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Meet the most dysfunctional family, ever.
Another day closer to Spring Break! Tomorrow marks the beginning, yet with one day left to persevere - I opted for a Netflix suggestion. City Island, a story about a family that clearly failed any and all communications courses, was given 4 stars via the Netflix rater folks...so I took a chance and put it on...

The Rizzo family (see photo) are life-long residents of a small town in New York known as City Island. Andy Garcia, known as Vince Rizzo in this comical film, holds the job title of prison guard for a local facility. Little does Vince know that a future inmate will turn out to be his son from a former lover. Upon finding out this information, Vince takes matters into his own hands and brings him home to a family that runs as well as a broken clock. I took a real shot in the dark with this film, but I thought it was quite entertaining and would recommend it to even my closest friends. Check it out, and in the mean time give me more suggestions!   

 
 
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The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, is based on a true story about a pair of brothers who share a passion for boxing. Christian Bale, the older of the two brothers, was the former "Pride of Lowell (MA)" after knocking down infamous boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. Following his dramatic accomplishment, he would end up losing touch with the ring and instead get addicted to a variety of drugs while haphazardly training his brother for the opportunity of a lifetime - a chance to become a World Champ.

Mark Wahlberg, playing the role of Mickey Ward, lives for boxing. In an attempt to reach the top of the metaphorical boxing ladder, Mickey works tirelessly to become the aforementioned "Pride of Lowell" - shoes once filled by his older brother / trainer. In a dramatic series of events, Mickey takes his fair share of bodily harm and emotional trauma before he finally finds the right opportunity to achieve his dream.

I found this film to be extremely engaging and worthwhile. In saying that, I could easily watch it again without a problem. Even those snobs at Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a 90%! Check out Mark and Christian in this boxing drama that's sure to inspire you to do something great...

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Located at 4th & J in the Gaslamp District
And in other news - I made it over to Jolt'n Joe's in the Gaslamp the other day to have a drink to pass some time. Given the hour I was in (2 o'clock on a Friday afternoon...), the place was a bit empty but I could tell it would be a fun place to hang out. With pool tables, pong tables, and flat screens galore, this place is surely the one to be at come game day.

The decor was..uh..dated to say the least. I suppose if you're out for a drink, that shouldn't be your #1 priority...

Environment aspects aside, my bartender was awesome (not to mention smokin' hot) and fun to chat with. Taking a recommendation from her, I opted to sample the sliders to accompany my pint (did I mention they have a pretty decent selection of local beer?). 3 tasty morsels and a glass of carbonated glory later, I was a happy camper. Check it out on your next trip to the Gaslamp and see for yourself! Until then, leave me some ideas / suggestions in the comments.

 
 
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Studying is killing me and my ambitions. I have 12 hours logged in the library the last 2 days...did I mention I hate studying?

Anyway, tired and mentally exhausted, I needed some relief. Norkin sparked my interest with the suggestion of a French film, so that seemed to be the plan for my night...

Read My Lips centers around a middle aged secretary working for a development firm in Paris. While Carla (the secretary) is an extremely productive and talented individual, she isn't given all the credit she deserves due to a collection of corrupt business partners taking the spot light.

Carla is also impaired by a hearing disability that 'enhances' her other senses - including the ability to read lips. A novel skill, she has little use for it until she meets Paul - a young, talentless ex-con that was originally incarcerated for being a thief. Taking Paul under her wing, Carla provides him with a job and a chance to get a fresh start on life. Yet when a business opportunity presents itself (and a chance to make a big financial gain), the combination of Paul's klepto-skills and Carla's lip reading ability pave the way for a whole new life - for the both of them.

 
 
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Norkin suggested a movie, and after a rough night of drinking the night prior, nothing sounded better (We finally got our revenge on BYU!)

Hard Eight features an all-star cast including John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. and even Philip Seymour Hoffman makes an appearance. The story begins with a random gentleman by the name of Syd (Philip Baker Hall) approaching a man who appears down on his luck and pouting outside of a local diner. Syd is an experienced gambler that made his living through the tables of Vegas. Little would John know, this encounter would change his life forever. Wouldn't you know it, poor Ryan just lost all of his money in Vegas.

Syd offers to help the unfortunate Ryan get back on his feet. Starting with a cup of coffee, then a ride, and eventually a whole new life. It's almost too good to be true...but if suspenseful movie lore holds true, there's more to all of this than meets the eye. As it turns out, Syd's appearance outside the diner wasn't random at all.

Overall, I'd say it was a decent selection. If you're looking for a movie that'll hold some interest, add it to your Netflix queue and check it out.

Also, on the off chance that someone knows...what's a good sky diving company near San Diego? Can't say I've done it before...not yet anyway. G

 
 
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I'd heard mentions of this movie all over the place, in jokes, media, everywhere. So, I had to see for myself what all the hype was about.

Black Snake Moan is starred by Samuel L Jackson and Justin Timberlake among others (the later I could normally do without, but I digress). The plot of this film has Justin playing the roll of a boyfriend looking to provide a better life, starting in the Marines. Using the military as a way to pay for school and make an impact on his future, he leaves behind his girlfriend with the best intentions in mind.

His girlfriend, while trying to stay loyal to her boyfriend Ronnie (JT), can't control her urges for sexual contact. Being abused as a child, she is seemingly powerless to get down with any man with a working piece of equipment (if you catch my drift...). Once Ronnie has left the scene, bible-fearing Lazarus (Samuel L) comes into her life. In an attempt to save her from herself, he essentially enslaves her until she gets right.

Overall, this film was definitely something out of the ordinary. That being said, I found it enjoyable though not for a child's eyes! Check it out on Netflix or your local Redbox and see what everybody is (was) talking about.

I've been on a bit of a movie watching binge lately, but feel free to suggest new things for me to check out in the comments!

 
 
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I got a late start on my new thing today, but it definitely held my interest...

Per recommendation of my buddy "Randy", we plugged the USB into the 360 and watched this Korean horror/thriller with all eyes glued on the TV.

A serial killer is on the loose, preying on women alone and defenseless. One of these women just so happens to be the wife of a secret agent, pregnant with his child. Upon seeing his dead and multilated wife, Byung-hun Lee takes it upon himself to exact revenge on this sadistic murderer.

The film itself is dubbed in horribly translated English subtitles, but that's not really an issue if you can read a situation. If you're a fan of the American "Kill Bill" series, then you'll love this (meaning if you like a lot of blood, gore, and otherwise graphic content, you'll find this right down your alley). Overall, I found this film to be extremely violent yet well produced by the folks across the Pacific. Bravo.

On to tomorrow, I'm thinkin' dessert is on the menu one of these days soon...

 
 
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Yeah I picked it...but again it was because I hadn't seen it. After the fact, I looked it up on IMDB...it gave a 5.7/10. Here's why:

Sandra Bullock plays the role of housewife that has it all: beautiful house, loving husband, and 2 daughters that mean the world to her. All of the above are fine 'n dandy...until one morning she wakes up to news that her husband has been killed in a tragic car accident. Terrible news for someone who has so much going for her...until she wakes up.

It was all a dream...or was it? Sandra wakes up from this dream of horrible news to find her husband alive and well, yet she remembers her dreams so vividly that she has trouble deciphering what's real. Every night she falls asleep, her husband is dead...and when she awakes, the events that happened in the dream are happening in real life...what to do? Bullock tries to alter the events she has already seen in an attempt to save her husband and lifestyle from coming to a horrible end.

Overall, I was confused but drawn in by this films intriguing nature. If I were to put a rating on it...I might shoot a bit higher than 5.7, but not much (probably a 7 - TOPS). Unless your a Bullock fan or simply stumbled upon this film by chance (hopefully at no cost to you), then go for it. Otherwise...check out IMDB for some good suggestions.

Speaking of suggestions...leave me some in the comments!

 
 
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Something told me today was going to be off...and it started with so much hope! Starting with two new movies, I suggest you heed my warnings and avoid watching these box office failures...

The first cinematic disaster was "The Goods" starring Jeremy Piven (aka Ari Gold from Entourage), as well as many other recognizable faces including Ed Helms (Andy from The Office, Stu from The Hangover), Rob Riggle (SNL), and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers). With such a talented staff, how could it go wrong?

A horrible plot that's how. Don Ready (Jeremy Piven) is an expert used-car salesman that travels the country helping struggling dealerships move their inventory. One particular job has Ready thrown off his game, yet he has no choice but to improvise and live up to his reputation...otherwise the dealership will fall into the hands of rival auto dealer Paxton Harding (Ed Helms). It just isn't as funny as I thought it could have been...so to Mr. Neal Brennan - I had never heard of you before this, but I'll never watch one of your movies again.

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I should serve time for starring in this film
I blame ignorance on the selection of the last one, but the following film was chosen by my peers so I had no choice but to hope. IMDB was created for a reason, God help you if you choose to ignore its wisdom.

Instead, our party opted to believe the Netflix ratings and choose "The Education of Charlie Banks" as the next movie on the playlist. Garnering 3.5/5 stars on the rating scale, it seemed to be a safe play. Within 30 minutes, Norkin had seen enough...I should have stopped the horror then. Fred Durst, you did us dirty on this one...

Charlie (Jesse Eisenberg) stars as a college student that encounters an unpleasant surprise from a high school bully that shows up on campus years later. Just when Charlie thought he had escaped the drama, Mick (Jason Ritter) brings with him bad memories and an unstable ego - just what Charlie didn't want. As Mick is friends with Charlie's roommate, he sticks around essentially making Eisenbergs life a living hell. I could provide a further synopsis, but I'd rather not. Rotten Tomatoes didn't even give this film 50% on the Tomatometer, but lets be fair...those guys can be rough some times. IMDB gave it a 6.7/10, which would be a D+ in the classroom for those thinking positively. If you've got 100 minutes, do yourself a favor and put together a puzzle, nap, or polish your fine china - but do not by any means invest your time/money into this.

To top off my day, I had never stood in line (before the gates open) to get into a basketball game, or any other game for that matter in my life. Not really a big deal, but #4 SDSU squared off against #7 BYU today in battle for the top spot in the Mountain West Conference. Jimmer and the Mormons couldn't miss if they tried today, and it left my school as quiet as a ghost town (it's truly depressing stuff to lose to your most hated rival). So to my friends that waited in line for 3+ days, got rained on, and left your voices in the arena - I salute you. With only two losses, SDSU can still hold its head high. On a high note, at least we can still party! Cheers to best fans in college basketball! (See the vid below, but add 10x the intensity to duplicate last night)

Here's to hoping for new and exciting things on Sunday...

 
 
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You may have seen it around the streets of LA or on a high billboard someplace in Manhattan...Paris, England, or just about any other major city for that matter. I'm referring to street art. A recent development that started as a form of 'graffiti' has since evolved into mainstream media and art galleries. For those of you curious what street art is: take traditional icons with some sort of significance , change it around to reflect a different meaning, and post it for the world to see...even if for just a short while. Post it any way you can really, stickers, murals, posters...whatever. Just post it, no rules apply (some of the most visible public places have been hit by the street art movement - even Disneyland).

Tonight I was actually able to finish "Exit Through the Gift Shop" - without Netflix crapping out (last time an error popped up some 5 minutes into the documentary), so after a long day I suppose it'll count..guess I'm the only one really counting new things anyway.


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A hit by Banksy in San Diego
The title stems from the 'creation' of a street art icon. A man obsessed with filming practically anything life had to offer was given the greatest gift he could have ever asked for - a purpose. By having a family tie (his cousin) into the street art world, our main character transitions from French shop keeper and family man into street artist accomplice / film maker practically overnight. As experience and film accumulates, the role of accomplice isn't good enough for our 'star', so he progresses his vision further and becomes a street artist himself. This film was put together by world renown street artist Banksy and was apparently all the rave at the Sundance Festival (as I would find out later after completing the film...). I would have to agree with the critics, its pretty interesting to see what motivates some of these visionaries walking our streets. One may call it graffiti, but I see good taste and creativity. All in all, I'd say stop by your local blockbuster (what?) and check it out, it's worth a view. On to new things for tomorrow...

 
 
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Throwin' Down in the Kitchen
After a long and stressful week of studying for my riverdance and rhythm class, I decided to try an array of new recipes to satisfy my taste-buds. In my best Bobby Flay rendition, I bring to you home made mac-n-cheese, crash hot potatoes, and frozen banana bites for dessert. Needless to say, you NEED to try some if not all of these.

I should first note that these recipes were all gathered online through various blogs and foodie sites that also share the passion for making delicious food on the cheap (props to (Never Home)maker, For the Love of Cooking, and evil shenanigans for the recipes). Being a college student, funds are limited...but who said we couldn't make tasty morsels for a small party for under $15? Lets get started...

-note: these recipes are copied verbatim, for convenience / accuracy purposes. All credit to the respective sites above- 



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Sou Chef 'Coco' Crisp doin' work on the bananas
Ultra-creamy stove-top mac-n-cheese
(serves 6):

16oz macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
2 tablespoons butter
12 oz evaporated milk
12 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 egg, beaten
2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon red pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper

  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute.  Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.
  2. Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
  3. Mix the egg, milk, and spices and pour over the pasta.  Stir until it begins to thicken, about three to five minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

If you're opting for some side taters, you should start boiling them before starting the pasta ^^ so everything is timed nicely =)


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Bite size explosions of awesome
Crash Hot Potatoes (serves 6):

  • 12-15 baby red potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees 
  2. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Place the potatoes on a cooking sheet coated w/ drizzled with olive oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and with a potato masher, gently smash each potato. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and peppers (add a bit of your favorite dry herbs if you like).
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Eat plain or top with a little sour cream and green onions, whatever you do - Enjoy!


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Well worth the wait!
Got room for dessert? Don't fret, this last bit won't destroy the waistline, but they won't last long once you've made them. Fair warning given, here it is:

Frozen Banana Bites (Serves....a few):
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes (or nuts, in my case)
  1. Set out a large plate or bowl with a piece of parchment or wax paper on it.
  2. Cut up the bananas into good-sized chunks. Each banana should give you around 8 to 10 pieces.
  3. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about a minute. Then stir until smooth.
  4. Dip the banana pieces in the chocolate-peanut butter mixture. Lay them out leaving some space between them on the parchment/wax paper. Then when you've "covered" them all, use the remaining mixture to spoon over the tops (for even more chocolate-y goodness).
  5. Then sprinkle the unsweetened coconut flakes  (or nuts) on top. Transfer to the freezer for about an hour until hardened.
  6. You can enjoy them like this (but they really aren't frozen yet -- and when they're frozen, the banana tastes like vanilla ice cream)


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Bananas aren't just for monkeys
There you have it folks, bite size dessert that will surely keep your munchies at bay in delicious fashion. The toughest part about making these was keeping my paws (and everyone else's) off of these until they were frozen! If you've got 5 minutes and some basic ingredients, you've got money in the bank...

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Now that you've got dinner in your belly and dessert in the freezer (if it's lasted that long anyway), I called it a night with a new movie starring Jesse Eisenberg (also star of "The Social Network"). Eisenberg plays the role of Sam Gold, a Rabbi in training in a heavily Jewish community.

Regardless of his religious studies, making money was always on Sam's mind. A solution to his financial woes arrives when his cousin Yosef (Justin Bartha) shows up with a proposition to import European "medicine" to the US. Little does Sam know that he's actually transporting millions of dollars worth of precious narcotics across international boundaries. Experiencing a new side of life, Sam sees the highs and lows to dealing ecstasy in NYC. Based on a true story, take 90 minutes out of your day and enjoy this gripping drama.

Dinner + Dessert + Movie. Good Thursday. Stay posted  for my new experiences on Friday!