Saturday, November 29, 2003 at 00:05:26 (EST)

Black on the outside
It's been an exhausting holiday. I've cooked for Thanksgiving only once before and that was only for two people, and really only because I got a free turkey from my job. This time it was cooking for 10 people. But between M and I, and the help of several other folks, we managed quite a feast. I was paranoid about the recado turkey recipe, even though I've done it before. But it's so simple it seems like you're getting away with something. It's just a paste made of dried pasillas and some other stuff that you slop on the bird and let set in for 10-15 hours before cooking it. It looks kind of funny before it's cooked (see photo album below), and when it's done it's almost totally black. But apparently that's what it's supposed to look like. And it passed the final test: nobody barfed! Success!

It was a long day of cooking and drinking. Dave brought us 25 bottles of his homebrew and we polished almost all of it off before the food was ready. But there was plenty of wine and bourbon available, of course. It occurs to me now that holidays with my own family might be more enjoyable if there was more liquor available. Ah, so simple. I'll have to remember that when I'm in Cleveland next month.

Of the cats, only Pinky knew what the turkey was. She spent a good portion of the meal dancing around the serving table trying to get at it. Eventually she got a leg bone and that seemed to placate her. When we prepared to get a nightcap at The Alibi, M called for a car service to take his elders to their hotel. But not one place answered the phone. We knew they couldn't all be closed, even the liquor store had been open. So M's sister and brother-in-law offered to drive them if M would direct them. So I went to the bar with the international contingency, 3 Brits and a Berliner. The hotel was in Long Island City, but we didn't see M and his kin for over an hour. Apparently they got lost and M lost his privileges as Head Navigator.

Today I made turkey stock for some reason. I have no idea what to do with the stuff now. Soup, I guess. At this point I am a little tired of thinking of stuff to do with turkey. Here are some random photos of the event. Of course we forgot to get any shots of the meal itself, but we have plenty of cat pictures! What a surprise.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2003 at 14:59:04 (EST)

She's a clean machine
I'm cleaning my little heart out in preparation for our big Thanksgiving shindig. If only I could do this on a more timely basis it might not be so insurmountable every time I actually get around to housecleaning. I have to get out to the Garden of Eden for some dried pasillas, which they better have or I'm sunk on this Mexican turkey recipe I'm trying to make. And does anyone know, can you make yams in one of those disposable aluminum pans, or do we need a real casserole dish?

And I just booked my flight for Christmas in Cleveland. My sister's family is the only remaining evidence that I ever lived in Ohio and this year she's hosting the WASPy festivities. I'll be there from December 22-25, dates which give me both a gracefully limited amount of time to spend with my family and the lowest airfare possible. It's win-win!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003 at 11:31:45 (EST)

Wallkill Creek Survival
Not to keep harping on this new smoking bill, but I found an article about it. Plus the guy fronting for the bill, Howard Mills (Assemblyman from Wallkill, NY), was just on NPR. Brian Lehrer doesn't think the bill has a chance, but if nothing else, at least something is working against those goddamn anti-smoking ads I keep seeing on the subway and elsewhere. You know what I mean. Those ads that take the slippery slope logic of "Previous smoking bands didn't spell doom for the city, neither will this one." I could go on about how their angle is like saying the Patriot Act is okay because years ago they made seat belts mandatory, but their condescending pitch is not what bothers me. What bothers me is, why are they rubbing our noses in it?

Look, American Legacy Organization (whatever that is), you won. The entire state of New York has a strict smoking ban in effect. Casual public smoking as we know it will never be the same. You got what you asked for. And before Mills' new bill, there had been nary a whimper from the pro-smoking-choice lobby. So why did they launch this annoying campaign? Are they sore winners? Or maybe the whole smoking ban isn't going as well as they originally thought. Like the Bush Administration's bullshit claim a little while ago that the economy had 'recovered', these ads try to make people conclude that everything is working as it should. They're using that "act as if" routine, hoping to make things better sheerly through the manipulation of public opinion. This apparently works on most Americans, but I'm not buying it. Even if it was true, I'd still have trouble believing it when it's demonstrated in such an over-the-top method.

Mills' bill definitely has its work cut out for it. It goes against the Zeitgeist, even if it does follow of logic far more sound the hysterical, puritanical fascism we've been suffering under for months.

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Monday, November 24, 2003 at 21:30:54 (EST)

Picture your head in a way that excuses things you say with it
Josh got his story published by the NY Post about! It features brilliant commentary from both myself and Abbypants. It's just too bad that my first quote in this major publication has me talking about the "human garbage" that constitutes my confessions to the site. I don't think I'll be showing this to Mom & Dad. I've caused them enough misery as it is. Oooh, I feel another confession coming on!

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Monday, November 24, 2003 at 21:15:34 (EST)

It's another day waiting for the train
Busy day. Thanks to the ineptitude of both the US Postal Service and my idiot coworkers, I suffered the indignity of actually having to go into the office to deliver a CD. I decided to make it interesting by riding my bike there, something I've never attempted before. I was bike messenger for a day. I always thought bike messengers were cool, ever since that Kevin Bacon vehicle from the 80's, but now I have a newfound respect for them. How do they do this every day? Some cop yelled at me for trying to go down a street his patrol car was blocking for some reason. I took the Brooklyn Bridge this time, which even on a November Monday was full of tourists. Most of them understood enough not to walk on the bike path side, but a few required me to do some fancy maneuvering. I took solace in the fact that I ruined a few photos by dashing through the line of fire. I got over to the office, dropped off the CD and ... went to Century 21! Oh yeah! I needed some new pants, you see. Riding a bike around the financial district is a real pain. Windy streets, big trucks and comatose pedestrians abound. And finding a pole to lock your bike is next to impossible. Because every other bike messenger and delivery guy in town is there. And if all that weren't enough, there is an enormous construction project going on in the middle of it all:

Wow! They're building a walkway over the West Side Highway at Vesey Street! It's about time. You can just see Century 21 in the background.

Here's the new PATH station. Guess they're keeping the "World Trade Center" name. So this is a 'temporary' station?

Look at it! It's a tank, I tells ya!

We bought our turkey tonight at Pathmark, and I got some of the supplies I need for the south-of-the-border recipe I'll be applying to said turkey. It now occurs to me that it's gonna be pretty difficult to cook the turkey and bake anything else at the same time in our tiny oven. We may have to farm some of this stuff out. So is anybody else sticking around for Thanksgiving? Or is New York too real for you?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Monday, November 24, 2003 at 11:18:58 (EST)

Smoke smoke smoke all over you
Hey I just heard there's a bill up to change the smoking ban in the city! The bill creates a "smoking license" that bars will be able to purchase for a nominal fee to allow smoking in their establishments! I had this idea way before the ban started, but nobody listens to me. It's okay, I'm coping. Now, why didn't they attempt this before throwing the smoking end of the city into panic and chaos for several months? Actually, maybe moving in this way will help the bill to pass. By banning smoking everywhere at once and leaving it that way for months, we've all gotten used to the inconvience. Allowing smoking licenses now will mean only those bars that really really want to allow smoking will purchase them. Some bars won't bother. For instance, I dunno what they think, but I don't believe a bar like the Brooklyn Inn needs smoking inside the premises. I think I like that bar better without smoke. On the other hand, a bar like The Alibi absolutely needs smokers, if for no other reason than to cover up that weird smell that has developed there of late. Smells like feet.

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Monday, November 24, 2003 at 10:37:16 (EST)

Roll out the barrel
After many months of thinking about it, I finally solved the Pickle Enigma. Years ago, I would go to Essex Street on Sundays to buy pickles at Guss' Pickles, the old-school pickle house. But they were unceremoniously tossed from their venerable location because the building owners wanted to make the neighborhood safe for yuppies and trust-fund kids. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum put them up for a while in their space, but after that I lost track of them. I even searched the neighborhood trying to find them, all to no avail. Then I remembered I sit in front of a computer for 3000 hours a week. Not only is the Internet good for meeting up with hecklers who you saw the previous night at a show, it also is good for researching where stuff is.

So it turns out that Guss' Pickles just moved across the street from the LES Tenement Museum. Duh. I should have looked for it there. Meanwhile, a faction of the Guss crew broke off and formed the NYC Pickle Guys, whose shop is like half a block from the old Guss'. I'm not much of a detective. This means on previous searches I went right by the store. I guess that's what they call 'tunnel vision.' Anyhow, armed with addresses I hopped on the Raleigh Twenty and headed out.

How about this weather? During the day, I didn't even need a jacket. Really fine cycling weather. I took the Manhattan Bridge and rode to Essex Street. Sure enough, there was the Pickle Guys shop, plain as day. In the old days of Guss' Pickles, they put the pickle barrels out on the sidewalk, but here they keep them inside. It loses some of the old charm, but it probably helps when it gets subzero outside. I picked up a quart of hot sour pickles ($5.25) and went to find the legendary Guss'. Indeed it was across the street from the museum, in a small storefront. They still hand out pickles from barrels on the sidewalk, which I realize has more to do with their lack of space than anything else. I picked up another quart of hot sours ($6.00) and a pint of olives stuffed with jalapenos ($7, I think). They apparently make olives stuffed with habaneros, but they said it'd be another 3 weeks before they'd be ready. Conventional wisdom states that Guss' pickles are superior to the upstarts, but considering the Pickle Guys are an offshoot of Guss', they're probably using the same basic recipe. They're both bitchin'.

I took the Williamsburg Bridge back home. The walkway on this bridge has sever inclines on both ends, as well as some that inexplicably show up in the middle of the bridge as well. The advantage of such inclines is that after you pump your little legs off going uphill, you get to coast downhill at top speed. This proved impossible, as the bridge was covered with pedestrian hipsters and Hasidim with baby carriages.

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Week of November 23-29, 2003

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