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Category: simple pliny

05/05/08 06:54 - 65ºF - ID#44246

The e:hodown epiphany

(e:hodown)'s post has brought it all into focus. I think the key to being better is feeling better. Feeling better implies being proactive in eliminating the things that make you feel worse. And NO. That does not include drinking whiskey as the granny suggests ( ), tempting as it might be. :)

The elements of my proactive plan shall be shamelessly stolen and adapted from The Living Simple Manifesto.


Thus, each day, I am going to take a couple ideas from that page and apply it to my case. Call it misplaced optimism, but I like the thought that a major chunk of my messed up world can potentially be straightened up in 72 days or less!

Since I am glued to a computer most of my waking hours, its only fitting that I start where it might impact the most. Starting with Rule 7: Limit your communications and Rule 60: Simplify your RSS feeds


I admit I am guilty of internet trawling. I wiki-surf and feed-read all the time. I am attracted to every remote science story there is and I read them all. Not only do I read the article, most often than not, I track down the source journal papers and read them as well. Then I email the most interesting of these to a handful of my friends and my family. I do this all in separate emails because they are all from a different timespan and/or sphere of my life and some of them don't know each other so clumping them all in one To:/CC: line seems inappropriate. I receive many of their responses and opinions and answer them all. Some of them send me some related papers, which I then proceed to track down and read. Its a never-ending cycle.

The result of all this frantic reading and emailing is:
1. I become a little bit more informed each day. Score: +1
2. I lag behind in the dissertation reading I am supposed to be doing. Score: -1
3. I feel guilty about this and get nightmares. Score: -2

Net Score: -2. I feel worse by the end of the day even though I feel informed.

The objective now is to convert this negative score into an overwhelmingly positive one and I can do this by:
1. Eliminating all superfluous emails. The emailing probably takes more of my time than reading stuff.
2. Just limiting myself to a science-digest like programme every weekend.
3. Do more dissertation reading and use the time saved from emailing to summarize this reading.
4. Post progress on (e:strip). (Which, BTW, I need to check just once a day, preferably in the morning. :))

~End of Day One~
The Simple Pliny Project.

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Permalink: The_e_hodown_epiphany.html
Words: 461
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: grocery

05/02/08 06:42 - 65ºF - ID#44218

Where's my bread? Bakeries downtown??

(E:strippers), Romans and Countrymen!!! Lend me your ears (and some time to make those comments)!!

I am back to my grocery scoping in downtown buffalo. This time my goal is to find a good variety of locally baked artisan breads in the neighbourhood of Buffalo downtown. The fact of the matter is there are no good bakeries I know of in the area, that I can walk to in a jiffy to grab a good freshly baked loaf of bread. Do you know of any?

I want to be able to get a high-fibre good multigrain/ Honey Wheat/ Ciabatta / Baguette etc. when I feel like making sandwiches, without having to resort to any other mode of transportation apart from a brisk (maximum) 10 minute walk.

That rules out:
1. Sweet Tooth: Yeah, only sweetmeats.

2. Dolci: Good bread but not-walkable within 10 minutes!

3. Globe Market: Do they sell bread? Even if they do, same boat as Dolci.

4. The Coop: I am boycotting this elitist price-hiking I-am-holier-than-thou store.

5. Wegmans: Forget it. I don't have wings. Kapish?

6. Guercio's: I hate to strike this out but it is a bit too far. I wish they bought the space where Latina's used to be and moved their excellent gig to Elmwood. :(

7. Quaker Eatery: Do they even sell baked bread? The Walgreens lady thought they did. Any inputs on this? I peeped through their windows and the lady setting the tables glared right back. Somehow I didn't venture in. I came back home and saw that they have a website: Do they also sell the "home-baked" bread they use for their sandwiches? Has anyone ever eaten here? On their menu, it says they sell Tim's Cascade Chips and it makes my mouth water. I think the Hot Jalapeno version of Tim's Cascade Potato Chips are the best chips ever.

8. The millon corner shops: If I wanted mass-produced white bread, I wouldn't be making this post!

9. Balisteri's Bakery: 307 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY (716) 853-8063
I pulled this out of google maps. Has anyone been here?

10. Le Metro Bakery & Cafe: 520 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY
(716) 885-1500 Again, a google maps find. Experiences, anyone?
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Permalink: Where_s_my_bread_Bakeries_downtown_.html
Words: 359
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: whine

04/26/08 11:51 - 52ºF - ID#44162

Mac-Gray Subtext

The hopeless laundry in my building's basement has this sign tacked on.
image

Life just got easier? Easier?????

Yeah, right. For the money-grabbing inefficient doodahs at Mac-Gray maybe. For me, it just became costlier, you freakshows! Stop using letterheads with taglines that proclaim how you feel about shortchanging customers and making profits. You make life infinitely tougher for me by not servicing the washers and dryers on time, double charging me via your evil broken dryers every second week and additionally increasing the prices without any apparent improvements in your laughable "service".

This tacky sticker reveals it all.
image

A normal cycle not only not removes any dirt but also leaves behind detergent residue, and long hair from strange characters who have laundered before in that machine. A super cycle is eminently suitable for people with allergies and super-dirty loads, because they are the only suckers who will believe this tonload of tripe.

Arrrggghh.
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Permalink: Mac_Gray_Subtext.html
Words: 156
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: music

04/26/08 01:05 - 65ºF - ID#44147

Arabic Music Rocks

I think I have always been fascinated by the unique sounds of Arab music. Back in the 80s and the 90s, I loved radio surfing and hitting the obscure channels streaming the alien sounding ouds, violins, riqs, dumbeks, qanuns, rebabs, jowzas, santurs and neys. However, at that time I didn't launch a single-minded pursuit of the music like I did with metal later, so I didn't really know any of the artists.

An Argentinian who loved Arabic music on a heavy metal forum clued me into the Amr Diab phenomenon. I had no idea what he was singing but the sound was so catchy I got hooked. Recently, I ran into someone else at work who is as enthusiastic about Arabic music as that Argentinian was. The result was an introduction to several other Arabic artists.

The Arabic instruments are somewhat similar to Indian classical instruments (the santur, for instance) but the difference in the style and sound is mind-blowing.

The Oud --> The middle eastern guitar ancestor
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The rebab
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The Ney --> The flute
image

The Qanun --> Arabic Strings
image

The Santur --> Shared Indian/Middle Eastern Ancestry
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The percussion --> Dumbeks and Riqs
image
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I would describe the music as a strangely middle eastern and sometimes Sufi flavoured hip-hoppy trance, if that makes any sense. Think Khaled, but with intense punchy beats. :)

Some cool examples:

Classic Amr Diab:

Ehab Tawfik


Najwa Karam


Assi El Helani



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Permalink: Arabic_Music_Rocks.html
Words: 295
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: e:strip

04/25/08 08:14 - 73ºF - ID#44143

A thousand and one comments!

Reached a thousand and one comments on (E:strip) today. It has all been as exciting, fascinating and absorbing as the famed thousand and one Arabian tales. In fact even more so because its all real and happening right here, where I live, in Buffalo!!

Thank you everyone for sharing your lives, your stories, your opinions and your scandals with me. You are all an inspiration and a family away from home!

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Permalink: A_thousand_and_one_comments_.html
Words: 72
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: eating out

04/08/08 11:58 - 54ºF - ID#43959

The Sauce at the Taste of Thai

I ate out at this restaurant on Hertel and Norwood yesterday and let me just say that their basil flavoured chillie sauce with the stir fried vegetables is probably the best I have ever had in my life. Its superlative. When this restaurant says "vegetables" in its menu, it means business. I counted no less than 8 different veggies in the stir-fry - all of them crisp and cooked JUST the right amount.

But let me not wander away from topic of THE SAUCE. The waitress asked me how I wanted it and I gave my usual answer, "EXTREMELY HOT", with enthusiastic and desperate stress placed over the entire span of the phrase. I have been told that my eyes go cranky and my eyebrows knit when I say this but I think it just magnifies the earnestness with which I mean this preference.

I want them to get the impression that I want to BURN UP the minute I eat a mouthful of their dish because I LOVE IT. I yearn for my eyes to water, my nose to run and my cheeks to turn up a shade of bloody red when I am enjoying the deeper flavours within the dish It's like getting a tattoo for your tongue after being dosed with a hallucinogenic agent. You know that the burning sensation is just your tongue paining like crazy but you are able to convince yourself that it is a taste and so mentally enjoy the experience. The trick is to do this without resorting to the wimpy measure of drinking water or diluting the pain by mixing in the rice/bread. That is just cheating.

The waitress patiently heard out my theatrically presented favourite phrase. I think the red tasteful walls of this restaurant perfectly accented the emotion that went into my request.

Ah, but I was talking about the sauce, friends, romans and countrymen (and not so countrymen/women to be politically all correct and not to be perceived as insular). The sauce came in an ellipsoid platter adorned with the representatives from the veggie kingdom. I dug in, and to my surprise didn't encounter the requested heat and the pain. Instead, I was met with a deceptively and might I add, an almost honeyed taste of the sauce complemented by the fresh tones of basil. Just as I was concluding that I might possibly need to scowl ferociously henceforth whilst asking for the dish to be liberally sprinkled with capsaicin, the heat struck, as a pleasant afterthought that strikes you when you realize that you have left your pencil on the desk of that person whom you have a crush on. You were unable to ask them out at the first instance, but the forgotten pencil has quite unexpectedly opened up another vista of opportunity!

I did not really have the eye-watering snot-streaming experience I had been hoping for but I enjoyed this sauce based stir-fry immensely. It was delicious and beautifully woven together in terms of taste and flavour. I admit I am a fussy character when it comes to liking food, but this restaurant finally got this sauce-stir-fry dish right.

Its so good that it has stood the test of being put in the refrigerator as a leftover. It is still incredibly delicious. That is something which is extraordinary to me when it comes to restaurant food. It tells me that they put their heart into this sauce and licked their fingers when they finished. That might strike you as slightly grotesque in a practical sense, but expressed as a sentiment , its a serious compliment. I strongly recommend the stir-fry basil chillie sauce veggie dish at the Taste of Thai. Try it, and take a sworn enemy with you. Chances are you will wipe all your hostilities clean and share mutual admiration for the sauce when you are done eating here.
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Permalink: The_Sauce_at_the_Taste_of_Thai.html
Words: 646
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: eating in

04/06/08 12:38 - 55ºF - ID#43920

Crispin Apples are SO WITHOUT

I think the best form of apples are Granny Smiths. They are superior to every form of apple there is and will be. So imagine my heartfelt disgust when I came home and realized that, in a moment of unpardonable distraction, I had picked up a bag of the traitorous Crispin apples at the grocery. Words cannot describe the gastronomical misery I feel, now that I have a 5 pounder of Crispins to get through! You might think that, as similar as they look, they would taste the same. But NO. They don't.

image

The difference starts right when you bite into the Granny Smiths. You can hear it resounding in your skull, the crunchety crunch of absolute anticipation. Scarcely has this sound of foreplay died down when the delightful nectar slides down your chin and slithers its way into every little pit of taste sensation on your tongue. The taste is precisely described as EXPLOSIVE. It's sour at first and if you are in the right mood, raises a series of goosebumps up and down your whole body. Then the sugary syrupy potion takes over your senses with undertones of the sour explosion that hit earlier.

Here is when you forget that you are eating a mere apple. It transcends into a higher sensual experience. You can't stop yourself and take another massive bite of this piece of perfection in your hands. The reverberation of the most joyful music you have ever heard livens up your sinuses once more. Then the most narcotic of textures caresses your teeth and your palate. It doesn't stick to your teeth or coat your palate with slime. It's not gritty or cloying or pasty. It feels like you have swallowed a light happy spirit. It lights your thoughts up and spurs energetic brain function as it makes its way across your mouth. Devouring a Granny Smith is like having an apple high.

The Crispins on the other hand are just disappointing to say the least. In fact, I am not sure I can devote any more alphabet real estate to these pathetic loser breed of apples. I just wish I had been a bit more awake during yesterday's zombie walk through the aisles.

Alas. This lamentable crispin week is going to stretch so unbearably long.
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Permalink: Crispin_Apples_are_SO_WITHOUT.html
Words: 382
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: e:strip

04/04/08 10:17 - 36ºF - ID#43907

I missed you all, but most of all...

I missed blogging on (E:strip)! It has been pretty un-therapeutic and unproductive for me to believe that not blogging and generally not running amok here would help me concentrate on my dissertation. I think I am going to make sure that I refer back to this post when I come to lethally erroneous conclusions such as these.

I met (e:paul) and (e:jon) (Are you the same in-the-flesh Jon that I met today? As you perhaps noticed, I really don't look too different from my profile picture. However, I couldn't say if those are your hands hovering over the keyboard though.) today for lunch and also ran into (e:terry) and (e:jbeatty), apart from nagging (e:imk2) a bit. It was my best day in 3 months and I think it spells out in clear non-blurry neon-lighted alphabets that keeping away from (e:strip) is just a climb down into the unhappiness drain - where I have been rotting and languishing for an unhealthy period of time. There is also one more subtle inferential point here for future reference. If I ever need to have just such an awesome day as today, I need to meet and chat with approximately 5 (e:strip)pers or more (whether they want to or not is immaterial.)

Since there is so much to generally catch up on here, I am just going to pick (e:strip)pers to stalk all week so that I stalk all their posts these past 3 months and embarrass them as thoroughly as possible on my blog and generally exercise my penchant for ill-advised inappropriateness into shape.

But first, a few things I want to shout out loud.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, (e:jim)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you had an awesome day and if you did, everyday in this following year gets progressively better till you hit the BIG 30 - when it gets EVEN better. Your NO #1 stalker is back! (But will need to take break to stalk every one else.)

(E:Mike), say hello to your brand-new-and-improved but with some-of-the-old-evil-retained stalker!

(E:paul) and (E:Jon), sorry about all the hideous coughing. I just could not help it and I thought you were slightly freaked out about it. I promise I will be healthier next time and not cough all ominously at lunch. This change in weather brings out the worst in me. :/ Thanks once again for coming out to lunch and listening to me drone on and on. And yes, for not gasping in horror and edging away when you heard the ominous coughing. All the gestures meant a lot to me!

(E:jbeatty), All the best with your project and your exciting new job and all the other new things that you are doing (that I need to update myself on by stalking your blog at some point). I still have your Lebanese cook book and I haven't forgotten that it belongs to you. I do intend to return it at some point and I promise that I am not scheming to make it part of my library and deny that it ever belonged to you (though that might be something to consider, now that I have spelled out the possibility. It does have excellent lentil-soup recipes...) My dull dull totally slow grey cells figured out FINALLY, about 4 hours after I walked out of Caf� 59, that you were talking about the *Sea*bar and not the C-bar or C-barn as I thought earlier - which, btw, was a source of terrible bewilderment to me. I mean, what on earth does sushi have to do with hitting the c-bar or even a barn, right? Since you mentioned that it was kind of an exclusive pricey place, I was actually deeper in the fog about the name than you could possibly have imagined. I briefly considered asking you to spell it but decided against it because it seemed like a tad too obsessive of a move over nitty-gritties at lunch time.

(E:terry), you looked absolutely gorgeous today! Was that a new haircut?? I can't wait to come and check out the floors and all the stuff that you guys have done to the house on April 27. I have a friend who bought a new house recently and I think it might be excellent inspiration for her to check out all the cool homes around (E:strip). How many of you are going on this tour??

Once again, it feels good to be back and I think I am not going to go away at all. Well... till of course someone manually drags me away to the infinity upstairs. Wait, I don't believe in that. Make that, till I am reborn into the rodent kingdom for all the heinous deeds I have committed as a biped. Wait, I am already a rodent. Maybe I should aim lower - the invertebrate world? All the heinousness should amply add up by then...

PS: I wonder why all the accent marks in my posts are not working... They are turning up as &#65533. Is that a mocking message reminder that its really quite ridiculous snobbery to use accent marks in plain English?
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Permalink: I_missed_you_all_but_most_of_all_.html
Words: 857
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: design

12/11/07 11:46 - 39ºF - ID#42482

Obsessed with Colours

I have been kidnapped into colour and design land and I love it! :)

image

Recently, at a meeting, I was asked to generate icons and schemes for a future webportal. I have no idea whether the controlling powers would end up using my silly little colour palettes and icons, but for the moment, I am completely lost in the delirious world of The Colour Lovers!

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I love how the members take ordinary colours from the RGB spectrum and come up with crazy names for single colours such as "Upside Lemon", or for palettes such as "Finals Suck" or "Microwave Brother"
image.

I then followed some links and came across Colr.org. It may well be spelled wrong but it is absolutely brilliant in its ability to take any image or website and break it down to its consituent colour swatches.

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This lovely little feature captures the myriad ways that colour wheels are found in life and in art.

image

It led me further to a most exotically creative collection of lamps Happy Hour Lamps!

I think I now know for sure why rainbows have fascinated humans for centuries. Its palette is probably the most perfect one ever created.

image
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Permalink: Obsessed_with_Colours.html
Words: 215
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: greed

12/02/07 12:39 - 19ºF - ID#42358

Biglots is addictive

It should be renamed the bigfataddictiveden in an appellative description of just how inexplicably addictive it is, for shoppers of all persuasion.

I went in looking for some "organic body mist" - my replacement for the deodorant sticks (all of which I tossed in the garbage earlier this year, because of the cancer inducing antiperspirant aluminium content).

I strayed a bit and I spotted the newest Dove shampoo and conditioners. I tossed them in my shopping basket. With my recent haircut, my hair is even shorter than (e:paul)'s new buzz cut. The shampoo and conditioner will probably last me forever. But what the hell. They were cheap!

I deviated a bit more and saw that the bakeware was on sale. I picked up a couple cake-baking foil pans. And I don't even bake and have never baked in my life. What the hell. They were cheap!

A bit more meandering found me with a pillow. A pillow. I already have one. Why do I need another one?? They were cheap!

I was passing by the cleaning shelf and grabbed a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Hello?? I have a HUGE bottle of rubbing alcohol at home. What was I thinking? CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP

I wandered into the food aisle and picked up some nice-looking almond cereal. I have *several* boxes of varied cereal. Why... Why... Why...

I came very very close to getting a cast-iron cooking set, a pack of five fruit-flavoured "body-butters", a torchiere silver-finish floor lamp and some wild accessories for the pillow I had tossed into my shopping basket earlier, but thankfully didn't. This is exactly why I never take the cart at Biglots; the basket overflows or becomes extremely heavy for my stick-like forearms very very quickly.

I just wanted to chronicle this episode of unadulterated greed and lack of shopping self-control, so I can look at this and stop my inexorable decline towards ratpacking.

Who am I kidding. I so wish I had picked up the five-pack of fruit-flavoured "body-butters". Afterall, I do have about 1.8 m^2 of skin...
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Permalink: Biglots_is_addictive.html
Words: 343
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/20/12 02:22


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joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...

twisted said to twisted
Oh yeah, that works! I'll update my inlinks tomorrow. Thanks!...

paul said to twisted
Oh wow, long time no see - we should catch up. This site needs some serious updating. I think the ...

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 ...