Meteor Shower With A Side Of Dobos Torte

Posted in Food and Dining on December 13th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Hey, the Geminids are tonight, and promise to be spectacular. Don’t know if I’ll have the energy to check them out, I am SO tired tonight.

:: Earlier this evening, I broke bread with four fellow co-workers of Hungarian descent at a warm, friendly little Hungarian restaurant in north-west Edmonton called The Goulash. My dad’s parents were Hungarian, and came to North America in the 1920s, settling in Winnipeg. Dinner was paprikás csirke with gnocchi, followed by a slice of Dobos torte for dessert, perhaps the most amazing, multi-layer chocolate cake with a hard carmel icing , and it was the best meal I’ve had in months. The food tasted just like the dishes my Grandma Reichardt made when we were little, which means it tasted home cooked, not like restaurant food. God Bless the cook(s)!

Golden Globe Nominations, Film Critics Awards Announced

Posted in Film on December 13th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced its 2005 Golden Globe nominations. Leading the pack are Sideways with 7, The Aviator with 6, and three films with 5 nominations: Closer, Finding Neverland, and Million Dollar Baby. Overlooked in the Emmy Awards, Deadwood is nominated for Best Television Series – Drama, and Ian McShane is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama; he should be a lock in this category. The big winner in nominations is Jamie Foxx, with three acting nods for Ray, Collateral, and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story. What’s odd is that his nomination for Ray is in the category Best Performance by an Actor in Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. There was music in Ray, of course, but the movie wasn’t a musical. That said, the criteria for that category must be, well, very liberal (or bizarre), because the other nominees include Jim Carrey for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Paul Giamatti for Sideways, two films I would call dramas rather than comedies.

:: Other awards have been announced, and Sideways is on a roll. Six The San Francisco Film Critics Circle awards went to Sideways. Sideways also took (at least) three of the NY Film Critics Circle Awards – not all have been announced as of this posting, with live voting still in progress. Sideways (surprise!) won Best Picture from the Boston Film Critics. The American Film Institute announced its official selections for Movies of the Year and TV Programs of the Year. The British Independent Film Awards saw Vera Drake sweep the awards for Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor/Actress, Film and Director.

Complete awards information is available at The Awards Scoreboard at Movie City News, with even more information available at Awards Watch 2005.

It’s a fun time of the year to get caught up in analysis of the movie industry if you are a film addict like me. A good read is William Goldman’s annual Oscar column from the Dec 12, 2004 issue of Variety.

Missing from all the lists – The Passion of the Christ.

Almost 12,000 Words

Posted in Film, Work Related on December 9th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: On Wednesday, I invoked closure on the book chapter, which at the moment clocks in at just under 12,000 words. Perhaps I’ll add another line just to make it to that magic number. I sent the chapter to the editor at Penn State, and am going to spend the next six working days trying to clear some of my desk. I plowed through work e-mails today, reducing the inbox number from 175 to under 90.

:: I saw Sideways tonight. With Closer last week, I’ve seen two movies back-to-back featuring four central characters each, two men and two women, in relationship dramas, but decidedly different in tone, presentation and outcome. I enjoyed Sideways more than Closer, perhaps because the characters were considerably more likeable, although I found Thomas Haden Church’s character, Jack, to be loathsome. I won’t reveal why, should you decide to see the movie, which won a Top Ten Film Award for 2004 from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Haden Church received the NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor. The cast of Closer, meanwhile, won the award for Best Acting by an Ensemble.

Sideways also won the Gotham Award for Best Feature. Awards Season is officially underway. This time of year, it is much fun to read David Poland’s 20 Weeks to Oscar, with only twelve weeks to go. Also of interest are Poland’s various charts, with information on “This Week’s Frontrunner” for Best Picture, Director, Actor/Supporting Actor, Actress/Supporting Actress, and Screenplay/Adapted Screenplay. His analyses are not limited to potential Oscar winners, but also to the Golden Globes.

The Usual Glaring Omissions, and “Going Canadian”

Posted in Music on December 8th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Rolling Stone is back with another list, this time The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. RS chose a “jury of singers, musicians, producers, industry figures, critics and, of course, songwriters”, 172 in all. For the list, “the word song refers to both a composition and its definitive recorded performance, as a single or an album track.”

As with all lists of favorites, the results are based on subjective judgement. Reading through the list, I expected to see at least one song by The Guess Who, Steely Dan, The Dave Clark Five, Dave Matthews Band, The Moody Blues, the Doobie Brothers, The Pretenders, The Fixx, Genesis or Peter Gabriel, but by the time I reached 400, I sensed none of these bands would have an entry. No “American Woman”, no “Do It Again”, no “Anyway You Want It”, no “In Your Eyes” – astonishing, in my view.

Regardless of what you think of any of these artists, and probably countless others who belong here, there were individual gems among their collective output. Each of these bands might have placed two, three, or more tunes on a list of this size. However, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart checked in at #301.

What’s wrong with this picture? Also, from my POV as a Canadian, there are some great national artists missing from the list as well. Did I mention The Guess Who?

:: And how much worse can it get in America? The right in the US detests my liberal country, but that doesn’t discourage T-Shirtking.com from selling their new “Going Canadian” kit:

Americans Traveling Overseas – Consider Going Canadian!

Rather travel overseas or in Canada without having to discuss your politics with everyone you meet? Consider Going Canadian!

For $24.95 you get a complete disguise. A t-shirt with the Canadian flag and the saying “O Canada! (National Anthem), a patch for your luggage or backpack, a window sticker and a lapel pin. Plus – Free Report – How to Speak Canadian, Eh?!

Now when someone asks you about American politics, you can say, “I’m on vacation, I don’t want to talk aboot it.”

Aboot it? How about a boot to the head? How bad has it become in the USA when its own citizens want to disguise their identity when leaving the country? Marketed as a gag gift after the Nov 2 US election, sales have skyrocketed since the item was picked up on newsfeeds. From an article in the Edmonton Journal:

The company’s website also suggests the Go Canadian kit makes “a great gag gift for that friend that wants to move to Canada” — a much-debated urge among many left-leaning Americans in the wake of President George W. Bush’s re-election.

“It’s not meant as a slight against the United States or Canada,” Bill Broadbent told The Associated Press. “It was meant as something Republicans could give their Democrat friends to say ‘C’est la vie.’ …But maybe not ‘c’est la vie’ because that’s a French word.”

The guide teaches buyers that “Cowtown” is a nickname for Calgary and “Hogtown” is Toronto. The words “hoser” and “Mountie” are among those defined in a Great White North glossary and phrases such as “deke out of a meeting” are explained for non-hockeyists.

“If your vacation is to be stress-free,” says the company’s website pitch, “leave those heavy politics behind and travel with a light heart and quick wit, Canadian style.”

Dec 14 HDNB Gig Sidetracked

Posted in Film, Music on December 7th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Tbe Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys Dec 14 gig at the Sidetrack has been, well, sidetracked for now. James (bassist) is having problems with a sciatic nerve in his leg, and is unable to perform. So my debut with HDNB is postponed for now, but hopefully another gig will materialze shortly.

The book chapter is essentially done. A few minor revisions are left, nothing more. What’s it about? It’s a guide to the literature of petroleum engineering and refining, for a book called “Using the Engineering Literature”, to be published in 2005 by Dekker. Now I’m plowing through 170 e-mails at work, trying to catch up on them before breaking for Christmas. I’m off work from Dec 18-Jan 3. There is a lot to do in the next eight working days, including the dreaded annual report.

:: Been on a bit of a DVD tear of late, which for those of you who know me, is uncharacteristic behaviour. But it was hard to pass up a few deals at Best Buy, including: Local Hero, To Live and Die In L.A., Minority Report, Altered States, A Little Princess, and This Is Spinal Tap. I watched TLADILA last night, and it still holds up well after 20 years. I still love listening to the Wang Chung soundtrack. I wish they’d get back together for a reunion album. Jack Hues, founding member of Wang Chung, formed a band called Illuminated, in 2003. Listening to bits of three cuts on the web site suggests that Illuminated is an instrumental jazz band. What’s interesting is a line in Jach Hues’ biography on the web site, which reads, “new Wang Chung and ILLUMINATED albums in progress (2004).” Cool.

Dough Nut

Posted in Random Thoughts on December 4th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I was at Tim Hortons Donuts an hour ago, the mega-ginormous donut empire of Canada, to buy a gift card for someone for a Christmas present. I was surprised and annoyed to learn that 1) they only sell gift certificates, in packs of $5 or $10, in which one finds five $2 gift certificates, and 2) they don’t accept credit cards, only debit. WTF? Isn’t this the 21st Century?

Is there a major chain store/restaurant/whatever NOT selling gift cards, in whatever denomination you desire, save for McDonald’s, of course, which continues to use the paper gift certificates as well? Well, yes, Tim Hortons Donuts! Insanity, I tell you. Plus, I detest using debit cards – it’s a personal thing with me (I like credit cards which let me run up Air Miles…)

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