Tag Archives: Sundays

In Praise of the Workbench

We’ve got some wasted space in our bedroom closet.

It’s not much space, really. 31″x21″x20″ About 8 cubic feet we’d guess. In a Baltimore rowhouse though, closet space is a precious commodity, and the waste of any of it is silly and shameful. For one such as the Chop, who shops for clothes regularly and likes the room neat and orderly at all times, maximizing closet space is imperative.

So we went to Home Depot and looked for a shelf. We didn’t expect we’d find one that was exactly 31″x 21″, but we were dismayed to find that we couldn’t even come close. We couldn’t seem to find any shelving broader than about a foot.

You can accomplish a lot with a good workbench. Just ask this guy Edison.

It was then that we strolled over to the lumber aisle and found some really nice planks of maple. ‘This’ll work.’ we thought ‘We can cut this to size, use the cut piece as a shelving front, and attach it to the walls, et voilà, custom shelving. We’ve even already got some antique white paint at home to match the trim, or stain and lacquer to match the furniture.

But we quickly realized just how impractical this plan is. Why impractical? Because we haven’t got a saw. Buying a circular saw isn’t out of the question, although it is a very small project to justify the purchase. Even if we had a saw though, we’d probably cut a hand off with it- for we have no workbench.

We don’t even have anything even remotely resembling a workbench. No old folding tables, sawhorses, nothing like that. Without a proper workspace, even something as simple as joining two pieces of wood becomes much harder than it should be. Ditto for painting it, so we’re setting aside the shelf idea for now.

When we enumerated our New Year’s resolutions a few weeks ago, there were a few of them we left out for brevity’s sake, and one of those is to build a workbench area in the basement. We’ve been wanting to do this since before we moved in. Even touring the house with our Realtor we thought that sectioning off a part of the basement for a bench was a great idea. Then roommate moved in, and our basement filled up quick with toys, action figures, T shirts, and sundry other junk which should have found its way to eBay or the dump a long time ago.

Having a bench handy will not only enable us to build and repair things around the house, it will also enable us to build up a decent collection of tools as the need for them arises. As it is now, our humble set of tools is in a box. Not a toolbox, mind you, but a cardboard box. They blend in very nicely with the rest of the junk down there, and we’re hesitant to bring home anything for which we don’t have a place.

Aside from all the practical concerns though, we’ve got to admit that we’re also drawn by the sheer goddamn manliness of the workbench. While we’ve been able to knock out every repair or improvement we’ve faced so far, we anticipate many more in the future around here, and having the right tool for the job and getting it done in a space you’ve designed and built yourself has a deep inherent satisfaction, and we suspect that chasing that satisfaction will have us spending more of our Sundays accomplishing home improvements, and fewer of them sulking around, listening to Belle and Sebastian and looking at the sex stories and personal essays on nerve.com.

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House Rules: Football Free Zones- Bars With No TV’s

There’s no denying it. Football is basically the new religion in America. The game once took a backseat to baseball, but ever since the 1994 MLB strike, the NFL has made huge gains in popularity and revenue every year, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon (unless they can’t resolve their own labor issues by next year).

We’ve had a hard time figuring out what to do with ourselves on Sundays lately, inasmuch as the entire city turns purple and shuts down. Non-football fans are pretty much free to walk around naked and rob banks on Sunday afternoons, since nobody’s paying attention anyway. By the same token, if you want to go to where people are, it can be nearly impossible to escape football.

Football and church have a lot in common. They both bore the Chop to death.

Even our humble Chophouse has its living room commandeered by Roommate and his girlfriend every Sunday, so the entire first floor is basically given over to football, takeout, and couch-sprawling. Since we can’t keep our house as a football free zone, and because staying upstairs with nothing else on TV only goes so far, by 7 or 8 we’re usually ready to break the dull monotony with a drink or two between a different set of walls.

Most bars use screen size and premium football channels as selling points to draw the crowds in, but for us, just the opposite will get us in the door. Here are a few of our favorite local spots which don’t have any televisions in the bar whatsoever. These are the kind of places where you have little choice but to talk to the person next to you at the bar. Or, you know, check the scores on your smartphone.

13.5% Wine Bar 1117 W. 36th St, Hampden. Sunday hours 1pm- ‘late’.

Bertha’s 734 S. Broadway, Fell’s Point. Sunday hours 11:30 am- 2am.

Club Charles 1724 N. Charles St., Station North. Sunday hours 6pm- 2 am.

Daugherty’s 223 W. Chase St, Mount Vernon. Sunday hours 12pm- 2 am.

Dionysus 8 E Preston St., Mount Vernon. Sunday hours 5pm-2am.

Hamilton Tavern 5517 Harford Rd, Hamilton. Sunday hours 4:30 pm- 2 am.

Holy Frijoles 908 W 36th St., Hampden. Sunday hours 12 pm- 10 pm.

McCabes 3845 Falls Rd., Hampden. Sunday Hours 11:30 am- 1:30 am.

Metropolitan 902 S. Charles St., Federal Hill. Sunday hours 8 am – 11 pm.

Red Maple 930 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon. Sunday hours 6 pm- 2 am.

These hours are only guidelines, but should be mostly accurate. If you’re looking for the Chop on a Sunday evening, odds are good you’ll find us in one of these spots. What about you, Baltimore? How do you beat the Sunday doldrums and fill the void, if not with football?

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Of course, voting for the Chop in the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies contest is another great way to kill time on Sundays. We’re nominated in the Music/Nightlife, Misfits, and Personal categories, and we’re going to need your vote now to push us up into first in one of those categories.

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Fundraiser Show to Benefit Current Gallery Today

Well, we told you that charities, non-profits, and do-gooders of all types were about to come out of the woodwork raising funds as the holidays approach, and we were right. Fortunately, we’re in a giving and generous mood today, so we’re heading down to the new Current Space (421 N. Howard St.) to check out their new (ish) environs and support their endeavors by attending today’s benefit show.

Weekend afternoon shows used to be a pretty regular thing, back before punks and scenesters all started liking football. It’s a tradition we’d love to see reinstated, although today’s bill is more of a mini-Whartscape than a CBGB’s Sunday matinee. If you liked Whartscape this summer, but thought it was entirely too hot and crowded and stinky and confusing to go from place to place, then today’s show should be right up your alley.

Current Gallery holds a fundraiser today. 2-11 pm.

With 9 bands including Thrill Jockey labelmates Double Dagger and Thank You, the festivities also include several craft and rummage tables, as well as beers from the Brewer’s Art (No Natty Boh’s today, Hon.), and a chance to view the gallery’s current exhibition Force: On the Culture of Rape.

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We’re not going to force you to vote for the Chop in the Mobbies, but it is highly encouraged. We’re nominated in the Music/Nightlife, Misfits, and Personal categories, and we’re going to need your vote to push us over the top. You can and should vote daily from now until Nov. 12.

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Best Place to Buy Liquor on Sundays: Hopkins Deli

If there’s one thing we can’t stand, its getting all geared up to go somewhere, do something, or get something, only to get there and find the doors locked and lights out because its Sunday. In a town like this with so many small businesses, it can be twice as bad, because whoever isn’t closed Sunday is probably closed Monday. Nowhere is this more a problem than with arcane, useless, Christian-inspired laws about buying liquor on Sundays.

Fortunately for us, Hopkins Deli stands at the ready 7 days a week to insure our liquor cabinet never goes empty.

Hopkis Deli: an oasis in the desert of Sunday liquor options.

Long a favorite of the Hopkins Blue Jays, the Deli caters not only to college kids, but to lazy drunks of all ages, all over North Baltimore. Open every day all day from 8 am until 11 pm, this place is more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s a carryout with a full menu of pizzas and subs, pasta, wings, etc, a full service liquor store with a decent beer and wine selection, part convenience store and part grocery suprette, plus a nice spot to play keno and enjoy free wifi.

But aside from being able to nab a fifth of Granddad and a sixer of Heavy Seas at 10 pm on a Sunday, the real brilliance of Hopkins Deli is in their delivery. You can call or even order online, and it’s an open secret that they’ll deliver anything in the store along with your order.

So, if like the Chop you find yourself tired, lazy, hungover and hungry on Sunday evening with an empty fridge and nothing but Kahlua and Seagram’s gin to sustain you, Hopkins Deli can be a lifesaver when you don’t feel like taking a shower, getting dressed, and making 3 or 4 different stops. Since we moved into the Stately North Baltimore Pleasure Dome, its quickly become our go-to spot in the clutch.

Lets say you need a six pack of Lagunitas, some cheese fries and wings, a can of Maxwell House, a loaf of bread, a can of cat food, a mega millions ticket and a copy of the Sunday Sun… no problem. It’s all at your door in half an hour.

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Hopkins Deli is at 110 West 39th Street, on the ground floor of Hopkins House Apartments. 410-366-6603 or www.hopkins-deli.com For the record: times are never so desperate that we’re down to Kahlua and gin. That’s not how we roll.

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House Rules: The Chop Approves of Brunch

It’s Mothers’ Day in Charm City, and that could only mean one thing; its time to sit down to brunch.

At this very moment, cooks all over Baltimore are scrambling massive quantities of eggs, bartenders are making sure the Champagne is well-chilled, and servers are already daydreaming about how to spend an apron full of tip money. While Mothers’ Day is very closely associated with brunch nationwide, this scene plays itself out here in town every Sunday, and most Saturdays too. Baltimoreans have fully embraced brunch culture, and if you’re looking for a late-morning repast on the weekends, its almost easier to ask yourself who doesn’t offer brunch around here?

Nothing says decadence like Pernod and eggs Florentine in a fancy hotel on Sunday morning.

The Chop approves of brunch. If you find yourself at a brunch table, you know that you’ve done something right. More than a meal, brunch is a lifestyle choice. Even more than that though, its a lifestyle choice that is almost exclusively the province of the urban middle and upper classes. You won’t find proper brunch offerings at Granny’s Country Kitchen in Podunksburg, WV. Likewise you’ll notice that most of your better options for brunch are more Manhattan than they are Bronx.

Its always been this way. According to some website we found, the English invented brunch near the turn of the century when their aristocratic, fox-hunting, Tory asses came back to the Manor after a ‘hunt’ and had their butlers lay table with a proper meal decidedly different from a traditional English supper. Supposedly the practice was adopted at places like Oxford and Cambridge when the Brits wanted to combine eating with all manner of WASP-y pursuits like tennis matches, crew rowing tournaments, yacht regattas, etc.

Some other website we found suggests that the popularity of brunch is in inverse proportion to the popularity of Churchgoing. This would explain why its so well favored by coastal elite types and not the ‘real’ ‘heartland’ Americans in the flyover states. Still other sources note the link between urbanites who make a habit of drinking heavily late into Saturday nights and look to a long, leisurely meal of fruits, carbs, and protiens (along with a couple of brunch cocktails) as the best remedy for a hangover. The Chop falls firmly into this category.

A little old-fashioned, just a touch elitist, Godless, gossipy, drunk and delicious. Is it any wonder the Chop, and Baltimore, approves of brunch?

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How To Avoid a Ho-Hum Sunday

We need to talk about Sundays Baltimore.

You know, that time once a week when you’re caught between resting up from the better part of the weekend, putting off doing the laundry and changing the sheets, and a paralyzing fear of going back to work on Monday.

You don’t plan anything, open late and leave early, and its like a wild goose chase just to go get a six pack. And don’t even get me started on football season, your true religion. Fortunately the Chop has discovered the secret to beating the Sunday doldrums: a day at the movies!

Alice in Wonderland is playing at the Rotunda now.

Ever since the first time we saw a movie on a Sunday we’ve been hooked. No more waiting in crummy lines for tickets, no more of you (and you know who you are) trying to save 8 seats with two coats (you assholes), and especially no more punk ass high school kids screaming at each other, tweeting their half-assed opinions and forgetting to turn off their phones.

Nope. Sunday its just a half empty theater and people with no worrys about Monday. So we’re going to go see Alice in Wonderland tonight. Even if it may not be a good movie, we expect its still a good date movie.

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