05 February 2010

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-- Robert Frost

This has always been one of my favorite poems and even recall quoting this poem in my high school yearbook. The question "What if" is always compelling and an interesting theme for me.

What if my father hadn't died? I may have been more successful professionally sooner under his tutelage, but I can also imagine being less able to have come into my own as a person. What if my Master hadn't died? How would life have turned out with him, his husband and me as their pup? Would I ever have become an alpha and have rudder as my pup?

Another pup, Anvil, and I were chatting the other day and this whole "what if" came about. When I met first Anvil, he wasn't a pup, he was a top on Bear 411. He and I chatted a bit, and he was always pleasant. As I remember, I was collared at the time by one the Masters in my earlier life, and although not as happy as I am with rudder or Master Burley, I considered myself owned and "off the market". ChiBearWilly, as I knew him then was a really nice top, but there he was, geographically undesirable in Chicago. So while we talked occasionally, I never took the opportunity to be his pup.

Some years back, I was at IML and was trying to make the best of it even though my Master Burley couldn't make it there. Out of the blue, there was Anvil in the hands of Master Oliver as a bearboy. He recognized me and that was our first meeting. We have been fast friends since then.

What if I had ended up as his pup? Would he have married Oliver? Would I have been the family pup? Would he have ever become a bottom to begin with?


A music video for this post:

Five for Fighting, 100 years

03 February 2010

It's Alive!

(This post was meant to be posted a long time ago -- July 21st, 2008!! -- but somehow never got posted, so I am putting it up now. Since this post, I have replaced the rear tire, and finally got the carburetor working properly. It took pretty much till mid-summer of last year to get all of that done! Now, all I need to do is ride it more...)


I am a happy puppy. Why? This photo explains it:

We are the Champions, by Queen

My four year long odyssey to reclaim a bike from its sad state as a giant dust catcher finally came to an end yesterday. I rode the bike for the first time, and it feels so good, and feels like such an accomplishment.

The bike was a friend's that he had stored in my cousin's garage and basement for years. He only put 5,000 miles on it. and then it sat there for about a decade, unused. One day my cousin and his friends decided to start it to see if it would work. Over cranking the starting motor on a bike that had been sitting so long resulted in the starting motor's gears to break off inside the engine. So the bike went back into storage for a few more years, until I decided to take it on as a project.

I started the project as a way to get my paws dirty. I have always enjoyed working with stuff like this but never had the real opportunity to do so. So with the help of my other cousin, I took the bike completely apart, opened up the engine, replaced the parts, cleaned the bike up, got the frame powder coated, and fixed the carburetor (which took a surprisingly long time).

So I finally got to take ride on my bike, and in someways I think it will be a lot sweeter than buying it "off the rack" as it were. If nothing else, I learned a heckuva lot. The bike still has a lot of problems that need resolution (the rear tire needs to be replaced and the carburetor needs a lot more tuning), and I am sure that will still take more time.

Nonetheless, this is still quite a milestone with which I am very pleased.


A music video for this post:

Queen, We Are The Champions

19 April 2008

Smorgas Chef and Mandance

Spent a wonderful day with my mom today just browsing through Manhattan. We went to The Container Store, West Elm, some antique stores in the Manhattan Antique market building, and some thrift stores (Angel and Housing Works).

After that we had dinner outside at Smorgas Chef, which consisted of
  • Swedish Meatballs with lingonberries over some potatoes
  • Fresh herring grilled with a lemony vinaigrette and some salad
  • A main course lamb over some potatoes with cheese
  • A main course Grouper with Risotto with Fava beams and shrimp
We were quite pleased with the food, and it was nice to dine outside, even if it was a touch chill. We don't often eat outside so it was refreshing change of scenery. We skipped desert in favor of going to Pinkberry, and I was disappointed to find that they no longer do fresh fruit over shaved shaved ice, so I had Green tea frozen yogurt with with mochi, strawberries, bananas, and kiwi fruit. The real reason I go is for the mochi.

As an extra treat we stopped by Lilac Chocolates and picked up some Almond Bark and dark breakup before we headed a few blocks up to the Joyce Theater to see Mandance.

Mandance was spectacular. Their Backchat piece involved a plywood wall covered with rubber tire tred and some metal sculpture. 3 male dancers in bicycle pants did the rest and the movement was engaging to watch.

A promotional piece for Mandance featuring part of the Isis in Transit set which was the picture that made me buy tickets.

The featured piece, Isis in Transit, was technically amazing and had an interesting set with with the dancer interacted. The last piece that they did was called Odette and we both enjoyed that too. There were some amazing contortions, and the control that the dancers have over every part of their body is simply astounding: their toes were as prehensile as fingers it seemed.

06 April 2008


I was going through some of the stuff on my Palm Pilot, and discovered the notes that I took when I ate at Morimoto (the Iron Chef's Manhattan outpost). It had been a long photo safari day -- I had started at the NY Botanical Garden taking photos of their Kiku exhibit, driving down to the Upper West Side's Riverside Park I eventually wandered all the way down to Chelsea, taking photos all along the way, and before I knew it, it got late and my tummy started growling for food.

I decided to drop by Morimoto, as under dressed as I was (an M1 Army jacket, my favorite worn in USMC Matterhorn standard issue boots, etc. -- you get the idea!) and see if they would take in a poor starving puppy. For a place that is extremely chic, they get extra credit for not batting an eyelash and seating me at the sushi bar. Too tired and hungry to try and make choices, I selected the Omakase, which is the Japanese restaurant version of the tasting menu – the menu merely says Omakase and the chef presents you with a number of dishes, each a surprise.

I was seated at the far end of this bar.

My meal started with an Amuse Bouche that was a deep fried ball of sushi rice. This was followed by an O-Toro tartar with Osetra caviar and a dashi soy dipping sauce. This was presented in a bamboo flat with the chopped tuna and a little section of squares of Wasabi, sour cream, nori seaweed paste, chives, avocado and rice crackers. The presentation and the taste was quite good.

A fruit was presented to cleans the palate, and then Spanish Mackerel with shaved ginger shiitake mushrooms cherry tomatoes, followed by seared Hamachi with puréed mushrooms and watercress salad tossed in an orange vinaigrette and then with a Pacific Oyster with foie gras and uni in a teruyaki reduction to wrap up the appetizer portion of the meal.

Sushi was then served consisting of red snapper, medium fatty tuna, shad, orange clam and japanese mushroom otaki roll, all of which was followed by an intermezzo of Matcha green tea with a sesame macaroon.

The main courses consisted of roasted Maine lobster with taramasala and lemon creme fraîche, and Kobe Beef with Sweet Potato. Dessert was a red bean cake with apricot sorbet, apricot, lavender and buckwheat honey tuille and a red bean and green tea sauce.

All in all a wonderful end to a long day. Extra points to Morimoto for not being snooty about serving a gourmand in kinkster's clothing.

26 March 2008

Chestnut / Café Steinhof

This is where I would love to share a wonderful story about dining at one of the Brooklyn dining hot spots, Chestnut. Unfortunately, I have to say that my experience with the restaurant is so poor that even before I dine there, it is likely that I would never go there.

I noticed an advertisement for Brooklyn Restaurant Week, and called ahead with plenty of lead time knowing that restaurants get filled quickly. No one at the restaurant picked up the phone, so I left a message as per their instructions which specified leaving detailed instructions and that they would call to confirm. Over the course of the next weeks, I called again to confirm and left another message. I e-mailed them. Finally, I got an answer from them today, the very day my reservation was supposed to be on, that they were not able to accommodate a party of our size and beyond that they were full anyway. If the lackadaisical approach to service is the first impression that the customer get at this restaurant, then I can hardly imagine the service at the restaurant itself. It seems that it will be a long shot for me to ever try the restaurant.

Not one to give up a dinner opportunity though, I ended up going with some of my original party to a bustling place in Park Slope called Café Steinhof. A small, cheery and well lit pub-like restaurant, I was pleased to find this little delicious venue on the suggestion of my cousin's girlfriend, Jullie. The restaurant serves Austrian comfort food, and does it very successfully. Amongst our party we had wiener schnitzel, beef goulash, some weisswurst (very tender with a wonderfully snappy casing), a bit of kielbasa, some potato roesti, and a delicious slice of sour cherry linzertorte. The restaurant was an excellent last minute substitute for Chestnut, not to mention undoubtedly more economical, and the service was quite good.

IML Woof Camp

If you have been reading my posts then, one could easily think that all I have done lately is eat and travel. Well, those ARE some of my favorite things. But I happen to enjoy doing creative things too. Here is an example: I was asked to put together a poster for the IML Pup party, which this year is being called Woof Camp.

You can find out more info at WoofCamp.com.

Despite all the travel lately, IML is not one of the events I will be going to this year. My pup and I decided to take a year off, save some money ($300 plus a night for hotel adds up quickly!) and spend some quality time between ourselves.

Being involved with setting up this event, I can say that everyone there should end up having a great time!

23 February 2008

Dinner at Social House, Las Vegas

While visiting Las Vegas with my pup, I had the good fortune of eating at Social House, where Joe Elevado, a friend of mine, is the executive chef. The vast restaurant is located in the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, that has been rebranded as The TI, a move that speaks to the younger generation and at the same time sounds so bad. Despite the size of the restaurant, it is st up in such a way as to be rather intimate, and certainly the service never lets on that you are in a restaurant with several hundred other diners. Just as impressive is that the food was consistently well plated, delicious and served without the dinner feeling that it had come off an assembly line, often a downfall of many larger restaurants.

Knowing the chef, we put our culinary experience in his hands, and had him prepare a tasting menu for each of us. We were most certainly not disappointed!

Our menu consisted of many items, among which were:
  • Yellowtail in soy with tempuraed jalapeno and micro cilantro
  • Whitefish and octopus with soy sauce, micro cilantro, cilantro oil and chili oil
  • Mini squid three ways: With miso and yellow mustard, With shiso, With ponzu
  • Tuna tataki with microgreens, ginger, crunchy shallots and Yamo gobo
  • Kobe beef tataki seared with chili and soy and diakon
  • Kobe beef with sundried tomato, garlic oil, soy and calamansi
  • Hokkaido scallop over miso eggplant with curry foam and micro cilantro
  • Rock shrimp tempura with sweet sesame sauce and microgreens
  • Tamarind braised boneless short rib with wild mushroom ragout and phyllo chips
  • Ebi, toro, and hamachi
  • Apple bread with walnuts, apple spaghetti yogurt sorbet and raspberry
  • Banana confetti (Sliced bananas with a frozen banana confetti and cinammon oil

Needless to say we left feeling ver well satiated and had a wonderfule time.