Saturday, February 21, 2009

Trains of Thought

Thought patterns are one of the most interesting things that we take for granted. Not until recently have I been so intrigued. Have you ever wondered how the creators of Family Guy come up with their material? I think I've figured it out. They get a bunch of corporate Americans who's daily relief from the jobs they hate is a 1 hour time frame all to themselves in the middle of the day, put them in a conference room, and call it lunch. Albeit a rather boring sounding beginning to a lunch break, but it proves fruitful.

Now these just aren't your ordinary corporate Americans. These are the creative cream of the crop. I'm talking about the well-read IT Guy, the faux know-it-all, the quiet lady, the doubter, the intern, and the occasional cynic. And their differences are not just their demeanor, but also their cultural background. Put all that in a mix, and've got yourself a grade A creative comedy team.

With such variety of people, culture, background, and personality, it's no wonder a slew of topics emerge in conversation. Intellectual to nonsensical, morose to jubilant, factual or fictional, and the list goes on.

Now the amazing part is that they all seem to tie together. Discussions of the theory of black holes leads to the music of Soundgarden (Black Hole Sun... won't you come...) to wash away the rain... drops keep falling on my window(s)... of the World was a great restaurant in the World Trade the position that I play in a better sport than baseball... I can't believe the Philles won the World Series... of poker is a game that relies on a good composure... or composer of cards is like a composer of music, you have to find the harmony... and I bumeped into my friend Melodee a few weeks ago in the street as I was walk(ing)...the Line was an ok movie... don't you think?

I guess that's why they call it "trains" of thought. You are constantly LINKING things together and always on the GO to CONVEY your thought, hopes, dreams, and ideas. Family Guy just makes it more evident... and funny.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations: Philippines

For those of you who have seen Anthony Bourdain's TV show No Reservations, you are familiar with the typical Bourdain style. A hip, leather jacket sportin', cigarette smoking, beer chugging, adventurous, entertaining, daring, and outgoing Bourdain is not what you would call a shy person. The clever title of his show has a dual meaning. No Reservations in the sense of not making arrangements for accommodation at a restaurant, and No Reservations in the sense of not holding back emotions and opinions.

Unfortnately, in the most recent episode in the Philippines, Bourdain seemed to lack his usual flare. I can't imagine that it was due to a lack of tantilizing foods, flavors, or aromas. And although he says he had a great time in his blog (Anthony Bourdain), one could only wonder how in the world he could tolerate the complete lack of emotion from his Cebuano tour guide Augusto Elefano.

For a person who "argued so fervently for his country of ancestry," Elefano showed little knowledge about his motherland when it actually came down to it. Anyone can put together a video...even me, and I'm a PC. Watching his video that convinced Bourdain to visit the great Archipelago gave me high hopes of a truly entertaining episode. But when it all came down to it the show, because of Elefano's enthusiasm, was flat.

I'm glad that Bourdain visited the Philippines. And I'm sure that he was able to feast on his fair share of foods. I mean, it's only a 1 hour show, so I'm sure there's plenty of film on the editing room floor. But I was more concerned with the way this Filipino American came off to the viewing public.

Augusto's personality on the show was the complete opposite of the video that achieved the Philippines the honor of hosting Bourdain. There was no excitement. The show is called No Reservations! Why did I feel like he confined his emotions and enthusiasm? Who could hold back any type of emotion? I understand that Augusto was going through some sorts of an identity issue (not crisis), but being in the land of his predecessors should have given him some type of pride. He was uber proud in his video. But how could he have been so proud with his so-called identity crisis?

I'm not so much concerned with how the food was presented or what was / was not highligted. I guess the bottom line is that Augusto's representation of Filipinos and the culture is off. From his complete 180 degree personality change between his video and his performance on screen to the lack lustre dynamic of his family "party," the overall portrayal of Filipinos was weak. Yes, in a sense Elefano put us on the map in the Foodie world, but his actions and words are setting us back. Plenty of Filipinos and Filipino Americans have made great strides to further us as a people.

Augusto - there are plenty of organizations and people to help you "FIND yourself." For goodness sakes, you live in the cultural capital of the world that is New York City. Use the New Yorker in you and FIND those resources to help you identify.

I hope Chef Bourdain does a Part Deux.