Friday, August 01, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
As luck would have it, I was using the facilities when it started. First I thought one of the exhaust fans on top of the building was going too fast. Then, when the walls started to shake, I realized it was a quake. I quickly went to the doorway (luckily remembering to zip up), as did my cross-hall neighbor, Will. We exchanged "Whoa!"s, and then it was over in a flash.
No damage visible here in Los Feliz. As you can see, a few things fell off shelves, but that was the extent of the disruption here.
Mike reports things are fine up in Glendale, except that Maggie was disappointed her nap was interrupted.
UPDATE: Suddenly aware of my own mortality, I'm getting tacos from Yuca. You just never know when that carne asada may be your last.
UPDATE: Through the strife, Yuca still makes an amazing chili cheeseburger.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.
If you don't get goose bumps watching this, you're not human.
Bigger version here.
Thanks to Rotan for passing it along!
Friday, July 04, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The Dopp Kitt, in its first couple weeks of existence, has already hit upon various creams and aftershaves, the unfortunate tinkering P&G has done to the beloved Old Spice brand, and, um, baby wipes. But the blog is going to be much more than just a litany of product reviews. As I write in the introduction:
The few square inches comprising a man’s cheeks and neck are his domain in total. They are his ever-changing canvas, a lifelong work that may be perfected but will never be finished. ...
Every man shaves. The organization man shaves every day. The independent shaves as he pleases. Even the most pious Muslim must have shaved once. Splash warm water, apply lather, scrape with a blade. This is the ritual that each of us share.
Brent and I invite you -- all of ya, women included -- to submit your own posts on the vagaries of grooming. Especially about the best way to get at the area directly underneath the chin, my personal Bermuda Triangle of shaving.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
The Newscenter was preceded in death by Grand Gourmet, the Spartan Theater, the Odeon, that Native American gift store no one ever shopped at, Frandor Barber (right?), and an ATM that gave money in $5 denominations. It's survived by (the new) Marshall Music, Kroger's, Video to Go, Tripper's, Frandor Deli, and Gumby's Pizza (I hope!).
Here's to the inevitable ...
My parents are out there right now doing their grandparental duties, helping Meghan as they can and having tons of fun with granddaughters Ivie and Elly. Mike, as you can see from the photo, got to come home for the birth. He shipped back out to Iraq yesterday.
Please join me in offering the Kirbys that time-honored Rocket Fever salute: HUZZAH!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
but in case you were wondering, the weekend up at bodega bay was once again incredible. more details to follow.
until then, make rocketboom a regular part of your internetting, join the fracas on 90 percent, and buy scott mcclellan's book.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
- Traveling through Turkey, which stands as the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
- Seeing the Dirtbombs — finally! — play live, which stands as one of the greatest rock shows I’ve ever attended.
- Making a well-received Turkish breakfast for L.A. friends, just to give them a taste of Anatolian greatness.
- Watching the Dodgers grind out a come-from-behind victory over the Reds at Maggie June’s first baseball game.
- Planning a return trip to Sonoma and Bodega Bay in keeping with what’s becoming a legendary family Memorial Day tradition.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I bought two of these ... what do you call them? They're not pots or pans, but you put them on the stove. They're not bowls or plates, but you can serve food in them. One of you clowns must know what you call these things. Anyone?
No matter. What's important is that I bought two of them from a stall near the Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, and they are handy little pieces of hardware. I'm sure they have many kitchen applications, but as of now I'm using them primarily for egg dishes. The Gaines kitchen will produce many variations on the scrambled-eggs-with-X theme during the coming months, so long as the summer heat doesn't shut me down.
Above is my first go, and I'm proud to say it's a hit. What we got here are two eggs, mixed with a bit of water and thrashed before pouring into a hot ... thing. Then, after letting the eggs cook for just a bit, in goes chicken basil sausage (sautéed beforehand), sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese. Toss in pinches of kosher salt and top-secret Turkish red pepper, and let the family slowly coalesce over medium-low heat. Next time I'll chop the sausage a bit smaller, but other than that, I'm happy as hell with dinner tonight.
Istanbul is overrun with stray dogs. I believe the city neuters/spays and tags them, and they're harmless, from what I've seen. (Although they don't fare too well on an F1 track.) So here's my question: How come I saw dog poo only once during my three weeks in Turkey, but I hop over it daily in Los Feliz?
I think I've finally readapted to citywide use of areas dedicated solely to pedestrian traffic. I think we call them sidewalks. Istanbul is lined with miles and miles of side streets that serve walkers and drivers. They're narrow and hilly, and the drivers couldn't care less if they hit you: caveat pedestrian. Every day, Karis, blessed with 180-degree vision, sensed cars coming up behind her and smoothly moved to the side. I, on the other hand, narrowly escaped death by Peugeot or Renault on an hourly basis.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
(The fire's intricate line of causation reminds of me of the classic, if I do say so myself, Hudson & Gaines episode about the meek nerd who was injured after an impossible series of events started by a surprise scorpion.)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
And Happy Mother's Days to: my dear, sweet Ma; family matriarch Joan "Nana" Mellinger; Grandma Ida Gaines; new mama Rebecca A. Hudson; the highly esteemed Mrs. Ruth Eklund; Grandma Diane Baird; my sister-in-law (and soon to be mother-a-third-time) Meghan Kirby; other sister-in-law and bird lover Sarah Kirby; O.G. S'news mom Katie Rexrode; Cleveland's own Christine "Flash" Moran; the pride of Greenville, Erin Davis; Valley queen Mary Glarum; Guy's favorite au pair, Andrea; the pride of Izmir, Turkey, and expectant mother Yasamin; and Bay Village's own Kelly Zawacki!
Sunday, May 04, 2008
But now it's on to a mad rush during my last two full days in Istanbul. Don't quite believe this visit is coming to a close. Certainly wouldn't mind if my flight were delayed a week.
A flurry of reports will come when I'm back in the States.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Check out our awesome mostly-baseball blog here for good times...but especially today, where we relive the Glory Days of the Tigs historic sweep at Yankee Stadium, the Pistons advancing...but most importantly, the Avs/Wings rivalry...
Sure, hockey is not all that interesting...but the late 90s were in the D. And it's worth revisiting now that the Wings swept the hated ones out of the Cup Playoffs with an 8-2 win last night. Plus, lots more...
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Today was maybe our best culinary day, punctuated by yogurt, potatoes, and waffles (see the Flickr page for more details). Istanbul is the only city I know where certain neighborhoods are closely identified with certain culinary delights. Kumpir in Ortakoy, yogurt in Kanlica, borek in Sariyer, ice cream in Moda, boza in Vefa. Can you imagine L.A. having only one neighborhood known for its tacos?
OK, so don't freak out, but our cruise was canceled. We were deeply bummed out by this a few days ago, but now look at it as a blessing in disguise: We've received a full refund AND a free cruise anytime between now and 2009. Score.
So instead of taking the cruise, tomorrow Karis and I will fly to the resort town of Bodrum (what was to be our port of call) and then make our way back up to Istanbul over land. Our rough itinerary includes stops at classical sites, coastal towns, and cultural areas. We won't have regular Internet access during this time, but something tells me you guys will have no problem repeatedly watching the video of Maggie June crawling. I certainly don't.
OK. I want everyone on their best behavior while we're gone, got that? And if the Tigers could continue straightening out their season, that'd be great. Am I reading right that the bullpen is doing better than the starters? I can't tell what's crazier: baseball or international travel.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Raki is the Turkish national drink. The anise-flavored liquor, which has an angrily high alcohol content, is served in narrow cylindrical glasses — three parts water to one part raki. Raki is clear in the bottle, but turns milky opaque with the water. It's meant to be drunk slowly, so it's Turkish custom to always have food on the plate during a raki session. This was an impossible custom to follow, as every time my plate was replenished, I cleaned it in short order.
Dig the Flickr page for an explanation of this nice man with the mussels and for shots of me and raki, the fishermen of Istanbul, and more images from this consistently amazing trip.
Tonight: a ballet preceded by ayron and lahmacun.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Or search "Hudson & Gaines" on your very own iTunes machine!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I love coffee, so I figured I'd try a free cup of black gold designed especially for me. Card in hand, I walked down to the neighborhood shop and obtained a "tall" order of this Pike Place Roast. After a few sips, I thought I had made up my mind. But I downed a good three-quarters of the stuff before making my pronouncement:
Pike Place Roast has overpowering notes of chemical and Styrofoam. It lacks the rich complexity good java is known for. It in fact lacks any complexity. It leaves a wet, bland, vaguely burned aftertaste. It smells like the coffee you'd get in a diner or at a banquet, but withholds the contextual charm: I'll gladly drink a bad cup of coffee with a good slice of pie in a bustling restaurant. But none of that is present with Pike Place Roast. It's just bad (expensive) coffee, on the go.
That said, I encourage you to get a free cup of your own. Tell Rocket Fever if you agree with this review. And while you're at the 'Buck, dig the new old naughty-mermaid logo. Cross your tails, you hussy!
In less than a week, I'll be flying to Istanbul. That is, if the plane actually gets off the ground. How perfect that I'm planning the trip of a lifetime just as the global airline industry is in full meltdown. Oy.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I have now had two consecutive perfect parental visits. After Ma's bravura performance last month, Dad came in and knocked it out of the park. Pop said he wanted to eat tons of good food on this trip, and I think we accomplished that: Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada, Vermont, Farfalla pizza, Thai food, Neptune's Net, Allegria, Grandma Baird's cheesy potatoes, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
On Wednesday, as we were about to begin our perfect drive up to Ventura County, an elderly lady with a flower in her hair knocked on the passenger's side window as we sat at the stop light at Hillhurst and Franklin. "Are you going straight?" she asked. I was about to inform the nosy frau that the gentleman sitting next to me was only my father when I realized she was referring to the direction of our travels. "Uh, yeah," I said. "Could you give me ride, at least up to Vermont?" she said.
I thought about it for about three seconds, which is all the time one needs to decide whether it's advisable to allow a strange woman into one's car in the middle of Los Angeles, when I said, "Hop on in!" She did, just as the light turned green. I asked her where she was going, and she said she was catching a bus in Hollywood, so I agreed to drive her up to Highland, since this is where we were heading anyway.
Now, I hold the opinion that if someone invites herself into my car, many of the normal rules of civil conversation fail to apply. So for five minutes I peppered this sweet woman with question after question about her life. Pop mostly looked out the window, quietly mortified at what his firstborn had wrought. Here's what I learned:
She was heading to an Armenian church near Universal Studios to see about selling some paintings either by her mother or once owned by her mother. She moved to New York from her native Lebanon in the mid-1960s and then to L.A. in the 1980s after her business was robbed. She has no one anymore, except for her church, her city, and her God. Every morning when she wakes up, she has a new perspective on life. There's nothing that she doesn't feel in her skin. When I told her that I let her into the car because she seemed trustworthy, she said it was evidence of a strong spiritual force inside of me. She wishes Dad were her dad; she misses her father very much. She has a strong handshake. She didn't steal anything out of the back of the car.
Dad and I are avid fans of synchronicity, so we had a good laugh when we heard Chris Webber was retiring. We were at the NBA draft on the day Orlando selected Webber and then immediately traded him to Golden State for Penny Hardaway. Fitting that the Gaines boys were together again when news of Timeout's departure from the game hit.
The rest of Pop's visit was anchored by the basketball tournament, which was largely disappointing save for that wonderful Davidson-Kansas game. We banged around Hollywood one day, helping his co-worker's son with a homework assignment, which had us taking pictures of a paper doll of the kid next to landmarks. Another day, we returned to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, which we had visited two years ago but had to leave early because we had Dodgers tickets. If you've never been to the museum, you must go, and make yourself sit through the entire presentation on Geoffrey Sonnabend's Obliscence: Theories of Forgetting and the Problem of Matter.
The last day was a first for the both of us: We attended Margaret June Hudson's baptism. Maggie performed like a champ among a group of about 10 babes on the first baptism held at the immense Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in downtown L.A.
Afterward, we partied down at the Hudson compound in Glendale, snacking on ham rolls, meat balls, cheesy potatoes, cake, and fruit salad, all lovingly prepared by Diane Baird (and don't forget the barbecue chicken served up by Red Stripe beer's newest fan, Bill Baird). After we said our goodbyes, Dad and I headed back to room 309 of the Best Western Hollywood Hills, where we finished the trip by eating peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and watching basketball highlights.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Dad Gaines is here for a visit. Yesterday we hit up Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada, browsed at Skylight Books, watched a couple episodes of The Office, and ate a stupendous meal at Vermont, where I introduced him to burrata. Today we’re motoring up to Neptune’s Net for piles of fried and steamed seafood by the ocean and then having some kids over for drinks tonight. After that? All basketball, all the time ...
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Shapes Have Fangs
Phil and the Ospers
Call Me Lightning (!)
Fatal Flying Guilloteens (!)
The Mae Shi (!)
Sons & Daughters
The Grand Archive
The Pity Party
The Raveonettes (three times)
Great Lakes Myth Society (!)
The Hard Lessons (three times) (!)
Fucked Up (!)
Dark Meat (!)
Portugal The Man
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
The Cool Kids (!)
Kid Sister (!)
Okkervil River (!)
Justin Townes Earle (!)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
- GOOD Magazine
- “It’s the end of the world as we know it” (LAT print headline)
- Decent People Beware
- "Grand theft auto times 3," by my former colleague David Zahniser
- "White Girl," by Kate Cosgrove
- “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”Istanbul through My Eyes
Monday, March 17, 2008
The thing that stands out is the blood.
It's not the friendly banter between Vengeance and Nasty Rob as they exchange blows. It's not the assorted characters cheering the fight, although little Ricky with the mohawk is probably worth his own story. It's not the thud, the deep, hollow sound of 450 pounds of two bodies hitting a dead lawn.
It's the blood, pouring down Nasty Rob's face and clogging his nose. Blood dripping onto the grass and the walkway. Blood stifling his breath to the point where he has to quit. That's what everyone is here for. That's why people will watch this fight when it's posted on YouTube.
It's the blood.
The piece continues with quotes from some experts trying to explain why in God's name anyone would take up such a habit, and some beautiful narrative by Pat detailing the day's fight. Well worth your time.
Story here and audio/video here.
YouTube clips here (with Pat in the background). Warning: very violent.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Trey Rogers now faces stiff competition for biggest star on the Michigan State faculty. The Lawn Geek, renowned for his turf-care prowess, has long been my most beloved MSU expert. But he might have to share that top spot with Dr. Pamela Rasmussen, the Oracle of Ornithology.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Mike “Mike” Hudson has been burning up the base paths on our baseball blog, 90% Mental. He’s installed something called a tag cloud and thrown up a poll, and is providing near daily spring training reports, aided by his trusty TiVo. This will be a historic baseball season, folks, coming after the Long Clemens Winter and featuring the best lineup in Detroit Tigers history. Time to start paying attention.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
- Using them to fill Michigan's potholes
- Taping them together to make a hang glider for a James Bond-inspired escape from the top of the Michigan National tower
- Cutting them into millions of round pieces, coloring them gold, and pouring them into a vault so that I may swim about them a la Scrooge McDuck
Monday, March 03, 2008
NOTE TO READERS: I make no claims as to the veracity of any of the facts contained within this blog post. If we were to graph my inebriation during the evening, and then overlay that with a graph of important/blog-worthy moments, the lines would follow the same upward path. Except that at about 2:30 a.m., the important events would tail off and my inebriation would hit a steady plateau for the next few hours. In summation, reader beware.