fighting the lack of good ideas

the julep cup

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a restaurant worth writing about. Last night I finally found one again.

To celebrate the two monthiversary of marrying my wife (since I had to miss the one month one with work travel), I decided to take her out to a nice place that wasn’t a chain (if possible).

After a coupe hours of searching food review in Lexington, perusing various websites like Google local results and Urbanspoon, I finally went to the old standby, OpenTable. OpenTable doesn’t have every possible restaurant listed, only ones that choose to participate. But it does allow you to look over user reviews, link to the restaurant’s menu, etc. (Yes, other sites do this, too, but OT adds the secret sauce.)

After finding The Julep Cup, less then 4 miles from our apartment, I decided that was where we should go. 111 Woodland Ave in Lexington is on the corner of E Main St, on the first floor of The Woodlands building (along with some other small shops, but we didn’t go in any of those).

For an appetizer, we ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and garden salads. For her main dish, my wife ordered the Linguine and Clams and I had their Ricotta and Pecorino Romano Raviolis. Our server, Truitt, was attentive without hovering (we also think he was new, because he was a little nervous, but he did an excellent job). Water and tea glasses were refilled, the courses of our meal arrived in a timely fashion, and we were able to enjoy our meal on their patio in the pleasant evening shade of a late summer day.

The linguine sauce was light but flavorful, and I’m not sure I’ve seen as many clams festooned across a dish that wasn’t just a pound of steamed clams before. My ravioli was fantastic, and the mushrooms and generous romano shavings on top added a nice contrast to the simple ricotta filling.

The Julep Cup (dinner menu) doesn’t require reservations, but they are suggested. Last night, they had plenty of seating available, but I would imagine that’s different seasonally, and on other nights of the week.

The outdoor seating was pleasant, and my wife and I are looking forward to dining there again soon.

fact of the week

From the `fortune`-powered, motd on my server this morning:

Here is the fact of the week, maybe even the fact of the month. According to probably reliable sources, the Coca-Cola people are experiencing severe marketing anxiety in China.

The words “Coca-Cola” translate into Chinese as either (depending on the inflection) “wax-fattened mare” or “bite the wax tadpole”.

Bite the wax tadpole.

There is a sort of rough justice, is there not?

The trouble with this fact, as lovely as it is, is that it’s hard to get a whole column out of it. I’d like to teach the world to bite a wax tadpole. Coke – it’s the real wax-fattened mare. Not bad, but broad satiric vistas do not open up.

— John Carrol, The San Francisco Chronicle

first plugin: term define

Term Define is a pretty simple plugin – something really just to get my feet wet in the area.

For any ALL-CAPS terms/words in a post, when the page is rendered, a link to is inserted.

So a word like ‘HULA’ would get transformed into HULA.

(Note: I’m not using this particular plugin on this blog.)

wordpress plugins

I’ve started writing [simple] plugins for WordPress – the blogging tool I use to manage

As I write more, if I think they’re worth sharing, I’ll write about them here. A full list will also be available at

note to anyone who sent models to the freight yard in phoenix

Reprinted from the NYO&WRHS Yahoo Group (owrhs at yahoogroups dot com).

To anyone who sent any model locomotives and/or rolling stock to The Freight Yard in Phoenix, AZ for custom painting, please be advised The Freight Yard closed its doors in May and the proprietor made a midnight raid on his shop and removed all inventory to his home in Anthem, AZ including all stock delivered to him by us for painting. His shop phone is disconnected, his website is down, he doesn’t answer emails, and his business is no longer listed in Model Railroading magazine. He made no notifications to any of us consignors, gave no address nor phone number such we could contact him to recover our models. I had delivered an MKT brass EMD NW2 Phase IV for custom painting in NYO&W livery in February.

After repeated failures in June to learn status on my consignment (I phoned the shop monthly in Mar and April to check on status, was out of state in May), I drove the 90 miles to personally check on his shop, found it empty and stripped of all inventory, shelves, counters. The property administrator had posted an inventory seizure notice and lock on the store’s door due to unpaid rent but the proprietor had first cleaned out the store before the notice was posted (dated 18 May 2010). The notice had the administrator’s name and phone number and through the property management company (Paula at Lynn Morrison Co, Tucson, AZ) and Google searches, I was able to track down the proprietor’s home address and phone number:

Martin Cohen
3868 W. Links Dr.
Anthem, AZ 85086
PH 623-551-8842

Martin does not return phone calls as he promises. He’s a smooth talker, very pleasant on the phone, makes a lot of promises but follows through with none of them. After I requested he return it to me, he twice said he mailed my locomotive (unpainted – he said he couldn’t paint [in his garage] at least until October when the weather cools off). My own feeling is he hopes the consignors will give up (if no contact from consignee after a period of time, he can claim the engines as “abandoned property” and that he could sell the engines on eBay or whatever). After securing his home phone number, I pestered him with phone calls from June through the end of July when, after one last call this past Sunday evening, he told me that the Postal Service had “returned as undeliverable” my locomotive the previous Friday. He did not phone me to advise me that he had the engine. I told him I’d be down the next morning to pick it up. He tried to put me off by claiming medical appointments but I preempted him by showing up at his door at 7AM Monday. He handed me my loco, I checked it out (all OK), and was on my way. One other consignor of six locomotives in the Phoenix area to whom I provided Cohen’s home contact information was able to do the same thing. Anyone who shipped a locomotive to The Freight Yard likely does not have the advantage of proximity. I had also reported the engine as stolen to the Phoenix Police Department (602-262-6151) the previous week (I notified Phoenix police of its recovery. I declined to press charges.). Also, if the Police had contacted him, this might have hastened the sudden reappearance of my locomotive.

I also suggest keeping detailed records of any communication/contacts with Martin Cohen. If by mail, send a letter with Signature Confirmation or Certified Mail. If he says he will return the locomotive by mail, insist he send it by Priority Mail with the above SC, CM, or, at least, with Delivery Confirmation; each will have a tracking number. Demand he tell you the tracking number. This will prove he actually sent it. Insurance is up to you. Good luck in getting any deposit back; I just wrote off my $116 deposit. All I wanted was the return of my locomotive.

If anyone needs further information, please feel free to contact me onlist or off or phone me (# below).

Anyone know of a reliable high quality custom model RR paint shop?

Good luck!
Fred Stevens, Arizona Division of the New York, Ontario and Western
Prescott, AZ

Fred’s comments about this post (and my request to reprint it here) to the mailing list:

I posted the same message to all six of the model RR Groups to which I belong including the large HOrailroading Group (about 2900 members).

My intent was informative rather than to drive the guy out of business (not that he has much, if any business left and he drove himself out of business) nor defamation of character (he defamed himself). While I declined the Phoenix detective’s question of whether or not to press charges (grand larceny aka grand theft locomotive), the perp was standing on the gallows platform with the noose already tightened and the platform would be released if he didn’t return my NW2. I have little use for con artists…

Fred Stevens

Another member (Ed H) of the group said the following, too:

I was involved, as a victim, in an Issue like this a number of years ago.
I Contacted the District Attorney in regards to the Restitution of Monies. They Contacted all the Victims, got the Notarized Statements & Receipts, and saw to it that the Full Amount paid, was returned.
Sounds like a Good Idea to do with this Unscrupulous Felon.

wordpress issues

It seems something is amiss here at – the CentOS Apache test page displays, when it should be displaying the main page of my blog 😐

Oddly enough, all direct links work fine.

If anyone has some thoughts, I’d appreciate any feedback!