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Category: architecture

03/04/06 11:06 - 30ºF - ID#37275

the soul of a building

So my buddy Chris called me up to go out on a man*date tonight. When I asked him what the occasion was, he said his wife had invited all her feminine relatives over for dinner, and there were just too many women in the room, and he needed a burger and a beer. Going out with Chris is always surreal, because despite the fact that he is a lawyer and an upstanding member of his community, we always end up telling dick and fart jokes.

We drove by the site of the proposed hotel [inlink]paul,4203[/inlink] and we both agree that it is going to look great there. The grubby little stores in the grubby little houses had a certain kind of caché, but I think the hotel will be an excellent fixer-upper for that corner. If I ever had to find a hotel for someone, I couldn't think of a better place to put them than right at the end of the Elmwood strip [because really, I'd end up taking them down there anyway since it's so much cooler than my own neighborhood (MAP TO: 14223)].

Then we started talking about old buildings and new buildings. I guess his father grew up in a building that used to be a funeral home. I thought that would give me the heebie-jeebies. Not that there were still dead people coming in and going out, but that's what the building was for. To my ever-anthropomorphizing mind, it just seems natural that buildings would have memories of what they were used for, and what happened there.

It reminded me of when I used to live in the Lower East Side. I'd hang out in the East Village all the time, and there was this one building on St Mark's Pl (MAP TO: 23 ST MARK'S PL) that I always wondered about. Always spray-painted, never occupied, and always somebody shooting smack on the front steps. Turns out 21-25 St Mark's Pl had a long and sordid history starting as the Polish National Home ["the Dom"], which ended violently when a massacre went down, and eventually the building was purchased by Andy Warhol, who rechristened it the Electric Circus, where the Velvet Underground got their start. That's pretty heavy shit, all of it. The building fell to disuse, though I think some squatters were living there. Then one day, after a prolonged absence involving a move to the suburbs, I came back to my old haunts only to find it had been replaced with luxury lofts, a natural-foods store, and New York City's first Chipotle . New brick facade, well-lit, fully-occupied, no grafitti - as though nothing had ever happened.

But still, some derelict out on the front steps shooting smack.

Gotta love change.

- Z
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Permalink: the_soul_of_a_building.html
Words: 439
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: sturm und drang

03/04/06 12:44 - 20ºF - ID#37274

raindrops/roses, whiskers/kittens

I am very annoyed right now, because a certain person from a certain organization is angry at me, because this organization was not personally invited to attend an event that I helped organize this past week. But really, if I saturate two major cities and all their suburbs with almost 3/4 million advertisements for an event over a course of 2 1/2 months, and you don't even call to say hi ... whose fault is it that you have no f#cking clue?

It is clearly not mine, but I am nevertheless very annoyed, so I present you with these happy thoughts.

Despite all this sturm und drang, I had a wonderful evening. Went to Ulrich's Tavern (MAP TO: 674%20ELLICOTT%20ST) for a most excellent fish fry. No beer batter on this one; it was breaded and comparatively light-tasting. If you ask nice, they'll serve it with their potato pancakes, which looked phenomenal. Will have to try that later.

Stumbled upon tickets to see Juno and the Paycock on opening night at the ICTC. Tragedy is not my thing, but I liked it. Very intense.

And finally, I found this scrap of paper in the pocket of the coat I wore on Mardi Gras. Apparently Allentown looks like a spotted doggie - but only if you're drunk and bored.


- Z
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Permalink: raindrops_roses_whiskers_kittens.html
Words: 225
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: food

03/02/06 08:40 - 26ºF - ID#37273

regarding parsnips

I had planned to write about how today was Read Across America day [Dr Seuss's birthday] and how I went to my mom's 4th grade class to read stuff to them, but mom was sick and didn't come in today.

Instead, I spent an inordinate amount of time and effort annotating a recipe for corned beef and cabbage for a coworker skeptical of parsnips. Yeah, it's a bit early for St Patrick's day, but I'm through writing for today. For those of you keeping kosher during lent, the bishop has given general dispensation to eat this on St Patrick's Day, which is on a Friday this year.

"New England Boiled Dinner," from Better Homes & Gardens [annotated by Zobar]

1 2-2½lb corned beef brisket
1tsp whole black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 medium carrots
2 medium parsnips or 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 6 wedges
1 small cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
Prepared horseradish or mustard (optional)

1. Trim fat from meat. Place in a 4- to 6-quart pot; add juices and spices from package. Add enough water to cover meat. Add pepper and bay leaves. (If your brisket comes with an additional packet of spices, add it and omit the pepper and bay leaves.) Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours or till almost tender.

2. Add potatoes, carrots, parsnips or rutabaga, and onion to meat. Return to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cabbage. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more or till tender. Discard bay leaves. Thinly slice meat across the grain. Transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with prepared horseradish or mustard. Makes 6 servings.

378 Calories, 21g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 104mg cholesterol, 1253mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 22g protein, 86% vitamin A, 75% vitamin C, 5% calcium, 19% iron.

1. Trust me on the parsnips. They are like belligerent carrots strung out on PCP. Hell yes. Just don't make any sudden moves or they'll fuck your shit right up.
2. Onion is good but as long as you're at the grocery store, shallots are better. Shallots are small onionish things, with two sections and a taste mild enough you can eat them alone. Take three, peel them, split apart their sections, and dump them in. Forget the onion.
3. Horseradish is not optional. I recommend the crazy horseradish lady at the Broadway Market. She will stuff a horseradish root up your nose and laugh at you until the paramedics come.
4. Even cheaptastic prepackaged corned beef brisket is really good, but if you can find a butcher who does it himself - you will know because he will skewer a quarter of a cow out of a vat of warm brine for you - the flavor is just something else entirely. Any of your O.G. butchers like Charlie or old man Redlinski will do this.
5. Trimming the fat off the brisket before you cook it is weak, dude. There'll be a lot of fat, and it's kind of gross, but trust me on this, too. The fat soaks up a lot of brine, and that flavor gets released when the fat melts in the pot. Also, boiled meat [oddly enough] tends to become tough and dry if you're not careful; keeping
the fat will make sure it stays tender.
6. Crock pot instructions: dump in the meat and all the vegetables except the cabbage at the same time; cover with water and cook on low all day. Come home to just this insane aroma all up in your nose-hole. Dump in the cabbage and cook until you can't hold yourself back any longer [like, fifteen minutes I guess]. Serve. The meat should be so tender that no scientist would definitively classify it as a solid. This means you don't cut it so much as scoop it. Like Jell-O.
7. A wedge of boiled cabbage is nothing to write home about. A wedge of boiled cabbage served with salt and cider vinegar is.

- Z
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Permalink: regarding_parsnips.html
Words: 679
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: drunkeness

03/01/06 07:19 - 26ºF - ID#37272

more-di gras

So it looks like somebody made an ass of himself at the Century last night. Note to self: one should always take care to be on the proper side of the camera.

While we were there, I had an interesting discussion with the guy next to me at the bar. He was talking to the bartender about old movies, so I stuck my nose in where it doesn't belong and said, here's a trivia question: what was Hitler's favorite movie? And then the bartender said, you know, I got into a political discussion with this guy the other day about welfare, and he started quoting Hitler's opinions on eugenics to me, and I said, Jesus, what the Hell is this?

At this point, the other guy said, 'you know, aside from killing six million Jews, Hitler had some pretty good...'

I had to cut him off before he said something foolish. I said to the bartender, you know, you gotta be careful of the people who come up to you and say, yeah, I know Hitler killed six million Jews, and that's no good, but to his credit he did kill two million Poles.

The point of this story being: I'm not going to sit here and tell you that every word out of Hitler's mouth was completely and utterly wrong - I mean, even a stopped clock is right twice a day - but for God's sakes, you should really be able to find somebody better to use to back up your opinion.

At any rate, I've got a column coming out tomorrow and you should vote in our annual popularity contest as well. Two pints to the first person who actually mails a grilled cheese sandwich to my office.

- Z

I have decided that I don't care if people know where I work, but I'm still not directly mentioning it because I don't want to get any search traffic anywhere I don't expect it.
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Permalink: more_di_gras.html
Words: 353
Location: Buffalo, NY

02/28/06 11:57 - 23ºF - ID#37271


Fat Tuesday festivities began with an hour and a half in the bitter freakin' cold holding up a 'Parade In Progress' sign. Reminded me of this book my Latvian grandmother made me read about Siberian exile, except we had better hooch*.

Then I was scheduled to accept donations for Hospice down at the Essex. It was basically dead, but we had a good time - hanging out, drinking Newcastles, sitting on the radiator, humoring the drunks.

Yeah, how is it that even drunk crazies can start your wheels turning? Drunk guy, hard done by, starts in on me about the tyranny of capitalism or something. 'One day, money will be nothing but worthless paper.' Perhaps ... but until then, how'm I supposed to buy beer? Truth be told, I've done some pretty significant stuff for people in return for pixie dust and magic beans. In fact, just today I registered a domain name for someone in exchange for $50 worth of sushi. Hell yes.

Then we had the munchies something awful, so down to the Century for wings & hurricanes. We almost went to see the drag show at Nietzsche's, but instead decided to zonk the f# out, which is what I'm about to do right now.

- Z

  • Frosty Nail [like a Rusty Nail, only more Canadian and less Scottish]

1 1/2 oz Crown Royal
1/2 oz Yukon Jack

Mix it up. Use ice.
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Permalink: fastnacht.html
Words: 231
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: work

02/27/06 06:32 - 24ºF - ID#37270

What is this you say... 'blog?'

Yeah, so I'm not much of a blogger, but I figured, what the hey. Ever since I started working for a certain prominent local alternative newsweekly* I find myself saying 'the Internet needs to hear about this' a lot more than I used to. For those who are easily confused, this is my personal blog - not that of my employer - though I will not be able to resist posting about what happened at work. Much as I might love to, I can't get your article published, and I can't get you into Nietzsche's for free.

Today I brought a sandwich press into work to have its portrait taken. [I mean, who wouldn't want a portrait of their sandwich press?] One thing led to another, and we ended up having a grilled cheese sandwich party in the back office at, like, 3:30 this afternoon. Where I'm from this passes as relatively normal.

- Z

  • I realize that most or all of you know exactly who I am talking about. I don't know whether I should bother keeping it a secret.
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Permalink: What_is_this_how_you_say_blog_.html
Words: 177
Location: Buffalo, NY



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