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A few days ago I dreamed that I, and several other people, had superpowers, but to activate them we needed to eat crystallized ginger. I’ve still got some crystallized ginger candy that I bought at Fairway last year, and just ate a piece, but no superpowers. (Hm. It also tastes a lot stronger in real life than it did in the dream.)

I also recently dreamed that Crayola had a crayon color named after the French and Indian War. I remember thinking, as I woke, that the really odd thing was that this crayon was purple instead of green. See, I figured, green could make sense, as a combination of French Ultramarine (the most valuable pigment of Renaissance Europe; a reward was offered for anyone who could come up with a cheap synthetic version) and Indian Yellow (a pigment made illegal because its manufacture required the mistreatment of cows). Later I remembered that there’s also an Indian Red, which Crayola makes in crayon form, though they changed the name to Chestnut almost a decade ago.

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[livejournal.com profile] cthulhia was in town, so we met for brunch and robot lobsters.

Hug MugBrunch was gonna be at Viselka’s, till I noticed that right across the street was a Max Brenner’s! A chocolate-themed restaurant! Who could pass that up? I’d been meaning to go ever since I first noticed their Union Square location opening up, but hadn’t gotten around to it. So, inside for breakfasts, and even the eggs come with a side of bread and little dishes of butter and spreadable chocolate. And of course, astonishingly delicious hot chocolate for drinking, served in miniature toilet bowls. They’re called “hug mugs”, handleless mugs that you’re supposed to cup with both hands, but jeez, look at the thing! Cthulhia wanted me to write “R Mutt” on mine with a Sharpie.

Then it was off to the Cooper-Hewitt for the Design Life Now exhibit. This was a bit overwhelming — so much stuff! Inkjet-printed silks, electronic slow glass, political cartoons, interactive light-piping floor tiles, and of course the robot lobster. Which I was a bit disappointed by, since it was just sitting still in a case, with a video playing to show it moving.

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I’ve had a hankering for curried egg salad for about a week now, which is odd, since I’d never before eaten any. But I googled up a recipe, and made the following mods:

  • Used low-fat mayo
  • Subbed dried cranberries for the dried currants, ’cause where the hell do you find dried currants?
  • Rounded the 2.75 tsp of curry powder up to 3 tsp, ’cause 2.75, WTF?
  • Ignored the bits about the cucumber and toast.

Spooned a serving of it into a whole-wheat pita, added a couple of kosher dill pickle spears on the side, and that was dinner. Pretty good, but:

  • Peeling and chopping a dozen hard-boiled eggs is more work than I like. I need to find some kind of automated chopping solution, though a food processor seems like overkill.
  • I think the currants would have worked better than the cranberries.
  • Next time, maybe add some pine nuts for crunch.
  • More curry powder!
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[livejournal.com profile] kent_allard_jr and I showed up at Spring Street for life drawing. (Note: Ten minutes before the session starts isn’t early enough to get a really good spot.) It was a mediocre session for me. I’d stocked up on a variety of drawing media; I was especially psyched about using black and white conté on brown kraft paper. Turned out my best drawings were done with the ordinary pen I use for writing (Pilot Precise V5). Oh, and one decent pencil sketch. As usual, the forty-minute poses were too long for me, and I filled the time sketching the other artists. Nah, no scans; there wasn’t anything particularly good this week.

Afterwards I introduced Kent to a Malaysian restaurant I’m fond of (Jaya, 90 Baxter Street, south of Canal; make sure to order the roti pancake appetizer) and we chatted about RPGs.
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Busy day today. First, a life drawing session at Spring Street Studio; I need to do that more often. (Results posted over on [livejournal.com profile] sketchblogs.) From there I immediately wandered down to get more art supplies (a thinner sketchbook for everyday use, a pad of brown kraft paper and some black and white conté for the next life drawing session). I hoped to be able to pick up some foam rubber (for another project) at the industrial plastics store opposite Pearl Paint on Canal St, but (shock! horror!) it seems to have gone out of business.

Then I walked uptown to 6th St for [livejournal.com profile] drcpunk’s birthday dinner at Brick Lane Curry House (excellent food, a bit pricey), after which we went down to the Landmark Sunshine Theater to see Howl’s Moving Castle (subbed). The movie has a good beginning and a great middle, but Miyazaki indulges his weakness for fairy-tale endings even more than usual.

And I found a used copy of REM’s Monster for $3. Used CDs rock.
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I finally got to eat at the Shake Shack! Damn, now I envy everyone who works in a one-block radius of Madison Square. Well, maybe not, since I hear the line at lunchtime gets hour-long. It opened up from winter hiatus last month, but it closes at 4 PM in April. Open till 9 now, though, so there’s plenty of time after work to get yer shake on.

I had a Chicago-style hot dog, and damn, Chicagoans know how to treat a frank! In Chicago you order a dog with everything by saying “Drag it through the garden”, and now I know why. It comes on a poppy-seed bun, loaded with pickles, sport peppers (something I’d never even heard of before), lettuce, relish bright enough that I expected it to emit laser beams, celery salt, and mustard (I had them hold the mustard). Enough stuff piled on that even though half of it fell off I still felt like I was getting a full salad with my dog.

I also got cheese fries and a chocolate shake. [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana got a Chicago dog and a taxi dog (hot dog with onions and kraut, I think). Next time I gotta try the frozen custard.
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From Steve Lambe: the best picture of Mr Magoo ever.

Greasemonkey is an extension for Firefox that lets you run arbitrary DHTML in viewed pages. In other words you can add stuff, delete stuff, change function, fix bugs, whatever, on whatever pages you want. People have written a bunch of user scripts already that you can install with a simple right-click.

The Lazy Way to Success: “Hard work is passé.” I think I’m doing it wrong.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Locations for Manhattan Pedestrians, 1995-2001. Number 1 is the intersection of Park Avenue and East 33rd Street. I believe it; there’s an exit for the 6 train right next to where the underpass lets out.

Have I mentioned Garlicster already?

Steamboy

Mar. 22nd, 2005 01:46 pm
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I saw Steamboy with [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana last night. The subtitled director’s cut playing at the Landmark Cinema, not the dubbed and trimmed-down version showing at the AMC. Not that I knew that going in; I chose the venue because I felt like having some Katz’s Deli matzo ball soup.

It’s a Katsuhiro Otomo movie, so plenty of impressive visuals and lots of the old explodo. And it’s steampunk, so you get your FDA recommended allowance for the year of pipes, gears, and other industrial goodies. I had a bit of trouble figuring out what most of the character’s motivations were. Not the protagonist, young Ray Steam himself, the movie does a good enough job of dangling obvious plot carrots in front of him, and swapping them out as needed. And one set of bad guys, the O’Hara Corporation, American arms dealers, yeah, they want to make money by showing off their new weapons to various nations of the world, and so they want to, um, destroy The Great Exhibition. OK, pretty straightforward, but then we’ve got a host of associate enemy/allies. Robert Stephenson, who seems to be representing state power over corporate power. And Ray’s father and grandfather, who spend an unfortunate amount of time in naïve philosophical arguments about the purpose of science.

Hey, has there ever been a major steampunk work that really engaged with the fact that the 19th century was a hotbed of labor activity? Britain made labor unions legal in 1832, the Tolpuddle Martyrs were arrested in 1834, you had the Chartists (some of you may remember them from Freedom & Necessity by Steven Brust and Emma Bull), and in 1864 Marx organized what would later become the First International. Imagine a steampunk version of the fight over the Paris Commune of 1871. (Hm, maybe I need to reread The Difference Engine.)
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Yesterday was the last day of [livejournal.com profile] cadhla’s visit to the east coast. The bunch of us went out to see if we could get cheap tickets to Avenue Q (I joined them, having decided based on the CD that it’s probably not $50 worth of funny, but $20 sounds about right), didn’t get them, and wound up with $50 tickets to The Producers instead. It was pretty darn funny, and the musical number were good, but I think I’m going to be less eager to go to Broadway shows until theaters redesign their seating plans. I can pay $10 for a movie and get a big, wide lounge chair that leans back and gives me plenty of leg room. Why am I paying $50 on Broadway for a chair that was designed for people without limbs?

On Thursday I did something to my right knee. It hurt a bit on stairs and getting out chairs, but got better after I slept on it. On Friday it was fine, until I’d spent two hours in a chair where the distance between the front of my seat back and the back of the seat in front of me was less than the distance between my spine and my knees. Now it still hurts. I’m going to pass on the possible opportunity to see Pacific Overtures for free tonight.

So, after the show we went to eat at Caravan of Dreams, which has the best-tasting vegan food I’ve ever eaten, even though Cadhla and [livejournal.com profile] stakebait decided there was nothing on the menu they could eat. (Or that’s what they said. If I were dating Cadhla and she were wearing the top she was last night, I’d try to finagle some extra shared alone-time too.) The rest of them headed home to the Pigeon Factory, while I went up to the party at [livejournal.com profile] auntiemisha’s place, which had lots of good food and company. I got to fill [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana in on The Producers and she told me about the PDQ Bach concert she’d gone to Thursday. Happpy smooches at midnight, and Bugsy’s first words in the new year were “Yay, 2005 doesn’t suck yet! No, wait, Dubya’s still president.”

Slice

Aug. 18th, 2004 09:51 pm
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Slice is a blog devoted to pizza, especially NYC pizza. They’ve set up a special section for visiting GOP conventioneers, telling tourists how to order a slice (“First, it’s a ‘slice,’ not a ‘piece of pizza.’ New Yorkers don’t have time for all that verbiage.”), how to hold it once you’ve ordered it, and where to find coal-fire oven pizza. It also details some of the bizarre pizza habits of the midwest.
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Saturday started off with a massive kitchen-scrubbing session. Our counters and cabinets now look like maybe we aren’t cavemen.

[livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen, [livejournal.com profile] akawil, and I met [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana for vegetarian dim sum in Chinatown, a meal consisting chiefly of wheat gluten. Tasty wheat gluten, but still. Then we saw Napoleon Dynamite, a weird, charming movie about nerds, the assholes who torment them, and the women who improve them, with opening credits that James Lileks would love (and I hope you enjoyed that joke, because I hated giving that lying sonovabitch a link). If you go to see it, stay through the closing credits! Afterwards we had late-night snacks at Caravan of Dreams, a vegan restaurant with food so good that I’d consider eating there even if I wasn’t constrained by the dietary requirements of my companions.

[ very low rider jeans ](Synchronicity: Radio Paradise was playing Al Stewart’s “Roads to Moscow”, which I’d never heard before and wasn’t really paying attention to. Just as I was typing the name of the movie above, the line “In the footsteps of Napoleon the shadow figures stagger through the winter” played, with “Napoleon” coming out at just the moment my fingers were typing the word. Clearly the universe is telling me to conquer Europe. Or maybe just avoid Russians.)

Today Bugsy and I went up to New Rochelle for dinner with my family. My niece likes peas, but seems to feel a need to sacrifice the occasional bit of food to some floor-based deity or spirit. She’ll happily pluck the peas up from the table in front of her, and then every third or fourth pea she’ll quite deliberately swing her hand over to the side and drop it on the floor. At one point my sister positioned her hand underneath to catch the food, and my niece moved to avoid it. It’s a shame she won’t remember this when she’s old enough to tell us why she does it.

Got just about no drawing time in. Grrr. Well, a little, on the train.
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Slim-Fast has announced that it’s dropping Whoopi Goldberg as a spokesperson after her comments about GW Bush:
Florida-based Slim-Fast said it was "disappointed" in Goldberg's remarks at last Thursday's $US7.5 million fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

"Ads featuring Ms Goldberg will no longer be on the air," Slim-Fast General Manager Terry Olson said in a statement.

I’ve got a box or two of Slim-Fast bars in the pantry, but I won’t be buying more after those are gone. Plenty more brands of meal-replacement bars out there I can buy that aren’t manufactured by pro-Bush companies.
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Went up to the Hoboken Historical Museum today, for some shorts from the Hudson County film festival. I walked, which almost was a mistake, since Hoboken’s north-south numbered blocks are two or three times as long as the Manhattan blocks I use as internal calibration when judging how long it’ll take to walk some number of blocks. I got there about 15 minutes late, which turned out not to be a problem, since they were 15 minutes late in starting, almost as if they’d been waiting for me.

The two shorts I’d gone to see were Sparks — a short romantic comedy billed as involving the World Trade Center, when actually it was set in Jersey City and just had shots of the WTC to establish setting at the beginning and end, and it turned out I’d seen all but the first few seconds at 111 Open Studios last fall — and Popaganda, which I’d thought was a documentary about Ron English, but which turned out to be an eight-minute music-video-like trailer for the full 82-minute documentary. (There’s a one-minute QuickTime trailer hosted on English’s website, and “Read Between the Lies”, another video which uses footage from the short I saw, though it leaves out the naked woman splattering fake blood on a billboard of a giant coat-hanger.)

Among the other films they showed was one from 1906, a silent “Boy Detective” short (in which the protagonist appeared to be played by a woman) filmed a few blocks from the museum. I made a point of walking down that block on the way home, and it was still recognizable a century later.

I stopped at a Starbucks and finished off Mason & Dixon, which was becoming a bit of a chore towards the end. And I ate far, far too much junk over the course of the day. Y’know those new guacamole-flavored Doritos? Well, they taste a whole lot like Doritos, and not much like anything related to an avocado, but afterwards they leave a somewhat guacamolic aftertaste. I am ashamed to know this.
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Only played two games at GC-in-exile, but they were both new to me.

One was Medici, which joins Lunch Money and Grass on my list of games rendered far more frustrating than they need to be by bad graphic design. It managed to be a pretty good game anyway, and I’d probably say that even if I hadn’t won due to a really lucky combination of circumstances in the second round. And I say that as someone who doesn’t usually like auction games, and this game is all about the auctions.

I also got to play Carcassonne: the Castle, which was pretty cool. There’s more stuff going on than in earlier Carcassonne games, though somehow scoring seemed to be happening less often. Strangest new feature: The bonus chips placed around the scoring track, that went to the first player to land on (not pass over) them. I didn’t make effective use of most of mine; my opponent’s probably won the game for him. Ah well. I’d like to play again, but I’m not likely to spend $18-22 on a two-person game that requires that much open table space to play, and is that bulky to carry around. (It’s the scoring track that keeps it from being compactable.)

And I forced several people to read the first issue of the post-Utopian Sea Guy, Grant Morrison’s newest comic, which is Morrison in full-on Morrison mode.

Then [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana, [livejournal.com profile] bigscary, [livejournal.com profile] barking_iguana, and I repaired to Veselka’s for dinner, getting out well after five.
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I played but a single game of San Juan at GC last night before a bunch of us went off to see Kill Bill Vol. 2. I wish I’d bought a ticket for [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana; the movie does enough recapping that you can probably enjoy it without having seen the first. Lots of cool fights, lots of references to other movies, lots of melodramatic over-acting by a guy with a great beard.

Afterwards we dined at Big Nick’s, where I introduced a new generation to the joys of garlic soup. Then a voyage crosstown to [livejournal.com profile] bigscary’s place, where he showed us a few episodes of Mister Keaton, an anime show that I might be able to google up a link for if it weren’t for Buster Keaton and Family Ties. Think of it as MacGyver working as an insurance claims adjuster. (Update: It’s Master Keaton, says [livejournal.com profile] stormsweeper.)

Best line of the night: “They’re either catamites or catatites, depending on whether they top or bottom.”

Slept over at BigScary’s, made my way home smelly and unshowered.
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Fell hard off the diet today. The company I’m freelancing for took all the Professional Services people out for dim sum in Chinatown. I passed up dim sum on Sunday, but hey, on someone else’s nickel, well.

There weren’t any comics out this week for me, but when I got home today I found the my copy of the first volume of the Prophecy Anthology had arrived. Yay, comics goodness!

Victory!

Mar. 27th, 2004 07:58 pm
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I hung around in lower Manhattan today and spent way too much money.

Big purchase #1 was a folding keyboard for my new Clié. I was aiming for the Stowaway, and I went to J&R figuring that they’d have a model I could check to see if the TJ37 fits in the keyboard that accepts the TJ35. They didn’t have any Stowaways, but they had Sony’s own folding keyboard for the Clié, which costs the same. It folds into halves instead of quarters, which makes it longer (though possibly slightly slimmer) when folded and sturdier when in use. So I got that. I’ve tried it out and it works, so now we’ll see if it gets me to do more writing on the road.

I wandered around for a bit, hitting Pearl Paint and the Soho Apple store. Made my save against spending money at both places, but I did pick up a key lime bar and bottle of Pom pomegranate and cherry juice at a very expensive deli. (Saturdays are my day off under the Body for Life plan; I can eat whatever I want.)

Recalling my quest to haunt comics shops till I find book 4 of Kane, I stopped off at Village Comics, and at last, I found it! I don’t get to Village Comics often, but I should. They’re currently selling trade paperbacks at 12% off, and if you buy seven or more in one visit, they’re 40% off! I bulked up my purchase with books 1-4 of Powers, something I’d never seen before called R.I.P.D. (all cop comics so far), and the second Promethea collection.

Along the way I tried phoning [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana a couple of times to see if she felt like seeing a movie, but I kept getting busy signals. And one of the phones ate my quarter.
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Games Club was interrupted around midnight by a fire alarm, but not before I managed to win the Puerto Rico game with 55 points, my highest score yet. I spent most of the game paying attention to my money generation, which does seem to pay off better than playing a shipping game. (Last time I tried concentrating on shipping, I did horribly.) I even managed to get a University on the third round, and spent several rounds being the only one making coffee.

A bunch of us went to Ollie’s (where they did not seem to have free oxtail soup), and the meeting seemed to break up after that, or perhaps reform somewhere else that I missed hearing about.

[livejournal.com profile] bigscary brought some hamentaschen, and I had an apricot one, breaking Atkins, but we’ll see what the damage is.
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The office served pizza today, as a celebration for the completion of a particular project. I skimmed the cheese and toppings (meat and olives, yum!) off of two slices. Dominos, so the cheese was on the thin side, not very satisfying. I would up getting lunch anyway.

I’ve just finished Eleanor Arnason’s Ring of Swords. A good, thoughtful novel, though not as good as the review had left me hoping for. The culture clash is interesting, but Arnason tends to tell rather than show a bit too often for my taste. And the solution to the dilemma that drives the back half of the story happens offstage, through the actions of a bunch of non-protagonist characters.

The biggest treat of the book was the scenes with the alien characters reading human fiction and trying to interpret it according to the rules of their own culture — a culture that mandates homosexuality, in which heterosexuality is considered a perversion. (They reproduce through artificial insemination.) There’s a brief bit on Huckleberry Finn considered as (essentially) alien slash fiction.

In comics news, it turns out that there had been earlier editions of Paul Grist’s Kane collections, published by Dancing Elephant Press. (The new editions are from Image.) Cosmic had a copy of the earlier version of the second volume, Rabbit Hunt. Now that I know about them, I’ll have to hunt around for the others.

I also picked up Strip Search, a collection of work by new cartoonists, from Dark Horse. Pretty good so far.
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[livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana came over from Games Club last night. Aside from Puerto Rico (with expansion buildings, which I don’t like since they’re unbalanced) I played just one game, Web of Power, a neat, simple placement-based boardgame that I’d like to play again now that I understand the advisors scoring.

Today Bugsy and I went out to see some movies. We found The Triplets of Belleville at the BAM Cinema in Brooklyn, and it was delightful and lively. Then we caught a midnight showing of Donnie Darko at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater. Also really good, but a bit confusing. here’s my take on what’s going on, which contains major spoilers. )

In between we stopped off at Bugsy’s apartment and I found the connector that’ll let me hook up my old Palm IIIx cradle to a USB port (once I’ve downloaded the driver), and we ate at Two Boots. I had more of the broccoli than I ought to on Atkins Induction, but it was the best damn broccoli I’d ever had, made with butter and garlic.

Now sleep.

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