Saturday, July 31, 2010

Action Movies Vs. Chick Flicks: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Here's one of the great dynamics my wife Ramona and I have: When we go to the movies, we both like the films that the other gender typically favors. I like a lot of the chick flicks she likes. She digs a lot of the action films I enjoy. It's a nice overlap, making for a pleasant experience for when we're deciding what movie to go see.

But last night as we were walking out of "Inception" (great movie), we came across a huge display for "The Expendables", an action movie with a distinct 1980s-ish feel with a crazy star-studded action star cast (Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, among others) that's coming out Aug. 13.

"Oh yeah, we're definitely seeing that opening night," I said to Ramona as we walked by the display."

"Or," she replied, "that weekend we could first see 'Eat Pray Love.'''

Now I didn't say anything at this point, but my lovely wife had just committed a cardinal sin of marriage: Suggesting a chick flick over a movie starring Sylvester Stallone. I mean, no good comes of this. The man's not happy because he's seeing a chick flick over Sly. And the woman's not happy because the man, ultimately, becomes less of a man before her very eyes.

Nonetheless, I had to play caring, attentive husband. So I asked the Ramona the following:

"What's 'Eat Pray Love' about?"

Well, it was originally this great book!! See, this woman was married, wasn't happy, and so she gets a divorce and...

And I have already checked out of this conversation. While Ramona goes on about this woman divorcing a guy and trying to find herself by doing yoga in India, I think to myself: I can't believe I am seeing another movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in my lifetime. Hell, I thought Dolph was dead!! Damn, are we living in exciting times.

And so then the woman goes to Italy to learn about food. Then she goes to Bali to learn about balance...

You know what me and my buddies need to do before seeing "The Expendables"? See a bunch of Dolph Lundgren movies. We'll call it "Dolph Fest." It will get us in the proper mindset.

And then she goes back to India and does more yoga!! And then she thinks: 'I should write a book!'

Preliminary "Dolph Fest" movie list: Rocky IV (obviously), Universal Solider, and "Showdown In Little Tokyo", where Dolph plays a big white guy who's a ninja.

And it's all a book, Nev!! She use her book advance to go to all these places. Isn't that amazing!?!

I'll tell you what's amazing: That Ramona thinks I've been listening this whole time. And that "Expendables" also stars both World Wrestling Entertainment legend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and UFC star Randy Couture. How were they able to co-exist on the same screen? Does Couture respect pro wrestling or put it down as fake? Does "Stone Cold" give props to mixed martial arts, or think that one of his patented "Stone Cold Stunners" would put Couture down?

I wonder if the two of them fight in the movie. That would be sweet!!!

So what do you say, Nev? How does Eat Pray Love sound?

And I turned to my lovely wife:

"Like a movie you should go see with your mom."

Because I'm going to see "Expendables".

And I've got "Dolph Fest" to plan.


And now for this week's:


This is just wrong.

The New York tourist hot spot Serendipity 3 has made it to the Guinness World Records for the world's most expensive hot dog: a rare truffle-slathered sausage priced at $69.

The dog is grilled in white truffle oil and it's served in a homemade pretzel-style bun that's brushed with truffle butter. This hot dog is topped with duck foie gras, caramelized Vidalia onions, black truffle Dijon mustard and homemade heirloom tomato ketchup.

Problems? Let's review:

1) The price. That's obvious.

2) Duck foie gras.

I shouldn't have to explain the issue there.

3) Fancy onions, mustard and ketchup.

Why the hell would anyone want to pay ridiculous prices for fancy condiments? Furthermore, why the hell would anyone want to pay for condiments in the first place? This is insane!! Last I checked, you would get regular onions, mustard and ketchup -- AMERICAN onions, mustard and ketchup -- for free!! But some fancy, trendy New York craphouse has to try and upset the balance of power with truffle butter.

Hot dogs and the wheel: Two things you leave alone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The One-Year Anniversary Of My Bachelor Party: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

(Nevdogg Note: One year ago today, my buddies Kevin, Joe, Jeremy, Carlos and Evan took me to Las Vegas for the male ritual of rituals known as: "The Bachelor Party." Today, as I fondly reminisce on the event, I've decided to re-post my blog from July 23, 2009, the night before we were to leave for Vegas. I remember being super excited, borderline giddy, and unable to sleep. As fun as the bachelor party was -- and it truly was the best time I've ever had in Vegas, and I've probably gone nearly 20 times -- the excitement the night before was just as much fun. I even remember having fun writing that blog, the words came so easily. :-) Hope you enjoy!!)

When I got engaged last August, one of the first things I did was tell one of my best friends Kevin the good news.

And Kevin -- one of my oldest friends, who has seen me through many ups and downs in my life (and vice versa), and who has met the love of his life and gotten married himself during the course of our friendship -- proceeded to ask me one of the most important questions that a good friend asks upon hearing the news that one of his closest buddies is planning to tie the knot:

Bachelor party in Vegas?

And that's why he's my best man. :-)

As I write this blog, I am mere hours away from joining Kevin and four other good buddies to participate in a tradition that has spanned across the world throughout the generations: The bachelor party. A chance for a man about to get married to enjoy one last romp of single-dom; to drink, to gamble, to see naked women, to be stupid in general with his equally stupid friends.

All to celebrate the fact that I'm pledging my love to a single woman for the rest of my life.

It makes no sense. None whatsoever. And it's OK. Because it's a bachelor party!! It's supposed to be mindless!!

And this weekend, it's all about me me ME!!!!!!!

I'm a little excited. :-)

The bachelor party. My father before me, and my grandfather before him, are among the many men who have participated in this ritual of rituals. I've heard their bachelor party stories, seen the light shine in the oldest of eyes as they retell the stories of their own bachelor party experiences. I've even been a member of the experience, but always on the outside looking in, someone planning it rather than living it.

And now, it's my turn. Men young and old, living and deceased, all waiting for me to join this prestigious fraternity, ready to say:

Welcome, brother. This is your moment.

I'll just admit it right now: I'm gettin' misty. And I'm not ashamed.

Know this about me:

I consider myself a nice guy. I try to be a good person. I do my best to be a good friend, a good fiancee, someone who listens and tries not to judge. I was never into wild parties, drugs, or heavy drinking. I was a good student in school and have worked professionally since I was 17. I never caused my parents any real trouble and have done my best to become a responsible adult.

I guess what I'm saying is:

I've earned the right to act like a %$#*&^$# idiot for a couple of days. :-)

Bachelor party in Vegas?

Could we possibly have it anywhere else?


And now for this week's:


Betty White has unveiled a new clothing line.

Next week's SOTA: People are buying Betty White's clothing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Feeling Fat In An Airplane Seat: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Last Friday, I went to California's Burbank Airport to catch a plane to meet my wife Ramona in Las Vegas for her birthday weekend. And as I boarded the plane and sat down, I found myself asking the following question:

Am I getting fat?

Now I'm 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, and more or less have been that since I graduated college. So I was fairly certain that my size was not the problem. But the problem, I realized, was that airplane seats had gotten far smaller, to the point where I -- a relatively thin fellow -- felt packed in like a sardine.

I mean, I feel for fat people in this case. I really, truly do. They must be miserable when traveling in economy class. How, I wonder, do they not get stuck? Are they allowed to bring butter on the plane to grease themselves before and during the flight so they can slide right off when needed?

I'm not trying to be mean here. I'm just posing an honest question.

This is just one of many things I don't understand about today's airplane industry.

Here are two more:

1) The size of the bathrooms.

Now airplane bathrooms have always been small. And honestly, you don't really need it to be all that big. What I never understood is how, given the size of the lavatory, people have been able to join what's known as The Mile High Club.

Every guy in their life has been asked 100 times over the course of his existence by his fellow man if he is a member of this exclusive club. And to those who have answered yes, I say to you:

You're lying.

I mean, you must be. I can barely fit in there. How the hell can you fit both you and one other person know, position yourselves?

I mean...are you midgets?

Because that's the only explanation I can think of.

And 2) Having to pay for airplane food.

Now this stuns me. Airplane food was never good. In fact, unless you pay thousands to sit in first class, you've probably never tasted good airplane food. I'll never forget how, on my way to Philadelphia in 1998, American Airlines handed me a bag of food on the way onto the plane, because I was no longer deemed important enough for them to serve me my food.

Well apparently, I'm now no longer worthy enough to be given this food free of charge.

I mean: $3 for chips? $5 for cookies? $10 for a ham and cheese croissant? Is the airplane industry hurting that bad? And why the hell would you pay $10 for a croissant? Are you that hungry? Do you not realize that if you eat too much, you won't be able to get out of your seat?

Unless, of course, you grease yourself with butter.


And now for this week's:


Jon Bon Jovi recently tore a calf muscle while playing a concert at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey.

Bon Jovi.

Getting old.

That's gotta be one of the seven signs of global doom, don't you think?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Ranch Dressing, Fries That Aren't Called 'Fries', And Lack Of Free Soda Refills: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

My dad Bob and I are complete opposites when it comes to food. He likes fancy restaurants. I like McDonald's. He makes stuff veal chops. I microwave bacon. He flavors his food with port reduction sauce. I use pepper.

So when my dad and his girlfriend Vera took me and my wife Ramona out to dinner tonight to celebrate our buying a house, I was a little concerned. Simply put, my dad and I are on opposite ends of the food spectrum. We don't see eye-to-eye on this. He's all "how can you eat that crap?" when he sees my chili cheese dog, and my eyes glaze over when he talks to me about shrimp vodka sauce.

So tonight, we went to La Frite, a French restaurant in Sherman Oaks, Calif., on L.A.'s semi-world famous Ventura Boulevard. And as far as "places my dad likes and I just roll my eyes at" go, it really wasn't that bad. Yes, they had foo-foo dishes that were more about presentation than taste, but they also had burgers, pizza, and the option to add grilled onions on my food.

Still, there were three things about the place that reminded me why I never go to restaurants like these:

1) No ranch dressing.

I'm an American in the 21st century. And as an American in the 21st century, I like ranch dressing for my fries. Ketchup is fine, and I still use the standard tomato condiment. But more and more, I dip my french fries in ranch. It's part of the "french fry dipping sauce" evolvement.

(Is "evolvement" a word? Not sure.)

One problem here:

"We don't have ranch dressing," the waitress said.

No ranch dressing. They got mushrooms stuffed with snails, but no ranch.

"Do you have mayo?" I replied.

"Well, yes," the waitress said. "But what I was going to recommend was a dijon tarragon sauce. It's amazing."

OK, three problems here.

a) No apologies for ranch dressing. I mean, at least feign remorse.

b) Don't brush off my request for mayo with...

c) Something I'm not even sure I can spell.

"Mayo," I said. "Bring me my mayo."

I hate having to ask twice.

Carl's Jr. would never have me ask twice.

Hell, they wouldn't ask once.

They'd have ranch.

2) They don't call french fries "french fries."

I hate fancy names for things I already know the name of. Don't call hamburgers "grilled sirloin." Don't call salad "garden medley." And don't call fries "pomme frites."

Pomme frites. Last I checked, I lived in America. And -- with all due respect to the many minorities living in this country (and I respect you all; I really do) -- we speak English here. And as such, I want my fries to be called fries. Not pomme frites or papas a la francesa or franse frietjes.

French fries. Call them french fries.

Because that's what they are.

French fries.

Calling them something different does not make them different.

Even with your dijon tarragon sauce.

And 3) No free refills on soda.

Now this just pisses me off. I've come to expect something in all of my dining experiences: Free refills on soda. I love soda. It's my vice, I'll be the first to admit. I don't like coffee, I hardly drink alcohol, and I hate sparkling water. I like soda with my meals. So when I go to a restaurant, I expect (as I should) to be given a tall glass of soda with my meal, and then many other tall glasses of soda (at no extra charge) whenever I ask.

But tonight, when I ordered a soda, they came back with this 10-ounce glass bottle of Diet Coke and a small glass of ice.

There were many things wrong with this:

a) 10-ounce glass bottles of soda. I mean, who created them? They're downright insulting. It announces two things to me, the customer: No free refills, and "we're going to charge you $2.95 for each of these dinky glasses because we're a fancy restaurant and we can."

I mean...

F******* YOU!!!!!

You know?

And b) What's with the small glasses? What am I, 4? Give me a big-boy glass, for crying out loud!! Hell, at barbecue glasses they give you jugs. Give me a jug. I want a jug. I'm used to soda jugs.

And french fries that are called french fries.

And ranch dressing to dip them in.

No ranch dressing.

And they call these restaurants "classy."

(shakes his head)


And now for this week's:


5,000 Happy Meals were distributed with colored condoms instead of a plastic toy from the movie The Last Airbender.

The condoms were intended for the Provincetown, Mass. school system, which recently established a policy making them available for students of all ages; they were delivered to McDonald's distribution center in Barnstable, Mass. in error.

"The packages were so bright and colorful that they were misled by small toys for Happy Meals, but unfortunately most of the workers who do not read English package, and thought 'Ribbed Latex' was a character in the movie," said Robin Anderson, vice president of public relations for the chain, as published by El Universal of Mexico.

"'Ribbed Latex' was a character in the movie."

You can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Babysitting My Two Little Girl Cousins: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I haven't babysat in a long time, but babysitting boys is pretty straightforward. See, boys are relatively simple creatures, especially if you were once a boy because you can relate to their interests and their mindset. When you're babysitting boys, you just need to know the following:

If they're hungry, order pizza.

If they get dirty, hose them down in the background.

If they get troublesome, grab them by the collar, lift them up, look them straight in the eye, and say:

I'm bigger than you.

And finally, if they need a lesson in right and wrong, plop them in front of the TV and have them watch World Wrestling Federation matches from the 1980s. Hitting someone with a steel chair, you explain, is bad.

So when my wife Ramona asked recently if I would babysit her little cousins tonight while her and some of her out-of-town family went to dinner, you would think there'd be no problem, right?

Just one thing, however:

Ramona's cousins were girls.

9-year-old Cora and 4-year-old Aya were the two little ones I was asked to watch over this evening. And admittedly, I was a little worried. I mean...these were girls. What do girls play with? What do they eat? Are they crazy and emotional at the ages of 9 and 4, like their older brethren? How was I going to relate to them? I had nothing to fall back on; no experiences, no female bonding stories, no Barbie dolls (excuse the stereotype, but...hey.)

So when the girls arrived, I was a bit on edge. I mean, I had seen and played with them many times. But this was different. I was watching them. I was alone with them. I was responsible for them. What would happen with me in charge? What if something...I don't know...female happened?

And the final verdict? For one kid, it was no problem. Cora is without question the most responsible 9-year-old on Earth. She ate her dinner when asked, she brushed her teeth when asked, she was quiet during the movie, she even put herself to sleep because "it was past her bedtime." She didn't even finish her ice cream because "I don't want to spoil my appetite for dinner."

Cora is 9 going on responsible adult, and it made the job for Babysitter Nev a breeze.

And then there was 4-year-old Aya.

Aya Aya Aya. Where do I begin?

Let's start with the Mac and Cheese.

I heard that the girls loved Mac and Cheese, so I bought them the microwavable kind that you can make in 4 minutes. Pretty easy...except Aya wouldn't eat it.

"It's too hot," she said.


10 minutes later.

"It's too hot."

20 minutes later.

"It's too hot."

30 minutes later, when the damn thing was ice cold.

"It's too hot."

And finally, I took action.

"Aya, sweetie," I said, "I think it's fine."

And you know what she said?


And she began to eat it.'s the simple solutions.

And then there was the brushing of the teeth.

"I don't want to brush my teeth," Aya said.

Now I get where Aya's coming from. Every little one, boy or girl, hates brushing their teeth. It's an unnecessary chore, they figure. The problem, however, is that it is very difficult to break the child's will on this, especially if you're me and you're a big softy who gives Aya ice cream before dinner and generally will do whatever she wants and says.

But still, I knew her mom would be pissed if the teeth weren't brushed. So I tried something:

"Aya, come with me," I said.

And I led her into the bathroom, her toothbrush and toothpaste in hand.

"I'M NOT BRUSHING MY TEETH!!" she announced.

"No no, I know," I replied. "But I need your help. I want to brush my teeth, and I need you to tell me if I'm doing it right."

And I put some toothpaste on my toothbrush...and began brushing my cheek.

"No no," she said. "You're doing it wrong!!"

"Well, how do I do it?" I asked.

And I began brushing my other cheek.

"No silly!!" she said. "You put it on your teeth." And she began brushing, without toothpaste.

"OK wait, hold on," I replied. And I put some toothpaste on her brush. "Show me again."

And she began brushing her teeth, educating me on how to make them clean.

"And then we spit," she said.

And we spit into the sink, both our smiles a little brighter.

And finally, there was the movie we all watched: The Adventures of Milo and Otis. A story about a cat (Milo) and a dog (Otis) who get into a crazy adventure, with Otis having to find Milo after he accidentally wanders too far from home.

Twenty minutes in, Aya came in with the questions.

"Which one is Milo?" she asked.

"The cat," I said.

"Which one is Otis?"

"The dog."


And then...

"What is Milo doing?" she asked.

"Trying to find his way home," I said.

"And what's Otis doing?"

"Trying to find Milo."


"So they can go home."


And later:

"Where's Milo?" she asked.

"In the swamp," I said.

"Where's Otis?"

"In the cotton fields."

"What's cotton?"

"That white stuff."

"Why is it moving?"

"It's blowing in the wind."


"Because wind blows."


"Because that's what wind does."



"Aya, I just don't know."



And lastly:

"Who's Milo?" she asked.

My verbal reply was "the cat."

My non-verbal reply was:

Are you f***in' serious?

If Aya was a boy, I'd of hosed him down in the backyard right then and there.


And now for this week's:


Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green were recently married.

A love that will no doubt last throughout the ages...or until Megan's next lesbian tryst.