life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Songbird salutes the '70s

There's a movie on cable tonight, "House of Dark Shadows", starring Jonathan Frid. Released in 1970, it was a more graphic and violent version of a popular Gothic soap opera.  The TV show was a child of the 60's, but the movie, and its sequel "Night of Dark Shadows", brought the Barnabas Collins legend into the 70's.

The producer, Dan Curtis, tried to revive the show twice with new casts, without success.

But guess who was a "Dark Shadows" fan growing up?

Johnny Depp.

And guess who will be starring in the new "Dark Shadows" movie next summer?

Yep, Depp.

Can't wait to see it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Movie review -- "The Artist"

You drive to your local Multiplex.  You've ordered your tickets on line so you skip the box office and head straight to the refreshment counter.  You can season your popcorn with a variety of toppings. You think about bottled water but order a Diet Coke instead.

The ticket taker has a box for 3D glasses beside her, for another movie. Your movie is in a theater with stadium seating -- the seats even have cupholders for that giant soda. You are reminded several times during the previews to silence your cell phone.

And then the feature presentation begins, and you are transported back to 1927, when silent movies were king.

"The Artist" is a silent movie. It tells the story of George Valentin, a silent movie star who refuses to transition to the talkies.  It is done in the style of the films being made at the time.  It salutes not only the great movies of the 20's and 30's, but I also saw elements from "Singin' In The Rain" and even Mel Brooks' "Silent Movie".  Brooks' movie was a parody, of course, but "The Artist" is more of a dramady -- a serious story line lightened with comedic elements.

Although I've seen silent movies before, it's been awhile.  It was an adjustment to watch a silent movie . . .without dialogue you have to really look at the actors to understand what's happening. Your focus as a viewer is different. How the actors present their characters is amazing.

I really enjoyed the movie, more for the storyline and characters than for the novelty of a silent movie.  It truly earned its Golden Globe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

So tired

Getting back into the workday routine after 6 weeks is NOT easy!

Monday, January 23, 2012


A glomy, rainy Monday in the middle of January.

And yet I am not depressed, not wallowing in self pity and winter gloom.

I came back to work today, first time in six weeks.

I am glad yo be healthy enough to go to work.  I am glad to have a job to go back to.

While I was away, one colleague got married.  Another colleague's wife had a baby.  And a third co-worker lost her elderly father.  It was good to be back here offering congrats and condolences.

And of course thete's the excitement . . . I work in Jersey City, just a stone's throw from the Meadowlands.

I missed all of the holiday festivities here (well, not all -- today I got a bunch of Christmas cards and a few gifts from vendors), but I will be here for the Super Bowl excitement.  Last year I won $500 in the office pool, so of course I plan to play again this year.

It's good to be back.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Deja vu

Four years later, it's a Giants/Patriots rematch.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Let's talk football!!

I am a Giants fan, more as a matter of hometown pride than of genuine love for the game. I've been to the late Giants Stadium, but never for football -- took the girls to see Green Day, and took Becca and her friends to the Bamboozle. And Drew and I saw Bon Jovi at the new Meadowlands Metlife Stadium. But football? No, never been there for that.

Still, as a New Yorker, I can't help but feel the excitement that today's playoff game brings -- our Giants meet the San Francisco 49'ers. The winner gets to go to the Superbowl and play the winner of the Ravens/Patriots game. You know I am hoping for a repeat of 2008, a Giants/Patriots Superbowl, with the same outcome, of course.

But I am getting ahead of myself. First comes San Francisco. And how to salute this momentous occasion?

My friend Daisy is a real Packers fan, even bleeds green and gold for her team. If fortunes had been reversed and Green Bay prevailed last week, I know Daisy would be talking about "eating the opposition", i.e., preparing a feast of foods associated with San Francisco. Crab Louie with green goddess dressing perhaps, sourdough bread, cioppino.

But I'm not really a cook. What could I make? "Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat"? Not really my style. Instead, I will offer up this musical salute:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Porgy and Bess

Saw this on Broadway recently.

The Gershwins wrote this as an opera in the 1930's and it became embedded in our culture. Everyone has some familiarity with the music. . .  Who hasn't heard "Summertime"?

I'd never seen a production of "Porgy", never saw the movie, so I had no preconceived ideas.

The current production has been cut down -- instead of 3 acts taking 4 hours, it's done in 2 acts taking just under 2 1/2 hours, with some dialogue added, to make it more Broadway-friendly. There are a few changes/updates/modernizations.

Audra McDonald was wonderful as Bess, Norm Lewis as Porgy and David Alan Grier as Sporting Life.
Amazing cast.  Amazing show.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

t shirt for my daughter

Jen is smart, witty, funny, outgoing, friendly, loving and occasionally a royal PITA. She is also very blonde and very well-endowed, and tired of where men's eyes tend to focus. She wants to be appreciated for who she is, not for her . . . Assets.

current guilty pleasure

Diners Drive-Ins and Dives

It's one of Drew's favorite shows.  We even ate at The Pit Stop,  one of the restaurants Guy visited.

Never watched the show much, except when I was with Drew.  But lately it's become one of my guilty pleasures.  I'm not much of a cook, but I love watching Guy watch the chefs and cooks prepare their special foods, and I love to watch Guy dive in and enjoy.

The other night I watched Guy at some Cuban restaurant in Queens, the owner prepared Ropa Vieja for him.  It looked so yummy.

I think it's time for another Guy-inspired road trip!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

memo to my daughter

I know you think I am omniscient, but the truth of the matter is that I lack certain psychic powers. In other words, darling child, I am NOT a mindreader!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On a Clear Day

Had a chance to see this on Broadway recently. Loved the music, loved Harry Connick Jr. Hated the play. Just didn't like the way they reworked it. Sigh, I really wanted to like this one but couldn't...still, sad to hear it's closing at the end of the month.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Colonial Wiliamsburg?

I think that's where Drew and I are going this summer. Perfect choice for two history buffs, don't you think? I've been there twice. I'm sure I postede about both trips before, but.... First time was the summer of 1974, I was 14 and my parents took us on vacation. We spent a few days in Colonial Williamsburg, toured the town and the Governor's Mansion (loved the garden maze), took a candlelight tour of the Capitol. Spent a day in Jamestown and watched a glassblower do his thing, brought home a paperweight made of green glass. Toured the Yorktown battlefield in the rain -- boring. That was the trip where my dad made a wrong turn every time we drove back to the hotel and we'd wind up in the bus station. Where we joked that F and A (age almost 7) were on a tour of every bathroom in Virginia. Where my parents encountered those little cups of creamer for their coffee for the very first time. That was also the summer we stopped in Washington, DC for a day -- saw the monuments, drove past the White House but didn't go in -- that was just three days before President Nixon resigned. And it was the summer I learned that racism was still de facto, if not de jure, alive and well. There was a huge rest stop on I-95 in Maryland, it looked like a southern plantation house. There was a ladies room upstairs, by the food court, that was clean and bright -- and all the ladies were white. Later I walked into the restroom on the main floor, to find that it was in poor repair, and all the ladies on line for the facilities were African-American. You just knew that there once was a sign on the door indicating this was the "colored" restroom. Shocked me, actually. Place has long since been torn down, replaced with more modern and egalitarian facilities. In the summer of 1996 my sister and I took Jen and Becca to Williamsburg, Jen was 5 1/2 and Becca had just turned 4. We stayed in Colonial Williamsburg and spent most of our time there, with side trips to Busch Gardens and Jamestown. Skipped Yorktown. Thought about stopping at King's Dominion on the way home, but wound up skipping that amusement park and spending a day in DC instead. what I remember most from that trip -- the woman in Jamestown dressed as Disney's Pocahontas who told us the real story of Jamestown, getting a green glass paperweight in Jamestown, winning prizes for the girls in Busch Gardens. We ate in one of the taverns in Colonial Williamsburg and were entertained by period musicians. How I lost the tote bag with the girls' extra clothes in Busch Gardens -- Becca got lost in the playground and I went to look for her -- we searched the park for the bag but couldn't find it, asked at the Lost and Found but it wasn't turned it -- yet somehow they mailed it to us after we came home. One one night we ate in our hotel and the food was taking a long time to show up; we told Jen to close her eyes,that the food would be on the table when she opened them again -- and there was a power failure and the lights went out just after she closed her eyes... Yes, good trips, both times. Drew went to Williamsburg once, with the girls and with his ex girlfriend and her daughter. They did the colonial thing, Busch Gardens and Virginia Beach, or so I am told. It must have been about two years, maybe three, after I was there. Adults with an interest in history are going to have a very different perspective than parents with children along for the ride. Less time at Busch, more time at the historic areas. I definitely want to eat in one of the taverns again, and take a candlelight tour. Maybe a carriage ride?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

wo Hop!

I've posted about this place before:

We really like this place, it's an authentic NYC experience. Not for the claustrophobic, the basement restaurant is so crowded you can barely move. Last night we shared a table with another couple. Not by choice, it's just how they utilize space. Larger groups are accomodated by pushing several tables together in the middle of the restaurant. It's a no-reservations, cash-only restaurant. You will find yourself waiting on the steps outside at peak times - the place seats maybe 50 at a time. It's open 24/7/365 though, so go at an off time if you don't want to wait.

We stick with Cantonese here, they offer hot and spicy but don't do it as well. Wonton soup, lo mein, sweet and sour chicken . . .

The other couple at our table . . .I think they were poor college students looking for a cheap meal. Can't believe what they ordered - huge bowls of soup, egg rolls, spare ribs, dumplings, lo
mein, sesame chicken . . .

We didn't get to wander through Chinatown, it was too cold and we had theater tickets. Guess that means we have to go back.

Has it really been 4 years?

The Giants take on the Packers today. One of those teams will play the Saints next week, and then it's on to the Superbowl.

The Giants won the Superbowl 4 years ago, in 2008.  The moment is indelibly tattooed on my brain.

Jen was a senior in high school then. She had applied at the University of Hartford and there was some program on Monday morning.  The drive from Long Island to Hartford . . . We decided to drive up Sunday night and stay over, then drive home Monday after the program.

Did I mention that the Giants played the Patriots?  And that Hartford, being in Connecticut, is Patriots country?

So the whole time we were in the car, Jen's friend Billy was texting her updates on the game.

Just as I pulled into the hotel parking lot Jen said" The Giants just won the game!"

The hotel lobby had a huge flat screen TV.  And a lot of sad faces.

And here I was, with my NY driver's license . . .

Ah, well, at least we weren't in Boston.  I LOVE that city, but would have felt very uncomfortable . . .

Four years later . . .she chose a different college, also in New England, and she's about to graduate.  She's a Jets fan these days, but will root for the Giants as a matter of home town pride. 

All of her housemates are New Englanders.

A Giants/Pats rematch this year could be . . .interesting.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

songbird salutes the 70's

In college I fell in love with a guy who loved Queen. this was one of our favorite songs.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Hope no one here has it! Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

so annoyed

posted a couple of days ago about how I was so proud of my nails. wouldn't you know it, I broke two nails in the last two days,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Songbird salutes the 70's

Haven't done this in awhile, but the movie is on cable right now . . .

Remember this?

Star Trek The Motion Picture

Much anticipated, the movie opened in the cold of winter. We were college students, Trek fans and just plain crazy.

We planned to see the 10 PM show the day it opened.  Got to the movie theater at 6:30 and were first on line, and more than willing to spend 3 hours in the cold to guarantee that we'd be able to see the movie.

Just after 7, the manager told us that he had four seats together for the 7 PM show.  They were in the very front row of the theater.

We were crazy college students.

But we weren't stupid.

I still have the crick in my neck all these years later . . .

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I forget she's still a kid . . .

Lately Jen has been so grown up and mature that I tend to forget she's barely an adult.

She'd been giving me grief about taking time off from work to recuperate from surgery.  She told me that my being home was driving her crazy.  Wanted me to go back to work.

I was starting to feel like she didn't care about me or my health.

Finally figured out what was going on.

She assumed that if I wasn't working I wasn't getting paid.  And she was stressing about how the bills were going to be paid if I have no income.

Adult stress and a child's understanding.  Once I explained about disability insurance . . . Well, the stress seems to have gone away.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Go-to beauty product??

I was never girly-girl.

But now that I am older I have an appreciation for certain cosmetics.

My hands always used to look horrible because I bit my nails. I must have been in my late 30's or early 40's when I finally broke that habit.

So I am more than a little vain  about my nails.

My new favorite product?  Sally Hanson salon effects. It's strips of polish that you peel from the backing and apply to your nails.  No drying time!  Great when you don't have time for a full mancure.

Quick and easy dinner

Along the lines of "anyone can cook":

Cook a pound of pasta al dente (I used penne).

Saute an onion and two cloves of garlic in olive oil.

Cut 1 1/2  chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.  Add to the pan and brown the chicken.

Add a jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Trader Joe's Organic) and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve sauce over pasta and add some grated pecorino romano.

I am quite proud of myself, this was actually quite tasty.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Redford made a trip to the vet yesterday, his first since joining our family last winter.  for various reasons the vet instructed us to keep him in the house for the next two weeks, he is not allowed outside to play.

Poor cat already has cabin fever.

And the fact that Mr. Kitty is allowed outside . . . Do cats really tease each other the way children do?

Love my daughter but

Not really liking her right now.

Seems that the whole time Becca has been home for winter break, the only time she talks to me without giving me attitude is when she wants something from me.

She's 19, too old for this sullen teenager routine.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Star gazing . . . Not

Yesterday a friend posted about a meteor shower which could be observed early this morning.

I never get a chance to see meteor showers.  The best time to see them is usually 4:00 in the morning, and who can be up at thst hour when you have to go to work just a few hours later?

But I am off from work right now, still recuperating. Still, I didn't plan to go stargazing last night.

But I woke up at 4:00 in the morning.

Briefly considered getting dressed and going outside.

Until I realized it was a balmy 13 degrees outside.

I really don't want to go stargazing in the artic . . .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life with cats can never be boring

So this evening my mother was going to feed Redford.  She opened a can of catfood, but before she could put the food in the dish, the phone rang.  She picked up the phone and walked out of the room to talk.

Redford was impatient and decided to take matters into into his own paws.

He jumped up onto the counter snd knocked the can to the floor, and was happily dining when my mother and I walked into the room.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The party's over . . .

Or rather, the holiday season has come to an end.

I still have time off from work, though, thanks to my surgeon.  So no post-holiday blues right now.

Not a bad thing . . .

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