I know I don't update it daily. Shut up.

October 14, 2009

Marriage is all about communication.


And I have proof.

September 28, 2009

Office cookies


Your office drones are divided into two camps: Those that shrink away from the last cookie in the sampling your nice coworker brought in, and those that don't. The kind of person to take the last office cookie has to be methodical, deliberate and, at times, sneaky - for the death knell could toll on the treat bag at any moment. There's always that moment of hesitation: Do I bother getting up from my desk, wander over to the break room only to find the bag of cookies empty? Though, like Highlander, there can be only one office cookie vulture, the uncertainty always looms like ketchup clinging to the neck of a glass bottle. Begrudgingly, this person slowly rises from the desk and unshackles the chains of industry. His pace quickens, though, as he sights his goal. From this vantage, he can't see every ingress to the break room. What if someone, at that very hair's breadth of time, is also doing the quick-step to the sacred grove by the microwave? I must have it first, he says, for at no other time (at least today) will free treats be so close within reach! Then, rounding the corner and through the door, the cookie is spied. The coast is clear, a brief lunge, and success! The drone emerges victorious, savoring each chocolate-infused crumb with the intoxicating notion that he, he indeed, was the only one to dare breach office etiquette and claim his prize.

Yeah, I'm that guy.

August 18, 2009

Actual conversation

Verizon lady: Sir, you are spending a lot of money on texting - if you go with a $5 monthly text plan with Verizon Wireless, you could have unlimited texting. Let me just pull up your account here ...

ME: I don't spend that much on texting.

VL: I'm looking at your account now. It seems you have been texting a lot over the last three months ... now if I look at the 5182 number (ed's note: That's Marcy's line) ...

ME: Yes, but over the four-year lifetime of my business with Verizon, you'll see that I actually spend far less than $5 a month for texting.

VL: ... and just in June, you could have saved yourself money ...

ME: Right, but again, if you look at my whole history with your company, you'll see I don't spend $5 a month for texting.

VL: I don't have access to that information, sir. I only have the last three months.

ME: Yes, but as a salesperson who just cold-called me, you should have access to that information. You should be equipped to discuss a person's full account, and see that in light of the years of service I paid for, I rarely use texts except in the summer, and that amount does not work out to $5 a month.

VL: Sir, if you already have this down to a science ...

ME: It's not science. It's very simple math. Two months out of the year, my wife and I have to text a lot to make plans with people out of state. Can you tell me if those charges I accrue would amount to $60?

VL: We don't offer a $60 plan, sir, just $5 a month that may save you money.

ME: $60 is $5 a month for a year. If you can tell me that my texting for a year is more than $60, I will join the plan.

(PAUSE)

VL: Sir, we offer a $5 monthly texting plan that does not affect your contract. So even if you wanted to do it for a month or two during the summer, it may save you money.

ME: What if it doesn't?

(PAUSE)

VL: If you'd like to think it over, you may call our toll-free line anytime at 888 ... (ed's note: She went by the number so fast, even if I was going to write it down I couldn't). Thank you, and have a great day.

BM: Thank you. You too.

June 19, 2009

Please pardon the mess

The Daily Blurb, if you haven't noticed already, is undergoing some changes. 
Please pardon its appearance while doctors work on a cure.

As always, your patronage is greatly appreciated. 

- The Management

April 30, 2009

Swine flu and you.

Here's my one, only, prevailing thought about the swine flu: 

It's overrated.

I mean, remember SARS?

March 27, 2009

The emptiness I feel when you're not around

You know that feeling when the Olympics end and you're watching the final ceremonies and you're still watching all the athletes who two weeks prior you had never heard of? And you saw what they did and you start thinking, "If only I applied myself, maybe I could jump plastic sticks like that guy?" And you can't wait for the next time when you can watch  it again and see what new records are broken, and who makes it to the end of the race and who has a new fashionable soul patch?

The BufBloPoFo is like that, only I'm in the race, too. And in a way I feel like we all won, because here we are at the end of two weeks and we're all standing around looking at each other saying, "Hm," and we kind of don't know what we are going to do with ourselves. 

ME? I'm going to write my children's book in the next year. I'm going to lose another 20 pounds (I'm at 214 right now - down from 225 in January). I'm going to learn a new skill. I'm going to promise a lot of things right now so by next year's PoFo when I'm asked to look at my post from a year ago and update everyone, I'll already have some things to talk about.

Peace out, PoFo friends. Kick ass and take names in the coming year. 

March 26, 2009

One year later ...

A year ago, I blogged about all the random Star Ward references I encountered recently.

Yes, I spelled Star Wars wrong. But admit it - you got a chuckle out of reading Star Ward.

Anyhoo, that's a fun exercise so let's try it again. Here are all the references to Star Wars(d) I've encountered in the past 48 hours:

1) A few minutes ago I came across this photo in Marcy's girly exercise magazine. That's Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy with some random urchins.

2) While in a meeting about my newspaper's Patriots Day guide, someone mentioned traitors in our impromptu talk about American history. I was forced to offer, "He is part of the rebel alliance and a traitor." The great thing about being in a room full of journalists is, you can say that and people know what you're talking about.

3) I chose the new Clone Wars CGI movie on our Blockbuster list.

I need a life.

March 25, 2009

Your freakin' mutant kids


Today's topic for BufBloPoFo: I want to hear your best advice for those of us raising kids.

I have but one message for all the parents out there:

When your kids is screaming in the department store, that "ignore" trick you insist on using isn't working. We all know it. The kid knows it. Why don't you?

March 24, 2009

Lazy.

The BufBloPoFo assignment:
1. Take out your cell phone.
2. Turn it around and take a picture of yourself AS YOU ARE RIGHT THIS SECOND NO CHEATING.
3. Post that pic and describe it. Where are you? Why are you wearing that? Maryface, there’s something in your teeth.

My response:



1. Can't. It's way the hell over there. Oooh ... this computer has a camera built in. That'll work.
2. Done. I is too lazy to tilt the screen anyway to adequately frame myself, which is why I'm cut off at the chin. Not too lazy to smile, though. But am too lazy to help whatsoever with dinner preparations.
3. I'm on my couch after a looooong day. I hope to imprint my ass firmly into the ass-print that already exists on the couch. I'm wearing comfy pants with pirates on them. I'd show you but I'm too lazy to take another picture. I'm also too lazy to fini

March 23, 2009

Heroes

I see the term "hero" get thrown around a lot. Perhaps the most egregious misuse of the term is calling the victims of 9/11 heroes. I'm not talking about the firefighters and police - it's the poor folks who went to work that day not knowing that was to be the last day of their lives.

I think the reason why it's used in so many ways is because of its emotional weight. It carries different meanings for different people at different ages. Ask me at age 4 who my hero was, and the answer was Superman. I believed this so much so that on my first day of preschool I refused to give up my own name when asked by the new mother-figures I'd come to call teachers; instead I began my school career shouldering a new persona like one hunches into an overcoat. Superman was my name that day, and Superman it would be, until 15 minutes later when the roll was called and, through process of elimination, the stubborn little kid in the back of the room coloring by himself had his secret identity exposed. Son of Jor-El, kneel before Mrs. Zod.

Before pre-school, I was largely raised by my grandparents during the days my mom went back to teaching. Her father's name was James, and he taught me how to gamble, how to craft wood into all manner of useful things, and the names of every WWII aircraft, many of which he flew. My own father's name is James, as was his stepfather James DeMaseo, who we knew as Papa D. Dad once took me on a fishing trip with his friend, James, and it was on the crystal calm of Conesus Lake that I worked into my head this bit of child logic: At some point in my adult life, when the tufts of wires formed under my arms and I my belch stank of Labatts, I too would assume the name James.

Each James in my life has fulfilled said role of heroship. In first grade day my blood stained the snowy hill at Bassett Park from a head wound that delivered me into a warm sleep. I remember waking up in the nursing home that my father carried me to, traversing a quarter-mile of woods and hills in the process. Years later, I took a plum assignment at a newspaper to cover a special exhibit at the Eastman Museum in Rochester that featured Vietnam-era photographs, and the journalists who shot some of the most iconic images of the war. I snuck my dad in the press conference so he could met a few of these guys, and watching the ease with which they slipped into their brothers-in-arms speech was captivating. It gave me a new, and maybe the first, appreciation for what the military was to my father and family, and began to peel away the inky prejudices I felt from my first experiences in the lodges and VFWs I was dragged to as a child.

Papa D will always be remembered for his bar, and the way he used his whole head to chew. Both these memories have strong ties to Thanksgiving, as that's the one time we saw him and the rest of my dad's family consistently each year. That bar was, and is, his bar. Though he died many years ago I saw the Papa Dee's sign outside it just last year, in the same colors my aunt the art teacher hand-painted herself. At thanksgiving the women took over the bar's small but adequate kitchen; we kids explored the dirty nooks and crannies otherwise forgotten - one closet in particular had a 1940s-era vacuum with an enormous grey bag that, if you were small enough, could just barely cover your cousin and you and earn you the titles of Hide-and-See King. Papa D, meanwhile, held court behind the smoke-choked tavern, lording over the family and sneaking maraschino cherries to the kids when their parents weren't looking.

Today my thoughts wandered off of the press releases and e-mails, each popping its own little demand into my electronic subconscious, and for a brief moment I got a chance to revel in knowing my apartment was, for the first time in many moons, clean. And I thought of our small apartment and its amenities, and how it will always be Marcy and my first place together. I thought of other small spaces: That closet at Papa D's bar, the many layers of blankets in a nursing home bed that kept me warm before the paramedics arrived, and Grandpa and Grandma's house. Grandma still live on that second floor of the house on Buffalo's West Side. I go back only occasionally now, but I remember how big it still felt when I was 3 and 4 years old. But in that small home my grandparents managed to raise my mother and aunt, two great ladies in their own right. They shared the apartment's only bedroom, looking out on the vast expanse of siding from the house next door. My grandparents, meanwhile, shared a pull-out couch in the living room.

And they survived the Great Depression, and World War II. Hell, they survived Nixon.

And I thought, "Now there go two heroes." And it makes my own little corner of the world feel that much bigger.

March 22, 2009

That's easy: Give us jobs.

My question for Bryan would be, I am assuming you are from out of town based on your post of foods you miss from Buffalo is that correct? What else do you miss and is there anything that would potentially bring you back into Western New York??

Yes indeed, Michele, I am a Buffalo (Williamsville) native who knew Lisa Garvey in high school, then in college at which time I met Mike, and, well, you can figure out the rest.

After high school I moved to Rochester, where I spent the next 10 years A) earning a Comm/English degree in college and B) Starting out a low-paying career in the fast-paced world of print journalism. In 2006 my then-girlfriend-now-wife and I moved to Boston because, at the end of the world when all newspapers have folded, the last one to gasp its dying breath will be in New England.

In Western New York, there's not much work for a guy like me. Plus, I wanted to move away long-term and see the world a bit before buying a home and settling down somewhere. And for as little work as there is for me in Western New York, there's nuttin' for my wife, whose background is in animation. So before we can have kids and settle down and figure out what the rest of our lives are like, we've got some career ground to cover.

It's hard, too, because I have so many family and friends in the Buff/Roch area who I miss. And they're all buying houses now, so we have our pick of places to stay!

So if there was a newspaper in Buffalo that paid a decent wage (there isn't) and there was a TV studio constantly employing animation production people (HA), we might be enticed to come back and gorge ourselves on chicken wings each and every weekend.

I also miss Bills games on the TV. There's a bar across from the Boston Garden that shows them each Sunday, but if I didn't have to travel downtown to see them every time, it would be all the cooler.

Long-lost twins

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph - Free genealogy - Family tree chart

Goodbye, beard.

So here's what I looked like yesterday morning.
Then, the annual SHAVING occurred.
First, I went with a Jeff Hardy. Here's what he looks like:


And here's what I looked like:


Next was the half-moon:


And the fireman/cop:


Then the "If Jeff Hardy became a cop instead of a pro wrestler:"


Aaaannnd ... bring on summer!!!!!! ....


March 21, 2009

Debo, my man, I can sympathize.

Debo and I have never met. I don't think. If we did, I'm a schmuck and I don't remember. It's totally possible we did at one time. But don't take offense if I don't remember - it's not a knock on your character or anything, which I'm sure is upstanding and morally coherent. It's not you, it's me. My memory, like my writing, is not what it once was.

In this post for the BufBloPoFo, he writes:

Good gods, my grammar is suffering too. I used to be a decent writer.

I, too, used to be a decent writer. In fact, I became a professional writer because since fifth grade the one academic endeavor that always held my attention was the power the written word can have over people. Garv's been getting some positive responses from his writing recently, and I say, more power to ya, buddy. Garv also happens to be a decent writer, and if you're looking for a low-paying freelance gig about 7 hours' drive away, well, the offer stands.

In the early stages of my career I was a reporter. I wrote at least one story a day, and I was always looking for new and exciting ways to tell a story. But that was short-lived. At age 23 I became a newspaper editor, a job in which 99% of your time is devoted to improving other people's writing and becoming involved in every aspect of publishing a newspaper that doesn't have the word "writing" in it. That treasured 1 percent leftover is reserved for your actual writing, though I usually spend it crying alone in my office's closet.

Nine years into a career in writing, I do less writing than I did when I was in school. At age 30 I won my first solo press award, and it had nothing to do with writing. When I do write, I'm not challenged by my higher-ups or my peers. Frankly, the state of newspapers is such that, in today's climate, we don't get the kind of development and support to do the one thing for which we all got in the business. Now add into it the focus we have on the Web and putting our newspapers on Twitter, Facebook, and our own blogs, and Debo my friend, I can feel your pain.

It's not too late for either of us. I know plenty of journalists who burned out and fizzled before they hit 30. I have a lesson I learned from them that may help you: Just do it.

Seriously. That's it.

Just write. Write long. Spend an hour on it in place of something else you do (for me, it's either playing FFXII, or studying beer. I can take an hour off of my beer studies to write. Hell, I should write about beer.) Many of my former coworkers got out of the business but also stopped writing altogether - and I think the world's worse off for it.

What will happen if you write often is this: Eventually you'll stumble across some writing that sticks with you. That happened to me a few years back and as a result I've written six chapters (so far) of a children's book. I'm still working on it and after I've finished FFXII I'm getting back into it full-force.

So get out there and get writing. And if you want some free editing from a guy who's a mild-mannered editor by day and flies around in tights by night, well, you know where to find me.

My question to you is this:

Whatcha gonna do, brother? WHATCHA gonna do when Blogg-o-mania runs wild over you?


P.S. I want that jacket.

Operation: Shock and Scourge

Today, I finally was able to purchase Shock and Scourge spells for my team in Final Fantasy XII. This allows me to, as my wife would say, kick 'em in the butts.

March 20, 2009

BEARD WATCH 2009

Remember this?

It's about that time again.

This marks the fourth time I've grown a beard, that manly status symbol that says to the world, "I like to hide my double chin."

My first beard was an experiment in self-flagellation. I wanted to see how long this itchy, annoying, stinking thing could be latched to my face (sounds like a girl I once dated).

I remember working at Blockbuster at the time. I used to work the floor as a salesman, offering to help customers find movies on the weekend but, more importantly for the bottom line, I was there to sell them things as sneakily as possible. My greatest triumph came from a young couple, mid-20s, whose very walk offered hints about their life story: They entered the store holding hands, but unclenched soon after when the girl beelined for the used DVDs. He held the door open for her after entering first - a premiere clue that their relationship had hit that 10-month mark some time ago (Anything less and he's straining to open the door for her, smashing his body against the door to make as much room for her as possible). I caught up with them in Horror. I started my pitch. After a few minutes of back and forth of "We only came in to look," they left the store with two movies, a Rewards membership, and a monthly subscription to the trade-in program.

My beard had nothing to do with that.

But one day while Samson I was growing in, a man was up to "S" in his reverse-alphabetical scan of the new releases. He had a meticulously trimmed face-rat across his food-hole. I asked him at what point it stop itching. "Three weeks," he said. Three months later I was still scratching at my follicles like a fat kid trying to get into a locked ice cream freezer.

Samson III was last year's effort; MUCH better (and less spotty than his grandfather.) Samson IV was the first to be professionally groomed (I had a TV debate to host and needed to look my damndest). It's got a definite New England flair to it, but eliminates most of the patchiness.

The days are numbered for Samson IV. But a few months later Samson V will bless us with new and wonderous riddles, such as, "Is that another white hair?" and "Does this make my face look fat?" We will count the days.

March 19, 2009

Dorm daze

My freshman year, my college gave my roommate and I (Keep in mind the word GAVE. as in, FREE) each a new computer, free Internet, and all-new furniture. In return we had to operate as a "model room" to show off the new dorm furnishings they planned to purchase for when these prospective doe-eyed pre-frosh were starting their college careers.

The funny thing was, we didn't live up to our end of the bargain. One morning I answered the door in my underwear, eyelids firmly glued in place by hangover-induced eye gunk. A half dozen parents awkwardly gawked back at me. The sophomore giving the tour blinked like you see in the cartoons - her eyes made that "Doink ... doinkdoink ... doink" noise as she searched for an excuse to turn around and show her tour the next room.

We did even more damage than that, I think. See, our free computers were set up right next to each other. So we had this contest to see how much free junk we could find on the Internet and have it delivered to our dorm.

The following year (after my life-changing stint in the Merchant Marines) I met the guy who took the room after us. He was still getting packets of barbecue sauce samples sent to his address.

I can only imagine the amounts of Spam and viruses those poor computers took on onaccounta me.

March 18, 2009

Wednesday night shenanigans

I'm watching my wife and a friend wade through our liquor cabinet to try and find a new and exciting drink to make. (For full coverage see Marcy's blog, Playtime at Hazmat.

I'm about to kill monsters in Final Fantasy XII. But first, some thoughts on who would play me in a movie.

Right now, and if he lost a few pounds, it'd be Seth Rogen.

I didn't partake in this particular thing last year, and left it to Marcy.

Actually, Seth Rogen could play Mike too.


March 17, 2009

The BEER extravaganza!!!

It's St. Patrick's day!! So how could I blog about anything but BEER!

Marcy and I were given a $30 gift card to Beers of the World for a wedding gift. Thanks, Dave!
That was Oct. 27, 2007.
A month later, we bought as many new and interesting beers as we could with it (and threw in some cash of our known). Our goal: Try as many beers as we could (and throw in a couple we liked already.)



In the interest of full disclosure, I tried the last beer tonight. Yes, for a year and a half, the bottle of Skullsplitter you see here has resided in our fridge, waiting for a day when Marcy and I could devote the kind of dissection and consideration we reserved for the other beers on our list.
Well, here we are on St. Patricks Day, March 17, 2009, and I opened the bottle tonight. And it had chunks in it. And it tasted like charred raisins. And it was gross.
SO ... minus a bottle of Skullsplitter (I drank a Blithering Idiot to make up for it) we present our views on a random batch of beer, the nectar that fuels all good things.

With Marcy to my left on the hand-me-down couch that forms the forest green centerpiece of our small living room, we sat staring at The Soup as Joel McHale conferred his wisdom.
At this particular meal we toasted Dave Wheeler, the guy who made this evening possible.
The Dark Chocolate Stout has a thick, cocoa-y feeling that gives off chocolate notes at first, but quickly converts to a bouquet of hops and a sweet alcoholy finish.
It elicited a hearty belch from the depths of the stomach, and is good for any time of the year (though the brewery only makes it in the fall).
It's somewhat filling, and did we mention it packed a punch?
It's overall a very satisfying dark brew.

This was a heartwarming addition to a hearty meal of split pea soup, bread, and broccoli/cheese bites.
One bottle shared between the two of us lasted thorugh Ninja Warrior and Everybody Loves Raymond.
On this particular Monday, we switched it up on the counch - me on the left, Marcy on the right.
We toasted to a successful 2008 for both of our careers. And that worked ... Marcy was laid off, and I was promoted.
Te stout had strong caramel overtones finished by a cigar-smoke bitterness. And not the second-hand-smoke kind, either.
The Samuel Smith produces a full-bodied but dry burp.
It's very dark; try to look through it and it's like trying to see thorugh a brick.

St. Peter's comes in a nondescript bottle. It's best enjoyed not ice-cold.
We had it with a meal of broiled beef blanketed with melted Gorgonzola, french fries, and broccoli while watching Ghost Hunters.
We tried this on a random Wednesday night sitting across from our Christmas tree.
The stout is dark, sinfully so, but not thick. It's easy to drink and has a nutty overtone, with a finish like molasses but less sweet.
It has a higher carbonation than most stouts, and would be well-paired with red meat.
The toast for this particular evening was to the holidays, family, and my wife.

Seeing a pattern here? We learned a lesson: Stout goes with just about anything.
Young's was nicely paired with a ham & cheese panini, broccoli, and roasted corn. We apparently also eat a lot of broccoli.
While watching How It's Made and Jack of All Trades, we enjoyed our Saturday night with a dark, dark brown concoction that was hard to put down.
The Dnouble Chocolate was very much like dark chocolate - smooth, but not sweet. The chocolate lended itself to the taste of a porter - it felt like a thin milkshake.
It also lended itself to a toast: To future home improvement projects and Team Mahoney (including Joxer).

Another night of Jack of All Trades brought a dinner that did not involve broccoli.
The amber ale was served in Guinness pint glasses and was paired with Italian sausage, baked beans, and boiled potatoes.
The Wychcraft is wheaty and dry, light and airy with a scent of mead and faint flowers. It has a smooth, honey aftertaste.
We toasted to Jack of All Trades and the Jack of our future. Take that as you will.

That's it for tonight's beer review. The rest of the beer is assuredly recommended; you should go out and try it right away:

March 16, 2009

How to make love and influence people the Bryan Mahoney way


There are many of you out there in the blogosphere who ask me often, "Bryan, how can I be just like you?"
And I often answer, "Suck it."
But today I'm feeling an overwhelming need to connect with you, the loyal Blurb reader, and so for the first time ever I'm going to offer secrets to living life and doing things the right way, the only way, the Mahoney way.

STEP ONE: Be lazy.
I'm not as lazy as I used to be, and I'm not as lazy as my friend Dan who once challenged my wife to a lazy duel.


STEP TWO: Learn some drinking games.
Drinking games let you do two things: Win friends, and lose friends.
It's a virtual inevitability that you will do one or both should you partake in drinking games.
Here are some fun ones:
First, try shotgunning a beer.



Then, I suggest an appropriate alcohol-themed board game. Pass-Out's a good one.
Lastly, become a pro at Beer pong, also known as Beirut. But the best one is "Stumbling Tower" - get a Jenga game, write instructions on each block, and then play according to Jenga directions while at the mercy of whatever is written on the block you pull. Great fun!

STEP THREE: Talk as if you know what you're talking about.


You need what scholars call "An area of expertise." This will allow you more time to make long-winded speeches to strangers at the bar.

SCENARIO 1: The fakeout
If you work at Blockbuster, you should practice talking up movies you've never seen.
Customers asked me all the time what I thought of the movies they had. They would get indignant if I admitted I hadn't seen them.
So I started crafting eloquent lies.
"Oh, yes sir. That obscure Japanese docuhorror about errant shapes that jump off looseleaf paper to kill people is Kubrickian in its delivery, yet almost Spielbergian in the way it makes a commentary on the way World War II just OH SHUT THE HELL UP AND RENT THE MOVIE."

SCENARIO 2: The truth
You could actually talk about what you do for a living. I only know two people who can actually pull this off: One works on "Deal or No Deal;" the other used to work on SpongeBob.

STEP FOUR: Develop a marketable skill.



A few years ago some folks told me Step One just didn't work for them. So I developed Step Four. I must say it really helps in the paying-the-bills department.
The key to having skills is that they have to be good in a fight. I have video game skills; VERY good in a video game fight. I also have Origami skills; these are NEVER good in a fight.
Public speaking skills can help you get out of a fight. Aiming skills would help you point the shotgun in a fight against a zombie.


That's about it. Follow these simple steps and who knows where life will lead you? They led me to Boston, a lovely wife, and a distinguished palate for food and drink. Though these days it's much less about the drink (watching my weight and whatnot).
Thanks for joining today's episode of the Blurb. Stay tuned for tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day extravaganza, which will be all about beer. ALL about beer.

March 15, 2009

Top 10 foods I miss from Western New York

Pittsburgh and Buffalo share many things in common: Both are former steel industrial cities, and both saw their heyday about 100 years ago.

And both have some of the most amazing food offerings you'll ever see.

I haven't spent much time in Pittsburgh; my sister went to Pitt and I haven't ben back since. Perhaps that's for another blog. (The Original has the best french fries in the world, FYI.)

I've lived all over Western New York, and to truly appreciate the variety of foods offered there one needs to travel beyond Buffalo and visit its kid brother city, Rochester, and its western suburb, Canada.

Behold: The top 10 foods I miss most from Western New York:

1. Chicken wings (Anchor Bar)

I live in Boston now. Every so often I'm at a restaurant and my friends and I enter the discussion about which place in Boston has the best wings. And it's not even a conversation worth having.
Two years ago I brought my brothers-in-law and a cousin-in-law to Buffalo for my bachelor party. We went to the Anchor Bar for dinner. It was the first time in years I had been there. And thankfully, the place that started it all still produces some of the best wings anywhere.

2. Mom's beer can chicken
Every summer, my neighbors and I throw a couple huge cookouts. One lady makes about 150 Jello shots, another brings some Ethiopian chili to die for. I make a beer-can chicken. And while I learned from the master (my Mom), nothing can truly replicate the feeling of hanging out on the back patio with a Labatt in your hand waiting for the chicken to crisp.

3. Ted's hot dogs/onion rings
To date I've never found an onion ring that rivals the deep-fried mess from Ted's. The crispy conglomeration you get in the grease-soaked wax paper just can't be beat.
Last summer my Mom brought Sahlen's hot dogs (which are used at Ted's) and a jar of Ted's secret chili sauce. I've been able to make a reasonable facsimile of a Ted's hot dog here, but it can never match the real thing.

4. A Labatt Blue ordered in Canada
Labatts is pretty much the gold standard in Buffalo, but the formula exported to America is different from the formula you get when it's ordered domestically. A Blue not only tastes better in Canada, but I'm pretty sure it has more alcohol in it. That, or I just drink more of them when I'm in Canada. Because let's face it, there's not much else to do in Canada.

5. Chicken Wing Pizza
I make a mean chicken wing pizza, using Country Sweet sauce as the base. But I can't get the right kind of blue cheese in Boston to really do it justice.
My college roommate and I invented the chicken wing pizza recipe that I still use today.
True story: Once when I was a reporter in Canandaigua, N.Y., I called a pizza place to order some dinner before a long night of City Council meeting coverage. Over the phone, I explained to the owner my recipe, and asked that he make one such pizza for me. He did, and it was excellent.
A couple weeks later my friend and I went there for lunch. And guess what was on the menu.
No royalties for me, though. I call shenanigans.

6. Beef on weck
There's a bar across from the Boston Garden that shows the Bills games on a big screen every season. It's a lot of fun to be surrounded by 200 Bills fans in downtown Boston each year.
Last year they held a big fundraiser, and contracted with a local bakery to make Kimmelweck rolls specifically for this day. They were magnificent. But you cant find them anywhere else.
There's a roast beef sandwich joint not far from our house that I have yet to try. I keep my fingers crossed, hoping the Roast Beef gods will shine on me*. We'll see.
*My proof that Roast Beef gods exist lies in the fact that Arbys is so successful. I.E. if Arbys can be successful with that substance they call roast beef, then they surely made a pact with the Devil. Vis a vis, if the Devil exists, then the Roast Beef Gods must also exist, and therefore are carving up little red slices of heaven elsewhere in the universe.

7. Dinosaur BBQ anything
Dinosaur Barbecue may be found in Rochester, Syracuse, and ... Harlem? They have smoked wings that are unparallelled, and fried okra that tastes just like Grandma used to make.
Speaking of Grandma ...

8. Grandma's strawberry rhubarb pie
This strawberry rhubarb pie is a virtual wonder in that rhubarb, on its own, does not taste good. It takes a special upper level of cooking skill to make rhubarb taste good in anything. That my grandma can do that on a consistent basis is nothing short of amazing.

9. Chicken wings (Duff's)
I suppose if you're talking about Western New York food you have to mention wings at least once, right/ This marks the third time wings have made my list.
True story: Duff's makes a "Suicide Sauce" that you have to know to ask for; it's not on their menu (at least, it wasn't at the time in which this story takes place). It's delicious, and I don't think I've ever gotten past eating two wings drenched in this hot red death.
Once in high school a bunch of us went there before Swing Choir practice. We dared Greg Baumler to drink a bottlecap full of suicide sauce. He couldn't speak for four hours.

10. Chicken wings (Country Sweet)
OK - so wings make it a fourth time on this list.
I often cook with Country Sweet (HQ'd in Rochester) or use it as a dipping sauce. But to really experience the sweet sin of the C.S., one has to have it in its natural state: On top of batter-fried wings lumped onto a pile of french fries and the random two slices of white bread.
You get extra points for eating the white bread, by the way. I've rarely done this sober.

March 14, 2009

BufBloPoFo


The 2009 BufBloPoFo is on!!!

Is you ready? I ain't.

Topic 1: Three biggest things going on in my life right now:

1) face itches

2) Annoyed by creature's voice on Huntik

3) Typing and trying not to misspell things.

That's it? I think I took the first assignment a little too literally. I'll broaden it out:

1) Trying to stick with an aggressive work-out regiment of five days a week, and all before work (I'm on week three!)

2) Today's the unofficial observance of St. Patrick's Day in Boston. It's like Christmas here, except Santa is replaced by a bartender and his elves are replaced by little people wearing leprechaun outfits. I can't wait to open my present, which will be distributed by a tap and will arrive in liquid form.

3) I'm hosting a Webinar for newspapers across the country in mid-April. My topic is online video. This has kicked me in the butt enough to start producing some good online video.

And here are some examples of my video work:





Driving me nuts

Why don't drivers in Massachusetts pull over when an emergency vehicle comes down the road?

Just sayin'.

March 7, 2009

Hello again




It's been a while.

I've been busy moving mountains and whatnot.
In the spirit of what Marcy just did over at playtime at Hazmat, here's a rundown in no particular order of my life since November:
  • I won a New England Press Association Award.
  • I started going to the gym five days a week before work. That entails waking up at 5:45 each day. I've only been at it two weeks, so we'll see how it goes.
  • Marcy and I bought two Guitar Hero guitars and rock even harder than we already did.
  • Partied hardy for another Meep Day. In this year's annual celebration of all things meep, Marcy made me two T-shirts while I made her a coloring book of scenes from throughout the time we've known each other.
  • Barack Obama became the president. This is the first time in my lifetime that the guy I voted for actually won.
  • I made a promise to myself that I would never stop surprising myself. I did this in the physical sense with the gym, but I'm also approaching my work with this philosophy and it's produced surprising results. For example, I hosted a political television debate.