Page 1

five things i’m thankful for. [#16, 17, 18, 19, 20]

I’ve been gone for a few days, eh? I’ve even considered placing the blog on an official hiatus since only four people read, but for now I am going to keep plugging away purely for my own benefit, which is probably the point, anyway. To be honest, I’m in a lot of pain right now, battling depression to the greatest extent I ever have, which is really saying something. That makes it really hard to be thankful for things, but I’m going to try, and hopefully I won’t get fired from my job before I can get healthy enough to be a real person again, or at least half a person.


#16. Take Shelter

This movie was stunning. I could feel it, even through the pain of recent days. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain were revelatory, giving performances of tremendous nuance and beauty. It was also, for its flaws, such a beautifully healthy marriage, which you  almost never see in film. (Although, the trailer makes it seem like that’s not the case.)

The themes of mental illness and isolation in this movie, as well as the worry about becoming the same as a mentally ill parent, hit so close to home. Yet, it was comforting instead of overwhelming to see themes I feel lately projected before me.

One of the best films I’ve seen in a long time, while never giving away too much at one time. I wouldn’t  be able to set up the film as well as the really well-crafted trailer lays it out, so just watch that if you’re curious:


#17. The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov

“Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” – Friedrich Schiller

A brilliant book by the man with the most prolific science fiction writing career of all time. His grasp of issues was way ahead of his time, in so many ways.


#18. Community

A new episode may never air again, but I’ll always cherish the seasons we have. Until it is officially cancelled (it’s still just on hiatus, right?), it’s my favorite show on television.


#19. Jeremy Lin

I’m a Knicks fan. Have been since my emergence from the womb. So, obviously I love watching this story unfold. This kid is electric.


#20. Emily

My wife is the best. That’s all there is to it.

The end

as seen on tv. [the many lists of 2010.]

I didn’t actually keep track of tv shows I watched in 2010. I should have, like Kj did, but I failed to do so.

I’ll have to remember to do that this year. In the future, I would like to actually do this as a season specific thing, but I need to keep track before I can do that.

To be on the list, they didn’t have to air this year, I just had to watch at least one full season for the first time this year.


1. Archer

Let’s see… today is the 6th, which means we have two weeks and five days until the new season starts. Rejoice!


2. Dexter

Em and I are dreadfully behind in our Dexter episodes. We really need to use this week to catch all the way up. So many shows, so little time.

3. Community

The second season started a bit slow, but then kicked into ‘awesome’ gear again.

I love how layered all of the show’s references are. There are the really obvious overarching pop culture references, like the Goodfellas/Godfather episode, or the Space Camp/The Right Stuff/Apollo 13 episode, etc. Yet, they also have tiny little references I don’t catch until I’ve seen an episode two or three times; tiny moments of dialogue, the way someone drops their pepper water gun, or even the fact that early in season one, Troy and Jeff are jokingly referencing Gillian Jacobs’ caracter in Choke as they leave a classroom.

Also, they gave me my favorite holiday special ever.

4. Sherlock

This show is fantastic. Only three 90 minute episodes in Series One, so it left Emily and me wanting so much more. Episode two was a little meh, but one and three were so very entertaining.

5. Doctor Who

Along with Sherlock, Doctor Who ensures that 2 of these 10 shows are somehow related to Steven Moffat.

The man is a television god. “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances,” the first two episodes he wrote for Doctor Who, back in ’05, were my favorite from the revamp’s first year. Then, he churned out great episodes in every season after that, including the Carey Mulligan episode.

Perhaps the most impressive thing he’s done is make a fifth season I am enjoying so much. I’m not going to lie, I cried like a big fat baby watching David Tennant’s last episode, so it was a tall order to win me over to some fancy new Doctor. Somehow, it took Moffat’s ‘revamped revamp’ about 5 minutes and I was totally in.

This show also gets more accessible every season, to the point that Doctor Who spinoff ‘Torchwood‘ (which, you’ll notice, is an anagram of Doctor Who) is moving to the states via Stars.

Anyway, if the Doctor ever starts taking male companions around with him on a more regular basis, I’m taking my talents to the TARDIS.


6. Castle

As I was making this list, I realized that Nathan Fillion is probably known to many in the country as ‘that guy from Castle.’

This makes me sad. He has so much more to offer.

Yet, that’s not entirely bad. I think everybody can use a light detective drama in their life, to unwind without having to invest heavily on a mental level. This just happens to be the best one of those out there. The writings is usually pretty good for the genre, the characters are all likeable, and the show is clever and witty.

When you get that while also getting to bask in the sexiness of Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion, it’s a win, win, win.

7. The Walking Dead

This adaptation of the graphic novels doesn’t disappoint. Although, I am soooo curious where they are going in season two, since they diverged so much from the end of the first volume of the books.

8. Lost

The end of Lost certainly fits into that ‘Love it or Hate it’ category. While there were certainly disappointments, and plenty could have been more satisfying, I am still most definitely one of those seated in the ‘Love’ section.

9. 30 Rock

I have one pet peeve, something maybe everyone else can help me out with. During the first episode of 30 Rock, The Girlie Show was already a thing. Then, Jack came to town, made Lemon hire Tracy Jordan, and rebranded the show as TGS with Tracy Jordan. Still, it’s the same show, just a rebranding, like when Saturday Night Live changed their branding to SNL, or American Movie Classics changed their branding to AMC. So, my question is, why does the show always pretend that TGS is only as old as 30 Rock? They celebrate 30 Rock milestones ‘in show,’ by pretending they are at the same milestones in TGS. What’s the deal there? Am I just missing something? Help a brother out.

Aside from that, this show is amazing. The best guest appearances, awesome inside jokes, hilarious writing, and the remarkable ability to have a show that still has me laughing out loud in season five. What is this, Seinfeld?

10. Deadwood

Slow, dark, gritty, angry, violent, and brilliant.

This show follows along so closely with the historical account of how things went down in the actual Deadwood, it’s got much more reality than so called ‘reality tv.’

The end

community. [photogenic.]

Community is back tonight. Let the people rejoice!! Well, we’ll be rejoicing in my household at least.

Thus, this week’s photogenic is in honor of my favorite charming underachievers.

Side note, it’s remarkable when I waste time on the internet looking for these pictures how complete the dualism between photography of male vs. female celebs is. The men are so often looking dapper and intense, while the women are mostly naked and sultry. Now, I love dapper intensity and naked ladies as much as the next guy, but it gets a little ridiculous at a point.

Also, if you’re a person of color, good luck getting pictures taken of you. It was decidedly harder finding pictures of Danny Pudi and Yvette Nicole Brown than the rest of the cast, even though she’s been in the business for much longer than all but Chevy Chase (and that’s not meant to be a comment on her age, she’s just more accomplished than her Google image search gives her credit for).

Also, remember when Chevy Chase was young? Of course you do.

Sheesh, too much writing for a photogenic post.

See below.

The end

Out with the Old (Shit), In with the New (Awesome Shit)

I used to love Weezer … they were my favorite band from about 1995 up until 2002 … after that point, I was just deluding myself into thinking that they were still great, and would return to the brilliance of the Blue Album and Pinkerton … I thought that maybe Rivers just had to get some more generic shit out of his system before going back to honest, strong songwriting. He seemed genuinely hurt by the initial critical and commercial reception of Pinkerton, and from that point forward decided to go the “Eff you” route of songcrafting … generic lyrics, uninspired composition (using the song’s melody for every guitar solo??? in the eternal words of GOB Bluth, “C’mon!!!”), safe 4 chord power pop … it’s as if he was saying,

“I am way better than this, and I showed it on the first two records, but you bitches didn’t appreciate it … I poured myself into Pinkerton, and you hated it! and because that record had so much of me in it, by hating it and rejecting it, you have hated and rejected me. Don’t expect to see that Rivers again. I’m gonna write watered down lyrics that make no sense, I’m gonna make sure I flash some of my former brilliance, but that’s just to tease you mofos … sure the amps are still gonna go to 11, but don’t expect anything new and original to come forth.”

It is sad as shit … the last album I actually purchased was “Make Believe” … I can’t say that I’ve listened to the whole CD. I guess Weezer has released two albums since … The Red Album and Raditude … haven’t heard them … couldn’t bring myself to listen to see how far they’ve fallen … so what was it that compelled me to listen to a stream of their newest (and as of now, unreleased) record? Curiosity, I suppose. I don’t know … like a car accident you can’t seem to look away from, I found myself rubbernecking … looking back to see what has become of these four gentlemen from Weezer. Maybe I am just waiting for them to return to form … holding out hope that an album to rival Pinkerton’s rawness and beauty will be made again … After listening to all 10 tracks off the new album “Hurley” on their myspace, it is now safe to call off the search and rescue party, not because we’ve found survivors in the wreckage, but because there are no survivors. Weezer is officially dead to me. In case you want to hear for yourself: go here

But if you’re looking for something way more awesome [and this is the New (Awesome Shit)] …

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, is the shit. If you’ve been around, you know that we here at Roused feel this way about him. Whether he’s doing stand-up, acting on “Community”, writing for “30 Rock”, or being a supremely talented MC, he is awesome. He self-released an album earlier this year, “Culdesac”, and he’s been playing a few shows, and filming the new season of “Community”, and he came to Bumbershoot to perform stand-up … but even with all of this, he’s still finding time to make amazing hip hop … See?

The end

tv on the internet. [five things, 9.9.10.]

We are already well into September. For many, that’s terrible news, but for me it’s a wonderful time of year. My favorite season is almost here, playoff baseball is right around the corner, and the first NFL game of 2010 is underway as I write this.

And that’s not all, it’s also about that time for some of my favorite shows to return for the year. Here are the shows I am most excited to see return.

1. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

This is my favorite show on the air. End of story.


2. Community

The fact that Two and a Half Men leads the comedy ratings when a show as amazing as Community airs on network television every week is proof we live in dark times.

Every character is so wonderfully sweet and hilarious. What’s not to love about Community? I want this to be a real community college, and, in the words of Liz Lemon (I know, that show didn’t make it on the list), “I want to go to there.”


3. The League

It’s a show about a fantasy football league, and it probably doesn’t have the audience it should because people assume they wouldn’t like it if they aren’t into fantasy sports. That is false. The show is hilarious no matter how you feel about sports, football or the fantasy craze.

Filled to the brim with quotable lines, it often feels improvised in the best possible way.

Just watch the “Mr. McGibblets” episode and tell me you aren’t hooked.


4. Archer

Have you watched this show? If not, you should. This show, about a skilled yet inept, womanizing secret agent with no morals whatsoever, is the third part of the FX trifecta, making them hands down the funniest channel on television.

It’s available to stream instantly from Netflix, so it won’t even be hard to find the first season.

The show is fucking hilarious. H. Jon Benjamin is amazing, and several Arrested Development alumns are cast members as well.


5. Dexter

Emily and I finally made it to season four, which seems to be the consensus favorite among fans. Although most people hate season three and I actually enjoyed it.

We should be able to catch up by the time season five starts later this month.

The show continues to climb the ranks toward being my favorite drama currently on the air. I love it!

The end

Las Rocas 2007 Garnacha (Spain)

My love affair with Spanish wine began roughly a year and a half ago. It wasn’t a specific instance. No moment of sipping a Spanish wine and having a “best wine ever” epiphany. No trip to Spain. No passionate Spanish woman (a la Penelope Cruz’s character in Vicky Christina Barcelona) came into my life. Those things would have been lovely. But my love affair was rather,  a culmination of several different things that I happened to love, coming together. A perfect storm, if you will, of loves. Deepening more with each additional element joining in.

Element #1: Tapas Teatro & Pazo

These two Baltimore tapas restaurants set aflame my heart and palate. Pazo’s open atmosphere and fantastic tapas and wine menu quickly made it one of my favorite Baltimore bars/restaurants.


Where Pazo is a huge open room full of energy, Tapas Teatro, located just north in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, is everything you would picture a European street cafe being. A small, charming, and warm space with tasteful art adorning the walls, and right-on-the-sidewalk seating.Where Pazo tends to be more widely Mediterranean, Tapas Teatro is almost exclusively Spanish.

Tapas Teatro

Where I would end up on a given night, would depend on my mood. If I was feeling more social and felt like putting up with crowds, I’d go to Pazo. If I was looking for something more chill, a casual night with friends, I would go to Tapas Teatro. You would’ve been more likely to find me at Tapas Teatro. Their small plates were amazing. The attention to detail, from presentation to flavor, was stellar. The sangria: served in a giant rounded pitcher, icy, ruby-colored, and jeweled with fresh cuts of fruit. If you’re ever in Baltimore, go to Tapas Teatro.

Element #2: Hemingway (Specifically, The Sun Also Rises)

The Sun Also Rises was the first Hemingway I read. Ever. His writing style is understated and simple. His stories are almost always based on his own experiences. The Sun Also Rises follows a group of friends (and expatriates) living in Europe. The story jumps from Paris to Spain (San Sebastian and Pamplona) where the characters take part in the running of the bulls and the fiesta surrounding it.

“El vino did flow.”

Although it was most likely a product of the atmosphere surrounding the celebration in Pamplona, drinking all hours of the day seems to be romanticised by Hemingway … which is why I am a bit uncomfortable with the fact that I felt drawn to the particular lifestyle our expat friends were living. But c’mon, who wouldn’t want to spend their mornings, afternoons, and evenings enjoying (for the most part) food, booze, coffee, and friends?

Hemingway and friends in Spain

Element #3: A Summer Visit to Seattle/My First Encounter with Las Rocas

Living in a Baltimore suburb. In my parent’s basement. Working at a Christian radio station. These three things don’t exactly allow one to “fall into culture”, if I can quote my own phrase. My limited exposure to wine was basically my Dad bringing home a bottle of Corbet Canyon Merlot or Chardonnay from Buttons, one of the local liquor shops. I began to branch out a little, but was still more of a beer guy, truth be told (I still am, by the way). I am totally going to be nailed on this, because I am going to come off sounding as if Seattle has culture and Baltimore does not. If you are thinking that, let me refer you back to the three opening sentences of this paragraph. The point is that as things were in Baltimore, I had to try hard to find things I loved. I had to go out of my way. That was not the case in Seattle.

Seattle (courtesy of Ork Posters)

My dear friends (and now housemates) Emily & Scott moved to Seattle in the summer of ’07, thus opening a bright, shiny (sometimes rainy), and obsessive place to me. Obsessive? Seattle seems to be a place where everyone wants to perfect their craft, whatever that may be. Restaurants (for the most part) want to be the best at what they do. Brewers and wineries want to craft the perfect beer or wine. Coffeeshops and roasters want to pull the perfect shot and achieve the perfect roast or blend. With this attitude seemingly all around me, it was easy to get excited about finding really good stuff in Seattle. Emily and Scott certainly fell for this aspect of the Emerald City. It was transmitted to me upon my first visit in October of ’07.

When I visited again in the summer of ’08, Scott & Emily were more settled and more in love with Seattle. Summer in Seattle is brilliant, if you didn’t already know. You probably thought it rained all the time, didn’t you, Steinberg? Not even close …

Let me set a scene for you wizards …


BRIAN, ERIC, & SCOTT stand together on the deck off of a house. The deck overlooks Lake Union, the Cascades mountain range, and the Seattle skyline. The three young men enjoy a cold brew, a clove, and take in the view that is laid before them. The sun is still high in the sky. It is Sunday. It is warm. It is perfect.

After a drink or two and a smoke, we headed inside to the dining room table for dinner. Forgive me for not remembering the meal exactly (Apricot Chicken?), but when we sat down for dinner with Emily and Tab (Eric’s wife), there was a bottle of Las Rocas on the table. The rest, as they say, is history.

Las Rocas

How much do I love this wine? In short, about as much as one can love a liquid. It goes well with anything. Just ask my friend Dave S. from back in Baltimore. He had it for the first time with a peanut butter sandwich and said that it was a nice complement.

Las Rocas drinks well out of it’s price point. It’s peppery, a bit sweet, and subtle. The tannins are smooth. The fruit (cherry and raspberry, mostly) is present, but not overpowering. There is oak. There is some chocolate. There is a whole lot of goodness in this bottle. A whole lot of goodness for around $10.

Maybe I think this wine so great because I’ve been influenced by the perfect storm of events that surrounded my trying it: the tapas, Hemingway and Pamplona, a Seattle summer and good friends. Maybe I want so badly to love it because I love the places, characters, events, and friends that helped me experience it. Or maybe I love it because it actually is a fantastic wine. One that is easy to drink, cheap, really good, and complements sitting down with friends, a good book, a good meal. This is why I like wine as a whole. It screams of community. There is no better representation of this than what adorns a wall in our apartment. Beer bottle-caps line the frame. Wine corks from bottles, long emptied and enjoyed, line the inside. Tacked to the cork are pictures of friends. Loved ones. The people we most enjoy, over a drink or two. For relaxing times, make it Suntory Las Rocas time.

The end