Saturday, March 1, 2008

More random thoughts

Okay. Apparently random thoughts worked well last time. And since I've been away from this for a while and out of the loop of the world a bit, having been in New Orleans, I figure this is the best way to catch you up on all of my personal thoughts and musings. it strangely narcissistic of me to think that you're interested enough in my personal thoughts and musings to actually read this? Haven't quite figured that out yet, so here it is regardless!
  • I'm watching Christina Ricci on Conan right now. I've always kind of despised her. Don't quite know why. It's not like she ever really had a Julia Roberts, "I LOVE MY LIFE!" moment that made me hate her. I've just always sort of thought she was annoying. But watching her on Conan...she actually seems rather charming and cute and well-spoken and dare I say intelligent? I'm kind of shocked. Anyway...I think my opinion of her just changed a little. Weird when you realize that your perception of a certain person is completely based in...well, nothing at all.
  • I'm remembering that a friend of mine used to work with her and said she was the most hideous person ever. So maybe I should scratch that whole thing. I'm just confused now.
  • Speaking of actors and actresses, let's talk Oscars for a second. First of all, I seriously enjoyed Jon Stewart's hosting job this time. I actually thought he did a pretty decent job last time, but this time...he definitely knocked it out of the park. Gaydolf Titler?! Come on. Pure Oscar GOLD! And what a classy move to bring back out Marketa Irglova (okay, I didn't know that...had to go look it up on IMDb) so she could actually make an acceptance speech. Given this and the constant genius of The Daily Show, I'm dubbing Jon Stewart my favorite figure in the entertainment industry. I don't think anyone even comes close at this point.
  • Did anyone else think it was weird that Amy Adams sang that song all by herself when clearly there were supposed to be all kinds of birds and woodland creatures flying and dancing around her? What the hell was that?
  • Now don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled in principal that the Coen Brothers won Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. They've made 3 films that are in my Top 10 of all time, and they certainly had it coming. My problem is, I honestly don't think that No Country is even one of their 5 best films, and There Will Be Blood is just a better film in all respects. And yes, if Paul Thomas Anderson continues to make films of this magnitude, he should absolutely win an Oscar for Best Director sooner rather than later. But herein lies my inherent problem with the Oscars - they just LOVE to give people awards after they deserve them. Case in point, Judi Dench receiving an Oscar for her 8-minute performance in Shakespeare in Love. Here's a novel idea: GIVE PEOPLE OSCARS WHEN THEY DESERVE THEM. Seems simple enough, right?! Anyway, my rant is done. At least it's not the Grammys.
  • I know it's been out for a long time now, but you know what makes me want to pull my hair out and kill myself?! That Hey There, Delilah song. UGH. Just awful. And what a terrible name for a band too - the Plain White T's? I hate everything about this.
  • On a more positive music note, I am currently listening to LCD Soundsystem. This shit seriously rocks. If you guys haven't seem them live, I recommend catching them as soon as possible. Of course, their next gig scheduled is in Singapore, so it might be a bit difficult. But just keep it in mind. It'll make you wanna dance your ass off.
  • I guess I'm gonna make this one short, but before I go, can I just say...I'm now very scared of this presidential election. I'd prefer Obama to be the nominee, but at this point, I really just wish that a nominee would emerge soon. I thought it was really good for politics and for the health of the country in general to have two democratic candidates who people were amped up about. Now I think they might tear each other apart, and given that McCain is now officially the nominee...I dunno, it all freaks me out. Plus Nader's getting into the race. Hillary keeps reminding people that her husband didn't have his first democratic nomination wrapped up until June and he did just fine. Problem with that is, Ross Perot was there to take a significant amount of votes away from the republicans. This time we've got no Perot and we have Ralph Nader. all just reeks of another goddamn republican administration. Holy hell, I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Big Easy

Once again, I've gone off the radar here. But I'm back and I'm writing something, so let's focus on the positive, shall we? Excellent. Moving on.

On Friday, after many hours of sitting at the airport and on an airplane that wasn't exactly in the air, I returned to New York - very happy to be home, but very much missing a city that I can't say enough about.

For those of you who don't know, I recently spent two weeks in New Orleans, field producing for a documentary series that I'm currently working on.

Have you guys been there? If you haven't, I seriously recommend that you go as soon as you humanly can. And if you have been, go again. I know I want to.

Never have I been to a place with more personality. I was stunned. It was two weeks of an incredible cultural experience, and maybe this sounds completely awful, but I wasn't sure if that still existed in many places in our country at this moment in time. Probably a completely unfair statement, considering I live in what could easily be considered the center of the world, but hey, I've been here for 10 years and sometimes I forget how amazing it is.

Seriously though, the energy and the life there is totally undeniable, and I miss it! It's infectious and delicious and completely unique. It's hard even to describe, but I guess I'm gonna try.

First of all, holy crap, the food. Again, I live in New York, and it's not like the restaurants are anything but incredible - unless you go to the Taco Bell on 6th out for the 2 million rats inside - but New Orleans food is just as fantastic. I completely ate my self silly while I was there, and okay, my body is seriously calling for some vegetables, but still. If you ever go, eat at every restaurant that you can while you're there. Go eat a burger cooked under a hubcap at the Clover Grill. Go have the most delicious fondue you've ever had at Le Crepe Nanou. Eat a po' boy at Guy's or Domilise's or Parkway. Have the frog legs and pork bellies at Herbsaint. And drink Abita beer all the time. Brooklyn Brewery's got nothing on them. Have anything at all at Jacque-Imo's.

But honestly, what really got me about this town is the life that flows so unabashedly from it. The people alone are worth a trip. And they need us. They really do. I was down there for the All-Star Game and I heard over and over how good it was for the city because it made people realize that the city is not dead - in fact it is the most full-of-life city I've ever experienced. People need to know that they can go there and have the time of their lives. And I don't just mean going to the French Quarter and getting wasted. They need to know that they can go see the Rebirth Brass Band on Tuesday night at the Maple Leaf and hang out with the band afterward. That they can see Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers - who, I'm not lying to you, barbecue in between sets for the audience - on Thursday night at Vaughn's in an area that people thought was completely destroyed by the hurricane. That they can ride a streetcar up St. Charles Avenue and find that it's 10 times better than any streetcar they've ever ridden in San Francisco. That they can go to Frenchmen Street on a Friday night and hear incredible music pouring out of every bar they pass by.

I could go on and on, but I'll just wrap this up with this. Go to New Orleans. I promise you won't regret it. I've never experienced anything quite like it, I won't ever forget it, and I desperately want to go back soon. It's amazing how much the spirit of this city has triumphed, and it absolutely should be celebrated. They deserve it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Random thoughts, early on Sunday evening

Since I generally tend to write rather long-winded, rambling entries on this here blog, I'm trying something new today - short, succinct thoughts on lots of random things I've encountered lately. So here goes.
  • I'm watching the end of the Seahawks-Packers game right now. They were just showing the stats for the Packers today, and they were playing the "1-2-3-4-5" song from Sesame Street! You know...this one? I don't know if other people get as excited as I do about this stuff, but hey, I used to work for the show, remember?
  • I finally broke down and watched 2 Girls, 1 Cup. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Why is this a thing?! Who made this?! AHHH! Okay, I'm about the least squeamish guy in the world. But this is pretty much over the line in every way. If you haven't seen it, for the love of everything, please don't bother. You'll regret it. I keep getting little flashes of it here and there, and I just wish it would all go away. I'm telling you. Stay away. And if you've seen it...well, I'm just sorry. The internet is so good for so many things!! not one of them.
  • Here's a little something in an effort to redeem the internet a bit. I've been trying to find this Timbaland song for months now. I hear it in the most random places, and I always tell myself I'm going to find out what freakin' song it is, and then, every damn time, I forget. Well, I finally looked it up on iTunes, found it, and downloaded it. Man, I love the internet. Okay, I feel better.
  • (Oh yeah, in case you actually want to know what the song is, so you don't have to go through the same pain I did, it's called "The Way I Are." And it's goddamn amazing. Definitely going on my next party mix.)
  • I had to hire interns at work this week. Which made me aware of the fact that one skill I most definitely do not have is conducting an interview. Wow. Luckily my boss, Jamie, was there to do most of it. But man. Not my strong suit, lemme tell ya. And then rejecting the interns we didn't hire?!? Trying to sound nice and thankful while saying, "No thanks, we didn't think you were good enough to hire," without sounding phony?! Yeah. Not the easiest thing in the world. I'm gonna have to work on all of this if I actually end up running my own production company some day.
  • On the upside: LOST IS COMING BACK! Maybe I shouldn't be this excited about a television show, but I honestly don't care. It's gonna be off the HOOK!
  • On the downside: Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Need I say more?!
  • There was a PC Richards commercial on a minute ago. I wish I could find it on Youtube, but alas, it's not exactly Youtube worthy. Anyway, it's just really bad. I understand it's probably a pretty low-budget commercial, but can someone give me that writing job? Or that directing job?! The performances AND the writing are just terrible! Let me do that stuff from now on! Please?
  • I'm thrilled that The Daily Show is back. We need Jon Stewart on television again, especially in this crazy time of primaries and politics. And don't get me wrong...the guy is completely hilarious. But it's just not the same without the writers. Damn, I hope the strike gets worked out soon. But somehow I think it's gonna go on for a very long time.
  • Speaking of The Daily Show, have you seen these Rob Riggle Budweiser commercials? Again, wish I could find them online, but no luck. Regardless, the commercials are, for all intents and purposes, saying "Budweiser is America's beer, and America is great!" And Rob Riggle, sarcastic correspondent for The Daily Show, is the spokesman. Just strange all around.
  • There was such a frenzy over the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, and now we don't have anything until the 19th! Honestly, I miss it. It's all really exciting. I guess I'm a dork for politics, but I just can't help it. I have to say, it's all a little more exciting this year, just because it's guaranteed that no matter what, George Bush will be out of office. Unless Dick Cheney somehow passes legislation that does away with the two-term limit. I mean, at this point, would you put it past him?
Okay, I'm done I guess. I enjoy these little random thoughts. I feel like lists are just easier to read in this era of short attention spans. But before I go...GO OBAMA! Now I've said my peace.

Friday, January 11, 2008

And they're off!

So. The primaries have begun.

Okay, I know I'm a little late on this blog entry, but now that Iowa and New Hampshire are out of the way, I actually have something to write about!

Here are my thoughts thus far.

I'm extremely excited that Obama won Iowa. I know I said back a few blog entries ago that I didn't necessarily buy what he's selling.

I've changed my tune on that one a bit. If it came down to it, I would prefer that he had the outright honesty of Joe Biden or Chris Dodd (ironically, the two guys who have officially dropped out of the race). Apparently Roseanne Barr really doesn't care for "Barak Obama" - please, just go here and check this out (she later apologized and said that she likes both Oprah and Obama, and that he'll absolutely get her vote in the general election if he wins the primary) -

Anyway, Roseanne's wackiness aside, I think that all of this is extremely exciting, and like I said, I've changed my tune a bit on Obama. I actually believe that he wants to change things, and I don't buy that he is too inexperienced to be the President of the United States. He's young, he's fresh...I just think that he's pretty much exactly what we need at this point in our history, when our standing in the world is so damaged and so many of our policies are so skewed toward bullshit republican interests.

What gets me about the election this year is that people actually care. I have to say, I wasn't thrilled when I heard that Hillary had won New Hampshire. As I said before, I will absolutely vote for her in the general election if she wins the primary. But I stand by my claim that she is too middle of the road and too much of the status quo (and no, I'm sorry, her being a woman doesn't automatically put her outside of the status quo) for what we really need. Since 1988, we've had a president with the last name of either Clinton or Bush (and before that George Sr. was VP for 8 years). As my friend Erika said, "That's a monarchy." Yes, yes it is. And I'd prefer that to stop.

Regardless of that, I think despite Obama's loss in New Hampshire, it's all terribly exciting. Reports indicate that people got pissed about the media's treatment of Hillary when she got choked up in New Hampshire, and that's one of the reasons she won. I LOVE that. People are paying attention. And it's about fucking time. We need something different. We need to recover and get out from under this hideous administration we've been living under for way too long now. They've embarrassed us as a country and a people for long enough, and hopefully, the time has come to start a process of reversing all of that. And I'm excited that people are riled up for that reversal process to begin. I'm thrilled that people finally seem to care.

Oh and one more thing. I was reading a blog that said something to the effect of, "George Bush and Dick Cheney should have been impeached long ago, but there is still time for that." Wouldn't that just be the icing on the cake?!? Do I think it's gonna happen? No. But one can hope, right?

Monday, January 7, 2008

I swear we're not the Griswolds

I'm seriously going to put this story in a movie one day.

So my family and I started a tradition during Christmas of '06 in which my parents, my brother John & sister-in-law Kristin, my niece Karis and my nephew Toby go cut down a Christmas tree. The first time, I felt like I was 10 years old again, my mom got some great photos...all in all it was a great day that went off without a hitch.

This time...well, let's just say this time was a little more interesting.

This year, we arrive at the Christmas tree lot and start wandering around, looking for a nice hearty tree. We find a lower lot in which the selection of trees is far superior, so we proceed to walk down the hill to said lower lot...all except for my dad. HE decides he's going to drive his little pickup down the hill and meet us there. Fine. Great! Don't have to carry the tree up the hill.

So having found the perfect tree, we all start wondering where my father might have gotten off to. It's been about 15 minutes and no sign of mi padre.

At which point, my brother, with just the slightest tint of annoyance in his voice, points out, "I don't know if this is gonna alarm anyone else, but that sure sounds like a truck spinning it's wheels in mud."

Excellent. I listen. And he is unmistakably correct. I walk over to the source of the noise, and lo and behold, there's my father, attempting to reverse up a muddy hill and having absolutely no luck in doing so.

Next thing I know, I'm jumping up and down on the back of the pickup, attempting - with very, very little success - to give the wheels some traction.

Ten minutes later, after apparently complaining to everyone else, "I really don't wanna go over there," along comes my brother to help out, followed by Kristin - both of them looking slightly non-plussed over the whole situation. They're carrying tree branches. These supposedly will provide the traction we need to get the car out! At this point, things are just getting ridiculous.

This is getting a bit long-winded, so I'll try to cut it short. Basically, the scene ended up looking something like this: Kristin and myself on the back of the truck, attempting to hold down the back wheels, my dad in the driver's seat, and John literally lifting up the front of the truck, just asking to be run over. Meanwhile, my niece and nephew are somewhere at the top of the hill, and my mom, in between taking candid photos of the whole debacle, is basically just shaking her head, hoping that her husband doesn't kill one of his sons. Finally, my mom totally comes through in the clutch and finds some roof tiles in an abandoned shed along the side of the road. I'm not kidding. You can't make this shit up! The roof tiles provide the traction we need to get the truck up most of the hill. And just when we're stuck on the last little hump we need to get over, my niece (5 years old, mind you) finds the guy who runs the tree farm and tells him, "Yep, they're stuck down there. In the mud." She's freakin' awesome.

So the guy comes down in his truck and extricates us from the situation. Crisis averted. No sons dead.

And you know, what, not to get all preachy again, but that's the biggest memory I'm going to take away from my holidays this year. Sure, I appreciate all of the gifts that people gave me, but what I'm really going to remember about the whole thing is how our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard after this whole debacle. Sure it was ridiculous and my dad was quite the dumbass for driving down a muddy hill in his two-wheel drive pickup. But it made for one of the better memories I have of any holiday. And that's honestly what matters to me.

Now I'm gonna go take some photos with my sweet new camera.

Kidding, kidding!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Okay, so it's been a while

So I'm back.

Since I've been away, we've had Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years. I've had three weeks off. This has given me a whole lot of time to do, well, mostly a whole lot of nothing.

I did accomplish a few things. I caught up on some television shows! Here are my thoughts:
A) The Wire, Season 4 - seriously, it's the best show I've ever seen (okay, well maybe tied with Arrested Development). It's so incredibly intelligent, funny, and most of all, important. I'm not saying it's going to change the world, but I sure think that having more shows like The Wire can only serve to make more people out there think about issues outside their own lives. And Season 4 is on another level too. The producers basically sidelined their main character for an entire SEASON, and they made the best season of arguably the best show ever. And Season 5 is supposed to be even better. Can I work on a show like that? Anyone?

B) Californication - it's pretty damn funny. Not necessarily the funniest show I've ever seen, but David Duchovny rocks, and it's all in all pretty clever and well done. Anyway, definitely worth checking out.

C) Weeds, Season 3 - I don't know what happened to this show after the first season. It was some of the most original comedy I've seen lately, and then it just got too tongue in cheek. The first season was actually based in reality, as ridiculous as it may have been. Now it's just too far-fetched. That said, Season 3 was much better than Season 2. Significantly funnier. There's one moment when one of the drug dealers buys a Prius because, "It's quiet. Good for sneakin' up on mothafuckas." Pretty great.

So those are my thoughts. And I can't wait for Lost to come back on. Although I only get 8 episodes. Seriously.

Okay. I'm going to stop there. I was going to include quite the adventure story from my holiday season, but I think I'll save that for the next entry. Gonna make this one short.

It's good to be back. I plan on keeping up on this whole blog thing more in this new year. '08! The possibilities are endless, right?!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Let me count the ways...

Since I feel like I'm always going off about really serious stuff here on this blog, this is going to be a bit of a less serious entry for a change.

So...have you guys had these?!





These things are freakin' amazing. If you haven't had the intense pleasure of experiencing these absolutely scrumptious cookies, let me explain them to you. Basically they're Joe-Joe's - Trader Joe's version of the Oreo but significantly better - but hold on! The filling isn't just regular old cookie creme filling. Oh no. The creme has little, heavenly pieces of candy cane all mixed up inside of it. Again, I will say it - holy crap! I'm not even that fond of Oreos, but these things are freakin' insane. Seriously, I brought some to work, and between 5 of us, we ate an entire box in a day. They're just exceedingly delicious.

This all goes toward the larger purpose of this particular entry.

I love Trader Joe's.

Seriously. I remember the moment when I first heard that Trader Joe's was coming to New York City. I was in a deli, about to get money from an ATM, and my friend Krista broke the news.

"You know they're putting a Trader Joe's around Union Square."

I turned to her and screamed, "What?!?!" And then I literally proceeded to jump around in a circle with excitement. Now, that may seem mildly gay to you, but I don't really care. That's how much I truly love TJ's.

Now, I know that it's a bit of a pain in the ass to shop there on the weekends. But is this really Trader Joe's fault? Isn't that just a testament to how absolutely fantastic the store is?

So I have no idea if you're going to be interested in this or not, but I'm just going to list off a few of my favorite things that I tend to purchase from TJ's on a regular basis that make me happy. What can I say? Food makes me happy. It's delicious.

Anyway. Here goes.

This granola over here is absolutely phenomenal. This is seriously what I eat for breakfast every single day:

Nature's Path Organic Hemp Plus Pumpkin Granola w/ Trader Joe's lowfat yogurt and some sort of fruit. At TJ's, they have plain, vanilla, strawberry and vanana (a mix of vanilla and banana) yogurt option, and all are delicious.

I guess this brings me to what I love most about Trader Joe's - although the Candy Cane Joe-Joe's are a bit excepted from this. It's got such incredibly healthy stuff. And I think that in this country of overconsumption and obesity, it's nice to see that a place like Trader Joe's has a line an hour long on Sundays in New York. It's not much, and it's not as though everything sold at TJ's is completely healthy. But at least it's something.

So to conclude, here are a few more of my favorite Trader Joe's and in general:

Mango Salsa
Pineapple Salsa
Any frozen pizzas
Triple Ginger Snaps

Oh the list goes on and on.

So I'm sure most of you have experienced the joy of Trader Joe's, but if you haven't, do yourself a favor and check it out. I promise you won't be disappointed.