Really hoping this will be as good as it looks.
This is me right now.
SUMMER'S OVER, GEEKS! And look, I know the official end of it is in a few weeks, but I don't give a damn and neither should you. Here's what I did this month.
- I finally tried oat milk and yuuuuuck. Both my dad and Nathan made such a stink about how stupid a product it is that I had to buy it for myself to see if it was any good and WOOF. It was just weird and terrible and stay away.
- I tried the watermelon soft serve at Dominique Ansel Kitchen and although it was really pretty and refreshing, that thing was huge and waaaay too sweet. Happy I tried it though.
- I saw Sorry To Bother You in theatres and wow, it was unique and good and made me scream to myself even louder about how it's so stupid how remakes keep being made when money should really be being put into new, original screenplays.
- Also saw The Meg in theatres with Nathan, which was probably a perfect summer movie because of how ridiculous it was. We literally only went because of that one scene with the tiny dog in the preview. WORTH IT.
- I finally saw Dead Poets Society (yes, I'm aware it came out almost 30 years ago) and what a good movie. I miss Robin Williams. On another note, it made me really mad that the speech he says in that one scene was used in that iPad commercial and I never realized that that's where it came from, fuck Apple!
- I've been limiting my horror movies since it was technically still the summertime, but the mood was right so Nathan and I watched The Strangers (I'd not seen it before) and it. was. good.
- I also watched Steel Magnolias on Netflix and even though it was pretty sad, it's such a fun movie.
- Also, finally watched The Little Prince and oh good god, was it perfect. Such a sweet movie, with maybe one of the sweetest endings on earth.
- I started watching Disenchantment because I sort of have to, don't I? I'm only on episode three, but a few things have made me laugh so far. I'm hoping for the best? Full review coming next month.
- No idea why I watched so many movies this month --oh wait, yes I do because ONLY MURDERERS LIKE TO GO OUT AND BASK IN THE DEATHLY HEAT ALL DAY. Sooo that meant some rewatching of some good movies like The Fugitive (holy shit, this is still such a good movie, so suspenseful and Harrison Ford is a fucking dreamboat) and Under The Tuscan Sun with the delightful Diane Lane (I love this movie in a way that's hard to explain. It's a perfect movie. It always boosts my spirits. Plus the idea of someone just fucking off to Italy is my dream).
- I mean, it wasn't all great movies, though. The terrible ones I saw? Barbershop - wow. And Made In America - just insanely bad.
- I read Penny Marshall's biography and it was really, really good.
- I went to the Russian Tea Room for the first time and MEH, it really wasn't as good as it's touted to be. I mean, what the hell is up with stroganoff? It's like a soupy version of pasta, where's the thick sauce!? What are we even doing here?!
- I went to the Commodore in Brooklyn to try their fried chicken sandwich and while it was good, it definitely wasn't as good as the one at The Penrose. Also, I hate Brooklyn. Why on earth would a restaurant/bar NOT have a name out front saying who they are? Oh, I know why, because you're in Brooklyn and you think you can get away with that shit. Losers.
- I tried Van Leeuwen's non dairy coffee ice cream and it really wasn't that good, which surprised me. I still want to try some other brands of non dairy until I find a really good one, so the search continues.
- I made this homemade hummus and it was really, really good. Never gonna buy hummus again.
- I made these black bean muffins from an Ambitious Kitchen recipe and holy hell, they were fantastic. I made them for the road trip that Nathan and I took to go to Vermont for our anniversary and they were so unexpectedly delicious.
- Speaking of which, I'll definitely do a post on that Vermont trip in a few days and put a link to it here. Such a great trip.
- I know that you know how loyal I am to Seche Vite's Top Coat, but I ran out of it recently and had to use a backup - Essie's No-Chip Top Coat that actually was kind of amazing for keeping a lasting manicure for at least a week. Now if I can just combine the two into some kind of super top coat, I'll be queen of life.
SEE YOU IN HELL, SUMMER!
I've been waiting forever for this book to come out, and it didn't disappoint. Although it's touted as a Simpsons book, it's actually half Simpsons/half Mike Reiss biography. And, I mean, I'm completely fine with that. I met him at a reading/signing last month in NYC, and he was a super nice man. Best parts ahead.
- On the first page, "Welcome to the humiliating world of professional writing." - Homer
- I had no idea he worked on the movie Airplane II, I loved that movie! Didn't know he created Teen Angel, either, I don't really remember that show too well but I do recall liking its Halloween episode.
- The time they asked George Takei to guest star in the Marge vs. the Monorail episode and he declined and said, "I don't make fun of monorails." That made me laugh so much for some reason, apparently he's "an impassioned fan of public transit."
- When asked the question, "What do you say to people who say the show has gone downhill?" His response is perfect: "I love this question because no one ever asks, "Why has the show gone downhill?" It's always, "What do you say to people who say the show has gone downhill?" You're not fooling me. I'm still offended. It's like asking, "I'm not saying your sister's a slut... but what do you say to the hundreds of guys who say she is?" Here are the facts: TV shows age like people, and each episode is like a birthday. Many shows die in infancy. You can syndicate a show after seventy-two episodes - just like seventy-two years is the average life expectancy for an American man. When a show makes it to one hundred episodes, or a person makes it to a hundred years, that's cause for celebration. Our show is a 658-year-old man. And you're asking why it's not as cute as it used to be? We're lucky The Simpsons can still pee."
- His answer to the question of, "When will The Simpsons end?" is perfect: "My response is always the same. Stop asking. It's rude. It's like saying, "Grandma, when are you going to die?" She doesn't know, and she doesn't want to think about it."
- The episode Holidays of Future Passed was initially supposed to be their final episode back when they thought they were going to stop the show, but then they got renewed, so I've really gotta go back and re-watch that one.
- He also worked on the movie Ice Age and I loved him saying this: "I went to a park in Kiev that was filled with statues of Scrat, the Ice Age squirrel who's always pursuing an acorn but never quite getting it. I asked a Ukranian woman why they loved Scrat so much. She said, "He teaches children that life is hopeless."" Hahahah, that's so great.
Okay, looking back on the book, it's probably 75% about The Simpsons and 25% about Mike Reiss. I think I'm just a greedy person when it comes to Simpsons stuff. In any case, great book!
I'm a big fan of summer episodes of TV shows. I think it has to do with the fact that I hate summer so much - so if I can watch other people enjoying it from the comfort of my physically cooler living room, then that brings me pleasure. Makes sense to me. Here are my very favourite ones to watch.
1. Beverly Hill 90210, season 3, episode 2, "The Twins, the Trustee, and the Very Big Trip": Brenda decides to go to Paris for the summer with Donna, leaving her best friend Kelly to stay in town her boyfriend Dylan. That final scene of Brenda driving away while Kelly and Dylan get a little too chummy has always been a favourite of mine for some reason. Don't leave Brenda! That bitch is gonna steal Dylan! And that asshole is gonna cheat on you!
2. The Simpsons, season 7, episode 25, "Summer of 4 Ft. 2": The family goes away for the summer, and Lisa decides that she wants to become cooler. The whole episode is about how she tries to change her identity and is pure magic. I could watch this one on a loop forever.
3. Bob's Burgers, season 3, episode 3, "Bob Fires the Kids": Bob fires the kids in an attempt to make sure they have happy childhood memories. The kids try a bunch of summer activities and end up hating each one and it's the best.
4. Seinfeld, season 5, episode 21, "The Hamptons": Honestly, there are so many great things about this episode: the ugly baby being "breathtaking," shrinkage, Hamptons tomatoes, lobster poaching, I love this episode so much.
5. Saved By The Bell, season 3, episode 23, "Cut Day": Everyone takes the day off school since it's cut day, except for Zack who can't because he'll get suspended if he misses one more day. So he spends the day ducking in and out of class because he bet Slater that he could get away with doing both.
6. The Simpsons, season 4, episode 1, "Kamp Krusty": WON'T apologize for having numerous Simpsons episodes in here. This one is great because yes, it's early Simpsons, but also because it's just nice as hell to see kids hating summer camp since I always did and growing up, that wasn't the norm response.
7. The Simpsons, season 6, episode 1, "Bart of Darkness": Okay, this is probably the best one on the list. The Alfred Hitchcock references, the broken leg in the summer, the pool mobile, I love this episode. Everything about it is perfect.
8. Full House, season 7, episode 1, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night": The girls return home from summer camp and can't stop talking about it, to the annoyance of the guys. They return to the camp to take a rabbit back to the woods and realize that it's a lot scarier than they recall. The whole episode is great. Man, Full House was way better than Fuller House. Slowly realizing this.
9. Sex & The City, season 5, episode 8, "I Love A Charade": The women go to the Hamptons for a wedding. The pool scene and the final one with Miranda and Brady are my favourite moments of this one.
10. Melrose Place, season 4, episode 34 "Dead Sisters Walking": Honestly, I can barely remember most of the episode but the ending?! My god. I remember seeing this right before school ended, so that's really why I'm putting in this summer category. Even if you have watched ZERO of these videos I've posted on here, you have to watch this one. One of the best endings to a season OF ALL TIME.
That's the list! I'll probably re-watch all of these this week since now I'm really jonesing. God, that Melrose Place one still gives me chills. (This one too!)
So last week I went to an event for The Simpsons writer Mike Reiss to promote his new book, Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons. And during the Q&A, someone understandably brought up The Problem With Apu by Hari Kondabolu.
A few responses have been made by the show, one from Hank Azaria and one, seemingly, from the show itself in a episode that aired earlier this year (a response that people really hated). So when broached about the subject, Reiss had a bit more to say.
Apparently a couple years ago in 2016, season 27 to be exact, The Simpsons did Apu’s last episode. It was called Much Apu About Something. The summary of the episode is that Apu’s nephew, Jay (voiced by a Utkarsh Ambudkar), takes over the Kwik-E-Mart when it’s destroyed and changes it into a Quick & Fresh. He modernizes it and when Apu protests, Jay insults Apu for being a stereotype. Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club said about the episode, "About Apu’s nephew Jamshed (or Jay, as he prefers) turning the Kwik-E-Mart into a health food store, might reference a beloved episode about Apu’s dignity in the face of Springfield’s hairtrigger xenophobia, but it’s equally a referendum on the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon himself.”
But the real thing that stood out from the event I went to was when Reiss stated that apparently this was the last time Apu has appeared in a speaking scene since that episode. They (the writers and Hank Azaria) decided it was time to retire the character, in a matter of speaking. Why this went unacknowledged until now is unclear to me, but the main point here is that they literally saw that it was terrible that this racist impression by a white actor had gone on for way too long, and rectified it. Reiss writes about it in detail in his book and ends the chapter with, "We'd hate to lose a beloved character from the show. But times change, and maybe after three decades, time has run out for Apu."
There are only two things that I’m angry about right now.
- The fact that I didn’t realize this issue was already resolved on the show since I pride myself on being a huge fan. (Living in a cable-free home is the culprit here, but as always I'll keep buying the seasons as they come out.)
- The fact that Hari Kondabolu has gained any kind of notoriety because of The Problem With Apu, since this was no longer an issue even before he filmed this documentary.
I really don't think Lisa’s MEH response above was supposed to be taken as a serious response to this documentary (and can I say real quick that I hate referring to this as a documentary since it's 49 minutes, I can't explain why that bothers me, I'm sorry). I think it was meant to infer that, 'If you knew anything about this show, you’ll know that we already handled this problem.' Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I interpret it now.
And not to completely hate on Hari Kondabolu, but I should’ve realized something was wrong with this guy when he aligned himself with that sad little group of “everything-after-season-ten-sucks” losers who literally haven’t seen decades of a great, great show. And look, I get it, it makes sense to me that this man would successfully stir up this shit since it's emblematic of this age we’re in right now where dragging something great to get your two minutes is a totally justifiable move, since it works. It just makes me mad.
I wouldn't be in such a huff about this if HK didn't end it the way he did, challenging what the writers "were going to do about this issue" when the issue was already dealt with.
So this is the first post in what I hope to be a new series of posts that I’m going to try to do. (Have I said that before? About other things? Oh god, maybe I have. I have a tendency to start something enthusiastically and then immediately forget about it and sometimes even forget it ever even existed?) I will really try to not let that happen here.
ANYWAY, what I’d like to do here is talk about the new things I’ve done this month. In the old days, I’d devote whole posts to individual things that I’ve loved or hated, but honestly, some times a few sentences could suffice. So here are some of the things that I’ve encountered in the month of May.
- I dry cleaned my winter coat and packed it away for the season. Do you do this when winter's over? You should.
- I really don’t go to the movies a lot anymore and I miss not going. I used to go constantly when I was younger, but the real fun of that was because I was going with my brother Robbie. There were a solid fews years in the early 00’s where we’d see everything that was playing in any given theatre. Just for the sake of seeing a movie. I mean, we had a lot of free time then so it just made sense. I go so rarely now that I really need to want to see a movie to get me into a theatre now. Thus, seeing RBG was an active decision, and a great one at that. I knew nothing of the woman before seeing it, and the trailer made it look great, so of course it was. If you’re a fan of women at all, you should see it.
- I ate the banana bread with espresso mascarpone at Two Hands in Soho. And whoa. Here it is.
- I ate the fried chicken at Blue Ribbon Chicken. I know so little about good fried chicken, but this was pretty incredible. Maybe a smidge more expensive than I thought it should be, but a kid’s meal was a decently priced & sized pre-meal.
- I attempted to read Jenny Lawson’s Let's Pretend This Never Happened and I really didn't care for it. I lasted about ten pages then gave up. I’m probably being too harsh here, but I found her tone… irritating. Also, not to boast or anything, but I’m a tiny bit proud of being able to put a book down and inwardly say, “No, thanks.”
- I tried Farsali's Jelly Beam Highlighter. I'd never heard of the brand, but they have a tiny section at Sephora that has, like, three items. No idea why. Especially because the highlighter itself is pretty incredible. I bought it solely because of the fact that it was a “jelly” (meaning that it jiggles) highlighter because I’m simple and that sounded fun. I think it looks especially amazing on collarbones.
- Nathan and I ate at Rosemary’s in the west village on my monthly Nathan-must-date-me night. He got the roast chicken and I got a kale and celery caesar salad. His chicken was insanely good and my salad just reminded me why celery should never be a main ingredient. It’s not its fault, it doesn’t know any better, but humans should know enough to understand that chomping on celery in any form sucks. Restaurant was beautiful and if I ordered better, I’d have more glowing things to say. My fault.
- I went for dinner at L’Artusi with a friend and had probably one of the top five best meals I've ever had in this city. We did wait awhile for a table, but we didn't have a reservation and it was a Saturday night so duh. We ordered one of the specials as an appetizer (the steak tartare) which was incredible then followed it with the insane garganelli with mushroom ragu that I will remember for the rest of my life. They also sent out a kale ravioli that was mind-blowing. And I'm not typically inclined to call kale-ANYthing "mind-blowing," so understand me clearly here. These pastas will change you. I can't wait to take more people here. The service was incredible. I really can't say enough good things about this place. Go nowhere else for pasta.
- I finally went to the Birch Coffee near my house and I'll keep this brief. A small iced coffee shouldn't cost $4 in 2018. A coffee shop should have a bathroom. A coffee shop that is "wifi free" shouldn't boast about that fact. Any business that is "cashless" is obnoxious and nobody likes you. The coffee tasted all right. That is all.
- I got the banana-chocolate pudding at Magnolia Bakery. Remember how much I already love the original banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery? Yeah, this one is better. It just is. Of course it is. Adding chocolate to something that was already perfect just makes sense. Give the people what they want.
- Tried some of the burger and the chicken sandwich at The Spotted Pig and MEH. I mean, yeah, they were good, but they’re ungodly expensive for what’s being put on your plate. And those skinny little fries that are piled up like a mountaintop? Deceiving. They tasted like air! They look like they're gonna be amazing, but you're left with a feeling of emptiness inside. Emptiness and hunger. A fry should taste like a fry. Basic physics here, guys. The main reason we went was because it was after midnight and for some reason their kitchen stays open late (possibly only to swindle you with $26 burgers when nothing else in the area is an option?)
- Got an advance screening pass to the movie Gotti. I went. I lasted 25 minutes and then left. Good god, DID IT BLOW. But of course it did. Why didn’t I know that going in? Well, I kinda did but it was free. Wow, was it terrible, though. Comes out next month on the 15th. Don't go.
- Last month I heard about Gofobo, which is a site that arranges free movie screenings near you and emails you to see if you want to go, it's amazing. I heard about it right before Nathan and I saw A Quiet Place last month (for free), so I just stayed on their mailing list. Unfortunately they also sent me my Gotti tickets, but I won't hold that against them since I'm the idiot who said, "Gotti? Sure, that seems fun!"
- Tried the Ginger Scallion Noodles (with pickled shiitakes, cucumber, nori) at Momofuku Noodle Bar. I’ve been here only once before, years ago, and I really just was in a noodle mood so I came again. It wasn’t terrible, but again, I think I ordered bad. I really wanted the Chilled Spicy Noodles (with sichuan sausage, Thai basil, cashews) but I was dissuaded by my waiter because he said it was overly spicy and then made a face. But then I got a look at it when someone else ordered it and knew I should’ve gotten it because it looked amazing, so I’ll get it next time and then tell you if it’s too spicy. Also, the Soju Slushie that is Spicy Lychee flavored was crazy good. Although that makes sense to me because when I went here years ago, their Singapore Sling slushie was also pretty memorable.
- I went in looking for the s'mores pie slice that I've wanted to try for ages, but instead found the salted caramel brownie from Dean & DeLuca. And wow. Just wow.
- I finished watching Ugly Delicious on Netflix. I really can’t remember why I put this off for so long, considering how much I like well-shot food shows. For the most part, I thought it was all right, I wrote down a few food recommendations from it (like Lucali in Brooklyn). There were a few parts that made me not really like David Chang, though. They were such small parts, but I don’t know, they stayed with me. Like how during this one segment where he’s doing pizza deliveries alongside a real Dominoes delivery person, they’re going to a bunch of houses and then at the end David goes, “Are we done? Yeah, I’m not doing another fucking delivery.” I don't know, I'm probably reading too much into it, but I just hated the way he said that right infront of the grown man delivery guy. It was rude and belittling and I really didn't like it. As I said, I'm probably reading too much into it, but it bothered me. Other than that souring part, it was an all right series to watch. There were lame parts sprinkled here and there. I feel like I progressively liked it less as each episode went on and I don’t really know why. You know what the problem is? I think he just thinks he’s really cool and funny and doesn’t have a real sense of self and if he were a little more humble or warm as a person, it could’ve helped the overall tone of the series.
- I also started watching Bill Hader's Barry on HBO because my brother Gary told me to. I'm only three episodes in and it's pretty good I guess? I mean, it is. I just haven't decided if I'll watch on or not.
- Nathan and I have started watching The Twilight Zone (on Netflix) and it's one of the best shows I've seen in such a long time. Obviously not every episode is a great one, but the ones that are? Watch out. We've seen about 40 episodes or so already and there have been at least 20 really great ones, and we're only a quarter of the way through the series. Love watching these at night before bed. This was the final quote from a recent episode we watched that I just loved, "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own - for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone." I mean, that's pretty good, yeah?! Love Rod Serling's voice so much, too. Such a great show. I wish I'd seen it when I was a kid.
Writing all of this down makes it seem like I have a great life, when in reality... oh my god I do. Excited for June!
I did Nathan’s podcast again! Talking The Problem With Apu & more!
So pumped for this.