Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quick movie review

Up in the Air: George Clooney plays a professional downsizer and aspiring motivational speaker who only feels at home while on his quest to accumulate 10 million frequent flyer miles. His company hires an ambitious wunderkind whose cost efficient idea to fire people via the internet threatens to make Clooney obsolete, so he takes her on a cross country trip to show her that his line of work requires a personal touch. In return she - along with a fellow professional flyer that he's been periodically hooking up with - shows him that his detachment from his family and lack of a permanent home is not any way to live.

Clooney turns in another fine Clooney-esque performance. Vera Farmiga's sublime buttocks and Anna Kendrick also do well in their roles. Director Jason Reitman crafts yet another great movie*, though it may be a tough watch for some people, given their circumstances as a result of this economy. For everyone else, though, this one enjoyable flick.

*True, I absolutely HATED the dialogue in Juno, but every other aspect of that film is above par. Honest to blog. And I can't heap enough praise onto the terrific Thank You For Smoking

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"I hope everybody likes my gifts, I must say. Although I doubt some will score as well as I had hoped because not everybody likes acrylic."

Fun fact: For my last year of trick or treating I dressed up as Ed Grimley.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

I listen to a lot of Christmas music. A lot. And my absolute favorite "new classic" is this song - "Merry Christmas Eve" by Better Than Ezra. Originally a B-side on their 1995 "Rosealia" single, it's chock full of Christmas imagery. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way..."

Well, another Festivus has arrived and I still haven't thrown a party. Maybe next year. That gives me 365 days to buy a pole.

Happy Festivus! It ain't over until you pin me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Requisites: Christmas Albums

Christmas music. It can be corny. It can be beautiful. It can somehow be both at the same time. Not everyone likes it, though. But what do you do when you're faced with throwing an impromptu Yuletide cocktail party - serving peppermint martinis, no doubt - and realize that you come up short in the festive music department? Sure, you could tune into your local "music the whole office can agree on" station, but then you run the risk of having your soiree prematurely killed by the likes of Marian Carey, "Christmas Shoes", and songs about reindeer mauling elderly relatives.

For just such an occasion I've compiled a list of must-own Christmas albums. Every self-respecting celebrator of the season should own these masterpieces:

The Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas As far as Christmas music goes, it all begins and ends with this jazzy, nostalgic gem. Start your party with "Christmas Is Coming". Close it with "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".

John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together Who doesn't like John Denver? Who hates the Muppets? Godless heathens, that's who. With all due respect to Bob and Doug McKenzie, this serendipitous collaboration produced the definitive version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Ratpack: The Christmas Collection, Christmas with Dino, Christmas with the Rat Pack Add instant cool to your cocktail party with this trio of albums featuring songs by Frank, Dino, and Sammy recorded during their classic Rat Pack years. It's sure to make revelers who've indulged in a bit too much wassail go all ring-a-ding-ding, baby.

Various Artists: Merry Mixmas, Christmas Remixed, Christmas Remixed 2, Verve Remixed Christmas Like the music used in pretty much every seasonal commercial and Gap/Old Navy store over the last four or five years? Then you'll love these reworkings of classic Christmas songs. While some remixes are better than others, they're all at least interesting.

Johnny Mathis: Merry Christmas At first one may want to dismiss this album's title as being a bit trite, but if you listen to the songs it sounds as if Johnny's really sending out his heartfelt holiday greetings personally to you. His take on "Sleigh Ride" IS the sound of Christmas.

South Park: Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics Swiss Colony beef logs. Judaic exclusion. A singing piece of shit. This album's hilarious and perfect for lightening the mood, though "The Most Offensive Song Ever" is very appropriately titled. It's sure to pick up the spirits of even the most dour seasonal depression sufferer.

Various Artists: Ultra Lounge: Christmas Cocktails Part One, Part Two, Part Three Take the coolness of the Rat Pack albums listed above (which share some of the same songs with this series), add a heavy helping of kitsch and you've got this set of lounge music compilations. Lush, sparkly, and delightfully tacky.

Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked for the Holidays Keeping things goofy, these Canucks made one heck of a jaunty Christmas album. "Elf's Lament" - a song detailing a labor dispute between Santa and his workshop employees - alone is worth the price of admission.

Squirrel Nut Zippers: Christmas Caravan Because every party - regardless of holiday or theme - needs some hot jazz to give off a speakeasy vibe. More artists should cover "I Like the Winter Weather", you know?

Bing Crosby: Merry Christmas It's got his version of "White Christmas" on it. 'Nuff said.

I realize that this list may arrive too late to restore your Christmas street cred this year. Luckily for you, these'll be heavily marked down on December 26th and you can be ready for next year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Song to close out the weekend: "(Let's Have a) Patrick Swayze Christmas" by Joel and the Bots

As a tribute to one of the victims of Celebrageddon 2009, here is Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo from the great "Mystery Science Theater 3000" singing the Road House-inspired "(Let's Have a) Patrick Swayze Christmas".

Wanna make this the Swayziest Christmas of them all? Grab my '09 Christmas mix - featuring this beloved carol - here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Angels we have heard on highTunes

Just in time for you to be snowed in this weekend*, I've lovingly tucked your favorite aural Christmas tradition into your virtual stocking. This is the eleventh edition of A Very Micah Christmas that I've compiled and by now most of the tried and true classics have been used. But hopefully you'll find some new favorites among the older chestnuts.

Presenting the soundtrack to your holiday enchantment:

1. "Your Christmas Whiskey" - The Minus 5
2. "Let It Snow" - Luscious Jackson
3. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" - Weezer
4. "(Let's Have a) Patrick Swayze Christmas" - Joel and the Bots
5. "Frosty the Snowman" - Ella Fitzgerald
6. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" - Barry Manilow
7. "Christmas Night in Harlem" - Louis Armstrong
8. "Blue Christmas" - Dean Martin
9. "Hard Candy Christmas" - Leigh Nash
10. "Fairytale of New York" - The Priestess and the Fool
11. "Santa Can't Stay" - Dwight Yoakam
12. "Christmas All Over Again" - Butch Walker and Taryn Manning
13. "Santa Baby" - The Hot Toddies
14. "Christmas Medley" - Pee-wee Herman
15. "Christmas with the Jews" - Elizabeth & the Catapult
16. "The Chanukah Song" - Neil Diamond
17. "Dreidl-Bells" - DJ Flack
18. "Come All Ye Faithful" - Halford
19. "The Christmas Song" - Redd Foxx
20. "Maybe This Christmas" - Ron Sexsmith
21. "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" - Eddy Arnold
22. "Christmas Don't Be Late" - Jessie Torrisi
23. "Present Face" - Garfunkel & Oates
24. "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" - C.W. Morris
25. "We Three Kings" - Spinal Tap
26. "Luau in December" - King Kukulele & the Friki Tikis
27. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - Carmen McRae & Sammy Davis, Jr.
28. "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" - Julie London
29. "White Christmas" - Frank Sinatra
30. "Oíche Chiúin" - Enya
31. "Auld Lang Syne" - Billy Idol
32. For me to know and you to find out!

Grab an .rar file of the mix here.

Some thanks: my brother for track #24 (an older recording had to be used because his Mac/recording studio was broken), my nephew Hunter for help with a secret related project, and the fine folks at Patrick Henry Pub for the CD release party

Want more Yuletide audio goodness? The past couple of years of mixes can be found here and here.

*For those in Richmond, at least.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

See ya, Ukrop's

So, legendary regional grocery chain Ukrop's is being bought by Giant's parent company. Four thoughts:

1) I'm sure I have an old Giant card from my tenure in NoVA tucked away somewhere, so I've already got that covered.

2) It will be nice to finally buy beer and wine (on Sundays!) at a former Ukrop's building.

3) I guess this was the last year of my tradition of frying up a batch of Ukrop's-bought oysters for Thanksgiving. Future oysters will be from Ukrop's in name only.

4) Who says boycotts don't work? CW, you won.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Riffmas

Oh, man. I CANNOT WAIT until tonight's live Rifftrax show: "Christmas Shorts-Stravaganza!" Considering that the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" gang's take on Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is among my favorites of theirs (their riffing of the surreal Mexican import Santa Claus is also a good 'un), the festivities should not disappoint. And if they do, the performance by "Weird Al" Yankovic should redeem any slow parts.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bonus Crush of the Week: Iliza Shlesinger

This week's Bonus Crush is comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

She's an impulsive and uninformed choice. This evening I was clearing out the ol' DVR backlog by watching "Surviving the Holidays with Lewis Black" and she was briefly featured in it. From what I gathered, she's cute and had some funny quips and that's pretty much the extent of my knowledge about her. I've got to do some more research...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crushes of the Week: "Inglorious Basterds" women

This week's Crushes are Mélanie Laurent and Diane Kruger, the two women featured in Quentin Tarantino's most excellent Inglorious Basterds.

They were both new to me when I saw Inglorious Basterds* and I thought each did a great job holding their own against the likes of Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz. I'm really looking forward to watching them - and this movie - again (and again).

*Well, I did see Kruger in the craptacular Troy, but I mostly wiped that film from my memory.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Song to get you through the weekend: "Christmas with the Jews" by Elizabeth and the Catapult

Christmas with the Jews from Elizabeth & the Catapult on Vimeo.

Here's a little preview of the Christmas mix that I made this year, which I'll be posting here next week. This song - "Christmas with the Jews" by Elizabeth and the Catapult - reminds me of the time about 10 years ago when my holiday travel plans were temporarily thwarted by ice and snow, and a Jewish friend invited me over to spend Christmas Eve with him, his family, and their friends. Good times.

Happy Chanukah (if that's your dealy-o)!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Finally! A cheese made specifically for me.

Choose your quip and discuss why:

A) I bet it tastes great on Wonder Bread with some mayo.
B) It's holding all of the other cheeses down.
C) Ever notice how some cheeses dial phones like this...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Song to close out the weekend: "Do They Know Its Christmas?" by the Comedy Death-Ray Xmas Nativity Choir

Usually, I pick up my calendars for a heavy discount as January fades into February, but not for 2010. Why? Because the fine folks at A Special Thing and Comedy Death-Ray are including a Christmas CD with the purchase of their comedian-filled calendar. Included on that CD is a version of "Do They Know It's Christmas" by the Comedy Death-Ray Xmas Nativity Choir.

If there's someone that makes you laugh on TV or in movies*, chances are he or she is featured on this song: Paul F. Tompkins, R.O. Manse, Tig Notaro, Rob Huebel, Patton Oswalt, Mike Phirman, Jimmy Pardo, Brian Posehn & Scott Aukerman, Garfunkel & Oates, Aimee Mann, Chris Hardwick, Paul Scheer & June Diane Raphael, Doug Benson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Nick Thune, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Cracked Out, Dragon Boy Suede, Natasha Leggero, Thomas Lennon & Ed Helms

Man, what a line up. I can't wait until my calendar and CD ship.

*Provided you don't exclusively watch the Blue Collar Comedy Tour or Comic View

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Championship Round Two

The Great Xbox 360 Swami knows nothing of Richmond's miserable yet winning performance last week. It lives in the now, buzzing the tower and making its superior spill coffee on himself. Based on its CPU vs. CPU match, it predicts the following outcome for tonight's game:

Richmond 33, Appalachian State 25

Now go on with your bad selves.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Bonus Crush of the Week: Little Boots

This week's Bonus Crush is English electropop star Little Boots (née Victoria Hesketh). I find her debut album Hands to be a lot of fun.

In addition to crafting a nice slice of pop, she's also completely adorable, especially when she's rocking out in her little black dress:

How can you not love her?

Crushes of the Week: "Community" women

This week's Crushes are Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs, two of the stars of the hilarious "Community". (Brie also does a fine job as Trudy on "Mad Men".)

"Community" is a great show. NBC better not kill it. But I can't imagine the network has much else waiting in the wings.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmastime is here.

Undeterred by Obama's unthinkable preemption* of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" last night (good grief!), I brought Charlie Brown and his "not such a bad little tree" out of storage and put them in my cube today. Fluorescent lights, please...

*You know, maybe he is unamerican after all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Championship Round One

It's championship time again in Division 1-AA, er, the Football Championship Subdivision. And Richmond is looking to defend their national title, but the Fightin' Christians Phoenix stands in their way. This is how the Great Xbox 360 Swami sees it going down, via a CPU vs. CPU game:

Richmond 24, Elon 31

Fret not, because I have it on good authority that the Obama administration has calculated that Richmond will in fact save or create an additional 54 points this afternoon, taking them to a 78-31 victory. You cannot dispute their math.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is this the dirtiest commercial currently on TV?

Or is my mind just really in the gutter?

Regardless, the devilish little smile that she gives at the end makes me go all weak-kneed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Twelve

Well, the regular season is coming to a close (for these two teams, at least), but the Great Xbox 360 Swami is not daunted by the significance of The Game and the Oldest Rivalry in the South Capital Cup as it determines the outcomes through a set of CPU vs. CPU matches.

Ohio State 47, Michigan 24

Richmond 48, William & Mary 30

Word is bond. Unless there are any commenter requests for the outcomes of any other game, the Great Xbox 360 Swami shall take a much-needed rest until bowl/playoff time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Requiem for the Equalizer

R.I.P. Edward Woodward, 1930-2009.

Okay, so I remember "The Equalizer", but I don't think I ever watched it. He was the bomb in The Wicker Man and Hot Fuzz, though.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Song to close out the weekend: "You Belong With Me" by Butch Walker

Though I don't dislike her, I'm not a huge Taylor Swift fan. But a Butch Walker cover of one of her songs? That may put me firmly in with Team Taylor.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Eleven

The season's winding down, but the Great Xbox 360 Swami feels no emotions that could cloud its impartial predictions. As such, the results of today's CPU vs. CPU matches:

Ohio State 38, Iowa 17

Richmond 20, Georgetown 34

I, on the otherhand, am fretting that Richmond result (though I believe UR will win handily against the Hoyas' JV squad).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Micah World Top 25

Here they are, the top 25 songs burning up my iPod (as of 11.11.09):

1. "Tell It To The Volcano" - Miniature Tigers
2. "Stadium Love" - Metric
3. "Hot Venom" - Miniature Tigers
4. "Summertime Clothes" - Animal Collective
5. "Chinese" - Lily Allen
6. "I'm Walking This Road Because You Stole My Car (Don't Go)" - Fascinoma
7. "Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night" - The Fratellis
8. "Passing Afternoon" - Iron & Wine
9. "Going Back/Going Home" - Butch Walker
10. "The World Will Deem Us Dangerous" - Her Space Holiday
11. "Remedy" - Little Boots
12. "Librarian" - My Morning Jacket
13. "Yardwork In November" - Actual Tigers
14. "Dammit" - Blink-182
15. "Sulphur To Sugarcane" - Elvis Costello
16. "If You're Into It" - Flight of the Conchords
17. "Me, You and Steve" - Garfunkel and Oates
18. "God Help the Girl" - God Help the Girl
19. "Top of the Bottom" - John Wesley Harding
20. "Twilight Galaxy" - Metric
21. "Where Is My Mind?" - Pixies
22. "New Slang" - The Shins
23. "Another Likely Story" - Au Revoir Simone
24. "Song Without a Chorus" - Butch Walker
25. "My America" - A Camp

Not too much of a change from the last chart; just a bunch of shuffling around.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Death by pumpkin spice

As soon as I heard that Dunkin Donuts is offering a pumpkin spice latte, doughnut, and muffin (thanks for the tip, Mindy!), I knew I had to try them. So last weekend I braved a rainstorm and made the trek out to DD to order their Autumn Triple Threat.

First, the pumpkin spice latte. It wasn't bad, but I prefer Starbucks' version of this treat. There was something a little off to the taste, but I can't quite nail it. Maybe it's because the ever-present overpriced coffee slinger actually hand blends the ingredients while the latte that I was served at Dunkin Donuts came apparently pre-mixed and shot out through an automatic dispenser. Still, you can't beat their price: $1 for a small. It's not bad if you need a quick fix, but in this case, as with shoes, you get what you pay for.

Next, the pumpkin spice donut Their name suggests Dunkin Donuts is primarily concerned with the doughy treat and it shows here. Cake-like, but not too dry, with a hint of a glaze on the outside, it was tasty and on par with every other pumpkin spice doughnut that I've eaten.

Lastly, the pumpkin spice muffin. This offering turned out to be the unlikely winner of the autumnal triple crown. Topped with a creamy icing, it was so moist that you practically needed a spoon to eat it. Absolutely delicious. Who knew that a doughnut joint would excel at producing muffins?

These three indulgences also served as a going away present of sorts, since on Monday I temporarily ditched carbohydrates for the next month or two. But I vow that someday we will meet again. Oh, yes, we will.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Ten

And now we're in November, when the games really matter. But such a bias does not phase the Mysterious Xbox 360 Swami and its CPU vs. CPU predictions. How two games will fare this afternoon:

Ohio State 55, Penn State 20

Richmond 45, Villanova 31

Mysterious Xbox 360 Swami out.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Song to close out the weekend: "My Body's a Zombie for You" by Dead Man's Bones

Ryan Gosling + a children's chorus + spooky songs = awesomeness

Samhain wrap-up

Candy, Ghost Busters, zombies, a cheetah, Thomas the Tank Engine, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", pizza, pumpkin beer, a kitty, the World Series, Night of the Living Dead, brownies, Paranormal Activity, and some comfort episodes of "30 Rock".

Saturday, October 31, 2009


How do you make Poe creepier? Just add Walken.

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Nine

This morning I conjured the spirits that dwell deep within my Xbox 360 and asked them to send a signal to the material world about a couple of today's college football match-ups. Through the medium of CPU vs. CPU games, here are the images that appeared on my screen...IN BLOOD!

Ohio State 76, New Mexico State 0

Richmond 20, Towson 26

I guess not all omens are bad. But some are frightening. Bwuh-ha-ha!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crush of the Week: Dahlia Dark

This Halloween week's Crush is spooktacular pin-up model Dahlia Dark (or check her our here). Earlier this month I went through seemingly every pin-up picture posted on the web in order to find one to use for the cover of my Autumn Mix*, when I discovered Dahlia and was immediately smitten.

It's strange to find a woman who is not really my type (the tattoos and general gothiness) and yet so my type (well, everything else) at the same time. Kudos to her!

Hey, why not post a bonus video?


*My job is rough, I tells ya!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Autumn Mix 2009

The golden leaves are falling from the trees, so it must mean that it's time for another mix.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Unfortunately, not all of the songs on my CD are available to stream, so here are the missing songs (YouTube links where available):

The Jayhawks - "Stick in the Mud"
Jack Ingram - "What Makes You Say"
Gerald Collier - "Dark Days"
Christina Courtin - "Bundah"
Clem Snide - "Close the Door"
Robbie Fulks - "I Like Being Left Alone (Live)"
Tim Easton - "All the Pretty Girls Leave Town"
Glen Hansard - "Hairshirt (Live)"
Garfunkel and Oates - "Me, You and Steve"
Fun. - "The Gambler"
Sean Connery - "In My Life"

Grab my other seasonal mixes here, here, here, here, and here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Jack-O-Lanterns eat for breakfast*

This weekend I made a large batch of pumpkin pancakes (thanks, Trader Joe!) and I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to the regular kind. I'd better stock up likes it's Y2K all over again.

*The cannibalistic ones, at least.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Eight

Four teams enter these CPU vs. CPU Xbox 360 matches. Two leave victorious, as precursors to their real life counterparts' performances.

Ohio State 58, Minnesota 14

Richmond 13, Massachusetts 17

Are you not entertained?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crush of the Week: Katie Featherston

This week's Crush is actress Katie Featherston of the sublime creepfest Paranormal Activity. She did a good job portraying a women tormented by an unseen force and when the movie got too tense I just focused on her and that took me to my Happy Place.

After watching the movie, though, I don't think I'd like to share a house with her. She brings too much baggage.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quick movie review

Paranormal Activity: Creeped me the eff out! Certain scenes of this movie actually stuck with me for days, but I'm a big wuss when it comes to a certain type of scary flick. In fact, this was kind of a bait and switch, since I went in expecting a certain type of movie and it turned out to be something a bit different (my thought when I realized that: "oh, shit"). It's refreshing to find a horror flick these days that relies not on cheap gore or flashy editing, but atmosphere and a sense of dread to give the audience chills. Not that it's without its flaws - which I'll go into in the comments section, if anyone wishes. I won't detail the plot because it's best if you go into this film fresh. DO NOT watch the trailer, as it gives away one of the best moments.

I would like to also add that what scares me the most about Paranormal Activity is, should this become a mainstream hit, most people will pronounce my name as "MEE-kuh". It's "MY-kuh", dammit!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Seven

Week seven. Xbox 360. CPU vs. CPU games. Yada yada.

Ohio State 62, Purdue 20

Richmond 41, Maine 20


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pixelated Pigskin Prognostications: Week Six

It's hard to believe that we're halfway through the regular college football season. My Xbox 360, on the other hand, is self-aware and doesn't wax nostalgic about the faded glories of past college pigskin seasons. It merely picks the week's winners via a series of CPU vs. CPU match ups. This week:

Ohio State 33, Wisconsin 31

Richmond 48, JMU 31

Shortly after predicting the above, my Xbox started making out with the toaster.