the event, but it was good to get the summer festival season underway.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Guest Blogger - My Wife Rants About Her Fellow Subway Riders

Here's my tirade, if I was actually posting on a blog these days maybe I'd post it. It is kind of cathartic to write it down though.

Let me start by saying that I love the New York City subway system. It's convenient, gets me to where I need to be, and is generally on time and fast. I don't need to own a car and therefore save money on car payments, car insurance and gas. However, it's some of the people who ride the NYC subway that I take great issue with, and this past week has been particularly bad. This goes out to all those who have annoyed me to the fullest this week.

Jesus Preacher Guy #1: No one wants to hear you first thing in the morning, least of all me. I know you think the Lord Jesus died for our sins, and will give us eternal life....I get it - you only said it about a billion times during our 35 minute trip from Brooklyn to Times Square. But believe me when I say I prayed to your Lord Jesus last night and asked him to please make sure I wouldn't have to listen to you or anyone else preach to me on the subway ever again. Hopefully you can help answer my prayers by shutting the fuck up next time.

Jesus Preacher Guy #2: Please see above. But you are truly a special case. After getting in a woman's face and preaching about god and Jesus, you pull out a horoscope book and start ranting about that. So let me get this straight, you believe in some wizard in the sky who controls the world AND you believe we can read our future in the stars. You made me laugh out loud, and for that you hold a special place in my heart (but still annoyed the fuck out me).

Dirty Boot Lady: Don't think I don't notice that muddy, dirty boot you keep swinging in my direction. Is it too much to ask that you keep both feet firmly on the ground during ride? Hello, it's been raining all day and your boots are full of mud, just as are mine and everyone else's on this train. How would you like it if I crossed my legs and swung my shoe in your direction? Damn, now you had to go and rest your dirty boot on that pole, the pole that you know people are going to lean up against as this train gets more and more crowded during rush hour. Have you no decency?

Make-up Girl: You sat down next to me on the crowded train yesterday and proceeded to apply your make-up - not just a little touch-up, but your whole damn face. Foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, you even curled your eyelashes! I was hoping the train would lurch and you would poke yourself in the eye with your mascara wand, but no such luck. Do you not own a mirror that you could use in the privacy of your own home? Seeing as you were using MAC make-up which is not exactly cheap, I'm assuming you have the funds to purchase a mirror to use at home. Does your point of destination not have a restroom? Why, oh why, must you subject us all to your personal grooming habits?

Toenail Clipper Woman: I think the name says it all. Gross. I can not believe I witnessed this behavior on the subway. You were actually on my train a few weeks ago, but regardless you belong on this week's list because just thinking about you still makes my blood boil.

That's it for this week. Who knows what kind of characters I will encounter next week. Peace out.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Night of Truthiness

Wednesday night we headed to 54th (between 10th and 11th) for a taping of one of my favorite programs, The Colbert Report.

It was a somewhat surprisingly small studio - there were approximately 100 of us there. After a pretty lame warm-up comedian, Stephen came out to greet the crowd and offered us the opportunity to ask him questions that would "humanize" him before he went into character. The questions ranged from corny ("Did Daily Show jump the shark now that it has a spin-off?") to bizarre ("Which White House character would be the best dominatrix?"). Colbert handled it all with wit and aplomb.

The taping moved briskly - going from the signature opening segment "The Word" to the premiere of his new 43-part Series "Better Know a President" featuring someone playing Teddy Roosevelt and ended with his sit-down interview of Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. Colbert only made one mistake during the opening segment prior to the show's theme song beginning, where he flubbed a line and said "Fuck it, I'm starting over" but all in all, it was a great look at a very funny show and a comedian who is arguably at the top of his game.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Apparently I am not the only one who finds Smartmom (local Park Slope columnist and blogger) incredibly annoying...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Egg Cream City

I finally had an Egg Cream yesterday from Uncle Louie G's. It was tasty and made me wonder what the origins of egg creams are. Here's what I found from Wikipedia:

An egg cream is a classic New York City beverage consisting of chocolate syrup (Almost always Fox's U-bet chocolate syrup in New York), milk, and seltzer (soda water), probably dating from the late 19th century, and is especially associated with Brooklyn, home of its inventor, Jewish candy shop owner Louis Auster. It contains neither eggs nor cream.

The essential components of a New York Egg Cream: Fox's U-Bet, Seltzer and Whole Milk. The origin of the name "egg cream" is constantly debated. Stanley Auster, the grandson of the inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time. One commonly accepted origin is that Egg is a corruption of the Yiddish word 'ekt' meaning good or pure, and this was a "good cream". It may also have been called an "Egg Cream" because in the late 1800s there were already many chocolate fountain/dessert drinks using actual eggs (e.g. 'Egg Brin'), and Auster wanted to capitalize on the name. Though almost universally made with chocolate syrup, they were sometimes requested with other flavors, especially vanilla or strawberry.

The egg cream is almost exclusively a fountain drink; although there have been several attempts to bottle it none have been wholly successful, as its fresh taste and characteristic head requires mixing of the ingredients just before drinking. The drink could be described as a "poor man's ice cream soda," as it has a similar overall flavor, but traditionally sold for only a slight premium over an ordinary fountain soda.

According to the Fox's U-bet chocolate syrup website, the recipe for "the original Brooklyn Egg-Cream" is:

Take a tall, chilled, straight-sided, 8oz. glass
Spoon 1 inch of U-bet Chocolate syrup into glass
Add 1 inch whole milk
Tilt the glass and spray seltzer (from a pressurized cylinder only) off a spoon, to make a big chocolate head
Stir, Drink, Enjoy.

Latest i-Tunes Downloads

1. Rise Up With Fists!! Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

2. Misread Kings of Convenience

3. It's a Hit We are Scientists

4. Bright as Yellow Innocence Mission

5. Another Sunny Day Belle and Sebastian

The Good, The Bad and The Mediocre

It's been a mixed bag of culinary experiences as we tried three different restaurants in the Slope for the first time this past week.

Earlier in the week, we headed to Scotta Ditto, between 6th and 7th on Union, and had a very bland, mediocre dinner. The food was not exceptional and the entrees were a bit pricey. Definitely not a place we would return to.

Then, on Saturday, we finally did brunch at 2nd Street Cafe on 7th Avenue. After waiting for 10 minutes (5 at the door, waiting to be seated, and 5 at our table, waiting for someone to take our order), we finally got our meal - French Toast for my wife and Eggs Benedict for me. The food was adequate but service so poor that it really turned me off and I would think twice about returning.

Last night we finally got back on the upswing in our dining experiences with a nice, low-key and overall enjoyable dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi. We had the Maki Platter and Spider Roll with Shumai to start. All the ingredients were of outstanding quality and tasted really fresh. We ended the meal with Green Tea Creme Brulee, which too was very good. It was nice to finally have a good meal out in the Slope this week....

Living in Da BK

Here's a cool pic a friend of ours took last weekend while she was visiting us....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Celebrity Sighting Update

We've lived in NYC for a little over three months at this point and I can't say that I've seen a lot of celebs.

Living in The Slope, apparently we've got Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly but I haven't seen either of them since I moved here. I did see Steve Buscemi back in September '05 when my wife and I were scouting out potential neighborhoods to live in.

Since we moved to NYC, I've seen Serj Tankian (lead singer of System of a Down) around the Union Square area and more recently, figure skating legend Brian Boitano at Metrazur in Grand Central Station.

Needless to say, pretty weak celeb sightings until today....all around Hudson and 11th, we saw three in a span of a couple hours - first, Philip Seymour Hoffman; next, as we had afternoon drinks at Dublin, we saw Michelle Rodriguez (of Lost fame) walking down Hudson and SuChin Pak (of MTV News). Clearly, Hoffman is the biggest star we've seen for those keeping score at home. Maybe I should post these sightings on Gawker Stalker?

Lazy Weekend

Have a friend visiting from Chicago this weekend, so we're getting a chance to see some sights as well as relax a bit. Caught the Mets game at Shea on Friday night. Chilled on Saturday in The Slope. Had a low-key dinner at Olive Vine and then drinks at The Lighthouse Tavern to catch the Suns/Lakers game.

Today, grabbed some bagels from La Bagel Delight and then eventually headed to the West Village in Manhattan for yes, cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. Took in some light appetizers and a beer at Dublin, while we people watched. Somehow I was still hungry, so got some hot dogs and Papaya drink at The Papaya King.

Portland Redux

One more shot I took from our recent trip to Portland....

We had a great time but it was a whirlwind of a trip. Next time, we definitely ought to splurge for the direct flight because the stop-over in Dallas, TX was a bitch. Plus, the 3.5 hours from NYC to Dallas and additional 3.5 from Dallas to Portland just wasn't cutting it. On top of it all, American Airlines has got to be one of the cheapest airlines around (and I don't mean they've got low fares). They didn't provide any snack on either leg of our journey from the East Coast to the West Coast. They are gracious enough to sell passengers a four dollar snack pack complete with cheese spread, mixed nuts and a magical beef stick. Wait, say what?! Yes, the stewardess said "magical beef stick" and yes, like a complete juvenile, I couldn't help but chuckle at that. I have to admit, I don't think it's called a "magical beef stick", at least according to the official American Airlines website. Perhaps, the stewardess had something else in mind. Yowsers.

We had great weather and enjoyed catching up with family as we attended the wedding - good food, music and vibe as we went down the Willamette River. All in all, Portland is nice - clean, good restaurants, shops, and laid back. Too bad I heard that they have high levels of unemployment. Seems like a nice to play to live....

The City of Self-Promotion

So, a few weeks back I was out with a friend who struck up a conversation with someone at a bar we were hanging out at. This guy was a trader for some investment bank- probably a dime a dozen in NYC. The point, however, is that this guy somehow works into the conversation that he was high school valedictorian and when I asked how he enjoyed living in NYC, he amazingly turned that into an opportunity to draw a diagram of what he did for a living, illustrating the "buy" side and "sell" side of investment banking.

Unbelievable. Perhaps it's a stereotype, but this douchebag was perpetuating the concept of the self-obsessed, arrogant, self-promoting New Yorker. What is it about this town that breeds this type of antisocial behavior? I've always felt that success is relative and there will always be someone better-looking, richer, smarter, etc. (or some combination thereof) than you. It's pointless to get too wrapped up in that and instead you should simply try to be the best person you can be, corny as it sounds. Who is this annoying breed of New Yorker trying to impress?

I was talking about this with another friend of mine and he said that in New York, it's "all about winning". But who the hell are you competing against? Everyone? In everything? This seems like a ludicrous and ultimately fruitless endeavor. I've never been impressed by people who have to brag about themselves in order to make themselves feel better in a city full of accomplished individuals. If you've got it, you don't need to flaunt it. And I think the bravado and arrogance speak volumes about someone's own insecurities and neuroses.

And trader asshole guy, you don't have it, by the way....I was high school valedictorian too, and went to a more prestigious undergraduate and graduate school than you (but of course, I don't want to brag - don't transform me into one of them, NYC!)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Overheard in Shea Stadium

Ice Cream Vendor in Section 31

"Ice Cream. I got your sexy ice cream here. Sexy ice cream...."

We left the stadium when the score was 6-2 and got home around 11pm. Turned on the TV and saw that the game was in extra innings and tied at 7-7. The game's still going on after more than four hours of play...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


It's been a while since I posted....

Lots to catch up on....

In the meantime, here's a photo I took in the Japanese Garden during our recent trip to Portland, OR....