Monday, July 30, 2007

I've been Simpsonized

This is what thinks I would look like as a character on The Simpsons. I don't see the resemblance. It makes me look like I'm in my 40's. Maybe that's just me.

Short and sweet review of The Simpsons Movie: Very funny. Even better than the past few seasons of the Simpsons. It lives up to the hype. It didn't feel like I was just watching a really long episode. The one liners are one after another. I hope we don't have to wait another 17 years for another movie.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

San Francisco

For our honeymoon, we decided on San Francisco mainly because of the MLB All Star Game but also because we both had never been there. My first impression of San Francisco was not great. On the ride from the airport, the cab driver had to drive us through a seedy part of downtown that I had never seen on Full House. Scum-soaked, hourly-rate hotels and pornography stores created a mishmash of uneasiness and regret as we cruised through the streets. The scenery greatly improved as we got closer to the hotel. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt which is located in Union Square by Market Street. The area was a high class shopping district that put my stomach at ease. There were Louis Vinton, Apple Stores, and Neiman Marcus as far as the eye could see. After dropping off our bag (I use the singular “bag” because American Airlines misplaced two of our bags for a while), we hit the streets and immersed ourselves in the flamboyant arrogance that can only be found in the heart of wealthy California. To our surprise (insert tongue in cheek) there were a myriad of homeless men and women draped across the sidewalks. One has to wonder why there are so many homeless in the wealthy, liberal Mecca that is San Francisco, but I digress. That’s another blog for another day. If you can tolerate being asked for change every seven and a half seconds, a stroll in downtown San Francisco can be quite nice. The weather is really great. It hardly gets above 80 degrees in the middle of the day in July, which is pretty remarkable. At night, it gets fairly cold; sometimes in the low 60’s depending on the wind. San Francisco is quite accessible by foot. There were only a few attractions we had to ride the bus for. Unlike New York, every pedestrian obeys traffic signals. Nobody cross the street when the don’t walk sign is lit and nobody crosses outside of the crosswalk. Maybe it’s the pacifist nature of a liberal city; maybe it’s the fact that you would most certainly be flattened by cars running red lights. Who knows?
The food in San Francisco was surprising not terrible. There is a much wider variety of restaurants than I expected. Just about every restaurant is a “fusion” of different ethnic cuisines showing off the city as a vast melting pot. We ate at a number of restaurants: most of them good, others merely adequate. They all share a commonality in the level of service. Every single restaurant in San Francisco has horrible service. It doesn’t matter if you go to a greasy spoon or an upscale bistro, the servers could care less if you enjoyed yourself or not. The servers are unfriendly, slow, and rarely come by to check up on you. Maybe they are trying to be more like Europe or maybe they didn’t like us, either way bad service can ruin a dining experience no matter how great the food is. The best place we ate was a French restaurant called Le Charm. This cozy bistro featured interesting entrees and the best French onion soup I’ve ever had. It wasn’t too pricey either. A close runner up was Citizen Cake. Their specialty is pastries, but these bakers wiped up a pretty tasty roasted eggplant sandwich for lunch. After lunch, we had their famous “personal-sized” cakes which are whole cakes about the size of a Ding-Dong that feed one person. Having the largest Chinatown in America, we figured the Chinese food must be great. We ate at two restaurants there: Young Café and The Four Seas. Young Café was a small, rambunctious joint that seemed to specialize in quick lunches. The Four Seas is Chinatown’s oldest restaurant which featured dim sum and family style portions. I was a little shocked that the food in Chinatown wasn’t that much different than the Chinese food in Baton Rouge. I guess we went to the touristy places. Oh well. Some of the other places we ate were the overly trendy Cortez and Colibri restaurants as well as the charmingly strange Irish bar/cafeteria Lefty O’Doul’s. San Francisco doesn’t have as many attractions as other cities that size. We walked on the Golden Gate Bridge. It was pretty much a huge bridge. We got exactly what we expected. Fisherman’s Wharf is also a popular spot for out-of-towners. It is a touristy, fisherman-themed money trap on the bay that is lined with overpriced restaurants and stores that sell stuff that makes the products in Spencer’s Gifts look luxurious. It reminded me a lot of Navy Pier in Chicago. We didn’t stay there long because if you aren’t in the mood to eat or waste money there really is nothing there for you. We also ventured off to City Lights Bookstore as was suggested to us by more than one person as a place we should check out. It seemed cool enough. They had a huge inventory for such a small, independent bookstore, but the three different Socialist magazines (sitting right next to the latest copies of The Nation and The Progressive) available told me everything I needed to know about that place. Needless to say, they did not have the latest copy of National Review I was looking for. Open minded, Schmopen minded. We also went to the MLB All Star game and took a tour of wine country, but I will blog about those experiences separately. San Francisco was everything I thought it would be, but I am a little disappointed that I was only asked one time to join the ACLU. However, there are always union protests to remind you that the heart of San Francisco bleeds, but not for the homeless of course.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Country + Nolan Ryan = WTF

I'm probably one of the biggest Nolan Ryan fans out there (especially under the age of 40). I have over 300 Nolan Ryan baseball cards including his rookie card, I own a $300 retro Nolan Ryan Angels jersey and I've waited in line 6 hours at an Arlington baseball card convention to get his autograph, but this is too much:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Man, that was stupid. Michael Bay has done it again. He’s managed to make yet another two and a half hour car commercial and make us pay to see it. That was probably the worst Chevrolet commercial I have ever seen, including the ones that are shown in Louisiana with country singers. One hundred fifty million dollar budgets and extraordinary special effects cannot legitimize the juvenile core of Transformers. They will always be robots that turn into cars, and it will never be interesting to any thinking person over the age of ten. It’s obvious who this movie was aimed for with scenes where robots speak Ebonics, robots urinate on humans, and cheesy lines are dispensed by the dozens. This movie caters more to fans of Bad Boys 2 (another Michael Bay bore) than that of The Matrix. The movie proves that Michael Bay still has learned nothing about story telling. He breaks all the rules without even knowing there were rules to begin with. His dizzying camera angles continue a trend amongst action directors who fill the need to spend fifty grand on the special effects for one shot and then show you NONE of it. Did we really need to see a character from the perspective of a bike chain? The constant switching of camera angles during intense scenes creates a disorienting array of rapid movement that makes the action indiscernible. Why spend all that money on CGI, and not let the audience see these spectacular fights. The rare instances where they pulled the camera back and stuck with one angle for more than ten seconds created unbelievable visuals including the best shot of the movie where Optimus Prime and Megatron tumble from several freeway levels. Had they done that more throughout the movie, it might have held my interest for more than ten minutes of the two and a half hours (did I mention that this movie was two an a half hours!?). The writers did try to keep the smarter crowd interested by tying the Transformers into American history with them being responsible for the Hoover Dam and such. The notion of a secret organization (Sector 7) reverse engineering all our inventions from aliens would have been interesting had I never seen a movie called Men in Black. I’ve just read that they Bay has mentioned plans for a sequel. Thank goodness because I didn’t get to vomit at this one.