Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Homemade Dog Biscuits

I began the year of the Dog by making a little something special for my favorite dog in the entire universe. Kym gave Nola and I a dog biscuit mix for Christmas and let me tell you they are a hit.

On Sunday morning we went to the dog park to hang out with the other yuppie dogs. One of my friends asked me if I thought stray dogs ever went to the dog park to hang out and I sadly said they probably couldn't get in since there are big gates. All I could picture was sad puppies standing outside looking in at all the rich dogs, but I push that out of my mind because Nola really likes the other dogs.

After we came back from the dog park Nola slept and I baked. I am pretty sure that I couldn't get any more yuppie but I guess I am ok with that and Nola is happy with being spoiled.

Interview with Stephen Colbert in the Onion

Kate told Jane and I about this interview last night, and I just saw it online.

Read it here.

Year of the Dog Celebrations

The year of the dog started officially on Sunday, but there is still time to celebrate in New York's Chinatown. The parade and festival are on February 5 (next Sunday). Many restaurants also serve Lunar New Year feasts. For information, visit the Explore Chinatown website.

Here are a few suggestions for a non-traditional celebration of this canine year.

Buy a really cool a dog-shaped pillow with a picture of a dog silk-screened on it at Salvor. You need to click fauna, then dog pillows. (I particularly like the Chow.)

Go on the Brooklyn Animal Foster Network's benefit cruise on February 12. For $100, you get a four hour cruise of New York Harbor, a buffet dinner, drinks, and dancing. Also, in honor of Valentine's day, a chaplin will "remarry" 25 couples. And of course you help some homeless critters. The benefit has a kind of funny, kind of gross graphic urging you to "Mark Your Calendars."

Visit Marianne Petit's online graphic novel 716. Jody wrote about this work last month. What you might not know is that Marianne devotes whole chapters to her dogs and to the dogs (and their humans) in her building, describing their personalities and place in the building's social network. She also recently had a very touching story of her dog coming to terms with her new boyfriend. (As Elvis used to sit on Neilson's head to indicate his position in the house, I could really relate to this chapter.) You can also watch funny, sweet videos of her dogs, set to music.

Of course, you could just visit a dog run or hang out with a dog you adore.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Birthdays and Basketball

Calvin and I celebrated his birthday by going to see a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.

Here are some bad camera phone pics from the evening.

The Knicks were playing the New Orleans Hornets. Sadly, the Knicks were badly beaten, by this not very good team. The Knicks are even more pathetic, at least without Stephon Marbury and Antonio Davis.

Last Saturday we went to see an Art School League BBall Classic- Rhode Island School of Design versus Cooper Union. I went to R.I.S.D. for a year- I am sort of an alumna. Eric joined us, as did some old friends of Calvin's (true R.I.S.D. alumni) Paul and Michelle, with their son Sebastian.

This game was strangely reminiscent of the Knicks game (at least after they let us into the junior high gym after an asbestos scare). R.I.S.D. was vastly outplayed by those hoopster fools from Cooper Union (maybe the engineers are better than the art students?) Both games had a 20 point margin or so- I think- I start to blank on the details shortly after the game if my team loses. At least they had some women on both of these teams, though they didn't play until the last few minutes. The girls rocked- kind of- go R.I.S.D.!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

January Birthdays

This is has been a rough month for several family members, as illnesses large and small dominated the scene. But it has also been a month of many birthdays. I just wanted to take a moment to wish all the Capricorns and Aquariai (?) a happy birthday.

Betsy (January 22) and Frank (January 7)

Granddaddy Bob (with Jody)--January 11

Uncle Johnny (with John William and Floey)--January 7

Calvin (with Aiden)--January 21

Matt (with Aiden, Janelle, and Adam)--January 22

Audrey--some point in January, according to crazy cat rescue people.

Let's hope for a calmer February. Look out in March for another birthday onslaught.

Salted Lemonade Soda, Vaudeville, and Beer

Yesterday, Neilson and I started out the day by walking across the Manhattan Bridge.

It's not the most picturesque of the New York bridges and the subway makes a lot of noise, but it gives you a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River. Plus it provides a straight shot from Neilson's neighborhood to Chinatown, where cheap, delicious food always awaits you. We headed to a Vietnamese restaurant on Bowery, where we feasted on pork meatballs with rice noodles, sauteed veggies, and spring rolls.

But the highlight of the meal for me was the salted lemonade soda. This drink consists of a lemonade concentrate, seltzer, and salt. It is suprisingly refreshing, and great if, like me, you like the salty sweet combination.

After lunch, we headed up to the Performing Arts branch of the New York Public Library, located in Lincoln Center, to see the exhibit Vaudeville Nation. Some of the exhibit text was strangely stilted and awkward, with phrases such as "This shows that ..." and "This tells us that . . . ." But the artifacts were a fascinating look into an important part of our cultural history and the creation of the mass culture that now consumes us all. My favorite item was the photograph of Billie Mae and her Boxing Cats. Neilson also checked out five cds from the library, including a lot of old roots music that is hard to come by.

As we were up town, we strolled over to Riverside Park, stopping by the dog run to watch the fun. The dogs seemed particularly frisky--maybe it was the lovely weather, maybe they knew the day ushered in the year of the dog and were feeling some species pride.

In the Gotham Imbiber, we had read about George Keeley, a bar specializing in craft beers and cask aged beers in the neighborhood, so we walked over Amsterdam and 84th to check it out. It lived up to its reputation and was a true beer-o-philes heaven. The very friendly, knowledgable bartender steered us through the selection process, and some helpful folks sitting at the bar also weighed in on what they considered the best beer. Neilson tried one of the Six Point ales, and I sampled the Hoptopia. They were both delicious. If this bar served burgers, and was in my neighborhood instead of the dreaded Upper West Side, it would be perfect.

We finished the day with Drunken Noodles at Galanga. Then it was on to some quality time with the kitties.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Goodby Rooster

Today is the last day of the Year of the Rooster. Usually, I am excited about Chinese New Year, but, as I am a rooster, I'm a little sad to see this year turn over. Roosters are not the most auspicious animal in the zodiac, but I've come to appreciate my avian qualities. We are often described as smart, dedicated, and successful--as well as gaudy, eccentric, and stubborn. It was appropriate that the Gates flew in Central Park just as the rooster year came around, as those bright orange flags proved to be very roostery--unsubtle, slightly garish, but also interesting and, well, lucrative. (I guess it also makes sense that concerns about the bird flu spread this year.) This year also saw the birth of many nice new roosters--Anders, Aiden, Hayden, Ellie, and Riley. Some of you I haven't met yet, but maybe we can all celebrate in 11 years, when our year next rolls around. You're sure to be tenacious, unusual little people.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Last night, Neilson and I headed out to Bierkraft, on 5th Avenue in Park Slope. This store specializes in beer, chocolate, and cheese, making it pretty close to utopia. It has over 650 kinds of beer and a very friendly, knowledgeable staff to help you sort through them. Due to a misunderstanding about time and place, I ended up missing the beer tasting--but not to worry, as they have one every Tuesday night at 7. We both bought bottles of Rogue, then headed up to Song, for some very good, very affordable Thai food. On the way out of Bierkraft, I picked up a copy of The Gotham Imbiber, a zine about beer in New York City. Back issues, bar guides and more can be found at www.cask-ale.co.uk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Technology Love 2- the Video Ipod

I have already confessed here to my deep love of gadgets and technology. I am now the proud co-owner of a video ipod. Yes, sharing may prove to be difficult, but we'll see. So far I am kind of a hog- not a surprise to anyone. Calvin is a patient man. In the mean time...

Podcasting! I am so excited that I can now download all the radio shows I'm not able to listen to and hear them as I walk through the streets of Manhattan. (Democracy Now! sometimes makes me cry- I am a sap as well as a technophile.)

Video podcasting! Many animators are distributing their material via video podcasting- Photoshop TV gives me a lot of useful tips, G4 TV's Attack of the Show Feed helps me stay on top of hip tech news.

Music, music music!

Lost! What more is there to say?

Popgadget is giving away video ipods if you subscribe to their email newsletter- well, if you're the lucky one who gets picked. Click here!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Stop Alito

I'm pretty much resigned to Alito's confirmation. But its best to go down fighting. I just received an e-mail from MoveOn, asking people to download portions of their anti-Alito petion and hand deliver them to their sentator's office. Hillary Clinton's office is only a mile or so from my house, so I'm going to do it on my way home. Anyone else who is interested should visit the MoveOn website for details.

MoveOn also suggested writing a personal letter to add to the petion. Here is mine:

Dear Senator Clinton:

I am writing, as a constituent and volunteer for MoveOn, to urge you to vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. I am also delivering a petition from MoveOn, signed by 50 fellow New Yorkers who oppose the nomination.

I am currently the associate editor of the Harriet Jacobs Papers. Jacobs, as you may know, was a woman who was born a slave. After she escaped, she wrote a book about her life to help the campaign for abolition, and later worked in Virginia and Georgia to assist the freedmen. Her daughter Louisa worked with her, as well as campaigning for Universal Suffrage. The Jacobs risked everything and fought tirelessly to the gain the rights for themselves and others that our constitution originally gave only to white men. To vote for Alito--with his abysmal record on civil rights--is to insult pioneers like the Jacobs, who forced America to live up to its lofty rhetoric.

Thank you for your consideration.

Daily Show report

Samantha Bee had her baby- read about it here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cat lovers take note.

Any one interested in cats (as I know many of you are) or just in goofy, fun, time-wasting websites should click on the following link.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Texas January 2005

The last few years, Calvin and I have gone to Texas in January to visit Bets, John, Hosmer, and if we're lucky sometimes Kym and Molly. We didn't go this year for a variety of reasons, and I'm having a bout of nostalgia. The Microtel (where we stay on South Padre Island for under $40. a night), running into the wind on the Island, Boomerang Billy's cocktails on the beach, Bets and John's generous hospitality and delicious food- hey I miss all this and more.

Here are a few pictures from last year.

Grilled Cheese, Geneva Style

I'm in Geneva, where I have been feasting on GrandMary's famous grilled cheese sandwiches. For years, I wondered how she could make something so simple taste so much better than anyone else. Then I realized the secret was butter--she not only puts butter in the pan, but butters the outside of the bread AND the inside of the bread.

She then cooks the sandwiches until they are almost--but not quite--burned, giving nice crunch to contrast with the rich melted cheese.

These sandwiches are best eaten with potato chips and her bread and butter pickles.

This may not be the world's healthiest meal, but in terms of taste, it can't be beat.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

More Ezra!

Over Christmas, I got to spend some more time with my parents' wonderful cat Ezra, a.k.a. Mr. Charisma. He is very social, so, unlike many cats, he loves the company and chaos that comes with the holidays. Ezra even graciously agrees to pose for staged photographs.

It does tire him out though.

It's been a year of adjustments for Ezra. After a year and a half of being the beloved creature of the house, he now has Anders for company in that category. He is polite (if wary) when he needs to share Frank's attention, but makes it clear he prefers to be the sole focus if possible.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Subway Entrepreneurship

You can buy a lot of things on the subway in New York, from batteries to umbrellas to toys that flash and twirl to bootleg DVDs of movies just barely in the theaters. And you also find yourself entertained by a wide variety of performers, from steel drum players to violists to kids who perform amazing acrobatic feats, flipping themselves up and down the cars, asking just for small change in return. But yesterday I encountered a new type of subway entrepreneurship. I was riding the A train home when a young guy got on and started hawking mixed CDs he had burned himself for 2 dollars. “The best of the old school” he promised, then set down a decidedly old school boom box and started playing the CD. The opening track was “I Want You Back,” by the Jackson 5. People were looking at each other, silently asking, “Is this guy for real” and “Does he really think anyone is going to buy a homemade CD from him.” But toes started to tap. He made his way up the car, promising “great music” and the “classics.” A few wallets came out and he fast forwarded the CD to Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” He made some more sales. Then Rick James “Mary Jane” filled the car and I caved. I gave him the money, thinking “I bet I’m going to get this home and it will be blank CD.” But it actually worked and is quite an enjoyable mix, filled with a bunch of songs I would never have purchased individually but am happy to have. I think it has the makings of a great gym CD, as well. The best thing is that, under the contents list, the entrepreneur has printed, “Thank You Train Supporters.”

The Contents:
I Want You Back--The Jackson 5
Shoe Shine Boy--Eddie Kendrick
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough--Marvin Gaye
I’ve Got Sunshine--Four Tops
Mary Jane--Rick James
Sugar Pie Honey Bunch--The Temptations
Where Are All My Friends--Willie Hutch
Your love Keeps Getting Me Higher--Jackie Wilson
Stir It Up--Patty LaBelle
Under the Boardwalk--Four Tops
Maybe Tomorrow--Jackson 5
Earth Angel--Buddy Holly
I’ll Keeping Holding On--Simply Red
Sing a Happy Song--The O’Jays
Everybody Plays the Fool--Manhattans
I’m Coming Out--Diana Ross
Shop Around--Smokey Robinson
New Attitude--Patty LaBelle
Oh Child--Marvin Gaye
Baby Work Out--Jackie Wilson
Yearning for Your Love--Gap Band

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy Belated New Year

I seem to have misplaced the cable that connects my camera to my computer, so this will have to be a photo-less recounting of the my New Year's celebration. My friend Andy Peach generously invited Neilson and I along with a few other friends to his lovely new home in Vermont. We took the train up to New Haven in order to rent a car, thus avoiding the exorbinate NYC rates (over $100 a day for an economy!). Our drive was leisurely, and instead of grabbing some junky food on the road we stopped off in Northampton for some surprisingly good Mexican food. Then we arrived in VT. It turned out everyone but Neilson was in some stage of sickness-coming down with a cold, in the throes of one, or just recovering. (I myself had a hacking cough--very attractive.) So it was a pretty mellow weekend. Around seven, we headed down toRowell's Inn , where many of the locals were gathering. The owners had comfy couches and a very extensive hot sauce collection. We sampled Trout River Beer, which had a very groovy, very Vermont label and a nice hoppy taste. Then it was back to the house, for Andy's delicious cassoulet, apple tart, and champagne. I hit the sack soon after midnight, although, as my nickname among my friends from college is narcoleptic Kate, my effort to stay up until 12 was appreciated. The next day was full of more lying around and eating, starting with bacon, eggs, and Moravian sugar cake, imported by John Thomas from North Carolina. We later took a drive out to the Grafton Village Cheese Company. For the end of the day, we took in King Kong, which was the great cinematic adventure I had hoped for. Poor Kong! The showing of the movie had an interesting twist. Just as Kong picked up the fair maiden for the first time, the movie broke for an intermission. For ten minutes we watched a documentary on the Tyrolian Paradise from the 50s or early 60s, including a discussion of the wonders of "Bovine Passivity." Then back to the action. The final day of our trip included more bacon and sugar cake, then a drive back to New Haven. It was a great weekend, althoug the next time I go to Vermont, I hope to be healthy enough to participate in some outdoor activities.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Lucretia

Today is the birthday of Lucretia Coffin Mott, one of my favorite women's rights advocates. Born in 1793, Mott, a Quaker, was an abolitionist and teacher. It was she who organized the Seneca Falls Convention with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, not Susan B. Anthony, as many people think. Like her fellow Capricorns she worked steadily to change the world.