Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baking in the hot Williamsburg sun

It was time to face the horrible truth. I have never seen Superchunk live. How can this happen you ask? When I pick them as one of my favorite bands? When I can eloquently describe why I love their cover of "100,000 Fireflies?" The thing is this. What you need to understand is, up until six years ago I did not live in the United States. In fact, before college, the last time I set foot on the United States was when I was around 3 or 4. That means my formative years of music appreciation was more about being huddled next to a radio and obsessively writing down song titles.

The internet made things a bit better as I'd get listening suggestions from people and it was easier for me to track down music (though in the days when I still had a dial-up connection that was a painful process until we switched to high-speed). So in all honesty, my concert going age is a mere six years old. Hardly enough time to be following the live shows of many bands I grew to love especially when many of them went defunct when I was still across the Pacific.

Anyhow, when I heard about the free concert at McCarren Park Pool, I decided, "Free? Superchunk? Hells yea," and got my ass on the L train. It was time to get back in touch with my prehistoric emo self. Prehistoric emo me? How've you been? It's been a while...then again you never went away did you? When you'd be sitting there at home on one of the Friday nights you didn't have anything to do and were too tired to go out (or so you'd tell yourself), you'd listen to Sunny Day Real Estate and ask yourself what was wrong with you...Um, where was I?

As we say in Korea, it was a "scalping heat." The sun beating down on you could crisp your pate into a bald nothingness if you stood out in it long enough. Luckily it was a dry enough heat that finding any sort of shade meant it was almost ridiculously disproportionately cool.

The gig (hosted by Helio and probably some other folks), was touted as a "pool party," and some people came dressed accordingly, but it's really really weird then you realize that McCarren Park Pool is totally drained for gigs. They did have a little slip and slide type thing over to the side, but besides that, yea I guess you could come in your swimsuit if you have a fondness for developing melanoma.

(Decent enough crowd.)

(Some people really getting into the whole "pool" part of this "party.")

I used to be pretty good about taking pictures of shows, but for some reason fell out of habit. I decided to get back on the wagon with that. Unfortunately, moving to far away made people on the stage tiny, but from my vantage point up front (without photog cred, I wasn't trying to jump over the barricade), it basically made any drummers nonexistent. That was a shame since one of my top favorite parts of a band is, all together now, the rhythm section.

The show was supposed to go from 3 to 6, but they definitely were biding their time for more people to show up and +/- didn't get on stage until a little after four.

Oakley Hall was on next and Jesse Barnes, pointing towards a condo development in the background, quipped, "This one's dedicated to all the radically chic people who will be living there." A bit of New York/Williamsburg gentrification inside joke: "Radically chic. Chicly Radical" is the slogan of an ad campaign for the very condo development he was pointing towards.

(This picture just proves that bass players are fucking awesome. I'm so jealous of this ensemble; it makes me wish I was a thin dude so I could walk around wearing something like this. The rainbow sherbet-esque shirt, the white-rimmed glasses, even the hairstyle! I'm lovin' it like it was some McDonald's, son.)


(...and after joking request for a hat was fulfilled by an obliging audience member.)

(Hooray lap steel!)

(Mac rockin' out despite a sheen of sweat.)

(Yay, Laura! Lady bass players! Le swoon!)

The wait meant Superchunk was rushed on stage and Mac even commented when they came back on for an encore, "We usually do the wait and 'Hey, are they coming back on stage,' thing but we actually have a time issue going on."

No "Pulled Muscle" or "100,000 Fireflies," but there was "Driveway to Driveway," "Kicked In," and "Slack Motherfucker." Even a new single was played. In the end, I was glad I got over my sunlight aversion, but goddamn, I need to invest in a bottle of sunscreen if I need to go any more of these outdoor shows this summer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Drawing: If your love should ever stop growing...

Random sketch idea that is very loosely inspired by The High Strung's "N over C." The first line just stuck in my head and I just doodled a bit.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From the 'How weird is that? But I'm probably the only one who thinks it's interesting' department

So this past Thursday I got up to get ready for work. And as I was getting ready I was evaluating what was left to do in the week and what was coming up and realized that Friday was payday. Now I don't know about you, the general public, but when I think of payday, I think of Bone Thugs N Harmony's "1st of tha Month." So I went around the house getting dressed and everything with "1st of tha Month" in my head. "Wake up, wake up, wake up, it's the first of the month/ So get up, get up, get up. So cash your checks and come on," I hummed to myself.

I flipped the TV on to try and see what the weather for the rest of the day would be like. I guess the previous night I had turned to TV off on MTV (probably after a futile last minute flip through), but I stopped dead in my tracks when and said to myself, "WTF, is that Bone Thugs?"

Yes, yes it was. They were playing the video for "I Tried" featuring Akon.

"Well, isn't that a coinky dink," I thought. Or not?

Does anybody do pencil and paper RPGs?

I don't know many people who play tabletops anymore and I've been trying to be a Johnny Appleseed for this idea in a way. Some people might already be doing it, but I'm hoping someone plugs in Max Brooks, The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z and RPGs into Google or something and comes across this and decides to try it out. And if you do, get in touch with me and let me know how it goes. Or if you're in the area, let me play.

Anyhow, the idea came to me that the combination of the The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z would make for an excellent role-playing sourcebook. You already have all the equipment, enemy and even location type of technical information in the Survival Guide, then you have a plethora of characters and campaign ideas in World War Z. Some might not make for superbly awesome camapaigns and would need a great game master to make it a bit more interesting(for example, the Chinese submarine one would be a bit tedious), but episodes, like obviously, the Battle of Yonkers or the French fighting in the Paris catacombs would be pretty sweet.

Friday, June 15, 2007

All he needed was a popped collar and a white baseball cap

I feel like a asshole for saying this, but on the way to work this morning I spotted a guy on the subway who was dressed in:

-khaki/cargo shorts
-pink polo shirt
-those douchetastic kinda avaitor-like but more going to the club sunglasses that are all the rage these days with kinda club going types (Note: I do not know if said person is really a douche or not, just the sunglasses, man)

I mean the combination was so remarkable I had to restrain myself from blurting out, "Dude, are you cosplaying as a frat guy or something?"

I mean if he was, that's kind of funny I suppose, but if not, what the hell man?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Eat, drink and be merry

I found myself at a soft opening for Rayuela last night. I was there to check out what Junior Merino was mixing. I waved a quick hi, but he could only give a quick smile in response as he was madly muddling and shaking for the throngs hanging around the bar. I thought I was being smart showing up around an hour late, but I guess I outsmarted myself because the place was hoppin'. Even with two, three people helping him, the number of people clamoring to get a cocktail didn't seem to dissapate. I myself bobbed and weaved about the crowd before I barely made it to the actual bar. I leaned against the stone tied surface with relief and grabbed myself a tortilla chip.

Junior Merino promptly set down a glass of Coming Up Roses for me. I kind of looked around apologetically since I felt like there were other people who had been waiting before me, but quite honestly I couldn't tell in the crowd. I've had Roses before. It pleasantly surprised me since I was pretty skeptical about floral drinks, but this one managed to not set off "I'm drinking perfume!!!" alarms in my mouth and nose.

Not to mention, Roses is one of his signature drinks. It's made with muddled rose and lime, rose water, rose syrup, raspberry vodka and topped with champagne. I must say I think I also like the fact that it's tingly.

He was also serving up another one of his signature drinks, the Pina Partida. Muddled cucumber, lemon and pineapple with Partida Tequila.

I took the latter and sipped it as I walked around the space a bit. The theme seemed to be a natural rustic look. My first impression was, "Goddamn, that's a lot of candles around a lot of wood." Then I realized that, quite smartly, they weren't all real candles. The "candles" were everywhere in wooden shelves. The color scheme leaned towards green with a lot of exposed brick and wood. Did I mention the wood? There was so much wood, that there was a tree in the middle of the restaurant growing up into the second level.

There were more banquette type seating upstairs. Green chairs obviously. More in a range of colors though. Moss, mint, etc. There was a cute outside area on the second level as well. Considering its vicinity to the second-floor bar, it seemed more like a lounge area, and also would help getting around that pesky smoking ban, but I didn't think it was entirely big enough for when the place was real busy.

The food? I managed to snag two empanadas. They were made into a size that made them look more like pierogis, but they were just perfectly flaky and warm. One was fish with some lime flavor going on, but I couldn't stop the harried server to ask exactly what. Another empanada was wild mushrooms, manchego cheese with huitalcoche. I also had a crispy oyster. The "breading" on the oyster was pretty starchy. I didn't get to ask what was included in the batter, but it reminded me vaguely of tostones, so maybe it was plantain?

I saw Akiko Katayama talking to Junior when I got back and the crowd seemed to have thinned a bit from around the bar to allow him to talk a bit more about the drinks he were mixing.

The other drinks:

A sherry drink I couldn't get the name of that was made with sherry, brandy, sour cherry, and burnt orange essence. I'm not a big sherry fan, but surprisingy this was tasty flavor-wise, but my non-sherry-drinking self couldn't finish it. The fruit notes added layers to the sherry and brandy that didn't make it taste like I was just pouring alcohol down my throat.

A pisco cocktail made with pisco (I love pisco, so I'm obviously biased to this one), a tequila made with damiana flowers, aloe vera and quince syrup. I though it had a nice muscat-y (obviously the grape flavors coming from the pisco) and fragrantly clean thing going on and I even ate the candied quince garnish.

A sake sangria was very delicate with several liqueurs such as orange and elderflower, and had a crisp clean edge added with the cucumber and jicama that was marinated in it.

And a rye whisky cocktail with its combination of guava, pomegranate, spice liqueur and mint bitters created a combination that tasted a lot like licorice.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What's happening to 2nd Ave.?

Are you for serious? (NYTimes link, via Grub Street)

First 2nd Ave. Deli, now this? And let's not even talk about the rumor mill going around about whether or not Katz's will be closing or not...or just reopening.

All of this has just cemented with me the fact that I'm going to go around and hang out more and eat out more simply because more and more of these types of places are closing left and right. I still can't believe Tonic closed, and I didn't even know Sin-E was closing until I went there for the Craic Fest earlier this year.

It's funny, because I'm sort of a miser when it comes to money. And while I may be socially awkward sometimes and not sure about what to do in the company of people, it's more my reluctance to spend money than my reluctance around people that usually keeps me away from the general public. But just hearing about stuff like this? I don't know. Either way, I was already thinking that I won't be cooking much as the sauna months come and I also will want to stay out of my steamy house to cut down on AC usage, so maybe this summer is the summer for me to eat out and hang out.