Friday, July 31, 2015

Amateur Dream Analysis

DREAM: Myself and a group of friends arrive at my local library, the old Byron Public Library  on Commissioners Road, to participate in some kind of a new game show.  Other friends had recommended it to us, in the way that thirtysomethings all recommend escape rooms or other social activities.  As we all arrive* in the library’s main conference room, a group of executives hand us waiver forms and inform us that we’ll be participating in a series of real-life improv situations where we’re “part of the action.”

* = I’m kinda semi-using the royal ‘we’ here since I don’t actually remember any of the other people from my group.  I’ll just presume it was my regular group of friends since god forbid I go on such an entertaining adventure without them.

So this is the setup, and what happens after is totally bonkers.  The scenes quickly go from basic improv stuff to incredibly elaborate scenarios that would require this to be one of the more expensive TV series ever made.  For the sake of this post, I really wish I could be more descriptive of the various sketches/scenes, yet I only remember a few.  Essentially, we’d finish one thing, walk through a door and maybe down a hallway and into another room that was suddenly 50 times as large.  (Needless to say, the Byron Library would’ve needed to have gone through some extensive renovations, or gained access to an inter-dimensional portal.)

Of the ones I can remember, we had…

* I’m suddenly a contestant on a cooking show, and my ‘recipe’ is just to use a rolling pin to stretch out dough for ten minutes.  This happens, the dough is almost paper-thin by the end, and then I’m just hustled out into the next room.  At this point I should note that some of the tasks given out in these scenes weren’t always actually funny.

* For instance, in one scene, I’m in a holding cell, apparently in a prison with three other new inmates.  They all tell “what are you in for?” stories that vary from depressing to grim, so when it’s my turn, I make up something like “this guy ripped me off, so I pushed him down the stairs and killed him.” (I just recently watched the Staircase)  Everyone grunts and nods, then it’s just dead silence for, like, 10 minutes.  Finally we’re led out of the cell by guards and they go down the hallway while I’m shuttled off into another improv game.  Hilarious?

* The only seemingly successful scene was a situation where I played a PR publicist trying to interpret the bizarrely pretentious rantings of a director (Jason Schwartzman) in an interview with a journalist (Kristen Wiig) while the film’s editor (Michael Cera) kept chiming in from elsewhere in the room as he was literally working on the final cut right then and there.  Apparently my answers were so clever that they kept cracking Wiig and Schwartzman up, which is either a tribute to my hilarity or a sign of their unprofessionalism.

* At least two false endings!  In one, everyone claps at the end of a scene, shakes my hand and whatnot, then I go sign a waiver, pick up my stuff and leave.  I’m out in the parking lot about to get into my car when suddenly, who should call over but Amy Poehler and Chris Parnell.  Their “shifts are over” and need directions to a hotel.  I’m helping them out and trying not to be a fanboy, when I notice that Parnell has my old Nokia flip-phone that I got rid of five years ago. (I think….it may just be in a box in my house somewhere.)  I ask him about it, and he mentions he got it at a garage sale.  Then Poehler says she was at that same garage sale and whips out this old sweater I last wore in 2003.  They proceeded to “give me a lift” back home, only to drive to “their hotel,” which quickly devolved into an improv situation.  First tipoff: Scott Thompson was the hotel’s concierge.  I never did find out why and how Poehler and Parnell had such access to my life. 

I should note that the other twist of this show was that it was absolutely packed with notable stars as the “cast” taking part in the games with the amateur contestants like me.  Off the top of my head, I can recall: Poehler, Parnell, Thompson, Wiig, Schwartzman, Cera, Beyonce, Reese Witherspoon, Margo Martindale, Alec Baldwin, Amy Adams, Tara Reid, the guy who played Courteney Cox’s ex-husband on ‘Cougartown,’ Horatio Sanz, Michael Sheen, Maya Rudolph, Michael Pena, Dana Carvey, and, somehow, Dick Van Dyke aged back into his 30’s.  (One scene featured me on the set of the Dick Van Dyke Show trying to come up with a new gag for the opening scene rather than Dick/Rob Petrie tripping over the ottoman.)  There was no rhyme nor reason to the usage of the stars, nor the size of their parts.  Witherspoon, for instance, solely appeared between “scenes” as one of the show’s production assistants telling me which room I was supposed to go to next.  You’d think a bigger star would angle for a bigger role, but maybe my subconscious didn’t trust Witherspoon to handle anything larger…after all, I’ve seen her half-hearted SNL hosting gigs.

ANALYSIS: It probably goes without saying that this was one of the more fun dreams I’ve had in a long time.  It might even be the most fun dream I can remember…uh, non-erotic category, naturally.  As someone who performed improv comedy back in high school and university and whose all-time fantasy job would be to be on SNL, this may have literally been my greatest dream.  The setting of the Byron Library seems odd, yet if I can get deep here for a second, I’ve been signing books out of this library for almost my entire life.  In a way, my imagination was born through the Byron Library, so it only makes sense as a staging ground for this most extraordinary imaginative enterprise.   

As noted, this specific version of the show couldn’t happen due to budget constraints, yet it’s not too big a stretch to see something *like* this actually get on the air.  It’s not too far removed from a hidden-camera type of pranks show, or even those Whose Line sketches when they bring someone out of the audience to participate.  The whole thing seems like a very elaborate extension of a Jimmy Fallon-esque celebrity game show, so it only makes sense that so many SNL veterans were involved (and, these types of actors would naturally be good fits for this fluid format anyway).  Interestingly, I don’t remember Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady or any of the other Whose Line regulars appearing amongst the myriad of stars within the show, which I can only imagine was my subconscious adhering to network contractual rights. 

Beyond it just being a show, though, there was also a vague sense that I had actually signed away my life in some kind of “be careful what you wish for” situation.  For example, my past was intertwining with the material, as in the case of Poehler and Parnell having my old stuff.  Maybe a hint that I’ve spent so much of my life watching and obsessing over TV and comedy that I’ve let my actual life go by?  Wait, hang on…that sounds like an actual point of analysis and a real dark frame around what was a very fun dream.  Let’s keep living’ in denial and move right along!   

This dream took place during what I call the ‘secondary sleep’ phase of a morning.  That’s when you wake up earlier than expected to go to the bathroom or something, consider staying up and then saying screw it and going back to bed since you don’t have to be up for anything.  I generally find that it’s during this secondary sleep that your dreams get really odd.  To cite an old Louis CK routine, it’s during these extra hours of sleep that your subconscious goes, “okay, you want to see some weird shit?  Here goes.” 

So the moral of the story is, sleeping in is awesome and it leads to you getting to perform comedy with vintage Dick Van Dyke.  I may never schedule anything prior to noon ever again.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Greece & Boston

Not too many posts this month due to not one, but TWO lengthy vacations to Greece and Boston.  For those of you who are frequent travellers, I have no idea how you do it.  After just four flights within a two-week span, I never want to see another airport again.  Nine hours on a cross-Atlantic flight almost ruined my back, and my sanity was nearly destroyed following 90 minutes sitting in front of the world’s two most obnoxious children on the way back from Boston.  Other silly observations from both trips….

* while driving back to Athens from the lovely little resort village of Monemvasia, I noticed a real peculiarity once we hit the 100-km mark outside of town.  Along certain sections of the highway to Athens, they had road markers that literally counted things down every 1/10th of a click.  For a good five kilometres, all you saw were signs that read “A 97.5,” then “A 97.4,” then “A 97.3” until the road became a bit less developed.  The signs then picked back up again around the 60-km mark. 

This was bizarre.  Why bother counting down such minuscule parts of the distance?  Athens is impressive enough that it doesn’t need this drumroll of a road posting system.  I don’t want to draw a straight line from overspending on needless highway signs to the failing Greek economy, but it’s so, so easy.

* since I developed a massive blister on my foot literally a couple of hours after arriving in Boston (Mark hates walking! Why can’t society, as a whole, agree to just install moving sidewalks in all major cities?), I found myself taking a lot of taxis around town.  On three different occasions during a mere five-day trip, a cab driver (completely unprovoked) brought up the Tom Brady suspension and began to rant about the unfairness of the whole thing.  Needless to say, Bostonians are taking Brady’s side.  I had half a mind to see just how six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon I could get with this thing to try to get a cabbie to eventually tie things back around to Brady.

“So, who’s your favourite Venezuelan poet?”
“I dunno, I’m nawt a big reader, unlike how Tawhm Brady can read a defense like the back of his hand.  He didn’t need any deflated footballs, the Pats were crushing the Colts anyway!  It’s absuhd!”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hot! Live! Music!

* Elvis Presley, "If I Can Dream"
Also known as my mother's favourite song of all time, rivaled only by the ukelele version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."  It's weird, Elvis is such a massive icon and pop culture figure that it almost obscures the fact that this guy could REALLY sing.

* Tori Amos, "I Ran"
Skip to the 1:37 point to avoid some inane concert patter and get to the good stuff.  Flock Of Seagulls, baby!

* Luther Vandross, "A House Is Not A Home"
Rembert Browne of Grantland recently broke down this iconic performance of Luther's from 1988, and I must say, Rembert's breathless praise is more than justified.

* U2 and Lady Gaga, "Ordinary Love"
So needless to say, this installment of Hot! Live! Music! will have a major U2 presence in the wake of their two Toronto concerts earlier this month.  To wit, here's U2 and (of all people) Lady Gaga playing together at a recent show.  Nothing says a musical tribute to Nelson Mandela than performing in your underwear.  

* U2/Soweto Gospel Choir, "Amazing Grace/Where The Streets Have No Name"
Speaking of U2 duets, let's cheat a bit as someone has mixed together U2's performances with those of the Soweto Gospel Choir.  It sounds UNBELIEVABLE.  This is one of my favourite clips of all time.

* U2, "Rejoice"
Here's a golden oldie from 1982, and insert the obligatory 'wow, they look so young' comments here.  If U2 were to randomly bust this one out on tour today, I think I'd just about lose my mind...they haven't played this song in over 30 years.

* The Dalton Brothers, "Lost Highway"
And after all that, let's end with the obscure Dalton Brothers, who opened for U2 a couple of times in the 80's and have never been heard from since.  They didn't even manage an original song, only covering Hank Williams here.  Not to speak ill of a lady, but Betty Dalton was one ugly woman.  You could put, say, Adam Clayton in a dress and come up with a better looking lady than ol' Betty.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dayman vs. Nightman

Now THIS is a multi-film series I can fully endorse.  I can't wait until the Troll is finally revealed in the third movie.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The 125 Best U2 Songs

Can you believe it’s been over six years since my last U2 song ranking?  I’ve ranked songs from several different musicians in the interim, yet naturally U2 are the first to get a re-ranking since they’re my favourites.  As I noted last time, this order tends to shift on a pretty regular basis, which is why it’s in many ways drastically different (and way longer) than the last one, though it’s mostly pretty similar at the very top.  This list is based on my personal preference, which makes things challenging in this case since I love all 125 songs.  I could listen to #125 all day, and happily inform you why it’s better than pretty much anything written by, say, the Foo Fighters.  (That one’s for my brother.)

This list only counts songs actually by U2 as a whole, or at least all four U2 members plus another (i.e. U2 plus Eno and Lanois for the ‘No Line On The Horizon’ tracks).  As such, this also counts the U2/Eno Passengers side project since it just felt straight-up wrong to leave ‘Miss Sarajevo’ off this list.  No covers, no songs by just Bono and Edge….only all four guys. 

If your favourite U2 song is somehow not on the list, presume I had it at #126 and agonized over it as a last-minute tough cut.  Whatever helps you sleep at night, pal.

Onto the list!

125. A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel
124. No Line On The Horizon
123. The First Time
122. Babyface
121. When Love Comes To Town
120. Numb
119. The Hands That Build America
118. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
117. Blow Your House Down
116. Iris
115. Tomorrow
114. Miami
113. I Fall Down
112. Bullet The Blue Sky
111. Even Better Than The Real Thing
110. The Wanderer
109. MLK
108. Get On Your Boots
107. Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World
106. Seconds
105. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
104. Love And Peace Or Else
103. Miracle Drug
102. Big Girls Are Best
101. Acrobat

100. Cedarwood Road
99. Rise Up
98. Flower Child
97. Elevation
96. Ultraviolet
95. Sleep Like A Baby Tonight
94. Holy Joe
93. Exit
92. Out Of Control
91. Zooropa
90. Hallelujah Here She Comes
89. Treasure (Whatever Happened To Pete The Chop?)
88. Heartland
87. Window In The Skies
86. Two Hearts Beat As One
85. Desert Of Our Love
84. Ordinary Love
83. Disappearing Act
82. Grace
81. If God Would Send His Angels
80. 40
79. I Will Follow
78. Desire
77. City Of Blinding Lights
76. The Ground Beneath Her Feet

75. Levitate
74. Wave Of Sorrow
73. Van Diemen’s Land
72. Magnificent
71. The Playboy Mansion
70. 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
69. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
68. Unknown Caller
67. So Cruel
66. Staring At The Sun
65. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
64. North And South Of The River
63. Red Hill Mining Town
62. I’m Not Your Baby
61. Promenade
60. All My Life (A Moment Of You)
59. Lady With The Spinning Head
58. In God’s Country
57. Winter
56. Gloria
55. Breathe
54. Rejoice
53. This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now
52. North Star
51. The Sweetest Thing

50. Kite
49. Until The End Of The World
48. A Sort Of Homecoming
47. Gone
46. Last Night On Earth
45. California (There Is No End To Love)
44. Every Breaking Wave
43. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
42. Electrical Storm
41. Yahweh
40. One Tree Hill
39. Fast Cars
38. Xanax and Wine
37. Mercy (original B-side version)
36. Invisible
35. A Celebration
34. Wire
33. Do You Feel Loved
32. The Troubles
31. The Fool
30. Miss Sarajevo
29. Vertigo
28. The Crystal Ballroom
27. Lemon
26. The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)

25. Like A Song
24. Running To Stand Still
23. Walk On
22. Mofo
21. Original Of The Species
20. The Electric Co
19. Moment Of Surrender
18. Discotheque
17. Raised By Wolves
16. New Year’s Day
15. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
14. Beautiful Day
13. All I Want Is You
12. Sunday Bloody Sunday
11. In A Little While

10. Stay
9. Angel Of Harlem
8. With or Without You
7. Where The Streets Have No Name
6. The Fly
5. Please
4. One
3. Bad
2. Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
1. Mysterious Ways

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Who Ya Gonna Call?

I was already pretty optimistic about this Ghostbusters remake, and yet after seeing some of the pictures released from the set, I am now in a full-on fanboy mode that would rival eight-year-old me's enthusiasm for Ghostbusters II.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

U2, Twice

(picture credit: a Facebook friend of a Facebook friend.  I wasn’t sitting nearly that close, nor am I nearly that good a photographer.)

Of all the times I’ve seen U2 play live, I’ve never seen them even on the same engagement, let alone back-to-back nights.  I’ve seen the band perform twice on the same tour during both Elevation and the 360 Tour, though those shows were separated by (respectively) five months and two years, so there was plenty of variation in the setlist and presentation.

In this case, however, I was seeing U2 perform on consecutive evenings.  Back in December, I bought tickets to both shows due to rumours that U2 was booking two-night stands (or other even numbers like four-night stands, six-nighters, etc.) since they were going to live up to the “Innocence & Experience Tour” name by playing totally different shows on each night.  Somewhere along the way, however, the band’s plan changed, reportedly since they didn’t want any ticket buyers to leave disappointed that they’d seen “the second-best show” of the duo.  Instead, the I&E theme was compressed into a single setlist, with two separate 10-song collections reflecting both ideas.

IAt first I was worried that going on consecutive nights would somewhat dampen my enthusiasm for the second show, yet this was kind of silly in retrospect.  How many umpteen times have I listened to, say, a U2 album on consecutive days in my life?  I certainly wasn’t bored on that second listen, and I sure wasn’t bored here.  If anything, I’d say the second show might’ve actually been the better of the two.  It seemed musically tighter to me, though admittedly I was more focused on the music the second night since in the initial show, I was a) wowed by the video screen and the overall staging, and b) on edge thanks to the idiot that nearly spilled a beer on me just before showtime.  This brain surgeon walks down my row and realizes that she’s in the row behind, so she decides the complicated move of ducking under the bar and climbing over a chair should be made EVEN MORE COMPLICATED by holding her beer at the same time.  Naturally, it went everywhere; the poor woman next to me for a full beer shower, whereas I only had a soaked sleeve.  Did the beer-spiller apologize?  Nope, she just kept right on walking down the row towards her seat.

So yeah, perhaps I wasn’t quite in the proper mood to fully soak in the peace & togetherness vibe of the evening, but still, the first show was still excellent.  I had pretty much an ideal seat, located in the upper tier of the arena with a full-on central view of the screen.  I was actually right under where I sit for my rare occasions covering Leafs games at the ACC, so it was a familiar vantage point for me.  On the second night I had a bit of an obstructed view in the upper tier…if the e-stage was at six o’clock, I was between six and seven.  I didn’t mind, though, since I’d already seen the video effects the previous night.  Lucky for me the situation wasn’t reversed, since kinda half-seeing the video might’ve spoiled things for a clearer view on the second night.  Though, in that scenario, my sleeve would’ve been beer-free.

Let’s go track-by-track on the mostly static setlist….

1. The Miracle Of Joey Ramone
2a. Out Of Control
2b. The Electric Co.
3. Vertigo
4. I Will Follow

The “story” of the opening set is U2’s early days in Ireland, and so they start at one end of the arena on a basic open stage (looks like a capital ‘I’ for innocence) with one big light bulb hanging overhead to simulate the lighting from when they rehearsed in the garage as kids.  The first four songs reflect their love of punk music, ranging from the Joey Ramone tribute to one of their rockers from “Boy” (Electric Co was clearly better in my books, though I’m biased since it’s one of my favourites) to Vertigo to I Will Follow.  Since the latter is about Bono’s mother, it provides a natural segue into…

5. Iris
This is where the big partition thing hanging over the centre of the arena suddenly comes to life, showing pictures of Bono’s mother (who passed away when he was 14) as well as him as a young lad running around his yard.  Listening to the track on the album, Iris didn’t stand out to me as a song that would take off live, yet the combination of Bono’s emotional pre-song story, the music and the video imagery just made for a wonderful experience.

6. Cedarwood Road
This is where we learned that the video screen was also a catwalk, as Bono walked into it as an animated version of his old home street in Dublin was shown.  Bono then literally “walked down the street” as the band played, with Edge and Adam walking beneath him on the long stage path that ran down the middle of the arena.  This might’ve well been the highlight of the entire show — the crowd was wowed by the video effects.  There were audible “holy shit” comments as the screen kicked into gear, and the song itself was an absolutely rocking blast.

7. Song For Someone
Theme here is Bono as a young man in his bedroom writing a song to his girlfriend (and future wife), with the video screen going him moving between the rooms of his house.  I can’t get over what a shrewd idea it was to put these three non-single new songs together with the video screen switching on, in order to keep the audience invested through this admittedly somewhat somber portion of the show.

8. Sunday Bloody Sunday
Speaking of somber, when we get the stripped-down semi-acoustic version of SBS with the band all playing out on the connector stage (Larry has a kettle drum) that has the entire audience singing along.  U2 has been accused of not playing this one with the fire it demands on recent tours; doing a stripped-down version sidesteps that issue beautifully.

9. Raised By Wolves
Forget what I said about Cedarwood Road, THIS was the best of the new songs in a live setting.  Not only is it full of energy, as expected, but it’s enhanced and made legitimately kinda creepy in a Nightcrawler sort of way by the video effect.  It’s just Bono and the band walking around the connector and playing the song, except it’s through this static-y filter.  (Here’s how it looked in their Denver show last month.)

10. Until The End Of The World
And then the “end” of U2’s early “world” as we move into the Experience segment.

***brief intermission during which a CGI Johnny Cash face appeared on the video screen to sing The Wanderer to us.  I think the logic here was the line “I went out there/In search of experience…” that tied into the theme of the show’s second half.***

11. Invisible
12. Even Better Than The Real Thing

The break was necessary to give the band time to get into the catwalk en masse, to create some cuteness during Invisible.  The video screen has a static yellow image that occasionally opens to reveal each band member during the opening of the song, then when Bono sings “I AM HERE,” the arena lights come on and the video effects turn off, illuminating all four guys playing on the catwalk.  Then, for EBTTRT, they had their own personalized effects and blown-up versions of their faces projected on the screen until they emerged onto the smaller stage at the other end of the arena before the “Take me higher” coda.

13. Mysterious Ways
So on the first night, they bring up a girl from the crowd decked out in full belly dancer attire and she dances during the song a la the ZooTV Tour.  (Edge ended up marrying their ZooTV dancer, so let’s hope he remained a gentleman here.)  On the second night you had Bono bring a girl up for the latter half of the song and they did some light dancing, though the best was yet to come with her, as explained later.

14a. Elevation
14.5a. “Desire”
15a. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

Sticking with the first night, the band stayed on the smaller stage (shaped like a lowercase ‘e’ so the two stages were an I&E…Innocence + Experience.  Aha!) for a set.  Elevation was followed by Bono bringing a whole group of dudes onstage who it turns out are a Canadian U2 cover band.  These guys and Edge end up playing Desire and just rocking the hell out of it.  Bono, Adam and Larry just stood in the audience and watched, as per a funny shot on the video screen.  So now we can finally say that a U2 concert featured Acrobat, in a way.  that was followed by a lovely version of Stuck with Edge on piano instead of guitar.

14b. Angel Of Harlem
15b. All I Want Is You

That girl (Stephanie) who Bono brought on stage to dance during the second night?  Turns out he misread her sign, and she was actually requesting to play guitar with the band.  So they hand her an acoustic guitar and she KILLS IT.  If Bono’s bicycling injuries actually will prevent him from playing guitar in concerts, they have a ready-made replacement right here.  My buddy Trevor is reading this entry right now in tears, by the way.  AIWIY is his favourite U2 song and they’ve never played it at any of the four shows we attended together, so of course now they finally bust it out when he’s not here.  Sorry, Trev.

16. Every Breaking Wave
I enjoy how U2 just decided that the piano/Bono’s voice version was better than the poppy full band version from the album.  Lovely stuff.

17. Bullet The Blue Sky
18. Pride
19. Beautiful Day
20a. Bad (played the first night only)
21a/20b. With Or Without You

Then we get into the old warhorses.  BTBS has never been a real favourite for me and I was pleased they retired it for the 360 Tour, yet it’s back here with a whole new fire as the original topic (the USA bombing El Salvador) has been updated to, essentially, the USA bombing the world with its culture and financial interference.  Pride is still good, better the second night since it was just the song and sans a long speech from Bono about how he still believes in “America, the idea” which was a little-hamhanded since we’re, y’know, Canadians.  BD has officially moved into the realm of beloved classic now, drawing as big a reaction as anything else played that night.  WOWY sounded great and Bono even tossed in the acclaimed ‘shine like stars’ coda he busts out for certain live shows.  The first night had the bonus of Bad, which sounded incredible.

22a/21b. City Of Blinding Lights
23a/22b. Where The Streets Have No Name
24a. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
23b. One

The encore is the only part of the show I’d make changes to, which is ironic since it was pretty much the only thing Ravi and I didn’t try to revise in our most recent chat about U2.  (I realize how it was kind of dumb to offer all these fixes to a show we hadn’t actually seen in person yet.  Half of my suggestions seem really dumb in hindsight…for instance I really like Invisible’s whole gimmick now and think it should stay.)  Part of what makes ‘Streets’ so great is the segue between some other song into the Edge’s legendary opening chiming riff.  Here, we have Bono speaking about the (RED) campaign and a brief cover of Paul Simon’s “Mother And Child Reunion” segueing into Streets and it just isn’t the same.  I’d actually slot the speech and M&CR leading into One or ISHFWILF, and then have Streets flow out of that to close the show with a bang.  Anyway, the songs themselves all still sounded fine, with ‘One’ kind of nicely recast as mostly a crowd singalong.

All in all, two excellent concerts.  Now that I’ve seen two in a row, the next step is clearly to go even more crazy superfan and attend, like, all four shows of their upcoming engagement in Boston.  Or, to all EIGHT of their shows at Madison Square Garden at the end of the month.  Does anyone want to donate the few thousand dollars I need to make this dream happen?!  *crickets*

On my all-time personal rankings of U2 concerts, I’d go…

1. The 2001 Elevation show in Hamilton
2. 2009 360 Tour (Rogers Centre)
3. Tuesday’s Innocence & Experience (Air Canada Centre)
4. Monday’s Innocence & Experience (ACC)
5. 2005 Vertigo Tour (ACC)
6. 2011 360 Tour (Rogers Centre)
7. 2001 Elevation (ACC)

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


So, about my Simpsons embargo....uh, never mind.  Looks like I'm sticking with the show to the bitter end.  #MixedEmotions?

Monday, July 06, 2015


So essentially, it's Great Britain, except "the size of South America," according to George R.R. Martin.  Of course, if it's that big, then it doesn't really make sense how, say, Littlefinger can get from Winterfell to King's Landing over the time of just one episode, but what the hell, the show has dragons, I'm willing to overlook a few logistical details.  For instance, everyone refers to Westeros as "the Seven Kingdoms" when the continent has at least nine distinct regions, so even the characters must be confused.

This is far from the most detailed map of Westeros on the internet, which goes to show just how insanely thorough Martin was in the creation of this world.  Every city marked has its own long history in various "Song Of Ice & Fire" media, whether it's the books themselves or reference material.  And this is just Westeros --- I didn't even bother with the map of Essos, which is even more gigantic (it's basically Asia) as well as the more or less unknown continents of Sothoryos or Ulthos.  It would be great if the Game Of Thrones finale concluded with the characters arriving in Sothoryos for some reason and it's the modern world with cars, planes, etc.  How much of an absolute meltdown would the internet have if the entire ASOIAF/Game of Thrones saga was revealed to be a very elaborate version of "The Village."

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Stephen Colbert, Morning Access Host

To get back in the swing of hosting a talk show, Stephen Colbert randomly decided to host a public access morning show in Monroe, Michigan.  It's funny all the way through, yet things really get to another comedy level when Eminem shows up at the 22-minute mark.  Kudos to Eminem for (almost) keeping a straight face the entire time.