Thursday, July 28, 2005

For the benefit of Yasmin...

... more cat pictures! Yaaaaaaaaay!

...I took Catsby to the vet today. Apparently he's a she, which is to say the vet who originally examined her, didn't do a stellar job (though his respiratory problem seems to be gone). She may have ringworm though, which is bad because ringworm is contageous... on the bright side, that would explain why she's losing hair from her ears and tail. Also on the bright side, she tested negative for FIV and feline leukemia.... And! she's void of earmites! Hooray!

This is my life now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ricky Williams is Flipper.

RunningbackRicky Williams is returning to the Miami Dolphins. According to the Washington Post, he issued an apology to his teammates. What did they have to say in reply? Defensive tackle Larry Chester did what we all would do in that situation and compared himself to God: "He owed us an apology.... He did that. If God can forgive me every day for the things I've done and will possibly do, then how could I possibly hold a grudge or have any animosity toward him as far as his decisions?"

Larry's motto? "If God can do it, so can I."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005

Kitty on my foot and I want to touch it.

Today I got a kitten.

Timmy--Yasmin's friend's cousin (I think he's a cousin)--found three kittens crawling out of a shoebox on a neighbor's doorstep. This was one of them. He has a bit of a resperatory infection and an eye infection. He's only one month old and can pretty much fit in the palm of your hand.

So far the names I'm considering are Cation (a positively charged ion) and Cataracts. I'm looking pretty exclusively at names with "cat" in them, as I'm probably going to end up just calling him Cat anyway. Suggestions?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Irrational hatred of everything

Sometimes in the morning, I hate you. I also hate brushing my teeth; I hate figuring out what shirt to wear; I hate everything. However, what I hate most of all are the fucking commuters that ride the train with me. When I get to the train station, oftentimes the platform is virtually empty, with the exception of a handful of bleary eyed, quiet travelers staring into the void of the train tunnel. Then, as soon as we can see that red speck of light, that beacon of hope off in the distance that is the illuminated number on the front of a 4 or 5 train, the goddamn 2 train screeches to a halt on the other side of the platform, opens its doors, and floods the concrete dock with people transferring, pushing themselves to the edge of the platform in front of me just in time for them to claim a prime spot to enter the wooshing-open doors of my Manhattan-bound express. I am then forced to stand for the next half hour holding onto a pole that no doubt was most recently touched by the guy who doesn't wash his hands after taking his morning dump or the lady who compulsively rubs her conjunctivitis-infected eye.

Fucking assholes.

I hate you all. . . sometimes in the morning.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Di Fara Pizza, slower than a turtle

On Saturday I finally checked off the last of the famed New York pizzerias on my list. Pizza at Di Fara is hand crafted under the rule of Dominick DeMarco (or Dom as he's known by the regulars), who, himself, is an authentic slice of Italy. Watching him make pizza is a riveting, zen-like experience. Each pizza is painstakingly constructed solely by Dom (and has been for over 40 years), from the tossing of the dough, the swirling of the sauce, and the grating and spreading of three cheeses, to the final addition of olive oil and pepperoni (or whatever your topping of preference happens to be). He nicely rounds it all off by bare-handing the pizzas out of the oven. And he does all of this at the speed of a three-toed sloth. Waits up to two hours long are apparently not an unusual occurence.

Marty, Tera, Dave Hersch, and I split a half plain/half pepperoni pie. The pizza itself was quite good, though not the best I've had since my tour of New York pizzerias began. The pepperoni, though, may be the best I've ever had--sliced thick and with a mild kick to it. The pizza's faults were a too-heavy cheese-to-sauce ratio and an uneven crust. However, what it lacked in flavor (which I'd like to stress is not a lot) it made up for in its artful creation.

As a bonus they had bottles of IBC root beer stocked in the fridge.

Of all the famed pizzerias in the city only Patsy's on 118th and Di Fara sell individual slices. If I had to choose one place to go out of my way to get a slice (and believe me they are both well out of my way), it would be Di Fara, as you'll always get a fresh slice... because Dom makes 'em so slowly.

As for a whole fresh pie? It depends on the day. Totonno's is the most consistent pizza in the city. The crust is always perfectly baked and the sauce-to-cheese ratio that barely fluctuates. However it lacks the robustness of flavor that you'll find in a pizza from Patsy's or Grimaldi's. Meanwhile, Una Pizza Napoeltana is the place to go if you want authentic Neopolitan pizza, though Pepperoncino's and No. 28 are a very close second and third, respectively. Franny's is the only place worth visiting for organic pizza. And you can't beat the value of a pizza from La Villa (as long as you hold off on their D.O.C. pizza, with its imported ingredients and subsequent ballooned price), which also makes an incredible pie. Any given day, any one of these fine establishments could slice up the best pizza in the city. I just hope I'm there to eat some of it when it's served...

My visit to Di Fara by no means signals the end of my pizza outings or my posting pizza reviews on this blog. There will always be new pizzerias to visit and old ones to re-visit. If anyone's interested in dropping by the city for a pie, let me know. I'd be happy to join you.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hot Dog! Pizza, Pizza.

I'm a little behind, but here's a weekend re-cap with a little commentary and history thrown in...

If indigestion and nausea are symptons of a good weekend, then I had a great time these last few days.

Friday, I finally got to hang out with Brendan for the first time in ages. We hit up a Venezuelan arepa place for dinner. Arepa's are kind of a hot pocket/pita thing made of cornmeal and then filled with, well, any number of delicious mixtures of meats and veggies. We then topped it off with a healthy dose of live music courtesy of Casey Holford and Chris Maher at the Sidewalk Cafe. Yasmin and her friend Abby were already there when we arrived, and Craig and Cecilia dropped by a little while later.

Chris Fuckin' Maher is a kid I went to college with. He's apparently well known in some circles for his involvement in the musical movement called anti-folk, which is kind of folk music with a punk bent. I'm a fan. It's kind of weird sharing music you know and like to your friends. I always find myself kind of nervous about it. I mean, what if they hate it? They are are judging you. Like recently, I made a mix cd for my cousin who runs a record company. Whenever we talk about music inevitably, at some point, Weezer gets mentioned. (For god's sake, how could I not?) My cousin, who I don't think has really paid much attention to pop music in the past 15 to 20 years has no idea who they are, nor does he know anything about hip-hop. His record company deals largely with jazz, classical, and world music, though he has signed some more mainstream stuff like Wilco and the Magnetic Fields. Needless to say, he's a smart guy who has strong opinions about nearly everything (he's quite fond of superlatives). So, I made him a little sampler of Weezer, hip-hop (Talib Kweli, Blackalicious, Madvillain, Kanye, and Che Fu) and (because he actually brought them up) Green Day. Hopefully he'll like at least some of it. If not, well, we'll probably talk about music a little less often.

... but I digress

Saturday Emiko arrived back from Vermont earlier than expected, which is to say she arrived home on Friday, shuffling around my plans somewhat. We ended up strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge with Liz, Kevin (Liz's fiance), and Foxy Berger and hitting up Grimaldi's for pizza. Patsy Grimaldi, the proprietor of said pizzeria, is a relative of the same Patsy of Patsy's Pizza fame (which itself was established in Harlem in the late '20s, I believe) and, according to the lovely placemats, from the age of 10 was working the tables and making the pizza there. At some point he established Grimaldi's, which has been vying for the title of best pizza in New York ever since. I've read some reviews that have called it the best. I've also read some that say while it's truly fantastic, they undercook the crust when it's crowded, which is often. The latter was the case in our visit. Despite the flaccid crust, the pizza was top quality--fresh cheese and sauce and some lovely pepperoni. Plus they serve root beer. Post pizza we headed over to Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven, which is just a couple of blocks away, for a hit of cocoa and caramel. For those more inclined for some relief from the heat, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is just down the street from Grimaldi's.

Sunday brought more of the same, only different. Everyone minus Foxy headed down to Coney Island for more adventure with pizza. We patronized the original Totonno's pizza parlor, where we split a half plain, half garlic pizza. I keep forgetting that basil is an extra on their pizzas. Even sans the basil, though, Totonno's is still exceptional. Their crust is always perfectly crisp, their sauce tangy, and their mozzerella fresh. And they too serve root beer, which neither of the Totonno's in Manhattan does. Other highlights of the day (in reverse chronological order, just because...) included the most horrifying display of a wet t-shirted woman I've ever seen. As I said at the time, the nipples were the size of dinner plates--you could've eaten a sirloin off of them; eating hot dogs from the original Nathan's; riding the Coney Island's famous Cyclone rollercoaster; watching a freakshow; and visiting a museum that had a penny peepshow of an elephant being electrocuted. The last on that list is the winner of the "Most Disturbing Thing Seen at Coney Island on a Sunday in July" award, though the rollercoaster made me more nauseated.

And to bring us up to date, the New York Philharmonic played a free concert last night. I was there. Where were you?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

CC: Celf-Conscious

Disclaimer: I started writing this blog before Ducore wrote his self-blog analysis. I realize the structure of this entry is pretty much the same as his. What can I say? I'm a hack.

So, I've been reading other people's blogs (the one's listed in the sidebar and some others) and I can't help but compare my own their's. I find that the most compelling of these blogs contain basically three things (a) interesting subjects (b) analysis of those interesting subjects (c) humor. Looking back on my own writing, I can see the a fairly large portion of it is just a recapping of events without much analysis of those events. I am a lazy blog writer. While this may be fine for those of you who are just interested in reading about my minor triumphs and failures, it irks me. I don't like to consider myself a passive thinker (which is a contradiction), but apparently I am, or at least appear to be most of the time. I think in general, I'm actually a reactionary thinker. My mind stays dormant until I've been posed a question or problem to solve. I don't normally come up with the questions myself.

Perhaps part of this problem I have with this blog is that I'm just trying to cram too many events into one entry and I'm not willing to spend enough time on each event individually in order to give them the amount of consideration it would take to make the event actually read as something interesting instead of just as a statement of fact. In the future, I'll try and stick to fewer topics and try and put a little more effort into making them more compelling reads.

On another subject, I'll be in Maryland from Sunday evening through Tuesday evening. That's a fact.