Monday, March 31, 2008

February Round-Up

Another month, another last minute attempt to get a round-up written. One of these days I'll stop procrastinating. But I'll deal with that later.

Movies Seen: Thirteen, with none in a theater. My favorites were "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford" and "King of Kong." "King of Kong" is just pure fun, so watch it already, but I can see "Jesse James" driving people nuts with boredom. However, as anyone who knows me probably knows by now, I have a high tolerance for the boring. Of course, to me, it isn't boring, but more along the lines of mesmerizing. Funniest thing about the movie, though, was what I read on an acquaintance's blog. He was talking with a coworker about his weekend, and how he had seen "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford," and his co-worker replied, "Oh really? What's that about?"

As for the worst, that would be "Factory Girl," a movie so bad it made me want to sit through three hour Andy Warhol movies about nothing. There's bound to be more entertainment in those.

Books Read: Two. But one was over 500 pages, so it should really count as two books. Especially since the book is "The Post-Birthday World," and it essentially IS two books, telling the story or the parallel lives of one woman who either does or does not decide to kiss a male friend on his birthday. We see how her life would have played out if she did kiss the guy, and if she didn't. It was slow going at first, and actually took me two attempts to read it, but once I got over the hump, I really enjoyed seeing how her two lives played out. I probably liked it as much as I did because I have the unfortunate tendency to daydream about what my life would be like if I had only done this, or had not made such and such a decision way back when. I don't think it's a wise preoccupation--it can often lead to feelings of regret, and really, who wants to live a life full of regret? But, of course, looking at your past actions can help you make the right decisions now....at least, that's the hope, isn't it?

The other book was "Spook" by Mary Roach. It's the second book I've read by her (the other being "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers") and she's easily one of the best non-fiction writers out there. I highly recommend anything and everything by her. Nothing beats learning something new, and laughing the entire time.

Fancy Dinners Out: Just one, at Spork, which sits in the location of an old Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think we had scallops, which were fab, and a housemade pasta, which I am always a sucker for. The only disappointment was the desserts. I think there was a brownie, and some ice cream. YAWN...

Live Shows Seen: Two. One was Was (Not Was) at Cafe du Nord, which was a last minute concert-going experience as I didn't even know they were in town until the day of the show. Fortunately, for us, it doesn't seem a lot of people were aware of it, because the show was pretty empty, which was unfortunate for the band. Regardless, it was a good show, and a definite blast from the past.

The other was "Giselle" at the San Francisco Ballet. I haven't been to a lot of ballets (one of these days I'll tell you the heartbreaking story of the time I stood in the pouring rain during high school in the hopes of getting tickets to see Baryshnikov, and was denied...TWICE) but I was kind of obsessed with ballet as a kid, and continue to love it now. Dancing is so much more tolerable when there isn't any singing involved.

I had read that Yuan Yuan Tan, the dancer playing Giselle, left much to be desired, but I was pretty impressed with her, especially this one move she made during the second act's pas de deux. I looked at YouTube clips of the same pas de deux danced by others, and none of those dancers did what she did. Unfortunately, the only clip of it I can find of her on YouTube is kind of crappy, and doesn't allow embedding, so if you're at all interested, go here, and the move happens at about the 3:45 mark, when she's being lifted. She does something that really makes it appear like she's made of something ethereal, like smoke, which is appropriate since she's supposed to be a ghost at that point of the ballet.

If you compare that moment to the same moment danced by Natalia Makharova (and Baryshinokov) you can see Makharova doesn't have the same fluidity of movement. (Clip below, and the move happens near the end of it.)



Now, one little move doesn't negate some wooden moments in Yaun Yaun Tan's performance of "Giselle," but when a dancer can do something that you've never seen before, especially in a ballet so canonical, well, I think that's pretty impressive.

Shoes Bought: NONE! But that's something I will make up for in the following month, I promise.

There's No Such Thing As a Fancy Taco

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist.

Warning: Ethnic cuisine discrimination ahead.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Addictive



Originally uploaded by rattlingdjs
I've found a new time-waster that is insanely addictive. I can't even remember how I first heard about it--probably Boing Boing, or something like that--but it's a Flickr pool called Name That Film where people post random images from movies, and others guess what movie they're from. Sounds simple and boring, but it's actually quite fun, and often damed near impossible since movie buffs love to stump people with really esoteric films and completely oblique shots. For the most part, the movies I've guessed have been pretty easy, but I'm pretty proud of coming up with the movie the above shot was taken from.

Anyway, poke around the photos, and if you have a Flickr account, try your hand at guessing some. You might surprise yourself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Almost As Fun As a Jesus Jell-O Mold!

Today was Easter. Didya hear? Me and much of the family gathered at my parents' for a feast that included ham, potato salad, mac and cheese, roasted asparagus, and green bean and brie casserole. YUM!

Today was also the annual "BYOBW" race in which adults bring their own Big Wheels and other plastic-wheeled kids' vehicles, and ride them down a crazy crooked street. Last year it was on Lombard Street, but it comes as no surprise that they got complaints and they had to move it. Luckily, they moved it to Vermont and 20th on Potrero Hill because that's two blocks from my parents' place. We went up and joined the crowd (a HUGE crowd it was) and checked it out. Below is some video. (I'm sure you can find other videos on YouTube shortly.)

It's a pretty obstructed view, but you can get the general idea. Hundreds of people on tiny toys riding down a very crooked street. Some of them were dressed as animals; some rode garbage cans instead of Big Wheels; and some rode tiny wheeled vehicles that were closer to toy trucks than anything a human being should ever mount and guide down a hill. All to the haunting strains of my parents' dog's constant barking. In all, it was pretty damn rad, and it's just another reason why I love living in this city...

ETA: Since I have TiVo, I rarely watch commercials, but last night I caught that commercial about some kind of SUV which features a bunch of people riding down a hill on Big Wheels and other toys. Let it be know, the S.F. Big Wheel races came first, and there aren't any SUVs carting people's lazy asses back up the hill here.

It's the Smile on the Mona Lisa!

This week's Tube Tops post is up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

And for the record, I wanted to use the word "douchebaggery" in that write-up for "The Apprentice," but both my editor and I agreed it would be a little much for the "TV Week" cover in the Sunday paper. Especially on Easter Sunday. So I had to come up with a synonym, and that led to the realization that there really isn't a word that says as much as "douchebag" does; it really is a perfect little word. (Ultimately, we went with "boorishness." Not quite as poetic, but whaddyagonnado?)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Of Chicken Piccata and Raw Beef

This week's reality TV locals round-up comes in two tasty servings. Part one focuses on "America's Next Top Model," and you can read on SFist here.

And part two is all about "Top Chef" and its four local chefs. Read it here.

Warning: Questionable uses of raw meat and chicken ahead.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brought To You By the Old AT&T

Kind of a "Lost" spoiler ahead, so warning if you haven't watched tonight's episode yet...

But I knew he was dead the minute I saw his cell phone. Just like I knew the "flashbacks" in the final episode of season three were flash-forwards the minute I saw Jack's cell phone. And I think the show has officially used up all of its cell phone-based clues from here on out.

I think some people are complaining that the whole flash-forward, flashback mixaroo and reveal at the end was nothing but a huge gimmick, and perhaps it was. But it was saved by Yunjin Kim's performance at the gravesite. It had me crying like a stunt baby covered in strawberry jam.

So, I assume Aaron is officially one of the Oceanic Six, then? Not sure I like that. Alas, next week is the final episode we can expect for a while, and it looks to feature a lot of Michael, which I'm not too happy about. I just wonder if Taller Walt is wandering around that boat somewhere...

Gnome If You Want To

This might be the most perfect "creature caught on tape" footage ever taken. EVER. The story involves some weird "gnome" that has been terrorizing a South American town.

A GNOME.

Awesome.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

It's the Nile!

This week's Tube Tops post is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

And I can't say I'll be sad to see all the talk about "The Wire" finally stop. Life, and TV, goes on...

Friday, March 07, 2008

TMTH!

Oh, Danny Noriega, I'm gonna miss you.



(If you can't bear to sit through the whole thing, at least skip to the very end and watch his reaction to Ryan Seacrest's "not noticing" his hair color.)

The Stupid Sun Can Suck it

OK. I shouldn't really blame the sun. I guess I should tell stupid William Willett to suck it, since he's the one who proposed the whole Daylight Savings thing to begin with. The point is, I could not care less about an extra hour of daylight in the evening if it means I have to lose an hour of sleep in the morning. I can't deal. For the past couple of years, the DST change has just been kicking my ass, resulting in at least a week of complete fatigue, and constantly feeling like I've just come off a transcontinental flight. In short: I hate it. And the fact that it comes weeks earlier thanks to goddammed G.W. Bush makes me hate it even more.

Also? The whole thing doesn't do a lick of good in lowering energy consumptions and costs. Apparently, it actually raises utility bills. So, we continue this charade why, now?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sad Hawaii

This week's Streets of San Fauxcisco post is now up on the SFGate Culture Blog!

In other news, I'm starvin' heyah. I've got nothing to eat in the house, and can't seem to muster the energy to go to the store. That's the one bad thing about working at home: I don't have an entire cafeteria full of freshly cooked, organic foods a few floors below me like I do at the office...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It Must Be Fate That All the Great Should Graduate in '88

A discussion on another blog about the TV Land reality series "High School Reunion," which premieres tonight, caused me to realize that this year would be my 20th high school reunion, if our high school had any kind of alumni association, which it doesn't, thank god. TWENTY YEARS! That also led me to realize that come next year, I will have officially been going to college for 20 years. And that led to the realization that I should just kill myself. Or at least plan ahead and book a big hall for a combined retirement/graduation from college party.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

This week's reality TV locals post is now up on SFist!

Warning: Questionable use of human hair (not on) ahead.