Thursday, October 30, 2008 Book Release

My favorite website, and there is not a remotely close number 2, for NBA analysis and discussion is I love their artisitc/intellectual approach to watching and appreciating the game of basketball. I really don't love their politics. Now that the NBA regular season has started once again, I can finally return to enjoying the blog and comments. While this is all quite nice, the purpose of this post is to direct you, the reader, to the website that FreeDarko has set up to promote their new book The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac (foreword by Gilbert Arenas). The website design is excellent and the excerpts of the book, which is scheduled for release on November 11th, look amazing. I can't stop looking at the artwork. If I was a Suns fan I would immediately order the Amare print. Being the Lakers fan that I am, I am seriously considering the Kobe print. It perfectly captures his essence. If you are an NBA fan, this book should be at the top of your Christmas list. If you are not an NBA fan but enjoy graphic design, you might find this book appealing as well even if much of the meaning behind the art does not make any sense to you. Regardless, give it a look. You might see something you like.

See below for a preview of the Kobe section of the book:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Late to the Game

I just found this cool little blog called Little People - a tiny street art project the other day. It is a project done by a street artist in London who uses the moniker Slinkachu and places hand painted miniature figures around the city and takes pictures of the installations. There is also a book that was released on September 5th. I think I am going to buy it. So if you have a some down time, check out the archives on the blog. It will totally be worth your time. I promise. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good News, Yeah?

According to Variety, AMC picked up Mad Men for a third season. However, Lionsgate has not yet locked up the series creator and producer, Matthew Weiner, for a third season. Word on the street is that Lionsgate wants to sign him to a 2 year deal with the intent of using the contract as leverage to secure an early commitment from AMC for a 4th season. However, Weiner has been shopping around town to get a feel for the market and possibly secure a development or overall deal with another studio. Hopefully, Lionsgate and Weiner can come to terms agreeable to both parties to ensure that the magic of Mad Men is not diminished.

And one more thing. Click here if you would like to ask Matthew Weiner a question about Mad Men. The answers will be posted on Monday, October 20th. After reading through the questions posted to date, they look pretty solid. I can't wait to hear what Weiner has to say.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Strawberry Pie

Round two of my attempts to become the Piemaker consisted of a delectable strawberry pie. The only major problem I encountered was when I baked the empty pie crust. For some reason, the crust kind of collapsed or shrunk. The nice lip I had created along the edge of the pie pan ended up half way down the side of the pie pan wall when all was said and done. My esteemed roommate believes this is due to not punching holes in the bottom of the crust which resulted in the bubble of air that formed which consequently pulled the crust down and away from the top edge of the pie pan. I tend to agree with him. I will try out this theory with the next pie crust I bake.

Another little change I would like to make involves the placement of the strawberries and the strawberry filling. The recipe stated that the fresh strawberries should be place in the crust and the filling should be poured on top. In the future I would like to place 1/3 to 1/2 of the strawberries in the crust, add the filling, and then strategically place the remaining  strawberries over the top of the filling. I think it will be much more appealing to the eye.

Finally, I think I might need to pick up a mixer of some sort so that I can make real whipped cream. Reddi-Whip from the can is ok but it pales in comparison to the real thing. 

In keeping with tradition (assuming that one previous blog post equates tradition), I give this effort a B- for
 aesthetics, an A+ for flavor, and an overall grade of this pie tastes so good I want to make little pie babies with it. And for the record, Carl has dibs on the little pie babies.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Here is a quick summary of what I am currently watching on TV:

Pushing Daisies - Season 2 started last week and I am still so in love with the production design, characters, and fairytale story that I think I want to marry it. Please watch. If this show gets cancelled I will cry. For real.

Survivor - This time the contestants are in Gabon which might be in Africa. I'm not really sure. I just know that there are elephants walking through camp. I was a little bugged by how easy it was to find the hidden immunity  idol but I can respect why they did it that way. Having the immunity idol in play earlier increases the potential for drama surrounding the idol. I love DVR because I can blow through an hour long episode in like 20 or 25 minutes.

The Shield - I absolutely love this show. It is in the final season and I am really interested to see how everything will be wrapped up. Vic, the strike team, and everything surrounding them is literally coming apart at the seems. The tension is so thick you could figuratively cut it with the cliche knife. The episode from this week was phenomenal. I don't want to spoil anything so that is all I will say.

Sons of Anarchy - A new show about a biker gang in California. Don't love it. Don't hate it. I will keep watching because I find the relationship between the Pres and the VP (the star of the show) to be intriguing. My one big complaint is that I can't stand the mom on the show (Peg from Married with Children). I can't really identify the reason, but she just really bothers me.

Entourage - The season started really strong. I mean really strong. I love the new story line with Vince coming to terms with no longer being the hottest item in Hollywood. I love how E is growing his list of clientele and I am intrigued by his current conflict of interest. With that said, the latest episode absolutely sucked. It was so bad that I thought I was watching an episode from last season and wanted to bang my head against the wall.

The Mentalist - Normally I don't really get into the CSI/Law & Order/Criminal Minds/etc. etc. etc. type shows. But that Simon Baker is just so dreamy. Plus the production values are really high. I enjoy the cinematography and the pacing of the episodes/dialogue. I am also intrigued by the underlying storyline of Simon Baker's character and his serial killer nemesis.

Worst Week - Worst Week is a UK import from what I gather. It is essentially multiple episodes of Meet the Parents. Everything that can go wrong, does. So far it has been pretty funny. The writing has been really sharp. The scenes are well lit and very visually appealing. But most important, the guy playing the lead is absolutely perfect for the role. I am totally pulling for him to overcome his clumsiness and win over the family of his soon to be bride. My only concern is that the premise could get stale after a couple more episodes. I am really interested in how they will develop the story and what they will do to keep the show fresh.

The Office - No commentary needed.

My Name is Earl - I was on the verge of no longer watching this show. Last season was really lame. I decided to give it a few more episodes and so far I have been pleased. The giant pigsquatch thing last week was pretty funny I thought. Maybe it is just my low expectations after last season. 

Mad Men - Arguably my second favorite show of all time. Season 2 is just as good as season 1 so far. If there is only one show on TV that you are watching right now, this should be it. Seriously.

How I Met Your Mother - HIMYM might be my second favorite comedy right now. The current season has started really strong. The burger episode had me laughing so hard I was actually in tears. I love Ted, Marshall, and Robyn. And Barney. Barney never disappoints. 

The Big Bang Theory - I am not sure why I still watch this show. I laugh maybe two or three times an episode. The costumes still make me angry. Really, I am not sure why I keep watching. But I do. I can get through an episode in like 20 minutes and I don't really hate it. It is just 20 minutes so it isn't really that big of a committment. Meh.

The Ultimate Fighter: Noguera vs Mir - The fighters look more skilled than ever. They also look more annoying than ever. Hopefully there will end up being at least one loveable douche.

Life - Life is another show that has really good production value. But what I enjoy the most is the main character who you may recognize from Band of Brothers. I'm not really sure what I can say about this LA cop story except that I enjoy watching. It is just a solid show.

Chuck - I still love the absurdness of this show. I still love the attractive women everywhere. And I still find Chuck to be so endearing. I would totally hang out with him if he was a real person. Plus it doesn't hurt that the character named Morgan cracks me up. Just an all around fun show.

Fringe - Fringe is the latest JJ Abrams project, who by the way is my hero. It is a cross between X-Files and CSI which seems to be getting better with each episode. The exposition in the first couple of episodes absolutely killed me but the writers seem to be hitting their stride and correcting this problem. This is definitely one of my favorite new shows this year.

Eleventh Hour - I haven't seen an episode of this show yet. It starts tonight I think. It is scheduled to record because I found the billboards and the name appealing. I don't even know what it is about.

Kath & Kim - I haven't seen an episode of this show either. I think it also starts tonight. The commercials I have seen look pretty funny though. 

Life on Mars - Once again, I think this show starts tonight. This is another UK import about a cop who somehow gets transported back in time to 1970. I have read nothing but good things about this show. I am interested to see if it holds my attention.

So that is a brief run down of what I am currently watching. Words don't do justice to how happy I am to have my old friends back in my life mixed with some new friends that are quickly becoming part of the proverbial family.

PS 30 Rock. End of October? What the hell?

PSS I officially broke up with Heroes. It was all I could do to make it through last season. I thought I would give it another chance this season. I almost killed myself during the first episode. Or was it two episodes in a special two hour premiere? I can't rememeber. I watched the first ten minutes or so of the next episode and that was it. I couldn't do it anymore. I stopped the episode and deleted it from my series recordings. It felt so good to finally cut all ties from what had sadly become a giant anchor around my neck. I would get into the dirty little details of why we broke up but as always I try to keep this a spoiler free zone. Plus, a gentleman never tells, yeah?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pushing Pies

One of my favorite shows of all time, Pushing Daisies, kicked off its second season last week after a hiatus that seemed longer than the line at Cafe Rio. The return of this whimsical tale with its stellar production design, hilariously poignant characters, and genius writing full of silly alliteration was easily the highlight of my week. As I was watching the episode, I was completely fascinated by the pies. I had this sudden urge to bake my own pie. And so the adventure began.

It wasn't really an adventure though. Except for maybe the part where I almost clawed my eyes out trying to battle my way through Trader Joe's. I am about to have a nervous break down just thinking about it. Trader Joe's, why must you be such a thorny lover? So apart from Trader Joe's, things went pretty well considering it was my first pie ever. I chose to go with a traditional apple pie because I thought that it would be relatively simple and minimize my risk of disaster. The only real problem I had with the process was that the recipe for the pie crust left me a little short and I felt a little pressure to make it stretch to cover my needs. Apart from the potential dough shortfall, the crust turned out fantastic. It tastes excellent and the color and texture are exactly what I had envisioned. The only other problem I encountered was that the apple filling was a little on the runny side. This is really only a problem from an aesthetics viewpoint because it actually tastes like Christmas in my mouth. 

So my final grades of the inaugural pie are a B for aesthetics, a solid A for flavor, and an overall grade of "this pie is so good I want to sew my ass shut." I am really looking forward to my next effort. I am still trying to decide which type to go with though. Maybe an apple/pear combo? Or a tasty peach? Or maybe even a nice sweet potato pie?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Redford and Newman

I know that for the blagiverse, I am really late to the game on the whole passing away of the iconic Paul Newman. By the way, if you haven't seen Road to Perdition, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Yesterday, Time ran a fantastic article on their website which was written by good  old Leatherface himself. In the article, Robert Redford recounts a few anecdotes from his long friendship with Newman as well as offers great perspective on fame and  how Newman helped him to deal with his own fame. One of my favorite quotes from the article is the following:

"If you're in a position of being viewed iconically, you'd better have a mechanism to take yourself down to keep the balance. I think we did that for each other."

If you have a few minutes, take the time to read this excellent tribute. I found the insights and observations to be quite compelling. For another interesting, albeit much more sad, article, check out the blog post by Peter Bart. It was a great reminder of how fragile friendships can be.

And one more thing, at the end of the Redford piece there is link to Paul Newman: His Life in Photographs. Full of great memories and excellent photos.