Monthly Archives: July 2010

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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Renegade Craft Fair: Los Angeles

We might not have made it to Comic Con this weekend, but we did spend the afternoon hanging with some insanely-hip DIY geeks at the second annual Renegade Craft Fair: Los Angeles, so, I’m not complaining.

A twisted sister of sorts to the home-grown Unique L.A. independent design show staged twice yearly at the California Market Center, the Renegade Craft Fair is being held this weekend, June 24th and 25th at the Los Angeles State Historic Park (aka “the cornfield”) in downtown L.A..

Unlike Unique L.A., which highlights mostly local artists, the Renegade Craft Fair is open to hip, crafty vendors from all across the country. So, while you do get a little of bleed-over — we saw a lot of the same stuff we saw at Unique L.A. this past April — the Renegade Craft Fair definitely had a grittier edge.

It might have been the open air venue (which was gorgeous!) or the free-flowing concert-in-the-park feel (several of the vendors we browsed were shirtless and maybe a little high too boot!) but the stuff on display was all very cool, so, though we got a bit dusty on the drive in and out (again, just like an all-day concert) the groovy, laid back feel of the event made everything A-OK.

So, if you’re looking for some fun, outdoorsy shopping, or even just browsing — seriously, there was some truly stunning one-of-a-kind art on display here –  slap on some sunscreen and head on down to the Renegade Craft Fair: Los Angeles.

Oh, and parking and admission is totally FREE, gotta love that! For more information on the event please click here.

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Stride Shift Berry + Mint Gum

Normally, I would hate to follow a bad review with another one, but, this latest salvo in the Stride Gum Revolution was so bad that I simply had to warn you away from it. Yes, I know, the commercials are kinda cute and gum that changes flavor as you chew it does sound like a Wonkatastic idea. But, trust me, amigos, Stride Shift Berry + Mint gum is just plain horrific.

Being the cheap-ass that I am, I waited until their was a two-for-one coupon in the newspaper and the minute it came, I cut that baby out and practically ran to Vons to get me some Stride Shift. Now, before I go any further, I should tell you that the other flavor we sampled was the Citrus + Mint, which was only mildly repulsive…but that Berry + Mint? Wow, what a disaster!

At first blush though, everything seemed cool. The packaging was kinda retro and fun, and the website describes the Berry + Mint flavor as, and I quote: “a gateway gum to Unbelievablesville”, so, I was so ready to get down with this stuff. But then I opened the package and saw a very strange, purple-hued gum that can best be described as spongy candy sandpaper.

I imagine the gritty feel of the individual pieces is due to the flavor crystals or some shit, but, seriously, who wants to eat gritty gum? Yikes…

Once I started chewing it, however, I soon realized that the grit was the least of my problems. I mean, the artificial berry flavor up front was fine, and, you know, appropriately artificial tasting, but the truly epic terribleness of this gum was only revealed to me after “the shift”.

My brother described this gum best by calling it “Berry + Aluminum Foil” and, sadly, that is not far off. Tinny, sharp and freakishly metallic tasting, the mint flavor is so weird that you’d swear you lost a filling or something. Blech…coupon or no coupon, I’d say stay as far away as you can from this Stride Shift nastiness.

Oh, and just in case you do happen to keep this crap in your mouth after “the shift”, I should warn you that Stride Shift Berry + Mint completely disintegrates — and sticks to everything in your mouth! — in a little over an hour. Yep, I said disintegrates, like asprin melting on your tongue.

Urgh…just try “shifting” that taste outta your mouth!

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David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee

OK, first off, who even knew that David Lynch made coffee? I mean, I’m a David Lynch geek from way back, and even I had no idea that the multi-talented Lynch also roasted his own blend of gourmet coffee! Wow…so cool.

Anyway, my friend Ginger and I literally stumbled upon David Lynch Signature Cup coffee in the Book Soup booth at this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Apparently, Lynch had been there earlier in the day signing copies of his book on meditation, “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity”, which had just come out in paperback.

Seeing that stack of Lynch books with the little “signed copy” stickers totally threw me. Wait, whaaa? David Lynch was here at the Festival…signing books while Ginger and I waited in line for the Alicia Silverstone cookbook signing? Are you kidding me?! Urgh…damn you, Cher Horowitz!

Of course, it wasn’t really Silverstone’s fault. The Festival of Books printed catalog and website is almost impossible to decipher and Lynch was just one of many cool author events we missed that day. Thanks, Los Angeles Times!

Anyway, back to the coffee. So, right beside the pile of signed meditation books at the Book Soup cash wrap was a tiny pyramid of David Lynch Signature Cup coffee cans. Seriously, I just about died. I mean, right there before me was the perfect marriage of two of my lifelong passions…movies and coffee…in a darkly-beautiful, collectible can to boot!  How insanely awesome!

I immediately purchased a can of the Organic House Blend — David Lynch Signature Cup also makes an Organic Espresso and Organic French Roast Decaf — and popped that thing open the minute we got home. I didn’t make the coffee for a few more days, but, I just about died (again!) at what was inside the can. Nestled beneath the bag of coffee beans at the bottom of the can was a very cool “Eraserhead” coffee coaster!

Like the nerd that I am, my first thought was: “Wow, I wonder if the other coffee flavors have different coasters! I must buy them all!” Cooler heads prevailed and I decided to try the coffee first. And thank God I did, because that shit was nasty! Blech…watery, flavorless, probably one of the weakest cups of joe I’ve ever had. I tried making it several different ways too…regular drip, press pot, blended with a darker roast…but it always tasted the same.

If I had to pick a Lynch film to describe that gunk, I’d probably go with his bloated, big-budget disaster “Dune”. I know that sounds harsh, but, I was expecting something dark and murky, like “Twin Peaks”, but what I got was straight-up “Dune” in a cup. Only, you know…wetter.

So, if you’re on the market for a groovy collectible coffee can and “Eraserhead” coaster, by all means, order yours today! But if you’re looking for great gourmet coffee from a great filmmaker…keep on waiting.

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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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Free Slurpee Day @ 7-Eleven

My apologies for not posting news of this wondrous event in time for y’all to actually partake in said free 7-Eleven Slurpees, but, the good news is that once you read this post, you’ll know to look out for Free Slurpee Day 2011. So, yay!

Never heard of Free Slurpee Day? Well, until last week, neither had I. And I am a fairly regular consumer of Slurpees,  my usual being a mixture of Fanta Banana and Coke flavors. Anyway, this magical day is celebrated every year at participating 7-Eleven stores on July 11th. Seven-eleven…get it?

Cooler still is the fact that the free Slurpees come in cute-ass little cups that measure out to exactly, you guessed it…7.11 ounces. Awesome! The only problem we had is that the first 7-Eleven store we went (at Verdugo and Olive in Burbank) claimed to be out of free sized cups by the time we arrived? Huh?

I mean, yeah, it was 8:30PM, but the promo was supposed to last until 11:00PM! So, as you can imagine, we were seriously annoyed.

We got even angrier when the dude behind the counter wouldn’t answer us when we asked him if they had any more free sized cups. He just stared into space ringing up customers. It was so weird. Luckily for us, my brother Ryan (who took the lovely pictures you see here) was there to cut through the bullshit.

Glaring at the dude from across the store, Ryan bellowed, as only he can bellow: “Oh really?! You’re out of free Slurpee cups on Free Slurpee day?!” I swear to God, I thought the cashier was gonna faint…he looked absolutely terrified. And two seconds later, we had four free sized cups in our hot little hands. Ha!

So, we filled our tiny cups a few times over then headed off to another 7-Eleven that was supposedly offering 50-cent hot dogs as well! Yee-haw!

That 7-Eleven (which is now officially our favorite in Burbank) is located at the corner of Hollywood Way and Burbank and was far more festive with all kinds of banners and balloons and shit in the store.

But even though they were much more forthcoming with the free sized Slurpee cups, they were totally out of 50-cent hot dogs, which kinda sucked. That said, the cashier there was the nicest 7-Eleven clerk in the world and even had a big old plate of free sliced fruit at his register, so…we left smiling!

Until next year, happy belated Free Slurpee Day 2010, amigos!

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2010 Emmy Nominations: Conan strikes back!

Unlike with the Oscars, I don’t usually stay up to watch the Emmy nominations announced live…but this year I did, and, wow, what a year to do it. I was cheering so loud when some of those names were read that I actually had to cover my face with a pillow so as to not wake up the girls!

I’m not kidding, amigos, this is probably one of the best rosters of Emmy nominees ever. Finding a good movie to see in a theatre might be getting harder and harder these days, but, man alive, TV is on fire, baby!

Not only did new shows like “Glee”, “Modern Family”, and “The Good Wife” clean up in the nomination department, but, some long-overlooked returning shows finally got some recognition too. I’ve never watched it myself, but the fact that a cult show like “Friday Night Lights” finally scored some Emmy love after barely surviving cancellation for all these years is awesome!

I was also thrilled to see Elizabeth Mitchell finally nab an Emmy nomination for her heartbreaking portrayal of Dr. Juliet Burke on “Lost”. Mitchell was totally robbed last year, so, to see her shortlisted this time is just freaking awesome!

Also very excited to see the rocking-good Archie Panjabi nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Drama for “The Good Wife”. Panjabi’s character steals every scene she’s in, and that’s really saying something when you consider she plays most of her scenes opposite classic scene-stealers (and fellow nominees) Julianna Marguiles and Christine Baranski. So, kudos to you, Panjabi!

I was also very pleased to see the incredible Jane Lynch pick up a nod for “Glee”. She’d better start clearing room on her mantel now, because something tells me she’s gonna be one of those people who win every year they get nominated. And unlike some of those people (Tony Shaloub) she totally deserves it!

Christine was very stoked to see Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” score a nod for Best Reality Program. I know it didn’t get a lot of play in the media, but that show had heart and soul to spare and the fact that it has inspired people across the country to join the “Revolution” is the icing on the cake. Good on you, Jamie!

But the best news of the day, by far, was that the late, great Conan O’Brien version of “The Tonight Show” was nominated for four Emmy’s while Jay Leno, once again, received none. Ha ha, karma’s a bitch…suck it, Jay!

To see a complete list of all this year’s Emmy nominees, click here.

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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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Lindsay Lohan to serve 90 days?!

Whoa…what the hell happened here? How did the cute little redhead from “The Parent Trap” — one of the only Disney live-action DVD’s in our collection — end up being sentenced to 90 days in the clink today for parole violation? Crazy!

Back before she was total tabloid fodder, we used to love Lindsay Lohan. I mean, hello, “Mean Girls” anyone? That movie rocked! So, here’s hoping Lohan gets some serious help while cooling off in the big house. Lord knows she needs it…

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