June 7, 2009

Mayfair Diner.

Mayfair Diner., originally uploaded by iMachias.

This morning we stopped at the Mayfair Diner before heading back to Central New York. Earl and the Cubster opted to order breakfast, since it was 10:30 a.m. and all, but I decided on a turkey burger from the lunch menu. Keeping with the healthy theme I skipped the fries and went for a 70 calories bag of chips.

Eating in a diner such as these is always a good experience for me and nothing can really replicate it, no matter how hard we may try. Fast food joints are way too fast (and usually populated with surly folks behind the counter) and the chain sit-down restaurants are too generic. That’s why Earl and I try to eat at local places when we travel.

Real food at real prices with real people.

Two thumbs up for the Mayfair Diner on Frankford Ave. in Philadelphia. And the turkey burgers are huge and delicious.

Razor And Tie.

So last night while we were watching “Titanic” (with limited commercial interruption), Razor and Tie Records advertised one of their latest offerings, a 4-CD collection of pop tunes from the 1970s. The songs they listed on this collection were titles I remember hearing from the back seat of my Dad’s ’71 Heavy Chevy while listening to 62 WHEN. The CD set was notably devoid of disco tracks and seemed to focus on what I call “AM Gold” records.

One track featured on the collection is “Lotta Love” by Nicolette Larson. I have a remix of this track from the “What Is Hip? The Remix Project” on my iPhone that I listen to once in a while, I had forgotten how much I loved the original version, especially the 12-inch extended mix that was released on vinyl back when the original was popular. The song is relatively simple but one that I find enjoyable nonetheless.

I was a little surprised to see a CD offering advertised on television a la the days of K-Tel, but I really liked what I saw and am considering looking into buying a downloadable version of the CD set1. I hope to find that available online when we get back home2.

What I like about the “AM Gold” music is that the instruments are real, the vocalists are really on pitch without a technological assist and more importantly, they are not trying to wow a judgmental audience with an attempt at Mariah-like mediocrity.

As a club and freelance DJ I can easily entertain the masses by playing the latest house tracks with a smattering of disco and 80s classics thrown into my mix, but to be honest I can easily shun that for the stuff such as what we featured on the Razor and Tie collection.

When it comes to pop music I am happiest listening to what I heard from the back seat of my Dad’s Heavy Chevy.

1 Back in the late 1990s I was very guilty of the whole Napster thing, especially when I was looking for music for the radio station I used to program. I fully believe that people should pay a fair price for their music, and once purchased, be able to do whatever they wish with that track. I avoid ‘crippled’ tracks laden with DRM, but I will certainly pay a fee for songs that I can enjoy on multiple devices. I make every effort possible to obtain a track legally.

2 This is the second version of this blog entry. I tried writing it on my iPhone from the back seat of the Durango as we make our way up the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but when I hit “save”, my iPhone and/or the WordPress app crashed, taking the brilliance of my original draft along with it. I will be looking into finding this collection for download when I have internet access when we get home, as naturally Apple doesn’t let us pair the iPhone with our computer so that we can use the 3G on the phone for our computer’s network access. I find this irritating.

Philadelphia, Pa.

View., originally uploaded by iMachias.

So I am sitting on our balcony at Embassy Suites in Center City Philadelphia. The hotel is right on the Ben Franklin Parkway. Our view is the picture you see up there. I took the photo yesterday.

Earl, Jamie and I are in town for the weekend, we’ll be heading back up home in a few hours. Earl and I visited with his family yesterday. I haven’t seen anyone since New Year’s, it was good to see everyone. Jamie visited with some friends and rode his bike around the city while we were doing the suburb thing with the family. The day was quite enjoyable.

As a quick aside, I don’t know how the fine folks of this area deal with driving the Schuykill (Interstate 76) on a daily basis as it’s a clogged mess of frustration. I was posting photos from my iPhone to my Facebook account whilst sitting in traffic. If you were following that, you will know that:

“Whomever thought the Schuykill was a good idea should be flogged.”
“I’d rather drive on 128 around Boston.”
“God I miss the 401” (referring to Toronto. At 18 lanes at it’s widest point, the 401 is busiest freeway in North America)

And referring to the Ben Franklin Parkway, “I don’t drive across your park, don’t have a festival in my street. M’kay?” I had to explain to Earl that “M’kay” was a sarcastic was of saying okay. He didn’t know. I’m vague like that.

Anyways, after we got back to Center City we went out to dinner at an Irish Pub called “Moriarty’s”. I may have mentioned before that I enjoy a good Irish Pub.

Moriarty's in Philadelphia.

After dinner we went for a walk around the gayborhood. One of the beautiful things about Philadelphia is the small residential streets in Center City; I know the houses are quite expensive but when you stand on one of these streets you hear hardly any noise from the hustle and the bustle of the city. Now that is an environment that I could definitely live in.

We got back to the hotel room a little after 10 and decided to watch a movie; “Titanic” was on so we watched that. I still think it’s one of the better movies out there; I haven’t seen it in a long time and I have to admit I found the green screen effects a little startling. I guess I never noticed how far we’ve come in the past 10 years or so in that department. It didn’t detract from the movie though, and that’s what’s most important.

After “Titanic” it was time for bed. Embassy Suites provides robes and slippers for our furry friends. I think it’s cute.