NFT Radar: Smarty Pants

Finding good Eggs Benedict is a difficult and risky endeavor. Moreso than with other breakfast dishes (pancakes, for instance), you need to be careful ordering sight unseen. But I love any excuse to visit Georgetown and brunch at Smarty Pants is one of the better ones. I’m sure glad I tried the Benie because now I know it’s one of the best in the city. The hollandaise is perfect and they will throw some Morningstar Farms veggie sausage on there for you if you don’t dig on swine. If you do enjoy consuming farm animals, they have you covered there too. The corned beef hash is made from scratch and the Huevos Panteros is a delicious, crispy take on the ranch-style dish. The hash browns are all grease and crunch and could use a little work, but their featured dishes are spot on. Weekend mimosa and bloody deals help you recover from the night before. Lunch or dinner boasts an equally impressive menu, including brats, cheesesteak, succulent pork and the B.E.L.T. (B.L.T. with hard boiled egg). Sub any meat with field roast. You’d be stupid pants not to like this place.

6017 Airport Way S 98108

X-posted from Not For Tourists.


The Case of the Missing Garbage

My husband told me that he’d discovered something strange this morning. After putting out our garbage last night, he went to bring the bin to the curb this morning for our weekly pickup and noticed the bin was very light. He opened it. It was empty.

In Washington, or at least the Seattle area, our garbage situation is a little different. We have recycling bins for our plastic containers bottles, foil and paper. We have a yard waste bin for food scraps. All personal mail is shredded and put in the recycling bin. The items that go in our garbage are human waste, pet waste, plastic wrap and things like light bulbs and batteries. Certainly nothing exciting. Moreover, nothing that is in any way edible or would allow someone to steal our identities. In fact, they could learn very little about us from our garbage apart from the fact that I dye my hair and our cats poop…a lot.

So where did our garbage go?!!

Did someone take it? It seems like that is the only explanation. Raccoons would have left a huge mess. And they wouldn’t have gone after it anyway since it wouldn’t have smelled enticing. And if someone DID take it, WHY?!

We’ve had a bit of a silent feud brewing with our neighbors across the street. They have dogs. They let the dogs crap on our lawn. We put up a sign that has a picture of a dog crapping surrounded by a big “no” sign. The dogs still pooped there. Shortly after that, I started finding little plastic bags of dog crap in our garbage can. This annoyed me because our garbage men wouldn’t take them as is, so I’d have to put their little crap baggies into a normal garbage bag for pickup. So I started putting the glass recycling container on top of the garbage can to deter them from doing this. This morning, the glass container was not on top of the garbage can. My husband offered that maybe one of them went to put their dog crap in our can, felt guilty, and took our entire bag of garbage to their own can. That seems uncharacteristically considerate for someone who can’t walk across the street with a small bag of dog crap.

So I’m at a total loss here. Who or what could have taken our garbage and to what end? Moreover, is this something we should be concerned about? We were robbed last year and vandalized a month later. It’s not a dangerous neighborhood but crime does happen here. Is stealing garbage really a crime?

Please outline your theories in the comments.

Let it Bea

Death is always sad, of course. But every once in a while, we’ll lose an actor or actress who really leaves a void. That is how I feel about Bea Arthur. She didn’t die young, but she always seemed young. Even when she starred in a series about old ladies. The Golden Girls is one of the view sitcoms from my youth that I still find fresh and hilarious. Moreso now, in fact, because I get all the dirty jokes. It’s the original Sex and the City but without all that ugly consumerism and pathetic pining. I always assumed I was a Rose but wanted to be a Dorothy. (I recently took a Facebook quiz which revealed me to be a Sophia, which is OK too.) But Dorothy rocked because she was played by such a badass. Bea Arthur was a badass in everything she did. Even her cameo in the Star Wars Christmas Special, as the bar matron of the Mos Eisley Cantina who sings her customers out at the door at last call. Somehow she, above all others in that special, was able to maintain an air of dignity in the midst of such silliness.

I’ll sincerely miss you, Bea Arthur. I hope there’s a Golden Girls marathon in my future. Nay, in all our futures.

You Do It To Yourself, You Do

And that’s why it really hurts…

I had a perfectly good recommendation from a friend for a hairdresser. I went to her recommendation last time and was happy with the results. But that recommendation has very limited hours (weekends and evenings) and takes over two hours for a cut. I needed something in a hurry this time. So I went to Rudy’s. I brought a picture for the rest of my hair and had the very simple description of “Bettie Page bangs” for the apparently problematic fringe portion of my head. This girl had a picture of Bettie Page on decorating her station so I thought she knew what I was talking about. I relaxed when she cut the rest of my hair just perfectly. Then she dried my hair and told me to close my eyes because she was about to start on my bangs.

I think that “bangs” should be an entire semester long class in beauty school because no one seems to know how the fuck to cut them. Every new hairdresser seems to think my bangs need more bangs and they cut them without asking. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I didn’t have my bangs died a different color than the rest of my hair. Do they really think I’ll be totally cool with walking out of the place with black stripes in my purple bangs? It’s obviously a look I worked hard to achieve.

Even if I was OK with the extra bangs, I would not be OK with how she gave them to me. The new bangs aren’t in an even part. It’s all willy nilly. So now I’m going to have to invest in some barrettes and hair pins while I grow this shit out. I shouldn’t have to be doing this again. I know it’s my fault for waiting too long to go to inconvenient but sure-thing hairdresser. But do I really deserve this?:

I don’t even know what to do with this. Even after I pin back the extra bangs the remaining bangs are still pointy and weird. Normally I wouldn’t worry about it this much. It’ll grow back and be fine. But this is pretty fucked up. I could have done a better job myself…when I was 5. Is it really alright to send your client away looking like this?:

Dear Baxter,
Let this be a reminder to you, you masochistic moron. No more short cuts. Go to the lady who knows what she’s doing. ALWAYS. Even if you have to wait an extra long time or block out a big part of your Saturday. Otherwise it’s Barbie hair massacre for you. And you’ll still have to pay for it.

NFT Radar: Chaco Canyon

Many have praised it and I’ve only been once so I’m guessing Chaco Canyon is pretty hit or miss. For me, it was a huge miss. This is the sort of experience that makes meat and potatoes folks run for the hills. Me, I love organic food. But, while they succeed at stocking organic, local ingredients, they fail epically in the culinary department. The BBQ Seitan sandwich ($10.95) lived up to expectations only in that it was hot. Devoid of BBQ sweetness, it’s surprising that something so spicy could be so bland. It also became a soggy mess on the 10-minute walk home. The carrot cake ($5.95) was an affront to desserts. While it resembled one of my all-time favorites from a visual standpoint, the first bite was a shocking disappointment. I couldn’t identify the white topping, but it wasn’t frosting. The “cake” was bitter, mealy and raisin-free. The whimsical buttercream carrot on top, in this case an actual carrot, was the only edible part. To add insult to injury, this place ain’t cheap. Sure, there’s the quinoa “recession bowl” ($3.95). Quinoa is very tasty and chock full of protein but I shudder to think what they’ve done to it.

4757 12th Ave NE 98105

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Skyway Park Bowl & Casino

Bowling, Casino games, karaoke and Asian Fusion cuisine? Could such a place really exist (and possibly fill the void left by Sunset Bowl)? The answer is yes! The downside for central Seattleites is that South Seattle is difficult to reach without wheels. But if you can convince a friend to D.D. (sodas and coffee are free for that standup guy/gal!), it’s a terrific place to spend the evening. There’s so much to do, it’s almost overwhelming. The karaoke book is staggeringly thorough. The regulars bring astounding performances and they will always fit in newbies. The food in the bistro hits the spot. If your cravings are more local, they also have Fast Food Alley for your pizza and nacho needs, as well as a pie of the day. I enjoyed a divine slice of peach. And man, are the staff nice! If it’s not your night at the Pai Gow tables, the dealers seem genuinely sad for you. The parking lot may get a little sketchy after dark but the giant doormen are more than happy to walk you out. I wish you were a bit closer, S.P.B., but I love you all the same.

11819 Renton Ave S 98178

NFT Radar: Sutra

Sutra fulfills a niche that is sorely underrepresented: The Vegetarian Foodie. As a regular Top Chef viewer, I know that most gourmet chefs have no idea what to do with a slab of tofu. One guy, when faced with a tofu challenge, elected to braise it with beef fat to make it “taste good.” But the folks at Sutra don’t need to cheat to make vegetarian food classy and tasty. They’ve designed a sort of supper club with 2 seatings, Wednesday through Saturday. The 4 course, set menu runs around $33 per person. Beer and wine is extra. All the ingredients are local, seasonal and organic. The presentation is professional and attractive. Even though you share the small dining room with 20 people, and they begin with a speech about the meal, you can still have a nice private dinner with your friends. The food itself is… good! It’s not life changing but if you’re having a birthday dinner or celebration of some sort wherein 2 or more of your party are vegetarians, this is a great place to go. The changing menu means that every Sutra experience will be new and exciting. Not unlike the most famous Sutra of all, the Kama.

1605 N 45th St 98103

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

Film Threat Review: Sun Dogs

91 minutes
Gargantuan Films

One and a half stars

“Sun Dogs,” which screened at the Philadelphia Film Festival/Cinefest and is written and directed by Jason Affolder, is another self-important movie about an underachieving 30-something who scrapes by on pseudo-philosophy. The protagonist is Michael (Matt Palumbo), a high school teacher on summer break. He makes money by donating plasma every 3 days and spends most of it on booze. In his spare time, he cavorts with, and dispenses advice to, a latchkey teenage boy. It takes a lot of chutzpah to write and direct movie like this. You have to be pretty confident that your dialogue is groundbreaking or, at the very least, realistic. If it isn’t, you’ll have a tedious mess on your hands. And that, my friends, is “Sun Dogs.”

When he’s not attached to a needle, swigging from a whiskey bottle on a park bench or selling contraband to teenagers, Michael likes a bit of karaoke. But he only does one song: “Cupid” by Sam Cooke. One evening, a girl named Ashley catches his performance and violently rips the mic away from him, before storming out. Thus begins their irritatingly complicated love affair. She doesn’t believe in love. He does. She doesn’t want a commitment. He does. She has secrets. He also has secrets. Will these secrets tear them apart?! Whatever!

Michael also spends a lot of time with a high school student named Andy, teaching him to drive and dispensing love advice. Andy is ignored by his single, working mother. You can tell she ignores him because they are out of cereal. In fact, this movie is full of hackneyed short-hand moments like that. Michael and Ashley are whimsical because they dance in the street when there’s no music! Chess is a metaphor for life! Puh-lease!

“Sun Dogs” is supposed to be about quirky, lonely people who say offbeat things that double as universal truths. It’s tries very hard to be “Me, You and Everyone We Know.” But Miranda July’s movie works because her story is full of humility. Her characters have real reactions to life as it happens to them. They take it one moment at a time. In “Sun Dogs,” the characters see everything as a metaphor for the big picture. Michael says things like “I’m watching the present become the past”, “You gotta pick the golden peanuts out of the shit pile” and “It’s an accidental world” and you can hear Affolder’s smugness in every line. There’s a desk calendar out there that could use his brand of wisdom. But in script format, it’s a bloated mess.

The dialog wouldn’t be so intolerable if the characters were at least somewhat interesting. But Affolder doesn’t give us any reason at all to care about them. So he’s a lonely teenager. So she’s a waitress who paints trees and doesn’t get along with her mother. So he’s a poor, alcoholic high school teacher. So what? Do they do or say anything we haven’t seen or heard before? The most interesting thing about Michael is that he has a beard. But then, at Ashley’s request, he shaves it. . . into a soul patch. He’s a soul patch kind of guy. How much do you want to bet that Jason Affolder also has a soul patch?

Originally posted on (now defunct).

The Rock of Love Bus if Finally Over!

I’m really hoping it’s out of my life forever. That really ended with a whimper, didn’t it. But, like an abusive boyfriend, I’m sure it will be back. And I’m hoping I’ll have the courage to tell it to fuck off. Continue reading

Film Threat Review: God’s Forotten Town

90 minutes

One Star

“Intrusos (en Manasés)” or “God’s Forgotten Town,” is an excruciatingly silly “horror” film from Spain starring the poor woman’s Penelope Cruz, Belén López. Lopez plays a paranormal journalist who takes a team to a ghost town to investigate the disappearance of its residents 60 years ago. It’s a silly, meandering movie with a little pretension thrown in for good measure. To call it a B movie would be an undeserved compliment.

As the film opens, Julia and Roberto, a young couple who also work together in some journalistic capacity, interview a woman who claims to be haunted by ghosts. Her daughter draws crude pictures of herself with the ghosts, so we know this woman is telling the truth. But Julia and Roberto don’t believe her (even though it’s their job to investigate ghost stories?!) and tell her to get physiological help. On their way out, Julia gets a weird feeling and decides to go back just in time to see the lady throw herself and her daughter off the balcony. Julia regrets not believing her and plunges into a deep depression.

Julia lays low for a few weeks and takes baths. (Yes, there are boobs. That may be the film’s only saving grace.) She comes out of hiding to go back to work with Roberto and explore a haunted town called Manases. In 1945, all of the town’s residents disappeared after a Nazi plane crashed there. The Nazis were after the “Scepter of Power,” an object that, like the Holy Grail or Ark of the Covenant, would have helped them win the war. Apparently the Nazis had no real strategy for WWII. They just kept hoping they’d find a magic object. It’s amazing they had any time at all to kill Jews.

Aiding Julia and Roberto on their assignment are Syra, a stoner camerawoman, and Ruben, a super straight-edge grip. Ruben wears a t-shirt with Xs on it and constantly tells Syra not to smoke pot. She rolls her eyes at him and tells him to lighten up. What foils these two are! Can they ever make it work?

Of course, once in Manases, they encounter scary ghost business in the form of, well, everything. In addition to straight-up ghosts, there is also flying pottery, mirrors that smash themselves, ghostly voices, mysterious footprints, ghosts in mirrors, ghosts on video camera night vision, first person ghost-vision and possession. It’s like a ghost story checklist. And it’s all ridiculous.

Eventually, a little ghost girl shows Julia what happened in the town and how to save her and stop the evil ghost Nazi from activating the Scepter of Power. It’s at this point where the whole thing goes from stupid to redonkulous. They also decide to explain everything in nauseating detail. The ghost girl’s flashback goes on forever. Then later, there’s another flashback to explain what happened during the first flashback. And then there’s the ending. I won’t spoil it for you even though you have no business watching this movie. But I will tell you that it’s one of the maiziest (Spanish for corn!) things I have ever seen in a movie pretending to be a horror film.

But, at least there are boobs. Twice!

Originally Posted on (now defunct).