Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Crucible, Part III -- Reality Check

Once I had decided to ask someone for help, I got a temporary burst of focus and organization. In a shocking turn of events, I decided it would not be a good idea to smoke meth before heading over to talk to my former boss. I opted for coffee instead.

Cup in hand, I walked over and asked to see her. When she came out to the lobby to meet me, she said something that I thought was odd then, but find really hilarious now. She told me I looked the same as I had six years ago -- that I hadn't aged. Oh honey, I've aged. Trust me, I've aged.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happier Holidays!!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year (especially now that I don't have to wear five layers of clothes just to take the trash out). But there's no denying it's not quite what it used to be. Granted, part of that is simply growing up. There's virtually no way to continue to see things with the wonder and joy of a child year after year after year.

Still, some of it is operator error -- and therefore correctable to a certain degree. Here are my suggestions for making the holiday season better. Some of them are simple; some are more complicated; others are simply fantasy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Message From the Universe

Could it be any clearer?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Crucible, Part II

Note: If you're looking for The Crucible, Part I, don't. I actually wrote it two years ago and read it at a meeting the night before my one-year anniversary, but I'm not ready to share it here yet. It was the 24 hours immediately preceding where this story picks up and there are just some parts of my story I'm not ready to let go of yet. I suppose you can just figure out from what I have been willing to share just how mortifying, terrifying and crazy it must be. Maybe one day.

[As always, sentences in italics are the voices in my head.]

I spent the very early hours of the morning (before sunrise) wandering around the seediest part of Avenue D hoping I'd get jumped and beaten to death. In retrospect, I really must have been out of my mind because I've only ever been punched in the face once and I thoroughly did not enjoy it.

I had left where I was staying because I was acutely aware of just how much I was scaring my friend and his boyfriend with my psychotic behavior. I should say that while I was aware of how much I was scaring them, I wasn't sure if they were scared for me or of me. It makes me sad just to write that. This friend (I guess eventually I'll have to give him a pseudonym) had been unconditionally supportive for months and my behavior had become so increasingly erratic that I thought it would have been valid for him to feel either way. Hell, even I wasn't sure what I was capable of at that point so I couldn't really assure him that he needn't be afraid of me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Idol Change Is Gonna Come (Like it or Not)

I wanted to wait until they were done making changes on the show before I wrote my thoughts on them. At this point, I'm not sure if they are done or not but with the show starting up again in about 50 days, I figured it was now or never. Plus, for reasons unknown I'm always more motivated to write at this time of year. I may miss some of the changes because I don't want this to be a six-hour project, but I'll try to hit all the biggies.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Help It Get Better Now

Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Billy Lucas.

I never met any of these kids. I never heard them speak. I don't even know where each of them is from exactly (without the help of Google). But I know them. How? Because I was them.

Anti-gay bullying isn't new. It's been going on for years. With the help of the webcams, blogs, texting and social networking sites however, it's become turbo-charged.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

U.S. Open 2010 Men's Preview

For only the third time in the Open Era, the defending champion will not be in the men's draw. It's a shame, because after beating Nadal and Federer back to back last year he looked like he might be ready to have a massive year. Instead, he lost at the Australian Open to Marin Cilic and hasn't played since because of wrist surgery. His absence and Federer's ordinary play at the last two majors open up the possibility of another first-time champion here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

U.S. Open 2010 Women's Preview

This is one of my favorite things to do right before the majors. It's much easier to do for the Open because the draw comes out on Thursday rather than Friday. The French Open is all but impossible because the draw comes out on Friday and play starts on Sunday. I should have the men's preview done by Sunday midday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I am posting this now that I'm lying in bed and ready to turn out the light, thus I can be virtually certain I will be waking up sober tomorrow. I didn't wait until now because I think that luck and superstition have been integral in keeping me sober for the last three years. I don't. I do, however, think being arrogant and cavalier about my sobriety is a great way to lose it. So, I decided not to jump the gun, even though I had no plans and knew I would be presented with no opportunities to get drunk or high tonight.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Say NO to Gay Rights...


This will probably be a short blog post (famous last words) because a lot has been said on this subject and I have very little to add -- but I do have a little. And if anyone knows anyone that works for Equality California, please feel free to forward them this link.

Right off the bat, let me proclaim this for all to hear: I DO NOT SUPPORT GAY RIGHTS OR GAY MARRIAGE. That's right. You heard me. What I do support are civil rights and marriage equality for everyone.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wimbledon Preview

Thank God for Wimbledon and tradition. The French Open now starts their tournament on a Sunday, which means the draw comes out Friday and in less than 48 hours play begins. That's not very much time to write up a proper preview -- especially when other things are happening.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Here's a question to contemplate: How did a season that brought us so much indifference and mediocrity climax with such a phenomenal finale?

And who else was worried that it might be the worst finale ever when the first performance was a ghastly top 12 group number as an intro to a gruesome Alice Cooper?

One other thing before we dive into the delightful duets and groups. Why was Kara dressed like Tarzan? OK. I feel better. We can begin.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

American Idol -- Finale: Part 1

Here we are at the Nokia Theater -- capacity 7,000 (at least it is for Idol). In a complete reversal of their personalities up to this point, Lee came down the aisle completely composed and casual while Crystal barely made it without falling down.

I don't know if it's just because I've been so down on this season all along, but it seemed like there was less fanfare and build up than usual. I seem to remember there being more emphasis on the "battle". Oh well. Here we go. I'm going to dispense with the number grades for each performance and just call a winner for each round (even though Simon wussed out this year and didn't do it).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lee vs. Crystal -- A Preview

So, I've made a decision. I am going to fully embrace the finale of American Idol. I initially thought I couldn't care less who won because this season was so tedious I didn't feel anything good could come from it.

The more I thought about it, though, I realized that even if you go all the way back to Hollywood week a case could be made that the right two people made it to the Nokia Theater. Forget the heart-rending cut of Angela Martin (actually, NEVER forget the cut of Angela Martin -- they still need to pay for that one). Never mind that Haeley Vaughn, Tim Urban and Jermaine Sellers had no business getting out of Hollywood week alive (I still contend they intended to put Jermaine Purifory through instead, but a producer screwed up and didn't want to admit the mistake). Let's even put behind us the ridiculous early eliminations of Lily Scott and (in my opinion only I know) Didi Benami.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

American Idol -- Top 3 Results

Let's start with the good news. According to Fox, next year they are trimming the results shows to 30 minutes. Michael Slezak from EW.com was asking readers what could be cut to "make the shorter show work?" Well, for several years the results shows were 30 minutes long all season, so how about if they just cut everything they added to bloat them to an hour.

American Idol -- Top 3

Kelly Clarkson -- Without You

Diana DeGarmo -- Don't Cry Out Loud

Bo Bice -- In a Dream (a capella)

Katharine McPhee -- Over the Rainbow

Kris Allen -- Heartless

Over the first eight seasons, the performances listed above were among the most memorable top 3 night performances. I listened to them all before I sat down to write this because I wanted to make sure what I was going to write was true.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

American Idol -- Top 4 Results

These results shows seem to last forever anymore. Not too much to report tonight. Everything went pretty much as expected.

Idol tour tickets go on sale this weekend. Has there ever been news that was more useless than that?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

American Idol -- Top 4

This is not the top four I imagined during the first week of the semi-finals. I figured Crystal would be here. I hoped Casey might survive. But I didn't see Lee or Mike making it this far. I had such high hopes for people like Lily Scott and Didi Benami. But this is what we're left with, so I guess we have to make the best of it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

American Idol -- Top 5

Last year, they did Rat Pack songs during top 5 week. This year, we've narrowed the scope to just Frank Sinatra. I was really worried about what might happen, at least until the show started.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

American Idol -- Top 6 Results

I just wrote this in real time as I was watching because I couldn't be bothered to take notes and then write it. I hate the results shows this year.

At least we're being spared a group number.

Why are they having four performances without any of them being former idols?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

American Idol -- Top 6

So, here we are at the top six -- a boring paint salesman, a generic high school student, a weird glass blower, a hippie-chick mother, an annoying father and a sexy construction worker (why did I not have any idea that Casey was a construction worker).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zen and the Art of Looking for a Job

Today has been a test of my faith, willingness and humility unlike any I've faced in the past 32 months. A day where someone looking for a job has three interviews should be a banner day, right? Therein lay the test. How do I get through a day that on the surface looks ideal, but is really just a nightmare? And not only get through it, but leave myself in a position to have a choice of which job I want.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

American Idol -- Top 7

So, here we are at the top 7. I have to say something about Alicia Keys being the mentor. When I suggested her in last week's blog, I had no idea she would be the mentor this week. However, when I suggested her, I wanted them to be singing songs from her catalog as well as having her as a mentor. So, I'm only half happy with how this week turned out in that regard. I'm barely half happy about how the week turned out in other regards.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Idol -- 9 Becomes 7

I'm just going to make 10 comments about last night's incredibly boring and predictable results show.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

American Idol -- Top 9 Redux

If I were really willing to follow the will of the universe, I'd probably just skip this week and move on. Just about everything is directing me that way:

First, they saved Big Mike last week. Even though I understood rationally why they did it, it's bothered me more and more as the week has worn on. Not only because I don't want to have to watch him gesticulating all over the stage one more time, but because I feel like in a season where only two or three people have even a remote chance of becoming a star you should not waste it saving someone that realistically should finish 6th or 7th.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Idol -- One Big, Happy Family?

In response to a question in the comments section of the last post, I figured I'd jot down some thoughts about the relationships between American Idol and some of its alumni.

Like almost any other organization with subgroups (seasons) and a varied membership, there are several different dynamics that play out. Different people from each season end up having similar types of interactions with the show. These are strictly my impressions, with little to no real research -- although I will back up my beliefs with relevant examples. And as with any family, it's not always black and white. Some people show up in one group occasionally, while really belonging to a different one altogether.

American Idol -- Top 9 Results

It's time for one of our top 9 to go home and the producers have told Ryan that the results will be shocking. Nothing would really shock me at this point, but let's see what they got.

First, Idol Gives Back is back. I thought the judges were joking about those auction items but after checking out the website -- Idol Gives Back Online Auction -- it appears that those are the exact items available.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

American Idol -- Top 9 -- The Lenin/McCarthy Songbook

C'mon, you know at least one of this musically challenged group had to google Lennon and McCartney to find out who they were. "Didn't we learn about them in history class?"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

American Idol -- Top 10 Results

Sorry this is so late. I couldn't get to it last night and by the time I get up in the morning it's already late for you guys on the east coast. I will try to do better next week. Fortunately, it's just a results show so there's no real urgency.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

American Idol -- Top 10

I was immediately worried when I saw that Kara was sleeveless again, but since they are introduced as they walk out on to the stage now she doesn't usually give us that big languorous wave anymore (and we are thankful).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

American Idol -- Top 11 Results

OK. This is very late and it may be short. Last night’s show hit an exceedingly high level on the boring scale, even as compared to other results shows.

We must have paused and gone frame by frame for five minutes trying to figure out what was up with the bloody women in the audience. I was only mildly surprised to learn they were fans of Siobhan – Siobhanbies. This girl gets “quirkier” every day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

American Idol -- Top 11

There is a note at the bottom of the screen at the beginning of the episode here. Five ugly, ugly words: Recorded from an earlier telecast. Blecch.

So, the other difference tonight is that I’m working without a net (No access to the performances while writing the post).

[Aside: That reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from Mad About You, which was popular the first time I lived in San Diego. Jamie (Helen Hunt) is talking to her sister Lisa about Lisa’s irresponsibility:
Jamie: That’s the problem. You’re out having fun and I’m running all over town with a net.
Lisa: Who’s Annette?]

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tunnel Vision

It's impossible to come through the Holland Tunnel one last time (for now) without thinking about all the trips through all the tunnels and over all the bridges over the last 12 years.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

American Idol -- Top 12 Results

I'll be really pissed about that stupid two-minute intro if they go overtime tonight.

I'm already tired of Simon and Kara being in each other's space.

Great. The judges' save is back. Sigh. (eyes rolling)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Idol -- Top 12

Note: Starting tonight, I will be posting this as a note on Facebook in addition to posting it on the blog. It feels like some people are reluctant to comment on the blog, so now there will be two ways to give your feedback.

They did this big intro for the judges and Ryan for last year's top 12 (13) show.

When Ryan re-acquainted us with the big stage, he mentioned 450 screaming fans. I had no idea the crowd was so small for these tapings. For whatever reason (naiveté?) I was under the impression that they were performing to about a thousand fans. I did, however, know that the exact number of lights and cameras was "galore" so that didn't surprise me at all. And finally, he told us that this was a platform truly suited for a superstar. How many times do you think Beyoncé is getting dressed and out of her house to do a show for fewer than 500 people?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AI -- Unveiling the Top 12

Let's get right to it.

I wonder if Paula gets irritated watching Simon and Kara buddy up to each other like that.

I think they should have made Randy don a bikini for the picture.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 8 Boys

This format of very little intro is difficult for me to get used to. I think they still haven't got the rhythm of the four judge format right yet. They may need to go to a 90-minute show when they get in the ten, nine, eight area this year. I don't think they will, but they should.

Here we go.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 8 Girls

Well, it's only an hour-long show tonight, so already it's better than the last two weeks. That was a little bit of a weird opening. First, Ellen and Simon allegedly hate each other. Now, she's sitting on his lap.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

AI Top 20 Results

I guess there will be a post tonight.

When will I learn to fast forward through these group numbers? And you know the ones that have never watched the show before (Crystal, Casey) have to be wondering what the hell they got themselves into.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 10 Girls

I haven't turned the TV on yet, but I want to say this upfront. This season is a chore right now. Five hours of this every week is making me really grouchy. I like the semi-final format they used last year a lot better because even if the entire group of eight or twelve or however many there were sucked, you had a whole new batch to look forward to the next week. I am dreading this.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 10 Boys

Thanks to the impending move, my computer is out in the living room with the television. That means I'll be taking my notes right in the word document. It could mean a superfast posting to the blog tonight. I guess you'll know when you're reading this how well the new setup worked.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

AI Top 24 Results

Well, I didn't do results show posts last year, but I think I will just do a quick one each week to give us a sounding off place.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 12 Boys

What the hell? Ryan, "This is American Idol" is sacred. Don't be screwing with it. I do not appreciate it.

First impressions -- Did Ellen come dressed to clean the studio? Even less armpit tonight from Kara -- keep it up girl. You might end up only being Hitler by the end of the season instead of Satan.

What was up with Randy saying the girls blew it out last night? Were you even watching dawg?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 12 Girls

The first live show of the season. It's a lot of pressure. What if I'm not as sharp as I'd like to be? What if my comments are flat or sharp or pitchy? What if I forget that American Idol isn't all about me?

We get a little bit of a shock right off the bat with the new seating arrangements. Ellen's sexual harassment story was cute, but let's face it, this move was designed specifically with Kara in mind. Simon's leaving at the end of the year. They've got this season only to get his stamp of approval on her. It's clear they are trying to position her as a more lucid Paula. Let's see how that works out for them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

American Idol -- The Top 24

It's finally over. From here on out, we get to see everyone perform whether the producers like it or not. Minor catastrophe here -- I left my notebook in my desk and I'm not going to have access to it for a couple of days. I could wait until I have my notes back to write this, but by then the topic would be so stale, I'd have to change the font color to mold. So, I'm going to wing it. I'll write a couple of things I remember wanting to comment on during the show (which will amount to next to nothing since I have the memory of an Alzheimer's patient that just went through electro-shock therapy), then I'll just list the top 24 and my thoughts on them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Idol Hollywood Round Feb 9 + 10

Finally, the audition episodes are over and it's time for the fun to begin. I've said it every year (numerous times) but I'll say it again. Get rid of at least one week of auditions and expand the Hollywood round so we can see more of the group performances and the final auditions. Those are what separate the true contenders from the rest of them. And, there are plenty of horrible performances during both to compensate for losing the chance to see pants on the ground one more time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

American Idol Auditions Feb 2+3 -- I Love Cheese

Two nights of auditions and barely anything to rant about. I guess this will be a short post. Also, I am writing this from Starbucks (27th and 6th) so I will not have the benefit of going back to Tivo to remind me what my notes mean.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

American Idol Auditions Jan 26-27 -- Hot n Cold

Technically, the title of this post should be Cold n Hot, because Tuesday's episode was the one that blew. But in deference to our second guest judge of this week, we went with the reverse.

This week we're in Los Angeles and Dallas, so there should be plenty of talent on display, right? We'll see.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

American Idol Auditions Jan 19-20 -- Two Hours of Torture

Note: My spellcheck program wants me to spell the words likable and lovable, but I prefer to use the e in both.

I'm torn. On one hand, I'd like to write two sentences and be done with this post so as not to waste more time on what might be the two worst episodes of AI I have ever seen.

On the other hand, I really feel like ranting uncontrollably about what a disgrace they were. I'm sure you can imagine which path I'm going to choose.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Australian Open Preview -- Men's Draw

In different ways, the men's side of the Australian Open was the most and the least consistent major during the last decade. To start the aughts -- before Roger and Rafa brought stability back to scene -- the US Open had five different champions in five years (if you go back to 1998 there was seven consecutive years of different winners); Wimbledon saw four different winners from 2000-2003; Gustavo Kuerten won the French in 2000-2001, but from 2001 to 2005 there were five different winners.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Australian Open Preview -- Ladies First

Here come my predictions for the least predictable major of the year. Seriously, I suppose it's because it's so early in the season and some people start better than others, but you can get some seriously crazy results down under.

American Idol Audition Episodes January 12-13, 2010

I'm not a huge fan of the audition episodes. There are far too many of them and they are far too manipulative. They already know who the top 24 are when these episodes start airing, yet they waste our time with back stories of people that are going to be cut the first day of Hollywood week. I understand it makes for good television in some instances, but it's at the expense of people that could actually do better in the voting episodes if we'd ever heard of them before the night they unveil the final 24.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tripping Down Memory Lane

Note: Statements made by the voices in my head are in italics.

Sobriety has often been, for me, one long episode of Samantha Who? (when a title has a question mark in it, putting a period at the end of the sentence looks weird so I am adding this parenthetical to make it less so). If you never saw the now-canceled Christina Applegate series, it's your fault I can no longer watch it. Oh, what I meant to say was, let me explain the premise. Samantha (C.A.'s character) is hit by a car and suffers amnesia. For the most part, she has no memory of her life before the accident, which is apparently a good thing because she was a self-centered, manipulative, vindictive b...person.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

20 Idol Performances I Can't Forget (and Five I Wish I Could)

Idol starts next week. Yaaaay! I can't wait. No, I really can't wait. So, to prep myself for the new season, I've gone back through the last eight seasons and picked my 20 most memorable performances (and five I wish I could forget). The only real criteria I used is that I had to remember them. I didn't comb through the internet trying to come up with my favorites. I did use the internet to help me remember exactly when they took place, but that's it. So here goes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Up till now, I've mostly written about the past. But since the beginning of a new year is all about hope for the future, I'm going to take a crack at writing about that.

I'm not big on garden-variety new year's resolutions. I'm not going to resolve to lose 20 pounds this year (although...). Nor will I be resolving to exercise more. Nor watch less TV (yeah, right -- American Idol starts in 10 days).

Instead, I'm going to try to figure out ways to improve my life from the inside out. The big new thing in working out is strengthening your core. Well, if that's true then working on my real core -- my soul -- is probably equally important.