12th Aug2008

Saved By The Bell Sick Day & Lil Wayne’s Virgin Fest Failure

by Will

“All of my friends have a ring on their finger, they have someone”

It’s been awhile, and I don’t even know where to begin. I’m actually sick right now, and had a kickass day off work. Well, that is, if “kickass” translates into “felt like I was going to boot for a 24-hr period”. Plus, I’m guessing the abundance of Clyde’s rum & cokes last night didn’t help matters, either.

Anyway, it was a GREAT day for daytime television. First off, I got to watch 2 of my favorite Saved By The Bell sagas, back-to-back. Things started off with the 2-parter where Jessie’s old-ass dad was gonna marry the aerobics instructor and Jessie wasn’t havin’ it! You know, there weren’t a lot of episodes focusing on Ms. Spano, but whenever she got center stage, it was always a doozy. She was a diabolical beeyotch in those episodes. Plus, if her dad owns that resort, she must be LOADED – which, btw, conflicts with the story we were told back in season 1, about her parents being hippy protestors. I mean, her dad is clearly suckling on the big, sweet teat of capitalism now. That was followed up by the “Sorry You’re Homeless at Christmas” saga. Yes, the show does establish Zack as quite the poonhound, but I will never see what he saw in that homeless girl. Sure, she was sweet, but wasn’t that the point? “Homeless girl with the heart of gold”? Zack’s never cared about golden hearts unless he could sell them. The older I get, the more smarmy Zack’s tactics appear. I’ve said it before, but I think if The College Years had made it to a second season, we might’ve seen a very special episode with a date rape charge.

Next, I watched an all-day marathon of the short lived UPN show, Jake 2.0. Damn, was that a good show! Long story short, it’s The Six Million Dollar Man meets Chuck. Anyway, thanks to the show, my new celebrity crush is Keegan Connor Tracy. Go ahead and Google her, I’ll wait.

Then, I watched an entertaining episode of Gunsmoke, complete with William Katt playing a criminal, and a young Nick Nolte as a dead sheriff’s deputy. Say what you will about modern entertainment, but TV was awfully violent back then.

Then, I was surprised to stumble across Love, Actually, which is one of my favorite movies of all time (I love you, Martine McCutcheon!). Plus, this was followed up by A Goofy Movie, another of my favorite movies of all time (I love you, voice of Jenna Von Oy, attached to the sweet ass of Jenna Von Oy!). All this was capped off by a fresh episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, and my regularly scheduled Tuesday night onslaught of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? If not for the fact that I felt like shit, it would’ve been a great day.

Let me just say that I don’t give a flying shit about professional sports, but I have loved every minute of the Brett Favre saga. You see, ever since There’s Something About Mary, Brett has belonged to pop culture. I don’t think I’d ever visited ESPN.com in my life, but it was a regular fixture on the BlackBerry over the past month. It might be worth me actually paying attention to football this season, just to see how this all plays out on the field.

So, I also went to Virgin Mobile Fest again over the weekend. Not as action-packed as last year. Foo Fighters were clearly the best act of Saturday, while I think Kanye took the title on Sunday. Kanye’s still dealing with the death of his mom, so he just starts freestyling and going on these rants, but you know they’re coming from someplace deep inside. You wonder if he’s having a breakdown right in front of you, but it’s a powerful form of “group therapy”. I LOVED Chromeo, and everyone should buy their album, Fancy Footwork. That’s right, I said BUY. Can’t get “Momma’s Boy” out of my head. The most… interesting performance, however, had to have been Lil’ Wayne.

So, Weezy F. Baby comes out on stage 45 mins late. By this point, the majority of the crowd has already begun to boo the stage. His posse comes out for about 10 mins, and they just strut around to a pre-recorded track. When he finally comes out, Weezy decides to get religious on us. He tells us that, first, he believes in God. He then, for some reason, asks the crowd if they do, as well, which is met with a pretty resounding “no”. Not sure if it was because they’re pissed at him, or if the Virgin Mobile Fest is simply the largest atheist music festival since John Lincoln’s “Jesus Ain’t In My Guitar” Tour of 1987. * Anyway, he goes into all his hits, plus he runs through all the guest verses he’d done on other people’s albums, which was a bit weird. You’d hear the music start for “Put On”, Weezy’d sing his verse, and then he’d move on to the next song. Then, he really kicks us in the collective balls: he surprises us with Kanye coming out (5 hrs before his own set) so they can do the Lollipop Rmx. Kanye gets through his verse, and when it’s Weezy’s turn, he gets 3 words into it, stops, and says, “Aw, man. I don’t even know that verse noway!” And he’s done. He doesn’t start back up. He doesn’t try to finish up by switching to the album version. No, he’s done. He proceeded to tell us hw much he loved us, which kicked off Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”, and he ran around the stage. Then, they covered him in a red, terrycloth robe and he left the stage. I shit you not…

Energy levels fading fast. Well, that’s all I’ve got until next time. Oh, and I hate the New Facebook. Just sayin’…

*Don’t Google it – I made that shit up.

30th Jul2008

Life Lessons of “As Long As You Love Me” & My Introduction to Hulu

by Will

“Never go ‘Full Retard’.”

What a day, what a day…I’ve decided that a good chunk of commercial real estate brokers are assholes. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, as we’re here for other reasons.

– Saw Tropic Thunder tonight and it was HILARIOUS. There’s slight buzz about this movie, due to Robert Downey Jr.’s blackface role. Truth be told, the role is supposed to be uncomfortable, as that’s part of the movie. Anyway, I really think that 2008 is shaping up to be the Year of the Downey, while Stiller whips out “Blue Steel” one more time, AKA you get the same from him as you’ve come to expect. One of the best parts of the movie is at the very beginning, with the faux trailers. Where else can you watch Iron Man put the moves on Spidey?

-So, I was driving home tonight, and “As Long As You Love Me”, by Backstreet Boys, came on the radio. Now, a lot of people already know this, but when I was 15 I was a boyband fanatic. I wasn’t gay for them or anything, but I kinda saw it as something that I could do one day. After all, boybands were popping up each week, but it wasn’t until O-Town (well, 5ive, if you count those bi-racial dudes) that we got a group with a black member. I always kinda wanted to be the first.

Anyway, “ALAYLM” was MY song. When I was all of 15 and lonely, I’d put that song on repeat and just think of how nice it would be to find a girl who just loves you for you. I’ve learned, in the 11 years since, that that song is a BIG case of “be careful what you wish for”. Sure, I wouldn’t care what they had done, as long as long as they loved me. Then, I got involved with a string of girls whose pasts I couldn’t get over. It turns out I did care. Whether it was drugs, promiscuity, or racial friction, I learned the hard way that, for me, it did matter where they were from and what they had done. So, that makes me shallow. Maybe I’m immature. At least I know who I am now. I learned that I hold myself to a certain standard, not that I’m better than anyone, but I have my expectations, as does everyone else. These days, I really think that song is 3 minutes and 42 seconds of bad advice. Sure, it’s got good intentions: don’t judge – love will find a way, but that’s bullshit. Love conquers a lot, but it don’t conquer all. Remember that.

– I believe that Hulu.com might be the greatest site on the internet. Not only did it introduce me to Joss Whedon’s full Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog (God, I wish I’d seen Rent when Neil Patrick Harris was in it!), but it also streams 2 things that I’ve been searching years for: Team Knight Rider and Son of the Beach Season 3. I’m sure that Universal will one day get around to releasing TKR (we just missed its 10th anniversary), but I doubt we’ll ever get a release of SotB Season 3. The first 2 seasons were released at the dawn of TV DVD releases, and the sales were pretty bad. I figure if That’s My Bush made it to DVD, we deserve to have a complete set of Son of the Beach! And California Dreams and USA High, while we’re at it!

Another gem on Hulu is the complete series of Young Hercules. The forgotten 3rd series in the Hercules/Xena Saga, it stars Ryan Gosling as a young Kevin Sorbo. Now, when Hercules: The Legendary Journeys began, I was kinda pissed because I didn’t feel that Sorbo was jacked enough. He had brawn, but I expected him to be built. Well, imagine how much worse it was when we were given scrawny-ass Ryan Gosling to play a younger version. I’m probably the biggest male Young Ryan Gosling fan., but I’m not quite sure this show was the best use of his talents. Forget The Notebook; that guy was oozing charisma on the Mickey Mouse Club. Sure, Britney, Justin and Christina went on to be stars first, but when you see Ryan, he knows he’s too good to be there and he just looks bored. Next, check out Breaker High, where he “out-Zack Morrises” Zack Morris. Anyway, Young Hercules is still a pretty damn good show, especially considering it was created for kids, to fill the timeslot following Power Rangers. I highly suggest you check it out if you’re a fan of the Action Pack shows.

– New Knight Rider series trailer released at San Diego Comic Con. Apparently, K.I.T.T. will transform into different Ford vehicles, he gains a new Super Pursuit Mode, and the Turbo Boost is coming back. I also love the new logo. That said, I still stand by the fact that this is not a network show. Sure, they’ll benefit from the larger budget, but this thing just feels like a Saturday afternoon syndicated show on your local CW affiliate- one of the bad shows, that used to come on between The Lost World and Mutant X. NBC, it’s no longer 1982! You don’t have Brandon Tartikoff at the helm anymore and that shit just won’t fly. Stop rehashing your old ideas! Next, they’ll be casting Dakota Fanning in a Punky Brewster remake, only they’ll make her an edgy runaway or something.

-Speaking of San Diego, maybe it’s just the way that it’s being reported, but I get the impression that this year’s con wasn’t so hot. The comic announcements were pretty mediocre, and the movie stuff surrounded projects we already knew about, such as Wolverine: Origins. I’m not hearing anything about record attendance, or even seeing any good pictures. I know blogs, like Newsarama, are moving to Video Blogs and Twitter feeds, but I’m just not really hearing anything necessarily positive about this year’s show.

-Can anyone tell me the whereabouts of Natalie Merchant? We haven’t heard from her in ages. Something tells me she’s busy in a cabin somewhere, cutting up magazines and creating death threat notes to send to Norah Jones.

-I simply had to share a conversation I had with Keith tonight. The power’s out in parts of Timonium, and I was trying to convince him that this was a sign for him to go hook up with this chick who’s clearly bad news (why do I want him messing with a girl who’s so bad? I like drama).
Keith: So, you’re trying to tell me that this is a sign from God that I should go hook up with this girl?

Me: Not “God” God. A lesser god. I think it’s the Egyptian god of pussy, Pusiris.

Well, I thought it was funny…

-I’ll end tonight with a note on family. A few weeks ago, I attended a family reunion on my dad’s side. While there, I learned that Buffy’s principal is my cousin. Yeah, the black one who banged Faith. Turns out David Bryant Woodside, AKA D.B. Woodside, AKA The Bad President Palmer, has got some West blood in him! That was pretty cool to hear. Too bad he wasn’t there. Also, today would’ve been my dad’s birthday. 82 years old. I shit you not. I hope to God I have my kids at a “normal” age…

09th Jul2008

Real World Analysis & My Amazing Treadmill Deal

by Will

“I don’t do it it for my health, man I do it for the belt.”

-OK, something I need to get off my chest: voting is NOT “cool”. I’m so sick of Rock the Vote, Choose or Lose, or any of the promotions that feel they need to pander to the lowest common denominator just to get people to register to vote. Yes, voting is important, but it is not cool. There’s a big difference there. A prostate exam is important, but it ain’t cool. People need to learn that there are things in life that should be done, regardless of how it might look to their friends. If you need Usher to remind you to vote, then maybe your ass doesn’t deserve the right.

-You know, I wanted to hate Tila Tequila last week, but I actually felt sorry when that chick rejected the key to her heart. I mean, nobody likes being dumped. Then, I watched One Shot Too Many last night, and I found myself hating her all over again. I remember her wanting to be an actress, but she really needs to learn to fake some tears better than she was doing – she could use some lessons from Real World Will.

-Speaking of Will, why did he have to become the House A-hole? I mean, I did think he went off on Greg for some nefarious reasons, but Greg was a douche and deserved to have something happen to him. That said, Will came with some pretty vicious stuff, especially when he started talking about Greg’s dead dad. I figured, well, when Greg gets kicked out, Will won’t be a dick anymore. Man, was I wrong! And what’s up with the Janelle hook-up? She just happened to be in the area? In the same bar that the house mates just happened to stumble into?Sure, what a coincidence… 😛

-You know, the producers could be on to something there: have an older group of house mates (those busy on the nightclub promotion circuit) “drop in” on the current cast, and serve in a mentor capacity. After all, they’ve been there and done that, so they could help steer the new cast out of trouble. Well, that’s how it would look on paper. In reality, it would just open the door for some intercast, possibly inter-generational (especially if Cyrus pops up) hook-ups, and more potential drama. It’ll be amazing television! It’s like when Power Rangers started doing the annual team-ups, where the old team, with their experience and cockiness, would come to the aid of the green, inexperienced new team. Zords would meet, flirtation would occur, and you’d get a kickass 10-ranger morph sequence. This would be just like that, only with more hot tubs, alcohol, and blurred nudity.

-It was pretty weird seeing Summer Rayne on Real World. I’m sure I’ve mentioned her before, but Summer Rayne Oakes is an eco-friendly fashion model. And I went to college with her. It’s weird to see her model stuff, ’cause that’s not how she carried herself in school. She was more Ms. Outdoors, always coming from a hike or a bike ride. Then, we graduate, and she’s this pretty famous eco-conscious model, with her own foundation that spreads eco-awareness in between lingerie shoots. Interesting combo, but she seems to pull it off. Anyway, RW added these bumpers this season, where the house mates give us tips on how to be more eco-friendly. If you saw the cute brunette teaching them how to use their stove, that was Summer Rayne.

-While RW‘s ratings have been higher than in recent seasons, I’m not sure I like the 1-hour format. It unnecessarily burns through the season in half the time. Tonight was the season finale, and I still don’t feel like I got to know this cast. Sure, it’s a shallow show, but I don’t feel there were any real character arcs here. Very little development occurred, and when it happened, it was usually for the worst. Brianna didn’t decide to turn her back on stripping. Instead, she realized she was lazy and didn’t like to work. Joey found sobriety, but also an ugly girlfriend, who he wouldn’t have given the time of day back during his coke binges. I still don’t know a damn thing about Dave or Kim, except Dave can be cool at times, while Kim has a lot to learn about black people. I wanted to like Sarah. Hell, I wanted to love Sarah, but something about her just kept her out of reach. She was too reminiscent of Rachel Campos, from the San Francisco season: the “I want to cool with you, but my conservative views keep me from condoning your lifestyle” kind of vibe. We didn’t know Nick or Brittini long enough to form opinions. And well, we already know how I feel about Will.

-How did Li’l Wayne sell 1 million albums in one week, when everybody had already illegally downloaded the album?! I don’t even listen to that stuff, and I downloaded it! It’s common knowledge that the record label buys, maybe, 100,000 copies of a “star’s” album’s release so that they can affect that Billboard numbers. That’s how you know when a label isn’t supporting its artist. Ashley Simpson’s Bittersweet World sold 47,000 copies the week it was released, making it pretty clear that Geffen doesn’t give a shit about Ashley Simpson as an artist on their roster. That said, I find it hard to believe that Universal bought the bulk of the total copies of Tha Carter III sold, but I find it harder to believe that they were purchased by the general public. It boggles the mind.

-I can’t believe Finola actually kicked a chick off How Do I Look! It was definitely one for the record books. If you get a chance to watch the episode with the punk chick, named Plum, I highly suggest you take a seat for some great, angsty television!

-Can someone please explain Vampire Weekend to me? I just don’t get it. They’ve been the darling of music blog scene for the past 6 months, and I’m starting to feel like I did when I missed that Harry Potter bandwagon. “Oxford Comma” kinda has something to it, but I just don’t get them as an act. I know the preppy thing is their gimmick, but it just looks like The Hangovers started playing instruments. I love those guys, but I don’t exactly see that as something that would take the musical world by storm. Someone, please tell me what I’m missing here.

-Hey, Sara Bareilles! Glad to see MTV decided to promote you this week. Too bad your album came out over a year ago. So, do you have a movie coming out or something? No? Well…um…wow, this is awkward…Well, enjoy yourself, ’cause they’ll probably move on to Katy Perry next Monday, and give all their commercial break bumpers to her.

-Every few years, I find that I get on this contemporary Christian music kick. What can I say? They stole all the best melodies. What am I saying? God stole all the best melodies. That said, I currently recommend tobyMac’s “Lose My Soul”, which features a cameo by Kirk Franklin. I don’t think you’re allowed to release a Christian album without Kirk having his hand in it somehow. The man’s got a mafia hold on that industry!

– I leave you with a tale that I call: Encyclopedia Will & the Case of the Clearance Treadmill. You see, I’ve always wanted a treadmill. I had a stepper, but I think I was over the weight limit, as it was made for women, and I proceeded to tear the steel housing of the base. Yeah, I’d be ashamed if it didn’t look so cool. It was like Superman had ripped it apart. But I digress…So, I was in K-Mart (why, I don’t know, as I’ve vowed on many occasions to never go there again) and I ran across a treadmill on clearance. It had been $329, but was no going for $165. I always figured I’d end up with an el cheapo treadmill, as I have no use for a gym-caliber machine right now. So, I came home to make sure I had the space, and once it was confirmed, I went back up to the store to buy it. I mean, I wasn’t going to find a treadmill any cheaper. Or so I thought.

I drag the thing up to the register, and the cashier can’t scan it, as the barcode is all scratched out. She finds a number on the side, and puts that in the system. I’m not paying attention, and she says something to me about $33. I think she’s trying to sell me some buyer protection racket, so I decline. She calls over the manager, and he puts in the same number from the box, and it becomes evident that the treadmill is on super clearance, and is ringing up for $33! Other managers start to gather around, and I become the most hated person in the store, as they realize they’d missed a deal that had been right under their noses. They start asking, “Are there any more back there?” I respond, “I don’t know. You work here, you’d know that better than me“. Yeah, in hindsight, I guess I wasn’t winning many friends in this scenario. The store director just looks at me and says, “Man, you got a Hell of a deal.” Then, I had to get it into the car.

You see, I hadn’t taken any kind of measurements, but I just assumed that it would fit in the car. Well, you know what happens when we assume…So, I’m struggling with this thing, as the employees are hoping it doesn’t fit, as then I’ll have to return it and they’ll have their shot. I take the parts out of the box, and manage to get them all in the car, at the expense of breathing room. I drove home hunched over the steering wheel like a senior citizen with cataracts. Needless to say, I got it home and then went out drinking. Later, I came home and put the thing together DRUNK. That’s how big of a rockstar I am! I’m rocker than the rocks in Montana! Anyway, here we are, 3 weeks later, and I’ve got no complaints. It was certainly a steal, and it’s the best fitness investment I’ve made since Billy’s Boot Camp. Now, let’s just hope I stick with it a little longer than I stuck with Mr. Blanks…

16th Jun2008

Apple Bottom Kids & My Problems With Dawson McAllister

by Will

“Good job, Tila. So you can deep throat a pickle. Then again, you probably have 3 mouths, coming from the planet Orbitron or wherever…”

Kinda scatterbrained right now, so no real cohesive thoughts. Just a bunch of random stuff I need to get out:

Dear Management of Union Jacks:
When did you convert your bar into a weekly Bat Mitzvah? I’m not complaining, as I’m kinda going through a Semitic phase right now. I just wish I’d known, as I could’ve brought a gift or something….

– I wonder how The Turtles feel, knowing there’s an entire generation that only knows their seminal hit as “The Golden Grahams Song”.

– I’ve got a friend who’s dabbling in dating sites, and he’s been keeping me abreast of the things he’s encountered. Apparently, there are a lot of fat women on there who state, outright, that they’re not interested in Black guys. Really? But that’s your biggest demographic! That’s like if I had a rice sale, but said “No Asians”…

-Speaking of “fat”, has anyone seen Kimora lately? She’s getting those front neck rolls, like Florida Evans on Good Times.

-Am I the only one who thinks the chick in the Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos commercial looks like a Ferengi?

-I just saw a 7-year-old wearing an Apple Bottoms t-shirt. First of all, how do I know she was 7? She told me – kids in a toy store tend to be quite talkative. Now, first, I was thinking it was pretty fucked up for Nelly to make an Apple Bottoms KiDs! line. Maybe he should’ve been on trial instead of R. Kelly. After some web research, though, I find there is no such clothing line. So, this unfortunate wardrobe choice was the result of some real shitty parenting on someone’s part.

-Speaking of R. Kelly, it’s amazing how many people on the street were transformed into top gun legal analysts as a result of that trial. From the nightclub to the check-cashing/carryout joint, everyone was spouting phrases like “habeus corpus” and “circumstantial evidence”. It was incredible! People who’ve never given a shit about anything judicial in their lives – we’re talking about people who didn’t even go to their own daddies’ trials! I was mega surprised when Jeff took an intense interest in it. Shit, I wouldn’t be surprised if he told me he’d signed up for the LSAT!

-Lately, I’ve come to realize the concept of “stealing a kiss” is nowhere near as cute and romantic as people like to believe. In fact, it’s pretty sad…

The Average American Male has the most depressing ending I’ve read in years. And I think every man should read it.

-I want to kick Dawson McAllister in the balls. If you’re unfamiliar with the man, he runs a pseudo-Christian radio call-in show for teens (HOT 99.5, after midnight, locally). Think of Frasier Crane’s radio show, but instead hosted by his dad – his crotchety, old retired cop of a dad. This guy is SO out of touch with his audience that I have no idea how he’s been doing this since ’91. The shit that comes out of his mouth… One girl called up, and was telling him how much she loved her boyfriend, but she was scared of getting hurt. Dawson replied, “Yeah, there’s no condom for the heart, huh?” Really?!

Then, his million dollar answer to every question is the “wait a year” response. Your dad hates your Black boyfriend? Here’s Dawson’s response: “You see, this is about respect. You love your dad, but you love your boyfriend. I say you go to your dad, and say, ‘Dad, I love and respect you. I’ll wait a year, and not see Tyquan, out of respect for you. However, in a year, I hope you’ll have thought it over, and will feel differently.'” Wanna go to Iraq and fight for your country, yet your parents don’t condone it? Here’s the Dawson response: “You see, this is about respect…” Yup, he tells him to wait a year. That’s when he even has a response. Half the time, he responds, “Man, I don’t know what to tell ya” or “What do you want from me?” How about some advice, asshole! And don’t get me started on his insensitive playlist. It’s the only place where you can hear a 15-year-old cry over her unwanted pregnancy, followed up by “Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls…

-And now, for the part of the post that probably only Marcus and Jeff will understand: When it comes to relationships, I think I’m ready for my title shot. I’ve jobbed my entire life. I jobbed with Barry Horowitz. I jobbed with Al Snow. I even jobbed with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. I think I’ve paid my dues, though. I deserve my title shot. It’s my time to step into the ring with Triple H. It doesn’t mean I’ll win. Hell, I don’t expect to win, but I’ve earned my shot. I’m not even talking about a title shot at Wrestlemania or even The Royal Rumble. Shit, I’ll take No Way Out or even Backlash. When it’s all said and done, though, I don’t want to be a jobber anymore. I want my title shot, and that’s the bottom line….

And with that, folks, I leave you. Hopefully, the next post will make more sense to the casual visitor!

19th May2008

My Hatred For Seacrest 2.0 and Season Finale Analysis

by Will

“You used Ghostbusters for evil!”

I’m beginning to realize that I don’t like the new Ryan Seacrest. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Ryan Seacrest, the brand, is a lot different from the surfer dude from the days of yore. Rewind to 2003, and we’ve got a guy who’s just glad that he has a job. Fresh off canceled game shows such as Gladiators 2000 and Click, he was a drive-time DJ who always had a smile, and seemed to appreciate every moment. Now, you’ve got this suit-wearing, multimedia impressario who’s poised to take over the entertainment world. On the fast-track to becoming the next Merv Griffin, Seacrest has his American Idol gig, owns 8 restaurants, he’s the exec producer of E! News, Keeping Up With the Kardashians & Denise Richards’ show, he’s the host of America’s Top 40, he’s got his syndicated On Air radio show, and there’s the persistent rumor that he’s raking over for Larry King on CNN. No, not Billy Bush, or anyone else who might be his contemporary; LARRY f’ing KING! Do you know what that guy’s demographic is? Plus, Larry has somewhat of a journalism background, so he’s got cred. To even imagine putting Seacrest in that role is as ill-conceived as replacing Rather with Couric. Sure, he’s a decent interviewer, but I feel Seacrest has lost a lot of what made him personable. They keep hinting at the fact that Idol needs to be retooled, and Seacrest being ousted is on the table. They might be on to something, as he’s just not relatable anymore. At times, he seems just as out of place as the musical-guest-of-the-week (Neil Diamond? Really?). Seacrest 2.0 is like your friend’s cool older brother, who used to buy you beer and porn, but now spends his weekends test driving Volvos and shopping for khakis since getting that i-banking job.

Lately, a favorite pastime of mine is listening to Casey Kasem’s America’s Top 40: The Eighties. Locally, it’s on 102.7, but I’m sure it’s syndicated all over the place. Basically, it replays the old ’80s countdowns, from the same calendar week. Yesterday’s countdown was from May 18th, 1985. The beauty of the countdown is you can see whether or not those “rising stars” flamed out or actually made something of themselves. Plus, you hear a bunch of songs from hit artists that are supposed to be “their next huge hit”, but actually flopped. Last night, I discovered Alison Moyet’s “Invisible”. She was pretty much the Anastacia of the era, as she was “the soulful white girl”. I guess there was only room for one Taylor Dayne back then. Good song, though. Plus, Casey introduced us to “the first hit from Katrina & the Waves”. I laughed about 5 minutes for that comment. It’s also funny to see that not everything touched by Billy Ocean, Hall & Oates, or Rick Springfield turned to gold, regardless of what those late-nite infomercials would lead us to believe. This week’s recommendation from the countdown, however, has to be Foreigner’s “That Was Yesterday.” If you remember the scene in Rocky IV where Rocky’s racing down the highway, reminiscing about Apollo, then you know this song. It gets lost in the 80s mix, but it’s one of the goodies.

Anybody else notice that the Cornell chick, Fury, isn’t on American Gladiators anymore? And why is Zen missing from Work Out? I love how these shows are “reality” until someone goes missing, and then mum’s the word.

So, it’s finale season. It’s a bit anticlimactic, seeing as how the strike killed a good third of the season. That said, I still love a good cliffhanger to hold me over until Fall:

The Office: ya know, I’m a somewhat occasional visitor to this universe, so it wasn’t as shocking to me as it might be to you Officephiles out there. I do think Ryan’s had an amazing character arc, as he has gone from decent guy to douchebag. When the show started, you could’ve sided with either Ryan or Jim, but now Jim’s the clear winner. I’m going to have to catch up with this series over the summer.

30 Rock: Somewhat disappointing. Jack goes to work for the lame duck Bush Administration, while Liz has a pregnancy scare (2 weeks, mind you, after the theatrical release of Baby Mama).

The Big Bang Theory: This show was a lot better earlier in the season, when Sheldon wasn’t as obnoxious, while Leonard had more interactions with Penny. What started as a nouveau Three’s Company quickly turned into Geek Will & Grace, with sidekicks stealing the spotlight. It seems like they were trying to return to the original formula in the end, but I was kind of over the potential of a Leonard-Penny union. Plus, if you’re gonna do it, you don’t sell the farm at the end of the first season. That’s a season 5 development right there.

How I Met Your Mother: She’s not the mom. Love her to death, but she’s not the mom. As much as I love this show, I feel the past 3 weeks have been a bit of a letdown. Thank God they got that pickup for next season, as this would’ve been a pretty shitty way to end the series. That said, a sitcom can’t last, successfully, more than 7 seasons. A sitcom with a built-in plot device (i.e. man has to right the wrongs of his life, father explains courtship to kids, man pretends to be married to secure promotion, etc) tends to have an even shorter shelf life. Considering this show has been on the bubble every season of its existence, they really need to plan next season as its last. It doesn’t have to end just because we meet the mom, but we do need to meet her before it’s too late.

One Tree Hill: This show does angst better than anything on TV right now. Laugh all you want, but it’s still here. Besides Smallville, it’s the longest running show on The CW. It weathered the merger, survived the 5 year time leap, and is currently experiencing a creative & ratings high. This season also introduced the amazing character of Millicent, a woman so great that I’d give my left foot to be with her if she existed. In any case, it was your standard OTH finale, with a bunch of false start happy endings, capped off with the big bad thing. I swear, though, I hope Dan’s dead for good now. For the last 4 years, it’s been Dan gets drugged and burned, Dan goes to jail, but never Dan finally dying. I think it’s time. Guess we’ll see in the Fall…

11th May2008

TV Stuff & My New BlackBerry

by Will

“And where did that get Jackie O? Covered in brain.”

Has anyone seen The Bad Girls Club on Oxygen? Holy shit, those girls have behavioral issues! My problem with the show, however, is that it’s the “March of the Butterfaces”. Yes, I’m sure I sound shallow, but I’ve never seen such a pronounced example of the phenomenon. The house is filled with about 5 ROCKING bodies, attached to some of the roughest faces you could imagine. Faces carved out of granite and acne. One of them looks like a Mexican tranny, while another looks like a Persian tranny, with HORRENDOUS, evil villain eyebrows. It’s like one big post-op lovefest. But, Damn, can those girls fight! You ever seen that girl in the club, who ain’t the prettiest, but is built like a brick house? Stay away, ’cause if she gets mad, she will knock the shit out of you with a glass, while letting her friend get carted off to jail for the offense. Those chicks are that gangsta!

So, they announced that Jennie Garth is headed back to 90210, in the spin-off that The CW is developing. That’s all well and good, but I’m a bigger fan of round-the-way connections with these spin-offs. Everyone wants the former stars because they want to see who’s washed up enough to come crawling back. I, however, would much rather see the peripheral people come back. Have Emily Valentine as a tough-as-nails lesbian gym teacher. Have the Ghost of cowboy hat-wearing Scott roaming the halls of West Beverly. Remember back when Brandon was banging his married professor (portrayed by the beautiful Dina Meyer)? Have her come back for one of those ripped-from-the-headlines “teacher bangs her students” special episodes.

I did something this weekend that I’m already regretting. I’ve wanted it for so long, but the minute it was achieved, I knew I’d made a mistake: I got a Blackberry. Now, there are some pros: no more worrying about internet monitoring at work; website posts on the go; it’s a kickass little piece of gadgetry, etc.

There are also cons: I am basically borderline OCD. I do not need something that I have to check every time I hear the semblance of the little noise it makes when I get a message. I’m already text crazy, and now I’ve got 3 e-mail addresses channeled into one location. And the worst thing is that I can’t even begin to justify the cost. I could check my e-mail on my regular phone, albeit it took longer. There’s no way in Hell I’m syncing it to my work e-mail, so it’s not like it’s going to help my professional productivity. I’m not some wheeler-dealer on the go. My most important “business” is in facebook and Myspace. I probably could’ve gotten by with a Sidekick or something.Did I mention I can’t even begin to justify the cost of this?

Oh well, it’s done now. I never got around to writing this (it’s from the “lost post” I was supposed to write back in Feb, about how I thought I was going to die; it’s coming), but I lost my last, sexy-ass phone in a cab in NYC. I had every intention of buying it again, as it was so damn sexy! Stainless steel, blue backlight, slim…I would get that phone drunk and steal its panties, it was so hot! But Verizon would’ve had to order it, and I’m impatient. Plus, the marginal cost of just going up to the Blackberry was pretty small. It’s the data package I had to add on to the contract that’s gonna bite me in the ass. Anyway, I always wanted one, and now I have one. I guess dreams do come true. But knowing my life, this is going to turn into a nightmare. It has already begun, as it appears I can’t sync Hotmail on a BB. WTF…

06th May2008

Aiken-Blasting Minivans & Sad Clowns

by Will

“When I get to Nova Scotia, I might as well just take my pants off at the airport.”

It was an interesting weekend. Some we’ll talk about, some we’ll save for later. In any case, there were 2 sights that stuck with me:

1) A minivan whipped around a corner, driven by somebody’s grandma, blasting Clay Aiken. I mean blasting. What ever’s the opposite of bassing (“trebling”?), this was it. The icing on the cake, however, was the vanity plate that said “Claym8”. Now, I’ve certainly heard of the Claymates (Clay’s legion of fans, similar to Barry’s “Fanilows”), but I never thought they really existed. I thought they were mythical beings, like unicorns and black Republicans. Yet and still, before my eyes, I was seeing the end of civilization. Which was only seconded by #2…

2) On the way to work on Sat, I passed a Chrysler being driven by a sad, old clown. An old clown. Driving a damn car. Nowhere near a circus. Maybe he was as distraught with humanity as I. Maybe he’d just driven by the Claym8 chick. In any regard, there’s nothing like a sad clown to really get your day off to a bad start. Clowns really can’t win. A happy clown is creepy, while a sad clown is offputting.

Who knew there was such thriving nightlife in Frederick?

Ladies, as we head into warmer weather, remember this important tip: if you don’t have ankles, you shouldn’t be wearing capris. It’s that simple.

BTW, if you haven’t already, you should definitely go see Iron Man. It’s not a standard “comic book movie”, and you’ll love it just for Robert Downey, Jr. And if you are a comic fan, remember to stay until the credits are over.

Leave it to me to have the hot friend who goes on the Richard Simmons cruise. Yeah, I can’t explain it either…

30th Apr2008

Possible Boyband Revival, Chris Brown, and Last Call

by Will

“Fat people are harder to kidnap”

Can you feel it in the air? It’s coming! What, pray tell? The Boyband Revival!

If you remember, these fads occur in cycles. Around 1986, we had New Kids on the Block. They lasted for about 4 years and it fell apart. Then, around ’96, Backstreet Boys finally hit it big (after a false start in ’94 – the world wasn’t ready yet), followed by ‘NSYNC, with both groups tearin’ up the charts and our hearts. While they were on top, a few New Kids came back (Joey, Jordan), while the main boybanders begat a slew of imitators (O-Town, 911, SoulDecision, Youngstown, LMNT, Natural, 5ive, Take 5, C-Note and the list goes on and on). Now, here we are, in 2008, and we’ve got the return of NKOTB, rumors of a 5ive reunion across the pond, and this little tidbit I found today:

http://www.myspace.com/bandemoniumtour

That’s right, boyband manager extraordinaire, Johnny Wright, is at it again with BANDEMONIUM, a national tour featuring Menudo, NLT, Glowb and V Factory (God, I hope V Factor is comprised of a bunch of virgins – what a clever gimmick!). The only recognizable group is Menudo, and that’s because of that craptacular Making-the-Band style show on MTV last year where the group was created. This kind of event, however, is how Backstreet Boys got big. Lou Pearlman held a bunch of Transcontinental Records showcases, and this propelled the Backstreet Boys to international stardom. Sure, there were other groups (Solid HarmoniE, LFO, Innosense – if you ever want to see all of Lou’s acts in one place, track down a DVD copy of Longshot, as it was part of their contracts to appear in some way, shape or form) but they had to fail so that BSB could succeed. Out of these 4 boybands listed for Bandemonium, 3 of them ain’t gonna make it. But I can feel it in the air: bubblegum pop is almost back, and I couldn’t be happier! The Jonas Brothers just kind of reopened the door: the boyband that plays their own instruments. Pretty soon, though, the “Hannah Montana Generation” is going to demand choreographed dancing, frosted tips, and Burger King CD giveaways. It’ll be great to hear something not produced by Timbaland, and not featuring T-Pain or Akon. And, oh, what a glorious day that will be!

What is with “Love In This Club Pt II”? They took a hot song and just made it boring. Did Beyonce really need to be invited to this party?

Has anyone seen the video for Jordin Sparks’s “No Air”? What is that all about? She & Chris Brown would have air if they weren’t wasting it, screaming at each other! He’s right in front of you, in that hoodie he always wears. What are you screaming about, Jordin? Stop yelling in Chris Brown’s face like that!

Speaking of Chris Brown, I really like that dude. I was in JT’s corner, but as his star rose, he got a little too smug for my tastes (plus, it didn’t help that he slept with every woman on the average male’s “dream list”). Chris, on the other hand, seems so down-to-earth, even in spite the neck tattoo and that hoodie he never takes off. Chris Brown is like your pretty boy cousin that you only see at the family reunion. His mom is going on and on about, “Chris just made the basketball team”, and your aunt comes in and says something like, “Mmm, that boy is gonna be a heartbreaker, with his good-lookin’ self!” And Chris just smiles and says something like, “Well, you know…” And you sit there, thinking, “I wish someone thought I was a heartbreaker…”

I thought Chris had a new track until I found out it was Jesse McCartney. Anybody heard “Leavin'” yet? I’ve got to give it to Jesse – he took his “beautiful soul” underground for a few years, and I really think it helped his creativity. Well, that and puberty. A lot of people don’t realize he wrote Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love”, collaborating with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder (sidenote: I really think Ryan Tedder’s going to be the David Foster of our generation. He’s just getting started, and he’s going to be prolific as Hell!). Jesse’s releasing his version as a hidden track on his new CD, Departure. Having heard his version, I’ll say it’s different, but I still like it. Leona simply sells the vocals, while Jesse sells the lyrics.

How is Chloe Lattanzi still on Rock the Cradle? Seriously, who is she pleasuring with those amazing lips of hers?

Still not watching Idol, but I caught the mp3 of David Cook’s “Always Be My Baby”. That’s gotta be the best reinterpretation of a song since Clapton’s unplugged “Layla”. Yeah, it’s that good.

In closing, I spent last weekend @ Cornell, taking in the spring show of my boys, my family, Last Call. When I was in that group, it was always my hope to go down in history as, maybe, one of the Top 20 soloists in LC. Unfortunately for me, the group just gets better and better, quickly knocking me off that list. I shall one day simply be a footnote in their existence. Maybe I’ll make the list for Top 20 Black soloists in LC. Either way, I’m proud of them, as they truly kick ass. I’ve got to say, though, nothing wakes you up quite like this quote, which was said to me at the afterparty: “Oh my God, I had such a crush on you when I was twelve.” Yeah, apparently, I’m that old now…

21st Apr2008

Wherein I Discuss Reality TV and Explain The “Retcon”

by Will

“I have a kindergarten crush on you.”

Gotta love MTV. It’s nothing if not educational. Over the last week, they’ve given the world “kindergarten crush” and “relationship vacation.” OK, for kindergarten crush, that line is only going to work if she’s drunk. And thinks you’re cute. And already wanted you before you opened your mouth. And is drunk/nice enough to pretend she didn’t hear you say something as lame as “kindergarten crush” while you’re trying to get her into bed. That’s a Dateline NBC special just waiting to happen. As for “relationship vacation”, don’t you have to come back from a vacation? Wouldn’t “relationship relocation” work better? Maybe “relationship hiatus”? TV shows go on hiatus all the time and never come back. I mean, “vacation” is misleading, as it also implies a relaxed state without worry. Can’t say I’ve experienced that…When you go on vacation and don’t come back, that’s called “moving”.

Could it be true? I don’t want to even hint at it, but did How I Met Your Mother just jump the shark? I mean, they telegraphed this all season, especially with the visible lack of a role for Robin, but I didn’t think it would manifest like this. I’m going to go against type and not spoil it, but this was one of those endings that played better in my head than on screen.

OK, I feel I should probably explain my last post, so that I don’t have to deal with a phone call from the one person reading this thing. Anyway, that post probably isn’t what you think. In the first episode of my favorite *dripping with sarcasm* TV show, Rock the Cradle, Lucy Walsh sang a really great arrangement of Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter”. Then, about 2 days later, I heard a similar version while I was in Bloomie’s. After some googlage, I found that it was by India Arie. Now, never in a million years did I think I’d gravitate to India Arie, but I’ve had that song on repeat for about the past 72 hrs. The second verse is worthless, as it follows the whole “the world is so full of stress, we’ve got to rise above it AKA Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Goin’ On'” sentimentality, but it’s the first verse and chorus that really resonate with me. I think everyone’s been there at some point, in some manner. In full disclosure, though, it’s not directed at anybody. Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s directed at me.

Allow me to explain in terminology that I find comforting. As many of you know, I read comics. Some might say I have an unhealthy addiction. Since I started working in the industry, it’s been a bittersweet affair. More bitter than sweet. In fact, it’s a lot like marrying your whore. Think about that for a bit.

Anyway, many comic characters have been around for decades, so it’s obvious that some of the history or backstory is going to get convoluted and contradictory over time. So, what do publishers do about this? They “retcon” the stuff they don’t need. Yep, you’re about to learn something: “retcon” is short for “retroactive continuity”. It’s basically a clean-up, deus ex machina, to get yourself out of a corner. You go back in the timeline of something, and remove any event or info that contradicts the current state of things. Did you ever see the original Batman (Michael Keaton movie? In that movie, Joker killed Batman’s parents. Now, did you also see Batman Begins (Christian Bale)? Who killed Batman’s parents there? Hint: it wasn’t the Joker. Why was this done? Well, first of all, Joker didn’t kill the parents in the original comic story, but also this was to make their new, revamped Batman timeline make sense. Retconning is an attempt to start over, from scratch. The problem, though, is that the retcon is a slap in the face of the idea that your current state is the sum of your experiences.

Now, you might say that it’s the dreaded “quarterlife crisis” talking, but I can honestly say that life hasn’t turned out quite like I’d wanted/expected. Tonight, on HIMYM, they were discussing that, when old friends/acquaintances are reunited, there’s always a winner and a loser. The winner is clearly better off than they were in the past, while the loser has either plateaued or is in an even sadder state than in the past. I heard this, laughed, and said, “That is so right.” Then, I paused, cocked my head for a minute, frowned, and muttered, “That is so right”. Yeah…

So, my problem right now is that I really, for the life of me, can’t figure out where I went wrong. I’m not trying to be a whiner, and if you check the archives, I haven’t really written a personal post for the better part of a year, unless you count my opinions on cable television as “personal”. I’ve really been trying to deal with this, but I can’t pinpoint that missed opportunity, that missed call, that misfire at greatness, at happiness. Sometimes you don’t recognize things when they’re right under your nose. Maybe that’s what happened. After all, I’ve never been one for subtlety. It just doesn’t work on me. You pretty much have to hit me with a dead cat to get me to realize something, so maybe I’m just not perceptive enough. Or maybe there’s a different explanation: maybe I retconned those events.

Maybe there were missed opportunities, lost chances, and I simply forced myself to erase them rather than deal with that outcome, or lack thereof. There are a lot of holes in my memory. While there’s a lot I remember, there’s also a lot I’ve forgotten. Sadly, a lot of that was deliberate. If there was some period or moment that I didn’t feel like “dealing with”, I sublimated it. You do that enough, and you’re walking the Earth like James Howlett (that goes out to you, J. Lamb!). So, clearly in life, as in comics, retconning is a short term fix, at best. Because when it all unravels, and it always does, you’ve got a mess on your hands. I think my retcons are catching up with me, and they’re going to get worse before they get better. That is, unless I change something. I’d like to think I’m learning from my experiences, but I’m just finding myself with more questions. Sure, that’s life. “It’s about the journey, not the destination”, but points of any journey get tedious. Food gets low. You get lost. Your feet start to hurt. Sometimes, it would be nice to just know a little bit more about that destination. I don’t need to know what it’s called or even what the weather’s like. Just tell me: do they have cable? (NOTE: I long for the days of yore, when my measure of success was whether or not a person had cable. Oh, to be 19 again!).

The problem with retconning is that you’ll eventually have to straighten everything out, and that’s more trouble than if you’d dealt with the issue when it first arose. It’s like deferring a student loan (don’t even get me started on that!). Let’s just say that’s it’s quite the struggle dealing with all of this at once. I don’t really like how it’s manifesting. “Quirky” and “off the wall” are now becoming bitter and cynical. I feel like I’m guest of honor at the Haters Ball. It’s even in this blog. I hate stooping to the “why do White people love the zoo?!” brand of humor. Sure, it’s good for a quick laugh, but it’s misleading. I write that, but it’s not my voice saying it. All of a sudden, I feel like I’m writing material for a 90’s episode of Comicview. I hate going for the “cheap laugh”. I’m about as Afrocentric as Wayne Brady in a Starbucks. So, if you know me, you’ll know that the joke just doesn’t connect. Plus, I’ve got to wonder what my White friends think when they read that. “Wow, is that really how Will feels about us?” No, it’s how I feel about one person who came into Toys “R” Us that day, and I generalized. Is it the right thing to do? No, but it’s what happened.

Anyway, I’m rambling at this point. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m tired of this rut. I can’t find the ending, though, before I find the beginning. And it’s the beginning that I’ve forgotten. I’d really like to leave, but I don’t remember how…

14th Apr2008

Why Do White People Hate Shoes? And My Open Letter To Monster.com

by Will

“I’ve wasted all my tears, wasted all those years…”

Can somebody tell me: why do White people hate shoes? I swear, White people and shoes have been at war for centuries. It’s funny because the minute Black people were emancipated and allowed to wear shoes, they never took them off. Hell, they invented shoe collecting! Sure, you have your minority of White women, collecting their Manolo’s, but Black people buy shoes they don’t even wear! They have backup shoes, just in case something happens to the pair on their feet. White people, on the other hand, can’t wait for the first ray of Spring sun. The shoes and socks come off, and it’s Foot City! Why is that? Especially since the feet, oftentimes, are fucked up. Listen, Becky: if you’re gonna wear flip flops, get a damn pedicure. I swear, women love to say shit to me like, “I can’t believe you get manicures” or “I can’t believe you get your eyebrows waxed”. Don’t hate. A person should look as good as they can, so don’t pick on me for your shortcomings. You think I’m gay? So what; that’s your problem. It still doesn’t keep your feet from looking like talons. Keep your shit together and put some damn shoes on!

OK, I swear this is the last time I mention “Love Song”, but I just have to share this: When I sing along with the chorus, I like to replace “you see”, with “nigga, please” (there’s an extra beat, so it works). Something about that switch just gives the song a whole new dynamic. It’s funny, if just for a second, to imagine that Sara is singing to a brotha…

Man, Rock The Cradle just gets better and better as the train wreck becomes more horrendous. I wonder if MTV considers pulling the plug. I can’t imagine the ratings this thing gets, but I revel in the disaster that unfolds onscreen each week. Chloe Lattanzi…still there, huh? You have got to be the fakest chick I’ve ever encountered, but you’re still there. I especially loved your little spiritual walk through the rock garden. Nice touch. Anyway, I’ve gotta give it up to a chick who dares to wear high-waisted jean shorts with boots! Chrissy Snow couldn’t have pulled that off, so I don’t know why you think you can, Sandy’s Daughter. My favorite part of the show, however, is seeing the rehearsal footage with the session musicians. On any other show, the session guys are supportive and attentive throughout this process. On Rock The Cradle, however, they look at these nobodys as if they wish to smash in their skulls. They cringe when wrong notes are hit. They stare with intense loathing at the “singers”. If you’ve got DVR, go back and watch last week’s episode, during Chloe’s rehearsal. There’s a guy whose facial expression is saying, “If it weren’t for my fucking second mortgage, and a good for nothing whore of a daughter in community college, I’d walk the fuck out of here. I played with Herbie Hancock, you tone deaf bitch!” OK, it was a quick scene, but his look was that intense!

Dear Monster.com,
I have no desire to sell insurance or diapers to old people. When you asked me if “today’s the day”, I must say that my expectations were a bit higher than what you’ve provided. While I understand the world of telemarketing is always looking for a few good soldiers, I went to an Ivy League school. Hell, I even graduated from it. I know, I can hear it now: you think I’m one of those Ivy Snobs. Sure, I may not being doing a damn thing with that piece of paper, but that’s kinda why I came to you. You see, some people told me you might be able to help me, but I’m beginning to doubt your influence. After all, you’re not providing me with anything I couldn’t have found myself in a Lincoln Tech brochure. On second thought, maybe I should take them up on their offer. I mean, I am underemployed AND looking to turn my career around. So, Monster, I guess you can sort of see where I’m coming from. I think we’re just going in different directions. You simply can’t give me what I need. I’m not blaming you; after all, it’s my fault for being foolish enough to believe your empty promises. Sure, I’ve seen the commercials. I know you’re out there, changing the lives of others. If only you could’ve changed my life, Monster. That’s all I ever wanted. I guess I simply expected too much. Well, Monster, today is the day, the day that I’m taking back my life. I wish things could’ve been different, but I’m not sure there’s a place for you where I’m going. No, Monster, I didn’t forget my password – I simply don’t need it anymore…