Thursday, March 26, 2009

St. Lucia - Day Five

So I've been in the pool for approximately 7 hours. I needed to get out so my skin didn't prune too much. This trip has been one of the best I've ever had. I can't wait to go somewhere tropical again. Hopefully this upcoming winter. Maybe destination Birthday? Is that asking too much? I think not.

I'll post pictures in a little bit, but the drunk jenga pictures coupled with the picture of Robby and myself on an inflatable dolphin....priceless.

Let's make a mastercard commercial.

More to come...

Monday, March 23, 2009

St. Lucia - Day One

I'm sure most of you are going to ask what the fuck I am doing online while I'm on my tropical vacation and all I can say is. Shut up. Day One was amazing. Not amazing in the exploring, wow, beautiful island type of way. But amazing in the holy shit I can't believe all these things happened kind of way. Obviously these posts aren't going to be long and/or in depth, so I'll just give you the cliff notes version.

9 hours of traveling. Plane from Miami to San Juan included no other than Richard Jenkins (yes the dad from Step Brothers who was recently nominated for Best actor in The Visitor) and Aaron Eckhart. (Yes, Two-Face). I thanked him for smoking.

We get to St. Lucia after 9 hours of traveling. Within 20 min of getting to the hotel, we are starving, but apparently the island is pretty much closed because its 11 pm. We walk to one of the only places open that have karaoke. I am wearing a Guinness shirt. An islander walks up to me within 30 seconds of getting to the bar. "Ey mon. I like ur shirt!". He then proceeds to show me his Guinness he is drinking. He then asks me what I'm into, referring to what drugs I need cause he's the man of the island. Yes I was offered drugs within an hour of arriving in St. Lucia. Best part? He introduced himself as Pablo Escobar. Theh brightside, other than the drugs, was that he showed us where to get food. It was literally the only place left open. We all look at the food and have no clue what anything is. We ask the woman to just give us whatever she wants. We walk home and eat in the hotel. The pork is delicious. Fatty, seems like knuckles. I then start to pay closer attention to what I'm eating. There is no way this is pork. God only knows what we ate. I lose my appetite. Begin drinking immediately. Our 7 bottles purchased at the Duty-Free shop will benefit us all. We drink and go into the hot tub until 3 am.

Rinse. Repeat.

More on Day 2 upcoming.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pandora Internet Radio

is probably the most amazing application ever. I know I'm very late to this party, but my god, streaming radio that is catered to your own individual taste? You can listen to music you don't even own? In theory this idea is a gold mine, and in reality, it lives up to it. It's even extremely simple to set up, just click here and you can create an account and a few 'stations'. If you have an iPhone, which it seems is only a matter of time before everyone has one, this application is even more amazing. I never really got into Pandora originally because I never really thought about listening to music while working on the computer, the speakers at my office computer are horrible, so i just kept putting it off, but recently I went on a kick of getting several applications for the iPhone and FINALLY set up an account. I pop my phone on my speaker dock and Voila. Internet radio streamed to my speaker dock.

So yes, I like music like everyone else, but I am always trying to learn of new bands. Obviously everyone that reads this blog knows me well, so me describing myself as an addictive personality shouldn't be surprising to anyone. Just like everything else in my life, when I get into something, I'm 110% (similar to this blog, lets see if this keeps up by June...) So I get into bands, wear them out over a month, then try and find a new band. The problem with getting into Indie music is hearing about new bands, getting exposed. It's mostly through word of mouth, maybe a few trusted websites, but its a crapshoot. Pandora does a great job exposing you to these bands that you are more than likely going to like, and providing you with the all important information of band and album names.

I've created a music station based on my love for Vampire Weekend. I'm sure most of you are familiar with this band, but both A-Punk and my personal favoriteThe Kid's Don't Stand a Chance. But I've come across a lot of bands and songs that I really really like thanks to Pandora. I wanted to share them with you all (they are in no particular order):

Spoon - The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine

Velour - The Way She Said

Bloc Party - This Modern Love

Zox - A Little More Time

Coconut Records - West Coast

The Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)

The Magic Numbers - Take a Chance

Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance

Ra Ra Riot - Each Year

The Kooks - Seaside

Pinback - Fortress

Band of Horses - The Funeral

I tried not to double up on bands, just to give you an idea of the sound of each band. But 2 weeks ago, I knew none of these bands. I recognized a few band names, but wasn't really familiar with their music. Now they are all go-to's. The power of Pandora. Embrace it.


I'm pretty sure its the most predictable thing possible, but I went to Yechon last night after closing down carpool. It's my go to late night food, possibly because there aren't that many places open that late, but also because its possibly the most delicious food in the world. It wasn't until approximately 3 years ago that I even knew of Korean food. I know Kimchee. Everyone knows kimchee. But there is so much more to Korean food and for those of you who have not had it before, I insist you give it a try. I love this food so much that I even gave a go at cooking dae-ji bul-gogi at home. It's a very simple marinade, with chili paste, chili powder, soy, sake, some garlic, etc.. etc.. The taste was there, but I made it a little bit too spicy, but it got me excited to try preparing other favorite Korean dishes of mine.

Back to the restaurant. I am proud to say that I have attempted (successfully) to introduce this restaurant to pretty much every single friend of mine. I would say about 90-95% of those I bring, enjoy the restaurant. If you've never been to ANY Korean BBQ place, its quite the scene. You sit down at a table, cook food in front of you, but all the sides they bring out are amazing. I have probably been to eat Korean BBQ approximately 60-80 times in my life. Maybe more. And I SWEAR I've always come across a new side I've never seen before. It seems like dozens of little dishes come out with a plethora of food. Anything from mashed potatoes to pickled radish to spicy bean sprouts (all my favorites). I've never seen a type of sit down restaurant like this. Back in college, Little Johns and Qdoba were always packed late night. You stay in line, get your food, everyone is drunk, good food, good times. Here in Annandale (little Korea) is a whole different world. This is a legitimate sit down restaurant. You go in at let's say 7 pm, a basic dinner time, and there are probably a dozen tables available...EASY. You go in at 1 am, 2 am, its busy, but you can still get a table, maybe a short wait. But after the DC bars shut down, everyone drives out to these places and it is HOPPING. Long waits, lots of laughs, lots of conversation. It's great. The atmosphere is incredible, cause everyone is just SO happy to be eating such great food.

I wouldn't say that the restaurant is cheap by any means, but if you get a big group of people, you rarely spend more than $20 bucks. I know that 4th meal should never be that much, but believe you me, its worth every penny.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Public Enemies

I'm a little shocked that this movie hasn't gotten more press yet. Johnny Depp is always a winner, but more importantly, Michael Mann is a directorial God to me. The cast line up is pretty stacked, too though. Billy Crudup won't be sporting his blue penis, but perhaps he'll be just as good as he was in Almost Famous. Christian Bale is on a hot streak with this upcoming film, coupled with the new Terminator Salvation movie which looks absolutely incredible. Giovanni Ribisi is one of my favorite actors, not exactly sure why other than I guess Boiler Room (which in my opinion is a very underrated film). The list goes on. But the post is just as much about this movie as it is about Michael Mann. He chooses his projects selectively, and I've enjoyed each one to an absurd extent.

His most recent film, Miami Vice, was probably viewed as a bust. Unsurprisingly, I've probably seen it a dozen times. I find that Michael Mann's action sequences are pretty much the bar that everyone tries to attain, bringing a very 'real' feel to the scenes. His most infamous scene is the city gunfight scene in Heat. Definitely one of the best gun scenes of all time, if not THE best. If you have never seen Heat and you are a male, you should probably question your own gender, because this is a must for anyone with testicles. Pacino. De Niro. At their best. Need I say more?

Collateral was surprisingly one of the most badass roles for any guy to have. A gray-haired Tom Cruise? I never would have bought it, but Cruise pulled it off quite well. Only movie I can think of that shows a more badass believable male is Denzel Washington in Man on Fire.

Mann's resume continues with films such as: The Insider, Ali, and ESPECIALLY, The Last of the Mohicans. Arguably still one of Daniel Day-Lewis' best movies to date which is quite the statement. But Public Enemies is going to be quite the film, I have zero doubt. I assure you that I will be there, ready and waiting for when this movie opens up and I dare anyone to say that it isn't a good film.

Watch the preview below if you have yet to see the trailer: Enjoy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

R.I.P. Drive by Argument

It was a short-lived journey, but it seems one of my new favorite bands, Drive by Argument broke up a couple weeks ago. I can't remember how I came across this band, but i instantly fell in love with them. They had a very unique fresh sound, and its very much in line with the stuff I've liked recently. I, like everyone else I'm sure, go through phases and I'm currently in my Indie music phase. Some of you might be somewhat familiar with the band based on me forcing them on you, or a post that Jon made on his blog. I thought they were on the rise, releasing their first album a year ago. I have it and think that almost every song on it is enjoyable. The notable songs are: Lower your Pieces, Sex Lines are Expensive Comedy, and Dance Like No One's Watching.

They started up a new band, I think with all of the same members, but with a slightly different sound. Less synthesizers and more guitar. I think it was all the synthesizing that made the band so appealing to me, but I'll give their new band Atlas Skye a go. They only have 3 songs up so far, but Seeing Shapes is pretty decent.

Still though, sad day. Maybe it'll be for the best though. From Something Corporate, came Jack's Mannequin. I'm sure everyone remembers Something Corporate who had great songs such as Konstantine and Cavanaugh Park. The lead singer Andrew McMahon started up Jacks Mannequin after the band broke up and I went to a show at 930 to see him. Man does this guy put on a performance. To this day, still one of the best concerts I've ever been to. If you don't think you've heard of them, you probably know this song. Here's another one you should check out though, Dark Blue.

Very talented guy. He came out with a new album this past fall which I just learned about, so I'll definitely give it a whirl. Here's one of their newer songs, Dropout. I recommend you check it out.


Shocker. I heard about this movie for quite some time living with Robby. If you know Robby, you probably heard about this movie too. So the build up for this film probably started about nine months ago. (This is going to be random, but speaking of 9, there is a new movie that's coming out titled 9. I'm very excited and will force people to see it with me when it comes out in theaters. If you haven't seen a trailer for it, clink on the link.) I had never heard of this story before, but Robby kept talking it up. Fast forward months to this past Christmas and Santa brings me the graphic novel. I still at this point didn't know much about the story other than it was about superheroes in the real world. Sounded interesting, but I wasn't overly excited. If you are intrigued after reading this post, you can find it here at Amazon. Unlike any other superhero story, I found it to be much more interesting as a social commentary. Nixon as a beloved president, the US winning the Vietnam war. That gives you an idea. I completely understand how it was ranked in Time's 100 Greatest novels.

I'm sure everyone has seen the trailers on TV since the movie got a lot of buzz, but just in case you didn't, I'd have to agree with Jon in that its one of the best I've ever seen put together. BOTH of them.

So Robby did a good job of convincing me to be excited for the movie. I flew through the book, couldn't wait for March to get here. We get a group of 13 of us to go to the midnight showing of the film. It's a 3 hour movie. And that's only because they cut it down to that length.

Popcorn? Check.
Huge 110 oz. soda? Check.
Sour Patch Kids? Check.

Let's get this show on the road.

Movie started off well. Kind of jumps right into the story, keeping the true to form with the book. The movie was shot well, definitely pretty to watch. I think that if you know nothing of the story, it will be pretty hit or miss. Most people expect a lot of action in a comic book movie, and I will say, the prison scene is pretty incredible in this one, but there was a lot more story involved. Though it can be fantastic at times (not fantastic in the incredible way, but fantastic in the out of the ordinary as we think of things) its a grounded story. One character, Rorschach, thinks that superheroes are being targeted and killed and it becomes a mystery. Rorschach is definitely the best character, and after you see the film or read the book, you'll understand why. The casting was done quite well, the actors all did a great job with their respective roles. I think that my only critique of the movie was the ending. It was really the only big difference from the book, and I understand why they did it, but it just didn't sit well with me. I hear it will be an alternate ending on the DVD though. Since Robby will probably buy 58 copies to keep as 'collectibles' I'm sure I'll get the opportunity to check it out.

I give the film a strong 4 out of 5 manatees. Maybe the DVD version I'll rank higher since I hear its over 4 hours uncut. If my review doesn't sell you enough to see the film, then I'll just say there is a lot of time that you will see a Mr. Manhattan's blue penis. Put that penis on a 90 foot movie screen, or better yet, an IMAX screen, that's a lot of penis.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blog Crazy

So I'm on a roll so I might as well make another post. The other 2 posts were sitting in limbo before i finally posted them. I love starting things and not finishing them. I'm the king of that. Sodas, projects, work, you name it, I half-ass it. But not half-ass it in the way I don't put effort into it, I put a lot of effort into things, just not all the way to completion. But everyone has things they need to work on right?

Anyways, I started to try and stay up to date with all my friends blogs and I must admit. There are some SERIOUS bloggers out there. I mean it never even dawned on me to include links to other sites or youtube clips, pictures etc.. Is this something I should try to pursue or does it make this hobby a little too demanding? Someone please tell me what to do? Do people even read this to make it worth doing that?

Let's ask the audience.... What do you think?

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Since moving to Ballston about 9 months ago, I have a go to place for getting my haircut. I got my haircut there before since its down the street from my office, but now its the only place I go to. It started when I heard the place was run by little Vietnamese women. I grew up with little Vietnamese women and find them funny to listen to. I really enjoyed going there because they will talk about customers in Vietnamese, assuming that no one can understand them. I don't really speak the language anymore, but can understand bits and pieces. After the first few times going there, the awkward haircut talks led to them discovering I was part Vietnamese. Now, one woman says hello to me EVERY time and i think its signaling all the others that I understand Vietnamese and to not talk about me.

So getting back to the point of this post. This place is the kind of place where they give you a hot towel massage afterwards. No, not in that sketchy way, although if only... Just kidding. So I get my haircut. I have about an 85% success rate there, which is why I keep going back. Haircut finishes. looks pretty decent. but here's where it gets interesting. She pulls out the hot towel which is always a nice touch. But the head massage begins. Since I've been coming to this place for awhile, I've had several different people cut my hair (I'm not one of those people that go back to the same person). What is the proper etiquette when receiving these massages? What if she's really bad at it? Do I tell her to stop? Has anyone ever told them to stop? They all talk amongst themselves, so if I happen to have a bad person this time, are they going to talk about how i asked them to stop the massage and then the next person I get won't do it? That would be disastrous. Do you think when they get hired at this place, they have to audition or they are told what to do. This woman is literally beating me with her two fists together on my back. I've paid a girl to hit me around before, but that was Vegas and I was naked, this is Ballston and I'm clothed. I sit there, asking myself when this is going to stop. She'd rub my head twice, then beat my back again. I'm not the skinniest of people and my shoulders probably could be a little stronger, but she was somehow able to smack the few exposed parts of my shoulder with just skin and bone, over and over.....and over. How she hit the few spots that I don't have a plethora of 'meat' is beyond me. It's a skill I assure you. I'm sure if i was turned to the mirror, I could see myself cringe each time.

I love the mini massage, but only if its done right. What should I do next time? Maybe I'll just close my eyes and pretend I'm in Vegas...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

PF Chang's

Being partially Asian, saying that this place has good Chinese food is a sin. I'll probably be caned for it, literally, but I cannot tell a lie, I find it quite delicious. Yes that was a lot of commas, I know. I went to lunch with a few high school friends and we re-hashed old stories. It was fantastic. The food was delectable, the place was surprisingly busy for Saturday at 1 pm, and the server was attentive. I must say however, there are still a lot of observations I made about the restaurants that bothers me. I cannot be sure if this is the case at all locations, or just the Tysons 2 location in particular.

We got a Table for 4. If I remember correctly, PF Changs sells itself on the fact that its family style food. Typically speaking, you go to a family style restaurant, you think of getting a dish per person, thereabouts, and sharing each one. We order our food, make sure we aren't doubling up on anything that is too similar and wait for our food. Lettuce wraps come out, tasty as always. But when the food came out, there were some serious issues. How in the world could we fit four dishes, an appetizer plate, and our four plates, along with our water and cokes on the same table. These tables are PERFECTLY sized if everyone was eating their own dish, and it was placed in front of them. I mean I understand that the restaurant is trying to jam pack as many tables in there as possible, but what moron decided it was a good idea to get small tables at a 'family style' restaurant. Don't even get me started on their sauce plate. I mean, I know its pretty good, and Robby pretty much devours the whole thing, but its HUGE. The table is tight as it is. How can someone enjoy themselves when they have trouble fitting everything on their table.

I will admit, this happens every time I go to this location, but it doesn't stop me from coming. So maybe the idiot I referred to above is actually a genius. But I'd just like to complain. Get a better business plan. At least a better floor plan.