Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Magical Movie Moments

I want to see one or two more new flix before I review the year in film, so meanwhile, here are my most memorable theater experiences of all time. DVD, VHS, laserdisc, and filmstrips do not qualify. Also, I did not count movies that were memorable because of girls who sat beside me.


Dirty Work
Shawn, Phil and I went to see this at the now defunct Cinema's West theater in Wichita, home from college for the summer. The hardest I have ever laughed in a theater.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
The second hardest I've ever laughed in a theater.

There's Something About Mary (1998)
I got sneak preview tickets, for a reason or skill I can no longer recall. I went with my pal Julie, who thankfully could appreciate jokes about kids named Mongo.

Rushmore (1998)
As a surprise gift, I given the new Sheryl Crow cassette, and was driven two towns over to the closest theater showing Rushmore. I still like both of those things, but one much more than the other. A few weeks later, we watched it again with my friend Chris, who said, "I'm pretty sure that used the word 'handjob' more than any movie I've ever seen."

Zoolander (2001)
This the first movie I saw with Jeff, who is probably the best person to watch a comedy with, because he'll laugh loudly at almost any decent joke.


A Time to Kill (1996)
After returning home from this movie, I told my mom that it was "probably the best movie I've ever seen". To my dismay, she brings this up a lot. (Not to be mean, just because she's got a good memory, and sometimes assumes things I said twenty years ago still apply to my current preferences. I know you're reading this, Mom! I like sweet potatoes now! Get over it!) Anyway, it was 1996. I had not lived a lot of life by then, or seen a lot of great dramas.

The People vs Larry Flynt (1996)
Memorable only because Nathan asked the box office attendant for "Two tickets to the porn."


The Dark Knight (2008)
The most anticipated movie of my lifetime, I think. Action from start to finish. Seeing it in a sold-out IMAX theater took it up a notch. Plus, I'm always proud when I make it through a long movie without the nagging urge to urinate. That's always the cherry on top.

From Dusk Til Dawn (1996)
My high school friends and I got in the car to head home, and someone said, "Ha! They were all vampires!" and we all started giggling, and we laughed and laughed about how crazy and stupid it was. I went to see it again the following night, and then a third time the night after that. So dumb. So fun.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
I think we headed over to the east side of town to see this after a half-day of high school. We got there a few minutes into the movie, but that was corrected easily enough by seeing it again after a few days. Surely the first movie I saw where the soundtrack and action and dialogue all came together in such a cool way.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Soundtrack

[CDs are being mailed this week. Should you have any doubt that you will receive one, please leave a message in the comments or text me your address.]

Here are the songs I enjoyed most this year. This playlist conveniently fits on an 80-minute CD, and more thought than you would expect has gone into their order. It's a tradition.

1. Broken Bells - "The Mall & Misery"

I've mentioned that I prefer James Mercer's output with The Shins, but this album had its moments. I mistakenly burned the final track to the beginning of a CD, and it took me a while to figure out why the first song I'd hear in my car sounded so much like the last song I'd hear at work via the mp3 album. Good story, right? Anyway, that's why Broken Bells bats leadoff in 2010.

2. Menomena - "Taos"


This is probably my favorite song of 2010. At the very least, it's my favorite song to play LOUD. I was pleased to see these gentlemen perform at The Bottleneck -- Nick and I walked in and took a seat just as they took the stage. The joy of seeing a great Tuesday night performance without sitting through two opening bands cannot be overstated.

3. The xx - "VCR"

I'd been intentionally avoiding this band, partly due to their name, partly because I knew it was a minimalist boy/girl thingamajig. Then one day, I watched a video of a Shiba Inu dog slowly falling asleep as this song played, and the boycott was over.

4. The Stone Roses - "Bye Bye Badman"

In "Shaun of the Dead", when our heroes are rummaging through Shaun's record collection to separate the keepers from the projectile weapons, they keep both The Stone Roses' self-titled debut and their largely dismissed follow-up. "I liked it!" Shaun says. I always understood the reference, though I'd never heard either full album. This song comes from their acclaimed debut, and is about halfway between Echo & The Bunnymen and Oasis in both timeline and feel.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Y Control"
New Yorkers
6. Spoon - "The Mystery Zone"
Portlander, Austinites

This was the first song I noticed playing at Henry's after I proposed to my girlfriend in a bar, while I ordered two more vanilla vodka and Coke's. It sounded good.

715 Restaurant played Spoon's "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" from start to finish as we enjoyed our pre-engagement dinner, and "Transference" was in my car as we drove home that night, fielding calls and texts from well-wishers. Picture yourself / set up for good in a whole other life / In the mystery zone.

7. Sleigh Bells - "Rill Rill"
New Yorkers

It's always hard to gauge the latest big thing to emerge from Brooklyn, and harder still when said Next Big Thing intentionally compresses and distorts its music. While some of their songs are literally difficult to endure (i.e. "Crown on the Ground"), "Rill Rill" is a pleasure throughout, similar to Broken Social Scene's "Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl" in both tone and what-the-fuck-are-they-singing-aboutness.

8. The Talking Heads - "I'm Not in Love"
New Yorkers

It is surprising and disturbing that 31 years passed before I became aware of this very good song by this famous band. Up yours, classic rock radio stations!

9. Camera Obscura - "French Navy"

Most likely, the song I heard most frequently during the year, due to its placement on several mix CDs.

10. Built to Spill - "The Weather"

I ate at the Built to Grill food truck, but it had nothing to do with this very nice song that I discovered when some lady put it in a weather-related blog post. I am trying to convince Alipete to use it in her wedding, should she choose to be married someday.

11. Elvis Costello - "You Belong to Me"

I like having some of Costello's old stuff remain unknown to me. It's like a bookshelf I can occassionally visit when I need to find something decent to read for an upcoming flight.

12. We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Roll Up Your Sleeves"

I had a hard time choosing which song to include from "These Four Walls", the album I listened to most frequently this year. This band is Scottish, isn't afraid to rock, and repeats a lot of their lyrics. So, I chose the very representative "Roll Up Your Sleeves". It features a Scottish pronunciation of "Queue", an aggressive guitar riff, and the words "Stay calm" repeated nine consecutive times before "Keep warm" is repeated twice. As far as repeated phrases go, you could do much worse.

13. Beck - "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" (Leonard Cohen cover)
Californian/Space Alien (Cohen is Canadian.)

I looked this up after reading an interview with A.C. Newman of The New Pornographers:
"I always remember being 22 and going through a terrible breakup when I was completely despairing, and I remember hearing that song and I kind of turned on a dime. Somehow, that song seemed too wise. I thought, "Yeah, it's true. That is no way to say goodbye." I just remember I went from being completely in despair to like, "Yeah, this is no big deal. Let's put it in perspective." Just based on that, it has to win as my all time favorite song."
I like this Beck version best of those I found, despite its poor audio quality.

14. The New Pornographers - "We End Up Together"

Canadians, mostly

Songwriter A.C. Newman explains:
"One of the upstairs bathrooms at Seaside Lounge is a closet-sized little thing, and on the inside of the door is written the graffiti: "We End Up Togther." You read this many times before you realize that there is a missing "e" in "together." It struck me as a really great line, and as far as I knew it hadn't been used in a song yet. I just went from there. When I started laying down the vocals for this song, the guys who worked at the studio slowly began to notice something familiar about that line. They would usually figure it out upon returning from the bathroom.

Even though the line doesn't show up until the very end, it is still the subtext that pushes along all of the other lyrics. It's a song about all of the times in the past that I had met my wife, or been in the same room as my wife, and had been completely unaware that, well, we end up together."
It's a nice sentiment, but both Alipete and I have been unsuccessful trying to twist the lyrics to fall in with his claim.

15. Telekinesis - "Tokyo"

An awesome song. Until it's in your head for a few consecutive days. Then try to take a break, listen to some vintage Metallica or something. You'll get past it, and the song will sound great again.

16. The Clash - "Koka Kola"


Again, a huge band but you only hear the same four songs of theirs on the radio. All the shitty lists that populate the internet, yet it took me until this year to find one list that recommended this song.

17. Plumtree - "Scott Pilgrim"

This song inspired the comic, and therefore the film. I experienced both in 2010, ten years after this band ceased to exist. Too bad - 2010 could use a fun girl band like this. One that murdered K$sha, preferably.

18. Gillian Welch - "Black Star" (live Radiohead cover)

I don't know - the metadata claims this was recorded live in Minneapolis on September 24, 2004. The original version was background music for making out in high school. I suppose if I bothered to interpret the lyrics to this song or that album, those sessions would have been more morose. EVEN MORESO. To date, I have not made out to this cover version, and do not plan to.

19. Nirvana - "Paper Cuts"

I planned ahead, and passed most of my time during the '09 Christmastime snowstorm with my Playstation. When I finally ventured out of my mom's house to meet other beer drinkers downtown, my new present -- the deluxe remaster of "Bleach" -- played in the car stereo. "Paper Cuts" was a perfect soundtrack for the dark, snowy, foreboding Wichita streets.

20. The Futureheads - "Struck Dumb"

I just like this song.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

House Of Cards Update

You'd be surprised how quickly certain people lose interest in two or three solidly built floors of a structure made of old business cards. "When are you going to put another level on top?" they say, as if they've ever done anything with their own old business cards / current lives. Then you GO TO WORK to SHUT THEM UP.

This baby has held steady for over a week now. Except some still say, "When are you going to finish it?", not realizing this thing is finished, because they don't understand architectural engineering like the rest of us.

* * *

In other news, the most famous friend of a friend of a friend I've ever shared a brunch table with (and said six words to once in Chicago) was on Conan the other night. The Conan website pointed me to this audition stunt he did to get his "Yogi Bear" role:

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wheel Watcher

If you want to see my friend Charles on television, tune in tomorrow, December 9, to the game show featuring hangman, a giant disc, and a useless old lady.

If you have any questions about his episode or the show in general, leave them in the comments and I will try to get him properly interviewed.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

2010 Recap - Bad Indie Rock Press Photos

It's become a tradition for me to gather the terrible images that indie rock bands chose to promote themselves with.

Mickey Mickey Rourke (via Musicforants)

"We will rock you. 'We' meaning me and this purple polyester blanket, and 'rock' meaning 'haunt'."

Martha (via I Guess I'm Floating)

"Holy shit, Hansel, haven't you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn't some of this maybe be in your head?"

Magic Kids (via I Guess I'm Floating)

"If you spent all your money on colored chalk, saxophones, and skateboards, you'd be dressed in tatters, too!

Club 8 (via Musicforants)

"Bongos here is like, Meg. And I'm Jack, 'cause I shred this guitar. Once we get out of this Sears portrait studio, we'll show you what our sound is all about."

Brite Futures (via Indiemuse)

"I look like the best friend from "Boy Meets World". And also, a kitty cat."

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Giant Mistakes

Sometimes we would head over to my grandparent's place on Sundays. We'd usually hang out in the basement with everyone, the cousins playing Nintendo while the adults watched a football game.

One day, my grandma cheered, "Go! Go! Go!" at a New York Giant trying to break free for a long run. I informed her that she was looking at a replay of the previous down, but she didn't mind. Her sentiment remained.

On November 10, that New York Giant was sentenced to 30 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct. And burglary.

So long, Dave Meggett. I'm sure Grandma would take it back if she could.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Embarrassments 2010

Did your aunt heap praise on "Sarah Palin's Alaska"? Did you see a Goldline pamphlet next to your father's recliner? Did New England running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis' name and/or race inspire lamentable comments from Gramps?

Communicate your "favorite" holiday moments in the comments.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Card Me

I don't know anyone who has ever run out of their initial supply of business cards. I assume it takes a special kind of douche to force them upon strangers so frequently that you'd need to reload.

One inconsequential line of my signature block changed a few weeks ago, so new business cards were printed for everyone in the area. I looked at the box of my old cards, and considered the staggering amount of similar paper waste that goes on every day in businesses across the globe, and I wondered how these old cards could be meaningfully re-purposed.

As a youth, I'd build multi-story complexes from playing cards, and then shoot rubber bands at them until they crumbled. (It's hard to say why I chose to do this; either we didn't have Nintendo yet, or my sibling was playing a marathon Dragon Warrior session.)

I knew just one well-placed rubber band would collapse this structure, so I instead chose to see how long it would survive on my desk.

A few hours later, a young woman walked into the cube and intentionally fanned her notebook toward the pyramid.

HER: "I didn't think it would fall down!"
ME: "It's a HOUSE of CARDS!"
HER: "I thought you taped them together."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana

Today someone cleaned their cubicle with a Corporate Express (Staples) aerosol cleaning spray. It initally smelled like oranges, and gradually the olfactory cloud spoiled.

What I'm trying to say is: it literally smelled like vomit at work today.

* * *

Worse guy in the adjacent bathroom stall: sighing loudly, or talking on his phone?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Are You Cereal?

Since I never shut up about it, I'm sure you all know that I love Cracklin' Oat Bran more than any other cereal. Many weeks ago, HyVee slashed the cost of this pricey yet delicious breakfast; a box could be had for TWO DOLLARS! Since I never shut up about it, I'm sure you know that represents more than half the usual retail price.

I purchased six boxes. As I'm sure you all know, I have breezed through that stockpile; I'll finish the final box on Friday or Monday. Then it's back to the eternal struggle: buy more COB at the top shelf price, or slum it with store-brand mini-wheats or honey-oat-bunches? Since I never shut up about it, I'm sure you all know that I hate to spend more than two dollars on a box of cereal.

I eat a bowl of cereal almost every single weekday morning.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bleh Market

I saw these bull/bear cufflinks at Nordstrom yesterday:

They're perfect for the asshole on your Christmas shopping list. Only $150! Buy them now! 47 shopping days left!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tea Party Time

Matt: Is Kentucky serious? Rand Paul?

dn: Hard to believe Kentucky would make a bad decision.

Matt: I guess I didn't take the Tea Party seriously. I kinda thought they were joking.

Monday, November 01, 2010


Getting ready for Show Zero tonight at 11 pm (10 Central).

Lost in all the excitement? Once Conan's TBS show starts, you'll have something to watch at 11 pm (10 Central) when you're away from home in a Comedy-Central-less hotel.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nuts And Gum, Together At Last

Bloomington, Illinois roundup:

No sale. (This stuff looked like chocolate milk, by the way.)

You wouldn't think so from looking at the outside, right? Well, my time inside the "limousine" confirmed that suspicion. Paul F. Tompkins knows about these business naming blunders:
Paul F. Tompkins - Balloon Shopping
Funny JokesFunny VideosDaniel Tosh Stand-Up

Monday, October 18, 2010

JPEG Roundup

I am puzzled why this search led to Tornado Slide. The only time I remember writing about Mr. Broderick was my visit to the Met.

* * *

I took this photo on my cell phone in the Portland Doubletree.

I thought it was funny at the time, and I've been trying to piece together what I found so hilarious. I guess I pictured some calm, learned individual who didn't know what the whoop tone and strobelight signaled, so he put down his book and his pipe and poked his head out of his room, walked over to the elevator bank to find some informational signage, managed to read it despite the smoke filling the hallway, and THEN he figured out what he was experiencing was an "alarm".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 Summer Recap - Netflix

Shutter Island

A very well-shot, well-acted, engaging film that unfortunately had an ending. And I don't mean that in the cliche "I didn't want it to end!" way.

Mystery Team

A feature length film written by DERRICK Comedy group, including Donald Glover from NBC's "Community". At times, it feels like you're watching an internet short, because you kind of are. But it's fun and consistently funny. Recommended.

Freaks & Geeks: Disc 6

I'd never seen all of these - now I have, so cross that off the list. It's pretty unbelievable that this was canceled after one season, but if you have a high school TV show where the characters aren't constantly fucking each other, you're asking to get canceled.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Very well done. If you're skeptical, don't be. Enjoy hearing Rob Corddry spout suck gems as, "Here's a question. Was it morally wrong for me to exploit my knowledge of the future for personal financial gain? Perhaps. Here's another question. Do I give a fuck?" Enjoy Crispin Glover, too.

Will Ferrell: You're Welcome, America...

Uhh, a little long. Maybe a lot long. Maybe it had a very short expiration date for its funniness, and I missed it. I dunno. This part was great, though:

Pickup on South Street

This is a 1953 noir - there are spies, Communists, stool pigeons, coppers, and microfilm. Plots involving stolen microfilm are always solid, even if they usually leave you wishing for microfiche instead.

Only Angels Have Wings

A sometimes cheesy, sometimes dramatic Howard Hawks movie - the kind where women fall in love with the protagonist (Cary Grant) for no good reason (other than the fact he looks like Cary Grant). "Screwball Drama" might describe it best. That genre never really caught on, for good reason. Still, there is enough intentional and unintentional humor here to recommend it.

World's Greatest Dad

I spent a sick afternoon watching this. It's got Robin Williams, but it's not terrible? It's about an English teacher whose asshole son accidentally kills himself. The asshole son is quite funny, right up until he dies:

Date Night

I thought this was going to be a "funny for parents" movie, but was pleased to find it was funny for all. I really wish I paid full price for this instead of "Dinner for Schmucks".

Louis CK - Hilarious

You can (and should) watch this for free at EpixHD - whatever that is. It includes an extended rant on technology you may remember from this Conan interview that went viral:

Monty Python: Almost the Truth

Good if you want to learn how the group came together, how "Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian" were conceived and shot, or just remember how awesome Monty Python is. I hadn't thought about this sketch in years, and now I'm back in business - the laughter business!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Sometimes I worry that kitten will never make it to retirement.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Dickety? Highly Dubious.

While I was sitting still at a conference last week, trying not to laugh or cry, I wondered if every Simpsons reference has already been used as a Twitter handle.

I created a list of names and phrases during the meeting. Tonight, I plugged them into Twitter to see the results.

Most of what I came up with are already taken:


But the nerds have not exhausted all options. These are still available:


* * *

Oh and Matt, I have some bad news about the username I I assume you wanted:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tray Not Cool

I don't care how many customer ratings say otherwise - this is a stupid way to make nachos.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beib To The Future

There was a rumor that Justin Beiber was going to star in a Back to the Future remake. It’s not true, I guess, now I’m thinking about how a reboot would look. You know, staying a few steps ahead of Hollywood, just like with Hangover 2.

OLD BTTF: Marty wants a cool truck
NEW BTTF: Marty wants a Bugatti

OLD BTTF: Marty plays “Johnny B Good” in the style of Chuck Berry
NEW BTTF: Marty plays a smooth (but filthy) R&B jam in the style of R. Kelly

OLD BTTF: Christopher Lloyd
NEW BTTF: Christopher Walken

OLD BTTF: Marty invents the skateboard
NEW BTTF: Marty invents the razor scooter

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Great Big Convoy

I know a lot about The Simpsons. If you were paying attention, you already knew that. The lady of the house is less obsessive about decades-old cartoons, which can lead to confusion. When I say "Abortions for some" while making breakfast, she can't place the reference. And when I'm excited about a 1978 Sam Peckinpah film on cable, I just say, "Simpsons" instead of explaining that the song on which the film is based is briefly mentioned in a television commercial inside the "Radio Bart" episode.

So, last Thursday, I shared my excitement with Jack Serpentine instead.

dn: Convoy is on Reelz channel. CONVOY!
js: Holy shit! I know what I'm doing the rest of the night. Oh man, it's starting. I love that it's based on a song.

dn: Kim is not happy about this.

js: She'll be even less happy about that redneck sheriff. Now Vanessa is bitching. Ladies don't understand cinema.

dn: I am fighting pretty hard. We just switched from The Office. It's my biggest triumph.

js: The casting is pretty much perfection.

(There is a huge barfight (okay, diner-fight) between the truckers and the redneck sheriff trying to extract bribes. The truckers win, and decide they'd better haul ass across the state line.)

dn: I feel the state line is underused in modern plotlines.

js: Agreed. Totally agreed. I demand a frame-by-frame remake of this classic. I just can't think of a lead. Certainly Don Cheadle for the black guy.

dn: Jeff Bridges. Duh.

js: Nailed it. V wants Dylan McDermott. Borgnine should reprise his role.

dn: Well, obviously. Or Tom Arnold if he passes. Tarantino directs.

js: Either Tarantino or Rodriguez. Or Michael Mann. Female lead is Zooey Deschanel, right?

dn: I vote Portman. She has a track record with short hair, and she can play "tough" way better.

js: I can buy that. Zooey is more pouty than tough. P.S. I think Al is now sucked in.

dn: Jack Black is the slob trucker, Pigpen.

js: Soundtrack remixed by RZA. Although there's not much soundtrack. Mostly police sirens and truck engine revving.

js: From Al: "Eating ramen, watching Convoy, living life."

(Kris Kristofferson, AKA Rubber Duck, AKA "The Duck", leaves the convoy. The crowd asks if he's coming back.)

dn: Whew. I was worried that The Duck wouldn't be a Christ metaphor.

js: Why's it always got to be the duck?

(The convoy arrives at a small Texas town, where they rev their engines a lot, then proceed to destroy every small building in the village as they retrieve the black trucker from his jail cell.)

dn: Movie trivia: filming many takes of this scene caused the hole in the ozone layer.

js: This movie melted four glaciers.

(The convoy has to stop, because kids buying treats from an ice cream truck are clogging the road.)

js: Goddamn kids stopped the convoy? You think The Duck is going to get out of this sticky situation?

dn: Are the kids a metaphor? I need to get the Criterion DVD to confirm.

(There is an absurd climax I will not spoil for you, because I know this has really piqued your interest. Ah, hell, I know you're not going to watch it. You probably didn't even watch the embedded video earlier, even though it's AMAZING, especially considering it's a film trailer that is ostensibly trying to explain the plot to a potential audience, yet it's just a mess! Shot after shot of trucks crashing into things, usually from a helicopter's point of view! Crazy!)

js: The Duck and the sheriff are really two sides of the same coin.

(There is an absurd resolution.)

js: Now I'm just confused.

dn: Convoy. Really makes you think.

js: Well, we did it. We watched Convoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I was sick today, but wanted to do something productive while I recovered. What did I do? You guessed it: uploaded cat-related media. It's been too long!

In the wintertime, Lou Dobbs was an active feline, despite his disinterest in the Saints amazing comeback Super Bowl victory.

He sometimes stared longingly out the window, squeaking instead of meowing.

The cat always demands my attention before I start a relaxing evening game of Playstation, and will bother me on the couch if I choose not to pet him on the floor.

And Doby will lay on the other couch, too, because SOMEBODY SPOILS HIM.

Sometimes he'll get involved during a spirited game of stairball.

But usually he plays with a strip of felt.

At least, he used to. The summertime seemed to vanquish both the cold and his free spirit. Perhaps it was the spring storms, which forced him to seek cover under the couch's upended cushions (part of a barricade to prevent him from lying on them all day).

Or perhaps he is growing older, and looking for meaning in his life.

It's a deep philosophical quest, filled with ennui.

Ennui and rage.

That makes him sleepy.

So very sleepy.

Monday, September 06, 2010

That's Nuts!

Back from the Ozarks, home of the "Hillbilly Nut".

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TV On The Brain-io

Things I saw once and only once on television but never forgot:

1. Alex Trebek explaining that his young daughter definitely would have known the question each Jeopardy! contestant failed to get, "Who is U2?".

2. David Letterman explaining to a female guest what he liked about working as a grocery store bagger: "Every bag was like a puzzle."

3. Ahmad Rashad driving around with Jerome Kersey, talking about how all that was left for Kersey to accomplish was to have his image on a giant, black and white billboard that towered over Portland. But the real NBA Inside Stuff was that the billboard ALREADY EXISTED!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rooting For Jimmy

Tonight, Jimmy Fallon is hosting the Emmy Awards. He's doing an OK job.

I am taking this opportunity to retract my previous statements about Mr. Fallon and his stint on Late Night. I don't watch often, but from what I've seen he does a nice job. I appreciate his efforts to mix up the format, playing games with the guests instead of only interviewing them. It's fun. Nice job.

I remember back when his reign was beginning, people said, "Did you hear The Roots are going to be the house band?! That's going to be so cool! I'm going to watch it because of them!". I would like to take this opportunity to call those people shitheads. Not because The Roots are sub-par -- because talk show bands have about 4 cumulative minutes of impact per night. If Arcade Fire played the walk-on music for Jay Leno's show, or if The Black-Eyed Peas performed every night for Conan, it wouldn't factor into my decision to watch.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tom, Chef

Man, I did all that work looking for a good Gmail account when was available?

I downloaded the attachment and replied to their message. I signed my full name with my social security number so they'd be sure it was really me.

* * *

Win Butler and Tom Colicchio were both hanging out in my dream last night. I spent all my time talking to an amused Tom about some "Top Chef" suggestions.

First, I brought up my longstanding theory on "The Real World": the show would benefit from an unexciting setting. Instead of placing the young human nightmares in 24-hour parties like New Orleans or New York, MTV should set the show in places like Iowa or Utah. This would force the kids to make their own fun, with disastrous and hilarious consequences.

This theory doesn't work as well for "Top Chef", since it airs very little content outside of the kitchen. Still, maybe my dream self's idea could work for the show. It could be refreshing to see the contestants shopping somewhere other than Whole Foods -- running around the Des Moines HyVee's tiny organic section searching for microgreens and artisanal cheese.

My second, better idea for Tom was an elimination challenge: instead of catering a wedding reception, serve food at a funeral. (Preferably a funeral in a small German Catholic town. Noticing a pattern, I once asked an old monsignor if he'd ever been to a funeral where they did not serve ham and green beans. "Never in my life," he replied.) Tell me you wouldn't watch this episode! Think of the possibilities!

How would the chefs respond?
"I'm taking a big risk with this devil's food cake, but when she wasn't crying, the widow seemed like she had a great sense of humor and a sweet tooth."

Would the grieving attendees give more honest feedback than usual?
"This beef is tougher than my old man was on me. *sigh* Rest in peace, Dad."

Judge's table would be the best ever!
"Your celery foam was wholly inappropriate for the occasion."

"In situations like these, heirloom tomatoes take on even more importance. I'm sorry, but your dish did not respect that."

"This being an Irish wake, I understand your choice to serve corned beef and cabbage. Unfortunately, it just didn't work. And frankly, your loaded baked potato was insulting."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Space Dementia

If you've got a lot of time to kill, and if you like space exploration, you could do worse than viewing The Science Channel's "Mars Rising. Part IV: The Human Factor". I met those qualifications on Friday.

Much of the program deals with how science plans to prevent the Mars astronauts from getting space dementia and killing each other during the 2+ year mission. I was very amused by the director's attempts to portray these mentally unstable astronauts:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gee, Mail!

As you're aware, the internet continues to grow exponentially, and will soon collapse under its own weight.

Case in point: Google Mail. I hastily adapted my university email prefix into my current Yahoo! address back when things were different (before 9/11) (literally). Lately, I've been thinking about upgrading to GMail, but wasn't sure what username to adopt.

So I began to explore my options. My name? Taken. Common variations on my name? Taken. Current Yahoo! username? Taken.

Hmm. This is a very popular electronic mail system!

What if I picked a username that early-adopter types would disagree with? TAKEN!

What about an outdated phrase -- one so unused that I can't remember how to spell it? TAKEN! TAKEN!

What about an intentionally misspelled outdated phrase? TAKEN!

What about a nonsense lyric from disc 2 of "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"? TAKEN!

What about a nonsense lyric from Extreme's 1991 album "Pornograffitti", NOT taken from the radio hits "More Than Words" or "Hole Hearted"? TAKEN!

What about random two-word phrases? TAKEN! TAKEN!

What about random sounds? TAKEN!

What about the tagline from a somewhat forgotten film released just weeks ago? TAKEN!

What about backwards? TAKEN!

What about a sentence no one could possibly agree with? TAKEN!

What about a difficult-to-spell animated character from Paula Abdul's 1989 "Opposites Attract" music video? TAKEN!

What about a religious slant? TAKEN! TAKEN!

What about a random two-word phrase that really sucks? AVAILABLE!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I've got a new gmail account! (Not really.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Antonio Banderas!!!

True story: today, sitting at my workstation, I thought to myself, "Wait, what time is it? Is it 3:00 yet?" Then I remembered that I hadn't had lunch yet. Because it was 10:00 a.m. It was disconcerting.

I don't know how you spent your workday, but we were a Nasonex bee away from hitting the cycle...

From: Gav
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 9:23 AM


From: dn
Sent: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 9:31 AM

From: BAG
Sent: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:44 AM


From: Floyd
Sent: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:48 AM

From: Alipete
Sent: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

This was the best I could do. I apologize that I am not tech-savvy.

From: Lindsey
Sent: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 1:11 PM

I have no idea what's going on. But I'd like it to continue.

From: Floyd
Sent: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 12:19 PM

From: BAG
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:32 PM

And, of course, no tribute to the Antonio Banderas is complete without a guitar case rocket launcher:

From: dn
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 2:06 PM

10 Fascinating Facts About Birthday Boy Antonio Banderas

From: Gav
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:38 PM

Hey everybody,

I just wanted to say Thanks! for a wonderful day of celebration.

It’s not very often that we get to come together to celebrate the life and work of one of the Greatest Spanish, Soccer-Loving Actors of Our Generation.

If anything, I hope today served as a reminder for each of us to:

Slow Down, You move to fast.
You’ve got to make the morning last.
Just… kickin’ down the cobblestones.
Looking’ for fun and Feelin’ Groovy.

From: Floyd
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:41 PM

Back at ya, Gav.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Better Leave Her Behind

Tonight I saw a movie titled "The Kids are All Right", a film I expected to enjoy. It enjoys a very high rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and its commercials are somewhat enticing.

My favorite part of the film is when Mark Ruffalo offers Julianne Moore a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie. It inspired me to buy such a pie on my way home.

The rest of the film inspired me to stop wasting my life watching junk. The scenes not featuring pie were well-acted and obvious. Everything you think might happen does. Everything you hope might happen (i.e. Annette Benning, the aforementioned pie eaters, and every other adult featured are all hit by a train) does not.

The movie is about two hours long. It feels much longer. I would have given anything for these characters to die, the house lights to come up, and a large piece of pie be handed to me. But it just went on and on, leaving me to wonder, "Was Annette Benning ever hot?" and "When was the last time Julianne Moore didn't show her tits?" and "Who gives a fuck about these rich white people?" and "If I could design move to show how horrible West Coast liberals are, would it differ in any way from this?" and "Where are all the trains in this California town, and why aren't they plowing into any of these people?".

In summation, this movie can go to hell -- where it will feel right at home, hell and this film both being eternal and horrible.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Climate Controlled

During these dog days, I experience a sort of white guilt regarding my comfort. It's 100 degrees outside, but the only time I experience the heat is on brief walk from my office to my car. I should be begging for the sun to set, but I barely even notice.

* * *

What percent of Facebook's activity is birthday-related?

What would be the most "like"d Facebook status of all time? It has to incorporate a few key subjects. Here's a guess:
"Little Kaden James' surgery was a success, and today the adoption is official! Praise God for shipping my hubby back from Afghanistan in time for this blessed event!"

* * *

Other offensive things about two blocks away from Groundzero, according to Google Maps:

Men's Wearhouse
Party Poopers ("NYC's premier kids'party planning service since 1991 (and that's kids' 0-120)")
Bed Bath and Beyond
Chevy's Fresh Mex
Manhattan Bankruptcy Lawyer Daniel Gershburg
University of Phoenix

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Land Of 10,000 Wows!

We visited old pals in Minnesota over the weekend. Wow! What a state!

Bar, our host, grew raspberries and erotic cucumbers in her backyard with great ease!

Water fell from the streams, as if from the sky!

Beautiful flowers grew in parks, as did sculpture!

Theaters were constructed by crazy people!

The crazy theater had an "Endless Bridge" sticking out of it, from which citizenry could admire the mighty Mississippi!

Or, if the citizenry were too poor or dumb to enjoy the bridge, they could mill about the riverbanks like rabble!

All to enjoy free fireworks!

It is truly the land of opportunity, a land I shared with cherished ladies and one man (the grumpy Nye's bartender - my Grumpy's bartender was unironically pleasant).