Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Annoying Automotive Trend

A few years ago it was the whole OBX sticker craze. Everyone and their Mom would get one of those white oval stickers with a three-letter abbreviation on it. At first the stickers represented traditional vacation spots but then all hell broke loose and it seemed that everyone had one of those stickers to become part of the "hip" commuter crowd. Of course I am a cultural trend-setter and never got one:)

Well now there's a new car decal craze and it seems to be the slightly weird practice of putting little family stickers on a car. As I drive to and from work each day I seem to notice at least a handful of cars (mostly SUVs and vans) that are adorned with little cutesy stick-figure drawings of various family members. The figures are always lined in a row and often include representations of pets as well. I am assuming these commuting expressionists want everyone to know exactly how many people and animals are in their family. I don't understand the appeal of this and actually think this may be weirder than the oval sticker phenomenon. Does anyone know where this brilliant idea emerged from? Are you one of the millions of cars that have the family sticker motif? Don't be shy, I want to hear why you decided to join in on this fad. I won't judge you either way.

Maybe instead of developing the next hot mobile app, I should try to drum up an idea for the next auto decal trend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: The Other Guys

I personally think Adam McKay has one of the funniest minds in Hollywood today. The director of Anchorman, Talladega Nights and Step Brothers has an excellent track record when it comes to slightly awkward comedy. McKay's brand of humor really appeals to me. Anchorman is one of the funniest films ever made and the comedic partnership of Will Ferrell and McKay is hard to beat.

McKay's latest goofball offering is The Other Guys which teams Ferrell with Mark Wahlberg in a standard buddy-cop comedy. The two play paper-pushing detectives that are confined to medial office work until a turn of events thrusts them into the forefront of investigating a large financial fraud scheme. The story is supplemented with supporting turns by Sam Jackson, The Rock, Michael Keaton (who always seems to remind me of Beetlejuice when I see him on-screen) and Eva Mendez help the film chug along and offer up a slew of good laughs. Wahlberg is the big surprise in this movie. He was so god awful in The Happening that I completely forgot about him as an actor. He gives such a wooden and straight laced performance in this movie that is comes off as being hysterical. He delivers his angry yelling lines as if he's reading straight off of cue cards. I don't know if he's doing this on purpose or if he's just so bad of an actor that you can't help but find it funny. A humorous running gag with Keaton's character references lyrics from TLC songs. It's this kind of random humor that McKay seems to bring to his movies that appeals to me. There just didn't seem to be enough consistency with that style of humor in the movie though.

The teaming of Ferrell and Wahlberg works well throughout this movie and I found myself wishing the movie focused more on their interaction and less on the terrible plot that involved various money laundering schemes and a group of boring and unimposing crooks. The material is funny overall though and worth watching for some good Anchorman-style laughs, but I would wait for video on this one. At 1:47 in runtime, the movies feels MUCH longer as it drags on towards the end. A very average 3 out of 5 JRs for The Other Guys. Get Him To The Greek remains the funniest movie of 2010 by far.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Now THAT's What's Cooking

I headed down this weekend to Williamsburg, VA with some members of my Mom's side of the family. My brother, Besse and her parents went as well. The goal was to attend a special dinner presentation at A Chef's Kitchen, a very unique restaurant in the Colonial section of the city. The kitchen specializes in multi-course dining experiences that allow the guests (around 26 people) to view live cooking demonstrations. Unlike the cooking shows you see on TV that allow a few people to sample what the chefs are preparing, the setup at A Chef's Kitchen is geared towards giving all guests a full portion of each dish.

We sat through a nearly 3-hour dinner session that included the 6 extremely tasty courses listed below:

  • Vidalia Onion Bisque with Grilled Sweet Corn Relish
  • Garden Lettuces & Mango Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette & Toasted Cashews
  • A Chef’s Kitchen’s Skillet Baked Corn Bread
  • Sautéed Local Scallops with Spaghetti Squash, Basil & Julienned Vegetable Slaw
  • Grilled Rack of Kurabuta Pork with Honey-Malbec Glaze, Haricot Verts & Applewood Smoked Bacon Fried Rice
  • Chocolate-Coconut Pots du Crème with Banana Whipped Cream & Macadamia Nut Brittle

The head chef gave an ongoing presentation about each course we ate, making sure to explain all aspects of the baking process and the choice of ingredients. Most of the ingredients were chosen because of their natural availability. The scallops we had were locally harvested and all the salt that was used was kosher salt without added processing. I was fascinated by the thought and preparation process that went into each dish. The fresh smells of cooking-in-progress was nearly worth the price of admission alone (a reasonable $80 per-person, all inclusive). Throughout the six courses we were served three different kinds of wine. All wines at the restaurant were on sale for only $10 bucks. I picked up a couple bottles while Nate grabbed a full case.

All of the food was excellent. I even enjoyed the spaghetti squash which I don't normally eat. I must say that the Skillet-cooked Cornbread was the most satisfying dish of all, followed closely by the Applewood Smoked Bacon Fried Rice. The whole concept of this "cooking-show" themed restaurant is ingenious. I could easily see an establishment like the one in Williamsburg brining in heavy revenue streams in Washington, D.C. The head chef (creator of the concept) has no plans for expansion right now.

I leave you with a view from my seat in aisle two of the dinning room. We all had a great time and I really recommend this experience to anyone who enjoys fine dining. Especially one Robert D. Rose! Dad, this three hour experience would be like heaven for you.