Fo' Show

I often say that I creatively peaked in high school. I was heavily into drama, acting, making short "films" and writing, not to mention the structure of high school gave me plenty of free time during the day to exercise my drawing skills. I sometimes think I peaked in 8th grade based solely on the fact that X-Kids Unlimited, the 10 page comic series based on my characters that I did from 5th to 8th grade (29 issues total), was at its best where I was drawing scarily well, doing all sorts of crazy things with format and story, and actually illustrating the background. These issues (I think 20-29) are my pride and joy.

But lately, after getting involved in the improv scene, I've started thinking about the highlight of my college career: Fo' Show, the sketch comedy show I was inspired to create after taking Multi-Cam Producing and Directing and reading Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. My vision was to take my hilarious friends and the great bands of Murfreesboro and place them front and center on MTTV, a channel known for talk shows and the news. A scripted show was rarely attempted on our college's station.

Those initial meetings in the summer of 2005, when the format of the show, the type of humor, the cast, all of it, when it was all coming into play...that was great. It felt like the beginning of something that I was going to be proud of and it was a delight to see others take ideas and run with them on their own. I had a great support group and, by the time we taped episode one, I think we already had a strong group mind.

Two episodes and a best of were done that first semester, a lot less than I intended. School and work got in the way. A lot. The next semester we finished up "I Love the 1880s," the episode that got the most reaction, and taped our best material for the never finished third episode. If only we could have had more time, less school, more funding...things coulda been great. As it stands, I'm pretty darn proud of Fo' Show and, when we got episodes done, I think we accomplished what we set out to do.

Everything but the first episode and one sketch from episode two is up on YouTube now, which got linked on Nashville Cream without me knowing. We were viral for a second.

"Bad Show" A parody of a horribly produced cable access talk show with a gloriously eccentric host. The opening credits, which I did with PhotoShop and Windows Movie Maker, are lovely.

"Brawl XXX" The sound is fine, trust me. It just got wonked up when it was put on YouTube. Still, it's just a bunch of screaming, so the sound isn't important. The most violent thing I've ever done.

"I Love the 1880s: Canned Goods" All of these little bits are equally funny and were a pain to edit. A pain. But worth it.

"Fred & Bing" We became viral because of this.

"Huge Spill" Us being weird.

"Sweet 16" Not for Fo' Show, but everyone involved with this was involved with the show so...


Because I'm still not over it...

I'm listening to nothing but the Decemberists (with some New Pornographers and Futureheads, a light sprinkling) after the awesomeness of Saturday's concert. Picaresque has been getting heavy rotation, becoming the second Decemberists album I want to listen to straight through (The Crane Wife being the other and best one). The DVD I got at the show (A Practical Handbook) is highly entertaining (the concert) and informative (the documentary). So good. And my love affair with technology continues as more and more people upload videos from the concert to YouTube.

Here's Colin leading the audience through the "la-de-da" part of "Sixteen Military Wives." I'm standing directly behind the third guy he gets to do a solo, although you can't see me.

And here's drummer John Moen crowd surfing.

TV: Lost "Exposé"

TEASER: "Who the hell is Nikki" Exactly. It looks like the character we've spent most of a season unsure of even her name is dead. Just as she gets a backstory. The catch phrase "razzle dazzle" was hilarious and makes me really question Australian television. Is Paolo next? Oh, and Billy Dee! Genius!

ACT ONE: Great episode in the making, I can feel it. I love seeing these two no-names when the plane crashed. So great to go back and see how this all began, how horrific yet simple it was. I also like the toss in of "I hope we don't end up like them" when talking about Shannon and Boone. Nikki and Paolo were initially uninteresting and fought uselessness while alive and ended up dead, just like their pretty predecessors. Ah! And Artz! I'm so glad to see him again!

ACT TWO: I like the Greatest Hits flashbacks plus they're doing a great job of explaining why we never saw Nikki and Paolo before season three. I love how they hung out with Artz, whose best moment was talking about how there were other survivors than just the dozen that got the spotlight in season one. Hurley's line about the bad guy who was a mystery until the fourth season sounded a little forced, could this be a big hint?

ACT THREE: Paolo was known to me as Bathroom Guy because of that one scene earlier in the season in "The Cost of Living." Now we know why the bathroom was important; he hid $8 million in it. The episode does have a bit of Forrest Gump to it, these two no-names visiting all the crucial turning points of the series before the rest of the cast (the plane, the Pearl Station, Ben and Juliet), but the bit about the toilet lets me know that they thought this far ahead to some degree. Genius.

ACT FOUR: Glad that Charlie's come clean. It's a step in the right direction after that nearly fatal-for-his-character move. I'm sure this'll lead to a "stay away from my baby!" from Claire if she finds out.

ACT FIVE: Holy crap! Perfect! "Paolo lies" and "paralyzed" are so close! How...I can't even think of how they came across that! I want commentary now! All the mysteries of this episode are solved and tied up, something I was afraid wouldn't be done. I'm shocked, really, but both Nikki and Paolo were pretty despicable people. They got what they deserved, I guess, and that's what the island does.

Overall this is a great episode, the only problem is that it was pretty seperate from the main story. Much like Nikki and Paolo, actually. That may have been the point. Really, this is exactly the type of episode that those two deserved after spending all of season 3 in the shadows being useless. They died as they lived, alone and apart from the others. The main cast can't eulogize them and then they bury them alive; perhaps if they were closer friends with Nikki and Paolo all along they would have known more about Arzt's bugs, been able to understand Nikki's final words (they weren't "Paolo lies" or "powerlines"), or gone looking for them that morning. But no, both of their deaths, while really murder at the hands of Sawyer, Hurley and Charlie, were total accidents and their own doing. This was a great little detour from the main drama and a reminder of what made the show great back in season one.

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


$$ Bills Ya'll

I have a roommate. Life is good. This means that I now have an extra $550 for the next two months to, you know, be able to live on. Of course the thought of having money is completely dismantling the good lil' spender I had become. I had dinner delivered Monday night. I bought myself a sandwich for lunch yesterday. I spent $20 on picture frames for the decoration of my newly healthily furnished room (pictures to come soon!). If I can finish Melinda & Melinda I'll return it and get back on track with The 100 Film Initiative. I've only watched Borat and Hot Fuzz in the last month. I'm falling behind.

M&M is not as good as the candy that just popped into your head after reading that abbreviation. Woody, seriously, people like those in your movies don't exist. And those that do aren't enough to make your movie successful, nor do they probably care about seeing themselves represented on the big screen. No one discusses philosophy constantly. No one is insanely well-versed in classical music, especially current classical musicians. It's annoying. Woody, your movies are loved by hipster indie Wes Anderson loving twentysomethings who have studied your films in college and cite Manhattan as a turning point in their film-viewing lives. This fan base loves ScarJo because of Ghost World and Lost in Translation and loves that you love her (Match Point is great). This fan base doesn't give a rat crap about any of the things your characters give a rat crap about and man, it's really hard to relate to them. Woody, stop making pop culture references or start making some that make sense in 2007. There are plenty of equally pretentious bands that are just dying to be referenced by your latest young muse (Arcade Fire, hello!).

And also, try making a movie where no one cheats on their spouse.

I'm trying to think of things to buy with my money. The number one thing on the list is a digital camera, a nice one that's small and portable. A nice zoom and big ol' mega pixels would be good, but the portability is key. My last camera was pretty nifty but pretty bulky. I need this so I can take pictures of The Decemberists on July 16th in Central Park. And upload them on FlickR along with the hundreds of other digital camera-equipped Decemberists fans that will be in attendance.

FlickR has become an obsession of mine. It's crazy that I can just type in a name and see all sorts of pictures, my favorites being celebrities with random fans. Once I get my internet up and running at home, I'll upload my photos to it. The pic above was taken at The Strokes show at the Ryman last year.

That's about it. I'm hungry. I'm going to go BUY lunch.


From all atop the parapets blow a multitude of coronets!

Traveling to Boston is a joy mostly because it's so easy. $15, four hours, I'm in another legendary and mythical locale of the Northeast. On the ride up I read the book I Know You're Out There by Michael Beaumier, which I got for free at The Late Show last fall. I also slept and listened to my favorite Decemberists jams since, you know, that's why I was making this trek. Thoughts of chimbley sweeps, infantas, shanties, bayonets, muskets, and ferocious whales all danced through my mind as I drifted in and out of an uncomfy slumber.

I met up with Dave in the early afternoon after arriving and we had a lovely lunch of Thai food. I wanted to scope out the venue and see what the waiting situation was going to be like. I always get to general admission concerts early since my lack of inches height-wise makes it hard to view anything if I'm not up front, clutching the metal barrier or stage itself. 4:30, ticket says 7:00, and already 30+ people in line. High school kids. The curse of an all ages show, kids with nothing better to do on a Saturday that wait outside for well over three hours. I can't tease, really, since I was like this once and still am, the difference being as the concerts I attend restrict their patrons strongly due to age, the number of people over 21 willing to wait long stretches of time is significantly smaller.

I sat outside until 6, reading, talking on the phone, and listening to the iPod. Upon entering I found myself about four standing rows back. Not bad but not up to the standards I'm used to, especially since this meant there would be four rows of people potentially blocking my view of Mr. Meloy and his merry band. There was a quartet of Frat Douches directly in front of me who would, from time to time, attempt to talk to the couple standing next to them who with which they were also associated. This couple, very James Franco/Busy Phillips from "Freaks & Geeks," made out continuously for the hour and a half until the opening group took the stage. During this time, I got to become very familiar with the Frat Douches.

Decemberist Douche - Knew everything about the band and pointed out how much acid they say they were on while recording "Perfect Crime #1." Acid or absinyth, not sure. He spoke with an annoyingly deep nasal voice and was very into and adamant about such pretty and mellow acoustic ditties.

RA Douche - The douche in front of me who, due to the crowd confines, spent some of the night having my chin on his shoulder. He told stories about his RA exploits and how he didn't bail on helping a drunk girl even though she wasn't hot. He then put his iPod on Picaresque and hippie danced for a good half hour, shoving the other half of his ear bud into the other Douches' ears in a "Hey, I'm listening to 'The Infanta'! Cool, huh?!" kinda way.

DMB Douche - The guy obviously drug along with his three Douches, his defining quote being "This place isn't as packed as when Sublime played." I don't know what decade this guy was living in. He put his iPod on and listened to some Dave Matthews Band, mislabeled DMB with song titles not corresponding to their albums and album artwork arranged all willy nilly. He kept pretty quiet.

Pot Douche - This guy spent the ninety minutes carving a hole in the bottom of his lighter with a pocket knife so he could "store ANYTHING" in it while also going over the details of all the pot the four of them were going to smoke that night. He also shared a video on his cell phone of two girls making out. After watching this, the four douches high fived each other.

Concert going is a weird experience. The music that you go to a concert to hear is, for the most part, private. You listen to these songs alone, you sing along alone, you love them alone, you internalize them, you apply all sorts of meaning and memories to these songs. They become yours. Then you go to a concert and stand behind people who slur the words to "We Both Go Down Togther" while passing imaginary orbs and talking about all the pot they're going to smoke during the show. You have to wonder if they're hearing the same song as you. Guess not.

The opening act, My Brightest Diamond, was decent. The woman was overwhelmingly charismatic and had a lovely voice, very Regina Spektor-y in my opinion. She later came out and sang the female part to "Yankee Bayonet." After the opening act, a pack of sidlers made their way next to me with every intention of breaking through and getting to the front. The cramped conditions finally got to them and they realized that they were now fourth-row dwellers next to me. Fine. But the Frat Douches decided to take a stand and started rigidly pushing everyone behind them backwards, doubling the already generous amount of space they had. This irritated me and led me to tell the sidlers that if they wanted to get up front, they should come in front of me and shove these guys out of the way since they were being rude. The James Franco/Busy Phillips couple looked at me with a mix of shock and loathing.

The douches were not only going to hippie dance, sully my songs and smoke loads of marijuana, they were going to kill me.

The show started and I tried to not interact with anyone and, once Colin Meloy came onstage, it was all right. The band opened with "Oceanside" and then went into "The Island," all 12 minutes of it. This was a highlight, with the band switching instruments for the last bit of it and creating such a beautiful atmosphere. Colin is a superb showman, stomping furiously and marching during "The Island" and instructing the audience to sing along at all possible moments. He plays to the audience, gets on his knees while playing the guitar with his teeth, and is downright hilarious in-between songs. The band did an impromptu jam which Colin dubbed "The Chris Funk Theme." He then did multiple versions of the theme, each with a different mood that Chris Funk (the guitarist) acted out. "All of those moods included the bottle of wine, I noticed" Colin said of Chris' characters. Someone in the audience yelled for them to do a ska version, and after doing so Colin noted that they were "really good at ska."

The best moment came during "16 Military Wives" where Colin parted us like the Red Sea (leaving a strip of bare floor down the center of the audience), instructed us to introduce ourself to the person across from us, give them a glare, sneer, and then led us in the last "la-de-da-de-da" part of the song. My side did not win, no matter how hard I tried.

"The Mariner's Revenge Song" was also a joy; a giant papier mache whale ate the band. Great!

Setlist (not in order)
Grace Cathedral Hill
The Island: Come & See/ The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel The Drowning
Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
O Valencia!
The Perfect Crime #2
Shankill Butchers
The Crane Wife 1
Sons & Daughters
The Infanta
16 Military Wives
The Mariner's Revenge Song

Seems short but you have to remember that two of these songs took up nearly a third of the concert. The Frat Douches, after all, did not sing along, dance poorly, or even smoke anything. They were all talk. Losers.

I love youtube. There are already videos from the show.

Mariner's Revenge Song

O Valencia!

Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)

I can't wait to see The Decemberists again in July. Yes...yes...


Nutz For Knut

I usually don't care about cutesy-wootsy stuff. I usually don't give a flying fig. Yeah, your baby bulldog is cute. Whatev. Let me read Uncanny X-Men #334. Sure, that kitty is cute, all mischievously peeping out from the toilet bowl that she has so playfully slipped in. Bored now. But Knut? The first polar bear cub born in captivity in Germany in 30 years? The surviving twin that was left for dead by a former circus bear (the bear equivalent of white trash) turned mother? Knut, the German celebrity who gets weekly updates on the news and is drawing fire from animal rights peeps who think his domestication can't lead to anything good? This darn polar bear gets me.


Comic Cut

And the cull continues. With both Mighty Avengers and Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight blowing me away with comic-shaped goodness, I have to let another title go for now. This one is definitely a for now since I'm not so keen on dumping it.

MS. MARVEL (volume 2)
First Issue Bought:
#1, May 2006
Last Issue Bought: #12, April 2007
Total Issues Bought: 12
Length Of Collecting: 11 months

I associate this title with my time spent living at BarfCom, last summer, the summer I moved out of my parents house and had my lovely internship at NewsChannel 5+. I bought the first three issues at once and was pretty much hooked. I hunted down a Ms. Marvel action figure and grew quite attached to Carol. I'm still attached, she's one of my favorite Marvel heroines definitely. The strong start her series got off to was, much like everything else, hijacked by Civil War. Her crossover was pretty good with it, actually, and the themes of Civil War go along well with Ms. Marvel. But after that, a so-so two-parter followed and some solid retro-feel villains fought Carol. No problem, the book's not bad. It's just when compared to the other books on the list, this one gets the ax. Plus, it's easier to drop this book before it starts a new arc than to drop it midway. This way I can pick up the trade at some point and get caught up with the series. I'll be seeing you later, Ms. Marvel. Hopefully I'll get a roommate (with minimal personal belongings) and I can return in a month.


Putting the BOO in boo-ya.

My Halloween costume five months ago was way lame. Way lame. I was a member of the Hives which, oddly enough, people recognized but involved nothing special on my part. Even my Peter Parker costume involved me hand drawing webbing on a red t-shirt. This year, and this may be the earliest I've done this (I usually start 5-6 months early), I'm going to be a full-fledged X-Man. My current comic craze needs this. But my dream costume will probably always elude me since...

A) Where do I buy spandex?
B) How do I manipulate spandex to appear like that costume?
C) How does the public deal with me in spandex?

So with that still out of reach, I need a comic book hero who wears clothes I can actually mimic. Just so happens that my favorite character of all time, Multiple Man, currently has an attainable costume.

Plus, I really want that shirt. It's nice and designy, I can't believe Marvel hasn't made one yet. I'm going to get on this as soon as I become financially stable.

If you've ever been too drunk to fish...


$53 Million

Here's what I would do with $500 million. For reals.

- Pay off my car and relocate it to NYC

- Quit my job

- Buy top of the line, prosumer, crazy awesome DV cam, top of the line (Mac?) editing stuff, FinalDraft, use all my time writing sketches and short films and then shooting them with the sole intention of using this to get me and mi amigos on SNL

- Hire Darren Crawford to remake my failed Star Wars trilogy that I wrote in 9th grade

- Not move from my current apartment. Instead, make the bedroom smaller, living room bigger, paint a crazy mural on my bedroom wall, and tweak it out with crazy mod furniture and colors

- Buy a record player

- Buy a smaller apartment building in a borough, either just built or getting ready to go. Completely renovate the thing with new appliances and all that, fully furnished with each apartment representing a different year or fashion trend (avoiding country kitsch and most of the 1990s) give an apartment to all of my friends back home with the option of moving up here permanently or just having their own place to stay whenever they want to, free of charge.

- Take classes at UCB all the dang time and start all sorts of practice groups for myself and my improv buds, hiring the absolute best and my most favorite people to coach.

- Give lots of money to fibromyalgia, cancer, and diabetes research

- Hire a nutritionist and chef to get me on track!!! Preferably a short and sassy older English lady.

- Give lots of money to my sister so she can quit her job

- Give even more money to my parents, so they can both stop working. Encourage my mother to start the business she's always wanted to (involving interior design or clothing) and give her the money to try it and hire people that would help her

- REBUILD OPRYLAND USA in NASHVILLE TENNESSEE! Goodbye Opry Mills mall, which is the most soul sucking circle anyone can walk. Lame lame lame. Chaos and the Grizzly River Rampage every summer, ya'll.

- Pay for The Features to play in NYC every other month (as long as they're willing) covering their travel and hotel expenses, plus paying them a lot of money. I'd also perosonally promote their shows. I'd get them some sorta sweet record deal too...

- Give money to MTTV, not enough so that they can do crazy good productions and buy fancy equipment out the wazoo (since I think that strife is integral to the nature of the place) but enough so that all officers and crew can get paid a healthy amount for their time spent there and that guests can as well, giving them a reason to do the shows.

- Complete my run of Uncanny X-Men not through eBay, but by using my money to travel to find every single issue. Hopefully #3 will be found in England.

- Reunite the Kinks for a concert in NYC playing only pre-1971 songs. All my friends are invited and can stay in our apartment building. Open to the public so we can make some money back; I think I'm running out.



I answered the phone bright and early this morning (something that I really don't like to do since taking messages conflicts with my brain's knack for only remembering the real names of Marvel villian team The Marauders) to take a delightful message from a lady who was on her way to meet with my boss. She said she'd be a little late since it's sleeting like December outside (might I mention it was 60 outside twenty-four hours ago? Might I?) and that, oh yeah, "my name is Elizabeth Berkley." I pass the info along and, sure enough, Elizabeth Berkley enters the office. Jessie Spano or, as you trash lovers know her, Showgirls. Yes, you trash lovers just call her Showgirls.

She went back into the boss's office. I caught a glimpse of 90s pop culture. Then my boss needed someone to operate her DVD player (yep) and her assistant was out getting them two coffees. I got to take the DVD from Jessie Spano's hand as my boss talked up my techno-wizardry (no idea where that came from, by the way). I put the DVD in, success. Then I turn on the TV. It's on TiVo mode. Crap, I don't know how to get it off of TiVo. Jessie Spano is counting on me to get this DVD cued up! I start frantically (not really) looking for a TV/Video button on the TiVo remote, a power button on the remote or box to turn it off, anything. NOTHING!! Then Katelyn, the assistant, walks in with the coffee. I call her over to help and that's it, "I put so much faith in you, Brett!" Jessie Spano says jokingly. Blew it. Katelyn gets the DVD player set up, and we exit.


I also got to see a screening of the new Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost film "Hot Fuzz." These are the guys responsible for "Shaun of the Dead," pretty much the best movie about zombies ever (I make no claims of being a zombie fan). "Hot Fuzz" is bloody freakin' brilliant in every way, shape, form or fashion. I loved it. I left the theater wishing that these guys would make every movie released from now on! It's funny with no fart/poopie jokes for the whole two hours, it's action packed, Simon Pegg shows that he's a good actor by not playing Shaun again, it uses two (2!!!) Kinks songs ("Village Green" and "Village Green Preservation Society"), and it is shot and edited with such straight up glee...it's infectious. I don't know if it'll get a wide release, but it opens in April. See it. I posted the trailer below.

What's even better: Edgar Wright is directing Ant-Man for Marvel. I'm so excited for this, and I don't even care about Ant-Man. Even better? The trio may be on Opie & Anthony and, if Edgar is there, he's hella-signing my copy of Irredeemable Ant-Man #1.


Comics: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #1

"The Long Way Home part 1"
Joss Whedon
Penciler: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Andy Owens
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Jimmy
Cover Art: Jo Chen
Designer: Heidi Fainza
Assistant Editor: Katie Moody
Associate Editor: Matt Dryer
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Mike Richardson

Buffy's back. Almost four years after the 144th episode aired, Buffy's back and she's brought Joss Whedon with her. And even though the issue barely even touches on all the questions that I have, even though it covers next-to-no ground, it still feels right.

Buffy is now the leader of a squadron of slayers, one of many actually. They have vehicles, harnesses, a big ol' headquarters, all the trimmings of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself (as noted by Xander; lordy how I missed Xander). This looks nothing like the Buffy we all remember fondly. There isn't a close sense of family and there's no cozy central location. Instead we have Buffy and Dawn who are barely speaking and a huge stone castle, both of which are interesting plot points since they tie together to establish just how different this world is. Buffy notes this, thankfully, so we know Joss is going somewhere with this.

What really makes this feel like Buffy is Joss' dialodue. Putting Nicholas Brendan's voice over those words, it sent shivers through the pages and into me. Same with Buffy and Dawn; these are the characters that I love and I'm so glad they're back with the man who created them.

The art is good. I'm used to being completely off put by the art in non-Marvel books, be it the pencils (usually my problem with Dark Horse) or the color (my problem with DC). Jeanty did some good work back on the most recent ongoing Gambit series and he's a decent fit. Still, what I wouldn't give to see Joshua Middleton or Adrian Alphona on this series. Well, perhaps not Middleton, since I think he's allergic to deadlines. Perhaps a cover, then?

This issue feels like the first act of an episode. The reveal at the end is what I'd normally be seeing at 7:15 (central time) on a Tuesday night, the start of the second act coming a mere four minutes away. Not anymore. This darn format is making me wait four weeks, but that's something I have to live with. Here's hoping the book doesn't fall prey to deadline issues like Joss' other book, Astonishing X-Men. Still, there's enough to ponder about in this issue to hold me over. While little is really accomplished in this issue, so many promises are made that I salivate thinking about them. Willow's MIA. Who's that hovering guy? What's that symbol? The army sure looks mad! Ah, so good!

My only real gripe is wondering what the dang series is called. The cover says Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Season Eight in teeny tiny print under the Dark Horse logo. The inidicia on the inside front cover says Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, the comics price guide calls it Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Volume 2, and reviews online call it Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight. I'm going with the colon-version until I start seeing a uniform title. Things like this irk me. I'm still mad that Marvel doesn't include volume numbers in their indicias, especially since they relaunch titles like it's going out of style.

So yeah, this lived up to my expectations. The only way it could have been better is if Joss provided a single issue story, a perfect beginning-middle-end including Giles and Willow, complete with all the action and hilarity of the television series. Instead, Joss is treating us to something a lot bigger, a lot more epic. Both are valid ways to start the series and, honestly, I think the way he's doing it has me a lot more intrigued than if he went the other way.

This is gonna be fun.

MY SCORE: 9.1 (out of 10)

TV: Lost "Par Avion"

TEASER: A Claire episode! Finally! For some reason, and I'm alone on this, I'm totally into Charlie and Claire. Maybe it's because Claire's season one episode was the moment I realized taht this show was genius. I like that Locke points out to Sayid that the whole C-4 aspect of the bunker was not shared. See? Sharing info helps. Not sure what Claire's going on about with those birds, but it looks like Desmond saved Charlie again.

ACT ONE: "The John Locke I knew was para--!" Eye Patch is seriously menacing! And I have sympathy for Rousseau now. Crazy, but so tragic. I'm interested in Claire's story, plus it is really sucky that Charlie has to screw things up with her to live. Of course, he could just tell her everything...

ACT TWO: Locke is with the Others and Claire is Jack's half-sister. I've thought that for a while and now that Claire's mom is paid for by someone myserious, betting it's Mr. Shepard. But why is Claire so weird about her mom? And Patch Eye's death was crazy gross, but I was expecting his head to explode, so it could have been nastier. If Locke isn't evil, then he's just the Screech/Urkel of the show.

ACT THREE: Called it! Called it A YEAR AGO (episode where Ana Lucia died)! Ha! Now if only Claire was ever in a scene with Jack, maybe this would come up. And man, Sayid is on to Locke. Locke's gone from a great character to a nutjob and now a saboteur. I wonder if Terry O'Quinn likes playing this character still after the downward spiral he's been on?

ACT FOUR: So Claire doesn't know her dad's name. Oh well. Here's hoping Jack gets the hots for her, leading to the best romance since Luke and Leia. Desmond coming clean to Claire is a good thing, just hwo knows if she'll believe him and what it'll do to her and Charlie. Seriously, Lost, why isn't htat new girl or Rodrigo whatchamacallit in this episode? If they showed up more often and DID THINGS maybe we'd accept them as new characters. As it is, I still don't even know their names.

ACT FIVE: Ah! Geez, what's up with Jack?! I never thought I'd want a Jack episode, but what's happened to him in the last couple days?! The last act sealed it; I really like Claire and her hospital scene got to me. Ugh, so sad. And I'm glad that the truth has brought her and Charlie together, even if it seems like being with her is going to kill him.

So excited for next week. All Locke and he has lots of explaining to do.

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


In Defense Of X-Force

"What's your favorite tv show?"

"Who's your favorite band?"

"Top three albums: go!"

"Best movie of all time?"

All of the above are questions that I love to ask, but for some reason I always feel like I really have to defend my answers because my second and third choices are much "hipper" than my top one. I'm not saying my favorites are guilty pleasures, by no means. I'm just saying that, for some reason, the bits of pop culture that I champion and raise above all others as True and Good have to be explained. Over and over again. Yes, Oasis is my favorite band. Yes, there are two Strokes albums in my top three. The best movie is The Empire Strikes Back and no, I don't love sci-fi that much and no, I have not seen The Godfather. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Friends. Yes, they're both my number one.

Comics, the media source right under TV and right above music in my list of faves, is no exception. I love Marvel in comic communities that seem to be absolutely for the Distinguished Competition. I love the X-Men most of all, which is like saying your favorite band is The Beatles (in the way that they're both extremely popular and give no indication of your taste; both Spawn and Astro City fans can like X-Men, as can both Nickelback and Rufus Wainwright fans like the Beatles). But above all else, I have a special place in my heart for one corner of the x-world.


As characters and a concept, X-Force's true roots go all the way back to the first issue of Uncanny X-Men back in 1963. Back then, being a teenager was analogous to being a mutant and this was supposedly a main theme of the series. By the early 80s, however, the merry mutants of the X-Men were all far from being considered teenagers. To remedy this, a new batch of teenage mutants was created. Hello New Mutants, the title that would turn into X-Force in 1991. The two series share characters (Cannonball, Sunspot, Dani Moonstar, Rictor, Meltdown, Cable) and the majority of X-Force made their first appearance in New Mutants (Warpath, Copycat, Shatterstar and Feral).

What differentiated the two titles was tone; New Mutants was very coming of age while X-Force concentrated heavily on early 90s stock ideas like time travel, big guns, big boobs, and shoulder pads. A closer look at X-Force, one with hindsight and the overall scope of both series taken into account, reveals that the series was always about this young generation of mutants dealing with the anxieties of becoming adults. This is a very logical continuation of the theme established in New Mutants and the change in tone and art supports my theory. The harsh stereotypes of early 90s comics and comic art lend themselves very well to the harsh reality of growing up.

My main argument for X-Force is that no other x-book published in the 90s was as consistent. Generation X (1994-2001) went to crap in 1998, X-Factor (1986-1998) in 1995, and Excalibur (1988-1998) in 1997, thanks to Larry Hama, Howard Mackie and Ben Raab, respectively. X-Force got off to a slam-bang good time with Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza (who managed to overshadow the abyss of suck that is Liefeld). This creative team only lasted the book's first year (1991-1992) but it set a solid foundation for the rest of Nicieza's writing tenure. Yeah, the first year was heavy on boobs and guns, but it also saw Cannonball become an effective leader, Warpath and Siryn grow personalities, and gave hints that Cable was more than just a T2 rip-off.

As far as creative shifts go, none was better for the book than the change in artist after Liefeld's departure. Greg Capullo's collaboration with Nicieza was short (1992-1993) but definitive. This is where X-Force finally felt like its own book. This brief creative utopia started off with the return of Sunspot to the team (his friendship with Cannonball being one of Nicieza's strong themes) and followed by The X-Cutioner's Song. As crossovers go, X-Cutioner's Song was the best of the decade (only the Age of Apocalypse comes close, and close it does come) and it served as a State of the Union address for all the x-books, particularly where X-Force was concerned. These young adults, striking out on their own and taking steps the parents didn't agree with, were punished and grounded. It's a part of the larger story that isn't dealt with much, but as far as mission statements and playing with the title's central theme, it's spectacular. X-Force #19 is the best of the series; it features Cannonball standing up to Professor X. After that, Nicieza did the impossible by killing off Cable and forcing the team to fend for themselves. They manage nicely and, for the first time, Cannonball comes across as a great field commander.

Tony Daniel replaced Capullo and, while a good stretch (1993-1995) of stories, nothing definitive really happens as far as the main theme of the series. These issues, when focused on the team as a whole, come across like junior X-Men stories. However, Nicieza did focus on developing his characters during this time. A good chunk of the cast get issues dedicated to them: Shatterstar (#30), Siryn (#31), Rictor (#34), Cannonball (#37), Prosh (#39), and Feral (#40-41). These are all, with the exception of Shatterstar's issue, strong stories. The Feral story in particular is one of the best ever done in X-Force. The book didn't fare so well with crossovers this time; the Phalanx Covenant did nothing for this book and was pretty boring.

After the four month hiatus of Age of Apocalypse, a new creative team took over: Jeph Loeb and Adam Pollina (1995-1996). Jeph Loeb put the team back in the X-Mansion which didn't turn the team into Junior X-Men like under Nicieza/Daniel. Instead, by allowing the team such close contact with the X-Men, Loeb was able to contrast the two teams. Loeb did this by promoting Cannonball to the X-Men (nothing like showing class structure by having someone graduate out of your team), having Boomer get manipulated by Sabretooth (a disaster, to Psylocke at least), and having various X-Men interact and belittle the team throughout the run. Loeb gave special care to Boomer who went from being a wise-cracking valley girl to Meltdown, a punky firecracker. As strong as this tone change was, it didn't stop some Junior X-Men stories, the fiftieth issue in particular. It's strong, but what does fighting Sebastian Shaw and Holocaust have to do with this series? No matter, because Junior X-Men stories still looked distinctively X-Force thanks to Pollina's edgy, quirky, fresh, young, abstract, fashionista-esque pencils. This is the way X-Force should have always looked and should always look. Another highlight of this era is #54, where X-Force is interrogated by the police. Something about donut-munching cops trying to crack Domino will always crack me up.

Such a strong start fell apart when Pollina went on hiatus for the last half of 1996. Without his striking images, Loeb's Onslaught story was downright awful and his origin of Shatterstar is, without a doubt, the worst thing the book ever produced. 1997 started with a new writer, John Francis Moore, and no regular penciler. Moore's first stories on the book were bland and uneventful. Until Pollina returned.

Pollina's second run on the book, this time coupled with Moore, is X-Force at its best. For real. During their 14 issues (from 1997-1998), they cut the team down to 5 members, put them on the road, and ditched their purple and gold uniforms. These were five young adults going to the Burning Man festival, wearing vintage t-shirts, fighting mobsters and demons, all while growing as characters. Sunspot finally got some when he hooked up with Meltdown, the two of them proving to be an interesting and drama-filled couple. Dani Moonstar was back on a team after 7.5 years. Warpath got over all his rage issues. Siryn revealed her love of disco. The team met up with old classmate Karma who was revealed as gay (slyly, of course). This is why X-Force was the greatest X-Title of the 90s: 80 issues in at this pont and more relevant than ever.

Jim Cheung replaced Pollina as the title's artist and he and Moore did some okay Junior X-Men stories with the team (from 1998-2000). They settled in San Francisco and fought, what appeared to be, ideas Moore had for other series that he wasn't sure he could ever get to. The Deviants and Armageddon Man were okay ideas, but do they really belong in X-Force? Still, the characters are strong, behaving like themselves, growing, and this run features the second best issue of the entire series: #91, "Fallout." The story of Siryn coping with the loss of her voice is poignant and touches on everything that makes her character special, including alcoholism.

And that's it. There were 97 issues of X-Force published in the 1990s and they were consistent, strong, and enjoyable. I like to think that the series ends with #100, a nice round number that leaves the team on top of their game as characters and as a series. But that's not what really happened.

From May 2000 to June 2001, the book was written by and later edited by Warren Ellis. These stories (by Ellis, Ian Edginton, and Whilce Portacio) take the inital idea, 'terrorists' for Xavier's cause, to an extreme level and prove to be the first direction of the book that is flat-out not good. After Ellis lessened his involvement and Portacio got his horrible art away from the book (replaced by Jorge Lucas), the series got somewhat back on track. Still, the damage was done and with #115, X-Force came to a close.

And that's where it ends. We're acting like there is no #116 since, duh, it's really X-Statix #-13.


Mexican Angel Demon

It's hard to remember what I have and haven't blogged about with no internet at home. I'm going to have to fix this problem...at some point. It involves calling the landlord, and I'm always paranoid about that. I think it's post-traumatic-stress from the previous one.

I saw improv at Gotham on Friday night, all really solid and enjoyable. I've discovered seeing improv at other places, although I've lost touch with some of my favorite UCB shows in the process. That and I'm starting to get really tired lately; I think it's all catching up with me.

I started not feeling well late Saturday night, an unpleasant happening alongside lots of merry events from that night. It was a good night, but my throat was hurting by Sunday morning. After watching a 201 class show at noon, hanging around at Chelsea Piers, and arriving in Hoboken for the improv group practice I organized...not feeling so well. The sore throat gave way to a bit of fatigue (the night after night of 4-5 hours of sleep probably helped this) and my improv was really affected. I usually am very loud and boisterous and sucky; I was instead uncooperative, lazy, tired, and sucky. I did learn a lot, mainly that I need to focus on forming a real connection with my scene partner instead of just going ca-razy right off the bat. The only thing I was really proud of was me and Katey's subway-breakup-scene. Class was more of the same, too tired and now hungry to do anything worth while. I rushed home, ate lots of food (nachos, chips and salsa, and pop tarts) and read comics.

I read Uncanny X-Men #236 (pictured above) and discovered that it is a surprisingly solid issue. Issues #235-238 introduce Genosha, the prosperous island of mutant slavery. The story as a whole is good, #236 being the best of the bunch. There are decent supporting characters who have interesting motives and, for this story only, Genosha seems like a decent story idea. Genosha then became a war-torn country where no writer could ever really figure out who was fighting who until Magneto was given free reign over it and the entire place was obliterated by Sentinels. Still, the concept got off to a nice start.

The fatigue and sore throat led some to believe I could have mono, although I don't know where I would have caught that since the symptoms started popping up well after I was around anyone who has/had mono. Plus, I looked it up on webmd and I'm not showing signs of the yellow skin or mouth sores. I'm hoping this is just due to my lack of sleep or eating three meals a day, plus my constant contact with people in various stages of cold-dom.

The office is half empty today and I thorougly enjoy it. There's a nice sense of calm around here...a calm that was disrupted when I ran across the video posted below. Watch it. It's freaky. The fun starts around 41 seconds in.

Please someone verify if this is real or a hoax. I can't find any info on it.


Comics: The Mighty Avengers #1

"The Mighty Avengers"

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Frank Cho
Colors: Jason Keith
Letterer: Artmonkey's Dave Lanphear
Assistant Editor: Aubrey Sitterson
Editor: Tom Brevoot
Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley

This is one of the most highly entertaining comics I've read in a while. I did not expect this. Bendis, lately, has underwhelmed me with his self-important and unfocused stretch of solo stories in New Avengers and his run on Ultimate Spider-Man which fails to surprise me while still managing to be a consistently solid read. I was not expecting to enjoy this issue or want to continue reading it past the first issue.

For a first issue, this one feels like a throwback to happier times. Too often nowadays, first issues are paced for the trade and involve secondary characters doing mysterious things while referencing the title character, who appears on the last page if at all. Used to be, first issues set up the themes, characters, and relationships that would propel the series through its first dozen or so issues. Deadpool #1 is a great example of this and, off the top of my head, the best example. The over-the-top mercenary stuff is introduced, his desire to be a hero is brought up by making fun of an established Marvel hero, and a whole slew of his supporting cast is shown with their fully rounded personalities ready to go.

This issue starts off with the team already formed and taking on the Mole Man's henchmen, which disappointed me initially only because I've grown tired of Marvel's "hit-the-ground-running/explain-it-later-in-a-press-conference" technique to big events. I was sad that we weren't going to see this team get formed. But Bendis, in true old school style, flashes back to show Iron Man and Ms. Marvel going through their databanks to find the perfect team. Every member is discussed and justified alongside a splash page of them in action; a great way to introduce the team. The real gem here is Ms. Marvel, one of my favorites and Marvel's almost-icon for 20 years now. She's finally getting the respect she deserves and leading this team (well, might I add) is a leap in the right direction. There's already a set-up for a power struggle within the team, and I'm extremely thrilled by this.

First issues should also include a fight of some sort to show how effective the heroes are. This one does so thirty three times over. The team fights well, interacts well, and looks gorgeous thanks to Frank Cho (although I'm still perplexed by Wonder Man's leisure suit). The severity of the situation escalates nicely and, for once, this seems like a truly important battle. Nice to see a little, self-contained, epic battle; I'm sick of line-wide event crossovers that concern everyone. Sometimes it's up to a group of seven to save the entire world.

Reading this made me realize why I love comics: complex characters fighting huge monsters. There's just something iconic about seeing a team of heroes dwarfed by giant green and brown creatures from the bowels of Earth, rushing in to save the day. This feels right. So right that it's my wallpaper.

And then there's that ending which I have no idea where it comes from or what it means for the series, but goshdarnit if it doesn't have me hooked for issue #2.

MY SCORE: 9.6 (out of 10)


TOP 10 BANDS RIGHT NOW (most played on iTunes)
1. The Strokes
2. The Apples In Stereo
3. The Kinks
4. The Features
5. The Futureheads
6. Of Montreal
7. Oasis
8. The New Pornographers
9. The White Stripes
10. Starlight Mints

TOP 10 BANDS in 8th GRADE (and this is in like order)
1. Oasis
2. Sheryl Crow
3. Everclear
4. Third Eye Blind
5. The Wallflowers
6. Semisonic
7. Fastball
8. The Gin Blossoms
9. The Spice Girls
10. Matchbox 20

CURRENT TOP TEN SONGS ON iTUNES (in most-played order)
1. The Strokes "You Only Live Once"
2. The Kinks "Picture Book"
3. The Futureheads "Area"
4. The Strokes "Juicebox"
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Way Out"
6. LiLIPUT "Split"
7. Roxy Music "Street Life"
8. The Jam "Start!"
9. Starlight Mints "Pumpkin"
10. Starlight Mints "Seventeen Devils"

TOP 10 SONGS in 8th GRADE (no order)
Semisonic "Closing Time"
Fastball "Sooner Or Later"
Matchbox 20 "Real World"
The Wallflowers "One Headlight"
Sheryl Crow "A Change (Would Do You Good)"
Third Eye Blind "The Background"
The Verve "Bittersweet Symphony"
Oasis "Be Here Now"
Everclear "Everything To Everyone"
The Gin Blossoms "Til I Hear It From You"

Now I really want to load my iPod with these songs. Curse my CD collection being in Tennessee!


TV: Lost "Enter 77"

TEASER: Cows! I totally forgot about Patch Eye; just shows how much stuff this show tosses at you. Four minutes in and I already hope this is the episode that Sawyer kills New Guy. Nothing wrong with him except for his uselessness and shoehorning in. How is it a good idea to stick this new guy in every episode and...give him nothing to do? Seriously, I'd rather have Boone than Hispanic Boone.

ACT ONE: Last living member? Is he telling the truth? Are the Others others even to Dharma? One thing for sure, THANK GOD these people ACTUALLY TALKED TO SOMEONE! Yes! Asking questions gives answers! And that look New Guy gave at the ping pong table leads me to believe he may be a ping pong champ. Useless no more?

ACT TWO: Looks like Lindelof & Cuse decided to give the fans something to talk about. A whole scene where a mysterious figure actually talks, answers questions, and does so without causing our heads to explode by unveiling more mysteries. If it's all true, the Others/hostiles have nothing to do with Dharma, which means we both know more about them and less about them. Only on Lost. Oh, but Sayid thinks Patch Eye is lying and we all know how right he was about Henry/Ben. Plus, Sayid's backstory is interesting. Fake names and food!

ACT THREE: Get some rope!! Man, I missed Sayid. And it looks like all the stuff we learned may be false. Oh well, the writers are still on the right track. Maybe next time an info dump will actually be relevant. Sayid's backstory is pretty good, although I can't remember if we've seen an atoning story with him. So much atoning on this show. Oh, and New Guy doesn't even play ping pong. What the heck, Lost?! This guy needs a reason for being ASAP!

ACT FOUR: Hanso talks about the hostiles! That means they're real and Patch Eye may have been truthful! Yay somewhat solved mysteries! Oh, and Locke is the worst guard. Ever. He's distracted way easily. "Ooooh computer chess!" "Ooooh paternal figure!" And poor Ms. Klugh! I'll be searching the internet for that translation soon.

ACT FIVE: A backstory that fits with the current story! Awesome! Of course the building gets blown up and thus destroys contact with the outside world. I'm just glad Kate and Locke weren't in there, thus leading to a lame "they're dead but we all know better" story that would stretch on for a while, with no one telling anyone else that the other party is alive / dead / captured / whatever. And yes, everything Patch Eye said...is true. This is a good feeling. Me likey.

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


You're Going To Love The Features Or Else

My friend Matt linked me to a blog post about The Features (myspace page with music!) that is not only great reading, but mirrors my feelings for the band exactly. It perfectly captures what they mean to me, albeit with some minor changes. It does not, however, capture how much I miss that band and all the people associated with them.

But now I have a mission: some way, somehow, I'm going to expose that band to as many New Yorkers as possible. If you want a mix CD of this band, let me know and I will give you one. Of course, I have to be able to give it to you in person since I'm a loser when it comes to mailing CDs. But if you are interested and like the two music videos I made for them (because I spent a lot of time on windows movie maker in college), I'll hook you up.

And if you don't like the videos below, then still ask for one. Because they're even better than this.


Slippery People

Awesome picture from Spider-Man 3. Too excited. Good comics this week that, yeah, I'm not going to review. Okay, I should write an entry dedicated to the last issue of the Vaughan/Alphona Runaways. Yeah, I'm sure I'll do that at some point...

Saturday afternoon I went to improv practice in a short sleeve shirt and my corduroy suit coat. Today, right now, there's a whole mess o' snow blowin' outside the window. This insane shift in weather reminds me of Tennessee. How I miss home.

The new apartment is going well. I have it all to myself and will have it all to myself for the forseeable future. I'm acting like this is a good thing even though I still have absolutely no, no, no nonono way of paying for it. Okay, I can pay for it and will but the eating is now becoming optional. Oh, and don't expect pictures anytime soon since Thuggy McRobberson took my camera. But the framed pictures of my favorite bands/tv shows have started going up and now that I know I'm roommateless, I can conquer the living room.

I've been having a great 2007 (is the beast dead?) this past week and a half. It's crazy how meeting someone can change your outlook and whatever; I finally feel like I'm meeting people and all that...like I have a social life. It helps to have a person to be social with (no way I'd go to a birthday party in the Bronx alone). I've gone record shopping too, thanks to being with someone who knows their way around. I found actual Squeeze CDs, albums, not the greatest hits...but the money problem from the previous paragraph keeps these things from coming home with me. That's fine.

This has been a great couple days for improv. I saw TJ & Dave on Friday night, which was mighty inspiring. I can only hope to one day be that intelligent and dedicated; until then I'll keep playing creepy clowns and imposter astronauts from the USSR. Which is what I did this weekend during my two practice sessions and 201 class. It's nice to see myself improving, although a couple times this weekend I pretty much blanked out during some scenes because I really had no clue what was going on, which is a problem I haven't had before. So I guess when one problem disappears a new one hops on.

I got to see Davis and his wife Amanda last night, extremely randomly. I didn't even know they were up here for spring break, so it was a pleasant surprise. Make note: I enjoy visitors and now have a pretty gnarly place for people to stay at. Yes, gnarly.

I'm extremely exhausted (another aspect of being social and wanting to spend time with someone) which is both well worth it and, um, tiring. I'm exhausted which is tiring. I just typed that, albeit with a big ol parenthetical statement in there.

I don't have internet at home yet. That'll be fixed at some point.

Boring blog, but things are going well.


Comic Cuts

The new apartment is cutting significantly into my money and some things have to go. I'm down to the unlimited 1-at-a-time plan on NetFlix ($5 saved a month), so the next thing to are the underperforming comics. Every comic I read is graded on a scale of 1-10 using Pitchfork's old standards, and then the comics I currently collect are ranked in order based on their three most recent issues. This helps me monitor which titles I love and which have declined. Here are the first two to be cut.

First Issue Bought: (volume 2) #40/(volume 1) #481, June 2002
Last Issue Bought: (volume 1) #537, February 2007
Total Issues Bought: 57
Length Of Collecting: 4 years, 8 months

I first started buying Amazing Spider-Man on the strength of Spider-Man 2; I love that movie. John Romita Jr. was the penciler back then and he and JMS, the writer, were doing truly strong and important stories with Spider-Man. The book felt fresh, exciting, and new, not to mention gorgeously drawn by my favorite artist. The book peaked here.

After Romita Jr. left, Mike Deodato was brought on. His art always seemed too early 90s and not as defined as it should be. Plus there's all sorts of juicy gossip on message boards about Deodato being the Carlos Mencia of pencilers, but he's nowhere near as bad as Roger Cruz. This change gave us "Sins Past," "Skin Deep" and a series of issues dealing with Spider-Man's joining the New Avengers. Okay stories, "Skin Deep" being the strongest of the bunch. Then it all went downhill, with "The Other" and both the lead-up and tie-in with "Civil War" being, really, just boring.

I've been collecting Amazing Spider-Man just to be collecting it for a while, so it's time for it to go.

First Issue Bought: #16, May 2002
Last Issue Bought: #79, April 2007
Total Issues Bought: 64
Length Of Collecting: 4 years, 11 months

This is a tough one. I read the first two Ultimate arcs in trade paperback before picking up with the book monthly at the start of "World Tour." Millar's hype-machine and antics made the book stand out until he left with #33, but he never really impressed me. It was always good. Never great. I thought the book was going to be great when Brian Michael Bendis took over with #34, but by the time he left at #45, the book was still just okay. Bendis did two action packed arcs and keept up the level of insanity that Millar is known for.

I stuck with the book then just because, I guess, I had the money to. I hadn't heard of Brian K. Vaughan and had no expectations. His first two arcs, "The Tempest" and "Cry Wolf", were okay but nothing spectacular. Then Ultimate X-Men became the best x-book being made. Vaughan remade Dazzler and sent the team to Krakoa and a twisted version of Longshot which showed that Vaughan was really getting the hang of the team dynamic. Vaughan was nailing the chemistry that made the X-Men so successful in the 80s. Vaughan went out with a bang, "Magnetic North" being one of the best X-Men tales of the past five years.

Robert Kirkman, great writer, took over with issue #66 and he seemed to be continuing Vaughan's love of 80s X-Men. Still, his stories didn't resonate the way Vaughan's did and the series really went off the track with the mediocre "Magical" and the what-was-he-thinking "Cable." The title doesn't feel special anymore and now that X-Factor is around and the two main x-titles are the best they've been in years, this doesn't cut it.

I have a feeling more cuts are on the way, especially since I'm interested in Mighty Avengers and have to buy the new Buffy comic. If Ms. Marvel's new direction doesn't tighten the book and if New Avengers doesn't start telling stories again, they're next.


February Mixtastic

The New Pornogaphers "Chump Change"
Oasis "Cloudburst"
Weezer "Susane"
Beck "Think I'm In Love"
Franz Ferdinand "Cheating On You"
The Arcade Fire "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)"
Apples In Stereo "Sun Is Out"
The Features "Concrete (live @ Grand Palace)"
The Dandy Warhols "The Dandy Warhols' TV Theme"
The Quik "Bert's Apple Crumble"
The Beatles "Polythene Pam"
The Hives "Main Offender"
Semisonic "Falling"
Wire "Feeling Called Love"
REM "Exhuming McCarthy"
The White Stripes "Party Of Special Things To Do"
Clinic "Porno"
Be Your Own Pet "Wildcat!"
The Walkmen "New Years Eve"
Roxy Music "If It Takes All Night"
The La's "I Can't Sleep (BBC session)"
Squeeze "Slap & Tickle"
Television "Marquee Moon"
Talking Heads "Artists Only (live)"
The Go! Team "Bottle Rocket"
The Kinks "Big Sky"
The Zombies "Care Of Cell 44"
The B-52's "52 Girls"
Devo "Gut Feeling / (Slap Your Mammy)"
The Buzzcocks "Everybody's Happy Nowadays"

Home is where I want to be.

The parents got in to NYC at midnite Monday night/Tuesday morning with the Pathfinder full of the winter coats (too late), shoes, records, most of my DVD library, and a couple hundred comics. We went to sleep and woke up early Tuesday morning to go to the management place to sign the lease and have my Dad turn in his guarantor thing. The Pathfinder is so crammed full of stuff, I have to sit up front on the gear shift/in my mom's lap for an hour while we wade through horrible BQE traffic. We get to the management place and are firmly told, for the first time mind you, that it's a no go. My dad lives in TN and can't be a guarantor due to crazy NY law. I make enough money to qualify for a $500 a month place, which does not exist. I haven't been at my job long enough. Blah blah blah, nevermind the fact that the landlord is fine with it as is the broker. But still, harsh no and no guarantor means no apartment. Something they could have informed me of when they asked for one or when I said I had one. I guess they just assume that all guarantors live in New York. I guess that's what Staten Island is for, guarantor colonies.

The frantic call goes to the broker after this meeting since, hello, I am homeless on Thursday and only have a two day window to move. Plus Pathfinder full of junk. Broker shows us to a crack den, a two bedroom crack den no-less! Broker shows us to an okay/small two-bedroom with all sorts of tools and half-finished projects in it! Not ready yet! Broker shows us a crazy inconvenient two bedroom that's a bit bigger but insanely ugly and, also, not finished (a door was off the hinges). In the midst of this insanity, it becomes apparent that we have to look at one bedroom apartments, so broker takes us to a nice little neighborhood to a privately owned house/building that rents out the floors. Bottom floor, huge bedroom, a foyer and living room of equal size, adorable green colored living room, new appliances, retro-ish cabinets, pink tile bathroom...lovely. The guy living there was moving out that day, so it was a tight fit but it would work. Broker got the rent down a hundred dollars and, oh, UTILITIES INCLUDED.

After lots of soul-searching, we took it. I started moving in around 9:00 PM, 12 hours later than planned. We got two Pathfinder loads in before heading back to Brooklyn for the last night and to finish the cleaning. We woke up early Wednesday morning, finished packing and cleaning, and had our final run in with the landlord. My mom called him and left him a harsh voicemail (deserved) and told him that we need our security deposit back. He showed up and saw that, wow, no holes in the apartment. The damage we inflicted by not keeping the door or window open when showering was apparently not as bad as he knew it would be.

Then he starts in on giving me a life lesson about Saturday. In front of my parents. I'm not having this.

"You have to understand that I have 60 days to show apartment!"
"You have the common courtesy to call me, like you said you would, before you do. And I don't appreciate you insulting me like that, especially in front of people you're trying to rent to."
"Hey! I sixty eight years old!"
"Then act like it! We just want our money and to go, drop it."
"You need to learn respect, blah blah blah--"
"I have two parents to tell me this stuff, I don't need to hear it from you."

My parents are holding me back, which is odd since it's usually me and my dad holding Mom back. He starts in with my mother,

"I show apartment to black lady, I no rent to black lady--"
"Which is a great policy, by the way. Real nice" I was done with his racism. He started in on me again and I realized that this was retarded. I slammed the keys on the counter.
"I don't have to listen to you anymore. I'm done."

I left the apartment and took the toaster and rug down to the Pathfinder. My parents were in there for another half hour. They finally come out, we load up, and apparently he's not sure about the security deposit since there are scratches on the stove. That were there when we moved in. That we have pictures of. That also come from using the stove. This is a landlord that expects you to, seriously, hover at all times in the apartment and eat take-out in a Mind Bubble so as to not get anything anywhere. I hope he is chopped up and left in a garbage can by black people, which is the reasoning he gave to my parents justifying his renting habits.

We got the final load to Astoria and unloaded it and began the unpacking process. Things are good. It's not convenient train-wise...at all really, but it's a place that feels like home.

And after the last two days, that's all I want.