blog-o-matic

last updated: may 2, 2004

never underestimate the power of nostalgia ... a while back i found a site where you could get some old old old old school games. i'm talking about the ones from way back in the days of pixels the size of your hand and bleeps and bloops from the sound card-less apple ii computers.



download number munchers: as good as you remember. i mean, how can you not get a thrill when you see a trogdor nearby? this version has difficulty settings you can adjust, so if you're a bit beyond "factors of 10" you can try "factors of 812".

download super munchers: i think this is a newer game in the series. you'll get categories such as "countries in south america" (which turns out to be much harder than you'd think). also has a food category, haha.

download gertrude's secrets: wow, i remember this one from waaaay back. from the same folks that brought you reader rabbit. this one's a puzzle game. hours of fun even though it only has four colors. haha.

posted by fwc | 4/30/2004 8:52 AM
i'm sure winnie can help me out here, but occasionally i want to look up some food-related term. the best online food dictionary i've found so far is on epicurious.com. anyone have any other suggestions?
posted by fwc | 4/27/2004 4:59 PM
random but old pic (b/c no one else posts pics on this blog, hint hint) ...



BBC News, April 9, 2004
in other news, recently saw a movie that i bet winnie's already seen, called babette's feast, (aka babettes gæstebud). it's this story about a woman who flees france and ends up living with two elderly religious sisters in a small town in denmark. the story was pretty straightforward, but the direction, characters, and acting were good, and the last scene was quite memorable. won the 1988 oscar for best foreign film.

also, after having resisted for a while i sat down and watched absolutely fabulous - complete series 1 (aka ab fab). i'd seen an episode or two before and really wasn't into it (for the same reasons no doubt that a sizable number of gay men are into it), but after having gotten into french and saunders (fantastic british comedy duo) andy and i have gone back and watched some of their solo work. in case you don't know, ab fab's mostly about an irresponsible mother and her long-suffering daughter. here's a funny excerpt from the first season that'll give you a good idea of what the show's like:
posted by fwc | 4/22/2004 9:16 AM
some upcoming releases that i'm pretty damn excited about.

april: bjork: singles box. every single she's ever made. it's going to cost way too much, but man it'll be worth it.

5/4: sondheim: bounce (original cast): first new show from sondheim since 1996's passion.

5/10ish: the streets: 2nd album. i've already heard the first single off of this (called "fit but you know it", humorous in the vein of "don't mug yourself") and i'm psyched. there are other tracks floating around also.

5/17: tori amos: welcome to sunny florida, live DVD

6/8: pj harvey: uh huh her, seventh album

late 2004? bjork: new album

rock 'n roll ...

posted by fwc | 4/19/2004 9:03 AM
andy and i saw pinback on tuesday. they were giving out a few free tickets to each show via email, so we got in free. aw, yeah. the show was good, although about the same as the other two i've seen. but the newer songs were thoroughly enjoyable. one song, "microtonic wave", is on the offcell EP which i've been listening to and which has this funk sort of waah waah guitar which is a new sound for them. another one, which people refer to as "fortress" sounded to me like a new wave song a la pinback at first, but it's an original apparently. not sure what the name of the third one is yet, but it's as catchy as anything they've written. looking forward to the album.

been to some restaurants for the 2nd or 3rd time lately. winnie and i have talked about how important it is for a restaurant to be not only good but consistent as well. so here's the skinny:

via matta: seemed to have more vegetarian stuff than last time i went. i had the minestra which was chockful of nice veggies in a savory but understated broth. i also had the crispy eggplant again, and though it wasn't quite as smooth as before it was still quite good, and the tomatoes were nice and fresh. both appetizers were quite big and overall very good. oh, and the olive oil they have is nice and grassy. heh. andy had the arugula salad and the homemade ravioli. i'm probably likely to go back here sooner than most others.

hamersley's: got the mushroom sandwich again, which was again quite excellent. nice and garlicky. also had this baked penne in a cream sauce which was good although a little plain. the major drawback w/ that dish was that it was way too hot temperature-wise. i had to wait at least five minutes before i could eat it w/ out scalding my tongue.

troquet: everyone i went with got the beet salad. i think i might have had this before, and it was quite good. big and straightforward. i'd had the mushroom cavatelli about two years ago and it was definitely not so good this time around. andy had the game pigeon which he said was only about average. all in all the place is a bit overpriced.

posted by fwc | 4/17/2004 12:30 PM
andy and i went to new york this weekend to see winnie before she leaves us forever. :( we went to the cooper-hewitt and saw the christopher dresser exhibit. dresser was a designer in the late 1800's, but a lot of his work looks completely contemporary. the exhibit was -really- good. actually i think i liked it better than the triennial. just check out the flash animation on the site about the exhibit -- it'll make you want to go.

the whitney biennial was about as so-so as the other time i've been to the whitney. there were some things there that were worth seeing, but so much of it was the same old junk that it was easy to get through it pretty quickly. it was really crowded when we left, though, so if you go you should be forewarned.

we also saw the revival of stoppard's jumpers (imported from london's national theater). apparently it's not one of his best shows, but it was entertaining enough. the play lacks any character development and doesn't have much of a plot, and its philosophy is pretty trite, about on the level of an introductory course. but the acting was generally good, as was the production.

also finally got around to seeing gypsy with the incomparable bernadette peters. that was quite good, although the show does have its flaws, but still it was great to finally see bernie live.

stayed at the hudson. funky, although the rooms are a bit small. had brunch there on sunday and although andy wasn't that impressed w/ his eggs and chicken hash, i thought my waffle w/ fruit and a strawberry and apple compote was quite good.

winnie's leaving this week. WAAH!

posted by fwc | 4/12/2004 5:23 PM


my review of x-statix is in today's tech. winnie already knows how much i worship them, but i have to say that even now that the first bloom of adoration has worn off i still think x-statix is simply the best x-men comic right now. one of those totally-indie-but-somehow-hit-the-mainstream successes. above are some of my favorite characters (l to r): doop, vivisector, u-go girl, sluk, and dead girl.

also, check out my x-statix gallery.

posted by fwc | 4/9/2004 12:27 PM
courtesy of aman, the most sick and twisted song i've heard in a very long time. george bush victory song
posted by fwc | 4/3/2004 1:49 PM


recently i bought the 2 dvd set of pride and prejudice (one of my favorite books of all time. yeah, i know i'm a wuss.) which i think is just great. i watched all 6 hours of it this weekend with andy and it's definitely one of those rare literary adaptations that succeeds in staying faithful to the book, and the added scenes actually succeed. jennifer ehle is quite good, and colin firth as mr. darcy has these soulful eyes that are irresistible. heh. the rest of the cast is likewise very good.

while on my jane austen kick i picked up this book which had the lengthy title what jane austen ate and charles dickens knew: from fox hunting to whist - the facts of daily life in nineteenth-century england (by daniel pool). the book isn't bad, although i ended up skimming through a lot of the more boring sections (e.g. the government, the army), and the parts i was more interested in didn't delve quite as deep as i would have liked. i'll prob. pick up another book about the same period some time. topics in this book included pudding, dances, the difference between an earl and a marquis, and card games. (i found out that the exotic-sounding whist is actually the familiar game of spades. i have a sudden urge to play it now, heh.) some interesting tidbits:

p. 53: "... when she came out in 1849 Lady Dorothy Neville attended '50 balls, 60 parties, 30 dinners and 25 breakfasts.'"

p. 58: "In some families a string of underservants in succession in the same position all might be called by the same first name because the family did not want to be bothered learning a new one each time a replacement was hired."

p. 81: "Quite apart from any damage to hearts or reputations, wax dripped from the overhead candelabra and chandeliers onto the dancers with some regularity."

p. 205: "Unfortunately ... colored food additives were in their infancy: to get gold and silver colors, copper and zinc were added; for blues, iron; and lead was used for reds. Occasionally, arsenic seems to have been used to achieve greens with fatal results in at least one case."

p. 253: "If you were a suicide, until 1823 you were required to be buried by law at a crossroads with a stake through your heart ... The stake was to prevent the ghost from walking, and the burial at a crossroads was believed to dilute the evil influence of the deceased by spreading it in four separate directions."

posted by fwc | 3/28/2004 8:51 PM
a while ago i made a copy of the index to the rough guide to classical music, which is a bit too heavy on modern british composers but is otherwise a great survey of the classical music literature. i've put up the text here. how many of these pieces do you know?

also a while back i read a book called american folk tales and songs collected by a guy named richard chase. the stories were rather quaint, but generally entertaining, esp. the dialect. the highlight, though, were these texts from graves from around the turn of the century. succinct yet oh so eloquent.

Franky Davis his wife
age 87
dide Sep 10 1842
she had nirve fite wolves all nite at shogar camp to save her caff
throde fier chonks the camp wars half mile from home
noe she must have nirv to fite wolf all nite

Joseph Carpenter
ag 18
did aug 18 1862
he fot for his contery
los his lif.

Kim Kone
ag 73
dide oc 15 1888
wars black smith he had 6 girles that cod work in shop tha[y] wars 6 feet hy

David Frank
age 72
dide Dec 22 1891
wars fine man mad[e] some brandy wars good

Samel Hoskin
ag 70
dide may 5 1896
wars farmer
and grate lier

posted by fwc | 3/22/2004 8:55 AM
been obsessively playing this game called pocket fighter lately. it features characters from the popular street fighter franchise and a few other fighting game characters, all as kids ... sooo cute and so addictive.


posted by fwc | 3/19/2004 10:39 AM
this is kind of an old review that i forgot to post:

andy and i went to casa romero last week. it was one of those "let's check it out even though last time we went it was really mediocre" kind of occasions. it was better this time, although i'd forgotten how overpriced it is. we started w/ the guacamole which was quite bland. then we had three appetizers: a cactus/mexican mushroom (i forget the name) dish in a tortilla; a poblano quesadilla which had a nice zing to it; and the chile relleno. all three were fine although none of them were amazing. the service was definitely subpar, but that might just be the "latin way". casa mexico in h sq may have a slightly less interesting menu, but the service is good there and the prices are much more reasonable. plus they have two hot waiters there, hahaha.

posted by fwc | 3/12/2004 10:51 AM
just finished reading the wind in the willows for the first time. it's a wonderfully gentle, idyllic, very british book, and had some surprisingly emotionally sophisticated moments. the british really have a knack for really charming stories. at times the book is a little heavy on description, but grahame's characterization is great. i like ratty the best, but badger and mole are close seconds. toad is kind of an ass, but his reformation at the end was almost believable. the edition i read had fantastically lovable illustrations by a fellow named dick currari and i've included a few below.
posted by fwc | 3/8/2004 10:18 PM
went to great bay (from the same people who brought you radius and via matta) last night for andy's birthday. (happy birthday, andy!) the place looks better than i thought it would from the horrible outside. (it's part of the hideous BU hotel in kenmore square. fortunately the city of boston has made them redo their facade. it's currently underway.) the decor was good: good lighting, not too bright, not too dark; nice bar setup; some sort of random orange, salmon, and gray chiffon-y things on the wall; a projected image that was supposed to be fish scales but looked more like a chain link fence; and couches. also had an additional dining room which i didn't check out but which looked a little more formal. patty had the shrimp tacos. she's quite the expert on the place. she eats out pretty much every night of the week, and she said lately she's been going there about 12 times a month. (crazy, i know.) andy got the oysters, the beet salad w/ goat cheese (very attractively presented. in the center were alternating cross sections of red and gold beets with goat cheese spread in between. there were small wedges on the sides along w/ some type of red sauce.), and the scallop ravioli (which turned out to be ravioli w/ scallops as opposed to the ravioli having scallops in them). i had the seaweed salad (with tofu and either dried or cooked bits of portabella mushroom which were, as the teen girl squad would say, so good!) and the pureed potatoes (which was ridiculously huge). everything was uniformly quite good. for dessert we had the warm cookies with milk and the butterscotch pudding. the pudding was the only real disappointment. it was nice and creamy, but otherwise didn't have much personality. definitely one of the best places i've eaten at in boston in a while. (still haven't had dinner at radius ... one of these days when i'm not so poor.)
posted by fwc | 3/4/2004 10:59 AM
this past week or so has been rather arty. first off, on friday andy and i went to a dance performance with bess. it was this woman named maureen fleming at the cutler theatre i think. her dance has a rather japanese aesthetic so it's veeeery slow, which is highly unusual. it relies a lot on the lighting and music to keep it interesting. it wasn't bad as a concept, but fleming doesn't really do much revelatory with it so it ended up being a little long and the kind of thing you only need to see once. it was fun seeing it w/ bess, though, and we all went to excelsior (apparently it's lydia shire's) for drinks afterwards. andy had the tuna tartare and fried artichoke which he said were both pretty good. the artichoke came w/ these two subpar limp, kind of soggy things that looked like fries and were some sort of goat cheese/potato concoction. not so good. the bread that came w/ the tartare was very buttery and kind of like naan, and rather addictive although really heavy. the two desserts we had were really quite bad. the apple meuille feuille (hmm is that the right spelling, winnie?) was far too sweet (it came w/ rum raisin ice cream i believe) as was the chocolate cake we got. i forget what it was exactly, but it came w/ peppermint ice cream. (by the way, did you know that troquet, which i still need to go back to, is expanding to include a lounge as well?)

then yesterday andy and i went to hear the BSO, conducted by a fellow named rozhdestvensky. andy had gotten free tickets randomly from virgin and they were prob worth less than 30 bucks each since they were in the first row, but we thought we might as well. the program was:

GLAZUNOV
Overture on Greek Themes No. 2, Op. 6
SIBELIUS
Six Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra
PROKOFIEV
American Overture
---
SHOSTAKOVICH
Suite on Finnish Folk Tunes, for soprano, tenor and chamber orchestra (American Premiere)
SHOSTAKOVICH
Excerpts from Hypothetically Murdered

we've both agreed previously that whoever does the programming for the BSO's season needs to be fired. we had to leave after the first half b/c every single piece we heard was so fluffy it left a distinctly saccharine taste. i felt like it was the boston pops or something. the programme must have been geared towards people with extremely short attention spans since every piece was in itty bitty, easily digestible sections. blech! dull, dull, dull. i actually like sibelius but in this context it was hard to appreciate it. it wasn't helped out by the violinist, alexander rozhdestvensky (the son of the conductor. gimmick anyone?), who had a rather uneven sound; overly rough and masculine on the low strings and too thin on the high ones. his vibrato also seemed a little weird to me. his runs were flawless, though. i wasn't fond of the conducting either, which felt lackluster to me. dyer (of the globe) didn't seem to have a problem with any of it, though, which makes me wonder if i'm just being overly critical. well, he prob. had better seats than we did, heh.

posted by fwc | 2/25/2004 11:38 AM
got back from puerto rico last night. (it was 20 degrees in boston when we got back. blech!!!) had a lot of fun (despite some humongous hassles w/ our mini-trip to culebra). here are some pics, although i'll post more about the trip later.

the first pic is of an alley in old san juan and the second is of el morro (a spanish fort).



some obligatory "puerto rico is so beautiful" pics:


la puerta de san juan (gate to san juan)


flamenco beach at culebra


sunburn ...

posted by fwc | 2/16/2004 8:45 AM
like winnie i've been listening to wagner, or trying to rather. as i've said before, i find quite a lot of opera to be rather boring. the first act of die walkure, though, is more boring than most. the entire first act consists of only three characters and there is little to no action, although there are arias where they sing -about- things happening, like a battle. this is more or less my first major foray into wagner, and i've never really been a great fan of german opera in general (although strauss is on my list of things to listen to. i've heard arabella and der rosenkavalier, but i need to listen to them again.) in this act, anyway, wagner's music tends to be either very conversational and unmemorable or really overdone and wet. i mean, how many times do we have to hear the siegmund lietmotif in scene three which is 25 minutes long? so far there are only a few arias i more or less liked in act one, all of which siegmund sing, but the act definitely gained momentum as it went along. and is it just me or is the fact the major love duet is incestuous a major turnoff? hopefully winnie's having better luck with das rheingold. well, i think i'll take a break from wagner for now and maybe pick up this ariadne auf naxos cd i've had for a while. or maybe go back to some rossini. i started watching that barber of seville DVD, winnie. it's pretty cool and pretty catchy. i'm looking forward to watching the rest of it.

in other music news i've sustained my pj harvey kick, and now i have all her cds and a bootleg video which i paid too much for on ebay. i like her music a lot, but it's not really something you can listen to over and over again b/c there's not quite enough depth. but she's still cool.

been using andy's indian cookbook (by madhur jaffrey) over the past year or so. i've made cauliflower, potato, and okra dishes with moderate success. i think i'm going to tackle something harder like a malai kofta-esque dish next. heh heh heh.

p.s. andy and i are leaving for PUERTO RICO tomorrow until sunday. the plane's at 7 AM!!!!!!

posted by fwc | 2/10/2004 10:13 AM
it's times like these that i actually appreciate living in boston.

here are two excerpts from an article at cnn.com about the massachusetts supreme court ruling in favor of gay marriage:

"The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal," the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage wrote in the advisory opinion. A bill that would allow for civil unions, but falls short of marriage, makes for "unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples."

...
Massachusetts has one of the highest concentrations of gay households in the country with at 1.3 percent of the total number of coupled households, according to the 2000 census. In California, 1.4 percent of the coupled households are occupied by same-sex partners. Vermont and New York also registered at 1.3 percent, while in Washington, D.C., the rate is 5.1 percent.

posted by fwc | 2/5/2004 9:38 AM
i was surprised kerry did so well in iowa. i have to say that i find him to be really slick and calculating, neither of which is a quality that i look for in a presidential candidate let alone president. i still support kucinich, and i really hate it when people say, "i like kucinich the best, but i'm afraid he's not going to be electable." that's such a cop-out. as kucinich pointed out, "i'm electable if you vote for me." i hate the idea that our so-called democracy becomes not about who we want to lead us, but who we think is going to win, especially when so much of that is directed by the media.

anyway, here are two important links. i really hope that people are registering to vote, esp. for the primary, b/c such a small percentage of americans vote it seems pathetic. and that's what our whole country is about, isn't it? i think if you don't vote then you have absolutely no right to complain about high taxes, the fact the job market sucks, the fact that millions of americans don't even have health insurance, and that americans continue to die in iraq and there still hasn't been a single trace of "weapons of mass destruction" found.

register to vote here. this organization will look up the address you need to contact and in most cases bring up a form you can print out.

how to register in MA:
By Mail: Mail-in registration forms are widely available. To obtain a mail-in registration form please click here, or call 617-727-2828 or 1-800-462-VOTE and a form will be sent to you. Mail the completed form to your local city or town hall. You should receive a confirmation notice in 2 to 3 weeks. If you do not, please contact your local election office to verify your voting status.

posted by fwc | 1/26/2004 10:06 PM
i don't know if anyone who reads this blog even cares about poetry, but i think it's a much underappreciated art form in our all too hurried modern world. anyway, andy had this book of humorous poetry that i thought had a fair number of entertaining poems in them that rather reminded me of that "orange" story winnie posted a while back from harper's. this book's called famous americans and is by a fellow named loren goodman.

most of the review i wrote for amazon:
something out of the ordinary: humorous poetry. this collection is quite good, although it should be noted that humorous doesn't necessarily mean light. goodman has a knack for unlikely juxtapositions and clearly loves playing with language in the form of non sequiturs and malapropisms. at their best, as in "yeast" which is a play on the poet yeats, the poems' results are strangely moving. a little too often his poetry is simply gimmicky and rather predictable, but it's a nice quick read for some good laughs and chuckles, as well as some moments of true emotion.
here are two samples:
TOUCHDOWN TO COLLEGE!

     Playing foot ball tot me to trust
my teammates and not only them butt
the foot ball itself would not
burst into spirals of most delicious
heat units
                    a thousand cocoa beans
---
From the trials of war that tested our nation's most fundamental ideals, a great leader emerged. He was Robert E. Lee ... a master of military strategy ... a man of great loyalty and faith ... there is no greater love than His. It knows no bounds and is truly everlasting. He was, in the words of Winston Churchill, "remarkably lifelike," and today, cradled safely in grandmother's arms, the ultimate symbol of strength and sustenance.


Now this noble American is honored in a magnificent commemorative work, "Andy." "Andy" wants to feed the fawn, but both of them are a little shy. So "Andy" extends his hand very slowly. The fawn turns to look right at him, and then nuzzles his hand gently for the food. "Oooh! His nose tickles!" "Andy" exclaims in delight. You can almost smell the burning leaves on the crisp, clean autumn air as you view this masterpiece of American art. Artful hand-painting makes Robert E. Lee's face radiate with joy. His posable arms, as well as his lower legs, are handcrafted in an endless circle of seven graceful daffodils. The center of his head embraces a sparkling, full-cut diamond.


As "Robert E. Lee" ("Andy"), you will have the opportunity to rise from the rugged rock of a crested butte on the horizon. You can almost smell the burning ieaves on the crisp, clean autumn air as you are selected America's most popular artist.

posted by fwc | 1/22/2004 11:48 PM
pics courtesy of connie, from nyc

in front of a church:



closeup of sign:


posted by fwc | 1/15/2004 9:37 AM
i can't help posting pics of my nephew. he is the cutest! here's his pouty model pose:



also, having just watched miyazaki's castle in the sky (which, incidentally, i thought was my favorite of the 5 english-dubbed miyazaki movies i've seen ... remind me to borrow nausicaa from you, winnie), i was psyched to read about how in japan they have miyazaki stores. i ran across this blog that had a pic of a store's cat bus statue from totoro. here it is, with a drawing from the original so you can compare, heh heh:


the blog also has some really cool pictures of (a?) sanrio puroland (i.e. hello kitty world) in japan. on his page click on japanese pics pages 6 through 8. funny.

posted by fwc | 7/22/2004 12:07 PM
andy's out of town :( ... here's a funny pic that we took when we were at the arboretum this fall eating flavored tootsie rolls.


posted by fwc | 1/10/2004 11:23 AM
my sister enid got me hooked on trader joe's honey nutty seedy crunchies ... they're made of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, and honey and are a nice alternative to chocolate bars or peanut brittle, although probably not that much better for you, heh.

while i'm thinking about it, while in new york this past weekend connie (winnie's sister) and i got to talking about what would be on our list of best food ... here's some stuff off the top of my head:

fred's list of top food items
- tofu gra prow from dok bua
- vegetarian chili at the other side cafe
- crispy eggplant at via matta
- lemongrass tofu at pho pasteur
- slice of any pizza at nicole's
- grape leaves (and falafel) at cafe jaffa
- potatoes (and veggie burger) at the miracle of science
- creme brulee at radius
- barbeque tofu burrito with sweet potato fries at burrito max
- sun tubu chigae at suishaya
- honey nutty seedy crunchies at trader joe's
- hash browns from burger king
- various stores:
   chips: red hot blues, terra chips, cape cod barbeque chips
   drinks: orangina, nantucket nectars
   candy: twix, baby ruth
   other: "tofu cutlet" vegan sandwich

in other news, the new york times ran an article about rolling stones' idiotic decision to exclusively provide best buy with their new set of dvds, and the repercussions. it includes a quote from the owner of newbury comics.

personally i find this to be only mildly irritating since i don't listen to the rolling stones anyway, but i'm pretty against it in principle. i'm surprised there aren't more people boycotting them. why is it that the canadians are the only ones who are doing the smart thing instead of just sitting around and whining about it?if i bought music cds from best buy you can bet that i'd be boycotting them as well.

posted by fwc | 1/5/2004 4:59 PM


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