Apr. 19th, 2009 07:48 pm
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Not much posted here recently - Facebook gets most of my attention these days. But there is a lot going on, I'm doing a lot more living than blogging about living.

Over the last couple of months I've been making a lot of friends in my neighborhood. Being able to hang out in cafes in the afternoons is extremely conducive to meeting people. I've always been a cafe person, and I love that I have four or five different places right on my street that I can just "be" in that aren't bars. So I've befriended nearly everyone who works behind the counter at all these places, and am now a regular everywhere, and get introductions or get involved in interesting conversations everywhere I go and even connect people with other cool people or talk about neat ideas. I love it.

I decided to try and get some of my new friends together for an underground dinner hosted at my place and catered by my friend Sara and her Lightbulb Oven. Sadly, most of them could not make it, but I will be seating 15 folks here for a five course dinner - including a reporter from some magazine, and a photographer. This inspired me to clean out and redecorate my apartment. My office is now located in the back of my apartment, and I've reorganized the kitchen a little bit; my landlord even got me a brand new stove! Ultimately I'd like to take down the afterthought of a closet and storage area here in the new office to make the room bigger, and then paint the walls blue to inspire creativity. I might get around to doing that by late Summer or so, maybe.

I am now "officially" dating someone long distance; those of you following on Facebook have no doubt seen pictures and references to Nari ([livejournal.com profile] narnarthinks). We went out for about a month before she moved back to Austin, Texas to live with her family and return to her company's HQ out there - a few weeks later she flew back to visit for a long weekend. She's coming back to visit me again from 5/10 to 5/17, and to say that I'm looking forward to that would be the understatement of the century. Long distance, as one would expect, is a good and bad thing; but, in this case, since we weren't able to spend much time together when we were short distance, I'd have to say it's much more bad than good.

I'm actually putting a lot of time into iPhone development now, and am learning the ins and outs of Xcode and associated tools. There's a roadblock I've been attempting to overcome, and debugging with the tools is helping me better understand what I'm doing wrong. I feel like I'm making progress though; at this point, since I'm going to WWDC 09 the first week of June, I really need to have some kind of application finished before I get there; I'm hoping to have two ready, but we'll see.
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If Facebook ever did go the paid route, I would ditch it instantly. It's not worth it to me, I already pay for this journal and other avenues of expression... what does this say about the "value" of my social network? I think what it tells me is that the network is at any given time just a commodity - one that I can rebuild and reform anywhere. It's great when I have it up and running somewhere, and there's a new and/or interesting application I can use with it, but ultimately all that matters is that I have my network and nobody can ever take it away from me. My network is internal to me at all times.

Going to bed now. Still buzzed from pork overload.


Feb. 12th, 2009 08:35 pm
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There is a fancy-ass dessert bakery/cafe opening up about 500 feet from my door tomorrow. Cake! Pie! Cake made of pie!



Feb. 20th, 2008 01:54 pm
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A quick summary of me (stealed from [livejournal.com profile] arachne8x):
33 going on 34.

Grew up in North Branford, CT but born in New Haven, CT.

Fluent in English, smattering of French, currently studying Homeric Greek.

Nearly 100% Italian - father is all Italian, mother is 75%, with some German and Irish.

Schooled publicly until college, then started studying Physics at WPI. Eventually switched to Computer Science.

Longest relationship was 4.5 years, ended in a broken engagement in 1999. Have since been alternately single and dating sporadically; current relationship is longest one since then (1 year!). [polyamorous]

Working as a consultant for Robert Half Technology, sourced to Plus One Holdings.

Leo, spiritual, anti-religious.

Very fond of cats.

Rapturous lover of preparing and eating food; most fond of pizza, wine, cheese, and chocolate.

Ambitions to get a tattoo (maybe a depiction of Quetzalcoatl).

LARPer and LARP GM/creator.

Comic book collector (approximately 5,000).

Gamer (board, card, video, miniature, role-playing, ANYTHING).

Writer (mainly poetry and short fiction).

Aspiring artist.
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Who wants to join me for a night of cheese and chocolate?

Artisinal says February is fondue month and City bakery says it's hot chocolate month. I say do both in one night, and DAMN THE CONSTIPATION - the only question is: which night combines the ideal flavors for both, with barely half the month left?
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"Oh look, a black squirrel."

"I've never seen one of those before! Holy crap!"

"Me neither. Oh look, it's going into the hair salon."

"Wow, he's just walking around in there."

[insert the screaming of a bunch of women, followed by chasing with a broom, and a squirrel plastered up against a glass window trying desperately to get outside]

Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn is a lot of fun, and not just because of squirrel terrorism. There's a bunch of adorable little cafes, bars, and restaurants of all stripes - including The Chocolate Room which I believe may be the best retail chocolate store in the city (I'm not counting boutique chocolatiers who sell their own chocolates). It's the first place I've found that actually sells Domori chocolate bars (sophisticated Italian chocolate from Venezuelan cacao) and also has the full line of Vintage Plantation chocolate bars from Ecuador and I believe elsewhere (not even Murray's or other gourmet stores I've shopped at carry all of these). Additional, TCR is staffed by an amazing pastry chef; kitteridge and I devoured a dark and dense chocolate cupcake that was impossibly moist and slathered with a pudding consistency ganache, and were entranced by the selection of other cookies and confections available.

Most of the cafes and restaurants there seem to be burgeoning businesses, and have extremely thrifty prices for the quality of food served. Luscious was a small take-out joint which looked as though it was just starting out; a comfort food establishment, where you can purchase meatloaf, stuffed chicken breasts, and a variety of sides like mac n cheese, corn spoonbread, tabouli, broccoli and such. I had a tasty cuban mojo with ham and pork on a ciabatta, and loved it dearly.

There's a street fair happening there on Sunday, May 20th, and I plan on attending...

Nine Words

Apr. 14th, 2007 10:08 am
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Fried peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich... with BACON.

Elvis wept!!! Washed down with a Welch's grape ice cream soda.

Many thanks to Sylvia for taking me to Peanut Butter & Co. last night! :D
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Located near East 4th Street and Avenue B, the E.U. takes good food seriously, yet still has a casual flair for its atmosphere. The cavern-like dining area is decorated sparsely, but creatively, with neo-industrial lighting and artifacts; a miniscule bar at the back of the establishment speaks to the recent acquisition of their liquor license.

Read more... )
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This past weekend was extremely action-packed, and immensely enjoyable.

Of musicals, carousing, art, and movies )

So, currently coming up on the radar, we have:
- Finish the movie synopsis for the magazine
- Call a recruiter about a contract software assignment
- Interview on Tuesday with a small software firm
- This weekend: NY Comic-con! Sol Chinese New Year!! (did you RSVP??)
- Next weekend: Intercon? Mr. [livejournal.com profile] gower, we need to chat.
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A week and a half ago my bosses took me and three other co-workers out for dinner at Abbicci, an amazing restaurant right up the street from me. Turned out that this was their last dinner before major renovations that will be taking place over the coming 4 plus months (raising the building off its foundation, pouring a good one and making a basement, and adding an addition to the first and second floors). It was also one of their wine pairing meals - 7 courses with 7 wines from the Piedmont region of Italy... they even had the actual vintners from Italy eating with us! It was an amazing experience.

This is what we had )
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I had some great company this weekend. Treyvana and boy came to visit, and we had a merry time. I feel that I could have been a bit more entertaining, but I found myself doing a lot of house related things like laundry and keeping the place generally tidy. We spent a lot of the time petting the cat and doing TV related activities, though we did go out to dinner Saturday night.

I did a fair amount of excellent cooking though (if I may say so). I finally bought the waffle iron I wanted, and used my homemade baking mix to make a dozen tasty, crispy Belgians on Saturday. Today I fired up the oven and quick cooked a skirt steak on my cast iron pan - turned it into three huge, delicious steak and onion quesadillas.

I think that I'm going to end up running a bed and breakfast some day. There's nothing I love more than having company and cooking for them.

I wrapped up my weekend by going to see Brokeback Mountain with Becca. Yes, I cried. There's nothing to my mind more tragic than not taking the chance. If you can see the path to happiness, and you have the ability to take that path, don't stop yourself from going down it. Regret what you have done, not what you haven't.
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The two restaurants have filed for Chapter 7 and are closed. It is a black day for good barbecue in Massachusetts.
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I spent the weekend visiting friends in another state. It was a long drive up and down the Eastern seaboard, and the caravan I was part of covered a lot of roads between here and there. When we got to Virginia, the surrounding town that our friends lived in was wholly unremarkable - and this was mainly because it looked like everywhere else I'd ever been in New England. The same chain restaurants, the same retail stores. To be sure, there were a couple of new names that you don't see often north of the Mason-Dixon: Shoney's, Waffle House, and the like...

For convenience's sake, we ended up eating at McDonald's and Pizza Hut. And I realized yet again why I don't eat at those "restaurants". I cooked breakfast on Sunday, and made two pounds of bacon, a pound of maple sausages, eggs and toast... and it was all orders of magnitude better than the meals we had the rest of the trip.

It really, truly upsets me that we as a people are surrendering the joy of food to the forces of mass produced darkness. McDonald's burgers are flavorless wads of chewy gristle, and pizza from Pizza Hut is just a salty slice of bread with specks of generic salty meats. And the supermarkets are full of convenience meals that move from your freezer to your oven or microwave... only a few minutes to gratification! It disgusts me.

I refuse to accept "I have no time to cook" or "I don't know how to cook" as excuses. Cooking is not some arcane ritual - it just takes a small amount of patience and a little know-how that you can get from this book. What cooking is is one of the few great pleasures that life affords us. It's cheaper to cook your own food. It's healthier to cook your own food. Food that you cook yourself tastes better because your ingredients are fresh and are not the lowest possible quality that a business can serve you for their maximum profit. And you can make food that you can't get anywhere else - no restaurant serves foccacia toast with a slice of horseradish cheddar the way I like to make it. You can't walk into a restaurant and ask for something that's not on the menu and expect them to just make it; try that next time you walk into a lousy Outback.

And I'm not knocking all restaurants either. There are many examples of fine cuisine out there, and there are even one or two fast food places that are worthy to consume from. But I will still prefer the hearty and infinitely tastier sandwich I can make from Widoff's italian bread and delectable meats and cheeses from my favorite deli to anything I can get at Subway.

The sad truth is that it comes down to this - people just don't want to cook. And that is the most sorrowful part of the tale, because it means that the people that feel that way have never actually experienced the satisfaction and wholehearted joy of preparing a meal. Every time I make a meal, I treat it as others would a religious experience. I know that runs counter to what I said earlier about food preparation not being an arcane ritual - it truly isn't. But I like to imagine myself in that role, totally putting myself into a meal that I prepare for the people I care most about. You can't get that kind of love from a restaurant chef, and you certainly won't ever get it from a minimum wage fast food worker...
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All right folks - tonight is the night! However, in the interests of economy, Zipango will not be the restaurant of choice this evening. Instead, we will journey to Osaka in Shrewsbury at the White City Plaza, where there is cheap sushi in abundance! My housemates went there and spent 40 dollars between the two of them for a heaping helping of sushi and dessert, and they brought back a VERY reasonably priced sushi menu with most sushi under 5 dollars and most maki under 4 dollars. This may be only because it's a new place, so the prices may not last forever! Also they have teppanyaki tables like Sakura Tokyo - so invite people that don't like raw fish and they'll enjoy it!

That is all. Come tonight!
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Journal update time! Lots and lots of good things happening.

I made a bunch of new friends and connected with another new-ish friend. I had such a busy weekend - had a night on the town on Friday, then spent the day doing house stuff on Saturday, then in the evening went out to have a fantastic gift certificate subsidized meal at the 111 Chop House (a wonderful gift from a wonderful friend). After that scrumptious dinner, I made my way to a comfort food pot luck gathering of friends and family and had a very amusing and silly time shooting nerf darts at people for several hours. Several of them made very funny noises! hee.

I should have stayed over though. I regret wussing out. Breakfast would have been a great way to start Sunday, especially if telkella were cooking! Alas, it was not in the cards for me... instead I had to manage a bit of a financial crisis for most of the day on Sunday. But I put my time to good use, filing away all my bills and records and finishing up some consulting work that had to be done.

It was a karma thing, I'm sure of it. So many good things happened all at once, something had to come along and balance it out a little. But the cool thing is that I am turning negative things into positive ones. I think I've almost figured that trick out now.

I found out today that I have really good credit. It's not utterly spectacular, but a couple of small steps like closing out an unused credit card account and paying down my balance a little will in fact make it utterly spectacular (in the category of 98% good risk in the eyes of lenders).

Oh, and also today I helped make fireworks a little bit safer by participating in a non-profit research study. Someone will watch me on videotape and use the data to make safer fireworks. Yay!

And I finally had a chance to get some good chinese food at lunch today. Golden treasure and sesame chicken! Woo hoo!

That is all.
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This Friday I will be going to the Bijou for dinner and a movie. I'll be going to see "The Fast Runner", which plays at 6:30pm and goes for about three hours. I'll be showing up early, like around 5:30pm, to get dinner and a drink or two. I've invited a few friends, but I'll be going myself regardless of who actually shows up, so I figured I'd make it an open invite anyways...
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So, a few days ago I sent out that email to an old flame of mine... and she responded. More than that, she called and emailed and generally tried very hard to get in touch with me. I had really thought that she wouldn't respond; things ended abruptly for various reasons, the least of which being that she wasn't sure exactly how she felt about dating me.

We met for dinner on Sunday, I took her to Armadillo Depot and she bought me a nice supper. We essentially sat and chatted for about two hours, until the time came for her to continue driving on to New Hampshire and for me to get back to work. In short, we were both really happy to see one another again... and she's very eager to spend more time with me. She had no end of nice things to say about me: how she missed me, how sweet and gentle I am, how I'm a great conversationalist... it's so nice to hear things like that.

We parted ways with some pleasant kisses. I must admit, I've thought about her often in the six or so months I haven't seen her, and I'm really looking forward to spending time with her in the very near future...
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So, for those not aware - Big Blue turned 30 on 9/10/2002. I took it upon myself to help him celebrate his birthday in grand style, and we had a day of delight throughout the city of Boston this past Friday.

Tom showed up at my place a little after Noon; after I downed my lunch, we set off for Waltham and hit Danger Planet, a rather nice little game store off Moody Street. Tom dropped off his car, and we carpooled into Beantown.

After parking near a Mormon church off Brattle Street, we made our way towards the Adrenaline Zone, a PC arcade establishment. MickD caught up with us a little while after we arrived, and the three of us got to blow each other up a lot a lot. Much fun... Tom got to snipe my head into little bits, and I got to blow him and a lot of bots into a bunch of luscious gibs.

Moving on, we found ourselves at the L.A. Burdick's cafe right up the street. The sign advertised "Iced Chocolate", so we stepped up to the counter and ordered two of those, and two slices of chocolate mousse cake. We were served, and Tom sampled his sweets... and declared that he no longer needed women in his life, as long as he had his precious, precious mousse cake. The drinks and cakes were exceedingly scrumptious (but maybe not quite that scrumptious).

Our next stop was The Garage in Harvard Square, where we hit Pandemonium and Tokyo Kid, as well as another new Japanese toy store and the "All Your Game" retro video game mini-store in the stairwell. At this point, our good buddy Jski hooked up with us, and we continued onward.

We walked to the extreme end of Harvard all the way down to The Games People Play (are you seeing a theme yet?) and chatted with Joseph, one of the merchants, about various games and their pros and cons. Jski bought 1870, and I bought Humping Humping Hedgehogs! Okay, that's not really the name, but I can't remember the name because it's a German game. On the way back, we hit the Harvard Coop bookstore and Wordsworth... and at wordsworth, I bought Tom his own copy of "I'm Just Here For The Food", Alton Brown's (host of Good Eats) new book. Tom has trouble boiling water - but I believe Alton's book will be Tom's introduction to the wonderful and exciting world of food preparation.

We next went by car out to Copely Square and hit The Compleat Strategist. On the way, Jski ran into one of the three people he knows in Boston - Agthorr's sister. She's a real cutie, a very sweet girl... but she sadly couldn't come along, as she had frozen chicken and ice cream in her shopping bags. At the game store, Jski and I bought Tom a bunch of game books he really wanted. We next went by T to dinner...

Which was had at the wonderful Sunset Grill & Tap. I ran into Jen Johnson as we entered; she was just leaving with some co-workers, but we got a quick hug in before we parted ways.

That evening, the Sunset had 112 beers on tap... but the clear winner at our table was the Kopparberg Pear Cider, a Product of Sweden. Tom's got a taste for sweet drinks, and the Kopparberg was his own find - but Jski and I both loved it, and when Drak and Lee joined us later at night, they too found themselves ensorceled by the bodacious brew. Drak ended up drinking a yard of beer, and I had a couple of nice Beertails (chocolate covered cherry and fruit cocktail). Dinner was awesome... Tom and Jski hadn't eaten much all day, between the three of us, we packed away a full basket of sour cream and chive fries and fried calamari; I had a delicious tuna melt, Tom had a salmon dinner, and Jski had a mondo half pound burger (Drak and Lee had their own food when they joined later, but I can only remember that Lee got the Mahi Mahi).

All in all, a very exhausting day out on the town. But we had a very happy Tom at the end of it all! 30 years down - and many, many more to go, huzzah!
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What more can I ask for?

My friends take me out for a lovely dinner at Carambola in Waltham. They shower me with gifts. They make me truly, truly happy; happy just to be around them, happy to share a good meal and an evening of abundant joy.

I can only say it again... what more can I ask for?


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