Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Quick hits

I meant to have a post ready for this morning, but once again, I'm behind schedule and it's only Tuesday. I'm working on a piece on Asian penises (not entirely inspired by the assimilated one) for [dc] and a Brokeback piece which may or may not be for [dc]. I'll get to those as soon as I'm done trying to bilk thousands of dollars from a multi-national corporation for the privilege of having my bony ass warm one of their chairs.

Quick notes about weekend in DC:
  • Another more-or-less uneventful trip on the Chinatown bus (you know, unlike the last time I took Apex Bus). The driver on the ride back kinda freaked me out by talking, no, shouting into his cell for the first 3 hours, but the bus actually made it to NY on schedule, which was a first.

  • The Baltimore stop on Apex/Today's Bus, basically a grassy patch at a rest stop off I-95, always amuses me, especially when the bus is already full coming out of DC and it stops long enough to inform the would-be riders that they're shit out of luck if the next bus is full too.

  • Oh, am I glad I took my trip this weekend and not the weekend before:
    "Passengers were left completely befuddled as officers removed them from one bus and stopped the boarding of another. At least four buses were seized. The driver of a fifth bus ran away before police could inspect it, leaving his bus behind." [Downtown Express via NewYorkology]

  • Speaking of Chinatown, the one in DC is awful. The food is neither as good nor as cheap as the Chinatown restaurants in New York, or most Chinatowns that I have been to.

  • I hate leaving shitty tip and almost always leave around 20% as long as the service is okay, but I left 10% for the waiter who served us Sunday.

    We waited at least 15 minutes before he brought out water and tea, and he tried to leave without asking if we were ready to order, even though our menus were closed and stacked at the edge of the table. He brought one of two dishes, disappeared again without any indication of when the other dish was coming, and we had to flag him down to get him to bring it.

    It wasn't like the restaurant was mobbed or anything - the table across from us appeared to be getting competent, timely service. And I've worked in restaurants enough to know that not everything that goes wrong is the waiter's fault and I understand mistakes happen. But that was just shitty ass service. I'm thinking 10% was too generous.

  • Cupcakes at CakeLove - worth killing for. Fortunately, they're $3 each and worth every penny.
  • Monday, January 30, 2006

    And I for one welcome our new fancy restaurant opening ovelords

    My friend Leslie has a piece in last week's Time Out NY (subscription required) about my neck of the woods, the (decreasingly) dumpy end of the Lower East Side below Delancey Street.

    I mentioned BelDel's (hey, it's better than LoHo) ugly duckling status early last year, and the neighborhood was pretty barren then. If you look at that map, you can tell how much development's gone on since then, especially in the past couple of months. And just last week, I talked to a guy who's looking to open a bar on my block on Orchard Street (he also owns Welcome to the Johnson's, apparently).

    So that's great. But it gets to the question raised in the article - am I going to be happy about this trend over the long term? While we're not going to wake up tomorrow and find that Ludlow and Orchard, and see the mini-factories and warehouses and lingerie shops replaced by Restaurant Row, there is a clear shift in that direction. My rent is dirt cheap (partly because my bedroom is this big), I like the cheap Chinatown takeout around me and I don't have to put up with the noise that I would if I lived above Pianos or Max Fish. I like having my nightlife close to me but not that close, you know? And if I can no longer get my coffee from the bakery by the subway stop every morning, I'll be piiiiiiii-ssed.

    But that just makes me come off like a typical bourgeois who whines about gentrification, the very thing that has made the Lower East Side safe and convenient for people like me.


    Friday, January 27, 2006

    For Your Consideration

    Can you smell it in the air? Yep, it's awards season. The movies have the Oscars, musicians have the Grammys and the socially incompetent have the Bloggies.

    So it was with much excitement that I checked the categories I've been nominated for in the 2006 Bloggies. But as I read the list up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up, spinachdip nyc was nowhere to be found. How could this be? How could anyone ignore the awesomeness of this blog? Not that I do this for the glory but I expect some recognition. And I'm not saying I'm better than any of the actual nominees. At the same time, I'm no worse either dammit. Surely this must be some horrible, horrible oversight.

    Which is why I am nominating myself as a write-in candidate. When you place your votes for your favorite European, GBLT and teenage blogs, remember to write me in. There's nowhere to write a candidate in? That's okay. You can email votes, picket their offices or mail packets of frozen spinach. The more creative, the better. Blogging is about pushing boundaries and creating new paradigms. It's Web 3.0, baby. And you can create new categories like "Best Blogger Coming Off Short Hiatus" or "Best Non-Food Blog Named After Food" or "Best Blog That Employs Cockiness To Mask Crushingly Low Self Esteem".

    Who cares if I have like one reader for each of the official nominees' 10,000? I'm awesome and people need to know about my awesomeness.


    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    When the comic says "Tip your waitress", seriously, tip your waitress

    I like Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction despite its cumbersome name and the Jimmy Fallon affiliation. I appreciate that there's a comedy venue within drunk stumbling distance of my apartment and it doesn't require hurdling West Village frat boys or Midtown tourists. Oh, and no drink minimums.

    That said, I'm not sure I can keep going their regularly. I attended a couple of shows over the past 2 weeks and on both occasions, I enjoyed myself. But I was also left to settle my friends' tabs as they ditched before the waitress could get to them (and by friends, I mean random bloggers whom I'd never met in person until a month ago).

    When this happened most recently on Tuesday night, the waitress recognized me from the last time and gave me a look that communicated either sympathy or pity.

    I'm afraid this is going to become a pattern if I keep attending shows at Mo's. It's not that I mind paying for other people's drinks - I just don't want to be the bitch boy who will come through when you forget that vodka tonics don't grow on trees. The third time will be a crucial test - if it happens again, it's clearly a sign that I should not attend live comedy, ever. Or hang out with bloggers.

    Though I guess the good news is that there are two people who now owe me handjobs.

    *In other blogger related news, pour out some lube for Girlspoke's Lexie who ain't with us no mo'.

    Are whiteys allowed to joke about colored folks?

    Not pictured above: Gawker editors Jessica Coen and Jesse Oxfeld, the Assimilated Negro (from Black People Love Us).

    I realize Martin Luther King Day is old news but what's kosher and what isn't in the business of sarcasm and tongueincheekery is always relevant, right? Anyway, last week, Paul over at A Blog Soup asked me to comment for his post about Gawker's coverage of MLK Jr Day. I had to agree that their treatment of the civil rights leader was, at best, tasteless. After some thought and beer, I responded, in part:
    ... At the same time, I'm not comfortable with the canonization of MLK either. He is one of the greatest Americans of the last century, undoubtedly. But that doesn't mean he should be exempt from the same type of jokes that Abe Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin or JFK are the butts of. Plus, I'd lose all respect for Jesse and Jess if Gawker granted sacred cow status to anyone...

    See, the whole point of satire is to touch the untouchable and mention the unmentionable. And that's what I appreciate about satire, and comedy in general. By breaking taboos, it gets closer to the truth, much in the same way you can get more insightful political commentary from Jon Stewart than, say, anyone on a 24-hour news network.

    But Nichelle (her Chicks and Giggles show is fantastic, btw) offers this:
    The Gawker posts were stupid and thoughtless, because they think that being "ironic" makes it funny. The blog post just proves the opposite, which is that the writers are so far removed from the real reality of racism today that it is actually pretty sad. Even James Frey cannot make up to fictional world that Gawker lives in where it is OK to wrongly attribute the contributions of George Washington Carver, Colin Powell, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman or Hattie McDaniel to Martin Luther King. We (Black People) do not all look alike, think alike, or write alike.

    It's a reasonable point. Gawker has an almost all-white staff and talks about a predominantly white industry with a majority white audience. At the risk of over-generalizing, we're talking about people who are simply oblivious to racism as it exists today.

    I'll joke about my family but that doesn't mean you can. Likewise, you might enjoy talking about your mother's alcoholic high jinks but it stops being funny when I join in. I might say "Dude, that chick is fobby as shit" or "Chinese look like this (pull up eyelids), Japanese look like this (pull down eyelids)", but if a bunch of white people (or black or Latino or smurfs) started cracking the same jokes amongst themselves? We're going to have problems (and by "problems", I mean a really evil stare).

    Though I offer this Devil's Avocado: I'm thinking what Jess and Jesse were trying to get at was the lip service paid to the holiday by the oblivious masses. The butt of the jokes wasn't Dr. King or the day that honors him, It was the general apathy about the issues. The posts were lighthearted, not because they represent Gawker's attitude, but because there are really people who saw last Monday as nothing more than a day off.

    Their list of MLK's accomplishments, which included working "as a conductor on the Underground Railroad", certainly isn't reverential by any stretch, but it could also serve as commentary on American society's tendency to cram complex issues and ideas into one person or a single soundbite, right? It's like that Chris Rock joke, "Are you sure it was a woman? I got it, Martina Luther King!" Why actually study the history and the issues when you have one day out of 365 when you can say, "He was a great man. Yay, dream! Done."? If you celebrate MLK Day, you're a-ok! That is a prevalent attitude, whether or not anyone admits it.

    I'm a believer in the saying, "Matters of great importance should be taken lightly" and its converse, "Matters of small importance should be taken seriously." Big things tend to take care of themselves. It's the little, everyday stuff that really matters, and if you don't take care of the details - be it at work, in a relationship or wherever else, it doesn't matter how you treat the big stuff.

    People are always going to give a fuck about Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks, and that's great. But when so much emphasis is placed on them, they become mere cults of personality and real lessons are lost. Do all the people who mourned Rosa Parks really care about poverty, class and institutional racism in 2006? Some do, most don't. So I'm glad Gawker does what it does. Sure, they come off like assholes, but you need the assholes to cut through the fake niceties and shine a light to the dirty, smelly truth.


    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    The OC Season 3 Episode 12: What's my age again, what's my age again?

    Previously: spinachdip nyc: The OC Season 3 Episode 11

    Sorry for the lack of updates. I actually have a backlog of posts that I haven't gotten around to writing. I'll try to pick up the pace but I make no promises. But I'm 5 days late on the episode recap so you see where I am now.

    So yeah, The OC. Honestly, I don't know how long I can keep watching this show. The past few weeks, I watch and try to remember why the show became a regular viewing in the first place. The dialog is nowhere near as smart as it used to be. Storylines went from charmingly over-the-top to just contrived, like the Taylor's mom/Summer's dad coupling. The emotional development of Ryan and Seth that used to drive the stories are now rarely revisited - does Seth say or do anything interesting besides the one-liners. Writers now dragged the Johnny-Marissa-Ryan triangle a whole month after its sell-by date. That's really the problem - the show used to be about the kids, and we cared about the kids - even Marissa. And this season, the tolerable episodes dealt with the actual characters, like Seth and Summer's college choice or Ryan learning to deal with his anger.

    Seriously, what happened to my show?

    Kaitlin, I'm okay with though. At least there's a reason for her being there, unlike the majority of the recurring characters. I have to say, however, 26-year-old Adam Brody remarking on 14-year-old Willa Holland's boobs is a wee bit disturbing. More than a wee bit, actually.

    Oh, and what's up with holding a party for Kirsten and Julie's dating service and inviting Newport's most eligible? Doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of the dating service if you can get all of them in one place? I'm just saying.

    I do love the cradle-robbing frat boys trying to get theirs from Kaitlin though. Not to sound homophobic or nothing, and not that the idea of fraternity isn't pretty homoerotic to begin with, but don't most frat boys hide their feminine side? Seriously, they're wearing lipstick!

    Still, the idea of a college kid being in love with a 14-year-old who looks 16 and talking about how special she is? Again, cringe-inducing. Yes, she's jailbait. That's fucking special.

    Dude, I don't know how long I can keep doing recaps/reviews. Is it okay if I just watch The Office on Thursday nights?


    Monday, January 23, 2006

    NFL Playoffs: Powerless in Seattle

    If only the Panthers had The King.

    What is there to say? I wish I could say it was heartbreaking, but it's not like the Panthers ever had a chance. The running game never got going and Jake Delhomme couldn't get comfortable in the pocket. Carolina got spanked in every which way possible and I could only marvel at the dominance of the Seahawks.

    The Seattle OL created vente-sized holes for Alexander and the DL got through way too easily. The supposedly clutch Delhomme played like a Manning Brother - at one point late in the telecast, Fox showed each quarterback's stats and Delhomme's QB rating was something like 1.6. And this is the guy who had the highest playoff QB rating coming into the game (also, I should credit Scott or Whitney for the "if only the Panthers had The King" comment, but I think they should be considered a single entity at this point, and I mean that in the best way possible). And not having a healthy running back meant Steve Smith was triple- and quadruple-covered all day (where were the other options?). Julius Peppers had the speed but not the power, and the linebackers were invisible.

    Carolina has been a Jekyll & Hyde team throughout the season, and after 3 straight weeks of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde was bound to show up, especially with all the injuries and playing against a veteran QB. It's been fun the past few weeks following the Panthers (national TV!), but the only way Super Bowl XL is going to hold any interest for me is if the commercials are any good (doubtful) or Mick Jagger shows his tits (possible).

    And my picks? 0-2 for the weekend and now a dismal 5-5 straight up/4-6 against the spread, reinforcing why I should never gamble for a living.


    Friday, January 20, 2006

    NFL Playoffs: Balls, lesbian cheerleaders and hairy quarterbacks

    Panther Pride!

    (not pictured: Kerry Collins, Rae Carruth, Tim Biakabatuka)

    First - no OC recap today. I haven't watched the episode yet and I probably won't get to the recap until Monday. Sorry. I'm a day behind on everything this week. I blame Martin Luther King. Speaking of whom, there should be a piece coming to expand on the comments I made for Malatron's post on Gawker's coverage of MLK Day.

    Also, Michael Axelrod is the best porn name that isn't.

    Let's get to the picks.

    AFC Championship: Pittsburgh at Denver
    Ugh. This game's impossible to handicap. Denver quietly had one of the best seasons by playing solid, mistake-free ball. But the Steelers are on a roll and they've won some tough games on the road. What makes picking the winner here is that both teams are here partly due to poor play from their opponents. I'm going to have to go with the quarterback with more beard. Plus, most people seem to be picking the Steelers and the can't lose theory stands here - if the Broncos win, I look smart and if the Steelers win, at least I had balls. Better to have balls than be right. Denver by 10

    NFC Championship: Carolina at Seattle
    Again, no logic here, except that Jake Delhomme is 5-1 in the postseason with 4 of those wins coming on the road. The injuries hurt (no shit), especially if Julius Peppers is a no go. But I have faith. Since I don't really have anything insightful to say, let's talk about Steve Smith.
    • Steve Smith can stop criminals with his pinky finger.
    • Steve Smith saves children and small animals from burning buildings in his free time.
    • Steve Smith can grate parmesan cheese with his fingers.
    • Steve Smith invented text messaging.
    • Steve Smith learned to speak Portuguese at age 2 and Vietnamese at age 7, and recently translated A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius to Latin.
    • Steve Smith can not only solve the Rubik's Cube in less than a minute, but also use it to communicate with aliens.
    • Steve Smith opens locks by looking at them.
    • Steve Smith once got Jewish and Palestinian men to make out with each other. And made it look hot.
    • Steve Smith built a skyscraper one night because he was bored.
    Which is to say, the Panthers are headed to the Super Bowl. Carolina by 3

    Last week: 2-2 straight up, 2-2 against the spread
    Overall: 5-3 straight up, 4-4 against the spread


    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Tha block is Thicke Thicke Thicke

    What happens when you put together two things I don't like - Southern hip hop and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - and add Mike Seaver's dad's son to the mix? Totally awesome. Clearly, I need to watch more crap television.

    Say what you will about either artist, Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke doing "Shooter" is about as fun a late night talk show musical performance as you'll see this side of the Arcade Fire's appearance on Conan. And Banana Republic is obscenely underrated as hip hop couture.

    Video: Real/WMV (Fader via brooklynvegan)

    In the comments, Joey asks "What am I missing?" Honestly, I'm still not sure exactly why I like it so much. I mean, if it was some dude from Maroon 5 singing the hook for a media darling/MC/producer I wouldn't give a crap, so it's not just a "dorky white guy with rapper" thing. Part of it is that they just look like they're having a good time on stage - they're being goofy and there's little trace of self consciousness (ergo the comparison to the Arcade Fire on Late Night with Conan).

    Another thing is that Weezy and Thicke couldn't be more opposite. One's a black dude with a raspy voice, practically a midget, grew up poor but had enough money by age 16 to appear on a track that essentially brought the phrase "bling bling" to the masses. The other's a tall white dude with a smooth voice, who grew up rich but slummed it down as a bicycle messenger. Yet the two have great chemistry on stage.


    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Asobi Saturday. Or not.

    Long time readers probably know my obsession with Asobi Seksu. So I was getting all ready to post about how Brooklyn's finest Japanese-American dream pop band will be coming out of hiding/studio and playing Mercury Lounge this Saturday.

    Turns out, I'm a dollar short and a couple of days late. What I failed to consider was that they were opening for the much heralded Norwegian kids Serena Maneesh. I figured I could just show up and get in, but as is usually the case when there's a headliner with some press, the show is already sold out. Sardine eating bastards.

    So yeah, pretty pissed that I didn't get tix earlier. I don't know if it's worth it to try to walk up or go the Craigslist route.

    But the good news is that their sophomore album Citrus will be coming out this spring. The couple of songs I've heard off it sounded good.

    Asobi Seksu - I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me
    Serena Maneesh - Un-Deux


    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Together we are lots of goal goal goal

    I'm not a big fan of Engrish and the like, since they tend to promote the myth that the Japanese are Hello Kitty-obsessed fetishists. Of course there are going to be cultural differences, but people don't realize that the freaky shit that makes it over to the States are considered freaky shit in Japan as well.

    And I can assure you that a lot of Asian language and culture found in American pop culture is often laughably inaccurate too.

    That said, I love Onitsuka Tiger National Choir because it's so motherfucking joycore. Rather than try to compete with the ultra-polished branding of Nike or adidas, Asics went the opposite direction and it works. The result is a beautiful celebration of both singing at soccer matches and the Japanese appreciation for goofiness (though I find it a little ironic that companies responsible for creating this site are Swedish and Dutch).

    Just lovely.

    See performance here (via Cool Hunting).

    (full lyrics after the jump)Let's sing along, kids:
    Lovely football
    Lovely greenpitch

    Together we are lots of goal goal goal
    And when the saints go marching on and on
    We ate all pies and sing a football song
    Together we are lots of goal goal goal

    Hey Tiger hit the ball
    Kick the ball
    Kick the ball in goal
    Hey Tiger kick the ball
    Kick the ball
    Kick the ball in goal

    Lovely goalnet
    Lovely linesmen

    Together we are lots of goal goal goal
    We're all one team, you'll never walk alone
    For football's coming home, it's coming home
    Together we are lots of goal goal goal

    Nah nah nah naaah na nah
    Naaah na nah
    Kick the ball in goal


    Lovely ref'rees
    Lovely football


    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Blogging about blogging: Gothamist "reports" again

    First off, Gawker still hates me:

    Though upon re-reading my comment, I suspect they might be doing me a favor.

    Update: Gawker does not hate me. A technical support staffer at Gawker named Jessica was nice enough to show me a workaround for the problem, which mainly involves clicking the mouse a lot and slapping the computer a few times. Thanks!

    And speaking of hating, or um, h8ing, Gothamist reports on a sign hanging outside an art gallery on Canal Street. And I say "report" without any sarcasm - it's actually one of their writers finding something and informing its readers.

    Of course, I took a photograph of the sign back in November, as in, "welcome to two months ago". Which is fine - no one expects Gothamist to be ubiquitous and omniscient. The post goes to show that the site is what it is because it relays information from news sources and reader tipsters.

    And that's fine too. People like Gothamist for what it is. No one reads Gothamist for its reporting, and the more it tries to be something it's not, say, when trying to do the Gawker-style edgy (typical post title "X to Y: FU!"), it simply comes off desperate and horribly breaks from the site's friendly, "Pandas are cute!" tone.

    I think of Gothamist much the same way I think of America - I like what it stands for and when it does the things it's supposed to do, I can't think of anyone else who does it better, except Canada, maybe. The Continentals may laugh at its lack of worldliness. Tea-sipping Brits may thumb their collective nose at its happy-go-lucky ways. But I can't help but admire its bubbly enthusiasm and the generally non-cynical tone.

    But then there's the guy at the top. Just as Dubya is on an apparent mission to destroy all that people admire about this nation and confirming the worst suspicions of its detractors, Jake seems intent on alienating readers and contributors with his paper-thin skin and reckless outbursts. As Blogebrity's Angelina opines
    "Paid staff or no, a blog, site, online publication, whateverthefuckyouwanttocallitsoyoucansleepatnight loses its integrity when helmed by a childish brat who seemingly spends the bulk of his day, not securing more ad revenue so that he can actually pay ALL of his staff in cash (not promises) like a good little publisher should, but rather trash talking other blog networks, picking fights, insulting industry colleagues, and generally not practicing good cyber-citizenry."

    I like Gothamist. I like America. I think both Bush and Jake are perfectly good people. But when they clumsily attempt to cover ass and attack dissenters, neither seems to consider the long-term consequences on their public perception and Gothamist/America's well-being. Especially when a simple, "I understand your criticisms and I take responsibility for the missteps" would suffice. And if the criticism is misplaced, they would come off looking a lot better by simply stating the facts and not getting all ad hominem on they ass. I don't criticize because I hate Gothamist/America. I criticize because I believe both have room for improvement, and more importantly, the potential to be better.

    Did I mention I don't like blogging about blogging?


    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    Quick hits

    Steve Smith stripper pole touchdown celebration
    Steve dedicates this touchdown to all the hard working exotic dancers of America.

    Before I start writing my Match Point review (great flick, btw):
  • Bike riding in 25-degree weather - absolute sucktitude. Especially when your face is frozen and you're at the bike shop going, "B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-whwere d-d-d-do you k-k-k-keeep y-y-your lube?"

  • Panthers! I'm assuming DeShaun Foster's out next week and JuPep is a maybe but as long as Steve Smith has two good legs, I'm feeling good. Seriously, how can one guy be so dangerous?

  • Peyton's post-game press conference: absolutely precious. He starts with "I'm trying to be a good teammate", then proceeds to throw his offensive line under the bus with "We had protection problems." I've resisted getting on the Peyton-bashing bandwagon, but shit, the last person who should be pointing the finger is the quarterback who calls his plays at the line and waves the punt team off the field, and got all outraged after his "idiot kicker' criticized him.

  • Schadenfreude: as Ian points out, the Colts have won zero Super Bowls since moving to Indy, while Baltimore has won both the NFL and CFL championships.

  • Where do the Colts go from here? I suspect this is as good as it gets for Peyton - he had a running game, good defense, total freedom on offense, home field, an opponent other than the Patriots, a month to get ready, yet he still couldn't get it done. There just isn't any way to improve this team the way it is built now. Dare I say it's time to stuff Peyton, Dungy or both into a Mayflower truck and ship them away?

  • So I should stop referring to Tom Brady as "God QB". Still, they put up a good fight.

  • Not so good prediction-wise, 2-2 straight up, 2-2 against the spread this week, 5-3/4-4 overall. Never trust a Manning in a big game. Still, the Panthers won.

  • Actual IM conversation:
    Heather: sup, kid?
    Me: Holy shit
    Me: Are you watching 24?
    Heather: no
    Me: It's insane
    Heather: hahaha
    Me: I just had an orgasm
    Heather: ew
    Heather: i mean, awesome
    Me: It's only like minute 7
    Me: At this pace, I won't be able to walk by the end of the 2 hours

  • I hate memes, but I've been tagged so I have no choice.

    The rules are as follows:

    The first player of the game starts with the topic, “5 weird habits about yourself”. People who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits, as well as state this rule clearly. In the end you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged, and link to their web-journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog/journal that says “you have been tagged” and tell them to read yours.

    1. I imitate sounds, especially high pitched ones, I instinctively imitate them. For example, if I'm walking out in the street and I hear a car alarm, I catch myself going "Woo woo woo". If I'm watching 24 and I'd be going "boop-beep, boop-beep".

    2. I can't control myself with snacks. I just can't have one. I always have two or more pieces of candy. If you give me a bowl of peanuts, I'll finish it. I often eat a whole bag of Doritos in one sitting.

    3. If I'm in a restaurant and someone orders before me and picks the dish I was going to have, I'll change my order.
    4. I have way too many shoes for a heterosexual man. I've actually been good about buying new shoes, but I am a sneakerholic.

    5. I address my female friends as "dude". It's generally a sign that I'm comfortable around my friends, male or female. I say "dude" too much - it all started when I was mocking a college housemate for saying "dude" all the time, and it stuck.

    Okay. I'm supposed to tag five people here. But you know what, I don't think I even know five bloggers. So that's it, I'm breaking the chain. I'm ending this cycle of abuse.

  • Did Grey's Anatomy take a plotline out of Middlesex? Do I actually watch Grey's Anatomy every week?

  • tags:

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Soft porn from Hard-Fi

    I'm pretty sure this is the first of its kind - Hard-Fi is releasing the video for "Cash Machine" as a mobile-exclusive video. Here's how it works: you purchase the video with mobile cash (using your mobile phone to make payments like a debit card - the service isn't available in the US as far as I know), and download it to your phone. You can then watch the video on your phone or transfer it to your PC.

    Fans of British lad culture might recognize a couple of Page 3 girls who appear as, predictably, strippers (presale link - NSFW preview: Windows Media/Real).

    Well, new technology, especially when coupled with naked boobies, is exciting and all, but those of us in the US appear to be out of luck since mobile cash won't make its way over here for another 10 years and my phone won't play video anyway.

    Plus, there are already two different videos for "Cash Machine" out there. It seems like an overkill to have 3 different videos for a song that's catchy but not quite earth shattering.

    That said, naked boobies in a music video.


    Friday, January 13, 2006

    NFL Playoffs: Abandon logic, all ye who enter here

    "Coach, I know kung fu"

    Last week, I sang the praises of Bill Simmons' playoff manifesto, but only to the extent that it injects common sense into an often irrational exercise. This week, I'm saying fuck with the manifesto. They say in soccer, "The ball is round", as in the ball can roll any which way and anything can happen. In football, the ball isn't round, but an oval rather, and while it doesn't roll all that much, it makes funny bounces and it's sometimes hard to catch. So fuck logic. No, wait. Don't fuck logic. Trust logic to an extent. But remember that there are certain things logic all the matchups and past performance can't account for. If there were no freak occurrences, no dumb luck, no rabbit out of the hat, you wouldn't have Don Cheadle narrating those NFL Playoffs promos.

    And yeah, heart. Which reminds me. I was walking home from a party a couple of weeks ago and who do I see standing outside a restaurant in Soho but former Washington Sentinels quarterback Shane Falco. I was *that* close to going up to him and telling him "There is no tomorrow for you. And that makes you very dangerous!" Okay, I lie. I just said "Dude, you were so awesome in Little Buddha!" and ran away. To the picks we go:

    Washington at Seattle
    After all that talk about heart, I'm going to have to pick talent over passion here. The Redskins offense looked awful against Tampa Bay and they need a close-to-healthy Clinton Portis to have a chance here. The defense will keep this game close for the Skins, but the mix of Shaun Alexander and the deep passing game will be too much. Sad to see Clinton Portis exit the playoffs, but it's time. Heart can only outplay talent and fresh limbs so much. Seattle by 10

    New England at Denver
    Last week, I underrated the Patriots but it wasn't like the Jaguars didn't have a chance to get in the game. This week, they go on the road to face a much tougher, and healthier. I'm thinking this will be their toughest game and if they can get past the Broncos, they're making the Super Bowl, no matter whom they face in the AFC Championship. Logic? Until he loses a postseason game, Tom Brady is God QB. New England by 4

    Pittsburgh at Indianapolis
    You know how Tiger Woods talks about bringing his A-game or his B-game? Indy doesn't lose as long as it brings its B-game or better. They'll be rusty for sure and their passing game depends on precise timing, but if Edgerrin James gets his carries and Peyton gets going, there's very little Steelers can do. Big Ben will have a decent passing day but it won't matter. Indianapolis by 14

    Expect a game as ugly as this Photoshop job
    Carolina at Chicago
    I like that almost all the experts are picking Chicago. It's not like they don't have good reason - the last time the two teams met, the Bears killed the Panthers and that was without a quarterback who can actually make plays. The Bears can stop the running game and force Delhomme to make plays.

    That said, I have to with my heart and my heart belongs to the Panthers. It's not like a case can't be made for a Panthers win - Steve Smith is that rare player who can singlehandedly turn a game around, Peppers can get to the quarterback like *that*, and Delhomme has big game experience that Grossman doesn't.

    Plus, picking an upset here is win-win for me. It's not so unrealistic that I look like a total fanboy, and if I lose, I at least don't commit the moral sin of picking against my own team. And if Carolina wins, I will have outsmarted all the pundits. Carolina by 3

    Last Week: 3-1 straight up, 2-2 against the spread


    The OC Season 3 Episode 11: spinachdip's reasons why not

    Previously: Season 3 Episode 5

    "I'm ready to give up on The OC." - that was the instant message I got from Pete in Denver late Thursday night. I couldn't help but sympathize. Pete and I loved The OC from the very first episode. We tolerated the Oliver episodes and the general suckasstitude that ruled the first 3/4 of Season 2. We forgave the writers for clumsily disposing of Alex, Lindsay, Zach, Trey, Luke, DJ, Hailey, Theresa (and the baby), etc etc, and of course, Anna (though the word is that she will be back for a guest stint).

    But shit is getting ridiculous. I realize the plotlines were never all that plausible to begin with, but at least there was suspense, and comedy came from genuinely funny dialog, not transparent references to itself and 90210. At this point, I'm watching because I feel almost obligated to watch since I have so much invested in it. Like I'm calling to arrange the third and last date with a girl who I haven't clicked with and has shown no interest in unzipping her pants. Has the show really peaked in Season One and we're watching its transformation into Saved By The Bell: The New Class?

    (Insert clip of Jack Twist saying "I wish I knew how to quit you.")

    So last night's episode in short - the gang decides Marissa simply must be saved from public school purgatory and needs to be reinstated at Harbor because senior pictures are next week and if your best friends aren't in the senior picture, well, life simply isn't worth living. Of course, kids forget that private schools charge tuition and the Coopers are broker than Brokeback. Stupid kids. Public school Johnny, on pace for the fastest recovery from ACL known to man, tries to guilt her into staying at Newport Union and... oh, this is all stupid. If you care enough, read it up here.

    The few bright spots:
  • Yes, that was CSNY's "Our House", quite possibly the greatest non-Bee Gees song from the 70s, ever, but performed by Phantom Planet. I don't care if it's a cover. Who doesn't like that song, except for deaf people and fascists?

  • “No rhinos to plasty today?” Oh, Julie Cooper. I less than three you.

  • “Anything else… you’d be facing a long night involving candle wax, tube socks, and the new Fiona Apple CD.”

  • Dr. Kim! She's my favorite token minority, mostly because the actress who plays her is Rosalind Chao, which is the most awesomest name ever.

  • The bad? Lots of it, but a few minor complaints first:
  • Is Taylor a social outcast or isn't she? She doesn't seem to have trouble finding a table in the cafeteria, yet she's clinging on to Seth and Summer?

  • And isn't Summer supposed to be popular?

  • Julie Cooper and Dr. Roberts? Not working. Plus, they had to pick the least WASPy looking actor to play Summer's dad. Well, maybe the second least WASPy after Sandy Cohen, who's all Scottish-Catholic looking.

  • Now, the bigger gripes:

    Major Complaint 1
    Did anyone else get the impression that Kaitlin Cooper was coming back this episode? I certainly did. I figured bringing Marissa's sister back would add a nice dimension to the family dynamics, but alas, Fox is making us wait another week after a whole week of teasers.

    She should've been back much sooner, of course, like when Julie and Marissa moved in with Caleb, or when Julie and Jimmy were getting back together, or when Julie learned they were broke...

    Anyway, Kaitlin looks a little different from the last time she lived in Newport:

    But of course, after finding out that the actress who plays Kaitlin is 14 years old actress who plays Kaitlin is 14 years old, I feel very very very dirty. I don't think I'm even allowed to call her "cute". What makes the deal whole thing more disturbing is that the actor who plays Johnny, whom Kaitlin tries to seduce, is probably like 24.

    Major Complaint 2
    The timeslot change to 9 pm does not make me happy at all, since it now conflicts with the new timeslot for The Office at 9:30 pm. I need my 24, Scrubs, Lost, The Office and The OC, and they used to coexist so nicely. If The OC continues to suck, I'm going to have to start switching over to NBC.

    God, what a fucking disjointed post. I seriously need an editor. Anyway, some randoms.
  • Gotta agree with Central Village Jeff - "I smell like Marissa" just isn't funny and makes absolutely no sense at all.

  • Scrubs is back and bringing the stupid funny. But I do miss Heather Graham's character from last season. I know it was always just going to be a guest starring role, but as Dana Stevens points out, Molly was one of the few characters she was well fit for.

  • One of my favorite commercials right now is the one for the NY Times that's running locally here, mostly for the Westchester yuppie dad who exclaims, "It's a joooy to read the New York Times." The line is almost as good as the one in the old NY Times commercials, "It doesn't just cover a story, it surrounds the story (makes 'surround' gesture with hands)" or something equally pretentious.

  • Also, love the Verizon Business spot that's running locally. James Earl Jones is pitching this calling plan and the director keeps saying "Higher" so James Earl's voice keeps getting higher and higher. What JEJ doesn't realize is that the director's actually addressing one of the set guys raising a sign behind him. When the director says "That's perfect, Tom," JEJ does his best surprised look, realizes what's going on and proceeds to giggle for the next five seconds.

    Seriously, of all the names in the world, Tom? I mean, the commercial is pure minstrelsy, as the guys from the Roots like to say. As a someone who has studied the role of blacks in American cinema, I can't help but be mortified, and also laugh my ass off.

  • Happy Martin Luther King Day, kids.

  • tags:

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    The jokes pretty much write themselves

    So Apple launched a new Powerbook, nay, MacBook Pro and while I, like Jason Kottke, wasn't thrilled since I'd bought a Pb recently, I was okay with it. I knew this was coming sooner or later (I was betting on later, like in the summer) and I wanted a 12-in laptop anyway.

    But then, buried in the headlines with all the Steve Jobsness in the air was this: iPod jeans from Levis. Now, iPod+clothing isn't exactly new - there's the iPod snowboarding jacket from Burton. And how often are you going to wear this thing?

    But then I started reading down the article and my inner 15-year-old took over:
  • Docking cradle... in your pants
  • Joystick.... in your pants
  • Retractable headphone unit... in your pants

    Are you giggling yet? Say yes. Seriously. But let's not stop there. If you wear these jeans, you can walk into a bar and say:
  • "Hey ladies, who wants to play some music in my pants?"
  • "Why yes, I am happy to see you, but that's my iPod."
  • "That's just my Nano. I'll show you the 60-gig later."
    Girls can use:
  • If you play your cards right, you might get to see the touch wheel.
    And of course, the deal closer for the fellas:
  • "Have you ever played with a black iPod?"

    Okay, I really am 15-years-old. Seriously, what is it about the iPod that brings out the easy sex jokes?


  • Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    decentcontest at [decentcontent]

    I am pleased and contractually obligated to let you know about the [decentcontent] site design contest. The winner will receive a Video iPod, Mac mini or $500 cash. All of which I could use right now, but I doubt I am eligible as an, ahem, employee of [dc].

    The new design will coincide with the site's re-launch (which means we should start scouting locations for Blogmukkah 2 soon). Read all about it here.

    While I am obviously excited about the development, I imagine I will shed a few tears for the red meat banner, and the lesser known vegetarian version. But alas, their expiration date is near.


    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Chronicles of a pissing match: Jake Dobkin vs Brian Van

    Ed. note - I usually don't like blogging about blogging, but the person who really wanted to write this is, qu'est que c'est, a little too involved. I was also privy to some confidential info, none of which makes the final version of this post and only served as background material. What I'm trying to say here is, bloggers are all retarded, even more so when you get more than one of them together in a room.

    The best pissing matches often start with something innocuous. Not that there wasn't already animosity between the participants, but in this case, it began with a lighthearted jab from Choire Sicha on Friday, December 23rd, 2005.
    I submit that the oxymoron of 2005 is "Gothamist reports."

    (Narrates? Recites? Chronicles? Tells? Relates? Conveys? Imparts? Transmits? Sure!)
    Choire is right, of course. "Report" is an often misused terms in blogs, something I'm guilty of sometime. Very few blogs actually provide firsthand, or even secondhand accounts of news. Summarizing and commenting on news articles, which Gothamist does more or less, does not constitute reporting.

    During the transit strike, Gothamist simply re-told information acquired from other sources (and I should add, they did a pretty damn good job throughout the ordeal). For the most part, blogs like Gothamist simply provide information available at other outlets in a convenient, digestible format. Hooray for that.

    Fast forward two weeks to January 7, Garth Johnson, sorry, Gothamist puts up a reader email about contrails from airplanes, and adds this defiant throwaway line:
    So, there, we've reported something.

    Clearly evidence that Garth Gothamist can take a joke. Or can't. I'm not sure. Nothing wrong with a playful back-and-forth between blogs though.

    But wait, not-Garth-but-Gothamist didn't report anything. Not-Garth-but-Gothamist simply copied and pasted a (wacky, uneducated) reader email and didn't even try to respond to the question posed. Someone had to notice this, and sure enough, Brian Van steps in:
    No, that's still not "reporting". More like, "relaying".

    Gothamist is a blog, anyway. No one expects most blogs to do reporting, except if a reporter runs it for the purpose of journalism. Otherwise, it's assumed by all that you, like all the other blogs, are just talking about things you've heard from the media.

    And that's fine. Blogs don't have to engage in journalism for content to be entertaining or respectable. It's silly to claim to be journalists when you're not, and you don't need to be. It feeds the trolls. Ignore journalism - just be happy and successful bloggers!

    Reasonable enough, right? I like Gothamist, you like Gothamist, we all like Gothamist for what it is, a central information source for most things New York. We don't care that Gothamist doesn't do any real reporting, just like my past girlfriends didn't care that I didn't squeeze out $100 bills everytime I shit. And Brian Van is certainly okay with Gothamist, it seems.

    But this gets ugly when Jake responds:
    and to brian van: fuck that. we report all the time. we generate at least two or three stories a week that get picked up by the main stream media, and every day we add detail and information to stories that are already being reported by the MSM. don't assume that blogs can't report, and don't assume that gothamist is merely a meta-site. if that's all we did, we wouldn't be as widely read as we are.

    talking about stuff that we heard from the media? that's what you think bloggers do? that's idiotic-- and if it didn't violate our comment policy, i'd go as far as to suggest the person who made the comment was an idiot.

    A few points here:
    • Brian didn't say blogs don't or can't report. Just that no one expects them to.
    • Adding "detail and information to stories that are already being reported" by the media is, as some people might put it, "talking about stuff that we heard from the media".
    • And yes, that's what bloggers do, mostly.
    • Jake, I think you just called Brian an idiot.

    And it continues, spanning four days. I'll spare you (most of) the rest but you can read the whole flame war in its entirety here.

    The exchange goes on to touch other subjects, most notably:
    1. Has Brian Van ever contributed to Gothamist?

      Yes, Brian has written for Gothamist (the two disagree on who made the initial contact) but without Jake's approval and he hasn't written since, Jake adds, "because of his opinions about Gothamist, and because his behavior freaks out some of our staff". Oof.

    2. Does Gothamist pay its writers?

      Yes and no. It started paying its top six writers last year, and it will pay all its writers beginning later this month - which Jake hadn't told the writers before the comment meltdown.

    Oh, Jake. Why do you do this to yourself? Why do you continue to use Gothamist for personal pissing matches? Just concede that you weren't using "report" in the strictest sense of the term. There's no need to defend your site's honor when not one bad word is said about it (as opposed to, say, "'welcome to two months ago' posts, atrocious proofreading and often incoherent writing" - all true, insulting nonetheless). Surely you didn't need to paint Brian as some psycho blogstalker to defend Gothamist, especially when a polite "Brian was not a good fit for us" would have sufficed?

    And the pay issue - we can give Jake the benefit of the doubt here, I guess. But if Heather wrote, "All [decentcontent] writers are paid, with health and 401K" (we are not, believe it or not), I'd be pretty fucking pissed. True or not, "we meant to pay you once we had enough money" and expecting the news to "trickle out" sounds awfully disingenuous when it comes only after being confronted by comments and emails from writers.

    But oh, what do I care? While I have nothing against Jake or Brian personally - in fact, they both seem to be pretty nice in person - there just aren't too many things more entertaining than a good old fashioned pissing match where participants reduce themselves to acting like snotty 14-year-olds.

    I'm scoring this round 10-9 in favor of Jake. Both had their moments and neither was able to throw a real knockout punch. Jake gave the more punishing blows while Brian defended well. Close fight, but you have to reward the more aggressive fighter - Jake was willing to go places Brian wasn't.

    Update: "New American Hero"? I like this. I need to put it on a business card.


    Monday, January 09, 2006

    My victories tend to be either pyrrhic or imaginary

    "Now, pretend this disproportionately large 20-oz Pepsi bottle is Eli..." (photo courtesy of Casey D)

    Last week, I was all set to write this whiny post bitching about how I have been shut out of Gawker comments for no good reason. It wasn't like I'd written anything remotely offensive, like the comment that got copyranter banned (wait, this is offensive? I'm pretty sure "Who gives a flying shitass fuck at a fucking jerkass rolling fucking fuckwad donut?" is an actual headline about some press release from some publisher or restaurant. But I digress). Hell, I hadn't been commenting that much, but when I did, my contributions tended to be clever, witty, and dare I say, earth-shattering.

    It was early December that I tried to comment again but for whatever reason, my comments wouldn't publish. I tried all the standard troubleshooting methods - clearing cookies and the cache, resetting my password, buying a new computer, but none would work. As I often do when the going gets rough, I quit. I mean, I would've complained to tech support, but Gawker Media seems not to have one.

    A month passed, and I thought a nice way to get back into the blogging game was to establish myself as the outsider, the Bonnie Prince Charlie of the blogosphere, if you will, and what better way to do it than to show that I am persona non grata at in the House of Oxfeld & Coen. Because they're afraid, dammit.

    So I went over to the 'Ker to post a throwaway comment just so I can take a screenshot of the error message and what happens? The fucking thing goes through.
    A better question is, what the fuck am I doing up before 7 in the morning?

    Don't you hate that? Like, you call the super and the toilet magically starts flushing? You bring the tech support guy to your desk to show how the computer's been spazzing out and it works perfectly? And now, I feel like Cindy Sheehan getting a text message from George Bush saying "Why don't you come over for dinner so we can put this behind us?" This is like Darth Vader telling Luke, "I don't agree with your politics but you really make me proud to be your father." Or K-Fed announcing, "I really like this Arctic Monkeys album."

    And like that, my whiny post is gone. How can I whine about the bourgeois if I am one of them, and I can drink from the same water fountains that they drink from?

    Oh, wait a minute, this is a whiny post. Mission accomplished, then.

    But here's the thing about commenting on Gawker - it's a lot like asking the cute girl who sits two rows down from you in Econ 10 out for drinks and, for reasons unknown to man, she says yes. What do you talk about? Do you have anything in common with her? Did she even know you were in the same class as her? And once you're at the bar, questions run through your mind - "Did I pick the right kind of bar? Did she just look at her watch? Is my zipper down?" You are unable to enjoy yourself and she has a terrible time because you're a nervous wreck.

    The whole thing is a disaster, so much so that you don't call her again, and you move your seat to the other side of the lecture hall so you don't have to see her for the rest of the semester. Which is to say, I don't plan on commenting on Gawker that much.

    I couldn't find a pic of Steve Smith doing his galloping-horse TD celebration, so this will have to do.

    How was my NFL Wildcard weekend? My rooting interests went 2-0, with Carolina executing the "Stop Tiki and wait for Elijah's passes" strategy to perfection while the Skins live to see another Clinton Portis media appearance, Southeast Jerome willing.

    My predictions? 3-1 straight up, 2-2 against the spread. Although I didn't count on Carson Palmer tearing both his ACL and MCL, I felt pretty good until I realized that I had forgotten to account for Jon Kitna's fondness for FieldTurf. And I really should've had more faith in Belichick and God QB, and Byron Leftwich's ankle, less so.

    Not that I gamble or anything. The last time I gambled real money was when I was 11-years-old, I spent the entire ferry ride from Calais to Dover throwing One Pound coins into the slot machine. After 2 hours of winning some and losing more, I was down 16 pounds, which was a lot of money to me back then (and still is, to be honest). I disembarked the boat thinking, "What the hell is wrong with me?" Which is why I have been secretly avoiding trips to Vegas or Atlantic City to this day.


    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Playoffs?! Playoffs?! Okay fine, let's talk about the playoffs

    It's never a good idea to trust Bill Simmons with anything, but when it comes to NFL playoffs time, I have to make an exception to the rule, because his manifesto is essentially a list of common sense stuff people forget when there's beer, hype and gambling money involved. And I'm generally wary of deviating from his playoffs predictions, not that I bet on these games. I'm going to trust his judgement for the most part.

    So let's go to my predictions:

    Washington at Tampa Bay
    I'm taking the team on the hot streak over the team with Chris Simms here. The Washington secondary is banged up, but the Bucs passing game can only do so much. Plus, the Skins, not the Bucs, have Coach Janky Spanky. Seriously, Clinton Portis is the best thing to happen to NFL since helmets. Washington by 10

    Jacksonville at New England
    This is where I want to pick the Jags because eeeeeeveryone is gushing over the Patriots and Brady's "disrespect" talk gets me nauseous. But I just can't pick against the Patriots, especially with a team as uneven as the Jaguars. As good as the Jacksonville defense is, they're not getting past Zero Liability, Fraud Monitoring, ID Theft Assistance, Verified by Visa, and the 3-Digit Security Code.

    That said, remember when a young Falcons team went into Lambeau Field where the Favre and the Packers were supposedly unbeatable? Think about it. Green Bay and Foxboro are both cold. Favre was still a top QB then, Brady is God QB now. And yeah, Byron Leftwich is black, just like Michael Vick.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I'm putting my entire savings account on New England. That should buy me enough value meals to last through January. New England by 7

    Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
    Honestly, I have no idea how to pick here. Two very flawed teams with some really ugly performances, but also two teams that no one really wants to face because they can get hot. Why don't we just call the two teams even? The tie breaker goes to the home team. Cincinnati by 3

    Carolina at New York
    Carolina has had trouble sustaining any kind of momentum this year and they go on the road to play a pretty damn good team. I watched from the stands on Christmas Eve as Panthers blow a must-win home game against Dallas and ended up losing the division title, and are here because they feasted on a barely-there Falcons team in Week 17. That said, this is the game where I throw all rational thinking out of the door.

    Why? Well, I stayed with my friends' family for Christmas and they have this Julius Peppers cardboard cutout. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of it, but I'll post the one from their house once I get in touch with them. But shit, look how huge his right hand is! How can you not love that? How can you root against that?

    Everything depends on DeShaun Foster, really. If he gets going, Delhomme won't be forced into tough throws and it'll open up the field for Steve Smith. Well, that and keeping Tiki Barber from taking off on long runs, because Eli Manning won't have a fun day out in the park. But yeah, I'm picking two road teams to win in the NFC. Carolina by 2

    Next week, my predictions for the Israeli elections.


    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    It shouldn't be this hard

    Finally, the new Tard of the Week is up on [dc] and it took waaaay too long to finish.

    The writing itself took all of 30 minutes, but I'd been working on it for over 12 hours. I started writing about the media's treatment of the West Virginia mining tragedy but I just couldn't hit the right tone. Preachy doesn't work for [dc] and I just didn't have the heart to be glib or sarcastic about it, as fun as it is to trash the Post.

    I slept for about 3 hours and ended up writing a whole piece about Lindsay Lohan's bulimia/drug use admission in Vanity Fair, but it just sucked. Maybe I'll post it later when I need a filler.

    So yeah, that's what my life is reduced to, losing sleep over finding the right way to call people retards. If only my parents could see me now.

    Also considered this week:

    College Football: Strike a pose, there's nothing to it

    I don't usually post about college football (other than to post about how I don't post about college ball), mostly because I don't watch it that much. For one thing, I went to school at the University of North Carolina, where a televised game was essentially background noise for a Saturday afternoon spent drinking macrobrew from a can, or a trip to Kenan (a lovely stadium, btw) to see which sororities wore the shortest skirts and discuss which cheerleader's thighs we didn't mind being crushed to death by - neither of which was much fun after October, of course

    But the past 3 nights, I have found myself unable to turn away from the surprisingly entertaining bowl season, culminating with the oddly satisfying victory by Texas over the way, way, way over-hyped Trojans.

    Yes, oddly satisfying, because I dislike almost everything that comes out of Texas, like George W. Bush, Paul Wall, Jessica Simpson, Dallas Cowboys, Matthew McConaughey and referring to beef brisket as "BBQ". And because Mack Brown is still a douche for the way he left Chapel Hill.

    Yet I found myself rooting for the Longhorns, or rather, rooting against USC. It's simple, really. For one thing, USC reminds me of Duke, practically gushing with a sense of entitlement, albeit with a more attractive student body. And the hype leading up to the game was ridiculous - Slate's Jonathan Chait rightfully called out ESPN for the premature and suffocating "greatest ever" talk. Did ESPN forget about what happened to Miami when they went into the championship game as #1 vs Ohio State (2004) and Alabama (1993)?

    And once the game started, how couldn't a neutral fan not root for Texas? Vince Young, Vince Young, Vince Young. That was some crazy Michael Jordan Flu Game shit, or at least some Tommy Frazier Sugar Bowl shit - it was clear from very early on that we were watching a classic in the making. You didn't sense that? While Bush only showed moments of flash, Young was the show (though Leinart and White weren't half bad either). We have no idea how his skill sets translate to the pro game, but I just can't see anyone in the college game stopping him right now. And you'll have to forgive his Heisman-posing at the trophy presentation, especially when you consider Leinart's post-game "We're the better team" comment and putting the blame on his defense.

    All right, that's it for college football until next January, but some quick shots:
  • All this bowl-watching meant I missed Monday's Arrested Development, which will be pulled from Fox after four more episodes. At least Tony Hale has those somewhat entertaining but entirely too repetitive Citibank commercials.

    Update: Holy crap, that was a fucking awesome episode.

  • I'd say something about how Talib Kweli's Big 10 rap is better than anything off The Beautiful Struggle, but I've already made the same joke about Mos Def's GMC Envoy Denali commercial. Though this spot is an improvement over the sanctimonious "Big 10 sets the example" one that aired throughout the season, why is a Brooklyn MC rhyming about a conference of Midwest schools?

    Let's think here - Chicago has Kanye (I guess the anti-higher education message won't go so well), Common (maybe) or Twista (um...). Michigan has Eminem (oops). There's Atmosphere from Minnesota, which is great if they want to promote some book learnin' but that's just a little too nerdy. So how about Cleveland's own Bone Thugs 'N Harmony? Wouldn't they be perfect, considering Ohio State's thug image? What says "Big 10 athletics" better than "Cash your checks and come on"?

    Okay fine, Talib Kweli it is.

  • Okay, maybe a little more college ball. Bobby Bowden has always had poor game management skills, pretty staggering for such a successful coach, but the dude just might be losing it. Did you see him almost walk off the field and shake the state trooper's hand after Penn State missed what would have been a game-ending field goal?

  • In any case, it's always satisfying to watch Florida State lose. Always.

  • Speaking of game management, not a particularly good display by either Mack Brown (who's always been mediocre on gameday) or Pete Carroll (I mean, calling a timeout before a 2-point conversion attempt that would still have USC in a position to tie with a field goal).

  • It's kinda fun to see ABC promoting Jake In Progress starring John Stamos like it's a new show and it wasn't a widely ignored midseason replacement last year.

  • If I don't see Laura Quinn on TV again, it will be 85 times too many.

  • tags:

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Reports of My Demise: Greatly Appreciated

    So yes, I'm back. And scared shitless because I honestly don't know how long I can keep this up. We'll see how this goes. So a few things:
    • Thanks to everyone who said nice things about this site when I went on break, especially if you meant it.

    • To clarify, I never meant to quit blogging permanently. I'm nothing without this site, really.

    • The personal life shit that I was supposed to take care of during my blog hiatus? Unresolved.

    • New Year's Resolutions:
      • Buy a winning lottery ticket
      • Take a real vacation
      • Get some sleep
      • Make Blogebrity. No, scratch that, make Douchebrity .
      • Find a non-soul-sucking job
      • Figure out why I can't comment on Gawker any more
      • Acquire a new skill to impress girls at parties
      • Read Maxim cover to cover

    • I swear, I keep getting stupider and stupider. I'm on some extended Flowers For Algernon shit. Though I was pretty fucking smart to start with so the decline is pretty gradual, so thank Lohan for that.

    • Thanks to everyone who's come over to [dc]. We have some exciting things planned in the coming weeks apparently, though Heather has kept me in the dark. I'm hoping for company cars, or at least coffee mugs.

    • As a fan of sports and white people, this site amuses me. The message board is particularly awesome.

    • Finally, Happy New Year. I don't remember much after the countdown, but I had a wonderful time. Hope 2006 is less craptacular than 2005.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    2005 Film of the Year


    Honestly, I haven't watched too many movies this year - if you had to pay $10.25 a pop and show up at least 40 minutes before the posted showtime, you'd lose a little enthusiasm for the silver screen too. And I just haven't watched anything groundbreaking in recent months, when the bulk of the probable award winners came out.

    So no Kong, Brokeback, Match Point, Syriana, Munich or Walk The Line. I haven't gotten around to Squid and the Whale. Haven't seen Wedding Crashers or The 40-Year-Old Virgin though I know I really should.

    Ditto for War of the Worlds, Batman Begins, The Constant Gardener or that fucking penguin movie.

    So what have I seen? Aristocrats was amusing enough but I won't watch it again. Crash, I enjoyed, but a little contrived and ultimately unsatisfying. Memoirs of A Geisha? Meh. Be Cool was awful, Hitch was bearable, The Interpretor was okay, Sin City was delightful but not a must-own DVD. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Aeon Flux were surprisingly good but also not must-owns. Hustle & Flow? For all the fawning press Terence Howard received, we weren't exactly walking down the street chanting "Whoop that trick" in November, were we?

    I guess, with the possible exception of Mad Hot Ballroom, I haven't watched my Top 5 films of 2005. But seriously, how the fuck did Zhang Ziyi get a Golden Globe nom for Geisha? Why, because her limited English forced the entire cast to play Japanese characters speaking broken English? Seriously.


    2005 Album of the Year

    Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
    (Buy: Amazon / iTunes)

    No, I'm not kidding. I'm serious (and yes, I submitted "Kelly Clarkson, but remixed" as my choice for Stereogum's Miss Indie Rock 2005) Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say Kelly's better Sufjan, or even close to being his equal. Illinois (Buy: Insound / Amazon / iTunes) is a remarkable achievement, about as good as a concept album can be.

    But fuck "good". That shit puts me to sleep (an odd statement, admittedly, coming from someone who has 110 Elliott Smith tracks on his iPod). When I listen to music, I want to rock out, sing along, do the pogo - no matter how well crafted, Sufjan's songs don't make me do any of that. As fun a song "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" is, have you tried getting a whole car to sing along? "Behind Hazel Eyes"? Much easier.

    Where Sufjan stops at well crafted, Kelly puts out bangers after bangers. Was there a better expression of teen girl psyche and knowing denial than "My heart can't possibly break/When it wasn't even whole to start with" in 2005?

    And though this album represents a breakout for Kelly and a departure from her American Idol persona, this is a comeback for the Swedish genius Max Martin, who ruled the late 90s with the songs he wrote for Britney, NSync and the Backstreet Boys, and is back in a huge way with "Since U Been Gone" and "Behind Hazel Eyes".

    Really, what can I say about "Gone" that hasn't already been said? For one, where Martin's songwriting ranged from the incoherence of "I Want It That Way" and the creepiness of "Hit Me Baby One More Time", the essence of "Gone" comes from joy, not camp. The words aren't simply there to fill the soundscape until the hook, as Max Martin lyrics often seemed - they paint the picture of a girl who uses denial and nonchalance to mask and push away her sadness, building up to the irresistible chorus.

    What makes this and other songs off Breakaway work though, is that Kelly has the voice. She could have gone with standard pop/R&B tracks, done the Mariah oversinging thing and lost herself in the crowd. The songs on this album don't always take advantage of her range. But those occasions where Kelly hits the notes, make her the most delightful Top 40 artist in ages.

    The rest of the Top 10:
    2. Nada Surf - The Weight Is A Gift
    3. The Cardigans - Super Extra Gravity
    4. Stars - Set Yourself On Fire
    5. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
    6. Kanye West - Late Registration
    7. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
    8. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
    9. Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures
    10. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Jacksonville City Nights

    Top 5 Singles (does not include any song included in Top 10 albums):
    1. Levy - "Rotten Love"
    2. The Spinto Band - "Oh Mandy"
    3. Annie - "Hearbeat"
    4. Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl"
    5. Blackalicious - "Your Move"

    Worst Single:
    Jay-Z - "Dear Summer"

    Best Live Show:
    Bloc Party @ the Bowery Ballroom