Saturday, May 29, 2010

Baltimore Buzz: Ottobar's Pretty in Pink 2010

Far be it from a Baltimorean to turn down a party. There's just something about the opportunity to dance, drink, and startle our eardrums that gets a Marylander's blood running, and Texas is no exception. That's why she and Coda are pioneering a new feature for your blog viewing pleasure:

Baltimore Buzz
(a.k.a. So What'd You Do Last Night?)

First up on So What'd You Do Last Night: the immensely enjoyable Ottobar 2010 Pretty in Pink Prom: a night of 80's-themed festivities, including an on-point DJ, a dressed-to-impress crowd, and a rack of hilarious decorations. In true modern girl fashion, Tex went with a fellow Baltimore blogger, one of the writers of Two Dilettantes. Although I couldn't dream of outdressing that fashionable fox, I did my best (pics below).

We also drank delish drinks (although we passed on the spiked punch - hits too close to hipster for my tastes), saw an amazing Michael Jackson impersonator, and just generally had a good time with the adorable and fun crowd! Definitely a recommendation for next year - plus corsage and plus 80's prom date.

Oh, and upcoming Baltimore Buzz:

[Sunday, May 30 @ 6pm] Crabs-on-the-Lawn lunch at the Mandarin Oriental (thanks, UrbanDaddy!). Not quite Baltimore, but since it's Memorial Day Weekend, we'll make an exception for our D.C. bretheren. It's still not too late to get reservations, and if you go, Tex'll see you there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

take me out to the ballgame

Well kids, Preakness is over, so as far as I'm concerned summer has officially begun, solstice be damned. And to me, as with all proper Baltimore girls, summer means only one thing: bonding with the Birds down at the Yard (not Birdland, here at TCKiT Birdland will never be accepted).

So, we're really only a month into the season at this point, and maybe the O's exponentially slow start put you off a bit. Maybe more than a bit. In fact, maybe you're just now aware that baseball season's started. Let Orioles Hangout help you get back in the swing of things.

A multi-facated site, Orioles Hangout covers the O's, their farm system, fantasy baseball, and more. Use it to find out the odds of Reimold getting bumped back up to the majors, the projected length of Roberts's stay on the DL, or just the score from tonight's game.

If, however, you want something with a little more detail and many fewer pictures, check out Oriole Post.

A blog dedicated, primarily to the O's and the MLB, which has great game analysis and regular updates on changes in the clubhouse.

Lastly, Tex and I would like to remind you all that baseball is supposed to be fun, so enjoy these links to sites that are certainly having fun with it:

The Daily Camden is a sort of online photo archive run by Welcome to Baltimore, Hon!, and featuring, you guessed it, beautiful and unique pictures of Camden Yards.

If you've been anywhere near Baltimore in the past 2 years you know who Matt Wieters is. The day he came up from the minors was something akin to a state holiday, which some clever people capitalized on when they put together Matt Wieters Facts, which is not only hysterical in its own right, but also sells some pretty incredible shirts (I just saw someone wearing this one at the game on Sunday).

Now, anyone who knows me can tell you that I don't speak Twitter, like even a little. I don't understand the whole # thing, and frankly I think half the tweets I see are like 90% unreadable, but that doesn't stop these two from being totally hysterical. The first is along the same lines as Matt Wieters Facts, FakeMattWieters is still super-Twittery, (seriously, are there conversations actually going on via Twitter? Wouldn't email be easier? Yes, I'm 95, thanks for noticing) but his 11 Commandments and commentary on other O's players are nothing short of fantastic.

Now in real life I'm sure Peter Angelos isn't nearly as awful as the semi-demonic man I sometimes imagine him to be (seriously, anyone who charges that little for tickets can't be all bad), but that doesn't stop UnPeterAngelos from being the most consistantly hysterical Twit-thing out there (sorry, Tex). Slightly more, ah, refined than FakeMattWeiters and infinitely more readable, UnPeterAngelos is bitingly funny and probably not totally inaccurate. At the very least I'm pretty sure the real Peter Angelos would agree with UnPeterAngelos's Mo'Money Mo'Problems background.

We'll see you at Yard.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

maryland, my maryland

As Baltimore poet Ogden Nash once wrote, 'The [Kentucky] Derby is a race of aristocratic sleekness, for horses of birth to prove their worth to run in the Preakness.' Here at TCKiT we couldn't agree more, and definitely hold the second leg of the Triple Crown in highest regard (in spite of the Maryland Jockey Club's consistent efforts to screw the whole thing up), so Tex and I are gonna give you a crash course in Preakness before we head out to Pimlico to enjoy the newly reinstated alcohol policy.

First thing you need to know is post time. The running of the 135th Preakness Stakes begins at exactly 6.18pm on NBC, don't forget to look for us in the infield.

Next we're gonna point you in the direction of ESPN's (slightly dated) rundown of the Preakness and what you need to know if you plan to be in attendance.

Lastly, we'll throw in an entertaining, though perhaps not so flattering, post about last year's infield BYOB-ban from With Leather, a sports blog I sort of love even though the general tenor of the place is pretty Bmore-hostile.

We'll see you at the races.

Friday, May 14, 2010

this is the life

Yesterday Tex and I hooked you guys up with some credible, on-the-ground news sources, and today we're gonna continue in that vein by pointing you in the direction of some of our favorite young bloggers and Baltimore social commentators.

First up is Bohs and O's.

Written primarily by a group of guys we probably all danced with at one middle school mixer or another, Bohs and O's is an entertaining assemblage of opinions that touch on just about every aspect of (young) life in Baltimore. Admittedly, there are some days when it's a little Bro-heavy, but on the whole it's more or less delightful (and it's also the original home of our TCKiT favorites survey).

Insane Baltimore is written by another Baltimore-based blogger with a biting sense of humor. Updated whenever inspiration strikes (which we here at TCKiT find highly relatable), Insane Baltimore is full of entertaining observations about that special kind of crazy that's just accepted here in Charm City. The thing I love most about this blog is that every time I read it I find myself feeling totally vindicated and full of hope that qualities like 'perspective' and 'common sense' are not, in fact, things of the past. A hope that's usually extinguished the second I happen onto one of The Sun's message boards.

And last, but certainly not least, is our most focused blog of the day:

Baltimore Beer Guy is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a blog run by a Baltimore beer enthusiast (and kindred spirit if ever I've seen one). Full to the brim with well-written posts on bars, restaurants, Maryland-based breweries, pub crawls, and the like, Baltimore Beer Guy is a fantastic resource on all things boozy and Maryland.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

the smart set

Baltimore is home to a surprisingly rich literary tradition: from the riots in the summer of 1812 centered around our 1st Amendment right to a free press (which also earned us the loving moniker Mobtown), to newspaperman and all around critic H.L. Mencken, the people of Baltimore have always loved expressing themselves. The golden age of journalism might be past, but Baltimore is home to plenty of verbose bloggers who can tell you all about the ins and outs of our city; um, you know, other than us.

Welcome to Baltimore, Hon! is a self-described virtual scrapbook of Baltimore curated by Charm City natives and featuring everything from local news to photo contests.

Baltimore Skyline is a similarly structured blog - giving a more personal voice to the local news, be it wonderful, awful, or just plain strange.

For a more direct link to all things Baltimore and newsy check out Inside Charm City.

Inside Charm City posts, verbatim, breaking news, press releases, interviews, and the like so you can get the story straight from the horse's mouth.

Lastly we have Baltimore Brew, a serious minded blog devoted to reporting news that the more traditional press tends to ignore.

The best part about these blogs is that so many of them invite reader participation. Got a great picture from Honfest? There's probably a home for it on Welcome to Baltimore, Hon! Wanna blog about life on the rough streets of Ruxton? Get in touch with Baltimore Brew and see if they'll give you your own neighborhood beat. You get the idea. The world is full of possibilities, so get out there and get heard.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

maryland is for crabs

Maryland is home to so many wonderful things: Tex & Coda, the Naval Academy, those lovable O's, and of course, blue crab. No matter what lies biologists and the Discovery Channel tell you, the blue crab really is the only one worth knowing, or eating.

In that light, allow us to direct you to The Crab Guy, a blogger who, as his name implies, writes all about those delectable crustaceans native to the Chesapeake and how best to prepare them. He even has detailed instructions on how to pick crabs so you'll look like a native even if you're not.

If however, you're one of those people (and Coda is not) who prefers crab cakes to picking your own, then check out The Crab Cake Guy and find out how to make them right. By the way, making them right will not include a fryer. Ever.

If you'd like to take a more scientific approach to learning about crabs and the Bay head on over to Bay Daily, a blog about environmental issues relating to the Chesapeake and her watershed.

Lastly, check out out this BBC article about a lonely little Sally who washed up in Cornwall.

And now that you know your back fin from your apron, get out there and make the watermen proud.

Monday, May 10, 2010

home is where the heart is

And for Tex and Coda, that's Baltimore. So we've decided to dedicate Preakness week to our beloved Charm City: all week we'll be pushing our favorite Baltimore sites and blogs, drinking heavily in anticipation of Saturday, and just generally enticing those of you who aren't fortunate enough to live here to come join the party. And, because we're so delightful we could probably talk you into just about anything, we're gonna prepare you for your inevitable visit by starting things off with a survey of our Bmore favorites (hoisted right off one of our favorite Baltimore blogs - to be named later - and edited to our exacting standards) as well as a quick link to an article in The Sun explaining the unique Mid-Atlantic culture to all you confused northerners and southerners out there.

TCKiT favorites:

Favorite Dive Bar?

◦ Tex: Windsor Inn
◦ Coda: John Steven

Favorite Weekend Bar?

◦ Tex: Waterfront Hotel
◦ Coda: Max's

Favorite Weekday Bar?

◦ Tex: XS
◦ Coda: CVP

Best Cheap Eats?

◦ Tex: Shane's Sub Shop, or Hot Tomatoes in Fells Point
◦ Coda: Towson Hot Bagels

Best Coffee?

◦ Tex:
◦ Coda: Rosina Gourmet

Favorite Breakfast?

◦ Tex: Miller's Delicatessen
◦ Coda: Miss Shirley's for breakfast, Little Havana for brunch

Favorite Lunch?

◦ Tex: Lexington Market: the soft crab sandwiches with mustard
◦ Coda: Iggy's

Favorite Dinner?

◦ Tex: tie between crabs on the porch and anything at The Ambassador
◦ Coda: crabs in the yard, or Nacho Mama's

Best View of the City?

Though we both agree that view from 395 N is nothing short of a religious experience we thought it'd be best to add a little variety, so:

◦ Tex: From the observation deck at the top of the World Trade Center in Baltimore - preferably at night
◦ Coda: From the deck of the Pride of Baltimore II

Best Golf Course?

◦ Tex: Forest Park
◦ Coda: BCC

Best Dance Club?

◦ Tex: Coburn's in O'Donnell Square
◦ Coda:

Favorite Summertime Walk?

◦ Tex: Around Druid Park Hill Lake, in late afternoon
◦ Coda: Harborwalk

Favorite Winter Hangout?

◦ Tex: Mount Washington Tavern
◦ Coda: Hamilton Tavern

All-time Favorite Oriole?

◦ Tex: Koji Uehara
◦ Coda: Brooks Robinson

All-time Favorite Raven?

◦ Tex: Ray Rice
◦ Coda: Terrell Suggs

Favorite Baltimore Musician?

◦ Tex: Tupac
◦ Coda: Billie Holiday

Favorite Baltimore Book?

◦ Tex: Dinner at the Homesick Cafe, Anne Tyler
◦ Coda: The Dawn's Early Light, Walter Lord

Most Hated Active Athlete

◦ Tex:
◦ Coda: Sidney Crosby

Thursday, May 6, 2010

the examined life (worth living)

We make a lot of jokes here at TCKiT, about hipsters and sweaters and drinks made with MD 20/20, but today let's do something different. In fact, let's do something nice.

1. First up are the TED talks, and if you don't know them, then you should. The most brilliant, innovative, interesting, coolest people ever to live in our modern world get on stage with just a microphone, a powerpoint and 5 - 15 minutes to rock your world.

Among the better-known honorees: Bill Clinton, Isabelle Allende, Bill Gates, Frank Gehry, Robert Ballard, Richard Branson, Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Dave Eggers, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking...get the idea?

2. Second to these are the videos at Stock Exchange of Visions. These are to the TED talks as the iPad is to a laptop - short, sweet, stylish, and to the point (if lacking in details). Great minds get on video and talk for 30 seconds or so about their view for the planet - some
times bewildering, sometimes brilliant, sometimes eccentric, but always interesting. And if you don't know one of the speakers, google them - you just might learn something.

3. Once your mind's been sufficiently blown, wander on over to WorldChanging and learn a little something about sustainability.

4. Now if you're inclined towards the esoteric and transcendental, then make a stop over at EnlightenNext. It's sort of like if Carl Sagan gave a talk at Esalen and Dan Millman sat in the audience, asking questions. Translation: this site & magazine are always interesting - if not always orthodox. Oh, and they get bonus points for this post.

5. So I know what you're thinking. Less talk, more world-changing paradigm shifts. Well, I'm glad you said something. Go on and check out kiva, a website - nay, community - where you can offer microloans to global entrepreneurs who are big on ideas, but low on collateral. Got $25? Well, that's all it takes. Find a person, find a place, and give a little bit. The best part? You greedy motherf----ers get it back.

Now, never one to forget the classics, I'm also going to direct you to a few more opportunities to Do Something Nice for a Change:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

love story

Gather 'round the fire (air conditioner), kids, it's story time. Today we'll be tracing the trajectory of a relationship, and not one of those happily-ever-after relationships, either. Save that for the NY Girl of Your Dreams. No, no, this is the story of all those other relationships, the ones that crash and burn. So, as with all stories, we begin at the beginning:

Awful First Dates.

Remember that trauma-rama section of Seventeen? The one with all those horror stories from every day life that you totally loved reading because trauma is really funny when it's happening to other people? Well, that's pretty much the gist of Awful First Dates. People write brief summaries of their terrible romantic mishaps and then you can vote on just how terrible (or not) it really was.

If, however, the first date isn't the worst thing ever, maybe you'll take the next step and settle into a relationship. Possibly with someone who's not really hot enough for you, like these (obviously doomed) couples who've put their pictures up on Can Do Better, where people will vote on which member of the relationship is hotter, or call it a perfect match if their hotness is equivalent. Because equal levels of attractiveness = perfect happiness. Everyone knows that.

Once the relationship you've posted on Can Do Better has failed (and it will if you've posted it there) head on over to Breakup Goods which is basically a flea market consisting entirely of all the belongings your ex didn't take with him.

Sick of looking at his collection of Bob Dylan vinyls? Tired of hiding her chick flicks every time the guys come over? Breakup Goods is where you need to be. And if a little something up there happens to catch your eye? Well...why not profit from someone else's misfortune?

And then of course come those twinges of regret.

A little time passes and you start missing your ex, or, more likely, your ex starts missing you and embarrassing words someone will never be able to take back are committed to paper. To stop yourself from being the foolish one, or to revel in the embarrassment of others, check out Letters From a Month Later which publishes letters, emails, IM conversations from exes (or in some cases never-weres) who've shared all kinds of feelings they undoubtedly regretted the second they pressed send. And they take submissions, so if you can unearth that 28 page letter your high school boyfriend sent you go ahead and send it in - though if the one you got is anything like the one I did, you could probably just cut it down to the religiously inappropriate disclaimer and save everyone a lot of time.

Ain't love grand?