Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm never as good as when you're there.

I'm going through a musical transformation of sorts.  It happens to me every few years where I rediscover a different side of myself and fall deeply in love with the art of music and musicianship so much so that I feel like I can't stand it anymore.  Lost in a trance, I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favourite movies of all time, Almost Famous, where Band-Aid Saphhire describes love of music actually quite perfectly.

"they don't even know what it is to be a fan.  you know, to truly love some silly little piece of music, or some much that it hurts."

I totally get that.

What I'm listening to right now that's got me in this mood.
Metric - All Yours
Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
The Entire Temper Trap Album

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dwight Schrute for Regional Manager!

It's sad but apparently true that next season will be Steve Carell's last as top dog of Dunder Mifflin.  The current season has just now ended and already the search has begun to pick a replacement from the well-deserving Dunder Mifflin employees in want of a promotion.

I don't know why anyone would even consider anyone else, when we all know Dwight should be the next manager!  I mean, can you imagine? Company retreats at Schrute Farms with Cousin Mose!  And here are the Top 10 Reasons, in his own words of course, why Dwight Schrute should be the new boss of Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

He has all the right experience:
"Because although I don't have a lot of experience with vampires, but I have hunted werewolves.  I shot one once, but by the time I got to it, it turned back into my neighbour's dog."

He's quick on his feet:
"I am fast.  To give you a reference point I am somewhere between a snake and a mongoose...and a panther."

Determination runs in his family:
"I come from a long line of fighters.  My maternal grandfather was the toughest guy I ever knew.  World War Two veteran killed twenty men and spent the rest of the war in an Allied prison camp.  My father battled blood pressure and obesity all his life.  Different kind of fight."

He's ambitious for power:
"Once I'm officially Regional Manager, my first order of business will be to demote Jim Halpert.  So I will need a new number two.  My ideal choice? Jack Bauer.  But he is unavailable.  Fictional  And overqualified."

He's economical:
"Why tip someone for a job I'm capable of doing myself?  I can deliver food.  I can drive a taxi.  I can, and do, cut my own hair.  I did however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones."

He's a survivor:
"In the wild, there is no health care. In the wild, health care is, ‘Ow, I hurt my leg. I can't run. A lion eats me. I'm dead.’ Well, I’m not dead. I’m the lion. You’re dead."

He thinks before he acts:
"Before I do anything I ask myself, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing."

He's (kind of?) loyal:
"Would I ever leave this company?  Look, I'm all about loyalty.  In fact, I feel like part of what I'm being paid for here is my loyalty.  But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more lighly, I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most."

He knows exactly who he is:
"How would I describe myself?  Three words: hard working, alpha male, jackhammer...merciless...insatiable."

And the #1 reason Dwight Schrute should be the new Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin is because he's unbreakable.
"When my mother was pregnant with me, they did an ultrasound and found she was having twins.  When they did another ultrasound a few weeks later, they discovered that I had absorbed the other fetus.  Do I regret this?  No, I believe his tissue has made me stronger.  I now have the strength of a grown man and a little baby."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mad about Mad Men!

What a great age for TV.  With such compelling choices of shows to watch, it's a wonder I even join the real world every once in a while.  What makes good TV, anyway? Well, to me, its all about dynamic characters, the originality of a story, and that X factor that keeps viewers tuning, not only each week but each season.  And no where in there is anything to do with reality TV - It's just NOT quality.

On Sunday, we were once again taken back to the 1960s, to the magical world that is Mad Men.  Back to the fabulous fashions, mid-day cocktails, and Don's debauchery.  It's weird that I even find myself attracted to this show, which takes place in a decade I have absolutely no actual attachment to.  It's not nostalgia that's got me hooked, but I guess it's a fascination with what I don't know and never got to live through.  It's a glimpse at the glamorousness that was the early 1960s, when life was just starting to get complicated (ahem, Betty and Don's divorce) but when people still put in that extra effort to look and act a certain way - refined I guess.  Although as Mad Men viewers, we know that to be untrue for the characters we love, who are mostly so morally bankrupt (especially when it comes to relationships), and we see that even at that time, things were not as they seemed.  There was something impure lurking behind the facade of white picket fences.  Yet, here I was feeling so completely sorry for Don Draper (the beautiful John Hamm).  How is it possible to feel sorry for such a flawed character, who has a hidden past, and cheated on his wife repeatedly and without a shred of remorse?!  What is it about the elusive Don that still has women swooning and yes, secretly hoping for a Betty and Don reunion.  Anyways, it was a great start to what will be an interesting season.

On a side note, I thought it was hilarious that we got an early look at an ad agency trying out buzz marketing.  And of course, in typical tongue-in-cheek Mad Men fashion, Don makes sure to tell Peggy to "Try and stay away from these kind of shenanigans".  Of course he's referring to the PR stunt that Peggy thought up, to get some buzz around their client.  It's funny how PR stunts and event marketing tactics are now the norm.  By the way, how cool is it that Mad Men had a premiere event last Sunday, where people dressed in their best 60s attire, and gathered in Times Square.

Sundays are a TV addict's worst nightmare right now.  True Blood, Mad Men and the now-dwindling Entourage (although I am still tuning in out of loyalty.)

If you haven't checked out Mad Men, here's what you missed on Sunday:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July, in a nutshell.

Things I'm loving right now:

Lady Gaga: Oh my Gaga.  Last week’s concert at the ACC was one of the best I’ve ever been to.  And guess what, she danced and sang at the same time with No lip-syncing!  See Britney, it can be done.  Her voice is amazing.  Gaga sings (and sometimes yells) straight from the heart and it’s so raw when she does.  People tend to get distracted by the costumes and fa├žade of her image and button-pushing videos, but when you strip all that away and it’s her sitting at a piano, belting out a song like Speechless, you are left speechless at how breathtakingly beautiful the experience of it is.

True blood Season 3: I can’t even explain how excited I get on Sunday nights (actually, I usually watch on Monday nights) when I get to slip into the magical and most of the time, very colourful Bon Temps and get to live in this world were sexy vampires and werewolves cause a lot of ruckus.  Growing up watching Buffy and now with this Twilight craziness, this is obviously something so relevant, especially teens, no matter what the decade.  Something about eternal love just makes us girls swoon!  That and Alexander Skarsgard.

Vanessa Marcil’s upcoming return to GH: I’m regularly googling her name this week, just to make sure she’s still planning on reprising her epic role as Brenda on GH.  I know I may seem ridiculous at doing that but who the hell cares.  According to one post I found, the official date is August 11.

The Hills is finally over so maybe now I can look forward to the beginning of the end of reality TV? – HA.  I literally laugh out loud at the thought.  It’s probably just wishful thinking, but that would be just divine.  I’m so sick of having to get through endless reports on Jake, Vienna and company just to see some actual entertainment news.  (I do, however, appreciate the absurdity that is Jersey Shore, a guilty pleasure of mine as; you are free to judge my hypocrisy.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Beginning of The End.

Entourage is definitely on its way out.  It's a natural course that all shows must go through until finally, they're just done.  Sunday's episode was basically Ari running around like a chicken with his head cut off, E doing absolutely NOTHING at work when he's supposed to be some big-shot agent now.  (On a side note, big shot agent repping Bob Saget?, who hasn't had a hit-anything since Full House?)  And Lloyd, my favourite of Ari's endless past assistants, has even lost his shine with the classic and witty Ari-Lloyd banter taking a backseat to his new job as agent.  And, correct me if I'm wrong, but the biggest thing that happened last episode was Vince cut his hair.  I get that it's a 'big deal' since he's had his Screech-like curly-do since the beginning and we've kind of come to the end here.  Unofficially, of course.  But, really, I think the show has run its course.  Us die-hard fans will keep watching no matter what, but there's only so much time I can spend watching a show where nothing actually happens.  Ahem, Hills fans will know what I'm talking about here.

The problem with Entourage is that all the characters individually are so dynamic and awesome that it's hard, in the ridiculously short half-hour, to really give enough screen time and credit to each character.  Remember back in the show's heyday when Drama first shouted 'VICTORY!' or when Ari first uttered the now infamous term, "Let's Hug it Out, Bitch!"  I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no iconic element to this season so far.  It’s definitely become more about putting in as many famous faces as possible, than really delivering fresh stories each season. 

And on that note, let’s take a little trip with the boys from Queens, to probably one of the most memorable scenes of the series.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh Canada!

July 5th, 2010: the hottest day of the year so far, and ironically, the day much of Toronto was left A/C-less with a blackout of power and gridlocked rush-hour traffic going home.

It’s funny and amusing to me, seeing Torontonians (including me) scramble for our iPhones to check Twitter to confirm what’s happening right outside our doors. 

See, I spent last October in East Africa where blackouts are common, planned occurrences and locals (not tourists, who stay in generator-run hotels) manage to survive entire days with no power or light, so I find days like today amusing.

Once again, we directly ran to Twitter where the first tweet confirming a blackout on my Twitter feed was not from any news agency or so-called official source, but from Toronto super-blogger Casie Stewart.  Thought that was pretty cool, especially considering the same kind of thing happened last week with the earthquake when news agencies were significantly behind Twitter users, definitely opening our eyes to the social media revolution.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

ECLlPSE Post-Premiere

Wow.  So I've always known that box office results do not represent the quality of a film, but what amazes me is Twilight's ability to keep surpassing its own records.  Apparently, the movie has already, in the first 5 days of its release, brought in about $161 million in North America.  Also, in just midnight screenings alone on the first night, the movie brought in over $30 million, breaking the record set by New Moon.

Although extremely cheesy and overly dramatic, Eclipse surprised me in that it managed to stay true to the book (very unlike the first two disastrous movies), and was successful in finally admitting the nature of the Twilight movies. They're cheesy, high-school, melodramas meant to touch the hearts of young, hopelessly romantic girls longing for always and forever (hence the vampire-draw) love.  Well, the movie did all of that but also, it allowed us to laugh in between the oh-so-serious fight scenes, at silly one-liners like Jacob's , "We both know I'm hotter than you", and pretty much every scene Bella's dad is in.

Anyways, a big thank you to Krysta who graciously invited me to the American Express Front of the Line premiere in Toronto, where we bumped into the very cute werewolf, Jared (Bronson Pelletier), and ate yummy snacks post-movie.  Also, if you've never been in the Elgin Theatre, make sure you check it out - it's gorgeous inside.

I Heart the Geek

The Laws of Attraction are weird and unexplainable.  Take for instance, mainstream America’s growing attraction to the underdog.  Pop Culture has officially welcomed the age of the Geek.  I like to pinpoint it to the first season of The OC, where Seth Cohen stole every girl’s heart, including that of California girl, Summer. 

Gone are the days of the popular jock, now coming in second to the emo-loving, tech-savvy, comic book enthusiast of today.  With the growing popularity of geeky comedies like Superbad and Knocked Up, awkward boys like Michael Cera and Seth Rogen are attractive, I think, because when hairlines recede and good looks fade, there has to be something more than the superficial.

Actually, comedians have kind of always been exempt from the conventional romance rules of Hollywood.  Guys like Jim Carrey and Kevin James (from King of Queens) get the girl even while not exactly having Brad Pitt-like good looks.

It's kind of like the fairy tales we all grew up with, like Aladdin, where audiences identify with seeing the street urchin end up with the princess.

My Top 5 Geeks of All-Time:

#5 Steve Urkell  from Family Matters.  The stereotypical geek, Steve had the too-short pants kept up with suspenders, plaid shirts and oversized glasses, not to mention the annoying nasal-y voice.  But, his alter-ego Stefan Urquelle shows us that beneath every geek there’s a smooth guy just waiting to get out, so you should stick around for when that happens.   

#4 Carlton Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  So annoying and such the tattle-tale, with his endless supply of sweaters and preppy clothes, poor guy pretty much never got the girl.  Not to mention his obsession with Tom Jones...And the Carlton dance, ohhhh the dance.

#3 Duckie Dale from Pretty in Pink.  Molly Ringwald’s best friend, complete with the goofy hair, shoes, and desperation.  He wasn’t cool enough to get into the hottest spot in town but always waited for his beloved, red-headed Andie.  Jon Cryer will always be remembered for serenading Andie with Otis Redding’s Tenderness.

#2 Samuel (Screech) Powers from Saved by the Bell.  Zack Morris’ best friend with a heart of gold!  For some reason, Saved by the Bell never actually followed typical High School conventions.  At Bayside, the head cheerleader hung out with the class valedictorian and the biggest geek in school.  With that said, Screech’s goofiness and cluelessness made the show what it was, comic gold for the 80s, and somehow, still in syndication almost 20 years later.

#1 Dwight Schrute from The Office.  From his awkward display of useless knowledge on bears and beets, to his love of Battlestar Gallactica, he gets #1 for being so uncool that he’s cool.  He wears his geekiness as a badge of honour, embracing what he loves and stands for, and does so with so much confidence that he transcends the traditional characteristics of the geek, creating a new genre with his unique personality.