Thursday, May 29, 2008

Review Thursday: On the ampersand

In movie credits, the ampersand is a code. It means: John Doe & Jane Smith duked it out in a room over this script, one choking the other with second-hand smoke and the other spitting in the other's coffee. The dreaded "and" means different writers were employed at different times: John & Jane got sacked and Quentin Tarantino was called up for a punch up job. As a device to help me remember the difference, I think: tied together, the ampersand means the writers were tied together.

With it's curving sweep, the ampersand is a saucy shorthand for "and," which is why it surprises me that it's so common in the British writing I see at work.

Wikipedia notes the growing use of the ampersand due to text messaging.

And if you enjoy this seductive bit of punctuation as much as I do, you may want to check out the Ampersand blog, a treatise on all things, and only things, ampersand-related.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Foodie tour of Chicago

In Chicago last weekend to see my friend Carrie graduate from law school, which ended up being the perfect opportunity to sample Chi-town's range of special regional eats from hot dogs to organic scones. This city seriously doesn't mess around with the food.
The menu at Hot Doug's

Our first stop was the Flying Saucer, which keeps it real by serving breakfast only seven days a week. It's the kind of funky, expansive, laid-back type of place that you just don't see in New York, where everything is small, and creative brunch means a quail egg sitting atop three matchsticks of taro root. This is the Midwest, people, and portions are huge: For breakfast I had a sort of hearty, everything-but-the-kitchen sink bowl of eggs, rice and tortillas. Really good!
Cupcake heaven at the Bleeding Heart Organic Bakery

But our real undoing was when we stumbled upon the Bleeding Heart Organic Bakery. Over the weekend, Josh and I must have spent forty dollars sampling the colorful cornocopia of baked goods. It was like some of New York's best bakery ideas--the cunchiness of Birdbath, the goey comfort food staples of Magnolia, the special diets focus of Babycakes and the culinary insouciance of Baked rolled into one amazing, Willy Wonka-like shop. I mean, where else can you find vegan cupcakes and an Elvis brownie made with chocolate, bananas and bacon? We tried the fruit soup, smores brownies, vegan raspberry bar, and shortbread made with artisinal salts. All amazing--the only miss here were the handmade chocolates. With a price point similar to Kee's fantastic chocolate, these came up short in the flavor department.
Chicago hot dog at Scooter's

We had plenty of opportunity to sample Chicago's famous hot dogs--at Scooter's, with a side of the shop's famous frozen custard in a root beer float. We also hit Hot Dougs, which features a range of weird gourmet offerings named after members of the Buzzcocks and containing bacon infused duck sausage or wild boar sausage with fennel. Our favorite was blue cheese pork sausage with toasted walnuts and fiery apple salsa. We got cheese fries so as not fully embrace snobby foodiness. Chicago makes it easy to bridge high and low.
More of the wares at Bleeding Heart

Our last meal was room service at the Chicago Marriot. Four dollars for two strips of bacon! It was worth it to not have to venture out until afternoon.

My only regret is not getting to my favorite carne asada burrito place, La Pasadita. But Chicago, trust me, I will be back!

More pictures from the foodie tour are on this flickr map.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Picture Monday: Travel edition

Wonder what goes on in there?

Friday, May 9, 2008

5 Boro Bike Tour: Astoria Park

Astoria Park, originally uploaded by Brooklyn Bridge.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Liveblogging the Brooklyn Blogfest

I feel like such a cliche...but if the shoe fits. They won me over with the free nosh.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

To do list

  • Arrive at Penn Station.
  • Call Sally Hayes
  • Grab a taxi.
  • Ask cabbie about the Central Park ducks.
  • Check in at the Edmont Hotel.
  • Set up appointment with Faith Cavendish
  • Go to the Lavendar Room to meet Marty, Laverne, and Bernice Kregs.
  • Ernie's in Greenwich Village.
  • Walk two miles back to the Edmont hotel.
  • Talk to Allie.
  • Pretend bullets in gut.
  • Go to sleep.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My week without the internet

I feel bad about depriving my loyal readership of six or seven people of their daily dose of news about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, not to mention the macro photography of erotic scenes painted on grains of rice they have come to expect. I have my reasons for the silence however; inspired by a documentary I saw on the Amish, I decided to unplug for a whole week, and lucky for you, I kept a diary of the whole ordeal...

My week without the internet

Day 1:

9:22 AM: So I’ve finally decided to do it. No Internet for seven days. Figure I would be capable of so much if I didn’t spend so much time on Gawker and
Like a surgeon, I open up my laptop, lift out the beating heart its wireless connection, and hide it from myself.

12:01 PM: Sit outside and look at trees. Wonder what kind of tree that is in my backyard. Or why plants grow toward the sun. Or why the sun circles the earth. Or what ancient cultures thought the world was round. Or whether Earth, Wind, and Fire ever wrote a song about the sun, and whether I should write about it for when I can update my blog again. Redouble effort to read entirety of Proust. Wonder why they changed the name of Remembrance of Things Past. Wish I could still use Google. I’d only need it for 10 minutes. Know I must resist.

Day 2:

9AM: First day of work without Internet. Explain to boss I won’t be online. But you’re a web designer, he says. You don’t have to surf the web to be a great designer, I reply. But what about Outlook? I say to him that all of us sit in a big round open space. We can just shout back and forth.

Day 3:

Days at work seem long. Have much time to sit and think. Hours seem sharply delineated and endless. Pain in head getting worse.

Day 5:

10:50 PM: Take a copy of Cook’s Illustrated to a local watering hole, where I sit and nurse a Jack and Coke and pour over directions for a crown rack of lamb. Some dude comes up to me and asks if he can buy me a drink. I want to say, what is this, the ‘70’s? but he does seem cute and nice. Realize I have dated anyone I’ve met IRL, as it were, since 2004.

We end up talking about all sorts of things, the Great Wall of China and skateboarding. Why there’s no nutrition in celery. It’s the most stimulated I’ve been for, well, weeks. At the end of the conversation, he asks for my email. I tell him I’m not using the Internet for a month, and my various reasons for my decision, and maybe I went on too long, because this look came over his face and he said: If you don’t want to see me again, you don’t have to be sneaky about it. I said, wait, you can have my phone number. I’ll make you a rack of lamb! But by then he’s gone. Some people are just insecure.

Day 7:

Some things that people might not be aware of about old-timey hobbies: knitting takes a lot of patience. The costs of setting up a blacksmithing shop are prohibitive. And beekeeping? Let’s not talk about beekeeping.

Now, where did I put my wireless card?

Picture Monday: Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

IMG_0275, originally uploaded by Brooklyn Bridge.