happy 2010, i guess

new year’s eve: await out the countdown in a darkened movie theater with a fellow curmudgeon. when i get home, find a really flattering voice mail waiting for me. an adorkable guy has called to tell me that he wishes he could be kissing me at the stroke of midnight.

new year’s day: said adorkable gentlemen leaves a sheepish voice mail on my phone, profusely apologizing for the drunk dial of the previous evening.

sigh. and so the year begins.


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food stamp challenge! the preparation

Hello all:
I know it’s been a while since I blogged, and I apologize for that. Work has been a whirlwind, blah blah blah.
But I’m restarting the blog because I’m taking the FOOD STAMP CHALLENGE, in which people attempt to live on $21 worth of food – the average amount a recipient of food stamps receives.
Given that this is Lent and the season of sacrifice, I thought I’d combine this with Operation Rice Bowl and try to live cheaply foodwise and then put the savings toward hunger relief efforts.

I’m starting this out with three rules:
1. I can use the seasonings I have around the house to flavor my foods. Practically, that means I don’t have to waste the whole first week’s budget on spices, but it also reflects the fact that more and more people are going on food stamps – people who a few months ago had kitchens much like mine, and never expected to be moving into poverty.
2. If someone offers me free food, I’m going to take it. Snacks around the office, appetizers at receptions, and the birthday cake I’ll be eating this weekend when I go to visit my niece. This mirrors reality – if a person is hungry, and someone offers that person some food, she’ll eat it.
3. If I get a migraine, I can eat what I need to make that migraine feel better. (Usually, some salty food like a 80-cent bag of potato chips can help.)

I went shopping last night to prepare for the food stamp challenge, and here’s what I purchased. My Safeway club card savings are in parentheses:
1 can of pineapple – $1. 25 (.44)
1 eggplant – $1.01 (.49)
Italian parsley – $1.29
Bag of frozen corn – $2.00 (1.89)
Bag of mustard greens – $2.19
Whole wheat linguine – $1.00
Quaker Quick Oats – $2.50 (2.75)
Dried Navy beans – .99 (.20)
Coffee – $3.69
Hazelnut creamer – $1.50 (1.05)

My total? $18.91. However, my Safeway was out of boxed tofu. I have a box at home, and I’m charging myself $1.50 for it (a reasonable price), bringing my total to $20.41 59 cents are left over from the week.

Now, I know the one thing that might raise eyebrows is the purchase of coffee, which took up about 25% of my weekly food budget. And I’m sure some people would say – as they do about food stamp recipients – “Why are you spending money on coffee, and not on more fruits and vegetables?”

The first answer is obvious. I get cranky easily, and for the sanity of those around me, I don’t think I should be both hungry and under-caffeinated this week.

And for the second answer, I have to ask – how many of you would care if I drank too much coffee and ate too few vegetables if I wasn’t “on food stamps”? There’s many attempts to apply moral standards and shaming on food stamp purchases, including attempts to move away from subsidization of so-called unhealthy foods. But frankly, the whole system is geared toward setting people up for an unhealthy diet in the first place. It’s better for us to look at how to encourage and expand options for fresh fruit and vegetable purchases, rather than attempt to punish the poor for engaging in behavior that most of us would be loath to give up, like coffee and soda.

All right. I’m off to take a vitamin pill now to ensure that I don’t get scurvy. I’ll report back later today on what exactly I ate.

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the small press expo

renewed my faith in the goodness of humanity, and now i am all warm and fuzzy.

i’d write more except i have a pile of fucking awesome comics to read, including ones that PEOPLE JUST GAVE ME FOR FREE because they think i’m a nice person.

if only my entire life worked that way!

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i’m still here

had a very very busy september. still, saw some movies and some shows and i’ll make it all clear sooner or later. but i’m around!

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which is better…

the live house band at the democratic convention,
or the deejayed tunes at the republican convention?

i’m kind of torn, but that’s only because earth wind and fire’s september is currently playing, and i am rocking out.

ooooh – i take that back. they just started playing toby keith’s “country comes to town.” i’ll take stevie wonder covers over that any day.

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mooooovie night with amit: rock on!!!

rock on!!
this was a short movie weekend because i spent most of it in philadelphia, but amit and i did get away on labor day to see rock on!!, a bollywood movie about the four men in magik, a band that breaks up and then reunites 10 years later. the movie was better plotted and shot than most bollywood movies – with especially good cinematography. but really, when you’re making a movie about rock and roll, the only thing that matters is the quality of the rock. and when dealing with a band called “magik,” it means that the music has to be even better to make up for the name.

and the music in rock on is…well, it’s better than the music in the rocker. and it’s incredlbly catchy, as one might expect from a bollywood film. however, it’s exceedingly inconsistent in style – one minute, magik is playing a soft rock power ballad, while the next, they’re breaking out with a 70s-prog rock groove. and i’m not even going to get into the lyrics, which seem inspired by pot-haze discussions in dorm rooms. (sinbad the sailor? really?) let’s just say that this is the first time i wanted the subtitles to go away. of course, if the subtitles had gone away, i would have had to focus on the costumes, which are beyond ridiculous. a braided goatee? i want to apologize to the actor who had to wear that.

no, the real reason to watch rock on!! comes about 3/4 of the way through the film, in a scene where arjun rampal, sporting waist-length hair, grabs his limited edition stevie vai guitar and plays in front of a wind machine. it’s a weird merger of pink floyd and an mgm musical, and it’s utterly unbelievable, but it perfectly captures that rock star image that leads so many kids – indian and not – to want to grow up and be in a band.

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mooooooovie night! multiple films

wow. i have got a huge film roundup for all of you –
singh is kinng
singh is kinng: the ridiculous spelling of kinng isn’t the only thing ridiculous about this film, which follows the antics of a village idiot who is sent to australia (via one very energetic dance number in egypt) to bring home a local boy turned ganglord. (and yes, i feel just as silly typing that summary as you do reading it.) it’s still a lot of fun, and a huge summer hit, succeeding largely on the charm of the delightful akshay kumar. this plot may be completely unbelievable, but he makes it look like a lot of fun. in addition, the movie ends with a much-ballyhooed snoop dogg duet at the end, where the rapper talks about masala and mumbai. you can check it out here.

the house bunny: for some reason, i thought there was going to be a feminist bent to this film, but there really wasn’t. the lame “be who you really are” message was pretty much negated by the copious amounts of jiggling and false eyelashes (not that i’m against jiggling and false eyelashes when used properly, mind you.) there were two things that made this film worthwhile – the hugh hefner cameo, and the complete fearlessness of anna faris. i want to see her doing screwball comedy dames for a while, but the problem is that we don’t have any more good screwball comedies for dames.
the rocker: everything about this film pointed to it being a movie that i should like, but i just didn’t. maybe it’s because any movie that has fred armisen playing a rocker but not playing a drummer is wrong. indeed, this whole movie ended up getting amit and i worked up about the greatness and underutilization of fred armisen in general. or should i say, jens hannemann:

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