A bowl of curry yogurt chicken over rice.

I improvised a yogurt curry chicken last night. Came out pretty good!

Shakespeare is opening for us tonight.

A white board with Macbeth at 7pm and Cats Cradle at 9pm.

The manhattan Alamo has a VHS collection. The ghost of Kim’s Video poking out.

A shelf of VHS tapes, mostly obscure,B, or Japanese genre films.
A clear day view from an elevated train platform looking down a bustling urban street lined with buildings. The street is filled with cars and a few pedestrians, with patches of snow on the sides and a clear blue sky above. The city skyline is faintly visible in the distance under the soft glow of the setting or rising sun.

Astoria Boulevard from the train station.

Made a delicious lentil curry off my chef friend Kayla’s recipe.

A green bowl with a yellow lentil curry inside. There’s chopped herbs on top, and an orange yolked soft boiled egg broken on top.

My psychedelic improv team the Cat’s Cradle is playing the Player’s Theatre again March 1st at 9:30pm. Get tickets before time folds in on itself (discount automatically applied).

Image of a black box theater, with several improvisors arrayed on stage in a twisty stage picture. Titles are superimposed over the image in neon lettering. The title is “Cat’s Cradle”, followed by the date of the show, “Friday, 03/01 @ 9:30pm Players Theatre NYC” and a link to tickets at catscradleimprov.com. A quote appears at the top: “High energy, psychadelic, improv comedy”

Over the weekend I saw the Black History Month Check In Show, an evening of all black improvisation and one sketch. Such a funny show.

Six black improvisors, half women half men, dancing on a black box theater stage.

Eat at Haidilao Hot Pot in Flushing yesterday. Meal lasted ~3 hours. So damn good. I only have one photo of the food from before anything was cooked as after I was too busy stuffing my face.

Four soup bases in the center of a table, two ladles sticking out of the broth. Some peppers and crispy tofu peak out. There's a small plate of pineapple next to the soup.

Has there ever been a bigger drop in quality in album art than between the first two Danzig albums?

The first record? One of the most iconic images in hard rock.

The first danzig album cover art, featuring a black field with a demon skull emossed in white

The second record? Prank.

The second danzig album cover art, featuring a black and white photo of Danzig's hairy white chest, his hands gripping a crucifix with a demon skull on it.
A photo of me on stage in a black box theater, shot from behind. I'm a bald, aging white man. I'm wearing black jeans and a pastel pink dress shirt. My hands a splayed out in eggagerated gestures. Some of my improv teammates, an Asian woman, three white men, and a black man, look on.

Got to perform in a wonderful, supportive speed-dating improv show last night. These shows are always so fun and the audience has such a great time, not to mention us the performers. Check loose corn on Instragram for upcoming shows.

It’s a snow day in Astoria ❄️

Accumulating snow as seen through my water streaked and screened window. Two and three story buildings are dusted with snow. The sky is white obscuring the bridge almost completely.

Had amazing Sichuan food at Hupo in Long Island City. So good, I’m jealous of my past self.

Dishes of golden tofu, beef stew , crispy tofu, and rice.

Taking a short bus ride into a short walk to pick up my city boy coffee on a warm day right here in Astoria. ☕️

A bag of coffee beans being held by my white hand in front of a wall of graffiti.

I don’t know how it happened, but I need everyone to know that my cousin and I are the coolest motherfuckers in the world right now.

Two white people walk confidently towards the camera. The first, my cousin Karolina, is wearing dark sunglasses, a black baseball hat, leather pants, and a jacket. I'm behind her, wearing polarized sunglasses, dark jeans, and a grey balzer over a black half button. We look dope.

Another dithering experiment, along with my fascination with corners of ignored industrial space.

A green, dithered photo of a shallow allyway. There are brick buildings forming the corridor, with a cemement staircase leading to an embedded metal door. There's a pile of scrap metal neatly stacked in front of the staircase.

Playing with dithering.

A dithered, dark shot of a small crowd in a warehouse. The people are staring towards purple lights.

Dave and I have been cackling at this shot of me. I look like a depressed mouse.

Extreme close up angle of me, a whir man with beard and glasses. The angle makes my eyes look huge and my chin taper into a tiny point.

I’m not above a dog graffiti shot.

A photo of a sad eyed dog graffiti

At a random LA warehouse for my cousins bands soundcheck.

A industrial warehouse with three white people playing instruments. Two guitars and one guy crouching by a monitor.

Media Diet - January 2024

My January has been monopolized by moving into an apartment and traveling to California for work and to see friends and family. In between all that, here’s what I was watching, reading, and listening to this past month.

Movies

Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One movie poster

A masterpiece. I saw it the last day it was playing in theaters in New York with Ryan and Allyson. Emotional, relevant, and with a banger of an old school soundtrack. Godzilla is a scary monster here, putting immense pressure on the humans who are squarely the focus.

The Aristocats

The Aristocats movie poster

Half watched this at Allyson’s cat’s birthday party (no explanation coming). I love the evil butler and all his pratfalls; it’s Disney edging in on being funny. Also, still racist.

Saltburn

Saltburn movie poster

I missed this in theaters, but got to see it with friends. I purposely didn’t learn anything about it before seeing it, hearing that that was the way to go. Good movie! Dark, twisty, character piece; a trembling quest for power soaked in pivotal sex.

While I enjoyed it, the hype was too big for the reality by the time I saw it, so I couldn’t help but be a little let down.

Also, I know the realities of commercial film making, but it never fails to take me out of a movie when there’s flaccid dick throughout a sex scene. What, another universe where everyone is always skunk-funkin’ humping, but simultaneously has crippling E.D.? Get outta here.

Tampopo

Tampopo movie poster

This movie rules. My second watch, I got to introduce a group of friends to it, which was really fun. A love letter to food, it’s a movie about the title character learning how to be an amazing ramen chef in 1980s Japan, told like a western. It’s funny! You’ll also never see eggs the same way again.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story movie poster

As you’d hope, this movie is as funny as it is no longer locked to the Roku streaming service. Did you know Roku had a streaming service? If not, I’m sorry for burdening your head with this information. Consider relieving that stress by watching Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry (because you remembered about Roku). You’ll marvel at the absurdist deconstruction of the music biopic that somehow doesn’t make you think of Walk Hard, although now it will, because I just said Walk Hard. Remember that movie?

Anatomy of a Fall

Anatomy of a Fall movie poster

Saw this in the theater with Dave and Jessica in LA. Heavy. Long. Unexpectedly a courtroom drama, and nominally a murder mystery, but really it’s a sympathy-switching excavation of a couple’s emotional struggles. In French, but the main character is German, but speaks English.

Gary Gulman: Born on 3rd Base

Gary Gulman Born on 3rd Base movie poster

If you’re sleeping on Gary Gulman, wake up! One of the best stand ups working right now. Thoughtful and heartfelt, without ever sacrificing the funny. That is not easy, but enjoying this special is. I don’t love that sentence but I’m not changing it.

Books

The Last Colony book jacket

Not much going on in the reading department this month. I finished reading The Ghost Brigades, and started reading The Lost Colony, which are parts two and three in the snarky Starship Troopers-tracking Old Man’s War series from Jon Scalzi. It’s fun.

In The Lost Colony, there’s aliens who have intelligence, but no consciousness. Or, no consciousness without a machine. They switch it on periodically, but get overwhelmed, so largely stay emotional robots. METAPHOR????

Music

I’ve been doing more re-listening to old favorites on my own time, as well as being gifted new sounds from my cousin. Sometimes those sounds are music.

Alice in Chains

Collage of every Alice in Chains album cover

I’m listing the whole band here; I’ve listened to it all in January. They’re a band that meant a lot to me growing up, whether it was stutter-step head banging to Them Bones, or big feels tearing up to Down in a Hole. Their come-back album Black Gives Way To Blue came out when I was in the hospital getting chemo; it felt like both me and the band were reconciling our pasts at the same time. Dark, dissonant, and maybe sometimes hopeful. That was meaningful.

If you like Grunge or Metal, you already have an Alice in Chains opinion. If you don’t like Grunge or Metal, maybe listen to the acoustic Jar of Flies EP or Heaven Beside You off of their self titled album. You may be pleasantly surprised.

The Donnas - Spend the Night

Spend the Night album cover

I find myself putting this album on heavy rotation every few years or so. It’s such chunky, dumb-fun rock n’ roll. If you ever wondered what it would sound like if the girls smoking behind the school made bone-crunch party riffs, you owe yourself a night with this one.

Devo - Duty Now for the Future

Duty now for the Future album cover

The black horse Devo album, and low key one of their most influential. If you vaguely know Devo as the band behind Whip It, and don’t know what “de-evolution is real” means, go listen to Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and get correct. If you know all that noise and Freedom of Choice, check out this transitional synth rock gem. There’s one or two regrettably stupid moments, but the overall irony-soaked Americana effect shouldn’t be missed.

NTS

Screenshot of the NTS website

My cousins introduced me to nts.live, an eclectic DJ-controlled live internet radio station. Previous broadcasts are also archived, so there’s a lot to explore. Miss having humans tell you about good music? Miss no more.

Grey Factor

Grey Factor album cover

Another cousin introduction, Grey Factor were a flash in the pan local LA synth punk band before that was a thing. Their (small) recordings were recently compiled and remastered. They sound good.

Conclusion

If you take nothing else from this article, watch Godzilla Minus One. If you take absolutely nothing from this article, I think I’m going to count that as an accomplishment.

One time, in college, I went to senior prom as Zoro.

Three young white men wearing suits and serious expressions. Me, on the right, is wearing an eye mask and hat and a sneer.

Plus for visiting LA: being able to work outside in January.

A photo of me, a bald, bearded white man. I’m sitting outside near a tree, sun speckles lighting everything up. My expression is almost blank, with a weird-ass hint of a smile. I’m creeped out of myself in retrospect.
A vivid splash of red and orange sunset over a bright blue sky, jet black mountains in the foreground.

Never let it be said that logs don’t have a sense of humor.

Exposed tree roots on a hill with googly eyes and sock tongues on two stumps.

Topanga is pretty nice.

A sunset over lush mountains