A Wacken Update

I may as well start this thing again! This is a comprehensive outline of Wacken preparations. For last year’s list of things I did as well as a short explanation of Wacken Open Air and why I have to go, click here.

Well, first off, you have to sacrifice something big enough for He-With-No-Name to take note and allow your credit card to be accepted at Metaltix. My Amex credit card kept getting rejected (something about a transfer not going through), and Metaltix did not deign to reply to any of my pleas or queries. Finally, I just used my Visa debit card and within days I got an e-mail informing me that my ticket was shipped. An agonizing month later I got my Wacken ticket (as well a set of bewildering coupons to a German McDonald’s), in the mail. Good thing too, since Wacken has been officially sold out since 3/8/08.

This year is going to be astonishingly good X 2, because I’m not going by my lonesome — fathful d42 got her ticket too. Good things have been happening for W:A:O also. They got the Live Entertainment of the Year Award this year which only confirmed their awesomeness. Now I’m just sorry I didn’t get an extra ticket since selling it on E-bay would probably pay for the plane ride there.

Transportation to Hamburg: So, I have my ticket, great. But that’s only half the battle. Now I have to afford plane tickets from NYC to Hamburg, and finally get from the airport to the festival grounds. The sites that have been more helpful with(cheaper) plane tickets so far are sidestep.com and studentuniverse.com. Continue reading

NYC Restaurant and Foodservice Expo: A Gateway Drug

Random picture of things done with sugar to get you in the right frame of mind.

It was March 9th, and our trip to the Jacob K. Javits center on Manhattan’s west side began with an early morning phone call from ETL: “Hey, what time do you think it is?” I chewed my cereal and considered this for a moment. I glanced at the clock—it clearly said 8:36. Waaaaaaiit a minute… ETL’s pregnant silence was like a claw hammer in my heart. FUCK– Daylight savings time! The one event we were looking forward to—the Press Pastry Tasting—evaporated before our now one-unscheduled-hour-older eyes.

Undaunted, we hustled downtown as fast as the subway would take us. The Javits center on this fine March day hosted the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show on its lower level. We obtained our press passes after some delay, and after cutting a rather self-important CNN reporter (“you don’t need my name, just put down CNN”) in line, and headed into the domain of the restauranteur.

It was laid out in much the same way as any other convention, rows and rows lined with innumerable booths of vendors hawking their wares and services. A great many of them were restaurant technologies and gadgets to make foodservice faster and more efficient. We photographed many things, though apparently, it’s not permitted to photograph artsy porcelain service sets. Photos of these are issued by the vendor only…

The show also hosted the International Pastry Arts Competition—the very event whose delectable wares we were denied by the tyranny of railroad timetables—whose theme this year was “Under the Sea.” Very prom-esque! We made a beeline straight for this area and were presented with such amazing works of gravity-defying confectionary that words cannot do them justice. I will allow ETL to provide imagery for your drooling pleasure. Continue reading

The Sternum Piercing Saga

A surface piercing is one that is done on a part of the body that is not really hospitable to piercings, a place that is not flat and hangy (like the earlobe) or even concave (like the belly button). It requires the creation of a canal underneath the skin where the jewelery is inserted. The particular one I chose for myself is called the “sternum piercing” and is a fun misnomer. I’m not so nuts about body mods that I would put holes through my bones, but I like the shocked look it gets out of a person who knows where the sternum is.

See! sternum! My piercing lies on the fleshy part above that– pic brought to you by Wikipedia

Continue reading

Winter 2008 Restaurant Week: Late Lunch at Osteria Del Circo

3 PM is the no man’s land of dining. It’s too late for lunch and much too early for dinner. That is probably why we (Beelzy and I) were able to get same-day reservation at Osteria del Circo: our gimmick restaurant pick of Restaurant Week advertising “traditional Tuscan home cooking with an array of superb ingredients!” and “dessert all day long!”

The restaurant was fairly empty. A few businessmen sat across from our cozy corner booth. The atmosphere was not as merry as I wanted it to be considering the circus theme. However, there was an uncanny sense of being inside of a circus tent, while simultaneously being in an elegant restaurant. This was achieved through, for example, marriage of perfectly white tablecloths, and festively decorated menus. The restaurant was also shaped in a rough circle, with the bar in the center, and troupes of toy clowns and trapeze acrobats adorning the vaulted ceiling. Continue reading

“The Devil’s Bones”- A Forgettable Forensic Thriller

“The Devil’s Bones” is a novel written by team Jefferson Bass, which consists of Dr. Bill Bass, founder of The Body Farm, and journalist Jon Jefferson. This fictional piece follows the life of forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton, a sort of Sherlock Holmes of the forensic world, as he copes with a painful past while trying to keep his mind occupied with his job.

The problem with this book is that it focuses on too many things at once, and not enough on the crucial bits. Brockton starts off by conducting a dangerous experiment in which he burns two cadavers, each inside a vehicle, in order to obtain data on the remains for use in an actual case where a woman was found burned in her vehicle. Because foul play was suspected in the case, his data on the two cadavers could prove useful in determining if the potential murder victim had truly perished in the flames, or if her body had been placed in the vehicle for incineration after she had died.

Shortly after his experiment, Brockton finds out that Garland Hamilton, a rival of his who murdered Brockton’s girlfriend and nearly succeeded in framing him for it, has escaped from prison. Not long after that, the lawyer who successfully defended Brockton in the case approaches him with a personal request: to examine the cremated remains of his deceased aunt on the basis that the remains do not appear normal.

The writing shines when Brockton is narrating, describing his surroundings, his emotional reflections of the past, and the forensic evidence in the cases at hand. He gets into great detail, and you can visualize what he’s talking about, or empathize with some of his feelings. It does help if you have a little knowledge in anatomy and bone structure, but luckily the back of the book contains three bone charts. However, when it comes to dialogue, I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading a poorly scripted sitcom. Continue reading

Rocking Out PhD Style: A Stone Document Quickie


Stone Document, which is comprised of Dennis Tirch, PhD (that’s right, a doctor!) and Mike Roze (not sure what his dayjob is) put on an amazing show on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at Fat Baby.

Despite being the opening act that night, they played a 45 minute set at this SOHO venue comprised of a lounge/bar upstairs and a small venue (the size of Mercury Lounge), downstairs. Although Stone Document have limited fans currently, I can see a following already in the works. How do you know if you’re a Stone Document fan? If you prefer the experimental rock of the 70’s and 80’s combined with the progressive rock of the 90’s and 2000’s, you can enjoy Stone Document. If you’re still unclear, just check out their myspace page and take a listen for yourself. Continue reading

Winter 2008 Restaurant Week: Dinner at Orsay

When making our restaurant choices for the first and second weeks of the misnamed Restaurant Week (Jan 21st — Feb 1st, excluding the weekend), we decided we would go for a French restaurant and then something with a gimmick. Gimmick, because that’s fun. French, because during the hectic days d42 and I spent in Paris, we ate every cuisine but the most obvious one.

We failed you a bit by forgetting to bring a camera along

Orsay is without question a French restaurant. The receptionist with whom I confirmed my OpenTable reservation even had a French accent. The place is situated in a prime uptown location on Lex and 75th. It is characterized by dim mood lighting, dark mahogany, Art Nouveau arches supporting the high light ceiling, and an appropriately extensive wine list.

Upon arrival, in our business casual attire, we were helped out of our coats and shown to our table despite the fact that our party of 6 was yet incomplete. The downstairs space soon became quite crowded and a woman in furs womanhandled an adjacent table directly into us. “What do I have to do to get a decent table around here?” she stereotypically asked/demanded to our delight. Whatever the murmured reply of the waitress was, the woman and her bespectacled escort stayed sourly where they were seated. I suspect making a reservation would have been the recommended option. Continue reading