Friday, July 29, 2011

Best Breaking News

Greg is Back. (He hasn't been around at all since this post)

I know, that was a lot of hugging, right?
So many more pictures to follow.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Best Let Me Show You What It's Like in Oak Park Right Now

Came home Tuesday night to welcome Greg back from Argentina.

Kristen, Emily, Owen, Blake, and Walker came too.

Turns out Greg's flight is two days late.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best Tiny Book Reports

Recently Read:

Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer

A book about how it is hard to sit down and write a book.  Entertaining for the first six pages, then it just starts to seem like whining.  If you like spending a lot of time with frustrated artists, you might enjoy it.  Still, I underlined a few things, related with author often.

Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace

Read this in 2002, had been meaning to reread for a long while.  Wallace's first novel and it's practically normal.  As Wallace wrote this during college, while still "finding his voice" (shudder), the influences of his postmoderns predecessors are most clearly felt in this book (along with ideas that also play a role in Infinite Jest). Creative, young, bright and very good.

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

First dystopian future story I've encountered that's got social media factored into the equation.  I could feel this fictional future coming true as I read it.  Surprised by how much I liked it, maybe my favorite Shteyngart book?

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Stories by Hemingway about Hemingway's time in Paris.  Watching Midnight in Paris left me feeling like I had to revisit this one immediately.  So I did.  Probably the best thing you could go out and pick up right now.  Go!  Pick it up right now!

Currently Reading:

Vineland by Thomas Pynchon

At first I was worried it was going to be just like Inherent Vice as they seem like the exact same book for the first, let's say, 65 pages.  Then on, let's say, page 66 it turns into a completely different book, a book full of weirdos on weirder adventures that's a lot more like Against the Day.  I'm enjoying it.  There are ninjas.

Light in August by William Faulkner

Midnight in Paris made me resolve to read more of the Great American Novelists so here we go.  Checking on an online synopsis as I move along through it, I'm ashamed of how much I've been missing.  And of how much of the story the synopsis has given away.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Best Embellishing

Motivated by Lucky Peach magazine, my bowls of instant ramen have grown even more complex.

What you've got there is (and a lot of this is hiding beneath the surface):

  • one package of Sapporo Ichiban chicken flavor ramen.
  • a generous helping of roast chicken
  • a bunch of bacon fat mixed in with the broth
  • ample scallions
  • a Thai chili
  • several handfuls of spinach
  • a pretty much failed attempt to soft boil an egg
Results: I want more
Bonus Tip: Recently discovered that Pearl River Mart in Soho has the city's best stock of exotic instant ramens for the absolute lowest prices I've seen in town.  Sapporo ramens are just 60¢, as opposed to 95¢ at M2M or $1.25 at my local bodega.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Best Field Test

Last week I got my first pair of Chuck Butler socks.  Never had I seen a pair of socks packaged with such care.

And here they are in all their unfurled glory!

I pulled them on, the hugged my feet closely but lovingly.  I could feel the quality American craftsmanship coursing from my heels to my toes.  And also up past my ankles.

Moments of Note from my First Day Wearing My First Chuck Butler Socks:

  • Walking around during lunch, I subconsciously think, "Boy, my feet feel nice."  And then my conscious mind laughs at my subconscious mind for not remembering it was wearing brand new Chuck Butlers.
  • During this same walk I bump into a follower of Brittany's blog who innocently remarks that she had seen Jeff's socks on her blog.  I tell her I'm wearing a pair.  She is so taken with curiosity she pulls up my pant leg a bit so that she can get a look at these fine socks out in the real world, hoping to catch a glimpse of the trademark flags.
In short, it is time for you to get a pair of Chuck Butlers yourself.  I will not make outrageous promises to you about them changing your life, but I can promise you that you will be comfortable and that people will stop you on the street for a better look at them.  And I'm a man of my word.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Best First Clip

 What a thing to find on a Thursday night, the first look (and it's a long one) at the Beavis and Butt-head relaunch coming this fall.

Get More: MTV Shows

In '94 we were laughing too much at this to realize how good it was.

Best I Guess It All Ended

Last night I saw Harry Potter & The Last Harry Potter Movie, pt. 2 with Jeff and Chaunte.  As you might know, I am not a Harry Potter aficionado.  But I wanted to see who would die and I wanted to see the epilogue when all the kids are in the their mid-30s.  The epilogue did not disappoint!  They all looked so mid-30s.  Also, I like Nevil Featherbottom.  Someone tell me more about him.

After the show we said "Hey, there's three of us, there's three people on that poster, Jeff has glasses . . . let's take a picture" but it was too embarrassing to ask someone to take it for us.  So here's two pictures.  If you look at one and then the other really fast it will create the optical illusion of there being one photo, a group photo, where we all look exactly like the Harry Potter characters.

But here is my serious Harry Potter question: What does Valdemort want?  What is his goal?  Is he just mad at his old school?  Get over it, Valdemort.  Life goes on after High School.  I wonder how mad he is at his wizard university if this is how mad he got at just wizard K-12.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Best Recent Epiphany

I feel lame for stealing this picture.  I can't believe how few photos I have of Super Tacos.

The first issue of Lucky Peach, the "New Food Quarterly from Momofuku's David Chang" published my McSweeney's, starts with a nice, long essay by Peter Meehan about the trip he took to Tokyo with Chang to learn about ramen and film stuff for the upcoming Lucky Peach iPad app*.  There's this part of the essay where Pete talks about wanting to meet someone who can show them all of Tokyo's food treasures, but Chang laughs at Pete's notion, Tokyo being an unknowably huge and complex city.  Pete then goes a little deeper on why he wants a coherent picture of the food scene of Tokyo:

Creating a picture like that had been part of my motivation for getting to know the food and restaurants when I moved to New York.  If I learn what all these neighborhoods and places and cuisines are, I thought, and if I figure out how to order and what to order and when to order, then this will be home.  I will know where I am, and who I am in the bigger picture.

As I read this it struck me: This is why I'm still uneasy about life as an Upper West Sider. I don't know where to eat.  In my neighborhood I have three places I like . . . the taco truck at 96th and Broadway, Two Boots Pizza, and Saigon Grill.  But these were all places I liked back when I still lived downtown, I would literally sometimes come up here to eat at that taco truck or at least make it a required stop if I was in the neighborhood and I used to eat at the Two Boots or Saigon Grill by my old house with some frequency.  Without food anchors up here, I will always be adrift.

But I have found myself cooking a lot more while I live up here.  That's probably why I like it in my apartment, I am at least home when I'm in it.

*Also, if you've ever taken an exciting trip to Tokyo, this essay will make you feel lame for not having written a story about it yet.  Even if you went, say, nearly 5 years ago.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best Fathers' and Sons'

Thursday morning Dad came to New York.  Why?  Because he wanted to have vacation.  With me!

I was working so he had to adventure on his own all day Thursday, but I met him for some No. 7 Subs.  On the left, Roast Pork with cheddar, melon, Chinese mustard, and shishito peppers.  On the right, Dill Chicken Salad with bacon, marinated tomatoes, and potato chips.

That night we had dinner in Brooklyn at Dressler.  None of my pictures really turned out, but trust me, it was good.  I had a little deep-fried quail for my appetizer.  It looked so much like a softshell crab that I kept trying to eat the whole thing.  Meaning: I kept trying to eat the bones.

Friday night we met for dinner at Ma Peche.  We split the 32oz porkchop.  It was kind of like eating a never ending pork bun.

We also had this vegetable dish where the veggies came suspended in a clear jelly.  Because of course they did.  Science food!

Saturday morning, getting strength from a MilkBar pistachio and almond croissant.

Then we took a good long walk through Central Park.

What is this giant line?!

Oh yeah, duh.  Shakespeare in the Park tickets.

Here I am at the Turtle Pond, really I'm not mad to be there because you can see so many turtles!

And here I am in front of Belvedere Castle.  Or in other words, here are practically the same photo, just from different angles.

Inside the castle.

Blah blah blah, beautiful Central Park, etc. etc.

Then we went to Go Go Curry for one of our best meals of the trip, Japanese curry.  Dad was very pleased with the authenticity.  I was very pleased to find myself at Go Go Curry again.  And to have a please father.

Heading up to Times Square via 8th Ave.

Checked out the I'm a Mormon billboard.  I felt like a goof.  I thought it was all lit up and and had videos?  Come on, are we trying to make a positive impression here or not?

But why were in a place as terrible as Times Square?  To see Anything Goes, which I was excited to see because I liked it when it was our high school musical one year.  And although this picture is to make a big deal that Sutton Foster was in it, what really made me excited was that Lucille Bluth was in the show playing (basically) Lucille Bluth!

For dinner we went to the Gramercy Tavern which I had never been to before.

Yeah, turns out that this restaurant that's so famous for being one of the city's very best is actually quite delicious.

Porchetta salad.

Even better, the fish stick salad.

Mushroom lasagna for dad.

A wonderful, wonderful meatball for me!

Desserts, now things are getting serious.  Cheesecake for me.

Incredible peach pie for Dad.  And I say this as a person who doesn't particularly care for peaches!

After dinner we saw Midnight in Paris.  It was great, I knew it would be great.  It was Dad's second time seeing it, that's how bad he wanted me to see it.

On our way to the subway we bumped into Grace and Hyeku and Chateau and Chris and Molly.  And here's Grace.  I was glad Dad could see I had friends, I hadn't offered any evidence up to that point.

Sunday after church: Out to Queens for M. Wells.

Waited a bit for a spot.

This looks too calm.  It was a bit of a madhouse in there.

Caesar salad with a little cheese on top.

Click, read the receipt on the left.

Dad's grilled cheese sandwich.  Looks good, right?  It was delicious.

The secret ingredient?  Thick slab of foie gras.

I had the Spaghetti Sandwich and they gave me exactly what I ordered.

Coffee cake.

I wish I could come up with a mnemonic device to remember what stop to get off at in Queens for M. Wells.

Then we tried to walk some of lunch off by walking from 59th and Lex to my house.  Through the park, of course.  This summer's installation at the corner?  Not as thrilling as some years.

Good dog.

The Mall: Properly shaded.

Dad ran up on top of this rock.

And then we explored a kind of secret pondside path.

Learned the word for this.  No, it's not "canopy" or something like that.  There's a different word.

Showed Dad the Curious George I discovered.

Went home, watched a little soccer, and then had to say good bye.  

Thanks for visiting, Dad.  It was a great time!