Thursday, November 27, 2008

CPCCPCIII

To participate in this year's College Point Pub Crawl, which is going to be huge, show up at the Five Corners Restaurant in College Point at 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday night). The restaurant has no website, and I hope it's still in business. I didn't check.

The 5 Corners is at 14th Ave and 127th St in College Point:


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

How to get there:
1. Get to Main Street, Flushing. The 7 Express takes about 35 minutes from Times Square or Grand Central. The LIRR takes 20 minutes from Penn Station.

2. Get on a bus. Here are your options:
  • The Q25 is probably your best bet. Picks up on Main St near Roosevelt Ave. Stops outside the Five Corners (127th St at 14th Ave).
  • The Q65 runs the most frequently and will let you off at 14th Road and College Point Boulevard, from which you can walk to 14th Ave and 127th St. The 65 also picks up on Main St, under the gigantic, abandoned Caldor sign.
  • The Q20A will let you off at 127th St and 20th Ave, from which you can walk to 127th St and 14th Ave.
  • The Q20B runs very infrequently but will also let you off right at the Five Corners.
You should probably take the 65 or 25. If you drive to CP, there are no parking permit rules and you can park anywhere.

Where we're going:
There are at least 5 bars we can hit, with the possibility of one or two more if we find them. We never run out of things to do, yet we have never fulfilled my fantasy of brown-bagging in front of one of the area's many 24-hour delis.

Getting Out of CP:

The buses run infrequently at night but we've always succeeded in shipping people back to the subway via bus. If need be, we can easily call livery cabs for a ride to Main St ($13-15).

Hotel prices have either risen sharply or decreased sharply since yesterday. Right now, the Extended Stay Suites in Whitestone is down to $97 and a tiny new Howard Johnson in Flushing is $118. The new Fairfield Inn that is within walking distance of the last scheduled bar is still $159. So make sure you have your Mariott RewardsTM card in your wallet tomorrow and get ready to get fucked up.

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If you are looking for details on the CPCCPC, we are working on it!

Happy T-Day!

P.S. If you send me work email between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM today, I will slaughter you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UP #137: Industrial Decay Accelerator


Note the bucket over the exhaust pipe.

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The Burden of Being RB

You can't enjoy a weekend without laptop, guitar, and photographic equipment (all of which are on the bus today). No one helps you with your laundry. You don't have time for girls. You have three jobs and live in at least two cities. When you're having a good time, everyone thinks you're complaining.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CPCCPCIII #1: Text from Meade, Three Days Out


Monday, November 24, 2008

ABBQ1

There is much to be thankful for this year, and I am really excited about being home in New York City for the holiday. We'll have the Third Annual CPCCPC and two Infrastructure rehearsals. Plus, I'm doing a Dexter Season 3 marathon with my little bro.

Just two weeks after Thanksgiving is ABBQ1, my group's first Austin BBQ road trip. Rob L. recently sent along a link to Texas Monthly's "quintessential, quinquennial review of the 50 best barbecue joints in Texas."

They've plotted all 50 places, plus honorable mentions, on a Google map. Last night, I printed off the area around Austin, cracked open a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, and started planning.

Three days of cue. Plus Dale Watson at the Broken Spoke. I don't think you can fit much more Austin in a weekend.

The plan so far:


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Cross the Street in Dorchester

We were in Dorchester. We didn't know that we were going to Dorchester, but that's where we had to go, so that's where we went. We grudgingly got off the train at JFK/UMass and started walking through the dimly lit, unsafe passage under I-93.

Shortly thereafter, Chris realized that we were being followed. Chris and I had each just drank a pitcher of Spaten at Jacob Wirth, so we had a little buzz going. The two of us were walking out front, our three lady friends were trailing a good distance behind, and a dark-skinned young guy in a hooded gray outfit had appeared just a little behind them. He was wearing the same outfit that the bad guys on The Wire wear when they go out on foot to execute their rivals.

Suddenly all six of us were walking closer together. Someone said, "Damn, you two guys have all three of these fine ladies to yourselves!" I didn't say it, and I know Chris didn't say it either. The guy was now walking in the middle of our group.

"Don't mind me; I'm just trying to make friends," the dude said. The ladies clammed up and walked faster. I hung back to talk to the guy. I always do that.

"Where's the party?" he asked.

"Straight ahead."

"I just got off work. I been workin' hard for my Pomeranian. I'm a security guard, long-ass hours. It's like union shit. I got a pit bull, too, and my pit bull is the Pomeranian's bodyguard! Hey, what's your name? Mine's Junior."

When we got to the corner of Dorchester Ave, and the bar where my brother was playing came into sight, Junior got all serious.

"So, you just drink?" I told him, no, I have a job.

"No, you don't do any other drugs? Nothing?" Seeing increasing humor potential, I asked in some convincing tone what his crew was "slingin.'"

"Oh, we got e, coke, weed, everything. Not here, though. In Quincy. You gotta come down to Quincy with me."

"Where in Quincy?"

Suddenly we noticed that we were across the street from our destination and we had to cross Dorchester Ave. I caught up to the others, who were waiting for an opening in the traffic. But Junior walked out in front of us and shouted:

"YOU IN DORCHESTER! THIS IS HOW YOU CROSS THE STREET IN DORCHESTER!"

And then he broke from the group and walked right into the rear side panel of a speeding, green, 2-door Civic. His knee made a grotesque pop! as it struck the car. It sounded like a two-liter bottle of soda hitting the pavement after a long fall.

The car screeched to a stop about thirty yards away. And then, the inevitable. The backup lights turned on, and the car rolled slowly back to us. The driver, a stout black male of about double Junior's mass, emerged. He stood in the middle of the roadway and his eyes hit Junior's with an executioner's stare.

"I'm straight," Junior said, hoping to walk away.

"Let me tell you something," the driver began, walking aggressively toward us. I wondered if he might mistake my group for Junior's posse and shoot us all, but one quick glance at the group reminded me that his making this connection was a sheer impossibility.

The driver went on: "When you're crossing the street, n*gger, you better watch to see if there's any cars coming." Junior tried to say something. "Next time, I'll run your ass over."

Suddenly, there was no traffic, just the stopped Civic and the confrontation in the street. I looked up. Directly across the street was my brother, playing bass in his cover band, That's What She Said. They were right in the front window of Tom English's bar (the Tom English in Dorchester, NOT the Tom English in Southie). I waved to my brother as we crossed the street, knowing I had just acquired another story.

Back in the street, the two guys were really having words now, telling each other not to front but stepping gradually toward each other. We passed a large crowd of middle-aged white townies smoking on the steps to the bar. One woman shook her head as I walked by her, saying to no one in particular, "He's gawna get his ayss kicked."

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Afterword: This morning I recounted this tale for my friend, Rachel, who claims she also met a Pomeranian-owning, drug-dealing Junior at the Quincy Center T stop when she was living there.

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Carolina Bar-B-Q, Statesville, N.C.

When I first passed through Statesville on the interstate, late on Tuesday night, I could tell that it had enough exits to be a decently sized town. That meant there would be good barbecue.

Sure enough, the NC Barbecue Society website had an entry for Carolina Bar-B-Q there. I stopped in on the 3-hour drive back to Charlotte the next night.

Here's what happened:





My waitress was great. She was from Buffalo and had moved to NC to escape a bad relationship. That's the nice thing about America, I said. You can just keep moving on until you use it all up.

After I'd eaten, I overheard one of a group of working men order a buffalo wing dinner. This was the first time I'd been in a NC joint that combined barbecue and buffalo. I'm still curious about that buffalo. I wonder if the waitress brought it with her.

I hadn't made the connection at the time, and so I didn't ask. Before bringing the check, she sold me on taking dessert to go. I brought a styrofoam cup of fresh cobbler--half cherry and half blackberry--to my hotel room in Charlotte.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

CPC IS NEXT FRIDAY: Sign Up At Official CPCCPC Event Page on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=36199873710

Text of the announcement:

In 2006, I wrote: "What better way to explore the fiber of the community that created the Bellinger boys than through drinking? Hard work, racism, culturally reinforced ignorance, factories, pizza, violence, salt water, bad bus service, jet fuel odor, football/baseball/hockey, that's what College Point is."

Since then, many have joined me for the Thanksgiving weekend slosh-fest where we smoke illegally in bars, trash Sports Gardens, commiserate with the locals, and eat lots of Go-Go Taquitos. No one has yet been hurt, beaten, or robbed. It's just good, clean fun in a very interesting, dynamically changing New York City neighborhood.

The Third Annual CPC^2 will take place on Friday, November 28, beginning with dinner at the Five Corners German restaurant (if it's still in business). The Five Corners is on the Q25 bus route, which you can pick up from the terminus of the IRT #7 line at Main Street, Flushing.

I need a head count to determine whether we'll need hotel room(s). There are half a dozen new hotels in the area priced around $140 for the night.

Visit the official "website" of the CPC at http://www.rbellinger.com/blog/labels/cpccpc.html
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ALL ARE WELCOME. I only invited you if I thought you'd show up.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And Now: The Holiday Inn Bar

Six middle-aged men making fun of CNN. Roughly 70 work emails to answer. You can smoke in here. One free Yuengling. This is pretty bad.

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Charlotte

From the looks of this town, people must live in their cars and sleep in their homes. I got lost on a dead end street that ran behind some strip malls and found a crumbling, white, plantation-looking house at the end of the road. Weird. I don't think I will meet any nice girls here, unless they are downstairs at the Holiday Inn bar (closes at 10).

P.S. I hit up Carolina Bar-B-Q in Statesville and would post photos if I had a USB cable. I need a break from the Michigan stuff.

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"I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer,"

quoth the radio preacher from a transmitter somewhere near Galax, Virginia. As Tuesday became Wednesday and a sharp, 21° crosswind unforgivingly rocked my piece of shit rental car from side to side, his voice continued, "We leave this world as we enter it, with nothing. Some people sacrifice their health and distance themselves from their families in order to work too much, to accumulate wealth..."

The preacher told me to represent my products honestly and make an honest profit, and give the rest away. I hit the seek button and all of a sudden Anthony Kiedis was shouting, "GIVITAWAY! GIVITAWAY! GIVITAWAY NOW!" When the song ended I shut the radio off, took my exit, and almost impaled myself on a guardrail.

I am currently traveling from Boston to New York to North Carolina to Virginia to North Carolina to Boston. I have been working for the past 17 hours, driving for the last three. I don't do many of these trips anymore, but they still destroy my mind.

I have three jobs.

I only write lyrics when I am in airplanes and miserable.

I write music all the time.

I only take pictures when I am not at home.

I only post pictures when I'm bored.

I am going to sleep.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

UP #136: Dan amid Factory Ruins


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UP #135: Base of Smokestack at Factory Ruins


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

UP #134: Abandoned Cabins Near Ojibway, Mich.


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UP #133: Abandoned Cabins Near Ojibway, Mich.


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UP #132: Abandoned Cabins Near Ojibway, Mich.


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UP #131: Abandoned Cabins Near Ojibway, Mich.


We now return to serial blogging of the Upper Peninsula.

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I Will Cantab No More Forever.

The story begins with promise.

The story ends with standing stranded in the pouring rain fourteen months later.

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Warren the Bartender

is probably the biggest cocksucker I've ever met. The doorman says he's an "asshole." The waitress says he's an "asshole." Funny, that. It pays to have acquaintances who can sum up the situation and get things done. Gut protruding and eyes beady. He ignores an outstretched $10 bill because he claims he hasn't seen me before. He's been behind the counter for "thirteen years" but doesn't seem to have enjoyed a second of his tenure. He says don't say you're a regular unless you're a regular, but he won't even pour you a pint. It's bad enough that all the hipster chicks brought their boyfriends, again, and that the male overage is angry and jutting shoulders into shoulders. The band rocks on, but Warren still sucks. He's a real downer.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Most Fucked Up Night of My Life

It is 4:42 a.m. I am here at SOLOPAD with Dan M. and Jason W. We spent 2 hours at some random girls' house, making pasta. It didn't go so well.



On the way back from Porter to Teele, saw this accident scene, guarded by State Police, which probably means that people died. Will update in the morning with fatality tally.

As we approached Teele, at 4:37 a.m., I made a comment to my people that the mythical and mysterious 89/93 bus would be coming at any moment. Sure enough, it did. Recall that this is a bizarre bus that is not on the MBTA schedule and purports to run from Clarendon Hill to Sullivan to Downtown Boston. We flagged down the driver and interrogated him.

This was, in fact, my first time seeing the 89/93 *not* from my apartment, but on foot. "Where are you guys trying to go," asked the driver, a full hour before the actual MBTA schedule would start. "We can take you anywhere you want to go." I pointed out that the 89/93 does not exist on any schedule, but seems to run every night. "They only have me doing this on Saturdays," said the driver, and piloted his empty and unknown bus into the night.

Dan snapped this photo of us talking to the 89/93 driver on his cell phone...

And that is that.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

UP #130: Keweenaw County Snowfall Indicator, Near Phoenix, Mich.


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UP #129: Fresh Oil on Brockway Mountain Drive


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UP #128: Copper Harbor, Mich., Viewed from Brockway Mountain


Once a major copper port of the 19th century, Copper Harbor is now a very quiet place.

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UP #127: 1,990 Miles from Miami in June


The weather was horrible this day. We worked with it the best we could.

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UP #126: Breezy Point Lodge (Abandoned), Copper Harbor, Mich.


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UP #125: Beginning of U.S. 41, Copper Harbor, Mich.


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UP #124: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UP #123: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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UP #122: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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UP #121: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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UP #120: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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UP #119: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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UP #117: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


We saw this down a dirt road and drove in.

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UP #118: Abandoned Mine North of Calumet, Mich.


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UP #116: Northgate Motel (ALWAYS OPEN), Calumet, Mich.


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UP #115: DON'T SPIT ON WALKS, Calumet, Mich.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

UP #114: Calumet, Mich. Police Station


With a characteristic Michigan State Police car.

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UP #113: Calumet Village Police, Calumet, Mich.


During the U.P. copper boom, Calumet almost challenged Lansing's status as the capital of Michigan. Now it is a depressed and tiny tourist town with a famous opera house and the continent's worst chile relleno.

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UP #112: Calumet, Mich. Dept. of Public Works


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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

UP #111: Train Wreck, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #110: Gigantic Nordberg Steam Winch


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UP #109: Alarm Bell on Nordberg Steam Winch


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UP #108: Bridge Out, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #107: Dan on Cog Railway


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UP #106: Reboarding the Cog Railway Car


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UP #105: Pneumatic Rotary Drill, Quincy Mine


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UP #104: Tour Guide with Map of Quincy Mine


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UP #103: Entering Quincy Mine via Old Drainage Bore


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UP #102: Preparing to Enter the Mine


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UP #101: Cog Railway Grade at Quincy Mine, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #100: On the Cog Railway at Quincy Mine, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #99: Houghton County Road Commission Tanker, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #98: Quincy Smelter, Hancock, Mich.


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Monday, November 03, 2008

UP #97: Steam Locomotive, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #96: Steam Locomotive at Hancock Smelter, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #95: God's Country, Houghton, Mich.


It looks like a joke. It isn't.

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UP #94: Hancock Smelter, Hancock, Mich.


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UP #93: Swedish Pancakes, Houghton, Mich.


Preparing to explore the Keweenaw!

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