Monday, July 31, 2017

My Weekend, By Matthew Shevin.

Hobo Pizza food truck. So yummy, I wanted to slash its tires and flee with a dozen pies.

I always love that this dude is protecting children from predators, and himself from the dangers of UVA rays.

Nature Boy’s happy place: trespassing on city superintendent grounds.

I prefer In-N-Out not only because the burgers are yummy, but because I worry about telling people “I had Five Guys” who don’t know it’s the name of a restaurant.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Oh, California, You’re The Best.

When your boss sees posts of you snowboarding on Instagram, he’ll say, “You missed work because you were sick. And judging from these pics, YOU WEREN’T LYING.”

Then he’ll fist-bump you.

You can still make this scenario happen out here, because Mammoth Mountain, a very kickass resort just five hours north of LA, is still open. Their policy is to keep the lifts running as long as there’s snow on the ground. And thanks to a very wet winter, they got dumped on, and won’t close until August 6th.

If we didn’t already have the best of everything on the west coast – sunshine; beaches; beautiful, smart, happy people; no mosquitoes – add to that: fun in the snow ten months a year. Pack your shit. See you soon.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Progress.

We’ve come a long way since a dentist was your second-grade teacher on fluoride day.

*Thanks to my friend Jenn for sending me this pic.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

An Excerpt.

I played piano when I was a kid, until my parents let me stop.

You’ve got to choose your pursuits – they can’t be foisted upon you. I love acting, and I’d better, because it’s not for the easily discouraged.

Right now, I’m reading Alec Baldwin’s new autobiography, and it’s a fascinating look into what was not an easy path into show business. Alec grew up borderline destitute, with a high-school teacher dad who was too proud to take a second job, and a depressed mom struggling to raise six kids. (In addition to his three brothers, Alec has two sisters.)

As he became more confident in his acting skills while living in New York in the early 80s, Alec decided to drive across country with his friend Tuck and give LA a shot. While recalling the trip, he mentioned something I wholeheartedly agree with: actors are his favorite people. My actor friends are some of the most thoughtful, interesting folks I know.

Here’s Alec’s story:
In Kansas, Tuck’s dad, a “Missourah” gentleman of the old school, took us for the obligatory stop at Romanelli’s for a roast beef sandwich. Next, we visited Dallas and Tuck’s brother, Bill, a former military pilot who went on to work for Delta Air Lines. Tuck, the youngest child, was the lone “artist” in his family. I related, as my own home had lacked any cultural trappings. Though acting had never been my goal and I had grave doubts about my future while heading to LA, living with a comedian like my friend Gary and then an actor like Tuck was rubbing off on me. Gradually, people outside the business seemed dull, guarded, and predictable. Part of falling in love with acting is falling in love with actors.

Monday, July 24, 2017

My First Favorite Movie Of The Year.

If you ask a veteran if they’ve killed anyone, and they say they don’t like to talk about it, that means no.

It’s better to watch what happened for yourself, which you can, with Dunkirk, a true story about the desperation of 300,000 British soldiers cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, France in World War II.

Christopher Nolan wrote, directed and produced the film, and the beauty and scale of it is amazing. It’s gripping from the first second. and I’m not sure how Nolan recreated all the large naval vessels and fighter planes to this scale, but he shot it in 70mm and it’s amazing. Virtual reality should be this stunning.

I’m sorry my dad isn’t around anymore, because he was infatuated with World War II history, and going to war films together was our thing. He would have loved this.

I saw the film at the flagship of all theaters everywhere: ArcLight in Hollywood, which displayed wardrobe from Dunkirk, along with Tom Hardy’s character’s cockpit. Pretty damn nifty.

This is an epic film, and unlike the non-killer vets, people will definitely talk about it years from now.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hockin’ Up History.

If you ever feel unattractive, just remember that you look like your ancestors, and hey, ALL of them got laid.

I’ve been wondering about my background, and decided to finally find out through Ancestry.com. I’m under the assumption that I’m mostly Polish and a little Russian, but I’d like a definitive answer and maybe a nice surprise. (Fingers crossed I’m not that white.)

I filled the vial they sent me with saliva (the blue tint is from a stabilizing solution, not a Flavor-Ice pop), and sent it back to Ancestry.com. Because they’re pretty backed up, I won’t get the results for six to eight weeks. Until then, you’re my only hope, spit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Will Choke A Man.

CUSTOMER REP: How does your name appear on your credit card?
ME: If I had to guess, I’d say it’s 11 pt. Arial bold.

For the second time in a month, someone stole my credit card number. This genius used it to try to pay his monthly cell-phone bill with the ultra-ghetto Straight-Talk Wireless, who doesn’t give a shit about prosecuting him – they simply turned off his service. So justice wasn’t served, but on the bright side, I cursed at one of their customer reps until he hung up on me.

So now begins the process of once again changing 22 automatic payments I have set up, and then I get to do it all over again next month when Chase changes its MasterCards to Visas. I realize these are champagne problems, but I don’t care. It’s a pain in the ass, no one gets punished, and it makes me yearn for sweeter moments, like every time I bang my knee on the coffee table.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Most Valuable Blog Comment.

Perks of dating me: You will be the sane one.

And when you completely tire of my shit and leave me, don’t stray too far – I’ve got Dr. Agbazara at my disposal.

He’s earned his medical degree in healing the most broken relationships, and you have no choice in the matter. Love you too.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Rule-Free Weekend.

“Incentivizing” my nephew by threatening to eat his burger if he didn’t quickly get the third out.

Took the racing scooter out for a ride. I didn’t blow through this stop sign because I was distracted by the view of the ocean – I do this to all of them.

Long before it was a total chick drink, our grandfathers pounded Moscow Mules when they returned from the war. I pounded this idiot mule at Village Idiot.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Chairman Was Much Obliged.

Once, I was in a Taco Bell, and watched a lady just walk in, dump every hot sauce packet into her bag, and leave. I totally wanted to follow her. What was the rest of her day like?

I’ve since elevated my spicy condiment experience. My friend John created a hot sauce that is becoming a huge hit. It’s called Chairman Avery’s Hunan Heat Sauce, and people love it on everything – or simply eat it by the spoonful straight out of the jar.

Monday, John had a new batch ready – 51 cases – and it was a chance for me to help. I drive a largish SUV (because you never know when you’ll suddenly father half a baseball team), and helped John pick up the fresh sauce from the facility that produces and packs what we then referred to as “precious cargo”.

My reward: my very own jar! I will treasure it, and then I will devour it. Stores carry Hunan Heat, Sauce and restaurants purchase it from John as well. And you too, at the official (and funny) website: hunanheat.com. Buy it in bulk. Use it liberally.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My Summer Trip To Chicago, By Matthew Shevin. Part II.

You know you’re crazy when you think everybody else is.

But no one was out of his mind more than former White Sox owner Bill Veeck, who used elaborate stunts to get fans into the old ballpark. He installed a shower for them to use during unbearable Chicago summers, and it was cool to see it made it across the street to the new stadium – although a three-hour rain delay rendered it obsolete.

I’ve been to the incredibly fancy, all-inclusive restaurant that comes with the best seats at Yankee Stadium. Thanks to my friend Ted, we were admitted into the White Sox equivalent, which was not equivalent in any way. No surprise – with the Yankees, the ridiculousness is available with $2400 tickets; with the White Sox, $300 tickets gain you access. The pot of chili embodies the whole pot-luck vibe.

Chicago commuters can power heat lamps for a minute on train platforms. If I lived there, I’d be like a rat getting a food pellet every time he hits a button.

Only in Chicago: McDonald’s brings you the China Town Summer Fair.

On the left: former big-league manager Joe Torre. At O’Hare Airport: Indian Joe Torre.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What The What?

My dentist says I grind my teeth at night, but I must be doing a whole lot more, because I woke up with a huge hole in my sheet. Am I fighting crime in my sleep?

Possibly fueling my night terrors: chicken and waffles with sriracha maple syrup at Local Kitchen late Saturday night. Worth it.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Robert Duvall’s Worst Role?

Marlon Brando’s cue-card guy.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Summer Trip To Chicago, By Matthew Shevin. Part I.

Before there were iPads, we had a thing called babysitters. Until I was three and my family moved, our babysitter was a teenager next door named Billy. I idolized Billy, and all these years later, we had a reunion before one of the games in Chicago, where he’s lived since college. He’s still every bit the man.

If you grow up in New York, you’ll know “The Odd Couple” reruns practically run on a loop on channel 11. My friend Rob and I are huge fans, so I initially suggested staying at Hotel Felix as a joke. Then, with more research, it turned out to be the perfect place – a great boutique right in the heart of town. It’s amazing how soft their towels become after you wash them at home.

The city is essentially one continuous restaurant – my kind of town – though I found the Weber Grill to be slightly odd. A quick search revealed it actually has a kitchen filled with giant charcoal grills, cooking up some yummy meats:
 You do you, Chicago.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

30 Seconds Of June.

Hope everyone had a good 4th, the day we immortalize nail art Instagram photos.

But before we get back to the grind, let’s remember the greatest of June, one second per day:

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th.

To celebrate our independence, Ricky and I are going to spend the day finding Englishmen and then walking angrily away from them.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Best Fries In The Southland.

I imagine the worst thing about being a snail is that you can’t put salt on your french fries.

I would have salted the fries at The Bellwether in Studio City. Oh, I would have salted them good. But they were perfect. Battered and deep-fried, with two dipping options: a hot house sauce, and chive crème fraiche.

If we ever happen to hit The Bellwether together, keep in mind: your french fries are just my french fries on the wrong plate.