Google

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005: A Week In Review

Now is the time of year where every person in the world must come with a "Best" and "Worst" of 2005 review, because if we don't, by law we are bound to be dropped into a pit filled with rabid kittens and angry flowers and insecurity. So here's my contribution...

BEST OF 2005
  1. Karaoke. - Yeah, it's kind of a lame thing to put at the top of this list, but how many great experiences have I had this year spent at Koji's, or Skyebox, or Bigfoot Lodge, or in the later part of the year, Dave's? Quite a few. Good times, good people, and a good chance to feed my own ego when I'm in front of the mic.
  2. Coachella 2005. - For more information, see Appendix A.
  3. Pink Floyd Reuniting at Live 8. - For more information, see Appendix B.
  4. Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. - Twice I went this past year, twice I had the time of my life. And damn, if that fireworks show wasn't fuckin' awesome. Although I still hate those Fastpass lines... but as that was started a couple years back, I can't bitch about them here. Maybe in a future blog.
  5. Star Wars Episode III. - For more information, see Appendix C.
  6. Michelle's Halloween Party. - A great time was had by all, especially by me, as I got the opportunity to put together a Halloween-themed DJ set, and got back in touch with two good friends, one of whom the reunion with was 8 years in the making.
  7. My Halloween Costume. - It was a last minute entry (I was originally gonna be Michael Hutchence, but my hair wouldn't grow long enough in time), but I think it worked pretty well. I mean, Jesus, minus the sunken cheekbones from years of drug use, I fuckin' looked like Dave Gahan! At least until that asshole spilled red wine on my white jeans the second night of costuming...
  8. I beat GTA: San Andreas at 100% Completion. - Yeah, I know that's a really lame entry, but frankly, I'm running out of shit to put in this best of column, so I'm using whatever I can. And hey, the time and effort taken to accomplish such a feat says something (other than I probably could've written two screenplays in the amount of time I spent fucking around with that game). Besides, now I get to create another Appendix (D).
  9. I regained my muse. - Yes, I finally started writing for real again, and had stories and creative ideas return to my brain. Which of course leads me to my first New Year's resolution... stop being fucking lazy and spend more than two hours a week actually doing something about it.
  10. I'm still alive. - I don't know if the rest of you care about that, but I'm kinda happy about it.

And now...

WORST OF 2005

  1. World peace not happening again. - Jesus Christ, people, you've had like 14,000 years to figure it out already. Seriously, I'm very disappointed.
  2. I'm not rich and famous yet. - Why did this not happen yet this past year? I'm overdue.
  3. Republicans. - Not all Republicans, just the ones in high office. Aside from the indictments, the illegal activity, the closed-door sessions, what else have they contributed? Oh yeah. A bridge in Alaska that goes nowhere, and legislation to drill for oil in a wildlife reserve. Way to have a mandate.
  4. The Los Angeles Dodgers. - It's always horrible to see your favorite team have a losing season... but to see them drop so far after making it to the playoffs the year before was just heartbreaking. And then to see the fairweather fans of LA turn to Anaheim for solace... those commie bastards. Hopefully now that the new GM's been making a team comprised of Red Sox and Giants castaways, we'll have a good chance this year.
  5. Star Wars ending. - And with it, my childhood (I saw the first movie at Grauman's Chinese Theater when I was four months old, the last I saw at the Cineramadome at the age of 27, so I'm quite serious about the saga being a huge part of my formative years). Sigh... I suppose its time to grow up now. Or maybe I'll wait for the 3-D theatrical releases first. Oh, and then there's the upcoming TV series... so I'll grow up when I'm 40-something. Nothing wrong with that.
  6. Organized Religion. - Sorry guys, but when your biggest evangelical churches are putting more energy into trying to ban gay marriage, outlaw abortion, and suing people for saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," as opposed to allowing gays to be ministers, adopting unwanted children, and helping the poor eat during the holidays, there's something VERY very wrong.
  7. MTV's coverage of Live 8. - For more information, see Appendix B.
  8. Drinking. - Those of you that know why, know why. Those of you that don't, don't need to know why.
  9. That Hill Street Blues meets Shirt Tales video. - Yeah, I know it's something that happened in 1985, but I only saw it this year, and considering how much it disturbed my mental state, I think it's important to mention it. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go here.
  10. People who create "best and worst" lists. - Really, what is this need to categorize things? It's stupid, it's lame, and it's a bloody waste of time. Well, except when that Mr. Blackwell does it. He's dreamy.

That's it. Hope you all have a great New Year's Eve... why most of us like starting the new year with a hangover, I don't know, but hey, it's a good time.

2005 Appendix D: Things I learned from GTA: San Andreas (V2.0)

Taken from Damian's Myspace blog, 05 Jul 05 Tuesday:

So I finally finished playing GTA: San Andreas this weekend, after months and months of time spent on it, running through every single mission and side mission, completing every goal, doing every possible thing that I could in that game. A couple hundred hours of gametime later, I finally finished. And I learned some valuable life lessons as well.

- As long as one isn't in the direct eyeline of a police officer, one can pretty much commit any illegal act of violence without them noticing.

- Pedestrians run in terror from low-flying helicopters, but the idea of a man landing two feet away from them in a jetpack doesn't bother them much at all.

- When street gangs attack you, they will always come after you in three waves, each successive wave with more members than the group proceeding. Luckily, you'll usually be able to find a kevlar vest lying on the street for protection.

- If a police officer sees you attempting anything illegal, he will try to murder you. If you do multiple illegal things, sooner or later the National Guard will be called upon, and they'll send tanks after you. However, if you go home immediately afterwards and take a nap, they'll forgive you and completely forget any wrongdoings.

- It is possible to carry on your person a rocket launcher, minigun, sniper rifle, mutiple assault rifles, a shotgun, a handgun, an explosive device, a blunt or sharp instrument, thermal goggles, and a double-sided dildo. However, carrying a knife and a golf club at the same time is completely out of the question.

- Apparently, the rooftop of a Compton-styled slum house can support the weight of a Harrier jet.

- Falling 800 feet through the air is a painful experience that will most likely kill you. However, doing the same thing on a motorcycle not only insures safety, but also earns you money.

- The owners of skyscrapers like to leave parachutes on top of their buildings, just in case a basejumper makes it up to the top, only to realize they've forgotten theirs.

- No matter how many times you flip a car, it will always keep going if it lands right side up. However, if you land on the side or upsidedown, you've got about eight seconds before the vehicle explodes and kills you.

- Women like to be given flowers on dates, but if you give them a vibrator, they'll be much more appreciative.

- The sight of a man swimming while wearing a three-piece suit doesn't seem to bother people.

- People in rural communities can't seem to get enough of hot dog vendors, especially when they come around in Oscar Mayer Weiner trucks.

- All fast food chains serve salad.

- Eating oysters increases your chances at the roulette table.

- When a city decides to riot, even if you're the head of the neighborhood gang, you can walk straight through a group of people looting, burning buildings, and shooting police officers, and they'll pay no attention to you. Unless of course you decide to chase after a crooked cop, in which case they'll routinely firebomb your car.

- Sneaking up behind people and garroting them with a knife is a lot of fun, especially when you do it on the beach in broad daylight with dozens of witnesses around.

- Police seem to have about as much luck finding their brakes as Rex does on Star Tours.

- no one seems to mind a tubby black guy, covered in tats with a huge afro, running around in his boxers.

I lied before, there's not much more that I learned. Well, there's a little more, but I'm too tired right now to think of it, so we'll save it for later.

2005 Appendix C: A Star Wars review (NO SPOILERS)...

Taken from Damian's Myspace Blog, 20 May 05 Friday:

...I promise. Besides, everyone's heard already about the return of Qui-Gon's ghost, right? Oh.

Oops.

And now, here's the final version of my ROTS blog, which I so rudely cut short Friday morning. And as I will keep this spoiler-free, I imagine it'll be the shortest blog I'll ever write (not bloody likely!). Here goes...

In a word? Fun. Heartbreaking. Well, that's two words technically, but since I can't describe ROTS in any other fashion, it'll have to do. In answer to everyone's questions...

Yes, Lucas redeemed himself.

Yes, there are still a couple scenes with clunky dialogue and bad acting.

Yes, the effects are incredible, and more amazing than the last two combined.

Yes, Hayden Christiansen is at his best when he plays anger.

Yes, Ian McDiarmid is insanely awesome in his role as the Emperor, and finally gets to play the character as an evil mother fucker.

Yes, Mace Windu gets taken out in an awesome way.

Yes, Yoda kicks some serious ass (in one scene in particular, his entrance alone is worthy of loud cheers).

Yes, General Grievous was cooler in the Clone Wars series.

Yes, the first ten minutes are probably the most amazing battle scene ever put on film.

Yes, the final minutes will bring tears to the eyes of anyone who's been a fan of these movies as long as I have (all my life, basically).

Yes, the destruction of the Jedi Order (we all knew it was coming, no spoilers here) is absolutely heart-wrenching.

Yes, there are cameos by characters from the original trilogy (and no, Han Solo and Mon Mothma aren't them). Addendum - Mon Mothma does appear in deleted scenes on the DVD.

Yes, the Millennium Falcon does make an appearance (or a YT-1300, at least... look for it in one of the first shots of the Senate building).

And yes, Virginia... there is a Santa Claus.

So, as mentioned in one of the responses to my earlier version of this blog, did I like the movie? Yes, I did. I won't be one of those fanboys who jumps out and says "it's the best one ever," but it definitely comes close (IV and V still beat it, in my opinion).

And I guess that's all I have to say about that. I'll be happy to discuss it however, with anybody, as soon as they've seen it. No spoilers here, after all.

2005 Appendix A: My Coachella Review

Taken from Damian's Myspace blog, 04 May 05 Wednesday:

All right, I wasn't gonna write a Coachella review, seeing as how Eddie beat me to the punch; but since I'm just hanging out at home this evening, I might as well...

So, Friday started with some good GTA San Andreas action, as I'd decided to take the day off work and rest a bit before the long weekend ahead. Of course, during that rest time, I hadn't showered or eaten, so I was scurrying around quite a bit when Eddie stopped by.

We'd decided to go see Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy before leaving, and so while I was nuking something for lunch, we checked out the showtimes, and sure enough, there was a show ten minutes away from starting at the theater near my apartment. So off we went, leaving my food in the microwave, to see the movie.After grabbing a hot dog to satisfy a bit of my hunger pangs, we went into the theater. SIDE MOVIE REVIEW:

First off... PEOPLE, I AM NOT MARVIN! Yeah, I know he's incredibly depressive, and pessimistic, and blah blah blah... okay, I know I have an Eeyore complex, sure. But I'm not THAT bad!

Well, maybe sometimes.

Anyway, the movie was enjoyable, although I wished it had stuck a little closer to the book in some places... for one, I thought the love story between Trillian and Arthur was incredibly forced and unnecessary. Keeping their relationship conflicted worked much better (okay, so that's a Marvin thing to say, shut up). I also wasn't a huge fan of the subplot with the point-of-view gun, but hey, I guess if Adams wrote it, I have to accept it.

The scene with the whale becoming self-aware, however, was genius (not very Marvin there, huh?).

After the movie, we went back to my apartment, I finished nuking my estranged food, had a slight dinner, and left for Palm Springs.

Two hours later, we arrived and checked into our hotel (the Riviera of all places... we didn't quite have a Rat Pack suite, but it was a nice room nonetheless). We decided to try some of the local cuisine (I was still hungry), and with that, headed to a nearby Denny's.

Upon finishing dinner, we headed to the motel our friends Maria and Mikko were staying at, to meet up with them and have a couple drinks. Eddie seemed very determined to get there right away, and got very frustrated when we got a little lost on the way (it wasn't until we got there that I found out that it wasn't his brain getting frustrated, merely his bowels). After Eddie relieved himself, we hung out for a while, then walked down the street to get some more alcohol to bring back to the room.

As we walked, I glanced into a local bar, and noticed a Bud Light sign with a rainbow around it. This struck me as quite odd, so of course in a loud voice, I said, "Wow, that Bud Light sign's really gay."

It was then that Mikko informed me that Palm Springs has an incredibly large gay community.

Needless to say, I was a wee bit embarrassed... I had always thought the town was mostly old people (but now that I think about it, that's how I've always felt about Miami as well). Then we passed a store called Gay Mart USA, where even the mannequins had limp wrists, and I was very embarrassed.

We reached the store, bought our alcohol, went back to their room, and hung out some more; then Eddie and I went back to the Riviera and crashed for the night.

The next morning, I decided to use the workout room before we left. After bringing down hell upon my upper body, I returned to the room, showered and had a cup of coffee while Eddie followed suit. We left for the Polo Grounds at about 12 noon.

Amazingly enough, we were in the festival before 2pm... whoever was in charge of parking this year did a fantastic job, and the line to get in was spread out enough that we barely had much wait time at all. After walking around a tiny bit (and picking up our passes to the Urb after party... more on that later), we headed over to watch K-Os in the Gobi tent.

I wouldn't call his set extraordinary, but it was definitely good (and he did a great job on the fly when his keyboard wasn't working, stripping him of who knows how many songs in his set). From there we went to check out a little of Ambulance Ltd. at the Mojave tent. While I enjoy their music on recordings, they seemed to be a bit messy live... it didn't help that the overall sound in the tent was very tinny (too much high end sound and so forth).

After three songs, we headed over to see Eisley, who I'd been listening to for the last month or so. As Eddie already described them quite well in his blog, I'll just say that I enjoyed the hell out of their set, and enjoyed them just as much (they did a great job joking around about their sound issues, and kept the audience entertained as they tried to rectify the situation). I'll also mention that I felt a bit misty when they performed "Lost At Sea" (by far my favorite song on their album).

From there it was over to Immortal Technique, who is hands down the best rapper I've heard in a very long time. The man pulls no punches, whether he's rapping about religion, politics, the recording industry, or just plain talking smack. By the end of his set, he had the entire crowd erupting with cries of "Viva La Revolution!" If he someday decides to take on the establishment, I'm sure there will be plenty of people following him.

And then it was time to eat. Chicken strips for Eddie, a fajita for me. Moving on...

We hit the Sahara tent to check out Unkle... James Lavelle was playing a DJ set, which, while entertaining, wasn't exactly what we'd been hoping for. So we headed over to check out Cafe Tacuba, and to meet back up with Maria and Mikko.

I can understand how some people love Cafe Tacuba, they've got great energy, and presence. I'm just not into their style of music, frankly. It reminds me too much of the Banta music my neighbors used to wake me up with on Saturday mornings (although at least Tacuba's doesn't include an accordion). The four of us headed into the nearby beer garden, meeting one of Mikko's friends there.

DRUNK CHICK 1: As we sat there, drinking beer and listening to the strains of Weezer coming from the main stage, a cute blonde came up and asked me for a cigarette. I, of course, am never one to refuse a pretty face, so I happily gave one to her, and to her friend (they were with another friend, but she didn't smoke, so I didn't feel right handing one to her). In return, they gave me a green and white balloon hat that someone had made for them.

Upon further inquiry, I found that it wasn't actually a hat, but a representation of anal beads. Being a bit buzzed myself, I was quite happy to put them on my head regardless. I thanked them, and then we left to see Bauhaus.

Now, I love listening to Bauhaus, and hearing Bela Lugosi Is Dead while the singer was hanging upsidedown was a rare treat. But halfway through the set, I felt it was time to leave, for two reasons: one, that kind of music is very dark and introverted, and it just felt weird listening to it come from a huge stage surrounded by thousands of screaming people; two, I had to pee so bad that my bladder felt like it had taken over my entire torso, and was threatening to erupt like a chestburster out of my body.

Luckily, I wasn't the only one to feel this way, and so after a quick stop at the port-o-potties (I pray to god that when I die, there's some feeling in the afterlife as good as relieving a full bladder), we went back to the beer tent. Once I saw that the drunk girls were nowhere in sight, I rid myself of the anal bead balloons, Eddie and I bid farewell to our friends, and we headed to the Sahara tent to catch Chemical Brothers.

As always, the Brothers put on a great set. Unfortunately, our enjoyment of it was to be shortlived, as we had to get in line for the Urb after party.

The line for the party was right by the Sahara tent, so as we waited, we were afforded the cruel pleasure of listening to the rest of Chemical's incredible show.

When their set ended, the strains of Coldplay wafted through the air from the main stage. This, allowed me to make the remark, "Oh great, more Coldplay." I was immediately reminded of the rabidness of fans, as a very cute British girl whom Eddie and I'd just been having fun banter with suddenly turned cold on me, asking "What's wrong with Coldplay," icicles forming on her lips.

"Nothing," I said stupidly. "They're just... sad."

"They're not sad," she replied, daggers firing from her eyes. Eddie tried to help me backtrack, explaining that I meant melancholy, wistful. But she would have none of it, and turned her back.

So we continued to wait. And wait.

As we waited, we saw that some people were getting through the gate, yet most of us were being held back. Finally, we found that apparently, there'd been a mixup earlier in the day, and while most of us had been given drink coaster looking cards, other people had been given rainbow wristbands, and they were the ones getting in.

After a while, someone came out and explained the problem to security, who started letting us in a group at a time. This of course led to mob violence, and after being smashed into the fence a couple times, Eddie and I finally popped through the gate, thanks to the people behind us shoving forward.

We made it over to the building the party was in, and upon entering, found what amounted to a churchgroup gathering (the difference being two Audis parked inside the main room, and hard alcohol being served... for cash).

Eddie and I walked around the party, trying to find what existed there to grant it that name.

DRUNK CHICK 2: As I stopped to glance around the main room, a girl stumbled up to me and asked if I had a phone. When I said I did, she stared at me, stumbling again. I asked her if she wanted to use it, and she nodded in a fashion. I pulled out my phone and handed it to her.

Standing way too close to me, she started punching in numbers, but couldn't quite seem to grasp how a phone was supposed to work. So, after dialing the last number I called and my voicemail, she was finally able to call her friends... at least I think she did. She was talking to someone, anyway.

I got my phone back from her, and after mumbling something about having to "go over there," I walked off with Eddie into the other room, where we sat for a while, him checking out the Urb magazines piled on the table in front of us, me having a drink and checking out the people around us.

DRUNK CHICK 3: One of the party workers (a very nice guy, by the way, I don't blame him at all for the party sucking) was talking to a very cute girl, who pulled out a cigarette. I then pulled out my lighter; I mean, what good's a deadly habit if you can't use it to meet women?

She said something to me, and after thinking for a moment, I realized that I had no idea what had come out of her mouth. So I asked her what she said, and she mumbled again. At this point I realized that not only was she ridiculously shit-faced drunk, but she also had a thick accent that, coupled with slurring, was impenetrable.

After a while, we were able to converse a bit with her (Eddie was able to find out she was from Northern England, although she could have been speaking Swahili for as much as I could understand). This conversation ended in us figuring out she wanted to sit, and her passing out on the table once she did.

Eddie and I left after I finished my last drink, and after a couple tries at leaving the grounds (plus another run-in with Drunk Chick 2), we finally made it back to the car, and Eddie drove us back to the hotel.

Once we got back, Eddie decided to rest, and I decided to hit the hotel jacuzzi, in order to sooth my aching muscles (the workout room from that morning, plus walking around and dancing all day, had taken a lot out of me).

I soon found I wasn't the only one with that idea, as when I reached the jacuzzi, I found two rather heavyset women and a chunky man sitting around it, not even in the water. I asked if I was interrupting anything, but they said no, so I sat down in the jacuzzi and relaxed.

I soon came to the realization that they were neither talking nor getting in, but just staring at me. I again asked if I was interrupting, and they again said no, so I figured fuck it, I don't care, I just want to relax.

After a few minutes, they walked off, leaving me to think two things; either one, they'd just peed in the jacuzzi, which I didn't care about anyway, as it didn't smell, and the chlorine would have killed any germs immediately; or two, that I'd interrupted what was about to become a late-night fatty threesome. As far as I could gather, it looked like the second thought was more accurate, so I decided I'd done the world a favor, and continued to relax.

After a short while, another guy came out and entered the jacuzzi. We had a nice conversation about the festival that day, and who we planned to see the next day, and then it was off to bed.

Seven hours of Eddie and I waking up and telling the other to quit snoring later, it was time to get out of bed, and hit the festival all over again. A quick stop for munchies at AM/PM, and we were on our way.

After even less traffic and less line to get in, we were walking around the festival grounds, earlier than we'd thought possible. Since Diplo (the first act we were there to see) hadn't started yet, we headed over to the main stage to catch a bit of Gram Rabbit.

Not only were they a good act, but they had the best marketing ploy I'd seen from any band in years, as evidenced by the ears attached to my head in my current profile picture (and now you know the whole story). We enjoyed them for a few songs, and then it was off to Diplo.

I had been hoping Diplo would be playing more of his original material, but he seemed to be playing mostly DJ set stuff (including some of the tracks he'd remixed with M.I.A., which were great). He also had a VJ thing going on, with different clips playing on the screens in time to his music. Well, kind of in time. I'm sure he'll get better with it.

From there we headed over to Autolux for a few songs... they were good, but had the same problem as Ambulance Ltd. from the day before. So we quickly walked over to Jem.

Now I love Jem's album. I think it's great. Live, however, she was a different story. Cute as a button, but bland and boring. On a Disney Channel special coming to you live from Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World, she would have been fantastic; but at Coachella... well, when we met up with our friend Gabby and her friend Eddy (whom we'd met a while back through other accquaintances, small world... and his name is Edd"ie," but I'm using a "y" to differenciate), we were more than happy to walk over to the food tents and grab some lunch.

I had a very yummy burrito, Eddie had... well hell, I can't remember (I only remember the chicken strips from the day before because he couldn't shut up about how great they were, and I'm still jealous). But moving on.

Edd"y" left to hit the VIP tent, and Gabby went with us over to see M.I.A. I hadn't known much about M.I.A. until the night before, but I was floored by her. Sexy as hell, a great performer, and a rhyme sensibility that sounded like there should be a group of kids playing double dutch near her at all times. She was awesome, and the whole crowd knew it.

Gabby left us for the VIP tent at that point, and Eddie and I headed back to the Outdoor Stage to catch Tegan and Sara, who I'd been in love with for the last couple months. They did not disappoint, doing a whole bunch of songs from their latest album, plus a few older favorites. The audience seemed to be getting into them too, as evidenced by the eruption of cheers when they finally played "Walking With A Ghost" (their current radio hit, if you can call an indy song that).

As much as I would have loved to check out Gang of Four on the main stage then, I had to stay at the Outdoor Stage, because next up was the band I'd been waiting the whole weekend to see... The Arcade Fire.

Eddie and I took the time to move ourselves up to the front of the stage, and it was well worth it, as we were about to see probably the greatest live act to come along in god only knows how many years (I'll try not to repeat Eddie's blog in my take on them).

As good as their recorded music is, none of it even REMOTELY compares to hearing it performed live, to seeing it be performed by an amazingly talented group of musicians that deserve every ounce of fame they get. They put their heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears (and I'm not kidding about the last three, there seriously was blood, as well as sweat and tears) into every note they play, and the end result is nothing short of magical.

The first song they played, there were a decent amount of people crowded around the stage... by the last song, at least HALF of the festival was standing behind us, dancing and singing along to the music. And when it was over, I knew, at least by judging the emotions and reactions of all standing around me, that every one of them realized that they'd just witnessed something special. Something that will be remembered for years to come. Something that, when people ask years later what the defining moment was in this band's career, will be looked upon as the point where they graduated from a well-thought of indy band, to true stars in the music world. It's a performance I'll never forget.

After it was done (and the awe had worn off), I called my ex-girlfriend Sarah (who was there at the festival) to see if she'd seen the performance. She unfortunately hadn't, but the phonecall gave me and Eddie the chance to meet up with her and her friend Ebony for a bite to eat, and to tell them all about it.

We exchanged our day's experiences, and then Eddie and I ventured over to the main stage, where New Order were finishing up their set.

I love New Order, but frankly, their set was boring, to say the least. Of course, anything following Arcade Fire would be... but they weren't even trying. The lead singer had a bum leg, but still, a tiny bit of energy would have been nice.Once they finished, Eddie and I worked our way into the crowd, waiting to see Nine Inch Nails perform. We only made it halfway through, as Eddie didn't want to get too smashed, and neither of us wanted to even attempt getting close to the front... we'd heard enough horror stories of people getting trampled by moshers in years past to stay away from there (although the worst stories I heard dealt with Bjork fans, of all people... but that's for another time).

Luckily, we found a very nice spot in the crowd, and quickly started making conversation with people, especially two guys named Pete and a woman whose name escapes me at the moment (she was one of the Pete's wife, and a very lovely lady at that). During the set change, video feed from the Robochrist exhibit came up on the big screens surrounding the stage, and we all had a great time joking about it, waiting for Robochrist to annihilate the giant baby that had been built specifically for that reason (see my pictures for more on the baby).

Every so often, a few people decided to push through us; we all realized that for some reason, no matter what crowd we're in, the traffic lanes always seem to go through exactly where we're standing. Strangest thing.

Eddie sat at one point, and almost got his hand stomped by a couple of rabid Trent fans trying to get through. Luckily, he got his hand out just in time, and stood up, only to get a quick apology and then pushed as they moved through. He quickly said, "Careful, there's a bag down there," praying that they wouldn't stomp on his backpack.

They said "thanks," and moved around it.At that point, I remarked, "Careful, there's a baby down there," eliciting a scream and a leap in the air from one of the Trent fans. We all had a great laugh about that, and then the show started.

Nine Inch Nails has always been, and hopefully always will be, a great show. Trent is nothing but energy, and his backing band is nothing but the same. They performed a perfect mix of old and new, and left me completely satisfied. And when it was done, it was off to Prodigy.

Again, Eddie said a lot about Prodigy's show in his blog, so I'll leave it at this; I didn't think I had any energy left, but when they started, my third, fourth and fifth winds all hit me at once, and I was a non-stop dancing machine, doing breakbeat styles that I hadn't done in years. My legs hated me, and my lungs wanted to explode, but god, it was worth it.

Once they finished, Eddie and I hobbled back to his car, and after a small amount of exit traffic, were on the freeway, on our way to... In N' Out! Nothing like a good meal after a long day. We got our food from the drive-thru, and then the shoes came off, and we were on our way home.

I slept most of the way, so I wasn't privy to Eddie seeing Ludacris's forehead in his delusional state (and frankly I'm happy I wasn't, I probably would have been scared shitless then). And once home, I went right to my bed and slept for god only knows how many hours, woke up sore the next day, but feeling great regardless, and wishing the weekend could have kept going.

But that's what next year's for.

So, there's my report, and now here's my pictures.

No pics, sorry... this is an old blog, after all.

Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 Appendix B: Another reason to hate MTV (and love Pink Floyd)

Taken from Damian's Myspace blog, 02 Jul 05 Saturday:

Right now, Sting is performing live at Live 8, a great rendition of "Every Breath You Take," the lyrics changed to reflect the G8 summit. MTV shows about two minutes of the song... then cuts to go to a pre-taped piece explaining the whole reason this concert exists.
Now, I have no problem with showing that tape, it's good to inform MTV viewers what the real reason is behind this spectacle today. But christ, you couldn't wait 2 MORE MINUTES?! Is the attention span of the latest generation that ridiculously short that they can't listen to one song in it's entirety?!
It's seeming to be a pretty good bet that MTV will actually be showing Pink Floyd's performance, as amazingly enough, the VJs have been mentioning it all day, and for MTV to even make note of a band that's over five years old is pretty suprising (where was the coverage for Def Leppard, A-Ha, Roxy Music, Duran Duran... ELTON JOHN?! at least they're giving Bon Jovi a 30 second recap).
However, if they cut during Floyd's performance, this one-time only event that's been 23 years in the making... well, I know where the west coast MTV building is, and I know how to make firebombs.
I never thought I would ever say this, and I feel dirty for doing so... but thank god for AOL. They've had the live feed from every stage the entire day. It's fantastic. And exactly what MTV/VH1 should be doing, they've got 8 cable channels, why not simulcast from each stage? Philly and London on the basic cable channels, the other stages on the digital tier (from who's played in Berlin so far, they'd be perfect for VH1 Classic).
Maybe in another 20 years they'll get it right. Now, where's that kerosene...
Addendum: Something I forgot to mention on my bulletin of this blog... MTV/VH1 is broadcasting with commercial breaks. At least 15-20 minutes of commercials per hour, to my estimate.
I don't know, maybe I'm just being a little too rough on them... but, I don't know, considering this is a FREE worldwide concert event that's being produced to make a POLITICAL STATEMENT and there is NO PROFIT being made from this venture...
...isn't it just a little, well, ridiculously horrible of MTV/VH1 to sell advertising time during this broadcast? Doesn't that make them just, I don't know, disgusting coporate whores, making money off a non-profit event designed to raise awareness of world poverty?
I really don't have anything to follow that with. There's no joke to be made.
2nd Addendum: Well, Pink Floyd has played. And I'll give MTV a 20% kudo for it, they started broadcasting right as the heartbeat started pumping through Hyde Park. They stayed put for all four songs that Floyd played, and god, it was amazing seeing them back together and complete... before playing "Wish You Were Here," Roger even took a moment to throw a shoutout to Syd. Then seeing them perform it together, Roger and David singing together again... words can't describe it. I can only pray they'll do one more tour together before calling it quits for good.
Words, however, can describe the fucking COCKSUCKING IDIOT ASSHOLES at MTV, who decided to let the VJs start talking during "Comfortably Numb" (during the SECOND VERSE, no less!). And then they say they're cutting to yet another commercial break, only to go back to the stage for the last guitar solo of the song, then AGAIN cut out before the song finishes! So I run upstairs to the webcast, and see that there was less than 30 seconds of the song left before they cut to commercial.
Hence why they only get a 20% kudo, because that last fuck-up cost them an 80% that I took and shat upon before setting fire to it and stomping on the ashes.
Anyway, this blog's done... Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney are playing (sadly at the same time, it's so difficult to decide which to choose), and I've got the rest of a webcast to watch. I think I've gotta go with Sir Paul though... as he's currently leading the crowd in a sing-along of "Hey Jude," and all of today's performers are onstage with him.
Oh, and one more thing... FUCK MTV.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

This Week's Music Biz-tch: Dolores O'Riordan

I've decided to start ongoing categories of things I get a strange urge to rant about. Why, I don't know... probably because it's late. Or maybe because I feel like it. Who knows... (if you do, please tell me, cause really, I'm at a loss)

In 1992, the Cranberries were introduced to mainland America, and with them came the breathy voice of their lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan. Now at times a breathy voice can be very attractive and sexy; I was on the phone just last night with a woman who had an incredibly breathy voice, and it drove me absolutely wild. It’s a shame I had to pay $5.99 a minute to hear it.

Dolores, on the other hand, has a voice so breathy that it leads one to hyperventilation. When she sings "Dreams," I find myself feeling as if I’ve just run a marathon while chain smoking cigarettes. There’s no amount of Powerade that can bring the strength back into my system; I’m having a full-on asthma attack, my lungs not able to hold air in for more than a second at best.

Sometimes Dolores will use her powerful voice though, as evidenced in the hit single off of the Cranberries’ second album, "Zombie." Unfortunately, that so-called powerful voice is nothing but an 80’s cliché; that is, singing strong, but voicing certain notes as if she’s a pubescent male, her voice cracking on high notes that her non-existent Adam’s apple just can’t get around.

Admittedly, this voice crack can be enjoyable, as when Howard Jones did it, or Simon Lebon from Duran Duran used it for emotional purposes. Of course, actual emotion would probably have worked better for them, but this was the 80’s, and everyone was so strung out on coke that emotions couldn’t possibly be allowed to interfere with the magic.

When Dolores does it though, it feels ridiculously forced. It feels like an extra period at the end of a sentence. And the fact is "I went to the store.." looks stupid on paper. It looks like a mistake, which it is. Just like her singing voice.

Friday, December 23, 2005

I Hate the 80's, part Deux

All right, so some of you don't quite understand the evil behind my last blog (and yes, I've explained it to a few of you in person already, or on IM or whatever, but I felt I should print it, as I finally could put into words the pain I was feeling).

Here's the long and short of the clip: you've basically got two characters from Hill Street Blues (and I do mean characters, as the actors from the show are in their usual show outfits), doing a song and dance act with people dressed up as characters from the Saturday morning cartoon show Shirt Tales.

Now, here are the two questions that immediately spring to mind when I see this clip: Firstly, WHAT THE FUCK are two Hill Street Blues characters doing interacting with cute cuddly cartoon animals, and secondly, WHO IN THE HELL is the demographic that NBC was trying to reach with this?!

This clip has confused a few people because frankly, you had to be watching quite a bit of TV back in 1984 to even know the references, and whereas I was (and I'm a nerd when it comes to pop-culture from that time period), not everyone else was following suit. So here's a mathamatical equation based on what's in that clip.

Hill Street Blues + Shirt Tales = NYPD Blue + Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers = C.S.I. + Rolie Polie Olie = Beretta + Romper Room.

Okay, now we're on common ground. Sorta.

So, my first question really can't be answered, aside from the fact that in the early 80's, networks would regularly combine shows and stars for promotional purpose, usually during sweeps week (this practice continued into the early 90's, when you had the gang from Friends and the cast of Mad About You experiencing a blackout... thank god Seinfeld never took part in this shit). They would regularly throw their actors into such tripe as Circus Of the Stars, Battle Of the Network Stars, and random holiday specials. In this case, it's understandable why the network would use one show to try and make the other a hit.

But this is where my second question trumps everything else, which is again, WHO THE FUCK were their target demographic?! I mean, I have a job in the TV industry, I know the way the system works. Everyone's trying to reach a certain demographic, be it the 18-24 year olds (the most popular demographic by far), the baby boomers, or the elderly... where was the age group they were trying to sell to? I mean, figure you've got one demographic that's gonna watch a prime-time drama at 10:00 pm, and another that's watching a 9:00 am Saturday morning cartoon show. There's no correlation!

I guess it's possible that some drunk-assed mother fucker taped Hill Street Blues one night, and didn't watch it until 8:00 am two days later, and then watched Shirt Tales afterwards because they were too fucked up (and too lonely) to think of going to bed... but really, that's a very tiny demographic. Hell, that's about a million less people than watched the It's Garry Shandling Show on FOX way back when, and that was cancelled after a season and a half.

In short, I've learned from the experience of watching this clip that the 80's sucked. I mean, they didn't suck as much as the 70's... Christ, in that decade you not only had The Osmonds, but you also had The Captain and Tennile Hour. But still, as much as I hate modern television, at least I can be satisfied that The Simpsons are not going to cross paths with Jack Bauer from 24. At least, not until next Thanksgiving...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I Hate the 80's

For those of you who know me, after reading the above title you're probably wondering, "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?!"

I'm completely serious though. Take a look at this clip and you'll understand why. I can't describe it. You just have to watch it. Then you'll know the pain I'm currently in.

(clip stolen from http://www.x-entertainment.com)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Why Our World Is Doomed, pt. 1

I was flipping around the channels this evening, looking for something entertaining to watch; I stopped on AMC, and saw that the movie they were showing was Above the Law.

That's right, I said Above the Law. A late-80's Steven Seagal action flick. Showing on AMC. American Movie Classics.

I'll be starting work on my bomb shelter tomorrow morning.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Different strokes...

It's strange how sometimes we never realize how incredibly boring we as human beings can be. Our differences make us unique, our interests make us different. Yet a lot of times, the things that we find fascinating as individuals are completely snooze-worthy to others.

Tonight, I was watching Robert Rodriguez's 15-Minute Film School, included on the second disc of the new Sin City DVD set, and while I was incredibly intrigued by everything he had to say, I started wondering to myself, "what would someone who could care less about comic books and greenscreen be thinking to themselves while watching this? How fast would they fall asleep?" Now, Rodriguez is a genius at making even the most boring of film processes sound entertaining, yet still, one must have at least some sort of interest in it to make it enjoyable.

I hearken back to when I was in high school, and the lectures we would get in different classes. Sometimes, I was fascinated; my ears were always completely attuned to whatever my history teachers would be saying, and I couldn't stop raising my hand to comment on whatever piece of literature we'd be studying in English class. Yet it was rare that my chemistry notes weren't covered in doodles, and it was even more unlikely that I'd be able to keep my head away from the cold comfort of my desk during a geometry lesson.

As my Myspace readers are well aware of from my previous blogs there, I tend to be something of a pop culture fanatic. I eat 80's music, I drink video games, I sleep crappy television shows. And while I can drone on and on about the merits of Starsky & Hutch and the hidden talents of Falco, I sometimes wonder, just how much am I boring the person listening to me?

Don't get me wrong, I can have fascinating conversations about politics, I can wax nonstop about religion, I can definitely carry myself when it comes to deep and meaningful topics. But even then, one needs an ear open to that kind of thing, and frankly, if I'm talking to a racing fanatic about McCarthyism, there's a good chance they're not going to stay interested for very long. Of course, on the other hand, I'm only going to stay awake listening to stories about legends of NASCAR for a very short period of time.

So as human beings, we need conversation, we need to feel that we're not alone in this world, and so we tend to surround ourselves with people of the same ilk, the same upbringing, the same mindsets. Actors hang out with actors, musicians hang out with musicians, doctors and lawyers make friends with their same breed. Sometimes I wonder if the real reason behind problems with race relations nowadays isn't because of racism, but because different races have different cultures, and as such, it's sometimes difficult to see eye to eye on a number of things, not because of color, but because of surroundings.

Of course, that theory gets shot to hell the minute one takes into account that white people have all the money, thereby enforcing neighborhood segregation.

But really, how many problems in our country today are caused because of this need to be comfortable in our surroundings? How much better would our little world be, if say, Republicans made friends with Democrats? If Christians hung out with Muslims? How many problems of society could be cured if people would look outside the box, and realize that outside of their little worlds, there are differences of opinion?

Right now, we live in a country controlled by religious extremists, right-wingers that only see things from their own personal viewpoints. We have rich people pretending to know what poor people need, we have fundamentalist Christians who think they know what's best for a Muslim country. We have them sending out Martha Stewart clones like Karen Hughes to preach their brand of democracy to a people whose culture reflects very little of that. And then they wonder why their ideals aren't immediately accepted.

You know why I'm pro-choice? Not because I necessarily believe that abortion is a good thing; frankly, I see it as an extreme last resort. But the fact is, pro-choice is not pro-death, it's pro-choice. I've seen people have abortions because an accident happened, and there's no way that the consequences of that action would be good for anyone, primarily the unborn child. And I've seen abortions happen as a form of birth control. I believe in that first example, and I detest the second. But regardless, the important thing to me is that the choice is there.

As much as I hate the fact that abortion rights give people like the ones in the second example an excuse to be stupid, I thank God that those same rights afford the people from the first example an option for their lives not to be ruined, and for another life not to be created, only to be thrown away. On that same note, I hate the fact that a group like the KKK even exists, but I'm thankful that such a hateful extremist group is allowed the freedom to express their beliefs.

The fact is, no matter your interests, no matter your beliefs, there are always many people that agree, and many people that don't. While it's safe to wrap yourself up in your own little world, and pay no attention to the people behind the curtain, they're there. And they'll always be there. And they have just as much right to believe in whatever they believe as you do.

So I'll keep on talking about Falco. And if you're not interested, that's quite all right. As long as you let me be entitled to my opinion.

Note: I had no idea this blog would get so philosophical, I started it with the intent of making a joke about boring conversations. My apologies.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Disclaimer (consider this post #1)

Here's the deal: I used to post blogs on Myspace all the time, but after a while I decided it was best to get an outside site to do it (mainly because a friend of mine couldn't read one of them without signing up, and since she didn't want to, I had to give her a password to a second account I have on that site, and I'm weird about that). So anyway, this is my new home for the stupid ramblings I post on a semi-occasional basis.

Now, here's the reason I'm writing this disclaimer: frankly, there are a few blogs that I've written on Myspace which I really enjoy, but the fact is, I'm a lazy bastard, and I really don't feel like copy-pasting all of them over here (especially since the dates and times they were written will all be the same, and frankly, some of them just don't fit in this modern age we live in). So if any new people are truly interested in my past musings, they can be found here: http://www.myspace.com/maximumfun. There you'll find all sorts of fun ramblings, surveys, reviews and other pointless crap. And if you look back REALLY far, you might even find blogs of a personal nature, something that I NEVER write anymore. So have fun looking back at my personal life, and um, carpe diem or some shit like that.

Oh yeah, just so as not to piss anyone off, I should mention it's incredibly rare that I add anyone I don't know personally to my Myspace friend's list. So if you do decide to look back at my past, and think that I'm so ultra-cool and suave and shit that you want to add me, you're welcome to try, but unless I'm really amazed by the accompanying email, chances are I won't reply. It's not because I'm a pretentious dick... well, maybe it is that. I don't know. Probably.

Yeah, it is that.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sport relations

I know many people that are "sports" fans, i.e. they just love sports in general, and follow whatever sport is in season. They know the teams, they know the players; they know stats, rankings, rumors, injuries... anything and everything. They know pro sports, college sports, majors and minors; they know classes, leagues, and all sorts of other terms and phrases. I just can't do it. I try, but I can't.

See, as I am with relationships, I am with sports; I pick a game, I pick a team, and I stick with that one monogamously. I find it very difficult to stray... oh sure, I'll look at another team sometimes; occasionally I'll find myself quite interested in another sport, even. But that's a very rare occurrence, and I always feel kind of dirty about it afterwards.

My sport is baseball. My team is the Dodgers. That's all I need, that's all I'll ever want. Sure, we have our ups and downs (christ, we had some serious issues this past season), but we always work it out, we always find ourselves together at the start of the season, ready to begin anew.

Now, I'm quite happy with my one team. I go to their games, I buy their merchandise, I read the articles and keep an eye on the player stats. And that's enough for me.

For some guys, one team, even one sport, just isn't enough, and I don't understand it. Like I said, I've tried... but I just can't root for other teams. I can't care about other players. Admittedly, I was quite happy when the White Sox won the Series this past year, but that happiness wasn't for myself; it was for my friends and co-workers from Chicago who finally saw one of their long-running loser curses end. It was like watching the friend who'd always been miserably alone finally find true love, and attending the wedding. Even with that happiness, however, I still felt pangs of remorse that my Dodgers and I hadn't had that experience.

Maybe that's why I can follow baseball so easily, because it is in essence, a monogamous sport. Baseball has always been a hometown game, everyone from one city rooting for their team to beat that other city, and prove who's better. Why else would rivalries in baseball always be between neighbors? Yankees and Red Sox. Los Angeles and San Francisco, and to a lesser extent, the Padres. Not true neighbors, sure, but coastal neighbors, marking their territory along the shoreline.

And there are major rivalries between actual neighbors, and thanks to interleague play, they can finally shine. The fact is, in most major cities, you're one or the other. In Chicago, you're either a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan. In New York, you either love the Yankees or the Mets. In San Francisco, it's the Giants or the A's. In Los Angeles... well, I don't like to talk about that. Let's just say there are a lot of Dodgers "fans" who apparently think that just because the grass is greener on the other side, that means they should move next door.

Of course, these "fans" explain quite a bit about why so many Angelenos are willing to cheat on their spouse just because they see a bigger pair of tits. All I can say to them is, by now they should know that those OC racks are fake.

Now other sports aren't as monogamous. Take football, for instance. Now, sure, most football fans have their home team (and coming from a major city that has no home team, it's admittedly hard for me to know that feeling), but they still know about every other team, every other player. My co-workers all watch football, and they all know what every team is doing, what every coach is thinking, and what every player can achieve. It doesn't matter to them who's playing, they'll still watch the game, and care about who wins. They're paying just as much attention to the relationships around them as the one they're in.

College football is even crazier. I don't know of one college football watcher how isn't completely aware of how every team is doing, and who won't be watching every single bowl game at the beginning of the year. Even when they have their own teams to root for (I won't even get into the UCLA-USC rivalry), they still take the time to pay attention to everyone else. Maybe it's only because of the amount of betting going on, but frankly, I think there's more. Of course, there's always more going on in college relationships than meets the eye, so...

Then we get to basketball. Now, basketball fans tend to be quite homegrown; LA people are Lakers fans (although this year they're Clippers fans... again this fairweather shit), Bostoners are Celtics fans, Chicagoians are Bulls fans, etc. Yet here's the strange thing; even being hometown fans, they still root for certain players, regardless of what team they're on.

The fact is, EVERYONE loved Michael Jordan. Everyone roots for Shaq. Larry Bird, Dr. J, no matter where you came from, you'd root for these guys. Maybe it's only because of their prominence in merchandising, but maybe not.

When the Dodgers sent Paul LoDuca, one of their biggest fan favorite players, to Florida, he was gone. Sure, he got a standing O when the Marlins came back to LA, but was anyone gonna follow his career after that? No. Derrick Jeter, hands down one of the best players in the game for a few years now, and even a one-time SNL host... does anyone watch Yankees games soley to watch him play? No. Because in baseball, it's all about the team, it's monogamous. In basketball, it's about who's got the hottest ass (in a manner of speaking, of course).

I refuse to comment on NCAA March Madness at this point, because the fact is, college basketball is one of the worst offenders in this case. I don't know one person following this stuff who doesn't know every single team. Fuckin' hound dogs, they be.

Now, what about smaller sports? Golf, tennis, boxing, Xtreme sports... these games are all about stars. And the people watching these are even bigger starfuckers than basketball fans. They're playas, all of them, going back and forth between contenders at the drop of a hat. Even worse, they're like princesses... oh, this guy's got more money and fame, I'll drop whoever I'm with to fuck HIM now!

You'll notice I skipped hockey. Yeah, that's because I can't make heads or tails about that sport whatsoever. Or its fans.

I also skipped soccer, but that's because soccer is an anomaly. Soccer's like S&M, you either like it or you don't. And when you like it, it doesn't matter who's playing, because it's the action that's more exhilarating than anything else. No matter which team you might favor, when a goal is kicked in, it's exciting no matter what.

I also skipped a few of the bar sports that have gotten popular lately; pool, poker, darts. These sports are like dating. There's no real feeling involved, you just know that you like what you see, and you enjoy it, without attachment to anybody.

Luckily, there's one event that ties it all together, lets all of us, monogamous and playa alike, see eye to eye, and that is the Olympics. Because at that time, it doesn't matter who we're fucking, or how close we are to them (or distant, for that matter), we're all rooting for the same thing. Suddenly, we all see eye to eye; regardless of situation; we all find one common ground, and that's the ego. After all, what are the Olympics for, other than an attempt to prove that our partner is better than the partners everyone else have?

Just as I've felt pride in seeing other women eye whoever my girlfriend is with jealousy, I feel the same pride in seeing my country's contender standing on top of the awards platform, accepting a gold. Sure, sometimes I feel bad that another country didn't get that medal they'd worked so hard for... but I get over it fairly quickly.

Eh, overall, I'm happy with monogamy. Think Blue!

Note: I excluded the World Cup and the upcoming World Baseball Classic from the last bit about the Olympics, as the feeling's about the same, and therefore redundant. Deal with it.