Archive | July, 2007

Colortinis for Everyone

31 Jul

I feel like the news of Tom Snyder’s passing has been given the shaft this week, relative to the news of other deaths (Ingmar Bergman, Bill Walsh, Michelangelo Antonioni, etc.). I can’t pay as effective tribute to Snyder as, say, The New York Times did today, but I wanted to use my blog to share, briefly, that we’ve lost a really great television personality here.

I got to “know” Tom and became a fan in 1995 when he was named host of the first incarnation of The Late, Late Show, the program that comes on right after David Letterman’s show (now hosted by Craig Ferguson). And if I didn’t stay up for the whole show, I at least made it to the first commercial break, which was introduced by Tom’s catchphrase, “Fire up a colortini and watch the pictures as they fly through the air.” Tom’s cool, minimalist broadcasting style was always a soothing presence at 12:30, and it’s meant as no insult to say that I enjoyed falling asleep watching his show. He wasn’t perfect, and he had his old fashioned opinions that often clashed with some of the more modern, current guests. But he also had an engaging, folksy charm, plenty of stories to share, infectious laughter, and a self-depreciating wit that served him well.

In short, Tom made for great TV that I really enjoyed watching. I wish there were more examples on YouTube to share, but I found a brief one that seems to sum up why I liked Tom. It’s from an interview with Barbara Walters, during which Tom discusses smoking pot at a party. And then he goes and makes a mistake previewing the next guest and, well, it’s pretty fun. Fire up a colortini and see for yourself.

Homeward Bound

30 Jul

Well that didn’t take too long, did it?

Just a little more than a month into my Great Big Buying Real Estate Adventure and I’m already frustrated and getting tired of the whole thing. And it’s not some Gemini, easily-distracted, novelty-is-over thing. It’s that after a few weeks of going to open houses, and two weeks of one of my brokers flaking out on me, and attending a disappointing first-time home buyer seminar, and just the general unappealing inventory of apartments I’ve seen, the prospect of buying a condo seems less exciting to me than it did a few weeks back. Alright, maybe that’s not entirely true. I do still sorta enjoy going from apartment to apartment on Sundays, seeing other people’s places, and soaking in the whole “real estate porn” aspect of it all. But when all you see are nice places that are too small, or big places that aren’t very nice, well, it gets a bit tiresome.

The way I see it, and I know this isn’t a unique P.O.V., is if I’m going to buy a place — make the investment, put down roots, call a place “mine,” etc. — then I figure I should, at the very least, upgrade from what I have now. And I have a pretty nice place now. Sure, it’s lacking in kitchen counter space, but it’s got plenty of sunlight, a ton of closet space, a built-in air conditioning unit, a super location, and enough living space that I never really get stir crazy hanging out here. So you can see why I’ve stayed for five and a half years. Places I’ve seen so far, a handful have had nice kitchens (something I want), but were basement units or were too small. Others were spacious, but really old. (One I saw on Sunday had, among other undesirable features, an a/c unit from the 50s, and what looked like formica cabinets in the kitchen. I like the prospect of a fixer-upper, but that was a little much.) Basically, each week I feel like I’m just seeing more of the same.

And the first-time home buyer seminar that I attended last week didn’t really help me to focus my search. Sure, I learned some stuff, but I didn’t love the sales pitchiness of it all. And I haven’t appreciated that one of the brokers I’ve been working with has now, for two weeks straight, told me he was going to show me apartments and then couldn’t get access to a single one. I thought people were desperate to sell? And then there’s the whole thing, as reported in yesterday’s Boston Globe, where apparently, it’s becoming a landlord’s market again and higher rents are becoming the norm (as is the case in my own building). Makes me increasingly want to own rather than continue to rent.

So these are just some of the reasons I find myself drawn to places like this one in Watertown. Do I want to live way out there? Not really. Do I want to get to work by taking a bus to a bus, or a bus to the commuter rail to the subway? Not at all. Do I want an almost-complete lifestyle change? No. Heck, I don’t even like that side of the river. But do I want a nicer apartment? Yes. And can I see myself being happy there? Yes, I think so. Would living in a place like this mature me a little? Possibly. Can I grow into it? Yes. And most importantly, can I afford this? Probably. So it sort of worries me that I am as drawn to these apartments as I am, seeing how I really do want to live in an area like Coolidge Corner where there are places to walk and people to see and things to do. I’m an edge-of-the-city kind of guy; I need to be close to where the action is. But looking for an apartment will change your thinking sometimes, I guess, and to get what you want, you have to make choices. Argh.

So, I keep looking and hoping that I’ll find something with a desirable location that has what I want. I’m in no rush, despite the rent increase, and I don’t want to settle. Hell, it takes me weeks sometimes just to buy a shirt or a pair of pants.

And that’s the state of the search. Knowing me, this will all change a week or two from now. Or maybe it won’t. Either way, it’s a process, an adventure, and a project. Stay tuned.

Back to the Drawing Board

29 Jul

Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I watched an episode of The Simpsons TV show. And yet, The Simpsons Movie I just had to see. It’s funny enough, but I feel like it was just another episode of the show, unlike, say, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, which was so much more than an expanded bit. Still, I don’t want to discount the movie too much, because I did laugh from start to finish (and by finish I mean midway through the end credits when the Simpsons get up out of their seats — there’s no need to stay all the way until the very end). And it’s pretty clever at points. But yeah, I can’t say the movie made me want to go home and catch up on all the reruns and start watching again when the new season starts in the Fall. I guess that’s a shame. It’s exciting that the Simpsons have made a movie, but something about it still feels like a missed opportunity. I think I may have enjoyed making my Simpsons avatar a little more (and the version that’s in my profile came from SimpsonizeMe.com.) Oh well. I’m giving The Simpsons Movie a B.

Harry Potter and the Raging Hormones

19 Jul

Like so many others, I’ve been eager to see how the Harry Potter series would end. And now that I’ve finished my advance copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, I have to say I’m shocked. Shocked! I can’t believe J.K. Rowling had the nerve to have Hagrid admit his love for Hermione on page 72, when the story had barely begun. But who knew they’d make such a perfect pair? I loved the scene when they go on their first date to Tinkerdoo. Harry being overcome with jealous rage seemed the obvious reaction to it all, and when he overdosed on Butter Beer and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, I knew that couldn’t be good. Voldemort didn’t stand a chance. Anyway, the book’s awesome, just like the other six were. I just sort of wish J.K. Rowling hadn’t done that whole thing with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to fringe art like that. At least not until they’re twelve years old.

But seriously, happy Harry Potter Day. I have no idea how the series will end — in fact, the only book in the series that I’ve actually read is the first one (I tried to read the second but couldn’t get into it). In fact, I’ve only seen the first and third movies too. I just don’t have much interest in the series. That said, I do love the Saturday Night Live skit from a few years back where Lindsay Lohan played Hermione. So in honor of the release of the final book, I thought I’d post it here for your weekend viewing enjoyment.

Look — iSmoke!

17 Jul

If you watch The Late Show with David Letterman then you know his game “Will It Float?” Well, this weekend, Matt introduced me to the Web site Will It Blend.com, which is just like it sounds: a guy puts things in a blender to see if they will blend. His most recent attempt? An iPhone. He’s also tried to blend Transformers, a tiki torch, a plunger, and many more. It’s pretty juvenile, but it’s also really amusing — especially the guy’s goofy grin. Watch the iPhone video for yourself below and try not to get hooked waiting to see what he’ll try to blend next.

The Beat Goes On

16 Jul

I have to say, I really enjoyed the movie adaptation of the Broadway adaptation of the film Hairspray.

It’s so much fun that even non-fans of Broadway shows might like it.

It’s bright, colorful, full of great songs and showstopping musical numbers, and it just leaves you with a huge smile.

Director Adam Shankman seems to have perpetual jazz hands on and directs in a style where every song seems engineered to be a crowd pleaser.

And thankfully, most of it works pretty well. Continue reading

Still a Toddlin’ Town

16 Jul

Went back to Chicago this weekend for Andrew and Fun Summer Rachel’s wedding. As always, a good time was had; Chicago is truly — say it with me — my kind of town. Here are a few tidbits from the weekend:

They did: The wedding itself was great. Very nice venue. An awesome band had me up and dancing all night. Andrew sang “Some Kind of Wonderful” (and he was good). Sat with all of Andrew’s doctor friends from Boston — it was just like old times when I was the only non-doctor in the room. Wine was tasty. Bride was beautiful. Good to see the boys from the bachelor party again. The couple was so so happy. And I had a blast.

Swingtown in Chi-Town: After the wedding and the after-party, Robin and I hung out at the bar at the Four Seasons with members of Steve Miller’s band. Yes, the Steve Miller Band. We talked for a bit with his manager and met one of his guitarists, but the man himself was MIA. Apparently, Steve “doesn’t do the ‘hang out thing’ anymore,” his manager told us. So I replied that he must just “Take the Money and Run.” And we went back and forth with similar references. On the way out, I seized an opportunity. Knowing I’d likely never again have the opportunity to hang out with the Steve Miller Band or their manager, I asked the manager what “the pompatus of love” is. His reply? “Hell if I know. Steve just likes to make stuff up.” And there you have it. (Incidentally, Robin got to hang out with Joe Cocker earlier in the day on Saturday. Apparently, the Four Seasons chain is quite popular among touring singers.)

Back to the Bean: I just can’t help it sometimes. Like a moth to a flame, I’m drawn to the same places over and over when I visit. In Los Angeles, it’s the Getty Center. In Chicago, it’s Cloud Gate, aka the Bean, which I think I’ve now taken every conceivable picture of. I just think it’s so cool. But considering this was the first time I’d been to Chicago in warm weather (the other times were in October and November), I felt compelled to revisit some sites I’d seen on previous trips, like Buckingham Fountain (which was going at full blast) and Navy Pier. And yes, I took a ton of pictures at all three of these places. Actually, the ones at Navy Pier are pretty cool because I went up in the Ferris Wheel and the view was real nice.

Good food, bad food: Another trip to Chicago and again I didn’t eat at Ed Debevic’s. (Most would say that’s a good thing, though.) Instead, on Saturday I went with Samara to Giordano’s for lunch for some Chicago-style stuffed pizza. Yum. So good, but so so filling. One slice was enough. And that one slice sat in my stomach for most of the day. Ugh. On the other hand, I tried the new SoBe Coolatta from Dunkin’ Donuts this weekend. In addition to the sugar in the coolatta itself, now it has an extra kick. And, it tastes good. So … I’ll be needing one of those Monday morning.

Anyway, it was a great weekend. If you want to live vicariously, here are my pictures.

Can’t Say It, Can’t ‘Spray It

12 Jul

I saw a really fun movie Thursday night, but I was asked to hold off on publishing a review until next week. So, don’t consider this post an official “review.” I can’t even mention the film by name. But this movie — I’ll call it Airsprayhay so you’ll never figure out what I’m talking about — is totally bright and colorful and fun and perfect for the summer. AND, I am totally and completely in love with Amanda Bynes now — even more than I was. The girl is totally adorable in this movie, with her sunkissed tanned skin and cute cluelessness and upbeat teenage playfulness. How many times did I turn to Farrah and say, “I love that girl.” (And yes, Amanda is legal.) But alright, I’ve probably said too much already. More on this film when my thoughts have a chance to gel.

Early Bird

11 Jul

Since I’m sort of in wedding mode as I gear up for Andrew and Rachel‘s big day this weekend (got my tux ready, my hair cleaned up, gift purchased, etc.), I found this story pretty amusing.

Seems a guy named Dave Barclay was so happy and excited about his friend’s upcoming nuptials that he barely paid attention and flew all the way over to England a full year too early.

You’d think the fact that he hadn’t yet received an invitation or anything would have tipped him off to the fact that he was ahead of schedule. Continue reading

Super Funny

10 Jul

My dear friends, if you’re looking for ’80s nostalgia this summer, forget that silly Transformers movie.

Instead, the real whiff of the past comes from Superbad, a little sleeper film in the spirit of Porky’s, Sixteen Candles, Better Off Dead, and The Last American Virgin that you’re gonna want to see multiple times and will be quoting lines from for months to come.

McLovin’ is truly in da house. Continue reading