Saturday, June 28, 2008

Differences by Jen


Things that are different on the East Coast...

Avocados- they have strange large avocados from Florida, you can still find the California Haas avocados but you see the Florida ones in stores more frequently

Seasonings - McCormick and Lawry's no where to be found- lots of weird named seasonings- i miss the brands and labels that I know

Best Foods Mayo is Hellman's Mayo and Dryers Ice Cream is Edy's Ice Cream- the logo's and packaging are the same - the name is just different

Here "summer" is a verb, where are you summering? I summer in the Hampton's. Even karate schools and kids camps advertise come summer here. Back home summer is noun. What did you do over summer is how the west coasters roll.

Here- A 30% chance of rain defines just about any summer day- don't forget the thunderstorms which are perfectly normal when temps are in the 80's

That's all I got for you now, but I'm sure more will come to me later on!

Oh wait... I just thought of one more

In California-people finish thoughts with "ya know?" or "Yea?"

In NY they finish thoughts with "right?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jen's Back! Back to blogging and Back from the Hamptons

Hi Guys!
Sorry it's been forever since I've blogged. Life has been a bit hectic and I've been slacking.

In catching up.. After our trip to California I got assigned to cover Obama in St. Paul, Mn. It was the night he "officially" got enough delegates to become the party nominee. It was an amazing experience to watch history happen before my eyes! Here's a pic I took from the press riser w/ Obama speaking over my shoulder.

Anyhow, this past weekend Mike, Cooper and I went to the Hamptons. Our relatives Glenda and Harvey live in East Hampton during the summer and invited us to join them for a weekend to meet other relatives for the first time.

You see I have a fairly complicated family tree on my Dad's side of the family and there are a lot of relatives that I have never met before

Let me explain My Grandfather (My Dad's Dad -who died before I was born) Sam Weiss had 2 wives and 2 sets of children about 20 yrs apart.

The First wife died at a young age.... She had 2 daughters. One of those daughters is the mother to my Cousin Glenda the one we just visited in the Hamptons.

On her death bed she told Sam to send for her niece in Hungary to marry. Good thing too because this was shortly before the Holocaust. SO Serena (said niece) came to the states married Sam and then had 2 boys- my dad and my uncle art (dorie's dad - the wedding we went to in LA)

Are you following?

So my uncle Art and Glenda are the same age..and Glenda is 4 yrs older then my dad. But Glenda and I share the same Grandfather- very confusing I know. There was a lot of chart drawing and explaining going on this weekend.

Glenda and her dog cousin Cooper in the Hamptons

Now how are we related again? Was a common question being asked.

Anyhow, I've gotten to know Glenda and Harvey pretty well over the years but she is the only one on that half of the family that I have ever really gotten to know. So this weekend I got to meet her daughter Amy and her 2 boys Graham(14) and Emit (10).



Amy & her boyfriend Fred

It was really cool! It was so nice and fun to be around family. I look forward to keeping in touch with them from now on. They live in Vermont and we hope to go visit them soon since we are so close.

From Left to Right Me, Fred, Mike, Amy, Harvey, Glenda, Graham... Cooper is out of sight but standing in front of everyone!

Now, here's where it gets to be a super small world. Harvey, married to Glenda, told me back in October that he has a relative that lives in Inwood. That's where Mike and I live. So on Saturday we were all to have dinner together at Glenda and Harvey's.

So guess what? Harvey's niece Traci, her husband Jim and their teenage daughter Katie play trivia at the Pipers Kilt. They are on the Kitchen Doctor team. A team that frequently kicks our butts at Trivia night. What a small world?

Anyhow, they are great people too! They were great to get to know, they told us lots of insightful tips about the neighborhood. We look forward to spending more time with them as well.

Anyhow- the Hamptons. Everyone keeps asking me what the Hamptons are like. It's one of those places that everyone on the west coast has heard the name of, but has never actually been to.

Here's how I would describe the Hamptons... You know how in California when you drive along the Pacific Coast HWY you pass a bunch of beach towns. Each has it's on feel. Some are very chill, others are very Posh. Well that's what the Hamptons are like... except the highway isn't as windy and the towns aren't as far apart.

The Beach from East Hampton

The Hamptons are the east end of Long Island which is long and skinny hence the name. There are several towns and villages... West Hampton, West Hampton Village, East Hampton, East Hampton Village, Sag Harbor, Montauk, and several others. If you really care about the geography google it! :)

Anyhow we had a lovely time... here are some pics....

Gossman's Dock in Montauk

Dog's off leash at the East Hampton Beach on Sunday morning.

Cooper loved it!

Mike and Cooper watching the fishing boats in Montauk

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Low Can You Go...???

Most of my long-time friends, guys like Kevin, Mike and Dave, know that I'm a really competitive person. I don't like to lose at ANYTHING. Kevin and I had Nerf basketball showdowns in our high school years that ended in pushes and his parents' living room. On the football field with friends, if my team was losing, I'd bust out my patented "Wiggy tackle" (otherwise known as "grab the guy by the neck and drag him down) out of pure anger at losing a stupid Sunday morning game with friends. Air hockey games...board games...hell, even that NBA Jam Nintendo tournament we held back in early college that ended with Dave somehow sinking a half court shot with Mitch Richmond to beat me in the semis that I'm STILL not over (c'mon Dave, you know you had no business winning that game)....

As you can see...I don't like to lose...I'm the most competitive person I know. And I know a lot of you are asking, "Even more than Katie Neal?" Yes, even more than Katie.. (though to be fair, it was a photo finish.)

I relay this information because this past weekend I sunk about as low as you can possibly go to win at something...all in the name of claiming victory..

This past weekend we spent Saturday and Sunday with Jen's cousins Harvey and Glenda who live in the Hamptons. They are old enough to have grandchildren, and their daughter and her kids stayed at the house as well, so it was a good ol' family get together.

Jen and I had never met Harvey and Glenda's daughter Amy or her kids...14-year-old Graham and 10-year-old Emmitt...

Emmitt (otherwise known as "the victim")

Once we got there...Emmitt asked me if I played tennis. Yeah, but not in a long while, I told him. Well, he really wanted to play (10 year olds have a ton of energy) so with a borrowed racket and some borrowed sneakers from Harvey...Jen and Amy dropped Emmitt and I off at the public tennis courts for an hour or so...

Now, the whole ride over there, and for at least an hour before we got there...I proceeded to hear from Emmitt about how great he was at tennis.. How he had an "unreturnable" serve, how he played all the time and was really good, and on and on and on...

So when we got there, we warmed up a bit, and I said I'd let him serve...but then I said the words that caused the title of this blog post.

"Alright Emmitt, your serve, but be careful...I wouldn't want you to serve it into the net on your first shot...that'd sure be a bad sign..."

That's right...mind games on a 10-year-old...and, of course, it worked...he was a disaster after that. First serves into the net. After that, I made him run all over the place...when he backed up, I dinked shots in front of him...when I needed a point to keep him from winning even one game...I unleashed a fairly hard serve that he'd never be able to return...if he came in close, I'd hit a shot way up in the air over his head...etc.

The first set went quickly...6-love me...he didn't win a game. I wouldn't let him...this was tough love baby! And as it went on, and his frustration grew, he started complaining that the wind was screwing up his shots, and I was lucky and such...

Well, that just wanted to make me win I wanted to shut him out completely!

Again, 10-years-old...

Unfortunately (fortunately?) my lack of conditioning caught up with me, and he actually took two games from me in the second set when I eased up a bit. But the final score? 6-0 6-2 for the supposedly mature 31 year old...

Of course, I had to talk trash afterwards, asking Emmitt where his unreturnable serve had gone, and I hoped to play him again after he found it...he took it all in good humour, but I'm sure quietly, the kid is plotting my demise..

So there you have it...for those of you who thought I couldn't sink any further than playing mind games with my wife at the bowling alley when she was about to beat my score...there it is...annihilating a 10-year-old on the tennis court...

I'm going to make a wonderful father...


Monday, June 16, 2008

The Perfect Day

This past Sunday was just the perfect day in my mind. Jen and I decided Saturday night that we'd go do some stuff Sunday that we hadn't gotten a chance to do in town here yet. It was a packed day, but a great time.

We got up around 9am and took the train to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or "The Met" as its known in opposed to "The Mets." who are known in town at the moment as "stinkin' losers.") We had never been before, but we only had about an hour of time there, so we flew around and saw the two rotating exhibits that we wanted to know, the ones that are only in there for a few months. One was these statue sculptures made to look like balloon animals that are on display on the roof of the building. Here's a picture!

The other one was actually not what I had in mind, but was interesting all the same. It was called "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy." We thought the exhibit was just going to take a look at superhero fashions through the years and how the cartoonists had come up with looks...instead, it was "today's fashion designers put their spin on superhero fashion" Some wierd shit, let me tell you, but still, pretty interesting...

Sorry, no pictures allowed...the security guy even wagged a finger at Jen when she pulled the camera out...poor baby.

After that, we caught a cab through Central Park, because we had to head over to Lincoln Center for a film festival. We had bought tickets the night before for a flick being shown as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. The movie was called "The Recruiter." Basically, its about this Army recruiter in rural Louisiana and some of his recruits. He's been awarded as the best recruiter in the country, and it shows how he goes about finding possible recruits, staying on them about signing up, going through the difficulties of getting people to sign up and stay on course to become recruits, and so forth. It also follows 4 of his recruits through the process, and then basic training as well.

Just fascinating stuff, and real eye-opening for those of us who wonder how they even get kids to sign up for the Armed Forces these days, considering we're in war mode and all.

The director was there for the screening and did a Q&A afterwards. Good stuff...

Anyways, I highly recommend this movie. HBO is actually going to show it sometime in mid-July, so look for it.

From there, we wandered down to Sixth Avenue, where we stumbled upon a street fair! I love wandering through these...always shit to buy, and fun to people watch...its like a mini-version of going to the State Fair...

It stretched for about 17 blocks, down past Radio City Music Hall and into Bryant Park. I got a laugh out of walking by RCMH and seeing people lining up to get into the Tony Awards (they were Sunday night). These poor people, in their tuxs and ball gowns, and they have to line up 4 hours before the show in the heat....they were sweltering...and the smell of kababs and Indian food from the street fair 50 feet away probably wasn't helping matters.

The best thing to come out of the street fair in my mind, besides the birthday gift we bought for little Anisa Huthman when she comes next month, was something Jen had wanted me to try for a long time. Its called an arepa...its basically two corn cakes, with mozzerella cheese in the middle..fried...(see? I told you...State Fair!)

Anyways, its delicious...holy Moses I could have eaten 4 or 5 of the buggers. It might have killed me, but as Dave knows, I'm willing to make that kind of sacrifice for large quantities of good food.

We came home, pretty worn out from the full day, and then had a dinner of pasta with sausage and cheese bread, while we watched Iron Chef America and the Next Food Network Star (whatever did I watch before the Food Network?? I can't remember...)

All in all, the perfect trickled into Monday morning as well when Jen took me to Regis and Kelly....she had gotten tickets for us because Emeril Lagasse was filling in for Regis and she knew I wanted to see him. We sat up close, got a smidge of camera time, and he signed my cookbook for me. That's all I wanted!

A fabulous day (plus a bit) with my fabulous wife...just another day in the Big City.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We're having a heat wave....

...we had been slagging on the posting since our return from CA, so I wanted to post something this weekend...but it was too hot...that and the fact that I was laid up Sunday with what we now think actually WAS salmonella poisoning (thank you tomatoes!), pushed the posting process to Monday, but it was still too hot, and then Tuesday was hotter STILL...

Yep, we're having a heatwave here in the big city. But it's not a tropical heatwave. It's a heatwave where you're constantly sweating and you want to basically kill yourself. Add in the fact that we don't have central air, and you're just miserable.

Fortunately, the current heatwave appears to have ended today. We're back into the mid 80s (10 degrees higher than normal, but still not record breaking upper 90s temps like the past two days and humidity is down) and there's actually a breeze...I'll enjoy it while I can...July is right around the corner...

Other thoughts from the past few weeks:

**Took in another Jays-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium. The Jays lost, but it was amusing to me to watch these Yankees fans realize that their team isn't going anywhere this year. Big-time fatalistic, and I think we're probably due for some major baseball-related violence in the Bronx this September as the postseason slips away from the men in the pinstripes...

Having said that, my friend once said that these Yankee teams are hard to hate because they have a bunch of likeable players and aren't like the Yankee teams of old. Now, that might be the most ignorant comment I've ever heard (and please, look for my new book "18,738 Reasons to Hate the New York Yankees," coming soon to bookstores everywhere!!), BUT I have to admit, I have an absolute man-crush on Joba Chamberlain...I just like the kid...I like his ability, I like his demeanor, I like his humbleness, I like his polio-stricken father, his life story is unbelievable, I'm just rooting for Joba to do well in his big-league career (except, of course, when he pitches against the Jays)

**Lord help us, but we almost had a Mike Watts appearance on the Nancy Grace show a few days back. I know, I know, how crazy would that have been? The story is that her producer called my office last Monday (the 2nd) and wanted to know if we were covering the Tatum O'Neal drug bust story and if I could come on the show that night to discuss it. I told the producer that we were covering the story, but weren't like down at the courthouse or anything, and that it had pretty much become a non-story (she had been released without bail, didn't say anything to reporters, blah blah blah)...she thought she still might like to use me, and was going to call my boss and ask (I needed his permission to appear for Metro)...

Well they ended up using a New York Post reporter when they decided they wanted someone who had been PHYSICALLY covering the story all day (can't say I blame them there)...this is actually a good thing, because I hate Nancy Grace...she drives me up the wall...I can't watch her without wanting to shoot out my TV, so there would have been a good chance I'd have re-enacted the Sue Simmons profanity during my appearance...

By the way, my sister does a really good Nancy Grace impression...I feel like you need to know these things...

**Jen was in St. Paul last week helping cover the Obama camp for work. She hates when I talk like this, but she's becoming quite the star over there at the alphabet network. She got compliments on her producing performance from folks who rarely hand out kind words, and she's been put on a few shortlists for more producing efforts around the country, including hurricane coverage. I'll let her tell you more about all this in a later post, but I'm very proud of her!! Cooper and I sure do miss her when she's out of town time at the bar goes up exponentially... =)

**More cool duties for me later this summer. My cousin Jonathan has asked me to be his MC for his wedding in Ottawa next month. Apparently he's forgotten that I have about, oh I don't know, a MILLION embarassing stories about his childhood and our summers together at the cottage, I'm sure I'll be able to tell a few of them in front of everyone he knows....should be fun! Jen and I have booked our time off to head to Canada this summer for a week of fun with the wedding at time at the cottage with my Grandma (and Mom and Master Jen, who'll also be there at the same time we are)

**And finally, if you see one movie at all this summer, see Zombie Strippers...