Monday, February 26, 2007

I’m taking some Eric Roberts home in a doggie bag

Holy crap, but Heroes was awesome tonight. I hesitate to say exactly why it was so awesome, just in case either of my readers has yet to watch said episode. But—holy shit! How about [blank] being the one to give [blank] to [blank]? And [blank] being there? And the end, with the unfairness of [blank] getting stuck in [blank] with [blank]? And the dramatic sacrifice of [blank], willing to let himself/herself be [blanked] and his/her [blank] [blanked] to [blank] [blank]? Man, even though the whole episode only focused on one storyline, it was still awesome.

And I don't know who their casting director is, but the ludicrous decision to use Eric Roberts, of all fucking people, to play a High Villain, is so bizarre and incomprehensible that I must assume it's a mad genius.

Unfortunately, I couldn't follow the wonderful Heroes brew with a Studio 60 chaser, because the show has been yanked off the air to make room for The Black Donnellys, a new drama that turned me off the moment I heard "from the creator of Million Dollar Baby and Crash!" Paul Haggis is the most overblown Hollywood hack I've ever seen, and the adoration he receives from the business is downright inexplicable. Of course, even without my knowledge of its creator, I still would have been repulsed by the commercials, which managed to cram every single Irish stereotype other than leprechauns into a single minute. Hey, wouldn't it be great to have a show or a movie about Irish people that's not about 1) fighting; 2) brothers; 3) drinking and/or bars; or 4) brothers who get drunk and fight in bars?

But Studio 60 was pretty much just taking up space on the schedule anyway, 'cause that show has started to reek something fierce over the last several months. Sorkin has completely fallen apart as a writer, and his talented cast (and Amanda Peet, too) is left to drown in the mire of inferior material. Bad dialogue, bad stories, bad characters—no matter how much I tried to fight it, the show just sucked.

But Heroes! [blank], man. Fucking [blank]!

If only Marky Mark could have won, too

Well, it's about motherfucking time, isn't it?

Yes, Marty finally wins that which has so long eluded him. I couldn't be happier. Especially because, unlike the win I wanted him to get for The Aviator, this isn't just a pity fuck: The Departed was, hands-down, the best film of 2006, and to see the Academy finally rise up and honor him at exactly the right moment is beyond spectacular.

In other happy news, the Tragically Hip, that Canadian band I won't shut up about, is actually playing a show here in Texas for some reason. The why doesn't bother me, but the where is a little oddball: they're playing at Scout Bar. Yeah, a bar. Well outside of Houston. It's next to Half-Price Books, and within sight of an IHOP and a Long John Silver's. I work a a few miles from there. And one of the biggest bands in Canada is forced to play a show there? The following week, Vanilla Ice (I'm not joking, Vanilla fucking Ice) will perform at the venue. Meanwhile, Nickelback would probably sell out back-to-back concerts at fucking Reliant Stadium. God, this country has bad taste.

But hey: Marty! Yeah!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Not surprising...

You scored 33 Idealism, 62 Nonconformity, 58 Nerdiness

How can you stop what's coming... when you don't know anything about power?

Congratulation, you're Sylar, the artist formerly known as Gabriel Gray! You are a seriously nerdy person with an enormous desire to be different, and to be recognized for it. As long as you don't go eating brains, this doesn't have to be a bad thing at all. You're ambitious, intelligent, tenacious, and unique.

Your best quality: Panache
Your worst quality: An obsessive desire for recognition and power

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

Link: The Heroes Personality Test written by freedomdegrees on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Idealism
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Nonconformity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Nerdiness

Yay for me

Thanks to an unexpected financial surplus, I finally managed today to pick up the item for which I've been longing for about eight months: a 250GB external hard drive. As it turns out, iTunes was smart enough to handle the mass immigration of all 22.66 GB of my music almost entirely on its own, giving me a wide-open hard drive once again. So now I can reinstall all those computer programs and games I had deleted to make room for more Dave Matthews songs. Ah, The Movies, how I've missed you!

Of course, I don't have time to play any of those games. But who cares? I managed to fill my 30GB hard drive once, I can do it again!

I'm reminded of my first home computer, the one we bought back in 1994. It was brand-spanking new, a shining piece of home machinery that represented the leading edge in home PC technology. It was a 486DX, with Windows for Workgroups 3.11. My mother and I marveled at its enormous hard drive: 512 MB! Who could possibly use that much space in one lifetime?

Now, in 2007, I have more than 700 MB used up with Peter Gabriel mp3s alone. How the times change.

And, of course, there's a part of me that will someday soon regret not spending the extra cash to buy the 320GB drive. Stupid, stupid!

Monday, February 12, 2007

East of Eden

Today, my bosses at BJ's sent me to the BJ's at Willowbrook Mall to drop off a banner. I've never been to Willowbrook Mall, but I was aware that it was quite a drive. They concurred, and offered to reimburse me for gas and tolls. I happily agreed. Hey, I like my job. And this didn't seem too difficult. Sure, I didn't know where it was, but the general manager scribbled down some directions. And he was pretty confident in those directions. Surely, this can't go wrong.

I looked at my directions. I can quote them to you verbatim, 'cause I still have them:





…and then I was told to exit at FM 1960, at which point I'd see the mall right next to the freeway.

If you know how to get to Willowbrook Mall, you may have already seen the flaw that ruined my afternoon. But I didn't. So off I went, through the rain and Houston traffic. I took I-45, through downtown, towards Dallas.

I drove for a long time.

Eventually, I came to Beltway 8 East. I exited, as clearly indicated in my directions.

I drove for a while, looking for Highway 249. I didn't see it.

The rain got worse. I almost hydroplaned and spun out a few times. A semi nearly ran me off an overpass. I kept driving.

After about, oh, an hour, maybe an hour and a half, I neared a sign that announced FREEWAY ENDS – ALL VEHICLES MUST EXIT ½ MILES


After I exited, I kept going – Beltway 8 East became Beltway 8 South.


Because, yes, as it turns out, my directions were wrong – I called the people to whom I was dropping off said banner, who informed me that I had been going the wrong way for nearly two hours.

I was supposed to go west. Not east.

My eventual total drive time: four hours.

And the totally predictable punch line to this story? The banner they gave me to deliver? The one that ate up a sixth of my day?

It was the wrong banner.

In happier news, the four hours spent in my car gave me plenty of time to listen to that Gnarls Barkley album I was talking about yesterday. It is good.

The Grammys

For the first time ever, thanks to the magic of DVR, I can actually sit and watch the friggin’ Grammy Awards. I was going to write a post-mortem after I finished it, but I figured I might as well just write while I’m watching it. So here’s my live, stream-of-consciousness review of the Grammys.
  • Apparently, there’s no opening to this show. And there’s no host, either. Just an Obnoxious Shouting Narrator. And we’re just opening with a musical performance, by…

  • Holy shit, it’s the Police! Awesome! They sound great, too, even though Sting has to bring the chorus vocal down an octave. And the backing vocals were clearly a tape, despite the bassist and drummer mouthing along. (Apparently, this is common practice for the Police, though. I read it on Wikipedia.)

  • In case you didn’t know, there are roughly seventeen thousand different awards the Grammys give out every year. Since they’ll only hand out about ten on the air, we get an ESPN-like scroll at the bottom on the screen of the winners of all the others.

  • And with the very first award, we start our count of Grammys to Old Fogeys Past Their Prime, as Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder win for Best Pop Collaboration. Tony, gracious gentleman he is, practically sprints up the stairs, almost forgetting that his co-winner is blind and can’t exactly make it by himself. Meanwhile, I discover the best part about watching this on DVR: I can fast-forward through acceptance speeches!

  • The Dixie Chicks perform. I thought they were a country band, but they don’t sound very country to me. Maybe they told Nashville to get fucked after that bullshit they went through in 2003. Wouldn’t blame them.

  • In a miscarriage of music, they have Prince introduce a performance by Beyonce. They should have reversed that. I fast-forward.

  • Booker T. and the MGs get a Lifetime Achievement Award. And then they give an R&B Award to Mary J. Blige for butchering U2’s masterpiece, “One.” Grr. (Of course, Bono was in on that butchering, too, but—still. Ick.)

  • It occurs to me, as Queen Latifah hypes the stupid sing-with-Justin-Timberlake contest, that there’s really not that much to write about while watching the Grammys. This may have been a tactical error on my part. Watching the show, I mean.

  • Hey, cool: I spot on the Grammy Ticker that OK Go won the award for Best Music Video for “Here It Goes Again.” If you haven’t seen it, look it up on YouTube. It’s fantastic.

  • For some reason, Justin Timberlake needs, like, eighty musicians on stage to perform one song. (I noticed this during the Dixie Chicks’ performance, too.) What is up with that? Awards shows like this always pile as many people onto the stage at one time as they can. Never understood that.

  • Grammy Ticker update: Slayer (!) wins an award, as does Tool for Best Recording Package. As they definitely deserved. Unfortunately, I also see that Weird Al didn’t win Best Surround Sound Album. *shrug* He’s still got Comedy Album—oh, nope, Lewis Black won that. Hey, that’s cool.

  • And they blow their Song of the Year Award already? It goes to that pretty cool song the Dixie Chicks played earlier. Yeah, that’s not at all a political statement by the Grammy voters.

  • And here we go, with another Lifetime Achievement Award. Literally, that’s the fourth: Booker T. and the MGs, the Doors, some music execs, and now the Grateful Dead.

  • Okay, is Gnarls Barkley a group, or just the chubby singer guy? ‘Cause his/their performance starts with just him and a piano player, but then adds in the full forty-person backing section that everyone is required to use at the Grammys. And for some reason, they’re all dressed up as airline pilots. Anyone who’d like to explain that can go right ahead.

  • Actually, this performance is great. I should listen to more of his stuff. Or their stuff. Or whatever.

  • Am I the only one who detests that Windows Vista commercial that compares the release of Vista with the fall of the Berlin Wall? No?

  • And, sweet Jesus, another Lifetime Achievement Award, to an opera singer who’s been dead for thirty years. The hell? They’re practically on a one-to-one ratio with awards and Lifetime Awards.

  • The Dixie Chicks win another award. I’m beginning to suspect a sweep. And they haven’t yet presented on stage an award I care about, save for Song of the Year.

  • Another fucking Lifetime Achievement Award! Gaah!

  • Some shitty country band with a singer that looks suspiciously like the Smash Mouth guy performs a verse and a chorus of “Hotel California” to honor Don Henley. Um, why don’t they just have Don Henley perform? And then that annoying Carrie Underwood performs part of “Desperado,” ostensibly for the same reason. Did Don Henley die and someone forgot to tell me?

  • Oh, god, we’re back to that shitty country band to fuck up “Life in the Fast Lane.” What the fuck is going on? I desperately fast-forward once Carrie Underwood stomps over to make it even worse.

  • Are the Grammys always this boring?

  • Ah: the Best New Artist Grammy goes to fucking Carrie Underwood. That Award once went to Milli Vanilli. Hmm. Who’s worse?

  • A bunch of stuff happens. Nothing interesting enough to write about. Man, this show sucks.

  • James Blunt performs. He has, perhaps, the strangest voice in pop music today. It’s like listening to a tape at high speed. It also sounds extremely fragile, as if it might break if pushed too hard. And the PA tries its hardest to do so, with ugly popping noises and static. Boo!

  • Someone with a decent but unremarkable voice sings with Timberlake. I fast-forward some more. God, I’m bored.

  • Quentin Tarantino—who is completely and totally hammered—shows up to present Record of the Year with Tony Bennett while the Grammy Ticker tells me that Wolfmother’s “Woman” won Hard Rock Performance, beating Tool. Boo!

  • And, of course, the Dixie Chicks win Record of the Year. Told ya so.

Well, I guess, as far as awards shows go, that wasn’t so—

Oh, wait. We’re not done? Really? Really? Oh, Christ…

  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform, and…suck. They sound dull, and lifeless, and bored. Kinda like I am right now.

  • Queen Latifah’s back, with—holy fuck, Al Gore! Yeah!

  • Wow, how fucking sedated am I to get this excited about Al Gore? But he’s here to present Best Rock Album, which means we’re finally at an award I care about. And, in the most shocking moment of the show, the award doesn’t go to either of the Old Fogeys nominated—Tom Petty and Neil Young—but the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who aren’t quite old enough to qualify for Old Fogey status. Of course, the award probably should have gone to the Raconteurs, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  • Don Henley—hey, he is there! Why didn’t he perform his own songs and save us from Carrie Fucking Underwood? Anyway, Don Henley strolls out with Scarlett Johansson, who is, according to the voice-over guy, “recording her first album.” M’kay.

  • They announce the Producer of the Year: the Godfather of Modern Music, Rick Rubin, who is seriously one of the two or three coolest people on the planet. He’s produced Run-DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, System of a Down, the Mars Volta, Weezer, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash (all those rock covers he did, like “Hurt,” were done by Rubin), Jay-Z, and Linkin Park. And he’s producing Metallica’s next album. Aw yeah!

  • And then they give Album of the Year to the Dixie Chicks. As I predicted about nine hours ago.

  • And then it’s over. Mercifully.

Yikes. You think it was boring reading about it, I hope you didn’t watch it. Ick, ick, ick.

By the way, the real album of the year was the Tragically Hip’s World Container. And the real Record of the Year was Evanescence’s “Call Me When You’re Sober.” Though I need to hear that Gnarls Barkley record.

Well, that was a really stupid idea. Several hours of my mortality I will never back: gone. Poof.

Note to self: never, ever watch the Grammys again.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

That was fast

Madame Rowling announced just days ago the title and publication date of the seventh and supposedly final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And yet, already, look at this Wikipedia page! I especially dig the endless list of completely speculative "Known plot details." Nice work, guys.

Yes, I'm excited, too. Yes, it's this generation's Return of the Jedi. But come on. At least wait until there's a little more hardcore knowledge before we start wildly speculating. Okay?

Oh, and there's no way she's going to kill off Harry. Snape is going to eat it. So is Ron. Ginny Weasley will turn heel and kill him. And she'll try to kill Hermione and Harry, too, but Harry will be forced to kill her. And he'll cry, 'cause he's a wuss. And an idiot. Oh, and it'll all end when Harry and Hermione lead the charge on Lord Voldemort at a massive battle at Pelennor Fields. With Ewoks!

Here's one perfectly serious prediction: the diehard Potter fans will loathe the book. It won't end the way they want, the characters they want to die will live, the characters they want to live will die, the right couples won't end up together, and they'll hate it and bitch about it for years. There is no way the book can live up to expectation. None.

But then…Stephen King did end the Dark Tower series perfectly. Hmm. She's got an outside shot.