I don't know what's going on with my cats and their tongues lately, here are two out of three drooling like the village idiot.
Haven't blogged lately, not too much going on.
Listening: Funeral by Arcade Fire. Recommend.
Also listening: Random Nina Simone tunes that I've picked up on various soundtracks and single-song downloads. She kind of snuck up on me, and it turns out, I'm a fan. What an amazing voice.
Watching: Freaks & Geeks on DVD. This is a Judd Apatow-written/produced series that came out in 1999 during my 20-year television hiatus, so I'm watching it now for the first time and totally digging it. It takes place in a suburban Detroit high school in the early 80s (totally my generation) and follows a group of geeks and freaks (stoners, as they were called at my school at the time). Like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, it has the signature Apatow one-two punch of dry humor and heart that is totally irresistable to me. Not to mention the fact that it's filled with music from my generation and I'm completely in love with Jason Segel's character, Nick, who is a drummer and a Zeppelin freak. Highly recommend.
Reading: Just finished a (the only) biography about Millicent Fenwick, the real-life congresswoman upon whom the Doonesbury character Lacey Davenport was based. Millicent was a pipe-smoking, blue-blooded New Jersey Republican whose main interest was social justice and public service. Intrigued? She was a fascinating woman. The bio read a little dry and academic-sounding, nevertheless, it was well-written and well-researched.
Recently finished reading: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Highly recommend.
Currently reading: Things I Overhead While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda.
On deck: The Powers That Be by David Halberstam.
(Notice the complete lack of fiction in my reading lately.)
Now for a public service announcement. And my apologies to those of you who love this book, but this is my blog, and I gotta call it as I feel it. If I can save even one person from reading the menace to society that is Eat, Pray, Love, my life's work here on earth will be complete. I know that Oprah has been pumping it up, but that doesn't mean you should waste your time with this self-absorbed tripe. Oprah is the devil and she recommends The Secret, for chrissake. Divorce yourself from Oprah. She has her best interest at heart, not yours. And Eat, Pray, Love is as self-serving as Oprah and her ilk.
My employer had a major network outage today, and even though it's 12:30 already, I haven't been able to work all day. Thing is, I can't go out and run errands or anything because the call can come in at any time saying the system is back up. So I'm playing Cafe Mahjongg and reading gossip blogs to pass the time.
Did you hear about this? A guy in Australia is selling his life on this website (www.alife4sale.com). I read online that his wife left him, and so he's trying to sell everything - including his jobs and friends - to make a fresh start. Interesting concept, one I don't think I could do, but I applaud this guy for his efforts. Could you do this? Sell your life and start over?
Six Feet Underwhelmed About the Return of Network Television
I've only had cable a couple of years, so during the strike, curiosity got the best of me, and I finally checked out the feast that is Six Feet Under.
I loved Six Feet Under. I watched the finale almost two weeks ago, and it's still fresh on my mind. I'm not even close to giving up the Fishers yet. And by the way, what about those final 5 minutes of the show? Now that's the way you close out a series. Beautiful.
Maybe the worst thing about watching 6FU during the strike is that now I'm pretty underwhelmed about the return of network programming. Yeah, I know, I'm weak and I'll end up watching anyway.
But damn, why can't more shows be like 6FU? Why does Shondra Rhimes have two shows and Alan Ball none?
Here's a cool little factoid about Peter Krause. He saw this singer in a little club in Santa Monica, kept in touch with her, and decided to executive produce her CD when she lost her funding. What a cool guy, I love stories like this (video below).
Before I get to the videos, I wanted to say how exciting it was to feel my niece kicking in her mama's belly for the first time the other day. My sister-in-law is almost in her third trimester, and everything's going very well. Happy days in the A family.
Way, way back in the day, The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles became one of the first venues to sell out to corporate sponsorship. The now-defunct financial institution, Great Western, paid what at the time seemed to be an exorbitant amount of money to rename the Forum, "The Great Western Forum" (or GW Forum, as it came to be known) and paint its famous exterior from red to blue. This is back when the Lakers were "threepeating," Gretzky played for the Kings, and the biggest acts in music were selling it out for multiple-night runs.
Cut to years later, and the hallowed walls of the Forum are now hollowed walls. Literally.
The Lakers and Kings moved out when Staples Center opened, and the musical acts quickly followed suit. The only thing going on at the Forum these days is a weekly church service on Sundays.
So it was with a combination of interest and nostalgia that I returned to The Forum last night for the first time in years to see the Foo Fighters with special guest, Serj Tankian (Dave Grohl and Serj are pictured).
The Forum is still GW blue on the exterior, but I noticed that parking is no longer $5... it's $22 (limos $66), which is hysterical because that's a couple bucks more than Dodger Stadium charges. The turnstiles are gone, but otherwise, nothing has changed as you enter the lobby. I told my sister to keep her eye open for Trevor Rabin because he's known to hang out at the Forum. (The back story to that is that once, we literally ran into him in the lobby probably 20 years ago at a Laker game.) We decided to hit up the ladies' room which is still subterranean, still sporting Lakers' purple stalls, and still poorly-ventilated. Bottled water has gone up to $4, but that's what it costs at the movies, so no surprise there.
Walking into the stadium really took me back. Between concerts and sporting events, I've been there countless times. But after we took our seats and had a minute to look around, I noticed that there wasn't a single piece of signage in the entire arena. No corporate sponsorships, no Lakers jerseys or pennants or posters, no "coming attractions." Nothing. The walls were completely barren.
The show was great. Serj played for 45 minutes, and I made the argument to my sister that he's always reminded me of Stevie Nicks. She wasn't buying it at first, but when he came out in this outfit and started twirling, she started to see my point. Seriously, though, he does remind me of Stevie. They are both very intense, passionate, and dramatic vocalists. Maybe it's tiny gestures or the way they sell it, or maybe the quality they share is intangible, but it's something I noticed a very long time ago, back when I saw System of a Down play Spiders on one of the late night shows when their first album came out.
As for the Foos, what can I say. You MUST see this band if you love music. Here's a review of the Wednesday night show (I went on Thursday). Stewart Copeland didn't take the stage at the show I saw, but Chili Pepper's drummer, Chad Smith, did. So did Lemmy from Motorhead. There were too many highlights to list, but as the review points out, the thing Dave Grohl does that is so special is he connects with the audience. He's someone you can imagine inviting over to your house and hanging out with over pizza and beer. There's no rock star pose, and the music is full of life. During the encore, he said something like, "here's a song we don't play very often, we usually only play it in Los Angeles." I turned to my sister and said, "I hope to God it's Darling Nicky." She concurred, and when Grohl hit that first weird but unmistakable chord (thank you, Prince), we both went insane.
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear of one another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular. - Edward R. Murrow