Friday, March 1, 2013

Top Five Songs Of The Day

You know what I'm really sick of?   The Harlem Shake.  Do people actually watch those videos all the way through?  Or do they just wait for the "twist," look at it for two seconds, and jump to the next one until they get sick of the song?  It's gotta be the latter, right?  What's really to watch?  People have a lot of time on their hands.

What am I not sick of? 

My Top Five Songs Of The Day!

5) Titanium - David Guetta, featuring Sia and...a special guest.

4) Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus and...a special guest.

3) What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction...and special guests.

By the way, the actual video for this song may be the gayest thing since that Rocky 3 montage when Apollo and Rocky are hugging and jumping in the waves.

2) I Knew You Were Trouble - Taylor Swift...and a special guest

1) Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi...and, of course, special guests.

Clearly, I'm not sick of this meme yet!  That goat with the high pitch scream deserves to be one of People Magazine's most beautiful people of 2013.  Or whatever magazine decides such things.  Whatever. Just give the goat some money. 

Have a good weekend. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Five Thoughts On The Weekend!

Holy hell it's been a while since I blogged.  I probably should do a top five regarding reasons I haven't been blogging, but it would be a boring list consisting of excuses and general laziness.  So let's not bother.

Anyway, I won't bore you with NFL combine stuff, even though I have an unhealthy obsession with something so stupid. So let's get to even stupider things....

5 - The New Season Of The Amazing Race Started...and I hate most of the teams.

We are two episodes in and already two teams have quit challenges in favor of a six hour penalty, while another considered it before deciding not to be complete pussies and *gasp* trying it.  I'm sure teams taking penalties has happened a few times in the twenty-something seasons of the Race, but I only remember twice.  Regardless, it's unacceptable to me. You get chosen for a once in a lifetime experience and just bitch the entire time?  Nice.

They should let me run it already, even though I never once applied.  I'm still hoping a producer will come to my doorstep and beg me.  Is that too hard to ask?

4 - Lottery Tickets - Love Them.

California has recently introduced new scratch off tickets that offer a grand prize of 5k a week for the next 25 years, and for some reason, I've convinced myself that I actually have a chance of winning, so I've purchased too many and have won a total of four dollars.  Perhaps this is a sign of a gambling problem, but there is unexplainable excitement while actually scratching the ticket, and irreplaceable daydreams while walking back from the store with the tickets in hand.  Regardless of how minuscule the chances of victory are, there is something powerful about a simple piece of paper that holds the possibility of changing your life forever in a positive way, even if the thoughts are just some odd abstraction.

3 - Let's Get My Oscar Hate Out Of The Way!

Who was the biggest snub of the 2013 Oscars?  Humanity's collective dignity.  Once again! It never seems to win.  I know I've said this a thousand times, but the Academy Awards is everything I hate about humanity in one three hour nutshell.  We somehow how celebrate art, something subjective, beautiful, and multifaceted, by creating a competition like all of it exists in a quantifiable vacuum.  How you can compare great movies and performances and simplify them by boiling them down to basic terms like "best" is beyond me. And then, of course, accepting these dumb decisions as some kind of truth. 
Also, and this has bugged me for years, I find it laughable that we accept terms like "this film is gaining momentum" when discussing the chances of Oscar victories.  For something to have momentum, IT HAS TO BE MOVING.  Or, AT LEAST, changing.  These movies don't change, they don't get better, they aren't even touched.   It's all political.  I won't go so far as saying the dumb game is rigged, but I don't know another term for it.

But on the subject of judging movies...

2- The WORST movie of 2005 is...THE RING 2!

Great, Brett!  Thanks for declaring this eight years later. We can all sleep tonight.

It's actually shocking that I didn't see this movie sooner, considering the first installment of The Ring remains the only movie ever to scare the absolute bejeezus out of me.  But anyway, this was a real, rushed piece of shit.  It's kind of a weird phenomenon, but writers sometimes lose control of their own stories and are helpless while watching them spiral out of control, even though stories aren't living and breathing things. Normally, we can trash them or fix them, but when it comes to taking advantage of a sequel's potential, time isn't afforded.  And I couldn't help but feel that The Ring Two fell victim to this.  Poor choice begot poor choice until the string of dominoes led to Naomi Watts and a ghost racing to the top of a well to see who could close it first.  Yeah.

I can imagine the director finishing the final cut, shrugging, and saying, "eh, well that happened." 
1 - Why I Love Good Documentaries

Though I love all kinds of films, a well-told documentary has a high ceiling because they are grounded in the most truth (well we hope).  Some documentaries are either misleading or glorified, but there's a general understood contract between the filmmaker and the viewer that the movie is something real.

Anyway, I watched this year's Oscar winner (a theme!), Searching for Sugarman, this Friday and was blown away by the story to the point where I just wanted to open my wallet and throw money at the subject of the film, the forgotten folk singer named Rodriguez.  I'm not sure why my first reaction to people who are the victim of injustice, poor circumstance, or bad luck is to toss money at them, but I'm sure they wouldn't mind if I did. Take it!  Just take my money. Here, take more money! Regardless, Searching for Sugarman, without giving anything away, is the kind of amazing story that is guaranteed never to happen again because the issue could easily be solved with a Google search (damn internet, you struck again), but it's an emotional and somewhat shocking film.  Anyway, go see it.  It's on video, or whatever we are calling that these days.

Hopefully I'll blog later this week!

Have a good one.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top Five Movies of 2012

Brett likes the movies. 

He also likes talking about the movies. 

Now, top five movie lists (or anything to do with taste) always should be taken with a grain of salt because, generally, we tend to put more value into recent experiences because they are fresher in our minds.  I'm human, so I am no exception, though I truly believe most of the good movies that were released in 2012 came out in December.

With all that said, let's do the TOP FIVE MOVIES OF 2012.

But before we go into the list, just a couple of thoughts on some popular movies I omitted that people may grouse about.

1) Lincoln -  There was once a time when the entire movie going society would engage in a collective nutswing over anything Steven Spielberg attached his name to.  Even if the film was a complete piece of shit (A.I., for example), we'd follow our thoughts on the movie with a litany of excuses that suggested we probably didn't love it simply because we were too stupid to get it.  Steven could do no wrong, after all.  This line of thinking has gone by the wayside, but Lincoln deserves its due.  It's both beautifully written and directed, and has some of the most memorable performances of the year.  My main issue with the film is that it didn't know what story it was telling.  It vacillated between an interesting political movie on how Lincoln manipulated congress to end slavery and a biopic.  Yeah, we all know Lincoln gets shot while watching a play, but that's neither here nor there within the context of the movie.  So why show it at all?

2) Django Unchained - Cue the annoying Tarantino fans!   Listen, the guy is extraordinarily talented. I get it.  He makes unique movies.  I'll fully give him that.  But there's a reason this fuck is still single.  He's so fucking in love with himself that no one will ever be able to match up.  I've long thought Tarantino writes his movies with his right hand on the keyboard and his left firmly grasping his wiener.  And every other sentence he looks over his shoulder as if someone is standing behind him admiring his work.  And, to me, it shows in virtually every scene of his movies.  I just can't get past it. Also, thanks for putting your fat ass in the movie.  Try a salad.  Again, he's very talented.  I'm just sick of his "smartest guy in the room" routine. 

3) Les Mis - Didn't see; don't care.

Ok, so now that we have that settled, let's get to the top five. 

5) Perks of Being A Wallflower - I first read this book while killing time in my old office many moons ago.  It's a short book you read in one sitting and then rush to tell friends about.  I honestly don't remember much about the book other than it affected me emotionally (and something about the Rocky Horror Picture Show), but I'll say the movie did a great job of pulling at those same exact strings.  A great coming of age story in an age where coming of age stories are growing epically tiresome.

4) Argo - Cue the Affleck haters!  The many many Affleck haters!  Yeah, yeah, I don't give a fuck if anyone could have played the main role in this movie, or if Affleck looked nothing like the main guy in real life (when he filled out the rest of the cast with lookalikes), it's incredibly tough to make a gripping thriller when the audience already knows the outcome, but he managed to create those edge-of-your-seat moments anyway.  Ben Affleck has officially become a director whose movies I'll see simply because he directed them.  I'll be first in line if he ever releases a movie called "Watching Paint Dry."  And, of course, he has my vote when he runs for President. 

3) Life Of Pi - I'm a sucker for well-done movies where humans and untamable (Is that a word?  Is now) animals become friends.  I can't even think of another example, but well, it's a good formula.  You've all heard the accolades for this movie: "A visual triumph!"  "A masterpiece for the senses!" and it probably deserves all that.  It's a well told story that's as emotionally satisfying as it is visually, even if they skipped over a very important detail: Where did the tiger shit?  And don't give me this crap bout the tiger sticking its ass over the side of the boat.  It's a tiger, it wouldn't do that.  And if Pi was deathly afraid of the tiger, and spent most of his time on his makeshift raft next to the boat, then no one could clean the tiger shit.  Yet the boat remained immaculate.  No shit anywhere to be found.  That's the first question I would have asked Pi while picking apart his story.  Regardless, you can't go wrong with this movie, though I'll bet you'll be thinking about tiger shit while watching it now. 

2) Silver Linings Playbook - Admittedly, a tailor-made Brett movie.  But it delivers.  In fact, it's worth seeing for one scene alone which will make you forgive Robert Deniro for the slew of shitty movies he's starred in over the past decade.  Yeah, the film hits all the cliche indie notes, it might feel a bit familiar, but it's worth it. And kudos to Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper for pulling this one along.  It may have dragged in lesser hands. 

1) Zero Dark Thirty - It's hard to make a 2 hour and 45 minute movie that you don't want to end.  I'm not ruining anything, Osama Bin Laden dies at the conclusion of the film, but I probably could have watched the main character do a victory lap for another 30 minutes where everyone who ever doubted her shook her hand and told her she did a good job.  Kinda like that scene at the end of Armageddon where William Fichter requests to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man he's ever known.  But seriously, it's difficult to find a movie where not even a second is wasted.  It's perfectly paced and incredibly tense even though, similar to Argo, you know the conclusion before even stepping into the theater.  I really thought The Hurt Locker was overrated (Bigalow's last movie), but Zero Dark Thirty delivered everything you could possibly want in a film.  And that's why it's my top movie of the year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top Five Things I Watched While Having The Flu

I had the flu.

For six days.

It sucked.

I watched a lot of TV.

There's a lot of shit on TV

Thank God for endless channels...

...So I could watch ALL THE SHIT on TV. 


5)  49ers Vs. Patriots - Sunday Night Football.

Normally, I suck at Fantasy Football.  Seriously, I suck at it.  Which is ironic because of how much I love football.  But this year, I didn't suck at it.  My team was rather good. In fact, so good that I found myself in the semi finals.  Now, generally I don't care too much about fantasy football (which might explain why I'm shit at it), I'm much more concerned with the plight of the Denver Broncos, but when the money is in sight, well you start to care.  Anyway, during this semi-final match, the score was tied going into the Sunday Night game.  I had Wes Welker going, he had Frank Gore. I thought I had it in the bag.  I didn't.  And each time Gore touched the ball, there was a nice, sharp pain in between my testicles.  Fuck fantasy football. 

4) Sister Act Two: Back In The Habit

And this was on a few times. 

I haven't seen this movie since it was originally released on cable, and its amazing how much I retained.  Probably because I think the last line of the movie is one of the best closing line's in movie history.  I'm being serious.

Essentially the sequel is about Las Vegas lounge singer, Whoopi Goldberg, once again, pretending she's a nun to get a pack of rabblerousing, yet talented inner city teens in line to become a functional choir (or something like that).  And then by the end of the movie, Whoopi has them rappinig "ya down with G-O-D, yeah you know me!" Yeah, seriously.  But it was the early 90's, so totally acceptable.  Anyway, after the kids win the competition, one of them, Ahmad or something, calls out Whoopi and asks if she's a "Las Vegas showgirl" and Whoopi gets all Whoopi on him and says, "I am not, nor have I ever been, my dear Ahmad, a Las Vegas a headliner."  And she does this with a confident twirl of her finger. It was the ultimate "dont fuck with Whoopi moment."  Then it fades to an end credits scene where the kids sing, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Another tidbit about this movie:  When I originally watched in on cable in, say 1994, my father didn't believe the main girl's voice was real because "if it was real, she'd be famous."  The girl is Lauryn Hill.  And, of course, she become famous.  Nice one, Dad.

And now I've officially written more about Sister Act 2 than anyone has in like 20 years.

3) Re-Runs of Seinfeld

Nuff said.

2)  Catfish: The TV Show.

You guys ever watch Catfish: The Movie?   If you liked that, you'll LOVE Catfish: The TV Show.  It's my current obsession.  Essentially, it's about poor innocents who fall in love with dubious people online, and then with the help of the filmmkers behind the show, finally confront them.  Oh, and they are always so optimistic, the poor things.  But of course, the other person is always lying about their appearance (they are generally fat). It's amazing to me that people, adults, have these all encompassing online relationships full well knowing that, at some point, the truth will come out and it'll all fall apart.  And its equally amazing to find there are actually people who think they're talking to supermodels that have a dysfunctional Skype. 

1) This Real Sports Segment

Remember Dominique Moceanu?

Now you do.  And Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel relayed this amazing story about her.

During Dominique's quest for gold in 1996, there was a young girl named Jen that idolized her.  So much so that she wanted to take up gymnastics just so she could be like Dominique. Just one thing:  Jen was born without legs.  But, despite her limitations, she took up gymnastics and quickly figured out how to tumble.  In fact, she got so good at it that she went on to become a tumbling champion of some sort. 

That's not the amazing part.

It turns out that Jen had been given up for adoption after birth (because her parents didn't want to deal with a special needs child).  When she was a teenager, she became curious about her birth parents and asked her mother and father if they knew anything about them.  Well, they did.  And it turns out that her original last name was Moceanu, and that Dominique was her biological sister.  Fucking weird right? What are the chances your childhood idol is actually your biological sister you've never once met? Now, go to the Google and watch the segment. 

There ya have it. 

I probably should have just rented season one of Homeland so people would get off my back for not watching it.  Oh well..

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Top Five Hostess Cakes

I meant to write this post a couple of weeks ago during the fake outrage and sentiment over a bunch of crappy, fattening snack foods no one even eats anymore, but got lazy and forgot about it until now (which seems appropriate somehow. I equate Hostess with apathy because who ever gets excited about eating these things anyway.)  All that said, Hostess Cakes were definitely a part of childhood, for better or worse, so I wanted to pay tribute to these sugary, and always uninspiring snacks that were never as good as they seemed.


5) The Baseball Cupcake

"But Mom, it has a baseball on the top!  I like baseball!  It's gotta be good!"  I doubt I ever uttered those words, or any like them, but I'm sure I found the idea of the baseball cupcake more appealing because I liked baseball.  Sorta the same reason we all wanted Air Jordans when we were younger; we wanted to be part of some club that marketers sold us on, but didn't really exist.  Unless the club was "children of annoyed parents who wish their kids would shut up about baseball cupcakes."   Anyway, regardless of all that, the vanilla flavored cake was eons better than their signature chocolate cupcake, despite the fun swirl on the top of those.  It's hard to fuck up a chocolate cupcake, actually, I would have argued it's impossible, save for the fact I've eaten enough Hostess chocolate cupcakes to know they are fucking terrible.  So, it's very possible. 

4) The Devil Dog

Technically a Drake Cake, but since Hostess owned Drake, we'll include it.  I believe Devil Dogs were limited to the east coast because when I mentioned them once to west coast born co-workers years ago, they had no clue of what I was talking about.  I had my mother send me out a box, which we all ate together, then shrugged and said "OK, that happened," before we got a drink of water and felt guilty.  My parents would often put Devil Dogs in my school lunch as a dessert, and nine times out of ten, my turkey sandwich would crush the snack to make the whole eating experience a complete mess.  Plus, the cake had a horrible habit of sticking to the top of my mouth, which drove me crazy.  And they kinda look like turds.

3) The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pie

I suppose this was the Ecto Cooler of cakes. You gotta love food and drink that are colored green so they appear radioactive. That's gotta be healthy. I remember I bought my first turtle pie with Danny McGarry back in elementary school.  We both loved the ninja turtles, and now suddenly we had a green filled pie to celebrate our appreciation for all their ass-kicking efforts.  And, of course, it sucked, and I barely got halfway through it.  I don't remember exactly what it tasted like, as I'm sure "ass" wasn't the intended flavor, but for Brett not to finish something sweet, you know it's complete shit.

However, a little later on in life, these pies made for great projectiles when throwing them at friends' cars (don't judge).  You'd throw, they'd splatter and stick, and everyone would have a good laugh.  Save for the person who found their car the next morning covered in the green goo of turtle pie.

2) Twinkies

I have to admit I did like these overly sweet snacks (even the shitty tasting low-fat version), though not as much as the smell of them.  I suppose they were like popcorn in that sense, the scent was more enticing than the actual cake.  Regardless of my appreciation, my main memory of the Twinkie was vomiting one on the side of my parent's car while driving to Cape Cod one August.  It was also the day I realized I couldn't read in the car without getting sick.  My parents had bought me a Mickey Mouse comic book, which I read and enjoyed until I realized the unstoppable wave of nausea brought on by the concentration.  Needless to say, I couldn't make it to the next rest stop, so I rolled down the window and threw up PURE WHITE along the side of the car.  Like Santa's beard.  Anyone want a Twinkie?

1) Suzie-Q

This thing should have come with a warning label it was so dense.  I'm surprised there wasn't a rash of choking incidents caused by Susie-Q's getting lodged in people's throats. 

In high school, we had some sort of current events class that seniors mainly used to goof around.  And, one day, we got caught on a conversation about lunch, and the teacher offered that he was eating a salad, or something else that was light.  Louis was so offended by his choice and dismissed it as "women food."  When asked what "women food" consisted of, Louis ran through various low-cal items that wouldn't fill him up even if he wasn't hungry.  When the teacher asked him what "Man Food" might be, Louis paused for a moment and confidently said...

"A Susie-Q"

There ya have it, have a good day all. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Top Five Theories On How THAT Got There

It's not often my real workday feels like an episode of "The Office," but...

Yesterday, at some point between the hours of 9 and 10 AM, the following appeared at the cross section of two of the most highly trafficked hallways in my office building


And it stayed there for a good 25 minutes before anyone really did anything about it.  Everyone pretty much went through the same process:  1) briefly inspecting it out of shock, 2) looking around aimlessly 3) "What the fuck?" 4) asking anyone and everyone, "Is that what I think it is?" 5)  peeking around the corner like it might get up and walk away, 6) ask more co-workers about it, 7) laugh, 8) "Holy fuck," 9) "Is anyone gonna clean that?" 10) Not actually doing anything about it because....what's really the proper reaction to finding shit on the office floor?

Personally, I was all

Ready to tape off the area, throw on a CSI jacket, and have my co-workers call me "Chief."  Then I'd bring a desk lamp into the conference room and start interrogating everyone on what they all ate for dinner the night before.  But instead I just took the above photo (for posterity), called security to see if that hallway had a camera (they didn't), and then realized how absurd and pathetic the entire thing was (it really was), and that I should probably get back to work (I did).

But the damage was done, and "Poopgate" was upon us. 

"But it didn't have a smell!" one claimed.

"Does all poop smell?" another asked.

"Maybe we should download the Everybody Poops book and find out!" yet another offered. 

And each half hour, another co-worker would stop by my desk armed with a request to see the picture and a theory.  Yes, seriously.


5) The Diaper Theory

Co-Worker #1 postulated that a parent did an emergency change in the bathroom, carried the dirty diaper out of said bathroom, and somehow the poop slipped out before they could properly dispose of it.  "Have you ever seen a baby poop?" the co-worker asked.  "Monsters."  But considering I don't work in a daycare center, why would a baby be visiting the floor?  But let's just say one was, why would the parent carry a dirty diaper, concealed by nothing, out of the bathroom to a different garbage?  What would be wrong with the one in the rest room?  Also, do babies eat corn?


4) The Odwalla Bar Theory

A certain high level executive studied the picture and deduced that it wasn't what everyone assumed it was and, instead, was sure it was a chocolate peanut butter Odwalla bar.

Upon first glance, I thought he might have a point.  The chips could be the "corn" and the chocolate had a resemblance.  But upon a careful comparison, we noticed the coloring was different, and that the Odwalla bar was unable to leave a stain trail like the above picture. A different consistency. It was close, but not a match.  I offered to heat it up in the microwave to see if it changed the composition of the bar, but he got really grossed out and kicked me out of his office.  Hey, he started it.

By the way, who's hungry for a chocolate peanut Odwalla bar!

3) The "It Got Caught On A Person's Pants" Theory

Ah...just....gross.  Though it was only a few yards from the restrooms.  But...  Moving along...

2) The "Office Dog Did It" Theory

Except, of course, there is no office dog.

I suppose it's possible that a dog may have wandered through the office.  Perhaps the yellow in the poop was a Crayola crayon it had eaten the night before.  But 1) I've never seen a dog in the office, 2) what are the chances the owner of the dog would do nothing about it, and 3) I think someone in the office would have discovered that a dog had been visiting at some point throughout the day. The jig would have been up.  The mystery solved. 

I suppose it's possible that a seeing eye dog visited and the owner never saw the "mistake," but what the hell are the chances of this happening?

1) The Disgruntled Employee Makes His/Her Mark Theory

My personal favorite.  I wish I'd thought of the tactic when I made this list.  But my co-worker who suggested this brought up several good points.  1) They picked the absolute perfect location at the perfect time of day (when most would be arriving to work) 2) It's the closest thing to a terror attack on your co-workers. 3) It's the ultimate fuck you.  Diabolical! 

It'd take a ballsy person to pull that off, but I suppose it is possible, though I think most people are pretty content at my workplace.  Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever discover the culprit, though I expect jokes will be made about it until after the New Year.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Austria

As mentioned in the previous post, I recently returned from an all-too-short trip to Austria and loved every second of it, despite the fact that Los Angeles weather has completely ruined my ability to handle anything colder than 50 degrees. Yes, I'm totally one of "those people" that New Yorkers loathe when they mention Angelenos. So, I was basically rolling around Vienna like the Michelin Man, constantly complaining about stiff breezes and a numb nose.  Annoying, I know. 

Have you ever gone on a vacation to a nice, yet boring place, but you easily convince yourself it's prettier or more fun than it actually is?  Vienna is not one of those cities.  While tourist attractions may be low (and not very eventful, unless you like horses,art museums, and classical music to which I'm personally indifferent..but actually, that's a lot), the city is warm and beautiful; easily one of the most walkable in my Euro experience. 

But anyway, lets get to the top five.  Now, I would have loved to have taken more pictures, things like the Hapsburg Palace, which is pretty unreal, but my hands were generally cold and under the cover of mittens, so I didn't often reach for my phone. So, yes, I suck.

But's the TOP FIVE THINGS I ENJOYED ABOUT AUSTRIA  (by the way, if you actually want good advice about what to do in Austria, might I recommend Google?)

Honorable Mention: Mr. Lee's

OK, I never once ate at this fast food, Asian inspired chain, but I got lulz everytime I saw their tagline, "Quicklee."  I have no clue why I found it to be so clever.  But I enjoyed it each time I saw it.  And I saw it often.  By the end of the trip, my friend was pretty much all, "God, would you just eat it already? It won't take long, it'll come quicklee."  But no, it looked totally nasty.  Plus, I didn't want to be that guy that traveled all the way to Austria to eat fast food sesame chicken. 

5) The Ferris Wheel

I don't like Ferris Wheels.  Generally, they terrify me...with all that stopping and swaying several stories above the ground.  One of the scariest rides in the world, to me, is that dumb ass Ferris Wheel at Disneyland (yeah), the one that rolls to the edge with each stop and swings haplessly in the air as you look down towards your death.  It's awful.

But the Ferris Wheel in Vienna seems to be some sort of institution, and the cars are completely enclosed, which eliminated that pain in my stomach that generally accompanies heights.  Also, did you know, for a measly 400 euro you can have a three course meal in one of the cars?  Probably not, why would you know this? BUT WHAT A DEAL.  They set up a nice table for two and bring you different courses each time your car returns to the starting point.  How cool...though I can imagine it getting old pretty quickly.  Especially if the food is anything like the kind they serve in the cafe below the wheel.  Anyway, I didn't partake in the dinner option, and instead shared a car with numerous other tourists, including one guy who kept speaking to me in quick Spanish even though I kept answering in English, but hey...look at the view!

OK, so the Vienna skyline isn't all that exciting, but whatever.  Good enough for a scene in Before Sunrise, good enough for Brett.

4) This Church

Not sure who had the idea to bathe this Stephansplatz cathedral in color at night, but bravo.

3) This Picture

WTF?   I suppose Germans/Austrians have a history of not being sensitive to other racial/cultural groups.  Thanks Mammy!

2) Christmas Markets

Markets, markets, everywhere!   Seriously.  Everywhere.  And they are all generally the same.  A large group of festively decorated green stalls that sell various Christmas related goods you may or may not want/need.  All the markets are, more or less, identical, and you know what? My friend and I loved each one more than the last.  They are exactly what you think when you picture what a European Christmas should be.  And if you want some hot wine or coffee, they actually serve it to you in a real mug. No paper shit here!  Never got tired of these markets, never bought a thing aside from a drink.

1) Salzburg, Austria

"You should visit the other side of the city, that way you can tell friends you've seen both sides of Salzburg."  That's what the girl behind the hotel front desk told us when we asked for advice at check in.  She overestimated my friends; I'd be surprised if 30 percent of them have actually heard of Salzburg, let alone know that it has two sides.

But that's a shame because the mountainside city is beautiful, with its thin cobblestone corridors and the enormous old fortress that overlooks the entire town. It's perfect for that "step back in time" feeling that many travel to Europe for (even if some of the streets are filled with high end boutiques).  And, of course, Mozart enthusiasts can visit his birthplace (if the locals can give you proper directions on how to find wouldn't expect this to be a problem, but ummm).  Though I wasn't there during a snowfall, I can imagine Salzburg blanketed in white is near perfect, and would be an ideal place to spend your Christmas.