Monday, February 28, 2005

I Hate To Say I Told You So ... (Re: Oscars)

Looking back on my post from yesterday, all of my predictions for the Oscars were, in fact, ACCURATE. Sure, I thought that Cate Blanchette COULD have been upset, but acknowledged that she was the favorite. Overall I think the right people and films mostly won and you could see the appreciation in people's eyes for the likes of Hillary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jaime Foxx, Charlie Kaufman, Clint Eastwood, and Brad Bird as they received well-deserved and in some cases long overdue awards. I thought Chris Rock did a pretty good job. His opening monologue seemed a little disjointed, but I guess the nature of an awards show is that the jokes are canned and not as freeflowing and natural as in a typical standup comedy routine. I liked his bit with Adam Sandler and his man-on-the-street interviews about the Oscar-nominated movie. Goes to show how critical duds are still faves with the masses. I enjoyed the tributes such as the one to Johnny Carson, though I have no idea why they insist on having all the lame songs performed during the show. Luckily I watched the show on tape so I could fast forward through the boring parts. Why did I tape it? Read on ...

Well as of yesterday I thought today would be a day to shop for refrigerators and stuff like that. Turned out that last night I received a call from my friend Daniella (former Camp Shalom counseller and resident of Queens, NYC) telling me she'd be in LA today for her friend's wedding on Monday. So this afternoon, after taking care of some apt stuff, me, Daniella, and a few of her friends had some lunch, walked up and down Venice Beach (and watched some cool drum-circles) and then had dinner at a place callen Milk And Honey -- a kosher restaurant owned and operated by ... Steven Spielberg's Mom! Who knew? So we were greeted by the woman herself and treated to some fine kosher cousine, all the while dining in a place layered and lined with photos of Steven Spielberg and posters of all his movies. How cool is that?

So overall today was a fun change of pace. The only annoying thign was that, due to the Oscars, a large section of Hollywood was completely closed off to the public. So in order to drive down to meet up with Daniella and her friends, I had to make a huge detour and basically drive in a circle to bypass the closed off section and get back onto Highland Ave. I had to do the same thing coming back, and of course I got to this area just as the Oscars were emptying out, so there were endless stretches of Limos and lots of congestion, as everyone was trying to figure out how to circumvent the closed off areas. It was pretty surreal to be driving amidst caravans of limos in Hollywood on Oscar night, but luckily I somehow found my way back to Burbank, where I could sit back and enjoy the Oscars with the benefit of a fast forward button. Good times today though -- and by the way, seriously, thank God for Mapquest.

- Tommorow it's SEVEN STRAIGHT HOURS of being Ellen CB. Maybe I'll get to meet some cool guests, but that is a lot of time to be sitting alone at a booth in a hallway.

- Plus, tommorow morning I get the keys to the new apartment. I won't really be living there for another week and a half but now I can start the move-in process.

- And there goes the weekend, and onward we go.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Grouchy 'Bout the Oscars and ... New Apartment!

What is up?

Well, it's been a long freaking week. And I'm not sure quite how this happened. All I know is that this morning I found myself sitting with my parents at the leasing office of an apartment complex in Burbank signing a one year lease on a studio apartment. Suddenly, after a week of worrying about where I was going to live, I suddenly had a whole new group of stuff to worry about -- basically, how was I going to furnish this empty apartment? Hours later I found myself in the Swedish Disneyland for your home, aka Ikea, basically walking in circles and wondering why they didn't have any normally shaped chairs. The next hours saw my parents, who were eager to see me furnished and ready to move into my new apartment, lead me on a mad dash across Burbank before their scheduled late-evening flight back to CT from LAX airport. I ended up with a mattress and bedframe, sheets, and not much else. So basically I have a lot to do. But the good thing is that my current housing lasts for two more weeks, and I can move into the new place as early as Monday - so I can take my time moving all my stuff and working on furnishings. The main things to be taken care of are: couch, refridgerator, TV, TV stand, coffee table, lamps, and assorted other random stuff. I'm going to have to work up some real courage to step foot back inside Ikea, as it left a bad taste in my mouth today. In the meantime I'll check out some other places around here.

The apartment complex is pretty sweet. Pool, fitness room, parking spot, etc. It's pricier than I wanted but I guess if I can stick to my plan and get hired to write Fantastic Max: The Movie, then hey, I'll be in the clear. Man, the rent, utilities, cable and internet is really going to add up though. Too bad the page program, while prestigious, pays you jack $#&% . I had been trying to find some roommates, but it is just too hard if you don't know the people beforehand. Okay, if I could have found some cool, laidback peeps of similar age then that'd be one thing, but sadly that was not really the case. So the early verdict is the place is great, the location is ideal (right near NBC) and it should work out well ... but, it ain't gonna be cheap, that's fer darn skippy sure (yeah you heard me).

Friday's Tonight Show was CRAZY. Oprah fans, Good Charlotte fans, Jamie Oliver fans. So the studio holds about 380 people. Almost 200 were in line, and 225 people were on the reserved guest list. So that's a lot of people who weren't getting in. And of the people who did, you've got about 3/4 women who think Oprah is some kind of divine manifestation, about 1/4 teenage girls who think the dudes from Good Charlotte are just, like, SO totally cool, a few women who really like the man known as the Naked Chef, and then the men who were dragged to the show by their signifigant others. And madness ensues. Oprah really is something though. She somehow looks more youthful now at age 51 then she did twenty years ago.

Oh, by the way -- before Thursday's Tonight Show some famous Nascar driver, Dale Probert or something like that, borrowed my cell phone to call his daughter. I don't know a durn thing about Nascar but if anyone reading this does, let me know who this guy might be and what his deal with. Kinda cool though right?

Quick funny story: On the NBC tour there's a section with funny props from the Tonight Show -- one is called the French Girl Shoe Polisher - press the button and her armpit hair spins and cleans your footwear. So I actually had a french girl on my tour, and as I was demonstrating this prop, I just froze as I realized how I must have been offending her. Oh well, stuff happens.


By far the most exciting thing about the Oscars this year is, sadly, the fact that Chris Rock is hosting them. So the broadcast should be pretty entertaining even if the nominees aren't all that impressive. I haven't seen most of the best picture nominees, so it's hard for me to really judge them all. But most don't even seem all that interesting. I mean, I'd like to see Sideways and the Aviator if I get a chance, but I also don't consider them must-sees. As I said in my review, Million Dollar Baby, I thought, was a very well acted and directed movie, but plot-wise I just didn't see the point of the excessively dark turns the story took. The real crime is that Eternal Sunshine wasn't nominated for best picture. I mean, come on, that was a GREAT movie and its about time that Charlie Kaufman get some recognition, for what may be his best and most clever movie yet. People talk about Scorcese getting his due, but why not reward people who are in their primes? Looking back, it is ridiculous that movies like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull didn't win anything for Scorcese. Even Gangs of New York in my opinion was severely underrated. I'll have to see it to judge on my own, but it doesn't sound like The Aviator is up there with those other classics. But Eternal Sunshine is the true best picture this year in terms of what I have seen. In addition, Jim Carrey got royally screwed - he should have been nominated for what is one of his best and most against-type performances in Eternal Sunshine. In addition, I realize it's not the usual Oscar fare, but Kill Bill 2 was another film that was grossly overlooked. The Kill Bill saga is arguably Quentin Tarantino's greatest achievement, and also probably Uma Thurman's best and most memorable performance of her career. QT should have gotten a best director nomination, and Uma should have been nominated for best actress. Also, in a year short on Oscar shoe-ins, why not make The Incredibles a nominee for best picture? In terms of directing I also think Sam Raimi should be recognized for his huge accomplishments with Spiderman 2.

Of the current nominees, the main categories I have a strong opinion on are: Kate Winslett for best lead actress, Eternal Sunshine for best original screenplay, Incredibles for best animated movie, and Morgan Freeman for best supporting actor (I really liked his character and performance in Million Dollar Baby, even if it was nothing new for Freeman). Jaime Foxx is probably a lock to win Best Actor, and though I haven't yet seen Ray, from what I've heard he is definitely deserving. I predict Clint Eastwood will pull a slight upset and win best director, Hillary Swank will beat out Winslet for best lead actress, and also Million Dollar Baby will win best picture to complete the trifecta. Maybe next time, Marty. For supporting actress, I predict an upset from the actress from Hotel Rwanda (sorry don't remember her name offhand), though Cate Blanchette seems to be the favorite for The Aviator. And, Morgan Freeman, my choice, will probably win as well adding to the big night that Million Dollar Baby will have. I think Sideways will take home an adapted screenplay award as a kind of consolation prize, and while Sunshine should win for original screenplay, Million Dollar Baby may take that one as well. Incredibles has gotta win best animated -- no big upsets expected for Shark Tale. Oh, one other movie that was completely underrated and overlooked - and that was Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic. Bill Murray was as good in this as he was in Lost in Translation, and the writing and directing deserved recognition as well. One other unconventional pick I might have gone for was Tom Cruise as best lead actor for Collateral. Jaime Foxx got a supporting actor nod for this film, but come on, Tom Cruise stole the show in this movie as a silver-haird, cold-blooded assasin. Michael Mann should have also been recognized for his slick directing in this very atmospheric movie. Come on Oscar, get with the program!

I say bring on the next wave of potentially awesome movies that will be hitting us soon: Batman Begins, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Sin City, Kingdom of Heaven, War of the Worlds, King Kong, Star Wars Ep. 3, Chronicles of Narnia, and lots more goodness coming soon.

I'll be back soon with some updated apartment info. The parents are back to CT, so I'm off like Whitesnake, 'cause here I go again on my own.

Friday, February 25, 2005

From a Cave Somewhere in Hollywood ...

Sorry if I've been kind of MIA the last few days ... my days have consisted of: get up to work way too early in the morning, spend long, exhausting hours giving tours, getting yelled at, working at The Tonight Show, never being able to sit down, etc. - then meeting my parents for dinner and having to answer their never ending streams of questions and endure life lesson after life lesson - and then also looking at apartments and desperately trying to find something. So yeah, I'm spent.

And tommorow's going to be CRAZY, and not in a good way. All because of a woman named OPRAH, who's presence on the Tonight Show is looking like it's gonna bring out the nut-jobs in full force. Okay, maybe nutjob is a strong word. What I meant to say is that there are going to be a lot of people who really, really, and I mean REALLY like Oprah, and it ain't gonna be pretty.

I actually thought that today's Tonight Show, while not too hyped, was one of the best I've seen. They had a hilarious segment about the Oscars featuring the great Fred Willard (see his side-splitting roles in Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, Anchorman, etc.), and also a very funny up-and-coming comedian named Elon Gold, who did the single greatest impressions of Jeff Goldblum and Gene Wilder I have ever heard, and brought the funny with lots of quality Jewish humor. Plus ya gotta respect Dennis Franz for his role on NYPD Blue, a show that I don't usually watch but is certainly of a very high quality.


Tonight's OC: I didn't really like a lot of went on in this episode story-wise. Why do all the good characters (first Anna, now Lindsay) have to leave? I also was not liking the forced breakup of Summer and Zach, and the forced tension between Sandy and his wife. BUT ... all was forgiven with this episode's ending, which put a huge smile on my face and was just TOO GOOD. A classic Seth Cohen moment and a nice Spiderman tribute all rolled into one. Gotta give props for that very memorable scene. Plus: funny little meta-joke there with the "Sherman Oaks" reality show that spins off of "The Valley," the self-referential show within a show on The OC, especially since that's right where I'm currently living.

Yeterday's LOST: Excellent ep. I enjoyed the Jin/Sun flashbacks and the main plot as well, and they delivered with another pretty startling twist when Locke revealed that the seemingly innocent little kid had in fact burned down the raft. Nice. A lot of good group dynamic stuff here, and I am psyched for next week's long-awaited Hurley-centric episode.

- Funnily enough, I am kind of missing CT's own WCCC radio station. KROQ is cool and all but sometimes after a long day at work you just want that heavy Metallica or AC/DC vibe, and the latest 80's-ish rock trendiness ala The Killers and Franz Ferdinand just doesn't cut it.

- Speaking of CT I actually met a couple in line at the Tonight Show today who were from .... BLOOMFIELD, CT! How crazy is that? Representin'.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Running on Diesel Power (and about to collapse ...)

Yo yo yo.

Man, today was just one of those days. Little sleep last night and then it was just one thing after another. It's one of those days that makes me almost be tempted to use this blog to lay my own personal verbal smackdown on certain people. But ya just never know who might be reading this thing, so I will take the high road and refrain.

But I won't really hesitate to let you all know that today started with YET MORE GETTING JERKED AROUND by the fine car dealership from which I purchased my car a little more than a month ago. Since my parents were here this week I thought it'd be a good opportunity to finally bring in my car one more time and see what was going on with the crazy turn signals that randomly stopped working. So I did, yesterday. Of course when I went to pick up the car last night, surprise surprise, they couldn't find the keys so I could bring it home. So they apologetically offered to bring the car to me this morning so I could drive it to work. Think that actually happened? Um, no. Called them up to double check before work and of course the guy had no clue what I was talking about and said they couldn't drive the car over. Luckily I had warned my dad that this might happen and he was prepared to give me a ride to NBC. See, good timing with the parental visit. Oh, get this, on the phone the guy from the dealership tells me that ... I'm being difficult. WHAT? YOU MEAN AFTER THEY'VE SCREWED ME TIME AND TIME AGAIN IN A MONTH'S TIME? AFTER THEY SOLD ME A CAR THAT IS ONE MORE PROBLEM AWAY FROM OFFICIALLY BEING A LEMON? ANNNNND III'M BEING DIFFICULT?

Yeah, so now that THAT's out of the system ...

I did finally get the car back this evening. And the repairs to the wiring are being covered under the warranty (damn skippy they are). Let's HOPE that that is the last car-related problem that occurs for the forseeable future.

But aside from that, today was a hell of a long day at NBC. Got to work at 8:30 am, and worked until 6 pm. Two tours. And the Tonight Show. And it was pouring rain and cold all day, for seemingly the twentieth day in a row.

Now let's just say that people were once again a little on-edge today, myself included. But suffice to say I seemed to be a convenient dart-board for everybody's frustrations. I won't go into detail, but basically my thoughts are that yes, I take my job very very seriously and try to work as hard and make as good of an impression as I possibly can. But, this is entertainment, not nuclear physics. Our job at NBC involves accomodating people and giving them an enjoyable experience and making them feel good about being a part of our product. Yes, things need to run smoothly and yes this is a time sensitive job we are doing. But above all it is about a presentation of professionalism. Things always go wrong, mistakes are always made. And they happen to EVERYONE. Our job is basically to work together to give people the best possible experience they can have. To bring one's own problems into the group dynamic is just unprofessional and detrimental to everyone. To look for others to blame for one's own problems is just as bad. After being a counsellor and teacher for many years, I know the importance of separating one's professional tone from one's personal tone. They can't mix. If I'm telling someone to get in line for example, I tell them in a professional way, not in a way that reflects the fact that I may be tired or grumpy or pissed off at that moment. That doesn't affect the way I do my job. Any other way of doing things is just immature and ridiculous.

And that's my rant for today.

But yeah, will this rain please STOP?

So .. who was on this glorious edition of the Tonight Show? Mr. Vin Diesel himself. I remain convinced that he is really a Jewish guy named Marvin Goldberg.

Yesterday was a pretty cool day. My parents went to the Tonight Show and were seated in the second row, and were on camera a bunch of times. One shot had my dad's head take up like a third of the screen! Kinda funny, right? Chris Rock was the guest on both the Tonight Show and Ellen, which I was doing, and was very funny in both appearances. Should be interesting to see what he does on the Oscars. But Ellen, wow. It's just a minefield of middle-aged woman - a hormonally0charged Amazonia that somehow empowers otherwise mild-mannered women, from teens to octogenarians, to dance continuously for an hour to the sounds of early 90's techno-pop electronica. Good god, what a spectacle. Ellen actually had to stop the show for a while due to a coughing fit that held things up for a good twenty minutes. Peter Boyle was also on the show. I wil lalways respect him for his classic X-Files guest starring role as the title character in "Clive Bruckman's Final Repose," one of the all time great TV episodes ever made. But ... wow, not sure what his deal was yesterday. He was talking nonsense, like, just totally insane and nonsensical. An acid flashback maybe? Hmmm .. weird, but not quite as weird as the Great Regurgitator on today's Leno ep. Don't even ask, just know that it was GROSS.

It's funny, yesterday I was wiped out from Ellen and so glad to be done with it, but looking back it was a great, laid-back time compared to the near-apocalyptic Tonight Show today. OK, it wasn't THAT bad ... but let's hope the rest of the week is a little more drama-free (ugh, I used that phrase and I really don't like it when other people do, oh well, I'm a hypocrite).

What a crazy week so far, between the rain, crazy stuff at work, my car, my apartment hunt, and my parents being here. The stress, the guilt, the cold, cold dampness ...

But darn it all, I still had time for some TV. So here's some ...


FOX SUNDAY: Quick mention for THE SIMPSONS. So, Patty's a lesbian. No big shocker there. But, wow, this was a good episode. I really liked the relentless satire of this episode. Merciless and well deserved shots at FOX here, which is still amazing as, well, the show is ON FOX. The whole episode was handled surprisingly well for nu-Simpsons, and it was probably the most memorable ep of the year. Cool. Briefly, another very good episode of MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. Where is the love for this show's amazing cast?

24: Another solid outing. I felt that the two big deaths were premature though. The evil Arab father was so good at being bad that I wish he had stuck around a bit longer. Also the Marianne Taylor character was killed very early. We never really found out what made her tick. But, it looks like there's about to be a huge turn in the plot, with the show once again veering into conspiracy-within-our-own-government territory. I'm still at the edge of my seat, but I am a little anxious about so much happening at once. Still, another very very good installment.

Veronica Mars: So, Alyson Hannigan makes her debut. And it was a surprisingly brief appearance, which may have disappointed her fans. But I didn't really care because this was a GREAT episode. So many great little lienes and moments, this ep really cemented to me just how good this show is and how good it can be. There really is no justice in TV Land if this show doesn't improve in the ratings. I mean, this episode alone had not one but two jaw-dropping plot-twists, the debut of a major new character, and about four different mysteries big and small. Just great stuff. Please, watch it. Honestly, if 24 wasn't so darn good this season, I might just have to call Veronica Mars the best show on TV right now.

Okay, I was hoping that'd be a cathartic blog entry. See what we've become? A society of people just looking for catharsis through unattainable means. Whoah, deep. I do feel kind of more relaxed, I guess. Or maybe that's just the Jefferson Starship playing on my WinAmp talking ...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Monkeys Rule - 'Nuff Said

Yes, it is a universally acknowledged truism: monkeys, apes, simians, chimps, what have you - they inherently kick ass.

Examples of sweet, kick-ass monkeys: Harry (Harry and the Hendersons), Beppo the Super-Monkey, Gorilla Grodd, King Louie, Curious George, Gleek, Grape Ape, King Kong, Bigfoot, Ampersand (helper monkey to Yorick Brown), and of course, the Evil Monkey Who Lives In My Closet (who we will never speak of again ...).

Anyways, today I witnessed a real live primate in all his Orangatan (yep, tan, not tang as was clarified to us) glory, brought to us by Croc Hunter Steve Irwin at today's Tonight Show taping. I laughed in amusement as said Orangatan frollicked about, drank Jay's water, peed on the $50,000 couch, and wreaked havoc like only a monkey can. Nice. On a somber note, however, this species of simian is apparently dangerously close to extinction. What is wrong with people? Save the monkeys! Seriously.

I must say I was also highly impressed with the vocal stylings of up and coming singer Joss Stone. I wasn't really a fan of hers, but seeing her emote in full-on Janis Joplin mode, live and up close, I was blown away by the young British sensation's stirring voice.

Weird day weather-wise in Burbank. It was pouring rain all afternoon and evening, and at one point it actually HAILED. Many at NBC were in disbelief at this atmospherical phenomena, but I simply shrugged and went back to work as any weather-worn New Englander could and should in said situation.

I put an ad on Craig's List saying I'm looking for roommates. Let the weird emails begin!

Adding more to the ironic strangeness of Monday's Tonight Show which my parents will be attending and I will not, Collective Soul has been named as that day's band. Chris Rock and Collective Soul? Sounds like my kind of show, but definitely not my parents'. Of course they will be there and I won't. I'll be at Ellen, bringing overexcited middle-aged women to the bathroom. Joy.

Oh, did I mention the Tonight Show was catered by In N Out Burger today? Free burgers and drinks at lunch were had by all, and it was good.

Kinda curious to check out Constantine, though as a fan of the comic character from his early appearances in Alan Moore's legendary run on Swamp Thing, I am inherently disappointed that Keanu Reeves is playing John Constantine, who was modeled after the singer Sting and is supposed to be 50-ish, blonde, and very, very, British. And yet another of Alan Moore's creations is butchered by Hollywood (see League of Extraordinary Gentleman for Exhibit A).

After seeing actress Sandra Oh (Oh? Oh!) on Leno today I have a renewed interest in seeing Sideways. Looks really funny from the clip I saw.

Lots to do tommorow. So that's it for now - Shabbat Shalom, and peace out.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hey Now, You're An All-Star

Well it's All-Star Weekend in the NBA. Time for a little dunk-contest, 3-point shootout, and all-star action. Nice, gotta love it. Too bad I missed Sir Charles on the Tonight Show this week ...


Well, I did have a few big-time celeb encounters while working as Ellen CB yesterday (otherwise the most boring job ever aside from said encounters ...). Exchanged hellos with Sean Astin, aka the kid from Goonies, aka Rudy, aka SAMWISE GAMGEE from Lord of the Rings! Seemed like a nice guy. I actually talked to his hair/makeup guy for like 20 minutes about how Sean was an underrated actor and should have received more acclaim for his LOTR work. I was talking about how beloved Goonies is to members of my generation, and the guy had never even seen it! So now he's going to check it out on my recommendation. Funny stuff. I also had a brief encounter with Mr. Saturday Night Fever himself, John Travolta - probably the most surreally bigtime actor I've yet met. Before he arrived, about ten of his friends / managers, etc. arrived and were waiting for Travolta. Finally he comes, fashionably late, decked out in leather jacket. Myself and another page hold the double doors at Ellen open for him and he walks in, says hello to each of us, trailed by his large posse / entourage. Very surreal.

Today was not the most fun day at NBC. I had to arrive at 8:30 am to "open" and it was a loooong day. By the time I had to deal with the crowds at the Tonight Show it was hard to put on my corporate happy face, and what should have been a simple job doing tape and hold turned into a stressful excercise in crowd management. While I do really enjoy working the Tonight Show, all the logistical stuff we have to deal with combined with the time pressure on us is not my favorite thing in the world.

Parents are on the guest list for Monday's show, featuring Chris Rock. Should be a nice, family-friendly time.


OK, what's wrong with The OC? Unlike some people, I still enjoy the show, but I am getting annoyed with some of the stuff goin' on. Such as?

1.) Seth Cohen is becoming annoying as hell. Originally he was a sympathetic geek who couldn't get the girl and had to deal with being tormented by his peers. He was funny and witty, but also the show's emotional center. Now, he is just a self-parody. His character does nothing but whine and complain and has become weird and creepy (as was POINTED OUT in tonight's episode) in his infatuation with Summer and with his own problems. Give him some REAL problems to deal with and make him more than just comic relief.

2.) Mischa Barton still can't act. And now she is supposed to be carrying this hyped-up lesbian storyline, and it's just not happening.

3.) Too much inbreeding. The show is becoming too insular. Everyone is becoming overly connected, and it's as if no other people exist outside the world of the core OC characters. Which is why Alex is a breath of fresh air - she is completely removed from everything else that's going on in the show. On a sidenote -- where's the EVIL Julie Cooper we all know and love to hate? Bring her back in all her rich-bitch glory.

4.) Aren't they in high school? Again, the characters on the show are becoming so removed from any real-world setting that they apparently no longer go to school or interact in any kind of larger world. I don't think Marissa has gone to class in about four months.

5.) New characters too two-dimensional. On one hand Zach and Lindsay are a breath of fresh air. But of late they have been swept up in Ryan and Seth's soap operas and seem to just be cruising along, waiting to be involved in other people's drama. Neither has the dimension of last year's breakout character, Anna.

So yeah, fix that stuff. BUT: Lindsay is a pretty good new character, Alex has a lot of potential, Ryan has become a lot more likable this season, and the Sandy-Kirsten marital drama is the best storyline the show has going. Still a very entertaining show, but they need to become a little less self-aware and self-referential before the shark has officially been jumped over.

Wow, wrote WAY too much about The OC there.


I need to find an apartment! Help!

LOST - another excellent episode, with a nice twist ending to wrap up the Sawyer-centered flashbacks, but what happened to the mystery of the island / Ethan Rom? These character pieces are cool, but come on, get on with it already. Bonus: appearance by Robert Patrick, aka Agent Doggett of the X-Files, in a pretty sweet role as a sketchy associate of Sawyer. By the way, kudos to the cool/creepy music they use on this show.

Okay, so in the NBC page lounge they always put up pictures of actors or whatever on the wall that either look like or capture the personality of the new class of pages. So today they put up ours, and I'm ... Ray Romano, with his head tilted back and a weird smile on his face? Oy ... is that an accurate representation of me? Well, it could have been worse, I guess.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

1000 Hits and Counting (And That's Without the Benefit of Steroids)

Wow, I'm up to over 1000 hits on this thing. Somebody's reading this thing. Or maybe it's just me pressing "reload" on Internet Explorer over and over ...

Seriously ... thanks for reading. I have really enjoyed writing these entries and I'm glad that they have allowed people to be kept up to date on what is going on with me (as if that is somehow important ... but hey, I try to make it at least SOUND entertaining).


Pretty cool experiences this week so far at work. Monday I was CB for the Tonight Show which meant I got to escort the guest, most notably comedic legend DANA CARVEY, to their dressing rooms. I told Mr. Carvey that I was a big fan of his and considered him one of the all time great SNL cast members. He seemed very nice and genuinely appreciative to hear that. And then he randomly made a few funny comments about his dressing room and whatnot in a kind of Church Lady-esque voice. How cool is that? Today was a big day with the man and myth John Travolta on the show, which was kind of cool even if I'm not his biggest fan or anything. Then one of my favorite actresses, Christina Ricci, was on the show. I've been a big fan since I first enjoyed her star-making performance as Wednesday Adams back in the day, and I've really liked her in movies like The Ice Storm, Sleepy Hollow, and the underrated in my opinion Anything Else (by Woody Allen). Anyways Christina Ricci was great to see in person and I even walked right by her in the hallway on the way out of the show. Coolness.

As I mentioned I am kind of annoyed that tommorow I'm going to miss out on the Tonight Show featuring my sports hero Charles Barkley, plus a pretty decent band in Sum 41, as I am assigned to do Ellen instead. No idea who's going to be on Ellen as I don't get that info in advance. Hopefully someone good. Probably just Dr. Phil or someone (I think he's actually supposed to be on this week ...).

(BRI'ISH SPEAK BLOODY BEGINS HERE - CHEERS, MATES) Right then, had a wicked tour group of high-schoolers today from Jolly Old England. LONDON, to be exact. Me right old stomping grounds. The lot of them seemed bloody impressed with my massive knowledge of British TV and the UK in general, and it was downright wicked to let loose with terms like "dodgy." A fine group, it was. Even if I must admit I was a bit disappointed with their lack of knowledge about The Office and Da Ali G Show. Booyakasha -- Respeck.

Holy schneikies, I fixed m'darn Ps2, all by meeself! Yep, I am a mechanical genious afterall! I tooled around with today, cleaned out the laser and adjusted the voltage gear, following instructions from a website, and I'll be damned, it works! One less thing I have to worry about, so if UPS DID end up footing the bill, it'd be a huuuuuge bonus.


24: Another RIVETING episode. More Jack-Tony dynamic duo! Jack confronts evil Arab woman! Edgar's Mom is in trouble! Nuclear Meltdown! And what an ending ... Jack is not a happy man. Oh - despite evidence to the contrary I STAND BY my prediction that Aisha Tyler's character is in fact NOT ACTUALLY EVIL. But wow, 24 is firing on all cylinders this season, a huge step-up from last year at this time. My grade: A

Veronica Mars: Very cool episode, though they are making Veronica a little TOO perfect. She's got to slip up sometime right? I mean she IS only in High School. Still, another enjoyable ep with some cool twists, a relevant plot (teacher-student affairs - very timely), and some more verry interesting clues about the Lilly Kane ongoing murder mystery. My grade: A-

Real World: Ugh. This cast is so boring and just so ... off. They are really reaching here to create any kind of compelling drama / conflict. Next cast, please. My grade: D

Can't wait for LOST tommorow. Now that they seem to really be unraveling the mystery of the island, I am hooked. Apparently Krypto the superdog appears on Smallville tommorow. I wonder if Jeph Loeb wrote that one? He has some weird obsession with the super-canine, who in my opinion is just cheesy and pretty dumb. Does Smallville really need any more cheesiness at this point?

I've heard rumors that ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT may not be long for this world. If that is true, then (to paraphrase Mr. Tito), FINGER OF SHAME to FOX for it's total lack of backbone when it comes to supporting its quality shows. I hope this isn't true, but the fact that it's getting bumped from Sunday night in spring is not a good sign for the BEST COMEDY ON TV RIGHT NOW.


- Good luck Kirsten with your trip to Australia! I know you will have a great time Down Under.

- Nice, the theme from the movie Fletch just came on my WinAmp.

- You know, I'm a big fan of Subway, but you just never know what kind of quality to expect from them.

- My turn signals work, but for how long?

- Picked up one of my all time favorite films, The Princess Bride, for a steal of a price at the local Target.

- Parents come to visit this weekend. Oh boy.

- 1000 hits, baby. Soon I'll be up there with Cindy Margolis.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Everybody's Got A Price For the Million Dollar Baby

Finally saw Million Dollar Baby today. I thought that the acting was phenomenal all around. Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank, and Morgan Freeman were all superb in their roles. I can definitely see Freeman winning an Oscar for his role in the movie, and maybe the other two principles as well. All three were great. I have to say though that this is one of the most unrelentingly depressing movies I've seen. I expected that there'd be some kind of positive, some glimmer of hope for the three main character by the film's end. But while I left the theater wowed at the acting, I was just emotionally drained from the movie's second half. Now I don't mind dark movies, in fact I often prefer them over cliched fairy tale endings and the like. But this didn't start out a particularly dark movie. It seemed to be a Rocky-like tale of inspiration and hope and overcoming odds, and even redemption. Then there was ... nothing. Nothing but heart-wrenching scenes, one after the other. And I was left wondering what the point was. What I took away from this movie was just a feeling of tragedy. Overall I do highly recommend the film and would definitely rank it is a great movie for it's powerful performances and skilled direction by Eastwood, but it's probably not something I'd want to watch again for a long while. It was just too draining and depressing throughout its second half. Still, check it out and see what the fuss is about, but be prepared for a film that initially appears to be a new take on the classic underdog boxing movie, but ends as a an extremely not-so-feel-good movie. My grade: B+


- Watching the Grammy awards tonight and once again bemoaning the state of pop music ... but seriously, kudos to Green Day for having the guts to come out and kick ass with a rendition of american Idiot that is a punk-rock slap in the face to all the Southern-lovin' that is goin' on tonight, between the Lynard Skynard tribute (sure I love their songs, but if it ever did come down to a real debate between them and Neil Young, I think I'd take Young's side ...), and all the other conservative-leanin' music that is permeating this awards show. Sure, it's a radio-friendly pop song, but I love the lyrics of American Idiot -- very politically relevant yet still perfectly punk rock.

Political Aside: the song really does kind of point out how the same old crap is continually repackaged and changed into political dogma. When Billy Joe sings "Well maybe I'm the faggot America," it just makes me think of every other racial or ethnic slur that has ever been used in our supposedly unprejudiced nation. Think of every name that Jews, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and numerous other minorities have been called to marginalize and dehumanize them. How long ago was it that MLK Jr. called for us to judge people solely on the content of their character? So yes, it is just a pop song, but sometimes even seemingly trivial things can make you think (hey I am a film/TV major afterall!).

Anyways, back to the Grammys - a few pretty sweet performances though overall a lot of the same old fluff they always have. I did enjoy the Janis Joplin tribute with a noticably bald Mellisa Etheridge doing a great job channeling the spirit of Joplin. Good luck to her with her cancer recovery. I did enjoy the country-rock all star performance with Lynard Skynard and company as well. Sweet Home Alabama just never gets old. It was also kind of cool to see wo many stars doing that Tsunami relief song ... kind of surreal to see such people as Steven Tyler and Scott Waylan on the same stage with country and pop stars of very diverse backgrounds.

How many times are they gonna go back to the ol' U2 well? Yes, they are a great band, but do they really need to win a Grammy every year?

Maroon 5 is really the best new artist of the year? According to a ton of teenage girls, and Grammy, yes they are.

Well, music is just so subjective as I've said. I mean where's the love for THE DARKNESS, clearly the breakout new band of this past year!


I'm Tonight Show CB, meaning I escort the guests, including comedy legend DANA CARVEY into the studio. Sweeet. Oh, but it sucks ... Wed. I am working Ellen, not the Tonight Show, and of course my all-time favorite basketball player SIR CHARLES BARKLEY is going to be on the show. Dammit.


I got some tools at Target and made a valiant effort to revive my broken PS2 by myself instead of waiting to hear from UPS. Well, that didn't work and I may have caused irreperable damage. I'm never going to beat Metal Gear Solid 3 at this rate.

ALSO: Looked at some apts. over the last few days. We'll see how those pan out.


Sorry, I taped all the FOX shows and didn't watch 'em yet, except Arrested Development, which was very funny and the best ep. in a while, thanks to Buster and Tobias. Didn't I say it's always funnier when they are featured? Can't wait for the return of Julia Louis Dreyfuss' hilarious character next week. Reviews of other shows to come soon.

And I got nothing else. I'll end with a quote from Dana Carvey in his iconic role as Garth Algar in Wayne's World.

Garth Algar: OK... First I'll access the secret military spy satelite that is in geosynchronous orbit over the midwest. Then I'll ID the limo by the vanity plate "MR. BIGGG" and get his approximate position. Then I'll reposition the transmission dish on the remote truck to 17.32 degrees east, hit WESTAR 4 over the Atlantic, bounce the signal back into the aerosphere up to COMSAT 6, beam it back to SATCOM 2 transmitter number 137 and down on the dish on the back of Mr. Big's limo... It's almost too easy.

Hmm ... exactly what I was thinking.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Reggie Miller Retires and Other Rainy Night Musings

Well, it truly is the end of an era.

I remember my senior year of high school I wrote a coulmn for the K-O News about how so much was changing from the world that we, the Class of 2000, had grown up in. Just as we were graduating, it seemed like so much else was changing as well in the worlds of pop culture, politics, and sports. At that time I wrote about how my all time sports hero, Charles Barkley, was retiring from the NBA. Who would I follow after him? Who would I root for? I have enjoyed many NBA games and playoff series since Sir Charles' retirement, but I don't think I've ever felt the same personal investment in the outcomes of the games. I haven't found another player to latch onto and hope that finally, this will be their year to win it all.

With one exception: Reggie Miller.

I have been a Reggie Miller fan for years now. No other sports figure has provided so many exciting, nail-biting moments as Reggie, the greatest clutch player in the history of sports. Reggie's last-second shots are the realization of every kid's fantasies. It's down to the wire, there's one second left, the game is tied, and the ball is in your hands - it's your shot, your chance to be a hero. Reggie embraced that challenge and was that hero. He was brash, showy, but yet he always seemed to be fighting the good fight. He was always a kind of underdog, playing on the small market Indiana Pacers and never getting the true recognition he deserves. He was the guy who seemed to have the guts to stand up to the big boys of the NBA and never take a backseat to anybody. He had legendaey duels with Michael Jordan's Bulls, Patrick Ewing's
Knicks (and of course Spike Lee), and Shaq and Kobe's Lakers. Reggie Miller is also one of the most interesting players to watch in the NBA. He has his own unique style of play unlike that of any other player, though some like Detroit's Rip Hamilton do their best to emulate him. Reggie is constantly moving, coming off screens, and faking out his defenders in order to get open. Even at age 39, he is still constantly on the move, and uses the space of the court better than anyone else. Reggie is also a near-perfect free throw shooter, consistently among the league's best. Plus he has his pre-free-throw ritual of dipping his hands into a bucket of salt before he shoots for a better grip on the ball.

Reggie is one of the NBA's all time greatest, if not the greatest of all time, in the realm of three point shooting. He has had so many clutch three pointers that it's impossible to remember them all, and he has continued to be the Pacer's go to guy in the clutch even now, despite the presence of other stars on the team like Jermaine O'Neal. Many remember his famed 13 point in eight seconds burst against the Knicks about ten years ago as one of the all time great end of game performances.

I remember back in middle school David Carasso was the biggest Knicks fan, and I had already become a huge Pacers fan. What we had in common was that both of our teams were always foiled in the end by Michael Jordan. But Knicks Vs. Pacers has to be one of the all time great sports rivalries, largely because of the amazing performances that Reggie would always bring to those games.

I saw Reggie Miller play in person this past year in Boston, in a playoff game against the then-woeful Celtics. Every time Reggie touched the ball, you could feel the crowd hold their breath, collectively anticipating what would happen next. Every time Reggie did make one of his patented quick-release three's, I stood and clapped despite being in Boston, because I knew I was witnessing greatness.

Now Reggie is retiring, and Miller Time will soon come to an end. The last great sports hero of my childhood will be gone. Coincidentally, Karl Malone, my brother's all time favorite along with his Utah Jazz partner John Stockton, also just announced his retirement. Except in rare instances when he an Stockton were pitted against the Bulls in the finals, Malone was always one of my least liked players. Not that I didn't respect him, but as a Barkley fan Malone and his Jazz were always the villains, and my brother and I had an intense rivalry with me rooting for Barkley and him rooting for Malone to finally win a title. Like Reggie, neither ever did. They were victims of an era dominated by Jordan and his Bulls. Jordan kept greats like Stockton, Malone, Barkley, Reggie Miller and many others from ever winning an elusive NBA title. But in recent years Reggie was one of the few still playing from that group, still gunning for a title. The Pacers, then coached by Larry Bird, got to the Finals in 2000, but were bested by the emerging Shaq and Kobe dynasty. Since then there have been many close calls, most notably against Detroit just last year, but still nothing.

So this will be it. One last time, I will watch the Pacers' playoff games with that sense of excitement mixed with dread that you can only get from watching a sports team you love play with everything on the line. And this time it is everything for Reggie Miller, the ultimate clutch player. With the emergence of the Shaq-Dwayne Wade duo in Miami, the Pacers are definitely underdogs. But you never know. Maybe they can do it. Maybe they can surprise people. But one thing is for certain - if the game is close, and the clock is winding down, and the world is watching - you can count on the ball being in Reggie Miller's hands to take the big shot, just like always.

And then, one way or another, it will be over.


- Finally had the big dinner with the other new NBC pages tonight at a cool place in Burbank called Mo's. Good times, and man it was good to have some restaurant-bought food after a long stretch of microwavable cousine for dinner.

- BELATED SMALLVILLE THOUGHTS: Two GOOD episodes in a row? Wow, that was unexpected. Yes, the Lana-Jason-Lex subplot still totally reeks and is a waste of Lex's character. BUT, the Clark-Lois dynamic is really what carried this episode. Count me in as ready for METROPOLIS featuring the adventures of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. They need to drop the Lana-Jason-witch stuff and hook up Clark and Lana for one last time before Clark inevitably leaves Smallville, as in the comics. They also need more cool villains. Chris Carmack as an evil football player was pretty good here. I also really liked all the talk of Clark's destiny and the moral lessons he learned that led him away from playing college football. Kind of an anti-Incredibles message, but hey it makes sense for Clark NOT to play football and it's what WOULD do. Good stuff. My grade: B+

- OH YEAH ... Forgot to mention the SWEET reference to THE OFFICE on this past week's ep of LOST. A paper company in Slough? Niiiice.

- Cool to see the GREAT actor Morgan Freeman on the Tonight Show today. Also sweet was a skit featuring Gilbert Godfried as Cupid. I can't explain exactly why, but I find Gilbert and his loudmouthed loser/pathetic pervert persona to be absolutely hilarious, and probably laughed at his skit today the hardest I have at anything I've seen since I started at NBC and the Tonight Show. I was in tears at his line delivery. Give the man his own sitcom, for crying out loud!

- Lately my car's turn signals seem to randomly stop working, and it is making me nervous. But then they randomly start working again. Weird. Could I be pressing some button or switch that is turning them off? Anyone have any ideas?

- Man, RAIN is really a huge downer here in sunny LA. Today the pouring rain just made the Tonight Show audience SO antsy while in line. Everyone was grumpy and I got yelled at by people a ton of times today, so it was pretty chaotic.

- Lots to do this weekend. Looking at apts, other assorted errands, and more. Hopefully some fun thrown in there too. Yeah, you heard me.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

An Overly Complicated Avril Update

Oh Avril, why can't you just admit that your real name is Abigail Levine and that your father is a rabbi in Queens?

So today was an exciting day for me (no duh, dude, I've been talking aboot it for like forever now). Avril is gonna be on the show, the Pats are gonna be in the house, and who knows what other craziness. Let's say I was a wee bit giddy and overexcited heading off to work today. I started off the day by taking a group of AARP members on a studio tour. The tour was a bit weird as they told me after half an hour that they had to be back on their bus in about ten minutes (the tours are usually an hour and a half). So I had to rush a bunch of seniors around like crazy - note: this is not easy.

Cool thing # 1: I take the group up to the Tonight Show studio for the tour only to find AVRIL LAVIGNE REHEARSING!!! Arrgh, the music was too loud for the AARP'ers to take or to hear me over, so we quickly, to my dismay, had to exit and get on with things.


Soon afterwards, after being mocked by my coworkers and after dealing with crazy people calling NBC, it was time for me to go BACKSTAGE at the Tonight Show to fill in as lunchtime CB, meaning I signed in any people arriving to rehearse for the show. So I'm waiting and looking out for any signs of you know who, only to be greeted by some dude who is going to be exploding a watermelon on his head tommorow night and by some guy delivering lunch for Kevin Eubanks. All the while, in the room right next to me, I could hear Avril and her bandmates and stylist, etc. joking around. Some of her band guys came out and I said hello, but where was the Skater Girl herself? Well, I did see her walk by a few times in a hurry but didn't get to say anything and she was obscured by all her peoples. So my shift was almost over and still nada. The talent coordinator comes around and starts talking, asking me how I'm enjoying things at NBC. I tell her I'm doing well and really liking it. Am I doing okay with the CB job? Yeah, I explain, I'm a big Avril fan and Patriots fan so I'm psyched for the show today. Did I see Avril yet? Um, no. not really ... But WAIT, points out the woman, there she is coming this way RIGHT NOW! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!! So I look up and see Ms. Lavigne with a bunch of what I assume are her friends, chums, peeps, what have you. As they walk by I look up, smile, and say "Hey guys, how's it going?" At which point Avril turns towards me, smiles, and says "Hey."


See, I could gloss over that detail and just say "yeah, I met Avril today and it was awesome" or somesuch exaggeration, but I am giving you the blow by blow REALITY of what happened and not embellishing. I was talking about this very idea with some girls in line for the show who were telling me how they met Actors A B and C and I said "now what do you mean by "met?" And they were like "oh, well we just said hello, really." So if that's what "met" means then yes, I met Avril Lavigne today. But she DID say hi to me so yeah, I had my thrill for the day.

The show itself was very high-energy and fun today., I like to think part of that was how my enthusiasm carried over into the people in line. I got all Patriots fans or Patriot supporters in line rallied and psyched up to see Bill Bellicheck and Deon Branch, and talked pop songs with some of the Avril fans in attendance. Jay Leno seemed to be on his game with the monologue and the house band had some really sweet songs they did today during the commercial breaks. A really funny Jay Walking segment to start the show, with random people from the nearby Oakwood Apartments (where fellow Camp Shalom alum Matt Silver stayed when he was studying here in LA last semester through Emerson) imitating different musical stars. Annete Benning was the lead guest. Eh, okay interview but not the most exciting. Being Julia seems like a pretty cool movie though that I wouldn't mind checking out. Next up, representing NEW ENGLAND, was the winning coach and MVP of the Superbowl. Pretty low-key guys, so not the most exciting interview, but I liked how they cast New Englanders as very humble, polite, and down to earth people.

I actually was very impressed with Avril's performance. She can legit sing and play guitar, and her voice is actually really good despite what I have heard others report to the contrary. Not only did she really nail her "Nobody's Home," but she did it TWICE. Technical difficulties forced her to do the whole song over again, and she was a trooper and did it again just as good if not better than before (though she did look pretty annoyed when she heard she was going to have to do that). She quickly left the stage after so there weren't too many problems at all with crowd control and whatnot after the show. I did run into one of her band members after and told him nice job and I really liked the performance. I will also note how it's crazy how seeing her backstage she looks like any normal girl you might see at BU or whatever, but it's only on stage, decked out in full rocker attire, and with her makeup and hair done in her trademark style, that she is fully transformed into Avril Lavigne: Punk-Pop Princess.

So yeah, that was my day in a nutshell. Pretty cool, huh?


- LOST - Excellent episode tonight, the first new one in a while - lot's of high drama and nail-biting suspense, as I was really gripped by what was happening and how the castaways would deal with the murderous Ethan Rom. The ending was appropriately brutal and shocking, and had a lot of cool dynamics between the characters, most intriguingly with Jack being forced to trust Sawyer with a gun, which will definitely lead to some interesting stuff down the road (or, from the previews, maybe by next week). I will say that the flashbacks are getting a little bit excessive, and I don't see why they always need to have them, especially in a plot-heavy episode like this one. But, still a darn good, thrill-packed installment of TV's best new show. My grade:

- Just a quick thought that JACK AND BOBBY may have had it's best episode yet tonight. They are really improving this show by leaps and bounds and making the characters more well rounded and less annoying lately. Extremely good episode - you should check out this show if you haven't seen it yet.

Man, what a day. One for the books.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Closer to Fine

Yep, today's title is brought to you by the Indigo Girls. So it's a guilty pleasure comfort song, okay? You got a problem with that?

But the reason that I'm closer to fine is that FINALLY, today it would seem that I have my car back and it's cleaned, touched-up, repaired, and ready to be driven. ABOUT TIME. Also I still haven't found an apartment, but I renewed my stay here at my current lodgings for another month, so at least it gives me a little time to really look around and find an apartment. Nice. Too bad it will be like nine weeks until I get an answer about having UPS replace my broken PS2. But really I'm just glad about the car thing - it's been such a hassle over the last few weeks. And today I wasn't exactly sure how things would go. But I brought it in in the morning and picked it up after work, and it all somehow went smoothly. Sa-weet.

Worked Dennis Miller all day today until 8pm, so it was a lot of standing around and talking to the somewhat sketchy security guards and watching these crazy people coming in to sit in the audience, including characters who I will call: Gay 1985 Michael Jackson, Crazy Professor Santa Claus, Black-Haired Hag-Lady, and American Tony Blair. But man, on a serious note, hearing some of the stories from the security guards it was really amazing. This one guy who is probably only in his twenties but looks much older, works three jobs and was talking about how he recently worked three straight days without sleep, which he apparently does scarily often. That's insane, I mean I can't imagine that. It really makes you think about how lucky you are to have gone to college and to be in a position to get a decent job (even if he is currently making a lot more than I am ...). But such hardships didn't stop those wacky security guys from making numerous lude comments about all the women in line and giving the occasional lady a random, full body pat-down. Hey, I told you they were pretty sketchy. Sleep deprived, yes, but sketchy nonetheless. Nice guys though for the most part ...

Today the unofficial theme on Dennis Miller was Oscar-nominated people who nobody has heard of. They had the British lead actress from Vera Drake, which I don't think one person in the audience had seen, and the lead actress from Hotel Rwanda, which was the same deal. It was also cooking Day, with Dennis donning a dorky chef's hat not once, but twice to do cooking segments with bigtime chefs. There was also a nice Varsity Club segment where a smart liberal, arguing about the validity of teaching evolution in public schools and the faultiness of teaching creationism, actually made his point so clearly and lucidly that Miller had no choice but to agree. Nice! Now that's what I like to see. The highlight of the two tapings thoug hwas definitely a panel they had of Oscar-nominated screenwriters. They had the writers of Finding Neverland, Motorcycle Diaries, Million Dollar Baby, and ... Julie Delphy from Before Sunset / Sunrise! To hear the writers talk about their works was great, but it was also a thrill to see Delphy (who starred in and cowrote the Sunset/Sunrise movies with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater). Before Sunrise was one of those movies that I first saw on some cable channel late at night while flipping channels, and became so absorbed in it that I watched the whole movie. It was cool to see an actress who was clearly very smart and creative and really cared about the writing process as well. Very nice.

WEIRD EXPERIENCE OF THE DAY: So I'm eating a late lunch at NBC between Dennis Miller shows, and as I'm eating in walks the man himself - Dennis Miller! He sits down at the table right next to me, wearing pajama pants and a t-shirt, and begins to eat while reading a magazine! I was going to say something about the show but thought that maybe he didn't want to be disturbed. I finished my lunch and was thinking of saying something, but before I know it he darts up from his seat, leaves the commisary, and leaves his uneaten food and all his garbage right there on the table! Hmmm ...

I did get in a word at the show with Dennis Miller writer / comedian Bob Oshak, who was trying his hand at doing crowd warm-ups today. In the second taping I told him "Nice job - good progress from this morning." He laughed at that one.

Tommorow is it - Avril Lavigne on the Tonight Show! I should tell her how junior year at BU and beyond, my roommates and I would relieve stress by blasting Skater Boy and jumping around like idiots, wearing loosened ties and holding up fake microphones. Or maybe I'd better not mention that ... hmmmm. Oh, those were good times, and one of my funniest music-related dormroom memories from BU. The best though was probably how Dan "Remdog" Remin would always come out of the shower at night when a bunch of people would be hanging out in our room, and to add to the awkwardness we'd play either "I'm Too Sexy" or wrestler Shawn Michael's "Sexy Boy" theme song. Good times indeed.

Oh yeah, Bill Belichick and Deon Branch of the PATRIOTS are gonna be in the house tommorow! Oh man I can't take it, I'm gonna be freaking out!


- 24, 24, 24! Last night's episode kicked my ass! That was freaking awesome, maybe the best of the season (and my brother said it was only alright ...). The tension leading up to the capture of Aisha Tyler's character was so well done, it made the last few minutes of the show truly edge of your seat. The Jack and Tony team-up was cool, and I liked Tony as washed-up drunk jail-bait-dater. Edgar saved the day again, and his character is becoming more and more likable with each episode. And of course they had the classic 24 ending - the catch the badguy with crucial information, only to have him shot by a sniper before he can reveal it. Hey, it's been done before, but it works every time. Good thing I taped this one, because I was fast forwarding through those commercials like nobody's business.

- Veronica Mars: Why aren't you watching this? Please, try it, this show is amazing! The first new ep in a while was another great one. The flashbacks this time around, while not seeming to tie in directly to the ongoing Lilly Kane murder mystery, provided many subtle clues about various characters' mindsets at the time of the murder. The main plot, basically dealing with the kidnapping of a Sug Knight-like character's daughter, was very well done. The acting as usual was top notch, and I just love the dark, moody, post-modern film noir atmosphere this show has, from the sparse narration to the excellent background music. And a nice nod to the coolness that is the opening theme song in this episode's intro, as Veronica describes her relationship with the kidnapping victim by saying: "We used to be friend. A long time ago." which led right into the super sweet Dandy Warhols theme song featuring those very same words as the opening lyrics. Awesome.

- Real World: Oh poor Melody - she spends so much time alienating everyone and hanging out with her weird-ass crew from some bar called Drinkers, yet she is surprised when her roommates get annoyed with her. Oyyyy ... why am I watching this again?

- Don't have any real disagreements with the NBA All-Star Lineups, except in the east where the talent pool is fairly weak and thus makes picking players a little more difficult. But I agree with some of the TV analysts that they should have included Steve Francis, aka Stevie Franchise, on that East lineup. His numbers are better than Grant Hill's, and he is a starter this year, so where is the love for the Franchise? I am also surprised to see Chris Webber absent from the West lineup. He has really come back strong this year and has reestablished himself on the Kings as their premiere player. Peja is another guy who isn't having his best year but is undeniably an all star caliber player. Some new faces like Manu Ginobli and Gilbert Arenas definitely deserve slots this year, but not sure about the inclusion of Zydrunas Ilgauskas on the East for example. Not sure who should be on there instead, but again it's kind of a tossup in the talent-depleated eastern conference.

Alright, let's see if tommorow yields any interesting tales to tell. So much for my happy ending? So much for this being a short blog entry.

Monday, February 07, 2005

"Alex Trebek? The Game Show Host?"

Jose Chung: Alex Trebek? The game show host?
Scully: Mulder didn't say that it was Alex Trebek. It was just someone that looked incredibly like him.
Jose Chung: Did he? I mean, you were there.
Scully: Well, not exactly. I don't have any recollection of this. I was surprised to wake up the next morning to find Mulder asleep in my room.
Jose Chung: Oh!

See, in both reality and fiction, the enigmatic host of Jeapordy causes trouble and confusion. Case in point: today, during my first experience working the Ellen show as an NBC page, things were going smoothly until Trebek decided to show up.

I got to work not knowing exactly what I would be doing for Ellen, but it turned out I was CB, meaning I checked in the show's guests upon arrival. And the guests weren't who I thought they'd be from checking the Ellen website, since Ellen tapes in advance of the airdates by a few days or even a week. So who did I check in first? Only LAUREN GRAHAM - my favorite actress from one of my TOP 10 TV SHOWS OF 2004, Gilmore Girls. Sure, it isn't exactly the most manly show on TV, but it is very intelligent and witty and the writing is top-notch. Graham's extremely likable character of Lorelei is always a pleasure to watch on the show, and there she was right in front of me, hairstylist and makeup artist in tow. Of course, she was escorted to her dressing room so quickly by one of the Ellen staff that I didn't even get to say anything. But then - she came out of her dressing room and went outside to smoke. Okay, so I was mildly dissapointed that Lauren Graham, aka the lovable and wholesome Lorelei, was a smoker, but oh well, at least it gave me the chance to give a cheerful "Hi, how are you?" as she passed me by again. Her hairstylist lingered outside for a bit so I told him how I was a big fan, but didn't get to tell the real deal. Oh well.

Some castoff from the Apprentice, Danny K-something also showed up with some friends and seemed really cool. I guess he's from Boston and was actually a professor at BU for a little while. Sweet.

So then next up on my list is the aforementioned Alex Trebek. ("A whore like your mother, Trebek!") Just as about twenty five audience members crowded into the hallway to use the bathroom, I see a silver haired figure enter through the regular audience entrance, not the artist entrance where I was stationed. Was that him? Nobody said anything, so I assumed that just like in The X-Files (where in the episode "Jose Chung's: From Outer Space" he assumed the identity of a Man In Black along with future governor Jesse Ventura), it was only some guy who LOOKED like Trebek, or at the least I could neither confirm nor deny that it was, in fact, him. Some guy from Ellen ran by a few minutes later and asked me if Trebek had arrived yet. I wasn't sure so I said I wasn't sure, but I didn't actually see him come in. Oops. The audience coordinator for the show stormed out of the back, asking why a truck was parked in Trebek's reserved spot. I said that I didn't think he had come, but it WAS possible that he had slipped in through the regular entrance and that that was actually HIS truck parked there. So this woman was NOT HAPPY with me. She gave me a glare that would kill a lesser man and just kept shaking her head in frustration, and started grilling me about whether or not I had seen Trebek. Geez, you'd think I was working security detail at the White House or something. My interrogation at the hands of Low-Level Ellen Staffer on Power Trip (who I hope is not reading this ...) was interrupted by word that Trebek WAS in fact in the building. Okay, so nobody told ME that. I mean, without his trademark mustache from back in the day is he really even THAT recognizable. If this woman had SEEN the X-Files then she'd KNOW that Alex Trebek is one of those people who is not easily identifiable. THE QUOTE ABOVE PROVES IT. She got me so rattled that I had all but forgotten about my earlier run in with a Gilmore Girl.

So after the Trebek affair died down I was still at my post waiting for one more man to arrive - yes, that man was WILLIAM SHATNER. As if I wasn't already nervous enough, I have Captain Kirk himself beaming aboard. So after much waiting the Shatnermobile finally arrived. I said "Hello, how are you today?" and Shatner replied, in his typical stacatto manner: "I'm fine, thanks for asking." Oh lord.

The Ellen show itself was totally nuts. I can't say I really enjoyed it because it was just too crazy to really take it all in. You see today was a special Mardi-Gras themed celebration so the "Riff-Raff Room" where they store all the extraneous audience members who can't fit in the studio was converted into what was basically a Mardi-Gras themed Bar Mitzvah party, complete with DJ, juice bar, live band, and buffet-style food. Oh yeah - and a bunch of teenaged to middle-aged women shrieking and dancing to techno-pop dance music. Just wow. I was just kind of standing there unable to fully process anything, and since we pages are kind of outcasts at Ellen - a non-NBC produced show, most of the staff people just kind of stare at us and aren't really forthcoming with information on what's going on. All I know is that Lauren Graham and Ellen herself made cameo appearances in the Riff Raff Room, which just caused utter chaos to erupt. Oh yeah, did I mention that everyone inside was wearing Mardi-Gras beads and masks? Head .. exploding. They give out some nice prizes on that show though - everyone in the studio audience got a free Gilmore Girls Season 2 DVD set - probably a good 50 - 60 dollar value. None for me though.

Tommorow I will be bringing in my car for what is hopefully the final time in a long while. I have my doubts that everything will go smoothly but I guess we'll see.

Working two Dennis Miller tapings tommorow. I wonder who's on? Then Wed. is the big Avril day at the Tonight Show.

Looks like I'm staying at the Burbank Extended Stay Inn for another month since I haven't found an apt yet. I got a new lead today though that could be pretty promising.


- Didn't watch 24 yet ... taped it. Will provide thoughts later.

- Superbowl movie trailer thoughts: Batman Begins: I am still holding my breath worrying that this could suck. My prediction is that it will be a big improvement over the Schumaker abominations but will still be lacking in certain areas. I am hoping that it will be a masterpiece though. The cast is certainly awesome. The trailer was pretty sweet, but ... more car jokes? Why? I liked the Scarecrow's look and the action is looking nice. But I still have some doubts.
War of the Worlds: Well the trailer didn't really so much but with Spielberg and Cruise you know this is gonna be good. But show me the aliens!

- Just now watching Kevin Eubanks going down in a huge vat of Clam Chowda on the Tonight Show, since I wasn't there today to see it live. Not a very kosher thing to do, but hey, he's gotta pay the price for being an Eagles fan.

- And go *BU* for kicking BC, aka NEWTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE, out of the Beanpot tournament. What a couple of months it's been for BOSTON.

Sunday, February 06, 2005



And: Kevin Eubanks is gonna get dunked in a tank full of BOSTON CLAM CHOWDA tommorow!

Boston is the kind of place that you just can't live in for four years without developing a little of the old Celtic Pride. Unless you had previous affilliations with NYC or LA or somesuch other overachieving city, then you can't help but be drawn into the country's greatest city for underdog sports teams - Beantown, baby. Sure, the Celtics were once an NBA dynasty, and the Pats are currently tearing it up in the NFL, but it's not like say NYC where people in Boston ever really EXPECT to win. Perhaps that's why there seems to be a certain detachment with the Patriots in Boston. They are just too efficient, too machine-like in their winning ways. It's almost like they belong in NYC or something (and they were almost in HARTFORD ...). In Boston we like a good fight. Even so, if celebrations are any indication, then there is still a lot of Pats appreciation in Beantown. Hell, at our BU graduation Pats coach Bill Bellichek received a standing ovation while the Archbishop of someplace or other (Albania I believe ...?) got mild applause, even though the latter saved like thousands of lives while Bill did nothing more than win a couple of Superbowl rings. But anyways, as I've talked about before, prior to going to BU I was kind of an unaffilliated sports fan. For my favorite sport, NBA basketball, I rooted for individual players I liked, such as my all time sports hero Charles Barkley (who is going to be on the Tonight Show next week!!!) and Reggie Miller (who's Pacers I am still hoping can win it all). I stopped really caring about hockey with the demise of the Hartford Whalers (As apparently did the rest of America). For baseball and football, I was pretty ambivalent. I came from an NYC-leaning family, as my mom's father grew up in New Haven and was a longtime Yankees fan, as was my Mom. But I was never one to like teams that were consistent winners. It is so easy and annoying for people to like such teams. You gotta root for the underdog sometimes. So it was that in Boston, where I lived just steps from historic Fenway Park, that I really became enveloped by Boston sports. You had to, living right at the epicenter of Red Sox Nation, where the theme songs were Boston favorites like "Dirty Water" by the Standels ("Oh BOSTON you're my home!") and (inexplicably) "Sweet Caroline" by Neal Diamond. There on Beacon Street we were surrounded who lived and breathed the Sox, and all other Boston sports kind of fed into that. Celebrating the Pats' Superbowl victories was almost more a celebration of Boston itself, with all it's inferiority complexes and eccentricities, than of the Pats' team specifically. How else to explain the dominating chants of "Yankees Suck" that rang out after the Patriots' wins, and at all other local athletic events? When the Sox lost out to the Yankees last year, you could feel a tangible sense of sadness all along Beacon Street and all across the entire city. The lifeblood had been drained out. That's why it must have been so great to be in Boston when the Sox finally won it all this year. I've never seen a city so united in a single cause. That's why you gotta love Boston sports. Going to a Redsox or even Celtics game in Boston just has that special, old-time feel. It's dirty, grungy. You won't find a lot of bells and whistles ... no scenic stadiums or fancy arenas. Just a lot of blue-collar, puritan work-ethic, a lot of tradition, a strong sense of identity, and a whole lot of pride.

That being said:

Yeah Patriots! Another win for NEW ENGLAND.


So I watched the game at fellow New Englander in Hollywood Paul Lurie's place. It was some good times, and it was also his birthday so there was plenty of good food. One of his friends from the Late Late Show where he works made an outstanding Reeses Pieces cake that really fulfilled my chocolate-plus-peanut-butter fix. (I have long counted this combo as one of my faves).

Tommorow I forego working The Tonight Show, as I will instead be working for the first time on ELLEN. Should be interesting. I see the guest is Leah Remini who I just saw on Dennis Miller. Dammit, if I was working the show Tuesday it'd be Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls and Alex Trebek. And Friday is Avril. Oh well, I may get to meet her on Wednesday as she'll be on Leno and I'll be stationed backstage during music rehearsals (I think ...) so that could be cool. Should I make a T-shirt that says Sk8R Boy? Um, no, just kidding.

Oh, CAR UPDATE: Finally got my car back from the dealership and returned the rental car. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE ... they STILL have not done the touch-ups and cleaning for which I originally brought it in LAST TUESDAY. Whaaaaat? So this Tuesday I have to bring it in AGAIN for the day. I swear, if they don't have EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING done by the end of that day, I AM NOT going to be happy.

Also still have heard zilch from UPS regarding my broken PS2. I'm sure this will take like a year to take care of.

Oh well, all in all I guess I CAN'T COMPLAIN.


- Maybe it was just because I was watching with alarge group of people (flashbacks to freshman year at BU), but I really enjoyed tonight's post-Superbowl SIMPSONS. Aside from just plain being funny, this was the most biting, effective satire that the show has done in a long, long while. The biblical stuff, making fun of Mel Gibson's Passion and those who either love it or are offended by it, was both very funny and incredibly spot-on. They really pulled no punches this week, mocking the NFL, Mel Gibson, conservatives, liberals, and a few well placed jabs at FOX. The sports celeb cameos were the best and funniest they've had in a long time as well. Michelle Kwan, Lebron James, and Yao Ming cracked me up with their one-liners. And hold the phone, they GAVE A NAME to COMIC BOOK GUY? Not sure how I feel about that, but this ep really had everything. Maybe it's just the high from the Pat's win talking, but I am going to call this a near-great episode and give it an A-. My favorite line was probably Homer's "Whoo-hoo!" after being offered a job as a football dance coach, then quickly asking: "But why?" Lot's of funny, well-timed jokes to choose from, which was in stark contrast to ...

AMERICAN DAD ... wow, that was American BAD. Now in terms of Family Guy, I fall into this category: I think it is a very funny show with a unique style, but to put it on the same level as classic Simpsons is ludicrous. But in terms of sheer off-the-wall, mile-a-minute funniness, seasons 1 and 2 of Family Guy were very funny and a lot of fun. The show did start to go downhill after a while, which was probably bad omen for this show from Seth McFarlane. Ouch, this was painful in places. It was way too derivative of Family Guy. Nerdy son? Check. Over-the-top Dad? Check. Wannabe cool, outcast daughter? Check? Weird characters that live with family? Check. But this show has no real identity of it's own. The political humor / satire that was supposed to set it apart fell extremely flat and was surprisingly tame. The other humor was a mix of gross-out gags and quick-cutaways that felt ripped off from Family Guy, but out of place here. The supposed standout characters - a talking alien and a German fish, were not all that funny and not really likable like Brian the dog and baby Stewie are on Family Guy. Who knows, maybe given lots of time (new eps don't come out till May) and some retooling this show can come back and bring the funny. I just hope the poor quality of this episode isn't a sign that the new Family Guy eps will follow a similar path. FOX really needs to learn which shows to give a push. Why are they previewing this show which won't really be ready until May, and not using the post-Superbowl slot to showcase forgotten gems like King of the Hill or Malcolm in the Middle?

- Nice game today in the NBA between Houston and LA. I am still in awe when I actually see ppl here ROOTING for the evil Lakers. Blasphemy! Although ABC's coverage of the NBA is pretty poor compared to NBC's formerly great coverage, the dueling, grumpy old men Bill Walton and Steve "Snapper" Jones were in top form today on ABC. Walton is just hilariously ridiculous in his bombastic assertions (the fans were totally wrong in their all-star voting, superbowl Sunday is America's greatest and most important holiday) and Steve Jones is equally amusing in how seriously he takes Walton and how eager he is to refute him. Oh, welcome back Hubie Brown to the world of NBA broadcasting. You may be long-winded, but you are damn entertaining and seem like a really nice guy.

Well, time for another week already. Should be eventful. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Miller Time

"There's no doubt about it, show business lures the people who didn't get enough love, attention, or approval early in life and have grown up to become bottomless, gaping vessels of terrifying, abject need. Please laugh." -- Dennis Miller

So working the Dennis Miller Show was a nice change of pace from Leno's ba-dum-ching, cringe-inducing monlogues. Now I could cringe at Miller's right-wing views on foreign policy and Iraq. But still, I am a fan of Miller and his mind-bending metaphors, and I was cracking up throughout a majority of his show. The cringe-worthy part was during the political, Varsity Club segment where Miller tastelessly defended the American soldier who said he enjoyed killing Iraqis. It was bad enough to hear Miller express his approval, but to hear so many in the audience cheering this was kind of sickening. Still, you gotta appreciate Miller's style of humor that really tests the limits of one's pop-cultural baggage. Bonus: The featured guest was Leah Reami (not sure 'bout the spelling on that one ...), she of King of Queens and Saved by the Bell fame. What's with all these SBTB sightings lately? Bonus II: 'the other guests were the finalists from NBC's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit contest. Haha as Dennis miller commented, it must be getting close to Sweeps time. Overall it was a pretty low-pressure gig, plus I got free cookies from the backstage area.

The other highlight of my day was definitely this: someone sent me a letter at NBC! Yep, when I got to work today it was already posted on the bulletin board - some woman who was on my first tour on Thursday sent me a card saying how much she enjoyed the tour. She aid she felt bad because she thought she may have come off as rude later in the day when I helped seat her for the Tonight Show, as she was complaing about the seat she got. I couldn't even really remember or picture who exactly this woman was, but still I really got a kick out of getting a letter of my own at NBC, and for my first tour no less! She ended by wishing me luck and saying she hoped to come back to Burbank soon. So that was the talk of the pages this morning. See, niceness is sometimes acknowledged and appreciated.

Oh, so I looked at my schedule for next week, and I'm subbing as Tonight Show "CB" next Wed., the day Avril is coming on ... I'm not sure what exactly CB does, but it definitely has got to increase my chances of a Lavigne sighting.

Still trying to figure out the apartment thing. And still waiting to get my car back. Go PATRIOTS!


The O.C. - Almost kind of redundant to comment on this show now, it's starting to fall into a comfortably predictable groove. It's at a point where every major storyline is pretty clearly going in a particular direction, and we the audience are just asked to sit back and enjoy the ride. We know Kirsten and Sandy are headed for troubled waters, Seth and Summer are gonna have some sparks a-flyin', and of course Alex and Marissa are on the road to some sapphic satisfaction (never thought I'd write THAT phrase). I'm still pretty darned entertained by this show though. My grade: B+

- Man, I can't even stay up late enought to watch Conan anymore. But if any former Conan interns are reading this, I have been making sure to give plenty of shout-outs to the future Tonight Show host on all of my studio tours.

- WHY am I still getting mass emails from John Kerry? Dude, you lost the election and I don't want to hear your complaints about Bush anymore. Go away and make way for a democrat who can actually WIN AN ELECTION. Harsh, I know, but Kerry fared worse than Gore, and Gore had the decency to disappear for a while after his particular fiasco.

- So while working in the ticket office today we had a good old fashioned jumping contest. Compared to some girls at nbc, I can actually jump pretty far.

- Oh, Kenny "The Jet" Smith ... you may be the most inarticulate personality in all of TV. But I still love Inside the NBA on TNT, by far the best sports-related talk show there is.

- Wow, the Atlantic division in the NBA is AWFUL. the lowly BOSTON CELTICS are, by some perverse logic, are NUMBER ONE in their division, despite being more than a few games UNDER .500. With Indiana, Detroit, and New Jersey all playing fairly poorly, and only Miami doing anything of note, the East this year is just pathetic. Maybe another division realignment is in order?

And that's it for now. Okay all my bruthas from otha muthas, keep it real - respeck.
- Gosh! This UPS stuff is taking forever! I want a new, functioning PS2 and I want it NOW.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Tales to Astonish

Well, it was nice to see the Napoleon Dynamite fans come out in full force for today's Tonight Show. I think Napoleon Dynamite is one of those movies that is really a good character judger. It's like if someone really likes and "gets" that movie than you can tell that they are of a certain cool sensibility. So it was pretty cool to see dozens of "Vote for Pedro" T-shirts and whatnot when I went out to greet the line. It's always a good feeling to see that no matter how obscure your interests are, others out there share them. I felt like I was among my people or something. But of course I was just some guy spouting the nbc company line and wearing a dorky uniform, so outwardly I was not really a fellow Napoleon fan, but just a corporate suit in training. Oh well, it was nice to see the geeks a-representin.'

Something did happen in line today that really freaked me out and I couldn't get it out of my head. This middle-aged guy at the front of the line approached me, just like totally shaking in anger. He started yelling something to me about being separated from his friends who had already been admitted inside, and just really shaking, like I really thought he might have a heart attack or something. I wasn't even sure exactly what he was saying or asking, but I was trying to tell him that we couldn't always keep large groups together inside, that was just the way it worked. And suddenly he just got even more angry and said how this was ridiculous and he'd been waiting in line all day, and he was just quivering ... and he literally grabbed his wife and pulled her away and just stormed off out of line and right down Almeda Ave. It was just really shocking. And riht before that I was joking around with these people who were like oh yeah, your job must be so fun and whatnot. After that they just looked at me and shook their heads knowingly. It was just a really weird, crazy incident that I couldn't shake off for a while.

The show was okay ... Cate Blanchett had one of those weird, uncomfortable and semi-perverted seeming interviews that Jay Leno sometimes does, where he asks all these sex related questions but in a kind of shy way that comes off as really sketchy. Also ... wow did that monologue bomb today (please tell me no one from nbc is reading this ...). Jon Hedder from N. Dynamite seemed like a really cool guy, very down to earth. Oh, and what happened to Howie Mandell? The bald, goateed, aging hipster that showed up late at the show today was a total 180 from the curly-haired nice-guy who I fondly remember as the host and creator of Bobby's World. Then Ashanti did her pop diva dance thang, and that was kind of a cool spectacle.

Tommorow I am working until 8 pm to do the Dennis Miller show. Should be interesting, but it's gonna be a loooooong day.


- Okay, these mass emails have gotten waaaaaaaay out of hand.

- Sorry to hear about one of my all time favorite coaches, Rudy T, stepping down from the Lakers. Sure, I don't like the Lakers, but I have always found Rudy T. to be one of the more inspiring figures in the NBA, and I'll never forget his famous "Never Underestimate the Heart of a Champion" speech after he and the Rockets won their first title in the '90's. He really seems like such an intense personality, I can see how coaching must take a huge mental and physical toll on him. Best of luck to him in whatever he decides to do in the future.

- I have really enjoyed the last few episodes of Jack and Bobby. They are really toning down the mother character and are also humanizing Jack and making him a lot less annoying. Oh and FINALLY JAck is ridding himself of Missy, the most annoying TV girlfriend around. While they do need to do a better job of linking the current drama with the fast-forward Bobby-as-President segments, they seem to be striking a nice balance between a John Hughes high school drama and the "how will he achieve his destiny?" aspect of a show like Smallville. Speaking of which ...

- Wow! A total turnaround from last episode's total sucktitude. This was a DAMN GOOD episode of Smallville, which is amazing as it was continued from last week's very lame "very special episode." THIS is what Smallville is about, what Superman should be about. Heroism, morality, truth, hope, faith, friendship, good vs. evil, alienation, loss, mystery, and action. It was a very genuine, emotional moment when Alicia met her untimely fate. And despite the fact that she's been involved in a pair of highly lame storylines, I really like the actress who plays Alicia, I predict she'll be doing big things in the future. The Chloe storyline was actually handled very well, and Lois' character is progressing nicely and really adds to the show. And then there was ACTION that was driven by EMOTION and CONFLICT. Finally. Plus, there was a return to the foreshadowing of Clark as Superman, with a really nice analysis of how a symbol like Superman can inspire people to accept others who are different. Good stuff. Sure, the Jason / Lana subplot is still cheesy and ridiculous, and Tom Welling still needs to work a bit on his acting range, but here's hoping this is a turning point and the show can finish up its run as strong as it started. My grade: A-

So since I'll be doing a Dennis Miller taping tommorow, I'll try to end with a Dennis Miller-esque quote. Let's see ... yeah. Nope, sorry, that would consume way too much time and brainpower than I'm currently willing to expend right now. How DOES he do it?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Hootin' and A' Hollerin'

It is often easy to forget about Middle America. Sure, we on the coasts try to pretend they don't exist, but every so often, certain events remind us that yes, there are quite a lot of those non-coastal states, and yes, their ways are often slightly different from what we on the west or east coasts are used to. So when, for example, an election comes along, the liberal elite moans and groans about all of these bible-thumpin' people who seem to pop out of nowhere and excercise their right to vote. Today though ... today I was woken up to a phenomena that, being a Connecticut Yankee transported to Hollywood, had really passed me by. Yes, today I realized that country music fans exist, there are many of them, and they are INSANE.

I assumed as did many of my fellow nbc pages that the big draw on today's show would be Leonardo Dicaprio. But that was before I was privvy to the crazy popularity of a man by the name of Kenny Chesney. Who? Well let's just say that this guy is a country music phenomena, and the ladies freakin' love him. So basically, today was teen idol overload, and as the designated Tonight Show floorseater I spent four hours dealing with hundreds of frantic, hormonally charged women who were all in a frenzied state between fainting and shrieking at the top of their lungs. I'm telling you, it was CRAZY. The long line for the show was littered with packs of southern women who had been waiting all night to get in. They were wearing Kenny T-shirts, had Kenny Signs, and had personal gifts that they made especially for Kenny. Leonardo who? So of course these crazy women-folk decided to, um, have some fun with me and see if they could use their southern charms to try to move to the front of the line, get backstage, meet Kenny, etc. - none of which I can actually do, but yet I was bombarded with requests. By the time the line went into the studio, I had about fifty totally crazy women who were apparently on a first name basis with me, kept referring to me as their friend, and who thought it'd be fun to yell out my name everytime they saw me pass by, all the way up to the point when the show started. I wonder if Jay noticed the chaos I was being enveloped by? He definitely was amused at the, um, enthusiasm of this crowd though. The worst was after the show ended - I'm trying to help the crowd exit in an orderly fashion and suddenly I get mobs of Kenny fans coming at me and making a beeline for their country music god. So I'm yelling for people to get back, but Kenny in his great wisdom actually APPROACHES these women and SIGNS THEIR CDS's and T-SHIRTS. This of course caused mass chaos, as all the other women saw him signing stuff and RAN LIKE MAD to the stage to try to get the same from the K-man. It took three security guards and me to TRY to calm down this riot and it took a good while for things to finally settle down. And then, to top it off, as I'm leaving for my car I run into a group of women who I had talked to earlier. "Danny! Danny!" I went over and humored them, they were pretty funny after all, and hey, if they were talking to me AFTER the show then maybe they actually DID appreciate the time I took to be nice to them in line. Oh wait. "Hey, Danny, WHEN DOES KENNY COME OUT IN HIS CAR?" Oy. Seriously though, it was crazy but mostly in good fun. I got a kick of having this large group of women waving at me and thanking me as I drove away from nbc. How many jobs give you THAT kind of experience. I mean, hey, I may not ever get to be a teen idol, but at least I can kind of live vicariously through Kenny freakin' Chesney. I mean, sure, they came to see Leo and Chesney, but they left thinking dreamily about that really cool page who brought 'em to their seats. I keed, I keed. Or do I ... ?

But yeah, it is nuts what people in line for the show say to you. People have already offered me money on numerous occasions to move them to the front of the line. Sure, they are probably B.S. ing, but still it's pretty funny what people say. One woman today kept telling me how her husband was a policeman in LA, and if I let her backstage I'd never have to worry about the law again. Riiiiiiight. Nice woman though, if a little nutty.

My tour today was pretty cool actually. A bunch of high schoolers from Florida with teachers in tow, so they actually laughed at my jokes and thought it was cool when I told them how I ran into Mr. Belding the other day, and when I told them facts like how the Tonight Show couch costs $50,000, they were all like "Dude!" and "Shut-up!" (a compliment from teens). Plus they had all kinds of questions about colleges and stuff like that (many were thinking of BU), and that kind of stuff is A LOT easier to answer than obscure Days of Our Lives questions. So yeah definitely my favorite tour I've done so far.

RANDOM NOTE: No, Duran Duran does not say anything, negative or otherwise, about Jews in the song "Come Undone." I looked it up. Whoops, my bad.

Tommorow: Napoleon Dynamite, aka John Hedder (I think) is on the show! SWEET.


24, 24, 24: DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN. Tony Almeda (what a great character name) returns! But he didn't say his trademark monotone "yeah." Plus he got to the place to save Jack like two minutes after Jack called him. Plus he's supposed to be in jail. Oh well. Still another sweeeet episode of 24, which, I will say now, is THE BEST SHOW CURRENTLY ON TV. The only thing I'd ask for in this season is a slightly more fleshed out terrorist plot - some villains who have a little more psychology to what they are doing. But that can come in time, along with an explanation of just what Aisha Tyler's deal is and why she is apparently evil. But this season definitely is starting out with a consistency and sense of pacing that last season didnt have until the final third of its episodes.

Arrgh, so many movies I have to see. Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Sideways, and more! Who wants to see movies with me?

Oh yeah, comment on my blog! Even if you're just some random person reading this cuz you've got nothing better to do. Hey, I don't judge.

Ok, better bone up on my skills ... you know, numchuk skills, computer hacking skills .... and get to work on my Lyger drawings (it's pretty much my favorite animal ...), because with Napoleon Dynamite coming on the show it could be, dare I say it, the best Tonight Show of all time (like anyone could even know that! Gosh!). Sorry, more lame N. Dynamite references.