...I think this is fantastic.
(Via Boing Boing)
Meanwhile, I'll reach into the Way Back: After a train trip to/from NYC for Thanksgiving (the mere whiff of snow in CT on Thanksgiving Day made me prefer to deal with Amtrak instead of slushy traffic without snow tires), I had my first encounter with Zipcar. It's a neat service whereby you rent cars by the hour. The fee includes all insurance and fuel, and the process is (almost) completely automated. You reserve a car near you (or not) on the web. Head to the car at the appointed time, and wave your Zipcard over the sensor and it lets you in. Turn the key and drive off.
Most people, I guess, use Zipcars for grocery shopping or ferrying family or couches around. I signed up a couple weeks ago to be able to haul stuff bigger than loaf of bread. So I rented a Jetta for a couple hours to move my airconditioner, fan and a chair to storage. There're many cars to choose from, though I guess you have to plan well in advance to get a BMW, MINI or Mazda3 on a Sunday afternoon. Everything worked really well, and it feels very much like one of the perfect examples of Web-enabled e-convenience. Or something. I have yet to talk to an actual person; and more to the point, I haven't needed to.
For my birthday, my friend Simone had gotten me a ticket to the Sixers/Celtics game on Weds. So we went to that. It was quite a game, and though the Sixers lost (which royally sucked--but when you let Kendrick Perkins get 19 rebounds, you can't really expect to win), the stars did their thing. I'd never seen Iverson play in person (he was injured the last time I got to a Celtics game and they never seem to be around when I'm in Phila), and if possible, he looks even smaller and faster in person than he does on TV.
By Thursday, my new winter tires and wheels had finally showed up and I had them installed. I'll miss the other ones for the next few months of course, but the ride is now actually quite a bit nicer. And I'll actually be able to get around in the snow. It's actually supposed to start snowing any minute now, so we'll see.
As mentioned previously, I saw North by Northwest for the umpteenth time. And Kubrick's Lolita for the first. What a great fucking (um..) movie. So understated. So fantastically shot. Amazing performances. Etc. Finally saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Plenty of great Wes Anderson touches (and a great montage with Devo's "Gut Feeling" as the soundtrack), but not as gigantically good as his others. I will say it was kind of funny seeing Tony Shafrazi mutely playing an Arabian film financier (or whatever).
Central Kitchen is my current favorite restaurant (at least till I go to East Coast again). Aileen and I met up there Thursday night, and the cod-and-bacon fritters were earthshaking. Too bad there were only three of them on the plate; but Aileen let me have two of them, so I guess it's ok...
And since my dad brought some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale up to NYC from Phila, thatt's been my favorite beer. I only brought a single bottle back with me on the train, but I tracked some down locally later in the week, and have continued to enjoy it throughly. Big, strong IPA flavor; a very reasonable (though completely dissimilar) stopgap till Rogue Chocolate Stout is available again.
I've closed the week with some freelance work today--woot--and am looking forward to a R. Kelly marathon tomorrow. With that in mind, I'll close here and try to get some sleep.
Tim and Kat had some people over to watch the first 12 episodes of R. Kelly's masterpiece "Trapped in the Closet." The absurdity of that will have to wait for another post.
At any rate, many of us had seen a couple of episodes a few months ago. Thus when Tim, Billy and I headed to the New England Auto Show a couple weeks ago, I was all primed to recreate a scene where R. Kelly races home in his Cadillac XLR.
And here is the result.
As many of you know, I do not have cable television. Don't believe in it. Wouldn't get anything done if I did have it. Wouldn't leave the house.
So I rely on the kindness of strangers.
This is a screenshot of a video chat I had with Albert. He pointed his iSight at his TV, which he'd tuned to ESPN2, which was showing the Saint Louis/Carolina game. Through the magic of the internets, I watched the 2nd half.
As I type this, Carolina's up by 3 with about 8 minutes to play. I'll let you know how it ends.
I'm often asked, "Your car is always so clean. How do you do it?" The question baffles me, and usually leads to a dialogue, in the tradition of Plato.
Me: Clean? It's not clean. Have you seen it latetly?
Them: Well, there's no snow on it. Do you park in a garage?
Me: Oh. Snow. That's different. I just brush it off.
Them [confused]: ...Brush?
Me: Yeah. Get this: They have these things called snow brushes that help get the snow off the car. It's amazing. You can get all the snow off the windows so you can see where you're going. And at some point, it ocurred to me that I could brush the snow off all the lights, so other people could see me...like, my brakelights and stuff, y'know? And at night? When it's dark? The headlights work way better if there isn't any snow covering them.
Them: Wow. Still sounds like a lot of work.
Me: Nah. Couple minutes, tops. Let the car warm up while you're doing it.
Them: Tell me more about the headlights. What are those for?
Hang UP. The FUCKING. PHONE!
Especially when you're sliding sideways through the snow. (Though who knows? Maybe you could have avoided the slide in the first place if you'd been using both hands.)
Every time Mr. Jalopy talks about the New Yorker, I get giddy. Almost as giddy as when he gets a new ride.
Recently he's been struggling with copying the Complete New Yorker 8DVD to his hard drive (the better to eliminate disk swapping). But he's not having any luck. And he's annoyed:
You can't use it in a fair, legal and sensible manner and you don't know that until you own it, as it doesn't have a sticker reading 'This DVD is Fucked.'
Got the hardtop installed yesterday. It looks better in primer-black than I thought it would. So I'm no longer certain I'll paint it right away.
With the wheels, and swap of the leather shift knob in place of the cast aluminum one (to which my hand freezes) it's now all decked out for winter.
I have simultaneously a load of stuff and absolutely nothing to write about, so I'll start by going over some recent musical gems.
Tim introduced me to some tasty new stuff I didn't know much about before:
Isolee's "Wearemonster": More super-glitchy, cold, funky minimal/micro/whatever techno. Tim and I saw him spin a few months ago, and it was superb.
Atmosphere's "You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having": Great underground-ish (though who knows what that term means anymore?) hip-hop. Nice beats and several killer lines, though also some iffy ones. But hey. I keep playing it, so it must be pretty good.
Finally, and most overwhelmingly, there's Halcyon's massive archive of Nü Pschidt mixes. They're live in-store mixes of the new arrivals, and they're dope. Particularly (in my opinion) this one and that one. But there's about a year's worth up there, so start exploring.
I had a few days off this past week, and with the extra time I made some meat-positive pasta sauce and ended up impressing even myself. So, herewith, a sauce "recipe" that sprang from my incompetent head:
Fry 4 slices of thick bacon--I said BACON! Can I get a AMEN?--in a large pot (yes, pot). Crispiness of the bacon is up to you. Remove bacon and set aside; do not drain the pot!
In the undrained pot, saute 3 yellow onions, diced, and as much garlic as you can stand to chop. I think I stopped at 5 largeish cloves. Depending on how far you went with the bacon, you may need to add a splash of olive oil to keep things sliding around nicely.
While that's happening, separately brown and drain 1 lb ground beef, and 3 hot Italian sausages (crumbled, with the casing removed). Chop up the bacon, but not too finely.
When the onions are about to brown (or even after they've gone over a bit) add beef, sausage, chopped bacon and two largeish cans of strained tomatos. I used a couple 26 ounce boxes of Pomi sauce because I had 'em handy.
Add pepper, oregano, basil, and rosemary to taste (I didn't use salt, but I bet a lot of people would add that too) and simmer for as long as you can. If your pot is as lamely thin-walled as mine is, (A) I'd be amazed and (B) you'll have to keep the heat low and stir often, or else you'll get a thickly charred crust at the bottom.
Serve over the pasta of your choice. Enjoy lingering bacon/onion smoke in hair, clothes and air for the next couple days.
Improvements? If I'd remembered that I had
to buy a green pepper, I would have chopped that up and thrown it in, along with some more sauce, and maybe a can of diced tomatoes. And I would have fried an extra slice of bacon for snacking. But it's pretty tough to improve.
And for God's sake, don't microwave the leftovers....
I'm hit #10 for can I get into an Ivy with a 1210 SAT
It's nearly impossible for me to describe just how uninterested I am in the upcoming winter solstice, and the newer (in the cosmological sense) religio-cultural celebrations of it that we've come to know as The Holiday Season®.
But given the risk of sounding crabby--it's not at all my intention to begrudge anyone else their joys of the season--and the possibility of some chemical wrinkles, and not really having any nuanced insights about it all anyway, I'll just say
I can't wait for it to be January.
I don't have the faintest notion what to get y'all. (Whoever "y'all" actually are. Ahhh....the joys of the single life....) And you have everything anyway, right? I know I have plenty of stuff for myself (and if you've read this blog before today you know that too), so what if we all just make donations to the ASPCA or help the blind, or rebuild NOLA (or should that be "help the blind rebuild NOLA"?), or cook each other dinner, or shovel somebody's walk, or pick up the phone and say "what's up?" or something?
Huh? Whaddya say?
Sigh. At one point in my life, I only thought cars, music, cameras and girls were cool. And Legos. How did web apps get on that list?
It's a super-flexible customizeable homepage/newsreader, with plenty of high-fiber AJAX goodness. You can display any RSS feed (pretty much) on your page, expand/collapse/drag the panels around to suit your needs, and (for now?) not see any ads. It's a little rough around the edges in places, but it's really really cool and promising.
This morning on my way to work, I saw, in order, these three notable things:
An Audi S4 with a smashed-and (presumably)-grabbed passenger window, around the corner from my apartment (and half a block away from where I park). I thought about taking a picture, but it seemed disrespectful, since the owner clearly didn't know about it yet. So that wasn't cool.
Then, I saw a Bentley Continental Flying Spur, down by Memorial Drive. Dude had the window open; listening to all 12 cylinders, I guess.
Finally, there were a lot of emergency vehicles (ambulances, state troopers) along Fresh Pond Parkway where a small Toyota had apparently missed the part where the road bends to the right, and kept going straight, diagonally through the intersection, across the sidewalk and up into the 12-foot high wooden wall (and adjoining shrubbery) in front of a robber-baron's manse. Waiting at the light, I saw a leather backback plopped awkwardly in the middle of the sidewalk. I sure hope its owner is ok.
Oh, and the driver too.
From a recent chat with Tim:
(09:43:43) Tim: Sweet! The amputee dog bailed on dog sitting
(09:43:45) Tim: woo!
(09:43:49) Tim: I'll take that goat, please
(09:47:30) Me: oh no!
(09:47:54) Me: er, can I blog that?
(09:48:11) Me: bloggorhea
(09:50:42) Tim: Know anyone who wants to ruin their nye by dogsitting?
It is a poor reason, but sometimes it works out.
Now that I have your attention....
I'm back from "The Holidays." I headed down to NYC on Xmas eve day (219 miles in 3 hours, 50 minutes, 2 stops) to hangout with my uncle, aunt and cousin for the weekend. On Xmas Eve I went to a small party in Chelsea with my friends John and Christine, and decided that rather than try to explain to a cab driver what part of Bkln I was staying in, I'd just crash on John and Christine's floor.
They have a quite-amazing air mattress, which virtually inflates itself. So, huzzah for that.
Xmas (and Monday...and Tuesday, for that matter) were super mellow. I slept late, we all drank coffee, ate food, and I was introduced to the genius of Greg the Bunny (and Warren the Ape) and Hopeless Pictures. Both are as brilliant as, and (if it's possible) even less well-known than, Arrested Development.
Came back yesterday, and mustered the energy to see Thurston Moore (in Duck) and J. Mascis (sitting in with Magik Markers) at the Abbey. Kooky, but fun. Watch out for Major Stars; they kicked ass.
Crap. The Sixers are about to lose. To a 9-and-18 team.
Happy New Year.