Have you noticed how many shows Gordon Ramsay has these days? For weeks at a time it seems like we watch nothing but his shows: Kitchen Nightmares, Kitchen Nightmares UK, Hell’s Kitchen, you know the story. The thing is: they’re all good. Gordon Ramsay makes for good TV! And now he’s got a new show (well, new in the US): “The F Word”:http://www.bbcamerica.com/content/159/index.jsp, and I seem to be watching that one every night too.
It’s not that I have a man-crush on Gordon (well, maybe on the extra-decisive way he says “done” in his voiceovers for his cooking demos in The F Word); it’s that he makes such good TV. Mostly, it’s that he’s so volcanic and aggro, but it also helps that he can be, you know, almost sweet from time to time. Almost. Anyway, he cares about making the food as much as I care about eating it, which is kind of cool. Or scary. One of the two, anyway.
The F Word is kind of a variety show about food; the “Smothers Brothers”:http://www.smothersbrothers.com/ meet Rachael Ray, maybe. The show is particularly awesome because it includes a continual string of British celebs that neither I nor DJ L’il Bit have ever heard of, but whose personalities are clearly key to the whole segment making sense at all. I like to make up stories about who these people are.
Every episode also has some people off the street that Ramsay brings in to cook for his restaurant. Apparently the diners in the restaurant don’t have to pay if the food’s not good enough, and the cooks are judged on how many guests pay for their food. The crew with the highest total number of dishes paid for gets to cook at one of Ramsay’s real restaurants. Ramsay’s maitre’d gives the subtotal of dishes paid for after the appetizer, main course, and dessert, and I’m very good at guessing the actual number.
There’s also a plot every season in which Ramsay raises and slaughters and freshly cooks some animals for his restaurant. I actually rather like this bit, since I think most people don’t think often enough of where the food they’re eating comes from. Grossed out by footage of a slaughterhouse? Then be a vegetarian! Either that or respect how amazing it is that some animal or fish gave its life so that you could have an awesome, home-cooked meal.
Now that I’ve talked about death some, it seems a reasonable time to move on to sex. If you’ve seen the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares, you may have noticed that the man takes off his shirt a lot. Not surprising, I guess, since he’s a 6’2″, 210lb former pro soccer player. Ramsay knows that both men and women covet him, and seems game enough to use his looks to his advantage. In particular, in case you thought this might be a subtle show or something like that, he uses them in the intro:
Yep, there’s nothing like watching a 40-year-old take off his shirt every time you eat dinner. I’m addicted.
fn1. The story usually goes “oh, they’re that comedian who was convicted of [gross offence tangentially related to whatever form of flamboyance the celeb shows], guess they’re out of prison and on tour!”
fn2. Amusingly enough, the use of the term “football” to describe American Football substantially predates the use of the term “football” to describe soccer.
I have this vision that Michael Jackson has spent the last few years surrounded by people who had no interest other than diverting as much of his money as possible towards their own support. Despite all the schadenfreude I felt over the King of Pop’s many scandals, I also always felt sorry for him, robbed as he was of any pretense towards a normal life at any time. All of which is a little weird since he wasn’t just King of Pop, he was King of the Whole World while I was in Elementary School.
I distinctly remember walking into handwriting class during first grade, seeing Matt and Walker and Tyson standing there in their oh-so-cool Michael Jackson mesh t-shirts. Even though it was years before _Bad_ came out, I knew these three were bad, and I wished I was. Weeks later, when clothes shopping with my parents, I saw a red Michael Jackson t-shirt with black mesh, and I somehow talked my parents — who wouldn’t know from Andrew Jackson — into buying it. Of course, I never felt cool enough to wear it, and it just sat in my closet, next to the lederhosen.
In fourth grade our gym teacher, Tom Lamonica told us we’d be doing an exhibition for some sort of assembly that parents would be at. We’d been doing a lot of calisthenics, so I thought: sit-up contests? Rope climbing? No; Tyson was going to teach us all a breakdancing routine that we’d do to some Michael Jackson. Now, Mr. Lamonica was stern, uncompromising, loud, ramrod-straight, and generally made gym class hurt, so I have no idea how a troublemaker like Tyson would get involved in some vast conspiracy with him. However, a few weeks later, there we were doing our breakdancing routine in front of a good couple of dozen parents, wearing our blue cotton gym uniforms with the elastic waistbands that made the short shorts puff right out.
I was probably awful. But it was fun! And, by Junior High, there were new kings out there anyway. But none like Michael Jackson. I hope nothing ever outsells Thriller, because he was king of everything, him and his “Diana-from-V”:http://media.photobucket.com/image/v%20diana/maribola00/dianaV.jpg jacket, his mesh shirts, his moonwalk that I could never do. It’s a pity that all that got us was some some bodyguards and assistants living large for a decade.
fn1. Hey, I was 5 or 6!
fn2. This is true.
fn3. I believe he was Daryle’s cousin, which never quite made sense since Daryle was from California fruit country and Tom was from Maryland horse country, but…
So this “wedding thing”:http://juniorbird.com/archive/003821.html has been pretty much a full-time job. Ceremony, reception, DJ, flowers, dress, tux — the list goes on and on. There’s so much to get done, we haven’t even gotten to pick where we’re going for our honeymoon. Fortunately, we got one important thing done: we’ve set up our registry.
Now, I know that some of you out there are well on top of things, because we’ve already received a few registry gifts. Some towels, a coffeemaker, a cup for the bathroom — all the essentials. It’s so exciting to get gifts!
But, as someone who’s searched and searched in vain to try to find friends’ registries in the past, I don’t want to keep our registries secret any longer. We’ve got three:
* Most of our stuff is at “Bed Bath and Beyond”:http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/regGiftRegistry.asp?WRN=-616202086, a store chock full of goodness
* We’ve got some great dining items registered at “Z Gallerie”:http://registry.zgallerie.com. Look us up under registry # 400022002073
* Amazon.com has this great feature where you can put anything from anywhere on your registry. Lovely since we’ve long coveted West Elm’s outdoor furniture, but they don’t actually do a registry. Our Amazon registry, with that and more, is “here”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wedding/GSWIJSHIOFFG
Of course, you could also send me “something”:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/WishList/1B3CCA61DB “for”:http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/3BHZUHHUF5DA2/ “my”:http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/155SD0BNA4PME/ birthday too, my greedy ass probably wouldn’t complain either.
I got home from a recent week-long trip to find no cable. Worse, it had gone out just after I left, so I got home from a recent week-long trip to find a Tivo full of nothing but “Just a Moment, this Channel Will Be Available Shortly.” Time Warner took two whole days to come out and fix it. I could almost hear the babies crying, such was this tragedy. My poor, empty Tivo!
So, strapped for things to watch, I turned to “Hulu”:http://hulu.com and “Netflix”:http://netflix.com. It’s not the first time; I think I’d seen an episode or two of The Office on these services, and thought it was pretty cool. But there are limits to what I want to watch on my computer screen. Or, so I thought. Turns out not to be so true. The tiny little Hulu pop-up window — maybe twice the area of a YouTube video — fits perfectly in the corner of my screen, making it easy to revisit old _Babylon 5_ episodes. Netflix doesn’t have that handy little feature, but it has helped me get into _Heroes_, all while I do other things. Well, pretend to do other things.
Anyway, it’s been great, except there’s no UFC content on Hulu. Hint, hint, Dana White. I’ll have a few seasons of some good shows under my belt in no time.
As for the cable TV, the nice man from Time Warner came by and plugged it back in. Former IT manager that I am, I never checked to see if the coax was actually hooked up to the cable box. I think that means I’m executive material. Either way, I’ve hardly even looked at Tivo since.
fn1. I never claimed to have good taste. Actually, it’s great, I barely saw _Babylon 5_ when it was on TV, because it was all on somebody else’s schedule. Tivo freed me from those schedules, and Hulu does the same.