Saturday, April 28, 2012


Last night I went out with my wife--something that only happens occasionally--and enjoyed a great show and a fine meal.  All of it happened quite locally in the fine borough of Queens.  It was an easy drive to all of it--another impressive feat in the City of New York.  I should keep that on the down low just in case the NYC DOT finds out.  The real reason I am writing is that the show we saw was beyond extraordinary!  The play is called SPENT.  My wife bought the tickets quite some time ago based on the look of it and reviews and because it was playing at the Queens Theater (in the Park), which we'd had good experiences with.  I was pleased because it promised to real theater, not another musical.  We drove into the Flushing Meadows Corona Park--one of the largest of NYC's parks where the theater is based and parked quite close by the actual building.  The Queens Theater is a nice new building in the park.  We walked in to find that the main theater was being used for a dress rehearsal and that our show was going to be in a smaller chamber on the lower level.  The theater was smaller, less seating, but I was able to get a front row seat in this relatively informal setting.  I took a seat next to a reserved seat sign.  The "stage" was on level with the audience, but set back rather deep and painted black. It was to be two actors and the stage, nothing more.

Let me tell you, it worked.  It better than worked--those two guys nailed it!  Read the NY Daily News blurb on it here.  The Toronto Sun is quoted as stating, "Inspired Lunacy!"  I agree with the inspired part, but the content is anything but lunacy.  The pace and number of characters these two actors play is lunatic, but they nail it!  If they erred I cannot tell.  The play is about the financial crash that has recently befallen us.  The same one that the press and media try to tell us has come to an end, though for who I don't know.

According to the Playbill, the two actors are Ravi Jain and Adam Paolozza and the directors are Dean Gilmour and Michelle Smith.  The writers are the same four--talk about multi-tasking!  Frankly, I lost track of how many characters the actors played, but they never did.  The impressions of media personalities were especially entertaining.  Their transition from character to character often occurred at breakneck speed, yet each time it was convincing!  It was a very physical performance, but far from exclusively so.  Both the play and performance had razzle dazzle and depth at once, and all this on an empty stage.  Did I mention it was funny!  This happened in the basement of the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadow Corona Park--the world should know!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fixed my refrigerator!

Again, being as I am so opposed to the disposable lifestyle and not exactly flush with disposable income, I am inclined to fix whatever I can.  I can now state that I have fixed all three of my major appliances at least once.  The dishwasher has been fixed twice.  I couldn't have done it without the resources on the world wide web.  My refrigerator had stopped cooling sufficiently.  The milk spoiled and my wife was sounding mildly alarmed.  I said, "Relax.  Don't worry, I'll fix it."  I don't think she wholly believed me.  I'm not the handiest sort.  I grew up in an apartment and still live in one.  Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that everything can be learned given time and inclination to do so.  I have now replaced the head gasket on one of my cars (Alas, it is no longer with us, though it served well.), fixed my oven, dishwasher and now fridge, not to mention slowly adding skills in the arena of bicycle maintenance.  There is an organization in Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn called Time's Up that has brief classes on various aspects of bike maintenance.  I learned at one these classes how to service my hubs and bottom bracket--very useful stuff!

Anyway, back to the fridge.  I learned, surfing the internet, that there are various reasons a fridge might not cool.  The reasons may be related to defrost cycles, airflow, or systemic.  The latter is best left to a pro, but the other two are not difficult to correct.  My problem was airflow.  I opened up the back of my unit to check if the coils were dirty and noticed that the condenser fan wasn't turning.  It happens that it was as simple as that.  I placed a regular fan in the back of the fridge and the problem was solved.  This was good because it kept the fridge working while I waited on the part (a new fan motor) to be delivered.  This part was very easy to replace and my wife was suitably impressed--always a plus!  When I would place my hand on the side of freezer on top, often it was quite warm, but now that is gone.  The new fan comes on quite audibly, and each time it comes on I am reminded that the fridge is working and I fixed it myself.

Veggie Update

I confess.  I have strayed from the vegetarian path.  It was so easy I didn't even notice I had.  It was going well for a while there, but looking back I can see that it was not going to go but so far.  I am a busy person, so this was not a high priority project.  If it had been, ideally, I would have had more time to prepare my own lunch, which is not going to happen anytime soon.  There are too few choices commercially and readily available at this time.  It isn't cheap and I don't like my veggies that much either.  They must be tastily presented for consumption.  I ain't no bunny! 

Meanwhile, not only would the world fare better from less meat consumption, but we'd be healthier with more vegetable consumption.  Thus, I am not giving up, just looking for another way to adapt and overcome!  Kale is good in soups.  Soups, in general, are a great way to get some veggies.  Salads, I must be honest, are less exciting--if I do not prepare them myself I'll often skip it.  I don't hate other people's salad, I just may not be in the mood to crunch down.  Wish me luck!

Knobbies: A Good Commuting Tire

I just got through my first week with my 10-speed back on the road and it has been a pleasure to ride.  I think I cut about 10 minutes off my commute and it was just easier and smoother.  I cannot, however, stop worrying about flats.  The streets of NYC are heavily used and though the DOT has done an impressive job trying to stay on top of the local roads, the streets are often pock-marked, covered in glass and other particles--especially the backstreets I ride.  Furthermore, cyclists are usually consigned to the edge of the road where the road comes apart first and all manner of refuse winds up.  I rode the mountain bike all winter long--a Schwinn with the knobby tires it came with, probably cheap nylon--and I never got a flat.  It's not the first time I've had the experience, simple, cheap, nylon mountain bike tires are pretty tough.  It's actually rare to get a flat as long as there is some decent meat on the tire.  It seems that "meat" on a knobby tire beats high-tech substances on thin, smooth road tires.  Like everything in life there's a trade-off--you lose speed with knobby, trail tires, but a mountain-type bike is strong.  If you do not have really far to go (a few miles) and money is tight, it is a very durable choice.  I just care about keeping maintenance at a minimum.  I try to do as much of my own as possible.  I am not especially mechanically inclined, but with time, interest and resources everything can be learned.  Some things make more sense to learn and do than others.  I am not so great at truing my wheels or building them, but brakes, fixing flats, maintaining hubs, bottom brackets, some derailleur adjustment, etc... that I can do.  Naturally, the less time spent doing so the better.  The tires on the road bike are relatively new.  I look forward to seeing how they fare.