Monthly Archives: June 2008

Handknit “Seaside Throw” Baby Blanket

Hey all, Farmer’s daughter bean here with another “make” post.

Believe it or not, I’ve been knitting this blanket since February! So, you can imagine how happy I was to finally finish it a couple weeks back and get it mailed off to Oregon…yeah! Even though I haven’t even seen a picture of him yet (get on the ball, folks!) I made this blanket for my new nephew Colton, who was born on April 9th. Ironically enough, Colton was born on the same day as his father, my younger brother, Mike.

The pattern was altered a bit from a larger one found in the book Debbie Bliss Home where it is simply called the “Seaside Throw.” I used Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, which helped to keep the cost of it from sky-rocketing as the pattern calls for a lot of yarn. Five skeins to be exact.

It’s also the first time I’ve knit a guernsey pattern — which is based on a traditional English pattern used to make sweaters for fishermen — which wasn’t exactly hard to make, but boy was it ever time consuming. I did get to learn how to cable and make a bobble as well, which was actually quite fun.

But again, it did take a LONG TIME to make this blanket. So long in fact that the girls in my Stitch ‘n Bitch group started giving me a hard time about finishing before he outgrew it…ha! But, now that I am done, I think it was well worth the journey…however long it took!

I haven’t heard what the family thinks of it yet, but since I’m still waiting for the birth announcement, I’m not going to hold my breath!

For now, I can just hope they can get some use out of the blanket before it gets too warm up there and then I’ll take my own pictures of Colton with his new “blanky” when I visit them in July.

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Wii Fit Weekend in Burbank!

Hooray, the agonizing wait is over! After pre-ordering our Wii Fit more than a month ago on Amazon, Christine and I were overjoyed today to finally receive it in the mail. I swear to God, I was so excited to get it that I practically jumped the UPS guy in the driveway when he pulled up.

Man, I thought we loved our Wii console before…but now, with the addition of a Wii Fit balance board (pictured above) and dozens of fun workout options in four key categories — yoga, aerobics, strength training, and balance games — we are never gonna leave the house again!

Included in every Wii Fit box is the shiny, super cool white balance board and the game. Simply plug it in and play. And while the exercise options utilizing the board all sound very fun, the one I’m most looking forward to using to lose weight is the jogging “game”.

Using only the Wii remote, the jogging program takes your Mii avatars — cool little Wii people you create from scads of templates at Wii Central — on a jog through a candy-hued Wii park, city, or other background of your chosing. All you do is tuck the Wii remote into your pocket and set off!

Another rocking feature of the Wii Fit is the fact that it tracks your daily progress. Using easy to read and understand charts and graphs, the Wii Fit allows you to keep tabs on your body mass index (BMI) and weight loss over time and even allows you to compare charts with other members of your household. Whoo-hoo! Game on, Farmer’s Daughter Bean!

Speaking of, Christine is much more excited about the yoga program, which uses the Wii Fit balance board to make sure you are posing correctly and staying perfectly balanced while you work out. This looks pretty cool too, but from what I’ve seen the graphics here aren’t nearly as eye-catching as the jogging program.

And since I think the idea of “playing” a jogging game will make the fact that I’m exercising much more bearable, I’m gonna need all the digital bells and whistles I can get! Know what I’m saying?

Anyway, will report further once we’ve had a chance to use this thing some more, but in the meantime, here’s to Nintendo for making exercise fun for the video game geeks of the world! Rock on, Wii Fit!

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Weezer: “The Red Album”

Six studio albums into their career, one of our all-time favorite bands, geek rock pioneers Weezer, have released what is probably their finest CD yet.

A nerd rock masterpiece, the so-called “Red Album” — a companion of sorts to their self-titled Blue and Green albums — finds our boys boldly branching out in whole new directions. And the effect is just plain dizzying…I shit you not, amigos, this Rick Rubin-produced album is kind of the band’s version of “Pet Sounds”.

And if you haven’t checked out The Beach Boys’ iconic “Pet Sounds”, well, get thee to iTunes, my friend. It will literally change the way you think about L.A. pop-rock, hell, even music in general. You’ll love it! And judging from the songs on “The Red Album”, Weezer clearly did too!

Having mastered the catchy pop-rock hook in previous outings, lead singer Rivers Coumo and company have taken everything they’ve learned over the years and crafted something really special here. “The Red Album” has a sonic maturity and a winking, self-deprecating charm that will leave you laughing and weeping at the same time.

Seriously, some of the songs here are f-ing beautiful! And the lyrics…wow! Track four’s “Heart Songs” about the bands and musicians — Cat Stevens, Quiet Riot, Devo and Debbie Gibson to name a few — who inspired Weezer on their way to greatness is hilarious. Especially cool is the way the song totally changes midway through with the injection of a pounding, grunge-laden guitar riff.

Instantly darkening the tone and deepening the emotion of the song, the intensely-personal lyrics here portray the profound impact of Nirvana’s groundbreaking “Nevermind” on Cuomo and his bandmates. Poignant, heartfelt, and catchy as all hell, the song wraps up by detailing the band’s own rise to fame. If there is any justice in the world, “Heart Songs” will be Weezer’s next “Buddy Holly” break-out hit. It’s incredible.

Even more sophisticated is the band’s “wall of sound” anthem, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)”. Incorporating military-style chants, police sirens, manic, hip hop urgency, the epic rock drama of a vintage Queen ballad, and Aaron Copland’s soaring “Appalachian Spring”, the song is destined to be a classic.

And just when you think it can’t get any cooler, this almost six-minute opus incorporates some of the slyest, self-reverential humor ever recorded. I mean, really, who else could chant: “I am the greatest man that ever lived…” with such deadpan sincerity? Awesome!

And the rest of the album is equally bad-ass, with “Pork and Beans” and the more traditionally-Weezer-ish “Troublemaker”, destined to get plenty of airtime this summer. And the final song on the album, “The Angel and the One” is so simple and lovely that you’ll want to listen to it every night. I think that Richard Cromelin, in his review for the L.A. Times nailed the impact of the song when he described “The Angel and the One” as “end[ing] this march through the material plane on a note of spiritual transcendence”.

You got that right, Richard! Oh, and even better than the album is the price! I bought the standard 10-track version CD at Circuit City on Tuesday for $5.99! Insane, huh? But I should note that I have since found at least two other versions of “The Red Album” for sale online.

Amazon has a 14-track “Deluxe” edition available for $11.99, and iTunes has a 15-track “Deluxe” edition for $12.99. Hmmm…guess I’ll have to buy the other tracks online. But hey, even at 99-cents a pop, the entire album will still end up costing me around $10.99, so I’m still way ahead!

Rock on, Weezer!

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The Taco Truck war escalates!

Well, it’s official…the L.A. County Board of Supervisor’s war with our beloved taco trucks has claimed it’s first victim. And while the circumstances surrounding the citation are a bit odd — the chickenshit pendejo who called in the complaint used the name of the owner of the truck when he called! — the outcome is downright chilling.

The L.A. County Sheriff cited the owner of La Flor de Sahuayo, Alejandro Valdovino, with a misdemeanor violation of the new ordinance. That is the maximum penalty allowed by law, and if you ask me, that’s just plain loco!

So, to drum up support for the cause and encourage all of those taco-loving folks out there who have not yet signed the petition, to do so, our friends at saveourtacotrucks.com have started selling t-shirts! Yeah!

Emblazoned with the catchy: “Carne Asada is not a Crime” on the back and the words: “Salva Las Trocas” on the front, the shirts have apparently been selling like, well…taco truck tacos. So, get yourself a shirt at the website and sign the petition while you’re there, or better yet, cut out the middle man altogether and forward your thoughts directly to your County Supervisors at the links below.

And no, you don’t have to be from Los Angeles to bitch these folks out, you just have to love yourself some tasty street tacos!

Thanks to the movement’s rocking man of the hour, Aaron Sonderleiter, for forwarding me this information via e-mail and, as always, que viva las trocas!

District 1
Gloria Molina
(213) 974-4111
molina@bos.lacounty.gov

District 2
Yvone Burke
(213) 974-2222
seconddistrict@burke.lacounty.gov
This seat is still up for grabs after Tuesday’s election, so Burke may or may not get your e-mail…but, what the hell, send it anyway!

District 3
Zev Yaroslavsky
(213) 974-3333
zev@bos.lacounty.gov

District 4
Don Knabe
(213) 974-4444
don@lacbos.org

District 5
Michael D. Antonovich
(213) 974-5555
FifthDistrict@lacbos.org

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Obama-Clinton: One ticket to rule them all…

Wow…what a day for politics in America! Christine and I actually sat in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s last night listening to Hillary Clinton’s “kinda concession” speech on the radio for what seemed like twenty minutes. Twenty minutes! In the parking lot…at Trader Joe’s…at rush hour…you know how many angry hippies honked at us? Yikes…

But despite the hippie uprising outside, we could not tear ourselves away from the history unfolding over the radio in our Saturn. I mean, it was so dramatic that you half expected Clinton to burst into “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” or something. A great, memorable speech by a class act. It was incredible…

And even though she has not technically conceded defeat, Obama — who gave another one of his speeches for the ages last night as well — now has enough delegates to secure the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States of America. That’s right, a black dude from Hawaii might just be our next President. Mahalo, America, mahalo!

And if things go the way I hope they will, a hip white lady from Chicago just might join him on the ticket. My feeling is that Clinton’s waiting for a proper invite to the big dance, so, please, Barack, ask her out already! Can you imagine what kind of good these two could do for the country?

Sure, they have different styles and agendas, but hey, didn’t Gore and Clinton too? Those two weren’t exactly palling around all the time either, but they made a pretty rocking team. In fact, I actually think the friction between Obama and Clinton would be good for the country. I mean, hell, we’ve had eight years of “yes men” in Washington and look where it’s gotten us?

Wouldn’t it be cool to see two bold, independent, crazy smart leaders hashing things out together in the White House? That shit would be epic! Seriously, wow…just the thought of an Obama-Clinton ticket gives me goosebumps!

Let’s hope the two of them feel the same way…and that someone in one of their camps has already secured the Obama-Clinton.com domain name!

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Southern Style Chicken Breakfast Biscuit @ McDonald’s

Even casual readers have probably noticed that Christine and I are anything but food snobs. And while we totally enjoy eating and making high-end food stuff, we also have a deep, abiding love for some tasty low-end food fare as well.

So, when I heard the steady stream of cheesy, borderline offensive radio ads for the new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit and Sandwich at McDonald’s, I figured I had to try that shit out! Not because the ads were so Uncle Remus-offensive, but because the food those “po’ Southern folks” were shilling sounded so damn good.

And, man alive, was it ever! I have not tried the lunch version yet, but, I kid you not, the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit is the best thing to happen to McDonald’s breakfasts since the Egg McMuffin. Seriously, this thing is amazing!

Fans of the Southern fast food staple Chick-fil-A will probably say that Ronald McDonald — who I just found out was co-created by NBC’s resident hambone, Willard Scott! — simply stole their idea.

And while that might be true, I gotta say…that scary-ass clown has also greatly improved upon Chick-fil-A’s concept in the process. Sorry, Tar Heels, but it’s true…the clown has trumped your beloved Chick-fil-A again!

Deceptively simple, the breakfast biscuit is literally just a super moist, insanely flavorful wedge of fried chicken plopped onto a piping hot biscuit. When I asked the chick at the counter what else was on it, she shrugged and said: “I dunno, maybe a little butter.” Nice answer. But a quick check under the hood of my biscuit proved her to be correct.

My only complaint is that there is not enough butter on that tasty breakfast creation. I know, like I need the extra butter, right? But, in this case, you kinda do. It’s not too dry or anything, but I think more butter or perhaps a little side of dipping gravy would really jazz the whole thing up.

So, until I sample the lunch menu chicken sandwich — which, like the original one at Chick-fil-A, comes with pickles on the bun — see y’all at the drive thru.

Actually, I kinda hate the drive thru. If you really wanna find me, look for me enjoying my biscuit and morning paper with the rest of the blue-haired mall walkers and homeless people in the restaurant.

That’s right, I’m loving it…Que viva McDonald’s!

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“The American Mall” posters!

If anyone out there happened to catch the Mike Meyer’s-hosted MTV Movie Awards last night, you might have caught a couple of trailers for my upcoming MTV musical “The American Mall”. I wrote the first draft of the original screenplay while I was still in film school at AFI, so to have it finally coming out now is kind of crazy exciting!

Produced by the guys who exec-produced the “High School Musical” movies, “The American Mall” is set to air on MTV on Monday, August 11th @ 9PM, followed the next day by the DVD and original soundtrack release online and at Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

So, mark your calendars, and in the meantime, enjoy these rocking “Mall” posters I found on the movie’s official site at: www.theamericanmall.com.

Not sure yet if the DVD’s will have three different covers or not, but if they do, I like the orange one best. The bad-ass on that cover is the villainous Madison Huxley character and though I totally dig the posters featuring Ally and Joey too, I think Madison’s is the most dramatic. So, rock on mean girl!

Oh yeah, and if you squint really hard, you can almost make out my “story by” credit on the bottom of the poster. If I find a higher resolution pic somewhere, I’ll post it soon, but for now…enjoy!

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