A meander around the world of my life (edible, mostly).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Getting the Mafia's Money

Ever go to an ATM at the Banco di Sicilia and wonder what happens on the other side?

Well, I did.

Here in Florence, there are several banks to choose from, especially where I live. In fact, at the closest major piazza (Piazza Beccaria) there are no fewer than 5 banks all right next to each other, including the Banco di Sicilia. This is like the "gas station" effect seen in the states - you put up your gas station on that corner, I put up my gas station on mine (as a sidenote, that's a bad idea: see

Back to the Bank of Sicily. There are no instructions on how to put in your card, you just slide it in the slot hoping that it's oriented correctly. Then, you wait. And boy, do I mean wait. Sometimes you'll wait up to 30 seconds before getting a response on the screen, which makes you wonder what's going on. Are the Sicilians busy doing drug deals? Are they arguing about the fact that the other night Mamma made cannoli with 2 spoons of sugar instead of 3? One never knows.

After you go through the whole process of entering your PIN and pressing the € button, you must wait more. And more. See, here at the Banco di Sicilia, the Sicilians inside the ATM don't have to give you your money immediately, because they're always on their lunch breaks.

Which makes you wonder why the cannoli you ordered at the pasticceria only took 2 seconds, but the money you ordered at the ATM took 2 minutes.

In druggery,

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Botswana Bum

Hello from Maun, Botswana! We're going on to the Okavango Delta tomorrow in small canoes which is supposed to have clear, amazing water you can drink from. Can't say too much since I'd rather be outside in the sandy plains, and of course internet in the bush here is rather pricey.


Monday, July 03, 2006


Conversation with a nice gentleman at the Flying Pig Hostel in Amsterdam:

Me: So where are you from?
Him: Florida
Me: Been here long?
Him: About a week and a half.
Me: Oh wow. Hey listen, I'm going to go take a shower now, see you soon.
Him: Let me know if you find them.
Me: You.. haven't taken a shower since you've been here?
Him: Nope.
Me: !!!

London Town

Here I am in London eating at a posh cafe. Well, it's not really all that posh, but there are nice flowers and it's air conditioned which is good enough for me.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It Begins!

The trip of a lifetime has started. I just arrived in NYC today, and I'm sitting at JFK waiting for my flight to London to take off. Virgin Atlantic seems like a cool airline, and I tried to get into their Lounge. Didn't work, it's molto expensivo to fly Upper Class and enjoy their Lounge.

HOWEVER, I found that the Swiss Lounge has free wireless! Yay, now you can read this post sent at an ungodly hour. The airport is crowded, swarming with people from all over. Just like New York, it's an eclectic mix of foreigners and hipsters, who may or may not have a clue as to what's going on around them. It reminds me of the guy who drove me to the airport in a SuperShuttle - apparently, going faster is better. You think taxis are quick? This guy was passing taxis like a Mexican carnival ride.

Well, have to wrap up quick since I need to go through security.

Meet you on the other side,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

College Myths Revealed

From an article in the New York Times - "As Young Adults Drink to Win, Businesses Get In on the Game" - 16 October 2005

"Beer pong seems to be the drinking game du jour. Legend has it that the game, also known for some reason as Beirut, started years ago at a Dartmouth College fraternity party. Now bars hold matches every week, often working with beer distributors who help advertise the events and supply the prizes."

"... Bud Pong was not intended for underage drinkers because promotions were held in bars, not on campuses. And it does not promote binge drinking ... because official rules call for water to be used, not beer. The hope is that those on the sidelines enjoy a Bud.

On the ground, though, it may be a different story. At the Esso Club near Clemson University, Jessica Twilley, a bartender, said she had worked at several Bud Pong events and had "never seen anyone playing with water."

"It's always beer," Ms. Twilley said. "It's just like any other beer pong."

When told about the Esso Club, Ms. Katz responded that her information was that the club used water, and that distributors were instructed to "conduct retail promotions responsibly."
Henry Wechsler, director of the College Alcohol Study at the Harvard School of Public Health, said he was "aghast that companies who posture themselves as promoting responsible drinking promote drinking games, which by their nature involve heavy drinking."

As for the Bud Pong water defense, Dr. Wechsler said: "Why would alcohol companies promote games that involve drinking water? It's preposterous.""

(silly Harvard people talking in Harvard-speak)


Sunday, September 25, 2005

And Stanford Begins

So... school starts again.

What does that mean? Kids, fun, foods, and more espresso than you can shake a Brazilian at. (Nothing against Brazilians, I just happened to have a Café do Brasil coffee bag hanging in my room.)

Unpacking goes slowly when you spread your stuff out over the entire Bay Area. Imagine picking up your boxes in storage, your life from the office, more stuff from your 2 apartments you had over the summer, and then some. I should probably be going to bed. And ending this post. Because tomorrow morning I'll look at it and say "holy crap that is boring."

Good night folks,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Million Dollar Sandwich

So. Remember that time in your life when you went to a really good deli and had a really good sandwich and just couldn't stop thinking about how frickin' good that sandwich was? Day after day? Month after month? Year after... year?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Million Dollar Sandwich. (note: the kit wasn't really a million dollars, but it sure as hell felt like it).

And there you go.

It all began when I started working in June, when I mentioned Zingerman's to my co-worker John. And then his face lit up, and said "my brother went to Michigan! I've eaten at the deli in person!" And so began the 10 week long journey towards pastrami freedom. It started off as a joke: haha, who's ever going to pay a hundred dollars for a mail-order sandwich...

Well, we did.

And we had great fun in the process. Check out the pictures: the entire process from box opening to finished product.

That gives you an idea of what we went through: nearly 2 hours slaving away with one toaster oven, a loaf of pumpernickel rye, one and a half pounds of Niman Ranch pastrami, 8 ounces of Emmentaler cheese, some russian dressing, and coleslaw. Oh yeah, and the Magic Brownies for dessert. Yummmmmy.

A pound of pastrami a day protects the people from pudding,