Sunday, April 29, 2012

Surya Fine Indian Cuisine

After last week's disappointing visit to the India Cafe, Syd and I were very pleasantly surprised with our first (but not our last) visit to Surya's Fine Indian Cuisine on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester after a recommendation from stART on the Street's Tina Zlody. And Surya's lived up to it's name. It is indeed Fine Indian Cuisine.

Syd and I had worked late last night so we were (or at least I was) undecided what I wanted for dinner. We were thinking about going to the Thai Place but we suddenly decided that maybe we should give Surya's a try. It was right on the way home, so it would be a good opportunity to see what this place is like.

We had arrived long after the dinner hour, so the place wasn't crowded. Which was very nice because it gave me an opporunity to really take the place in. Already I loved the atmosphere. Inside it reminded me a little bit of a more spacious version of the House of India which used ot be on Park Ave in the Woo. Very much like House of India, Surya's was playing music videos India on a television screen. The thing I loved about House of India is they would play movies from Bollywood.

I love Indian Music. Walking into an Indian Restaurant and hearing that music being played is always a very welcoming feeling.

Right from the start the person serving had us immediately seated us and not long after was taking both our drink and meal orders. Unlike our previous dining experience somewhere else, our server was very pleasant and actually existed.

What impressed me even more is this place had Flying Horse!! An Indian Beer I really enjoy!!

We got some Vegetable Pakora for appetizers. Which were excellent. As for our main course Syd got the Malai Kofta and I got the Chicken Saag. Malai Kofta is Syd's measuring stick on how good a restaurant is. And the one she got passed the test. I've wanted the Chicken Saag since our trip to India Cafe last week. Chicken and spinach just sounded really good that night and I was just feeling very disappointed I wasn't able to have it. Surya's made it worth the wait because the one I had there was really really good!!

And I haven't even gotten to their Nan. The Nan at Surya's is amazing. Best I've ever had!!

We did not leave Surya's hungry or unsatisfied. We left full and ready for bed. Like I said, this was our first but not our last visit. And we highly recommend you check out Surya's if you're passing through Worcester MA. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Sherlock Holmes Pub

When I went on a trip to England back in 2000, one of the places I really regret not getting the opportunity to check out while visiting London was the Sherlock Holmes Pub. I did get the opportunity to tour the Sherlock Holmes Museum. But not the pub.
I really didn't find out about the place until a couple years later when I picked up a copy of Sherlock Holmes's London used from That's Entertainment. I had to slap myself in the forehead for missing the opportunity to check it out.

Mostly because they have on the 221B Baker Street Study used in the Festival of Britain on permanent display behind glass in the pub. If you've seen the 1959 Hammer version of The Hound of the Baskervilles starring Peter Cushing, then you have seen this display used as the set design for Baker Street.

I've actually used and continue to use it as reference for my version of the Baker Street Study. Actually, I combine it with the the one from the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

If and when Syd and I decide to go on a vacation across the Atlantic, I may have to make an effort to get a pint at the Sherlock Holmes Pub.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The latest Mel Gibson Tirade

There's nothing certain in life except for death, taxes and Mel Gibson having a meltdown. You've probably heard the latest one over and over again. There's about sixty-million Youtube videos. Both with and without subtitles. But now hear it... TO THE SIX FLAGS MUSIC!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

India Cafe you let me down... again!

India Cafe in Shrewsbury MA used to be a place I would recommend to every body.

Now I don't think I would recommend it to anyone.  And I'm sad to say this isn't the first time I've gone in there and got really bad service. But at least the first time we actually got our meals. Eventually. But we still got fed.

Like I said, I used to love going to India Cafe. The prices were reasonable and the food was excellent. Probably the best Lamb Curry I have ever had.

I decided to surprise Syd and take her out for dinner. We had both considered going to the India Cafe for our one year wedding anniversary but we had both mentioned having a hankering for Indian Food for a couple weeks now so we decided "Why not?" and headed out to India Cafe right after we got home to freshen up.

To be honest I'm glad we DID go there that night because I know exactly where we WON'T go for our anniversary.

When we get there there's probably only two or maybe three customers in the whole store. We sat down and are given menu's. We make up our minds and wait for someone to come over to take our order. A few minutes pass and no one has even come over to take a drink order. And the water we were served is terrible.

So Syd and I chat for a little bit trying to give this place the benefit of the doubt. In my mind I'm begging that they don't let me down again. Syd's timing it on her cell phone. I happen to see one of the wait staff walking by. I know I made eye contact with him but he doesn't come over.

Now we're starting to get annoyed.

FIFTEEN MINUTES PASS!! Syd finally looks down at her cellphone and quietly says to me "Okay, we're done!" I nod and we both get up and leave.
In the car we both agree this was the last time we are going to India Cafe. The mere fact that they didn't seem to take notice us getting up and leaving seemed a bit hard to believe seeing that we were the only people in the restaurant. If I were to make a judgement call, it just seemed like they really didn't want to serve us. It just seemed like they didn't want us to be in there whatsoever.

And judging by the lack of patrons in the restaurant, I'm not even sure if they want to stay in business.
If the place was busy then I might be more forgiving. Maybe. But there wasn't ANYONE there by the time we decided we had enough!! This was just poor service.

So we decided to go to Bauhinia's instead. Which I think in less than a half hour from when we left India Cafe it seemed like we were given our drinks and our order was taken within seconds we were seated. And the only reason it took a little longer to take our order had nothing to do with the wait staff. We just couldn't decide what we wanted.

Ever since The Chef of India (which I loved and miss) across the road became the Bollywood Grill, India Cafe has been my place to go for my fix for Indian cuisine. It was just really good and really affordable. I don't know if India Cafe under new management or what. But ever since they went under renovations it has not been the same place I used to enjoy several years ago. Which is a shame because the renovations they made were decent.

However, after the way we were treated we have given up on the India Cafe and that will be our last trip there. And that's disappointing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Johnathan Frid: December 2, 1924 - April 14, 2012

I was very sorry to hear about the passing of Jonathan Frid. The man who originated the role of Barnabas Collins. He died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Funny to think the show might have been been cancelled until Frid was cast in the role of 200 year old vampire Barnabas Collins.

A character that was supposed to only have a brief 13 episode run and Frid only took the role to earn money to become an acting teacher. But the character proved to be so popular that ratings went up and cemented the show's cult classic status.

With the exception of a couple films, Frid had primarily done stage work in Canada since the cancellation of the series. Although, he had reprised the role he made famous for a Big Finish audio The Night Whispers and is going to make a cameo in Tim Burton's big screen adaptation of the show.

I find certain parallels to the show Doctor Who. Not merely because of the production values, but also it seems like both shows acquired cult status with the introduction of a charasmatic actor. In Doctor Who's case, it was Tom Baker taking the role of the Doctor that Doctor Who didn't reach cult status in the States.

Funny thing is, both Jonathan Frid and Tom Baker were unknowns before taking their respective parts. Tom Baker had actually been working on a building site when he accepted the role.

Rest in Peace Jonathan Frid.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beware of the NINNIES!!

It'll be available for purchase in May but you can preorder your copy of The Ninnies by Paul Magrs now!!

I've always enjoyed Paul's Doctor Who, Brenda and Effie and Iris Wildthyme work. So, I was thrilled to be able to supply the illustrations for The Ninnies!! It was a lot of fun to work on and to read!! It's one of those books intended for Young Adults but you can take it off your children's shelf and not feel embarrassed reading.

Click on the image below to preorder your copy today:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The House of Dark Shadows Illustration


Illustration of Barnabas Collins I did recently. The sepia tones are inspired by the restored version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The 12 Weeks of Summer

Recently I provided artwork for a children's book titled The 12 Weeks of Summer. The artwork is a bit cartoonier than my normal style. However, the proceeds made from the book goes towards Autism Awareness. My sister Trish works with children with Autism and fundraises for it every year. So, it's been a nice experience creating something that supports such a great cause.

If you would like to order your copy, click on the image below:

Upcoming Project: The Cask of Amontillado

Well, I suppose I must let the cat out of the bag sooner or later. But I'm about 12 pages into an adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's short story The Cask of Amontillado. The plan is to turn it into a 45 page graphic novel and reprint my previous Poe adaptation Lenore which appeared in both the Undercoverfish Anthology Poe edition as well as Confessions of a Peculiar Boy... and Other Stories.

Giving credit where credit is due, my wife Syd was the one who suggested I should do another adaptation of Poe. I had thought about doing The Purloined Letter but she suggested I should do an adaptation of her favorite story The Cask of Amontillado. So after reading it again and listening to a really great audio version read by Basil Rathbone, I decided she was spot on with her suggestion and I dove into the project head on.

Unrealistically, I would like to release it at the same time as the upcoming movie The Raven. Realistically, I would like to have it done just in time for stART on the Street in June.

This book is going to be a bit different for me. How different? You'll just have to wait till the end of April... or June... to find out ;-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Episode of After Hours is up!!

Just sent off my work for the next episode yesterday. But the latest episode of After Hours dares to ask the question: If You Could Have Dinner (And Sex) With Any Famous Figure?

Watch the episode now either by clicking on the video below or checking it out at Cracked.com:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April Fools Day... jerks.

Some people celebrate April Fools Day the same way you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah or Arbor Day. But these are probably the same people who laughed themselves silly watching The Tom Green Show, Viva La Bam, Punk'd or TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon.

And with the possible exception of the late Ed McMahon and the immortal Dick Clark, most of the people who host these shows aren't people I would particularly care to associate with in real life. In particular Bam "Viva La Bam" Margera seems like that jerk who is one of your friends who everyone asks while he's not there "Why do we continue to hang out with this guy"?

Being someone who went through the rigors of being humilated on a daily basis in school, I don't delight in the the humilation of others. I suppose unless the completely deserve it. But it doesn't seem like most of these "pranks" focus on people who completely deserve it.

So I was always thrilled when April 1st fell on a weekend. That meant I wouldn't fall victim to the King Jerk's prank at the school. Well, let's just say I wouldn't go through anything extra because of this stupid day.

Here's the biggest problem I have with pranks and pranksters. They're never anything amusing. You know, the old Whoopee Cushion under the chair or an "amusing" joy buzzer. If that was the case, then I probably wouldn't have such a problem.

But these pranksters are a great number of the time just overgrown bullies. And their pranks are just to humiliate. And humiliate in front of a crowd. Because let's face it. What's the point if there's no one else around them.

Here's a hypothetical scenario that they might concoct. What they'll do is get the popular girl to write you a note, or better yet, forge the note stating that she really, really likes you and she wants to talk with you in the hall. So when you confront her with the note, in front of all her friends one of two things will happen. She'll tell you she never wrote the note and she and her friends start laughing and the jerk will pop out of nowhere screaming "APRIL FOOLS". Or better yet. She'll start stringing you along say how wonderful you are and how she's wanted to ask you out and end it by saying "And I just want you to know. APRIL FOOLS!" with King Jerk popping out of nowhere to enjoy a good laugh at your expense.

If you just read this and thought: "Hey! What a great idea!" my advice to you would be to go and get your head examined because you have issues if you think doing that to someone is funny.

To be honest, I'm surprised it never happened to me. It seems like something I should have gone through. I was never stuffed in a locker either. Only because the lockers were too small.

Great! I just gave myself claustrophobia thinking of that!!

But it's a free country and if you want to go around thinking that pulling these pranks are funny, then I suppose that's your right. Although, I also have the right to hope right after you pull your humiliating prank a sewage truck accidentally spills two tons of raw sewage on you.