To Lanterns, Denver, and One Last Lament

reporting from: Los Altos Hills, CA

My parents' friends didn't want any of their fortune cookies. I ate four.

Only one of the cookies actually delivered a fortune.

"You will travel far and wide for both pleasure and business."

Another cookie kissed my ass.

"You are the master of every situation."

"Get your mind set…Confidence will lead you on."

That's kind of a fortune, but it requires me to get my mind set for the confidence, so it's not exactly fate at work.

"Every man is a volume if you know how to read him."Um, okay…

My father is the insurance agent for all the employees at Chef Chu's, a Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area. Our family knows Chef Chu and his staff well.

I went to dinner with my parents and their friends Friday night at Chef Chu's. We sat at a table on the second floor.

My parents and their friends spent ten minutes discussing two restaurants called Super Buffet and Crazy Buffet.

—Crazy Buffet offers lobster tail!
—No, that's Super Buffet!
—Crazy Buffet is cheaper!
—Super Buffet's food tastes better!

Halfway through our meal, I noticed that nearly all of the rest of the tables on the second floor were vacant but set up for more guests.

Near the end of our meal, the intended guests arrived.

Lo and behold, it was the entire (top-ranked) UCLA men's water polo team, fresh off a win against UC Santa Barbara in the conference championship tournament at nearby Stanford University.

Within minutes, the second floor was full of water polo players and their family members.

Of course, my parents and their friends took notice.

—Look at how tall they are!
—Oh they're so buff!
—That's because you need a lot of upper body strength to play water polo!

Lawrence Jr. — Chef Chu's oldest son, the restaurant manager and a UCLA alumnus — came upstairs to welcome the coach. Then he walked over to me and said, "They're all going to do the eight-clap (school spirit deal) later. You should join in."


Saturday night, my brother's friend's parents treated me to dinner for driving their son to the airport in September.

The restaurant they picked was…Crazy Buffet.

Aside from all-you-can-eat frog legs and baby octopi that looked like human fetuses with tentacles, the buffet wasn't that crazy nor was I that crazy about its food.

Three times during our meal, the restaurant speakers played a cheesy pop version of "Happy Birthday." I half-expected the UCLA men's soccer team to suddenly appear and sing along.

Next time I drive someone's child to the airport, I'm requesting Super Buffet.

Capitalism Stole My Virginity

Doesn't it seem like retail stores open earlier and earlier every year on the day after Thanksgiving? It used to be like 8:00 am. Now it's 6:00 am. I saw a television commercial for some department store that said it'd be open at 5:30 am. Why don't stores just start selling shit at midnight? Wouldn't that make more sense? If I worked in retail, I'd rather report to work at 10:30 pm than 4:30 am.

What's sad is that many people actually show up hours before stores open to wait in line to capitalize on early bird savings (because when else can you buy a fondue set for five dollars [after mail-in rebate]?).

Stores should only offer their best deals between 10:50 pm – 11:00 pm on Black Friday. Force the chumps who basically pull all-nighters in the name of shopping to stay awake for the best savings after a long day of gorging themselves on low-end consumer goods. Let them have all the $15 DVD players they want, but really test their desire for $0.99 paper shredders.

"Just rename the city of Detroit to New Fallujah, Michigan"

— Rush Limbaugh

reporting from: North Berkeley

—I have to admit, given a choice between seeing Green Day and seeing Marilyn Manson, I'd choose to see Manson.


I saw Green Day Wednesday night. The pit was insane. By the end of the night, the white parts of my sneakers (see 10.03.04 update) had turned gray.

Opening act New Found Glory finally impressed me live. I'd seen them a few times before, but this time, Jordan actually sang the songs. That is, he didn't keep pointing his mic at the audience, letting them finish lyrics, which comes across very poorly on a soundsystem.

I think my family holds the record for "most embarrassing tastes in music." My brother falls asleep every night listening to Radio Disney. He's 15 years old. My sister owns at least four articles of clothing that say "Dave Matthews Band" on them. My father sings along to Kris Kristofferson and Don McLean in his car. My mother listens to Lauryn Hill's cover of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" on a loop whenever she cooks. As for me, well, re-read the previous graf.

Department of Homeroom Security

reporting from: Google headquarters

I remember hearing a comedian (I think it was Seinfeld) remark: "What do chefs do with a frog after cutting its legs off? Are dumpsters outside expensive restaurants just full of legless frogs?"

I saw a headline in the Los Angeles Times Tuesday that said "Mom Cuts Off Baby's Arms."

In my head, I pictured the mother wheeling a garbage bin full of armless babies out to the curb.


Uh, Zoom, Zip

This week:
Green Day's pre-Thanksgiving hometown throwdown, the last show of their North American fall tour. I'll be there with a partially deaf pothead buddy of mine.

Conor's musical tastes sometimes confound me. Last summer, I managed to talk him out of throwing away $20 to see Sir Mix-A Lot. He was genuinely excited about the show too.

Recently, Conor told me that he was going to see 2 Live Crew.

—You CANNOT dis them.

Um, yes, I can.

First of all, Fresh Kid Ice is the only original member still in the group, so it's not really 2 Live Crew anymore. They should be called 2 Live Crew of the 21st Century or something.

Secondly, 2 Live Crew hasn't released anything worthwhile in a DECADE.

What's next, Conor? Tone-Loc? Wreckx-N-Effect?

To be fair, the first popular music album I ever listened to was 2 Live Crew's As Nasty as They Wanna Be, followed by Weird Al Yankovic's Off the Deep End. I loved him then, but I would never pay to see Weird Al now. Same goes for 2 Live Crew.

Velvet Revolver is a fuckin' cockroach. I don't know anyone who likes them yet they continue to land feature magazine articles and choice live gigs. Whose industry cocks are they sucking?

The drink cups used by the Sbarro in my school's student union promote Hoobastank's latest album.

There's a show on MTV called Room Raiders on which a contestant decides whom he or she will go on date with by snooping through the bedrooms of three candidates.

When the candidates are men, the female contestants frequently find opened porn on candidates' computer screens. I find it hard to believe that so many of these male candidates — allegedly abducted without prior notice so as to prevent them from cleaning up their rooms — just happen to be looking at porn on their computers at the time of abduction.

Anyway, I caught a few minutes of this new show on MTV on which some dude decided whom he would go on a date with by (apparently) spending time with the mothers of three candidates. He dated the potential dates' mothers!

It's only a matter of time before MTV produces a dating show on which the sole criteria is the smell of farts.

Adobe Reader 6 blows.


This photograph accompanied a front page article on students protesting UC fee increases in today's Daily Bruin.

Do you think the girl on the right deliberately wrote "donut raise fees" on her yellow sign? Is she suggesting that UCs raise the price of donuts to recoup budget deficits instead? Or is she just an idiot probably majoring in something idiotic like multiculturalism?

Higher education is overrated.

Good to know that if I need attention all I have to do is die

My mother's letting me decide where our family will celebrate Thanksgiving.

a. the modest home of family friends
b. the brand new $6 million mansion of a friend of family friends who just sold his company to cisco systems

Boy, tough decision…

Ty Pennington is like a male Ryan Seacrest.

In belated commentary, I flipped to ABC on a recent Monday night and saw Brett Favre overseeing a hidden camera segment involving another football player. At the end of the segment, Brett Favre confronted the mark and said to him: "You've just been sacked!"

Apparently, ABC filmed a series of "you've been sacked" segments to fill time during Monday Night Football broadcasts. This is what we've come to, folks: football players ripping off Punk'd.

ABC should film a similar series of hidden camera segments for its NBA coverage called "you've been acquitted."

My boss assigned me the task of designing signage for the company holiday party.

The higher-ups requested directional and decorative signs for four "so cal winter" themed lounges: Sunset Lounge, Malibu Lounge, Palm Springs Lounge and…The OC Lounge.

The proposed signs for the OC Lounge liberally borrow elements of the television show's print campaign.

I spent three hours at work today vectorizing Mischa Barton.

The higher-ups also wanted to call the event "Dude, Where's The Party?" but (thankfully) our department head vetoed that idea.

What ever happened to those singing fish plaques?

from my 08.25.04 update:
—In addition to regular assignments, [my buddy] Jose's editor at the Washington Post assigned him a mini-beat covering video games. I mention this because he's a gay man whose primary interests are politics, figure skating and whoever's on the cover of Us Weekly. His most recent mini-beat assignment was an article on Madden 2005 ("Madden NFL Scores Again," 08.12.04). Hahaha.

It only gets worse.

Jose told me that he's flying out to Los Angeles in December to cover the 2004 Spike TV Video Game Awards. Ahahahaha.

Last year's soiree featured a wrestling match and an extreme sports exhibition, for Christ's sake.

Needless to say, I'm going with him.

Let's dye our hair, paint imperfection out of our faces and aspire to be high school drama queens

Adam Riff™ Clusterfuck #8
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou sneak preview with Anjelica Huston and Jeff Goldblum in person
November 18 at the Egyptian Theatre

—Unfortunately, due to a schedule change, director Wes Anderson will not be able to appear in person.


I saw a work print of The Life Aquatic in June and it was . I hope the final cut is better.

I read an article in RedEye (Chicago has too many newspapers) about an upcoming free concert called "Wes Anderson rocks!" during which four Chicago bands (including one with members of Wilco) will play songs from all four of Anderson's movies.

Sounds interesting.

Rory and I were in Chicagoland this past weekend for the Adam Riff™ Asian Film Festival. We had a good turnout.

We screened eleven films in three days:
Drunken Master II (Hong Kong, 1994)
Joint Security Area (South Korea, 2000)
Infernal Affairs (Hong Kong, 2002)
6ixtynin9 (Thailand, 1999)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
(South Korea, 2002)
Zebraman (Japan, 2004)
House of Flying Daggers (China, 2004)
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Thailand, 2003)
Casshern (Japan, 2004)
Oldboy (South Korea, 2003)
2046 (China, 2004)

I'd say that most of the films were to while Zebraman, Casshern and 2046 had their moments but weren't strong.

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Jackie Chan, you may now retire.

The plot of Ong-Bak is about as simple as you can get, even for a martial arts film. Ting, an orphan raised in a Buddhist temple, sets out to reclaim a sacred object stolen from his village.

Ting also happens to be a master of the brutal art of Muay Thai fighting, which, naturally, comes in very handy over the next 90 minutes or so for kicking epic proportions of ass.

It's been a long time since a movie made me cringe this much, and when I wasn't doing that, I was picking my jaw up off the ground after witnessing the sheer physical brilliance on display throughout.

There are at least six amazing action sequences throughout the movie, all of them showcases for the stunning talents of Tony Jaa, the stuntman-turned-actor who plays Ting. And as is the case with all of the greats, each one is crazier and more ballistic than the last.

As impossible as it is to believe at times, no wires or CGI were used at all in the movie's fight scenes. In this day and age, where any beefcake can be turned into a gravity-defying, death-dealing kung fu master with wire tricks, it's a rush to see the real deal once again.

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior opens in North American theatres next year.

trailer (only touches the surface)

While waiting for Bruno to arrive, Jord and Jap played a demo of Resident Evil 4 that Jord imported from Japan. The "boss" in the demo is a zombie villager with a chainsaw.

courtesy of Nick Dick:

This is a special GameCube controller that will apparently be out around the release of Resident Evil 4.

First bongo drums. Now a chainsaw. If Nintendo would just make a dead wife peripheral, I could be William Burroughs.

People kept referring to Jap's girlfriend as "Peaches." I thought it was a pseudonym but later found out that Peaches is her real name.


What kind of parents name their daughter "Peaches"? That's a moniker usually reserved for strippers and women who sing smutty songs.

Five things I learned in northeast Illinois:
1. heterosexual male fans of desperate housewives exist
2. the only television show bruno follows is real world/road rules: battle of the sexes 2
3. 40° is "warm"
4. food outlets in evanston have some strange eating areas
5. jimmy john's = instant sandwiches…literally

Near the end of the film festival, my stomach began hurting.

I attributed my gastrointestinal discomfort to the breakfast food I had for lunch and the candy I ate earlier in the night.

I don't usually eat breakfast food or candy. My regular diet consists of Mexican food and more Mexican food.

There I sat, however, with eggs, potatoes, sausage, pancakes, Cherry Coke and Reese's peanut butter cups stewing inside me.

I excused myself and had a very cathartic poop in the bathroom.

As soon I exited the bathroom, I re-entered and pooped some more. This time when I flushed, I noticed that the water in the bowl was refilling abnormally slow. I didn't think much of it though.

30 minutes later, I was back in the bathroom pooping. When I flushed, the water in the bowl again refilled abnormally slow.

I began to worry.

Did I clog the plumbing? I thought.

I stuck a plunger in the toilet bowl and pumped for a while. Nothing seemed to be happening. Then I lifted up the lid of the septic tank, wondered why I did that, and replaced it. I didn't know what more I could do, so I let the toilet be.

Bedtime arrived. I heard Jord pee in the bathroom and then enter his room. I stayed up a little longer to finish some homework and soon had to poop again.

In the bathroom, I set my toothbrush down on the sink counter and lifted the toilet seat lid up. It appeared that Jord didn't flush after he peed, which is understandable. I don't like to flush a toilet at night if all I may need to do is pee.

The thought of pooping in someone else's pee, however, turned me off, so I flushed the toilet. The water in the bowl slowly rose…and rose…and…well…overflowed. Panicking, I grabbed the first towel I saw and threw it on the floor. In doing so, I knocked my toothbrush into a pool of toilet water and Jord pee. I frantically set my toothbrush back on the sink counter and then grabbed the plunger and started pumping away.

At the same time, I couldn't hold my poop in much longer. When I pumped the water in the bowl down to an acceptable level, I swiftly dropped trou and spread my ass cheeks on a slightly wet toilet seat.

The toilet cannot overflow again, I chanted to myself while pooping.

When it came time to flush, I said a prayer, knocked on wood, stuck the plunger in the toilet bowl and flushed. As the water cycled, I pumped like my life depended on it.

The toilet did not overflow again. Amen.

The flush wasn't a clean flush, however, so I flushed again. The toilet appeared to be operating normally now. Just to be sure, I flushed it a few more times.

Anyone who was still awake in the building must have wondered why the toilet kept flushing.

Clean-up was, of course, a hassle. I felt like I was cleaning up the aftermath of an accidental murder in the bathroom.

Once I finished cleaning, I flossed, brushed my teeth and prepared for sleep.

Guess who forgot where his toothbrush had been.


Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor (Nov 15, 2004):
—More than a million people have gone so far to the Wounded Warrior Project for information. […] This is the most worthy of causes, helping soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan re-adjust to civilian life here in America. We have two projects this holiday season: helping the wounded warriors and getting The O'Reilly Factor for Kids to as many children as we can.

From the O'Reilly Christmas store:

If I had a dollar for every time I had sixty cents, I would be Canada

According to my Chinese teacher, in China, men don't wear green hats because wearing a green hat denotes that your wife is cheating on you. Also: they don't want to be mistaken for elves.

Apparently, Ronald McDonald moonlights as an equally frightening rapper.

I saw this on IMDb:

Carlito's Way: The Beginning

About time, Universal. I've waited 12 long years to learn Carlito Brigante's back story.

I'm tired of seeing "The Beginning" and "Resurrection" used in movie sequel titles. How boring.

All movie sequel titles should aspire to be as clever as those of the Air Bud franchise:

Air Bud
Air Bud: Golden Receiver
Air Bud: World Pup
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch
Air Bud Spikes Back

Is there any sport this fuckin' dog can't play? He's like a canine Bo Jackson, only more talented and not black.

All right, I'm off to Chicagoland for the weekend.

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

If you can only see one film this year about guys who skateboard on icy concrete with one arm in a sling, air their testicles out in open windows after slathering them in Extra Strength Ben-Gay, staple their nipples, throw dead mice at flamboyant peers' heads, and eat Hostess brownies out of toilets, then it might as well be You Can't Spell "Slaughter" Without "Laughter," Animals With Technology's feature-length paean to CKY and Jackass' self-destructive brand of docu-comedy.

Hosted by mustached suburban socialite Cornelius Mansbee (played by producer/director Aaron Hatch, whom some of you may know as the scribe for Something Like Tripe nee The Marked Fool), Slaughter anthologizes the irresponsible exploits of Hatch and select dorm floormates at Fordham University during the 2003-2004 school year. Also included is footage shot at Hatch's home in Connecticut.

The presentation doesn't stray far from CKY and Jackass: one shenanigan after another, a few Candid Camera set-ups that draw unwitting bystanders in for reaction shots, and plenty of male nudity (Hatch in particular loves to expose himself).

Highlights of the film include:

"Duel Somersaults"
Hatch and floormate Elliot Storey form a human wheel and "duel somersault" through the hallway of their dorm floor and down a flight of stairs. Then they head to Manhattan and duel somersault out of a New York City subway car, across a busy Manhattan street and down an escalator inside the Toys R Us store in Times Square.

"The Griptape Job"
Hatch scrapes his bare ass across a strip of griptape (a heavy abrasive material similar to sandpaper) and then douses it with salt and vinegar. After the stunt, Hatch looks down at white residue on the griptape and proclaims "oh that was my ass!"

"Loins Ablaze"
Hatch drops trou and squats over a small lit stick of dynamite in an attempt to blow up his guiche.

The best sequences involve Hatch and his 14-year-old brother Austin. Bam Margera subjects his parents to his antics; Hatch tortures his brother.

In "Banana Blow Job," Hatch awakens his sleeping brother by using a banana to simulate a forced blow job. Austin's reaction is priceless.

In "The Urination Coronation," Hatch barges into a bathroom after Austin just finished showering and pours a pot full of urine on him. Once again, Austin's reaction makes the bit, from his dread of the contents of the pot to his hilariously angry declaration of "it's not just yellow water!"

What goes around comes around, however. Austin disguises a taser as a cell phone and pretends to talk on the phone outdoors. Hatch approaches his brother and says in a disgrunted voice, "Hurry up, dude, we have to go." Austin finishes up his "phone call" and then Hatch says, "I thought you got a new phone. Why's that thing so fuckin' huge?" to which Austin responds, "It's not a phone," and sticks the taser into Hatch's neck.

Ahhh… Brotherly love.

Not all of the segments succeed. Hatch's attempt at "celebrity sightings" (as seen on Leno and Letterman) fails to draw much laughter, and costumed aerobics and acrobatics in Central Park can grow tedious. But these are minor complaints.

Chubba chubba chubba chubba chubba chubba chubba
I don't have any lines to go right here so…
Chubba chubba chubba

Hatch often appears in the film curled up in the fetal position on the ground in pain. The motivation for his (as well as the rest of the Animals') reckless abandon is unclear. Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation in his writing suggests that Hatch is fairly intelligent, so it can't be pure idiocy. Is it masochism? Boredom? What's the point of doing all this?

Many directors claim to make movies that they'd want to see. Hatch likes to watch the CKY videos, and thus, I think, he suffers for his art.

To purchase a copy of You Can't Spell "Slaughter" Without "Laughter," e-mail your name and address to

windows media
trailer (doesn't do the film justice)
"get those wrinkles out"
"kool-aid shower"

Growing Up With G'n'R

Eddie Spaghetti of The Supersuckers:
—Let's say that the Republican Party is Van Halen and (for the sake of argument we will time travel quite a bit) Abraham Lincoln is the David Lee Roth of Republicans. An ass kicking, slave freeing, minimize-the-government-in-our-lives bad-ass. The glory years. Then let's say Sammy Hagar is the Ronald Reagan character. He totally lost the die-hard, but for some reason Van Halen had never been more popular. Hit after hit. The Van Halen machine makes more money than anyone thought possible! Next, sadly, it's time to enter that guy from Extreme, Gary Cherone. Here is our G.W. Bush. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool Van Halen fans have to admit, this was one bad idea. It didn't work, and, thankfully, we only had to put up with one record from this version of the Republican Par… uh, I mean… Van Halen. Gary made Van Halen so bad that Sammy Hagar returning actually seemed like a GOOD idea! So there you go. Even Republicans have to admit that G.W. has totally "Gary Cheroned" this Presidency, don't you think?

Unsubstantiated Rumors

I saw a sign at Cinefile that said "Fahrenheit for free."

Apparently, in an effort to get as many Americans as possible to see the film before the election, video stores across the country are waiving the usual rental fee for Fahrenheit 9/11 through Election Day.

Hence, Fahrenheit for free.

I wish it was Commando instead.