Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Ways to make Calgary look like a city/Update
2. Photograph giant and important-looking aircraft beginning takeoff roll while aimed at the lonely skyline and surrounded by snow-covered everything.
I did neither. Now I'm in wet and rainy Vancouver, the beautiful catch basin of Canadian failure and, occasionally, Rob Bellinger's American dreams.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
off to calgary
Labels: business travel
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
OFFICIAL TRAVELOGUE OF THE FIRST ANNUAL COLLEGE POINT CLASS CONFLICT PUB CRAWL, HELD ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2006
Travelogue by Rob; Linked Photos by Dan
"You's are gonna end up in the hospital," said dad. I was beginning to think that this could be my worst idea of 2006. There was the trans-Canadian roadtrip that almost left me dead. I had already subjected myself to 20+ coach class business flights and had another 20+ to look forward to. But alco-cultural tourism in blue collar Queens?
I didn't believe it could happen until people started showing up in College Point the night after Thanksgiving.
When the small crowd reached critical mass--five--out we went. C-Mike, Althea, Meade, Rob "Mole" Gestone, and I set out through the sleepy, suburban streets of North College Point, the nicest part of the neighborhood. As we approached the Pour House (formerly the College Point Ale House), walking downhill on a narrow sidewalk, feelings of nervous excitement took hold of each of us. Would we be beaten by the bullies of our grade school days? Robbed by the bands of thugs who hang out in front of the neighborhood's 25+ delis 365 days per year?
We found the Pour House a legitimately quaint and nicely appointed corner bar in a residential hood known for haircuts and Korean-Italian subs. The only people in the place also worked there, and they were confused by out-of-state IDs. Every drink cost five bucks, but there was quite a selection. After a round of beers that we would not see again for the rest of the night, like Sam Adams and Bass, we received free Thanksgiving shots of some sticky Schnapps mixture, served in tiny plastic shot cups. C-Mike played RHCP's "Me and My Friends" on the digital jukebox--the Official Song of the CPCCPC. A flyer in the bathroom advertised the Thursday Night City Worker Special , but there were no city workers there to study. Things started well--no conflict.
Up the hill we marched, past the Poppenhusen Monument. Dan spotted this puke in the street and photographed a conspicuous hurricane evacuation sign (these showed up all over the city after 9/11). At 14th Avenue, two of C-Mike's friends from far, far away met up with us, just outside the North Fork Bank (formerly College Point Savings Bank). All marveled at the large and fake liberty bell in the bank. There, as children, we were frequently scolded for leaving handprints on said bell.
The POINT BAR & GRILL experience reminded me of the shady watering hole Homer Simpson finds himself in after Moe steals the Flaming Homer recipe--the place where the barkeep calls him "Your Majesty" for complaining about a huge stain on his glass. The Point Bar and Grill, which has since closed, had been described by the parents as "a real alcoholic's place." We had always passed by as children, and the mother pointed out the "filthy drunks" on the bar steps as examples of societal maladies that we should never become. In 2006, the bar, nestled tightly between a copy shop and a shoe repair shop on the first floor of an apartment building, looked more weathered than ever before. An unlit, faded sign hung over the brick facade. Two Mexican-looking dudes smoked cigarettes on the steps and let us in. Inside, there were a few more Mexican-looking dudes and an anorexic, elderly biker dude with long yellow hair and a compatible-looking chick on each arm. Behind the bar, in a state of apparent permaconfusion, was a tall, stocky dude in a GNR t-shirt.
Someone asked for a pitcher. The bartender dude said: "This is the Point Bar and Grill. You're lucky if we have a dirty glass." And so I ordered something in a bottle, a cider. For the next hour or so, we took pisses in a steel trough, wondered why there was an old treadmill in the empty back room, and watched as a gimpy old man brought 6-packs of Heineken up from the basement. We talked with the barkeep about his shirt. He was psyched to be seeing Axl at the Garden the next week. When we had taken in the scene, we realized that faced a dilemma.
Did we trek up 14th Ave to the residential metal bar, according to the original plan, or move down CP Blvd to two recently discovered bars? We chose the latter, arriving at Rob Roy Spirit's [sic] in just a few minutes. Inside the surprisingly nice place, very drunk drunks played pool. We swarmed the 40something lady behind the bar, and presented IDs from Jersey, Mass, Kansas. "You's are from everywhere!" she said. Then she poured $1.50 worth of Coors into whatever she could find. There weren't enough pint glasses to serve all seven of us, so various plastic cups were employed. Our team employed a dollar-per-drink tipping procedure, leading the barkeep to exclaim to her drunk friends, "They're big tippas!"
This time, the digijuke played "My Lovely Man," another RHCP tune. Carrying my Coors from the bar, I stepped aside as a huge, undercover cop-looking dude fired off the final, triumphant shot of a pool game. He turned to me, shook my hand, and said "thanks fa movin'" all slurred with a sickly drunk smile.
Suddenly I was talking to a short teamster about Somerville, Mass, my adopted hometown. He reached into his pocket and produced his birth certificate, proving that he was, in fact, born blocks from Somerville City Hall. He ended up in New York City and settled in the neighborhood because "College Point is really the last holdout for people of our kind." He elaborated, confirming my suspicion that "our kind" meant white people who play baseball and hockey. The teamster then gave a very lengthy oration on the quality of the new city-owned sports complex and the neighborhood's entire coaching staff.
Though we hoped to play pool, the pool tables were taken. We'd have liked a game of darts, but the bar's darts had been stolen. We moved south.
At the corner of College Point Boulevard and 23rd Avenue stand two bars, a pizza shop, and a 7-11. Around 1:30 a.m., six drunk, young-looking people on foot stormed into the 7-11 and bought disgusting Buffalo Taquitos. The Southeast Asian clerks looked confused and nervous, as did the sole other customer, a counterfeit Far East Queens hipster. The air of nervousness was dispelled as the revelers walked out into the night and the retail environment regained its characteristic silence and uninterrupted fluorescent glow.
JP's on the Boulevard, "A place to meet your friends," had been closed and sealed by the NYPD, so we couldn't drink there. Across the boulevard and up 23rd Ave. stood a squat and small and previously unknown bar I had discovered the day before: the Sports Garden. In this small bar we were to spend the rest of the night. Debbie, the raspy-voiced barkeep, drank heavily and jokingly harassed everyone in the bar. She didn't believe any of us were over 21, as people in College Point look far older than they are. She kept the conversation going with racist jokes--or at least, she tried to. Some people seated at the far end of the bar claimed they were part owners and bought us a round of shots, again in those tiny plastic cups. We did not reciprocate. There was a small, fenced-in patio outside the bar, littered with wet deck furniture reflecting sodium-vapor yellow in the chilly off-season night. I'm pretty sure everyone pissed in this desolate sports garden. We stayed at this bar a long time, then ordered up a livery cab to take our visitors back to the subway in Flushing.
But the Q65 bus, which never comes when you need it to, and which only runs every 90 minutes in the overnight period, showed right up. Our visitors piled in and headed home. C-Mike, Althea, and I did the long walk home, through the 3 a.m. mist, louder and rowdier than perhaps we had ever been in sleepy College Point. I made the mistake of running over a parked Crown Vic, falling off, and busting my knee, but I made it home to put up this post, and I lived to spread the glory of the first CPCCPC while planning the second.
Overheard in Logan
HOW OLD AM I? I'M A GROWN-ASS MAN, BRO. I BEG THEM, SEND ME TO IRAQ, SEND ME TO IRAQ. I GOT CLOSE QUARTERS COMBAT TRAINING. I'M GETTING TRAINED BY TWO NAVY SEALS, BRO. I'M KOREAN, BUT I LOVE MY FUCKING COUNTRY. I WANNA DIE FOR MY COUNTRY. I'M SICK OF READING NAMES IN THE NEWSPAPER OF THESE PEOPLE DYING OVER THERE. WE'RE COMING INTO A GENERATION WHERE THE ONLY WAY TO BE ANYTHING IS TO DIE AND HAVE YOUR NAME ON A WALL OR A FUCKIN GRAVESTONE. THAT'S THE ONLY WAY I'M GONNA MAKE MY PARENTS PROUD. SEND ME TO IRAQ. I'LL DIE, BUT I'LL KILL A COUPLE NIGGAS BEFORE THEY KILL ME.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Perfect winter weather for CPCCPCII
See Dan Meade's Flickr Slideshow of last year's journey.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
COLLEGE POINT CLASS CONFLICT PUB CRAWL II: THE MAP [UPDATED]
Zoomable and clickable. Enjoy...
View Larger Map
This is the first customized Google Map featured here!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Queens Visit Culinary Hitlist
- Blue Bay Diner (chicken scampi over rice with ice-cold iceberg salad)
- Amore Pizza (2 slices with pink drink)
- Cascarino's (chicken staiano)
- Le Cheesecake's brownies
- if possible, Chinese Mexican quesadilla with ketchup-based "salsa" (easier to get in Manhattan)
- Five Guys cheeseburger with malt vinegar-doused fries
That should leave room for one home-cooked meal.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Should the College Point Pub Crawl start earlier this year?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
College Point Pub Crawl II Sign Up Sheet--UPDATED
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Both corners across the street are now filled with dirt. Work has ceased for the day, and the Everett cop who spent most of his detail shift in the bank drove has driven big SUV home.
Everett guy is back!
Labels: police details
Detail Cop from Everett PD just showed up in Mercedes SUV.
Traveling this holiday season?
Somerville Sidewalk Job Enters Month 5
9:05am--a small loader and another excavator just showed up...
three cheers for
subjugation of self to "company"
being better than you ever thought possible, years past
lack of confidence
moralistic capitulation to enslavement that favors the collective good
the unelected working class
people being themselves
finding a way out
taking care of your people
getting what you need
Post edited for accuracy. --ed.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
No visit to Indianapolis is complete without seeing a flipped-over 18-wheeler
Forgot my shoes
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Welcome to Indiana, where you can't eat without a car.
At Wendy's, the dining room was locked. I walked around to the drive through and rapped on the window. An apologetic cashier, whose position I once occupied, came to the window, which he did not open, and informed me that "we're not allowed to take walk-ups." "I guess I'm going to McDonald's," I told him.
So I walked over to McDonald's and attempted to open the door, which was locked even though all the lights were on. A long-haired freak, mopping the floor, mouthed, "WE'RE CLOSED," even though the occupants of a large, white SUV were placing an order at the drive-through box
So: in order to purchase food that retails for $5, one must own a $20,000 vehicle.
The peanuts in the hotel vending machine cost 85¢.
Saturday Nights at the Cantab Lounge
Walking into the upstairs bar, you're greeted by off-color cream, blue, and green everything--almost the exact same colors my grandparents painted the basement kitchen of their tiny Queens bungalow. You'll see paintings of halfnaked women and brewer's memorabilia straight from the mid-70s, the period that almost all of the songs in the set will be taken from.
When the band strikes its first note around 10, all the old people hit the floor. Diane Blue, the lead singer/harp player, is usually just showing up with her coffee (the bassist ably handles vocals for a bit). As the scene heats up and the youth arrive, many old people leave around 11 to pass out or mate drunkenly. Then the paradoxes or ironies or coincidences truly begin.
You're in an amusingly decayed, musty warp zone where musically, it's 1975, young and old and black and white dance together, and pretty, apparently single girls amass at the back corner bar too nervous to hit the floor until that third or fourth drink. A feeling builds--excitement? pleasure? enjoyment? Which fits best? The band never runs out of covers. The funky old dude on the strat never hits a bad note; in fact, he actually shreds. Shreds. Sax and harmonica work together to churn out thick melodies that keep asses shaking and mouths smiling.
I always wonder: did I accomplish enough on this visit? Should I have stayed until they kick you out at 2? Should I have flicked my introvert/extrovert switch and spoken to people (girls) I don't know? When will I have the opportunity to go again? It's like being at a high school dance where everything is right and everything is sound and everyone is grown up and they almost know how to be happy, almost.
As a serious realist (which many interpret as "pessimist"), the Cantab gives me hope. To see the musical and sexual and even just observational possibilities amassing is a treat worth the $5 cover charge. The whole atmosphere is like your mother's most loveably flawed dinner recipe: you're not sure whether all the ingredients make sense, but it's home.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Buff for Christ (with crucifix branding iron)
Friday, November 09, 2007
Update on sidewalk job
So, after 3 months of work, we have:
Corner 1 (NW): Curbing and sidewalk complete. Light pole not yet installed.
Coner 2 (NE): Curbing complete. Sidewalk half filled-in with new concrete, half hole.
Corner 3 (SW): Temporary dirt and asphalt sidewalk. New curbing dug up, then re-installed.
Corner 4 (SE): Curbing installed. Temporary asphalt sidewalk with spray-painted lines showing where to rip it up.
Detail cop just showed up.
The efficiencies of government-contractor partnerships in urban Massachusetts.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Big Dig adds new layer of coddling for suburban commuters.
We need to get people out of their cars. We need to cut down emissions in Urban Boston. We need to encourage safer driving through a statewide headset-only law. This development makes accomplishing any of those goals seem a little less possible.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
N.B. I am fully aware that it is 3am. I just got home from Minneapolis/Mankato, Amarillo (via Houston, twice), D.C., and Richmond. I am happy to say that I nabbed 200+ shots on this trip, a handful of which are decent.