Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Foodie Wannabe

I'm not sure either of those words are the Queen's English.

I wish I were a foodie. Really I do. I’m not sure what a foodie’s qualifications are, or what would appear on their CV. But I covet the “title” because then it would make eating out a hobby and not an extravagance. It would change something I like doing into something I in which I have expertise. But sadly, I don’t know anyone on the Foodie High Council. And even if I did, I lack the time and finances to put into the art of eating. And perhaps the sophistication. Of the last two establishments I sampled, one used Cheez Whiz in their signature dish, and the other’s main claim to fame is being featured on Man V Food.

A couple weeks back I was in a part of town I don’t usually frequent, so decided to find an interesting restaurant. Forefathers ended up winning. Turns out this place specializes in that local delicacy from across the US, the Philly Cheesesteak. Now, I’ve always enjoyed a good cheesesteak, if only because of the delicious name, so decided to give it a try. I admit, I wussed out a bit and didn’t get the classic sandwich which featured the Cheez Whiz. I just couldn’t bring myself to order Cheez Whiz in a public setting, instead going for the more classy provolone. I considered asking for some Havarti and really classing up the place, but constrained myself. THC went for the real deal, but it seemed like I enjoyed mine a bit more than she did, so I’m ok with my decision. We also got the obligatory sweet potato fries (obligatory because I very rarely turn down sweet potato fries when they’re offered), as well as the surprising menu option of bread pudding. Both were top notch. So while it’s not exactly a place to cater your reception, Forefathers definitely is worth a stop if you’re passing through south Tempe.

My brother was in town this last weekend and I was at a loss as to where to bring him for fine Arizona dining. In Columbus I had a list of couple dozen places I wanted to try, but I have yet to build one here. So I turned to the only food expert I knew in Phoenix: the guy from Man V Food. I don’t know his name. But he went to 3 places while in town. One was a baseball/Alice Cooper themed restaurant, and since I don’t particularly care for either of those, we passed on that. Another was a deli specializing in brisket sliders. I’ll definitely go there some time. The third was Los Reyes de la Torta, which had come up in conversation earlier in the week, and was thus obviously my destined destination. I love tortas. Most people don’t know that about me. Eric doesn’t feel as strongly, but he was game. Turns out, it too was great. Perhaps another thing keeping me from foodie greatness is my reviews. The tortas were great. No fancy verbage there. But they were just the right balance of spicy, greasy, tasty, messy and fresh. AND pretty cheap. I definitely recommend them to anyone who likes sandwiches and would like to venture into the Mexican variety.

So if you’re in Phoenix and want to try someplace new, chances are I’m in like flint. I’ll even explain the origins of in like flint as we eat. I’m sure you’re looking forward to that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The time of the season when I rank things: Christmas Music

Last year I ranted a bit about how I dislike a lot, but not all, Christmas music. I thought it would be a bit more positive this year to actually point out some music that I like. Facebookers, check out the blog for videos.

12. Maybe This Christmas – Ron Sexsmith

I normally limit these lists to 10, but hey, 12 is a Christmassy number. Though I hate the 12 days of Christmas. Criminally, there are no youtube clips of Ron singing the song. Here's someone else:



11. Wrapping Paper – The Waitresses
My friend Paul reminded me of this one last week. It’s a good one.



10. Last Christmas – Wham!
Shut up, I like it. And there are a billion covers of it, only half of which appear to be ironic.



9. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Zoey Deschanel
For whatever reason, they won't let me embed Zoey singing the song with Leon Redbone or Will Ferrell. Clearly Zoey must be scared of the internet.

8. O Holy Night
Admittedly, the Southpark isn’t my favorite version. But I had to include a video, and it was the most interesting one.



7. Let It Snow – Sinatra
I do tend to like these post carol, pre modern Christmas songs.



6. Carol of the Bells
Most any version, even Mannheim Steamroller. But this was the video I thought of.



5. Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie
Yes, this is a pretty secular list. OHN and LDB are the only Christian songs represented. The churchy songs are really a separate category in my mind, and not what I’m counting down today.



4. Walking in the Air – Aled Jones
Not strictly a Christmas song, but it is to me.



3. Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi
Thanks Peanuts and Arrested Development.



2. The Christians and the Pagans – Dar Williams
An odd little ditty, but one of my favorites, and with an actual message.



1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra
My favorite Christmas song. No good reason. Depending on how it’s sung it’s joyful or a bit melancholic. All songs should be that way.



Top Churchy Christmas Songs: Angels We Have Heard On High, Far Far Away On Judea’s Plains, Hark the Harold Angels Sing, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, We Three Kings

Top Kiddy Christmas Songs: Up on the Housetop, Here Comes Santa Claus, Heat Miser

Friday, November 26, 2010

Riddle me this

What is your interpretation.

Yesterday, Girl A told me that I should date Girl B. Girl B has previously told me that I should date Girl C. Girl C has previously asked for my advise about how to get boys to ask her out.

My math:

Girl C can have one of two views:
1. She is following the age old trick of asking someone you don't want to date about dating. Despite their opposite gender they get immediately pushed into the friend category. Potential tension (potension?) dissipated. Thus doesn't like me.
2. She doesn't follow this social norm, and was asking me about dating to build intimacy, moving us closer to dating. Thus may like me.

Girl B has on multiple occasions told me to ask out Girl C. Does not like me.

Girl A out of the blue stated she thinks I should date Girl B. Does not like me.

On the plus side, Girl C seems to feel I have some sage wisdom regarding dating, and Girls A and B want me to date their friends. So that's a plus.

Also, I have too much time to dissect social situations, which should be spent finding Girl D.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ChrisMix 2009 and 2010

If the last post confused you, you've probably known me for less than a year. I put out a yearly mix CD called ChrisMix. CM2010 will be the fifth iteration. You can have a copy if you want one.

FYI there will be 2 editions. CM2010: Rock Out the Old and CM2010 Roll In the New. Rock Out will feature 20 or so new tracks from bands from previous ChrisMixes. Roll In will be the traditional ChrisMix featuring new bands from 2010. You can request Rock Out if you'd like it, but generally I'll be giving out Roll In.

So that's what that's about.

I was going to say that this week was the first time I've gone to see a ChrisMix band, but then I remembered I saw The Fratellis a couple years ago at the Newport. It was awesome. But this week I saw The Thermals, a band from last year's mix, and it was similarly awesome.

A great thing about the show was that it was at The Rhythm Room. It's a tiny venue. The opening acts probably had 50 people watching and the place felt full. The Thermals probably had a little over 100 and it felt packed. We were sitting against the wall and were only 20 feet or so from Kathy Foster. I've never seen a band I really like in a room that small, and it was a lot of fun. If you have a chance to see them, you should. Hutch is a good front man, Kathy brings a lot of personality on stage and Westin really worked the crowd. A great live act all around.

Also of note were the 2 opening bands. One was really horrible, but entertainingly so. The lead singer flailed around spouting simplistic lyrics like "Let's get high. It's fun to get high. Let's get high." He tackled both of his guitarists during the course of the evening. I was enjoying their public failure, but THC (pseudonym of the day) was clearly not impressed. The other band was called Kinch and was actually very enjoyable. I bought their album, but then discovered that all their music is available for free. Oh well. They deserve some extra cash. Check them out, especially if you're a Phoenician as they're a local band.

So yeah, music is good. I might go see The Weepies this week. I'll mail out the ChrisMixes in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Put your orders in now.





Just post a comment if you want one. And email me your address. You can post your address if you want, but my innumerable stalkers may decide to start stalking you for variety's sake.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I don't like robots

No, I'm not talking about Bishop or MechaGodzilla, Johnny 5 or Data. I'm not talking about Deckard, Bubo, T-1000 or the Techno Trousers. I'm not talking about the Iron Giant, the Fembots, the Go-bots, Bender, Rosie, Marvin, Starscream, Kitt, the Cylons, the Mousers, Small Wonder, Tom Servo, HAL, Ultron, Red Tornado, the Sentinels or the Spider Slayers. I like all those robots.

(To discover your nerd score, take the number of those you recognize and divide by 25. If you feel prompted to insist I add another robot to the list, multiply by 10.)

No, the kind of robots I don't like are people. People that are completely predictable. You give them a prompt, such as "Let's go bowling" or "I love Bon Jovi" and you know with 100% certainty what they're going to say or do. It's lame.

Which is not to say the person is lame. I have a great many friends who are like this. And to a certain extent we all do this. You have thoughts and feelings and opinions (which really seems to be just a combined thought and feeling) so people that know you well can predict what you'll say.

Just try to mix it up. Yes, maybe you have a clever tidbit you like to whip out every time someone mentions William Howard Taft. Learn another one. Figure out other things you can say. Maybe you hate the word subtle (I know I do. What's that B doing in there?) You don't need to let everyone know you hate the word subtle every time it is used.

Don't be a robot. Be a person; full of inconsistency, unpredictability and nuance. And most importantly, let me know when I'm acting like a robot.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Forget You [NSFW]

Opinion 1: Last week’s episode of Glee was the Worst . . . Episode . . . Ever. Which is not to say it was a horrible way to spend an hour; it was just a poor showing of a good show. The comedy was flat to nonexistent, the musical numbers were dull, the plot uber-contrived. Come on, the big football player who picks on gays turns out to be gay? Shocker. But next week’s episode looks more promising.

Gwyneth on Glee



Question 1: Who hates Gwyneth? This article seems to indicate that people hate her. I’m someone who will readily and without reason dislike people, and I have never had a negative feeling towards her. I’m not a big fan either. The only movies where I specifically liked her were The Royal Tenenbaums and the Iron Men. Otherwise I’ve found her performances pretty neutral. But evidently other people disagree. It could be that I kind of like uppity ice queens. Or it could be that her negatives (Apple?) balance out with her positives (Simon Pegg is Apple’s godfather!) In any case, I have no strong feelings about her.

Fact 1: I don’t swear. There are any number of crude words I will say, but I have lines I have drawn. Though to disclose fully, I suspect I may need to abandon those lines. So far I haven’t needed to repeat a patient’s profanity in the course of an interview or affidavit, but it does seem like it is only a matter of time. But my point is I don't condone swearing.

Declaration 1: I like a lot of music which happens to contain cursing. Forget You, whether performed by Gwyneth or Cee Lo is just not the same as F*** You. F*** You is a great song. The cursing is the exclamation point at the end of each phrase. So I’ve included below ten songs that I love that are reliant on their profanity. Some are expletive heavy, others just have a swear or two to add some spice. I’ve generally avoided rap and hard rock, as the swearing there is pretty commonplace. Seriously though, don't click on the links unless you want an ear-full. And the songs are catchy, so it might stay there.

List 1: The time of the week when I rank things: Songs With Which I Can’t Sing Along


1. Good Intentions – Tito and Swan

A bizarre confluence of blasphemy, profanity, intoxication and debauchery. It makes it all sound so playful and innocent. Sure to offend most anybody.

2. Toxic – Mark Ronson

ODB is on the track. Ergo, it can't be played in polite company.



3. When You Wasn’t Famous – The Streets

Most any Streets track could be included. I love these guys. Strangely enough I couldn't find an uncensored version of this song.

4. I Can’t Decide – Scissor Sisters

Another track that throws around the F bomb with zero spite or malice, just a smile.



5. F******* Boyfriend – The Bird and the Bee

This is one of many tracks that would have been included in past ChrisMixes, if not for its lyrics. Consequently, ChrisMix usually gets skewed a bit nicer, older and girlier than the actual tracks I hear over the course of the year.

6. Mother****** – Xzibit

Generally I avoided rap music as it is famously profane, so not much of a challenge to include on a list of songs with swearing. But I really like the way this song sounds, even though I can't agree with any of the content.



7. B***** Mother******* ***hole – Martha Wainwright

My third favorite Wainwright. Well, maybe second favorite. But she pulls no punches on this one. She's singing about my third favorite Wainwright.

8. Stack-O-Lee – Samuel L Jackson



This was an underrated movie. This is a great song. Mr. Jackson is a king of cursing.

9. The Dirty Glass – Dropkick Murphys

I think there's only one curse in this one. But it's hard to miss.

10. Don’t Marry Her – The Beautiful South

The contrast between sex and love is so eloquently pointed out using the most famous of curses.



Honorable Mentions
Song of the Dumped – Ben Folds Five
B****– Merideth Brooks
Any one of dozens of Beastie Boys tracks, and most every Eminem track.

Bonus 1:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I would murder someone to get a job as a critic

Despite my unhealthy fascination with all things entertainment, I’m not much of a movie-goer these days. I like going to movies with girls, but watching movies at home is really a much better date. You can talk, pause, eat, switch movies when she figures out there are zombies in it, etc. I don’t really have many guy friends in Arizona to go see manly movies, nor am I looking for them. Netflix takes care of a bunch, the internet takes care of a bunch, being too busy to realize what movies are out take of the rest. So, the movies I’ve seen in theaters have been few and far between. Except for this week when I saw 2.

The first was It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It was kind of a funny movie. It is a bit stuck in the dramedy zone: spending equal time on both drama and comedy, so not really dramatic or comedic enough to stand on its own. But it did have one of my favorite celebrities of the moment, Zach Galifianakis acting more than he normally does. Admittedly, playing a psych patient wasn’t a huge departure for him. Jim Gaffigan was along for the ride as well, which was a plus. I saw it with 3 of my work colleagues/friends and so we had a good time comparing their psych hospital to ours. But even if you’re not a psychiatrist or a mental patient, I think it was a reasonably good movie. Not great, which was disappointing. It’s one of those movies that is pretty good, but you could see lots of amusing scenes which could’ve been funny, and touchy-feely scenes that could have been genuinely touching. It just wasn’t quite there. It was also one of those movies where they throw in some artistic accents (visual effects, music, creative structure) but none of them REALLY helped anything. They were just there. I sound negative, but only to point out that it wasn’t great. But you’ll laugh, you’ll be a little touched, you’ll be able to overlook some of the clich├ęs and pat conclusions.

The other movie was Easy A. I’d heard some pretty positive reviews, so when a group congealed to see it, I congealed along with them. I’d give Easy A a solid B to B+. It was preachy, but self aware and referential enough that it wasn’t annoying. And the preachiness was actually kind of a unique take, which also helped it stay more palatable. I’m a bit of a comedic misogynist (Sidebar. Women, as a group, are not nearly as funny as men. I don’t think this is genetic, I think it’s societal pressures. It helps men to be funny much more than it helps women. So men spend a fair amount of time and energy fostering this. At the end of the day, women (with important exceptions) tend to be significantly less funny than men. End sidebar.) but Emma Stone pulls it off. Yes, her dialogue is not really believable coming from a 16 year old, but the dialogue is funny, and she delivers it with aplomb. Most everyone else in the film is similarly witty. Her parents in particular are hilarious. I imagine there was a meeting early in production when they had to decide between PG-13 and R, and I’m glad they went PG-13. I’m no prude, I saw MacGruber last week and it was HILARIOUS (I use all caps not because I’m a teenage girl, but because that is going to be the entirety of that movie review) but I feel it really served this movie well to be PG-13. It was kind of the point that the characters were all discussing, worrying, lying and obsessing over sex, but not participating in it. The dialogue was cleverer because it had to stay under the R level, though it came mighty close. It was good times for not the whole family, but for a larger portion of it.

So there are some movies that you should see. It occurred to me as I saw these movies and all the posters for the blockbuster schlock coming out that all movies should be double features. And not just due to exorbitant ticket prices. Every big budget movie should be paired with a little indie flick. There are good and bad movies in both categories, so I’m not saying the indie flick will provide some nutrition after the blockbuster junk food. Just that it would benefit these little movies to get seen, and it should be an option after the popcorn flick to stick around and catch something that might be great.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I'd watch the heck out of that



Maybe even better than my old favorite:

Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm bitter, but you're ridiculous

Today I walked into work and my boss, let's call him Beard Gap, was talking about Dick Cheney. Why? Because they have the same birthday. I don't know how he got on this subject, but we spent the first ten minutes of our day finding people with our birthdays. Sorry psychiatric patients, but this had to happen before we could start rounding.

I feel the need to post this now so it doesn't seem like a birthday hint-drop. Because those make you a bad person.

Anyway, I share my birthday with:
Maximilian the First, Holy Roman Emperor (dude, sweet moniker)
Marcel Marceau (who strangely enough, died on Beard Gap's birthday)
Bill Shatner (guess how old he is. Wrong. 79.)
Stephen Sondheim AND Andrew Lloyd Webber
Orrin Hatch
Reese Witherspoon

Goethe died on my birthday. Which is sad because I would have liked to have met him. Also he died in 1832.
It's the earliest possible day for Easter to occur.
It's the World Day for Water. I'm not proud of that. That sounds like a lame holiday.
Rarely the Vernal Equinox occurs on my birthday. But usually not.
In 1997, it's the day when Hale-Bopp was the closest it's ever been to the Earth.
I think once I get to the history of astronomy, I've probably included enough.

No, the title of this post isn't a mistake. Sometimes people give me grief over the content of my blog. I don't talk enough about work, I talk too much about tv, it's too dirty, I don't edit it, I don't talk enough about them, it's not in iambic pentameter etc etc. Screw you. I talk about what I want to talk about. Don't read it.

I came across this parody blog the other day. Now, I'm WAY behind the times because I should've been reading it for the last 2 years. But it slipped under the radar. I do study every now and again.

Seriously, so blessed!

It's awesome. I'm bitter so it's doubly funny, but even those of you in fully functional relationships should enjoy it. Hopefully I'm never happy enough to write something like this.

My blog is me. If your blog sounds like SSB, well, I hope that's not actually you. I hope you just need a better editor.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bonus Post: Miss Li

Since that last post was not terribly funny, personal, insightful or helpful, I'll do another quick note. Though this one isn't any of those things either.

I'm starting to put together ChrisMix 2010. This song will probably be on it.


It’s the (e)company, stupid.

No, this isn’t about e-company, my e-readers and e-friends. I just felt I had to include the E to make the reference recognizable. It’s a reference, look it up.

The point of this post, is that activities don’t matter. Much.

Before I became activities committee chair, I was very critical of ward activities. Fitness night? Dumb. Stoplight dance? Dumb. If the activity was dumb, I wasn’t going to go.

Then I became the activities committee chair; and I tried really hard to plan activities that people would want to go to. And this is, in fact, the job of the activities committee. And I knew from the get-go that you can’t please everybody all of the time. But I tried to make activities that most people would like most of the time. And for the record, I encourage people planning official activities as well as throwing their own parties to make things as fun as possible.

However, an awesomely planned event can still be lame. A horrible event can be awesome. It’s about the company. It’s not that the event doesn’t matter at all, but in the end, it doesn’t matter terribly much. If the company is good, it’s worthwhile and enjoyable.

I went to a monster truck rally this week. A monster truck rally with lame people, or by yourself, probably wouldn’t be very good. With great people, it’s great. Now this particular example does have to be taken with a grain of salt. I often LIKE bad things. Bad movies, horrible bands, awkward situations etc. The train wreck is kind of a good time to me. So maybe watching a monster truck rally would be good for me no matter what. But I talked to people about going to the rally and their response was “why?” Why becomes inconsequential when you maximize “with whom?”

I had a couple great meals with great people this week. But whether it’s finding a great new Chinese place or enjoying a home-cooked meal, food on its own has never registered as a great experience for me. Food with great people is a great experience.

I just wanted to express the following:

1. On a micro level: Go where the people you like are. Maybe you don’t like the event. It doesn’t matter. You like the people, so you’ll be happier than doing something you like alone.
2. On a macro level: Life is a series of events. Some will be good, some bad. But if you focus on the people, the events become secondary.
3. Monster Truck Rallies are awesome.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Partymeister

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty consistent person. I act much the same from day to day. I have better or worse days, but they’re generally pretty similar. I think this is much the same over the long term. I have never reunited with someone I haven’t seen in a year, five years, ten etc and had them remark how much I’ve changed. I realize that it’s impossible to judge these things accurately, but I’d say I’m much the same person I was at 18, for better or worse. And of course being the same person I was a decade ago is definitely in the worse category. Or more accurately, in the same category.

But I threw my first party in probably six months this weekend. There have been times in my life when I threw a party/gathering every couple weeks. Clearly this is not one of those times. Moving itself was pretty disruptive in party throwing. Even more damaging is the depletion of my friend pool. Some people can throw a party with the point of making friends, but I’m not one of them. I can only throw when to entertain friends that I have already recruited. And really I’m just barely at a critical mass for party throwing.

It was a Halloween “party.” Being on a Sunday is limiting. But my Halloween and my Love Sucks Party were the biggest two of the year, so I thought it was important to put something together. We chit-chatted, munched, and watched Beetlejuice. It was good times. It did however rekindle my nearly unhealthy desire to plan things. The following are parties I’d like to throw, if I had sufficient time, and sufficient friends.

1. Little Provo. I bought myself a ridiculously large bottle of J-Dawg’s Special Sauce when in Utah a couple months back. I want to set up a little J-Dawg’s assembly line in my apartment. Add in some fry sauce and apple beer, and it would be just the right amount of Provo to experience in Phoenix.

2. Clue Party. I considered watching Clue for Halloween, but Beetlejuice won out. But I think it would be fun to have a Clue party. Everyone would dress up as one of the characters. We’d pause the movie periodically and debate who was the killer. Bets would be placed. Some manner of prize would be awarded. Maybe 7 minutes in heaven with Yvette. It would take an already great movie and make it into an interactive experience. The problem being those of us who have seen it would need to abstain. But it would still be great.

3. Garbage Plates. There are a surprising number of New York alum floating around Phoenix. Some of us know and love Rochester’s most famous food. We figure it would be easy to at least approximate the gastronomical experience of the Plate. I even looked into shipping in some Zweigles, but they are ridiculously expensive to ship.

4. Film Festival. I have ½ a script for my next movie, but no actors. I feel like I would need to have a night to show some of my movies to convince people that they should permit themselves to appear in a Sorensen production. I’m not sure which movies I’d pick, as I wouldn’t want to overload people with awesomeness, but a night of amateur movies and discussion of the new film seems like a good time. But of course I’m biased, as it would be kind of a Me Night.

5. The Tour of Ice Cream was fun, but I think it would be too hard to do in Arizona. The distance between locations would be prohibitive. But I would like to do a Tour of Pizza instead. Rather than hop for parlor to parlor, we’d have everyone (or maybe every other person) bring their favorite pizza pie. We’d compare and contrast, and know which location has the best pie in Phoenix.

You’ve probably noticed the common threads of food and television that dictate all my leisure activities. It’s not the most healthy system, but at least I know what I find relaxing. Once my free time and/or friend number increase, you (within driving distance) can look forward to all kinds of food and television themed activities.

Monday, November 01, 2010

And I'm back

Whenever I've taken a blog sabbatical I feel like I need to return with something profound. And if/when I'm lacking something profound, it keeps me on sabbatical longer. So I'm going to jump back into it with something mundane.

I hate you Captain Obvious. I hate that expression also. But more, I hate it when people say things that everyone universally agrees with. It's like having a conversation about bowling and having someone keep saying "I sure like not being punched in the face." No, there is no connection there, and that's the point. The statement really conveys no information because it's what we assume to be true. Saying "I sure like being punched in the face" would be fine, because that would be a surprise.

I hate it when people say "Saturday Night Live isn't as good as it used to be." Duh. I really only want you to tell me if you somehow think it's better than it used to be. Otherwise you're just stating the universally agreed-upon truth.

I do find it slightly interesting to hear what people define as "used to be." Some people refer back to Lazy Sunday. Some people back to Sandler/Farley. Some all the way back to Eddie Murphy or Bill Murray. The description of "the best" at least has some merit.

But due to our shortsighted nature, "the worst" is always now. But I'd submit that most every episode has a gem or two. I watched last week's episode, fast forwarding when necessary, and came across the following, which gets funnier every time I watch it.



The humor is very repetitive (this is the 3rd in a series, with no comedic progression) but it still gets me. Furkles.

Also pretty darn amusing is:



And there was a dumb sketch involving French people dancing, but the song sure is catchy:



Anyway, I guess my point is don't say SNL is not as good as it used to be. We all know that. And also don't whine about stupid things like that. They put a show on every week, some will stink. Don't watch it if you don't like it. I usually don't. But if you've got some time to kill, you can usually find some funny bits. It's better than Outsourced or $%&# My Dad Says.