Thursday, January 31, 2008

UPDATE: Getting Medical

UPDATE: All is well. And, bonus, I'm not pregnant! Details forthcoming... must prepare for the return of LOST. And by prepare, I mean get lots of beer.


So I'm going to be at a doctor’s appointment for the remainder of the day. It'll be my first, full physical examination in over eight years. I'm expecting it to go poorly. While I'm away, here's the kicky, new, non-medical-related music video from one of my favorite bands:

"Sax Rohmer #1" by The Mountain Goats

Do enjoy, and I'll catch you after the doctor yells at me for being a fat ass. It's going to be awesome!!!

Restaurant Week, Pt. 3, or, "Finishing Well"

NOTE: I promise this is the last you'll hear about Restaurant week. I'm starting to feel like that one chick in a bar who goes on and on about her theater company for two hours; sure, guys will listen to her, but it's only because she's hot and they're trying to coax her into the sack. What I'm trying to say is, I know you all want to sleep with me. Sadly (for you), listening to me blather on about restaurants is the price of admission.

After last night's disasterpiece of an evening, I was a tad hesitant to jump right back into the Restaurant Week fray in much the same way that Police Chief Brody wasn't totally cool with boats after he watched Quint get turned into chum. But seventies-blockbuster references aside, there was as good a chance as any that we were in store for another night of lousy food, ass-y service, and the general malaise that comes with having a bad time in a crappy place.

But, rather than meekly head home to our apartment and feast on the bitter salad of our collective cowardice, we decided to seize the moment... to roll the dice, consequences be dammed!

Turns out, kids, it's true what they say. Fortune does in fact favor the bold (hi, that's us).

Our meal last night was fantastic and right now, I'd like to tell you just a little bit about why it was so kick-ass. Hey, where are you going? Get back here, motherfucker... we're talking about fancy food, here! It's a subject we should all be interested in. If you can sit there and listen to me yammer about roast beef spread, you can handle a few minutes on duck breast "sous-vide." Not that I know what that means, of course, but still.

2ND NOTE: I just looked up "sous-vide" cooking. It's weird, but awesome, and I wished I known what it was last night while I was chowing down.

So we ended up going to this place called Icon, which is located in the super-fancy-in-a-Blade-Runner-nightclub-sorta-way "W" Hotel over by Grand Central. When we arrived, we were the only people in the entire restaurant who weren't being paid to be there. Eating in an empty dining room is way strange; it just feels like a mistake, like it's the photo negative of eating by yourself in a restaurant that's crowded. Fortunately, our waiter didn't make us feel like total farmers for being there so early, or for ordering off the Restaurant Week menu. He was ultra-slick; one of those dudes that you can tell has been a waiter all his life and could probably do it with one hand trapped in a sous-vide machine if he had to. The dining room, too, was that perfect balance of comfortable and classy that only the best joints get exactly right. Certainly preferable to freezing your ass off next to an open door all night, you hear me, Marseille?!?!

Anyway, the food... the reason we'd picked Icon was because it's a place that dabbles in molecular gastronomy, which is basically the adding of techno-science to food. Lots of powders, foams, and ice creams made from things that even Ben & Jerry would shirk at. But, seeing as how we're adventurous little soldiers, we were up to the bizarro challenge. Now, let me just say for the record that while my food was delicious, Girlfriend's was a couple of notches above that. I chose well; she chose wisely (which I guess means that I'm rapidly aging with an knight in a cave somewhere in the Middle East, at least metaphorically speaking). Let me walk you through the wonderland:


I had a "Deconstructed Cobb Salad," which basically meant that it was a salad where all the ingredients were stacked up like a tower, as opposed to mixed as per tradition. It was quite tasty, with big hunks of bleu cheese that were probably more expensive than my first car in High School, and it had a powder on the top of it that tasted exactly like a hard-boiled egg. So that was cool.

Girlfriend had a sweet corn soup with a "crab puff;" I put it in quotes because it was basically just seasoned crab meat that had been... for lack of a better word... puffed up, somehow. There was also a popcorn powder as a garnish, much like my egg powder. Girlfriend says that this soup was the best she'd ever had in a restaurant and believe me when I say that she's not prone to hyperbole. I tasted it; it was like distilled Nebraskan sunshine, so she's not far off.


I had the aforementioned duck breast, cooked sous-vide style, with roasted figs, carrots, and... here's the kicker... sweet corn ice cream. Oh yeah! Sounds gross, right? It was awesome. Particularly... and this is going to sound gross too... because they had it resting on a these little crunchy nibs of puffed up unsweetened cocoa. Corn and dark chocolate, together at last in a creamy, frozen ball of dreams. Also, the dish itself was laid out to look like the floor of a forest in Autumn; scattered leaves and such. Quite pretty.

Girlfriend had a red snapper with a pepperade (a kind of pepper sauce), black olive puree, and marinated, roasted eggplant. Again... mine was quite tasty. However, I honestly considered cold-cocking her with the pepper grinder and stealing her plate. The flavor of her fish, with it's accoutrements, went above and beyond mere deliciousness and out into the ether. It was like being dragged through the Mediterranean by your tastebuds, but in a good way.


I had some sort of chocolate ganache with house-made pralines and a vanilla ice cream that could get you drunk if you ate a pint of it. Everything was tasty, but it wasn't...

A deconstructed Snickers bar, which was what Girlfriend ordered. We're talking the deepest, darkest chocolate ice cream known to man, coupled with a block of frozen, whipped nougat with peanuts, a mound of ground cocoa, caramel sauce, and a wafer of pure, unsweetened chocolate to top it all off. It was dessert from a place beyond the stars, made by hyper-intelligent beings that make Gordon Ramsay look like a college freshman making Kraft Mac n' Cheese on a hot plate in a dorm. I, as you may have noticed, am prone to hyperbole. Still, though... excellent.

And there you have it. Restaurant Week, for us at least, has ended with a bang. I will now officially shut up about it. Until next time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Award-Winning Art (With Discussion Questions For The Classroom)

"A Circus Clown Flipping Off A Bowl Of Guacamole"

-Note the way the yellow of the clown suit contrasts with the blackness of the guacamole pedestal. What does this say about the state of contemporary literature?

-What does the clown represent? Why is he so angry? And most importantly, why are his shoes the same color as his suit? Is this an allegory for the plight of the working man, or did the artist simply forget to make them a different color because he is forgetful and not detail oriented?

-The clown's nose and hair are the same color as the tomatoes in the guacamole. How does this offend you? Does it make you question your religious beliefs?

-Given that the guacamole is intended as a commentary on our nation's out-of-control war machine, do you think the artist should have drawn in a few lime wedges as a garnish/subtle reference to Karl Rove? Why or why not? Furthermore, wouldn't Karl Rove be an awesome name for a bassist in a Swedish black metal band? Imagine Karl Rove with a long mustache and a pentagram necklace and you'll see what I mean.

-Man, couldn't you go for some guacamole right now? And maybe a margarita? Dude, that would be sooooo tasty...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Restaurant Week, Pt. 2, or, "The Dud"

So, last night was our second excursion into the heart of NYC's Restaurant Week. It was, in a word, lame. In a few more words, it was a giant, swirling maelstrom of mediocrity that left us shattered and broken, alone and lost, casting our eyes towards the heavens and asking of a cruel, uncaring God, "Why, Lord... WHY???"

Okay, maybe that's overstating it a bit. But it wasn't good.

The restaurant that we went to was called Marseille and I get the impression that, were we to go there and order off the regular menu, perhaps while having a bottle of wine or a few drinks, we'd probably have a fine meal and a lovely time. However, since that wasn't the case... since we were there to participate in the Restaurant Week prix fixe menu... we were immediately awarded lower-class status, in both the qualities of the food and the service. Let me put it to you this way: if Marseille had been the Titanic, we'd have been down with the Irish dancing jigs from the old country and then drowning because there weren't enough lifeboats.

The service was just abysmal. We barely saw our waiter; as soon as he got wind of our Restaurant Week odor, he pretty much disappeared. And when we did see him, there was definitely some 'tude. I mean, he didn't try to pee on us or anything, but still... we were not his favorite table, that much was clear. Also, we were seated off in a corner, next to the restaurant's side exit. It's heavily trafficked side exit, I should say; every few minutes, the door would open and we'd get a nice blast of cold air from outside. Totally awesome conditions for dining, for sure. In general, the joint's ambiance left a lot to be desired; noisy, cramped, and hurried. Girlfriend likened it to the sort of atmosphere you'd find inside an Applebee's and that pretty much tells you all you need to know.

But what of the chow, C-dog? All the sins in the world can be washed away with a good plate of delicious deliciousness! True, and that would have a gone a long way to making last night thumbs-up worthy. Sadly... woefully... it wasn't to be. The cooks somehow managed to pluck the word "meh" out of the air and rub it all over our food before they served it to us, particularly where the main courses were concerned. Girlfriend had a crispy skate wing that was okay, but it had a ton of unnecessary crap on it... a variety of sauces, garnishes, and somewhat-cooked vegetables that made the whole dish confusing. I had scallops with cabbage in a bacon sauce which sounds great, in theory, but in application was waaaaaaay too rich; I felt like I was eating a block of butter that had been rolled in salt and, truthfully, that's what I'd had for lunch. And for desert, we had the first thing in all of our Restaurant Week dealings that was totally inedible... Girlfriend's bread pudding. Dry, bland, and as unmemorable as a tiny fart first thing in the morning. Even with my help, she wasn't able to finish it. Believe me, it was heartbreaking. No really, I cried a little.

Basically, I guess, we just felt like the restaurant didn't care. Which begs the question, why do Restaurant Week in the first place if you're just going to treat the people who show up to participate like crap? Seems kinda counter-productive, to me. Then again, what do I know... I'm sleeping down in steerage with the goats.

Canned Cheeseburgers Are Gross (Probably)

Yep, it's a real thing; an idea, incidentally, that Girlfriend had over a year ago (she called them "can-wiches"). We are so going to sue their Alps-lovin' asses! Granted, the only proof we have is my testamony, but still... I think we've got a shot. Who wouldn't believe a handsome, well-dressed man such as myself? No one, that's who. Anyway, since it's not our product... for the moment, at least... here's:

Everything Wrong With A Cheeseburger In A Can

No customization - Personally, I'm not a fan of lettuce. If I were going to get cheeseburgers in a can, I'd want them without lettuce. And extra mustard. Because I loooove mustard. Do you, European Rip-Off Company, offer your canned cheeseburgers without lettuce and with extra mustard? No... no you don't. You Swiss bastards.

Metal taste - If a cheeseburger sits in a can for up to twelve months, won't it start to taste exactly like the can? I mean, when you put whiskey into oak barrels, that's what happens, and I've always said that cheeseburgers are the whiskey that you can eat, so... just sayin'... you're going to have metallic-tasting food with these things. It'll be like tea-bagging the Tin Man.

Bad jokes- This product is leaving itself open to thousands of lousy "Hey... nice cans!!!" jokes. And nobody wants to eat food from a sad person's desperate cry for attention. Also, there's a lot of play to be had with "meat in the can"-style humor, if that's to your particular comedic taste.

Soggy buns - No way that shit's bakery fresh. It's not even heroin-den fresh. It's more like busted-septic-tank-in-a-Bosnian-backwater fresh. Also, I bet there's no option for a wheat bun.

Salmonella - Lots of it. That's practically the main condiment.

There's probably a lot more things wrong with the cheeseburger in a can, but I don't have time to list them all. I have an opening argument to write.

I Am Looking Good Today

I know it's rude to brag, but some days... well, some days you've just got no choice. And today, kids, just happens to be one of those days. I, C-dog, am looking fiiiiiine. Oooh, yeah! Got on my fresh threads, my hair's looking as sharp as it's thinning-self possibly can, my face is... well, my face is a little fucked up because I've got *yet another* cold sore in the corner of my mouth, but whatever, we're ignoring that because, as I said... fiiiiiiine. If you saw me right now, you'd say, and this is a 100% accurate quote, "Damn." Then you'd most likely faint with a case of the vapors.

This whole dressing up thing, mind you, isn't a usual occurrence. I tend to dress like a particularly down-on-his-luck vagrant who's only heard of soap in tall tales told by other hobos around the hobo fire where they eat their hobo chili and drink hobo coffee and, once the fire's been doused, make sweet, sweet, hobo love. I've never met a piece of clothing that had too many holes in it, or whose pits were too stained from years of use. I've worn shoes that were so wrecked, they'd morphed into sandals. Normally, I could give two shits about my appearance, preferring to coast along on my charm, wit, and my white-hot dance moves (The Worm, The Running Man, The Roger Rabbit, and The Electric Slide). The fact that I've gotten nowhere in life and am a constant embarrassment to my friends and family is of little consequence... I'm my own man! An unbelievably shabby man, but still.

Unfortunately, there are times when being my own man is directly at odds with what is socially acceptable. Sometimes, much to my chagrin, there are moments when life requires of me a little sartorial flash. This is where I'm lucky to have Girlfriend in my corner... she's got an eye for what looks good on me (large, high quality tents) and she can, when called upon to do so, dress me to the point where I look like a guy who's never once found a dead mouse in his clothes. Believe me, it's a magic trick worthy of Penn & Teller.

And that happens to be the case today; we're going out for dinner this evening (Restaurant Week continues) and because the place we're going to is fancy-pants in nature, I dove straight for the part of the closet where the things she's bought for me hang.

Now, sadly there was no time for me to snap a picture of me in my snazzy gear. But as luck would have it, I'm such a talented artist, I was able to throw together a quick sketch of the outfit for you to look at, longingly and lovingly. It's basically going to be like a sensual rubdown for your eyes, so get ready for that. Here's me, now, looking so fucking handsome the whole world be buggin':

Black pants, slick blue sweater, black shoes, and the sun shining just for me. What could possibly be better than that? Well, me in the nude, of course. But that's a post for another time.

ZFS!: After Dark...

Monday, January 28, 2008

It Sounds Like They're Bombing Dresden On The Floor Above Mine Here At The Office

They must be renovating or moving in new office equipment or... hell... they could actually be bombing Dresden. Maybe the 7th floor of this building is like a stargate to an alternate dimension where it's always the bombing of Dresden. I mean, who really knows what's happening on the floor above them? It's a Schrodinger's cat-style experiment in thought if ever there was one. And it really opens up your mind to a whole panoply of previously unimaginable possibilities. Really... what's up there? Maintenance men? Robots? The monster from Cloverfield? All of those things, or something else entirely? Who knows?

Well, whomever it happens to be, they're being awfully loud and I don't care for it.


Potential Zombie Apocalypse Coming Soon

Apparently, a U.S. spy satellite is expected to crash land on Earth at some point in the next couple of weeks. No one knows what's wrong with it, no one knows where it's going to land. The only thing we do know, is that this is how all the trouble started in Night of the Living Dead. And if I've learned anything from horror movies, it's that they're all completely true (Freddy haunts my dreams, for reals, yo!). So... get ready to aim for the head, folks. Get ready for the long battle against the walking corpses sent straight from hell. But first, read about how it begins here.

NOTE: Sorry for the article's distinctly Canadian point of view. Not that there's anything wrong with Canadians, of course; their points of view are quite valid.

It Came From Chinatown...

Girlfriend brought this home from an excursion to Chinatown yesterday and we don't technically know what it is. Perhaps you can help us out:

Okay, yes, we know it's Green Green. It says so on the label. But even if it hadn't, we could have very easily deduced as much because the liquid inside the little, plastic bottle can only be described as "green green." In fact, it's very green green... alarmingly so. It's a color not found in nature, that's apparent; truthfully I believe it's a shade of green last spotted in the wardrobe of TLC during the early-90s, before they stopped wearing condom eye-patches. Where has Green Green been hiding? What secrets lie within?
The best that we can tell, it's plant food. "Green" is synonymous with plants, after all, and doubling up on the word can only mean that it's extra for-plants. Right? Also, the lone graphic on the bottle is vaguely floral. I mean, you could make an argument that it's actually a picture of a fat infant wearing a chest medallion from a "swords-n'-sandals" epic, but that's a bit of stretch. Honestly, I'm not even sure why you brought it up.
But what if it's not for plants. What if it's... I don't know... some form of liquid candy. Or dishwashing soap. Or a sample of irradiated drinking water like in Erin Brockovich? Oooh, what if it's an alien's blood and they come looking for it all pissed because, hey, that's their blood and they want it back??? Wouldn't that be awesome?!?! I'd get to fight aliens! Or more realistically, I'd get shot in the face by their crazy alien technology... still, though... what a way to go out.
Whatever, it's probably just plant food. Unless you guys have any better ideas? Because if we can't figure this out and it ends up killing Girlfriend's plants, I'm going to be mighty pissed. And then I'm going to have to have a long, stern talk with Chinatown about properly labeling their weird bottles of goo. And nobody wants that.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An Index Of My Various Pains

Knee - Yesterday, while venturing out for more cough medicine and some beer (I was going to mix up a little cocktail I like to call, "Sad"), I somehow managed to hang the toe of my shoe on the curb as I crossed the street. I came down hard on my right knee... fatty go boom. My knee's all banged up, an artist's palate of colors, and every time I move it, it feels like someone has coated the joint in steel wool and tin foil and a textile version of the sound that's made when you drag a rusty hunting knife across the door of an old El Camino. Let this be a lesson to all of you: If you're fat, don't fall down. Ever. For one thing, you'll look like Shamu doing a belly-flop at Sea World and children and the elderly alike will laugh at you so hard that they spit out their candy and false teeth, respectively. But mainly, you shouldn't fall down while being fat because the weight of your mass will only make the injury worse. It's like if you got shot with a bullet that also had a tiny gun on it that could shoot more bullets once it's inside your body. Yep... it's exactly like that.
Gum Line - I've got this canker sore at the part where the gum meets the lip right over my upper bicuspid. It hurts to smile, it hurts to eat, it would probably hurt to drink if I drank anything other than alcohol, which numbs it and numbs me and disinfects the wound and runs for President and makes waffles and goddamn alcohol is so fucking cool, it's like it's from another dimension where pleasure rules and bad feelings are farted into outer space to burn up in the atmosphere. Anyway, this canker sore is lame-ass and it makes me feel like my mouth is giving me the finger.
Chest - It's full of mucus, so every time I breath in, it sounds like a guy with maracas falling down an open sewer pipe and landing on a pile of rattlesnakes that are really into rain sticks. It's especially noticeable when I'm laying down, which makes sleep an ordeal on par with getting a bear hug from The Blob. In so much as The Blob is a big wad of smothering crap; I'm not saying that my chest mucus dissolves me like acid from another planet. Though I guess it could be of martian origins... the truth is out there, after all, or at least it is according to my nerdiest of nerd fantasies. Mulder and me fighting aliens while Scully looks on and says, "Hey big boy, you wanna see an Unidentified Flying Vagina?"
Lip - Girlfriend and I were engaging in some pretty rowdy foolin' around the other day and, during it's course, she kinda ended up biting my lip. It hurts, but it hurts awesome!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Movie Poster A Go-Go

Diary of the Dead

I know this is kind of sacrilege, me being a gigantic horror nerdwad and all, but... um Mr. Romero... you can stop now. No, no... we're good. Just, you know, retire or something. Why? Well, because, you know your last movie, Land of the Dead... yeah, you had the zombies in it figure out how to use guns. Zombies with guns... cool in theory, silly in execution. I know, I know... you're an icon and a legend and you basically gave birth to the zombie mythos, but still, I think it might be time to pack it in before we end up with zombies driving back-hoes, say, or shopping for a washer/dryer combo at Sears. Also, and this totally isn't your fault, but Cloverfield kinda beat you to the whole "end of the world from a video camera's POV" thing. I'm not saying there's no room for another story in a similar style, I'm just saying that if all you've got is a stylistic gimmick... well... you know... I hear that there's some lovely condos in Florida. They have shuffleboard!

Midnight Meat Train

Creepy! I have no idea what this is about (other than it's based on a Clive Barker story), but this poster is giving me serious flashbacks to my first years here in New York when I worked a night job and consequently had to travel home on the subways at one or two o'clock in the morning. I can just picture looking up from whatever book I'm reading and seeing the vague, fogged-out figure of a man staring at me from the next car as he holds a meat-tenderizing mallet in a menacing fashion. Then I'd have to fight for my life using only my stylish man-bag and a Stephen King paperback. But it does no good, because he just keeps coming for me... smiling... his eyes dead and soulless... Holy shit, I just scared the crap out of myself!

Mamma Mia!

I'm kind of torn with this one because, well for one thing it's a movie adaptation Mamma Mia!, a Broadway show that even it's cast members think is "just okay." Then again, I'm such a musical theater junkie, the prospect of any movie with purty sangin' and dancin' in it makes my big, gay heart do a shuffle-ball-change of glee. So what to do? Well, there's obviously only one solution... go see Mamma Mia!: The Movie but do so in drag so I won't be recognized. Sure, I could just wear a fake mustache or something but... no... drag is definitely the way to go. Look, I want to wear a dress when I go see Mamma Mia!, is that so wrong? It's not skimpy or anything, don't worry. It's very tasteful.

The Bank Job

I'm not sold on this Jason Statham character, but I've got to admit that this poster is one of the coolest that I've seen in a really long time. It looks like something from the Steve McQueen school of action films, where the men were MEN (all caps) who drank whiskey, fought bare-knuckled, and wouldn't dream of going to see Mamma Mia! even if they were trying to put the moves on a spicy piece of arm candy because the canary wouldn't sing in the clink and it's the chair, for you, Johnny, you low-life scumsucker on the take!!! Who's really running things at City Hall, huh? WHO??? Uh, sorry... got a little... yeah... anyway, The Bank Job probably won't be anywhere near as cool as this poster makes it look, but that's okay. It's a really cool poster.

Prom Night

Because all those other remakes of old horror films have turned out just aces, I guess. Whatever. If you haven't seen the original Prom Night, it stars Jamie Lee Curtis and she does an awesome solo disco dance number for no reason and it's just all kinds of fabulously awesome. The remake will not be fabulously awesome, and that's a ZFS! guarantee!!!* What's more, from this poster, you can barely tell it's a horror movie. To me, it just looks like the prom queen's having a high-maintenance panic attack because her bouffant fell right before her spotlight dance. Just because you cast everything with an icy hue doesn't make it scary, graphic designers!!!
*not a guarantee

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Wish I Was In A 70s Rock Band

Because back then, you could be a lead singer no matter what, even if you looked like the kind of guy who sold speakers out the back of a van. And, if you wanted to, you could have Glam Dracula play circus calliope music on an electric organ during a live TV performance:

Or you could wear elaborate Native American headdresses but have your lead singer dress up like he was from outer space, all while singing a song with a chorus that's the national anthem from a small country in Nonsense-land:

Or you could just say "fuck it" and get so high that you think you're a romantic millionaire despite the fact that you dress like the Cowboy King of Garbage:

Now, being in a rock band is all about updating your MySpace page and being serious about wearing eyeliner and buying a solid gold car that's so expensive, it doesn't exist yet. Man, I wish I could travel back in time. And spontaneously gain musical talent. And grow a bitchin' mustache. Why does nothing ever go my way?

Restaurant Week, Pt. 1, or "Hard Of Herring"

NOTE: See what I did there? I'm the first person to ever make that joke. It's true; prove it's not! See, you can't. God, I'm so fucking awesome.

So it's Restaurant Week here in NYC... if you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's a magical time when all the fancy-pants restaurants in the city put out a special prix fixe menu that highlights what's good about their establishment (in theory, anyway) all for the low, low price of 35$ a pop. In plain English, this means that it's the one time of the year that poor people such as myself are allowed beyond the guarded doors and into the dining rooms of the privileged class. Sure, we usually have to eat in the men's room, or out back by the dumpster, but hey... good food is good food, even if you're having to fight off roving bands of alley cats while you eat it.

Oh but I kid high society... they'll be perfectly nice to you as long as you make it clear that you're inferior. I usually drop to my knees and bow to them like I'm an extra in Gunga Din. They like that.

Anyway, last night, Girlfriend and I headed out for the first of our three Restaurant Week excursions... as you may have gleaned from the picture up there in the corner, the name of the place that we went was called Aquavit. Okay, technically, it was the Aquavit Cafe, which is the less-expensive off-shoot of Aquavit that's located in the front of the restaurant. The "real" dining room is in the back and you have to present your credit score and financial history like in L.A. Story to get in there. I've heard rumors of it's glory, but they're just that... only rumors (I bet they eat diamonds there... diamonds made of people!!!). Regardless, we went and I can honestly say that the food was simply spectacular. Across the board, not an off morsel offended our tongues, and the waitress even complimented Girlfriend on her excellent palate after she was able to discern the presence of a subtle beet puree in the center of her chocolate cake (it was much better than it sounds). It's totally cool to be dating a gourmet; it makes me look all hoity-toity by proxy, when really I'm unable to tell the difference between foie gras and McNuggets.

But what I wanted to talk about specifically... and you might have figured this out already, seeing as how I tipped my hand in the title because I'm a terrible writer who's dumb and a stupid-headed fart-face (ha, ha just kidding; I'm slick like Rick)... is the herring.

Oh yes, herring. Oily, little fish that bring to mind old ladies in babushkas pushing hand-carts up Queens Blvd. But at Aquavit, herring is the crown jewel, provided you're comfortable with a crown jewel having gills. What I had, as was part of the prixe fix menu, was a tasting plate of herring; they have a variety of different preparations on the menu and this dish represented four of them. They were:

Pickled herring - Tangy, briny and with adorable little slivers of pickled red onions to... I don't know... counterbalance the taste nodules or something. I don't know how food works.

Herring in some sort of mustard sauce - Kind of sweet, actually. Tasty, but an alarming shade of yellow that would usually announce the presence of an infection.

Herring in an apple chutney with walnuts - Not bad, necessarily, but it did kind of taste like someone had dropped a fish into a glass of cider.

Herring in a sour cream sauce with soy-marinated salmon roe - Oh. My. God. Fish are weird, and their eggs are weird, but when you do to them what Aquavit did to these scaly, slimy bastards... man, it's like Lollapalooza, but with a mass of co-mingling flavors listening to Jane's Addiction instead of a bunch of gross hippies who think showers are the punchlines to jokes told by The Man.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: If you're in New York and you're here during Restaurant Week and you're generally open to trying things that might look kind of scary but actually aren't, then you should totally go to Aquavit and get the herring. And you should take Girlfriend, too; she'll be able to tell you why what you're eating is delicious. Which is always helpful, particularly if you're a total farmer such as myself.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let's Get Happy

After all the unpleasantness of yesterday, coupled with the general sense of "blah-ness" that accompanies the witch's-tit cold of January, I think it's fair to say that we could all use an injection of happiness and joy directly into our sadness buttocks. So, with that in mind, here's...

ZFS! Presents: "Cheer Up, Motherfucker," or, Seven Things To Be Happy About In This World Of Misery

1. You've still got your health. If you don't have your health, then at least you're not dead. If you are dead, AAAAAAAHHHHHH ZOMBIES!!!!

2. "Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball" by Dr. Hook (lyrics NSFW, but are awesome, so use headphones; if I could pick one, crazy-go-nuts hippie band to party with, it'd be these guys)

3. The Writer's Guild and the AMPTP are getting nearer to starting up talks again, which means that the long, national nightmare of no new House episodes might finally be over. Fingers crossed, kids! And lock the doors so they can't leave until it's all hammered out! Or until everyone's hammered!!!

4. I'm going to eat herring tonight at a fancy Scandinavian restaurant! Why should this make you happy? Um... doye, because you should always be happy for me when I do stuff. That's called the Blogger/Blog-reader agreement and it's practically like a law or something. But not a lame law, like "you have to wear pants in public." I was just trying to cool off my junk, dammit!!! And those Salvation Army workers were totally into it, I could tell.

5. USA!! USA!!! USA!!!

6. You know how you're at a bar, and it's kind of crowded, but not *too* crowded, and there's a really great song on the jukebox and everyone is drunk, but not *too* drunk, and you start singing along and then you realize that everyone in the place is singing along and for just a moment you're all connected as one voice calling out into the dark, inky void that is our existence on Earth? That's so cool when that happens. Particularly if it's a Peter Frampton song. Oooh, baby I love your way...!!!

7. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Then again, so was yesterday, and you didn't do squat about it. You sat there and watched American Idol and ate Cheez-Its. For shame! But it's cool, because a new day starts with every dawn! Life is a bowl of cherries! Buy war bonds! Breakdance with Jesus and sing out, Louise!!! PLATITUDES OF FAUX-CHEER!!! WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Meat, Wonderful Meat!

While I usually prefer to have all posts regarding the consumption of unhealthy, possibly lethal, foodstuffs to revolve around me and my handsome face doing the actual consuming, there are times when I can do nothing more than sit back in awe while heartier souls take center stage. An alert and shockingly brilliant reader, one Clay M., was kind enough to pass along to me an article regarding some brave, mad reporters in the Seattle area who... despite all better judgement... created... wait for it, wait for it... cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped, deep-fried hot dogs:

That's a picture from midway through the process... just a taste of what lies ahead. Do give it a read and think of me, wistfully sitting here at my cube, wishing I had the stones to tread so swiftly across such bold culinary grounds.

The article, with recipe, is here. Godspeed, you hard artery-having bastards! GODSPEED!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger: Dead

For once, I don't even know what to say. He was a great actor, one whom I liked immensely, and this is just a waste of a talent and a waste of a life.

UPDATE: Looking more and more like it might have been an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. We'll see, I guess; not sure if that makes it better or worse.

NOTE: Thanks to everyone for the emails, texts, and phone calls alerting me to this.

Award-Winning Oscar Nominations Coverage

You might think it impossible to accurately present award-winning coverage and commentary of the Academy Awards nominations, seeing as how I've only seen three of the movies out of the twenty or so that are up for the various major categories. However, you're forgetting one thing... I have a blog, thus I have opinions, and dammit, those opinions don't need to be informed to be heard! That's basically what blogs are all about. Doye, I thought you knew that. Anyway, let's... oh, wait, my mistake... some blogs are also about displaying pornography. Sorry, just wanted to make that clear. Okay, let's get on with it, shall we...

Best Original Screenplay

Diablo Cody - Juno
Nancy Oliver - Lars and the Real Girl
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Brad Bird, etc. - Ratatouille
Tamara Jenkins - The Savages

Alright, first things first, you can cross of Nancy Oliver. Every review that I read of Lars and the Real Girl said it was "kinda cute, I guess... what else is on," so I think we can all assume that it's inclusion on this short list was some sort of book-keeping goof. Also, Ratatouille? Really? I mean, it was pleasant enough, but I don't know if I'd flat-out call it an Oscar-worthy film. I guess I just like my movies about rat swarms to include some gory murders, like in Willard. Anyway, Michael Clayton is probably too much like a book you buy at the airport to read on a plane, and only six people saw The Savages (even though it had a cool poster done by Chris Ware), so I think we can safely say that the prize goes to Diablo Cody, whom if I'm not mistaken is the daughter of Iron Eyes Cody, the crying Indian from the 70's anti-litter ads. Right? No? She was a stripper? Wow... okay, I'm taking off my pants...

Best Adapted Screenplay

Christopher Hampton - Atonement
Sarah Polley - Away From Her
Ronald Harwood - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Coen Brothers - No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

The Coen Brothers should win because it's really nice to see two brothers getting along so well together. Also, No Country For Old Men was neat-o. But, for the sake of argument, let's briefly look at the other contenders: Christopher Hampton won't win because Atonement looks like a boring chick flick about love and cooties and whatnot. Sarah Polley should just be happy she got out of the mall full of zombies for long enough to write anything, much less an Oscar-winning screenplay. Ronald Harwood's movie was in French, so who cares. Paul Thomas Anderson is pretty cool, but everything I've heard about this movie has been regarding Daniel Day-Lewis kicking ass, not about the screenplay, which leads me to believe that Anderson didn't even do anything. He probably just said, "Hey, Mr. Mohicans, just make up some crap and we'll turn the camera on." Yeah, that's probably what happened.

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Ruby Dee - American Gangster
Amy Ryan - Gone, Baby, Gone
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Here we have the first of two Ah, They're Old, Let's Give Them A Nod And Maybe Some Pudding nominations (that would be for Ruby Dee, who at last count was eleventy-billion years old); she'll probably be in bed before the ceremony even starts, so we don't need to worry about her. This Amy Ryan lady was apparently really awesome, and I heard she swears a lot in the movie, which is always cool in my book, but probably not cool with the Academy squares. The one with the weird name is like thirteen, so we can cross her off because she's not Tatum O'Neil. And Tilda Swinton is so pale she looks like one of those things from Cocoon after it shed it's human skin. So that leaves Blanchett, who plays a dude. Playing a dude if you're a chick is pretty much like a having a gift certificate good for 1 Free Oscar. Playing a dude if you're a dude won't really get you very far. Take me for example; I've been a dude playing a dude for years. Nothing. Not even a Critic's Choice award, and they give those out at stoplights in Hollywood. Whatever, I don't even care.

Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James...
Javier Bardem - No Country For Old Men
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook - Into The Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

Hal Holbrook is the other old person who's getting an Oscar nomination because he's old. Sure, I heard he was good in Into The Wild, but still... old. Oooh, so how pissed do you think Ben Affleck's going to be when he finds out his younger brother got an acting nomination before him? I mean, yeah, he's already got an actual Oscar for writing, but come on... writers are nerds. Being an actor is way cooler, so I'll bet he's going to be soooo pissed. I bet Casey Affleck tries to mack it with Jennifer Garner now, and I bet he totally scores. I guess it really doesn't matter in the end though because Javier Bardem has already got this one tucked into his tasteful man-bag. He was so fucking scary in No Country For Old Men, the Academy is going to give him the Oscar just so he doesn't show up at their houses and make them call heads or tails.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchette - Elizabeth: First Blood Part 2
Julie Christie - Away From Her
Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose
Ellen Page - Juno
Laura Linney - The Savages

See, I'm torn here. Ellen Page and Laura Linney are both just smokin', but for two different reasons... Page because she's all hipster and gorgeous and looks like she could probably talk to you about records while wearing one of your dress shirts. And Linney is like that one English teacher you had in high school who you thought, just maybe, if you had the balls to ask... anyway, I don't know which one I want to win more, and neither does my penis. I guess it's kind of a moot point anyway, because Julie Christie and this Marion Cotillard person have been duking it out all awards season, so it'll probably be one of them. Oh, and can you fucking believe they made a sequel to Elizabeth? That movie was so boring, I actually fell asleep in the theater! No shit, and I stayed awake through the entire, four-hour Russian version of Solaris this one time, which was no easy feat, let me tell you. So yeah, let's make a sequel to a movie so boring, it makes dead people wish they were alive so they could kill themselves.

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Johnny Depp - Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones - In The Valley Of Elah
Viggo Mortenston - Eastern Promises

Yeah, Daniel Day-Lewis is going to win this one. Also, how hot is this list of actors? You've got serious, British hot (D-DL), you've got classic movie star hot (GC), you've got weird, goth-y nerd hot (JD), you've got grizzled cowboy hot (TLJ), and then, as a palate cleanser, you've got chiseled, ugly hot who's not afraid to whip out the wang while killing people (VM). If they show all these dudes on the screen at one time, every woman in American is going to kill their husband or boyfriend for not being up to the ridiculously high standards of the Academy who, turns out, are all total horndogs. By the way, Sweeny Todd was the last of the three nominated movies that I've seen and, for the record, Depp was just totally kick-ass in it.

Best Director

The Coen Brothers - No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Jason Reitman - Juno
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton

Julian Schnabel is all, "Oooh, I'm an artist, I only make movies when I'm not doing my paintings, which is all I really care about, fart fart fart!!!" So fuck him. Tony Gilroy and his little lawyer movie are good, I'm sure, but eh. Jason Reitman directed a comedy, thus it's a fucking miracle on par with the 1980 USA victory over the Russians at Lake Placid that we're even talking about him at all. Paul Thomas Anderson's initials are PTA, which is just silly. So that leaves us with the Coen Brothers. Such nice boys. I hope they win, because I bet it would make their mom really proud. Julian Schnabel probably doesn't even talk to his mom because it's "not what an artist does." Jerkwad. Jerkwad Schnabel, that's his new name.

Best Picture

No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Michael Clayton

Okay, you can cross off Juno and Michael Clayton right away. A comedy won't win because it's a comedy and the little lawyer movie won't win because only like thirty people saw it, plus lawyers are so boring they should be in Elizabeth 3: Let's Get Legal, Y'all. Of the three remaining, you could probably count out Atonement because it's all froo-froo, lovey-dovey, and it's about war and we're all sick of that right about now. So it really comes down to two movies that are really depressing and feature bad men doing bad things to other people. At least No Country For Old Men has that; I assume There Will Be Blood does too. I mean, it says right there in the title that there's going to be some blood, so... you know... there better be, or America can sue for false advertising. It's true, I looked it up (not really). In the end, though, the Oscar goes to No Country For Old Men because it's the only one I've seen out of the five. And, as we all know, I have the best taste ever. Why would I have seen it if it weren't the best picture out there? Exactly, I wouldn't have.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oscar Nominations Tomorrow

Be sure to check ZFS! tomorrow morning for the best, in-depth, under-qualified, I-haven't-seen-most-of-the-movies, coverage on the internet!!! I would live-blog the press conference, but that sounds like a lot of work... typing, etc. I'd prefer to wait until there's a list online that I can copy and paste and then make fun of because, you see, I'm the front-runner in the catagory Best Lazy-Ass Blogger Who's Also So Cute That Women (And Some Men) Can Hardly Stand To Be In The Same Room As Me. I'm pretty sure it's not because of the odor. Anyway, be sure to tune in...

It'll be nominations-tastic!!!

Surprise, Surprise...

One of the things that I love about professional sports is that, every now and again, something totally crazy-go-nuts will happen and you'll get to lean back, take a sip of your beer, and think, "ah, isn't it nice to live in world where what should happen isn't necessarily what will happen." I'm talking about things like the Colorado Rockies making it to the World Series last year, or Villanova beating Georgetown in 1985, and now... well, last night, actually... the New York Giants not only besting the Favre-lead Green Bay Packers, but doing so at Lambeau Field under weather conditions that would compare favorably to those on the ice planet, Hoth (incidentally, people in Wisconsin call this "flip-flop weather").

Like, I'm not even a Giants fan... not in the least... but goddamn, you got to hand it to those guys. They earned their spot in the Super Bowl, no two ways about it. Even Eli Manning, whom I've called a dork on this very site, and whom I normally wouldn't trust to handle a run down to the Rite-Aid for candy, much less a football, showed up in Green Bay wearing his man-pants and his I-will-not-be-denied jersey. Even though I still think that he looks like a pouting thirteen year old when plays on the field don't go his way, I have to say, though I can barely talk through all this pride that I'm swallowing... well done, sir. Well done.

If they end up actually winning the Super Bowl, taking down the automaton robots from the future that are the New England Patriots, then I will be officially convinced that we've somehow slipped into an alternate dimension where up is down, your mom's home cooking tastes like a McDonald's Filet O' Fish, and the underdogs of the sporting world truly do rule the Earth.

Of course, that's not going to happen... the Patriots are going to treat the Giants like the big lizard-thing treated Manhattan in Cloverfield. But still, if it did happen... wowzers.

Now I've just got to figure out who to root for in two weeks. Choosing either the Patriots or the Giants... I don't know, there's a lot I'm going to have to get right with in my heart before I can walk down either of those paths. I guess the third option would be to root for neither and just watch the game for the glory of the sport and, of course, for the commercials. Hell, maybe I'll just throw all my considerable weight behind Tom Petty and hope against hope that he plays "Mary Jane's Last Dance."

Well, no matter what happens, let's not forget the most important thing... I don't have to go to work today! Thanks, Dr. King, for just being you!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NOTE: This picture (the funniest thing I've seen all weekend) brought to you via The Pompomist

Saturday, January 19, 2008


NOTE: Spoiler-ish stuff ahead, but I'll try to keep it to a minimum. I will tell you though that Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.

Okay, for those of you who want to know up front what my opinion of Cloverfield is, I'll sum it up for you right here: I thought it was awesome, scary, and a technical triumph that heralds the beginnings of a great genre director. If this Matt Reeves fellow isn't a future generation's Wes Craven, or John Carpenter, or David Cronenberg, then we're going to need Marty and Doc to hop in the Delorean and fix shit because something, somewhere has gone horribly wrong within our dimension's timeline.

Now, that being said, here's some things you need to know; the motives behind my stated opinion, as well as the plain truth regarding Cloverfield when it's not being viewed with the eyes of a 27 year old film nerd who's had a life-long boner for horror movies, high-concept or otherwise:

I was pre-disposed to like this movie - Pretty obvious to just about anyone that knows me. This is a movie directly targeted to the pleasure center of my brain. I love horror movies. I love horror movies that have monsters in them. I love horror movies that have monsters in them that do something different with the material; i.e. The Blair Witch Project. Basically, the blueprint for this movie has been in my noodle since I first stumbled down the "scary" isle in my local video store as a young kid. That someone finally peeked inside my head, sketched what they saw, and then splashed it up on the big screen with masterful strokes is nothing short of a personal miracle. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way; there's a lot of happy dorks out there this weekend, I can tell you that.

Cloverfield isn't what you think it is - It might look like a fun, smash-'em-up, gimmicky monster movie. It's not. It's a grounds-eye view of what happens when the End of the World shows up; it's a study in chaos, a three-credit lecture series on the bare bones of terror. If you were to take any sort of real-world national nightmare... a natural disaster of epic proportions, a terrorist attack, a military invasion... and give one of the fleeing, scared members of the throng caught in it's midst a video camera, the resulting footage would look very close, if not spot on, to what one sees in Cloverfield. Be ready for that. Or don't be; you'll have to pay the theater for the seat you shat in, but that's your choice.

There is a chance that you won't like this movie - And there's nothing wrong with that. Despite what I just said above, that's really just my opinion. People aren't going to get all of what I got from it, and that's not a bad thing, nor are they wrong to think differently than I do. Girlfriend, for one, thought it was just okay. When I asked her why she felt that way, the points she made were iron-clad valid. How this movie ends up making you feel is going to depend on what you bring to the theater with you, mentally. Personally, it chilled me to the bone and made me a little sick to my stomach; in a doomed way, not in a Salmonella way. It simply gave Girlfriend a headache.

The camera moves around. A lot. - If you know you get motion sickness, or if you know you can't take a lot jarring, jerky footage that's being shot while people are running, then seriously... stay home!!! You'll just make yourself miserable.

I can't honestly tell you what the monster looks like, even though it's on camera more than you would imagine - The creature design is... just... indescribable. Credit partially goes to the filmmakers for keeping things jumping around and obfuscated enough so that you only get a couple of really good looks at it, but even when you do see it full-on in camera... man, the thing is just so weird looking, so other-worldly... I imagine this is a lot like what people in 1989 felt like when they first saw H. R. Giger's creature in Alien.

You're just going to have to see it for yourself - That's really the end of the discussion. This is a movie so different, so game-changing, that you're really going to have to go in and draw your own conclusion. Unless you're easily motion-sickened. Then maybe wait for DVD.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Afternoon Hodgepodge

I just had quite possibly the worst burrito I've ever eaten. It came from the cafeteria here at my job and, supposedly, it contained chicken. Believe me when I say that it did not... instead, all it had inside was sweaty cheese, soggy "grilled" peppers and onions, and all the sorrow in Mexico. It tasted like the floor mat of my first car in High School and it looked like someone threw up a years worth of Taco Bell wrappers into a plastic container and called it "lunch" just to be ironic. Seriously, if I didn't have to work here every day, I'd go back down to the cafeteria and trash the place with my bare hands. I'm so glad I usually bring my lunch, I can't even tell you; I'd probably be dead from food poisoning or "the chronic scoots" otherwise. It's all cool though... tonight I'm eating German food. Sausage!


I'm really excited about seeing Cloverfield this weekend! Anyone else? It looks really neat-o. Plus, I'm a sucker for movies that have the potential to give me motion sickness worse than that one time I went on a glass-bottomed boat in Hawaii. I puked on a dolphin and he went, "Hey buddy... glass-bottomed boat foul." I was sad for a little while, but then we did the hula and I ate some poi, and I learned that "mahalo" means family from a little blue alien. It was the best trip that I ever made up just now!!! So anyway, yeah... Cloverfield is going to kick ass. It has a monster!


Sincere condolences from ZFS! to Lily Allen and Ed Simons. Shit's weak, and I know that's an understatement...


I got all my deadlines done ahead of schedule, so now I've got like three hours to kill before I can say "see ya" to this working week and say "howdy" to the Martin Luther King-Approved Long Weekend. How do I know that Martin Luther King approves of this weekend? Two words: Ouija Board. I can also tell you that Socrates thinks Cloverfield looks awesome too, even though Amerigo Vespucci thinks it looks like a Blair Witch ripoff and that he bets you don't even get to see the monster. Amerigo Vespucci is such a fucking asshole. Did you know that America was really supposed to be named after his first mate, who actually set foot on the continent first, but Vespucci snuck into the Continent Naming Office and switched all the forms around. It's true! That's why we're called America instead of "Dave Gunderson-topia."


Man, I could go for some candy right now. Somebody bring me some candy. I don't care what kind. As long as it's not toffee-based. Anything else, though... oh wait, no licorice. Licorice is for people who think candy should taste like punishment. Oooh, bring me Twizzlers!!! Or Nerds!!! Ooooh... I WANT COW TAILS!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Inanimate Objects Quoting Movie Lines

My First Dentist Appointment In Five Years Was Cancelled

UPDATE: So I take off early from work, hump back to my neighborhood, walk a few blocks in the rain, and as soon as I get in the door at the dentists office, I get this: "Oh, are you Clinton? Sorry, we're not going to be able to get to you today. We're soooooo behind." And they were; the waiting room was jammed with like a million people, mostly kids, all of whom were whining about having to sit in a waiting room filled with millions of people. Not that I blame them. Anyway, we're going to try this whole shit show again next week. Until then, I remain un-mouth probed.

(that's what she said)


There's just no way that this is going to go well. My teeth suck. I mean, first glance, they look okay but... you know... when you really get in there and have a good look around, it's like a big, sweaty, rave party for cavities and all their gross, tooth-decaying friends. I have that all-too-familiar feeling that I'm going to be seeing a significant amount of mouth-pain and a harrowing amount of money lost before this is all over and done with.
Ah well... here's hoping I can score some Vicodin!

The Two Things American Idol Taught Me About Myself

Last night, just like a healthy chunk of our nation's population, I settled down with some fatty food and a stiff drink to watch the early days of American Idol: Season 7. We all know in our hearts that the audition episodes are the best part of the show; can't-miss TV if ever there was such a thing. It's got everything: Drama (manufactured or not), talent, freaks, deluded souls that make you feel much better about the way your own life is going, mean British and doofy Californian metrosexuals... it's the total entertainment package. And it also has, as it turns out, the power to shine a light on the dark corners of this man's soul. Yes, I learned a couple of irrefutable truths about myself last night... things I guess I always knew, but needed the aide of a popular reality show to really understand. Here's what I discovered:

I'm Nice - This was very surprising, especially when you consider that I initially wanted to watch the show solely to mock the parade of shameful sadness. But as each lumpy, atonal mess shuffled in front of the judges, I found myself saying, almost against my will, things like, "Oh, honey... no... stop before you get hurt!" And, "Simon, just be kind to him; he's clearly just a misguided person with a good heart!" And, "C'mon, give the kid a break, he tried really hard!" Seriously, where was this crap coming from? Girlfriend, who has a very healthy sense of schadenfreude (she's really looking forward to that lie detector show that starts next week), began to wonder just what exactly happened to her boyfriend; what turned him from a gruff, incredibly handsome wise ass into this cringing, bleeding-heart, sap who just wants everyone to not fight and get along? Hell, I'm wondering that myself. Apparently, the answer is quite simple: I'm nice. Ugh. Nice... like that's ever going to get me anywhere.

I'm Gay For Farmers - Maybe this was the real reason that I left Texas; maybe subconsciously I knew that I couldn't spend any more of my time around the polite, muscle-y hunks with soft, Southern accents or I'd eventually end up riding pillion on a horse through a field with my arms around the rock-hard abs of a stud named Tyler. I mean, did anyone else see this guy...

Jesus, he's like if Ashton Kutcher had to work for a living. I'm starting to think that I might have made the wrong decision with this whole moving-to-New-York thing. Girlfriend's great, of course, but she can't work a hay baler, nor can she rock a belt buckle like it was the grand prize in a Best Cuddler contest. And he sang George Strait! George Strait!!! It was all I could to keep myself from pointing at the TV and shouting, "I want you" like a pantsless Uncle Sam. Man, I bet he even makes you breakfast in the morning.
Anyway, so today is the first day of the rest of my enlightened life. It's scary, but it's exciting because I know now the true essence of myself. So if you need me, I'll be down at the feed store, winking at guys in roughed-up camo ball caps. Especially if they look as nice as I am!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Best A Cappella Version Of "Thriller" (With Full Choreography) Ever Performed By A Bunch Of Mormons

Ladies and gents, the BYU Vocal Point choir...

It's not quite the full-on masterpiece from the Filipino prison system, but still... I'd be lying if I said this didn't fill my heart with joy. And just think, they did it all without the aide of caffeine.

Arbitrary Rulings 10

Fruit - It's pretty cool, I guess. I had a bowl of pineapple last night (fresh from the little stand that never closes down the street from my apartment) and it was like eating big chunks of fresh, clean sunshine that had just enough sweetness to remind me that somewhere in the world, someone was probably falling in love. I also had some grapes, but they didn't really inspire any sort of emotional upwelling in me, so... you know... I guess they weren't trying hard enough. The other thing you should know about fruit is that you should never, never compare apples to oranges. That's like the "N-word" to them. Oh, also, bananas sorta look like penises. It's true! And hilarious!

Exit Sign - You don't get enough credit for the work you do, Exit Sign. You're always there, hanging out on the ceiling or on the wall just over a door, standing ever vigilante in your duty like a sculpture inspired by the word "readiness." It's hard to look at you without my eyes filling up and spilling over down my grateful cheeks. When that day comes, Exit Sign, when we suddenly need to find the exit of a building as quickly as possible, we know that you won't let us down. You'll be there for us, Exit Sign, when the rain starts to fall. Thank you... thank you... these are happy tears...

Once - Finally got around to seeing this movie and, going in, I had pretty much convinced myself that I wasn't going to enjoy it. It's not one of my favorite qualities about myself, but I have a tendency to, when everyone in the world starts liking something hardcore, decide that it probably sucks and that I want no part of it. Usually, I do this without, you know, having actually seen or experienced the movie or album or book in question, thus making me the worst kind of culture snob outside of those Williamsburg skinny-jeans wearers who only listen to music by bands that don't exist and whose favorite movies are four hour documentaries on the plight of the Kurdish yak shepherd. Anyway, I bring this up because I want to point out that this line of thinking of mine is totally retarded... Once was an excellent, sweet, unexpectedly moving film and I've been listening to the soundtrack for like two weeks straight. The national consciousness occasionally gets one right, turns out, so I shouldn't be such a jerkwad about it. Here's a little taste of the film if you haven't seen it. This song makes me go, "grlmph," but in a good way.

Eli Manning - Dork.

Hiccups - Totally lame. I've got them right now and they're pushing me ever closer to the line where, once crossed, I have no choice but to trash the office with my bare hands and then go drink liquor from a paper bag while standing around outside of an Off-Track Betting parlor. What are hiccups, anyway? I don't think even science knows. I do have a theory, though, and if science want's to adopt it as medical fact, they certainly can... for a price ($85). The theory is this: Hiccups are farts with Masters degrees. Because they're at the top of their class, they get to exit the body out the mouth, as opposed to the butt. This is the highest honor a fart can achieve, so think about that next time you've got the hiccups. Sure they're still lame, but they're a kind of lameness that studies hard and gets good grades. At Fart University.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brad Renfro: Dead

Well that sucks. Apt Pupil should have blown him up, but for some reason it just kind of didn't. He did other things (Ghost World, for one), but nothing that really penetrated the nation's conciousness, or at least not because of him. Apparently he was quite the troubled dude... drugs, run ins with the law, etc. No word yet on whether or not any of this had anything to do with his death, but I'm sure it will all come out soon. He was 25, which I think we can all agree is far, far too young.

The story broke here; we're assuming, despite the source, that this is accurate information.

Lights In The Sky Over Texas

In the past week, there have been dozens of UFO sightings in and around the small town of Stephenville, which is located squarely in the hill country of... (sigh)... Texas. Naturally. And, just to bring this into my own backyard, so to speak, I've got family that used to live in that town; my cousin Jack, specifically, whose sanity I can personally vouch for. Not that it matters, of course. Because all people from Texas are automatically crazy!!! And racist. And they beat their wives in the kitchens of their government-subsidised housing because they forgot to hitch up the horses before the Mexicans fought us at the Alamo. Or some such. Anyway, before we get into this, let me offer up to you some choice quotes from the article, just to set the mood. Please note that all three quotes nicely cover the trifecta of Texan stereotypes:

We're Religious Nuts

"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times..."

We Often Kill Things

"You hear about big bass or big buck in the area, but this is a different deal..."

We're Unfamiliar With Logic, But It's Okay Because We're Also Stubborn:

"I didn't see a flying saucer and I don't know what it was, but it wasn't an airplane, and I've never seen anything like it. I think it must be some kind of military craft — at least I hope it was."

Mmmm... that's good cultural stereotyping by a large, media conglomerate. Particularly the last one, because you know it took the reporter hours to find just the right senile old coot sitting out front of a feed store to deliver that Gordian knot of a quote, which was most likely said through a mouth full of "tabackey."

Which brings me to the main issue at hand; well, two issues, actually... Texas, why do you always make yourself look stupid when the press shows up? And Press, why do you only seek out those in my state who are shy a few teeth, stopped going to school in the 7th grade because it was "horseshit," and live out on the back forty of some relative's property in an poorly ventilated trailer that's tilting to the left because it once got kicked by a mule? Why, I ask you... why? Look, whatever the reasons, I think that I can help mediate this divide, much like Jimmy Carter does when he's not writing poetry about peanuts (having free time and a blog are pretty much the same things as having a presidency under your belt, right?). I believe I'm going to address both of you separately. It's clear you can't be in the same room together without the idea of the
Texas Redneck Games somehow being brought up for an "on the record" discussion, so I think it'd be for the best. Texas, let's start with you...


Okay, My Home State, I'm going to be straight with you. I owe you that much. See, here's the thing... everyone thinks you're an idiot. I know, I know... it hurts to hear it, but it's true. It all started with Kennedy getting killed within your borders and, well, it just kind of went downhill from there. Not helping matters... Bush. The current Commander in Chief, not the annoying band with the handsome lead singer. What? No, just because I think Gavin Rossdale is attractive doesn't mean that I'm gay. See, Texas, this is the problem... you're too quick to judge, too quick to proclaim your opinion and, again... honesty... you don't always think things out before you do so. Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you should change your entire way of thinking; that would be a task worthy of Sisyphus and... Sisyphus... it's Greek mythology... guy pushing a boulder... look, not the point. The point is, I don't, and the nation doesn't, expect you to change. What I *do* expect from you is this: Find better representatives to speak to the Press. You know how you've got colleges in some of your cities? Yes, those places with all the "purty wimmen." Well, some of those "purty wimmen" go to classes that are taught by professors. Smart professors... you see where I'm going with this? No, you shouldn't go punch the professors in the face. You're killing me, Smalls. Oh, I see you got that reference... Greek myths, no. Sandlot, yes. Fine, whatever, the point is... get the professors to do the talking for you. They've studied books, they talk to people all the time, they're you're go-to guys now. They'll make you, and by proxy all of your natives, appear to the world at large as a community of thriving, intelligent beings. Who occasionally see UFOs. Like I said, we can't fix everything. It's all about damage control.

Okay, Press... your turn...


Look, I know you went to Yale and I know you've got sharp glasses that make it seem like you just broke the Watergate scandal, but let me point something out to you, Mr. Quasi-Bob-Woodward... you're covering the "News of the Weird" beat in Stephenville, Texas. Not exactly the White House briefing room, is it? So why don't we drop the high-faluten' attitude and not immediately zoom in on the one yokel in a Big Dog t-shirt who's standing around scratching his butt with one hand while misspelling his name on welfare checks with the other. I'm not naive... I know that Texas has more than it's fair share of dumbshits amongst it's population and, yes, I know that your Ivy League education and posh upbringing makes you infinitely superior to all of them. But c'mon, Texas has enough problems without you selecting Bubba or Joe Mack or Ray Ed as the sole representative of the state. I know it may seem like just an article about UFOs, but that's actually the problem... people read these sorts of things much more than they do pieces about tax reform or any sort of in-house governing. And, as that's the case, the only image the nation gets of we Texans on a regular basis involve people taking about "the end times" like it was an upcoming bank holiday. There's more to us than that, so please... lay off our state's goobers for a little while. Texas has agreed to letting some of it's professors from the colleges do the talking from now on, so be on the look out for them. They'll be the ones who speak in whole sentences and smell like they've heard of soap. Just say no to the people unironically wearing trucker hats. They know not what they say.

Okay, well I think we've done some good here. Fingers crossed, Texas! You're going to be a well-respected member of the USA in no time. And don't forget to keep watching the skies. Next time you see something, we'll be ready for 'em. The Press, I mean.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Worth Your Valuable Time

"The Shepard's Dog" is a kind of mellow usually found only at 3am on a Monday night after you've had too many beers and your roommate starts playing this old guitar he has and you can hear it coming through the walls of your room like ghost music from a long-razed hippie commune. Listening to it will make you want to take a long walk in a field somewhere on the outskirts of a major city right around sunset; it's an album that begs for golden light, open air, and a homey cabin in which the person you're in love with just happens to be making you some soup.
Above all, it's just exceedingly pleasant. Highly recommend, if you like that sort of thing. If your taste in music runs more towards Anti-Nowhere League, say, or the Wu-Tang Clan, then you might want to give this album a wide berth. But if you're a complex guy with a beard and the remnants of a drinking problem, and if you have trouble expressing your emotions and would prefer that a singer/songwriter do it for you, well then, you could do a lot worse than "The Shepherd's Dog."
It's the best Simon & Garfunkel album not made by Simon & Garfunkel, no joke.
NOTE: The whole thing is available for your free listening pleasure here. It's MySpace, but what can you do...