A Bunch of Board Games You Should Play


A year ago, my friend and former blog partner Joe (a.k.a. J-Unit) had a bachelor party up in Lake Tahoe. It was a pretty fun bro weekend full of beer pong, barbecuing, and a forest fire (unrelated to the barbecuing). With the area full of smoke, we spent a lot of time indoors, and thankfully our friend Isaac had brought a game. Specifically, Settlers of Catan. It was the first time I had even heard of this cultural phenomenon, and I can assure you that after my first play, my life was changed — CHANGED, I TELL YOU. Catan blew my mind, and being that I’m a curious type, I spent the next several weeks devouring any sort of media about it that I could find (videos, articles, performance art, anything). I soon discovered that Settlers of Catan was only the tip of the gaming iceberg. There were many, many, many more modern board games out in the world, and they were a far cry from the roll-and-move games of our youth.

A year later, I’ve slid down the rabbit hole and found myself fully obsessed with modern board games. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise: I’ve been a video game fanatic for years; so board games are a logical next step in my playtime activities. Nevertheless, one of my great weaknesses is forcing my obsessions onto innocent bystanders, and subsequently, I now talk everyone’s ear off about tabletop gaming, often hijacking my podcasts to extol the virtues of Catan or Dead of Winter.

The response has actually been pretty cool. I receive several Tweets and messages asking for recommendations, and who am I to deny ANYONE my thoughtful opinion? I’m not a monster, after all. I AM AN INFLUENCER, DAMMIT. (Somewhere there is a Klout score to verify this, as well as several free shaving kits, some Hulu vouchers, and an Audi).

That being said, after the jump, check out an unsolicited tour of my gaming collection. Hopefully you’ll find something in there that will inspire you to either dive into the hobby or expand your collection. At the very least, it’s a fun way to pass five minutes on the Internet.

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How To Pub Crawl for 12 Hours in Downtown LA

A spicy margarita from Las Perlas, left, and the view from Perch, right.

This past weekend, a group of us here in Los Angeles trekked to Downtown LA to engage in a lengthy and enjoyable pub crawl that lasted for just about twelve hours. Amazingly, we managed to keep our facilities about us, which was perfect since we then could appreciate the varied and eclectic watering holes we ambled into over the course of the day.

For those looking to make an excursion out of Downtown, definitely take notes. And also remember that we just barely scratched the surface…

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B-Side Blog To Judge Southwest Regional Barista Competition


Wondering where my Survivor, Top Chef, and American Idol recaps have been? Fear not: I haven’t abandoned them. Instead I spent the day down in Long Beach, CA getting certified to be a judge at the Southwest Regional Barista Competition, and let me tell you something: it’s not easy. Aside from it being a terribly exacting process — prospective judges are trained in everything from taste balance to foam persistence and consistency — the certification has taken a full on physical toll. You see, here’s my problem. I don’t really drink coffee. I indulge in some foofy mocha lattes socially, and yes, on occasion I’ll enjoy an iced coffee, but espresso and cappuccino are not really my things. Furthermore, after half a coffee, I’m pretty wired.

Still, when I was invited to participate in this event, I thought it could be a ton of fun. What better way to earn coffee bragging rights than by becoming a CERTIFIED JUDGE?

Well, now I’m paying the price. I’ve spent the past five hours shaking with occasional sprints to the bathroom. This is not for the faint of heart, and I’m starting to think that I’m VERY faint of heart. Continue reading

Currywurst Arrives In Los Angeles!


When I went to Germany three and a half years ago with my friends jash and m_ruv, I returned with an undying love for currywurst, a local street food in Berlin that combines sausage and curried ketchup. Some vendors sell it with bratwurst, others with bockwurst, and quite frankly there are many heated arguments (according to Time-Out Berlin) about the proper way to prepare the dish. All I know is that every time I ordered it (which was quite often on our brief four day jaunt), I loved it.

Unfortunately, German restaurants are few and far between here in Los Angeles, and the ones that do exist have pretty meager currywurst offerings. That’s why I was so excited when my friend IndianJones emailed me (and our friend Phamtastic, who is actually German) this morning about the opening of Berlin Currywurst. Located in the heart of the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Berlin Currywurst looked to be what I’d been waiting for all these years: A CURRYWURST MECCA. It should be no surprise then that I trekked out there on its opening day today for a solo lunch amidst the hipsters and hippies at Sunset Junction.

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AND WHATNOT: Khloe Kardashian Takes On Perez Hilton; Plus, ‘Gossip Girl’, Celine Dion, and ‘Three-In-Bed Sex’

Zap2It: Former NFL star Junior Seau drives off cliff after domestic violence arrest (Seau random – yuk yuk yuk)
Seattle Post Intelligencer: Celine Dion hospitalized
Vulture: Mad Men’s Megan Speaks!
Gawker: Crazy “Rent Is Too Damn High” Candidate Steals the Show at NY Gov. Debate
Socialite Life: Kanye West Opens Up About Taylor Swift Fallout
LAist: San Gabriel Mayor Resigns After Alleged Food Fight & Crime
SFStation: Ice Cream Through the Ages
GeekWeek: FANTASY FOOTBALL: Week 6 Recap & Week 7 Advice
Movieline: A-List: New York Recap: Prisoner of Tragique-istan
Movieline: 5 Things Gossip Girl Has Done Right This Season
BBC: Tommy Sheridan ‘had three-in-bed sex’, says SSP member (thanks m_ruv)
Toronto Sun: Kardashian unloads on Perez

AND WHATNOT: Tailgating Banned At Dodger Stadium; Also, Khloe Kardashian Menstruates, Mochi Ice Cream, and Scary Images of Kelly Bensimon

Daily Dish: The party’s over for tailgaters at Dodger Stadium (assholes!)
Dessert Darling: Mochi Ice-cream Balls: Mikawaya
Fresh & Sleazy: Kelly Bensimon Looks Like A Piece of Leather
New York Times: Voices of the Tea Party
Great White Snark: What, Where, and Why?: Predator Lamp Table
NY Post: Designer is dead on arousal (thanks m_ruv)
Socialite Life: Khloe Kardashian Talks Periods
Gawker: Your Tweets Have Been Carefully Preserved By the Government

DEAD CELEBRITIES: Corey Haim Edition


Just days after several ’80s teen icons were resurrected at the Oscars, one of that era’s most famous teen idols has died. Corey Haim passed away at 38 today after struggling for years with addiction and drug abuse. Sad news indeed. Is it bad that my first instinct is to wonder if he’ll make it into the Academy’s In Memoriam montage? What? It’s a current debate! (Farrah Fawcett, anybody??)
Anyway, more information on this tragic turn of events here.
(Thanks to m_ruv for the heads up)

AND WHATNOT: LT Leaves SD; Also, Betty White, Curling, and Dumb Students

EW: Exclusive: ‘SNL’ close to landing Betty White!
ESPN: Tomlinson released by Chargers
Fourth-Place Medal: Aboriginal leaders: Russian ice dancers’ routine still offensive
The Economist: Making a bit of me (thanks m_ruv)
Fourth-Place Medal: Canadian curling fans leave Danish player in tears
Gastrobuzz: Denny’s Social Media Snafu
Deadspin: NYU Business School Professor Has Mastered The Art Of Email Flaming (thanks jash)
Oprah: Godiva’s Chocolate Set (thanks Neil!)

GOOGLE BUZZ: Yea or Neigh?


Google launched its new, horrific service Google Buzz today, which is basically all the fun of Facebook, but without the architecture. Or structure. Or lack of chaos. In short, it’s like a chat room with no walls. A total and complete inundation of commentary that sprawls and grows faster than the most insidious of weeds. And best of all, with each comment that’s made in Google Buzz (and I assure you the service encourages and allows for many, many comments), we get a new email alert EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s crazy.
Nevertheless, when my posse took to Google Buzz earlier this morning, things went sour very, very quickly. Note the screen shot above from two buzz convos, courtesy of me, IndianJones, Malibu Judie, m_ruv, and jash. This was only the tip of the iceberg.
Have you tried Google Buzz? What do you think about it? Worthwhile service or redundant Twitter-Facebook mashup?