It's hard coming up with pictures, so here's a cool Talking Heads one.

This weekend has been one of the most turbulent of my life, in both good and bad ways.

: I actually had a near violent altercation with my current landlord. A month ago when it was decided I would be not renewing my lease, he said he would always call me when he was going to show the apartment. I said that would be fine since I wouldn't be home most of the time. Whatever. The less time I have to deal with him, the better. I find out on Saturday that yes, he has been showing the apartment without telling me from my ex-roommate who was home for just such a pop-in. WTF mate? So on Saturday, the doorbell rings furiously for a couple minutes. A couple minutes because I always try to wait it out and see if he'll just go away (this should not be etiquette with a landlord; in this case it's necessary). He wouldn't so I went downstairs to find him with a trio of Asian men. He's showing the apartment. I let him in and ask, "oh, is this the first time you've shown the apartment?" "Yes! Yes! First time, of course!" "Oh, well, I just heard from Jon that you showed it yesterday, and you didn't let me know." "F***! I don't have to let you know s***! It's in the lease, I have 60 day! 60 day, I can show whenever I want!" "That's fine, you just said you'd call me as a common courtesy."

This back and forth continues until we get to the apartment. Upon reaching the top of the stairs I say "Just show the apartment, I don't want to talk about anything else." This makes him really mad but it's necessary to say since every time he enters my life, he veers off topic and ends up spending 15 minutes telling me why I should leave the toilet seat down.

We enter and he says "You know what, I don't like you so much, and I tell your mother this." Whatever, I go back to my room and sit there while he shows the apartment. He gets to my room and says, "Here's bedroom, this guy lives like this. Filthy." He then starts telling me how horrible a tenant I've been, how I have "a shitty face" and how I need to learn to respect people. The Asian men are pretty speechless. "Don't rent from him, he's a horrible landlord," I calmly tell them. I then tell the landlord "You don't respect me. Might I remind you of the time that you instructed me about answering the phone for 10 minutes? Or when you busted into my apartment the morning after I was broken into and interrogated my sleeping guests? And how you think I should call you everytime I leave the apartment or have anyone over? If I should have that courtesy, you should have the courtesy to call me and let me know when you're showing my apartment." "F*** you! You respect me, I could be your grandfather! You need to learn respect!" "If you're so mature, then why are you yelling at me and telling me I have a shitty face?"

Note that I was remaining calm and seated and saying all of this passively, to further illustrate how insane he is.

"F*** you! You are done and I am glad to never see you again! Horrible!" All 3 Asian men peek their head into my line of sight, smile awkwardly and say "Sorry!" I say, "No, that's okay! You guys seem great and I hope you find a great place. Have a nice day!"

They all leave. I'm infuriated. But I know I totally got the better of that altercation.

Then today the real estate broker we're using, who is an incredibly nice and gracious guy, calls and says that just in case the apartment falls through he has a small two-bedroom/kitchen/bathroom apartment for us for significantly cheaper. Okay...but, you know, Hal has an apartment full of furniture that won't fit into an apartment that doesn't include a LIVING ROOM. I'm not going to be homeless on Tuesday, but things are stressful and...ugh.

GOOD: I had my first practice session at UCB this morning (noon-3, so afternoon I guess) and it went great. I was working with 12 new people and being instructed by Gavin Speiller, one of my UCB heroes. So, you know, joyful joyful. I got some nice notes and I'm starting to learn more about game (Bill Bellamy?). I got all the apartment news in between and, due to my lack of sleep and general grunginess, I felt horrible going into class. Somehow, though, I managed to have what I thought was my best class so far. I took Shannon's notes and only played characters of either high status or overblown confidence, and it was a ball. I got to do my Jon Daly (of Mother) impersonation twice; he's the default guy for cocky confident improv in my warped mind. So much fun and I really felt myself starting to learn more about game and second beats and how to interact to back line support and tag outs and whatnot. Back line support is something that, while I'm nowhere near sure if I'm really good at it, I really enjoy. I like actively listening to a scene and then trying to figure out what I can do to toss something new in or help out my teammates. This is what I want to do: I want to be the guy that comes in, moves the scene along (with or without laugh) and gets out before it gets all clustery. I'm learning how to do this while also learning how to diversify my characters. NERD ALERT.

I also got to know someone a lot better this weekend, which definitely goes into the good pile. Seeing this person made the nasty of Saturday tolerable and forgettable. No matter what, come Tuesday I will be entering a new and long-lasting phase of my life in New York City and it's one that, judging by this weekend, I'm both ready for and looking forward to.


2nd Verse/Same As 1st

I know everyone wants more out of me than just a blog about a panther. For everyone who I don't get to bug on a daily basis (a good 98% of the people I know), here's some stuff.

I hate apartments. More like, I hate the process of getting an apartment. Credit checks, faulty faxes, landlords, security deposits X2, it's such a hassle and a very complicated process. Just give me a key! I want to live in Astoria!

Me and my roommate met our real estate guy last night and he took us up to an office, leading us straight through the Democratic Party of Astoria's meeting. Nothing like going up stairs and opening a door to see a room full of people listening to one person speak about real issues. Or something, I didn't hear what they were talking about, I was attempting to bury my face in the floor while walking to the office. Our real estate guy was then yelled at by some dude in the office for disrupting the meeting. Crazy awkward and it moved us along a centimeter in the mile that is getting this apartment.

Last night was probably the most fun I've had in a long while. I met up with Jessica and her travel buddy Cubby to go see a very enjoyable show at The Magnet Theater. This was my third time there and it was indeed a charm. Cage Match followed at UCB, where two more of my 201 classmates were waiting in line. I'm liking this "seeing people I know" thing. Who knows, maybe I'll give up sitting by myself? Reuben Williams was half there, but Joe, Sanders, Eric and King were a fantastic foursome. Beverly Hills gave a solid show as well; I really enjoy seeing them and see them grow every time. It seems like they've really started to hit a stride in their performance.

The post-show events were even better; I love meeting new people (that's a change) and the people I met were indeed great. I'm going to see the Yes Andersens (Magnet team) again on Saturday night. Definitely looking forward to it.

Sunday is my 201 improv practice session and class, so it'll be an eventful day. I'm starting to get more involved in UCB, asking questions and actually talking to people. This is quite possibly the best thing to happen to me since being up here and I feel like I'm starting to come into my own. I realized, well I realized it a long time ago and this is just proving a point, I realized the other night that I need something to get lost in and something to devote all of my waking hours to.

In high school I did this with my circle of friends; we were all so incredibly tight and it seemed like we spent an enormous amount of time together. Serious jobs and adult obligations being nonexistant in high school, this was easy. I did this with the Features heavily for the first year of college and then less so throughout. Promoting them, going to all their shows, making mix CDs for friends. The movie theater became my obsession when I worked there only because it was impossible to not become obsessed, working there as much as I did. I blogged about it, wrote two episodes of a sitcom based on it, and documented my life there with my wee little spy camera. This did not happen at Payless or Books-a-Million. Moving on. MTTV became my primary focus and will forever be the obsessive thing to which all obsessive things are measured against. My work there got me to New York, so the days where I would do three or four live broadcasts on top of going to class and working paid off. UCB is becoming this and I know it's going to provide as many opportunities as MTTV did.

Now for the namesake of the blog, conversations I had last night have rekindled my love of a certain era of music, one that I immortalized in an iPod mix back in January. It's called "2nd Verse/Same As 1st" and features 20 highlights from 1976-1981.

1. The Ramones "Judy Is A Punk"
2. The Jam "In The City"
3. Talking Heads "Pulled Up"
4. Television "Marquee Moon"
5. Wire "Ex-Lion Tamer"
6. Devo "Uncontrollable Urge"
7. Elvis Costello & The Attractions "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea"
8. The B-52's "Rock Lobster"
9. The Buzzcocks "Ever Fallen In Love?"
10. The Clash "Clash City Rockers"
11. Gang Of Four "I Found That Essence Rare"
12. Squeeze "Slap & Tickle"
13. The Undertones "Teenage Kicks"
14. XTC "Making Plans For Nigel"
15. Echo & The Bunnymen "Do It Clean"
16. Liliput "Split"
17. The Pretenders "Tattooed Love Boys"
18. Pylon "Feast On My Heart"
19. The Soft Boys "I Wanna Destroy You"
20. Mission Of Burma "Outlaw"

I listened to this today. And all of Marquee Moon. Good times.

I got fire equaling three men.

I hate American Idol. I believe it is the biggest threat to my career as a television writer, right after my probable inability to actually write. This is indeed evidenced by ABC moving Lost, the triumph of human achievement, out of the path of Idol. While waiting for Lost to start on Wednesday, I saw Lakisha perform Jennifer Hudson's Dreamgirls song. It was pretty amazing and I agreed with Simon when he said the other 23 should just go back to their soft-core porn careers and kids (those two are pre-reqs for Idol).

And I guess that's what people tune in for. Moments like that. And moments like this.



Buff Montreal

Most of my review of the newest Of Montreal album was spent lamenting the passing of the band's old sound. Whimsical instruments, breezy melodies, quirky characters, a good natured old school vibe, all replaced by trashy europop. The band I saw performing comedy bits in between performing 100% live straight forward power pop taken over by a mechanical sounding disco monster full of S&M and miniskirts.

And now this.

Go read the Pitchfork report. Kevin Barnes performed half a show with his junk hanging out. Full frontal nudity. In front of monitors playing gay and straight porn. This is too much. Someone needs to grab Kevin Barnes and tell him to work out his personal issues under some other name because he is downright tarnishing Of Montreal's. On top of the disposal of a drummer in favor of beats and everything they recorded for the first eight years of their career in favor of the last two dance albums, it's nearly impossible to find photos of the band earlier than Sunlandic Twins promo shots. The band's website, once a charming little place that looked like a fan page from 1998, now opens up with Kevin putting make up on and has erased all the old photos. Their allmusic page is also photo-free, as is Kevin's solo page.

Of Montreal is quickly becoming the most frustrating of all my favorite bands. I'm all for a change in style; Hissing Fauna is a very good album but I do not want to see Kevin Barnes' sunlandic twins when I see them in concert. Now I'm glad I didn't buy tickets to their two night stand at Irving Plaza. I can get the same effect by putting on makeup and listening to the album naked.


TV: Lost "Stranger In A Strange Land"

TEASER: Gee whiz already, we're not 10 seconds into the episode and Kate starts up the love triangle again with her whining about going back for Jack. Listen! You chose Sawyer! Jack's flashbacks suck! Give it a rest and stick with Sawyer for more than one episode, or are you now thinking you should have sex with Jack just to make sure. And I dunno, Tom, it seems to me like The Others have been screwing with our castaways a lot more than the castaways have with them. Juliet's a prisoner now, taking Jack's place? And what's up with the Cyndi Lauper looking lady? Creepy.

ACT ONE: Maybe since I don't see a hospital, this Jack flashback won't suck. It does, however, feature what I'm sure is an Asian prostitute with crimped hair and The World's Flimsiest Top. That kid Sawyer and Kate got stuck with is super annoying. I hope they get to the rest of the group, I really don't want a love triangle forming between Kate, Sawyer, and Sweaty Brainwashed Other Guy. Juliet needs a favor again...I think she has totally misjudged Jack's perception of her. Yeah, I love her and I think the viewing audience as a whole does, but Jack doesn't have any reason to trust her. All she's done to him is go back and forth on decisions and, hey, she is an Other. This whole "Juliet in prison" thing could be a trick.

ACT TWO: I remember the creators of the show talking about Jack's tattoo back in the commentary to an episode from season one, saying that it would factor in at some point and that there is meaning behind it. I've been wondering about this ever since. I want this solved tonight. As boring as Jack is, there's something about captive Jack that has made his character a lot more interesting this season. As a viewer, I'm wary and pretty much always mad at The Others. Jack is my vehicle for that hatred. He acts on it, he scoffs at The Others, he's difficult for difficult's sake. It's a nice and logical evolution of his boy scout character (oh how boring he was). And the second bit of flashback featured more ho and less ho-spital. I like that.

ACT THREE: I don't know if I've ever been as physically repulsed by a character as I am by Jack's Ho. She tastes salty? She has problems that he can't even begin to understand? No more questions? Real winner, Jack. Nice to see Cindy again, even though we still have no clue what's going on with them. I guess it's safe to say that she doesn't mind it with The Others? I'm enjoying Sally Slingshot more and more, but I have to wonder if she really is Ben's daughter. Did Rousseau have a husband/dude before the island? I can't remember what the specifics were about her team. And Jack feels guilty. Boy scout.

ACT FOUR: Yeah Ethan was a surgeon, but he was also a grade A sociopath. So...not bummed about his death. While the meaning given behind Jack's tattoo makes sense, it totally doesn't really mean that and what were the consequences? Did he crash on the island in order to become the leader and great man his tattoo brands him as? If he didn't get the tattoo would he remain undefined and therefore island-free? Does outwardly defining ourselves affect how we live our lives and how things affect us? Now Juliet's getting a mark and no one seems to thrilled about it. Oh geez.

ACT FIVE: So it was only part of his tattoo, hmmm...and still not sure what custom she was breaking. A no-caucasians served rule? I'm totally for a Juliet and Jack relationship now. Sure, she may totally be using him to get back to her sick sister and niece/nephew (?), but that aloe scene was touching. Seriously, Kate and Sawyer had better not turn into Buffy and Angel. I don't want a whole season of are they or aren't they in love. Darnit! Pick one! And that ending on the boat, totally cheesy.

MY SCORE: *** (out of 5)

Boo Ya

This is going to be a random one.

-It's hot outside. Granted, high of 39ish is still very much winter in Tennessee, but after suffering through near frostbite on my toes Monday night, this is a welcome upward shift in temperature. I'm wearing a t-shirt and thin sweater. Word.

- I saw Zach Galifianakis at UCB's "Bro'in Out" on Monday night. Zach was the last guest (after Demetri Martin and Martha Plimpton) and went between looking insanely depressed and pleasantly pleased. He was comedy gold, as always, when he insisted that his real name is Chad Farthouse. And no, I didn't bring up our history, mainly because I think he finds students to get drunk with at every college he performs at. The night he spent in the inner rings of my hometown friendship circle is often looked back upon fondly. As commonplace as I assume his partying is, I don't think he got to yell "Say the Dewey Decimal system sucks!" to any other group of college kids.

- I have an apartment in Astoria by the way. It's two big bedrooms, a big living room, bathroom, big kitchen, no stairs/elevator/lobby, this baby opens skraight up from the street. It feels like living in an actual house. Well, it will. The moving process starts this weekend, hopefully.

- Harold night was spectacular last night, mainly because four people from my 201 class showed up and I finally got to talk to one of the other UCB regulars. All this on top of the couple people I've been chatting to on a regular basis. I think I'm discovering a whole new level of fun on Harold night, the social part that I haven't had. Usually I just sit by myself and say "no" when asked "is that seat taken?"

- Tonight is Lost, so excellent. This morning I got a promo copy of next week's episode, so BOO YA! I'm having myself a marathon tonight! And next week I'll be moving in, so this works out perfectly!

- I read Pitchfork's review of The La's live album, BBC In Session, and had much excitement stirred within me. I love The La's in all of their "we were fronted by a crazy person obsessed with dust from the 1960s so we never had a stable roster and broke up after our brilliant debut album" glory. These four sessions from 1987-1990, all done before their debut album was released, are brilliant in their clarity, quality, and energy. The versions of "Son of a Gun" and "I Can't Sleep" are so frantic and enjoyable, and the version of "There She Goes" (yeah, The La's originally did it, not Sixpence None The Richer) is all electric and all awesome.

That's it. Cage Match (ReuWi vs. Beverly Hills) Thursday night, Under St. Marks improv on Friday, and hopefully starting to move on Saturday.


201: General Jackson

I've been getting reports from people further along in 201 about how soul crushing and complicated it can be. The first two weeks of 201 went along without a hitch; sure I messed up a bit but nothing colossal and the concepts weren't so hard. I was not a fan of this. I wanted to experience pain, humiliation, I wanted to be completely destroyed as an improviser so I could then start building myself back up. This happened yesterday. And it happened in front of Eric Scott of Reuben Williams.

Backstory: ReuWi has easily become my favorite improv group in all of improv history (and my history goes back six months today when I first saw Mother) and I've seen them 10 times since returning to NYC on January 8th. Right now, they have no peer with me. They're The Strokes of improv (and yeah, that's a good thing).

Backstory: I'm waaaaaay intimidated and have low requirements for the term "celebrity." If I first see you perform anything anywhere, you are automatically above me on the social ladder. You're not a person, but a performing god who is infinitely more talented than I and, unless I am contacted, I will most likely always be too nervous to talk to you. I'm starting to get over this; I mean, I initiated talks with Robert Schneider.

So couple my love for Reuben Williams with my crazy intimidation and divide it by having the first trying 201 class, yeah, that equals "uh oh." The first half of class was disastrous for me. I got into scenes, didn't find game, didn't really do anything except talk in accents. I felt totally defeated. I think my main problem is that I'm a showboat. Seriously, get on the General Jackson, because I'm the star tonight. Like, I'm trying to do supportive work but I can't do a scene without being in character, thus making it seem like I'm hogging attention. I was a trashy high school girl, a mentally unstable 6 year old, a health obsessed former fat guy, a skeezy guy who liked to get oiled up by Mexican women, an effeminate bra salesman, etc. I want to do a scene where I'm just Brett or I'm just the straight man setting up for the other person's crazy character, but it seems like my initiations are always insane characters (thus stealing thunder from my partner before their cloud...ever...forms...?) or my partner naturally plays the straight man.

So after showboating in front of Eric (who was auditing my teacher), I felt pretty low. The second half of class went a little better, I felt. We learned swinging door, sweep edits, time dashes, supporting from the back row, lots of stuff. I feel a lot more comfortable with support work; I like getting into a scene, helping, and getting out. I feel like in those instances I'm the utility player that I so want to be and not The Star which is what I fear I come across like. I got another big laugh from Shannon tonight; the game was that Ula fixed Mitch's trumpet just by fiddling with it. I tagged Mitch out and started freaking out (showboat). I said "My car's been burning for five days!" Big laugh that I wasn't expecting. She fixed the car, by the way. I've also been trying to prove (?) that I'm fearless when it comes to improvising. Ari's big thing was "f*** your fear" and I do agree that it has no place in improv. This led me to do a greased up human slip and slide over a class mate who I have now known for 9 hours. Twice. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The last half hour of class was superb. Shannon had us all do two-person scenes that were completely realistic with no intention of being funny. The point of this being that we don't have to think about being funny to be funny. Every scene got cut off as soon as someone laughed, and every scene did. I held the record for quickest cut. Our suggestion was Africa, Melanie and I stepped out, I said "This is a lovely continent" in a deadpan tone, and I lost it along with everyone else. Oops. This was a refreshing exercise that I'm going to put into practice next time. I feel that too often I go for the joke or funny character when I really just need to be honest.

Afterwards, the three of us in 201 that had 101 together went out with our other 101 classmate and his 201 peeps. We talked about starting a practice group and I think it's going to happen. A dream come true indeed.


Bad Food

Friday night was busy, today not so much. I began my doings last night by going to Astoria with my future roommate and checking out an apartment. We both left from our respective jobs to meet up there and amazingly enough, I got on the exact train and car as him a few stops after he boarded. We were not meant to ride that train alone. Oh no. The apartment was marvelous but we agreed to hold off until we see what tomorrow has to offer. Still, the apartment last night was in a quiet little area, one small flight of stairs up, and includes a balcony and a parking spot so I can finally bring Governor Nigel Canterbury of Oxford (my red Mini Cooper) to NYC. That would be a dream. So...hopefully this will work out.

After that I made my way to Danielle's apartment for a viewing of The N series Instant Star and a rousing game of "American Idol Karaoke" for PlayStation. The song choices were atrocious since I really despise modern day Top 40 and hits of the 80s. I karaoke well in bar settings; I karaoke like a champ when its B-52's, Kinks, Franz Ferdinand, or The Strokes. Seriously, you will look up to me after you see me handle the mic. This time? I attempted "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson, of which I only know the chorus and have no clue how the verses go. I got the worst score and then "playfully" turned my nose up at the game for the rest of the night.

After the party died down, Danielle and I went to a bar where every drink comes with a whole pizza. Seriously, I am not picky about pizza. This was amazing. We capped off the night by watching Thursday's episode of The Office and securing my love of Joss Whedon.

Today I have felt like crap. I have no food and no desire to go to the grocery store to buy some more, mainly because I know I'm going to buy the same frozen pizzas, TGI Friday's Quesadilla Rolls, Bowl Appetites, and TV dinners that I do every week. The every week thing is a real problem. I hate going every week. I miss going to Wal-Mart, buying $70 worth of food, loading it up in my car (in which I sing along loudly), and not going back for a month. I also don't feel like properly cooking here, not that I've ever properly cooked. Still, when I lived at BarfCom over the summer with a fully functional kitchen, I attempted cooking at times. I tried pancakes once. I read an issue of Deadpool while eating it.

Is it weird that I can associate memories with what area of my comic library I was re-evaluating?

I did watch two Netflix movies today: Inherit the Wind and DiG! Both were five star entries into the 100 Film Initiative and both stirred up feelings within me. Wind is set in 1920s Tennessee and deals with the Scopes Monkey Trial (the illegal teaching of evolution in a high school and the Bible thumping pandemonium that followed). This hit extremely close to home and got me thinking about my myspace profile and how held back I feel in very basic areas of my personal being. One day. DiG! was probably better just because it didn't depress me a bit. I love the Dandy Warhols so why I haven't seen this movie yet has been a bit of a mystery to me. I could not even imagine being the filmmaker near the insanity that is the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Seriously, brave...brave. Oh, and how come the guy who only plays the tambourine in the band got to sign with the record execs, be on the cover of the DVD, and steal countless scenes with his bug-eyed glasses and weirdly cockeyed bowl cut? He just plays the tambourine!

I'm waiting, counting down the hours, til I get on the train and head to see Reuben Williams. I haven't seen them in two weeks. I almost feel a bit lost, you know, inside. Or whatever.

I also finally did the album artwork to my mix CD for the Improv Resource Center mix CD exchange. Me and my exchange buddy decided to put together a group of songs that tell a story, like a musical. I of course had to make this involve full-on graphic design and Colin Meloy. The musical is titled "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate!" after the Mission of Burma song that starts it all off. And yes, the subtitle is "the tragic tale of an artist and a baker."


Robert Schneider says "This is my friend."

(not a real photo, by the way)

Last night was my second time seeing The Apples in Stereo, a band giddily clawing their way into my heart and threatening to make my trio of #1 bands a quartet (by the end of this blog, that will have probably happened). It's best to just start at the start.

I misread my e-mail and thought I had to pick up my will call ticket by 7:00, so I left work early to head on down to the Bowery Ballroom. I got there at 6:25 or so only to find out that they don't give any away until after 7:00. Of course. It's pretty cold outside but I figure that a half hour wait before doors is nothing compared to the hour plus I waited last time. I go back to the street and hang next to the double doors next to the open door to the venue. I'm out there about three minutes when one of the double doors opens. Robert Schneider, lead Apple, musical genius, quirky indie god, pokes his head out and looks around. In keeping with my new courageous streak, I say "Robert Schneider."

Hey! I'm Robert!

Robert sticks out his hand for Brett to shake, which he does.

I know!

Are you here for the show?

Yeah, I got here early...I have to be up front.

Did you already pay for a ticket?

Yeah, I have to pick up will call at seven.

Man, it's freezing out here! Come on in!

Robert grabs Brett and ushers him through the double doors, backstage. Once inside, Robert sticks out his hand again.

Oh, what was your name again?


Great to meet you!

At this point, Robert talks to the guys from caUSE coMMOTION, the first band on the bill tonight. He does similarly enthusiastic greetings to them and asks them all sorts of questions about their band. I stand there, keeping my Beatles-Girl-In-1964 glee bottled inside of me. The coMMOTION guys go downstairs. Robert turns around, smiles, and waves.

I saw you guys last year at Irving Plaza --

Oh! Yeah, that was a fun show!

Yeah, it was my first time seeing you guys, I cried a little.

Robert then puts his right arm around Brett and pulls him close for a half-hug.


I think the smile on my face made Joker's look like Janet Reno's.

If anyone hassles you, tell them that Robert let you in! And if they still do, have them come find me!


Oh! Actually I have a job for you! My wife is going to be coming by soon and I don't know where she's coming in. Can you keep a look out for her --

Is she the blonde woman in the fourth part of the documentary I saw on youtube?

Yeah! Yeah, just let her in if you see her! Now you have a job, you're with the band!

Okay. I can do that.

Robert walks away. Brett walks to the small window next to the double doors. A few minutes later, Robert's WIFE approaches.

Hey, Robert told me to tell you that I got in, I came in a back way.

Ha, okay, that was hard work!

Brett looks out to the stage, Robert gives Brett a distant smile and thumbs up. Wife walks away. Brett continues to stand.

I stood around for a while; Eric Allen (bassist for the Apples) asked if I played in one of the bands, to which I replied "No, Robert let me in" and he chuckled. Robert came by a couple more times before 7 and gave me a high five for doing a good job.

I went by will call at 7 to pick up a ticket and they seemed weirded out that I had come back...at 7...when they told me to. They weren't ready so I had to go back upstairs and wait outside. About ten minutes later, Robert poked his head out the double doors again.

Oh, they caught you, huh?

No, I went to get my will call tickets and they weren't ready yet.

Aw man, but you're up front where you wanted! You're first in line!
Oh yeah!

Robert then leans in to the security guy.

This is my friend, he helped me out earlier.
(to Brett)
Thanks, man, I'll see ya later!

He shook my hand again and went inside. And this concludes my pre-show adventure. I'm pretty amazed that, aside from telling him that I cried at their last show and possibly freaking him out for knowing what his wife looks like, I didn't get super crazy and start asking him all sorts of questions.

We all entered the Bowery and I was quite excited that the normal hour plus wait to get inside was only a half hour. Oh, wait, except you do that hour long wait inside the Bowery's bar. Fine, I checked my coat and bag and waited. The whole time I was trying to figure out how to work the merchandise/getting up front dilemma. The merch was right on the other side of the door that led to the stairs that lead to the concert area. I could stop and get merch first, ensuring that I get what I want but risking a spot front-and-center. Or I could do the opposite. When the doors opened I stopped by the merch without thinking and noticed that by doing so, no one else was entering. The group of us buying merch had plugged the doorway. Nice. I bought an Apples t-shirt and the "Look Away +4" EP that I didn't physically own. And I got front and center.

caUSE coMMOTION were okay. Surf riffs and frustrating rhythms, I couldn't get into it outside of the courtesy head bob and right-leg-tiny-stomp. One of my current friends and former Late Show associates made his way up front, so it was nice to not be alone but also embarrassing since he would be the first NYC person to see me during a concert. I spaz. Casper & The Cookies rocked my world and lived up to my expectations. Lots of flowers and eye glitter to go along with their crazy jubilant pop. They're what I wish Of Montreal was.

The Apples in Stereo were amazing. Robert said hi to me right before they started playing. They opened with "Skyway," followed by "The Rainbow" and "Please." I saw these on the setlist and then decided to not look further down. I wanted to be surprised.

They played (not in order)
Tidal Wave
Can You Feel It?
Same Old Drag
Play Tough
Sun Is Out
The Rainbow
I Can't Believe
What's The #?
Tin Pan Alley
Do You Understand?
**New Song** "Tell it to your secretary"

I freaked out the most at "Go" since it's been a longtime favorite that I never expected to hear. They brought out a trumpet player and my mind immediately went to "Look Away," which if they had played I would have slipped into a joy-coma and you would not be reading this. "Go" was a great pick and it did not kill me. "Tidal Wave," "I Can't Believe" and "Baroque" were three more faves that I haven't heard before live, so there was ample fist pumping and jumping. I always go crazy when I hear "What's The #?." Of all the new songs, "Energy" almost brought a tear to my eye and "Sun is Out" was a joy because I didn't think it was a performable song (it's one phrase over and over again). Soooo good.

The encore was "Tin Pan Alley" "Tidal Wave" and "Motorcar," from their 2nd, 1st, and early demos respectively. This is why I love this band. Unlike Of Montreal who think going back to 2004 is pulling something out of a vault, the Apples know their history and embrace it. 1 early demo, 1 song from the first album, 2 from the second, 2 from the third, 3 from the fourth, 3 from the fifth, and 7 from the sixth and newest. Great representation.

Some hippie guy totally broke the rules and asked for Robert's setlist before the encore. That's not kosher, dude. That setlist was for me, I'm sorry. You were the one freaking out over Bill Doss because he was in Olivia Tremor Control. Well guess what, you're at an Apples in Stereo concert. That set list should go to someone who thinks the Apples are the best, yes, better than Olivia, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Of Montreal. Whatev.

Great night.

Robert Schneider is my friend.


No Diggity

Tim Hardaway, former NBA something-or-other, made some pretty inspirational comments for all you homophobes and hate mongers out there. You guys have a new king! Plus, not only were his comments a lot more public and direct than Isaiah Washington's, his "apology" was a lot less sincere (if that's even possible).

Of course, being a man who hates all sports (but I was a swim team timer in high school) my immediate thought went to "This isn't the Hardaway that Lil' Penny's based on, is it?!" I was not in the mood to have both ignorance promoted and my fond memories of the "No Diggity" video tarnished. Thankfully, Lil' Penny is based on Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway. My relief that Lil' Penny has nothing to do with this is matched, if not exceeded by, my elation at reading the name 'Anfernee.'

Oh, and Joss Whedon's episode of The Office debuts tonight. It's about Michael speaking to Ryan's business class and, judging from this, a bat flying amok in the office and giving Jim a great opportunity to mess with Dwight.

I'll be missing it to watch The Apples in Stereo. I missed the Apples on Conan last night and I can't find a clip of it anywhere. Help me. Instead I found this clip of the band lip synching to "Same Old Drag" in their mini-van. I'm going to cry like a wee little indie kid when I see them tonight.


TV: Lost "Flashes Before Your Eyes"

TEASER: "That guy? He sees the future, dude." I love Hurley and his dude-isms. Eko just died? That's crazy! A huge hiatus will completely make you forget things like that. And yeah, I totally thought Claire was a goner for a split second. Curse you, Lost, and your unpredictability! And Charlie may be annoying sometimes, but goshdarnit if he isn't one of the most consistent and well-rounded characters. His insistance on helping Desmond with Claire even though there was nothing he could do was a great lil' touch. I missed this side of the island.

ACT ONE: Where did Claire get them bangs? Is there a Dramatics hair salon on the island? Or maybe getting swept away by that undertow gave her a new do. And Desmond's flashback, that opening shot was brilliant. Oh, and the episode is a Drew Goddard/Damon Lindelof episode. Anything Goddard touches is gold...except for that episode of Angel set on the submarine. That was horrid.

ACT TWO: Wow. Okay. DriveShaft's Oasis connection is now fact. Oh, and this is also an awesome premise. Seeing Penny's dad's rejection of Desmond was crazy intense and well written (hello, Goddard and Lindelof). I'm excited to see where this setup goes. I never would have thought Desmond would become one of the better or more compelling characters on the show.

ACT THREE: What the?! I...okay, I thought this was an alternate reality, then the past, then an alternate version of the past, and now it's a crazy purgatory or a Truman Show esque deal. I thought all that in the course of an act. That's how good this show is. I'm pretty creeped out by this. The premise of getting to relive your life is such a good one, mainly because everyone would seriously consider the opportunity to do so. I would love to go back to 3rd grade and one up all the kids that picked on me with my big(ger) words and knowledge of adult matters.

ACT FOUR: This show's mythology keeps getting more and more grand. After hearing Old Lady's monologue, I have to wonder if Desmond is now part of a subspecies of humans who can predict the future. If some traumatic event occurs even off the island that does this to people. If the real woman in Desmond's real past would have reacted the same way if Desmond had initially bought the ring. All these questions! Oh, and Claire is the guy in the red shoes. Desmond's saved her twice leading me to believe that it's her time to go. This links in with her "raised by another" episode back in season one, especially since only Sun and Charlie were seen holding Aaron in this episode. Looks like he's already being raised by another, or others. But not The Others...yet. What if it was "raised by an other" instead of "raised by another"?

ACT FIVE: Oh SNAP! Ha! I was right and so wrong at the same time! This is why I love this show. It can spend an entire episode in flashback but because the character of Desmond is so strong, it can sustain. A whole episode in Jack's flashback? Bore. Charlie's? Sorry, I don't watch "Behind the Music" anymore. This? Crazy innovative and great. Too bad Charlie is getting X'd. He's had so much crap dumped on him...most of it his own doing, but still.

Next week looks great. I've been wondering what happened to all the kidnapped survivors, it all looks pretty Planet of the Apes to me.

MY SCORE: ***** (out of 5)

Digsy Has VD

I could write a mopetastic post about being alone on this evil holiday, but instead I'm going give VD wishes to those who deserve them. And yes, I'm ripping off mi amigo Trashley. Call me Carlos Mencia. In no order...

Happy VD!
NBC's Thursday night line-up makes my week. You make me all emotional over the sprawling love stories that are Jim/Pam, Jim/Karen, Pam/Roy, Dwight/Michael, Dwight/Angela (especially Dwangela). So much and yet not enough! And thanks for keeping 30 Rock and its old school charm around! This is the show that I was hoping Studio 60 would be. I would much rather work at "TGS with Tracy Jordan" than "Studio 60" and I totally heart seeing my fave UCB peeps in cameos every week. More Tara Copeland! And give Anthony Atamanuik a line!

Happy VD!
Robert Schneider and you lovely (?) boys in the Apples in Stereo (and to ex-Apple Hilarie Sidney, a special VD wish for writing "20 Cases Suggestive Of..."). Your album has given me so much joy to scream and sing and stomp about. I'm seeing you guys tomorrow night, you don't have to return my VD greeting. Just sing "Ruby" and I'll know you care.

Happy VD!
Mr. Whedon, Mr. Joss Whedon, how special you make today. The 20th issue of Astonishing X-Men comes out and I will surely brave the snow so I can accept your comic-shaped VD gift. It's your last arc on the series that has brought me to tears of joy often, but you've been kind enough to give me an upcoming episode of The Office and you're taking over the writing chores on Runaways. You're so good to me.

Happy VD!
I may not be visiting your dimly lit yet charming self until Friday and/or Saturday night, but you gave me a grand old time last night, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Not only did I see the first performance of the new Harold team Bastian, but I actually felt like a social moth. I talked to people I know, I even heard my name called out by one of my classmates to get my attention! Finally, I'm starting to see people to talk to! Score!

Happy VD!
Murfreesboro, I should have mailed you one of my promotional Norbit VD cards. Instead, I will declare my love for you here. Yeah, I know I left you for a city that's bigger and better-ish, but you still take care of my family and friends. You let them drive their cars, shop at used CD stores (which I have not stumbled across up here, by the way) and eat at Don Pablo's and Penn Station on a regular basis. And don't even get me started on your Mexican food! Me oh my! I don't know when our paths will cross again (at least another five months), but I think of you and your inhabitants daily (this goes for Nashville too) as I listen to Turncoats and the Features on my iPod. Special place in my heart. Next to the chocolate.

Happy VD!
Madrox, my pretty little iPod, you keep me company all day long and provide me with just what I need to hear. Every Oasis song ever in a two day span? Thank you. Making my own musical by stringing together a series of songs to form a plot? Thanks again. The Office and Top Design on the D-train after long nights of improv watching? You know just what I need. I'll take care of you.

Happy VD everyone!


Hype Machine May 07

Once a month, the big comic companies release solicitations to retailers giving them a heads up as to what is coming out. These serve the practical purpose of giving retailers a way to figure out what they should order. These also serve the purpose of giving us fans something to either drool or groan over. Marvel, the only company I care about, released their May solicits. Here are my highlights...
Pencils and Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA
A long-lost suitor from Mary Jane’s past presents her with a shocking offer: she can walk away from the torment and tragedy of life on the run…and all she has to do is turn in Spider-Man. Given the choice between a fugitive’s life and the fame and fortune she left behind to marry Peter Parker, will she take the deal? Meanwhile, across town, Peter Parker brokers the safety of his wife and Aunt May…even at the cost of his freedom. How much madness and loss can one marriage take? Join us in this retrospective of one of the most enduring love stories in comics. Written by Matt Fraction (Immortal Iron Fist, Punisher War Journal) with jaw-dropping art – including beautiful Romita-esque flashback sequences – by superstar Salvador Larroca (Uncanny X-Men, New Universal).
48 pgs/Rated A …3.99

I'm not going to buy this, I just like the cover. Larroca does a nice job of imitating John Romita Sr. I used to be a big fan of Amazing Spider-Man but after Romita Jr. left, I feel like the book's gone downhill. The Spider-Man of the main Marvel Universe has gotten so far from what makes Spider-Man great, and I think the upcoming "definitive" statement on Peter and MJ's relationship is just going to complicate matters even more.
Written by DAN SLOTT
Cover by GREG HORN
She-Hulk's law firm has defended super-villains before, but never one of "the big ones." Has Mallory Book finally gone too far? Can she honestly expect She-Hulk to help her represent her cousin's greatest foe--the twisted, mass-murdering genius men call THE LEADER?!!Plus: If you thought a certain someone was dead and buried...you'd be wrong. And you'll NEVER guess where they are now!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

I love She-Hulk and this cover and issue description reads more like the series' early days, which is great. I'm all for She-Hulk getting back in the courtroom; it makes the title stand out.
LONERS #2 (of 6)
Written by C.B. CEBULSKI
Penciled by KARL MOLINE
It’s Ricochet’s day off! But can the former Slinger – used to costumed days of girls and thrills – adjust to life as just another wannabe in L.A.? And when he’s pushed by the guilt of his past, will he spiral back into the tights? What do you think? So who’s waiting to slice his jacket to shreds – and what former Generation X member makes a shocking return on the very last page?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Wow, I have no idea what this is or where it came from or even how issue #1 slipped by me, but seeing Ricochet's face made my afternoon (there wasn't much competition). I absolutely love Slingers and anything involving the four of them (unless it involves their death). Added bonus? I'm putting money on that return being Jubilee. And yeah, I have a soft spot for Jubilee.
Written by PETER DAVID
Penciled by KHOI PHAM
X-Factor is trapped in the middle: On the one side, the population of Ex-Mutant Town is in danger of boiling over as the X-Cell, apparently re-empowered by Pietro, endeavor to rally the rank and file against X-Factor. On the other side, the government, ready to move in with everything from armies to Sentinels. Will Madrox decide to tell the truth behind M-Day...and will anyone believe him?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

With all comics, every month is hyped to legend before coming out and proving to, well, not be a legend. The end of Uncanny X-Men's year long story is exciting, but I don't care so much. Peter David, on the other hand, almost always delivers and the premise alone of the issue has me all a-twitter with anticipation. Looks to be a battle of epic proportions. Still, not excited at the guest penciler. This book has had a horrible track record with pencilers and I was glad that they finally settled on Pablo Raimondi. He's great and seems able to deliver a book on time. This worries me.
X-MEN #199
Written by MIKE CAREY
Pencils and Cover by CHRIS BACHALO
The X-Men are one issue away from 200…and let’s hope Cable and Rogue can make it! Facing a nearly indestructible enemy, both Cable and Rogue will need to make choices that will alter their lives forever. Part 3 (of 3)!
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

Geez, this suffers from the normal hype machine but Carey has been impressing me lately and that's a mighty fine cover by Bachalo. I'm way stoked. Also, it's weird that this series is hitting the 200 mark. The first issue I bought was #19 back in 1993. Wow.

Music: Apples In Stereo "New Magnetic Wonder"

The recent flury of Apples-related antics has been a dream come true for this long-time (really just 5 years) fan. My love affair with the band came after hearing "Haley" in the dorm room of my friends Jason and Shawn. From there I downloaded allmusic's song picks ("Tidal Wave", "Benefits of Lying (With Your Friend)" and "Avril En Mai" included) and purchased my first two Apples albums: Velocity of Sound and Tone Soul Evolution. It was love. The required purchasing of all singles and albums followed and all was merry in the land of rainbows and streams that run over (where antelopes play). Until the years after Velocity kept creeping by and the tour dates became sporadic and then disappeared. Then Hilarie Sidney (drummer) and Robert Schneider (head Apple) got a divorce, leading to a long period of inactivity and the release of Schneider's solo project, the Marbles album Expo. I had given up. The band was gone.

The rumors about New Magnetic Wonder started circulating a year ago, I'd say, but I was convinced this was going to be a Chinese Democracy, an album with an ever-shifting release date getting pushed back into oblivion. The Apples then started performing again, most notably at the 2006 Athens Popfest which also served as Hilarie's last performance. This led to a tour with the Strokes (which sent me into a planning frenzy as I tried to organize my lack of funds with my life-or-death desire to see two of my favorite bands together...it didn't happen) and them opening up for Architecture in Helsinki in NYC. Which is where I saw them. Which is where I cried. Which is where I finally realized that the band was back. Back and getting guest spots on The Colbert Report and Late Night with Conan O'Brian (tune in tomorrow)

And here I am, a week after New Magnetic Wonder's release. Still listening to it. It's everything an Apples album in 2007 should be. It's almost as if the complete Apples discography has been merged into one album. Here's the evidence:

Fun Trick Noisemaker (1995): the lo-fi bass-heavy thomp of "Sun Is Out"
Tone Soul Evolution (1997): Hilarie's contributions seem to harken back to her wistful contribution on this album, "Silver Chain" and the mid-tempo yearning of "Play Tough"
Her Wallpaper Reverie (1999): the use of linking tracks giving the album a cohesive feel and "Open Eyes," a psychedelic sequel to "Strawberryfire"
The Discovery Of A World Inside The Moone (2000): super produced pop-rockers like "Can You Feel It" and "Same Old Drag"
Velocity Of Sound (2002): the band's kid-friendly approach on the brilliant "Energy"

Even with all these old elements in place, the album's sequencing and introduction of science (for lack of a better word) make it listen like a totally new experience.

The best song on here, so far, is "Energy." Its open honesty about its simple lyrics and golden melody bring tears to my eyes. Seriously, when Robert Schneider sings "it's gonna be alright," a sentiment uttered at least once on every album ever (maybe not on Pretty Hate Machine), I believe him. And I then want to give him a high five.

When I saw the liner notes a month ago on with the name "Sidney" next to two songs, I did a dance. Hilarie Sidney's contributions are always highlights and her departure had me worried. I'm glad she's here for one last time and that her two entries are strong. They're not up there with "I Want" or "20 Cases Suggestive Of..." but they're welcome. I'll miss you, Hilarie.

The rest of the album is a straight-forward four star affair. All the songs are instantly hummable and lovable, but none really leap out over the others. This isn't a bad thing; an album that I can listen to from beginning to end with enthusiasm is a true feat. It's not a great thing, either, since Tone Soul and Moone are littered with five star entries. The constant presence of vocal distortion and vocoders is distracting in places. It feels like a new toy Schneider found and insisted on using on every track. The use on "7 Stars" is straight up awesome and makes the song; the link tracks "Hello Lola" and "Vocoder Ba Ba" come across like a kid showing off. But I respect it's presence throughout the album as a theme.

As far as songs go, I'm still trying to get into the "Beautiful Machine" epic that closes the album, meaning I'm still trying to find the memorable hook in it. And the link track "Pre-Crimson" is one of the creepiest compositions I've ever heard. It's extremely sparse and is punctuated with what sounds like the alien language from Signs. I picture aliens operating on helpless Apples fans when I listen to it. Not a fan.

This is a great return and worthy of all the Apples-hype (which in the grand scheme of pop, there's not much). After a five year hiatus, I'm glad there's another welcome entry to their catalogue.

MY SCORE: 7.5 (out of 10)



I'm easily inspired. Sometimes I'm convinced that I've never had an original thought; I just take all media I ingest and then spit it back out all Bretted up. My "original screenplay" is a rip off of Shaun of the Dead and The Incredibles. My sitcom pilot is an homage to The Office from before it exploded on this side of the pond. Everything I write that I think is funny, or that I think should be funny, is based on an inside joke that only a select few get (or this is what I'm told; I'm convinced everyone thinks Echo Base drama is hilarious). To be honest, I don't write much at all. For someone who claims to be a writer, who empathizes with anything and everything having to do with those who write, I don't do a whole lot of it. This is it. This and typing into Excel spreadsheets at The Big Kid Job. I read in a book of interviews with comic book writers that most writers hate the process but love the outcome. I agree with that. Writing sucks, especially when you're as harsh and judgmental as myself.

To write you have to be smart. Or, should I say, to write well you have to be smart. My main insecurity (aside from still struggling with acne, my gray hair, being 5'6", and occasionally mispronouncing words) is my intelligence. Numero uno. Most of the time I feel like a fake, like I've somehow conned people into thinking I'm a lot smarter than I am. Read back over this blog; you could probably find places to trade in my $2 words for $5 or $7 ones. This could be structured better, my use of grammar is horrible, and you'd be shocked at the number of words I have to look up to make sure they mean what I think they mean (you can't always rely on comics to teach new words).

My insecurity about my intelligence comes up every time anyone discusses politics. I should know more about that stuff (see, "stuff," I'm sure there's a better word), I should want to read about it, I should want to care. But no. I instead spend fifteen minutes looking at preview images of action figures from the upcoming Spider-Man 3. Shouldn't I be an adult now? When does that happen? Does it happen anymore? I read an article in "Time" about the delay of adulthood well into the late 20s/early 30s due to the extended amount of time it takes to get through school. This leaves our generation stuck trying to figure ourselves out at the exact same age that my parents were married at. Married with a kid.

My self-loathing subsides every morning on the subway for a brief second when I'm able to look out the window and see the Statue of Liberty. Not that this is a huge deal; I'm more a fan of the lady's work in Ghostbusters II than the inspiring of huddled masses (and yes, I had to double check that she was in the sequel). Just for that bit of time, I'm reminded that I'm a middle-clas guy from Murfreesboro, Tennessee...in New York City...an alumnus of The Late Show...working for a pretty darn impressive company in my field...with all sorts of opportunities laid out for me (a smarter person would put a metaphor here...or maybe just a pretentious one). After all, one can't do improv in Tennessee without it taking place in someone's living room. And only in their living room, like, you're not doing it anywhere else. That's it.

Thus bringing me to my constant source of joy and self doubt. I think I'm good at improv, I think a lot of my day-to-day interaction with human beings could be considered improv, I want to be good at it. But then I'll get in scenes where I don't know what an epi-pen is, or heaven help me when politics enters into a scene. This could easily be solved by, I don't know, reading about some things and building knowledge. Maybe I should add that to 2007: Kill The Beast. The Beast is gaining ground tonight. A wee bit o' ground.

Wednesday is Valentine's Day. I could go on and on about that, but truth be told I'm ready to just move on. I know things are over and I even shaved to commemorate this. But it still sucks. And being lonely on Valentine's Day...I'm used to it. At least I have Lost.

Oh, and lastly, I wish I had more insightful things to post here. Or wittier things. Is it wrong that I hate how I come across on message boards? I read other people's posts and think "how did they think of that?" or "why can't I come across as funny?" I can't explain how much of my day is spent wondering if what I'm about to type is funny. This sure isn't funny, or maybe it is because it's honest and I'm not trying to be funny. Wow, the mind boggles.

I'm also cutting back on reviewing things because I think I suck at it. Unless it's something I hate. I write pretty spectacularly when I dislike something. If only Rob Liefeld would make more comics. Or...well, he makes them, I guess the variable is me buying them.

Geez, I don't know where all this comes from. Actually, it comes from reading my friend Shawn Lieving's blog and wishing that I had such insightful and naturally hilarious stories to tell. Truth be told, the most exciting part of my day was seeing that "sloths" sketch on SNL.

Now I'm going to go eat cocaine off America's gravestone.


This is major news. This rocks my world. My very core is being shook with giddy, so much so that I'm not going to check the validity of the use of that word on dictionary.com.

Joss Whedon is directing an episode of The Office.

Come back to TV, Joss, come back.

Weekender: Sonny Ain't A Lady

What a weekend! I actually managed to be social three nights in a row which has left me insanely tired this cold Monday morning. Totally worth it all, though, since getting out and trying to strengthen my social skills is part of 2007: Kill The Beast. And this plan also involves dancing very vigorously to "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue. Any party atmosphere with me in it involves this.

I went to Under St. Mark's for the first time to see improv. Three groups, all excellent. A heckler, not excellent. Well, the improv that sprang from being heckled was excellent. A scene involving a book reading, the book being a memoir about how the lowest part of the author's life was when he would get drunk and yell things in comedy clubs; the audience of the reading then heckled him and had brutish sex. Highlight of the night: Jeffrey going into the audience (in character?) and demanding the heckler take his picture. It was an explosive night which ended with me actually going to a bar and talking to people. Trust me, going to a bar by myself with the intent of talking to new people has never happened. I usually go home and make new playlists for my iPod.

My day didn't get started until 9 PM on Saturday when I hopped on the D-train to take me to Astoria. Yay 75 minutes on a subway! Becky and Ryan's divorce party was grand; everyone was in fine attire and dancing to Talking Heads and Robbie Williams, watching TV carnage, and having a grand old time. I love hanging out with my former "co-workers" (I don't know if that's the term since intern is not on the same level).

Sunday was my second 201 class and it went better than last week. It feels like our class is coming together and some of our scenes were really exceptional. I was in a coal mining scene with my granddaughter; I said "Now hesh up....and tell me a story." Shannon, instructor, burst out laughing and this totally caught me off guard; I think it was the first time I'd made her laugh. I really fell out of character for a bit after that. We learned about tag outs and heightening game, which I picked up on better than I thought I would. My favorite scene that I was in involved a diner in which everything took way too long, which I named the Slow 'n' Easy Diner. I screwed up by forgetting the gender of a character when I tagged in, changing "sonny" to "mother." But this opened up a dialogue about what to do when things are contradicted, so I feel we all learned something. And I felt skraight up dum. Good things are happening in this class. Afterwards I went to see a show at the Pit, bringing my New Improv Venue Count to 3 (including Magnet).

Whirlwind weekend. Things are shaping up for next weekend as well.



Friends of mine have been waiting for this moment. I've gushed about Buffy, revealed my X-Men fanfic, and adored the Features. It's about time I got down to Oasis. Yes, Oasis. I love Oasis. They are my favorite band of all time and, yes, I see you smirking and/or laughing right now. Shame on you. Really. Shame. Putting aside the antics (getting banned from Australian airplanes, knocking up an All Saint, wishing AIDS upon Damon Albarn), rotating lineup*, iffy lyrics (two songs about Jaguars), failed success in America (although selling out MSG last summer was pretty impressive), and Heathen Chemistry, the band is perfect. They weren't the first band I loved (hello Gin Blossoms) but they're the only band to stand the test of time for me (10 years of fandom).

Let's put it this way. Ten Christmasses ago I got Dave Matthews Band Crash and Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory?. I was shown two paths. One, DMB which leads to Phish, The Grateful Dead, Guster, maybe even John Mayer. The other Oasis, which leads to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Jam, and The Kinks. I chose correctly. Look at it that way.

Since I listened to nothing but Oasis from Christmas '96 to May '02 when Heathen Chemistry was released, I kinda acknowledge them as my favorite band without actively participating in fandom. Sure, I've seen them twice since 2002 (cried both times, surely) and they released Don't Believe The Truth which stands as one of their best albums. I just usually skip them on the iPod.

Not today.

I decided this morning to spend my day listening to all Oasis in the chronological order that it was unleashed upon the world. Starting with the b-sides from the "Supersonic" single in 1994 all the way to the present. I'm at the b-sides of the "Stand By Me" single (1997) now. These three years have given me great joy today and I will continue this mission. With a song in my heart. A poorly worded song with an soaring melody.

* Oasis started out as a band called The Rain.
The Rain: Chris Hutton, Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, Tony McCarroll
Guigsy invites Liam to replace Hutton and Liam changes the band's name to Oasis.
Oasis 1.0: Liam Gallagher, Bonehead, Guigsy, Tony
Noel sees the band play, says they're horrible and joins when asked only if he can have sole creative power.
Oasis 1.5: Liam, Noel Gallagher, Bonehead, Guigsy, Tony
This band lasts until 1995 when Tony is kicked out for being a crap drummer.
Oasis 2.0: Liam, Noel, Bonehead, Guigsy, Alan White
This lineup conquers the world...until some people stop caring.
Oasis 2.5: Liam, Noel, Alan
The only people to appear on the fourth album, the replacements coming afterwards.
Oasis 3.0: Liam Noel, Gem Archer, Andy Bell, Alan
I see this band play 3 times. Oh wait, only once because Alan quits.
Oasis 4.0: Liam, Noel, Gem, Andy, Zak Starkey
I see this band twice. Zak Starkey (Ringo's son) tours with the band and plays on their newest album but is not an official member.

The point being that The Rain can now reform and open for Oasis. And Alan White can watch from home.

You want to be my friend?

Everyone gets friend requests and everyone seems to handle them differently. Some people friend everyone, hoping to gain a friend count that could easily repopulate the Earth without fear of inbreeding. Others are strict about their friend count, only allowing the people they truly know as a friend. I am the latter. All of my friends are people that I know in real life or fictional characters whose pages I run (yes, I am Xander, Han Solo, Chandler Bing, Madrox, Wedge Antilles, Bossk, Bob Hartley, Tim Canterbury and Michael Bluth). I rarely-if-ever add someone myself, usually waiting for them to add me. Some of my friends have gotten hilarious messages and requests from strangers, my favorite being April's from the guy who rambles to great lengths about just wanting to please her in oh so many ways. The worst requests come from bands, not that I hate music; I just hate getting them every five hours.

Here are five. Since I'm denying all these people, I figure I'd give them some exposure.

Indie rock stuff. Influences being T. Rex, Spoon, Broken Social Scene, French Kicks, all bands I sorta think are okay but not so into. I can see where they'd think I would like them.

The music is drony, which is not to my liking. They're like an opening band I'd hate to sit through. Or stand through.

They like loud noises, shiny stuff, ninjas, etc. and are from Nashville...so I can't say anything bad since I probably know them or their friends. Yep.

They're from New York and the music is okay...ish? Roxy Music and XTC are two big influences apparently, so no wonder they asked me to be their friend. But Josh Paladini does all the music, making me wonder what's up with the live performances. Or maybe it's just a studio project. Whatev, I need a band that GOES LIVE!!!

Okay, so many things wrong. I can't stand names like that, I hate the 80s, and whatever that face is in the background, it's freaking me out. I have no reason how this person found me or why they want to be my friend; we don't even like the same music. I think "The Breakfast Club" is the only thing we have in common...and I only like that late at night on TBS.

The Flight
Music is experimental, classic rock, blues...three things I really don't like. And apparently it sounds like purevolume.com. Whatever. But the guitarist did this, just not to the first song on the profile because it's hella-slow. Or maybe it was and he just likes doing that during every song, kinda like the exclamation point to his glacial riff.

Rosie's foot tastes like buffalo wings.

It must because she just keeps putting the ranch on it and biting down. Mmm-mmm! Yesterday, a couple hours before The World Changed, Rosie did her usual ranting and raving on The View. She had some fun things to say about Anna Nicole.


The View was a rerun today but Rosie posted the following on her blog.

Loose Change
CBS: Investigators found illegal narcotics, prescription meds in room…Mother Blames Drugs…
Lawyer vows no DNA sample…
Battle Over $1.6 Billion Fortune Brewing…
Autopsy to Be Performed…
She Died Like Marilyn…
Final Footage Sells for Over $500,000…
Rosie Rants On Anna Nicole — Hours Before Her Death…




Comics: 2-7-07

"Something Dark Is Coming"
Writer: Brian Reed
Pencilers: Roberto De La Torre & Patrick Zircher
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Greg Horn
Production: Paul Acerios & Kate Levin
Assistant Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

Ms. Marvel has been an okay title so far. It was finding its voice and then got steam rolled by Civil War and still managed to get some good stories out of it. According to Brian Reed's interesting letter at the end of the issue, some big changes are ahead and that has me interested.

The issue at hand, though, is another okay offering. This series isn't doing anything spectacular and it doesn't have the unique voice of She-Hulk, but it does tell good stories with a strong character and with consistent artwork. It's a good book. This issue takes a nice spin on an old villain and puts Carol in some not-so-light places. The last pages especially drive this home (sorry Arana fans). And hey, what's up with Carol's PR lady? She's seeming quite dubious after disappearing for a while. Hmm...

MY SCORE: 7.9 (out of 10)

"Revolution part 1"
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinil Yu
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: RS & Comicraft's Albert Deschesne
Production: Brad Johansen
Assistant Editors: Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

New Avengers has been underperforming for me lately, so this issue marks a strong upturn in quality. It's not that the stories have been lame lately, it's just that they've been so quiet. Now, I like a quiet comic, seriously, I'm all about some introspection...but the previous issues have been that and nothing of great consequence seems to have happened. Bendis' naturalistic dialogue is great...unless it's in an extremely natural setting. Then it's seriously like listening to the people next to you on the subway converse. Okay, maybe not that boring. Or scary.

The art is the standout this time around. New penciler (regular, I hope) Leinil Yu is better than ever, his splash of Echo on the opening page is particularly breathtaking. But, ah, Echo, yeah, um, when was she revealed as Ronin? Did I miss that? Was it the same issue when it was revealed that it was actually Xorn posing as Magneto in New X-Men #150? Hmm, Bendis? He seems to rely on those opening recap pages for important info.

Still, good issue and when the New Avengers appear towards the end, well, it has a great energy to it and the banter is pitch perfect.

MY SCORE: 8.7 (out of 10)

"Clone Saga: Epilogue"
Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Production: Brad Johanssen
Associate Editor: John Barber
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

"Clone Saga" lived up to the hype, I'd say, and this issue really hit home how monumental the arc was. Pretty strong issue, one of the best in recent memory. This book is at its best when it's dealing with teen angst, and "Clone Saga" provided bucket tons of it. Yes, bucket tons. I'm not looking forward to Kitty getting dumped; that relationship has been a recent highlight of the book.

MY SCORE: 8.8 (out of 10)

"The Rise & Fall of the Shi'Ar Empire 9 of 12: Vulcan's Descent"
Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Clayton Henry
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Frank D'Armata
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor in Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

This story is reaching epic proportions, mainly because it’s already at epic lengths. Part nine. Dang. Still, a nice momentum has been maintained and last issue's shocking cliffhanger has, rightfully, a full issue dedicated to it.

Vulcan is showing signs of another dimension, so that's a good thing. Pairing him with Deathbird, an established lunatic, gives him a nice foil and he comes across as almost...almost normal. Almost. But not really. There's a nice sense of importance and grandness to this story and it feels like it matters. Three more chapters to go and I think it's only going to get bloodier.

The art is just okay. I mean, Billy Tan's is awkward at times but Henry's gets me a little more. His torsos are long, his necks and foreheads are long, some of his poses are too stiff (not good in a love making scene...well, I mean, stiff posture). It's all good, but it's not the best. Still, it's really good...just some problems. Eh.

MY SCORE: 8.4 (out of 10)

X-MEN #195
"Primary Infection 2 of 3"
Mike Carey
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Carlos Cuevas
Colorist: Studio F's Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

Mike Carey's run on X-Men has exceeded all of my expectations to become the most consistently entertaining of the three main titles (Astonishing is held back since it comes out only after the tribal dancers celebrate the moon ritual of Ma'Gog). It's witty, action packed, and doesn't aim to do anything above be a great read. If Carey didn't take "being a great read" so seriously, the book could have continued down the road that Peter Milligan was taking it down. The soap and over-the-top action is still here, but there's a darkness and realism to it that makes this book stand out for the first time since Morrison left two and a half years ago.

The first arc was great; it made Rogue a readable character again (a star, in fact) and gave cause to the crazy roster (was anyone clamoring for the return of Karima?). "Primary Infection" has a different artist and a less sturdy idea, but the way it reads is just a pure rush. Iceman, Lady Mastermind and Karima's infiltration of Palance's headquarters was great fun and I was definitely cheering when Iceman held his own; Carey's starting to finesse him like he has Rogue.

The art has improved. I usually don't like Ramos over-exaggerated characteristics but it seems to work moreso than in the previous issue. His final splash page, and the idea itself, has me giddily waiting for the next issue.

MY SCORE: 8.9 (out of 10)

Mike Carey
Penciler: Mark Brooks
Inkers: Jaime Mendoza with Victor Olazaba
Colorists: John Rouch & Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Sean Ryan
Editors: Andy Schmidt & Mike Marts
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

Annuals were lame. That's why Marvel got rid of them five or so years ago. They were the dumping ground for forgotten characters in non-canonical adventures told by second rate writers with third rate artists. But because everything is cyclical (like Rogue's costume), they're back and they actually matter.

I thoroughly enjoyed this issue for one reason: Mike Carey has a memory. My main problem with comics nowadays (to sound like I'm an old-timer) is their treatment of the past. It's usually forgotten or contradicted for no good reason, the newer writers jettisoning what they don't want and amplifying what they do. Carey, though, has thus proven to be knowledgeable of the past and able to adjust it to meet his current needs without rendering it unrecognizable. This issue features Exodus, Random, Tempo and Frenzy, all of which are portrayed correctly and have a wee little goal. I also enjoy the interactions between Mystique and Rogue; Carey's handling that well and it's really making both characters shine. Lastly, Carey ran us through the history of Northstar and Aurora in an attempt to heal both of their fractured minds. That's right, Carey, the best way to appease fans is to let us know that you know where they're coming from. Thanks.

The story is okay, the art is acceptable (some of Brooks' stronger work), and the ending is oh-so-delightful to me. That is, if Carey follows up on all this at some point. I hope so, because I really think Carey could do the character on the last page justice.

MY SCORE: 8.7 (out of 10)