Monthly Archives

December 2009


Season’s Greetings


It’s a good thing I left my coat at Dad’s last year because, as I found out yesterday, coats are not the specialty at stores in L.A. In fact, at one store a salesperson asked what I was looking for. “A coat,” I said. “Yeah … we’re in California,” she said. Then I see people selling jackets out of their trunk in the mall parking lot. I believe the hard sell was, “It’s getting cold! Get a jacket!” Heh.

With that, it’s time to sit back and admire all the gifts I’ve wrapped, make some cookies, watch a holiday flick with friends tonight, have a safe flight to Kansas City tomorrow and enjoy the rest of the year with family and friends I haven’t seen in awhile.

The archives are available for perusing until we meet again, at the beginning of 2010. Hope your holidays are happy and your resolutions worth keeping, friends, and most of all, thanks for a great 2009!

Top 30 Best Albums of the 2000s

30 Best Albums of the 2000s •

The mission, should I choose to accept it: Pick the 30 best albums of the decade.
The criteria: Only one album per artist. Each album must be one I’ve listened to, front to back, more times than is generally acceptable.
The setbacks: There were way more than 30. Also, I’m easily distracted and end up listening to 90 percent of these albums again.
The conclusion: This music is what inspired me for the past 10 years, and I’m certain it will continue to inspire me for years to come.

30. OK Go – OK Go
Play: At a kegger
Listen: The Fix Is In

29. The Coral – Magic and Medicine
Play: At a retro party
Listen: Dreaming of You

28. Hot Hot Heat – Make Up the Breakdown
Play: After drinking your fifth cup of coffee
Listen: No, Not Now

27. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Play: At a summer bonfire
Listen: 1901

26. The Little Ones – Morning Tide
Play: On a flight to an exotic vacation
Listen: Tangerine Visions

25. Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
Play: On a stormy night
Listen: Supermassive Black Hole

24. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
Play: When you’re feeling creative
Listen: Electric Feel

23. Cold War Kids – Loyalty to Loyalty
Play: When you’re on a date with a bottle of wine
Listen: Something Is Not Right With Me

22. French Kicks – One Time Bells
Play: On a snowy day
Listen: 1985

21. Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things
Play: At a critical juncture in your life
Listen: With Arms Outstretched

20. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
Play: When battling a bout of insomnia
Listen: Sit Down, Stand Up (Snakes and Ladders)

19. The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
Play: At the beach on a beautiful day
Listen: New Slang

18. Dressy Bessy – Electrified
Play: When you want to d-d-dance
Listen: Electrified

17. Sean Lennon – Friendly Fire
Play: When you’re in mourning
Listen: Parachute

16. The Features – Some Kind of Salvation
Play: When you need to let off some steam
Listen: Lions

15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
Play: During rush-hour traffic
Listen: Pin

14. Little Joy – Little Joy
Play: At a backyard barbecue with close friends
Listen: With Strangers

13. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Play: At happy hour
Listen: Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

12. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
Play: At last call
Listen: 40 ft

11. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
Play: On a rainy night
Listen: Obstacle 1

10. Julian Casablancas – Phrazes for the Young
Play: When you need inspiration
Listen: 11th Dimension

9. Death Cab for Cutie – The Photo Album
Play: When you’re feeling introspective
Listen: Coney Island

8. The New Pornographers – Electric Version
Play: To get this party started
Listen: Electric Version

7. The Libertines – Up the Bracket
Play: During a rousing game of Flip Cup
Listen: I Get Along

6. The Kooks – Inside In Inside Out
Play: During chores, to make them bearable
Listen: Naive

5. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
Play: To ramp up your workout
Listen: Hotel Yorba

4. Kings of Leon – Only By the Night
Play: When you’re nostalgic
Listen: Use Somebody

3. Spoon – Girls Can Tell
Play: On a long road trip
Listen: Everything Hits at Once

2. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Play: When you’re reading
Listen: Ashes of American Flags

1. The Strokes – Is This It
Play: Anywhere and all the time
Listen: Someday

Link Love 12.21.09

Dear Mother Nature,
I know I’ve been kinda snarky lately, a little smug about the awesome weather here in Los Angeles. I promise to take it all back if you give me clear skies for flying to Kansas City on Christmas Day. It has come to my attention that you are planning snow, which we all know means delays, cancellations, me throwing tantrums in public. Please, please, please hold off on this snow thing till my plane lands. Thatisall.
Fingers crossed,

Some links to lead you into Christmas:

Feeling Inspired to Build a Snowman

This weekend we were in the mood for some holiday cheer, so we were pretty stoked to watch “Jack Frost,” which, according to the synopsis our cable company provided, was a “heartwarming tale starring Michael Keaton from 1998.” So imagine our surprise when we were greeted by an entirely different “Jack Frost,” otherwise known as “the world’s most pissed-off snow cone,” who shoots icicles through people’s brains and, er, smothers Elizabeth Shannon to death. Hahahaha. Channel-surfers beware.

Nonetheless, I now have an insatiable urge to build a snowman. All you East Coasters will have to humor me on this; I know you’re buried in snow at the moment and probably would rather it just go away.








Or perhaps we could make some treats. These designs are todiefor.






While the treats are in the oven, we could decorate with these beauties:








And don’t forget to sing “Frosty the Snowman” during the entire adventure. It’s mandatory.

Fashion Rewind: Foul Play


You’re a recently divorced librarian in San Francisco, and your friends are telling you it’s time to get yourself “out there” again. Leave yourself open to new experiences, they say. So when you see a man stranded on the side of the road, you think to yourself, “Why not give him a ride?” You exchange pleasantries, set a date at the movies and he asks you to hang onto his cigarettes for some convoluted reason. He shows up late to the movies and proceeds to die right there on your shoulder while muttering something about dwarves. But when you fetch the manager of the theater, there is no body. You’re starting to look crazy, but that doesn’t stop an albino from following you, sex fiend Dudley Moore from trying to seduce you and a bunch of people from trying to kill you in pursuit of the cigarette case. Good thing you have Chevy Chase and a mad set of fashion skills to keep you alive and sane.


100 Movies: 54, 55

And the countdown continues in my quest to watch and find something inspiring in every single one of Yahoo’s 100 Movies to See Before You Die


Princess Ann: I hate this nightgown. I hate all my nightgowns, and I hate all my underwear too.
Countess: My dear, you have lovely things.
Princess Ann: But I’m not two hundred years old. Why can’t I sleep in pajamas?
Countess: Pajamas?
Princess Ann: Just the top part. Did you know that there are people who sleep with absolutely nothing on at all?
Countess: I rejoice to say I do not.

It’s tough to be a princess. Boring engagements all day long, a lot of pomp and circumstance, you can’t even sleep naked! Why, it’s enough to drive Audrey Hepburn to run away in the back of a truck and fall asleep on a public street in Rome in the middle of the night. Luckily the world’s last gentleman reporter (that would be Gregory Peck) takes care of her, then upon discovering her identity sets out to get the story of his life. And what do they do? “Silly things” like eat gelato, get a haircut, sit at a cafe, go sightseeing and break a zillion traffic laws driving a Vespa. The inspiration is simple here, really. We would all do well to enjoy the “silly things” a lot more because, princess or pauper, fun doesn’t always factor into everyday life.


Rocky: I can’t do it.
Adrian: What?
Rocky: I can’t beat him.
Adrian: Apollo?
Rocky: Yeah. I been out there walkin’ around, thinkin’. I mean, who am I kiddin’? I ain’t even in the guy’s league.
Adrian: What are we gonna do?
Rocky: I don’t know.
Adrian: You worked so hard.
Rocky: Yeah, that don’t matter. ‘Cause I was nobody before.
Adrian: Don’t say that.
Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.

Rocky can’t get no break. He lives in a “stinkin'” room, spends way too much time at the pet store buying turtle food so he can talk to a timid girl, fights for pennies, and now his gear is packed up and relegated to “skid row” at the gym! He talks a lot (and I mean A LOT) and for some reason his sweatpants always have a crazy case of wet butt. No wonder he can’t get no love. But when he picks up a sham fight with the champion boxer, one he has no chance of winning, things turn around. He finally asks Adrian out and they fall in love. He starts training and gets the Mickey the trainer’s respect. But he’s no fool. He knows he can’t win, but for him it will be enough to have tried. If that doesn’t inspire you deep down to your core, you’re not human. And if you need more inspiration, listen to this.

Best Songs of 2009

Best of 2009

Everyone on the Internet has their “best of” list for the year, all in logical even numbers like top 10, top 30, top 50, top 100. That’s so predictable, right friends? Well, allow me to introduce to you my top 26. Why 26? It’s a long story, so pull up a chair.

First the rules. Only one song per album, lest my entire list be eaten alive by Julian Casablancas, The Features and The Decemberists.

I started out with 99 songs. I love them all, so it quickly turned into a game of “I got 99 songs but a decision ain’t one.” So I developed a highly scientific method of weeding: weighing the number of times a song has been played in iTunes vs. the amount of time it has been out vs. I just can’t live without this song vs. eenie meenie miney moe. And voila! My favorite 26 songs of the year, in no particular order except maybe the first one.

What songs couldn’t you live without this year?

1. Left & Right In the Dark – Julian Casablancas (buy)

2. Now We Can See – The Thermals (via) (buy)

3. Percussion Gun – White Rabbits (buy)

4. Let Me Die In Southern California – The Voyces (buy)

5. Pale Bride – The Von Bondies (buy)

6. The Woods – Portugal. The Man (buy)

7. Coast of Carolina – Telekinesis (via) (buy)

8. Little Girl – Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse (feat. Julian Casablancas)

9. When I’m Small – Phantogram (buy)

10. They’re Building the Death Camps – The Strange Boys (via) (buy)

11. Too Young To Burn – Sonny And The Sunsets (buy)

12. Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups (buy)

13. Horchata – Vampire Weekend (via) (buy)

14. Kabukimono – Rainbow Arabia (buy)

15. Lisztomania – Phoenix (via) (buy)

16. Lions – The Features (buy)

17. Stillness Is The Move – Dirty Projectors (via) (buy)

18. Microphone – Coconut Records (buy)

19. Help I’m Alive – Metric (buy)

20. 40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (buy)

21. Old Cold River – The Growlers (via) (buy)

22. The Rake’s Song – The Decemberists (via) (buy)

23. Mykonos – Fleet Foxes (buy)

24. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant (buy)

25. Hi-Fi Goon – Throw Me The Statue (buy)

26. Good Day (cover) – Jenny Owen Youngs (via) (buy)

Top 10 Christmas Movies

The best thing about December is the constant stream of holiday movies on television, all tempting you, saying, “Hey! Watch me! I’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.” But it has to be said that not all of these movies are created equal. Some only make you feel fuzzy, which truthfully has more to do with your hot toddy than the movie, am I right?

That’s why I’ve compiled my list of 10 standards, movies you can invite into your holiday repertoire year after year without them overstaying their welcome.

(Well, OK, so “A Christmas Story” is on for 24 hours straight on some channel, which is like 11 times too many, but you catch my drift.)

Top 10 Christmas Movies

1. Home Alone

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Precocious children, hijinks and shenanigans, independence, Angels With Filthy Souls, sleeping in the attic, forgetful yet well-meaning families, idiot bandits, being reunited with estranged loved ones, learning to not judge people

2. Home Alone 2

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Everything about the first “Home Alone,” New York, Angels With Even Filthier Souls, Tim Curry, toy stores, getting lost in airports, limousines, mini tape recorders, ending up with your father’s wallet and spending all his money, befriending homeless women

3. Elf

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Zooey Deschanel and her lovely singing voice, smiling, candy, oversized elves, childlike enthusiasm, innocence, making snowflakes with paper, getting excited to see Santa, exploring New York City, pushing all the buttons in the elevator, singing loud for all to hear

4. Bad Santa

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Bernie Mac in a cowboy hat, Santa showing up to work drunk, advent calendars, fat kids, eating at the food court on your “f*$#ing lunch break,” holiday capers, pink stuffed elephants

5. Santa Claus the Movie

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Catchy theme songs, finding out about Santa’s back story, snow — lots and lots of snow, Dudley Moore playing an enterprising elf who nearly ruins Christmas, being on the sleigh when the reindeer do the SuperDuper Looper, 1980s New York, lollipops and candy canes that make you fly, quashed corporate greed

6. Gremlins

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Unusual presents from Chinatown, high-maintenance pets, awesome sweaters, gremlin attack via a Christmas tree, the most depressing Santa story ever told, pillaging of the local department stores, a tray of gingerbread men used as a weapon, being creeped out by the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

7. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Overdoing it with the Christmas decorations, unexpected guests, inedible holiday meals, hiding gifts in the attic, going sledding, singing carols in the car, picking out a tree way too big for your house, getting that year-end bonus from your employer (or not)

8. Babes in Toyland (1961)

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Nursery rhymes, choreographed dance numbers, the Forest of No Return, a demented toymaker, good old-fashioned fun, sugar, spice and everything nice, miniature humans invoking a toy soldier army all in the name of love

9. A Christmas Story

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifles (with a compass in the stock), getting your mouth washed out with soap, getting your tongue frozen to a flagpole, lamps shaped like legs, snowball fights, giving a bully his due, blaming icicles for your stupidity, getting what you wanted, Chinese food on Christmas

10. The Holiday

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Will warm your heart if you like: To get away from it all, trying someone else’s life for a change, a nice, lighthearted rom-com starring Kate “She Can Do No Wrong” Winslet and Jude “He’s So Fine” Law, walking in the snow wearing inappropriate shoes, making plans for New Year’s

Bookmark for later:

Top 10 Christmas Movies • Little Gold Pixel

Wish List 12.15.09


Hey baby. I’m an Aquarius; what’s your sign?

Yeah. I never really “got” my sign. Aquarius, the water bearer. What exactly does that mean? It means I don’t get to be a cool animal like a Leo or Aries or Capricorn, that’s what!

All I know is that my sign is fodder for a kick-ass song in “Hair,” and now this bad-ass ring by Garnet Girl Designs.