Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nice find

Ted at BSYTYCD relentlessly scours the intrawebs for any sort of SYTYCD-related information to keep us rabid fans up to date and totally entertained. He does a wonderful job. Now that the show's back in full-swing, I probably visit his site at least a handful of times each day.

This morning, thanks to Ted, I found a site called Rhino Times, where Orson Scott Card has a column. He recently reviewed and critiqued the judges on SYTYCD (and a few other reality competition judges as well). I found his comments to be insightful, interesting and dead-on. Not surprising for someone who has penned some of the most thoughtful and human sci-novels around. What I love about his books is that he always gives the reader (me) a different perspective on a situation that they (again: me) wouldn't have thought of in the first place. Very clever, he is. His columns at Rhino Times provide that same kind of insight. I'm totally fascinated by his views on modern-day pop culture. He's definitely got some strong opinions, and while he may be a little verbose at times, his columns are worth checking out.

If you're a fan of his work, you must visit Uncle Orson Reviews Everything. Happy reading!

Friday, May 30, 2008

So, I know there was another two-hour SYTYCD bonanza on last night, but I went out to celebrate CGI's birthday and had to DVR it. I'm snuggled on the couch with a warm down blanket (Bay Area mornings have been c-c-c-cold as of late!), a bowl of cereal and the remote. I'm ready to rock.

(As an aside to the managers of Medjool's Sky Terrace bar, more heat lamps are needed for summer nights in San Francisco. Like Mark Twain said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." The man shits you not. With the fog and breeze, it was downright arctic up there. But the views, the drinks and especially the company were simply to die for. On a warmer night, I could totally fall in love with this place...)

According to DJC, who stayed home last night and watched the show, there is someone by the name of Phucdat Ngyuen who auditions in this segment. How did I get the spelling correct on that one, you ask? DJC wrote it down. Love it! Hee-hee!

Be back soon (I think). If I flake, happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend! =)

UPDATED: Brandon Bryant, you are my new hero. Holysmokes.



Again, thanks to kelxk3l. =)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thursday morning couch potato report

Last night was the second two-hour installment of SYTYCD with stops in Salt Lake City, UT, and Dallas, TX. I have to say, as amazing as the LA auditions were, I had high hopes for this season to continue to blow me away. Yeah, Dallas and Salt Lake City..not so much. I found myself totally annoyed with Fox's constant need to display (and totally make fun of) mediocre, or just plain horrible, dancers. 40+ dancers made it to the next round in Las Vegas from Utah. We saw only a handful. Dallas was even worse.

But amongst the horridness and housewives who brought their children to the audition (they were in Utah, after all), there were several bright spots:



This is Kelli Baker from the Salt Lake auditions. I was not impressed with her ego at first, but then when I saw her dance, it all became clear. See, Kelli illustrates one of my favorite principles in life: Talk as much smack as you want...as long as you can back it up. Her audition was breathtaking. She most definitely can back it up. And how cute is Mandy Moore? (she's the judge on the far right, opposite of Nigel) Love her!



Joshua Allen was the *only* popper in last night's two-hour extravaganza to really impress me. So cool, he is. Like ice. Love the way he moves. And that leap at the end? WOW. Just wow.



This is Chelsie Hightower. While the video will give you her entire family life and background in agonizing detail, trust me on this one...You.Must.Watch. She is gorgeous. Oh my heavens, all my life I've wanted legs like hers! So pleasing to the eye. And we like that!! YAY!

All videos come courtesy of kelxk3l. Thanks! =) Check out her (or his?!) page if you want to see more auditions from last night's show. Ryann Race is another fun one to watch. And how can you not love that he is a DJ in a strip club...in Salt Lake City! LOL! Another performer I TOTALLY enjoyed was Gev Manoukian. The judges sent him to the choreography round, when I would have sent him straight through to the next round. Thankfully, he can dance and made it though anyways. =)

Another two-hour special airs tomorrow night, showcasing stops in Washington, DC and Charleston, SC. Hopefully, Fox will focus more on the amazing dancers and leave the jokers out...

New products and stuff

(Note: I cut the ever-living HELL out of my left thumb yesterday while trying to cut bread. My left thumb is my space bar thumb. Typing is really hard. Needless to say, my knife privileges have been revoked.)

I'm skipping the Tuesday Couch Potato Report this week (obviously). Because of the holiday weekend, most of the usual shows weren't on, and I just watched lots of movies....

On another note, I've been wanting to do a post for a while now on new things that I'm in love with, and I don't know why I picked today to do it, but recently, I've picked up a bunch of new items that deserve a little blog space...

First, I bought a new pair of running shoes. In the beginning, I LOVED them. But then, inexplicably, they went all sideways on me, and now I can't stand the way they feel. I have no idea what happened. I went the way of the Asics Oberon Gel and I think I'm feeling the reprocussions of betraying my love affair with New Balance. I'm still trying to make them work (with various inserts and whatnot), but I'm not holding my breath. Bummer...

Ok, so despite my love for hockey and burly sports, I love me a good pedicure. Here are a few cool things I've picked up recently to make my feets look bettah...

Not that I've worn anything but flip-flops and running shoes lately, but I used to spend lots and lots of time in stylish high-heeled torture devices. Apparently, Yoga Toes are great for stretching the feet out after a long day of modern-day footbinding. So far, I'm liking the way my feet feel after wearing them for about 30 minutes. I can't tolerate any longer than that, which apparently means that I need them! Stay tuned!

For super-smooth feet, look no further than the Ped Egg. Strange name, great product. Just be aware that even though the product description claims to catch all the dead skin, it doesn't. Using this thing should still be done over a trash can.

And lastly, once your feet are relaxed and dead skin-free, polish them up for sandal season with Nic's Sticks from OPI...if you can figure out how to control the brush. In theory, putting quick drying nail polish in pen form is a great idea. You can take them with you wherever you are and touch up chips in no time. YAY! Right?! Well, not quite. The execution of said idea is all kinds of off. First, the polish is too thick and doesn't go on smoothly, leaving lines and clumps. Secondly, the brush is the strangest thing I have ever seen. It's too wide and very hard to control, leaving polish all over the surrounding skin (note: this could just be due to operator error, but I struggle even with my dominant hand). I picked up "Feeling Girly" and "Do You Deliver?". Despite the problems, one coat of the light pink polish looks pretty cute. Any more than one coat, and its a mess. I've given up on "Do You Deliver?" even though I LOVE the color itself. It's a great red.

Ok, so it took me nearly an hour to type this post out, so I'm gonna give my thumb a rest for the day. Catch ya'll tomorrow, when I'm sure I'll have more amazing SYTYCD audition videos to post. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Crosses

Last year, I did a Memorial Day post that featured the lyrics from John Mayer's "Belief" and a few pictures from a hillside in Lafayette, CA. I didn't explain much about why that hillside is covered in wooden crosses, but did include a link to the project's website. I think they explain it best here. This was the hillside on Memorial Day 2007:


And here is that same hillside from yesterday:


I glance at this landmark every time I drive by it on the freeway and I'm always a bit saddened as I see the count continually climb. I think the second picture gives you a pretty good idea of the sheer number of crosses on this hill. What's even more saddening (and maddening!) is that each of those white wooden crosses represents an U.S. Armed Forces life lost to the seemingly never-ending war in Iraq. And if Iraqi casualties were to be added in...well, let's just say that there isn't a hillside in Lafayette big enough.

Even though the war has fallen out of daily media coverage, memorials like this one serve as a grim reminder that we are still a nation at war and that people, families, are still losing their loved ones every day. I appreciate what the Lafayette volunteers do to keep that hillside up. I also appreciate every single man and woman over in Iraq, although I'm not happy about the fact that they're still there, or that they didn't get to BBQ with their families yesterday, or that the volunteers have to continually add crosses to that hillside.

Hopefully someone someday will put a stop to the violence and they'll all come home. Hopefully soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh my stars....

UPDATED: Now with the new and totally improved William Wingfield audition video! YAY! That previous one was killing me. I mean, who even has an old-school TV like that anymore? But really, when the dancing is that amazing, who cares? I still got chills either way.

SYTYCD is back with a vengeance! After only the first stop on the nation-wide audition tour, the judges must be SO tired. Maybe Fox edited it this way, but there was so much stinkin' talent! I smiled for two straight hours. Here are some of the highlights from last night's show:



This is Robert Muraine. Like Mary, I've never seen anything like this. I think Mia's face at :27 and :43 says it all. Totally. Freaking. Amazing.




Here we have Phillip Chbeeb, a fave of mine from last season who didn't get very far in the competition. So glad to see he came back for another go this year. Between him and Robert, I wonder how it is that people learn to move like that. Insane. And so damn cool. (pardon the lame logo in the corner of the vid!)


And lastly, this piece seriously left me speechless:




I've been watching this show for a looong time now, and I'm fairly certain that no one has done anything like William Wingfield did here. His free-form dance was totally remarkable and breathtaking. Nigel didn't think it was right for the audition, but you know what? It got everyone's attention and left them wanting to see more, which is *exactly* what a successful audition should accomplish. LOVE!

Oh man, this looks to be a great season! The judges are positive and not annoying, the dancing is unreal and it was great to see dancers from past seasons make a cameo or two. Can't wait to see what the other cities have to bring! =)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two guys, a girl and the "slimmest ones possible"

The location: The "feminine protection" aisle at Walgreen's earlier today.

The participants: Me. One seriously agitated bald man who looks to be on the verge of losing it, but is holding it together in the hopes of finding a Walgreen's employee to help him. He succeeds. The third player is a teenage, uber-nerdy, pimple-faced guy.

The scene: Seriously agitated bald man asks teenage guy for help because he needs to find "the slimmest tampons possible". Teenage pizza face looks like he's gonna throw up. He manages to say, "I don't even know what that means." Despite the fact that this could be seriously funny if I just stand back and watch, I step in.

Me: *deep sigh* "Two guys in the tampon aisle. Goodness. Sir, let me help you."

Teenage guy nearly trips over his own feet as he runs out of sight. Seriously agitated bald man looks totally relieved. He explains his situation and I offer two options. This seems to confuse him terribly. I realize my mistake and offer only one option. He quickly snags the box out of my hand and thanks me over his shoulder as he too runs out of sight.

Now, if I were ever to send my man to the store to buy me a very specific kind of tampon, I'd make damn sure that he knew *exactly* what kind I needed to minimize the time he had to spend hunting for them. The woman that sent the poor guy I helped today...she's maaaaad at him for something. Bless his heart. She sent him out with no further information or instructions other than "slimmest ones possible".

Hilarious.

Congratualtions...

...to David Archuleta. He becomes the latest in a long line of talented people to NOT win it all, despite being the best at their respective reality competition disciplines. He joins:

*Danny Tidwell, from Season 3's SYTYCD. I still maintain that no one from this upcoming season (or any season, for that matter) will ever be as good as Danny. And yet, somehow, incredibly, he lost out...

*Kaba Modern, from Season 1 of America's Best Dance Crew. They didn't even make it to the finals, although there have been articles (like this one) out there hinting at foul play. Hella whack. They were amazing.

*Uli Herzner from Season 3 of Project Runway. She lost out to Jeffrey, whose clothes I would buy only if I were going to a costume party as a 80s rocker chick or a gothed-out cokewhore. Uli's line, on the other hand, was clean and interesting, with plenty of movement. I'd wear her stuff any day.

(there are more...I just felt like only mentioning those three because they stand out the most to me)

And now, we can add David Archuleta to that list. Last night's American Idol finale was bullshit. There. I said it. David Cook? Did anyone who voted actually *listen* to him sing? And moreover, did anyone watch him? He might have an OK voice (similar to Chad Kroeger's from Collective Soul...kinda monotone, kinda scruffy), but there's just nothing behind his eyes. The same can almost be said for David Archuleta, but here's the big difference: Cook is 25. Archuleta is 17. David A., although more charismatic than his competitor, still lacks a little on-stage maturity that can probably be chalked up to his age. Bright lights, big city. No matter, though. He more than makes up for it with his strong, beautiful vocals. Archuleta can sell it. The same cannot be said for David C.

Once David C. gets in the studio and has the help of a sound engineer to digitize his meh-ness, he'll crank out a pretty good CD that will sell a few copies here and there. But David A. will always have that "wow" factor. Couple that with the fact that he is so young, and I think we'll be seeing him for years and years. Does David C. have that kind of staying power? Only time will tell, but I look for him to disappear into the background with other Idol "winners" like Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard. He just doesn't do it for me. At all. (His reaction to winning, though, was *very* endearing and kinda melted my icy heart...for like a second.)

David A., you were robbed, my friend. At least you're in good company...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exersize: Ur doin it rong

Yesterday, I headed over to meet up with DeKap for our weekly stumble run up and down the stairs of Alta Plaza. I was sore from the previous day's run and wasn't really up for it, but if he was ready to go, I'd soldier through.

Thankfully, he wasn't. He and I have both been a little down in the dumps lately (but for very different reasons) and running was the last thing that either of us wanted to do. So, on a sunny but windy afternoon in the city by the bay, the only exercise that DeKap and I got came from walking two blocks uphill to the local bar, consuming a few drinks (mmmm, lychee and pineapple infused vodka martinis), walking across the street to grab some gelato (mmmm, lavender gelato), and then walking the same two blocks downhill to get back to his place.

And as good as running would have felt afterwards, not running, consuming lots of calories and chilling with a good friend for a bit felt even better. Sometimes when things don't work out as planned, it ends up being exactly what you needed...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday morning couch potato report

Good morning! Welcome to your weekly update of all the televised crap you can handle. Weeeee!

First up to bat this time around, we've got the Food Network. Aaaah, the glorious Food Network. All food, all the time. And most of it, with the glaring exception of anything that Rachael Ray makes, looks deeeee-lish! I just can't imagine that food prepared by someone that obnoxious could be any good. But that's just me. Plenty of people that watch her wildly gesticulate while cooking love her. But, in the same obnoxious vein, we find the lovably awesome Guy Fieri. Not familiar? This is our guy:

Yeah, he's the one featured in the latest T.G.I.Friday's commercials. He hosts several shows on the Food Network, but my favorite is called "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives". He travels all around the nation looking for the most unique places to get home-cooked grub. He stands in the kitchens and patiently watches while the owners of the places he visits make their specialty dishes. Then comes the fun part. He always chows down on whatever is made, usually in a gluttonous manner. Not sure why, but it's *so* satisfying to watch him inhale the food. And thanks to yesterday's show, DJC and I will have to visit this place at some point. Mangia!

So, last night was the season finale of CSI Miami. I decided to DVR Miss Rap Supreme, which airs at the same time, only because all of the CSI episodes have been previously available On Demand. I woke up today, all excited to watch Horatio in all his one-liner glory, only to find that last night's episode is NOT AVAILABLE. NOOOOOOOOOO! As entertaining as Miss Rap Supreme was, I want my CSI!! Maybe it'll show up in the On Demand section later in the day. Fingers crossed...

And only two more days until SYTYCD returns! WHOOO-HOOOO!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yeah. I love this show.

This is the recap post of SYTYCD's live tour that my sister, mom and I enjoyed last year. This entry is from my dearly departed old blog and entitled "*insert incredibly high-pitched girly screams here*". Enjoy!
"Ohmygod, ohmygod, OHMYGAAWD! YEEEAAYY!!!!" Every time Pasha, Neil or Danny took the stage, the group of three *very* sharply dressed middle aged men sitting next to my mother at last night's So You Think You Can Dance show would scream with giddy glee. I even witnessed fist pumping. Several times. OK OK, so some of those giddy screams may have come from me, but who's keeping track, right? They were awesome. Behind us sat the unofficial Pasha fan club, headed by what I thought was the cutest 14-year old girl EVAR. Then I heard her scream. My eardrums are still ringing! Holy cow. They sure did love them some Pasha!

From the start of SYTYCD this season, I've been in awe of the amazing level of talent. Danny, in particular, took my breath away from the get-go. When my sister called to let me know that she has scored tickets to this year's tour, I was thrilled. To see Danny's grace and amplitude *live* was something I could hardly wait for! And my god, did he ever deliver! Stunning and flawless, he is. I'm convinced he is not human. Simply perfect.

Although I'll remain a Danny-loving fool forever, I'd pay good money to see the opening group number to "Madskillz" by BT again and again and again. It was the perfect way to open the show. So high energy! It really got the crowd going. I also enjoyed seeing "Mein Herr" and "2:19" (the swamp themed number) again. With respect to the solos: with every single one, I found that I wanted MORE! I'd be happy if the solos were longer in the future. And although I loved all of them, three really stood out in my mind: of course Danny (swoon!), Kameron and Jaimie. Maybe it was their choice of music or choreography (or both!), but thinking back, its those three that I remember. Jaimie is so graceful and strong and Kameron's solo really showed off how much he has improved.

Since the Oakland stop is close to the end of the tour, every dance and dancer looked so polished. It was great to see the dancers perform the style that they're most comfortable with, too. That break dancing number? SICK! After watching Hok give more than 100%, I can't believe he has a back injury! He really gave it his all. The schtick in between the dances seemed a bit contrived and arbitrary, but I understand the need in order to transition from one number to the next. In the future I'd like to see less of it, though...and longer solos. Longer solos. Yeah. Wait, have I said that I'd like the solos to be longer? 'Cuz I would, you know...

One thing that struck me was just how many people were in attendance last night. The Oakland Arena is *big*, ya'll...and it was totally full. People from all walks of life cheered their hearts out, but I noticed that there were several dance teams of young girls sitting near us. They were all sporting their studio's warm-up jackets. My sister commented that its really nice to see young girls looking up to classy dancers like Sabra, Lacey and Anya instead of idolizing Hollywood's crackwhores that forget their underwear, shave their heads on a whim, and snort coke off of toilet seats. There aren't nearly enough positive role models for girls today and I give huge kudos to the SYTYCD ladies that do right by their young fans. Cheers!

We were sitting too far back to get any decent pictures, but my memories of all the wonderful performances will hold me over...until next season.

Can't wait, can't wait, CAN'T WAIT!!! YEEEEEEEEEAAAAH!

Things I learned this weekend

* I suck at skee ball, miniature golf and air hockey. DJC's company had an employee and family "fun night" here last Friday night. All the games we could handle from 8-11pm were on them. During the course of the night, DJC and I played half a round of mini-golf, did a go-kart race, played countless games of skee ball and two games of air hockey. The score of air hockey game one: DJC 7, me 0 (I actually won game two, but only by two goals. He killed me!). The funny thing is that I remember being pretty darn good at racking up the silly prize tickets as a kid. Last Friday, all our combined efforts scored us was one multi-colored bouncy ball and two braided plastic rings. I think we'll use them as engagement rings! LOL!

*Despite not being tied to the clock these days and really having nothing important to do, I still have NO patience at the grocery store. People seem to just meander around with no real plan and stop right in front of me. I, on the other hand, HATE the grocery store and do my best to get in and out of there as quickly as possible, with as few roadblocks as possible. Everyone in Trader Joe's yesterday had a different idea and I finally left DJC to finish the shopping after the fourth person bumped into me because they were looking the other way. I swear, a trip to the grocery store drives my blood pressure up to dangerous levels....

*Having lived in the same house for three years, I finally appreciate what the San Francisco fog bank can do to the temperatures. Last week, the mercury was in the high 90s. It was at least that hot in our house. There was zero breeze and, even worse, perfectly clear skies off of the coast. I was miserable, to say the least. On Saturday morning, the fog returned and since then the weather (at least in my little microclimate) has been positively lovely. According to weather.com, it's an almost chilly, overcast 57° right now. Muuuuuch more tolerable. =)

*After watching bits and pieces of the SYTYCD Season 3 marathon over the weekend, I am SOOOO much more excited for Season 4 than I thought! A little later, I plan to bring another post over from that other blog recapping my experience at the live show. Is it Thursday yet?!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tricks for beating the heat

Holy hell on Earth, it's hot today. Like Africa hot. Seeing as that our house is so close to the ocean and 350 days out of the year the weather is very mild, we have no AC. I am wilting. Literally. I feel like the kid in that Shel Silverstein poem that wants to take off his skin and sit around in his bones. Yeah, that hot.

But, I also used to work with athletes that weren't so adept at managing their body temperatures in extreme heat. After being on the wrong side of a collapsing lineman one too many times, I picked up a trick or two to keep the internal mercury down...at least a little.

Obviously, drinking lots and lots of ice cold water will help keep you hydrated. If the weather's super hot and you can't sweat because of dehydration, things are gonna get pretty ugly, pretty quickly. And as a PSA, if you're in the sun doing *anything* and you start to feel a little queasy, you best get yourself to a shady spot and DRINK WATER. Nausea is the first sign of heat induced problems

Get a few bags of frozen peas and just leave 'em in the freezer. They come in handy for all sorts of things like icing sports aches and pains and for keeping cool on days like today. There are several large arteries that run very close to the surface of the skin (in areas like the neck, groin, armpits and wrists) and placing a bag of frozen peas over these areas will help to cool your internal temperature. Plus, frozen things just feel good on hot days!

Along the same frozen lines, take a plastic water bottle, fill it and freeze it. Once solid, place it on the floor and roll the soles of your feet back and forth over it. It's a little cold at first, but feels heavenly.

If all else fails, hop in a cool shower or pool. If there is any sort of breeze outside (or if you have a fan), the air passing over your wet skin will help to cool you down. And man, does that ever feel good!

On that note, I'm gonna head out of my ridiculously hot house for a bit. I think it might be hotter inside than it is outside and I could use a cold drink. Margaritas, anyone? ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Amazing

I took this pic a few minutes ago from our back steps. It has not been photoshopped or retouched at all:


Ahhhh, *this* is why I love living where we do. Sunsets like this come along fairly often, but the colors never fail to take my breath away. Simply beautiful.

Damn it!!

I feel like this post was totally written about me. I wish it wasn't so goddamn true!

...and I wish I wouldn't have laughed (even if it was in spite of myself!)

Sketch vs. Ici

Lately, it seems that boutique ice cream shops are popping up all over the place. Gone are the days when Baskin Robbins or Yogurt Park would suffice. Gone are the simple, but still satisfying flavors like chocolate and vanilla, or even rocky road. This past weekend at Ici, I tried Charteuse ice cream, followed by a sample of blood orange and saffron ice cream. Seriously. (Incidentally, I liked the first one. Saffron, in my opinion, has no place in ice cream.)

A while back, acting on a review from Fatemeh, I gave Sketch a try. Let me just start out by saying that there is no comparison between Sketch and Ici. It's like the first time I drove Twin A's BMW and then had to go back to my crappy Saturn afterwards. But here are my thoughts on Sketch taken from an old post I did at that other site...
Aside from the place being too small to enjoy their offerings inside in the case of inclement weather, the whole vibe was just...ummm...too cool for school. But perhaps the ice cream would make up for the douchey-ness, I thought. Yeah, not so much. First of all, the portions were too small. Small plates for ice cream? Not for $4.25, thank you very much. Secondly, its ICE CREAM!! Who really wants cardamom flavored ice cream? And the toppings? Olive oil and sea salt? Poached blood oranges? Really?! No good old fashioned hot fudge or caramel?! WTF?! I settled on coffee ice cream with cocao nibs on top. How was it, you ask? I was totally underwhelmed. The mouthfeel was too thin for ice cream (even soft serve) and was more like ice milk. The flavor was OK, but did not make up for the icy, watery taste. The coups de grĂ¢ce was the small wooden plank given in place of a spoon (You know, the thing that used to come with Carnation's malted ice cream at baseball games). I feel like this is the place where hipsters go when they want ice cream, not because it's good, but because it's cool to do so. Needless to say, I've experienced the novelty, and now I know. I won't be going back.
After Sketch, I was discouraged. But, one step into Ici this weekend was all I needed to know that this place serves decent ice cream. First think I noticed: no soft serve machines. Sketch had three. Gourmet soft serve? Puuuh-lease! Next thing that earned Ici bonus points: they had more than five flavors. And yeah, while their idea of a menu board did include individual wooden signs hung all around the store from pink ribbons, I appreciated what was written ON them (even if it was in pink, scrolly, foo-foo text). The flavors actually sounded good. And did I mention no soft serve machines? Ici makes all of it's delectable ice creams on-site, all by hand.

I took a good look around the rest of the store before settling on a flavor. They offered countless confections nicely wrapped with pink curly ribbons. I will have to go back for the homemade peppermint marshmallows. DJC settled on a hand-made ice cream sandwich, which he devoured before I could get a bite. I went with milk chocolate ice cream with salted almonds. I contemplated toppings and was happy to find things like hot fudge, and salted caramel. No olive oil or sea salt in site! Yes, the ice cream itself was sweet and creamy, but the saltiness of the almonds balanced it out perfectly. And even if all of Ici's serving materials are compostable and totally hippie, I got an actual plastic spoon to eat with! No wooden planks! YAY! And when it comes down to money, Ici wins again. Bigger portion for less money. And the people working there, although a little spacey, were VERY nice and not too cool to be there.

All in all, Ici wins for me. I'll be back again and again and again...as long as I can find parking. ;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A few laughs for your Tuesday

I don't know who this guy is or what show he's from, but BLOODY HELL, this video is hysterical. Go ahead...it's OK to laugh:



I could watch him wrestle with the boat motor all day long and never get tired of it.

"Well, isn't this a fine howdyya do?"

Yes sir. Yes it is. =)

Tuesday morning couch potato report

OK. We have a lot to discuss this morning from the ever-so fascinating world of mainstream television. Let's dive right in, shall we?

My beloved show, The Hills, had its season finale last night. I don't know what it is, but the manufactured drama is really starting to annoy me. Could it be that I've finally outgrown my love for Lauren Conrad? Say it isn't so! I DVR'd the after-show and although I haven't watched it yet, I hear there's a preview of another season that's coming along soon. Thank goodness. Doing my nails during The Deadliest Catch just isn't as fabulous...

The new season of American Gladiators premiered last night and is still hosted by Hulk Hogan and Leila Ali. SO obnoxious, this show is. I like the addition of water to some of the events, but do we really need to see pictures of the crowd holding up signs that they clearly didn't make and doing silly choreography to songs like "Another One Bites the Dust" after each event? The show's always been a bit campy, but has now crossed over into cheeseball-land. I'm still gonna watch it though. It's still better than Dancing With the Stars. Word.

Speaking of dancing, and thanks to Ted's sweet countdown widget, I know there are roughly nine days remaining until So You Think You Can Dance? returns for season 4. I am SO excited! I can't wait to see this season's crop of dancers and pick early favorites, although no one (at least in my mind) will ever be able to top Danny Tidwell. Remember him? If not, here's a refresher:



I had serious trouble picking just one vid to post here. Everything he does is beyond perfection and so beautiful. And he really does make it look effortless. Danny is the Frenchie Davis of SYTYCD? Neither of them won their respective competitions, but in my opinion, no contestant has the same level of talent. I can't imagine anyone coming along that could top Danny's technique. He is sublime. That said, I'm excited to see what the newest crop of dancers bring. YAY! Only nine days to go!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Saturday afteroon on College Ave.

DJC and I woke up fairly early on Saturday and decided to head to Berkeley for coffee, pastries, fresh air, sunshine, and whatever else we could find. I took lots of pictures. Here are a few:

This was the store window at Lululemon Athletica. I think we'd all do well to remember this once in a while, don't you agree? More playing! YAY!

The tall glass on the right represents the first vanilla latte I've had since becoming unemployed. Along with the acrylic nails, my thrice-weekly cup of overly sugary Chargebucks goodness was another habit I had to break in the interest of money. Let me just say that I'm no longer used to having caffeine in my system and after downing The Beanery's perfectly sweetened cuppa joe, I felt whacked out for the rest of the day. Incidentally, the cup on the left is DJC's double espresso.

The small street herb garden at Nabolom Bakery, home of the tastiest cinnamon twists in the Bay. I've been patronizing this place since college, and I'm happy to say that its still as hippie and weird as ever. The pastries are divine, though, and really, that's all that matters.

These folks provided some interesting music at Nabolom. I can't even identify two of those instruments. And I'm pretty sure that the guy looking at me was not happy about getting photographed. Oh well.

My experience at Ici deserves it's own post...and I'll get to that soon enough. But in the meantime, feast your eyes on all of the wondrous confections and pretty packaging they offer. Heaven, I swear. Here's their case:

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! I love ice cream! =)

This pooch was hanging out in the doorway of 14 Karats Fine Jewelry, which happened to be right near where we were parked. I came in to snap a picture of her, but stayed because I was fascinated with the stunning hand-crafted jewelry. Carey and his family were delightful, and if I had the money, I easily could have left with three or four very unique pieces.

On the way home, we stopped at Whole Paychecks Foods (which is actually on Telegraph Ave.) in search of some mystical beer that DJC has had a serious beer-boner for lately. I stayed outside and snapped a shot of the flowers for sale. As I was putting my camera away, a store employee stormed over to me to inform me that Whole Foods has a strict "no photographs" policy. He asked if I'd visited the customer service desk to obtain a "photo pass". When I said that I had not, he instructed me to delete the picture. I fumbled with my camera until he seemed satisfied and walked away. I did not, however, delete the picture. Here it is:

I intend to devote a whole post to this interesting policy, but for now, I feel like I got away with something. So dangerous, I am! And goofy, too! ;)

Anyways, the weather was perfect and DJC and I were content to just walk around with no real plan. We need to slow down and do things like that more often.

All in all, it was definitely a great day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ikea: Oh, how I hate you

Six or seven years ago, Ikea was brand new in the Bay Area and everyone swarmed en masse to see what the excitement was about. For a while, the novelty of Ikea and its cheap, DIY furniture created a black hole around the store's location. As in, if you passed within a mile or two of the store and crossed the event horizon, getting sucked inside the maze of displays for hours at a time was inevitable. Shopping there was a serious time commitment. It always brought out the worst in me. The following is an account of a very real event that left me deeply scarred. Ok, not really, but that sounded cool...

I don't do well in crowds. At all. Back in the day, the crowd at Ikea rivaled that of a small third world country. But I had to see what it was all about. So my sister and I decided to check it out one sunny day. After navigating through the strange labyrinth of textiles, furniture and general crap we didn't know we needed until we saw it, we were finally at the front and ready to check out. My sister somehow managed to resist the pull of consumerism, while I *had* to have several tin lanterns and 100 votive candles. She offered to get us cinnamon rolls while I coughed up my money. We agreed to meet in the parking lot at my car. Here's where things get fun...

After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime in line, I headed back to my car expecting to find my sister and the cinnamon rolls of life waiting. But she was nowhere to be found. I climbed in the car and drove around the parking lot, thinking she might have forgotten where the car was parked. I waited at the front of the store for her to emerge with the heavenly cinnamon rolls. I drove around the lot a couple more times. No sister.

Finally, I went back to where my car had been parked to find a *very* angry sister, holding two enormous, yummy-looking icing coated rolls. Arguing ensued. Then, without warning, she took both cinnamon rolls and slammed them icing-side down onto the hood of my car. I was PISSED, mostly because the sugar I so desperately needed to return to human form was now mixed with bird poop and general road filth. But even now, as I type this, I am laughing. Because, really, it was funny.

The point of this trip down memory lane is that I finally cached the bag of 100 votive candles. It only took me six years. I need more. The thought of venturing back to Ikea is not something I care to do. Since the cinnamon roll catastrophe, I haven't been back. I'm sure I can find cheap votive candles somewhere else (Ikea.com, perhaps?), but then what would I have to blog about?

Happy Friday! =)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Major Penalty of the Day

Ladies and gents, I'd like you all to meet Dion Phaneuf. According to his Wiki page, he's 6'3" 212lbs of pure hunk-a-licious NHL beefcake. And this picture would indicate that, surely, he's one tough customer (Sean Avery is no slouch!):

Honestly, he'd have to be tough, because wearing something like this in public might garner you a serious ass-kicking:


Oh my stars, those are some loud shorts right there. You'd have to be pretty secure in your manhood to wear those out where people might see you. Fortunately, aside from the dire need for a tan, Dion Phaneuf seems to look the part. The trunks, though? Criminal.

I'd like to think that Elisha Cuthbert is laughing at his beachwear choice in the above pic. Because, honey, DAMN.

Random stuff

I got my Economic Stimulus check the other day. Whoop. I know I'm supposed to take my free $600 and spend it frivolously on material things, but I'm gonna just leave it in my account and eventually use it to pay rent. If I wasn't so stressed about my financial situation, I'd do what I did last time the Bush administration decided to give taxpayers free money: I'd donate it to Planned Parenthood in President Bush's name. I didn't vote for either Bush, and I sure as hell don't want this latest round of free money that will only serve to deepen the US's problems. I'd rather donate the whole lot to a worthy cause that Bush would NEVER fund...and do so in his name. But alas, I am jobless and need the cash. Bah.

Last weekend, I received a call from one of my old coworkers. He called just to check on me and see how I was doing. He also said, "I want you to know how much I enjoyed working with you and how sorry I am to hear about everything. You go out there and kick ass." The conversation lasted about two minutes, but I can't even tell you how much it meant. You see, he's the first person from my former company to contact me. All the people I worked with who I considered to be my friends have seemingly turned their backs on me. Losing my job sucked, but not hearing from anyone sucked even more. That two minute phone call meant the world.

Two days ago, DeKap and I went running at a park near his house. This park encompasses an entire city block and is comprised of stairs...lots of stairs. I've been running on nothing but flat ground and sand. Suffice to say, my calves and hips *hurt*. DeKap wants to do this twice weekly. I don't know if I can handle the soreness. On the bright side, I know that if I keep doing it, I'll eventually adapt. But in the meantime...ouch.

Is it wrong that at 9:30am I'm headed to the kitchen to eat hummus and Wheat Thins and then watch last night's Top Chef?

God, I need a job...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday couch potato report

Good morning. Welcome to another week of unemployment. Funny thing, unemployment. Everyone asks me if I am loving the time off. Truth is, I freaking *HATE* it. I'm stressed about everything and bored to tears, all at the same time. Despite running almost daily and maintaining my break-neck house cleaning schedule, I'm having trouble filling the hours.

Thank goodness for the few deliciously bad TV shows that help me along in my endeavors.

The wonders of digital cable, HDTV, On-Demand, and DVR never cease. I recently found episodes of CSI: Miami on demand and in HD! I know its a cheeseball show, but I totally love it. Horatio Caine in HD! I swear, does he age? The show's been on for at least six seasons and he looks exactly the same. Strange...and yet amazing.

I'm still having trouble believing this is a real show, but the Animal Planet channel has taken a stab at the reality competition market with a gem called Groomer Has It. Yes, you read that right. Someone decided that a reality competition show about ANIMAL GROOMING was a good idea. Can you imagine the marketing pitch for that one? Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting...

Anyways, I have yet to watch a single episode, but from what I gather from the website, it's pretty much exactly like Project Runway, right down to the actual runway show where the groomers showcase their work....except, ya know, with dogs as their models. Absurd? Hells yes. Deliciously bad? Probably. I haven't been brave enough to give it a go. Maybe if I can find it On-Demand...

Even though the Sharks are out of the playoffs, a solid month of hockey still remains. Between dog grooming and Dancing With the Stars, I will need to watch as much hockey as humanly possible to remain sane.

I'm losin' it people. I swear...

Monday, May 5, 2008

San Jose Sharks: It's all over...

Hear that? That's the fat lady and she is singin' the blues for the Sharks.

Team Teal's post season was cut short last night in QUADRUPLE overtime against a Dallas Stars team that wasn't any better than the Sharks, but that had luck on their side. The game ended well after 1am, CST. DJC and I were too beat down to shave his playoff beard last night. Tonight, we'll handle that. And I'll take pictures of the various stages of beard-dom...the fu-manchu, the chops, the handlebars.

I feel let down. I feel sad. I want to hug all of the Sharks one by one and tell them how much I enjoyed watching them all season. I want to tell them that I will still be a fan and that I'll be rooting them on next season and every season after that.

It's obvious that I am a rabid hockey fan, but this year's Sharks squad really made me fall in love with the game all over again. Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Youngsters like Torrey Mitchell and Devin Setoguchi made the game *fun* again. I feel like the guys are part of my circle of friends. I followed their ups and downs and really felt for them when things weren't going their way. It's like we're breaking up! NOOOOOOOOO!

My last hockey-related Bleacher Report article can be found here. And thus ends my hockey ramblings for another few months.

Here's to looking forward to October!

And in other sports/ political news, I give you this. Just. Amazing. (although I feel bad for the horse!)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Latest hockey ramblings

My most recent Bleacher Report article is up. The Sharks will face off against the Stars in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals tonight. They need to win every single remaining game in this seven game series to stay alive in the playoffs. One loss earns the Sharks nothing more than an early tee time on Monday morning.

It's do-or-die time, kids. This is what playoff hockey is all about. I freaking love it.

On another note, some of the guys that write for Bleacher Report are very funny. I offer you all this as proof of one guy's clever idea for an "article". Awesome. I totally laughed out loud.

Happy Sunday to ya! =)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wow. Cool.

Click here. Then look about three bullet points down.

Whoa. Writer Greg (can I by a vowel?) Wyshynski snagged my post minutes after I put it up. Well done, sir.

And thanks for the link! Traffic here has increased ten-fold today! =)

Chi-puke-le

At my previous place of employment, my coworkers ate at Chipotle at least twice a week. I HATE Chipotle with the fire of a thousand suns, but often got dragged along anyways, just out of convenience. I never pretended, for one second, to like it. I feel the price they charge for their out-of-control portions of sub-par, calorically dense food is just insane. And yet my coworkers would pack it in, sometimes on several consecutive days. Ick.

To them, I offer this and this. Gross.

Look, I know more shit than I would ever want to know about goes on at all kinds of fast food joints, but this just adds more fuel to my "I hate Chipotle" fire. Now that I don't work with those guys anymore, I will never again step foot in a Chipotle, unless its at gunpoint. And after reading these two articles, with good reason!

Best hockey names EVAR!!

Last weekend, DJC and I had dinner with LG and her hubby. They are in the process of trying to decide on a name for their future little guy and several options were discussed. Since then, I've been thinking about names. I've also been watching a ludicrous fair amount of hockey lately. My beloved Sharks managed to finally win a game to avoid elimination last night and in their honor, I thought I'd post a few of my fave hockey names:

1. Roman Hamrlik, defenseman, Montreal Canadiens. Possibly the toughest hockey name in all the land. Note to LG: the only time where the name "Roman" is acceptable is when a bad-ass last name like "Hamerlik" follows. (No offense. Your last name is better than mine!)

2. Radek Bonk, left wing, Nashville Predators. Bonk. Rad.

3. Miroslav Satan, left wing, New York Islanders. Granted, it's pronounced "Shuh-TAN" by most hockey announcers, but at first glance, it's "satan", plain and simple. I know Satan didn't get to choose what name appears on the back of his jersey, but every time I see him in a game, I'm reminded of the XFL and this guy:


4. Maxim Afinogenov, right wing, Buffalo Sabres. It just rollllls right off the tongue.

5. Travis Moen, winger, Anaheim Ducks. It might look like "MO-en", but hockey announcers pronounce it "Moan". Dubble rad!! Could you imagine the fun announcers would have with the Hamrlik/Bonk/Moen line?! My guess is not nearly as much as I just had. =P

The Dick Butkus award goes to Jody Shelley, Jordin Tootoo and Derek Boogaard. With names like those, is it any surprise that all three guys are known as their teams' enforcers? At 6'7"and 270 lbs, Boogaard will hand you your ass. Love it!

There are many, many more awesome ones, but these are the ones that always manage to make me chuckle a little. Did I leave out your fave? Leave it in the comments!