Friday, August 31, 2007

george michael bluth is superbad.

Oh, how I love thee, George Michael Bluth. Or should I call you by your real name, Michael Cera? Or maybe I should say your name in your native Canadian tongue ... Michael Cera...

I know it's largely unhealthy to harbor a crush on such a young lad (I believe he is a strapping 19 years old ... ), but I suppose it's his boyish charm that really gets me (in other words: I don't CARE that it's unhealthy!!!). It had first gotten to me while watching one of my favorite shows of all time, "Arrested Development." Something really nerdy/geeky about him got me right here in my little heart. This is what happens when you like that "type": you spot them right away, and you could probably sniff them out in a second. Ahh, such is life.

But, I digress. I think it hurts my heart a little bit now that he's such a big star due to being in "Superbad." Now everybody wants to get their grubby mitts on him, and it makes me want to spit on people. It just goes to show that you can't keep something good for yourself too long; people are bound to find out about it.

Sigh. Another thing I cannot enjoy ... another person that is no longer "mine." This, is life.

Visit: Funny (old) interview with George Michael's co-star in "Superbad," Jonah Hill at HoboTrashcan. That guy is FUN-NY. I swear, these two are the new Odd Couple. Whatever that means.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

from the bin: "Through Toledo" by Greg Laswell

On every visit to Amoeba, I manage to make it to the ever so lovely Clearance section, where they offer CDs from $1.99 to $1.00. With that kind of money, I could definitely buy half of a burrito, but instead I choose to buy obscure CDs that nobody wants anymore. Here is my latest choice.

Pondering the night away...

Brief intro: You probably know who Greg Laswell is, but you probably know his girlfriend, Mandy Moore, even better. I found out about Greg through randomly perusing Wikipedia, that website everybody loves to love, and I read that she no longer dates Zach Braff (hybrid name: Mandach) or Andy Roddick (hybrid name: Mooroddick), but this singer-songwriter bloke from SoCal.

Brief bio: Okay, apparently he's not as obscure as I thought, as a couple of songs have made rounds on the CW drama scene, most notably on "Smallville" and "One Tree Hill," and I'm sure to some montage of fifty people crying. My bio is pretty much bland compared to his self-written one, which I recommend you read since it's much, much better, and I'd rather not have to paraphrase the thing.

Upon first listen...: He actually has a really good voice. There are some great melodies, ready to engulf you at each minute. Forgive me for getting into "Paula Abdul mode" but in his voice you sense a quiet confidence, though the album is pretty melancholy in its sound and in theme (apparently, this is about the divorce is recently went through). His voice has a bit of a Sondre Lerche-kind of purr, which I say, is damn good. And while listening to "Through Toledo," I can definitely see why his song would be featured on the shows they've been featured on.

Songs to check out: "Amazed," "Do What I Can," the seemingly metal-ish "I'm Hit," "Your Melody"

Final Thoughts: I now feel buyer's remorse for this album, due to the fact that I bought a great album in the clearance section. It happens like this sometimes, but I figure I can redeem myself when I pick up his first album. I also predict that I may fall in love with this man if he chooses to release a live album, because those always get me with their stripped down goodness.

Worth the $1.99?: Most definitely, but worth a whole lot more.

Preview some of his songs: Project Playlist
Or, if that link doesn't work, check: MySpace (this is all because I can't host mp3's)

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

fall preview: Pushing Daisies

"Pushing Daisies" looks beautiful. On a first impression, you might think you're looking at a picture from "Big Fish" but instead, you're looking at the latest creation from Bryan Ferry, a guy who brought "Dead Like Me" and "Wonderfalls" to life. Vividness is his strong point, as well as creating stories that jump out at you with some innovation. Or for you heavy thinkers, the ability to think way outside the box.

The story follows Ned (newcomer Lee Pace), whom we first meet as a child. He discovers his power to bring the dead back to life shortly, and then realizes what this power can really do. Although it's a power that only some can dream of (or not), there's a catch: bring someone back to life once with one touch, touch them again, they're really dead. Stuff like that could probably mess a kid up real bad.

Flash to the present, and Ned's a regular guy just trying to get by. An ex-cop named Emerson (Chi McBride) sees his power in motion and Emerson gets the idea to use his power to solve crimes, bringing them back to life in order to find out who kills them. Sounds simple, fun, and strange at the same time, until things like love get in the way. I think that's usually the spoiler, but it makes for good TV.

The show also stars Swoosie Kurtz ("Sisters," Locke's fucked up mom on "Lost"), Anna Friel, and Kristen Chenoweth (Broadway star, Tony Award winner). A pretty stellar cast, if you ask me. I'm interested in how this show is going to play out, and by the preview it looks like it'll be sweet. It also puts a new spin on the usual cop/medical/investigative shows that we're all used to. Think of it as "CSI" meets some crazy fairytale. Except, I'd rather not think of it as a CSI-type show. "Pushing Daisies" looks more lighthearted. Kind of strange, as it's a show about life and death.

Watch the preview here:

Visit: Pushing Daisies Fall Preview
Picture from: Wikipedia


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

i was there for 756 and all i got was this little button and a whole bunch of advertisements for merchandise i don't need.

The fireworks!!!

August 7, 2007: a day I will never forget.

But I suppose it won't be for a lot of people, especially anybody who was at AT&T/SBC/Pac Bell Park on the same night. It was a night for me that was absolutely magical and boring at the same time, but yet, I decided that I wasn't going to keep quiet for the whole game. I had this strange feeling he would hit the one that everyone was waiting for, and I wasn't going to take "no" for an answer.

Bonds was up at the plate two times before he got the one he wanted, and I have to say both of his at-bats weren't bad. He had hit base hit after base hit, and it was great, but at the same time, you know that the crowd (and especially Bonds) really wanted the one. For a while, I figured it was going to be like any other night I'd come out to see the Giants: a tease, an almost ... but this time, it was for real.

So it was 3-2, bottom of the 5th, and he hit it. I mean, he really hit it. I had to check myself, due to the fact that before he got it, thousands of flashbulbs would blind me for a split second. But it wasn't until the fireworks and orange and black streamers came flying out of the sky that I knew that I had just witnessed something I would never ever see in my lifetime ever again. I screamed, jumped up and down, hugged my aunt (whom I was with). It was just ... amazing.

For a split second, it made me forget about everything: forget about the scandal, forget about the stupid people that come to the games with asterisks thinking that their presence there would dampen anyone's spirits, forget about anything I ever knew before then. It made me remember why I love baseball in the first place. I remembered how it could take everything away in a split second, and let you get caught up in the moment. I don't know if any of the asterisk people felt that way while they saw a roaring crowd on their feet to the background of fireworks and streamers. But I think it would be pretty hard not to get caught up in all of it.

As for the asterisk people, I have to ask them ... why were they there? It's a question that I'd like answered. They don't like him, they think he's a cheater. So why the hell are they there to witness something like this? I think it's total crap. For people who think they're making a statement, I think they just look foolish. I liken it to my hatred of the condiment mustard. I hate it. I can't stand it. But, let's just say this: If I hated mustard so much, then why would I subject myself to going to mustard festivals where I'm surrounded by people who put mustard on everything? The smell engulfs my nostrils, people are splattering mustard all over themselves and myself in the process. I hate it, I hate everything that mustard stands for/is all about. But yet ... I'll go in order to watch people I hate celebrating something I hate. Just because I want to. You just have to ask ... why would you do that? It's a weird way for me to describe the whole Bonds scandal, but I think it's got some similarities. It's hard for an SF native to actually talk about the scandal, mainly because Bonds has meant so much to the team and The City all of these years, and he's primarily our one marquee star athlete. A lot of people accuse us of bias, and I have to say, it's true. But even this SF Giants fan has her doubts ... ask me about it when the truth really comes out.

But back to the game, it kind of died down afterwards. We ended up losing the game to the Washington Nationals, 8-6. It seemed like we were going to win, but we didn't. I guess everyone got so caught up in all the hooplah. It took probably about an inning for them to start hocking merchandise like a Bonds prize pack or something. It made me roll my eyes, but it was expected, even with the $60 price tag. Seems like everyone wanted to commemorate the night in some way, and while leaving there was a huge line outside of the Giants Dugout where people would get their orange "I Was There" shirts. I passed.

A magical night ... the season is pretty much lost, as we are in last place. But I hope that this will be a turning point for the Giants. The Detroit Tigers were the worst team EVER a couple of seasons ago, and they ended up turning it all around. I hope it's a sign of good things to come. Especially with our "big 3" pitchers: Cain, Lincecum, and Lowry. Young, talented, and oh so yummy!

Talking to the fans, tearfully. Surprisingly enough, I didn't think his voice sounded as high as it did.

Some guy ran out on the field! Awesome! I think it would have been way cooler if everyone in the lower deck ended up rushing the field.

Crews surrounding him.

The craziest thing was when Hank Aaron appeared on the screen. I pretty much cried and screamed as loud as possible. All that stuff about Aaron not caring pretty much dissolved in one video message. The part about the record inspiring others "to chase their own dreams" got me. Like... right here.

I got my button! It's pretty freakin' awesome.

Visit: With or without an asterisk, Bonds joins immortals, MLB To Place Asterisk, Pound Sign, Exclamation Point, Letter 'F' Next To Bonds' Name In Record Books (ha!)

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

you put a spell on me!

The yummy chicken breast sandwich ... it's warm, too!

Located in the Westfield Mall in San Francisco, 'wichcraft has been my latest discovery, even though it's been there since the new "cleaner" side of the mall opened in September of 2006. From the mastermind of Tom Colicchio, best known for being a head judge on Bravo's "Top Chef" and also his fabulous line of "crafty" restaurants, he has finally made it to The City with another one of his spectacular creations.

There are locations in New York and Los Angeles, but I believe this is the first one here in the City, and I have to say ... I'm uber grateful! One look at the menu and I was totally hooked. They offer breakfast sandwiches, cool sandwiches (cold), and warm sandwiches (sandwiches that look like they've been through the pannini machine. Hot!). I decided that my first sandwich would be the one I took a photo of up above, which is the chicken breast sandwich. It's shredded chicken breast, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese and pesto all on grilled country bread. It was so delicious and warm! It also came with a bag of chips, but I don't think I really needed it.

As for the atmosphere, I would say it resembles the best of what a New York City loft would look like --- like someone shopped at Crate & Barrel, but someone was careful enough to put their own little touches on it. Everything looks so clean and organized, from the furnishings to the plates. I was very impressed. It was a nice day to be in there ... not too hustle and bustle, and I was able to enjoy my sandwich at a table by the window and read Chuck Klosterman. As every day should be.

Since my trip to 'wichcraft was only my first, I have to say I am now designating it as my new place to eat at lunch. Working downtown for 5+ years has definitely made my food adventures pretty mundane, and since the new mall opened, I think I've exhausted those new options quite quickly. Also, I don't think my wallet can take anymore abuse ... every dish in that mall has to be at least 8 bucks (minimum!).

Not that 'wichcraft is easy on the wallet, but I think they're reasonable prices for the quality of food they give. Soup is something else they offer, and even something called olive oil potato chips, which sound yummier by the minute. They even have dessert! Ice cream'wich, anyone?

Visit: 'wichcraft SF, 'craftsteak NYC
P.S.: I'm reviewing this on yelp, too! Can't get enough yelping these days.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

fall preview: Gossip Girl

(Before the 2007-08 Fall Season begins, I will try to feature as many new shows as possible. Well, actually, just the ones I really want to see for myself.)

The cast of "Gossip Girl" looking all fierce, yet misunderstood (pic from Wikipedia)

Ever since "Sex and The City" ended a couple of years ago, there have been many attempts at trying to replace it, or at least emulate it to a point where it's unwatchable. There have even been some attempts at trying to make a guy version, but let's just forget that Seth Green ever starred in a vehicle like that one ("Four Kings," maybe a year or so ago. I realize it was a sitcom, but there's just something about people pairing four guys in an apartment in NYC together that makes me think about it). This fall, there's no exception to the rule as we prepare ourselves for "Big Shots," another show I'm excited for. More on that later.

In those attempts, The CW Network has come up with "Gossip Girl," a drama based on the best selling books by Cecily von Ziegesar written specifically for teens. The story follows a group of teen socialites living it up in the big city (New York, of course), and through their chronicles of growing up and such, the book is somehow, naturally, told by an unseen character through a blog. (I suppose if a book like this was written in the 1980s, the unseen character might be the host of a pirated radio show or possibly writing people's business in an underground newsletter. Or written on the girl's bathroom wall, whichever.)

The CW, the token teen drama utopia among all the networks, has picked up this show for its parade of lineage. After seeing the previews, I'm a little bit intrigued. Josh Schwarz (best known for "The O.C.") is one of the producers, and as for that unseen character? It's Kristen Bell, fresh after the dastardly cancellation of my beloved "Veronica Mars." She serves as the narrator, and all I can say is thank goodness they gave her another job--- but I regret that I'll never learn the fate of her best known character.

As for the "Sex and the City" comparison, it's more likely to draw it since it takes place in Manhattan on the Upper East Side and the characters get to wear designer duds. But it's a bit more Melrose than 5th Avenue, since there's bound to be the backstabbing, lies, love, hate, sex... I hope they throw in some comedy to the mix, as I can't take the brunt of a storm all in one sitting.

The question that begs to be asked really is why people should care since teen dramas are as disposable as tampons (eww). Once in a while you'll see a show that'll break through (much like "The O.C." and my all-time favorite, "Dawson's Creek"), and that's because it has elements that are either unlike any show on television or have personas that pretty much make the show what it is. What I'm really hoping to see isn't disposable television, but possibly something that'll be smart and fun, and be added to the list of shows among which haven't been cancelled after an episode or two. I think people are too quick to try and replace shows that have been major mainstays on television, thus drawing comments such as "the next Sex and The City" or "the next Silver Spoons." That's a problem most of the TV execs have: they're trying too hard to replace what they lost. If NBC wasn't so busy trying to make "the next Friends" they would have gotten shows like "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl" a whole lot sooner.

Hopefully "Gossip Girl" won't try to be too much like it's sort-of big sister SATC. I believe The CW hasn't had a standout hit ever since UPN and The WB merged in 2006, and by that I mean a standout hit that isn't a reality show. The one thing I am looking forward to in "Gossip Girl" is how there's going to be an upper class v. outsider element; a crossover going on between both worlds. It's bound to create some fantastic drama, something I've been waiting a long time for. This could be a new legacy show for The CW -- I bet they're counting on it.

Watch the preview here:

Visit: Gossip Girl (official show site), step into the world of gossip girl (the blog)
Final thoughts: Okay, so maybe it's a bit ironic to think of another show as "the next Silver Spoons." Who would DARE replace that show? And how could you ... it's not 1982 anymore, and robots can't pose as a member of the family quite as easily as they used to.