Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on Monday, November 26, 2007,
and sent via FutureMe.org
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
So, how many crash and burn relationships have you had THIS year? Did it get worse than Ace - if that's even possible?
So a year ago today I wrote to myself asking how the TV show was going. Any progress THIS time? Even manage to shoot a lousy 10 minute scene on the roof?
Wow, apparently this year's PastMe is rather bitter, hmm?
Well, I DO hope you've finally managed to make something of yourself. You're 35 for god's sake.
And how fat are you now? Maybe writing this letter will make me realize that if I just exercise 4-5 times a week for the next year I'll get back into my ideal shape.
Oh, if you're unemployed now.... stop it. Get a job, you bum.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Of course, the major accomplishment of these Craig films is the excellence of the quiet scenes. They're not boring in the slightest because of the underlying raw energy that Craig and his fellow company of actors have as their foundation. Jeffrey Wright and Dame Judy Dench are, as always, extraordinary. Each sentence uttered is full of tension and possibility, and is just as engaging as every gun shot or car crash.
Director Marc Foster picks up admirably on the style for the new Craigsian Bond - instant improvisation. Thought in Motion. He's Jackie Chan without the kicking and better clothes.
Just fantastic. Go see it.
Wow. The President of a lifetime and a Bond of a lifetime all in one month? If only my life savings hadn't been reduced to the cost of a box of Junior Mints, this would be the best month ever!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
In the back seat of the bus, a group of six kids, around 8 to 10 years old, were coming home from hockey practice and they were chanting, "O-Bam-A! O-Bam-A!" over and over. Their parents were sitting around chuckling and smiling.
After this settled down a bit, two of the kids fell into the following conversation:
"Obama won by like 337 delegates in the primary."
"Yeah... but Hillary would have been good too."
It was awesome to hear.
I wonder how many people have joyfully spoken/written the phrase, "I never thought I'd see a black president in my lifetime" in the past 24 hours? But let me add my voice to the chorus - I think on some level, I didn't think this country had it in it to take that step forward anytime soon. I find it so encouraging that I could experience this moment in history, that it's happening at a time in my life where I'll be able to look BACK on it and smile, rather than at the end of my days. I get to see what happens NEXT!!
But ultimately, Barack Obama's ethnicity is secondary. All the politics of race aside, he's an extraordinarily inspirational figure, with an ability to rouse feelings of patriotism and optimism in the public unrivaled since Kennedy. His Presidency will convince good, idealistic people, people who wouldn't otherwise think of going into public service, to take part in how this country is molded and run. And that's what this country needs; not just one good man, but a host of good people working towards good things.
As I walked through the streets of the United States of New York City last night, the feelings of goodwill and excitement were intoxicating. Chants of "Yes We Can" rang out through the streets. You could literally hear it from the tops of buildings all the way down to subway platforms underground. It made me so thankful to live in a progressive, liberal city. I love this town.
On a personal level, Obama's presidency makes me want to be better. As a an individual and as a citizen of the United States. And I look forward to trying my best.
Yes we can.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Nevertheless, I do intend to try to blog more often and more consistently. Not just here; in fact, my main focus will be over at my other blog, Bachelor on a Budget (http://budgetbachelor.blogspot.com). I figure in these ridiculous economic times, the least I can do is share some of my methods for living on a shoestring budget.
Speaking of which, gotta get back to shoving Italian pastitsio into my mouth.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Since that wasn't going to happen, we negotiated an extended term of occupation with the new owners to give us some more time, and commenced a rather exhausting, two and a half month search for a new place that would accommodate the needs of four, rather fussy middle aged men. To make a long, LONG story short, we came across a few great, near misses, a great many not-even-closes, and a large number of fair to middlings. (I'll be making a video of our apartment search in the near future.)
During this time, a friend of mine, Wendy, predicted that we would end up finding our apartment in the final two weeks before we had to move. "Everyone in New York finds their apartment in the last two weeks," she assured me.
Meanwhile, those final two weeks approached and panic began to set in. Negotiations on a GORGEOUS Harlem townhouse fell through because of a rather shifty pair of landlords who kept changing the terms of the lease and didn't know anything about the place, as they had never lived there. The roommates began to make alternate plans - one had begun to suss out one-bedroom apartments and the rest started looking at three-bedrooms/two-bedroom combinations. My personal emergency exit plan involved me shoving most of my things into storage and taking my camera and computer around the world for a couch surfing tour (not the worst plan in the world, actually - part of me was kind of looking forward to it).
We all fell in love/confusion when we first saw the place. It was huge, for one, but more importantly it was unique and quirky enough that it matched up with who we are and where we are in our lives. Plus, a backyard!
More later, but for now, check out some pictures of the place.
Friday, October 17, 2008
That said, remember that you heard it here first: Colin Powell is going to endorse Barack Obama this coming weekend.
Colin Powell was National Security Advisor for Reagan and the first president Bush, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and George W. Bush's Secretary of State during his first term. He is actually a friend of Senator John McCain and, as such, had intended to remain neutral during this election.
However, my sources tell me that the retired four star general has been thoroughly appalled by the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. This in addition to his well-documented disagreements with the direction in which the current administration and the Republican party have led this country, have forced the Secretary Powell's hand. As the patriot that he is, he no doubt has realized just how important this election is and thus is intending to endorse Senator Obama within the next few days.
Of course, I could be wrong - as I said, I'm no reporter. But I have faith in Secretary Powell's love of his country and his judgment as to who will be best suited to lead it. And that's clearly Barack Obama.
McCain Roasts Obama
At the same time, it made me feel bad for John McCain. With his set, he reminded everyone why he was such a nationally liked fellow - he was funny, self-effacing, sincere in his admiration of people he respected regardless of their political party. Unfortunately, the powers that be in his own Republican Party are so horribly corrupt and unethical that these past two months have been spent burying the real John McCain under a mountain of mud-slinging, fear-mongering, rumor-spreading, spin doctoring and just out and out lies.
A recent video of a McCain event showed just how conflicted the Senator must feel about the turn his campaign has taken; he's forced to correct racist rumors about Obama's ethnicity and patriotism, trying to take the high road that he once trod.
It really must kill him that he's been convinced to use the exact same dirty, Rovian tactics that George W. Bush used against him during the 2000 Republican Primary campaigns. You can see the pain and frustration in his face.
And at the end of his remarks at last night's dinner, he made what was essentially an early concession speech, speaking of his admiration for Barack Obama, and for all patriots. Because, while he may not be suited to being President, deep down, that's who John McCain truly is: a true American patriot.
But if you really love your country, Senator McCain, for the love of God, please don't win.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I could care less about this story except for the fact that more porn is being added to the internet, but this quote from Britney's douchebag/ex Adnan Ghalib is hilarious to me:
He [Ghalib] added: “I am not interested in selling out any other details about Britney.”
Yes, aside from the tape of you two having sex that you're selling, you're the soul of discretion. What a guy. A real prince.
Aside from that, do we really need to see this guy having sex? Though I suppose he's not anymore broken looking than typical male porn stars. (No offense, male porn stars; long viewer fan, first time hater.)
Friday, September 19, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Me: Uh huh... Monica. Yes indeed. Wasn't sure if you were spam or not. Especially since I never wrote to you...
FakeOnlineGirl: Ya I just got your reply to my ad today. I made that ad not that long ago but u are the only one who replied! aww soo cute thanks babe ￼ I need ur help when I move near ya in a few days!
Me: I see. Tell me more, generalized-response bot?
FakeOnlineGirl: this is bad timing though cause I was just about to sign off of my instant messenger.. Is it possible for u to cum chat me in my chat room baby??
Me: You mean your for pay webcam chat room? SURE!
FakeOnlineGirl: Well ya its free to login of course... I can give u my special link that I only give to my friends since we are meeting up in a few days anyways but DON'T give out the free link to ANYONE ok?? I'm running late WEBCAM ADDRESS HERE
Me: Is it free except for age verification via credit card? Let me just dig one out...
FakeOnlineGirl: Well once u login there then we can chat much easier.. and u can see me on my live HD webcam they sent me ￼ I got it for free HHAHA YAY.. you're pretty laid back, I could have some fun with u ￼￼.. logged in yet? I'm waiting babe..Im on cam right now (thong and bra ONLY haha).. WEBCAM ADDRESS HERE
Me: Okie dokie!!!
FakeOnlineGirl: HEY.... u gotta promise not to give that link to ur friends lol.. that link is ONLY for my invited guests babe because it's FREE.. right now you're the only one anyways... I just don't see ya in the chat room yet are u on yet?
Me: Oh, don't worry, I'm cumming. Get it? "Cum"-ming? But hold on, first I have to stick a fork in an electrical outlet.
FakeOnlineGirl: K K I gotta get off here..I will speak to u inside my chat room hunny... see ya in a sec.. ps - we can exchange cell phone numbers in there xoxox WEBCAM ADDRESS HERE
Me: Sure thing, dickwad preying on the loneliness of people on the internet! I'll be right there!
FakeOnlineGirl: Auto Response: Just in my cam show now! Julie and I are gonna use a strap on tonight.. YAY.. Click the link to come watch... WEBCAM ADDRESS HERE ￼
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Palin is a "firm supporter of abstinence-only education in schools" according to CNN in 2006.  When running for governor in 2006, Palin wrote, "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," in response to a questionnaire by the Eagle Forum Alaska.And then today's news:
Just days after Gov. Sarah Palin was named as Senator John McCain’s running mate, Ms. Palin made an unlikely announcement of her own on Monday: Her daughter Bristol, 17 and unmarried, was five months pregnant.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
She's a complete waste of space on the screen. I can't believe Mclaughlin puts up with her.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
in the arms of heaven's wings
in mind of many great things
Beautiful, truely - the voice of the muse
the path, the choices are for you to choose
Reality dreaming to those who are deep
Those who bow their head, counting their sheep
the rivers of our souls
for whom the bell tolls
In general, I believe creation and art are pointless unless you share it with the world. Can you imagine if someone hadn't found Emily Dickinson's poems locked away in a trunk after her death? We never would have had the rhyme scheme for the Gilligan's Island theme!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Plus I apparently had the entire weight of the Asian race on my shoulders as two of the most recent world Air Guitar Champions have been Asian AND from Brooklyn, so, yeah...
Granted, I only had 2 1/2 days to prepare as I only got late entry accepted on Sunday morning at 5am, but I really needed to research more, figure out what they were looking for. Still, it was a lot of fun. Started off really well too, just went in the wrong direction for the judges, and they slaughtered me.
In any event, I wasn't even remotely as upset as the guy who came in second - he crashed into the dressing room, shouted, "Where's my fucking bag," and stormed out. It's like, "Wow, air guitar man. AIR guitar."
The girl who won had a rocking first set, and for the second part with the surprise song, she didn't actually play much, but she did run up into the balcony, climb over the railing and play on a glass roof over the sound booth. Gutsy. Made even more so by the fact that on the way there she BROKE HER TOE on a chair and tore the skin off, so the bone was sticking out. And she finished her set. Clearly deserving of the win.
Oh well, at least I can cross it off the life list.
ADDENDUM: As a bit of a segue, let me just say that frozen yogurt fucking SUCKS and in no way provides cold comfort in the way that real, Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie does. Every few years I forget the fact that frozen yogurt is a joke of a food and make the mistake of buying it when the real thing is sold out. I'd be better off sprinkling sugar on an ice cube.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I promptly emailed them to see how I could prove my Norseness. Video of me air guitaring? Video of me dressed up as Samurai from the Superfriends?
I only had one of those at the moment to send them, but apparently it was enough, because at 5am today they accepted my entry.
Which leaves me 3 1/2 days to edit my song, choreograph, make a costume and practice. Brilliant, Shy.
If you want to come out and show your love for SuperKiller Fragalisticexpialidocious (that's me), by all means, join me!
US Air Guitar Championships: Brooklyn Regional
Wed 7/9 (8PM) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Official Site: http://www.usairguitar.com
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North Sixth Street Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
THE FIRST ANNUAL MAN RAFFLE
to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Thursday, July 3rd from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
370 West 46th Street
(between 8th & 9th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036
$1 raffle tickets buy you a chance for a date with a man from Melanie’s harem. Each date includes tickets to a show and/or dinner for two.
All of the tips for the bartenders and all money generated by the raffle directly benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
Here's a short video I made explaining this all in greater detail. With puppets:
If you’re unable to attend and would still like to donate, click here.
For more information about the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, click here.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
It completely fits. We see a female hand pick up the Master's ring at the end of last season. Various characters have been telling Donna that she has an unusual fate, is incredibly "powerful" and full of "change." Plus she occasionally wears a huge ring that could easily be the Master's ring with a bit of costume gemstone on top of it.
Just wanted to put this out into the blogosphere, to plant Danaher's flag as the first to come up with this call.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
It was a great trip. To sum up: I visited the pyramids of Teotihuacan, rode a trajinera (gondala) through the canals of Xochimilco, climbed up to the cliffside the pyramid temple of Tepozteco high above Tepotzlan, walked through the ruins of the Templo Mayor in the heart of the CentroHistorico and the "Thieves Market," Mercado Tepito. I saw Frida Kahlo's Blue House and Leon Trotsky's home in Coyoacan and the Ballet Folklorico at the beautiful Palacio des Belles Artes, shopped at the Bazar Sabado in San Angel, went to the national zoo and Museum of Anthropology in the Bosque de Chapultepec, the bull fights in the Monumental Plaza Mexico, a hundred mariachi bands at Garibaldi Plaza and the Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) at the Arena de Mexico. I explored miles and miles of the city's different neighborhoods trying to get a feel for it's people and culture.
And the food... fantastic.
I took over 2300 photographs and 3+ hours of footage of my trip. I'm still wrapping my head around how best to present it all, but hopefully I'll have something more extensive up this week.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The venue itself was beautiful, a lovingly restored and maintained mansion just by Grand Army Plaza, but the crowd was fantastic. The guests had gone all out - gorgeous Victorian-era gowns, women in vintage flapper attire and avant-guard latex-gothic hybrids were all on display, and gentlemen in long coats, tuxedos and three piece suits were enjoying the conversation-friendly atmosphere as a 6-piece jazz band, Grandpa Musselman and his Syncopaters, played a wonderful assortment of period music, from the Charleston to waltzes.
I simply donned my getup from the film noir derbytaunte party I attended several weeks ago and headed on out to join my friends, who were similarly decked out in 30's clothing. Thanks to Dances of Vice who put on the event. Their next soirée is in August (so far!) and if I'm not in Mexico, I'll definitely be going.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
It's also significant as it's the minimum amount that Google AdSense will let you cash out of their program. You can't collect on any earnings under $100.
So in another four months, I'll be able to pay my phone bill again! And maybe have a burger!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I'm a bit on the fence, to say the least.
On one hand, it's very little money for the work involved, I don't speak the language, and they're asking for a year committment. That's quite a long time, in my mind, and it certainly takes me out of the running for any acting/directing/writing opportunities in New York. Mexico City, while an up and coming metropolis, is still rather crime ridden and rather polluted. I also won't know anyone - I'm a somewhat solitary person, but as they say, no man is an island; I'm not sure how I'll react to the potential isolation. I suppose I can play Warcraft III from anywhere, but still... Also, and most importantly, it's "Creation by Committee," which in general I despise.
On the other hand, it's an intriguing new experience, and a chance for a very good addition to my rather meaguer business resume. It's a foot in the door to a wide array of different professional fields. Granted, I'm not certain I'm interested in any of them (e.g. advertising), but it's nice to have the option. And if the site really takes off, I could potentially make a significant amount of money on the back end. Plus, I could learn Spanish (which would no doubt annoy my mother that I was learning a foreign language instead of learning Thai). And I could still produce my YouTube sketches in my spare time - especially since I won't know anyone down there.
I don't have to decide now - they're going to fly me down to Mexico City to meet them in person and show me around the town.
Basically, it comes down to: do I stay in New York and continue to gamble on myself and my new YouTube platform, or do I cash in for a year and take this opportunity to get paid (meagerly) for making internet videos?
This would be so much easier if The Daily Show would just hire me...
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The theme of the event, if you haven't guessed from our getups, was "Film Noir." Right up our alley. While we were getting ready, Luke cranked up the soundtrack from Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil," and we enjoyed gussying ourselves up in our Sunday best. I'm always happy to make use of my vintage (and unfortunately moth eaten) wool pin-stripe three-piece suit that I found for $25 in a thrift store in Pittsburgh 17 years ago (::gasp::).
When we got to the Park Slope bar Southpaw for the event, we walked into a sea of fedoras and suits. Fantastic. The music was, unfortunately, clubby - it would have been great if they had been blasting period tunes like we had back at the apartment, but such are the pitfalls of hipster happenings. No Peter Gunn theme for us, alas. At least Night of the Hunter was playing on a big screen on the dance floor.
There were free pickles and relish, and Chipotle was kind enough to provide free burritos (2 hours late), and my other roommate Danaher and I won a trivia contest prize for identifying a line from Maltese Falcon (Danny had just been talking about the line on the train there, coincidentally enough).
"When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it."
Ah yes. I've had entire relationships based on that line. Good times.
So finally the time came for the inductions of the "Fresh Meat." We cheered as Carly was brought on stage, officially dubbed Straight Razor and given her team assignment: The Manhattan Mayhem. Team captain Sweet Cherry Pie clapped her in hand cuffs and shoved her into line with the rest of the new Mayhem inducties. Manhattan has the most new rookie recruits this season due to a mass exodus after last season (Oh WHY did you leave us, Tankerbelle, WHY?), so I'm expecting a Cinderella season from them. No excuses!
So swing your razor wide, Straight Razor! GO MANHATTAN MAYHEM!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
So called up my homies Apache Chief and Black Vulcan, and we headed over to the ol' HoJ for a little photo(shop) shoot.
I invited El Dorado, but he had "plans." If I know Eldo, his "plans" were blond. He's such a himbo.
Friday, April 4, 2008
The tasks vary in difficulty, from simply folding clothes and making the bed, to writing, shooting and editing videos for the YouTubes. Granted, my time these days is very limited; I'm working full time and by the time I get home, often having had to stay late at the office, I'm just feel drained and find myself staring at the computer screen, not editing, not cleaning, not... anything.
But even when I'm not busy, I'll often just avoid doing the things I know I need to do, the things that I know will make me happier once they're done. I have a really acute self-sabotage mechanism in my brain that keeps me from following the very clear path I know I need to follow.
Ironically, without a consistent work ethic, the only thing that makes me finally get things done is the build-up of self-loathing that gets so crushing I'm forced to finally produce results.
I spent 3 hours intermittantly staring at the computer last night trying to edit a sketch video I shot 3 weeks ago. If it were for a 24-hour contest or some other deadline, it would literally take me about an hour. Instead, I've been dodging it for 3 weeks, opening up the Final Cut project, staring at it, moving stuff around, inching along, and then getting up and doing something else like eating, watching movies or vids, or playing games. And of course I tend to want to edit right when I have to leave for some place.
My brain is severely broken. I've been like this since the 5th grade. It gets progressively worse with each passing year. I've got to find some way to change this.
I'm trying to exercise my brain muscle more as of late. I think the tedious day job is helping, and, silly as this may sound, doing Sudoku every day. I need to get back on my exercise regime and start eating better. And of course, just forcing myself to create, Create, CREATE.
The prevalent theory these days is that the mind needs to be worked as often and as varied as the body does. My mind is a slothful waste these days. Hopefully I can get it into shape.
We'll see how it works.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Then 30 Rock came out. And I STILL didn't like her comedy. I preferred the wit and perfectly timed repartee of Studio 60 to the "wacky hijinks" of Fey's sitcom, and felt that Alec Baldwin was carrying the entire show on his classically trained shoulders. I'd spent two decades watching various female stand-up comediannes do their "it's so tough for a woman to be single/diet/deal with her mother" schtick and felt the show was just rehashing the entire cannon of double X chromosome comedy.
But I kept watching. At first I told myself it was just to watch Baldwin chew the scenery in every episode, but then I found myself watching Fey. And at some point... ::click::... HOLY FRAK... I'm ATTRACTED to Tina Fey! What the hell?!?!?
I think, more than anything, I'm drawn to her work ethic; I myself have a horrible work ethic (I'm working on it!).
WAIT! That's it! It was her American Express commercial where she's running around multi-tasking!
Well, that's one mystery solved.
Or maybe it's her breasts...
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
No more will my bad Internet jokes have to die with a whimper! Where have you been all this time, baby?!
Thanks to hprince329 for whipping this puppy up! Great work!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
One of the dishes they prepared was a very simple recipe for Greek Pastitsio, often referred to as "Greek Lasagna," probably because it involves meat, pasta. cheese and baking.
I decided the next night to make it. I was a little skeptical going in, as it seemed rather simple spice-wise, but the blond domestic goddess working on this particular meal spoke so convincingly and adoringly about the ground lamb, and it LOOKED rather enticing, so I just buckled down and went shopping.
It was an incredibly easy dish to make. Only about 15-20 minutes of prep and cooking, then it was just a matter of waiting for it to bake.
(Arrggh.... 35 more minutes!!!)
So finally it was done. I let it sit for the recommended 15 minutes and then cut myself a serving and dug in.
It was very... subtle.
Not bad, by any means, but certainly not an explosion of taste. Kind of bland, really. I revised the recipe in my mind; should have used more salt, more tomato paste in addition to adding some fresh diced tomato, a sharper parmesan cheese and more cayenne (I had already increased it to two teaspoons). Also, perhaps, some nutmeg and balsamic along with the wine.
I had pretty much chalked it up to a learning experience when, a couple of hours later, my roommate Danny got home. I told him to help himself to some of the pastitsio if he wanted. I went back to working at the computer when I hear him exclaim, "This is great!"
I was like, "Really? I thought it was kind of bland."
He assured me it wasn't, so I went and grabbed a spoonful.
I was completely wrong about the recipe. It was GREAT. It had just needed more time for the spices and flavors to properly marry. The cinnamon had reached just the right level of fullness and it just filled the mouth and nostrils perfectly! I was rather astonished that such a simple recipe could produce such a full and robust taste.
I love foods, like the stew and chili, that you can just leave on the counter and know it'll just get better the next day.
Suffice it to say, lunch has been great this week.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Anyway, about a month ago I was featured on the blog Sexy Straight and Asian, a new website aimed primarily at women with yellow fever, a condition which, naturally, I support wholeheartedly.
The founders of this site are also launching another website in a few days called Eastbound FX (their Myspace page offers a preview of what to expect). Their goal is to be "the hub of Eastern entertainment for the West. We cover the latest in Eastern cultures, fashions, cuisine, travel, trends and entertainment, as well as the more serious issues facing Asian males and interracial couples in the West."
They interviewed me for the premiere issue of their eZine, presumably because Daniel Dae Kim was too busy drinking and driving and getting himself written off Lost (WTF DDK?!?)
Anyway, I'd like to thank the girls at EBFX for the ego-boost. As a struggling actor, my fragile self-esteem needs constant stroking.
Monday, March 24, 2008
There was a lovely little pre-show cocktail hour with tons of fried appetizers and featuring a band consisting of two 11-year olds on drum and bass, doing covers of heavy metal songs. In the corner a lesbian ballroom dancing couple, one in a sparkling gown, the other in a tux, tried tango for a few measures of Zeppelin, then gave up, smiling and giggling.
After a bit of a delay, they canceled the drinks service (right before I got up to the counter as luck would have it), took away the food (nooooo!) and filed us into the adjoining room where a screen and projector had been set up. A brief speech by Douglas Ferguson, the director, and the screening commenced.
Citizen Kane it was not. And watching myself act for 90 minutes on screen is about as gut wrenching as a plate of bad sushi. I managed to compose myself and keep my eyes open most of the time. The most painful for me I think were my half-naked love scenes; I was so out of shape when we shot them due to an accident I had back in 2006. Followed closely behind were the fights - due to the erratic shooting schedule and the aforementioned accident, I was never in proper fighting form when it came time to film the action scenes.
However, all that said, it was an incredibly impressive accomplishment from a first time feature director, especially considering the fact that Doug is 22 years old! When I was 22 years old, I was sitting on a couch "finding myself." Hell, I'm still sitting on a couch trying to find myself.
Cinematically the DP Johnny Tsang did amazing things with limited resources - there are some very nice visual sequences for a low-budget indie flick.
All in all, it turned out better than expected and people had some very nice things to say about my performance and the end product. Again, the important thing here is that he MADE the movie. I know so many people, myself included, who have all these big ideas for creative projects, but they never come to fruition. Doug made it happen, and that's to be greatly respected.
And the chicken fingers were pretty good.
P.S. Now I can cross "Star in an action film" off my life list. Next up: "Develop marketable skills!"
Friday, March 21, 2008
In this version he's added defensive turrets and barricades, which is just about my favorite thing ever, because my style of game play in most strategy games is one which my friends have dubbed "Gun Island." I like building little forts out of video game couch cushions. And by couch cushions I mean mortar and rail gun turrets.
I scored 2.4 billion points today! (It's not as impressive as it sounds...)
Come to think of it... I hate my life.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not. McHale's was the best. I can't walk by the preposterous luxury condominium complex they tore it down to build without my blood boiling a little.
As a result, I'm VERY hard on those burger joints which remain (see previous posts). But why shouldn't I be? No one wants to pay good money for a mediocre or even crappy meal, so we, as diners, need to weed out the inferior hunks of overcooked, under-sized, tasteless nonsense being passed off as hamburgers these days.
That said, I hate to be ALL negative, so here, now, is a list of places in New York where a decent burger can still be had. They're not McHale's, but perhaps the second coming is still yet to come...
This former speak-easy, hidden away on a side street of the West Village, serves... wait, what? What do you mean their retaining wall collapsed while they were trying to renovate? They're closed?! SON OF A $!%@#!!!
Nevermind... moving on.
I had eaten here over a year ago and forgotten what a rather nice burger experience I had eaten here. They have a very clean and minimalist decor and menu, which manages to stick to the basics while at the same time adding nice, light touches which serve to accentuate the food rather than overpower it. Their Eatery Sirloin Burger is decent in size and flavor, and comes with crispy fries and garlic pickles, for only $9.95 at lunch (Though it's $11.95 at dinner... I HATE that.) The rest of their menu is incredibly intriguing as well. They're at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 53rd Street. If you need an upscale venue for a date or some such, this is your place.
THE SHAKE SHACK
Located inside Madison Square Park at 23rd Street and Broadway, this cool shake stand serves great frozen custard ice cream and shakes, as well as very good quarter pound burgers and portobello mushroom burgers. In terms of burger greatness, however, it really shines when you order their "Shack Stack," which consists of two cheeseburgers AND the mushroom burger on top, sandwiched between buns with their special sauce, lettuce and tomato. I normally wouldn't go on about a "novelty" burger, but this thing is just a taste explosion in your mouth, and for $8.75. Fries are separate, at $2.75, so it's not too bad. For those of you with smaller appetites, the individual burgers are still good and they also have a great variety of hot dogs and brats available. Don't forget to treat yourself to a frozen custard shake too!
During the warmer months it's hard to beat the combination of good food and sitting under lights strung amongst towering trees in the park.
A neighborhood fixture, this is an old school diner-style eatery, meaning that you can order pretty much everything and the kitchen sink: soups, salads, steaks, Middle Eastern, Italian, Greek, Mexican, sandwiches, pizzas, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 24 hours a day! But we're here to talk about burgers, and Nick's doesn't disappoint. A dizzying array of burgers awaits you here, and they're big, juicy, grilled and reasonably priced. A basic, 1/2 lb. cheeseburger with fries and fixings comes to a modest (for NYC) $8.25. Even crazier, for $9.25 you can get the ONE POUND Sumo Burger. There are far too many toppings and combinations to go into here; suffice it to say you'll find something to tickle your palate.
Cheap beer ($2.50 for McSorley's), cheap burger ($6.75 for a maybe 5-6 oz. burger, $2 for fries), good taste all around. 'Nuff Said.
Well, okay, the service is a bit slow.
There may be more, but until I find McHale's reincarnate, these will have to do.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The rink will be opening this Saturday, March 22nd, and there will be a FREE celebration skating party from 6pm-Midnight. If the party goes well and a lot of support is shown, the rink may be here to stay. If not, it will be very fleeting.
So come support roller skating in NYC (we have no rinks left!) by skating your pants off on Saturday night. There will be rentals, but they will likely be limited, so come early. I asked Lola if it would be okay to wear roller blades instead and she said, "Sure!" (She also said that I'd have to wear a Wonder Woman outfit as well, but I suspect she was being facetious about that part. I think...)
On a personal note, I lived out near Coney Island for 10 years and would often run along the boardwalk past the amusement park and the boarded up Child's Building. It's a beautiful old building, with wonderfully detailed exterior ornamental sculpture and tiling. For decades it's remained empty and unused, slowly deteriorating with the passing seasons. A roller skating rink would be fantastic in this venue and would help breathe new life into the area.
The Child's Building is at 3052 West 21st St (enter on the boardwalk). RSVP to 866-211-1629. Some more info at Lola's myspace: http://www.myspace.com/lolastaar
Decisions, decisions. I'm ALSO supposed to go to see a screening of an action crime movie I'm starring in called Under the Gun on Saturday night. I'm rather torn. Either I can go have a once in a lifetime experience at an old building I love in my old stomping grounds which I want to help preserve... or I can spend an hour and a half cringing at my acting and fighting on-screen. Hmmm...
Monday, March 17, 2008
As my roommate and I arrived, the stylish minimalist black sign positioned high above the entrance on the second floor of the building screamed dollar signs at me. The two story tall room, the black and white theme and the scruffy, disinterested hipster maître d' just inside the door reiterated the impending bill, and a quick glance at the menu confirmed it. However, as my dinner companion reminded me, it would all be okay if the burger was good.
So we ordered. It arrived. And it was... lame. Admittedly, the flavor of the burger was decent, but it was by no means a taste explosion, and the thing just felt small, despite their claims of being a 7 oz burger. Way over priced (plain burger with nothing is $9; my bacon cheeseburger was $11), fries were good but sold separately and the pathetically mediocre, SIX DOLLAR milkshake came in an 8 oz glass. WTF? I don't know who they were trying to fool with the 3 inches of whipped cream on top either.
Ordered my burger rare; it came medium. Not even medium rare, just frakking medium. No real surprise, as it took 20 minutes for them to drop the burger... of COURSE it was going to be over cooked. The "bacon" consisted of two paper thin discs about an inch and a quarter in diameter and they only offered 2 types of cheese; American and bleu. Orders came with "hard boiled egg mayonnaise," a thoroughly forgettable concoction.
Had to ask for lettuce, tomato and onion separately. No ketchup or condiments on the tables; we had to get up ourselves and scavenge them from other tables.
The bill for 2 bacon cheeseburgers, 1 order of fries and 2 milk shakes came to... and this is the frakking kicker... $42.27. NOT including tip.
Wasn't all bad, of course. As I said, the fries were actually good, and they had some interesting flavors of shakes (blueberry, pumpkin, toasted marshmallow, etc...), though that particular plus gets canceled out due to the fact that it's basically a shot glass of milkshake. And they kept our water glasses full. That's something. The meat was good quality (shame they overcooked it) - free range, though not organic, according to the manager. And they toasted the bun well - always a nice touch.
I've read a number of rave reviews of this place. I haven't the faintest idea where some people get their ideas of what makes a good burger. You can't taste decor, people!
Just a disappointing burger week last week. Gonna go buy some beef and try Gordon Ramsey's recipe from Kitchen Nightmares and see if I can't salvage this ground meat shipwreck.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Which brings us to this evening. I'd had a very, very long day and a friend was coming over to do a quick cameo in my latest sketch video and I promised to feed her. I'd normally cook, but I was beat, so after a little brainstorming on where to eat I suddenly remembered that there was a BRGR hamburger joint on 7th Avenue near my place that I had never tried.
Now, I had avoided this place on purpose. It screamed hipster trash, in it's decor, pathetic portions, pricing... even it's fonts. It featured a 1/3 pound burger, which is, coincidentally, the exact weight of mediocrity. Their basic burger was SEVEN dollars, AND they sold their fries separately - red flags galore. I had my burger oven set to pre-hate this place.
Yet here was an opportunity to finally give it a chance, so in we went. Got myself the BRGR burger - basic cheese, onions lettuce, tomato, pickle and BRGR sauce. Rare, as all burgers should be. With a side of sweet potato fries ($2.75) and a black and white milkshake ($5.50). My friend also got a basic burger and lemonade. Total came to nearly $30. For TWO people! Eating HAMBURGERS.
Must... stay... calm...
Flavor of the Burger: Meh. Slightly too greasy. Huge bun, pathetic vegetables and cheese melted onto the bottom bun... wtf is that? You might as well put the cheese under the table. You can't taste the damn cheese unless it's on top of the meat. That's burgers 101. Amateurs. The beef patty itself was a thin, rather mealy patty that reminded me of the consistency of frozen pre-made hamburgers, despite it's supposedly organic, freshly-made construction. I mean look at that thing; that's a burger that's just given up on itself.
After I took a few bites of the burger, I took a sip of what appeared to be about a 16-oz milkshake - seemed a little small for my taste. I was all ready to hate on it as well for it's rather hefty price-tag, but when it hit my lips I was forced to admit that it's a really, really good milkshake. Pretty much worth the money.
The fries, on the other hand, were crispy, but for being sweet potato fries, rather flavorless. They needed some sort of seasoning, and the sea salt on the table wasn't doing it. They should consider having a version with a bit of cayenne or garlic.
The real giveaway about the burgers though? At the counter next to our table was a mother and her 3 or 4 year old girl. Angelic little slip of a thing, blond curls falling around pink cheeks. She was peering back over her chair at us and I smiled at her, then suddenly realized she was in the process of FINISHING her burger. When a 3-year old girl can finish your hamburger without so much as a fuss, you FAIL. COMPLETE LOSS!
Michael Kane of the New York Post has named BRGR burgers one of the Best Burgers in Town, ranking it BETTER than Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian, and on the same level as P.J. Clarke's and frakkin' Peter Luger's burgers.
Note to self: Michael Kane of the New York Post is a moron.