Monday, October 30, 2006
There Goes the ...
After 17 months of being engaged — and 15 years of not-dating dating, according to one toast — Mitzi and Jason are now married and the wedding is all over. And I have to say, in spite of all my mockery and comments, it was actually really nice. I mean, no expense was spared, but it was a classy affair, and just a really, really great night. I was impressed and many of the folks there said they were too.
To answer some basic questions, the guest list included 272 people, the colors were brown and pink, the bride looked amazing, the band rocked, the pigs in blankets were good but the burger bar was even better, I didn't sleep with any of the bridesmaids, I was told "you're next" just twice, I drank three shots and half a martini yet still stayed sober (they were clearly very weak drinks), the bride and groom danced to "When You Say Nothing at All" from the Notting Hill soundtrack, and my speech went off without a hitch — and I actually got some laughs. The paparazzi were out in force, of course (hey, that rhymes!), and you can see some of the pictures here. For any other details, you'll just have to ask.
Oh yeah, and as it turns out, the happy couple was, in fact, NYT–worthy. You can click here to read the blurb that appeared in Sunday's paper.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
What Time Is It?
One Ounce Makes All the Difference
Friday, October 27, 2006
Here Comes the ...
Of course, I'll be posting some kind of report (even if it's a brief one), but if you just can't wait, then head on over to the "Weddings & Celebrations" page of Sunday's New York Times. (Not today. Do it on Sunday.) I'm told there's a better-than-average chance that something may be there.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
All These Things That They've Done
Which I hope doesn't overshadow the fact that the Killers did put on a great show. Sure, the sound wasn't clear enough for me to really hear Brandon Flowers singing or talking, but damn, the one-two punch of "When You Were Young" and "Somebody Told Me" truly got the crowd going, as did the band's other hits "Mr. Brightside," "Smile Like You Mean It," and the new single "Bones" (which I totally love). And it was cool that they did "Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll" (off the re-issue of Hot Fuss), and that they closed with "All These Things That I've Done," which left me on a real high. But I really wanted to hear "The River Is Wild" and "Andy, You're a Star," among others, so that was a bummer.
Some other thoughts: Flowers is a fun frontman to watch. He's so straight-laced and earnest in his performance that you're tempted to think he's not enjoying himself, but then he does a variation on what Whitney called "the Dave Matthews jig" and it's pretty fun. With his long sleeve shirt and vest, the guy had to be hot up there on the stage. Also, man, does the mezzanine of the Orpheum shake. We were in row B, and at various times during the show, I stopped bopping and still was vibrating. It's pretty scary. Granted, the Orpheum has probably seen rowdier shows than the Killers, but damn ... one of these days the mezzanine is going to come crashing down. I just hope I'm not there when it does.
So anyway, is it so wrong for a performer to leave its audience wanting more? I suppose that's the mark of a good show, right? Still, I think in this case the concert would have been truly great had it been just 15 minutes and maybe three or four songs longer. Then the band would have truly, ahem, killed.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Bundle up ... Today is my least favorite day of the year. It’s the first really cold day, when all of a sudden my fall jacket isn’t warm enough and I should have put on more of a coat (and maybe also used a scarf). Still, I’m stubborn (if you couldn’t tell from previous postings) and I refuse to wear a coat until November. So I’ll tough it out for another week.
Bring on the bride ... It’s nice to go to the dentist and have your hygienist tell you “Your teeth are always uneventful.” Shows that even though I may not floss every day, I generally do take good care of my teeth. Now, if only I could do something about the tartar build-up ... But anyway, so now I’ve been to the dentist. I’ve gotten my hair(s) cut. I have new glasses. I have a new tuxedo shirt. My tux has been cleaned and pressed. My shoes have been shined. I’ve found my cufflinks. I’ve (mostly) written my speech. You know what this all means: I think I’m ready for Mitzi’s wedding this weekend.
If it ain’t broke ... Cosi has added to its menu and now offers pizza and melts in addition to the basic sandwiches and salads. I tried the cheese pizza today and I have to say: eh. (Yeah, it hasn’t been a good week for trying new lunch things.) Sure, the dough was awesome (and even better than usual since it was toasted and crustier), but the sauce was chunky with tomatoes. And more importantly, there was too much of the sauce and not enough cheese. I say there was nothing wrong with the menu before, so Cosi should stick to what it already did well.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Don't Believe the Hype
Not that the experience wasn’t good for a laugh. For starters, it’s like going to the Soup Nazi. The place operates with a strict procedure: you wait in one line to order and pay, then you go across to the other side until they’re ready to make your sandwich, then you wait in double lines and specify what you want or don’t want. And forget it if you don’t follow the instructions. And also, be prepared if you want your sandwich specially prepared, like I did. After I told the woman I didn’t want the tomatoes and the cheese and the avocados, I got such a look from her. I felt like a pariah.
So anyway, that’s my verdict: Chacarero doesn’t live up to the hype. You can’t always trust a long line. I take my lunch pretty seriously, and I don’t think I’ll be running back there anytime soon. (And if you think that's bad, JPP only ate half and threw out the rest.)
Then again, apparently some of us do need to be told. According to a survey done by Expedia, one-third of American workers (that's 33%) do not always take all their vacation days. In fact, it's estimated that U.S. employed adults will leave a cumulative total of 574 million vacation days untaken in 2006 (an average of four per person). And what's most amazing is that employed adults in the U.S. receive the fewest vacation days among all the countries surveyed (an average of 14 in the U.S. vs 39 in France, for example. Thirty-nine!!!).
Personally, after all the bad news I heard last week (not just this, but other stuff I can't post about just yet), a vacation sounds like a great idea. Who's with me?
Saturday, October 21, 2006
They Could Be Heroes
But as storytelling, I found the film lacking. Flags is based on the book by James Bradley and Ron Powers about Bradley's father. But instead of Bradley narrating the whole movie, there are multiple narrators, a device that initially throws you off to who is telling the story. And in fact, that Bradley is writing a book is never really made clear. There's a jump in plot and all of a sudden he's speaking with various veterans. And then about three-quarters of the way in, he becomes the narrator. Also, I usually don't mind when the story moves around in time. Heck, the TV show Lost does it in every episode. Here, however, the movie jumps from one time period to another and then to another, and that takes away from the impact Eastwood wants to make. I always sort of felt like I didn't know what was going on because there were things left unfinished. The first five minutes or so, with Doc Bradley's heart attack, are especially confusing. It's unclear why it's being shown at all. But more importantly, I just didn't feel like the three main characters were fleshed out enough. As a result, they're not compelling. I get the symbolism of the faceless soldiers in the picture, and how they could be anyone, but these three guys needed more of an identity for this movie to really work.
Maybe I'm not making sense here. I just found Flags, ahem, not all it could be. I'm giving it a B.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I can't say that I have any idea what it must have been like for Marc, or his friends and family, but I know it was hard. Marc was apparently taking an aggressive course of action to beat his cancer. He had moved back home with his family in New York, would get chemo and radiation in the city, and travel often to Houston for experimental treatments at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Eventually, those proved useless; Marc stopped going for treatment at the end of the summer. David told me that in his last couple months, Marc was in a lot of pain, so I take comfort in the fact that now he is at peace and no longer suffering.
While I know I could have been much better about staying in touch with Marc these past couple years, I also know it'd be too easy to post something here about regrets in that regard and turn this into a posting about me and not him. Still, to put it mildly, the news was a real bummer, and as you might expect it made me a bit sad. Let me say that when I think of Marc, I'll always remember his Life Is Good hat. During his first bout with the tumor, someone gave Marc a hat to hide his baldness. Whether it was meant as irony or reflective of Marc's optimism, I saw the hat as symbolic of Marc's positive attitude that he would beat this disease. Even though he didn't, I'll continue to associate Marc with the hat.
Marc was a good guy and he'll be missed.
(If you'd like to read more about Marc, check out the article that his employer, the United States Tennis Association wrote about him. Click here to read it.)
He Had Mail
(In all seriousness, poor Alan Gagne. I hate to make fun of the recently deceased.)
Labels: Coolidge Corner
What Day Is It, Kids?
And yes, admitting that I celebrate "Argyle Wednesday" — in addition to Tie Thursday — confirms that I am a loser. Just in case there was any doubt.
(And yes, the fact that this is all I have to post today just shows you how blogworthy my life is these days. Hopefully that will change soon so I have more exciting things to write about.)
Update, 9:15 a.m.: On my way into work this morning, three people (including myself) were wearing argyle sweaters in just my half of the T car I was on. Maybe this Argyle Wednesday thing really is catching on?!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
(Hopefully Lindsay won't notice that I'm actually 32 and clearly missed my "deadline." It's alright, though. Some things are better late than never.)
I Don't Eat Big Ones
Suffice it to say, Fast Food Nation does not paint a pretty picture of the industry. Teens spit into burgers, they drop them on the floor but cook them anyway, the processing plant employees don't always keep things as clean as possible ... you get the idea. There are a lot of lofty statements about things like how disobeying the Patriot Act is the most patriotic thing you can do, and a lot of strong accusations about meat makers and those who eat fast food. And Linklater doesn't exactly bash your head making these points. Instead he takes his typically slow and thoughful approach — though what he's saying isn't exactly subtle either. I mean, the most effective scenes may be those that show the abusive ways cows are killed and slaughtered (it's inhumane, bloody, and gross, and Linklater shows it all to us). Acting is generally good across the board — the cast includes Greg Kinnear, Bobby Cannavale, Kris Kristofferson, Ethan Hawke, Avril Lavigne, and Bruce Willis — and the film is quite effective at making its points. I wouldn't call this one of my favorite movies of the year, but it's good and worth seeing (when it opens on November 17), and I'll give it a B.
Incidentally, Linklater was at the screening I went to and he hung around afterwards to do a Q&A. It was, unfortunately, dominated by some politically-minded vegetarians and a B.U. film professor who sort of took the fun out of chatting up this great filmmaker, but I did learn that the processing plant scenes were shot in Mexico and that Linklater (though he grew up and still lives in Texas) has been a vegetarian since 1983, and that half the funding for the movie came from overseas because it's predicted the film will do better there than here, and that Schlosser sought Linklater out to adapt the book, not vice versa. Personally, I would rather have also learned more about Linklater's progression from the smaller films to bigger ones like this one, and if he's going to continue to make more films that tackle hot button issues, but those questions will have to be asked by the reporters who'll be interviewing him for stories soon to appear in magazines and newspapers closer to the film's release.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Now I've Seen Everything
I, however, was intrigued by another new flavor: Noodle Kugel Ice Cream. Now, when I think of tastes that taste great together, my mind does not automatically go to noodles and ice cream. But there it was, and I was told that in addition to actual noodles, this flavor also had butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and maybe another ingredient or two, but no raisins and thankfully no fruit. So call me crazy, but I decided to try it, and it was odd, but not as bad as it would sound. So I went to get a cup of it, but that's when fate intervened. "Sorry, some sanitizer just spilled on it," the girl behind the counter told me. Thank you, fate. I really did not need to see how a full cup of Noodle Kugel Ice Cream would taste. I was intrigued and curious, but not that curious. And while I would have guessed this is a flavor that would only appear on Fridays and Saturdays, I was told this flavor was "seasonal" and would be around for a while. Imagine that.
Only in Brookline, I say. (Or maybe also in Newton. But not downtown, and not in J.P. or in Davis Square, etc. etc.)
The Sox Won?!
This season of Lost is already off to a great start. The first five minutes of last week's episode was mindblowing, and then the last five minutes of this week's episode was equally great. And according to today's Boston Globe, the show's creators didn't just pull the Red Sox reference out of their asses; they had a plan to use it all along. Then again, as Eric Wilbur writes: "You want to see someone go bezerk in a few weeks? Wait until Ben tells Jack the Sox didn't re-sign Pedro or Lowe in lieu of Matt Clement and David Wells. That's not going to go over well." Anyway, Lost is back, and I don't just mean from summer hiatus. I am totally intrigued by everything that's happening with the Others, want to know more, love all the possibilities, and can't believe it's going off the air after six episodes (it'll return 13 weeks later, in February). Click on the above image (or click here) to watch the Red Sox clip from Wednesday's show, or go to ABC.com to watch the full episode.
And while I'm talking TV, maybe I'll share some thoughts about the other shows I've been watching:
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had a great pilot, a not-as-good second and third episode, and now with the fourth episode I'm a fan again. It'll take a lot for me not to watch this show, even if I wasn't enjoying it as much those two middle weeks.
The Office just hasn't been nearly as good or as funny as last year was. They've gone and added the one thing the show lacked: a plot. And now it has prolonged scenes of seriousness (like in the awful premiere episode four weeks ago). Last night's episode was the best one so far this season. But the show won't be much good until Jim returns to Scranton. I don't want to see a spinoff show where Jim moves to Stamford.
Grey's Anatomy. So good. Sooooo good. One of the few shows I will watch ASAP if I've gotten home late. (And by the way, I love the season two soundtrack, especially the Gomez track "How We Operate" and Get Set Go's "I Hate Everyone." It's worth buying.)
I didn't love the pilot of Six Degrees so I stopped watching. But I had it on last night after Grey's Anatomy and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I think I'll make an effort to keep up with this one.
I still love The Amazing Race. One of the best, most unpredictable shows on TV. (Though I'm still a week behind and need to catch up.)
Like Lost, Desperate Housewives has also been better this season than last. Though I'm not sure why everyone loves Marcia Cross. Eva Longoria is the funniest actress on that show. She's so good you don't even notice how good she is.
Otherwise, My Name Is Earl just doesn't do it for me anymore so I don't know how much longer I'll be watching, 30 Rock I recorded on Wednesday and will watch this weekend, Saturday Night Live is a waste of time, I don't think I'm going to bother with What About Brian, and after one episode I've given up on Heroes, Ugly Betty, Brothers & Sisters, and The Nine. With those last four, I figure if I've missed them and don't make any great effort to catch up, then what's the point of recording them in the first place? So I'm passing on them. I have enough to watch as it is.
Labels: Red Sox
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
This Is an Awful, Awful Movie ... Not!
If you don't know, Borat is a character played by the British comic Sacha Baron Cohen who is supposed to be a television reporter from Kazakhstan. Basically, the movie is a mockumentary of Borat's exploits as he travels across the U.S., first in pursuit of knowledge about America and then in pursuit of Pamela Anderson (really). And Borat is naive, totally clueless, and without social graces, so this makes for some great comedy.
But Borat is also an anti-semite and a misogynist and a homophobe and a racist and, well, do you need more? So there are parts of the movie that just made me cringe and recoil with horror. If you've heard anything about this movie, maybe you've heard of the scene early on that shows "The Running of the Jews." Well, bad as that sounds, it's nothing compared to what the Jew — and the Mrs. Jew — actually looks like. Totally uncool stuff, as is the reference to the Jews being responsible for 9/11 and the scene where Borat thinks a nice Jewish couple has turned into a couple of cockroaches, and he throws money at them to shoo them away.
So you may think I'm also an anti-semite or a self-hating Jew when I tell you how funny the rest of the movie is. And I swear, it's the funniest movie I've seen since, well, Jackass: Number Two a couple days ago — but that's not the point. I don't want to ruin any of the scenes or the lines or the gags because so many of them are just classic. And Cohen (yes, he's actually Jewish) doesn't just act; he is this character. Call it a performance if you want, but it's like Borat is actually a real person.
Yes, Pamela Anderson is in the movie. Yes, you will fall out of your seat when you see what Borat does when he sees her. And yes, you will be amazed when Borat is over that Cohen got away with as much as he did and that a film studio (even if it is Fox) is releasing the movie (on November 3) — and is selling it in press materials as "hilariously offensive."
I know this movie is not going to be for everyone. And I hope beyond hope that people in the southern red states don't take it too literally (though scenes in the movie do show they might). But if you buy into it as satire and nothing more, then you'll agree that Borat is one of the classic comedies of all time. The guys I was sitting next to (who work for one of the local papers) walked out comparing this to Spinal Tap. How's that for an endorsement? I give Borat an A–.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sale-ing with Christopher Columbus
And it's for that reason that I headed out to Wrentham today with my friend Dave to do a little shopping at the outlets. Of course, the sales were just one reason the place was packed. It was a bee-yoo-tiful day today (75 degrees or so), so who wouldn't want to be outside in that? And I cashed in: three ties (3 for $69!) and three shirts at Brooks Brothers; a pair of sneakers from Nike; and a pair of shoes, a sweater vest, and rugby shirt from Bass. Low outlet prices, plus 40 percent off here, 20 percent off there, an additional 15 or 10 percent with a VIP coupon, this sale, that sale ... Christopher Columbus would be so proud. All told, I spent about three hours at the Outlet Center (yes, I went into many more stores than those where I actually bought something), and despite some traffic getting out of there, I was back home in about 40-45 minutes. It was a very good afternoon.
(Alright, I made most of that up. As far as I know, there is no connection between Christopher Columbus and the sales held on Columbus Day, nor were his ships named for vendors in the, ahem, Spanish market — and shame on you if you believed any of that. Also, I didn't go to Wrentham today solely for the sales. I actually went out that way to visit and have lunch with Karen, David, and Judah in their new house in Franklin, which is a town or two over from Wrentham if you didn't know. On the other hand, I was truthful about what I bought at the outlets and about the masses who shopped with me and how long I was there, etc. And I did bring Dave with me — we're catching up after some time apart, thanks to his new CD and my new favorite song, "The Idea of You." So regardless of the overall veracity of this posting, it was a good, productive, and fun holiday day off from work.)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
So Funny It's Painful
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I Live for This!
The film has laughs and suspense; particularly gripping is the scene where (and you know it has to happen so this is no spoiler) Damon and DiCaprio's characters find out about each other — and do so without any dialogue. One other thing about the movie that stood out that I also really liked was the use of music. The Departed has a great soundtrack and score, and for, like, 85% of the film there is music playing. Songs will stop suddenly and then pick up again. It's all pretty cool.
Of course, I said "near-finish" at the start of this review because I think the last five minutes gets a smidge laughable, and the last scene leaves a pretty big question unanswered, but maybe that's the point: in the world of this film, we never really know who's on whose side, and what to believe. And in The Departed, that makes for some great, gritty drama. Run to see this one. It gets an A from me.
Friday, October 06, 2006
At Medium Volume
So what did I like about it? The music's good, and I don't just say that because I know Tom Kitt, the guy who wrote it (we went to high school together). The songs are generally witty (thanks to lyricist Amanda Green), tuneful, and ones you could actually listen to out of context on your iPod. It's refreshing. With a couple of exceptions, these are not your typical Broadway showtunes. Particularly memorable were the opener ("I Wouldn't Change a Thing"), "It's No Problem," "I've Got a 9 Percent Chance," and the song that opens Act 2, which I could name but then it would ruin a good joke. (I'd mention others by name, but none of the songs were listed in the program — on purpose, I'm told.) Will Chase, the actor who plays the lead, is very good; his Rob is a different character than the one John Cusack played in the movie, so you're not tempted to make any comparison. The show feels current, hip, and modern, with "real" dialogue, a cool and colorful record store set, and references to actual artists and contemporary topics. Finally, High Fidelity has a little more attitude than you might expect from a show, and that starts at the pre-show announcements (i.e.: turn off your cell phone, etc.), includes frequent cursing and usage of the f-word, and demonstrates itself in the varied musical styles, which include Pat Benatar–style rock and "adult contemporary" pop-rock.
And what didn't I like? Well, Jenn Colella is hot (especially in her song "Number 5 with a Bullet"), but her character and performance are generally lukewarm (if not a little cold). I just didn't see what Rob saw in Laura, and if we're to sympathize with him, we need to like her too. The show is also strangely undercast. Nine of the 12 cast members play two roles, and one guy even plays a woman for no apparent reason. There's a scene that supposedly takes place in a crowded club, and with barely anyone on stage, it's hard to believe. Further, if you've seen the movie, you know Bruce Springsteen makes a cameo. Well, here he's a character and someone plays him. Quite frankly, the gimmick doesn't work. There's only one Bruce, and as hard as the actor tries, it's tough to suspend your disbelief. I also thought certain scenes were underwhelming and poorly adapted, or just silly (like most involving Ian, the Tim Robbins character in the movie). Oh yeah, and it's an unfair comment I suppose, but you can't help but think of Jack Black when you see Jay Klaitz's performance as Barry. Basically, the character has been "cutened up" for the stage and that's unfortunate.
And yet, despite all my problems, I still might recommend the show — or at least the soundtrack, whenever it's released. I don't exactly think Rob and Barry, with all their rock music integrity, would love it, but High Fidelity is different, it feels youthful, and hell, the music is really fun. The show is in Boston for another couple weeks before it packs up and heads for Broadway. I'm hoping things get a little tighter before it opens up officically there in December.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Watch the Oats
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Idiot Is Too Kind a Word
No. Duh. I had parked it on Beacon St. at the St. Mary's T stop, just like I always do when I go downtown after hours or on the weekend. So because it was 10:30, and the T is less frequent heading inbound at that hour, I had to walk all the way back to my car to get it. And of course, it started to rain as I was walking. So didn't I feel stupid.
But lo and behold, there was my car, at the St. Mary's T stop, right where I left it. Duh. Sometimes I can be such a moron.
Labels: Red Sox
Sunday, October 01, 2006
All Is Forgiven
— verse 18:7 from the Same Ol', Same Ol' Testament
It's customary in the week between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness from those who you may have wronged in the past year, and to forgive those who have wronged you. So since Yom Kippur begins tonight, let me say to the Red Sox: I forgive you for imploding and screwing up this season as badly as you did, and for making me so angry these past two months. I hope you will forgive me for turning away from you and not watching a single game these many weeks, and for saying such disparaging things about your playing ability and your prospects for coming back after such terrible losses.
We'll get 'em next year.
Labels: Red Sox