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

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: