Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Barry Who? Congrats, Cal

"Iron Man" Cal Ripken, Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today. He's an inspiration and I'm so happy to have had the pleasure of watching him play live a few times in my life.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bots and What-Nots: Feeling Stupid

I remembered, suddenly, that I have another site , created a year or so ago -- the experimental Global Warming Compendium -- which, like this one, languishes in obscurity. I went there a few days ago and was stunned to find that 30 new people had registered! Oh joy! Oh shock! I immediately and breathlessly dug up a new quirky and interesting news article on climate change for the home page, formatted it, posted it, and sat back, breathless. Then I decided to check out the new people (certainly smart, concerned netizens who had stumbled on my little php experiment while scouring the Web for ways to connect and collaborate to save the planet).

It only took a few minutes to realize ... I've been had. Bot (see malicious purposes) and paid for. They were all fake, jennifer13984, bill39872, cindy10928, etc. All from... nowhere. Sigh.

Then I noticed one that was different... One "Annabeth" with a hotmail account. Yes! A real person. From British Columbia (who would fake that?). I immediately set about emailing Annabeth, anxious to encourage the few registered users I can claim. My email was pithy and breezy, heartfelt and grateful and quite well-done, I thought, at a little over 250 words.

I was about to press "send" when I remembered that I myself had created lovely the Annabeth out of whole cloth, back when I thought I needed to seed this sorry site with at least a couple registered users. At that moment, I personified the word "cringe." (And what a great word, right? Cri or cry + unhinged + whinge + itch + wring + grinch + flinch + wench. C'est moi).

I fiddled with the site's registration process and I'm pretty sure now anyone who wants to register (ha) will have to provide me their complete CV, an essay on "What Global Warming Means to Me," a valid e-mail address, their mother's maiden name and will need to wait for a CIA background check. So, go on, sign up to day!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Richard Rules: Serra at MOMA

Horrifed at my recent lack of cultural activity (I don't count reading*) I zoomed up to MOMA on Saturday to take in the Richard Serra show. Big. Big, big, HUGE pieces of metal, curved, rusting in the Sculpture Garden. You can walk between the four curves and get a lovely claustrophic feeling that I would liken to being trapped in a cargo ship's inner hull. I can't quite figure out how he made them; it must have been very difficult. What's easy is taking bad photos of them. They are NOT photogenic. Inside (where photography isn't allowed, dammit) there are even more wondrous... large curved things. The exhibit continues in the same theme, gigantic curved objects, some conconcave and some convex, so many that you feel lost among them. Neat!

Now, I must confess a love of going to museums alone. I have a very short attention span and usually die before the other person is finished perusing. Yesterday's outing, for example, took a grand total of 17 minutes (not including transportation). This way, every moment is... precious. Or something. Anyway, better photos and Serra himself here.

Of course, before posting this I had to google "que Serra, Serra" on the off-chance that I might be the first briliant humorist to use the phrase for a blog posting. Alas, no. But I did get a hoot out of this short post.

Recent reading: Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns (phenomenal); Augusten Burroughs' Possible Side Effects (quite funny); Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History (salty!).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Kind of Signage

Now THAT'S a good use of advertising space. Who'd a thunk that a business as pedestrian as Manhattan Mini Storage (which as far as I can tell pretty much has a lock on the storage biz in Manhattan) would have the chutzpah. Love it. I do remember another location that had posted, simply, "Save Darfur." I just... wish I had something to store at the moment. View larger


O. Henry is definitely stating that the catfood box is empty -- so empty he can crawl in it and get stuck.
View larger

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Well, Shoot

Dang! A small piece of my past has evaporated. The Assocation of Independent Video and Filmmakers is now defunct (and has been for about a year). A truly independently-spirited organization, it gave me another peek into the world of filmmaking (after NYU film school) and gave me the momentary desire to be a documentarist (which career is on hold for a while).

I remember working there as a student, filing things, answering the phones, waiting for the sweet sound of NPR's All Things Considered (which meant I only had an hour left to go). The offices, on lower Broadway, were cramped and cluttered and oh so homey. I remember a girl named Rain or Raiine or Rainne who had cool hair, and Ethan who was very serious but whom I liked a lot... at least one Elizabeth (so sweet and smart and cool) and Larry the head of it all. Sigh.

I remember one project was calling a bunch of documentary makers for some (legitimate) reason and I remember being so thrilled to speak with Barbara Kopple that I nearly couldn't speak. I myself wound up with a sound-recording gig with a woman I barely remember (Carol something) who dragged my sorry ass to Albany for a shoot and never paid me. Oh well. AIVF published a cool quarterly (I believe) that was the perfect print corollary to the hard-bitten world of independent filmmaking. It was called The Independent.

So... Save The Independent. I know I'll try to help.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Culinary Profile

I'd like to think I'm normal: interested in food as a means of sustenance and mild pleasure, enjoying a wide range of cuisines in moderation, with a healthy contemplation about a food item's origins, its grower's plight, its manufacturing's environmental impact and my relationship to it and them.

Unfortunately, I have to admit to being somewhat obsessed with all things culinary -- not to any degree approaching a true "foodie" or to imagine myself as a chef, but geez. The evidence is in:

Read in the last six months and now sitting on my desk:
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits
Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires
Lynda Bladholm's The Asian Grocery Store Demystified
Bill Buford's Heat
The Gardner Museum Cafe Cookbook
The Joy of Cooking (old and new editions)
Here in America's Test Kitchen

Watching on TV
Top Chef
Hell's Kitchen
America's Next Top Food Network Host
Iron Chef
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

I also frequently read blogs like Michael Ruhlman's. C's and my current favorite restaurant is Landmarc on West Broadway. I was somewhat surprised and saddened (only a little) at its terrible reviews for the Time Warner building location. Our favorite dishes at Landmarc include the sinful pain perdu, the ubiquitous (for me) salmon tartare, any salad, and of course steak frites. We know we need to get out of the neighborhood more and I'm saving my pennies (dollars) for Masa someday in the future. Blame it on Bourdain, but, as he says in his Nasty Bits:

"Go to Masa. Go now. Book late and show up on time. Sit down, shup up -- and relax. He'll [Masa Takayama]take if from there. Give yourself over the the experience. And enjoy. Eating well... is about submission. It's about giving up all vestiges of control, about entrusting your fate entirely to someone else. It's about turning off the mean, manipulative, calculating, and shrewd person inside you, and slipping heedlessly into a new experience as if it were a warm bath. It's about shutting down the radar and letting good things happen. When that happens to a professional chef, it's a rare and beautiful thing. Let it happen to you."

And that was AFTER describing, in exquisite detail, his last meal at the place. So, next time I have a few hundred (make that about $800) to spare (and I mean really to spare) that's where I'm heading.

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