Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dim Sum Delights

It seems to me that few things in life are finer than discovering new foods that are delicious. Such was the case for Peter and I when we tried Dim Sum in Hong Kong. I'd had Dim Sum before- a long time ago I admit- and all I really remember is chicken feet. And chicken feet that tasted weird at that.

Nevertheless, Peter and I decided to give this thing a shot. And holy cow, I'm glad we did! It was an absolute revelation. However, like most good things in life, it took some work to find it. We were looking for a particular place called Maxim's. The guide book put us close, but failed to mention that this restaurant was INSIDE City Hall on the THIRD floor and didn't open until 11am. We managed to walk the entire way around the building before asking a security guard where it was. We then found our way inside and eventually figured out it was upstairs. Only then did we find out it didn't open for another half hour. At this point, I was so hungry that I was about ready to eat my own arm off and was ready to bail on this whole deal. However, Peter wisely suggested that we stay and at least check it out.

A half hour later we sit down and immediately ladies pushing carts piled full of small, piping hot bamboo boxes descend upon us. They open up the little boxes for us, revealing their mysterious and delectable contents. We point, not really knowing at what. She lifts a plate of pale, slimy looking noodle pockets with shrimp inside onto our table and pours two different dark sauces on them. We have nothing left to do but try them. After the first bite, Peter and I look at each other with excited, incredulous grins. This tastes AMAZING! More carts, more little dumplings, more delicious flavors. We even try some fried squid tentacles (which aren't too bad) and continue to stuff ourselves with little bits of Chinese goodness. Pork buns, shrimp pockets, stir fried pork, sesame-covered donuts filled with sweet red bean and tasty tea to wash it all down! And did I mention the views of Hong Kong harbor? Yeah, it was fun.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Man on Wire

Maybe this says more about me that it does about the quality of this movie, but the hour and a half that I spent watching this film was one of the best I've spent in recent months.  It's funny, it's nostalgic, it's mind-boggling.  I didn't want it to end.  

I love to go to a movie not really knowing much about it or expecting much and discovering something unexpected and entirely engrossing.  If you really trust me, don't read any further and simply go watch the movie entitled "Man on Wire."

If you aren't convinced that this movie is worth your while then consider the fact that "Man on Wire" currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes:

If you STILL aren't convinced, as a last resort, watch this trailer.  It will ruin the surprise of seeing a great movie unveiled to you with no prior knowledge, but at least you'll see it.  I don't think anyone can resist after seeing this preview:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shoes to Live By

I love my shoes. 


They’ve got style.  They’ve got class.  They're way comfortable.  They're versatile. You can dress em up or dress em down.  Pair em with Jeans, wear em with Khakis.  It’s all good.  No matter how bad your fashion sensibilities are, you can't screw this up.  I've had people at work ooggle over them (this is true).  I've had people stop me on the street and ask me where they can get a pair (this is a lie, but I bet people wanted to ask).  

I’ve had them about 5 months now.  They aren’t showing many signs of wear- and I’m really hard on shoes.  I once bought a pair of Steve Madden's and just wore them for work.  They fell apart after less than six months.  $80 bucks down the drain.  These on the other hand these are remarkably well built and durable.  And did I mention comfortable?  When I put them on for the first time I wondered if I'd ever had a pair of shoes before that truly fit me.  It's like I'm going to work everyday wearing bathroom slippers.

 Seriously guys, (or ladies who have guys that need a new pair of shoes) get these shoes.  You won’t regret it.  Just hurry.  I think I’m gonna go buy another pair before they stop making them or something.  I might grab the last pair ever and with it, your last chance to be hip.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tucson Eat Yourself

Well I've been looking forward to it all year and it's finally here.  Tucson Meet Yourself. Otherwise know as Tucson Eat Yourself.  It's billed as a celebration of the people and culture of Tucson.  However, it's really all about the food.  

-30 food boothes
-3 stages or entertainment
-50,000 plus people to watch

I'll be one of them.  If you can find me Saturday around lunch time I'll buy you a Chicken Satay.  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Carve Your own Obama

Whether you see him as a Savior on Capital Hill...or the most likely candidate to be named the AntiChrist in 2008, you can't deny that Obama fever is sweeping the country.  For those of you with a Leftward lean in your gait you might want to check out what is sure to be an exciting new ad campaign for Obama.  Which may, in the end, prove to be the grain of sand that tips things Obama's way.  *as a disclaimer, my friend Josh Jeter who helped start this site says they aren't making any money off this deal.  Just spreading the Obama love.

The Idea:  Carve your own pumpkin with catchy Obama related images.  And the cool thing is you can download your pick of stencils from their site and then send them your picture with your carved pumpkin and they'll (perhaps) post your photo.  You too can reach across the aisle and be a catalyst for "Change"  by hosting your own BYOPumpkin party. During an upcoming debate, host a  bi-partisan pumpkin carving contest, with a discussion following.  Prizes given for best pumpkin etc, Best impersonation, etc.  

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thai Tom's. beyond good.

It always goes the same way for me. I fly into Seattle. I pull my bag from the turnstile, I traverse escalator to rental car, rental car to freeway, freeway to 45th Ave exit, park, walk, then (finally) Thai Tom’s. I approach the small door, usually there’s a line outside. Inside I sit down at on the small bar stool, my shoulders practically touching the people to either side of me as I squeeze in. I sit a behind the small bar, directly in front of me is the stove. Upon this humble gas stove such delights for the stomach are produced it boggles the mind! The Thai man in front of the stove moves with a flurry and an ease around his small kitchen. He is the miastro, the food his orchestra. You think I’m exaggerating, but it’s true. He employees a man who’s entire job is keep stocked the bins of veggies etc and to catch his used pans which he quickly swaps out with each new dish. Typically he’s furiously working on 4 or 5 dishes at once. Curries, noodles, and vegetables combine is a musical sizzling hiss. The thick aromas of spice and sauce are nearly too much for this hungry stomach to stand. With a flick of his wrist he tosses the contents of a wok into the air; a flame bursts from the stove casting its warmth on my smiling face.

I’m handed a heavy, wooden board that is the menu. I scan through it, knowing whatever I choose will be unbelievably tasty. Do I want a peanut sauce with chicken and vegetables or the Panang curry? Or maybe the Cashew Chicken? But then again the Swimming Rama is out of this world. I look to my right, as a student is using his chop stick to clean literally EVERY SINGLE curry covered rice grain from his bowl. I order. I wait.

And then I eat.

And my nose starts to run from the spice.

And sweat breaks out under my eyes.

And I’m in love…

A few pointers when you go:

-This is no gringo’s spice. They rank from 1 to 5 star of spice and they aren’t kidding around. I’ve gone as high as 9 stars and as low as 2. I’ve finally decided that 3 or 4 stars is plenty spicy while minimizing the price you’ll have to pay later.

-Don’t go with more than 3 people if you want anything approaching a conversation. Best to go alone or with one other person.

-The lines can be long.

-If you want your food fast, call your order in and even during the busiest times, you’ll have a steaming to-go package in 15 to 20 minutes or less.

-Honestly, I’ve never had anything on the menu that isn’t delicious. However, I would say the perfect meal at Thai Tom would be to share two dishes. Make one a peanut based sauce and the other a noodle based stir fry. One of my favorite combos is the Peanut Sauce veg paired with the Cashew Chicken.

-Oh, and cash only.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


What is it about that name that immeadiatly causes people to dismiss it?  See, like right now, you don't even want to read any further.  I've tried to talk at least 27 people into seeing this movie, but NONE of them have.  And this, despite my fervent pleas for them to go and immeadiately rent it.  I've tried everything I have in my persuasive playbook; phrases like:
"It'll change your life."  
"This is the best thing I've seen all year"  
"Think awesome, then double it" 
"It's funny, it's visually entertaining, a good story AND it has depth"

None of these work.  So here's  a new strategy:  Whatever you do DON'T see this movie when it comes to the Loft this Friday and Saturday night at 10p.   It will be a waste of measley $5.  You'd be better off spending this on tofu bricks or something.  I won't be there.  Don't go.  

Still I feel a bit vindicated that The Loft is showing as part of their Cult Classic series.  I told you so.

Top 5 things they should have called KUNG FU HUSTLE to get people to see it:

1) Batman Returns (as a Kung Fu guy)
2) Sex
3) Donuts and Beer
4) Kung Fu Hustle- The Unrated Version
5) Star Wars Epidsode IV- Kung Fu Strikes Back

Monday, September 29, 2008

Vanagon Love

What could be more fun than combining two of my great loves in life?  Sleeping and Eating you might wonder?  Well, this WOULD be amazing, but no, not this time.  Instead: 

Jumpy Pics.

Yes, it's true.  And the great thing is that it's not too late for YOU to
1) Buy a Vanagon* (or just find one to take a pic of)
2) Think of something creative to do with a Vanagon.  
3) Take picture of this
4) Which, if selected, would cause you to be part of the highly coveted First Annual Vanagon calendar contest. 
5) And if the personal satisfaction of winning this prize isn't enough, you'd also get a $20 gift certificate and a free calendar.  Oh yes!

Don't delay, the deadline is midnight (PST) Oct 1!! (I couldn't give you too much of a head start....I want a free calendar after all!)

Here are my own attempts at Vanagon greatness:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Once, Again

The first time I watched Once, I saw it twice.  It's true; I liked it that much.  I went to see it with some friends, came out, bought a piece of pizza cause I was hungry, went back in (this time alone) and watch it a second time.

In case you haven't heard, Once is a low budget, musically driven independent film that took Indie Film Land by storm about a year ago.  I saw it twice in one sitting, someone I know cried through the whole second half.  And not the cry because they can't wait to leave, but the cry because it woke something up in them.  The reason they could cry through the whole second half and not get yelled at by the person in front of them is because Once is about 75% music.  Because of this, some people have called it a musical.  I think this is misleading because it conjures up images of people doing coreographed dancing while singing tunes that are later made into Broadway musicals.  (or maybe it's the other way around)  In this case, first came movie, now comes concert tour....well actually first came the band, then came the movie starring people from the band who fell in love while making said movie, and now comes their lovebird tour of songs from the movie.  

The bottom line is GO SEE THE MOVIE and then GO SEE THEM LIVE!  They tour under the name The Swell Season.  And the crazy thing is that a great, great band named Iron & Wine is opening for them!  Two stellar bands, one moderately expensive price- but a great value nonetheless.  

The catch is they're only playing in 5 places in the US and then they go back over to Europe.  I happen to live in one of those places(Yay!  This is big new for Tucson btw).  However, I'll be in Seattle when they're in town (Boo, Hisss.  I didn't think I'd ever say that about me being in Seattle).

So all you droves of people in Tucson that follow this blog: Please go for me.  You won't regret it.

And if you happen to live in

          Austin, Dallas, Albequerque, San Diego or LA,

                                                         then count yourself lucky and get to it!

Tour dates and some song samples (start with Falling Slowly for a first taste).

Lastly, on another note, The Manhattan Film Festival is verified to be great, not only in theory but also in practice!  A fun night was had by all. 
If you live within an hour of a venue, seriously go to the film fest.  It's worth it.  (I'm talking to you Jeter)
If cant' make it, you can buy it on DVD here:  

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Manhattan Film Festival. in a city near you. if you're lucky.

Short Film Festivals are great.  Why?  Because if the film sucks, just wait a couple minutes and it'll be over.  Also, they have the same draw as ordering the Super Sampler at Applebees; you get to sample a little bit of everything and even if you didn't expect it, odds are you'll find something that you love.   

Every Short Film Festival I've been to has lead to the following:

-me not sitting at home alone and wondering what to do
-me sitting in the same room with edgy film festival types,  which makes me feel like I'm cool
-the smell of popcorn
-feeling uncomfortable by something on screen because I disagreed with it
-me laughing out loud
-feeling like I just found my new favorite little gem of a movie that made me want to live life more fully
-interesting discussions with the people I've gone with

Life doesn't get much better than the above folks.  So follow these links below and see what happens.

The Manhattan Film Festival probably already came to a city near you (if it came at all).  But if you catch this blog in time, it's worth it.  

Here's some upcoming dates that might be near some of you:

Anchorage 9-25 to 9-28
Santa Monica 9-26
Tucson 9-25
Durango 9-25
Chicago Suburbs 9-27 and 9-28
Ann Arbor 9-27
Montgomery 9-26
NYC 9-28
Lempaut, France 9-26 to 9-28
Buenos Aires  TBA

For those of you in Tucson, you better come.  What else are you going to do?  Really.
The Loft Cinema is our gracious host. 
Show starts at 7:30 this Thursday 9-25.  I'll be there by 7:15. 
Adults: $8:75     Students: $6.50
Oh and order the Pumpkin Ale.  It's the beer of the month and quite tasty for only $2.50.

Venues for the rest of the known world:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thought you knew it all at IN-N-OUT?

try this:

As you're picking up your delicious bit of high calorie goodness from the counter,  pause for a moment and request that the nice person with the enormous safety pin give you some hot chilies.  Then take them back to your table, peel open the fun little plastic packages they come in, bite into one and squeeze the spicy juice all over your burger.  Take a bite of burger. Repeat.   



This is remarkable for a few reasons.
-the are delicious
-they are truly hot.  i'm serious.
-they are small and yellow
-I'm not sure at this moment how to spell chillies.
-I've been going to IN-N-OUT for years and I NEVER KNEW THIS EXISTED
-It has done the impossible.  Made a Double Double Animal Style even BETTER.  Maybe twice as good, which is ridiculous.  I think I've gained like 6 lbs since discovering these peppers.

P.S. in any other context I would never refer to them as chilis.  They are what I would describe as "hot peppers."  But somewhere inside the IN-N-OUT top secret bunker, they decided to call them "chillies" (however you spell it) as this is what the register reads when  you order them on your burger.  That's right, they'll also cut them up and put them on your burger for you.  

I'm making myself hungry.