Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hockey Night in Indiana

Last night I needed to call off from my second job and nurse this damn cold that has been bugging me all week long. I had just planned on staying in and drinking cold and flu tea and guzzling some syrup of some sort. Lo' and behold though the Philadelphia Flyers were on against the Buffalo Sabres in game 4 of their playoff series.

Growing up in South Jersey, you were a Flyers fan. There was no way around it. And if you wanted to fight it, you soon realized that most cute girls were Flyers fans as well.

What is it about girls and hockey? I'll never understand.

Last night may have been the first hockey game that I watched start to finish all season. Maybe in the past three years, especially considering the fact that one whole season was lost due to labor disagreements. Still though, last night after the Flyers fell behind 2-0 when they scored at the end of the first period to bring it back to 2-1 I was pretty excited. Going into the third period at 2-2, I actually was visably nervous. After a 5-4 win, I was very happy.

Thing is, I can't imagine still following hockey for a full season. My senior year of college I actually kissed the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Another year in college when driving down to Alabama for a wedding two friends and I smoked cigars in a Friday's after watching the Flyers win a playoffs series against the Rangers. I loved hockey. It's hard to follow out here in Indiana. You don't go to a bar and see people watching or talking hockey. But, Scot, you follow the Columbus Crew religiously and nobody cares about them. True. But, thats soccer, and soccer is different. It was the sport of my youth.

Though I can't imagine following a whole season as I said, every once in a while though it's nice to peak in at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And there was an extra bit of provincalism running through my blood here, since I went to school near Buffalo and suffered many embarassing Flyers meltdowns against inferior Sabres teams.

Hockey will never have the piece of my heart again it once had when I was growing up. But, my word do I hope the Flyers pull this off against the Sabres.

Friday, April 28, 2006

From the Indianapolis Star

I went onto the Indianapolis Star website this am to read up on the crash that killed 4 Taylor University students and came across this article. Really? Wraping up a cat in plastic and kicking it around? Yelling "How does it feel?!" And videotaping it? Thats phenomenal stuff. Now I know the girls were only 14, but my word. I don't even really know what else to say about that. Beyond disturbing or angry, it just makes me sad. At some point there just needs to be better education as to the values of life, and that animals count as well. Granted this can get into a whole new discussion, but I am far too medicated today trying to kick this cold than to get into that.

As for the sad death of the Taylor Students. I went to a small Christian school similar in size and location to Taylor. I would be guessing this more than just effects the immediate family. It definitely affects the whole entire campus, and the more or less the whole community. Houghton College, where I graduated from made up most of Houghton, NY. Taylor University makes up most of Upland, IN. The fact that the innaguration of Taylor's new president went on as scheduled this am, may be the first step in trying to return to normalcy. I hope and pray it is.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The King - Opening Night Film at IIFF

Deciding that I didn't care about my cold, and that $10 was a small price to support a film festival in town I decided to go down to the opening night festivities down at the Indianapolis International Film Festival.

So 3 of us show up at the Historical Society and walk in. There is a line set to get into the screening room. A very well dressed, shirt pressed, horn rimmed glasses crowd was milling around talking beforehand, and the volunteers seemed to have everything running smoothly. We went into the screening room, and I would guess it was about half full, though since I am a fron seater I couldn't say for certain. There was a decent buzz and quite a nice bit of applause for one of the festival organizers as he went through thank you's and introduced the film.

The film was The King and I will let you get a hold of the plot summary at the link there. The film had a decent cast; Gael Garcia Bernal and William Hurt to name a few. The film itself? I am still processing it to be honest. The directing and performances were definately well done. The dialogue at times was very minimal leaving the audience to process what was happening, just by the pictures before them, and thats absiolutely fine with me. For instance, there is no need to tell me someone is accepted into a group of friends in dialogue, if you can actually just show them at a table together laughing or working together, or sharing a drink.

But, I couldn't help but think the film was only half realized. It seemed to me, that the scren writer had a great final scene in mind, and a great first half, but there is sch a shift in mood halfway through the movie. This is fine, of course if you see moments leading up to it, but what transpires, to me just was not forecasted well enough and went beyond suspension of disbeleif to just shoddy storytelling. Decent acting by Bernal and the rest of the cast however made the rest of the film viewable and still an enjoyable experience. Even after the mood shift I speak of their were great moments and unforseen moments that saved the film from drifting into an unwatchable mess. For some reason I was reminded of the films of David Gordon Green when I watched this. I don't know if it was the dialogue, or how Corpus Christi, Texas became not only the setting here, but also a character in a way.

At the end of the film they ask you to grade what you have seen on an academic scale, A+ through F and compile it for the audience award at the end of the festival. The two I was with gave it a C and I a C+. I have been thinking most the morning how I might have been a bit harsh, and how this might deserve a B-.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Indianapolis International Film Festival

This is a damn exciting time to me. If only I wasn't bogged down with work and wasn't sick and broke, I'd be out every night. But, today is the first day of The Indianapolis International Film Festival. In only it's third year this festival has already expanded from 3 days to 9 and has 117 features and shorts this year. Not too shabby. A few years back the past I saw the Midwest Premiere of Lars Von Trier's Dogville down at the theaters at Circle Center as the festival came to a close. Last year, I was unable to catch any. This year's lineup looks intriguing.

First off the festival seems to have found many willing partners. The IMA is hosting quite a few showings as is the Indiana Historical Society in what I anticipate will be quite cozy viewing rooms. The new Landmark Theaters up at Keystone will also be showing there fair share of films. WTTS, NUVO, and Hoaglin's are also on board with local support. The Indianapolis Star had a decent little piece on Sunday on the growth of the Festival.

So, what films am I intrigued by so far?

I am Cuba looks to be unbelievable and sadly I will not see it due to the show times. Damn.

Lady Vengance is the followup to Chan-wook Park's Oldboy which is somewhere around number 75 in my Netflix queue. I will need to check to see if i should see Oldboy first before seeing this.

Be With Me for some reason looks to be the most intriguing of the showings, and I hope to see it tonight, actually. Scratch that, I can't see it tonight since they changed the schedule. Damnit!

And finally, Daybreak looks at capital punishment in Iran and seems to have a lot of promise to me.

Tickets for the individual showings are $10. Tickets can be ordered online or at the door. Check back to the main site to see which films are close to selling out or sold out as they seem to be updating that.

And finally, check out the Indiana Film Society

Well, yeah. Hopefully, I will get to see more than 1-2 films. But if not, hopefully some friends will report back to me about what I missed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More praise for the IMCPL

A few months back, Jim praised the greatness of the IMCPL. This here is probably a post that should have been made before the actual sale but this past weekend the IMCPL had one of of there second hand prose book sales over at 25th and Meridian. Along with the books there is quite a few CD's and a limited amount of DVD's on sale as well.

My haul from the sale...
Timbuktu by Paul Auster

Waking Life
Blade Runner - Directors Cut

Lush's Lovelife
Lush's Spooky
Cardigans - Long Gone Before Daylight Gave that one away as a gift, since everyone should own it.
Talib Kweli's Quality
Drive By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
You Can Count on Me

All that, ALL OF IT for only $14. Thank you, IMCPL!

Will I like all of it, maybe not. I can take or leave half the CD's and Blade Runner to me is just so/so. But for $1-2 each, its worth a shot. I don't know when the next sale is. I don't see one listed on their calender. But they come around once every 3-6 months I believe, so keep your eyes and ears open.

If the Crew wins and nobody see's it.....

Take that Landon Donovan! Apparently all the Crew needed to do to win a game (their first of the season!) is bring out their most bizzare uniform combination yet, and have the game broadcasted exclusively on HDnet, which aproximately 0.9% of Americans get.

No worries though, a win is a win. And even if I didn't see it, it still counts. And don't get me wrong, I am not complaining that the game was only on HDnet. I get the business aspect of it, and the TV rights, and HDnet needing to have a few "exclusives" to boost their product. But, what is discourging is that I will not see a game for a whole damn month just as this team seems to be putting it together. This Saturday vs Kansas City is another HDnet exclusive and then I miss two games due to my scheduled trip to Paria Canyon. 4 straight games? I don't think I have missed even two straight Crew games in the past 5 years. Wow.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Steve Sampson for being the epitome of class. Ya see, Sampson expressed interest in the LA job when Sigi was still coaching there. After Sigi gets fired (while in first place!!) Sampson takes over. The first time these two meet on the field, Schmid takes what is by all accounts a less talented Crew team and beats LA on Sampson's home field. Sampson of course leaves the field without shaking Schmid's hand because he is a combination of coward and scumbag. Well done, Steve.

Anyone, 3 points for Columbus Crew. Not bad.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Phillies, why bother?

The Phillies. They make me wanna cry. Earlier this week they dropped two out of three to the Nationals. The old Expos. These weren't close losses.

These were horrendous. These were losses when your starting pitcher leaves the game in the second inning after giving up 7 runs and only getting 3 outs. He was the most consistent pitcher for the team coming into the game.

Last night the Florida Marlins were in town. The past few years when the Phils had been futily fighting for the wild card the Marlins were a huge nemisis. Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo more or less could do whatever they wanted against the Phils. They are gone now and the Marlins resemble a Double A team. A Double A team with potential, but still Double A. The Phils wheeled out all 2 metric tons of their "Ace" Lieber to the mound last night and you had to think the Phils had a chance. Nope. 4-3 loss. In front of 20,000 masochistic patrons. The loss was puncuated by a double steal in which the worse catcher in Major League Baseball (Sal "The Farce" Fasano, for those keeping score) failed to even get the runner at second. He also failed to look back the runner at third. But the real highlight was his throw to second was so off line that the runner from third could have crab walked home and beat the return throw. These are Your 2006 Philadelphia Phillies!!!!!!

What's more? "Ace" Lieber refuses to pitch to Liebrethal, leaving The Farce behind the plate for all his games. At 0-4 with an ERA nearly triple current gas prices do you get to pick your own personal catcher? Under the careful guidance of Charlie Manuel, yes you do. What a disgrace.

Oh and the the offense? Hitting a ROBUST .181 with runners in scoring position.

It's less barely 1/10th into the season, and the season already feels lost. Firing Charlie Manuel won't change things. We have no means to trade for pitching help. It's pretty awesome.

Spring has sprung. Hope springs eternal. Eternal, like the Phillies playoff drought.

Friday, April 21, 2006

MySpace as a crime fighting device?

I remember vividly staying in and not going to the next to last Constitutional Law class I had during my Senior Year at college because I was watching CNN in total disbelief as they covered the Columbine shootings. I remember talking to my Mom on the phone and hearing her crying about it. All I could do was stare in disbelief at the TV for hours. This story from that was 7 years ago yesterday.

Apparently according to this story on there was a plot to somehow, disgustingly honor that anniversary with a similar shooting in Kansas. According to the report, the plot was pretty far along and detailed. And according to the report, the plot was snuffed after authorities were alerted after one of the soon to be gunmen posted about it on of all places MySpace.

There is so much in this report that I find unsettling. It's difficult to even make a Myspace joke. It's just one of those "What the hell?" moments.

Of course over at Andrew Sullivan's page they go beyond the initial "what the hell" reaction and talks briefly about "massacare as spectacle," the web, and cries for attention. Food for thought.

Then and Now, again....

Yesterday, I had lunch with a few friends at the wonderful Uduipi Cafe which has become the official lunchtime buffet of 64th and Broadway, Barcelona. Great food, good service and a decent price. I didn't even need to pay the price as friends picked it up, so even better!

At one point in the conversation, a friend who has lived here nearly his whole life asked me what did you think of Indianapolis when you were younger? I had to think for a moment. Growing up in South Jersey, there weren't many times that Indianapolis even showed up on your radar. Perhaps when the Pacers beat the Sixers, or around the Indy 500. Yes, I remembered joking around with my Phys Ed teacher in high school that all Indianapolis had was a racetrack. In short I never imagined living here. Transplants usually move to "bigger" cities. Chicago, New York, LA. I didn't go out to school out here I was invited by my current roomate to live out here post college. After visiting him when he lived in Woodruff Place I saw enough of the city to think that this is a place I could live.

Most mornings when I walk out of the parking garage towards the museum I can look south down Illinois St and see the skyline of the city. And for whatever reason, that makes me feel fortunate to live here.

My roomates parents are in town this weekend. They visited the museum as well this morning. They golfed and walked Broad Ripple yesterday. After they had dinner at our house they walked around our neighborhood, suddenly christened SOBRO by realtors. I ran thhe same route that they walked earlier in the day. The past few mornings that I have been running I have been really appreciative of my surroundings.

Holy crap is this disjointed. There seem to be more than a few people my age who have had had visions of flight away from Indianapolis for one reason or another. And most of those people have been here there whole life. But as a transplant I think its a bit different. When asked what I thought about Indianapolis when I was younger, I didn't have a real answer. Indianapolis was a blank slate. I had no real expectations or imaginings of what the city was.

I've lived out here since 1999, and thought seriously of moving away only once. And that was to avoid heartbreak brought on by people, not the city. When, asked now what I think of Indianapolis, I can only answer, it's home. In high school I never would have imagined that. Now, it's a city I am proud to call home.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A summer trip is lined up.

Summer is the time for vacations. In the past I have spent them travelling to cities I haven't been to to see my beloved Columbus Crew play, or to catch a new baseball ballpark, or the the US National Soccer team play.

This year we are doing something different. I was given the invite to join a group of good people on a week long stroll of the Paria Canyon. I am quite excited about this and will be leaving on May 6 and not getting back till May 13. In the meantime in order to make sure I am in tiptop shape for this I have been getting up at 545 am and running. Though, I admittedly skipped that today and will hopefully be able to leave work a little bit early and get in two miles or so.

There are more than a few reasons why I am looking forward to this. One is because I have never done something like this before. I have been camping, though not in years, but never a week long trip like this. Also, it of course is the chance, as trite as it may seem, to see natural beauty in a way that not too many people get to see. Sure, pictures are something, and I will probably take my share. But during this trip I will be living it and breathing it in. Finally, and most importantly is just the escapism of it all. Time away from the city and job and other obligations. Time to revel in God's creation, to thank Him for it, to pray and to try to learn to be patient enough to listen and find out what I can learn in this trip. Working two jobs, and working over 70 hours a week, it's rare that I have the opportunity to slow down like this.

I am of course also aware that it will be physically and mentally challenging. I am in the process of seeing what are my best options as well to keep my vegan diet while on this trip. It can be done, I am sure, it's just a matter of me getting to it and doing it. For sure we are looking at a lot of dried fruit, granola, oatmeal, cous cous and beans for starters.

Yesterday at lunch I found this site where some people documented a stroll along the same trail that we will be strolling down. There are some great pictures and observations there.

Right about now, May 6 can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rhymefest @ Popmatters

Rap, hip-hop, or whatever isn't my favorite music. I got some in my collection. A little Common, a little Blacklicious, a little Digable Planets. But there is a decent interview over at Pop Matters with Rhymefest that is worth giving a read, if for no other reason the Indianapolis ties. I will be checking out the album when it comes out, just because.

Weekend Film Viewing...

Over the weekend, even with Easter and Crewsmas commitments I found time to spend quite a few hours watching movies. I got halfway through The Best of Youth and rewatched Kiesloski's Blue.

First, The Best of Youth, I only got halfway through this movie because of some piss poor planning on my Netflix queue. This film is six hours long. Originally, it was set for Itallian televison as a miniseries. The main plot so far seems to be following two brothers in Italy from 1966 to present day. At times the film becomes a bit unbelievable as paths cross years down the line that shouldn't cross again. But, for some reason that hasn't mattered so far. I was so into it after three hours, I walked across the street to the video store to see if they had a copy. I was ready to watch the second disc right then and there. Sadly, I won't be able to watch disc two until this weekend. I ams sometimes skeptical of films that go beyond the 2 1/2 hour mark. Often times they are pretentious as hell, and are trying to make an artistic or political statement that just falls flat. That doesn't seem to be where this film is headed. It just seems to be a slowly developing story about two brothers going along different paths in their lives, yet sharing the bond of family. A simple story, just told over six hours. Yet, to me at least so far, it's very enjoyable.

Blue is the first of Kieslowski's Colors Trilogy. Each film titled for a color of the french flag, and the ideal which it represents. Blue's symbolic of liberty, but this film is by no means political. Instead, a young woman played by Juliette Binoche is dealing with the loss of her husband (a world famous composer) and her child in an auto accident. After the accident she takes up residence on a random street corner in Paris trying to avoid contact with virtually everyone. Trying to live in liberty or free from her past. As chance would have it, she can't do this. She is haunted by her husbands music, and eventually by realizing her husband had a mistress. This is a film that I could watch nearly weekly and not get sick of, which is probably why I own it. Beautiful music, great acting by Binoche, and one of the more powerful endings in any movie that I can remember.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Crewsmas musings...

It's a few days after the fact, but since Easter was spent churching, relaxing, cooking, and conversating, and since yesterday I was unable to get internet connection, I figure I'll drop my few comments on Crewsmas here.

First of Crewsmas is a time of celebration. The Crew's home opener has been referred to by many of my friends out there as Crewsmas as long as I can remember. It's a time of celebration and a time to reunite with old friends. MLS's national footprint being only 11 cities large. you get fans from well beyond the city of the team coming out for the game. And this somewhere around my 40th or 50th trip to Columbus Crew Stadium you tend to develop friendships there. I entered the parking lot round noon for a 4pm kickoff. And I hopped between two tailgates. Amazingly at both tailgates gifts were being handed out by friends. Crewsmas is no joke. Myself, I recieved Weezer's Pinkerton CD and a yellow and black rosary (thanks Chels!). The team was 0-2 coming into the game but with beers flowing around for everyone and grills burning, and my very own delicious BBQ Tempeh with apples available spirits were high and everyone was in a good mood. Catching up with old friends was more the business of the day. And while surely there will be some questioning of tactics and gnashing of teeth in discussing the state of the team at future tailgates this year, this was all about celebration.

About 10 minutes before kickoff I walked in to the stadium, and it felt just as comfortable as I had remembered. The Crew tied Chicago 1-1." This was likely a fair result no matter what Jim Curtin says. After the game, Jim stated that he thought the PK call was weak that gave the Crew the tying goal. It may have been, but Rozental still needed to convert the PK and he did.

There were definite signs of life and encourgement for the Crew. The defense looked much better, giving up only 1 goal. Rozental played much better than in week 1. Jason Garey came off the bench late and looked like the real deal. Danny Szetela looked more than solid in defensive midfield.

And of course there were negatives. The aforementioned Szetela is out two months with an injury. This leaves us incredibly thin at d-mid. How I miss the stability that Magic Simon Elliot brought to the fold for us there. And also, as Bob Hunter states, while it is a building block, a point is still just a point.

All in all it was a great Crewsmas nonetheless. It's always great to see friends, and the positives of the teams play far outweighed the negatives for me. Your future 2006 MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew are still a work in progress. It will be fun (and frustrating at times) to watch them progress.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Margot @ the Vogue

Last night I finally got around to seeing Margot and the Nuclear So and So's live for the first time. Seemingly all of my friends had already seen them at some point over the past year at The Melody Inn or The Patio or wherever. And I always had something going on or just decided to be lame and not go. It wasn't that I didn't believe them, that the show was great. And it definitely wasn't cause I didn't love their music, cause I do. But, now that they are making it big, when a friend asked me wed if she should pick me up a ticket for the show, my arm needed very little twisting. It's not as if you can count on them playing every month in Indianapolis, now, I would imagine.

I got there a little late and missed the first opener. I got in maybe a few songs into South's set. Truth told, I wasn't paying much attention to their set. Though, the highlight for me had to be their cover of New Order's Bizzare Love Triangle at the end. But, I am a dork who still lists New Order as my favorite band, so yeah.

While not paying so much attebtion to South's set I was just walking around the Vogue and just loving the atmosphere last night. It was almost like a backyard BBQ or something. Everywhere you went it seemed that old friends were running into eachother. Everyone was all smiles. The entire vibe of the show was outstanding. South seemed to be having fun on stage and playing off the positive energy of the crowd.

Before Margot took the stage, Nuclear War by Sun Ra was the final song. I just want to mention that, because I like the song.

I loved, LOVED Margot's set. I tried to lower my expectations coming into the show. I had heard so much positive reviews of their live set, I didn't think it could possibly live up to expectations but it did. Dave Lindquist's review of the show mentioned how the set really kicked off during On a Freezing Chicago Street and I tend to agree. When looking around seeing people smiling sing along, "Your every breath is a gift..." I couldn't help but smile too. Skeleton Key was even better and more energetic than on the album. The whole set flowed together nicely and the crowd was loving all of it. I know I already mentioned the vibe of the evening numerous times, but Margot's music just seemed to fit it perfectly and lift everyone up even more. The final number, all three bands were on stage. And a hula hoop. It shoulda been chaotic, but somehow, it worked. It was just a great evening, and might be one of the top 3 or 4 shows I have ever seen at the Vogue, and that's quite a few.

Good Friday

"'God so Loved the world,' John writes, 'that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' That is to say that God so loved the world that he gave his only son even to this obscene horror; so loved the world that in some ultimately indescribable way and some ultimately immeasurable cost he gave the world himself. Out of this terrible death, John says, came eternal life, not just in the sense of resurrection to life after death but in the sense of life so precious even this side of death, that to live it is to stand with one foot already in eternity. To participate in the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ is to live already in his kingdom. This is the essence of the Christian message, the heart of the Good News, and it is why the cross has become the chief Christian symbol. A cross of all things--a guillotine, a gallows--but the cross at the same time as the crossroads of eternity and time, as the place where such a mighty heart was broken that the healing power of God himself could flow through it into a sick and broken world. It was for this reason that of all the possible words they could have used to describe the day of his death, the word they settled on was 'good.' Good Friday." - Frederick Buechner

I love Buechner. I love the way he writes, and I love what he has to say. I don't really feel like I can expound to much on what he says without just repeating myself. The first few times I read that passage though, I was struck by the final sentance, how hundreds of years before I even came to be believers chritened this day, Good Friday. That, even though today is marking a death, that we know how the story ends, and thats why we meet. And that without that death, would groups of believers even meet in the same way? While it's a somber occasion, it's also a celebration. It is "Good."

As I read it again this am though, what stuck out to me most was the idea of one foot already in eternity. That eternity isn't something that begins for us after we die. Or after any set event. We are already there. That this life is precious. That we are already participating in the story. And that too, is good.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I have mentioned the band Canasta here before, but figured I would do it again today. Short story about Canasta, my birthday weekend in 2005, I went down to Radio Radio on a whim to see live music. I ran into ex Indianapolis native Ben who told me that I should stick around and see the band he was in, which happened to be Canasta, close out the night there. I was a bit tired after seeing Asobi Seksu the night before at the Patio (RIP) but figured, what the hell. I will stick around. I loved the show, and my two friends and I all bought the Find the Time epwhich you can download at the bands audio page. Suffice to say we were impressed.

Well the main reason that I post about them today, is that it seems that other people are starting to notice and be impressed by them too. Over at Pop Matters, a fun site for just about everything, they were given a fantastic review for there new album, We Were Set Up. With other bands seeming to break through with smart orchestral pop like Margot and the Nuculear So and So's (reminder, see them tonight at the Vogue!) I hope that Canasta is able to do the same.

On Canasta's website, be sure to launch the stand alone audio player and give them a listen. With that you will get full songs as opposed to the excerpts on the audio page. And with Easter around the corner, be sure to listen to "Praise to the Lord" on the audio player, a song which appears on a Catholic Hymn Compolation by Cherry Bomb Records in an effort to raise money for S.N.A.P. (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). Cherry Bomb asked twenty-two Chicago artists to record heartfelt versions of popular Catholic hymns, and Canasta contributed the song I just mentioned.

Anyways, I've seen the band live twice now, and listen to the CD's quite a bit. I hope they get more press and more luck, and hope you like 'em too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's a Cookbook Review

I have been Vegetarian for over 5 years now, and the past 6 months of those or so I have been Vegan. There are a few cookbooks in our house that have plenty of Vegan recipes, but when I made the decision to go Vegan a few months back I decided I would get a new cookbook. Plenty of cookbooks have terrific titles, but few match the wonderful absurdity of Vegan with a Vengeance.

This cookbook seems to have been birthed out of a public access television show in New York called The Post-Punk Kitchen. On that website you can find a lot of recipes from the book and a message board where people are contributing their own recipes.

Now granted, I have only made maybe 12-15 of the items in that cookbook so far. But, outside from one pancake disaster, I'd have to say everything has turned out very well. Some of the recipes are quick and easy. Simple things like a Tofu Egg Salad, or Chickpea-Hiziki Salad Sammiches (think tuna salad for vegans), or simple cookies etc. Others are larger entrees. There is a Brooklyn Pad Thai recipe in there, which I have yet to try, Fettucini Alfreda (excellent!), Chickpea Broccoli Casserole (also excellent. I love breakfasts, and the pancakes that I have made from here so far have been great. Bacon? Oh they have a Tempeh bacon recipe which is delicious. Tofu Scramble, Taters, French toast. You name it.

The presentation of the book is also great. Each recipe has an introduction, and they are often humerous. Sometimes telling stories of pot-luck dinners where these recipes came out of, or just sarcastic humour. By and large the recipes are cheap, as advertised, and more importantly easy to follow. And more importantly they all are good. More than a few friends who are not vegan have tried some recipes out of here and been impressed.

For the first cookbook review ever at 64th and Broadway, Barcelona, this one will get a "highly reccomended." It's the cookbook I use most, and maybe thats just cause it's the newest, but there is so much more stuff in there I want to try that I am sure to be using it for a while.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Weekend film viewing wrap up.

Over the weekend, I watched two films, Elizabethtown and Nobody Knows

Hell, why not, let's start with Elizabethtown. From friends reviews and the press, I thought I was gonna be sitting down to one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I was willing to do so anyway as a show of support for Kirsten Dunst. Here's the thing, though...the film is not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, Orlando Bloom might be the worst actor in a generation full of bad actors. That's fine. He's terrible in this. But overall the story is so over the top optimistic, and full of so many other likeable characters that I was able to get past that. It almost seems like the same formula as Garden State. Would be hero comes home (well, Bloom back to his father's home) more than slighly jaded and at the end of the rope. Would be hero meets quirky girl who shows him the goodness in life. Bizzare cast of supporting friends and family, all saying lines that are somewhat unbelievable, at least if you are going for realism or authenticity. Then put together a monster soundtrack. Garden State is the better film sure. But I can't for the life of me figure out the outright hatred given to Elizabethtown. Sure it's self concious, and tries to bite of more than it can chew at the same time, and makes grandiose statements that sorta seem silly. But, that's what romantic comedies are supposed to do. So, not great, but enjoyable enough, and certainly not as terrible as advertised.

On the other end of the spectrum, Nobody Knows, that was just fantastic. Based on a true story, a mother leaves her four children in an apartment in Japan for months at a time, and they realize she isn't coming back. They need to find a way to survive on their own. The camera work in this film was great, the shots of the children in the apartment were nearly always closeups, so you got the feeling that the apartment was no bigger than an office cubicle. This only added to the desperateness of the situation. Somehow, even though the situation was so dire, it didn't entirely turn into tragedy. I thought back to Truffaut's Small Change which I posted about here, after seeing the film. I wondered to myself why it is that you have to watch foreign films to see children get treatment as actual intelligent, complex, and capable beings. I wondered why 400 Blows, Small Change, and Nobody Knows are some of the worlds contributions to cinema and how America presents Home Alone as their contribution in film to viewing to the world of children. Regardless, the reason Nobody Knows is able to rise over a spiteful tradgedy of a story are the moments that you get to see the children as children, moments on the playground, or walking through the city together towards the end. It's moments like those that, at least to me, show the true character both in their joy and in their resolve, of children. It really is a wonderful movie, if a bit too long.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Cardigans

Every once in a while you think you have a band figured out, and then they issue a cd that just changes your opinion of them entirely. More often than not, its a disapointing change, but every once in a while it's a pleasant suprise. The pleasant suprise happened to me with The Cardigans last year.

True story here, way back on a spring break from college I was back home in Jersey. A group of us decided that we were gonna go up to NYC and try to get standby tickets for The Late Show with David Letterman. This was back when he was funny. Or at least thats what I tell myself. At any rate, we scored some standby tickets and were way up in the balcony. The guests that day included Marilu Henner, Marlon Wayans, and The Cardigans. This was shortly after Lovefool was a big radio hit for them. Of course they didn't play Lovefool. I think they played a song called Been it, but the main thing I remember more than the music was that Nina Person may be the most beautiful woman alive. I am pretty sure I owned their album, First Band on the Moon, at some point, but it never left a real lasting impression.

However, last year, after many good words from trusted sources, I bought their album, Long Gone Before Daylight and I absolutely loved it. It remains in my CD wallet to this day, almost a year later. The sound was just well different from what I expected, and from the first song, Communication, I was completely hooked. It just seemed to be a much more organic sound. And Nina's voice just was booming on some of the tracks. There was some Neil Young influences maybe, I don't know it just worked.

At any rate, yesterday being double stamp day at Luna I finally got around to picking up their new album, Super Extra Gravity. I was afraid to pick it up for a while, not knowing if Long Gone Before Daylight was an abberation for them, or not. But this just picks up right where that one left off. I can see this finding a spot in my CD wallet and staying ther for months as well. At any rate, you can check out the video for there brilliantly titled, "I need some fine wine, and you, you need to be nicer" on there website, here. I am glad these guys another shot.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

God save the Crew...

Back to back sports posts, about teams nobody but me cares about. This is how you increase your readership. I should start charging subscription fees for this crap.

At any rate, game 2 for the Columbus Crew saw the same result as the first, a 3-1 loss.

Before the game I was in a great mood. I ordered some Banghan Bharta and veggie pakoras from India Garden, got a little Beamish and optimism was sky high. The Crew than saw fit to reward my optimism with a goal by Chad Marshall 10 minutes in! There it was, the first Crew goal of the season. "We are gonna win the damn Cup..." I proclaimed to Jamie who maybe unwisely chose to watch the game with me. The whole first half the Crew was the better side. Jacob Thomas, who has played the better part of the last decade in the second division in Germany looked like a world beater on the right flank. But shortly before the half Colorado tied it up, and the sinking feeling came back. From then on, I was at best hoping for a tie, as I knew the Crew couldn't get a win out of this on the road.

The last 45 minutes I hopped off my couch a few times, a shot off the bar, a few good runs by Thomas. But mostly I just sat there staring blankly at the tv, muttering bad words, and then shouting bad words as Colorado went up 2-1. By the third Colorado goal, I was just staring at the tv blankly. I could feel Jamie peeking over at me out of the corner of my eye waiting for an explosion, but instead I was just resigned to the loss. Depressed as hell. Staring blankly at the screen.

Yet, next week is Crewsmas. The home opener. I will be driving the three hours there and back. Columbus has almost become an adopted second city for me. I will get there at noon, start tailgating and see old friends who have I have done this with for the past 5 years. A little before 4 I will walk into Hunt Park and feel at home.

By Tuesday, hell maybe even this afternoon, I will have all the optimism back that I lost during the course of last night. It's Crewsmas. They will win there home opener. They got to. 0-2, yes. But all is not lost.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Red Means Go...

Straight to the National League East cellar. Ugh. In the past week or so I haven't even touched on the Philadelphia Phillies. But make no mistake, they are on the highest level of morbid sports fascinations for me. On the same level as the Columbus Crew and Formula 1 racing, and just above IU hoops, Notre Dame Football, and the Philadelphia Eagles. You think I'd have a winner somewhere in that group, I guess Renault F1 counts, but I have only been following them for three years, so it doesn't feel the same.

At any rate, the Phils have started the season 0-4. All four losses at home. Jimmy Rollins 38 game hitting streak came to an end on Thursday. The starting pitching has been dreadful. David Bell had a terrible day at the plate and committed two errors to top it off the other night. Mike Liebrethal, the worlds most overpaid catcher, has started the season in terrible form. You want good news? Okay. The bullpen has only allowed 3 earned runs in 20 innings of work. Pretty nice, eh? The bad news, the bullpen has worked 20 damn innings in only 4 games.

The Phils are probably the most frustrating team of mine that I root for. They play in one of the nations largest markets, which in baseball usually means spending big money and occasionally winning. Yet, they haven't made the playoffs since 93. Last year they finished only one game out of teh wild card, but that was a bit of a mirage.

There are numerous blogs and message boards that express just how frustrating it is to follow this team, but this entry over at The Good Phight more or less sums it up.

There are 158 games left. I will likely see the Phils only twice in person this year. The first time towards the end of May in Cincinnatti. I just hope that they are at least around .500 by then. Ugh.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Contempt, d. Godard

Director Jean-Luc Godard once famously said, "All you need to make a film is a girl and a gun." While that seemed to work fine for Breathless, in Contempt Godard told a more complex more multilayered story than in some of his Paris gangster films.

The history behind Contempt is worth noting. It was to be the first Godard film shot in "glorious Cinescope." He had Brigitte Bardot as the female lead. He had major studio backing. Jack Palance also starred and legendary director Fritz Lang as himself. Bardot was known more or less as as sex kitten at the time, and when Godard's first cut was turned in the studio was furious that there was no nudity. So, Godard shot a scene that he tacked on to the beginning where Bardot and her screen boyfriend (Michel Piccoli were lying in bed naked. The shot was done through red, white, and blue filters and you only see Bardot from behind, in a way neutralizing her sexuality. This likely angered the studio's more, which was liklely Godard's ambition.

The film itself tells of the breakup of a marraige. Paul is a playwright who has been brought in to rewrite some scenes for Fritz Lang's adaptation of The Odyssey. The producer, Jeremy Proksoch (played by Palance), eventually makes a pass at Camille. At the same time Camille suspects Paul of making a pass at the producers assistant. Or does she? Maybe she just wants a way out.

The movie is told in basically three parts. The first is on the studio lot. The second is an argument in the apartment between Paul and Camille, and the third is on the shore of Capris getting ready to shoot the film. The middle section seems to be what everyone remembers from this movie and with good reason. For nearly 40 minutes you see Paul and Camille walking around there apartment getting into an argument about the earlier events of the day. Paul continually asks her why she doesn't love him anymore. At this point she may still in fact love him, but his constant badgering seems to push her away. At times they even seem close to reconciliation, only to see it fall apart again. The scene is done in real time and at once is beautiful and at the same time incredibly frustrating to watch. You are seeing two people fall out of love before your eyes and it's just painful, especially as at the heart of it, both remain likeable characters.

There is plenty of other themes going on in this movie. It brims over qwith discussions on literature, film, and art in general. It will likely take a few viewings to take it all in. The conversation jumps between German, French, Italian, and English. Primary colors set the mood throughout the whole film as it's impossible not to appreciate the visual mood that Godard and cinematographer Raoul Coutard create.

In his review, Roger Ebert said that this was an experiment for Godard. That he tried the bigger budget huge epic story in this film, but it didn't really work. That it proved to Godard and to the viewer that Godard was better at his typical Breathless/Band of Outsiders fare. I disagree. While Band of Outsiders remains my favorite Godard film, I'd be hard pressed to say that it was better. Contempt just covers so much ground between art and relationships, ambition, and it's wonderful to look at. And don't get me started on the score, which was beautiful. In fact, it was reused by Martin Scorcese in Casino as another screen romance was falling apart.

I thought back to Fellini's 8 1/2 after seeing this. The paralells being that both were movies about a movie being made. The main difference, in my opinion being that by setting romance and love alongside ambition for art Godard's contempt had a more human feel to it than one man's descent into madness as you view in 8 1/2. And, that humanity I think that's what keeps me coming back to Godard films, over and over again.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A busy week of shows...

It seems to have come out of nowhere, or maybe I wasn't paying attention, but over the next week there is a great deal of good live music coming through Indy...

Tomorrow at the all ages (I think) venue, The Underground Lunar Event is playing. $5, and right after another Harrison Center gallery show.

The same night, Thin Fevers are at the Melody Inn

Skip through to Tuesday and you got two national acts...

Again at the Underground, Eisley is playing. I thought that I heard that Wolfy was opening, but now I can't find that anywhere. This show will also be in the sanctuary of the Harrison center. Eisley happens to be one of those bands I just stumbled upon last year. Very cool sound, a few sisters and brothers I think. Great harmonies. Great soft to loud dynamics in most their songs. Could be cool. That show is only ten bucks.

Also Tuesday, at The Vogue Dinosaur Jr is reunited and playing again.

Finally, on Thursday Margot and the Nuclear So and So's play the Vogue in what should be a fantastic show.

It could be a busy week, but, due to work and cashflow I will not be able to make all the shows, but hope to see at least Eisley and Margot. Maybe, if I am not too tired and lame Friday night, the Thin Fevers as well.

Can't help but like all the options in the coming week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors

One musical artist that I just can't ever stay away from is Morrissey. I have paid more than $40 4 times to see him live. I buy each album as soon as it comes out. I read any story I see about him in NME or any of the other British music tabloids. My screen name on virtually any message board (yeah, I am a dork) that I enter is hangthadj, an homage to a Smiths song.

A few days back I went into the brand new Luna Music on 52nd and College to pick up his newest CD, Ringleader of the Tormentors. Truth told, I'd likely mock any other band with that as a title for their album, but with Morrissey, I give it a pass. After a few days of digesting it, and granted I am less than an impartial observer, I love it.

His last studio album, You are the Quarry was hailed by virtually everyone as a magnificent comeback album. A return to form. But I never really thought he lost it. I enjoyed Malajusted, his album before that. Sure, he may never make another Viva Hate, but I can live with that. In my opinion You are the Quarry had two fantastic singles (Irish Blood, English Heart, and Last of the Gang to Die) and a load of okay songs. While this album may not have a single as instantly classic (yeah, classic) as Last of the Gang to Die, it is more solid all the way through.

I Will See You in Far off Places starts off the album fairly enough, but the next song, Dear God, Please Help Me sees Morrisey hit stride. The problem with his last few albums was that none of his slower stuff hit the epic nature of some earlier Smiths tracks or even early solo stuff. Here, with strings arranged by Ennio Morricone and lyrics comparing his lust to "powder kegs, between my legs," Morrissey's wit and sense of grandeur are back in very fine form. You Have Killed Me follows, with the most sing along chorus on the album, and a great hook. The Youngest was the Most Loved features a creepy childrens choir. And virtually every sonmg after there has merit.

The lyrics follow typical Morrissey themes, in In the Future when All is Well he sings about a great future before concluding, "the future is ended by a long dark sleep." In You Have Killed Me after pointing out his lover has more or less made him walking dead, he ends by saying, "there is no point saying this again, but I forgive you." In the 7 minute Life is a Pigsty, "even now, in my final hour I'm falling in love again..." In other words, it's still Morrissey.

Magnet Magazine pointed out what seperates this album from Morrissey's last effort was that it actually sounded like real people, in a real room, playing real instruments. I'd agree with that sentiment. You are the Quarry though brilliant at times, felt mechanical. This for some reason feels more organic, and in my opinion has an overall stronger set of songs. And for that reason, it just feels warmer, too. Maybe even more optimistic. And, yeah, I will be paying big bucks to see him again.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In the Mood For Love, d. Wong Kar-Wai

Over the weekend I watched Wong Kar-Wai's, In the Mood For Love. I had seen a few of his films before, Fallen Angels and Chunking Express are two that come to mind. Those films almost sorta worked like some of the Godard films of the 60's, in the way that there wasn't really so much of a story. You would see a hitman walk through the city, and he'd drift in and out what seemed to be only surface deep interaction with people. Those films worked almost as an anthropological showing of one side of a city or a time and place. They stayed watchable, because like Godard, Wong Kar-Wai just knows what he's doing with the camera. Shots in slow motion, beautiful color, intriguing settings, great use of music, he just drew you in regardless of the story.

Starting out in Hong Kong in 1962,
In the Mood For Love
is a bit of a departure from the films of his I saw earlier, in the way that their definitely is a story. Two neighbors, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan move in right next door to eachother. They wind up moving in on the same day. They continue to see eachother in cramped hallways, and satairwells. They are both married, but both spend a great deal of time away from their spouses, apparently due to their professional commitments. They eventually find out that their spouses are having an affair, with eachother. How they deal with this news and how they interact with eachother after this news is the heart of the movie.

We never see Chow's wife or Chan's husband fully throughout the movie. At one point we see Chow's wife from behind. We hear Mr. Chan's voice off screen, but never see him entirely. This puts the focus entirely on the two victims of this adultery. Movies about adultery rarely work this way. Usually we are forced to watch the adulterer, and try to find out their motives, their reasoning for commiting this act. Often times, it's as simple as just ouright lust. Here, we don't see the adulterers, but instead are brought into the world of the victims and the aftermath of the adultery.

Here, the victims at the start agree that they will not compromise theitr marraiges, because that would mean they are no better than their cheating spouses. But throughout the movie as they find comfort and solace in one another, this becomes more difficult. As Chow remarks at one time, he didn't plan to fall in love, sometimes it just happens. But what do you do then? If you are already married, then what? If you have allowed yourself to care for someone so deeply outisde of your own marraige, is that too an act of betrayal? You are left with these questions as the film's final 45 minutes span over 3-4 years in their lives.

It would have been easy to tell this story much less gracefully than it was told here. And the typical Wong Kar-Wai staples are evident throughout the film. The color is remarkable. Mrs. Chan's dresses seem to either match the light and mood of the room, or stand out in bright stark contrast, and work each time. When color isn't setting the mood, some repetitive (in the best possible way) music is. Conversations take place through perfect clouds of ciggerette smoke. At times we go into slow motion. Before this movie, I found myself wondering if Wong Kar-Wai's style could work with a more straightforward story like this, or if it was more set to these abstract non linear storylines/style experiments that his other films tend to be. Considering I really want to purchase this DVD, I would say it worked here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A less than satisfactory Crew's year weekend...

I must admit, I had built up the opener of Columbus Crew season in such a fashion that I don't think I would have been satisfied with anything less than a two goal victory. Amazingly, or not so amazingly if you have been a fan of the Crew for any period of time, they wound up losing by two goals, 3-1.

That's not to say there were not bright spots, Danny Szetela looked good in midfield. Kei Kamara got his first goal, in his first ever game. But, man oh man that defense, what the hell? That was supposed to be our strength? My friend Megan was over for the last half hour of the game, she said repeatedly, "Scot, I have never seen you like this before, I have never sen this side of you," as I would stare at the tv sadly, with bursts of "Guy's come on, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!?!" But, hey, 31 games left. Plenty of time to get things right.

In somewhat related MLS news, check out the blog ridehorsey where Indianapolis native Mike searches for an MLS team to call his own. He sent out a letter to every GM,asking why he should pick there team, and has already recieved one back from Real Salt Lake who made a pretty convincing case. Amazingly RSL, may have even had a worse opener than Columbus. Ugh. At any rate it should be interesting reading.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daylight Savings Time is hard...

I probably shouldn't admit this, but amazingly it wasn't until 1/2 an hour agao that I actually remembered to switch my clock. I was an hour behind all day. Somehow, in all the comotion here in Indianapolis over switching the clocks, I managed to forget. I looked at my cell phone and thought it had set itself forward. Silly me. Happy DST, Indiana!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The 38th Street Project, what the hell?

I like to think of myself overall as a positive person, if a bit cynical at times. I think I am optimistic most the time. In sports and love, sometimes optimistic to the point of unneccessary heartbreak even. A few months back though I wondered when the hell they would finally finish up the 38th Street project here in Indy. I still wonder aloud.

For those who do not know, a strech of 38th Street anhd the fairgrounds is being widened and apparently beautified. There seemed to be some progress down past Crown Hill and the IMA a little while ago where there were medians in the road planted with flowers and new light posts up. But last time I drove through there I think it was one lane traffic again. I just shook my head.

This has seemingly been going on forever, I lived at 36th and Washington Boulevard for years, and remember it going on at least 2-3 years back. Now that I live north of 38th, I need to cross it on my way to work at The Childrens Museum. For the past month I have hoped each day that I would see some work being done, but no. Instead I need to slow to a virtual snails pace each day to cross the street, since there is a huge part of the street torn up, and just left there. It's been this way for a month. Apparently the project itself is scheduled to be finished some time in 2007 or 2008, if I remember correctly. Amazing.

At any rate, David Hoppe takes note of it here, among other things. And he brings up an interesting question, If it takes this much time to refinish a road from I-465 to the State Fairgrounds, how long do you think it will take to build I-69?
It's safe to say, I don't know. And I really don't want to.

On a completely seperate note...just to prove it's all not doom and gloom here, since it's Opening day for the Columbus Crew, Happy Crew's Year, everybody. See, I'm positive at heart.