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Wednesday, November 26, 2003  

Who Was the Ad Wizard That Came Up With THAT?
...And let me say, "Bravo! Way to think outside the bottle! I love you and want to have your babies."

Why am I so excited? Because of THIS.

Thats right Jones Soda Co has created the greatest beverage flavor KNOWN TO MANKIND: Turkey and Gravy. I saw this a couple of weeks ago, but it was so brilliant I was sure it was a hoax. But no, it is true! NPR's Alex Chadwick even did a taste test on the air last night. Turkey soda. What a world...

And the really disturbing for you/upsetting for me fact is they SOLD OUT of it! I want a bottle of this... Time to check E-bay.

$20 a bottle! Maybe Jones will bring it back! Turkey Soda all year round baby!

posted by JMV | 11/26/2003 03:38:00 PM

Turkey Day Eve
Here we are on the eve of my favorite day of the whole year, and I'm finding it very difficult to believe that it has been a full 365 days since Julie's and I's fist Tday as husband and wife. Last year we celebrated the greatest of holidays by actually hosting the big meal and, if I remember correctly, it was a great sucsess. It was also WAY too stressful for me to want to do again this year so Julie and I are heading to the great big Verive Clan (west coast chapter) celebration at my Cousin's house in Orange. I imagine there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand relatives, friends, friends of relatives, co workers of friends, and random people off the street packed into my Cousin's house, and a spread that will leave ALL of them groaning on the floor clutching at their distended bellies.

Oh god I love Thanksgiving...

But the point is, "Damn! Another year gone by!" and all that. And now we are in a place SO very different from last year. A new city, new jobs (or lack there of,) new people (again, or lack there of,) and no real idea what the next 12 months will hold for us. But I've got a lot to be thankful for, and the more things I'm thankful for the more turkey flesh I must consume and so I imagine that come this time tomorrow I will be riding that tryptophan wave into bliss.

Oh, and I probably won't post a whole lot over the weekend.

posted by JMV | 11/26/2003 03:24:00 PM

There's Something on the Wing... SomeTHING on the WING*
GenCon SoCal is coming up in December, and with the sudden surge in geeky pursuits around the Verive abode I thought I would check out the website (which was evidently coded by blind syphilitic monkeys) and see if it looks like it would be worth dropping 20 bucks at the door... After poking around in my second string web browser (evidently the above mentioned monkeys didn't write Safari compatible HTML) I discovered that Bill Shatner will be the "guest of honor" and will be doing a signing on Saturday and Sunday... I think this alone might be worth the admission and waiting in a long line. I could get my copy of the Twilight Zone DVD (Episode 43 "Nick of Time") signed!** There is also a WHOLE LOT of other gaming events that look worthwhile... I've never been to a gaming con that big before, and I fear it will induce a darkside-geek allergic reaction but there has to be a bar close by. Right? Anybody want to brave the hordes of übernerds with me?

*I'm not quite sure that typing that has the same effects as actually hearing Julie say it, but you hopefully get the point...

**Even though I don't particularly like Star Trek (and especially TOS,) I have a completely unfounded love for William Shatner as a Cult of Personality. I really enjoy watching him over act in his lesser known roles (Incubus (1965) and Free Enterprise (1998) being my favorites), as well as any interviews, puff pieces, commercials, or hosting gigs that he does.

posted by JMV | 11/26/2003 03:00:00 AM

Monday, November 24, 2003  

Riding the Rails
Despite popular belief LA does have a (fairly minimal) subway/light rail system, and a few weeks ago we discovered we live all of three block from a stop (at the Hollywood and Highland mall.) Then, to celebrate (or something) the end of the 5 week long Metro Transit Association mechanic's strike and the return of Metro bus and rail service the MTA made that trains free though Saturday night. We took this to be a sign and decided to explore the system a little bit more this weekend. Saturday night A couple of friends came over and we decided we would take the train into Union Station downtown to visit that bad-ass bar in Chinatown.

The Red Line runs from Union Station west through Hollywood and then turns north into the Valley. The trip took us about 25 minutes, which is about how long it would take to drive to downtown not counting parking/getting lost time. It seemed really weird to be taking the train the land where car is KING, but also made LA feel more like a big city and less like a geographic salad of small communities. It is also nice to have a night out on the town and not have to deal with designated drivers or cab fair!

So after we got our bearings outside of Union Station, we walked 2 blocks to the world famous Philippe's and has some dipped beef (and turkey) sandwiches. Philippe's invented the "french dip" sandwich WAY back in 1918 and they are, hands down, THE BEST (and I've eaten A LOT of french dip sandwiches in my day.) Saturday night I also discovered their chili kicks ass too! From the restaurant is was another 4 blocks into Chinatown and to the bar, which was considerably more crowded than the last time. We grabbed a secluded table and had a few rounds before venturing back into Hollywood on the train. Julie kept remarking that it felt like we were on vacation. Perhaps it was the foreign feeling of being on a subway in LA, or perhaps it was just this was the first outing she has had in a few weeks since she has been working so damn hard. And I, for one, thinks she deserves some kind of reward!

posted by JMV | 11/24/2003 01:56:00 AM

Saturday, November 22, 2003  

Stupid Winds
First it was hot and dry, which caused massive fires to rage across the Southland. Then the rains came, nearly washing Watts off the map. And last night it was freakishly windy last night. I'm beginning to believe the rumors that LA is a blighted wasteland after all....

But besides preventing me from sleeping, I'm convinced that the winds were somehow responsible for both the CPU fan and the Power Supply fan in my PC dying. The bearings went out in both causing a computer that was lounder than the damn winds. So I had to brave the Über-dust-bunnies that live in the PC and remove the offending hardware, and now it looks like there will be a trip to Frys in my near future.

posted by JMV | 11/22/2003 12:32:00 PM

Thursday, November 20, 2003  

Vocal Minority
As a recent and vocal convert to the Cult of Mac I have to defend my preferred computing platform quite a bit. PC users are quick to criticize and deride Apple products, often going so far as to hold irrational hatred towards them (as I once did.) When iTunes for windows was released a few weeks ago I know a lot of PC users were very happy about it. However, there was a vocal minority that bitched about one thing or another even as Time Magazine called the iTunes Music Store the "Invention of the Year."

After Paul's recent troubles and resulting rants with his newly purchased iPod I have decided to stop fighting the loosing battle of evangelizing Apple to PC users. They will always find some flaw in an Apple product and be deaf and blind to all the benefits. It really isn't worth the headaches and blood-boiling arguments. I will add "computing platform of choice" to politics and religion to my list of taboo conversation topics. And I will rest easy knowing that I am happy with my choice of Apple products. I will even go as far as to cease my criticism of Microsoft and their "secure computing platform."

I still hope that people will see the light and make the switch to Apple products, and I will provide support (both moral and technical) when they do, but they are going to have to do it on their own now. The Cult of Mac isn't for everyone, and I, for one, hope it stays that way.

posted by JMV | 11/20/2003 12:57:00 PM

Friday, November 14, 2003  

Best of 2003
I'm planning to to a "best-of" type post early in the new year, and want to make sure I've got my bases covered. So I ask you readers what you think the best album that was released in 2003 (so far...) is. And while your at it, why don't you tell me your favorite book from this year as well.

posted by JMV | 11/14/2003 01:47:00 AM

Thursday, November 13, 2003  

I miraculously caught a showing of Scratch, a feature length documentary about the emergence of "turntablism" in hip-hop culture, on Showtime this afternoon. The film features interviews of just about every major DJ in the turntablism/battle DJ/Hip-Hop scene, and more importantly footage of of them absolutely shredding the decks. Everybody from pioneer Afrika Bambaataa to my favorites Q-Bert, Cut Chemist, and DJ Shadow are represented. The film does a good job of conveying the birth of the DJ and hits on the many different aspects of DJ culture. But undoubtedly the best part is hearing each DJ wax spiritual about the the meaning and the effect of scratching, cutting, and beat mixing. If you have even the slightest interest in Hip-Hop (and I don't mean the top-40 crap), DJs, or Turntablism do your self a favor and rent it.

posted by JMV | 11/13/2003 05:00:00 PM

Wednesday, November 12, 2003  

Working Stiff
I finally got hooked up with another production, and I have to say it is about friggin time. The gig doesn't pay anything beyond "Copy, Credit, and Meals" but it will be a Grip credit so thats cool, and after so much sitting-on-my-ass I have no problems working for free. It is a three or three-and-a-half day shoot over the first weekend in December, so that means I will miss the big Borders Grand Opening that Jules has been working so damn hard for, but I'm excited to have another gig. It looks like it will be a good group of people, and hopefully it will lead to some further (paying) work.

posted by JMV | 11/12/2003 09:50:00 PM

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  

Wherein John Tells the Story of the Mushroom Soup He Never Made
This anecdote stems from the comments that Meli made in response to the post about me cooking and how she made mushroom soup with newly acquired kitchen gadgets.

Some time ago I was fiendishly addicted to the Hungarian Mushroom Soup served by my (formerly) local vegetarian cafe. So much so that I convinced the esteamed Rev. Carle to get me a copy of the recipe (as he worked there at the time.) Under cover of darkness we rendezvoused and he gave me the cipher, hastily scribbled on the back of an order ticket. I spirited it back to my house to pour over the intricacies of the recipe before I would undertake the alchemical soup brewing. But when I got it home I was confused by the notation of the recipe. A QUART of sour cream? 4 OUNCES of paprika? HOW MANY POUNDS OF MUSHROOMS??? Then it hit me. The yield of the recipe could be measured in gallons. The recipe, in fact, could have originated on the plains of my wife's ancestral homeland to feed whole regiments of shivering Hungarian soldiers. Or in the basements of the freedom fighters serving the last hot meal to a group of revolutionaries who would stand against the might of the quickly approaching russian tank battalions.

I never made the soup, though I still have the tattered and barley legible recipe. It is times like these I wish I had a scanner.

posted by JMV | 11/11/2003 11:39:00 AM

I'm Sorry. Come Again?
I somehow got on an e-mail list for club promotions in Hollywood. A couple of times a week I get invites to CD release parties, guest DJ sets, or other happenings that I'll never actually go to. Today I got a new e-mail inviting me to the "Official John Deere Product Launch Party" at Ivar in Hollywood on Friday. The event celebrates the release of new "custom designed trucker hats, ringer tees, and hoodies" with the John Deere logo. LA Hipster culture has reached a new bazaar level. Isn't it against the hipster ethos to care enough about the ironic fashions to go to some club promotion celebrating them? Regardless I'm sure Ivar this Friday will be a great place to play some Bingo.

posted by JMV | 11/11/2003 01:52:00 AM

Monday, November 10, 2003  

Wherein John Cleans the Kitchen and Then Makes a Ridiculously Complicated Dinner
During my hours of alone-time turned boredom on Saturday I decided to surprise Jules with a immaculately cleaned house. So after a few hours of scrubbing, vacuuming, and what not I felt good about the state of the apartment and sat down from some of my delicious book. Then I suddenly had the idea to cook up some salmon that ws in the freezer as that is Jules' favorite food. So I brainstormed for a recipe for a few minuets and then decided on a complicated french-asian fusion theme.

Fish is one of my culinary weak links, so I wanted a very simple and fool proof cooking method, and I decided on steam. And since I would have the steamer all set up and a-steamin' I figured now would be the time to test out Alton Brown's steamed Couscous recipe. So I started the couscous in the steamer while I prepped the misé for a sauce for the fish. Since steaming (with just water) doesn't impart any flavor to the dish I knew I would need a tasty sauce, and I decided what would be better than a classic Beurre Blanc (which is traditionally a reduction of shallots, vinegar, and white wine that is blended with a whole lot of butter.) But since I had this whole idea to go with asian flavors I added ginger and soy sauce to the reduction, and substituted lemon juice for the vinegar. I would pick up some of these flavors in the couscous by sauteing onions, ginger, garlic, and mushrooms and adding some sesame oil and soy sauce and then folding that mixture into the finished couscous. The fish was steamed to perfection and served over the couscous, topped with my sauce and garnished with some toasted sesame seeds.

In the end everything came together very well (though I didn't have any vegetables for a side...) and I was happy with the results. The sauce was a little on the tart side because of the wine I used and my addition of lemon juice. Next time I think I will use pineapple juice and more soy sauce. The couscous turned out really well, but it also ended up being an incredible mess that turned my newly spotless kitchen into a disaster area. The little grains of pasta got EVERYWHERE, and I managed to dirty no less that 6 pots and pans (the steamer pot and insert, the 12 inch skillet, the saucer, the 8 inch skillet, and a cookie sheet) and a whole slew of support equipment in the cooking of the meal. I'm STILL doing friggin dishes!

posted by JMV | 11/10/2003 02:37:00 PM

Saturday, November 08, 2003  

It's Like a Pretentious Video Store, but For Music, and On the Web...
The music geek in my loves, loves, LOVES theAll Music Guide. It is like the IMDb for music, but with REVIEWS of everything. And usually rather thorough and geeky reviews. Take, for example, this quote from the review of the new Dave Matthews solo album:

Even though he's cut a lot of fat off his songs, he still favors meandering to directness, which combined with the deliberately somber mood of the album means this often sounds like Automatic for the People as written and performed by Sting.

I don't really agree with the statement... So far the disc is like any other DMB album, but with less horns and more doom-and-gloom. Dave goes goth if you will... But regardless AMG is a rockin' website; you can easily loose hours and hours surfing around it, and it is more than a little dangerous when combined with the instant gratification of the iTunes Music Store.

posted by JMV | 11/08/2003 05:42:00 PM

Unlock Your Sausage Potential
I'm not really sure what the hell that means, but it is a slogan for Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage. I imagine "sausage potential" to be kind of index rating an individuals mental acumen for creating bizarre new uses for Jimmy Dean sausage. Some suggestions on the Jimmy-D website: Sausage Couscous Croquets, Sausage Tacos, and Sausage Twirls. But I think my favorite are the Cheesy Sausage Balls. Mmmm sausage in ball-form.

posted by JMV | 11/08/2003 01:24:00 AM

Thursday, November 06, 2003  

Empty Calories
The Matrix Revolutions was quite the event movie last night. We saw the film at perhaps the most famous movie theater in Hollywood, if not the world, and it made the whole experience seem even "bigger". Limos kept pulling up to the theater and divesting their (un-famous) passengers to the theater, and the crowd had an enormous amount of energy. The highlight of the line-waiting was defiantly seeing Ron Jeremy walk past us down Hollywood Blvd. You would think all this hullaballoo would have revved up my excitement to see the final Matrix film, but it really didn't. Once the lights went down and the (literally) twenty minuets of trailers and commercials ran and the green Matrix code began to scroll down the screen I FINALLY started to get excited.

As for the movie... It was certainly very entertaining, and visually amazing, but it was really like eating a spoon-full of frosting: empty calories. The finale wraps everything up nicely, but it doesn't really answer any of the questions asked by the first two films. I fear it is going to take a bad beating by critics and fans, but I do recommend seeing it for anyone who has seen, and liked, the first two. But do your self a favor and go see it on the IMAX screen. You can get more frosting into a bigger spoon...

posted by JMV | 11/06/2003 02:58:00 PM

Wednesday, November 05, 2003  

It's Matrix Time
6am LA time is "Zero Hour," the hour of simultaneous world-wide release for the final installment of the Matrix trilogy. We have tickets at Grauman's Chinese for like 10pm, but for some reason I'm not that excited. And considering I was one of the (seemingly) few people who thought Reloaded was really cool I'm a little frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm for what I'm sure will prove to be a very exciting film. I'm pretty sure my apathy was caused by the scant six months that have elapsed since Reloaded first hit theaters. I don't think that is enough time to build up the kind of anticipation that really makes these big event movies all the more exciting. But maybe this will mean I'll be even more blown away.

posted by JMV | 11/05/2003 12:25:00 AM
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