Night of the Living Wedge

I had been working on a pig-head mask for quite a while, anticipating using it for a movie and for Halloween. Well, as Halloween approached, I buckled down and finished it. Since Ali and I were going to head to my cousin's wedding on Halloween night, I took the opportunity to join the Night of the Living Wedge Halloween Pub Crawl so I'd have a chance to show it off. I started a little late, so I decided to catch up with the crawl at Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.)

From there, we hit Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.), The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.), and The Keg (315 Gregory St., behind German House where Rohrbach's used to be) before finishing at Caverly's Pub (741 South Ave., formerly Genesee Co-op Credit Union). I was receiving great praise for my costume — partly because I had clarified what I was trying to be with the addition of some hospital-style scrubs and a "Hello, my name is" tag reading only "H1N1" … plus, the eyes would heartbeat-blink red, and I could hit a button so they'd brighten to a blaring blue-white. As it turned out, I won the darn costume contest. I spread around some holiday cheer, favoring a couple homemade costumes before heading home to pass out.

The MEETinROCHESTERMySpace link organizer snapped a picture that I'll unabashedly use here:

Jayce as H1N1 on Halloween

Jayce as H1N1 on Halloween

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Doing the Mistletoe Mingle

Ali, Christina, and I decided to do the Mistletoe Mingle pub crawl. As it turned out, it wasn't associated with Michael Warren Thomas at all — it was part of The Business Association of the South Wedge Area (BASWA) under the Savor Our Flavor moniker. We started at Little Venice Pizza (742 South Ave., formerly Skippy's) so Christina could get some food in her stomach before drinking; Ali and I had already eaten. From there we started at the north end at The South Wedge Colony Bar and Grill (503 South Ave., formerly Dashen Restaurant) I still have very lukewarm feelings about the place — it just seems so much like a poor imitation of an East Avenue bar; and as such, it wouldn't get better by being a better imitation. We got our first playing card there for the poker contest.

Next we went to Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) and picked up another card and had a decent glass of wine that was on-special for the crawl. At Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) we figured out the card-marking scheme and devised a way to cheat — the goal was to have the best 5-card poker hand at the last of seven bars. The Beale Street Cafe (689 South Ave.) offered welcome relief as they set up their back restaurant room for the pub crawl and we got a chance to sit down and warm up for a bit. But it was short-lived as we headed for The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.) a half-hour later. Although The Keg (315 Gregory St., behind German House where Rohrbach's used to be) set me up with a half-shot "shot" drink special, at least the band was amusing and there were holiday cookies and stuff.

Caverly's Pub (741 South Ave., formerly Genesee Co-op Credit Union) was our last stop and we paced our drinks well by skipping a few along the way. It turned out our cheating scheme was for naught — Ali had an honest full house which was better than we could have cheated together. Alas, someone else pulled out 5 aces that went unchecked, card-marking-wise. The way I figure it, the odds of getting 5 or more aces from 7 decks is about 399,672:1 against so, although possible, I kind of doubt it was done honestly. Regardless, we had quite a good time.

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Burlesque for Bail and Other Debauchery

Ali and I walked over to The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) to check out Burlesque for Bail, the benefit show to raise money for bail for Unconventional Action protesters of the upcoming political conventions. The show was pretty fun although it was basically some musical acts and Burlesque-styled striptease.

At one point, one of the guys involved in the show asked for people's opinions of things around town and around the nation. Although the new police cameras brought loud jeering, I heard a lot of quiet support for them. In a later discussion with Ali and her friend, I tried arguing it logically, but I was frustrated: without any factual information, I was unable to do anything but an emotional appeal.

Although I said I choose freedom over safety, I think it's more that I choose freedom over inaccurate accounts of safety. I guess the working theory is that the cameras prevent criminal activity. The first flaw in that statement is that no police action prevents crime: police can only catch criminals after a crime has been committed.

But if I give credence at all to the crime-prevention theory, it's that criminals do not want to get caught so they will not commit crime where they will get caught. As such, the cameras cause crime to move away from the cameras. In other words, if it were possible to locate crimes before and after the cameras, my theory is that the crime rate would stay relatively steady but that fewer crimes would be committed in range of the cameras.

So in the end, I argue that it doesn't reduce crime at all.

On the other side of the coin, the cameras can be used to break up protests. For instance, if an anti-war protest were held (or even a Critical Mass Bike Ride or any group of different-enough looking people for that matter), the cameras can be used to record the identities of the attendees and round them up later. Although protesting is not a crime, protesters I've met in this jingoistic, militarized country tend to be quite paranoid. As such, they behave like the criminals and would want to move protests away from the cameras. Unfortunately, protests are necessarily in those areas, as the cameras were placed where people tend to congregate — a protest is worthless if nobody is there to see it.

Thus, in my mind, the cameras prevent no crime and disrupt freedom and are therefore a bad thing.

Everyone who supports the camera believes that they do prevent crime and that they are overall a benefit — and why should they not?, for I can offer no hard evidence. So I think that what I should do is to test their theory. I'll go hang out in front of the cameras with, say, a laptop computer. If the cameras do prevent crime, then I'll go home after a couple hours. If they don't, then there's a chance I'd be robbed.

I suspect that wouldn't be sufficient — for if I were robbed, I might witness a demand for more cameras — after all, if one camera failed to prevent a crime, then perhaps two will work better, and I really don't want to see that. So I'll just fight the robber and hopefully get killed in the process. Then, either I'll be a martyr to the cause of freedom, or things will get worse but I won't have to deal with it.

I'll probably do it after Burning Man though because I kind of want to go to that first.

Anyhow, back to Saturday night …

Ali and I headed to The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.) for a beer. She got her head set that we'd get Mark's plates at the end of the evening, and that would require some serious drinking. We had some wine at Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) then headed across to Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) where we ran into some friends. We spent the bulk of the evening and four of us went to Mark's Texas Hots (487 Monroe Ave.) I discovered what may be the most awesome plate ever: rather than burgers or hots, I got two over-easy eggs. Damn that was a great plate. I think that it might be improved with the addition of brown gravy (or "gravies" as the kids say) … and just possibly — and I say this only as an experiment to try, not to blaspheme — without the meat sauce, onions, and mustard.

Perhaps next time, then …

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Sondra's Visit and a Tour of Rochester Bars

My best friend Sondra stopped in for the weekend (after [and before] highly annoying air travel). She was in town to wrap up things with her old house in Palmyra but we got to go out and hit the town. We started at my house then decided to change the scenery. I started out with Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) just in case it opened early, but it doesn't. So we decided to hit our old haunt, Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) Surprisingly it was closed — now this is … er … was no ordinary bar. I recall seeing people having beers out on the sidewalk as early as noon some days … typically more like 2 or 3 p.m. though. On this day, they were completely closed. As a substitution, we tried Monty's Korner (355 East Ave.) but it was closed too. Same with Mex (295 Alexander St.) We gave up and stopped by Ali's to say hi before heading to The Distillery (1142 Mount Hope Ave.) which — being a restaurant as well — was certainly going to be open, and indeed it was.

We had a couple margaritas and caught up with stuff as we often do (except over the phone usually). Next stop was Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) where we met up with Ali. The three of us split a couple bottles of wine and two of their delicious cheese boards. It was getting late by then and we tried Betty Meyer's Bullwinkle Café (622 Lake Ave., a.k.a. "Bullwinkle's") but it was closed — as rumors go, I'm pretty sure it's done. [I'll have to stop by Betty's house at some point — which is coincidentally not far from where I live — and find out the deal.] So we headed back to The Flat Iron CaféMySpace link (561 State St.) but it wasn't open yet — and by now it was closing in on 11 p.m. As a consolation, we checked out this ultimate dive of a country music bar called Sandra's Saloon (276 Smith St.) As places like this go, the bartender and owner was a kind woman and the patrons kept to their own. It was actually quite nice, and the band was really good, too.

To wrap things up, we stopped by Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara). This time it was open, and by now the band had finished. We chatted with the bartender a bit and tried their absinthe. Alas, it was more like a licorice liquor than absinthe — flavor-wise it was pretty close to what we'd had in the past, but mild-hallucination wise, not so much.

Sondra had to get up early to make her flight: as in, leave the house at 4:30 a.m. So we said our goodbyes before crashing at my house. In a tale for another day, she did eventually make it back to Colorado.

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Little Venice, Solera, Lux, Method Lab, and Clark Conde's photography

I took a little tour of South Wedge and got pizza from Little Venice Pizza (742 South Ave., formerly Skippy's) which I ate at Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) with a glass of wine. I stopped by Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) for a bit and hung out with some friends before heading to The Method Lab (650 South Ave.) Photographer Clark Condé's work was on display. It's really good stuff: evocative and slightly abstract — and large, which always helps if all else fails.

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Abeline is a cozy place to visit

So I stopped by Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) and was talking with the owner, John Fanning. He gave rave reviews of this place called Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) — noting that it had very little traffic but could be a trendy hang-out. He had talked with Abeline's owner and commented that the location didn't get much traffic; the reply was something to the effect of "well, it's here and people will figure that out".

Anyway, I headed over and ran into a friend and shot some pool. The Park Avenue BandGarageBand link was playing until late so — unlike what John said — the place was pretty packed. The beer selection is quite good: bottles only, except for one beer on tap. I can imagine that it would definitely be a neat place to hand out on an off-night. When there's a band, it's a bit … umm … intimate.

I was only at Tara once and that was years ago, but I think the layout is pretty much the same. I think the lights are brighter at Abeline and the men in the posters generally have shirts on.

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Bicycling with the Weekly Rochester Cruisers' Ride

Ali and I went on the weekly Cruiser's Ride this week. We've gone in the past but this is the first time I got to blog about it. Anyway, it's a group of bicyclists that starts from Dogtown Hots (691 Monroe Ave.) — they used to start at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) but everyone kept getting dinner at Dogtown first. We got rolling around 8:30 or so and meandered through the city streets all over the place, covering some 9 miles or so all around (I measured as best as I could remember on a map). I finally got to see The Legal Wall — although I guess it's now the "somewhat legal wall" … perhaps someone in the group wasn't confident of the concept or that something changed. In case you don't know, the principle is that the owners of buildings in this area permit and welcome artists to apply graffiti. Some of it is fantastic. Pardon me if I don't specify exactly where it is because the cops have been on a rampage shutting good things down of this ilk.

The ride "officially" terminates at Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) although this time, they wouldn't permit us to bring our bikes to the back yard as they had in the past. Ali and I both had custom-built bikes [by me, in case you're wondering] and she didn't want to leave them locked up in front so we went to Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) with John and had a glass of wine so we could sit by them and keep an eye on them.

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Fun times at Solera

I finished things up at home then headed out to Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) for a glass of wine. There were three guys at the end of the bar and I'm listening but I couldn't quite pin down what it is they're talking about: something to do with countries all over the world, expensive things — or at least something to do with high-society, and they like it. I'm stumped. The bartender knows them and introduces me: they're wine dealers. And they brought a selection of wines to share amongst one another — and now me as well. They're all excellent. For the sake of talking about it, I wish I could recall what they were. It was fun to get my nose to work again — I was actually able to pick out aromas and relate them to other things. It was a fascinating game: cooked asparagus … burnt cherries … walnut meat … turpentine. Fine wines are the bomb.

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Ali's Birthday

As the wisest of you all know, today is a special holiday because it's my Ali's birthday. [And in case you're wondering, she turned (2006 age)+1.] So we started things off with blueberry pancakes in the morning. And then she got some cake at work. And then we went to Paola's Burrito Place (1921 South Ave., formerly Big Dog's Hots) for dinner at her preference. Then she opened her gifts but we didn't have any of the pumpkin pie I made because we were stuffed from dinner. Finishing things off we went out to Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) and had some wine, meeting up with a group of friends from all different places in her life. In all, she had a great day.

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