Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reviewed: Strathcona Hotel, Toronto

A lot of people wonder, why Toronto? We ignored those people. We went, we watched hockey, we ate some Tim Bits. It took us 12 hours to drive from New York. Google said it would only be 7. Of course, Google didn’t add in necessary breaks for candy and giant fun cranes.

Being in charge of the Toronto leg of the trip, I decided to treat my fellow reviewer and pull out the big (moderately priced) guns. When we pulled up to the hotel I let her take the bags up herself while I parked the car, so that she could open the door to our swanky accommodations first and drink in the hipness. She told me later that she gasped, and she even met me in the lobby and handed me the key so I could do the same when I went up.

Later that night, as we watched Juno on our 15 inch television, I laid on my bed underneath the two rectangular windows along the ceiling and thought about what the guy at the front desk said about window-breaking hobos in the parking garage. The city lights were shining in through the blinds and maybe that guy in the hallway near the ice machine was still talking about how the government knew about 9-11 and let it happen. Maybe. For now, I was just a world traveler, kicking up my feet after a long day, relaxing in my twin bed.

79 Stars.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reviewed: MissGuided and Perez-Hate

There are lots of things I am able to forgive the American public for—Dancing with the Stars, Taco Bell, Hummers—but not Perez Hilton. I guess as a writer it incites a mini-rage in me to see a total and complete moron become successful for being bitchy. Because, really, I wouldn’t exactly categorize Perez Hilton as a bitch; he’s way too retarded for that. I guess I don’t really know what he is and what made him successful, but I really wish that the viewing public could take it all back.

Anyway, it has seemed so far that for whatever reason no one wants to mess with Perez...until now. Last night the Ashton Kutcher-produced new series MissGuided totally ripped the gossip idiot apart and it was hilarious. The show revolves around Judy Greer’s role as a guidance counselor at a typical high school, with Chris Parnell playing the hilarious assistant principal. When Parnell hunts down high school gossip blogger “Lindsey Lopez” who had posted a suggestive picture of him with a student wrestler on the mats, the mystery blogger behind the computer turns out to be a surly, overweight student with pink hair and attitude—ha!

Catch the show next time it is on, especially if you’ve been missing Parnell (I have.)

88 Stars.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Reviewed: Toronto Maple Leafs Vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The one and only thing we could think to do in Canada was attend an NHL game. As I tried to point out to my boss, what else do they have in Canada? It's not like they have the NFL, or the NBA, or the MBL. He counteracted with the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Bluejays. Regardless, Canada is the home of hockey.

We arrived at the game and found our seats after perusing the Maple Leaf memorabilia. Our seats were a few sections from the top, but really good. We could clearly see the rink and all the action, including the fight that broke out during the second period. It was the first game for both of us, but we have now become hardcore Philly fans. The goalie, Martin Biron, was amazing (editorial note: hot). Although he let in the 4 goals that ultimately won the game for Toronto, he saved about 50 others. Shots were constantly taken at him. The Toronto goalie even skated off the rink near the end, so another defensive player could take the ice. Other than Biron, Philly lacked a solid offensive strategy.

Since hockey is made up of three periods, that means there are TWO half-times. The half-time shows were some of the best I have ever seen. The first consisted of two 10 year-old hockey players attempting to make goals and win money for their respective little league teams. A montage of the player in action flashed across the jumbotron as his stats blared over the loudspeaker: "Josh has made a record 57 goals for his team the Mini-Rangers. He loves watching the Suite Life of Zach and Cody and hates his dad."

During the second intermission two dudes dressed in huge hockey puck outfits came to center ice in order to shoot goals and win money. The second guy only managed to make about 2 goals, so he was booed by anyone still in their seats not buying the $5 pizza slices. Cassie got our pizza just before the second break in order to miss the crowd; we should have just skipped the pizza. We should have gotten some beers instead. That way we could have toasted our drinks with the "ever-standing-drunk-guy" in a Flyers jersey.

82 stars: I know why fights break out in the hockey stands now. It is because of the eight year old girls screaming SHOOT in a tone that makes my ears bleed and their annoying father who won't stop uttering "you never know what's going to happen" in a slightly drunk lilt.

Also, take a moment to check out Biron up close.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reviewed: Chevy Aveo, roadtripping

“Jail or Canada. Both of them suck.” -Max, Across the Universe

You’d think with all my neuroses and travel anxiety I would be a terrible candidate for a roadtrip, but there’s where you would be wrong because I actually LOVE being on the road. Now all I need is my own car.

We started our roadtrip with a backbreaking trek to the Jersey City Dollar Rent-a-Car, carrying our bags down into the subway, up three flights of stairs to W 4th St., four blocks to the PATH, down the stairs, up the stairs, through the Jersey City mall, across the mall parking lot and finally into the sweating hot office of Dollar, where a lady with super long fingernails took an hour to type our info into the computer. Even though we were trying to be badasses and deny it, our bags were heavy. Plus, I had packed a whole mess of CD’s for the road, which was awesome when I found out our economy Aveo didn’t have a CD player, tape player or even electric windows. Do you know how many tolls are in New Jersey? Welcome to handcrank city.

The Aveo is an okay car, I guess. I’ve never really known anyone who drove a Chevy except for my sister’s boyfriend back in high school and his was blue. I always thought of him as driving fast, but maybe it was just his driving pose, because in this Chevy even though it hit 80 with the rest of cars on the road I didn’t go above that because every time I did the car started making a weird sound and we thought we might crash. It was severely lacking in the comfort department and Murph kept stealing my arm rest to get close to me (in her defense, it does seem lame that only the driver gets an arm rest.)

There’s two kinds of roadtrips—really fast and just dicking around. I only like the really fast kind when it starts to become a kind of dangerous game—like how fast can I go without killing us all, and dammit, no we aren’t stopping so you can go to the bathroom. But mostly, I like the slow, dicking around kind because you get to do great stuff like stop in Scranton and go to the Steamtown Mall, or play every single fun crane machine you find at travel plazas (Fun Crane 8, Us 3). On the way home we tried to make time and cut our drive down a couple hours, but then we saw this pirate ship next to the road
and it was about the coolest thing we saw in Canada, besides hockey of course.

Chevy Aveo: 41 stars, roadtrip: 99 stars, Canada: 30 stars.

To be continued with…hockey, Steamtown Mall, giant fun crane, border agents, etc.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Can’t Believe We Ate the Whole Thing

You know what else I can’t believe? We forgot our one-year anniversary. (February 16. It all began with a pillow from Calvin Klein.) I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Lots of stuff has changed in both of our schedules since starting this blog. We’ve now both watched every episode of every season of Six Feet Under. And we’ve both gotten our passports, leading to much anticipated international travel (Canada, watch out!) I've finally learned how to cook fish and braise leafy greens. Murph tells me secrets about her boyfriend. She also manages to keep four jobs and go to school.

Today is my second wedding anniversary and tonight Joe and I are going to go out for delicious food and wine. Last week the one thing I have been working on for the past year ended at 4:30pm on Friday when I mailed my book in. I’ve been bordering on wreckage ever since. So when a good friend invited me over to her apartment for a drink Tuesday night I readily agreed…until I got off the phone and Joe said, “Tuesday night, as in our anniversary.” My friend even called me back to say, “Isn’t that your anniversary?” This is but one example of the mess that is my brain. I am not fit to re-enter society.

Next week look for Reviews from the Road where the reviewers will be blogging our trip north.