Friday, December 31, 2004

Danny's 2004 End of Year Movie and TV Awards

Well, I am still in freak-out mode from yesterday's big news (scroll down to my last post to hear about that ...), but I'd be remiss if I didn't post up my long-awaited (by, um, the many readers here) awards for the best of TV and film.

First of all though , HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Overall I thought this was the best year for TV in a long time, with a few new shows that really show promise and are already among my favorites. For movies, it was a little more hit and miss. There was nothing to equal last year's epic Tolkien finale Return of the King, but there were some great, quirky comedies which were probably the highlights of this year that saw the superhero trend finally start to jump the shark (cough*CATWOMAN*cough) with a few crappy entres into the genre. Anyways, on with the show:


quick preface: While I saw a number of movies this year, there are some potential top 10-ers that I missed or didn't get a chance to see. Some of these include Sideways, The House of Flying Daggers, Garden State, The Aviator, Shaun of the Dead, and a few others. Now, on with the Top 10:

1.) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I have been a fan of all of Charlie Kaufman's films, and this one was his best yet. Jim Carrey gave a great, subdued everyman performance, and Kate Winslet should win an Oscar for her work here. Great use of f/x and a classic Kaufman mind-bending story that has more heart than any of his previous films.

2.) Kill Bill Vol. 2 - While I wasn't crazy about the ending sequence, this film was, in a word, freakin' awesome. It was a little slower paced and a little less action packed than part 1, but some of the sequences were just unforgettable. The Bride's escape from her coffin was heart-pounding. The vintage kung-fu homage was a lot of fun. And the fight between Uma and Daryll Hannah is classic. When's the part 1 and 2 combined DVD come out?

3.) The Life Aquatic - Another great movie from Wes Anderson, as I said in my earlier review. Funny, quirky, poignant, and underrated, this is the unique director's best yet, with a cast that is perfect.

4.) Farenheit 9/11 - Regardless of political views, this movie made you think. It was a powerful documentary that had many interesting points to make, and those who criticize without having seen it are doing themselves and the national political discussion a disservice. With current world events as they are, this movie will be relevant for a long time to come.

5.) Spiderman 2 - While the first one was fun, the sequal was sensational. This had everything you want i na summer blockbuster - fun, action, romance, great f/x, and classic characters. Not only that, but director Sam Raimi really let loose here, showing off Evil Dead-style camera work, offbeat humor, and did a great job of bringing the comic to life.

6.) Napoleon Dynamite - This movie had been panned by magazines like Entertainment Weekly, and I don't understand why. For me this is one of the flat-out funniest and most quotable comedies ever made. It might be simplistic, but I argue that it DOES have heart. Some of the scenes are as tragically sad as they are hilarious. But most of all, this movie is friggin' sweet, even after you've seen it like, an infinity of times.

7.) Collateral - Another one where Iloved the movie but had some issues with the ending. Still, this was such a cool film. It had great action, great acting, and a really cool story about morality and getting the job done. This is one of those movie that will stay in your head for a long time after seeing it.

8.) Hero - This is just an incredible viewing experience, like watching a series of paintings rather than a film. This martial-arts epic has the most elaborately choreographed action I've ever seen, rivaling the likes of Crouching Tiger. The story is simple but memorable, like an old fairy tale, and the colors and costumes just shine off the screen.

9.) TIE: The Incredibles - and - Sky Captain and the World of Tommorow - Both of these movies use new computer f /x to pay homage to classic pulp heroes. I thought the Incredibles was a great movie, not just for kids but anyone with a sense of fun and imagination. But, I think it was a little overrated by some. Some of it's ideas were old hat for fans of comics and other similar stories, but I do admit that this was a new, modernist spin on things. A great if not wholly original movie, and a tribute to the genious of Brad Bird and Pixar, who much to Disney's loss will soon be on their own. As for Sky Captain, this movie was obviously meant as an homage, and on that level it really worked. No, it didn't reinvent the genre or bring much new to the table (except in the realm of f/x), but it had a classic sense of fun and adventure that brought you back to the old serials from the 40's.

10.) Metallica: Some Kind of Monster - This was a really interesting documentary that was enjoyable whether or not you area fan of the band, but it was all the more surreal and entertaining if you were at least familiar with the metal mainstays. This was a really powerful, funny, and thought-provoking movie about the price of fame and the dysfunctional lives of celebrities.

Honorable Mentions: Hellboy (great costumes and sets!), Anchorman (funny!), Saved (nice satire!)

Now, onto TV.

Danny's Top 10 TV series of 2004:

Note: this is only primetime TV series, and doesn't include late night, specials, short-run series on HBO, etc. Also I don't get HBO so I can't weigh in on The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, etc.

1.) Arrested Development - funny, fresh, and low-rated. A hilarious new spin on TV comedy, with great characters, crazy humor, and a breath of fresh air in TV comedy.

2.) Lost - A mind-bending new show that is already causing a huge stir. Great cast and an addicting mystery? What is going on on that island? Millions are dying to know.

3.) 24 - While it had some off-episodes in Season 3, 24 is still the most exciting hour on TV. The last five or six eps of this season were classic, nail-biting, must-see TV. Jack Bauer is still TV's best action hero.

4.) Veronica Mars - Where did this come from? A new, film-noir meets The OC ongoing dark teen mystery on .. UPN? It's still not on most people's radars, but it should be. This show rocks, and I can't wait to see who murdered Lilly Kane. But that's part of the fun.

5.) The O.C. - I wasskeptical at first, but now count me in as one of the OC faithful. I think the show has drifted a little too much towards the goofy / funny side lately, but still the writing is sharp and the soap opera stories really know how to kick into high gear - witness the recent "I am your father moment."

6.) Smallville - So far this season has been kinda lame, but last season had some of the series best episodes yet. The Perry White episode was golden, and last season's finale was a great cliffhanger. Now if only the show could get back on track ...

7.) Malcolm in the Middle - This comedy is aging, but it still has a unique brand of quirky humor and is still the best portrayal of family life I've seen on TV. As long as it can make me laugh and appreciate my own parents by having the most horribly sadistic mom ever on TV, this show remains great.

8.) Gilmore Girls - Yes, laugh all you want, but I've recently been enjoying some episodes of this show. Sure, it isn't exactly my typical viewing, but I'm always impressed by the sharp dialogue and witticisms when I check out this WB family-friendly show.

9.) King of the Hill - This underappreciated FOX mainstay has such a classic character in Hank Hill. Even when the episodes are off, it's fun just to see how Hank rects to the modern world that he seems so lost and confused in. You don't have to be a Red State-r to appreciate this down-home humor.

10.) Jack and Bobby - This new show has lots of potential but has yet to live up to it. Still, it is currently half great, which makes it better than most of what's on TV. What's great is the story of Bobby, the younger of two brothers who is destined to be President. What's not so great is the story of Jack, the straight from Dawson's Creek older brother who's a walking brooding teen cliche. Still, this show shows sparks of greatness, has an excellent cast, and has me intrigued.

Special Mentions:

Best Late Night Show: CONAN O'BRIEN, duh. It's the funniest, craziest, most intelligent (in a really stupid way) show on after 11 pm. The writing is great, the sketches are the best, and the segments, from Robert Smigel's talking heads to Triumph to crazy stuff like Steve St. Helens is awesome. Plus I worked on it, so of course it freakin' rocks.

Fond Farewell to: The Office. After viewing the DVD's of this BRILLIANT BBC show, this ranks as one of my all-time faves. It's an office epic, a unique kind of comedy that will make you laugh until you cry, literally, because in its own way this show is as tragic as it is hilarious. You have to see this if you haven't yet. The saga of David Brent and co. will go down as one of the greatest things ever on TV, in Britain, the US, or anywhere else.

Best Show I'm now seeing on DVD: Ali G - Respeck. This British import on HBO is so hilarious it's insane. There's only 6 episodes on season 1's DVD, but you can watch each multiple times and find new things to laugh at each time. Booyakasha.

Best TV Rediscovered on DVD: Millenium - This underrrated 1990's FOX series is, looking back, amazing and ahead of its time. Frank Black is simply a great character, unlike any you'll see elsewhere. This show is dark, poetic, scary, and insightful into the human condition. Each episode is like a mini movie, but better than any thriller you'll see in a theater. Because this show is all about psychology - the why's of evil, not the how's. Millenium is a must own for fans of Chris Carter, great TV, or just good stories in general. Don't watch it with the lights on.

OK - that's it. Happy New Year and peace out. More job updates to come. LA or NYC? To be continued ...

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Big News Update: When It Rains, It Pours ...

Where to begin?

So today I got got a call in the afternoon from NBC Burbank's page program, which I interviewed with on my trip to LA a short while back. Despite the fact that it's only been a few weeks since I was there, there was already a growing sense of impatience around the 'ol Baram household. "What if you don't hear from them?" and so on. Well today I heard from them -- I got accepted to the page program! Now, I have been telling people recently that if I did get this position I would be excited, but also freak out. Why? Because as I long ago realized but could only bring myself to seriously think about in small doses was the fact that now, suddenly, I have a few weeks to figure out: Will I make the move to California? If so, where will I live? When will I go? I will need to get a car, furniture, a plane ticket. And then the kicker ... How will I pay for all this on the meager salary I will initially be making? Oy. Only a boy raised by a nag-nag-nagging Jewish family could take good news and make it into the biggest stress headache since [insert lame comparison here, I'm too tired to]. Anyways ... as if THAT wasn't enought to think about ...

Call # 2 comes, mere hours later, this time from NBC in NYC. At first I thought it was someone from Conan offering me Mr. O'Brien's chair in 2009, but nope, it was the PAGE PROGRAM (east coast version), asking if I wanted to do an interview with them (I applied in July to both programs). I tried to hold back the tears of bittersweet irony as I attempted to explain my situation to the poor woman on the phone. I had just heard from the program in Burbank, but I WOULD be interested in the nyc program. Only problem is, I was supposed to confirm with Burbank by MONDAY. And so in an interestign twist of events, the woman in nyc says she agrees that my situation is exceptional, and she'll have her manager call me, on, you guessed it, MONDAY. So, MONDAY is poised to be a big day. California being three hours behind could work to my advantage in dealing with this, but STILL ... HOW THE @#$*!# DID THIS HAPPEN? If I knew definitively that I preferred being in CA over NYC it wouldn't be as much of a problem, but here's the thing about NYC:

- Despite higher apartment costs, it is a lot cheaper to be in NYC. I don't need a car, or car insurance, for one thing. I'm not going to be making a lot of money right off the bat, so this is actually a big consideration.

- Aside from about two people, I know ZERO people on the West Coast, let alone the LA area. Almost all of my friends and family are in the East, and many of them in New York or close by.

- While there's not a lot of entertainment shows out of NYC, there is (for now, at least) Conan O'Brien, which I love and have contacts at, and one of my dream shows to work on, SNL.

But, here's the thing about California:

- The NBC program there is all about entertainment. And LA is the place to be for TV. There you have a better chance of being a writer's assistant, or a PA or staffer on any number of shows produced there.

- Much nicer weather, that's for sure!

So I am still kind of torn between the two options. Right now I am leaning towards NYC by a little bit, BUT it's very possible that I may not even be able to move things along quickly enough to make it a viable option. So if I want to do the Burbank program, I may have to give them a yes or no by Monday without having any guarantees about NYC. So this is it. The good news is - well, I got accepted to the NBC page program in Burbank and maybe soon in NYC as well. But, as could ONLY happen to me, things become way more complicated and annoying then they have any right to. Also - I WELCOME any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions. Any opinions other than those of my parents (hehe) are always appreciated. That's it for now. More to report as it happens. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Living the Life Aquatic

Danny's Christmas Movie Review Spectacular:


Celebrated Jewz-go-to-the-movies Day (aka Christmas) by seeing The Life Aquatic yesterday with my brother. I had been really looking forward to this movie for a while, because for one it was Wes Anderson's next movie (he who made Rushmore and The Royal Tannenbaums), and also because it was Bill Murray's next big project after Lost in Translation, which I loved (not counting Garfield ...). Plus I've always liked the subject of ocean exploration, so this just seemed like it'd be a cool, funny, quirky movie. Going in though, I was surprised to see many less than wonderful reviews, so my enthusiasm went down considerably before the last few days. But I should have known that a cast this good and a director who has yet to deliver a clunker wouldn't let me down. This movie was great, and I'd go so far as to say it's one of the best of the year, and also possibly my favorite Wes Anderson movie thus far (I think I liked it slightly more than Tannenbaums which I likes slightly more than Rushmore - have yet to see Bottle Rocket ...). Yep, I was definitely glad we saw this as our Christmas movie. Basically, the film deals with the oceanic explorer / adventurer / documentary film-maker Steve Zissou, basically Jeaque Cousteau meets Buckaroo Banzai (more on THAT connection later). In the course of the movie's twisting and constantly surprising plot, Zissou meets a man who may or may not be his son (Owen Wilson), even as he struggles to win back his wife (Angelica Houston). In the process, he is trying to make one last great movie, after a long career of strange, fantastical, undersea documentaries. Accompanied by Team Zissou, led by the loyal first mate (played hilariously by William Dafoe) and a pregnant reporter (a great turn by Cate Blanchette), the aging, depressed, and eccentric Steve seeks to document his quest to find and kill the elusive "jaguar shark," the beast that, on his last adventure, killed a member of his Team. The characters and themes of this film are great - well fleshed out, eccentric, and hilarious. Jeff Goldblum is gold as Zissou's charismatic rival oceanagrapher, Hennesy (leader of Operation Hennessy). Murray himself, though playing a similar world-wearied, gloomy charcter trying to relive past glories, as in Lost in Translation, is great. Visually, the film has that patented Wes Anderson quirkiness, which is all the more suitable given the aquatic backdrop. The movie feels like an amalgam of an eccentric foreign film, a pop-up storybook, a pulp adventure, and a farcical comedy. But it all works. I laughed throughout the whole movie at the absurdities and funny dialogue, but also was left thinking about the themes of family, aging, loyalty and discovery that Wes Anderson cleverly weaves throughout the movie. I also loved the ending here, which turns from tragic to hopeful in a masterful turn of events. You have also gotta love the closing credit sequence, which I immediately recognized (and was probably the only one in the theater to do so) as being directly lifted from the cult classic 1980's B-movie adventure Buckaroo Banzai, a terrible yet strangely awesome flick which I recently happened to view on DVD. The one scene that stuck with me from that movie was the kick-ass end credits scene, where Buckaroo and his team of adventurers walks towards the camera, sequentially joined by more and more people as this really awesome music plays in the background. Such a great scene in what is a very bewildering movie. But while it was totally random in Buckaroo Banzai, the same exact sequence is used in The Life Aquatic, except here it makes perfect sense and is the PERFECT ending to the movie (see the movie and you'll understand why). It's like Wes Anderson saw Buckaroo Banzai, realized (as I and no doubt others did) how sweet that ending scene was, but realized that it could be even better if it was actually placed in a context that made sense story-wise and thematically. Awesome. There's so many more little cool details in this movie that can be talked about. The whimsical, surrealistic layout of Zissou's anachronistic sea-faring vessel. The recurring joke about unpaid interns that was particularly resonant with this former unpaid intern. The cool, stop-motion effects that make the strange, unique looking sea-life all the more strange and awesomely surreal. The random PIRATE ATTACK and the ensuing gunfight. The fact that Zissou has his own island. And his own hot-air balloon. So don't believe what the critics said - go check out Wes Anderson's best movie yet - one that you won't soon forget.

My grade: A

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Thoughts on Blogs and a Rebirth Review

There was an interesting article in this past week's New York Time's Magazine about the damaging effects that blogs can have.Reading the horror stories of people who got fired from jobs or broke up with their signifigant others because of what was posted to their blogs really makes you wantto be careful with what you say or do on these things. Just the other day I was perusing some "recently updated blogs" on's site and came across some unbelievably explicit stuff. Of course, who knows whether these things are even real and legitimate anymore. I've noticed that sites like Blogspot are already overrun with blogs that are in actuality not-so-cleverly-disguised ads. Even the ones that seem like personal journals often have an air of fiction around them, and that's not by accident. There's been lots of articles lately about so called stealth marketing campaigns where companies employ people to subtlely promote their products in ordinary conversation, be it in person or via the internet. One article I read (I think in the NY Times, not sure though) talked about a man sent to local bars flanked by beautiful women by a beer company. The man would order that company's brand of beer and in doing so make an impression on the other patrons. That's just one example, but I have a feeling that this is the new wave of advertising. All of us have experienced the annoyance of being IM'd by SexyMeg28, opening this intriguing-seeming IM, and finding it to be (gasp!) nothing but an ad for some sleazy porn site. Now imagine this phenomena seeping into real life, and the you open up a whole dystopian can of worms, where every conversation you have is potentially nothing more than a cleverly planned ruse in the name of cheap advertising. But yeah, wasn't I talking about blogs here? Basically, this blog is not intended as any kind of personal diary. Not that I have much interesting stuff to talk about right now anyway, but you really do have to be careful what you let slip into your writing. With an open forum like a blog, it really can be tempting to let lose and write down everything (and in some people's cases, EVERYTHING) that's on your mind, even when you didn't intend to. That being said, the great thing about the internet is the wealth of opinions and information that are now out there for all to view. Depending on various factors, I may try to change or evolve this blog into something more focused, but for now I am just going to keep it pretty free-flowing and flexible. I am going to continue to try to share my ideas and interests, but with the internet you really do have to be your own editor. I love the fact that I can go onto a site like Aint It Cool News and read people's opinions of a movie minutes after they have seen it, but by the same token half the fun of doing those opinions is that they are rambling, from the gut, and definitely not holding anything back. As I've learned from my experience in journalism, however, sometimes, it really is best to hold back, especially when the world is your forum. Or, you can start a Live Journal and express your daily feelings to the world through crappy song lyrics. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


- Watched the movie Labrynth on DVD the other day, which I had never seen before but had wanted to see for a while since I love anything by Muppet-master Jim Henson. Though it was made in the early 80's, the creature effects in this are still amazing today. Otherwise, I was a little disappointed and a little weirded out by the trippy plot and strange acting by David Bowie. I probably would have loved this movie if I saw it as a kid, though it also probably would have given me nightmares. I'd still recommend anyone check this out though, if only for the amazingly detailed and complex Jim Henson creations. Still, it ranks a distant third for me behind The Goonies and The Neverending Story in terms of crazy 80's kids' adventure movies.

- I'm liking this year's Celtics team. They are improving a lot from the beginning of the season and Gary Payton seems to be happy to be on the team despite their so-so record. Ricky Davis is becoming a breakout talent, and Mark Blount has a lot of potential. Paul Pierce still has a lot of weight to carry, but they could be a wild card if they make it into the playoffs, which considering how pathetic the Eastern conference is, shouldn't be an impossible task.


- Danny's Comic Pick of the Week:
Green Lantern Rebirth #3

Read it if you like: grand space-opera like Star Wars, classic superhero adventures, tales of redemption

Logline Summary: Hal Jordan, the greatest Green Lantern of all, betrayed his allies and became a murderer. But what if his actions weren't the result of his own will, but of a malevalent outside force? This is the story of Hal Jordan's return to the side of good and his battles with the demons that caused his controversial fall from grace.

What's the deal with this comic? Well, about ten years ago DC Comics secided to shake up all their major characters. Superman died, Batman broke his back and was replaced, etc. The sales were huge thanks to a large speculator market, and few of the major iconic characters were left untoched. But the most controversial change was made to Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern. After his hometown, Coast City was destroyed, and thus many of his friends and family killed, Hal went mad with power and tried to rebuild the city and resurrect its inhabitants with his power-ring. The Guardians, the alien who created the ring, intervened, and Hal, enraged at this, went crazy and killed the Guardians and many of the other heroes in the Green Lantern Corps. Fans were deeply divided over this story, which also saw the introduction of a newer, hipper Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. For ten years, the Hal vs. Kyle debates raged. Now, Geoff Johns, one of DC's best writers, has the task of bringing back Hal and exonerating him of his crimes. Obviously many problems stand in the way of doing this, such as the fact that Hal is currently dead. He died saving the world in a story called Final Night a few years back, and then, in an effort to atone for his sins from beyond the grave, merged with a ghostly, do-gooding spirit called The Spectre. So Geoff Johns had a heck of a task in front of him, and years worth of continuity standing in his way. But Rebirth has delivered. It is a great story, first and foremost, and it has found clever ways of bringing back Hal, exonerating him, yet still respecting Kyle Rayner and other members of the Green Lantern Corps. So fans of Hal and Kyle, as well as other fan-favorites like Guy Gardner and John Stewart are left happy that all of these characters are being treated with respect. And everyone is being treated to an epic story on a cosmic scale, with noble heroes, evil villains, and a lot of fun. Great art too, courtesy of Ethan Van Sciver. Check it out.

Monday, December 20, 2004

BU is Getting Soft

So according to my recently home-on-break brother, BU's dorms are all going to be wired for cable when they return from break. And not just any cable, but like super, 118 channel, HBO and 5 movie channel cable. Well, if this were last year I'd say: ABOUT FREAKING TIME. But now that I am a graduate, I offer my grudging congratulations to current BU students but also say this: BU has gone soft, and it makes me sick. Yep, all of us last-generation BU-ites can tell our grandkids (or current freshmen) how we remember a time with a strict guest policy, no cable, and iron-fisted rule by a one-armed, tyrannical Chancellor named Silber. Come on BU, you're actually going to give in to the every desire of these spoiled new-school students who think that cable TV is a right, not a privelage only to be enjoyed during winter break and summer? Why not give them a new hockey stadium, brand spankin' new Hillel house, and really sweet new dorms while yer at it. Oh, so you already have ... Well, I guess these kids will never know the pleasure of finally configuring your antenna just right so you can make out the basic shapes of Homer and Bart Simpson on Sunday night. Good for them. Really. I mean it. Because there's one thing BU can never take away from its students, no matter how soft they get: having to endure the freezing, windy, snowy, icy, slushy, dirty, and just plain miserable miserable winter Boston weather. That is, unless they build a monorail.


- Watched Woody Allen's Annie Hall last night for the first time ever. I haven't seen many of Allen's movies and I knew this was his supposed masterpiece, and I wasn't dissapointed. No, his movies aren't my absolute favorites or anything, but it is especially funny and interesting how the cultural observations he makes in the film are still so applicable today. And the whole NY vs. LA thing definitely hit home for me, at this particular juncture.

- Speaking of cultural observations, I had a few comments about my recent anti-Chrismukkah posting. It is definitely a hot issue right now (The NY Times had an article on the cover of Sunday's Week In Review section about this very topic - which also mentioned Rabbi Shmooley!), and I also highly recommend last week's Newsweek (featuring Jesus on the cover) for a very interesting cover story about the nature of Christmas and how religion can be distorted and manipulated by history.

- Just finished reading Book 7 of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's PREACHER series. I'll probably post more about this another time, but suffice to say that even though I still have books 8 and 9 left to read, I can already say that Preacher stands as one of the greatest things I have ever read. If you can stomach some of the weirder stuff that Ennis has going on in the story, it really is a classic tale of America. Definitely check it out.

- Check out Sunday's Red Sox themed Boston Globe Magazine for a funny article by everyone's favorite late night host, Conan O'Brien.

- I am pretty skeptical about the New Jersey Nets' chances to improve much even with Vince Carter. I'm hoping that the Suns or Sonics, this year's most exciting NBA teams, can make legitimate runs in the West. Still, I am definitely looking forward to Christmas Day's SHAQ VS. KOBE rematch. After all the smack he has talked in the last few weeks, plus the fact that I have basically hated him since day one he stepped into the NBA, I hope Shaq-Diesel whoops that Jordan-wannabe all over the floor. And GO PACERS.

- I think that the FOX network may have reached a new low with "Who's Your Daddy?" Seriously, what are they thinking? If you watch this, you may be evil.

- Sunday Night Quick Reviews:

Arrested Development - Wow, another weak (for this show) episode. What is going on here? Like last week, a few laughs here and there, but overall this usually hilarious show was just underwhelming for the second straight week. Hope it gets its mojo back soon. C+

Malcolm in the Middle - Despite being in FOX scheduling purgatory, and a child cast that is quickly aging, this show's still got it. Great episode - Hal's mad dash for Christmas presents was brilliant, and it's a shame that the actor who plays Hal (blanking on his name right now) has yet to win an emmy for his inspired work on this show. A-

King of the Hill - Weirdest. Episode. Ever. Every once in a while this show does a really strange, disturbing episode (when Hank and Peggy start smoking, when Luanne marries a homicidal factory owner) and this was one of them. An old woman wants to DIE in Hank's house? On Christmas? Um, yeah ... but, points for daring to be different I guess. B

Final Thought:
What is with the word "Woot?" When did people start using this exclamation (apparently synonmous with "Woo-hoo!" or "Whoo!")? For some reason this word confuses and annoys me, and I say that anyone who wants to exclaim enthusiasm in written form should use "WHOOO!", "DAAAAAMN!", or, if necessary, "AWESOME, BABY!".

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Oy-Humbug to Chrismukkah and A Rant from The Suburban Job-Hunting Wasteland


- I think I fixed the blog so anyone can now add comments if they so choose.

- Been watching the ALI G Show on DVD, and it is great - hilarious. Check it out if you haven't seen this. It's funny cuz I think I am really on the same comedic wavelength as actor Sasha Baron Cohen who plays all the characters. He chose three of my favorite types of characters to do in his show. The wannabe gangsta (a classic target for ridicule), the strange Russian foreigner (another personal favorite comedic character), and the weirdo ambiguously German Euro-trash dude (a popular one when I was in London and my roommates and I would do that weird Euro voice all the time and crack ourselves up, and, see the Nihilists in The Big Lebowski for reference). Respeck.

- Also picked up a hidden gem at Best Buy in their 5.99 shelf - a DVD with 12 episodes of the 1980's anthology show Ray Bradbury Theater. Being a huge Ray Bradbury fan (I wrote my senior thesis on him in high school!) I snatched this up and upon checking it out realized I had some fond memories of this show from watching it being rerun on the scifi channel way back in the day. It's got some good Bradbury adaptations, some quality actors like Jeff Goldblum and Leslie Nielson and even William Shatner, and some great 80's style synth soundtracks. Check it out if you see it in the store for cheap. Also, the intros featuring Bradbury himself are really cool, they make you want to go tuck yourself away and think up some cool story of your own.

- Great O.C. tonight. Nice to see more drama back in the show, and the twists are really piling up. And the previews for the future episodes : all I can say is "DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN!" Boys, you know what I mean.


A comment: Chrismukkah, while funny on the show, really should not be as talked about as it has been in real life (they just did an article on it in the Hartford Courant) as a viable form of holiday celebration, ESPECIALLY for families who are not inter-married, but 100 percent Jewish. I hope that Jews around the country don't feel the need to mix Chanukah and Christmas just because they feel they're somehow missing out. If there's any holiday Jews probably should not celebrate, it's the one where Christians remember the birth of their messiah. Although the sad part is, how many Christians even remember and/or care that that's the reason for the holiday. I say it's all a plot by the Christian Right to have all Americans celebrating Christmas, under the guise of "oh, but it's a national holiday about joy and happiness." Sorry, that's what the Greeks did to the Jews in the story of Chanukah, which is why we went to war rather than be forcibly assimilated, and now celebrate that event with a festival of lights. So once the entire nation has been convinced that if you don't celebrate Christmas you're not a patriot and such, THAT'S when they'll remind everyone that yes, we are all celebrating the birth of Jesus and yep, it's official, goodbye separation of church and state and hello United States of Jesus. Sure, the pundits complain NOW that Christmas is commercialized, but it's just so we can all be spoonfed our yearly dose of Jesus love with a sugary side of Santa Claus. And THEN, once we're all Rudolphed and Jingle-Belled into a pacified state of ambivalence, that's when they'll really get us. Okay, so that might be A LITTLE far-fetched (but ONLY a little, if you ask me), but the point is - Jews - celebrate Chanukah, and all other Jewish holidays that DON'T coincide with the Christian ones, and use Christmas as a time to catch up on movies, sleep late, or whatever. But please, are you that desperate to assimilate completely that you need to bastardize your religion by pulling a Chrismmukah? This is one tradition that I hope we can all agree to leave that to the fictional TV families, who ALSO happen to have illegitimate children, weekly extramarital affairs, and kids dating people who they will most likely, in a week or so, find out that they are, in fact, RELATED TO.


It is frustrating, with all the effort I have made to get a foot in the door of the entertainment industry, to hear people talk to me about my job search as if I've just been sitting around doing nothing and hoping that something magical would come along. This is the problem with living in a close-knit community where people's kids are often the topic of conversation. "My kid is doing this, my kid is working here, my kid is studying there." In such an environment, in this puritanical, New-England Jewish place, the college dropout making a career at Burger King is somehow held in higher regard than me, the college graduate trying to make it in entertainment. Because whenever Parent X asks my parents what and how I'm doing, my parents, still very confused and in denial about my career choice, are never quite sure how to respond, except by projecting their own hopes for me into their answers ("Well, he might still go to law school." NO. "If he doesn't have a job by Tuesday he's joining your son at Burger King." Please, God no.) In the daily suburban grind of phone chatter and gossip, telling someone there's nothing new to report gets excruciatingly old very fast. So the mere fact that "he's still working at Burger King" is such a consistent, reliable answer to "how's your son doing" makes it one that, here at least, is comfortably satisfying. The truth is that man of us recent college grads are under a lot of pressure by parents (pressed by other parents) to hurry up and make some money. The financial pressures are real and the social pressures not so much, but the sad truth is that most of the 23 year olds working in entertainment are able to do so because a.) their parents had a direct contact in the industry, and/or b.) their parents were able to throw money their way and say "okay, move to NY or LA, we'll pay for it until you find a job." For anyone else, getting that foot in the door is going to be difficult, take time and persistance, and probably make your parents think that getting a job at BK, for appearance's sake, isn't such a bad idea. But if I can and do make it into "the biz" (which I'm still very much planning on doing), I admit that it will be great fun to run into Parents X, Y, and Z, and tell them in crystal clear words that even they can understand what exactly it is that I'm doing. But I can be sure that their kid will still be working at Burger King, so really, what's the big deal anyway?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Identity Crisis" Reviewed

Warning: Comic book geek mode on. Everyman Danny will return soon with ramblings about politics, searching for jobs, and the benefits of regular flossing.

Post-Warning Explanation for the Curious and Uninitiated: Identity Crisis is a 7 issue maxi-series from DC Comics. Issue 7 was just released. This series has been getting mainstream press and accollades from all over, from the NY Times to CNN. Why? Because it is written by highly regarded mystery novelist Brad Meltzer, in only his second ever comics work. Because it is an epic murder mystery that involves all of the major characters in the DC Comics Universe: Superman. Batman. Green Arrow. The Flash. Because it contains the death of major, beloved characters and shocking revelations that put thirty years of past stories in a new light.

To sum up: Someone is killing the loved ones of heroes, and presumably, no one, not even Lois Lane, is safe. The first victim, in Issue 1's now-classic opening, was Sue Dibny, wife of The Elongated Man. Yep, the Elongated Man. Sure, his name is pretty lame, but he and Sue are one of comicdom's classic couples, and the excellent writing by Meltzer made people who had never heard of her shed a tear at Sue's horrific murder. The heroes suspected Dr. Light, a B-grade villain, of the crime. Why? Because years ago, a group of heroes had caught Dr. Light in the act of raping a helpless Sue Dibney. Yes, rape in superhero comics - many were offended by this, but it seemed to be written so well that it was deemed a worthy introduction of more realistic dangers to the fantastical world of DC's heroes. Anyways, the heroes, shocked that Light had attempted such a horrific crime, and realizing that in doing so he had discovered their secret identities, took a drastic measure to stop him. The mystical heroinne Zatanna wiped Light's mind of all memory of their I.D.'s. She magically lobotomized him, altering his personality from vicious psycopath to harmless thug. But he was only the first of many. This group of seven heroes formed a pact, to magically mind-alter dangerous villains throughout the years, walking the line between morality and abuse of power, and providing a new explanation for why all those old comic villains were so consistantly incompetant. Then, another twist. It was revealed that during the Dr. Light incident, Batman, ever the stubborn moralist, objected to the mind-wipe and threatened to expose the heroes' actions. The pact saw no choice but to turn on their own and mind-wipe Batman, causing him to forget their objectionable actions!

Throughout the series, Dr. Light is revealed to not have been Sue Dibney's killer, or the killer of the subsequently murdered Jack Drake (father of Tim Drake, the current Robin). Then WHO was it? As Batman asked, "who benefits?" Was it The Calculator, a scheming information broker to super-villains? Or was it Boomerang, who attacked and killed Jack Drake, but seemed to have been manipulated by an outside source? At the end of Issue 6, we are left with a shocking possibility - could the killer have been The Atom - the longtime hero who can shrink to any size? He benefits, because thanks to the murders, he and ex-wife Jean Loring have rekindled their broken relationship ... But why would a hero resort to murder? Issue number seven had to tie the murders, the mindwiping, and all the other loose threads together, and had to have either a damn good explanation of how The Atom could be a murderer, or yet another twist ...


In Issue 7, we get a twist, but one that is both so predictable and boring and just "meh" that most dismissed it as a possibility well beforehand. Turns out that .... (SPOILERS) .....

Jean Loring, the Atom's ex-wife, is the killer. In a bout of insanity, she thought that threatening the heroes' loved ones would bring her closer to her ex, and it did. Until she ... ACCIDENTALLY REVEALS INFORMATION TO THE ATOM THAT ONLY THE REAL KILLER WOULD KNOW, THUS EXPOSING HER AS THE KILLER. Um, okay. Haven't seen that one before, Mr. Meltzer, Mr. Best-selling novelist. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! Seven issues and a good chunk of change later, and THIS is the big reveal? Okay, okay, fine - because, surely, it will all be tied together under Meltzer's capable hands. See, up until now I was a huge defender of this series. Others called it hackneyed, even misogynistic for its portrayal of crimes against women. But I defended it, because until now the writing was so damn good. Issue 1 left me with a lump in my stomach, and made me care about Ralph and Sue Dibney more than I ever had before. Yes, there was unprecedented realism and violence for a mainstream superhero book, but there was also unprecedented characterization of previously marginalized characters. Who would have thought that the Elongated Man (not even in the top tier of stretchable heroes) could ever be the sympathetic hero of a tragic, yet wonderfully written murder-mystery? Later issues were filled with tantalizing clues about the killer, and memorable character moments to rival any we've seen in comics in a long time. There was the emergence of and fight with the assassin Deathstroke, which made people sit up and take notice of this often misused but still-great character. There was the desperate and futile drive by Batman and Robin to get home in time to save Tim's father, equally if not more tragic than Sue Dibney's final moments. There was the moving and beautifully illustrated funeral scene for Sue. There was the mysterious cameo by fan-favorite Hal Jordan (aka The Spectre). Up until now, this was a series that you read at light-speed, hungry for each new moment and any new clue about the mysteries at hand. You turned each page, just waiting for all to be revealed. This was the comic book equivalent of The Da Vinci Code, but with names like Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne at the forefront.

And then ... nothing. No conclusion to most of the numerous plot threads that had seemingly been leading up to some huge revelation that would tie everything together. What about Batman's mind-wipe? What about The Calculator? What about Boomerang's long-lost son, who had emerged as the series' stand-out character? Nope, apparently these threads were either tossed aside or left for some other writer to handle (no doubt in future tie-ins that will be promoted as must-read fallout of Identity Crisis). And then there's the central problem of Jean Loring as murderer. If she had no partcular grudge against Sue or Jack Drake, why single them out to be killed? If she didn't mean to kill Sue, and only meant to hurt her, then why did she bring along a virtual arsenal of weapons? And where did she get those? Her plan wasn't very well thought out if she murdered associates of Batman and Ralph Dibney, purportedly two of the World's Greatest Detectives. And how did she know the identity of Tim Drake in the first place? There's lots of other minutae that I won't go into, but suffice to say this was a LAZY finale, with far too many questions and motivations left unexplained for what is supposed to be a SELF-CONTAINED story. Initially, this series seemed poised to take a place next to the giants of comics cannon - Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, etc. - the classics by which all other "earth-shattering" events are always held up. Those series are the holy grail of superhero comics, and after that heart-wrenching first issue Identity Crisis had a shot at achieving a similar if not equal greatness. But now, I don't know. It's too soon to judge how this will be receieved, but I have a feeling many people are disappointed with the wrap up.Judged as a whole this is still an A-level story, an emotional roller coaster - albeit one that never comes together convincingly. As good as this series was, in a mystery the end is everything. And here, the ending was, unfortunately, a flop.

Still, people should check out this series and see what the hype is about and draw their own conclusions. The art by rising star Rags Morales is great, and very unique (though I still preferred his past work on Hourman and Hawkman). But it's very emotional and down to earth, yet still larger than life. I also encourage people who read this and are thinking "whoah, what a convoluted mess" to not be afraid to check out comics in general. While this was an unusual series in that it mixed a murder mystery with the brightly colored world of DC's heroes, there are numerous genres within the medium that can suit any taste. I'll try to cover some of those in future posts. But this being a RANT, I am tempted to just say this: Worst. Ending. Ever. But that would be a big exaggeration and unfair to what was, until now, a groundbreaking, milestone series. But still, this was the kind of ending that makes any red-blooded comic geek want to invoke that Simpons comic book guy and go on the internet and rant. So I did.

The ending scene to this series kind of sums up the whole problem with its premise that is only now fully apparent after reading the last issue. In it, we see Ralph Dibney laying in his bed, following the advice of his friend Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. Oliver, who is among the ranks of heroes to have died and later been ressurected (hey, it's comic book tradition), tells Ralph to talk to his dead wife Sue when he feels he misses her, because, as Oliver can attest (having been dead), the dead do hear the words of the living. So we see Ralph talking away to his dead wife, and we instantly wonder if she is in fact somehow alive. This is a superhero comic afterall, where ghosts and magic and resurections are par for the course. Except this is a comic where women are raped and heroes do unheroic things and the killer isn't The Joker but some crazy ex-wife, so we can't be sure what's going on, exactly. Just like we weren't sure whether this was a self-contained story or a crossover epic that would continue into other titles. Just like we weren't sure where all the big fight scenes and costumed villains were at the end. Just like we weren't sure if all those subplots were tied together or just somehow loosely tied into an effort to make the heroes less super. If that was his goal, Meltzer succeeded. But for all the wonderful scenes and lasting, impactful effects of the story, he failed to provide a satisfactory answer to the question that kept people buying the series, the one that made it the most talked about comic event in years: "whodunnit?"

Identity Crisis - Issues 1 to 7
Overall Grade: B+
Writing: B+
Art: A-

Best Issue: Issue 1 (A+)
Worst Issue: Issue 7 (C)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

All Hail The Return of the King

Well, sometimes being at home and temporarily unemployed does have its benefits, especially for us geeks who feel some weird compulsion to buy hyped-up products on the first day of their release.Well, normally I'm not the type to wait in line to buy something the day it comes out, but I do make certain exceptions. One of those exceptions occured today, when the extended edition of the final chapter in cinema's greatest achievement was released. Yes, I went out to Best Buy today and got my hands on wonderfully-packaged Return of the King: Extended Edition DVD. Now I may dive into some of the many bonus documentaries and whatnot soon, but I'll probably save the actual film until my brother is home for winter break, and we can take in the all new hour of footage as part of a multi-day Lord of the Rings marathon. And sadly, this release marks the end of a movie-going era that was the greatest event since Star Wars and one which I doubt we'll see surpassed in the near future. Why are these movies so great? Here's how I see it:

Faithfulness to the spirit of Tolkien: unlike countless other big-budget adaptations, everyone involved in these movies has an obvious love for the source material that shines though in every aspect of the trilogy. Special effects are used to great effect to bring Tolkien's visions to life, not simply to show off and drown out the more important, human characters and emotions (take note, George Lucas).

Perfect Casting: Before this trilogy, names like Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, and Liv Tyler were not thought of as cinematic heavyweights. They were the kid from Goonies, some former child actor from a lot of bad movies, and the chick from the Aerosmith video who was also the lead singer's daughter. But Peter Jackson cast these actors as part of an amazing ensemble and saw in them potential that was fully realized throughout the films. Many ensemble casts have a few great picks and a few clunkers (see X-Men), and some bank on big-name stars to draw in audiences (see Ocean's 11 / 12). But Jackson and his crew brought in classical, established, (but not marquee) actors to lend gravitas as Gandalf and Bilbo and Galadriel, and found great, reliable genre actors to round out the cast (John Rys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, and of course Christopher Lee). It was surely this casting that inspired the careful and promising casting of upcoming genre movies like Batman Begins to use quality actors (Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, etc) over over-hyped, big-name stars (George Clooney, Keanu Reeves).

A Classic Musical Score: A score really adds a lot to a great movie, and helps elevate a film to classic status. Many big-budget epics lately have not exactly had memorable scores, but LOTR is a clear exception. Howard Shore's themes are stirring soundtracks that perfectly fit the movie and really add to the timelessness and emotion of the trilogy.

Classic Themes: While the overarching themes of the films come directly from Tolkien, the movies really help remove the clutter of the books and cut to the core of their message. The themes of industry vs. nature, the power of the individual, fated love, friendship and comraderie, adventure, the corruption of power and temptation, faith, home, and good vs. evil are universal and can be enjoyed and appreciated on many levels, by men and women, young and old.

Well, that about sums it up. Sure, there are some promising, ambitious films coming out that share the potentially epic source material of LOTR (the Disney adaptation of the Narnia books, for one), but I think that this trilogy of films will serve as the benchmark by which all other adventures are judged for a long time to come. If I had to pick one favorite moment from the trilogy, it is probably in The Two Towers, when Gandalf rouses Theoden from his Grima-induced trance. The king, grotesquely aged and weakened by the spell, suddenly rises up with renewed vigor and determination, ready to lead his people to war. One of many great moments in the trilogy, but that one moment is one that stands out for me.


- Damn, Veronica Mars rocked tonight. What an ending! (won't spoil it here). Please watch this show.

- Saw Rabbi Shmooley on Scarborough Country tonight, in a really absurd discussion about whether there is a "God-gene" that predisposes people to believe in God. Schmooley actually made the most sense of the panelists in his arguments, but really the topic is kinda ridiculous. One's beliefs are a result of experience and / or taught cultural values. But what about Jesus and Muhammed, who found their own forms of faith? Were they genetically predisposed to have original religious thoughts? This is a pretty crazy idea in my opinion. If genes pass down inherited traits, then how can they be responsible for original ideas or concepts? In any case, it was nice to see hear Shmooley's rants again, and he did have some excellent points about active displays of religious belief (ex: prayer, religious song should be banned in public schools) vs. passive displays (ex: nothing wrong with displaying menorahs or even nativity scenes).

- I may talk more about this in a future post, but I am sick of hearing hype about John McCain and Rudy Guliani being respected party mavericks who speak freely and from the heart. These two have done nothing but publicly kiss W's ass since the last election season began, and in these highly contentious months I've heard barely anything from either of these two that goes against the party line. Honestly, there hasn't been a truly independent and free-speaking politician in the public eye since Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota, and that may well be one of the reason's why he's out of politics (among other things).

- Well that's the end of Chanukah. Went by quickly, and it's still weeks before Christmas. Chag Sameach and peace out.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Put on Your Yarmulke ...

Once again, Happy Channukah.

Lots of Channukah celebrations of late. Yesterday my mother's side of the family came over for dinner, and today my dad and I drove up to Belmont, MA (about 20 minutes from Boston), picked up my grandma in Newton, and had a holiday meal with several members of his side of the family. Many of them I have only recently met or hadn't met at all up until now, so it was very interesting to say the least since we have never really had a gathering of that side of the family before. I saw fellow former Temple Israel teacher Jacob Baram, and current New York Observer news editor Marcus Baram, among others. And get this, I have a cousin, who I had never met before, whose father owns the rights to the character Zorro. Yep, Zorro, the masked avenger of Spanish legend. And basically his full time job is to manage the usage of the character in movies, TV, books, and any kind of consumer product. Wow, now that's what I call a way to make a living, especially with a sequel to The Mask of Zorro (with Antonio Banderes and Catherine Zeta-Jones) close to release, and poised to rake in the sweet, sweet, cash-money. Hmm, I wonder if any characters are up for sale? I think Popeye is due for a comeback ... The Lone Ranger could be big, what with all these Red States and stuff ... or maybe I should look into purchasing the media rights to legendary 1980's animated icon Bucky O'Hare ... yeah, that's the ticket ...

Got home after a long day just in time for some FOX Sunday night laughter. Too bad Malcolm in the Middle was freakin' preempted by football. Oh well, what can ya do. But I will say that The Simpsons had its BEST EPISODE OF THE YEAR, by far, tonight. No, it wasn't even close to an all time classic or anything, but it had me laughing throughout the entire episode which I haven't done in a while with the show. From the opening gag, where Homer continually goes from horror to relief as Lisa sings the kids' classic "Miss Suzie Had a Steamboat Song," it was hilarious. For a minute, it was 1995 and all was right with the world. Then, weirdly, Arrested Development had easily one of it's worst ever episodes, in my opinion. Sure, it had some great moments, but overall it just seemed dull and un-funny. It's like one of those nights in the NBA when an old-timer like Karl Malone has a 25 point game, like he used to do every night back in the day. Um, kinda.

Tommorow it's back to the grind, of, um, looking for a job. Not too much I can do at the moment with the holiday season at hand but I think I'm going to have another meeting at ESPN either this week or next, and hopefully I'll be able to arrange some stuff in NYC before the new year. Plus I gotta look into apartments in NYC and LA / Burbank so I'm at least somewhat ready if opportunity knocks. Anyone with any suggestions in those areas definitely let me know.

Dentist appointment tommorow. Ouch. I better not have any cavities, because if I do I will not be a happy camper. That's it for now - hopefully this week there'll be some good news to report.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Why Are All the TV Liberals So Pathetic?

Well I'm tired after a long day of holiday shopping (don't worry, I managed to get a little something for myself ... can't wait to crack into that fresh copy of Metal Gear Solid 3 ... one of my all-time favorite game series). So here are a few quick thoughts on random topics:

- Wow what an NBA game tonight between the Rockets and Spurs! T-Mac with 13 points in 45 seconds to win the game! This is a really weird NBA season with the Detroit-Indiana brawl shaking up the east and Shaq's Miami move changing the balance of power in the west. I'm still hoping Indiana can win one for Reggie Miller (who at age 38, had 32 points in his first game back from a broken hand the other night), but I wish they had a better cast of characters on that team than Ron "buy my album" Artest and the over-hyped and underachieving Jermaine O'Neil. Bring back Rick Smits ...

- One key song I omitted from my top 100 list was probably Bryan Adam's Summer of 69. Discuss.

- Nice ending for tonight's OC. So far this season has had too much wink-wink, self-referential humor in an attempt to lighten the mood, but after an okay, too-sappy-for my tastes episode, that ending comes along and delivers a classic twist: "Mom? What are you doing here?"

- Lost last night was pretty intense, overall a very good episode. But please tell me this is going somewhere.

- I join my brother in being very excited for the new season of 24. Those promos on FOX are doing a great job of building up the hype. Just hearing those familiar countdown sounds is enough to get ya ready for some Jack Bauer-delivered ass-kicking.

- Finally, so I'm watching some Scarburough Country on MSNBC and I see Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan, as usual, devouring Al Franken and some other whimpering token liberal. OK, you think there's a liberal media? Well it's a rare thing to see one of the talking-heads news shows feature a liberal or moderate voice who can get his or her point across in the face of the unrelenting, dogma-spewing conservative loudmouths. It's ridiculous, and I don't understand why Democrats don't realize that time and time again they are being suckered into a situation where they come out looking like insecure kids. So liberals, when you go on a talk show, try doing at least some of the following:
- stick to the point at hand. trying to go back to an earlier point just makes it look like you're dodging the question.
- don't use humor when you're trying to make a serious point, it's not conducive to fast-paced debates where every word counts. while ann coulter is listing off talking points a mile a minute, al franken is telling a long, pointless, joke that goes nowhere.
- don't preface your words by attacking your opponent. save that for the conservatives, and don't let the discussion become personal unless they make it so.
- don't whine! people like pat buchanan and joe scarburough come off as authoritative because they keep a calm if forceful demeanor.
- keep it moderate - tonight some liberal nut was going off about how mel gibson's Passion was offensive since Jesus wasn't shown as semetic / Arabic. Please, is this going to win an argument about the movie's merits? Address the big issues, not some minor talking point that only makes you look like more of a nutjob.

I don't know if they purposely recruit these weak-azz liberals for these conservative-dominated shows or if they just happen to be that way (well, obviously when they get LAME, whiny liberal celebs like Janine Garafalo or Kathy Griffin, they're TRYING to make the liberals look like jokes), but come on, the Democratics are supposed to be the party of the common man, so I hope that some of these talking heads will realize what they are representing before they go on a Hannity and Colmes or Scarborough Country or whatever and help ensure that we'll get an even longer Republican reign.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Music Rant ... and: Top Songs of All-Time?

Well I thought that me and Stephen King were alone in a vacuum proclaiming American Idiot by Green Day to be the album of the year, but looks like Grammy thinks it might be too. Nice to see it get a few nods, though honestly who really cares about the grammy's? Music is so subjective, who is anyone to say what someone should or shouldn't like. That being said, I have a few bands that I simply hate as a matter of principle. And it is kinda awkward since many friends of mine are really into these bands. Well, I may as well offend as many people as possible and just say for the record that one band I (as do countless others) simply can't stand is Dave Matthews Band. Just hearing a song by them gets me angry. I think that a huge part of the reason for that is that so many fans of this band are basically preppy assholes who thought they were somehow cool in high school for putting DMB '98!!!!!! on their yearbook pages. It goes to show you the kind of people that are into the band when every summer in CT, the Dave concerts have more arrests and incident than any other. I can see people getting out of hand at say, a Metallica concert, but it's kind of pathetic that Dave Matthews of all people inspires teens and twenty-somethings to go to his concerts and get into trouble. Yep, there are of course many perfectly nice, unassuming Dave Matthews fans out there, but I would say that this band has gotta have, in general, the worst, most annoying fans of almost any other group out there. And to top it all off, their music is somehow considered (mostly by these fans) as being inherently superior. The same attitude is held by fans of other annoyingly artsy bands like Radiohead and yes, even The Grateful Dead. To these pretentious fans of such bands, I say get off your high horse and try some music with GENUINE EMOTION in it that moves you in some way rather than evoking hordes of spoiled rich kids wearing sandals and tie-dyed shirts and too-old baseball caps. But then again, music is subjective, like I said, so, though my dislike for these bands probably won't change anytime soon, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And speaking of opinions, how about Rolling Stone's new list of the 500 greatest songs ever? Interesting read, to say the least (it kept me occupied during my long flight back from LA). They seemed to have ignored most of the 90's and gone a little overboard with the Beatles and Rolling Stones love, but I do commend them on their choice of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone as their number one pick. When I was in London last spring, this song became my apartment's theme, and my guitar-wielding suite-mates often broke this classic out for some group sing-a-long sessions that made me appreciate this song for the classic it is. I was surprised that some classic rock bands like Styxx, Meatloaf, and Rush were left off the list entirely. You'd think rock epics like Come Sail Away or Paradise By The Dashboard Light might be somewhere on the list. I also though that some all-time great bands like Queen and Tom Petty seemed under-represented. Also, the nineties seemed very conspicuously absent, with Weezer getting a token mention with Buddy Holly (definitely not their best song) and Nirvana having a few scattered entries (notably cracking the top 10 with Teen Spirit). Finally, the rap entries seemed inconsistent. Run DMC, Dr. Dre, Public Enemy, and one or two others were listed, but they seemed hesitant about whether or not rap would be fully represented as a genre on the list. If so, where were Snoop, Notorious BIG, and other influential names? And dammit all, give some love Jesse's Girl, that's gotta be, what, like at least 400 ... right?

So, here's my own personal top100 (yep, 100!) songs. Now I have always respected the Beatles, Stones, and Dylan, but I never really got into them as others have, so you won't find Dylan or the Beatles on here. I also (as you can probably tell) don't mind songs that some might consider, um, cheesy (Poison anyone?). So with that in mind here's my list. I probably forgot to include a lot of stuff and I'll probably look back on this and ask what in de blue hell was I thinking, but here ya go: Danny's Personal Top 100 All Time Rock Songs:

1. Dream On - Aerosmith
2. Sweet Child of Mine - Guns N' Roses
3. Mary Jane's Last Dance - Tom Petty
4. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
5. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
6. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zepellin
7. Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
8. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
9. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses
10. Another Brick in The Wall (Part 2) - Pink Floyd
11. Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
12. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
13. I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramones
14. Enter Sandman - Metallica
15. Jeremy - Pearl Jam
16.Come Sail Away - Styxx
17. Crazy Train - Ozzy Ozbourne
18. Sympathy for the Devil - Rolling Stones
19. Keep On Rockin' In the Free World - Neil Young
20. Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
21. End of the World as We Know It - REM
22. In Bloom - Nirvana
23. One - Metallica
24. Teenage Wasteland - The Who
25. London Calling - The Clash
26. Lola - The Kinks
27. Loser - Beck
28. Still Loving You - The Scorpions
29. Evenflow - Pearl Jam
30. Walk This Way - Aerosmith / Run DMC
31. Fight For Your Right (To Party) - Beastie Boys
32. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
33. Living On a Prayer - Bon Jovi
34. Master of Puppets - Metallica
35. Amazing - Aerosmith
36. Freefallin' - Tom Petty
37. Dazed and Confused - Led Zepellin
38. Paradise City - Guns N' Roses
39. Peace of Mind - Boston
40. Paradise By the Dashboard Light - Meatloaf
41. Thriller - Michael Jackson
42. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
43. Basket Case - Greenday
44. The Sweater Song - Weezer
45. Detroit Rock City - Kiss
46. Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
47. Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
48. For Whom The Bell Tolls - Metallica
49. Come As You Are - Nirvana
50. Angel - Aerosmith
51. Back in Black - AC/DC
52. November Rain - Guns N' Roses
53. My Name is Jonas - Weezer
54. Photograph - Def Leppard
55. Fallen Angel - Poison
56. Poison - Alice cooper
57. In The Name of Love - U2
58. Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers
59. Don't Come Around Here No More - Tom Petty
60. Tom Sawyer - Rush
61. We Are The Champions - Queen
62. Spirit of Radio - Rush
63. Anarchy in the UK - Sex Pistols
64. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynard Skynard
65. Hotel California - The Eagles
66. Bad Moon Rising - Credence Clearwater Revival
67. Don't Fear The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
68. The Rooster - Alice in Chains
69. Self Esteem - The Offspring
70. Rocket Queen - Guns N' Roses
71. Layla - Cream
72. Panama - Van Halen
73. Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins
74. Love in An Elevator - Aerosmith
75. Trippin' On A Hole in A Paper Heart - Stone Temple Pilots
76. God Save the Queen - The Sex Pistols
77. Free Will - Rush
78. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
79. Rock You Like A Hurricane - The Scorpions
80. Epic - Faith No More
81. Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin
82. Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
83. All I Really Want - Alanis Morissette
84. Mr. Roboto - Styxx
85. Sweet Dreams - The Eurythmics
86. Losing My Religion - REM
87. Sabatoge - The Beastie Boys
88. Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
89. Baba O'Reilly - The Who
90. Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
91. School's Out - Alice Coooper
92. House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
93. What's the Frequency, Kenneth? - REM
94. More Than A Feeling - Boston
95. Radio Ga Ga - Queen
96. Iron Man - Black Sabbath
97. Eat the Rich - Aerosmith
98. We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister
99. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
100. Won't Be Fooled Again - The Who

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Escape From LA. Happy Channukah, and Danny's Album of the Year

This past week when I was in LA, practically everyone complained about the weather. Oh, it's so cold. Oh, it's raining. Oh god, it's below sixty degrees. Well, here I am back in CT, aka the purgatory between New York and Boston, and it's freezing out, literally, my driveway is covered in an icy slush, and it's sleeting outside. And it's been dark outside ALL DAY. So to all those in LA, sure you may have the occasional riot and earthquake, and yes your governor is the star of Kindergarden Cop, but you have NO RIGHT to complain about the weather. Anyways ...

So LA was a good if busy time. Although I was only there for less than a week, it seemed a lot longer. Things started on a bad note with a terrible plane trip from Hartford where I was sandwhiched between two three-hundered plus pound men for five hours from Cincinatti. And they smelled really bad (not to perpetuate any stereotypes or anything ...). But anyways the Ramada Inn in Burbank proved to be a good call to stay it, since it had a free shuttle to all the major studios in the area. The only bump was on Friday when a non-English-speaking driver took me on a mad dash around Burbank thanks to his inabilty to find the Disney studios, with two Ellen Degeneres-obsessed women in the backseat offering me their encouragement that I would make it to my appointment at Touchstone TV. But hey it all turned out alright. I had a great talk at Disney with a contact I had there. I had an okay interview at Warner Bros, and a very positive interview at the NBC Page Program. I also interviewed at Film Colony ( a production company responsible for bringing many of Tarantino's movies to the screen) and met up with a few BU alumni who were very nice and helpful (and which led to one of my few celeb sightings on the trip; Ashton Kutcher at the CBS lot). I also had a nice evening out at the Universal CityWalk, and enjoyed some good food there (also sampled LA / West Coast staples like Weinershnitzel and Chic Filet).

Then it was off to THE OC, Newport Beach, for the weekend. There I met up with Bradd "former IBA captain" Kern for some quality time sampling the OC's food and nightlife (and his selection of like 500 TV channels). We also checked out Laguna Beach, home of the terrible MTV reality show of the same name, but the place itself was very cool, and left me suitably spent to wake up at 7 am the next morning for my flight home to CT.

So I probably won't hear from any of the LA place I interviewed until January, so until then I guess I can relax a little more than I have been (yeah, right) though I want to continue plugging away and still look into NYC stuff. So far, I don't hate LA like a lot of people seem to, but it also probably doesn't have the same appeal to me as NYC. And by the way, the traffic in LA, for the uninitiated, is freakin' ridiculous. The Sunday morning I left, it took 35 minutes to drive from Newport beach to LAX airport. The previous Friday night, it took OVER 2 HOURS to drive from Burbank to Newport Beach, due to the horrible traffic. And I'd tell you what that cab ride cost, but I'll save myself the seizure and just say that the fair was obscene, and more than the cost of an X-Box. Oy.

Already not fun being back in CT. Plus it's Channukah tonight which is kind of a depressing holiday when you're 22 and have little disposable income. No presents to look forward to ... sniffle ... and the weather was so crappy today I couldn't even bring myself to go out and do some shopping. Well soon I'll be rich and famous and it will be eight crazy nights for all indeed, and I'll have a TIVO, all the good X-Files seasons on DVD, and a massaging chair.

Speaking of material possesions, it seems a lot of people are doing end of year best of lists right around now, with many doing music lists now because most of the major releases for the year have come out. Well to add my own contribution, I will say that one album stood out for me as easliy the best I heard in a long while, though of course I probably didn't hear as much new music this year as in year's past due to lack of access to downloadable songs and the TERRIBLE radio stations in CT of which there is NOT A ONE that plays exclusively new rock music. First of all, here's two albums that kicked my ass this year:

Best Return To Rocking-ness - Aerosmith: Honkin' On Bobo - So you might know that I am a huge Aerosmith fan (those of you who haven't talked to me in a long time are probably laughing that I would still say that). Aerosmith's 90's comeback is what really got me into rock n' roll, and I even loved their Get A Grip follow-up, Nine Lives, which probably few others did. Then came the surprise success of that lame Armageddon song, followed by Just Push Play, an attempt to modernize the band into the digital age that in my opinion, sucked badly. Honkin' On Bobo is a return to the classic, blues-y Aerosmith with an ... album of blues covers. Sure, it's still different from the classic Aerosmith we all know and love, but it's good. It makes you want to jam along on a Harmonica. A return to form for America's Greatest Rock N' Roll Band.

Best Album by a New Band - The Darkness: Permission to Land - When I first heard I Believe in a thing Called Love on the radio in Boston, I knew that this was a band that was old-school. They were unapoligetically flamboyant, bombastic, and over the top. And they rocked. This album may not be incredibly deep, but it is incredibly fun, and will have you banging your head and belting out the choruses to power ballads like it's 1989.

Best Album - Green Day - American Idiot - Wow, is all I can say. This album is politically relevant, musically diverse, and yet classic Green Day despite being a rare rock concept album, it is to young adulthood what Dookie was to the teenage years. I have to agree with Stephen King's EW column this week that this is a rock classic album and will only be more highly regarded as time goes on. The highlight is probably the eight minute long Jesus of Suburbia, a sprawling punk rock epic that will kick your ass. Check it out if you haven't already.

OK, that's it for this long rant. Happy Channukah!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"California Here I Come ..."

Damn. So last night I finally got around to writing a whole big entry and right when I'm about to publish, Blogspot goesY2K on me and completely freezes. So everything ... was lost. Dayum, that's not right. So I'll try to replicate what I wrote last night in the minutes before I head off to the airport. The airport? Yep, that's right, I am about to head off to Hollywood until Sunday, in what will be the continuation of a crazy two weeks. Yeah, when I started this blog I did so thinking I'd have tons of time to write, seeing as how I was basically sitting around in CT looking for a job. Now business has picked up a little bit, though I shouldn't say too much because in a week's time I may be right back to sitting around watching VH1 at 1 am. But it all started a few Thursday ago when ...

I'm planning a trip to LA, when suddenly the fine folks at Late Night With Conan O'Brien call and say they need PA's to help with their move to new offices. Start monday, let them know by THE NEXT DAY whether I'm in or our. So of course that's when OPERATION FREAK OUT BEGINS (as ol' Flava Flav might say ...). Luckily, things seemed to fall into place after only a few hours of panic. My aunt Amy, of Riverdale, NY, was nice enough to let me stay at her apartment for a week and a half. So I was in business, and headed out to NYC for a week of heavy lifting. It was great to be back at Conan, and nice to see all the staff there. The work itself was pretty brutal ... days filled with box-packing, box-lifting, and box unpacking. But kudos to the other hard-working PA's there who made sure I took minimal breaks and worked till I could not work no more. See, for those of you who aspire to be writers, you pay your dues by doing manual labor! Who says showbiz is glamorous?

Still, there were some great moments. One happened on my last day, when I got a glimspe of one of my all-time rock idols - SLASH~~! Yep, Velvet Revolver played the show, and some other PA's and I were called down to help move their equipment. Man, I have been a huge Slash fan since I first discovered the greatness of GUNS N'ROSES back in the day. So that was a pretty big thrill.

NYC was also great because, well, I got to get outta CT. But, also, I got to see a lot of friends in the area, many of whom I had not seen in way too long. Of course, my crazy schedule kept me from seeing everyone I wanted to, but hopefully I'll be back to the city soon. One of the highlights was definitely a Shabbat dinner at the house of one Rabbi Schmooley, right wing radio talk show host and author of such best-selling books as Kosher Sex. Yep, you read that right. It was a birthday celebration for both him and my friend Erica who is now working for him (and living in his house, odd since she is a liberal Catholic / Wiccan). Well, a good time was had by all and a celebration like no other I've ever seen, highlighted by the unveiling of two birthday cakes: Schmooley's cake of decency and morality, and Erica's rainbow-colored cake of immorality and sin! Yeah, craziness!

SO ... now I'm off to LA, well, Burbank to be exact. I'm interviewing with NBC's page program there and with Warner Bros. TV. Full report when I get back, and more sweet, sweet, verbal-candy blog-writing to come.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Pathetically Long TV Rant: FOX Sunday Night, New Shows, and More!

FOX Sunday Night. Throughout my formative years this was the last entertainment stop before the school week began. Even throughout college, homework was put aside for a little while as The Simpsons entertained me with their hilarity. The lights were dimmed as The X-Files presented me with the continued adventures of Mulder and Scully. Okay, enough with the nostalgia. Rant time:

What in de blue hell is wrong with FOX? The following great shows were prematurely cancelled over the last few years: Futurama, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Undeclared, and Family Guy (and probably more that I'm forgetting ...). Why? Because FOX totally SCREWS with their scheduling. The latest victims of this idiocy were perennial favorites King of the Hill and Malcolm in the Middle. Okay, they KNOW football ain't gonna end at 7:00 pm, yet these shows are scheduled from 7 to 8 pm, just as Futurama had been in years past. The result? All too often, football preempts said shows, causing them to fall off the viewing public's radar and dooming them to programming hell, only to later be resurrected on DVD when everyone rediscovers them and wonders why such great shows were never on in a consistent time-slot. See example A - the sales of Futurama on DVD and example B - Family Guy on DVD. So now FOX is gonna screw over two more of its most consistently popular shows, just so it can show some lame Apprentice-parody at 9pm, the once-hallowed time-slot of The X-Files? Damn you FOX, for teasing us with kick-ass TV shows and then sending then off to the slaughter. Oh, and get some new writers for The Simpsons (aka, ME!). That is all. Now, my grades for FOX's big season premieres?

King of the Hill: Another solid episode that actually has something which The Simpsons has lacked for about 6 years now - heart. Hank Hill remains one of the greatest TV characters of all time, who seems all the more relevant now as we enter a new, Red State-dominated era. Hank is a personification of our Culture War, and rages this internal struggle each week with hilarious results. B+

Malcolm in the Middle: This show seems to be getting increasingly further away from its original premise, but its quirky sensibilities still make it stand out. For example, just when I was getting annoyed at the absurdity of Reese's military subplot, he starts hallucinating about a giant waffle-man, and it was SO absurd that it was awesome. And Malcolm and Dewey comparing lists of brotherly offenses was a bit of classic Malcolm. Still, there's smomething missing. B-

The Simpsons: There's something about horror and comedy that can go together like peanut butter and chocalate. And the Simpsons halloween episodes are a great example of that perfect blend. But, as in the last few years, we get the Treehouse of Horror a week after halloween, and lacking much horror. And, as is now typical, lacking much comedy as well. What's so painful about nu-Simpsons is that each episode still contains at least 2 or 3 gags that, even if just for a second, are so funny that you think you're watching vintage Simpsons. But then the lack of plot, characer, or story structure remind you otherwise. Since most regular episodes are kind of like three different episodes rolled into one, the traditional 3-act THOH episode seems much more standard than usual. Still, this one did have some great lines, and overall, had much cooler storylines than the last few year, particularly the first, Flanders-as-psychic story (even if it treaded familiar ground). And seeing the great voice actors do Simpsons in Victorian English was kinda cool. It's too bad that what was once a brilliant sci-fi/horror parody is now mostly self-parody. Oh well, despite it all I'm glad the show is still on. At least we can be sure this bankable show will never be preempted by football. P.S. - props on the use of the PERFECT STRANGERS THEME SONG .... C+

Arrested Development: By some miracle (and 2 Emmys) this show is still on, and thank god for that. The humor is so different and so sharp that many people won't get it, but its cast is go talented and the writing so intelligent that who knows, it might just catch on. The 2nd season premiere lacked the usual number of laughs in favor of a plot that was even more tightly-packed than usual, but when the big laughs come on this show, they are big (Gob impressing the boardroom with magic, a blue David Cross, anything Buster says). Watch this. A-


- Is it sad that I actually got a little emotional watching the last Surreal Life? Oh Flav and Bridget, we hardly knew ye. And someone give David Coulier a new show! He's Uncle Freakin' Joey! Man, the cast on this show did seriously rule, making it a guilty pleasure that ya just can't resist. FLAVA FLAV~

- Please, watch VERONICA MARS. This is THE BEST NEW SHOW OF THE SEASON and it kicks all kinds of ass. This show is DARK. It mixes that Freaks And Geeks, teen-outcast vibe with some kind of twisted film noir, ongoing serial mystery. Kristen Bell is great in the title role. Who killed Lilly Kane? Please let this show stay on long enough for us to find out. Oh, and it's theme song ("COME ON NOW SUGAR ...") rules.

- LOST is awesome. That much is sure, but the last few episodes have been slightly lacking when compared to the first few and most especially the AMAZING episode featuring Locke, already one of the coolest, most complex characters I've seen, anywhere, in a while. The problem is that this show could go in any number of directions, many of those directions containing much potential to be highly lame. Still, if you're not watching, you're missing out on the water-cooler show of the year.

- Despite its repetetive plots (mind-control, again?), mind-boggling cheesiness, and increasingly annoying characters (cough*LANA*cough), I remain a fan of SMALLVILLE. Why? Tom Welling is growing into the role of Superman to be. The villainous Luthers remain as awesomely villainous (or potentially villianous in Lex) as ever. Erica Durance as Lois Lane is a great spark to the show. And despite all its faults, its a FUN show, which nowadays is a rare thing indeed.

- THE OC is back, and all hail the show that turned nice Jewish boy /comic geek Seth Cohen into a teen idol, thus giving new hope for all nice Jewish comic geek-boys everwhere.

Yes, I watch too much TV. But it's what I majored in in college, and I make good use of the VCR, and I'm stuck at home looking for a job, so don't judge me, foo'.

NEXT: The political rant of doom.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

It was a nerd heaven, it was a nerd hell ...

This past summer when I interned at Late Night With Conan O'Brien, I was in a constant state of disbelief. Sure, I tried to act cool, but dammit all I was working in the offices of one of the greatest comedic minds alive. This guy was the editor of the Harvard Lampoon. He wrote the MONORAIL EPISODE OF THE SIMPSONS, for Homer's sake. He wrote for SNL. And he had a damn funny late night talk show. In my opinion the best late night talk show there is. Wow. How in the hell did an unassuming kid from Bloomfield, CT end up here? AS the weeks went on, the place started to become familiar. But still, every time I happened to pass Mr. O'Brien I did a double-take. I walked through the halls of NBC brandishing my ID badge for all to see. True, I was a lowly intern - the bottom rung on the food chain, but look at me, Ma, I had made it.

So it was three months later, and I was still looking for a job. Yep, I was like the Al Bundy of recent college grads, reduced to muttering about my former glory days as a Conan intern. I had lived the dream of comedy nerds everywhere, and then, to paraphrase Aerosmith, I was back on the street like I didn't miss a beat. But there were some interviews in the weeks to follow. Not just any interviews, mind you, but visits to three of the companies that really shaped my childhood and made me into the man I am today. Yep, I walked the hallowed halls of Nickelodeon, DC Comics, and the WWE.

Nickelodeon. In my youth I was a Nickelodeon kid. At the time as many of you remember this channel was all about subverting us impressionable youths into parent-hating, authority-bucking, rebels. I gobbled up their shows like they were Reeses Pieces. You Can't Do That On Television, Out of Control, Hey Dude, Salute Your Shorts, Pete and Pete, Pinwheel, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Welcome Freshman, Sixteen, Double Dare, Guts, What Would You Do, Nick Arcade, Ren and Stimpy, Doug, Rugrats (it's still on!), Rocco's Modern Life, that show with Melissa Joan Hart, The NICK KIDS CHOICE AWARDS (oh my god those ruled back in the day). OK, you get the picture (wow that list was fun to make ... too fun). So yeah I was a total Nick zombie. Hell, I once accidentally dialed 911 while desperately trying to win the Nick Shopping Spree thing, and oh how I wanted Nick to invade my school and slime my teachers (take THAT Mrs. Yardeni!). So here I was, interviewing at a company that will forever own a piece of my childhood. I went for one interview and it went well but I didn't get the job. I went for a second, for a different position, and it seemed to go really well, but again, no dice. Sure, the company that now counted a giant yellow sponge as it's mascot was not the same place that in my youth made me stop everything to dance along to Happy Happy Joy Joy, but it would have been frickin' sweet to work there. Next.

WWE. Or as it has long been known, the WWF. Laugh all you want, but yes, I am a fan. I got the bug when I was just a toddler, watching Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man and Ted Dibiase and Bret Hart and all the rest. Now, does the current product still excite me like it used to? No. Do I somehow understand the appeal of guys pretending to kick each other's asses in a melodramatic fashion? Oh, hell yes. So as I drove to Stamford and Titan Towers, I was kinda unsure. I mean, let's say I want to one day write for a TV show. Will they look down on a guy who worked for the company that promotes Bra and Panty matches? All the while, of course, I was assuming they'd hire me. I mean, I worked for Conan freakin' O'Brien. Never assume, people. After a grueling 3 hour, five-person interview, it seemed to be going well. So there I was, in the WWE studios. If I had been ten years old I probably would have crapped my pants, but still, my cynicism gave way to thoughts of "wow, this is pretty darn cool." So, no, I didn't get the job. But at the time it was kind of a relief. I mean, I didn't want to move to Stamford. I didn't know what exactly I'd be doing. And there was still the chance I would hear from ...

DC Comics. I won't sugar-coat this. I am a huge DC fanboy. Basically, one of my dream jobs is to work at DC Comics. I will defend comic books to anyone - they are a great American art form and I would love to work in this medium. So I wasn't nervous when I went to the almost mythical halls of DC in New York City, I just had a huge smile on my face, cuz holy crap, there was a giant statue of Superman! There was a giant mural of all the classic characters! There was Joey Cavalieri, editor of the Superman comics! It was pretty hard to contain my fanboyish excitement as I saw his desk, littered with as of yet unpublished artwork and ideas for upcoming storylines. I also met Joan Hilty, another editor, and the man himself, Managing Editor Dan DiDio. All things considered, I think it went well. I had long heard stories of young assistant editors who go on to become big names in the business, and I hoped and hoped that that next young upstart in the DC bullpen could be me. I should have known by the free comics I was gratiously given to me - it was almost a concilliatory gesture. Of course, it would be almost a month before I knew whether or not I got the job. So yeah, didn't get that one either. When all is said and done, it was pretty cool, ok, I was living the fanboy dream to see the insides of DC, WWE, and Nickelodeon. Just like it was when I interned at Late Night. Now I actually need a job (and lots of sweet sweet dolla dolla) and I need to really get in the game. Being a fan is one thing, but now I gotta contribute. Still, if you told me when I was a kid that I would have seen the places I've seen, well, I'd be happy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tough But Fair

Well, BU finally took my webpage off of its server (, and so I thought that a new, version 2.0 could possibly be created using this nifty blogspot site. I'm not sure exactly how I want to use this yet, whether it be as more of a traditional, stream-of-conciousness blog, or as a more formal forum for columns and what have you. But I figure that while I'm sitting at home looking for a job, I should stretch my writing muscles a little. I'm finding that it is becoming hard to keep in touch with everyone who I want to keep in touch with, for various reasons, so this could be a good kind of forum for that. One thing I don't always have the patience for lately is long AIM conversations. Sure, once in a while they're fine, but due to how crappy my internet connection is here in CT and also just the frustration of not having too much new news to report on a daily basis, it does get annoying to talk to people online, especially those who I don't talk to on a regular basis. It's funny though, because it seems like the people who I am genuinely curious to hear from are the ones who are usually AWOL (I'm not even sure if that's the correct use of that term, but oh well ...). On another note, being at home on the job search does give me a lot of time to ingest a healthy dose of news, entertainment, politics, etc., so as a writer I have lots to write about in that regard. The funny thing is that in general I don't really like writing about myself. Who the hell cares what I have to say? Then again, all writers are pretty much egotistical because we want to share something of ourselves with others. This is what I have to say, now listen up, Junior. The truth is that I am fascinated with other people's blogs. Why someone would write about their personal life and put it out there for all to see I have no idea. But ya gotta love the internet for allowing us to read why Kelly in Seattle can't believe that Joey doesn't like her back. But on the other hand, if you're like me then you can't get enough of opinions. I love reviews. I love columns. I can't get enough of hearing what people have to say about a subject that i'm interested in, so long as their opinion has at least some merit. So I guarantee that anything I write about will interest me, and it will darn sure have some merit. Wow I was trying to be funny yet sounded pretentious. Dammit I was being self-deprecating but sounded like an ass. Hmm this blogging stuff is pretty hard, maybe I ahould just put up some song lyrics or something ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


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