Sunday, May 31, 2009

Best Five Years in the History of the Internet

You know what are cute? Five year olds are cute. And mobbin' is five years old today. Wow, it seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in Benny's Burritos with Karisa, eating our burritos and spotting a minor celebrity.

Every year when I see that 5/31 is quickly approaching I consider having some sort of blowout post, maybe a best of? Or reformatting or retitling or dropping the "Best" convention to my postings. But then 5/31/XX arrives and I find myself away from the computer or low on ideas or unable to commit to shaking things up. Anyway. Five years. That's how long it's been.

And by the way, this is where the blog gets its name from. I thought my buddy Lucas would like it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best Day's Reading

Billy Pilgrim was not Kurt Vonnegut.

Today at work I listened to Slaughterhouse Five. It's been a pretty long time since I read it last. Great to have a refresher. Here's what I wrote in my notes while I listened to it (some of these are quotes [indicated by quotation marks], some of them are thoughts, some are quotes without quotation marks.) As I'm just dropping these thoughts and quotes in without any context it's probably best that you take a minute to read the book before going on to the rest of this post.
  • "...and I married a pretty girl who was covered in babyfat too."
  • "Mary had prepared us an operating room."
  • "These children are awake while we are asleep."
  • "I say to Sam now, 'Here's your book.'"
  • "Gathering energy from all through her ruined body."
  • How much was $60,000 in 1967? That was Billy Pilgrim's net income that year.
  • "'I can be comfortable anywhere.' The next day he died. His last words were, 'You think this is bad? This ain't bad.'"
  • Does every dog in this book have a voice like a big brass gong?
  • If you see all of time like a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, then where do you stand?
  • "Only on Earth is there any talk of free will."
  • When did Valley of the Dolls come out?
  • "In case Billy died...he didn't."
  • Cinderella is the most popular story ever told?
  • "This isn't a man, it's a broken kite."
  • All of the old Kilgore trout paperbacks smelled like "flannel pajamas that hadn't been washed in a month."
  • RE: Valencia Marble "She was rich, she was as big as a house."
  • At least two people are mentioned as eating 3 Musketeers Bars.
  • "Before you kill someone, make sure they aren't well-connected." (the moral of the New Testament, according to Kilgore Trout)
  • I'd hate to see the shovels before I died.
  • "As sick as volcanoes."
  • "'There they go! There they go!' that was I, that was me, the author of the book."
  • "'Oz.' That was I, that was me."
  • Montana Wildhack
  • Pilgrim's hot bed "smelled like a mushroom cellar."
  • The Spirit of '76
  • "They expected no blessings beyond the mildness of the day."
  • "...and made themselves utterly beautiful."
  • "Every cell in his body shook him with ravenous applause."
  • Was this Campbell Nazi a real person?
  • Maggie White: "She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies."
  • "They were all being killed with their families."
  • "Dresden was one flame, the one flame ate everything..."
  • "Valencia adored Billy."
  • "I could carve a better man out of a banana."
  • "I knew it was going to be bad getting old, I didn't know it was going to be this bad."
  • Royalton Hotel on 44th street?
  • "It was a little after 8 o'clock, so all the shows were about silliness or murder."
  • Did they reuse crosses?
  • What if Jesus was 5'3"?
  • When did the Earth's population reach 7 billion?
  • "Roses and Mustard gas."
  • Vonnegut says he was the only person to benefit from the Dresden firebombings, that me made $5 for every person that died. 160,000 x $5.
  • Also re: Vonnegut and Dresden, "I got lucky, I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
Those last two notes I got from the excellent little conversation with Vonnegut that was at the end of my recording of the book. Excellent surprise that was.

Vonnegut was 47 when Slaughterhouse Five was published. He didn't really get serious about novel writing until his late 30s.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Best This is You

Sorry, but it is.

Also, is it really possible that none of you can draw a hairy monster?
It isn't that hard. You probably didn't even try.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Best Question of the Weekend

Well, can you?

If you didn't know, I find myself temping again. At last. It had been ages. I love having something to do for 13 hrs every day (you think I'm kidding about loving it but I'm not) but the funny thing is: I've got a lot less blogging time. SO, until my time and enthusiasm intersect, how about drawing some hairy monsters?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Best Unhappy Birthday Wishes

He's 50.

I can believe it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Best Millions of Gallery Happenings

Lots of bustling in far west Chelsea, it can only mean one thing...

Big time art show featuring our dear Jared.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet "Love and Devotion Boat"

Generally well-received by the critics.

There was other good art at the gallery, too. Lots of it, in fact.



In the back office, more of Lord Barrington's work was to be found.

Does it look familiar, by any chance?

Collin feeds the duckies.

We retreated to the street to consider beginning our collection.

"Commune" Curated by Dominque Nahas is showing from May 21 - June 27 at the Black & White Gallery (636 West 28th Street). It's worth the trek.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Best Talking About Feelings, What Mom Said

Almost the whole family gathered to see Revenge of the Sith at midnight in 2005

Claire Barnes re: Phantom Menace. It must be nice to have lived somewhere where you didn't have to camp out to get Episode I tickets.

I accompanied the third graders on a field trip that Tuesday and
stopped at Cinemark on the way home and picked up tickets for Phantom
Menace for the next day, no problem. Right after school was out on
Wednesday I took Owen and Greg (3rd and 6th graders) to the movies! I
think Dad came early to the theater and saved a place for us in line.
I remember the anticipation sitting in our seats and finally when the
green "Lucas Film Ltd." appeared on screen there was such a cheer from
the audience. I looked right and left and said, "well, here we go!"
Afterwards I remember seeing guys fighting with light sabers in the
parking lot with their short hair pulled back in mini pony tails. You
called home with the report you'd seen the movie and were getting ready
to see it again. We watched it as a family by proxy. Then we went to
hear Owen play the drums in the final Mann School band concert of the
year. Perfect end to perfect day. Now here we are and Owen is back from
his mission and that third grader is ready to leave for his in
Argentina. Blink and your kids are all grown up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Best Talking About Feelings, Continued

More Phantom Menace release remembrances (and for my money, the final lightsaber fight with Darth Maul is the best duel [actionwise] of the six movies):

Jeff Butler:

When Phantom Menace was released I had been home from my mission just under two months. My friend had recently inherited his grandparents 1969 Chevy Camper. A week before Phantom opened we heard a line was forming down at the wynnsong movie theater in Provo. We drove the Chevy Camper down to the theater and staked our claim in the line. My friends and I took turns manning the camp and the rest of the time we ran around skateboarding and causing problems for other people waiting in line. Although Phantom didn't turn out as amazing as I would had hoped, the week waiting in line was one of the most unbound fun times in my life. Whenever I think of Phantom I think that amazingly fun time.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yeah that was such a great memory, the anticipation was crazy, in large part because it was only a few years previous to correspond with the twentieth anniversary of the original release that Lucas released those "Special Editions" of the three films to theaters and the hype for those was insane. It seems like it was during that promo campaign that they started telling audiences they were at work on the prequels which got audiences salivating at what the “new” one would be like. Theaters were totally sold out. I was an undergrad at Westminster College and Valentine, a buddy of mine, got tickets to a showing at the Century Theaters on State Street, they were new at the time (well they were new at the “new” location they moved a few blocks) and were the first theaters around with stadium seating so it seemed like a pretty big deal to see the “new” Star Wars there. I skipped class to go to a 12:20 showing on opening day. I have three poignant memories of the showing:

  • Darth Maul was wandering around the parking lot and up and down the line on the sidewalk wearing black cowboy boots, I thought it was so great that the space villain was also a cattle rustler.
  • Two words, NATALIE PORTMAN, girlfriend stole my heart and never gave it back, dude, I couldn’t sleep for a week.
  • At the climax when Obi-Wan Kenobi is hanging on that ledge and does that flip up and chops Darth Maul in pieces, oh man, the whole place went nuts, people were going berserk, whistling and clapping and yelling. In my experience, I can’t remember another time where a movie audience was more unified than at that moment, no one could get over the awesome, it was just so unexpected and perfect. I still love that scene.
Rebecca Gholdston:

Living in Provo. Of course we got tents and sleeping bags and slept outside of the theatre the day before, waiting to be able to buy tickets for the show the next day. Many people brought light sabers and battled eachother in line.

Mostly I remember some truck doing a drive-by waterballooning in the middle of the night, and being unsure if I had chosen the right side of the waterballoons to be on.

Shane Holmes:

Two weeks before the release of the Phantom Menace, we moved to Fiji, where the release date didn't coincide with that of the U.S. About a month later, the Phantom Menace made its way to the Pacific Island and although the show was one of the longest running at the local theater (maybe one month), Fijians didn't have the same history with the Star Wars franchise as Americans. However, watching Episode I in a room full of Pacific Islanders helped my fully understand the existence of Jar Jar Binks--everytime he opened his mouth, Fijians broke out in hysterical laughter.

Thanks to all the contributors and remember, it's never too late to share your Episode One feelings.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Best Talking About Feelings

Amazing but true, Star Wars Episode I came out ten years ago today.

I emailed a bunch of my friends for their thoughts and feelings on the anniversary of this monumental cinematic event--sure, we're all now pretty aware of the mixed feelings that exist towards the prequels, but 1999 was a special time. The anticipation that lead up to this movie was incredible, myself, I just remember being filled with a feeling that something very excellent was about to happen, a sort of disbelief that a new Star Wars would be among us. Living in Provo that summer, it took a lot of strategizing to find a theater to go to and tickets to get. I saw the movie twice on opening day (this became my standard for all the prequels), once to break the seal, a second time to take it all in. I remember delighting in every second of it, trying to take it all in so deeply. Every second that passed I couldn't believe had happened and was sad to see go. While some people act like the Phantom Menace ruined their lives, I was so thrilled by it and left so hungry for more and more Star Wars.

Here's what a few of my friends have to say re: Star Wars memories. I suppose I'm proud of all the righteous Elders to be found among them.

Jeff Mulcock:

My thoughts come from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was walking up a cobblestone hill in the western edge of downtown Buenos Aires. Surrounding me were advertising campaigns, poorly glued on to every possible construction wall. Each one presented scantily clad women using their assets to vouch for cell phone plans, beverages, and shampoo. As I topped the crest of the hill, a new billboard lining the cross street immediately captured my attention. I was frozen in the street. A solid black background surround the form of a red and black head with the words: El Comienzo...Episodio I: La Amenaza Fantasma.

I don't think I have or ever will feel homesickness like that again in my life.

Matt Lemmon:

First of all, holy crap, is it really possible that it's been ten years since the release of Star Wars 1?? I was an intern at Jammin 95.5, and my boss got in to an early screening of Star Wars, which made me very jealous. There was SO MUCH HYPE, and I personally was already dying to see it anyways, so the hype just added to the anticipation. There was this whole big effort involved in just getting tickets, and then the big wait in line. Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers were also in line with us, and Princess Leigha (sp?) was there too.

Then finally we were in the theater waiting for it to start... And then there were previews, and they showed a few opening title frames (for Lucasfilms, and THX, and Dreamworks, and all that) and then it goes dark and silent for a moment.

And it's all quiet, and then the words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." appear on the screen, and then there is a big blast of horns, "Dauuughhnnnnnnn!!!" while the STAR WARS logo floats up the screen. And then the horns continue with their introduction: "Dun-dun-dun, dun-Dun-dun-dun, dun-DUN, DUN DUN DUN, DUN DUN DUN............" and then the big story floats up the screen while the actual Star Wars theme song starts, which goes "Dun, DUN, dun-dun-dun DUN dun, dun-dun-dun DUN dun, dun du-ta-DUN!... (dun dun dun dunt, dunt...) " But the part that really hit me in the theaters was that first initial powerful blast of horns and simultaneous appearance of the logo. The horns/logo combination especially impacted me when I watched Episode 2.

The other thing that stands out about Episode 1 is that Darth Maul is one of the evilest-looking (most evil-looking?) villains of all time. Second only to Skeletor, the evilest-looking of all villains.

Another thing I remember is that you were Jar Jar Binks for Halloween that year, and I was totally opposed to the idea, but only because I disliked Jar Jar Binks so much in the movie. I think that was the night I wore the kids' wrestling costume for Halloween, so I was in no position to criticize other people's costumes.

Jared Clark:

My anonymous friend's story:

i was in Brazil and two fubeca (mormon brazilian term: jokers/scoundrels/slackers) elders went to the mall and saw the movie against mission rules. We were very jealous, building anticipation in our hearts. it was a great and exciting time. i collected these holographic cards and kept one of yoda in my "white bible" - my missionary guide - so yoda was always present with me, teaching me, til i could see the movie after my mission. Little did i know at that time that the force had to do with midiclorians - i would have applied that to my gospel lessons. i was living two blocks from the beach and to satiate our starwars thirst we would play starwars risk every P-day eve. Down with Ticket to Ride! and IN with Starwars Risk! Long Live Starwars Risk!

Dave Almond:

Thanks for the reminder.

Phantom Menace. Man, was I excited about this one. A few friends of mine and I had the plan laid out: half of us would skip the last period of the day to get a place in line, while the other half would rush across town to the theater as soon as the last bell rung. I was one of the latter half, and I kind of think sitting through an entire day of class added to the anticipation of it all. Because in the end, that's what was best about Phantom Menace. Sure, the lightsaber duels were off the charts. And seeing the title roll across the screen gave me goosebumps. But sadly, getting that first glimpse of Naboo couldn't live up to the backstory that I had guessed at, endlessly, for so many years as a kid.

I do think Phantom Menace is a good movie. But once the movie was over and I had that Christmas afternoon feeling of, "where do we go from here?" I realized that the best part was over after the title logo disappeared off the top of the screen.

Collin Mapp:

I was on my mission in La Crosse, WI when The Phantom Menace first came out. I was out serving the Lord faithfully and resisting all temptation to sneak out and catch a peek. I mean, how could I? Not only would I be breaking mission rules but I would forever tarnish my appreciation of Star Wars with the stain of disobedience! Besides, Kwik Trip, the local gas station, came to my aid to vent all my Star Wars needs. They ran a Star Wars promo that offered seven different Collector Edition souvenir cups featuring the characters of Phantom Menace. So not only did you get an awesome cup but you got a bag of chips AND a hot dog! All for 2 bucks! Those quick Kwik Trip trips of innocent Star Wars anticipation will always have a more special place in my heart than the fulfilment of Episode One - which I saw two days after I got home a year and a half later.

Adam Benton:

So that piece of news just made me feel really freakin' old. In fact, no piece of news has made me feel older... seriously. If you were to quiz me on when the Phantom Menace came out, I would have said 2006 a mere 2 years ago.

I now hate the Phantom Menace!

Adam raises the key point. How did so much time pass? Where did these ten years go?

Please, help us continue to celebrate this special day by sharing your Episode I thoughts and feelings in the comments. Please.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Best Totally Important Prince's Supplement

Here's a great little documentary on Prince's Hot Chicken. It's 10 minutes and you should watch it if you like to be entertained and educated. The first thing I learned from it is that Hot Chicken was invented as revenge against a philanderer. The next thing I learned was that I should have just gone for it and eaten my chicken with my fingers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Best I Know What I Like When I See It - Another Example

This blog has been virtually catless for too long.

Best I Know What I Like When I See It

And I think that's why I'm always buying shirts that look like shirts that I already own.

Same with pants and ties.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Best Supposedly Fun Thing That I Might Do Again

All right, listen. In Nashville there is a restaurant called Prince's Hot Chicken. It specializes in what is called "hot chicken" and hot here means spicy. I don't know how I found out about Prince's, I think I saw it on TV or something, but the thing about me is that if I hear something is spicy, I go eat it. And I bring my amigos along. This was essentially the only thing I was set on doing during the Nashville trip. 1000 plans for other things could have fallen through and it could have thundered and rained the whole time we were there---as long as I got to go to Prince's, I was fine.

Prince's chicken comes in four flavors: mild, medium, hot and extra hot--or, as a blog I researched from said, "Medium is you like hot, hot if you like pain, and extra hot if...well, none of us has actually tried it yet."

Reading that quote made it clear to me that I'd be ordering the Extra Hot.

Everyone else got the Medium, this is what it looks like. Nice and red and threatening:

This is our friend Jeff's friend Darren and, as you can tell from his expression, medium at Prince's is not a joke.

Okay, now here's my piece of Extra Hot. As you can see, while Medium was red and wet, Extra Hot is black like death and drippy.

When I picked my chicken up at the window a little piece of fried skin (like the size of a pea, at the biggest) had fallen off onto the wax paper. I popped it into my mouth on the way to the table. I was NOT prepared for the punch it packed, for the coughing fit and sweat that tiny bit immediately brought on. It was then that I knew this chicken was very, very serious. I sat and looked at it for a bit, feeling rather intimidated and sort of honestly truthfully not wanting to really go through with this but then the Spirit of Bravery came upon me and I dug in.

This is a picture of me thinking that I'm turning on my camera's video mode but actually I'm just taking my picture. Oh well. This would have been a video of my first serious bites of the chicken.
Some of the feelings I had while eating this chicken were: loss of hearing, isolated pain in shoulder (Jeff on this pain: "Yeah, that's cuz you're going into cardiac arrest"), tingling along limbs, and sense of soaring through the air at supersonic speeds, and worrying, lots and lots of worrying about my digestive system.

Also, I double forked it to avoid touching the chicken as much as I could. I picked it up a few times and my fingers still stung on Monday.

As I made my way through this meal my companions got curious and braved bites themselves, bites which I succeeded in videoing and posted here. Now, if you're looking for videos of people crying and screaming over how spicy this food is you'll be disappointed, but if you want honest reactions to devil hot chicken, these are the videos for you.

This is the last footage we've got of Jeff before his life was ruined. He should NOT have licked his fingers. When the Extra Hot chicken kicks in it's kind of like the moment a roller coaster car starts heading down its first drop and that video really captures that sensation right around :20 or so.

Note on the right a completely decommissioned Jeff. That one bite put him in a bad state. Also note the half-gallon of chocolate milk on the table. I ran across the street and bought while we waited for our food. If we hadn't had this chocolate milk, there probably would have been some immolations. We drank it with total urgency and shared cups as indiscriminately as junkies sharing needles in an Amsterdam park.

The Face of Completely Suffering. Jeff looks like he has sensed the destruction of Alderan. You can't see it here, but he had tears on the insides of his glasses. Also note that he has been completely detached from our reality to live in his own world of anguish.

If I poked you in the eye with these fingers your eyeball would turn to ash and the fire would shoot back into your brain and then zoom down your brainstem like a lit fuse headed for a barrel of dynamite.

For me everything was pretty under control most of the time until one of my last bites when I made a little chicken-nacho on one of my pickles. It got me real bad. This isn't a fakey picture of me clawing at the air, this is what really happened to me.

Coughing and clearing my throat and wondering if I'll ever see my children again . . . later on I'll realize that I don't have children, that the memory of them was just a momentary chicken-induced hallucination.

But look, I finished me meal. And I'm totally proud of myself for it. There was a group seated behind us hooting and smacking the table saying in pain, wondering aloud what the Extra Hot must be like considering the pain whatever chicken they had put them in. My table was quick to lean over and tell them I had ordered the Extra Hot, their reaction was one of reverence and fascination. The no nonsense lady that took our orders at the counter came over in the middle of our meal to check on all of us. She told us they only sell about 3 orders of Extra Hot a week. Makes sense, but the number seemed a little low. Anyway, I liked the chicken and the trouble it got me into, but if I go to Prince's again, I'm trying the Medium because I hear that Prince's chicken is actually quite tasty, but with the Extra Hot, basically you're only tasting burning gasoline.

Epilogue: As we were leaving, a gentlemen who seemed like a regular was being harassed by the Prince employees for having ordered his chicken Mild. "It's for my granddaughter!" was his defense.

Epilogue Two: We probably used a whole package of napkins at our table.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Best Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All, Pt. 3

Friday night, I leave Paul's house and go with Jeff to meet up with everyone for a second night of Honky Tonkin', this time at "The Stage", which is right next door to where we were the night before. These gentlemen performed Country Western music for us.

There were an excess of Bachelorette Parties at the club that night, but this cowboy knew what to do with 'em.

Rule for my Unborn Son: When in doubt, do what the cowboy does.

We boot-scooted out of there and headed over to Printer's Row.

Once Collin got his clothes back on, we made a visit to Lonnie's Western Room. They do karaoke there.

Waited and waited and it was finally Collin and Jeff's turn.

The crowd went bananas.

Here's a video of some of the performance. But before you click, you have to guess what song they're singing.

And that was that for Friday night in Nashville.

Saturday morning. We went to Opryland. There's a mall there.

You can pet stingrays. That's one of those things that I just refuse to do.

The Gibson Factory/Store. No one makes guitars on Saturdays.

And now, the "real" Grand Ole Opry.

We snuck into one of the Opryhouses, they were having a regular Little Miss Sunshine sort of contest in there. If it weren't too creepy and suspicious, I'd have 1000 photos of those tiny glamorwomen to post here. Walking through the halls amongst them and their mothers was like being on the set of a zombie movie.

Next, we go over to the Opryland hotel to enjoy its enormous enclosed wonderland for a bit.

It goes on and on forever, we only saw two of its many many branches.

Saw some pretty excellent gift-ideas there, too.

Then we got lunch at Prince's Hot Chicken. What happened here is so important and so significant that it's getting its own post. A post full of suffering.

That night we went to Star Trek at the Green Hills Mall. They're really psyched about Angels & Demons in Green Hills.

Then we made a special visit to Wal Mart so Collin could finally get new shoes.

Oh yeah, also, that morning I bought a cat shirt. It says "Nashville - Love that Country Meowsic" or something like that.

And then, next thing you know, it's Sunday, it's 5:00 am, and we're hitting the road.

The deal was that if you drove the car, I'd write your name in Eazy Cheese on a cracker.

And 14 hours later, we're creeping up on New York City.

As our weekend fades away in the West.

And then there we were, back to where we started, having had a totally awesome time in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, and West Virginia. . . and maybe one more state?
But Listen! These Nashville posts are NOT done because tomorrow we're talking about Prince's Hot Chicken and it's going to be neat!