Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The City and Me

Today has been a good day. I finished two plays (one I started yesterday, Dead Man's Cell Phone, and US Drag), read an essay by E.B. White (the guy who wrote Charlotte's Web, he also wrote for The New Yorker for many years, talk about city and country!), applied at some more jobs in the city, took in the Park, and made myself a nice, relaxing dinner at the apartment (recipe to follow). I have decided I need to start getting up before 10 am. Unemployed though I may be, I have made the conscious decision to make the best of it. The city has so many sights, so many wonders, and national landmarks and destinations, it seems unlawful for me to waste idle time here in Astoria (not to knock my neighborhood - I'm learning to love it). It amazes me how New York has not just a few blocks of landmark institutions, but that almost every block has its own wonder or calling card. While wondering around the past few days, I have passed The Public Theatre, The Carlyle Hotel (where Stritch lives; it also has a celebrated cabaret show), The Alvin Ailey Dance Studio, Playwright's Horizon (and many other noted theaters), NYU, The Whitney Museum of Art, and Columbus Circle. I took a new train today, the 6, I am really racking them up. One day, I am going to take the A to check out Columbia University and even the L, to make my first venture into Brooklyn (terrifying). I took my first walk through Central Park today. It was such a calming experience, and the air smelled so fresh! I have made a pact that no matter what I am doing, I must take a walk there at least once a week. The green, the trees, I need it! While my funds last, I'm hoping to check New York's wealth of museums, cultural sites, and touristy things like the Empire State Building and Ellis Island. After I get my first paycheck from the restaurant, I'm planning on joining the gym across the street. See now, my schedule is already getting jam packed! I might as well become very physically impressive while I am unemployed and take up the role of eternal New York traveler and tourist. Though, some more work would be nice!

Speaking of the above US Drag, I thought I would give some of my unwarranted commentary on this year's US Open, a strange one indeed. I was glad (though a bit surprised) to see Clijsters and Del Potro take the titles; both are very deserving players, albeit for quite different reasons. I have always liked and respected Clijsters very much. In my book, she always seemed a superior and fitter played than her countrywoman Henin, only lacking the nerve to put the big wins away. My mom would say she is just not mean enough. Del Potro has been coming up the rankings this year, and he seems to have a mix of fitness, fire, and a strong gameplan (which is different from Rafa and Roger) that make him a very strong competitor (hopefully for years to come). Sure, everyone loves Roger, he is so fantastic, greatest who ever lived, a gentleman, superior technique, grace, style, yada, yada, yada. I'm getting a little tired of him and am ready to see the field actually take a piece out of him (though I wish it would have been Roddick handing him a runner-up at Wimbledon than Del Potro and Flushing). Now, as many of you know, I am a big Williams sisters fan, especially Venus. I was sad to see her early exit from the tournament (at the hands of Clijsters), but it seemed to match up with most of the other women in the top ten. Women's tennis has been in a topsy turvy, constantly looking for a champion, but mostly getting upsets and mixed results. Dinara Safina has been atop the ranking for most of the year, yet she has only capture a few titles and wilts under pressure at Grand Slam events (did you see Venus completely kick her ass at Wimbledon?). Serena has been the most compelling performer at Slams, the favorite each time she has entered, but has either been upset, injured, or absent from most of the other tournaments this year. And regarding her lashing out at the lines woman, 1) you don't call a Foot Fault at that point in a semi-final match, but then 2) you don't scream at an Asian lineswoman, especially when you are a muscled-out, intimidating Black woman with a racquet in your hand. Both of the Williams sisters have done so much for women's tennis, I'm hoping this whole mess will blow over, she did apologize, they still won the doubles', yada, yada, yada.

Well, those are my thoughts for now. Until next time, au revoir and buenas noches!

Easy Steamed Mussels
4 pounds (or more!) fresh black mussels (half or quarter this recipe if you are making for just one or two)
one cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, White Bordeaux, White Rioja, or Pinot Grigio are great)
Two garlic cloves, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup freshly minced parsley (try it with basil or terragon for an interesting change up)
Juice of one lemon
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Rinse and clean the mussels and remove any beards. Make sure all mussels are closed or only slightly open (hopefully your fish monger/seafood guy did this before he sold them to you). Place in a large pot with garlic, wine, and parsley. With lid on, bring to boil on high heat, shaking occasionally, until all shells have opened up. Remove from heat, place into serving bowl with juice, and add lemon juice, olive oil, and S & P. Enjoy with a big piece of crusty bread to sop up juices. Yum-O!

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