Oct
24

My Name Is Bruce

After a long day of being at work on a Sunday, some friends came over and it was time to watch a crappy movie yet again.  Oh Netflix, you never cease to disappoint with the massive selection of awful movies.

Borrowed from IMDB

It boasts such wonderful exchanges as Girl: “Let’s break something” Boy: “As long as it’s not my heart,” “Now I don’t imaging you get movin’ pictures in this…” and Girl:”Do you believe in reincarnation?” Bruce:”Why?” Girl:”Because it’s not gonna happen in this lifetime.”  I love that Bruce Campbell is ok with making fun of himself and his career as a B-list actor.  I think it’s fantastic that somehow in a graveyard is a talisman that unleashes a hyper-stereotypical Chinese demon with glowing orange eyes and red tassels named Guan-di.  I mean really, how does that work out?  What great Chinese lord would haunt a dumpy graveyard in the middle of nowhere (aka Goldlick) and why is he hell-bent on slashing people to death?  Now, I love bad movies, but the acting in this one is just awful.  The special effects are also pretty hokey.  I’m not sure I can finish this one.  It’s almost not even funny bad.  Oh wait, now there are two guys singing a tribute to Guan-di for no reason. Uhhhhhh.  Maybe I can hold on.  Oh now they explain it.  Apparently there were 100 Chinese miners that were trapped in a mine who summoned Guan-di to protect them.  OH MAN, here comes the super racist stuff: “You not speaka engrish?” and an awful dance to rid them of the curse that ends with: “Has he been dispelled? No? OK, you all going to die.”  Dude, seriously, Bruce is just an awful person in the movie.  He stole a car from an old lady and threw her cat out of the window.  Oh man, now he has the good Bruce, bad Bruce shoulder friends.  When will this movie be over?  Oh, only a short fight later.  Ok, deal.  I’m glad it’s done.  Don’t watch it.  It’s crap.

Oct
21

Some pointers on not annoying your users…

At my job we recently started the open enrollment window.  This year, it involves a helper app called David.  David is a flash app that is supposed to help you figure out what your yearly costs will be with each plan offered so you can make the best decision for you and your situation.  It’s full of such wonderful things as a noise each time you type a letter, a different noise when you delete a letter and a third noise when you click a button.  Don’t do that.  Just don’t.  There’s no need for keys or clicks to make noises than the ones actually made in real life.  The one exception would be in games where the noise denotes an incorrect or correct choice.  Noises should be for indicating a result (higher for good things, lower for bad things), but arbitrarily attaching a noise to actions with no real consequence or inherent value is just irritating.  I also am uncertain why an app needs to have a one-way conversation with the user when it serves no purpose but to either slow down the process or to somewhat humanize what could be a quick and efficient questionnaire.  I wish David would just show me the questions like every other quiz-like thing and cut the time it takes to complete in 1/2.  If David is going to talk, I would prefer some sort of voice response recognition.  Otherwise you’ve just made an audible clippy.  I effing hated clippy.

Oct
16

What the eff is a “Grasping Cake?”

The Culprit

It’s no secret that I love food. It’s also no secret that (generally) when a restaurant opens up that has a food I’ve never heard of, I have to try it at least once. If it’s mediocre I may try it again, but generally everything gets one go. Living downtown gives me many of these opportunities as the many vacant retail spaces are constantly being filled, vacated and filled again. The most recent addition a block away from my home is KK Woody. They seem like your average 5 item menu joint with the standard egg + meat breakfast and coffee. HOWEVER, their menu offers a grasping cake. On my way back from an urban hunt and gather mission to Big Lots, I decided to try them out. I asked the server what they are and the best explanation he could give me was “a flour tortilla with chocolate, strawberry, condensed milk or jam on it.” Then he pointed to a picture on the overhead menu that didn’t really explain it any better. It looked like an egg scramble, but where the egg was replaced by flour tortilla bits. He assured me it was good and I ordered one chocolate, one strawberry to go. Even though I told the guy what I wanted, it took a few minutes and a lot of yelling in Spanish for the checkout lady to come up and stare at me blankly as if I had never ordered. I then ordered again saying “One strawberry, one chocolate to go” at the end of which, she asked “to go?” “yes, to go.” I said. Then she relayed that back to the original guy I told my order to, but only after asking (in Spanish) if they even had chocolate one. I paid and the daft lady disappeared into the back just as fast as she came. I guess they have a few communication and operation kinks to work out. I brought them home and made Cy try them with me. They’re like overly doughy, but overcooked or old flour tortillas with garbage toppings. The “strawberry” one had no strawberries, but the cheapest jelly you can buy, and the chocolate one was probably covered with cheap chocolate byproduct. Either way, I want my money back. They should have spent more money on the food and ingredients and not on their signs and decorations.

The boxes.

The "Cakes"

Oct
15

How not to be a house guest…

There comes a time in a relationship when you start taking your significant other to meet the more extended or distant parts of your personal network.  For many, this means taking plane trips to the far corners of the country, and with that, is the choice to either a) stay with obliging family members or friends OR b) get a hotel room.  For the cost-conscious or the very social, there is only one option.  You pick someone with an extra bedroom, ask nicely, and secure your lodgings.  Cy and I have done this multiple times.  We visited his law school friend in DC and stayed in her second room.  Cy, my brother and I stayed at my brother’s best friend’s house for the first boyfriend-dad meet up. And the list goes on.  SO, being a veteran house guest has taught me a few simple lessons (read rules) about how to be a good house guest.  These rules are even more important if you are the new sig-o being introduced to brand new people.  It was also the complete flouting of these social graces that prompted this post.  We let a friend and his new girlfriend come stay with us, and needless to say, he can come whenever he wants, but she will not be invited back.

Your hosts are doing you a service and a favor.  No matter how close you are, it is always more difficult for extra people to be in their space than not, so follow the Golden Rule.  Make your bed.  Unless you have unconventional hosts, your bed was made when you got there and you had clean sheets.  There is no expectation of the sheets being clean when you leave, and you don’t necessarily need to make it when you get up in the morning, but you definitely should make it before you leave.  Throw away your trash, and put your dishes in the sink.  Use your hosts’ belongings in a respectful manner.  If they like using coasters on their coffee or dinner table, use them.  Even if you think the preference is odd or unnecessary, do it.  It’s not your home.  I once had a friend who always washed things before putting them in the trash.  For instance, raw eggshells were washed before going in the trash.  Now, that’s not a rule in my house, and I think it’s not really needed, but the important part here is, IT’S NOT MY HOUSE.  You follow the rules of the house you are special enough to be staying in.  When I’m staying with someone, as “payment” for the favor they are doing me, I usually try to leave things better than I found them as well as minimize my impact.  Usually this means offering to do the dishes for them, picking up groceries or supplies you might use up, and helping out with anything that is going on.  It’s not a hotel, the maid service isn’t coming.  Come on people!

Yup, that's makeup on our towels.

Maid service anyone?

WTF is that brown powder?

Empty Perrier bottles are always a nice surprise.

Oct
14

My mom is adorable…

nuff said!

Oct
12

The worst ramen I’ve ever had…

Chin-Ma-Ya of (Little) Tokyo

I LOVE Japanese food.  Curry, ramen, sushi and tempura effing make my day.  It’s my go-to comfort food, so when a new place opens up, I have to try it.  This meant that when I heard Hashi opened up, I had to go.  Cy, Royce and I headed over there, but oddly they were closed on Monday only a week or two after opening.  Cry.  What were we to do?  We’ve had the infamous Orochon in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court in the past, and my brother has even finished the challenge, SO, the next option was to try out Chin-Ma-Ya just underneath.  It’s cute, but I’ve never seen a crowd there.  This should have been the first indicator that I should have gone to Curry House.  They had $1.99 beer and sake specials.  That’s a plus!  Though the menu has plenty of dinner options, the walls are covered with giant pictures and explanations of the same two dishes, Chin-Ma Han (spicy mabo tofu and rice) and Tan-Tan Men (a spicy, thick version of ramen).  This should have been the second and biggest indicator that I wasn’t going to like what I ordered.  My favorite ramen is a shoyu base with extra chashu and an assortment of add-ons (Egg, corn, green onions, butter, etc).  So, that’s what I got.

My Ramen

Normally chashu is tender and falls apart to the point where you have to search through the broth for the last tender morsels (ala the kotteri version of daikokuya’s tonkotsu ramen).  Nope, these rubbery, overly-fatty discs of flavorless pork needed a knife.  The broth smelled and tasted like chemicals.  The noodles were not thick or satisfying the way they usually are.  The corn tasted old and was not tender.  It wasn’t even just mediocre, it was bad.  I literally couldn’t make myself eat it.  I will never eat there again.  Royce was also unhappy with his shiyo.  Luckily, Cy ordered both of the pictured items and was supremely happy with his dinner.  It was the BEST ramen he’d ever had.  Unlucky for him, he’ll only ever get to go back alone.

Oct
10

Beer Float Showdown II

What do you think of when you hear “beer float”? Guinness + Vanilla?  Yeah that’s probably right.  That’s the standard.  I’m about to blow your mind.  My friend Christine and I went to Verdugo for FoodGPS’ Beer Float Showdown Part Deux.  It’s an unassuming bar nestled in an adorable and very California neighborhood with giant palm tree lined streets on the way to Burbank.  If there hadn’t been a guy outside and two food trucks (Mandoline Grill and The Manila Machine), I never would have known there was anything going on when I walked in the door.  Once we walked through the bar and into the backyard area it was obvious why we came.  What a better way to ignore that Monday morning sneaking ever closer than to go drink beer and help out charity in the process?  Now to the good stuff…

Us at the showdown! Pic from http://www.drinkeattravel.com

The Contenders:

  1. Simmzy’s:
    Offering: Cherry ice cream, snickerdoodle cookie, and unknown lighter beer.
    Opinion: The cherries were nice, but the ice cream was a little too icey.  The cookie was delicious until it got soggy, at which point no amount of sugar or snicker would save it.  The beer just didn’t go with it.  It was almost citrusy, and not full bodied enough to match up against the pure dessert action going on with the add-ins.  I was kind of disappointed.  It sounded so good.
  2. Ladyface Alehouse:
    Offering: Chocolate/cherry ice cream, darker ale(?), beer reduction drizzle, toffee chips(?)
    Opinion: The scoop I got didn’t have ANY cherries in it.  Weird.  The match of darker beer with the chocolate was nice.  The beer reduction was just a little too thick and congealed at the bottom of my cup.  I really liked the candy chips.  They were a nice texture switch from all the liquid.
  3. Boneyard Bistro:
    Offering: Apple beer, salted caramel ice cream, topped with an apple slice with crumbles
    Opinion: Um, can they come hang out at my house and make these for me when I get home from work?  These were effing awesome.  Usually apple or fruit heavy beers get to be too much quickly, but the pairing of the salted caramel fixed that.  It was something I would want on a summer picnic date with Cy.  It’s part dessert part refreshing libation; pure perfection.  This was a perfect 10 beer float, as well as the clear winner for me.
  4. Tony’s Darts Away:
    Offering: organic citrusy beer, 1/2 a lime with vegan sorbet/sherbet (not sure which one), fancy salted straw to stir in.
    Opinion: This is the perfect beach party mashup.  It’s like a new interpretation of a standard Corona with lime, but way more delicious.  The fancy salt achieved the same as in Boneyard Bistro’s, and mitigated what could have been an overpowering sweetness.  The 1/2 a lime completed with a 1/2 scoop of lime sherbet was an adorable presentation, but the sherbet was too heavy and flipped the lime on top.  This may have been intentional to make it melt and mix into the beer, but I don’t know.  Either way it was delicious.

Oct
10

OMG WANT

I never wear a watch, but wow!  I want this one:

Kid Robot Nooka Watch

Oct
10

CicLAvia

Today is 10/10/10 AND:

We pulled the bikes down off the wall, dusted them off and took them outside.  Cy, Blair and I started at 7th & Flower and rode over to MacArthur Park for a Gatorade pit stop and to pick up some CicLAvia t-shirts.  We then rode over to 4th and Virgil and Sarah called.  SO, we turned around and rode back to where we started to pick her up.  Then we rode the downtown route to city hall where Blair broke off from the pack and went home, and we rode on towards Hollenbeck park.  Since it was almost 2 and the roads were opening up again at 3, we decided to head over to Yogurtland to cool off for a min.  Plain tart and tons of fresh fruit is my favorite!  After a short rest and some delicious yogurt, we decided the heat was enough and we headed home.  This was definitely a fun event!  I even got to zoom by a couple of bike cops and say “Vroom vroom Coppahs!” and bike off while they cracked up.

Cy and Me

The total route.

The total route.

Oct
10

Jesus Camp: how to brainwash children for dummies…

Apparently it is movie night.  Our second pick was this:

Borrowed from IMDB

It’s a documentary sans-commentary about evangelical Christians. I think the lack of commentary adds to the experience. You can see it in whatever light you want. I’m sure for the people in the movie it is a wonderful testament to the work they’re doing for God.  For me, it just highlights all the things I find scary and extreme about organized religion.  A lot of the focus is on Becky Fischer, who runs runs a camp called “Kids on Fire”.  She has made an art out of indoctrinating children with the spirit of Christ.  What happened to teaching our children and preparing them to the best of our abilities, then letting them make the best informed decision possible?  She just thinks we should TRAIN them to do what we think is right.  It’s kind of startling to spend so much time around logical, sane, even-tempered people, to then watch something like this.  Interesting…

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