Friday, September 28, 2007

My Last Day of 18-24.

Every time I go to Baja Fresh, I take my receipt and fill out a feedback survey online. At the end, it gives me a code to put on the receipt that will give me $2 off my next meal at Baja Fresh. They put in the discount before calculating tax and all that, so I'm really saving slightly more than $2, and over time, it really adds up.

Anyway, at the end of the survey, they ask some classification questions such as gender, income, and age. Under age, they have a series of multiple choice options, and I always click on 18-24. But my birthday is tonight at midnight, so from now on, I will have to check off the next option, 25-34. This is the only place where I've seen this age so categorically defined as the milestone that marks the entrance to a new decade. Like, when you become 30, that is the beginning of your thirties (or the end of your twenties). But Baja Fresh has redefined the very stages of my life. Am I in my thirties now? Or am I just starting my twenties, and I won't hit my thirties till I'm 35? Baja Fresh has seen our reality, and they want no part of it.

I think in the end, what they have achieved is something that will make people in their late twenties feel old, and people in their early thirties feel young. Do we need this?


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From My Inbox.

I got this in my Hotmail today:

Subject: (no subject)

my windowslivemessenger addme please handsome fella

One of the nicest emails I've received in a long time!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

October is Smallville Hotties Month.

Today I saw that the new issue of Stuff has Laura Vandervoort on the cover. She plays Supergirl in the upcoming season of Smallville. I thought this was pretty cool, since I love Smallville. Then, I looked right next to it on the magazine rack and saw that Erica Durance was on the cover of Maxim. She plays Lois Lane on Smallville.

All my favorite things are coming together. I will plan a special trip to Borders in the coming days in the hopes that I can purchase this magical pair that I can then slap the shit out of my nuts to.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

2006 vs. 2007, Part 4: August

So earlier this year, I got the idea to compare the 2006 summer blockbuster season with the 2007 summer blockbuster season to see which year was better. I did this by doing month-specific rounds where each weekend was represented by a single movie. Here are links to the first three parts:

2006 vs. 2007, Part 1: May
2006 vs. 2007, Parts 2 and 3: June and July

I should make it clear that I am determining each weekend's representative based on my own personal opinion of which of that weekend's releases was the best, and that I am indeed excluding any movies I didn't see. But I do not think this will make too much difference in this already-majorly-flawed process. And now, with 2006 in the lead, here we go into the final round.

Talladega Nights was a moderate success, marred mainly by a trailer that undercut every joke in the movie. But The Bourne Ultimatum was fresh to death; a classy, stylish, smart action movie that beautifully wrapped up one hell of a trilogy. The Bourne Ultimatum wins this one by a landslide.
1st Weekend Score: 2006 (0) vs. 2007 (1)

Stardust was one of the best movies I saw this year. Original to the extreme, with lots of funny characters and moments. I'm going to reluctantly give this one to the great World Trade Center, but I only do so while giving Stardust my highest praises.
2nd Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (1)

SNAKES ON A PLANE (2006) vs. SUPERBAD (2007)
Snakes on a Plane was basically just a lot of hype that all started because of its sweet title. Superbad was extremely overhyped as well, but I was fortunate enough to see it at an advance screening about five months prior to its release. And I guess I can say it was funny and wonderful enough to deserve an onslaught of trailers that ruined it for everyone in the world.
3rd Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (2)

You'll notice I'm using Invincible to represent 2006 (this was the movie where Mark Wahlberg plays an ordinary guy who loves the Philadelphia Eagles, tries out, and then becomes one of them, kinda like in Rock Star, where he did the same thing, but with a metal band), and not Beerfest. I didn't see Beerfest until a few weeks ago, and it was pretty good. I don't know if Invincible was better, but to me, Invincible better represents 2006, because that is when I saw it. Doesn't really matter, because I liked Mr. Bean's Holiday better than both.
4th Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (3)

THE WINNER OF AUGUST: 2007. And with that, we have a flawless streak of every winning month being one point short of a flawless victory.

THE WINNER OF THE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER SEASON: It's a tie. The winning months were May 2006, June 2007, July 2006, and now August 2007. So I guess maybe I can do like a September tie-breaker next month, even though that last bit of September is technically autumn.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Jodie Sweetin.

I was looking through the news items on IMDb the other day, and this was the last entry on the page. I really enjoyed how it was worded:

Newlywed Sweetin To Be a Mom
Former child star Jodie Sweetin is expecting her first child just weeks after marrying new husband Cody Herpin in Las Vegas. The wild former Full House star wed movie set designer Herpin on July 14 weeks after meeting him for the first time. And now the 25-year-old former crystal methamphetamine addict is getting ready to be a mom.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Britney, Bitch.

This Sunday, MTV aired its 24th annual Video Music Awards. The show itself was heavily revamped, dropping a ton of its usual categories and focusing more on live musical performances and general drunken debauchery. For me, it was noteworthy above all because it opened with something of a comeback performance from Britney Spears, who has been missing from the music scene for the past few years, so she could marry some deadbeat, have two kids, and embarrass herself daily on the tabloids. So I was very excited to see this performance. I was always a big fan of Britney back in the day. Not because I felt she had any kind of noteworthy vocal talent, but because her songs were always very poppy and catchy, and she always looked phenomenal performing them.

So I watched the show and I really enjoyed it. But it seems that everyone else on the planet disagrees with me, and in fact considers the performance an unmitigated catastrophe. I was appalled as I sifted through countless news articles, all of them reporting on what a complete failure it was, as if it weren't even a matter of opinion. Sheila Marikar of ABC News painted the performance as a hapless sleepwalk, citing such accredited sources as gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Even the late night hosts all made sure to get in their licks. I only watched Conan and Letterman (whose Top Ten List for the night simply consisted of Britney Spears Excuses). AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle wrote an article about how both her performance and the VMAs overall were sub-par, but at least his choice of words remained for the most part concrete and unbiased. Which is more than I can say for AP Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody. She heaped praise on the show itself while shitting all over Britney. Hers is the article I'll be focusing on in this entry, because it best embodies the type of virulent prattle I'm talking about.

She says:

As in most train wrecks, it was hard to focus on just one thing as the Britney Spears disaster unfolded on MTV's Video Music Awards. There was just so much that went wrong. Out-of-synch lip-synching. Lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home. The paunch in place of Spears' once-taut belly. At times she just stopped singing, as if even she knew nothing could save her performance.

Let me go through this point-by-point.

The lip-synching. Britney Spears always lip-synchs. And it's not always perfect-- she just always moved too fast for us to notice. But just because she's not breaking her back with the kind of choreography she usually prepares doesn't mean she can't choose to pre-record her vocals. People are always so disgusted by this, like it's not her voice we hear playing back. Go back and watch her old performances. The only times Britney doesn't lip-synch are when she's sitting on a stool next to a piano. Was anyone expecting an out-of-practice mother of two to just open the VMAs by busting out with a fucking aria?

The "lethargic movements." It seemed to me that she was quite deliberately strutting around in a very bold and governing swagger. That kind of loose yet controlled movement can be a million times sexier than some over-the-top showy carnival of spastic dance moves. And the way she played back and forth between her unpredictable sashaying and the minimalist choreography with her dancers went a long way in holding at least my attention.

The "paunch." I am physically repulsed that someone would actually say this in a criticism of Britney's performance. Her PAUNCH? Hey, Nekesa Mumbi Moody. Go fuck yourself, and your name. I applaud every inch of Britney's body. As admittedly more full-figured than usual as it was, she was still one of the most magnificent displays the world saw that night. God forbid the nation should be forced to look at a female body that's not the picture of anorexia. How terrible to have to see a gyrating set of beautiful tan curves. And the way she so openly bared her flesh most definitely served to the advantage of the authoritative attitude in her aforementioned swagger. The outfit itself was almost certainly a tribute to Britney's hero, Madonna.

I'm just so sick of seeing all these malignant articles with nothing but venom for Britney. I've never felt that my own thoughts on something so subjective could be so categorically contradicted by mere word of mouth. I say let's worry less about Britney's flaws and maybe worry more about printing Nekesa Mumbi Moody's bitter insecurities under the banner of news.

The only part of the performance I wasn't totally crazy about was the song itself, which was Britney's new single, "Gimme More." But then, her songs usually tend to grow on me.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Week of Three Big Shitty Things.


Last week, on Thursday (8/30), we lost power in the apartment. I ended up going to Ikea and Barnes and Noble with Justin. While reading magazines at B&N, my brother called and told me the power was back on. So it had been a few hours. The next day, Friday (8/31), the power went out again and we took in a showing of Death Sentence. When we got back, the power was back on, so it had been a few hours again. The next day, Saturday (9/1), we spent the whole day driving around doing fun things and running some errands. After we got back and got settled in, the power went out at 6:15pm. It stayed off for hours. Eventually, we went to get dinner and when we came back, the power was back on. It had come on at 10:30pm, so that was a 4-hour-15-minute blackout. The next day, Sunday (9/2), I was mentally prepared for a fourth blackout, but it didn't come. That is, until 8:45pm. We were so pissed, we just wanted to get out of the house, but unlike all the other blackouts, our garage door was frozen shut. So we were prisoners in our own home. Not that there would have been anywhere to go on a Sunday night. The power didn't come back on until 7:15am the next morning. So that would be a 10-hour-30-minute blackout.

It seems that these started out as power-company-triggered rolling blackouts that evolved into uncontrolled outages caused by blown transformers and shit, because of the heat wave that settled over the city last weekend. The power company was good enough to leave constantly-updating voice messages on their customer service line, informing us that they had no estimate for when the power would come back on (even during the blackouts they themselves engineered). If you have four straight days of blackouts and at no point do you ever have an estimate to give people, what's the point of even acknowledging the idea of an estimate? Okay, you can't make any realistically educated estimates. MAKE SOME UNEDUCATED ONES. WE'RE NOT CALLING YOUR VOICE MAIL EVERY FIVE MINUTES BECAUSE WE LIKE THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE.

The next day, Monday (9/3), we lost power for about a half an hour during the late afternoon. Whatever. My biggest problem with this whole thing is the idea that rolling blackouts and blown transformers are a common thing during big city heat waves, but the power company doesn't feel the need to establish a scheduled protocol so that people's lives are not thrown into turmoil. Imagine if every year in Florida, when the hurricanes started coming, everyone just sat around saying, "Oh, shit!"


When it comes to Halloween Horror Nights, the people at Universal Studios Orlando know what they're doing. They've been at it since 1991. But Universal Studios Hollywood is still working out the kinks. They started doing HHN in 1997, then stopped after 2000. Because of money reasons, or 9/11, or something, I'm sure. But then in 2006 they started up again. I didn't think to audition at that time because I'm an idiot, but I remembered to do so this year, which, on paper, is their 6th year, but really, is more like their 2nd year. Mentally, I was very prepared for this audition, thanks to the audition I bombed back in March for their year-long House of Horrors. I even made a resume with a headshot and everything.

I love working HHN. As an incentive, they make you an employee for the entire year, so you can enter the park for free and get employee discounts until the next HHN rolls around. And above all, it's just a fun job. Instead of waking up in the morning and sitting at a desk, you go at night and put on a costume and scare people. I was a little disappointed at the audition when they said HHN was 10 nights. I was expecting more, because I was used to Orlando. I later found out they had made me a part of the elite Chainsaw Brigade. This part is a little more demanding than all the other scareactors, because it is more interactive with the guests. And you're operating a live chainsaw.

At my orientation, I found out that my employee status would not be year-round, but rather, I would only be an employee until the last day of HHN; October 31st. This just sounds like a lot of bullshit. What are they gaining by not offering me year-round employee status? On top of that, I won't be able to get free passes throughout the year to give my friends like I did in Orlando. Maybe Hollywood doesn't need the caliber of incentives that Orlando does because it's so overflowing with actors and variety performers who are dying for a job. But if that's the case, why is the Hollywood HHN still short of several tall males to fill all their scareactor positions? Maybe next year they will rethink their list of incentives. So that was kind of a shitty thing. But the main shitty thing here is that I was really hoping to ride Back to the Future: The Ride before they closed the Universal Studios Hollywood version forever (the Orlando one has been closed for some time). BTTF: The Ride closed its doors forever here in Hollywood on Labor Day, September 3rd. My orientation, where I officially received my employee status, was September 4th. It's like they couldn't have picked a worse date.


I passed my California driver's license test in August of 2006. I didn't have a passport to show them at the time, so I showed them my citizenship certificate. Because of this, they said it might take a little longer for me to receive my driver's license. Like, 8 months. I said that was fine. It has now been over a year, and I still don't have my driver's license. What they have been doing is periodically issuing me temporary paper licenses that expire within months. They usually send them to me in the mail, but sometimes they will just forget and I have to go down there and get one. Earlier this week, I noticed that my temp license was expired, so on Friday, I decided to go to the DMV and get a new one.

According to Google Earth, in order to get to the DMV, I had to take the 110-S and take the exit to Flower Street. So I was driving down the 110-S. At one point, I passed an exit called Exposition. I thought, "Hmm, that sounds familiar." But I kept driving. By the time I hit LAX, I realized I had gone too far. So I called my brother and asked him to confirm the directions that Google Earth had given me. He checked, and indeed, Google Earth's directions were to take the exit to Flower Street. But then he checked on MapQuest, and MapQuest said to take Exposition. Apparently, Google Earth knew I needed to take Exposition, but instead of calling it Exposition, it decided to call it "the exit to Flower Street." How the fuck am I supposed to know that Exposition is "the exit to Flower Street?" Typically the name of the exit is the street it leads to. This was all the more infuriating because I know in the past, Google Earth has told me to get off at Exposition. Because that's how I knew that exit in the first place.

So I got off somewhere, turned around, and got on the 110-N. As I was approaching Exposition, I realized that I only knew how to get to the DMV when coming from the other direction, so I consciously decided to pass Exposition, so I could come around from the other way and take the exit I was supposed to take in the first place. This meant I got off on Adams. I turned around and got back on 110-S. But as I was getting on, I realized that I had entered a special lane that was 110-S for CAR POOL ONLY. Total horseshit, because I hadn't seen any "car pool only" signs before getting on. Then I started freaking out for two reasons. One is that if a cop saw me, I would not only be driving in a car pool lane by myself, I would be doing so with an expired license. Two, since this lane was separate from the regular 110-S, it took me waaayyyyyy past Exposition before it gave me a chance to merge out of it. Almost all the way back to LAX. So I exited again, turned around again, and got back on the 110-N. Again.

As I was passing Exposition on the 110-N for the second time, I momentarily reconsidered my decision to pass it so that I could take the exit coming from the other direction. But I decided I should take the time and do it right, because I couldn't afford to get lost. Then, as I was passing the actual exit, I saw the DMV right in front of me. This served to let me know that I could have easily taken the 110-N Exposition exit at any time and arrived at the DMV with no chance of getting lost. But of course, I only saw it as I was passing the exit.

So I got off at Adams again, turned around again, and this time, I did not get on the car pool only 110-S. As I drove past, I tried to see if there really was a sign indicating that it was car pool only. All I saw was an arrow pointing to the lane with the word ONLY. Next to that was a SEPARATE SIGN with a diamond on it. Yeah, that's very clear. I don't know what I was thinking. I then realized there was no entrance for non-car pool vehicles to get on the 110-S. I was going insane. You have to imagine, dear reader, that this entire time, I was dealing with unbelievable traffic, and the knowledge that I had wasted nearly an hour going in circles while people were getting off work and creating a mad rush for the DMV before it closed. So I was screaming and cursing and having a mental breakdown.

Finally, I recognized where I was and just drove to the DMV without getting back on the 110-S. And the stupid thing about this DMV is that there's about 1000 people who need to be in there at any given time, but they only have about 30 parking spaces. So their teeny parking lot is just an ongoing carousel of cars, and getting a spot is just the luck of the draw, depending on where you happen to be when someone comes out and vacates their spot. You could be circling for an hour, or you could pull in and immediately find yourself in front of a vehicle that's pulling out. In addition to this, there's always some genius who gets a feeling about a spot and stops the carousel with no room for anyone to get around him. Eventually, I somehow got a spot and went inside.

I explained to the guy that I needed a new temp license and he said I needed to have my legal presence with me. Meaning my citizenship certificate. I told him I'd gotten the thing renewed before without having to show them anything, and he responded by underlining the text on my temp license with red marker. Oh, okay! Then he asked the lady manager, but he presented the case to her before I had a chance to, and she immediately took his side. I asked her why I didn't have my real license yet, since they had promised I would get it like 5 months ago, and she said it can take anywhere from 1 to 2 years for my identity to be confirmed. What do they need to confirm? I'm obviously me. So after accepting the fact that I would have to come back with my goddamn legal presence, I asked when they were closing, and she said 5pm. It was 4:30. Great. So, I'll see you guys, what, Monday? I'll be sure not to drive my car until then. I will flap my arms and fly home. Then I will fly back on Monday, of course. Why would they put me through this hassle when they usually send me my temp license in the mail? They don't send me a bitchy asshole who comes to my house and asks to see my legal presence. They send me a fucking temp license, because I passed my fucking license test and I should have a fucking license.

Anyway. What a shitty week.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Disney Adventures to Quit Publishing.

From IMDb (like 2 weeks ago):

Despite a 17-year track record, circulation over 1 million, and a 4.6 percent rise in ad sales over last year, Disney announced Wednesday that it will halt publishing Disney Adventures magazine following the November issue. (The current issue has -- what else? -- the cast of High School Musical 2 on the cover.) Advertising Age said that the company wanted "to better focus resources and maximize long-term growth potential through new magazine and book initiatives."

This is really depressing. 17-year track record indeed. I was there since day one. I didn't have that first issue with Rick Moranis on the cover (November 1990), but I believe I had the second issue with Candace Cameron on the cover (December 1990). It had everything a boy could want; comics, cool articles, interviews, movie news, engaging stories, and just a lot of fun Disney shit. This magazine was a major part of my childhood. What's weird is I have no idea when I stopped reading it. I tried to find a cover gallery online to refresh my memory, but no one seems to have taken the initiative to build one. I did come across a shot of a cover from 1997 with Batman & Robin on it. That looks vaguely familiar. Is it possible I was still reading it in 1997? If so, that must have been when I stopped, cuz that was the year I entered high school, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't reading no Disney Adventures in high school.

After I found out that it was going to stop being published, I picked one up at the supermarket checkout and leafed through it for like ten seconds. What I saw was heartbreaking. The magazine was not even a shadow of its former self. It was thin and printed on cheap newsprint and filled with inane bullshit. What happened to the fucking awesome children's literature from my youth? I guess it doesn't matter that they're taking it off the shelves if it's already dead anyway. This turned out to be depressing on multiple levels.

Another magazine I used to read was Nickelodeon magazine. That was a genuinely brilliant magazine when it first started being published in 1993. I challenge anyone who doesn't believe me to check out some of its first issues and tell me you wouldn't orgasm over that shit as a kid. It was really quirky and filled with lots of irreverent humor. But I remember consciously deciding to stop buying it after it became a commercial piece of shit clone of every other stupid magazine in the world. Kinda like Nickelodeon itself. To quote that douchebag maƮtre d' from Ferris Bueller's Day Off... I weep for the future.