Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coming of Night - 7:25pm

Last week I stopped by Lenny’s to take photos of my favorite sandwich, which I’ll tell you about another time, and grabbed a bag of Cape Cod potato chips.


I love thick and crispy potato chips. There is nothing like that satisfying crunch, and yummy salty goodness. I have two favorites, Cape Cod and Kettle. So when I stopped off at Lenny’s last week, I decided to snap a shot, then posted it on my Flickr account.

Which brings us to this week’s new find, a fabulous photographer named Chris Seufert. Chris runs "a photography business in New England specializing in photo journalism, editorial, wildlife, Cape Cod, the arts, and maritime-related shooting."

He also runs a photo group on Flickr about Cape Cod, and so he found me when I posted my Cape Cod potato chips photo. Here’s a favorite shot of mine from his photo thread on Flickr.

Coming of Night - 7:25pm, originally uploaded by Chris Seufert.

He has some of the most amazing photos. If you really like his stuff, you can buy a print at imagekind, or buy his book at blurb.

Happy Viewing!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wok Basil with Beef, mmmmm

For the year that I lived on West 81st Street, I frequented Land Thai Kitchen all the time. Not only is their food fabulous, but their take-out is fast. It quickly became a favorite of mine! When I got off work, I’d phone in my order, and by the time I’d walked to Land just ten minutes away, my order was ready.

Land serves great food, the staff is friendly, and the ambiance is fun. It is definitely a “do not miss” when you come to the UWS, (that’s Upper West Side for those of you non-locals).

One of my favorites. The Root Vegetable Spring Roll, parsnip, carrot, beet, lotus root, and glass noodle served with a plum sauce. I’m a lover of spring rolls and am always on the look-out for the best. These definitely qualify as one of the best. Crispy and sweet, I get them each time I come.


Another of my favorites? Why the Wok Basil with Beef, long bean, red pepper, chili-garlic puree and Thai basil sauce. I order it mild and it still clears my sinuses and burns mouth. For those of you fire lovers out there, this one’s for you. Tender beef, flavorful sauces, fragrant rice. Mmmmm.


They serve a Lunch Prix Fixe each day between 12:00 and 3:30. I usually get take-out at dinner, but in honor of taking these photos, I went for lunch (the smaller portions are shown here).

Land is typical of most NYC restaurants, long and skinny the tables sit close together to maximize seating in the small space. The high ceilings make it feel open and spacious, and the modern clean lines and dark woods combine to create an elegant Asian feel.

In the evenings and during lunch, Land is always packed. (Have I mentioned take-out?) They don’t take reservations so plan to arrive early or wait for a few minutes to get in. Either way, it’s worth the wait. Of course if you live nearby, this yummy food is only a phone call away.

Besides, the NY Times like them too.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fleet Week, pt. 1

It's been a busy past few days, and I meant to tell you all about Fleet Week here in The City, but it started two days ago and I still haven't been able to write it up.

So to give you a little taste of what’s going on right now so if you’re in town you won’t miss it, here’s the skinny.

What is Fleet Week?
Official Answer from the US Military.
Wikipedia's take on Fleet Week.'s version.
A schedule of events.

Responses from NYC.
A nice write-up from the NY Times.
A welcome to The City message from New York Magazine.

And last, but not least of all,...
Where can you buy snazzy Fleet Week apparel?
Why HERE of course.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Name of The Wind

Great Book!

Fabulous Read.

Tightly Written.

Interesting Cover
...I saw the book with the half naked guy with flaming red hair on the front cover at B&N several times before I actually bought the book. I didn’t even pick it up until I read the prologue online. After which when I looked the book up online, I immediately recognized it. Nice branding, but um…yeah. Anyway,-

Buy It.

Read It.


Here’s a link to a better written review than I am currently able to produce. (I'm exhausted today.)

And the link to Patrick Rothfuss’s blog.

Oh, and click here (especially if you live in NY) to request that he come to your area on a book tour.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thanks Neighbor, you're the best...

Ah the joys of living in The City! The fresh smell of garbage in the late afternoon, the layer of dust that covers everything in my apartment, yes mom I dust regularly. What more could I ask for? Oh,...Music! What else?

I'm not talking Broadway here, but good old, share your music with your neighbors type of thing. All day yesterday my friendly neighbor across the street serenaded me with all sorts of tunes. First they played some pretty great Cuban Jazz, great improvs on the piano and bass, then came a schmaltzy instrumental version of the Carpenter's "Close To You", before moving on to some great Mexican Mariachi music, complete with a tenor singing his heart out and swaggering trumpets. Wide vibrato, you know the kind, guitar interludes, nothin' but the best. (It really was quite good! Honest.)

The other day, my other neighbor played us a complete Wagner opera. I couldn't quite place which one it was, but it was quite lovely! The leading Soprano and Tenor were superb. Their vocal ranges were versatile and a pleasure to listen to. The only thing I wished was different, was that I'd had enough guts to lean my head out the window and ask them who was singing so that I could buy a copy from iTunes. I did, however, feel a tinsy bit sorry for my neighbors that don't quite appreciate Opera.

The only thing that surprised me about the impromptu concert in the street, was that I didn’t hear a vigorous, "SssshhhhhheeeeuuuuuuddddUuuuuppp!" from anyone. Nope, not one call for peace and quiet. From my vast experience learning about NYC neighborhoods from the movies, I would have expected various amounts of people hanging from their windows shouting all sorts of epithets at each other.

Oh, so back to the friendly neighbor across the street, they have quite a sound system. I can clearly and crisply hear all the details of the music from any room in my apartment. They really are quite thoughtful, sometimes people only play things loud enough so you can hear the beats and base line over and over again. Most of the time it gets quite old, because the same genre of songs usually has the exact same beats and baselines, and only vary the vocals and melody on top… You can imagine how tiresome that gets after oh' say about five seconds or so.

Due to my training as a classical musician, I’ve been able to pick out that my neighbor is playing recordings from a few decades ago, the scratchy sound every now and again coupled with the recording quality and choice of songs leads me to believe that said neighbor is either playing these songs off of a suped-up LP player, or has purchased several re-mastered versions of their favorite songs on CD.
Oh rats, they've turned it down. Now it doesn't sound like I have front row seats anymore, but am back in the nose-bleed section of a concert hall. Currently being played, a Mariachi serenade. Performed by a trio, a couple of voices, a guitar, the music is very evocative. I can vividly picture myself down in Mexico somewhere, sitting at an outside at a café. Drink in hand, gentle warm breeze wafting by, significant other sitting by my side. Mariachi band playing in the distance. Perfect.

Here's hoping your neighbors are as thoughtful as mine, too bad the WIP that I’m currently word-smithing doesn’t take place in Mexico…

Meanwhile, I’ll sit back and listen to the great salsa music that just started up and wait for some gallant hero wearing a Zoro mask to scale the brick wall to my apartment, complete with an American-Beauty long-stem red rose clutched between his teeth, to whisk me off to Acculpoco where we'll sit on the beach and eat mangos.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Columbus Circle

The first few times I came to visit NYC, I spent my time in Midtown and Downtown, and never visited the Upper West Side. So close, only a hop, skip and a jump away, yet I never managed to head uptown. Of course I was busy shopping up a storm in Chinatown, but that is a story for another day.

Today I’d like to tell you about a favorite place of mine, Columbus Circle. It is here a weary traveler can find refuge from the merciless streets of NY. It’s a haven of peace tucked in the midst of the traffic melee that circles it like a vulture seeking it’s prey.

Behold the circle at night.


When my old DC Roommate came to town to bid me farewell before setting off to travel the world, literally, we spent a couple of blissful hours sitting under the shadow of Christopher Columbus, and listening to the rush of water that surrounded us.


In the middle of the round-about, is a sitting area perfect for resting your aching feet and your heat-stroked-self. Shooting fountains ring the statue producing a cooling affect to the ease the weary traveler, block out the sound of circling trucks and taxis, and the groups of people sitting a few paces away. Broad benches mirror the curved water features providing a great place to sit.

If you’re hungry and need sustenance, delis and restaurants are just around the corner, but my favorite place to grab food, at Columbus Circle, is at Whole Foods just a few paces away. They have choices for even the pickiest of eaters, pizza, sushi (the wasabi packets are darling), soup, Indian food, sandwiches, and a few huge salad, hot food, and dessert bars, plus much, much more.

To get to Whole Foods, cross the street toward the Time Warner Building. Enter the building, take the escalator downstairs, you can’t miss it. Whole Foods is the downstairs.

Things to do at Columbus Circle:

  • When inside the Time Warner Building, take a picture of yourself next to the giant bronze statues of the naked man and woman (get your mind out of the gutter! they stand about thirty feet apart). I’ve never done it, but everyone else clamors to snap a picture.

  • Go see Jazz at Lincoln Center, conveniently located in the Time Warner Building.

  • If you want a really NICE sit-down dinner you have several choices inside the Time Warner Building. Might I suggest the Cafe Gray, a daughter of a friend worked there as a pastry-chef.

  • Walk up to Lincoln Center, the lights are pretty at night, or catch a concert.

  • Hire a pedicab to wheel you around Central Park or anywhere else your heart desires.

  • Buy a framed pictures or prints of NY Cityscapes from the stand that is ALWAYS set-up next to the row of pedicabs.

  • Or just amble through the Park on foot to the East Side. This part of the park is quite safe. Wander at will

    Disclaimer: As a rule, don’t go to any NY parks at night, especially if you are alone. The only exceptions to this rule is if you’re taking a ride in a carriage around the park, or if there are lots of people out and about, for example after a concert in the park, or during the New Year’s Eve fireworks, etc.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lamenting The Fact That I Don't Have Cable, or a tv...but mainly a rant about FOX

In my former life, in addition to being a bassoonist, I was a ballroom dancer. I know how to Foxtrot and Tango, to Samba and Rumba. I learned the New York Hustle and West Coast Swing, and have certificates and a trophy to prove it.

So you can imagine my excitement, when last year I lived with roommates who had a TV AND Cable, when I found a new favorite show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” Through the show I became an expert at critiquing, popping, interpretive dance, and MDT style dancing. You name it, I could spot the best. My laser-like focus had been groomed by the show's judges to detect even the slightest fallibility. So much in fact, that when I see music videos and commercials I find the fakes from a mile away. Besides, it was fun to watch and filled the void in the part of me that missed dancing.

You’re probably wondering why the lament about ‘watched’ (past tense). You see, I don’t have a TV, can’t justify paying for cable TV when I only plan to watch three or four shows a week. And therein lies my problem, FOX is behind the times. I can download Stargate Atlantis from iTunes, I can watch streaming video from ABC, NBC, and CBS. But does FOX offer the same feature? No.

I had hoped by this year they would have joined the current digital revolution and offer content online for the price of watching a sponsored commercial at start of the show, but it isn’t to be.

There is yet time "So You Think You Can Dance” could debut a new streaming service, but somehow I doubt it will happen. So come May 24th, you’ll find me tucked in my room, slightly saddened, and energetically working on my next book. (Which actually is a good thing.) If you have cable TV and are interested in dancing, give the show a try and report back. I think you’ll like it.


p.s. For those of you outside The City, TV in NYC only comes via a cable connection. And No, I don't want to pay $10 a month to get the basic channels so I can watch the news and catch "So You Think You Can Dance" a few months out of every year.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Day I Ordered HP&TDH, and met some new friends

Last Thursday I stopped by my favorite Barnes & Noble, at Lincoln Center, and reserved a copy of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. (Insert excited squealing here…well actually not really, I’m not the squealing type. I was, however, elated.)

Michael and Mark our friendly local B&N booksellers, who I fondly think of as M&M, placed my order with very little fanfare (for the occasion I had imagined ringing bells and shooting streamers). They were impressed by the fancy looking camera slung around my neck, and solicited a trade. If I took their picture, they’d reserve a copy of HP for me. I said it’s a deal, but only if I could put their photo on my blog. They laughed, I snapped their picture.



As you can tell, lighting makes a difference. The first photo was taken without a flash, the second with. I was amazed at the difference flashes make with color. Such a difference in fact that it looks like Michael changed shirts between snaps, (for the record the correct color shows in the photo taken with the flash).

So the end of the countdown is drawing near for all you HP fans out there. Reserve your copy soon if you haven’t done so already. The good thing is that you won’t even have to take someone’s picture to do it, just call your local bookseller and reserve a copy. For those of you who wonder why you’re reserving a copy and not ordering it online, I’ll remind you, it’s so you can go to the midnight party. It’s the last one, an experience of a lifetime, you must go.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Bitter or Not?

Dear Beloved Readers,

Thanks to the folks at google, I have state-of-the-art email capabilities with my domain name. I would like to dedicate this post to you, and enlist your participation in choosing the name for my new email account. I know I have some pretty savvy and witty readers out there, and I’m hoping you’ll weigh-in.

Suggestions for a new email address that I’ve received so far are:


All followed by of course. (I’m trying to outwit the spammers…)

Vote for your favorite, or suggest your own. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think. Oh and kid friendly suggestions only, or your entry might just get deleted… :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Don't Block the Box

Slight detour for a moment:
This morning as I was blissfully brushing my teeth with my spectacular Sonicare toothbrush, my fingers decided to become lazy (I think I was half asleep) and they let go. Much to my dismay it bounced off my leg with bristles merrily dancing, ricocheted off the tub onto my shin then hit the floor.

For those of you wondering what is so wrong with that, I have one word. Toothpaste.

Yes, this is my toothbrush…the Macro Photography group I belong to on ran a contest featuring plastic. This was one of my entries. Yes, I admit I'm crazy not only to have taken the photo, but actually posted it online…twice.

The foamy toothpaste had splattered all the way down my navy slacks. At first I thought I‘d use a damp towel to rub it off, sometimes delusional people think this works, I of course knew it wouldn’t but hoped anyway. As the minutes ticked by, my dark pants began to look like they’d been airbrushed with white paint. Damp towels a no-go, I tossed them into the dirty clothes basket. Out came my black pants, good thing I had a pair waiting in the wings.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program:
Don’t block the box. The first time I came to The City, I was frightened by some of the intersections, more correctly, just the ones with lines crisscrossing them.


When I first encountered an intersection that looked like this, I was afraid to cross it. I wasn’t sure if the lines meant no-entry, or something more sinister. With much trepidation, I learned to drive through or briskly walk across them. (I say briskly because I feel self-conscious when I cross those lines, like I'm on stage and everyone is waiting for me to trip. My sub-conscious thinks that if I dart quick enough, no one will notice me.)

Later I learned the true meaning behind the lines. Don’t Block the Box. These helpful stripes are there to remind vehicle operators not to block the intersection. If you think, “Oh, I’ll just squeeze over there, or run the light,” and you don’t actually make it out of the intersection before the light turns, you might end up with a big fat ticket.

So those of you day-trippers or newbies to The City, when you see the lines, slow down and wait. When traffic is backed-up, squeezing your car over to the other side really isn’t going to get you to your destination any quicker. Besides, if one of NY's Finest is nearby, cash will be flying out of your wallet quicker than you can say ouch. (Well not literally,...more in line with a rather large IOU.)

Oh, and don’t honk either. Sure, you’ll feel better, but the poor pedestrian standing next to your car is now deaf.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Nature Shots, i'm in love...with my camera

I decided to post a few nature shots today. Yippee! Aren't we excited? Who knew you could find photo ops like these within the five boroughs?

This one I took at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

I took this shot on my lunch break, it had just stopped raining.

Cherry Blossoms

Some Fern Fronds that my Friend in Brooklyn absolutely loved!



I still have a lot to learn, but I think my camera and I are settling in nicely together.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lenny’s #10TC on Rye

On my first day out roaming the streets of NYC with my shiny new camera, I stopped off to grab a bite to eat. Now you might wonder how I could choose between the many wonderful purveyors of cuisine on the Upper West Side, but it was easy.

I wasn’t in the mood for sushi (vegetarian of course), I didn’t want anything too spicy, and heavy comfort food was out as well. So what did that leave? Lenny’s of course, one of my favorite neighborhood cafés.

I didn’t get the usual, and went for something I hadn’t tried before. The #10TC on Rye. My co-worker gets this baby all the time, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It was light, tasty, and hit the spot. Next time I think I’ll try it on marbled rye.


The menu description is: turkey and corned beef with coleslaw and russian dressing. Simple yet sublime. Lenny's sandwiches look like a work of art, and I’ve itched to take a picture since I spied my first one. Wish fulfilled.

The next time you are near a Lenny’s step in and try a #10TC.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Pink Lemonade

Just about two years ago I was surfing the net during my lunch break at work, and I came across an ad by MSN Spaces highlighting the hottest blogs of late. was the only blog listed that drew me in, and it drew me in indeed.

Fatty, as he is affectionately known to those who follow his blog, is blessed with a clever tongue and witty turn of phrase. His tongue-in-cheek stories and dry humor have never ceased to bring a smile to my face. Except that is for the guest post submitted by Al Mavia, one of his Australian readers, about saddle sores…but that’s a story for another day.

He blogs about road biking and mountain biking, single tracks in Southern Utah, and, his personal favorite, epic rides. He writes satire and sells it to under the name of Fat Cyclist Fake News Service.
His blurb, ALWAYS makes me chuckle.
Fat Cyclist.
It's like reality TV, except it's real. And there's no TV.

There was the time he gave Lance Armstrong unemployment advice after Lance retired from professional cycling. Or the time he told you how to talk trash, or spelled out universal hand gestures for all occasions, or the open letters to the Passenger in the Green SUV Who Screamed as He Went By Yesterday and Cannondale, or when he wrote about why Team Davitamon-Lotto Wished it Was Dead, or How to Size Up the Competition, Part 1.

Over the past couple of years, he has gained quite a following. People from Australia to Turkey actively comment and participate, the blog has become quite a community of friends.

So a week ago when Fatty told us his wife’s cancer has metastasized and she is starting chemo again, the outpouring of support was not surprising. Well wishes from all over the world have come his way.

In fact, one of his ‘Ads for Schwag’ partners, Twin Six, designed a jersey specifically for fat cyclists all over the world, in honor of Fatty’s wife Susan. To quote Fatty:

The Twin Six guys have contacted me, too. They had an idea. “What if we did a pink version of the Fat Cyclist jersey,” they asked, “to show support for your wife and raise some money to fight breast cancer?” They went on to explain that they wouldn’t make a dime with this — all profit would go to whatever cause(s) I see fit. …

So here’s what I’m thinking. $5 from each jersey would go to Susan to buy jewelry supplies, which Susan says she will use to make cool stuff to give to Fat Cyclist readers. The balance will go to the best breast cancer research foundation I can find (I’ll get BotchedExperiment to help me figure that out).

For those of you who are interested, start saving your pennies. When the jersey is up for sale, I’ll let you know. In the mean time, you could go to and click on the poll he’s doing so he knows how many jerseys they should plan to make.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Writer's itch, what to do about it?

The Cherry Blossom Festival was CROWDED! The flowers were gorgeous though, wouldn’t you agree?

A few days ago a new story began to brew in my head, and I got writer's itch. You know where you just need to reach out and start putting ideas down on paper. Oh dear, I’m supposed to be on break. Now what do I do?

The problem is that if I don’t write it down, I lose it. I’m talking about those brief moments of exhilaration, when the sun breaks over the mountains, light spills across the valley, and you understand in clear vivid detail how it all fits together. So, what’s a wanna-be writer to do?

Of course I should crack open a notebook and jot it all down, but then I’m not letting the story rest. If I push it away for later, I doubt it’ll come back. It’s definitely a catch-22. Maybe I'll write some fragments down, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll start on Book Two in the series.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. Maybe I just need to get the ideas on paper. We’ll see. Advice, comments, suggestions anyone?

Hope you have a great weekend! Looks like the weather here in NYC will be nice, If I’m able to break free from the ‘ol pen and paper, I plan to go to the NY Botanical Garden. If I do, I’ll post some pics next week.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Harry Potter, coming soon to a bookstore near you

I’m a Potter fan. Yes, I admit it. True blue, died in the wool, love it forever (unless she kills Harry) follower. I love the books so much that I’ve read the entire series four times over. I know that isn’t much compared to some people’s standards, but for me with a new series, that’s good.

One of the many reasons why I love to read the Harry Potter books is that JK Rowling weaves a great story. You never know where she is going to lead you, and it’s fun reading along the way.

I love the books so much, that I’ve been encouraging my friends to start re-reading all of them, so they’ll be ready for Book 7 when it is released. JK Rowling has promised that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will neatly wrap up all story threads to date. So in order to catch all the nuances, you should start reading now! (That is unless you're a quick reader like me, and are waiting to start them in June.)

If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy of HP #7, then you can do it here at Barnes & Noble, or at Borders, or at Amazon. If you’re planning to attend a midnight party like I am, then you’ll need to pre-order your copy at the store.

Here’s a little clip I found on YouTube to whet your appetite.

Happy Watching.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Urban Jungle vs. Spot in the Country

This type of tulip is my favorite. Taken at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

When I was young, I used to tell my sisters (I have lots) that I wanted to live on a farm. It was a dreamy place. Wide open spaces, green growing things, lots of plants and gardening, maybe a pond. I imagined a large kitchen where I could cook to my hearts content, and a conservatory where I could grow plants year round. Stone or slate floor, water features, nooks where I could curl up with a book and read, and flowers, lots of flowers. My imaginary dream place was wonderful.

And then my sisters burst the bubble, or tried their best to disillusion me. Farms, they insisted, weren’t what I wanted. Think Iowa or Kansas, endless rows of corn, or Idaho potato fields. Or maybe a pig farm, or places with lots of chickens, etc. I have to admit they were right, a barnyard full of animals didn’t quite fit in the picture, and neither did rows of corn. (Not that there is anything wrong with either of these, it’s just not for me.) I wanted to dig in the dirt and grow things that I didn’t have to turn around and sell.

What I wanted was a ranch. But then they did their best to tell me I’d have to get up early to take care of the horses or milk cows, or feed livestock. So I told them I wanted a ranch without animals, maybe I’d have a horse, but I’d hire someone to take manage the stable. They laughed and I stopped mentioning it.

But after all these years, part of me still dreams of that spot in the country where I can spread my arms and feel free, rolling green hills, trails through the woods, gardening, and riding horses. Complete with a professional kitchen where I can cook and a state of the art conservatory incorperating AeroGrow's technology.

So when I read The Pioneer Woman’s blog, which is a favorite of mine, it stirs my soul. And I wonder why I live in an urban jungle where the only plant I can grow sits on my desk at work.

Then I remember that I can’t get a job in the middle of nowhere to fund my ranch without animals; that I absolutely love the bustle of the city and instant take-out food from any ethnic region of the world; and that ranches in OK, MO, and TX have ticks. I can’t stand ticks. Ticks alone are enough to make a city girl sty in the city. I guess Central Park will have to do.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fairway, like no other market


So there I was, minding my own business waiting in the check-out line of the local Fairway, when my cell starts ringing. I pulled out my phone, saw it was The Mother of Boys calling, then shoved it back into my purse. I'm sorry to say I didn't pick up.

Hey, I was almost to the register, and here in The 212 if you're not ready to speedily check out at the register, you get dirty looks and sometimes mean verbal prods. And when I say speedy, I mean speedy. They have a cable connection hooked up to the registers and so not two seconds after you've swiped your card, the approved/declined message flashes across the screen. Talk about fast.

I called The Mother of Boys back and walked, with my heavy groceries, huffing and puffing, over to Central Park West, where I sat and chatted with her about the current WIP that she's editing. She's very excited about the story and both she and The Professor can't wait to get their hands on next installment. Too bad it's still in my head...


Clarification: You get dirty looks and verbal prods from other customers, not the employees. The employees are too busy restocking the shelves and ringing up your stuff to give you dirty looks...