Friday, March 30, 2007

How do you surprise a friend on her 37th birthday?

Throw her a 40th Birthday party.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lost: One pair of socks
Where: Knocked off at The Roots concert on Saturday night.
If found please return to Jason.

That was one bad-ass funky damned concert. Damn. I know not everyone is into hip-hop, or don't listen to The Roots, or have any of their albums. But if you want to see a show, I mean an honestly entertaining, energetic, Showtime at The Apollo style show, then go see The Roots. It's maddeningly good. If you aren't grooving and moving, better have a Medic Alert bracelet 'cause you're down and not getting up.

Describing The Roots as a hip-hop act is like saying I watch a little TV: it's doesn't paint a full picture.

They're a live hip-hop act with no DJ or turntables. If they're using a sample, they're playing a sample, such as "Jungle Boogie" by Kool and the Gang and Radiohead's "You And Whose Army" (!). The 6-piece core band performed with a 4 piece brass section Brass Heaven (horn, tenor sax, trombone - the same players from Dave Chappelle's Block Party) plus a gawd-damn sousaphone player (!!) who moves like he just came out of a drumline (probably did). They play everything from funk to rock, with each band member getting a solo at some point in the show. The drummer, "?uestlove" (pronounced Questlove, aka Ahmir), is the frontman, spokesman, and producer, and the lyrics rage with urgency about a world, a society, and a country where “things don’t feel right over here.” Whether it's the government, our culture, or just everyday people let us down, they want everyone to just get their shit together, take responsibility for their actions, and get right.

Categorize that, Jack.

If you have to label The Roots, here it is: The Roots are the best example of what hip-hop can and should be, a positive force for change put to funky beats.




Rando Calrissian and I went to check The Roots out at Koolhaus. We've heard their albums for years, but were hyped about seeing them live after we saw them perform in Dave Chappelle's Block Party, where they performed their own tunes and collaborated as a de facto house band with Mos Def, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. I've been waiting a few years to see them, as my love for The Roots was over-powered by my contempt for The Docks as a concert venue, the site of their past few shows.

Zaki Ibrahim opened the show, and I was digging seeing a local songstress up there, drawing in the crowd with her beautifully lush voice reminiscent. The sweet lady's style reminds me of Jill Scott. As Rando would say, that was some baby making music. She got more comfortable as the show went on and shone with a sweet charisma. I've written about Zaki before, and I still say catch her while you can.

As the houselights go down, music starts wafting from the back of the arena. We think it's a speaker, but then I see "?uestlove's" afro bobbing up and down. The Roots hit the stage marching, entering through the crowd, getting us all pumped for the hype known as The Legendary Roots Crew from Philly. Black Thought (MC), "?uestlove" (drums and frontman), Hub (bass), Kamal (keyboard), Knuckles (percussion), and Captain Kirk (guitar) take the stage, with the 3 Philly-based Brass Heaven members, plus Clarence Thomas playing a sousaphone (think wrap around tuba). A warm greeting to the crowd and then they start tearing into the set list relentlessly, and don't stop for almost 2 1/2 hours. When have you seen a headlining band play more than an hour and a half? A few songs in, and then they start breaking out into the first of several interludes with select members of the band coming together. The first interlude was a solo by bassist Hub, who always plays with an ever-present chewstick in his mouth and looks like he just wakes up funky. This was followed by a fun bit of James Brown tribute as they broke out The Funky Drummer.

The show felt like a Motown revue show, hitting on different points all over the musical map, led throughout by Black Thought's smooth delivery. The man is a ninja on the mike. Throughout it all I recognized that vibe I saw in their performance in Dave Chappelle's Block Party: they were having as much fun as we were and were feeding off each other's energy. The only part where I was a momentarily disappointed is that they didn't have Zaki come out and sing on "You Got Me", which is sung sometimes with Jill Scott or Erykah. I say momentarily, because I was pleasantly impressed that guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas sang the song quite soulfully.

All through the show, if the Brass Heaven weren't playing, they're grooving on stage doing dance offs with each other. Clarence, the guy on sousaphone, had some good moves.... while still carrying the sousaphone. I mean this guy MOVED. I guarantee that on the Monday after the show, dozens of high school band directors were being asked why they don't have a sousaphone player that smooth. Or even a sousaphone, period.

About an hour and 15 minutes in, Black Thought announces we were at the halfway mark. I thought he was joking, but apparently not. An intermission was provided by the side-project Go Get A Late Pass, with "?uestlove", Kirk Douglas and sousaphonist Clarence Thomas doing their interpretation of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War", more as a performance think piece than merely a song. Rando thought it halted the momentum a bit, but I thought it wasn't about the show so much as needing us to listen up.

And then the party kept rolling, with their smiles beaming out into the crowd. The bass was thumping so hard and phat, Rando and I checked ourselves for nose bleeds. Twice. The Roots were playing together so tight, with some fantastic solos: couldn't they at least make it look hard? I mean there's "?uestlove" just grooving away, smiling with his giant afro swaying back and forth, calling the shots as bandleader.

The encore started off with a roaring "Are you not entertained? Do you want some more?????" before ripping into a rocking cover of "Roxanne" by The Police. My favourite song Seed 2.0 was played, and then we were re-introduced to the band with a Soul Train dance line, which saw "?uestlove" busting out moves to It's Not Unusual aka The Carleton Dance.

Rando turns to me: "Dude's doing your moves?!"

Perfect capper to the night.

MySpace: The Roots

Okayplayer.com - prominent online hip-hop website and community, co-founded by The Roots' drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson. Home to The Roots, Common, and Jill Scott amongst others

YouTube - The Roots "Don't Feel Right" trilogy video

My friend is funny. I noticed a mis-spelling on her Favourite Movies:
My email: Hey Jess, the title is spelled "Pursuit of Happyness".

Her reponse: Thanks Jay. Your the best.
Yes, her punchline is only funny to us grammar geeks, but quite a nice little smart-ass answer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Free Books, whoo hoo! I won a set of the 5 Canada Reads 2007 books, courtesy of a draw at Toronto Public Library & CBC. I'll have my book reports for you by the end of April as I aim to get through one a week.

For those who don't know the Canada Reads program, it's a competition created by CBC to encourage Canadians to read more Canadian literature. It was the Canadian attempt to capitlize on the upsurge in booksales created by the Oprah book club, with major promotion on the CBC and in bookstores. Here's the description straight from Wikipedia:

The candidate books for each edition of Canada Reads are announced several months before the programs are broadcast. They are then promoted in bookstores, in the hope that the listening and viewing public will purchase and read them all before the programs air. In some cases, publishers have published special editions of the nominated titles. The publisher of the final Canada Reads title makes a donation to charity. In 2005 this a portion of sales proceeds of the winning book went to The Movement for Canadian Literacy.

Canada Reads 2007 aired from February 26 to March 2, 2007. Bill Richardson again moderated the competition.

For the 2007 competition, each of the five winning advocates from past series returned to champion a new title in an "all-star" edition of the series. The books chosen by the participants were revealed in late November 2006, in a series of interviews conducted by Richardson on Sounds Like Canada. The titles and champions were:

Children of My Heart by Gabrielle Roy, championed by Denise Bombardier
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill, championed by John K. Samson
Natasha and Other Stories by David Bezmozgis, championed by Steven Page
The Song of Kahunsha by Anosh Irani, championed by Donna Morrissey
Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor, championed by Jim Cuddy

The winning title was Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill.

Canada Reads web site
Amazon links for browsing, reviewing, or buying:

Children of My Heart by Gabrielle Roy
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill (winner)
The Song of Kahunsha by Anosh Irani
Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor
Natasha and Other Stories by Ben Bezmozgis
This isn't a post to say I don't like The Fray. There's a couple of songs I liked on that last album, and they got a lucrative career ahead of them in the booming "Songs To Play Over A Montage on a Medical Show" genre ( I'm confident that section will be in HMV and iTunes shortly, where you'll also find Snow Patrol, Coldplay, and Damien West).

But damn, they just won't stop playing "How to Save A Life" aka The Grey's Anatomy song on the radios in my workplace. Thank God for my headphones, but 4 times daily is just too much Fray. It's like when that one really good song comes out in the summer gets played to death, like "Hey Ya!" by Outkast or "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. I recommend re-visiting "Hey Ya!" and slowly re-introduce it into your music rotation. It's a remarkable song with some insane rhythms, and it's been long enough that you don't hear it as often. A little too recent to sit through "Crazy" just yet, maybe next year.

And while we're on the subject, why am I hearing Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen" daily now? I thought I left that tune back in the 80s, along with Smurfs and the lawn darts that were actually darts. I know that there's a funny running gag in the show Everybody Hates Chris, which is set in the 80s, with the little sister being a huge Billy Ocean fan while everyone else is into Michael Jackson. And same on Scrubs:
J.D.'s narration: (While listening to Billy Ocean's Caribbean Queen) Ah Billy! After the Arctic and the Pacific, you're my favourite ocean.
Is Billy due for a William Shatner-like resurgence?

Links: YouTube - Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen
In support of my belief that anything will sell on DVD, now comes word that 80s sitcom Silver Spoons is coming to DVD in June, the show which gave us a young Rick(y) Schroeder and Alfonso Ribiero. Wasn't every second episode a "Very Special Episode" where we learned about child abuse, adolescent alcoholism, and not to shoot deer? I'm pretty sure a marathon of shows would leaving me pining for the wholesome, street level wisdom of Punky Brewster. And what the hell happened to the dad on the show, you don't even see him on the D-List reality show circuit. (Wiki - Silver Spoons)

This is on DVD, but there's still no "Night Court: The Best of Dan Fielding" box set?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No spoilers here, but it's all free in the comments:

Wow. I won't spoil it but that Battlestar Galactica season finale was wild and weird. I've only recently come in to the series in the past season, but that had to be the craziest 20 minute ending to any season of TV I can recall since Nate Fisher's "incident" on that last season of Six Feet Under or the finale of Angel.

I'll put the spoilery thoughts in the comments. Join me, won't you?

Monday, March 26, 2007

I just discovered Facebook last week, and it's addictive. Most of the folks I've been in touch with are high school friends I haven't seen in a decade. The site is like a yearbook crammed with the past 10 years of our lives.

For the benefit of those who haven't seen me in a while, here is a quick catch-up primer of me:

Things I Have Done Since High School

  1. Gained the ability to grow and maintain facial hair. Learned how to shave it off too.
  2. Contemplated a tattoo. Still thinking.
  3. Subscribed to Esquire and GQ and finally figured out how to dress myself .
  4. Developed an appreciation of good beer, wine, and gin & tonic.
  5. Learned to cook well, and to follow a recipe.
  6. Attended the Toronto Film Festival several times and grew to appreciate different genres of film. Except for that odd French one. That was unpleasant.
  7. Learned how to play poker.
  8. Become internet savvy.
  9. Changed from "not a sports person" to "casual sports guy who enjoyed the FIFA World Cup enough last year and yelled at the TV several times" .
  10. Learned to appreciate many different types of music, and to make an effort to support local acts.
Things I Have Not Done Since High School

  1. Grown a mullet .
  2. Gotten a piercing (I'm leaving life with the same number of holes I came in with. Unless I get shot).
  3. Have never subscribed to Guns & Ammos, People, or Cat Fancier.
  4. Developed a hardcore drug addiction. I know Trainspotting made it look glamourous, but those episodes of Party of Five scared me straight.
  5. Learned how to cook rice properly on a stovetop without burning it. Thank god for rice cookers.
  6. Appeared in adult films, no matter how "artistic" I was told it would be.
  7. Have not learned how to win at poker.
  8. Have not become a World of Warcraft addict, no matter how much fun staring into a computer screen for 8 hours straight and screaming "I pwned you Elven byatch!" appears to be.
  9. Figured out how to shoot pool without ricocheting a cue ball off the table at least once per night.
  10. Ever enjoyed Nickleback. Not once.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

You Are Fozzie Bear

"Wocka! Wocka!"
You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up.
If only your routine didn't always bomb!
You may find more groans than laughs, but always keep the jokes coming.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sci-Fi fans rejoice: "Battlestar Galactica's" 4th season boosted from 13 to 22 episodes Sci Fi Channel also announced that a 2-hour "Galactica" episode will air this fall that will bridge the gap between the third and the fourth season, which begins in January. Unless something changes drastically, I think the fourth season may be the last one.

Also, "Doctor Who" to return for a 4th series . The 3rd season debuts on BBC (and, hypothetically speaking on bit_torrent sites) at the end of the month, with a new companion. It will air on CBC later in the fall. I've been really enjoying this relaunch, first with Chris Eccleston as the hardass, tormented last survivor of the Time Lord, and David Tennant as the newer incarnation, who's always several steps ahead of everyone else and has a certain glee as The Doctor.

Sad news for lovers of brunch: James Chatto at Toronto Life brings word that beloved brunch and foodie spot Milded Pierce will shut its doors for good on July 31, 2007.

A reminder to tip the bartenders well in this scary story with a happy ending. A pair of bartenders are credited with stopping a man who slipped a date rape drug into his date's beer. After they confiscated the first beer by telling him it was from a spoiled keg, he tried the same thing again with the second beer, which wouldn't stop foaming like alka selzter and soda pop, and complained about the beer. The bartenders warned the potential victim while she ducked out for a smoke, at which point the cops were called and the beers handed over as evidence. The poor potential victim was on a first date with this scum bag and was understandably freaked out, but was saved harm thanks to the quick-thinking bartenders. The full story is here, and if you're ever you're in San Francisco, lift a pint to the wonderful bartenders at Noe's Bar .

Source: ALOTT5MA IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY AGAIN AND GO TO JAIL

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The big thing I've been doing in that last 2 months is that I dove headlong into renovating myself: tear it down and build it up again. I've gone off and on the idea of getting fit, but after New Year's and my birthday I decided to make an effort. To be specific, it was a moment when I saw some pictures from the holiday and realized that I wasn't happy with the shape I was in: rounded. I've never been 100% comfortable with my body (yes, men have body issues too), and now is the time to take action, to reinvent a new version of me.

  • I try to keep track of calories using a calorie counter, keeping to around 2000 a day. It's not a compulsive bite by bite analysis, but the odd day here and there, I enter everything I ate and get a framework to go from. An "at rest/sedentary" person of my age uses about 1800, so if I aim for 2000 with an active lifestyle (which uses about 2300), that should prompt the weight loss. Holy crap, I have an active lifestyle.
  • Part of that lifestyle comes from going to the gym 5 - 6 days a week now. One day full core training workout plus 30 minutes of cardio, second day is all cardio, and alternate with one day off to rest. I hope to mix a group class into there too, once I feel confident I can keep up. Building muscle is just basically tearing the muscle and giving it time to repair itself better than before, so rest is important.
  • I use Canada's Food Guide to map out how to cover all the food groups, with emphasis on whole grains, fruit and veg, and good cuts of meat.
  • I'm not on a diet, because diets are are limited in expectations and scope. You can't stick to a diet like South Beach or Atkins for your entire life, I think it's unrealistic. I just do a little research, cut out processed "ready to eat" meals (most are quite high in sodium), and fatty foods. The odd day off the plan is allowed, usually if I am eating out at a good restaurant or having a pint. I make up for it the next day. I don't want to live longer if I can't enjoy a good piece of cheese or the occasional scoop of ice cream.
  • I drink 2 litres of water per day. Good for the body, good for the skin. I've cut out soda pop (just a concentrated sugar delivery system). This switch alone can shave a pound or two off the average person.
  • Of course I have playlists set up in the iPod to keep me motivated while I workout, especially for cardio, where I tend to get bored. This ALOTT5MA article has good recommendations for what songs are ideal for working out, and has some song suggestions. I am citing this as the reasons that I have Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" on my iPod. Stop judging me Judgy McJudgerson.
  • I still have pain in my left foot when I run and weakness in that ankle, so until I see an orthopedist I do my cardio on the elliptical machines, 30 - 45 minutes.

The best way for me to get into things like this is to get obsessed with it, make fitness a hobby. As the crate of E-Bay obtained Simpsons figures sitting in the basement attests to, I can get quite involved when I get fixed on a hobby/goal.

I set out and timed everything out: I had my annual physical set up the weekend before I started at a gym. Whenever I asked my doctor about an ache or pain that I had, and the answer came back "dropping weight would change that", I was able to come back "I'm on it". Now I have some stats to use as a starting point. If there's one thing we neurotic geeks like, it's stats.

I did my research and decided to join
Goodlife Fitness. I've had bad experiences with other clubs that screwed me over when I tried to quit or take time off, and others where I've felt too much of a "jock" atmosphere to feel comfortable. Goodlife was quite good at getting me started: I caught the end of the January New Year's special so it was only $1.00 to join, with no initiation or starting fees. They also had a start-up special where I received 6 sessions with a trainer for $120, where we set up a workout, looked at body composition, measurements and nutrition, and got everything in motion.

They bill by-weekly and the membership at one club gets you access to all the clubs in the chain, something that appealed to me because I commute. The only hiccup was that I've found the Union Station club, where I get my train home, is at a higher membership level. I've since transferred the membership down here and found that I am going to the gym far more frequently, as I finish work, go to gym, and then get the late train home.

All told, I seem to be doing well. I had a brief lapse when, after a week of fitness and nutrition, my body rebelled and caught a bad case of the flu. I guess the reduction in fats and increase in oxygen in the blood startled my system into shock. "Dude! What the hell is this?", and it went into a reset mode that knocked me out for a week or so. Nutrition was fine, but it was 2 weeks before I was back at the gym.

Here I am then, about a month and a half (a month if you cut out the sick time) and I feel and look better. Some of the various aches and pains have disappeared, my back is getting better. I dropped 7 lbs. so far, not counting the increase of muscle mass. Yes, I now have muscle mass. And lung capacity. And blood flow. Awesome.

I'll put an update up here once in a while. Accountability improves my commitment to this fitness plan. If anyone wants some tips, fitness playlists of music, or a reference to check out Goodlife, drop me a line.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anyone who has spent time with me in the past few weeks may have noticed I've been telling a better class of story lately. I know, most of you assumed I've always been a good storyteller and a sparkling Sedaris-like wit, but the truth is I've just been repeating things I've heard on This American Life. So here's your chance to listen while cutting out the middleman, namely me.

This American Life has been available as a podcast through iTunes for the past few weeks, and it really has become a highlight of my week when the new episode comes down the pipe. In short summary, every week they present 3 or 4 true stories based around a theme: kid logic, game shows, star-crossed love.

The stories can be funny, quirky, heartbreaking, empowering: the tale of a Russian teen shipwrecked within sight of Manhattan, the strange story of a boy who wanted to see his dead father again so badly that he grew up and made profound discoveries on time-travel and quantum physics, or a moving piece on the most unlikely game show contestant in the world.

This last week's episode, "What I Learned From TV", had me stifling laughs in the office: host Ira Glass confessing how he shed a tear when The O.C. ended, Sarah Vowell enlightening me that we have The Fonz to thank for Thanksgiving, David Rakoff screamingly funny attempt to force himself to watch 29 hours of TV for the first time in years, and Dan Savage talks about saving his son from something on TV that offends even him.
It is like watching paint dry: stupid, shallow, fake breasted, Republican paint.

- David Rakoff on watching "The Real Housewives of Orange County"
Anyway, I've rambled on. Just do yourself a favor and go check out This American Life. If you don't believe me, then trust The O.C.'s Summer, who replied when Seth said he was listening to This American Life:
"Oh, is that that show where all those hipster know-it-alls talk about how fascinating ordinary people are?"
Yeah, it is. They like it too.

Links:

This American Life

'American Life's' Glass, Throwing His Voice in Public, an article on Ira Glass, host of This American Life
I know: bad, bad blogger. I've been busy at work lately, so I haven't had as much time to blog lately. But fear not, I have things to keep you occupied. Such as this LOL funny damn story, which proves life and circumstance writes better comedy than anything sitcom writers could come up with

Isaac Spaceman from the ALOTT5MA site made a fatal error: he chose to fly on an airline. Said airline was United Airline. Thankfully Spaceman saw the humour in it as he was continually disavowed of his assumption that air travel is efficient and bears the best interest of the customer in mind. Here Spaceman presents a letter on behalf of United Airlines to its customers who were stuck at the Reagan National Airport, in a several scenes likely mirrored across North America.
We regret that you maintained good humor, struck friendships with each other, and helped each other out when possible. Had you not been in such better moods than us, we would not have been forced to call in the airport police to maintain order.

We regret that you were upset when the airport police’s first action upon being called to maintain order was to tell you that, to maintain order, we should be shutting down the terminal early and sending you home after six or eight hours in line, but that you could come back and get in line again at 4:00 the following morning. Immediately, order began to dissolve, proving us right. We regret that you disappointed us in this way.
And don't miss the Further Adventures of Spaceman in ANY FOOL CAN MAKE A RULE, AND ANY FOOL WILL MIND IT, as he did as the airline advised and showed up the next day to rebook, only to jump through hoops once again.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Anyone looking for St. Patrick's Day plans is welcome to meet me down at The Overdraught 156 Front Street West [below Joe Badali's Restuarant by Jack Astors] Toronto on Saturday night. They'll be live music, beer, food, beer, whiskey: just as our forefathers meant it to be.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Whilst warming up for the weekend at The Overdraught last night, a bunch of folks rolled in late. It was a party that was kicked down to the pub from the upstairs restaurant. One of the insufferable lot had the nerve to ask the bartender to "Turn down that f'n Irish music" that was playing on the speakers after the band finished.

It's an Irish bar. The bartender is half-Irish. It's the start of St. Paddy's day weekend. The place is awash in Guiness flags and shamrocks.

Get your ignorant ass out of the bar and go drink at East Side Mario's, unless you want to have a word with Mickey Spillane and F. Scott Fitzgerald (my Irish fist name).

Early Irish fist name drafts:

Peter O'Toole and Colin Farrell
PJ O'Brien and Finn McCool
Bono and Sinead
Chief O'Brien and Fit Finlay
Banshee and Lucky Charms
Daniel Day Lewis and Liam Neeson
Cranberries and Van Morrison

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Co-worker: That's a very nice colour shirt today Jason. That colour is going to be very popular this year, very smart.

Me: Thanks.

Co-worker: Yes, I saw a lot of the women on the Oscars wearing that colour.

Me: Er, thanks?
I was at a family dinner last night, and I ended up explaining about Craigslist, the free online community billboard (Wiki). It's essentially a free community billboard, full of job ads, items for sale, houses and apartments, personal ads, just about anything really. It's how I found those last two roommates and I had a much better return rate than paying for ads in the local papers.

Somehow the conversation turned to my family asking why I wasn't in a computer-related job field. Apparently the fact that I know how to find North America's 8th most popular website should translate into some sort of income generating business (yes, it's called "Google"). Then I was asked how come I hadn't thought of it first. I decided not to get into a "no one gets rich off a free public forum", and fortunately their attention returned to Entertainment Tonight and the search for Anna Nicole's baby's daddy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions went off without incident on Monday night. R.E.M.: , Patti Smith, The Ronettes, Van Halen and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were all made members of the hall, with Grand Master Flash being the first rap inductee, prompting thoughts that the name of the hall should be changed to be a bit more inclusive of genres.

As with other years, this class was not without controversy. The only members of Van Halen to make the gig were Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. Eddie's in rehab, and Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth were in a snit and declined to attend. And then there's The Ronettes, who went out of their way not to thank their producer(and lead singer Ronnie Spector's ex-husband) Phil Spector, currently awaiting trial on murder charges, whose Wall of Sound technique was as much a part of their success as the trio's singing. Just pop on Be My Baby with a pair of good headphones and crank it. Astounding.

Steve Hyden at the Onion AV Club wrote an article about R.E.M.'s shrinking legacy. I've listened to R.E.M. for years. The Out of Time album was the first CD I ever bought, and I played the hell out of their back catalogue in my late teens/early 20s, but I stopped buying after the sublime New Adventures in Hi-Fi was followed up by UP, the first album after drummer Bill Berry left. I'm not saying they aren't deserving of accolades, but it's been a looooong time since I felt the need to go buy an REM disc, let alone on the release date. Pearl Jam, U2, and Oasis have all seemed to fallen into that category with me: love the older stuff, still listen to the occasional new single, and they could justify me buying a ticket to an arena show, but I can't say any of their releases in the past 5 years have really got me excited like they used to. Green Day, The Beastie Boys, David Bowie, and Radiohead still have that power to get me as excited now as they did when the first albums came out, and that's even after Green Day put out Warning, so never dismiss the possibility of the comeback album.

With new inductees eligible 25 years after the release of their first album, next year's potential nominees looks pretty lively: Metallica, Madonna, and the Beastie Boys are all eligible. In the next few years, we're going to see more nominees that reflect the rise and fall of arena rock (Metallica, Guns and Roses), the increased popularity of rap (Run DMC), and the rise of indie music that would pave the way for grunge (The Pixies, Flaming Lips, and Sonic Youth).

Friday, March 09, 2007

Captain America’s "death" was the feature of last night’s “THE W├śRD” segment on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report:

  • When you say a dramatic statement like "I'm done dating girls. I'm only going to date women!", try not to pause after "I'm done dating girls". Someone jumped to conclusions...

  • You can put a slice of tenderloin wrapped in a potato pancake on a plate with 3 sprouts and a cherry tomato, call it a salad, and charge $16.

  • Ghostbusters was originally intended to team Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Eddie Murphy. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis initially wrote the script with roles written especially for Belushi, Eddie Murphy and John Candy. However, Belushi died due to a drug overdose during the writing of the screenplay, and neither Murphy nor Candy could commit to the movie due to prior commitments, so Aykroyd and Ramis shifted some of these changes around and polished a basic, yet sci-fi oriented screenplay for their final draft. (Wiki) (It has been rumoured that Slimer was jokingly referred to as "the ghost of John Belushi" on set.)

  • John Belushi died 25 years ago this week, March 5th, 1982. Rob Salem at the Toronto Star had an excellent piece on Belushi last weekend, where he pointed out that his role as Bluto in Animal House, if you removed the dialogue, was a fantastic emotive piece of silent acting on par with Buster Keaton. The scenes where he tries to cheer up Flounder by smashing plates on his own head, or when he plays music critic at the frat party still kill me, and nary a work of dialogue aside form a mumbled "sorry" to the musician.

  • Premiere magazine is ceasing publication this month. It was a trailblazer in it's day, once the only source of info for cinephiles and movie geeks, with in-depth essays and interviews. It's hard for them to compete these days, with their monthly issue not being able to satisfy movie fans who get Entertainment Weekly or hundreds of websites. After high school, reading Premiere expanded my knowledge of movies and cinema, and contributed to the pop culture neurotic you all know and love today. The Premiere website will continue: they've posted a fun article on the Top 20 Worst Post-Oscar Career Choices. It's not just Cuba and Halle Berry: Robin Williams followed up his win for Good Will Hunting with Patch Adams (the clowning doctor treacle).

Perception:

I come into the office this morning. I'm wearing the same clothes as the day before, and humming Steady As She Goes by The Raconteurs. I'm practically glowing, with a bounce in my step. Draw your conclusions.

Reality:

I went for dinner with friends last night. A long evening of food and wine led to me crashing in their guest room. I rode the subway into work this morning with one of my friends, and we laughed all the way as we re-lived some of the previous night's details. I came out of Union Station to find the weather was beautiful, the sky clear, and the sun bright. It was the first time in months that it was nice enough to walk the route from the station to work outside rather than the commuter tunnels. I arrive at work, get my spare sweater and bathroom kit I keep in my desk. I change, freshen up and I'm good to go. Steady as she goes indeed.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yesterday we officially hit the 10,000th visitor milestone. I know some blogs get higher readership, but for a site about nothing in particular, I'm kind of proud. Thanks to all my readers and drop-ins. If you were on the site around 5-ish yesterday for about half an hour, give me a heads up, I'd like to know who you are.

I'll post more in the next few days. Works been busy and so has my social life. My Dad's 60th Birthday surprise party went off quite well this weekend. I'll also chat about dining at Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar and seeing T.V. On The Radio later too, a tag team combination that satisfied all the senses.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Those amusing cavemen ads for Geico insurance are being developed into a pilot for next season, about 3 cavemen coping with modern life in Atlanta. Here's the kicker: word comes down today that it's being developed as a drama, not a sitcom. This must be an early April Fool's joke:
ABC's "Caveman" is intended to be a drama, not a sitcom
The creator of the Geico ad campaign, Joe Lawson, says his pilot will in fact be a "powerful drama" about the "prejudice the cavemen experience in their everyday lives." Lawson tells David Kronke: "'Cavemen' will be a powerful drama about social misunderstandings and ignorance, and about how these brave and enduring men struggle to find their way and strive to correct the misperceptions about their kind. It will force viewers to examine the ugly preconceptions that lie within their own hearts and serve as an uplifting saga of men who overcome irrational hatred to inspire a nation

TV Tattle.com
FYI: The actor who plays Ted "Radioactive Man" Sprague on Heroes is Matthew John Armstrong, and he does not play the Geico Caveman. Apparently he gets asked alot.
Potential spoilers, stop reading if you're not caught up!




Heroes Episode 18: Parasite

Hiro gets a sword.
Nathan gets a gun.
Linderman gets cooking.
Mama makes a move.
HRG gets a creepy hot partner.
Simone gets a last word.
Isaac gets a needle.
Jessica gets La Femme Nikita.
Niki gets out.
Mohinder mans up.
Sylar has some tea.
Peter gets a haircut.

Sorry folks, that's the last episode until end of April, when Heroes finishes up the season going full throttle in the final 4 episodes. It'll be back for sure next season.

Proper recap at Television Without Pity: Heroes S01E18: Parasite

Sunday, March 04, 2007

If any of my friends and associates have been emailing me at my Rogers account this past month and didn't get a reply, I wasn't ignoring you: I just found that several email addresses were somehow added to my Blocked Address list by accident. If you were on that list, then your email was automatically deleted by my account. I've reset the blocker, so if you sent something in the past week or so, please just resend it to be sure. Thanks.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why do I go by the2scoops?

2 Scoops (Two Scoops) was a nickname Randy gave me back in high school. Back before there was the internet, you'd have to read magazines and newspapers to know what was going on, and I always seemed to have the scoop on bands, TV shows and news around school. And that evolved into 2 scoops, "one scoop intelligence, the other scoop was wit". We were bored in Geography and wrote a theme song. No, I don't have an Mp3.

When I started an email account, Two Scoops was taken, so I went with the2scoops. And it stuck. It's a way to establish a bit more of a unique web presence, as there are several Jason Carlin's with higher web profiles.

What's Pepperpot?

Pepperpot is a meat stew, stewed meat dish, strongly flavoured with cinnamon, hot peppers, and Cassareep - a special sauce made from the Cassava Root. It's from Guyana, usually served around holidays, and can be made up of all types of meat, but usually pork or beef. The meat cuts are usually odds and ends, hence why I use it to label my posts that are just a bunch of odds and ends with some flavour.

Why are my TV news posts labeled "Teeth on The Dial"?

Before TV's had remote controls as a standard, we turned the channels using things called "knobs" or "dials". When I was a child, about 3 or 4, I lacked the strength to manipulate and turn the dial by hand. And dammit, nothing was going to stop me from watching Captain Kangaroo, Barbapapa or Sesame Street. I found if I bit down on the channel dial, which was at about head height, I could use the rest of my body to torque and turn the channel. This went on for about a year, and over time the channel dial became covered in bite marks.

The A.V. Club lists 13 sidekicks who are cooler than their heroes.

Answering a dilemma that every parent must now face: Adam at
ALOTT5MA questions how to introduce your child to the Star Wars films -- in the order in which we saw them (IV-VI, then I-III), or in the order in which they go chronologically (I-VI)? Discussion takes place in the comment thread. And remember that if you argue for chronological order:

  • Kids also love trade disputes. Nothing like a blockade to get the little ones' juices running. And constitutional crises involving the balance between legislative and executive power. Also, speaking of young ones, that massacre at the end of Sith is bound to please the 5-to-8-year-old set. argument against chronilogical order - Russ at ALOTT5MA

The Shins are interviewed by John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) in a mutual lovefest at Filter Magazine

LHB provides
The Q Magazine List of 100 Places To Find Free Music Online

Rolling Stone lists "the best songs to play while drinking whiskey."

Chartattack lists the ten Canadian indie albums vying for CBC's Galaxie Rising Stars Award.

HARP chats with the new guitarist for Modest Mouse, Johnny Marr. As in formerly of The Smiths. THAT Johnny Marr. Wow.

Get in a Seussical mood on the 50th Anniversary of Cat in The Hat with
Dylan Hears a Who

Sources:
ALOTT5MA and LargeHeartedBoy