Happy flippin' 2008! At least it's an election year...
Happy New Year kids! Every year I say that the new year can't be as bad as the last. Each year I seem to be proven wrong. Although my own life is not necessarily better or worse, the whole situation here in Dubya's America has turned to a deeper shade of shit. Everyone knows that Michigan's economy is in the shitter and I really don't need to expound on that. I'm just bringing up because it's still crap and only getting worse. I also recently read somewhere that Michigan is in 51st place for public art funding in the nation (I think I read it in the latest Metro Times in a great article by the always thought-provoking Jack Lessenberry). (Click here for a link to an eye-opening article on Michigan's "Dubious Achievers" in 2007.) A few years ago Michigan was in 4th place. How amazingly embarrassing! This state is in a sad state of affairs. It's a little sad, really, that we're currently more backward and behind than Mississippi in many matters. No offense to Mississippians or other backwards, backwoods red-staters or anything... I think the that the film Idiocracy is coming true...
Christmas was...a day off. New Year's Day was...a day off. Today was my first day off from both jobs (not including Christmas and New Year's Day) in about a month. I'm actually off tomorrow to because someone needed to switch with me next Sunday. I'll take two days off in a row any day! Today I went to Mexican Fiesta for dinner to meet up with a bunch of friends for a birthday. Fun! Tomorrow I've got a leg of lamb to roast (it was on sale at Meijer). I think I'll rub it with some pomegranate molasses, basil, oregano, and an assload of garlic. I also bought some parsnips and Yukon Gold potatoes to mash. Not to sound like that giggly asshat waste of oxygen Rachel Ray or anything but, "Yummo!". I'll also go to Stormy Records tomorrow and do a little shopping as I have a gift certificate to use. Yay!
Christmas was nice...thanks for asking. The Christmas season at the wine store was crazy and challenging, but I won't go into that. It's all over for now, thankfully. I drove up to my parents after work on Christmas Eve to spend it with them and spent Christmas Day with them as well. That was nice. It was also a day off which made it especially nice. The Saturday night before New Year's (after work) was spent at a lovely party at BST's. I venture to say that a good time was had by all, especially those schnookered on BST's famous ChiChis coupled with "Bacony Goodness".
New Year's Eve was really nice this year. This is the first time in years that I wasn't home alone, so that was especially cool. Perl and Amy (Great catch Perl! She's awesome and I think we all really like her. Scarily, she fits in to our eclectic, exclusive group. Welcome to the dysfunctional family Amy!) had about 20 people over for dinner. They were great hosts and Perl even through some friggin' awesome tenderloins on the grill. I brought a big pot of homemade cream of wild mushroom soup (made with lots of Oloroso sherry). It was really nice just getting to spend time with good friends laughing and talking. I really relish those moments as I've got some of the greatest friends in the world! I watch the snowflakes as big as Buicks falling that night. Holy crap! Those were the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen in my life!
The next day (New Year's Day for those of you not keeping track) was spent at Julie and Glen's for our Secret Santa/Elfster exchange. Way too much food and lots of fun! I brought my triple-chocolate fudge "Skullf**k" brownies and everybody else brought stuff plus pizza AND leftovers from the party the night before. Dang! We had a true WUMD trifecta last week with three events in four days. If you toss in tonight's gathering I guess we could call it a fourfecta??? "Ba dum bum!" Sorry. Anyway, it was really great being able to spend so much time with my friends as I don't get to see some of them as often as I'd like. It was nice to ring in the new year with such great souls...
I hope you kids got everything you wanted for Christmas. I got some seriously cool stuff! (Thanks Amazon wishlist! You rule!)
I got lots of things but some highlights include the Twin Peaks boxset (the whole series), The Decalogue, and the greatest book in the world! I may have to do a mega-marathon of Twin Peaks the next time I have some serious time off. The ultra-hip, mega-cool, fashionable as always landlords got me The Decalogue DVD boxset. The Decalogue was a Polish mini-series directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski (Director of The Double Life of Veronique and the Blue, White, Red trilogy and one of my absolute faves).
The IMDB plot summary says
"This is a series of ten shorts created for Polish Television, with plots loosely based upon the Ten Commandments, directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Two of these, Dekalog 5 and 6, are shorter cuts from the feature-length films--Krotki film o zabijaniu (A Short Film About Killing) and Krotki film o milosci (A Short Film About Love), respectively. They deal with the emotional turmoil suffered by humanity, when instinctual acts and societal morality conflict."
I can't wait to drown myself in a depressing Kieslowski marathon. Apparently Stanley Kubrick described The Decalogue as the only masterpiece he could name in his lifetime.
I also got two copies of the greatest book ever! (I gave one to deserving and appreciative individual.) I got a book called My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes. The copy I got from my parents is a signed first-edition! How cool is that? For a foodie dork like me there is nothing better than this book. 50 top respected chefs from around the world are asked...
"What would be your last meal on earth?"
"What would be the setting for the meal?"
"What would you drink with your meal?"
"Would there be music?"
"Who would be your dining companions?"
"Who would prepare the meal?"
These are some of the coolest, most exciting chefs around that I absolutely admire. The likes of which include Anthony Bourdain, Fergus Henderson, Gabrielle Hamilton, Eric Ripert, April Bloomfield, Ferran Adria, Jacques Pepin, Lida Bastianich, Mario Batali, Marcus Samuelsson, Wylie DuFresne, Tetsuya Wakuda, Neil Perry, Martin Picard, Rick Bayless, and many more. Each chef has an accompanying and unique photo. Great, imaginative photography and some really cool answers. The answers range from the simplest comfort food (Gordon Ramsay) to the sublimely decadent (Gary Danko). GREATEST...BOOK...EVER!!!
A picture of Anthony Bourdain's last meal (above). Bone marrow with parsley salad as prepared by Fergus Henderson at St. John in London. Looks damn good to me! Bone marrow is one of my favorite things on the planet. I hope this doesn't make my vegetarian friends like Kathleen puke. ;)
Special thanks to BST also for being my "way overly generous" Secret Santa! Kurosawa is always a wondrous gift!
I'm super-excited about the new season of No Reservations which starts tomorrow! GREATEST...SHOW...EVER! Does Anthony Bourdain need a bitch? 'Cuz I'll be his bitch any time. All I ask for is transportation, livable wages, and an occasional table scrap. BTW, there's a great picture of him in that book. MEF from the store keeps saying that her "ovaries would be twitching if I had any" every time she sees Anthony Bourdain (and Robert Irvine). I think that picture put her over the top.
A new season of Reno 911! starts soon too!
This writers' strike sucks! Give them what they want! They deserve it! I deserve more Battlestar Galactica and Lost!
I'm also super-excited to hear that Tom Hanks will be producing a "Pacific Theater" follow-up to Band of Brothers, the single greatest piece about war ever put to film. I've mentioned several times that Band of Brothers, an HBO mini-series about Easy Company (E Company) in World War II, is one of the greatest things ever committed to film. I will always stand by that. The fact that Mr. Hanks plans on producing another mini-series focusing on the Pacific Theater of World War II is very exciting. I really can't wait!
The Iowa Caucus results were pretty surprising. I'm not 100% sure where I stand yet, but I do like Barack Obama. Huckabee scares the beejeezus out of me! But then again so does Romney and Paul. They're all scary! I just saw on a TV ticker tonight that the Detroit Free Press has officially endorsed John McCain. Interesting... It'll be very intersesting to see what happens in New Hampshire. I'd like to thank the dickheads in Lansing for f'ing up the Michigan primary. Thanks a lot assbags! F*ck up a moderately respectable primary just so you can get voter info??? You douchenozzles deserve super-wedgies!
I haven't put a lot of thought into my "Best of 2008" picks. Not much excited me this year. I didn't see many movies, buy many albums, read many books, or watch much TV of great note. Drank a few good wines. Maybe I'll come out with a better list later. Maybe not.
My best films of the year are...
No Country for Old Men (Great frickin' movie with one of my favorite actors, Javier Bardem. The ending pissed off a lot of people including Davo.)
Control (Amazing film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division! Can't wait for the DVD to come out. Great soundtrack too! Uncanny portrayal of Ian Curtis.)
Knocked Up (Just damn funny!)
Superbad (Just really damn funny! I just watched this for the first time last week on DVD.)
My list would be longer, but I don't remember any other films from 2007. I watched quite a few things on Netflix, but I don't remember if there was anything groundbreaking from 2007. I only recall seing 3 or 4 films in the theater last year. I'm sure it was more...
My album of the year is...
Grinderman - eponymous
An awesome, incendiary project by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, and others. Powerful shit!
The Joy Division re-issues on vinyl and CD are pretty f'ing amazing too!
TV shows of the year...
Battlestar Galactica (Just bloody brilliant! Really! I'm not kidding! The critics even strongly agree! Really! Really!! REALLY!!!)
No Reservations (Duh!)
Bizarre Foods (Love this show! I really look forward to Monday nights.)
Globe Trekker (I absolutely love this show even though I never know when or if it's on anymore. I eat up every morsel of any re-run or new episode. If I'm flicking channels and come across this I'm in heaven, especially if it's a Megan McCormick episode. Ian Wright is fine too, but he's just not as cute.)
Some of my favorite wines that I tasted in 2007 are...
2003 Egelhoff Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 Veraison Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Bouza Tannat A8 Parcela Única Montevideo (Uruguay)
2006 Atteca Old Vines Calatayud Garnacha (Spain)
2005 Frey-Sohler Muscat d'Alsace
Chateau d'Orignac Pineau des Charentes
2005 R Wines First Class Shiraz (Australia)
2005 Pierre Andre Ladoix (Burgundy)
2005 Dashe Dry Creek Zinfandel
2005 Tir Na N'og Old Vines McLaren Vale Grenache (Australia)
And to finish things off...
I went to Meijer last night to do some grocery shopping. I wanted to braise some short ribs, beef, or lamb shanks but they didn't have any. They did have some oxtails, but I opted against them. I picked up a leg of lamb instead. I was walking by the dairy/egg/cookie cooler and something caught my eye. I found a product on the shelf that made me laugh out loud. It's so wrong on two different levels that I had to buy it. First of all, it's pancake/waffle batter in a spray nozzle bottle not unlike a canister of whipping cream. Just spray it onto your hot skillet and you're done. Very wrong! Even wronger??? It's called "Organic Batter Blaster". I'll refrain from comment and let you use your own noggin. I'm embarrassed to say that I bought one and even tried it today. Actually, it wasn't too bad. It is organic, after all. The ingredients are actually recognizable and the end result was a respectable pancake. Here's a pic...
On that note...
Happy New Year! May 2008 be a great year for everybody! Dickbag Dubya will soon (not soon enough) be gone. Wishing you health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in 2008! I'll try to post more often. The holidays kicked my ass!
Random poll- What are you most looking forward to this year?
Random poll #2- What are some of your faves from '07?
Random poll #3- What New Year's resolution will you break first?