Tuesday, January 31, 2012

100th Post

To celebrate 100 posts, I'd like to introduce everyone to a good friend of mine: The Onion Guy:

I think there's an Express Lane for hauls like this

I mean really?  A cart to lug around that big onion?  Imagine if he was getting a half dozen bananas or something.  He'd be driving around in a monster truck!

By the way, here's a fun article sent to me by Photographer Addie Talley in response to my post about Denny's Slams not looking like the pictures entitled "Fast Food - Ads vs. Reality."  It's a fun little piece where this dude takes pictures of burgers from all the fast food joints and then puts them up against the pictures that we see in the ads.  The result may not shock you but it's really, really funny.  And kind of gross at parts.  Easy reading, mostly because all you have to do is look at pictures. 

Greg's Gourmet has actually been under the weather for the past week so I don't have a lot of good new stuff to share.  But here's a hot dog from Costco:

Giant beef hot and a fountain drink for, like, $1.50.  It's like signing Albert Pujols to the league minimum

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Salt Creek Thrill

Here's a club sandwich I had from the Salt Creek Grille in Valencia, CA:

Some kind of club with garlic fries

It was a pretty good sandwich overall.  I had walked by the Salt Creek Grille bunches of times before but can't really remember if I had ever been inside.  One of the reasons that I can't remember is that it's too similar to every other restaurant in the Santa Clarita Valley, most notably the Elephant Bar.  Same colors, same decor, same uniforms, same menu.  The only thing missing is a giant elephant's head sticking out of the main entryway.  

Dessert: Key Lime Pie and fleshy human fingers

That actually may be a key lime cheesecake but their website isn't listing their desserts so we're left to wonder.  Whatever it was, it was filling.  

Oh, here's something else that you've probably seen at Starbucks during the last month and a half:

Flavor orgasm

Here's another one provided by the Female Billy Mays:

I stole it from a kid on a Razor scooter.  Baller!

These things are frickin' amazing!!!!!!  It's like the prospect of your team signing Prince Fielder but also the satisfying feeling that when he's gone for 9 years and $214 million you thank the powers that be that it wasn't your team forking that cash over.  Yeah, I had to dig deep for that one.  But seriously!  A terrific idea.  I hope they keep these things year round but I kind of doubt they will. 

Here's a burger I had a while back from Islands.  I have no idea what it is

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 23, 2012

San Carlos Hall of Fame

What was your favorite restaurant growing up?  I have a few that I'd like to share and give proper dues to.  A while back I had a section of the site called "My Favorites."  This is an extended look at what that section was.  Note - a lot of these places don't have websites, so in those cases I've included a link to their Yelp pages.

Sky Kitchen located at the San Carlos Airport

Some of my earliest dining memories are from the Sky Kitchen, as it was just minutes away from the house I lived in until I was 6.  There was a nice waitress/co-owner named Susie, and she always hooked us up.  Or at least from the perspective of a 6 year old she hooked us up.  Anyway, my favorite meal growing up was a pair of scrambled eggs and French fries (or the occasional grilled cheese).  I was afraid of home fries at the time because they looked like vegetables, which are in violation of the Kid Dining Code.  As my taste buds matured, I would feast on their third pound cheeseburger which, and I still remember it today, was one of the best.  I dined there this past summer for the first time since 2004.  The retro decor and charm is the same now as it was growing up, so it was like going back in time to my childhood.

From Summer: ham and bacon omelette and home fries

Depot Cafe located at the San Carlos Train Station

For the longest time I thought the San Carlos Depot was abandoned.  It's one of the city's oldest buildings and you can see it in photos dating back to the Arthur Administration, so I was certain it was just standing there hollow.  But nope.  Inside there's a very respected and reputable cafe.  My dad and I were regulars here at least once a week back when Terry Mulholland was balling for the Giants.  It's here where I became well known for my fascinatingly large appetite.  Two scrambled eggs, bacon, and three bowls of cereal were my usual here.  One of my most vivid memories is coming in on a cold, damp Christmas morning.  The heat was on full blast and the fireplace was roaring.  Good times.

Picture taken by Christine "Sicy" V.

Vic's located in Downtown San Carlos

This was the place my dad and I would go after our one or two year run at the Depot.  It was usually Tuesday or Wednesday mornings, whichever was the late start for school.  A normal breakfast was scrambled eggs, a side of bacon, and two bowls of cereal.  Occasionally we'd get French toast.  Unlike the Sky Kitchen and Depot, which went for the retro diner atmosphere, this place had a modern decor.  Unfortunately, Vic's recently closed its doors after over 30 years in business.

Picture taken by Toro "Toroeater" E.

Sneakers located in Downtown San Carlos

Conveniently located right next door to Vic's, Sneakers marketed itself as a family pub and grill.  I mean, kids couldn't sit at the bar, which I once got busted for, but they tried to create an atmosphere that a family could feel comfortable in.  Man, Sneakers was awesome.  Favorite meal was the corn dog and fries and every so often the cheeseburger.  As a kid of about 13 known for an epic appetite, their food always filled me up.  They also put maraschino cherries in their sodas.  Baller.

What was also rockin' about this place was the giant movie theater screen where they'd show the Giants or A's or whichever local team was playing that day.  They've since scrapped that screen for individual TV's at each booth, which is a cool idea in theory, but the problem is you can't hear anything.  When you had the big screen you had the whole stereo system broadcasting the game.  Now they play music over the speakers and you've got 30 different TV's playing whatever the hell they're playing and it's a challenge to hear.

"Hey, Lou, go back and there cook me up the most unhealthy thing you can think of."  Bacon cheeseburger sliders with fries and ranch.

Chuck's Donuts on "The Other Side of the Tracks", San Carlos

Dad and I would go here on the weekends, usually Saturday morning, and it would usually be completely empty.  But for us that's a good thing.  The normal order here would be three (3) donuts (usually the sprinkled ones) and strawberry milk or hot chocolate.  Occasionally I'd mix in a chocolate/maple bar.  It's funny cause one time our whole family was going to SF for the day and Chuck's was en route to the freeway so we stopped and I requested my three donuts, which my mother vigorously denied.  "What??? Three donuts?  No!  You can have one!  Nobody needs three donuts!"  I was crushed and think I actually refused to eat my lone donut for a while in a childish anger.  Pretty funny.

Anyway, one day a sign was put up in the store's window.  Well, it was actually a sheet of paper and it said "closed for 60 days."  We figured they were remodeling or something.  Well, 60 days turned into 2 years before they finally reopened.  By then we had long since switched donut allegiances to the Donut House in Redwood City, but I'll never forget that sign and the odyssey that ensued with its random two year closure.

Picture taken by Jim C.  Somehow I don't think Chuck owns this place anymore

Donut House in Redwood City

As mentioned above, this became our donut oasis in the wake of Chuck's closure.  And the thing is - this was really a much nicer place.  From what I can recall, the donuts tasted better and were more filling than Chuck's and the folks who owned the joint were much friendlier than the ones at Chuck's.  As I went into my high school years it became more of a challenge to wake up early on the weekend, so dad was kind enough to bring donuts home.  The usual catch from here was two since they were so filling and occasionally a hot chocolate.  They would also slip in a few donut holes which was really cool.

Uptown Cafe in Downtown San Carlos

I think my dad would get coffee here at least semi-regularly, but my appearances were few and far between.  The thing that makes Uptown stand out, however, is that this one time I ordered a thick slab of rich chocolate cake for breakfast.  Yeah, my dad would let me order anything, really awesome.  The folks working the counter found it amusing and bold that I'd take on this cake this early in the morning, but I finished the whole thing and it was delicious.  Rich chocolate cake, frosting, and one of those thin mint chocolate cookies on top.  Unfortunately, like Vic's, the Uptown Cafe is no longer in business, but that chocolate cake will never be forgotten.

Couldn't find any pictures, so the logo will have to do

You know what stands out about all of these places, though?  With the exception of maybe Chuck's?  The service.  The service at all of these eateries was excellent.  They knew our names at the Sky Kitchen, Train Depot, and Vic's and we knew theirs: Susie, Mary, and Kelly.  The food was also excellent and there's nothing quite like that old school retro diner atmosphere in the morning.

If you're in the San Carlos area, I'd recommend checking out the places that are still around, specifically the Sky Kitchen and Depot.  You'll sense the aura and the history immediately.  And then you'll feel full after a good meal.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grand Slam!

The Denny's Grand Slam is really one of the greatest innovators of breakfast in the restaurant industry.  There are diners that have menus equivalent in size to novels because they'll dedicate pages and pages to breakfast plates, many of which are similar but slightly different.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Debatable.  But the one thing about Denny's Grand Slam that I absolutely love is that you can build your own.  You don't have to pick one of their pre-determined breakfast combos, such as the All-American or French Slams, but can instead choose from a list of about 15 items and pick the combo that fits what you're in the mood for.

Naturally fitting for this post, I did not build my own Slam.  Instead I went for the Lumberjack.

Two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, hash browns, two pancakes, and two pieces of toast

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll know that the Lumberjack is also the name of a breakfast dish from Lake Murray Cafe that the Murray Crew would regularly have competitions with.  Here's what the two dishes look like side-by-side:

The left is the presidential hopeful prior to the election.  The right is when he/she actually wins

Maybe it's because every Denny's is different or maybe it's because I've eaten from these "homestyle" cafes, but on the surface the Lumberjack Slam really doesn't look that good.  I realize food seldom ever looks like the picture, but come on:

I think my Lumberjack suffered from severe chronic depression or something

By the way - yeah, I did a terrible job of centering my plate.  Whoops.  But the plate just looks...sad.  It's all deflated and has no life.  I just think Denny could do a better job assembling this meal.  I know he's better than this.

One other thing that bugged me was that the waiter, who's a really nice guy, comes over to our table in the middle of the meal (not with the check, mind you, but just to check in) and asks if we want to purchase a raffle ticket.  Proceeds go to some charity and you could win an IPad or something.  It's a nice cause, yes, but going up to someone while they're eating and making this pitch I think is really rude.  The thing is - he was just doing what management told him.  I could tell right off he didn't seem very comfortable doing it and I don't blame him.  If they're going to sell these raffle tickets they should have them at the register.  You don't make a pitch like this to someone while they're eating.  I'm sorry - you don't.  Not in the Gourmet Rulebook.  That happened once when my family was at the Great Plaza Buffet.  This girl was going from table to table asking for money for some project or something she was doing.  She was promptly kicked out of the restaurant cause they don't screw around there.  I love that place.

In other news, on the evening of the Lumberjack breakfast, The World According to Rich and I went to Red Robin.  Josh in Macedonia and A. Pawar and I used to enjoy going there.  There were others who would go but I can't remember who off the bat.  Maybe Shag2theNasty or Austin Ferrari?  LandonWhereBrandon?  Maybe even BrandonWhereLandon?  I dunno.  Anyway, I've been there maybe once in the last three years because it's good but not amazing.  Kind of like John Adams; he's considered a good president but being sandwiched in between Washington and Jefferson didn't do him any favors.

Cheeseburger and steak fries

One of the reasons we stopped going to Red Robin, at least we joke, is that during our last visit we had a waiter who somehow managed to screw up every order.  I don't blame him too much as I just think he was having a bad day.  It happens.  But first it started with A. Pawar's overly complex order of, like, chicken strips cooked lightly well done on one side and medium well-hard on the other.  Then I think he gave Josh in New Patagonia chicken instead of beef and gave someone else Dr. Pepper instead of Coke then didn't fulfill our request for some more "endless steak fries."  It was just a bad night and I feel for the guy.  Maybe his girlfriend dumped him, who knows.  

Memories of that particular service were coming back for this meal.  When we walked in, there was nobody manning the entry so we weren't seated immediately.  But what really ticked us off is that this one waitress walked right by, RIGHT BY, and didn't bother to acknowledge us.  Not a hello, not a smile, nothing.  That drives me INSANE.  Hey, Katie Crabby Pants, how about "hey there, I'll be with you in just a minute!"  Is that really so hard?  It's Customer Service 101.  This is one of the reasons I can't stand Cafe Athena in Pacific Beach.  Three times I've been there.  Not once has anyone said hello or goodbye - and they've got somebody working the front.  The last time I went there I was waiting for the Bone Crusher and I strolled inside a couple times just to see if I could get any kind of reaction at all - but I got nothing.  Katie Crabby Pants works there, too.  Unbelievable.  Is it so hard to say hello?

Anyway, Red Robin also gives out unlimited fountain drinks which I took advantage of:

It's like my bladder got into the ring with a sugar-coated Mike Tyson

By the end of the meal I had downed three Cokes and the water.  One of them belonged to The World According to Rich, but our waitress had brought it while he still had over half a glass left.  He wasn't gonna drink it so...I did.  Can't let it go to waste.  Starving kids in West Virginia would love to have that.  

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Your Basic Weekend Junk Food

"When have I ever eaten myself sick?" "Every time you're here."  

It's true - every time I go up to Los Angeles it seems like I get myself into some sort of digestive trouble.  It's not my fault...actually it is my fault, but it's just easier to blame society or the government or something.  

Anyway, to start off the weekend, The World According to Suz took me to the Fuji Grill in Orange, CA where we both got the Tokyo Steak bowls:

So it's not a bowl but I had a terrible geometry teacher anyway

I downed this in about 40 seconds.  I recall going to this place several months ago and ordering the bowl that has steak and chicken and walking away feeling disappointed in it.  But this was really good.  They also have an eel bowl which I'm interested in trying next time.  

For dinner that night with The World According to Rich and other family in Santa Clarita, we had a pair of pizzas from ZPizza:

If this pizza were a person, he/she would have no personality

Caption this because I have no idea what this one was called

The pizzas aren't the most photogenic, but they're good.  This night they weren't as hot as they could have been, which is weird because we picked them up fresh out of the oven, but they taste nice.  And they cook them all the way through so the cheese stays on, and if you've read this blog long enough you'll know that one of my pet peeves is when cheese falls off because whoever's cooking it takes it out of the oven too early.  I also thought for a second that ZPizza was a small local chain, but foolish me, Santa Clarita has maybe three independent restaurants in the whole city.  One of them, the Saugus Cafe, dates back to the 1800s.  I proposed we wake up at dawn to get there before the crowds but for some reason we couldn't get up that early.  Weird.  

I've got some more delicious greasiness but I'll post those later.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


There's a really gnarley website out there called Chocomize.com where you can create and customize your own chocolate bar.  How many times have you been walking down the candy aisle and thought "huh, I wish these Crunch bars had gummy bears and curry powder on them..."  Well, NOW YOU FREAKIN' CAN!!!

That's right - milk chocolate with M&M's, Nerds, gummy bears, and FRICKIN' SOUR PATCH KIDS!!

The Sour Patch Kids were really the star here.  I'm not gonna say they overpowered the chocolate, but they definitely took the cake as to which topping you tasted first.  But isn't this cool?  I mean yeah, 85 cents for a couple Sour Patch Kids is the equivalent of paying to hear Rick Perry talk about which government agencies he would eliminate as president, but it's the novelty you're paying for.  This was a holiday gift for The World According to Suz.  I bought a few of these for people, using a different combo for each bar.

Here's another one I ordered for the Bone Crusher:

You could put this on any San Diego street and the difference in amount of toppings and potholes would be negligible

This one's got M&M's, Oreos, Junior Mints, peanut butter chips, and gummy bears.  I'll provide details of how it tastes as they become available.  For another look at the Chocomize sensation, check out The World According to Rich's vlog where he ordered a chocolate bar with banana granola, hot curry powder, Kit Kat pieces, mango dices, and organic roasted peanuts.  It's pretty funny. 

UPDATE!  Bone Crusher sent me this picture of the unwrapped bar:

Holy Guacamole!

Anyway, moving on.  Since we're on the topic of candy, I want to discuss the effect that the stupid economy is having on all of our favorite sugary treats.  As I'm sure you've probably noticed, the price of anything that has sugar in it has skyrocketed; cookies, ice cream, candy, etc., etc.  If you know of a place where you can get a chocolate bar for under a buck then you should barricade all entries and exits during the night so no one can so much as even have the opportunity to try and jack the price up.  

So what are stores doing now to help ease this sugary inflation?  They're trying to conceal the increasing prices and advertise them in the form of a "buy more, pay less" discount.  Such as this:

Because we all go to the store to spend 7 dollars on candy

Okay, I admit that I've had my well documented candy shopping sprees, but this is getting ridiculous.  First off - $2.99 for a bag of sour gummy worms?  Do you realize that these things used to be about a buck in 2003?  Whenever my dad would go to Longs (Northern California's CVS) he'd bring me back two bags of these (usually one sour, one regular).  Two bucks without breaking a sweat.  But now if you want any kind of deal you have to buy 3 for 7 bucks?  Dude, what?  The price is so inflated that there's absolutely no savings here at all.  And I understand why - of all the candies on display, the sour worms probably have the most sugar.  More sugar = more $$$.

But that's not the only pricing strategy companies are using, oh no.  There's the other disguise of "buy more, pay the same."  Check this out from Target:


One thing really quick - I'm not ripping on CVS or Target for these price disguises.  The rough economy makes it just as hard for them to price things fairly, so they have to use every trick they can to move merchandise.  But seriously?  5 for $5 when they're normally $1 anyway?  Come on.  The good news is that Target is the only place I know of where you can actually get candy for a dollar.  Or you can buy 5 and pay the same exact price proportion and save nothing.  Here's another one:

I only bought one bag but I bet you can't guess how much it cost

$1.50 for the above.  But they just wanted me to know that if I chose to buy another, it would be an even three dollars.  See, they did the math for me.  That's the benefit of advertising 2 for $3.  Or something.  I don't know.  Take it away, Rick:

The thing I like most about this clip, other than it being really, really funny, is that it shows he's human.  Regardless of whether I agree with the man's politics or not, everyone makes mistakes, and he laughed at himself so that's a good way to cover it up.

But rising candy prices is certainly no laughing matter. 

Oh, and here's another amazing dish produced by Creative Distribution Specialist Caroline, dubbed the Slithery Serpent Sandwich:

I've always had a qualm about eating dishes that still have the head attached, but in this case I'll make an exception

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Resolution

I thought it would be fun to do a post with pictures of presidential candidates and food, but there were far too many pictures of nominees shoving corn dogs down their throats, so I figure that ship has sailed.

Instead I want to discuss everyone's favorite New Year's Resolution: Getting into shape.  It's probably the most common resolution and easily the first one that's abandoned a week into the New Year.  So this doesn't happen to readers of Greg's Gourmet, I want to provide a few tips.  This is also so you don't wind up like this guy:

People frequently ask me "Greg, I see all the crap you post on your page and I wonder to myself 'how come you're not a total fatass?'  Maybe it all goes to your head.  That would explain a lot."  Well, smartass, if you look at the FAQ section of the site you'd find your answer.  But since you're too busy being a smartass I'll explain it here, smartass.  I've been going to the gym religiously for over two years now.  The funny thing is I began my regular workouts on New Years 2010, but it was more of a coincidence than a resolution.  My goal, to be blunt, was to bulk up.  I've always been a twig and I wanted to add some meat to them bones.  My personal challenge was that it was hard for me to build up muscle since I didn't have much body fat.  But I kept at it and the gym has become an addiction for me.  It's not just about shaping your body, but workouts also release energy, calm nerves, and reduce any stress and anger you may be feeling.  If your goal is to get in shape for the New Year, here's some advice from what I've observed and experienced in my two years as a gym rat:

1) Be proud and have confidence.  When you first walk into a gym and see a bunch of really fit, muscular people it can be intimidating.  The reality, however, is that they don't care about you.  They care about themselves.  That's why they're there.  That's why you're there.  There's a guy who recently started going to the gym who, no lie, I think is gravely afraid of being in the same room as me for more than 60 seconds.  Comes in, sees I'm there, does a quick exercise, and bails for the pool.  Like clockwork.

2) Have patience to reprogram yourself.  Look, you're probably going to hate working out in the early going.  Or you'll really enjoy it for a short period of time and then get really bored.  That's pretty routine.  There's a lot of room for failure when "getting back into shape" because it's seriously not easy.  I'm not saying this as someone who shed a ton of weight, but as someone who made the gym part of my daily routine.  It took a long time to finally reprogram my mind to actually enjoy going to the gym up to seven times a week.

3) Set reasonable goals.  Using the blanket statement "I plan to shed all this weight and strut around in a thong" isn't the most realistic of goals.  Yes, it's good to aim toward that, but in the early going, I think, you should aim to simply see some results.  Once you see how your hard work has begun to pay off, suddenly it'll be easier to keep working out on a semi-regular basis.

4) For the love of Rick Santorum not breaking down in tears in one of these GOP debates - PLEASE COVER YOURSELF.  I can't stand this anymore - cover your skin, cover your ass crack, cover everything from within an inch of your kneecap to your shoulders.

5) And holy crap, don't work out in your bathing suit.  Some 80 year old dude walked in today wearing ridiculously short trunks and his balls were flapping all over the place.  I am not joking.  Another time a dude worked out in a Speedo.  You know what vomit tastes like, bro?  I was tasting it over and over every minute you were there.  I've contracted athlete's foot a few times from this gym.  I'm kind of scared of what other parasitic abnormalities may be crawling around there.

6) Don't immediately invest in expensive clothes and gear.  Give yourself time to get into a routine and make sure it's something you can stick to.  Last year this girl came every day for the first week of January.  She was about 17 or 18 and was wearing all these brand new exercise clothes, new athletic shoes, the works.  She hasn't been in the gym since.  I've seen her around, so I'm guessing she just said screw it.

7) If somebody says hello, say hello back.  Maybe people at my gym are just really shy.  Or just jerks.  Or both.  There are a few people I have friendly exchanges with, but others simply ignore my greetings or will respond with a really weak "...hi..." like they're afraid I'm going to beat them up or something.

8) Watch what you eat.  The best complement to a steady workout routine is a good diet.  Now, I'll be the first to tell you that I have no idea what the hell calories are or how many you should have in a day.  I don't understand sodium, fat is a mystery, and protein?  I thought protein was supposed to be good for you but evidently too much of it is bad?  I'm not telling you to count the numbers of stuff you eat, but be aware that injecting Starbucks into your daily routine does add up.  Things that you may not consider really bad can still have elements that, when taken in excess, can be a pain in the ass, such as the sugar content in orange juice.

9)  Keep at it.  That's pretty much the best advice and it's common sense.  If you want to get into shape, you gotta keep working at it.

10) Don't be like this:

Toning and strength have been my biggest accomplishments.  I'm not the biggest guy in the world but I may possibly be the strongest.  So to my friends and readers looking to get back in shape, I wish you good luck.  But whatever you do...don't be like Jared.  If you turn into Jared then you may as well stop reading this blog.

In other news, I'd like to share a few pictures submitted to Greg's Gourmet by Creative Distribution Specialist Caroline!:

A turkey shaped dip made from mixing cream cheese and salsa.  Reportedly is "delish"

I wish this was like one of the GOP debates.  Instead of listening to the candidates bicker back and forth you can just eat them and end it all

According to CDS Caroline, once the kids saw them, they practically dive bombed the table.  As she puts it, "once the kids saw them, they practically dive bombed the table!"  The above are made from Oreos, peanut butter cups, Whoppers, and candy corn.

Caroline has also made things a little challenging for me, because her Facebook page is littered with all kinds of gnarley delicacies, including an arsenal of cakes.  Unfortunately her page is like an AM/PM and there's too much good stuff, so I'm having trouble picking something to share.  I'll just go with this one for now:

A fondant cake.  I don't know what that is but it includes chocolate butter cream icing so it must be good

And a quick shoutout to one of the best candies ever:

It's like a presidential debate - they have their different appearances but in the end they're all the same

Dots are pretty much the perfect candy.  Different distinct flavors, filling, and delicious.  When I was a kid and my dad and I would go to the movies, I'd always get Dots and orange soda.  Good times.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gourmet Movie Reviews: Cannibal Holocaust

Launching a new feature I've wanted to try out for a while now: Gourmet Movie Reviews!  There's a lot of movies (and TV shows for that matter) out there that center around food, so I thought posting a reviews could be a fun feature.  Naturally I had to lead off with a review of one of the most controversial (and worst) movies of all time: Cannibal Holocaust (1980).  Hey - it's food, right?

We respect the gourmet of all cultures

Sorry, Holocaust?  More like Lolocaust.  This movie is so atrocious, so horrible, so pointlessly futile that it's a wonder how this movie has generated so much controversy other than being really, really bad.

So what's this nuclear turd drop about?  Alright, a professor travels to the Amazon in search of some "filmmakers" who went missing.  When he gets there with his team of whoever-the-hell-they-were they encounter the native tribe who, as you can guess, practices cannibalism.  They live in what looks like a pretty vegetative environment, so the cannibalism must be part of their spiritual rituals or something.  Or they think human flesh tastes good.  Or whatever.  I don't care.

So the professor bathes with some of the native chicks, they meet with some of the locals, they find some skeletons with really big bugs crawling out of the eye sockets, and then they find what they were looking for: the footage that the "filmmakers" took.

They go back to New York or wherever the hell they were and watch it.  The second half of the film is what they watch from the missing "filmmakers".  Basically these goofs went into the jungle and, really, just terrorized everyone.  Okay, so, there are 3 of these idiots; a pair of lovers and a third male friend. So let's go down the list of horrible things these "filmmakers" do.  1) the two guys rape a native woman while the girlfriend watches.  Seriously, wtf?  2) They burn down the village of these natives for no reason.  Seriously, wtf?  3) They shoot a pig and then kick it when it doesn't die, seemingly just for their enjoyment.  Seriously, wtf?  4) The couple has sex while the creepy peeping tom third guy films them.  Then they get mad.  Filming themselves burning down villages, gang raping, and killing animals is okay, but filming consensual sex is where they draw their line of ethics.  Right.

Anyway, the natives are actually peaceful people.  They don't fight back for the whole movie until the end where they're finally like F these bitches and rip them to pieces.  And then the professor destroys the footage so no one sees it again.  But really, this was so stupid.  It was exploitation for the sake of exploitation with no coherence to story.  There's a scene where a native guy repeatedly jams a stone in the hoo hoo of his wife because he thinks she cheated on him.  We see it from a distance and that's it.  It has no significance to the actual story. Why am I watching this brutality if it has nothing to do with what's going on?  It can't be showing that the natives are brutal people because they put up with all the nonsense of these "filmmakers".  So seriously, wtf?

I get what the movie was going for - you think of primitive cannibalistic tribes and you think they must be savages, but the reality is that the people who came from a life of luxury wound up being the savages.  But the problem is - why?  Why were these people so horrible?  This is one of the problems I have with movies as well stories I read and a challenge I used to have as a writer - why are the bad guys the way they are?  I understand that they're doing bad things, but why are they doing them?  What suppressed childhood memory is resurfacing in their subconscious that's causing them to act like a couple out of control teens that really should be appearing on the Maury Povich show rather than playing around with a video camera.

And then there's the killing of live animals.  A pig is shot and kicked.  A snake is sliced in half.  A monkey's face is cut off.  A sea turtle is ripped open and cut apart while still alive.  I am not joking.  With the exception of the pig, which was killed because the "filmmakers" had some vendetta against living pork, all of the animals were killed in either self defense, for native ritual, or for food in the jungle.  The issue, however...is that this is a movie.  This is make believe.  These aren't really lost "filmmakers", they're actors.  And when you watch these animals being killed on film, they're actually being killed in real life.  When you start mixing reality with fiction, you're crossing the line of what's acceptable filmmaking and what isn't.  Killing live animals on the screen is crossing that line.

The movie is available in a bunch of different versions with varying levels of censorship.  I just stumbled across a version uploaded to YouTube that has the animal slayings while cutting (see what I did there?) some violence.  It's also in Spanish.  Not that I'm recommending it or anything.  It's just in case if someone asks you what the worst movie you've ever seen is, you'll have a really good response and ammunition for an interesting conversation.  And just FYI, the version I saw was the unrated director's cut, so everything was included.  There's also tons of clips on YouTube and images if you do a search, but if you're sensitive about violence/gore in movies, I don't recommend it.  I personally had no problem, but most others will.  People get sliced and diced, blood splashes everywhere, and you see humanity at its worst.  The eerily calming music and makeup provides even more to the brutality.  In fact, the violence/gore is so brutal and realistic (heck some of it IS real), that this was initially believed to be a snuff film and director Ruggero Deodato had to prove that the actors were still alive.

You may be asking - hey Greg, is this really the worst movie you've ever seen?  The answer is no.  That dubious distinction goes to Hostel.  Hostel is about a couple bros who go to Europe, pick up some sluts, somehow find themselves in a series of organized underground torture chambers (?), and then the one bro escapes because some jerk left the keys in the ignition.  The difference between Hostel and Cannibal Lolocaust is that Hostel looks like something I could have written and directed when I was 14.  Cannibal Lolocaust would have come a year later at 15.  Though I will say that Eli Roth redeemed himself a bit with his performance in Inglourious Basterds as the Bear Jew.  He really did kick some Nazi ass there.

I hope you enjoyed this first installment.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Gingerbread New Year

Happy New Year to everyone!  As you can see we've got a new banner and a new background, but it's the same old toilet humor you've come to know and love.  Let's get 2012 started with the things everyone loves: Really good food and celebrity trash!

I've wanted to build a gingerbread house for a while and was given a prebuilt one for Christmas, so all you had to do was decorate it.  Unfortunately the house was in worse shape than the Roman Colosseum and came in about 22 crushed pieces, so decoration was quite impossible (more on that below).  So we decided to build one from scratch.  Not great, but not bad.  And it tastes good so who the hell cares about the construction.

Dots, Junior Mints, Reeses Pieces, Marshmallows, M&M's, Melt Away Mints, and fruit snacks topped onto graham crackers

So - is the goal of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve to bring together every single trashy no-talent celebrity they can get their hands on?  Does anyone really want to ring in the new year with Justin Bieber doing his best Pippi Longstocking impression?  Or that mandatory random chick they hire as a field reporter?  In this case it was Jenny McCarthy, who I thought was a pornstar at first.  Or listening to One Republic?  Yeah, they totally rock with their little pansy lyrics and girl pants.  But most of all - Lady Gaga.  I like Lady Gaga.  I think she's a terrific entertainer and her songs are catchy.  But this:

Lady Gaga missed the memo that this is Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and not a KKK rally

Ok, seriously guys???  You're really gonna let her go on TV with that Chinese hand fan on her head?  Where's the quality control anymore?  Oh, so they'll edit out the moderately dirty sex jokes in the Goonies, but letting one of their "reporters" come out as David Duke is just fine, right?  Right.  


I just had to vent that.  This is Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, not a frickin' Halloween dress up party.

But anyway.  So the pre-built gingerbread house...these were my exact thoughts from picture to picture:

A little cracked, but maybe I could do a ghost town theme, inspired by my trip to Bodie this past summer!

Well...maybe it could be decorated like one of those rundown houses from Bo-

...maybe we could put it back together with plenty of the frost-


We did try to reassemble it, but it proved near impossible so it was returned to Target.  Pretty disappointing.  Imagine if a 6 year old saw this.  They'd be rolling on the ground screaming.  Imagine if that was me 6 months ago.  I'd be rolling around on the ground screaming.  But Target took it back no problem.  Something interesting they're doing as well, at least the Balboa store - they've now combined Returns and Purchases, so the first 5 registers or so you can buy as well as return products.  While I see that as really utilizing your work force, I also think they're probably downsizing.  I mean yeah, it's useful that you can buy and return at the same spot, but sometimes people don't want to go further into the store to return an item.  Maybe it's also a sales pitch, cause then you're on line and you see all these other products and whatnot.

Here are some more sweets for you:

The key ingredients of the gingerbread house

Admit that you've always wanted a Hershey's bar as a front door

See that Dot column?  That's solid architecture

A roof of Junior Mints - you know you want it

It was a fun little project.  I used to be really good at constructing these as a kid but my skills have clearly deteriorated.  I was about 9 or 10 when I built my most memorable house.  The World According to Suz and I both made these giant multiple level houses complete with furniture and decorations and a picture on the wall.  They were built tough and lasted a while as we slowly ate them, piece by piece.  Good times.

Oh, and here's one more thing from Christmas - my very own bistro!:

Three cheeses (jalapeno cheddar, smoked cheddar, farmhouse cheddar), sausage, melt away mints, and crackers.  All of my favorite things!

Thanks for reading!