Friday, July 30, 2010

Best Doggone Dog in the Midwest

Trick #1: "The Puppy Jump." Always a crowd pleaser.

Trick #2: "Going Under Table When She Doesn't Feeling Like Talking." Less impressive, but more consistently performed.

Trick #3: "The Carry." Degree of Difficulty: Nearly impossible. Only successfully performed once after months of training.

She treated postmen like they were bears, wild boars, or timberwolves and never chipped in a lick with the chores, but still.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Best Here's Just Some Stuff

Last Wednesday or Tuesday I was in the village and walked down Barrow street, a street that I don't know I've ever walked down before. There are some very nice single family townhouses along that street.

I found this one especially impressive . . .

From the street I could make out that there were balconies and stuff inside, decorated with African art. See? Look close. I was awful curious about this building, so I googled its address (42 Barrow), and learned that it belonged to Gisele Bundchen . . . belonged as in she just sold it for $13 million after buying it for 5 point something million in 2005. So there you go.

Then, as I approached 6th Avenue, who should I see seated on a bench just across the street but Keanu Reeves. How did I know it was him? How did I recognize him from such a distance? Because he looked EXACTLY like he does in this, the "famous" Sad Keanu picture from the internet. I am not kidding!
After I crossed the street I had a burger at Jane (it's not like that happened out of nowhere, I was on my way to Jane) because my roommate Nate had recommended this burger so highly to me. I found it to be a fine restaurant-style burger, but the restaurant had a poor concept of what "medium" should be.

Cher was able to talk them into making her very elegant cheese fries, though. That's really the only kind of fry she likes to have.

Moving along to absolutely Micellaneous Stuff:

New neighbors just moved in across the hall, they had some nice vintage Allied moving boxes.

Look at this bug! It was in my room the other night, minding its own business.

My laundry, it makes a nice bouquet.

Don't worry, ladies. Your Segway will be fine. I'll keep an eye on it.

And file this under I Ate it So You Don't Have To: Lunch Monday afternoon? Chef Boyardee Ravioli. How is it? Exactly the same as in Junior High. It took my tastebuds on a nostalgic voyage back in time to memories barely edible. As you may remember, it's got a killer aftertaste, a killer aftertaste that hits you before you've even taken your first bite.

To me, the most curious thing about Chef Boyardee Ravioli? The pieces of "beef" floating around in the sauce, free from the confines of ravioli that might never have been their home anyway.

And Hey, take a look at THIS:

I'll give you a week to put your head around that. (But a little help here: is that a wolverine or just a badger?)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Best Do Not Worry, Something Good is Coming

At last I can sleep at night because I've seen a summer movie that I definitely liked.

I caught an advanced screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the movie I had been looking forward to as my last hope for the summer and let me sum the experience up real quick: I was grinning stupid the whole time as the audience laughed so much that the next joke was missed, and when it ended, there was cheering (even if the frame above from the comic wasn't in it).

Now let me sum it up less quick:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is based on a six volume comic book series and when I say "volume" I mean "volume" because these each one is about 150 to 200+ pages a piece. The comic and the movie tell the story of Scott Pilgrim, a charming yet under-motivated comicbook and videogame enthusiast, falling in love with Ramona Flowers, the girls of his dreams, and having to defeat her Seven Evil Exes. The sixth volume just came out so I reread the whole series over the past week (and then almost re-reread it) and went into this movie ready to have my own Twilight experience . . . and that's what I had, an "Oh my gosh, so-and–so (actor) looks like so-and-so (character)" experience, an "Oh my gosh, Scott and Wallace's apartment looks exactly like Scott and Wallace's apartment in the comic" experience. I had wondered how they'd fit such a long comic story (the story takes place over many months, if not a year) into an hour and forty five minute movie . . . surely they'd have to leave a lot of stuff out, right? Yup, that's what they had to do, leave out a lot of stuff BUT it's incredible how much stuff they left in. The movie sticks to the first three volumes almost exactly and then goes off on its own faithful but not exactly identical direction for the last three volumes. I'm just stating facts! I'm not having beef! I'm telling you what I was most curious about! I'll definitely be seeing this a second time (and a third?) and I'll be able to just enjoy it as it is . . . kind of like how I had to see every Star Wars prequel twice on opening day, once to break the seal, then a second time to take it all in.

Stuff I Really Liked About the Movie:
  • Made me understand better than the comic that Scott is a bit of an oblivious jerk at the beginning of the story . . . sometimes it's just hard to tell that a drawing is a jerk.
  • The opening scenes + the opening credits: Perfect! I really recommend sitting in the middle of the fourth row so this stuff is all up in your face.
  • The movie Knives Chau (that's the girl Scott is dating before he meets Ramona) was so good, I took her a lot more seriously than in the comic.
  • That said, just about all the casting was perfect. When I saw the actor playing Stephen Stills I was just blown away by the resemblance . . . to a drawing.
  • That said, I think Kim Pine is cuter in the book.
  • To me Evil Exes 5 & 6 were the least interesting in the book, so I guess I liked that they were also the least interesting in the movie?
  • BUT my favorite Evil Ex, #3 (Todd) was just perfect in the movie and so funny to see brought to life. Some of the comic's most out-there, ridiculous humor is centered around this dude and they didn't scale back on any of it in the movie (but, Yes, things were changed, duh, for the sake of getting the whole story told). . . so stuff gets especially bizarre with this guy, but it works. I'm going to leave it out.
  • So many great jokes from the book were in the movie, sometimes slipped in in different ways than the source material. Some jokes were improved on, and there were brand new jokes that were really good, too. Right now I am chuckling about a difference in the final battle that, to me, the guy having the Twilight-esque experience, came out of nowhere and really tickled the old funny bone.
  • And speaking of improving on the jokes of the book, it's one thing to see a video game reference drawn, it's another to hear and see it in a movie. They all work magnificently.
So yeah, consider this a solid endorsement of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Prepare yourself, it comes out August 13th!

Oh, wait, one complaint!
  • Why were so many ages in the movie different from the book? For example, Scott is 22 in the movie but 23 in the comic . . . and I don't sight this as a bit of total geek trivia, it's something that is brought up constantly in the comic. Did 22 just test better with audiences than 23?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best it Was a Saturday Full of Girl Movies

Sometimes things strange forces come into play and you find yourself seeing two movies, at the theater, in a day. Last time I remember this happening (excepting Star Wars prequels, of course) was in 1998 when I saw the X-Files movie and Can't Hardly Wait in the same evening . . . but Saturday I found myself at Salt in the morning and, err, Eclipse in the evening.

Re:Salt--I've seen and heard opinions of all sorts on this movie, but once I found out that my parents were seeing it for their anniversary, I decided I should take it seriously and have a look. Turns out I'm with my Dad and Roger, this movie does the job it sets out to do (or, like my Dad said, "fills the measure of its creation nicely") and for that I give it a thumbs up. It's a perfectly fine spy movie of the modern variety where there isn't any spying done, per se, mostly just escaping, inventing, fighting, double-crossing, and secret-having. The movie moves from Point A to Point B to Point C and onward, as long as you just stay with it and where it's going and don't look back on the steps that have brought the action to where it is, I believe you'll have a good time, because I did . . . but it probably helped that I was sitting a couple seats over from a little person (meaning midget/dwarf/you know what I mean) who punctuated each on-screen reveal or thrilling/actiony moment with loud exclamations of expletives.

A Thought that Crossed My Mind as It Happened: When Salt rolls off the overpass and lands on the truck on her back, what if the puppy had still been in her backpack? Wouldn't that have been hilarious?

It's a shame they didn't leave an opening for any sequels with the ending, though.

(that's sarcasm.)

Re:Eclipse--This is the first Twilight movie I've seen in the theater. Let me just say I was definitely entertained, perhaps not in the way I was meant to be, or perhaps I should congratulate this film on the way it can please both people that think it is Great and people that think it is Not Great at the same time. I had actually begun listening to Eclipse at work (if you need that explained, this post will help) but, seeing the movie, I am definitely NOT going to finish the book . . . I can't even imagine what it's like when Sister Meyer has Bella give her first person present narration of what happens in the tent while she's sleeping in the sleeping bag with the "much HOTter" Jacob while he and Edward turn from hating each other to almost making friends. Just about everything in this movie was absolutely ridiculous, I was giggling or laughing or just squeezing my head in disbelief the whole time but never once felt like getting up and leaving so . . . I mean, does that mean I liked it? No. . . but I guess I liked watching it? Not that I could ever do that again.

But here's the most remarkable thing about my Eclipse experience: the movie has been out for nearly a month, which is years in Summer Movie time, but the theater was PACKED. They actually set up folding chairs to fit more people in. There were shrieks of excitement for every kiss and a cheers of glee when it ended (no, not snarky cheers, cheers of gleeful praise) . . . essentially behavior you'd associate with opening night. ALSO, there was an African American gentleman sitting with his lady friend in front of me who seemed to know/appreciate Twilight even less than I did and his moans of disbelief and bewilderment at the nonsense he was being handed made my moviegoing experience even richer. I went into this film wondering if I had essentially just lit $13 on fire and left wondering if I had had one of the finest movie-watching experiences of my life. But don't get me wrong, I certainly don't think I could stand to watch that movie again YET I am tempted to partake of the rapturous full-on Twi-hard freakout that opening night (or weekend, if tickets are already sold out) of the next Twilight movie will be. It may prove too much entertainment for me to even handle.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Best And Now I Don't Hate

Wanted to add a positive record review so I don't appear completely joyless to the world . . .

"King of the Beach" by Wavves

File this under follow-up done right, with this first album since the breakout success of "Wavvves" the band both evolves and expands their sound while staying true to the noise at the core of who they are. Rarely does a record title offer such a succinct mission statement for an album. With "King of the Beach" Wavves have moved from making music for drained-out swimming pools to music for beaches of the sort with parking meters right at the edge of the sand or the kind reached by descending concrete staircases.

Dipping into the record, even if you're listening to it as a bunch of mp3s, it just feels like you've put the needle down on something great. The record opens with its titular track, a song that begins with a burst of sudden noise that quickly transforms into an actual song, a song with distinguishable lyrics, a song you can sing along with, not just hum or mumble to — a daring step in a new direction for a band that has proven it can do murky but melodic noise right. The record stays the course from there on out, working comfortably within this new discipline and features for me, only one thing like a low point, the naggingly repetetive and spacey "Convertible Balloon." After eleven tracks, our day at the beach ends the record is sent out with the tide on the final track, the almost-ballad "Baby Say Goodbye"

One mildly music-nerdy thing I wanted to say: Wavves cop some of Phil Spector's most famous sounds—the drum beat from "Be My Baby" with their track "When Will You Come" and the rattling and rolling intro to "Da Doo Ron Ron" on "Green Eyes" (here the intro is repeated through the entire song, woven into a familiar but new background as effectively as the "D.A.N.C.E." sample from "On to the Next One.") The rip-offs are a fitting tribute from the creators of one wall of sound sound to the creator of The Wall of Sound sound . . . but the Be My Baby tribute can also be construed as a nod to Brian Wilson, the king of beach music, who plainly admitted that Be My Baby was the greatest pop record ever made and a source of a certain jealousy. Could this be a collection of stoner beach jams working on multiple levels? Might be, could be.

Best Postponed to Death

I hang my head in shame to confess it has been over a year since I last posted record reviews. And that, a couple of months ago, I felt so bad about not ever writing record reviews that I started writing these reviews and then set them aside to finish a few more later. But "later" never really came, so today I'll just post what I finished months ago and resolve to write some more soon.

Remember, all of these records were of interest in late May of 2010, so they might as well have been big in late May of 2002.

Oh, and I'll spare you the suspense: two out of three of these records I'm a real fuddy duddy about.
The National — High Voltage

Engage me in a conversation about the National and I'll undoubtedly attest to their quality, their moodiness, their big important torrential weather sound, and observe that every song on any of their albums sounds like it could be the first song of an album. And these standard statements of mine definitely apply to High Voltage, so if you're game for another National record, or ready for your first, then here we go, have at it. I did and I liked it. There finally seems to be a big pile of buzz on this record and about the band, perhaps they're now ready for their proper mainstream emergence and probably we'll be finding this record near the tops of all the Top 10 Albums lists come December? But this one is much more Veckatimest than Wolfgang Amadeus National, that goes without saying. But I said it.

Sleigh Bells — Treats

All the ingredients are very much present for an album I'd love: girl singing sweetly accompanied by absurdly huge noise, end of the earth drums and buzzing guitars but for some reason this record just doesn't work for me. It makes me feel like someone is trying to tickle me very, very hard and I'm just not ticklish. Generally I'm inclined to be very down with a noisy mess, but it seems to me that this system booms for the sake of booming and there ain't much more to it than that. If you like any Sleigh Bells song that you've already heard then I cannot not recommend Treats to you, I think the problem is just me . . . like when I listen to the Ting Tings, a connection simply is not being made and I suppose my life is the poorer for it.

She & Him — Volume Two

Two summers ago we were all pleasantly surprised (perhaps a little overcome?) by how much we liked M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel's first She and Him record, so it was exciting to learn a while back that that wasn't just a one off indie (music) star/indie (film) star collaboration but that they had another record coming out. Yeah. Well, truthfully this is how I feel about this record: wring it like the damp rag that it is tightly enough and you might squeeze one, maybe possibly two likable songs out of it it but on the whole Volume Two is . . . annoying? The majority of the songs just remind me of ZD's jingle for Cotton with lyrics often bordering on stupefying (consider these from Over It Over Again: "Why do I always want to sock it to you hard?/ Let you know what love is like when I'm keeping all my cards up on the shelf/
Where you can't see them." Cards . . . like playing cards? Or birthday cards? And is this guy way too short? Or are the cards turned around? I'm getting a headache.) I'd recommend just sticking to Volume One, but Volume Two is mediocre enough to reach back in time and take a little of the shine off that once well-liked record for me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Best Listen . . .

I promised myself and I promised you I wouldn't fixate on Inception, BUT I went to bed last night pretty sure the whole thing . . . . from start to finish . . . took place in a dream.

And why? Because in the "real world" I could hear the ticking of a watch as part of the score, and this reminded me of a mysterious "tap tap" that occurs occasionally in Finnegans Wake that some theorize is a branch tapping on the window of the bedroom of whoever is dreaming the dreams that is Finnegans Wake. So this watch-ticking, I'm not saying that it is something heard by Leo through his dreams, but it is the first thing that made me say "Oh, this part is a dream" during "real-world" scenes.

The second, like I said in a comment, was when Leo squeezed between those buildings and then the Japanese Business Man rolled up in his car out of nowhere to rescue him.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best Not-Premiere

It's been online for a few days, but if you haven't seen it yet, here's a music video Collin made:

The video is for a band called Eyes Lips Eyes, a band in which you find a bassist named Aaron Hatch who is from my home ward and who did a lot of work on the album my brother made with Aaron's brother Colin a few years ago. Small enough world? Perhaps.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Best Contributed Content

My Mom (who gets brought up here an awful lot lately) saw this ad on the wall at Las Fuentes, our favorite Mexican restaurant back home in Chicago:

He has a dog. With a lifejacket.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Best a Few Things About the Last Few Days

1. Bryant was in town last week on business. This has been mentioned previously on the photo supplement blog, but I wanted to mention it here. It was great to have good old Bryant around, such an excellent dude. We went to NYU together and he and Candace moved to California after graduation. We went to a party Saturday night with lots of old NY friends there and so many of them had never met Bryant . . . this was another one of those moments I've been having so often lately where I realize I've been in New York a long time now, that is, if my old NY friends never met Bryant, it's like my New York history has at least two levels of strata. Lots to excavate.

2. And doesn't it seem like I've been going to the Ssam Bar forever? Yet I had never been with Bryant, who I took there . . . in fact, I didn't start going to the Ssam Bar until a couple years after Bryant moved away. Agh! Where does the time go? Anyway, on this visit we explored (among other things) some of the more, err, "challenging"(?) items on the menu.

Sweet and Sour Pig Ears:

Chanterelles with Pickled Quail Eggs and Bone Marrow:

Bone Marrow, kind of popular but I had never had it before. Turns out it's another intense instance of meat butter. And the little pig ears were fine, once you get used to the very ear-like texture.

3. Now I wish I had a picture for this: Saturday night I saw the Craziest Thing I've Ever Seen in New York, which was: A woman taking a seat on the subway behind one of the poles. Listen. You know how the benches will be split by a pole in the middle, and generally, the normal thing is that this pole operates as a people divider? This lady wouldn't have it. She sat down, swung her leg around the pole, and made a seat where there had not been a seat before. In my just about seven years here I have never, ever seen anything so crazy.

4. You know what part of Inception I was just sure was a dream, even though it was supposed to be in reality? When Leo is getting chased and squeezes between those two tight buildings and then the Business Man rolls up out of nowhere to rescue him. This, I thought to myself, Must be a dream. So maybe it was?

But hey, I promised I wouldn't get into that kind of stuff.

Okay, have a good day. Please visit the photo supplement if you haven't lately/already.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Best New Supplement

Late nights, early mornings, midtown, chinatown, uptown and downtown. Fourth of July, Fifth of July, Korean chicken and long lost friends . . . it's all happening over at the Photo Supplement.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Best This Is What I Have to Say About Inception

It has to do with the end of the movie, the very end, so I put my What I Have to Say in the comments.

So as to not spoil.

But now it's not like you didn't see it coming, I mean come on.

Perhaps that was a spoiler itself?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Best Did My Mom Make a Good Joke?

Obviously I could just email home about this . . . but why do that when a blog post could be made?

Okay, you know this double rainbow youtube that everyone is cracking up over? I was way late learning about it.

In fact, I saw this video first and thought it was really funny and didn't even realize it was a spoof (and now that I know it's a spoof I find it even funnier)

BUT on July 4th, before I knew about the Double Rainbow Youtube, I got this email (and photo) from my Mom:

We wandered over to Mann School killing time until the fireworks (we'll go to the high school) and saw this rainbow. wow, looks kind of like a double rainbow.

SO, was my Mom making an internet joke that I wasn't even ready for OR did internet lightning just strike twice? Discuss!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Best Birthday Present Put to Use

Monday night Jeff hosted an evening of dinner and games. The game: Rummikub, but this time I got to supply the tiles because for my birthday Mom gave me an old never-used, never-opened Rummikub set of Grandma's.



Quite the beauty, right?

And finally, at use: (here Tracy is about to put down all but one of her tiles in a single move and then Jeff, Emily, and I will all use up the rest of our tiles and the game will be over).

And dinner? A feast fit for the King of Sweden!

Absolutely delicious, I crave it right now. Well done, Jeff.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Best Sunday Dinner in Ages.

Sunday I was so excited for church to end that I could barely sit still during the last hour. Not because I had to get home and watch the final World Cup match, but because I had to get home and finish cooking something I had been wanting to make since I first held the Momofuku Cookbook in my hands.

Almost two years ago, when my dear brothers were visiting me here in the city, we had lunch at the Ssam bar and I ate one of the best things I've ever had there: their grilled pork belly ssam with amazing pickled mustard seed mustard sauce. Within weeks the dish was off the menu, never to return . . . but today I did my best to resurrect it.

In my Saturday-night gathering of ingredients I was unable to get my hands on two key items: pork belly and spicy chinese mustard. I just bought some pork loin (cut for stir frying, because that was about my only option) and rubbed it with salt and sugar and left it in the fridge overnight and into the day like you're supposed to do with the pork belly and hoped for the best. Like, I knew I would not be getting the proto-bacon deliciousness of pork belly, but if I could get a nice char on my pork and if the salt and sugar could infiltrate it and flavor it up a bit, I'd consider this aberation from the recipe success.

Guess what? Char achieved, sweetness attained. Pork loin roasting: full success.

The wonderful mustard seed mustard sauce calls for heaps of pickled mustard seed (which I made so long ago, fortunately it keeps forever) along with tbs after tbs of diced pickled cucumbers, scallions, dijon mustard, kewpi mayo, and Chinese spicy mustard. I went to so many grocery stores Saturday and not a single stinking one had Chinese spicy mustard, so I did without. The resulting mustard seed mustard sauce was marvelous BUT definitely could have used the kick and the reducing of the predominate dijon flavor that the Chinese spicy mustard would have provided.

But still, for a quick Sunday evening supper, it was so great. If you had been around, I would have shared. That's how good it was. See, I'm not so terrible.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It Might Not Look Like Much, But it Was Breakfast and it was Best .

Listen, there's going to be several cooking posts in a row and you're just going to have to deal with it.

Saturday morning I threw together the finest breakfast in the world, all out of leftovers or things that were lying around. I threw the last bit of a loaf of Italian bread in the oven and melted cheddar cheese slices on it while I fried some bacon (cut into match sticks, or lardons, if you prefer that word). I got rid of some of the bacon fat and then slowly scrambled two eggs with the bacon and the rest of the fat along with a generous scoop of ginger scallion sauce. I drizzled a little rooster sauce on my two slices of cheesey bread and topped that with the egg and then I ate. And it was the best. Have me over and I'll make you one.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Best Weekend Eatings

I heard tell of a friend's coworker bent on celebrating the 4th of July by eating 10 Hotdogs and Hamburgers over the weekend (I don't know if that meant ten of each or ten total, but there was a goal and there was a larger than usual number, that's what's important).

I didn't have quite such grand notions for my Independence Day weekend, BUT I had heard that the Shake Shack would be serving corndogs all weekend in honor of the holiday, so I resolved to myself to eat one every day--let me tell you right now that didn't happen, but I had more corndogs than usual.

Friday night had my first corndog (not all this food was mine) along with the Shake Shack's holiday-themed "My Concrete 'Tis of Thee" featuring vanilla frozen custard, caramel, and giant pieces of fancy dark chocolate from Brooklyn.

The corn dog, it was phenomenal. The corn batter had jalepeƱo in it and the whole thing smelled of a state fair (in the good way!). Bravo, bravo.

For lunch Saturday I worked on a sandwich, a pork chop and fried egg and ginger scallion and homemade pickle and kewpie mayo mixed with rooster sauce sandwich. Pretty good.

And Saturday evening I went to work with my first effort out of the Frankies cookbook, a nice pot of lentil soup. The most ambitious thing to cook? Not really, but I do love lentil soup and I resolved to cook it just like the recipe said . . . so that meant soaking my lentils for 8 hours, a step I usually skip. The recipe called for a single strip of bacon which seemed like a typo to me, so I emailed Pete about this, he responded "More bacon is better." So I gave it half a slab.

Behold, my ingredients (no, no, no dish soap. Don't be silly.)! Should I have bought a higher quality bacon? Probably definitely. Sorry soup, I dishonored you a little there.

And Saturday night, around 10, decided I better work on my corndog resolution and dashed over to the 'Shack. I ordered my corndog and a purple cow and my cashier said "Wow, that's a spectacular order. I think that's what I'd have right now." It's nice to be right about something. This little second dinner was excellent, but afterwords I said to myself "You know, two corn dogs in two days is good enough. Let's not spoil a sacred thing."

Sunday! The Fourth! Participated in a grand feast at Lars' house, did not interrupt the occasion with any photo taking. But I ate like a king. I mean, I ate like a president. This is America!

Monday, made another porkchop sandwich, this time I scrambled the egg with the pork. I think this is a better way to do it, I don't need yolk all over my hands (not all the time, that is). Also, I have learned something about food photography from this picture: Sandwiches look better closed, this is just to confusing a spread. Sorry to have put you through this trial.

And Monday night? A trip to RUB for my absolute favorite burger in the city right now. Seriously, you just don't know.

Here's the second most amazing thing (next to the burger is what I mean, of course) from that meal: 3 brand new fives given as change, three close siblings these bills. Check the numbering: 44788001 through 003. It's hard to break up the litter, but that's what they were made for.

And that's what I ate! Sometimes I like to show you what I ate and this was one of those times.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Best and Now I Do Not Complain

Probably because of a lot of her recent antics and press and press about her press, I hadn't been very interested in M.I.A.'s new record (streaming now on her MySpace) and hadn't paid much mind to any of the record's pre-released tracks or videos (started some of both, finished none, actually) but . . .


This is a Record! My first listen had me gripping my socks to keep them on, my second had me feeling a bit more reasonable about it. But I'm not afraid to say it's definitely her best album, cohesive and strong all the way through and sonically, quite rowdy, just what I want to hear. Dubstep DJ Rusko lends loads of wobble to tracks like Steppin' Up and Story to Be Told and what's this? I believe I detect hints of gabberhouse in Feds & Meds? The 90s are back, I suppose. And if you're looking for a Paper Planes follow up, may I suggest you turn to Tell Me Why.

Put simply: This record makes me want to get a Zip car so I can cruise and blow out the speakers. I already feel weird for liking it so much yesterday, it's like the backlash is already bubbling up inside me. But her show on Governor's Island, if you're going, that should be a wonderful warzone, tell me about it after you get back.

Appendix: Previous MIA Posts from the wayback machine

November 2004: Overreaction to Piracy Funds Terrorism
May 2005: See MIA open for LCD Soundsystem in Chicago
June 2005: Watching MIA front row at S.O.B.'s

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Best And While I'm Complaining . . .

1. Your hat. It looks stupid.

2. So it is the fashion now to wear multiple watches on a wrist? Okay. But if you're wearing three wristwaches you definitely have no excuse for being 25 minutes late to dinner.

3. I want to say this again: That Knight and Day movie was so dumb. The trailer tricked me! If you're on an island that's "off the grid" and in the middle of nowhere, shouldn't that mean you don't get cellphone service? Shouldn't it?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Best This Nonsense is the Worst (featuring Surprise Twist Ending)

I can't remember, did I ever blog about how I "read" (listened) to Twilight last year?

When I work I have to listen to things, or else I'll lose my mind. Last fall I decided I'd listen to Twilight, write down everything dumb about it, and then make a blog post where I really stuck it to Twilight.

I know, original.

But the funny thing was . . . I got sucked into it. By the time Bella got her truck, I was with them. Don't know how it happened, can't explain it, but I was entertained. Not entertained greatly, but kept at a state enough above "not entertained at all" for me to look forward to listening to it each day (for the few days it took).

And eventually I watched the movie, I watched it on my iPod, and I think that was the best way to watch it. The perfect venue. Tiny. And I appreciated its low production values, if Twilight is going to be a movie, then it should definitely be a B movie. But I was a little irked by differences between the book and movie (I'm just a stickler) and Bella's house and dad didn't look anything like I imagined them while reading. But I had already been trained to imagine Bella as Kristin Stewart, that was useful.

Anyway, time passes and a couple weeks ago I think, "Hmmm, maybe it's time to 'read' (listen to) New Moon." So I did.

New Moon was so stupid. That book, it was so stupid. I was never with it like I was with Twilight. I felt like I was watching Dora the Explorer because I constantly wanted to yell what to do at Bella.

Things I wrote in my notebook while listening to New Moon.
  • Does Bella really have a hole in her chest? She talks about it so literally, constantly.
  • It is good this book are written in first-person, a third-person narrator would get so fed up with nonsense and this dumb girl and just quit before the story was done.
  • And Bella sure can narrate the heck out of her story. Was this thing written in present-tense? I can't remember. But, like, she falls into the ocean and is swept away in the current and she has, like, five pages of thoughts about that before she is rescued by an iron bar.
  • SURPRISE! Spoiler Alert! The iron bar is JACOB'S ARM!
  • What flight attendant ever asked people not to keep their voices down on an airplane? I have to ask Cher if she's ever done this. Especially if they're having a secret vampire conversation.
  • Also, when the Girl Vampire (names have already been forgotten!) is like "Shhh! Bella, don't talk about vampires here on the airplane in public!" You know what? That's not necessary because NO ONE BELIEVES IN VAMPIRES! If I heard two girls on an airplane talking about rescuing a vampire before he sparkles in public I would not think "Oh my gosh! There are really vampires!" I would think "These girls are making up a story" or "Dumb."
  • Girl Vampire bribes a guard with a thick wad of thousand dollar bills. THERE ARE NO THOUSAND DOLLAR BILLS, DUMMY! (better said: the thousand dollar bill has not been in circulation since 1969) also YOU ARE IN ITALY, VAMPIRE GIRL. WHY ARE YOU BRIBING THE GUARD WITH THOUSAND DOLLAR BILLS? This is like those stories about people trying to use million-dollar bills with George W. Bush's face on them at Walmart. The wad of thousand dollar bills is where my brain gave up on this book. I just coasted from there.
  • There is a vampire with the secret vampire power to see relationships?! Do you know what a terrible power would be? The power to see relationships.
  • I wonder if Meyer knows what a grimace really is. Because she uses it a lot, in a lot of different ways.
  • Two most popular words in this book: Probably "always" and "pale."
  • This book has a vampire fist bump in it.
  • In the first book, we see that vampires love baseball. In this book, we learn that they also love birthday parties.
  • There is a lot of hedging in this book.
  • Bella says "My heart stopped beating." No it didn't! Because then you'd be dead! I know you were being figurative, but use some figurative language!
  • Speaking of hearts not beating: The vampires don't have beating hearts because they don't have blood. Okay. But the vampires breathe. Why do they breathe if they don't have blood? Ever think about that?
  • At one point rain oozes down a passenger window. Gross. Water is thick in Forks.
  • Bella begs and begs to be turned into an immortal vampire BUT the concept of marriage is too much of a commitment for her? Sheesh.
  • Also, nothing happens in this book for so long! For such a long time Bella just misses Edward. When the audio book narrator was like, "Chapter Seven: Repetition" I thought "Really?!"
  • And then there was this funny thing where, a few times, a new chapter would end with the first word of the last chapter. For example, ". . . I'm putting it to a vote. CHAPTER 24: Vote."
  • Bella's voice goes up "two octaves" fairly regularly.
Also, adjectives and adverbs and vocabulary are out of control and often very redundant. Dialogue cannot be left alone, nothing is simply "said." Some examples of all of the above:
  • "bunkering down"
  • tires "squelching through the mud."
  • "contoured comfortingly"
  • "frowned in perplexity"
  • ". . . asked mechanically"
  • ". . . muttered resentfully"
  • "the tires screaching like human screams"
  • "the plane touched down with a jarring impact"
  • "she eyed me speculatively, seeing the incomprehension in my face"
  • "her face was chiseled from ice."
  • "red flags dripping like long ribbons" I would have rather read about ribbons waving like flags in the wind.
  • "the wind whooshed into me"
  • "his arms spread wide, protectively in front of me"
  • "Edward said conversationally"
  • "I eyed the hole doubtfully"
  • "glowered darkly"
  • "I pursed my lips consideringly"
  • "I repeated scornfully"
  • "I glared at him through narrowed eyes" Isn't glaring done through widened eyes? Through narrowed eyes, you, err, glower, I think.
Agh! Forget it, it just goes on and on. I wish I could just leave it alone and let the obvious be obvious: this book was dumb.

BUT here's the Surprise Twist Ending!

To get the full New Moon experience I watched the movie of it Saturday night and . . . it wasn't so bad? It really showed what it means to write a screenplay. All the most stupid, most nonsensical, most counter-intuitive or redundant stuff was left out and things were actually added in to make things make more sense. I was shocked. So nice to have Bella and girl vampire fly to Italy and get to the vampire town in, like, a 25 second sequence as opposed to . . . I don't know, two or three chapters, most of which is spent with girl vampire pressing her fingers against her temples and telling Bella what Edward is doing every second as he tries to get murdered.

So . . . am I about to listen to Eclipse so I can see it in the theater? Don't know. I saw Knight and Day Saturday morning, it was just terrible and I don't think I can stand to see another summer movie, they've all just been so lame, I've given up hope and I don't want to go through this nonsense again. I'll just go to bed and wake up in 2011.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

May the Fourth Be With You, Always

Sweltering fireworks, walked through throngs (look in the distance, consider the sea of people) on a two mile search for an accessible subway station, come home and Empire is on.

It doesn't get better.

And as much as I want to always be in favor of all the prequels, is there a moment you care for any character from Episodes I through III 1/100th as much as our heroes during the final act of Episode V? Goes without saying, but I said it.