Sunday, December 14, 2008

Zzz

So I got the post-basel illness. I'm not sure what it is exactly but seemingly everyone who went to Basel-related events last week came down with a cold. I don't know if it was proportional to how hard you partied during the events or what, but even though I went out until 1 on two nights but otherwise didn't do anything crazy, I managed to get laid low with this.

It's not really even a cold though either, there are no symptoms except exhaustion and a sick feeling. I was oddly nauseous a couple of days but that was about it.

Anyway, all this is to say I wanted to write more here last week but you'll have to settle for a new banner up top. So there.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

art blarrghhsssel

Art Basel is smoke. There are a hundred things happening but no one really knows anything about them until they leave for them 5 minutes previous.

I don't have a close knit group of art or club kids, or at least close enough that they'd drag me out. Word of mouth doesn't come to me the way it used to. That's fine. I'll go see some art at the convention center and Scope, find some random people to do it with at a random time, and enjoy myself. I'm just not super excited and not really planning on gallery hopping or drinking too much.

Maybe I'm getting old.

I do think I'll be seeing Yelle though. A free excuse to head to the Beach on a Wednesday night is a-ok by me.

p.s. I think I might try metroing to Venetian Causeway, riding my bike across, then riding all the way to South Miami
p.p.s. Someone asked if I was going to see The Sounds tonight and I briefly wondered where they were playing for Basel before realizing that they were actually making a tour stop at Revolution. This makes me wonder whether their turnout will be hurt by all the Basel stuff going on, but I highly doubt it given how infrequently people in Broward venture south and vice versa. Oh, and Revolution? You're in Ft. Lauderdale. Stop claiming you're in Miami. You aren't even in the same damn county.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nathan's birthday

I spent Monday morning assembling nathan's birthday gift: a bed from Ikea (purchased by Kira and picked up by Liz and myself).

This is mostly a stop motion I took of assembling the bed with some ukulele strumming in the background. Then some footage of trying it out + cupcakes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bike Miami November 2008

Bike Miami

Bikes! Downtown! Madness!

Ok, I'm not the best reporter or blogger. I get inspired rarely and usually the local stuff I do I halfass, namely leaving early or not going to at all. Hence why I am posting this over a week late.

So: Bike Miami. The first three words kind of sum it up, although there wasn't much of the "madness". There was a fair amount of people in spandex, a fair grouping of families, and a few kids on fixies going around in circles. There were a few people on homemade cartbikes and tandems, if that qualifies for "madness".

Drawbridge

There was something exotic about being able to ride those streets on a bicycle. Hauling ass up and down the drawbridge was fun, as was cruising Flagler. However a lot of the businesses were closed, and understandably so; we weren't there to buy shoes, "fell of the truck" electronics, or luggage. I suppose one of the goals was to help downtown business, but there wasn't exactly much there to help to begin with (with the exception of Mary Brickell Village, which was hopping, and Bayside. Both probably saw a noticable uptick in patrons)

I came late in the day, after the rally and most of the events (see above "halfass" comment). By most reports though there weren't that many events, which I think was the day's biggest problem.

Also: the area was so large that the 1000 or so people that showed up seemed unimpressive if you stood still. Moving around it was rare to see the same face twice, but if you stood still you just watched a trickle of people zip by.

The mayor now wants to make these events monthly, which is awesome, but future events are not going to be able to rest on novelty and will need some additions to thrive as a regular event.

I'm thinking the two most important changes will be more stuff to do (say Bike Repair workshops or booths and vendors and the like) and tweaking the route so as to have fewer dead ends. Aside from that I'm really looking forward to the next one!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

happy almost halloween!

machete pumpkin

Got your costume yet? I sure as hell don't.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

inspiration



Things that are starting to get to me:
- Working hard but not getting paid for it
- Competing with hundreds of other cut loose law school grads
- Being uncreative and having inspiration come and dart away like a stray cat
- That sinking feeling you get when you feel like you made the wrong turn onto a highway but won't know if you're going the wrong way until its too late

The above movie doesn't have much to do with anything; it's just a lovely rendition of a lovely song.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

mud wrestling tips

mudkira
(click for big)

Kira asked I write a submission for a wedding zine she was putting together for her friend Lindsey. I'm not 100% this actually got used, but I thought it funny enough to be worth sharing.

I wound up skipping out on the wedding in favor of a friend's birthday party and sleep. I did however miss some mean mud wrestling apparently.

tuesday

Maybe I should make a habit of updating on Tuesdays.

I only have two observations today.

First, that I had to go through a lot of my old writing recently and would like to get back into the habit of focused writing. I write a lot, but much of it is off the cuff nonsense I scribble down in cognizance of my poor memory. I want to write something I can be proud of again, possibly here but possibly elsewhere.

Second, I kayaked around Coconut Grove Marina during the full moon tonight with a group of UM students. Checking now, there's a small craft advisory out. I don't know whether that was active while I was on the water, but considering the waves and the severe wind gusts on the trip back, I wouldn't be surprised. The water was gorgeous though, what with the waves and the moon and all, and while the wind blew pretty hard there weren't any whitecaps. As such it was only a concern around one bend of the trip and I was able to surf the tops of waves a bit, something I've never done before. As a friend said, it was just hard enough to be an interesting challenge.

Time for sleep. More soon hopefully.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No, there

Today is a rainy Tuesday on the shallow end of a slow week.

The weekend was nice though, saw a lot of random friends at the Perrotin opening on Saturday, as well as afterwards at Mike's. Went home at two rather than pursuing the debauchery until god knows when at white room/vagabond/wherever. The next day I helped out on the kayaks at Community Bay Day at Shake a Leg. I must be making some progress at getting in shape as I wasn't sore the next day despite kayaking to and from the island 3 times.

But most importantly, someone directed me to this over the weekend:



I'm glad we shared this moment together, dear internet person.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat

leinenkugel's sunset wheat

Today we'll be discussing wheat beer, so pull out a number 2 pencil, your composition books, and a pint glass and we'll get started.

Wikipedia has an incredibly lengthy discussion of wheat beer that, in the end, boils down to "using a significant proportion of wheat in the brewing process". Thanks, I guess?

Anyway, wheat beers are usually light in flavor, and in turn lend themselves easily to including additional flavors. Thus you can have all sorts of flavored beers, including raspberry, apricot, blueberry, and so on.

I've often felt that Blue Moon was a good introductory beer for the above reason, namely that it has a host of other flavors that don't taste too beer-y (if that makes any sense). However I recently had a friend express her disgust for Blue Moon based exactly on that: it doesn't taste like beer, it tastes like the floor of grandma's spice cabinet.

Said friend however said she loved Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat. This was the third person who had said this to me and thus figure it was time I gave it a try.

I couldn't tell at first if the beer was named Leinenkugels or Leinenhugels. The top hit for Googling Leinenhugels is a one-sentence negative review on Livejournal (of all places). Googling Leinenkugels (with or without a possessive apostrophe) set me straight. Leinenkugel's Brewery is now owned by Miller Brewing, and that they only began brewing Sunset Wheat about two years ago and more recently introduced a wheat beer/lemonade mix, the latter of which was the subject of the aforementioned (and probably well deserved) negative review.

The above should have been obvious to me: you do NOT see a beer on every shelf of every grocery without there being a big brewery behind it, and I have been seeing this stuff everywhere. They even had a booth set up at the last Wynwood Art Walk I made it out to, where they doled out warm 1/3 bottle portions in tiny plastic cups. No impression was made on me that evening, not sure why.

The presence of Blue Moon at your local Winn Dixie is attributable to its ownership as well, as Blue Moon is brewed by Coors. If Coors attempted to market Blue Moon under its own name, disaster would no doubt ensue. But this brings up an interesting question though: Does it matter who owns the brewery? While Miller bought the Leinenkugel brewery in 1988, the family still manages and runs it. Contrarily, Blue Moon has always been owned and brewed by Coors.

Aside from both being owned by major breweries, the beers share a lot in common: both are wheats brewed with coriander and share many similar characteristics. Blue Moon however is unfiltered and is additionally spiced with orange peel.

How do the taste? Well, to be honest, I don't like Blue Moon for the exact same reason my non-beer drinking friend doesn't. She didn't like it because it was too weird tasting, and I think it tastes too much like you're sucking on a flower. This is possibly due to it being unfiltered, but this would only add to the taste not remove anything from it, and another problem is that Blue Moon feels like it's lacking something. However Sunset Wheat was surprisingly good and full flavored. I say "full flavored" because a lot of beers people call "refreshing" are so light on the palate that I wonder why I wasted my time and belly space. Sunset Wheat somehow manages to be refreshing yet flavorful and complex without resorting to adding anything beyond coriander.

So in short, maybe it does matter who made your beer. It's obvious these two are big breweries' attempts at competing for the same market segment, right down to Leinenkugel/Miller using the sun in lieu of the moon in the name. Blue Moon obviously has the leg up at present, but I'm willing to bet that if Miller pushes it hard enough, Sunset Wheat could put a serious dent in the light-beer-but-not-quite market.

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

pool parties, kickball, and growing up

Last weekend I was invited by a friend of mine to attend a pool party on Key Biscayne. Then, Monday night I finally made it to a kickball game that a friend organized but is played by people I hardly know.

I was hesitant about going to both. Miami has driven it into my head that people can't have fun without being sketchy in some way or another, specifically that even the most pedestrian activity needs to have the introduction of drugs or be filled to the gills with people you wouldn't trust to leave alone in any room your house.

This is kind of a double edged sword: it's not JUST that people have a tendency to be sketchy down here, but also that I myself have a tendency to be neurotic in unfamiliar situations. I'm the one that wanders around parties cleaning up or making sure people aren't smoking in the house, even and especially if it isn't my party. I'm not always like this, but the sketchier the party is and the less familiar I am with my surroundings, the more likely I will just fade into the background and wander around emptying ashtrays.

None of that occurred at either of these events. I found myself hanging out with two mature and interesting groups of people that were very friendly, welcoming, and frankly nicer than I've come to expect.

At first I thought that the people I associate with had grown up. Then I quickly realized we both had: I was acting more relaxed when out of my element, and these people were better at keeping things chill and non-sketchy than the people I knew when I was 22.

Part of this can also be chalked up to something the thrower of the pool party/birthday girl said to me on Saturday. I had never met her before and she only knew me tangentially through a friend, but she instantly pegged me as a pessimist. Actually, specifically she said "you're always assuming the worst about yourself". It didn't shock me that she said that because it was true, but it did shock me that someone I met nearly 20 seconds ago had my number so quickly.

So I'm trying to turn over a new leaf of sorts. Lets see how that goes. Tomorrow I'm leaving to visit Washington, D.C. and more likely more introspection to come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Advice on Moving From Miami to San Francisco Courtesy of a Person Who's Never Been Further West Than Colorado



If the sun appears to be setting in the wrong place relative to the ocean, do not be alarmed. This is just evidence that a hole has opened in the fabric of reality and that you may need to make peace with your higher power in anticipation of apocalypse. If the sun appears to be rising in the wrong place, it is just an optical illusion.

A feeling of strangeness may overcome you on the streets of San Francisco. This attributable to the continual fear of vehicular homicide slowly leaving your person. It will pass and soon be replaced by a fear of hobos and trolley-related homicide, or trollicide as it is more commonly known.

San Francisco, unlike many other locales, has a fair amount of humidity year round. Thus you can live your life without fear of your skin flaking and falling off, dandruff becoming omnipresent, and otherwise sleeping in a tub of vaseline every evening, unless you are so inclined for reasons not covered in this guide.

While San Francisco, colloquially known as San Fran, Frisco, or Siffran™ (ask your doctor), is temperately colder than its location in California would have the layman believe, it is known to occasionally rise above 60 degrees, especially and frequently as a direct result of the presence of trashcan fires littering the city's many vagabond encampments.

In the event that the high price of living leads to destitution, the following food substitutes are reportedly quite popular in San Fran:
- sterno
- rice-a-roni (ding ding!)
- locally produced organic wood
- seagulls

Please heed these friendly reminders and by all means enjoy your stay! Er ... relocation! Whatever!
Sincerely,
Someone Who Has Never Been To San Francisco

Monday, September 8, 2008

two, insert cliche about counting, two

Two, count 'em, two people commenting that I never post in two, count 'em also whydontcha, two days!
I will counter these comments with two, tired of this yet, two lists!

First, last week, I:
- Worked my last day at my job
- Assumed (wrongly) that this week would be shot to hell by Ike one way or another
- Got a parking ticket for not having paid for parking at the metrorail garage, despite having a receipt in my pocket that conclusively proves I paid
- Had a fun little bureaucratic runaround as a result of the aforementioned ticket
- Ran to the courthouse no fewer than three times in one day, one time literally running
- Shook off the last vestiges of a summer cold only to have it make a brief reappearance after going out too much on the weekend
- Rode a long long way on my bike three times, on one trip proceeding to crash into the sidewalk while avoiding a jogger
- Learning that in real life, like in cartoons, shoes really do fly off when you run into something
- Went out too much on the weekend to shake off the odd feeling that comes when you leave a job knowing there are things left unfinished

And second, a compilation of twitter posts from my last day at work. They get interesting eventually, I promise.
• tea cup to tea goblet to tea and coffee to decaf coffee to coffee coffee back to goblets of tea again: my mornings have come full circle. 08:08 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• appropriate as today is my last day at this job 08:08 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• The passengers on this meyrorail platform get more depressing as you walk away from the escalator (fun typo kept intentionally) 08:35 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• On the one hand there's no rain, on the other Miami looks like Seattle. I guess Hanna did bring us something. 08:36 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• I also guess I'm liveblogging my last day at this job? We'll see how long THAT lasts 08:37 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• There is a well dressed middle age Hispanic woman playing games on a nintendo DS in a case I'd easily mistake for a fancy wallet. 08:39 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• The streets are wet; lacking sun they lack reflections. Rain used to make Tally seem sad but alive, but Miami is largely indifferent 08:41 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• The gray feels like a blanket of static across the city, powering the palm fronds to gently move the wind like a cheap deskfan 08:47 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• There's a hum. I'm waiting for it to escalate to a buzz, one that only the birds can hear as they fly away in advance of Ike 08:49 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Downtown Miami always reminds me of a clean version of the future version of Detroit in Robocop. Maybe it's just the fonts. 09:03 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Just protested a parking ticket. Just another part of this ridiculous week. 09:11 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Just is right. Just is a word I'm using too much. Just like "listen lady I just need four fives for the courthouse copy machine" 09:13 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• The bouganvilleas outside the courthouse don't help to distract from the chain link on the steps. 09:31 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• A white homeless man on the street had two irregular dreds that were squashed flat into wierd beaver tails. I think he sensed me staring 09:32 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Printing your firm's name and phone number on the bottom of each page of a court filing = crass 10:09 AM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
http://twitpic.com/aaw8 Heading to the office finally. 7 hours. 10:14 AM September 05, 2008 from TwitPic
• i don't know who Chayanne is, I don't know why he's Gabriel, I don't know why he's on every bus, I do know he needs a shower 10:21 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• Feels odd having casual Friday be your last day 11:24 AM September 05, 2008 from web
• The development next to my office looks like 40% parking garage. Downtown will never be walkable 01:44 PM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• T minus 15 til unemployment. Expecting streamers, cabaret girls, and Ed Mcmahon. 04:44 PM September 05, 2008 from web
• Poof. 05:03 PM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator
• Between stress and chicken kitchen today I've had a stomach ache. The "what now" feeling is not helping. 05:14 PM September 05, 2008 from web
• Too busy staring at the phone to look the window and see how nice the day turned out to be 05:24 PM September 05, 2008 from Twittelator

The sun was beautiful that evening, and it served as an introduction to an awesome if exhausting weekend that involved such things as a) drinking in pools b) drinking in bars and c) sleep. I'll be making a long put off trip to D.C. this coming weekend to see some old friends and will be spending the intervening days trying to figure things out. I'm more excited about both than I'm probably letting on.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

desk drawers

things you don't bother cleaning from an office drawer when you leave your job

- condiment packets of all shapes, colors, and questionable histories

- menus for places you told yourself you'd stop ordering from
 and will probably never order from again
- helpful instructions on things it took you a month to figure out but will be completely ignored by your replacement who will then spend another month figuring whatever it was out.  

- bag of starlight mints that was in the drawer when you started working

- ugly coffee mug that you were tired of staring at in your cupboard so now you stare at on your desk
- office supplies you absolutely needed for some project but never got reimbursed for so technically they're yours but you have no need for them

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor day biking

Observations on a 13 mile bikeride from my home in South Miami to Rickenbacker Causeway via Coconut Grove and the University of Miami campus:

It was surprisingly hot and sunny giving the crazy stuff coming across the Atlantic.

I almost ran into two UM students riding those hideous green beach cruisers they've been selling to students. The sudden influx of 18 year olds into my neighborhood, the metrorail stations I use, and my local Target has me feeling old.

My old neighborhood (namely, South Grove) was unremarkable and Downtown Coconut Grove was sedate for a holiday. Lots of motorcycles though. I went to San Loco last night with a few friends and need to mention that there's nothing like a holiday weekend at the absolute lowest point of tourist season in Miami to bring the local weirdoes out. I was surprised the same wasn't true of the Grove.

A woman on was sitting alone on a bench in a random little vestibule they built into the wall of one of the fancier developments directly on Main Highway. Specifically, here:
vestibule
She was wearing a sun dress and sunglasses and eating pieces of a honeydew with a fork. I caught only the briefest glimpse of her as I rode by, just long enough for her to glance at me while a piece finished the journey from container to mouth. I have no idea why she picked this particular spot considering Kennedy Park is less than a block away.

Unlike downtown Grove, Kennedy Park was hopping. There was a somewhat sad looking girl carrying an expensive camera setup around the park. I can't see how she could have been taking good pictures if she was so unhappy to be there, but there was a good chance I was misreading "fear of conflict with overzealous parents" as "woe is me".

I've never ridden underneath Rickenbacker before; there were 4 people fishing who seemed a little spooked by my presence. A bait fish sat on gutted on the wall, baking in the late afternoon sun and making me glad I elected to briefly be a mouth breather.

I had the choice between riding home, riding across Rickenbacker to Key Biscayne, or heading North and then across the Venetian Causeway to Miami Beach. After checking the slow leak in my back tire I chickened out and took the short route home.

I haven't ridden in at least two weeks and I haven't ridden regularly since March. I really want to change this.

brunnnnccchh

From 1 PM until 1 AM, the brunch that would not end.

brunchhhhh

I have some awesome friends.

happy melon head

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dogfish (redacted) Head

Ugh

Dogfish Head.

Dog
Fish
Heeaaaddd.

I have never drank any beer from this brewery. Not when it's been a guest brew at a bar I like, not when it's been offered to me at a party, not when it's been sitting there, longingly, on the shelf at some Winn Dixie where the distributor decided to get creative.

The reason is simple: in the wine world, you have to give your wine an interesting name or a funny label to get noticed. There are hundreds of bottles of wine on any shelf at any grocery. When you're selling 15$ wine to an unsophisticated audience, you need to stand out.

Beer is different. There's a lot less of it on the shelf for one thing, and for another you have a host of not just varieties but ingredients. As such you don't need to sell on a name or a label but can appeal to people who want not just a beer but one spiced with "coriander and orange peel".

As such I tend to avoid beers that try to sell on gimmick or funny naming, interesting ingredients notwithstanding.

So: Dogfish Head.

I don't care if there's a good reason. I don't care if there's a funny story. All I have to do is look at the packaging and say "that is not something I want to drink" and move on. All it took was a motto as lame as "off centered beer for off centered people" and I'm willing to call it a day on your product.

Why so much hate? Because craft beer people are by nature oddballs. Specifically marketing your beer the way Dogfish Head has is pushing it. I'm already buying beer in corked bottles that have smiling monks printed on the side: You don't need to TELL me I'm weird for doing this.

So last week I decided to put a little bit of this behind me and pick up a sixpack. This was after seeing a small portion of a Discovery Channel program on brewing beer that featured the founder of Dogfish Head brewery, Sam Calgione.

May I take a moment to point out the following:
- Dogfish Head brewery is located in Rehoboth Beach Delaware, a place that even the rare man who has a passing knowledge of Delaware geography (me) has never heard of
- Their website lists a variety of interesting beers I have never, ever seen in a store anywhere and might actually change my opinion of them if I were to try them, but instead have only seen IPA's that have not thoroughly encouraged me to put down 8$ for.
- Sam speaks exactly like someone who would name their company Dogfish Head. No I don't know what that means either.

So I saw Raison D'Etre on the shelf at Whole Foods and decided to give it a go. Raison (a reference to the fact that it is brewed with green raisins) was awarded Brew of the Year in 2000 by Malt Advocate magazine, although I don't particularly care what awards your beer has won as Delirium Tremens touts its medals left and right but is boring as all heck.

Raison is good. Not in a passing way and not in a dismissive way, but I can't say much more about it. I taste mostly (if not entirely) the brown sugar and mahogany flavors touted on the label but none of the raisins. Perhaps the fact that grape juice is so often used as a sweetener substitute in juice blends that are "100% juice" says something about the ability of the grape to loan its flavor to other things. Perhaps I'm a stuck up jerk. Who knows. In short, this beer is a reasonably good brown, my irrational dislike for Dogfish Head* is cooled, I probably won't buy it again.

Next time: I review my favorite beer in the world (so far). If there is a next time. I don't even know if anyone is reading these beer posts.

man it was hard not to juxtapose Dogfish Head everytime I had to mention it. Fishdog Head, Headdog, Fishface Dog ... possibilities are endless ...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Honey amber rose

This beer got "Cracklin Rosie" by Neil Diamond in my head for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT. As a result of this (and the suicidal thoughts it in turn created), I thought it only appropriate to write a little about it.

So: Honey Amber Rose. There were warning flags I should have caught up on: the fact that it's called a "malt beverage" on the label, the fact that it reads "MALT BEVERAGE BREWED WITH HONEY AND ROSE HIPS AND HONEY ADDED," the fact that it's made in Melbourne Florida and, most importantly, that it's named something as ridiculous as "Honey Amber Rose".

All things considered it's alright. Just ... alright. The rose hips add a subtle flavor to what would otherwise be an overly sweet beer. Most importantly though is that the beer lacks low notes: rose hips, honey, and that's it. That's all you taste. It's basically a very light beer with some added flavoring that practically evaporates off the tongue. When you burp a few minutes later, you'd swear you'd drank a schlitz.

And that's alright.

I bought this for a potluck dinner I went to Saturday but wound up forgetting it. In retrospect I'm glad I did.

BONUS: LOOK AT THIS HAIR

Saturday, July 26, 2008

expanded tweets

Twitter is frustrating: it lets me get random thoughts out quickly but limits me to about a sentence and a half. This is of course the point and limitations oftentimes can be inspiring, but there were many tweets that were brief to the point of being cryptic lately and that bugged me. So I started writing and thus the below occurred.

It's generally more personal than I wanted to be with this blog but I feel foolish throwing it away now. Enjoy, if you like.




A woman on a bicycle talking with a few homeless guys on the metromover makes me wonder why homeless white women in Miami always have a southern drawls and furthermore whether I've ever actually heard anyone use the phrase "score and get high" and, like, mean it.
09:58 AM July 25, 2008 from Twittelator

I know so much about pre-1950 cinema purely through Bugs Bunny cartoons. They hardly show those anymore on TV, and it makes me wonder whether kids will grow up without knowing who people like Humphrey Bogart, the Three Stooges and Joan Crawford are as a result.
04:45 PM July 23, 2008 from Twittelator

The same old, tough as nails cop who towed my car in the University Shopping Center at least 6 years ago still apparently spends his off-duty hours working there. I want to write something exploring what that says about this community, as for some reason it seems appropriate for Miami that this gun toting hardass basically lives in a parking lot.
08:35 AM July 23, 2008 from TwitPic

Wired has a cover story on Clover this month, the insanely expensive coffeemaker that Starbucks just acquired the maker/manufacturer of. In typical Wired style, the article seems to start with an "wowee zowee!" opening, a hefty amount of background, and a last few paragraphs that seem to come to a damning conclusion that contradicts the rest of the story. In short: the Clover makes good coffee if you put good beans into it, which Starbucks does not have, and as a result the difference is nil and this is all just a wad of hype (that this article largely fed right up until the closing paragraph). What I drew from the story (but was never specifically said) was that a Clover does nothing more than what I can do at home using a french press, but that it allows a barista to make a very good cup of coffee quickly, a necessity in the grab-and-go world of fast food coffee. As a result I could care less about it, because decent coffee isn't something that should be drank out of a travel cup. What I also drew from the story was an intense dislike for the idea of terroir being important for coffeebeans, but that's an entirely different story.
04:26 PM July 19, 2008 from Twittelator

Last weekend I visited Lakeland, then Tallahassee.
A mash of the unfamiliar into the familiar, neither that different from one another.
I visited an old friend in Lakeland who just got happily divorced. She spent much of the trip trying to talk me into moving there, which I admit was tempting in the same odd way moving to Tallahassee again was tempting for a while. Tallahassee then quickly taught me why both are kind of a bad idea, as there wasn't anything I particularly wanted to DO while I was in Tally. All the things I did while I lived there were done not out of any real excitement but because there wasn't really much else. The same three tolerable bars were there, the same tiny coffeeshop with their mammoth brownies, the same decently priced small places to eat. With the exception of visiting Lakeland and seeing an awesome group of old friends in Tallahassee, there was no sense of adventure about the trip. This was echoed in the sentiments of all my friends about how much longer they have in Tally, which is to say, not much longer at all.
All this isn't to say that I need an "exciting" place to live, as honestly I don't know how long I'm planning on staying in Miami. But it is to say that I think I need a little more than a college town or a tiny central Florida burg, at least right now. Who knows though: I already miss my tiny coffee place up there.
10:44 AM July 17, 2008 from Twittelator

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

banana bread

What does one do with 5 lbs of baby bananas from the backyard?

soon to be banana bread

The problem is not an easy one: they're ripe for 4 days tops before they go bad.

A while back I spent an afternoon peeling and tossing bananas into plastic bags to freeze. I've been whittling away at these and making about two loaves of banana bread a week.

I had a friend tell me recently that she was looking for a "killer" banana bread recipe. The truth is that no recipe is perfect, and even if it was, what the hell is the fun in that? What's interesting is experimenting and making something your own. Anyone can spend an hour in a kitchen, but I want to spend an hour and walk out with something that might make my grandmother proud, and not just because I managed not to destroy the kitchen.

I use the Cooking for Engineer's recipe as a start.

So far I've tried:
- Replacing all the ingredients with healthy things, i.e. molasses, unblanched almonds, and whole wheat flour, in an attempt to make breakfast bread. This worked well assuming I didn't overdo the molasses (all molasses -> sticky bread). Note though that molasses, unlike sugar, actually has things in it that are good for you (namely, potassium and iron).
- Using lychees instead of bananas (failure, but I think mostly because I lacked enough lychees and decided at the last second to cut the added sugar by a third.)
- Adding powdered ginger and cinnamon to the bread (amazing success)
- Using different kinds of nuts (pistachios = amazing, hazelnuts = boring)

banana bread

Foreground is failure lychee bread, background is relatively good banana bread. I forgot to add cinnamon and ginger to the batter until I had already poured it into the pan, so I added it on top as a crust. Still quite good, but I've made (and will make) better!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

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There will be people there for humor value, there will be people there with fond memories of Hotwheels. Somewhere there will even be people who still regularly listen to Uncle Luke non-ironiclly, who don't immediately say "man, that's so Miami" between songs or while the cassette in their Tercel's stock audio system changes sides.

There will be people there because it's funny, because it's a spectacle, because it's nostalgic, and just because it's awesome. But you know who won't be there? Me. Why? Because I too vividly remember getting my ass kicked in 6th grade for listening to Pearl Jam. Also, I'm completely exhausted.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wynwood Art Walk, escapes to Fort Myers

So what's new and exciting? Not a whole lot, to be honest. But a few things worth relating:

Despite being back in Miami for 7 months (jeez, already?) and despite all the trips I've made back down here, I had never been to a Wynwood Art Walk. It wasn't that I didn't think it would be a fun time or that I disliked art, but more the fact that I lacked the appropriate group of people to go with. Most of my acquaintances who would do such a thing are the "see randomly" type of people. The kind of people who I would run into at such a thing but not really wander with.

Given time and a little effort though, acquaintances crystallize into friendships. Kind of like baking a pie, only with other people, and really having nothing to do with crystals at all, unless you pie is code for meth, in which case you will definitely cement friendships.

... where the holy hell was I going with this?

Oh yeah: art. Yay art! Long story short: I went to the last Art Walk and really enjoyed myself. I have no serious observations to make, except that my tourguide Liz had an expert plan for the entire evening, starting out early in the Design District where the crowds were older and the free booze better before heading south and seeing people our age and art we actually cared about.

I meant to bring my camera but alas did not. Instead though I will share a camouflaged photo of Nathan taken immediately after parking:
You can't see him unless he moves

Liz took about a thousand pictures (hint) that she has not (hint hint) shared (hint wink nod nudge hint wonk) anywhere (noodge).

Last weekend was a neverending pool party: Friday night actual party, then two days floating in Fort Myers with Andres:
Andres

and Kira:
there are like 40 of me

I think I am making a solemn pact to go to either Steak 'n Shake or Waffle House whenever I drive out of Dade County.

On Sunday we went to the flea market, and I will leave it to you which of my three purchases was best:

A. 10$
i <3 my truck

B. 12$
MAXIMUM SASS

C. 100$
mini korg 700

Me? I think they're all pretty damn awesome.

Which brings you up to date. As for this weekend, it will be the one of sitting still. With the exception of another pool party tomorrow. And Oly playing at MOCA in 3 hours. And a birthday tonight. Jeez, can't a man sleep?

Monday, May 26, 2008

mawwidge ... mawwidge is what bwings us together tewday



I've tried about a hundred different ways to approach writing about this, but it was such a whirlwind 4 days that it's hard to even put thoughts together about it. Suffice to say: my best friend got married and I was the one fortunate to perform the ceremony. Out of the experience, he got the woman of his dreams while I got a red guayabera. Mine was a consolation prize, but I'm totally cool with that.

The wedding itself was exactly as ridiculous as you would expect a union of a largely Danish family and an entirely Cuban family to be. Which is to say: very, very ridiculous. Deering Estate was gorgeous and perfect for a wedding of this smallish size.

I had many rejected ideas for the ceremony, most involving turning it into the emergency procedures presentation you get from the stewardesses at the start of every flight.

This is what I actually read:

Wilkkomen, buenas tardes, howdy, hello, hi.

We are joined here today for a very special occasion, not merely for the act of joining two souls in the most sacred way conceivable, but for the communal act of witnessing and taking stock in the people these two have touched and been touched by in their journey to this point. For this is not an event that happens every day and the people the people joined here by the ocean will likely never be collected together in one place again. Their being here is a testament to the love these two share and the love that connects us all.

Mauricio & Ellise, the importance of today cannot be understated. For today we celebrate your love for one another. Language lacks superlatives necessary to address this day, your wedding day.

For those of you who are unaware, I introduced these two 7 years ago, somewhere on the campus at the University of Miami just a few miles from here. At the time I saw two funny, somewhat cynical, and undeniably crazy people whom I was privileged to call friends. At the time I had no idea of the love that would blossom between them. Between now and then other people and other locales have wandered through their lives but they never lost touch with one another. Something special was there, something that like most cherished things grew, until one point someone started talking moving and marriage and their future together, and well it's all just been downhill from there, much to at least my delight. May the happiness you have brought myself and others only be returned to you tenfold in your life together.


Short and sweet. The remainder was business about rings and what not. It went off surprisingly well considering I never rehearsed it with them and wrote the majority of it the day previous. I knew the high school theater experience would pay off somehow someday.

The rest of the weekend was an exhausted drunken blur, which is to be expected and probably also sums up the preceding two days as well.

Friday, April 25, 2008

m83: saturdays=youth

Photobucket

Recommended if you like: John Hughes movie soundtracks
Avoid if you dislike: John Hughes movie dialogue.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So you want to make your own fruity booze

Party prep

Birthday Sangria.

Chop up some fruit. Put it in a bottle of cheap wine. Come back in a day. Add a little something sweet, preferably honey or molasses. Not too much sweet, just a touch. Melt it in the microwave first so it'll mix better with the cold sangria.

Use bruised or overripe fruit. Farmers' markets are good for both. Take the skin off of fruit where you wouldn't eat it (mango, citrus) but leave it on fruits where you would (pear, apple)

In decreasing order of quantity:
White: 3 kinds of pear, mango, a nectarine, a tangerine, strawberries, 2 key limes
Red: plums, nectarines, blackberries, a red pear, strawberries, a key lime

spiced vodka, machete cameo

Spiced Vodka:

Get mulling spices. Place in vodka. Come back in a week. Leave in the sun for a couple of hours if you want to speed it up a bit.

This jar doesn't have all the ingredients I actually wanted.
An ideal set of spices:
Dried orange peel, cloves, whole cardamom, ginger, whole vanilla bean, star anise, cinnamon stick.

Of those, this jar only has cloves, orange peel, and cardamom. I will discuss how I made dried orange peel momentarily. The photo also doesn't represent the final color: it turned a deep brown after about a day or so.

The end result, when mixed with cola, is not unlike Captain Morgans Spice Rum, only more intense. I'm sure with the full host of spices it would have been better.

infused vodkas

Fruit infused vodkas

Alton Brown's technique for making beef jerky (basically: putting beef between two air conditioning filters and sticking it on a box fan for 24 hours) works just as well for making dried fruit.

Chop up some fruit, stick it between air conditioning filters, yadda yadda, add to vodka, come back in a few days. It's best to use mason jars or, as I did here, old peanut butter/jelly jars. Also, if you're going to be drying peels (which when infused release the essential oils within), it's best to use organic fruit as you won't be getting a bottle full of pesticide when you're done.

I made three kinds:
dried orange peel and fresh key lime (right)
dried plum and dried strawberry (left)
dried pear (not pictured, but the dregs were added to the dried strawberry/plum, hence why it's a tad cloudy and lost a little of the beautiful red hue it had acquired)

All are good with Sprite, especially the strawberry/plum.

So there you have it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

commute liveblog

So I liveblogged my commute today on the Metrobus/Metrorail via twitter. Why? I have no idea, I was 90% asleep the entire time.

Twitter is actually kind of a poor way of doing this as it requires people to a) be actively following your twitterstream and b) read backwards. Also I can't correct typos and the iPhone is a bit of a pain to actually type, especially while in motion.

So with that in mind I decided to reprint it here. The only changes are fixing a few spelling errors, as much as I want to expand on the statements. Enjoy, if you must.




- "My bus" is inaccurate, as it's anyone's with 1.50$ & I ride a different one everyday. Still, I missed it.
- It came late; I felt a dime slip from my fingers into the grass as I got on, leaving me short for a transfer
- Two old men are arguing in Spanish, their voices cartoonishly raspy. The bus smells like metro transit.
- Glints in the safety glass look like snowflakes when the sun hits them. One of the old men is wearing grey wranglers
- As I get off I realize I had a nickel but not a dime in the Crown Royal bag I keep my tokens in. So close. I use another token.
- There's construction on a parking lot at UM for the umpteenth time and the tractor sounds like slate being dragged across diamondplate
- Metrorail platforms are the dullest place on earth. I am criminally early and feel a little ill.
- Seriously there is something wrong with that machine that WD40 will not fix, shut it off already!
- Through the trees i can see "rock power" written on the orange beast's neck. I'd argue the power is waning.
- Stand back from the platform edge
- 10 years ago I used to ride the metro to a summer program at Mast. Relieving, somehow, that it smells the same
- More than 10; I'm twice as old now as I was then. Odd to think about. Math makes easy comparisons.
- New cars new buildings but the same old streets move past
- Doppelgänger leaning against the plexiglass directly across from me in the right doorway. Differences: iPod nano, wedding band, hairline
- Past the ironically neighbored jenny craig / dunkin donuts on Dixie. Stomach still hurts.
- Cars fall behind, pass, catch up. They should just throw a rope to the train and hitch a ride, although it'd decapitate the trees
- Sad planetarium.
- Dip to ground level and come back up into rickell. Trees at eyelevel disorienting. Then shadow.
- Is it nice to live in a condo that stares straight into a Metrorail platform? I can't imagine so
- When I left last Friday there were chickens scratching the dirt outside the station. None today.
- The southbound train arrives just as I'm leaving. Briefly I ponder getting on it. Head isn't here right now.
- I hear paper being torn above my head ad I walk. Or possibly it's masking tape.
- Shadows made of concrete. Token trees. The streets are filled with sand.
- Pain turns into hunger. A brick oven pizza place is getting a pickup truck full of wood delivered
- Fake plants interposed with real ones. Bricks. A dead oak in a planter box.
- Out of Brickell's answer to Cocowalk and onto 8th st (notable feature: a BK)
- The condos line up like Spartans. A marching skyline.
- Discarded food, recognizable and unrecognizable, always line this underdeveloped section of 8th
- Just missed an elevator going up. Sensing a theme.
- Work sweet work. This ends my incredibly boring liveblog.





Ok so maybe it wasn't that boring, but subject-wise it certainly wasn't the most exciting thing to issue moment-to-moment updates about.

edit: Alesh from Critical Miami was following me on Twitter for about a day before (I presume) the above flood of twits drove him off? I find this funny somehow.

edit2: Yay! Added back!

I'll have an Old Chub

Whenever I get a hankering for something that tastes like licking the sweaty kilt of a proud Scottish highlander, I reach for a tall cool can of Old Chub.
http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=922445473198028434&postID=7428961404144056321
Mmmmmmm (see blog post)

Mmm. Old Chub ...
(Suggested slogans to immediately follow:)
- That's me!
- Cures what ails ya! ... and probably creates a few other problems while it's at it
- Chub means fish ... we think. So we called our beer "Old fish"
- Goes great with haggis
- Black as midnight, cold as your ex wife
- It's also a verb
- (5 full minutes of unintelligible drunken cursing)

In all seriousness though, I love this beer. Titanic had it for a while and it was my sole reason for stopping by. It replaced the aching hole in my heart that the Seasonal Saison had left.

But now, no longer. Thus imagine my delight when I found a sixer of cans at Whole Foods.

And CANS! I can't remember the last time I bought beer in cans, much less tasty (and strong) beer in a can.

In case you were wondering, yes I am something of a beer snob. You know you're a beer snob when suddenly Guinness doesn't have enough taste for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

Three things mildly irk me:
One, expressions of surprise over the death of elderly and largely inactive celebrities.
Two, shallow discussions of recently deceased celebrities on blogs.
Three, lists of things that annoy a blogger.

While we're at it, let's go ahead and make it two for three.

Arthur C. Clarke was my introduction to science fiction, although not through 2001 or some of his better known books. I read Hammer of God when I was 12, very near to it originally coming out and immediately before picking up William Gibson's Neuromancer. I liked the book but fell more quickly in love with Gibson's gritty dystopia, which for a young man just entering his teen years is unsurprising.

At the time I wasn't aware that Clarke had lived through a time when science fiction grew out of the realm of fantasy and into thought experiment, and that his contributions to the world of science in some ways outweighed those to literature. It wasn't until college that I read Childhood's End and 2001 and realized how thought provoking a well written work of sci fi can be.

I count him among one of the authors who have had the most influence on my life. He will be sorely missed.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Brief theory as to Miami's Art Scene

Despite attempts to lull people in earlier via free admission and drink specials, South Beach and downtown clubs are open until dawn and typically do not get hopping until at least midnight.

This means that while the world is your oyster at 3 AM, between the hours of 6 and 11 PM there is more or less nothing to do. Sure you can eat or disco nap, but that's not going to take up the 5 hours between ending your day and beginning your night.

This is where art openings come in, as they combine the one-two punch of being the only thing to do pre-clubbing and having free alcohol. Your alternatives are to see a movie or else to go to a bar and kill a couple of hours, and who wants to sit in the dark for 2 hours prior to going drinking and who wants to pay to go drink only to have to sober up enough to drive somewhere else to drink some more?

Granted, the people who go to gallery events to drink free wine and Grolsch (and why is it always swing-topped Grolsch?) before going out to clubs do not buy art. They DO however create the hip atmosphere that makes art buyers comfortable. If Miami were not a party town, Art Basel would be as appealing as an industrial trade show.

Anyway, all this is to say that the surging of Miami's art scene owes something to clubbing, two things I would normally hesitate to associate with one another.

This is coming to mind before I go to bed at 4 in the morning, something unheard of in D.C. or Tallahassee but par for the course on a weekend in Miami. In D.C. I was frustrated by not knowing the right time to leave the house and always wound up having to anxiously watch the clock so as to catch the last metro home. Here it doesn't matter when I leave, but if I try to leave past 10:30 I inevitably feel too worn out to really bother. One of the nicest nights out I've had since getting back to Miami was going to the Boyz of Bazel opening a while back. Being out at an interesting event at 10 when I was still awake was a nice feeling.

I'm sure Miami Nights has a post somewhere to this effect in far fewer words and with much more snark. In the event this is true, please do not show up at my house and beat up my family or give us all atomic wedgies or something.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

loving and loathing bicycling in Miami

Love:
- Ample sidewalks
- Ample side streets to avoid main drags
- Trees, sunshine, shade
- Flatness

Hate:
- Sidewalk-less arteries for which there are no alternatives (Blue Road)
- Lack of bike lanes, or rather, fear of using existing bike lanes due to Miami driver's inability to understand NORMAL lanes
- Drivers who assume that they need not pay attention on side streets
- Drivers who get unnecessarily angry for at having to apply pressure to their brake pedal


I got in my first (and hopefully last) screaming match with a car today. I was crossing a street from the sidewalk at an intersection. In his defense, I was going a little too fast, but the guy (in an SUV, not to play to bike vs. car stereotypes) didn't seem to have skidded to a stop and was just angry at having to slow down when he poked his head out of his window to start cursing at me.

Shouting ensued, he slowed down the car threateningly, at which point I realized that if I pushed this any further and he'd probably try to run me over.

The only reason I'm discussing this is to make sure I don't do it again. At some point between middle school and adulthood I started getting angry with stupid things, rather than smiling and being conciliatory when confronted with someone who is obviously taking the situation far too seriously. Friendliness is a better way to end conflict than shouting profanity across a busy street.

EDIT: Hey lookie here! Friend Adam mentioned in a bicycling article at New Times!

Friday, January 25, 2008

random thoughts regarding footwear in artistic and erotic nudes

Comment posted on BoingBoing's displaying of the new Tickler Ukulele logo, created by Amy Crehore:



Somewhere in the world there must be a discussion of the use of footwear in nude portraiture, both erotic and non-erotic.

Thinking entirely off the cuff, in pornography it seems to serve three purposes (in declining order of importance):
1. keeping the performer's feet clean as they go around the set (utilitarian)
2. titillation of the audience (practical, in the sense they serve to further the purpose of the work)
3. creation of an air of spontaneity on behalf of the performers (subtle practicality)

Again these are just my guesses and directors/photographers probably could give far better insight.

But in art? What purpose does it serve here? How are Amy's goals met not only by the use of shoes but of decorative ankle ribbons? The ribbons were what inspired me to write this. They do not appear to have been left on after disrobing, quite the opposite: the ribbons are the sole nod to typical clothing. She has not picked up the ukulele after growing tired midway through playing dress up, she IS dressed up.

There are likely also connotations involved in artistic nudes that gingerly hide the most sexual parts that I am not qualified to discuss and make any comparisons to erotic nudes that much more difficult. Regardless, it is a fascinating picture, as are nearly all of Amy's works.

Introductions

Miami
Moonlight
Maraschino

I'm home.