Thursday, June 25, 2009

Celebrity Sighting!

Brief but important update.

One thing I love about living in NYC is the celebrity sighting. Just walking down the street, you get an odd feeling that you know that guy/gal, and why is he so familiar? As is often the case with me, the pieces fall together after you're several paces past the time when you could say something without looking like a total spaz.

All that is left is to bug your eyes and do a doubletake in the style of a Tex Avery Cartoon.

This exactly what I did when I saw Droopy in Columbus Circle.

Sightings of mine include:

Peter Dinklage

Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Oscar the Grouch. Surprisingly polite, actually.

Mary Louise Parker. I nearly had a heart attack this time, because I love her.

But not as much as:

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey.

So yeah, I've had a good run.

But I got one more to add to the list on Monday. I was heading from my place of employ to a class I'm taking about Comedy writing for TV.

I was just about to go underground to wait for a train when my Spidey-sense started tingling.

%2522spidey sense%2522 Pictures, Images and Photos

I was looking at a middle aged man with a salt and pepper beard and couldn't place him for .034 seconds. Then it hit me. Every available detail about his life in my vast cinematic trivial library head except his name.

ARGH. Come on Brain, think. Nikita, Leon, Mission: Impossible, Godzilla, Ronin, Pink Panther, Da Vinci Code, for the love of God, he's the only french actor anyone has ever heard of (No, not Gerard Depardieu).

I would feel foolish approaching this man and fan-geeking out without being able to adress him properly, so I let the moment pass. Then I stood on the platform for another few minutes. It was when I stepped through the doors onto the train that my neurons finally aligned and the name hit me.


So cool.

Ok, fine. I'm probably more excited by that than anyone reading this (except maybe Honus), but the man is awesome.

That's all I had to say. It was actually longer than I expected.

Jean Reno.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Czech yourself before you wreck yourself

Two nights ago I had a dream that a foul-smelling homeless woman I saw in the Port Authority Bus Terminal crashed my family's tractor into our next-door-neighbor's car. My family has no tractor.

This is my brain.

Another blog post so soon after the previous? Has he lost his mind?

Clearly, I have. Also, the sad truth of it is that I have 8 pages to write for a class I'm taking on Monday, and this blog has become a way of procrastinating on that.

Did I say procrastinate? I meant warm-up exercise...

And so I decided to write a little summary of a fantastic place with much history that is within staggering distance of the Troll-house of myself and Oach.

The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, NY (a warning, their website appears to be several decades old).

Go ahead, Google it or Bing it if you like. Yes, I said Bing it. No way that's going to catch on. I recommend people use Bing for its superior video search, but there's no competing with googlemaps for your real world needs.

Anyway, many of the recent online reviews of the Garden are getting to be rather lukewarm, and deservedly so. For some reason they've tried to implement table service, which (big breath)


I love you, Beer Garden, I really do. But relationships are built on honesty, and you need to hear this.

In the same league:

I told you, Brady. Never getting tired.

Anyway, the waiter service at the beer garden is the pits. The absolute worst. The very nature of the Beer Garden is chaotic, with people grabbing tables willy-nilly and shuffling about. Throwing a handful of waiters and busboys that don't speak English is not going to be an improvement.

Basically it took all the charm of the beer garden, and added cold food and insanely long waits.

"any sign of those curly fries?"

That being said, why the Hell would you go to a Beer Garden in search of something to eat?

Here's a few shots of a visit:

Oach: I give it thumbs down because of the slow waitresses!
Rev: I give it thumbs up, because I know they can't possibly outrun me!

We're smiling because we haven't started playing pitch yet.

For those of you not from Central New York, wikipedia has this to say:

Pitch (also known as Setback) is a card game played with a standard 52-card deck. It is a popular variation of All fours (also known as High-Low Jack) which may be played by three to seven players. Pitch involves bidding and trick-taking, and may include betting or gambling. There are many variations of Pitch. Most variations use slightly different scoring systems, allow teams, or make other changes. Variants seem to develop regionally, and their merits are hotly contested by players.

Basically one of my favorite card games. I once won several hundred Kool-Aid points off of Honus in a pitch game. Used them to buy a Kool-Aid man kite that remains one of my prized possessions.

Another fun card game is Circle of Death. Oach and I were playing once at the Beer Garden when we were both temporarily unemployed. One of us started the category "Episodes of What I Like About You."

%2522what i like about you%2522 cast Pictures, Images and Photos

Due to our uncanny ability to remember horrible television and the fact that we had nothing better to do every day at 3:00 than watch Amanda Bynes, we kept that category going for well over an hour.

Is there a German word for shameful boasting?

Anyway, here's a shot of the general atmosphere at the Beer Garden:

You may accuse me of poor photography, but this is exactly how I remember most evenings there.

Astoria's Czech Beer Garden: Come for the Beer, Stay Because That Girl You Thought Was Your Waitress Hasn't Been Back for an Hour, and She Made You Give Her Your Debit Card As Collateral.

catchy, huh?

The rest of you, if you take one thing away from this entire blog, let it be this: just drink the beer, which you get yourself from the bar, for the love of God.

A recent story comes to mind. The saga of the Dugan.

The first pleasant weekend of the year, Oach, myself and Oach's brother Ryan (of Songcamp fame) went out to enjoy the nice weather and drink outside.

This we did successfully. We decided to eat there as well, much to our chagrin. Several pitchers of cold beer and three plates of colder dinner later, we began growing restless.

So Pop quiz, hotshot:

What are three handsome, slightly inebriated men-about-town going to do?

Good guess if you said "watch the movie Speed and drink every time Keanu Reeves looks confused."

However, top scores and bonus points go to those of you who said "Wander to the Staples across 31st street and purchase a large piece of office furniture that requires assembly."

Bonus points because you would have to be really familiar with the Beer Garden and Astoria surrounding it, and also because you are clearly insane and possibly dangerous.


So after several minutes of trying out chairs and vigorous (read: loud) debate, I wandered off to find some rubber bands. Not finding any that were sufficiently "big ass," I found my way back to the furniture section.

Oach and Ryan had narrowed the field considerably. An argument ensued with Ryan promoting the high level of comfort of one model, and myself extolling the virtues of a more practical model in which one could do work without falling asleep.

In the end we chose neither of those, and Oach became the proud owner of a Dugan.

Comfort and Professionalism.

The new adventure was to get this monstrosity back to the Troll House [editor's note - this may confuse some of you. The apartment is under a bridge.]

Lacking any sort of wheels, with or without an engine attached, we had to carry the beast. Oach lugged the back part of it the entire way, which is fair, as it belonged to him. Ryan and I switched off carrying the front end until it was decided that we needed more beer and I was sent on a side quest.

"Hey, how's it going? I'm supposed to retrieve ye olde 12 Pack, so... I guess I just leave my gold pieces on the ground, then?"

Much swearing, sprinting and making of change later, the Dugan was safe at home. Next came the assembly.

Oh dear.

Confusion and Rage!

"More beer will help me romance this Dugan."

Here's one of Ryan and I watching Oach assemble the chair.


And now I know my apartment is haunted.

Damnation, this is way worse than dreams of crazy homeless women. Unless the ghost is causing the dreams.

Off to find an exorcist,


P.S. You'll be pleased to know that, once assembled, the Dugan is both professional and comfortable.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shout out

So I'm going to try a new approach to this blog. I'll have several entries being written simultaneously, and hopefully that will increase the rate of publication, as well as keeping things fresh and relevant in my head. That being said, this'll just be a quick note.

I'm going to dedicate this to a new reader of mine, my cousin Kyle, currently serving in Iraq, helping to build a new infrastructure there.

This is a joke that Kyle told me around a campfire in Vermont, some time ago:

A little boy is in a public restroom. He's just finished washing his hands and is about to leave when a Marine walks in the door.

"Wow!" says the boy, "Are you really a Marine?"

"Sure am," says the Marine "You wanna wear my hat?"

"Sure!" says the boy.

The Marine takes off his hat and gives it to the kid to play with, while the Marine is focused on other matters in the restroom.

The boy has a great time, running around with a pantomime rifle, kicking open stall doors and making fake explosion and gun sounds.

Just then, a Green Beret (Army Special Forces) walks in the bathroom.

The kid goes "Wow! are you really Army Special Forces?"

"Sure am," says the Green Beret, "Want to suck my dick?"

"Nah," says the kid, "I'm not really a Marine, I'm just wearing his hat!"


Just so you know, that joke kills. No offense to any members of the USMC that might be reading this (Francis), but I have never not gotten a positive response from the telling of it.

Just remember, people, know your audience.

"Please explain again why that's funny."

Ok, that's all for tonight, folks.

Kyle, keep up the good work and be safe.

Catch you later, folks


Friday, June 5, 2009

It's All Happening at the Zoo

Hey kids! I'm back! Where have I been all this time, you ask? Well there's a whole long story about me doing stuff and other stuff, and not feeling like blogging and whatnot, but the best answer is at the ZOO!

You see, for my birthday, Mr. and Mrs. Rev bought me a year long membership to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

That means for the next year, I can go to the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Brooklyn Zoo, Queens Zoo and the New York Aquarium as much as I want and NO ONE CAN STOP ME.

Great movie, by the way.

So I've used my membership twice so far, accumulating about 180 pictures worth of zoo animals.

The first time was Memorial Day weekend, when Mr. and Mrs. Rev were visiting. Here they are sitting on a giant caterpillar:


The second time I went with Subastar and Woot and an assemblage of others.

Here they are standing still in an area from which you can see no animals.

A significant percentage of zoo visitation is spent away from animals, I was to learn.

I'll try to stick to just the highlights for you folks.

One highlight: Otterpile.

There are few things on this Earth as cute as a pile of otters.

Need more?

Yep, still fantastic.

There were many other things to be seen, like this video of feeding time for one of the Siberian Tigers:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Tigers are Awesome. We showed up 20 minutes early for this feeding. Totally worth it.

One thing I did not realize about the Bronx Zoo: it has a serious peacock infestation. The place is lousy with them.

This one was nice enough to pose for some pictures.

After the photo shoot, we hung out for a little while.

It quickly grew tired of us and wandered into a food court. I think it was going to try and pick up some scraps of food from the other zoo guests. I didn't see peacock listed anywhere on the menu, at least.

Actually, that's not true. I did see an animal try to eat a peacock. I'll give you three guesses as to which one it was.

No, not a tiger.

No, not the Otterpile.

No, not Mr. Rev.

Give up?

It was a GIRAFFE. Don't believe me?

Where is your God now?

What happened was this: In the giraffe enclosure, there was an ostrich, for some reason. There was also the above peacock because, as I said, they are ephing everywhere in that place.

So I guess the peacock was trying to intimidate the ostrich, or else it's just into big ladies, because he was all puffed up and struttin around like he had just sacked a quarterback.

Oh Tom Brady, I'll never get tired of referencing this game.

Anyway, once those brightly colored back feathers shot into the air, the zoo's youngest giraffe took an interest.

Pictured: Adult giraffe and baby giraffe.
Not Pictured: Insatiable bloodlust.

This inexperienced animal may have thought that the feathers were leaves. Or possibly he was just acting out, rebelling against a deity that would have made him into something as ridiculous looking as a giraffe.

But maybe, just maybe this is a new evolution of carnivorous giraffes that will soon develop a taste for human flesh and wreak havoc on the Earth.

Like this, but with giraffes.

Yes I learned several lessons at the zoo. First, that I should keep an anti-giraffe shotgun in bed with me, next to the anti-zombie shotgun already there.

Second, animals are lazy.

I know, I know, they're in captivity and it's hot out, and there's all that nocturnal/diurnal nonsense, but seriously?



come ON.

I did manage to film a particularly exciting moment, when a polar bear grew tired of sleeping in the sun and moved around the pool to flop down in the shade. While this happens, a small child to my right shouted what I interpreted to be threats at him, so speakers ready:

I suppose part of my disappointment in the lack of movement stems from jealousy. I woke up earlier than usual on a weekend to come watch a bunch of animals do what I would love to be doing.

That is, of course, sitting around naked, eating raw vegetables and shouting at passers-by.


I do. Hindsight sucks, and gorillas are notorious blog critics.

"Koko finds your style repetitive"

Also, a lifetime of pop culture trash and cartoon shows has given me a fairly warped expectation of zoo animals.

I was lead to believe that animals engage in human activities, wear non-genitalia concealing clothing and hatch elaborate plans to escape, learning valuable lessons about how the world works in the process.

Also, they're voiced by Don Adams of Get Smart and Inspector Gadget fame.

Instead I get two penguins having a ten minute long conversation about which of them is going to get into the water first.

The answer? Neither of them.

But those are minor complaints when held up against the great time I had on both visits. And who knows, perhaps the animals have a greater sense of showmanship in one of the other 4 facilities that I can tour for free.

Only one way to find out.

Catch you later folks,


PS - Mr. Rev is this big compared to a Tiger. How big are you?