Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mellow Stamford Skateboarding Video

I'm mentally wiped right now, so I'll just link you to an upbeat skateboarding video by Scott Frosch that put a smile on my face. "I feel like Jonah in the belly of the whale..." or whatever the song in the video said. The video was filmed at our very own Stamford skatepark, and it shows off just how spectacular that big bowl is. Scott's a pro, so this a good quality video, not a crappy youtube one! Go all the way to the end of Scott's video to see some wipeouts.

Scalzi is smack in the middle of Stamford, right near the Bed Bath Beyond shopping complex on Summer, so swing by one evening while the weather's still warm and check out the skating. Read all about local skateboarding under the Skateboarding tab. You won't regret it.

In the photo above (taken by Scott, or was it PDA?), you see of my favorite skaters to watch at Scalzi. I like watching other people things do I'm too scared/lazy/apathetic/rickety to do.
Click here to read more.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cricket Report: St. John's vs. Bridgeport

I had fun at the cricket match. Just like last time, a nice cricket player came over to ask if I knew the game, then patiently explained the happenings on the field and answered all of my dumb questions, both cricket and non-cricket related.

I got lots of new info, such as the fact that St. John's of Stamford is the newest team in the Southern CT Cricket Association (SCCA)- 4 years. I found out that a guy on the Bridgeport team plays for the US National team, and that the Greenwich does have a team, but they play in the NY. I saw the wickets get knocked down for the first time- what a ruckus! I also took some passable photos. Click on the two photos in this post to enlarge them, or see all 14 at my flickr site.

I really want St. John's to get more fans. I was disappointed there wasn't a big crowd today; I know, I set my hopes high, but I want to cheer my city in a sport. What other teams do we have that play inter-city matches? And I do not mean high school sports. Nothing would be creepier than an adult who has no association with Stamford Public Schools watching teens play sports. Yuck. I want to cheer for adult males, thanks.

My newest idea, besides cricket needing to be an Olympic sport, is to get a cricket club at Stamford or Westhill High. A high school-aged player at the match told me that would never happen because too few kids would be interested, but if it's like, a once a week, hour and half game, I bet you could round up a good co-ed team. That club team could provide a pool of players so St. John's could start to dominate. Right now, they are not one of the stronger teams in the league, and I think one reason is that they need more younger players. The UBS team, also based in Stamford, probably has a plethora of fresh knees every year; they tend to do pretty well, I hear.

Next Sunday (Labor Day Weekend), UBS plays Bridgport in Stamford, and St. John's plays at New Milford. The SCCA tourney starts Sept 13- see website for schedule under "fixtures"- and the final is Sept. 21 in West Haven. Ideally, St. John's or UBS will advance in the semifinals and get to play at home before the 21st. I'll be happy to have another excuse to sit outside on a nice day, observe fellow Stamfordians, and pretend that I understand the nuances of cricket.
Click here to read more.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Psych! Cricket is Tomorrow, Sunday

Dur. I have been mixing up so many dates this summer! See you at the cricket match tomorrow.

Although I did not specify a day in the previous post, I hope I did not confuse anyone. Tomorrow's weather looks great, too: 84 and sunny.
Click here to read more.

Cricket, Anyone?

Note: match is Sunday, tomorrow! I just looked at the Brigeport Cricket Club's website, and their game against St. John's of Stamford is at 12:30 at Lione Park on Stillwater. Wear sunscreen and bring a chair. This is going to be serious cricket with fancy uniforms and hard core players. I predict a big crowd, and I'm not joking.

Click here to read my previous post about this upcoming match and Stamford cricket in general.
Click here to read more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Great Day: Tacos, Shopping, Morton's

Wednesday was a spectacular Stamford Talk day. The weather was beautiful, and no one acted psychotic while driving. I went to the gym, then to El Charrito taco truck for lunch. It was delicious and really fun to see who was lining up for tacos and other Mexican food. The owners, a married couple, are so friendly and dedicated to their business, as you know if you read the recent Advocate article about them. El Charrito is located right outside Beamer's Cafe. That location might seem odd--Beamer's is a strip club--, but local restos complain when the truck parks anywhere near them. Parking is easy, so drive on up East Main to Jackie Robinson Park and check it out. Only problem: there's just one bench in the park to sit on, so consider takeout.

After that, I went to the Stamford Mall to shop for the husband's birthday. I shopped so efficiently that I had time to try on clothes for myself. A stranger asked me for advice in the dressing room at Macy's. It was thrilling to be spoken to by a stranger- that's rare in Stamford but it makes life in the 'burbs so much more interesting. I also popped into the (insanely busy) Apple store and bought a new orange case for my iPhone.

I got a pretty but way too rich "Opera" cake at Beldotti Bakery on Newfield. I assumed it was chocolate, but it's more like a dry Tira Misu. I said "no" to a young, healthy-looking adult male in the parking lot who asked me for an "extra dollar for the bus." All I had were $20s, plus, stop walking around the parking lot asking for money, and start using your perfectly capable legs to hike to your destination!

We had dinner at Morton's for the husband's birthday. Food was the usual- good, but not exciting- steak and mashed potatoes and crab meat. I do think Morton's chopped salad is one of the best salads in Stamford. At 11 bucks, it's not a bad deal for a pricey place, and it has lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, hearts of palm, eggs, and a tangy Dijon vinaigrette. I absolutely inhaled it.

Something else remarkable about Wednesday was that I saw, in my rearview mirror, a truck with a Confederate flag for its front license plate. What??? A Confederate flag in Stamford CT? I almost pulled over so I could motion for the driver to pull up beside me and ask what in God's name he was thinking what the connection was. However, I thought there was a good chance the person would be crazy, and my husband always warns me not to do reckless things like talk to strangers.

Whereas Wednesday was great for Stamford Talk, Thursday was a drag. I woke up way too early (3:30), and the nap I took later on in the day was one of those terrible ones you can't recover from. I had to skip two fun events I had planned that night, and my husband had to suffer with my grumpy, post-nap self. I went to bed at 10, and woke up at 3:58 am today. I usually only need 7 hours of sleep, but this is getting ridiculous.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Mad at Advocate Headlines, Trump Meeting

I'm fighting off a temper tantrum. The Advocate’s article about last night’s Trump meeting provides no answers and leaves gaping, obvious questions. Either the article is incomplete, or the Board did not get any important questions answered. Unacceptable!!!

Maybe I should have gone to this meeting and asked questions, but other people were there who were supposed to do that. I didn't finish dinner until after 8, so I thought it would be silly to park in that creepy Gov't Center lot at night to catch, what, 20 minutes of the meeting? Rrrr! More on this later because I need to go to the gym, big time.

I'm also mad at the Advocate right now because of a couple of extremely inaccurate headlines.

1. "City cites Trump lessons"
No, it doesn't! There was no info in that article about that. Can someone please point out one lesson that got mentioned except maybe this: Trump Parc has proven hazardous because it is being built on a small parcel with little barrier between it and the streets, Barnes said. The type of work being done there tends to generate a lot of debris, he said.
That's what we figured out? Basic construction concepts? Change that headline to "City offers same obvious info we've been hearing for the past 3 months."

2. "Students' test scores become part of teachers' evaluations"
Well then why does the article only talk about observations? There is nothing in the article that says teachers will be judged on their students' test scores.
I read the article three times to triple check. I'm a teacher, so this topic affects me directly.
The same article was published the next day in the Greenwich Time with the headline "Teachers judged on students' test scores." Don't title the article that if it's not what it is about! That would be a completely different, more controversial article. However, if teachers are going to be evaluated on their students' test scores, do let me know about it with some actual info.

OK I have to go to the gym and relax.
Click here to read more.

New Stamford Bloggers!

Let's give some new Stamford blogs a blog-warming. I've got four of 'em for you. JR, Mr. Stamford's other blogger, has broken off to form his own site called Streets of Stamford. Today's post is about the high rents of one of the new developments on the East Side.

Another new Stamford blogger has been posting regularly at On Stamford. Mark's site has resto reviews and humorous sightings, such as, surprise, a lady on a cell phone speeding diagonally across a parking lot.

I should also link to Greg at GreBurg, who has also been posting since March about the woes of being young in Stamford. He starts grad school this fall but I hope he'll keep posting!

A long-time reader has also started a blog. A lot of WingDangDoo is about her life, but Stamford gets liberal mention. Patty has posted about Trump and the useful walk-in clinic at the Tully Center. She's a funny, lively writer.

Hm, I better go add these peeps to my blogroll!
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aug19-24 Music, Art, and Food

All week and next week:
Stamford Downtown Summer Restaurant Weeks. The special prix-fixe menus are a great chance to try restos at reasonable prices. Some places have better deals than others. I really liked Duo last time. Check out participating places here.
--Photography exhibit reception at Sundance CafĂ© on Broad Street, 5-6pm. That’s right by the mall. Photographer Vincent Rodriguez will display his photos of Stamford. Another local photographer, Shamik Ganguly, also has photos up.
--Fairfield County Happy Hour Club at Monster B’s, 7pm. Coincidentally, Fairfield County Bloggers will also be there for a happy hour. Should be fun.

My real life and facebook friend Damon Grant is playing Jazz in the park in Darien. The concert is free, at Tilley Park, right across from the Darien train station. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.

Pet Adoption Day at Stamford Animal Care & Control from 10 to 4. Food, vendors, pet care experts, free. It’s at 201 Magee Ave. Google the address if you’ve never been down there, because it can be confusing.

Cricket! Biiiiiiig cricket match!

Next week:
Saturday Aug 30: Gospel, Arts & Crafts Festival at the Yerwood Center, free, 12-5pm.
Click here to read more.

Trump Parc Debris Meeting Tonight

I really wish they'd put these city meetings on TV. Whereas I might be interested in school closings and parking meter changes, I also like to hang at home with my husband and dog on weeknights. I admire the citizens who drag themselves out to a government meeting after a full day of work. Now, TV, on the other hand, everyone likes to watch TV... just a suggestion, City of Stamford.

I am going to try to make it to the Trump meeting. I've been following the debris drama at the construction site since May, when a 10 pound piece of metal flew from its 27th floor right into an intersection I always (used to) drive through. The Board of Reps meets tonight at the Gov't Center at 7 to grill various people about what the Hades is going on with the disturbing pattern of falling debris. FYI, the crane at Trump Parc is finally down. I feel maybe 1/2% safer. Check out the reader-submitted photo of crane-free TP.

Panel to discuss Trump Parc debris: The Board of Representatives Operations Committee is scheduled to hold a meeting to discuss problems with debris falling from the Trump Parc construction site at Washington Boulevard and Broad Street.
The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of the Government Center. Director of Operations Ben Barnes and Robert DeMarco, of the building department, are scheduled to attend to answer questions. (Advocate, 8/19)

I'm afraid the meeting will be boring. Enh, I'll bring a book just in case. I wonder who else will be there. I'm reading A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash. Reading about smart people is making me feel smarter.
Click here to read more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Any Questions About Cricket in Stamford?

Because I totally got the scoop. As of yesterday, I know how the game is scored, and I know how to find info on matches in Fairfield County. I have achieved my dream of getting into the Stamford cricket scene. Next Sunday, Aug 24, there’s going to be a big match in Stamford. It sounds like a great party, and I’m going to be there.

Yesterday's match is a tournament organized annually by Asha to raise money for schools in India. It's the match I was unable to find online last year, which whipped me into a frenzy and caused me to start Stamford Talk. The tourney wraps up today in Lione Park on Stillwater. The Advocate has an article about it, but I'll provide much juicier info, because I, a blogger and columnist, am allowed to speculate, embellish, and opine.

Yesterday's cricket experience started off with intrigue. When I walked up to the match, here is what I saw: Indian people gathered under one tree, quietly watching cricket, and African-Americans under another tree, laughing, eating, drinking, and talking. Oh my god, how awkward! I thought. The cricket match is competing against a family BBQ for shade. I had a feeling this could really add drama to my blog post. I opened my lawn chair, sat between the two groups, watched cricket and spectators, and snapped some photos.

Over the next 20 minutes, while trying not to stare, I began to notice that more than one person in the group to my left were wearing baseball caps that said "Barbados." Then I noticed that a few from the group were watching the cricket match rather avidly. After more casual spying, I noticed one man wearing a very nice shirt that said "Cricket USA" and windbreaker pants that said "Cambridge Athletic Club" or something like that. Ohhhhh, I thought to myself. Maybe some of these guys are going to play in the tourney, and these are all their fans and family!

However, only a couple guys looked dressed for the possibility of cricket, and most people were socializing and not paying a lick of attention to the match being played on the field. It was a real Stamford Talk mystery.

Then, a couple of men came over to the Indian group. I, of course, strenuously eavesdropped. "I play for St. John's here in Stamford," one of them said. "St. John's" I scribbled in my notebook. I was lying low, feeling a little shy, not wanting to approach anyone yet. I knew I’d figure out the mystery eventually, and I was enjoying observing. Sometimes I get tired of hearing my own voice, and I just want to be quiet.

Finally, someone from the cricket match came over and asked if I was enjoying the cricket. I proceeded to talk his ear off/interview him and got the scoop on all the local cricket teams and leagues and generally how things work.

Turns out the group from Barbados thought they were supposed to practice at the Lione cricket pitch, but City of Stamford had promised it to the ASHA tourney. I guess they stuck around to watch. Some of the guys were from St. John’s, which is one of Stamford’s teams in the Southern Connecticut Cricket Association (SCCA). That league has 11 teams, including teams from Bridgeport, New Haven, and New Milford. The other team from Stamford is a UBS team.
(See match schedules under “fixtures” button at SCCA's website.)

Next Sunday, Aug 24, St. John’s plays Bridgeport at Lione Park in Stamford. I hear that the match attracts an enthusiastic crowd of revelers. The players will be wearing all that crazy equipment you see in photos. This is going to be serious cricket, people. (The Asha tourney was more casual, with shortened matches, a softer ball, and hence no pads.)
Don’t let it scare you that Lione is located across from Vidal Court, the housing project often named in articles about crime. I love sports, and I love people watching. I think it’s going to rock.

Cricket is totally easy to understand, by the way. It has a couple more variables than baseball, but it’s the same basic idea.

Related Stamford Talk posts:
--December 20, 2007-- Guns: Busy on Stamford's West Side (post about a spate of shootings on or near Stillwater Ave. last fall)
--July 29, 2008-- Meet the Catalyst for Stamford Talk!

Past Stamford Talk mysteries:
--February 11, 2008-- Stamford's Very Own Authentic Voodoo Doll (I absolutely am not kidding about that.)
--February 26, 2008-- Stamford's Napa and Co: Information Blackout?!?
Click here to read more.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Norwalk Oyster Fest Sept 5: Oak Ridge Boys!!!! And, Treatise on Country Music

Oak Ridge Boys!!! OMG I am inordinately excited! Oak Ridge Boys, Sister Sledge, and Los Lonely Boys will be playing at Oyster Fest in Norwalk. I saw the Oak Ridge Boys play at the Boy Scout Jamboree in Va when I was like, 10. It was so much fun. I like country music. In fact, I'm going to go spend some of my iTunes gift certificate on the song "Bye Bye" by Jo Dee Messina.

The Oyster Fest starts Friday Sept 5. See Norwalk Seaport's website for more info. Prepare to park far away and walk to the Fest, and for goodness' sake, wear closed-toe shoes. After a weekend of oysters and beer, you don't want your feet to touch that ground.

Here's Jo Dee:

Funny- the video looks old. The song doesn't sound dated, though, which shows what an amaaaaaazing song it is. If you don't like country, and you're not from the South, I don't wanna hear it, because you just don't have the life experience to understand it. I'm not saying you can only understand country if you are from the South. I'm just saying, part of country's appeal comes from driving along a two-lane road with nothing to look at and nothing really to do. To someone from the NY Metro area, that might sound terrible, but driving along like that is a great feeling. I know people who aren't from rural areas can appreciate country, but they've got to have the right, chilled-out mindset.
Click here to read more.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boom, Kapow, Fireworks: Cricket!!!

Not real fireworks- they were in my head when I just confirmed the time and location of the cricket tourney this weekend! An anonymous reader kindly posted the flier in comments, but here's the essential info: Lione Park on Stillwater Ave, 8am-5pm, this Sat-Sun Aug 16-17.

Now I can finally live out my dream of lounging in the grass watching cricket and maybe picnicking if there's some shade. The weather looks great- 80 and sunny on Sat., and 84 and mostly sunny on Sunday. I'm going to have to read up on cricket because I have no idea what the sport is about. I know the ball gets hit with a paddle.
Click here to read more.

Monitoring Stamford from the Beach in NH

What? I haven't posted since Monday? That's a slackage record for Stamford Talk! I've been at the beach in NH with my immediate family, and we have loads of aunts and uncles and cousins and cousins' kids in the area, so we've had lots of company. I still check my RSS feeds every day so I'm up on Stamford news and blogs. The Advocate is rocking my world today with a couple of opinion-provoking pieces:

  • Editor's suggestion to decrease alcohol sales at Alive @ Five to control crowd problems.
  • Article titled "Was primary a waste of money?" about how some towns spent up to $50,000 for primaries between Lee Whitnum and Jim Himes... and Whitnum got less votes total than the amount of signatures she got to even get on the ballot.
  • A reminder that the Stamford train station will be torn down in 2010, leading to two years of parking hell for commuters.

  • I'll be back in Stamford tomorrow. I'll post ASAP when I know exactly when and where the big cricket tournament is. I do know it's this Saturday at Scalzi, but I'm waiting on details. This cricket match was the entire reason I started Stamford Talk last year, so this is a very important event.

    Also, Trump Crane is coming down this weekend, so expect road closures this Sat. from 5am to 5pm, this Sunday from 5am to 7pm, and next Sat Aug. 24 from 5am to noon.
    Click here to read more.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Police Pensions: I Can't Get That Worked Up

    Mr. Stamford posted a rather nasty rant condemning local retired police who want an increase in their pension. His reasoning went something like “I pay taxes, I don’t get a pension, you should have saved money like I’m doing, suck it up and stop complaining.” It’s not just him. Many commenters on the Advocate article about the issue expressed similar contempt.

    My initial reaction: I don’t like living in an area where people feel so overworked, stressed and tight on money that they have to blast other people who ask for help.

    However, I don’t think the majority of people feel so bitter toward others. Most people I know in this area are generous and sympathetic despite the stress of living in an expensive area. I think it’s just that the vocal people on the internet tend to be negative.

    I try to avoid getting sucked into angry internet complaining, but I did want to make the point that we do need civil servants like police and teachers. We need to offer good benefits because that is what attracts the kind of stable people we want in those jobs. I want my children to have experienced teachers, and I want well-compensated policemen to patrol my community. I’m not sure why those people are perceived as lazy suckers of taxpayers’ money.

    One big focus of the complainers was that police can retire after 20 years. People were just so pissed off about that. I don’t want to work for 30-35 years, either, but I can certainly see why police work is stressful enough for 20 years to be enough of a career. I think 20 years is early retirement, anyway, and they don’t get a full pension for that, so I’m not sure what all the beeyotching is about.

    It’s not outrageous for police to ask for help with their pension. Or… am I just young, and when I hit 40, I’ll get bitter about taxes, too? Or… is it because I don’t own a home yet, so I don’t experience the horror of real estate taxes? If this is what real estate taxes do to people, I’m gonna keep renting.
    Click here to read more.

    Who's at Fault for Trump Mess? Is Another Disastrous Site on the Way?

    Trump Parc is a clusterschmuck of which we’ve not seen the last.

    TP is a 34-story construction site located on one of the busiest corners in the city. In less than four months, we’ve had four spectacular incidents of debris smashing through cars and a window of the college campus next door.

    TP is being built by contractor George A. Fuller Co., which is owned by New York developer Louis Cappelli. Cappelli has a history of safety violations in NY, but I assume he's still scott-free in CT since Fuller's name is on the TP project. Whoever approved this project, and approved Cappelli/Fuller as the builder, should share the blame for the accidents. Approving a project on such a busy corner, with no space between the building and the sidewalk and street below, was obviously a terrible decision. (Question 1: Who approved that?)

    Guess what’s even more horrifying than being stuck with Cappelli until Trump Parc wraps up next year? Being stuck with him after that, when he starts construction on another tower in downtown Stamford! I KNOW! I MUST BE JOKING, RIGHT? Nope! He’s building a 400 foot tall building right on Tresser, also known at Rt. 1, next year!

    There is no way in Hades that Fuller/Cappelli should build the Ritz-Carlton on Tresser. Call me overcautious, but I'm not sure the company has proved to Stamford that it can do the job safely.
    (Question 2: Does the city have the right to demand a new builder? Question 3: Who could do that? Mayor? Board of Reps?)

    I'm sure the people working the site are great people who want to be safe, but something about the construction process is not working out. After the third Trump Parc incident, the mayor appeared stunned by how much excess debris was lying all over the floors that opened directly onto the street below. He implied that he’d never seen anything like it, which to me suggested gross carelessness. Maybe the workers are overworked. Why else would they leave the site in such a condition, especially after the first two debris incidents?

    After the fourth incident, in which wood and all kinds of other stuff got blown off the building in strong thunderstorms, the contractor seemed perplexed by how that accident could have happened: Though the incidents are "inexcusable," weather may have been a factor, [Trump Parc developer Louis Cappelli] said. "You had a perfectly beautiful summer day that turned into a 50-mph wind gust," he said about Saturday's incident when a 4-by-4 piece of lumber fell 27 stories and through the roof of a postal delivery truck… Cappelli said he ordered his foremen to remove or secure stacks of plywood and wood beams from the building by Friday. Cappelli yesterday said he had absolute confidence in the skills of the construction workers at Trump Parc. "I have my best men working on this job," he said, adding, "The 99 things you do right are meaningless when that one thing goes wrong."
    (Advocate Aug 5, 2008)

    What “one thing” was that? The weather? ‘Cause to me, it looks like the error was made not by Mother Nature, but by the people on the site. After the third incident, the city ordered all loose building materials tied down. That obviously didn’t happen, so why is Cappelli saying he has “absolute confidence” in his workers? Was he saying that they did tie the stuff down? I’m confused. That’s nice that his best guys are on the job, but that doesn’t explain what caused the fourth accident, nor does it reassure me that a fifth won't occur.

    I'm still wondering why the city-mandated on-site inspector did not notice the loose 4 x 4s on Friday. (Question 4: Does that inspector really exist? Is he impartial, or did the construction company pick him?)

    The board of reps has called for a meeting with city officials about the Trump mess: City Rep. Scott Mirkin... urged Mayor Dannel Malloy to bring in help from the federal and state governments, because the city does not seem able to manage the 34-story project. The representatives did not set a date for the hearing. … [Board President David] Martin said he plans to ask officials, including Malloy, Director of Operations Ben Barnes and the city's legal counsel, to attend. (Advocate, Aug 6, 2008) Maybe they can get the scoop on the inspector or figure out why Trump Parc has gone so very badly.

    I think the meeting might be Monday, but I'm not sure. I'm at the beach in NH with spotty (stolen) internet, so if you see anything online about the Board meeting, please post a comment or email me. Although I can't always get online, I do check email on my iPhone regularly. Comments go to my email, so they are just as good a way to reach me as email.

    Currently at Trump Parc, limited building continues. After the fourth accident, the builders were banned from doing any work on floors that were not completely enclosed. However, don’t start feeling safe. They're allowed to do "safety-related work" on all floors.

    Here's a pic of Trump from Thursday. The one at the top of this post is from Friday. I'm not sure what's up with the blue netting- is it stronger than the orange? a replacement for orange netting that may have gotten blown off the building last week?- but I do enjoy seeing UVa colors in the middle of Stamford. Go, Hoos, go.
    Click here to read more.

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    New Stamford Greek Restaurant: Eos

    I was disappointed I didn't get to try the new Greek restaurant on Summer St. before I left for vacation today. A college friend who recently moved to Stamford raves about it, so I begged her to write a review. Please enjoy her guest post. Thanks J!

    Simply put, Eos is a gem. This locally owned and operated Greek restaurant succeeds in every aspect. The decor is understated, sleek and modern, the service is friendly and prompt without being overbearing, and the owners are on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. But let's face it, that's not what brings us out for dinner: the food is so good, I would eat here if the service were surly and the food served on plastic placemats decorated with the Parthenon. Hearty moussaka, flaky spanakopita, mouth-watering tzatziki, the dishes make me hungry just writing about them. And don't miss the saganaki--a cheese dish brought to the table wreathed in flames.

    I'm not the only one singing the praises of this newcomer. At my last visit I overheard the couple next to us request a visit from the owner. When he appeared, they told him the food was the best in Stamford. I personally can't vouch for that, being new to the area (I still haven't tried Napa & Co, and the steak frites at that French place on Bedford are awfully good), but if there is a place in town that offers food this good or better for the price, I'd like to know about it.

    Disclaimer: in the interest of full disclosure and journalistic integrity, I should mention that it turns out the owners of Eos live in my building. This could be better than sharing a street address with a celebrity if it means having an edge at getting a table. Eos has yet to be discovered by the rest of Stamford, but when it is, expect long waits.

    Eos is located at 490 Summer Street, next door to the Dragonfly Lounge.
    Click here to read more.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Grammar Question

    I am freaking out about this headline in the Advocate:
    Stamford considers making parking meters user-friendlier

    Did "user-friendlier" strike anyone else as awkward?

    In my mind, it's obvious they should have said "more user-friendly." I did some research online. If a word is more than two syllables, you say "more ___" rather than "___ier." I believe that since this word is hyphenated, it's one word, so the headline-maker should have used "more."

    I'm freaking out, though, because two relatively reputable sources say that "user-friendlier" may be a legitimate word. Free Dictionary.com lists it as a word, and a BBC expert says it could go either way: Hyphenated adjectives, which are also known as compound adjectives, normally use more and most for the comparative and superlative forms. This is the general rule. Sometimes it is not so clear-cut, so we would say that one form is more likely than the other. In [the example of "user-friendlier or more user-friendly,"] both are quite possible, it seems to me.

    Well, I don't agree. You don't stick "-ier" or "-er" on a word that long.
    I found that word so distracting that I could not focus on the article.

    Another general rule of language is, "If it sounds so weird that it stops people in their tracks, say it the more conventional way." I would really like to know why the Advocate went with the weirder option.
    I hate to complain, but I am a word person, and I need to understand this. I should be blogging about Trump, but all I can think about is this grammar question.

    Me to husband: What should I title this?
    Husband: "I'm a Pedantic Pain in the Ass?"

    Here are a couple of other Stamford Talk rants relating to words:
    --January 8, 2008-- Stamford's Jan.3 Murder: Too Much Info?
    --November 15, 2007-- The Advocate, Grammar, and Me
    Click here to read more.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Stamford Talk's Accidental Media Blitz

    I'm having a good one-year Stamford Talk anniversary month. Last week, the Stamford Times featured area bloggers, including me and several of the people in my blogroll. Then, an Advocate reporter came to our blogger happy hour and wrote about how we have extended our online community to the real world. I was surprised and happy to see my photo on the front page. That doesn't happen too often, at least to non-criminals. Today, my very first column for the Stamford Times appeared, complete with a huge photo of me. I attribute all these articles simply to the fact that I really, really get around, both online and in the real live world. Here's a photo of one of the great roosters I wrote about, and you can't miss the big photo of me with my column!

    See my flickr site for more photos of the roosters I observed for the article.

    If you read this post after Aug 18, you can read an excerpt of the Advocate article here.
    Click here to read more.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Stamford Museum and Nature Center: Adorable

    I got a tour of the Stamford Museum and Nature Center last week. I figured it would just be a museum with a boring garden, but the SM&NC is actually a working farm with an incredible variety of animals, including otters, alpacas, oxen, and the biggest pigs I've ever seen. The animals, especially the otters and donkeys, are out of control adorable. In the museum, you've got until August 17 to see a very cool Lego exhibit. The next exhibit, Pets in America, will start September 13 and focus on the history of pets in America. There will be a mouse theatre, FDR's dog's collar, and a "My Pet and I" section where you can put up stories and pics of your own pet. See my flickr site for my SM&NC photos, and check out the SM&NC website for more info and dates relating to the pet exhibit. Admission is free on Wednesdays, but usually $8/adult and $4/child.

    SM&NC is just north of the Merritt off of High Ridge. There are fun-sounding dog programs in the fall at SM&NC, including dog agility demonstrations and seminars on dog behavior problems. Actually, there is no link that leads right to info about Pets in America, so I'm going to include key info from the website here:

    Pets in America
    September 13, 2008-February 1, 2009
    Pets in America explores the bond between people and animals and the history of pet-keeping.
    Stamford Museum & Nature Center Goes to the Dogs

    The interaction between people and animals will be further explored through related programming. On Sept. 21, the museum will present SM&NC Goes to the Dogs, a day-long festival celebrating dogs and the people and organizations that rescue them and train them for service. The event's main feature will be dog agility demonstrations led by Mary-Elizabeth Simpson... The Yankee Flyers canine Frisbee team will also perform. Dog service groups will share their goals and trained dogs with visitors. SM&NC Goes to the Dogs will be held from 11 am to 3 pm. Visitors may not bring their pet dogs.
    Related programs:Have a problem with your dog? The SM&NC partners with Stamford Animal Care and Control to offer a monthly seminar series in conjunction with the Pets in America exhibition. All programs will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the SM&NC: Sept. 16: "Dog Behavior 101: Why does my dog...?" Oct. 21: "Successfully Adopting a Shelter Dog," Nov.18: "Introduction to Canine Nutrition," Dec. 16: "Dogs and Kids: Building Blocks for a Solid Friendship," and Jan. 20: "Is Your Christmas Puppy Leaving You Presents?".
    --In another two-part lecture series, naturalist Chris Evers from Animal Embassy will explore whether exotic animals make good pets. These programs, which will feature live animals, will be held on Fridays, Oct. 10, and Nov. 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at SM&NC.
    --On Nov. 14, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm singer Lizzie Swan will host a pet-themed children's pajama party and sing-along. Click here to read more.

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Have You Seen My Shia LaBeouf in Stamford?

    I can't shake a strange encounter that happened to me at the Stamford train station last week. Two quick notes to set up the story:

    1. I spent all spring tracking down movie sets in Stamford, but recently filming has stopped because of a potential actors' strike. I've been really bummed out, because I had been getting very good at worming my way onto film sets.
    2. In May, I wormed my way, through diligence and charm, onto a set at the Stamford train station. Major luck was also involved: my mom's train was late, so I was typing on my laptop in the waiting room. I could tell there were film people around- I saw crew passes on black lanyards around their necks- but they were darting into elevators and I wasn't in the mood to chase them around. Then, I glanced up and saw the location manager that I'd met when I visited a set in North Stamford. I shouted his name and reintroduced myself. He begrudgingly let me watch DeNiro do a few scenes at the bus terminal outside the station.

    That all leads to why I thought I saw the star of Transformers and the most recent Indiana Jones movie at the Stamford train station last week.

    I was sitting in the waiting room, about to catch a train into the city. I was poking around on my iPhone when I glanced up and saw a person with a black lanyard around his neck walking toward me- and he had Shia LaBeouf’s face.

    Granted, he also had long wavy hair past his shoulders, so part of me had a good clue it wasn't really Shia- but another more imaginative part of me hoped I might be looking at Shia LaBeouf in a wig.

    My brain froze, and I was stuck in a loop of thought: I was trying to determine if that was Shia (I saw DeNiro there, why not Shia?), and if it wasn't Shia, if he was a film person. He was wearing a black shirt and jeans like the film crews always wear. Even though I quickly realized it wasn't a lanyard around his neck- it was a phone earpiece wire- my brain still refused to believe it was not Shia.

    As I was staring, he was looking back at me, but I was so busy thinking that I didn't have the sense to look away. As he was just about to pass me, he said, "Hi." Because I was totally staring at him in an unblinking, stunned way.

    "Hi," I said back, unable to wipe the confused look off my face. He gave me an "Okaaaay..." look and kept walking, and then kind of glanced back at me. I think he was expecting me to say something else.

    I felt so stupid for staring at this person, but he literally had the face of one of today’s most popular young actors. He must get told that all the time. I only believe it wasn't Shia because no one mobbed him. I watched him walk out of the station and down the elevator, and no one else stared at him, so my brain was finally able to conclude that it was a case of mistaken identity.

    When Shia LaBeouf got arrested a few days ago for DUI, I kept seeing his face on the web and thinking of my faux-sighting. I needed to write about it so I can stop thinking about it.

    Also, I was hoping someone knows who this faux-Shia is, and can have him meet me at Starbucks, so I can get a good long look at him, and compare his face to the real Shia. I MUST FIND THIS PERSON. Just because. No real reason. Just because it’s interesting. And kind of a mystery to solve.

    For some reason, blogger won't let me upload photos tonight, but I'll try to get a pic up of Shia in this post tomorrow. For now, click here for google image results. Cool, it finally worked today 8/5.
    Click here to read more.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Mail Truck= FIFTH, not FOURTH Trump Incident

    But who's counting? Do we really care any more? Or have you given up, like I pretty much have, that anything can be done about Trump Parc and its builder’s apparent lack of regard for our safety?

    (I just read this intro to my husband, and he said, “I hate to say it, but aren’t you beating a dead horse?” If you give a poop and/or want to hear what happened to my friend, read on. If you don't, FYI, this a photo of Trump Parc from Friday evening. Despite the impressive netting and kickboards, many items still flew off the building the next day during the storm.)

    I'm so over this subject that I don't even feel like summoning the brain power to write about how, just before a mail truck got skewered by a 4 x 4 from 27 stories up, a similar piece of lumber bounced off my friend's Jeep Grand Cherokee. I have no idea why the debris did not do more damage to my friend's car. Maybe roofs of Jeeps are stronger because of rollover potential; maybe the lumber fell from a lower story; maybe it was a different piece of debris that hit his car. He said he saw a lot of stuff lying on the road as he hauled ass out of the area, not just the lumber. In any case, something chipped off paint pretty deeply on the top of his car.

    But really, who cares. None of us are surprised. I'm not surprised that despite the fact the entire site got shut down last week, and despite the fact the construction company was told to secure all loose building materials, they DIDN'T secure loose materials, and those materials blew off during the storm.

    At this point, I just do not know what else to say about the negligence of the builders and our city's failed overseeing of their negligent behavior, so I’ll just tell you what happened to my friend.

    My friend was visiting from Boston and helping us get ready for the party we were throwing for my father-in-law that night. He was cutting through town to get to 95. He said he turned right off of Summer, at the intersection before the bars- that's Broad. He was sitting at the light-
    "Are you sure this was by Trump?" I demanded as I listened to the story on the phone that afternoon. (Trump debris hitting my friend's car seemed too ridiculous to be true, so I was really grilling him for details.)
    "I have no idea- what’s Trump? I just saw scaffolding and all kinds of trash in the road- wood, and concrete, and garbage bags, then something hit the top of my car."
    "Did you see it bounce off your car?"
    "No, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw it."

    I'd have to guess that all that crap came off Trump. According to the Advocate, when they inspected Trump after the storm, The mayor said the building's upper floors were strewn with not only construction debris but also trash such as soda cans and plastic drinking bottles that were half-full.The messy conditions may explain why Stamford resident Greg Sendly said he saw a plastic bottle of orange juice falling from the sky 11 days ago as he was driving home on Washington Boulevard. "I heard it hit the ground, and I thought to myself, 'That really could have hurt someone.' " Sendly said Tuesday.

    So, not only have we been in danger from wood and metal pieces, we've been at risk for being hit by the workers' trash. Great.

    I have nothing else to say about this, except I’m vaguely eager to see what sanctions the construction site will get, if any.
    Click here to read more.

    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Trump Debris Hits My Friend's Car: Really?

    Just before I was alerted to breaking news about the FOURTH (officially documented) incident of Trump Parc debris smashing something, I was on the phone with our friend who's staying with us. He said he was near a construction site downtown, debris like plywood was all over the road, and suddenly he saw what he thougt was a 2x4 bounce off the roof of his car. I sorta doubted it bc come on how absurd; a friend of Stamford Talk getting hit? However go check out the Advocate home page. Debris crashed into a mail truck around the same time. Gotta run I am sneaking this post in from a bathroom in Long Island but did want to get out this juicy gossip. Click here to read more.

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Turkeys, Coyotes, and-- Bears in Stamford?!?

    A reader sent me the scoop on a bear sighting Thursday at Stamford's Bartlett Arboretum- a 350 pound bear, to be exact. During the day, a neighbor just north of the Bartlett called to say a bear had crossed into Bartlett property, which consists of 91 acres two miles north of the Merritt, off High Ridge. The place was full of campers at the time, so the employees went out onto the trails to try to find the bear before it found the campers. When they did indeed come upon the bear, it got away from them as fast as it could by leaping into a swamp and swimming away.

    I thought you should know about this story because:
    1. The Bartlett employees seem pretty brave.
    2. If you're in North Stamford, you should know what to do if you come upon a bear. Both the Bartlett and Stamford Museum and Nature Center have nice trails that you should still feel safe to enjoy.
    3. The bear was pretty close to High Ridge Road, so if you are driving up there, don't be shocked if you see a fat, giant black dog... and realize, a second later, it's a bear. (This happened to my sister in high school in Virginia.)

    Other wild animals you might see on your jaunts around Stamford include wild turkeys and coyotes.

    Related Stamford Talk posts:

    --April 13, 2008-- Wolves- I Mean, Coyotes!
    --January 14, 2008-- Ahoooooooooooooo: Coyotes in Stamford
    --November 20, 2007-- Wild Turkeys: New Residents of the FC ("I’ve been told I should write about more controversial topics, but all I can say is, Have you seen those wild turkeys?")

    --July 9, 2008-- Bartlett's Farmers' Market: Bumpy Start
    --July 6, 2008--New Farmers' Market in North Stamford
    --July 9, 2008--The Bartlett Arboretum is Awesome!!!
    Click here to read more.

    Stamford Bloggers in the Stamford Times

    There is an article in the Stamford Times about the bloggers who write about Stamford. The reporter, A.J. O'Connell, featured me, Blog Stamford, Mr. Stamford, and Joey K's Place. It's kinda cool that I'm the only girl; I attribute that to my computer-oriented husband, who first encouraged me to blog 3.5 years ago after we bought my first laptop.

    Also, I'm just too chatty and opinionated to keep my thoughts to myself.

    You should go to Joey K's blog to read about how his bosses called him in after the Times article was published. I think they had the impression that blogs were only supposed to be about personal things rather than current city issues, which can often be controversial. In Joe's post today, he clarifies what he will and won't write about. I like that he told his bosses that he certainly will keep blogging about Long Island Sound, ticks, mosquitoes, and other issues of interest the general public. Joey K's blog is cool because he puts that info in more user-friendly terms.

    The Stamford Times comes free every week to all local households, so make sure you casually bring up the article in conversations with all your neighbors.
    Click here to read more.