Friday, February 27, 2009

Tgif. I guess.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

It's a sad, sad TGIF video day. The Rocky Mountain News, a dream job newspaper of mine for so long, has published it's last edition. A 150 year old institution, gone.

It's stunning. Suddenly 220 people are without jobs in a shit economy, in a struggling industry. And these folks aren't just losing their jobs, they're losing their careers. And we're not just losing newspapers, we're losing our government watchdogs, our literacy, our biggest allies in the protection of the First Amendment.

What's so distressing, I think, is that for all the talk about new models of getting information - video, blogs, photos, multimedia - few papers have done it as well as the Rocky. And to what end? These Band-Aids can hardly stop the bleeding of a failing business model, shifting readership and corporate profiteers.

The Rocky had the Pulitzers to back up it's accomplished staff and service, but in the end (sadly) Pulitzers and quality mean little in the face of 20 percent profit margins to corporate behemoths.

Next week I promise to return to our normally scheduled fun and entertaining TGIF video, but for today, a salute to those folks at the Rocky Mountain News and for the rest of my friends and former colleagues at struggling newspapers everywhere.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hold Your Noses Party People

If you like the stench of backed-up sewer while you're drinking beer, then look no further than Mulligans.

Sure it's overwhelming at first. You walk in and PA-POW, Sewer Smell. But by the time you've downed a beer from the tap wall you hardly even notice the putrid stink anymore.

Whatever you do though, hold it. Because if you go anywhere near the restrooms (where clearly there is a very serious plumbing issue) the bouquet of butt-funk will leave you wincing for mercy.

But let's relish this, ok people? It's not just anywhere you can enjoy the fragrant aroma of raw sewage with your beer. Ahhh... Refreshing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What I Thought About While Checking My Credit Report

I checked my credit report yesterday. I'd never done that before, but it's free you know. ( )

I apparently borrowed $9,035 for my undergrad education. I've never known how much we actually borrowed. I was 18-22 and all it meant to me then was signing loan papers on time. On top of that, my parents borrowed at least that much in parent PLUS loans.

I never paid back any of that money. My mom and dad paid every cent of it. It cost them a lot of their overtime pay, retirement money and certainly some of the nicer things they probably wished they'd had.

I remember there was even a clause written into their will at the time that should anything happen to the both of them - God forbid - my college loans would be paid first. Then if there was anything left it would be divided and distributed.

When I graduated and got my first job at the Northern Virginia Daily I wanted to start paying on the loans myself - I was an adult damn it, with a job! But they refused saying it was their responsibility as parents to give me a good education.

My mom wanted me to have a "sit down job" since she worked in a factory and had to stand all day. My dad was just proud I went to college.

They finally paid off my loans - and theirs - in 2003, when they retired.

They took my dad's retirement and paid of the remaining of my loans, and with my mom's retirement they put a front porch on the house.

The picture above was taken last summer from the porch swing of that new front porch.

Friday, February 13, 2009

You Know What Time It Is!

It's TGIF video time!

Letterman = Pro.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie Madness

I committed to seeing a few movies recently. Shocking.

Here are my four-ish sentence reviews.

Milk - Harvey Milk and his crew are thoroughly charming, entertaining and moving. I'd have totally joined their Castro Street crew. Though the ending left me with a lump in my throat, overall it's an uplifting and spirited movie. Also, I loved the way Sean Penn's eyes crinkled when he smiled.

Slumdog Millionaire - Distressing and brutal. I spent the entire movie anxious and eager for the rags-to-riches happy ending, which I think is how this movie ends up with such glowing, happy-go-lucky reviews: He gets the girl AND the money. YAY! The rest of the movie, however, is heaps and heaps of violence and brutality. Children are lured by kindness to then be blinded, the hero is orphaned, tortured and then betrayed by his brother, and the heroine is pimped as a young girl then later slapped around (and cut) by her rich husband. But hey! In the end they get together and do a dance number. Fun!

Coraline in 3D - Coraline is fun to look at. It has spooky scenery and fantastical moments, but it fell flat for me. The characters are emotionally devoid, and therefore so I was toward them. And while I rooted for Caroline to make it back to her "real" parents it was only because I didn't want her to end up with button eyes, not because I particularly liked her. Fun to watch, but a joyless story.

(Sidenote: Whoa! 3D glasses are a lot cooler than the blue and red lensed pieces of cardboard they had when I was kid.)

The Spirit of the Marathon
- I saw this during it's one-night run in the theater last spring and declared it my favorite movie of '08 even then. Watching it on the couch took away some of the drama of the huge shots of runners starting in the Chicago Marathon and the feeling of running beside them as they competed and suffered, but it's still a great movie. Whether you're a runner or not, it's impossible not to root for these folks and marvel at the body's adaptability.

Best line: "People ask me why I run marathons - I run it for the t-shirt."

Tropic Thunder - Sure I was delirious with bronchitis and hopped up on cough medicine when I saw this, but I was highly entertained and delighted by the strange satire and over-the-top story. Robert Downey Jr.'s character made me crumble with laughter, as did Jack Black's heroin withdrawal scenes. And Wow, That was Tom Cruise!

Best line: "I know what dude I am. I'm the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!"

Next on the list, Revolutionary Road and He's Just Not that Into You. (Yeah, I want to see it. So what.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Blue Angel to the Rescue

The Hyundai got, JACKED UP!

Adam got into a car accident last week.

I was on the shuttle going to my car when my phone rang so everyone around me heard this part of the conversation:

"Hey what's up?"

"Oh no!"

"You got hit head on?!"

"Both airbags?!"

"Oh my god! Are you are ok?"

"Where are you?"

"Can you drive it?"

"Does he have insurance?"

Then quizically, "What are you eating?" (The, "At time like this," was implied in my tone.)

Apparently Adam had gone through the McDonald's drive-through just before he got hit, so while he waited for the cops to show up he was snacking on some fries.

For my part, I "came to the rescue" clutching my camera. Fearing I wouldn't get any shots of the car crashed-in before they towed it, I arrived to find it up on the tow truck and about to pull away.

So what did the World's Best Girlfriend do? She hopped out of her car, sped past Adam who was standing in the road weighed down from holding everything that was in his car, and rushed up to the tow truck to get a few shots before it drove away.

As this happened I thought, Shouldn't you have given him a kiss or something as you walked past, you know, to show your concern before taking photos? But it was too late. I figured back-tracking would only accentuate my error.

But I bought him a Frosty and took him to the emergency room to make up for it. Who wouldn't rather a Frosty over a kiss anyway.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

25 Things... About Brunch

A useful parody

1. The Echo (Echo) is self-seating, so stand by the glass like everyone else. When someone sits down, move up. Those are the rules.

2. If the wait is so long you'll starve to death, Teller's is just around the corner. The food is pricey and there's less of it, but it's pretty good. (No counter service though. Boo.)

3. And you can eat outside just above the Hyde Park surface parking lot, if you like eating near cars.

4. Binkle fries from Honey. No, I will not share.

5. Daybreak has really gone downhill. Service is spotty at best. If you're lucky someone will acknowledge you. Eventually.

6. Once they gave me French fries instead of home fries. Uhh, no. Not all potatoes are equal, Daybreak.

7. But still, the food is pretty good, once you get it.

8. Bacon, extra crispy, no matter where.

9. Mokka French toast with fruit at Mokka.

10. Because anything coated in corn flakes and creme brulee pastry cream rules. Too bad it also has shit service (see Daybreak, #5).

11. I ate next to Paavo's table at GreenUp Cafe. The wait can be cruel, but the food is fantastic. And Paavo might be there.

12. GreenUp also has the best outdoor seating. Urban yet secluded.

13. Deep-fried powdered-sugar covered carnival food is a perfectly acceptable brunch item. These are also called Kettle Cakes at the Hitching Post.

14. If you are under 47 you will be the youngest person at the Hitching Post.

15. I know someone who got engaged at First Watch. (Seriously.) It didn't work out.

16. There is no maple syrup for the waffles at The Coffee Shop on Madison. They're sweet already so you don't need it. But you will need something to offset the dryness, so get some cream on top. Or chocolate syrup.

17. Or forgo the waffles all together and do one of Toms' Pot Pies. Big hunks of chicken and vegetables in that resolve-weaking pot-pie gravy. (Hey, you need fuel up for your Flying Pig training, right?)

18. The table at the large picture window is the best. The outdoor seating blows, though, unless you like eating on a sidewalk and breathing in exhaust fumes from the traffic 15 feet away. (See #3 also.)

19. The breakfast bar at Frisch's is something. Lots of grease and big vats of canned pears and peaches swimming around in heavy syrup.

20. And further, greasy bacon, horrible eggs and sawdust gravy. Eat at your own risk. Better yet, order from the menu.

21. Should you find yourself at Children's Hospital (hopefully because you work there and not because you have a sick child) then the biscuits and gravy are the best in town. For real. Better than the Echo even. And they're only $1.35 for one biscuit with gravy. (Which is all you should eat anyway.)

22. Bronte is great because afterwards you can browse (read: buy lots of) new books, newspapers and magazines. And the food is good.

23. Good company (or at least interesting company) is key no matter where you are for brunch.

24. Unless you have a newspaper, magazine or book, then screw company.

25. And if you don't want to go out you can never go wrong with a bacon, egg and tomato sandwich from home.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This Little Girl Adopted Me

Well actually she adopted my sled.

She said, "I want to ride your sled." I said, Ok, here ya go. And she said, "I want to ride your sled on your lap."

How adorable is that? If she'd have said she wanted to borrow my apartment I'd have let her move in, that's how sweet she was.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009