Friday, November 30, 2007

Wagamamanomics and more!

Don't get me wrong, I like Wagamama just as much as the next guy, but only when I have one of their ubiquitous 2 for 1 coupons. And by ubiquitous, I mean that they're usually readily available at the UEA library, but today they were out. I know that simple capitalism dictates that Wagamama must still be making a profit even when people eat there with the coupons, so I see no need to further fill these noodle genius coffers by paying double for a meal. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Using ingredients from my kitchen, I cooked up some ASDA Ramen Noodles (prawn flavored) that cost me 8p, some shrimp, and grilled vegetables. I mixed said ingredients in the Ramen broth and like magic I had a recreation of a classic Asian-fusion meal for under £1, costing me a mere fraction of the price to eat out. That's Wagamamanomics for you.

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Wagamamanomics

Call me Gossip Girl but don't say that I didn't warn you!

OK, this may qualify as gossip, but a few weeks ago, I posted about the dangers of partaking in housecest. Then today, as I was cooking my egg breakfast, I noticed a note written in blue marker next to a pile of condoms. I figured they were giving them away free somewhere and one of my housemates brought some home to spread the wealth. Boy was I wrong. The note, written by my Spanish female housemate reads as follows:

ALEX, FUCK OFF.

I WOULD LIKE NOT SEEING YOU ANYMORE, BUT WE ARE HOUSEMATES. I WOULD TRY NOT SEEING YOU, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT YOU YOU. YOU DEMONSTRATED ME YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND SO, FUCK OFF.

THIS CONDOMS ARE YOURS

Ouch! Really dramatic, but in the back of my mind I'm saying told you so, because I really warned them both about the danger of their situation numerous times...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snippets

Please excuse the funky fonts and perhaps lack of links...these were quickly posted.
Turks
Turks are to Germany what Mexicans are to the USA, though it's not quite the same. In Germany Turks were specifically invited as foreign workers in the 1960s, when the economy was booming and workers were greatly needed. However, times have changed, and whereas Turks formerly assimilated well, they now (in many cases) live in Turkish enclaves, go to Turkish schools, read Turkish newspapers, and don't even make an effort to be German. It saddens me when I see little Turkish children who can't even understand the people around them though they were born in this country...
Want to go to Harvard?
please excuse my funky punctuation as i a mwriting from germany and the keyboard is weird!I hate Harvard, but not because i did not get...but if you want a taste of life at Harvard, Yale, my alma mater Penn or any other elite American institution of higher learning, you need not plunk down $40,000 per year for your education. For merely $1 at a time, you can purchase lectures from world renowned professors at iTunesU - so now I can finally make up for all of those lectures I slept through or missed for reasons that in retrospect are quite bad!


Democratization of Talent
In America, it's all about who you know - that's it. You can write the best script in the world, but if you are a random nobody sending it to an agency on spec, it will probably never make it beyond the mail room. I've been pretty impressed with the UK's efforts to recruit talent through the various talent schemes that the BBC and Channel 4 operate. As I now qualify for UK residency, I submitted a few ideas to the Channel 4 TV Pilot competition. I'll know in a week whether or not my pilots are worthy of being considered acceptable for a British audience. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Catching up

These posts are syndicated reproductions...little blurbs for the other site I'm working for:

I was fortunate enough to attend the grand reopening of Cinema City in Norwich a few weeks ago where I somehow found myself alone speaking with Shekhar Kapur while Geoffrey Rush eavesdropped on us, pretending that I'd seen Elizabeth, which at the time, I hadn't. Fast forward to yesterday...As Food/Drink editor of UEA's student newspaper, I make it my bizzzzness to acquire as many free meals as possible around town. Last night's escapade brought me back to Cinema City to eat at their amazing restaurant. This is an amazing concept that must be expanded worldwide: Movies with reasonably priced high quality restaurants. Especially when the weather is shit, the one stop shop is second to no other. And MICHAEL CLAYTON is a must see film.

The Guardian thought they had me beat by suggesting a trip to Slovenia, but little did they know, I booked my trip months ago. I'm going in mid-December, the day after I hand in my papers for class - but the thing is, I don't ski. However, the "night tobogganing" sounds like the most fun ever - and I'm getting to and from Slovenia for less than 50 quid. I've heard only great things about this gem at the crossroads of Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy - except for my friend Evan's incident where he was stuck on the side of the road for many hours last summer waiting for a replacement rental car. But that's part of the excitement. Central Europe would be Western Europe if you didn't have the spontaneous Communist-leftover failures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Start spreadin' the news

My beloved New York Yankees are falling apart, and I don't think Jorge Posada can save them. Within the past few weeks, the team that I grew up with through good times and bad have disappeared forever. During the late 80s and early 90s the Yanks were absolute shit, but Don Mattingly was still my idol, especially during the 1994 season, where the Yanks posted their first decent record in years...but that season was abruptly cut short by a player's strike. In 1996, a year I will never forget (in part because of the awkwardness of the early stages of puberty), the Yanks won their first championship in years with Joe Torre at the helm, and they never looked back. My favorite pitcher during this era was the young Andy Pettitte, and now he's gone too. Good bye big money A-Rod, goodbye to my childhood.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm no rocket scientist but I'm in love.

I love the movie Rocket Science.

I am not usually the person who will see a movie twice, but I loved this flick so much when I saw it in Philly this summer that I knew I just had to see it again when it came over to the UK. And watching it a second time was just as rewarding, as I picked up on many new concepts - for instance, the guy from Superbad has a small part.


And the film is doing really well on Rotten Tomatoes too, which in my humble opinion is a very accurate indicator of the overall strength and quality of a film.



Oh, and I'm in love with the female lead, Anna Kendrick. But I guess Ben Stiller is also in love with her too.

But Stiller is married and I am single, so mark my words, I will find Anna Kendrick, and I will go on a date with her, as I've been dreaming of her for three months already...hopefully she's just like her character in real life. If anyone of my readers/fans know how to contact her and can hook us up, let me know!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This is so high school!

After catching a 1:40am bus out of Norwich that allowed me to sleep quite nicely thanks to National Express's reclining seats, I found myself in London at 5:30am last Sunday. I was poised to become a Superstar.

When I arrived on set, all I noticed was the cliquishness of the extras. I like to think of myself as cool/doesn't take shit but treats people with respect type. Luckily I found Marc (he rocks London 5 nights per week with his cover band, The Lizard Kings), and Rory a burnt-out Econometrics guy from the business sector, determining what financial job he'll take next. Within an hour, we were the three musketeers, committed to taking long smoking breaks (because we literally had to stand around for hours waiting for women to get their hair done once we were in costume), eating grotesque amounts of bacon/eggs/sausage, and making fun of everyone else around us.

There was one woman, whose name I will not mention, who I was informed was a former "Page 3 Model." I didn't know what that was at the time, but I knew that this woman had so many damn facejobs and other surgeries gone wrong that she couldn't arouse me if she were the only woman left on earth.

Surprisingly the wannabe actor types weren't as dominant as one would expect, but they were still there, talking about nonsense and superficial subjects, while fantasizing how close they could get to Dustin and Emma.

I never realized how much down time there would be as an extra, and in one day I plowed through Philip Roth's "Prague Orgy" and Thomas Pynchon's "Crying of Lot 49." (This ain't light reading either.)

We were ordered time and time again by Runners and people who deserved titles no higher than 8th or 9th Assistant Director...oftentimes they would command, "OK if you are seated at Table 13, we need you now" only to scream again and retract their statement four seconds later...

Near the end of the day, I said to my new frat-brothers in Chi Rho Alpha (XRA) Rory and Marc, "I think we should make a sitcom about life as an extra..." At that point I was informed that I was two years behind, because Ricky Gervais had beat me to the punch. When I returned home, the first thing I did was order a copy of Extras, Season 1 from Amazon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

DJs and DJs on set

It should be duly noted that thanks to Mr. Flatow's computer prowess, I am now able to type the £ symbol rather than writing out the word pound.

Last week, I was under the impression that I would only be permitted to work as a wedding guest in Last Chance Harvey if I owned my own tuxedo. Unfortunately, I left mine in America.

However, while at the Salvation Army picking up some Halloween goods, I came across a black tuxedo, that fit me almost perfectly, save for an extra inch on the waist that could use some suspenders to hold the pants up properly. The cost was £10, a real bargain.

Little did I know how much of a bargain it was until members of the film's costume department told me that my DJ (as they like to call it, for dinner jacket) was made in the 1960s of incredibly high strength cloth, and that this was the type of item that upper-class Brits pass down from generation to generation to generation. Looks like my kid's got his first tux, so long as he's blessed with having the same body shape as me.

Now, not only was I happy to be the proud owner of this tux, but I also learned that I was granted an additional £16 per day for supplying my own costume. Sweeeet!

Unfortunately whereas my DJ is looking good, this DJ, the one from Full House, isn't so hot these days. (Link courtesy of Lisa Friedman)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Minimalist No Longer

NOTE: THIS WAS WRITTEN 3 DAYS AGO PRIOR TO DEPARTING FOR LONDON... new posts regarding my experiences from filming LAST CHANCE HARVEY on their way.

Most people decorate their bedroom. I am usually most people, but upon arriving in the UK, i decided I would be a minimalist and resist even putting one bit of time/energy/money into decorating the room I am living in. Fortunately it is a HUGE, sun-filled room in a brand new house, so it's not like I'm staring at fungus growing from the walls. But this morning, a friend commented that I had the most boring room ever. I wanted to reply, "It's the the man that makes the room, not the room that makes the man" but I knew deep down she was right. As I was riding my bike through Norwich, I stumbled upon a store called Artique that was liquidating their stock of prints, originals, and everything in between because they are undergoing massive renovations starting Monday. I siezed this opportunity to turn my room from prison cell to shrine in a matter of minutes. I've now got more spunk than I'd ever dreamed of - a Roy Lichtenstein on one wall, a couple of Patrick Ciranna's works, and a Chris Bennett glossy piece. I even have some huge African themed pointilist work featuring a native woman rowing a raft along a river. And though these prints were valued at more than 20 pounds each, every one of them was marked down to one pound! For a fiver, I made out like an all-star. Oh yeah, and I picked up a copy of Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits record at the Salvation Army for 50p and used the album cover as a piece of fine art. This is a fanciful tribute to my one of my favorite musical artists and the guy who rode his wave to stardom.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First Chance Harvey

When you've only got class one day a week, and you're in a foreign country where everything costs double what it should, you think to yourself, maybe I should get off my ass and earn a pound or two every now and then.
So you think to yourself, what job is ideal for this situation? Ideally, you would want the following traits:

1. Enough flexibility that you could scamper off to Brussels for a weekend without anyone noticing or caring that you were gone.
2. A job that is cool enough that you aren't ashamed of how you're spending your time, and possibly even proud.
3. Pays a heck-uva lot better than minimum wage.
4. Gives you the opportunity to interact with creative professionals, and perhaps even some celebrities.
5. Isn't so intense that you can't be reading/doing other work while on the job.

When I refer to "you" I clearly mean "me." And the job that I've taken on for the first time is work as a film extra. I arrived at 10AM yesterday morning on the set of Last Chance Harvey, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, though the latter was not present for the scenes we were shooting.

My cousin Lindsay, a film industry professional in New York gave me the following caveat: We treat extras like cattle. You will be cattle.

But for 86 pounds per day as my base pay, I think I can handle life as cattle.