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Last Visit 2011-01-17 23:04:23 |Start Date 2004-11-03 18:51:40 |Comments 1,935 |Entries 529 |Images 250 |Videos 22 |

05/28/09 04:35 - 75ºF - ID#48775

Happy Birthday Golden Gate

One of the most iconic Depression-era constructions, the Golden Gate Bridge, turns 72 today. SF Chronicle posted some pictures from many eras of its life -

Paid for at the time with a bond issue, as well as tolls (ostensibly for interest payments - the interest was paid off 38 years ago, but the tolls remain). Another Depression-era construction that is world famous - Rockefeller Center. Paid for entirely by John D. Rockefeller! Still in private hands as well.

Happy birthday to the most beautiful bridge on earth!
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05/23/09 09:48 - 67ºF - ID#48733

Farmer Josh

My first ever attempt to grow tomatoes starts here -

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I went with Brandywine (got 'em at the Co-op - Porter Farms organic eco-'maters) mainly because of the shape and ultimate size of the fruit (beefsteak, and fucking huge - upwards of 2 lbs). Also, it was all they had at 9pm on Saturday. Oh well!

Doing some preliminary research showed me that this fruit is well suited to grow here, since it essentially originated along the northeastern seaboard. (This is an obvious point though, really - after all, they came from a WNY farm). The plants will allegedly grow up to 6-8 feet tall. I'm not sure what the best thing to do would be - indoors or outdoors. I suppose I'm a little concerned about the proximity to the street - this will definitely be done in a 5-gallon pot, or possibly larger, depending on what advice I get. I'm obsessed with making this work - the only thing I didn't consider was the 85-day or so period I'll be waiting until the fruit shows up. In August, I'm going to have the best organic brandywine tomatoes on 700 block of Elmwood, dammit!

Wish me luck. Any and all advice is most welcome.

Oh - what else. Today I spent most of the day alone in solitude, hanging out and enjoying myself. Jay went to see Keane play in Toronto with our bud JV, I stayed behind because this past week exhausted me. Before that, we went to the outlet to get (e:jason) new threads. It's fair to say that I dressed him, with the exception of the nice sneakers he got - he seemed to like the stuff I picked out as we went through, which I would say were bohemian enough for my tastes without completely sacrificing (e:jason)'s good looks and professionalism. Linen shirts and slacks, a nice casual, lightweight blazer, v-neck t-shirt, etc. - as for me, I replaced my well-worn Birkenstocks and really just came for the cruise and to help (e:jason). I read some short stories (which I'm still processing - Murakami is a strange man at times - go read his story "TV People"), ate gelato, had a mucho iced soy chai from you-know-where - overall, a lovely day.
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05/22/09 04:31 - ID#48724

BBQ Rant

Controversy

(e:jason) mentioning the BBQ article (I forgot that I had forwarded it to him!) has triggered the motivation to go on an old-fashioned rant as you've seen me do in the past.

To wit: (and I do read this paper daily - their food section is the best in America).

"While summer quenchers like light beer and iced tea are refreshing if you're mowing the lawn or tending a hot grill, I want a more robust adult beverage when I sit down to juicy slices of grilled beef or smoky, finger-licking barbecue."


Really? This is war. Thank God that in this country, for now anyway, we still have the freedom of choice. Or if you're me, the freedom of antipathy and excoriation. Let me translate - "While beer and iced tea are okay for the bumpkins who cut their own grass, I prefer a more sophisticated beverage with my BBQ. You know, less rough around the edges and more palatable to my banal sensitivities."

Food writers are generally insufferable. When the article started talking about "interplays" with sauce, smoke, etc. affecting the beverage of choice I had enough.

The Truth

Here's the deal. The food comes first, not the accompanying drink. Anyone that says otherwise is fucking wrong, okay? The fact that the article is titled "Pairing wines with grilling favorites" rather than "Pairing grilling favorites with wines" says it all. Now you certainly may expect to see this kind of thing in an overwhelmingly yuppie city like SF, where more often than not your exposure to BBQ will be in a sit-down restaurant with silverware, a water course, horrifying conversations going on around you and an utter lack of wet-naps.

Drinking wine with your BBQ is best done at home alone, where no BBQ cognoscenti will actually witness what is going on; sort of like your alcoholic uncle nipping from a flask in his jacket when nobody is looking.

Of course this sort of shit goes on in California - there is no reputable BBQ tradition there and the state is full of transients, both legal and illegal. This scenario is going to create a melting pot of theories about food, and let's face it, there is no better region for foodies anywhere in America than the Bay Area. Pair this with the famous wine industry in the area, and you're bound to have experimentation.

This isn't to say that it works, or that it is appropriate, mind you. Pairing BBQ with wine is as crazy a concept as pairing a burrito with wine. Hey (e:jay), do you think that Gramma Mora's last night could have been enhanced with a splash of Beaujolais? The spiciness of the sauce would have really made everything pop!

Fuck me, I can't even handle that in jest - I blame Bartles and fucking James and those 4-packs.

This is what you drink with BBQ if you wish to avoid embarrassment; beer (go easy drinking, you'll enjoy nowt with a stout), iced tea, water, or juice. BBQ is not a high-class endeavor - it is meant to be done amongst friends in a casual manner, out in the backyard with some tunes, green grass, plastic cups, fire, sunsets and the sort of good times our grandparents had.

BBQ is more than food, it's a classic American activity with a tradition that demands respect. Wine belongs just about anywhere other than with BBQ, just like sushi belonging just about anywhere other than a baseball stadium.
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05/21/09 01:41 - ID#48709

How well do you know X?

Facebook Quizzes

I've noticed that a few of my people on FB are completing the "How well do you know X person?" quizzes. It made me realize a few things -

1) Only a few people could complete one of these about me because I'm a bit secretive and I'm a hard guy to get close to. (Grammar police - do not forsake me, for I know what I've done).

2) I'm not sure how well I would do if I completed one of these for my friends. I would be fine with my good friends, but for people such as my friends' wives? C'mon. A friend recently completed one of these for a friend's wife and he scored 42% - as far as I'm concerned that is the equivalent of an A.

3) Inevitably someone who is sending this quiz to their friends will be disappointed to discover that somebody close didn't know the person as well as he or she thought. This is when the dramatics flare up like a SoCal brush fire.

Sirius

Satellite radio is great - right now I'm listening to Wolfman Jack DJing a late night shift on the 60s on 6 channel. Ahh, the sixties - the absolute best time in American music history. The only problem is that Wolfman Jack has been dead since 1995 - a little strange. The story behind it - they unearthed some of the legendary DJ's previously lost shows and are broadcasting them.

I really do love the music - it makes me realize how cheated and manipulated music fans are these days. They can keep Kanye West - I'll keep Marvin Gaye. They can keep Fall Out Boy - I'll keep The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, The Beatles. Today's music generally sucks, and it's never made so starkly apparent as when you listen to things such as the 60's on 6. In those days, you were a "listener." These days you are a " music consumer."

It made me realize that we've lost something in American culture that I really, really love. That is the nationally known, influential, monolithic, trend setting radio DJ. There really isn't any more big guns in the radio world and I think its a sad side effect of our move towards iPods, digital media, etc. In other words I think it is a negative aspect of our cultural evolution.

In that sense I think its admirable, even appropriate, for satellite radio to tip their cap to the past and air these Wolfman Jack shows, as well as hire "Cousin Brucie" to host satellite radio shows, thus completing the circle. I might not have lived through that time, but I'm convinced that anybody who did would recognize what I have after listening to the channel for a while. I can't be the only person my age who recognizes these things, can I? Maybe I'm learning about what my buddy Jerry meant years ago when he told me I was an "old soul."

Kerouac wrote in his preface to Visions of Cody - "this feeling may soon be obsolete as America enters its High Civilization period and no one will get sentimental or poetic any more about trains and dew on fences at dawn in Missouri." Maybe he was right, but at least that's not true in this house. I'm a sentimental guy with a long memory - oh, look - now your "How well do you know Josh?" score is now 1%. Ha!
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05/19/09 04:44 - ID#48698

GM Bankruptcy

Nice. The government will own this company (rather than say, the UAW having it given to them by Obama to sell off and eventually fund unsustainable retiree benefits).



The "healthy" bits will be quickly sold to The Government, while the "unhealthy" bits will be separated and presumably sold off.

Everybody was asking the following question about the billions in loans given to the auto industry. What will happen to the money? Well, here's your answer. Over $15 billion of your tax dollars are about to go up in smoke, erased as if you were never fleeced for it to begin with. In addition to buying up healthy GM and forgiving the loans, which we were told were imminently needed for the company's survival, this new company The Government will also fund a new line of credit to GM.

So, in other words - you are about to be on the hook for -

a) The purchase price of the "healthy" assets of GM, which has yet to be announced, nor does anybody know which parts of GM are "healthy" or not. (Seems to me the whole enterprise is "tits up")
b) $15 billion in forgiven loans to GM and its union, to merely keep the company afloat for a few months.
c) Billions of dollars in new credit lines.
d) Billions in other obligations to secured lenders.

Cheers -

Josh
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05/12/09 04:01 - 59ºF - ID#48657

Ella the Bone Cruncher

Here she is, happily gnawing on a bone -

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05/07/09 12:59 - 53ºF - ID#48618

The Super Dog, and other topics

The Super Dog

Hi, let me introduce to you Ella, our newest office dog and the pride and joy of my co-worker.

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She's a year old this month and is extremely energetic. She's a pure bred Sheltie, a supremely intelligent breed. She is always running around like a pup would and barks a lot at Angie, the other dog, who usually lays around and does nothing. Ella needs constant mental stimulation... she gets bored. I'll be sitting here, typing away and doing my work, and I'll hear a tennis ball bounce on the floor behind me... I know it's Ella asking me to play a little catch with her. She'll bark until I play with her a little bit. She also has this little tug toy that we play around with. She's a tad skittish (I'm told this is how the breed generally behaves) but she's warmed up and comfy now, and even the first week she and I were best pals. Ella is a bit of a spaz, but she's also a sweet dog who'll come around to me and give me kisses for no reason. Half the time, my hands have dog slobber on them and I didn't need H1N1 to come around before I washing my hands constantly here!

She's really good at catching balls on the bounce, and my co-worker puts her her in some sort of dog agility sports competitions. Her favorite snack is actually carrots - we always have them and she shreds through them. Actually, she likes them so much that you have to be careful feeding them to her. (One of these days, I'll get a video of her on here, however I can, so you can see her in action). Seeing how healthy she eats made me realize what my boss and his wife have done to the other dog - I've been privy to watching them feed her endless amounts of people food, including Tim Bits, bits of a bagel w/cream cheese, Chinese food, etc. WTF - do they want her to be a diabetic? She's already way overweight and is a prime candidate for doggie osteoarthritis and hip trouble. 5 years old.

Having dogs in the office has been a really great experience for me. Growing up, we didn't have pets. I had no idea about how to interpret what dogs were trying to tell you - I've learned a lot about dogs without actually owning one. It's been really great and a joy, not to mention a great stress reliever when the days go badly.

SPoT Suburbia

This morning I visited the newly opened SPoT Coffee on Main St. in Williamsville. It's an utterly sanitized version of what you find on Elmwood or Chippewa, and it is possibly just as hard to park nearby if you want to visit. It's in a plaza adjacent to the Mickey D's, across from the large plaza with the Tim Horton's, etc. - there is a parking area but it serves many businesses, and being familiar with that corner, I know with certainty that getting in and around that area is an absolute nightmare.

Anyway, what really caught my eye was the dessert cases. Here they were far better stocked and more presentable - it made the kids on Elmwood look really, really lazy by comparison. (I haven't gotten a thanks for a tip in a couple of years at Elmwood either, should I do it anymore?). Everything in the case looked great, but I tried one of the vegan muffins and it had a distinctly 'off' flavor going on. (One shouldn't taste fish when they bite into bran, cranberry, etc.). The coffee - reliable and consistent. I didn't order a bar drink and probably won't, for at least six months - almost every employee oozed "SPoT NEwBiE." You'd hope that they would shift some employees around to ensure that the quality wouldn't suffer. I'm not confident - someone else can try it.

Anyway, it's really clean and lounge style - like an updated Starbucks - and another bit of really big news at this place are the gourmet pizzas - yes, SPoT PiZzA! $10-$12, 6-8 varieties.

School Board Elections

This is one of the few topics where I'm an out and out nihilist. It isn't that I don't care - one would have to be psycho not to care about the education of America's kids. I just don't have any faith in the electorate here, nor do I have any faith in the people who ultimately serve the city or the schools. Buffalo is in the shitter and in bottomless decline for numerous reasons. The number of registered voters who got out last night probably wouldn't fill HSBC Arena - think about it. 5%? That's sad. I'd go more into it but there's no point - I'm pretty set in my belief that the school board election didn't matter, and that there isn't a whole lot that one (or nine) people can do to change what is a catastrophic scenario. Don't get me started about the internal politics of our school system...

Page 6 Returns

Go visit Look At That Fucking Hipster -

You'll see stuff like this - Paul has competition for facial hair experiments -

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I've noted the hipster backlash that has escalated of the past few months. Let's be honest, they deserve it. Any grown person that would do things like the above deserve to be lampooned.
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mike said to mike
Well really I did not bury the hatched in my mind I guess because now 5 years later, I just saw him ...

mike said to mike
Well really I did not bury the hatched in my mind I guess because now 5 years later, I just saw him ...

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Well 14 years later I have more grays but still solidly more pepper than salt so that's good at leas...

mike said to mike
Well 14 years later I have more grays but still solidly more pepper than salt so that's good at leas...