Q. Is it a Submarine or a Grinder? Or perhaps a Hero? A. All of the above.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Proper Connecticut Winter

I think snow days are more fun for grown-ups than for kids. I mean, what, as a kid you only get out of schools (which going to school can be, admittedly, pretty bad), but as a grown-up, you get out of work!

I have to give a very belated shout-out to the guy on the pub who recognized me from my blog, that was very nice of you. As Homer Simpson said, being famous means that people know who you are, but you don't know them!

So, I apologize for not writing in so long, but I have many, many things to cover. Until then, enjoy this lovely video of a fine Connecticut snowfall:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Farmington Flood Footage

From the Courant:

A water main break could keep Farmington Avenue closed between Sigourney Street and Sisson Avenue through the evening, a Metropolitan District spokesman said this afternoon.

Crews on the scene are working to temporarily shut down water service to fix a 20-inch water main reported broken about 2 p.m. today at the intersection of Farmington Avenue and Gillett Street.

Matt Nozzolio, an MDC spokesman, said crews are prepared to work through the night to repair the break, snarling traffic on the busy street during the evening rush hour. An undetermined number of residents may see some water service interruptions due to the main break, Nozzolio said.

we're one and two of that undetermined number, unfortunately. I hate not having water, especially that flushing thing.

On the upside, I got some footage (sorry if the video is a little spotty):

Monday, November 5, 2007

You Brought Them Here! YOU YOU YOU!

So many of you have heard about the squirrels, the "night squirrels" and the various other forms of wildlife that populate the apartment trees and lawn.

But we have something new. Crows. Which is awesome.


"it's a Murder of Crows...."

Sunday, November 4, 2007

AYEE!!!! WTF, Advocate? I Thought We Were Friends!

Seriously. This is the stuff of nightmares.

I appreciate the Hartford Advocate. I love it, in fact. But note to Advocate, PLEASE in the future do not add to all the Nightmare Fuel I already have running around in my head. You are not helping. It's on the cover for Chrissakes.

Damn, I still have not purged this from my memory the effin rabbit from the Twilight Zone Movie. Jesus.


(9 minutes and 40 seconds in is where the devil bunny appears.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Game Dinner Part II!

Here are the rest of the pictures from the awesome Game Dinner at the Half Door! For some weird reason, I lost the photo of our beer host, and I am really sorry about that. He did an AMAZING job pairing the beer, and I want to give credit where it is due.

He's promoting a new restaurant, Fraiche, in Fairfield, that promises to be excellent. We will see, right?!?

So the top photo is the famed fried pumpkin, which was astonishing. And they gave us THREE of them!!! The beer for the dessert round was champaign without bubbles, but in a good way. A superb beer. The ice cream you see in the middle was sage-flavored, which may sound weird but I just love the combination of sweet+savory.

Then the other photo is all the beer we had, courtesy of our next door table neighbors, who kindly collected all the bottles for us to take pictures, and also kindly weren't phased in the least that I was taking photos of all the dishes.

And there's your author and Dr. Pete, full of happy food and beer.

So...next up....Halloween! Standby!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Game Dinner!!!

So last night was the Half Door Beer & Game Dinner, which I've been talking about for ages and was, as hoped and expected, amazing. The above photos, in order, are:

1. Hard Cooked Quail Eggs w/ Montana White Fish Caviar on Crostini, paired with Weihenstephan 1809 Berliner Style Weisse

OK, these little suckers were delectable. I only had, oh I dunno, 6 or 7 of them. I mean, how often do you get a chance to have quail eggs? I mean, really! The beer was nicely paired with the egg. Apparently, as per our host & emcee, Brendan, this was the style of Berliner Weisse before Napoleon's troops ruined it. That's Napoleon for you, always ruining stuff.

This dish was the second-best in my opinion. I could totally go for a quail egg right now. I could make the world's tiniest omelette.

2. Fried Frogs Legs with Tarragon Sauce, paired with La Brasserie des Franches Montagnes La Meule

I wish I could say I totally remember what I wanted to say about this beer. It, as all the others, went very well, some better. The frog's legs were awesome, like an unholy union of a fish stick and a chicken finger, like think if the Gorton's Fisherman ran off with Colonel Sanders, only better.

3. Turtle Soup au Sherry, paired with Birreria Baladin Sour Nora 2005.

This pairing was inspired, absolutely. Brendan outdid himself picking out the beer. I tried this incredibly complex, ancient-style beer and thought, "No way is this going with a rich, hearty and complex soup," but I was completely wrong. While the soup was not my favorite dish (probably my least favorite, but I hate saying that because I liked everything), with the beer it just sang. The beer, with its unusual mead-y like character and hints of savory, was a gorgeous mid-dinner addition.

4. Grilled Ostrich Rounds w/Leek Risotto, paired with Brouweij de Glazen Toren-Cuvee Angelique

The ostrich was my hands-down favorite, and the beer was a great pairing. The strength and nuttiness of the beer complimented the red-meatiness of the ostrich. So good, so pink!

(side note: I'm starting to feel like Homer Simpson when he became a food critic and liked everything. The he became a jerk and that dude tried to kill him with a deadly eclair. No deadly eclair for me.)

5. Almond Crusted Antelope w. Porcini Cream & Blue Cheese, paired with Biurrifico Montegioco Demon Hunter

Well, I'm not much of a mammal eater, so I only had the tiniest bite of the Antelope. Dr. Pete was a fan, as he consumed BOTH portions! I have to say, I loved this beer, and not only because of the kick ass name and kick ass label.


The spiciness of the beer, however, held up nicely against the antelope without overpowering it.

Dessert and other pictures are going to be coming up in a later post, as Blogger only lets me upload so many images.

You'll have to just wait for that friend pumpkin pie....as well as photos of the beer, our beer host, and yours truly + Dr. Pete!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Humps, the Humps, the Lovely Tavern Lumps

So this weekend was the Nook Farm Harvest Festival. As many of you all know, Nook Farm used to be the name of this immediate neighborhood. Anyway, we started out the day by, of course, going down to the Half Door to watch a game (Peter) and struggle with the massively difficult Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle (me).

So like I think I've said, tomorrow is the Beer and Game paired dinner. (Squee!!!!) Dr. Pete and I noticed that not only was the bar closed tomorrow for the event, but for several days thereafter. For the ever frightening description of "renovations."

Come to find out, they are getting rid of their lovely barroom lump (pictured above, with glasses on it). Sigh. Legend has it that the lump started as the tiniest crack, and proceeded to grow, imperceptibly, into the small hill pictured. You actually can rest a glass on it, but it is not recommended that anyone over a certain amount of alcohol consumption do so.

[Legend Type Singing]
Many a good drink has gone down that way
O'er the lump in the bar when the drunken men sway

Hey, and there's one of our bartenders! Isn't he attractive?

So then it was off to the Nook Farm thing, which was mostly over by that time (we missed the roving Mark Twain impersonator, damn), but caught these lovely ponies on tape. So, as a reward, PONIES! And yes, apparently all I can say is "ponies."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One of Hartford's Hidden Gems May Close

I had been planning a blog entry on some of the hidden gems I have found in the Hartford area, but I've had to modify it to note how upset I am over the possible closing of my favorite one. I've been trying in vain to email myself the cameraphoto I took of the storefront, but technology seems to be my enemy today.

Right after Dr. Pete and I moved here, and despite the delectable stores all around us, we found ourselves bemoaning the lack of Boars Head products. Yep, leave it to us to always find something to bitch and moan about. So one day, on the way to Whole Paycheck, we passed by a little shop in a called Kingswood Market, and it was advertising Boars Head. A few days later, Dr. Pete stopped in and came home with one of those Flintstone's Steaks. Now, I am not a steak eater myself, but even I have to be impressed by a steak the size of a toddler.

So we started going to the market regularly. Not only were we impressed by the hominess and impressive selection of goods, but the absolute highlight is the butcher/bakery section. Aside from the Brontosaurus Steaks, there are these fresh baked chocolate chip cookies that make your head swim and your blood sugar sing. But, for me, the holy grail of all holies - the perfect macaroni and cheese. Not too fancy, not too plain, just honest mac-n-cheese unadorned by nouveau ideals of soul food, but fresh and modern enough to make even the most cynical hipster swoon.

In short, perfect. Go for the edge piece where the cheese is brownish and seals in the macaroni.

And excuse me while I drool on myself just thinking about it.

But, as they say in that Eagles song I like to quote all the time, call something paradise and kiss it goodbye. The landlord of Kingswood Market, who is like the Once-ler guy to Kingswood's Lorax, is looking to make it impossible for Kingswood to remain in business. He says that Kingswood, which has been in business for decades and still delivers food to its elderly clients, should "get with the times." Nuts to that. In this day and age, if I go to a market and the guy at the counter slips in a chocolate chip cookie, just because they are piping hot from the oven, into my grocery bag, they have my heart.

Someone else can take the sit-ups!


WEST HARTFORD - Kingswood Market, an old-fashioned grocery store that still makes deliveries to neighborhood customers, is facing closure at the end of next month after some 70 years in business on Farmington Avenue.

Market owner Dave Bornstein, whose father bought the business in 1958, says he couldn't negotiate an affordable rent with the building's owner and probably will close at the end of next month when his current multiyear lease expires.

The building's owner, Al Nweeia, says he isn't kicking Bornstein out. Bornstein just wouldn't agree to a fair rent that the market would bear, Nweeia said. And Bornstein, he said, hasn't changed his business to keep up with the times.

If you are a local or even a friend who'd like to contact Kingswood to give them a nod of support, here is their Citysearch profile:


Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Cows!!!

For extra cows from the parade, see below.

Coming next post, my outrage over one of our Hidden Gems being closed due to landlord greediness. This is the best place in Hartford for Mac and Cheese. It is going to suck if it closes.

Enjoy the pretty cows!

Cows on Parade

So the Cow Parade has come to West Hartford.


I remember the cows back many years ago in NYC, and I was obsessed with them, then. I know a lot of communities have variations on the cows - ears of corn, ponies...but there is something about the cow which is beautiful, unassuming, and a bit of an open palate. PLUS, SOOOOO many opportunities for puns.

Dad was visiting and we went to W. H'ford to check out the cow parade, and we took photos of our favorites.

Apparently, I can only publish so many photos on one post, so I'll publish the rest in the next one!

Cows ARE awesome.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

For Bronxbox. I love you.

I remember the time when I came so close with you

I let everything go it seemed the only truth
And I bought you that ring, it seemed the thing to do

What makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated
So what makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated

This entry is just for my love to John aka Bronxboy aka Kissimmee from the NHOT. I love you, John, and you will be terribly missed. You were a rock and an awesome slicer and dicer in the forum. And, much more importantly, you were kind and always honest and forthright. I miss you already. And, for Heaven's sake, I hope it's a Rock and Roll Heaven.

I love you, Liz. So much. My heart is with you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ladies and Gents! Gather 'round!

So Peter and I attended the Connecticut Ren Faire, which was awesome. I was lovingly garbed by ET, who does amazing work! What you cannot tell is, in my basket I have a cell phone and a digital camera! Oh, and a wooden spoon, for no good reason.

The Faire was great - I oohed and awed at all the amazing goods for sale - kick ass Ren Wear, sun catchers, a village smithy....Peter, the Mad Monk, bought a new woolen belt for himself, and I indulged in a cheering stick for Dame Fiona the Fearless!

I have to admit, I have not been to one of these things in a WHILE, but this one was a good one. This is the 9th Annual CT Ren Faire, and they call the little village they set up "The Shire" (of course), but it really was massive.

Sadly, the turkey legs were all gone by the time we got there. I had to content myself with Ye Olde Cheese Sticks, and the Mad Monk had shepherd's pie that confused him, "Broccoli? There's broccoli in this. " Me, "Well, it is a Ren Faire." Him, "I don't think they HAD broccoli in the Renaissance." Me, "Good question."

So some other highlights until I get to the bloodlust.

The "Poprah" Show. The only PG-13 thing I attended all day. Bawdy bawdiness, for the sake of bawdiness, and big boobs. Basically an improv show with guys dressed as various clergy members spoofing the Oprah Show. They encouraged the crowd to show their breasts. Friggin hilarious, and Mad Monk Approved (TM, pending).

Being mistaken, by an uncostumed couple, for a worker. Luckily, I knew how to point them to Ye Olde Cheese Sticks.

And, wait for it, BLOODLUST.

I cannot hold back any longer, and chant with me, "Blood Makes the Grass Grow, KILL KILL KILL!":

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Connecticut Transplant in King Arthur's Court

Oh, it's here! It's here!

*Claps hands like a little girl*


Belly dancing! Free games! Knights! Falconry!!! Such a mind-blowing and time-bending event that they can actually manage to advertise over 40 hours of entertainment a day. I didn't even know that was quantumally (new word!) possible.

The only thing that makes me sad is that I have no Ren Faire duds. No bodices, no skirts. Dr. Pete has a monk costume, so he's cool - not that it won't take some amazing kind of pleading and begging to get him to wear it. Though the sweet temptation of giant turkey legs might work.

I'm looking on the site, and the wedding packages aren't bad at all. Considering how much weddings cost these days, even the Royalty Package, at $3,500 is pretty affordable for the entire kit & kaboodle. That's for 40 people, they even throw a feast for your arse.

So onto other events around the area....I must MUST go to this:


(Warning: sound effects on the site...they are cool but don't want to get you in trouble at work)

Hah, the gallery kicks ass:


If you were wanting something a little less scary (and that is certainly subjective), you could go to West Hartford and check out this year's Cow Parade:


I don't know if you have ever had the cows come to your home town, but they are kind of cool and distracting, in a "this isn't what the town normally looks like" sort of way.

So Peter's father was in town this weekend for a convention, and Saturday night we *finally* made it out to Carbone's, which is supposedly the best restaurant in Hartford.


I have to say, there is probably not much about Carbone's that I could say that has not been said, and hundreds of award-bestowers agree with me that the food at Carbone's in probably the best. I'm not an enormous fan of Italian (oh, but I'll eat it), and the menu was somewhat limiting for vegetarians, but my cheese ravioli was light and fresh-tasting, with a sauce of chunky plum-tomato. I didn't try Dr. Pete's or FIL's veal (veal!), but considering they both disappeared, I'll have to imagine they were great.

I'd probably go back on a day other than Saturday, or a little later on Saturday, as the place was packed when we got there and the staff seemed a little rushed. However, the crowd thinned about half-way through the meal, so we got a better chance to talk to several staff members about the wine, etc. This is in way meant to imply we were ignored at all for the first half of the meal.

I would be somewhat snarky at my FIL's need to ask how much the specials cost, but he reads this blog, so I can't. Sorry dad! But it DID spark an interesting discussion - the nicer a restaurant is, the less likely it is that the prices of the specials will be noted. I just generally look at the price of something similar on the menu, take 20% of the price and add it on. I.E. if something similar to the special is on the menu for 40 dollars, you can guess the special is going to be about $48. Dr. Pete and I both think it's a little rude to ask the prices of specials, but FIL disagrees. I'd be interested in hearing anyone else's opinion on asking the prices of specials, as I agree that people could go either way on this.

Gin O' Meter: I didn't have a G&T, so I cannot rate in that way, but I had a kick ass Pomegranate Martini. It was VERY good.

OK, kids, until next time, wherein I list a number of Hartford's Hidden Gems. Take care!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Fall TV Reviews! (Part One)

Listen up, donkeys!!!

OK, I know this isn't strictly about Hartford, but I do have teevee in Hartford, and so I figure I can fit it in under some sort of ridiculous premise like that. There's a chill in the air, the leaves are starting to change, Christmas displays have gone up in department stores...all of these things mean that the Fall viewing schedule in upon us. Ahhh, bliss. Not that I'm not still crying in my Gin & Tonic over Lost not returning until effin February, mind you. (How many times did I use "not" in that sentence - three? Does that mean it's still a negative or a positive? Bah, nevermind.)

America's Next Top Model (CW)


Oh, the bitch is back. This is oddly the one show I cannot get Dr. Pete to watch, which is weird because it has, you know, models (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) in it. But he hates Tyra, whom he calls a psychopath and who am I to question because he's like trained to know that stuff. So the new season started last night, and I have to admit I am still a little bitter about Jaslene's win over Natasha from last cycle. I feel vindicated because Jaslene's My Life as a Covergirl ads are, well, awful. I can't believe they gave Danielle such grief over her accent when Jaslene needs subtitles. Look, I'm fine with accents in general, but I'd appreciate some consistency. Who am I kidding, this is ANTM.

What one needs to understand to watch ANTM is that it is NOT a modeling competition, but a competitive reality show that just happens to involve modeling. And lots of Tyra wigs. Last night started off with the 20 (30?) initial models going on a cruise ship to compete to make the first cut. Let me say right here that I think that the entire cycle should have been done on a cruise ship. If it's legal to have monkey knife fights in international waters, it should be legal to chuck the bitches who get cut overboard. I'm just sayin, CW, you might want to look into it.

The familiar cast of characters is back: Mr. Jay (gradually morphing into an alien), "Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker, Twiggy ( I love her), Ms. J Alexander (drag queen extraordinaire) and of course Miss Thang Tyra. Tyra introduced herself to the girls by doing a lounge act song and dance number while wearing a costume that looked like the bastard child of a Cher costume mated to the Navy guy from the Village People. Anyway, the models are cute this cycle, which is a relief, and I'm actually pleased about the inclusion of a normal-sized wannabe, though there is NO place in the modeling world for a size 6-8 girl. Best of luck to her, at any rate.

Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, US Version (Fox)


OK, I love the UK version of this show, and last night premiered the US version. Of course, Fox had to go and Foxify a perfectly good product, but who am I kidding, I would watch Ramsay reading/yelling from a dictionary. But, all that said and done, it wasn't too bad! The first episode took us to "Peter's" a family-owned Italian joint on Long Island. I swear, if Peter the Guido didn't exist, he'd need to be invented. (The loudmouth, bedazzled creep is probably being offered his own reality show by Fox as we speak.) Peter's insistence on spending boatloads of cash on himself left the restaurant in a state of disrepair, constantly hounded by "bill collectors." (yeah, right, they're from the electric company, suuuure). To make matters worse, he is only the manager. His delightful if beleaguered sister (Tina) actually owns the place, and is at risk of losing her home if the sorry state isn't improved. Watch the video on the website to get a great look at Peter.

I love how Ramsay has a singular talent to cut through the bullsh*t.

Even though it's not as good as the original, I'll keep watching.

Beauty and the Geek (CW)


Awww. I love this show. For a competition program, it's actually quite sweet, a formula that was almost wrecked by last season's pure-evil Cici (cat hiss). The focus is on personal growth, and I always surprise myself by how affecting this show can be. The contests are always directly relatable to the focus of the episode, and are rarely, if ever, humiliating. While both the Beauties and the Geeks are the subject of gentle ribbing, they are never the butt of the joke.

The casting seems really promising this year, and I have read interviews with the host who claims they really went out of their way to find a cast of people who genuinely wanted to improve themselves; who were in it as much for the experience as for the game. In an age where competitive-reality programming seems more interested in having contestants who are hated (better ratings) than cared-for by the viewer, the attitude is refreshing.

The cast this year also includes Nicole, the first female Geek. Unfortunately, she was introduced at the very end of the episode, so I can't really say anything about her. I also like the expansion of what makes a Geek to include people who don't seem fantastically geeky other than severe social awkwardness. (Well, that and they went to MIT, duh.) The Beauties, on the other hand (with one exception but I will withhold judgment) seem genuinely sweet if clueless (actual quote: The sun and the moon are the same thing, right?).

Obviously, I have a sweet spot for this show.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Don't You Love this Weather?

Well, Autumn certainly gave Summer the slip...it went straight from the 90s to the 60s!

It is gorgeous out, and I am looking forward to experiencing my first New England Autumn (not so much the Winter)! We packed up all our Summer duds (do they still say that, "duds?") and unpacked the assortment of flannels and sweaters and all the clothes I am not-yet sick of.

Dr. Pete and I also got the number 1 and number 2 tickets to the Half Door's 3rd Annual Beer & Game Food pairing party! Amazingly, there is only one dish on the menu that my diet forbids - the Antelope. As luck would have it, it is also served with Bleu Cheese, and I happen to be allergic. So I had to scan the menu for you all to check out.

The only thing I have never had on the menu is turtle. Man, I dig turtles (to look at, not to eat) and I figure this is the only time I will indulge, so in the spirit of what the hell?

CLICK images to enlarge!

I'm only annoyed that I have to wait until late October!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Straight to Camera

So the newspaper thief took the bait! We'll see what happens, but hopefully my NYTimes Weekender will now remain untouched.

And new reward, more random squirrel footage:

Now with 100 percent more squirrel commentary.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Operation Jerk Stealing My Newspaper is in effect! PLUS: A Day at the DMV

Reconnaissance is boring! So I set the alarm for 6 am to try to catch a (newspaper) thief. The plan was this, wait out for the delivery guy then replace the paper with last week's paper and the afore-mentioned note. So...maybe I should have, you know, checked as to what time the delivery guy got there, because for an hour my ass was standing in the rain in my hoodie and pajamas, probably looking incredibly insane.

In the interests of a good sting, I Googled "stealing my newspaper" and was astonished at the wide-spreadedness (new word!) of this issue. Seriously. Try it, I got 1050 hits! And that's in quotes. This was one of my favorites, also at Blogspot:


Hilariously, I am #3 on Google for "stealing my newspaper." Snerf.

ANYWHO, an hour later delivery guy came by and frankly looked shocked I was waiting for him. He was like, "Is this your paper?" and I was all, "Yeah, some jerk has been stealing it." He chuckled and shook his head, an action that for some reason made me want to punch him. I'm not a violent person, but standing out in the dark and rain (did I mention it was also raining?) made me a touch grumpy.

So I retreated to the stairwell and did the switch in the blue plastic Times bag. I was planning on camping out in the car to watch for the thief, but I was frankly exhausted at that point, so I went back upstairs.

Boo, as of noon, the thief hadn't taken the bait. Maybe the times is like a baby bird and the thief is like a mother bird and won't touch the paper if human hands have touched it. Who knows. So I retrieved my bait and will redeploy it tomorrow. Wish me luck!

PART 2, The DMV is-a-killin' me!

Yesterday, Dr. Pete and I decided we had no choice but to pony up and go get our Connecticut drivers licenses. So here's an easy 20-step instruction manual to transferring a license to Connecticut.

1. Go four towns over to the town with the DMV, as there is no actual DMV in the city of Hartford. Be sure to bring newspaper, snacks.

2. Wait in line to get initial number, be told you need a piece of postmarked mail to prove address. Dig through car, find forwarded mail and hope for best.

3. Get back in line for initial number, be told your forwarded mail is "probably ok."

4. Sit and wait for number to be called. When number is called, go up to window. Be told that your certified copy of your birth certificate is not acceptable, as you need actual birth certificate. Look at window attendant as if they are functionally retarded. Explain to window attendant that a certified copy is as good as original, as it is from hospital where you were born and was used as proof to obtain wedding license. Be confused when window person does not believe that you can obtain birth certificate copy from hospital where you were born, not county records. Wait as window person leaves to "check with supervisor."

5. Have to drive all the way home and back to obtain better piece of postmarked mail. Curse and mumble entire route.

6. Return to DMV, obtain second initial number. Wait for number to be called.

7. Number is called, go to window, re-present all information/identification. Watch window person flag you for Homeland Security observation due to afore-mentioned certified birth certificate copy. Pay 40 dollars in cash no debit cards, no credit cards accepted thank you.

8. Wait for name to be called.

9. Wait for name to be called.

10. Name called, go to different window and fill out another form.

11. While waiting for name to be called again, go get voter registration forms, hope you don't need to wait in new line to register.

12. Name is called, wait in line to get eye test. Pass eye test. Be told to wait until name is called.

13. Wait for name to be called. Fill out voter registration card and do half of Friday crossword puzzle. Fight with husband out of sheer boredom.

14. Name is called, go to different window and pay 77 dollars only cash no credit or debit cards. Fish in purse for change when you discover you only have 73 dollars. Pay, the wait for name to be called.

15. Wait for name to be called, name is called, go up and have picture taken.

16. Wait for name to be called.

17. Name is called, go up and obtain new license.

18. Utterly confuse window person by attempting to turn in voter registration forms.

19. Wait for window person to get manager. Manager takes voter registration forms, gives verification.

20. Get the hell out of there, go to pub, have 5 drinks.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yay Us!

WOOT Gold Star!

So now if you use Teh Google and search the words "cool" and "Hartford," this site is number 5!

Alright, everyone! Awesome!

And thanks to an"anonymous" Invaluable Benefactor, I also now appear on Connecticut Weblogs! http://www.ctweblogs.com/

Cool as Hartford would like to thank the Academy, her hairdresser, her agent, God, the guy in Row 11, the Internets, Fluffy Bunnies of Doom, Todd and his Llamas (where ever you are, Todd, love you man!), Senator Chris Dodd and everyone else who helped make this possible!

And now as a reward, SQUIRRELLY GOODNESS!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

See that Mountain Over There? Someday I'm going to Climb That Mountain....

So first the election updates...Eddie Perez won the primaries easily, Kitchen Scandal and all. Yay Eddie! So here's an update on the job search and the Great Mountain Thing. Sorry about the graphic, it just popped up when I did an image search on Avon. Heh, hysterical much on my part?

So as I told you, Gov Rell had issued a temporary ban on truck traffic on Space Mountain. As luck would have it, that ban was out in force on Monday morning as I drove to my interview with a certain unnamed insurance company. I kid you not - cops EVERYWHERE and as luck would have it, Miss Rell herself was giving a news conference on the apex of Avon.

(BTW, rumor has it that the truck ban has now been made permanent! Yay, us!)

Now I don't entirely understand the ethics of press conferences as you drive by...are they like Union Rallies where you honk? Like...Honk if You Love Truck Bans? Honk if Your Republican Governor Starts Behaving Like a Democrat?

Meanwhile, the jerk who steals my paper continues to steal my paper...and I have a cunning plan. So I think I don't want to confront this jerk head on at first, only if he continues his asshattery. So here is what I am going to do: on Saturday, I will get up really early and replace the coffee, er, paper he normally steals with last week's Times, with a note taped inside.

So here is my first poll...should the note say

A) Please stop taking my NYTimes, you are STEALING from me, or

B) I just watched you steal my paper.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

My Car Cannot Deal with this Shit

So I have an interview Monday with an insurance company. Totally cool but the drive? Takes me over Avon Mountain, which if you do a search for in Google leads you to pages and pages of disaster.



Yes, that shit is going to be fun fun fun in the Winter. Riiiiight.

The big problem seems to be truck traffic, and there is a movement to stop it on the mountain, which makes sense if you are, you know, driving on it. If you love Kim, call Gov. Rell and ask her to support the truck ban:


My poor Saturn doesn't seem to like driving up and down the mountain too much, it bitches and moans the entire way.

Like I told a good friend, I am just going to have a pre-emptive heart attack, to get it over with!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Run for the Hills, the Candidates are Coming!

Fortunately, they move slowly, like zombies.

OK, so here's Hartford's Motto. Yeah, I mean it's okay. The actual visual reinforcement of the "rising star" thing is kinda funny, it's all like "get it?!?!" Anywho, Hartford is really proud of this, you literally see this motto everywhere. After a weekend of being infused with civic pride, what are you gonna do, right?

So the mayoral primary is the 11th, which means I need to get thyself down to the DMV to register to vote and to get a CT license, natch. Which is good, because I hate my photo on my NY license. It looks like a "before" picture from a makeover show. I need an after!

So what was I talking about? Ah yes the mayoral thing. So Eddie Perez is the current Democratic party mayor. I don't know toms about him, except he used to deal drugs or something like that (Wikipedia confirms that) and pushed the whole school uniforms thing. It's too bad I'm not more of an informed electorate, but hell, this is a country that based its idea of who to vote for for President on whom they'd like to have a beer with, so whatever.\

As per Wikipedia:
Perez has also put in place one of the largest WiFi networks in the USA. The WiFi effort has the goal of closing the digital divide in one of the poorest cities in the country.

I've kind of met another candidate, Minnie Gonzalez. Actually, she came to our apartment to introduce herself 2 days after we moved in, so I spent all of the time rooting around in the closet while Peter talked to her. I remember being sort of freaked out that she showed up like some sort of welcome wagon, but it was just dumb luck on her part, as she was just knocking on random doors. She told him a bit of shocking news - there is only one registered voter in our entire building. Isn't that indicative of the greater problem, and why so many fools get elected to office (see above with the have a beer with meme). She's in or was in the Connecticut House O' Reps.

That's about it, there are some other people running but I don't really know anything about them. Hey, I'm new here!

So the weirdest business in across the street, get this combo. It's a shop that does Western Union, sells smokes AND has a drop-off laundry business. I think you can pay cable bills there too or something. It's one stop shopping, if your shopping is very very odd.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Adventures of Mark Twain

I thought I'd throw this little gem in, it is from a 1985 stop-motion film called The Adventures of Mark Twain. And this is where is goes psycho.



A description of the movie, that you apparently need serious Schedule 1 drugs to watch, can be found here:


(they had the movie for sale in the museum shop. I am soooo buying it.)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

If You're Not Careful, You Just Might Learn Something

So today was awesome in a completely historical way. We finally did it - walked a 1/4 of a block and went to see the Samuel Clemens House. I have finally discovered my deep connection to this neighborhood. The house itself is amazing, like Victorian era on crack. What was truly striking was Clemens' deep and abiding love for his children, and his complete devotion to the cause of non-prejudice. One of his quotes is "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

Mark Twain, you know who you are.
I also learned a lot about my neighborhood. This area
used to be called Nook Farm, and all the famous artists settled here. One thing I did NOT know was that (obviously many years later) Katharine Hepburn grew up in this neighborhood (Hepburn's mother was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood).


But the coolest thing is that Mark Twain's publisher used to live in Nook Farm on the very ground I live on now. My address is his address. His house is long gone but here we are, occupying the same space as the man who published Tom Sawyer and The Gilded Age. Every great person has a cast of people around him, who will never be known, and maybe it's cool in a weird way that here I am sharing the space of a ghost who made Mark Twain possible. I find the thought numinous.

So I bought a book that everyone should buy their girls,
How Nancy Jackson Married Kate Wilson and Other Tales of Rebellious Girls and Daring Young Women http://tinyurl.com/33mp5k

Clemens also hated sexism, and taught his girls how to be strong, smart, brave and proud. That is some shit I can get behind.

As a weird coda to this, one of my best friend's grandfather was a critic. He was an original reviewer of The Mark Twain Society's edition (obviously containing a lot of educational material) of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. He said that the "Yankee [is] a jewel. Nobody will be able to read, much less teach it, without this book."

I cannot believe that, today, I stood in the room that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written in. Awesome.

(Side note: the shop for the house has some kick ass anti-censorship material. Good for them. And us.)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Not Quite the Trail of Tears

Dr. Pete and I went on the Eastern part of the Connecticut Wine Trail today. The happy news is that I was not abducted and planted with various chips in my head. The better news is that you have a great video with Dr. Pete discussing the better points of a wine from the Jonathan Edwards Winery. Not the politician.


The winery site:


Friday, August 31, 2007

Sports Stuff and Vegetarian Substitution

So one place I haven't told you about yet is The Corner Pug.

Located unfortunately not close enough to walk to, The Pug was the first place I ever nursed a hangover in here in H'ford, way back during my first visit to this lovely city. The Pug, once known as the Corner Pub, was reincarnated in its present form by an new owner who loved his pet pug dog. The concept really caught on and the interior is festooned with framed photos, brought in by proud owners, of pugs.

The Pug has some really excellent things going for it, besides the large screen TVs. OK, lemme digress for a moment. Bars here in H'ford always have half the tubes tuned to the Yankees, and the other half tuned to the Red Sox. Much like H'ford itself, the city is halfway between loyalty. Mets, Mets who?

Anyway, the only thing the Pug is marred by is the frightful lack of delicious turkey burger, but is made up for the always cheerful staff happily substituting whatever you want for your meat, if they have it. Yesterday, I was sitting next to a hipster who substituted portabello mushrooms for beef on his french dip sandwich. I am not kidding. Needless to say, I'm always happy with a plae that doesn't look at me like an escaped mental patient just because I want my bacon held, dammit. (Stop looking at me like that.)

What they also have, every Wednesday, is this thing called the giant fried seafood basket, and I tell you I am drooling right now just thinking about it. It's big enough to split, and contains (all fried) fries, clams, oysters, cod, shrimp and these fishy hushpuppy things. Oh GOD its good.

Wednesday in H'ford is generally pretty cool, I've noticed. Most bars and restaurants have massive deals on Wednesday. At the half door, all Irish beer is 2 bucks all day Wednesday.

Gin O Meter: 4

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The same thieving bastard who is stealing my paper is probably responsible....but the Moose Lamp is GONE. Just...gone. So is the chair by its table and the table. Damn.

UPDATE to the update:
I have left the nicest note possible down in the lobby. It reads: Please do not take my New York Times. If you want your own NYT, go to http://www.nytimes.com/

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Lost Phone & The Coolest Bartender

Let me preface my post by saying OH GOD YES I FOUND TWO PLACES THAT SERVE TURKEY BURGERS!!!!

I was starting to think that they just didn't exist in Hartford. Veggie burgers, yet, but not until this weekend had I found any place, including Plan B, a gourmet burger joint. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/14283/?view=beerfly&ba=goodbyeohio
Gin and Tonic Mixology level ( on a scale of 1: "Why are you serving me water I asked for Gin" to 5:" Where am I do I live here this drink is great I love you guys"): 2

So imagine my joy when I discovered a turkey burger on the menu at Tisane, http://www.ctnow.com/dining/hce-tisanebrunch.artnov25,0,6806774.story?coll=hce-headlines-dining-top
a coffee house/bar that seems to be striving to look like it belongs in Manhattan. Not that I disliked that, but man talk about as Cool as Hartford! I was a bit overwhelmed by their extensive martini menu, and have to admit getting one too many kicks out of Peter ordering an unfortunately somewhat Pastel-hued green tea martini (men's drinks should only be clear or brown, seriously), but LOVED LOVED my Pom Pom (pomegranite) 'tini. I haven't tried said burger yet, but I will.
Gin and Tonic Mixology Level: 3

So I'll take a break to tell y'all about the cell phone. It was lying on the front stoop, and finding a cell phone is a little like finding a baby bird, you are all like, "Should I touch it?" But I can't just leave stuff like that, so I picked it up then called the last number places which, of course, I got no answer. I figured the owner would call the phone, just like I would do (and have done, eyeroll at me).

So next we review Wood N' Tap, http://www.woodntap.com/ which astonishingly has its own website (yay!) and they had turkey burgers too! And not only turkey burgers but tiny little ones like sliders!!!! I liked the place well enough, though it feels a little chain-like and the bartender ignored us a bit b/c his friends were seated at the bar, but I'll go back if only to get those delicious little burgers and their surprisingly above-average fries.
Gin and Tonic Mixology Level: 2

Which brings us to my second favorite place in the 'hood (after my beloved Half-Door), Vegas BLVD Pizza. Which I couldn't find a decent or informative link to, but I love this place. The staff is awesome and personable, they play The Chairman of The Board music unless someone turns the jukebox on (not as annoying as it sounds), and the owner cooks in the back then comes up to mingle in the front. And they already know what drink I like to order. And they serve beer by the liter. Peter and I already have the number one score on the Quiz Master (take that Tony1000!)
Gin and Tonic Mixology Level: 5

So I am happy to report that the phone made it back to its rightful owner. Later last night, a very relieved tenant on the first floor called and was reunited with her errant phone. She hugged us. It was cool.

So that's it until next time, where I attempt to solve the mystery of who the fuck in my building is stealing my goddammed paper. I will find you asshole, and it WILL NOT be pretty.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Coolest Lobby of All Times

My apartment has the best lobby ever. Now, I realize no one hangs out in lobbies anymore, but I picture myself, G&T in hand, chilling out under the most awesome painting ever.

Witness my lobby:


I have my beloved Room God (the cow skull), but it kicks all manner of ass to have a Building God. Yay my building!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

From Huck Finn to the Half Door

Hartford is one of those places people drive through on the way to somewhere else. Specifically, between New York and Boston. I have experience living in a place like this, I grew up in a town on the confluence of Interstates 57 & 64, as well as literally dozens of smaller highways and biways. My hometown had more hotel rooms than residents. It also shares another trait I personally find endearing, and that is a general unassumedness (word?) of the populace.

So, my goal and mission is to point out how cool I think this little city is, so you will think it is cool as well. Since I'm brand new to town, you will be learning along with me.

First, a little about my immediate neighborhood, which we will likely be spending a lot of time in. I'm in an ancient elevator building (the scariest elevator you will likely ever meet) in the Historic West End, or more specifically on the end of the Historic West End. I'm right next door to the Harriet Beecher Stowe house and two doors down from Hartford's Number one Tourist Attraction, The Mark Twain House. Just up the road a bit is Hartford's best pub (the readers have voted), The Half Door. I spend a disproportionate amount of time there and have already met all manner of the wonderful and weird local denizens.

So let's do this thing!