Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm a very big fan of mashups. Not only do they -- in my fucked up logic -- somehow validate my appreciation for even the most hollow of catchy pop music, but some of them are actually quite artful.

Every month, Bootie puts out their "top ten" mashups of the month. Though not everything is a hit, there's usually at least one song per update that makes its way to a hefty play count on my iTunes.

This month, there are two, and they're very similar.

It just depends on which cocaine-addled skeleton you'd rather inject into the undeniable catchiness of Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You."

Ozzy Osbourne or Whitney Houston?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spam A Little

Dear Amanda Palmer,

Congratulations on your solo success. I very much enjoyed your work when you teamed with Brian Viglione as The Dresden Dolls, and I am equally if not more excited about your emergence as a solo artist. I have been to shows. I've drawn on some strange mimes. I've bought shirts. I've put money in the hat. I've put money in the boot. I've put money directly in the hands of the Australian bunch you toured with recently, standing in the chilly air just outside of Paradise Rock Club. We've even met.

I say these things to evidence and establish my appreciation, and I think that's been done.

That all said, please push your book elsewhere. Why on Earth you think I would shell out thirty-five bucks plus tax on a book containing one hundred twenty-eight photographs of you -- "dead" -- is completely vexing. It strikes me that we may have wandered away from artful positing of universal truths and diverse collaboration for the sake of true creativity. It strikes me as the overly self-indulgent pet project of a goth chick with too much time on her hands and too many artsy friends who think she's just amazing.

As much as I enjoy the vast majority of what you churn out, I have my limits. I simply have no wish to consume photographs of you pretending to be dead in a shopping cart, pretending to be dead in an outfit you like, pretending to be dead on your bathroom floor, pretending to be dead in some shallow water, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

What I'm trying to say is, I don't give a shit about your coffee table picture book and it's disenfranchising.

Try to keep in mind that I rant because I care.


That guy who drew you a picture of an onion wearing Jack Skellington's coat one night on a little piece of paper during a performance of The Onion Cellar, and traded it to you for a flower -- a far fairer exchange than thirty or forty bucks for hundreds of photos of you playing opossum, in my humble opinion.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Of Asses

Because I actually enjoy my job, I practically never communicate anything about it here. The only information that makes for a good story is the same kind of information that gets a person fired. I'm not entirely unschooled in such ways.

But I will say this.

This afternoon, a coworker of mine was complaining, at extreme length, about several things. Personal life, other coworkers, boss, etc.

The words entered my ear where they were immediately annihilated, as enemies in "Centipede" on easy against an expert player. As the constant stream of bitching vaporized en route to my motherboard, the core remained intact and operating at peak efficiency.

I thought to myself "I have a great ass."

It is that very mental process that allows me to be as good at my job as I am.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Dear Grady,

Ever since photos of you and what sure looks like your girlfriend surfaced on the Internet, I've been having doubts about our relationship. Perhaps if we had ever actually met, things would be different. Nonetheless, I can't go on like this, and though I will always be willing to put you up for a night or two when you're in town to play the Red Sox, I'm afraid the wedding is off.

You see, I've found somebody else.

Sure, he might have a history of drug abuse. And yeah, he isn't as fast on the basepaths, can't steal thrity-plus bases a year, and doesn't have quite the toned ass to show for it. But he's got tattoos, and a crazy look in his eye, and unlike some people, he can hit .300 for an entire season. His name is Josh.

And he only hits because he loves.

Anyhow, I'll never forget how I drafted you early in every fantasy baseball league last year, only for you to justify my pick with a 30-30 campaign. We'll always have that. But it's time for us to move on.

You go back to your girlfriend, and I'll carry on with Josh. The boy's a freak. Sometimes, we even bring in a midget, just to spice things up. I'm happy now.

Please... try to understand.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Con Text

Robert discovered a new toy today. Naturally, rather than subject photographs of himself to the machine's dark will, he tossed my visage into its invisible crunching gears, and the results were this:

At least he used a picture of me that I actually rather like.

Things have been racing along in regard to correspondence with my mother's family. So much so that I'll be going meet some of them next weekend. And so much so that pictures have been exchanged.

I provided my mother with three pictures of which she could send her favorite. My sister then decided to pick one she had of me on her computer -- as she was helping my mother do the attachments for the e-mail -- and for some reason no one has been able to tell me what picture it was, nor can anyone find the sent e-mail or send me a copy.

I wish I knew which photo was provided, and I cannot deny that I'm fairly annoyed that I had no say in the decision of what one photo to send of me to the family I've never met. It wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't know for a fact that my sister genuinely thought I looked my best when I was two hundred and ten pounds.

This creates the hilarious potential that I will meet people for the first time and have them react as though I've just been announced as the winner of "The Biggest Loser."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Real Men Have Cuvees

I suddenly need a wine fridge.

In research -- important research that is part of my lifelong quest to drink all the champagne I can get my fucking hands on -- I suddenly have encountered a bottle that I might have to refrain from drinking, at least for a little while anyhow.

How did I not know about this before?

From the website of champagne house Pol Roger:
"Sir Winston Churchill was Pol Roger's most illustrious devotee and customer. This champagne is made in his honour. The composition of the blend is a closely guarded family secret but from tasting it is likely that the champagne features about 70-80% Pinot Noir with the remainder made up from Chardonnay. The grapes are all from Grand Cru vineyards which were under vine during Churchill's lifetime and it is only ever made in the very best vintages. It is made in a style which Churchill himself favoured: robust, mature and long-lived."
I simply must have it. Of the champagne, Churchill is quoted as having said, "In victory, I deserve it; in defeat, I need it." I, myself, require it in two ways as well: a bottle a drink, and a bottle to hoard.

Sir Winston is on the Mount Rushmore of champagne heroes that exists in my head, accompanied by Louis Bohne, Dom PĂ©rignon, and Oscar Wilde.

UPDATE: Apparently, it is Winston Churchill Day. And wouldn't you know it, when I went to Trader Joe's for a little grocery shopping, they had Pol Roger!

This... is who this is.

It's All Relatives

So it turns out I have three uncles and three aunts whom I've never met. Through them, I have eight cousins -- five guys, three girls, all relatively close to me in age -- whom I've also never met. Oh, and my maternal grandfather is apparently still alive and kicking at the ripe old age of eighty-five. Haven't met him either.

My "new" uncle has suggested that he and my mother reunite by meeting up sometime after Easter.

Speaking of Easter, I'm traveling down to New Jersey visit the family this weekend. My sister and I have planned to dye eggs and get lit. I'm really hoping that "The Ten Commandments" is on television Saturday night. My only enduring Easter tradition is watching that on Easter weekend after everyone else has gone to bed.

I imagine that, drunk, it will come off like this:

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Exciting Part

My life has effortlessly followed the plot of a soap opera for the past week. First off, I've been bed-ridden by illness for seven straight days now, manning up on Saturday night to celebrate the birthday of longtime friend. Meanwhile, being sick has allowed me to keep in constant contact with my mother as she reestablishes contact with her brother, with whom she has not spoken in over forty years.

It turns out that, in addition to a number of aunts and uncles, I have at least two cousins whom I've never met.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In The Kingdom Of Gourmanida: Epicurian Epilogue

After a week of repeated indulgence, I have been battling strep throat for the last couple of days. I'm starting to kick it, I think. I'm just glad it happened this week, and not last.

The search for Excelsior's replacement produced what I admit was the anticipated result: slight weight gain and no true substitute. The ultimate restaurant experience is as difficult to describe as I imagine it is to create. There are still a couple of contenders I've yet to sample here in Boston, but I'm rather content to resign that each establishment's offering is unique, gently but undeniably crafted by the infinite variables of server, wine selection, and ordering... things over which a restaurant, as an entity, has only so much control.

For the establishment's part, there is much to tend to. It is in the little things, such as the lovely arrangement of spare toilet paper in the bathroom at Oishii, and the big things, such as appropriately listing a side as arancini and not simply wild mushroom risotto. It's putting lobster in the lobster bisque, and maintaining a staff engaging enough and sincere enough that they can be trusted for recommendations geared towards a given customer's tastes, not the inflation of the tab or the dispense of a dish for which the kitchen is overstocked.

All of it can be built, though, around good food and good drinks. And though the experience specific to Excelsior may have ended with its closing, I may yet have found a new favorite, long may it reign.

Without further adieu, the dust has now settled, and it's time to dole out the gold stars and dunce caps.

The biggest disappointment was easily The Palm. As I said in the more at-length recap, I know there's a good meal to be had there. Or at least, there was once upon a time. Having been on their mailing list for quite some time, I can't ever recall receiving so many "special offers" in such a small span of time. If my recent experience there was in any way representative of the typical visit these days, it leaves little to the imagination with regards to what's motivating all these discounts cluttering up my e-mail.

Oishii is easily my new standard for sushi. Though a bit more a hike than incredibly convenient local favorite Privus Lounge, Oishii will likely see more of me with the warmer weather. Very good sushi, nice cocktails -- provided they survive the stairs -- and all at about the value one would deem relatively accurate for what's offered.

Tremont647 and Le Petit Robert will also see me returning. Both have menus I'm anxious to thoroughly explore, and whether it's the tangy French at the Bistro or the personable (here: gay) staff at 647, the atmospheres are comfortable and inviting for a three course meal or perhaps just a lazy Saturday's luncheon.

The Top of the Hub... I'm not sure why I didn't go often before. I must return with someone who hasn't got any food hangups, though; I want to do their tasting menu at some point. Considering their prices -- outside of the egregiously inflated costs to be found in their wine list -- are hardly anything beyond what you'd find for the same type of fare about fifty-two floors down, it really is worth the popping of the ears every now and then.

The big winner, though, and hereafter "favorite restaurant," is Gaslight. I've yet to do anything but enjoy myself there, and though I confess a slight bias in strong favor of traditional French cuisine done right, even the intangibles are in place here.

In order to keep myself from the unpleasant fate of Violet Beauregard, I shan't be eating out nearly as often for a good while -- perhaps until summer's installment of Restaurant Week in Boston -- especially as I'm planning to visit Miami in just under a month now.