Monday, July 30, 2007


The power. The glory. The wonder.
The malt. The hops. The urinal.
The memories of bygone college days.
All of these are illuminated, when sweet, sweet beer touches my lips.
The hiss of the tap, the clink of the glass.
A fresh draft pour, so smooth and cool.
A toast. To life.
And another. Yet another.
Sorry barkeep, I spilled. Why not pour another?
It tastes so good. So brisk and wholesome.
A while passes by, but passes in a moment.
A trip outside. A jaunt with friends.
The beer abounds at every stop.
It rarely ends well.
The blinding incandesence of a police cruiser's spotlight.
Broken glass everywhere. Questions percolate.
Whose tooth is this?
Where are my pants?
Was I just tasered?
I can't feel my legs.
Yay beer!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

DAVID ALAN GRIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I'm not easily starstruck, suffice it to say. But I just had to let you know that I saw David Alan Grier in the Gramercy Tavern bathroom last night. He looked great.

Funny man D.A. Grier
Here's what happened:
I head to the men's room after a lovely meal with Jaimi (my highly intelligent and highly significant other). As I prepare to enter the restroom, the door opens. Gracefully, with a fluidlike motion reminscent of our beloved friend the sea otter, David Alan Grier begins his confident and purposeful passage through the doorway. I say "Hi", then sort of barge into the doorway before he can even get halfway out. This forces him to hold the door open for me, lest we collide and tumble to the floor of the men's room. That wouldn't have been such a bad thing because a) Gramercy Tavern is a very nice place, and the bathroom floor is probably cleaner than the dishes I eat off of at home, and b) it was DAVID ALAN GRIER.
He looked a little annoyed. I suppose that's because he's used to having people hold doors for him, and not the other way around. It's also possible that he wasn't feeling very well last night, thus necessitating a trip to the bathroom in the first place. No need to speculate. It was him. I saw him, said hello, and he held the door for me. Not quite enough time to ask him to autograph a paper towel or square of toilet paper for me. However, he did look directly at my face for a second or two. I will never wash this face again.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Transformers Are Really Quite a Bit More Than Meets the Eye

The Transformers, of course, that I'm talking about is the recently released, Michael Bay directed, live-action movie. And not the devices used to transfer electric energy from one circuit to another, along with a change in voltage. In any case, The Mill highly recommends this film. That is, I recommend it only if you were a fan of the cartoon series from the 1980's of the same name. Of which I was a big, big fan. The bigger a fan you were of the Transformers former animated incarnation, the more you'll enjoy this movie. The basic story is the same as before, and focuses on the battle between the nice robot Autobots and the mean robot Decepticons. If I didn't tell you which were nice and which were mean, would you be able to tell just from the names? Me neither, but I've watched the cartoons so I already knew who was who. Anyway, both sides end up on Earth, and the humans get caught in the middle of it all. Simple story, classically clean lines, and tastefully done.
The special effects are magnificent, arresting, and downright brilliant. Without a doubt, this movie contains the best special effects I've ever seen. I've seen some astonishing things in the New York City subway and Grand Central Station bathrooms. But I've never, in reality, witnessed robots turn into vehicles or vice versa. After seeing this movie, I would no longer be surprised to see it in real life. I know exactly what to expect. The panels on the car simply fold back in an accordion fasion, the wheels fold under, the robot head pops out from under the hood, etc. etc.. And voila! Maybe I used to wonder what that would look like. But now I know. And it looks really really cool.
I do have a few criticisms, however. For example, the film's plot is basically nonsensical. Beyond what we already knew (which is that these autonomous robot beings from outer space have come to Earth in order to duke it out) there's not much else worth mentioning plot-wise. Something about a cube from another planet that does something to human technology that turns everything into robots. Or something. It's completely irrational, and lacking in any scientific merit or laboratory data. Robots that turn into cars, planes and tape recorders, okay. I can suspend disbelief for a while. Not a problem. But you expect me to believe some stupid big-ass cube is gonna do some crazy stuff to turn all this other stuff into robots and stuff? I just don't buy it. Anyway, I don't want to give too much away. You'll have to see the movie to have any clue of what I'm talking about regarding this cube thing.
Also, the acting is marginal at best. Optimus Prime certainly gives the most melodramatic and emotional performance by far. And he spends half the film as an 18-wheeler. Whether the Autobot leader's deep soulful baritone comes out of a metallic grate in the middle of his robot face, or the metallic grille of a Mack truck, the effect is the same: authoritarian. He's the boss. That voice could speak out of a Strawberry Shortcake doll, and you'd be absolutely compelled to obey him.

All Hail Optimus Prime
The special effects are super-intense. Those humans better watch out! Ha! Just kidding. This Optimus is clearly computer-generated.

Speaking of dolls, the film was based on a set of action figures from Hasbro. It actually states that on the film's official website:
I can't think of too many other movies, whose story was created years AFTER the toys were introduced. This is the best of that type of film, I think. If they had an Academy Award for best picture based upon a story that was written because the pre-existing toys were extremely popular 20 years ago, then Transformers would be nominated, and maybe even win this year. There's no doubt that a big part of the allure is the chance to return to your childhood and mentally play with those toys, if only for 157 minutes.
And the movie's length does make it feel a bit bloated. That would be my final criticism. The story twists and turns but doesn't move forward quickly enough. And there's not enough robot-on-robot beatdowns to keep the action at a lofty enough level. So wait, there's another criticism. In fact, that's really my one main criticism. I paid 11 bucks to see robots kick each other's asses. No holds barred, laser guns ablaze, pro-wrestling moves, kicking and punching, robot limb torn from robot limb. That's all I asked for. That's all I've EVER asked for. There's nothing quite as satisfying as two massive robots fiercely engaged in mortal combat, crashing into an old brick warehouse full of fruit and blasting out the other side as one of the robots turns into a plane and fires a missile into another building causing it to collapse on a third robot who was about to fire a sonic blaster at a helicopter which was actually a fourth robot (in disguise). Then a fifth robot turns into a tank and fires an incendiary shell at a sixth robot who is able to catch the shell before it explodes and throws it back at the tank. And so on and so forth. Preferably for 150 more minutes or so.
Bottom line is, I give Transformers 7.25 stars out of 11. It could have gotten 8.33 stars if the film's creators had added a few more scenes of intense robot battle. The film could have also gotten another .25 stars or so if the writers had eased up on the overt sexual tension between Bumblebee (Autobot who turns into a yellow Camaro) and Sam (human, main character). I guess we'll have to wait for the sequel to see if they end up together.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Opinion Regarding The Future of Our Species

This is a topic I think about a lot. Maybe too much. But it's important. Maybe even more important than my fantasy baseball lineup. Okay fine, maybe I don't think about the future of the human race all that much, but rather, I was struggling to come up with something about which to post. I saw this article:
And I thought to myself, "Hey Mill, this could make for an interesting blog posting. Or at the absolute very least, crafting a well thought out response to the question of the longevity of our species (and the manner in which we can prolong human dominance on this planet and beyond) could save the world." Or something like that.
So, to condense the article down to just one simple sentence of dubious accuracy (you'll have to read the feature for yourself in order to get the whole story), we're asked whether or not humans will survive long enough to colonize other planets, and if we don't colonize, will we be able to survive for much longer on Earth, and this is based upon past observations and probabilistic estimates of future occurrences, and the system used to predict the future says we will be around for at least another 5,100 years, but that to ensure our survival we need to colonize Mars or some other planet within 46 years, and then the dog ate my hamburger, and then I ran over to the other side of the bus and saw a midget playing the guitar, and it was raining outside but not the normal kind of rain but rather it was raining watermelons and other large fruit, and people were screaming because the fruit was traveling so fast due to gravity, and it was splattering everywhere with the force of high-velocity fruit, and then I woke up because the article referenced above had put me to sleep. But then I finished the article, and found it quite thought-provoking.
The question naturally follows that if humans have not already colonized other worlds, how are we expected to just go out and colonize a far off planet within another generation or so? Then my questions became: Did humans actually colonize Earth from another planet some 200,000 years ago? Are we all descended from aliens? Should you always tip at least 15%? And is A-Rod really worth $252 million over 10 years? Yes. Yes. No. No. Yes.

$252 Million Man
A-Rod internally calculating the distance his home runs would travel on other planets.

After muddling this topic in my mind, adding ice, and shaking vigorously, I was not able to come up with a solution to our collective conundrum. I was originally going to say that I had come up with a solution, and then tell you to wait until next week to find out what it was. But then I'd actually have to come up with something clever, and it makes me tired just thinking about thinking about it.
That being said, I'm still going to start working on a plan for our colonization of far-off worlds. Probably this weekend. My Sunday looks pretty free, in particular. I may not get it all figured out. But for starters, I'm pretty sure we'll have to develop a ship capable of traveling beyond the speed of light. And we'll also need to determine a way to bring dogs and beer with us, while keeping them alive and fresh, respectively. And we'll probably need guns, as we're likely to meet some violently unfriendly aliens, and perhaps their evil robot slaves. Also, it would be nice to have some comfortable sneakers and blue jeans, for those times when we're not busy fighting off the aliens or their robots. But maybe the jeans will fit abnormally on a planet with a different gravitational field than that of the Earth. So we'll need to bring both slightly larger and smaller sizes with us, to ensure an appropriate fit. I do like to look slim, after all, no matter what planet I happen to be on.

Necessities for Colonization of Other Worlds
We'll need to bring both of these things with us if we want to have fun amidst hostile aliens and an oppressively sulfurous Venus-like atmosphere.

We have 46 years to figure it all out. The irreversible rush of days will bring this date upon us much quicker than you think. Please start working on this problem right away. I'll work on the proper-fitting jeans portion, and you can figure out the whole guns/aliens/evil robots/light-speed spaceship portion. Thanks.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Mill's Take on Manhattan Parking

Manhattan Parking Space
This patch of asphalt is worth more than me and my brother put together

This article really opened my eyes:
It seems that people are now paying as much as $225,000 for a parking space in some new condo developments around Manhattan. Here are just a few things you could buy for that $225k, assuming you have that kind of cash lying around - 375 iPhones; 900,000 bananas; 10 Volkswagen Passats (with manual transmission, 6-CD changer, leather and sunroof); 6 open-heart surgeries (not including recovery and rehabilitation); 25,000,000 pairs of khakis at Old Navy (pleated easy-fit); 11,000 bottles of Jack Daniels; a trash bag full of heroin; 32,143 copies of The DaVinci Code; enough dog food to feed Fido for 1,250 years (including Milk Bones).
So basically, the parking spot is totally worth it. Who wants all that other crap? And nothing says you have to actually park a car there, except for state and local law. Imagine the possibilities. For example, let's assume the parking spot is located in an enclosed structure, protected from the elements. It's not exactly climate-controlled, but an underground parking garage typically won't get too oppressive during the peak of summer, nor too frigid during the most penetrating cold snap. Additionally, there's usually a water spigot nearby, and sometimes even an electrical outlet. You see what I'm getting at? Climate-controlled, running water, electricity. Sound familiar? That's right, it would be THE perfect place to throw foam parties! Or any kind of alcohol-fueled, DJ-driven dance riot, for that matter.

Young and drunk. And covered in suds.

Simply stock a cooler with Red Bull. Buy a few handles of P.I.N.K.-brand caffeinated vodka. And party all night long with the 17-21 year-olds in the neighborhood. All you need is a foam-making machine, a DJ booth, some security personnel (to keep away the philistines and troglodytes), massive amounts of liability insurance, and a velvet rope for folks to wait in line behind. Cover charge is $10, drinks are $5. Here's the weekly schedule as I see it:
Tuesday - Ladies' night
Wednesday - 2-for-1 Miller Lites
Thursday - 80's Mania
Friday - All-you-can-eat softshell crabs ($10.99 plus drinks)
Saturday - Guys' night: Ladies drink free from 7-10pm; guys drink free from 10:05-10:07pm
Sunday - Bible Mania: dress like your favorite New or Old Testament characters and get a shot of Jim Beam for free (10am-2pm)
Monday - Closed
Perhaps the best part about this dazzling idea is ease of cleanup. Every morning simply hose down the parking spot. Wash the empty bottles, cups, and crab claws underneath the adjacent cars. Your work is done. Then you can count the money you raked in the night before. Pays for itself within 6 months.

Parking Lot Foam Party
These guys are doing it all wrong: they're not charging for beer.

Feel free to borrow this idea. Just promise to send me the Evite for the grand opening Foam Fantasy-$3 Bud Light-King Crab Legs-Pimp Costume-Old School Techno-Extravaganza.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mill Loves Ramen

Last week I offered up my extra special iPhone review. I hope you used the information embedded (like the iPhone's flash memory) within my review to edify yourself. This week, I'm switching gears a bit. After all, I'm no technogeek. I can review other stuff besides cell phones, video games, GPS devices, and the like. I'm cool as a cucumber, see. So the review I have for you this week is going to be extra-sweet, way, way, far-out gnarly totally rad - as the kids say these days. And just how The Mill likes it. You won't believe how cool this is! Here's my review of...........THE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS TI-85 GRAPHING CALCULATOR!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait, no. That's for next time. Sorry. What I'd like to talk about this week is my love affair with ramen. And I don't mean the instant brick of palm-oil-fried and dried noodles with the little foil packet of crushed boullion cubes, plus 20,000 mg of sodium in the form of MSG. I'm speaking of the authentic, wholesome, flavorful, and lovingly-prepared-by-Japanese-people kind of ramen.

Brick of Crap
Basically just hard-ass noodles and crushed bouillion cubes

I've been haunting East Village Ramen Joints for the past two years or so. My favorites include Momofuku at 1st Ave. and 10th St., Rai-rai Ken right down the block on 10th St. b/w 1st and 2nd Aves., and Minca on 5th St. b/w Aves. A and B. I even like Sushi Lounge's ramen every once in a while, although even for me it's a bit too intensely salty. All are excellent in their own ways. Momofuku uses by far the most animal fat out of all of them, I suspect, which produces an incredibly rich broth. It's almost sinful. In fact, I need to pray right now...............Ok, I'm done. The shredded Berkshire pork practically falls apart in the broth, like only soggy slow-cooked pork can do. But it's so very delicious.

Psychiatric Patient Photographs Ramen
This crazy lady thinks the bowl of ramen is her friend

Rai-Rai Ken's greatest strengths are its low cost and small likelihood of any wait. I usually go there and sit right down. Also, I'd say they use by far the least amount of animal fat of any of the East Village Ramen Boxes. That's either a good thing or a bad thing depending upon how much animal fat you like in your ramen. I like a lot. But I realize that my heart and vascular system do not like a lot. So we need to come to some sort of compromise: I tell my heart and major blood vessels that I'll go for a jog three times a week, and they agree not to get all dammed up with cholesterol and stop working. There you have it. The secret to longevity.

As we continue this Ramen/Animal Fat showdown, the next contestant is the new kid on the block, as it were. Its name is Setagaya, on 1st Ave. b/w 9th and 10th Sts. Another of the East Village Ramen Taverns. But this one claims to be the most authentic:
After sampling Setagaya's excellent Shio Ramen, I'd be likely to agree with this claim of authenticity. But I've never been to Japan, as it is just too damn far to go for a bowl of ramen. That being said, Setagaya's ramen is intensely flavorful, with a medium amount of animal fat. Smack dab in the middle between Momo's and Rai Rai's.

Little Asian Kid Eats Ramen
If I were Asian, I wish this was me as a kid....Cuz I love ramen! And never had it when I was a kid.

Each and every Ramen Roadhouse, whether in the East Village or elsewhere, treats their broth recipe as as if it were the blueprint for Peace in the Middle East. In other words, it's incredibly valuable, nearly impossible to figure out, and would be enjoyed by both Jews and Arabs. Ramen chefs are notorious for their intense secrecy. Well, I think I've figured it out. Sure, you can mix a concoction of seaweed, dried anchovies, clams, scallops, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, pork, chicken, and Vietnamese sea salt and boil together for 50 hours. But come on. EVERYONE does that. What it really comes down to is the amount of animal fat, and the amount of salt in the soup. Notice how I haven't even mentioned the noodles. They're pretty good everywhere. It's really all about the broth. And the broth is all about the animal fat and salt. And by animal fat, I mean mammal. And by mammal, I mean domesticated farm animal of some sort. And also by mammal I mean chicken, because I forgot to mention chicken but I'm pretty sure they use some chicken fat in the ramen. So chicken's a mammal. And that's the secret to good ramen.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Mill's iPhone Review

So there's this thing called the iPhone, see. And it's not just a phone and iPod and internet browser and camera and fashion accessory and personal organizer and babysitter and dogwalker and game console and cell phone rolled all into one. No, it's much, much, oh so much more.

There's been a lot of hype associated with the iPhone, and after fondling one the other day, I can now tell you it exceeds your expectations. It also exceeded my expectations, but it's your expectations that I'm most concerned about. Why did you doubt Apple in the first place? You thought that cell phones were the exclusive realm of the Nokias, Motorolas, Samsungs, Pantechs and LGs of the world? Foolish. Why would you think such a thing? How many times has Apple gone toe to toe with the big boys, only to end up changing the game forever? Well, there was that one time when Apple was in 2nd grade, and played tennis against a much larger opponent, winning in straight sets 6-4,6-2. Then there was the original Macintosh computer, when Apple was in 11th grade. Finally, when Apple was a junior in college, there was the iPod, for which, perhaps, Apple is now best known. Now, that is, until the release of the iPhone.

It is a beautiful, sleek, lustrous device. It shimmers like an otter's wet fur in moonlight, slipping silently across a river, hunting for a meal of silvery trout. Otters also like to eat frogs, crayfish, and crabs, and are known for their ability to open up shellfish with their tough tiny cute little mammal hands. They've even been known to use rocks as rudimentary tools in order to break open clams and other shellfish!!! They grow anywhere from 2.5 to 6 feet long as adults, and can weigh from 10 to 30 pounds. The northern river otter is probably the kind you've seen at the zoo, as they are the most playful and entertaining breed of otter. But you're probably also familiar with the Pacific sea otter, which was almost hunted to extinction, until the 1911 Fur Seal Treaty gave them protection under law.

Fuzzy Wuzzies
Your people used to kill us for our fur

But perhaps I digress. Bristling with technology, and bulging with innovation, the iPhone is unlike anything else on the market. Its human interface is one smooth plane of crystal-clear, touch-sensitive glass. It can communicate with computers and Robocop via a USB 2.0 jack. Speaking of which, Robocop (1987) stars Peter Weller as a true-blue devoted police detective named Alex J. Murphy. Set in the near future, in the crime-ridden city of Detroit, the film gives us a glimpse of a future gone terribly wrong. The only one who can save humanity from itself is the titanium-alloy arm of the law, Robocop - a recently reanimated Officer Murphy who was rescued from the brink of death and converted into a law enforcement machine. With ruthless efficiency, he's able to cut crime across the city. But all is not well. Robo begins to see flashes of his former life, and dreams of his (Murphy's) wife and young son. With the help of his former police partner (played by Nancy Allen, also from Robocop 2 and Robocop 3) Robo is able to regain a shred of his former humanity ending the film on a high note, and opening the door for a sequel.

One Badass Robot
Robocop aka the Future of Law Enforcement, starring Peter Weller

Just as Robocop 2 and 3 each built successively off of the brilliance of the original, so will the iPhone grow and develop as Apple hones its technology. Its Li-ion battery is said to hold a full charge until after 400-500 charges, at which point it will need to be sent back to the manufacturer for a replacement battery. This is my only complaint. Hey Apple, why can't I change my own goddamn battery? Otherwise, the iPhone truly is a work of art wrapped in a shock-proof case of modern design, coated in a thin reflective coating of genius, available in either 4 or 8 gigabytes capacity to love.

Now go out and buy one!