31st Aug2009

End of Cyberbattical: Looking Ahead

by Will

“The penis is the navigator!”

Welcome to the season premiere of williambrucewest.com. I know it’s been awhile, but Leon’s people came after me for that last post. Here I was thinking he should be grateful for the attention, but I guess I thought wrong. I can’t really get into details, but the whole ordeal ended with me being thrown from a speeding limo.

Actually, the real reason I was gone was because I took a bit of what I like to call a “cyberbattical” (or cybattical – we’re open to either term). Between the site, facebook, Twitter, and everything else, I was just too connected. I had a ton of information being dumped on me, yet none of it really held any value. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a streak. I wanted to see if I could go a week without all of those sites, and that eventually turned into 1.5 months. I chose a good time, however, as I missed the overload of info regarding MJ’s death, Jon & Kate, and countless other “media frenzies”. In terms of the blog, however, I guess the break can’t fully explain why I’ve been gone, as I haven’t posted since April.

In any case, I’ve stayed away because I really didn’t have an angle. Didn’t know what to write. At times, I feel I’m too mean. It’s easy to harp on celebrities and whatnot from the anonymity of a blog (or, as anonymous as one can be when the URL is his full name). As we’ve seen in recent press, those uppity mofos have lawyers and they will come after you!

Taking my focus away from celebrities, I thought I could get back into anecdotal mode, sharing some stories from the life of “The Real Will”. Sadly, I’ve got a bit of a hater streak going on right now, so that wasn’t gonna turn out well. For example, I toyed around with the idea of a “Match the hygiene difficiency to the correct girl I dated” article. Or my post about how Fox Reality Channel should launch a show called “Pregnant, Or Just Fat?”. Or my critique of facebook wedding pictures. Yeah, like I said, wasn’t gonna turn out well.

So, in this, our “pick up where we left off” post, I figure I should just give a bullet point summary of the things you didn’t hear about on CNN.com

– Back in July, I saw Tiger Woods at the AT&T National. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I really saw the guy. I mean, I was about 20 feet from him. Could’ve pantsed him, and I seriously considered it. The thing is, Tiger’s a lot more cut than he looks on TV. I think I got disillusioned by all those Chappelle Show parodies, ’cause the dude is built. So, I just did my golf clap and sat my ass down.

– I also quit Toys “R” Us. Yes, again. It occurs to me that I never actually posted that I even went back. That was one of those “I’ll fill you in later” promises, where I never revisited the story – there are a lot of those. Anyway, I went back to TRU for part time work back in November 2006. After they closed down my Wheaton store, I found myself in Columbia because it was on the way home from Diamond. In any case, the money always sucked ’cause they usually only gave me about 7 hrs a week, but I always said that I was working there for the people. They were cool. They were into the geeky stuff that I liked. I felt that, basically, I was being paid to hang out with my friends one day a week. Lindsay, of course, hated it because it was time that we could be hanging out, plus I was losing my mind trying to get by on a one-day weekend. All of this changed when I got an erroneous review, and they didn’t want to give me my raise. My TEN CENT RAISE. So, I quit and never looked back. Well, I looked back, ’cause I still went for toys (it is a toy store), but I don’t miss the work. I guess the sad thing is that those friends broke into thirds: when I left, a third of them had quit/been fired, a third of them still keep in contact via facebook, and the other third forgot me quicker than Peter forgot about Jesus. Guess I didn’t mean as much to them as I thought.

HOLY SHIT! Breaking News: Disney’s going to buy Marvel?!!! OK, looks like I’ve finally got my inspiration back. Looks like I chose a good day to come back!

Before closing, I’d also like to highlight some positive things, seeing as how schaedenfraude’s only going to get me so far.

– James and Jenn celebrated their 10 year anniversary. 10 years since I first met them on the steps of Arts Quad, the 2nd day of orientation. Yup, those orientation hook-ups can last! Congrats, guys. Also, Jenn, PLEASE redesign my site. You know, when you’re not held up with pesky grad school stuff. Love ya!

– My bestest friend, Tarek Sultani, got engaged a few weeks ago. In a whirlwind, romantic courtship, he found the woman of his dreams and sealed the deal with a helicopter ride and a proposal. Way to set the bar high for the rest of us 😛 In any case, I know he’s happy, and I wish him and Miss Hanna the best!

OK, that’s enough rambling. I’ll be back for more later…

01st Feb2009

So I’m Trying This Whole Twitter Thing…

by Will

“All eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a circus.”

twitter-300x110

So, Marcus tells me I’m a shitty blogger these days, as love has kept me from the keyboard. If only the explanation were that simple. No, I’ve been away due to a cruel whore named Twitter.

I joined Twitter about 2 weeks ago, and I thought was awesome. Micro-blogging from anywhere, to my legion of followers. Problem is that I don’t exactly have a “legion” of fans. If ComScore monitored this site, I’m pretty sure that they’d find I have about 12 unique visitors. So, maybe Twitter wasn’t the best idea for me.

Also, I’m a note taker in terms of blogging. Ideas come to me, I write them on the back of a random receipt, I flesh them out, and then write full-blown posts. Well, Twitter became my random receipt, so I wasted a lot of good ideas on a nonexistent audience, bringing me to my next point: being on Twitter is like being in a conversation where nobody is listening to you.

When you really break it down, Twitter is what you would have if you just built a website based on facebook statuses. As much as I love the facebook status experience, I don’t like to think that I’m wasting my A material in the world of Twitter. For Twitter to be an engaging experience, it’s only as enjoyable as your followers/followees.

The most prolific person I follow spends most of his time posting about a hipster scene that I don’t understand, while I don’t really have any fans. I’m starting to use Twitter to “test out material” for the general public. Plainly put, an attention whore like myself is presently getting nothing out of Twitter, and it’s adversely affecting this blog.

Am I using Twitter effectively? Do I need more structure for this site? Maybe I do. I’ve been doing this for 5 years, and I never wanted to become one of those sites that does Album Review Tuesday. Then again, maybe that’s what I have to do in order to be a “destination website”. I just renewed this thing for another year, so maybe it’s time for a new direction. I guess time will tell.

09th Dec2008

Where Has Will Been Lately?

by Will

“She’s got her own thing; that’s why I love her.”

Man, I haven’t written one of these things in a while. Honestly, I haven’t really missed it, but it was brought to my attention that some people think it’s weird that I actually pay money for this site (‘sup, Jamie!). So, I’d better get my money’s worth.

I realized I don’t blog because I don’t really have anything to say right now. I’m actually really happy, so no angsty bitter posts. I hardly have time for TV these days, so no pop culture posts. And my internet is pretty limited to facebook on my phone, so I’m pretty sure no one wants to me to write about how Marcus Keith Dowling is attending Taxlo.

So, bottom line, I’m pretty boring, but it’s an awesome boring. Can’t knock it. It’s just funny to me how people can change. I stumbled upon Power Rangers: Jungle Fury last night, and didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Did that show ever make sense?! No, really, I hadn’t watched Power Rangers in 2 years, so I wasn’t sure if it was the show or me. I *am* almost 27, but I hate the fact that it made absolutely no sense to me. Felt like I was getting old.

Another odd twist is that I’ve become a bit of a gamer. No, not that D&D stuff the Diamond guys had me dabbling in (did I ever write about that?), but games of the video variety. To narrow it down, pretty much any game that involves a fake guitar is OK in my book. Sorry folks, but my commitment’s to my music & my band right now. Oh, you didn’t know I had a band? Yeah, it’s called Sex Corvette. I’d explain the origin of that name, but I’m not sure you’re all cool enough to handle it. I’ve also got a side band, Fornication Wagon, but that’s just really something to keep me sharp for the SC gigs. Gotta tell ya, SC is taking the world by storm! We’ve got a jet, a sound guy, and we’re about to get into the Hall of Fame. And don’t even get me started on the guitarist – she’s hot as shit. I can definitely see a Gwen/Tony thing brewing (you know, without the whole breakup & umpteen songs chronicling the ordeal. Seriously, I’m sure there had to have been concerts where Tony wanted to stand up during Don’t Speak & just tell Gwen to shut the fuck up. But I digress…)

Ok, where was I even going with all this? Oh yeah, I was explaining why I haven’t written lately. See, when I blog from TRU, I just lose all focus.

Speaking of Toys “R” Us, I had a situation that I’ve never experienced in all my years with the company. You see, I was on a ladder, stocking shelves, when a case of Wall-E robots tumbled over into the next aisle. I had just enough time to emit a telepathic “Ohhh fuuuck!!!” before it was too late. I got to the other side to find that the ghost of Walt Disney had used his ghost powers to clobber an old black lady. They always said old Walt was a racist. All kidding aside (you think I want the Disney corporation on my ass? We’re cool, Mickey!), it scared the shit out of me. First off, I really wanted to make sure she was OK. I was reared by enough old broads to have a soft spot in my heart for them, especially when they’re the first victims of the Robot Apocalypse.I was also scared that I was gonna get sued. Everyone asks,”Did you laugh?” I always *want* to say,”Hell, no! Don’t be an asshole” but instead it comes out as “Hell, no! I was too scared thinking about being sued!” Hey, at least I’m honest!

Anyway, I should probably get back to work. Then again, maybe the store is safer with me hiding in the back blogging.
I think this was just a long, rambling way for me to explain where I’ve really been. A few months ago, I met a really amazing woman. A few months after that, I actually met her (don’t ask…). Let’s just say that the whole experience changed my life for the better. So now I have an amazing person in my life, as well as a new reader, in the form of her younger sister (who I’m looking forward to actually meeting). Anyway, you truly are a blessing, Lindsay. I thought my 5 readers should know that 😉

14th Nov2008

Dolemite Never Got To See The Black President

by Will

“I can see Russia from my house!”

So much has happened since the last post, so we’re gonna go with bullet points this time around.

-“President-Elect Barack Obama”. Holy shit! I don’t know if that’ll ever sink in for me. It looks like Sam Cooke was right.

-If I never see Todd Palin again, it’ll be too soon. That guy is Prince of the Douchebags. That’s right, he’s not even worthy of the position of King. I can’t believe he was almost Second Douche of the US. Just looking at that guy bothers me. That damn goatee – he looks like the old sketchy guy who hangs out with high schoolers & buys them beer.

dolemite

-Dolemite died?! He never got to see the black President! I’d say he would’ve been proud, but I highly doubt that. Dolemite was a hater. I mean, we are talking about the same guy who released “This Pussy Belongs to Me” & “This Ain’t No White Christmas”. Not exactly the kind of guy full of warm wishes. He’d probably say he should’ve been the 1st black President (there was, after all, “Dolemite for President”). In any case, I’m sure he’ll be missed by pimps, prostitutes & drug dealers across the natipn – especially those to whom he owed money.

-Neal Hefti died?!
If you don’t know who that is, he composed the theme song to the 1960s “Batman” TV show. Yes, the “nana nana” song. It’s some of the best surf guitar this side od “Miserlou”. Here’s hoping he’s still composing in that Gotham City in the sky.

-BET named Lil Wayne Best Lyricist?! Really? Were those even words that he was spouting? I thought BET was supposed to get BETTER after Hudlin’s departure! Who’d have thought that one man could make BET worse than it already was? Sure, he got rid of a lot of booty videos, but then he greenlit shows, like “Somebodies”, which felt like they would’ve been on SNICK, if it weren’t for all the booty in them. Looks like Marvel’s over Hudlin, too, as he’s off of Black Panther. Where ever he ends up, let’s hope he learns to suck less.

Man, this BlackBerry bloggin’ is rough! I apologize for formatting errors, and I’ll be back to normal once I get a chance to get back on the “real Internet”. Just not enough hours in the day…

21st Oct2008

So That *Wasn’t* A Pokeball On People’s Cars?

by Will

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”

So, I’d like to do something different, and actually post about myself, rather than pop culture trivia this time out. Allow me to share a story with ya, a story that shows just how clueless I can be sometimes.

You see, for the past few months, I’ve been seeing a sticker on the backs of people’s cars, and I had no clue what it meant. Sure, if I’d gotten close enough, I would’ve been able to read it, but from driving distance, I was left wondering what that sticker meant. Honestly, the first thought that came into my mind was “What’s with this recent Pokeball craze?” I mean, sure you see soccer moms with the ball magnet, or you see the baseball fans with the whole “fake-ball-shattered-glass” thing in the window, but I never knew so many adults to have a Pokemon fixation. I was beginning to feel left behind, like when I missed the initial wave of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Well, the other day, I got close enough to the sticker to see what it was all about. This is what I saw:

Come on, that doesn’t look like a Pokeball to anyone else?! I can’t be the only one to make that mistake. Anyway, I guess it just goes to show how out of touch I can be when it comes to the things that matter.

Anyway, that realization forced me to confront something I hadn’t said outright, and officially throw my hat into the Obama camp. Hell, I was always there, but it was more fun blending into the crowd on the sidelines. I love how Jason at work (yup, I’m calling you out) was so certain that he knew who I was voting for, with his, “I know your kind”. Well, I guess you called me wrong. I believe in change, and I believe that Senator Obama is the best man for this job this time out. I’m eager to see where he takes this country, and I can’t say I ever thought I’d see this in my lifetime. I could take the race stance, and simply say, “I’m voting for the black president”. I could take the party line, and say “I’m voting for the Democrat”. But I’m going to take the logical approach, and say that I’m voting for the best man for the job. Here’s hoping he’s as good as America’s other black president, David Palmer (c’mon, I had to get a little pop culture in there!). A part of me regrets that I didn’t really do my part in this campaign, but one of the most important things we can do at this stage is vote. Seeing as how the 5 people who read this site are already voting for Obama (except Brett, probably), I’m pretty much preaching to the choir. So, this is me, apologizing for my former political ambivalence, and I’m officially saying, “Senator Obama, I choose you!”

Speaking of change we can believe in, (and on the pop culture tip), there are heavy rumors coming out of the UK that actor Paterson Joseph is slated to be the next Doctor Who. Now, geeky as I am, I’ve never seen an entire episode of Doctor Who. I couldn’t really get behind it because it was shitty for about 30 years until someone got the bright idea to up the production values. Seriously, that character spent the 60’s thru 90’s fighting trashcans with laryngitis. All of a sudden, someone said, “My word, the Doctor could use a new shine” and everything got all hi-tech and pretty. Anyway, this casting, if true, would be groundbreaking because Mr. Joseph would be the first black Doctor. Of course, there’s been vocal opposition, but who cares? You can’t please sci-fi fans. We takin’ ova! First, the White House. Next, time & space!

While we’re on the matter of change, I was convinced that I had “Good Luck Chuck‘d” pretty much every woman I’d ever dated, but I forgot that they’d changed the laws in some states, so now I get to add one more to the list: congrats to VA & Jess! You’ve got yourself a good woman, Jess, so treat her well. As much of a hater as I can be at times, I’m truly happy for you guys.

While we’re on the marriage thing, I’d also like to congratulate Davis & Jess (different Jess – but, man, wouldn’t that be weird?!) on their 2-year wedding anniversary. Never before have I met a couple so perfectly matched, yet you’d never believe it at first glance. Their whole union should be an inspiration to all of us, and no they didn’t pay me to say any of that. Hell, they don’t even read this thing, so they’ll probably never even see it. I guess I’m just in a different kind of mood tonight.

And to cap this whole sentimental thing off, I’d also like to congratulate James & Jenn. They think I forgot, but those kids have been together 9 years now. NINE YEARS. They met the second day of orientation, and haven’t really been apart since. I don’t even have the words, but I know that without them, y’all would be reading this one some livejournal with some cartoon avatar instead of the site you have before you. Besides the site, they’re good people, and they make up any portion of my Cornell existence that didn’t involve Last Call (and many portions that did). Nine years?! Dayum! That’s impressive.

Before signing off, I’d like to give Marcus a “Carol Burnett Ear Tug” and thank him for the link. OK, enough grab-assing. Next time, we’ll talk about something cool, like Batman. Promise!

12th Oct2008

How’s Usher Gonna Get Off That Damn Mountain? And Other Reality TV Stuff…

by Will

“You want White Castle, need White Castle, long as you got me it won’t be no hassle.”

– I’m usually not the biggest Weird Al fan, but his cover of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” had me laughing for about 30 minutes. Absolutely priceless!

– I really wanna work for the company in Britney’s new “Womanizer” video. I mean, I never knew the fauxhawk to be “corporate”, but it seems to fly at that organization. Let’s hope this really is her comeback this time. Not the biggest fan of the song, but the video helps to sell it. MUCH better than that anime shit for “Break the Ice”…hey, didn’t that video end with “to be continued”? Let’s hope they don’t make good on that promise. Anyway, Brit’s looking pretty damn hot, so I guess we could all use a dose of crazy, if it does a body that good.

– Speaking of “to be continued” videos, Usher just released the video for “Trading Places”, but it’s just a random-ass R&B video. Last I remember, Mr. Raymond was stuck up on that mountain. How the Hell did he get off that damn mountain?!

– I’ve gone from a state of loving everything on MTV to hating everything on MTV. I guess I finally caught up with the rest of the real world (no pun intended). I was looking forward to Exiled, but realized I’d never watched enough My Super Sweet 16 to really care enough about those girls. I’m SO over The Hills, as well as the fact that Audrina and Whit have spin-offs coming. Don’t care about The Island, ’cause I really wanted a C.T./Dunbar ‘roid rage face-off, but that wasn’t in the cards.

Who the Hell thought Man & Wife deserved to be ripped off the web? It’s like the old Loveline, but nowhere near as informative. If anything, it actually makes me a bit uncomfortable. It’s like an interactive version of those shitty, traveling Black stage shows. You know, they always have names like, Seeing Jesus on the Downlow, and star hasbeens from Good Times & What’s Happening!!.

Sex…with Mom & Dad? Really? Dr. Drew, is this the best you could come up with? Do you miss your boy, Adam? Was he the brains of the operation? Now, this show does NOTHING for me. In the past, MTV sex shows were edgy, like the afore-mentioned Loveline. That was pretty groundbreaking for TV, but this is like Drew needed something to hold him over between Celebrity Rehab sessions. I don’t really think the show accomplishes much other than making the teens, the parents, and the viewers EXTREMELY uncomfortable. If anything, you end up learning the mom used to be a whore, and doesn’t want the daughter to be a whore. But the daughter’s only gonna react with the whole “Let me live my life and be a whore if I want to” response. In some ways, I kinda agree with that, but they could’ve had that “breakthrough” off camera.

The only shows I can still stomach are Making the Band 4 (I TOTALLY called the Danity Kane break-up before the season started!) and Parental Control. Plus, True Life and Made are always good entertainment.

-If you love “meta” humor, you’ll love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HE9OQ4FnkQ . It’s A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, only it’s been remixed to tell you exactly what’s going on in the video. Watch it and you’ll understand. It’s one of those things where I wish I’d thought of it first.

-I’ve been wondering this for a while, but HD Radio – why? So, you mean to tell me there are secret stations, hidden between the stations I know, playing a bunch of different songs? If these songs are so great, then why hasn’t Clear Channel already shoved them down my throat? They know exactly what I like! No, these songs are being hidden, like ugly children and incontinent pets. They try to sell the fact that it’s near-CD quality sound, but if I wanted that, I’d buy the CD. When it’s free, I can deal with a degredation of sound quality. After all, you get what you pay for, and free radio is workin’ out just fine. Nice try, HD Radio, but you’re gonna have to try harder than that!

So, last night J. Christ. (no, not Jesus – He’s got more important things to do than read this blog; He’s too busy hanging out with all those rappers) told me that I don’t nearly keep up this site enough. I’ve gotta say that she’s right. I mean, in my neglect, I forgot to acknowledge my 5-year blogiversary back in July. I’m a big fan of streaks, and I know I’m always citing the anniversary of when I started blogging, or the anniversary of when I bought the williambrucewest.com domain name, or the anniversary of when I started actually using that domain name – plainly put, I like milestones. Anyway, I started rambling a little over five years ago, and man have I done nothing since then. I find that whenever I do these milestone posts, it forces me to look back in a pseudo-pessimistic tone. Well, I’m gonna try not to do that this time around. But, man, what I’ wouldn’t give to go back to being 13, when all I really looked forward to was a new episode of California Dreams every Saturday, and the promise of a positive, yet unknown future. Well, we can only go up from here, right? In the words of (probably unknown to most of you) Swedish pop star, Bosson, “we live, we die, and we learn to find the things we live and die for.” Guess I’m still learning to find those things. Here’s to 5 more years of the journey.

05th Oct2008

Nick & Nora’s Knight Rider Remake On SNL

by Will

“It’s just not the same when they don’t turn to dust”

So, I saw Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist tonight and loved it. It’s always good to see Michael Cera do his George Michael Bluth character for the umpteenth time. Don’t get me wrong; I love the guy, but I wonder if that shtick will hold up once he’s over the age of thirty. Is he gonna start taking those Zach Braff roles? Now that it’s official he’s gonna be Scott Pilgrim, I’m really curious to see how he handles that role. Scott’s a slacker, but he’s not as cautious as the roles that Michael’s played in the past.

Saw The Descent the other day, and I can’t say it was that scary. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a horror flick about a band of adventurous women who end up experiencing a spleunking expedition gone wrong. You see, I only tend to be frightened by uncontrollable shit that could happen: zombies, superflu, nuclear war, etc. For all I know, there are monsters deep in caves, but you know what? I stay the fuck out of caves! If I venture into a cave, I’m on their turf, and I pretty much deserve whatever happens to me. If a cave monster gets out and kills me in my house, then that’s a pretty fucked up tragedy. However, if I’m somewhere I’ve got NO business, other than some kind of “manifest destiny” bullshit, I deserve a pickaxe through my throat.

Gotta say that I have a newfound appreciation for Blair Butler. I’ve only got basic cable, so I didn’t really know who she was. To me, G4 was just a G5 (Gulfstream V) for not-as-rich people. Who knew it was a network? Anyway, I usually hate “the girl who covers comics” because they tend to be attractive, but not well-versed in the industry. Well, the most recent issue of Comic Foundry has an interview with Blair that shows she knows her shit. I mean, how many women name-drop “X-Cutioner’s Song”? How many fanboys name-drop “X-Cutioner’s Song”?! Still don’t have the G4, but I’ll be searching online for as many of her Attack of the Show segments as I can find.

Is it just me, or is Saturday Night Live featured player, Casey Wilson, the second coming of former cast member Julia Sweeney? For those who don’t remember, Julia’s from the early 90s era where the cast was oh, so promising, yet most of them ended up going nowhere. Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey (Sure, many of you are gonna argue with that one, but other than Wayne’s World & Master of Disguise, there’s no Church Lady Trilogy to rival the success of the Austin Powers franchise…), etc. Anyway, Julia’s only notable character was Pat, the androgynous character whose sexuality was always the punchline of the skit. Ha ha, how funny. In fact, there’s even a shitty movie based on it, which might be the worst SNL movie ever made (and that includes Stuart Saves His Family, A Night at the Roxbury AND Superstar). Anyway, kinda like Jan Hooks & Cheri Oteri, Julia lost most of her funny when she left SNL. Turns out, she fought cancer and pulled a “reverse-Kirk Cameron” by created a one-woman show detailing how she renounced God during her struggle. But I digress…Not trying to harsh on her, as she’s a local girl, but Casey seems to get these stiff characters that don’t really stand out, just like Julia. They wouldn’t even give Julia the “fat girl” parts, ’cause they knew they could just throw a wig on Farley and it would yield a funnier result. Kristen Wiig runs that show, as far as the women are concerned, but maybe Casey will get a better shot once Amy Poehler leaves in November.

I have been having a Hell of a hard time with electronics lately. From my laptop to my BlackBerry, they’re all going haywire. In the past, I dated a girl who swore that she and her family were cursed when it came to electronics. I’m beginning to fear that the curse rubbed off on me. Why couldn’t she have given me something that could just be cured with penicillin?

Knight Rider, Knight Rider, Knight Rider…I don’t know what’s harder to believe: the fact that this show is back, or the fact that I’ve never watched a single episode of the revival. I just can’t bring myself to do it. It ain’t gonna last past January, so I don’t wanna get my heart broken. It will, however, make a pretty nice 13-episode boxed set, as Knight Rider: The Complete Series. It always sucks when a show is cancelled early enough that the DVD collection is labeled “The Complete Series”, but they sure do make nice, finite gifts.

Gonna wrap this one up with a plug. My good pal, Marcus “King Kong” Dowling, has officially left the MySpace Blog slum and entered the real blogosphere. Half the shit he talks about is indy wrestling, so my eyes tend to glaze over as he’s going on about some Wal-Mart cashier in Dundalk who’s destined to be the Next, Big Thing. That said, he does have some pretty funny stuff to say about the world in general, so you should check him out over at www.TGRIOnline.com. And this better get me a link on his site, or I’m gonna have to choke him out.

23rd Sep2008

Things I Learned, Firsthand, Yesterday

by Will

“A woman in politics is like a donkey doing calculus”

Things I Learned, Firsthand, Yesterday:

-Popular sportscaster, James Brown, drives a Buick Enclave. I wonder if it was given as part of some sort of endorsement deal.

-In Fort Lincoln, MD, there is a self-storage facility directly across from the cemetery. Am I the only one who finds that odd? I can just imagine: “Now, what kind of deal can you cut me, ’cause that place across the street is running a special”

– Russians slur certain vowel sounds due to “laziness”. If a vowel isn’t stressed in a word, they’ll just gloss right over it.

-McDonalds Happy Meals are just as filling as Extra Value Meals AND you get a toy. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

– Chandra Levy references just don’t hold much water in 2008

-Germans really do drive Volkswagens.

-Funerals make me want to quit my job. Hell, those afore-mentioned Happy Meals make me want to quit my job, but funerals really drive it home.

18th Sep2008

Fall Out Boy Mixtape and An Insider’s View of Diamond

by Will

“We believe in Barack Obama! He loves you and he loves your mama!”

citizensfobmixtape

Could it be? Is that an Obama endorsement from Williambrucewest.com? No, it’s not. But it does lead into this little tidbit: Major props go out to my man, Marcus, for recommending “Welcome to the New Administration”, the new, FREE mixtape from Fall Out Boy. A thinly-disguised prObama project, the collection not only drops snippets of the upcoming Fall Out Boy album, Folie A Deux, but it also introduces you to the music of some of their musical friends, like Panic at the Disco, Tyga, The Cab, and others. The new FOB album sounds tight, and I certainly wanna hear more from Tyga. EVERYONE should download this package, and you can get it free right here: http://www.friendsorenemies.com/web/foe/users/falloutboy/ It’s worth it just for Luda’s interlude alone.

Did y’all realize there’s a rapper named “Niggalas Cage”? I shit you not! In fact, he’s even got a track with Akon right now, called “You’re the Reason”. If you ask me, they should’ve recorded a track called “Kon Air”.

Speaking of Akon, he’s on one of the hottest tracks on NKOTB’s new album, “Put It On My Tab”. I recently posted a Facebook status saying that the album “doesn’t suck”, but after repeated listenings, I’ve got to admit that it’s HOT. It’s got that ‘NSYNC circa “No Strings Attached” vibe going on. And the guests on it are pretty surprising: Akon, New Edition, Pussycat Dolls, Lady Gaga, Ne-Yo. It’s a great dance album, and one of the best pop albums released in recent years.

While we’re on pop, TRL is shutting down. Man, that kills me, but it’s time. The TRL model isn’t appropriate for what passes as “pop” these days. Before, it was a crowd full of screaming teenage girls, clogging up Times Square, for the chance to catch a glimpse of dye-job, curly-q Justin Timberlake. TRL works best when pop is at its most “bubblegum”. Sure, you can still have Chris Brown drop by, but Daughtry and the rest of Top 40 radio are more suited for VH-1. Even the teen stars being cranked out, like Jordin Sparks, are more suited for an older crowd. TRL, like the early WB, used to MAKE stars. Now, it’s merely a shadow of its past self. MTV claims the show is just “going on a break”, but anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows what that can mean. I think it’ll reappear, though. The UK had a similar show, Top of the Pops, which was on the air for over 42 years (!). Eventually, the formula got stale, and they put it on time out. Like TRL, the BBC promises it, too, will one day return. Maybe their returns will coincide.

That BET R. Kelly interview is priceless! I love the look on Toure’s face. The entire interview, his face is screaming, “Is this nigga for real?!”

So, last night, I watched The Temptations for what must’ve been the 10th time. I don’t know if VH-1 planned to show it all along, or if it was to honor Norman Whitfield, the prolific Motown writer/producer who passed away yesterday. Let’s hope the reason is the former, as the miniseries doesn’t exactly portray Whit in the best light. Hell, I just realized that it doesn’t portray anyone in a positive light…except for Otis Williams. Seeing as how Otis is the only surviving founding member of the group, the movie was written from his perspective. That said, it took me all these years to realize that it is the most masturbatory, self-congratulatory thing I’ve ever seen. There are WAY too many private scenes between Otis and random characters, as they have heart to heart talks where the other person thanks Otis for being the force that holds the group together, or thanks Otis for putting on the pressure when the less-disciplined needed that sort of monitoring. Everyone dies in the most heart-wrenching, tragic ways, even though most of the Temps’ families have disputed the accounts of their relatives’ demise, especially in the sensationalized account of David Ruffin, who’s shown thrown in front of an emergency room, from a moving limo, after overdosing. They say karma’s a bitch, so it Otis did make this stuff up, I’d say he’d better watch his back. Nothing like having 4 ghosts in leisure suits coming to get you, dancing slowly in formation. That reminds me, though – I’ve been working on a Leon/David Ruffin post for the better part of 2 years now. I should probably do something about that.

Watched Baby Mama the other night. This comes as no surprise, but I LOVE Tina Fey. She’s pretty much playing Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, which is what I’ve come to believe is the real Tina. The sexy, smart, insecure funnywoman. This movie, however, not that great. It’s not bad, but it’s not good. I don’t think it makes the most of any of the cast’s strengths, and it could’ve been better, Honestly, it’s about what I’d expect from an SNL movie, but I kinda wanted more, considering Tina wrote it, and she WAS head writer of SNL for about 9 years.

Got a lot on my mind, but I’m gonna wrap things up with this thought: a lot of people go through life with a dream. They go on with their day-to-day lives, but in the backs of their minds, they have a “what if?” idea that they never act on. Now, what happens when you act on that, and you find you’re not good at it? Are you better off knowing that? One of my dreams was to work in comics. I felt that it was something I was BORN to do, and I’d kick ass at it. 2 years later, and I realize I wasn’t that good at it. I always said I’d write a book about that experience, called Diamond in the Rough: My Life in Comics, but I don’t have the patience, plus nobody’d want to read it except those in the industry, and it’s gonna piss off most of them. Instead, I’m sure my ideas for said book will probably trickle onto the site over time.

Anyway, how did I come to this conclusion? Well, if any of you have ever read the Previews catalog (NOTE: Previews is a catalog that ships ever month, informing retailers/fans of upcoming comic books so they can place orders – I used to help make that catalog), you might’ve seen a segment in the middle called “Featured Items”. Those were the 16 items, NOT from Marvel or DC, that we felt “every store should buy”. We’d have monthly meetings where we’d sit down and go to war over who should receive this honor, even though John Q. Public really didn’t give a shit. Us giving an “FI” to Red Sonja #25 isn’t gonna make retailers buy more copies. If Sonja dies, or flashes a tit, THEN retailers are gonna buy more and sell them for 3x cover price right out of the box – they ain’t doing it because of some faceless company in Maryland.

These “discussions” (and I use the term lightly) always got heated because no one respected anyone else’s choice. Plus, there were the politics. Certain publishers are guaranteed a certain amount of FI’s due to their contracts with Diamond, so our hands were a bit tied at times. I can’t tell you how many times we gave an FI to Dynamite for “To Be Determined”. They might have this book ready, but it’s more likely it’s gonna be late, so we’ll give it to Book X. We got into the business of supporting companies rather than books. We were given the explanation that certain companies were poised to be the next Marvel or DC, so we needed to support those. I understand the need for growth and encouragement, but who would replace those companies that were about to “graduate”. We were so focused on Dynamite and IDW becoming the next Marvel and DC, but I always felt we lost sight of the fact that someone would need to groom the next IDW and Dynamite (which ain’t necessarily a good thing – grooming the “new Dynamite” is akin to discovering Super AIDS). I like to think a lot of my FI choices were focused on “the next generation”, yet we were always told that we “weren’t looking at the bigger picture”. Eventually, it got to the point where the meetings were no longer seen as productive, and were done away with. Instead, we had to send our choices/arguments to the team managers, and they would decide based on the evidence we’d provided. Seeing as how this took place behind closed doors, we never really knew what went down. We were simply to trust that they’d make the right decision. That’s how things were when I left.

Well, the other day, I found out that the FI meetings had been reinstated. It seems that the main reason the meetings had been done away with was because the FI picks submitted by me, as well as another former brand manager, weren’t seen as strong or deserving. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, or if I was easy to blame because I’m no longer there to defend myself. Even still, it kind of hurts (and somewhat surprising) that I was divisive enough to derail a process that had been working for years, which is magically reinstated the minute I’m gone. I stand by my decisions, as I think some of the most surprising, engaging stuff is going to be coming from the Oni’s and the First Second’s. Because so many of those situations were presented in vagueries, I had no idea it was my ideas that were hindering the process. If someone had just told me… That said, I still think Scott Pilgrim 4, even though it’s the 4th in a series (a bestselling series, mind you) trumps the adaptation of some videogame sequel that’s delayed by months. That’s how I played the game, and how I felt it should be played. I don’t know if it’s the bloggers or the small press crowd getting to me or what, but I thought I was looking out for the industry, while the gatekeepers of the industry weren’t on the same page. So, was I truly born to work in comics? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If I was, it certainly wasn’t in the capacity in which I was working before. Langston Hughes once pondered what happened to a dream deferred. I, on the other hand, am trying to figure out what happens to a dream deflated…

09th Sep2008

America Meets Sarah Palin, Topanga’s Got A New Show, 90210’s Back, and Danity Kane’s Got A Comic Book

by Will

“I’m gonna be really pissed off in Heaven, ’cause I ain’t dying ’cause I’ve got too much stuff to do. If I die now, before I get to do all that I want, I’ll definitely be killing some dead people in Heaven. Which’ll be bad, ’cause then I’ll probably be sent to Hell.”

Man, it’s been so long, I’m not sure I even remember how to do this. Let’s see…

So, Aldi owns Trader Joe’s? I find that so odd, especially when you compare their business models.

Next, we’ve got politics. Some people are gonna hate me for saying this, but “Well-played, McCain. Well-played indeed”. You see, someone passed John the rules to Minority Battle. I don’t care how well-spoken a black dude is, he’s always trumped by a white chick with sexy-librarian glasses. Sure, she seems like she might be a little crazy, but that just adds to the wild-card factor. I still say he should’ve chosen a Latina or an eskimo in a wheelchair. In Minority Battle, a Maria ALWAYS beats a Tyrone. Sorry, Wesley, but you can’t “always bet on black” in this game. I like looking at Palin ’cause I can squint and imagine that Tina Fey is on the ballot. When I look at Obama and Biden, however, it feels like I’m seeing Diff’rent Strokes: The Next Generation. Just sayin’…

Anyway, enough politics. On to television:

When did Danielle Fishel become host of The Soup? Wait, you mean, that’s NOT The Soup? Then, whose bright idea was it to rip off The Soup and hire Topanga?! So, this is The Dish? Nobody thought of The Bowl? It’s the same damn show! Considering E! and Style are owned by the same people, why are they ripping themselves off?

90210‘s back, and it’s…not bad. It’s a little too OC for me. I like my teen dramas to have uber angst, a la One Tree Hill, and I think these kids are just way too pretty for me to care about. Keep in mind, my favorite West Beverly student was Andrea Zuckerman. That is exactly why my fave on the new show is, you guessed it, Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez. Yes, Andrea’s daughter (yeah, the bastard kid she had with that Puerto Rican busboy) is now all teened up and going to mom’s alma mater. Best part of the premiere was when the teacher turns off Hannah’s classroom news report, saying, “What is she, like 30?”. You know, ’cause Gabrielle Carteris was 30 when she was cast in the original. What can I say? I love easter eggs and continuity.

I hate the MTV show Busted. Why? Because they ALWAYS let the kids go. Not sure if it’s just a scared-straight tactic or what, but the kids never seem in any real danger of being locked up, and that’s just confirmed when the officer writes them a citation and lets them go. The kids kind of squirm, but they’re usually too drunk or high to realize they’re in any kind of major trouble. I wanna see someone cry. I want to see them at least get put in the cruiser. For added effect, they need to have a crossover with Juvies. If anything, that show just teaches me that the law enforcement of Salisbury, Maryland is a bunch of pushovers.

And on to the music portion of our evening:

I wonder how the makers of Patron feel about the rap industry’s love of their product. Do they appreciate the free advertising or do they feel that it’s actually dragging their good name through the mud.

So, Danity Kane’s got a comic book now. It was given away to attendees at the VMAs, and it’s a piece of shit. No, seriously, it’s horrible. I turned away stuff like this when I was working at Diamond. Not sure if you’re aware, my readers, but the name “Danity Kane” originated in the mind of DK’s Dawn. Before she joined the group, she envisioned a female super hero that she’d think of whenever she needed help feeling empowered. When the group was throwing around names, Dawn explained Danity Kane and the group loved it because they thought had that kickass, girl power vibe they were looking for. Well, it seems that Dawn has fleshed out the Danity Kane story, and apparently hired some blind kid to draw the thing. Not even gonna bore you with the synopsis; all you need to know is that Danity hails from the planet Jyzfire. Yes, “jyzfire”. That sounds like the worst kind of STD…

So, Usher’s stylist convinced him to fire his manager. Doesn’t help that the stylist is his wife and the manager is his mom. The way I see it, that nigga should’ve fired the stylist a LONG time ago because she’s been dressing him in the SAME DAMN OUTFIT for the past 3 years! That bitch has been bamboozling that brotha for years, AND she gets paid for it! In fact, I have this image of his closet where there’s nothing but a single pair of jeans, one black t-shirt, a leather jacket, and a bottle of Febreze.

If you ask me, Estelle’s just looking for a free trip to America and a tour guide. I can’t abide by users like that. I’m supposedly her American Boy, I flew her over for some ass, and all she wants to do is sightsee?! Plus, does the bitch own a map? She wants to see NY AND Miami?! Does she realize you can’t just jump in a cab for that trip?!

Hey, Secondhand Serenade & Thriving Ivory: Love you guys. Really. But Blessid Union of Souls called, and they want their sound back.

Pink, Pink, Pink…what are we gonna do with you? Your new song has grown on me, but where are you coming from? “Guess I just lost my husband, I don’t know where he went”. Yeah, you do – you left him. There’s nothing worse than a dumper who acts like the victim. That’s great; you’re better off without him. Move on, have some fun. You’ve already got a new man, so don’t make Carey feel worse than he already does. Nice VMA performance, though. Still want you to hurt me and make me feel like a man, but let’s have a little class.

And finally, the VM freaking A’s. Anyone who DOESN’T think those were rigged is an effing idiot! Let’s see, Britney zombied through her performance last year and needed forgiveness. Check. She’s been on good behavior for the past 3 months. Check. She was the only person (along with the host, Russell Brand), featured in promos for the awards, even though she wasn’t slated to perform or anything. Check. She’s nominated for 3 Moonmen, despite the fact that she didn’t even really promote the album ’cause she was too busy hitting rock bottom. Check. Now, the shit’s about to get real: She and her former manager, Larry Rudolph, reunite and meet with the record label the day before the VMAs to discuss her big comeback album. Check. Then, it leaks that Brit will open the VMAs in “memorable fashion”, YET still wasn’t gonna perform. Check. Now, she walks away with 3 awards, including Video of the Year, for the weakest single of her career. Seriously, she didn’t win for “Hit Me, Baby…”, “Oops”, “Slave for You”, “Me Against the Music”, OR “Toxic” (not to mention her “lesser hits), but she wins for “Piece of Me”?! 3 awards?! In a year where she really didn’t do shit?! RIGGED. Not sure what MTV’s getting out of this deal – maybe they just want to be lauded as the place where her comeback got on track, but this was RIGGED. In other news, is it wrong that I really wanted Shrek…I mean, Jordin Sparks’s “No Air” to beat Rihanna? You know, so then, it’d be like Rihanna got beat by her own man singing with another chick. That would’ve been priceless!

This post goes out to MPH and the rest of the OC crew. And, I’m out!

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