Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Food for iPod: On the Road With the Roots

I've had this on my computer and iPod for a while now, but I always enjoy listening to it: Hip-Hop 101: On the Road With the Roots (hosted by Chuck D) (

It's a public radio piece from 1996, following The Roots as they tour before their big breakthrough. It's an amazing look at a band on the cusp of fame and fortune, but having to sleep 5 to a room and drive themselves to and from shows. Great stuff.

Currently reading....

The always brilliant (well, maybe not How To Be Good) Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree, a comilation of his columns in the Believer magazine on the books he reads and means to read. It's often insightful, always funny. Highly recommended.

Once I'm done, I'm reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides).

I have been less than prolific with my reading for the latter part of the year, possibly because my commute got cut by half an hour each way when I moved from Astoria to Orchard St. Not that I'm complaining, but I miss being able to sit down and absolutely destroy a book before I get to work. I took me forever to read Stephen Kinzer's All the Shah's Men and Richard Russo's Empire Falls (both very excellent), and I read a good chunk of Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (a little disppointing other than "the Santaland Diaries" (you can listen to David Sedaris read this at and "Dinah the Christmas Whore") whilst waiting for the bus at PA.

So my resolution for 2005? Read more while not in transit. And I'm more than happy to take book recommendations - I usually try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction but I'm game for pretty much anything that's good.

If you forgot to get me a Christmas present, it's still not too late

Adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary: City Series (Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting)

Really, I don't care what city, though I like the NYC and London editions a lot.

Dreaming of a White December 27 - Christmas in South Jersey

Christmas cookie, yo

So when I say I went down to meet my girlfriend's family in Jersey and lived to tell about it, I'm only about 89% joking.

But anyway, here is my weekend. [click here to continue]
  • Maureen's folks were quite nice to me, believe it or not. I couldn't have felt more welcome.

  • For whatever reason, grown up folks enjoy feeding me, possibly because my body resembles a a matchstick. I probably had a couple of pounds of the not-exactly-Kosher ham, and that was before Maureen's grandmother fed me an additional pound of ham and some chicken cutlets.

  • You might find it odd that an agnostic boy visited his girlfriend's Jewish family to celebrate Christmas. My justification is that exchanging gifts and the Christmas tree are pagan traditions and the religious associations are simply matters of convenience. I'm happy to be heathen - you really get the best of all worlds this way.

  • South Jersey - lots of open spaces. It's nothing like North Jersey - this, I approve.

  • I got Maureen a bathrobe, a knit hat and a daruma as a "good luck" gift for her upcoming bar exam. I think she liked it overall. Well, I hope so. She got me a really nice sweater, a pair of Christmas-themed boxer shorts and coffee mug she painted. I like them all.

  • Two words: Trader Joe's. Two more words: Awe. Some.

  • This was my first time riding a Greyhound-style intercity bus to a non-Ikea location. Not exactly Queen Mary II, but still, I've heard much, much worse. You see, people who ride the bus are crazy. No, not all bus riders are crazy, but there is a higher percentage of crazy people than other forms of public transport. At least with air travel, fear of flight and security check seem to filter out some of the craziness - with buses, people can simply walk up to the gate and hand a ticket.

  • Case in point:
    We left New York the morning of Christmas Eve from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. We get there about an hour ahead of the 10 am bus, and there are already a few people waiting already, but we'll get on the next bus for sure.

    As we're getting settled in line, this lady's bag bumps into mine, and I say "sorry", expecting her to do the same. Nope. She gives me a dirty look because I had unwittingly obstructed her attempt to cut in the line. But undeterred, she pushes her way up the line. Maureen and I were like "Eh, what's one person." Actually, I didn't realize she was cutting in line because, really, that's not something I expected. Anyway.

    A not too much later, the line is getting longer by the minute and a Port Authority guy comes and asks us to squeeze in and make the line tighter. Easy enough. Except we notice the line cutting lady has left the line to get coffee and leaves her bags (only in New York can you leave a bag unattended and no one calls the bomb squad. Nice to live in such a safe, laid back city). Her loss, we figure, not being too sympathetic to someone who cut in line to get there in the first place.

    Five minutes later, the lady comes back with coffee, dismayed that we did not have the courtesy to move her bags when we squeezed takes matter into her own hands. She mumbles her way past us, well actually, she stops right beside me because he path is blocked. She tries continue mumbling way up the line but the guy in front of me is a little less generous than us.

    He is at first quite calm about it, but when the woman offers no response other than to continue her mumbling, he says to her, as any good New Yorker would, "Fuck you." At this point, her mumbling becomes a little more coherent, with a "fuck you" and a "stupid" peppered here and there. Bus terminal staff tries to get involved to no avail and the woman refuses to move.

    This gets a not-so-subtly racist comment from the guy, "You're stupid when you want to be stupid. All you people know how to do is count money," and the back-and-forth continues. Now, from a distance, this exchange must have sounded one-sided, as the guy was much louder and a younger Hispanic dude yells from further back in line, "Why don't you leave her alone." Now, the guy in front of me starts yelling at the other guy, and at one point uses the not-at-all-subtly racist phrase "fucking gook" (wait, I thought I was a "gook" - they use that word for Latinos now?), and a heated exchange ensued, "why don't you shut the fuck up", "you fucking pussy" and "why don't you come take me?" being the key phrases.

    Again, a bus terminal staff has to intervene. His insistence that they keep their peace since it was Christmas Eve fell on deaf ears, but things did calm down after he informed them that if they were arrested, they would have to stay in jail for two days, what with Christmas falling on Saturday. Ah, the spirit of Christmas prevails. After that, the exchange was reduced mostly to glaring and mouthing "fuck you".

  • The ride down was pretty uneventful. It helped that I fell asleep while the bus was still in the tunnel and I slept for a good 90 minutes of the trip.

  • Why do New Yorkers wait "on line"? That's the stupidest shit I've ever heard. A queue of people form an imaginary line and wait in that imaginary line because the queue is that line. Waiting on line requires one to draw an imaginary line beneath the already existing imaginary line created by the queue. It's redundant and repetitive. The phrase "wait on line" should be outlawed.

  • Saw the end of Sound of Music. I remember the Von Trapp Family Singers' singing voice being more believable. Ditto for the painted backdrop of the mountains.

  • Caught Closer at the local multiplex. Nice little movie - Natalie Portman was great, as was Clive Owen. Little disappointed with the lack of chemistry between Julia Roberts and Jude Law, but overall, enjoyable film that moved along pretty fast despite the talkiness. Still, $6 for movies? And you don't have to get there 30 minutes in advance? I suppose suburbia has its appeals.
  • That's all I can remember for now.
  • Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    Oh yeah, I'm back

    And yes, I'm back in NYC. Went down to South Jersey to meet Maureen's parents and I lived to tell about it... which I will do soon. Here.

    Hope y'all enjoyed your Christmas or whatever your winter holiday of choice is.

    Still having sidebar issues

    So the sidebar doesn't show up on Windows browsers, but appears perfectly fine on Mac OS X.

    I contacted the good folks at to see if they can find the cause of the problem, but in the meantime, click on the individual post title to access the goodies on the sidebar like TagBoard and post links, or better yet, you can stop using Windows. You'll thank me later.

    Ta la.

    Update - Thursday, 12/2
    So I got a response from Blogger today.
    Subject: Re: [#138090] sidebar not showing on Windows
    From: Blogger Support 

    Hi there,

    Please see our Blogger Help article on adding a tagboard to your blog:

    Please note that currently, Blogger Support does not support further
    questions regarding customized template code or CSS/HTML in general.
    Please see our Blogger Help article for a pointers to more resources:


    Blogger Support
    Thanks a lot for answering my question, fuckers. Blogger, you suck.

    Update - Tuesday, 12/28
    So it's happening again. Shows up fine on Mac but the bottom gets cut off and the sidebar doesn't appear at all. So I'll contact Blogger Help again but until this gets fixed, Blogger are a bunch of Suckity McSuckersons who suck a great sucking.

    Honestly, I'm seriously considering moving this sucker to a pay service like Typepad. Maybe next year.

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    Merry Christmas Eve, mini hibernation and a small token of my appreciation

    First off, Happy December 24, no matter your religion or Grinchiness.

    Hope you're staying warm, or if you must travel, travelling safely and comfortably.
    I probably won't be posting as much, as I will be heading to New Jersey to meet Maureen's family. Should be scary.

    Now, a small token of my appreciation to my loyal readers and web surfers who keep visiting my site via Google searches for spinach dip recipes. The Glasper asked before why a blog titled spinachdip nyc doesn't have any spinach dip recipes and Maureen thought it would be a nice gesture if I actually posted a recipe. So dear readers, here goes.

    Full disclosure time - I have actually never made spinach dip myself. Yes, as much as I love the stuff, I have never prepared one, so I had to look around for recipes. Frankly, I wasn't too impressed by any of them, but I did find one that I might be interested in doing.

    Warm Spinach-Parmesan Dip (epicurious)

    I think it looks decent. As with any spinach dip, artichoke hearts or water chestnuts are good additions. For a more basic, traditional spinach dip with Knorr vegetable soup mix served inside sourdough bread, you can go to Food TV.

    Cheerio. Happy everything.

    Missing the motherland

    Luminarie 2
    Originally uploaded by Akiko.

    So, as much as I love NYC, I miss spending the holidays in Japan.

    The above pic is from my hometown of Kobe. Every year since the big earthquake in 1995, they've brought in craftsmen from Italy to set up luminarie, these elaborate lights and they are absolutely beautiful.

    Check out more pics from my hometown via Flickr tag/Kobe.

    Thursday, December 23, 2004


    I was looking for a clean shirt tonight and grabbed one of my favorite tees. I bought this while Dirty was still behind bars, natch.

    In Ol' Dirty Bastard, we lost a special, if disturbed soul this year. He was all too often in trouble with the law or his own demons, but when he shone, he sparkled, a clown prince in an industry full of men who take themselves too seriously. He was no saint and he was rarely on his game, but I'll still miss him. Dirty wasn't the meanest or the prettiest, but he was the baddest mofo low down around this town. Sho nuff.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    The F-train saga continues

    Previously, I wrote, "If, in an otherwise packed train there's one train that is fairly empty, you never ever ever ever get into that empty car. Never," because it's almost always guaranteed to be an unpleasant experience. That time, it was a smelly homeless guy and I was struck (olfactorily) again last night. [click here to continue]

    This time around, the train pulled into 14th, fairly packed (is the F ever not packed?), but with most riders avoiding just one section of the car, so my empty car rule was thrown a curveball. Sure enough, there was a not exactly the cleanest looking guy sitting in one of the seats.

    I'm actually beginning to suspect there's one F-train smelly guy though that I run into though. I've had the pleasure of sharing a train with a smelly guy three times and it seems to be the same guy every time - a heavy set dude, looks a little bit like ?uestlove from The Roots (sans afro) with his sunken eyes.

    The smell seemed to be the same as well. No, I'm not a B.O. sommelier who can deconstruct the odor into components ("hmmm, I sense a strong presence of stale, dried sweat, a hint of oak..."), but like the Old Spice commercial says, scent is the strongest scent tied to memory, and lemme tell ya, that smell is deeply etched into memory.

    The relatively good news is that the smell wasn't so strong this time that I only had to move a few feet away - or maybe it was because my nose was stuffed so I couldn't really smell it.

    In any case, I do feel somewhat guilty for writing this post - it's obviously not the guy's intent to foul up the entire subway system and it is just one symptom of larger problems the man, and the city, are going through.

    I boarded the train at 14th and the guy got off at W 4th. Not sure where he was headed.

    Previously: The F-train continues to deliver the goods

    Hope for all of us ugly people.

    From today's Fiver:
    The unnamed member of Real Madrid president Florentino PĂ©rez's inner circle, who said in January 2004: "How ugly is Ronaldinho?! There was no point buying him, it wasn't worth it. He's so ugly that he'd sink you as a brand. Between Ronaldinho and Beckham, I'd go for Beckham a hundred times. Just look how handsome Beckham is, the class he has, the image. The whole of Asia has fallen in love with us because of Beckham. Ronaldinho is too ugly."

    With that, congratulations to Ronaldinho, the 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year and one ugly motherfucker:

    Why you should stop reading this page on Internet Explorer

    Tuesday's Yahoo piece is pretty clear on whether you should stop using that clunker of a web browser we call Internet Explorer... [click here to continue]: "for general-purpose Web browsing, there is no reason to put off the switch a minute longer. Firefox, Netscape, and Opera are an impressive trio of IE alternatives that could help shelter you from the daily blizzard of Internet exploits." Plus, tabbed browsing!

    Not that I care that much though. I use Safari, which comes loaded on Mac OS X and works like a charm.

    In any case, here's a job I wouldn't want - defending IE to the masses, the press (Very Big Blog). Here's the part that stuck out:
    Mr. Schare has said that Mozilla's Firefox must prove it can smoothly move from version 1.0 to 2.0
    See, that to me represents what's wrong with Microsoft's business model. It's based on getting users to commit to its software and forcing them to move from version to version, instead of simply creating a software that works now. Microsoft is worried about creating a new version that's overloaded with features it wants to push.

    I guess it's good that consumers are slowly but surely finding that -gasp!- there are alternatives to Windows, IE and Office.

    Mark Cuban on privatizing Social Security

    Required reading regarding your financial future (Blog Maverick)

    This is a little old, but as the title suggests, it's a required reading. I don't read Mark Cuban's blog enough - he's always candid and isn't afraid to voice opinions on controversial subjects. This time, the follies of privatizing Social Security. [click here to continue]

    If you have the time, read the entry and the comments that follow. It's worth your time whether you ultimately agree with the Benefactor or not. Some good points in the feedbacks if you get past the predictable "It's my money and it's my right to squander it" comments.

    I don't know about you, but when a guy with a billion dollars (and doesn't work for a brokerage firm) offers financial advice, I'm listening.

    Gov. Pataki: Ain't no love for the heart of the city

    It's bad enough that subway fares will increase again next year. Now, thanks to a budge shortfall that Pataki is reluctant to make up, MTA will have to choose between scrapping expansion plans (including the much needed Second Avenue Subway) and letting the system go to the crapper by not performing neccessary repairs and maintenance. Great.

    Transit Chief Says Repairs Have Priority Over Expansion (NY Times) [click here to continue]
    [MTA chairman Peter] Kalikow has warned that the next year could be similar to 1975, when a financial crisis forced the authority to halt spending on basic maintenance. The system hit its nadir in the winter of 1980-81, when subway service was crippled by widespread equipment failures.

    "If we don't have the full $17 billion core program, you can write down, '2005 is the day the system reached its zenith, and is now starting its descent,'" Mr. Kalikow said.
    That's a comforting thought.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    Some music I'm listening to, some I'm not

  • I'm really digging PAS/CAL right now. You may remember their song, "The Bronzed Beach Boys" as the "Come On, Let's Go" song from a Saturn commercial. Download the mp3 and check them out.
    They also have a Christmas album together with my other new favorite group, Asobi Seksu

  • What is it about Swedish artists and their ability to create great pop songs? Anyway, I like this guy, JENS LEKMAN (via The Parallel Campaign).
    How can you not love a guy who titles his album "When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog"?
    Update: Stereogum has links to unreleased tracks (and comments) posted on Jens' site

  • Loyal readers know I love DJ Dangermouse's The Grey Album. Not nearly as good (but what is?), but still worth a listen is a mash-up of The Beatles and The Beasties, naturally titled The Beastles (via stereogum)
  • English-to-Ghostface Dictionary

    Thanks to Glasper on this find. Here's something that puts the Shizzolator to so much shame, English/Ghostface Dictionary ( This is an actual message board poster who takes English sentences thrown out by other posters and translates them into the playful metaphors of Ghostface. [click here to continue]

    Sample translations:
    English: I fell in love with a white girl who listens to metallica

    Ghostface: Catch me with Becky check me got open wide flank shit. Red cheeks spark leaf and let me spank it. Locked like Attica. Weak rebuild my character. Fuck if she smash guitars I'm bout to marry her!

    English: That Greek food made me nauseous

    Ghostface: I told Zeus to pass the grey goose. Something exploded and odor erupted. Soda pop bubbles started humming and old tune. "Excuse me Zeus, point me to your bathroom! This rhyme is like baclavas! Feta flaming! Cashews in my stool!" Fartin Olive Garden running to the toilet wallies sparking. Rocking back and forth time to get re-tarted!
    Brilliant. This kid has it down.

    U-G-L-Y, these tomatoes got no alibi, they ugly

    Previously: The Great Tomato Famine of 2004

    It's not bad enough Florida voted for Bush again (this time on purpose), now they're holding back tomatoes that could lower prices in this current tomato shortage because they're too ugly?

    Forget About Taste, Florida Says, These Tomatoes Are Just Too Ugly to Ship (NY Times) [click here to continue]
    Unlike the smooth, round baseball-size tomatoes usually shipped from Florida from mid-October through mid-April, the lush, vine-ripened UglyRipes have what the industry calls a "cat face," full of uneven crevices and ridges. The Florida Tomato Committee, a trade group that controls sales and shipments of round tomatoes, has determined that the brand does not meet its standards for shape, lack of blemishes and other defects.

    "The marketing order has nothing to do with taste," said Skip Jonas, the committee's compliance officer. "Taste is subjective."
    How are we supposed to teach our kids that looks aren't everything if we're too embarrassed to let perfectly good tasting tomatoes leave the state because of looks?

    Curses to you, Florida.

    Monday, December 20, 2004

    Netflix update: 12/20/04

    It's actually been about 20 days since I updated the list, and not much has been viewed since for a variety of reasons.

    Since the last update, I watched Jersey Girl (cute, but I get the sense that Kevin Smith overcompensated on the sugar, but still amusing considering the Ben-Lo breakup since the film was originally released), The Gangs of New York (wait, you're telling me Scorsese wanted this even longer? could've been much, much tighter) and The Office Special, as funny as the 12 episodes that preceded it, and managed to wrap it up nicely without overdoing the sentimentality.

    Honestly, I haven't been in the mood to watch Rashomon. Maybe tonight.

    Previous update: November 30, 2004

    Curry is awesome

    I love curry, I really do, and it doesn't really matter what kind for me. I usually get lamb or chicken saag if I'm at an Indian restaurant and I also dig Thai curry. But when I'm at home, nothing beats Japanese style curry. [click here to continue]

    It's easy to make if you use the mix they sell at Asian grocery stores (I normally go to JAS Mart at St. Mark's & 2nd Ave or Sunrise on Stuyvesant at 9th St & 3rd Ave) and it comes in various flavors and degrees of spiciness. For me, the spicier the better.

    You add chopped meat and veggies, and serve over Japanese style rice. The standard veggies are yellow onion, carrot and potato, but I use more than what it says on the box, and Ilike to add spinach, and you can also substitute sweet potato for regular potato.

    You just can't beat it in the winter. It's easy to make, it's easy to improvise and it's damn good.

    Sunday, December 19, 2004

    Allen St gets some NY Times lovin'

    NY Times on Allen St, the redheaded stepchild of 1st Avenue:
    Lately, however, Allen has been showing signs of life. In a few months, a one-block stretch of the mall will be cleaned, redesigned and replanted, the first step in what might be a larger rehabilitation project.

    Developers are carving up a longtime foam-rubber warehouse on the east side of Allen between Houston and Stanton and converting it into 10 retail spaces. Already, boutiques selling bikinis and cosmetics are filling triangular spaces - the remnants of the buildings cut into odd shapes when the city widened the street - shoehorned between tiny restaurants.

    Along Allen, new tenants include Lucky Jack's (which is a nice little place, not snobby or overpriced - ed.), an upscale bar (and eventually, restaurant) that opened five weeks ago on the block between Rivington and Delancey Streets, inside a former linens store, with entrances on both Allen and Orchard.

    Other newcomers include Lali Boutique at 196 Allen, an August arrival that sells crocheted bathing suits, and Moo Shoes, which moved to 152 Allen a year ago and sells 'alternatives to leather.'

    Jumping over from Orchard Street for a third of the rent and greater visibility, according to its owner, is Make Up Mania, which offers classes to would-be makeup artists who want to learn, say, how to create the illusion of bleeding bullet holes on skin

    The article also talks about the the bike lanes added this year, which I appreciate quite a bit and rehabilitating the mall in the median, which are severely underused.

    Though I'm not liking the high rise condo at 115 Allen or the possible new hotel at the corner of Houston.
    ...the proposed new hotel, still unnamed, which will tower over the street and certainly raise objections from those who frequently oppose out-of-scale projects.

    Yet these objections may be falling on deaf ears, as more residential buildings of this size crop up across the neighborhood, like the Avalon Chrystie Place a few blocks over on Houston Street, and a project once called the Surface Hotel that hovers over Rivington Street.

    The new hotel will have several dozen overnight hotel suites as well as condo-hotel units and luxury condo apartments; the precise numbers of each are still being worked out, according to the developer. The hotel is also supposed to have bars, restaurants and an outdoor pool and will have two entrances, one on Orchard Street and the other on Allen...


    Friday, December 17, 2004

    The OC Season 2 Episode 6 - How The Caleb Stole Chrismukkah

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 5

    "Oy, humbug."

    I'll try to keep this short, but as always, the operative word is "try".

    Let me just say that this was one of the best The OC episodes, not just this season, but in the series. Genuinely sweet and funny, never taking itself seriously ("Chrismukkah backlash has begun. It's getting too commercial."), but just enough drama to keep the story moving and keep me wanting more. [click here to continue]

    This is exactly what I've come to love about The OC, its ability to recognize and share the audience's thoughts (i.e. the annoyance with the over-the-topness of Chrismukkah), but not get so cheeky that we lose the emotions. The ending was just perfect.

    A few mostly snark-free notes, and a couple of things about the Apprentice finale.
  • Is it me, or did the absence of 75% of new characters (Alex, Zach and DJ were all away) make the episode a little tighter and not so scattershot?

  • Freudian Slippers last week, Yarmul Claus this week. Dorky as fuck, but I like the way this girl thinks.

  • Speaking of hats, what the hell was Summer wearing? You're cute, but damn, I think you're taking too many fashion tips from Vodka Breath Marissa.

  • I meant to keep this post snark-free, but I must continue complaining about The OC fashion. Caleb owns what has to be the biggest winter coat in use in SoCal, and Kirsten was wearing some sort of arctic expedition-Ann Taylor sweater with what looked like a furry animal around her neck. Is this what happens when you don't have seasons, and people stop dressing for function?

  • The closet locks from the inside? Like, all the coats and shoes need privacy sometimes?

  • Who put Marissa in charge of distributing the eggnog? I wouldn't trust her with a glass of water, let alone a tray full of drinks.

  • Owned:

    Owned again.

    As Jimmy says, "Fantastic".

  • Speaking of Jimmy, I love that his favorite song is "The Hustle" and he programs other people's cell phones so people know when he's calling.

  • Can Fox go any lower with their reality shows? You'd think not, but a couple of years from now, we'll be talking about how wholesome "Who's Your Daddy?" was.

  • Is Charlie Brown Christmas the greatest Christmas movie, like ever? Yes.

  • Finally, again, great episode that reminded me of why I got into watching The OC in the first place. Can't wait for the lesbian storyline now.

    Now, to the Apprentice 2 finale.
  • I'm glad Kelly won. I'm also glad he picked the grand gentrification/Hudson River-view blockage project over the casino. I would not touch a Trump casino with a 10 foot pole.

  • Funny how Trump tried to maintain suspense despite each one of his henchmen siding with Kelly. This was supposed to be one of those boardrooms where he tells George and Carolyn, "Well, that was easy, wasn't it?" Though the first guy (the heavy guy with the mustache) apparently wanted to say some pretty snarky things about Jenn, but realizing he's on TV, thought better of it and sat down redfaced.

  • Li'l Stacy provided a couple of the more memorable quotes when she was apparently praising Jenn, saying "She will not take crap sitting down" and "Jenn is your man." Um. Yes Stacy, I agree that Jenn looks a little mannish. But even if Jenn was Trump's man, she would still "take crap sitting down". I know you don't visit the men's room that often, but I thought you girls knew this stuff.

  • I like Raj. But I'm glad I don't have to work with him. But good on him for getting Robin's number. Overall, a luckluster season in terms of talent.

  • Omarosa, your 15 minutes were like, so 5 minutes ago.

  • Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Another day, another Kerik revelation

    I'm too lazy to list everything that's come out since the nanny scandal that now seems oh so benign, but you can browse news articles to your heart's content. I knew when they nanny indiscretion came out that there was more to the story, but I just didn't realize how big an iceberg was submerged under water.

    But it seems all the sound and fury is directed at Kerik (and deservedly so) but relatively very little at the White House, NYPD or Rudy G who let this guy rise through the ranks and almost handed him the job of heading the nation's security.

    Previously: Rudy makes his Walk to Canossa

    My guilty pleasure television dilemma

    From today's NY Times: Critic's Notebook: Twice the Annoyance, but a Tradition Emerges
    The O.C. Fox's hit drama about attractive, affluent people in Orange County, Calif., celebrates Chrismukkah tonight at 8 Eastern time, and this year the show skillfully addresses the various ways people groan at the potentially insidious concept. A result is a disarming holiday plea to lighten up, as well as a case for hybrid vigor. As Seth (Adam Brody), the nimbly acted character who is the making of this episode, puts it: 'It's unruinable. It's got twice the resistance of any normal holiday."
    So here we are again, celebrating Chrismukkah as one nation. But on the other hand, we have the season finale of Apprentice 2. Normally, I catch The OC at 8, then switch one channel over to NBC for The Donald. But today, since The Donald is going 2 hours, the two shows clash, and only one winner will emerge.

    So what to do? Right now, The OC is winning. Last week, the show rebounded after crapping it up for a month, so I should reward it with my viewership. And as important as the Apprentice finale is, it's not like anything worthwhile is going to happen in the first hour.

    In any case, the winner will be decided tonight, at 8 pm ET.

    Update - 8:05 ET
    Seth Cohen 1 Donald Trump 0

    Really, Apprentice is Kelly's to lose. He'd have to screw up really badly to lose, but then, maybe that would make him the perfect guy to head one of Trump's casinos.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    My country is weird

    The miniskirt pillow

    Am I the only non-chien andalusia in New York?

    Pixies 12-13-04 040
    Originally uploaded by Minimalist.

    No, I did not go see the Pixies at Hammerstein Ballroom, nor will I go to any of the remaining shows.

    See, I like the Pixies. I didn't listen to them when they were actually around, but I understood they heavily influenced some of my favorite bands (most notably Nirvana)... [click here to continue] And the few songs I started listening to in recent years - the fab four of Where Is My Mind, Debaser, Gigantic and Monkey Gone To Heaven - quickly became my favorites.

    But I would never call myself a fan. I didn't go out of my way to dig into their discography and it didn't bother me that much that they hadn't been together for 10 years.

    Still, I was quite intrigued when they announced they would play 12 final shows in NYC. I ultimately decided not to go, partly because of the price ($50 + Ticketbastard fee) and the venue (I had an awful experience the one and only time I saw a show there - terrible atmosphere, terrible acoustics), and partly because I didn't feel like I belonged. To me, these shows were for the true fans who knew their entire body of work and could sing along.

    Now, I wish I'd gotten a ticket. Reading the reviews inundating the NYC blogosphere (Brooklyn Vegan has links to blogger accounts) and the NY Times review (Once Upon a Time, There Was This Really Loud Band), it looks like I'm missing out on something really special.

    From taleoftwocities:

    Euphoria did win out in the end, however, as you knew it would. The Pixies saved the biggest hits for last, and after 'Where is My Mind?' they did a little 'Gee, should we play one more?' routine before going into the encore: 'Debaser' and 'Gigantic.' When 'Debaser' began people went ape shit, and we finally had a pogo outbreak.
    See, that's the kind of stuff I go to public events for, to feel the energy, to feel people go batshit. It doesn't matter if the event is a soccer game or Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle at the local multiplex - when the crowd moves, you feel it.

    I don't know, maybe I'm just longing for something I can't have. Maybe I would've bitched about the crowded floor area and the overpriced merchandise or the knowitalls in the audience. Maybe, maybe not.
    Now, if Ben Folds Five gets back together and decides to do 12 final shows at Cat's Cradle or Local 506, I'm there like Robespierre.

    By the way, Flickr's tag feature is so best: tag / pixies

    I think I want to do this for New Year's Eve....

    Asobi Seksu at Mercury Lounge


    Official site: Asobi Seksu

    Shuffleboard! Live music! Homophobia!

    The worst cruise, ever (via NewYorkish)

    This kind of stuff would normally tempt my morbid curiosity, but an ocean liner is far too close to the ocean and would be liable to throw myself overboard. In this case, desire for self preservation trumps morbid curiosity.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    You say Chanukah, I say Hanukkah

    Happy Hanukkah to all my chosen people friends. I know, I know, the 8 days are almost over and I would've totally forgetten if I didn't see the Menora Mobile last night. But still.

    A celebration of Hanukkah set to the song you absolutely don't want to hear again in 2005:
    - Hanukkah Hey Ya - Hey Ya Jewish Remix (thanks to Michael K)

    Also using the "yo is oy backwards" joke is NY Times, on the blending of Judaism and hip hop.
    Indeed, the notion of Jewish artists performing in traditionally black forms is not as incongruous as it might seem. Reggae lyrics, for instance, have often included explicit references to the Old Testament. Matisyahu said that the closest thing he saw to the authentic Judaism he found overseas was in 'Exodus' by Bob Marley.

    "It is not Jewish music," he said, 'but it is filled with images of Judaism. I created my own internal feelings about what it meant to be Jewish and connected it to reggae music.'
    By the way, I've mentioned Matisyahu before, after his appearance on Kimmel a couple of months. I'm not a reggae fan by any means, but the kid's flow is undeniable.

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    Happy holidays and whatnot

    The Empire State from the rooftop at my work. Purdy, ain't it?

    Portia DeR and Ellen DeG sitting in a tree, reportedly

    Gossip Roundup: Lesbian Shuffle (Gawker)
    Daytime lesbian Ellen DeGeneres has left her long-time girlfriend Alexandra Hedison for actress Portia De Rossi. We know De Rossi has been out of the closet for a long time now...
    Wait wait, she's been playing for the other team "for a long time"? How did I not know this?

    In any case, I find this hilarious considering the character she plays on the incredibly, fantastically brilliant Arrested Development, Lindsay Bluth and her TV husband, the obliviously in-closet Tobias Funke (David Cross).

    Blasphemous nativity scene attacked, Beckham will be fit for next match

    Beckham Nativity scene attacked
    A protester has attacked a controversial waxwork Nativity scene featuring England soccer captain David Beckham as Joseph and his pop star wife "Posh Spice" Victoria as the Virgin Mary.

    "He pushed Posh and Becks over. It caused some damage but we don't know how much. The baby Jesus is fine," said a spokeswoman for Madame Tussaud's waxwork museum in London on Monday.
    No word on extent of Beckham's injury, or whether the attacker was Argentinian.

    Previously: Oh, those cheeky Brits

    Rudy makes his Walk to Canossa

    So the big news around these parts was the Bernard Kerik nannygate (and more!) (ToTC) but I got my weekly dosage of schadenfreude after Rudy G made his (figurative) barefoot walk in the snow (NY Times) to the White Houser Christmas dinner to apologize for indirectly endorsing Keri's nomination. [click here to continue]

    It's clear Rudy and Dubya don't see eye to eye politically, and it has always been a friendship of convenience. It's been painful watching Rudy go on a tonguebathing tour of the Republican America, especially as his politics are more in line with the Democrats nationally.

    The Kerik nomination was a transparent attempt by the administration to exploit Giuliani's post-9/11 popularity and it was a chance for Giuliani to strengthen his ties with the White House. So to watch the nomination fall through and Rudy having to apologize for a mistake he didn't make is doubly satisfying.

    Why didn't anyone tell me...

    ...Get Your War On has been updated since the election? Why?

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    The OC Season 2 Episode 5: Josh Schwartz uses The Schwartz, finally

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 4

    I believe we had the first good episode of The OC in this not-so-young-any-more Season 2 after four episodes of much ado about diddly crap.

    Thursday night saw our first punch of the season, The OC's first ever lesbo makeout, retroactive uncovering of an aborted incest attempt, and generally a good, fun, cheeky episode that we had come to expect, but almost lost hope on.

    Click here to continue

    Okay, so here's how it all happens. It's the winter quasi-formal, cheekily titled "Welcome To The Sno C". Of course, whenever there's a school dance in TV land, characters put way too much importance into it than could be considered to be healthy, and the OC kids are no different. The kids, Seth, Summer, Ryan and Vodka Breath all have their own romantic interests of course, but one by one, each is left dateless.

    Lindsey gives Ryan the old "I'm afraid dating will affect our lab partnership" speech. Alex gives Seth the could shoulder - and to show him last episode's kiss meant nothing, kisses the beer guy and another girl bartender. Zach dumps Summer because of her "all Cohen, all the time" format, but passive aggressively gives a "my sick grandmother's birthday just came up" excuse. Marissa is cool with DJ, the richest yard guy in all of California, but she's still too embarassed to be seen with him in public.

    Nonetheless, Julie and Jimmy Cooper are chaperoning, so Marissa has to decorate for the dance and attend (I could've sworn by school had planning committee for this type of shit) so she has to go, attached or not.

    Meanwhile, Sandy continues to suspect that Caleb is hiding something, and suspects that he has been making child support payments to the redheaded lady. Remember this one - it may come in useful later. But neither Caleb nor the redheaded lady is talking. But I have a sneaking suspicion the redheaded lady will come around.

    Julie catches Marissa in bed with DJ and Julie promptly fires him, forgetting that he quit two episodes ago. Julie then grounds Marissa, which is great because all Marissa does in her room is drink and fuck the yard guy. Marissa has a dilemma now, because she's too embarassed to bring DJ to the dance, yet she knows nothing would piss Julie off more. Ultimately, Marissa chooses shallow vanity over shallow pettiness, and asks Ryan to go as a friend, because they had so much fun carrying a giant penguin decoration for the dance earlier.

    Lindsey changes her mind and now wants to go to the dance with Ryan, but only after Ryan accepts the Anorexic Alcoholic's invitation. So her life is, like, so over.

    Summer and Seth want to stay home, but Marissa and Ryan respectively talk them into becoming third-wheels. We all know Marissa and Ryan are so fucking boring by themselves, and I guess they realize this too. In any case, Seth and Summer reluctantly go in together.

    Fast forward to the dance, it's awkward, but it's friendly, until Zach, realizing how lame his excuse was, does an illegal u-turn and storms into the dance. He sees Summer and Seth slow dancing, and says some stuff about how the two are like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, and storms back out. A throwaway line, obviously.

    Predictably, DJ shows up as well in his shiny Toyota Tundra. Luckily, Ryan is tired of Vodka Breath and gives his jacket and tie to DJ, possibly because he's also tired of wearing the same suit and tie to every damn formal since he arrived at the Cohens'. Marissa dances with DJ hoping to piss off Julie, who doesn't really give a fuck because she's hooking up with Jimmy.

    Ryan himself leaves to check up on Lindsey in the OC ghetto. Lindsey actually looks good in her dork glasses, but takes them off when Ryan arrives, much to my disappointment.

    She is also wearing a pair of "Freudian slippers" (see left). Anyway, they talked and I tuned them out. But Lindsey said something about Marissa being the "most intimidating beautiful girl" at school. She clearly needs to wear her glasses at school.

    Zach, after leaving the dance in a huff, goes to the Bait Shop for some liquid courage. Well, chocolate milk and some advice from Alex. Alex tells Zach to stand up and fight for the girl. Zach correctly concludes that if he can beat anyone up, it's Seth, and does yet another u-turn. Alex, upon hearing Seth Cohen being named, rushes out after him to prevent disaster.

    Back at the Sno C, Zach is all boozed up off Yoohoo, sees Summer and Seth sitting apart from each other, generally being snarky to each other. Seth gets up to greet Zach, but in his chocolate-fueled rage, Zach throws a punch right in Seth's face. Summer does the "Cohen, are you okay?" thing, but she is pushed aside by Alex, who had trailed Zach, other customers at Bait Shop be damned. Back at the now empty Bait Shop, Seth and Alex do the obligatory post-got-knocked-the-fuck-out make out session.

    Back at the Cohens', the indecisive Lindsey shows up at Ryan's poolhouse. The two lovebirds commence in some hot tonsil hockey action, which naturally leads to some hot... video game action. Kids these days. They grow up so fast.

    So just as last episode had ended, Marissa is with DJ, Ryan is with Lindsey, Seth is with Alex and Summer is with Zach, each relationship stronger than before. Which of course means there's nowhere to go but down.

    Over at the main house, the redheaded lady who may have had a baby with Caleb comes back to Sandy to explain more. Since Kirsten shouldn't hear any of the conversation, they go out to the patio, and wouldn't you know it, Ryan and Lindsey also emerge from the poolhouse in their post-video game bliss. Lindsey sees the redheaded lady and asks "Mom?"

    I should've seen this coming. How many redheads are there in the dodgy areas of the OC? Plus, Zach's comment about Luke and Leia had to be a hint. So yes, because Lindsey is the daughter of Seth's grandfather, Seth lusted after his aunt in the previous episode. I wonder what her Freudian slippers would say about that.

    That's that. Good episode over all, certainly the best of the season. The dialog is fun again, the Star Wars references were a nice touch, and they managed to make fun of themselves without going over the top. Nice balance of melodrama and action, not to mention the girl-on-girl kiss. And Alex's hair looks much better without that crazy bang shit.

    Next week, Chrismukkah.

    More amateur photography

    Rain + inside of a van + city lights = trippy, if not exactly Ansel Adams-y photos

    [Click here for 2 more pics]

    Possibly fun weekend coming up

  • Tomorrow, Tunde + Kyp of TV on the Radio, among others play at Pianos for Amnesty International (via brooklynvegan).
    Now, I've only heard of TV on the Radio, but I've heard nothing but good things so I figured it was good chance as ever to check them (well, 2/3 of them) out. Plus, it's for a good cause.

  • Opening this weekend, East Village USA at the New Museum in Chelsea a retrospective on art in the crazy 80's in the then-dirtier, scarier East Village (via LES EVil)

  • Also opening this weekend (NY/LA), the great Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

  • I do want to check out the Holiday Train Show at the NY Botanical Garden (via Gothamist).
    God, what am I, like 40 years old? So dorky.

  • The good news is, my holiday shopping is more or less done. Maybe I need to get one more thing for my sister and I need to find something to take to Maureen's folks, but otherwise, I'm home free. I've never finished holiday shopping this early. So proud of myself. I kick ass.
  • You know what's funny?

    When an English guy says an Italian word? Really. Next time you see an English dude, make him say phrases like "numero uno", "Paolo Di Canio" or "exactomondo". Seriously, that'll make your day.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    My digicam ventures above Houston St, again

    (20th St at 6th Ave)

    Live from under the Brooklyn Bridge at iTunes

    Singles from the surprise U2 concert in Bk are now on sale at iTunes Music Store

    1. All Because of You
    2. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
    3. I Will Follow
    4. Vertigo
    Now, the complete set list was:
    1. Vertigo (Take one)
    2. All Because Of You
    3. Miracle Drug
    4. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
    5. City Of Blinding Lights
    6. Original Of The Species
    7. She's A Mystery To Me
    8. Beautiful Day
    9. I Will Follow
    10. Out Of Control
    11. Vertigo (Take two)

    Previously: Free U2 concert today (11/22)

    Putting on my serious hat for a moment

    Now, I don't smoke weed (my last inhale was back in 2001 - not that I don't like it, it just doesn't do much for me) but the way the laws in this country deal with marijuana use is, to put frankly, ass backwards. There's nothing to be gained from locking up first time offenders for marijuana use or small posession and blocking legalizing medicinal use or research... [Click here to continue] - that is, unless you happen to be a private security firm contracted to run a prison, pharmaceutical maker, a tobacco company, a brewer or simply a political opportunist.

    So I was happy to learn that the arcane NY State Rockerfeller drug laws were reformed, even if only a little (Gothamist). Sentences for non-violent drug offenders will drop from 15 years-to-life to 8-20 years, and prisoners can petition to have their current sentences reduced.

    Of course, it's easy to argue that the reform doesn't go far enough, as only 446 of 15,600 convicted drug offenders are eligible to have their sentences reduced (NY Times), not to mention the idiocy of locking up non-violent drug offenders and small time growers. Still, it's a step in the right direction and I hope more politicians grow some balls on this issue.

    Meanwhile, a medical marijuana bill is making its way to the NY state legislature (The Village Voice), while the US Supreme Court will decide whether federal agents can arrest terminally ill patients who smoke medical marijuana legally.

    Who knows how all this will play out, but the two issues - incarceration of small time users and medicinal marijuana - are not going to go away, and certainly not without a fight.

    For more about the ganja in American society (plus illegal immigration and the porn industry), check out the very excellent Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser (of Fast Food Nation fame).

    iPod gets Flash(y) in 2005

    So a smaller, cheaper iPod is apparently on its way - I've read a Flash-based iPod would be ready for the holiday shopping season, but that clearly didn't turn out to be the case. But the sources are, by most accounts, pretty credible.

    In any case, the following are two different renderings created based on descriptions from inside sources, not firsthand accounts:
    First Look!: iPod Flash TheMacMind)
    IPod Micro (Cult of Mac Blog)

    I do hope it comes with a screen (even if it's only 256MB capacity, that's 66 songs you have to go through) though I'm a little skeptical that it would retail at $99 and up. Going cheap or skimping on features has never been Apple's M.O.

    Then again, I also thought iPod mini wouldn't sell, so there you go. I guess this could very well be the iPod for people who jog, don't need to take their entire music collection everywhere or are turned off by the $230-and-up prices.

    Cheeseburger cheeseburger cheeseburger

    This week's Time Out NY cover story is NYC's 100 Best Burgers. They pick the Top 10, and then a bunch for a variety of categories. The usual suspects like Blue 9, Corner Bistro and Burger Joint make the cut, while the Big Mack Daddy veggie burger Tiny's - "Prescribed for: Vegetarians who miss fat, beefy bacon burgers" - and aKa Cafe represent the LES.

    Categories range from "Plain and simple" and "Old-school flavor" to "International style" and "High-class cut" ($30 at '21' Club). I haven't had the chance to look through the 100, but the Village and Upper West appear to be well represented, which isn't that surprising.

    Obviously too new to be considered for the list, but Epstein's Bar is serving food now, right? Shweet.

    Midweek readings - politics and politicized non-political stuff

    A hodgepodge of links, some less recent than others, in no particular order
  • 8 Reasons Terrorists Haven't Hit Us Again (New York Mag)

  • The therapeutic activism of (Slate)

  • Worse Than Ashcroft (Village Voice)

  • Teens Raised by Gay Couples Do as Well as Traditional Families (Bloomberg)

  • Network News Presidents on the Election (Aaron Schwartz)

  • Jesus And The, Er, Liberal Media (Adland)

  • Tom DeLay unites the critics of the Republican Congress (New York Mag)

  • Bush Arrested for War Crimes! (Slate)
  • Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    In the Year 2005, Dave Eggers and They Might Be Giants will join forces

    Looking far, far ahead: Lincoln Center's American Songbook: Season Seven (Playbill)
    ...a March 2 evening, titled McSweeney's vs. They Might Be Giants, will feature the Brooklyn-based band playing off readings by Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, and other cutting-edge writers.

    Oh, thank god

    Liverpool 3-1 Olympiakos

    Thanks to Stevie G and the rest of LFC for the early Christmas present.

    The Great Tomato Famine of 2004

    Just when I was getting over the election result, this hits. Because of hurricanes in Florida, heavy rains in California and insects in Mexico, tomato prices have skyrocketed like a motherfucker (Newsday). [click here to continue]A Long Island restaurant owner reports that beefsteak tomatoes went from $15 to $70 a case in two weeks towards the end of October. And in grocery stores, plum tomatoes are going for around $4/LB (I didn't even look at the prices for vine tomatoes) and frankly, the quality is crap.

    This is nothing short of distressing for a tomato lover like yours truly. My "healthy" cuisine usually involves a heavy amount of the juicy red stuff, from salsa to pasta topping to, once every blue moon, salads.

    Tomato porn
    It's having an effect on takeout as well. Tomatoes are by request only at Wendy's (Adfreak) and the bestest sandwhich shop in Lower East Side, Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop is charging extra, and a couple of nights ago at Bereket, while the guy did give a girl extra tomatoes as she requested, he noted that they paid $60 a case.

    The good news is that this shouldn't last too long, at least according to Newsday, which reports, " late November, shipments recovered to about 75 percent of their former level. "We're turning the corner," said Gary Lucier, an economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "It was like 'the perfect storm' for tomatoes, but now the supply is starting to pick up. In another two or three weeks we'll hopefully have prices similar to last year."

    In the meantime, I will be resigned to getting my tomato jollies vicariously through images from Tomatina, the big annual tomato fight in Spain.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    When a K-Mart gift certificate will no longer do

    Whether you're looking for a gift to impress or to desperately trying to salvage your relationship, shopping for the special lady in your life is never easy. I'm always open to suggestions, so today's Daily Candy was much appreciated:

    Santa's Babies (Daily Candy NY)
    Let's Hear It for the Girls (Daily Candy Everywhere)

    Updated to add that today's MUG mailing also has gift ideas. I do like the first one, Leaf Storm Tea.
    Apartment Therapy has a couple of gift guide posts:
    Nourishing Gift Guide
    2004 Un-gift Guide

    And for the iPod zombie in your life:
    Dress your iPod in corduroy and denim

    Finally, if you want to make sure your gift is funding a Democratic supporter and not a GOP supporter (or vice versa), visit Choose The Blue (via Cityrag).

    Burritofication almost complete on 6th Ave

    My digital camera ventures above Houston St for a change. Looks like the Chipotle on 6th between 21st and 22nd will be ready to open in a week or two.

    I know, I shouldn't get excited. Not only is it fast food, it's owned by McDonald's for crying out loud. Still, their burritos are good, and at least it's another lunch option near my work on 20th.

    Oh, those cheeky Brits

    Thanks to lisabrasil09 of

    Waxwork models of, from left to right: Samuel L Jackson, Hugh Grant and Graham Norton dressed as shepherds, David and Victoria Beckham as Joseph and Mary, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, The Duke of Edinburgh and US President George Bush as the Three Wise Men and Kylie Minogue as the Angel, top, are displayed as part of the Madame Tussaud's Celebrity Nativity scene at the tourist attraction in London, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2004. (AP Photo/PA, Ian West)
    [Click here for more pics]
    The Three, eh, Wise Men:

    St. Becks and Virgin Victoria:

    Dress your iPod in corduroy and denim

    I love my iPod and I love how pretty it is. The problem is, with the aluminum back and the white face, it gets dirty pretty quickly. Plus, I'm always worried about dropping it somewhere, and it bangs around a lot in my bag, so my iPod always wears protection.

    I keep my iPod in a DLO Action Jacket, which is not at all attractive, but it's very well padded and you can wrap it on your arm when you're jogging or use the belt clip when you want to dork it up. But I'm always on the lookout for more attractive casings.
    The obvious answer is Apple's colored socks but there a lot of other non-Apple iPod casings around.

    Playlist Mag has a pretty comprehensive list of different enclosures (iPod Gift Week: On the Cases) from hard to soft and cosmetic to utilitarian.
    Not nearly as functional, but still snazzy looking and free (albeit with purchase) are the iPod tattoos from MacForce (via The Cult of Mac Blog).
    BUT my favorite so far is the collection of iPod cozies from Catherine's Pita (via Gothamist) - me likes Peace Dude 2.0.

    Finally, you can dress yourself in iPod-themed gear with this t-shirt (The Cult of Mac Blog).

    The OC Season 2 Episode 4 - Stop disgruntling me, Josh Schwartz

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 3

    This is the new era of The OC and I'm not sure if I'm too happy.

    Cohen is the virus and Zach is the cure. Zach is the anti-Cohen
    - Summer on Zach, the WASP version of Seth

    (click here to continue)

    I usually do an OC post within 24 hours of every new episode, but (1) I got lazy, and (2) my girlfriend prefers that I spend time with her instead of sitting in front of the computer and writing for no one in particular (I'm getting quite fond of spending quality time with her though - I wonder if this is a strain of the Stockholm Syndrome. But I digress).

    This is also usually where I post an episode recap but I'm going to spend the next couple of paragraphs bitchin' and moanin'. Consider yourself warned.

    Well, let's get the rundown out of the way - the four principals, Ryan, Seth take their dates/OC newbies to a Killers concert/product placement featuring The Killers, and exchange heys with Summer with her newbie, Zach, and Marissa, who will later rendezvous with a newbie of her own. Caleb is keeping secrets from Sandy -I wonder if he knows about this revolutionary attorney-client confidentiality thing- while Julie is crap as The Newport Group's puppet CEO, so she throws a party at the Cohens' against Kirsten's will. Jimmy smiles a lot. The end.

    Now, I enjoy watching a trainwreck as much as the next man. But this season's OC isn't a trainwreck; the writers are pushing the train off the track while telling us "Look, the train is going off the tracks! Isn't this awesome?" No, Josh Schwartz, it's not awesome.

    Well, here is my litany of complaints:
    1. I like the Killers. I really do. But damn if the camerawork during the performance was down right junior high AV club-ish. The catwalk POV does not work one bit, unless the intent was to make me dizzy and nauseous.

    2. Where are the fights? Julie Cooper hosted a party at the Cohens' and not a punch was thrown. What the fuck? How does Kirsten not deck Julie at any single point in the episode? Thankfully, the preview for next week's episode does indicate a well deserved punch from Zach landing on Seth's noggin. Which gets us to our next point

    3. Who is this babbling, annoying idiot stalking Summer who won't shut up, and when is the real Seth Cohen coming back? We loved Seth last season. He was insecure, but he still had his charms and he had a worthy goal, so we supported him. Even when he was balancing two girls, he never came off as smarmy. He honestly couldn't figure out how to handle both Anna and Summer. He was funny. He dropped genuinely cool references (i.e. the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay parallel)
      This year, it's Summer this, Summer that, my life is over, I'm getting over with my life blah blah blah. I wish you'd just go back to Portland and shack up with Luke.

    4. DJ - out of all the new characters, the lawn boy is the least interesting. He's basically an Abercrombie & Fitch poster, complete with glistening pecs peaking out of his $60 unbuttoned button-down, but without the personality or the second dimension. In a sense, I guess he's perfect guy to trim Marissa's hedges - maybe they can talk about how little personality they have between the two of them. Well, maybe in real life, but we care very little about Marissa to begin with, but when the two walking personality voids are together, we, as a TV character, Marissa registers a big fat zero on the Give-a-shit-o-meter.
      He's apparently not even a good lawn boy because he doesn't carry a single piece of landscaping equipment in his big shiny late model pick up truck (even lawnboys are rich in Orange County, apparently) and his clothes are alwasy sparkling clean - never a stain, grass, sweat, grease or otherwise.

    5. Speaking of clothes, what the hell happened to The OC fashion? There used to be something cool about it, sort of Fifth Avenue meets East Village thing, but just look at what their wearing this episode.

      First, Marissa. Someone tell me - is this newspaper boy, chimney sweep or shoe shiner. Call me elitist, but I never found any of the above professions all that sexy.
      Summer's cool with me. She's rocking a North Carolina t-shirt which not at all ironic, I'm certain.
      Ryan - he doesn't look bad, but what happened to the wife beater? Or the Urban Outfitter leather wrist band? We liked him because the badass from Chino. Now he's just an AP-taking, straigh-A's-getting college-bound preppy nerd living in Newport Beach. When was the last time he kicked anyone's ass?
      Like Ryan, Lindsay is from the wrong side from the tracks, far from the Harbor High runway crowd... yet she's dressed in her Office Barbie pink pantsuit. Does her financial aid include a fashion stipend? Seriously.

      Nah, I realize that The OC fashion can be over the top sometime, but at least they were usually true to the characters. Now, they're just playing dress up.

    Of course, you might be wondering why I watch continue to watch The OC if I hate it so much. No, I still enjoy it. I'm just a little frustrated that the writing is not nearly as smart as it was last season, and the action-to-melodrama ratio seems to have dropped dramatically. And last season had its slow moments, but things seemed to go in 3 or 4-episode cycles, while this season has yet to deliver a really good episode. Only the episode before Thanksgiving has come close.

    But we'll see. It took me a few episodes to hook me last season and this year might just be the same - I just had higher expectations coming in (though I knew that it could just as easily jump a shark or two). We'll just have to wait till Thursday, and then we'll start talking about switching our Thursday night TV alleigance to Joey

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    Monday evening reading - "It's Karate, Kid! The Musical" reviewed

    Bonzai Daniel-san! By The Intern (ESPN Page 2)

    Bill Simmons' nameless intern and fellow Daniel Larusso obsessor took the ol' Chinatown bus and caught the musical adaptation of Karate Kid in the Lower East Side.
    The most -- and if you've seen the web site, this won't be a shock -- was this was not a straight adaptation of the movie, and I mean "straight" literally. It's as if Travis Kramer, who wrote the show when he was at Fordham, flipped a coin to determine sexual preferences, and only Ali and Mrs. Larusso came up heads. Like Daniel said, "Hey, it's the '80s." Do whatever you want to do.

    Official Site

    Fired for blogging

    No, not me (though I imagine my employment may be at risk for spending so much company time trolling for material), but people are fired for posting corporate intellectual property and such on their blogs (Wired: Blogs May Be a Wealth Hazard).
    [Click here to continue]
    Now, the article talks about the absence of coherent blogging policy in corporations, but do we really need one? Most employees sign confidentiality agreements anyway.

    I don't know, it seems like a matter of common sense to me - don't post any identifying features, either of yourself or of the company. If it's anything that could remotely make your company look bad, don't post it in your blog, submit it to someone else.

    And employers can simply reiterate their policy on what is and is not for public consumption, discourage excessive use of company time and bandwidth, and otherwise not get all scared by this big bad blogging technology.

    I might be missing something here, but it seems like much ado over jack shit.

    More 1000 Words

    (Amateurish amateur photography continues after the jump)This pic is taken from roughly the same location as Berenice Abbott's photo (mentioned last week) from 1936, looking down Pike St from East Broadway down to East River and Manny B. You'll notice that the street's wider and Chinatown's extended its way past the Bowery and to the east side of Allen and Pike Streets.

    This is one of my favorite buildings in my hood, on Canal St. It was a movie theater in its past life. The auditorium was contained in the large windowless building on the side street in the picture below. You can see the old entrance on the right edge of the picture.

    I know, I've the holiday lights on Orchard couple of weeks ago already, but I wanted to do it a little better. It's still hard, because the lights are a little dim while the street lamps are too bright. In any case:

    Sunday, December 05, 2004

    "I Heart Sweatshop Labor"

    Saw this chalking at the corner of Delancey and Allen. No idea what it's about.

    Other sightings:
    GammaBlaBlog (11/5)
    londont (11/11)

    1000 Words x 6

    Pictures from Thanksgiving weekend of my two favorite dogs in the world, Shorty, the Drakes' dachshund is the introvert and Sunny, Casey's more extraverted boxer/grayhound (?) mix. They're both pretty damn awesome.

    Click here for more canine pics