Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Reformation Day

Not only is today Halloween, more importantly it is also Reformation Day, which is basically the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the church. I've always thought that it might be fun to print out the 95 Theses on 8.5X11, staple them together, and tape them to the door of the local Catholic church. Haven't gone through with it yet...maybe next year.

On a related note, a few weeks ago I rented Luther on DVD. It wasn't the best movie, but it's worth a rent if you're interested in the subject.

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Bienvenido a Miami"

Today I am leaving for Miami for the fall Urban Land Institute conference. I have never been there before, but I anticipate it being pretty much exactly like Will Smith's song "Miami." In fact, I am listening to it non-stop from now until I get back on Friday.

Don't worry, I've already got my hair gel and rollerblades packed...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Girl Talk

Since the Ryan Adams show in Atlanta last Friday night was obviously a bust, I'm convinced that the best concert of the week took place last Thursday at the Variety Playhouse. While I was not fortunate enough to go, I really wish I could have. It was a show put on by a DJ named Gregg Gillis a.k.a. Girl Talk. Basically, Girl Talk takes Top 40 songs from the past three decades, or so, and chops them up and puts them back together to form songs. These songs are basically awesome. If you are a child or the 80s or 90s, it is difficult not to like. On one song he mixes the music from an Ace of Base song and layers "My Drink n My 2 Step" on top of it while later in the song he mixes "No Diggity" with the music from a Radiohead song ("15 Step"). And since he uses 20+ samples on each song, it is hard to not listen to each song just to hear what is next.

Right now you can purchase his latest CD, "Feed the Animals" online here. However, the best part of it is that you choose how much you want to pay for it. Want to pay $0? No problem. (I figured I would go ahead and pay $5) Anyways, I highly recommend checking him out, especially if you are looking for some music for your next party. Below is one of the songs from his last record, along with a video him demonstrating how he puts his music together. Pretty interesting stuff.

Dear Scott Schuman...What the hell??

Let me preface this post by saying that I think Scott Schuman is a great guy and I have great respect for him and his blog, the Sartorialist. I've been reading it since the early days, back when he used to post his latest updates on a certain men's clothing blog that I have been known to read. He used to get a lot of flack back in those days from the crotchiest and most conservative users on the blog for his "ridiculous" pictures. Having tempted in my own clothing crotchiness over the years, I believe that a lot of the criticism was unjustified. However, within the past six months or so, I really have to wonder what he's thinking.

Exhibit #1

Exhibit #2

Exhibit #3

I recognize that because of the size of NYC it is full of both the good and bad, style-wise. But just because some guy has the balls (or lack thereof?) to walk down the street in outfits like these doesn't make him stylish. Maybe I am overreacting. I suppose that the majority of his pictures are not as outlandish as the ones above. Maybe it has more to do with the comments made by the blog readers about how "incredible" these looks are. Worst of all is how many of these readers insist on using the adjective "fierce" which was popularized by some asshole a few seasons ago on "Project Runway." Hey, commenters on the Sartorialist: you are not being original by labeling every retarded look as "fierce."

I guess another thing that has been annoying me about the Sartorialist has been all of the pictures from Europe. While it is exciting for Scott that he gets to go to all of the big fashion shows in France and Italy, it is very apparent that the extend of European style is douchey tight clothes that are black. Yeah, way to go, Europe. The shots from NYC are superior about 95% of the time.

Exhibit #1

Exhibit #2

Exhibit #3

Anyways, this post is not intended to be a bashing of Scott and his blog. It is simply meant to be an encouragement to get his blog back to its roots. As I said, I am happy for his success and wish that my blog could have 1/10th of the readers that his has. I will continue to read the blog daily and hope that others will too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

I used to love this movie; it seems like we watched it every in elementary school around Halloween. I watched it again last night (there are four parts to it which can all be viewed on Youtube). It's really hard to go wrong with something narrated and sung by Bing Crosby. If you've got 30 minutes to spare, take the time to watch it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In the news...

Here are two news stories I read today. They are on two of my favorite topics: the lack of evidence for global warming and how big of an idiot Larry Langford is. What more can you ask for?

Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof

Birmingham on the brink (of bankruptcy) (hat tip to Dusty for this one)

Clemson vs. Georgia Tech

This past weekend, after the Ryan Adams show, my brother came up visit me in Clemson for the weekend. They were playing Georgia Tech and I got him a ticket. While Clemson didn't pull this one out, they did at least play a pretty decent game. Anyways, the bro and I had a good time tailgating and hanging out. Here is a pic of us from the game:

And yes, I do believe that I was the only person out of about 80,000+ who was wearing a tweed jacket. It was cold outside, though, and I do not regret the decision. Someone's gotta bring a touch of class to this dump.

Ryan Adams

I started listening to Ryan Adams about two years ago. I had heard of Ryan Adams but had never really listened to him and didn't understand what the big deal was. So when I saw one of his CDs, "Cold Roses," at the library, I checked it out and put it on my Itunes. I tried listening to it, along with "Love is Hell," for a couple of weeks, but could never really get into it. Finally, after at least half a dozen listenings, I got it; something clicked. Ryan Adams is incredible and I have been listening ever since. I've got nine of his studio albums (which include two Whiskeytown albums) and four of his unreleased/bootleg abums. If I could rank myself as a Ryan Adams fan on a scale from 1-10, I would probably consider myself a pretty solid 7.

So last month when I heard that Ryan Adams was going to be playing in Alpharetta, and that one of my friends/classmates was going to be going, I jumped on the chance and bought two tickets. I'm not really a "concert guy," but I figured this was a fairly rare opportunity to see him, so it was a no-brainer.

Well, the big day finally arrived this past Friday and I drove over to the new Verizon Wireless Amphithreatre (which was very nice, by the way) with my brother, my friend/classmate, and her boyfriend. We got there around 8:15 and the Cardinals (Ryan Adams' band, whose name he is now playing under) finally started playing at 8:45. They opened with some new songs from their upcoming record and played a "Peaceful Valley" from Cold Roses (which was probably the best song of the concert, in my opinion). However, about 20 minutes into the concert Ryan apologized that he was losing his voice and said that they would do the best they could to get through it. I knew at this moment that things were not likely going to end well.

In case you are unaware, Ryan has a pretty ugly reputation for ending shows mid-way through, walking off stage, getting mad and cussing out the audience. A lot of this reputedly has to do with his problems with drugs and alcohol, but Ryan has supposedly been clean for about the past two years. These problems were supposed to have ended, but apparently not. The band continued to play, and after a few more songs Ryan complained and apologized about his voice again. This happened a couple of more times, and finally, after "Shakedown On 9th Street" Ryan apologized again, apologized for and to the band, and walked off stage. The rest of the Cardinals looked pretty dismayed and eventually walked off too. This was about 9:50; the band had been playing for just over an hour.

At first people didn't do anything because they either assumed that it was some sort of stunt, or thought that perhaps they were going to take a quick break and come back and play more. I knew it was for real though, and it became clear to everyone else once the house lights came back up. Eventually, everyone just started to leave, many of whom were cursing his name.

Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed. I think I was even mroe annoyed by the fact that Ryan's voice never sounded bad anyways, and I couldn't tell whether he really was sick, or whether he was just unsatisfied with the crowd or the venue or both. When I got home, I went on forum at the Ryan Adams Archive website to see what others were saying. By that time, there were already three pages of posts complaining about the show. By the time I got back to Clemson that night, there were seven pages worth. There were more than a few disgruntled fans expressing their angre and disappointment, while several of the older forum members insisted on defending him, in spite of the fact that none of them were actually at the concert. Then, when I went to check it the next day, I found that the moderators had inexplicably deleted the entire thread. From what I learned on some other Ryan Adams forums, Ryan Adams Archive is the officially sanctioned by the Cardinals, and deleting the thread may have been a decision that came from the band itself. Regardless, I found this to be an egregious example of censorship, and it probably did not create any good will on behalf of the fans in Atlanta.

So what am I getting at here? I'm not really sure. I still think Ryan Adams is a fantastic musician; I will likely even purchase the new album, "Cardinology," when it comes out. However, I will have no qualms about getting any of his other albums for free in order to make up for the money that was wasted on the tickets to the concert. And I will certainly think twice about buying tickets to another Ryan Adams concert; it seems like attending his shows are like playing a game of Russian roulette with more than one bullet in the gun. As I noted earlier, I don't go to a lot of concerts, but I have been to my share of live shows and I have never seen anything remotely like this happen. The Cardinals issued a statement about the show on their blog and said that they will make it up. I'll believe it when I see it, but I would like to think that they will keep their word about that.

Restaurant review: Siam Royal Thai Cuisine in Clemson

I am primarily writing this review in the hopes that someone Googling for a review of this restaurant will come across this post so that they may avoid the mistake that I made. That mistake would be eating at the new Thai restaurant in Clemson.

For a little background, about a year and a half ago, the shopping center where the old Thai restaurant in Clemson used to be burned down. This shopping center has been rebuilt since then and a new Thai restaurant (or perhaps the latest incarnation of the old restaurant) opened up around a month ago. Being a lover of Thai food, a love which I developed at the Surin restaurants in Birmingham, I was quite excited about this. A few weeks ago my classmate/neighbor went there for lunch and came back raving about it, so later that week I went up there for dinner with said neighbor, as well as three other friends.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was nothing to write home about, but certainly wasn't bad. It is fairly small and there were only a few other customers in there at the time. We sat down and began looking at the menu. It had a pretty typical Thai menu and seemed to offer most of the "traditional" dishes that one would look for. Right away we noticed that the prices were pretty high with most dinner entrees costing around $13-$15. The lunch menu isn't much cheaper and there few options under $10. Since masaman curry is what I usually get, and the gold standard by which I judge Thai restaurants, I ordered that, though I did ask them to hold the pineapple (I have never seen pineapple in masaman before coming to South Carolina; I don't get it).

It didn't take very long for our food to arrive, along with our disappointment. One friend, who was the first to get her food, ordered yellow curry. What arrived was a reddish-looking bowl of soupy curry covered with a coat of red oil. My curry arrived and did not look much better. I have never made curry from scratch, but I do understand that a proper curry does not have a layer of oil floating on top. My curry was actually fairly bland-tasting, had beef instead of the chicken that I ordered, and didn't have any cashews--one of the key ingredient of masaman as far as I'm concerned. The friend who recommended the restaurant ordered pad see ew, his typical dish, and again raved about it. I didn't taste it, but I did observe that the portion size looked pretty small for $13.

The friend who ordered yellow curry found hers, in spite of being labelled "mild," to be very spicy, too spicy for her, in fact. She tried to eat it, but really found it to be too much for her. She called the waitress over, said that she found the dish to be too hot and asked if she could order something else. She ordered some crab angel things (cream cheese and crab fried in a wonton) which were pretty good. Anyways, when the bill came, said friend found that she was charged for both her entree and appetizer. She asked mentioned this to the manager/owner (I could not tell exactly who it was), indicating that the curry was much spicier than she had been led to believe and that it wasn't what she ordered, and asked why she had been charged for both. His response was that the food had to be thrown away and that it was just the same as if she had eaten it. He grudgingly conceded to taking it off the menu with the warning that this would be the only time he would do that. I worked in a restaurant for 3 years in high school and have pretty good sympathy for restaurant staff. However, I also have pretty decent standards for customer service at restaurants and I found this to be pretty abysmal "service." Even if the food had been good, I'm pretty sure that most of us would have thought twice about going back there to eat.

Anyways, to sum up, Siam Royal Thai Cuisine really did not have any redeeming qualities. The food was not good, was over priced, had poor portions for the price, and has bad customer service (though I will say that our waitress was nice). Like I said, I hope that someone will read this review and avoid wasting their money there, or perhaps it will inspire someone at the restaurant to step things up and solve these problems. Clemson could use a good Thai restaurant, and I guess we will have to keep waiting.

A Trip Down Birmingham

The weekend before last I paid a much-needed visit to the Magic City for a long weekend. It was an excellent trip, so for those who might be interested, I thought I would include my itinerary.

-Lunch at Mellow Mushroom with friends who I used to work with at the County (and who are all beating me in Fantasy Football)
-A visit to see a friend who works at the Starbucks in Crestline Village
-Dinner at Al's with above Starbucks friend, along with some other friends who used to work there (Starbucks friends are great ones to have, I should note)
-Had a beer at the J. Clyde with Starbucks friends and some acquaintances from Red Mountain Church (was not as impressed with J. Clyde as I would have hoped)

-Visit with former co-workers at KPS Group (also trying to drum up job leads)
-Visited my Magic City lacrosse teammate at he and his wife's new art gallery, the Dobbs Gallery (if you like art and have not been there, I would highly recommend stopping by)
-Lunch at Cobb Lane Restaurant with former co-workers at Ogletree Deakins (and had the "pleasure" of being waited on by most awkward/nosy waiter who has ever worked in the city)
-Made a trip to my favorite thrift store in the city and picked up two new with tag suits (one was a Corbin, one was a Southwick) which I plan on reselling (though I did sell one to my former roommate who I was staying with; the other is a 43L glen plaid if you're interested)
-Bought my brother three bottles of booze (quality stuff, I assure you) for his 21st birthday and took them to his dorm at Samford
-Had dinner at Jackson's at SOHO with some other lacrosse guys

-Went to lacrosse practice and had a blast
-Went to the St. George Middle Eastern Food Festival with Starbucks friends and enjoyed some authentic Middle Eastern food and belly dancing (spectating, not participating)
-Hung out with a friend at her apartment and watched Florida destroy LSU

Anyways, if you can't tell, it was a great weekend and made me really miss the city. So if you have any leads for real estate jobs there, I'd love to hear about them...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dove Hunting

So a few weeks ago, my classmate and neighbor invited me to go dove hunting on his family's farm south of Columbia. We actually had a pretty decent number of folks go, and a good time was had by all. Here is a picture of all of the guys after the hunt with our quarry:

In this picture I have placed a circle around all of the dove that I killed, just to reassure you, the reader, of my superior shotgunning skills:

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. In spite of going through nearly three boxes of shells, I managed to come away with one dove. I will chalk it up to being an off day, though I don't think a day of shooting clays would hurt anything. Fortunately dinner that night was not dependent on what we brought back from the field and I had a great time in spite of my bad aim.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A whole lotta 80s preppy goodness

Blogger Heavy Tweed Jacket has scanned and posted a number of pages from a 1982 issue of Men's Club, one of those wacky Japanese magazines with a weird obsession with classic American style. These pictures are pretty much awesome. Be sure to check out his post here. Below are just a few of the highlights, in my opinion. I'm looking forward to anything else he's got up his sleeve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Red Mountain Music Christmas CD

Red Mountain Music, who I have written about previously, will be releasing a Christmas CD, entitled "Silent Night", this fall. You can view the track listing and sample all of the songs here. It sounds fantastic, and it appears that all of my favorite Christmas hymns have finally made it all on one CD. I'm pretty excited about it.

It will be released Oct. 20, but can be pre-ordered now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Old Polo catalog scans

These images were scanned and posted by a user named jamgood on the Ask Andy forums a little over two years ago. They are from a couple of Polo catalogs from 1977, 1980 and 1981. I've had these images saved on my hard drive for a while, but I figured I would share them since there are some great Fall looks.

(OK, to be honest, the fur coat is a bit much, even for me, but it is still a great picture)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008