Sunday, September 30, 2007

Down in the Valley

I wish I could review In the Valley of Elah fairly, but watching it was not a great experience. That said, this is a very good movie. Tommy Lee Jones gives a fantastic, Oscar-worthy performance as the father of an Army private who has disappeared after returning home from Iraq. It's one of the best performances I've seen from him. This is a more introspective character and his performance doesn't require him to bark orders or chew scenery. Instead, he's often quite heartbreaking — particularly in his phone conversations with his wife, played by Susan Sarandon. Charlize Theron is also good as the local detective who helps Jones' character find out what happened to his son. The film is well-paced and efficiently made, and I'm sure if I wasn't distracted as much, I'd have enjoyed it more. So I'm going to give Elah a qualified B+ because it may be better than that.


Saturday, September 29, 2007


Didn't have much to do today, and I was still in a celebratory mood after last night's Sox clinching of the A.L. East title, so I decided to spend the day wandering the city. After lunch in the waaaaaay too crowded Faneuil Hall, I walked to the North End and finally went to Trani, the unfortunately-named store where you can get baked goods injected with ice cream. (It's right next to my favorite Italian restaurant, Al Dente.) I had what is called a "Bust-Out," i.e.: a cupcake stuffed with ice cream and covered in fudge. Actually I had two: a yellow cupcake stuffed with chocolate ice cream, and a chocolate cupcake stuffed with vanilla ice cream. (What?! The cupcakes were really small.)

Can I just tell you how good these were? I mean, how could they not be? It was my two great loves — cupcakes and ice cream — in one delicious snack, with chocolate fudge on top. The cake was moist and tasty, the ice cream was really good, and the fudge, although it was the kind that hardens in seconds, was also good. Best of all, believe it or not, these were not heavy, filling snacks. If I was feeling truly gluttonous, I could probably have eaten two more. But I refrained. So next time I go back, I'll have to try a brownie or a canoli, or any of the other yummy-looking things on the menu.

Don't have much exciting to tell you about the rest of the walk, although I did find a nice park I never knew existed and that was pretty cool. Oh, and I checked out the new Hard Rock Cafe, now located where The Rack used to be. They did a nice job renovating that place. But anyway, lotsa people were out and about today. It was a great day to be in Boston.

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Thanks for Nothing

To the two women who brought their two young children to the 2:50 p.m. showing of In the Valley of Elah at the AMC Boston Common theater today ... You suck. You really, really, really suck.

Why do you suck? Do I really need to tell you? Well, maybe it's because you took your kids to the movies on a beautiful day when they could have played outside. No, maybe it's because of all the movies you could have taken them to, you took them to the R-rated In the Valley of Elah, instead of something more kid-friendly like The Game Plan or Sydney White. No, maybe it's because you didn't sit next to them so you could watch them. No, maybe it's because when they talked all throughout the movie and disturbed not just me but the other moviegoers, you didn't sufficiently tell them to behave. No, maybe it's because although you did shush them — and did so repeatedly — they didn't behave, and you should have removed them from the theater. Yeah, that's it. And because you didn't adequately manage your kids' behavior, it distracted me and the others from watching and enjoying the movie.

Did you not know anything about this movie? It was heavy and dramatic and not appropriate for young (no older than 8 or 9 years old) children. I mean, what were you thinking when there were two scenes that took place in a strip joint, and there was all that profanity?

I mean, really. When the movie began, and Tommy Lee Jones' character said the f-word, the kids both said "Oooooooh," in a scolding tone. They did this twice. When there was a chase scene and Charlize Theron's character tripped, the kids giggled. They talked, off and on, throughout the movie. They were fidgety and their chairs kept squeeking. They were kneeling on their chairs and looking back at the rest of the people in the theater. They kept opening and closing their bag of popcorn. Need I go on? I mean, when you took them to the bathroom in the middle of the movie, did you not say something to them?

Instead of focusing on the movie, I spent much of the movie deliberating which would be the more effective response: getting up, walking over to your kids and telling them to shut up, or getting up and asking you to please keep your kids quiet. I would have gone outside and found an usher to do something, but I was enjoying the movie in spite of your kids and didn't want to leave. And hell, it's the AMC Boston Common — there's never an usher around; I would have missed a good chunk of the movie just looking for someone. So I sat there, unhappy. At one point, I leaned forward in my seat, looked over at the kids, and gave the stink eye to one of them. She clearly saw me and said something to her friend/brother/whatever. They got quiet, but minutes later they were chattering again.

Do you want to know how annoyed you made me? When the movie was over and you were standing outside the theater with your kids and they were playing around, I actually considered hitting one. Of course, I never would have done that, but I'm just trying to demonstrate how pissed off I was.

Had this been a movie like The Game Plan or Shrek, I would have been a little more patient. But this was In the Valley of Elah, an Iraq War–related drama. I think I'm justified in my anger here.

So yes, ladies, you suck. I hope I never see you and your kids in the movies again.



Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank You, Yankees

LET'S GO RED SOX! WAAAHOOOO!!! We're A.L. East Champs!!! Bring on the Angels! World Series here we come! YAHOO!!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not Wild Enough

I remember when I first heard the story of Chris McCandless. It was in 1997 on an episode of 20/20, where there was a segment about author John Krakauer's book Into the Wild. Something about McCandless fascinated me and I went out soon after to buy Krakauer's book. I read it, too. McCandless tapped into my young, idealistic sense of adventure and wanting more out of life. Ten years later, there's still a part of me that yearns for such excitement.

All that is my way of saying I was pretty excited to see Sean Penn's Into the Wild movie, especially because the reviews have generally been very good. So I'm happy to report that the movie is good. Mostly. True to McCandless, it doesn't pander and takes its time telling the story of how, following his 1992 graduation from Emory, McCandless cut up his credit cards, donated his savings to Oxfam, changed his name to Alexander Supertramp, and headed out on the road to, as Thoreau said, "live deliberately." There's a natural, organic feel to the 2.5-hour movie, and Penn really wants to pay tribute to someone he considered a kindred spirit. To that end, the film was shot in many of the same locations that McCandless journeyed to, and rather than raise questions about McCandless' motives and psyche — as Krakauer's book did a lot of — Penn clearly takes McCandless' side and makes you sympathetic to the character. Penn also knows the affinity people feel for the book, and there are all sorts of reveals that seem to make readers excited, starting with when McCandless first stumbles upon the abandoned bus. (Amazingly, the tragic site has become a morbid tourist attraction for McCandless fans.) It helps that as McCandless, Emile Hirsch is generally very good, capturing the alternately wide-eyed and yet fearful young man. In supporting roles, Catherine Keener and Vince Vaughn are also very good.

But where Penn stumbles, and where he lost me, was with some of the filmmaking choices. I didn't love how McCandless would every now and then look right into the camera. That didn't seem true to the character or the film. I also didn't like the multiple points of view. Between McCandless' letters, his voiceovers, his sister's voiceovers, etc., you either didn't always know who was actually telling the story or were distracted from it. Why the film is broken into four "chapters" is unclear. Also, there were a couple scenes that could have been cut. And there's one scene late in the movie where Hirsch's performance is so lame that it damn near threatens to derail the whole momentum of the film. In fact, it's so bad that when McCandless does finally die (no spoiler there), I wasn't sure if I still felt the sympathy for him that I felt earlier.

So I think I'm going to call Into the Wild a little bit of a letdown. It's still generally, mostly, a good film, but I can't really give it a stronger grade than a B.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Glory Day

How great — and rare — is it when Ticketmaster works like it should? At 10am Monday I logged on to get my Bruce Springsteen tickets, and believe it or not, I got 'em. No problems. Piece of cake. I got right in and snagged a pair for Sunday night, loge level, right in front of the stage — before the scalpers could get all the good seats. According to Backstreets, apparently enough people complained about the original on-sale date — which was supposed to be Saturday, same day as Yom Kippur — that Bruce and/or Ticketmaster changed the on-sale date to Monday morning. That rocks. So, I've got no complaints about Ticketmaster this time. I just wanted to say a public WOO HOO!!!! I'm real psyched for this show. November 18 can't come soon enough.

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TV Time Again

Last year when the TV season began, I gave Brothers & Sisters a chance, and when it didn't grab me, I stopped watching. But late in the season I came back to it and found myself enjoying the show. Now I'm eagerly trying to catch up on the entire first season before next Sunday's season two premiere. Over the weekend I got the DVD set and I spent Sunday evening watching the first four episodes. Last time I did something like that was last November, when I visited Andrew and Rachel and we watched five episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Anyway, my point is, what a great show B&S is. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the family, and found the first few episodes really fun (well, maybe not the first couple, but once the show settled in during the third episode, it got a lot lighter in tone and more fun). I probably would have watched the fifth and sixth episodes if I didn't have to get to sleep. This has to be one of the best acting ensembles on television, and I look forward to ending my weekends with them every Sunday night from now until May.

Of course, the week has seven days and you may be wondering what else I'll be watching this season. Here's my week at a glance, until I get bored or unless the new shows suck:

Monday: Chuck (8-9, NBC)
Tuesday: Reaper (9-10, The CW)
Wednesday: Kid Nation (8-9, CBS), Private Practice (9-10, ABC), Gossip Girl (9-10, The CW, recorded on the DVR), Dirty Sexy Money (10-11, ABC)
Thursday: 30 Rock (8:30-9, NBC), Grey's Anatomy (9-10, ABC), The Office (9-9:30, NBC, recorded on the DVR), Big Shots (10-11, ABC)
Friday: nothing
Saturday: Saturday Night Live (11:30-1, NBC)
Sunday: Brothers & Sisters (10-11, ABC)

What will you be watching this season?

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enjoy the Silence

Marcel Marceau, the great mime, has died. Please join me in observing an ironic, but appropriate, moment of silence.

A Fast Fast

It surprises me to say, but I think Yom Kippur may actually be one of my favorite holidays. How can anyone like a holiday that features as its main selling points a day-long fast and a whole lot of praying? Well, I don't know. But this year, despite going 27-and-a-half hours without eating (yes, really), and doing so easily without even a headache after my mid-afternoon nap, I have to say, it really isn't so bad.

But why does it rank as one of my favorite? Well, it's odd considering the solemn tone and the heavy subject matter and all, but Yom Kippur features some of my favorite prayers, ones we only say on that day. Stuff like the Vidui, the Covenant, all that good stuff. The tunes are catchy, the melodies are nice, and they've got some great harmonies. And we may go a while between meals, but the dinners before and after are some of the biggest, best meals all year. What could be bad about that?

So, this is just my way of marking that the High Holidays have passed (at least the major ones have), and they were good.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Hurts

I got an e-mail at work recently making me aware of the fact that September is Pain Awareness Month. Being a Red Sox fan and all, I say, "Yeah, no kidding." According to the American Pain Foundation (really, there's an organization for everything), more than one-quarter of Americans age 20 years and over — or, an estimated 76.5 million Americans — report that they have had a problem with a pain of some sort that persisted for more than 24 hours in duration. So let's see, we've now lost four straight games including a sweep by the Blue Jays, we lost two of three to the Yankees last weekend, Youk's hurt, Manny's still hurt, Wakefield's off his game, Gagne and Dice-K suck, Okajima's tired, Papelbon's vulnerable, and now we're only a game and a half in first place. I'd say the APF can count me in that statistic, even if, apparently, the number doesn't include those with acute pain.

In honor of Pain Awareness Month, the APF is releasing the Pain Resource Guide: Getting the Help You Need, to help patients find the most appropriate care. Well, I wonder if one of the tips in that guide is to dwell on the positive. Today I read that Gabe Kapler wants to play in the major leagues again. As someone who has been a longtime Kapler fan and was sorry to see him leave town to go coach in the minors, this is very good news indeed. Sure, there's no guarantee he's coming back to the Sox. But it'll be good to see Gabe back in the bigs next year.

Granted, I haven't entirely given up on this year's team — like I did last year. But seeing as we haven't been able to even win the three games it'll take for us to clinch a measly playoff spot, I don't have much confidence in our post-season chances. (And yes, I hope I'm wrong.) So what's the harm in already looking forward to next season?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I found out not too long ago that of all the people in my company, I received the second highest number of e-mails during the time from August 15 to August 30. There were a total of 1,302 incoming messages. Of those, 636 made it to my inbox, 363 were spam and were blocked (they never even got to me), and another 303 were held by a junk filter for me to scan manually. That's a lot of e-mail. No wonder there are days when I feel like all I'm doing is replying to messages.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Has the Time Come?

As much as I don't want to admit it — and I'm not conceding entirely — but I think, after tonight's loss to Toronto, which left us just three-and-a-half games on top of the Yankees, it may be time to be concerned about the Red Sox. (Note that I didn't say worry.) What happened to the good ole days, when Papi up in the bottom of the 9th with bases loaded and the Sox down by a run would mean an automatic clutch hit and a win for the Sox? What happened to the days just, like, a month ago when Tim Wakefield was an almost-guaranteed win? What happened to the Sox' winning ways? How did we lose tonight? How did we lose last night? And I still hesitate to ask, but how did we lose Friday night? What's happening to our team?? Thankfully, we have two weeks to shape up before the playoffs. Let's hope we begin the road to recovery tomorrow.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Maybe They're Just Really Messy Eaters ...

As I've previously written, there is perhaps no greater source for comedy — not including my apartment building — than the Shaw's in Allston on Comm Ave. It's like the place is a Bermuda Triangle for common sense (and common decency, but let's stay positive here for a change).

To wit: Tonight at around 6:30, I got in the line to self-check-out. In a different self-checkout line was a mother with her young son, wheeling a full shopping cart filled with ... napkins. I counted as the son slid the 180-count packages of Marcal napkins across the scanner and the total was 10. Ten packs of 180 napkins. Now, I don't know how many people there are in their family, but based on what else was in their cart, I have to believe these two don't run a small business or have a large family. So I ask, what do they need with 1,800 napkins? Perhaps they'll use them to wipe up the case of iced tea bottles they bought. Or to clean their hands after preparing the ground beef they bought. Or maybe, just maybe, they're having a really big party, or inviting all of Allston to dinner. I don't know. Either way, it's not like napkins don't ever go on sale. I buy a package and it lasts for a few months. Sometime between now and when they finish, oh, let's say the second package, I'm sure they'll see the same ones on sale again. And also, if they were going to buy 10 packages of napkins — again, a total of 1,800 napkins — why didn't they just go to Costco?

Of course, what was additionally funny was — well, take your pick. Was it watching the mother just stand there while her son scanned all the packages, never quite knowing where the UPC symbol was, even though it was in the same place on every single package(!!!) and then scrambling to put them into shopping bags even though they all couldn't fit on the shelf? Or was it seeing this twosome leave the store, and struggle to carry all those napkins and the case of iced tea and the ground beef and all the other stuff they bought. I guess they hadn't seen the pick-up option? (No, I didn't laugh at the fact that these two were on a line that had a 15-item limit, and they clearly had more than 15 items.)

Shaw's, that great big melting pot of age, culture, attractiveness, and intellect. When will the laughs end?

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Fact: This Is Funny

Fact: This is a pretty dead-on parody of what it's like to be a fact-checker, right down to the banana-eating editor (I don't eat bananas, but my editor does). As someone who has spent a fair amount of time fact checking (though not to this extreme), and who manages the team of fact-checkers at my company, I have to give this film high marks. Kudos to its creators, Peter Karinen and Brian Sacca. I particularly love that the editor is played by Kristen Schaal, from Flight of the Conchords. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Hope I Get a Harmonica

Unfortunately, Adam Sandler doesn't have a song for Rosh Hashanah, so I thought I'd tell you that I'll be putting on my yarmulke and wishing my friends Monica and Veronica a very happy new year (the holiday starts tonight at sundown). Paul Shaffer is just one person who celebrates Rosh Hashanah, and if you do too, then allow me to wish you a L'Shana Tovah as well. May it be a good, sweet year for all of us.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me

I don't have anything particularly exciting to say about it, but today is September 10, the day before the sixth anniversary of 9/11. It might be just another day to you, but to me, it's six years that I've been at my current company. (Yeah, it was a heck of a first week to start a new job.) So, I just wanted to give myself a public atta-boy for staying in one place for this long.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Another VMAs show, another few hours of my life wasted. No comment on Britney's "performance" is really necessary. And Gym Class Heroes for best new artist, in a year where they were competing against Amy Winehouse and Carrie Underwood? Please. At least the show was two hours long this year instead of the usual three. If I have anything of any substance to say, it's that Alicia Keys' cover of George Michael's "Freedom 90" was alright, but it only reminded me of how awesome George Michael's own acoustic version of the song on the MTV 10 show in 1991 was. Here's the clip. It's better than anything on the VMAs this year was.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Killer Movie

If you're looking for a man's man movie, look no further than 3:10 to Yuma. A remake of an older movie (which I haven't seen), Yuma tells the story of Dan Evans (Christian Bale), a down-on-his-luck rancher, who joins a team transporting convict Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the town of Contention, where Wade will board the 3:10 train headed to prison in Yuma, Arizona. Crowe is at his charming, but gruff, badass best, and Bale gives a fantastic performance as well. Ben Foster (Alpha Dog, X-Men: The Last Stand) plays a psychotic member of Wade's gang, and he steals some scenes easily. Director James Mangold (Walk the Line) keeps the action moving, guns ablazing throughout, and doesn't hold back on the testosterone. Sure, this is a western, but don't call it classic style; the characters curse and speak like they are modern-day western characters. And speaking of testosterone, there are just two women in this movie. Between them, they have about 15 minutes of screen time — total. Yuma may just end up being one of my favorite movies of the year. I'm giving it an A-.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Smells Like a Winner

For your weekend viewing pleasure, I present this classic horse racing clip. The horse's name is Hoof Hearted. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hey Jude, You Made It Bad

Is there anybody going to listen to my story, all about the film I saw today ... ? (Or Wednesday night, to be more exact.) Across the Universe is director Julie Taymor's strange, strange movie set to the music of the Beatles (33 songs in all). To cut to the chase, it's a mess. A truly bizarre, unnecessary mess of a movie. Often it takes the really easy way to a cliche; for example, the lead characters are named Jude and Lucy, and there's another one named Prudence. Yes, this means you'll hear "Hey Jude" and "Dear Prudence" during the film. (Mercifully, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is saved for the end credits.) "Let It Be" is recast as a gospel song and sung during race riots and a funeral. And worse, "With a Little Help from My Friends" is sung by a bunch of drunk college students. The film goes from strange to stranger. And then Bono shows up to sing "I Am the Walrus," followed by Eddie Izzard singing "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite." And it's a long movie too (more than two hours). Sure, the songs are good, but they're not always the right fit and too often they feel forced into the story. I laughed out loud during "Revolution." And I didn't ever really buy that Evan Rachel Wood was doing her own singing. (On the other hand, Jim Sturgess, who plays Jude, makes a decent impression. And T.V. Carpio's version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" is tender and sweet.) Can't say anything really makes Universe worth seeing. Nothing's gonna change my world, not least of all this movie. I'm giving it a D.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Live in Concert

Great news everyone: not only do I have a flute player living next door to me, but I learned last night that I also have a violinist. Yes, I said last night. As in, 9:45 p.m. It was a lovely evening performance. But yeah. There's a violinist and a flautist living in one apartment, right next to mine. (Thankfully they weren't playing their instruments together at the same time.) What's next: A pianist? A cellist? A trumpeter? Will I discover a whole orchestra has moved in next door?? This is getting ridiculous, and it's only September 5.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's About Time

Hate to say I told you so, but it seems people are starting to come around to my way of thinking on this whole Dice-K thing. In the Boston Herald today, Steve Buckley describes how the Japanese "phenom" was pitching so poorly last night — he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings — that the crowds were "begging, pleading, with manager Terry Francona to get Matsuzaka out of the game. And Francona was anxious to accommodate them." Ouch. And then he goes on to say, "There’s no way other way to put this: Matsuzaka has been lousy in three of his past four outings. In those four starts, three of them losses, he has allowed 20 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings, which works out to a 7.60 ERA." In short: Dice-K sucks. Still. Who'da thunk 10 runs wouldn't be enough to win last night's game? And sure, Dice-K didn't give up all 10 runs (the Sox eventually won the game 13-10), but he gave up most of them, and set the stage for the other three. So I say welcome to my bandwagon, Steve. It's nice to have some company.


They Blogged It, He Came

Thanks to PopWatch, I think I may have found a new favorite blog, even if it is just a few months too late. If I Blog It They Will Come had one purpose and one purpose only: to get Kevin Costner to visit a blog all about Kevin Costner and send a picture of himself looking at said blog. And today the writer, a guy named Evan Kessler, reached his goal. Costner sent a picture of himself looking at the site (two pictures, actually). Bravo, Evan! Reading through the archives — the site has been around since January 24 — I'm really amused by how persistent (and genuine) Evan was. So now I have a great new read.


Lesser of Two Evils

I had some muffler troubles this weekend, so on my way to work this morning, I dropped off my car at the shop. And I dreaded taking the B line into work, what with it being the B line and all, but also the day after Labor Day and the first day of classes at B.U. But then I turned on the news and saw what was going on in Coolidge Corner, and I said to myself ... for a change, the B line might be the lesser of two evils. Yes, I was crammed into my train, and yes it took a long time to go down Comm Ave., but I still made it to work before 9 a.m., so really, it could have been a lot worse. Who'da thunk that today of all days the B line would have been the more preferable commute.

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A Good Book

I suppose it's a little bit premature to be writing about A.J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically since it won't be out for another month or so, but I'm now two-thirds of the way done with it, and I couldn't wait to give a partial review. In short, the book is about how A.J., an editor at large at Esquire decided to spend an entire year living according to the Bible — both the Old and New Testaments. But the book doesn't make a mockery of the Bible or those who do live their lives more religiously. Instead, A.J. takes the task seriously, obeying every little (and not so little) law. He doesn't cut his hair or shave, he doesn't wear clothes of mixed fibers, he prays, he blows a shofar at the start of every month, he respects his elders, he tries not to lie, and so on.

But don't go thinking this is a book only about religion, or a serious examination of Biblical law. From the start, A.J. uses his sense of humor to explain that while he grew up in a Jewish home, it was Jewish "in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant. Which is to say: not very." As he did with his last book, The Know-It-All, A.J. also weaves in his personal life — in this case the challenges of being a new father and the difficulty (with his wife, Julie) in conceiving a second child (which, of course, makes it hard to "be fruitful and multiply"). But one thing I really like about the book is how unassuming and surprising it is. One second you'll be laughing at A.J.'s unwillingness to take or be in pictures at family events, and then he'll catch you off-guard with a Biblical passage or lesson. It's this approach that makes some of what he writes more meaningful.

At its core, YoLB is an examination of what place the Bible has in modern times. Do all the laws translate or have the same meaning as when they were first written? I mean, if you work in an office, can you really not gossip? And in an age of constant advertising, how can you not covet? And which is more meaningful: fitting prayer into your busy schedule when you can, or reserving time for it? And even if the Bible says not to lie, aren't there times when you have to lie? The book is filled with those kinds of questions. A.J. does his best to make the Bible as relevant as possible, and adapt some laws to fit modern life. But mostly he obeys them as written, and it's really interesting how it plays out.

Also interesting are his trips — to Amish country in Lancaster County, Pa. (where he has to avoid making jokes about Intercourse), to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, to Israel, and to other places — where he is able to gain greater perspective on religion in general, beyond the standard Jewish/Christian world. And the insights from A.J.'s guides — pastors, rabbis, etc. and others he meets along the journey — further his quest to understand the Bible's messages.

I'm really enjoying YoLB. I liked Love Is a Mix Tape and Cabin Pressure too, but with YoLB, I feel like I'm actually learning something, and that makes it feel like a more worthwhile read. Apparently, plans are already in the works to make YoLB into a movie. Not sure how that'll work and still stay true to the book (likely, the movie will strip out the real serious stuff and maintain a tone of comedy; hopefully it'll be better than Evan Almighty), but I hope it's a good flick. For now, we have a great book. When it hits stores a month from now, go pick it up and read it for yourself.


Monday, September 03, 2007

This One Time, in My Apartment Building ...

At 11 a.m. this morning, I learned the very happy news — it's thrilling, really — that my new neighbor next to my living room plays the flute. Oh joy. And it's no American Pie kind of thing. Instead, I wish she'd stick it where the sun don't shine. What's worse: her twittering away on that high-pitched, silly-sounding instrument, practicing the same scales or lines of music over and over, or my former neighbor, who was prone to playing the same Shakira or Gwen Stefani songs over and over and over? The answer is neither. They both suck. I give this new girl a week of annoying me until I complain. Have I mentioned recently that I can't wait to move?


Sunday, September 02, 2007

There Are Places I Remember ...

With so many places I don't like, it's nice to find two I like enough to return to on a nice day. Today, Nina and I ate at Z Square in Harvard Square. This was my second time there, and it's quickly becoming a brunch favorite. Today I had the salami and eggs scramble, with sourdough toast and potatoes. Last time (in May), I had the French Toast with maple syrup and cinnamon butter. Both dishes were great. And both times we've been there, Nina and I have sat outside, which makes it an even nicer experience. I have fond memories of when this place was a Finagle a Bagel, and of going on Sunday mornings for the Bagel French Toast (mmmmmm), so it's nice to have somewhere else in Harvard Square to eat brunch again.

Then we headed up to Kimball Farm, which I had also only been to once before (a year ago, with Joe and Marie). Nina and I grabbed our clubs, headed out on the mini golf course, and the game was on. I held a lead for most of the time, but in the end I lost my groove and Nina came out ahead (by three strokes). And while I held my own in the trash talk department, I was trumped by a grandmother behind us, who at one point reminded her young grandson that "I'm still beating you." You go, granny! Also fun were the three kids — the boys — who were no older than 10 years old, who we thought were mocking us for missing our shots on one hole. Then we realized they weren't saying "No, no, no" about us ... they were singing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." (Really.) Of course, we finished off the afternoon with some ice cream — although neither of us finished our sundaes. (They were huge!)

So yeah, two cool places I enjoy going to and hope to return to soon.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tedy! Youk! Martin!

As if there wasn't already enough going on in the Coolidge Corner general area today, Tedy Bruschi was doing a book signing at Brookline Booksmith. I may not be a huge Patriots fan (at least not as big as I am a Red Sox fan), but you gotta love a guy who battles back like Bruschi has. And hey, I love a good book signing. So I waited in the line — which snaked down Harvard St. and about halfway up Green St. — for an hour and got my book signed. And it was pretty cool to see everyone walk out of the store with a big grin, relating what inspirational words he told them. Tedy shook my hand, signed the book, and gave me a little smile. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

But here's the thing: as if Coolidge Corner wasn't already crawling with sports fans today, who did I spot walking down Harvard St.? None other than Kevin Youkilis, with a woman and a child (It was probably Enza, but I'm not sure). And the guy managed to walk through town without being harrassed or stopped for autographs or photos or anything — not even by me. I wanted to say hi, or take a picture with him, or ask how his knee was (he was walking with a brace on it), but I resisted. Although, we did give each other the "I know you"/"I know you know who I am" looks. So it still made a halfway decent story.

And for all you football fans out there, here's a shot of Tedy Bruschi after signing my book.

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The Worst Day of the Year

I knew I hated September 1, but I forgot just how much. Luckily, for the past few years, I've been able to avoid all the chaos of moving day. But today it seems like it's everywhere. All down my street there are moving trucks and trash piles on the sidewalk. People are packing up and leaving my building (and few people are moving in, it seems). And worse, I actually had to go into the belly of the beast, into Allston, where my new landlord's office is. To get there, I had to drive up and down Brighton Ave. looking for a parking spot. No luck. I had to weave in and out of traffic, around double-parked moving trucks, doing my best to avoid shattered glass and broken mirrors, all so I could begrudgingly sign another lease and fork over a nice chunk of change. I mean, this is on top of the aggravation I already felt from finding my door unlocked for the second time in a week last night when I got home. Apparently, word didn't reach the realtors that I am not moving. So you can imagine how happy I was to see the building manager this morning. And no one's happy on moving day. Especially when it's hot out and everyone's dripping with sweat and in a take-no-prisoners frame of mind. Just 30 minutes in Allston and I was already in a bitter, foul mood — and I wasn't even moving apartments! But that's all it takes to turn your mood sour. September 1 is such an awful, awful day to be living anywhere in the B.U./B.C. Allston/Brighton vicinity. It made me so eager for March 31 to come, so (with any luck) I can end my obligation to the new landlord. That day can't come soon enough now.

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Happy Blogiversary to Me!

It's not quite the Day of All Days, but today is my two-year blogiversary. When I first started this blog on September 1, 2005, I didn't know what it would become. But now, 640 posts later, it's become a living, breathing thing that keeps growing by the post. And I thank all y'all out there — some folks I know, many I don't — who've found the site and keep coming back to see what I'll post next. Clearly you like what you're reading, so I'll keep it up.

Last year on my blogiversary, I counted down the top-5 best posts from my first year in the blogosphere. This year I thought I'd recall some memorable moments: notable life events, rants and raves, fun times, and sad times, all documented right here at Martin's Musings. So, in no particular order, do you remember when ...

... I hated Cambridge?
... I met Sam LaGrassa?
... I almost appeared in the Wall Street Journal?
... the Red Sox season ended so badly that I had to forgive the team?
... I lost both my friend Marc and my grandmother in a space of less than two months?
... Time voted me Person of the Year?
... I interviewed an Oscar-winner?
... I was a change-maker?
... my sister and my friend Andrew got married? (not to each other)
... Dice-K sucked? (actually, he still does)
... I rediscovered books and also loved Once and Amy Winehouse?
... I celebrated my 32nd birthday and my 33rd birthday in the space of one month?
... I considered moving?

Yeah, I remember all that. But according to my traffic reports, more people remember when I hated Best Buy more than any of the above things; the Best Buy post was the most read one of the past 12 months.

So, again, thanks for reading, folks. I'll try to make year three of Martin's Musings even better. Stay tuned, and keep coming back.