Sunday, December 24, 2006

My Last Two Weeks: A Recap

It’s been a little while since I’ve written (besides the Guns N' Roses review), so here’s what's been going on:

-The Rodney Drive Christmas Tree shined brightly, but sadly, it dried out real fast. When we left the other day, it was really droopy and kind of sad looking. But before it got droopy and sad, here's what it looked like:
-Erin (my sister) was in town for a few days. Our first stop, naturally was In-N-Out, where she learned about the happiness known as Animal Style Fries. We did some Christmas shopping and witnessed the Griffith Park Christmas Light Extravaganza Thingy.

One of the highlights was the night Erin made dinner for us – a fabulous Chicken and pasta dish with homemade tomato sauces with pine nuts and turkey bacon. So good, and I ate the leftovers all week. Erin is welcome any time…as long as she promises to cook.

We also hit the annual “Dirty Santa” party at the Knauffs'. We had a $25 limit, so I gave “Arrested Development” season 3 and Yahtzee, Heather gave an emergency flashlight/lamp with a TV and AM/FM radio (which was what I gave her for an honorary Hanukah gift), and Erin gave the Amy Sedaris book along with a Margarita mix. Heather ended up stealing a box of cranberry lotions that smell really good. I ended up with gold: a $25 gift card to Best Buy. Second year in a row I ended up with exactly what I wanted. Not too shabby. Erin got a few martini glasses, a book of X-rated drinks, and an air freshener that says “I (heart) My Penis," which really, I hope she doesn't.


-Guns N’ Motherfucking Roses!! (Please see previous post)

-Work has been busier than ever. We’ve had a major (and somewhat insane) deadline to hit because we had to do a major re-tooling, and against all odds, I think we hit that deadline. It was really tough at moments, and we’re certainly “not out of the woods yet” (that’s an inside joke for those who may read this and may work with me), but we’re getting there. Now, if I can just survive the first week of January…

-Lots and lots of late night Christmas shopping. Wow, that kinda isn’t so fun. I started in early November this year, and I swore to myself: “I’m going to get this done early.” But, guess what, I didn’t. But at least I got everything done before I left town. And, to be honest, I think I did well with the gifts this year. I didn’t do a mad scramble around Best Buy and just grab DVD’s, CD’s, and other gadgets that I thought looked cool. I actually put some thought into my gifts. Well done, me.

-Heather and I exchanged our Christmas gifts, and Heather nailed it: she gave me this jacket I was looking at, as well as a guitar!!! A guitar, people!!! I’ve wanted a guitar for as long as I can remember, and now I have one, plus one guitar lesson. This is up there on the list of all-time Christmas gifts…maybe, the top of all time. Now, Patry and I are one step closer to getting our band, “Otto’s Jacket,” signed and touring.

-And the traveling began: we left the other day for NY and spent some time at Heather’s home. It was a short visit to NY for me (a day, basically), but, I got to play Nintendo Wii (I don’t want to brag, but I am very good at bowling), helped buy the Christmas tree (for a bargain price of $20) off a local farm-like place...

...went Christmas shopping, and met up with Heather and her friends for a few cocktails. It was a whirlwind tour, but a great time. As I write this, I’m at Laguardia, getting ready to fly to Charlotte for the rest of my Christmas vacation. The airports are calmer, my shopping’s done, and I’m ready to relax with a cocktail or two.

Guns N' Roses

Last Sunday night, I went to see Guns N’ Roses at the Universal Amphitheater. I know Patry already posted about it, but it was so good, I had to write about it. The openers were Helmet and Sebastian Bach. Helmet weren’t my cup of tea, but Bach was really fun – I was never a huge Skid Row fan, but he really did put on a good show, and I forgot how good “Youth Gone Wild” and “Slave to the Grind” were. They might have to be added to the ipod.

But really, let’s face it, the only reason I wanted to go was to see W. Axl Rose in person, and he really didn’t disappoint. I mean, there were rumors that they were coming on at midnight, maybe not at all, but they showed up at 11:40 and played a 2 hour and 20 minute set, which, on a Sunday night, is really late. But it was so worth it. They played most of Appetite for Destruction, a few off of G’N’R Lies, a few off of the Use Your Illusions, and, somewhere between 4-6 new songs off the forever-delayed Chinese Democracy, which all sounded good, but not great. Actually, it doesn’t matter what they sound like, I’m still buying that album. One of the cooler moments was when Izzy Stradlin showed up and played with the band on a bunch of songs. I guess he’s popping up around the tour and playing a few songs here and there.

Patry mentioned that it was like seeing Axl with a Guns N’ Roses cover band, but they were one hell of a band (and it’s basically the same thing Roger Water is doing on his tour. Either way, they were both great shows in very, very different ways). The new G'N'R just totally rocked. I mean, I threw up more devil horns towards Mr. Rose and crew that night than I think I ever have in my entire life. The show was so loud I had to wear ear-plugs the whole time – a first for me. Despite the ear plugs, my ears were still ringing later that night and into the morning.

Axl was in great shape (especially compared to that appearance on the MTV Video Awards a few years ago). He ran around, controlled the stage, had the crowd on their feet the whole time, and changed outfits about 4-5 times. (no kilts or bandanas!) He definitely had a chip on his shoulder – in the good way – he’s out to prove that he can still do this without his old bandmates, and he certainly proved that to me.

We had great seats, so good in fact, I could actually watch Axl turn his back to the audience, grab a tissue from a box on the back tier of the stage, and blow his nose. Nothing humanizes a rock icon like watching them blow their nose.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Laughing Baby

This kid would be a good audience for anyone telling jokes:

(Thanks, Erin!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Truthiness: Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster recently named "truthiness" as the word of the year. Yes, that's right, Stephen Colbert's influence continues to make the world a better place!

But there's just one problem: in the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "truthiness" is nowhere to be found. So Mr. Colbert and crew have created a new version of page 1,344 of the dictionary - the page where "truthiness" should be found - and posted it on their website so you can print it out and paste it over the old page 1,344. (Note: In Colbert's version, they've removed the word "try" from the dictionary - who really needs that word)

Well, you don't have to go to Colbert's website to get the page. You can get it here:

Let's fix this problem, friends, and spread "truthiness" around the world.

Meet the New Ball...Same As the Old Ball

Okay non-sports fans, stick with me for a moment...

The NBA pissed off a lot of players when they changed their ball from the classic leather ball to a synthetic model that looks like this:
The ball looks like it was designed for a basketball scene in some crappy movie about the future. But that wasn't the only problem. Apparently, all the players in the NBA hated it, not just because it didn't feel like the old ball, but also because some of them were also getting cuts on their hands from using it. The NBA put a lot of time in effort in introducing it: Commissioner David Stern felt like it would take some time to get used to and defended it strongly.

Until two days ago. Out of nowhere, Stern decided that they're going to go back to using the old ball in a couple of weeks. This was a total change from every public statement he had made since the start of the season.

Why does this sound so familiar? Because it reminds me of what happened with the introduction of New Coke.

I'm pretty fascinated with the whole New Coke fiasco. I mean, one of the biggest brand names in the history of the universe decided to mess with their product to try and keep up with the times. But damn, didn't they just screw it up. I mean, at the opening press conference, here's what the CEO of Coke, Roberto Goizueta, said:

"[It's] smoother, uh, uh, yet, uh, rounder yet, uh, bolder ... it has a more harmonious flavor." Not quite the inspirational words you'd want to use to describe your supposedly delicious, new, soda.

You can see it in this clip from a 1986 CBC report:

Two quick questions on the video: 1) Was that the older brother from the Wonder Years? 2) How can you motivate your company by comparing selling New Coke to storming the beaches at Normandy?

Here's where the basketball and New Coke mirror each other:

-David Stern said everyone would get used to the ball. Coke's marketing research noted that people who reacted positively to their new formula would still need time to get used to it.

-Every player in the NBA hated the new basketball. Everyone hated New Coke

-In just a matter of months, the NBA went back to the old ball. After three months, Coke re-introduced Coke Classic to please everyone they pissed off.

-Both were public disasters that could've been avoided. Both amuse me.

Also, I highly recommend a BBC Documentary about the New Coke debacle called, "Trouble at the Top: The People vs. Coke." If you ever see it on the Tivo, check it out.

And for some more flashback enjoyment, here's a couple of New Coke commercials.

Max Hedroom:

And Bill Cosby:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Miss Arrested Development

One of the reasons I miss the show, no more chicken dance:

Concert Etiquette For Hippies

I went to a show last night with Patry, and it was for a band who shall remain nameless. Anyway, the show was pretty good, but the band is a bit of a jam/hippie band and attracted a hippie crowd, something I hadn't seen since I was in college.

While I enjoyed the show, I was distracted by the crowd of hippies who really don't care about fellow concert goers. So, here are some lessons on concert etiquette:

1. Shower: Please don't be afraid of taking a shower. It won't hurt you - it's only water streaming down to make you clean. Seriously, it's just common courtesy, people. There were a whole lot of people with that bad B.O. smell and at a small-ish club, that's unacceptable.

2. Dancing: If you're a hippie and dancing, I'll let you in on a secret: you dance like an asshole and you're taking up 10 feet of valuable space because you're dancing like an asshole. An example:

Stop dancing. Now.

3. Shoes: Dancing hippies, please put on shoes. I was wearing shoes and sticking to the floor. Pretty nasty. Some hippie dancers were barefoot and dancing around on the same floor that my shoes were sticking too. That's just wrong!

4. Quilted Pants: There is a reason that no store in the history of successful commerce sold pants that are quilted together: They look stupid. Just plain idiotic. Please don't wear them.

5. Crowd Courtesy: If you're 6'4", stay at the back of the crowd. If you're standing in that spot before I got there, I won't stand behind you and bitch. But in mid-concert, don't move in front of me because there's an opening. I'm 5'10" - I'm not in your way. Maybe you could stay out of mine.

Now please, stop dancing like an asshole and put some shoes on.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Inspirations, Influences, and Role Models: Heather Keller

My blogging has slowed this week due to a hectic time at work - it was so crazy, I actually forgot about the internet for a few days.

Anyway, continuing on with the "Live From Rodney Drive Blogging Series on Inspirations, Influences, and Role Models!" (which is incredibly popular amongst those from Finland and France who have stumbled upon the page when googling the words "Corkey Bucheck" or "Big Star")

Our latest entry is from my favorite actress in the world, Heather Keller, who can be seen early next year at Theatre West in "Dancing at Lughnasa." Anyway, here's Heather's thoughts on an actress who has been very influential to her over the last few years, Jennifer Garner:

When "Alias" aired, I began to look up to Jennifer Garner. Partly because she was so good in her role as Sydney Bristow, but also, because she wasn't anorexic-thin and didn't appear fake in her interviews. She seemed a bit dorky, but that only made her more human instead of seeming like a robot under the influence of a publicist.

Her interviews have gotten more publicist affected, but her body is curvy and athletic. In this day and age of more and more kids becoming paranoid about food and entering eating disorder facilities, I think we need more role models whose main goal isn't to be as skinny as possible.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Inspirations, Influences, and Role Models: Dave Willer

The 3rd installment of the "Live From Rodney Drive Blogging Series on Inspirations, Influences, and Role Models!" has been slightly delayed due to my hectic week. But, since you've all been waiting so patiently, here it is!!

Our next up is a friend I met in second grade and became fast friends with after talking about our love of Knight Rider. Here is TV News Director and fellow new blogger, Dave Willer, who gives some love to a director who was kind to him years ago, Ross Kestin:

I was inspired by Ross Kestin, who was a director at KABC-TV while I interned there in 1997 for the spring semester (January - May). I saw that he had a lot of respect, but at the same time was easy going, good at his job and seemed to enjoy it. Seeing that he could make a career out of TV news helped me realize that I could as well. He also answered all of my questions and let me sit with him a lot and just asked that when an intern asked the same of me, that I oblige, which I have always done.

We've emailed a few times here and there, but I wouldn't say I keep in regular touch with him. He did make fun of me when I was complaining about using 3/4" tape in our rented truck in Binghamton (when the tornado hit our building), saying how they thought it was the greatest thing when 3/4" came out, that it made life so much easier!! Can't believe it. (ED. NOTE: This is amusing to those in TV. If you don't get it, chuckle briefly, and move on)

(ED. NOTE 2: Since I don't have pictures of Ross, that's a picture of a control room for Dave to enjoy.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Hell Of A Band

The "LFRDBS on II&RM" will continue tomorrow, but first, here's a BBC Radio commercial with, what could be, one of the most amazing bands ever: