11 July 2007

Good Television

I think we must be in some kind of golden age of television, here in the 00's. Even if you put aside the astounding output of HBO, I've really enjoyed shows like Arrested Development and Heroes and Firefly and How I Met Your Mother and Dexter, and even gotten pulled into girlier stuff like Project Runway and Ugly Betty.

But HBO takes the cake. I've gotten to see Oz and The Larry Sanders Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm in small doses in the past and liked them a lot, but Jesus ... this year I've been catching up on some of HBO's well-regarded dramas, and they're fantastic. I've seen the first two seasons of Six Feet Under and the first season of Deadwood so far, and definitely plan to finish those series when I get the chance. And just this week I've finally been plowing into the first season of The Wire. I've been reading rapturous praise for the show from its small but passionate fan base for a while, and it always looked like it would be up my alley. So with impossibly high expectations, I've been watching it ... and I'm completely hooked. I love it. I even watched an episode before work this morning. When I'm done I'll be looking to convert non-believers and force them to borrow and watch my DVDs (or even better, buy their own to encourage more shows like The Wire). I wish I was home right now watching it.

I guess I'll have to catch up with that Soprano show too at some point. Good things lie ahead.

20 April 2007

Overheard in Dublin

So my lady and I were in Dublin last month to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and I was reminded of how loud Americans sound when they're on holiday. Last May in Florence there were hundreds of be-flipflopped American college girls rhapsodizing about how they loved Italy because they were, like, so into the Renaissance. In Dublin we heard "I fucking love Spar.* Spar is the shizzle." Yep, these are my poeple.

* Spar is a cheap grocery/convenience store chain with outlets throughout Europe.


Last Saturday I was standing in a liquor store regarding my choice of vodka, which I intended to purchase for use in making White Russians. Overwhelmed by the variety, my eye settled on Absolut Raspberry vodka, and I thought "A White Russian with raspberry flavoring would be revolting". Then, the more I thought about it, the more tasty that drink sounded to me, until I ended up persuading myself to buy the Absolut Raspberry.

At home that night, I made a tall glass of raspberry-flavored White Russian. But first -- what to call it? I racked my brain to think of a raspberry-and-Russian-themed name and found none, but fortunately my fiancee was up to the task. Ladies and gentlemen, the drink is called a Rasputin.

(Sadly, the drink tasted a bit strange; the raspberry flavoring dominates at first, then the coffee flavor from the Kahlua kicks in and lingers. I was hoping for a happy marriage of the two, producing a creamy and delicious new taste. Alas.)

06 October 2006

Celebrity matching

www.myheritage.com has a service (requiring free registration) where they scan a photo of your face and match it with the closest celebrity faces. Observe:

I'm both Hannibal Lector AND Clarice Starling. That rocks.

21 August 2006


So my lady and I had a mission last Saturday, to find a rice cooker/steamer to make it easier for us to make healthy meals at home. We went to several different stores and it was a funny display of Dutch cooking habits that every place had one or two rice cookers and ten to fifteen deep fryers. We eventually found a nice rice cooker/steamer combo at BCC, and have made two meals already in it -- rice, green beans and salmon Saturday night, and risotto Milanese last night. Both were totally delish.

So, I'm casting about trying to think of more things to steam -- probably going to do potatoes tonight. Any ideas? The steamer came with some recipes, but I'm sure people have come up with their own inventions that are quick and easy in a steamer. Let me know what you like to steam!

25 July 2006


Hola amigos,
Sorry it's been so long since I've rapped at ya. I've frequently intended to post again, but never got around to it. And for now, my post is going to be kind of lame -- I feel a burning need to link to my favorite YouTube clips.

This one is a delightfully silly video which accumulated a bunch of Darth Vader scenes from "Star Wars", but replaced his dialogue with lines from other James Earl Jones movies.

This one is a history lesson in the form of a song about America's most lethal president. Careful: the lyrics are profane and probably Not Safe For Work.

And this one is a video I took with my digital camera showing our cat playing pool.

Not much else has happened since I last posted ... well, lots of travelling (Brussels, Dusseldorf, Akron, Chicago, Krakow, Florence, London and Paris), and lots of sweating (unusually warm here in the Netherlands for the last month). More later.

17 October 2005

Word nerd

I am a word nerd. With some words I just adore the sound and the look and the mouth-feel, and I can't completely explain it. One word I keep thinking about lately is "ample". It just sounds so right. Some words are so closely linked in sound and root to their meaning that I cannot vizualize them meaning something else ... words like "abhorrent" and "lubricious" and "pizzazz" and "moxie".

It's great to discover foreign words that also hit the spot; I recently found out that in German "Morgenmuffel" is a person who can't wake up in the morning.

Another wordy thing I was reminded of recently is that Shakespeare invented tons of words in his plays. What a bad-ass. I know he was popular and influential and everything, but still -- 2000 words and phrases that survive to this day are credited to him. I'm so jealous. "Madcap". "Moonbeam". "Bloodstained". "Besmirch". "Hint". "Hobnob". "Scuffle". "Savagery". "Salad days". "Vanish into thin air". "Tongue-tied". "Short shrift". What a bad motherfucker.

And at the moment I'm also reading a history of the Oxford English Dictionary (did you know it took over 70 years to create the first edition?) The history is just okay so far. At least it's a lot easier to carry than the actual OED.

13 October 2005

Random stuff

I burned myself again last night while boiling noodles. I was standing over the stove, trying to break in half a stack of noodles so they'd fit in the pot, and when they finally cracked, my right hand jerked into the pot of boiling water. Fortunately I got lots of cold water on my hand promptly (after I got the noodles all squared away) so it looks like I'll avoid the nasty blisters I had from my last cooking incident.

Right now I'm listening to "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", a CD which I only bought and got into a year ago, six years after it came out. I was just thinking about how it's not uncommon for me to catch up to cultural phenomena only years after they're relevant. I only really started to like "Beavis and Butthead" and Nirvana after their cancellation and Cobain's suicide, respectively. I'm probably almost ready to start appreciating "South Park" by now (in my defense, I've only rarely seen it, but I know many people who adore it, so I expect I will someday too). I'm skeptical of any heavily-hyped new thing ... it took me years to get around to reading the Harry Potter books (which I now enjoy).

I used to be legitimately worried that I liked the music that I liked only because it was (mostly) obscure; that being a snobbish culture asshole was more important to me than appreciating the innate value of things. I've decided that's not the case though. I'm definitely a snobbish asshole, but my snobbery is completely justified. People (and here I'm not talking to you, the blog reader, but the unwashed masses), get some taste why don't you!

My girlfriend occasionally peruses MTV when she needs some brain candy, and I've taken the opportunity to make a careful examination of the many and varied shows that they offer. My analysis: all of the shows on MTV are complete ass and I hate them, except for The Andy Milonakis Show, which is surprisingly watchable.

The Lauryn Hill album is really damn good, by the way.

Oh, and someone made a model of the Sears Tower using Jenga blocks. It's not clear if they used glue or something -- if not, that takes huge balls. It falls over, it could kill someone.