Friday, May 30, 2008

Hey, is that Jerry O'Connell?

Now playing: Jim Rome - Wed, May 28th, 2008 Hour 1
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

There was also that time he and I spent twenty minutes in his front yard trying to draw the Undertaker's logo in the fire

So, Stephen is trying to get into the Houston Police Academy. I fully support this. Apparently, he put me down as a personal reference, because I received a call from the HPD this evening, running background. I got the typical questions: how long have I known him (I said ten years, but later realized that was wrong -- it's been twelve years, kiddies, no shit), how did we meet (high school, which honestly seems like time spent on another planet right now), that kind of stuff.

After providing decent background and acceptable information, the guy hits me with the final question: "Can you think of any reason why Stephen wouldn't make a good police officer?"

And in that nanosecond, my mind flooded with a very vivid memory: Stephen portraying a hitman in a stupid movie we were trying to make. We'd been watching Good Will Hunting a lot around that time, so we decided his character needed a thick Boston accent. He also said the word "fuck" every five seconds...only he was Bostonian, so it came out fahk.

Then I remembered a few months earlier, and Stephen taking his frustrations out on a hopelessly scratched copy of WWF Warzone...with a BB gun. He blasted that fucking disc to pieces.

I remembered other stuff, too. All in a fraction of a second, mind you, because before I was even done thinking about it, I was already talking. "Not at all," I said. "He'd make a terrific police officer."

And he will, too. Good luck, buddy.

(And if I'm ever accused of murder in the city of Houston, I will expect the evidence against me to become, ahem, "inadmissible," if you follow me, sir.)

(That was a joke, by the way.)

(No, it wasn't.)

(Yes, it was.)


(Seriously, though, dude.)

Now playing: Jonathan Coulton - Millionaire Girlfriend
via FoxyTunes

And I thought I got strange email

We all get odd emails from time to time. Most of them end up caught in our spam filters, but they still happen. But I've never received anything as batshit as the glorious slice of insanity MaryAnn Johanson just posted on her website. Ye gods! No question, the greatest email ever sent.

Now playing: Rush - YYZ
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's nice to watch this every once in a while

Randy Newman is, quite possibly, the most sarcastic man to ever walk this planet.

Now playing: Maroon 5 - Makes Me Wonder
via FoxyTunes

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on a damn minute

As you may know, I tend to ascribe nicknames to baseball players. It's a habit. Conversely, I tend to disdain the nicknames such players ascribe to themselves -- that's my job, buddy.

Take, for instance, Lance Berkman. I've been calling him "Fat Elvis" for, oh, three years now. Lance, on the other hand, self-glossed himself "the Big Puma." I was unimpressed, and so was most of Houston -- I never heard anyone outside of Milo Hamilton call him that, and Milo's certifiably insane. (In a good way, mind you -- Milo's awesome. The greatest baseball announcer of all time, hands down.)

But now that Berkman's hitting like Mickey Mantle, the nickname is starting to actually catch on, despite how stupid it sounds. There's an article on the Astros website discussing the nickname and its popularity, and I find this:
It was Berkman who came up with the name. He was tired of being called "Fat Elvis," and during a semi-regular appearance on a local radio show two years ago, Berkman told the hosts he wanted to change things up.

"I'm like a Puma," Berkman said. At that moment, a cult hero was born. He's Lance Berkman, the Big Puma.

Nowadays, his manager refers to him as Big Puma. It's catching on with his teammates, too. And all because of Berkman's desire to replace the Fat Elvis label with a brand new image -- even if it's tongue-in-cheek.
Whoa -- who was calling Lance Berkman "Fat Elvis" and not telling me about it? That was mine, goddammit! Who stole it? Who?!

Oh, well. He's still Fat Elvis to me. And mean that in the nicest way, Lance, honestly. You're my favorite Astro (at least, current Astro).'re not a damn puma, okay? I don't care how far into your cheek you cram your tongue.

Now: is anyone else out there calling Morgan Ensberg "the Voyeur"? Because I will sue, damn you.

Now playing: Jay-Z - Can't Knock the Hustle
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I must admit, I like your enthusiasm

The cancellation of Firefly is still an open wound for many on the internet. Not to mention the countless other beloved shows that met premature ends -- Jericho, or Arrested Development, or my precious, glorious Veronica Mars. So geeks have reason to worry about their shows.

But fans of Joss Whedon have taken it a step further: they're gearing up a Save-Our-Show campaign to save his newest creation, Dollhouse...eight months before it even airs:

Fearing Dollhouse will get booted off the air, just like the Joss Whedon-helmed show Firefly, fans are plotting and organizing their efforts in online forums.

Led by, the campaign urges followers to organize viewing parties, watch the trailers online, buy Dollhouse-endorsed merch and create more fan sites.

DollhouseForums' trailblazing leader Nathan posted the following as a call to arms: "After seeing some of my favorite television shows get canceled in the past -- as well as the 'save this show' campaigns that followed -- I had the idea that a fan campaign BEFORE the show begins may be the best thing to do."

Okay. Now. I like the idea of a preemptive strike. I really do. But...come on, people. Isn't that just kinda-sorta rampantly obnoxious? Let's wait until we've actually seen it before we try and save it. I mean, we don't even know if it's going to be any good. It might not be worth saving in the first place.

(Huh. I didn't even a chance to finish typing that last paragraph before the Browncoats started teargassing my apartment. Hey, I'm one of you! I loved Firefly! All right, okay, okay, I take it back! It'll be the greatest show in the history of television! Jesus. Gorram lunatics.)

Now playing: Slipknot - Before I Forget
via FoxyTunes

And she deserves every goddamn word of it, too

Now playing: Metallica - The Outlaw Torn
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 23, 2008


BioShock is coming to the PS3!

And thus I have now literally no reason whatsoever to desire an X-Box 360. Ha-ha!

So then. Here's a Weezer video.

Now playing: Jonathan Coulton - Creepy Doll
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


When you play a song in Rock Band, you're given a star rating based on your score. (It's not based on accuracy, which is a little annoying. But whatever.) You are ranked from one to five stars. If you're playing on Expert difficulty, and you get a super-duper-awesome score, you can get even higher: five gold stars. This is exceedingly difficult, and requires true mastery of the track.

I've made it my mission in life to get five gold stars on every song we have -- all 99 of them. Since I suck with the Rock Band guitar and I'm not that good a drummer, it'll have to be on vocals. I'll keep track of my successes here. Why? Because I have to be able to brag about something, don't I?

Gold Stars achieved on...
[* denotes a perfect 100% performance]
  • "Maps"
  • "Creep" * (27th place on the PS3 Rock Band Leaderboard)
  • "Go with the Flow" *
  • "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" *
  • "Wonderwall"
  • "Buddy Holly" (28th on the Leaderboard)
  • "Interstate Love Song" (37th on the Leaderboard)

Monday, May 19, 2008

When it comes to chess...

...there's winning. And there's losing. And then there's losing. To wit:

I'm white, in case you're wondering. FRINAN is black.

Why didn't I resign long before it got this stage? Because I'm an enabler, that's why.

Man. Man, oh man.

Now playing: Toadies - Possum Kingdom
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The waiting is the hardest part

There are people in this world who enjoy torturing me. Metallica? They're those kinds of people.

Their last album, St. Anger, came out in 2003. I loved it to pieces at the time -- as you'll recall -- but it's aged as well as episodes of Saved by the Bell. For the next record, they decided to go back an old-school sound and style, and to that end employed the Greatest Producer Who Ever Lived, Rick Rubin. They've been working on the thing for, like, ever now, and word has been slow in coming. Typical for Metallica, really, and I've been mostly ignoring any advance word or news, because I know it'll be ages before we get anything definitive.

Until today, that is. When I find Mission Metallica.

Yes, let's go inside the studio with the band as they're writing and recording the album. Yes, sneak peeks, please. Keep me informed at all times of the interminable wait for the record's release.

This is the greatest website ever. This is the worst website ever.


(Oh, and please ignore Monkey Man's rapping. He's a goofy guy.)

Now playing: Metallica - Hit the Lights
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 12, 2008


There is no God.

Now playing: The New Pornographers - Testament to Youth in Verse
via FoxyTunes

O Canada!

I don't know why, but I have a love affair with Canada. All things Canadian seem to connect with me on some deep level.

Such as:
  • The Tragically Hip.
  • The Barenaked Ladies.
  • Arcade Fire.
  • Our Lady Peace.
  • Joni Mitchell.
  • Leonard Cohen.
  • The Kids in the Hall.
  • Corner Gas.
  • Rush.
  • My favorite pro wrestlers growing up were all Canadian: Bret and Owen Hart, Chris Jericho, and He Who Shall Not Be Named.
  • The first five seasons (read: the watchable seasons) of The X-Files were filmed there.
  • So is the new Battlestar Galactica.
  • The entire cast of SCTV.
  • James Cameron, who was one of my favorite filmmakers until Titanic -- he's Canadian.
  • And so on.
Those are just the ones off the top of my head. I've found a new Canadian band to love: the New Pornographers, whose "The Electric Version" has become one of my favorite Rock Band songs. The album of the same name is great, too.

Now playing: The New Pornographers - All for Swinging You Around
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Trust me: you're completely dead

Time to face facts.

Actually, no -- the time to face facts was about a month ago.

Hillary Clinton has lost. It's over. Not even her precious Superdelegates are staying -- scurrying to Obama's camp like rats off a sinking ship.

Please go away. Please?

Pretty please?

You're turning the Democratic party into a joke. You're hurting our chances to beat McCain in November. And you're turning yourself in a laughingstock. Just stop, okay?

Please. Because after Tuesday night, your campaign looked a lot like this:

Don't delude yourself -- and try to delude us -- into thinking that if you just win West Virginia, you'll be back in it. You're not in it. It's over.

I beseech you, Hillary. Go away.


Now playing: Elvis Costello - I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
via FoxyTunes

You'd hate for the kids to think that you've lost your cool

Weezer - PinkertonMy love for Weezer is not unconditional.

Rivers Cuomo has a singular talent for writing self-deprecating songs that nevertheless explode with Marshall-stacked power pop sound -- fist-pumping sing-alongs about loneliness and longing. Their first album, colloquially referred to as "the blue album," showed that off to considerable success: "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So" are just as popular today as they were fourteen (!!) years ago, and the blue album remains one of my favorites. Cuomo sang about surfing to work, playing Dungeons & Dragons in his garage, and the agony of sweater destruction, turning idiosyncrasies into outcast anthems. Millions of high school freshmen found their kindred spirit.

Weezer's next album, Pinkerton, improved upon the blue album in every respect -- it's one of the most raw, confessional records ever recorded. (Pitchfork, while naming it one of the best albums of the '90s, called it "the catchiest LiveJournal blog [we've] ever heard.") And it isn't just raw in emotion, but in sound, too: Pinkerton is infamously underproduced, packed with feedback, screeching and off-key backing vocals. The shaky sound adds urgency to the desperation of the songs, which all ache with that same loneliness and longing. But this time, Cuomo made his lyrics fiercely personal: "El Scorcho," one of the greatest unrequited love songs ever written, burns with intimate details. "Goddamn, you half-Japanese girls do it to me every time/And the redhead said you shred the cello, and I'm Jell-O, baby," he sings to the object of his affection. "Across the Sea" is an even more personal story, inspired by a fan's letter: "They don't make stationery like this where I'm from/So fragile, so refined/So I sniff and I lick your envelope/And fall to little pieces every time/I wonder what clothes you wear to school/I wonder how you decorate your room/I wonder how you touch yourself/And curse myself for being across the sea."

Sure, one might think that such specifics would make it harder for the listener to relate to the songs, but really, that frankness makes it easier to relate -- rather than giving vague, clichéd platitudes, Cuomo tells you exactly what he's going through, drawing you in. I've never longed for an eighteen-year-old Japanese girl who wrote me a letter about my music, but I have felt a disconnect from all of the people around me, and sought desperately for someone to connect with...and found just as much success as Rivers does in "Across the Sea."

But Pinkerton failed, both commercially and critically. (At the time, anyway -- critics and fans have since discovered the album again, with Rolling Stone even giving it a new five-star review.) And when Weezer returned with another self-titled album five years later, something had changed. Those frank details were replaced with...vague, clichéd platitudes. Songs like Pinkerton's "Pink Triangle" -- an achingly sad but funny tale about falling in love with a girl, only to discover "I'm dumb/She's a lesbian!" -- were nowhere to be found. The green album wasn't a total waste -- Rivers still has his gift for pop songcraft, of course -- but it felt like a letdown.

And it didn't get any better with Maladroit. And in 2005, they released Make Believe, an almost entirely forgettable waste of time. So, as I said, my love for Weezer is far from unconditional.

But this morning, I heard their new single for the first time. And while I don't like to give in to hyperbole, "Pork and Beans" may just be the best song they've recorded since 1996. Here, have a listen:

The new album -- which we're calling "the red album," apparently -- comes out next month.

I await it eagerly.

Now playing: Weezer - Pork and Beans
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 09, 2008

I've been saying some of this stuff for years

Particularly that stuff about Arlington Road.

It's the 5 Most Needlessly Complex Terror Plots in Film History, courtesy of Cracked. It's good stuff.

Now playing: The Decemberists - The Tain
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A few notes

I've decided on the name of the next Revolver episode: "Hey Jealousy." It works on a few levels, as you'll see. (Assuming the title remains the same. Which it probably won't. You know how it goes.)

I've also resumed posts at A Great Disservice, if you hadn't noticed.

And now I see that there are new things on each post here: a place to give star ratings for my posts. I didn't ask for this. I don't know why it's there. But it's there. You can rate my posts if you want. I certainly won't mind. If the ratings are good, anyway. Never mind. It's gone now. What the hell?

And then here: watch this.

Now playing: Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The cake is a lie

So, the last few days have been good as far as life goes. If by "life," I mean "the world of movies, music, books, and video games, which I hold up as a shiny fireworks display to distract from my miasmatic personal life," then yeah, it's been good.

Friday -- Iron Man. A fantastic film, and one of the better comic book movies. You should definitely see it if you haven't already, and it wouldn't hurt to see it again if you have.

Saturday -- the Usual Suspects dropped by for what has become a weekly event: a combination of Rock Band and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Fortunately, I have many episodes of the program on DVD -- this week, I believe our feature will be Monster A Go-Go. You guys thought Girl in Gold Boots was bad? Oh, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Sunday -- I caught up on last week's House (good), several old episodes of Corner Gas I had cluttering my DVR (very good), and the last few episodes of Scrubs (spotty). I also watched a few of the South Park episodes that had begun to accumulate, and I have to ask: are Matt and Trey completely out of ideas? Because every episode this season has just been a rehashing of an old movie. I know they do that a lot, and it's fine, but this season already we've had The Lottery, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Grapes of Wrath, Stand and Deliver, and frickin' Heavy Metal.

Monday -- I (finally!) picked up the Orange Box for the PS3, and got to play Portal for the first time. Six hours later, of course, I was finished, but I was well-satisfied with my purchase. And as much as I love playing "Still Alive" in Rock Band, it's a billion times funnier in context. And now I'll finally get to play Half-Life 2's Episodes 1 and 2! And play Half-Life 2 again! (You remember how enthralled with the game I was the first time.)

Today -- I finished reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, which is easily one of the ten best books I've ever read. Then I returned home to find that Trent Reznor has decided to release the new Nine Inch Nails album, The Slip, totally for free.

Ah: good times.

I also must now fulfill a promise, and offer thanks to my Pizza Place co-worker Al, who stayed for an extra few minutes the other day to help me out while I was closing. He also read this blog -- all of it, apparently. A truly Herculean endeavor, sir. Thanks.

Now playing: Nine Inch Nails - Head Down
via FoxyTunes


How much longer until July 18th? TOO DAMN LONG, that's how long.

Now playing: Genesis - The Colony of Slippermen (The Arrival/A Visit to the Doktor/Raven)
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 02, 2008

Quotable Quotes

Mini Boss, after last night's episode of Lost:

"Lost is like the SATs. If the answer is that easy, it's probably not right."

Now playing: Third Eye Blind - 10 Days Late
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 01, 2008

It is the first of May, isn't it?

Now playing: Jonathan Coulton - First of May
via FoxyTunes