Life as I know it… plus commentary

Archive for the ‘Versus’ Category

Best Wedding Dance video?

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Everyone is talking about that YouTube video where all the bridal party all boogie down the aisle.  OK.. 1) it was way too long and 2) the dancing was only so so.

Having taken part in an impromptu YMCA video (as the Indian ,I think), I know how hard these are to choreograph.  So here is my nomination for Best Wedding Dance video…


Written by arnold

July 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Versus

A cookie by any other name…

with 9 comments

My friends and I played poker fairly regularly every Thursday night for a good period of time.  The usual libations were present as were the usual snacks.  Poker, no matter how intense the game, and even Halo for that matter came to a stop at the cookie time.

Without fail, some would bring along the bright yellow and black package of what I call “Bake and Break” cookies.  (I actually get a lot of flack for saying it this way.  I like this order better sonically and besides… the title is not a recipe to be followed, just a list of things you do with the dough.

We managed to find some measure of detente when it came to cookie time.  Sammy will only eat the dough raw and doesn’t even really care for finished cookies.  Kyle needs to have melty middles.  Zac was always concerned with quantity rather than quality.  (In fact, one time he breezed by because he “couldn’t stay long”.  After he left, I asked where all the cookies went.  Various answers of “I had one” and “I ate two” were shouted out leaving us with the mathematical deduction that Zac had in fact eaten a dozen or so on his own while he was busy “not staying long”.  It would not surprise me at all if he was on his way home and smelled the cookies from the freeway and decided to stop over.)

So what was I saying?  Oh yeah… so cookies.  The topic is Crisp cookies versus gooey cookies.  I hate getting to Starbucks or the some other coffee shop and seeing a chocolate chip cookie.  I have them add that to my (low calorie, low fat, low sodium) sandwich and look forward to the day’s small treat.  I bite… and it’s chewy or soft.  I disdain this.  It’s the same reason I like toffees and not caramels.  I just don’t like the chewy.  So you can keep your floppy, warmed over cookie dough.  Give me a cookie that’s got a crisp edge and a solid center.  Warm with melty chocolate chips chunks is even better.

I’m sure Phoebe Buffay’s French aunt Neslay Tole-househ would agree

Written by arnold

April 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Versus

Starbucks vs. Coffee Bean vs. everyone else

with 19 comments

Yesterday was a kind of errand day. Had to run by the ATM, drop off mail, get Anakin chew toys (so he won’t eat any more remotes… the Tivo remote is the latest victim), etc. On my route, I stopped by the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. There were six people in front of me and I had to wait 20 minutes to get my coffee. (For Kyle… I know this because when I finally got my coffee, I couldn’t believe how long it had taken and I looked at the time stamp on the receipt)(For everyone else… sorry about that. I had to put that in to forestall the inevitable “It was probably more like five but you’re so impatient it only seemed like twenty minutes.”) Anyway, I got back in my car, headed over to Petco, took a sip of my non fat, decaf, iced mocha and realized there wasn’t a shaving of chocolate in it. And it had three pieces of ice in it. So I went back, (nicely) asked them to make me a correct drink (Yes, I showed them my receipt with the order on it. You knew I would, didn’t you?) and even got a free drink coupon.

All this to say, I hate Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

I have to remember this whenever I am out and I’m tempted to poke my head in there rather than walk the half block to the nearest Starbucks. I’ll say this for them. Their flavored coffees are pretty good. They make the best vanilla lattee of any of the places I go. Their chais suck… they use a powder and we don’t do powder. But their customer service is just awful. Seriously, 20 minutes for 6 people to get coffee (with 2 people behind the bar) equates to each cup taking six minutes each.

Starbucks, on the other hand, is so fast they’re like the coffee version of Kyle on the flag football field. (I had to throw in a compliment after I gave that accurate version of Kyle’s response up there). The chai is the standard by which other chais are judged and their coffee drinks aren’t bad. I did have a barrista friend who used to call the place Charbucks, accusing them of over roasting their beans. This is a bit more refined tasting than I am capable of. When it comes to coffee beans, anyway. I like that you can also get a variety of good lunch sandwiches under 350 calories and under $5. Not to mention interesting music. And I like the mix of people working, people chatting with friends, job interviews and church staff ditching the office that hang out in a typical Starbucks.

There’s also Peets which I don’t really like much. I go to Peets because Eric and Nathalie like that place because it’s also next door to Noah’s Bagels. They make their chai drinks using brewed chai tea. Really good for straight teas, but it’s a little weak for lattes. I also end up at It’s a Grind because it’s across the street from work. (Ever notice how many coffee shops are named with puns?) They’re OK coffeewise but don’t expect much ambiance. 90% of the people there are on Macs and iPods silently and very much individually taking advantage of the free wifi. Not much of a community feeling there.

I used visit this place called Cappuccino Charlie’s when I lived down in South Pasadena. First, the name made me laugh because I kept wondering how long the owner had the nickname. I kept picturing a third grader nicknamed Cappuccino Charlie at the water color easel. The only other reasons I went there were that it was close and on the way to the freeway onramp and the morning cashier had the most amazing auburn hair and I liked to look at it while she made my coffee. Eventually the place closed when the Wells Fargo/Starbucks moved in up the street. (Eric and I used to call this place WellBucks. Actually, I called it that and he made a run at StarFargo but that never caught on)

Hands down, the winner of this Versus is Starbucks.

Written by arnold

February 10, 2008 at 11:29 am

Posted in Versus

Sting versus Phil Collins

with 54 comments

This post has been a long time coming. In fact, it’s so momentous that it gets a new category…. Versus.  Mostly because I plan on revisit this idea of looking at one thing versus another.  In this case, we’re looking at male solo musical acts in terms of talent, musical greatness, and longevity.  Our contestants: Sting and Phil Collins. (Todd, we’ll get to Lionel Richie another time)

This has actually been a long running discussion between Kyle (and later me) against…. well… I’ve been asked not to use his real name but instead, his pseudonym Spartacus Bonesaw.  So Dusti… er…. Spartacus insists that Phil Collins is a greater talent than Sting.  This is simply ludicrous.

Let’s look at lyrics.  A sample Sting lyric:

In Europe and America
There’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets

and a sample Phil Collins lyric:

Just say the word, oh
Just say the word, oh

Phil Collins plays drums.  Sting plays bass, guitar, hurdy gurdy, mandolin and lute. Plus all kinds of medieval things I don’t even know the name of.

Sting writes pop, rock, alternative, Arabian influenced, classical, madrigals, ballads and jazz fusion.  Phil Collins sang the theme to Tarzan (which later was made into a Broadway play!)

Sting, in his youth, was a wild haired punker that grew into a sophisticated, jazzer who did much charity work to save the rainforests.  Phil Collins looks like one of my dad’s friends.

Clearly, the winner here in this premier version of Versus in Sting. Thoughts?

Written by arnold

January 12, 2008 at 3:31 am

Posted in Versus