Tag Archive: Buffalo



 

"Looks like a yellow biscuit of a buttery cue ball moon rollin' maverick across an obsidian sky"

I’m writing this from the top bunk in the sleeping car of the Kiev-Kryvyi Rih (pronounced Kree-voy Rog, dont ask me how they ended up with that spelling) train, all my current possessions once again stuffed in a select few suitcases, Babulya (Lidas grandmother) and Lida sleeping below, rumbling through the Ukrainian nightscape while being lulled to sleep myself by the musty smell of a coal powered engine and an inconsistent yet comforting undulation of soviet era tracks. Many things have transpired over the last month, not all that I’m at liberty to divulge here, for reasons that were not fully explained to me but that I understand none-the-less.

Before my Indonesian experience I railed against social networking and blogs. It seems to have a way of sucking the organic element, and thus the excitement, from of our lives. While technology is the catalyst for my life, I also realize that its not the purpose. I had always drawn a line with this unfiltered access to my personal life with no reciprocation required. Reciprocation is, in my opinion, the definition of a healthy relationship.

I remember my friend blogging during the birth of one of his children. It was a real commitment by both mother and father (perhaps more the mother to tolerate husband with phone in hand while experiencing excruciating pain). It allowed everyone that desired to have a connection to that family a chance to share in a very pivotal moment. However not all of lives important moments can be so neatly translated into the cloud.

In 2008 after ending a dead end relationship, I started reconnecting with old friends that had subsequently been pushed out (Rachael, both Buffalo Jessicas, Iwan to name a few). On one such trip I visited my remaining Jessica in Buffalo along with her 8 year old daughter Sarah and husband Jeff. It was my second such trip and I enjoyed the comfort of a more tangible adult life that many of my still single or undetermined friends hadn’t the ability nor desire to create. Id always known I would some day have a family but that still didnt seem realistic to me, this gave me the opportunity to see how it might function when two people truly committed. It was also nice because there was no one in Buffalo that still remembered me, as it had been over 10 years since my last visit. While hanging out in a bar downtown off Elmwood with Jessica and some of her friends, a voice came from behind “Maaaaatt Nyyyye?!”. I turned to face a man that looked nothing like anyone I knew and yet he was convinced he knew me simply by the sound of my voice. Even after telling me specific instances of things we did together in high school I still couldn’t come up with a name. After one or two incorrect guesses, not 100% sure I had the right person, I ventured a guess “Jim Hickey??”.

Buffalo Reunion

Hidden behind hipster glasses and a well groomed Johnny-Depp-five-o’clock-shadow was my best friend from Junior and Senior year. The only person I’d ever met that was possibly as hyper as me. Somehow we had lost touch in the late 90s and never reconnected. Later I found out he is a total Facebook whore with over 800 friends. Had I been on Facebook we surely would have connected, shared some unenthusiastic stories and perhaps met for a drink some where down the road. Gone would have been a night of sheer elation at the coincidental meeting, of telling story after story of the past ten years and the resurrection of a small portion of my youth, however fleeting it was.

I say all this simply to illustrate the point that while I enjoy writing my blog entries and talking over IM with my friends the world across, its no substitute for the humility of a face-to-face interaction and the reaffirmation of kinship in a flesh and blood exchange. Ill continue these entries, even though the title of the blog is no longer relevant (perhaps I should change it to помочь я глупый [pomochʹ ya glupyĭ], doesnt quite roll off the touch does it), but please don’t confuse my ramblings here for a clear understanding of me or as a replacement for sitting in a bar in some shady eastern bloc country or on a snow-white beach in the south pacific talking about life, the future or my family.

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When I was living in Buffalo and hanging out with Iwan every time we went to his house, instead of hot chocolate or chicken noodle soup his mother would make us Mie Goreng.  Mie Goreng means “fried noodles” in Bahasa.  Not to be confused with Nasi Goreng (fried rice), which looks and tastes much like if you ate habachi and threw up on a plate. Mie Goreng is basically ramen noodles except they dont suck.  I always thought this was the real Mie Goreng until I came to Indonesia.  But I still love the packaged kind every once in a while. Instead of one crappy packet of powder that smells like fish, Mie Goreng has 5 pouches of yummy nirvana goodness in every package.  While this sets Mie Goreng apart, it also presents a major problem.

The five pouches are contained in (2)segmented packets, one for liquid and one for powder. The 1st pouch in the liquid packet is an oil-base with heavenly spices.  Once youve drained the oil, the spices tend to not want to come out of the packet. The 2nd pouch is basic chili sauce which doesnt present a problem in-and-of-itself, until you add in the 3rd pouch.  This final pouch really throws a wrench into the whole deal. Its Soya Sauce, not to be confused with your traditional Japanese Soy Sauce, Kecap is far more syrupy than its Japanese cousin. While trying to eject this sticky substance, I typically end up with half of all the sauces on my hands, leading me to juggle the noodles and/or putting the plastic packet in the noodles just to transfer as much of the liquid perfection as I can, which, if not painful, looks very strange to any observers.

Fear not though, this morning I solved the conundrum. You will need the following implements:

  1. Large chefs knife
  2. Cutting board with no grooves on the sides

Steps:

  1. Begin boiling noodles.  This should take 2-3 minutes depending on your preference
  2. Place the seasoning-from-the-gods liquid packet on the cutting board
  3. Cut across the top, making an opening for all 3 pouches
  4. Flip the knife over to the dull edge and squeeze all the contents on to the cutting board.
  5. Drain your noodles and place them in a bowl
  6. Using the sharp edge of the knife scrape the contents on the package into the bowl.  The majority of it will be sticking to the knife so just use the edge of the bowl, which now will be hot, to transfer said content from knife to bowl
  7. Mix noodles, add dry seasoning packet
  8. Eat manna noodles from yahweh