Archive for April, 2010

Episode IV

Who did Flat Stanley meet on his whirlwind adventures?

He met orange people playing in the snow


He met green people on St. Patrick’s Day


He met blue people


He met Kuma, the miniature dachshund


He met Choko, the springer spaniel


He met the Guinness toucan


He met another Flat Stanley from Puyallup, WA


He met Alex and Lina, while they were getting married


He met people that work at World Vision


He met George


He also met President Obama


He met many other people, but they were wise and sage-like and did not smile for the camera.

This concludes the epic adventures of Flat Stanley.

For those of you that bought the DVD, stayed tuned for some additional ‘outtakes’. For those of you that haven’t bought the DVD, good show of will power. Stay strong!

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Episode III

Flat Stanley left the cold climes of Washington, D.C. for a 10-day jaunt through the city of eternal spring, Medellín, Colombia. He arrived with a twinkle in his eye and a sombrero de fiesta on his head. 

Stanley first tries to drive an escalera (a Chiva bus). 

Not going to happen


Instead he finds the business end of a windshield. 

Lucky I can't get any flatter


Stanley tries the zipline…is it safe? 

Wait..what I am getting myself into?


Okay, much better


Butterflies are pretty, and Stanley goes from one sweet flower to the next. 

Come my butterfly

Be very quiet, I'm hunting butterflies


Next Stanley wants to climb El Peñon, a gigantic rock.

I get to climb THAT!

Are we there yet?

Woo! Don't look down!

After too much fun in Medellín, Stanley travels to the Finca. 



And takes his afternoon nap with Choko…


Stanley gets in some rays… 

Would you pass the sunscreen?

before going into the pool… 



Daring rescue!

Time to dry off. 

Sun dried Stanley


Stay tuned for the next episode, when people Stanley met in DC and Colombia smile for the camera.

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When Entertainment Weekly‘s Summer Movie Preview landed in my mailbox last week, I geeked all over. Step up and let’s scope out the movies to see this summer.

Oh Yeah! It’s On!

  1. Iron Man 2
  2. The A-Team
  3. The Girl Who Played With Fire
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. Salt
  6. Robin Hood
  7. The Expendables
  8. Inception
  9. Dinner for Schmucks
  10. The Adjustment Bureau
  11. Knight and Day
  12. Perrier’s Bounty
  13. Agora
  14. The Other Guys

Could See It Happening

  1. Grown Ups
  2. Get Him To the Greek
  3. MacGruber
  4. Predators
  5. Shrek Forever After
  6. The Last Airbender
  7. Ondine
  8. The Killer Inside Me
  9. Get Low


  1. Sex and the City 2 (probably the worst idea ever)
  2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (will be painful) 
  3. Life During Wartime (will hate it)
  4. The Karate Kid (did you see Jaden Smith do the spilts?!? I won’t be party to such terrible abuse to men’s groins)
  5. Marmaduke (only a live action Family Circus would be worse)
  6. Babies (too cute for me)
  7. Killers (Ashton Kutcher! need I say more?)
  8. Grease Sing-Along (Uh-oh!)


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I keep hearing that TV is terrible. Or TV is dead. Or “I don’t have cable”. Or “I don’t even own a TV and I’m proud of myself”.

Hmmm, if you’re one of ‘those’ people, you probably don’t need to read this. You can go ‘read your books’ or ‘get outside’ or ‘see the world’ or ‘rock a concert’ or whatever it is you do without a TV. Have fun, I’ll do those things right along with you, and yet I happen to think TV can be fabulous. Don’t own a TV? Sorry, no soup for you! One year!

Now let’s be clear. It’s not all rosy. There is a considerable amount of crap on TV. More then considerable. There are rather epic amounts of stinky, pointless mind-numbing dreck. There are also too many options. No one (still sane) has the time to watch everything. Plus why? It’s not worth it.

On the other hand, there are more excellent shows available now with richer characters, smarter writing, more compelling and deeper plots, and finer acting than most of what’s on offer in movie theaters these days. Many serialized dramas are brilliant. Many sitcoms are hi-lar-ious. Can’t get to Italy this week? The Travel Channel and Anthony Bourdain will get you warmed up. Can’t afford those $1000 tickets to the game? No problem, ESPN’s vast armada of sports channels will overstimulate you and save your wallet. Ravenously hungry and like to be teased? The Food Network will dangle goodies right in front of your salivating face. Need an explosive belly laugh? Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are ready to stage dive onto your lap each night. Just want to catch up on Seinfeld? Jerry is on almost every channel, or you can rent/buy/steal the DVDs. Etcetera, etcetera, the list goes on.

After all that build up, here are a few new shows I’ve been watching (and enjoying) this year.

Community (NBC) – absurdity, wit, Spanish class, too small gym shorts, Señor Chang, an ass whopping by grandma, pottery class, smartassery, and Chevy Chase. A fool-proof combination.

Caprica (Syfy Channel) – with Battlestar Galactica having run its course (frack!), what better way to overcome the gaping hole in your soul, then a prequel? Set 50 years before the events of BG, this soap opera tells of the origin of the Cylons, William Adama as a boy, an immersive virtual reality world, the mob, corporate greed, terrorism, living in what appears to be the 1950’s (with spaceships and bowler hats), and much more.

Stargate Universe (Syfy Channel) – I never watched any of the other Stargate shows, but this one has a similar construct to Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Voyager, so I thought I’d give it a look. And it has Lou Diamond Phillips scamming on ex-wives and Robert Carlyle leading a mutiny. Not bad.

FlashForward (ABC) – It has an interesting premise, that I’m still not sure can sustain multiple seasons, but the acting is pretty good and the story line is interesting so far. We’ll see how it all plays out.

V  (ABC) – For anyone that watched the original TV mini-series in the 80’s (and enjoyed watching Diana eat that hamster)…checking out this updated version is a no-brainer. So far, it’s been good and has potential. Although some of the acting sequences aren’t completely brilliant, it works.

Other new shows I want to check out: Modern Family and The Pacific

What is the lesson for today kids? Be selective, be smart, and most all enjoy yourself.

P.S. I do not condone hanging out with MTV’s Jersey Shore. Nor should you under any circumstance be Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

P.P.S. I love being right about TV: ‘Modern TV shows like “The Sopranos”, “The West Wing”, “Mad Men” and “Modern Family” are so superior to what went before—so much better written, better acted and better shot—that they almost seem to belong to a different medium.” – The Economist


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Eat This and This and This…

(Author’s Note (7/5/11): Since I wrote this last year, I’ve added 3 new eats to this list. Namely; Pho, Fois Gras and Spaetzle)

In this digital age of unreason, there will always be extremely random activities for those with little ambition or loads of time to kill. (Two thumbs pointing at this guy.)

One such is to take the ‘The Omnivore’s Hundred Challenge’. This allows you to test your own eating exploits against a very random and unscientific list of 100 types of food or drink. Find out more here: http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/archives/399

You can see how well I fared on this particular time-suck below. I scored a mere 63 out of 100. Somewhat disappointing. I better start consuming more.

Before you get there, and apropos of nothing, let me add to the nonsense by generating a list of my own 10 completely pointless and random things you should eat in Washington, D.C. Time is on my side.

  1. Big Bowl of Frites (Granville Moore’s) – twice fried and twice good, use all of their dipping sauces* liberally.
  2. Bucket of tater tots (Sticky Rice) – who thought of tater tots at a sushi place? Dunno, but I’d suggest you eat them with the special sauce* and stop asking questions.
  3. Ethiopian coffee (Sidamo’s) – go on a Sunday and watch the coffee ceremony. Or don’t.
  4. Pure cane Boylan soda (Taylor Gourment) – I suggest the Creme soda and while you’re there, why not have a  hoagie?
  5. Pomme frites (Argonaut) – use the lemon curry sauce* early and often while sipping on the bountiful Booty beers.
  6. Mango mayo dipping sauce* (Good Stuff Eatery) – okay, they are known for their burgers, so have one of those too, but slather it in gooey mango sauce! Bathe in it!
  7. Mini-burger (Matchbox) – good luck eating just one.
  8. Cheesy poofs (The Pug) – have a PBR or a Pug Nasty draft, and pop a few of these into your mouth. Crunch. Swallow. Repeat.
  9. Horchata and papusas (Tortilla Cafe) – because you always need these. Always. With the requisite curtido and salsa*.
  10. Chicken shawarma (Shawarma Spot) – load it with veggies and coat on some of the tahini and yogurt sauces* so it drips all over your shirt.

*I like the sauce.

ARJ’s The Omnivore’s Hundred

Bold means I have eaten it or drank it, but not both.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
(I have had many ethnic variations of beef noodle soup, just not the Vietnamese version)(Update: 7/5/11)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (I don’t remember if I had this particular cheese or not)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream (don’t recall, but I’ve had green tea ice cream!)
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras (Update: 7/5/11)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (I’ve had HOT, but not this hot)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (I’ve had sweet lassi)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar (yes, but not together)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (if riding your bike with your mouth open counts…)
43. Phaal (I’ve had many types of curry, but not this hot)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle (Update: 7/5/11)
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips

61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (no, this is clay…)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (maybe, can’t remember. I’ve smelled it!)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe (just had a couple of shots of absinthe)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (nope, but had plenty of sake)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Score: 63 66 (as of 7/5/11)

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Here are some more photos. I am too lazy to write lately, true, but at least I can’t be accused of not giving you something to ‘oooohhhh’ and ‘aaaahhhh’ about.

These represent the 47 billion and 44th (47,000,000,044) through 47 billion and 51st (47,000,000,051) photos taken of the Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin during the cherry blossom season. But as you can clearly see, these photos are the best ever.

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I care about you. (Let’s meet.)

I am responsible. (I put out food for my dog every day, whether I can find him or not.)

I am smart. (I can remember the chorus of ‘Boom Boom Pow’. Twice.)

I am supportive. (Whatever it is, count on me to care tons.)

I am well-groomed. (I yank out stray nosehairs every Thursday. Earhairs on Sunday.)

I am well-dressed. (I think about changing my shirt two maybe three times a week.)

I can change. (I changed my underwear just last Tuesday.)

I am a good listener. (I will turn the volume of the football game down whenever it looks like you’re talking.)

I am confident. (Just don’t ask me any questions.)

I will be true to you. (That mischievous twinkle and wandering eye are only my contacts bothering me.)

I am sympathetic. (Your problems are so interesting, now would you pass me that beer?)

I know your lingo. (I watch ‘Sex in the City’. For the articles.)

I am well-traveled. (I just got back from Trader Joe’s and World Market.)

Mothers love me. (I am that convincing.)

I have a sense of humor. (Ask your Mother.)

P.S. This is NOT an April Fool’s Day joke. I repeat, take everything you’ve just read seriously. Seriously.

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