Monday, May 28, 2007

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Seriously, I'm like as giddy as a school girl about to take part in a hopscotch tournament.

After living the first 18 years of my life without Cable Television, I was way behind the curve on the MTV Real World phenomena. In fact, my first memory of the Real World was in my freshman year of college - but it wasn't watching the show for the first time. Three "cast members" from the Seattle season sat up on a stage in the Union in a pseudo lecture / Q&A session.

I don't remember what they said, just the lunacy of the experience. Every other question was basically, "Now who hooked up? Really... Who hooked up?" However, there was one memorable moment when a "little person" attempted to ask a question. The Real Worlders kept asking the guy to stand up, which he was... Finally he climbed to stand on his chair to ask his question, "Did any of you guys make-out or what?"

I decided to start watching the show. The drunk driving filled Hawaii season was before the pre-Katrina New Orleans season. (That N.O. season produced a "Come on be my baby tonight..." bit that I still randomly laugh at today)

Then there was the Las Vegas season.
The season that confirmed what everybody suspected about MTV Real Worlders in addition to bringing it to unprecedented levels of debauchery, drunkenness, declothing and demagoguery.

I stopped watching The Real World shortly after that. The seasons that followed attempted to repeat the model of Guys Gone Wild that made the Vegas season successful. It became too tiring for me.

But now, five years later, MTV is bringing the Las Vegas cast pack to the Palms for two more weeks. I have never been this excited at the prospect of a reality show.

I especially want to see FRANK! MTV had a mini-marathon over Memorial Day of the Vegas season - and I was lucky to catch the premiere episode that featured Frank - on his first day - confessing that he was interested in Trichelle to Steven. That night Frank was literally caught in the middle between Trichelle and Steven. Frank leaned out of the way, looked to the camera, and pantomimed a self influenced pistol shot to the head. CLASSIC!

The season premiere of Real World Las Vegas: Reunited is this Wednesday. Can't wait to see Frank again!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You Don't Know Jack, but I'll gladly introduce him to you...

24 debuted in the fall of 2001. You Know What delayed the pilot episode. I remember watching previews during the 7 game Arizona / New York World Series. Kiefer Sutherland leaning down to a seated Sarah Clarke while yelling, "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR!?"

I don't remember where I was when the pilot episode aired. I was probably held captive in one of the many GROUP PROJECTS that was a standard in every class I took after my freshman year at Marquette University. Thankfully, my friend Stefan was also interested in the previews and taped the pilot. I was instantly hooked. After a few episodes, citing too much relevance on cell phones to support a plot, Stefan left me alone with my addiction. I couldn't find anybody else who was watching this show. It killed me every week not being able to discuss it.

I've been in a quest to make up for that ever since.

In the winter of early 2003 I was already out of school and knee deep in season two. I was at my friend Tom's townhouse with a couple of his friends - a married couple by the name of Bill & Sydney. A few weeks earlier I had lent Tom my season one DVDs and I had chosen this night to mildly interrogate into why he hasn't watched an episode yet. Well, there wasn't much on television that night - so I convinced Tom, Bill & Sydney to watch the first episode. We instantly watched the second episode and the third too... They were hooked.

Tom, Bill, Sydney and I watched the first season together - it was a great time, as we'd watch a full disc about every other weekend. By the time season 3 began in Fall 2003, we were able to finish my newly purchased season two DVDs just in time - right down the the ticking clock - pure 24 style.

I finally had what I wanted, a core group of 24 addicts to watch shows with me as they happened - with full e-mail forum discussions in the six long days between episodes.

While visiting my friends Skip & Tamara in Charleston, IL (they were students at Eastern Illinois University), I bought with me season one. They also became instantly hooked as their obsession began with an 8+ hour introductory marathon.

When the major plot bomb of that season dropped in episode 23 - Skip called me instantly (it was about 1:30 AM) speaking in tongues from the sheer awe.

This conversion occurred during the show's fourth season.

My life had a major change during season five - I got a better job. One of the better aspects of my new employment was that the company was exponentially larger. This made it easy to find a core 24 fan club among coworkers. And also easier to scout new converts.

Stephen & Maureen sat next to each other. I lent season one to Stephen, and ended up giving season two to him while passing the returned season one over to Maureen. They were both instant Bauer lovers and this round-robin cycle of CTU may be the most efficient DVD watching protocol in the medium's history... They were up to speed in time for the next new season

And currently, as the sixth season has just concluded - I am about to loan 24 season DVDs to Brian, my 8th recruit. I would have had 9, but my friend Paul doesn't live locally. If he did, I surely would make a stop near his house for my bandwagon tour.
However, I should note that Brian will not be loaned season six from me. Sadly, the show's sixth season was a catastrophe... I will not buy it, breaking my streak. But I still have 120 magnificent episodes ready to be lent out on a moments notice...

Only one catch: You have to tell me exactly where you are while borrowing them - because I want to know exactly what to discuss!

(I'd like to take moment for a personal message to my readers. If you have read this far - thank you very much. This is my 200th post on this blog and I'm very happy to see that it's traction is not in any jeopardy. While noticing this impending milepost a few weeks ago - I had planned on debuting a classic story from my youth that is THE most rarely told. However, when I take into account that I've been flowing well lately with subject matter - I'm going to take a pass. Also, I sadly relayed the unabridged version to somebody less than a month ago.... And in hindsight, that may not have been the best idea. And with that story, saying it once a year is far too frequent. If any of you even remember this cliffhanger that I foreshadowed about - again, I appreciate your focused reading.

Much obliged,

More like a movie with Transformers than a Transformers movie?

Doesn't anybody realize that there were NO humans in the world of Transformers?

I saw some of the clips for the upcoming Michael Bay movie... And I don't remember any young kids with curly hair wearing Rock Band T-Shirts anywhere in the cartoon of my youth.

These were my favorite toys growing up - and I sure as hell didn't imagine Optimus Prime (who has been curiously ABSENT in all these trailers) in any scene remotely like a suburban backyard inground pool.

However, this movie may be the movie of the summer that is worth being a part of the massive crowd on it's opening night. It's too bad I'll be in Las Vegas during this time. And it will be very bad if events transpire that makes me end up seeing this movie in Vegas.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

(the sound of an exhale that's not quite a sigh, not quite a moan)

The plan was to wake up early, get to work an hour earlier to leave work an hour earlier, get to the Skokie Swift by 4:15 & downtown by 5, out of the NetFlix focus group by 6:30 and home before 8.

Things didn't go quite as planned. However, the ultimate result remained the same.

By the time I got to the parking lot in Skokie, the Train was on the rail waiting for me. (For those out of towners - the "Skokie Swift" is an express CTA train that goes from Skokie to a downtown transfer point and back). It was also there when I was paying for parking, but after I had charged up my fare card, and got through the turnstile, I watched it leave... That cost me 15 minutes.

At just after 5 pm, about to just head underground, I phoned the focus group office to say I was running late - but I would be there... I didn't walk into the place until 5:20 (a full 15 minutes after I was supposed to be there and 5 minutes after the focus group was about to begin.)

I sign a sheet upon check in - and was surprised to realize I'm only the 3rd one there. I take a seat next to two other men that are in my demographic, but less than one Amy Winehouse track on my iPod later they're both called away leaving me behind.

As soon as they are out of earshot I am told that they overbook these groups on purpose, that I am not needed - but will still get compensated 6 months of NetFlix for free.
The platform beneath the corner of State & Grand is packed. It's 5:30 and the amount of business casual and New Balance is suffocating... Suffocating to the fact that the next train arrives at the stop at full capacity. That doesn't stop people from boarding the train. I decide to lay low, I'm in no rush. the next train is equally as packed, but by this time I'm surrounded by highly attractive tanned downtown shoppers. It was like the major league of mall beauty. Take every hot girl you remember from high school walking a mall and add 10 years of added beauty.

Obviously, this is the train that I want to get packed into a sardine can with, but sadly - America's Next Top eL train departs without me.

By the time the third train arrives, I know exactly where the doors line up on the platform - and I'm there to push in no matter what. The next 25 minutes of my existence are in constant contact with 3-4 strangers - depending on the momentum. One bumps me right into the next.

After every average to above average attractive person gets off the train at the Addison stop, I'm able to breath again... I return to my condo shortly before 7:30.

Was all this worth it? Only my queue will tell...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Schilling & Kavanaugh

I was treated this evening to a rather long IM conversation with an old friend. To say our friendship is "modern" would put it mildly. How do we usually keep in touch? By reading each others blogs but of course. I haven't spoken to him on the phone in easily 6-7 years - we do not even have each others' phone numbers... But you couldn't tell that from our conversation tonight. Of the things we discussed tonight: Jack Bauer and Vladdy Guerrero...

He's a big baseball fan, and wanted to know what I thought about Bonds. I told him that I meant to blog on him a few weeks ago - but was preoccupied and didn't get around to it. Also, another nugget popped up in the news about him today. Hank Aaron went on the record a little over a month ago citing not wanting to travel as a reason for why he was not going to be in attendance for Bond's "record breaking" moment. Today he said that even if Bonds is on the verge during an upcoming road trip to Atlanta (Aaron's home town) he will still refrain from attending...

(Pardon me as I back away from the keyboard, stand up, and begin applauding)

Pretend this was posted a few weeks ago, shortly after the Curt Schilling controversy:

Curt Schilling said the following in reference to Barry Bonds on Tuesday May 7:
"I mean, he admitted that he used steroids. I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think. Hank Aaron not being there. The commissioner trying to figure out where to be. It's sad. And I don't care that he's black, or green, or purple, or yellow, or whatever. It's unfortunate … there's good people and bad people. It's unfortunate that it's happening the way it's happening."

I wholeheartedly support anybody in a Bonds bashing. I was not only jubilant at the force of Schilling's comments - but it made me laugh as it reminded me of a scene from The Shield that has become a favorite bit between another friend and I.

Long Story Short: I hate Bonds, and I too am afraid as to what he'll do next.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Opinions Will Finally Pay!

If you know me, you know I like NetFlix

Now, although I have much love for NetFlix, it ain't unconditional dollfaces!
Luckily for me, those boys down at NetFlix have invited yours truly downtown to participate in a focus group-type thing. They want my opinion, and ladies and gents – I've got opinions on NetFlix.

For my time, they are going to comp me five months! This is a great win-win situation, I want to tell them how they're going well and how they can improve… But just in case I run out of material (not very likely), let me know – SOON – if you have any opinions for me to share with them.

Hopefully the evening will be a blog-worthy event.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Your Secret

Somebody at work asked me if I've read The Secret. I instantly responded, "I convinced myself that I had read it."

This obviously put the person in their place.

People are still reading that book. Don't ask me why. Everybody wants to be brainwashed? Don't understand.

I had a good friend e-mail me asked me if I had seen the film The Secret. Supposedly she gave it to her Mother for this past Mother's Day. I bad part of me thinks that might have been a typo - that she is in fact referring to the book. This would go along with her recent claim that I am being too negative with my thoughts...

Not wanting to pick a fight - which would only support her theory - I left that comment fall by the wayside.

Today NBC aired the end of their National Heads Up Poker Championship (I'm six weeks away from Vegas by the way!). Shannon Elizabeth had a majestic run to the semifinals. yeah, that's Shannon Elizabeth the actress:

She's really taken an interest in competitive poker.

I found that respectable - and I all but forgotten her film credits. Until she cited The Secret as to why she's playing so well as of late.

Am I alone here? Does anybody realize that the heart of the book is about selfishness? I feel so strongly about this - I almost want to read it just to knock it (Similar to how I watch The Sopranos - only to curse it.)

Yes, I'm negative. Yes, I realize that can be a drag on others. Yes, I use that positive term in a sarcastic cynicism more and more.

Oh, and I fully expect to get e-mails from pro-secret people... but if you honestly believe it, don't pick a fight with me... Just convince yourself that you already told me off and made your best arguments to a dumbfounded TQ.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Timely Repeat Lesson From Theo

If i told you things i did before
told you how i used to be
would you go along with someone like me
if you knew my story word for word
had all of my history
would you go along with someone like me

The song I blogged about yesterday, "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn And John, is well on its way to being played into the ground by yours truly. Today I realized what the song is actually about – and I continue to marvel at how this song came into my life like GANGBUSTERS (to use a favorite term of Charles Barkley).

It's a wonderfully sweet topic: early courtship. Yes, I understand that sane people don't use that word choice unless referring to the latest box social, but that classic term is one of the most apt to describe the awkward dance of personal introductions under the shade of romance.

Of course, you won't find any more insight into my current inner monologue on this topic in this forum. Which leads me to the next installment in my "Best Of" (using the term as lightly as possible).

Originally posted in two segments 365 days ago – I have decided to repost in its entirety – but not before one more verse from my Song of the Moment:

i did before and had my share
it didn't lead nowhere
i would go along with someone like you
it doesn't matter what you did
who you were hanging with
we could stick around and see this night through



One of my earliest memories is of Theo Huxtable talking to his friends in the locker room during an episode of The Cosby Show.

I know it is one of the earliest memories because I can not envision what that scene looked like, but I remember the ideal behind it, and my reaction to it.

Basically Theo went on a date with Some Girl the previous weekend, and all the guys wanted to know how far the date went. After he lied, Theo was congratulated in a shower of HIGH-5s and chauvinistic remarks. Theo felt awful, but not as bad as he felt when Some Girl found out.

I remember thinking, "If Theo wanted to achieve what he embellished, his goal would have a higher success rate if the mission was kept below radar." This message stuck. With the lone exceptions of a venting session in East Room #1252 and a tell all "Springer-style" exposé at a Waukesha custard stand, I've pretty much kept all my endeavors close to the vest.

I'm also very glad to have friends that also subscribe to this theory. Many of my friends work against the stereotype of the hard drinker, ho nailer and boastful ego that is the typical romantic male. (However, I must admit that we are the virtual baseball card trading, video game playing, sarcastic and cynical stereotype commonly associated with boys half our age)

MySpace has shown the latest example of Theo's Therom in play. I have a friend who recently began dating someone. I was not told this, I saw it though various investigative photographs on MySpace. Very recently my "Single" friend was now classifying himself as "In a Relationship" on MySpace. I applaud this efficiently friendly declaration of rather large news for my friend.

On the other side of the canyon, girls may choose to proclaim such developments from mountaintops, or worse call each other in late night pajama talk gushing, "The man I am going to marry just spilled coffee on me!"

I don't discuss romance that often. It's not just because of what I have learned from Theo. I also realize that my guy friends just don't care that much. And it's not that I don't care about their romantic developments - they just know I'm not going to be passing around HIGH-5s to stories including sexual baseball metaphors.

This Cosby Show scene, with Theo immersed in locker room guy talk, was the first time a key social reality was exposed to me: boys high school locker rooms are no place for tact, and a worse place for secrets.

Unfortunately I lapsed one time, just one time, to this tenet. Oh why did I divulge my true belief about Natalie? A girl who I found on MySpace weeks ago married, and with multiple kids?

The social impact of clandestine locker room carnage was also vividly written in the novel Death By Strip Mall. For an account on high school, and its aftermath, that is a polar opposite of the wholesome lesson heavy Cosby Show I recommend this book to any reader, agent and publisher.

Sadly, the lessons mentioned here from the Cosby Show may be the only high school based jewels that can survive the test of time. With MySpace and cell phones now as high school as lunch table politics and locker combinations I don't know how any fictional high school tale will ever be the same.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Musical Coincidence

I've said this before - I've spent a majority of my college life attempting to fall asleep. The past few nights have been been worse than normal for me in that department. Last night I basically gave up and looked to television as a way to get my mind off the cause of my insomniac evening.

One of the favorite stops of my late night viewing were VH1's Insomniac Music Theatre... Don't know if that's what it's called anymore


The video I'm posting at the bottom of this post began just as I flipped to good ol' channel 28 (VH-1). This same song happened to just start playing on a local radio station when I was flipping during my normal afternoon drive show's commercial break.

When songs like that appear out of nowhere - and appear in multiple media - it makes me think. So I'm liking this song, "Young Folks" by a band I never heard of before my lack of sleeping - Peter Bjorn And John. I think I may buy their whole album just on the serendipity alone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New Olympic Event

Who can go the longest without watching The Sopranos and not have it spoiled?
My LORD, I don't even enjoy watching the show anymore - I'm just dead curious to see how it all ends... I want to know what happens - but not from hearsay.

You'd think Dave Barry's 24 blog would be safe - but he decides to throw in a nice little nugget that was freakin' huge news to me.

I don't blame him - I don't blame anybody for spoiling ALREADY AIRED info. In this Tivo culture today, it's tough to have a "water-cooler discussion" without verifying that everybody is up to date.

Meanwhile Lost announced plans for the final seasons. Do you have any idea how much I'd LOVE and PREFER to watch the remainder of that series on Digital Video Disc? Man, but to go that long without knowing that so and so banged who's that and Mr. You Know shot her in the face? I'm talking about two separate potential events there buddies.

But all that hostility aside, I'm in a great mood tonight - for on Thursday afternoon I will essentially be paid to watch baseball. Yes, my company is giving us tickets to Wrigley Field along with "Cubbie Cash" to feed and hydrate us. It's a nice world today.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Women & Travel (UPDATED!)

I am nearing a small (but noteable to me) personal milestone in the "View de TQ." This paired with the fact that I've been hitting brick walls of content I'm going to look back and re-post some of my more worthwhile posts... with a few updates...

This is the first of five entries, and after all five are posted I will unveil a new story from my formative years that will blow everything you know about me out of the water.

In early May 2006 I decided to use a large untapped natual resource that I have access to: A Vast Array of Women Coworkers

You see, my friends and I had a theory. Whether this theory is founded or unfounded - I'll leave that up to you. However, for possibly cynical or embellished reasons, we were led to believe that women were placing unfounded priority and importance on their love and pursuit of travel. "Obsessed" was the term my friends decided to use.

Here are the uncensored viewpoints of the women I work with - with a few new entries of those who were not around during the first survey:

You're asking the wrong's a treat for me to "NOT" travel....

One always wishes or wants for the things they can't have…

Obsessed with travel…hmmmm! I wouldn't say that I'm obsessed with travel. Don't get me wrong…I do enjoy traveling in the Chicago winter months to warm/hot tropical places. I definitely do not care for the cold, so by any means, if I had the opportunity to get away, I certainly would do it. The question as to WHY though??? Still stumped…maybe it's the fact that they just want/need to refresh/regroup and traveling is just the way to do it. Or maybe that they want to see the world (you've heard of the "To Do List" before one turns a specific age…just maybe traveling is one of their top objectives). Did I answer your question??? Or did I leave you even more perplexed???

I can only speak for myself, however my dad was in the Marines and was able to travel a lot and see a lot of the world and always encouraged me to do the same., not join the Marines, but go has many places as you can. Also vacations take away everyday stress and I believe allows me to connect to my real self. I really don't think it is a gender thing, I know many guys that feel the same way. Or those girls just want to get a free vacation out of you

Because seeing new places and meeting new people always bring excitement and adventure. I'm surprised that all the men you talk to aren't also obsessed with travel!

I think the women you are talking to are probably very young and they want to explore the world….when you mature you are more settle and that comes secondary to you….But I would still love to go to Paris!!

I am not obsessed with travel. I have little to no desire to travel right now (but that just may be b/c of the baby). I mean I would like to travel, if I had the money to do it, but it is definitely NOT HIGH on my things to do list. Its nice to get away, but to roam the world looking for adventure is not my idea of fun.

I wouldn't say obsessed. I think most people, men and women, like to travel, especially if they've got everyday stressors that prompt them to want to get away, i.e. responsibility (kids, bad job, nagging spouse, etc.). Single folks like to do a lot of traveling before life (responsibility) lessens their (our) chances. Actually, I thought single guys were more into traveling, sowing their oats as much as possible while they can J.

That's kind of crazy that all women are, and something I have never ever thought about. I racked my brain, and can't really think of any generalized answer. I don't think you can really explain why you feel wanderlust, you just do. I even just like the word "wanderlust".

But, to humor you…a few reasons that I specifically like to travel:

Most of my friends from home and college have scattered across the globe, and a lot of my travel is just going to visit them. I enjoy summer, hot weather, beaches, and nine (sometimes even just 8) months of the year, I have to travel to experience that. I have an unexplainable need to see new things (but yet rarely even attempt to satisfy this need in day-to-day life). And then just the plain, old IT'S NOT WORK reason.
Because its nice to get away! Thats why.

Maybe its because they want to explore the world or maybe get it out of their system while they can until they settle down?

Traveling is romantic, exotic, fun and always interesting. If they havent traveled, then they have been dreaming about it their whole lives. If they have traveled, they know how amazing it is and become infatuated with it like most do, man or woman.

My idea as to why is that men are the hunters and women are the gatherers. Men tend to have a myoptic view- career being the focus. Women tend to be explorers. I know many men who do or want to travel. Good way to meet women though!!

Well.......taking the time to talk to you about travel is a way of knowing how long she should keep you around for. If you have money (which is always a bonus when you meet women)..... you'll say wow ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Paris that sounds great I'll buy the tickets!!!

Not all are obsessed!!!

If you can travelyou have $$$$. Stay away from them!

[Responding to above viewpoint] Stay away from gold diggers. However, travel is ok once you have an established relationship.

Every woman . . . . I don't know about that. I would not say that I LOVE to travel. Sometimes it is more hassle then it is worth. But I guess more single woman can travel and enjoy it more because they don't have a man to bug them!!!

Traveling = interesting, free-spirited people. It is exciting to travel, to see things you would never be able to see again, experience a new culture or land. Overall, traveling is a good thing. At least you dont have women on your hands who are home bodies, never wanting to see the light of day. Jump on the bandwagon, traveling is fun! J

Because there is sooooo much out there, and we realize that we will eventually get tied down and have kids and dont want to regret never taking the adventures. My mom and other old ladies constantly tell me that we should take advantage of being young and have fun and travel in our youth b.c we wont be able to when we get older and have families (and get fat).

I think they are thinking travel is glamorous, exciting, romantic, it takes them away from the everyday routine, it just opens and expands your thinking, meeting new people, seeing how other people live, I could go on and on.

Because we want to go and do things. Travel is fun and exciting. See things you dont get to see or even do in your everyday life. It is not just women, men travel too.

Depends on the woman. Either she is unhappy with her life and travel is an escape or they think the obsession with travel makes them look sophisticated or they are adventurous. One of the three depending on the woman.

New Horizons, New Adventures, New Challenges, New Things, New Scenery, New People, New Stores, New Restaurants, & I can go on & on............

Obsessed? You make it sound like the fact that we enjoy living life a bad thing. Life is so very short and to want to enjoy it to the fullest, to experience it to the fullest, is simply human nature. I also feel that you are totally stereotyping women when you say that WE are obsessed with travel. I know plenty of men who enjoy taking trips as much as any woman does.


Feel free to add to the responses by commenting.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I recommend [the above pictured] Joshua Ferris's first novel, "Then We Came to the End" to anybody who has ever sat in a cubicle. It is a new type of Black Comedy. A comedy that finds humor not from jokes but out of familiarity. Although acclaimed as a great office comedy, this book is much more drama than comedy. However, I understand how people classify this as a comedy because it is tough to not laugh when such hardcore truths of office work are revealed though such small rays of insight as:
-The zeal coworkers gather together to pass time in others' presence
-People are as much the synthesis of workplace opinion than anything else
-Group-think can nurture and protect

(Special thanks to the Roundlake Library Interlibrary loan - may the next 30+ waiting on the list enjoy it as much as I)

So now I'm back to the "Emperor's Children" Lord help me, I'm reading this for pretty much the wrong reasons (the opportunity to listen to an hour long podcast book club reviewing the novel).