Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Predictions 2007

Scorsese, Mirren, Whitaker, Hudson, Murphy, and, just to be contrary, Iwo Jima.


Staying West Pledge #1

Sometimes, you just have to wonder what a blog stands for. (Usually it's crass commercialism or objectifying women -- neither of which I'm guilty of.) Luckily for you, there's no longer any actual analytical thought involved, because Staying West will begin telling you what it stands for. Please welcome, the Staying West Pledge:

Today there was an article in the Times entitled "Pole Dancing Parties Catch on in Book Country." I'll wait while you click. (If you're like me, and you're saying aloud, "Please let there be a picture! Please let there be a picture!", allow me to ruin the surprise: There is one. And it's totally worth the click-through.)

I thought it prudent to check out Amazon and see what literature there was on the subject. (This was purely scientific research for the sake my editing friend, mind you). Amongst the books, we came across this:

For just $109, this "Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit + DVD and More" gives you a stripper pole that can be temporarily installed in any room (up to 8'6"!) and a DVD to teach ya all the moves. What intrigued me, of course, was the "...and More". If you check out the larger picture, you'll see that it's a flimsy garter belt and "fun money". That sounds like "fun"...kind of.

Staying West's Pledge: Ladies of the universe -- if you ever set up a pole and stripper dance for me, I vow to stick real American dollars in your garter belt.

(....but you'll have to give them back after you're done.)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rocket Science

As someone who considers themselves a foodie (or, at least someone susceptible to dropping five bills on dinner for two), I felt like a traitor to the cause when I had a realization the other day: I'm totally over arugula. I'm just plain sick of it.

Now, honestly, I'm using the word "arugula" incorrectly. What I really mean is, "fancy salad greens" and, more precisely, "fancy salad greens that come in my West Village lunch." I'm talking about that arugula. Which is to say, the flat stuff that looks like herbs, the purple stuff that looks like skunk cabbage, the spongy stuff that looks like Brillo pads and the actual Eruca sativa that looks like...uhhhh...leaves. That whole gnarly combination of chlorophyll indiscriminately plopped in a plastic container and covered with the day's haute ingredient -- I'm over it. For the love of all that is sweet and holy, I just want some damn Romaine.

My real problem is twofold.

First off, this arugula has become a symbol. An empty gesture. For Christmas, I got United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation -- which I admittedly have not yet read. But I'm sure it will explain how we were living in a Frito Pie induced Dark Age (or...depending on your gender and homestate, Renaissance Period) before the late 70's when James Beard wandered in and changed everything. Without having even cracked it open, the important point has been made -- arugula is one of the touchstone foods in American millennial gourmandism (along with extra virgin olive oil, double lattes, and hand-massaged beer-fed cheeseburger beef). And really, arugula deserves plenty of merit. It can be a damn fascinating flavor, especially when all you're expecting is mere lettuce. It's spicy, which is not normal in a green. It's mouth-feel is different in a way I'm not nearly sophisicated enough to describe. These aberrations from the norm of greens make arugula just a little decadent.

That veneer of decadence is what makes it the poor man's black truffles. Black truffles are one of those items that fancy pants restaurants will grate over a dish at the last minute to elevate the experience. In plenty of restaurants, however, they've begun grating the truffle indiscriminately over everything. It's an easy way to take a regular dish and make it "gourmet" and expensive. Do these dishes need it? Probably not. Could you get the same flavor profile some other way? Probably. But there's the "Wow" factor of black truffles.

Unfortunately, this notion has trickled down to my lunchtime salad. Add these arugulized mixed greens and suddenly my salad is "gourmet!" and "exciting!"

Except it's not.

And that reason is problem number two. Arugula has become commoditized. So many delis and saladteria's are preparing these "gourmet" salads that the greens have to come in big mediocre bags of blandness. Oh, stuck in a salad they may be visually exciting, with all that frisée and such, but the taste leaves plenty to be desired. Expanding what was a delightful farmer-grown green (virtually unheard of in this country until the early 90's!) to ConAgra level production has effectively killed it's charms.

I know many of the more frugal of you out there are going, "Well, geeez, Geoffers, it's pretty simple: stop buying those fancy salads. Get simple salads, they still make them with romaine some places, you know!" Which is a point I acknowledge. Here's the problem -- I still really like all the yummy shit on top of the fancy pants salad. I don't want to give that up -- I just want for the base to change. It's like a canvas for a painter. If you're going to be Picasso with the shit on the top of the salad, I, for one, don't care if the canvas comes from Sam Flax or from Wal Mart.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fox News embraces, extends the Daily Show

Ouch. This is seriously painful. FNC has created their own right-leaning fake-news show. Something like that might actually be fun to watch, if it was actually funny.

What's pathetic about Fox's attempt at cool is how it has all the awful awkwardness of Saturday Night Live's humorless Weekend Update sketch with almost carbon copies of the Daily Show graphics, set, and, yes, even the sweeping crane shot at the beginning of the show. I'd at least give them points for trying something different -- but they didn't.

In fact, they did something ridiculous. Since the Daily Show's left-leaning humor is mocking right-leaning media, they style their show after Fox News (ie crazy music, bombastic graphics, highly partisan corespondents). If Fox News was really trying to skewer the left, wouldn't they style their show after NBC News and NPR? But this is what happened: Fox News has stolen the Daily Show's style -- which is mocking Fox News. It's like they're making fun of themselves, but they're not even in on the joke.

But then again, maybe this is part of Rupert's master plan -- make it so bad that the TDS crowd starts watching Fox for the camp factor, abandoning Stewart's occasional earnestness and righteous anger. And really, at the end of the day, that's all it's about -- eyeballs on the screen.

(Stewart! Colbert! Surnow? - Paper Mag, video clip included!)

(Also -- "qualified yes"? WTF?)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Silly me.

That damnable iPhone screen isn't nearly big enough. I need something more like this to carry around.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Without Further Comment #14 (Amputee edition)

When I sit down to use a Mac, the first thing I think is, "I hate Macs", and then I think, "Why has this rubbish aspirational ornament only got one mouse button?" Losing that second mouse button feels like losing a limb.
If the [British "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC"] ads were really honest, Webb would be standing there with one arm, struggling to open a packet of peanuts while Mitchell effortlessly tore his apart with both hands. But then, if the ads were really honest, Webb would be dressed in unbelievably po-faced avant-garde clothing with a gigantic glowing apple on his back. And instead of conducting a proper conversation, he would be repeatedly congratulating himself for looking so cool, and banging on about how he was going to use his new laptop to write a novel, without ever getting round to doing it, like a mediocre idiot.

(from The Guardian)

Scariest Dialogue Box in the World least for film editors.

(google earth on JB's G5)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It was in my friggin' cart!

This World = No Fair!

It sold out between me clicking "Add to Cart" and the next page loading.

(check out OuttaStock. I do...constantly)