Monthly Archives: February 2014

Ketchup With Us #36b – Hi, Tee!

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving me another 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

I guess this is a sequel to the other entry about T shirts. Or further evidence that I am a hoarder.

Well I found some boxes in my parent’s closet (well what was my closet when I lived there), and guess what? I found another stash of memories and yes they are t shirts. Band/music t shirts to be exact.

Through my college days and for a few years after I used to go to as many concerts as I could. My favorite bands (metal & industrial mainly) toured frequently and hey, it was a night out. I admit I couldn’t stand many aspects of it. Having to stand around waiting between bands, which venues did to boost beer sales or something like that. My favorite venue was Roseland, which has just shuttered its doors, since they had an 11pm curfew. Places like Irving Plaza have 1 am. Not that I wanted to end early (yes I did) but that it made bands go one right after one another when a lot of them were playing. So standing around with the 1-2 friends who actually liked the shows got boring.

People are another factor of course (aren’t they always?). Being squished, pushed, kicked and crushed by others wasn’t fun. I got to stand in the front row to see TOOL, and the forward push thankfully didn’t break my ribs. The crowd surfers were landing on me all night. I would go home, sticky with sweat (mostly my own, gah) and the stench of smoke, patchouli and weed on me (they allowed smoking in most venues back then). The shirts are faded now, and trying them on*, psht I look like the ‘rock and roll will never die’ guy hanging on to a memory. All I need is a mullet and white sneakers. *If I get a dozen likes on this, I’ll post a picture!

So will I keep these? Hell no, I bet some punk would love my broken in metal shirts. I see them at these trendy community flea markets sometimes – they are old enough to be ‘retro’. Somewhere I know I still have the ticket stubs.

One of the last big shows I went to was Ozzfest. Rainy weather, shitty crowd and the bands let me down with the level of their suckage. To culminate, a roadie took out his life’s frustration on me, leading to an ER visit.

October 2001 I went to see TOOL again at Madison square garden this time. SEATS!, but everyone stood?! It was a sold out event but since 9/11 was fresh in minds, people couldn’t give away their tickets.

So I’m done with arena/stand around rock. Now I see my friends and other indie bands in the lower east side. I sit in tiny tables and rickety chairs, sip wine or cocktails, sometimes tea, say hello& thanks afterwards to the musicians, and enjoy it all without injury or strange smells.


Filed under clothes, Life, Retro

Ketchup With Us #36 – Kitchen Up

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving you 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

We all have talents. Writing, photography, drawing/painting, singing. Do we gravitate to what we are good at by trial and error, or do we go with the first thing that we get a sense of reward for?

One ‘talent’ I think it more of a necessity is cooking. What difference is there really between a gourmet chicken dinner and some spices simply sprinkled on and tossed into the oven? Comfort food is rarely difficult, but has the secret parts of preparation (not love…well ok BESIDES love, geez) that make it just right. Probably the reason why I refuse to eat Italian food at most locations.

My introduction to cooking started very young. I watched my parents cook while sitting in the kitchen area, as I wheeled small metal cars along the round white table. Typical Italian fare of course. As time went on I would be allowed to bread the cutlets, season the meat, I still recall handling the squishy ground beef for meatballs, or prepare the sides (usually instant from a box, or canned. Cranberry sauce a la Bart if you get the reference).

In my teenage years my parents were usually working later hours and so my sister and I were the ones who cooked for ourselves. We took the opportunity to mix and match dishes that only a teenage metabolism can appreciate – frozen pizzas and chicken strips, or everything deep fried at once! My passage into adulthood came when I found out Chef Boyardee was a real person who made more than Beefaroni. The innocence of childhood was gone.

In college I learned two things, first cookies. I gained a quick reputation of always having peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies in my backpack. A close friend advised that every woman’s weakness was peanut butter and chocolate. Back then I needed any edge, I had no swerve.

It was also the time that I would look at the way we had traditionally prepared everything and switched it up. There was resistance at first, but then scalloped potatoes do taste many, many times better when made fresh!

At this point, I rarely if ever buy cookies. I have a seafood bisque that soundly defeats any canned variety, and can make in 20 minutes with prep. In a pinch, a spoonful (or just a pinch) of curry can spice up anything, and a big handful of chocolate chips makes it sweeter.
I admit this took slightly longer than 10 minutes with editing incomplete sentences, and finding that double chocolate & cherry brownie picture. 


Filed under Cooking, Creative Writing, Food, Ketchup With Us, Life, Writing

The Many Faces of Monopoly

Note: this is the first in a series of posts first written in my previous blog, now shut down.
(Original posting – 1/6/2003)



That word echoed through the acoustics of the room as the small grey soldier sailed over my head. I was playing Risk with my cousins, and my weak inferior 4 armies stationed in Western Canada managed to hold off the much larger assault force from Asia (I was rolling sixes like the Devil himself!). It wasn’t meant to injure of course, and together with the angry/laughing face my cousin made when throwing the fit, was enough to have me laughing (at him, not with). On a more serious note though , it’s true; board games bring out the worst in people. Check out the look of no surprise on your face!

Another one of the games which I feel give deeper insight into the people playing it is Monopoly. Having played it throughout my life, including a few months ago when I and everyone else at the table got completely pwned by a 7 year old, I see that it brings out many different sides of a person no matter how we act during our daily lives – So I compiled these categories, none of which are pretty! Oh, and no, I won’t be serious about this. 

• The Stackers – the people who stack their money into one big pile, which they hold onto at all times. Pay attention to the colors of money rainbowed within the pile; when the stacker lands on your property and it’s a high price, you better believe it’s going to be a huge production as they sift through their bills. The stacker also stacks their property deeds, thereby insuring that every time someone lands on a property they even suspect think they have, you’ll hear ‘wait’ as they check to see if they have it, every single time.

• The Tucker – The Tucker wants to tuck all of their money under the game board, making the board tilt up slightly. The reason behind this, is that the money now looks as though it is in a cash register, fulfilling the player’s dreams of working the check out at A&P. Whenever the tucker gets 50’s again (after running out) they insist in lifting the board to put their money in, thereby making houses and pieces landslide to the middle of the board so that everyone else has to fix them, including…

• The Weirdo – The weirdo can also be called The Control/Neat Freak, as the odd characteristics they display may overlap and/or vary in intensity. First, they insist on being the car, just so they can make the ‘vroooom’ sound every roll, and park their car in front of whatever property they land on, making the game more ‘realistic’. After all who travels around in an iron? Free Parking also makes sense for them and their car, and them only, and so they will mock the logic of you even being there as though some rip will occur in the time/space continuum. They will ‘fix’ the houses every roll, because the dice hitting the board with each roll moves the perfect alignment of their houses one microbe. Though a close relative to the aforementioned Tucker in the sense of exactness, they are in fact sworn enemies, and not only is it guaranteed that they will both be playing, but that the neat freak’s houses will be on the tucker’s side and be knocked over every 2 seconds as the tucker realigns his money, thereby riling up the Neat Freak, who will complain endlessly. Their properties and utilities are arranged perfectly and the money you owe is memorized and announced to you within a nanosecond of landing on the property, which gets really fucking annoying quickly.

• The Pain in the Ass – Sure as night follows day (and vice versa), there will be one completely obnoxious pain in the ass playing the game. What is the pain in the ass (henceforth known as PITA)’s modus operandi for being such a jerk anyway? Easy. They want to psyche you out, so that you make mistakes, lose all hope of winning and end up a Drifter. As fate will have it, the PITA will always wind up with the Boardwalk, Park Place about half the time and land on them enough times to put up hotels. The PITA will also offer to sell you his get out of jail free card for $49, as though it’s a bargain. Every time the PITA rolls the dice they will snap their fingers and/or yell “YEAH baby!”, as though that was exactly the number they wanted, even if it lands them on your property. Whenever someone draws ‘comes in second in a beauty contest’ the PITA will yell “Everyone else came in first!”, or “You were the only contestant!” (I admit to doing this, it is pretty funny!). No matter how much or how little rent you have to pay, the PITA will always ask you for the money in a very matter-of-factly voice with a hand outstretched, “$8 please!” They will offer to move your pieces for you when they know you will land on their expensive property, announcing each number with a gradual emphasis in shouting, then finally slamming your piece onto the property (usually Boardwalk with a hotel), laughing hysterically and knocking every house on the board askew (which adds to neat freak’s complaints of “oh, come ON!” to the cacophony).

You might think the PITA is unbreakable, but that is a common misconception. There’s one weakness the PITA has, and it must be exploited. It is of course, repercussion. Ask them for money in that same voice, move their pieces even as they refuse, remind them constantly of any properties that they may have mortgaged or any huge payments they have had to make, in short, dish it back, believe me they CAN’T take it! It may not seem to work at first, but gradually they will glare back at you, tell you to “shut up!”, and as you continue, they will try to pester you further, but you have at least equaled them, if not won!

• The Slum Lord – The slum lord (AKA the fake millionaire) owns the properties on the first side of the board, including hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues. They will cash in whatever money they have for higher denomination bills, so that eventually they have nothing but $500 bills and maybe a couple of $5’s to their name. God help you when you land on a property and they need to make change because you ran out of ‘ones’, or when they hand you a $500 bill for $12 rent.

• The Loser – No matter how many people play the round, there will be a loser, jinxed from the first roll when they land on ‘income tax’. This person ends up with a total of 3 properties, which they never land on. They will of course land on others’ properties religiously every time they go across the board. They are frequently in jail, and most of their money winds up in free parking, and is elected chairman of the board and has to pay every player $150. The loser will eventually give up and become The Drifter, where they liquidate all of their possessions and just roam around the board until they run out of money. If you play your cards right, you might be able to buy out the loser and take his properties, but the loser might also use the opportunity to hold ‘an auction’ which if voted in by other players, will allow them to milk you for up to double the price if someone absolutely needs to own Marvin Gardens (and there is always someone who does).

• The Cheaters – If there is a way to sneak, connive or just plain cheat one’s way into winning, or better yet, making YOU lose, they will find it, or make new ways as opportunities arise. First off, they will insist on being banker, which arouses instant suspicion. Seeing as being banker is a bit of a pain, especially when there are a lot of players, they get their way. They’ll toss the die off the table and as you retrieve it, you’ll look up and suddenly your hotels are downgraded to 2 houses, and everyone will swear it was that way.
Well I won’t trash cheaters too much here– you see, they rip EVERYONE off, even each other, which means from time to time, YOU will reap some benefits, such as houses passed to you in a bag of chips, or a $500 bill slipped to you (where else, but under the table!) It’s bribery of course, but they keep everyone in ‘hush houses’ and the games run with the air of mistrust throughout the duration.

So – which one are you?
And which piece must you always have?


Filed under Family, Friends, Games, Life, Lists, The Vault, Unvaulted

Tee or not to Tee?

This is inspired by Ms. JannaT – not by the T in her name (that is a mystery that may never be solved), but by the tee on her son. Tee-gate if you will (you probably won’t).

I’m betting that everyone has a favorite shirt, sweater, jacket, hat…well some article of clothing or accessory much like that. You still have it and as you sort through your clothes each season, the notion that it share the same fate as your old socks and undershirts, as a rag for polishing metal or scrubbing cabinets, is inconceivable (yes I know what that word means). Are those clothes replacing that security blanket from years ago? Are they part of a timeless fashion like blue jeans and ornate codpieces?

In any matter, whatever item you do have, I would also bet that it fits you like a glove (unless it is a pair of gloves, or one glove covered in rhinestones if you grew up in the mid 80’s), in which case it just fits.

So in my defense of this hoarding sentimentality, I present my Yankees t-shirt…

…and the story behind it.

My father and I went to Yankee Stadium in 1990. It was one of my first times there, and one of many that we would go to in the next few years – the Yanks were in almost last place [still better than the BoSux!], tickets were dirt cheap and always available.

I wanted a Yankees shirt, but not just any one off a shelf at Modell’s. Hell no! ‘Authentic’ meant buying it at the Stadium. Oh, and it had to be a jersey with the player name and number. Which is strange because the Yankees never post names on their home or away jerseys.

“So which one do you want?”, my dad asked.

Without missing a beat, “Mattingly.” Duh. Don Mattingly was the sole star in a ragtag team of bad trades (Matt Nokes) and unknowns (Chuck Cary). Again, a bad team, but not as bad at the BoSux. I never called him “Donnie Baseball” – that’s just a terrible nickname.

As the season, the games and the years went on, I would wear it whenever I could, sometimes even the moment it came out of the wash, and took care of it – never had that case where they were on a winning streak and I thought it was due to my shirt, so I wouldn’t wash it for weeks (though I do that with my Jets/Titans sweater now) I was extra careful eating, drinking, handling sharp objects (especially cat claws). I don’t know what my lifetime record of wins/losses was when attending games, but considering I was a teenager and you know how they typically feel about hanging out with their parents, those were good times spent together.

Once I realized that the shirt was almost threadbare, I decided it was time to ‘hang it up’ (something that many athletes could take note of). Always safely tucked away in a drawer, the shirt only gets worn during World Series games in which the Yankees are playing, and in the case of a World Series parade, as the first layer of fan gear when I attend. Oh, and hand wash only.


And so there it is, over 24 years old. Here’s to 24 more better seasons than the goddamn Red Sux.

I’ll add that I have a Yankees jacket, sweater, and hat which have seen just as many years on them as well. I’ll save those stories for another time ;).

In the meantime, I want to hear your story of a favorite/memorable clothing item.


Filed under Fandom, Life, Life in NYC, New York City, Sports

Ketchup With Us #35 – Breaking the Bank

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know in 57 words or less, the last time you scored big! Ketchup With Us

Though being the “We have a winner!!!” on Mr G’s Friday Foolishness makes your week complete, and is only slightly edged out by winning the Friday night lottery drawing, I was reminded of this one from a while back…


At a local fundraiser, there was a table selling pull- tab instant win tickets- ‘scratch offs’ without the scratch. So I buy a couple- in support! – and…jackpot! $50!

However they had just started and didn’t have that much cash yet, so they had to pay me from their own pockets. Only I can completely defeat “fund-raising”. 




Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Ketchup With Us, Life, Writing Challenges

Memorable Month – January

I resoluted 12 photo entries – so what was memorable through the first 31 days of the new year?

• I started off the year making popovers.
Though technically I started NYE, it ran that long since the recipe made nearly twice as many as it claimed, and they take about an hour each batch! No worries, they were eaten throughout the night with butter, salt and washed down with champagne.

• I didn’t take pictures of the snow, since I am sure you have no interest in seeing any more.
b0wts However, my new boots, which I had just ordered from LL bean hours before they completely sold out (really, I checked back later, no sizes left!) and which arrived before Christmas, made their debut in the early January snowstorm. They have performed perfectly well since then and absolutely worth the investment, as I plod through slushy curbsides and subway platforms.

What happened to my old worn out boots that still fit like a glove?
m4zb0wt Still safe under the watchful eyes of Max.

• Pizza at Lombardis with a friend who came to NYC for a workation.

Yes her other hand says 'Time'. Don't worry, she's nice!

Yes her other hand says ‘Time’

Haven’t seen her in almost 8 years – it was great catching up. The pizza was good, a little too expensive for toppings (homemade mozzarella was $4), but a small fed 2 people well on a cold winter night. The Sangria helped as well!

• Gussie the cat found a blue string that has become her most favorite thing ever. c4tst Watching her play with it has become my most favorite thing ever.

• I found this brilliant red wine, recommended by my preferred wine shop just a few blocks from my job (they know how to interpret my gibberish).
redwine It goes for around $16. Not too dry or fruity, with a deep red color. It is full bodied and ‘meaty’ as the label claimed (no overt berry or other flavors, which was ok) with a quick clean finish, no lingering tannins. It went perfect with pasta, savory sauce, meatballs and fried eggplant. I get a lot of flack for my red wine choices, but everyone loved the ‘simple’ fullness of each glass.

Already looking for, and making, the moments in February!


Filed under Cats, Life, New York City, Photo Blogs, Recipes, Resolutions, Restaurants, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wine