Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reflections: Artful Stew

4. I made it to 365 posts on Artful Stew this year. We did it, readers! I know I wrote (or at least conglomerated) the stuff, but I couldn't have made it without your patient eyes and thoughtful comments.

Who knows what next year holds for old Artful Stew. Maybe we'll get a 17th reader, maybe not, but I'm proud of what we accomplished and am hopeful that next year will be even greater.

2011, here we come! Let's do this thing!

2010 Reflections: Love

3. This is the first year that the BF and I have lived together. It's better than I ever could have imagined, and I can't wait to have our first whole year together. We even got a new loveseat and bookcase to celebrate! I'm very much looking forward to some New Year's Day Ektorp assembly celebrations.

The fact that he gave me tickets for a romantic trip to Paris this year has me a little more excited than usual for the New Year, as well! He's the best!!

2010 Reflections: Kidney

2. Another year, and my kidney is working even better than before. I'm so grateful for this I cannot even express it. Despite all the wacky (and not-so-wacky-but-more-just-annoying-or-painful) side effects, I'm really taking care of my precious gift, and I'm happy to have the chance and honored to have the responsibility. I will continue to be a good kidney caretaker next year. I promise!

2010 Reflections: Jobs

1. This was the first year I had a job for a whole year. And I didn't get fired. Or even F up too majorly. Wow. That's pretty awesome. And also terrifying - I have to do this for 40 more years before I can retire!!? What up with that?

1.5. I'm pretty proud of myself for doing a monthly stand-up and improv show, too, all while doing this whole job thing. I'm looking forward to doing more of that this upcoming year, as well as finishing my second screenplay, maybe even writing a pilot or a spec script for a TV show, who knows.

Best Reviewed Movies 2010

/Film did a nice writeup of the best reviewed movies of 2010 in terms of Rotten Tomatoes vs. Metacritic.

while I have to admit that I turn to metacritic more often than I do to Rotten Tomatoes for my initial thoughts on whether I should go see a movie or not, I do prefer the way that Rotten Tomatoes goes about their reviewing system.

Yes, NY Times may not think, "I Love You, Man" deserves more than a 60, but I still really enjoyed it. Just because a movie doesn't get high ratings from critical thinkers doesn't mean it's not enjoyable, and that, sometimes, is more important to me.

Now, if even the average viewers think the movies terrible (something you can really only see via Rotten Tomatoes), then I know to stay away... at least until it mysteriously pops up on my Netflix Instant queue.

PS. For my money, "Toy Story 3" is definitely the best movie of the year, but "The King's Speech" is an exceptionally close second. If you haven't seen it yet, go see it. It's moving without being too dramatic. I loved it. Also, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is awesome, but that's mainly because I love HP in all forms... except, like, in miniature form. I'm not that crazy.

'I Am' Trailer: Pretty Cool

All I need to do is become a famous comedy director first. Also, I'd prefer to avoid the horrible accident part.

The Year in Politics...

... Is not a post I'm going to write. It would be too depressing, seeing as despite the landmark health care legislation that was passed, so many things went terribly, horribly wrong.

However, here are some recent bright spots in the last few weeks of this serious rollercoaster of a year in politics:

- The Bill Ensuring Health Care for 9/11 Responders (thanks, in part, to Jon Stewart)

- Extending Unemployment Benefits for another 19 Months (though, of course, at the truly horrific price of extending tax cuts for the wealthy, but we won't talk about that tonight!)

Let's hope that Obama and the Democrats can keep this momentum going. It's going to be rough going with the Republicans trying to derail the entire Constitution next year, but if Obama uses this momentum to strengthen his backbone and really start to fight back, I think we'll be ok.

I Miss Sunny!

I miss my puppy, Sunny, a lot now that we're back in New York. Our toy poodle (and by that I mean stuffed not miniature, and by stuffed I mean toy, not stuffed like a dead animal) O'Doodle just isn't cutting it, as cute and huggable as he is. Admittedly, though, he works for New York because he doesn't mind our small apartment and he doesn't need walks or food or water or anything besides the occasional dusting. Plus, it's pretty fun to put him outside the bathroom or by the front door when one of us is about to enter or leave and surprise them.

Anyway, this adorable Goldendoodle Roxy reminds me of Sunny and all the great dogs we saw on our walks in Dallas. Isn't she sweet? Thanks, Daily Puppy! I hope your New Year's is full of puppy paws and squeezable ears and no "What did you eat!? Don't throw it up on the carpet!!"'s

Speaking of Writing Tips...

I've been working a lot of my second feature lately. I'm really excited about the premise, and I've done a lot of outlining and blocking and even some actual, physical writing. However, when I read this Screenwriting Tip, I had to laugh:

Because, in all honesty, you'll never get the former out of me, but you will always, undoubtably, get the latter.

Writing Tips: Zing!

I subscribe to the daily blog, "Screenwriting Tips... You Hack!" It's a funny blog that actually does give good screenwriting tips to me, the hack.

Every once and a while, though, I disagree with the author. To his Christmas post, I have this to say:

While it's true that "every joke involving a man in a Santa costume has already been done. There is nothing new to add to the genre," what about a dog in a Santa costume? Yeah, didn't think of that one, did you?


And yes, to all you rich and powerful movie and television producers, managers, and agents out there, I've got a million of 'em.

"Send a Hello" Stamps of 2011: Pixar!

This is the main reason that m(any) of you will be getting mail from me after August 19, 2011: Pixar postage stamps, courtesy of the United States Postal Service. They even have a WALL-E one!!

How cute are they!?

You know, in case any of you miss my birthday next year, like, by a LOT, send me a card with one (or twelve) of these stamps on them and you're totally forgiven. For realz.

I'm definitely looking forward to 2011 now. Before, I was "meh," but now, I'm totes "Woot!"

Futurama Table Read

This clip of a table read from "Futurama" over at Comedy Central Insider is pretty darn awesome.

I know it may not seem like much, but it proves that writers and actors are people, too! People who laugh at their own (and their team's) jokes!

This is a huge step towards the realization that I can, one day, be one of these people. Because I, too, am very good at laughing at things that I write and possibly even better at things that other people write - unless I'm feeling particularly vain, in which case I'll mainly laugh at my things. Just being honest.

Steve Martin: Tweeter Extraordinnaire

Steve Martin's been doing some great tweeting on his fictional jury duty (though he really is going on jury duty soon). The BF and I laughed out loud reading these.

An article on them, courtesy of Gawker (though they didn't realize at the time that he wasn't actually on jury duty).

Can't Read My Present Face!

Some more New Year's fun for you. The hilarious Garfunkel and Oates duo have come up with the brilliant concept of the Present Face. Personally, I didn't receive any gifts this year that warranted the face, but I've had my Present Faces in the past, and can relate.


Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity: The Biggest News Story of 2010?

I'm not saying it is, but Newsweek sure seems to think so, and I'm fine with it.

Does this make me one of if not the most important person of 2010? Clearly, Newsweek thinks so, and I'm definitely not going to argue with that.

Huge Kidney News!

Tracy Morgan is recovering from a kidney transplant he received on December 10th. I know this news is about a week late, but I thought it was nuts that two "30 Rock" stars have gotten transplants in the last year, and I'm really happy that everything went well and that he's recovering. I know it can be tough, but I'm sure he can handle it.

I certainly hope he's at the NKF walk next year - maybe I can meet him, too! Clearly I should be working at "30 Rock" to complete the 3-kidney-transplant team trio.

The best part of me hearing about this is that the BF texted me the news while I was having my annual glo-fil done at DTI. A glo-fil is a long, more accurate test that measures kidney function. Everyone in the clinic went crazy after hearing about Tracy Morgan. I think they hope that he (along with Grizz) can help bring some light to this issue. Also, my kidney's doing even better than it was last year! Hooray!

I certainly hope that Tracy's is, too. I hope your recovery is going well, Tracy. If you need any tips on pills and things, feel free to give me a call!

Looking Back, Pixelated!

In another bit of nostalgia, here's a funny video from College Humor about forgotten video games from the 1980s.

Much pixelated fun ensues...

[Thanks, Neatorama!]

Kodachrome's Last Roll

Kodachrome's last roll has been developed. Kodak stopped making the chemicals needed to develop it last year.

Honestly, when I first heard the Paul Simon song of the same name, I thought it was about drugs. Then again, I was about 13 and at the time I thought all good songs were about drugs or other bad things because I had just learned what "Brick" by Ben Folds Five (my favorite song at the time) was about (spoiler alert: abortion! Eeps!) and decided that all good songs must be about terrible things. Otherwise, why would Ben Folds have written such a sad song with such a good tune?

Then my brother laughed at me and told me about it a type of color film, but I still thought it was code for drugs.

I wish I could say I ever actually used the film, but it's still sad to see it go. With it goes a piece of my innocently-cynical-about-losing-my-innocence years.

[Thanks, NY Times!]

Happy Dog Story for New Year's Eve!

The embedded video doesn't seem to be working, but you can watch it here.

Bet this dog won't be bolting after the package delivery guy again anytime soon. And by "soon" I mean about five minutes, as dogs have the memory of kumquats about such things.

Hope this cheers up your New Year's Eve!

[Thanks CBS Baltimore via Fark via Gawker!]

More Holiday Dogs!

This adorable photo collection of dogs dressed up in holiday garb (mostly reindeer antlers) isn't for a good cause like the video of decorating dogs was, but it's still pretty darn adorable!

Check it out before the holiday season ends and you look like a bubbaffoon!

How to Beat a Cold This Winter

I thought this article from the Daily Beast about avoiding colds was mostly the same old stuff, except this:

If you do get sick, don’t blow your nose too hard. Nose blowing doesn’t relieve stuffiness. A stuffy nose doesn’t result from too much mucus but rather, from the swelling of blood vessels in your turbinates—the spongy shelves lining the sidewalls of your nasal passages—which you don’t particularly want to expel. Also, forceful nose-blowing can drive nasal secretions into your sinuses, where they can cause secondary infections. - Jennifer Ackerman, The Daily Beast
Say whaaaaaaat? I don't think I understand what she's saying. Does she mean a stuffy nose or a runny nose? Because something definitely comes out when I have a runny nose and I much prefer it in the Kleenex Brand Tissue rather than in my lungs/throat/sinuses/etc.

Here's my real question, though, are you supposed to blow out of one nostril or both at the same time? I've heard, from two separate NY Times articles, that each one is worse, so which one really is? I prefer blowing one nostril then the next, but am I setting my sinuses up for failure?

Then again, I guess the point is pretty moot since I already had my winter cold. Fortunately, I got over it quickly and was back in Dallas at the time, so got to enjoy all the pampering and souping of being sick at home. The best!

Fun with Dough: The NY Times Gets Crumby

This delightful article from the NY Times, "Let it Dough," it super fun and a great read for the New Year.

I think my favorite one is the, "I created Reindeer - then Man and Okapi." Hilarious!


The Restaurant of 2011?

If David Burke Townhouse was my and the BF's fancy restaurant of choice this past year, will ABC Kitchen be our fancy restaurant of 2011?

It sounds pretty great on paper (check it out - local, organic, famous chef, what more could you want?), and we're planning on going next weekend.

However, the true test will not if it's delicious when we go for its regular menu, but if it will offer a great option over Restaurant Week? Because that's where David Burke won us over. They offer just about the full (delicious!) menu for Restaurant Week and the waiters aren't mean to you about it, which is a winning combination.

So we'll see if ABC Kitchen can live up to our high David Burke standards or if the Townhouse will continue to be our restaurant of choice in 2011.

Best Food of 2010: A Reflection on Serious Eats' Peoples' Choice Awards

Serious Eats put out there Peoples' Choice Awards for best food of this year.

Most importantly, Di Fara won for best "old school" pizza. Clearly, it should have won for best pizza all around, but that's ok. Shake Shack won for best burger, also a plus.

Then there were a couple of old Columbia area winners, which I thought was weird - Dinosaur BBQ for best BBQ, Absolute Bagels for best bagel... Do all the Serious Eats readers go to Columbia or something? Do they have fond memories of Absolute Bagels at KCST rehearsals? Very strange, indeed.

They also have a best cupcake section, a best pie section, and a best ice cream section (which was won by a gelato place, is that even fair? They're two different things!), but no best cookie section. Everyone knows pie is the new cupcake and cookies are the new pie! Seriously, Serious Eats, get on that.

The rest of the winners didn't mean a whole lot to me, but their pick for best new restaurant sounded intriguing. May have to go there soon!

What did you all think? Too foodie? Dead-on? Comment all about it!

A Hyperbole and a Half Christmas Story

In case you missed it, here's a great Christmas story from Hyperbole and a Half.

Also, I hope you all listened to the Christmas episode of "This American Life." Julian McCullough has a truly great, though super sad, story on it. It's the last story, probably because it's the best.

Merry belated Christmas!

Notable Kidney News

Ronald Lee Herrick, the world's first kidney donor passed away on Monday at age 79. Back in 1954, he donated one of his kidneys to his twin brother, who was dying of chronic nephritis. That kidney transplant allowed his brother to live for eight more years, an incredible feat for the revolutionary surgery.

Thanks to Ronald's bravery and compassion for his brother, all of us kidney patients have to chance to live full, healthy lives.

Thank you, Ronald, and I hope you are resting in peace this New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why I Haven't Blogged: Or, Snowed in, in Dallas

This is the easiest way of explaining why I haven't blogged in a while:

The big blizzard of 0'10 shut down all the airports on the Eastern seaboard, so my flight for Monday was changed to Thursday. Since I don't like to blog while on vaca (and by that I mean vay-cay as in vacation, not as in the Spanish word for cow), it meant that instead of not blogging for a week, I didn't blog for about two weeks. Nuts!

Anyway, I'm back and I've got a LOT of blogging to make up for before 2011 is upon us, so get ready for a barrage of posts tomorrow.

Hope you all had a happy holiday and got to take at least a few days off! I know I did!

[You can learn more about the film here. It's based on Dziga Vertov's "Man with a Movie Camera" which I studied back in film school! Don't tell anyone, but I like this one better. Though that could just be because I don't have to write a paper on the theory behind it. Also, Roger Ebert thinks it should be nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film of 2010. "Idiot with a Tripod", that is, not "Man with a Movie Camera," which I think might be a little late to qualify.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

Top 30 Dogs of 2010

Everyone's making their end-of-the-year lists, but I think this one about the Top 30 Dogs of 2010 tops the list of lists. Everyone loves internet cats, but no one appreciates the adorability of internet dogs.

All they were missing was this super adorable video of holiday dogs having a great time, courtesy of the Best Friends Animal Society. Enjoy!

Cinescape 2010

Here's another pretty cool montage of the films of 2010. I don't think year has been the greatest in film, but it's been pretty good, and it's worth a second look. Also, I think the trailer editors deserve some major credit for this video, as I'm sure most of it's cut from trailers, which cut from the best of the movies themselves.

[You can read more about Cinescape over at /Film]

The 50 Greatest Movie Monologues

Speaking of movies, here's a fun archive of's 50 favorite (they say greatest, but since it's technically their opinion I'm going to say favorite) movie monologues of all time.

I haven't gotten a chance to watch all the clips yet, but I've been through the list and they've got a lot of really enjoyable monologues on there. I'm glad I'm off of work, because these videos are really getting me into movie-watching mode!

What about you guys? What are they missing? What are your favorites?

Filmography 2010: Decent Year in Films, Great Year in Compilation

In case you missed it (this has been going around the internet this week, but I've only just now gotten a chance to watch all my internet videos), here's "Filmography 2010", a compilation of 270 of the films produced and/or distributed in 2010. It's a fantastic compilation that makes me actually want a watch a lot of the films I had didn't get a chance to see this year. Also, the music is fantastic!

/Film did a great interview with the editor here.

You can view a list of the movies show in order here. Of course, some movies are sampled more than once, but I think it would have been redundant to list them multiple times.

Quick sidenote: there's a shot from "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" in there, but only because it's used in a flashback in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Clever!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toy Story 3 (and Pixar!): By the Numbers

I read this first on /film. Milo put up an awesome infographic on Toy Story 3's monetary breakdown since its release. It includes Toy Story 3's box office earning compared to other Pixar films as well as a bunch of fun facts about merchandise and the like, as well.

I think the most interesting part of the graphic is how different Pixar films have fared at the box office compared to one another. Looking at the box office numbers, it's interesting that Pixar decided to go with Cars and Monsters Inc sequels instead of something like Finding Nemo or The Incredibles. Then again, Cars is John Lasseter's baby, so it's not too much of a surprise. Cars 2 is definitely the Pixar movie I'm least excited about, especially after seeing a trailer and reading the synopsis, but Pixar's surprised me before, so I'm hoping they surprise me again. We shall see!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Monkey Day!

Apparently, today is Monkey Day! A day to raise awareness about the adorableness of monkeys and their many troubles in this world of ours. Monkeys need our help, and not just in the world of cuddling. Since I have a job and am very important, here is a blog that is entirely devoted to monkeys, especially on this special day, and their post for today.

[image via Petpostive]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Food Revolution NYC!

I certainly hope these recommendations initiated by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn for revitalizing New York City's food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and post-consumption get passed through our city and state legislature. You can read a nice summary of them at Serious Eats.

I find the initiative on city-wide composting particularly interesting.

Nate's Cartoons is Back!

In case you all had been missing Nate's Cartoons desperately, you can read two cartoons a week over at Smosh and one cartoon a week at Nate's Cartoons.

Today's is particularly amazing. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Voice in the Vent: In His Own Little Corner

I woke up the other morning to a lovely rendition of, "In My Own Little Corner," sung by our very own Voice in the Vent. I thought it was particularly amusing for two reasons:

1) His own little corner was clearly not as much his own as he believed it to be, as I was sharing part of it, at least aurally. Also, another male voice interrupted him halfway through, so I was left to finish the song on my own, hoping that the vent would work as a two-way system. I don't believe it is, but mainly because whenever I say, "Bless you!" when I hear a sneeze, I have not yet gotten a "Thank you!" in return, and I prefer not to think that they're just rude.

2) I was in a severely abridged musical version of "Cinderella" when I was in 5th grade. I was the youngest in my acting class, which meant, for some reason, I had to play the old king. I still don't understand why I was cast as this part, but maybe it was because the king was supposed to be goofy, short, and clumsy, and I definitely embody those three traits. I really was annoyed that I wasn't Cinderella, though, because "In My Own Little Corner" is a lovely song and I really wanted a solo. I also wanted to kiss a prince on stage! Thinking back, though, I don't remember our prince to be all that handsome.

Thanks for the good memories, VITV! I can't wait to hear your version of, "The Lobster Quadrille" from the musical version of "Alice in Wonderland." In that one, I played the griffin - a way cooler part, indeed.

Simon's Cat: Santa Claws

Simon's got another adorable cat cartoon out! I've got it on good account that kitties actually do this - which may be why it's been so hard for my BF to convince me to agree to the possibility of ever getting a kitty (then again, the possibility of me actually ever getting a Christmas tree of my own is very small, too, considering that it seems like a mess to maintain even for the few weeks before Christmas - and then all the spiny needles fall off when you try to take it out and it's just a mess!).

Anywho, apparently the bf's kitties used to climb up in their trees and knock them over all the time. I can't really blame them, though. It looks like a ton of fun. What about you guys? Did your kitties or other animals ever attack your holiday/indoor tree/treelike object, Christmas variety or otherwise?

Cat Diaries

Here's a cute little video made by Friskies all shot from the viewpoint of several kitties.

It definitely makes the lives of kitties more interesting, but possibly because they left out the 14 hours wherein the cat is either sleeping or licking its butt.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Big Cat Christmas!

Christmas came early to the Big Cat Rescue in Florida. You may remember these kitties eating pumpkins back in Halloween. Well now they're here to bring you some holiday cheer!

Watch the kitties rub stuff, gnaw stuff, and play with stuff! They're having a great time, and so will you this holiday season! But only if you watch this adorable video (seriously, it's one of the rules this year. I have no idea why. Take it up with the cats).

PS. I think they doused everything in catnip. Don't you? Why else would they be rubbing themselves all over everything?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds

Here's a great summary of our past and future issues with fossil fuels from the Post Carbon Institute. Check it out and follow the links to learn more!

Reminds me a lot of The Story of Stuff and The Story of Bottled Water. Check those out, too!