Friday, June 27, 2008

Hip Hop Track of The Week

Tha Carter III is 'Lil Wayne's insane new album. On top of being one of the best rappers out there, he might be the only rapper to have a 'Lil in his name and actually not suck. The album is simultaneously self-assured and paranoid. He delves in some really bizarre role play, which actually reminds me of Faith No More's The Real Thing Album.

Strangeness hits its zenith in "Phone Home", with a chorus that somberly chants: "we are not the same... I am a martian". If you google 'Lil Wayne, and see that he has more tattoos on his face than the average federally incarcerated inmate has on his entire body, you might be inclined to agree. Sonically, the music creates a synesthesia that lands you somewhere between the lights of a hovering spacecraft, and a time elapsed film of rotting fruit - and I mean that in a good way.

Here are some of the weirder lyrics:

...i can get your brains for a bargain
like i bought it, from target; hiphop is my supermarket...

...We are not the same i am an alien
like gonzalez young college student who done just flipped the game like houston
Im used to promethazine in 2 cups...

...They don't make em like me no more; matter fact they never made em like me before
im rare, like mr clean with hair - no brake lights on my car rare.
I never had lice and I never had fear; I rap like I done died and gone to heaven I swear -
And year I'm a bear like black and white hair, so Im polar...

It's almost nonsense, but not quite. He's kind of like if Ghostface and George Clinton had a love-child, and that child was delivered through a vocoder, raised by Old Dirty Bastard and Prince, and they got him hooked on Sizzurp - you'd get Lil' Wayne.

pixar recap

I love Mrs. Jones, but sometimes we don't see eye to eye. Take animation. I love animation. Anime, hanna-barbara junk, stop motion Ray Harryhausen, The Avatar, Venture Brothers - I'll take it all. The Tivo gets loaded up with my cartoons for me than for the kids.

But Mrs. Jones can't stand cartoons on principle. It just repulses her - I don't get it. She didn't reallly get to watch T.V. growing up, and her brothers didn't play with toys, so I think it was how she was raised in that barren lobstering island. Raised by wolves who hate cartoons and toys. I think when Krumpus comes for bad boys and girls on christmas and whisks them away in his sack - that's where he dumps them. The island of no cartoons and toys. Boo-hoo. But back to the subject at hand. Cartoons!

But even Mrs. Jones likes the Pixar stuff. Not all of it, but she can get her Nemo on. Every new entry seems to outdo the previous - and Wall-E is looking to be no exception. Like Harry Potter, Pixar seems to be one of those cultural treasures - treasures that seem to largely satisfy in spite of ridiculously high and overly familiar expectations.

Something else I love is the Onion's A.V. Club. Long after the satirical publication began to wallow in its own predictable hackneyed humor, it's sister (niece) sub site,, has flourished into a sort of slate for generation snark. Slightly snobby, but reverent to greatness, scoring some pretty candid interviews with interesting subjects, and staffed by reviewers who are funny and know their stuff, I definitely give it a click a day.

So lets consummate the arrival of Pixar's latest feature, Wall-E, with the AV Club's Primer on Pixar. I fancy myself a psuedo-expert on Pixar, but I learned some interesting back story about the animation studio that almost wasn't. An interesting read for sure.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update to idiot texters

I'll try to copy this from my phone SMS. I got this from 1 (760) 504-2989. Feel free to contact this person as she seems pretty chatty. I'll put my texts in bold...


Wrong number chiefy


Who is it you think you are texting


Not even close

Who is this

Definitely not miranda - update your contact info for Miranda - cause this ain't her phone

Well who is this

So I owe you my personal contact information, because you can't operate your handheld correctly? I'm pissed off that you're wasting my data plan, and that I'm expected to answer to a stranger - that's who I am

Dont have a fit about it! Dang!

Don't be so disrespectful dang

Well you sound like a pissy man! Bye! I'll make sure to update the post just for you. Pissy? No. Bitter? Extremely. But at least I know how to use my phone you noob.

Well Crap! Get a life "Noob"

I thought you said bye already. You can google noob when you get home. Leave me alone.

I know what Noob means and fine poop face!

I"ll take that "sorry I can't use my phone and Ill leave you alone now" unless you construed this in your mind that I contacted you and initiated this waste of my time.


Sure, I was a little rude once things got going - but why didn't the first few messages sink in? "not even close" should have ended the conversation. "Well who is this"? Are you kidding me? No, who the hell are you, getting off questioning me, after you wrong numbered me? I can't imagine getting a phone call that would follow that track. How did texting turn wrong numbers into such a disrespectful clusterfuck?

Like I said - feel free to text 1 (760) 504-2989. She allegedly knows what a noob is, so that might be a good icebreaker.

Russian Commando Remake

Slightly modified for the russian audience, but it looks pretty close.

This remake might just resuscitate the part of my childhood that George Lucas knocked unconscious with Kingdom of the Crystal Garbage...

I do miss the hot n' steamy steel drums of the original trailer... but the snowmobile doing jumps off of dirt might just make up for that. It's nice to see the Russian bad guy (visible at 1:27 seconds in for about .75 seconds) is in better shape than the original Bennett...

No offense to Vernon Wells, but he was about as plausible as me going toe to toe against Arnold.

Hot n' steamy steel drums? Lest you forget, and lest you are to lazy/disinclined to navigate the "Tubes of You", here's the original...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Our receptionist is great - but she wears old lay perfume. She's old,
so I get that - but she wears a lot of it.

Case in point; I just walked past her desk, downstairs, left the
building, and as I passed her car in the parking lot, all I could
smell was her old lady perfume.

The sad thing is that I think she uses so much of it in part to hide
her smoking habit.

Sent from my iPhone

Rant: Attention Texters

in the last week, I've been the recipient of two separate wrong number SMS threads.

The first one was mildly amusing, because I was being wished a "happy gay day!!!" to celebrate the right for same sex marriages in California (something I'm 110% in favor of). In addition, the texter was pretty funny, who thought he/she was texting a cousin and we had an amusing dialog until he/she found out that I played golf - which essentially killed the thread.

The next misdirected SMS thread sounded like it was intended to be spouse to spouse, with one spouse bitching about what the other one want to list for their car, which was being sold in front of their house. Despite raising the initial "huh?" flag, the text kept on texting, including some repeat sends of the same messages. Finally I had to get a little more explicit - and ask who this was. In response, I got a brief, and subtly terse, "Sorry - wrong number". Needless to say, I took the opportunity to scold the sender for carelessly spamming me multiple times.

Here's the gist of the scolding adapting for a more general audience. If you have enough of a handle on your gadgets to be chipmunking messages from your phone, you should be able to create address book entries. I'm not proposing anything CRAZY like actually synching your email contacts with your phone, but just manually entering them in your phone - or saving captured numbers. Neither of these messages were "first time wrong numbers", but directed towards acquaintances.

Now, my sweet Mrs. Jones doesn't have a well developed contact list in her phone - but my sweet Mrs. Jones doesn't text either. It's pretty simple. Don't waste my data account because you don't know how to use your gear. Don't be a noob. I can only imagine this was some idiot, texting in traffic, the same type of guy who keeps all of his files littered on his desktop instead of in folders, with filenames that do nothing to identify them. The type of guy who emails out uncompressed 8MB jpeg attachments of his dog. And his dog is ugly. The type of guy who forwards "10 ways to know you are from Raleigh, NC" (like people wouldn't know where they are from without an unfunny, Jeff Foxworthy-esque collection of local, self-directed cliches).

Don't waste my phone plan, my hard drive, my inbox, or my time with your luddite approach to "newfangled gizmos". Rant over. Seacrest out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Giuseppe's Awesome Pizza

I know, I know... with a name like Giuseppe, I must have been born with a great pizza recipe. I've actually had to work at it quite a while, and today I had a breakthrough, where I'd rate my pizza output from good to very good.

My main issues were sauce and the consistency of crust. An east coaster at heart, I like the NYC style pizza - soft, doughy crust, with a sauce that's a little sweet, but not very sweet. My pies at home were suffering from bad pre-made sauce, bad sauce to cheese ratios, and a crust that's too hard.

I did a little research today, to get my pizza more New Yorkified, and the results were good. Most of the changes to the dough were in cooking execution, not in ingredients.

I am recommending this recipe for home use, if you don't already have one that pleases you... this makes about 2 med/large pizzas.

Required/Highly recommended tools:

Pizza Stone - this is really a requirement. You won't get the crust right with a pan. I've had it many years, and it's paid for itself many times over. I think they run about 50 bucks at the most.

A good mixer that has a dough hook. You can make your dough by hand, but it seems like a real pain in the arse.


3.5 cups flour
1 cup water (very warm, but not too hot to the back of the hand)
1-2 tbs yeast (depending if you like yeasty crust or not
1 tbs salt (try kosher)
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs honey
Optional - pinch of dill (not NYC style, but can be good).

Mix yeast and water until fully blended into mixer bowl. Add everything except flour. Attach mixer bowl and dough hook. Add about 2.5 cups flour and mix on slow speed. After a couple of minutes, add rest of flour. It should eventually ball up. If it's crumbly or not smooth after about 4 minutes after adding remaining flour, add water 1 tbs at a time. Put in a bowl (or keep in mixer bowl, lined with olive oil, and cover with a towel.

With pizza stone in oven, preheat oven as high as it will go (550 for me). Leave the bowl safely on the range top - the residual heat helps the dough rise.

1 can peeled whole tomatoes (28 oz. - the standard large can)
Salt, Oregano, Sugar
Optional: 2 buds of garlic, sage, basil, pepper, a touch of fresh shredder Romano

Put contents of can into a food processor, or blend with immersion mixer (that cusinart stick), or mince by hand. Retain all of the juice. You can strain the seeds if you want, but they don't bother me. Add seasoning to taste - I added about 1 tbs salt, oregano, and sugar, and about 1 tsp of everything else.

Coarse Shredded Mozarella
I know what some of you may be thinking - isn't fresh wet mozarella better? If you are making a margherita style pizza, yes, but fresh wet mozarella would not do great in this recipe - but you can get by if you are a cheese purist.

Rolling dough: (you'll need corn meal)
I'm not a great handler of dough, so I do a combo of rolling pin and hand work. I use flour, but use it sparingly with a sifter - enough to keep it from sticking to the board, but not so much that it tastes all floury at the end. You should let the edges be a little thicker, and it's better to err on the side of thickness versus diameter when spreading. When you are done, brush off as much excess flour as you can. Sprinkle corn meal on the cooking surface that you'll use to transfer the pizza to the stone with (either that board, another board, or a Pizza thin). You can be sparing with the corn meal - a pinch should suffice. As you add sauce and cheese, occasionally shake the board to keep the crust rolling atop of the corn meal - which should act like ball bearings.

Assembling pizza:
Add about a ladle of sauce, and spread with the bottom of the ladle. Less is more here, and it should be runny. You don't every really want to not have patches where the sauce is so thick that you can't see the dough underneath. Too much sauce is gross in my book. Sprinkle 2/3 cup cheese on pizza - you want to see a fair amount of sauce in between pieces - don't coat the pizza in cheese.

Toss pizza on stone - if you haven't used the stone before, you want to sort of slide it off the board or thin - it can take a little practice. The oven should be preheated, and let the stone heat in that for as long as you want - the stone will take longer to reach full temp.

Cook for 4-6 minutes, depending on size thickness, and local altitude. Not very long - if the crust starts to darken to a golden color, you've overcooked it. This will result in soft, yet cooked pizza crust, and cheese that isn't burned. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if you want.

So the big things are the higher temp, shorter cooking time, and the runny, simple sauce. Obviously, everybody like different types of pizza - but if you get the hankering for a homemade version of NY style pizza - this is pretty good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

See you in 09, Tiger

Tiger's knee blow out wasn't just theatre - apparently the 91 holes of golf that left him limping caused enough damage that he'll be out for the rest of the 08 season. I'll miss Tiger, and appreciate a season where other players can bloom free of Tiger's tall shadow. Here's to a great 08 golf season, and to Tiger making a healthy return to the center stage next spring.

Stuff White People Like

Yep, once again, we've been pigeonholed.

Stuff White People Like

Strange Gray Cube

Last night the was this weird humming sound that woke me up at about 1 in the morning. I thought the fridge door was left open or something, but it wasn't, so I wound up having to scour the entire house. Nothing - I even checked the basement. I got back to bed, and still heard the humming. It was driving me crazy until I realized it was coming from the backyard. Back out of bed for me - Mrs. Jones didn't wake up, thankfully.

So I get down there and there's this hole in the backyard, about a foot wide and maybe half as deep, like something the dog dug up. She's already chewed one of the trees in half (literally - there's one tree and one two foot high spike in our backyard), so nothing she does out there surprises me. Then it gets weird. There is this gray, metallic cube. Bigger than a Rubiks cube - grapefruit sized. Also, there's no loose dirt in the hole around it - it looks like the hole was scooped out. And there's this cube, this satin metal cube, humming away.

I wasn't asleep at all anymore by this point, but I just stared at it forever. Nothing happened to me when I touched it, and picked it up. I was expecting it to be cold, but it felt warm, like someone else had just held it. The humming stopped when I picked it up. I felt kind of weird, standing out in my backyard in my t-shirt and boxers, holding this thing like an idiot, so I brought it inside. I put it on a plate on the counter - I don't know why, but I was afraid it was going to start a fire or something if I left it just sitting on the counter. It started humming again, but more quietly than outside. I stared at it some more, but finally I had to get to bed - I am exhausted today.

So the weirdest thing? I get up this morning, and it's gone. Totally fucking gone. The plate is still there, but the cube - poof. I can't find the hole in the backyard either. In fact, I'd swear I just dreamt the whole except that I was up for a really long time staring at the cube. That, and the plate was still there. Mrs. Jones just thinks I'm an idiot.


This is awesome, but a little sickening in its opulence. Somebody had commissioned their opulent NYC apartment to incorporate secret doorways, puzzles and clues.Click to read the article, or just visit the gallery by clicking the image below:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June golf roundup

So I've had less time to practice and to play this year (a good thing if you look at the big picture). I had a couple of really awful rounds and bad practice sessions. Including our camping/golf trip to the Raven up in Silverthorne (totally rad course, with par 3's that were taller than they were long, and blistering 600 yard downhill par 5).

So I made up my mind that I'm going to work on one thing this year - tempo. It seems to be working. By making sure all my parts are moving in the right order, and working together, I can swing with more power, while feeling like I'm swinging easier. It's similar to my working on the torso strength, but goes beyond it. I can't worry about swing plane and things like that right now - I'm not even worrying about aim. I'm just making sure my shoulders stay "connected" and that my body is moving easily in the right sequence.

I'm actually a little shocked at how well its working, especially with the woods. Taking back the club, my body rotates in the following order:

Hands - Arms - Shoulders - Hips, Feet (feet is switching weight to the left foot) and it's all very slow

Then coming down, it's feet (firing the back forward and shifting the weight), which pulls the hips into the turn, then pulling the shoulders and hands through the ball.

The sensation is weird - it's like my feet are yanking my torso to twist through the ball, and feels like a body power I hadn't hd before. because I'm not holding the club and swinging with my arms so hard, I'm releasing the club head, not losing my balance at all, and finishing with a great "trophy" pose, which I had to force before.

Using this, my sloppy drives were about 210, and a good crank was about 260. And the slice was more of a controlled fade. Hopefully I can groove this new approach to make a more long term improvement to my game, rather than the momentary spike.

In other news, I think I've got sand shots down now. By try to spank the bottom of the club head against the sand behind the club, consistency is much improved. Chipping is still strong - I think it's the one area where I exceed my buds/playing partners. Now I just need to get everything else together, and drop that handicap down to 14, still my goal for the summer, but I am getting a little nervous about reaching it.

And I continued my putter collecting - I've buying one nice putter a year, in hopes of having a decent collection by the time the rest of my gray hair comes in. Joining the Scotty Cameron Newport and Bettinardi Mizuno putters, is a Scotty Cameron Circa 62 putter. I like Ping Anser style blade putters, and the Circa is no exception. It has a rounded bottom, and very nice dark satin finish. I love my newport and it is my playing putter, but I am going to swap it out for a bit, and try the Circa 62 for a while. I'm sure I'll go back, but for now, the circa is pretty nice.

Best Major Ever

Well, since I've been following. Granted, I'm unapologetically a huge Tiger fan. Like Michael Jordan, his contributions to his sport make his career a moment in history that others will be envious for not having seen firsthand.

But the US open this year was pretty amazing for several reasons. Phil Mickelson's quadruple bogey (he hit a chip that rolled off the green 25 feet back to his feet - 3 times in a row!). The length of the course, a monstrous 7,600 plus yards. The closeness of the field - I think the top 20 were all within 4 strokes of each other on the last day. That might not really seem like much, but it showed in the play - nobody was blowing up. Speaking of which, Lee Westwood, Tiger's matched golfer on the last day, kept up the whole time, actually having an opportunity to be in the playoff until the last putt.

Rocco Mediate, who is a sort of jittery everyman/journeyman weirdo, was just amazing. He helped bring golf back to a simple place. He had some stellar approach shots, but mostly, he showed what you can do with a steady stream of pars, and avoiding bogeys. No eagles, and few birdies got him to the playoff.

And then, there was Tiger. I can't believe this guy - you could see his face twisting in pain on almost every drive. At certain points he was concealing a hobbling limp. His ability to hit fairways was dismal, but it shows his greatness. He can make shots from anywhere. Take the fairway bunker shot from yesterday, where he cleared a dog log with a smashing power draw. From the sand! Craziness. He dropped some crazy long putts, particularly on saturday, with a 65 footer, and another long putt that gave him the eagle that pushed him into the lead.

Tiger also gained and lost the lead repeatedly, a trend that continued into the playoff. Usually, when Tiger gets the lead, he keeps it. This time, he really had to grind. Behind on the last hole, he birdied to force an 18 hole playoff. No, not a sudden-death playoff. 18 holes of golf.

And then there was monday. I had to make the executive decision to cut my day short to watch this - and it was well worth it. Twitchy everyman Rocco versus the superior, but wounded Tiger. I've never been able to watch two players hit every shot and every putt. It was amazing. And again, Tiger took the lead, had it up to 3, and lost it. He was down by on on the 18th, and did it again - and forced a sudden death playoff. It was only until the 19th hole, that the wheels fell off Rocco's cart.

Tiger earned that win, and by pushing it so far, Rocco earned major kudos (he also jumped something like 110 slots on the world golf ranking list, so live is about to get very nice for him). And with that, Tiger is at 14 major victories, with 4 left to tie Nicklaus.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Are you serious

So Hillary Clinton's campaign has come to a close. As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, I was a Hillary supporter, and gravitated to more of an undecided democrat voter.

I'm seeing the media hype up a backlash of Clinton supporters who are vocalizing their intent to vote for McCain. This seems ridiculous.

To be clear, I have no beef (just political differences) with Republicans and McCain supporters. My irritation is aim squarely at Clinton supporters who are making this threat to jump parties.

With all due respect to Ralph Nader - I think the two party system works pretty well. There is a checks and balances quality that weeds out extremist candidates (usually), and forces parties to evolve. Whether it's the best system or not, it helps counter-act the popularity contest that is the presidential election.

Would I have preferred Clinton to Obama? Yes. Based on what? Mostly impressions. I felt her answers were usually more thought provoking and detailed, where Obama's answers were more emotive and ambiguous. That's hardly a new point of contention between Clinton and Obama supporters, but it points to how slim the delineation is. It was a very touchy-feely, impression based difference. Their policies are very similar.

Now the difference between McCain/Republican party and Obama/Democratic party is pretty stark (I'm sure there are cynics who doubt any difference and that all candidates are puppets of the same evil system, but I'll save addressing that until I do a post on where naivete and cynicism overlap). The war, the environment (McCain sells a good eco-pitch, but he's getting a lot of support from traditional energy suppliers), domestic policies, social policies, etc. A huge divide in what is laid out for the future.

Democrats were so riled up 18 months ago, and the "change" buzzword that was being tossed around was based on an optimism that we could start to repair some of the damage of the Bush administration. Now people are ready to vote McCain? Even for independent voters, I don't understand how McCain can be viewed as anything more than a subtle to moderate difference from Bush. But for democrats to say, well I'll be voting for McCain, not only abandons the policies that got you so revved up, but it abandons the policies that your desired nominee wanted to deliver on. I don't profess to know what's going on inside candidate's heads, but I am pretty sure that Clinton's desire to support Obama and the democratic party is sincere.

What is depressing is that polls showed a political solidarity for a long time - it's only in the last few months that this division has erupted. Of course, the media is trying to stoke the fires of controversy, as they are certain to miss the mill grist that the Obama/Clinton race had delivered. I can only hope that "McCain democrats) will take time to cool down, and focus on issues, and set aside the cult of personality that's eating away at them (the same cult of personality, ironically, that turned off so many people to Obama).

One final note is that McCain smartly used his time to quietly draw his party together while Clinton and Obama were still duking it out. Obama is now forced to do it under a spotlight. I'm confident these are growing pains that will be resolved by the convention, which by election year/media standards, is still light years away.