Thursday, December 29, 2011

Camp Freddy 2011

I'm pretty certain you won't remember my posts from last year about Camp Freddy but we saw them twice again during this year's Christmas residency at The Roxy.  A brief recap -- Camp Freddy is basically a band made up Dave Navarro (of Jane's Addiction & Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sorum (of Guns N' Roses & Velvet Revolver), Billy Morrison (of Billy Idol's band) and Chris Chaney (of Jane's Addiction).  The big attraction of the show is they play cover songs and have a ton of guest singers and musicians onstage.

Last year, we were treated to Steven Tyler singing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and Billy Idol singing his own "Rebel Yell."  I was very excited for this year's shows even though both The Wife and I were exhausted from work and various holiday functions.  They play on four consecutive Fridays at the Roxy and we decided to do shows 2 and 3.  I figure they will never have their biggest show first, and the last show was too close to Christmas.

Week two guests included Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) and Paul Stanley (Kiss).  It was a pretty good show although the song selection was a bit odd overall.  I mean, you've got Paul Stanley onstage and he does Strutter (decent Kiss song), You Shook Me (terrible blues song), All Right Now (a cover of the Free song which was okay) and then they closed with the Kiss song Lick It Up.  Huh -- no Rock & Roll All Nite?

Week three guests included Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Chino (Deftones), Steven Adler (Guns N' Roses), and Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple).  The song selection this night was stronger, I thought.  The Wife and I had gone to her company's holiday party then straight to the concert so we were very tired.  Before they brought out the Big Guest at the end, I said we could leave early if it was lame.  They introduced Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) so I turned to her and said, "Let's go."

Week 3 Setlist -- Relax & Seven Nation Army (w/ Donovan Leitch Jr.), 20th Century Boy & Search and Destroy (w/Neon Trees), Anarchy in the UK (w/Billy Morrison), Firewoman, Helter Skelter & War Pigs (w/ Franky Perez), Round & Round & Tobacco Road (w/ Stephen Pearcy), Creep & Whole Lotta Love (w/Linda Perry), You Really Got Me & Sweet Emotion (w/Fred Durst), and Strutter, You Shook Me, All Right Now & Lick it Up (Paul Stanley)

Week 4 Setlist -- Relax & Seven Nation Army (w/ Donovan Leitch Jr.), Highway to Hell & Helter Skelter (w/ Franky Perez), Pretty Vacant & Fight for Your Right (w/ Mark McGrath), L’il Devil, All Right Now & Highway Star (w/ Glenn Hughes), In the Meantime & Search and Destroy (w/ Chino), Youth Gone Wild, Paradise City & Sweet Child O’ Mine (w/ Sebastian Bach & Steven Adler) and Wine Wine Wine, Foxy Lady & Sharp Dressed Man (w/ Billy Gibbons)

Not sure if we'll go again next year.  The shows are a lot of fun but they start around 11:30 and are over by 1:00 so it's a lot of standing around.  Plus, everyone gets their cellphones or cameras out for the really good shit and put it up on YouTube anyway.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Saying

You know that old saying "never bring a knife to a gun fight."  I have a food based variation on it --

Never bring a vegetable dish to a Christmas potluck at work.

I made a super delicious Southwestern corn dish (consisting of corn, bell peppers, hominy & seasoning) and I think maybe 3 or 4 people tried it.  It got passed over in favor of the nachos, the meatballs and the 13 different types of dessert.  There's supposed to be variety at a potluck!  I figured some health conscious people would appreciate something that wasn't filled with sugar.  Oh well.

Lesson learned.  Next year I'll just bring something covered in cheese and sugar, and it will all be eaten.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I'm surprised by a lot of my coworkers and people I've met that are fairly clueless as to what improv really is so I thought I'd try to condense it down, and explain why it's so much dang fun.  Improvisation basically boils down to a game.  The game is titled "Yes, and..."

One person starts a scene by doing or saying something and it's up to everyone else involved in that scene to play the game of "Yes and..." but adding to it.  So if I start off the scene by miming the lifting of weights, I have established that we're in some sort of gym or at least exercise area.  If the next person comes in miming that they're underwater wearing a scuba tank, they've kind of f'ed me over by denying what I established.  Likewise, if they start a scene by saying, "This is a lovely Thanksgiving dinner you've cooked" I can't switch gears and pretend that we're flight attendants.  I'd have to say something like, "Thanks, Grandma."  I've acknowledged [yes] what they've said and added to the scene by establishing that person as my Grandma.  The scene then goes on and on until it reaches whatever conclusion.

Of course, things can go awry and curveballs can be thrown.  In one of my classes, a woman started a scene by being very somber weeping and miming an outstretched hand touching a coffin.  Her scene partner came in and said, "Mom, I know you're upset that Dad never fixed the heater."  It was a curveball but it added to the scene and took it from something kind of heavy, like a funeral, to something more comical, like family dysfunction.

I'm toying around with the idea of having an improv party for my birthday in June where I get a bunch of people together to take an improv class as a group.  It's really a lot of fun and you get to be pretty damn goofy.  Hopefully I continue to enjoy taking these classes over the coming weeks.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


So, I started taking weekly improv classes again.  I like this theater because it's a lot smaller, it's not in Hollywood and the people seem to be average people taking this for fun -- not the usual mattress (model/actress) types.  I'm only two classes in but I am enjoying a hell of a lot more than the last time I took improv back in 2008.  I'm a lot more relaxed this time around and I don't feel like I'm competing with a bunch of mattresses just trying to get noticed in town.

The first time around, I really struggled with improv because you're supposed to hold back and let scenes develop.  Everything in my mind and training as a comedian taught me to go for the joke!  Time is of the essence, so you get up there and it's set up, punchline, set up, punchline.  I don't know what's changed in the 3 years since my last improv class but I seem to be doing a better job of holding off.

I remember one day during my previous improv class.  I was about to start a scene when the teacher told us to hold off because he wanted to relate some story.  He went on for about a minute or two, but I wasn't paying attention to him.  In my mind, I was thinking, "I'll start the scene like this, then my scene partner will probably say something like this, and then I can steer the scene in this direction, and then this will be the payoff joke at the end."

The teacher told us to start the scene and it went pretty much exactly like I mentally mapped out.  Afterward, the teacher told me after 5 classes, it was one of the best scenes I had done.  I had no guts to tell him it wasn't truly improvised and finished out the class weeks later.

Part of my brain still tries to plan ahead and think of stuff ahead of time, but I think I'm better at letting go.  I've had a few scenes where I thought they would go one way, and my scene partner surprised me so I had to react and keep it going.

So anyway, as you can tell by the blog title of this post, I think I am improving at improv and I hope it continues to go that way.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Thinking about the Katy Perry song "The One That Got Away" and the overproduced pop version versus the stripped down emotional version reminded me of one of my favorite bands of all time - Ednaswap.

Ednaswap was a band I first saw open up for Better Than Ezra in 1996 at The Roxy and I was immediately hooked.  Thankfully, they were a local band so I had a chance to see them multiple times and meet them at least twice.  Ednaswap was responsible for writing the song "Torn" which was covered by Natalie Imbruglia to great success.  Natalie's version is overly poppy and lacks the true emotion of the song as you can see in the live performance here:

*sigh*  I really, really miss Ednaswap.  So whatever became of them?  Some of them formed the band AnnetennA which lasted a little while and recorded a stellar debut album, but then broke up.  The primary songwriters, singer Anne Preven and guitarist Scott Cutler, went on to become songwriters for others including Katy Perry, Madonna, Miley Cyrus and many others.  They were even nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for the song "Listen" from the movie Dreamgirls, so I'm pretty sure they're content.

Still, I really miss them.  If they did a reunion concert, I'd be there in a heartbeat.  Their albums are available on all of your favorite digital music channels so do yourself a favor and give 'em a listen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Katy Perry

Yes, in fact, I did see Katy Perry at Staples Center a few weeks ago.  I got tickets to this as an anniversary gift to The Wife a few months ago and I actually really loved it!  I was familiar with a few of her songs from the radio but borrowed the CDs from The Wife a few days before the show so I could familiarize myself more with them.

Stark confession here, friends: I've actually been listening to her CDs a lot since the concert.  Like a lot A LOT.  I don't know if it's her somewhat goofy personality or seeing the songs performed live accompanied by dancing, costume changes, fireworks and beach balls, but I think I'm a bona fide fan here now.

One song I was blown away by is called "The One That Got Away."  I also kind of glossed over it on the album but the live performance was stripped down and full of emotion.  It's actually an personal and emotional song but it's turned into a generic pop song on the album.  I hate when they do that.  Here's the way it should be:

I also loved all of the dancing and costume changes during "Hot N Cold":

Such a fun concert!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to Keep Your Coworkers Away From Your Food in the Communal Fridge

Lie about the contents.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Valiant Comics

One of the things I've been excited recently is the announcement that Valiant Entertainment will relaunch their comic book line next year.  A brief history - Valiant Comics existed from about 1992 to about 2000 and at one point, was the third largest comic book company.  They got bought out by the video game company Acclaim around 1996 who decided to flush all of the good things about Valiant down the toilet in order to make the comics more adaptable to video games.  It worked, kind of - with the success of Turok and Shadowman, but eventually the comic book market crashed and Acclaim went bankrupt.

The run of Valiant Comics lasted about the same length as my foray into actively collecting/reading comic books.  I liked the books they produced a lot - partly because they weren't Marvel or DC comics.  Their characters were a bit more realistic (origins, body types, problems, etc.) and also the entire universe had a tight continuity to it.  You didn't need to read all of the books they published, but you had a real sense all of these characters existed in the same universe.

In comparison, take the Marvel character Wolverine who currently stars in his own monthly book, and is a part of the team books Avengers, X-Men and X-Force.  That would almost be like one quarterback playing on four different teams in the same week.  I know, I know, they're comics, but still.

Anyway, back to Valiant.  The rights to the vast majority of the characters eventually lapsed and were snatched up by a group intending to relaunch the comic book line in 2012.  I'm not able to pinpoint it exactly, but I am very excited by this.  I may even venture into a comic book store again and pick up some of the relaunch on the days they come out.  I've been re-reading the old Valiant stories and enjoying them and have also been buying some older back issues to fill in some gaps in my collection.

I'm very curious to see what they pull together for next year and hopefully it will last.  They're supposed to release some information in the next week or two on what their overall plan is.  Stay tuned to the official website for details, all of you comic book fans that read my blog.


Hello all.  I'm not sure who still has this bookmarked or is subscribed to it.  It's been a long while.  Part of me feels like nothing super profound has happened so I haven't had a lot to say.  Even when I get together with friends I haven't seen in a while, it's not like I have a million crazy stories to share.  But nonetheless, I do somewhat, sort of, kind of miss blogging.  I hope to do this more often.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hey Jealousy

Well, I've done it to myself again.  I went and talked to a high school classmate (oddly enough he works at my company now) so I was catching up with him.  He told me how after graduating college, he worked in San Diego for a while, then Toronto, then Seattle and now he's back in L.A.  We were talking about old friends and such, so he also told me about a former classmate who writes for the Wall Street Journal and another who is a graphic designer in NYC.

So then I went and got myself discouraged because I've been located in southern California since birth, and feel like maybe I haven't lead that exciting of a life in comparison.

And then I made things even worse by looking at LinkedIn and getting envious of other former coworkers/classmates and what they're doing now.  I swear to God, I could really do without jealousy in my life.  It's not anyone's fault - of course I don't want my friends to leave their well-paying careers or to lead a lifestyle identical to mine -- but still, a part of me cannot help but feel envious.  I just can't help it.

And yes, in the same breath as my jealousy, I also know I am incredibly fortunate with the life I have.  For Pete's sake, I have a classmate who died in a car accident in 2009 so what do I really have to complain about.

So anyway.  I get down about this kind of stuff about once every six weeks or so, so I guess that's what this feeling is.  On the plus side, it does motivate me to find a better job and I already applied to 4 postings last night.

Just wish I could live my life without the feelings of envy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Awkward Partygoer Pt. 3

I'm happy to report we had a friend function to attend this past Saturday and I actually enjoyed it.  I think being aware of my awkwardness helped because I was (somewhat) focused on not being awkward.  It was kind of a weird set up with a huge table full of people at a restaurant but I managed to make my way around to a few people and mingle a bit.  I shared some good laughs with friends along the way so...yay.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Might Hate the Internet

Trying to find a nice place to stay for our upcoming anniversary weekend so I'm clicking around Expedia, Google and TripAdvisor.  I think I find a good place...and then I start reading reviews.  One person's review on one website says it's nice and the staff was accommodating, and a review on another website says to only stay there if you want to get murdered.  So I keep looking and find an equal amount of contradiction on just about every hotel I've come across.  Ugh!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I was perusing my friend list on Facebooks the other day when I decided to look at some photos posted by this one girl I went to high school with.  She went to go see Britney Spears in concert along with someone else from my high school.  I clicked around a few more photo albums and saw that she had not only kept in touch with, but had taken recent photos with, about 10-12 people from our high school.  Holy shit.

Compare that to my Facebook friends list - I think I have about 6 people I went to high school with on there, and I don't correspond with any of them regularly.  In fact, I frequently consider deleting them.

Switch over to the friends I have from college and I think I have 3 on my Facebook page, two of which are very dear to me, and I would never think about deleting.

I think the longest friendship I have going now is with someone I met when I was 15 years old while working my first job at the library, so we've been friends now for 18 years.

It just seems so odd to me - to have friends from high school that you've kept in touch with for 15 years.  Maybe I missed out on something there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Awkward Partygoer Pt. 2

So I was thinking a little bit more about my previous post (thank you for your comments Kristen and Jenny), and I think part of my problem is that, like Jenny said in her comment, I think I do much, much better in smaller group settings.  A group of 8 people or so allows a lot of time for everyone to interact, split off into side conversations and such and it's also not overwhelming to my brain.

I feel like this when it comes time for lunch at work, too.  My entire department consists of about 25 people and about 13-14 of us go to lunch at the same time.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get the big table in the lunchroom but I much prefer it when we have to split up into two tables of 6-7.  Those are the lunches I find much more enjoyable so I think that is part of my "issue."

I also was thinking about the abundance of social media, as I mentioned previously.  I was struggling for something to say to a good friend when a good topic came to mind, which would then lead to other related topics.  I brought it up and good friend said, "Oh yeah, I saw your blog post about that" and that kinda killed my momentum for talking about it.  Blerg!  Oh well.  Still working on this overall and hoping the next friend function is fun and lively.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man

So...this trailer is out.

...and I'm not really sure what to think about it.  The Amazing Spider-Man, out in July 2012, will be Marvel's 4th film about Spidey.  Since the director and entire cast departed after the last film in 2007, Sony is treating this film as a reboot.  I think it's been recent enough that we remember how Spider-Man got his powers, what his powers and issues are - yet we're going to have to sit through all of that again in this movie.

Another confusing issue is the introduction of Gwen Stacy, played by the highly overrated Emma Stone, who was Peter Parker's first love in the comics.  Moviegoers have spent 6 years loving (or loathing) Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in the original films.  They also spent that time understanding Spider-Man organic ability to shoot webs but now he'll have mechanical ones like in the comics.

I'm just wondering if all of this rebooting and restructuring is really necessary for a film franchise that only left us 5 years ago.  I'm highly unimpressed with the trailer but I could be proven wrong, as I was with X-Men: First Class.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Awkward Partygoer

Something's been happening over the past year or so that I don't really like - I've become somewhat of an awkward partygoer.  I don't know when or how this happened but I'll show up to a friend get together and end up being anti-social.  It's weird usually I am the one excited to go to the party...but then I show up and don't enjoy myself as much as I should.  I think part of me feels like I have nothing super interesting to talk about so I'm just awkward and not really outgoing and chatty.  And then perhaps I cling to The Wife a little bit too much (my observation, not hers).

Anyway, I'm just thinking/typing out loud here.  I know this is happening but I don't like it.  I was at a friend get together over the weekend and kinda didn't feel like chatting with anyone.  I was even amused by the friend who was looking at his watch and his girlfriend who said to him, "No looking at your watch! We're staying for a while!" (or something to that effect).

I wonder if part of it is just falling out of touch with certain the friend that once asked how much I made (when I was proud that I was actually doing well) so I told him and then he told me how much he made and his salary put mine to shame so I've felt awkward around him ever since; or the friend that tells me her son doesn't like carrots but loves broccoli as if that's something I want to hear about.

Part of me wonders if it's also an abundance of social media -- i.e., I already saw the photos/status updates from your weekend getaway and you already know that xyz happened in my life, so what else is new?

But please, all four friends of mine that read this, keep inviting me to your shindigs.  This awkward phase will pass and I genuinely do value our friendships and our time spent together.  Like I said, I'm thinking/typing out loud here so this post may very well get taken down in a day or two anyway.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Graham Colton

The Wife and I headed over to The Hotel Cafe last night to check out a set from Graham Colton.  I'd seen Graham about 6-7 years ago when he opened up for Better Than Ezra.  I was impressed back then so I've been following his career and picking up his albums along the way.  I think he's played quite a few shows here and there in California over the years but a completely free Saturday night made it an easy decision to check him out.

Graham played for about an hour and was very entertaining.  He was surprisingly really funny, too - commenting that he hated San Francisco (where he played the night before) and saying he used to play in a band called the Graham Colton Band, which is actually true.  He joked that he's incredibly vain when it comes to his career and tonight, the band was calling themselves the Graham Colton Explosion.

He has a real genuine quality that comes through.  At the end of the show, he said he wanted people to go home with his music if they liked him, so he invited people to stop by the merch table, say hello and pay whatever they wanted for his music.  We stopped by, said hello and he was kind enough to sign the CD I got for our donation.

Check out his latest music video for the single "Pacific Coast Eyes."  Head over to Graham's website or iTunes if you like what you hear.

You might also recognize Graham's song "Best Days" that we played at our wedding.

We are definitely going to check him out next time he's in town so let me know if you're interested.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

I was in the mood for something episodic and comic booky so I booted the first disc of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes up to the top of my Netflix queue.  I watched it with a little trepidation because Marvel's track record with animated series has not been great, in my opinion.

Add to it that Captain America is my favorite character and I think I prefer the Avengers over the X-Men and I was sure this series was going to suck.

I could not be wronger more wrong.  The first disc starts out by collecting the animated web shorts and telling background stories of the individual characters.  So the first episode is only about Iron Man, the second is Thor, then Hulk, then they start sharing some characters with episodes focusing half on a character like Black Panther and a little bit of Hawkeye.  I didn't realize these were web shorts until I looked up the series on Wikipedia.

By the time the series officially starts with Breakout (Parts 1 & 2), I was just dying for the characters to all come together and start kicking some ass - which they do!  I think one aspect I most enjoy is seeing characters come to animated life.  Mandrill is an incredibly boring character on paper but when you see him move around and use his powers in cartoon form...well, he's still boring.  But how cool!

They are really using a ton of characters so far in this series - everyone from the main Avengers to villains like Living Laser, Wrecking Crew and Doughboy (who?).  Only the first two discs are out commercially and available on Netflix but I just stumbled across the entire first season available via Netflix Instant about an hour ago.  A big bonus is that The Wife is enjoying the series.  Can't wait to see how the rest of Season 1 wraps up.  Great work, Marvel.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Finally had a chance to watch this movie thanks to Netflix Instant.  This movie essentially takes a look at "street art" and focuses on a couple of subjects - Shepard Fairey, the ever elusive Banksy and the main subject of the movie - Mr. Brainwash.

The movie is overall enjoyable, even humorous at times but ultimately left me feeling annoyed.  I was/am annoyed because of the mere notion of "street art" which I consider to be graffiti and a public nuisance.  I fully believe art has a time and a place - I just don't think you need to vandalize someone's property as your canvas.  If an artist is really that talented, I think they should be able to get their art out through legal and mainstream methods rather than mess up our already crappy looking major metropolitan cities.  I guess they're reaching a much larger audience because you get random people walking down the street but my first emotional reaction is always going to be annoyance.

Another thing that bugs me is the notion that what these guys do is art.  I know, I know, art is all subjective and whatnot.  But as someone who makes his living as an artist, what the main artist in the movie, Mr. Brainwash, does can hardly be called art.  He is shown in the movie having a staff of artists scan in images out of books, Photoshop them to some minor extent under his orders and print them out.  So, he's taking an image he didn't originally photograph and having someone else manipulate it.  The work of Mr. Brainwash they show in the movie seemed highly derivative of Andy Warhol's work so it seems he hardly has an original idea. Where  does the creativity of an artist come in to play here...?  And of course, Mr. Brainwash ends up selling a lot of his work for a LOT of money which infuriates me as well.

On the plus side, even though I would consider it vandalism, a lot of the work I've seen from Banksy does seem rather clever and in fact, humorous.

I'm not really sure what to say of the movie as a whole since it left me liking the work one street artist (yet still despising vandalism) and being highly annoyed with another street artist.  I guess it it made me think about what really is considered "art" and I don't think anyone can provide a definite answer for that.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fogo de Chao

The Wife took me to Fogo de Chao for a lovely birthday dinner a couple weeks ago.  I had first heard about this place on Bill Simmons' podcast and had been very curious to try it.

They have a tutorial on their website to let you know how they run the dining experience.  You pay one flat charge per person and essentially stuff yourself with heaps and heaps of food.  There is a very upscale salad bar that was quite good.  I would have gone back for more but I just took one bite of the items I wanted since the big draw of Fogo is the meat.

Once you're done with the salad bar portion, you flip a card over on the table and the Meat Swordsmen come up to your table quickly and frequently and offer you different cuts of meat - Picanha, Filet Mignon, beef ribs, lamb, bacon wrapped chicken breasts, Parmesan encrusted pork loin, sausage and a couple other ones.  They also bring you cheese rolls, polenta, garlic mashed potatoes and caramelized bananas.  And they keep offering you meat and side dishes until you flip the card back over and throw in the towel and/or vomit at the table.

I liked that there was one flat fee for the experience, and it's all you can eat.  I tried to eat light during the daytime but even I got stuffed in a short period of time.  It is pricey (about $56) so you feel like you should eat your money's worth. A beer was reasonably priced at about $5 so at least they don't screw you over on drink prices, too.

The big downside is that with so many meats to try, you're tempted to try one of everything to see what you really like, but by the time you try them all, you're full. My advice - the picanha (house specialty top sirloin) was hands down the best. Skip the chicken because...well, it's chicken.  You can have that anywhere. I'm not a fan of ribs, the sausage was okay and I personally can't really tell the difference between cuts of beef. Stick to the picanha, parmesan pork loins and lamb. The polenta was excellent and the cheese rolls are super good.

Another downside is there are no take home boxes so a lot of the food gets wasted! I kind of understand that because anyone could load up 10 slabs of filet mignon and then ask for a to go box but still...I always feel bad about wasting food. (Ask me about the week old mushroom pasta leftovers I ate that ended up making me sick sometime.)

Overall, a good dining experience. It gets hectic because there are a TON of people walking around (going to the salad bar, Meat Swordsmen roaming around, etc.) so it's not exactly a romantic destination. I'd go there maybe every other year just to experience it again but not more frequently than that at that price.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pay Attention!

New pet peeve of mine - when you're out to dinner with a big group of people, the waiter comes by with food and no one pays attention to them.  Maybe it's just me but I tend to be hyper aware of people around me, so I always feel bad for the waiters standing there with four plates balanced up and down their arms, and no one else can bother to turn around and say, "The salad with ranch is mine."

I can't tell you how many big group dinners I've been to where the waiter is walking up and down the entire group of 15 saying, "Mozzarella sticks...who has the mozzarella sticks?" only to have the person sitting next to me wake up from their daze to say, "Oh, mozzarella sticks? Right here."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Why are you posting your X-Men review so soon, Chris?  Yeah, yeah...anyway.  The Wife and I saw this opening weekend and were both blown away by it.  I loved the original movies in the X series (YES, even The Last Stand) but wasn't really excited when I heard they were making X-Men: First Class.

I understand the movie studio wants to keep the franchise going and in fact, have a need to keep the franchise going.  Basically when Marvel started getting into the movie business, they signed away certain rights to the studios and the studios have to use the characters rights or else they lapse back to Marvel.  Hence why you have a Spider-Man movie coming out next year, a Daredevil movie in the works and a Fantastic Four reboot coming down the pipeline.

Anyway, I thought this film was really strong overall.  I loved the backstory and history between Xavier and Magneto...I think it could almost be considered a Magneto movie in a sense.  My least favorite part of the movie is when all of the X-kids get together and start showing off their powers.  I guess that is what would likely happen - it just seemed a little cheesy and an excuse for the movie to show the viewer what each character can do.

I loved the surprise cameos in the film and I came away from it all becoming a really big fan of Magneto.  You really start to sympathize with the guy and the reasons why he sees the world the way he does.  Will definitely buy this one on DVD when it comes out and am looking forward to future installments of the X franchise if they can pull off something like this again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hollywood Bowl

I know I am in the incredible minority, but am I the only one that thinks the Hollywood Bowl sucks?  I've always seen it as something of a pretentious music venue (until earlier this week when Motley Crue and Poison played there).

The only thing I like about the Bowl is that the parking situation is organized and efficient, if you park at the Park N' Ride on Ventura Blvd. and take the shuttle bus over.  It saves a lot of traffic and hassle and is remarkably well run.  As for what I don't like about the Bowl - the ridiculously uncomfortable wooden benches, the size of the venue (it always feels like I'm closer to my house than to the stage) and most importantly, the fact that everyone seems to love the Hollywood Bowl and talk about its amazing sound.

Sorry, HB.  I've seen you 4-5 times, and I still don't love you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


My brother and I went to check out the Poison and Motley Crue concert at the Hollywood Bowl last night.  I had seen Poison twice before back in 2008 and really enjoy them as a live band.  They're a high energy band and a lot of fun to watch, and they're still the same 3 years later.  I wouldn't expect or want them to be anything else.  They had a rather short set list, partly because they were opening up and I also think the Hollywood Bowl has a curfew.

Motley Crue was a band my brother and I have wanted to see since probably high school.  I'm glad we got a chance to see them, although I don't know that I was blown away by their performance.  They had two female dancers that would saunter around stage and sing backup on some of the songs.  Vince Neil also glossed over a lot of the lyrics and just kind of slurred his way through the melody.  Musically, the band was great but Vince seemed a little off the mark.

There was a surprise when Vince started singing Cee Lo-Green's "Fuck You" in the middle of "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" and then Cee-Lo came out to join him onstage for that, and for the rest of the song.  Overall a very fun night with my bro.  I'm glad I got to see Motley and hopefully Poison keeps touring for many more years to come.

Here's a recap of the setlists --

Look What the Cat Dragged In
Ride the Wind
We're an American Band
Fallen Angel
Unskinny Bop
Drum solo
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Guitar solo
Your Mama Don't Dance
Talk Dirty to Me
Nothin' But a Good Time

Wild Side
Saints of Los Angeles
Live Wire
Shout at the Devil
Same Ol' Situation
Primal Scream
Home Sweet Home
Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) w/ Cee Lo
Drum solo
Looks That Kill
Dr. Feelgood
Too Young to Fall in Love
Girls, Girls, Girls
Smokin' in the Boys Room
Kickstart My Heart

Monday, May 30, 2011

Food Trucks

So at the Art Walk I mentioned previously, there were a ton of those food trucks in parking lots.  Food trucks have become something of a phenomenon in major cities like Los Angeles and I'm still not sure I get the big deal about them.  I think my major apprehension has to do with our two failed attempts to eat at a food truck - first, at the disasterful food truck festival in downtown that was overcrowded, and secondly, trying to find the Kogi truck at 10:00 at night only to see a 45-minute wait line queue up in a matter of minutes. I think it's also weird because you get your food and you have nowhere to go eat it.  At both places in downtown and where we saw the Kogi trucks, your only choice is to stand on the street and uncomfortably (I assume) eat it.

Anyway, back to my original point.  The majority of these food trucks seem to operate on the notion of fusion food.  Unfortunately, fusion food in Los Angeles mostly consists of taking one ethnic food (preferably Asian), shoving it into a tortilla and calling it a taco.  You're genius, Los Angeles.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I love how the cast of The Hangover had no problem working with a convicted rapist in the first film, but they all banded together to exile Mel Gibson from the sequel.  Way to develop a conscience after you made $467 million, you asshats.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I recently went to my first Art Walk in downtown Los Angeles.  I had heard about it here and there, and known it was a massively popular.  We had also heard from 2 friends personally who said it was good and we finally had a free Thursday to check it out.

So it's basically a once a month gathering in downtown LA where a bunch of galleries are open at night.  Multiple parking lots are set up with food trucks, live music and it's this huge social gathering.  I personally didn't really like any of the art I saw and the sheer number of people walking around made me a bit paranoid.

I was walking down the street and at one point, noticed a syringe lying on the ground.  (Hey, I used to use those to inject my insulin each day, so I notice them.)  I thought it was weird and then I saw a guy standing near it.  I thought to myself, "Grrrreat, this guy is going to pick up a random syringe because, hey, it's free!"  Well, said guy walked past me a few minutes later on his cellphone and I could hear him say, "Sorry, I dropped my heroin, I had to go back and pick it up."  Awwwwesome.

Most of the art fell into that "mildly interesting but I would never buy it/hang it" category.  Some of the live music was entertaining, and it was good to have a completely different experience in downtown Los Angeles.  So anyway. I wasn't blown away by my first Art Walk experience but I would go again to give it another shot.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I recently started watching the TV series Jericho thanks to Netflix's instant play and our lack of cable television and antenna reception.  I'm about 13 episodes into the first season and I already love it.  I know it didn't last very long but I'm very curious to see how it all plays out.

The series takes place in Jericho, Kansas and shows the after effects of some sort of apocalyptic attack.  In the first episode, they see a mushroom cloud over Denver (sorry, Erica!) so the entire town gets into a panic.  What I really like is that the show takes place in a small town, so you discover things along with the characters.  At first, they assume it was only Denver that was attacked but then someone gets a voicemail saying there was another bomb in Atlanta.  They struggle to get the power back on and all they see is a 2-second glimpse of an Asian news report showing flashing circles around Denver, Atlanta and at least 7-8 other cities in the U.S.

I'm about 13 episodes in and still no one is sure what is going on.  Was the U.S. invaded by aliens?  Foreign terrorists?  Domestic terrorism?  Is the President alive?  Will we find out how The Jersey Shore is going to end?  Ahhhhh!!!  So many questions!

The ensemble cast is pretty good and I love apocalyptic stories so I am definitely hooked.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Graphic pilfered from
There is this car near my work with a vanity plate that references Hawaii.  The license plate frame also references Hawaii.  It also has a multitude of stickers of hula girls, leis and the word "Aloha" on the back window.  I was thinking about this the other day and it really started to piss me off.

If you love Hawaii that much, why don't you move there?  Oh, what's that? You can't afford to live there? Then shut the fuck up.

Yes, I'm fortunate enough to have visited Hawaii as a youngster and yes, I really enjoyed it.  My point is that if I move to Austin, Texas you can sure as hell bet I'm not going to have a car or a cubicle plastered with references to California.  I would understand why I'm in Texas and accept that I'm there.

You already live in southern California which is better than at least 40 other states in this country of ours.  So please, I implore you.  If you love Hawaii that much, move there as fast as you can or please shut up.  Thank you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rule Bender

I generally don't consider myself a rule breaker...I'm more of a rule bender.  Especially whenever I think the rules I'm up against are bullshit.

I'll give you an example - parking validation.  Say, at someplace like The Grove in Hollywood.  If you want to get a discount (or free) parking, you have to get validated from somewhere like Barnes & Noble, the movie theater or Cheesecake Factory.  I've gone to Barnes & Noble, browsed around for 20-30 minutes and asked for validation.  But the cashier tells me they only validate with a purchase.  Ah, here's where I bend the rules!  I'll go get a book, charge it to my credit card, get my validation and then return the book to the Barnes & Noble conveniently located on the way home from work.

That may seem like a waste just to save $6 but I'll do it every single time.  The stupid thing is I could probably return the book to the same B&N at the Grove 5 minutes after purchasing that book.  Trust me, I've made more than one purchase in my life that I've returned to the store minutes later.  Or I could also buy a movie ticket, get my validation, go into the theater for less than a minute, then say I got an emergency call and I have to go.  Either way, they give me a refund for my purchase and I get my validation with a little bit of hassle.

The point is that with so many easy ways around it, the "validation only with purchase" rule is bullshit.  Bend those rules, people.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frozen Zen Lunch

Much like my brother, I hate making my lunch during the work week.  I absolutely hate it.  I don't know why, but my only guess is because it's a daily task requiring just enough time to be annoying.  I also hate spending money but I think I achieved something of a Zen status with lunch.

I bought a loaf of bread from the 99¢ store, and also got some bananas and peanut butter from Target.  When I got home, I cracked open the peanut butter, chopped up some bananas and took out 16 slices of bread.  I made an assembly line and cranked out 8 sandwiches rather quickly.

Ah, but don't that many sandwiches get moldy, Zen Master?!  I put all of the sandwiches back in the bread loaf sleeve in the freezer.  Each morning, I open up the loaf of bread and take out the next sandwich.  By the time lunch rolls around at work, it's nicely defrosted.

My coworkers teased me about eating the same thing for lunch everyday.  But then I told them about my assembly line methods and having 8 days worth of lunch ready in a short time, and they all agreed it was more smart than lazy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Netflix has a growing number of television series available to watch instantly which The Wife and I love.  We don't have rabbit ear antennas or cable service so we currently have about 12 different television seasons in our Instant Queue.

We're plowing our way through Battlestar Galactica which has been really good so far.  Some of the episodes have been duds, but overall the series is intriguing with good plot twists and story progression.  We just started into season 4 so I'm curious to see how it will all wrap up.

Another one we just started watching is Cheers which has quickly become one of my favorite shows.  The show debuted in 1982 which means I was 5 years old when it started.  I remember watching some episodes as I got older with my parents and finding aspects of the show funny but I don't think I would have described it as a favorite.

Having watched the first 8 or so episodes of the first season, I think I have to change my opinion though.  The show is smart, has a great ensemble cast of likable characters and most importantly, the humor still holds up after nearly 30 years.  I haven't seen it recently for comparison's sake, but I'm guessing Growing Pains and Blossom don't really hold up the same.  And of course, the theme song and intro are classic even though it gets stuck in my head way too easily.

Seriously folks, if you have the ability to stream shows from Netflix, give this show a try.

Monday, April 25, 2011

99 Problems

I was looking at the last minute items in the 99-Cent Store checkout line the other day when two items caught my eye.  The first was a pregnancy test and right next to it was a pack of condoms.  I should have taken a photo.  They were probably stocked next to one another because one would need the 99¢ pregnancy test after the 99¢ condoms fail you.  Great marketing, guys.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I signed up to be on my company's EERT - Employee Emergency Response Team.  It's entirely voluntary but I've always been something of a safety nerd.  Also, I think a part of it stems from my desire (yet utter failure) to be a police officer.

So anyway, I will get a nerdy safety vest and flashlight to keep at my desk.  Over the next several months, I will also be trained in CPR, evacuation procedures, first aid, disaster relief, hazard material spills and several other things.

The first session is on fire extinguisher use where the Fire Department will show up to supervise, and we will actually get to put out fires they set in the parking lot.  I've walked past dozens of fire extinguishers in my life and I think I know how they operate, but this will be my first chance to do it in a controlled environment.  Might as well learn in a safe environment rather than freak out and guess when there is an actual fire.  Anyway, I'm a dork so I am really looking forward to learning all of this stuff.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Nothing annoys me more than flybys people that don't do their research.  I received an email recently about something called the Triangle of Life.  It is supposedly an effective way to save yourself during an earthquake whereby, instead of getting under a heavy object, you simply crouch next to it.  Huh?

I've lived in California for 32 years, experienced a number of earthquakes and have never heard of this.  So, since I access my email through the Internet, I opened up another browser window (whoa, multiple windows!) and Google'd that.  Lo and behold, one of the first matches that came up is a favorite website of mine called Snopes.  Snopes basically seeks to debunk or confirm a lot of those email forwards, and nonsensical information floating around the Internets.  The Snopes article basically says the Triangle of Life is a mixture of misinformation, and goes on to provide links to safety experts such as the Red Cross and FEMA.

All of my "research" took about 20 seconds and then I didn't have to forward an email full of misinformation on to my loved ones.  People out there, do your research.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Know what I hate? (No you don't, so let me enlighten you.) I hate flybys. Namely, flybys in association to sporting events.  You know, like when those fighter jets fly over some event that you're at. Here's why I hate them.

No one remembers them. Have you ever seen a Dodger game and thought the highlight was when some F-18 flew over Chavez Ravine? "Hey man, that catch by Ethier in the outfield was pretty sweet." "Quiet, dude - I'm still full of civic pride from that flyby earlier."  They last mere seconds. Here, watch this video. How long did that flyby last?  10 seconds? You're lucky if you can whip your head around fast enough to catch 3 seconds at most sporting events.

It's also a waste of money and fuel in an already tight economy. This article on Yahoo! sports estimates that the flyby at Super Bowl XLV may have cost $450,000.  Oh yeah - and the fucking game was played in a dome stadium so NO ONE in attendance could see the jets fly over. The article goes on to assert that the Air Force paid for the flyby out of its own budget, uses the flight hours as training and is somehow a marketing tool.  The first two points are valid but the third is absurd. Right because, 3 seconds of a flyby is far more effective than athletes running around in Nike shoes for over an hour.

It's no surprise that nearly every NASCAR race features a flyby, so it can combine my least favorite sport with my least favorite "patriotic" activity.  If I was President, the first thing I would do is outlaw  flybys over sporting events.

I'm Chris and I need your vote. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Take Out the Trash!

So we've had this highly annoying problem in our condo complex lately whereby someone leaves a bag of trash in the shared walkway area outside of our condo unit.  No one seems to know who the culprit is but my guess is that it's some snot-nosed kid whose single mother tells them to take the out the trash, they get about halfway to the dumpster and just leave it there.  My secondary guess is that single mother never walks to her car through this shared walkway area so she never sees the shit job her stupid kid is doing.

The incidents of trash being left there have been increasing so we finally started to do something about.  There was a receipt in the trash bag that was facing right side up and against the side of the bag, so we got a name of the culprit.  We also complained to neighbors so they've been on the lookout as well.

When we got the culprit's name, I decided to do a little bit of good old fashioned Google investigation.  Luckily, this person has a pretty unique name so it was easy to find some hits that unfortunately, led me nowhere.  Ah, but since everyone and their mother (including mine) is on Facebook, I decided to look them up there.  Bingo!  Not only does said person have a profile, but some aspects of it are public so I know where they go to work out (also confirming they live in the same city as me) but I also know which family member of theirs is ill.

The bummer is this person is a renter, not an owner, so the HOA has no record of which unit they live in.  But at least I know what they look like now and we have other neighbors on the lookout on our behalf.

But seriously folks, how hard is it to take out your trash?  Most of you that read this blog know that the dumpsters are a mere 20 feet walk further!  Ugh, so annoying.

(Also as a sidenote, make sure you check your own privacy settings on Facebook as it was way too easy to find said person.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So Long, Princess

So there's this (annoying) girl at work with a license plate frame that refers to her being a princess.

Also at work, there is an entire small department made of women and they have a street sign in their area that says Princess Way.

Shouldn't anyone past the age of, say, 8 be a little bit too grown up to somewhat seriously refer to herself as a princess?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cole's vs. Philippe

I think I was 16 or 17 years old the first time I went to Philippe and fell in love with the French dip sandwich.  I've been there probably close to a dozen times and it ranks as one of my favorite eateries in downtown Los Angeles.

A while ago, I read that there was another restaurant in downtown that makes awesome French dip sandwiches -- Cole's.  In fact, both restaurants claim to be the originators of the sandwich.  Ever the skeptic, I didn't want to even try Cole's - how could it possibly be better than Philippe's?  How could someplace else even claim to invent the same sandwich?

After eating there a few weekends ago, I think my mind has been changed and I am now a supporter of Cole's.  Let's break it down.

Line/Seating -- Philippe's typically has long lines at all hours of the day.  You basically wait in line, order your food at the counter and they make it right there for you.  Then you get a tray full of food and have to navigate past the sea of other people in line (don't believe that photo -- that line typically stretches back another 15 people deep), and you have to find your own seat somewhere.  Contrast that with Cole's - we got there at 12:30 on a Saturday and were seated a table and waited on.  We got to enjoy a nice cold soda and wait for our food to be brought to us.  I think the wait time of standing in line or sitting at the table was shorter at Cole's by a good amount, plus you get to sit, relax and unwind instead of shifting around in a mess of people.  Advantage: Cole's.

Food -- The sandwiches are pretty equal, although it may be a little hard to tell.  The sandwich at Cole's tasted fresher.  At Philippe's, they dip the sandwich for you while at Cole's, you get your own cup of au jus, so you can dunk it to your tastes.  I think the bread was better at Cole's.  The real sides you can get with your sandwich at Philippe's are potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, a bag of chips and/or a can of soda.  At Cole's, you can get those, or mac and cheese, French fries, sweet potato fries or the super awesome spicy garlic fries.  Oh yeah, and free refills.  Advantage: Cole's.

Location -- Well - technically both locations suck.  I think Philippe's actually has a slight advantage in this one because they have their own free parking lot, but they do go around and mark your tires to make sure you're not staying there all day long.  We actually parked at the Los Angeles Public Library and took a 10-minute walk over to Cole's.  FYI - parking at the library is only $1.00 all day on Saturdays with validation (showing your library card). Advantage: Philppe's but not by much.

What say you, other Angelenos?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adventures in BBQ'ing

The Wife and I recently purchased a barbecue from the fine people at Sears. The guy we were talking to tried to get us to take the floor model because it was "really complicated to put together" so I might as well take the one that's already assembled. If it's that complicated, why are you trying to give away the showpiece of your handiwork? It wouldn't have fit in our car and when I got it home, it didn't take that long to assemble anyway.

A couple of weeks later, I decided to try barbecueing some salmon.  The butcher at the grocery store recommended putting it on these cedar planks they also sell. Something about the wood bringing out some smokey flavor or some shit into the fish. It seemed like a good idea (that is, I misread the price tag) so I got those, too. The directions for the plank said to soak it in water for between 1-24 hours. It was already in the afternoon, so I threw that sucker in a pan of water for 2 hours before we started getting hungry. Remember, the thing said a minimum of 1 hour so 2 hours should have been good.

The barbecue of the salmon is going along fine until I start to see a lot of smoke pouring out of the top. I flip open the lid and the fucking plank is on fire. I grabbed it with tongs and pulled it off the heat, saved the salmon and dunked the fiery plank back into the water pan. Minimum of 1 hour my ass!!!

Sidebar: apparently the plank is supposed to catch fire but mine was engulfed.  D'oh!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I recently joined a gym for the second time in my life. I had been opposed to the idea for a long time but am finding this go around much more enjoyable than when I went to the YMCA years ago. I joined the gym where The Wife goes but I nearly gave up on the entire idea when I was asked to sign a waiver just to take a tour of the gym. How litigious have we become? I realize I'm walking into a gym with no intention of working out and I may get hit by a stray basketball (even though the door to the court is closed) or one of the weights may come flying off the machines (even though I'm standing at the front counter).

I was also super annoyed by the person who gave me the tour because she was ultra peppy and was like, "So why you want to start working out?" WHY DO YOU THINK??!?! So I can go cram 3 burrito supremes in my throat from the Taco Bell in the parking lot and not feel guilty about it? WHY DO PEOPLE WORK OUT, YOU IDIOT?!

Anyway. I'm glad I started going back. My legs don't hurt as much from softball anymore and dare I say it, I think my hits are going a little bit further. I'm also glad the gym we go to isn't super crowded so despite my negative thoughts to starting - so far, so good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I think we can all agree that The Academy Awards more or less sucked this year. Children singing at the end?! Kirk Douglas stumbling through a presentation speech?! I heard two recent ideas that I think can help to fix the Oscars®. So while I can't take credit for either of these ideas, I would like to help spread them around.

First up, the Oscars® should reveal the final tallies of the ballots. Yes, The King's Speech won the Best Picture Oscar®, but what if it only won by a margin of 0.15%? Wouldn't it be interesting to see the final breakdowns like The King's Speech -- 22.3%, Inception 22.15%, Twilight 18%, etc.? Then even if an undeserving movie like The King's Speech wins, you can argue that it only won by a slight margin over a better movie.

Second, the Oscars® should have a 5-year minimum waiting period to be voted on and announced. Much like the athletes who become eligible for their Hall of Fame years after they've retired from their sport, we should have the opportunity to look back at the movies with some perspective. I think in another 2-3 years, we'd all like to take back the Best Picture Oscars® for Crash and Slumdog Millionaire. Consider that Forrest Gump beat out Shawshank Redemption for the Best Picture and think about which movie resonates with you more these days.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pharmacy vs. Doctor - Battle of Lazy

I recently had some fun* phone conversations between the doctor's office and the pharmacy trying to get a refill on my prescriptions. The conversation basically went like this:

Me: "Are all three of my prescriptions ready to pick up?"
Pharmacy: "No, we never got a doctor's authorization on one of them. Can you call the doctor's office and have them send it?"

Call to the doctor's office.

Me: "The pharmacy said they never got that. Can you guys send it over again?"
Doctor's office: "We sent that already on the 4th. You need to call the pharmacy and tell them we sent it."
¡JESUS CRISTO! Can't someone take some f'ing initiative in these situations?!?!!

* - indeed sarcastic.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Michael Cera is Banned!

After watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World this past weekend, I looked up America's beloved Michael Cera on Wikipedia.  I was scrolling through his body of work and realized, Holy crap!  I've seen five of his movies and liked a grand total of zero of them.  So on this date, February 23 of 2011, I do hereby declare that I am banning all movies starring Michael Cera.  I think part of it his him, and part of it is he acts in not-so-great movies.  (I was going to use the word shitty but my 4-year old nephew has this blog read to him verbatim).  Either way - I apologize to you, Mr. Cera but I will never see another of your films.  Even if (God forbid) you take over the role of Iron Man.

For those curious, here are the five Michael Cera movies I have seen and thoroughly not enjoyed - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, , Nick & Norah's Infinite PlaylistSuperbad (aka the most overhyped movie of 2007), Juno (which I already complained about two years ago) and Year One (sadly, the best of his body of work).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Were You Over...?

The other day, I left my cubicle at work to take care of some business in the bathroom (stay with me here). I was gone for a reasonable amount of time and promptly returned to my desk.  The girl that sits next to me said, "Oh, I thought you left early for lunch."  Not wanting to go into any detail about my lavatory escapades, I simply replied, "Nope."

Then she asked, "Were you over talking to Phillip on the other side?"  I said, "Uh, no" hoping that would be the end of it.

She then asked, "Were you over having fun talking to Brandon about the email project?"  I could see that there was no winning so I just smiled and said, "Yeah, something like that" but in my head I'm thinking COME ON WOMAN!  CAN'T A GUY GO TAKE A CRAP AT WORK AND NOT BE QUESTIONED ABOUT WHERE HE'S BEEN?!??!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Gods of Cheesy Music

This guy I work with came over to my desk the other day.  As per usual, I had my earphones in because I don't like talking to anyone.  The guy asked me what I was listening to.  Of course, "I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls was playing and he started to lean in closer to see my iPod screen.

I quickly pressed the skip button to go to the next track which (of course!) was "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

At that point, I knew the Gods of Cheesy Music were solidly against me, so I just shoved my iPod under the hard drive tower and told him I was listening to some '90s music.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

99 Cents

The Wife and I recently had something of a house party in our little condo, and I'm proud to say I got a lot of good stuff from the 99¢ Only Store nearby.  I knew we would have to spend money on the important things (alcohol, main food dishes) but knew we could probably save quite a few bucks if we shopped at the 99¢ store.

I got plates, napkins, cups and utensils from there as well as a few food items (condiments, dips), and a bunch of serving trays and dishes.  It's definitely worth it to check out these stores.  After all, who remembers utensils after a party is over?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LA Versus L.A. - Food

I hate to say it but New Orleans was kind of unimpressive with its food.  Don't get me wrong, there were a few places that we really loved (Felix's, EAT) but after Day 2, we were tired of seeing gumbo and etouffee on every single menu we looked at.  There just wasn't a lot of variety in the French Quarter, which is something I truly love about Los Angeles.

The other thing kind of weird about the food in New Orleans was that most every dish at most every restaurant was priced around $10-$14.  There weren't a lot of places you could get something for $6, and only a handful of places that would cost upwards of $40 per person.  It just got a little tiring going from restaurant to restaurant and seeing the same plate of jambalaya for $12 everywhere you go.  We did get out of the French Quarter for two meals and had some different experiences but if you're spending most of your time in the FQ, don't expect a lot of variety.

Advantage: Los Angeles.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

LA Versus L.A. - Bars

Ah, Bourbon Street.  Yes, it's a kind of touristy thing to do but it's also a ton of fun especially because it's about 20 bars all with NO cover charge.  Some bars are just for drinking, while others serve a full menu, or are good for dancing, karaoke singing, people watching or listening to live music.  All of this in one mile -- again, with NO cover charge.  You can barely find a continuous mile of bars/clubs on one street in Los Angeles and if you did, you'd be paying $15 for parking ($20 for "premium) and probably a $20 cover charge at each place.

Advantage: New Orleans.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

LA versus L.A. - Sports

The Wife and I recently took a weeklong trip to New Orleans, Louisiana and it was a lot of fun.  She took about 600 photos and sent an email out to some friends and family recapping the experience.  I won't attempt to recreate either but will mention some things I truly love/dislike about New Orleans, LA and contrast them with some things I like/don't like about my fair city, Los Angeles.

So here is the first installment, regarding sports.  In New Orleans, everyone is a New Orleans Saints fan.  We got into town on the day of the Seahwawks/Saints playoff game and caught the miserable second half of the game at a bar.  Even though they lost, there were tons of people wearing Saints gear the remainder of the week (and I suspect, year round).  In Los Angeles, you could randomly ask 20 people if they like the Dodgers, and you'd probably get an equal number of responses of "Yes" or "No, I like the Yankees"/"Who are the Dodgers?"/"Sorry I don't watch basketball."  New Orleans is a city that truly loves and supports their flagship team, no matter what.

Advantage: New Orleans.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


First things first -- the Wife is NOT pregnant.  I couldn't think of anything better suited to title this blog post, but I'll go ahead and state again, The Wife is not pregnant.

So.  One of the things that terrifies me about being a parent is the thought of having a daughter.  Don't get me wrong - I think very highly of the opposite sex and am fortunate to be surrounded by great, strong women in my family and my friendships.  But the thought of raising a girl from birth seems, to me, infinitely more terrifying than raising a boy.

Comedian Jay Mohr once said that when you raise a boy, you worry about his penis.  When you raise a girl, you worry about everyone else's.  It's not only that, but also the possibility of high levels of drama and the fact that I grew up with a brother and know very little about being girly.

But I may be coming around to the possibility of one day being a father to a girl.  At Christmas, we hung out with The Wife's family, including her cousin and his wife, who have an adorable 3 (or 4?) year old daughter.  We were talking to them and they were saying that she is more into comic books and wrestling around than she is girly things.  If you gave her a choice between a Barbie doll and a Batman figure, she'd choose Batman.  She would also choose watching MMA over watching a Dora.  She's not a tomboy but then again, it may be too early to tell.  The point is she was absolutely adorable, into nerdy things and made me much less frightened about raising a daughter one day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bored Games

I recently downloaded two games for my iPhone -- one of which we had in my childhood but never really played (Monopoly) and the other we never had in my childhood but I was always interested in (Risk).  So I've started playing both in my downtime and I'm a little sad to realize that these two revered games have a huge factor of chance in them.  I thought both games were about acquiring the right properties/countries and exploiting them.  Well, yes there is that and there's also the random f'ing chance of rolling a 2 or a 12 and getting your ass bankrupted every time you land on Marvin Gardens and you have to mortgage both of your railroads just to stay afloat in the game while the computer AI "somehow" lands on its own properties every stupid turn.

So...where was I?  Oh yes, strategy.  I really thought both of these games had a lot more strategy to them and I'm a little bummed out to find out how random they really are.  Luckily they were both 99¢ but perhaps I'll have to keep looking for something a little more thought-provoking in my board games.