Monday, February 26, 2007

The Ferrell/Black/Reilly Musical Extravaganza!

As hipsters all over the world join in the annual chorus of "The Oscars Sucked, Dude, and Please Pass My Moustache Comb," I would like to offer a dissenting opinion. The Oscars were long, sure, but that lull at about the 1:45 mark gave me time to drive from a party in the Valley to another in Hollywood without missing anything more gripping than the tableaux vivants representing the Best Costume awards. But all the waiting and driving and sitting through the AMERICA!!! Montage was worth it for the chance to see this.

Unfortunately a bug in the new Blogger doesn't let me embed this video directly, but (even if you've seen it before) do yourself a favor and check out Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly as they harmonize and—like every other male in attendance last night—put the moves on Helen Mirren.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Category: Energy Drink
Ratings (out of 5)
Taste: 5
Fizziness Factor: 5
Bottle/Can Design: 5
Availability: 3

I first tasted Bawls back in the late 90s. I had just discovered the guarana-powered soda Antarctica and was yearning to recapture the first blissful buzz that I had gotten from the Brazilian alternative to caffeine. Bawls tastes like an effervescent liquid creamsicle, although slightly less sweet. It comes in a nubby, cobalt blue glass bottle that holds a reasonable 10 ounces. And then there's the name, which opens the floodgates to an endless stream of homonym jokes. But Bawls is so uniquely tasty and invigorating that when Anita, my sassy Australian paramour, tells me to "go to the shop and buy yourself some Bawls," I'm more than happy to do it. (Total Score 18/20)

Suggested Food Pairings: Feijoada, fried plantains

Friday, February 16, 2007

POP OF THE DAY: Enviga Peach

Category: Energy Drink
Ratings (out of 5)
Taste: 2
Fizziness Factor: 5
Bottle/Can Design: 4
Availability: 4

Enviga is here! I've been waiting months for this sparkling green tea beverage (a joint venture between Nestle and Coca Cola) that allegedly has NEGATIVE CALORIES! How does it work, you ask? As far as I can tell based on my extensive reasearch (which consists of reading the can), it's the holy alliance of caffeine and Epigallocatechin gallate, everybody's favorite antioxidant found in green tea. As you can read here, every can is supposed to increase your calorie consumption from 20 to 33 1/3 calories, provided you're in the coveted 18–35 demographic. Think that sounds spurious enough that you should maybe sue the manufacturers for trying to dupe gullible behemoths into adopting a soda-based diet plan? You're not the only one.

But what does it taste like? Befitting its hybrid status, my Enviga tasted like the kind of drink a six-year-old might make by mixing together leftovers from the fridge, if the fridge in question contained Coke, green tea, a slice of peach, and a handful of freakin' aspartame. In short, a taste to be tolerated, not celebrated. (Total Score 15/20)

Suggested Food Pairings: For a negative-calorie snack, try Enviga with 1 package active, dry baker's yeast (20 calories); 1 pat margarine (20 calories); 1 cup mung beans sprouts (30 calories); or 1 cup cooked common cabbage (30 calories).

UPDATE: I tried the Green Tea flavor and it was a tad tastier, but for me the "negative calorie effect" consisted of a stomach ache that made me avoid food for a few hours.

Hey, maybe they're onto something.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What's Cooler Than Being Cool?

So I went to Sundance for the first weekend of the festival and saw all sorts of movies and famous people. 'Cause that's what you do at Sundance. That and wait in line. A lot. That's what we were doing when I took this picture of my friends Sean and Wendy looking appropriately cool and detached even though we were all celebrating the fact that we had graduated from the outdoor wait list line to the indoor wait list line. I think we were in hour 4 of waiting to see the Mike White film YEAR OF THE DOG, which turned out to be kinda meh.

Other movies that I saw were AN AMERICAN CRIME (super spooky, stars Catherine Keener), ROCKET SCIENCE (hilarious story of a stutterer who joins the high school debate team), GRACE IS GONE (fat John Cusack made everyone but me cry as a father trying to avoid telling his daughters that their mom had died in Iraq), GREAT WORLD OF SOUND (a Glengarry Boiler Room-type deal about the music business), and WAITRESS (where else can you see Keri Russell dance with Andy Griffith?).

A partial list of the famous people I was thisclose to:
Steve Buscemi
Julien Temple
John Cusack
Steve Jones (former Sex Pistol)
Harvey Weinstein
Heather Graham
John C. Reilly
Mia Farrow
Kevin Bacon
Molly Shannon
Keri Russell

I list these people not for name-dropping purposes, but in hopes that some naive fan googling one of them will end up here and develop a taste for Piehler.

Peter O'Toole Came to Me in a Dream

Last night, I dreamt that I was Peter O'Toole's assistant. He needed me, but I was asleep on the sofa. So he threw a cricket ball at my naked feet to wake me up.

Then I woke up, and couldn't get back to sleep for 2 hours. And now, nothing will ever be the same again.

Monday, February 05, 2007

POP OF THE DAY: Coolah Energy

Category: Energy Drink
Ratings (out of 5)
Taste: 5
Fizziness Factor: 4
Bottle/Can Design: 4
Availability: 4

I first tasted Coolah while waiting for a friend to pick me up at the Salt Lake City airport, and its energy boost got me through that dicey first day at the Sundance Film Festival (more on that later). Coolah is the first energy drink I've tried that's based on another soda—in this case an Australian lemon soda called Solo. Coolah is also the only energy drink I know that contains boronia, an Australian flower that apparently gives the drink its unique citrus tang. It all adds up to an energy drink that tastes less like a stew of chemicals and more like bubbly lemonade. It's marketed by Dr. Pepper/7 Up, so it should be pretty widely available, but even if you have to venture into the Outback to find it, it will be worth your while, mate. Coolah also get bonus points for its upside-down website. (Total Score 17/20)

Suggested Food Pairings: Toast with butter and Vegemite