Things are still a little hectic here at Casa Metro. However, we'll have a lot of good stuff coming up later this week, including a guest post from the BossLady, some new Peanut photos, and a post about extra-marital blogging. Meanwhile, here are a few things that I've been enjoying lately...
Film: "Little Miss Sunshine"
This dysfunctional-family road movie just might be my favorite film of the year. The writing, the acting and the pacing are perfectly restrained in this touchingly beautiful film that centers around the understanding that a family is a wildly imperfect machine, made up of ill-fitting components and prone to malfunctions. However, at the end of the day, your family is always going to be your family. The ensemble cast includes Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, and Steve Carell. Seriously, run and go see this film. It's totally weird, subversive, touching, and heartfelt...all at the same time. The BossLady and I saw it on Saturday night and we were practically in tears.
This novel by Gary Shteyngart follows his remarkable debut work, "The Russian Debutante's Daughter." His latest effort follows Misha Vainberg, son of the 1,238th-richest man in Russia and lover of large portions of food and drink, rap music, and his Latina girlfriend whom he longs to rejoin in New York, if only the American INS would grant him a visa. Unfortunately, they won't and Misha remains stuck in Russia, dreaming of his beloved girlfriend, the South Bronx, and the freedom and lunacy of modern-day America. I'm only halfway through the novel. However, it's always fascinating to read a young writer who writes like a heavyweight and just might be able to back it up. Whether you love him or hate him, Shteyngart is definitely one of the more interesting young novelists of our time.
Music: The Raconteurs
I have to admit that I never really LOVED The White Stripes. Some of their music showed signs of brilliance but I always found them to be wildly inconsistent. That being said, I love Jack White's newest side-project, The Raconteurs. Their album "Broken Boy Soliders" is an amazing admixture of all the music that influenced the band's members since they were young: rock-blues, Cat Stevens, acid rock, Neil Young, British pop, Steppenwolf, David Bowie and Smashing Pumpkins. I just downloaded it recently and I think it might end up being my favorite album of the summer.
Eating: Hibachi Grill
Like every other red-blooded American male, I love grilling food on a barbecue. However, my lack of a backyard means that I can only barbecue on my building's communal roof deck. And although I do this fairly regularly, it's always a hassle to prep/cook/clean for only two people. This summer, I've fallen back in love with our old-school, gas-powered, indoor, cast-iron mini-Hibachi grill. These are practically a staple in every Korean household. And though most Asians traditionally have used these during the winter months to make hearty stews, teppanyaki or shabu-shabu, I've been using ours every single day to cook virtually everything: Korean barbecue, grilled scallops, roasted garlic, broiled shrimp, and pork bellies. It's like a tailgate party every night.
Sports: Old Men in a Young Man's Game
When men like myself reach a certain age, they come to accept the fact that some of their childhood dreams may never come to fruition. At the age of 37, my dream of playing shortstop for the NY Mets ended a long time ago. The bones I broke in my foot act up on cold days. My torn rotator cuff prevents me from even scratching my back. And years of playing tennis on east coast hardcourts have left permanent knots in my back. So what do I do? I watch baseball and I cheer for the "old guys." I root for 40-year-old Greg Maddux as he flirts with no-hitters for the Dodgers and continues to befuddle young hitters, using only his brain and a fastball that barely reaches 85 mph. I root for NY Met Julio Franco, who at the age of 47 is batting close to .300 in his 22nd year in the majors! And from the comfort of my couch, I watch and admire my fellow middle-aged compadres like Roger Clemens (44), Jamie Moyer (43), and Albert Belle (40). Rock on, old dudes!
That's what's rocking my world these days, my friends. What about all of you? What are you enjoying this summer? Got any good book/film/music recommendations?