New Resources from Gale

We have added two new resources to our database page.  These services can help you find a new career or start a business.  Read the Press Release from the NJ State Library.

Career Transitions
You'll find complete, personalized and guided help to find a new job here. Career Transitions will help you plot a course to a new career.

Small Business Resource Center
This comprehensive database covers all major areas of starting, operating and maintaining a business from financing, management, marketing, accounting, taxes and more.


Long before Bejeweled and Fruit Ninja became an app; prior to players uploading their highest scores from Temple Run; preceding the holiday season, when everyone thought Angry Birds accessories were great gift suggestions, home arcade games were already a staple of Nintendo. Like the kids of today, an entire generation got hooked with their 42-in-1s. These cartridges are where these games were bundled.

The gameplay is simple. Computer graphics are made of software sprites. Animation is rudimentary. Though the objectives are repetitive, the difficulty increases with each game bosses defeated. We don't pay attention to high scores yet, but we try our best to reach the farthest levels.

The five video games I pick, though vintage by today's standards had shaped my gaming preference. They may not be the best, not even the most popular. But they did get me hooked, turned me into a video game addict, and opened my eyes to more interesting video games I would play much later in life. 

Raid on Bungeling Bay
Brøderbund, 1985

Raid on Bungeling Bay lets you control a helicopter that launches from an aircraft carrier. The helicopter shoots pea-sized bullets and carries nine bombs, which you have to drop on factories scattered across the island-world. To complete a level, a player needs to destroy all the factories. He should also avoid getting shot by the enemy. A word of caution: the longer it takes to bomb these factories, the more defenses the enemy constructs. Soon you may find your aircraft carrier being bombarded by jet planes, which you have to chase and shoot with your feeble projectiles.

Trivia: Raid on Bungeling Bay was the first game developed by Will Wright. He is the creator of the Sims, which is my current, time-consuming and expensive video game addiction.

Konami, 1985

For a long time this question bothered me: Am I controlling a spacecraft or a bee - that has been turned into a robot? But the confusion didn't matter. The clean, cartoon-like graphics had already got me hooked.

TwinBee is a vertical-scrolling shooting game. You fire at the clouds and a bell tumbles out. Shooting these bells result in a change in color. A different color corresponds to a power-up. This is how you upgrade your weapons.

The game is different from other "jet themed" shooting games as you get to deal with silly-looking enemies. There are the collision-loving flying turnips and eggplants with propellers. There are also pine cones on the ground that shoot projectiles. There is a big boss too, which you have to defeat to complete a level. So challenging the game was (enemy projectiles were everywhere, I swear) that I was only able to reach level 3.

TwinBee can be played by two-players simultaneously.

Front Line
Taito, 1984

Well, the turtleshell-wearing protagonist walks stupid. He wields a funny gun with a crooked barrel. He shoots bullets that look more like a dash. There is no background music, which makes you go ho-hum, and the sprites are terrible. So trashy Front Line is that spending just five seconds alone is enough to send you picking another game such as Battle City.

But as far as I know, Front Line is one of the few NES games that lets you mount a tank, which you can use to run over enemy soldiers. In those days, controlling a machine with your player inside was unheard of -  You can also hurl grenades and occupy rival bases to reach the next level.

Looking back, I don't understand how I get to like this game. Maybe it was so unbelievably ugly, that after telling myself over and over, that this game is not as bad as everyone thinks, (this game is addictive... I say this game is addictive!) I eventually found it good.

Nintendo, 1984

You are given a lousy motorbike that it is prone to overheating. There is a race track with ramps of different heights and angles. And there is a time-limit when you race alone or with CPU-controlled bikes. The objective is to beat your record.

That is how the game is supposed to work.

But what makes Excitebike truly game-worthy is the design mode. Not only did the feature allow you to create your own race track, the design mode had put creativity and imagination into the game. (try adding the largest ramps next to one another, let your bike climb over it and see what happens) I had so much fun making my own racetrack that I have completely forgotten the race:

"I say let's postpone the championship, let me put up the most wicked racetrack first!"

City Connection
Jaleco, 1985

City Connection is one of those racing games I played a few times. But it left an impression so deep, I would remember the video game long after it was shelved by its creators.

The gameplay is quite simple. A player drives a Honda City across floating bars representing roads. Each road segment turns white as you pass over them. However, police cars are everywhere and a collision with them sends your car into sure oblivion. Together with cats and spikes, they form the obstacles of each level.

Police cars can be bumped off the screen. To do this, you must hit the police car with an oil can. These cans can be collected while you cover the bar sections. Cats and spikes are immune to these weapons.

The race car doesn't have a break. The only way you can go back and drive over missed segments is to make it do a 180-degree turn. It can also jump from road bar to another.

House Visit: Wrapping Things Up

What a difference a few weeks can make. We're in the home stretch on the house that we were working on a few weeks ago, where we were stuck in vanity mirrors, countertops and cabinets. Well, as you can see, most of these hurdles have been cleared and we're finishing up the last few bits of work, including the countertop and faucet for the vanity, as you will see below.

We're also still waiting on the installation of the back splash but otherwise, the kitchen is all but done. The countertops are granite and I personally love how the swirls of reddish brown in the stone accent the orange of the divider and the dark browns of the cabinets. We finished the wood-paneled pocket for the stainless steel refrigerator and the grout on the porcelain tile flooring. We modified the cabinets above the cook top and installed the undercounted stainless steel sink, as well. 

Like I said, we're still waiting on the granite countertops in the bathroom and the bowl sink but overall, I'm really happy with how this turned out, and the customer has been very flattering about the entire project. More later this week. 

All are Welcome to Attend the De-Clutter and Savings Club March 1

There has been an ongoing monthly program offered here in the library for the past few years, The South Brunswick Public Library De-Clutter Club. The group meets on the first Thursday of every month, at 7:00 p.m. in Program Room 1B. The group started just after Jamie Novak gave her first presentation here in the library about three years ago. Jamie Novak has been seen on television and currently is a visiting blogger about organization on Martha Stewart's website. Jamie has spoken here in the library several times and has drawn a large crowd of obviously like-minded individuals that all deal with the same issues of keeping up with the clutter of modern day living - from the junk mail to the overload of information that seems to never let up! There have been several other organizing experts come to talk to the public, requested by the De-Clutter Club and these programs have all been generously sponsored by the Friends of the South Brunswick Public Library. 

The group has grown (usually at the beginning of the year when resolutions are still fresh in people's minds) and shrunk (when the busy holiday seasons become overwhelming) over time and the conversation sometimes drifts into other topics related to organizing and de-cluttering. One of the things that has been discussed is ways to earn some money from de-cluttering such as having a garage sale or selling items on eBay and being able to put a little more money in our pockets either by not spending on things we don't need (or might already own somewhere in the house) or by earning a few dollars by passing along our excess has always been a popular outcome of organized living. 

Therefore, we are going to "officially" open the discussion to include these cost saving and cost cutting ideas starting with learning how to use coupons and other similar deals easily and wisely. A resident of South Brunswick and one of our frequent patrons, who has been living the frugal life for a while, has agreed to share her knowledge and lead the group into this new topic. Kathy W. Quinto-David will join us on March 1 and together we can plan how to morph into this new topic. I think that Kathy's ideas about living well on less and still remembering to be generous to our neighbors is a great direction to go and I hope we will get some new faces to join in the discussion along with our faithful, long-time club members.

Happy Leap Day tomorrow!


It was raining yesterday
while it was scorching hot the other day.
The weather bureau said it was the hottest
on record this year.
Daybreaks are chilly
Had to turn off the fan and cover myself with a blanket.
And when I woke up a while ago,
the sun was up. And it hints of another polarity again.
So it is no surprise that a lot of people at work got sick
And I too had a near miss.
It's the weather, I say
too bad, nobody notices it yet.

Peace In Our Time

Disclaimer: A reply to Shane's letter to Manila Gay Guy.

A year before my homosexual urges were recognized, a group of curious and closeted men banded together on MIRC. At a time when there was no real concept of "straight-acting gay men," they drew the line between the effeminates and masculines. The common belief then was that the effeminates turn discreets into fairies, and the only way to stop such conversions is to keep the loud types from joining the brotherhood. 

And so their recruitment process required intense screening. Any hint of feminine behavior; any chance of compromising the complex masquerades these closeted men apply and your application is revoked.

I was 20 years old at that time and still a newcomer. Though I was already exposed to the different hues of the "rainbow" because of the grand eyeball, I haven't met a group I can totally relate. Then all of a sudden, I met one of the founders of the brotherhood. Since we speak the same language and share common interests, he asked me to join.

The interview was easy. Turned out, I was more butch than some of the founding members. I was into alternative music, I was a jeans-and-shirt guy and, most of all, my barkada were all guys-who-speak-basketball-and-sexy-chicks-all-the-time. I didn't have to modulate my voice, or pretend to be someone else. I was straight-acting who likes boys.

I became a member, together with a dozen of other applicants who passed the screening. We were elated of course, because our entry to the brotherhood was our vindication. But what we didn't know was that a rift had already begun. A faction broke off from the brotherhood. They said the brotherhood was a purist and that, their ideals will never work in the long run. The brotherhood simply dismissed them as losers.

Thus, the effem-masculine divide grew into a full-scale discrimination. And there were many fronts. Every online forum, every dating and chat site has someone claiming he's discreet, straight-acting-bisexual-tripper who looks down on loud and effeminate guys. The forsaken ones were forced into embracing the "bisexual" label. So harsh was the discrimination that there was a time when those who called themselves bi's were immediately identified as fairies.

"Real bisexuals never have labels. They just trip." I once quipped.

The local gay scene was still in its infancy. The gays ahead of us had no idea that men who act straight could actually get attracted to someone who act the same. Queer as Folk made us realize some of our deepest flaws and longings, and while the "war" rages on, with each new generation of newbies claiming superiority over the effeminates, some of the straight-acting ones - the guys who actually started the divide were turning 180 degrees. They too had recognized the truth. 

The effeminates and masculines could co-exist.

Of course, there are grey areas, which no expert can resolve. One is preference. Straight-acting and discreet men will always feel comfortable going-out, sleeping around and dating their kind. It's a force of attraction; the same reason why some men have this fondness for twinks, others for big daddies, and for someone in my pack, has a certain liking for girly types. 

Second is that there are gay men who will prefer hiding in the closet. Some families and co-workers are not as accepting as others. Some gays (mostly the ones from my generation) still bear the "parlorista" stigma; this impression that people look down on men who likes men. No amount of convincing would encourage them to come out. It is best to leave them in peace. 

Third is that love blooms between fairies and butches. A loud co-worker is in fact, in a relationship with a guy. Someone who drops labels and takes things as they are. They celebrated their seventh anniversary last year. His gang of fairies would even claim that their market is far bigger than ours. Unfortunately, the love they enjoy - most to them, that is - involve monetary trade-offs.

But there will always be exceptions. 

More than a decade had passed since the "bitter divide" started, and the ones who pushed it first had somehow outgrew their purist tendencies. The last time I've checked, they were in the process of making peace with themselves. Even those who used to express strong dislike for effeminates eventually befriended them. I personally know some, and their transformation still amazes me. 

And for this reason, I believe the war has ended. I've seen straight-acting men getting along with effeminates, and effeminates having relationships with masculines. If there's any indication of how far we've come, the social media are our best bets. Just look at the DPs of some guys there. During my time, showing one's identity hint at being out and proud. Now it has become a practice for young ones to show their face pic when expressing their fondness for someone.

May this entry able to shed light to the age-old subject, while sharing a glimpse of history the way we lived it. Looking back, I think, the divide was necessary for us to learn. So we can start working together - effeminates and masculines in solving the more pressing concerns of the entire community. And while there would always be men who will exhaust all efforts to avoid effeminate association, as time would reveal, one must embrace the changes as he grows older. In the end, the straight-acting adopts a little, or at least follows to some degree, the ways of the effeminate.

Never in our history have we been so open; so accepting of the other as we are now. I don't know how old the letter sender is, but coming from the front lines, I still believe that it is far easier to make friends and find dates today than when our online lives began ten years ago.

* Asked some friends on Twitter if the phrase "no effems please" still rings on Planet Romeo and Grindr. (I have none) The consensus is yes. Apparently, people still brush aside one another even when they go to the same party places (O-Bar, Palawan) listen to the same music (Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna) and watch the same TV shows (America's Next Top Model, Glee). Fox, of the Encantos even say that those who discriminate are effems themselves.  

Fish (Tacos) for Friday

Even if you're NOT an observer of no-meat-on Fridays during Lent, now's the perfect time to cook fish, especially on Friday.  At the end of the week, the markets are full of fish, resulting in three bonuses:  greater variety, lower prices and more turnover, hence fresher fish.

See below for a great way to glorify fish tacos from Todd English's Cooking in Everyday English.   Don't be scared off by the three sauces (Caper Tartar Sauce, Avocado Crema, and Chimichurri) you make to go with the tacos:  each one is easily put together, and each makes a nuanced flavor addition to transform your basic fish taco. 

Fish Tacos with Three Sauces, adapted from Cooking in Everyday English

Caper Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayo
4 teaspoons drained capers
2 teaspoons minced red onion
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
     Mix all ingredients together.

2 peeled cloves garlic
1 cup firmly packed flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro sprigs
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
     Process garlic in food processor until minced.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.(Leftovers are great added to sandwiches, seafood or nachos.)

(Note:  No need to wash out the work bowl of the food processor before you make the Avocado Crema!)

Avocado Crema
2 ripe avocados, pitted and pulp scooped out
generous 1/3 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
     Process all ingredients until smooth in food processor.
Fish Tacos

2 lbs. firm white fish, such as cod or haddock
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil

8 flour tortillas, six inch size, or 4 larger size
1 or 2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage

     Mix together the flours, salt and pepper.  Dredge fish in mixture.  Let stand while you heat the oil.
Pour oil to depth of 1/2 inch in  heavy flat skillet.  Heat to about 350 degrees over medium flame. (If you don't have a thermometer, a 1 inch cube of white bread dropped in the oil should take about 60 seconds to brown.)

Fry fish in batches about 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown.  Fish should flake easily with a fork.

Wrap tortillas in paper towels and heat for 1 minute in microwave.  Break fish into pieces.

Let each person top their tortilla with Caper Tartar Sauce. Add fish and shredded cabbage, then Avocado Crema and drizzles of Chimichurri to taste. 

This has got to be the best fish taco EVER.    (If you're avoiding fried foods, you can brush the fillets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill.)

Todd English rocks!

Find this book at our Library soon.

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Fish Lover

Trident Paths

If I would just pay attention to what the cosmos is telling lately. Maybe, just maybe, my place in the order of things might appear a little clearer.

Initially I was thinking of asking you to come aboard as one of our staff but I realized that you are already part of the family I couldn't really waive your membership even if I wanted to because of issues with other members...


At present, I have a full-time job at a call center. I maybe a supervisor and trainer, but my heart - as I am beginning to realize is into nurturing young men and women to become valuable and productive members of the society. Something within tells that I should impart whatever knowledge I gained as a student of life. 


Hi Agent-In-Training, Consider this an appraisal of your performance on your new account: 
*Let me remind you that as agents, we can never be bored. It's because we provide entertainment. While the word "bored" can be used for roleplay, the situation here is different. Why not turn the conversation around by keeping the user entertained? Suggested replies: "Lets stay here big boy and keep me company. Hate being alone. What are u doing?" or "Let me think about it. If u tell me how romantic u are, i might consider. :P" 
Your other replies are good. Some are merely filler. But since this is your first evaluation, let me commend you that in general, you are doing great. Keep it up!

Or maybe not.

All I'm saying is that the road ahead disappears and I don't know if I should keep walking.

Job Visit: New Shades

We went out on a paint job today and I thought it'd be good to get some practice in as I have been slacking on the photos from other sites; this will be rectified. This was a pretty generic paint job on a nice apartment in midtown, around Lexington Ave., medium-sized room with just some minor spackle work and repairs. Not a huge show-off project but it was nice to get some photos up on here and get some of our more unsung workers on camera. And check out that awesome chandelier!

Good Flicks You Might Have Missed….

Here are some more little-known favorites from our collection. Check them out and let me know what you think!

The Mothman Prophecies
Starring Richard Gere & Laura Linney.
After the tragic death of his wife, a journalist finds himself in a town where many inhabitants have experienced the same visions his wife experienced before her death. This is a creepy tale that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. USA, 2002, rated PG-13. Genre:Horror/Thriller

Saving Grace
Starring Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson, Martin Clunes, Tcheky Karyo.
A recent widow joins with the caretaker of her estate on the Cornish coast to use her green thumb for fun and profit. All goes well until the business starts booming. Hilarious British comedy that’s guaranteed to give you the munchies.  UK, 2000, rated R. Genre: Comedy

Starring Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Jaaved Jaaferi, Ranjit Chowdhry, Kushal Rekhi.
Two beautiful but dissatisfied contemporary Indian wives turn to each other for love. This moving film, written and directed by Canadian-based director Deepa Mehta, was banned in India and Pakistan due to its controversial subject matter. Canada/India, 1996, Not Rated (but don’t watch with the kids). Genre: Drama

by Jill Eisner, Sr. Librarian, Information Services

The Grand Eyeball (Last Part)

Previously on Souljacker

I was looking to my left, and then to my right but they were nowhere to be found. Instead, the red rounded tables were occupied by ladies in groups of three or more. There were some guys, standing, but they didn't fit the picture I had in mind. First, their numbers were far fewer than what Spiker had told me, and they seem to be strangers to one another. Their gestures also hint that they go to Malate like every other week.

"Where you at?" I asked Spiker. The place was getting stuffy so I had to make a call inside the common toilet.

"We're upstairs. Saan ka na?"

"I'm coming."

I went up the steep spiral stairs and found them in a corner, close to the makeshift stage. It was indeed a large group of about seven men and three ladies. The girls were all lesbians. One of them was Travis McGee. With her long wavy hair, slender body and big boobs, she's a far cry from the butches we see everyday. Anyone could mistake her for a punk chick when she gets spotted inside a Cayote Bar.

As for the boys, I'm afraid I raised the bar too high. I was expecting to meet shy, straight-acting men. After all, they were bisexuals - at least that's what Spiker and the guys from my thread said. I sense a hint of softness but I'm still cool with them. It's like never leaving the meeting with my party-mates. I introduced myself using the name Joms and for a few precious minutes, I mingled with the Pexers.

Between dancing - to the tune of Joyrise and drinking a couple of bottles of San Mig Light, I made it a point to remember those who attended the eyeball. 

Spiker for one, was a lean guy with black-rimmed glasses. Though he claimed to be in the closet, he had the makings of a queer. My assumptions proved correct. A few years later, I saw him in Malate dressed as a pink nun. He was giving away free condoms during the Black Party.

Castlegrands on the other hand, was a short guy. His tendency to be touchy-feely got him into trouble with the other guys. At least that's what I've been told. Meanwhile, I totally snubbed another guest. A portly kid whose PEx handle goes by the name Ice Dragon. Maybe our chemistry didn't match, or siguro dahil I stole the attention of his eye-candy that night - Archerblaze. He was the chinito dude who sat in a corner, and whose gaze was fixed outside the window. He was fair-skinned, sporting a buzz-cut and when you look at him in the dark, he has this manly appeal that commands admiration. When I got to talk to him, it turned out he was nursing a heartache. A boy-crush of his fell in love with someone else.

In those days, it was easy to strike a conversation - without fear that such talk would lead elsewhere. I guess part of the self-discovery was to ask questions such as "How did you find out you like boys?" or "How do you cope with your double-life?" etc. Those stuff you begin to brush off as you get comfortable sporting a pink halo. Kids these days have no qualms uploading their faces on social media, while proudly proclaiming their fondness for boys. But for us a generation ago, revealing one's preference - even when everyone knows you're a screaming F and still deny it - is a very serious offense.

I cannot remember what I said to Archerblaze - except that I stuck with him the whole time. Maybe he was the first to know that I had a girlfriend, and that I was trying to fit in, but had no plans of pushing the limits of my curiosity. He did reciprocate my openness by sharing things about himself - others in the group would die to find out. So deep was my attachment that I still thought of him even when I should be paying attention to matters concerning my political party.

And we did meet - without anyone knowing - the next day.

The grand eye-ball was the first of the many meet-ups Pinoyexchange would see eventually. It would set the precedent for many other gatherings as the LBGT community spreads out and rifts between members tore the threads apart. 

The gatherings would only be short-lived as most of the bisexuals would eventually out themselves. They would join Pexman and Jack_mcph in discussing relevant gay issues in the first SNAGG thread. The lesbians disappeared, for some reasons and I joined another group, one that is more attuned to my nature - the Alien Nation. Less than a year after the first meet-up, the original attendees would move on - most - I would never see, or talk again. 

As I look back and remember how it all began, the first grand eye ball shaped the way I behave in groups. While I did choose to get along with the masculines, my first confidants were actually the soft-spoken and effeminate ones. I didn't know if I raised eyebrows when I put a wall around me and Archerblaze, but I did learn to hold back my attachment - after realizing that karir and friendship hardly mix. I stopped seeing group meet-ups as venues to find potential dates. (but I did break this rule once in a while, with varying results) And even though none of those who showed up became life-long hang out buddies, the grand eyeball laid the foundation to the friendships I would keep for life.

February, 2002

February, 2012 

GED Online

GED Online is now available from South Brunswick Library's database website at .

The New Jersey State Library is proud to announce the inclusion of GED Online in the NJWorks@yourlibrary (BTOP) initiative.

Developed by McGraw Hill, GED Online is a comprehensive online GED preparation tool, which includes pre-assessment, review and skill-building, pre-testing and post-testing. GED Online prepares users to take the GED test through interactive lessons and quizzes.
McGraw Hill's GED Online provides step-by-step, web-based, interactive instruction to help you prepare for the GED Test:
■118 lessons in all of the subjects tested by the GED test: writing, social studies, science, reading, and mathematics

■Lessons are tailored to meet your individual needs

■Develops study plans if you need additional practice

■Features subject-specific pretests to help identify your current strengths and weaknesses

So, visit South Brunswick Library's database webpage today and contact us to let us know that you would like a username and password for GED Online.

The library also offers GED Test preparation material in two other library databases. Just click on either Learning Express or Universal Class on our database webpage at . Both of these valuable online resoures also offer GED Test help.

A Customer Testimonial

Hey everybody! We were able to cut a clip from a set of upcoming customer testimonials we recorded earlier this month. They all came out really great and they'll all be on the site (, YouTube and this blog eventually but we wanted to show what we've been working on a bit. This is one of our first customers, Gladys. Enjoy!
Front Cover
In preparation for the book discussion about The Faith Club, and for the Continuing Cultural Conversation on the book, which will take place in the library on March 11, you may want to visit the authors’ website:  On their site, they have some guidelines to start your own Faith Club.  They give a list of core ideas that you should keep in mind as you have your discussions about some of these issues of faith.  This is the list from the website: 

10 Things You Should Know Before Your First Faith Club Discussion:

1. You’ve got stereotypes. Even if you think you’re the most open-minded human on the planet, chances are you’ve got some negative opinions related to religion. Whether you’re suspicious of doubters or believers, evangelicals or Episcopalians, Muslims, Jews, or Sikhs, you’re probably entering your first faith club conversation with some prejudice that you will have to overcome in order to truly understand the faith of those you meet.

2. You are vulnerable. When you open yourself to new ideas, you may feel vulnerable. Don’t mistake this for weakness. Accept it. It will lead to new understanding.

3. You can be a peacemaker. If heated words are flying among your faith club members, try to maintain a cool head and help each person see the other’s point of view.

4. There isn’t always a “right” answer. Although we usually wish there were, and some people might think they have it!

5. Your first reaction is your worst reaction. If you feel threatened by something another faith club member says, your first impulse will not be a thoughtful one.  Before you attack, shut down, or cut the person off, reevaluate the comment and your response.

6. Secrets corrupt. If you’ve got a complaint, share it with your whole faith club, not with just one or two confidantes. You’ve got to be one for all and all for one.

7. Every opinion must be respected. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t politely try to change the opinion if you disagree with it.

8. No one else can do your homework. If a faith club member is unable to answer your questions about a religious issue, do your own research and share your findings with the group.

9. Invitations are expected. The faith you share with other faith club members will have greater meaning if you invite them to participate in a special service or religious tradition.

10. Get help. If your faith club experience leaves you confused about your own religion, find a cleric who can help you explore the issues that are frustrating you. 

We hope that you will come to the library on Saturday, March 11, 2012 at 2:00 p.m., having read the book, and share your thoughts with your neighbors.  It is the intent of the Continuing Cultural Conversation initiative to establish open lines of communication within our diverse community for better understanding and harmony at home here in South Brunswick.  Please join us.

Asparagus and Geometry

Does the size and shape of a food influence the way it tastes?  Most emphatically yes.

Think of the taste of a shredded carrot salad versus munching on a whole carrot...or enjoying a piece of thinly sliced steak versus chowing down on a big hunk cut from a 1 1/2 inch thick slab.  Different textures, different taste experience.
This is the case with my favorite recipe this week, Raw Asparagus, Red Onion and Pecorino Salad from today's featured cookbook, Anne Burrell's  Cook Like a Rock Star.  More on that recipe later.

Now for the cookbook:   Burrell has lots of ideas, but the book's directions are sometimes flawed and some of the food combinations don't always "work". I prepared four recipes from this cookbook:  one was amazing, the second very good, the third and fourth had some serious problems.

Looking for something interesting to make with brussels sprouts to go along with a simple pan seared scallop meal, I thought Burrell's  Frizzled Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Walnuts sounded promising.  Having roasted whole brussels sprouts a few times this season, I thought this new recipe would be fun - first of all you had to pull apart each sprout into individual leaves, a preparation I've seen before but never done.

I used four cups of sprouts, doubling the recipe, and it took more than half an hour just to prepare the sprouts.  This better be worth it, I thought, as I cored each sprout, then pressed each one down to "open" the leaves a little, and laboriously separated out each leaf. 

The recipe tells you to saute red pepper and garlic, add pancetta and chopped walnuts and cook 5 minutes until the pancetta browns.  What actually happened is that the walnuts browned way more quickly than the pancetta.  Then you were supposed to add the leaves, salt them, cover the pan until the leaves wilted, and then uncover and brown the leaves for 8 - 10 minutes more.  By this time, the walnuts were really dark brown and unfortunately gave an unpleasantly bitter taste to the dish.

Verdict - you could cook this dish differently to get a better result, but for me, the combination of the flavors of brussels sprouts, nuts and bacon did not enhance each other, and would not be worth repeating.  Ditch that recipe:  rating - poor.

For that same meal, I  had a head of cauliflower I wanted to use up, so I  made Burell's Spice-Roasted Cauliflower.  This easy recipe was a lot more successful - spicy, exotic, delicious.  The original recipe also calls for a pound of Jerusalem artichokes, but not having any, I made the recipe without them, although I used the full amount of spices anyway  - I love spicy food!  If you don't, consider halving the amount of spices.

Spice Roasted Cauliflower, adapted from Anne Burrell's Cook Like a Rock Star

one head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon cumin, freshly ground if possible
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon finely snipped chives, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a half sheet pan with heavy duty foil.  Mix together all the ingredients except the chives.

Roast the veggies for 20 minutes, stir, roast 20 more minutes, stir again, and then roast 5 or 10 minutes more until the florets are browned and tender.  Serve sprinkled with the chives.  Yum!  I could eat these as a snack.  Grade:  very good.

While the above vegetable dishes were in the works, I had a few extra minutes, so for dessert I decided to try the Tarallucci with Salty Caramel.  Anything with salty caramel appeals to me, so I had to try this recipe:  butter cookies served with caramel dipping sauce on the side - what's not to love?

A lot, apparently.  The cookie dough came together easily, but the directions called for putting the dough in a pastry bag and piping out wreath shaped cookies.  This was a total no go:  the batter was way too stiff to be able to piped out.  Realizing this was essentially a spritz cookie dough, I put it into a cookie press and pressed it out into rounds.  So far, so good.

On to the caramel.  I've made caramel lots of times before, and it's not difficult. This recipe was different in that it called for the juice of a lemon - in my mind, a weird addition, adding a discordant note to the taste of the caramel.  We ate the cookies - good, but not any better than any other butter cookie recipe - and threw away the caramel.  We used some jarred caramel instead!  I know, sacrilege.  Grade?  C,  the cookie was good, but nothing special, and the caramel recipe was an F.

Last night I paged through the entire cookbook, and when I spied some asparagus in the produce drawer of my fridge this morning, I remembered this asparagus salad recipe and gave it a whirl. Recipe number 3:  winner!  This was to me a totally new take on this vegetable - served raw but sliced very thinly, the flavor was of freshness and vitality and very different from whole asparagus, either cooked or raw (the geometry angle).

And, unlike the ill fated brussels sprout recipe, it took all of 5 minutes to make, including slicing the veg and grating the cheese on a microplane.  Give it a go - it's a taste of spring.

Raw Asparagus, Red Onion and Pecorino Salad adapted from Cook Like a Rock Star

1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed (can't beat Costco for fresh cheap asparagus right now)
1 small red onion, diced small
(variation:  1/2 of yellow onion, and 1/2 red pepper, diced small)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil to taste, 1/4 to 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup microplaned Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Slice the asparagus thinly into rounds.  Add to a medium bowl, and combine with the red onion (or onion and
pepper), the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Just before serving, stir in the cheese, saving a little to sprinkle decoratively on top.

So there it is, the winner of the lot.  I give it an A for awesome.  Hope you enjoy making this.

I  enjoyed looking through this lavishly illustrated book, and Burrell's entertaining voice came across very clearly on the pages.  But when I do try some of the other recipes from this cookbook (and I will) , I won't be surprised if other recipes need some tweaking.

It's fun to try out new cookbooks without the expense of buying them.  Use the library and spice up your cooking tonight!

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Cheapskate and Library User

The Grand Eyeball (First Part)

It was a night I will never forget... 

Just like what I've said to Spiker when I left - Every minute of the EB was worth it. Sana nakapagtagal pa ako para nakapag-bonding pa ako sa kanila. Pero it was time to leave then. 

Ten kaming nandun, I followed them to Malate. At first, nawala pa ako pero. They were great. Lots of Dancing - Hard Dancin' talking and everything. For the first time, I am home. I am not alone. 

I asked Spiker and Archerblaze of what will happen today. I am already awake and I have accepted myself as who I am and who will I be. They said everything will be fine, and yes everything was fine at the moment. 

February 17, 2002 
Bi-Pexers Unite Thread, Pinoyexchange

At past 10pm, the security guards ordered everyone to leave the campus. Most of the students had left, except for our group, who were still preparing for the council elections. 

The leaders have agreed to move the venue to one of our member's residence. There were still many tasks to finish and a night of consultation and planning is not enough.

But instead of joining the ranks, I asked the chairman if I could be excused. I cannot remember my exact alibi but it was along the lines of a "class project" and an "errand" at home. Since I was the secretary-general, my presence was necessary. I gave my word to return. The chairman gave his blessings and without telling the rest, I left the pavilion to ride a jeep in Dapitan.

My destination was Malate.

The trip took less than 30 minutes. It was a Saturday night and all roads lead to gimik places. The bars and clubs lining Nakpil were packed with merry-makers. Like them, I was nursing a hang-over from that week's Valentines.

I was told to join the Pexers when I learned of the eye-ball that evening. "We're already there" the organizer said when asked if the meet up pushed through. Being new to the gay side of Malate, it took sometime for me to find Orosa. When I caught glimpse of the meeting place, I waited across the street, thinking if its better to retreat.

There is no turning back once I got introduced.

What separates me from others who were still in the closet is that I was already comfortable being in the company of gay people. The college teems with folks who act more effeminate than some of the girls there. Besides, the political party was run by students from different walks of life. To close our doors to the pink community, some, even elected representatives of their class meant an end to our aspirations. It would be a slap on our party's face since half of the core group were actually gay.

But to be out in the open, like where I found myself in necessitates mind-conditioning. Given my place in the social hierarchy, one slip and my reputation would be forever tarnished. (or so I think) Yet, the need to connect was so strong that I was willing to risk everything - even my heterosexual relationship. In a few months I will be leaving the university. If I intend to start over and embrace what I had recognized a month before, might as well show up to those who first accepted me.

"Come join us, we're inside." The text message read. My heart pounded. What if someone from the group turned out to be an acquaintance?

Bahala na.

The watering hole at the corner of Nakpil and Orosa had a rainbow flag hoisted above the entrance. Ladida was its name and I've learned it was the ladies from the Girl to Girl thread who suggested the place.

Taking a very deep breath before sneaking past a forties lady who appears to be the proprietor, I made my way inside the dark-lit hall - to say hello to my future, and to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, finally a changed man.

- tobecontinued -  

Shower Power

We’ve been dealing with a bit of shower drama the last few days, but things to be on the right track, quite literally. We spent most of today measuring and cutting track and getting everything ready to install with ze caulk. As you can see by the pictures below, we’ve finished a great deal of the electrical work in the bathroom, including three outlets and a light switch. And yet, negotiations on what exactly we’re going to do with the vanity are still ongoing, making the choice of lighting in that particular area a bit of a sore thumb.

Still, I’m very excited how the tiles came out and the fixtures we have for the shower itself are on their way. An original concept had us adding a soaking tub to the side of the shower but those plans were abandoned upon further investigation of the budget we were working with. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed an open bathroom with space to spare, and that looks like what we’ll have at the end of this project. We’re also finishing up the divider tonight, if all goes according to plan. I will put up more information and pictures as I can get to them, ladies and gents. 


No matter which computer, eReader or mobile device you have you can download free eBooks and audiobooks today from the South Brunswick Public Library website.  From our website just click on the 'Download audiobooks.eBooks' button.  Read the few important notes on the next screen before clicking on the top link 'Click Here to Download'

You will enter the eLibraryNJ website. Click on 'Sign In' and select the 'Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium' as your library and then type your library barcode number and pin. Start searching for eBooks and audiobooks.

It's easy to get help in eLibraryNJ by clicking on the 'Help' link in the upper right.  And the Information Services staff at South Brunswick Library are always happy to get you started and answer any questions that come up.

Contact: Mary Donne Head of Information Services


All you need is a red cartolina, a pair of scissors and a black "pentel" pen. When funds are low and there are friendly seatmates nearby, you can always borrow their stuff. After all, it's their idea in the first place. You are just following the trend. Tell them, you will return the supplies later, and maybe, with a wink and a smile, the sweet damsels will be persuaded.

Cut a small portion from the cartolina. Make sure it is a recognizable square, or at least, an oblique rectangle. With clumsy small hands such as mine, a Mongol pencil might be required. The little piece of paper must still be folded in half.

Now here's the tricky part: using the Mongol pencil as a tracer, draw the half side of that symbol we use for love; That muscle beneath our chest that for some reason has become the icon for attachment. Cut the pattern as carefully as possible, and maybe with a few tries, you're almost done with your craft.

The recess bell rings and classes would resume at any moment. Some lazy brats thought of buying flowers from the vendors who suddenly showed up at your school's front gate. Like mushrooms clumped together on a stump, they are there only for one purpose: to offer a tempting bait to throw away your attempts at being artsy.

You can give up a bunch of junk foods for a single stalk of rose. But with baon smaller than today's jeepney fare, I had no choice but to finish my project by putting the right words complementing the occasion.

"Happy Valentines Teacher..."

I may have forgotten the story of St. Valentines, or the faces of those who actually got my little heart-cards. But the thought of giving them away - to people who are dear to me had become the idea of the holiday itself. Save for that one moment in college - when I wrote a cheesy poem about how loser it is to be single on the day of love, it never troubled me to remain couple-less when everyone hurries to find a mate.

The heart-shaped cards were never meant for lovers. They were given to people who has a special place in my heart. And for me, this is what the Hearts Day is all about.

Happy Valentines, everyone.


March Wednesday Wisdon TED Talks

The Wednesday Wisdom TED talks scheduled for March 7, 2012 at 1:30 will continue exploring the Charter for Compassion and will relate to the Continuing Community Conversation Panel to be held this Sunday, March 11, 2012 in the library meeting room.

The TED talks that will be presented, and the description of each from the TED website at, are as follows:

Rabbi Jackie Tabick: The balancing act of compassion - While we all agree that compassion is a great idea, Rabbi Tabick acknowledges there are challenges to its execution. She explains how a careful balance of compassion and justice allows us to do good deeds, and keep our sanity. 

Swami Dayananda Saraswati: The profound journey of compassion - Swami Dayananda Saraswati unravels the parallel paths of personal development and attaining true compassion. He walks us through each step of self-realization, from helpless infancy to the fearless act of caring for others.

Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf: Lose your ego, find your compassion - Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf combines the teachings of the Qur’an, the stories of Rumi, and the examples of Muhammad and Jesus, to demonstrate that only one obstacle stands between each of us and absolute compassion -- ourselves.   

Karen Armstrong: Let's revive the Golden Rule - Weeks from the Charter for Compassion launch, Karen Armstrong looks at religion's role in the 21st century: Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good? She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world's faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.

Join us as we explore this important topic.

Home Visit: Step-by-Step in the Kitchen

As I mentioned last week, we’re working on a kitchen as well as a bathroom in the house that we’re currently working on. We’ve honestly just started the groundwork for the kitchen but I thought they were worth a look. As in the bathroom, we used mud setting underneath the tiling for the floors and have yet to finish the grouting completely. 

The room has a doorway entrance as well as an open entrance with divider coming off of a planned dining room that is nearly finished. You can see the paint tests being done in the dining room area and the dangling light that makes it look almost like where you would perform an interrogation. You can also see all the tiresome spackling that went on over the studs, the electrical work and, below, some of the plumbing going on underneath.

We’re still waiting on a word of what exact kind of oven will be put in but other wise, the plan for the room is set. I’ll be able to go into more detail once the countertops and shelves have been put in and are worth a look. But I am happy that this customer decided on a garden window, which is an amenity I’ve always enthusiastically suggested to customers. They always brighten up the room and I love the sense of extra space you get from them; perfect place for cactuses and other smaller plotted plants to give your room some more personality. Once these rooms have more personality themselves, I’ll be sure to post here.   

African-American Spirituals as sung by Carlensha Grady

This concert is part of the Daphne Powell Memorial Concert Series, hosted by the Friends of the South Brunswick Public Library.

Music can be a great way to see into the heart of any culture.
On Sunday, Feb. 26, the public is invited to enjoy a free concert of African-American spirituals in honor of Black History Month. It begins at 3 p.m. in the main meeting room of the South Brunswick Public Library.

Soprano Carlensha Grady will be the featured performer in this Daphne Powell Memorial Concert. She is a beautiful and talented young woman who clearly exudes the joy she feels when singing for an audience.  Save a seat for me!

An accomplished singer of classical, jazz, and operatic music, Ms. Grady has performed in Carnegie Hall and the State Theater. She performs regularly at venues throughout New Jersey. Locally, she is the music teacher at Metuchen Christian Academy and soprano section leader at Nassau Presbyterian Church of Princeton.

The concert series was made possible by a grant awarded by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission for $2,100, in conjunction with some matching funds from the Karma Foundation and the Friends of SBPL. The monies will support an expanded Daphne Powell concert series for nine concerts during 2012.

FYI: Black History Month is a national annual observance for remembrance of important African-American people and related events, beginning in 1926. Every February it is celebrated in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom celebrates in the month of October.

Celebrate the Irish culture on March 25 with a free Daphne Powell Concert of traditional Irish music by McDermontt's Handy.

Other performances scheduled for 2012 concert series include:
April 29 - Jersey Follettes, an all-female vocal group; May 27 - Spook Handy: America’s Story through Folk Songs; Sept. 30 - Ken Lelen, a vintage guitarist performing songs from Frank Sinatra to Duke Ellington to Peggy Lee; Oct. 21 - Maggie Worsdale’s Caberet Show; and Nov. 18 - City Winds Trio, classical music.


The Unspoken

We used to think the blog was an extension of our closet. You know, that sprawling fortress the size of a world, where nobody knows the life we nurture within. We tell our stories like nobody listens, or at least, having strangers as audience. Our dreams, heartaches, our erotic moments, the stuff that make us gay. The blog serves as our little pink diary because there are things we cannot simply tell the people around us. Besides, this is the celebration of our identity. It's no wonder you come across a blog detailing the author's sexcapades. Others celebrate the bonds they made with kindred souls, if not with their partners. Others have started their own advocacy, and another blog tells how discrete (straight-acting men) should operate in public. We are many voices speaking in prose. We write in blogs, owing to the necessity that we cannot express in spoken words, We write to leave a mark, so that others may be inspired; to contribute to the collective consciousness that is the Filipino Gay. And in the process of unraveling, we get to know ourselves better. We carefully cross over the digital realm and reach out to people who used to know us because of our words. Then finally, when we're reassured enough that we could face the world - comfortably and without an inch of doubt behind our sexuality, we leave the confines of the blog and parade ourselves, proud of reaching our destination.

Meanwhile, in another part of blog-space, a guy puts up a blog. Guided by those before him, another journey takes place as he begins to tell his story.