Saturday, February 21, 2004

Scrapbooking in Nashua

There is evidently a scrapbook making convention going on in the hotel this weekend. We keep seeing people arriving with milk cartons, old albums, huge stacks of magazines, and various other scrappy goods. It's all very interesting, and the people who have been showing up for the event are, oh who am I kidding? They're freaks. Why the hell would you go to a hotel to make a frigging scrapbook? Are you criminally insane? I mean, honestly! I'd say "find a hobby," but what could be lamer than a SCRAPBOOK hobby? Jesus H.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Honolulu chicken

After playing at the fully modernized Rink 3 in Tyngsboro, we retired to the hotel for the afternoon. They have a full health club in the basement, with a weight room, a stationary bike room, a nice pool, you name it. I actually poked around the weight room for a couple of minutes. In the tradition of lousy gyms, they have a selection of magazines including Modern Printer. I know more about midsized forms than I ever thought possible. I made the mistake of using an elliptical with the wrong stride length, so my hamstrings ache a bit now.

As a Squirts team activity, we all headed down to Leda Lanes in Nashua and indulged in some candlepin bowling. I've never played this before. It uses a palm-sized ball and ten nearly cylindrical pins. You get three throws per frame, and there are some other weird rules about strikes and spares.

Other than that, it was a typical bowling alley. They had ancient video ads that flashed on monitors above the lanes. The ones that employed smiling candlepins imploring you to bowl more were especially freakish, because the pins looked like happy-go-lucky cigarettes. Other newly updated ads invited you to join their morning league to bowl against a crowing rooster, and to visit their well-stocked snack bar for some Coke, Sprite, or Sunkist C-Plus orange soda that hasn't been manufactured since 1987. And as in any bowling alley, the residual cigarette and mildew smell was something that a mere fresh coat of paint ain't gonna solve. Best of all, I got horrible neon shoes that say "Hi, I'm the only size 13 in the place!" Neon pink on one side, neon yellow on the other. The right foot had yellow, then pink. Which means that there's a matching pair out there somewhere!

After getting some exercise knocking down oversized novelty cigarettes with bocce balls, we made our way to Friendly's. After much internal debate, I ordered the Honolulu chicken sandwich. "Honolulu chicken," you say? Well yes. What says "Honolulu" better than fried chicken, bacon, and melted Jack cheese on toast? By the time I worked my way to the rapidly congealing fries, I felt like I had been transported to a warm, white sand beach under a gently swaying palm tree. Aloha!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Pasta Mediocre

Today was the long drive up to Nashua for Julian's hockey tournament. We got a nice, early start at 11 AM. Everything was cruising along fine until blam! Stopped dead on the on-ramp for the Throgs Neck Bridge. Some genius had spun out and smashed their car up. Twelve-pack of absorbent bathroom tissue hanging out the mangled trunk. Ambulances fighting their way through the traffic to get to the scene. New Jersey cars following three feet behind in the amublance's wake so they could get ten cars ahead. Cooool.

We stopped at Norwalk's famous Pasta Fair restaurant (also known as "Pasta Mediocre") for lunch to celebrate my mom's 176th birthday in style. For some reason she's gotten into the habit of bringing Julian a Ziploc bag full of shelled peanuts every time she sees him - I guess it's their special "thing" these days. More disconcerting was trying to finish my just-passable fusilli with pesto as an angry horde of blue jays gathered by the window next to the ripped up vinyl booth we were occupying.

The drive up to New Hampshire isn't that bad, because several major cities break it up. You hit New Haven, then Hartford, then...uh...well, I-495 outside Boston. We took a side trip into Boston, which Julian had never seen. He brightened up when he saw the collection of comics at Newbury Comics. Then we walked a couple of blocks to the new Lush outlet, which offers lots of hand-made soaps and bath accessories, because let's face it - I'm a girl. I asked them when they were opening in New York, and the surprise answer came back: this weekend! They've got a new outlet on Broadway and 34th, a block from Penn Station.

We got to the Nashua Sheraton just in time for dinner, which was enjoyed in a completely deserted restaurant on-site. They must have some amazing ovens, because they were able to roast a half-chicken to perfection in about three minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Briefs update

There's been no movement on the Bay Shore Briefs yet. I feel let down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Happy Birthday 2004

Today's my birthday. You know what I hate about birthdays? It's my special day! Everyone, be nice to Josh on his special day! Well, what's special about it, exactly? Everyone gets one. If a person means something to you, you should treat them nicely every day, not just as a special birthday treat. Guess what? My special treat is that I get to be a crab all day, as you can see.

And also, there's a huge pair of men's briefs on the sidewalk next to the Bay Shore LIRR station. Railroad officials have assured me that they'll be moved by nightfall. I'm keeping an eye on this developing situation.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Kung pao chix

New recipe for Kung Pao chicken.

2 lbs. chicken cut into little nuggets

3 bell peppers - red, orange, yellow, cut into 1x1" pieces

1 cup unsalted peanuts

3 green onions, sliced

1 jar Trader Joe's General Tso's sauce

eggs, flour, oil

Dip the chicken in egg, then flour, then fry up in the oil. Remove. Add the peppers to the oil, and cook until almost tender. Drain the oil. Add the green onions, peanuts, and chicken. Pour a bottle of General Tso's sauce over it all. Serve over egg spaghetti. Mmmmmmmmm.

Anyway, that was my birthday dinner, in advance of my actual birthday tomorrow.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Abortion privacy

Comcast bid $66 billion to acquire Disney yesterday. STUPID STUPID STUPID. Had they bought the three-day ParkHopper, they could've gotten Disney for just $47 billion.

Other news is quite a bit more ominous. The New York Times reports:

The Justice Department is demanding that at least six hospitals in New York City, Philadelphia and elsewhere turn over hundreds of patient medical records on certain abortions performed there.

Lawyers for the department say they need the records to defend a new law that prohibits what opponents call partial-birth abortions. A group of doctors at hospitals nationwide have challenged the law, enacted last November, arguing that it bars them from performing medically needed abortions.

The department wants to examine the medical histories for what could amount to dozens of the doctors' patients in the last three years to determine, in part, whether the procedure, known medically as intact dilation and extraction, was in fact medically necessary, government lawyers said.

Forget Iraq. Forget the economy. I would vote for a pile of rubber novelty vomit before I'd vote for Bush. The novelty vomit would win the debates, too.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Hoop it up!

The LIRR has posters up at their Jamaica station, offering a unique sports/transportation combo for riders.

Just say "TRAIN" when you order tickets to any St. John's basketball game at
the Garden this year, and the ride is on us!

Now that several of the players on the St. John's team have been kicked off the team for having group sex with a whore in a hotel room and then refusing to pay her, they just might want to reconsider the wording on this particular promotion. Just sayin'.

Sunday, February 8, 2004

The ref is down

Nothing gets you back in shape fast after three days of stomach virus like a morning game at a rink in Coney Island. It's painfully cold everywhere on the Island, but it's measurably worse in a desolate parking lot underneath the parachute jump. Abe Stark Rink is really...what's the word I'm looking for? Quaint. For safety's sake, the steep, narrow flight of stairs players have to ascend to get to the locker room has been gently rubberized. It's so cold inside that rumor has it the large American flag on one wall is being held there by wind. The beverage choices consist of bottles of Pepsi. The morning snack choices consist of Utz crab-flavored potato chips. This is the sort of rink where the Zamboni driver smokes while he's clearing up.

As the Squirts started the third period of action, disaster struck. An errant shot bounced off a player and nailed the second ref in the eye. He clutched his face and bent over, dribbling blood on the ice. As play was whistled dead, he skated over to the scoring table, in front of the home team's bench, and started to let loose more blood. Lots of blood. It looked like the Squirts version of a Malarchuk moment. He was eventually led off the ice by the other ref, coincidentally his dad as well, leaving the game with just one lineman.

So now they had a nice dark red pool of blood on the ice, about the size of a faceoff dot. The home trainer had a good idea, taking a water bottle to squirt it away. This effectively turned the blotch into the size of a faceoff circle. It was sorta nasty.

On the way back from the game, we discovered what happens when the region has a deep freeze, followed by six feet of rain in one day. The entire Southern State Parkway was turned into a merry series of potholes and frost heaves that threatened to swallow entire overpasses. It was like Florida without the alligators. Fortunately the DOT was on top of things, blocking off lanes with 50 feet notice and turning those potholes into potholes with big bumps in the middle.

Saturday, February 7, 2004


Hey, at least the cramps seem to have broken! After eight extra hours of daytime sleep yesterday, I woke up at 12:30 AM refreshed and ready to go. I lay awake, wondering how I'd be able to fall back asleep, until I remembered that was still online. Whew! Today has been spent staring out the window, like some guy in an Imodium ad, wishing that I could take those first tentative steps outside the house. My appetite is back too. Mmmm, white rice.

Now that the worst of it has passed, it's time to figure out exactly how this happened. On Wednesday, I had a bit of a leftover meatloaf sandwich I found on the subway. I wonder if the problem lie in there - it actually had a lot of mushroom gravy and not too much bread. Or meatloaf. Oh well, live and learn.

Friday, February 6, 2004

Rolling cramps

I am at home right now. I'm suffering from what to me, this moment, is the world's worst case of gastroenteritis. I realize that in the big picture, it's a relatively mild case, but the regular, rolling cramps aren't doing that assessment any good.

I'm going back to sleep now for a while. Don't bug me.