Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Hey kids, [decentcontent] is up and running now, in case you haven't clicked over already.

Glitches, yes, but we (and by "we", I mean Heather) are working through it and have managed to stay non-suicidal through the whole ordeal. Come check us out and let us know how we're doing.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

Regular readers of this site may have noticed that my posting has gotten inconsistent recently and... oh, you know what's coming next: I'm going to stop posting. I'm not pulling the plug (yet) but spinachdip will go on hiatus and I have no idea if/when/how it will return.

The short version:

The simple explanation is that I no longer enjoy the process and I'm not happy with what I'm posting. Also, my personal and professional lives are a bit of a mess right now and getting my shit together is going to take priority. Until I can devote more energy to idle musings and random linking, I am (more or less) finished posting here for the foreseeable future.

The long version:

Shit, I say this tongue placed squarely outside the cheek, I exhibit every fucking sign of Blog Depression. I have vowed not to turn this blog into a confessional and I intend to keep my word for the most part. Self indulgence and self pity aren't particularly attractive unless you have a book deal, so I'll try to keep this as cold and impersonal as possible.

Right now, I have bigger things to deal with and this silly little outpost on the internet feels incredibly inconsequential. I don't want to keep making lame excuses for diminished output or quality and I had doubts about the direction of this site in the past, doubts that have only grown since. In any case, I'm taking this shit way too seriously, worrying about linkage and site traffic, writing longwinded farewells, etc. It's time to take a step back.

This isn't to say that I'm doing this without any hesitation or that I came to the decision completely sober. And it worries me a bit that I'm going against the advice of people who are much, much smarter than I. More than anything else, I will miss the exchanges I've had with readers via comments and email. I hate that I will lose that connection with people I've never met in person yet apparently share common interests, and the geeky camaraderie with other bloggers.

But I need to make some lifestyle changes, and while this site wasn't exactly the source of all my ills, it is still part of my routine and the routine hasn't been helping. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Perhaps, but you gotta throw out a few babies if you want a clean bathtub.

As for the immediate future, I will not be falling off the face of this earth or the internets completely. I will be working on the launch of [decentcontent], where I will serve as Editor-At-Large. I have no idea what my responsibilities are exactly, to be honest; I assume I'll be doing a little editing, a little writing and a little chomping on fat cigars. The two developments - the hiatus and the new site - are unrelated but the timing couldn't be better, as the solo blogging thing felt a little too masturbatory and I've been meaning to join an orgy of talented writers.

Anyway, there is plenty of good readin' to be done on the internet, which is why I have that massive link list to the right. And you can always reach me directly by AIM at toyodanyc or by email at spinachdipblog-at-gmail-dot-com). I can't promise to respond every time, but I can promise that I'll try, or at least make a token effort. I will occasionally post pics from my Flickr account here and announcements may pop up from time to time, so if you like, you can subscribe via the Atom feed.

As always, I've written too much. Thanks for reading and I appreciate all your support, on- and offline.

PS: To celebrate the launch of [decentcontent], we invite you all to attend blogmukkah 05.
What: The bi-denominational celebration of drinking and blogging
When: Saturday, December 17
Where: In NYC, venue TBD but most likely below 8th St, east of Bowery

So save the date, hope to see all your pretty faces there vodka tonics willing.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The OC Season 3 Episode 5: Right back where we started from

Previously: Season 3 Episode 4: How Marissa got her groove back

Previously on The OC... Boy did we ever need that. I remember complaining last year that the season didn't start until November and, well, the 6-month wait from the Season One finale was ridiculous. But going off the air for a month didn't turn out to be that much better, especially considering the utterly anti-climactic baseball postseason that forced the momentum-killing break.

So as we almost always do, we open in the Cohen kitchen, which is getting some heavy usage now that... um... the mom, what's her name again? Kirsten? Yes, Kirsten. Kirsten is cooking as part of her vodka avoidance, and instead of the boys schmearing their bagels and munching their cereal, it's Kiki making... eggs benedict? She just got like 500% hotter right there, even if she won't serve Bloody Mary. Have I ever told you guys how much I love eggs benedict? And how much I love a woman who can poach an egg? Seriously, I will have sex with the next girl who comes over and makes eggs benedict for me. You do have to make hollandaise from scratch, but think about what you're getting here. I will also perform cunnilingus for eggs florentine.

Aaaanyhoo, also per usual, Sandy and his eyebrows join the rest of the household. He is on the phone with Principal Kim (the last minority character to appear on The OC, btw) trying to get Ryan reinstated at Harbor and off the Dean of Discipline's shitlist. As long as Ryan has the Dean Hess-certified red flag on his permanent records, no college would touch him, says Sandy. "But there's always Florida State - they take felons!", I want to tell him. But before I can txt mssg Sandy, opening credits roll. We've been on the run, driving in the sun...

So Summer and Seth are in Harriet the Spy mode, trying to take down Taylor Townsend, who seems to be wearing a lot more makeup than the last time we saw her. But we still know she's evil because she's always wearing a pastel polo shirt with a sweater around her neck. Summer realizes though, that rather than usurp Taylor for her own personal satisfaction, she can use the affair to blackmail the Dean into taking the getting Ryan back into Harbor, because he fit in so fucking well there. So she come up with the most convolutediest scheme ever to expose the secret kissy-kiss. Seth is ambivalent but plays the skeptical-but-supportive boyfriends because the writers haven't figured out a storyline for him, and wouldn't you do the same to if you had a chance at nailing Rachel Bilson?

I'm not quite sure what happened next but they manage to lure Taylor to the all-purpose motel (they rent out rooms to minors? Quelle horreur!) and get her to admit that she's been on kissing terms with Dean Hess. Not that we would take her word for it here and she could very well be leading Summer down on another path of shame. But my cynicism turns out to be for naught as they get the help of Sandy, who waves a Sidekick around and convinces the Dean that they have photographic evidence. To escape a potential career-ending scandal, Dean is headed back to the mythical "East Coast" where all evil people come from. Sandy recommends that the Dean get himself a Sidekick, which he can use to job search on Craigslist (though methinks he is overselling it a bit - have you ever tried reading CL on your phone? Me neither.). But the important thing is that the Dean of Discipline's iron grip over Harbor is no more and Ryan is free to come back to Harbor... but he doesn't know that yet.

At the beginning of the show, Ryan gets all self-pitying because the Dean is a big meanie at the college fair hosted by Harbor, and he should have a better idea of where he wants to go to college since it's already his senior year. I mean, early admission applications are due already, aren't they? Then again, I didn't start writing my college essays until like December 30.

Ryan is so upset that he cancels his off-camera tutor and takes a job with a fishing boat captained by Johnny's uncle. We think Johnny, the bizarro Ryan at Marissa's public school is trying to be helpful, ghetto white kid to ghetto white kid, but as the preview for next week's ep plainly obvious, he's angling to get with Marissa.

Ryan needs a guardian's consent to go on the boat, but Sandy gets all reverse psychology and signs the form, and throws the most awkward farewell party ever. So awkward that they actually inserted the cricket chirping sound effect. See, that's what happens when your girlfriend finds out through your legal guardians that you're leaving to go on a fishing expedition. And she's not a big fan of boats since Jimmy took off in one - twice!

Marissa sees him off at the harbor where she calls him out for being a coward, just like her dad. Ooh, no one wants to be compared to Jimmy! Either that or she longs for a father figure who keeps running away from her. Ryan stays off camera long enough to make us think he's really leaving (well, not really), but by 8:57 ET, he rejoins the gang at the diner, ready to hear the news that, yay, he's welcome back at Harbor.

Oh, and is it just me or did Marissa get hot? I find her attractive now much much much more attractive than I did the first 2 seasons, even if she is still just bones and Prada. Of course, it could be because they keep telling her she's the hottest hottie in the hottest county in California, and when you hear the same things enough times, you start to believe it. Reminds me of the girl I briefly dated my freshman year in college. So this girl was being all flirtatious and I thought she was attractive, not hot, but all my friends did and managed to convince me that she was. I was pretty into her, doing shit like making a big ol' care package when she got sick and shit, and doing a big Valentine's Day thing. It didn't last long and I was kinda upset about it after the school year ended, until I saw her a year later and I was like, "Wait, I was getting all worked up over you?" No, she was pretty - it was just that I had been talked into thinking she was much prettier than she actually was. I never saw her again, such being life at a large public university.

Oh, and there's a completely unrelated storyline involving Julie. Jeri Ryan is back as the incompetent con woman, and in an apparent attempt to angle into Kirsten's wallet (which we already know is pretty bare), she puts a down payment on a condo that Julie can't afford. Not sure how that works. My guess is that it doesn't work, seeing how her previous scheme turned out. Julie is suspicious but the desire to escape the motel living overwhelms her and moves into the condo. The plot is still developing, but it did give us a great overhead shot of Julie sitting by the motel pool - wished they'd lingered on it a half second longer.

Also, the word "fluffer" is mentioned on prime time network TV.

Eh. It was entertaining enough but uneven and anticlimactic, especially the premature end to Dean Hess's reign of terror. But like with everything else in life, the first time after a long layoff should be a freebie and we shouldn't base our judgment on it.

Next week, Johnny/Bizarro Ryan makes the move on Marissa, presumably resulting in a catastrophic misunderstanding, causing the Real Ryan and Bizarro Marissa to hate Marissa.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Linkatharsis: You may want to just stay home and blue yourself

  • I love, love this. Who needs J-School when you can get glitter, confetti flowers, gemstones, sequins and denim (denim!) in a single box? Not included, unfortunately, are Judy Miller's "Stop Snitching" button or the fiery red locks of Maureen Dowd (whom I'd totally hit, btw).

  • I'm so so so so so glad that TJ Ford is back. That is my #1 NBA storyline for the season. Well, for now anyway, since I won't be watching that many games until January.

  • Let's get the NBA locker room morality scale calibrated:
    Spousal abuse, infidelity, fathering children out of wedlock with multiple women = good
    Gay = bad

  • Mark Cuban doesn't think much of Kenny Smith.

  • You know, it's great Sports Illustrated manages to get "crotch puncher" onto its pages, but what the fuck is it giving space to Jay Mohr, who just might very well be an idiot. Or just a terrible columnist.

    Say what you will about Scoop or Bill Simmons - hey at least try to make an argument, how asinine and non-sensical. And you can actually imagine people finding them entertaining or insightful. Seriously, what is Mohr bringing here, except that he was once in a very popular sports flick and he does the best Chris Walken impression this side of Kevin Pollack? Okay, time to get off the NBA beat.

  • Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.

  • If you recently had sex with David Cross, beware. That might not be the real David Cross sperm in your vagina. Remember, next time you think you're fucking a c-list celeb, ask for ID.

  • T.A.N. might want to consider Netflix. Speaking of whom, he appears to have made the A-list of bloggers after, like, 2 months in the game. That's pretty good company up there on the fridge.

  • Guns N Roses fans might be shocked to learn that Chinese Democracy is not coming out anytime soon.

  • This is where I'm supposed to drop my 2 cents on Alito, but really, I haven't done enough reading up on the dude and all I can say is that I am cautiously pessimistic. Otherwise, you're probably better off getting your commentary from the nice kids at Cole Slaw Blog.
  • Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    Because it's chili season, even if it's 70 degrees outside

    I love chili. And when late October rolls around, I want the hearty and spicy. The thing is, I don't like ground beef, especially the kind that's available in my low-to-moderate income neighborhood grocery store, and beef cube just doesn't work all that well in a chili for me. So we arrive at this vegetarian variety. But don't worry, it's not healthy at all - there's refried beans and after adding sour cream and a heaping of cheese, it's plenty fattening.

    You need:
    2 large red bell peppers
    2 large green bell peppers
    1 large yellow-skinned onion
    4 cloves garlic
    2 cayenne peppers
    1 can red beans
    1 can black beans
    1 can chick peas
    1 can refried beans
    32 oz crushed tomatoes
    1 large tomato
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 tablespoon cumin
    1 tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce
    4 oz vegetable stock/beer

    Chop peppers, garlic and onions, throw into a deep pot and cook in vegetable oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Deglaze with vegetable stock or pale beer - you can cheat and use chicken stock here and really, who's going to know?

    Stir in the crushed tomatoes, the red, black and chick peas, the large tomato (diced). Add the cumin and chili powder, add more according to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes. At this point, you're probably wishing you had more cayenne peppers. You like your shit spicy and that's why you have Texas Pete.

    Now, you're standing over the stove, patting yourself on your back and marveling at how kickass the chili is. Then you realize it's a little too saucy. It's fine. Your guest isn't arriving for at least another hour and a half. You have time to walk to the grocery store and grab a can (take the traditional style, none of that chorizo bullshit). Stir in as the pot simmers until desired consistency.

    You still have an hour. You can start getting the garnishing ready - tortilla chips, sour cream, cheddar and/or jack should do. Oh, and cornbread - ain't nothing wrong with that. I don't have a recipe for that. Just get a mix and follow the directions on the box.

    There, you got yourself an easy but filling meal when you're having someone over on a cold winter day or an unseasonably warm Halloween night.