My friend Amelia started a blog this year and I’ve been enjoying it immensely. I’m not entirely sure why since it doesn’t deal with earth-shaking news, there is no Hollywood gossip and I can’t directly relate to the subject matter. She writes about canning fruits and vegetables, dealing with her kids, what her husband is up to and what’s going on in her life. I have no kids or wife and I definitely have no idea how to can anything. Sometimes I even have trouble un-caning things. (De-caning things? Opening cans.) So, I don’t have a direct connection with what she is talking about but I think the reason I still enjoy her posts is because I’m finding out what she’s up to. The blog (short for “web log”) makes me feel like I’m interacting with her, even if it is a one-sided, vicarious interaction. It still feels like a conversation, a form of communication. She’s an interesting person and I always like hearing what she’s been up to. When we used to work together at AAA, she would tell me stories about her family or her social life or what Brazil was like when she was there doing missionary work.
What’s ironic is that now I’m reading her writings about what’s on her mind, since I used to be the one who would write stuff and give her things I’d written to see if she had any feedback or constructive criticism. I’m feeling like a slacker which is what she always used to say to me then so now our roles are reversed. In order to get back on track and start writing again, I decided to take a page from Amelia’s book and start a blog. I’m even using the same site as her, mainly because it is free, I like the layout of it and it is really easy to use. So now you are reading my first post. I am now communicating with you, even if it is vicariously and one-sidedly. As another motivator to get into the groove of writing, I decided to look at one of my first attempts at writing on a regular basis and try to draw some inspiration from it. I used to send out my thoughts and musings on actual paper, by physical postal service, to various friends. I thought it would be fun to try being a columnist for an audience of eight people. I’m sure that no one on the Washington Post would have been in fear of me replacing them at a real newspaper but it was fun for me to do. The only thing I didn’t like about it was sending something out and having a noticeable lack of feedback, mainly because I’m insecure and want to know what people think. My ranting & ramblings then grew into the “Year In Review” booklet I sent out each year, until 2006 when I got lazy, fell behind (and as Elizabeth says “started playing too much poker”) and never got around to completing my 2006 and 2007 reviews. The reason I did the original 2-page newsletter/zine thing is as mentioned above- to keep in touch with people and let them know what is going on with me. I also wanted to practicing my writing skills which I had somewhat ignored for a few years. After college, I still wrote some stuff to amuse my co-workers at the Waxie Maxie’s music store but after that, nothing until I started doing my “columns”.
It was sort of strange to re-read the first column for a couple of reasons. First of all, my inspiration for doing them was different than I recalled. I had been thinking it was because I saw Larry King’s television show and thought I could do that better than he could. In actuality, he had done a newspaper column that I read. That, of course, is what I thought I could do better than him, which makes more sense really- writing a column that would be better than his column. Second, many of the references in my first column are very, very dated. Third, some things in life haven’t changed, even a dozen years later. Below is the first column, which now becomes part of my first blog post, kind of a whole “circle-of-life, history-repeating-itself” kind of thing. I’ve taken a couple artistic liberties and added some current thoughts to it, to keep it from being hopelessly outdated. Now that I’ve gotten started, I will do my best to live up to Amelia’s example and contribute on a regular basis, even if I do feel like slacking off or playing poker instead.
Ramblings & Rantings # 1
Seeing as how I'm a big fan of the Larry King column in 'USA Today', I thought I might try my hand at doing one too. I'll follow the same format- lots of short thoughts, some rambling discussions, several non-sequiturs. The only difference is that I won't be wearing suspenders or being paid a ridiculous sum of money for it, although anyone wanting to send money (or comments & correspondence), feel free to do so. (See, this hasn’t changed- Larry King still wears suspenders and I am still shamelessly begging for money and/or social interaction and feedback.) First, let's start with the national anthem, just like most sporting events do- or at least those that aren't on strike. (I’m not sure what sport was on strike at this point- Hockey? Baseball? Has soccer ever had a strike or are they the only sports figures who play for love of the game rather than a huge paycheck?) Picture this: you've been hired to sing the national anthem, one of the most sacred and revered pieces of music in the world, and only some twenty lines long, plus you will be performing in front of at least several thousand people. Now, wouldn't you try to memorize the damn song, or at least make a clever cheat sheet?? I was at a basketball game, and heard someone mess up. This was 2 days after a TV show did a blooper reel of recent flub ups. Is it just this song, or what? Any insights???
One list I forgot to do in my year end lists- television.
So here goes: best show- Friends, best soon to be canceled show- Party Of Five, best already canceled show- My So Called Life (Another good show, cancelled after 19 episodes, just like most shows I enjoy the most. One or two seasons and then bye-bye, e.g. Firefly, Wonderfalls, Shark, Girl’s Club), worst show- M.A.N.T.I.S., Worst soon to be canceled show- Something Wilder, worst already canceled show- Martin Short Show, worst show to ever air and why wasn't it canceled after the second episode like martin short- Roc. (Did I actually watch these shows or did I have the good taste to stop watching after one episode? I know I hated, hated, hated Roc even though my roommate loved it so I saw way too much of it. Mantis I don’t remember except in vague terms. Ditto on Something Wilder.) On Melrose Place this week (which has a great soundtrack available), why didn't Sydney tell all those people to bite her when they were accusing her of 1) burglary, 2) vandalism, 3) breaking & entering and property damage. Better yet, why didn't she file suit since none of them had any concrete, physical evidence? And now that Jo's baby is gone, is she finally going to get a clue, and be interesting again?? (I know I was really into Melrose Place the first couple of seasons then I tapered off a bit, only to reconnect with it when Hilary Swank and Tiffani Amber-Theissen joined the cast. I really wonder why Laura Leighton, who played Sydney isn’t getting more work. She was great on this show and she was also good on Snoops, a show from a couple years ago, canceled- as expected of a show I like- before the first season even ended.)
There is this movie coming out that I'm really worried about- it's called 'Before Sunrise' and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Now the reason I'm worried is because the previews make it seem like it sucks, but the movie was directed by Richard Linklater, who- in my opinion- has become the most promising new filmmaker around after only two films (slacker, Dazed And Confused.) I really want to like it, but I don't know..... (I still think Linklater is a very promising director but he kind of blew it with The Newton Boys and the premise of Tape and Waking Life didn’t sound interesting so I haven’t watched them yet, a decade later. I am looking forward to his next project though. In retrospect, it’s amusing that I was worried about the quality of Before Sunrise because it is one of my all-time favorite movies. Even the sequel, Before Sunset, was fabulous and maintained the renegade vibe of the original as well as advancing the characters and creating another heart-rending ending. Remarkable, since I dislike Ethan Hawke in general. Plus he cheated on Uma Thurman so he’s also an idiot.)
I read a review of the new Extreme album, which says it is their third album. Gee, which one of their previous albums doesn't count- 'Extreme', 'Pornograffitti', or 'Three Sides To Every Story'? And when Patty Smyth had her last album come out on MCA, all the ads called it the 'debut album from the lead singer of scandal', despite having already put out at least 2 other albums on a different label. Same thing with Tori Amos' “Little Earthquakes” album. Makes you think the reviewers also test products for the F.D.A., doesn't it.
I would love to be paid to review movies or music for a living. (Here’s an example of something that hasn’t changed a bit since I wrote it. I still harbor that dream. What I didn’t know at the time was that newspapers and magazines were on the way to extinction so now I’ll have to hope for to write for a TV show or a website.)
Two strong out of the box contenders for this year's Michael Caine award- Larry Fishburne and Gary Oldman (and no, I'm never gonna call him Laurence Fishburne. I don't approve of name changes after someone gets famous, unless it is from marriage- like Farrah Fawcett-Majors- or you get knighted- like Sir Anthony Hopkins [who has the class not to run around expecting people to call him 'Sir']). Larry has done 2 movies already this year- the completely forgettable 'Bad Company' and the excellent 'Higher Learning' in which he does a very capable and nuanced job. Gary Oldman is also making a strong push, with three recent movies. 'The Professional' was over-the-top-Gary, 'Murder In The First' was hamming-it-up-Gary, and 'Immortal Beloved' was Gary-is-actually-acting-Gary. Let's see if they can sustain this pace all year. (This year’s Caine contenders would have included Robert Downey Jr had he not already won in 1986. Man, what a year that guy is having. The actual winner from 1995 turned out to be Antonio Banderas.)
I was watching talk show hell last night (albeit, briefly)- on Letterman was Mia Farrow, on Leno was Sigourney Weaver. Two of the actress I detest the most. So I went to sleep instead.
A few new CDs to look for: the soundtrack to “My So Called Life (with Julianna Hatfield- yeh!!!!) (I still like Juliana Hatfield, as many of you may know.) with lotsa alt-rock, the new Dave Matthews Band album- especially the tracks 'Typical Situation' and 'Warehouse' which are mega-good-, and the forthcoming Traci Lords album (the single 'Control' is already burning up the club charts) which she describes as "Nine Inch Nails if the frontsperson was a woman and they leaned more towards techno."
I have broken my Whoopi boycott. After a string of no-shows for me, including Sister Act, Sarafina, Made In America, Sister act 2, and Corrina Corrina, I went to see 'Boys On The Side'. Let me explain what went wrong- Whoopi made a movie with 2 really hot chicks. I adore Mary Louise Parker. She looks so fetching with that girl next door look. And Drew Barrymore ain't lumpy mashed potatoes either. And the movie was decent- I even plan to see it again. But not to worry- I doubt Whoopi will make another movie I must see anytime soon, so expect a new boycott to start any day now. (Except for that understandable lapse, I’ve since managed to avoid Whoopi Goldberg. It wasn’t hard with her starring in movies like Bogus, The Associate, Rocky & Bullwinkle and TV shows like Hollywood Squares and The View. John- please don’t mention that she was in two good movies I did see- Rat Race & Girl Interrupted because I had managed to successfully block her roles from my memory until I just checked IMDB to see what’s she’s done lately.)
Every day at work, I see people who don't want to give out their credit card numbers on the application, because they are afraid someone will use their info to charge stuff on their cards. “Why do you need this” & “What do you do with this form?” they always ask. What I want to know is do these people ever use their cards?? Because if they do, they leave behind signed -in triplicate- copies of their card imprints!! They don't ask merchants 'Could I please have all copies of that charge slip I just signed', but these same people will refuse to have their card numbers written down on an application. Explain this to me....
Have you ever noticed the more great and famous a musical band is, the more obscure their titles are in comparison to the music. Zeppelin's 'Lemon song' or 'Kashmir'- where do these titles appear in the song?? The Beatles 'I Am The Walrus' or 'Within You, Without You'- proof that they did drugs. Great bands, but how did they come up with these lyrics?? And for that matter, where did they get these band names?? Now compare that to 'I Want Your Sex', 'All That She Wants', 'Crying', 'Crazy', 'Amazing', 'It Must Have Been Love', 'Jeremy', 'Friends In Low Places', 'On Bended Knee', 'I Swear', 'I Want To Sex You Up', and of course 'Funkytown'. (Are you having 80’s flashbacks yet?) I guess chorus = song title for dumb bands, and for great bands song title = What the fuck??
Well, until next time.
Larry King Wanna-Be
9646 Masterworks Drive (Except I don’t live here anymore.)
Vienna, Va 22181
C1-24-95, #1 (I think that C is supposed to imply a copyright that doesn’t actually exist. If so, I put it there to scare off all those Hollywood agents who were going to steal my work and make movies from it without my permission. Not likely, I know, but I’ve always had this weird fantasy of suing a Hollywood studio. I think it would be immensely entertaining. Well, this is the end of my first blog post. Feel free to use the comments link to post your comments, reactions and derision.)