Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ten Days of Chicken

"If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?"

This question always amused me. Am I allowed to say pizza? Because if so, then a pizza can be customized to pretty much anything. Basically, pizza is just a flat bread with leftovers, and the variations are endless. Am I allowed to say eggs in any form? If so, then I could boil them, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, I could add milk, flour to make pancakes, I could add ham and onion to make a great omelet, and so on.
What I'm asking is this: Am I allowed to do variations, add other ingredients? If so, then my answer is chicken.

Would I grow tired of chicken? Probably. But chicken doesn't taste a whole lot, and it's mainly the other ingredients that leave the taste. To find out, I gave my self a challenge. I would eat chicken for ten straight days, but it would have to be different every day.

Click in to read and see the result!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Minifigure checklists series 1-10

These are mostly for my own use, as I just wanted to store them online in one place. I have an updated version of the Top 10 list incoming, as we're closing in on 150 figures. With the upcoming Series 10, it will be extra exciting, as the series is rumored to include an extremely limited chase figure, the Mr. Gold (5000 examples worldwide).

Either way, I'll try to get a better scan of some of these, when I get my scanner up and running again.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lego Modular Buildings... still unopened

What am I waiting for? Well, a good opportunity, maybe? A designated space to put them? The complete line in hand?  

I didn't pick up the 10232 Palace Cinema in New York, because the price from my regional Lego.com isn't that much different to the $169 they wanted for it in the Rockefeller Plaza Lego store. I plan on making the jump in the near future, because Palace Cinema looks incredible! Maybe will I even go for the massive 10224 Town Hall. But it's a bit lame to pick up yet another modular, let alone two, without really having any plan for the ones I already own. 

Speaking of prices. I gave $150 for the 10185 Green Grocer a couple of years ago. Last weekend, I checked a local comic store that also sells some rare sets. They wanted $1000 for an unopened 10185. I'm not kidding. Obviously, it's not a realistic price, but there are few of them on ebay, and it will definitely just increase in price. Makes me wish I stocked up some more 10185.    
I doubt 10211 Grand Emporium, 10197 Fire Brigade or 10218 Pet Shop will reach the same notoriety, because they're still sitting around on Lego's online store. Of course neither of the sets I own will ever be as valuable as the first two Lego made: 10182 Cafe Corner and 10190 Market street. 
Neither will I make an effort to get them. Too expensive, and honestly, not good enough. The lack of interior in the first two make them just less appealing. 

Finally, the 10228 Haunted House isn't actually part of the modular line, but it's still very similar. The modular buildings will attach to each other, but this is not the fact with the Haunted House. I have heard people complaining that it's a bit too different, and that it doesn't fit next to the others. But isn't that the whole idea with a house like this? It's supposed to lie in the outskirts of town, and be just that: very different to the rest. I can't wait to build this one, at least. 

Suggestions are welcome. Do I just start building them with the first opportunity possible, or do I wait until they're worth too much to open at all?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dinner in New York

When the trip is over, all you really have left are the memories. But while you're there, you actually need fuel. We are nothing but animals, and the food is essential. So why not make the best out of the situation? We wanted to avoid the random encounters, where you just stumble hungry into the first place you see. Mostly to avoid places that got by exclusively through hungry tourists randomly dropping in. But also because we wanted to experience New York by way of eating.

We wanted New York in the form of food.

We did some research in advance. We watched a few travel guides, browsed the net, and asked locals where the good places to eat in New York was. The result was a google map cluttered with potential restaurants, and an extremely simple way of making sure there always was a relevant alternative nearby when the hunger growled like an angry wolf.

Read on!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coffee in New York

Tuesday, I wrote about several places to eat lunch and breakfast in Manhattan, and naturally close to all of these places had some sort of coffee, some of them were even worth the money. But we also wanted to check out coffee bars that exclusively sold coffee. We wanted to buy coffee from proper enthusiasts, among other things. Did we find what we were looking for?

Read on to find out!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Breakfast, lunch and brunch in New York

It should come as no surprise that there are many places to get good food in New York. But it's also no secret that many tourists tend to seek the familiar and safe option. In some cases, I even suspect it's tempting to eat cheap when on holidays. I can understand this, not everyone prioritizes food when they're on trips. And sure enough, you won't have to look long or far for the $1 burger meal in NYC. But it's really nothing to write home about. Literally.

We did it a bit differently. Read on for the first of three articles with details on where to eat in New York City. This first one is about breakfast, lunch and brunch. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Awesome (and unidentified) Masters of the Universe art

I had promised to publish the Food of New York article today, but it's not completed, and I'm a struggling with a fever today. So instead of writing a lot, I'll share some art I found on a hard drive, with the intention of possibly identifying the artist.

Obviously, they're contemporary pieces, and the file names say "alanleemotu". Which I guess is supposed to be the famous fantasy artist. But it doesn't really look like Alan Lee's style, and the signature says "Deng 2011". Superficial google searches left me no wiser, but I'd like to see more of this artist, as these two pieces are awesome. Leave a comment below if you recognize the artist.

Edit: TimmGleason commented below that this was in fact the work of two artists, commissioned by Mattel, apparently. Link to the original and the artists deviantart accounts are here:

Additionally: By now, we have all these figures in the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. For many, the line is complete. I'm personally waiting for a few figures I had as a kid, like the upcoming Snake Face, Clamp Champ and New Adventures He-Man.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why do you travel?

Every time I visit new places, I try to hold on to the good memories of that trip, to the point where the memories becomes stories of their own. It's not necessarily a big issue, but I'd like any excursion or journey to matter. I try to thoroughly enjoy any travel, specially when visiting other countries. I like to experience something unfamiliar. Not only limited to food, but most relevant to this blog, I'll say that trying out local food is a big deal for me on trips.  And that's probably not that uncommon. What seems to be uncommon is to remember what you experienced. What you ate, saw, heard. What specific places you visited. The good and bad of a certain place. The people you met and talked to. I fail to see the reason of travelling, if you don't make an effort remembering this.

I expected to come back from New York with a wealth of stories, because in the end, that's really what travelling is about. Experiencing - and if you're like me - retelling the stories.

For this blog, I'll leave you with two of those stories, the first was when I looked for the toy stores of NYC. The second one is a big article about various restaurants, where to get good food in the big city. It will take a little more time to write that one, and I aim to have it out Thursday.

But the remarkable thing is.. Am I the only one that does this? Surely I can't be alone in actually remembering what I experience when I'm out travelling? Wouldn't other people also have specific memories connected to certain places they've visited? I mean, what other reason would you have to travel?

Here's the thing, leading up to my trip to New York, we did a lot of research. We tried to locate places of interest, or rather places we could be interested in visiting. And in this process, I talked with a lot of people who also had visited New York. I asked them: Got anything to recommend? Any places I should try to visit? Anything interesting, out of the ordinary I should know? Any stories of interest to share?

The answers I got usually went along these lines: Oh, you should totally go to see a show on Broadway! Oh, you should totally go shopping on Times Square! Oh, oh, oh... And that Statue of Liberty is worth checking out!

Don't mistake me for an asshole, I appreciated their advice, I took their advice and did see a show on Broadway, I did go shopping on Times Square, and it was great! Sadly I did not find time for the Statue of Liberty.

But these are probably very near the top five tourist attraction of the city, and nothing I couldn't read in any and all tour guide of NYC. No one suggested good areas/museums/monuments/art galleries that I should make an effort to visit. No one suggested specific stores of interest. No one suggested what to say/not say to people. Places to avoid. Mistakes not to be done. No one suggested a good place to eat. No one even suggested what food to try.

Obviously it got me wondering. Am I just as clueless were I to give recommendations on the places I've been?

I doubt I can give specific names and addresses to restaurants, but I'm sure at the very least I can give a suggestion what food to try from all of the different countries I've visited.
Italy: Go to any place that has ice cream and get a stracciatella. Amsterdam: Try the most random pancake you can find. London: go to a pub, order a pie.Visit any restaurant that has swordfish on the menu: Go for it! I guess I'm not breaking any ground with these suggestions, but this is just off the top of my head.

And I know I can share a story or two from every place I've visited, that could be interesting for a potential traveler.

I guess it takes time for people to dig out memories. And I really hope that later that night, these people thought for themselves Oh, I should have really suggested that awesome coffee place over at 14th and second. 

But I'm honestly not sure. Why do people travel, if they can't remember anything from the trip?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

There are Toys in New York

But it's not a Mecca for toy collectors.

And that may actually be a bit strange, because New York had literally everything you could imagine, and lots of it. Shopping in NYC was an amazing experience, and if you were looking for shoes, clothes, jewelry, food. I hoped the toy stores would match the quality of the other stores. I guess they did, it's just that my expectations to the toy stores were significantly higher than those towards clothing stores. There's also the fact that I know where to find toys in abundance: online. The online toy stores and forums are the best places to buy toys, and that's not even a secret. I assume this "new" market has more or less destroyed the potential for having truly great toy stores in New York.

But when completing my excursion of the toy stores on Manhattan, I may have discovered what the point of toy stores today should be. It's about presenting a selection so great, and in such a way that you'll want to want something. It's about giving an experience greater than the price reduction you'd get from buying online.

I had a blast visiting these stores, so much in fact that I decided to take a couple of pictures and write a few words on the various stores. I guess you can see this as a review of the toy stores in New York, but it's definitely not complete. I know I missed out on a couple of stores (like Midtown Comics), and I'm sure there were some I don't even know about. And we were only sticking to mid/lower Manhattan. But for the stores we actually did visit, you can look at this article as somewhat of a guide.

So come in for more, and leave comments if you want!

Caution: This is a long article with many pictures, and the gravy is all the way at the bottom.