Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ah Valentine's Day...

So for my Valentine's Day video, in lieu of shooting a video of me chasing down Cupid and stabbing him with his own arrow repeatedly (next year), I decided to record a song I wrote for a past love.

Unfortunately, that particular relationship ended up like this:

I have an interesting relationship with Hallmark holidays. I have actually been broken up with on Valentine's day (though we did get back together by that evening). Also stood up on New Year's, dumped on my birthday and cheated on for Martin Luther King day. I have lost track of my bad holiday stories.

Today, however, I plan on fending off my bad karma with that Cocoa and Coffee Crusted Chicken with Spicy Apple Relish recipe I got from Whole Foods earlier this week. Pictures and recipe to follow!

Also, I'm going to watch one of my favorite films, "All That Jazz," in honor of the late Roy Schneider. He starred in Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical film as Fosse's alter-ego; it's a brilliant portrait of a singular creative and working mind, and just masterful film-making and choreography. I watch it over and over again. It has one of the simplest, most poignant dance numbers in all of film. I'd link it, but it's not as effective out of context.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Figured Out Why I Like Cory Doctorow

It's because he's ripping off Robert Heinlein.

Okay, "ripping off" isn't really the right phrase - he just happens to have the same style of writing and similar themes. They both take a protagonist's mindset from their time, and then drop it in the world of tomorrow. In Heinlein you have a kid going to the local soda fountain to get advice on how to tinker with his space suit, and in Doctorow it's how to tinker with your social network.

I happen to love this style of science fiction, because in general I feel one of the main messages of sci-fi is that while technology and environment may change, humanity's biggest challenge will always remain coping with it's own nature. So it doesn't matter whether you're on an alien planet or on a server farm in orbit, it all boils down to what does the individual do when faced with a problem.

And I like that, in both Heinlein and Doctorow, the problems are both fantastical (aliens, killer cyborgs, virulent plague) and beuraucratic.

Death and taxes.

Anyway, one of my favorite science fiction books of all time is "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel," by Robert Heinlein. The title is a play on the title of an old Western television series from the 1950's called "Have Gun, Will Travel" about a wandering, hired gunfighter named Paladin who tried to solve problems without using violence (this never worked, of course).

The book has little to do with the television series, except for the sense of high adventure and the idea of trying to solve problems with one's wits rather than brawn. It's the story of a young boy who is trying desperately to get to the moon, and then ends up going there and beyond. Simple and fun and good for most all ages.

Blog Block

Attempting to write a blog puts your life and skills set into rather harsh perspective. Lately any time I've tried to put fingers to keyboard, nothing worth sharing comes to mind. It seems my day-to-day thoughts and activities are pretty much too dull for words, nor do I have the discipline to consistently shape them into conherent and engaging entries for this little blog of mine.

Everybody and their mother has a blog, right? And yet how many people are able to actively maintain that blog, let alone make it interesting to read? I feel I'm certainly failing on that latter point. I mean, what in the world do I actually DO? Other than the occassional YouTube video, I basically play soccer, do yoga and then inject Warcraft III directly into my veins. Maybe, from time to time, I'll have an odd thought on a book, or go to some cool happening or eatery, or have a rant about something or other, but really, this is New York City - who doesn't do those things? It's all been said and done. Do I have anything even remotely new to say on the subject of ANYTHING in this town? NOOOOO!

I mentioned earlier getting a gimmick. Something to keep me consistent. But what am I going to do, recap my weekly pickup game, or my best WCIII DOTA match of the week? Cooking? Maybe... who knows. I guess I'm just in a slump.

Even this little bit of rambling has been repeated over and over again throughout modern history. Much like lines of dialogue from the TV show Heroes. Trite and overused.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Whole Foods Thursday Sample Nights - Chocolate Fest!

Wow, tonight at Whole Foods was the most amazing sample night I've ever seen at a grocery store. Check out the swag:

Fresh Clementine Wedges
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and JalapeƱo Peppers
8 types of dark chocolate
Grilled spice rubbed Rib-Eye
Hot Columbia Drinking Chocolate
Cocoa and Coffee crusted grilled chicken with a pear and pepper roulenade
Raw oysters on the half shelf with lemon and cocktail sauce!
Fudge Brownies
Calcium enriched chocolate bar samples
More chocolate bar samples

The thing that really bowled me over were the oysters! (Delicious, by the way). As was the Cocoa Crusted Chicken (they said they'd email me the recipe though I'm not holding my breath on this one).

This was at the Chelsea Whole Foods, and apparently they have sample nights every Thursday. I believe this is general company policy, though I'm not sure every store has samples on the same night. Still, good to know if I'm in a snacky mood in Chelsea on a Thursday.

Yeah, I'm cheap...