Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hey, Watch It!

I've gone a week without writing. I don't have much to say. Here are some excellent things I've watched via Netflix this year.


Matt talked this BBC series up for years, and now it's available on DVD. (You can watch it for free on Hulu.) They only made 2 seasons, so it won't take long for you to enjoy it, which you will, if you liked Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

Paper Moon

I knew for some time that Tatum O'Neal won an Oscar for this movie, but I never knew who she was or who Ryan O'Neal was or what this movie was. Now I do know. It's a very good movie about Depression-era grifters.

Party Down

Starz original programming? Yeah, weird, but it's first season was funny. You can watch it through Starz (allegedly - I had problems with their streaming) or instantly stream it via Netflix. I could tell you that it was about the employees of an LA catering business, but that wouldn't entice you. I'll simply repeat it is funny.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bad Plots

Yesterday I took Kim to Inglorious Basterds, sushi, and the city's second-oldest cemetery -- it's called ROMANCE, chumps.

She noticed this marker on our walk:

This unfortunate nomenclature was apparently commonplace back before the turn of the century. These days, I don't think anyone bothers to reserve a section of plots specifically for infants, and even if they did, I'm rather certain the term "Babyland" would not be used.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Snack Strong Production

I realize that, as a 61 year-old man with a creaky knee and a pension, I'm not in their target demographic. I'm just on their mailing list because I twenty years ago I telephoned Ticketmaster so I could my second daughter could go to the New Kids On The Block "Hangin' Tough" tour with her buddy Jamie.

But golly, what in tarnation is going on here?

I need a world wide web camera, corn chips, and my AOL CD? And then the Big Boy and Blinks 182 will come play at the county fair?

It reminds me of a Simpsons episode from 1995 -- one I watched with my oldest son when he was home from Penn State for the summer:
[Lisa sees a sign for a "Yahoo Serious Festival"]

Lisa: I know those words, but that sign doesn't make sense.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Winning The Order

How many times have you been jealous of your dining companion's menu order? Jack Serpentine introduced me to a game with no formal name that we call "Winning the Order", wherein your dining party can compete to see who chose most wisely.

The game was a big hit last month among my NYC friends, who caught on quickly despite the lack of set rules.

After a brief consultation with Mr. Serpentine, I've constructed the most basic tenets of Winning the Order:

1. You must order an entrée off the menu. No substitutions are allowed. You may not compose a meal out of side dishes.

2. If your order is duplicated by another in the dining party, the orders are cancelled out and neither person can win the order. It's best, of course, to keep your order to yourself until the waiter prompts you.

3. The winning order is the one that draws the most jealousy (or reluctant admiration) from your fellow diners. Put simply, if everyone wishes they would have ordered your item, then your item wins.

4. Ingredients matter, to a point. You may love pickled herring, but you can't expect to win by ordering it. On the other hand, your pizza shouldn't be disqualified just because one freak at your table doesn't like the texture of mushrooms.

5. Price doesn't matter. Sandwiches and steaks are judged on the same, even if one cost $10 and the other cost $20. There are no explicit points for value. However, if your meal is both exceptional and reasonably priced, it's certainly a bonus.

6. French Toast can’t win. Jack Serpentine made up this rule during a DC brunch to disqualify me. It's an absurd yet enjoyable tradition that you are under no obligation to share with first-timers until their french toast is sitting before them, looking delicious.

7. Lobbying for your victory is encouraged. In this completely subjective game, skilled persuasion is your only hope for victory. You can and should brow-beat your compatriots until they are cowed into recognizing your ordering brilliance.

We're still working out the kinks in transferring from an oral tradition to a written protocol -- leave your suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feline Facts

Boy, this rat race, huh guys? It's tough out there. It's been so crazy it's tapped my blog strength. So here are some photos of the cat.

It was an unusually cool July, so we were able to open the windows for a few days. Doby liked that. He especially liked to stare at the side of the house next door.

Doby has a thing about his head and neck. He likes to rest the side of his head against an object, like a stair.

Or the back of a chair. Trust me, he was doing it just a second before I snapped this. And yes, I just keep the camera on the coffee table and wait for something amazing to happen, like when he got scared of some pieces of blue cloth this week.

But most of his time is spent sleeping on his back, on the ottoman.

He really knows how to chillax.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

NYC Perp

I forgot to mention one episode from the NYC trip.

While Kim amused herself in Macy's, I went to the in-store Starbucks to wet my whistle. I ordered an orange-mango-banana smoothie, paid, and stood with the rest of the cattle at the end of the counter, waiting for my drink.

When an employee called out "Orange Mango Smoothie!" and set the drink on the counter, I took a step forward and reached out my hand. A moment slow, the slight, pale girl to my left grabbed the smoothie first. I opened my mouth to speak, but didn't really want to bicker over who ordered their smoothie first -- plus, she was already on her way toward the down escalator.

I waited a few more minutes alone at the counter. Of course, as you've guessed by now, my smoothie had been stolen, and the confused employees were working on what I'm sure was a Starbucks-record SECOND orange-mango-banana smoothie ordered during that 24-hour period.

Miss, I don't know who you are or where you came from, but you sure didn't look like an unfortunate soul in need of her first and only refreshment of the day. You looked like a well-to-do youth like myself, who could easily afford to buy a dozen smoothies on a whim. You didn't want to wait to buy yourself a drink, so you took the first cup of potable slop that you saw. I wearily respect your disregard for Corporate America and social order. I am vaguely jealous of your life of casual theft.

But make no mistake, Miss, I hate you. I was so fucking thirsty.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Kubicle Kidz

Last Wednesday I ate my sack lunch, read tales from the internet, and decided to enjoy the nice weather with a 10-minute walk outdoors.

I returned to the building and walked into the second-floor restroom. A child approximately ten years of age stood near the sinks, washing his bare feet with dampened paper towels. As I washed my hands, he grabbed his socks from the counter, stepped into them, and left.

I walked back to my cubicle and sat down. "If You're Happy and You Know It" chimed from next door, as did the words, "Did you find your toes? Did you find your toes? Those are good toes! Put those in your mouth! La la la la la la la! La la la la la!"

And that's how a professional spent his Wednesday at his office building full of other professionals.