Friday, November 30, 2007

waves coffee 2007

waves coffee 2006.

today the girl next to me is describing how boring her new boyfriend is in bed.

Labels:

pork cutlet

I am walking around downtown Vancouver late at night, because I thought staying here and absorbing aura would be good for something about me. I decide that I want a Japanese pork cutlet for dinner, then immediately turn a corner and see a storefront advertising Pork Cutlet for sale.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ways to make Calgary look like a city/Update

1. Photograph plumes of steam exploding upward from the frigid downtown skyscrapers at sunset, from the north, when the low-angle sunlight splashes right back at the lens and creates the image of steaming shining icy spires.

2. Photograph giant and important-looking aircraft beginning takeoff roll while aimed at the lonely skyline and surrounded by snow-covered everything.

I did neither. Now I'm in wet and rainy Vancouver, the beautiful catch basin of Canadian failure and, occasionally, Rob Bellinger's American dreams.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

off to calgary

Labels:

Monday, November 26, 2007

banishing exile

teeming and pregnant with chaos, the original muse communicates through gaudy stainless, timeless neon, third rail sparks. the possibilities are suffocating.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

CPCCPCII!

Fin. Big crowd.

Pics sooner or later.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 23, 2007

CPCCPC UPDATE

Already tipsy from two $4 half-liter Spaten Oktoberfests at the Five Corners, where Rock the Bartender suggested that we hit up the College Point Yacht Club for a good, cheap beer. He says 131 is "a good place to get your ass kicked," confirming my suspicions. People are dropping from the CPCCPC roster left and right. I don't know what to make of that. I went to Amore for lunch, and I'm headed to Cascarino's for dinner.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, November 22, 2007

OFFICIAL TRAVELOGUE OF THE FIRST ANNUAL COLLEGE POINT CLASS CONFLICT PUB CRAWL, HELD ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2006

Travelogue by Rob; Linked Photos by Dan

"You's are gonna end up in the hospital," said dad. I was beginning to think that this could be my worst idea of 2006. There was the trans-Canadian roadtrip that almost left me dead. I had already subjected myself to 20+ coach class business flights and had another 20+ to look forward to. But alco-cultural tourism in blue collar Queens?

I didn't believe it could happen until people started showing up in College Point the night after Thanksgiving.

When the small crowd reached critical mass--five--out we went. C-Mike, Althea, Meade, Rob "Mole" Gestone, and I set out through the sleepy, suburban streets of North College Point, the nicest part of the neighborhood. As we approached the Pour House (formerly the College Point Ale House), walking downhill on a narrow sidewalk, feelings of nervous excitement took hold of each of us. Would we be beaten by the bullies of our grade school days? Robbed by the bands of thugs who hang out in front of the neighborhood's 25+ delis 365 days per year?

We found the Pour House a legitimately quaint and nicely appointed corner bar in a residential hood known for haircuts and Korean-Italian subs. The only people in the place also worked there, and they were confused by out-of-state IDs. Every drink cost five bucks, but there was quite a selection. After a round of beers that we would not see again for the rest of the night, like Sam Adams and Bass, we received free Thanksgiving shots of some sticky Schnapps mixture, served in tiny plastic shot cups. C-Mike played RHCP's "Me and My Friends" on the digital jukebox--the Official Song of the CPCCPC. A flyer in the bathroom advertised the Thursday Night City Worker Special , but there were no city workers there to study. Things started well--no conflict.

Up the hill we marched, past the Poppenhusen Monument. Dan spotted this puke in the street and photographed a conspicuous hurricane evacuation sign (these showed up all over the city after 9/11). At 14th Avenue, two of C-Mike's friends from far, far away met up with us, just outside the North Fork Bank (formerly College Point Savings Bank). All marveled at the large and fake liberty bell in the bank. There, as children, we were frequently scolded for leaving handprints on said bell.

The POINT BAR & GRILL experience reminded me of the shady watering hole Homer Simpson finds himself in after Moe steals the Flaming Homer recipe--the place where the barkeep calls him "Your Majesty" for complaining about a huge stain on his glass. The Point Bar and Grill, which has since closed, had been described by the parents as "a real alcoholic's place." We had always passed by as children, and the mother pointed out the "filthy drunks" on the bar steps as examples of societal maladies that we should never become. In 2006, the bar, nestled tightly between a copy shop and a shoe repair shop on the first floor of an apartment building, looked more weathered than ever before. An unlit, faded sign hung over the brick facade. Two Mexican-looking dudes smoked cigarettes on the steps and let us in. Inside, there were a few more Mexican-looking dudes and an anorexic, elderly biker dude with long yellow hair and a compatible-looking chick on each arm. Behind the bar, in a state of apparent permaconfusion, was a tall, stocky dude in a GNR t-shirt.

Someone asked for a pitcher. The bartender dude said: "This is the Point Bar and Grill. You're lucky if we have a dirty glass." And so I ordered something in a bottle, a cider. For the next hour or so, we took pisses in a steel trough, wondered why there was an old treadmill in the empty back room, and watched as a gimpy old man brought 6-packs of Heineken up from the basement. We talked with the barkeep about his shirt. He was psyched to be seeing Axl at the Garden the next week. When we had taken in the scene, we realized that faced a dilemma.

Did we trek up 14th Ave to the residential metal bar, according to the original plan, or move down CP Blvd to two recently discovered bars? We chose the latter, arriving at Rob Roy Spirit's [sic] in just a few minutes. Inside the surprisingly nice place, very drunk drunks played pool. We swarmed the 40something lady behind the bar, and presented IDs from Jersey, Mass, Kansas. "You's are from everywhere!" she said. Then she poured $1.50 worth of Coors into whatever she could find. There weren't enough pint glasses to serve all seven of us, so various plastic cups were employed. Our team employed a dollar-per-drink tipping procedure, leading the barkeep to exclaim to her drunk friends, "They're big tippas!"

This time, the digijuke played "My Lovely Man," another RHCP tune. Carrying my Coors from the bar, I stepped aside as a huge, undercover cop-looking dude fired off the final, triumphant shot of a pool game. He turned to me, shook my hand, and said "thanks fa movin'" all slurred with a sickly drunk smile.

Suddenly I was talking to a short teamster about Somerville, Mass, my adopted hometown. He reached into his pocket and produced his birth certificate, proving that he was, in fact, born blocks from Somerville City Hall. He ended up in New York City and settled in the neighborhood because "College Point is really the last holdout for people of our kind." He elaborated, confirming my suspicion that "our kind" meant white people who play baseball and hockey. The teamster then gave a very lengthy oration on the quality of the new city-owned sports complex and the neighborhood's entire coaching staff.

Though we hoped to play pool, the pool tables were taken. We'd have liked a game of darts, but the bar's darts had been stolen. We moved south.

At the corner of College Point Boulevard and 23rd Avenue stand two bars, a pizza shop, and a 7-11. Around 1:30 a.m., six drunk, young-looking people on foot stormed into the 7-11 and bought disgusting Buffalo Taquitos. The Southeast Asian clerks looked confused and nervous, as did the sole other customer, a counterfeit Far East Queens hipster. The air of nervousness was dispelled as the revelers walked out into the night and the retail environment regained its characteristic silence and uninterrupted fluorescent glow.

JP's on the Boulevard, "A place to meet your friends," had been closed and sealed by the NYPD, so we couldn't drink there. Across the boulevard and up 23rd Ave. stood a squat and small and previously unknown bar I had discovered the day before: the Sports Garden. In this small bar we were to spend the rest of the night. Debbie, the raspy-voiced barkeep, drank heavily and jokingly harassed everyone in the bar. She didn't believe any of us were over 21, as people in College Point look far older than they are. She kept the conversation going with racist jokes--or at least, she tried to. Some people seated at the far end of the bar claimed they were part owners and bought us a round of shots, again in those tiny plastic cups. We did not reciprocate. There was a small, fenced-in patio outside the bar, littered with wet deck furniture reflecting sodium-vapor yellow in the chilly off-season night. I'm pretty sure everyone pissed in this desolate sports garden. We stayed at this bar a long time, then ordered up a livery cab to take our visitors back to the subway in Flushing.

But the Q65 bus, which never comes when you need it to, and which only runs every 90 minutes in the overnight period, showed right up. Our visitors piled in and headed home. C-Mike, Althea, and I did the long walk home, through the 3 a.m. mist, louder and rowdier than perhaps we had ever been in sleepy College Point. I made the mistake of running over a parked Crown Vic, falling off, and busting my knee, but I made it home to put up this post, and I lived to spread the glory of the first CPCCPC while planning the second.

Labels: , , , ,

Overheard in Logan

Pastiche of quotes from young Korean-Amerian male in white hoodie with shaved head, screaming into cellphone about two feet from my head.

HOW OLD AM I? I'M A GROWN-ASS MAN, BRO. I BEG THEM, SEND ME TO IRAQ, SEND ME TO IRAQ. I GOT CLOSE QUARTERS COMBAT TRAINING. I'M GETTING TRAINED BY TWO NAVY SEALS, BRO. I'M KOREAN, BUT I LOVE MY FUCKING COUNTRY. I WANNA DIE FOR MY COUNTRY. I'M SICK OF READING NAMES IN THE NEWSPAPER OF THESE PEOPLE DYING OVER THERE. WE'RE COMING INTO A GENERATION WHERE THE ONLY WAY TO BE ANYTHING IS TO DIE AND HAVE YOUR NAME ON A WALL OR A FUCKIN GRAVESTONE. THAT'S THE ONLY WAY I'M GONNA MAKE MY PARENTS PROUD. SEND ME TO IRAQ. I'LL DIE, BUT I'LL KILL A COUPLE NIGGAS BEFORE THEY KILL ME.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Perfect winter weather for CPCCPCII

NOAA reports that we'll have a clear, precipitation-free evening, with temperatures falling from about 40 to the upper 20s. I'm excited, and there will supposedly be a lot of people, but few bothered to sign up.

See Dan Meade's Flickr Slideshow of last year's journey.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HYUNDAI INDEPENDENCE


Entering San Francisco Bay, August 28, 2007.

COLLEGE POINT CLASS CONFLICT PUB CRAWL II: THE MAP [UPDATED]

Map has been updated and now features more CP landmarks as well as better integration of satellite imagery. Placemarkers are now 100% accurate.

Zoomable and clickable. Enjoy...



View Larger Map

This is the first customized Google Map featured here!

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Guitarplex


On the rack: three Kays, two Guyatones, one Galanti, and my Mexican Tele.

Labels: , , ,

Bassplex


RB's Four-String Fleet: Ampeg Little Stud, 90s Danelectro, Fernandes Jazz bass ripoff.

Labels: , , ,

Post-Operative Bass


Labels: , , ,

Bass Revitalization


Mid-70s Japanese Ampeg Little Stud undergoing soldering, cleaning, setup.

Labels: , , ,

Why can't people read maps?

Queens Visit Culinary Hitlist

  • Blue Bay Diner (chicken scampi over rice with ice-cold iceberg salad)
  • Amore Pizza (2 slices with pink drink)
  • Cascarino's (chicken staiano)
  • Le Cheesecake's brownies
  • if possible, Chinese Mexican quesadilla with ketchup-based "salsa" (easier to get in Manhattan)
  • Five Guys cheeseburger with malt vinegar-doused fries

That should leave room for one home-cooked meal.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Should the College Point Pub Crawl start earlier this year?

Last year we went from 9pm-3am but had to skip an entire leg.

Maybe 8pm isn't early enough. Thoughts?

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

College Point Pub Crawl II Sign Up Sheet--UPDATED

Details here.
Now aiming for an 8pm (TENTATIVE!) start at the Pour House, Friday after Thanksgiving.


Please sign up by commenting.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sidewalk Update!

By lunchtime, both corners across the street had been dug up for the second and third times, respectively. The corner that was partially dug up for the first time last week is now totally dug up for the second time.

Both corners across the street are now filled with dirt. Work has ceased for the day, and the Everett cop who spent most of his detail shift in the bank drove has driven big SUV home.

Labels: ,

Everett guy is back!

He just left to get coffee for his overtime shift, and for his contractor buddies.

Labels:

Detail Cop from Everett PD just showed up in Mercedes SUV.

But the sidewalk on the corner across the street had already been dug up, then filled in with dirt. So he left.

Labels: , ,

Traveling this holiday season?

Mass news media would like you to be nervous. Airport security doesn't work and Al Qaeda is going to blow up the mall.

Labels: , ,

Somerville Sidewalk Job Enters Month 5

Since I've been traveling for the past 5 weeks and worked at home well past 9pm last night, I thought I'd sleep a little later than usual today. But the Environic Corporation's excavator was outside my window just after 8, demolishing a few more squares of sidewalk on the corner across the street. When my lease started on July 15, this project had already started.

9:05am--a small loader and another excavator just showed up...

Labels: ,

additionally:

holding your own with people who don't understand a damn thing you say (think up, think down)
inexorable solitude
externally enforced denial of humanity
unwittingly creating an audio/visual record of the above

Labels: , , ,

three cheers for

constantly underestimating yourself
weight loss
subjugation of self to "company"
bourgeois scum not sure why this group would be cheered. --ed.
being better than you ever thought possible, years past
lack of confidence
defiant output
moralistic capitulation to enslavement that favors the collective good
the unelected working class
people being themselves
finding a way out
taking care of your people
getting what you need
meritocratic permanence
relevance

Post edited for accuracy. --ed.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

IND


Indiana is a state you have to make interesting.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 12, 2007

No visit to Indianapolis is complete without seeing a flipped-over 18-wheeler


I'm 3 for 3. This expired film photo is from this spring. I saw yet another 18-wheeled wreck today.

And I'm now in Louisville.

Labels: , , ,

Forgot my shoes

I'm in Southeast suburban Indianapolis ("suburban Indianapolis"=rural) with running shoes and hiking shoes but no dress shoes.

Thankfully, I'm within miles (probably less than 2) of a Wal-Mart, a Target, and a Payless.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Welcome to Indiana, where you can't eat without a car.

I'm staying across the street from a Wendy's and a McDonald's. I decided that since I'm hungry, and my meals are on the Company, that I would have one small cheeseburger and one small diet coke. I walked across six lanes of unlit blacktop to get to the other side of the road. I then walked between the road and the drainage ditch, since there are no sidewalks here.

At Wendy's, the dining room was locked. I walked around to the drive through and rapped on the window. An apologetic cashier, whose position I once occupied, came to the window, which he did not open, and informed me that "we're not allowed to take walk-ups." "I guess I'm going to McDonald's," I told him.

So I walked over to McDonald's and attempted to open the door, which was locked even though all the lights were on. A long-haired freak, mopping the floor, mouthed, "WE'RE CLOSED," even though the occupants of a large, white SUV were placing an order at the drive-through box

So: in order to purchase food that retails for $5, one must own a $20,000 vehicle.

The peanuts in the hotel vending machine cost 85¢.

Labels: , ,

Saturday Nights at the Cantab Lounge

I've drunkenly described the Cantab Lounge in Central Square as a "Noah's Ark of humanity," where on a weekend night you'll see one of every type of human imaginable, except for college students (thankfully, the whole 21-plus thing tends to keep them away). You'll see the crazy African-American lady in an Indian headdress with Bluetooth headset. You'll see two short, gray-topped men in black sport coats--the identical twins who play bass and drums in the Fatback Band. You'll hear many heavy townie accents, and you'll usually see quasi-hipsters embarrassing themselves.

Walking into the upstairs bar, you're greeted by off-color cream, blue, and green everything--almost the exact same colors my grandparents painted the basement kitchen of their tiny Queens bungalow. You'll see paintings of halfnaked women and brewer's memorabilia straight from the mid-70s, the period that almost all of the songs in the set will be taken from.

When the band strikes its first note around 10, all the old people hit the floor. Diane Blue, the lead singer/harp player, is usually just showing up with her coffee (the bassist ably handles vocals for a bit). As the scene heats up and the youth arrive, many old people leave around 11 to pass out or mate drunkenly. Then the paradoxes or ironies or coincidences truly begin.

You're in an amusingly decayed, musty warp zone where musically, it's 1975, young and old and black and white dance together, and pretty, apparently single girls amass at the back corner bar too nervous to hit the floor until that third or fourth drink. A feeling builds--excitement? pleasure? enjoyment? Which fits best? The band never runs out of covers. The funky old dude on the strat never hits a bad note; in fact, he actually shreds. Shreds. Sax and harmonica work together to churn out thick melodies that keep asses shaking and mouths smiling.

I always wonder: did I accomplish enough on this visit? Should I have stayed until they kick you out at 2? Should I have flicked my introvert/extrovert switch and spoken to people (girls) I don't know? When will I have the opportunity to go again? It's like being at a high school dance where everything is right and everything is sound and everyone is grown up and they almost know how to be happy, almost.

As a serious realist (which many interpret as "pessimist"), the Cantab gives me hope. To see the musical and sexual and even just observational possibilities amassing is a treat worth the $5 cover charge. The whole atmosphere is like your mother's most loveably flawed dinner recipe: you're not sure whether all the ingredients make sense, but it's home.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Buff for Christ (with crucifix branding iron)


West Texas A&M University
Canyon, TX

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 09, 2007

Abandoned Richmond #12


Labels: ,

Abandoned Richmond #11


Labels: ,

Update on sidewalk job

In eight hours of work today, four workers, two machines, and one detail cop dug up a temporary asphalt sidewalk on the SE corner. They then dug up the new granite curbing, then put it back in. Then they created a new, temporary sidewalk of dirt, leveled it, and compacted it.

So, after 3 months of work, we have:
Corner 1 (NW): Curbing and sidewalk complete. Light pole not yet installed.
Coner 2 (NE): Curbing complete. Sidewalk half filled-in with new concrete, half hole.
Corner 3 (SW): Temporary dirt and asphalt sidewalk. New curbing dug up, then re-installed.
Corner 4 (SE): Curbing installed. Temporary asphalt sidewalk with spray-painted lines showing where to rip it up.

Labels:

Detail cop just showed up.

They found a guy from the Medford PD, who is getting paid overtime to stand in traffic and talk on his cellphone.

Labels: ,

Homesickness, continued.

I want Amore pizza for lunch (with unidentified pink fruit drink) and Cascarino's chicken staiano for dinner.

Labels: ,

The efficiencies of government-contractor partnerships in urban Massachusetts.

The four corners outside my window are being rebuilt with granite curbs and wheelchair ramps. This has been going on since mid-July (it should not have taken more than four days total, which is more than what it would take in New York). Today, an excavator with hydraulic breaker attachment is breaking out chunks of temporary asphalt sidewalk (an unnecessary expense) on the other side of the street. The corners on this side of the street have been half-resurfaced with cement--the truck ran out both days it was here (Tuesday and Wednesday. Detail cop both days). Today's detail cop has not shown up yet. I'm buying more and more stuff online to keep sales tax from going to this machine.

Labels:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Car-Free

P.S. I've been car-free in Boston for 16 months. I haven't starved to death or anything. I also estimate I'm saving at least $8,000 a year.

Labels:

Big Dig adds new layer of coddling for suburban commuters.

As if the $15b price tag, increased carbon emissions, and huge encouragement of driving to work alone were not enough, the Big Dig will now pander to drivers who use cell phones--by allowing all cell phone customers to pay $7.6m to add reception-providing cables to the tunnel walls. The Globe reports that many drivers who "multitask" may now "be able to chat on their cell phones uninterrupted." Massachusetts Turnpike officials, who stand to gain a lot of rent from this development, claim that cell phones in the winding tunnels won't create threats to safety. But the Globe reported on an activist's investigation into the tunnels' high crash rate on July 24 and published a reader's letter supporting the activist's work on July 25.

We need to get people out of their cars. We need to cut down emissions in Urban Boston. We need to encourage safer driving through a statewide headset-only law. This development makes accomplishing any of those goals seem a little less possible.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Abandoned Richmond #9


Labels: ,

Abandoned Richmond #8


This is my favorite photo from Richmond.

Labels: ,

Abandoned Richmond

You are cordially invited to view my Abandoned Richmond photo slideshow by clicking this link.

Highlights include:


N.B. I am fully aware that it is 3am. I just got home from Minneapolis/Mankato, Amarillo (via Houston, twice), D.C., and Richmond. I am happy to say that I nabbed 200+ shots on this trip, a handful of which are decent.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cab Man of Amarillo

He's a big, bearded, Suburban-driving behemoth, whose massive gut kisses the steering wheel during even the most gradual stops and turns. "I spend most of my time at the airport because I hate the fucking people here--that's because most of them are fucking assholes." When pressed, he reveals his roots: "I'm from New York City...Broadway and 225th in the Bronx."

Labels: ,

Friday, November 02, 2007

Richmond

Pretty. Lots of crackheads downtown (no meth heads)? Very vibrant, urban neighborhoods hidden from 95, yet you need a car to get around.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Re-Elect Mayor Joe"


Somerville. Oct. 26.