25 April 2010

Things My Phone Noticed

Living in New York, I come across strange and delightful things every day. Living in 2010, my phone has a camera in it. Et voila!

Here is a picture I took in Hoboken. It seems there's a dentist named Dr. Docktor. Fail blog, here we come!

Here is a Christmas tree that was thrown out with the rest of the post-holiday garbage. This represents the fifty other trees I saw hanging out on various curbs at the beginning of January. I thought I would start a collection of those pictures, but then it all got way too depressing way too fast.

Here is a jazz band that was playing outside my office in front of the Staten Island Ferry. The main guy is playing two trumpets at once. It was really sunny, thus a badly exposed picture. But two trumpets at once?!?!

Here is a super cute little girl I saw at the Apple Store in Jacksonville, FL. She is so little, she still has to wear the kind of glasses that are bright blue goggles, like a basketball player.

Here is a woman carrying a chihuahua that has been dip-dyed pink. Because everyone knows you don't just walk a pink dog.

Here is an ad for a book I saw on the subway. Here's hoping it makes Oprah's Book Club! How embarrassing if it doesn't.

Here is another ad I saw, but this time in a subway station. Milla Jovovich is the new face of some perfume or jewelry (why didn't I take a wider shot?),* and someone has given her a "moustache." I think this is the pinnacle of art, and it might have been the key to the thesis I never wrote in college: understanding humor through its levels of removal, from simple (a graffiti mustache) to ironic (a graffitied something else, or something similarly unexpected) back to this third level of "I know exactly what I'm doing and yet I am not quite doing it" or even "I am doing it more than you know" (the word "moustache" as a moustache).

*It's an Ann Taylor ad! I saw it again last night!

Here is my cousin's cat hanging out between the blinds and the window.

Here is a pay phone (I think) next to a deli with three bottles of 5-hour-energy discarded above it. I believe I could accurately guess what this person's night looked like, just knowing that he chugged 15 hours' worth of energy right outside the deli where he bought them and didn't have the time to throw away the evidence. Godspeed, guy.

Introducing Bacon Watch '10

For the past three weekends, I have been lucky enough to find myself in brunch situations. Some have been low-key, some have been in Hoboken, but all have had the self-evident pattern of bacon involvement. Apparently I can't do brunch without bacon. To turn this into something helpful, I've decided to develop a new segment to Becklectic, which I will call Bacon Watch '10.

("Restaurant name": "Bacon observations")

1. Spring Street Natural: I can't find the exact name of the bacon now that I'm actually looking into it, but I believe it was specifically Applewood bacon or something like that. There was an aptly appley sweetness to the bacon, which was around 75% meat. I enjoyed it, but my memory of it has possibly been compromised by item #3.

my full meal: Bagel & lox plate, side order of bacon, blood orange bellini (why wasn't it called a mimosa, though, when a blood orange is still an orange?)

2. Stacks (in Hoboken): The bacon here was pretty flimsy and greasy. But on the plus side, they give you little bits of cornbread to eat while you wait to order. The plus side in this case is that they don't give you bacon while you wait, instead.

my full meal: Red, White, & Blue Pancakes, side order of bacon, iced coffee

3. Brinkley's: Oh man!!! My roommates and I shared a memorable Sunday morning at this upscale pub-fare bar/restaurant yesterday, and man oh man, the bacon was the best part. Admittedly, the service was reeeeally slow, but when my friend Zach asked for a side order of bacon, they (four hours later) basically brought him an entire side of bacon. It was mapley. It was abundant. It was about 60% meat, 40% fat. It was 100% very, very delicious. In fact, here are a few of the notes I took immediately after deciding to start Bacon Watch '10:


To be fully honest with you, this bacon was the reason I started Bacon Watch '10. I know I said earlier that it was because I noticed how much bacon I eat, blah blah, but even that reason takes a backseat to how delicious the bacon at Brinkley's is. I just want to keep the record straight.

my full meal: Scrambled eggs and bacon, cherry scone, coffee (and a shared appetizer of welsh rarebit, which I enjoyed, but I think their toaster/broiler was broken)

That's the list so far. I intend to keep it going, so that one day this can be a vast Baconpedia for your bacon resource needs. Bacon, je t'aime.

13 April 2010

The Unblairable Lightness of Gossip Girl Recapping

Although I took copious notes on last week's episode, I never wrote up a full recap. I will return to it, but it will just have to wait until you've read THIS WEEK'S RECAP!

This week, Blair and Chuck's post-Uncle-Jack fallout was minimal but satisfying, while Jenny continued moronically and vainly to try to lure Nate away from SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN. Meanwhile, Carter Baizen came back into town to make trouble for Serena, and Vanessa was nowhere to be found. Wins for all! And now, here are my notes in list form:
  • Blair dreams are a wonderful reminder of earlier winner-episodes, but why isn't she playing an Audrey Hepburn role? Oh, because it's Chuck's dream. I see where you're taking me, episode. I see.
  • Chuck simply wants his pre-breakfast drink but can't have it because the Bobsey twins-and-lovers have hidden away all of his alcohol. Nice work, Nate and Serena. Now show him where you hid the liquor before you get grounded.
  • And then Chuck flips them out of the way with a toss of the hand as he skulks past them. Nice!
  • Last time Nate was sent to comfort Blair, didn't he end up dating her again? And then they almost lived in Gramercy together? That was weird.
  • Having Cyrus and Eleanor as the parents-to-watch this episode was more interesting than watching Rufus the Moron, but they're by no means better parents. How did all of these kids even learn to put their clothes on right-side out?
  • Dorota tells Blair that "Traditional wedding must have happy couple who escort bride and groom to chapel." Cheap shot, Chuck. How much did you pay Dorota to come up with some fake Polish tradition just to get Blair to walk ten feet with you?
  • Serena is lying about Carter Baizen as much as Lily is lying about Dr. van der Woodsen. Next time we see Lily drinking a glass of red wine in front of the fire alone, she'll be listening to that song that's like "Teach/your children well..."
  • "BING IT?" Oh, I get it - since only the older people use Bing on the show, and since this is a show that clearly NO older people watch, it's clear that they're backhandedly un-endorsing Bing. What kid wants to use Rufus's search engine? Nice work, writers. Wink wink!
  • Nate caught Serena in the Humphrey Breakfastgate because of a croissant. The only person stupider than Nate in the world is Serena. And she does NOT EVER eat croissants.
  • Rufus claims that Dorota asked him to set up a game night. Nice try, Rufus! No one has ever asked you to do that.
  • Eric's Dan-Hair must be pretty flattering for Dan. It's much better than the limo-to-school Chuck-copying.
  • I love how, as soon as Nate finds out about what Chuck did, he goes right up to him and confronts him. Nate, Nate, Nate. Only dummies just put it all out there for the wrong-doer. You're supposed to connive using this new information. Even against friends. And there you go, Chuck turns the tables on him with nary a twitch of his little bejeweled finger.
  • Real-life Dorota shows up during the commercial break, and it turns out she's pretty and can speak English. I'm still into her.
  • Ah, the traditional Polish balloon game from the 1500s. Red balloons were I believe called "luftballoons" back then.
  • Jenny's "evil face" is hilarious. She just looks drugged-out, like a teenager who's drugged-out for the first time and feels like a big-britches now. Proudly rolling those unfocused eyes, smirking, walking around in a really way-too-revealing dress. Oh Jenny. I have a few different pictures of you (forgive the poor quality).
Yikes, Jenny. Gross.

Rule of thumb: If Serena can pull it off, maybe you can't?
  • Nice Larry Hagman ref, Eleanor!
  • How did Jenny know that there would be an incriminating room key in Carter's note to Serena? She goes into her purse with Nate like she has x-ray vision or something. It could easily have been a note that was just like "I have info abt ur dad. we r friends." Carter Baizen writes some dumb notes, but then again, I'm not positive Serena can read notes that aren't written that way. Seriously, I bet if she ever did turn in any papers at Constance, they read exactly like this season of antm's TyraMail.
  • Blair and Dan share a moment in the kitchen amongst the staff. And they seem to see eye-to-eye on something. Is a love seed burrowing itself in the fertile soil of the Waldorf Kitchen? Will it bloom in season 4? Gross! Blair and Dan!
  • Did Gossip Girl just say something like "the truth is getting massaged?" Ok, whatever, Gossip Girl. Good luck with your blog that apparently only still exists at Columbia.
  • Blair is as unenthused with Chuck as she was with Jack last episode. Nice back-to-back, writers! She has resigned herself to being a disgusting and miserable person. Sounds like freshman year, alright. Freshman year at George and Martha University.
  • Vanya-Jerry-from-Heavyweights has to play the Newlywed Game before he's allowed to get married? This is rough. And are Dorota's parents missing the wedding so that Dorota can confidently say that she's married to them when they visit in a few days? Won't they be upset that they missed the wedding? Dorota, I need to understand more of you and your people. Please stay on this show while also spinning off into a Queens sitcom. I think I need two exposures to Dorota a week, if I'm really serious about understanding what is going on.
  • Serena and Nate are fighting. Somehow I care less about them as a couple than I do about Danessa. Danessa. Wow.
  • Blair really takes this "happy couple" tradition seriously - so seriously, in fact, that she's willing to publicly embarrass herself and simultaneously ruin Dorota's wedding with a tearful admission of discontent. And of course, Dorota goes to comfort Blair because it is Blair's big day after all. I love how Eleanor stands in the doorway like "I coulda done that," and how Dorota should clearly say, "No, you couldn't, and that's why you didn't and haven't ever, and isn't it clear that I'm her mom now?"
  • Serena's chunky necklace obsession, documented here for you:

  • Rufus's empty threats against Lily's mom Bunny or Cici or whatever are hilarious. He's just like "well, she better be somewhere!" You tell her, Rufus! Tell that cancer-surviving old woman where her daughter must logically be!
So those are my thoughts on the episode. This was a doozy, if only because both Serena and I were completely shocked to see Lily answer the door of the Dr's hotel room. I mean, I knew she was with him, but it was still a shock somehow. She's there in his room?! She's answering his door?! What's the scoop here?

10 April 2010

Sanka Ice Cream

A few months ago, my brother bought me an ice cream maker for Chanukkah. It is one of the best things I've ever owned. We've had to get used to each other - the ice cream maker had to adjust to my constant ice cream needs, and I had to get used to the fact that it takes literally 24 hours for any ice cream to set up to a good texture. Oh, ice cream maker! Soon we'll be old friends, and we'll look back on this period of adjustment with delicious ice cream in our mouths.

A few weeks into the relationship, I used my manufacturer's instruction booklet recipe for Coffee Ice Cream, only I substituted instant coffee granules with SANKA!

Some of my roommates prefer not to eat or drink caffeine, and it was my pleasure to finally experience the ever-exotic Sanka.

Sanka: not that great.
Sanka Ice Cream: JUST FINE!

07 April 2010

The Third Ever Tool Graduation

On Sunday, history happened: the third person to make it all the way through Tool Academy graduated. And to celebrate, he picked up Licensed Couples Therapist Trina Dolenz and shook her around.

The final merit badge of school was Commitment, and Teary Tool competed with Neandertool to prove just how committed they were. First they observed their own Toolvolution in therapy with Cougar Vanessa Hudgens. Neandertool was highly uncomfortable with the prospect of everyone seeing his nerdly younger days, and Teary didn't cry, not. Neandertool then kicked over the television monitor displaying his baby tool pictures, since wrecking costly things is mature behavior at its utmost.

After a super intense therapy session, the tools and their girlfriends relaxed with a little old-fashioned ropes course. Both tools were TERRIFIED of heights, which seems like the one phobia it's cool for tools to have. No way, dude, don't even - heights are way scary, bro. Teary Tool was really, really afraid of heights, though, and he basically peed his pants throughout the entire tightrope walk. Then both tools were remarkably composed for the second course, where they had to climb a pole, stand at the top of it like the Karate Kid, and jump to catch a trapeze. I think there must have been some trick photography there.

In Defending-Your-Tool hour, the girls blandly defended their boyfriends' progress as Trina pretended to listen and mentally compared the tools' naked bodies, part for part. Trina is so transparent.

Donning bright blue, oversized robes and mortarboards, the tools looked itchy at best during their final judgment. Trina toyed with them a little, pausing for thirty full seconds after stating Teary Tool's name. "Angelo...
(commercial break)
......for eight weeks, you've worked hard in therapy."

In the end, Teary didn't graduate, but on the plus side, nobody called him "just a tool." Nice! In the most anticlimactic turn of events ever, Neandertool won the season. He declared that he's not a tool anymore, but I remain unconvinced. Hopefully Trina will deduct the price of their broken tv monitor from his $100,000 check. However! No engagement? No wedding? Things have really changed since the charter season. Skinny Tool and his Gross Girlfriend had to have a Tool Academy themed wedding! Neandertool didn't even have to get a haircut.

Looking back on the entire season, I feel like it flew by. Remember the other wrestler, Chasyn, who took himself out of the competition during the first episode? He was like a muscle-bound harbinger to Project Runway's Maya, whose recent self-dismissal was both unexpected and a miracle for Anthony! Hooray for Anthony!!!

In the end, I'd have to say that Anthony is the real winner. Congratulations, girl!

05 April 2010

Welcome Home, Josh: The Party

To celebrate Josh's return to New York, the Model Home hosted a killer party. Excellent people came, absolutely no one party fouled at all, and as far as beverages went, we experienced a loaves-and-fish type leftover miracle. Enough to, say, have another party yet?

For refreshments, I made Original Recipe Chex Mix and Hershey's chocolate cupcakes. For proof, I have pictures:

Hello, I am chex mix.

And we are the numbered cupcakes!*

And I am Lars!

*See the cupcakes in a special LOST formation here.

Lastly, I think it's worth it to show off the magazine cut-out "welcome home" message I taped up on our wall as decoration:

01 April 2010

A Very Passover Gossip Girl

Although Gossip Girl aired on the first night of Passover 5770, I still managed to watch on Monday night. It just so happens that I've been mulling over my thoughts for a while, and now that it's almost Friday, I can slide this recap in before nymag recaps its own GG comments section. Dayenu!

As part of Jenny's punishment, Rufus brings her to help out at Eleanor Waldorf's "pop-up fashion show." Danessa becomes self-aware about how boring they are, and Chuck's mom shows us why she was in hiding for so long - she's confused all the way to the freezing point of stupidity. She was in love with two brothers? She uses literal language like "I'm not your mother" to express figurative thoughts? No wonder Chuck's confused! Here follow my thoughts in bullet-point form:
  • Remember how Jenny used to be a fashion designer, very steadily up until she quit high school and Agnes for some reason burned her line? She hasn't even uttered the word "button" since then. Does she still know how to sew?
  • Could it be that Rufus has finally stumbled upon a good parenting tactic? Give your juvenile delinquent something creative to do - now that's something Lily could never come up with.
  • Blair tells Chuck, "I'm so proud of you for opening up to Elizabeth." That's nothing anyone would ever say, ever. "Congrats for not being a tin man for once, and with your poor beleaguered mother. Great work there, you robot!"
  • Jenny looks like Lydia from Beetlejuice with this makeup and hair. I guess Lydia always deserves a second chance, but does Agnes? Really? Is she even 5'7"? PS I'd love to see Agnes at an AA meeting. 90 days sober, that's a laugh.
  • Aw, Rufus is pretending to be happy about Danessa - what a liar! His world is crashing down! Or maybe he's just planning on crashing all their Brooklyn loft dates, which he does later on in the episode. Colin: "He's no Sandy Cohen."
  • Pregnant Dorota! That baby's father is Jerry from Heavyweights. I just can't believe it!!!
  • I love that Chuck's mom keeps that guilty/innocent look frozen on her face throughout the entire scene where she tells him all the miserable things she did to take away his hotel. Either own it like a Bass or GET OUTTTT!
  • Damian texts Jenny to get more pills muled out, as though he forgot about what happened last week. Agnes's plan to humiliate him is not a good one. Jenny "has to admit, it's kind of brilliant?" No, that is kind of dumb. Please Lord, keep Agnes from getting together with Damian. I don't think the Upper East Side is ready for a hellmouth.
  • Vanessa trying to impress Serena is so real and so constant. The one phrase you could use to describe Vanessa is "Definitely Not Serena And Never Will Be, But Will Always Want To Be."
  • Blair's hat is horrible. It's clearly the reason that Chuck is having trouble with his hotel. Jack probably gave her this horrible, cursed hat.
  • "Whatever the truth is, Chuck isn't ready to hear it. In the meantime, I have to get ready for a fashion show." Blair, your life is so demanding - first you have to determine what Chuck can/'t hear, then you have to ready yourself for various fashion shows. It's no wonder you couldn't ever find friends at NYU. WHY DID YOU GO TO NYU IN THE FIRST PLACE?
  • "How's Congressman Wade?" "He's polling very well these days" Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Cool nap chair, Dan, you boring old bag. Oh geez, they role-play Rear Window? So Brooklyn. There is no sex at all in Rear Window, by the way (my roommate Zach: "Just light kisses"), so whatever Serena meant by "role playing" is simply not going to happen here.
  • Chuck takes his mom to a river-side path to talk it out, I'm guessing only because he now lacks the money to rent out an airfield to stand on. And man, you know they're related because of their rubber-faces.
  • Did Vanessa eat lobster with those white gloves on?
  • Danessa cannot be in a rut because they just started dating. Them being "in a rut" might be better described by them being "super boring people from the start, no matter whom they date, no matter what Hitchcock movie they hold hostage."
  • What drug went into Jenny's drink, exactly? Roofies? Does Damian sell roofies? I guess it's more likely that it's a fake drug, or maybe a nameless painkiller. But for real, does Damian sell roofies?
  • "Nate! Heard my nephew is ready to cry 'uncle.' Where is he?" Uncle Jack is my favorite!
  • Vanessa got her flan recipe off the internet. Classic.
  • At least Blair gets her groove back with this like, 20-word blackmail of Conwell. Very concise, Blair!
  • Again, Serenate tries to set a trap. YOU'RE NOT CHUCK AND BLAIR. YOU WON'T WIN!
  • Does the narrator say something like, "Jenny's about to get raped. Call the fashion police!"? That's pretty flip, even for the gossip girl.
  • Obviously, Nate saves the day for Jenny again. I think we're supposed to feel like maybe he's obsessed with her, and he's too dumb to notice. Right? Because no one else remembers when Nate lived with the Humphreys in Brooklyn. It's not like he still owes the Humphreys anything from that. At this point, he's just gaga for Jennifer Tallulah. Gross. Poor Serena!
  • Every single bar patron scoffs and laughs at Jenny on her way out, even though she's clearly been drugged. "What an idiot 15 year old roofie victim!" That's probably pretty realistic, though.
  • After just a cab ride, Jenny's sobered up?
  • Oh yeah, I forgot! Everyone at Columbia reads Gossip Girl. And I had totally forgotten about those huge floppy satin bows we all wore. Probably because my bow was too tight around that memory area in my brain.
  • It looks like Serena just stood around outside waiting for Nate to finish running his Jenny errand. She's out on the street when he starts tracking J's cell, and then an hour later, she's still hanging out on the curb. Serena, you're not working tonight - you can go inside.
  • Jenny's going to plot to split up Serenate? PERFECT.
  • Oh, she really was Chuck's mother. Well, whatever. Now it's too late for Chuck to ever love again.
Overall, Monday's episode was one of the lower-energy episodes, even though it captured Chuck's veritable demise. All I'm saying is, Bring On Serena's Dad. Do it! We want Serena's dad! Could he possibly be the one to drive out Uncle Jack? Could Jenny do it? Rufus obviously can't. Blair has been compromised, that's for sure. Serenate will try and fail at least two more times. Who can take down Uncle Jack? Will we have to paint everyone else's door posts with blood and depend on the flight of the Angel of Death? It might be enough!