and after ...
Monday, January 19, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The stand outs:
The Dark Knight
Burn After Reading
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
La Via En Rose
The Darjeeling Limited
No Country for Old Men
There Will be Blood
Charlie Wilson's War
Into the Wild
The Foot Fist Way
Son of Rambow
Eagle vs. Shark
After the Wedding
In the Shadow of the Moon
Jimmy Carter - Man from the Plains
Encounters at the End of the World
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Started the night off with dinner with friends downtown at the restaurant Six Penn. Spent a few hours there eating, relaxing, downing white russians and listening to stories about our friend's recent trip to Argentina.
After hanging at the restaurant and bar for close to 3 hours we walked over to the Cabaret at Theater Square for a Carnavale/Rio themed New Year's party. The place was packed with a couple hundred people and the vibe was great. The Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra was the main attraction of the night, playing two energetic sets of afrobeat, boogalo and reggae music.
I got to go backstage and goof off with the band between sets. (The fun you can have when you find a pair of glasses in the dressing room.)
Big, big thanks to Ray (Kokolo) and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for hooking us all up on the guest list for the night. (which made the night all the more sweeter since tix for the event were over $60 per person)
Awesome night with awesome friends.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Who does that happen to? I guess me. I just spent the last 20 minutes outside in the cold going through the dirt and dust of the vacuum bag searching for the key. Not that pleasant and probably not that healthy. I found the #9 faceplate shattered into a dozen pieces.
I am without a nine. (but how often do you use the #9 anyway?)
Twice in that last sentence to be exact.
Now I am on the internet half seriously looking to see if anyone sells individual replacement key faceplate covers.
Someone has to, the internet has everything.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
* The Steelers Season ... and watching all NFL Football in general
* Reading - Been enjoying those 33 1/3 books. (a series of books written about important and/or seminal music albums)
** Took my parents to see the musical Mamma Mia this month. I didn't know what to expect from a musical based on ABBA tunes but it was actually very good. My parents thoroughly enjoyed it. My father and I were two out of about a dozen other males there for the show. eh ... No lines for the bathroom.
** I've recently been asked to record piano for a local musician/friend for his two new albums. Boogaloo music. 18 tracks over two albums. All covers from the likes of Pete Rodriguez, Ray Barretto, Joey Pastrana. I have all of the songs at home and I'm trying to learn the music as we speak but it's been pretty tough. I don't have any background in Latin/salsa/meringue style piano playing but I'm doing my best to catch up and learn. We'll see how this project turns out over the next few months.
Monday, October 13, 2008
The choreography was amazing ... and hearing Radiohead tunes blasted at the Byham Theater was thilling.
here are some clips:
Friday, October 10, 2008
'Buddy' showed me her 'no fear' bungee jumping skills.
Last year at this time I was down in the ATL hanging with the Dalai Lama ... this year, The Black Crowes. Funny how that goes.
Saw the Black Crowes perform with Phil Lesh and his band (former Grateful Dead Bassist) at the new Verizon Amphitheater in Alpharetta on Sunday Night. Pretty amazing show. Tons of 'Deadheads' in attendance. It was great to hear Phil Lesh play all Grateful Dead tunes. Chris Robinson even came out and sang along to one of Garcia's songs.
The Black Crowes' set wasn't a greatest hits collection as was their set I saw in August but rather contained lesser known tunes and long 'space' jams between/during songs. It was still a great show.
Another great trip to Atlanta.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sunday Afternoon, 'M' and I decided to go to the Pittsburgh Zoo. Bold choice for Labor Day activities since we knew it would be packed but 'M' had 6 free passes for the zoo that expired that weekend. We went (and made 4 other random people very happy with the free passes we handed out in the parking lot) and it was extremely packed. No problem though ... we did a speed run through the place concentrating on catching the new polar bear exhibit and newer baby elephants. I ran into some old friends, 'Alaska' and 'She1be, and took time to sit and experience some over priced Dippin Dots ice cream for the first time.
Sunday evening 'M', 'Mr. Jones', 'Clover', 'Schaf', 'Litl' and I were all invited to a surprise 50th birthday party for one of our close friends. The party was held at the Alto Lounge in Shadyside from 5pm to 9pm with open bar and free food plus 'Brotha Mike' providing the tunes. The party was fun and relaxing and the guest of honor was extremely surprised. I gave her a bottle of my ... ahem ... Award Winning Chardonnay Wine as a present. :)
After the party, we all convened over to 'Clover' and 'Schaf's' place where we were joined by 'Mrs Jones', 'JimmyAndrewForest' and a few others. 'M' and I hit a wall shortly after that and decided to head home while everyone else made plans to go out for the remainder of the night.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
ASIAN TARTARE w/ Ahi Tuna
Seasoned with soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil and capers. Served on sushi rice and nori rolls with white truffle oil wasabi mayonnaise and Tobiko caviar
Our traditional seviche recipe prepared in a spicier version with habanero peppers and red onion and topped with a cool homemade prickly pear granita.
AVOCADO AND CORN SEVICHE w/ Salmon
Marinated in fresh lime, jalapeno, cilantro, scallion, red onion, avocado, corn and red pepper
The seviche was excellent and the prices were not too outrageous. There are drink specials throughout the week and the rest of the menu looked rather tasty. I liked the atmosphere and the service was great ... I can see hanging out there again soon.
Friday, 'Litl' and I succumbed to the peer pressure and went and saw The Dark Knight on IMAX ... cause ya know, 'everyone is doing it'. Pretty amazing film. We ended the night over at 'Z- Lounge' with 'Mrs. Jones', 'JimmyAndrewForest' and others to hear 'Bassclown' spin some records.
On Sunday, 'Em' and I went to Highland Park to listen to some Jazz music. Reservoir Jazz is a summer series showcasing some of Pittsburgh's greatest Jazz talent every Sunday afternoon, free in the park. The weather was beautiful and the place was packed with families picnicking, BBQing, playing and hanging out. Very nice relaxing vibe. (and only about a mile from my house!)
Last night, 'Em' and I went to Regent Square Theater to see Werner Herzog's latest documentary, 'Encounter At The End of the World'. The movie is a visually stunning exploration of the Antarctic community of McMurdo Station, headquarters to the National Science Foundation and home to eleven hundred people during the austral summer (Oct-Feb). Herzog, narrating the film himself in his typical surreal yet sincere fashion, examines human nature and Mother nature, juxtaposing breathtaking locations with the profound, surreal, and sometimes absurd experiences of the marine biologists, physicists, plumbers, and truck drivers who choose to form a society as far away from society as one can get. We both really enjoyed the film especially the questions it raisied about our (in)human nature (Herzog is consistently good at doing this, yo).
Friday, August 8, 2008
'Buddy' (aka 'Jamhands') stopped by on Tuesday to wreak complete havok on my house. I introduced her to the magic of the polaroid camera and she told me that my house was 'pretty' but that it clearly 'did not have enough toys'. We then had a nice lunch that consited of sliced turkey, strawberries, carrots, cheezits and gummi bears.
Tuesday night, 'Bowser' took 'Buddy' to grandma's house while 'Beaner' (aka 'Gus Macker') and I went down to the Byham Theater to see The Black Crowes. It was an intimate yet lolud and rocking experience catching the band in this small 1300 seat theater. The band played for a good 2 hours, mixing it up between songs from their new album, older albums and even some rare b-side material. They also jammed out some songs into very psychedelic medleys ...
Movin' On Down The Line - (2008 Warpaint)
Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution - (2008 Warpaint)
Sting Me - (1992 The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion)
Another Roadside Tragedy - (1997 Unreleased)
Nebakanezer - (1996 Three Snakes and One Charm)
There's Gold In Them Hills - (2008 Warpaint)
Poor Elijah - Tribute To Johnson (Medley) (1970 Eric Clapton Cover)
Driving Wheel - (2007 Brothers of a Feather)
Whoa Mule - (2008 Warpaint)
Girl From A Pawnshop - (1996 Three Snakes and One Charm)
My Morning Song - (1992 The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion)
Twice As Hard - (1990 -Shake Your Money Maker)
Oh Josephine - (2008 Warpaint)
Soul Singing - (2001 Lions)
Wounded Bird - (2008 Warpaint)
- encore -
Feathers - (1995 H.O.R.D.E. Tour Promo Disc)
Mean Town Blues (1969 Johnny Winter Cover)
Wednesday afternoon, 'Bowser' and our friend 'Zerbs' (aka 'Lehman') came back into to town to join 'Beaner' and me for an afternoon at the Mattress Factory, Carnegie Museum, and lunch and cocktails in Oakland.
The four of us then went to Soba Restaurant in Shadyside to partake in their Corn Festival Tasting Menu. (we were joined by 'Bassclown' and 'BJ' aka 'Hair Extensions'). This was another fantastic tasting menu just like the one I went to in June except this time the 'secret ingredient' was corn.
The chef started us off with a tasting of Coconut Milk and Ginger Soup
Corn Brulee w/ chili lime salad
Corn and Crab Fitter with soy dipping sauce
Corn and Littleneck Clams with chanterelle mushrooms and yunnan ham sauté
Halibut Ceviche with corn, plum tomatoes, peaches, chili's, cilantro and crushed coriander oil
Grilled Medium Rare Flank Steak with roasted corn, tomato, onion, thai chili's, basil, lime and soy sauce
Toasted Steamed Cornbread with cardamom honey peaches, whipped crème fraiche and salted caramel popcorn
We also had the wine pairings with dinner (a Chardonnay, a Riesling, a Cabernet and then an Ice Wine for dessert)
The tasting menu was very fulfilling ... I mean, starting off with a crab cake and creme brulee is pretty hearty ... and the ceviche was out of this world with the combination of halibut, chili's, tomatoes and the surprise taste of peaches. The portion of flank steak was very, very generous too. The corn was prevalent in every dish but it definitely wasn't the main star. Most of us felt that the cornbread topped with cracker jacks was a little lackluster of dessert after an extravagant meal like that but I enjoyed it since I never eat cornbread. Overall, I thought the meal was incredible and I can't wait until their next one. (October: Vegetarian Indian Tasting Menu)
We ended the night having cocktails in Shadyside ...
Everyone left yesterday afternoon, bringing an end to my midweek-mini-vacation.
Double good news:
The bone lesion is just a cyst growing in the hollow part of my arm. Many people have these and they usually go unnoticed. (Mine just happened to be spotted during one of MRIs). When I asked the Doctor why/how they happen and he said 'they just do'. I'll have to keep tabs on it now since I know it is there but I really shouldn't worry about it too much ... he said to have a yearly xray just to make sure it's not growing or affecting the bone around it. I can live with that.
Also, my spine is healing just fine ... so fine in fact that the doctor decided that I do no need to go to Physical Therapy. Bonus.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Last night my friend Jwan brought his mixing skills to the club. He played an awesome set of house and techno music as usual. This time around, however, we tried something new. We had two guys play live trumpet and saxophone along with him, at times, to see how it sounded. Jwan would break his set down and play some minimal tracks that the guys could riff over. The result was really freeform and jazzy and the crowd loved it. When the horns were finished, Jwan would ramp up the music back into something more complex and full bodied. Below is about a minute of last night that I caught on my camera ...
*I realize the video is very dark but at least you can hear the horns to get an idea of what it was like.
** we usually have a live bongo player who comes every week and plays along with the DJ but this week he was a no show.
We're going to try it all again next week anyway ... trumpet, horns, DJ, etc.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
In honor of her, I bring you 'Pumpkinhead Wine' courtesy of Casa di Carfagna.
Last night I got together with 'Clover', 'Schaf' and 'Litl' for a short wine tasting. We made it though a bottle each of the Burgundy, Cabernet and Chardonnay.
Chardonnay is still everyone's favorite. The others still taste like alcoholic grape juice. ;)
Monday, July 7, 2008
I hung out and drank too much with 'Clover', 'Schaf', 'Litl', 'JimmyAndrewForest' and a bunch of others. Everyone ended up at 'The Castle' for afterhours but I wussed out and went home.
On a whim I went and saw 'Wall-E' with my friend 'Torque Smackey'. Clever film but not as good as 'The Incredibles'.
I spent a good amount of the weekend trying to load the music sequencer and recording software Pro Tools M-Powered onto my computer. A bitch of a time but I finally got it working properly.And last but not least, I took advantage of my museum membership and went to the Carnegie Museum with 'Evil Genius' and 'Litl' for an afternoon. I finally checked out the new Dinosaur exhibit and the impressive Carnegie International 'Life on Mars' exhibit.
Every year my family and some close family friends make our own wine. We buy the juice of different grapes and then 'rack' the wine every 7 weeks to extract the impurities. We make all types of reds and white; (Cabernet, Valdepena, White Zinf, Chardonnay, Chianti, Burgundy, etc). We started this year's batch back in October of 2007 and this last Saturday, July the 5th, the wine was finally ready to bottle. We spent the entire day cleaning and bottling the wine; a production of about 963 bottles give or take a few.
Anyway ... it took close to 9 hours for the nine of us involved to bottle everything. Of course, this was partly due to the fact that there were at least 30 other people in attendance to watch us work making it more of a fun gathering than actual labor. AND of course we were drinking the entire time; sampling the vino and doing shots of Pelinkovac. AND of course as with every Italian family event of mine, the food spread for the day was most impressive; hot sausage, meatballs, BBQ ribs, brochette, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage patties, kielbasa and sauerkraut, sushi, grape leaves, homemade pizza bread, cakes, brownies, tons of fruit ...
I was drunk, stuffed and tired by the end of the day but I still managed to meet up with my old high school friend 'Evil Genius' for dinner before heading home.