Friday, August 31, 2012

Best Sleepwalk With Me (Particularly if You Haven't Before)

Saturday afternoon I saw Mike Birbiglia's film adaptation of his one-man show "Sleepwalk With Me."  After the show he and Ira Glass, his This American Life buddy and co-producer, did a Q&A at the theater.

Let me shoot straight: How much you like Sleepwalk With Me depends greatly on how many times you've heard the story.  Never heard it?  You'll probably love the movie (consider Roger Ebert's review, which also basically gives away the whole story).  Myself, I'd seen Birbiglia workshop the material four years ago and heard it retold several times since then.  The movie was nearly one time too many for me.  BUT it was well made for a first time film (Birbiglia was the director.  Or co-director?) and he's an extremely likeable dude that I will continue to extremely like for a long time.  During our Q&A he confirmer he's adapting his second one-man show, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend", to film and that I'm excited about.  Because I never saw that show, and as far as I know, I've never heard the story. And I like Mike Birbiglia stories.

In short, if you've never heard Mike Birbiglia's sleepwalking story, go see this movie.  If you have, stream this movie when it comes to Netflix.  Or see it to be supportive.  Your call.

Bonus Picture:

As I stand in line, Birbiglia looks at his own movie poster.  Because he's a normal person!  And it's exciting to have a movie poster.  (Or I don't know, maybe he's a demanding auteur already and was checking it for errors)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Best Buddy Adventure

Okay, now here’s what I didn’t tell you about in the last post (except I did tell you about it) and over the next couple of days I’m going to post all about it.  Two weeks ago (where does the time go!) Collin and I went to Universal Studios.  I cannot explain where exactly it came from, but a great Universal Studios curiosity had slowly built up in me over the last few years and this quick California trip seemed like the perfect time to take care of it.  I hadn’t been there since the early 90s and I had things I needed to see.
First, let’s state the obvious: If faced with choosing between Disneyland and Universal Studios, do not choose Universal Studios.  It is for going to if you feel like doing something besides going to Disneyland.  Also, at $80 a ticket, a day at Universal Studios is definitely overpriced.  And they’re quite aggressive about finding ways to separate you even further from your money once you’re inside.  That’s business, I guess.  And with that out of the way, let’s focus on the positive.

Our primary objective upon arriving at the park: Ride the new Transformers ride.  In amusement park situations I can become very aggressive and extremely focused on my mission ahead.  So upon purchasing our tickets, I lead Collin on a Riggins-like dash through the park and down the many escalators to the “Lower Lot” where the Transformers ride is found.  These photos may make it look like we dawdled, but trust: these are snapshots taken by a man who was elbowing tour groups out of his way the whole way down to that Transformers ride.

Finally arrived.  Doesn’t look like much from the outside.

But the queue is nearly-Disney quality themed.   The idea is you’re a new recruit visiting the Transformers base.

Seeing things like the All-Spark.

And pushing red buttons every chance you get.

Such official looking trash.

But as this is happening the base is attacked!  And goes into Red Alert!  A call goes out for heroes to step forward!

Here we are.  We will be your heroes!

So you must put on your battle glasses.

and physically qualify for the mission ahead (maybe not totally sensitive these pictograms?)

Then hop aboard a transformer called EVAC, who zips you off on a truly incredible 3D motion simulator that moves around on a track adventure.

Here’s a pretty good video someone took of the whole ride.  If you have the time and interest and like to pretend you're riding rides, I suggest a watch.

Now, as you might remember, I was no big fan of those Transformers movies but this ride is one of the best amusement park rides I’ve ever been on.  And it ends with Optimus Prime getting eye-level with you and calling you a Freedom Fighter, telling you that your bravery has saved the planet.  Do you know how good that makes you feel?  To have the hero of heroes call you a hero?  This ride thrills you AND builds up your self esteem sky high.  Can’t beat that.  All Star Tours does is welcome you to Endor (or wherever it is you end up.)

Outside the ride, some sort of fake Optimus provides fake self-esteem boosting.

And you know what?  I've decided to not overwhelm you with this amusement park post (unlike other times).  I'm breaking it into pieces!  More rides soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Best Pre and Postshow

So, the week before last I took a long weekend trip to Los Angeles starting Wednesday night.  Since airplanes can no longer take off in the rain, and since planes no longer fly directly from New York to Los Angeles for less than ten thousand dollars, I wound up spending a night in Atlanta on my way to LA.

$50 gets you a decent little stay at the Country Inn Airport South Hotel.  I did not try this pool, but I wish I had been wearing my swimsuit when I walked by it.

This bed treated me right for one night.  

"Welcome to Atlanta where the players play," as the songs go.

Even though everything seemed ruined 12 hours earlier, Delta did a good job on getting me on a really early flight.  I'd be in LA by 9am and my plans for Thursday not totally ruined.  Just dented, a teeny tiny bit.

Flying, flying, flying.

Annd Hello, LAX.  I know this pickup curb so well.  So many fine faces have picked me up here.

And this time?  It was this fine face.

And what did we do all day Thursday?  I'm saving that for another post!  A way too big post!  But here's a clue (and by "clue" I mean "Let me tell you"):   <---that looks like an emoticon, but it's not supposed to be.  It's literally a colon after a parenthesis. 

After what we did we went to Mallory's house, but first Collin showed me the nice root structures on the block.

And we helped Farrah move her TV. (I helped by just watching and encouraging)

And third I admired the pool.

And THEN we went to Chego! with Lauren and Mallory.  Chego! is a restaurant that Collin wanted me to go to because he thought I'd like it.  (This is after the meal and I'm holding me leftovers aloft, so maybe his hunch was right but let's pretend we don't know I liked Chego! yet)

I don't know why he thought I'd like plates of radish, fennel, cucumber, garlic and cabbage kimchi.  

Ooey Gooey French Fries topped with sambal sour cream, melty cheeses, chilies and pickled garlic.  

And a rice bowl with spectacular pork belly, fried egg, pickled radhises, water spinach, Chinese broccoli, cotija cheese and peanuts. 

Yeah, why on earth would he think I'd like that?

Then we went to a nearby ice cream place with a name like Scoopies are something and some real fun flavors.  I had a maple scoop and their famous famous Brown Brown Bread ice cream.  Mighty, mighty tasty.

We sat by a chalkboard where you can write flavor suggestions.  Since I liked Brown Brown Bread ice cream so much I suggested they make Brown Brown Brown Bread.

And THAT is what I did Wednesday and Thursday except for the big major thing we did Thursday that I'll blog about soon.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Best Most Beautiful Wedding

Last week I went to California and did all sorts of stuff, but let’s talk about the reason I decided to visit the Golden State in the first place: to go to Rebekah’s wedding.  Her wedding was at a country club in an enclosed Orange County town reached only by luxurious toll roads, with a name like “Cada di Caza” or something like that . . . I could never get it straight.  I still can’t get it straight.

I was there with Jeff.

But there were lots of people I knew there, like Mala and Nat.

Jeff and I tried to get all our goofball behavior out of our systems before the wedding started.

There goes Sarah, Rebekah’s sister.

Flower girls.

And here . . .

. . . comes . . .

. . . the . . .

. . . Bride

(thanks for the smile, Bek)

These ladies sat behind Jeff and I.  They were a lot of fun, but sure made it a challenge Jeff and I to keep our goofball behavior under control.  I mean, we were able to.  But it was a close one, I might have been close to one or two laughing fits.

Rachel Thurston photography was there in full effect.

I know it looks like I’m making skeptical face here, like I’ve never seen a wedding before and I’m not
buying it, but what I'm really doing is making my “Why don't I own any sunglasses?” face. 

Jeff handles the sun much better than I do.  But of course he does, look at those Ray Bans.

Meanwhile: A beautiful ceremony.

And there go the Andersons!

And now we start partying!  With Jane and Christian.

And Dan.

And this guy Clay that I'd never met before but everyone else knew and really liked.  Seemed pretty legitimate to me.

Little Fans, a must.

Not many dinner photos.  But let me tell you: I had the salmon, there was a picture of me in the slideshow, Kyle and Rebekah did the best first dance ever to Then He Kissed Me, and the video of Rebekah reading her diary entry from when Kyle kissed her on her 16th birthday was an absolute highlight of the night.  People of the Internet: There will be Youtubes of that first dance and the wedding slideshow, right?  Or Vimeos, perhaps? 

The cake: Look how much bigger Jeff's piece is than mine.  Well, I guess he has known Rebekah longer than I have.

During dinner sat by a mutual friend of Mr. N. Usher, 

Law school buddies,

Columbia buddies.

It was a magnificent wedding and a real fun night.  Best wishes to the bride and groom!