Thursday, August 30, 2007

I scarred Chatwoman.

From Liz Kelly's chat on the site...L

To the woman shopping with her boyfriend...: I used to bike 300 plus miles a week in my teenage years and 20s, and now, at 34, still look like I'm trying to shoplift a couple of flank steaks in my thighs if I wear normal flat-front pants.

However, I've found that Dockers, of all brands, makes a slightly-baggier, looser fit pair of slacks that doesn't look too bad. Also, Express for Men, if he's got a waist size of 36 or smaller, has some flat-front pants that don't look too bad.

Liz Kelly: Thanks for the help (and for the mental image of someone walking around with flank steaks strapped to one's thighs).

Instant Karma is Everywhere

Instant Karma, my favorite type, is popping up like Starbucks' in the late-1990s. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting instant karma.

For that, I thank Earl.

Instant Karma is a wonderful thing. Who doesn't love a quick pay-off? Let somebody merge in traffic, and somebody lets you change lanes without tailgating or blaring their horn. Help somebody pick up the contents of their accidentally-spilt briefcase and somebody holds the elevator door for you. Good ultimately begats good.

Instant Karma can also be a glorious mix of irony, schadenfreude and spite. Last night I saw a great instance of Instant Karma. While driving on MD 295, an unmarked police officer pulled out from the median strip and started heading down the road. The officer wasn't pulling anybody over; he was simply driving in the same direction as me.

Twenty seconds later, a late-90s Pontiac Grand Am was weaving in-and-out of traffic behind me, tailgating and making ridiculously unsafe lane changes. He got on my tail, and was so close to me that I couldn't even see his headlamps. I wasn't going fast enough for him, so he swung around, passed me and then got back over in my lane, coming scant inches away from my front bumper.

I watched him pull similar manuevers around the drivers in front of me for twenty seconds when he pulled something like that around the unmarked police officer. The Grand Am whipped around him, cut him off, and sped off similar to what he did to me and countless others. The police officer tracked him for a couple of seconds, watched him pull yet-another dangerous lane change, and decided he'd seen enough.

About 90 seconds after the Pontiac almost ran me off the road, he was getting pulled over. How many times have you seen some joker drive like a friggin' maniac, and said "where's the cops when I need them?" Well, evidently, the answer last night was "here."

Good job to the police officer who found this bozo.

Want more Instant Karma? Look at our friend Senator Larry Craig and his recent issues with lookin' for love in all the wrong places.

We've all heard now about his attempted homosexual daliance in a Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. We've also heard about his staunch anti-gay stance and continued opposition to gay rights.

Methinks the Queen doth protest too much.

The irony is delicious. The karma was instant.

However...I will defend Senator Craig a smidge.

While the whole concept of sex in a public bathroom baffles me (not to mention the obvious logistical and hygenic difficulties), if the toe-tapping, peeking through the stall and roller-bag placement are all widely-accepted signals for gay men to initiate a sexual encounter, then what did Senator Craig do wrong that hundreds of thousands of people do every night in bars, clubs and parties? He made a pass at somebody.

I've made passes at some women and failed. Women and some men have made passes at me, and have failed. Do any of us deserve jail time?

That's like being pulled over for doing 55 in a 55 zone because you *MIGHT* speed.

He didn't have sex with the police officer in public. He may have wanted to, or maybe he would have offered a romp at an airport hotel. The Senator flirted with somebody at an ersatz pick-up joint. His basic act was no different than a guy buying a drink for a girl at a bar and using a cheesy pick-up line.

If the Senator was engaged in public sex and the police found him, then that would indeed be an offense. But has just the *intention* of even wanting sex become a crime?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

30 runs?

Rough, rough day
to be an O's fan...

When I saw the score "TEX 27 BAL 3" on the TV, I thought the Ravens were getting crushed by the Texans.

The fact that there was no football game on TV left me saddened, and shocked.

It's a good thing Wild Bill didn't live long enough to see this.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Instrumental Analysis: Cedars Say Goodbye

Instrumental Analysis: Cedars Say Goodbye

From a local music blog, thought it'd be nice to mark the passing of a local favorite band.

Oh well, I'll always have their e.p. burned into iTunes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kid Nation, done before it begins?

From avideo clip, it looks like CBS' Kid Nation might get yanked due to child abuse concerns before it even airs.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Upcoming TV Season

My beloved roommate works at the USA Today, and she gets advance copies of upcoming tv shows every season. So far, we've got the CBS and ABC slate, nothing from NBC or Fox.

The CBS DVD contains full versions of Big Bang Theory, Viva Laughlin, and Cane.

Big Bang Theory - sitcom - The idea is that this recently-dumped, super hot girl moves in to an apartment next to these super-smart male scientists. Of course, these scientists are horrible with women and have no idea how to talk or interact with them. So, the idea of a vulnerable hottie next to these socially awkward brainiacs could be funny for an episode or two.

The problem with this show is that the smart guys are barely masculine at all - they all seem like the last thing they would be interested in would be a woman. And not because they'd be more into lab work, either. They truly act effeminate, which is almost an insult to the viewer. I'm not sure if that's the acting or directing, but it's a definite flaw. One guy is actually funny, the rest seem lame.

Cane - Drama - It's easily the best looking show on the CBS slate. It looks like a film, and it's the best acted and written script CBS offers. Could be a good show if they don't rush it. Jimmy Smits is a solid presenece on this show, though there has been some concern about him playing a Cuban.

Viva Laughlin - Drama/Musical - This is Hugh Jackman's production of a casino manager in the resort area of Laughlin, Nevada. It's supposed to be a musical drama, and before you can say "Cop Rock" this sucker will be gone. It's got pretty people, it's decently-shot and written, BUT, the idea of having a musical is for song-and-dance routines, right? Except these folks don't dance much, and the singing is actually karaoke. They have the original song going simultaneously, so these actors are pretty much mouthing the words. So, if the actor is singing an Elvis song, Elvis is singing right along with the actor.

It looks pathetic, though Hugh Jackman's cool.

Now, the DVD also contains sneak previews of Kid Nation and Moonlight. Moonlight is the tale of a kind-hearted vampire who solves crimes. Yeah.

Kid Nation is a reality show about children reviving a ghost town.

Yeah. I can't make that up. One could say Hollywood is out of ideas, though it's obvious CBS is. Couldn't they have made another CSI?

Now, for the ABC slate:

Pushing Daisies - Drama - Now this is completely unlike anything else on TV right now, and in a very good way. A young man has the ability to bring people back to life with a single touch, but if he touches them again, they die. If he doesn't touch them within a minute, somebody else nearby dies. He brings them back to life to find out how they died, and to collect any reward money for murder victims. Sounds morbid? It amazingly works. It's sublimely acted and written, and shot brilliantly. Vibrant colors, almost like a Tim Burton fairy tale movie with highlighters. Very likable cast...this could be a great show, kind of in an "Ed" and "Northern Exposure" way. Just don't "Moonlighting" it, because you can see the chemistry between the male and female leads.

Dirty Sexy Money - Drama - Great cast, interesting idea. An idealistic lawyer is hired by a wealthy family (think Kennedy or Rockefeller) and then has to keep them all from getting in trouble. One is on her third marriage, another is a terrible actress with suicidal thoughts, another is a young playboy, and another...well, he's about to be a Senator who's in love with a transsexual.

And he's played by a Baldwin brother. Two Baldwins in prime time!? What a world!

It's interesting...but I think it'll peter out. Too much plot too soon. It's got potential, but I think they'll make the pace far too dizzying. I can tell such things. Can smell it in advance.

Big Shots - Drama - Four youngish, handsome men with powerful jobs and a whole lot of issues. It's pretty sharp, actually. Great cast, sharp writing, not too much given away in the beginning. I was surprised Christopher Titus could act so well, but he pretty much rocks. Dylan McDermott, Michael Vartan, and That Guy From Every Aaron Sorkin Show star.

Sam I Am - Comedy - Christina Applegate is Sam. Sam was in an accident, and suffers from retrograde amnesia. Sam wakes up with no memory of herself or friends or family, and as she struggles to regain her senses, she finds out she was not a terribly nice person. It's cute, but given the amnesia story is pretty cliche, I'm not sure how long this can go. It is funny, though, and I laughed a couple of times more than I thought I would. Applegate is a pro, and she can charm her way through some awkward writing with a smile.

Cavemen - Comedy - Oh. Dear. God. This is perhaps the single worst show I've ever seen. Remember when Fox first got on the air and would play anything? That's this show.

See, Cavemen aren't extinct, they're a repressed minority. Now, take every stereotype you've ever heard about a repressed minority, and that's what happens to cavemen. It's simply a bunch of rehashed jokes with non-clever wordplay.

The only saving grace to this show is that the one caveman who's the political militant bitter caveman is pretty funny. The dorky caveman is a good dancer. The third caveman is just kinda klutzy. And that's the extent of it. I laughed once in the 25 minutes, and that's only because I have a stunted sense of humor, and was thinking of something else at the time.

Otherwise, this thing isn't funny, isn't well-paced, and isn't really quality. However, I said the same thing about "According to Jim" so WTF do I know? `

And the verdict is...

I'm not going anywhere, for now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Been a smidge quiet

I have been in a weird place recently. And I don't mean to Michael Vick's backyard, either.

As some of my friends know, I wasn't just in Minneapolis to see some old friends and eat some pork. I was there for a job interview. I didn't expect to get the interview, let alone the job, but wouldn't you know it, they offered me the gig!

Telecom, in the Midwest. Hmmm...seems I've done that before.

So, it shocked me even more when I accepted it. Who, in their right mind, moves to Minnesota before the winter?

((other than college students))


Just lil' ole' me.

However, the rub is my lease. I don't have a moving clause in the bugger, and it doesn't look like I'll be able to move without suffering a heck of a penalty. The new company offered to pay some of it, but it's still a lot of cash. More than I feel like losing.

So, unless there's a miracle tomorrow in the leasing agency, I'm going to be here, in the MidAtlantic for a bit longer.

I've been waffling on this potential move for a week. Appears that my decision is being made for me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

From DCFUD - Lookin' California, Feelin' Minnesota


How strange that an innocent trip to the Twin Cities this past weekend would be bracketed two of the biggest news stories of the year.

A simple two-day mini-vacation to see some old friends in Minneapolis and get some good food seemed like a grand idea, and the affordable direct flights to Minnesota courtesy of Northwest Airlines would be a fine way to spend as much time away from D.C. as possible. That is, until Northwest and its pilots decided to come to loggerheads over work schedules the very weekend I would depend on them for transportation. As the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport is Northwest's major international hub, local and cable news crews descended on passengers stuck in the expansive facility, trying to capture the mess as flights were cancelled like bad sitcoms on the WB.

Once in Minneapolis, I was whisked away to the Mall of America. Apparently it's illegal to visit the Twin Cities without going to this overgrown tribute to America's love of commerce and indoor theme parks. For those who have never been to the MOA, it's basically both Arundel and Potomac Mills combined after hanging out with Barry Bonds' trainer. The Mall changes stores like Sean Combs changes stage names, so while I missed the awesome hot sauce store that was there on my first visit in 1999, I didn't mind seeing the P.B. Loco Cafe' and its selection of peanut butters, ranging from the sweet Raspberry White Chocolate to the spicy Asian Curry, take its place. Waffles served with maple/peanut butter sauce...smoothies packed with fruit, chocolate and incredibly delicious peanut butter...yeah, that place could be dangerous if they opened up a location in D.C.

One place I had to try was J.D. Hoyt's, a casual steakhouse in Minneapolis' Warehouse District, just a few blocks from downtown. The place is nice, though very unassuming. It reminded me of Baltimore's late McCafferty's in the Mount Washington neighborhood, though this place appears to pay its bills. Pictures of the owners, famous guests and happy people dining on steaks the size of pizzas adorn the walls. J.D. Hoyt's is known for their pork chops, ribs and steaks, and the intoxicating mix of Cajun spices and meats from the kitchen made it tough to choose just one entree'. Service as provided by Roberta (though call her Bobby, remember, this place is unassuming) was smooth, efficient and friendly. And, I was pleasantly surprised when a "small" sampler platter of prime rib, baby back ribs and spiced pork chop arrived. Important to note - this "half" rack was the size of a full rack; the prime rib was baked and then lightly seared to temperature, and the pork chop was nearly a pound of fresh-from-the-farm carnivorous pleasure. The meal was solid - the prime rib was not as good as you'd expect from a true high-end steak house, but definitely right for the price. The pork ribs and chops, however, were just about perfect.

The friendliness of the Minnesotans was shocking. Talk flowed freely between tables and the few folks at the bar didn't remain strangers for long. Most conversation revolved around the groudbreaking for the new Twins baseball stadium, just a couple blocks away from J.D. Hoyt's, which was scheduled for this week. Kevin Garnett, the Minnesota Timberwolves star player, had not yet been traded to the Boston Celtics, but the rumors were flying. The chef came out to talk to each table, Bobbi gave me dining and tourism tips, folks at another table asked me for dining and tourism advice in D.C. During the night, a small group of young men came in to toast their Army buddy, just scant days away from being called to active duty in Iraq. People who had just met moments ago bought drinks for the young man, barely 21 years old, and though it was clear some patrons didn't support the war, they all supported their soldier.

So while I was saddened to find out tragedy struck Minneapolis soon after I left, I wasn't surprised to hear stories of heroic actions by folks caught up in mess of tangled vehicles and bridge, tending to those less fortunate. Of people rushing from the shore to help those who might be trapped under steel and concrete. Of prayer circles and support centers for those who may have lost somebody in the Mississippi River.

I drove across that bridge on Monday.

Feelin' for Minnesota

I was in the Twin Cities this weekend. Got to see some old Midwestern friends - not as many as I'd have liked to - but some nonetheless. I was impressed by how much Minneapolis is growing - some of the new designs are very progressive, much more daring than other Midwestern cities (Chicago being an obvious exception). Ate some good meals, met some nice people. I couldn't expect much more from a quick getaway.

I finally got to eat at JD Hoyt's, after almost 10 years of hearing about the place. Food was solid, service was great, and the people were ridiculously nice. The pork ribs, prime rib, and pork chops were all fantastic, though not as spectacular as expected.

And, of course I went to the Mall. Had to get some good peanut butter from their peanut butter store, and to see the Lego store.

I was on that darned bridge Monday afternoon before I left. Very odd sensation, really. Since no specific incident triggered the fall - at least, none that we know of yet - and it is so random, it makes me wonder why it just went when it did. What was so damning on Wednesday as opposed to Monday? Or Wednesday as opposed to today? Or next week?

Weird stuff. It wasn't a near-death experience for me, and certainly not traumatic, but it has made me pause for a second, definitely.

Still, you have to love the Minnesotans. Folks ran down to help those stuck, tried to get others out, assisted the emergency crews - even people who had been on the bridge when it fell helped others who were stuck. Others who couldn't help prayed or comforted those around them.

Doesn't that seem so expected, so natural, for a Midwesterner to act like that? To care for their neighbors before putting their own needs first?