January 2006 Archives

Just some quick updates on diners we have already reviewed:

  • Buddy was disappointed in the Palace Diner the other night. He said the omelet was undercooked, the home fries were overcooked, and the teenagers surrounding us were annoying as hell. I guess that last part is not the diner's fault, but apparently in the post-late movie ("Underworld II," which there is no reason to see if you don't plan on drooling over Kate Beckinsale (*cough*mike*cough*)) hours, the place becomes a haven for the annoying and youthful. And in the smoking section, no less! Ruining their youthful lungs!
  • My roommate informs me that Olga's Diner does serve something excellent: milkshakes.
  • Mike heard from a reliable source that Mastori's Diner has gone downhill in recent years (probably since the death of the owner, which was noted on the placemat). If that is downhill, I wonder what uphill was like?
  • Rob says that no place, NO PLACE, makes scrapple the way they do at the Sage. "When I asked for it extra-crispy, I got extra-crispy," he enthused. Those days are past, my friend. We continue to find the Stratford Diner the most amenable to late night outings. Although their night cook doesn't do omelets well, either. Get your eggs scrambled instead.
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View Askew

Buddy Christ

Big Ass Dolls

The Dark Knight Returns

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So the Pop5 crew (minus Rama - we told him we were going to hold auditions to replace him with a new member who looks and sounds just like him) made a Kevin Smith pilgrimage this weekend to Red Bank, NJ, home of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. We all were surprised to see how gentrified the neighborhood was. For some reason, we'd pictured it in a rundown, crummy part of town, and it is actually on an upscale shopping street, with bistros, Starbucks, and Restoration Hardware. Rob said it reminded him of New Hope, only with more straight people. It kind of reminded me of that shopping plaza in Marlton. We got pictures, but I don't have them back yet. Soon, Mike and I will have digital cameras, and I won't have to wait for the film. We also visited the CD store across the street that served as exteriors and interiors in "Chasing Amy."

Since I was not interested in buying comics (although I did pick some issues of "Weird NJ"), I wandered around J&SBSS taking pictures. The light was really low, so I am hoping they come out. Anyway, the guys believe that this "outed" us as tourists. The guy at the counter asked, and we said we were from South Jersey, not so far away. He then slipped us a pre-copied piece of paper with directions to the Quickie Mart, which we had to visit also. True to form, there was a passel of fourteen-year-old boys hanging around outside. This was definitely still in the rundown part of town. So my question is, in the Clerks era, was Red Bank all built up like that, or is it a new phenomenon? And, if it is new, does it reflect the influence of Kevin-Smith-related tourism? Is there really that much Kevin-Smith-related tourism?

At several points during the day, I heard snippets of conversation that I knew I would have to post to the web site. Some of these are below:

[We are talking about the death of Chris Penn.]
Buddy: Yeah, he was forty. [Slowly and portentously pats Rob on the shoulder.]
Rob: You fucking asshole. [Tries to kill Buddy who is sitting behind him.]

[We pull into a gas station and wait ten minutes before anyone comes over to help us - Jersey is a full service gas station state. Rob and I discuss whether it is legal to pump your own gas if no one comes to help you. Finally, Rob gets out of the car to address the topic with the employees. One comes to wait on us, and more cars start to pull into the station.]
Rob: See, now they're getting more customers. I revitalized their business.
Buddy: Yeah, they saw a gay black man here, and realized it had to be the new trendy place to be.

[We are talking about why Hollywood celebrities only date other celebrities.]
Mike: Well, that's what I would do.
Rob (sarcastic): Have you ever dated someone you worked with?
Mike: Yes
Rob: And how'd that work out?
Buddy: She's sitting in the back seat.

[The guys are giving me a hard time because I don't have a big enough purse to smuggle contraband into the movie theater.]
Me: Next time I go to Target, I'll get a really huge cheap bag that can be my "movie purse."
Rob: No way, go to a thrift store. I bet you can get one for a dollar.
Me: I don't go to thrift stores.
Rob: Next time I go, I'll get you one.
Me: Make sure it's not an ugly shade of green or a rainbow color or anything.
Rob: Of course not. I'm gay, I have class.

I am leaving out a bunch of Rob-is-old jokes (Buddy promised he would stop once Rob turned 41), and the part where we all made fun of what was on everyone else's iPod.

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Mike took some pictures, and we particularly liked these of some of our friends. Below is Buddy, of Pop5 fame, and Steve the Newlywed. Steve the Newlywed had the unfortunate luck of accompanying Mike and Evan on a shooting expedition, and apparently he became a "model."




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There are two things that you need to know about my physical therapy. The first is that it is almost over. I only have five more appointments. I am walking much better.

The second is that there is a woman working there who is trying to kill me. She isn't there all of the time; I think she comes and helps out from one of their other offices. The first time I met her, she was assigned to give me "ice and stim," where they prop my foot up, wrap it in an ice pack, and affix these little electrical stimulators to my damaged ligaments as a way to exercise them without movement. She was talking to another patient while she was doing this and somehow turned the stim machine up so high that it was exceedingly painful, and I spent a good few minutes getting her attention to make her turn it down. I was sore from that incident for the next couple of days, and since it is optional, I have never again gotten "ice and stim" - especially when she is there.

This morning, she was assigned to move my foot around. The point of this is that the damage to my ligaments may have caused the bones in my ankle to shift around, and they stretch my foot out to try and align everything properly. The head physical therapist (a very nice person, who has never caused me undue pain) usually does this, and he is very gentle and it doesn't hurt. This woman yanked on my foot so hard that I thought it would fall off. Then despite determining that one part of my ankle was especially sore, she continued to push on it until she "popped" my ankle bone back into its proper place - so she says. I'm not sure I notice any difference. Even worse, she told me the bone might move again, and need to popped in the future. I am hoping she will not be there if this happens.

This was a particularly bad day to go "popping" my ankle bones in any case, because I brought my car to the shop for some strange noises, which means I got to work the old-fashioned train and bus way. At least I got to test out my new iPod headphones...

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Once upon a time, we used to go to the Sage almost every Friday night.


The Sage was the preferred after-work hangout, for those who got off of work late on Friday. The rest of us with day jobs would meet up with them there. I have been there so many times, it is impossible to even estimate. We were there so often that the hostesses and waitstaff had a collective nickname for us.


Alas, this story has a sad ending. Rama started dating one of the waitresses there, and a few months ago their relationship ended on less than the best of terms. He seems to think that the rest of us can continue frequenting the place, but considering how well known we were as a crowd, and Rob's experience running in there once, most of us would rather pass. Besides (getting to the actual review part), the Sage is an okay diner in every way, but not a fantastic one. Everything there was ok, but nothing was outstanding. Although I seem to remember having a really good piece of chocolate cake there once.

Sage Sign

The moral of this story is now the banner of the site: Keep Rama away from the waitresses. Pop5 has been trying to figure out recently which restaurants and diners have waitresses that are too pretty and that we want to continue to be able to go to in the future, as there is considerable reluctance to bring Rama to those ones when he returns to Jersey. We fear another seduction-->heartbreak-->unofficial ban from the restaurant scenario.

As a side note, I have been refusing to factor the prettiness of the waitresses into our coffee cups rating system, despite Mike and Buddy's arguments that this is relevant information. The Sage Diner, which we will probably never set foot in again, gets 2.5 Coffee Cups

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it is evan's birthday today! on behalf of the pop5 crew, i am wishing him a wonderful day!

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This past weekend, Saint Stephen: Aghavni, my lady Ilana, and me took a road trip up the Californy coast to the mythical paradise of BIg Sur...friends, we stopped by the old family house in Lompoc that I haven't seen since the summer of 1980...funny thing is that I always have such lucid, happy memories of that place but it looks nothing like it does in my memories...it was so small and rundown...a brokedown mexican community that isn't much more than a reststop on the Pacific Coast Hwy-- ah, to plagarize Thomas Wolfe, you really can't go home again-- nothing compares to the 1970's Lompoc California of the mind...hopefully, pictures of our trip with commentary should be available soon to all you non-believers-- there is so much beauty in the world it makes the heart weep-- makes you realize the true insignificance of man and all his folly-- and the importance of friendship and love no matter how transient and fleeting....I miss you all and God bless you each and every one

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Does it make me a comic book geek that the first thing I though of when I saw this article was, "Well, that explains Wolverine." If it does, I am officially blaming Mike and Rob.

Although I prefer my Wolverine in yummy Hugh Jackman form...

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Hey all:

Since I've gotten no contributions for the about page from you slackers, I was forced to make one up myself. Just don't complain about your portrayal...

Victoria ~ Admin Tyrant

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Mike and I spent most of this weekend taking pictures. The pop5 crew (minus Rama of course) also went to see "Match Point" on Saturday, which I for one highly recommend. We went to three diners this weekend, but two of them we've already covered (Ponzio's and Stratford).

My weekend photo haul:

11 Months

Broken Headstone

Cross and Sun

Father and Mother

Film Ain't Dead Yet


Metal Statue

I took these last three while I was waiting for Mike to get his photos framed at the Darkroom. He submitted those two photos for a competition today, so keep your fingers crossed for him.

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I am going to be taking down the mp3s when I post new ones, since they take up so much space. So you've missed your chance to download Iron & Wine's cover of "The Same Old Song," gentle reader. The next one is dedicated to Rob, who really liked this track after I played it for him. We are both big fans of My Morning Jacket.

::My Morning Jacket ~ Tyrone::

He also reminded me that it was Erykah Badu who sang the original. I couldn't remember.

Also, the best Wham! cover ever. I think this one has to be dedicated to Rama.

::Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright ~ Careless Whisper (Live at Wolf Trap)::

Remember, it's right click, "save as," and email me to cease and desist, although again I've seen these all over the internet. Happy listening!

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When I was younger and worked in a bookstore, I collected poetry. I would go through the books of poetry, and copy ones I liked into blank journal books. I found these books in the basement a few days ago, and I thought I would copy a few of them onto the web site.

Monet Refuses the Operation
~Lisel Mueller~

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolves
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

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Happy birthday, Rob, who is now the coolest forty-year-old I know! He also had a great party to show for it. You may also notice on the sidebar that I have added a links section, with our first link! Here is to Pax Romano, who gave us some valuable tips for our web site at the party. He is also a fabulous Netflix buddy, although neither of us are quite sure how the Netflix buddy system works yet. Did I mention I am up to 260 movies in my queue?

Does any of pop5 have New Year's Resolutions they wish to share? Mike and I were making up resolutions for each other, but I can't post those. I also don't think they are enforceable. My resolutions so far are to:

* walk normally sometime this year.
* shave my legs sometime this year. These two are related - the instability of my ankle is proving detrimental to my personal hygiene.
* finish my Master's (it would help if I finished the last paper for the fall semester...)
* after that, move up my career ladder, i.e. get a new job with more money.
* get into the doctorate program, although I have technically done all I can to fulfill this goal. Now it is up to the admissions gods.
* spruce up our web site.

Post yours in the comments!

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Yesterday was my fortieth birthday. I must say when I was in my twenties (worst years of my life) I never really thought I was going to make it to this age. Now that I’m here it’s not so bad. (Of course I’ve only been 40 for one day, so my opinion may change.) I will say that I am going to miss my thirties, though. Those were the years that I think I finally began to see myself in a different light. I began to realize what it meant to be an adult and all the responsibility that comes along with it. My thirties were my years were I cultivated some of the best relationships with some amazing people. (You know who you are.) I had a huge turn-out for my big 40 birthday party and I got some amazing gifts. However, I am thankful for those relationships I have cultivated in my 30s because I know these relationships are a lot more important than the gifts that were given to me this year—for that I’m extremely grateful.

With that said, I’m kinda excited to see what the next ten years hold in store for me. I hope I will remain a kid (geek) at heart and enjoy this crazy ride.

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happy fortieth birthday to popfive crew member, rob. he turned forty years young on december 31st.
yeah rob!

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!