Friday, May 28, 2010

Best Regarding the Best

I'm late to the party, but probably you heard that last Friday was the 30th Anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back? And while I love all the Original Trilogy (and like all of the Prequel Trilogy), let me get in line with everyone else: As much as I hate to pick a favorite, you kind of have to go with this one.

And I was there! I remember my parents taking me to see Empire when I was three. I guess that makes it one of my earliest vivid memories (even though I have a small handful from when I lived in Baltimore a year earlier)? I most that the theater where we saw it had window displays of Star Wars action figures, dioramas I suppose, and I Wanted Them. If anything, this was the cracking of the seal of my imagination and it left an unshakable imprint. It would be a year or two still before I saw A New Hope (as a theatrical re-release [they used to do that, back in the day], taken by my Dad to a theater down the street from our Alhambra home as a reward for giving my first talk in Primary) but I heard to the radio adaptation of it before that and couldn't help but imagine the swamps of Dagobah while Luke and Obi-Wan traveled across Tatooine.

Anyway, IGN has this list of 100 Things You Didn't Know about The Empire Strikes Back, it's fairly interesting. It's got some good geek stuff in there, I hadn't read any of that stuff about the early drafts of the script before.

100 Things You Didn't Know About the Empire Strikes Back

Best Regarding the Worst

You've probably noticed all the horrible reviews of that terrible looking Sex and the City 2 movie. Roger Ebert has filed his one star assessment and I'll go ahead and call it the definitive Sex and the City 2 review -- certainly more enjoyment is to be found in these 11 paragraphs than those two and a half hours, but that's just a guess:

I haven't seen such hilarity since "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best Holy Smokes, the Day Has Come

A while back I wrote about how Steam, Valve's online videogame store, was coming to Macintosh. Well, it came. And then they were giving Portal away for free . . . sorry, I forgot to blog that. And now, today, Half-Life 2 is now available for Macintosh (only 5 1/2 years after its PC releaes) for only $6.99. Yes, for less than the price of a New York sandwich you can own the best video game ever. There, I said it. Half Life 2 (and Half Life 2 Episodes 1 & 2) are the best video game ever. Yet.

Steam.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Best Hey, I Know this Internet Sensation

The internet told me to click on this youtube of a baby eating its first Pop Rock and . . what's this? The dad, that's my Law School buddy/editor-in-chief Chris!

Best Fat Guy in a T-Shirt Doing All the Singing

Friday night was the best. Friday I went with a mess of friends to see LCD Soundsystem at Terminal 5. Got there a little early (didn't really mean to or anything) and snagged spots in the absolute front of the three or four thousand person venue, settled in, and my best rock night in ages. Perhaps years?

A band called Holy Ghost! opened. Apparently they've been around for three years or so and this was their third live performance ever (the first having been a week or two earlier). I do not wish to blaspheme, but they were awful good. Some of their songs had that kind of bass that's so low you can't breathe? That's one of my favorite sounds.

Now that we're between acts let me brief you on who was in attendance:

Chateau.
Tracy and Casey,

Alyssa
Carol
And all these guys

At precisely 9:35 James Murphy and crew took the stage and played for nearly two hours. Nearly two hours! That's serious.

The setlist:

Us v Them
Drunk Girls
Get Innocuous
Yr City's A Sucker
Pow Pow — Here I was surprised to find that most of the audience already knew all of the words.
Daft Punk is Playing at My House — The beginning was changed up a bit so I didn't recognize it at all at first.
All I Want
All My Friends
I Can Change
Tribulations
Movement
Yeah

encore:
Someone Great
Losing My Edge
New York, I Love You But Your Bringing Me Down
Empire State of Mind

Pretty great line up, I was real happy to hear Tribulations and Yeah (I had worried it'd be left out now that they have so many new long songs). Only gripes: They didn't play Dance Yrslf Clean off the new record and it's like their best new song (it and I Can Change, if you ask me) and Honestly, it could have been louder. It was loud, but it definitely could have been louder.

(spoiler alert!)
(end spoiler!)


During All My Friends Nancy the keyboardist started to cry. After the song she said "It's just good to be home." Who knew dance rock could be so emotional?

Ira Glass on guitar?
This is during Yeah. This song always produces a total meltdown, absolute chaos. My life flashed before my eyes as its torrents of awesomeness passed over me, I kid not.


They wrapped up the encore with New York I Love You transitioning into the chorus from "Empire State of Mind" (yes, I mean the Jay-Z/Alicia Keyes song) and then . . .

Massive Balloon Drop!

Who knew hipsters would go so bonkers for balloons?


After show, waiting for the crowd to thin, fist bumpin' with my boy Casey. He's my boy.

So I guess that makes me related to Alyssa, but this is supposed to be a spyon-the-super-drunk-guy picture.

If you were wondering where your shoes went, you left them in the middle of the floor. Now it makes more sense to me that they've got that new Drunk Girls song.

Exiting, finally. Elegantly.

Had a little after party at a nearby fancy McDonalds.

The man that kept me alive in Brazil.


And I couldn't figure out if this was graffiti or odd new graphic design from our Ronald McDonald friends.

Supplemental Reading: Here's all the other times I saw LCD . . . kind of ashamed of that three year gap, what can you do?

Fourth Time: Bower Ballroom, April 2007
Third Time: Webster Hall, with Public Enemy, among Others. September 2005.
Second Time: Metro (Chicago), May 2005
First Time: Bowery Ballroom, April 2005

Friday, May 21, 2010

Best Regarding Television, Quickly

The NBC Thursday Night Comedy Season Finales:

Community I call baloney on the multiple romantic confessions/last second revelations. This show doesn't take itself seriously (not a bad thing) but suddenly it expects us to?

Parks and Recreation I call baloney on this one not coming back until 2011. Definitely suddenly my favorite NBC show and I accept its multiple romantic confessions. The best thing that ever happened to this show was when it realized no one was caring about Anne and Mark.

The Office Everything was fine.

30 Rock I don't watch this show. It's silly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Best Question

I didn't even know who this guy was until that SNL. Who was it that said his hair seemed to have purpose?
Anyway, I'm doing the music at a big (possibly huge?) party in the middle of June where present-day cool-music (hip-hop, primarily) is in order . . . is it cool if/am I expected to/should I definitely not play Mr. Bieber? Miley Cyrus? Selena Gomez? Keisha? If so, what are their jams?

I think I'm open to giving them all a shot except for Keisha as she was so whack on SNL when she was on it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Best I Ate Something Offal Last Night

Today is Wednesday and this is what happened Tuesday night. It's been a long time since I've blogged so promptly.

What happened was: dinner at the Breslin! The great big gastropub at the Ace Hotel run by the folks behind the Spotted Pig. I met Carol there to celebrate my birthday (just when we all thought that thing was behind us.) The bar portion of the restaurant draws quite the just-off-work crowd on an early Tuesday evening.


Plenty of evidences of the restaurants ancestry as well as what the Breslin intends to serve you.


Looking up at the antiqued ceilings I thought "There's no way Emily (my sister) would eat here" (because she likes her restaurants to be clean)

The Breslin menu is a daunting thing, basically it's a list of snout to tail delicacies you would probably never order if they weren't the only options you had. I knew this headed in and was prepared to step out of my comfort zone but I saw several parties consulting the menu with faces long and worrisome. They must sell so many of its lamb burgers every night as it's the closest thing they have to what the unprepared were expecting.

That said, we started the meal with the grilled asparagus (what was it they were grilled in? I forget, but they had a taste to them . . . a tasty taste beyond that of your standard asparagus) and a beef and stilton pie. Terrific, both of them.

And here's our entree: The (deep-fried) stuffed pig's foot with creme fraiche and spring vegetables.

Let me try to explain . . . the take a section of pig's foot about as long as your arm, take out the bone and the meat, then they grind up the meat with additonal pork meat (shoulder, I believe) and spices then stuff it back into the skin (and fat) of the pig's foot . . . essentially creating a sausage where the pig's foot is the casing. Then they braise it, bread it, and deep fry it and let it rest for a bit ("because it's been through a lot" --I quote our extremely capable waiter). Then it is served on its grand platter to your dropped jaw. The thing is huge! It's listed on the menu as "Stuffed Pig's Foot for Two" but seriously, could definitely feed four.

We could only handle about half of it and then I realized it looked a bit like Totoro or an owl (thanks to its little piggy toes) if you stood it up on its stump.

Not normal, but I found myself thinking it was an awfully cute little guy. He's in my fridge right now, probably he'd freak out my coworkers if I brought him in for lunch but our waiter (so capable) said it's real good with eggs at breakfast. So there we go.

And yes, I noticed that in that paragraph I stopped referring to the foot as an "it" and gave it a gender. I have also been heard to refer to him as "my Pig Buddy."

Dinner completed, stomachs so satisfied we slipped out through the Ace Hotel lobby, probably the most hoppin' spot I've visited in Manhattan in a while and then exited through the gift shop which, in the well-planned and well-executed curating of the Ace's hipness, is an Opening Ceremony.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Best I'm Quitting my Job, I'm Leaving New York

To volunteer at the Aviaros del Caribe Sloth Orphanage in Costa Rica.



No, duh, not really. But maybe I'll vacation there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Best Non-Sequential Birthday Weekend Adventure Stories, Story No. 2

On the second night of my trip home, Jeff joined Collin, Jared and I on a journey deep into the depths of Chicago's South Side for a visit to a burrito shop that is probably more important to me than any other burrito shop has been or ever will be. El Gallo de Oro . . .

For the Oak Park River Forest High School Men's Swim Team, El Gallo was the out of the way late night dining destination of choice. I remember far too fondly my first visit to El Gallo and the sense of pride I felt in being included in one of these ventures as I was being assimilated into the Varsity Team and memory begins to fail as I try to recall and distinguish between the dozens and dozens and dozens of far too far trips taken here between my last two years of high school and into college.

If I remember correctly, I last visited El Gallo during my first year of law school and that trip (roughly 6 and a half years ago) itself was an exercise in nostalgia. That night our meal was interrupted by an angry woman who came in from the street and began begging at our table, the woman had no fingers on either hand, and yelled "Do you think this is fair?!" at us over and over while the staff watched silently. After she left we were gifted an El Gallo de Oro Men's Swimsuit Calendar for our trouble. Anyway . . .

I arrived to find El Gallo exactly as I had remembered it, except with more handmade signs than before and the burritos that once cost $3.50 are now $5 . . . still a deal, and still prepared and served so promptly they're practically at your table before you've even ordered them.

Jared invented a new posture for appreciating the burrito.

And I appreciate the appreciation.

This is how you make the best out of bad news.

Similar to how you don't talk to the bus driver while he's driving. Both are situations where the safety and you and others is the issue.

We dined through a torrential downpour, so weirdo walk-ins were non-existent on this visit. The steak burrito tasted exactly the same as it always had, the signage (barring the newer handmade signs, of course) was exactly the same as seventeen years ago, and while the jukebox had been upgraded to an MP3 player and the Cruisin' USA game downgraded to a Ms. Pacman, the songs were the same and the lack of game reliability just as much an issue. El Gallo de Oro, burrito haven of my youth (that time when brute force of a burrito was my preferred mode of Mexican-food consumption, so long before my conversion to the delicacy of a proper taco), you are a magical, ageless establishment for the ages.

Supplemental Reading:
El Gallo Yelp Reviews