Monday, March 31, 2008

Vaya con dios

Saturday night we ventured downtown to take in the production that’s sweeping LA: “Point Break Live.” It’s just like the movie we all love only it’s live and with one big catch: someone from the audience has gotta play Keanu. Because really, how hard can it be?

So there’s an open casting call before the show where anyone who wants to play Keanu can get up, deliver a few lines and based on audience applause, possibly win the chance to play him. I declined to audition because, as I put it to the table “if I’m gonna audition, I’m gonna get that part. LA's not ready for my Keanu.” And frankly, I was more in the mood to watch.

As you might expect, it was quite an interactive experience with lots of water, some meatball sandwiches, lots of gunfire and foot chases, and Bode’s gang periodically hopping into the audience and putting their crotches in people’s faces. Fortunately we sprang for the $1 “emergency kits” which included a pancho, a napkin and some fake Monopoly-style money that we never really figured out what in the world it was for. The panchos did keep you dry I'm told if you didn’t get up to go to the bathroom during the big “storm of the century” scene and miss the deluge. But here are Katy and Whitney modeling theirs:

The show’s pretty damn funny and with the help of cue cards even the guy playing Keanu was pretty good. Our own Grant even got recruited to make a cameo as the “guy in the bank who’s an undercover cop” who of course shoots one of Bode’s gang members only to be shot himself. He was born for the part. Check him out!

And a post-show action shot to boot!

One of the more interesting parts of the night was that the thing took place at this bombed-out bar space downtown somewhere (actually 5th and Spring). Anyway, I don’t make it downtown too much and I’ll tell you why. Downtown LA is like a weird post-apocalyptic ghost town at night. It’s all high-rises up top and then semi-empty streets lined with nightshades that inevitably cover the entrances to weird businesses whose names are in foreign languages and people who just seem to be wandering. To where, you have no idea. Oh yeah, and of course there’s lofts. For the urban pioneer in all of us. I'm actually going back down there tonight to see the French electronic duo Justice play. Can't get enough of that downtown LA!

Oh and for kicks, here are some pictures from when Whitney and I went to the Hollywood Bowl for Easter.

So L.A. So, so L.A.

Friday, March 28, 2008

On to the Elite 8

Oh and by the way, Brook and Robin. Those are girls names, fellas.

I told you before and I'm telling you again, don't sleep on Texas. We could just snatch the whole thing while the Bruins and the Tar Heels aren't lookin'.

Hook 'em.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A few thoughts

In lieu of a legit post (my big ideas are frikkin' tapped right now) perhaps ya'll might settle for a few random observations/thoughts. Really? Ahh, that's nice of ya.

Let's do this!

Thought #1. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Clinton’s really only care about the Clintons. Not a shocker but it’s getting clearer every day. They pitch it as “hey, we want to represent your interests” but they really only care about themselves. And who in their right mind would ever take the VP job behind her and Bill? No one! I’ve even heard this idea now that they don’t care about this election but rather wrecking Obama in the hopes that McCain serves a single term and she runs again in 2012. God help us. You fucking can’t win, bitch! It’s impossible! Get out!

Sorry, but this whole thing has really taken a toll on me. I can't stand her to begin with and at this point it is personal. I felt the same way when she came carpetbagging up to New York when I lived there.

Thought #2. M. Ward and Zoe Deschenal’s new little band/thing, She and Him, released a new album called “Volume One” yesterday and to my ears it’s pretty darn good. I'm usually massively wary of actresses who start singing. But she's kinda killer. Check out “Why do you let me stay here?” and see what I mean. Shazam, that's nice!

Thought #3. Not sure what to think of these Chester French dudes just yet. Kinda like Vampire Weekend only not as good, me thinks.

Thought #4. How long do you think it will be until prime time TV is completely overrun by game shows? A week? Two? It can’t be long now. I thought the writer’s strike was over. What's up? I heard today Family Feud is coming to prime time! Really? Do we really want to watch that show? Has anyone ever wanted to watch that show that hasn't been injured in an accident and might be entitled to compensation? Don't even get me started on that "My dad vs. your dad" show.

Thought #5.
That David Cook is growing on me. Seems to me he’s the only one really making other people’s songs his own. I feel like everyone else is like watching karaoke only your song is never gonna come up and there’s no booze. I’m looking at you Ramiele. You too, Dreads. Ya’ll’s a snoozefest. Don’t even get me started on you, Krtisty Lee Republican, and your god-awful cover of that dreadful “I’m proud to be an American” song. That thing made me have to Febreze my tv and then dip it in bleach from all the stank you put up in it.

Thought #5A. And Michael Johns. Dude, first off I don’t trust people with two first names. Is it Michael or it is John? Make up your mind. Second, as Collin pointed out like last week, you’re not Michael Hutchence! It’s time to come to terms with that. And dude, if I hear one more frikkin’ straight rendition of a Queen song I’m gonna fly out there and…oh, wait…I live here. I could be there in 15 minutes, depending on traffic. Something to think about it, double-first-name.

Thought #5B. Jorge Villalobos, err David Archuleta, is like a puppet. Or a show dog. Which makes him incredibly qualified to win the whole thing.

Thought #6. Don't sleep on the Longhorns. We could just sneak up and steal this whole tourney right out from under ya. You gotsta have your dream bracket.

Thought #7. We did have a lovely Easter weekend spent between the beach, barbecues, watching roundball, and of course church at the Hollywood Bowl. Gotta love LA.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mental illin'

Tuesday night I was watchin’ the American Idol and I made some comment about Chikezie having a potential Cee-lo element to him. But after spending a couple of days with the new Gnarls Barkley album, “The Odd Couple”, I’m not so sure.

A, Chikezie ain’t got Danger Mouse in his corner and B, something tells me Chikezie hasn’t seen what Cee-lo’s seen. You gotta be a little unhinged to write and sing songs with lyrics like “I got some bad news this morning/which in turn made my day” or “I could be/a would-be killer.” Those songs may not win you the American Idol title but them will sure make you a front-runner for the “Fascination Streak Album of the Year” shortlist. Bow down!

Thankfully, Cee-lo’s psychosis is alive and well as are beats and handclaps and killer songs about falling in love with blind girls named Mary who "has no idea I'm ugly/so I have absolutely nothing to hide.” It’s the kind of album that alternately makes you wanna dance and hide under your bed in fear.

Buy it. Borrow it. Steal it. Thank yourself later.

Lick o' the fingers, tip o' the trash can

It's been a while since I've reviewed some foods for you folks so allow me to lick a couple o' fingers:

Diamond Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds

Goddamn! Them's tasty. I was just introduced to them last weekend but they've been an enjoyment since. A little spicy, a little salty, a little almondy. A little bit frikkin' delicious. Get thee some.

M&M's Speck-tacular Peanut Butter Eggs
(photo not available, bag in trash already)
I suppose I knew these existed before this Easter but man alive, they are some kind of good. Like little Reese's peanut butter cups wrapped in a delicious candy shell. That curiously doesn't melt in your hand. Huh, would you look at that? I suppose that's one of the joys of being an adult is you don't have to hunt for delicious Easter eggs anymore. You can just buy them by the frikkin' half-pound bag. De-de-delicious. Happy huntin'!

And then, for old time's sake, a tip o' the trashcan (if for no other reason than to balance this feature out):


Who really likes these? I mean, I know they're basically sugar and kind of like marshmallows but they're just so weird. They were also never that big in our house growing up so that may have something to do with it. We were more of a foil-wrapped chocolate bunny kind of family. The little ones whose chocolate was always a little off in the taste department. It's kinda the same disappointment you get from eating those little candy Valentine's Day hearts even though you're all like "sweet, candy!" before you eat a couple and remember why you've never in your life actually bought them. I'm the same way with candy corn but, just like the Peeps, people seem to love it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

An open letter to the state of Florida

Dear Florida,

Look, you guys have been a part of these United States for 162 years. We here at national think that’s long enough to start getting the hang of these elections we have every few years. But the last couple of weeks have given us reason to believe you’re not—man, how should we put this—quite up to speed just yet. We’d really like to see a marked improvement in your electoral abilities like frikkin’ immediately or we will be forced to exclude you from them altogether. Thems the breaks, people.

While we hate to pin the last seven years of utter disaster on you, it’s hard not to with that whole “hanging chad thing” back in 2000. How ya’ll fucked that up, we’ll never know. I think I speak for all of us at the national level when I say even though you learned nothing from your mistake and once again voted for dipshit in 2004 we all figured surely you could get your act together by 2008.

Clearly we were wrong. Way wrong.

We’re not entirely sure what part of “if you hold your democratic primary ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire, your votes will not count” you didn’t understand but something clearly got missed. Could it be your elderly population couldn’t read the small type? Could it be your relocated felons feel they are still above the law? Could it just be that you simply possess a disproportionate number of idiots, Camaro-drivers and tank-top wearers? It's hard to say.

What is easy to say is your votes won’t be counting in this primary season. Sorry. Truth is, we tried to be clear with you and Michigan but our current feeling is any state that can’t follow instructions as simple as “move ahead of Iowa and your votes won’t count” shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all. We hope you understand.

We do want to thank you for the laughs we've all had here at headquarters as we've watched you try to figure out how to pull off the first ever mail-in ballot election in your state’s history. Lord knows that’s the last thing ya’ll need to be trying.

And I think I speak for all of us here when I say we really got a huge kick out of your initial request for a “do-over” until we realized you were actually serious. Then we just felt sorry for you.

We’ll miss you in Denver but I’m sure we’ll talk again in November when you no doubt fuck up somehow and throw the general election to a 71-year old anger management case with a lust for war because you can’t punch your ballots correctly. Can’t wait for that!

Oh yeah, and your state is shaped like a penis. We’re just sayin’.



Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bigger than Jesus

I’ve been thinking all day about what Beatles song I would have covered had I been on last night’s American Idol show. So far here’s what I’ve come up with for songs that would kill:

“Hard Day’s Night”

“I Am the Walrus”

“Hello, Goodbye”


“And Your Bird Can Sing”

Or I’d dip back into the speed-pill-fueled days of Hamburg and let it rip with one of these numbers:

“It Won’t Be Long”

“Roll over Beethoven”

“Twist and Shout”

Or, if I felt like I could get down on my knees and belt it out proper, I'd bring down the house with this little gem off "Abbey Road":

"Oh Darling"

Tell me that wouldn't end the show right there. Bring out the crown!

(side note: Good golly miss molly, John and Paul wrote some good songs didn't they? Hearing those tunes rearranged like they were just shows you how perfect those songs were to begin with and how time's only made them better here 40-something years later. Stunning.)

Job security

To all my friends who work in advertising, design or pretty much anything having to do with branding, enjoy. Your job is perfectly safe. So long as ads like this one are out there, anyway.

If I directed this, here would be my direction:

Ok people! I want to take the energy down a notch. Say you're at a ten, I want you to drop it down to like a two. And you, in the black dress, I want you to imagine you've been asleep since 1975. Give me groggy. Give me slumbering. And don't use your "acting", just read the cue cards. And you sir, be weirder. And stop more for awkward pauses. Don't be afraid to sing a little too. It's all gonne sync up perfectly with the footage behind you. Trust me guys, once I edit this thing up with some perfectly-timed cuts and we add in the graphics and animation in post and then put ya'll in front of the sweet footage we already shot you're gonna see what I mean. Trust me. Wait 'til you see the Lochness Monster sequence I put together. Ok, places, people! And action!

I wouldn't trust them to film my average Tuesday night on the couch let alone something important. It would be one thing if they were selling yarn or discount pet grooming but they're selling their ability to make movies! Poorly, it seems. And was that a leather glove during the "prom" shot?

Don't hate. Educate.

I'm no Geraldine Ferraro by any means but I'll admit LA has done one thing to me. And that's turn me into a total carist. And I'm not talking about judging people for what they drive but rather judging cars by how they're normally driven. I have no regard for race, age or ability of driver. Just car type. When I'm in traffic, based on nothing more than good old-fashioned vehicular stereotyping, I can tell you which lane's gonna actually move with a near 99% accuracy (non-scientific result).

I give you, The Fascination Streak guide to carspotting in LA.

Toyota Tercel/Corolla/ Nissan Sentra - Slow. Likely to come to near complete stops when making right turns, are in no hurry to get anywhere, and very likely have some sort of stuffed or bobble-headed animal on the back window shelf. Avoid if possible.

Minivan (any make) - Erratic but more than likely slow and unlikely to have any interest in catching some lights. Subtract five miles-an-hour from the posted speed limit for each kid's activity sticker on the back window and that'll give you their average speed.

Land yacht (any make) - Unless you see some cool dude at the wheel and that bad boy's purple and convertible, it's someone who's driving like you would if you were on the couch: slowly, widely and possibly with a drink.

Meredes C-class/BMW 3-series - Eratic. Slow then fast then slow then fast—ish. Also likely to make left's from the right lane. And multi-tasking like they've got four jobs. And they might. 'Cause I mean how can you be true player in a 3-series or a c-class? 5-series maybe. Exception: Armenian guys in these cars. They want pretty lady to hair sexy guy in Mercedes.

Mercedes S-class/BMW 7-series - Get behind these guys. They move fast and smoothly with little unnecessary lane changing. Tuck in and go. Just don't follow too closely however as their drivers often look to be the "gun totin'" or "gat packin'" type.

SUV (any type) - Reckless. Let 'em pass. People get all high up and think it's like a videogame or sumthin'. Exception: SUV's with kid's activity stickers on them. They drive slowly and unpredictably. Still suspect though.

Volkswagen (any model) - Probably the best drivers out there (non-scientific result).

I trust I don't even have to tell you to never even think about following any of these:

Delivery trucks
Delivery vans
Shuttle buses
Tour buses
Any vehicle whose driver you can't actually see over the steering wheel

Friday, March 07, 2008

A few deep thoughts

I think if I worked at the stock exchange and the market was totally tanking I’d spend most of the day doing stuff like rubbing my temples, sitting with my head in my hands or just staring up at the big board with my mouth open in disbelief. ‘Cause then I’d be the guy in the paper the next morning under the headline “Stocks Plummet.”

If I was on American Idol, I’d avoid covering the following artists’ songs: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and anyone that that total lesbian/biker/Roseanne Barr/Sweeney Todd/Janis-wanna-be chick decides to cover.

An interesting topic that came up the other night: if you had to tattoo a band’s name and/or logo on yourself, who would it be? I said the Stone’s tongue logo at the time. But then I thought it might be funnier to tattoo something like “Kajagoogoo” and people would always be like “hey, didn’t they have that song ‘Too Shy’ in the 80’s?” “Yeah,” I’d say. “They did.” And then I’d just watch as the whole thing sunk in for them.

If I were Michigan or Florida, I’d have listened to and followed the rules the first time.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'll get it

(you didn't think these primaries would come and go without a few words from me, did you?)

Regardless of who "won" last night, I think the real story is in this little statistic:

"Clinton carried voters over 65 by a 37-point margin (67 percent to 30 percent).

In contrast, Obama defeated Clinton among young voters by 16 points (58 percent to 42 percent) and college graduates favored him by 11 points (54 percent to 43 percent)."

Apparently the old and the uneducated totally bit on her absolutely horrifyingly terrifying “red phone” ads and “I’m the only one experienced enough to answer it” argument. Seems to me since it’s 2008 and LBJ's out of the White House now, perhaps we should have a newer phone anyway. Maybe one with a keypad so we can make outgoing calls or even one of those fancy ones with multiple lines, not just a crappy old red one that's only for bringing bad news in the middle of the night. But that’s just me.

Speaking of experience, you know who else has experience? That old guy at the office who’s been there since layouts weren’t done on the computer and the Hathaway shirt guy’s eye patch was considered “breakthrough.” B.F.D. He’s also the guy who thinks scary “red-phone” ads still work. The sad thing is they do. On old, scared people who don’t leave their houses much and think our biggest problems are robots, people who don’t speak English and that interweb thingy.

I suppose I shouldn't have expected much from my dark-red home state or any state that contains Cleveland, but still.

Fuzzy freaky

Caught the Raveonettes show last night at the El Rey and was struck by a couple of things. A few things really.

First, the Raveonettes are painfully cool. Devastatingly so. Seeing them makes you feel like you’re wearing elastic-waisted Rustler jeans, an Old Navy flag shirt and some of those bright white sneakers of no discernable brand. We’re talking like ray-gun cool.

Second, they’ve apparently done away with a proper drummer in lieu of an androgynous girl with a tom and a snare she played standing up. That’s it. At first I thought it was pretty cool then later I thought it was kind of lame and then by the end of the show thought it was kind of fitting for their sound. It’s like “if David Lynch had a band, would he have a drummer?” Hell no. He’d probably have what they had. Check it out in this clip of them rockin’ “Dead Sound” last night:

Third, the Raveonettes don’t use a lot of cymbals in their tunes. At least their latest tunes. I suppose it took seeing the girl with just two drums to help me realize that but it’s true.

Lastly, the Fender Jazzmaster guitar may be the coolest guitar of them all. If you’ve ever dug yourself some surf music, you’ve heard it. It’s got that weird, slightly eerie sound that’s just a little off. But when it’s used properly, so right on.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Classy matchmaking, all classy-like

I somehow caught most of this season of the new show "Millionaire Matchmaker" this weekend on Bravo. If you haven't had the pleasure, here's a quick synopsis: various rich d-bags join a service that sets them up with young girls who apparently just want to marry rich. And of course, dramedy ensues. And trainwrecks, of course. While I'm deeply compelled to keep watching, I do have a few questions.

1. Who are these guys who've found a way to make millions but are total retards when it comes to finding women? Ask your friends. Join the country club. Take yachting lessons. Hang out with other rich people and their friends. Don't go on a tv show to meet women who prolly would get the boot from eHarmony for not having 29 interesting characteristics let alone the ability to answer questions about them.

2. Which brings me to the chicks. What's up, ladies? Seems to me if you wanna cut to the front of the line and marry a rich dude you should have something to offer. A talent, perhaps. You play piano or the harpsichord or you're an expert ballroom dancer. Maybe you're cultured, well-mannered and educated in the fine arts. Or maybe you don't ask things like "you eat raw fish" Yeah, they do. It's called being rich. They eat lots of weird stuff. A lot of these girls wouldn't impress poor guys, let alone guys with receding hairlines, man blouses and height issues—I mean millionaires.

The finale's tomorrow night.

10 o'clock

9 central.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Super Hollywood Edition

Since moving to LA a little under a year ago, I haven’t reported too many star sightings. A lot of that is because I feel like I haven’t seen too many A-listers and the rest of it is the former New Yorker in me who is obviously above all that. While these don’t hold a candle to Whitney’s Obama sighting on a treadmill next to her at the gym back in December, they’re something.

So here we go!

John Mayer
A couple of weeks ago we saw him at the shoe store Undefeated in Santa Monica which was a kinda so-so sighting. I think Whitney was more excited than I was. But then again, who left the store with her? That’s right, Johnny. Howard, 1. John Mayer, 0.

Harrison Ford
I saw him last Wednesday at the recording studio where I was recording some radio. He was recording some narration for a documentary on ants. But Han frikkin’ Solo! Indiana frikkin’ Jones! Jack frikkin’ Ryan! Right frikkin’ there! That was kind of a big one for me as he’s not only a childhood hero of mine, he’s like the coolest guy ever. I was tempted to give him a little Chewbacca call. But I didn’t.

David Lynch
Whitney and I saw him Saturday night after dinner in Silverlake. Just waiting for his car at the valet stand. With a young, freaky-looking girl on his arm, naturally. I kinda wanted to ask him some questions about Mulholland Drive while we waited. Like for instance, “what the hell was going in with that one?” But then our car came so I didn’t get the chance.

So there you have it, star sightings from LA!

And now a little preview of some possible topics coming soon:

• “Millionaire Matchmaker”: More evidence that money can't buy common sense.

• “Atonement”: Other, less regrettable ways I could have spent that 2.5 hours.

• “Semi-Pro”: Semi-funny.

• “The Other Boleyn Girl”: And you thought your family was messed up.

• Running the marathon in costume: Considerably harder, I would think.

• Recession? No recession?: Make up your mind.

• Bush “hadn’t heard” gas is nearing $4 a gallon: Worst president ever? Or worst president ever?

• Tomorrow’s primaries: Or Clinton’s last day, as we like to call it.