Sunday, August 31, 2008

Album Review - The Verve

Forth


I would say I'm a huge fan - not of The Verve, necessarily - but of their 1997 album Urban Hymns. It's an album that ranks among my Top 5 albums of all time... in a personal sense, anyway. Almost every song on that Brit-pop-psychedelic-rock album was perfect and at the tender age of 18 (or maybe I was 19 when I really discovered it), amidst all the most passionately dramatic moments of my young life, it left an indelible impression on me.

And then one day... POOF! They were gone. Without warning, the band broke up and it seemed like that was it - a shooting star that dies out into nothingness before you even really can conceive of what you've just seen. Lead singer Richard Ashcroft popped up here and there with solo albums over the last decade, but that was about it.

Then, just within the last year, the band had gotten back together and made this new album. There is a God.

Forth, the band's ironically-titled fourth album, has been 11 years in the making/waiting. (As is the case with the previous album review of Extreme's comeback album,) you don't usually see a reunion that comes off quite this strong. The old feeling of The Verve is certainly there - the hypnotic trances into which these songs send the listener are pleasurably familiar. This is definitely the album the band would have made a year or two after Urban Hymns if they hadn't broken up. There's barely a hint of anything in this album to suggest a decade-long chasm in the band's relationship - nothing here to show that any time has past at all.

They don't, however, match the elegant brilliance of Urban Hymns, or if they do, it's in quality only - certainly not in quantity. Whereas Hymns had about 6 or 7 amazing tracks, and all the rest were merely "pretty damned good", Forth comes in with about 3 or 4 amazing tracks. But, like Hymns did all those years ago, this new release is still growing on me.

My initial reaction was that it just wasn't nearly as good as Hymns - but for some reason, I kept playing it. The songs that hadn't initially popped out at me with great power were slowly becoming more familiar and more enjoyable and I never got bored of it (like I so often do with most other albums these days). So, there's a long shelf-life to Forth, and the more you play it the more you like it.

This is also one of those albums you simply have to play on a really good stereo system if you want to experience the full force of its power. Even in headphones, you're only getting half the juice. Played on a nice big sound system and cranked up to a slightly-too-high volume, you're sure to feel the magic contained within this record.

If you aren't or never were a fan of The Verve, this album may not be for you. But if you've never even heard of this band, check out "Bittersweet Symphony" on iTunes, and when you hear yourself say "Oh ya! I've heard this before! I do like this song!", then you'll know it's time to experience the rest of Urban Hymns. If you dig it, then you'll dig Forth. Or, you could just sample the epic, pop-rocker off this album, "Love Is Noise", which - even with its U2-esque/"Beautiful Day" feeling - certainly doesn't pack the punch that "Bittersweet Symphony" did back in 1997, but it's a decent follow-up all these years later.

Forth is the album that leads me to believe that The Verve are more than a flash-in-the-pan, shooting-star band. Now, I have to go out and get their first two albums and find out what I've been missing all these years.

My favorite tracks:
Love Is Noise
Rather Be
I See Houses

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain/Fey '08!

This race is really heating up!

In a stunning and perhaps brilliant counter-attack on the Barack Obama Democratic powerhouse, Republican Senator John McCain picked Tina Fey - of Saturday Night Live fame - to be his running-mate in his run for the Presidency.

To editorialize, I'll have to admit I never saw this coming, but it is a pretty crafty move. I was watching a CNN at a bar earlier. The sound wasn't on, but I got the gist of what was going on as they showed pictures of the power-couple making the announcement publicly.

Although Fey has never held public office and has no political experience, she was the very first female head writer on Saturday Night Live - which raises the question, "Why not the first female Vice President?" She's also pretty foxy, so... that can't hurt. She'll also be pretty funny at press conferences and stuff.

I can't say I agree with her political party affiliation, but I do like her stance on aggressive female behavior. She has been quoted on SNL recently as stating that, politically speaking, "bitch is the new black." I think this will, as hoped, pick up a few Hillary supporters. I'll miss her budding film career, however, as I can only imagine she's been forced to put it on hold as long as she may be in office.

I can only assume, since she's involved in pretty much every Tina Fey project, that Amy Pohler will be appointed to a high-power cabinet position. Perhaps Secretary of Defense or something.

This bold, brazen move on the part of the Republicans is definitely going to be giving the Democrats a run for their money, even with the sharp edge of the seemingly unstoppable Barack Obama/Steve Martin ticket.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

100th BLOG POST

HAPPY 100th POST, EVERYBODY!

That's right! This is the ONE-HUNDREDTH post at Mike's Brain Leak! And, while I blow out some candles and gorge myself on ice-cream cake (that's the best kind of cake - we all know that, right?), I'll be handing out some gifts of my own... sort of.

Well, you could say I'll be giving gifts to my readers... in a way.

Today, I want to introduce you all to my top four Blog readers and contributors. (If you're not on the list, you're not making your presence known, so get on it! 200 is just around the corner.)

So, without further ado, I'd like you all to meet:



Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy
MICHAEL R. SCHWARTZ

Mike's great. He's the guy who's always been there for me, through thick and thin.

If you can't figure out what name he comments under, then you're just not that bright. Sorry.

Deputy Schwartz and I go back about 7 or 8 years now. We met in Junior College when we had a class together at the Diablo Valley College extension in San Ramon. His buddy was making fun of my car and then we realized we were both friends of this cool guy named Ryan Tarkowski (who can now be heard on Las Vegas late-night traffic update radio as "Ryan Smart" - but it's okay, he doesn't read this, so he'll never know I ratted him out). After that, we both discovered each other's independent fondness for Joe Satriani's music and we were off and running.

One time, I took Mike to a New Year's Eve party at a friends' house. He went and hung out with some guy he knew in the garage and they sat and talked and drank some heavy booze for hours and hours. When Mike stood up... he fell down. At some point he also puked in the wet bar. He came back when he was sober and cleaned it all up like a good man.

Mike is a bad-ass with a bloodlust for heavy metal and heavy fire-arms. He's a bit right-wing for my taste, and we don't really agree on anything except that certain music is rad and certain movies are awesome. Oh - and that cartoons are generally a very good thing.

As for the fire-arms, just know that when the zombies rise and attack, Mike's house is where the party will be at.

Everyone be sure to check out Mike's blog HERE.

Thanks for all the contributions, Mike! Rock on!

Ultra-Mega World Tennis Champion
ERIN FEELY

Erin's great. She's the gal who's always been there for me, through thick and thin.

Erin doesn't blog, but she should. She may be posting some guest-blogs here on Mike's Brain Leak soon... unless she's just all talk.

Erin and I met in Film School at San Francisco State University. We had a few classes together, like a screenwriting class, a Hitchcock class and a Film Production class. But it wasn't until I ran into her after graduation at a Barnes & Noble in Dublin that our friendship really took off.

Since then, we've become pretty close. We've been there for each other through each of our hardest break-ups and have always remained in constant contact. Well, almost constant - lately she can't seem to pick up a damned phone. But she means well.

One time, Erin was applying for a job at some TV show thing that was gonna be shooting in Las Vegas (that's right - yet another Vegas mention), and she needed a video to introduce her to the hiring authorities; something that would prove that she was worthy of hosting some wacky reality show. So, of course, she turned to me - the closest, cheapest version of Cecil B. DeMille she could find. The final product of that project (which could not have been made without the help of the wonderful but rare-blog-contributor, Brad Lytle), can be seen HERE.

Erin likes playing tennis, stringing tennis rackets for hours at a time, fruit water and bands that have the word "Bad" in their name (like Bad Astronaut, Bad Religion, Bad Company). She also enjoys watching terrible movies (like Halle Berry's Catwoman) with her very dear, sweet mother.

Erin is awesome. Go visit her at work at the Diablo Tennis Club and say hi sometime.


The First Jewish-Canadian-American President
REUVEN KISHON

Reuven's great. He's the guy who's always been there for me, through thick and thin.

Reuven and I met somewhere between Jr. High School and High School and we've been hanging out ever since. We even lived together for about 2 years until we decided the break up the band. Since then, he's done several solo projects under the name "Papatang".

Often, Reuven "The Reuven" Kishon will disappear for days at a time, telling his friends that he's going up to L.A. to visit college buddies or family. But investigators have reason to believe that he packs his duffle-bag not with changes of clothes, but with changes of ammo, and multiple weapons with which he executes his assassinations for unknown clients. The firearms are suspected to be backups however, as most hits are suspected to be executed with a single "maple-leaf-shaped" throwing-star to the forehead of his victims.

Reuven enjoys reading Star Wars novels, disc golfing, Japanese home decor, playing Beethoven on the xylophone, and reading Mike's Brain Leak every day. Spicy foods (usually salsa) give him hiccups. He also gets sick of explaining the "V" in his name, so when he puts in his name at a crowded restaurant he either uses the name "Reuben" or pokes the server in the eye-balls "3 Stooges style" - BAM!

.... or both.

Reuven is a recovering Techno/Trance/Rave junkie, and in more ways than one, he is learning that going "cold turkey" isn't as delicious as it sounds. He also became a full-fledged American citizen about a year and a half ago. He is now learning the patriotic art of dodging Jury Duty... but he's not very good at it so far. And finally, Reuven has contributed $400,000 to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Keep an eye out in the new Presidential Cabinet for Reuven Kishon: Secretary of "Keepin' It Real".

Keep on truckin', Reuv-dog. And thanks for contributing to Mike's Brain Leak!

and finally...

Cousin of Michael "Brain Leak" Wood
KATIE McCARTHY

Katie's great. She's the gal who's always been there for me, through thick and thin.

Although a bit older than her favorite blogger in the whole wide world - her cousin, Michael Wood - Katherine McCarthy loves and adores him as an idol. She's always asking his advice and cherishing his every word as though it were coming out of the mouth of God Himself.

I first met Katie a long, long time ago. It was probably in a hospital when I was born or something. We gradually got to know each other over many visitations or family get-togethers at Grandma's house, my house, her house, or whoever's house. (The McCarthys used to throw a LOT of parties in the 1980s.)

Unfortunately, I don't even know my own cousin as well as I know the people I went to school with and hung out with on an almost daily basis like some of the people mentioned above. But what I do know about her, I find very keen.

Katie enjoys movies - but not good ones. She likes cheesy chick flicks and stuff. But she is a big LOST fan, which makes her much cooler. Katie enjoys making jewelry, and she's very good at it, but she has yet to make her favorite cousin (me) the candy necklace he's been begging her for since he was 6.

Katie likes dating weird guys and then publicly bashing their weirdness in her blog HERE. And most of all, Katie is a thinker. She thinks a LOT. This is evidenced in the blog mentioned above. In fact, Katie thinks so much that her head is perpetually about to explode. She'll tell you so. Just read her blog... between the lines.

Katie's awesome. Read her blog. Love ya, cuz!


And thanks to everyone who reads Mike's Brain Leak. Here's to another 9 months and 100 more blog posts! Peace out!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Album Review - Extreme

Extreme - Saudades de Rock


Thirteen long years have passed since their last album... which no one really listened to, anyway.  But, being the ridiculous Van Halen fan that I was, I went out and bought all four of their past albums in 1997 just to get to know my favorite band's new lead singer - Gary Cherone - and all the work he'd sone up to that point.  In that time, I gained an affection for Extreme's unique brand of ironic, entertaining, and sometimes-brilliant good-time pop-rock.

And now, without any warning - or publicity of any kind (that I've seen, for that matter - I really only found this because I stumbled across it by accident in the recesses of iTunes' "rock" section) - Extreme pops out a new album.

In all fairness, Saudades de Rock (roughly, Portuguese for "Yearning for Rock") is a pretty decent record.  The quality of its songs is closer to 1992's III Sides To Every Story than 1995's Waiting For The Punchline...  The ironically boisterous vocals and music we've come to know from the band are harder to find here, but they're not completely gone.  The guys have grown up and been apart for the last decade and it shows. But (with the replacement of only the drummer) this feels like a bit of a rebirth for the group, which makes any short-comings a bit more forgivable.

But there are a few stand-out tunes:

Comfortably Dumb - an obvious play on a popular Pink Floyd song, but rocked-out and a lot more fun.  This track takes us back to earlier Extreme songs that would use a pun in the title and just play off of that.  It's a fun, kinda mindless rock song.  It means nothing.  Just enjoy it.

Run - with a curious, meandering main guitar-riff, and a chorus-riff reminiscent of The Black Crowes' "Soul Singin'", this track rocks pretty steadily from beginning to end, but it's the power chorus that will lift the listener off his feet.  Another lyrically-superficial track, it's just got a great guitar part and the harmony vocals in the chorus make this one of the most powerful (and one of my favorite) tracks on the album.

Flower Man - the most lyrically-accomplished track on the record, this song is in the vein of the 1992 track, "Peacemaker Die" (from III Sides) in that Cherone takes the ironic guise of the devil's advocate, bitching about how misguided and ignorant the "flower man" is, suggesting - in the face of giving "peace a chance" - that "liberty is a well-armed lamb."  This song rocks hard, is masterfully-structured, politically- and morally-relevant and a ton of fun.

Interface - a heart-achingly tragic tune about the strain of a waning love all explained through the eyes a nerd and his relationship to an out-dated model computer.  Despite the half-assed, barely-clever computer themes, the song's progression ebbs and flows gorgeously and we're also given a powerful chorus that will get stuck in your head for days.  "Interface" is a classic Extreme sing-along that, although it surely won't be giving "More Than Words" a run for its money, is still  worth its salt as power-ballads go.

There are also a few honorable mentions:

Star - the album-opener is a no-nonsense tune about the curse of celebrity, with powerful three-part harmony vocals and some brutally forceful guitar-work from Nuno Bettencourt.  If you want loud and aggressive Extreme, this is your track.

Take Us Alive - a southern-fried, very up-tempo, hill-billy pop-tune is peppy, fun and extremely tongue-in-cheek... and very well-done.  Visions of sheriffs, outlaws and old western gunfights can easily dance in your head throughout this one.

Ghost - this one is similar in feeling, initially, to some sort of piano-pop that Keane might be expected to turn out.  Modern and yet timeless with a driving pre-chorus, "Ghost" is a tale of the haunting regret of things left unsaid.

But the album could easily have done without tracks like Last Hour, Sunrise and Peace (Saudades) - all boring ballads that just never stand out enough to be included here.  Learn To Love and Slide are very similar funk-rock songs that just never do anything interesting or very fun.  And King of The Ladies, a completely ridiculous and mind-numbingly immature, mid-tempo rocker is sung by someone who is not Cherone. (Perhaps Nuno, which reminds me of the once-in-a-while Joe Perry-sung track on the occasional Aerosmith album - unnecessary but acceptable once in a blue moon.)

Although the newly-reunited band scores only three stars for this almost forgettable album, I would recommend that - for anyone who owns at least three previous Extreme - Saudades is a must-have.  Otherwise, just sample some of the good tracks and see if you're into them.  Most people aren't, but... hey - their loss.  And with all the kids playing Guitar Hero video games and jumping on the retro-fueled Extreme-bandwagon (thanks to the feature of 1989's "Play With Me" on the original game) you might as well check it out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

R.I.P. - Another 3

To our collective sadness, the news came today of the third in a series of surprising deaths in the past week.

First, there was one of the "Original Kings of Comedy", comedian and actor, Bernie Mac, who died on August 9th of complications from a bout with pneumonia.  I sure can't say this guy was ever an amazing comedic talent in my eyes, nor did he always pick the best movies to be in, but let's face it - you knew who Mac was and you liked him just for the character he was in and of himself.  A powerful presence.  Plus, he was in one more Michael Bay movie than most of us will ever be in.


The day after Mac's death, there was the very unexpected death of legendary musician and songwriter (and voice actor of South Park's "Chef" character) Isaac Hayes, who died of a second stroke.  Hayes, a Scientologist since 1995, left the South Park show in 2006 when the writers/creators finally stepped on toes he actually gave a damn about.  In what some would call a fairly hypocritical move, he made a lot of loyal South Park fans pretty upset by letting such a beloved character as Chef just disappear, but you simply can't stay mad at the guy who wrote the theme song to Shaft.  For your listening enjoyment, here it is:




And finally, today we lost LeRoi Moore, saxophone player for the Dave Matthews Band since the group's inception.  As Wikipedia states: 

Moore was injured on June 30, 2008 in an ATV accident on his farm outside Charlottesville, Virginia, breaking several ribs and puncturing a lung, and was hospitalized at UVA for several days. Jeff Coffin, the saxophonist from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, stood in for Moore on subsequent tour dates. Though released several days later, Moore was re-hospitalized in mid-July for complications related to the accident.

On August 19, 2008, the official Dave Matthews Band website reported that Moore died of complications from his injuries in the ATV accident, first reported by local website cVillain.com.  The following statement was released on the band's website:

"We are deeply saddened that LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of Dave Matthews Band, died unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, August 19, 2008, at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles from sudden complications stemming from his June ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. LeRoi had recently returned to his Los Angeles home to begin an intensive physical rehabilitation program."

That band won't be the same without him.

Rest in peace, guys.  And thank you for all your gifts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pineapple Express vs. Tropic Thunder

Two of the summer's most anticipated comedies hit theaters in the past week or so, and now I've seen them both. And guess what... I have an opinion about them.

Judd Apatow's latest production, Pineapple Express, a comic romp through a crazy couple of days in the lives of two stoners who get mixed up in a murder plot, is smart, witty and very tongue-in-cheek as it thoroughly and consciously covers every action-movie cliche it can. There's a gratuitous car-chase scene, complete with crashes, smashes and vehicles flying through the air. There's a huge gun battle, a burning building, and yes... even ninjas. And yet - to me at least - none of it felt forced or overdone. It was well-worked into the story - in a manner that years of cliche movies have taught us to accept - and yet acknowledges the ridiculousness of it all by highlighting the outrageousness with humor.

For example, when Dale Denton (played by co-screenwriter Seth Rogan) runs out of ammo in the semi-automatic machine gun he should by no means have any idea how to use, he laments for only a moment about this problem before noticing another fully-loaded identical gun hanging on the wall behind him. "Oh!" he exclaims. And, as is the case with most action films, no further explanation is given. Only here, the stupidity of such a bend of reality is highlighted by the characters' humor. This is a flash of brilliance that Pineapple Express does better than any other film, but this is only in the third act.

The entire first half of the film is dedicated to making us fall madly in love with Denton and his pot dealer, Saul, portrayed 95% perfectly by the amazing James Franco. This is the best role I've ever seen Franco play, and it's even better when you realize that the film was written with the two actors in mind for the other's role. Franco was to play Denton, the straight-laced working man with an insatiable lust for weed, and Rogan as the go-no-where, TV-addict pot dealer whose usual attire consists of whatever he wore to bed the night before. It was Franco's brilliant idea to switch the roles, thus creating for himself one of the most enjoyable characters I've seen on screen in a while (that is, if we forget about that Joker guy). Pineapple Express also benefits from the amazing performance of newcomer Danny McBride as Red, Saul's sightly effeminate, cowardly-but-lovable dealer who comes around as a pretty cool guy in the end.

I think this film will only be as funny as it is (for that gift of self-consciousness) at this particular point in history, on the cusp of the dying action film genre that it parodies and in the birthing phase of this new Golden Age of comedy lead by Apatow and a Rogan and a small crew of others. This is indeed a "passing-of-the-torch" moment... especially when held up against....

Tropic Thunder. Hmm. I was expecting something.... more. Rolling Stone hailed this film as the greatest comedy in history or something to that affect. For me, it was a signal of the coming demise of the 90s comedies. And it goes out in a blaze of glory (not to be confused with the stupid figure skating Will Farrell comedy of a similar name, which should have been a clear-cut sign of the 90s comedy apocalypse).

After a few fake commercials and movie trailers, Tropic Thunder jumps immediately into the plot. We're given hilarious but minimal introductions to the characters - certainly not enough to make us give a damn about them, so they're left pretty 2-dimensional throughout the story. Sorry folks, but every movie - and especially a good comedy - requires our emotional connection with the characters.

The plot, of five actors who are dropped in the middle of Vietnam and forced to act out this new epic Vietnam War movie guerilla style, is thin but excusable - and we go along on the ride - but when the screen-time must be shared by three of Hollywood's biggest names, and then shared again by several of Hollywood's even BIGGER names, a lot of the story is cut down to give everyone an equal cut. This film suffers from too many big names.

Even at its most hilarious points, Thunder just falls flat. Don't get me wrong, I laughed a lot at this movie, but it was nothing new. This was the same old tricks from the star and director Ben Stiller. Nothing was risked so nothing was really gained. I love Stiller, but I still think he was better in Heavyweights (1995) (co-written by Judd Apatow! How about that!?!).

Definitely, the best thing about this movie was Robert Downy, Jr. as Kirk Lazuras, the Australian 5-time Academy Award-winner, who gets so deep into his role as an African American soldier that he undergoes a procedure to make him look exactly like a black guy. And he kinda does. And he never gives up the character. That was funny. But not because it was goofy - only because he was so damned serious about it.

And furthermore, in a timeless monologue that will forever change the way the Hollywood approaches the "mentally challenged" characters, Lazarus chides Stiller's Tugg Speedman for playing his last movie roll, Simple Jack, as "full-retard". That was some amazing screenwriting. Danny McBride shows up in this film, too, as the pyrotechnics nut-ball who needs to be saved by the rest of the cast. Let's just say he was much better utilized in Pineapple Express, but probably got a way better paycheck here. Oh, and SNL's Bill Hader is in both films, too. He's funny.

But other than that, nothing special happened in this film. Jack Black's talents were almost entirely wasted here, and the presence of certain other Hollywood mega-stars was completely unnecessary. In a single weekend, I saw the death-knell of one style of comedy and the glorious birth of the new one.

Save your money on both, however, as these are best watched at home on a Sunday afternoon with friends around, relaxing and eating nachos. Now that's how you watch these movies!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Dark Knight - Kindergarten Days

I tried to do this once with the kids at the day care place I used to work at (in accord with the 1989 Batman flick), but I didn't have a good camera or editing equipment back then.  I could have done a better job than this, but this one is still pretty rad.

The Dark Knight - Kindergarden Days

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crown City Rockers @ Winston's

To all of my readers who did not visit Winston's in O.B. on Saturday night: you missed a hell of a show.

Crown City Rockers, one of the freshest young groups in hip-hop today, made the trek down to San Diego on Saturday night to rock a small beach club to its core.

A tight and powerful 80-minute set included a healthy mix of tunes from Crown City's 2004 debut,
Earthtones, and from the 2001 album, Mission:One, recorded under the previous band name, Mission.  (And look out for a new Crown City album due out this Fall.)

Crown City Rockers is a powerhouse of characters who each bring an extremely unique voice to the collective.  The rhythm section is made up of classically-trained Max MacVeety (on drums) and Ethan Parsonage, a.k.a. "Headnodic" (on bass guitar). The funk that flies out of these two is solid and crackles with flash.  MacVeety's solos and raucous fills are not only an auditory delight, but performed with just enough of a lack of modesty to just put this promising young skinsman on this side of "Rock Star" status, while Headnodic's no-nonsense bass playing confidently and authoritatively lays down the law from the center of the stage.  

Rounding out the instrumental aspect of the group is the amaaaaaaaazing Kat Ouano: perhaps one of the most electrifying keyboard players you'll ever see. With five various types of keyboard instruments at her stage-helm, Ouano's keys and sythns give Crown City a signature sound that no one else I've ever heard even comes close to... and she's even more incredible to watch!   Just to see those fingers flying across the keys, as though performing from within a musical transe, is a treat in and of itself.  

And certainly not least are the fiery talents of the incredible percussionist/sampler/DJ - Woodstock - who lands sharp, smart beats and blasts backing vocals for the amazingly charismatic frontman, Raashan Ahmad.  Ahmad's presence and power propels this otherwise amazing auditory experience into a full-blown explosion of character, drama and exhibition.  The crowd at Winston's last night took all of about five minutes to be completely sucked into this energetic emcee's spell, and from that point on, they were powerless against the beats, blasts, riffs and rhymes of this explosive young group.

(To read more about Crown City Rockers, click here.)

It was certainly thrilling to see a group this young and yet this competent and seasoned at this stage in what will hopefully be an incredibly successful career - in a small club in a small beach town - before they go on to the big downtown clubs and eventually arena-status.  You'll want to catch them before they get too big and Ticketmaster makes you mortgage your first-born child for admission.

Crown City Rockers, kids.  If you don't know yet... remember the name.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

You can't fire me! I QUIT!

Yes, I did it!  I quit my crappy job as a magnet/magnifier/sticky-note salesman.  And I'm pretty damned sure I'll never do anything like that again.

But something good did come out of it.  I actually met someone there who eventually got me a new job, which I will be starting next week.

the new job is an Assistant Producer position on a show called The Wellness Hour, shot locally here in North County San Diego - Carlsbad, to be specific; I'm only a block away from one of the most amazing beaches in the county.  I don't want to say too much about the business of the show, but you can see what it is on San Diego Cox Cable Channel 31 (I think) or check out the website - www.thewellnesshour.com

Anyway, this is a nice little step in the right direction.  Just thought I'd fill you all in.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I've missed you, too.

Hello loyal readers:

I've received countless emails from you all voicing your concern for my recent lack of posts, and I wish to assure you all that I am indeed alive and well.  I've just been a bit busy lately.  Here's the low-down:

1) I'm in the process of getting a new job, so I've been preparing and interviewing and stuff in the afternoons.  This will be a good new job, methinks.

2) I've been hired to build a legal website.  Since I've never done this before, there was a bit of time spent on learning how to do it.  Please excuse my neglect of this site in favor of another: I was getting paid for that one.

3) I don't really have a third reason, but a list of two things always seems rather incomplete.  Isn't there a "comedy rule of threes" or something?  So I guess I'll just fill in this third entry with something else.  But what to discuss?  Hmmm.... Oh!  I know!  I can report the final count on the "Joker" poll!  Turns out exactly 66.6% of you liked Heath Ledger the best, over Jack Nicholson (9%), Ceasar Romero (9%) and Mark Hamill (14%).  (Now, personally, I know that that only adds up to 98%, but I don't think anyone's going to be losing any sleep over this.)  Also, I should tell everyone that I was thinking that the Steely Dan song, "Green Earrings", would be well to sample in a hip-hop song, but some slight research has revealed that Ice Cube already had that idea about 16 years ago (ya know, back when he was a rapper). 

Also, some cool LOST stuff went down at Comicon this past week, but I can't report it here because some of my readers are STILL ON SEASON THREE!  Also, Will Farrell and John C. Reilly's new comedy, Step Brothers, was a solid B- in my book.  Not terrible by any means, just not incredible at all.  A little forgettable, but entertaining while you're in a big dark theater with nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than chill with your cousin who was paying for the movie anyway.  It's a decent rental.  In the grand scheme of this decade's (and mostly the last 4 years') otherwise brilliant comedies from Adam McKay and Judd Apatow (et al.), this one was a bit dimmer but still in the realm.

In conclusion, Eddie Van Halen is now fat, but at least he's not dying anymore.

That is all.  End communication.