(ŭn-pād' vā-kā'shən). I find these times to be liberating and enlightening. Because of our surroundings, we (or maybe it's just me) forget there's a whole world out there filled with people who talk about other subjects and do other things. In my most recent trip outside the Bubble, Temp X went to Fort Greene, Brooklyn for a few days of sweating and hamburgers.
Here's what I learned...
Many Don't Care About TV At All: A conversation with a well-educated, successful Internet marketing executive yielded this tidbit. She likes spending time with friends, going on bike rides and seeing concerts. She's never watched The Office and only recently rented Season 1 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I met many more people just like her. The lesson here Hollywood is, despite what your overinflated ego may tell you, you're not the center of everyone's universe. You're only one of many entertainment options. And if you keep making crappy stuff, the audience that does like you might go away too.
Rose Smelling Is Good, Even If They Smell Like Cigars: We spend so much of our days thinking "I wonder if [random event that just happened/person we met] could be the basis for a movie/TV show," that we miss out on the moment entirely. So here's a tip: enjoy hanging out at a cigar bar with the 6'5" dreadlocked, Jewish guy who owns the place and DJs on the side, and stop trying to figure out how to make a sitcom out of it. Just sit back, smoke the cigar, have a drink and talk. It's significantly less stressful.
The Smoke Joint (87 S Elliott Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217) offers cramped seating, uncomfortably warm surroundings and the best barbecue I've had in years. The Chopped Beef falls apart perfectly and has less fat than Nicole Richie. When combined with their spicy (not the mild) BBQ sauce, this meal is a 4th of July in your mouth. My dining partner was left underwhelmed by the Tender Smoked Chicken. But I consider this partly her fault, as one should never order chicken when you can order meat. The prizes on the menu are the side orders, most notably the Barbecued Beans and the Mac and Cheese. The beans (which come with chunks of beef mixed in) are closer to tangy than sweet. They are so exceptional that any resultant fart should be considered a treasure. The macaroni is made with four different cheeses and baked for your delight. Just make sure to add a little salt because it'll make the flavor pop. And don't forget about their fun selection of microbrews. After a couple of those, you'll forget all about there's no pecan pie on the dessert menu. Go there. Eat a lot. Send me the leftovers.