"indecision may or may not be my problem."
every once in a while you make a good purchase that you're really happy with for many years to come.
one of those for me was a pretty reasonably priced 200mm (8") kitchen knife from arcos, a spanish knife manufacturer. i've had it for about 10 years now, and it's still the best knife in my drawer.
if you've got the craving for some carribean spirit as the winter creeps over cambridge, one of my favorite places to get a fix is izzy's on harvard street (near mit).
starting off the morning with freshly cooked rice and black beans topped with a couple of overeasy eggs and a side of fried plantains - all to the sound of the reggaeton morning show - helps forget the looming deadlines for a moment and put the brain back to normal speed.
while the food quality oscillates, the ambience never does. the restaurant is puerto rican, family style, with a lot of beach pictures, boxing posters, and other shiny paraphenilia crowdedly plastered to the walls. you gotta hurry though, as the owners are leaving for a month-long christmas vacation starting this weekend.
in my dream today, i was watching a video in which benjamin bernake was posing an economics challenge to his students. he explained a lot, and wrote down a lot of equations, but it was too complicated for me to follow.
which made me think how strage it is that my brain can produce information that's too complicated for myself to understand. and in real-time, no less.
a friend of mine said that it reminded him of descartes's argument for the existence of god.
When you look up the age ladder, you look at strangers; when you look down the age ladder, you are always looking at versions of yourself.
mark greif, from 'afternoon of the sex children', published in this month's harper's magazine.
totally out of context, this random youtube recommendation made me smile this evening. also reminded me to go back to dance latin dances this winter.
if you happen to vote in nevada, vote to legalize marijuana. not much else to say on this topic. oh, maybe this: you must be a total idiot if you support the criminalization of weed. maybe nevada will lead the way to normalize the rest of us.
just came back from travel with much to write about - so watch this space in the next few days...
it's on the corner of 9th street and 6th ave, a block away from the 7th ave stop of the f train.
if you're in the area, you must stop by, and when you do, i highly recommend the brioche suisse with chocolate, although i'm sure that the rest of the pastries are just as dreamy.
colson has the same no-nonsense but warm and familiar vibe as yonantan emanates, so i'm sure to be caught there quite often in the future. although now that the ny times has discovered it, i'm not sure i'll get a seat.
haikus for a newly neutered dog.
First you picked me up
I licked your nose, we were friends
Then you took my balls
i've passed 'om', the tibetan-themed, l.a.-styled resto-lounge near harvard many times and mostly felt appalled by the hyper-chique eyesore that it presented, completely misfit to its environment, and by the disgustingly loud nouveaux riches rudely talking to waitresses on their streetside lounge sofas.
but last night i ended up there, and i have to admit that i was presented with a culinary experience that i haven't had in many years.
once in a while i encounter a meal that is prepared with incredible originiality, yet manages to steer away from gratuitous cleverness; food that is both complex in its progression of tastes (i love 'time-based food') and still hitting a certain note of simplicity, emphasizing the individual elements no less than their interaction. last night was such a time, when dinner was an intellectual, emotional, and physical experience all at once. if you want to spend some good money on serious food in the boston area, 'om' in harvard square is a pretty good place to find it.
still not a big fan of its self-congratulating and cross-breeding interior design, i was nonetheless happy to hear that the owner's father himself, apparently of a long line of tibetan painters, created all the paintings in the place himself.
so i guess i ended up with mixed feelings - but the food was the most brilliant i had in a long time.
at the very end, however, my (excellent) dessert contained some real gold, which i found pretty damn wrong, and it snapped me out of my cocktail-induced haze and put me back in some place of humility, not least due to this bit by david cross. he's right - eating gold is the ultimate 'fuck you' to poor people.
this fact surprised me this morning: drug deaths have trumped traffic deaths in massachusetts in 2003 by 574:521.
still, only a 0.008% chance, but surprising nonetheless. and if you like statistics: in 13 years narcotics deaths have risen 13-fold. which is a lot. like 1200% or so.
according to the article, a bag of heroin can be purchased for as little as $4. also smack is becoming
[...] increasingly suburban, middle-class, and young.
As suburban parents began to recognize that the users of heroin and OxyContin looked a lot like their own children -- and that, sometimes, they were their own children -- that changed the political dynamics of substance-abuse treatment, Healey acknowledged.
''In the past in America, when there have been drug-abuse problems, it has been the government vainly trying to draw attention to why this is a problem for society," Healey said. ''Parents are extremely concerned that this is now a middle-class, upper-class issue."
their fresh maamoul are heavenly, their kibi (kube) just like homemade. the huge bunches of mint fresh and meaty, their labneh delicious, they have sesame rolls just like in the corner stores in israel, and i could go on and on.
the main reason for my visit there was knafe, which ended up not being the right kind (they use wheat bran instead of filo dough), but was still delicious, especially with the rose water that came with it. so i still have to go to my secret brooklyn location to try to get something more familiar tasting.
i also still have to try their tahini and yogurt that i bought there, but i have a feeling i won't be disappointed. this place is a haven for nostalgia stricken eastern mediterraneans, and i could easily spend a lot of money at massis.
one word of advice, though: the hummus is not worth the trip, and - like any other place around these realms - the pita bread is dry and tasteless. so don't go there for that. better make it yourself.
(i know, i know - i still haven't posted my recipe yet. will do at some point)
gotta hand it to the register, with this story about women shutting off their brains during sex.
while the story is only mildly interesting, the account of it is, as so often, brilliant.
There was no mention of whether the results may have been affected by the fact the couples were being watched by a bunch of geeks in white coats while at least one partner had their head connected to a machine that goes bing.
the latest in the social networking trend is the one we've all really been waiting for. shagster not only helps you remember who the fuck you really fucked back in the early nineties, but may also serve as a good warning signal for how large the pool of your potential s.t.d sources really is. especially for those who feel that - yeah - i sleep with people without a condom, but it's ok, it's only with nice people i trust. er, right, nice people they trust who have a habit of not using condoms.
it's like in that old h.i.v radio p.s.a: 'when you sleep with your boyfriend, you also sleep with your boyfriend ex-girlfriend, and with her ex-boyfriend, and with his girlfriend, etc. do you really trust all of these people?'
the only sad thing is that because of privacy, shame, and other inhibitions, most people will not admit to many of their sexual interactions, which will leave this database impoverished and unreliable.
and also the fact that fuck if i can get the email address of those girls from the 90s. maybe this whole thing is more suited for the younger generation who lost their virginity after aol and time warner merged. but then it also seems that they have more guilt associted with their sexual encounters, so it's a deadlock really.
once more, it is information torrent udi (by way of amir) who hooked me up with this wonderfully insightful guardian piece about how we get bad taste in music as we get older. it's definitely true for me. this is my favorite paragraph, but the whole thing is worth a read.
"When you're young, you devour everything you can about new music," adds 32-year-old teacher Andrew (current opinion of Phil Collins: "not entirely loathsome"). "It makes you feel like you're in control. It's about one-upmanship with your mates and inventing an identity. But when you twig what the whole thing's about, that being 'cool' is all about selling magazines and records and just generating a sense of insecurity, you realise there's no reason to continue taking part. What's the point?"
in line with this (and my upcoming birthday), i took out my labret after two years and two months of faithful service. as far as i understand it doesn't do the job of a tongue piercing for performing oral sex anyway.
it did however serve as a pretty simple and straightforward way for people to typecast me into a character that i feel comfortable with. now i guess i'll have to do a little more talking.
on an unrelated note, the blog backend text file that i just saved had 13973 lines in it, which is a number strangely similar to my birthday. i should really back this shit up.
the other time i was suffering was right after the highest peak of the pain, when it started to fade. the fresh memory of the sharp anguish was enough to arouse enough self-pity in me to last for a whole jewish congregation in orange county. 'what have i done to deserve this' would best describe my nonverbal feelings.
things out of my immediate control have led me back to re-open my shut down account on that site, and i immediately remembered why i loved that site in the first place.
here's one of the handful of questions they ask you when you join:
In your opinion, which traditional wisdom is more true? (a) don't put all your eggs in one basket or (b) women can't control their emotions
of course the sponsor of tennessees marriage protection act is facing divorce because of his alleged relationship with a senate aide.
guess his act was too late to protect his own marriage.
i've just about had it with hypocritical religious sexuality in america.
this weekend i've re-watched polanski's 'bitter moon'. this is my third viewing of the movie, with the last one being almost a decade away.
in my early twenties i thought that 'bitter moon' was the sexiest movie i could imagine. and yeah, it was also a little sad. today i find it less sexy and very very sad.
the acting and editing is getting a little outdated, but it's still one of the most powerful narratives about sex, love, lust, greed, matrimony, and desire that i can think of.
polanski is true to an artist's calling: taking our truths to extremes; not merely looking at the fire, but stepping in, coming back and showing us the burnmarks.
'bitter moon' also reminded me of a time when i felt that films were the highest form of human behavior. but i'm assuming it's only because it reminded me of the mid-nineties.
bill maher writes about abstinence in christian american teens with an abundance of puns, and really hits the nail on the head regarding the whole warped way many north-americans view vaginal intercourse.
Is there any greater irony than the fact that the Christian Right actually got their precious little adolescent daughters to say to their freshly scrubbed boyfriends: "Please, I want to remain pure for my wedding night, so only in the ass. Then I'll blow you." Well, at least these kids are really thinking outside the box.
a (not-quite-appropriate-for) dinner conversation i had tonight sparked by my innocent question: 'and what did you do before you quit your last job?'
"well i guess you could say i was a milk farmer. i worked on a milk farm".
"oh, and how do you grow milk?"
"you basically have a bunch of cows and then put them in the milking room, and attach them to the machines and get the milk. then a lot of them die and you have to use the forklift to carry the corpses away. that's no fun."
"so do they really impregnate the cows all the time and then take away their calves so that they keep producing milk?"
"hmm. they do seem to impregnate the cows all the time. i don't know if it's related to the milk production."
"it definitely sounds related"
"yeah, probably. the way they actually impregnate them is pretty gross. this one dude he puts on a huge glove and [pantomimes] shhhhhovvvves [pause] his arm all the way to the shoulder into the cow's, well, body. then the inject the semen through a tube running alongside the glove."
"so no steers are involved in the process, huh?"
"no, not really. i actually couldn't drink milk for a while after i worked there. a lot of gross things going on. like when there's shit running down the teat and it just goes into the milking tube. nobody really cares. or then there's the 'chocolate milk cows'. basically cows that produce a darker hue of milk, because it has blood in it. and all the puss that gets mixed in with the milk. it basically has the same color as milk, so it's hard to tell."
"they should put the guy with the arm inside the cow on the milk cartons. that would be cute"
"yeah, and they said we were one of the cleanest factories. i don't even want to know what goes on in the other ones."
"thanks for sharing that. i see they just got some toscanini's out on the table. let's dig in"
well i didn't say that last sentence. that was just for dramatic effect. i did eat some yummie toscanini's at the dinner party.
i think i'm gonna stick with soymilk for a while now.
alea has persisted in convincing me to try to learn salsa, so i keep trying.
last night, after a metldown of my dance systems we had to resort to some living-room practicing, and at some point we found this totally geeky salsa training site. it is just perfect for practice new moves in the living-room, eyes shuttling back and forth from the html to your feet, and yeah it's written for nerds like me and you.
the premise of the site already makes me identify with the writer:
Prior to making these notes, I found that each time I learned a new pattern, I would forget the pattern from the week before, and thus never made any progress. After making the notes, I still forgot patterns, but at least had something written down with which to jog my memory.
some other good souls recommended that the only way to really learn is to take a concentrated weekend course. This way you can avoid the week-span amnesia persisting for months before you can actually venture to a publicly viewed dancefloor without having the indifference to failure of a zen master.
In case it is not obvious, it is next to impossible to learn to dance from reading.
reading a paper about laughter, i couldn't help but smirk at the following *extremely* precise description of what constitutes this 'uniquely human behavior':
A laugh response was defined as any highly stereotyped utterance characterized by multiple forced, acoustically symmetric, similar vowel-like notes separated by a breathy expiration in a decrescendo pattern.
(From Provine RB (1993) Laughter punctuates speech: Linguistic, social and gender contexts of laughter. Ethology. 95:291-298. )
another interesting point was that speakers laugh more often than audiences.
update: god this paper is a goldmine:
Coser (1960) studied the social functions of humor among staff of a psychiatric hospital and found a downward drift of laughter from senior to more junior staff. In other words, senior staff rarely laughed but produced the highest number of laugh-inducing anecdotes per staff member despite doing the least amount of talking.
(Coser RL (1960) Laughter among colleagues: A study of the social functions of humor among staff of a mental hospital. Psychiatry. 23:81-95 )
a friend asked me how to bake pita bread. i searched for a recipe, and found one that was pretty good. yesterday i baked some pitas, and everyone i talked to about it asked me the same question: how do you get the pocket in?
my intuition was that it has to do with the fact that you bake it very quickly in very high heat, which causes the crust to form immediately, and then when the center bloats it stretches, but doesn't rip the crust.
strangely enough, an israeli q&a site has just been asked to solve the same mystery. thanks to yoad for linking me up.
the link is in hebrew but you should at least go in there to see what real pita bread looks like. nothing like the stuff you buy in the stores here.
as for the solution to the problem, here's a rough translation of the central points (the author goes into gluten and yeast, which i think is mostly irrelevant to the point at hand):
pita bread, as opposed to normal bread is a flat disc and not a lump of dough. also, it is baked at high heat for 5 minutes, and not at medium heat for longer. the heat makes the water and carbon dioxide (generated by the yeast) expand. in bread there are often slits in the crust to allow the bread to expand slowly without ripping the crust randomly.
in pita bread, the high heat makes the crust stiffen immediately and preserves the flat shape right away. when the heat gets inside the pita bread, it starts evaporating the water and expanding the carbon dioxide generated by the yeast and tries to expand. this creates a 'baloon' of air that doesn't rip the crust but holds the two sides of the disk apaart, until those get baked too, preventing reattachment.
i'll refine the recipe a little and then post it here, too.
steven pinker, in his mildly annoying 'the blank slate', cites an 'old joke among psychologists':
what did the behaviorist say after making love?
'it was good for you, honey. was it good for me, too?'
lovely scans from and witty remarks on this japanese sex instruction book at harmful.org. warning (in case you couldn't guess): not all links from there are work-safe.
it does teach you how to hold hands, though, in multiple styles. and how to please a woman and a man. or, er, rather, a cardboard cutout of a woman and a test-tube. yeah.
the devil! on the very day that i put my hummus recipe online, someone just informed me that israeli star-chef eyal shani put his hummus recipe on haaretz.com.
greats mind do think alike. well, now you can choose. his is definitely more poetic:
The first time that hummus is produced by your own hand becomes decisive: From now on, every time you make hummus, it will always have exactly the same taste, the same personal stamp of flavor. It's not the Magimix, and not even the type of chickpeas. The hummus just won't let you be anyone else.
curiously, the tahini will change color and consistency, becoming first stiffer and then softer. it also becomes firt darker and then lighter. whenever you feel like you're stuck, add a little more water. in the end you want an almost white, creamy consistency. definitely keep stirring and adding water until it's perfectly smooth. you should also add a little salt at this point, to take away the strong sesame taste.
dating in boston must be fun.
and then people wonder why divorce rates are so high.
Santa, please find me a man with the following essential criteria:
yes, people who would even think of replying after reading this list definitely sound like the traveling+exploring type.
more like the 'sign me up for a packaged vacation that is rated 4-out-of-5 on the exploration excitement scale' type.
craigslist personals educate us that a young mit professor wants to get to know you.
if you're looking for mr. nice guy - you got the wrong dude. this one is pretty cocky, i must say.
It took me more than 30 seconds to bang out this post, so if I get two flip lines from you, I'll delete it. If you flame me, I'll delete it too. If you send me a picture, I'll send you one too. If we click, we can meet up for a drink later this week. If you are a Dean at MIT and believe that my post "is behavior unbecoming of a faculty member" then you should see what the tools at Harvard are getting away with.
if you're one of my students, undergrad or doctoral, and respond to this post, I *will* find a way to fail your sorry-ass.
while my more achievement oriented friends just counted how many chapters they had left to finish and what they could skip to get to the finishing line -- i insisted on understanding what we learned, even if it meant that i won't get to half of the material. eventually i did cover almost all of it, and when the exam came, it seemed very simple to me.
i heard that they are now planning to have first date rehearsals, as well. if you are planning to have a first date, they match you up with someone else who is having a first date soon, and you can rehearse the date before you go on your actual first date. there's even a buy-back guarantee in case you like your rehearsal date better than your real date.
i would not be surprised if one day i'll find the love of my life looking for a roommate. if i won't have to get married before that, being a nice jewish boy and all.
someone told me that ¼ of americans are on a low-carb diet.
i don't know if that's true, but judging by the cereal-box and fast-food restaurant index, it might well be. if kellogs come out with a low-carb cereal and even burger king have a low-carb menu, everyone wants low carb (not to mention low-carb beer).
on the other hand, my instincts tell me that if burger king and budweiser are supporting something, i should probably steer clear away from it.
but really, i commend anyone who has the discipline to be on any diet. chapeau.
for me, in the past, only the eat the fuck less pizza and chocolate and exercise daily diet really worked out.
'but it's scientifically proven!' you say.
which reminds me of the old joke, in which this guy hits on a gal, and tells her that his watch can read her mind. and now it tells him that she has no underwear on. 'wrong' says the lady. to which the man counters 'damn, it's an hour fast'
at the rate that diet science moves, i'm always on the scientifically proven diet. my watch is only a few months off.
saw a cross-eyed girl on the subway and fell in love with her. i thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world.
i can't tell by looking at a picture if i think a woman is beautiful, it's a message i'm getting from deep inside me when i am in her presence. i look at her, and this something or someone in my stomach tells me that she's beautiful. all i do is listen and obey.
when i am attracted to a woman, the image that rises in my mind is not of me having wild sex with her, it's me waking up next to her on a sunday morning and touching her face with the back of my hand.
and then having wild sex with her.
- i keep wanting his mom to come into starbucks, so that i can tell her that i'd be the best daughter in law she can imagine. maybe then she'll tell him to call me.
just in case you didn't know,
One serving of two medium-sized kiwifruit offers:
so what if this is turning into the okcupid blog. i like people who are having fun with statistics.
Fact of the week: running a query across our mail databases tells us there are over 500 references to the phrase 'my wife' written by over 200 different SINGLE users. You guys are sick.
what's really lame are the quizes that people send you on the internet. you know 'what's on your mousepad', 'what horse would you be if you were in a bestiality porn flick' and shit.
there seem to be three types of people when it comes to sickeningly brutal realities: (a) those who want to know, then know, and then decide to do something about it, (b) those who want to know, then know, but think it's actually ok, and the vast majority: (c) those who would rather not know.
blaire wants to be engaged by the end of the year. thing is, she's not seeing anyone at the moment.
so, in a culture ridden by reality tv, the most logical thing is to make a competition out of it.
hope she wont be too disappointed when she realizes that prioritizing the state of marriage over the actual choice of husband might not be the recipe for happiness.
other than that, she doesn't seem half bad, so if you're a jewish male between 25-31 fitting all the standard american dating criteria (you know, gym, commitment, earning money and having a goal in life) and want to get married to a goodlooking jewish girl real soon, you should give it a try.
got this magical ankle brace today that makes walking much easier.
thank you, mit medical!
the instruction booklet claims that
the aircast air-stirrup is the treatment of choice for ankle sprains both from a medical and a socioeconomic point of view.
today i feel like james stewart in rear window. my iced, sprained ankle is propped up as i'm trying to write my column about the mysterious disappearance of super blogger layne johnson.
while not cheap at $5, it's worth it if you live in boston and miss arabic fast-food or just enjoy knowing something that others don't.
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content here by guy hoffman .. as seen times since march 2004