Thursday, June 25, 2009

The day the music died...again

What do you do on the day that the person who single handedly shaped the way that music, music videos, and concerts have been done for the past 30 years? What do you do?
I mean, this is a day that is equivalent to when Elvis and John Lennon died. This is a day when someone who so profoundly affected pop culture has disappeared, and no matter how crazy he went or the strange things that he has done in the past, he will be heralded as the great talent that he once displayed to the world and made him the best selling artist of all time.

You know, there are few people in the world that warrant this type of press coverage, public reaction, text messages being sent all around the world, and basically shutting down news organizations. The reason that people like Elvis, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson grab this sort of attention is because they did something that no one else has done and they did it brilliantly. We will see this sort of attention given to Cher, Madonna, and Paul McCartney. They did things that no one else had done and changed the landscape of the world because of it.

It's a strange day. It's strange for me because of how young he was. Really. He's younger than my parents. I read Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays this morning and his father died when he was 15. It's been one of those days when I think about the value of the relationships that I have with my parents and how much I was a prick to them when I was younger. I'm older now, looking at the crest of adulthood and you realize that there is so much value in these people. Not that this is a new thought. It's been spinning around my head for about a year now. But this puts it all into perspective.

So there it is. Short and simple. I love my parents and I don't care how hokey that sounds. It's sad that someone who was such a big part of so many people's musical landscapes has died. And there is a plastic surgeon somewhere who is sobbing because his main source of income doesn't need him anymore.
Too soon?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No more Pac Man

A little piece of me that has been missing from my life for over 8 years came back today. It was like it grew back in, just where it had been ripped out.
And it was just as simple as that. A piece of me that was ripped out of my life like a savage cougar ripping out the belly of a wild hare. But it grew back. In the span of about 10 minutes, it grew back and my life became oddly complete again.
Here's the deal. I didn't know it was missing anything. I mean, I knew when it initially happened and I knew that my life was somehow incomplete. But I didn't realize that it was still missing. Like a piece of my pie has been missing and I just didn't know it.
Now I feel sorta foolish for not knowing. But there it is. Now, it's back. And life feels complete again. Which is strange because I have had so many great experiences in the span of those eight years. But now, they all seem more complete for some reason.

Side note: Is there anything more touching than this statement: "I love you more than sex."

The truth is, that which was ripped from me was a huge part of my life. Shaped the way that I do things even now. So that is why I have said the same thing over and over again in this blog. I really don't have the words to describe how I feel, just that I used to be a completed circle, then I was a Pac-Man shape and now I am back to a completed circle. A circle of life. A good life. A full life. Life.

Got it?

You know, on America's Got Talent, it is this free-for-all of people who should be institutionalized. But it's the sort of wonder show where people who have these strange talents can get up there and be on television and have their 15 minutes.
Let's address Nick Cannon for a moment. He's not bad at this. Perhaps he has found his niche. I mean, he can host a show and make people smile. And let's get excited for him and a real job. For a while there, he was just Mariah's husband. Now, he's got a real job and is bringing home a real paycheck. So that's my opinion on that.
But it's a great show that shows that regular people can do extraordinary things. I mean, there is that whole Susan Boyle thing and while the video of her made her this overblown figure all over the world (little did she know), it all started because she was awesome. So this show enables people to be able to become overblown and over-publicized figures of fame, thus destroying all tinges of normalcy from their lives and sending them into a downward spiral that will devastate their lives and turn them into F-list reality stars on VH1 that no one cares about and provide Kathy Griffin with fodder for her act...and for my blog.
Or I could just put an electric drill through my nostril.
Or cluck like a chicken while I play the accordion.
And I agree with Sharon. This show is "barking mad." And we love it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

80

I've spoken about my love of the tollway and I was honored to be able to drive on it once again. Everything was good, everything was happening. It was great.
Until...
There were four a-holes on motorcycles doing stunts in the center lane of the tollway. A-hole is actually the technical term. See, there isn't anything wrong with doing stunts on motorcycles. That's fine. They were all wearing helmets and that's fine. Except that it was on the tollway! Do you know how fast people drive on that road? I was going 80 and I was slow in comparison to the Bentley that flew by me.
So there I was, trying not to hit these stunt men and hoping and praying that one of them doesn't fall off the bike. Picture it. They fall off their bike, they fall into my lane, I'm going 80 mph and I crush them. I mean, crush them. Their motorcycle helmets would crush like a snail shell under my tires.
So my great and wonderful drive was thwarted by some guys who thought they were cool and could do wheelies and not die. I hope they survived the drive because I sped past them so that I wouldn't be liable for killing them. I'd rather just do it with words. Dumb.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Two thousand zero zero

I've just made a discovery. A big one.
It's no rumor that my favorite year in pop culture is 1993. A lot happened that year. Power Rangers, Jurassic Park. Where's Waldo, Crystal Pepsi. Great year for pop culture.
But I have now happened upon my favorite year in music. Yes. I didn't think it could ever happen because I have so many songs that I love. But here it is anyways. And of course, it also derives from the 90s.
That year, is 1999, and no, it has nothing to do that the song, formerly known as relevant, by Prince. Rather than writing a really long explanation about it, I decided that I would include the list of the top 100 songs from that year from Billboard. Now, I've taken out the songs that I don't particularly care for, and just left the songs, some with their special meanings, that I do care about. By doing this, I am offering you a window...and insight...into my life. Because I never do that...

1. Believe, Cher
2. No Scrubs, TLC
3. Angel Of Mine, Monica
4. Heartbreak Hotel, Whitney Houston
5. ...Baby One More Time, Britney Spears - duh.
6. Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
7. Genie In A Bottle, Christina Aguilera - liked the song but couldn't buy her album. Couldn't be a traitor to Britney.
8. Every Morning, Sugar Ray
9. Nobody's Supposed To Be Here, Deborah Cox - the original is good but the remix is like a kiss from baby Jesus.
10. Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
11. Where My Girls At?, 702
12. If You Had My Love, Jennifer Lopez - I went out of my way to get this single.
13. Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
14. Have You Ever?, Brandy - a Brandy song can just calm you down, no matter what mood you are in.
15. I Want It That Way, Backstreet Boys - one of my favorite songs and I'm not ashamed of it.
16. I'm Your Angel, R. Kelly and Celine Dion
17. All Star, Smash Mouth
18. Angel, Sarah McLachlan
19. Smooth, Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
20. Unpretty, TLC
21. Bills, Bills, Bills, Destiny's Child - this was when we realized that they were about to take over our lives.
22. Save Tonight, Eagle-Eye Cherry
25. All I Have To Give, Backstreet Boys
26. Bailamos, Enrique Iglesias - all I can think about when it comes to Enrique now is the live clip that KIIS FM played in Dallas of him singing...terribly.
29. Fly Away, Lenny Kravitz
30. Someday, Sugar Ray
31. Lately, Divine - I still have this song on playlists.
32. That Don't Impress Me Much, Shania Twain
33. Wild Wild West, Will Smith Featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee
35. Heartbreaker, Mariah Carey Featuring Jay-Z - I bought this album and slurped it up like liquid white chocolate.
36. I Still Believe, Mariah Carey
37. The Hardest Thing, 98 Degrees
38. Summer Girls, LFO
39. Can I Get A..., Jay-Z Featuring Amil (Of Major Coinz) and Ja
41. Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill
42. Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...), Lou Bega - I had this song on a cassette that I would listen to in the car...on my portable cassette player.
43. Sweet Lady, Tyrese
44. It's Not Right But It's Okay, Whitney Houston - the remix of this song changed my life.
45. (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You, 'N Sync
48. Tell Me It's Real, K-Ci and JoJo
49. Back 2 Good, Matchbox 20
52. She's All I Ever Had, Ricky Martin
53. Miami, Will Smith
54. Hands, Jewel - I still think this is her best song.
57. From This Moment On, Shania Twain
63. Give It To You, Jordan Knight
70. I Will Remember You (Live), Sarah McLachlan
73. My Love Is Your Love, Whitney Houston
76. Almost Doesn't Count, Brandy
77. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, Shania Twain
78. Steal My Sunshine, Len
79. I Need To Know, Marc Anthony
82. Back At One, Brian McKnight
85. Amazed, Lonestar - it was on this song that radio learned how to overplay and run songs into the ground.
86. Sometimes, Britney Spears
89. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Jay-Z
94. Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
99. When You Believe, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey - it doesn't get any better than these two singing together.

So I think it's pretty obvious that this year had a stellar soundtrack and while there are so many songs that are so great from other years, I firmly believe that this year is my favorite year of music. You can't judge me either. You're just so jealous that you don't still have your portable cassette player to listen to Mambo No. 5. Jealous?!

And I believe that God believes in Claude

I don't understand really what the deal is. I really don't.
I went to the store today around lunch time because I didn't have any bread in my apartment. I know. There's no way I am going to go through an entire loaf of bread before it starts to grow green fuzz. But I will use about half of it and I feel that half a loaf of bread is worth the 69 cents that it cost me to buy it.
I leave the store, bread, almonds, and deodorant/antiperspirant in hand, (I'm sweaty) and I get in my car.
The Hair soundtrack is playing. "I believe in God. And I believe, that God, believes, in Claude, that's me....that's me." My favorite part.
I look up and this woman with one of those weaves that doesn't even try to look natural gets out of her car. She's going to throw something away in one of the outdoor trashcans that serve dual purposes. Equal part trash and vomit receptacle. In L.A., if you spot one of these trashcans, park and wait because the Lohan will probably be there any minute ready to use the trash can...
Seriously, here hair was like a blonde (marigold) helmet that looks like the left half of her head is the overhead view of the Nebraska grain fields and the right side of her head looks part flock-of-seagulls and part Chaz Bono. I'm sure she was a nice lady, but the hair was obnoxious.
And as she gets out of the car, her weight no longer forcing it toward the pavement, it starts to roll backwards.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Is this the weekend of the parking brake? No. It's not. She didn't take her car out of reverse before she got out of the car to go to the "trash can." I'm sorry. Where is the mental check there? I mean, sometimes, I have gotten out of my car before I have turned the car off, but never when it was still in gear.
So its rolling, slowly, but still rolling, and she and her marigold helmet run back and get in the car to put it in park. She laughed because she thought it was funny. I laughed because I thought she was an idiot.
My favorite part.

Jim, Pam, and the other 4

I have this group of friends. Thick as thieves, some might say. There's not much that we don't know about each other, though there are certain things that certain people don't know about all of us. It's sorta funny how we keep some things from some people but we have full disclosure with others, but I guess that's more of a safety net really.
The safety net. Interesting. Where did that go?
But I'm getting side tracked. See, usually, I like to at least try to shroud what or who I am talking about. But I'm not really doing that on this one. Chances are, the person or people involved aren't reading this, so it doesn't matter much anyways. Just really an avenue for my venting.
That group of friends has been broken for a while now. We have acted cordial and acted like it's not broken, but it has been. As much as I could speak for others on this, I won't. Just me. I know that it's broken. But you know? The reason why I know it's broken is because of others. So I have to speak for them on this. It's broken. What was once clinched together like a fist is now missing a finger. And you know what? The fist misses the finger, but that finger seems to always been flippin off the fist.
I'm just sad of it being broken and you know what, I know that I wasn't the one that broke it. I've done my part to try to sew that finger back on and in what is a very morbid analogy, the finger keeps ripping the thread out. So what can I do now?
I broke my leg once. Twice. Scarred me for life, both physically and emotionally. Every now and then, it flares back up and is sore, but it's not broken again.
This, I wish would just be sore.
I'm watching The Office, this is one of my summer projects, to watch all the episodes of the Office and 30 Rock. I feel like I need to fill my life with something new and quirky. Jim just told Pam that he is in love with her and she can't because she's engaged and is planning her wedding, and he stands there, his heart breaking, and he starts to cry. So there I am, thinking about what I am writing, and I think that I feel like Jim. Just standing there, one sad tear, waiting to be sore instead of broken.
So there it is. I kinda just threw it out there. But there it is. The honest truth. That hard, honest truth. I am watching The Office and 30 Rock this summer. Deal with it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A bug landed on my hand

I imagine that this is what our conversation today would sound like, and by that, I mean, if you and I were talking, in person, right now, this is what it would be like.

What did you do today?
Ah, not a lot. I worked all day.
Anything special happen?
Not really. Oh, wait. Yes. Something did happen.
What was that?
One of my best friends dropped her car on my hand.
I'm sorry?
Me too.

I don't know what else to really say about it. A Volkswagon landed on my hand. I mean, I could tell you the story about changing a tire, parking brake, a jack incident, and my hand, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is the life lessons that were learned through this.
First, never wear a white shirt on a day when your friend is going to need help changing a tire. That's the first thing.
Second, life happens. Things fall on you. Automobiles can fall on you. But it's about what happens when you get back up. Ask Rudy. Ask the Coyote. Yeah, ask Wylie. He knows what it's like to have heavy things land on him. And what does he do? He just gets back up again and goes after that Road Runner. And you know what? I imagine that he gets that Road Runner eventually and he rips his speedy little carcass to shreds. That's right. A bloody mess.
So keep on keeping on. Even when a machine that you sure did try to "Lift! And Slide!" falls on your appendages. Don't worry. It will be alright. Sometimes, helping others is more important than the ability to move your fingers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Three with a chance of rain

There's an hour and a half left of my birthday and I am watching Drive Me Crazy. I'm sure I've blogged about this movie before, about how much it resembles my high school, about how it will always hold a special place in my heart, blah blah blah.
You know what I find funny about birthdays, how there are three groups of people that are involved in your birthday experience. The first are the people that genuinely care about you and make the effort to call you, text you, do something to let you know that they appreciate the fact that your parents had sex and procreated, the end result being you. The second group is a group that has been created with the advent of Facebook. They are the people that wish you a happy birthday on your facebook wall, even though you aren't really friends and don't talk. But they come out of the woodwork to wish you a happy birthday anyways, and I'm not making light of that, it's always nice to have people take a moment to say that they want you to have a good day. But it's a grouping of people that didn't come along until Facebook.
The third group is the group that you really don't want to think about, but you are forced to. They are the group of people that you really want to care that you exist, really, you want them to prove that they care that you exist. But they don't contact you, they don't make any effort...they just don't. And as much as the rest of the day might have been perfect and wonderful, as mine was, you can't help but think about those one or two people that you wish would have made some sort of effort.
Now I know that my feelings on the subject are clouded by the thunderheads of bitterness, the rainclouds of hurt, and the winds of all out frustration. A little dramatic? Yes. But there it is. So, the third group sucks. And it sucks looking at that third group, knowing that it probably won't change. But that's why God invented umbrellas.

Cher with me

I'm watching Clueless and I don't think there is a better movie that defines the 90s. Some people claim that Empire Records holds that title, but I stand firm on my feeling that Cher and the gang have the market on the 90s film.
And what I love about this movie is that I still like it. I know I'm a guy and I am not supposed to like it, but I do. The really gaudy fashions don't look that much unlike something that Lady GaGa would wear now. It's all ridiculous either way.
Don't get me started on the GaGa. I'm so tired of her. I'm tired of her and her, "I'm so weird. Look at me. Look at how I wear bubbles. Look at my strange fashion sense. I need attention. Like me! Like me! Remember me! Remember me! Please!" And when she said that the Jonas Brothers were hot and she wanted to have a four-way with them, that is where she crossed the line from dumb blonde girl with a good marketing team behind her, to being crass and gross, because let's face it, there's only 2 of the Jonas brothers that anyone would want to have sex with and one of them looks oddly similar to Sanjaya.
Did you see He's Just Not That Into You? Did you see that one? You should. I enjoyed it so much that I think I want to own it so that I can watch it over and over again. That's another ensemble piece like Clueless. I mean, Clueless is nothing without the supporting characters and He's Just Not That Into You is a movie of supporting characters. And it doesn't really end in the way that you think it will, but that's a good thing. After all, who saw Cher actually kissing her ex-step-brother? I mean, we got the hints that teen movies give to ensure that the spaced-out audiences are able to understand the movie. I mean, it's like spoon-feeding a story to teenagers. But we saw it coming, but did we actually think they would go there? And do that? No. Is it wildly disturbing? Yes. But did we overlook it because the rest of the movie is so stellar? Yes.
I miss the days of Clueless. I remember quoting that movie at school when I was in 8th grade. Does that date me? I don't really care. Actually, now that I am seeing it again, I am seeing that some of the clothes would totally work now. Strangely enough. But am I jonesing to bring back hammer pants? As if.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The novelty

Let the sun shine...

You know, I will be the first to admit that I have been down lately. Not really for any other reasons that aren't monetary, but it's disappointing going into my birthday weekend.
I'm 26. And that's weird and normal at the same time. I've got a to-do list for my life and some things have been checked off and some have not yet. That's fine. There are just some things I would like to be able to check off sooner as opposed to later.
But, I will say that the weekend thus far has been really wonderful and I have nothing negative to say about it. I have great friends and great family.
Family that, while they don't seem to understand my recent obsession with Hair, got me a birthday card that sang to me.

Let the sun shine in...

Most of those music cards are silly and deserve to be banned. But in that moment, looking at the hippie poodle on the cover and hearing the music come out, it filled me with joy. I've always prided myself on the fact that I enjoy the small things in life. And as small as this was, it filled me with the kind of shameless joy that keeps a smile on your face long after the novelty has worn off of the card.
I take that to be a good sign. It's a good sign for a good year. It started with finishing a script that I am proud of and a spontaneous trip to get pastries. I went Up and had an amazing meal with family who, for some reason, love me even when I am totally obnoxious and completely out of touch with reality. Then there was the card. The wonderful, wonderful card.

The sun shine in...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

She looks at her phone.

It's Wednesday. That's news to me. While you may have woken up to that information, I have gone through my entire day thinking it was Tuesday. I sit down in front of my television, ready to watch So You Think You Can Dance, and the teaser commercial comes on. It says that it is a special 2 hour episode that airs on Wednesday night. So I start to freak out. Wait. What? I thought it was on tonight?
So I check my DVR. It's set to tape. So I'm rationalizing. It must have been a mistake on the commercial. I mean, Idol airs on Tuesdays, so this should too, right?
So my friend walks in the door.
"What day is it?" I ask.
She looks at her phone. "Wednesday."
"Okay because all day I have been thinking it was Tuesday."
"Oh my gosh! All day yesterday, I thought it was Monday!"

While I would love to end with some sort of wonderful saying that makes this okay, what this really boils down to is that I can't even keep my days straight. But it's okay. So You Think You Can Dance is back on. On a Wednesday. And it was awesome. An awesome Tues...Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Not okay.

I am the first person to admit that I am not perfect. Far from it. I have made and still make mistakes that reverberate somewhere on the upper end of the Richter scale of wrong doings. But I know the difference between right and wrong when it comes to a doll of Jesus.
That's right. A doll. Of Jesus.
The good Lord, as tall as a Ken doll and just as built. I have issues with that. Do we need a Barbie sized Jesus? No. We don't.
Not okay.
Not at all.
Ridiculous.
Just as ridiculous as people who think they are special because they can guess the judges scores on Dancing with the Stars. Unnecessary. Completely not necessary. And doesn't make you special. Put your arms down. No one cares that you can do that.
Tangent.
Doll of Jesus. Not okay.
Still not okay.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friend

Okay, I feel exhausted. I mean, really exhausted. And I know what's to blame. The economy.
The economy has me exhausted. I am constantly under an overwhelming sense of constraint because of loans and the lack of enough funds and I find that I can't even think straight anymore because I am always thinking about how to make my payments that are already late.
The economy.
Look. I don't know much about stocks, Wall Street is a blur to me, and bailouts don't make any sense to me, mostly because I am the one that needs bailing out right now, not GM. They got however many billions of dollars and all I really need is a couple thousand. Change that Mr. President.
I'm also mad at the economy because it forced my barber shop to close. My barber shop. Closed. Do you know how important my hair is to me?! Even if I cover it up with a hat most of the time, I know what it looks like underneath, and it can't look good if I don't have my barber shop. Do I want to go to Sportscuts and pay extra money so that I can watch the Yankees on a flatscreen while i get my haircut? No. I don't. All I really want is my barbershop with the cheaper haircut on Tuesdays. And 5 thousand dollars.
And now, because of this, I am sitting here, watching Spice World. Spice. World. Really. I am. I have a writing deadline on Friday and here I am, watching Spice World. I will preface that with the fact that I have never seen it. It is not a guilty pleasure or anything. I do have plenty of those, but this isn't it.
So really. I blame the economy for Spice World.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The teaser

You know those teasers that are right before the commercial break on reality shows? Someone knocks at the door and they go to answer it and all you hear is their reaction, making you wait until the commercial break is over to find out who is there and why they are freaking out?
Well for a long time now, I have felt like my life was one big commercial teaser. I've been waiting on the edge of something, just waiting for the break to end and for me to get back to the regular scheduled programming. Except, of course, this time there would be a twist, like all good shows have.
And this time, I really feel like the twist is pretty great. I mean, going into it now would seem like I was jumping the gun or something so I won't, but I think I can see that the Sham-wow commercial is almost over and it's back to the story.
Usually when the commercial break is over, the reaction isn't justified and it was just used as a rudder to steer you into continuing to watch the show. But in my life, I don't feel like that is what is going to happen. I feel pretty great about it.
Kinda like when Chuck and Blair finally kissed and said they loved each other. That's the kind of big moment I want to see happen. Something that changes the game. After my commercial break, I want a game-changer to happen. Not too many. No. Then I become Lost or Heroes. But a good game-changer every now and then keeps things spicy. I like spicy things. And things with cilantro.

But if I can't swim after 40 days...

I just got back from New York where I was searching for some inspiration to keep going. You know, for a creative person, we have to find something to latch onto so that it will spur on the creative process within us. I was feeling so creatively dried up and I needed a good flood of inspiration to jump start my mind again.
Boy did I find it.
I saw Hair while I was there. It was the one musical that I wanted to see badly and I couldn't tell you why I wanted to see it either. But for some reason, I wanted to see it. I went alone, my friends went and saw another show. By the end of the night, I had a flower in my hair, a flier in my hand for the "Be In" telling me to bring my own pot, I had been sung to in my face, a beautiful black woman caressed my face and told me she liked my hat, and I had been pulled up onto the stage during the finale to dance and sing Let The Sunshine In.
Flood.
Musically, it was one of the best shows I have ever heard. It was stunning. The acting was amazing. The cast was brilliant. It was one of the best shows that I have ever seen. Period. I've seen a lot of Broadway. But this was one of the best. The more I think about it, the more I love it. When I listen to the music from the show,. I am filled with the carefree spirit of the cast. See, that was what was so inspiring. It didn't have anything to do with the subject matter. It was the fact that these people were dancing and singing without any inhibition and it was wonderful. As I danced and sang with the cast and about 40 other people on stage, I too felt great.
So I went and while we did many amazing things, saw other great shows, and had a wonderful time, I found my flood of inspiration within some Hair.
Lifted up so high that I can not fall.