Friday, October 09, 2009

Lawn Nipples

Inspired by a recent post on The Bloggess, I happened upon some interesting fungi growing outside my front door, and was amused at their uncanny resemblance to a certain body part.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Half-Blood Prince Takes Over

Once again Harry Potter invades my weeknight and deprives me of sleep so I can be one of the first to see the new movie, and once again I am impressed. There is a lot of story to tell, so the movie is long (I didn't get out of the theater until 3am). It also feels a little rushed in parts - there was no opportunity to flesh out the character of Fenrir, or the relationship between Tonks and Lupin. Entirely too much time is spent on Draco and his agonizing as well as his frequent visits to the mysterious cabinet hidden in the Room of Requirement.

The overall mood of the film is dark and foreboding. There is a slow build-up to the climax, so the sad event is less of a shock (in case you have been under a rock and don't know what is coming) than the death of Sirius in the last film. The crowning achievement of this film will be the acting accomplishments of its cast. Almost everyone delivers a completely solid performance and a few of them just hit it out of the park. The younger cast have come so far since the first movie, and although they are meant to carry the film, the major kudos go to the older cast. The most heartbreaking scene goes to Jim Broadbent, with Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon following close behind. I'll be seeing this one again (and again, and again) for sure.

Now to just comment quickly on the fans. I saw almost no children at the premiere, and it was a little funny to see how many adults were in costume. I suppose now the books have been out long enough there are a lot of kids (who are no longer kids) who have grown up with the series, much like we did with Star Wars. One pet peeve I have about these events are the seat hogs, though. I showed up nearly an hour early, and was still stuck in the breakneck seats due to all the parents holding entire rows of seats for their teenage children and all their friends (who enjoy getting up and down about 20 times before the previews start, stepping on your toes each time). Parents, make your grown child save their own damn seats and save yourself the trouble of looking like an absolute jerk.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

MJ Memorial

I was afraid when I heard about the Michael Jackson memorial being televised from the Staples Center that it would turn into another circus act in a line of shameless promotion riding on the coattails of his death, and I committed myself to watch none of it. However, curiousity got the best of me and I tuned into part of it. I suppose in some way he belonged to the world, and this was a way of allowing all the world to take part in saying goodbye. Like so many fallen stars, however - I feel most of the sentiments are too little, too late. A few moments moved me, including Rev. Sharpton's personal comment to Michael's children (and that is the only time I will ever admit being moved by Al Sharpton). I don't think there was a single dry eye when his daughter spoke, and I admire her for being able to emote so intimately in front of a world her father took pains to shield her from. My favorite moment came in the form of my favorite MJ song - one I used to play over and over until my Thriller tape was worn out. I'm glad we were able to send him off with dignity.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Waxing Nostalgic

Lost in the 90's today. Love this one - wish they would have stayed together longer...

And there's nothing quite like classic Sarah:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ladyheat @ Rudyard's

Went out last night to see an old friend play in his band before they depart H-town for LA. Started out at Maria Selma's for some Mexican fare, and had the ceviche (very yummy) and duck flautas, which were basically glorified taquitos, but the mole' sauce was good, and I normally can't stand mole'.

Rudyard's was not completely crowded, but close to it, and they seriously need to do something about their parking situation (unfortunately that applies to MANY places in town as well). It's a total dive, as many good places in town are. The bar was open downstairs with a good crowd on the patio (ah, the weather here in April - you can't beat it!). The bands were playing upstairs, and there was a $12 cover - a bit high I thought, but as it turns out there were three bands instead of two. The first band either did not announce themselves very loudly, or I simply did not catch it, and they weren't advertised to be there so I'm at a loss for identifying them. They had a very eclectic range, with some of the faster songs bordering on a punk sound. When they slowed it down it was somewhat reminicent of '80s Prince and The Cure. They had a very interesting set, to say the least.

Ladyheat took the stage and woke the crowd up. Blake on lead vocals has the punk swagger down perfectly, and didn't miss a beat between hanging from the rafters, writhing on the floor, grinding with the ladies, and playing jump rope with his mic cable. The punk influence on their sound is apparent, but with a modern, more melodic spin much like Jet. They do not disappoint a live crowd, nor do they skimp on audience participation. There is a fantastic energy to their show, and by the end of the first song they had the whole room on their feet.

Because I'm old like that, and because it was a freaking Tuesday night, I didn't stay for all of the Mike Watt set. His influence on the Chili Peppers is widely known, and he had the crowd jumping as I made my way out. I love a night full of good music and good food.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Billy Bob Thornton is a Jerk

For someone who has made an enviable career in the movie business to suddenly jump into music and then pretend to have been a musician all along, this guy takes the cake. There is a fantastic tradition of actors (Keanu Reeves, Jenny Lewis, Russell Crowe, Kevin Bacon, Jared Leto... the list goes on and on) who transition into music and vice versa (Willie Nelson, Jessica Simpson, Dwight Yoakum, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick, etc.). Typically the majority of these individuals don't put up a lot of fuss if their "other" profession is named, since it usually attracts more fans to the other genre. Some act odd about it, hence the most recent debacle of Joaquin Phoenix and his "rap" career, but I've never seen anyone treat an interviewer like this guy did. His acting credentials are mentioned ever so briefly, and then all the questions that follow are music-related. Thornton answers none of them. When it finally becomes obvious the reason he is being so difficult is because his acting was mentioned, the VERY patient interviewer asks if he should not have mentioned it at all, to which Thornton rudely replies yes. He then compares himself twice to Tom Petty, who has a LONG career of music (and who, by the way also ventured into acting - but I don't recall Tom Petty ever being upset at being referred to as a musician rather than an actor). He then makes sure to tell the guy he has recorded five albums. I haven't heard of any of them, have you? I'll tell you what I have heard of - Sling Blade, Armageddon, Monster's Ball, Bad Santa, and the host of other films Thornton has been a part of. To pretend as if that is not what he's known for is to basically thumb his nose at all his fans of his previous work. He may not be a well-known musician, but he certainly has the prima donna attitude of a spoiled Hollywood actor. What a prick.

Link to Thornton Interview on

UPDATE 4/13/09: Billy Bob cancels tour. Karma much?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Eminem Hiatus Over?

New Eminem vid surfaced recently, and it looks as though he spent most of his down time watching reality TV and reading entertainment gossip. The video is funny, and naturally will piss off a few people, but I'm wondering if this new sound is "nerd rap". Watch and decide for yourself.

Link to original story on Jezebel

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Blackberry Goodness

I never tire of finding new crap to load on my BB, and it's even more fun when the crap is free. I recently got on Twitter, which may or may not be a bad thing, but I'm all about the newest techno trends, so for now I'm just going to go with it. Anyway, it's absolutely necessary to have a good phone application when dealing with real-time updates, so I checked around online for the most appropriate app. I've been using Twitterberry, and it is working great for me so far. I'm sure there are more involved applications, but since I'm just starting out I only need the basics. Another great little thing I found (from a fellow Twitterer) was the Blackberry App World. This is also a free download which has direct links to several great app downloads. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I heart you, BB.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Things to remember today...

The sun will come up tomorrow.
My dogs will always be happy to see me.
I will go to Santorini someday.
My past does not define me.
I have a wonderful family who will do anything for me.
The best is still yet to come.
There's always Cartoon Network.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Greek Pasta Salad

When I visited Arizona recently, we made a fabulous pasta salad at my aunt's house with a bunch of stuff we found in her fridge. I wanted to try to recreate the recipe, and I think I came fairly close, with a few additions/changes of my own. It made a HUGE bowl full, so I'm glad it's good because I'll be eating it for a while. Good thing pasta salad is even better after it's been refrigerated!

Greek Pasta Salad

1 lb. penne pasta
1 bellpepper (I prefer the colored ones instead of green - less tangy taste)
1 pkg. baby portobella mushrooms (sliced)
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts
3 oz. pitted Kalamata olives (about 24 olives)
2 Tbsp. non-pareil capers
10 oz. feta cheese
1/4 cup black beans (canned/cooked)
1/4 cup yellow corn (canned fresh)
1/4 cup pico de gallo
olive oil
garlic/garlic powder

boil pasta, drain
saute mushrooms and diced bellpepper in olive oil and garlic until slightly tender
mix all ingredients in large bowl with drained pasta
add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

Theft and Unhelpful Glass Repair

This past Wednesday I awoke to find my car, along with ten others in my complex, had been broken into. My driver side window was smashed, and the thief reached in, opened my console, and took my 30G iPod, the iPod case, the holder attached to my AC vent, my iPod FM tuner, and even my stupid plastic sunglasses. Not to mention ruining my morning, and being out the cost of the stolen items, I am also having to come up with the money for my window repair. I immediately filed a report with the police, who actually sent officers out to assess the damage and attempt to take fingerprints.

The very next thing I did was to find a glass repair place as soon as possible. I managed to find a somewhat reasonable quote from Safety Glass Company, who has offices throughout Texas. They got back with me rather quickly, and made an appointment to come to my residence and do the repairs on Friday afternoon between the hours of 1pm and 5pm. Although I was not happy about being sans window for the rest of the week, I was happy to just have it done before the weekend since I had made plans to go out of town. On Friday afternoon, when I had not heard back from anyone by 3:30pm, I called to find out if there was a problem. The lady at the office told me they were running behind due to overbooking, and she would have the technician call me back immediately. When the gentleman called, he explained that he was out in Sugarland, did not have the glass with him, and did not think he would be able to make it to fix mine before dark. I told him I did not care that he had overbooked, it was not my problem, and I needed my car repaired that day. I spoke again to the lady in the office, and she wanted to assure me that the glass would be repaired that evening, but she wanted to make sure I was not going to "yell" at the technician. Apparently he has a fear of aggressive females. Later that evening, I got another call from a different technician stating that he had been given this job at the last minute, that the glass was unavailable, and that he would have to do it in the morning. I went off on the guy. I tried calling the office AGAIN, but naturally it was closed. I spoke again to the second technician, and explained my situation in a calmer manner, and he assured me he would take care of it the following morning even though it was his day off.

I never heard back from anyone all weekend. Now I'd like to tell everyone not to use this sorry service for ANY glass repair, as they are obviously not interested in customer service. Also, as a precaution, don't leave items plugged into the charge outlets in your car. It is an open invitation to thieves that you most likely have electronic devices in your car. Each person whose car was broken into in our particular situation all had items plugged into their car outlets.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Bronx Tale

I went to see A Bronx Tale last night at the Hobby Center. It's essentially a one-man show starring Chazz Palminteri narrating a semi-autobiographical story from his youth. Some may recall the movie with the same name starring both Palminteri and Robert DeNiro from 1993. I enjoyed the movie, but wasn't sure how it would translate as a one-man play. Since the story is his own, and Palminteri is a wonderful character actor, he pulls it off quite successfully. There were many funny parts, and he has the mannerisms of each character down perfectly as he switches from one persona to the next. There is a moment at the end where you could hear a pin drop in the theater, and even though you may anticipate the climactic moment, it still makes you jump in your seat. He was wonderfully warm to his audience, and even invited people to wait by the stage door for autographs.

Monday, February 02, 2009

My WTF?! For the Day...

There are no words...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Apple Dump Cake

This was an easy recipe I got from a coworker, and it makes a yummy dessert or coffee cake. The main prep work is peeling apples. The rest is a breeze, and mostly stuff you probably already have in your cabinets:

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 cups apples, peeled and sliced fairly thin

Sift together flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix everything except apples in a large bowl until even. Stir in apples. Add nuts or raisins if desired.

Spread mixture into a greased 13x9 inch pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour

I used 6 honeycrisp apples because I like their sweetness, and it was just enough. I was also able to fit the cake into an 11x8 inch pan (2 inches deep) and it turned out fine. It is wonderful reheated!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Poor Stains - No cupcakes for you :(

I look forward to watching "The Soup" on E! every week, because it keeps me from wasting valuable hours of my life watching all the mindless drivel on TV - I get all the highlights with hilarious commentary. Anyway, this part left me rolling. The expression on the dog's face is priceless.

Embedding disabled. To watch the video click here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New year, new beginnings, and Scott Weiland is the coolest!

No posts for over a month, sorry. The day after my last post was the day my dad died, and the two weeks leading up to the holidays were difficult ones for that and several reasons. The holidays were very good, however - actually just what I needed. With the beginning of a new year came the promise of good things to come, and I am hopeful now as I have not been for a while.

Over the weekend I was fortunate to see Scott Weiland (finally) after many years of somehow missing each and every Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver concert. This was my second concert at Warehouse Live, and I love the venue. It is small enough that no matter where you stand you have a good view, but large enough to support big names like him. He played a lot of his new songs, but also played to the crowd with a few STP tunes, and even some covers from bands like The Smiths. His opening band wasn't one I'd heard of, but reminded me of some early Killers stuff. Scott's new music is quite a bit more toned down than his Velvet Revolver stuff, and he seems to be having a lot of fun with the music and the band he has put together. Certain songs you can tell he enjoys doing, because it seems like they are "jamming" similar to a jazz band, and he stretched those moments out way more than when he was playing the older material. For one thing, he absolutely does not disappoint, and that is his incredible stage presence. He never stands still - he moves all over the stage, interacts with his musicians, the crowd, and the music almost simultaneously, all the while looking as cool as possible. The other puzzler is how he manages to not only smoke cigarettes in a non-smoking venue (who would tell him he couldn't, really?) but also to take a huge drag and then proceed to belt out very long notes. I hope he continues to make music for a long time to come, and that his drug issues are behind him, because he's an incredible talent and phenomenal performer.