Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Ben!

Has it really been 28 years? It seems not too long ago you were the pudgy cheeked kid who always got stuck playing the baby in our home movies or the baby horse to Jennie's momma horse. How you actually survived being our little brother I don't know, but somehow you survived it all only slightly scathed. Now you have little girl, an Irish wife, and a great house. I would like to remind you that none of this would've been possible if I hadn't saved you from accidentally hanging yourself in the old farm house. I'm still expecting your first born son.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good For What Ails You

Twilight Singers show was last night. I was tempted to skip it because I still have moving things to do, and I didn't feel that great. We had quick cold front come through a couple days ago and every time any kind of front comes through I get headaches. I took some Advil and then felt sick to my stomach for the rest of the day, but my head felt better. Anyway, I had already will called the ticket and figured I would have to eventually feel better by the time the concert started. It worked kind of...about five songs in I was fairly painless. I attribute it to Dulli and company.

I'm not going to go through a whole review, because I've already done it too many times. I will say that last night's crowd wasn't as good as the crowd at the Avalon. The crowd at the Avalon is probably the best I've seen with the Twilight Singers. One of these days I'd like to see them some place else than LA, because on a whole LA crowds blow. Why go to a concert if you are just going to stand there like you're a five year old waiting to see the dentist? On the other hand I had a trio of near fifty year old guys playing air guitar (which is fine) and bumping fists after every other song (not fine). It was clearly a case of the Twilight Singer fan that invited his two drinking/working buddies. One buddy was there because he didn't have anything better to do except sit at home drinking Zima and working out. Besides his friend said they were better than Creed and Creed is pretty good. The other buddy was there for one reason: college age girls. So we had one guy bumping fists because he wanted to show how much the Twilight Singers rock. The other guy bumping fists because that's what men do and he can't express himself any other way except for high fives and flexing. Finally, the other guy was fist pumping because he finally found some girls who aren't completely disgusted by his leering. He knew buying that black shirt would do the trick.

Anyway, the highlights of the concert was Dulli singing the first verse of "Amazing Grace" before launching into "King Only." Clearly Dulli feels blessed to still be alive after his battle with addiction. Mark Lanegan was featured more in this show than previous ones. He was brought out mid-show and then for the encore where they blazed through the song "Boogie Boogie." I don't think I've ever seen them rock that hard.

Great show overall, and again I suggest you give them a shot when they come to a town near you.

Now back to packing.

October 25th, 2006
Twilight Singers: Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues

Teenage Wristband
Im Ready
Bonnie Brae
Too Tough To Die
Live With Me
Ill Take Care Of You
Sideways in Reverse
Amazing Grace
King Only
Esta Noche
Theres Been an Accident
Shine On You Crazy Diamond/Candy Cane Crawl
Thats Just How That Bird Sings
Martin Eden
Fat City

Lovestoned/I Think She Knows/The Killer/Wolf Like Me
Boogie Boogie
Underneath the Waves

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


5 Days and counting till I move in to the new abode. The one thing I always realize when I move: I have too much crap. I have tried to eliminate some of it, but I have the irrational fear of throwing things away. It's a battle I've fought all my life. Take the other night when I attempted to clean out a box of stuff. It resulted in two things thrown away and the rest reorganized so I can put more junk into it. I still have gift wrap that Jiff put on a DVD he gave me. But it was handmade and you can't throw stuff like that away right? Why do I still have those computer disks when I don't even have computer with a disk reader? That I can't answer.

Anyway, everything is set up. I've ordered my bed, phone, cable, internet, and movers. For the first time in my life I'm hiring movers. Why? I hate moving so much that I feel guilty asking friends to help. I realize it might be a little overkill to ask movers to move a closet size studio of stuff, but I won't have to lift a finger. Except for my 360 and other gadgets. I moving that stuff myself. I like movers but I don't trust them. The odds on what will be broken first are drinking glass: 2-1, plate: 4-1, TV 15-1.

I went to Ikea for the second time last weekend. It went a little better than last time. The wierd thing was that the lady behind me was one of those weight lifting ladies with arms literally thicker than my legs. Like many weight lifting women these days she had the breast implants as well. I realize they do this because they want to still have some feminine aspect to their body, but it just makes things creepier. Did I mention she started flirting with me? Why should she be attracted to someone who can't even spot her when she's weight lifting? She could use me as a weight when she's doing arm curls. Not that asking her on a date just so she could help move my TV didn't cross my mind.

Speaking of women, I realized what I'm going to contribute when I find that significant other. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have the spouse that my family feels they have to tolerate. You see my sibling's spouse's are all wonderful, kind, and generous people. Even the guys my younger sisters date have been great guys. So where is the significant other that annoys the family? The one that the family talks about behind their back. The one that causes family members to second guess their holiday plans. Isn't every family required to have that one person? I think that's where I come in. I figure she will be one of those never shuts up and always says the wrong thing at the wrong time kind of person. She will always chew bubble gum loudly, and be kind of a ditz. She will often have the dear in headlights look when my family discusses politics and theology. I apologize to my family now.

I'm disheartend that I am excited about gas being $2.30 a gallon. When did it get to the point that you start thinking about buying gas in bulk?

I lost my fantasy football match up this week by .15. .15! A few weeks ago I scored the second most points in the league but lost because I was matched up against the guy with the most points. This fantasy football is kicking my ass. I feel like the Arizona Cardinals.

Twilight Singers concert tomorrow at the HOB: Sunset. Mark Lanegan is touring with them for the whole tour this time. The concert is worth it just to seem them cover Primal Scream's Deep Hit of Morning Sun. Dulli actually called in to my friend Bob's radio show in Norfolk. Turns out he also gets to have Dulli come in when they play Norfolk, and he gets to introduce them for the concert. If I had the money I would absolutely fly out to see that concert. Stupid TV job.

I would like to also take this time to thank Heroes for turning the corner and becoming a highly enjoyable TV show. I can now overlook the spots of bad dialoge and writing because the show has a prefect sense of fun. It feels like a bunch of geeks having fun coming up with this comic book TV show.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Just Because...

I don't think it's till right now that I realize how much Bill Cosby has shaped my childhood.

Monday, October 16, 2006

In a Lame Attempt to Inspire Bob's Mets to Pull it Together and Beat the Cardinals I Offer This Video. I Hope It Helps.

You Tube: The Cure For Blogging Block

Once a Week I Get This Stuck in My Head.

I Give You The Next Cubs Manager: Lou Pinella

I have no idea exactly what to think of this except that he'll be much more entertaining than Dusty Baker.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

International Improver

If this writing thing doesn't work out, I think my next job will be International Improver. There is no such actual job, but that doesn't mean I can't create it. I will be the person that companies bring in to make things perfect. Let's say your company have a new car in the works that will the next hot thing. The problem is you know there is something missing, and you just can't figure out what it is. That's where I come in. Bring me in and I'll figure out that there needs to be a cover over the GPS display in your new BMW. Can't find the one thing that will make your movie a masterpiece? I can for a nominal fee. I can improve on everything any one can make from albums (The answer is usually always: cowbell), to pharmaceuticals, to your company's infrastructure. It's what I'm good at. Screw making things and coming up with original ideas. I'll be the guy that makes them better. I will be honest and say there is a chance I will completely discard your whole product. Even then you will have to trust me, because I'm right and in the long run I will be saving you a shit load of money. Pepsi should have come to me back during the "clear" days. I would've saved them millions in production costs by throwing that out immediately. There are somethings you just don't mess with. The other 99% of things out there need help though, and I'm that person that can help.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Why Do I Have So Much Joy When The Yankees Lose?

Isn't it time to stop hating them because they buy all the best players? Since they started stocking their roster with potential Hall of Famers they haven't won a single thing. Am I saying we should stop hating the Yankees? Hell no! I still fume with Jeter's smirk. Giambi's constant sweating (or does he just oil up like a professional wrestler?) annoys me. The arrogant fans drive me up the wall. I think Yankee Stadium is a pit. So please keep detesting the Yankees, just remember you can't really use their payroll as an excuse. You can just use it as another dagger to jab the Yankee fans with. Congratulations Detroit on a big first step. Also, how many fans are out there hoping your team isn't the one that takes A-Rod off the Yankees hands?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Long Live the Power Chords and the Licks!

One of my big fears is that one of my favorite bands will eventually put out a crappy album. It's happened numerous times where I've come to really like a group or singer, and then they pull the rug out from under me by sucking big time. It often happens after their breakthrough album. I'm happy to report that it hasn't happened concerning a band rising up my own personal favorite band charts.

Through two albums I've come to love The Hold Steady. With their debut album Almost Killed Me I saw promise. Then they stole my heart last year with Separation Sunday their breakthrough album. It will be the album that all other Hold Steady albums will be compared to. It's one of the best albums of this decade. Anyway, The Hold Steady released their follow up album this week called Boys and Girls in America. Yes, the title is taken from Kerouac's On the Road. Upon first listen I realized that the boys hadn't let me down.

The best way to describe the music is if Springsteen and the E Street Band grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities during the 80's and 90's. Lead singer and writer Finn speaks more than sings, but he has the story telling skills of Springsteen. With the Twin Cities as the backdrop he's tells the story of the lost and confused and their search for anything to keep them going, to make them feel alive. Whereas Separation Sunday was a concept album, B&GA is thematic. A few of the characters from Separation Sunday show up including my personal favorite Hallelujah "the kids all called her Holly."

Side note: If I had met someone like Holly during my teenage years I would have fallen in love with her. There's nothing like a lost and damaged lapsed Catholic girl to bring the need to rescue someone being confused with love. I would certainly think I could save Holly from herself. In fact there were a few girls I met like Holly, and I wanted to save and love them all.

In comparison, B&GA has the band playing more like a band. They sound more cohesive than on Separation Sunday. The power chords and the licks (Yes, this band actually has guitar licks) are all still there, they just sound tighter. Just as important Finn's stories are still there. There's the story of a girl who's gift for picking horses leads to getting high in "Chips Ahoy." The remembrance of some "Massive Nights" where "
we kissed in your car and we drank from your purse/i had my mouth on her nose when the chaperon said we were dancing too close." The two overdosed lovers who meet in the "Chill Out Tent" make out and never see each other again. In "First Night" Holly is "inconsolable/Unhinged and uncontrollable/'Cause we can't get as high as we got on that first night" "First Night" comes the closest to the pure emotional build of "How a Resurrection Really Feels" on Separation Sunday. In "You Can Make Him Like You," Finns sings about a girl who always gets involved with the boys who get her high. "You don't have to go to the right kind of schools / Let your boyfriend come from the right kind of schools / You can wear his old sweatshirt / You can cover yourself like a bruise."

There is a sadness to the stories, but that's because the details of Finn's writing paints characters you've probably met in your own life. Hell I identify with the bar regular in "Citrus" who keeps coming to the same bar and says he's "lost in fog and love and faith was fear/ and I've had kisses that make Judas seem sincere." I was that guy years ago. Will this album break them into the mainstream? Who knows and who cares? It is more accessible I think simply because Finn sings a few more times than in the previous albums. Separation Sunday is still better in my opinion. What I do know is that I'm three great albums into The Hold Steady, and they have risen to the top five of bands that are still putting out music. I will still be worried about their next album, but probably not as much as before.

The band has put the album up for streaming Listen Here

iTunes for some reason has two extra songs ("Girls Like Status" and "Arms and Hearts") for download. Both are solid songs but why encourage downloading an album over buying the actual album?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New TV Season Round-up

As of today most shows are back up and running. Last night was probably the most anticipated with the season premiere of Lost and the series premiere of the highly touted show, The Nine. I'm not going to go much into those too because with the arrival of Tivo nobody actually watches the shows the night it airs anymore. Isn't this making the Nielsen ratings more and more obsolete? Once Tivo becomes an institution won't we just be able to see what shows are recorded the most? Anyway lets look at what this new season is offering.

Jericho-In support of former writer and friend Mike O. I started watching this post-apocalyptic show. In case you have noticed the hot trend this season is once again serial dramas. Thank you Lost! Jericho is about a small town caught in the middle of what seems to be a nuclear war. Which is nice to see these days. It's been awhile since a nuclear holocaust has been given it's airtime. Used be this was the number one fear, now it's all terrorist activities. This show has turned out much better than I thought. The acting is pretty solid. There are also some nice reveals. We still don't know what our prodigal son and hero has been up to before he returned home. We don't know which girl he's going to try to hook up with either. I'm guessing it's the cute nurse and not the hot blond ex. There have been enough nice moments like the reveal of what cities have been hit that keep the viewer intrigued. My main concern is that they are going to hold back reveals too long. They've teased us for three straight episodes with the new guy in town who knows way too much about what's going on. He won't let his family hang out with the other townspeople. He has a gun cache. He got a morse code signal giving him all the cities that have been hit. The audience is going to need a little more information soon, or that character is going to become a gag more than a point of interest.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip-This show proves one thing: If Sorkin actually was in charge of Saturday Night Live it would be worse than the 1980 SNL. Has a single one of the sketches been funny at all? I know I should be focusing more on the stuff happening behind the scenes, but how can I buy them as writers and actors of great comedy when all the skits are awful. It would be better if they never showed the skits. I find the show to be enjoyable but frustrating. The dialog keeps you around but the actual substance of the show will make you feel like you should've left hours ago.

Smith-Cancelled, so whatever I was going to write doesn't matter.

Heroes-I want to like this X-men in street clothes, but it needs some help. The idea is great, but the dialog and acting often brings the whole show to a halt. The only characters I really care about are the telepathic cop and the Japanese cubicle slave who can teleport. Actually, Oka is the only one I really care about. He brings a great joy you expect from someone who's always wanted to be super and discovers he actually is. Everyone else becomes grating in a morose way. The show also misses on some great drama. Take the younger brother of a politician who believes he can fly. He jumps from a building to prove it only to be rescued by his older brother who can actually fly. They could've left it at this. You have the dreamer who treats everyone well and does good things that thinks he's destined for great things. What happens we he finds out it's his crueler politician of a brother that actually has the super powers? How does he react? Does he rebel from his good ways? There's a lot of potential in that. What does the show actually do? They reveal that both brothers can actually fly. Way to shoot yourselves in the foot. I'm giving this show three more episodes to either turn things around or give the Japanese kid his own show.

Friday Night Lights-This is probably my favorite new show so far. It's either this or The Nine. It's too early to tell. There are cliches like every sports movie or television show, but the acting is solid. The little moments are really what makes this show. For example the day before the game the high school team hangs out with some pee wee football kids. You see how much these little kids idolize these football players, and how much their success reflects back on how the town feels. There are nice moments like this that make the show. The football scenes aren't too bad either.

I Apologize Crazy Science People

Apparently, you are in fact working on teleportation. I thank you for your efforts, and wish you much success. I only ask that you get it done before I have to leave this planet.

The CSI: Miami Curse Strikes Again

In case you didn't know there is a CSI: Miami curse. When we write something it usually happens in real life.

In season one we wrote a sniper episode and days later the Beltway Sniper attacks began. We went ahead and shot it and everything, realizing that if the attacks kept happening we would have to pull the show. Days before we were to air the episode they caught the men. I'm sure people thought we were capitalizing on a tragedy but we actually had that episode half shot when the events happened.

Also, in season one we did a story in which a family is found murdered when someone finds the only survivor a toddler walking the street. Sure enough, an eerily similar murder took place in real life.

Season three we did an hour and a half episode about a tsunami hitting Miami. Less than two months later the deadliest tsunami in recorded history occurred in the Indian Ocean.

There are other instances through out the show's history that could lead people to say that CSI: Miami is cursed in some way. Well, it's happened again. Last week our writer's broke a story involving the Amish. Yes, I know Caruso and the Amish in Miami. Anyway, what happens but the Amish tragedy in Lancaster, PA. How wierd is that? We do an AMISH episode and this happens. This time we aren't going through with this episode. All Wed. the writers holed up in the writer's room and broke a new story. They then all worked together to write the episode. In fact at this moment bobby is probably staring at the computer putting the script together. This is television. This is chaos.

Happy Birthday Jennie!

Happy birthday to my only older sibling (by three months). I don't know how you do all you do and still have a that smile and joy. Can you bottle it or something because I'm sure you could make a fortune.
Jennie's the blonde in the middle

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

That Lever I Pulled Apparently Operates the Guillotine Above My Head

I just screwed up big time. It's so big that I might not have a job by the end of week. Stay tuned!

[Update: It seems I was able to remove my head in the nick of time. All I lost was half an ear. My only concern is that they won't forget.]

Monday, October 02, 2006

CSI: Miami, 100 Episodes

Tonight. CSI: Miami celebrates its 100th episode. 100 episodes is quite a lot in the TV world, particularly for an hour drama that is a spinoff. Since I've been here for all 100 episodes I thought I'd take you down the inner workings and offer up some memories.

First, I thought you might find this interesting. Making a quick scan of the show bible, I counted that Horatio Caine has shot and killed 15 people in 4 seasons. Fifteen! He's never been reprimanded or gone into counseling...nothing. I just find it suspect that a character who plays the head of a CSI lab has killed 15 people in four years.

1. Looks Like I Made It! - During the chaos of season 1, I had the opportunity to contribute to the show by suggesting a "button" for the teaser of episode 10. A button is a line of dialogue that neatly ends a scene. If you've seen the show, you know how corny these lines can be. Well, my suggestion made the cut, and the big wigs even liked it. So the line became the first thing I've written that was aired on national television. The real highlight wouldn't come till a couple days later when Television Without Pity had a sidebar about my line in their review of the episode: '"So where does this leave us now?' Bernstein asks. Skirting the edges of necrophiliac bondage porn, if you ask me. He's not asking me, though, so he'll have to settle for Horatio's retort: 'Up a tree.' Shut up, Horatio!" I thought I could die a happy man now. "Up a tree!" How did I come up with that brilliant line. Pure genius.

The funny thing is that through the years, there are little instances that the assistants have shown up. Bobby's hands are used for an insert shot of typing at a keyboard. Krystal's photo was used in a counterfeit driver's license. All out names have been used for characters. I wrote notes for props that contained friends and family members names. My blog is used in a shot.

2. Her Kiss, Her Kiss Is On My Lips. Does Anyone Have Some Disinfectant? - You try to be a gentleman, and this is what happens. Like all wrap parties, there end up being a lot of people getting hammered. Sometimes, celebrities like Vince Vaughn show up hammered. The wrap party for season one was no exception. One of the people that partook of a bit too much was one of our story editors. Late into the night, the party people were relocating to The House of Blues. The story editor was completely wasted out of her gourd, and was in no shape to drive. Being the gentleman that I am, I offered to drive her home, with gentleman bobby following in his car. She, though, wanted to go to the House of Blues. So, I drove her there with the hopes that someone else could take her home. There's nothing like driving a drunk co-worker who wants to get into a deep discussion about religion. Arriving there, I dropped her off and told her to make sure someone there can give her a ride home. I went to hug her goodbye and do the LA kiss on the cheek thing, but she didn't go for my cheek she went for my lips. I quickly backed away. Her eyes were kind of glazed, and she kind of looked like a new born kitten looking for its mother's teet. She then moved in again. I pushed her back, and said "This is Brad." I think that helped her regain some sense.

Realizing there was no way she was going to find someone by herself to take her home, I went in to make sure she got home. This led to a very awkward dancing moment in which she kept imitating moves from MTV's The Grind. Eventually, she got home safely, but not without the rest of the writer's office thinking I scored. It's still brought up at least twice a year.

3. Vince Vaughn Crashes the Party (literally): At the same party that the above took place, our party was joined by Vince Vaughn. To say he was hammered would be an understatement. He didn't talk to anyone except for Speedle, who brought him. He accidentally knocked over a stack of glasses. Later I saw him standing, alone smoking a cigarette, and just staring off at the people partying. I kept thinking, "Not so money, baby. Not so money."

4. Making the Cut: Year one was chaotic. In the writer's department alone we went through 2 show runners, 7 writers, and one David Savage. Yet, all the assistants survived. The show on a whole you can count how many have been here all 100 episodes on two hands.

This post is clearly going no where. I've been trying to write it since the 17th of August. Let's just end this early with some pictures. Because the job's great, but it's the people below that keep me here.

Please Leave Mr. Hendry.

As of today, Dusty Baker and team president Andy McPhail are no longer Chicago Cubs. That's two of the top three orchestrators of this Cubs debacle. The only one left is GM Jim Hendry. Apparently, he's staying.

Even though he left Baker hanging for over a month in the infamous Chicago wind, while trying to decide to fire Baker or not. Hendry eventually decided to let Baker stay through the rest of the year. I'm sure Baker is so thankful right now. I'm sure these last few months have been blissful for Baker. Baker has taken the brunt of the fan and media criticism. He does deserve some of it. He can handle players egos, but he can't count pitches. He thinks walks are overrated. Walks overrated? In this day and age? He loves giving washed up veterans like Nefi Perez everyday jobs. There are numerous other things he does wrong. Still, it's not all his fault.

Hendry's the one that has given multi-year contracts to these mediocre veterans with the hope of catching lightning in a bottle. He's the one that kept assuming Wood and Prior would be back. 10 year old Cub fans knew better than that. He's the one involved with stocking our farm season. So, who should get the blame that there was not a single first basemen to call up when Derek Lee went down with an injury? Hendry. The Cubs were left with putting a 2nd basemen at first, then a pinch hitter, and finally our second string catcher. Hendry is the one that keeps rolling the dice to try to when one year, rather than plan out an extensive plan in which the Cubs could contend for years. Hendry is the one that has given Baker the players. Andy McPhail fell on his sword after twelve years with the organization. Baker is going to go somewhere and probably win. Mr. Hendry please follow suit, and stop screwing up this organization while you try to save your job. Please leave.

I'd also like to point out that the new team president is the former head of marketing. Marketing! Here's one of the quotes from his introduction:

"Realistically, you want to go into every season thinking you're going to win the World Series," McDonough said. "Our goal is to win the World Series next year and the year after that."

Sigh. How about a five year plan to build from the ground up? How about we build a team rather than the bunch of forced together puzzle pieces? Here's to another 98 years.

Can I say how awful I feel as a Cubs fan right now? I would say I feel even worse now than after Gamer 6. Sure, the 2003 NL Championship series tore my heart out, but it still gave you hope for next year. Now? We just lost 96 games to have the worst record in the National League. Our only reliable pitcher is Zambrano, who's been worked so hard it's only a matter of time till he breaks down. When Pierre leaves, we will once again have no lead-off man. We have no closer. We have a third basemen who only plays well once the games don't matter anymore. Now it seems the Cubs are looking at Lou Pinella for our new manager. Lou Pinella?! Finally, Wrigley Field showcased the wave this year. Ugh. I think I'm going to call in sick.