Month: November 2006

New York, NY: The Gnocchi And Duck Ragu Was Just THAT Good

Sunday evening I left Bridgeport and took the Metro-North to NYC. I stayed with Andrew that night in his Brooklyn apartment. After dropping my stuff off, we biked to a local bar that has a ping-pong table on their back patio. Just like old times!

A couple that was watching Andrew and I became interested and agreed to some doubles play. I was paired with the girl, Ryan, and Andrew was with Will. Will wasn’t too bad, but Ryan definitely needed to work on the fundamentals. Ryan had earlier taken an action shot of me with her camera, so I thought it was only fair that I get a picture of them before Andrew and I left.

Biking to another bar, closer to Andrew’s apartment, there was suddenly a loud BANG! My enemies must’ve found out I’m in NYC! The bike became sluggish and Andrew suggested my tire might’ve blown out. Upon further investigation, I concluded that I hadn’t been shot at, but a hole the size of a knuckle had materialized on the front tire. The rest of the trip to the bar was walking alongside my now useless bike.

The next day Andrew and I went to Rebecca’s place to unload the small child I had been carrying on my back. Bec suggested taking the Staten Island Ferry back and forth for some good views of the city. Without anything else to do, it sounded like a decent idea, and it was! I’d now show you this great “retro” picture of Manhattan from the ferry, but I accidentally stored it on my camera’s internal memory and can’t get it out of there without the USB cable (which I forgot). Guess you’ll have to wait a year or so.

Rebecca met up with us later in the West Village for dinner and some drinks. Her friend Drew also joined us, and we went to Po, the former Mario Batali project. I had the delicious entree mentioned in today’s title. Walking around the village after dinner, Bec and I spied a tattoo parlor and were suddenly taken with a desire to get inked. We were looking through the art books when I started feeling really hot and light-headed. I started making my way to the door to get some air …

And that’s the last thing I remember until I saw Rebecca and Andrew staring at me with worried expressions in one corner of the shop. They helped me up and …

That was the next last-thing-I-remembered until I was once again looking up at them, this time on the sidewalk in front of the store. They told me I fell backwards into them and passed out in the store. Then, after they helped me up, I fell again outside for a good 4 minutes. The ambulance came and checked my vitals and decared me OK. They suggested I go to the hospital, but I declined. Not sure what happened, but I hadn’t really ate much that day and was walking around alot; Maybe my body didn’t quite like that treatment, and it just needed a reboot.

I was supposed to meet up with Tarik later that night, but got very angry stares from Rebecca when I made any remarks about rallying. I broke the bad news to Tarik, and Bec, Andrew and I watched Wedding Crashers until bedtime.

The next day I spent several hours at the American Museum of Natural History; check out this blurry picture of some kind of skunk. It freaks out it’s predators by doing a handstand, and sometimes even starts walking like that! Way to go, little dude!

That night Becky and I went out for a burger and rented Clerks II (very disappointing, by the way). My flight to Seattle was at 8:30 this morning, so I left Rebecca’s at around 6 AM. You can find all my pictures from New York here.

I leave you tonight with a picture of Peter-the-Cheeter, waiting for the bus in Seattle’s worst winter in 200 years (WARNING: made-up fact). Interestingly, this is a picture of what the students call “The Ave”, which is actually University Way, not an avenue at all.

Stay tuned for pictures of the Seattle Museum of Flight, which “includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn, the original manufacturing facility of The Boeing Co.” Do you think I get a discount?

Bridgeport/Milford, CT: Fortunately, All My College Finals Were Open-Pie

Check out the view from Sly’s place in Milford, fantastic!

Stop yourself from asking him what his rent payments are, unless you enjoy a good cry.

Saturday night was spent with Sly, Sheldon and Park. It was a quiet, low-key night, reminiscent of old times in Ann Arbor. Well, the quiet, low-key times in Ann Arbor, at least. Until we reached the Black Bear Saloon, where we encountered a certain … incredibility:

The angle makes it difficult to read, but the sign says “Saturdays College Footbal Bonanza every GAME!! 2 for 1 Wings. $3 Coors Light Pints till 9PM.” Naturally, we inquired about the deal. The waitress went to ask her manager, and returned saying that it only applies to college football games. A game was on the big screen just a few feet away, and we were there to watch the USC-Notre Dame game, of which we alerted the waitress. She again went back to consult with her manager and then returned to say the deal is only applicable on Sundays. Each of us turned and looked at each other, then at the sign above, and also at a sign that listed a similar special for Sundays and NFL games. Our waitress was unwavering in her belief that the deal only applied to College Football games on Sunday. The others dropped the issue and succumbed to paying regular price for their wings. I wasn’t ordering food (and thus was out of food preparation-related retaliation), so I asked if the deal used to be for Saturdays and recently changed to Sundays. The conversation stopped there because the poor girl used the I-just-work-here excuse and I lost hope of half-priced wings for my friends.

The next day, Sly and I went out Frolf-ing on the grounds of Fairfield University. I think I finished +28, on a 12-hole par 3. I blame it on the wind.

I was so happy I got to see those guys, and consider myself very fortunate that my friends have all made an effort to see me one more time before I leave. My time in CT was finished with sushi and a fortune: “Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.” Kinda fitting, no? I’ll definitely agree that common sense is a valuable commodity in this world, and would be immensely useful on my travels.

A quick, final note, and to explain today’s title: I read recently at Megnut’s food blog about an American Pie Council poll that discovered 65% of Americans enjoy pie au naturel, while the other 35% prefer it a-la-mode. Wait, American Pie Council? I wasn’t aware that we had formed a pie lobby group, though quite frankly it’s about damned time. Curiousity peaked, I ventured out into them internets and found their website. Did you know that Januray 23rd is National Pie Day? Well, the APC even has a list of ways to celebrate that glorious occasion. I leave you today with my favorite suggestion:

Stage kid’s pie activities: … Teach American and world history, math and science through pie.”

Close seconds (get it? seconds of pie?) were “quote pie poems” and “publish pie memories”.

See all the Bridgeport pics here, and stay tuned for tales of New York City and the first visit by an ambulance.

Thanksgiving, Indian-Style

Ugghhh. That has to be the only combination of letters that accurately describes how I felt last night.

We celebrated our Indian version of a traditional Thanksgiving. And no, I don’t mean we invited some white people over to the house and thenĀ  exchanged smallpox-infested blankets for rice, curry and Sam Adams Winter Lager, I mean us immigrants celebrated our tradition of cashing in on a free day off from work. Well, my parents got the day off, I just watched TV from another person’s couch for a few hours.

Happy Thanksgiving! (By the way, someone actually wished me happy new year last night … so uncalled for)

Gear Re-up!

So the Marmot jacket didn’t really work out. The fit wasn’t the best, since I would’ve needed somewhere between a medium and large (my arms are disproportionately long compared to my upper body, kinda like a gorilla; see portrait for clarification). Originally, I planned on only exchanging it for the black Marmot, but I ended up just returning it and going with a North Face combo of …

The fleece, a standard-issue. The medium fit perfectly, even the sleeves! I went searching for a North Face shell to wear over it, and found …

The North Face Mountain Light Summit Series Jacket. It’s Gore-Tex too! And ohhh … the fit … was just fantastic, I felt like a real homosapien. Though the jacket was attractive enough, I guess it made me a metrosapien. Even over the fleece it wasn’t too stuffy or constricting, more than what could be said about the Marmot. The big drawback was the price, which — without disclosing the numbers — was a little more than I wanted to spend. But who cares, being an REI member I can return it a year from now, no questions asked. And if I ever decide to climb Everest, at least I’ll already have a coat for it. Bonus!

I got some other small things too: locks, a carrying case, a towel; but the last cool purchase was …

A knife! A Gerber multi-tool. I was indecisive in choosing between the Gerber and a Leatherman CS4, but a major selling point was the spring-action pliers on the Gerber, which bounce back after clasping. Also, the guy at REI was telling me how he was given one when he worked for the park service, and got to keep it when he left. If it’s good enough for the park service, it’s good enough for me.

Big Brother Is Losing His Touch

I was reading through my daily blogs while watching Death To Smoochy this morning, when who should call? None other than Big Brother himself!

And wouldn’t ya’ know it, he lives in Bedford, only about 20 minutes away via Mass Ave.

With the amount we pay in taxes each year, don’t you think he could afford more discrete methods of figuring out what we’re up to? Whatever happened to wire taps, bugs, packet sniffers, defense satellite imagery? The man’s just not trying anymore.

Gear Up!

Bought some more equipment today. So far, the major purchases have been:

The coat, a Marmot Thunder Ridge 3-in-1 jacket. It’s got a zip-out waterproof (nylon-coated) fleece and a weatherproof outer shell. Perfect as a winter jacket, fall fleece or raincoat. I later contemplated why it’s called a 3-in-1 jacket since it only has 2 layers, and came to the conclusion that the different combinations make up the triune: 1) shell and liner, 2) shell only, and 3) liner only. Probably a no-brainer, but I was pretty proud of myself.

The backpack, an Eagle Creek Grand Voyage 90L. It can hold 5600 cu. in. of stuff and it has a detachable daypack. The reason I got this rather than, say, an Arcteryx Bora 95, is because the zip-off pack is a smaller backpack rather than a fanny pack. Mighty useful when you’re leaving most of your stuff locked up and going out for the day around the town, and you don’t want to look like Clark Griswold.

The shoes, Montrail Hardrock trail running shoes. They provided the most arch support, over some crazy-looking North Face shoes and a pair of Merrells. They’re nice and light too. I didn’t really like color scheme at first (the grey in the photo is a lot darker in reality), but the woman at REI said she bought a pair for a trail running marathon (!) and liked them so much she used them during a regular marathon (!!). Plus, they appear to be award-winning. I took them on a short trip into the city and back and was pretty pleased with their performance.

Other purchases included some nylon, quick-drying pants and a long-sleeved shirt, a travel organizer and a toiletry kit. Blah, blah, nothing special after all the major items. If anyone has any suggestions, or don’t-forgets, please let me know cause I probably will.

Borat Visits Newton, MA, and Delights a Pair of Shape-Shifting Jews

There’s a great article in the Globe today about a segment of the Borat movie where he visits a B&B, later discovered to be run by a Jewish couple, Joe and Miriam Behar. I’ll avoid going into details on the movie to spare those who haven’t seen it yet, but imagine Borat’s usual antics in a home decorated with Jewish culture-inspired paintings — done by Miriam herself — complete with pastrami sandwiches and yamulkes.

The couple didn’t suspect that their guest was more than a poor Kazakh television reporter, except some doubts about his dreams of going to Malibu to marry a girl: Joe found it hard to believe a Malibu girl would want to marry Borat.

“My biggest fear is they were making a porn movie or something”, says Joe, … “The director said I was a good actor.”

Despite feeling a little misled by Sasha Baron Cohen’s production crew, who told them it was a documentary that wouldn’t be shown in the US, and slighted by the amount Cohen’s team were compensating their unknowing actors, the couple enjoyed the experience. Indeed, Joe’s first-hand screening of Cohen’s work turned him into a fan.

“He’s a mastor actor. He puts people in a mental environment where they can’t think straight. No director can teach you that.”

Somehow I don’t think the frat boys and Romanian gypsies (yes, the extras in Borat’s “hometown” were gypsies) share the sentiment.