Thursday, March 31, 2005

Good bye, Mitch

Comedian Mitch Hedberg Found Dead In New Jersey Hotel Room (

I didn't want to believe it when I first heard the rumors this morning but it seems to be a rumor no more. I really don't know what to say, except that I appreciated his offbeat sensibilities (who didn't?) and I regret never seeing him live.

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and you need two thousand of something." - Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

First Impression: Whole Foods Market @ Union Square

So I finally plunged deep into subterrarean aisles of the Union Square Whole Foods for the first time. I gotta say, it's some heavely-ass shit, but it's also some intimidating-ass shit too. Then again, I probably should have picked a better time to go than Sunday evening.

Anyhoo, the produce selection and the purdiness of the cheeses and the meatses are just phenomenal, no surprise. The three-level thing threw me off a bit but once I figured out that everything I needed was downstairs, I was good to go like General Togo. The produce aisles weren't quite as spacious as the ones at Columbus Circle (no shit) but it did feel a little more cramped than the Chelsea store as well. Crowding, I'm never a fan of and I guess the layout of the place is to blame, but I wish they'd designed the check out area better. I felt like I was back in Key Foods again, minus the flies.

Conclusion? It's going to be one of those "if I'm in the neighborhood" types of deals. The thing is, I don't come to Union Square as often as I used to, and as I mentioned in my grocery store roundup from a couple of weeks back, I don't really need to come out that far for decent produce. The good news for me is that it probably relieves the crowding at the 7th Ave location a bit, which works for me since that's closer to my work. Still, you gotta love a joint where shit like this is possible.

Speaking of the grocery roundup, much thanks to the commenters, particularly leslie for recommending me Fine Fare on Clinton Street. Not bad at all. Who knew there was stuff in that area after Doughnut Plant?

In which I probably say too much - Belated Weekend Wrap

  • Last weekend, Times Square. This weekend, South Street Seaport. I'm turning into a fucking tourist.

    No, I can explain. Maureen was back in town and we decided we were going to walk across Brooklyn Bridge, which neither of us had done. Did a tour of DUMBO, walked by Grimaldi's (I don't care how good that shit is, I'm not waiting like 2 hours in line), walked down to the aforementioned tourist trap, did some good ol' fashioned Middle American mall shoppin', then rolled back up to the Lower East.

    So yeah, a lot of walking.

  • Saturday night at Arlene's - Veronica's Violet (okay), Orange Park (pretty good) and some band that neither of us liked.

  • What I didn't do was see Kaiser Chiefs at the Bowery Ballroom on Friday. Looks like I missed a good show. I bought a tick right when they went on sale, but I had planned on going by myself and by the time Maureen and I decided on this weekend, the show was sold out. Waddayagonnado?

    Now, I'm not missing Bloc Party on 4/7, ya hear? I might actually be there 4/6 as well for Lake Trout and Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah
  • . We shall see - that'll be a game time decision.
  • I have a mullet. No, it's more like a mop top. I don't even know. What I do know is that I could probably make some extra cash on the side subletting part of my hair. I need to pick a hair style and go with it.

  • I don't want to talk about that case with the lady and the judges and the parents and the husband and the senator but people can't seem to stop talking about it. Seriously, why is this news? Can't we go back to throwing out the baby with the social security bathwater?

  • Finally, is it a bad sign when you often catch yourself starting sentences with "I don't wanna sound gay or nothing, but..."? Well, I watched Saved! last night. No no, that's not the gay part. Now, I don't wanna sound gay or nothing, but who woulda thunk that Patrick Fugit, that kid with all that baby fat on Almost Famous would turn out to look that good?

    Okay, I'm going to go wash my typing fingers and download some heterosexual porn.
  • Sunday, March 27, 2005


    Friday, March 25, 2005

    Five For Friday

    1. Freebie at iTunes Music Store: Eisley - Telescope Eyes (link opens in iTunes)

    2. NY Times piece on Tom Cruise being more open about his Scientology thing. Personally, I find Scientologist actors a bit creepy. They seem a little too matter of fact about it and seem detached. I prefer celebrities who drink or snort too much and otherwise do stupid shit. Scientology doesn't seem to allow that.

    3. Rza has been making the media rounds plugging his Wu Tang Manual, but my favorite is his interview with Brian Lehrer on WNYC
      (Real) even if only for the callers who open with "Hi Rza! How are you?"

    4. More Downtown gentrification stuff. Yuppies are moving in, no, not just below Delancey below Canal.
      Yu said he knows of a one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood that sold for $470,000, and another that sold for $1 million. Renters in the area are paying up to $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom loft.
      Sheeeet. In Chinatown?

    5. I haven't schadenfreuded in a while (apologies to The Glasper and The Buser for totally abandoning that project) and I ain't watched him on TV in like 10 years, but Pat O'Brien is so best.

    Also, I should take this opportunity to apologize to everyone I haven't responded to that I should have responded to, either by email, comments or linking. If it makes you feel any better, I've been ignoring all my friends and acquaintances equally. Anyhoo, good luck to USA against Mexico is World Cup qualifiers, if you're in SF, go see Asobi Seksu and yes, go Heels.

    The OC Season 2 Episode 17: Welcome to the PA, bitch!

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 16

    First, let's talk about The Office on NBC. I, like most fans of the BBC original, was skeptical whether the writers could replicate Ricky Gervais' brilliance.

    Well, I gotta say, it's not bad. The first episode was, almost shot for shot the same as the British series premiere with some Americanizing and 2005ing. Steve Carell was great - not quite the same as Gervais' David Brent, but he still captured the same smarminess and the likable-because-he's-despicable thing.

    The rest of the cast, not so thrilled about. Jim is too pretty to be Tim, and Pam doesn't seem to have the same cheekiness that Dawn does. But all in all, not a bad start. Next week's ep should be fun for the whole family. From Dana Stevens of Slate:
    In next week's, "Diversity Day," a racial-sensitivity training session degenerates into an ethnic-slur-slinging free-for-all. The superiority of the second episode to the first is an indication that this show may get better with time. NBC must be betting that The Office will attract the kind of viewer that used to watch Seinfeld (and is now failing to watch Arrested Development); it's a sitcom for people who are totally over sitcoms.
    Ouch on the Arrested comment.

    In any case, I'm pleasantly, albeit only mildly, surprised. Hope this gets picked up beyond this season - I'm hoping, praying that there are enough people in America who can get a joke without a laugh track to make more shows like this possible. It will never be as good as the British Office - it's just impossible with the way the networks work here and doing 25 episodes a year. But there's a lot of room between brilliance and utter crap, and I think this new Office is closer to brilliant than utter crap.

    Now, The OC. Ryan's brother gets out of jail but has nowhere to go so ends up staying with the Cohens. Ryan doesn't trust him and accuses him of stealing a watch from a store - turns out, the big bro paid for the watch and was going to give it to Ryan as a thank you gift. Big bro totally divas it and storms off, Ryan feels guilty and goes to look for him in a dive bar, gets into a fight with the other bar patrons, natch, but they have each other's back. They kiss and make up. Oh, and Marissa's tagging along with Ryan the whole time.

    Zach is back from Italy and taking the break up really well. He's also a Vespa riding Eurotrash. He tells Seth that he met a girl in Italy but Seth can't tell Summer because she won't take it well. Seth tells Summer anyway, who finds out that a) there is no Italian girl, and b) Zach didn't get over Summer and c) he told Seth knowing he couldn't keep a secret and hoping to make Summer jealous.

    Carter, the magazine editor, confesses to Kirsten that he was turning on the sexual tension-o-meter a bit and apologizes for making her totally have the hots for him. Or something.

    Julie fesses up to Caleb about her porn star past. Caleb seems to takes it well, goes over to the porn guy, ostensibly to pay for the rights, but instead, doesn't give up the half mil and lets his thugs deal with the porn guy. The night of the magazine launch, Julie plays a promo video for her magazine, except the porn guy snuck in and put in the porn tape. How devious. So all of Newport Beach gets in on the dirt, except the kids - Ryan and Marissa were getting into a barfight while Summer and Seth were arguing about him telling her about Zach's imaginary girlfriend. Or something.
    • Okay episode. Some good stuff - Ryan finally getting into a real fight, the video switcheroo at the magazine launch, Marissa not being annoying - and some bad - the forced end to the Carter-Kirsten affair that never happened, the contrived Seth-Summer fight, Zach.

    • And yeah, another new character. Granted, Ryan always had a brother and it's good to see The OC getting back into the class issues, but it adds another distraction to the core of the show.

    • And who the fuck goes to Italy and comes back with a Vespa? Did he not know that Italian scooters existed before? Do people ride scooters in the Tsucan countryside? Blah.

    • So Caleb knew Lance the Porn King would somehow get back at Julie? I like Evil Caleb, as long as he's clever evil and not one dimensional evil.

    I wish I had something more substantial to add, but other than a couple of scenes, it was a pretty blah episode. Also, no new OC next week. The Office is on Tuesday at 9:30ET after Scrubs. C'est cool, especially since it'll be the first new Scrubs in a couple of weeks.

    Also, go Heels.

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    Food for iPod: Good Music for UNICEF Tsunami Relief

    So I braved the late-March snow and bought Good Music For Tsunami Relief, a double disc set from Urban Outfitters and Filter magazine. I mentioned the album earlier but totally forgot about it until yesterday.

    Good Music is exactly that, and with all the proceeds going to UNICEF, it's for a good cause too. The bad news is that you can only get it from Urban Outfitters and is all out. But fear not, they still have copies in stores - I got mine from the West Village store.

    Anyhoo, here's the track listing:
      Disc 1
    1. Love Song Death Cab For Cutie
    2. Slow Hands (Britt Daniel Mix) Interpol
    3. We Are Nowhere and It's Now Bright Eyes
    4. Desert Sessions 7 & 8 Hanging Tree
    5. Jesus Etc (Live) Wilco
    6. Apt 101 Hot Hot Heat
    7. The Trial of the Century (Live) French Kicks
    8. Piece of Crap The Futureheads
    9. The Bear (Live) My Morning Jacket
    10. Heaviest Heart Magnet
    11. American Wife Rilo Kiley
    12. Fugitive Motel [RJD2 remix] Fugitive Motel
    13. Fingers Clinic
    14. In A Funny Way Mercury Rev

      Disc 2
    1. The Dark of the Matinée (Headman Remix) Franz Ferdinand
    2. Huddle Formation (Glasgow Beat 106 FM Session) The Go! Team
    3. Nature Anthem Grandaddy
    4. Take My Temperature Kaiser Chiefs
    5. Lullaby Earlimart
    6. I Disappear The Faint
    7. Barnowl Caribou
    8. Lost at Sea (Remix) Eisley
    9. Everyday Dios Malos
    10. The Song the Sinner Sings Adam Arcuragi & Royalty
    11. Isabel Juana Molina
    12. Yr City's A Sucker LCD Soundsystem
    13. A Guitar and a Heart M83
    Not bad, right? I'm looking at the track list and I don't see many artists I don't like. Well worth the $15+tax, methinks.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2005

    A pickle shop in a pickle, the Benefactor a benefactor, and other horrible puns

  • So I caught this Times story about the luxury condo on top of the old Gus's Pickles storefront on E Bway this morning. Big deal, another LES gentrification story, right? (Though the building in question in BelDel/LoHo/LerES/the dumpy end! Yay!)

    Actually, the article's kinda cool, as it talks about how the developer evicted Gus's amid much controversy, yet he's using the building's history as one of a selling point.

    But I couldn't help but groan upon finding out the name of the building - Delancey Crossing, you know, like the movie Crossing Delancey, which used the old Gus's to shoot the pickle store scenes.

    So we're naming condos after movies now. What's next, 34th Street Miracle? Pelham Taking? Carlito Way? Gramercy Riff? I could keep going, but I should stop, yes.

    But I have to wonder - who the hell lives in these luxury condos? I mean, I see 7 Essex and 50 Orchard and 49 Ludlow, and I think, what's the point? There are nicer neighborhoods for that money, and yeah, I can see the appeal of living within stumbling distance of Libation and Teany. But you're not really living in the Lowest and the Eastest unless you're hauling your ass up to a rat-infested walk-up, are you?

  • Brooklynvegan updates us on the inevitable death of CBGB and wealthy benefactors who have offered their help, including the Benefactor himself, Mark Cuban.

    I would miss the joint of course, and it's a shame that such a storied institution is forced out by gentrification, but its value is purely sentimental and symbolic for me at this point - unless, you know, you happen to be the next Ramones and can't get a gig anywhere else in the tri-state. Tonic - now, I'd hate to see that go.

  • MaxDelivery is MaxDisappointment for me. I'd signed up for the beta trial but I didn't hear from them until today so I totally forgot about them. I wasn't missing much, it seems. Other than the movie rentals (though kinda pricy at $4.25 before delivery fee), I don't see much there that I couldn't get within a 5-minute walk. I'm lazy, but not that lazy.
  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    From the easily excitable Ben Folds/Sony emailbot

    Well, make that easily excitable and poorly coded. I was going to post the whole message, but it was completely unreadable with garbled URLs and all, but here's the gist of it.
    ALONG WITH BEN'S NEW ALBUM, Songs For Silverman!

    blah blah blah

    If you place your order by 6AM (ET) on April 20 and if your shipping address is within the continental United States, items will be shipped to you to arrive on or around April 26, which means you'll get Songs For Goldfish A WEEK BEFORE ITS OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE!

    So here's the deal - there are two special editions of Ben Folds' upcoming LP, Songs For Silverman. There's a regular old special edition dual-disc with a DVD on the backside (a 25-minute "Making of" documentary and the video for "Landed"). Then there's a Deluxe special edition with the DVD on a separate disc with a longer "Making of" and a 40-page booklet.

    Released with Songs For Silverman is a live performance disc, Songs for Goldfish which is $10 on its own but cheaper if you buy with either of the above special editions, natch.

    I think I'm going to be a total sucker and get the super special special edition with the other CD. Oh, and Whatever and Ever Amen re-issue is coming out too. It comes with all the original tracks plus the following bonus tracks:

    Video Killed The Radio Star
    For All The Pretty People
    Mitchell Lane
    Theme From Dr. Pyser
    She Don't Use Jelly (Lounge-A-Palooza Version)
    Song For The Dumped (Japanese Version)

    More infs here:

    Spring Break Shark Attack: Ass biting good times

    When I first saw the promo for the CBS Sunday Night Movie Event, Spring Break Shark Attack, I had the same reaction as everyone else who wasn't snorting network exec-grade cocaine off a stripper's ass - this will surely be utterly dreadful.

    How wrong was I. So I said I wasn't going to watch it, but you knew I was gonna. After talking that much shit about it, there was no way I was going to miss it. I must say, I am now a convert to the Church of Shannon Lucio.

    The title seems straight forward enough - it's spring break and there's a shark attack. Bikini-clad tight bodies and blood thirsty sharks, right? Oh, but there's so much more to it than that. For one, there isn't just one sharka attack, there are several. That's not all. This film is about redemption and family. Important lessons, like, don't lie to your dad even if he's an asshole, parties are baaaaaad, and sharks are attracted to blood and movement.

    Of course, there's Shannon traipsing about in little more than her bikini top and a short skirt. There's even a subplot that has a latter day David Austin Green slipping a pill in Shannon's beverage (don't worry, the sharks chomp the shit out of him after his attempted date rape - yay sharks!). What more could you ask for in a Sunday Night Movie Event?

    This Sunday Night Movie event gets a resounding two thumbs up from me. Lots of incredible unintentional comedy and incredibly bad CGI, much spring breaky goodness, including some tasty shots of young shark bite vicims on the beach. With the resounding success of Spring Break Shark Attack, one has to wonder what's next for CBS. Killer Bees at Cheerleader Camp? Church Retreat Bear Rampage? I hope to see more of the same from the geniuses at CBS.

    BTW, The Sports Guy and also caught the goodness.

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    I think I'm getting stupid

    No original material for now because my brain continues to fall down a Flowers For Algernonian spiral, but three links of varying value:
    • The always wonderfully smart and fabulousDouglas Rushkoff's take on the Florida DNR case:
      Besides all this, Congressional intervention in this case is a violation of separation of powers - all so that Tom Delay can parade one poor victim through the halls of Congress, and get photo ops of his defense of a living soul against the heartless, atheistic rationalism of the left. Here's an opportunity to rescue Laci from Scott Peterson before he yanks the tube!
      You know, I've never really had a problem with Conservative/right wing philosophy per se. It's more the morality of convenience, the switch-and-bait and the faustian bargains that (all politicians, but particularly) Republicans engage in.

      As always, the media raises a big stink but misses the point. The controversy has nothing to do with the ethics of euthanasia and everything to do with political grandstanding and CYAing by Dubs and Delay.

    • Now that my quarterly political rant is out of the way, Apple releases new song-specific iTunes cards at SXSW. This isn't a bad idea, really. At concerts, these would be a lot easier to hand out than sample CDs or they can use them as magazine inserts. Pretty cool. So the song they gave away at SXSW? "Dirty Harry" from the next Gorillaz album? Weegro, please, I had that song on my computer for like months.

      Speaking of SWSW, I did get the hugeass bundle of mp3s downloaded in 2 days. I've barely made a dent - there's over 50 hours of music to sample.

    • Finally, a Village Voice piece on Li'l Kim's li'l perjury conviction. Hip hop feuds and legal troubles are so over - it's all about white teen starlets and their crazy and/or creepy parents - but I can't help but feel a li'l sorry for Kim. It's one thing to get locked up for shooting sheeet up. It's whole another to look at up to 20 years for being really really really really stupid.

    Billy Packer is the devil

    He just is, okay? Everytime I watch a game called by Packer, his negativity comes off the television set and just engulfs me.

    If he were announcing the birth of Christ, he'd probably question Mary's virginity. If he was doing color commentary for India's independence, he'd bitch about how Gandhi got to drink water during his hunger strike. If you saved his life, he'd point out how you didn't follow the exact steps you learned in CPR class.

    I hate hate hate hate hate Packer. Basketball is supposed to be fun, not two and a half hours of constant nitpicking. Look, I appreciate blunt honesty and sarcasm as much as the next guy. But with Packer, it's all schaden and no freude. Hate hate hate.

    Sunday, March 20, 2005

    Weekend Wrapup - Spring is here/Love is in the air Edition

  • I don't go above 23rd St that much. Hell, I don't often cross Delancey unless it's necessary so going to 42nd St is like leaving the country for me. But it was for a good cause. Marcel (above), Tom, Dani, Jim, Pete and The McCrum - you peoples are quality peoples. Good to see you all.

    What is not quality is the Sanrio Store charging a dollar a pop to frickin pose with the giant ass Hello Kitty. To pose, with your own camera. Blah! It was worth it for the above pic though.

  • Speaking of love in the air, has there been an exponential increase in the number of rats at the East Broadway subway stop? Seriously, them rats been beefing up on Chinatown scraps, it looks like.

  • In less than an hour, Shannon Lucio (aka Lindsay from The OC) makes her triumphant return to television in what looks like an absolute winner, the imaginatively titled Spring Break Shark Attack. It's Jaws-meets-Girls Gone Wild!-minus-T&A-plus-spring break debauchery sanitized for network TV!!

    Not that I'm going to watch it or anything, but if I do for some reason, heaven forbid, I hope she's not as mopey as she was on The OC. I wanted to like the character but really, other than her arts and crafts, she gave us absolutely nothing.

    In any case, if the constant teasers during March Madness is any indication, it should be a good source of unintentional comedy.

    Update: it came on at 9:30. So far, it's as good as I expected it to be, yet I find myself strangely being sucked in.

  • (via Brooklynvegan) Yahoo buys Flickr. I have no idea what this means for me. I like Flickr. I'm indifferent about Yahoo. Indifference wins here.

  • The unreleased Fiona Apple album that's sweeping the internet like a modern day Grey Album? Yes, I listened to it a little and... it's okay. I wasn't overwhelmed, but it didn't make me gag or claw my eyes out either, but then again, I'm not a Sony exec whose ability to make mortgage payments is riding on it going platinum. Check out S-gum's Photoshop contest if you need cover art to go with your pirated CD.

  • That's about it, I think.

    Friday, March 18, 2005

    The OC Season 2 Episode 16: Full Meta Jacket

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 15

    Seth:"You know, I gotta say - this year, not as good as last."
    Ryan: "You think?"
    Seth: "I do. I mean, look, we all tried some new things and that was fun: the yard guys, illegitmate daughters, less fighting, more live music."
    Ryan: "Well, may be you remember last year as better because it was all new."
    Seth: "So you think I've sentimentalized the past all out of proportion?"
    Ryan: "Yeah, come on, we can't keep living in last year."
    Seth: "Sure we can. And check this out man - things are already going back to the way they were. I'm back together with summer, you're single again."
    Ryan: "I can tell where this is going."
    So can we, Ryan, so can we. You're on the Josh Schwartz Expressway headed for Backtogetherwithmarissaville... [click here to continue]

    So basically... Seth tries to bring Ryan and Marissa together despite protestations from both Summer and Ryan himself. So naturally, Seth goes ahead and does it. It's water polo season at Harbor Academy and Marissa's in charge of the bonfire/pep rally but needs help, so Seth not so subtly suggests she should recruit Ryan, who has worked construction and is an experienced arsonist.

    Meanwhile, our favorite lesbian Alex is getting all jealous because Marissa's going to school for change, doing school stuff and otherwise not having hot off-screen lesbian sex. She also hasn't gotten too many hot bands-of-the-moment since the Modest Mouse/The Killers/Walkmen triumvirate earlier this season, so she probably has some job related stress too.

    In her jealous rage, she goes over to Seth's and finds out that, not only are Ryan and Marissa working on planning the pep rally, Ryan and Marissa also shared a tent (tent!) during The Mallpisode. Now she's pissed. She comes back as Ryan is exiting the Lesbian Love Lair. She throws a beer can at Ryan, shoves him a bit and screams "Stay away from my girlfriend!" You know, the kind of stuff Marissa would do.

    Ryan decides it's probably best to stay away from Marissa, and not just because her vodka breath could set off a four-alarm fire at the pep rally. No such luck. Julie Cooper, star of the cult classic, The Porn Identity, and a mother to two daughters needs his help because he's the only one Marissa listens to. She needs Ryan to go to the pep rally and do... I forget what exactly.

    It turns out Marissa needs Ryan's help because she doesn't know jackshit about building a bonfire or barking out orders without sounding all shrill, so he came just in the nick of time. But alas, Marissa and Ryan are met by Alex and a couple of heavy metal rejects she brought to shove Ryan around a bit.

    Which provides an opportunity for Marissa and Alex to talk things over. So they decide they like each other a lot but they're just too different blah blah blah. I think they're broken up. I'm not certain. In any case, Alex calls off her thugs and goes home. Marissa and Ryan are left to do whatever former couple-turned-friends do before they're back to being a couple again. And it will only be a matter of time before some girl to come back from Ryan's past and Ryan to knock her up.

    Then there's stuff about Kirsten's new editor being a mopey alcoholic (though to his credit, he blasts "Debaser" and wears a Husker Du t-shirt) and Sandy negotiating for the distribution rights for Julie's XXX video, but both those storylines are building up for next week.
    • Enjoyable episode. The above metacatharsis at the top of the hour was a nice dig at internet chatterers such as yours truly. And Seth was on point through the whole episode, especially with his "Hey, you just punched someone! That's very last year" dig at Ryan.

    • I said this last week too, but cutting out most of the new characters really makes it a tighter show. The storylines are much better developed and they're not happening in separate vacuums.

    • Gotta agree with Central Village that Julie's porn movie is the best storyline of the year. It seems natural for her character -reckless past, wants to do right for her daughter(s) but also obsessed about her image - which can't be said for any of the other storylines this season.

    • And yeah, it helps to have teenagers doing teenager things, like going to school and bitching about school events.

    • But how does Marissa manage to be a one-person event coordinator despite never really attending school? Don't they have adult supervision? Don't they have to get the fire marshall involved for a huge ass bonfire? And where did all that lumber come from on such short notice?

    • Sleazy porn producers/extortionists listen to the Scorpions. Jaded middle aged used-to-be iconoclasts listens to Pixies.

    • Next week: Caleb sends his own thugs to Julie's porn daddy; something happens between Julie and the Billy Campbell editor guy; Ryan and Marissa look into each others' eyes and act all awakward. Saty tuned.

    So so there

    So I broke down and got a ticket for the Handsome Boy Modeling School show at Irving on 4/20.

    Yeah, this is probably the only time I'll be spending more than $20 a head for a concert this year. But it's worth it, I'm sure.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Blatant product placement + jumping the shark = greatest TV show ever

    Seriously, if Arrested Development is not the funniest television show ever, then I simply can't fathom the level of funniness a show must achieve to out-funny Arrested - I probably wouldn't be able to handle the funniness, like a chimp who kills himself performing autoerotica.

    I have a difficult time time picking the defining episode since the writers have been on point for almost every episode - it's really the converse of The OC whose mediocre episodes far outnumber the good ones - but this past Sunday's ep was up there. Carl Weathers makes a glorious return as a shameless pennypinching version of himself..
    Narrator (Ron Howard): "And Tobias met with Carl Weathers at Burger King"
    Carl Weathers (Himself): "Thanks for meeting me down here at Burger King. Trying to get them to underwrite a new TV project I'm working on, get some money in exchange for setting a scene at Burger King."
    Tobias (David Cross): "As long as you don't draw attention to it."

    Carl Weathers: "You know that you can get a refill on any drink you want here, and it's free?
    Tobias: (raising chicken sandwich) "It's a wonderful restaurant!"
    Narrotor: "It sure is!"

    Delightful. But the capper was Henry Winkler, the inept family attorney Barry Zuckerkorn, reprising his legendary shark jump on his way to breakfast at Burger King:

    See Josh Schwartz, this is how you do meta. Simply magnificient.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    This is going to take a while

    I'm trying to download the huge ass SXSW showcase artist mp3 library and this is how it's looking right now:

    So the 20 song update downloaded pretty quickly but the 2.63GB bundle is taking for ever. Well duh, but how am I only getting only 1.4k/s with 25 peers and the other file downloaded superfast with fewer peers?

    Damn nerds, y'all are holding out on me. We nerds are supposed to stick together, don't ya know?

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    Let's dork it up some more: Grocery Store Options

    With the future arrival of Whole Foods at Chrystie Avalon and at Union Square in a less distant future (as well as rumors of Trader Joe's invading the Union Squar-ish area), my grocery shopping routine may or may not change a great deal. So I figured I'd look at my current supermarket options.

    All travel times from or just plain guessing
    1. Hong Kong Supermarket
      109 E Broadway (2 min walk)
      Pros: Closest to apartment, dirt cheap
      Cons: No variety, not always fresh
      Comment: This will always be my primary option for basic groceries, I think. Everything's cheap, especially if you step out and go to the produce stands. Freshness is... let's just say unpredictable, but dollar-for-pound, you can't beat this neighborhood. Sanitation leaves a little to be desired though, and as far as fruits and veggies go, it really is just the basics. They don't even have lime, for crying out loud. Also, I'm a little afraid of their meat section.

    2. Pathmark
      227 Cherry St (10 min walking fast, eyes down)
      Pros: Closest full-service grocery store to apartment, open late
      Cons: Neighborhood sketchy, quality of produce guaranteed - guaranteed to be poor
      Comment: To be honest, I've only been here once. It's not the most charming of locales - basically a suburban strip mall (sans Lexus SUVs and soccer moms) at the base of the Manny Bridge. I made the mistake of riding my bike there, not realizing that it's a steep climb going back. Looks like a suburban supermarket from the outside but inside, the floors and shelves were dirty, the produce was piss poor, shelves weren't fully stocked and prices weren't that good. No reason to go back.

    3. Gracefully
      28 Avenue A (13 min walk or M14A bus)
      Pros: Quality produce, has soup and stuff. It's non-chain, I think.
      Cons: Small space, sometimes impossible to move around, not the easiest to find what you're looking for
      Comment:I like this place, though it's best combined with Key Foods (below) because they're close together. I can get basic stuff at Key and then anything special or something Key doesn't have, I can get here. Also nice to have the option of hopping on the bus.

    4. Key Foods
      52 Avenue A (14 min walk or M14A bus)
      Pros: Eh. Better than Pathmark. You know what to expect.
      Cons: Eh, marginally better than Pathmark. You know what to expect. Always supercrowded.
      Comment:See above re: Gracefully. Whatever it's lacking, I can get a couple of blocks down. Still, most of the stuff I can get at Hong Kong Supermarket so it's not worth the trip on its own.

    5. JAS Mart
      35 E St. Mark's Pl (15 min M15 bus)
      Pros: Japanese specialties, household stuff too, quality meats, produce. Reasonable prices.
      Cons: Limited selection
      Comment: I don't come here unless I have a specific need like packaged foods or specially cut meat. Generally good quality and if they don't have something, I can always go to Sunrise Mart on top of St. Mark's Bookshop.

    6. Whole Foods
      250 7th Avenue (25 min by subway)
      Pros: Really, it's Whole muthafuckin Foods yo.
      Cons: The big crowds can be intimidating. Nothing's cheap here (duh).
      Comment: I guess the good thing is that quality is pretty much guaranteed and there probably isn't anything I can't get here. The packaged stuff is good too - I kill, ransack and pillage for blue corn chips. Still, this location, as well as the one at Columbus Circle, are just crazy with people and I imagine the Union Sq and Chrystie Avalon would be much of the same.

    You know, from the looks of it, neither of the two new Whole Foods will affect my life that much. I want to give Fresh Direct a try and I'm curious to see what Max Delivery will bring to Downtown.

    West Side Stadium - I might give a fuck

    So I've never been a fan of the proposed West Side Stadium. Besides MTA getting totally dicked on the deal and the potential of the Olympics bringing those damn dirty foreigners* here while bankrupting our fair city.

    But now, Major League Soccer and Metrostars are asking NYC if they can get in on the West Side Time Share. If NYC lets the kids play soccer at the stadium, I'm totally willing to flip flop on the issue.

    The Metro have a lease from hell at Giants Stadium and the proposed stadium at Harrison, NJ has been pushed back so many times, "60 to 90 days" has become synonymous with "when hell freezes over". And I'd love to support my local club, but realistically, it's hard to get behind a team that I have to get on the bus at PA every other weekend to watch live.

    I still hate the idea of the city wasting money on the Olympics or the Mayor strongarming the MTA but if it means a semi-permanent home for soccer in NY, I'm cool with it.

    *The author of this blog is also damn dirty foreigner himself

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Music review of tomorrow, today

    From tomorrow's Newsday, this is probably the first and last time three of my favorite artists are mentioned in the same column in a daily paper.

    Employment by Kaiser Chiefs gets an A. I'm catching the boys from Leeds on 3/25 at Bowery Ballroom. I'm pretty pumped about that.

    And Good Music for Tsunami Relief actually seems to be good music. Check it:
    Live tracks from Wilco ("Jesus, etc."), French Kicks ("The Trial of the Century") and My Morning Jacket ("The Bear") are standouts, as are remixes from Interpol ("Slow Hands," given new energy by Britt Daniel's remix), Franz Ferdinand (the grooving Headman remix of "The Dark of the Matinee") and Elbow (a dreamy RJD2 remix of "Fugitive Motel"). And there are great album tracks from Bright Eyes and The Faint, alongside cool unreleased nuggets from Rilo Kiley, Dios Malos and Hot Hot Heat.

    The biggest surprise, though, is Death Cab for Cutie's organ-driven cover of The Cure's "Love Song," in which singer Ben Gibbard taps into his inner Robert Smith.
    Franz and Interpol? Cool. Rilo Kiley and French Kicks? Awesome. An RJD2 remix? Spendaculous.

    Finally, the previously mentioned Ben Folds cover of Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" gets some love as well. Sweet.

    I'm an idiot.

    So I'm on the phone with Maureen Saturday night and she asks me if I'm doing anything that night. Well, my fair lady, I respond, I'm going to go catch Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!! at Mercury Lounge. She asks me what time they're on and I check on the Mercury website and they come on at 9:30. The only problem? It was 10 pm already. Oops.

    I felt especially stupid since I could've caught CYHSY!! Friday night at Crash Mountain Mansion for free.

    Such was the excitement that was my weekend. I'm glad I could entertain you. Seriously though, do check out Clap when you get a chance.

    Sunday, March 13, 2005

    Thanks, tournament committee

    Full Bracket

    I don't like these seedings. Either Kansas (3) or UConn (2) are possible champions and Villanova (5)'s one of those teams that can beat anyone when the shots are falling. This region's a tougher than the other regions. The #2 in Duke's brack is Kentucky (ha!), though they could easily fall to Syracuse (4) before they get to the final. Illinois won't (well, shouldn't) be challenged until Okie State (2) in the regional final. Washington's a #1? This is Wake Forest (2)'s bracket and I can't see anyone other than G Tech (5) or Louisville (4) spoiling things here. Anyway, I'll post my predics here later but right now, I'm thinking Heels, Illinois, Tech and 'Cuse in the Final 4.

    So yeah, Carolina has tough road ahead. Still, I have faith in Roy's Boys and Jackie Manuel's nostrils. Go Heels.

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    The OC Season 2 Episode 15: Children of the Porn

    Previously: Season 2 Episode 13

    Fairly good episode, methought. The show runs much, much, much, much, much, much smoother without most of the new characters. I wanted to like Lindsay, but the writers simply didn't give her enough. Marissa's relationship with the last remaining newbie Alex seems to be falling apart now, which should make for good melodrama in the coming weeks (the preview for the next ep has Alex yelling "Get off my girlfriend!" to Ryan). There is a new character, Billy Campbell's magazine editor, but we'll see where they go with him.

    Anyway, not terribly exciting but I think it solved some of the issues mentioned in this TVGasm post, i.e. having kids do kid things and not letting storylines happen in vacuums.
    • Everytime I wanted to say something to the TV, the writers had an answer. Cases in point:
      1. In the opening scene where Seth is blabbing on and on when all Ryan wants to do is wallow in his bed, Ryan and I were pretty much on cue when he said "Shut up, Seth!"
      2. When Ryan and Seth were crawling through the ventilation ducts, I was about to complain about how they're not built to withstand anything heavier than air, including a scrawny teenager, Seth falls through.
      3. You never, ever, ever ever ever hold your mug while someone else refills. And whaddayaknow, Kirsten pulls her mug and Sandy spills the coffee.

    • Yes, Julie Cooper appeared in "The Porn Identity". Which begs the question - aren't they a little off with the time? The Bourne Identity came out in 2002 so the porn version had to come after 2002, but Julie filmed it before Marissa was born so it had to be in the 80s. In which case, it had to be a spoof of the book, but as cultured as the porn industry may be, they don't spoof books, do they? I'm pretty sure they didn't come out with a "A Heartbreaking Work of A Staggering Penis" or a "Me Fuck Pretty One Day", no matter how popular those books were.

    • Why am I analyzing the historical accuracy of a fictitious porno flick on a teen melodrama? Oh, that's right, I'm a total dork.

    • The storyline with Kirsten's ring - I thought it was a bit contrived at first, but it worked out pretty well, I think. Especially with Caleb and Sandford doing some male bonding. Good to see the Cohens back to being the Cohens.

    • I was hoping to hear more from the Beck album. I'd already heard that song, ya know. And the Star Wars Episode 3 trailer? Eh. It's nice, but it didn't have me doing backflips on my bed. I've never been a SW fan. I was more impressed with the Sin City trailer to be honest.

    • I'm not a big fan of the Marissa-Alex union, but it's kinda fun to see how domesticity is taking all the fire out of the relationship.

    • Now, the bad news is that Ryan and Marissa are now on their way to relationshipdom. There's no chemistry there. Or maybe it just seems that way because Summer and Seth are just oozing with the gooey stuff.

    • Speaking of Seth and Summer, good to hear them mention Anna. There's one supporting character whom I miss. I want to see her back on the show, but I guess the third wheel thing would get old pretty fast. And speaking of absent characters, Julie referred to her "two daughters" again. Don't they even visit her at the boarding school? Does she not get breaks? Is "boarding school" an euphemism for "juvey"? Or are they slowly setting up the Kaitlyn spinoff? Could I ask any more questions with no answers?

    • I know people get tired of the metareality, but using The Valley DVD to fool the mall security guards was a nice touch. The key with meta is to not overdo it.

    • But really, worst mall security ever.

    • Coke with lime - stupid. Why can't people carry lime wedges around with them?
    C'est todo, folks. Have a good weekend, say hi to people and drive safe.

    Ikea assembly manuals: It's a man's, man's, man's world

    Shocking! Horrific! Outrageous! Ikea criticized for male-only furniture assembly guides. That's right, those wordless instruction manuals that come with your Malm bed or Nygård dining table only contain male figures and "cartoon figures whose sex is unclear" according to the Norwegian prime minister.

    How could you, Ikea? I thought you stood for values. Why can't your views on gender equity be as tasty as your meatballs? Won't you give female cartoon figures and clip art characters the same opportunities that you give their male counterparts? Shame on you, IKea.

  • Previously on Ikea
  • Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Comparing Apple to Apple Knockoffs

    Spoofing Apple's 1984 Commercial: Why 2004 was a little bit like '1984' (The Royal We )

    Probably isn't a spoof but funny nonetheless: Super shuffle, exactly like iPod shuffle in every way except, well, it's super.

    Battle of Delancey: Once More Into the Breach. Or not.

    So it turns out my post from a couple of days ago onUpper vs Lower LES rivalry was a battlecry.

    Who knew. But of course, this means war. If you thought Nas vs Jigga, Biggie vs 2Pac or Shiites vs Sunnis were bad, oh ya ain't see nyada yet. What's next? Limited edition sneakers hanging from power lines actual marking territories, not as a publicity stunt? Exchange of Molotov cocktails (using PBR bottles, natch) across Delancey? Breakdance fighting?

    Personally, I'm looking forward to a wall stretching from Allen St all the way to East River. Then we can get Christo to do some groundbreaking art, like cover the Delancey Wall with fabric. The conflict reaches its climax when Below Delanceyans abduct, oh, let's say Bloc Party on their way to Mercury Lounge and have them perform on the south side of the Delancey wall. If it worked on the Simpsons, surely it will work here.

    Either that, or continue to furiously type away in our walk-ups.

    iTunes vs Everyone Reprised

    Boring biz stuff ahead.

    So analysts think iTunes should offer subscriptions because Apple's share fell 5 percent after Napster raised its revenue forecast and they expect a subscription will be the way to go:
    Jupiter Research analyst David Card expects by 2009 that subscriptions will outpace downloads, generating $890 million in revenues versus $800 million for download sales...

    "We're looking at 100 percent growth rates for the next three or four years in digital music sales and in digital music players," said Phil Leigh, analyst with Inside Digital Media.

    Leigh expects Apple's dominance will be challenged. "Apple sold 8 million iPods in 2004, or 70 percent of the market. They will probably lose some market share over the next few years, but if they offer subscriptions, I think that loss of market share will be less," he said.

    Hmm. Maybe, but Dan Frakes of Playlist isn't so sure.
    The problem is that, right now, the market is speaking, and it's saying rather loudly that people want to own their music, not rent it%97at least some of it. (Note to self: subscription service proponents really hate it when people call it "renting," despite the fact that it's exactly that.)

    [Ted Cohen, Senior VP for Digital Distribution and Delivery for EMI Recorded Music] claims that the reason for this is that "consumers have been seduced by the idea that everything costs $.99-they don't understand subscriptions." Neil Smith from AOL echoed these sentiments, noting that the industry "hasn't done enough to inform consumers." But what's to understand? With iTunes, you pay $.99 and you can do pretty much whatever you want with the song. (OK, except play it on a non-iPod portable; that takes some effort.) With a subscription service, you generally can't burn to CD, you can only play on a few devices, and to keep listening, you have to pay every month. I think it's pretty clear, and I don't think these guys give the average consumer enough credit.

    I've talked about the subject of pay-per-song vs subscription, and as I've said before, I have nothing against subscriptions. But it also seems to me that Napster, Real et al are trying too hard to be iTunes-killers, which diminishes the value of their products and underestimates the consumer's intelligence.

    My life has improved by 7.3%

    Because I got me this:

    JBL Onstage

    In a word, mildlyawesome. My only complaints are that it doesn't run on batteries or come with a remote, but it's not like I'm going to use it as a ghettoblaster and I would lose the remote anyway. I'm especially happy since Amazon had it for $106 (I think it MSRPs for $169).

    Yay me.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Ben Folds used to know a bitch named Mandy May

    Ben Folds - Bitches Ain't Shit (link opens in iTunes)

    Now, I'm not always a fan of novelty cover and I know, I know, Dynamite Hacks did an NWA cover so this isn't exactly new territory here, but it works. Dr Dre's music is timeless, ya know. Still, my favorite Ben Folds cover will always be Elliott Smith's "Say Yes", followed by Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" and the Cure's "In Between the Days".

    Also on iTunes, a free sampler for Lower East Side teashop owner, Moby's upcoming album: Hotel Album Sampler

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Dear Snow

    You're cute and all, but really, it gets a little repetitive. You were cool last week and I got some nice pictures of you, but really, enough is enough. Please go away post haste, and let spring in on your way out.

    Thanks. Sincerely, me.

    PS And stop turning into ice and hitting me in my face.
    PPS Oh, and take your friend Windy McWind with with you.

    Finally, some respect for the Lower Lower East Side

    So it's not remarkable that the Village Voice did a neighborhood profile on the Lower East Side - after all, the dead tree media has been tripping over each other discovering the El-ee-ess. What is remarkable that my end of the neighborhood - Orchard below Delancey (are realtors calling it BelDel or some other cute abbreviation? I don't know) is getting some respek.

    Media coverage of the neighborhood centers on the Hipster Triangle, well, rhombus or hexagram, whatever, of Orchard/Stanton, Ludlow/Rivington and Clinton streets, not the Alsace/Lorraine of Chinatown and LES down near where I live. Places like ToTC's favorite watering hole or the eateries and drinkeries on Clinton get most of the love. But for once, the Hipster Hexagram's less attractive, less fashionable sister gets the spotlight.

    Let's look at the bars, streets, restaurants, events etc VV name drops, shall we?

    Above DelanceyBelow Delancey:
    Max Fish
    Essex Street Market
    Welcome to the Johnson's
    Nicole duFresne
    35 Clinton
    Tenement Museum
    Eldridge Street Synagogue
    The Pickle Guys
    Doughnut Plant
    Kossar's Bialys
    Good World Bar and Grill
    Lolita Bras
    Grand St
    Seward Park Public Library

    Take that, Above Delancey!

    To be fair, the piece implicitly mentions Grilled Cheese, Arlene's Grocery and Kuma Inn and/or Suba, and I suppose neither the Tenement Museum nor the public library can match the pizzaz of Mercury Lounge or the notoriety of Katz's.

    And I have nothing against our more attractive, better dressed neighbors to the north. Above Delancey is always there for me when I get tired of Chinese and Malaysian takeouts and it brings all kinds of great live music to walking distance. Still, it's nice to be recognized sometimes.

    The article itself is a good quick read and gets into the changing demographics of the 'hood. I do have to disagree on the boundaries - I think the neighborhood ends at Division or East Broadway, not East River, and I would put the western boundary at Allen, or at most, Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. Not that it matters or anything.

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Good 75 - Evil 73

    Woo hoo

    You came in with the breeze - Sunday morning posting

    So it's been a bit hectic. Work has been kicking my ass in a major way. It should slow down a bit in a few days. It sucks that I'm working too hard to do my job hunt. So here's what's been going on.
    • My girlfriend left me. Well no, not like that. She's doing a 6-month internship in DC so I'll see her a couple of times a month. Still, I spend my nights drinking too much wine, gorging on chocolate and blasting "All By Myself".
    • As if I needed a metaphor for how my week was going I got shat upon by pigeons. Yes, pigeons. Not one, not two, but not three. The good news is, I took full advantage of the nice restrooms at the Crate & Barrel on Broadway at Houston.
    • I have a couple of unprofitable projects coming up. They're so unprofitable, if I'm successful enough, I stand to get sued by adidas (Iason knows about this one) and Isiah Thomas. I'll keep y'all posted as things develop.
    • If you were wondering what happened to Jake Bronstein's wallet and didn't visit, wonder no more, he got it back. The story's a little wordy, but still worth reading. Though it really raises more questions than it answers. Also, an observation: there sure is a lot of male nudity in Jake Bronstein's life.
    • Asobi Seksed it at the SESAC/Giant Robot benefit at Rothko on Thursday night. Asobi was as gun as ever - I like them enough listening on my iPod, but it's a band that has to be seen live to be appreciated. Daddy was okay, though I can't decide if the "Daddy loves you" stage banter added or took away from their music, and Elkland didn't do much from me.

    • No new OC on Thursday but we still got a new TVgasm entry, and it's a good one: The OC: How To Fix The OC I must say, I agree with #1, #2... well hell, all of them. Look, I still enjoy an episode here and an episode there, but the storylines have become painfully forced.
    • Dook vs Carolina today. Woo.

    Friday, March 04, 2005

    Sheet ees heeting the fan

    It's a little bit crazy at work right now and it's throwing my schedule off insanely. But I did manage to get out to the Giant Robot benefit at Rothko and caught Asobi Seksu, Daddy and Elkland.

    Recap, photographic evidence later. No OC recap because, well, there was no new episode last night. Happy Friday.

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    NY Post: sneakerheads = Carrie Bradshaw

    After reporting on last week's horrific "Sneaker Riot", the printed little sister of Fair & Balanced is still fascinated with the newly discovered sneakerhead culture, it seems.

    The article in today's Post and this is the basic take:
    "Guys go crazy for sneakers in the way that girls go crazy for Manolo Blahniks," says Jimmy Jellinek, editor in chief of Complex magazine, a sneaker collector's bible.

    The article points out that many of these guys are sneaker hunting so they can put them on eBay, and name drops a couple of Downtown shops, Bape and Alife, but Reed Space, the site of last week's brawl, goes conspicuously unmentioned.

    I have to agree that dropping anything more than $100 on sneakers is a wee bit crazy. Full disclosure: I have paid $100 on sneakers once, my current Adidas running shoes. My girlfriend makes fun of me for all the snekers I own, but all of my casual sneakers cost $30 to $70, and I only own like 7 pairs of them things after doing some spring cleaning last year. Me sane, them crazy.

  • Freshness: NYC Sneaker Shopping Guide
  • Vintage Kicks

  • Asobi Seksu/Tsunami benefit reminder

    Just a heads up for tonight's tsunami benefit at Rothko. Here's how the schedule looks:
    6:30 PM Doors
    7:00 PM DJ McNany (run-roc)
    7:30 PM Kite Operations
    8:30 PM Stiffed
    9:30 PM Asobi Seksu
    10:30 PM Daddy
    11:30 PM Elkland

    I think I'll be there for Asobi Seksu, but I seriously don't know if I can last for the Elkland set, though I do want to catch them. We shall see.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    "Ford Escape from Alcatraz", "Turning Yellow Cabs Green" and other horrible post titles I came up with

    There are many things from San Francisco that I want to see here in NY - the Mission burritos and Coit Tower to name two* - but hybrid taxi cabs are near the top of the list now. adfreak informs us that two San Francisco cab companies introduced 15 hybrid Ford Escapes to their fleets. I like this not only as a part-time tree hugger and but also as a consumer.

    According to the piece, the Ford Escapes get about 30 to 33 miles per gallon compared to just 12 to 14 on the conventional Crown Vics (the same as most NYC yellow cabs). And passing those savings on to the savings would be especially nice in SF since it is the most expensive city to, among other things, ride a cab in. I remember a few drunken nights when I was forced to cab it. Public transit forced me to go through downtown, which added like an extra hour to my trip, and MUNI at night was pretty much nonexistant. Of course, when I was drunk, $15 for a cab ride didn't seem all that bad.

    I hardly ride cabs in NYC but I do like those yellow mini-SUVs and minivans that have been popping up more and more lately. I like the added headroom and the false sense of security. And hey, maybe they could pass the savings onto the riders and clean up the air a little.

    *Other SF things I want to see in NY are dirt cheap dim sum, that Hawaiian restaurant near the park, thrift shops that are actually thrifty, cheaper avocados, North Beach restaurants, compost recycling, the N-Judah train, that hill with the view of the Pacific and Golden State and Sony Metreon. That's about it.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    Netflix update - 3/1/05

    So for all of February, I watched When We Were Kings, Garden State, Whale Rider, and

    When We Were Kings is one of those movies I can watch over and over and over and over again. Ali is such a magnetic personality, it's just so hard not to root for him. Just a fantastic documentary, and it's especially enjoyable seeing familiar faces like George Plimpton, Don King and the man who would be the greatest TV informercial host of all time, George Foreman.

    Garden State, much better on the initial viewing, but still enjoyable. Whale Rider, I was expecting much more from, but I guess it's okay. Same with PS but the wonderful acting by Laura Linney and Topher Grace makes this movie. Yes, even the "That was fucking awesome!" line.

    I currently have with me:
    • Chicago
    • Almost Famous
    Hmmm. Not quite sure why.

    Previous update: January 21, 2005

    Snow, bitches

    So I took a bunch of pictures. I'm updating my Winter in NYC photo set on Flickr as we speak. Cheerio.

    Oscar Quickie

    A very belated Oscar quickie, before sheet gets too stale:
    • First off, I liked Chris Rock. I always liked Chris Rock and I realize that many thought he was fish out of water. Well, that was the point. The whole award broadcast genre's been getting stale and anything that breaks away from the same ol' is a positive. Well, almost.

    • Speaking of people missing the point, dude, I love Sean Penn for his brilliant acting and Jeff Spicoli, but good lord, is he a humorless punk.
    • Couple of memorable Chris Rock lines - "You won't be able to keep your eyes off our next four presenters, Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek" and "Cuba sent me $80".

    • Rock was funny, I don't care what you say. Sure, his jokes were hit and miss, but some of those jokes, he made the audience really uncomfortable. That's a good thing.

    • Though the best comic moment was completely unscripted. He introduced Jeremy Irons as "comic superstar", to which Irons responded "It's so good to be recognized at last." Then, when what sounded like a gunshot rang out in the background, he deadpanned "I hope they missed." Genius.

    • The awards themselves? Blah. After a few years, you learn to expect deserving nominees to get shafted and get over it. The sky is blue. The toilet flushes the other way in Australia. The Academy voters always vote safe. BFD.

    • I'm not going to repeat the Leo DiCaprio joke I made in the BigSoccer play by play. I wish I hadn't made that joke - I can't get that visual out of my head now.

    • Clint, Morgan and Hilary all seem to be nice people.

    • Nice to see Charlie Kauffman pick up a statuette. But why didn't he thank his brother Donald?

    • Man, they seriously need to chill with the "get your ass off the stage" music. Look, it's perfectly reasonable to ask a costume designer or a short animate film director to keep it short, but you have to let the major winners like Best Actress or Best Picture finish theirs. It wasn't like they were going excessively long and thanking their dog's shrink. And this was a relatively short broadcast too. No excuse for that.

    • When I'm filthy rich, I'm going to finance an overly sappy movie written by Kauffman, directed by Richard Linklater and featuring Laura Linney as the wife of a deaf, blind and mute quadriplegic played by Paul Giammati. This will cause such a maelstrom of make-up Oscars, the Academy voters will mess themselves.
    C'est tout, folks.