Friday, December 11, 2009

Some Musical Opinions

Albums that hold a special place in my heart (and you should probably listen to if you haven't already):

Arcade Fire- Funeral
The National- Boxer
Don Chaffer- You Were at the Time for Love
U2-Achtung Baby
Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway
Sufjan Stevens- Michigan Neil Young- Harvest
John Vanderslice- Pixel Revolt
Pedro the Lion- It's Hard to Find a Friend
Over the Rhine- Ohio
All the Jeter Mixes
Counting Crows- August and Everything After
Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Peter Bjorn and John- Writer's Block

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Gospel According to Helena

She loves to sing
She knows she may not even be that good
What does it mean when somebody
Loves to do something
So much
Doesn't care
Whether or not
It makes any sense to the world

What does it mean when somebody
Does something just because
It makes her feel more alive
Opens her eyes

What does it mean when somebody
Does something just because
She's missing God
And wonders if she always will

She must know that all good songs
Are a form of prayer

Copyright 2007, Linford Detweiler (of Over the Rhine)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rainy Day Music: Ghosts of the Great Highway

"Ghosts of the Great Highway" by Sun Kil Moon sounds particularly good on this rainy Seattle morning. This is an album that doesn't beat you over the head with pop simplicity, but instead quietly slips in the side door of your brain with its poignant, haunting, well crafted bits of musical complexity. Definitely one of my favorites of the last year or so. Josh Jeter, thanks once again for showing me the musical light.

Buy it on iTunes

p.s. Also a great album for studying/reading. It's hard to find these after all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Mill Burger should be called Red Mill Onion Ring

Burger, Cheese, Bun and Bacon comes together in a special way at Red Mill Burger. It’s currently on my short list of best burgers in Seattle. While the burgers are really great here, it’s in the onion rings that real magic happens.

I repeat. Don’t go to Red Mill without trying the onion rings. I, who don’t consider myself to be a big onion ring fan in general, can’t get enough of these things. Why? Unlike most onion rings that are more bready batter than onion, Red Mill serves them up huge hot crispy rings accented with a crumbly corn meal batter. This spin on the usual onion ring equation results in a deep fried goodness is a crispy, flavorful onion experience that nicely compliments the still present onion taste instead of overwhelming it like your standard onion ring does.

-Watch for the huge pile of pre-cooked bacon stacked next to the grill.
-Their lemonade is pretty good.
-In the Phinney Ridge location, look for the hand written noted that a kid sent Red Mill. It’s pretty darn cute. Sadly, I heard the same kid went into coronary arrest at age 17. (kidding)
-I always get the blue cheese and bacon burger. It’s very good. I can’t attest to the rest but I’m sure their tasty too.
-cash only
-closed Mondays

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Poem for Summer

"The Summer Day"
by Mary Oliver

Who made the World?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Steak. Sauce. Bun. Genius.

This is one of the best sandwiches in the world. 
I’m not kidding.

Hundreds of people every day will attest to the goodness found here by happily slapping down their $8.00. They stand in line, they fight for a seat, they crowd around the counter, eagerly awaiting their number to be call- all to get just a few bites bites of sandwich perfection.

It’s power is in its simplicity. Thinly sliced, tender, juicy trip-tip between a bun that’s soft and garlicy yet has just a touch of crispiness to add texture to the experiece. Add just the right amount (not too much) of sweet bbq sauce and you’re there: sandwich heaven.

Steak. Sauce. Bun. Simple, yet oh so profound. The Firestone Trip-tip sandwich is truly more than the sum of it’s parts.

-Here’s the official Guide To Good version for the optimal Firestone experience. Deviate from this at your own risk:

-Get there early- say 5:30p to avoid the dinner rush and the semi-ridiculously long line.
-Find someone to split your order with. Then order the following:
-Trip Tip Sandwich
-Side of fries ( not the basket unless you’re a very big eater)
-Steak Cobb salad. You’re call on the dressing. I like the ranch or the vinigerette.
-A glass of Mountain Dew to wash it all down. There’s something about the combo of the salty that nicely compliments the sweetness of the classic Mt. Dew.
-When you pick up your order, ask them for a side of BBQ sauce to dip your fries and sandwich in.
-Thank me later for one of the best meals of your life.

View Guide to Good in a larger map

Friday, June 5, 2009

Out on a Limb: The Best Coffee in Seattle

I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I’ve discovered the best coffee in Seattle. In a city filled with cafes staffed by baristas who take coffee extremely seriously Stumptown Coffee coffee rises above the rest like the crema to the top of an espresso shot.

I’m not saying they have the best espresso, or the best latte or even the best atmosphere. But they do have, hands down, the best damn coffee in Seattle. This is because when you order a regular cup of coffee you’ll get only coffee brewed in a french press; none of this drip coffee drivel. If you’ve never had coffee made with french press you really need to.

I’ve come up with a few things to help give you a sense of how dramatically different it is to taste french press coffee done right compared to drip coffee (by definition mediocre).

Taco Bell compared to authentic Mexican food.

Bud Light to a quality, sweet, dark beer

A postcard of a Van Gogh painting vs seeing one in person

Watching a kiss vs actually kissing

A few tips:

Take it black. Let it sit on your tongue and sparkle and shine. French press coffee (when done correctly) tends to have a lighter feel on your tongue that blooms into a complexity of flavor you won’t find in traditional drip. This method also leaves more of the coffee’s natural oils intact. Also, as your coffee cools in its cup you’ll find that the flavor profiles grow more and more complex and yummy.

So sit back, grab one of the thick, heavy ceramic mugs Stumptown gives you and savor a leisurely walk down a meandering side street of coffee goodness. And don’t worry if you’re left wanting more. Refills are only $0.55 cents after tax.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Polariod Perfection

In need of something interesting to kill some time on your oh-so-exciting Monday? Look no further.

The New York Times posted a really amazing collection of polariod pics that readers submitted from around the world. Watch out though. You just might get lost in these beautiful, intimate little glimpses of people's lives- all captured in a tiny little square of instantly developing film.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Part of the Story


Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.

The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe the
wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn't move, maybe
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement,
lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bill Murray in "Fact Checkers Unit"

So for those of you that have been reading this blog, you may have noticed my recent semi-obsession with Film Festivals. Short Film Festivals to be exact. Now, I know a few of you did in fact join me for some of these events and had a ridiculously good time.
For the rest of you I thought it might be an easy way to keep my blog going....err I mean a great chance for me to bring some Goodness into your world with little effort to you. So went looking online for a few of the films I really liked. Sadly, most of them want you by the DVD or actually go and watch the film in the theater. Can you believe the nerve of these people?

However, I did manage to find one of the funnier ones online. A lot of the films (as you might expect) erred toward the melancholy, reflective, and/or slightly disturbing. This film doesn't have much of that, but it will make you chuckle and IT HAS BILL MURRAY IN IT! What more do you need? I love Bill Murray.

Lastly, for those of you are reluctant to click the link and spend 9 minutes of your life on little piece of art, I offer you a final note:

Remember dear reader, I am not the Good, I merely point you towards the Good. So get out there! Watch the short, eat some Thai food, sip some espresso ... and take someone you care about and get out there! Otherwise I am useless to you. Go ahead, it's Thursday night. You shouldn't be on your computer anyway. You should be out there living your life, not reading my blog. Wait, it's Thursday night and I'm on the computer too! Shoot. Well, anyway, watch this short (and don't judge it by the first 43 seconds either, keep watching):

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wedding Poem for the Wedding Season

Well, I guess the wedding season is off and running. Friends and foes of mine all over the country are tying the knot. I went to a wedding last night here in Tucson and I have 2 more in the next 3 weeks to hit; one in Portland and the other in Carmel. Then another wedding in Tucson before my little brother gets married in North Carolina in June! Whew. I better get my dance moves tuned up!

Luckily, I like weddings.

Food, folks and fun- just like McDonald's used to say! ha. But besides seeing old friends, the music, the food and (hopefully) free alcohol, it's of course the bride and groom that really matter. I like hearing the stories involved. The really good ones have a healthy mixture of humor, heartache, cheesy love and redemption. I like seeing the families and all their beautifully awkward attempts at trying to bring two people together. And of course bearing witness to those classic moments: seeing the groom's face when the bride walks in, the exchanging of vows, the triumphant walk out...

So whether you're a cynic or a romantic,
single or married,
or wishing your were on the other side of the fence,
here's a poem that'll give you some food for thought this wedding season:

Wedding Poem
For Schele and Phil

by Bill Holm

A marriage is risky business these days
Says some old and prudent voice inside.
We don't need twenty children anymore
To keep the family line alive,
Or gather up the hay before the rain.
No law demands respectability.
Love can arrive without certificate or cash.
History and experience both make clear
That men and women do not hear
The music of the world in the same key,
Rather rolling dissonances doomed to clash.

So what is left to justify a marriage?
Maybe only the hunch that half the world
Will ever be present in any room
With just a single pair of eyes to see it.
Whatever is invisible to one
Is to the other an enormous golden lion
Calm and sleeping in the easy chair.
After many years, if things go right
Both lion and emptiness are always there;
The one never true without the other.

But the dark secret of the ones long married,
A pleasure never mentioned to the young,
Is the sweet heat made from two bodies in a bed
Curled together on a winter night,
The smell of the other always in the quilt,
The hand set quietly on the other's flank
That carries news from another world
Light-years away from the one inside
That you always thought you inhabited alone.
The heat in that hand could melt a stone.

(thanks to Crystal at Poetry Mix Tape for the tip on this poem)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools from Gmail

Get it while it lasts here.

Herkimer means Awesome

Snow falls outside the window in front of me. I sit on my little stool facing the sky and its calming beauty. Between me and the snow sits one of the best shots of espresso the world has ever seen. It’s warm and carmelly and has a hint of sweetness that balances the otherwise earthy richness of the coffee flavor. There’s no hint of bitterness. And unlike espressos of lesser quality that are usually flat in their flavor profiles, this shot has a complexity of flavor that hits all the good places on your tongue and leaves wanting more and if that’s not enough, Herkimer gives you a small, delicious glass of sparkling water to accompany your espresso. I’ve never seen any other place do this.

Herkimer Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in Seattle.

This should mean a lot since I consider myself an afficionado of not just coffee but coffee shops. Herkimer has the whole package.

Atmosphere/Vibe- 9.5
Espresso quality- 10
Cleanliness- 10
Niceness of Baristas- 8.75
Music they play- 8.23
Good location- 8 (pub across the street, Red Mill Burger down the road)
Roasts own beans- YES
Free WiFi- You bet

This place is everything a coffee shop should be. A few other things that make it great:
-The Barista sings to every word of the Flaming Lips playing on the stereo
-A variety of places to sit for a variety of needs. Stools, boothes, tables. Alone, talking, groups you can do it all
-Clean bathrooms
-If you sit at the right place on a clear day you can see snow capped mountains
-Big windows with nice lighting in the afternoon
-I order and espresso and the barista takes time to ask how it was.
-Rotating art

Sure a lot of coffee shops have at least a few of the above. But this place really is more than the sum of its individual parts. You’ll just have to come and see.

View Guide to Good in a larger map

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back to the Future

Sadly, this weekend I will be in Seattle.

For those of you who know me, right now you are probably wondering if someone has hijacked my Blogger account and taken me hostage. This is because everyone knows I LOVE Seattle. In fact, I don't think I've ever uttered a single sentence in my fleeting little life which has contained both the words "sadly" and "Seattle."

Until now.

Why? Because one of my fondest childhood movies is playing at the Loft this weekend. Back to the Future graces the silverscreen here in Tucson for 2 nights only. This Friday and Sat nights, 10p, $5. What a steal of a deal!

Back to the Future Highlights (feel free to add your own)
-The Delorean. I still want a car whose doors open upward.
-Flux Capacitor.
-Family slowly fading from photograph.
-Marti playing "Johnny Be Good." I like that song because of him.
-Skate Boarding. Prob responsible for countless broken arms across the world.
-George McFly:" Yes. Yes. I'm George, George McFly. I'm your density. I mean... your destiny."
-At the end of the movie when Marti drives off in the Delorean, then comes BACK. This time with Mr. Garbage on the back on the car, into which he throws a banana peal, AND THEN FLYS OFF! This was ridiculously exciting to me as a kid.
- Add your own

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little Cafe Poco Cosa gets Big Love

"So where do you wanna go for your Birthday?" my sister asks me. "Anywhere you want."
"Anywhere?" I reply. "How about Switzerland?!"
"No, Silly. For lunch."


In a close second to Switzerland is a gem of a place in Tucson called "Little Cafe Poca Cosa."

This is one of those truly unique places that you couldn't make up even if you tried to.
It's a place that's as much about the people as it is about the food.
It's a place where you get a hug (and sometimes a kiss) on your way out the door.
Everything's fresh.
It's all delicious.
It's even pretty healthy. (Great Vegetarian options too!)
If you don't eat all your fruit and veggies that come with your meal, you'll chastised.
And if you don't want to come back after you try this place, I'll call you crazy.

Listen to me now:
*Don't miss the tamales!! I didn't even like tamales until I had them here.
*The daily soup never disappoints
*If you've never had mole (a sauce made with chocolate and chillies) this is a great place to try it!
*The "Half and Half" is a great way to go; you get two pick to of anything on the menu.
*cash only
*M-F for breakfast and lunch only

View Larger Map

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Choice to Remember: Short Film Fest!!!

It's a dark and cold night in Tucson. You're sitting at home, wondering what to do with yourself. "Maybe I'll do some laundry" you say to yourself, or perhaps tackle that Gmail Inbox, or something else equally boring and easily procrastinate-able. I realize a night spent doing something "productive" like this is easy to justify in the moment, especially when it's cold out, you're tired and you think driving 10 min sounds like a long way. But the problem is that by next week, a night like that will merge into the fuzzy gray blank that characterizes most of your mundane life.

Instead, I offer you a choice. A chance to make a decision that will alter your life is a small but memorable way. Months and years from now, you'll look back on this night and remember. You'll be able to point to that night when you laughed seated next to a stranger and a friend, when later, you shed a small tear and wiped it away before anyone could see it. When you saw that one little 5 min film that nailed you and you couldn't stop thinking about....

This could be you.
Or you could just stay at home.
It's up to you.

But as for me I'll be at one of my favorite film events of the entire year. Something I look forward to with such zeal that I alter travel plans and break dates just to be able to go. It's the Academy Nominated Shorts screening at the Loft and it's awesome.
Or if nothing else, way better than what you'd be doing otherwise.

Here's a few other things you can look forward to if you go.
-beer or coffee, pick your pleasure
-pizza on tap
-cheap popcorn
-free smells
-big curtains in front of the screen that roll back when the movie starts
-lots of people that clap after each film shows
-short spans of attention are required to watch SHORTS
-they're all pretty good cause they're nominated for an Academy Award
-sitting next to me. I know, pretty exciting.


-2 NIGHTS ONLY!! Wednesday (as in tomorrow!) is the Animated Shorts, Thursday is the Live Action.
-starts at 7:30 each night, but you should get there a bit early
-only $6.00 each night or $10.00 for both. What a bargain!

Loft Cinema Special Events

If you you're not in Tucson find out where the closest screening is to you here:

Event Locations Nationwide

And if i haven't convinced you, check out what others are saying

click here

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Godfather Goodness Comes to Tucson

The Godfather is coming! The Godfather is coming!

Yes, The Godfather Parts I and II are coming to Tucson on the big screen for one special week. It's 8 bucks a pop, or $12 for a double feature:

I saw the Godfather for the first time a couple years back. For me, it was a movie that lived up to the hype surrounding it. It drips with atmosphere and an exquisite elegance. Characters, plot and cinematography come together to create a richness rarely felt in modern film. IMDB shows The Godfather tied with The Shawshank Redemption for the highest rated movie of all time, while the Godfather Part II stands alone in the number 3 slot. Now you, yes you, (well if you live in Tucson) have a chance to take these masterpieces of film in on the Big Screen!

If you're curious about the rest of the TOP 250:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Simple Americano

Some (as in me) use the Americano as the yardstick by which to judge a cafe. It's a simple drink, consisting of espresso + hot water. However, it can yield much valuable info about a cafe. You'd think it would be pretty easy to make, but I've found out that there's lots of ways to screw this drink up. Sometimes it's cold, often it's too weak, other times the espresso is bitter. A couple times I had to tell the barista how to make the drink since they didn't know how. (Lord help us all).

Printer's Cafe on California Ave in Palo Alto serves up a GREAT Americano. And they do something that I've never seen anywhere else, yet is a genius move. They give you the espresso, pulled into a mug and then they give you a seperate little pot full of hot water. This enables you, the rightful owner of this delicious Americano, to adjust it's strength to your exact specifications, by adding more or less water to your espresso.

It's brilliant, it's delightful, it's $1.82 after tax.

Now go get one: