Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Maggs: Method Actress

"Gripping...startling...four stars!"

Good Read

When I quit the Weekly, my co-worker and friend Falling James made me an excellent Detroit mix CD. My favorite band on the mix (which is strong from top to bottom) is the Paybacks, offering rock that's as straight and powerful as a bullet's path. I am, therefore, officially psyched that the band's leader, Wendy Case, has a finely written blog. I stumbled upon it today, and have enjoyed her takes on Amy Winehouse, Christopher Columbus, old record labels, and new writers. It's the first blog I've been excited about in quite a while.

Check 'er out!

Photo courtesy Wendy Case and her rad blog

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Now This Is How You Start a Week

Check your iTunes, kiddies. You'll find a gift from the boys at Hudson & Gaines: Episode 22!

A shocking public-private controversy has paralyzed Great Haven. How will the media elite handle the biggest story of 2007? An intriguing look back.

The News as We Know It

I had the good fortune to talk to Karis*, the Official Archaeologist of Rocket Fever, this weekend. She's doing real live archaeological work in Sudan, which requires her to live in a traditional Nubian village on an island in the middle of the Nile River near the Egyptian border. This was my first conversation with her in weeks, because she is, for the most part, cut off from the rest of the world.

So you can imagine my bafflement when, in the middle of the conversation, she said, "Oh, and I heard about Heath Ledger ..."

My friends, the free flow of information will not be stopped.

*She's doing really well, by the way, and says hi to everyone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Originally uploaded by cbg_rocketfever
This photo of the Amazing Gaineses and Their Incredibly Small Dad is taken to scale.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not Technically Belated

Happy Birthday, Katie Rexrode!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Get Legal on the Phone!

Space.com is gonna pay. Finally, I'll be able to stick it to that creep Lou Dobbs.

(Thanks to Becky H. for the link.)


Naz and Ryan (visiting from Heaven as you can see in the photo) spend some quality time with Maggie June at Larkins in Eagle Rock. Hey, Ma, when you come out here next month I'm totally gonna take you to this joint, an excellent Southern-tinged brunch spot with impossibly good hot links and French toast. And pancakes. And grits. And veggie sausage. And I'd bet the oatmeal is great too.


The Giants-Packers game just about restored my faith in football this weekend. It was played in tough conditions, it meant something, it wasn't plagued by penalties (for the most part), there weren't lots of dumb turnovers (okay, there was one dumb turnover, but at least it was dramatic), and there were no annoying story lines involving Jessica Simpson. I think I'll actually care a bit about the Super Bowl now.


Persepolis is funny, sad, cute, tragic, engrossing, beautiful. Go see it.


Rena Kosnett, the Whirlwind of West Hollywood, has a blog. Go read it.


Naz and Ryan provide various artistic services. Go patronize them.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gaines Power

By Ryan Ward, MFA

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


When I started work around 7 this morning, I could see clear up to Griffith Observatory no problem. Half an hour later, it looked like this:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Grand River Madness!

I don't know the first dang thing about architecture, but I did have one solid hope for MSU's Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum to be built along Grand River Avenue in East Lansing: that it be shockingly different from anything else in mid-Michigan. And it looks like that's going to happen. Zaha Hadid's winning design reminds me of a silver Lamborghini. If you take the video "fly through" on the Web site, you'll see lots of airy space and naturally lit rooms (although I'd guess there will also be some artificial light for those cloudy days that hit Michigan every so often).

There's already some stick-in-the-mud commenting on the State Journal story that he could have designed something better that Hadid did. It's exactly this sort of hostile attitude I hope the museum and its contents combat when it's finally built. In fact, I hope it sparks a regionwide debate about art and design, modernism and tradition. I want people to be shocked by this: shocked at the initial design, shocked at the finished product, shocked into loving or hating it. The worst thing that could happen is for the museum to be met with indifference.

So who wants to fight me? I say the building is beautiful, strange, spacey, sneaky, and -- happy-happy-joy-joy! -- not conforming to its surroundings. Viva la strange!

Go Green! (And white, red, silver, purple, brown, gray, mauve, goldenrod, orange, black, opalescent, neon green, strawberry pink ...)

Pat Muir Takes Issue with My Soy Hot Dog

Excerpt from an e-mail:

I'll give you a pass on the ketchup, because I don't think it's the ketchup that's the problem. Seriously, Gaines? A soy corn dog? Dude, I understand soy. I like soy. And I even sometimes like weirdo West Coast cuisine. But a soy corn dog? A soy corn dog? That's like saying I'm eating a tall short, or a hot cold. I'm eating vegetarian meat. I'm Craig Gaines, and I'm an a**h*le.

On the plus side, you've got to be the first person to ever drive a PT Cruiser and eat a soy corn dog. So congrats.



Speaking of Pat, check out his reportage on the day-night lives of Yakima, Washington's "rock stars."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not Cool

Since moving to my current apartment at Hillhurst and Finley in Los Feliz, I've seen at least three major car accidents (one involving a flipped car), and dozens of near misses. People drive way too fast on Hillhurst, and take way too many chances trying to cross from Finley. Which is why I wanted to run down just a minute ago and smack the woman who was walking across Hillhurst ... not at the crosswalk ... with her young son ... pushing a stroller ... while talking on a cell phone! I mean, jeez!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There Is No Place for This Sort of Thing in a Men's Locker Room

After my shower at the Y this afternoon, I noticed that someone had left his bath pouf in the locker room. Duuuuuude. If Men's Locker Room Rule No. 1 is No Oprah on the TV, then No. 2 is No Poufs, Period.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


SECOND LEVEL, GONE WIRED CAFE (FORMERLY RAUPP'S CAMP FITTER), MICHIGAN AND FAIRVIEW AVENUES, LANSING, MICH.--It wasn't entirely fitting that "Paradise City" came on the radio as I descended upon Ingham County on Saturday morning (the grass certainly isn't green this time of year), but its refrain of "Oh won't you please take me home" at least made me smile. I had flown into Detroit the day before, and was traveling at a responsible speed down I-69 in my rented PT Cruiser.

My host on Friday were the Jake and Bridget Cooleys of Grosse Pointe. We dined on copious amounts of meats, cheeses, breads, and whiskey at the esteemed Roma Cafe in Eastern Market, and were joined for the caper by Amy-Shane and Mandy-Brent, which ensured wall-to-wall riotous discussion. Happily for me, much of the convo centered on new beginnings as Mandy and Amy were joining me in embarking upon new jobs (congrats, ladies!). The evening ended, not surprisingly, sitting around Jake and Bridget's dining-room table, drinking homemade Bailey's and generally laughing our keesters off.

(A note about Jake and Bridget's house: It is unmistakably but unexplainably a Grosse Pointe house. The layout and interior design are wholly different from my grandparents' old place on Park Lane, but within minutes of entering, I could tell I was in a G.P. home. There was something about the smell, the way the light hit the windows, the presence of a front and back staircase [my grandfather later told me their first house on Pemberton had five staircases], the way the house hung well on you like a good suit.)

I woke up Saturday morning, enjoyed my second bagel and tea courtesy of the Cooleys, and hit the road for Lansing. I got home a few minutes before noon, just ahead of various siblings, siblings-in-law, nieces, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Naz Arandi will be happy to note that Ivie has grown even more beautiful at 3 years old. And now she's talking up a storm and banging around like a proper toddler: perfect. She, her sister, Elly, and cousin, Brianna, are in the early stages of composing a famous coterie of cousins; watching these kids grow up is going to be fun. I honestly couldn't get too caught up with brother Chris and sisters-in-law Sarah and Meghan since I spent most of the day holding Brianna, chasing Elly, and tickling Ivie. Uncle Craig considers it a fair trade.

The first wave of family left Saturday afternoon just as the second wave -- the Hays of Falls Church, New York, and Blacksburg (soon to be Charlotte) -- arrived. Aunt Jenny and Uncle Gordon look great, and it was a smashing good time seeing cousins Justin and Ian. Justin does IT for a financial firm in Manhattan, and he can expect to be buying me a drink and offering me a couch to crash on when I finally visit New York. Ian is about to graduate from Virginia Tech and take a banking position in Charlotte, and he can expect to bail me out with a major loan when this freelance thing finally goes bust.

We continued family time the next day at our grandparents' place in East Lansing, where we ate barbecue (excellent job, Ma), watched a couple forgettable football games, looked at pictures (way to go, Flickr), talked politics, and watched Musharraf and Clemens on 60 Minutes. After that, Sister and I introduced the Hay boys to the Peanut Barrel, where I was on my way toward pasting Ian in pool when I scratched on the eight ball (which Justin repeated, giving Ian two really weak wins).

And then the past couple days included work (no, seriously, I'm a freelancer!), a viewing of Enchanted (my expectations were too high), dinner at PT Chang's that included a happy encounter with the Diaz family (friends from high school), a visit to Sister's quaint new home in quaint old Williamston for a Flight of the Conchords marathon and a surplus of puppy love from Wryly the Lab, lunch at Woody's Oasis with Beth and Barry Cook, a round of tag-team editing with Pop, a few viewings of a classic family video featuring a piano medley by one Harold Gaines, and some choice cuts of steak.

Which brings me to the Gone Wired Cafe just a few blocks down from the original domicile on Fairview. This is now officially my favorite place in Lansing. The coffee is solid, the Internet is free, the booths are roomy, the vibe is local, the music is straight-up jazz, and then there's the chicken sandwich. While the olive burger is no doubt the official dish of mid-Michigan, the chicken sandwich at the Gone Wired Cafe is the perfect evocation of the Capital City, much like the Newsroom Cafe's avocado bacon chicken burger perfectly evokes Los Angeles. Where the chicken burger is bursting with flavor, the chicken sandwich is straightforward; where the chicken burger is piled with avocado, turkey bacon, and "pesto-tofunnaise," the chicken sandwich is dressed with a pretty red tomato slice and a slice of melted Swiss; where the chicken burger is best eaten on a sunny patio overlooking the boutiques and celebrity restaurants of Robertson Boulevard, the chicken sandwich is best eaten in a ramshackle former camping outfitter overlooking the rough storefronts of Michigan Avenue.

And so the Michigan-L.A. existence goes.

Thanks to Ma and Joe for a warm bed and lots of coffee and cinnamon buns! Hold tight, Los Angeles, I'ma comin' home.


And a quick note to Karis Eklund, the Official Archaeologist of Rocket Fever. She's gone off to bang around some of Earth's more exotic corners, and we couldn't be more excited for her. Everyone at Rocket Fever hopes her travels are safe, her bed is warm, and her eyes are open. Bon voyage!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Urban Jungle

A coyote just trotted east across Hillhurst, down the middle of Finley, and then turned south on Commonwealth. A guy walking west on the sidewalk on Finley slowed up as the coyote passed, but the dog didn't have a care in the world.

Just another day in Los Feliz.

Cat Care!

While I deal with my ongoing case of blog block, check out this short video story (with a moral!) from my friends Jed and June. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Holla 2008!

From Micah, Hudder, Becks and Evie D.