Beck: “Morning Phase”

Alright, at first I thought this whole Kayne West vs. Beck at the Grammys thing was kind of funny and just further proof of what a total fucking idiot Mr. West really is. But after spending just about every waking minute since Sunday night listening and re-listening to Morning Phase — which I got for Christmas and is already right up there with Mutations and Sea Change as one of my favorite Beck albums of all time — I’m done thinking it’s funny. And actually, I’m kinda pissed.

Morning Phase is a gorgeous, shimmering piece of folksy pop/rock perfection. Seriously, I want to just close my eyes and dive into some of those songs, this is Beck on overdrive and this album is freaking glorious on every level. And for anyone, anywhere to even remotely suggest that this lush, sensual album for the ages is in any way not Grammy-worthy is just fucking crazy. Yeah, I know, I dropped two F-bombs in one blog post, sue me.

The other thing that really irks me is that Beyoncé (who, by the way, is totally blameless here. It’s not her fault Kayne is an asshat!) already has a staggering 20 Grammys to her name. In fact, she is the most nominated female artist in Grammy history and the second most honored female artist at the Grammys like, ever. Trust me, Sasha Fierce don’t need no more Grammys.

By comparison, Beck has won six career Grammys. Six! When Star Wars: Episode VII opens this May there will be more Star Wars movies than Grammys with the name Beck on them in the world. And as much as I love me some Star Wars, that is just plain crazy.

So, even though this will cost me another quarter in the swear jar at home, I gotta say it: go fuck yourself, Kanye! Whew, I feel so much better. Thanks. Now, if you haven’t already checked out 2014’s Album of the Year, get stepping. It’s amazing!

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Limited Edition: Red Velvet Oreos

Usually when I hear about some too-good-to-true new flavored cookies, candies or ice creams one of two things happens. Either the story turns out to not be true or, as is usually the case, the finished product is absolutely disgusting. Luckily this time, the rumors that have been swirling online for a while now are true and Nabisco's Limited Edition Red Velvet Oreos are on store shelves as I type.

But the better news is that they are freaking awesome! Stuffed with some sort of delicious cream cheese filling (I would not advise you to even look at the nutritional information on these little pieces of heaven!) the cookie itself is amazing. Crisp, flavorful and the perfect compliment to the filling. Yum!

And best of all, these little cuties are not too sweet. I'm pretty picky about my red velvet flavored goodness and these guys totally take the cake, or um, cookie. Seriously, it's red velvet perfection! And what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day?

The only problem is actually finding Red Velvet Oreos in stores. Apparently they weren't kidding about that “limited edition” tag line on the package. These things are impossible to find, so, if you see them, buy them. And if you hate them, send them to me. 🙂

Happy hunting!

 

 

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Trailer Thursday: “The Slap”

I know Trailer Thursday’s are usually reserved for movies, but, this upcoming miniseries “event” on NBC looks just too crazy and bad/good not to share. I don’t know much about The Slap except that it is an American adaptation of a UK miniseries that actually won some acting awards and shit. And since this version features a cast of heavy-hitters (Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Brian Cox in a miniseries? On NBC?! insanity!) and is directed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Lisa Cholodenko, I figure it’s either gonna be really good or really crazy bad.

Either way, our DVR has been set for weeks. Enjoy!

 

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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Merry Christmas (2014)

I know this is more than a few days overdue, but we’ve been insanely behind on everything holiday-related this season. So, sorry! Believe it or not, this was actually the first year in our married life (and my adult life, period!) that Mrs. Yeti and I didn’t send out Christmas cards either! Yikes…such slackers…

Anyway, I guess the good news is that since we already have the Christmas cards purchased, we’ll be able to start working on them that much faster this coming Christmas! Ha! Either way, here’s hoping the holidays were good to you and that the year ahead is even better! Merry belated Christmas, amigos.

As you can see from the pic, Greta wore her Elsa Halloween costume to her visit with Santa. Yep, it was that kind of year. Enjoy!

 

 

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Date Night Movie: “Into the Woods”

Usually when I write about date night movies I'm taking about stuff that Mrs. Yeti and I see without Greta, but, tonight's “date night” was even more special. Greta and I saw a screening of Into the Woods on the Disney lot tonight and it was magical.

The movie was fantastic, the weather was wet and shimmery but not cold and the studio backlot was decorated to the hilt for tomorrow's annual tree lighting ceremony. Daddy/Daughter “date night” perfection! Seriously, we could have strolled around that gorgeous, candy-colored backlot all night…in fact, we kinda did. Enjoy the pics!

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Pumpkin Cream Donuts at The Donut Man

Having been a Donut Man loyalist since I first sampled their now-legendary Fresh Strawberry Filled Donuts a few years back, I was really looking forward to trying their Pumpkin Cream Donuts last weekend. I mean, hello, pumpkin filling and fresh, creamy goodness piled high on a big, fluffy donut, what's not to love?

The answer, it turns out, is plenty. I'm not saying it's the worst pumpkin-flavored concoction I've ever tried, but, sadly, this seasonal favorite doesn't hold a candle to The Donut Man's rocking Strawberry and Peach bretheren. It's not terrible, but, it's just weird tasting. And though a warm donut underlayer always sounds appealing, in theory, in actual practice, it left me seriously jonesing for some proper pie crust instead.

That said, the Tiger Tails were incredible (as always), the colorful Cream Puffs pictured below were amazing (even two days later!) and Greta loved the Halloweenish sprinkles on her chocolate donut, so, any way you look at it, we came out ahead. Thanks, Donut Man!

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“Downton Abbey” Halloween Costumes for Kids

Move over sexy Frozen costumes, there's a new king in town. Or, should I say, Earl, as in Chasing Fireflies' totally awesome Downton Abbey Earl of Grantham costume for kids. That's right, amigos, they have store-bought Downton Abbey Halloween costumes for kids and they are freaking adorable!

Currently, there are four Downton Abbey costumes available for the wee ones: Servent Jimmy, Lady's Maid Anna, The Earl of Grantham and Lady Grantham herself, the Countess of Grantham. And lest the kids have all the fun Chasing Firelies also offers adult versions of the costumes as well. And with a dedicated line of Downton Abbey accessories — including white servent gloves, jewelry and an adorable teddy bear decked out in Lady Grantham's signature white and black ensemlble — how can you lose?

The only downside to this amazingly geeky venture is the price tag. Chasing Fireflies' Downton Abbey children's costumes range in price from $64.50 to $89.50, and the adult versions top out at a whopping $119.50. I'm not saying that these beautifully-tailored costumes aren't worth it, but, man, at that price I'd hope they throw in a fancy Dowager Countess wig or something to boot. Yikes!

 

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“Star Wars: Rebels”

OK, I tend to be pretty generous where Star Wars is concerned. I worshipped the original trilogy as a kid, I loved the second two prequel films (Revenge of the Sith actually made me cry at the end!) and I thought the various iterations of the animated Clone Wars series were pretty solid with a few moments of true greatness peppered throughout. But, the latest addition to the Star Wars universe, the DisneyXD animated series, Star Wars: Rebels is straight up amazing!

I never thought I would say it, but, selling Star Wars to Disney a few years back just might be the smartest thing George Lucas has done in decades! Rather than water down and Disney-fy the franchise, the influx of new ideas and behind-the-scenes talent like Clone Wars veteran Dave Filoni and Star Wars über fan, director/producer Simon Kinberg has injected new life into what many fans once saw as a creatively bankrupt franchise, at best.

I mean, sure, I've watched just about everything that's been churned out over the past decade, but that doesn't mean it's always been good. But if the rest of the season lives up to Star Wars: Rebels' thrilling, action-packed pilot “movie,” then sign my Jedi ass up!

Seriously, this is top-notch Star Wars storytelling here! Cool, beautifully crafted characters with actual backstories and emotions, awesome action set pieces and best of all, one of the coolest storylines since the original trilogy. Set five years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Rebels follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of the Ghost as they sow the seeds of rebellion in a galaxy that has begun to grow weary of the galactic empire.

I know that sounds impossibly geeky, and it is, but it's also one hell of a ride. Centered around the adventures of the newest member of the Ghost crew, a Force sensitive orphan named Ezra, Rebels really went into overdrive when they revealed that the leader of the Ghost team, Kanan Jarrus, is actually one of the last surviving Jedi knights. Cooler still is the fact that Jarrus offers to train Ezra in the ways of the Force is he joins them. Does it get any cooler than that? Seriously, Greta and I were cheering out loud when Jarrus whipped out his lightsaber for the first time. So rad!

Of course, we're only on the third episode, so, the series could totally fall apart at any minute, but for now, I'm basking in Star Wars perfection. It's been a long time since there was anything this good in the new Star Wars universe and I'm gonna enjoy it!

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Cadbury Screme Eggs!

OK, I know I just gushed poetic about the current crop of pumpkintastic seasonal food offerings at Trader Joe's, but, Greta and I stumbled upon another fun Halloween-ish treat over the weekend that I simply had to share with you. So, please bear with me as I give you Cadbury Screme Eggs!

That's right, amigos, Cadbury eggs aren't just for Easter anymore! And though Greta swears the oozing green filling tastes like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream. I think they taste pretty much the same as the sugary yellow and white Cadbury goodness we've all come to love (or loathe!) over the years. Except for the fact that they're, you know, a sickly green color!

Anyway, Greta was so excited about these tasty treats that she had me film her eating one for the first time on her Planet Greta blog. We even added a little Halloween movie magic to this shoot too, so, enjoy the clip below and happy October!

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