Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wait A Minute...
















Saturday night: It's snowing. It's about 38 degrees out so nothing is really sticking to the roads, but the snow is accumulating on lawns and vehicles. The flakes are big and fat. They're fun to watch. Eventually, the snow will turn to rain. Still, deep down we are disturbed because it's still October here in New England and it's the first snow of the season.

Sunday morning: It's is 60 degrees. There is no sign that last night it snowed or even rained. The chocolate factory across the street cheerily pumps brownie scented fumes into the air. Deep down we are disturbed because we realize that at any moment the weather could turn on us like a rabid dog. After all, it's fall in New England.

Tomorrow and Tuesday it's supposed to be in the high sixties/low seventies. Then the rest of the week is supposed to be in the fifties.

The weather here is more bi-polar than my late uncle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Walking Around

I am the uber-pedestrian. I love walking around cities. For example - New York City:   Where else can you find a tourist trap that caters to out-of-towners that want to view drag queens in a safe, family friendly environment (Lucky Cheng’s) that is connected by a dark catacomb in the basement to a tourist trap that caters to people who think.  they want to watch the S and M/bondage community at “work” without getting dirty; it’s ok because you only have to watch, you don’t have to play…you can return to Indiana unscathed and unblemished except for your stories of “the freaky New York lifestyle” (La Nouvelle Justine)?  Nope, we don’t have that here in Boston.  No sir.  Of course, we don’t have a Disney World outpost either.  

Sadly, I don’t visit New York all that often these days.  Time was that I’d bolt out of school with the bell, scoot to Logan and grab a shuttle to LaGuardia, do a set in the city and then take a 4 hour bus ride back to Boston, sleep on the bus and then go back to teaching the kids the next morning.  But, that got expensive.  And, the New York scene is heavily “bring 10 friends to get on stage” based.  It’s hard to bring friends if you live 4-5 hours drive away.  And bringer shows are really less about whether you are going to get “seen” by someone who can actually do something for you and all about making money for the club.  So, although I still get some calls from one particular club, I’ve stopped that practice.  Plus, the high school I work at likes me to be fully functional in the morning – go figure.  And, did I mention it was expensive?

I don’t pretend to really know jack shit about New York.  But, I do like to walk around it.  Did I mention I love walking around cities?  When I lived in London, hell, when I lived in Worcester, I’d walk around – everywhere.  I find you get a better sense of a city when you are a pedestrian.  In London, you’d discover that you could walk from Knightsbridge to Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square to Covent Garden.  Hell, if you were feeling really ambitious you could do the “Werewolf of London” pub crawl.  As long as you hit Lee Ho Fook’s (in Soho in Leicester Square) and the London Hilton (Piccadilly Circus-ish – it’s the home of Trader Vic’s), you were good.  Everything else was gravy.  Ok, everything else was gray and helped to add to the drunk.  The London Hard Rock Café was down the street from the Hilton a ways.  When we were there, I ordered my roommate a cocktail made of Drambuie and scotch while he was in the bathroom.  He was kinda pissed.  But he drank it.  

And, I highly recommend getting beef chow mein at Lee Ho Fook’s and a Piña Colada at Trader Vic’s.  Just to say you did it.

And I recommend visiting Lucky Cheng’s and La Nouvelle Justine.  Just to say you did it.



Sunday, October 23, 2005

Schrodinger's Cat

Have you ever heard about Schrodinger's Cat?

It's a quantum mechanics theory. Basically a cat is stuffed in a bag with a lethal device that, when a button is pressed outside the bag, has a 50/50 chance of killing the cat (and everything is safe-guarded and cat-proofed, blah, blah, blah). You press the button to activate the device. And here's the thing:

Before you open the bag, the state of the cat is neither alive nor dead (or 100% alive and also 100% dead, which is a fun little paradox to try and get your head around). The cat will remain in this limbo state until you open the bag and determine the cat's reality.

That's kind of how I feel about stand up comedy right now.

I really enjoy the time that I'm on stage. But, since I don't perform all that often lately, I'm never entirely sure how the evening is going to go. The set could be great or it could suck. So, I usually end up perserverating for the whole day leading up to the set, dwelling on how it could all go horribly wrong. Because there is a 100% chance that the set could go well and a 100% chance that it could really suck. And I won't get a chance to determine my reality until I get onstage.

Tonight's show went pretty well, but I lost most of the day worrying over the set. Watching old DVDs of sets. Making notes about what I want to do differently.
Mr. Scoop says I'll perseverate less if I book more shows and work more frequently.
He's right, of course.

In the meantime, here's a site that puts the fate of Schrodinger's Cat in your hands:

The Interactive Schrodinger's Cat

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Behind This Door...

What goes on behind this door? This $800 Home Depot door that's been slapped on this incredibly dilapidated ramshackle house, quite possibly doubling its value?

I'd say the house was undergoing a renovation, but's just been sitting there like that for the 3 years I've lived on this street. It's sad and scary in a way - like Carrie at the Prom. She's so proud of herself, that she can show off her dress and her date and try to belong. But,you know it's not quite right. You know something's going to go horribly, tragically wrong. And yet you keep watching anyway.

And the light is always. on in the basement. Why is that? My guess involves a table saw, duct tape and a gimp mask.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stick Figure Death Theater





If you enjoy stick figures doing horrible things to themselves and others, you should visit Stick Figure Death Theater.

I like this little nugget in particular:

Hunted

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Catalog This! And By "This" I Mean...


I’m watching this show on the Fine Living Channel called “Catalog This!". The premise of this show is a couple of wannabe yuppies petition for a room makeover. They pick a slew of “I wish I could afford this” items out of a catalog and the channel delivers them to their door. Their challenge is to redecorate the room using the items and to come in within $2000 (under, not over) of the budget assigned to them by the network. Otherwise, they lose all the furniture.

Tonight’s happy couple, Emily and Dickless, are redesigning Dickless’s bedroom. Apparently, Emily has recently moved in and has decided that Dickless’s digs need to be “more grown-up”.  “It’s needs more color!” gushes Emily. “My walls have color”, replies Dickless. “Beige isn’t a color,” sneers Emily. I’m personally hoping that Dickless decides to paint the wall with Emily. Thus far, I am denied.

I’m probably not the most qualified person to comment on other people’s design prowess. My bedroom includes bureaus that used belong to my dad in the 50s, my parent’s lovely dark pine goth bed from the 70s, and posters that memorialize Trainspotting and The Breakfast Club.

Fuck it.

Emily and Dickless have 2 hours ( 1 a piece) to redecorate the room, using the amassed items, in his or her own image. To begin with, someone decides to paint the room over in a shade of sky blue that I thought was really cool…when I was 10. Then, I watch as Emily picks up a recently delivered, puke green chaise recliner and gushes over it as though it will cure cancer. She moves it to the bedroom. Dickless’s face drops as though she’s announced to his family over Thanksgiving dinner that she’s pregnant and the child isn’t his. Clearly, this is going to bode well for the relationship.

By the time she’s done, there are fluffy shag rugs and overbearing throw pillows fucking up what had been a functional, if Spartan, space. But the blame isn’t entirely Emily’s: Dickless seemed to think that an overpriced, but space age looking, CD player from The Sharper Image and red school lockers masquerading as an end table and closet space from Ikea are good ideas. Clearly, Dickless misses the days of communal showering with other men. However, he at least takes the step of deep-sixing the horrible puke green chaise and replacing it with a black massaging recliner.

Ultimately, Emily and Dickless lose the game; they end up more than $1200 over budget. They both decide that 3 full-length, beveled and framed mirrors are necessary for the space. Three? Emily is tons of fun, but she shouldn’t need three mirrors to see herself. Then Dickless insists on keeping the stereo. Meanwhile, Emily drags in another chaise (white, fluffy, heart shaped…hurl!) because “I need somewhere to sit!" Why? You didn’t include a TV or a computer in your design. Why do you need chairs in there at all? Explain this to me. And if your explanation involves Astroglide or a swing I will find you and kill you.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hello Whiskey My Old Friend

You know, for a night home alone, it’s a little busy here.

To begin with, I’m rediscovering my old friend Scotch whiskey, after months of being budget minded and buying other, lesser whiskeys instead. Sure Canadian Club will get you fucked up. But it really needs to be mixed with other mediums for maximum enjoyment and functionality (read: if I mix it with ginger ale, it is palatable and I can drink it faster).

Tonight’s single malt adventure is Laphroaig (10 year). It is probably my favorite single malt Scotch in the world. It’s from Islay. Islay is an island off the coast of Scotland. When you smell this whiskey, you smell smoke and ocean. Think about the best beach bonfire party you ever attended. The smell of the fire and the brine in the air. And you get drunk, just like the beach party. That’s what this drink will remind you of. It tastes of that smoke too, along with fire, salt and little bit of honey. On a night like tonight here in New England - rainy, cold and raw - my Laphroaig is the best of summer beach bonfires in a glass.

And, I’m not going to wake up missing my top...with hickeys on my earlobes I’d rather not have to explain to my parents.

There’s nothing worse than a hickey that scabs over. That’s all I’m saying.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Speaking of embarrassing high school moments, my WinAmp has kicked over into "I Want Your Sex" (yes, yes...George Michael...). I still remember when my friend Chrissie (who went on to a psychology degree and a lifetime of living at home) called me in the middle of the MTV debut of the video to hold her rotary phone up to the TV because she couldn’t believe what she was seeing and had to share...somehow... I didn’t even have cable, so I was more floored by the idea of MTV in the house than George Michael in bed with a woman.

So, apparently some night I was very drunk and decided it was a good idea to add it to my music collection. I shouldn’t be surprised. Very often I wake up and my digital music collection looks like the iPod equivalent of a Coyote Morning. But with fewer phone calls I have to duck. And less Herpes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Oh, and by the way, it’s "Homemade Karaoke Night" here at Chez Scoop. With the whiskey drunk beginning at 6pm, it was really kind of inevitable. But we’ve added a new twist to the "turn on WinAmp and sing at the top of your lungs" pattern: It’s finally occurred to me that I own a live microphone and amplifier.

Be afraid, elderly neighbors.

Be very afraid.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Breaking Bonaduce

Good Lord.

Am I the only person watching this?

Mr. Bonaduce sez: I'd like some whiskey and a hooker!


It's like a horrible train wreck that I can't look away from.

I will grant you: I have no idea what it is like to have been a huge child star who hits pubescence (which I can barely spell) and finds out he or she suddenly is no longer cute enough, or hot enough to pedophiles, to work regularly. I suspect Dakota Fanning will also figure this out in a movie or two.

No.

My greatest childhood milestone was to play the part of Snoopy in a summer musical adaptation of "Charlie Brown Goes To Summer Camp" when I was eight. Mom made me my costume out of white terry cloth, tail and all. Somewhere there would've been incriminating reel to reel films if I'd bothered to execute my father's will properly. Ultimately, all I really remember of that summer was that my dog, Grey - who had been with my family since at least the time I was born and used to protect my baby carriage when it was outside from other dogs and miscreants, died and that I was heartbroken. She was at least 17 and had liver failure. I cried for two weeks. However, I told no one why I was crying - so, for two weeks I was the weird kid that cried all the time. It did wonders for my elementary social life. But, the least I could do to honor Grey's memory was to be the best Snoopy ever.

Anyway, Bonaduce makes me alternately want to smack him upside the head or buy him a drink and say "Yeah. The bitch is crazy. Here's what you should do..." Tonight, I watched his wife own up to having strippers in her room at a party and then tell him that if he went to a strip club she'd be pissed at him.

Maybe it's because I'm the child of divorce. Maybe it's because I've watched full blown alcoholism take its toll on relationships close to me. But, ultimately, Gretchen Bonaduce pisses me off. Sure, Gretchen, you only dated for six hours before you got engaged to Danny. But you've been there for a while now, so, presumably you've bought the ticket and you understand what it means to take the ride. Settle the hell down and quit bitching. He's not going to change. In his head he's still 12 and entitled. Really.

Plus substance abuse now. Oh, yay.

Just shut up or get out, Gretchen. Yes, yes, you've been together for many years...

And, of course, watching him whine about how he felt betrayed and pissed only made me more angry. Look, kids, perhaps you should've dated longer and gone through that "getting to know you" thing before the marriage. His "suicide attempt" would've made me punch him in the face. But, on the other hand, I might've punched Gretchen on principle. Boy she sucks.

It's not like me to go on at length about a "reality" show. I will say that the "celeb-reality" shows VH-1 put out are like crack. And now I'm waiting my next hit.


Tags:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

4 Years

Today is the 4 year anniversary for me and Mr. Scoop! Here are some reasons why Mr. Scoop rules and is the love of my life:

1. He is always there when I need him.
2. When we kiss it still feels like that first time 4 years ago.
3. He is the funniest person I know.
4. He thinks I'm...funny.
5. He has a smile that could light Los Angles in a blackout.
6. When he's really into something (a book, for example), he gets this really intense look. I like to watch him when he thinks I'm not looking.
7. He can beat me at arm wrestling (you might wonder why this is important - ever try to date a guy who's weaker than you? It's...disquieting...).
8. I think he's smarter than me. I like that.
9. He eats whatever I cook and says that it's good. Even if it's weird or possibly endangered.
10. He always tells me what I need to hear, not just what I want to hear.

So, here's to you Mr. Scoop! I love you!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Scorpion Bowl part 2 - The Wrath of Scorpion Bowl

...or Why Scoop's Sister Can't Hold Her Liquor

Uh, guys?  Who's hand is that on my ass?  Guys? It has come to my attention that apparently not everyone is familiar with the popular, but deadly, alcoholic beverage The Scorpion Bowl. As you can see from the picture, the beverage is intended to be drunk by several individuals at once. Imbibing of a Scorpion Bowl by fewer than three people is an activity akin to Russian Roulette: after you put away the first one you may feel like you've dodged the damage bullet, but continuing to drink them after that is like putting more bullets in the gun. You will get hurt.

I should be shrieking something incomprehensible here.Mr. Scoop thinks it would be great fun if I went online some night and went mano y mano with someone in a contest to see who could put away the most Scorpion Bowls solo. Somewhere in this he envisions some kind of internet Nepalese drinking contest, like in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I get to be Karen Allen. I'm not sure exactly what I'd get out of this other than a potentially amusing IM transcript, a hangover and the possibility of waking up after a blackout with a penis scrawled on my face by a Sharpie, but I'm sure he means well.

To that end, here's a recipe for a Scorpion Bowl:

Scorpion Bowl

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
3 oz. Grenadine
3 oz. Pineapple Juice
3 oz. Orange Juice
2 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Gin
2 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Bacardi 151 Proof Rum


Instructions:
Fill a Scorpion Bowl half full of ice. Blend alcohol with a cup of ice and the juice. Garnish with a pineapple stick and cherries.

-Drinkers may also choose to bludgeon themselve on the head with the empty bowl when they've finished drinking. It certainly won't do any more damage, because they probably won't be able to feel it.

Some People Are Not Meant To Drink Scorpion Bowls

My sister for one.

One night, we went out drinking. We had a couple of beers before a comedy show. At the show, we ordered a Scorpion Bowl. Now, perhaps what was about to transpire was my fault, because I knew going into it that she didn't drink that much. We drank the Scorpion Bowl. We ordered another. It was at about this point that I noticed that she was really enthusiastistic about giving suggestions to the improv troop on stage. Granted, she would have preferred to be onstage than in the audience. Because of that, I didn't take the enthusiasm that seriously. Afterall, she wasn't getting naked or dancing on a table. When the show finished, we had about a third of the second bowl left.

The Scorpion Bowls at this bar had little plastic toys floating in them. I think the inclusion of potential choking hazards is to help weed out the lightweights from the serious drinkings. If the bar staff finds you slumped over, blue in the face because you weren't paying attention to the plastic mermaids, you're cut off. If the bar staff finds you in a corner, talking to yourself and playing with the toys, you're cut off. It's a good system.

As we finished the second bowl and ordered the third bowl, my sister excused herself to the bathroom. She was gone for a very long time. I didn't notice, because I was getting hit on by an off duty bouncer who kind of looked like Sinbad. And the third Scorpion Bowl arrived. Somewhere between finishing the bowl on my own and learning that the on-staff...bouncers frown on demonstrations of non-violent restraint techniques on their off duty co-workers, a waitress arrived to ask me if it was my sister who was in the bathroom and could I possibly go check on her? Indeed, it was my sister.

I found her slumped inside a stall with her head resting on the toilet seat. She had sprayed the inside of the stall with a violent technicolor yawn. No one had been there to hold her hair back. I felt a little bad about that. But only a little. Mostly, I was concerned about getting out the building without attracting further attention. I went back to the bar to pay my tab. Then I collected her from the stall and propped her in a corner while I tried, in vain, to clean the mess up with a large wad of paper towels. It was futile. I hustled out down the stairs and out the doors as quickly as I could. We got into a cab and were driven home - 2 towns over. I would remember the next day that I'd driven and have to get a cab back into town in order to collect my car and get back home. However, if you're too drunk to remember that you've taken your car to begin with you really shouldn't be driving home. The next morning my sister would wake up looking like she'd been punched in both eyes and have one more thing to add to the list of reasons that she should move out of state and not speak to me.

Who wants a drink?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Recovering...


Any night you put down a 720ml (yes, 720ml. no, I don't know why.) of sake and then keep drinking often means the next morning is going to be rough. That's when you need a good, easy recovery breakfast.

When I was a kid, one of the first recipes I remember making (more or less on my own) came from one of those kid's cookbooks with the drawings that looked like they were made from crayon in order to be kid friendly. Some of the recipes were easy and great (like the one I'm going to show you). Others were...not. I swear there was a recipe in there for "Popcorn Fireworks" that advocated putting popcorn in the popper without putting the cover on and then letting the corn fly all over the room as it popped. It's probably why the book isn't in print anymore.

"Eggs in a Nest" is a really easy take on "Pan Perdue" (French for "Lost Bread"...what we think of as French Toast). All you need are 1 egg per piece of bread, some butter or oil, a frying pan and a working cooktop.

There is a video that shows how easy and cheap it is to make it here at the ITV "Get Stuffed" site. That's right. ITV. British people. Making cooking shows. Despite Britain's reputation of "where food goes to die", this show is better than half the crap on Food Network.

On the video, they use regular sandwich bread. That'll work ok, but the recipe is better when you can use leftover bread from a loaf of sourdough or similar "good" bread. It dries out a little bit (the preservatives in sliced sandwich bread keep it from drying out) so it soaks the egg up more - thus allowing the bread and egg to achieve a more perfect oneness.

So here's what you do:

First you need to cut the bread into slices about 3/4" to an inch thick. Thinner than that and the egg will spill out. Much thicker than that and the yolk won't be level with the top of the bread, which makes it cook less evenly.

Then you need to cut a hole out of the middle of each slice. I find a shot glass works well for this purpose:



Meanwhile, heat up a frying pan to medium high heat and add about 3 tablespoons of oil. I like olive oil. If you decide to use butter, you'll need to change the ratio to 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil so the butter doesn't burn.






Then, to check that the oil is at a good temp for frying, add your bread circles:


If they start to soak up all your oil like little sponges, your pan is not hot enough. If they start to burn, your pan is too hot. If they sizzle merrily, your pan is perfect. Let them brown up on both sides and remove them from the pan.








Add the bread to the pan. Crack an egg into the hole of each slice of bread:

Yes, some of the egg will ooze out from the bread and start to bubble and crisp in the oil. That's ok. However, if it starts to turn black your heat is too high. Turn it down before you burn your breakfast!

Give the eggs and bread about 2-3 minutes per side. You want the eggs to set on each side and the bread to toast up all nice and golden. I like my eggs in this dish to be runny when you cut into the toast. If you like yours more done, turn the heat down to medium and go 4-5 minutes or so per side.

The resulting dish looks like this:


If I serve it with a side of aspirin and some coffee, I can cure my hangover and relive a small part of my childhood.

And that's not bad multitasking while damaged.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Swept Away: A Red Sox story

We got swept in the series. WTF happened?

Did I not believe hard enough?

Was it my fair weather fan tendencies over the course of the season? They were basically winning, so why pay too much attention, right?

Who do I blame for this? Clement imploding on the opening night of the series? Wells not being drunk enough to get the job done on the second night? Graffanino having an awful Buckner-esque bobble that night as well? Wakefield? The guys who could've got walks and tied the game tonight before Hernandez settled down?

How to screw up the Red Sox completely: Let them open with a former Cub at the beginning of the series and have to face a former Yankee at the end when they think they might rally. Then give them National League level of aggression on top of that.

They may as well have been lit on fire and left to go stiff and fetal.

Nope. I'm not bitter.

Maybe I should've made hot dogs. Maybe it was my choice of sake and edamame for dinner that threw too much good karma to Tadahito Iguchi. Maybe I shouldn't have bought the good sake.

Anyway, I'm very disappointed.

All I have to say is this: Having defeated us, the White Sox had better win the whole damn thing. Then it might be tolerable.

But not really.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What's Sadder Than Sad?

Today I saw a spoiler on a Yugo.

About the only way it could have been sadder would have been if I'd found it parked diagonally in some supermarket parking lot, the owner clearly trying to keep if from being scratched or dinged by other, to their minds lesser, automobiles.

I like to think that if I'd found it that way, I'd have keyed it on principle. I'd have left the owner a note too. On a Post-It: "Get Over Yourself." And a smiley face. You can key an excellent smiley face on the hood of a car.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cataloging My Life So My Brain Cells Won't Have To

Have a look at this picture:


This past Saturday I caught the first sign of fall here in my town - the one tree that's decided to start turning, even though all the others around it are steadfastly staying green. At first you marvel at how pretty the colors are, but then you hope that the others don't change too soon. Turning leaves only lead to increased traffic of gawking tourists choking up the roadways. And tourist-y leaf gawking season eventually leads to that season where everyone disappears and there are no leaves on the trees. I don't mean Armageddon. I mean winter. And my car hates winter more than it hates idling behind a slack-jawed, incessantly photograph taking, driving 20 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone out-of-towner.



And, see this picture?


This is a Scorpion "Bowl" for one.

Drinking 3 of them is the equivalent of having a regular size Scorpion Bowl. The reason this picture is blurry is because I took it after drinking three of them. It is also one-ninth of the reason I woke up still drunk the next day. Going out drinking with my mother seems to do that to me.

Those are the highlights of my weekend that I can remember.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Busy

I regret that I've been entirely too absorbed in the fun that is mid-quarter failure warnings to give you folks any new posts. I plan to have something new up tomorrow.

Until then, I give you Man On Fire, the Animated Gif: