Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Best Brig Loves Doug Loves Movies

Monday night I went with Neighbor Di to a live taping of Doug Loves Movies, a humorous podcast where host Doug Benson and a panel of comedians and/or-ish celebrities talk about movies and play movie-related games.

Who would be the night's mystery guests?  The stools sit so empty and ominous.  

First host Doug came out and showed the contents of the evening's prize bag . . . and from this picture can you tell that we had front row seats?  Yeah.  We had front row seats!  All you have to do is show up a half hour before the doors open and then you get front row seats.

After his intros out come the guests and the humorous movie-discussing begins!  Left to Right: Nick Kroll, Kurt Metzger, John Hodgman and Tig Notaro.

There was a funny part where Tig had asked for a frozen drink . . . meaning she wanted a drink that was frozen solid . . . but they brought her a slushy drink.  Uh oh!

When it was time for the Leonard Maltin Game (best short description I can give: it's Name That Tune, but with movies) the audience offers up their humorous nametags, hoping for a shot to win the prize bag.  

This is what it looks like then the guests select a name tag to play for.  This is what you gain from watching Doug Loves Movies tape instead of just listening to it.  You get to know what it looks like when they select name tags.

And here's what it looks like at the end of the Leonard Maltin Game when Doug waits and waits for the winner to come and claim their prize bag.

While not selected, I feel we made a good name tag.  See, it says "Life of Di" instead of "Life of Pi" and the tiger is eating Di.  If I were a comedic semi-celebrity I would have picked this.

Here's a funny thing that happened at the end where Tig wanted to sell her frozen drink for twelve dollars but this woman only had eight dollars so Tig wouldn't give it to her.

Fun Fact: Monday night's Doug Loves Movies was my first of two comedy outings this week.  Sometimes you go years without any comedy and other times you see comedy twice in a week!  What a world.

Best Dudes

Okay.  Let me start this with a confession: I almost forgot to tell you that Collin was in town with Mallory for a few days at the beginning of Thanksgiving Week.

Many things happened, but let me tell you this: One night we went to Mission Chinese Food together.  Mission Chinese has tremendous buzz right now and, predictably, I love it--it's my inclination to say eating there my first time, a handful of months ago now, struck me the way Ssam Bar and M. Wells did on my first visits to them.

We had the Thrice-Cooked Bacon and Rice Cakes and the Salt Cod Fried Rice.

These days that Thrice-Cooked Bacon is just about the only thing I want to eat.

We also had BBQ Pig Tails and Spicy Pickled Carrots.

After dinner, a visit to Sugar Sweet Sunshine.  Cuz that's Collin's cupcake spot of choice.

And then we paid Andy a surprise visit.  Well, I wasn't a surprise.  He expected me.  Collin, however, he was not expecting.  It'd been probably two years since they'd seen each other but Andy didn't care, he got right down to business.  Collin didn't care either, he got right down to business, too.

Don't be scared, Collin.  It's just the wind!

Amigos.  I guess I should make some joke about having been to Mission Chinese and Andy's house in the same night, something about them both being Chinese and a thing/person that I'm a fan of, but the joke isn't coming to me.  And also I don't want you to look at these pictures and be all like, "Awwww, look how they're visiting the kid in the wheelchair." Because that's not what's happening, this is Andy, for crying out loud.  You show up at his house and you don't know what's going to happen, you might get taken to task, you might get a story told, you might work on vocabulary words.  It's just homies hanging with homies.  You don't think I'm a good guy just for hanging out with Collin because he wears glasses, right?

Anyway, I digressed.  Moving on with the photos . . .

And afterwards, on the way home, we got baby massages.

No we didn't.  Come on.


The next day I had lunch with Collin at Parm, knowing full well I'd be there the next night with my family.  What, was I going to deprive Collin of a meatball hero?

Had their Saratoga Club for the first time.  Holy cow.  This thing.  This sandwich is an absolute 10/10, A++.  Favorite new sandwich of the year?  Sure.  Why not.  I'll say that.  And I'm not even a guy who ever ever thinks to order a chicken club.  The recipe for this is in Lucky Peach #4, that's a recipe worth taking a long look at.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Best East Village Saturday Night

This post starts with a dog and ends with a kitty.  Just be ready.

In my last post I mentioned a party of DC'ers coming up to help with the Sandy clean-up.  I met them in the East Village as they were arriving in the city to grab dinner at the Noodle Bar.

Well, a party of six does not simply "grab" dinner at the Noodle Bar on a Saturday night.  Hour and a half wait?  Sure, no problem.  We'll stay busy.

"Staying busy" meant walking down to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Where Ben treated us to a Salty Pimp, an American Globs and the Mexican'affo'gayto.


Kat's expression sums up the group's general feelings re:the Mexican sundae,

But the Globs and Salty Pimp were enthusiastically received.

A little more East Village walking and a little more Momofuku-waiting and it was time for dinner.

Having had nearly two hours to make up our minds, Eliza was ready with our order when we were seated.

A little more waiting . . .

Then Blam! Food!

Jar of pickles, I cannot resist it.  But this time I could resist drinking the pickle juice.  Gosh.  I'm embarrassed even suggesting that that's a thing I wish I could do.  But it's true!  That particular pickling concoction, I could drink it right up!

Roasted Nugget Potatoes, bonito, poached egg, etc.

I finally got to try the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon and kimchi puree.  When my kimchi is done I'm going to make this and really roast the heck out of my little cabbages.

Return of the Barbecued Pig Tails (with pickled Asian pear)!  I suggested these enthusiastically, then lost interest after trying to sell the table on them, only to find the table convinced and nearly insistent.  I pitch them as they were pitched to me, comparing them to chicken wings, but made of pork.

And then, not pictured, two bowls of Momofuku Ramen and a Ginger Scallion Noodle.

Faces of dining,

Then it was over to the Milk Bar with us to celebrate the return of the Apple Pie cakeball and to sample the new and controversial 'Nana 'Nilla softserve flavor.

And, as forewarned, I conclude this post with a picture of a kitty.  And a job I think I could do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Best Second, Third and Fourth Trips to the Rockaways

Last Saturday and last Sunday and this Saturday that just happened I went out to the Rockaways to help out with the clean up again and you know what?  Each time I had great out-of-towners with me to help.  Instead of three more posts, why don't we finish this Rockaway-documenting now?

Last Saturday—Carol came up from DC and leant a hand with a lot of other great folks, like Maria.

And my old friend Carlo.

Kiley and husband were there too.

At our first house I helped scrape off the old carpet padding

And tore out all the boards with the nails in them that hold in the carpet . . . I know these have a name, I just can't remember it right now.

At our second house they needed walls knocked out in the basement.

Things got a little crowded there so I went with a few other people to a third house where they needed their lawn furniture sprayed off . . . so . . . yeah . . . everyone had their different needs.

Some Sandy damage just makes you go "How did that happen?!"  This looks more likely to have been a front loader accident than storm damages.

Last Sunday they sent us up to the Far Rockaways.  Neighbor Di and roommate Derrin were there that day along with a second batch of DC'ers (Eliza, Ben, Kat, Ashley and Richie) who I didn't get a good group photo of.

We spent the morning at this house pulling soaked insulation out of the crawlspace, which is a gnarly and smelly job, but it must be done and I'm glad I was not in that crawlspace myself.

Crazy high high water mark.

Then we helped at this house

Where we scraped the tile off the floor

And tore the paneling off the walls.

Afterwards, Kat taught Broek about Power Posture, or Power Bodylanguage, or something.  As you can see, Broek is a quicklearn.

Walking through the neighborhood . . .

Puppies! (If one of these guys gets your finger they will NOT want to give it back so just be ready for that)

We this from here

To here

And across the street we helped remove a few last pieces of furniture

But the Mystery of How to Remove the Hide-a-Bed remained unsolved (Yes, we put the bed back inside.  We still couldn't get it out of the living room)

Came across a pile of water-soaked comics on the street.  Bagged and boarded and ruined, check out the Ghost Rider #1 all taped up in its bag for posterity.

As the day wrapped up Congressman Gregory Meeks paid us a visit.

End of another day that was much longer than the photos suggest

Back on the bus, other fine folk like Andrea and Elijah

And Cesar!

And back in Bensonhurst, a reward: Fun-Size Milky Way bars!

We supplemented our reward with a Sicilian Pizza (among other entrees) at Spumoni Gardens.

When we asked to see the dessert menu our waiter said, "No.  I'm making you something special" and a few minutes later this wonderful thing was at our table.

Okay and now on the Saturday That Just Happened I went out to Breezy Point to help with Operation Gut + Pump with Mom, Owen and Emily

Command Center.  This time we were working under the Fire Department and they ran a tight ship.

Heading to Job #1

We helped empty out the crawlspace under this house,

Owen was in charge of piling the refuse.  Look at this incredibly organized, well-engineered pile he made.  I guarantee there wasn't another house with a pile quite so nice anywhere else in the Rockaways.

Although we didn't work inside the house, this is what it looked like in there.

Back to HQ for some lunch,

And warming at the fire (because things were finally getting cold, real cold)

Before heading to the beach for our second job.  Look at that house!  Look at how it was ripped away from its chimney!

We helped empty the basement of the house on the left.  The ocean blasted all the bricks off the side of the neighbors house . . . and while that house protected our house from the sea, those bricks battered open the basement.




And then we were done.

Here is Mom in her vest,

And Owen in a sweatshirt that made me jealous.

I do not know for sure, but I think Saturday was the last trip I'll be able to take to the Rockaways this season.  It was an honor and a pleasure to serve there with so many fine people.