Friday, March 30, 2018

Diabolical, Five Guys.

I literally pray every night that I never become religious.

My friend Sinan, however, is a pious man who gave up meat for Lent. With 48 hours left, Five Guys was bringing the heat.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I Love The ArcLight. A Little Too Much.

I hate getting cut off because I’ve “had enough”. Who are they to say how much butter I need on my popcorn?

One place I can always count on to overserve is ArcLight. At the end of the movie the other night, there was so much excess butter, it had congealed. But that’s not all the goodness.

Always dreamed of an oil painting of the movie poster from Step Brothers? One is hanging on the wall upstairs, and it’s for sale.

In the lobby, there are displays featuring wardrobe or set pieces from current movies. (Whenever a Batman film debuts, they park the Batmobile in the courtyard out front.) This week they have an actual stop-motion model set from Isle of Dogs. My favorite detail is the radical student (lower left) with a safety pin through her cheek.

Some folks (my big brother in particular) prefer their candy chilled. When you order Junior Mints, you now have the option of receiving them room temperature or out of the fridge. Worth the price of admission itself.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The First Great Movie Of 2018.

I wish I had the unbridled enthusiasm of a freshly-groomed Ricky heading straight for a patch of dirt.

I at least have a love for a great new movie called Isle of Dogs.

I make it a habit to avoid all animated films, but this is unlike anything ever made. (And technically, it’s not animation – it’s stop-motion.) It’s as detailed and eccentric as every Wes Anderson film. (Even the title. “Isle of Dogs” can be quickly read as “I Love Dogs”.) The set pieces are always my favorite. Wait until you see the intricate preparation of sushi from the POV of the chef.

I give away no more. This movie is so smart and funny, I was astounded. It shouldn’t be nominated for an Oscar for best animated film – it should be nominated for best film, period. See it so we can discuss.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Random Shots I’m Deleting: An iPhone™ Purge.

Handy tip: if you call all the priest “daddy”, you don’t have to go back to church.

If you want to skip the mosque, check the tide chart. I took this shot of Haji Ali Dargah when I was in Mumbai a couple years ago. It’s a mosque that becomes inaccessible during high tide, because the causeway to walk out to it becomes submerged.

So if you want to hit the service and find Vishnu’s love, time it right, or you might get friendzoned.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Friend Wrote An Outstanding Cookbook.

Before I started cooking for real, I had an idea for a cookbook entitled Toast On A Paper Towel.

My friend Devin Alexander has written nine actual cookbooks – really good ones – including my favorite, Fast Food Fix, in which she recreated popular fast-food meals using only healthy ingredients.

Her latest is called You Can Have It!, featuring diabetes-friendly recipes. My dad had diabetes, so this one is especially meaningful for me.

To launch the book, Devin threw a fancy party in a nice venue by the beach, featuring a bar, a band, and servers walking around with prepared items from her book.

Diabetes-friendly cocktails. My dad passed ten years too early.

Devin on a pillow. She spared no expense. And she’s snuggly in real life, too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I Made Some Gooey Goodness.

Even if I didn’t feel like cooking, I was too exhausted to say thank you at a restaurant 53 times.

I’m still teaching myself how to do this, and I still love it. In my sixth attempt at cooking, I made arancini – Italian rice/cheese balls. There’s a place in the Los Feliz section of LA called Little Dom’s that is well-known for its rice balls, and I went there for the first time last year and fell in love.

Helpful tip: I used sushi rice, because it sticks a little better around the mozzarella cubes. It sticks to everything, really – your hands, the counter, the dog. Worth it.

Making these meant I got to break out my fryer skimmer again (I used it to make crab wontons), which is entirely satisfying.

The final result: scrumdiddlyumptious. Crunchy on the outside, savory on the inside. So good dipped in marinara sauce. My partially-Italian ancestors would approve.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Top O’ The Birthday To You.

I’ve always thought the happy birthday song was kinda shitty, like it was written by someone who forgot a gift and just came up with the song on the spot.

I’m still up for a party, though. Even when my friend Mike invited me to join him for his friend Kristi’s birthday Saturday night. My initial response was, “Out in Hollywood on St. Patrick’s Day?” To which Mike said, “Hey, this isn’t Boston.”

Good point. Those cities back east can really turn St. Pat’s into a war zone. But out here, we handle our liquor, and Kristi, a successful TV writer, spared no expense for her party, renting out the upstairs of the fun Sycamore Tavern, and keeping the fancy pizza and donuts flowing. There were celebrities milling about, too.

Happy birthday, Kristi. And St. Patrick, I think.

Friday, March 16, 2018

For The Very First Time:

This is my first St. Patrick’s Day since I found out I’m part Irish. I have a lot making up to do. In the past, I spent the day watching Ghost and Dirty Dancing in honor of Patrick Swayze.

Tomorrow night, a party at a bar in Hollywood. Then a fight. Then vomiting in the back of an Uber. In honor of my people.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hell Yes.

I’m thinking about changing my occupation on Facebook to “comedian” so that no one will follow me back.

I would too, unless I got a request from Bo Burnham. He’s so brilliant, he’s not of this planet. I see lots of celebrities attending movies at ArcLight Theater, and it’s cool, but when I sat behind Bo while he was there to see Ex Machina, I almost shit.

Five years ago, he posted his first comedy special at the age of 23 on YouTube. I’d never seen anything like it. Check it out:


Now, Bo has written and directed a movie called Eigth Grade that will be released in July. There have been a few great coming-of-age films made in the last few years: The Spectacular Now, Edge of 17, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Films that John Hughes would have made if he were still alive. I think Bo has shot the next one.

Here’s the trailer. You’ll see what I mean:
 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Want To Go To There.

Hot tub cinema in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yelping It.

This discarded knife on the roof next to my gym's parking lot is the nicest aspect of that neighborhood.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Culinary Corner - Ancient Chinese Rangoonness.

Being hungry again a half hour after eating Chinese food isn't about the food being Chinese – it's about you being American.

I'm always hungry for more Chinese, so in my sixth attempt at cooking I made one of my favorite starters: crab and cream cheese wontons.

Here's what you get when you sup at Matt Shevin's place: while most restaurants use three-parts cream cheese to one-part crab meat, I went 50/50. I'm a giver.

Also, once again, I made the wrappers from scratch. It's the most tedious process of all, but I'm a monster that can't be stopped. Speaking of which, I fried my middle finger during the whole process:
 I add ice to every list of ingredients just in case.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Smashing.

If a tree falls in the woods, does it break into that awkward jog to make it look like it didn't?

The other day, during a storm, a big tree fell onto my mom's house. It smashed through the roof, leaving a big hole just in time for yesterday's Nor'easter. By the way, that's my bedroom on the upper left.

A few other houses in my hometown had the same issue, and shameful tree-service guys were gouging people when they needed them most. My mom was quoted $6000 to have it removed.

Hang in there, Mom.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Deep Down, We're All That Dude At 7-Eleven With His Bathrobe On.

I never was a robe guy, until I was staying in a nice hotel a few months ago and tried on a hooded, soft sweatshirt-cotton robe. I was hooked. Turns out they're not just for Satanists who sacrifice babies.

I finally found one for myself, and it arrived just in time, as I was fighting a wicked cold. Even with my head throbbing and my nose running, I got to hang out like a Jedi all day.

It's truly like wearing a hug. Even the color is perfect: cocoa. And I've discovered some other benefits: if somebody stops by my place unexpectedly, I can be "just about to hop in the shower". And whenever I get the mail, my neighbors wonder if I'm a mental patient.

Get one, and join me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Culinary Corner: My Very First Dessert.

Hell yeah I love to eat. My iPhone won't even recognize my fingerprint unless it's got crumbs on it.

So I suppose it was inevitable that I'd wind up teaching myself to cook, which I started doing last month. And in my fifth attempt, I made a woven chocolate cinnamon bread.

Because my friend Jenn knows I'm a maniac who has to do things the hard way, she sent me the recipe, knowing full well I would embrace the five-and-a-half hours it took to make.

The key is in the weaving. Start with three longs rolls of dough filled with cinnamon and chocolate, slice them down the middle, and take a leap. The end product was one huge bread – so big, I cut it in half and brought it over to my brother's. Stop by his place and have a nosh.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Opening Dialogue.

I feel like maybe if God didn't spend all his time helping people win at awards shows, he'd have time to fix some shit.

I'll watch the shows anyway. And over the weekend, here in LA, there were two award shows. The Independent Spirit Awards wisely piggybacks on the Oscars, taking advantage of having all the nominees in town. They set up a big tent on the beach by the Santa Monica Pier, and for the second year in a row, had John Mulaney and Nick Kroll host.

I like Nick because we're from the same hometown, and he was super cool when I bumped into him out here. Plus he and John Mulaney are fearless and hilarious. Check out their mono/dialogue opening:

 
That's the way it's done.

The Oscars were very good as well. And I thought this was super cool:
Rita Moreno is 86 years old. Damn cool.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Happy Oscars, Actors.

My favorite Academy Award moment was the dead-person montage a few years ago, when all the celebs Joan Rivers insulted had to applaud her.

Now the latest insult is here, three days before this year's Oscars. SAG has notified us that The Weinstein Company's checks aren't going to clear. Turns out that Harvey's kind of a bad guy.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

28 Seconds Of February.

Packing twice in ten days is probably the worst game of Tetris I've ever played.

February may be the shortest month, but I filled it with lots of goodness, including two trips.

Here it is, one second per day: