Octopus Hat
We have the technology!

Monday, November 28, 2005  

Jive Turkey
Thursday’s feats was very-nearly hitchless, my only hiccup was trying, as I do every year, to remove the turkey too early. I’m paranoid about drying-out the breast-meat and always seem to under-cook the dark. This coupled with an acute fear of FBI makes the turkey-removal and carving process the most stressful part of the day. But I found a novel solution this year: I removed the wings and both breasts and the flipped the bird and tossed it back in the oven while we ate. The 15-pound Federico was stuffed with citrus and fennal, the Italian Sausage and Wild-rice dressing that I invented last year was refined (or perfected if you ask my Mom) and served with Julie’s Roasted Garlic Mashed potatoes (a full 5 pounds of them) and my bastardization of a Verive-family classic Haricot-Vert recipe (I use wine and shallots.) My gravy actually WORKED for the first-time ever, even without being able to fully-deglaze the roasting pan, though next year I think I’ll omit the oranges from the roasting pan as then tend to lend too much bitterness to the drippings. The whole meal was topped off with Julie’s Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon whipped-cream. And it was, without a doubt, the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had, and ranks in the all-time top-5 pies. And I’ve eaten my fair-share of pies. Over-all a fantastic thanksgiving that is still yielding sandwiches…

posted by JMV | 11/28/2005 01:00:00 PM

Wednesday, November 23, 2005  

As Promised
-What is your favorite and least favorite Boardgame?
-What are your Turkey-day plans?
-Your favorite dish of turkey-day meal?
-Did you have a new years resolution? Were you successful?
-What do you generally do post-tday-meal while in the turkey induced stupor?
-What is the strangest thing in your wallet?

posted by JMV | 11/23/2005 11:35:00 AM

Monday, November 21, 2005  

Federico’s in the Fridge…
Yes. I named my turkey after a character on Six Feet Under. I’m not really sure why, it just seemed to fit. I’m sure you all know Thanksgiving is my most favorite of Holidays, and we are going to cook enough food to keep us in leftover though till 2006. Which is a frightening thought because 2006 is close enough to, well to taste. And that means it is very nearly time for the 3rd annual OCTYs! I’ve got some idea of this years contenders, and I’m excited for the final month of Movie releases. The “Music OCTY” tends to give me the most trouble since I only get exposed to such a tiny slice of everything out there, and I need your help! What albums have you fallen in love with this year? Anything that I simply –must- listen to before making my decision? I’m contemplating a format-change this year since things kinda got de-railed last year and I didn’t even finish posting them until February…

Also, the OH Quiz makes a triumphant return this week! Stay tuned for details!

posted by JMV | 11/21/2005 11:57:00 AM

Wednesday, November 16, 2005  

Catching Up Some More
Where was I? I covered Walking tall (stunk,) Jarhead (good/not-great,) and Crash (better than I expected and recommended,) which leaves the Burton Remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (hereafter: CCF.) From the opening (CG long-take) shot this movie screamed, “DON’T FORGET TIM BURTON DIRECTED THIS!!” Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as he was starting to get away from his hallmark visual cues. Johnny Depp was unsurprisingly excellent and the rest of the cast was un-noteworthy. The highlight of the whole production was, without a doubt, the musical numbers. Surreal and utterly frightening, the Oompa Loompa songs showcased Danny Elfman’s pop sensibilities in a way we haven’t seen since Oingo-Boingo. The film also featured a constant barrage of pop-culture references, and I’m not quite sure I fully grasped their meaning. Any insight into why Burton touches on everything from vintage TV ads to Kubrick’s 2001?

Did I ever talk about the new(ish) Franz Ferdinand album? If I did, ignore my ravings here. It is really, really good. On par with the new Fiona Apple album, (we are seeing her play in a week!) which is also really good. We just got the new Madonna album and though I haven’t really had a chance to listen to it yet I will say it sounds exactly like dance-remixes of Madonna songs that I’ve never heard.

Finally, I never posted a post-mortem of my Attack of the 50-Foot Reels film. The screening went really, really well! My piece came out better than I was expecting and I’m quite happy with the results. I should get my copy in a week or two, and maybe I’ll actually get to posting it on the web this year. Russell’s film, which I photographed, also came out great! There was a brief, (though at the screening it felt anything but brief) segment that was severely under-exposed and had a weird strobing-flash on the right of frame. But I guess that is what you get when you are shooting a “dead” format on 30+- year-old cameras. At any rate I was really happy with my camera-work and can’t wait to shoot something else. Now, if I only had the time and energy to WRITE…

posted by JMV | 11/16/2005 04:05:00 PM

Tuesday, November 15, 2005  

The Final Countdown
This morning our weekly staff meeting was held at the new building our company is moving into on the first of the year. Our current space is in Hollywood less than two miles from my apartment and it takes me all of 8 minutes to get here in the morning. Our new building is 8 miles away on the boarder of Culver City and it took me over 45 minutes to commute this morning. I can’t help but be a little unhappy with the change.

The weekend was nice, Pretty low-key and relaxing. We caught an early show of “Jarhead” on Sunday, which was good but not great. The film had a dream-team of filmmakers behind it, and a very talented cast but it wasn’t quite able to live up to my, admittedly high, expectations. It felt like an update of “Full Metal Jacket” and I’m not sure that that film needed any updating. Not to say it isn’t worth seeing, as the performances alone are worth the price of admission.

And finally there are a lot of rumors flying around about the fate of Arrested Development. News broke on Friday that FOX had cut the episode-order for 22 down to a measly 13 and was pulling the show from the line-up for the rest of November. Then there was a short-lived rumor that it hadn’t actually been canceled and would get a reprieve, but now it looks like the axe has, in deed, fallen (though I have also heard that Showtime may or may not be in talks to pick up the show.) The single best show on TV has been killed, not by FOX, but by the American public who would rather watch some jackass eat llama balls. The show was just too smart for its own good, and I’m holding each-and-every one of your who did not heed my pleas to watch the show responsible. Arrested Development was a perfect-storm of talent, writing, technology and zeitgeist and it was struck-down just as it began to realize its potential. But I guess Network Television just isn’t the place for original, smart, and daring programming. I am saddened by the loss.

UPDATE: Russell just sent me a great article from SFGate about the show's situation.

posted by JMV | 11/15/2005 10:50:00 AM

Thursday, November 10, 2005  

Not Quite as Good…
Last night we watched “Walking Tall” starring the Rock. We were hopefully since his previous action-blockbuster, “the Rundown” was actually really good. We started to worry during the opening-credits where no less than 5 writers were given credit. This is never a good sign since it means the script has gone though multiple re-writes. I haven’t seen the original film on which it was based, but the Rock version of Walking Tall was a muddled mish-mash that never even came close to gelling. The film was directed by a TV and Music video director and you could tell by the occasional cool shot mixed with is text-book scene set-ups. The film is hardly worth talking about.

Unlike these 50 films which were picked by Empire Online as the 50-Greatest “Indie” films of all time. I don’t agree with nearly all of their selections (how an Cube be on the list, but not Pi?!) but the list is a great jumping-off point for a REALLY geeky discussion. I’ve actually only seen 32/50 as I’m actually pretty thin in the low-budg Horror department, which I’m sure will offend Chuck.

There is a game that I’m told is played by the literary set where one sits around in a leather appointed room with cognacs and each player in turn admits to a canonical text that they haven’t read. Each successive admission should be more horrifying to your peers that the last. For example, to Whitworth’s admission of skipping “Great Expectations” Charles responds, “Well old chap, I must admit I have never read the Aeneid.” To which Whitworth shoots scotch from his nose and everyone has a great time berating the brutish sensibilities of Charles. Anyway, if we were to play THAT game with THIS is I would have to admit to never having seen “Two Lane Black Top.” Then I would suggest that we try a game (not just restricted to the 50 films of the list) in the comments of this post. But I am regularly appalled by people’s lack of basis in the classic films.

posted by JMV | 11/10/2005 11:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 09, 2005  

Cue The Eurythmics
It is raining in LA again. Not the torrential down-pour of last season, but a sad misty dribble. I, for the most part, love the rain, but that is tempered by the horrors of trying to drive across town when the legions of jack-asses are sliding around in their fucking H2s while yapping on their cell phones. My paranoia wasn’t helped by watching “Crash” on DVD lastnight.(the 2004 Paul Haggis film not the earlier Cronenberg film.) The film was very good, exceeding my expectations with an intricate plot and an all-star cast. I have no idea how Haggis was able to attach so many veteran Character Actors to the film. The script was excellent; the story centers around a group of Angelinos brought together by the one element that all Angelinos share: the streets. Car jackings, accidents, road-rage, and traffic are the catalysts for confrontation between the characters and their ideals. Haggis plays a tricky shell-game with each character and racial identities, alternately showing us their stereotypical behaviors and the underlying humanity of each character. It turns out to be pretty powerful and I recommend the film, especially to my fellow Los Angeles residents as it tackles issues that we all neglect to deal with in our everyday life.

posted by JMV | 11/09/2005 01:31:00 PM

Tuesday, November 08, 2005  

I Bathe In There!
I hate taking sick days. I would rather suffer through 9 hours of work with a cold than blow precious PTO hours. So it pained me greatly when I had to take a personal-day from work because the people that manage our apartment are fucking idiots.

On Saturday I was cleaning the bathroom, and not just the cursory wipe-down but the on-my-knees with comet and a scotch-brite pad deep moetherfucking SCRUB, when I noticed the tub wouldn’t drain. In fact there was cold water actually coming UP from the drain. Over the nest several hours the water level in the tub would rise and fall by a few inches and many calls to the apartment management went unanswered. We “sandbagged” the bathroom with old towels and left for San Diego.

Upon our return on Sunday evening we found the tub full of shit. Or at least fetid waste-water, and it would not drain at all. More calls, more messages. At about 8 there was some gurgling in the pipes and water rose at an alarming rate from the tub AND the kitchen sink. Stinking, murky water. We finally found the on-site manager who checked it out, went up and talked to our (trouble-making) upstairs neighbors, and told us there would be a plumber out first thing in the morning. SO I stayed home from work to await a drainage professional. Of course, “first thing” turned into 10am and by that time the tub had re-filled to the point of flooding. Water was pouring out of the tub and into the apartment. I ran into the kitchen to try and get ANYONE on the phone, where I slipped and ended up breaking the glass-door of the oven.

Long story short, I spent all day deal with the flooding, the incompetent maintenance and management staff, carpet cleaners, etc etc. Everything is more-or-less back to normal now, though the carpet won’t be done until tomorrow afternoon, and the neighbors upstairs are still sketchy and causing problems. It really pisses me off that if the fucking management had dealt with the problem when we first tried to tell them about it (on Saturday around noon) then they would have saved a lot of $$$ and I wouldn’t be out 8 hours of personal time, a pile of towels, and a small sliver of my sanity. Penny-wise Pound-foolish gets you every fucking time.

posted by JMV | 11/08/2005 11:00:00 AM
Octopus Hat
Pics From Flickr
Other’s Blogs
Me, Elsewhere
Buy John Beer
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com