Friends in my head

Bridget and Julia on the set.

I was talking about how much I love Life Below Zero, but I would never consider living like that on the frozen Tundra. I watch these shows over and over again and enjoy them so much, I feel as if some of the people are friends in my head.

Another thing I love is cooking shows. Mostly on weekends I have taken to watching them all. And yet, I don’t even like to boil water. Yet, like Life Below Zero, I find them very relaxing.

I know what roux is and I know how to caramelize onions. I just don’t do that. I love eating it all, but I don’t care to prepare it. I know what stone fruit is and I love all of it, I just don’t bake. I know where capers come from and how to make chicken in a Moroccan tagine; and I know not to turn fish on the grill, it will release itself when ready.

Dan and friends in the kitchen

I know what Sara Moulton is up to and what recipes Jacques Pepin‘s mother used to make. I know how Bridget and Julia like to brown a turkey and how Dan Souza prepares his Indonesian-Style Fried Rice, and when Martha Bakes, watch out!

I know what size oysters should be before they are harvested and how to kill a caribou and ptarmigan in the Arctic. I don’t put any of it to use, but it’s all in my head!

Life below zero; it’s brutal

Jesse Holmes

I’ve been watching so much Life Below Zero lately, it seems to be on tv non-stop. I’ve seen so many of the episodes three or four times, but for some reason, it comforts me. I guess it’s the people, my favorites are Jesse and Sue. Season 12 started recently.

I don’t understand how they live like they do. It’s not like they are living in a city. So many of them go to Fairbanks or some other place and they get the cold sweats, they can’t take all the people and the “traffic.”

But I laugh when I think of their lifestyles. It’s like they say, “I want to be away from everyone. Far away in northern Alaska. I don’t want running water, tv, cable or electricity. I don’t want a store within 300 miles of me and I want it to be dark for 22 hours a day in winter and I like 40 degree below zero weather. And I want to have to hunt and fish daily to survive.

Sue Aikens

I just don’t get that. But that’s how they live. I often wonder why they just don’t move to the mountains in Colorado or North Carolina or some place remote but not brutal. But apparently these people, friends in my head, like it that way.

I’m not doing my 10 With Tom column these days, but I would interview them with probably more than 10 questions if I did write the column.

It’s impossible to unsubscribe

I ended my little foray into subscribing to out of town newspapers. Why? Because it’s almost impossible to unsubscribe. So I am hesitant to start subscribing to more of them.

I had wanted to get e-newspapers for various newspapers around the country, just to get some idea of what’s going on. You know, subscribe for a few for a few months and then move on to other papers. it’s a trip around the world, or at least, the country. But it’s a chore to cancel the subscriptions.

You call up, tell them you want to unsubscribe and they ask you why. With the New York Daily News I told them, “Because I am in Miami.” And then they go on, “But you should keep it because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” And this happened with the Asheville Citizen-Times and so many others.

With the Asheville Citizen-Times, the woman went on and on and said she could get me the paper at lower cost. And I kept telling her, but I live in Miami. I had only subscribed because I had planned to go to North Carolina this summer, but never did end up going.

She told me her plans of going to Philadelphia changed because of the virus so she understands and then she went on, “But I can get your a lower rate for the Citizen-Times for only ….” Salespeople. Gotta hate them.

When I unsubscribed to the Miami Herald, I received phone calls daily asking me why. One reason was that we had an inept delivery person and when the newspaper didn’t arrive, I didn’t even miss it. What was the point of paying for the newspaper if I never read it?

I am back to subscribing to the printed Herald – they wore me down. I’m expecting calls from the Citizen-Times, NY Daily News and others now.

Snoopy license plates!

The states of California is offering Snoopy license plates. The extra money raised goes to California museums.

“This street-legal, DMV- and PEANUTS-approved license plate features Snoopy doing his signature happy dance. Plates for cars, trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles start at just $50 ($103 for personalized plates).”

There are over 1400 museums in California.

I want one. Only I don’t live in California. 😦

It’s all about communication

When I look at today’s comic, it reminds me of a few years back, maybe 15 years ago. I have an online business that can be operated anywhere. But 15 years ago, even though it is the same business, which can be operated anywhere, I still felt tied to the office/home.

I had a neighbor, an attorney, who spent her time between New Hampshire and Miami and she told me, “It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you pick up the phone!”

And I always remembered that and it made my life so much easier. She said, “You can be lying on the beach, and I don’t think the client cares, as long as you answer the phone!”

Ironically, I’ve never been a phone person and I avoid answering the phone, I prefer email, which has suited my business very well. But I do answer the emails quickly, especially since I have my phone on me 24/7, but even back then, before iphones, I answered emails quickly.

It’s all about communication. Even from the beach.

Fall is here

So Fall is here! I’m going to miss the cold weather this year. I am usually in NY in October and November. In October, I go for Comic Con, which is postponed this year. Picture it – Comic Con and the fall leaves and cool crisp weather. Although I can remember a year or two ago when it hit 80 degrees in NYC in October.

But New York is full of Batman and Superman and all sorts of Cosplay people. It’s like a precursor to Halloween earlier in the month. Mix that with the cool air and turning leaves and it’s the perfect time of year. And then a month later I head back for Thanksgiving with my family. This year I was going to do one of my usual things – spend a few days in Boston and then take the train down to NY later in the week.

That fall trip by train through New England is pure pleasure. I wrote about one trip one time, which was more about inside the train than the actual views outside. I overheard two older ladies talking behind me the whole way and it was pure delight, you can read it here: “A delightful train ride.”

Last October my cousins and I went to the Hudson Valley and we picked pumpkins and apples. One of my all time favorite days. You know when certain things in life stick in your mind forever? Well that day is one of them.

There’s always next year.

Cultures

I was watching something on tv last night. A South African guy is married to an American woman. She wants to live in America and he wants to live in South Africa. Right now they are living in America. But he misses his friends and family and way of life in South Africa. They went back for a visit and he is homesick.

His wife brought up a very interesting point which I don’t think I ever thought of. She said that her South African husband’s sister had never met an American before, her sister-in-law (his wife) is the first one ever.

The American wife feels that in America, we have all cultures, we meet all types of people And I found that very interesting. Imagine never having met a South African person before or an Australian or French or Italian person ever in your life. I guess we take that for granted in the United States.

So many times I think it would be nice to live in Italy, but perhaps unless you are in the tourist areas, you may never see other cultures. It’s something to think about.

NY Comic Con is canceled for 2020

comiccon1

I had been awaiting the announcement that NY Comic Con would be canceled this year. The physical event which was to be in October, at the Javits Center in NYC will not happen, but there will be events online, which of course is not the same. I had been waiting and waiting for the announcement but I guess they were trying to put it off as long as they could.

I’ve had so many fun times over the years at this event. Every October it was something special – first off, it’s October in NY, a beautiful time to be there and then the city is full of cosplaying people from one end to the other.

Here are some photos that I took from the event from the past few years.


Out of town newspapers

news

I’ve been reading out of town newspapers. Digitally. I’ve subscribed to a few.

The New York Daily News is not what it was, but I guess no newspapers are. I used to read three or four dailies a day when I was in New York – The Daily News, the NY Post, Newsday and the NY Times. Then it got down to just The Daily News and then nothing. I literally do not pick up a newspaper when I am in New York. I think it might be because the Daily News gave me the run around for years regarding my comics and I’m holding a grudge, but maybe not, there really is not much to read and I don’t like their comics selection.

They are also very small and not worth the money it seems. By the time you read the printed copy, the news was already printed all over social media. As for size – what’s old is new again, the shrinkage of the paper is really how they started. The original newspapers were about 8 or 12 pages long. The whole paper was that size. I have an original New York Herald from 1861 – it’s 8 pages. But that was the size of all the newspapers back then. There weren’t many photos or graphics and ads were small lines of text, not display ads, which of course would eventually come.

In the late 1980s, there was a newspaper war between The NY Daily News and the NY Post. Both had about 1 million circulation a day and they printed about eight issues a day. Eight new front pages each day, printed and out on the street! As I walked through the city, each time I passed a newsstand, it seemed that there was a new front page.

One of my favorite stories is the newspaper strike of 1945 in NYC. I have a video of it here. Millions of papers were sold when the distributors were on strike, but not the actual newspaper. People would line up, blocks long, to plunk down their nickel for the daily paper – there were about a dozen newspapers in the city at that time and millions of issues were sold daily! I would be old now, but sometimes I wish I lived in that era, just to experience the newspapers – the large sizes, the large comics, the multiple selections to choose from . . .

Until recently, in Hoboken, as soon as I got off the PATH train, I would pick up three newspapers – The Jersey Journal, The Newark Star-Ledger and The Bergen Record, all three were easily available, but again, I do not purchase the papers anymore. They cost too much. $5 to $8 a day (total for all) in newspapers is a bit much.

Anyway, I am digitally subscribing to The NY Daily News (grudge and all), the Asheville Citizen-Times, the Charlotte Observer and a few others. I get the Miami Herald digitally along with my printed subscription and I notice that a few of the newspaper also offer USA Today as a bonus, which I never go into and my cousin is always telling me how great it is.

I remember when USA first started, I was a kid then, but always loved newspapers. I used to think it was so cool – all the color and the whole national newspaper aspect of it. But I guess I like my newspapers to be local. I read different newspapers to get their take on their local market.

When I was a kid I used to love seeing the out of town newspapers for two things – the comics and the tv listings. I used to be fascinated by the different tv channels around the country and of course I loved seeing the comics selections and seeing comics that my local papers didn’t carry. And of course you can travel the world or the country, by reading out of state newspapers.

They are hitting the road

rv

So I went downstairs yesterday morning and there was a big RV sitting right outside and one of my neighbors got out. He told me that he and his parents are driving up to New York and will make stops along the way. How exciting! They are living one of my dreams!

I got this picture of him backing into the street and heading out to pick up his parents. He has his bulldog sitting next to him in the passenger seat and they’re off! They are driving to avoid the quarantine but I see that now NYC is setting up check-points at bridges and tunnels to check people entering the city, so I’m wondering how that will work out. New York state has had 0 deaths from covid19 in the past few days. They are terrified of outsiders coming in at this point.

They are sort of driving along the Hurricane route, but I guess they’ll be behind it so as long as it doesn’t do any damage, they are ok driving up I-95 I suppose.

I went inside and it’s just like you see on tv and in the movies. I said it was his little bit of Breaking Bad, although this RV was shiny and new. It wasn’t huge  but had plenty of room. There were two sleeping areas and a kitchen and table and places to sit. So great.

I still have it in my mind to drive up to the Carolinas at the end of the summer. I won’t do it in an RV, I’ll do it in a car, but RV travel across the country has always been a dream of mine. I think everyone thinks about that one time or other.

I wanted to take a picture of me inside, but felt silly with my neighbor standing there, but it looks like the one above. I wished them luck on their travels. They may be gone a month or so. So cool. I’m envious.