Category Archives: ponderings

First Glance: The New Fall Season

I know it’s been a while, but you didn’t think I would really sit out the Fall 2011 TV season, did you? Not a chance.

I don’t want to judge anything before I give it at least two episodes, but I’ve seen a few pilots and these are my initial thoughts as I viewed them.

New Girl: If Zooey Deschanel tries any harder to make her character quirky and individualistic, I will throw my television out the window and thank God I won’t even have the possibility of flipping through channels and accidentally seeing a second of this. (Since I love Zooey’s music and some of her films, I’m going to give it one more chance. Pray for my TV’s well-being.)

The Playboy Club: Did she really just kill a mobster with her high heels? And now a lawyer is helping her load the body in a trunk and dump it in a river. Wait, is that Hugh Hefner narrating? Why is the narration so spaced out and awkward? It’s like a thought you keep trying to push away, but it comes up again at the most random—

There it is again! Go away, Hef!

Free Agents: There’s nothing like a grown man crying after sex in the opening scene of a show. Oh, actually, there’s nothing like a discussion about his sex life during staff meetings. Is she really listening to “Fernando” by Abba to get over her husband’s death? Isn’t that about a war? Hilarious! I can’t believe they actually cleared up the background of “Fernando.” This is going to be one of my go-to Hulu shows every week for a good chuckle.

Up All Night: They just cursed at their baby! That is something about transitioning from life without kids that I never considered. That made my day! Maya Rudolph playing a TV host? This is officially my favorite show of the new season and I don’t have any kids or a full-time grown-up job.

I’m gearing up for Charlie’s Angels, Pan Am and maybe Revenge. I’d watch the new shows on The CW, but they’re not on Hulu and I’m not available most week nights. I hate the video player on The CW site, but I will find a way to watch those shows. Maybe I’ll bum off of a friend’s DVR.

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Does media treat Charlie Sheen better than Chris Brown?

Robin Roberts interviews Chris Brown on "Good Morning America" about his new album and Rihanna. After the interview, Brown reportedly broke a window in his dressing room.

Sure, they’re both woman beaters, but only one of them is frequently asked about that part of his past. The other is egged on enough to capture statements about having “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA.” But one of them is also a rage-aholic who still has tantrums after court-ordered anger management classes and has probably been prepped on how to handle the questions by a team of people.

After his blow-up following an interview on Good Morning America, Chris Brown reportedly broke a window in his dressing room and, after ABC called security, he split with his entourage and took to his Twitter account to vent. According to New York Magazine, Brown tweeted (and has since deleted): “”I’m so over people bringing this past shit up!!! Yet we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for there bullshit.” Bad spelling and overuse of exclamation points aside, Chris does have a point. Charlie Sheen has been plagued with reports of abusive behavior in most of his relationships and, although he’s asked about at least one instance often, he’s not asked about it in every interview. Chris’ problem is that he’s not looking deeper into why. But, hey, he only had 140 characters.

Charlie Sheen claims he’s never abused a woman, but two of his ex-wives both cited violence pointed toward them from Sheen. Kelly Preston, his former fiance, was also “accidentally” shot by him in 1990 and the relationship ended soon after. I’m not convinced all of these reports are untrue, especially considering his years of drug addiction.

Chris Brown gets all of the media attention on his one incident because of who he abused. I read an article (I’d link it if I could remember where it was from) that really went into detail about the types of women Sheen chooses. They’re usually starlets who’ve done enough roles to be recognized in some circles, but are in no way famous and none of his former partners have really reached the so-called A-list. Kelly Preston is simply known as John Travolta’s wife and someone you may recognize if you’re watching a marathon of 80s films. Denise Richards looked like she was on the fast track toward becoming an A-list sex symbol after Wild Things, but that never panned out, although she did have her own reality show and several other movie roles. Brooke Mueller has been in a couple of films and worked on ET, but was largely unknown before she married him.

Brown, on the other hand, abused one of the most-known entertainers in the music businesses on Grammy weekend. Rihanna is an internationally recognized recording artist, so anything that happens to her will interest a percentage of the population that is significant enough to merit questioning for years. Twenty years from now, when he’s married with kids, only performs for charity events or awards show tributes and is promoting his new children’s book inspired by his experiences as a father, every television personality will ask him about Rihanna. The sad truth is, it’s not about how many women you abuse, it’s about who you abuse.

Another factor in their treatment is their reactions to questioning. Sheen seems to have embraced his insanity as some form of sanity and is more comfortable with questioning. He’ll tell an interviewer when he thinks a questions is dumb and will explain why without getting angry; he’ll be more annoyed than anything. Brown gets visibly heated. On Good Morning America it seemed as if he might spring out of his chair and start biting Robin Roberts, as he did Rihanna during their episode (if you don’t believe me, read the police report).

Now that he’s parted ways with his publicist, maybe Brown will find someone who can really show him how to behave and get back on track with his career. And maybe this new album will also help. Look for a review of it in the next couple of days. At least his future seems much more certain than Sheen’s.

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Music & the Triple-Word Repetition

Katy Perry is infamous for the use of three-word repetition on her new album "Teenage Dream."

Is it me or are artists and songwriters just getting lazy? The Grammy nominations made me sick because most of the nominees wrote lazy albums. The verses are usually mediocre, filled with ranting instead of depth, and the choruses commit the deadliest sin of song writing–the triple (sometimes quadruple) word repetition.

The problem with the repetition is that it doesn’t add anything relevant to the song and often makes no sense. It’s a ploy to take up space because the artist and/or songwriter doesn’t have enough talent to write a song full of meaningful words. This repetition is even happening to good songs with meaningful lyrics, but they just don’t care enough to find a way to make a chorus. I call it laziness, but they probably call it music.

Let me give you examples:

“Make ’em go ‘Oh, oh, oh!'” – from “Firework” by Katy Perry

“You made me wanna say bye bye, say bye bye, say bye bye to her” -from “Deuces” by Chris Brown

“I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)” -from “Airplanes” by B.O.B ft. Hayley Williams

You know what the biggest problem is about these examples? They’re all Grammy-nominated songs (“Firework” isn’t individually nominated, but the album it’s on is nominated for Album of the Year). The people who recognize greatness in music seem to be on  board with this lazy way of doing things.

Listeners usually don’t know what artists are saying most of the time (just look at Soulja Boy’s career; although, he hasn’t been doing too well lately), so I doubt many people have even noticed. Until we all come together and actually LISTEN to the songs, then artists are just going to put out whatever crap they feel like selling to the masses.

And the masses will buy it.

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Are We Ready for the End of Harry Potter?

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) in the first installment of "Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows"

I’m not prone to tears, but I cried when I read the last page of the seventh Harry Potter Book. I’d been reading those books for a decade and now they were over. It wasn’t too sad. There were still films left to be released, so my mind was put at ease.

Tomorrow is the penultimate moment of a huge chapter in millions of lives. We all secretly waited for an owl to bring us a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts (don’t deny it!). Train stations took on a new sense of mystery, as children searched for people walking through walls that lead to platform 9¾. Even bricks became things of intrigue that could lead us to the Wizarding World.

At an age when most of us are starting to lose our imagination in favor of reality, J.K. Rowling let us hold on to a piece of it every time we went to a midnight book release party and curled up with our books, refusing to stop for anything besides food that our mother’s forced us to eat as our nose stayed glued to the action-packed pages. There was magic in those books (and I’m not just talking about the wizardry).

Reading them from ages 10 to 19 was a way to keep the little semblance I had left of my childhood. So many adults lose the ability to believe in magic; to believe in the impossible. I don’t really think, there’s a Wizarding World, but I do think that there are people like Harry, Ron and Hermione who will give up normalcy to follow their destiny; who will put others before themselves. I believe young people can really make a difference if they are willing to do whatever it takes (2008 Election, anyone?) to force change, even if others won’t believe in you. If there weren’t, this world would be an even worse place.

Next summer, when the credits roll on the last film and our childhoods really end, will we be ready to face the possibility of a world where we may no longer be reminded to believe in the impossible?

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The Next Generation of Graduation Songs?

When I graduated from high school, we went old school with our senior song. After a vote from the senior class, which included a lot of lobbying from me and my best friend to get this song voted in, we chose “I Will Get There” by Boyz II Men. It was a great inspirational song, but it reflected our mood without reflecting our generation. Sure, we were taking the next step in our lives, but it the sound was outdated.

Good graduation songs only come out about every ten years. There are a few like “I Will Get There” that we pass off as graduation songs out of necessity. Songs like Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” are rare and so overused that alternatives must be found.

I’ve been listening to music a lot more lately and I came across two songs that could definitely fit the graduation bill–“Night is Young” by Nelly Furtado and “Long Live” by Taylor Swift. The lyrics allude that what happens during graduation and sound is current.

Even though we don’t have a graduation song in college, “Long Live” will be my unofficial one.

Listen to the songs below:

“Night is Young” by Nelly Furtado

“Long Live” by Taylor Swift

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Lil’ Wayne Concert

Today, I went to see Lil’ Wayne at an MTV concert on the beach.

It was insane.

We arrived around noon, thinking it wouldn’t be too crowded yet since Wayne wasn’t supposed to take the stage until two, but we were wrong. There were already about 300 or 400 people out there, so we have to try and squeeze our way into the crowd. I had been there for about 20 mins, when a friend of mine arrived and I had to leave the crowd in order to get her to where the rest of us were standing. I almost didn’t make it back through.

There are a number of girls on the shoulders of guys, most of them in their swimsuits. Someone starts a chant.

“Show your boobs! Show your boobs!” the guys chant toward a girl in a jersey with her swimsuit underneath.

She won’t do that, I thought to myself. But she did. She wasn’t the only one that day. Girls were showing their breasts and making out with one another at the request of the crowd. It was such a weird experience, being around drunk girls with no self-respect. All of those chicks are going to end up on YouTube and God only knows where else because every guy around them had their camera out, directing right at their exposed chests.

Lil' Wayne picture I took at a spring break concert 3.12. 09

Lil' Wayne picture I took at a spring break concert 3.12. 09

An hour later, we’re still standing outside, not even pretending to have interest in whatever games they are playing onstage. It’s getting late and it’s so hot I am convinced I will see Satan at any moment. I make a friend in the guy standing to my right. His name is Grant and he’s from Michigan on Spring Break with a friend. He doesn’t think it’s fair that my hometown is the one with all the free concerts. He drove 15 hours to party on the beach.

As we are trading the normal information, something wet falls down on us. I can only hope it was beer because there was a bottle of urine thrown at someone later on in the day, but I wasn’t near that, I just heard about it from a few friends who were.

After the stuff is thrown, I look to my right and see some guys nodding their head, having reached some kind of agreement. All of the sudden we’re all pushed forward. They’re rushing the crowd! When they stop, we’re all so smushed together that I can’t move. The guy behind me is shirtless and sweaty. I can feel his wet skin against the my arms and thank God I’m wearing a backpack, so my butt isn’t on his crotch. They rush the crowd a few more times later and it always ends up with everyone mashed together so tight we can’t breathe anything but body heat.

Right when you walk into the crowd, there are distinct smells. Beer. Alcohol. Marijuana. Cigarettes. Black & Milds. Sweat. Sweaty deordorant. Cologne. Perfume. It’s all too much to bear with my allergies.

By 2:30, I’m closer to the stage, but I’m feeling a little faint. I made the mistake of not eating and I forgot to bring my water. I’m slowly dehydrating out here and an ambulance won’t be able to get anywhere near me. My friend is feeling the same because she made the same mistakes. Guess that’s why we’re friends; we’re a lot alike. Wayne was supposed to perform at 2, but he’s nowhere to be seen.

During this whole time, my a lot of people have been basically stroking my hair by accident, I hope, and it’s been

Pic I took of Lil' Wayne playing the guitar 3.12.09

Pic I took of Lil' Wayne playing the guitar 3.12.09

kind of annoying, but my hair is long and I hadn’t brought anything to wrap it up. A guy gets his sunglasses caught in my hair.

“I’m sorry, my sunglasses are caught in your hair–I mean you’re weave,” he says, trying to pull them out.
“This is actually my hair, so it will hurt if you pull it out,” I reply, trying to get my hair out of his sunglasses.
“Oh, this is your hair? I’m sorry,” he looks at me as if I have been lying.
“Black girls can’t have long hair?” I say, taunting him.
He laughs, “It’s really nice. I’m sorry.”

I am able to break free of his glasses.

My sister is standing next to me when a fight almost breaks out. My sisterly instincts take over and I start trying to stop it because if any of these guys hit my sister, I might be fighting some big dude before I know what I”m doing. A friend of hers came along with us and he is nowhere to be found, having pushed his way all the way to the front row.

Around 3:30, Kid Cudi comes out. He’s the opening act for Lil’ Wayne. No one is interesting. Everyone just stands around until he sings Day N Night. Everyone has heard that single and they proceed to join in and try to have a little fun. Cudi starts talking about remixes of his song and Jim Jones surprises us by coming out and singing his verse of the remix. Jim Jones performed yesterday, but I had some school things to take care of, so I wasn’t there for that part.

When Cudi leaves, we are forced to pretend to be crunk for cameras while a voiceover announces artists who have already come, like Cudi, and one that hasn’t, Lil’ Wayne. The crowd is getting restless and they begin chanting.

“This is bullshit! This is bullshit!” they yell.

The DJ starts playing really good music and about 1,000 screaming fans are rocking to the beat and singing along. We start to get real energetic and I’m not feeling so sick anymore, but I’m still sick. My head is throbbing by this point.

Finally, at 4:06, two hours after he was promised to have come out, Lil’ Wayne makes his way to the stage and the crowd goes crazy. He sings about five songs, shaking his dreads and getting the crowd hype. He plays the guitar and we are the first audience to hear him perform his new song, Prom Queen.

It was such a good performance and we got were having so much fun. We forgot about the four-hour wait and the unsavory company we’ve had to keep. Wayne was worth the wait, and I’m not even that big of a fan. It was crazy, I was dead tired, I complained more in one day than I ever have in my life, but I had fun. That’s what spring break’s all about. Experiences.

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Spring Break 2009

I haven’t been able to enjoy my Spring Break yet. I’ve been home, but we live like ten minutes from the beach, so I feel like I should have made an effort by now. I got here on Saturday! But I haven’t had my car until today, so I feel like I’ll be hanging out more. I’m actually all booked up for the day and I might go out shopping on the beach later. I need an outfit for an interview I’m trying to get. I’ll probably update a bunch when I get home!

Here’s a picture of our beach! I friggin love it!

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