Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A few weeks ago as part of a writer's test, I made a fake MySpace page for Shawn Hornbeck (the kidnapping victim who allegedly had internet access). I don't have the computer skills to create it using photoshop, so I actually registered as him and made it that way. The profile was purely for comedic purposes... it had things like:
Who I'd like to meet: My parents, the police, the FBI, my old friends from the neighborhood.
General Interests: Crying myself to sleep, keeping a diary, cowering in fear, wanting the past 4 years of my life back, planning my escape, not being kidnapped, Imo's Pizza
Television: Cops, America's Most Wanted, CSI, Prison Break. Oh, and The Simpsons is hilarious!!!
Heroes: Whoever gets me out of this hellhole.
I left the profile up in case the people I made it for still needed to look at it, but I didn't edit it and refused any friend requests I got. Then about 10 days after I posted it, I suddenly became inundated with messages; some were positive, like "you are in my prayers" and "I'm so happy you're okay!", while some were extremely negative, like "asshole, this isn't funny" and "You're a sicko, I'm reporting you to MySpace." I did not respond to any of the messages.
Finally, yesterday I got an e-mail from MySpace saying that they had deleted my account for violation of Terms of Services. They claim this is due to one of the following things:
* Nude images, sexually suggestive or violent photos
* Covering our banner ads with HTML
* Harassing other users
* You do not meet the minimum age requirement
* Spamming the classifieds, forums, bulletins, or other sections of the site
* Attempting to artificially inflate scores
* Scripting the site
My profile had none of these. True, it may not have been in the best of taste, but can they delete my site just because they don't think it's funny? What about my First Amendment rights? I was tempted to dispute the deletion, but decided it wasn't worth the trouble. But I'm still a little peeved about the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time for a bunch of links to fill up your day:
- Why Must I Cry? Because this is too damn funny.
- I really hope this guy is singing about British cigarettes and not homosexual men.
- Just in case anyone on the net hasn't seen this, here's the full pilot episode of Gay Robot, which is either the dumbest show ever or genius beyond comprehension. At the very least, it's funnier than the other robot sitcom, Small Wonder.
- Doing another favor for my friend's band, Valeze. Check out the video of them performing on Fearless TV.
- Here's a list of the 20 dumbest questions asked during SuperBowl Media Day. My favorite is #8.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Thoughts for the day:
- HSBC sucks. For weeks I've been getting solicitation calls from them (as many as 3 a day), which I've been avoiding by saying Brian's not home. Finally over the weekend I decided to bite the bullet and see what they wanted. Turns out that Brian Greene owes $88 on his HSBC credit card, and they want him to pay RIGHT NOW. I told them that I don't even have an HSBC account, and when they asked me to verify my birthday and last four digits of my Social Security, neither one they had on file was mine. I figured that the problem was over, but they've already called twice again today. I explained again that I already told them they have the wrong guy, and they promised to stop calling. But as I think about it, wouldn't anyone who owes money try to get out of it by saying the bank had the wrong guy? Maybe I should refer them to my String Theory doppelganger. He probably has enough money to just pay the $88 and get them to stop bothering him. Or maybe he's the guy they're looking for in the first place...
- Last night on "Out of the Box" on Q104.3, Jonathan Clarke gave one of the worst interviews I've heard in a long time. He was talking to Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon about their new group, who recorded the album The Good, The Bad, and The Queen. They have stated many times that the band doesn't have a name, even though people refer to them as the name of the album. Clarke must not have heard that, because he introduced them as from the band TGTBATQ. After they corrected him, he continued to make that mistake... in the next 10 minutes, he described the CD as the "self-titled album" and said he was here with members of "the new band, er project, TGTBATQ." Do your homework, and pay attention.
- Having the Colts favored over the Bears by 7 points in the SuperBowl seems like a heck of a lot. Chicago will match up well against them, and Peyton still has a history of choking in big games. If I was a betting man, I'd put a lot of money against Indy. But I'm too big a wuss to actually do that.
- Went to my first Edward 40-Hands party (where you get 40-ounce beers taped to your hands when you enter, and can't take them off until they're empty). Fun concept, although not as much when your hands are as hairy as mine. Thanks to M for taking such joy in getting as many hairy square-inches as possible covered. And for laughing so hard as I yelped in pain as you ripped the tape (and hair) off my hand.
- Why are retro arcade games so addictive? Especially when they're so easy? This was not a good site to discover when I don't have a full-time day job.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

How Do You Say "Holy Shit!" in Portuguese?
I cannot believe it... Manda Bala just won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at Sundance (and also Best Documentary Cinematography)! I'm so excited for my friend Jared (and of course Jason too). What a huge relief after all the time, work, and money they put into it.
If only I'd invested in it...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bonnaroo, Promise To Love You Forever More
While the amazing Coachella line-up has been getting all the glory, there is a tentative Bonnaroo line-up posted here, and it comes pretty close to rivaling it. Sadly, Pearl Jam has already confirmed they will not be participating. But even without them, this would be pretty amazing. Guess we'll find out if it's real on Wednesday.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Is It Getting Heavy?
I wasn't crazy about Superman Returns. Maybe it would be better (at least the last 30 minutes) if I synched it up with one of my favorite albums of all time, The Soft Bulletin.

Overheard at Last Night's (This Morning's) CYHSY Mercury Lounge Show*
"So in my dream, Patrick Swayze lives in the treehouse in our backyard. We're not really friends, but one day he invites us over for dinner. So we go up to Swayze's treehouse, and it's gorgeous in there, and he's really nice, and the food is sooooooooo good…"
- Stupid drunk woman

* Not verbatim, but pretty damn close.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Runnin' With the Devil... Again
Is it official? Is Van Halen touring with David Lee Roth? Billboard says yes.

Some quick hits for this slow Wednesday:

- My friend Jared produced a film Manda Bala, which is in competition at Sundance. So far the reviews have been great. I hope he's able to sell it. Good luck.
- My sister got called for jury duty on Monday, then got placed on an armed robbery case. It should last until the end of next week. She's miserable, but I think it'd be interesting to be on a jury. Certainly more interesting than what I'm doing now.
- Why is everyone making such a big deal about Dreamgirls getting the most Oscar nominations? Three of the nods are for Best Original Song, and it's not up for Best Picture or Best Director.
- Everyone has already made a huge deal out of it, but this year's Coachella line-up really is ridiculously good. Alas, it's the same weekend as my 10-year high school reunion in Florida. What to do?
- I may be a blogger, but at least I don't live on the Lower East Side.
- According to this SonyBMG release schedule, Velvet Revolver's new album is coming out May 15th (in the US, 14th overseas). Sweet!

Okay, gotta wrap this up. Today's the first TRL that my replacement is writing / floor-producing, and it's about to start. Must tune in.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Well, I'm back at work. It had been a nice few days off, but now it's back to the grind. And where am I working? None other than Mi TRL, the Latin version of TRL on MTV Tr3s. So far, my objective to leave TRL to work on different types of shows isn't going exactly according to plan. But hey, at this point a gig is a gig. It's also not that hard, and there are a bunch of people working on this show that I've worked with before. I even convinced them to put VH1 Classic on in the office I share with four other workers. So no complaints, for the moment.

On an unrelated note, I do want to say goodbye to "Bam Bam" Bigelow. The wrestling stars of the 80s are dropping like flies.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Some quick hits to start the week:

- The one time this century that I root for the Pats, they lose. Now Manning is in the SuperBowl for the first time. What a disastrous development. I hope the Bears destroy the Colts.
- I don't know why this bothers me so much, but I hate the title of Grease: You're the One That I Want. The competition is about casting a new production of the musical, and that song isn't even in the show; it was created specifically for the movie. They should've called it We Go Together. Or Born to Hand-Jive. And yes, this is probably the nerdiest thing I've ever posted.
- I wish I lived in Montgomery so I could go to their flea market. Apparently "it's just like... a mini... mall!" And the guy who runs it has the craziest eyes I've ever seen.
- As part of a 40th-birthday gift for Sticking Point Tommy, I made him a mix of the top hits of 1967. What a year for music:
1: Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
2: Gimme Some Lovin' - Spencer Davis Group
3: Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson
4: I Was Made to Love Her - Stevie Wonder
5: Respect - Aretha Franklin
6: Brown-Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
7: Alone Again Or - Love
8: Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon - Neil Diamond
9: Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks
10: Happy Together - The Turtles
11: A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
12: For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
13: Windy - The Association
14: Heroes and Villians - The Beach Boys
15: Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones
16: Penny Lane - The Beatles
17: Daydream Believer - The Monkees
18: Can't Take My Eyes Off of You - Frankie Valli
19: Mellow Yellow - Donovan
20: White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
21: Light My Fire - The Doors

I also got him a 40, which was surprisingly difficult to track down on the Upper West Side. The first two delis I hit didn't have anything bigger than 32 ounces, then the next two didn't have any malt liquor. Finally I found some Olde English. I hope he appreciates the effort that went into the gift.
- It seems that Europeans can pre-order "Chinese Democracy" on certain websites, with a March 5th release day. That's the Monday before Axl's alleged U.S. release date, and albums always come out on Monday in Europe, as opposed to Tuesday in the States. Yet another reason why I wish I was still living in Scotland.

Guess that's all for now. Happy Monday, one and all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

This may not be the equivalent of Rocky Balboa, but if you're looking for a sequel to The Karate Kid, check out this awesome video for "Sweep the Leg." It features the entire Cobra Kai gang, is directed by Johnny himself (Billy Zabka, proving why he is an Oscar-nominated director), and even dares to ask the question: what if Daniel had lost?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Day The Music Died
Wow, what a bummer. I only got 32 out of 54 on this test of album covers. That's an F. So disappointed in myself. Hopefully my smart readers can do better.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In honor of an amazing first four hours of the new season of 24, here's a list of things we've all learned from the greatest American hero of our generation, Jack Bauer.

Misty Water-Colored Memories
Well, it's my first post-TRL day. Being unemployed isn't so bad. It's certainly nice to sleep in. But you certainly get attached to a job after 3 years, and I will miss certain things. In fact, here are some of my favorite memories of my time at TRL. It's not a comprehensive list, not by a long shot, but these are the first things that popped into my head, and it's fairly representative of my time on the show.

- Sitting in soundchecks, 10 feet from the stage, with a dozen people or less in the room, for artists such as Green Day, Kanye West, Ludacris, Gwen Stefani, and The Killers.
- Standing next to Elijah Wood watching Good Charlotte perform for our Star Wars Episode 3 special and hearing him complain about how awful they are.
- Visiting Skywalker Ranch and watching Episode 3 in George Lucas’s private screening room. Not because I like the Star Wars movies, but because the ranch is beautiful, and there’s nothing like a movie theater with a huge digital projection system and huge speakers built into the floor.
- Meeting Hulk Hogan. Three times.
- Having Lindsay Lohan excitedly insist to me that she was wearing an authentic early-80’s Beach Boys concert t-shirt.
- Having Andre 3000 laugh and compliment my “Who Wants to Sex Mutombo?” t-shirt.
- Standing 3 feet from Paris Hilton in Cancun as the wind blew her skirt up, revealing she goes commando.
- Making VJDamien laugh by writing random 80s lyrics on the cue cards.
- Watching Justin Timberlake try to identify animals based on sounds of them having sex.
- Seeing a kid in the audience try to protest Taco Bell but getting tackled before he could do anything other than yell “Taco Bell…” thereby probably giving the chain some positive publicity.
- Watching Donald Trump temporarily “fire” VJQuddus. If only it had been real and permanent.
- Watching Joaquin Phoenix get reamed out by the director of Ladder 49 after Phoenix threw an immature hissy-fit and refused to go out onstage without wearing his Johnny-Cash-flipping-the-bird t-shirt. Phoenix caved very quickly.
- Getting my picture taken with the Stanley Cup.
- Creating “Live with Regis & Kelly” with guests Regis Philbin and Kelly Osbourne.
- Standing 5 feet from Seth MacFarlane as he seamlessly segued from one Family Guy character’s voice to the next.
- Watching a segment producer pitch a stunt to Jessica Simpson in which she shows us how to line dance, and her reaction when Jessica says she doesn’t know how to line dance, even though she does in the video for “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.”
- Meeting Stevie Wonder and wondering if he had any clue that the name of his new album was written on the side of his sunglasses.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Today is my last day at TRL. I'm jumping into the world of freelance writing. It's a bit of a scary prospect, as I don't have my next gig lined up yet. But it will be nice to have a change of pace, and as one of my bosses told me, having "the fear" will help me be aggressive and expand my horizons when looking for work. Let's hope he's right.

No big final goodbye post. I know a lot of this site has been devoted to writing about work. Sometimes that hasn't been the wisest thing to do. Of course I'll continue to post, although I'm not sure what interesting stuff will fill the void (if the TRL stuff was interesting to begin with). Maybe not having a full-time job will allow me time to put more thought into my posts. We'll see how it goes.

And now, one final TRL Moment of the Week
At the end of yesterday's show, VJDamien and VJVanessa pulled me out in front of camera to say goodbye and good luck. I gave them each a hug, then stayed on camera as they wrapped up the show. When they finished their copy, I tried to yell into the mic "Guns N Roses rules!" Alas, the mic didn't pick it up, so nobody heard me. I blew my last, golden opportunity. Dang.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Why do I think that this Anime-style portrait of The Simpsons (based on this pic) is so cool? Especially the Apu...

The publishers of the 33 1/3 music books are seeking proposals for more books in their series. I don't have the time or resources to write one of those books, so instead I'll request that people submit the following albums:
- Zombies - "Odyssey and Oracle" (although given this one was singled out in the guidelines, I'm sure nobody will pick that one)
- Flaming Lips - "The Soft Bulletin"
- Garbage - "Version 2.0"
- Runaways - "The Runaways"
- Pearl Jam - "Vitalogy"
- Rilo Kiley - "The Execution of All Things"
- Cure - "Disintegration"
- Alice in Chains - "Dirt"
- Stooges - "Fun House"
- Pretenders - "The Pretenders"
Good luck all you aspriring writers. And if you choose one of these and get picked, you can thank me in the acknowledgements.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Some quick hits to start the week:
- Most of NYC smells awful this morning due to a natural gas leak in the West Village. Not nearly as pleasant as the still-unidentified maple syrup smell from a couple years ago. Is this yet another thing I'm responsible for?
- I watched a ton of football this weekend, which also means I watched a ton of commercials. And I must say, they show TERRIBLE commercials during football. I'm not sure which I hate least... the commercial where the guy with the bite-site burger and fries is bragging that it was only$2.99, while the other guy has a full-size Wendy's Value Meal also for $2.99 (by the way, why are they allowed to eat food in a library?), or the one which tried to make it seem like NFL players are asking for Diet Pepsi (but they were too cheap and lazy to use computer to alter the footage to make their mouths come anywhere close to the words they're supposedly saying), or of course those awful "This is our country" Chevy ads (do companies even pay attention to backlash anymore). And when the games are broadcast on Fox, I have to cover my ears and close my eyes during all promos for 24. Of which there are a lot.
- Speaking of football, sucks to be Tony Romo right now. A couple weeks ago, when it was first revealed that he is dating Carrie Underwood, I told my friend that she's jinxed and he should get rid of her. Sure enough, the Cowboys dropped their last 2 games of the regular season to lose the division, then got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs, in no small part thanks to Romo's 4 interceptions and 2 fumbles over that stretch. Kick her to the curb, Tony... it's for your own good.
- If you've got some free time, some of these Craigslist postings for Arcade Fire tickets are quite amusing. And don't hate me, but I did get tix for the Saturday night show.

Friday, January 05, 2007

3 Is a Magic Number
Today is my 3-year anniversary at TRL. Long time. Very long time. So long that I am in the process of finding another job. So far I have a bunch of small nibbles, but nothing big enough to jump ship to. Hopefully it won't take too long to find something else. A change is long overdue.

In honor of my 3 years, I've compiled a super-sized Top 20 countdown of my favorite TRL songs since I started here. To qualify, we had to show the video at least once on TRL (whether it was on the countdown, or as a premiere, first look, click-to-pick, or Pre-RL). That made it quite a difficult list to compile. Like a normal TRL countdown, there can only be one song per artist (unless it's a "featuring"). And bear in mind that these are my favorite songs, not videos.

20. Chamillionaire - "Ridin": Thanks to him for reviving Weird Al's sagging career.
19. Maroon 5 - "This Love": I remember this video came out right around the time of the Nipplegate Super Bowl debacle, so they had to add floating flowers to the video to make it less sexual. It was the first of many, many content-related issues that have caused me to roll my eyes over the past 644 shows (damn, that's a lot!).
18. Blink 182 - "I Miss You": How hard is it to get that "Don't waaaaste your tiiiiiime on meeee, you're allllllready a voice inside myyyyyyyead" chorus out of your head? Or should I say your yead?
17. Lady Sovereign - "Love Me or Hate Me": Everyone else on TRL hates her. I love her. I think she's sassy and spunky. Even though she's a total bitch.
16. Missy Elliott - "We Run This": This made the list solely due to the Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache" sample. Shouldn't there be a ban on hip-hop songs sampling that anymore? It's been done, what, 2,147 times?
15. Eminem - "Like Toy Soldiers": Another one that made the list due to the sample. Long live Martika!
14. Snoop f/ Justin Timberlake - "Signs": I usually can't stand JT's music. But even I can't resist this.
13. My Chemical Romance - "I'm Not Okay": Tough call between this and their new "Welcome to the Black Parade." If not for the lame opening section of the latter, it would've made the list instead.
12. T.I. - "What You Know": This was the summer jam of 2006 for a reason.
11. Christina Aguilera - "Ain't No Other Man": Something about songs that combine trumpets really gets to me. See #2 below.
10. Busta Rhymes - "Touch It": I honestly don't have anything to write about this song, other than I like it.
9. Alicia Keys - "If I Ain't Got You": Have you heard my embarrassing Alicia Keys story? It makes me shudder to even think about it...
8. Killers - "Mr. Brightside": Can TRL take credit for "breaking" these guys? They'd been selling about 20,000 copies of "Hot Fuss" a week. Then after they performed on our Spankin New Music Week in January '05, their weekly sales doubled, eventually reaching 3 million. Yet their videos were never popular on our countdown. But I'll still take credit. They are also the most humble, shy, introverted band to ever come to TRL.
7. Gorillaz - "Feel Good, Inc.": I pushed really hard to get this video shown, pitching threads about the top animated videos and stuff like that. We finally showed it once, when TRL was temporarily trying to be "music credible" and more varied in its music at the start of 2006 (that lasted about 5 weeks). Naturally I was on vacation that day. I doubt it got a single vote to ever make the countdown.
6. Kanye West - "Through the Wire": I could've put in "Touch the Sky." Or "Jesus Walks." But the lyrics on this are just so damn clever. And when he came on to promote it, he said on the air that he was sure he'd never be on TRL again. I miss the days when he wasn't such an arrogant prick.
5. Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone": Possibly the catchiest song of the millennium, so far.
4. Green Day - "American Idiot": On TRL it was the least popular of their singles from that album. But most popular in my mind. Typical that I feel the complete opposite of our audience. Also, I should note that one of the highlights of my tenure here was the day they performed on TRL. I was sitting in on soundcheck, sitting 5 feet from the stage as they tore through "Welcome to Paradise." Their roadie was filling in on drums, as Tre Cool was so hungover they had to hook him up to an IV in the green room. Fortunately he was able to make it through their 3 songs on the show without passing out. But just barely.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Tell Me Baby": Great energetic verses combined with a mellow chorus. Love the guitar riff. But what the hell is Flea wearing in the video?
2. Nelly f/ Christina Aguilera - "Tilt Ya Head Back": Again, I don't know what it is about the combination of the trumpets and Christina's harmonies.
1. Gwen Stefani - "Cool": I could put this song in place of OMD's "If You Leave" during the prom scene in "Pretty in Pink" and feel the same way about the movie. That's the sign of a classic song. At least in my eyes.

Some quick links I had missed from the past few weeks, courtesy of New York magazine's Approval Matrix:
- Worder what would happen if you dropped your iPod into a blender? Or your golf clubs? Or oysters? Wonder no more...
- Michel Gondry can solve a Rubik's Cube with his feet.
- Or can he?

Oh, and one that's not from NY mag:
- This fake Dane Cook made me laugh harder than the real one ever has or ever will.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2007 is only 3 days old, and already it seems that it will be an excellent year for music. Axl insists that "Chinese Democarcy" will be out in March (or slightly later)... and his former bandmates in Velvet Revolver will release their 2nd album in May. I have pitched for Arcade Fire to perform on TRL during February's Spankin New Music Week, and it's in discussions. The Genesis tour will likely hit the U.S. this summer (at least according to my source). And now word comes out that The Police will reunite and tour this year. Wow! They were #2 on my list of bands I want to see reunite and play live. What a coup that would be. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

All's Not Quiet on New Year's Day (or the day after)
Hope everyone enjoyed their NYE celebrations. I was the writer for MTV's show (although I did not write this already-infamous ad-lib), so I spent most of the night in the control room. Fun, but not terribly exciting. However, writing the show did give me access to various musicians' hand-written Ultimate Party Anthems playlists, which are basically lists of their 10 favorite songs. Some unusual choices in there. For example, +44 is a fan of t.A.t.U. Gwen Stefani is only a fan of her new album and The Sound of Music. Taylor Hicks is a huge fan of the 80s (especially Tears for Fears), but he can only count to 9. Both Taylor and A.F.I. are fans of Lionel Richie's "Dancing on the Ceiling." But I think the most surprising submission was Lady Sovereign's choice of the Beach Boys / Fat Boys version of "Wipe Out." There are few bigger Beach Boys fans out there than me, but to call that one of the Ultimate Party Anthems is beyond even my comprehension. At least I give her points for originality.