Sunday, June 29, 2008

Statues and Heat

Yesterday I went and looked at a possible apartment to live in and the people that would go with the place. It was a townhouse. The room was too small for me. And the two girls I would live with were freshly graduated college students. Nice enough but I felt old just looking at them. I went and saw another place earlier this week that was pretty nice and the young woman and I got along pretty well too...but we'll see what comes of that. The place was about a mile away from where I currently live and closer to Center City. So I walked. It was so hot and sunny that I wore sunscreen and a hat. It was so unbearably hot. My god. By the time I got there my brow could start a sweat lodge (that makes no sense) and I had a serious case of hat head. After looking at the place I thought I'd meander back home through the heat. So I headed north and then west towards the art museum.

Then I took a few photographs of the statue/fountain in front of the museum.

Then I started worrying about heat stroke...not really, but I did tire of the heat, so I walked on home. I saw a boy pigeon courting some girl pigeons and that was it.

Dinner c/o North 3rd

On Friday night I went to dinner with my friend L. and her beau. Originally it seemed like a few other friends of L. were going to come along but, in the end, they didn't...which made it seem a lot like I was the third wheel on someone else's date. Technically this wasn't true but you know how it can be. We went to North 3rd. There was a 20 minute wait for a table so we pulled up bar stools and ordered beers (or in L's case wine). Then, strangely, we were told that the stools we were using were actually reserved for some other guys so we had to stand in the middle of the bar area for the remaining wait. Weird. I ordered the gazpacho. The gazpacho came with a dollop of guacamole. It had a nice bite to it and, considering the relatively hot days we've been having, was nice and cool.
I debated ordering the crispy chicken sandwich or the pulled pork sandwich. L.'s beau was similarly minded. In the end we played rock paper scissors to determine who would get which sandwich. I lost the three rounds so I ended up with the crispy chicken sandwich. It, too, had guacamole which I didn't like. Not that the guacamole itself was bad but that it was on my sandwich. Oh yes and tomatoes and bacon. The chicken was nice and crispy and very moist in a way that I liked. The bread was nice too. The french fries were not so great. Maybe I'm losing my taste for french fries? Maybe Philadelphia restaurants have a different standard for what makes a good fry and it does not correlate with my own? Yes. Perhaps.
L. ordered the tuna burger and her beau had the pulled pork. I tasted the tuna and it was pretty good though maybe a little salty. Her beau mentioned that the pulled pork was definitely not up to a southerner's standards. The restaurant was dark and the music was a little on the loud side, making conversation a little difficult. The decorations were wacky and whatnot. I think I'd go back not on a Friday night. Was the food amazing? No. Sigh. It was highly functional food, not bad and not average just not wowza. I think I've lost my sense of food a little bit.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Behind the Times

So I'm watching The Office in reverse. I've watched the latest season as it happens on the real live television. I watched the majority of the third season c/o the very nice young woman whose apartment I'm subletting, and now I'm on the first disk of the second season. And you know what Jim just said? Jim just said that he loves soft shell crabs. Am I the lamest person on earth? I'm thinking yes, since I'm posting so late (and on a Friday no less) and about a fictional character's and my similar passion for a shellfish. Whatever. Just add it to the list of things that I don't even care about.

Friday, June 27, 2008


It does really seem like the world is falling apart faster than it used to. I need to start stockpiling gallons of water and gas and canned goods and cash money. It's funny because I won't do that...but it actually is probably a good, if a little crazy, idea.

I mean, have you read The Road? No? Well you should.
Yes? Well I have a whole list of other books that seem pretty right on about how, once the world falls apart, we'll have to survive. And I'm telling you gas and water and canned goods are pretty key...and kindling.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I buy organic eggs. They are tasty. I really do feel that they are yummier than non-organic eggs. I could be wrong. For dinner I scrambled two eggs with half a green pepper, cheddar cheese and hot sauce. I like eggs. I make great eggs. I might not have the best poached egg technique but me? I can fry or scramble eggs with the best of them. Drunken fried egg and cheese sandwiches? Oh yeah buddy, I'm the winner...or one of them...or at least in the top 6 of people I know. Maybe. I don't know. Nevermind.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


On Sunday I found myself desperately wanting to eat something I hadn't made myself. I found a sushi place that was relatively cheap and had a good yelp approval rating but, in the end, it was closed on Sundays. Then I looked at two different pizza type joints' menus trying to decide if I wanted a pizza or a hoagie kind of thing...and trying to convince myself that I wanted neither. In the end, as these photographs prove, I failed to convince myself that I wanted to make my own food. So I ordered an Italian hoagie type thing and fried mushrooms from City View. I ate this meal while watching a PBS special on Judy Garland...that woman was on pills, like, her whole life.
The mushrooms, to borrow a phrase, sucked balls. The sandwich/hoagie was massive in length (that's what she said) but had a high lettuce to everything else ratio. I liked the hot peppers though...they weren't all that great, I just like hot peppers...they were really banana peppers. Was the sandwich satisfying? Yes, it was. Was it anything special? No, it was not.

Speaking of self-control. Today I made an attempt not to smoke any cigarettes at all. This is somewhat an ongoing attempt except today was the first time I even really tried since the last time I really tried (which was last summer/fall...though when my father was in the hospital it was relatively easy to get down to 5 secret cigarettes a day). I got to 6:00 before I faltered/caved. In other words you know what I didn't do today at work? Smoke a single cigarette or have a proper lunch! Instead I ate a little over 1/4 cup of Flavor Tree honey roasted almonds (they're like crack only better because you never are tempted to kill anybody for them), half a roll of life savers, three pieces of gum (well I didn't eat the gum) and three or four cups of Earl Grey Tea.

One large problem is my lack of logic. I somehow feel like if I don't watch television (an addiction all its own) and read a book instead then it's okay for me to have a cigarette. Or that if I don't watch television and read a book it's okay that I haven't really walked anywhere other than work. When you have so many things you like that aren't particularly good for you then you find yourself playing them off of one another, illogically. Clearly it's better to watch television than smoke cigarettes. Clearly. Whatever. I don't want to talk about this any more.

I've been watching the true renter of my apartment's dvds of the third season of The Office and laughing a lot which is nice. Then yesterday I went to put in the fourth, and final, disc and tragedy! it was not there! It is missing! I have watched the fourth season, so it's not like I don't know the main story points but I've never seen the episodes that get you there and The Office is hardly about story, it's about laughs...and that I want to work in an office an have witty dialogue and prankster behavior with a tall dude named Jim.

Sigh. Another addiction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Brief Glories

After buying my share of produce and crabs (I also bought four green peppers, a fair number of limes and lemons, 1 pound of cherries for $1.50 and maybe something else...oh right five ears of corn for $2.) I returned home. Originally I considered taking the Broad Street subway but after realizing that I didn't have a cooler and maybe that's the only reason I took the car I drove back from whence I came. I read Bridge of Sighs while I leg my crabbies, now cleaned/dead, soak in ginger powdered milk. Then I lightly floured them...then put them into oil...then devoured them along with a small helping of salad and buttered corn.
It was the highlight of my weekend.

Italian Market

On Saturday I went to the Italian Market. I did this because I wanted to do something and I hoped to find a fish market that had soft shell crabs. I now know where to go for all my kangaroo and heirloom turkey needs. Which is pretty cool because one of these days I'd like to cook some rather ridiculously weird meat.

Two fish markets had crabs but not soft shell ones. This was disappointing to me until I found the biggest of the three, the one that is also a restaurant, and lucky ducky me! Were they the best specimens I'd ever seen? No. But they were still alive and I got three of them...then they were dead.
The DiBruno Bros. House of Cheese will be a dangerous place if I ever have money...I walked into the very narrow, very crowded store and was overwhelmed with happiness....cured meats, olives and cheese, cheese, cheese. I then got myself out before I was tempted to buy things with money I didn't have. Sigh. Money sucks.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Three Satisfying Books

When I went and signed up for library rights at the Philadelphia Free Library I quickly felt a little bit more sane than I had up until then. I was watching too much television, not writing and not reading. Now I'm not watching that much television, not writing but I am reading and it makes me feel a lot better about my overall self. Kind of. Any way my maiden checking out of books was pretty glorious. I checked out four and read three of them, the other-though praised by Nick Hornby- is in epic poem form and, frankly, I don't care to read it if it's going to be all epic poem-y in form, thank you very much. But I did read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. This book is pretty satisfying, as books go. You get a number of different character perspectives, a whole heck of learning about the Dominican Republic's history (especially the Trujillo years) and a good read. I wanted to read it after listening to Terri Gross interview Junot Diaz months and months ago but I could never quite remember the title of the book when I was in a position to be looking for new reading material. A strange thing that happened was that I found that I had read a small excerpt of the book at some point...I think probably in one of C. and T's pile of New Yorkers...but had assumed that the author was female (due to the specific excerpt being about a girl and her mother and, uh, I thought Junot was a girl's name because of my ignorance?).
Last Night at the Lobster is kind of like Nicholson Baker's Box of Matches but not as perfect. Nothing really happens. Actually, that's really the main similarity. Box of Matches is told in first person while Lobster is not. Box of Matches riffes and whatnot far more. It's that they're both quiet books with no big drama. I like these kinds of books because they seem more like life to me.
Richard Russo, oh you the man who likes to write stories about dudes who would never write books like you do. Bridge of Sighs gets off to a pretty slow start but at some point picks up...that or I sat down and read a huge chunk of it on Saturday and not constantly interrupting myself allowed more interest to form. As always he's writing about people living in a small town near some factory or another that is no longer in operation but its effects are still felt. Once again he writes a protagonist who isn't stupid but isn't particularly smart either. Maybe that's an unkind assessment of Lou, "Lucy", Lynch but...well...yeah, it seems like that's what Russo is going for. These 'everymen'. Noble in their desire for simplicity. And then he writes these women who are smarter than the men but love them men anyway. This book is not Mohawk nor is it Empire Falls but it shares many a trait with both of them. And yet it's just different enough, the people the plot the town itself that even though I may have just written like I didn't like the similarities what I really meant was that I'm amazed how he can have so many similarities and still have such a different book.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Zoo, Puppets and Blue Eyes

On Friday I went to the Elmwood Zoo with J. and her two sons S. and N. You might recall them from my visit to Philadelphia. The reason we went there was to watch a purported puppet show. It turned out to be a lady with some stuffed animals singing very slightly altered versions of popular kids' songs. It seemed to keep the kids' attentions for the most part though S. certainly didn't want to stay for the whole thing...but then there was ice cream at the end of the puppet tunnel.

The ice cream in question was, well, pretty lame. It came from the zoo's little cafe. There were four possible flavors. I went with a flavor called something like 'celebratory sundae'. It was cookies and cream with peanutbutter. It took the team behind the counter an inordinately long time to scoop together our three cones. I mean a really, really unbelievably long time...and then the result was a sub-par scoop of ice cream. Really. I mean. Whatever.
S. liked his birthday cake flavored ice cream.

The zoo was in Norristown, a suburb of Philadelphia full of a large number of extremely unattractive and unfortunate looking people...or at least all the people we saw on the streets fit this description.


Seems childbirth is going to be a breeze for me. Speaking of childbirth, I've been meaning to give a bit shout out/congratualations to No-Longer Wayward and her parental partner D. on the nine pound plus bundle of joy that came into their lives not so long ago.


Work Salad

Early last week I made a big amount of my fave salad to eat throughout the week. Here is the salad, with half an avocado chopped up and thrown in, in a work environment.

Beer and Fries c/o My Employer and The Belgian Cafe

On Thursday a prospective fellow worker came to the office to check it out. Then those of us who have roles similar to the role she would have all went to The Belgian Cafe with her and knocked back a few brewskies and baskets of fries. I ate a fair amount of french fries but I didn't particularly like them. Their house 'mayo' tasted like it had bad quality pickles in it, as opposed to jalepeno bits or whatever they said it was. Their house mayo minus the jalapeno was actually quite good. And the red sauce that accompanied it was interesting, tomatoey/chipotley/smokey but not so interesting that you'd want to put a french fry in it.
I had a Unibroue Ephemere Apple and a Lucifer Beer. Others had Raspberry lambic and Rogue chocolate ale combined to form a chocolate raspberry beer...I found this concoction wholly unholy and untasty to my palate but the rest of them declared it the best thing ever. So, there you have that. My coworker L. gives this Lucifer a good feel for the photograph.
Right now I'm having one of those that it's Sunday and I'd like to have dim sum but have not successfully gathered any troops for such an endeavor. Now, do I go and have it by my lonesome? I won't be able to eat as much a variety of stuff without getting filled quicker than [insert funny analogy]. Oh but how I love shrimp dumplings. But oh, how I should save my money, even $10 worth of it, for some bigger and better going to the beach. I really want to go to the beach...people tell me the Jersey shore isn't too great and the Delaware one isn't much better but I want to go. I want to wear a hat and drink beer and play bocci ball on the beach. Or at least wear a hat?

Bean Curd Made By a Pock Marked Woman

Very interesting stuff, this. I think I'd order that before Mapo Tofu any day, I mean, I'd want to know all about it, you know?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Living La Vida Nightmare

So, I've had a job for a few weeks now. The majority of the tasks that make up the job are fairly interesting, entertaining and nice. The variety of work/clients makes each day different and relatively nice. My co-workers are a nice bunch, we went to The Belgian Cafe that one time, if you recall. On Wednesday it was decided that after work we would go to Table 31 for something called "Sips". I met three of my coworkers there and it was like one of my nightmares wrapped up in trendy packaging. It could have been worse, sure, but it wasn't good (let alone nice<---see I realize that I used the word nice too many nice times already and now I'm making fun of as nice a way as possible). The whole standing in a tight circle, constantly being bumped into by dudes in suits or girls with better hair and figures than me is just not my scene. Maybe it would be if I was sitting down but, well, as I mentioned there was standing involved. Though I did see one inordinately tall dude. That was the highlight, seeing a tall dude and saying 'man, that guy's tall'. He is not in the photograph. The drinks were cheap (something about this whole "Sips" thing) but I only had one, downing it fast thinking that if I finished it we could all leave (there were a number of flaws in that logic). The one complimentary appetizer I was able to snag was not all that great. And that, folks, is all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lunch c/o Sabrina's Cafe

My less-frequently-in-the-office-because-he-lives-in-another-country boss took me out to lunch on Monday to have a little face time. We went to Sabrina's Cafe...not the one all on Christian Street but the one on Callowhill. I ordered the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich and opted for the parmesan fries...and an Arnold Palmer (yeah, that's right, half lemonade, half iced tea, bitches). Perhaps you can't tell but the portions were kind of their big-ness. The fries weren't all that great but the flavor of the sandwich was good. Chicken well cooked and spiced, the bread nice and thick and able to stand up to all its fillings' juicy drippings. Artichoke hearts! Red peppers! Tomatoes that didn't make me sick! And a side of their version of slaw that was entirely free of mayonnaise, and we know how I like that.
The place had a kind of diner-like feel but instead of serving $5 sandwiches it served $10...and the people serving were all of the attractive and hip variety. There sure are a whole lot of attractive, skinny and hip people working in the service industry in Philadelphia.

I Made Something!

I made what I like to call a 'Faux-Bo' on Sunday. Chicken. Andouille sausage. Red Peppers. Orange Peppers. Okra. Diced tomatoes. Chicken stock. Spices. No shrimp. No roux. Pretty good.

One of My Favorite Things

I made a point of walking a mile and a half to get my Rita's fix earlier this week...or was it the weekend? Unclear. No, wait, week. I think. Mainly because I haven't been getting out much and even I think it's getting ridiculous. So I walked to a Rita's way farther away than technically necessary and got myself a mix of raspberry and lemonade water ice. Then I, with no shame, walked the streets of Philly with my Rita's cup and spoon, happily slurping. I did, actually, have a destination...Rittenhouse Square. There I sat and finished my ice. It was very hot and relatively pretty. I was happy to find that there were a number of benches sans homeless people, dudes 'jamming' and babies and I sat on one and finished my ice.
It does kind of seem like there are more homeless people in Philadelphia. I'm sure this is not the case. And I'm sure I'm an ass hole for even saying it. I'm just saying it anyways. More than where? Oh I don't know, Chicago? I don't know. I'm a bad liberal.

I Wish It Were So

When I got back from Chambers/Gettys-burg I was too used to not making my own food to make my own food. So I ordered myself some tofu and broccoli in garlic sauce and crab rangoons from Golden Chopstick. I want to say that after so many attempts in Chicago that with this one attempt I found a miraculous perfect dish. But that would be a lie. The tofu wasn't bad but it wasn't up to whatever standard I've made in my brain that may not, actually, exist in the real world. The rangoons were pretty sucky.


I have made this my desktop on my work computer and every time I stare at it for longer than five seconds it makes me giggle.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ernie's Texas Lunch, The Real Deal

As I previously mentioned, my mother's family has been frequenting Ernie's Texas Lunch since before I was born. Back in the day I usually had a cheeseburger and soup. But some time between when Ernie's was a more regular part of my yearly life and, well, now? I developed a greater appreciation for a hotdog. The components of Ernie's Texas dog with that of the Chambersburg "Historic Texas Lunch" are similar: a dog, mustard, chili and chopped white onions. Where Ernie's pulls ahead, as my mother mentioned and I confirmed, is in the dog and bread department. Ernie's uses a more serious roll, a little heftier and of better quality. The same can be said for their dog. My mother's main complaint about Chambersburg's version was that it was just a regular hot dog...whereas Ernie's dogs are plumper, more flavorful and actually grilled. The grilling is key. Makes it better all around. Though I agree, Ernie's onions are kind of out of control. And, though I've come around to the whole hotdog world...I'm still not sure if I really need chili on my hotdog. Just not sure, folks, pretty unclear about the whole darn thing.
Ernie's does win though.

Oh and I've read a few books. You'll hear about them later, don't you worry.

A Little Monumental Pause

On Wednesday Duckie, Ambassador Iron Face and I headed back towards Philly. My father's situation had been stabilized and, well, I do actually have a job. I decided to not get directly on 81, instead I thought it'd be nice to at least drive through Gettysburg proper. I, once again, went against my natural inclination to drive down country roads and/or take the long, long way back to Philadelphia. But I did stop at one set of monuments right on the way into town. Look how I made this one look like it could be some sort of craaaazy postcard!

Hello Ruby

My mother and I returned to digs closer to the hospital on Tuesday. We went from a Holiday Inn Express, to the cousins and then to Four Points Sheraton. Next to the Four Points was a Ruby Tuesday Restaurant. After a long day of making sure my father didn't do himself any additional damage after a test, we went to dinner at this Ruby Tuesday. I had never been to this particular establishment before. I was expecting it to be a little more TGIF/Applebees than it turned out to be...this may be because it was a weekday or something...but this expectation not being met is actually not a bad thing. It was quiet and lacked in tacky-ness. We both had ultimate margaritas that tasted good.
I had the two mini-slider with salad bar option. The little burgers weren't bad but they weren't good either. You know how that goes. The fries were pretty good.
My mother declared the salad bar one of the best she had seen in a long, long time...everything fresh and appealing-looking as opposed to crumbled, old and gross. I'd have to, overall, agree with her.