I Know You’ve Seen Me On The Video (True) Or, I’m In Love, What’s That Song?

When I was fifteen, I fell in love. A deep, all-consuming and pure adoration from which I’ve never really recovered.

When I was fifteen, I discovered music. I mean, really discovered it. Big fat basslines that rolled and rumbled in my stomach. Thundering drums which bucked and charged like wild horses through my veins. And the power chord. Always the power chord. Reverberating through every molecule and stripping away the static.

Last year, I discovered what has quickly become my favorite new band – The Gaslight Anthem. I’m no mathematician, but if I was — an equation would essentially go like this:

Gaslight Anthem = Bruce Springsteen + The Replacements x Tom Waits (The Clash)/ The Supremes.

Is it any small wonder that these four boys from Jersey are my musical soulmates?

Their music has been on permanent replay in my home, car and head for the past couple of weeks and has had me echoing Alex Chilton, “I’m in love/What’s that song?/I’m in love/With that song.” I’ve also been tracking down every video I can find on YouTube and watching them over-and-over-and-over-rollercoaster (and if you can complete that lyric, I owe you pizza, beer and my complete fealty).

Which brings me to my next point – When did the short form music video die? Dudes, I used to spend hours watching these things and the fact that MTV doesn’t have a single channel dedicated to videos (the old ones. I don’t care about Miley Cyrus singing about glitter or ponies or whatever the hell it is she warbles about) irks me to no end.

Also, what the hell, MTV? How can you possibly justify awarding video music awards when you don’t even show them anymore? If you want to give out awards for Most Orange Human Being or Dumbest Sperm Donor, by all means — do so, but awards for best art direction and choreography? Come off it.

MTV needs to bring back music videos. They need to bring back Idalis, John Sencio, Kennedy and Bill Bellamy. What? You think they’ve busy?

I loved the grandiosity of music video mini movies. Michael Jackson was a master of this, but he wasn’t the only one who knew a thing or two about creating an epic production:

November Rain by Guns ‘N Roses – The video’s based on a short story by this dude Del James and it suckers me in every single time. The roses on the casket, Slash’s helicopter-shot guitar solo, Axl’s fake wedding to Stephanie Seymour that everyone said wasn’t fake? It’s brilliant, it’s poetic, it’s actually pretty damn heartwrenching and it’s like, 87% better than most feature length films released in the past decade.

Rush Rush by Paula Abdul — Look, you know it’s awesome. Just admit it. I ain’t gonna judge. Keanu and Paula reenacting Rebel Without A Cause features the best spoken interlude in music video history:

Paula: Can I ask you something? Have you ever been in love?
Keanu: If I was I didn’t know it. You?
Paula: No. Isn’t that terrible?
Keanu: Terrible? No. It just reminds you that we’re all alone, that’s all.

Yeah. This is Dylanesque poetry. No, not Thomas. No, not Bob either. Yeah. That Dylan. Dylan McKay.

Janie’s Got A Gun by Aerosmith – As dire and dark as the subject matter is, I love the story behind the songs. Turn out that before Steven Tyler played everyone’s favorite lecherous uncle on American Idol, he was a bit of a rock ‘n roll legend. The self-described Demon of Screamin’ had the title stuck in his head and kept chasing it around – “Janie’s got a gun. Janie’s got a gun.” But why? Why does Janie have a gun and what the hell is she planning on doing with it? So, he starts reading about cases of child abuse in the United States and from there, a classic was born. I love the idea of chasing something around in your head for months and finally being able to set it free.

California Love by Tupac – Post-apocalyptic George Clinton, Tupac and Dr Dre playing Robbin’ The Hood and a pretty bad-ass take on Mad Max. Although, I gotta say that Pac and Dre are not the most terrifying Thunderdome competitors. Now, you throw early 90s era Ice Cube in the mix (complete with menacing sneer and jheri curl) and you’ve got a party. And by party, I mean bloodbath.

Keep It On The Down Low by R. Kelly – Ronald Isley cripples our boy Kels and leave him in the desert to die like a stray dog. I don’t think I need to say anymore.

As much as I love these, I’m a much bigger fan of performance and tour videos. No-one did tour videos better than the hair metal bands of the 80s. Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue and Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi are prime examples of the best this genre had to offer. The Crue and Bon Jovi aren’t just bands. Oh no. Oh no. They are wandering warrior poets riding steel horses and slingin’ six strings. They see your face amidst millions, they will rock it and then, they’ll get off this long and winding road and head home sweet home.

And then, you’ve got the performance video. Nothing more than the band and their instruments. No gimmicks, no tricks and no place to hide. I think that’s why I like The Gaslight Anthem’s video for Great Expectations so much. It’s raw, direct and damned if Brian Fallon doesn’t sing like he’s trying to excise demons, earn redemption and heal his wounded heart.

For a while, I’ve been worried that the passionate and idealistic part of me had withered. It’s been a long time since I fell in love with a band. I mean, true love. The way you’re supposed to. The way Sapphire explains it in Almost Famous – “They don’t even know what it is to be a fan. Y’know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.”

But then, I discover this band of brothers from across the river who sing like Springsteen, scream like Strummer and remind me that when it comes to good music, love springs eternal.

Advertisements

The Silent Brotherhood of Pro-Wrestling Fans Or, And There Goes Everyone Who Ever Read My Blog….

Wrestling fans come in two stripes:

1. The obvious Hillbilly Jims who buy the merch, attend the shows and firmly advocate the ‘it’s still real to me, damn it’ position. These knuckleheads can be found throughout the country and basically exist to reinforce the notion that some people should be sterilized in high school for the good of all humanity.

2. The Silent Brotherhood. They’re smart, they’re well-informed, they know their history and they’re totally inconspicuous.

That cute girl you dated last year? She’s a member.
The nebbish accountant who files your tax return? Him too.
Hot gay bartender who makes the best mojitos this side of Havana? Oh yeah. Big time.
Your history professor? In like Flynn.
Your mom? Ever since the days of Ricky the Steamboat, son.

The brotherhood functions like a speakeasy — you gotta know the right people and right password or you’ll be left out in the cold.

You know who you are.
I know who you are.
You know how I know you know who you are?

Because I know that you know that Virgil was the greatest wrestler of all time. He has the technical prowess of Bret Hart, the mic skills of Mr. Perfect and a gimmick as enduring as The Undertaker’s.

Of course, if you’re one of the Silent Brotherhood, you haven’t read a word of this. You’re still stuck on the last paragraph, red-faced and sputtering the fact that I named such a sub-par jobber as the greatest of all time.

Gotcha.

I started watching pro-wrestling as a kid. It was essentially a living cartoon – mustache-twirling Heels, freshly scrubbed Faces and the kind of animated violence that would make Wile E. Coyote wince. I stopped watching once I moved to the States, but picked it up again in college when I realized that both Biffle and McGillis were part of the same secret society.

We’d spend one Sunday every month at Winghouse, drinking beer and yelling like spectators at the Coliseum.

Yeah, I didn’t date a whole lot in college. Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses hang out with two big (albeit very cute), drunk dudes who spend their night screaming for blood.

You can tell this is an old picture because I still have dark brown hair.

Now that I’m a grown-up with sensible shoes and a 403b, I no longer frequent wing joints to watch Pay-Per-View specials. BUT, the world of pro-wrestling still fascinates me.

It’s less the spectacle and more the ethos behind it.

It amazes me that so many are willing to dedicate themselves to it. They spend days on the road getting the shit beaten out of them (you can crow that it’s not real all you want, but smashing face-first into a canvas hurts. Whipping against the ropes and colliding with a turnbuckle? It’s painful. The Vertebreaker might not actually snap your spine, but dude, come on. It doesn’t feel like a massage) and for what?

The roar of the crowd and a jank-ass belt.

Is it really worth it?

As a general rule, wrestlers lead Hobbesian lives — nasty,brutish and short — and every year, the list of dead wrestlers gets longer and longer.

Since a majority of these deaths are due to drug abuse, the WWE finally launched a program to offer rehab assistance to any former talent in need. It’s an big gesture and undoubtedly an important one, but in all honesty, this is the equivalent of closing the stable door about thirty years after the horse bolted. At this point, Trigger’s been ground up for dog food and the dog who ate him has been dead for the past fifteen years.

And yet, young men come in droves. They know the life-span is short. They know the path is dangerous. Hell, they know there’s no union to stand up for their rights, but no matter. Theirs is a compulsion, An almost masochistic desire to bleed all over the canvas, pulverize the flesh and drive out whatever demons haunt them through brutal exorcism.

In The Godfather III, Michael Corleone laments the fact that every time he thinks he’s out, the old lifestyle pulls him back in.

That’s pro-wrestling in a nutshell. An old-school guy retires, finally giving his body a moment’s peace. A break from the bumps, bruises and bleeding…only to come lumbering down the aisle a couple of years later for a cheap pop.

It’s been years since I saw a match and I couldn’t tell you who currently holds the world championship title if my life depended on it but I know I’ll never leave. Not really.

Because every time I think I’m out, another wrestler (and part of my childhood) dies and I get pulled right back in.

I’m Starting With The Girl In The Mirror, Or One Girl Revolution

A couple of months ago, I subscribed to the imgfave feed on Google Reader.

This is a mixed blessing because for every one Mean Girls/Harry Potter mash-up meme (so. much. win.), there are six images of generic nonsense (sun-dappled rooms, glitter, clouds) misattributed quotes (dudes, I can promise you Bukowski never spouted lines from The Princess Bride. Ever) and that glurgey crap from MLIA that teenage girls slap up on their Tumblrs.

Then, I came across this image. And it got me thinking.

I don’t hate my body.

That much.

I’m don’t walk around thinking I’m Slagathor the She-Beast, but every now and then — I look in the mirror and really dislike what I see. And I’m not the only one.

Case in point — Cougar Town.

The cold open of the pilot consists of Courteney Cox’s character, Jules, in her bathroom giving herself the naked once-over. She pinches, jiggles, grimaces and stares in shock. And she caps it off by huffing, “Crap!”

Dudes, Courteney Cox is 45 and she looks like this:

If I looked like this right now, much less at the age of 45, I’d wear as little as legally possible. In fact, Cox would probably be considered burkha-clad by comparison (sorry Mom).

But, this is what women do. Pretty much every girl I know has looked in the mirror at her hips/calves/shoulders/hairline/pores/nail beds and thought, “Oh, what the hell is this fuckery?”

Why? I’ve been milling this over in my head and I really can’t figure it out.

Why do I do this?

Is it so I’ll be aesthetically appealing to the opposite sex? Well, I’m only really interested in being appealing to one man (This time, I’m talking about Augs and not Ron Livingston. I know, it shocked me too) and he already thinks I’m pretty cute.

A few weeks ago. I’m wearing my sick girl uniform of sweatpants, my high school yearbook t-shirt, zero make-up and my hair up in a messy bun. Dan looks at me and says completely sincerely, “You look really pretty today.” My response? “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!”

Which brings me to point number two — maybe it’s a sense of body dysmorphia where what I see in the mirror is at odds with reality?

I look in the mirror and don’t see toes but pigs-in-a-blanket (the hors d’oeuvres, not swaddled barnyard animals). My pores aren’t pores but rather hubcabs that would make a BP exec tent his shorts in excitement and my hips? Not so much hips, but a startling, wibbly mess resembling badly-mixed butterscotch pudding that’s been funneled into beige pantyhose.

To quote my girl Madge, do you know what it feels like for a girl? Well, when you grow up in a society constantly bombarding you with the notion that skinny and sleek and polished and pretty = successful, it feels an awful like crippling insecurity and self-loathing.

(Sidebar: Size 000, American Eagle? Are you stone-cold shitting me?).

And you know what? I’m sick of it. I’m sick of looking in the mirror and feeling as if I’m too much and not enough. I’m sick of wishing I was a little more this or a little more that. I’m sick of looking in the mirror and feeling I don’t measure up both, both literally and figuratively.

I’m starting a revolution. I’m going to stop hating my body and I shall go on to the end.

I shall fight in France, Los Angeles, Morocco, Auckland, on the seas and oceans and wherever else the wind may carry me; I will fight with growing confidence and growing strength. I shall defend my self-worth whatever the cost may be; I will fight on beaches, in fields, in streets and on the hills. I will never surrender and I will love myself and the girl in the mirror.

Vive la révolution.

Oh and triple zero? Bitch please, I’d rather eat goat cheese.

525,600 Minutes Or, 2010 in Daylights, Sunsets, Laughter and Cups of Coffee.

A quick wrap up of the past year:

January — New year, new blog, new resolutions. Most of which weren’t really kept. January was a pretty quiet month for me — kept my head down, worked a lot, drank gallons of Wawa hot chocolate and griped about the cold.

February — Experienced my first blizzard (hate!) in which I slipped on ice a whole lot, worked from home, lost feeling in my extremities while we trekked to CVS to buy supplies and whacked myself in the face with a plastic snow shovel. Augs made me a digital valentine’s day card featuring Ron Livingston and then, took me out for brunch where I drank lots of vanilla coffee and made eyes at the ridiculously cute guy across the table from me. We came home and watched Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. True love, y’all.

March — I turned 27, ate eggplant and goat cheese pizza (love!) and my first nephew was born. Colin has that great baby smell, is totally laid back and when he smiles at you, your heart stops a little and you’re filled with the irrepressible urge to buy him a pony…covered in diamonds.

April — Augs turned 27 and I discovered cold-brewed iced coffee. Tailgated at the Phillies game, drank rum-infused iced tea, ate crab fries and got a serious tan. Dana came to town and we spent a perfect spring day in Philly – wandering around Rittenhouse, eating delicious burgers at Village Whiskey, gelato at Capogiro and cheese at DiBruno Bros. My dream in life is to travel with D.

May — Attended The Lost Weekend in New York City where we sat in the same room as Damon Lindelof (totally made eyes at me, dudes), Carlton Cuse, Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson. Fell in love with Chelsea, walked the Brooklyn Bridge with friends, ate delicious-delicious veggie burgers at Bubby’s and bought a kick-ass new purse on 46th Street. Lost ended and I still have mixed thoughts about the finale. On one hand, there are moments I love-love-love so much about the episode (that great look between Jin and Sawyer at the hospital – “Hello…detective”) but burning questions weren’t answered and I’m still irked about that.

June — Watched a Back to the Future revival – all three movies in a row. Nine-year-old Jaime would have been proud. Discovered the world’s most delicious huevos rancheros at Jones, attended a World Cup Viewing Party in Philly in which I overheard two dirtbags say, “Yo, if Jersey was in this shit — we would have won already!” Wept for the American soccer fan. Spent a week in West Palm with the family, ate lots of homemade Indian food, hung out with my favorite aunt, watched the World Cup every day and cheered madly for England and Spain, ate Maoz (love!) and experienced the shitty agony of a herniated disc (hate!).

July — Faceplanted on asphalt and got some choice scars, celebrated another fantastic year with Augs, learned how to make homemade kettle corn, fell in love with Inception and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and decided that if I ever come into obscene amounts of money, I’m bankrolling everything Whedon wants to do without hesitation.

August — Augs and I celebrated our anniversary in Atlantic City. Love the song, but the trip was essentially a bust. I am not an AC kinda gal. Made terrible cookies and had a breakdown amidst chocolate chips. Realized I make killer huevos rancheros and that’s better than cookies any day of the week. Spent lots of quality time reading on the back patio while drinking enough iced coffee to induce cardiac arrest…in a mastodon.

September — Ate pumpkin pie for the first time ever. Realized that pies made of gourds can be glorious. Attended two weddings, drank gin cocktails and danced to Sinatra with the best-looking guy in the room. Went to the Temple-UConn game where we hung out with Augs’s hilarious college roommates and had killer seats to watch TU trounce UConn.

October — My office flooded. Bad juju all around, but on the plus side? I learned that even construction workers can’t resist head-bobbing to old school Madonna. Dana and Steve were in town again! We ate amazing food (cheese plate at Harvest is the love of my life), went on a Haunted Hayride and reiterated the notion that you don’t need to share DNA to be family. Initiated YA Fic Lit Book Club with my sister, read terrible books from our childhood and realized that they’re much more fun if you read them as snarky twentysomethings.

November — Bought a pair of kickass blue suede Pumas, learned nothing makes the day better than trading Mean Girls Memes with your co-workers. Launched into a Vampire Diaries marathon and decided that this show is leaps and bounds better than True Blood. Writing, pacing, characters, dialogue — it beats the hell out of True Blood (which was seriously scattered and boring this season. There’s more to good television than the disturbing sexual habits of vampires and unfortunately, True Blood didn’t deliver the goods this season), had a pretty epic office Thanksgiving feast to which I contributed five pounds of buttery, salty mashed potatoes and ate the world’s best cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner with the family (the secret is Triple Sec)

December — Had one really good hair day, discovered the best veggie burger in the ‘burbs, made cards for the first time ever, decided I want to smell more like roses, celebrated Christmas with family and friends and am currently planning on spending the last night of the decade with sequins, champagne, good music and better friends.

2010 was a good one — Stronger relationships, frocks and flip-flops, gin cocktails and blonder hair. Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay and American Gods. The city so nice, they named it twice, PhiLOVEdelphia, huevos rancheros and a continuing search for the world’s greatest veggie burger. Great conversations with my sister, movies and popcorn and real time World Cup updates at work. Cute babies, dancing to Sinatra in dimly-lit rooms, crafting and above all else, more love than I thought my heart was capable of handling.

Here’s to 2011 being just as fabulous, if not more so, than 2010.

It’s Been A Summer, Or Summer 2010 – A Recap

Happy (almost) Labor Day! It’s the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of fall.

Bloggers across the country seem stoked about this — the Pumpkin Spice Latte makes a triumphant return at Starbucks, the weather starts getting nippier, hoodies are pulled out from hibernation and everyone’s all in a tizz about seeing the colors change.

Everyone except for me. ‘Cause you know what? I hate fall.

Fine, Fine. I don’t hate fall. I mean, apple cider is delicious, I am all about the start of fall television and Thanksgiving? My favorite holiday ever (Let’s get together every year and eat tons of carbs? Give me the address and do you like cornbread?) but fall means cold weather and as a girl raised in South Florida, I’m a firm believer than anything below 65 is essentially inhospitable for human life (Esteban – I’m right there with you, brother).

Cold weather is awful. Your skin gets dry and ashy, your hair gets staticky, your lips get chapped, you have to wear multiple layers of clothing and you can no longer sit outside with a good book, close your eyes towards the sun and think that all is good in your life. And the produce sucks. You know how hard is it to find cheap mangos, raspberries and avocado in winter? Oh and you can’t wear flip-flops everywhere. What the hell’s that all about?

Yes, summer can be unbearably hot and you spend your time battling mosquitos, sweat and frizzy hair but I feel like I accomplish more in the summer. That being said, here’s a recap of Summer 2010:

Life:

– I’m still an Office Gal Friday, squirreling away those ducats to get to L.A. We moved offices and now, my life is filled with free Wawa coffee. In comparison to the non-potable dreck at my last office, it’s like drinking 90 proof Ambrosia.

– Wedding plans are still on indefinite hiatus. If we spend the cash we have now, we could probably afford to throw a small affair but you know what? There are smarter ways to spend that money than on an open bar and flowers – like a down payment for a house, moving cross country or buying a really expensive but really comfortable couch.

– I learned a valuable lesson in couch shopping. If you see it and fall in love with it, buy it immediately. Otherwise, you’ll go back to Macy’s, learn that the couch has not only been sold but the model has been discontinued and pout for the remainder of the evening. And by evening, I mean your entire life.

– I also (finally) learned how to apply liquid eyeliner. Granted, it’s the idiot-proof kind that resembles a Sharpie but hey – baby steps.

– I belly-flopped onto asphalt while walking Ryely, resulting in a bloody nose, a scraped-up arm and a seriously wicked bruised knee.

Pop Culture:

Movies: Like everyone else in the Northern hemisphere, my two favorite movies of the summer were Inception and Toy Story 3. I also loved Never Sleep Again, a six hour documentary about the Nightmare on Elm Street series that Augs and I watch in one sitting.

I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona way too many times this summer and decided that I need to reconfigure my life so that I’m an upper class New Yorker who gets to run away to Spain. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how that turns out.

Books: I’m in the process of reading A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and have come the conclusion that I was gypped in AP US History. I bought Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield and loved it. It’s not nearly as devastating as Love is a Mixtape, but great writing nonetheless. Also highly recommended — The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. Especially if you dig comic books in any capacity. I also read Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I wasn’t a huge fan, but it was a decent read. Do love the music from the Broadway show, though — Defying Gravity is a great song.

Music: It’s been all about The Gaslight Anthem, Big Star, Girl Talk, Chet Baker, the music from Once Again With Feeling and Tangerine by Led Zeppelin.

Television: I rediscovered Veronica Mars and you know what? If you consider yourself to have good taste in television and haven’t seen this show — you really need to do so.

I’ve also been on a pretty serious Joss Whedon kick lately. I finally saw Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog (loved it), read the script to Cabin In The Woods (what the what, Hollywood? Get your shit together and release this already!), have been watching Angel on TNT while getting ready for work in the mornings (so much better than watching those chuckleheads on Fox and Friends or Morning Joe on MSNBC — watching Mika and Joe is like going out to dinner with a couple on the verge of a really messy divorce) and I’ve been watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer in reverse order (season seven down to season one). I’m currently on Season Four and I love it more now than I did back when it was on television. Whedon really is a master of his craft and if I ever become a gazillionaire, one of my top priorities will be to fund everything he wants to do.

I watched one episode of The Wire and I wasn’t blown away. I get the feeling the show is a rolling boil and I need to stick with it before making any judgment calls.

Watched the first four episodes of Breaking Bad. So far, I love it and can’t wait to see how the rest of the show turns out. Also, Pinkman’s answering phone message? High comedy.

I’ve been touch-and-go about True Blood this season. Alcide is a welcome addition to the cast, but I wish they’d get back to storylines revolving around vampires interacting with the real world. The storyline involving the Fellowship of the Sun was awesome and I’d love to see more vampire politics butting up against human politics. Sam Trammell is one of the major reasons I’m still watching. That man makes a girl weak at the knees.

See? Long cool drink of water, that guy.

Travel:

– Augs and I went to New York City for the Lost Weekend. I sat mere feet from Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia, saw a clip of the finale before anyone else, was interviewed for a Lost podcast, engaged in some eye flirting with Damon (dudes, he was totally looking at me), wandered around the Village and decided I wanted to move there, ate the best burgers (New York Burger Company needs to overthrow McDonalds in a bloodless coup and reign supreme for the next millennium), haggled for a purse, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, hung out with good friends and fell even more in love with the city so nice, they named it twice.

– I spent a week in West Palm Beach for quality time with the family. I ate entirely too much, watched the World Cup every day, took pictures, enjoyed being home and realized that I should totally live with my sister because she is awesome.

– Finally, Augs and I spent our anniversary in the namesake of my favorite Springsteen song – Atlantic City. Great song, less-than-stellar experience. My advice? Save your ducats and head to Vegas instead.

Food:

A delivery guy once told me, I am a, “fat girl in a little girl’s body.” He wasn’t wrong.

Gastronomic Discoveries:

+ Cold-brewed French Press iced coffee. I drank enough to induce cardiac arrest…in a mastodon.

+ Huevos Rancheros at Jones. The hell with cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. THIS is why the hungry masses should come to Philly. I want Stephen Starr and Jose Garces to form a domestic partnership and invite me over to their love nest every week for Sunday Dinner. That would be fabulous.

+ Vinho verde — a light, fresh Portuguese wine that’s perfect for dining al fresco on a balmy summer evening.

+ Maoz. I could easily eat myself into a coma here. Every corner needs a fast food falafel joint like this.

+ Mack and Manco’s. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic and have ever gone ‘Down Da Shore’, you’ll understand the cult appeal of this pizza. Especially if you spent the summer eating crappy pizza and ranting about it. I ate half the slice in one bite. I assume this is because it was delicious and I am awesome.

+I’ve also been eating lots of Caprese-inspired dishes (I take tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mozzarella cheese and basil and combined it with a carb. Usually pasta or bread. Once or twice, I used croutons. Don’t judge) and a ridiculous amount of homemade popcorn. Here’s the best way to make it:

3 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels (I prefer white over yellow)
Salt
Brown Sugar
Cumin seeds
Cayenne pepper

Crank your burner way the eff up to heat the oil.
After a few minutes, add cumin seeds. They should sizzle and sputter upon impact.
Wait about two minutes and add the popcorn kernels.
Make sure all the kernels are coated with oil. Sprinkle with salt and brown sugar, cover with lid and shake.
Turn heat down to medium low and wait for the popping to stop. You’ve got to watch it like a hawk because otherwise, it will burn and then, your apartment will smell like dying.
Dump out into a serving bowl and sprinkle with cayenne.
Eat by the fistful while watching TV on DVD.

It’s been a pretty good and productive summer. Got a little traveling in, got a lot of eating in and spent plenty of time outside, breathing in the daylight. It was pretty perfect and while I’m reluctant to let go, I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2010 has in store (but if it’s bitterly cold weather and SnOMG: The Redux? You can keep it. Seriously. Living on Hoth? Not cute and I’m well over it).

21 Jump Street, Part I – Season 1, Episode 1

I’m bringing back the TV recaps and starting with 21 Jump Street.

I chose this show for several reasons:

A) I think it would do really well today. You get a guy like Rob Thomas (the creator of Veronica Mars, not the dude from Matchbox 20 who has a hi-larious cameo on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) to oversee the project, you hire a bunch of shiny-haired twentysomethings, you focus on issues plaguing today’s teens (sexting, cyber-bullying…) and you leave the theme song alone. I think you’ve got the perfect lead-in to Gossip Girl or The Vampire Diaries.

B) Jonah Hill’s writing a film adaptation, so the show is the teensiest bit relevant again. Apparently, Hill’s vision is Bad Boys meets John Hughes directed by Rob Zombie. Now, I’m not saying that sounds like a shit-show, but it sounds like a shit-show.

C) Old-School Johnny Depp.

D) The theme song. Holly Robinson sings it and both Peter DeLuise and Depp chime in with a couple of ‘Jump!’s. It’s awesome.

For those of you who were a mere twinkle in the milkman’s eye when the show premiered in 1987, let me give you a quick rundown — Baby-faced police officers go undercover in high schools and other teen hangouts to investigate criminal activity.

Everyone caught up? Alright ramblers, let’s get ramblin’.

The show opens in with an upper middle class family sitting down to dinner – smart-mouthed kids, a father who can barely conceal his disdain for them and a mother about six seconds away from upending a bottle of Stoli directly into her WASPy maw. Their suburban bliss is shattered (quite literally) when Jermaine Jackson smashes into the dining room, firearm and Muscle in tow.

OK, fine. It’s not really Jermaine Jackson, but dude has definitely been shopping in Michael Jackson’s closet, circa the Thriller video.

It turns out ‘No Color Cry Boy’ (also known as Kenny, the clarinet-playing son) owes Jermaine $6000. Of course, he doesn’t have the cash, so Jermaine shoots the television and steals the family Jaguar while Muscle threatens to rape the daughter. Ummm, holy shit. Why was I allowed to watch this as a child?

Hey! Kim Manners directed this episode. Manners directed episodes of The X-Files and Supernatural and his brother Kelly produced Dollhouse, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Kings of Anarchy. That actually fills me with optimism. OK, /TV Dorkery.

Cut to Officer Tom Hanson and his partner, Officer Morty Seinfeld (also known as Charlie).

Officer Seinfeld’s (I’m not calling him Charlie. He’s Jerry’s dad) a grizzled lifer who learned all he needed to know about police work on the streets. But Officer Hanson? A second generation cop who’s fresh out of the academy and the kind of guy who likes to, “roll in hot and kick tails.”  Yes. They actually said that.

A call comes in and they’re off to the suburban homestead from the opening scene.

Older daughter and hairspray addict Colleen makes eyes at Officer Hanson and asks if he’s old enough to be a cop because he looks just like that guy in Pretty in Pink. I’m assuming she means Duckie because Depp resembles neither Spader or McCarthy.

Since Officer Hanson graduated top in his Domestics class, he tries to connect with Kenny but no dice. Kenny won’t tell him ‘spit.’ At this point, I’m advocating Officer Seinfeld’s tack of taking the door off the hinges and beating the information out of this kid. He’s a little shitbag.

Officer Seinfeld’s cop Spidey Sense starts tingling and the duo start tailing a car that was involved in an armed robbery just moments before. Things quickly evolve into a car chase complete with hairpin turns and airborne vehicles.

Hanson covers the perps while Officer Seinfeld goes to call back-up.

But he’s a rookie and has no clue what he’s doing, so the robbers clobber him, steal the cop car and Hanson winds up accidentally breaking his partner’s nose.

Best line of the episode is courtesy of a perp who tells Officer Seinfeld, “Keep him away from me, huh? I feel like a child molester.”

Hanson’s antics mean a date with the chief who tells him about an undercover program called Jump Street Chapel — a unit that operates out of an abandoned chapel. Hanson dismisses this gig as, “Fast Times at Bust Your Buddy High” and says he’s not interested because he hated high school the first time around. Chief gives him two options — Jump Street or desk work until he looks old enough to be a cop.

He thinks over this big decision by reminiscing about his deceased father and playing really lousy smooth jazz.

They couldn’t give the guy a guitar? I know it’s cliche, but Depp actually plays the guitar and it would lead to a much better musical interlude than the Kenny G-inspired dreck they went with.

Hat and baton in tow, Hanson shows up at Jump Street Chapel to check it out. The aesthetic is dorm room meets The Shield’s Barn complete with sliding fireman’s pole.

Cue Officer Doug Penhall (Peter DeLuise) and Officer H.T. Ioki (Dustin Nguyen).

H is for Harry, T is for Truman. HT is named after the guy who, “dropped an atom bomb on his house” but I’m pretty sure that A)  HT is Vietnamese B) Truman died before Saigon fell and C) The United States never dropped any A-bombs in ‘Nam. History fail, guys.

Hanson also meets his boss, Captain Jenko – a dude who looks and acts like a hippie burnout.

He’s got posters of Hendrix on his wall and a dartboard emblazoned with the face of Nixon. Despite his behavior, Jenko is well aware of who’s running things and his mission is to nip teen crime in the bud so that bad teens don’t grow up to be bad adults.

This man is going to teach Hanson to be a teenager again and Officer Judy Hoffs (Holly Robinson Peete) is going to assist him.

She and Lisa Turtle would have a lot to talk about.

Second best line of the episode happens when Hanson tries to engage Hoffs in some overtly complicated handshake. Her response? “That’s OK, honey. My people don’t do that anymore.” Womp womp.

Depp gets an 80s style makeover in which he looks remarkably like his character from Cry Baby. So, lesson learned – if you want to look cool in the 80s, dress like they did in the 50s. And use ungodly amounts of mousse.

See? Samesies!

The Jump Street gang sets up a dry-run for Hanson — he’ll be playing Penhall’s cousin who’s been around the block and is looking to buy. They don’t want to bust the guy yet; they just want to make sure he’s holding.

He wants to buy a ‘lid.’ I have no idea what the hell that means and apparently, neither does Jace the dealer because he pulls out a gun and accuses Hanson of being a cop.

And they say street pharmacists are stupid.

Luckily, Hanson’s baby face saves his ass. The dealer’s ass, though? Not so much. Hanson beats Jace down. Let me reiterate for those in the cheap hates — Tom Hanson hates it when people comment on how young he looks. Hulk smash!

Despite the fact that this wasn’t supposed to be a bust, Hanson arrests the guy for threatening to kill a cop and for selling him….a pair of socks. Hanson’s inexperience and hair-trigger temper botches the entire operation. Good job, guy.

Remember Kenny? The suburbanite shitbag from the opening scene? Dude goes on a jewelry store smash and grab and flees. On a scooter. I’m sure this will come back later.

Jenko is handing out assignments and Hanson will be getting his feet wet at Amherst High as Tom Bauer,  a disciplinary transfer from Wilcox with a drug problem and a bad attitude.

‘His first encounter at the school is with our buddy Jermaine, the home-invading, television-shooting car thief from the show’s opening. Hanson parks in Jermaine’s spot and a rumble ensues — Jermaine kicks Hanson’s mustang and demands Hanson move the car. He retaliates by scratching the word ‘No’ into Jermaine’s car.

‘Tom and Jermaine are sent off to Coach Shaeffer’s office to be disciplined. Shaeffer uses entirely too many sports metaphors and we learn the following about Jermaine — his real name’s Tyrell, he drives a Ferrari and fighting is a violation of his parole.

As for Hanson, he and his father have a date with Shaeffer the following date. I’m assuming Jenko is going to filling those shoes.

Wouldn’t you know it — Hanson’s locker is three away from Shitbag Suburbanite Kenny. The episode ends with Jermaine (look, I’m not calling him Tyrell) telling Hanson, “You’re gonna like it here at Amherst, boy. Especially if you like dying.”

An undeniably idiotic statement, but you know what? I’m in like Flynn.

I want to find out what happens and I want to see how Hanson’s straight-and-narrow persona interacts with Penhall’s dumb labrador goofiness and Hoffs’ sass. I want to see what kind of situations the Jump Streeters get embroiled in and I really want to see what happens when Richard Grieco joins the cast as Officer Booker.

So yeah — in like Flynn. Expect a recap of the second part of this two-parter pilot soon.

Oh and if you’ve stuck around this long — kudos. You have certainly earned this:

“You’re gonna learn something when we meet you after school!” Love that!

Lost Weekend: NYC 2010

– Arrive in Tribeca. See Keanu Reeves hanging out on the street, gesticulating wildly while having a very passionate conversation. Wait for some idiot to scream out, “San Dimas High School Football Rules!” No-one does.

– Continue on to Midtown. Check in, realize we’re staying in a shoebox (albeit, a very conveniently located shoebox), grab a bite to eat at Schnipper’s and go wait in line.

– Meet a very nice guy who looks like a cross between Walton Goggins and Pete Dominick who has been waiting in front of the TimesCenter since 10:30 a.m. The show doesn’t start until 8:00 p.m. That’s some serious dedication, folks.

– Get interviewed for Lost community podcast.

– See Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (Darlton! DamCar!) enter the building!

– See Jorge Garcia enter the building!

– Think I see Ron Livingston five different times. Am wrong five different times.

– Augs thinks he sees Ron Livingston:

Jaime: Seriously? Where?
Dan: Never mind. It’s just a kid holding some pizza boxes.
Jaime (pointing at child on street): That kid? You thought that eight-year-old child was Ron Livingston?
Dan: I’m not wearing my glasses.
Jaime: I hate you.

– Finally get into the building and procure great seats – third row, just left of center.

– Damon Lindelof makes eyes at me.  Seriously — he was looking right at me. You know, kinda like how Insert-Name-of-Awesome-Rock-Star pointed right at you when you were sitting in Row ZZZ? Yeah. Just like that.

– Michael Emerson!!! Ben is on stage right now! Furiously condemn the Times Center’s ‘No Photography’ policy. Don’t they realize that some of us are bloggers?

– Leave the event fully stoked for the finale.

– Try to find decent bar to grab a drink. Get overwhelmed by tourists, so we decide to nip into the BBQ joint across the street from our hotel. Dan orders a Heineken and I order a Tom Collins. The very pretty, very Swedish and very blonde waitress looks at me like I’ve placed my order in conversational Sanskrit. She looks up the recipe in a cocktail rolodex and I am served a gin and soda water. No lemon, no nothing. Look, I realize that drunk businessmen are really eager to hand over their ducats to pretty blonde girls, but come on! I asked for a Tom Collins — it’s a pretty standard cocktail.

– Get back to the hotel and pass out.

– Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P.Diddy and manage to both freeze and scald my flesh while taking a shower. Am I an idiot? No. Apparently, our shower was designed by some sadistic plumber related to Jigsaw.

How the hell does this even work?

– Check into Hotel #2 — a nicer room, a bigger bed, a way less complicated shower and a pretty cool view from the 15th floor.

– Head south to escape the craziness that is Times Square/Midtown. Initially, it’s cool but after a while — the chaos just made my nerves ache. To get to Chelsea, we hit up the subway and I am once again reminded how much I love doing this. I grew up taking the Tube into the city and have decided to start squirreling away money for a trip back to London, this time with Augs in tow.

– Grab lunch at the New York Burger Company.

I am on a continual hunt for the world’s best veggie burger and the New York Burger Company makes a damn fine one. Not only that, but they serve it with sweet potato fries, tzatziki and offer a variety of glorious condiments such as maple djion mustard and curry ketchup (which I would drink by the gallon if it were socially acceptable to do so). Eating this takes me to my happy place.

– Wander around Chelsea, The Village and the Flatiron District until my feet feel like they’re going to fall off and fall madly, completely in love with New York City. Also, realize that all a woman really needs in this world is a summer dress, flip-flops, sunglasses and a big-ass bag.

John Updike once said that a true New Yorker is one with a secret belief that, “people living anywhere else had to be, in some sense, kidding.” And I get that. Because honestly, if you’re living here? Why the hell would you ever want to be anywhere else?

– Encounter more people walking dogs that I ever have in my life. See a Boston Terrier puppy and almost suffer cardiac arrest due to its cuteness.

I didn’t get a picture of him, but this is basically what he looked like. Heart-stoppingly adorable.

– Head back to the hotel, collapse, eat burritos from Blockheads (Fail. What kind of asshole thinks cauliflower + burrito + naan bread makes any kind of sense at all?), watch Real Time with Bill Maher and gaze out the window in wide wonder. Holy shit, I love New York.

– Wake up and head to DUMBO for brunch at Bubby’s with friends. Eat a lot, laugh a lot and burn off brunch by walking on the Brooklyn Bridge.

I hate Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z. It’s naff, annoying and hardly one of either artist’s best pieces of work. But, after a spending a few days in the city, I kinda get it. I mean, the song still sucks but I get the vibe. New York is an amazing city and I can’t wait until I get a chance to go back.

Oh yeah and Lost series finale tonight!!! Cannot. Wait.