Saturday, February 28, 2009


Sorry folks, I know I haven't been writing a lot lately. I'm realizing that I'm about to post another VINE-YL post, and have nothing to put in between. I've been busy... Working. I've become an "extra," which I'm sure will provide me with plenty of stories to blog about in the near future. My first job, for example, was last Friday. I was informed by my agency that I was the first choice for this particular role, some sort of reenactment. Wardrobe called me and told me I needed to bring dark clothing for the "break in" scene, as well as clothing that I normally wear every day. The plot thickens. So I was the "first choice" to play a criminal who broke into a house? Interesting. When I arrived on set I was informed that I was playing a junkie. I began to wonder if my picture at Central Casting made me look like a junkie, since the wardrobe lady had asked me to wear "what I normally wear every day." I later learned that I would be reenacting a murder that I committed. You can't make this stuff up folks. My first job as an extra and I am "first choice" at Central Casting (which is the largest extra casting agency in L.A.) to play a junkie murderer. Welcome to Hollywood.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009




Yay! Scary evil Ben is back! He seemed to be going a little soft there for a moment. I didn't like the feel good, "I just want to help everybody," Ben. Didn't seem natural. I like it when he manipulates people and makes them cry and then murders them. It was nice to get a bit of background on Matthew Abadon (the mysterious black dude that was apparently also on The Wire)who's been popping up for a while now, of course he was murdered pretty quickly so we didn't learn much. God, Walt got HUGE, huh? Puberty can do a lot to a kid in 5 seasons. Jack's dad may actually be alive, which is interesting, and also brings up a lot of new questions. Does the island bring people back to life? I mean obviously it did so for Locke. But then why did Locke end up in a different place then Jack, Kate and the rest of them? How did Jack's dad become The Mayor of Spooky Island? Before I just thought he was the embodiment of some ghost, this Jacob character we've heard so much about. Interesting. Who is Jeremy Bentham? (besides being an 18th century philosopher in the real world) Are we going to have to deal with backstories and flash forwards and flash backwardses for all these new crash victims? Because really I don't care and I think I speak for everyone. Solid episode. I'm excited to see Kate's and Sawyer's reunion next week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


You've got to love a place that has so many movie theaters to choose from. From the intimately small theaters with plush leather love seats at The Landmark, to the old-school, super uncomfortable yet awesome folding seats of The New Beverly. And, in L.A. you don't just have the newest Oscar noms, or mindless blockbusters to choose from but also old classics. And, sometimes these old classics aren't so old or so classicy. You can find such gems as The Neverending Story, Caddyshack or Fight Club. Maybe not "classics" in the strictest sense of the words, but movies that you grew up with that you would otherwise never get a chance to see on the big screen. Or maybe just movies you missed the first time around and fell in love with on DVD. We highly recommend checking out some of these cooler, lesser-known theaters for a showing of one of your personal classics. There is really nothing like seeing a movie you love on a big screen surrounded by a crowd of people that love it too.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


The Oscars were pretty good this year, I was actually impressed with the "new Oscars," as they were referred to by everyone, most notably Zac Efron. They did seem a bit fresh and different. The actor nominations were a big highlight, feeling a bit like the passing of the baton from the older generation to the new. I was incredibly happy to see Sean Penn win for Milk, I thought he deserved it. I must admit that I still haven't seen The Wrestler, and I'm sure Mickey Rourke's performance was amazing, but he already won The Golden Globe and The Independent Spirit Award. That's enough, there are other actors out there that deserve a nod. I also haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire which won pretty much every single award given out this evening. I mean I guess it's a good movie and all, but "Sound Mixing"? Couldn't they have given that to somebody else just for fun? Share the wealth a bit? Other highlights for me were the opening number, the James Franco/Seth Rogen bit and of course the Japanese dude that finished his speech with "Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto." That was awesome. Yay Wall-E!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Griffith Park, February 2oth, 2009, image via me

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Check out our awesome new VINE-YL post, and the new VIDEO below!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I don't know, it just didn't do it for me. I mean I love the show, and I certainly don't want to ruffle any feathers, but for some reason, that episode left me cold. I feel a bit guilty for not liking it frankly, maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention. Maybe it's because last week was so awesome. Or, maybe because it was all a bit too convenient, I mean Lapedus is the pilot? Why would he need to be there? I like how it started, the reference to the first episode with the little twist. I liked the suicide note and the info about Locke. I want to know what the hell Kate did with Aaron, and how they all ended up on the same flight. I'd really like to know why Hurley buying up 78 seats on a plane didn't set off any radars with homeland security. It seems that would constitute suspicious behavior, especially by someone that's spent some time in a mental institution. But, this is "Lost," it's not the real world and one can't get hung up on a technicality like that when people are traveling though time and chasing islands that move around constantly. If you look at fan sites, such as Lostpedia, they've already come up with all this cool stuff that we've learned by watching that episode. They also noticed, which I missed but again, I wasn't paying attention, that when they go back to the island it's the 1970's. I guess that's why Jin was in the Dharma Initiative suit and the new looking bus. I don't know, but what I do know is that we are about to get some new characters from this Flight 316. Let's hope their fates and their character arcs fare better than some of the last newer folks to hit the island.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009


When you're a wine drinker, you're very familiar with the idea of the "second bottle." The bottles that you keep around to drink after you have finished the good stuff. For when your palate is less discerning and the party is getting going and you don't necessarily want you and your friends dipping into your cellar. You reach for a cheaper yet drinkable wine. Something tasty and good, but somewhat expendable. One of my favorite wines to fit this category, is the "Capote Velho Vinho de Mesa Tinto." It's a blend of Portuguese grapes that produces a soft and fruity wine that has darker undertones and a lovely hint of honeycomb. It's different, yet yummy, and best of all, it's a LITER bottle. 250 more milliliters of wine for the bargain basement price of around $12. A great deal indeed.


Monday, February 16, 2009

DVD REVIEW: STEP BROTHERS a fine addition to the family

There it was, hiding in plain sight at multiplexes all over the country. Plainly offering itself up to us with a brilliant one-sheet that aped innumerable family portraits. It tallied over $100 million at the U.S. box office last summer, but somehow failed to become part of the conversation, somehow came and went with a pouting whimper. Last night I saw it On Demand for a penny, and nearly laughed myself out of breath several times; I had to literally close my eyes to keep from hyperventilating at three points. Why in God’s name didn’t someone tell me that Step Brothers was the balls out funniest movie to come out in a long, long time?!

Like many, I’d grown tired of the Will Farrell formula after Talladega Nights. I skipped Blades of Glory and only saw Semi-Pro on Netflix long after it came out. Step Brothers escaped my notice entirely. The key to its greatness is Adam McKay, who directed Farrell’s two best films, Anchorman and Talladega Nights. McKay and Farrell working together seamlessly elevate the comic sensibility from the perfunctory to the absurd sublime, an escalating argument over a prized drum kit being one of the best examples.

For those who grew up with siblings (not just a brother or stepbrother), Step Brothers nails every childhood scuffle, dispute, resentment and bone of contention, from the cold-blooded dinner table stare-down to the territorial household turf wars, to the dad/mom likes me better routine. Anthropology students should watch this movie to study the male social rituals on display. The pairing of Farrell and John C. Reilly is arguably better than in Talladega Nights, as Reilly is Farrell’s equal here, and they are both offered free rein to explore and relive with comic brilliance the everyday psychoses of childhood trauma, while also poking not-too-subtle fun at the hipster/slacker “man-children” of today.

Mary Steenburgen is smoking hot as Farrell’s patient, loving MILF mom, and Richard Jenkins is fine doing the losing-his-patience Dad thing. But Kathryn Hahn is a revelation as Farrell’s underappreciated sister-in-law. I had never seen her in anything before but she definitely deserves showy parts in the future. She’s flat-out hilarious. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who was ever a child.


In honor of President's Day I will give you an excerpt from my yet- unpublished book, The Forgotten Presidents: A Cocktail Book. A book in which I give brief histories of our lesser known Commanders in Chief, and then create a cocktail to go with them. An educational drinking book if you will, that will one day allow people to go into a bar and ask for a "Millard Fillmore." But, for this rainy President's day I think we all need a happy, sunshiney kind of drink. So I give you, the
James Madison:

In honor of Madison's struggles with both the British and the French, his drink is the most British of cocktails with a bit of a French twist.
1 and ½ parts gin (preferably Hendrick's but otherwise something good like Junipero)
½ part St. Germain elderflower liqueur
splash of orange juice
squeeze of lime juice
mix the gin and st. germain in a cocktail shaker, add oj and lime juice, mix well. Pour into tall glass filled with ice, add tonic and wedge of lime.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Wine is a very subjective matter. One man's Cheval
Blanc is another man's Two Buck Chuck. That's one of the things that makes it so interesting- sure there are certain criteria that all wine must fit in order to be good, but that doesn't mean someone is going to like it. One of the coolest experiences a wine lover can have is loving a wine then meeting the people who make it and loving them too. You get this multidimensional appreciation for the bottles. You can taste their efforts and the love and dedication they put in to their work. You ultimately enjoy the wine even more. Meet Bill Cadman, the owner of Tulocay Winery, a small boutique winery in Napa. And, the first real winemaker I ever met when I got into the wine business. When I met him I had no idea that he was different from other winemakers in Napa, I hadn't visited any others yet. I thought all of Napa would greet me so warmly and set me up on a picnic table to taste through vintages and vintages while watching the sunset over rolling green hills. I of course, was mistaken. Not that other winemaker's aren't as nice, but their wineries are much, much bigger and they have tasting rooms, where you taste with an employee, not the owner. Tulocay seems almost at odds with the big business that is Napa. For one, his wines are of a completely different style. His Pinot's and Chardonnays are exquisite and Burgundian, meaning lighter and very little to no oak. He even manages to make Zinfandel taste sophisticated and oddly European. His wines have more subtlety but yet there is also a fruity and playful quality to them, which may be because Tulocay is a winery that doesn't take itself too seriously. When we went to Napa last weekend, we looked Bill up and went for a visit. I took my father and stepmother with me and we sat for three hours on his picnic table, drinking wine and watching the sunset over the rolling green hills. Bill was as warm and funny as ever, and though my father and stepmom may have been scandalised by some of Bill's better dirty jokes, they still bought a case. As did we. Look for a review of the Tulocay Zinfandel on Vine-yl, as soon as we find the right album. Bill requested a certain piece by Bach and we must find the version that will best compliment this truly awesome wine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Friday, February 13, 2009


We just got back from seeing Coraline in 3D (we had to have a few martinis to come down afterwards, of course.) This is a new breathtakingly beautiful stop-motion animated film from Director Henry Selick who also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. The fact that it is being shown in 3D makes it that much more mind blowing. This is not the 3D we grew up with of course, with the flimsy red and green glasses. These are sturdy 3D glasses for the new millennium that provide an eerie reality-altering kind of experience. It's the equivalent of being a child again and seeing 3D for the first time. You truly feel like you are inside the world of the film, like you could reach out and touch it, or that it might reach out and touch you (without the use of any kind of hallucinatory drugs!) The voice acting is wonderful, with Terri Hatcher delivering an especially surprising performance. The score is hauntingly gorgeous with a nice little cameo from "They Might Be Giants." This is a must see for sure in my book, especially for any fellow animation junkies. Very freaky though, I wouldn't bring your children or you nieces or nephews to this one. I myself will probably have some nightmares later. But, Coraline is truly a work of art. A film that will have you riveted to your seat watching the exquisite world Selick has created come to life before your eyes. Well done indeed.


Thursday, February 12, 2009


So this episode of Lost was pretty awesome, especially because of the big reveal about the smoke monster! The writers of Lost must be the only people reading this blog because they answered my prayers and provided us with atleast a tiny glimpse into the origins of this enigmatic jungle fixture. They seem to have a gift for giving you just enough information to keep you holding out for more without completely driving you mad (but getting pretty close to it.) I loved the Rousseau backstory as well. Though when Jin came back onto the beach after time jumping and found that campsite with the music box I was expecting for him to find Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins on the other side of those bushes, not a pregnant Danielle about to blow away her baby's daddy. I guess music boxes just go hand in hand with shipwrecking or planecrashing onto an island as Sun had one in her flashback as well (note to self, stay away from music boxes.) I hope Locke's foray into the wooden wheeled icy cavern with Jack's Dad is successful because the time jumping is getting a little bothersome and reminds me more and more of Dr. Who every time I see it for some reason. Anyways, good stuff, keep it coming.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Very soon I will post about some of our misadventures in wine country this last weekend. It will take me a few days to be able to put it all in perspective. There was a lot of wine drunk. A lot. And you know that's one of the things I like about wine country, anywhere in the world- they drink a lot of wine, they don't question it, and they certainly don't judge. When you've had two bottles of wine and you haven't even left for dinner yet, you know you are in wine country. People in wine country plan their days, their meals and their general time around wine. We mere mortals here in normal land choose the wine for the meal or the occasion. Wine country folk make the occasion so that they can drink the wine. They eat so that they can drink more wine. The wine is the constant, all other daily tasks and human functions are just obstacles to get to the wine. You've got to admire those kind of priorities.


Thursday, February 5, 2009


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I'm certainly happy that Jin's alive and it was cool to see Rousseau as a young semi-pregnant non-crazy-forest lady, but I'm (as always) a little baffled at some of tonight's events. I mean, these guys that have been lost physically for ever are now lost temporally as well? Doesn't seem fair, really. And now Sun is an assassin and seems to think that a "mini-bar full of candy" and skin-a-max is a great way to entertain a 3 year-old!? Angela's dad from "My So Called Life," is Ben's lawyer!? Everybody is bleeding from their heads and speaking in non-subtitled French!? I speak French, by the way, and wish that I would've been paying more attention during the little raft scene. The only insight that I gathered from the beach scene is that the tall blond guy "doesn't give a f*&# where Jin's from." I'm getting more and more into this season, as I simultaneously go back and Netflix the 4th season. I think the problem is these 8 month season breaks where we're supposed to remember all of the subtle little mysteries and story lines. It really is a great show, and certainly very captivating. I just hope they are going to clear a few things up for us one of these days. Cough, cough, smoke-monster, cough.



And then he sayeth unto his people, "Go forth and multiply, and make it animal style."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Okay, so everyone already knows about the L.A. Farmer's Market, but that doesn't change the fact that it's awesome. Where else in the world can you get a soft shell crab po'boy, an old school fountain drink and the best friggin' toffee in the world? Or where can you get an ice cream cone after your moules-frites and then pick up some produce before heading home? What other place combines crepes, donuts, Brazilian meat skewers and corned beef and cabbage. Its like a never ending fantastic street fair in some insanely cosmopolitan city. Or a strange Utopian food court of the future. But then there's the sticker store and the kitschy souvenir shops and all the other little shops that give the Farmer's Market its own unique character. It's really one of the better places for us folks on the non-west side to spend an afternoon. Those of us that know it love it and relish every nook and cranny in the place. Its a true institution that will have you eating tacos at a table next to a couple of old men playing chess that look as if they've been engrossed in the same game for decades. You'll turn around and see a table of people you recognize as actors, though you can't quite figure out what they've been in. And, as you stroll through the hallowed walkways you will see couples and families of so many colors and creeds that you may actually feel as if you are in a Utopian food court of the future. If it only had air-conditioning...


Monday, February 2, 2009


Coming in at around $9.99 a bottle, the 2006 Il Tarocco Chianti Classico is difficult to beat. Not because it's the best, but because it has it all. The very Italian, mod label makes the wine seem far more expensive than it really is; no cartoon animals, or catchy names here. Flavor-wise, its classic simple Chianti, all cherries, spice and earth. It has a bit of elegance, something you don't often find in cheaper bottles, along with balance and a nice finish. It was perfect with puttanesca and would be great with any other red sauce. The perfect bottle to bring to a dinner party where you want to impress people without spending a lot of money. Great taste and elegance in a cheap bottle that looks and acts like a $20 bottle. What a find!