Archive for June 2003

French Laundry anniversary

It's hard to believe that it's already been a year since my magical dinner at the French Laundry. Actually, since I've been a lazy poster, it's a year and a couple days, but that's beside the point. The point is it's already been a whole year since that superlative culinary experience and I can still imagine what the food tasted like on my tongue. Will there ever be another meal that's as good? Dear readers, stay tuned to find out. I've got some big plans for my tummy when I'm in Paris later this month.

Garden is planted

Though it rained once again this weekend, I didn't let it stop me from planting my urban fire escape garden. This summer's theme is "Italian" as I've got a tomato plant and a nice row of (soggy) basil. I also planted a window box of pansies and some small pots of little coral and pink flowers for the sill in the living room. Sitting on the fire escape, contentedly transplanting while watching the clouds build for the afternoon storm, was the nicest Saturday morning I've spent in a while.

New site for French Laundry

The French Laundry finally has a website at and it's got information not only about the namesake but also Buchon (also in Yountville) and the upcoming new restaurant in New York. I'm a little worried about the New York venture, does this mean Keller is moving? Or is he going to just be the executive chef, "overseeing" the whole thing from CA, and transform into a Wolfgang Puck or Todd English with outposts everywhere? Gosh I hope there's never a French Laundry Las Vegas! Of course, if Keller actually heads up the NY kitchen, you know I'll start saving again. How could I possibly resist?

Intern for the Lafayette Project

Are you in the New York City area and looking for an interesting project? We are looking for an intern here at the Lafayette Project. Job description follows:

The Lafayette Project is looking for an intern with geek tendencies and an interest in bringing weblogs to a wider audience. Familiarity with weblogs and some technical knowledge (XHTML + CSS, or Java) is required but a willingness to learn is more important than experience.

Work will mostly involve coding and testing, other assorted tasks as necessary. You'll also have the opportunity to meet folks in the tech industry and attend events. The position is based in Tribeca (Manhattan, NY) and you will work directly with the Project Director, Meg Hourihan, and Lead Engineer Mark Wilkie. Meg co-founded the company behind weblogging tool Blogger (recently purchased by Google) and is an author and frequent speaker on weblogs. The position can be part or full-time and a modest stipend is available. Please submit a resume and cover letter to with the subject LP intern.

Minor translation problems

On the subway this morning, I was reading an ad for legal services in Spanish offering help for all kinds of misfortunes, including envenenamiento con plomo. Feather poisoning?! I thought. Of course, no, that would be envenenamiento com pluma. Con plomo is the far more common lead poisoning. I better get back to Mexico to brush up on my Spanish ASAP.

Shakespeare on the Run

With the rain subsiding (at least for now), a fun way to take advantage of the nice weather is to check out Shakespeare on the Run's "Much Ado About Nothing" in Central Park.

As you watch the show, the next scene that is about to happen, happens about 50 ft away, and then they are off. The whole audience runs to where the scene is taking place! Every 5-7 minutes, so no snoozing during this show! The play moves between 97th St & 100th Street using trees, rocks, benches and even the audience as scenery!

Details: Runs June 5-29, Thurs-Sundays, 7pm, 97th St & Central Park West.

Rainy garden view

fire escape garden

Using my new .5x wide-angle lens, I took a picture of my fire escape garden for those that are interested in seeing it. It contains a lot of pots of dirt still. In the foreground you can see my petunia blend (midnight, orchid, and lilac). To the right of the windowbox, you can see the basil. Hang in there basil, the sun will come some day! At the end of the basil, there are chive seeds. No sign of chives yet. Beyond that you can see my tomato plant, which has flowers! No sign of tomatoes yet. And next to it, that long box of soil contains my climbers: a mix of pink, red, and white cypress vine and a mix of azure blue, pink, white, and rose morning glory. If all goes according to plan, the climbers will grow up along the railing of the fire escape and treat me to a bounty of blossoms, "from mid-summer until the first frost." If they actually grow, I'll be amazed. Cross your fingers!

10 years on American Airlines

I've been an American Airlines AAdvantage® member since Wednesday, June 09, 1993, making today my 10th anniversary. Since that time, I've flown 529,909 miles. Using Fermi's "simple and intuitive way to deduce the circumference of the earth", that means I've flown enough miles to circumnavigate the globe 22 times! Using figures from AMR Corporation's
1999 Annual Report, the total cost per available seat mile is 9.39¢, which equals $49,758.36 in cost, for American. Using American's yield (the average amount one passenger pays to fly one mile) figure of 13.12¢, I've paid American $69,524.06 for all those miles, giving American a profit of ~$20,000.

Of course, "I" paid a lot more than that most of the time because the majority of that milage was accrued through consulting travel on expensive tickets. Still, ~$70,000 for 22 trips around the globe doesn't seem as insanely expensive as I thought it would be when I started all these silly calculations.

What's really incredible about all the flying I've done is that for more than a year during that time, I traveled exclusively on Continental Airlines, and probably racked up another 100,000 miles with them!

megnut on BlogShares

I haven't been following BlogShares too closely -- though I think it's interesting, given my new-found interest in all things market -- so I was very surprised to see that megnut is trading at $1,186.79. Does anyone have any idea why the share price has climbed so much? On June 2 it was only trading at $358.33, what happened? While you're at it, could you also explain to me why megnut is the #1 blog in the gay category?

A summer question regarding coffee

Why does the iced coffee cost more than the regular coffee? How can ice possibly cost $.75 or $1? It makes no sense. All I can think is that vendors are colluding and taking advantage of the temperature. Except if that were the case, then hot coffee should cost more in the winter and iced coffee would be cheaper. But you can't even get iced coffee in the winter, and you *can* get hot coffee in the summer. So really, frankly, I don't understand it.

Update: So I didn't know this but many have emailed to tell me that iced coffee usually uses more coffee (it's double brewed or they use more beans) to hold the flavor up against the melting ice. And that iced coffee comes in plastic cups, not paper, which cost more. And of course, ice costs money. But honestly, I still have a hard time believing it, especially when I've seen them "make" my iced coffee by putting ice in a cup and sticking it beneath the hot coffee spigot. That necessitates a price increase of 100%? Regardless, I'll buy it. I love it! Thanks for all the emails, guess I should have turned comments on.

Yay! Garden awards

I'm Urban Garden of the Day. I'm so proud! And I'll try to post some more photos soon, you should see those climbers, they've sprouted already and are growing like crazy! They really enjoyed the sunshine yesterday.

A car alarm ban?

Aaron writes to report that the City Council is considering a ban on car alarms. Woo hoo, I hope this passes. I mean when was the last time a car alarm stopped a theft? Like 1983?

Garden update

tomato plant on fire escape


seedlings of cypress vine and morning glory

Little seedlings of cypress vine and morning glory. Boy do these fellas grow fast! They were planted less than a week ago, now look at them!

LES farmer's market

This summer, the Lower Eastside Girls Club will be hosting a farmer's market every Saturday (beginning June 28th) from 10 AM - 6 PM at Ave. D, between 7th and 8th Streets. There will also be a festival stage featuring, "workshops in arts and crafts, dance, yoga, spoken word, puppet making, cooking demonstrations, story telling and much more TBA." They're looking for volunteers to help out, if you're interested, contact information is here. The Lower Eastside Girls Club is a great organization and I highly encourage you to support it any way you can, through volunteering, donations, or simply shopping for veggies at the market this summer.

An open letter to people with car alarms

Dear automotive owner,

If you happen to have a vehicle whose feature set includes a theft deterrent device, please ensure that said device turns off after, like, ten seconds of beeping. Because otherwise, on hot days such as today when I have my window open and your car is beeping and beeping for many minutes, it is possible that a large rock may tumble from its resting place on my windowsill (on the fourth floor) and (mind you, by no ill will of its own, but simply guided by the cruel force of gravity) smash your stupid beeping car to bits. That is, if you're inclined to park at the lot on the corner of White and Church.

Yours truly,


P.S. To those guests who frequent the Tribeca Grand Hotel, please consider closing your curtains when you are, as they say, "in the buff." To the gentleman staying on the seventh floor yesterday afternoon, thanks for the show. We suffered a 50% decrease in productivity as you pranced before us in all your manly glory. Please come back again soon. Tribeca welcomes you!

Do you love Led Zeppelin?

How The West Was Won by Led ZeppelinIf so, stop everything you're doing right now and go get How The West Was Won. It's 3 CDs worth of live recordings from 1972 shows in Long Beach and Los Angeles, CA. Don't be turned off by past live horrors like the Song Remains the Same, this is outstanding. I've been listening non-stop and it's so good, filled with crazy improvisations and bluesy rocking. "Whole Lotta Love" goes for more than 20 minutes and at this writing it has 141 reviews at Amazon with an average of five (out of five) stars. We've got it on repeat here at the office and we're rocking out so much listening to it that we're contemplating exchanging the desks for bean bag chairs, covering the large warehouse windows with tapestries, hanging the beads, and packing the bong. From now on, we'll be coding by the light of the lava lamp. [muchas gracias a Jake]

Media That Matters Film Festival

The third annual Media That Matters Film Festival is now online and all the films are available for view. The Festival, "celebrates films, videos, and new media that inspire people to speak out and take action for social change." I had the honor of serving on the jury for this year's Festival and it was a pleasure to view all the films.

The ones that have been selected are really amazing and eye-opening works of art, and I highly recommend you take the time to not only view them, but to do something about the issues that move you. The Festival site makes it easy for you by highlighting actions you can take related to the films you're viewing (e.g. send a letter to congress, donate to organizations, etc.)

The Festival will be online for the next year and will also be traveling around the US to various cities, beginning this weekend with an installation at the Walter Reade Theatre at NYC's Lincoln Center from June 13 - 15. Enjoy the films and be sure to check out one called "Vision Test" which was awared the Jury Award.

A tale of two fish

There's a great article in today's Boston Globe about the grand striped bass and the lowly bluefish.

The striped bass had just woken up from a long, cold winter and Buddy was in a good mood. He told me he'd taken 35 stripers earlier in the week.

"What about bluefish?" I asked. "Are the bluefish in yet?"

Vanderhoop's face darkened. "Yes," he said. "Unfortunately."

After many summers of enduring the lowly bluefish for dinner (topped with butter, breadcrumbs, and lemon and baked in the oven by my grandmother), I've grown to love it in adulthood. When it's freshly-caught, it can't be beat. So moist and flavorful because it is rich in oil, it's assertive on the plate and doesn't take to fancifying with all sorts of sauces and whoop-dee-doo. Grilled, baked, or smoked, bluefish may be my favorite fish. I'm glad to see it getting some attention, but I, like the author, don't want to see it get too popular. Let them eat striper, I say.

Opera in the Park tonight

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. is the second (and last) free Met Opera in Central Park this season. Additional performances are still to come in the other boroughs and CT, with NJ performances upcoming in August. Tonight on the Great Lawn in Central Park (just south of the 86th Street transverse), the Met will perform Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with Edoardo Müller conducting; Elizabeth Futral (Lucia), Frank Lopardo (Edgardo), Bruno Caproni (Enrico), Dimitri Kavrakos (Raimondo), Diane Elias (Alisa), Charles Reid (Arturo), Eduardo Valdes (Normanno). And the weather looks like it'll be good, so pack a picnic and bring your blanket and enjoy.

New IndyJunior

There's a new version of IndyJunior available from Bryan. IJ is the Flash app I use to create a map of my travels. The new version offers a regional level of zoom, so that if you go between two continents (as I will tomorrow), you can see just the areas where you'll be travelling. Way cool. I continue to [heart] IndyJunior.

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