Summer Fun

It's 105 degrees in Portland right now. The heatwave started yesterday, and is expected to last through the end of the week. This town has a lot of public fountains and other water features to play in, and they've brought out kids and adults alike seeking relief.

This is a pleasant little two-minute interview with a guy who makes a big slip 'n' slide in a local park (called Brooklyn Park, of all things) every summer. He sets it up and keeps an eye on things, and just watches happy kids and their parents all day. There are worse fates.

Brooklyn Park's hot weather solution

Classical Guitar with a metal bent

I'm a sucker for a well played classical guitar. Don't get me wrong I love acoustic steelstrings, and Leo Kottke is a special slice of awesome as is a good Dobro blues player. But I love the sound of nylon strings either played by a master like Segovia or Paco De Lucia.

This however is rocking:

That's right Metallica's Orion on acoustic guitar as a duet. Has nothing on Segovia or De Lucia in terms of phrasing or emoting- but it is fantastic. For more on Rodrigo y Gabriella check their entry on wikipedia.


Supporting Quality

I am highly recommending this movie sight unseen, because Patton Oswalt is God.


You know who would make a bangin' party hostess and bring in all the kids?

The idea of the paid party host or hostess is weird. The apotheosis of the concept is Paris Hilton. The idea is that celebrity-worshipping clubbers will be more likely to pay ridiculous cover charges and drink prices if they can say they "partied with Paris Hilton" or her ilk.

Not all clubs can afford to pay upwards of $100,000 for a b-list starlet, however. So some party proprietors hire lesser known dance-floor luminaries under the guise of theme nights. So you go from Paris Hilton to Mr. Belding. According to his page:

"Bring Dennis to host any of a number of theme nights from Spring Break with Mr. Belding and Summer School with Mr. Belding, to Back to School with, Honor Roll with, Naughtiest Schoolgirl contest, He has hosted Halloween for The Hard Rock in Vegas to overflow crowds and more. You get the idea."

Yeah, we get the idea.

But the concept is still racing to bottom. LAX nightclub (which, like New York New York and the Sphinx, is actually in Las Vegas), has a "Way-Back Wednesday" theme night with past Star magazine fodder like Shannen Doherty. Someone at LAX must have started free associating about anyone who had 15 minutes of fame in the early 90s--preferably those who had scrapes with the law--because they struck party hostess gold. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tonya Harding.

What's great about that promo is that although it doesn't mention her hot mess of a life, there is more space devoted to Freudian analysis than to her actual positive ice skating achievements.

Party on!


I Love New York, New York

In a city so abuzz with life and people, in New York we often don't stop to smell the roses (if we could even smell them over the stink of urine and trash! i kid! i kid!) So isn't it always interesting to have someone help you know what you are surrounded by? This blog (with accompanying interactive map) shows all 468 subway stations in New York City, what you'll see both inside and out. So fun!

How We Get Our Fix

I know we established our Netflix love long ago. But Netflix gave the bloggers at Hacking Netflix a tour of one of its 58 shipping centers, and it's a neat look at what happens between the time you put your red envelope in the mail and the next one arrives. I was sort of surprised that although there are machines that put the departing movies in the mail, people open and sort all the arrivals by hand.


Goin' to the Chapel

I'll say it - I'm a girl and I'm not a fan of weddings, the stupid traditions, wedding showers, white dresses, or bachelorette parties... the whole shebang generally just comes off as super generic and obnoxious... But I am a fan of turning things on their ear and this just made me laugh...

And btw, props to the bride for picking bridesmaid dresses that actually CAN be worn again.


Wishing there were more like this.

The more I watch this show, the more I'm impressed. If you like James Bond movies, and you haven't seen the original I Spy television show from the '60s, you should. Robert Culp and Bill Cosby (in the first lead role for a black man in a prime-time TV series) are super-suave, capable secret agents. The show was shot overseas in exotic locales, has a hip score by Earle Hagen, and throws some worthwhile thinking into Cold War spy biz plots.

The first two seasons are now up on Hulu, so you can blaze through the whole set.

If you watch on DVD, you'll also get commentary from Robert Culp, who had an impressive TV writing career (working for Sam Peckinpah, among others) before the show, and wrote eight episodes for the first season. Listening to his story is inspiring for writers of all stripes, and especially for those working on scripts.


Stevie Ann

I'm a sucker for covers. They demonstrate the strength of the music. I can dig jazz cats taking a pop tune out for a swing. Or the way reggae acts can turn a song around. I like it when artists take a song and put a new twist on it.

So there. If Britney were a singer songwriter...


Because You Must Live it All the Time Episode 2

Remember sweding -- the idea of remaking popular movie scenes, DIY style?

It's been around for a while but caught a bit of buzz (and an official name) around the time that Michael Gondry built a movie called Be Kind, Rewind around it.

Now take that idea and apply it to this site called "Star Wars: Uncut" -- wherein they take a pretty cool concept, namely breaking the entire original Star Wars film into 15-second clips that people could "claim," remake -- and then submit back to the site, at which point sort of a patchwork Frankenstein version would emerge, surely to be filled with all the love that only the fans of this franchise can offer.

Because if there's one thing you can always count on, it's that Star Wars fans will always come through with dignity and class.


Car-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hows that summer heat treating you? Pretty brutal, eh? You know what you need to fix all this?


Who doesn't love cookies? But who has the time to make them when they've got to drive all over the place running errands or have to park their car and sit in an office all day?

Problem solved.

Step-by-step instructions on how to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies on the dashboard of your car.

Takes a couple of hours to finish, but c'mon. Friggin' Cookies!


101 Muppets of Sesame Street

In celebration of Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary -- the National Post has put up this very cool interactive photo showing 101 of the Muppets who have been featured on the show over the years.

It's cool to see some of the favorites that I remember, but to be honest -- it's been a while since I've watched it. As a result, there are a bunch of characters on here that I don't really know, including

Oscar the Grouch's Girlfriend!?

When the heck did this happen?

Look ladies, if even the kids shows out there are advertising the fact that women go for jerks, then stop telling me that what you really want is a sense of humor.

Fozzie Bear = Single
Oscar the Grouch = Tapping that ass.

I can just hear the Count over there yukking it up.

"You -- Zero!"
"The douchebag who lives in a garbage can and treats everyone like crap -- One. Count them, One!! Ha Ha Ha Ha!"


Cool Bossa Nova Samba da Minha Terra

You'll probably need this if it is hot where you are. I recommend pairing with a cold lager or maybe a Caipirinha.

Joao Gilberto

Part of the Brazillian jazz greats like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto (his wife), check out their stylings.


Because You Must Live it All the Time

I will admit, these are kinda cool-looking. But there's no way that I could imagine taking it to this level in real life.



Not only is it one of the most underrated good times a person can have at a beach (I love my surfboard, but nothing compares to a really good body-to-body romp with the ocean) but it's the source material for this really awesome photoblog chock full of images of people doing the things that we all wish we could be doing right now.


Llamas with Hats

..How could you not know that?


The Return of Sick, Sad World?

Although we've certainly heard this before (still waiting on those DVD's of The State to hit the shelves..) It appears I'm still gullible enough to be excited about this short but very sweet message:


Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi Discuss Animation

Fascinating old-school late-night talk show discussion about animation featuring Ralph Bakshi, Don Bluth (who looks nothing like I thought he would), and a guy who worked on Tron -- back when that was sort of of the leading edge of computer animation. (btw -- they are currently shooting the remake, which is probably a bad idea.. but I will probably watch anyways just for the crash and burn factor). Another interesting facet is that one of the hosts of the discussion is the recently deceased Studs Terkel.

Talk shows aren't like this anymore, and I suspect most animators aren't either.

Takes some time to watch and digest, but very worth it.


Rob's Transformers 2 F.A.Q.s

I know I'm giving this crappy movie too much attention, but honestly -- I wanted to like it. My kid thinks he liked it, but in a few years when he figures it out I am thinking he's gonna be mad at me for taking him to see such a shitty flick, so I need to be ready to defend myself.

As a result, I give you this hilarious attempt by a movie reviewer to explain the movie to himself.

It should be mentioned that this review/article is ALL SPOILERS, so if you don't want to know the plot, the twists, or the ending to Transformers 2, don't read this.

However, if you're like me and you saw it and still don't quite grasp how all of the so-called plot, twists, or ending fit together or even begin to make sense -- you need to read this NOW.


Flip HD

Usually I don't recommend gadgets, but this is super cool:

Mino HD camera from Flip- 200 bucks does about an hour of HD. Then you can roll it off to your PC/MAC.

Mino HD from Flip

Simple and great. The downside is no image stabilization, so if you have a shaky hand, you'll have a shaky hand IN HD!!!

Tokyo Destroyed

A giant ro-beast appears from our of the sea, raining death and destruction upon unsuspecting citizens and architecture before anyone has a chance to react. The next morning, as a shaken people pick through the rubble and start the slow process of rebuilding, many wonder where the hero who had protected them so many times was when disaster struck.

Only to discover the truth:

Pipeline was going off. Can you blame him?


Saving You Money and Frustration, the HRToTM Way

If you haven't yet had the chance to see this week's juggernaut box office blockbuster Transformers 2, or even if you have and found yourself (as I did) wondering what the heck you just watched -- please don't spend the $12 to see it and try to figure it out.

It's all right here, and it takes less than a minute to watch.


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