Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cards and Tacos and Beer c/o The Kite and Key

At some point last week, maybe Tuesday, L. suggested we play a little Rummy 500. We decided to return to the Kite and Key for this purpose. I, again, had the espresso stout and fish tacos. Unlike the last time, however, I won one round and lost another (last time L. won both times and I was furious...minus being furious). I really liked this glass.
The tacos were still excellent though, due to the much smaller amount of alcohol consumed, they weren't quite as amazing as I thought they were the first time round...still very good though.

Movies and Books, Oh My

I won tickets to see a sneak preview of Duplicity a few weeks back. The tickets were care of Philebrity. L. came along. This movie was like Oceans 11 only without as many funny guys. The method of story telling, of giving the viewer one set of information, then rewinding and filling them in...well, it was done one too many times for my taste. Julia Roberts and Clive Owen did good jobs of acting...Roberts is definitely older now, I was sort of surprised by how they didn't hide some of the signs of this (not that they should exactly, just that I would have expected they might). But the movie went on too long, and though the acting was good, I didn't really care about any of them. Never good.

Last night I watched What Happens In Vegas. It was entirely predictable. Cameron Diaz is buff as hell, as is Ashton Kutcher. There were a few laughs, no tears.
Terry Gross loves Richard Price, so I figured I should give one of his books a spin. It was a mystery, but not in that formulaic sense exactly...transcending that in favor of themes of redemption, or something. I need to be quiet.
This movie made me decide that Michael Cera is probably gay.
I love cheese. I love eating cheese with other people. I really wanted to like this movie. But it was like the first 2/3 of the movie was going one way, then all of a sudden the movie was pretty much over but completely different. I like Bonnie Hunt.
This movie was ridiculous.
This movie was not good either.
Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle really reenforced my not-so-secret desire to live in the country with a spouse and children and animals, which was totally not the point of the book. It also made me very aware of how the choices I make in my eating could be better, and certain steps I could take to be at least a little better. I don't think I have the capacity to be as strenuously local as Kingsolver's family was (especially with my new found love of grapefruit) but I'm hoping to do right by the city's local farmer's markets this summer...and maybe get better at making huge batches of things then freezing them for later in the year.
This movie was entertaining.
Here is a passage from Jasper FForde's The Big Over Easy. He is clever. Really, really clever.

"Dog Walkers Face Body-Finding Ban
Citizens who find a corpse while walking their dog may be fined if proposed legislation is made law, it was disclosed yesterday. The new measures, part of the Criminal Narrative Improvement Bill, have been drafted to avoid investigations looking cliched once they reach the docudrama stage. Other offenses covered by the act will be motorists declaiming in a huffy tone, "Why don't you cathc burglars/real criminals for a change?" when caught speeding, if there is a documentary crew in attendance. Civil liberatarians, motorist groups and dog walkers are said to be "outraged.""
Oh Jodi Picoult and the tangled webs of point of view and terrible things and court room drama and teenage occult you weave. She's good at it. Whatever.
James Macavoy is cute, but it's clear that he is short. How short is the question I'd like answered. How short?
Relatively entertaining...not really in terms of story, but in terms of individual actors' performances.
Craig Ferguson's Between the Bridge and the River was surprising. I don't know what I expected from a Scottish late night talk show host, but this wasn't it. The book definitely has a Tom Robbins feel to it, but with a Scottish twist?
Oh man, I finished the third season of The Wire and I feel a little empty inside.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Go To Music Shows Some Times

I very rarely go to shows. I've never quite been able to commit to knowing about bands that are awesome but still affordable to see. I have always relied on others to help me in this matter (M.Lady comes to mind, as do T., and J., oh and P. and B.). A few years back M.Lady introduced me to the music of Say Hi To Your Mom (now just Say Hi). Over the last year I've been listening to the motley collection of Say Hi's music that I have on my iPod a lot. It's the kind of music that just gets to me. If I'm not paying attention I can bob my head enthusiastically and feel all 'this-is-my-soundtrack-as-I-drive-to-the-grocery-store', but when I do pay attention (as best I can) and listen to the lyrics, my appreciation of what's going on grows. For example, one of his earlier albums is a concept album. About what? Um, vampires. Maybe you don't know this, and maybe it's not relevant or that special (it's not like I have the Joss Whedon appreciation market cornered) but I am fascinated by certain versions of vampires!

And, often I pick up and tune in just when the dude is singing a line that could have come right out of my diary, if I had a diary, which I don't, it's a journal. Besides the point. So, when I saw that Say Hi was coming to Philly I decided I wanted to go and asked A. and B. if they'd like to go as well. They were willing to come though they weren't familiar with the music, which I appreciated...since I am not sure I really would have gone all by my lonesome.
I have problems with live music. The sort of inner-neurotic-crazy sort of problems best kept right on inside. But I'll give you a taste, just for fun. Okay, so, when I am watching a band, whose music I like, perform, I am apt to do at least a few of the following things:
1. Begin to wonder why I am not a musician.
2. Begin to wish that (a la High Fidelity) I dated/was good friends with a musician (I think I fall into Dick's maybe I could be in the background somewhere).
3. Begin to wonder what I am doing with my own life and why I can't make things that make people want to be in the background of my world.
4. Begin to wonder if I'm staring too hard at the musicians/whether I seem like I'm enjoying myself in the midst of wanting to kiss somebody/make something amazing/crawl into a corner and bob my head.

It's not good. But it's kind of great. It's all very confusing.

The show was at Johnny Brenda's. It's a nice venue, far less scary than I had expected. I guess what I mean by that is that it wasn't too big, all the patrons seemed into the music but not overly into themselves, the bartender was nice and refilled my know, not scary.

I thought about taking the blue out of this shot. But then I decided not to. Then I decided to. Then I decided not to again.

Two especially enthusiastic fans wanted to be backup dancers, this was met with approval and up they went and danced for two songs.
At one point, I didn't get a good picture of this, the drummer actually got up and danced with them as well. It was sweet and funny, all at the same time.

I took nine million photographs in an effort to feel like I was doing something with my life.
But none of them came out awesome.
If Say Hi comes to your town, you should go see them.
You've got to be a cold hearted bastard not to enjoy the signs of spring...I know I really love days that don't darken until seven, for one thing. Last Sunday was a nice day, not overly warm but sunny, so I went on a walk around my neighborhood in search of signs of the season's true inclination and plan to switch over. There were flowering trees all over the place. This one had a nest in it. You know what that means? Baby birds. That's what that means.
I don't know if these are actually cherry blossoms, but they look like they are, so that's what I'm going to call them.
So, while I continue to have some serious pangs for Chicago, this walk did remind me that I like my actual neighborhood (Fairmount/Art Museum). It's all brick rowhouses with nicely painted doors and one way streets. I miss yards and alleys, but there is something very quaint and cozy about this version of urban life (though I'm not sure if I'd always want to be sharing a wall with somebody else). My struggle with Philadelphia is simply a struggle against my natural inclination to stay close to home and with people I know. In Chicago this led to my only knowing people from grad school and, to a lesser extent, people from Chicagoist. In Philadelphia this leads to my main social group being my coworkers (and what a good bunch of social groupers they are) with the occasional interaction with J & J (I have told them they are not allowed to move, I find these visits so valuable), and even less frequent contact with Mr. Ass, A., L. and N.

I think it would probably be better if I could pin-point what it is that I feel I am missing rather than to complain about what I do. This current angle on the topic seems ungrateful, which, actually, I am not. All these people entertain and engage me, so what if I work with them, or I don't see them quite as much as I'd like...I still see them. Could it simply be that I will be a little unhappy in any city or place until I have someone to hold my hand in it?

Chicken For Dinner

Last Saturday I roasted a chicken. To my cilantro garlic butter I added a new ingredient: ginger. It perked things up nicely. My mother gave me butcher's string for Christmas, which really makes trussing up a chicken easier...and flipping a chicken, that's easier too. I've found Whole Food's chickens to be quite good on the whole, the white meat is juicy (maybe that is actually a result of my amazing cooking prowess) and relatively plentiful considering the bird hasn't been on steroids for its entirely short life (or I assume this/maybe there's a sign that says it). I do feel, however, that the drumsticks on the last two chickens have not been quite as dense and bountiful as drumsticks I've had in the past. A fair enough trade-off I guess.

Pizza c/o Luigi's Pizza Fresca

Last Wednesday M. and A. came by to watch Lost. We ate pizza beforehand, half of which had mushrooms on it, half of which did not. It was delicious. Upscale pizzza? No. But above average? Yes. Good job Luigi's Pizza Fresca...and good job Lost for managing to pull me back in, just when I thought I was going to get out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

On St. Patrick's Day M. brought in a load of cupcakes properly green-ified. Oh and tasty. Do you see the green coconut flakes? Oh yeah, pure deliciousness.

Grapefruit, Tomato and Avocado Salad

In a surprising twist, it turns out that I love grapefruit. I used to go through phases when cutting one in half, lathering that half in sugar and eating it with a spoon seemed like a good idea, but take sugar out of that there equation and you'd be more likely to see me eat rock salted asphalt. I have taken to eating one most every work day, peeling it, freeing the grapefruit slices from their guardian pith and skin and relishing each morselful of citric membrane. A few weeks back I went to Costco and bought a bag of avocados. Last week, I was down to two avocados and one grapefruit. I thought the perfect way to take care of some of that produce (along with some of the Costco-purchased tomatoes I attained) was to try a new salad approach. Grapefruit, avocado and tomatoes with a few slivers of red onion, drizzled with a little champagne vinegar and sea salt.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guess What It Is!

I encourage you, dear reader, to guess what this is. Thank you very much for participating.

I Am A Brilliant Artist

This is a penguin and an ef, sitting in a walking bathtub.
This is a can, with eyes and a palmtree for hair.
This is Falcor, from the Neverending Story, only with a pig nose and more disturbing.
This is a matronly robot head on an overturned fire hydrant.
Just raise your hand if you think I'm awesome, look around...see? Everybody thinks so!