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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hep Kats

On Friday evening Gina, Garett and I went to The Thunderbird Cafe to see The Koffin Kats.

Vic Victor (in the middle) is a very attractive person with a fantastic stage presence. I stared-a lot.



Take a Listen

I usually don't have anything nice to say about Pittsburgh. I'm so tired of Yinzers and football. More so, though, I'm tired of hipsters.

In a search for something to do, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the notion of going to Lawrenceville (a hipster mecca) to see a band that dresses exclusively in skinny jeans and pompadours. When we pulled up to The Thunderbird Cafe, I was put-off by its proximity to Belvedere's and Crazy Mocha. Here I was in the middle of Hipsterville without a knit cap or a bullet can of Pabst Blue Ribbon!

As we walked the street and peeked into the windows of open and closed businesses, I began to fantasize about living here and being able to walk to a real bus-line, a Middle-Eastern restaurant, and a coffeeshop (that sells tshirts for some reason). I was scared and confused by my own musings. We hadn't even gone into the bar, yet.

After finding a cozy seat at The Thunderbird, I was thoroughly charmed by the bartender: a young man with a knit cap and a mustache. I was totally thrilled with all of the insanely attractive men with their Johnny Cash shirts with rolled-up sleeves, their wallet-chains, their thick and luxurious sideburns and their general good-grooming. Gina and I commented later that these men were unlike most of the men that we see in Pittsburgh that either always look as though they've just come from the gym or they've just exited a Fraternity House (with that amazing polo shirt/cargo short/flip flop combo). We questioned where they'd been hiding in our day-to-day lives.

For ten dollars we were able to see three bands that actually cared about putting on a good show and being entertaining. Three bands that played because they liked it and engaged the audience before and after their sets while watching the other acts. Three bands that did not play classic rock of ANY kind. Who knew that there was any band in Pittsburgh/visiting Pittsburgh at the club-level that didn't have Lynyrd Skynyrd in their repertoire.

The patrons were dancing, they were polite and pleasant with nice manners, and they were completely covered with clothes (sans one girl that looked as though she may have been "off," but attractive enough to ensnare a rockabilly boyfriend and pretend to like what he likes). There was no yelling, no cussing, no fights or Steelers chants. There was no body shots, no seductive dancing, no hardcore making-out in front of everyone. It was awesome.

What does this mean? Do I like hipsters? Do I enjoy their culture? Am I having an identity crisis?Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adventures in Bollywood

What I'm watching right this very minute:

(via Wikipedia)

Chandni Chowk to China


(Hindi: चाँदनी चौक टू चाईना, Chinese: 從印度到中國/从印度到中国) is a Hindi film which released on 16 January 2009. It is directed by Nikhil Advani and stars Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles, with Hindi cinema veteran Mithun Chakraborty and Hong Kong action cinema veteran Gordon Liu among the co-stars. In addition to being shot in China, many parts of the film were shot in Bangkok, Thailand,[3][4] although some of the China scenes were shot in sets in the Shanghai Film Studio.[4]
Distributed in the U.S. and co-produced by Warner Bros., it is the third Bollywood movie made and distributed in partnership with a major Hollywood studio, following Sony's Saawariya (2007) and Walt Disney Pictures' animated feature Roadside Romeo (2008).[5] It is Warner Bros. Pictures' first Hindi film.[4]



Plot

Sidhu (Akshay Kumar) is a lowly vegetable cutter at a roadside food stall in the Chandni Chowk section of Delhi. He longs to escape his dreary existence and looks for shortcuts with astrologers, tarot card readers, and fake fakirs, refusing to believe in himself despite his foster father Dada's (Mithun Chakraborty) best efforts. When two strangers from China claim him as a reincarnation of a war hero in the past and take him to China, Sidhu, thanks to devious translations by his con-man buddy Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey), believes he will be taken to an exotic land and feted as a hero. In actuality, the Chinese men want him to rid their Chinese village of the vicious smuggler Hojo (Gordon Liu).
Sidhu blissfully sets forth to China with Chopstick. Along the way he meets Sakhi (Deepika Padukone), the Indian-Chinese spokesmodel known as Ms. Tele Shoppers Media, or Ms. TSM, who is travelling to the land of her birth and of her presumed-dead [who is still alive] father and her twin sister, Suzy. Suzy, also known as the femme fatale Meow Meow, works for Hojo, not knowing Hojo tried to kill her father. Sidhu, through a series of lucky coincidences, initially manages to sidestep being beaten brutally up by Hojo, but Hojo eventually catches up with him and exposes him as the buffoon he really is. Hojo kills Dada, and a disgraced Sidhu, left for dead himself, vows revenge. He encounters an amnesiac vagrant who turns out to be former Police Chief Chiang (Roger Yuan), the father of Sakhi and Suzy. Chiang recovers his memory, with his Kung Fu skills still intact. Sidhu wishes to learn cosmo Kung Fu. Chiang takes Sidhu on as his apprentice, and after months of training, Sidhu decides to kill Hojo.
Hojo tells a lie to Meow Meow that Chiang killed her father. When Hojo meets up with Sidhu, Meow Meow hugs Chiang and stabs him in the back with a knife. Sidhu attacks Meow Meow, but Sakhi stops him. Meow Meow was shocked and figured out that Hojo lied to her. Meow Meow betrays Hojo and helps her father. They watch Sidhu battle Hojo. When Sidhu almost loses, his dada appears and tells him not to worship a potato and Chiang tells him to use the skill that is special to him. His specialty was chopping vegetables and cooking which helped him beat Hojo brutally in the end. In the end, Sidhu gains Sakhi's love.



The songs and costumes are beautiful, but with a 2hr 30min run-time, I have to wonder if I'm going to make it.

What profound and insightful message is being conveyed...that it must take over two hours? I mean, "Adventures in Babysitting," one of Elizabeth Shue's (alright, let's face her only) finest films chronicles five people's crazy night in the big city in under two hours. There's car chases, a Thor character, a blues bar, a stolen car ring, a black dude, a fancy yuppie party, a frat party, a fancy french restaurant, a break-up, a make-up, and a lip-synching musical interlude...in under two hours.

"Adventures in Babysitting," may be the greatest movie of all time.


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's Nothing That a Hundred Men or More Could Ever Do

I was walking past Eddie Bauer today and I casually looked in the window. I actually really like Eddie Bauer. I guess I'm kind of smitten with the idea of being incredibly outdoorsy. I like the idea of eating Clif Bars and wearing Merrells while I hike the trails of the Smokey Mountains. Probably more than actually doing those activities, I like the idea of looking really great in camp shirts, cargo capris, Keen sandals and a super thrown-together ponytail and bang combo. I want my clothing color palette to consist of olive green, brown, rust, and maroon. Granola.

Upon looking in the window, I saw the store's new add campaign: "Kilimanjaro: From the Desert to the Mountain." Around the clothes, there are photos of incredibly clean and good-looking models are wearing cargo clothing, linen and sandals. Eddie Bauer says,

"For Spring, we took a trip to the highest freestanding mountain in the world. Shop the travel-ready outfits we wore and the gear that got us there."

Really? By the looks of the window, a team of makeup and hair artists, personal stylists and models took a trip to Africa. I'll bet they slept in tents. Uh huh, tents.

How exotic! White People!

The Bourgeois Bohemian notion of "safari wear," usually entraps middle-aged women with a Banana Republic credit card and a husband in sales,


(Basically this kind of scenario. My Gawd, will she ever stop?)



but the models in this marketing campaign are much younger.

Yeah, you may have forty-thousand dollars in student loans, but you should dress like you're on your way to the farmer's market. That is, after your trip to the Sahara and sheet-rocking your foyer.

Feh.

All you ever needed to know about Africa, you can learn from Toto.


I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in twelve-thirty flight
Her moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say: "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you"

[Chorus:]
It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become

[Repeat chorus]

[Instrumental break]

Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you

[Repeat chorus]
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Swiss Miss, Abuelita, Nestle...can you hear me?


I have my cat pajamas, my cats, my kindle, my fuzzy socks, and my smug sense of self-worth. I've had a wonderful mexican dinner at El Campesino (with Mr. Garett), and yet, something is missing. It's Hot Chocolate.

All I want is some Hot Chocolate.

With some cinnamon (muy caliente! Mexican Hot Chocolate!) or maybe some delicious marshmallows, or maybe a few crushed oreos on top of some freshly made whipped cream.

Now that I'm chocolate-less, I find that my craving for this frothy treat has increased three-fold. I want it on a boat, with a goat, on a plane, on a train, in Spain, on the great plains, with David Blane. I want it every which-way-but-loose (isn't that that Clint Eastwood movie?).

Anyway, I love Mexican Hot Chocolate. Mexicans make delicious food, they like my big butt, and they're lovers (not fighters). Use this recipe and think of me when you're having an orgasmic experience.


Mexican Hot Chocolate

(Thanks Tyler Florence at The Food Network!)

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (tablet or cone) Mexican chocolate or bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Miniature marshmallows, for serving
  • 6 cinnamon sticks (preferably Mexican canela), for serving

Directions

Using a sharp knife, break up the chocolate into smaller pieces. In a saucepan, combine the chopped chocolate, milk, sugar, and salt over medium-low flame. Heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and milk is very hot, but not boiling, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and froth the chocolate milk with a mini whisk or molinillo. Divide the hot chocolate among big mugs, top each with a few marshmallows, and serve with the cinnamon sticks as stirrers



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Monday, February 28, 2011

Just a Friendly a Reminder

I realize that not everyone in the world has worked or works at a mall. I realize, too, that some people really enjoy the idea that they're ever-so-slightly better than those of us that must schlepp for pennies at the mall. Even so, going to the mall for purses, jeans, ear piercings, and decorative accessories is something that even the most "Beautiful People" must endure. Now, you've made it to the mall and you've parked your Land Rover/Lexus SUV/Volvo Station Wagon and managed to find the entrance...so, here are some helpful hints from one of "The Little People."

1. If you want to shop free some customer service representatives/sales associates then shop online and get the fuck out of the mall. We are hired by our respective companies to help customers and adhere to a strict customer service model. We are rated, watched, polled, secret-shopped and scrutinized at every turn (and we make less than $10/hour to do it). We are often hanging on a thread by how many credit card applications we can solicit. It's bullshit, but it's business and if we want to make money, we're stuck taking this ridiculous steps to keep our jobs. So throw us a fucking bone and be courteous when we're telling you about our sales, our credit cards and our specials. We're all human beings, so why is your time more valuable than mine?

2. If you know more about the product than I do, why the fuck are you asking me a question? Obviously, you're a god damned genius, so what do you need me for? Those hours and hours of training I've had, paired with working 20+ hours I work at this store per week have probably rendered me a complete idiot compared to your shopping here once a month and knowing absolutely nothing about the business or the product. What was I thinking?

3. I have a family and a personal life, too. It made be hard to believe, but I'm not super excited when you come in and start shopping three minutes before the store closes. I'm not an android that winds down when the doors close. I don't care if you, "just need one thing," or you, "just got-off work." I don't care if you just woke up from a twenty-year coma and really need a candle. I want to go home and take of my shoes. I want to have a coffee and chat with my friends. I want to have the life that you seem to treasure so much...that you can't manage to get to the mall until five minutes before it's scheduled to close.

4. There is nothing that you can purchase at the mall that requires raising your voice. EVER. You can be upset, you can be mad, and you can be irritated, but there is never an instance where yelling at an employee of a fucking store is appropriate. Who do you think you are? No, really. Answer the question.

Some of the things that people have said to me over the years I would not wish on my worst enemy. Well, maybe my worst enemy.

5. Everything that you can purchase at the mall is a luxury. If you can't afford to go to the mall, stay the hell out. The mall is not for browsing or looking without purchasing. That's what a museum is for. If you have a coupon, congratulations, use it and get the fuck out. I'm not interested in falling all over you so you can get 70% off an item that costs ten dollars to begin with.

Now, with these helpful hints, it's really only a matter of time before mall employees could become actual people! Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Foote-Note

To end a really nice overnight visiting friends at Muskingum University (nee Muskingum College), I went to see "Three Foote One Acts," featuring Muskingum students and faculty. After seeing, "John Turner Davis," "The Old Beginning," and "The One-Armed Man," I wanted to learn more about Horton Foote and his writing.




Foote's biggest achievement was writing the screenplay adaptation of, "To Kill a Mockingbird," which won him an Academy Award in 1962. To his credit, he has written for television, Broadway, off-Broadway, off-off Broadway productions and for feature films (Wikipedia told me that). I guess the main reason I've never heard of Foote's work is my general disinterest in Southern culture.


Seeing these plays today has really shown me what little I know about the South, its culture or its implications on the history of the United States as a whole. I don't care about fresh dew on the scuppernong, mint juleps, or moonlight on the magnolias. I do, however, need to be more open to the notion that the South has provided more for this country than good old-fashioned racism and Blanche Devereaux.


Alabama aside (what a wretched, wretched state), The South has some lovely attributes...I'll bet. I went to Louisiana in college and the taxi-driver was nice enough to give me a beer on the way to the casino (hooray for open-container laws) and give me his phone number. I'll bet that's a slice of that "Southern Hospitality," I keep hearing about.

Foote has given me the opportunity to re-think The South as a vital and lush piece of Americana that was far beyond Lynyrd Skynyrd, searing heat and fried food. A piece that is worth a second-chance.

Well, it's got to be better than Pittsburgh during football season. Best Blogger Tips
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