Tag Archives: Greta

yeti9000:

Sorry for the reblog again, but, come on, it’s about donuts…how could I not share it with you? Now grab a glass of milk for dunking and enjoy a reblog of our first annual L.A. Donut Tour…yay!

Originally posted on Stay-at-home-Yeti:

A good friend of ours is staying with us this week and seeing as we are both between jobs, we decided to have some good cheap fun this visit. No movies at the Arclight, no expensive theme parks or museums, no shopping…just good, old-fashioned donut worship. And what better place to explore the magic of cheap fried dough than in the car-centric Southland? So, without further ado, I give you our first ever L.A. Donut Tour! Yay!

Despite talking about it for years, neither of us had ever been to the world-famous Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, so, naturally, we started there. We tried a cake donut, a chocolate frosted and a sprinkled and despite the giant, iconic donut on the roof of the building and the appropriately seedy, LAX-adjacent vibe in the parking lot (like all the best donut joints in Los Angeles, Randy’s does not have a…

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park coming to L.A.!

Break out the Butterbeer, amigos! Word on Diagon Alley is that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is finally coming to Universal Studios, Hollywood! Hooray! Now we won’t have to fly all the way to Orlando to check out the awesomeness of the beautifully-designed theme park for ourselves. The park isn’t due to open till 2015 (at the earliest!) but that gives us plenty of time to get Greta up to speed on the books. So, coolness all around…

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Best & Worst of the New Fall Shows (2011)

Yeah, I know…I’ve been gone a long time. Sorry for that. Between working like mad on a new script (remember when I used to do that?) taking care of Greta and watching just about every new show out there, well, let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Whew…

I’ll start with the worst of the new shows. And let me say from the get-go that I am only judging these shows by the pilots, you know, like the networks do. I’m sorry, but, if you can’t grab me from the first episode, I’m done with you. I mean, I wasted two seasons watching “Glee” and all it did was get worse and worse, so, sorry, new shows, I do not have time for lameness.

That said, I gotta tell ya, most of the shows I sampled weren’t that bad. I mean, even the one’s I’m not gonna watch for whatever reason were way better than some of the crap from season’s past, so, good on you, networks! OK, back to the worst of the bunch…

“The Secret Circle” (The CW) This show was just plain old boring, I’ve seen teen witches done better elsewhere, and aside from the presence of the always sexy Natasha Henstridge as the school principal with a secret, I could barely stay awake to the ending. Yawn…

“Free Agents” (NBC) I don’t even know why I watched this show to begin with. I absolutely loathe Hank Azaria and after watching the pilot, I like, double-triple loathe him. Yuck!

“2 Broke Chicks” (CBS) This show really bummed me out, man. I was so looking forward to it and really expecting a lot from the crackling-good cast, but, the writing was just not there to back them up. And on top of all that, the jokes were really gross. And not even clever gross, just gross and crass for crass-ness sake. Urgh…soooo disappointing!

“Whitney” (NBC) Same thing here. Gross humor, crude jokes, yawn. I will say that the lead actors grew on me as the half hour progressed, but, wow, that supporting cast felt like the table scraps from some long-forgotten 90′s sitcom: couple with pushy wife and mousy husband…check. Drunk and single best friend…check. Crazy, self-centered mom…double check. Oy…who needs it?

“The Playboy Club” (NBC) Dear NBC, just because you set a show in the 1960′s does not make it “Mad Men”. It’s not even that the show is that bad, it’s just kinda…eh. And when you think about how much dough NBC spent making and marketing it, “eh” is probably not the reaction they were going for. And for the love of God, please lose the Hugh Hefner voice overs…you weren’t changing the hearts and minds of America, Mr. Hefner, you were peddling smut. Classy, well-lit smut, but, smut nonetheless, so, please, get over yourself.

Now, before we get to the best new shows, I’d like to start with some honorable mention winners. You know, shows that I might watch if there was nothing on, but, not necessarily shows I’d add to my Tivo Season Pass anytime soon. Let’s call them the shows I’d watch if I had all the time in the world to watch TV…

“Pan Am” (ABC) Glossy, juicy, sexy, this show is really a lot of fun. The cast is great, the story possibilities are endless and those planes are so damn sexy, I mean, seriously, did ya see the couches in that French chick’s section? Amazing! I wanna live in that world, but, sadly, I just don’t have time to watch it.

“Charlie’s Angels” (ABC) Same thing here, the show is surprisingly good, with a totally game cast and a premise that, thirty some odd years on, still works. Hot chicks, guns, karate, pretty sunsets…it’s all there and it still works like gangbusters, but, I just don’t have the time. Sorry, Angels…

“The X-Factor” (FOX) OK, now this show was downright awesome! Fun, pithy, emotional…all the things that “American Idol” used to be. And best of all, Paula and Simon are back where they belong…together! The only problem is that it’s on every freaking night, and we are already committed to our returning favorite, “The Sing Off”, so, we might jump back into this one in a month or so, but, for now, it’s a pass.

“Up All Night” (NBC) We’re still kinda on the fence with this one too. Christine and I love all of the parenting stuff — I mean, whoa, some of the shit they joke about is like, ripped from our headlines! — but whenever they cut to Maya Rudolph (who I normally love!) the show goes all kinds of crazy…and not in a good way. We are regular viewers for the moment, but, one of two more wrong moves by Rudolph might just send us packing.

And now, for the best of the best, the shows that we will watch every week until they end, or, you know, get canceled before their prime like the late, great “Swingtown”. Anyway, they are…

“Prime Suspect” (NBC) Only “Whitney” has more billboards down here right now, so, I had a huge awareness of the show going into the season, but what I didn’t know was how totally fucking awesome it would be. Seriously, it’s like, pulse-pounding, truly groundbreaking-television. Fantastic acting, directing, writing, whew…mark my words, amigos, this is gonna be the show to beat at next year’s Emmys. AMAZING!

“New Girl” (FOX) OMG, I can’t tell you how pleased I was that this show didn’t totally suck. I’m not always a fan of Zooey Deschanel, but she lights up the screen with her goofy, sexy charm here. And her supporting cast is also totally awesome. Cute, funny, seriously-sweet…I kinda wanna marry this show.

“Revenge” (ABC) As dark and twisted and soapy-weird as “New Girl” is cute, this show puts the “j” in juicy, baby. And, man alive, is it good! I don’t know how they’re gonna stretch the premise over five years (or beyond), but if the acting, writing and totally cinematic sweep of the show is gonna be this good, well, sign me up! “Revenge” rocks!

So, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks…what have you guys been watching?

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Long live “The King”

Didn’t get to celebrate “The King’s” passing like we normally do yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that Mr. Elvis Presley was not in our thoughts. And then, we saw this super cool billboard in Times Square and we knew that it was a sign, um, you know, like a spiritual sign…from beyond and everything.

Anyway, it made Greta and I smile. Long live “The King”! Oh yeah, and if you’re interested in reading SAHD-centric, semi-real time updates of our adventures in NYC this week, click here.

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Merry Christmas 2010!

Just finished cleaning the kitchen and prepping the meat and beans for tomorrow’s enchilada fest, and as I turned off the radio (thanks for another amazing year of Christmas jams, KOST!) and that last light in the kitchen, I couldn’t help thinking of how lucky I am.

It’s been a long, strange year, but I have amazing friends, the coolest family in the world and a wife and little girl who make every single day that I am alive truly magical, even when it’s totally not.

And now, as I drift off to sleep with the smell of Christmas in the air — who says Christmas can’t smell like enchiladas? — I just want to thank everyone I know and love, those sleeping under our roof tonight and those who aren’t, for everything you do to make my life…well, kinda rad. You guys rock!

So, before my pot of holiday cheese totally bubbles over I’ll leave you with Greta’s 2010 Santa pic. As you can see, she refused to smile, but, on the upside, she didn’t cry like last year either. So, I call that progress!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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“The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition”

Even though Greta had a lot of fun opening presents and stuff last Christmas, this is the first year that she’s been really getting into all the cool holiday traditions and stuff — music, lights, Santa, etc. — so, needless to say, every day has been an adventure this December!

And adding to that holiday magic has been the super-cute Christmas book, “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell, with illustrations by Coë Steinwart. We bought this book and toy set (each book comes with a different looking toy elf inside) at a post-Christmas sale at Nordstroms last year, and, man alive, am I glad we did!

Here’s how it works. According to the story, every night, your personal elf (who you name and register online) heads home to the North Pole to tell Santa how you’ve been behaving that day. And every morning when you wake up, your elf is sitting in a new location in your house.

Our elf is named Paul (Greta named him, and we have no idea where the name came from) but lemme tell ya, watching her look for him every morning is hilarious and the look on her face when she finds him, well, if you could put Christmas in a bottle, that’s what it’d look like. Adorable!

I know it’s a little late in the season to start your own “The Elf on the Shelf” tradition, but, you could always do what we did and pick one up on the 26th for next year. Either way, this is a total holiday must-have for anyone with little kids…so cute!

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Blake Edwards (1922-2010)

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but, it’s raining cats and dogs here and on a day like today I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the late, great Blake Edwards, than snuggling up with the ones you love and watching his classic film version of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Edwards directed dozens of awesome films — I lived for the original “Pink Panther” movies when I was a kid and “Victor/Victoria”, “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Experiment in Terror” were all instant classics — but for me, his most memorable flick will always be the perfect little gem of a movie that it “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Great cast, lushly-beautiful locations — both the real-life and backlot NYC locales look gorgeous! — and that swinging Henry Mancini score…wow…watching “Tiffany’s” is like eating giant strawberries dipped in really great chocolate. Mmmm…sheer cinematic yumminess all around.

Ironically enough, I just recently sat Greta down and made her watch “Tiffany’s” in all its widescreen DVD glory (she loved the music and any scenes with “Cat” the best!) and lemme tell ya, it holds up beautifully.

So, rest in peace, Mr. Blake Edwards. Thanks to you, I have an instant, tried-and-true cure for the “mean reds” for years to come…

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Strawberry Fields, NYC

Had he not been so suddenly and violently taken from us at the age of 40, the late, great John Lennon would have turned seventy years old last month. That’s right, seven-zero. Crazy, huh?

In honor of John’s 70th, Christine and I wanted to post some pics we took last summer during our visit to Strawberry Fields, the Lennon memorial in New York City’s Central Park. Located on 2.5 acres of sprawling parkland just across the street from the legendary Dakota apartment building where Lennon lived, and died, Strawberry Fields can only be described as peaceful.

I’m not saying the rest of the park isn’t peaceful, because…wow…Central Park in August is all kinds of breathtakingly peaceful, but, Strawberry Fields just felt almost magical in its stillness.

A designated quiet zone — Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono still lives in the Dakota and apparently grew weary of the singing of the fans in the park — Strawberry Fields has a serenity that truly sets it apart from the rest of the park.

Sure, there were tons of fans milling about, and the crowd taking pictures around the stunning “Imagine” mosaic that serves as the areas centerpiece was pretty intense, but, despite the sheer volume of people there, Strawberry Fields was a very chill place to spend the afternoon.

And though I was a bit disappointed to discover that there were no actual strawberry plants in Strawberry Fields (I know, I’m lame, but, it would have been nice) I gotta tell ya, I haven’t been that moved by a memorial since our 2007 visit to Graceland.

It’s like John’s aura was all around you, and though there was none of his actual music playing anywhere (designated quiet zone, remember?) you didn’t need to hear it to know that it was there, in our hearts. I know that sounds hopelessly cheesy, but, it’s how we felt.

So, happy birthday, John. Seventy years on, you continue to rock the world…

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Countdown to London 2012…

Yesterday, our friend and fellow Olympics-nerd, James, mentioned on his Facebook page that the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England are due to begin exactly two years from now. Hooray! I know it’s a little early to set up a season pass on our Tivo — seriously, I would if I could — but, it’s never too early to start talking about the latest Olympic mascots!

Introduced to the world back in May, the official mascots for the London games are a pair of strangely-hideous, one-eyed blobs named Wenlock and Mandeville.

And while they are not nearly as cute as the Fuwa Friendlies from the Beijing games, or the epically-cool Quatchi and friends from the recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Wenlock and Mandeville do have a pretty interesting origin story, and the animated clip explaining it all (below) is even cooler!

I won’t spoil it for you by giving any of the plot away, but, their names do carry great meaning for folks in the UK and the story behind how they were “born” is really kinda cool. And on top of all that, the clip holds up very well on repeat views. We’ve watched it dozens of times already on YouTubeGreta is obsessed with the rainbows! — and I still get misty-eyed at the ending every time.

Anyway, though I probably won’t be dashing across the pond to buy plush figures of these new mascots (if they even come in plush!) when the games begin, I do heartily approve of them in concept.

So, check out the first of what I’m assuming will be many videos celebrating the world’s next big Olympic mascots…and by all means, let the countdown to London 2012 begin!

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Trailer Thursday: “Somewhere”

Well, so far, the only comment I got about the launch of Trailer Thursday were in regards to the name. So…I’m guessing you guys aren’t as excited about “Never Let Me Go” as I am. And that’s totally cool…see, the best thing about a regular weekly blog post about movie trailers is that eventually, you will be excited about one of my choices. Um…I hope.

That said, this week’s offering is the trailer for the upcoming film “Somewhere”. Written and directed by “Lost In Translation” Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola, “Somewhere” stars Stephen Dorff as an actor who’s life in the fast lane is thrown off course by a visit from his daughter, played by Elle Fanning. Hmmm…kinda makes you wonder if Sofia making a movie about Daddy, doesn’t it?

Well, even if it’s not a big old juicy expose about Papa Coppola, it is definitely a movie about fathers and daughters, and, as you can imagine, I’m all over that shit lately. So, sign me up!

And on top of all that, the movie looks absolutely gorgeous. Great new music from Phoenix, loads of hipster Hollywood locations, and Stephen Dorff finally getting a chance to prove he was worth all that early-career mega-hype…what’s not to love? Oh, before you answer that…Elle Fanning looks great too.

But more than anything, I just really dug the vibe of this trailer. Even in her lesser efforts, Coppola has always had style and mood to burn in her movies and “Somewhere” looks like it’s cut from the same dreamy, effortlessly-cool cloth. I mean, shit, even the poster is cool.

So, again, I cannot vouch for the movie itself until I see it this December, but, judging by the clip, I’d say the Oscar race has just gotten a lot more interesting. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Greta and I are gonna try and sneak into the pool at the Chateau Marmont…this heat is killing us!

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Trailer Thursday: “Never Let Me Go”

Thanks to a certain video clip that our friend Danielle recommended for Greta, I have been spending a lot of time on YouTube these days and…wow, there are some cool-ass movie trailers out there! So, starting today, I am going to share my favorite new movie trailers with you every Thursday. Pretty exciting, huh?

To launch this bold, new venture I’ve chosen a trailer for the upcoming Oscar-bait drama, “Never Let Me Go”. Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro — one of Christine’s favorite novelists, Ishiguro is probably most famous for writing “The Remains of the Day”“Never Let Me Go” follows three characters from childhood to young adulthood in a mildly futuristic England where human clones are “grown” to adulthood and then harvested for their parts.

Most of that stuff is hinted at in the trailer, so, I hope I’m not giving too much away, but, wow, this book absolutely floored me! Yes, Wendy, I read a book, and it was beautiful. I actually dreamt about  this one several times while reading it and even now, I am totally haunted by the strange, delicate beauty of this novel. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, amigos, you gotta check it out. Amazing…

Or, you could just wait for the movie, which, judging by this awesome trailer, seems to capture at least some of the wistfulness of the book. My only concern about the movie is that it’s directed by Mark Romanek, who is a former music video guy and that always scares me a bit.

But when you have Oscar-nominees Carey Mulligan and Kiera Knightley starring alongside the dude who will be the next “Spiderman”, and a script from “The Beach” and “28 Days Later” scribe, Alex Garland, it’d be pretty hard for Romanek to screw this one up. That said, great books become horrible movies everyday in this town — um, hello, “Atonement” anyone? — so, you never know.

Either way, this trailer rocks. So, enjoy!

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The Kickin’ Green Pork Chili @ Sam’s No. 3, Denver

I don’t know where you live, but, it was freaking cold here today. I’m talking serious sweater weather in Los Angeles in the middle of July. Insanity!

So, while I was cuddling up under a blanket with Greta this morning, my thoughts turned to my favorite cold weather foods…stews, hearty soups and best of all, chili! And when I think of chili, all I think of now is the sweet, spicy Kickin’ Green Pork Chili we had a few years back at Sam’s No. 3 in Denver.

Located on Curtis street in the heart of the city, Sam’s No. 3 is a classically hip diner that dates back to 1927, when it was part of a small local chain called Coney Islands. Still family-owned and operated all these years later, Sam’s No. 3 was so good that we actually ate their twice during our visit.

The fact that it was walking distance from our hotel — The Curtis, which is still one of the coolest hotels we’ve ever stayed at anywhere! — didn’t hurt, but the thing that brought us back was that magical “gringo hot” Green Pork Chili!

I don’t know for sure what’s in it, aside from tender pork strips and green chile deliciousness, but, I had something very similar in a sauce form at The Shed in Santa Fe, and I swear to God, that taste haunts my dreams, amigos. Amazing!

So, here’s to you, Sam’s No. 3. Many thanks for brightening my cold, dreary day in green chili memories…you guys, rock!

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Happy Father’s Day, amigos!

Thanks to this delicious 10 pack of Dad’s Root Beer (made with real cane sugar, y’all!) I know what I’ll be drinking this Father’s Day. But even better than the frothy root beer will be the awesome company I’ll get to share it with!

I know it sounds super corny, but being your Daddy is the best job I ever had, Greta B., and I’ll love you forever. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

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Free Cane Sweeeet Iced Tea Day @ Popeyes

When Christine told me last night that yesterday was National Iced Tea Day, I just knew we had to have some. And when we walked into Popeyes for dinner and the place was covered with flair advertising their brand-spanking-new offering, Cane Sweeeet Iced Tea, well, guess what we ordered to drink?

Actually, Greta and her sweet-tea-hating Mommy had water. And even though I am usually more of a Dr. Pepper man at Popeyes, I decided to honor this awesome holiday I knew nothing about by sampling the Cane Sweeeet Iced Tea.

And, man, was I glad I did! I haven’t had sweet tea in years, even when my Mom and sister lived in the South, we never drank it. I mean, it’s good and all, but, a little Southern sweet tea goes a long way. I’m not kidding, you get like, instant cavities…it’s freaky.

But this Popeyes deliciousness is a freaking revelation! I don’t know if it’s the cane sugar or what, but this is the best sweet iced tea I’ve ever had anywhere. And unlike most sweet tea, you can really taste the fresh-brewed tea in every sip. I actually had flecks of tea leaf in my ice when I finished! Awesome!

So, I take a bunch of pictures and am getting ready to blog about this cane sugar perfection and what do I read online? This Saturday, June 12th, in honor of National Iced Tea Day and Popeyes’ 38th anniversary, Popeyes locations nationwide are offering my favorite new drink in the world for free! That’s right, y’all, free Cane Sweeeet Tea for everyone! Yay!

Here’s hoping Popeyes has a rocking birthday and to the visionary soul who invented the best new holiday ever…we salute you. National Iced Tea Day 4eva!

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Rockabye Baby…take me away!

Last week, Greta’s gigantic lower molars came in with a vengeance and lemme tell ya, it was not pretty. Non-stop crying, bleeding gums, no eating, no sleeping, urgh…it was hellish. And that was just us! You can imagine how bad the week was for poor little Greta!

Seriously though, whether you’re the one growing the new teeth or not, teething totally f-ing sucks. There was, however, one bright spot last week and that was the fact that we scored some swinging new Rockabye Baby music to help all of us through those long, sleepless nights. Hooray!

Of course, we already had a pretty rocking collection of Rockabye’s lullaby jams on hand — Coldplay, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and The Beatles Vol. I — but, trust me, even The Beatles get old after the thousandth late-night listen.

Thankfully for us, Rockabye has s-loads of other bands on tap. So, first we checked out Björk, which, as you can see, has the coolest cover of the bunch. The lullaby versions of her songs were good, but since her music is kinda trippy and lullaby-ish already, it didn’t really sound that different.

Metallica, on the other hand, was capital-A awesome! Rocking Greta to sleep to a lullaby version of “Enter Sandman” made me wanna bang my head like a madman. Um…you know, a very sleepy madman. Anyway, it rocked.

Green Day was also excellent, but a few of the songs were so rocking that Greta started dancing in my arms. Not the best trait in sleepy-time music…but we will definitely listen to this one in the car on road trips. Awesome stuff, guys!

Surprisingly, our favorite of the latest bunch of Rockabye Baby CD’s was No Doubt. Crazy, huh? I mean, we have a few of the band’s regular CD’s and some of Gwen’s solo stuff, but have never been hard core fans…until now!

Seriously, the lullaby versions of No Doubt’s songs are absolutely gorgeous. I defy you not to shed a tear while listening to that lilting lullaby version of “Simple kind of life”. And when you think about what she’s singing about in the real song and how your new life with this amazing baby is anything but simple…wow, it kills me every time.

And best of all, the No Doubt Rockabye Baby is just great music. Period. Seriously, this album is so good that even people without babies would dig it. So, if you only have the cash for one Rockabye Baby CD this summer, No Doubt’s is the one I’d buy. Actually, I’d still probably get the Beatles one too…Rockabye’s soaring version of “Across The Universe” makes me cry my ass off. Beautiful!!

We’re currently on a waiting list (!) at the library for a couple more Rockabye Baby CD’s (Rolling Stones, anyone?) so, we’ll let you know what we think of those when they come in. But for now, thank you Rockabye Baby, for saving our butts last week…you guys rock!

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“The Empire Strikes Back” turns 30!

Thirty years ago today my brother, my Dad, my Stepmom, Wendy, and I piled into our van and drove to San Jose to see what was then known simply as, “The Empire Strikes Back”, for the first time on the big screen. It was opening day and we didn’t have no internet machines back then, so, we got to the Winchester Century Theaters at the crack of dawn to get in line to buy tickets.

And then we waited, and waited, and waited some more, and roughly four hours after we got there, we got our tickets and went inside to see the movie.

Now, I’m sure the Winchester Theaters have aged a bit since then — the place was practically crumbling when we saw a midnight screening of the first “Harry Potter” flick there back in 2001 — but in 1980, that theater was the shit, baby!

Seriously, the screen was so big and the sound was so loud that I literally shook through the first half hour of the movie. I know that sounds crazy, but my brother and I had been waiting for this movie to come out for three years and my eleven-year-old brain simply could not take the excitement. I was in such shock to actually be in a theater watching that movie that I couldn’t even focus on what was happening onscreen. Crazy!

Anyway, when I did calm down enough to enjoy it, the movie rocked our world, and thirty years later, it is still the coolest “Star Wars” film in the series. I just watched it again last week with Greta and though I didn’t tremble through the first half hour like I did then, the thrill of sharing this monumental movie from my childhood with my daughter just about killed me.

So, in honor of the movie’s 30th anniversary today, I thought I’d share this collection of cool-ass “Empire” posters I found online. Happy birthday, old friend, here’s hoping the force is with you…always!

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Our St. Patrick’s Day miracle of the crockpot…

After sampling an amazing corned beef brisket cooked in a crockpot last night at Trader Joe’s, I got all inspired and decided to slow cook my corned beef this year too. Hooray, I thought, chuck that baby in the crockpot and spend the rest of the day chilling with a frothy pint o’ Guinness!

Well, that’s not exactly how things went down. Things started off great, I got up and fed Greta, Googled some corned beef in a crockpot advice and then washed and preheated our crockpot. Yes, much to Christine’s chagrin, I preheat my crockpot. I’ve been doing it for years and have never had a problem…until today.

The minute that slab of cold corned beef and all that pink juicy goodness plopped into the overheated ceramic crockpot, I heard a horrible CRACK and knew right away what had happened. That’s right, I broke my crockpot crock in half…a nice clean crack right down the left side.

So, with pink corned beef juice slowly leaking into the metal pan of the crockpot, I hurriedly transferred everything to a regular pot on the stove. Crazy! And while that came to a boil I decided to call Rival’s Customer Service number to see how much a replacement ceramic crock would set me back and was promptly put on hold…for 43 minutes!

Now, a sane, reasonable person would have probably hung up and called back later…but not me! I held that sweaty phone to my ear like a crazy person as I rocked Greta to sleep for her nap and when an operator finally came on I told her my plight. And what happened next can only be described as a St. Patrick’s Day miracle…the lovely young woman at Rival offered to replace my ceramic crock for FREE! No shipping charge, no handling fee, no “wow-you-preheat-your-crockpot” charge, nothing.

It seems they’ve been having trouble with their phones today — which might explain my 43 minute wait on hold! — so to compensate for that, Rival was offering their customers all sorts of cool stuff. She even said, and I quote: “Well, sir, the luck of the Irish must be with you today!” Hilarious!!

So, as I blast U2, Sinead and the Cranberry’s and the aroma of boiled corned beef wafts through my house, all I can say is, thank you, Rival Customer Service…you guys seriously rock. And though I won’t be able to slow cook my corned beef brisket till next year, you can bet your shillelagh that I’ll be thanking St. Patrick for the miracle of the replaced crockpot as I do it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, amigos!

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Oscar Nominees 2010

I know I am totally behind on my analysis of this year’s Oscar Nominations — my friend James calls me the king of day old new lately — but Greta is about midway through her first winter cold, and, wow, what an all-consuming adventure that has been. Seriously, I’ve never seen so much snot…

And, ironically enough, that kinda describes how I feel about this year’s crop of nominees. I mean, there were a few cool surprises (Maggie Gyllenhaal earning her first nod for “Crazy Heart” and the always-deserving Jeremy Renner pulling an upset Best Actor nod for “The Hurt Locker”) but overall, most of the big award-magnet movies this year left me pretty cold.

“Up in the Air” was a total snooze, I really dug the ladies in that movie — both of whom scored well-deserved Supporting Actress nods — but I kinda hated George Clooney’s character and the too-cool glibness of the script sealed my hatred of the film. Same thing with “Precious”. Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe were fantastic and deserve every award that comes their way, but the movie itself was a glorified (if R-rated) after-school special. Snooze…

The Coen Brother’s latest outing “A Serious Man” was another one of their crazy, impenetrable disappointments. Seriously, does anyone know what the hell that movie is about? I sure don’t, and I’ve watched parts of it twice! The fact that this shiny turd of a movie scored a Best Screenplay nod and a Best Picture nomination makes me think the Academy sees the brother’s names on the ballot every year and just checks them off out of habit. I mean, come on, guys, you don’t  have to nominate EVERY movie they make! Urgh…

Now, with my least favorite nominess out of the way, let me get to the movies I did love. “Inglorious Basterds” was freaking amazing. Not only did it look great, but the cast rocked — the insanely-good Christoph Waltz is a lock to win Best Supporting Actor and he totally deserves it! — and the script was incredible. Tense, dramatic and funny as hell, “Basterds” is probably Tarantino’s best movie so far, and being a QT fan from way back, that is really saying something.

Also loved Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” and was thrilled to see the movie recognized in the Best Picture category as well. I told Christine after we saw it that if there was any justice in the world, “The Blind Side” would be nominated for Best Picture, and, well, I guess justice ruled supreme on Tuesday. I kid you not, amigos, this is one the best Hollywood movies in years, so, congrats to everyone involved.

Also very glad to see Jeff Bridges in the race again for “Crazy Heart”. Bridges has served his time, and unless Renner pulls a major Adrien Brody-style upset, he is totally gonna win Best Actor this year. Bridges didn’t just play that character, he WAS that character. Awesome, awesome work!

Scoring her 16th nomination this year, Meryl Streep positively soared as Julia Child in “Julie & Julia”, and is probably the only genuine competition Sandra Bullock has in the Best Actress race. I’m hoping for another tie, but, barring that…it’s gonna be a squeaker.

Glad to see the Academy finally giving sci-fi some respect this year as well. I haven’t seen “District 9″ yet, but the fact that a little indie geekfest like that scored so many nods — including those for Best Picture and Screenplay! — is very exciting for a sci-fi geek like me! Go, aliens!

And speaking of sci-fi, I gotta hand it to nutty old James Cameron, man, “Avatar” was incredible. Unlike the rest of the world, I hadn’t seen the movie until last night, and I was completely blown away.

I was so prepared to hate those freaky, blue bastards, but, wow, was I wrong. “Avatar” has more heart and soul in it’s weakest parts than several of the other nominees combined. And the effects? Gorgeous! Trust me, you have never seen anything like this movie before, and though it will face some stiff competition from “The Hurt Locker” in most of the major categories, I have a feeling “Avatar” will break the sci-fi curse by winning Best Picture. Yep, it’s that good.

Ooo…also very excited to see Stanley Tucci finally joining the Oscar Nominee club with his creepy turn as a murderous pedophile in “The Lovely Bones”. I really loved the movie and even though it was pretty much shut out everywhere else, was very glad to hear Tucci’s named called on Tuesday morning. Same thing with Tucci’s fellow first-time nominee, Christopher Plummer.

Yes, you read that correctly…Captain Von Trapp himself has never been nominated for an Oscar. Shocking, huh? And, even though I hear “The Last Station” is a total snoozefest, I gotta say, rock on Mr. Edelweiss!

And finally, though I have yet to see it, I was very pleased to see “An Education” score not only a Best Picture nomination, but also a Screenplay nod for Nick Hornby! Hornby is one of my favorite novelist, so, I’m guessing the script rocks. But either way, kudos to you, Señor Hornby!

To see the complete printable list of this year’s Oscar Nominees, click here. And, as always, dying to hear what you guys think of the nominated movies and such, so, fire away!

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Feliz Navidad, amigos!

If you’re anything like us, today is gonna be kinda crazy. Christine will be baking till she drops, Greta and the cats will continue terrorizing our Christmas tree and I will do my best to stamp and address the mountain of unsent Christmas cards on our kitchen table. I know, I know…kinda late in coming, but they will get to you before New Years, so, I say that still totally counts!

But while our cards will be late, our warm wishes for y’all are anything but. So, in the spirit of the season, please enjoy these pics of Greta’s first visit with Santa Claus. As you can see, they really hit it off…for like, ten seconds. Ah, well…there’s always next year. Happy holidays, amigos!

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“Alexa Chung” gets the axe…

While catching up on our “Alexa Chung” episodes over the weekend, Christine, Greta and I were stunned to hear an emotional Chung proclaim on last Thursday’s episode that not only would that be her last episode of the year, but also, her last episode…bum, bum, bum…ever! Ahhh! Say it ain’t so, Alexa!

Alas, a quick Google search proved that it was indeed so…and that MTV had canceled our beloved “It’s On With Alexa Chung”. Urgh…so sad!!

I mean, I know the show suffered in the ratings and that ill-advised retool at the start of season two certainly didn’t help, but Chung really seemed to find her groove in the last few weeks, and the show had finally settled into what it was meant to be all along: a fun, goofy half hour chat show with music.

I’m not kidding, the last few episodes were golden, baby…A-list talent, crazy skits, cutting-edge music by bands you’ve never heard of…it was awesome. So, to have the show yanked from the schedule just when it was really starting to cook with gas is just plain cruel. Thanks, MTV, for the worst Christmas present ever!

So, as we mourn the loss of the best daytime talk show in years, I’ll leave you with some pics of our favorite Alexa Chung moments from both seasons. She might not brighten our afternoons anymore, but the memory of the lanky, hipster queen of UK chat will live forever in our hearts…

Long live Alexa Chung!

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Unique L.A. starts today!

Longtime readers are probably sick of hearing us rave about how cool the Unique L.A. independent design show is, but for the rest of you, please trust me when I tell you that Unique L.A. rocks, yo! This weekend will mark our third trip to the show and if history holds true, we are sure to come home with loads of groovy stuff and tons of great ideas for projects of our own.

Most of Greta’s favorite outfits and toys — not to mention a good chunk of the super cool artwork in her nursery! — were purchased at the last two shows and though we came home with dozens of bags, the prices at Unique L.A. are beyond cheap. Seriously, there are deals to be had here, amigos. And best of all, you’re supporting local artists and designers instead of, you know, Target and shit.

So, if you’re looking for art, clothing, home goods, jewelry, hell, even just some rocking-good food, Unique L.A. is the place to be this weekend. We’ll be there all day Sunday, so, if you see us foraging through the sale bins at Misha Lulu, by all means, stop and help us. Seriously. The more hands, the better!

Unique L.A. is being held today and Sunday, December 5th & 6th, at the California Market Center in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. For directions, hours, parking, vendor and ticket information, please visit the Unique L.A. homesite here.

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Monday Morning Mommy Movies at the Americana!

With the 2009 award-season already in full swing and the movies Christine and I have seen this fall essentially boiled down to two — “Precious” and “The Road”, which we are seeing tonight — we were both thrilled to learn that the super cool Pacific Theaters at The Americana in Glendale are now offering Monday Morning Mommy Movies!

The rules are pretty simple. Every Monday at 11:00AM, parents of any gender — I guess Daddy and Me Mondays didn’t have the same ring to it! — can bring their babies/toddlers and any older kids they want, to see a new release movie in an actual theater (!) without the fear of bothering other viewers. I mean, when the seats are packed with screaming babies, who’s gonna complain, right?

Needless to say, as soon as we heard about it, Christine and I were hooked. The problem is the movies they have been picking kinda sucked. Yes, the theater picks the movies. And honestly, that is my only complaint with the program. I mean, ain’t nobody going to see a movie on Monday morning EXCEPT sleep-deprived parents of young children, so, why not let us have the run of the joint for that first showing? Kinda stupid if you ask me.

Anyway, when the Michael Jackson documentary “This Is It” hit theaters a couple of weeks back — and more importantly, was selected as a Mommy and Me movie! — Christine and I packed Greta in the car and headed to the Americana. We sat in the fourth or fifth row back with our friends Chris and Jess and their new baby girl, Lily, and lemme tell ya, we had a blast!

Sure we were surrounded by strollers and diaper bags and shit, but, since most of the parents were sitting on the floor in the handicapped section behind us, we pretty much had the entire row to ourselves. Greta got to crawl around the seats a little, Christine and Jess could spread out to nurse, it was the next best thing to watching a movie at home.

And best of all, the movie itself rocked! The music, the dancing, the sheer enormity of the staging, the King of Pop in fighting form…there wasn’t a slow moment in the entire movie and more than anything, it makes you realize how freaking awesome that concert would have been. Wow, so sad…

Anyway, the girls seemed to dig the movie, with Greta even grooving a bit to “Wanna be Starting Something” — which I played into the ground this summer on our iPod! — and the older kids were seriously rocking out. There was one little African-American kid with this gigantic Afro who was dancing up and down the aisles the whole movie…it was so awesome!

So, kudos to Pacific Theaters for starting up such a cool program to begin with. And lest you think the Americana is the only place to see a Monday Morning Mommy Movie, think again. The screenings are held at Pacific Theaters all across the Southland, so, check it out!

Oh yeah, and if you wanna spread out on the floor with your wee one, I recommend you get there really early because those “seats” were snapped up by 10:30. At least that’s what Chris and Jess told us when we rolled in at 11:05…

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Dispatch from Planet Greta: Baby chickens rule!

OK, I know it seems like I’m posting a lot of Greta-centric stuff lately, but after uploading some super cute Halloween pics onto our sister blog, I figured I had to share a couple here too. As you can see, the baby Princess Leia costume will have to wait till next year…

To see more Greta-in-baby-chicken-suit-costume pics, check out Planet Greta or our Flickr photostream today. And, once again, Happy Halloween!

Baby chickens rule!!

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Happy Halloween, amigos!

With a pre-Halloween party last weekend, tons of candy-giving-out on tap for this weekend and Christine gearing up to make some of her traditionally-badass Halloween cupcakes, this week has pretty much flown by. So, in case I miss the opportunity to tell you all on the actual date…Happy Halloween, amigos!

And in honor of Greta’s first Halloween on the planet I decided to share this hilarious video I shot of her a couple weeks back at our local Target.

Though she laughed and smiled at most of the ghoulie stuff on display, as you can see, the poor thing did not know what to make of that creepy witch. Yikes…I hope she fares better with those spooky laughing Santas come Christmas!

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Where have you gone, Alexa Chung?

OK, I’m gonna give Alexa Chung the benefit of the doubt on this one. The first season of her MTV talk show “It’s on with Alexa Chung” was fun, funky and sometimes just plain weird, but we loved every kooky second of it. Seriously, I loved Miss Chung so much that I actually named my new cell phone after her. Yep, I name my cell phones…

So, you can imagine how excited Greta and I were to see the promos for the new and supposedly-improved “It’s on with Alexa Chung” that began airing a few weeks back. Like Miss Chung herself, the commercials were cool and super hip and promised to bring us: “More celebs. More music. Less BS.” with season two. Wow, a new and improved Alexa Chung? Sounds awesome, right? Wrong!

Alexa Chung when she was still cool...

After watching the show — which began airing in its new 3:30PM time slot last Monday — for a whole week now, all I can say is…WTF MTV? Every single thing that was cool or unique about the show is gone, seemingly forever. No more cool comedians stopping by to dish about pop culture, no more funky-fresh loft-like set, goofy guest intros and strange game play…shit, they even dumped the twitter and facebook pics from fans that used to bookend the commercial breaks. Lame!

I’m not kidding, amigos…it’s like MTV sucked everything that was fun and original out of the show and replaced it with a crazy-fake “live TV show” vibe. The groovy credits from the first season disappeared a while ago, but now the show starts with Alexa being “counted in” by her producers backstage before walking out onto the bland-ass set to greet her audience. If that’s supposed to be edgy, the honchos at MTV have apparently never watched “The View”.

I mean, come on, even the most sheltered tween out there has seen live TV before, so, it is not exciting or even remotely cool to see someone walk past a bunch of grips and shit backstage to make her entrance. It’s just lame…and, considering how great the show used to be, kinda sad.

Alexa Chung #5

Alexa Chung screencap!

And not only is the new format completely ridiculous — Alexa and her guests remain mic-ed when they cut to commercial so we can hear them chatting…ooo, edgy! — but Chung seems to hate it as much as we do. Seriously, there were times last week when even she looked totally bored.

I just don’t get it. MTV might think they’re fixing a broken show with this incredibly wrong-headed reboot, but what they’re really doing is trying to turn Alexa Chung into Carson Daly, and that is just plain stupid. “TRL” had an awesome run but it got old and it’s dead for a reason…let Alexa Chung do her thing or cancel her show and start over with someone else. It’s that simple.

That said, I’m giving Miss Chung and her producers one more week to turn this shit around…after that, I guess Greta and I will have to start watching something truly groundbreaking like the “The Bonnie Hunt Show” or something…

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Dispatch from Planet Greta: Greta crawls!

OK…I know we promised not to bore you guys with baby news all the time once we launched our sister (or is it daughter?) blog, Planet Greta, into orbit. But, I’m sorry, when your baby girl starts crawling, you kinda wanna spread the word!

So, without further ado, we give you the HD video world premiere of Greta crawling across the living room floor last Wednesday night in her pajama top and a diaper. Yep, that was what she chose to wear for her crawling debut, I guess the pajama bottoms were slowing her down or something.

And while I swore I’d never let “my baby” run around the house in just a diaper, once Greta tore off those pants — something she really loves to do these days! — she was moving so fast we barely had enough time to  pause “Glee” and grab the camera, let alone re-pants her. Oy!

Either way, enjoy the show…

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Madame Tussauds Hollywood

I know our regular Flickr followers might have already seen most (or all) of these pics online, but, since I never officially blogged about it here, I now bring you back in time to August 1st, 2009, opening day at the groovy new Madame Tussauds Wax Musuem in Hollywood.

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #1

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #2

Located next to the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., Madame Tussauds is the newest must-see attraction in a city full of them. And while many Angelenos worried at first about this newer, grander museum slamming the final nail in the coffin of the aging Hollywood Wax Musuem up the street…rest assured, amigos, there is more than enough room for both houses of wax on the boulevard.

For one thing, that old-ass Hollywood Wax Musuem is scary as shit. I mean it, we went at night one time and just about jumped out of our skin in the horror film wing. And though the Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter statue at Tussauds is incredibly unnerving — especially if you stand, Clarice-like, on the marked dot on the floor! — overall, the newer museum is pretty much scare free.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t rock, because, well, it totally does. Not only does Madame Tussauds have the most lifelike statues I’ve seen anywhere, but you also get to do all kinds of goofy stuff with them.

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Madame Tussauds Hollywood #4

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #5

That’s right, every statue at Madame Tussauds is there for the fondling. And while the hair and the eyes are strictly off limits in the touch department, everything else on these statues is fair game…and I do mean everything.

Yikes…my brother and I got so raunchy with that poor Halle Berry statue that I’m surprised she didn’t come to life and slap us silly. But tastelessness aside, touching and posing for endless cheesy pics with the statues is part of what make the experience so cool in the first place.

And if you run out of ideas for pictures, each wing of the museum is equipped with props to help you out. Wanna pose as a “Sister Act” nun with Whoopi Goldberg, grab a habit. Feel like chilling with Butch and Sundance, slap on a cowboy hat. And though I think some of that stuff might get kinda gross and germy over time, on opening day, those props were spotless!

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #6

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #7

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #8

My only complaint is that the bathrooms are located in very weird places. One on the top floor and one on the bottom with nothing in between. I had to take the elevator down to the lower level and exit through the gift shop, then reenter through the main lobby to get to the bathroom from the second floor with Greta.

Even worse than that is the fact that the lower level restrooms have no diaper changing stations for babies…not even the women’s! Lame, huh? I realize that not everyone needs these things, but, come on, you spend a gazillion dollars on this joint and you can’t slap up some changing stations in the can? Please…

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #9

Madame Tussauds Hollywood #10

But other than that, and the slightly highish price tag — same day adult tickets run $25 a pop! — the musuem is a very cool place to visit. And seeing as they have plenty of room to expand and loads of new figures on the way — I think they added a Michael Jackson right after our visit — the museum should do a pretty killer job of getting people to come back for repeat visits down the road.

Hell, I’d go back for Halle Berry alone!

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Our summer vacation!

August is usually kind of an insane month for us as we always seem to be traveling somewhere, but this past month was, as the saying goes, off da hook.

Seriously, family, friends, high school reunions, wax museums, soda tasting parties, road trips all up and down the state, you name it, we did it last month. And now, at long last, we’re home. So, while I eagerly prepare to fill you in on the many strange and wonderful adventures we had this past August, please enjoy this picture of a road-weary Greta in her very well-used car seat.

If there was any doubt as to how crazy busy we’ve been, I think the look on her face says it all. Yikes. Thank God she still digs road trips

Greta holding on for dear life!

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Greetings from Planet Greta…

After talking about it for months, Christine and I are very pleased to announce that today is the official launch of our first-ever Make.See.Eat.Do spinoff blog, Planet Greta. Hooray!

A photo/video blog dedicated to all things great about our daughter Greta (I know, biased much?), Planet Greta won’t feature traditional blog posts or our usual sparkling wit and wisdom, but it will be so loaded with cute-ass pictures and videos that you’ll hardly notice. Seriously, wading through all the cuteness here will take hours…even if you’re not one of her grandparents!

Planet Greta launches today!!

Christine, Greta and I on PLANET GRETA!

And best of all, since it is strictly a photo/video blog, Planet Greta will be super easy to update — something that we’ve found to be very important in the last few months! –which means you’ll be getting up-to-the-minute, front row seats to all the Greta action pretty much as it unfolds. Yay!

So, fasten your seatbelts, ready your RSS feeds and bookmarks, and click on over to http://planetgreta.wordpress.com today!

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Greta’s self pics on Photo Booth

OK, I don’t mean to sound like the annoying new Dad bragging about how smart his daughter is or anything, but Greta has been doing something the past couple of days that really blows both Christine and I away. No, she’s not reading yet and her first novel (or screenplay!) is no doubt months away from completion, but what she has been doing since the Fourth of July is taking her own picture on our Macbook’s Photo Booth application.

Greta webcam #1

Greta webcam #2

For the non-Mac users out there, Photo Booth is a pre-installed program that uses the built-in iSight webcam on your Macbook to take pictures and/or video of you like in a real life photo booth. It’s really kinda awesome.

Anyway, I knew kids dug the program because my niece and nephews fire that thing up every time we visit them. What I didn’t know was that babies would love it too. So one day when Greta was getting a little fussy, I flipped open the Macbook and introduced her to Photo Booth.

And from the minute she saw herself on the screen, she was hooked. Like most babies, Greta is totally in love with her own image right now — seriously, mirrors are her new best friend — but unlike most babies she learned that if you press down on the big white bar on the Macbook’s touchpad, you can actually take your own picture.

That’s right, amigos, every picture you see here was taken by a four month old. Man, I can’t even figure out how to take pictures with Christine’s cell phone and Greta is already the Photo Booth master…Crazy, huh?

Greta webcam #5

Greta webcam #3

Greta webcam #4

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