Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lament of a Slow Moving Zombie

Me like brains for to eat
Me want run with my feet
Me friends they run for brains
But me old school and no can explain

Why me walk slow and lope along
With speedy friends, me don't belong
Took all strength to dig out of grave
What more do when brains I crave

Other zombies pump they knees
Fast to victims and heads they squeeze
They fast, they sprint and jog
Scare people bad when coming out fog

Me try pick up pace
To eat under peoples face
But living stroll right by
Me can't even nibble thigh

Worst is people mock
Laugh and time me with stop clock
Say "catch me if you may"
Then them slowly walk away

(photo from danhollisterduck, flickr.com)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Answers from Rolf Maurer

No word yet from the Dems or Reps but the Green Party candidate, Rolf Maurer, stepped up to the plate to answer SN's questions:

1. Which local blogs do you read? The Downtown Special Services District Blog
2.    Name one thing you have learned about Stamford from local blogs? The full range of businesses and services in the Bedford/Broad Street areas.
3.    What is one thing you will preserve about Stamford as mayor? The Loft Artists Association, in one form/location, or another.
4.    What is one thing you will change about Stamford as mayor? Introduce city-wide community gardens.
5.    What is in your CD player right now? "Silent Nation" by Asia
6.    Do you seriously still listen to CDs? Yes, and LPs--never got into MP3s because they don't have album art or lyric sheets.
7.    What’s your drink of choice? Water.
8.    How are you going to deal with the empty storefronts on Bedford? It's up to the landlord. From what I understand, it's not a matter of finding tenants, but finding the right ones whose businesses complement those already on Bedford. I would like to create more opportunities, though, by converting the Mall ground floor parking area into a mini-mall for indie stores.
9.    What is your guilty pleasure? Dark chocolate.
10.    How will Stamford’s transportation system differ in five years? Hopefully, it will offer a greater range of options, in the form of bike paths, more residential sidewalks built to the standard of downtown and a combination of increased bus services, perhaps a few jitney shuttles and a trolley running from the South End to Bull's Head.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bennett's is Back?

Everybody and their mother told me that Bennett's restaurant (24-26 Spring Street) was ancient history - not so! Apparently they are reopening on Nov 6th with redesigns both in the food and on the floor. Interesting...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grab a Beer with Bill Shakespeare

Shakespeare on the Sound is celebrating their 2010 year by meeting and mingling with you.

Join them at their November 5th Open House from 6-8pm at the Greenwich Arts Council, 299 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich.

Meet Ty Jones (Bottom) and Jesse J. Perez (Puck) from last season’s "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and hear Joanna Settle, the Artistic Director, speak about the upcoming season. Full of class, but free of charge.

(photo from ell brown, flickr.com)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Old Town Hall

More than once, I've heard people speculating about what's going on with the Old Town Hall building on Atlantic. It's been under construction for ages, and there's a modern steel and glass structure taking shape around back. You can see what it will look like in finished form here, here, and here. The Advocate identifies a December 18th 2009 completion date.

Alright, so what's going on inside? According to the Advocate, there are plans for an on-site art museum. The search for the museum's curator is about to begin. Downtown Special Services District president, Sandy Goldstein, told The Advocate that they want the building to serve as a community "showplace for art." In addition to museum space, other creative tenants are slated to fill the space. The Ballet School of Stamford will be one resident. Talks are underway for others. For more information on the project, take a look at the rest of the Old Town Hall website.

(photo from justinbaeder, flickr.com)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dirty Diamonds are not Forever

When my hand brushed by my ear the other day, I heard a little jingling. The diamond in my engagement ring was, ever so slightly, rattling around in prongs that were no longer doing their job. It wouldn't take much for the diamond to fall out. My diamond jewelry related needs are (sadly) pretty limited, so I had no idea where to go to get it fixed.

To be honest, I picked Grunberger Jewelers out of laziness. I needed UPS and a dry cleaners, and oh look - there's a jewelry store too. Fortunately, they did a lovely job. I hadn't realized (see above reference to laziness) that not only was my ring in need of mechanical work, it also needed detailing. When you wear something every day, you don't realize that it's getting grubby. Gerard, who helped me, did an excellent job explaining my options. After a little thought, I signed up for a full remodel, and when the ring came back to me, it was just gorgeous. The facets are picking up light from all angles and the side diamonds are shining through their snug little platinum home. If and when (fingers crossed) I see an uptick in my luxury jewelry needs, I will certainly go back.

(photo from Swamibu, flickr.com)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My First Political Post

The quickest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't do it. With that in mind, I contacted the three mayoral candidates, Martin, Pavia and Maurer, with a few questions.

1. Which local blogs do you read?
2. Name one thing you have learned about Stamford from local blogs?
3. What is one thing you will preserve about Stamford as mayor?
4. What is one thing you will change about Stamford as mayor?
5. What is in your CD player right now?
6. Do you seriously still listen to CDs?
7. What’s your drink of choice?
8. How are you going to deal with the empty storefronts on Bedford?
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
10. How will Stamford’s transportation system differ in five years?

I asked that they write me back by October 30th, but I'm well aware they may have one or two other things to do...like win the election. So, if and when they write back, I'll let you know.

In vaguely interesting other news, I saw Diana Ross at CVS in Greenwich today. She seemed to think she'd been spotted when I made an "ah ha" face, but I'd just found the vitamins.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome Mr. President

I've heard reports of helicopters hovering, manhole covers welded shut and giddy citizens all over our blue state. I'm off to earn my keep and maintain my non-government option supported health insurance, so if you see the leader of the free world while I am at the office, give him a fist bump for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What do Nebraska and Japan have in common?

They are both getting me to work...eventually. The lead story in today's Advocate is that the new Metro-North rail cars start their journey to the New Haven line from Kobe, Japan next week. The Advocate reports that the first 38 cars will come from Japan and 262 will follow out of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Don't expect a fleet of shiny new trains any time soon though. The first few models will be subject to extensive testing. After the initial small shipment, we'll see 10 cars per month in the beginning of 2010. The new cars, called the M-8s, will be spacious and colorful.

Fingers crossed that the bar car comes early. I will bide my time by starting the long and tearful goodbye to the wood print vinyl paneling.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stamford Magazine - First Impressions

I picked up a copy of the premiere issue of Stamford Magazine at the train station. Altogether, I found it chic and smart. As with anything, there's room for improvement. Here are my thoughts on its notable pros and cons.

Pros: The meat of the magazine is Grade A. The "Your Stamford" section is clever, dissecting the city's offerings into attractions for decorators, the fashion conscious, families and night owls. Each section includes an appealing city profile with a cutaway box for contact information. The "Downtown Rising" article puts new developments in historical and urban planning perspective and included some astute comments from Mayor Malloy. Jeff McNamara's photographs of the Bartlett garden are lush and vibrant. Always pleased to read good press on Barcelona - it's no secret that I'm a fan. There's also an artful local dining guide highlighting restaurant options from Shippan to Summer.

Cons: It suffers from a common magazine affliction - a very heavy advertisement hand. There are some noteworthy welcome messages, but they don't make an appearance until page 24. I found the Greenwich Hospital ad showing doctors spilling out of the MRI machine off-putting - do I want to put my life in the hands of folks using their expensive equipment as a jungle gym? The magazine was big on the "who's at the party" photo spreads, which always feel elitist and unwelcoming instead of community building.

The cons notwithstanding, Moffly Media does a stellar job conveying local information with polish and pizazz. We are fortunate that they've seen fit to focus on the city that works. Perhaps their sophisticated take on the town will make it work even better.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Norwich Connecticut Defenders are Now...

The Richmond Flying Squirrels!

On Oct 8th, I blogged about the former Norwich Connecticut Defenders moving to my home town of Richmond, Virginia. There was a lot of local debate about the candidates for new names - get up to speed here. Personally, I'm good with the Flying Squirrels - here's why it's the best one on the table:

Rockhoppers was cool and appropriate, but it's a pretty sucky mascot and an even suckier free giveaway. Imagine the team wasn't doing well - you just gave everybody a weapon.

Hush Puppies - ok, they're adorable, but Virginians don't need more reasons to eat fried food. Also, a little too good for throwing at players (fried balls, not dogs...but either would be bad).

It's not the Flatheads. (Really, the Flatheads?)

Hambones sound like the team is what's left over after the good parts are taken. You could make soup out of them, but you wouldn't serve them to company.

Rhinos was ridiculously irrelevant to Richmond.

So that's my opinion - and putting aside the fact that this is kind of irrelevant to Stamford - what do you think?

(photo from jack_a_daniel, flickr.com)

Things That Are Now Here!

Once upon July, I posted a little gripe about the fact that The Stamford Magazine wasn't so much in existence. Still true...but what's now on the newsstands is another newcomer worthy of our attention, Stamford Magazine (no "the").

I don't have the paper version in hand, but the website is dynamic and lively. The magazine's first issue includes a sort of Stamford 101 and profiles the lovely Bartlett Gardens, improvements at The Rich Forum, Barcelona Restaurant and an article entitled Downtown Rising.

Check out the website for a sneak peak, and I'll seek out the magazine so I can say something ever so slightly more meaningful.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stamford History's Birthday Soiree

The blog entry from The Stamford Historical Society says "100th Birthday Party – help us spread the word," so I'm doing just that.

On Sunday, October 25th from noon to 4pm, enjoy music, munchies and even a lil' magic at 1508 High Ridge Road. The event features an exhibit called 100 Years in the Making: Highlights from the Society’s Collections.

Adult admission is $10, children 4-12 $5 and younger than 4 gets in for free.

(photo from nick farnhill, flickr.com)

Stamford Studying for its Zero Degree

In the next few weeks, downtown Stamford welcomes a newcomer to 909 Washington Blvd by the name of Hotel Zero Degrees.

We know that there are 97 rooms, 8 floors and a sleek website featuring boatloads of "coming soon"s. The site reveals a few details. For instance, breakfast and Internet access are complimentary. There's a pool and a fitness center. Pets are allowed for a $10/day fee. Beyond that, lots TBD.

They've got a Facebook presence with a bit more info, including a picture and a word on the name's origin as well. Hope to learn more in the coming weeks - fingers crossed for ice sculptures!

(photo from OliBac, flickr.com)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In the Cold October Rain

Connecticut is supposed to shine in this season,
But the weather’s been awful right now for some reason.
And I don’t like it at all, this ongoing monsoon.
It feels like a fake out, like the boy in the balloon.

There’s supposed to be leaves stacked up in a giant pile.
Instead all this freakin rain is tugging on my smile.
There are leaves alright, but they are ready to mildew,
Very depressing, like the passing of Captain Lou.

Good thing that into Playboy, Marge Simpson took the leap,
Because there's not much else for the leaf peepers to peep.
I would like pumpkins to carve and a crisp autumn night
Before winter is here and all this rain turns to white.

(photo from wili_hybrid, flickr.com)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tabouli Grill

Margo's is gone, but there's a new restaurant in her place. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't had a chance to eat at Tabouli Grill, but when I walked by today it was packed with happy faces. According to the flyer, the owner is Judith Roll. She studied at the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Los Angeles.

Her new Stamford endeavor features traditional Mediterranean fare including hummus, assorted kabobs, falafel and spinach pies, but also eyebrow raising options like "Vegetarian Chopped Liver" and "Israeli Nachos." When I dropped off my jewelry a few doors down, they spoke highly of their new neighbor. Looking forward to checking it out. If you beat me to it, drop me a line.

(photo from karimian, flickr.com)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Pop Quiz

Fill in the blank pop quiz:

On October 18, from 11am to 4pm, there's this really cool festival called the ________ Festival at the Stamford Museum & __________ Center. There will be demos on how to make ___________________ and other cool seasonal activities for adults and kids. It's on, rain or shine. It only costs $4-$8.

Answers:
- Harvest
- Nature
- Apple Cider

For more info on the Stamford Museum & Nature Center's Harvest Festival, click here.

(photo from MattJP, flickr.com)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For the Birds

Looking for some outdoor entertainment this weekend?? Take a look at these upcoming events from the Audubon Greenwich.

Saturday, October 17
Autumn Migration Bird Walk: Fairchild Sanctuary
7:00-8:45 am
Join us to seek out the flood of migrants heading for the tropics as well as other species arriving from the north to spend the winter with us. Bring binoculars and hiking shoes. Loaner binoculars may be available. No fee or RSVP required. Meet at the Fairchild parking area on North Porchuck Road in Greenwich. Contact the Nature Store at x221 for more information.

Saturday, October 17
TRIP: Hook Mountain Hawk Watch
9:00 am-3:00 pm
Travel with us to this mountaintop viewpoint across the Hudson with excellent hawk watching and spectacular views across the autumn landscape. Involves moderate half mile hike uphill. Bring binoculars, hat, sunscreen, lunch, water bottle, hiking shoes. Ages: 8 & up. RSVP with Ted at x230.

Sunday, October 18
TRIP: Cove Island Park Bird Sanctuary
8:00-11:00 am
Visit this seaside park in search of migrating sparrows and shorebirds, at this birding hotspot in Stamford, CT. Meet at Audubon Greenwich to carpool by 8 am or call ahead and meet the group in Wilton. Ages: 8 & up. RSVP required. Call Brian at x221.

(photo from mikebaird, flickr.com)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting, If True...

Chris Preovolos made a good point - there are a few other debates on the wanna-be mayors' agenda, including one on the 18th at 10:00am, Temple Sinai, 458 Lakeside Drive. Check out the Michael P and David M websites for more info. Notably, Pavia has proclaimed Oct 17th and 18th "Mike Madness" Days.

More importantly, since Preovolos is no stranger to a good point, I got a pretty nifty set of comments from someone called Orville who said the following:

i noticed a few things this weekend;

1, Galangal lot is no longer for rent. I wonder what is coming.

2, the my gym lot has been filled by a hairdressing unit named for grils like us!

3, Twenty has closed? or has it?

4, Houlihans lights have come back on!! Have they changed their minds?

These are excellent points and they need a little due diligence. If anybody has some insights, let's hear it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't Hate the Mayor, Hate the Game

Did you get a bruise kicking yourself for missing the last mayoral debate? Heal it right up by checking out another round on October 29th at 7pm at the Ferguson Library (corner of Broad and Bedford).

If you can't haul yourself to the li-berry, you can catch it streaming live at www.stamfordadvocate.com.

(photo from david drexler, flickr.com)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Playboy Centerfold...Marge Simpson?

Apparently, in celebration of the Simpson's 20th year on the air, Marge is wiggling out of her green tube dress. Here's the best I got:

Guess we'll find out if she's a real bluehead.

Is that a beehive in your pocket?

Marge Simpson: Four fingered MILF.

She's gone from d'oh to peep show.

You might call her a draw dropper.

(photo from Joe Shlabotnik, flickr.com)

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Love a Parade

I keep thinking that one day I will wake up and discover that I have magically transformed into a grownup - someone for whom cartoons and parades hold no appeal.

That day is not today, and I am unabashedly looking forward to Sunday's Columbus Day Parade in Stamford. It starts following a Sunday mass at Sacred Heart Church located at 37 Schuyler Avenue. Check out Chris Preovolos' Stamford 411 pictures of last year's event for an idea of what's to come for '09.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baseball Switch from Norwich

Once upon a time, not so long ago, The Connecticut Defenders - Norwich's farm team for the San Francisco Giants - dusted off their home plate and moved it to my home town, Richmond, Virginia. My dad called me tonight all pumped up on local-osterone because Darren Rovell, CNBC's Sports Business Reporter has taken on the cause of naming Richmond's new team. Richmonders weren't thrilled with the options presented, so Rovell was casting out for more in hopes of adding a wild card name to the mix. The candidates before Rovell weighed in were as follows:

Richmond Rockhoppers - Referring to the rocky James River (in fairness, there's rocks - I've hopped them)
Richmond Rhinos - For no reason except it alliterates and it could stomp you (and leads a long and happy life? really? aren't they endangered?)
Richmond Flatheads - Apparently, it's a fish
Richmond Flying Squirrels - Virginia has them, they too play night games and there's cuteness a'plenty
Richmond Hambones - Virginia ham...mmm...I can support the ham, but I have reservations about the bones

So after 9,000 votes, the wild card entry from Rovell's readers is...
Richmond Hush Puppies - Allegedly Southern, original, kid-friendly and fried.

What do you think? Cast your vote here. Deadline is October 11th.

(photo from geishaboy500, flickr.com)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are you my Mayor?

Do you like a little mayoral candidate on mayoral candidate action? As if I need to ask.

Learn a thing or two about the candidates for Stamford mayor - David Martin, Michael Pavia and Rolf Maurer - during their 7pm Wednesday night (aka, tonight!) debate at the Gen Re Auditorium (1st floor at the UConn Stamford campus on Broad).

The topic will be the environment and, just maybe, a companion demonstration on the use of hot air.

If you go, please ask them their position on the robbing of banks that I go to - often! As I may have mentioned, I am against it.

Don't forget, election day is November 3rd!

(photo from Wonderlane, flickr.com)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wachovia on Main Robbed - Not Good!

Check out the Advocate story. I told you Stamford was burglar-ing itself! I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.

Obama coming to Stamford to Laud Dodd

The Advocate reported today that as part of Obama's October 23rd trip to Connecticut, he will be making a stop in our backyard. The President will speak at a fund-raiser for Chris Dodd at the Hilton Stamford Hotel (1 First Stamford Plaza). The article indicates that the time of the appearance was not yet known.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Down with Gordon Brown

Hello, citizens!

Back from the land of scones and thrones. Good trip; nice to be back.

Things I have learned about the world's palest island dwellers:

- No top sheets on the beds. When I asked "what do you do when you get hot?" the response was, "we don't get hot." Huh!

- Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise, London has some top drawer food. Enjoyed The Anchor and Hope and Santo especially.

- And yet, beans for breakfast - ick.

- If they don't sell it at Portobello Market, you don't need it.

- "Southwark" is "Suth-uck" and "Leicester" is "Lester" and saying either wrong means you are a certifiable tourist.

- 723% greater use of the word "brilliant." We tend to reserve it for Nobel laureates. They used it to describe even the BS I said. My apologies to the Nobel laureates for diluting your awesomeness.

- The only difference between a pub and a bar is the date on the cornerstone. Either will do the trick.

(photo from me, London pub with familiar name)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cure JM

Kevin of Always Home and Uncool has asked me to post this as part of his effort to raise awareness in the blogosphere of juvenile myositis, a rare autoimmune disease his daughter was diagnosed with on this day seven years ago. The day also happens to be his wife's birthday.

*

Our pediatrician admitted it early on.

The rash on our 2-year-old daughter's cheeks, joints and legs was something he'd never seen before.

The next doctor wouldn't admit to not knowing.

He rattled off the names of several skins conditions -- none of them seemingly worth his time or bedside manner -- then quickly prescribed antibiotics and showed us the door.

The third doctor admitted she didn't know much.

The biopsy of the chunk of skin she had removed from our daughter's knee showed signs of an "allergic reaction" even though we had ruled out every allergy source -- obvious and otherwise -- that we could.

The fourth doctor had barely closed the door behind her when, looking at the limp blonde cherub in my lap, she admitted she had seen this before. At least one too many times before.

She brought in a gaggle of med students. She pointed out each of the physical symptoms in our daughter:

The rash across her face and temples resembling the silhouette of a butterfly.

The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

The reddish alligator-like skin, known as Gottron papules, covering the knuckles of her hands.

The onset of crippling muscle weakness in her legs and upper body.

She then had an assistant bring in a handful of pages photocopied from an old medical textbook. She handed them to my wife, whose birthday it happened to be that day.

This was her gift -- a diagnosis for her little girl.

That was seven years ago -- Oct. 2, 2002 -- the day our daughter was found to have juvenile dermatomyositis, one of a family of rare autoimmune diseases that can have debilitating and even fatal consequences when not treated quickly and effectively.

Our daughter's first year with the disease consisted of surgical procedures, intravenous infusions, staph infections, pulmonary treatments and worry. Her muscles were too weak for her to walk or swallow solid food for several months. When not in the hospital, she sat on our living room couch, propped up by pillows so she wouldn't tip over, as medicine or nourishment dripped from a bag into her body.

Our daughter, Thing 1, Megan, now age 9, remembers little of that today when she dances or sings or plays soccer. All that remain with her are scars, six to be exact, and the array of pills she takes twice a day to help keep the disease at bay.

What would have happened if it took us more than two months and four doctors before we lucked into someone who could piece all the symptoms together? I don't know.

I do know that the fourth doctor, the one who brought in others to see our daughter's condition so they could easily recognize it if they ever had the misfortune to be presented with it again, was a step toward making sure other parents also never have to find out.

That, too, is my purpose today.

It is also my birthday gift to my wife, My Love, Rhonda, for all you have done these past seven years to make others aware of juvenile myositis diseases and help find a cure for them once and for all.

To read more about children and families affected by juvenile myositis diseases, visit Cure JM Foundation at www.curejm.org.

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to www.firstgiving.com/rhondaandkevinmckeever or www.curejm.com/team/donations.htm.