Sunday, December 31, 2023

Another New Year's Eve

Apparently my mom wrote something similar yesterday, but I haven’t read it so any similarities are purely coincidental and not eligible for legal action.

New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration, newness, and excitement. For me, it is a time of stress and yet another year of figuring out what the hell to do. I would love New Year’s if it actually went as promised— crazy party where you’re not too hot, there are places to sit when my back hurts, and someone cute to kiss at midnight in a whirlwind-slow motion moment. But it never looks like that. 

Being in New York, it would seem our best option is to find somewhere in the city, but that’s also terrifying on NYE so ultimately not really worth it. Everything is overpriced and watered down, and not enough seating. 

From what I gather, the best option is a house party, but I don’t have enough NY peeps to throw one of those right now, and even if I did I doubt people wanna trek to Westchester. Hopefully next year, I’ll be at a raging house party with my copious amounts of extremely close friends and a few mysterious strangers, but for now, I'm off Brooklyn by myself for a jam session/party thing because I couldn’t find someone to go with me. Hoping to make some new friends and harmonize into the new year, bringing me a 2024 filled with warmth and music. 

Happy New Year’s Eve to you all and may you find something worth doing that brings you joy and luck in the new year!


Saturday, December 30, 2023

What To Do On New Year's Eve...

I have never been one for big fanfare on New Year’s Eve. If one goes out, places are super

crowded and super expensive. Restaurants slightly alter their menus for NYE and then majorly

jack up the prices. And those giant parties with a huge cover charge? Ugh don’t get me started.


Therefore, over the years, I have found myself doing many different things on the last day of

the year. Yes, I have watched the ball drop from the comfort of my couch and I am proud of it.

But I have done many other things which have been pretty fun.


The Ball Drop: Many years ago I was out to dinner with a bunch of people in midtown and at the last

minute we decided to go to Times Square to watch the ball drop. It was spontaneous and chill.

Glad I got to experience that before they started the system of cordoned-off people standing in their 

little section wearing diapers for 12 hours. However, I also got to watch the conch shell drop in Key

West. A much smaller event but nicely reminiscent of home.


New Year’s Abroad: Unintentionally, I have celebrated the holiday away. In addition to Key

West, I have witnessed the New Year blossom in Las Vegas, Dallas, Reykjavik, Okemo, and

Antarctica. Of those, Antarctica was literally and figuratively the coolest – and also a bit surreal.

We were considerably medicated with anti-motion sickness meds which make a person really

drowsy and sporting a drug-induced haze. But on top of that, the stroke of midnight is in broad

daylight! The ship captain had the shades drawn to enhance the vibe, but one could easy pop

them up and witness icebergs in the sunshine. But perhaps the funnest fun fact about that trip

is our ship held the distinction of being the most southern ship of any ship at midnight. The

captain made sure of it. Pretty wild!


While all of these adventures are fun and unique and I am glad that I did them, one of my

favorite ways to ring in the new year continues to be hanging out with a handful of friends, and

watching the ball drop on the TV.


Happy New Year all!



Friday, December 29, 2023

A Brief and Earnest Reflection of 2023

Like last year, I’m going to use my last blog post to reflect on the past year. Another strong one! Turns out, most years are pretty good when there isn’t COVID. That’s what I’m deducing. 

We traveled outside of the country twice, for the first time since before COVID. I explored more of California and immersed myself more in the LA community. I used the WGA and SAG strikes as an opportunity to get back into acting classes and to produce my own improv shows. I also finished all of UCB’s improv coursework, in under a year. I made a lot of new great friends that I feel lucky to have. I have some projects lined up for the new year that I’m excited about, too.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Go See "Poor Things"

If you haven't already done so, I strongly recommend that you make time this holiday season to go see the new film, "Poor Things" directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo.

The basic premise a retelling of Frankenstein, with Dafoe as the doctor and Stone as the "monster".  Other than that, the film really defies description.  It is funny, inventive, extremely creative (often bizarre), visually stunning and very entertaining.  You've probably not seen another film like it.

The performances by the main cast are fantastic, with a special shout out for Emma Stone who starts off so simple and child-like, and evolves over the film to someone who is much smarter and worldlier than many people.  I would be shocked if she doesn't get nominated for best actress for this film.  Her performance alone is worth the price of admission.

I was initially thrown by the film, not having read much about it before seeing it.  Was this supposed to be dramatic, scary, farcical, funny?  It quickly establishes its tone and is really quite funny with so many humorous lines, visual gags and physical bits that kept me laughing throughout the film.

I agree that some of the material is bizarre, and the film may not be for everyone.  It is kind of crazy in a similar way to "Everything Everywhere All At Once".  You need to accept that anything can happen.  But if you are willing to go for the ride, I think most people will find this film super-entertaining.  Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Percy Jackson

As someone who has read the original Percy Jackson series and its spinoffs multiple times, seen both movies multiple times, and now is watching the new Disney+ TV show, I feel like I can speak in this topic with relative authority. The books are brilliant in my opinion. I feel the characters grow with us, and they brought me my love of Greek and Roman mythology. There are wonderful, well-developed characters that have faults and gifts and go on real human journeys (even if they’re technically in demigod situations).

As for the movies, looking at them as stand alone films and not as adaptations, they’re kind of fun and the cast did a great job. However, as adaptations they are a terrible representation of the depth and brilliance of the books, and should not be used as a tool to teach mythology (this is actually a direct quote from the man who wrote the books, Rick Riordan, if that tells you anything about them).

I’m excited for the potential of the new show. While some of the acting seems a little hokey and Disney Channel-ish (it feels like it could have a laugh track playing after some of the more cliché jokes), I have hope. I’m hoping that maybe it’ll be like the Harry Potter movies, where the kids were younger in the first few movies and got better as they grew up and grew into their talents and their characters. Regardless, I’m enjoying the loyalty to the original material for the most part, and I’m ready to watch more with an open mind and an open heart.

Overall, despite my varying opinions about the movie and TV show, I still very much enjoy them both, and while I may not rewatch them as often as I reread the books, I encourage you all to partake in whatever medium works best for you.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Thoughts on Portugal

So my family just came back from Portugal – a rather quick but jam-packed trip that gave us 5 full days there.  One of those we spent in Sintra, the rest in Lisbon. Herewith are my musings:

Best Christmas-themed thing we did: As Europe is famous for its Christmas markets, we made sure we hit a few.  We ultimately went to two different markets two times each.  It was a great way for us to get in the Christmas spirit while we were away from home. We also did a night walking tour in parts of town where there were lots of Christmas lights so that was special.

Most addictive local treat: Pao con Nutella. This is basically warm pizza dough with Nutella incorporated throughout.  But it is hearty heaven.

Most delightful surprise: Discovering that Lisbon has the oldest continuously open bookstore in the world - the Bertrand which opened in 1732. It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records and everything. We got to go there twice, and of course purchased a book which they stamped as such.

Most unusual sight: The Initiation Well at the Quinta da Regaleira estate. This “well” is better described as a gothic spiral staircase that descends 90 feet underground, apparently to simulate nine circles of hell.  Once you get down to the bottom, there is a maze of underground tunnels for you to wander around seeking salvation. How this thing never made it into Game of Thrones is beyond me.

Best last minute find: the Banksy Museum.  We had moved our schedule around a bit and decided to check out this small museum.  It was a nice break from palaces, castles and larger museums.  The best part was that each piece of art had a little explanation next to it giving the context of the art.  Very helpful considering Banksy’s work is so politically/culturally/societally motivated.

Best overall fun thing we did: we took a four hour Tuk Tuk tour of the city.  Our guide was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and it was like being outside but still in a sheltered vehicle. Very easy to pop in and out to look at various views and sights. It was an easy and convenient way to cover a lot of ground.

Hope you enjoyed my comments! Feliz Natal!


Monday, December 25, 2023

What I Read In 2023

Before the clock strikes midnight on 12/31 closing out the year, I’m going to have finished reading 26 books this year.  I’m pretty sure that’s a personal best.  At least in my adult memory.  Better than 2 per month.

So what am I reading?  Primarily, thrillers.  Definitely my genre of choice.  There are familiar names on my reading list like Stephen King, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Dennis Lehane, Jodi Picoult (my first book by her) and Anthony McCarten.  Interestingly, there are works of fiction from other famous names like Tom Hanks and Stacey Abrams.  A handful of biography/non-fiction works including Unscipted by James Stewart and Rachel Abrams, Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson, Being Henry by Henry Winkler and Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (a recommendation from my daughter).  And of course, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zein which was on many people’s reading lists this year.

Seeing how long my list was for the year, along with the inclusion of so many new authors that I’m reading for the first time, I spent some time thinking about why.  Where I’m landing is that the recommendation engines have gotten better.  Every time I finish a book, I have some app or website recommending new books that they think I’ll like.  And I’m actually liking them!  The last few books I’ve read have been political thrillers and I think I’m starting to skew the algorithm in that direction.  While I’ve enjoyed them, they are not my favorite so I think I’m going to have to choose something different for my next few reads to rebalance the recommendations going forward.

Another reason I think I’ve read so many books is because of Libby.  For those unfamiliar, this is the app by the public library system which I’ve used to borrow many of my selections this year.  But here’s the catch – for super popular titles, Libby only lends them to you for 5 days.  So for those titles in particular, I’m powering through them to finish before they must be digitally returned.  If not for this dynamic, I might consume them at a more leisurely pace.

And lastly, I’ve gotten some great recommendations from friends.  So let me know if you’ve read something really great this year and I’ll put it on my list for 2024.  As mentioned, I lean toward thrillers but I’m open to suggestions if you have found a really great read. 

Thanks for your input.


Sunday, December 24, 2023

The Family Stone

It’s Christmas Eve and we’re watching 2005’s “The Family Stone”. These are my live thoughts as we watch it.

Rachel McAdams? Let’s freaking go. Now we’re watching a movie.

They don’t make em like this anymore.

Diane Keaton tried to surprise her son when he clearly knew she was behind him. ***

Craig T. Nelson? Incredible.

*** I have now realized this was because the son is deaf. I’m sorry.

“That’s a hard time of year to introduce a new girl to the family”. So true.

SJP couldn’t leave the room to answer the phone?

Luke Wilson, total horndog

The family stone is a ring. Of course!

“I am not a completely ridiculous person Everett!”

I like how on and off they are with the ASL.

Movies/shows about adult siblings are great. This movie is a very Succession Christmas.

We’ve observed that SJP and Luke Wilson have similar noses. 

Are we going to have a switcharoo here?

SJP put her gross casserole into the fridge uncovered. Now she’s really giving the family a reason to hate her. 

Did Claire Danes not already have her own Christmas plans? That she just abandoned?

“I just mean the gay thing”

SJP fumbling it with politics at the dinner table. Oop, now she spilled. She’s not coming back from this.

I thought the Luke Wilson being into SJP thing was going to be a bit but now it’s the plot. He’s going in for the kill.

“I love the gays”

Now Everett is going in hard on the sister. This rocks.

The pregnant daughter needed more development so I’m glad she’s watching this movie within the movie.

How are they going to clean this up?

Chekhov’s disgusting casserole

Okay I got into it the last half hour. Very sweet. Rip Diane. My heart is full.

Thanks for reading.  Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 23, 2023

Happy 90th Birthday

As crazy as it sounds to me, today would have been my father’s 90th birthday. I’ve done the math a few times and it checks out. 

This year, my daughter, who is my youngest child, graduated from college. While celebrating her achievements, I was reminded that my father passed away a few months shy of seeing his youngest child, my younger brother, graduate from college.  

His three sons were (roughly) 26, 24 and 21, just starting or about to start their adult lives. He didn’t get to see us become the adults we are today.  By most measures, we have all succeeded in many aspects of our lives. I think he would have been proud. 

My own kids are now 25 and 22 and I really look forward to seeing what’s next for them. My father never got to meet them but I know they are source of pride for him too.

Happy Birthday, Dad!


Friday, December 22, 2023

Mansion Musings

In the past year, I visited some Newport, RI mansions with my family, and now I’m in Portugal visiting palaces of the nobility. I’ve been noticing trends in the designs, largely because mansions like the Breakers were historically modeled after European palaces. 

For one thing, many seem to be divided up by rooms of different color schemes— the green room, the blue room, etc. As a person with an appreciation for fine design and attention to detail, I really enjoy when this is done. I would also totally do this to my house one day. I respect people who want consistent theme and style throughout the rooms of their houses, but I feel like there are too many styles and colors and aesthetics that I like, and I can’t commit to just one vibe. 

Also, I love all the different types of rooms in both the mansions and the palaces for hosting people— tea room, billiards room, banquet hall, smoking room (although I wouldn’t want that one in my home). I’m a pretty social, extroverted person and I love to plan events, so having all those event spaces (especially in those eras where hosting balls and parties and dinners was such a big part of the social scene) would be ideal for me. 

Obviously I do not currently live in a royalty-worthy mansion, nor do I know if I ever will. But it’s still fun to fantasize as I admire all of the intricacy and beauty of these historic places.

Thanks for reading. 


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Favorite Books of the Year

More favorites! Let’s freakin go. Tonight we’re doing books. My goal for the year is 12 and I’m at a scary 9 at the moment. I think I’ll be able to go all the way. Maybe I’ll even update my favorites before the end of the year. Time will tell.

Circe by Madeline Miller
I liked this more than I thought I would. A retelling of the iconic witch from the Odyssey, famous for turning Odysseus and his men into pigs, Circe is an introspective story about an outcast. Sometimes I get suspicious of “modern retellings”, but her story is introspective and every change feels well-earned. 
“I had not thought him so bold. But of course he was. Artist, creator, inventor, the greatest the world had known. Timidity creates nothing.”

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey 
In many ways, this autobiography is exactly what you’d expect it to be. I don’t think I know of another being who knows who they are better than Matthew McConaughey. Yes, his public persona is kind of cliched at this point, but his philosophies on life are palpable and grounding. “If you’re not a starter and you think you should be, give me no choice in the decision. Play so well it’s undeniable.”

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
You don’t see a ton of love stories that feature platonic love. This tracks two good friends from when they’re young kids through when they’re adults working together. They share a love of video games and they come in and out of each other’s lives. As someone who’s played video games his whole life, I particularly enjoyed seeing how the work of the protagonists intersected with, mimicked, and replaced real life video game history. “To allow yourself to play with another person is no small risk. It means allowing yourself to be open, to be exposed, to be hurt.”

What were your favorites?


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Baby Whisperer

One of my daughter’s jobs is at a daycare center taking care of infants and toddlers all day. To some people, this would be a nightmare scenario. For them, the joy of not having their own kids is in the fact that they can hand someone else’s child back to them as soon as they make a mess, start getting fidgety or start crying. 

Instead, my daughter has this natural ability to connect with babies and toddlers anywhere she encounters them. Here’s a recent example:

We were in an airport lounge at JFK recently killing time before our flight. My daughter spies a baby and immediately starts engaging with her. She charms the child (who I’ll refer to as Baby X) and the parents and before we know it, these parents have handed my daughter their child and are getting themselves food from the buffet. My daughter brings Baby X over to us to say hello. She has learned that this family is on our flight to Lisbon. 

It gets close to flight time so Baby X gets returned and we head to our gate. Fast forward a few hours until we’re on the plane and I come back from using the bathroom to find my daughter holding Baby X and walking up and down the aisle with her. We all play with Baby X for a while until my daughter brings her back to the parents. 

Hours later we land in Lisbon and run across the same family in baggage claim. My daughter exchanges contact info in case they ever need a sitter in New York (the family is from Texas and was changing planes at JFK). 

Two days of fun sightseeing later and we are in a taxi to go to dinner. My daughter points out the window and says “oooh look, a baby.”  My wife looks and says, “yes, but she’s no Baby X”.  My daughter continues to study the kid and says, “Actually I think it is Baby X!”  She rolls down her window and shouts the mother’s name. The mother turns in the direction of the voice and my daughter says “It’s me, the woman from the airport.”

The mother, who is holding Baby X, runs over to where our cab is stopped at a light. Baby X sees my daughter at this point and gives her a huge smile! They chat for a second, the light changes, we wave goodbye and off we go to dinner, all amazed at what just happened. 

I use this story as an example of the kind of thing that happens to my daughter all of the time. People she has just met hand her their babies quite frequently. It must be that they sense her calm, confident way around babies and they know their child is in good hands. Such is the life of a baby whisperer. 

Thanks for reading. 


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Today in Lisbon

This morning we got up, feeling intensely jet lagged, and went to breakfast in our hotel. I’ve never understood the paradox of choice more than in that moment. Everything was delicious and there were so many new things for us to try and I got so stressed and ate WAY too much, but it was all worth it. Boy am I glad we’re eating there all week for breakfast because there were still like 30 more things I have to try. 

Then we went on a tuk tuk tour, which is like a little motorbike-car-thing, around Lisbon. That was great because we got a real flavor of this city (also literally because we got the original pasteís de Belem and it was absolutely nut-worthy). We saw some gorgeous churches, took some family selfies and even visited the world’s longest running bookstore that has been open since 1732. Then we went to lunch, where had veal croquettes that were perfect, and I again ate way too much and was very much in need of a nap. 

After nap time, we went to the Tile Museum, which was cool because we got to see some specific tile art as opposed to the tiles on the sides of buildings all around here. I got tile-patterned coasters which were on my souvenir list so yay for that. 

Next we went on a “Christmas sweets and treats” tour. We ate a bunch of traditional Portuguese sweets, including pasteís de natas, King’s cake, and sweet potato pastries. We also had hot cocoa, coffee, tea, mulled wine, and these awesome prosciutto and cheese sandwiches from a Christmas market, and saw lots of fun holiday lights and displays. It was a jam-packed day, and I’m so tired and ready for another day of fun tomorrow.

Thanks for reading. 


Monday, December 18, 2023

Hot Chocolate!!

Tonight I am thinking about hot chocolate. We feel really strongly about hot cocoa in my family. Now just because I said that don’t go and think I am dissing Swiss Miss - there is a time and place for that. But I digress…so what I mean when I say we enjoy our hot chocolate is we go in for the really rich thick kind. Herewith is a list of amazing cocoa richness we have sampled:

  • Galway, Ireland: Butlers Chocolate Cafe had all kinds of interesting flavors of hot chocolate. I chose one that I still think about to this day. It had completely crushed Oreos in it.  So rich and heavenly. 
  • Paris, France: The One, The Only Cafe Angelina.  So dark and creamy. Went there many years ago and became obsessed. Obsessed to the point where, when a friend was going to Paris, I asked her to pick up some for me. I repeatedly would look online to see if the website would ship internationally. *Finally* they did. But even better, they opened a satellite restaurant in NYC! So now we can get a fix whenever we like. 
  • New York City: USED to be City Bakery. Their shtick was they would straight up melt chocolate bars, pour it on a cup and plop a homemade marshmallow on it. Liquid gold!
  • Lisbon, Portugal: Today we checked out  Landeau Chocolate - ostensibly for the “best chocolate cake in Lisbon”. And indeed, it was very tasty. But then my son went rogue and got a hot chocolate in the place known for the cake. It turned out to be next level with it’s silky deep chocolate texture and richness. So it appears we have found yet another top notch cocoa. 

The search shall continue!

Thanks for reading. 


Sunday, December 17, 2023

Favorite Films of the Year

It’s time for some favorites of the year! More specifically, my favorite movies of the year. Thanks to a good friend named AMC A-list, I’ve seen a total of 49 movies in theaters this year (so far). I obviously have to get one more. Maybe I’ll sneak a little Wonka in there right before New Years if I’m feeling frisky. Let’s do this.

The Royal Hotel

Seen @ Telluride. I loved Kitty Green’s last movie, “The Assistant”, and this had something similar to it. She’s mastered the art of making the audience shit their pants without knowing why. “The Royal Hotel” follows two young women working at a hotel in rural Australia. From there, everything builds until it hits the fan. What boggles my mind is how Green directs it so that for much of the runtime, everything is mostly okay until it suddenly isn’t. A must-see.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline

A gripping, deeply political thriller. I was on the edge of my seat. I can’t believe that this movie was able to get made? And that it was in theaters? I’m glad both are true. Without spoiling anything, this movie lowkey encourages the audience to engage in illegal climate activism, and I’m shocked that the FBI did not interfere and pull a J. Edgar Hoover. 

The Holdovers

They don’t make ‘em like this anymore! A deeply nostalgic “unlikely friendship” movie, that is very good outside of anything having to do with Christmas. You know those movies where a director writes a part for an actor that allows the actor to do what they do best but do it to 100%? That’s what this is for Paul Giamatti. He’s doing his usual thing but to the max level, full steam ahead.

Dicks: The Musical

I felt like I was on drugs. A play on “The Parent Trap”, this is perhaps one of the most insane movies I’ve seen that had me laughing my ass off. It does not hold back. Leave the kids at home. 

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, December 16, 2023

Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees

OK, friends.  It’s time for us to talk about the pros and cons of having a real Christmas tree or an artificial one.  I know I’m wading into some controversial waters here – some people I know feel very strongly about this topic.  Without further ado, let’s get into it.



·        Smells great – there is nothing like bringing that pine scent into your home for the month of December.

·        More eco-friendly – if it is grown sustainably

·        Biodegradable – breaks down naturally

·        Supports local tree farmers – gives business to the few remaining farmers in our area

·        Beauty – nothing matches the beauty of the real thing



·        Pine needles everywhere – there is no escape.  Resistance is futile.

·        Watering – Needs to be watered daily, even if you go away.  Otherwise it gets dry and brittle.

·        Expensive – Real trees are not cheap and it is a recurring cost each year.

·        Did I mention the needles??



·        Nothing strapped on the roof of the car – Just pull it out of storage and you’re off to the races.

·        No needles.  I repeat, no needles.

·        Lights – If you get a pre-lit tree, no need to spend hours putting lights on and taking them off again after Christmas. 

·        No watering.  In fact, it is discouraged.

·        Cheaper – less expensive in the long run if your artificial tree lasts you several years.



·        Stays in landfills for decades.  Those suckers will not biodegrade no matter how much time you give them.

·        Requires storage space – need to box it up and haul it down to the basement or up to your attic each year.

·        Doesn’t have the awesome smell of the real thing.


So there you have it.  Which way do you fall out on this subject?


Of course, you can always do what we do and have one of each in our house.  Problem solved.


Thanks for reading.
-- Frosty