i got the dopest new toy today: the iriver iFP-380T 128 meg mp3 player. (my sister informs me that, with her recently-acquired wealth, she's gone with the 512mb one. damn her. damn poverty.) i was too tired initailly from the long work day to play with it (we actually lugged in two tons -- yes, t-w-o T-O-N-S -- of chocolate right before i punched out) but then once i got to pushing all the wee buttons (with their satisfying little under-finger *click*), i couldn't resist and went ahead and diddled with the equalizer, lcd backlight, fader, and some other fun, useless features. if you hurry now, you can get the model i've got from best buy's website for $10 off the current market price and get a $30 rebate to boot. yeah, it's no ipod, but it's about a tenth the size of my grado headphones (and the irivers come with sennheiser buds standard, i should note -- not too shabby) and probably weigh the same fraction. blues-tinged rock-and-roll meets ... turntableism? yeah. in other news, tim and i went to the shins show (the 2nd of three consecutive days for them here in nyc at the bowery ballroom) after a fantastic meal. okay, eats first: after some debate and some online research, we headed over to the lower east side to check out two new eateries. they're virtually next door to each other on ludlow (between delancey and rivington), and, as with the latest spate of trendy restaurants, both feature small plates menus. the former is more traditional, plying fairly straightforward spanish tapas, while the latter is, ahem, "asian tapas." the first place, suba, had satisfying fare (the boquerones, or fresh white anchovies, a particular favorite of mine, were so. fucking. good.), but the bartender was such a jackass. i mean, not a jerk, but just dorkily obnoxious. repulsively so. the space is beautiful though -- both downstairs dining rooms are elegantly appointed. one even has a little moat surrounding it. we had to pack it in early there (thanks, loser bartender guy), but we have plans to go back to check out the main menu. definitely the perfect place for a large group who like a scene. still hungry, we headed up the homely stairwell that leads to the kuma inn, where we had a truly kickass string of great little dishes. pork tonkatsu with watercress and some sort of butter sauce. chinese sausage with sauteed onions, a little rice, and a searingly spicy lime-chile sauce. london broil and cucumber salad. every plate was so straightforward flavor-wise, but exceptionally tasty and well balanced (sour, salty, sweet; meaty and tender/crisp and crunchy). the best part of the whole experience, however, was seeing the chef walk around, smiling at all the patrons in his little dining room. he seems like a genuinely nice, happy guy, and when he came over to introduce himself (his name is king), i found out that he's buddies with matt reguin, my buddy from 71 clinton. king, matty, and gabriel (my chef at radius) all worked together at bouley bakery back in the day and then went on to help bouley open danube (which must have been total hell). anyway. great guy, great food. oh, and great sake menu. back to the intended subject: the shins show. we caught the second openers, white hassle, and they rocked OUT. i should mention, first of all, that each of the main three members of this band resembles some celebrity. the guitar guy looks like andy dick. the drummer, like matthew perry (with an additional 10-15 years on him and another bout of rehab under his belt.). the lead guy looked like sting, but less tantric, more tennessee. the lead singer is a serious talent. he's got a great voice and he can totally kick out the jams on the mouth harp. after a few straightforward rock & roll numbers, they brought out this asian guy with his headphones and turntable, and the guy proceeded to scratch and mix alongside the other guys wailing away on the guitars (and the dummer -- er, drummer -- seemingly concentrating really hard on getting the beat right. fuckin' amazing set though. i want to run right out and buy the album. if they come to a venue near you, run, run, run and get a ticket. the shins kicked ass, as usual. they always look like they have fun up there. i love that marty. he's a cute one, he is. i'm nearly finished now with truman capote's in cold blood. serious page-turner.


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