noideadog: (coffee)
Some livejournal folks are blogging what they had for dinner, and today I will Participate in a Meme. Here's my dinner, in blogular format:

So, Joel asked "What do you want from seamlessweb?" and I said "No! I shall eat something from our fridge just like an adult would". This is not a normal response for me, and maybe I regretted it a bit as he ordered great Chinese food from Tofu in Park Slope and I extracted half a mozzarella and a bag of wilted basil and no Kerrygold because we put it all on the garlic bread on Thursday (and, seriously, that was three quarters of a block of Kerrygold and the garlic bread was an appetiser for a dish that was made mostly out of cheese. How are we still alive?). And I said "huh" and "well" and checked two or three more times to make sure that nothing else in this quite full fridge could be converted into food, but vermouth and apple sauce and old carrots do not a dinner make, even when you have two kinds of every condiment that has ever been sold.

So I went over to the bakery on the corner and I said "Hey, I have a mozzarella and I need bread to put it on" (because after five years living here I still don't know what any kind of bread is called, and this is my survival strategy: I lay out the problem and let them solve it) and the bakery lady said "You need an Italian" and she sold me a soft and crusty white loaf that felt pretty fresh even though it was 8pm. Also, the bakery was still open at 8pm because this is the city that never sleeps (until 9pm), and that's a thing I love about living here.

I took that home and sliced up a lot of the mozzarella and salted and peppered the holy hell out of it, and washed the basil and put it on top, and dug around in the pantry to see if we had any sardines and we did. The pantry is really a converted coat closet, but we have airs. I fried up the sardines in the olive oil they were canned in, which has the side-effect of making the entire house smell vibrantly like sardines, and to be clear I don't just mean the apartment, I mean the upstairs neighbours are probably like "did we buy the world's least likely air freshener? What were we thinking" and if you think sardines are amazing, then that's delightful, and if you hold the exact opposite opinion, well, you're Joel and I'm lucky to not have been divorced yet.

25% of the sardines found their way into the cats, as was laid out in the ancient covenant, and I poured the rest on top of the mozzarella and wrapped the bread around it, lamenting the Kerrygold we didn't have, and ate it in about 45 seconds while paying the co-op's water bill online.

I occasionally have classy dinners, but today was not a classy dinner day.
noideadog: (monkey!)
Oh, dudes, I'm having such a nice long weekend. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. No stress, no obligations, just eating too much, taking naps, doing things that are fun, and appreciating all that is good in your life. Those are things I like! Usually we've gone to Joel's family in Las Cruces or Seattle, but this year we can't stray so far from home, so we've had to entertain ourselves. Which we did: Joel made enchiladas and I made biscuits (in the American definition of the word, which means 'scones that you don't have to count as dessert'), and that was about as energetic as it got on Thursday.

I'm trying to streamline the biscuit recipe so I can make them for breakfast on Sunday mornings without (a) taking more than ten minutes of prep time or (b) covering myself and the kitchen in flour. The ideal workflow here is that Joel goes out to get the coffees, I have biscuits in the oven by the time he gets back, and he makes Julia Child-style omelettes while I set the table. And then we do a Thursday NY Times crossword while eating eggs wrapped in biscuits. I won't deny that I have simple needs, but this seems to me like the best of all possible Sunday mornings. After three practice runs, and having to eat 12 biscuits each (in the name of science), I think we've got it all figured out.

On Wednesday, Tiarnan and I went to see Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway. It was great fun -- it's much funnier and louder than I expected and the rhyming is far more entertainingly ridiculous -- and it was a while afterwards before my brain stopped trying to squeeze everything into iambic pentameter. Which reminds me of this.

The other excitement from Wednesday evening was coming home to find the last step of our renovation done and the house pretty much free from chaos: the contractors had called in during the day and installed our ceiling fans. Woohoo! They'd left their ladders and tools though, and I was standing under the speedily spinning fans and wondering about that when I noticed the note that said "ceiling fans are missing screws". So that could have ended hilariously, but it didn't.

It's nice to be almost finished. The insulation works and, between the excellent paint job and the new furniture, this looks like a room that adult humans live in. Putting the pictures back up will make that even more true and so will getting some curtains but, even without those things, the change is remarkable and makes me happy. I've been frustrated by our lack of house-progress over the last three years. It's reassuring to prove that we can make things happen when we try. [ House pictures, if you care for such things].
noideadog: (a plan!)
The city's Are You Ready campaign finally broke through a few months ago and I suddenly realised how unprepared we were for a zombie invasion. Wow. I have no idea how we were so oblivious, especially given how many wine-soaked conversations we'd had about how to get off Manhattan if everyone else was trying to at the same time. (Conclusion: obviously it depends on the situation, but unless you get advance warning, you're basically screwed, and Brooklyn isn't going to be much easier to escape from; best bet is to hole up and try to ride it out until reinforcements come. Bloomberg probably has a plan.) Anyway, we finally realised and we got ready. Water stockpiled. Solar/windup radio tested. Flashlights. Iodine. Cat food. We are prepared New Yorkers!

Being the sorts of people who like the idea of cooking, but don't much get around to it, the rest of our disaster-preparedness plan comes down to leftover food: a pantry full of interesting legumes, dried fruit and little oily fishes, a lifetime supply of New Mexico green chiles, the freezer full of animals from the meat-preparation course Joel did a few months ago. (A disaster might be kind of welcome if it gave us space back for ice cream.). Worst case, we've got a couple of pounds of lard and a spoon. Real worst case, I think some visitor left a jar of Smuckers peanut butter (only sugar has more sugar!) in our fridge, but I pray it won't ever come to that.

We calculate that we could pass four days in relative comfort and ride out a seven day disaster without too much trauma[1]. If it's longer than that, our neighbours will come take our stuff off us anyway, and I'll regret my strong stance on gun control.

#comeonsandy doesn't have the same ring to it as #comeonirene last year, but if she does decide to come this way (currently very unlikely), we're ready for her.

[1] We're assuming it'll be possible to get coffee delivered. This is still New York, after all.
noideadog: (Default)
We have a couple of hours before we have to check out of our hotel room, so I'm messing around on the internet, and Joel is napping. It's wise to play to your strengths.

We're in Westchester County at Castle on the Hudson, a hotel that thinks a whole lot of itself, but mostly attracted us due to its proximity to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Aw, it's fine, but, like any good European, I'm disdainful about buildings under 400 years old that go on and on about their antiquity. Look at this nonsense: "With over 100 years of history, the Castle is undoubtedly a regal escape to the enchanted days of yesteryear". Or, bizarrely: "Just 25 miles north of New York City, lies a historic medieval castle". A medieval castle in upstate New York? That's just silly. Anyway, it's pretty and the bedroom is the size of our entire apartment, but the service is a bit useless, the coffee is dire, and they wouldn't let us do us late checkout even though the hotel is empty, so I think they're a bit weaksauce. B-. Try harder next time.

Blue Hill at Stone Barn, on the other hand, was A+++ would mortgage my house again to come here. There's no menu; you tell them what you like and dislike, and they bring you five or eight courses of whatever's in season that they think you'll enjoy. We had eight courses with beer/wine pairings and assorted distractions. Brioche, ricotta and hoppy beer. Garden leaves with something Hungarian. Crisps made out of smoked kale. Ramp and asparagus jam. Filled pasta and barolo. Shellfish sauce. Chickpeas and beef and tarragon and rioja. Joel looked up from the dippy egg and green salt and said "I think this is the single best dish I've ever eaten". I ate so much I was out of breath. Classy.

Someone ordered herbal tea, and they wheeled a trolley to her with tons of herbs growing in pots so she could choose what she wanted. Very, very cool. And! And one of the waiter ladies (a) recognised my accent and (b) spoke quite a bit of Irish. I was charmed. In short: I recommend this place. If you're foodie and coming to New York, and if you don't mind spending your entire food budget on one meal (it's worth it even if it means eating egg-on-a-roll three times a day for the rest of your visit), try to plan a couple of months in advance and get a reservation. They're on opentable.

Between this dinner and the party on Saturday night, we have successfully celebrated our first wedding anniversary. One year already, dudes!
noideadog: (nyom)
Hey, what are great restaurants in Dublin these days? I'm looking for foodie-in-jeans, not posh, and preferably new-Irish cuisine, or whatever we call artfully combined potatoes and cheese and sausages and so on these days. Whatever cuisine you find in 101 Talbot, Winding Stair, The Pig's Ear, that sort of thing. Is there anything new and exciting? (Or even old and exciting. I've been away a while.)
noideadog: (nyom)
Today was Cooking Day. We picked two episodes from Good Eats's extensive back catalogue, and watched them online: first Okraphobia, then This Spud's For You. Rarely has our dual-culture household been so inadvertently parodied.

Okraphobia's a well named episode. It's such a bizarre food. It's vile when it's raw, and fibrous and slimy when it's cooked. What's not to hate? No, I'm lying, Joel made breaded okra a while back and, well, deep fried anything is good, and Glen tells me that he made okra back when we shared a place in Donnybrook, and that I liked it, though I have no memory of this event (Sorry dude. You deserve better friends.), but okra, basically unpleasant, right?

Some random dude I didn't know even came over to tell me this at the greengrocer's. "You really cook with that? It's all mucus, no? I prefer brussels sprouts. They taste terrible, but they're good for you. Did you ever hear that broccoli prevents cancer? I'm not saying that it does but that's what I heard but you didn't get it from me, ok?". (Anyone in New York who speaks to you for no reason is crazy. There are no exceptions.)

But we watched the episode anyway and we drooled a bit over the fried okra and by the time Alton Brown got to the tomato and okra stew (with cardamom, yum), I was sold. Holy crap, that thing looked good. So I went out to get the okra and some tomatoes and an onion and we made it ourselves and it was actually pretty good. I mean, a bit woody and a bit slimy, sure, but acceptably so. And of course we did buy okra out of season, transported from Mexico, so there's no way we didn't deserve them to be not at the peak of greenness.

It's not rocket science, but it's a lesson anyway: for future Good Eats Cooking Days we'll be better about picking episodes that are about food that's in season, and we'll use what we can get at the farmers market. New food tastes better than plastic-wrapped food. Studies have shown this. (If this sounds like "these people cook around once a month and it's a complete novelty every time", there's a reason that it sounds like that.)

We also made the best baked potatoes ever. It turns out that the trick is coating the skin with oil and salt before baking, and then (house modification!) filling it with a shitton of butter at the end. "I'll just have a bite", Joel said, and then "You'd hate this. I'd better have both". He's having a carbohydrate nap in the other room now.

And that was our Saturday. I hope yours was nice too.
noideadog: (monkey!)
Thank you for the breakfast recommendations! I spent half an hour in Whole Foods with the Monterey Bay list of sustainable fish figuring out what was ok to buy. Pole-caught albacore tuna is fine, apparently, and herring's ok. Yoghurt and nuts is a lot more appetising at 9am though. We don't have a microwave, but that's fixable. I was thinking afterwards that I could absolutely eat warmed up kedgeree for breakfast. Yum.

My birthday's not for another week, but this morning I got this card in the post. Can you tell that Tina is extremely busy studying for her Leaving Cert[1] right now?



[1] Final exam taken at around 17 years old in Irish secondary schools. Intense and stressful. The results determine what colleges and what courses you have access to.
noideadog: (brain)
I'm doing a Sleep Thing which I'll talk about when I'm not typing on my phone with inaccurately autocompleting thumbs. (Summary: it involves science and tons of data collection and at the end I hope to be not reliably wide awake at 3am). One of the requirements, customised to my own personal sleep nonsense, is to start the day with a protein load while using my lightbox, to get the body's various clocks in sync. It's proving tricky.

The thing is that I don't really do breakfast anyway, and ugh, protein is particularly difficult to make work, particularly if you're not supposed to wrap it in delicious carbohydrates. For extra complexity, the lightbox needs to be the very first thing in the morning, like five minutes after the alarm goes off, so I don't have time to make eggs. So far it's been chunks of cheese or eating peanut butter from the jar.

What I'm saying is that if you have suggestions for protein-rich food that can be prepared in advance, you'd make my morning life more pleasant. I'm not really into farm meat, but I guess I could do little fish like sardines or something, and I'm all about beans and lentils if I knew how to have them for breakfast. Any ideas?

Posted via LjBeetle
noideadog: (culture)
"We only need to buy six ingredients"
"Yes, but one of them is a turkey"

Joel and company are making mole. It has over twenty ingredients and many intricate steps. I'm carefully not getting involved.
noideadog: (Default)
enchiladas We are eating well on this trip. Today started with a trip to Nellie's for green cheese enchiladas. I have no idea how they combine a few simple ingredients into one of the best meals of my life, but they do it and it is spectacular. I ate way too much and spent the next hour in a stupor. This evening, although I couldn't logically ever be hungry again, we went to La Posta and I had chile rellenos and a margarita the size of your head and then sopapillas and honey.

Lest you think that we're doing nothing in New Mexico other than eating and drinking -- pauses to take a swig of a Santa Fe Nut Brown Ale -- I'll also note that today Joel's dad announced that it was time for me to learn to drive the tractor. He's been dropping hints about teaching me to drive for a while (and I've been oh so obtuse in response), so I guessed pretty quickly where he was headed when he said that the field needed mowing and would I mind lending a hand. I drove the tractor. I did not drive it into the ditch (though it was close). I wore a sombrero while doing it too, so that was entertaining.

There are bugs here. Shiny green june bugs were eating peaches. Little white caterpillars were eating pears. I learned that you always check a woodpile for black widow spiders. There weren't any today, so Joel's dad pulled open some of the pumps to find one for me. Alas, they'd mostly hatched and moved on, leaving their crazy webs behind them. We did find a single juvenile spider, small and inoffensive but with distinctive markings to tell us she was planning to be a badass black widow when she was a bit older.

I still haven't seen any snakes or skunks, though we smelled the latter from the car.

I have seen hundreds of mosquitoes and I think every single one of them has bitten me. This morning I woke up with one eye swollen half-closed from bites. It's not the ridiculous monsterism of the ones we get in Brooklyn, but my arms and legs and scalp are still covered with itchy lumps. My back has maybe a dozen; they attacked through my shirt. Bug repellent had no obvious impact. I guess it's only fair: New Mexico is feeding me very well and they'd like me to return the favour.
noideadog: (travel)
"Just thinking about how to describe this on livejournal"
"Oh, I know. You start to say something and then there's ten minutes of silence and I know you're deciding where to put the commas.

New Mexico is peaceful. The sun is glaring outside but the house is cool and shady. Grape vines drape over a cool, sheltered solarium on one side of the house, and the building is surrounded by trees and flowers: pecans and mulberries, roses, olives, lemons. Across the dusty road, fields of chiles and cotton are irrigated using long empty ditches, controlled by taps and allowed to run full a few times per summer. I took Lulu, Joel's mom's dog, for a walk along the irrigation path, kicking up dust and watching mosquitos torment the horses in the paddock. Dragonflies and butterflies came to see what we were up to, and so did a neighbouring American Staffordshire, the kind of dog that could eat you if it wanted to (they used to be called pit bulls[1]), but instead chooses to wag enthusiastically and follow on to see if you're going anywhere good. It's too hot to not be friends.

We went to a drive-through coffee place this morning. I'd never been to one and was pleased with the novelty of ordering coffee from a crackly speaker, collecting it from a human, putting it in one of the car's many cup holders, without standing up. Aw, it's as normal and unremarkable as can be, but it's other people's normal, someone else's unremarkable. It's fun to briefly do other people's mundane things.

Dinner time. Having dinner at a table in a house with a bunch of people is one of the nicest things. We're having green chile-squash-egg-cheese-casserole.

[1] Edit: Apparently this is a matter of some debate. There aren't enough internet particles here to do proper research, but the gist of it seems to be that 'pit bull' is used as a catchall term for American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers; that the bloodlines of those three split in the late 1800s or early 1900s; that while an AmStaf might be called a "pit bull", it's not an APBT. Some places legally classify them as the same animal and some don't.

noideadog: (meerkat)
This weekend I: made breakfast burritos[1], pruned trees, ran in Park Slope, built a chair in the hot sun (I fought IKEA and... I guess it was a draw?), sat in the shade of our fig tree drinking a Pimms cup and reading Kofi Anan: A Man of Peace in a World of War, helped turn a set of pulleys and sliders into a washing line, bought a large bag of high quality dried blood, learned about templates in C++, watched Seinfeld, and ran twice in our unnecessarily hilly neighbourhood. Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Heights... couldn't the Dutch have found some flatter land?

[1] Eggs, avocado, cheese, tomato, black beans and pecans smooshed into a tortilla. Not even a bit authentically anything, but very very good.
noideadog: (natural dancer)
How to make my favourite summer dinner, by Tanya:

Go to the farmers market in the morning and buy:
- nice soft tasty cheese from the cheese guy (Pawlet is my current favourite)
- big red juicy tomatoes and crisp green lettuce leaves from the vegetable farm people (Irish friends, brace for shocking news: tomatoes have taste. They taste all tomatoey! We've been lied to for all these years!)
- a little box of blueberries (or strawberries or blackberries) from the fruit guy
- a nice bottle of Long Island's Castello di Borghese Sauvignon Blanc from the wine lady

Go to Caputos bakery and buy
- a big-ass multigrain loaf

Go to my fridge/freezer and take out
- enough pecans (from Joel's parents' orchard) to fill a small bowl
- a block of Kerrygold

Optionally, go to the bodega and buy:
- an avocado


Place all ingredients on table. Maybe toast the bread a bit. Sit down with lovely humans and cats you like spending time with. Say nom nom nom nom nom.

I have simple needs and this is them.
noideadog: (nyom)
We went out for Nice Dinner last night at Dirt Candy, a fancy veggie place on 9th and 1st. What's great about this place is that their food is unapologetically made out of vegetables: there's no textured vegetable protein or fake meat or I-can't-believe-it's-not-fish, just beautiful fresh vegetables cleverly prepared and combined. I love the name too. As their blurb says, "When you eat a vegetable you’re eating little more than dirt that’s been transformed by plenty of sunshine and rain into something that’s full of flavor: Dirt Candy.". Well, I'm not sure they have all of the science there, but they've got the food preparation sorted out.

Delicious things we had included deep fried grapes, portobello mousse, eggplant jam, tempura dippy egg, pear & fennel compote, creamed corn. All extraordinary. (I should note that charging $9 for a glass of grape juice is also extraordinary, but we'll let it go just this once.) http://www.dirtcandynyc.com/

I'm on call this week (hence the unfermented grapes with dinner) and getting ready for a week of nighttime interruptions. Being on call is unpredictable. The pager might be silent for a week, or it might scream at 4am for four nights in a row. You can't tell. So far it's been reasonable, with the only action being a network blip that caused a couple of alerts to fire at 7am. It was easy to debug and it meant that I was already in the shower when my morning alarm went off, so I can't complain about that. Fingers crossed for a quiet week. I'm useless without enough sleep.
noideadog: (monkey!)
This weekend I: went to Nerd Nite, learned about the sex lives of bugs and spiders, ate half an easter egg, bought a barbecue, assembled patio furniture, sat in the sun with people I like, spent way too much money at the MOCCA festival, met Kate Beaton and Ryan North and R Stevens and a bunch of other comic writers I admire (and was totally not an inarticulate fangirl and you can't prove anything), drank really delicious wine, grilled clams for the first time ever and holy crap they were delicious, ran a couple of miles including the lovely Brooklyn Promenade (way to feel like a New Yorker, you betcha), watched Planet of the Dead (meh) and the Waters of Mars (scary but about 20 minutes too long), and was very happy about the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket opening again for the summer. Local milk, eggs, flowers, fish, sausages and vegetables until November. Hurray!
noideadog: (monkey!)
Oh livejournal, I still like you most of all. *hug*

I don't know about you people, but the sooner I get reader, goodreads, twitter, buzz, wave, email, IM and sms into a single page that I can skim and mark as read, the happier I'll be. My brain is full.

It's Health Month here at Tanya and Joel HQ, which means no booze, no refined sugar, no desserts, no big greasy bags of chips, no white bread, no mashed potatoes, no unnecessary joy. God. I mean, just kill me now. I lost half a stone[1] in the first few days as my body freaked the hell out, and I had to eat a wheel of cheese[2] to get back to normal. Cheese is a clever loophole, and one that might seem like an oversight, but my cholesterol levels are so low that they give me other people's cholesterol to take care of, so I can eat as much saturated fat as I want and never, ever die. I think that's how it works anyway. On the other hand, my 'eating so much bread that I go into a coma' levels are generally precarious, and I would have martinis for breakfast if I could convince New York society to bring it back into fashion, so taking a month off both won't hurt, probably. Won't hurt me anyway.

It's actually not that bad. We're a third of the way through and it's been fine, apart from every time someone in a book or a movie talks about beer, and I think about how many delicious porters exist in the world and of the limited time I have left on the earth to get really familiar with all of them. Damn you, subliminal advertising. I think I could be fine without everything else (maybe not chips), but going to a new city and not being able to investigate their local brewery would make me sad. Mmm. There's so much good beer out there.

The other thing I've been doing recently is Couch To 5K. This is something I've been planning for a while, but I got blocked for months on not knowing how to buy running shoes, and especially not knowing how to buy running shoes that weren't evil. Obstacle passed (it turns out you read this post and then go into a good shop and say "I want running shoes. Which ones aren't made by or out of children?"), I'm on week two of c25K (90 seconds running, two minutes walking for twenty minutes), and it's not impossible exactly, but it's more difficult than I expected. Nonetheless, running is a useful life skill, and I am determined to conquer it, or fall down dead trying. You know that I'll update lj, twitter, buzz, wave, blah, blah, blah, either way. (But not facebook because you have to have standards.)

[1] Americans, this is 1.8 fortnights sterling, or six decijoules.
[2] 14 hands, six imperial bushels
noideadog: (coffee)
Irishers, how bad was the Tubridy-Cowen interview? From the way the Sindo tells it, Tubridy couldn't have been more UNFAIR and MEAN. Gosh, I had no idea that the Taoiseach was so beloved these days. Was it really like they say?

Apartment update: The seller is ready to close, and we're ready to close and the bank says that they're ready to close[1] and maybe we'll own an enormous debtapartment really soon. As per guidelines, I'm doing three hours of wrist and forearm exercises every day to prepare for an epic day of contact signing. Maybe it will be this week; maybe not. Either way, we've been thinking a lot about how to turn our new place into a machine for living in, and late this evening it became obvious that interior design literature would help. Was it unreasonable to expect Chelsea, the gayest part of the city (male division), to be a font of interior design advice? Well, perhaps it was, and anyway I was disappointed: I had to go all the way to 5th Ave to find an open magazine shop. The apartment-as-lifestyle section was a bit overwhelming, but I bought a few of the least aggressive titles (I'd tell you which ones I bought, but the cat's asleep on them now), and they were also out of Irish Timeses so I got the Sunday Independent. I wouldn't have done that at home, but it's different here; I was so impressed at them having an Irish Sunday paper on a Sunday that I couldn't not buy it. (I mean, I could have not bought the Sunday World, but you see what I mean).

Sunday update: We went to Blue Hill and had the tasting menu. They didn't have a veggie tasting menu, but they invented one: Joel mostly got slabs of pig (pork face, pork belly, pork I don't know what else) and I got baby tomatoes and peppers and weird mushrooms and quinoa from the single place that grows it around here. We had two courses of fresh berries for dessert. Very highly recommended.

[1] Sometimes mismatched pronouns sound nicest and I am defensively mentioning this here so you can know that I thought about this for far longer than was appropriate.
noideadog: (brain)
It turns out that peanut butter is delicious. I couldn't be more surprised. I guess on some level I knew that it was possible to buy peanut butter that wasn't sugary processed crap, but I never really believed it, or cared enough to find out. And then today there was a jar marked "organic peanut butter" and then I had an unprecedented peanut butter craving[1] and now my life is enriched by peanut butter. No, really, that's the most interesting thing that happened today.

[1] Incidentally, the unprecedented desire to eat peanut butter with a spoon from a jar corresponded exactly with a thoroughly precedented craving for a big slab of cheese. Isn't it cool how your brain tells you when it's running low on things it needs? "Your palate's opinions are irrelevant. We will have fats right now", says the brain, and suddenly I'm ordering extra guacamole after a lifetime of avocado ambivalence. I've noticed in the past that my brain yelled for iron, but the call to other things is far stronger since I started paying attention to what I eat. It's a really neat side effect. That said, if I was to believe everything my brain told me, I would be taking chips supplements. Mmm, chips.
noideadog: (nyc)
Things I love about living in New York


  • High quality food. Bad restaurants don't last long in New York, and whatever cuisine you want, there's usually one inside a couple of blocks. No matter what you're looking for, it's available here, and it's cheap, and it probably delivers. Pretty much all restaurants will deliver, and it will still cost less than buying groceries. If we ever leave New York, this is what I'll miss most.

  • Human diversity. I could sit and watch people go by all day. And listen to people too. You can hear all the languages there are just by walking around. If you wanted genetic diversity to seed a new planet, taking any subway car would probably do fine.

  • The dedicated pursuit of the ridiculous. Not just the easter bonnet parade and the zombie parade and the other things that block off 5th Avenue for a day, but the privately organised madness. Here's a sample from an events list I'm on:
    "Michael Jackson Cut-Off Shorts Extravaganza-Bonanza",
    "What Cheer? Brigade Chaotic marching band.
    "Hollow Man Levitate ... incorporates somnambulism, the angel of death, a video projection, and eating hamburgers underwater.
    "Monduna: A Robot Masquerade It's a graphic novel where the story is you. Robot costume strongly suggested."
    "The Pirate's Life: This Saturday, we are taking over a three level ferry boat docked on a secret canal in the bowels of Brooklyn for an all-night adventure of performance, pillaging, stiff drinks and dancing girls."
    "Pretty in Pink 80s Prom"
    "Pucks Multimedia Mischief: stolen brushes, hammered dulcimers, video cameras, passionate voices, sparkling clothes, tables that dream, interactive art installations, confetti cannons"
    "Flashwalk: A five-borough, two-footed trek from Brooklyn to Staten Island."
    "Natural Born Grillers"
    "It’s About the Numbers, Baby! a one-of-a-kind tutorial in how to win at games of chance."
    "Science for Art Majors: Cellular Biology, etc., Why do we breath? Why don't we fall apart? How is shit made? and so on. Things to maybe bring: blanket/chair, umbrella, notepad."
    "Aerial Open Work Out. Come play in 29 feet of vertical fun. Use our silks, lyras, and trapezes, or rig your own."
    "Williamsburg Spelling Bee, compete for bar tab at a real adult spelling bee, every other MONDAY,"
    "NYC Bike Polo. No experience needed. We'll show you how to play."

    Etc, etc, etc. This is just a small subset of the events on the list for this week.

  • Being the center of the universe. (Ok, mostly I mean being in the center of the universe, but an inflated sense of one's own importance is an important factor in surviving in this city.) As for the city, this is where everything happens. If you're looking for an organisation or a seller or a concert, chances are it's in New York. You don't need to go to other places; anything that doesn't already live here will come by on tour.

  • The organisation. Everything just works. There's a street fair somewhere different every week, and the city doesn't shut down in traffic chaos. The public transport runs 24h. The post office at 34th and 8th is open 24h. Lots of things are recycled, and there's a website that explains what is and why other things aren't. It's all mostly sane.

    Things I hate about living in New York

  • High fructose corn syrup in everything. It's illegal, I think, to make things that don't have corn in them, and you get a tax break if you can make the corn cause obesity. I've heard. Unless you go to some hippy place, you're getting corn in everything you buy.

  • Self flushing toilets. They don't just flush when you stand up; they flush if you've been sitting for more than 30 seconds. You don't want to sit down on the edge to tie your shoelace is what I'm saying. It makes me so! angry!

  • Tipping. Ok, I get that you tip for taxis, beer, hairdressers (individually for the person who cuts your hair and the person who washes it), moving companies, masseuses, doormen, maintenance people, and anyone who provides a service, even if the only thing you're paying for is the service they're providing, and you'll never see them again. But what constitutes a service? Do you tip a civil engineer? Do you tip a courier? Do you tip at the dry cleaners? Who the hell knows? And how do you give someone two dollars without feeling like a swaggering baron giving alms to the little people? Oh my god I hate it so much.

  • Tourists, everywhere, all the time. Yes, yes, that's a most attractive bridge. and those buildings sure are tall. WALK FASTER, ASSHOLES.

  • Dublin is so far away. Why can't we have Dublin where Jersey is?
noideadog: (Default)
I'm having a spectacularly nice day. Nothing much is happening that's even worth telling about, but that absolutely won't stop me from telling it. Here's my day:

I woke up with a hankering to read The Anatomy of LISP. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but this is something that always puts me in a good mood, and I started the day by being impressed and happy with some clever recursion. After that was that cat's morning harness training, which went really well -- she's not quite stepping into the harness, but she's standing patiently while I assemble it; the leash is going to be another story, I suspect -- and then we went for brunch. Paradise Cafe makes great veggie breakfast burritos with tofu and artichokes and things. After that I walked around Manhattan a whole lot, and ended up in the upper east side, so I bought the Irish Times at a shop there that's good for international newspapers. I got takeaway apple and cinnamon tea at Alice's Teacup then sat in the breezy sunshine drinking tea and doing the crossword and eating a low-calorie chocolate muffin, which sounds like it should be rubbish but was actually delicious enough to warrant an advertisement. Buy these! http://www.vitalicious.com/

Then I went to the United Nations, which was pretty great actually. I kind of love the UN in the same way that I kind of love the postal service: it has its flaws and it sure has its detractors, but the fact that it exists is a wonderful thing. Such civilisation we have! The World Press Photo '09 exhibition is on there right now, all moving and funny and shocking and clever and sad like a good photography exhibition should be. I bought some books, and looked at the crafts from everywhere (delicate ceramic teapots from England; skillfully turned wooden pots from Armenia; appalling green hats from Ireland. *dies of shame*) then hung out in a park I'd never seen before, which had adults and kids playing hockey together, and (even better!) no filthy squirrels. I started heading home, but got waylaid by a street fair on Park Avenue, where I bought grilled corn on the cob (and applied too much chili powder, yikes), and saw two guys carrying lacrosse sticks, something I've only ever seen in comic books. They're smaller than I imagined.

On the way home I passed a great vegetable shop, so I bought some potatoes and an onion, because we have turnips and carrots in our fridge (it's a long story), and I reckoned that owning some potatoes and an onion would make it them more likely to leave the fridge while still solid. And I bought gruyere too, on general principles. I couldn't find the potatoes for a while, which was frustrating because if you have an irish accent there is no way in hell you can ask where the potatoes are, but it worked out ok. And then I came home.

Now I'm waiting for a vegetable and cheese pie to bake (and I pretty much never cook, so you can imagine the immense childish pride here). And then Joel and I are going to see the Hurt Locker, which I suspect will not end the day on a happy high, but that's ok. It's kind of lovely and strange how small unremarkable things can add up to a perfect day.

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February 2014

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