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!

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…

19th Apr2008

The Heart of the Matter

by Will

I got the call today, I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old, true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you’d found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside loves open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again

I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

03rd Mar2008

Jonas Bros, MTV Dating Shows, and College Road Trip

by Will

“That girl is nuttier than a Porta-Potty at a peanut festival.”

Yeah, I promised an answer to the whole “why did I expect to die last weekend?” cliffhanger, but I don’t really feel like writing about that. Don’t worry – like San Diego, I’ll get to it, but that’s not where my head is right now. After all, that was 2 weeks ago! Anyway, here is where my head is right now:

-It seems that every year, around this time, I write a post that’s supposed to be introspective. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I name names, or come off as bitter, it comes back to bite me. Anyway, these posts are merely me having a breakthrough. Regardless, I have a feeling this is going to be misconstrued as one of those posts: “Make Up Sex”? Really? That exists? Well, let me just inform you that, when your fights are based around the lack of sex, there’s no such thing as Make Up Sex. That’s got to be the one fight that’s not worth having. Or is it the only fight worth having? Think on that for a moment…

Now, on to the pop culture part of our game:

– I don’t like Craig Bierko. You might not know him by name, but you’ll know his face. I always rememeber him as the scumbag husband in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. I just hate looking at him. It’s something about his face. I feel the same way about Kyle McLachlan and Gwyneth Paltrow; just seeing them throws me into a violent rage! Why was I thinking about Bierko? Well, I was watching Unhitched, on Fox, about 4 friends recently thrown back into the single game. On the plus side, it’s a “Fox show”. I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I love a good “Fox show”. It’s the kind of show that panders to the lowest common denominator, and it’s usually characterized by the fact that it has no laugh-track. Fox was the network to really get onboard the single camera, no-studio-audience sitcom that’s everywhere these days. On the con side, it’s a “Fox show”. As much as I love the style of Fox remembering its roots, very rarely is the quality any good. Instead, there’s usually one really funny/controversial episode that gets enough attention for you to remember it years down the road as some kind of cult hit. Unhitched will be unhitched from Fox’s schedule within the next 6 weeks. Count on it.

-I was really into “When You Look Me in the Eyes”, by The Jonas Brothers, and I really couldn’t figure out why. Then, it hit me: for all of you lovers of crapy pop, the next time the song comes on, try singing the lyrics to Lonestar’s “I’m Already There”. Go ahead, I’ll wait…Hear what I mean? I hate to admit, but I was a Lonestar fan. They only had 2 hits that I cared about, but it was a pretty unmistakable melody. Plus, the whole “singing different lyrics over old melody” game can be fun. Next time you hear Celine Dion’s “That’s The Way It Is”, let her rip with the lyrics from BSB’s “I Want It That Way”. You’ll thank me in the morning!

-Janet, Janet, Janet…MTV, you know your “Artist of the Week” is too old for your demographic when she doesn’t even know the name of your shows. Janet, it’s Making the Band , NOT Making OF the Band. I would’ve let it go if you’d only said it once, but you say it about 7 times during one 30-second commercial. Read the cue cards, baby, read the cue cards…

-While on Making the Band, I’m loving Danity Kane’s “Damaged”. Last week, Diddy told ’em he was going to turn them into an international dance pop group, and this single is a good step in that direction. It’s got an interesting message, too: “Yeah, I’ve got a lot of baggage, which caused my heart some damage, so how’re you gonna fix it?” I love the idea that it’s the other person’s job to fix it. It’s like, “hey, if you want me, this is what you’re getting yourself into”. I’m a big fan of a “buyer beware” warning…

– Speaking of MTV, I kinda like Domenico, in that I think he’s a good guy. I think we all have that foreign-friend-with-questionable-social-skills. I know that everyone in Last Call is thinking of the same guy right now. That said, I’m really sick of the Viacom Dating Show Formula: the whole MTV/VH-1 deal where you get some washed up/pseudo celeb, put them in a mini mansion with roughly 30 members of the same/oppsite sex, and wittle down the list as you have them prove their love through foolish challenges and backstabbing.

I miss the old dating game formula, where you had a bunch of “normal people” (or as normal as you can find in southern California) use alcohol as an excuse for some hot tub centered, stress reduction sex. Seriously, I miss the old dating show archtypes: the weird, hippy new age chick; the wacky foreigner; the player; the busted, fake tits chick who’s a “model”. There were starving actors and actresses in LA who used to do nothing but make the dating show rounds. The timeline was shorter: you met, went to Bucca de Beppo or Medieval Times, and you got drunk; there was none of this 12-week nonsense. Plus, the stakes were lower back then: you just wanted sex. Who cared about another date? Nowadays, everyone’s looking for The One. On national television. Out of a pool of candidates comprised of strippers, former beauty queens, and/or biker chicks. Looking for a soulmate in a group of soulless people. The frontrunner is only making a scene so that she can wow the network execs into giving her a spin-off when everything’s said and done. And the cycle begins anew.

Back to Domenico, though. I liked the idea of him getting his own show, because I liked the dude. That said, I was over it when I watched the Preview Special, where all they did as show him in front of bluescreened stereotypical Italian scenes, like cafes and monuments.Ashley’s back?! For real? Were he and Domenico even that close during A Shot At Love? Plus, I get that Ashley came off as dumb, but I’m sick of his hillbilly minstrel act. I mean, it’s not as funny when the target isn’t exactly in on the joke. Watching the show is like a white Flavor of Love 3, as Domenico’s choices are just as busted as those that Flav’s got available to him this season. Although, I kinda liked Hunter, the au naturale chick they kicked off last night, except for those bags under her eyes…

-I’ve loved Usher’s “Make Love In This Club” since it leaked online two months back. That said, I don’t really like that it’s Usher. On the one hand, I guess I should applaud him for choosing a new style. I mean, Mariah hasn’t had an original sound since Fantasy (seriously, Touch My Body is new? It sounds like every single she’s put out over the past 10 yrs), so it’s good when an artist decides to branch out. It’s just that Usher’s been in the game long enough that I expect more from him. As far as the sound, this song is a Sean Kingston song. Rather, if you want it done right, it’s an Akon song. Just close your eyes and listen to it. That’s Akon, circa Spring 2007. I get the feeling that Usher’s grasping at straws, trying to regain his footing. After all, back in 2003, it was a heated battle between Usher and JT, as to who would be the Prince of R&B. Nobody was really taking Justin all that seriously yet, as he was still working on losing the ‘Nsync stigma. In the meantime, Usher did the a-holest/ballsiest thing by releasing Confessions. Justin had a song about how he was better than his ex, but Usher wrote a whole album about it! I’m not sure if a lot of people realize how heated the battle was; if JT and Usher were in the same club, it always ended up in a dance-off. Over the years, Usher had to deal with the drama of dropping his mom as his manager, his wedding, the backlash of Confessions, while Justin’s star simply rose. Now, you can’t swing a dead cat in music without hitting JT or Timbaland, while “Make Love In This Club” is the musical equivalent of that old man in the club, with the earring and the gold chain, thinking no one can smell the “Old Man Stench” on him. Go home, old man!

-Can I just say that I’m blown away by the concept of College Road Trip? No, it’s not the plot of the movie, but the mechanics behind the movie. First of all, did you ever, in a million years, think you’d see a Disney movie starring Martin Lawrence? Then, did you ever think you’d see a Disney movie starring Martin Lawrence and Donnie Osmond? Then, if you’re still with me, did you ever think you would see a Disney movie, starring Martin Lawrence, Donnie Osmond, AND had a G Rating?! Seriously, this is a big deal. The G Rating, alone, is a kicker. Think of this: the way the MPAA works, simply by virtue of having live actors, you typically get a PG rating. If you ever have some free time on your hands, try to research the number of live action, G-rated movies. The majority of G-rated movies are animated features. Hell, in recent years, even the Disney animated blockbusters, like The Incredibles, have been rated PG. So, in order to have a live action, G-rated movie, Martin can’t even say “Damn, Gina!”. He might not even be able to say “heck”. I might see this movie just to marvel at how they pull it off.

– There was an episode of Clean House on last night, and Niecy wasn’t on it. Now, I’m used to that set-up, as she doesn’t waste her time with the Clean House aftershow, Clean House Comes Clean, so I know that sometimes Brunetz, Trish, and Matt get together. What killed me, though, was the fact they they never acknowledged her absence. Sure, she might’ve been sick or on vacation. Hell, it might have been when she was recording her lines for Horton Hears A Who. I just get worried when I see that kind of stuff because it makes me think there might be a contract dispute going on. I mean, if you’ve ever watched anything on TLC or Style, you know that they have no problem recasting a show’s host, with nary an announcement or second thought. Where’s Thom’s sidekick on Dress My Nest? Where’s the original guy from What Not To Wear? Plus, there’s the notorious example of Blair from Queer Eye, being replaced by Jay between the pilot and the regular episodes. That said, Clean House has no flair without Niecy. If they ever try to oust her, a la Paige from Trading Spaces, she only needs to show them last night’s episode to prove how valuable she is to the show.

Anyway, I might be on a daily schedule this week. I’ve got a lot to say, and this was only the tip of the iceberg…

30th Dec2007

2007 Year In Review

by Will

“I just want a moustache, man!”

So, last night, I found myself in the weirdest party environment. This dude got really drunk and then started apologizing to me for slavery. Keep in mind, I’d never met this guy before last night. He claimed he argued my case for his entire Christmas dinner because his family is backwards. I asked why they had such heavy Christmas dinner conversation. I think the worst part was when he said, “Dude, you’re black! I’m so sorry.” Yeah…

I feel like I should do some kind of year-end, best of 2007 post, but I also feel like I said all I needed to in my San Diego Saga. I mean, that was pretty much the highlight of my year, as far as adventures go. Anyway, I think I’ve got a few more things to say about 07, so here goes:

Top Albums of 2007:
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Lily Allen – Alright Still
Rihanna – Good Girl Gone Bad
Timbaland – Shock Therapy
The Pipettes –We Are the Pipettes (US Version)
Fall Out Boy – Infinity on High
Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
Leona Lewis – Spirit

Honorable Mention
Britney Spears – Blackout
OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud
Mark Ronson – Version

Recent Books Read:
Love Monkey, by Scott Mebus: One of the first lad lit books, I was really disappointed by this one. The main character isn’t very endearing, and the story meanders. 9/11 is thrown in for an emotional beat, and it lacks a fulfilling ending.

Don’t Hassel The Hoff, by David Hasselhoff: If you love The Hoff, you’ll love this book. The problem is that the ghostwriter clearly does most of the work, as British terms and spelling seem to trickle in a LOT. At times, it’s hard to believe that Hasselhoff has such a lofty view of himself, but it’s not cocky – he clearly means well, but it isn’t conveyed as innocently as he would have liked.

Phone Sex, by Miranda Austin: Simply put, it’s the autobiography of a phone sex operator. Not as entertaining as one might think. Interspliced are how-to tips for the aspiring phone sex caller (not operator!). It pretty much outlines the process for beginner/first-time phone sex customers. The book wasn’t that juicy, nor did it have an ending. Plus, Austin’s focus on the fact that she wasn’t exactly attractive or anything like her persona kind of chipped away at the mystique. She pretty much confirmed the stereotype of phone sex operators as overweight and unattractive. It’s like David Copperfield coming out and saying, “Hey, magic’s fake!” Why shoot yourself and industry in the foot like that?

How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater, by Marc Acito: Very good read. I try to stay away from fiction because I just don’t really care for that in my books, but this one caught my eye by the cover alone. It didn’t turn out like I thought it would, and I found myself wanting to shelve it early on. What I thought would be a cool, modern lad lit tale turned out to be about a mid-eighties story of a bisexual drama student as he struggles to raise his Juilliard tuition. I’ve got to say that I’m glad I stuck with it, as it’s a pretty funny read. Like I said, not what I thought it’d be, but I’m not disappointed.

I just watched two of the most jingoistic movies of the past 30 years: Rocky IV and Starship Troopers. Rocky IV just screams “U! S ! A!”, as it’s steeped right in the middle of the Cold War. I always felt Apollo deserved to die , solely based on his bombastic James Brown-fueled ring entrance. No good could come from such an audacious start. Meanwhile Starship Troopers touts the difference between a citizen and a civilian. It’s all about how your civic duty is to fight, and while the kids are all from Rio De Janeiro, that’s an afterthought considering they all look like Abercrombie gringos. They should really sell these at Best Buy as a “God Bless America” two-pack.

Best New Shows:

Chuck (NBC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Favorite Movies of the Year:

Superbad
300
Grindhouse (only the Death Proof half)
Stardust
The Bourne Ultimatum
Black Snake Moan
Live Free or Die Hard
We Own the Night
Spider-Man 3
I Am Legend

You know, people look at me funny when I say this, but if you take out the whole “things come out at night to kill you” aspect, Will Smith’s life in I Am Legend really ain’t all that bad. I think what would drive you mad would be the possibility of survivors. If you notice, he was fine until all this “safe zone” talk. If you thought there was a chance there were others out there, you’d agonize over what might’ve been. But if you decide that you’re the only one left, yet you might be able to cure the converted, that’s a different frame of mind entirely. I already talk to myself, so adding mannequins to the mix wouldn’t really change much. I’ve also wanted to speed through Time Square and use an aircraft carrier as a driving range. It all seemed so tranquil and peaceful. Sure, the rest of y’all would be dead, but “…spilled milk”.

Celebrity of the Year: Britney Spears
Say what you will, no one got more headlines than this crazy chica, and it was a batshit crazy year! Anna Nicole died. OJ returned to his criminal ways. It took 3 months for them to do something with James Brown’s rotting corpse. Lohan spent most of the year in rehab. Imus and the Nappy Headed Ho’s. The Sopranos screwed us over with its “non-ending”. Owen Wilson suicide attempt. Gay Political Airport trysts. A Negro headed for the Democratic nomination. Paris is probably going to lose most of her inheritance. But all of that was trumped by Britney. Anything the world could do, Britney could do trashier. No end in sight for a troop pullout? Who cares? Britney shaved her head! US dollar losing steam on the international landscape? Who cares? Britney’s gonna lose her kids! Global warming’s gonna kill all the polar bears? Who cares? Britney got fat and phoned in her VMA performance! It was a modern-day “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, and Britney was the chorus every time. If someone’s keeping a scrapbook of her escapades, I’m sure they made MANY trips to the Walmart this year to stock up on photo albums!

Award of the Year: Myspace
It’s been a big year for Myspace. They were purchased by Fox, gaining a new lease on life as an inexpensive form of movie publicity. Next, they threw their hat into the Presidential Debate ring. On a more personal note, however, Myspace was *very* good to me and mine this year. I know my boy, K-Bone would agree, as well as several others. In all honesty, I don’t know where my social life or general entertainment would have come from without it. Now, to some people, that might sound sad, but to me, it simply demonstrates the awesome power of the internet. I know that for me and my friends, we salute you, Myspace.

2007 is also the year I started paying attention to song lyrics, so I leave you with this:

So take a bow,
’cause you’ve taken everything else
You played the part,
like a star you played it so well

I will have no problem leaving 2007 behind. Look for a new Will in the coming year. That’s not a resolution; it’s a promise.

See ya in ’08…

10th Dec2007

Lindsay Czarniak & “Lad Lit”

by Will

“Nothing beats the hobo life, stabbin’ folks with my hobo knife!”

Man, I couldn’t give a shit about professional sports, but the one thing that could get me interested is Lindsay Czarniak. God, is she amazing! This remark isn’t going to mean much unless you either live in the DC or Miami area, or you used to watch the George Michael Sports Machine. In any case, she has got to be the most beautiful woman in sports broadcasting, and is certainly the most beautiful woman on a DC news team. This month’s Washingtonian Magazine is a treat, as it features Lindsay and Alison Starling (the second hottest woman in DC news), as they tour DC’s hottest happy hours. Give Lindsay more airtime, and I might find out how many touchdowns are in an inning!

So, I’ve been reading a lot of “lad lit” lately. For the uninformed, this is the term given to fiction books that are the male equivalent of “chick lit”. It pretty much started with High Fidelity (well, any Nick Hornby, really), and the ball has been rolling ever since. I actually don’t care much for fiction, as that’s what comics and TV are for. I mean, when reading “real books”, I find that I tend to go more for nonfiction/autobiographical stuff. I’ve always been more of a fan of the “story behind the story”. After all, we are the True Hollywood Story generation. So, it’s only fitting that a nonfiction book would get me started in this genre.

I’ve been on this kick to read at least one “real book” a week. I’ve been knee deep in comics for too long. On top of it, my love of that medium has waned since it became my meal ticket (especially since it’s more like a Happy Meal ticket!). Finally, I just feel like I’m getting dumber. When your reading consists of TMZ, Wizard Magazine, and the latest fare from DC or Marvel, you’re not going to be winning Jeopardy anytime soon (unless it’s Celebrity Jeopardy, in which case you can get all necessary knowledge from a Shoney’s placemat).

I started with millions of women are waiting to meet you: a memoir. Written by British writer Sean Thomas, it details his year entrenched in the crazy world of online dating. You see, he was a writer for Men’s Health, and his boss thought that online dating would make for a good feature story in the magazine. This, of course, was somewhat of a guise. You see, Thomas was 37 years old with no prospects for a wife in sight. All of his friends were married and starting families, while they were all starting to fear for him. They figured he needed a little help, as he wasn’t getting any older, so they stepped up their efforts to keep him from dying alone. Thomas agreed that it would make a good story, so he decided to go along with the plan (it also didn’t hurt that the magazine agreed to pick up the tab for any membership fees he might incur during the story).

Thomas has a specific type, and he views online dating as a way of weeding out those that don’t fit his criteria. After all, the internet was full of millions of women, just waiting to meet the right guy, so he could afford to be picky, right? Wrong. Thomas is that type of neurotic guy, to which I can relate, who does nothing but sabotage his relationships. She’s too tall. She’s too skinny. She doesn’t find my jokes funny. All of these are things that he finds wrong with his dates. As he gets deeper into the online dating scene, Thomas analyzes a lot about himself, and begins to see a pattern in his relationship history. I understood his life so well that I felt I could have written the book myself. Clearly, the whole “manboy” phenomenon isn’t as uncommon as I’d thought: men who are chronologically one age, but simply refuse to grow up.

In the end, he slowly climbs his way back out of the internet, and throws himself back into the real world. Using what he’s learned about himself, he realizes what his friends have see all along: he’s not getting any younger and it’s time to grow up. So, he starts broadening his horizons, and dating women who wouldn’t have previously fit his mold. And what do you know? He finds The One. True story! Yeah, I probably just ruined it for ya, but the people who read this site would either never read that book, or they’ve already read it!

So, feeling like I’d found a kindred spirit, I decided to jump insecurity-first into more books like this. There aren’t a ton of biographies like this because, well, who wants to read about an everyday slacker? However, there’s a wealth of fiction dedicated to this, and that’s where I headed next. My first stop on the lad lit train was Booty Nomad. It had been recommended to me in the past, plus I’d read good reviews about it when it was first released. Unfortunately, it’s been out of print for the past year or so, and I had to figure out the fast-paced world of Amazon to procure it (yes, when it comes to the internet, I can be a troglodyte at times! Who knew how kickass making a wish list could be?). Contrary to what the the title would ahve you believe, the main character is not Jamie Foxx or Bill Bellamy. Written by Scott Mebus, our protagonist is David, a children’s show producer who’s trying to get his mojo back after breaking up with “The Eater of Souls”. They’d had a beautiful 2-year relationship, but she was just too young, and he realized that she was’t exactly what he wanted. While they had great memories behind them, he always felt that something was missing. After a bit, she was no longer cute and sweet. At least, not in his eyes. He began to see her insecurity and her flaws, and he simply saw that she was taking more from him than she gave. He got out, but she was persistent in trying to get back together. She’d leave him several voicemail messages a day, while also harassing his friends to see if he still spoke of her.

David tries to get back into the swing of things, to get over The Eater as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that his lack of closure is getting in the way of things. This becomes apparent when he meets “The Goddess”, a beautiful, witty chick he meets at a party. He beings to obsess over and really wants to make things work out, despite a somewhat foot-in-mouth introduction. At the same time, The Goddess is going through a break-up of her own. As a result, they sort of become each other’s “break-up sponsors”. He’s got feelings for her, as she has for him, but she tells him that it’s too soon for either of them to act on them. Throughout the course of the book, he pursues her, she plays hard to get, and the crazy ex keeps demanding an audience so that she can finally tell him how she feels about him.

The Eater ranges from wanting to tell him off to wanting to prove to him why they should get back together. In the end, based on encouragement from his friends, David decides to grant The Eater her chance for closure. After all, if he’s truly over her, then what does he have to lose? Well, as he sits there, reliving their relationship, listening to her side of things, he finds that he’s actually getting the closure that he hadn’t realized he needed. He begins to see their relationship in a new light. According to her account of things, it was apparent that she loved things he’d done for her, rather than him. She said she knew she loved him when he took care of her on a sick day or sent her flowers, but these were things that could have been done by any guy. There was nothing about him, as far as his qualities, that influenced her love. Once again, he noticed that she was self-centered, and equated love as a feeling she had for those who catered to her. Her love was conditional. Once this revelation opened his eyes, he found that he was ready to go out and conquer the world again. He let The Eater have her say, he got up, left, and noticed that the world looked a little different than it had looked before. And did he end up with The Goddess? No. You see, she’d had “a relapse”, and ended up sleeping with her ex. She just wasn’t ready to move on, nor did she seem like she wanted to. David understood this, but sh’d lost her Goddess rank by that point. From then on, she was simply “Relapse Girl” (David has a thing with nicknames; he’s too in-his-head to remember names, so he makes up nicknames for the women in his life). He’s not sad about it, though, as he’s a little more optimistic now that he knows he can truly move on now.

Reading these books back to back, it was almost as if they were written by the same guy. Witty dialogue, shared experiences, and similar outlooks on life are what made these books enjoyable for me. I really like that David worked for a puppet show. It was one of those jobs where he didn’t know how he’d fallen into it, but it’s the job that he had. It’s not what he wanted to do, but it wasn’t hard, he was fairly good at it, and it was easier than trying to make a life plan. In the meantime, anybody with a “real job” would always think his job sounded so cool. “Wow, you work with puppets? That must be so fun!” Sure, it might sound fun if you’re a receptionist or even an attorney. “Fun” is society’s way of saying “not difficult”. It can be quite difficult and draining, but nobody seems to think that because it’s comic boo…I mean, puppets. See? I told you I related to a lot of it…

17th Sep2007

Strippers In Wedding Rings, Soul Train, Amanda Peet’s Breasts, Date Lab

by Will

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

One of these days, I’m going to sit down an have something intelligent/entertaining to say. For now, I just have a few random bits floating around in my head. Maybe I’ll expand some of these into full length posts should the spirit move me. Anyway, here’s what we’ve got:

-There’s nothing quite like sitting in church, looking down at your pants, and realizing they’re the same one you wore to Scores a few nights ago.

-On that note, strippers, don’t wear wedding rings at work. You’re just killing the illusion. Even if it’s a “fake-out” ring, that “Til Death Do Us Part” tattoo across your lower back is also a buzzkill. Just sayin’.

– Lately, Soul Train has been playing The Best of Soul Train, showing all the good ’80s episodes with Don Cornelius. Man, do I miss that era of Soul Train! Last week, their big musical guest was former Soul Train dancer, Jermaine Stewart, with his big hit, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.” Most of you young ‘uns know this as “that Gym Class Heroes song”, which is so misguided of you. Anyway, this was the Soul Train era where people really danced. They were innovative and they were electrifying. Soul Train isn’t like that anymore. Now, the only standout dude is that guy with the cane who just nods at girls’ asses…

-The most dynamic performance of the VMAs, hands down, was Chris Brown.

-I have never met a Prius driver that I liked.

-I never planned to like Rock of Love as much as I do. The same could be said for Life in the Fab Lane with Kimora.

-Considering she has, probably, the worst breasts in Hollywood, Amanda Peet sure does go around flashing the girls a lot. For reference, see Saving Silverman or The Whole Nine Yards.

-My life right now is pretty much the same as it was 4 yrs ago, only now I can drive and I’ve swapped out TNBC for the Disney Channel.

-OK, these engagement announcements have to stop.

-I think the Washington Post Magazine should end their Date Lab column if they can’t come up with any success stories.

-I wish my dreams would catch up to the real world.

-I’m still surprised by how few people use the “we hooked up” friend detail on Facebook. With a few of my recent high school additions, I’m dismayed at how many have opted for the standard “we went to high school together” or “we worked together”. Was that all it was, baby? Was it that bad? Hell, why list anything at all? I usually just skip that step…

24th Jul2007

OutBlacked!

by Will

“You’re, like, my Black Spock…like in Voyager.”

OK, I should be asleep, but I had another weird TVLand observation I needed to write about. After the whole Good Times thing, I caught an episode of Star Trek. A lot of people don’t realize that, despite my love for the franchise, I am not that much of a fan of the Original Series; I like The Next Generation onward. Lately, however, TVLand has been showing the classics, like when the crew goes up against Space Lincoln. Well, this morning was the Khan episode, “Space Seed”.

A lot of you may know Khan as “the villain with the bitchin’ pecs from Star Trek II”. Yes, that is Khan, but he first appeared in the series. When they find Khan, he’s on a derelict freighter, with about 70 other people. They’ve been frozen since the 1990s, and the Enterprise crew tries to figure out what their story might be. To me, though, the crux of the episode is that Khan is such a charismatic motherfucker, and he macks one of Kirk’s women off the bat. This is a process that I like to call “Outblacking”. Kirk was essentially outblacked by Khan. How does this work? Well, let me tell you.

The “outblack” concept was something I came up with in college. When you have a frat party, and one Black guy, the odds are in Black guy’s favor because he has a card that he can play at any point. He can remain quiet and enjoy the dip, or he can bust out and become the life of the party, making the other (mainly White) guys insecure. He has, in effect, outblacked them. But here’s where things get hairier. Say, you have a guy like me as “the Black guy”, but in walks a thug. His street cred is stronger than my kung fu. By virtue of his “keepin’ it real”, I’ve been outblacked. He is then entitled to my women and my kick ass party reputation. From that point, I either have to leave the party, or try to act like we’re friends, so that everyone else thinks we know each other (don’t all Black people know each other anyway?), therefore leeching off his blackness chi. You can see this played out every weekend in clubs across America. It’s the most base form of Black on Black crime.

James T. Kirk is the pimp of the Alpha Quadrant. Because pop culture seems to imply that sex appeal and sheer and utter pimpness are “Black concepts” (see Bill Clinton), this makes Kirk Black. Well, here comes Khan and he seems to snatch the one chick on the Enterprise who wouldn’t give Kirk any play. Surprise, Kirk! You’ve been outblacked! And all it took was a Mexican with Jesus hair. She didn’t even get a chance to see that magnificent chest of his.

I’m thinking about contacting some BET people, and seeing if Outblacked! would make a good show. After all, they put Hell Date on the air, so I really don’t think they can find much fault with my idea…

24th Jul2007

JJ Gives Up His Ticket Out Of The Ghetto: Good Times Analysis

by Will

“Why’d she have to take her candyass back to Norway?!”

Dr. Phil said it was OK to look, but he sure as Hell didn’t tell me what I’d find…

I’m going on very little sleep right now, so bear with me. This isn’t exactly a stream-of-consciousness post, but it’s going to be sort of scattered.

Last night, I caught the oddest episode of Good Times ever. It was like the writers decided to just pretend that the Evans’ weren’t poor. Because anyone who’s ever seen Good Times knows that that is the plot of every episode: we’re poor, we don’t know how we’re gonna make it, but our family will get us through. Basically, the plot of Good Times is pretty much covered in the theme song to 227.

So, in this episode, I guess the producers wanted to try something different. It’s not that the Evans family wasn’t poor now, but it wasn’t the main focus of the show this time around. JJ was putting together a singing group with Michael as the lead singer. Thelma was their choreographer, while Willona was their songwriter. Anyway, GT used to do a lot of “Here’s Michael singing” episodes, as Ralph Carter was a Tony Award-winning musical star. This performance stood out, however, because he was incredibly tone deaf. I guess it just goes to show you that they didn’t overdub back in those days.

So, JJ takes the group to a nightclub because there’s a talent show, with a grand prize of $150. And this money will come in handy because the Evanses are poor. How the Hell they were going to happily split $150 between 8 people is beyond me, but I wasn’t exactly alive in 1976, so maybe things were different then. Well, at the nightclub, they find out they can’t perform because Michael’s only 15, and it’s an establishment that sells alcohol. The group turns on JJ and they storm out of the club. While he’s sulking, he meets Judith Cohen. This is where the episode gets weird.

Judith Cohen is this overweight, self-deprecating, redheaded Jewish chick who wants to be a star. At the same time, she doesn’t chase her dream because she doesn’t believe in herself. Well, JJ finds that he’s a manager without a group, and Judith professes that she’s a group without a manager. Wow, that is some hardcore self-deprecation. So, the decide to join forces, and JJ sees this chick as his ticket out of the ghetto. The part that struck me, though, was that he latched onto her without ever hearing her sing. I thought it was going to turn out that she was terrible, and he’d truly latched onto a loser. In any case, he took her to Thelma to learn some dance steps, and Willona was going to do her costume. JJ was determined to make sure Judith won that competition. All this, and still nobody had heard her sing a note.

Well, competition time comes, and Judith gets onstage. At first, she’s kind of hokey, poking fun at herself in some Vaudevillian act. Next thing you know, she launches into this moving rendition of Send in the Clowns, which had an emotional resonance that I’d never experienced from that show before. Well, of course Judith wins the competition. Next thing I know, there’s Dean Travers from Three’s Company, and for once, he’s not being smarmy. He wants to sign Judith to sing weekly in his restaurant, but that plan is squashed when JJ refuses to hand Judith over to this more established manager who just pops in out of nowhere. Apparently, this guy had clout, and he controlled all of the musical acts in Chicago. If JJ wouldn’t give Judith to him, he’d make sure she never worked again. So, JJ decides that it’s more important for her to showcase her talent than for him to hold onto her, so he lets her go. Yes, he gives up his ticket out of the ghetto (which, oddly, was a white girl), by giving her to The Man. Sure, that’s probably not how I was supposed to read into that episode, and it was 4:30 in the morning, but that’s the message I walked away with. It could also be interpreted that the Black man was never going to better his situation as long as he had something that the White man wanted. Once again, probably overanalyzing. Man, I need sleep…

11th Jul2007

Four Year Blogiversary – A Look Back

by Will

“‘Cause you said forever, and ever. Who knew?”

Ahh…a cute White girl, eating watermelon. Be still my Negro heart!

Anyway, four years ago today, this blog was created. Yeah, I know I celebrate a *lot* of anniversaries on this thing, but this is the real deal. Williambrucewest.com has only existed since 2004, when I bought the URL. However, the blog portion, “The World According to a Russian Exchange Student”, was created on July 11th, 2003. It used to be found at waynemanor.blogpsot.com, which somehow belongs to someone else now…

So, 4 years of rambling. The odd part is that I feel my life has come full circle. I’m almost right back where I started. There’s not a lot of progression found in these posts. Sure, there are broad character arcs, from the Natalie saga (“I’m so in love with this lesbian who doesn’t love me back”) to the H&M rants (“I can’t stand this place and I’m too good to be here.”). God, I can be such a drama queen! But have I really grown as a person? Is there any evidence of that? I don’t know about that.

In 4 yrs, I’ve documented 4 full-time jobs, 2 part-time jobs, 2 girlfriends (in “real-time”), 1 car, and 3 moves. I look back at my first week of posts, and I still feel the same way about much of that stuff. Not much personal growth there.

I’ve watched this site change from “the thing I do when I get bored at work”, to the “please read my blog because I’m funny and I really depend on attention from others” phase, and now the “hey, I’m gonna write this shit because it’s funny to me, and at least Tarek, Marcus and James (and possibly Austin) are reading it” phase.

I’ve gone back and forth between the “I’m only going to riff on pop culture, but not talk about myself too much” stage to the “I’m gonna wear my heart on my sleeve” phase (see aforementioned lesbian and the “Alouise” saga). Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually a pretty private person. I love getting in everyone else’s business, but I don’t like them in mine. That’s why I’ll write about observations, and crazy situations in which I’ve found myself, but you’re not likely to find me in a discussion regarding how I “feel”. That’s why I think I like the pop culture stuff more. Going forward, I think we’re going to gravitate more in that direction.

I don’t really know what I set out to do when I started this. I mean, blogs were somewhat cutting edge back then. They were seen as “the next big thing”, and while Blogger existed to help you along, blogs weren’t standard with each Facebook, Friendster, and Myspace profile like they are now. In fact, Facebook didn’t even exist back then, while Myspace was still just for high school drop-outs. My, how times have changed!

Anyway, I think I just created this thing as a vanity project. I thought I was funny and I wanted attention. Every now and then, I’d have a great post (in my mind, anyway), and I’d aspire to greatness. I’d think that my site would become a destination website, where people would come for the funny. I thought I could be an everyman version of Wonkette. Why do you think my URL is my name? It was pretty much a way for me to maximize the attention I got, but maximizing exposure.

Here we are, 4 yrs later. Wonkette’s pretty much a shell of its old self. I go to sites like elephantlarry.com, and think, “Now, that’s funny!” Me? I’m kind of a hack. I think that’s become more apparent in my recent humor, as I’ve devolved into BET “Man, aren’t White people crazy?!” humor, and my liberal use of “Negro” and “Nigga”. That’s the easy way out. That’s the Comicview approach, but it’s not going to cut it in most situations. Especially seeing as how only 1.5 Black people even read this site.

Don’t misunderstand me; this isn’t a pity party, but more of a bit of introspection. So, where do we go from here? Why do I even keep this site going? Well, it’s all I’ve got. I’m at a point in my life where this is the one thing that’s truly mine, and it’s the one thing I’ve got control over. It’s my canvas to do with as I please, and it’s my vehicle for expressing myself. I don’t do this for anyone but myself. There are no more “why haven’t you posted in awhile” or “when are you going to continue such and such story?” comment posts. No, I’m more about, “I feel like talking about dating shows today, and that’s how it’s gonna be.” Sure, I get the occasional “Anonymous” comment (even if you don’t have a Blogger account, you could still write your name), but it’s not really an exercise in audience participation anymore. And I think I’m fine with that. I’m cool in my little cyber shell. I think it’s the Model of Blog Identitiy Development. Jenn went through the same thing as she dealt with the transition from personal blogger to feminist blogger to Asian American Activist destination site. The cycle ebbs and flows, but if you get too wrapped up in it, you start pandering to an audience. My audience thinks like me. If I get the occasional straggler from another site, I welcome the company, but we’re not going to have a discourse. Up until now, I didn’t even respond to comments. I think I’m going to change that going forward. But I’m not here to change lives. I’m just here to live mine, and sometimes take you along for the ride. If that sounds like something you might like, take your shoes off and sit a spell, ’cause I’m sure I’ve got a story to entertain you. In any case, I think I’ll break character and *not* end this post with an ellipsis. Thanks for putting up with me all these years!

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