MonthSeptember 2005

Idull

“Idol” shows. American Idol. NZ Pop Idol. So You Want To Be An Idol. Survivor Island: Idol.

I don’t get them.

At all.

Apart from the schadenfreude of watching the shitpile auditions in the first episode, why would anyone watch this stuff? Ever? Any yet, they’re hugely popular, people love them. Sane, rational people. People who have arguments in front of me, at work, over who would be dropped and who go on the INSTANT DEATH round where there’s a cage match. That’s not actually true, there’s no cage match. If there were, I would actually watch. I’m one of those terrible people who think that The Running Man game show is a brilliant idea. But why watch beyond the crappy auditions? If you want to see Karaoke, go to a Karaoke bar. Get drunk. Participate. It’s much more fun than watching Karaoke on TV. If you want to see bitchy sniping and bullshit politics, go to your local gay bar. Or amateur/semi-pro theatre group. Why watch this idol stuff?

Also, what kind of person who claims to want to be a serious career musician, actually goes ON these shows? With one exception the “careers” of these people, post-idol-show, have majestically soared like the Challenger spacecraft, like a late-model Concorde leaping into flight, like the New Orleans Levee System, like a Metaphor Being Stretched Too Far And Snapping. You get the idea.

Surely anyone who really wants to be a professional muso should avoid these shows as if they were the Cursed Touch of Death to your credibility. Which of course, they are. How’re those Clay and Reuben dudes doing, these days? I seem to have somehow missed either of their latest chart-placing singles. I’m sure the dinner theatre and bar-mitzvah circuit has greatly benefited from both of them.

The exception, as mentioned earlier, is Kelly Clarkson, who’s doing very well. And even then, she had to keep a very low profile for a few years, then come back without ANY mention of American Idol in her marketing. _ANY_ mention.

I’m guessing, much like reality shows, these idol things are cheap to make, syndicatable, and if the artists do well, the idol producers get additional revenue in the form of points on income streams from future works by the artist. Nice deal.

Looks good for the producers, but I’m damned if I can figure out why so many people watch.

Serenity – SPOILER FREE

Just got back from the early screening of Serenity. I enjoyed it VASTLY. I’m likely to go see it again when it’s in general release, and I’ll certainly buy the DVD. Especially if there’s commentary. Sweet sweet commentary. It’s like candy to me.

Joss Whedons’ introductory comments at the start were themselves hilarious, and there were a LOT of laughs in the movie. And some very poignant moments also. One thing that Whedons work occasionally lacks is actual suspense. (Oh no! Could Willow actually be going to destroy the whole world? Stay tuned to find out!) but I was actually inching forward in my seat on a couple of occasions. Disbelief was well-suspended throughout.

Annette and I amused ourselves on the walk up Queen street to the theatre by attempting to identify people who we thought were also headed for this particular movie.

JSR: [Points at portly late-20s guy with neck beard] “Serenity. And has a favourite linux distribution, and will outline his reasons for preferring it over other linux distributions.”
Annette: “For sure.” [Points at woman in long leather coat, wearing some kind of western-style crossed ammo belt things] “Serenity, definitely.”
JSR: “No doubt.” [Points at skinny long-haired guy wearing long coat.] “Serenity. Also, trenchcoats for geeks are played the fuck out. Someone should tell him.”
Annette: [Points at couple] “Black-wearin’ geek guy with chubby girlfriend. 100% Serenity.”
JSR: “We geeks do like our ample women. Oh my yes.”

Can’t Park There

The news just reported that they have unconfirmed reports that someone is flying over Auckland in a (stolen?) light aircraft, and in communications with the police has threatened to crash it into the Sky Tower.

I have _equipment_ in the Sky Tower. Expensive stuff! Goddamn it!

I’m sure as hell not going up there to get it, now. I’ll wager they’re evacuating it anyway. I hope so, if this nutcase actually goes through with his threat.

I bet he aims for the restaurant, anyway, not the RF decks a few floors down. It’s a bigger target.

[Edit: UPDATE! Now reported that a small plane has crashed on Kohimarama Beach (Mission Bay, basically) and that the pilot is out and on the beach. Presumably the same dude as above. Excellent.]

Movin’ On Up

Annette has packed pretty much the whole apartment. I shall end up packing my desk stuff and computer stuff. Everything else, the vast majority of which can be described as “All the damn books”, has been packed by Annette. I have offered sage advice like “Wow, awesome packing there!” and “Way to go with the packing, yes!”, but that’s it.

Also: Annette got tickets to the upcoming John Cleese show! Cue fanboy glee!

Much running around at the moment for moving – finalising the mortgage documents (it seems the last big lot of papers we signed for the mortgage was, in fact, only a light preamble, a mere introduction to the themes of the main paperwork.

Things to consider when moving: Mortgage, new bank accounts, deposits, getting real estate management company, showing prospective tenants through the place when you’re trying to pack (or watch your girlfriend pack), power, phone and internet moving, mail forwarding, change of address for every damn thing, ensuring building managers know that you’re leaving/arriving and have the service lifts ready for you, booking movers, changing pay to new mortgage accounts, etc.

Total. Pain. In. The. Ass.

I hope the new apartment rules all.

2005 MTV Music Video Awards. No, Really.

You are about to read my review of the (illegally downloaded from the internets) 2005 MTV Music Video Awards.

It shall be presented in the format of: I shall type my thoughts while watching into this blog update page. I won’t comment on everything, just stuff that actually makes an impact on my brain. When it finishes, I’ll hit the “update journal” page. Warning: SPOILERS OR SOMETHING. BE WARNED.

Here we go.

They’re opening with a musical act. That’s kinda cool. And novel for MTV, really. This band looks slightly gothy.

Oh, I know this song. Is this Green Day or Good Charlotte? Huh, they’re actually live! No lipsyncing. Patchy sound mixing, even. I postulate that may be being deliberately bad on the sound mix, in order to convince people that it’s live. I then wonder if I’m being too cynical. Annette confirms that I am not.

They’re actually rocking out quite hard. Meedly-meedly-squeedly! Is this talent I see? Guess that means they’re not Good Charlotte. Annette cofirms that they’re Green Day.

Here’s the actual show intro. Featuring! A whole bunch of people! Some of whom I recognise! Featuring Beavis and Butthead? For serious?

Hosted by “Diddy”. I shall try to dodge lame ass jokes about Sean Combs changing his name a lot, because really that’s played out. I may not be able to resist it.

Here’s Diddy now. He’s looking cool. He has a toothpick. Real gangstas dont have no shit stuck in their teeth, yo. I thought he was going to break into a cover of “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, there. Someone’s sampling heavily. Diddy is now dancing. Not well. Now there are many professional dancers around him. They’re dancing well. This may have been a bad call on Diddys part. Now there are fly girls. They are jiggly. In formation.

“Best male and best female video”? That’s an odd category.

Kelly Clarkson: “I didn’t have a posse, so I brought my friend Ashley!”. Awesome.

Holy Shit! Beavis and Butthead! Man .. someone must have authorised the payment of a crapload of money to Mike Judge. Heh. Beavis is playing with FIRE! FIRE! Hah! Butthead: “We’re better than Green Day.”

A whole bunch of lame in-show ads for the sponsors. Weak. Really weak. They’re talking about their companies and products, but all I hear is “It’s chill it’s fresh it’s _Noahs Arcade_!”

More presenters. Missy Elliot and “Ciara”. I know who Missy Elliot is. Oh, they’re not presenting, they’re introducing. Ludacris and Bobby Valentino. They’re rapping. They’re terrible. Sloppy timing, mumbled lyrics. Things are easier when a studio recording tech team and a skilled producer help! Here come the fly girls. Oh, and a steel drum band. That’s kinda cool. Doesn’t redeeem this mediocre act though.

Heeeere’s Diddy! He asserts that he’s a classy gentleman. He just gave away his watch to some guy in the crowd. He made a point to mention that the watch was diamond encrusted and what its brand name was. Oh yes, that is indeed class. Now he’s saying that he’s going to give $100k to the charity of the best-dressed person at the event. The people he lists are all celebs. I guess only celebs can really be well-dressed.

Diddy introduces Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. Hah! Diddy: “Please welcome one of the prettiest looking people on the planet. And she’s fine, too!”

Oh Orlando. Still the prettiest!

Kirsten can’t read a teleprompter worth a damn. best Rock Video award. I ‘ve heard of all of the bands nominated except one. That’s fucking spooky. That shouldn’t _be_. Winner: Green Day, with Boulevard of Broken Dreams. I typed that originally as “Boulevard of Borken Draems”. That’d be a cool song.

Commercial break. Back to a DJ. Holy shit, is that Grand Master Flash? It IS. Holy Shit! Not _a_ DJ, then, but _THE_ DJ. Flash invites the crowd to “put those hands up! Pump them up!”. He also commands that “Somebody say Ho-Oh!”. Annette offers that the whole “Somebody say Ho-Oh.” thing is a bit dated. I explain that he’s GRAND MASTER FLASH and he can do anything he damn well wants regardless of the date.

An obviously planted girl in the crowd asks Diddy to dance. Diddy declines. Grandmaster Flash tells Diddy not to say that until he hears This! Hah! Grandmaster Flash plays Atomic Dog. Nice. Now Diddy is dancing. Again, not very well. Annette tells me that the guy now taking the stage is a guy from “You Got Served”. He can dance. Diddy, this .. was not a good move for you to make. If you host next year, you may wish to reconsider all this dancin’

Diddy introduces .. MC Hammer? Singing U Can’t Touch This? And so it is. Okay, this at least a moderate redemption for a so far fairly mediocre show.

Jessica and Ashley Simpson come on. They’re wearing things that are like clothes, but uglier. Best R&B Video. Yawn. Winner: Alicia Keys with Karma. The song is pablum to my ears. I will forget it the instant it stops, I suspect. It’s stopped. I try to recall it…. and …nope. As expected.

Shakira performs. Lyrics are in spanish, which I still (sadly) do not speak. I shall hazard an attempt at a translation:

Lookie lookie lookie, Look at my torso.
Lookie lookie lookie, Look at my thorax
It is shapely
My chestal region is both shapely and bendy
Even during the fiesta
Aiaiaiaiaiai

I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

Heh. Shot of someone in the crowd wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m Rick James, Bitch!”

Usher is on stage. He is smooth. Aw yeah. Damn. He’s also not wearing a hat. That’s odd, for him. He introduces some dancers. They are apparently “Krumping and Clowning”. One of them is wearing clownface makeup. This is spooky. Only because it makes me think of Jugaloos and Something Awful ragging endlessly on Jugaloos. What’s next, breakdancing furries?

Someone called Eric Roberts is presenting. Don’t know him. His smarm is overwhelming. The oil in his laugh alone is enough to get him invaded and occupied and have some freedom spread to him.

He introduces R. Kelly. Heh. R kelly must hate Dave Chapelle. I can’t even hear his name without thinking “This is the remix edition of the song about pissin’….”

Jumpcut from the music video for this terrible song. To a live version of this terrible song. Wait, what the fuck _is_ this? Holy crap. R’ Kelly. Worst. Lipsyncing. Ever. He’s doing a live version of this song, but playing all the parts himself. Lipsyncing it. Badly. Like .. incredibly badly. I guess we’re supposed to accept this and be emotionally involved in his _acting_. Good lord. This sucks. Sucks on toast. This song sucks. His act sucks. The concept sucks. I’m actually getting stupider just by watching this. It’s actually physically hurting me to watch this. This is DEEP HURTING. The cool stuff so far is being counterbalanced by this bullshit. Shakira’s thorax … MC Hammer. Orlando Bloom being “the prettiest”… all these things are fading … like tears in rain … Okay, dammit, this is STILL GOING ON and I am SERIOUSLY considering just turning it off mid-review. IT BURNS AND STINGS! In ten years, people will be looking back at this, and falling about with laughter. And the hired crowd is swaying and clapping like Led Zep have reformed and are playing Stairway for them. I want everyone involved with this dead. I want their families dead. In fact.. KILL ALL HUMANS!

Commerical break. Sweet Jesus, thank you! R Kelly. What a performer.

They’re showing highlights. Highlights of stuff that just happpened a few minutes ago. “These highlights brought to you by the Saturn Roadster!” says some eye candy girl leaning up against the aforementioned Saturn Roadster. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Capitalism makes me sad sometimes.

And we’re back. Diddy is explaining his name changes. I don’t care. The crowd goes wild. whisky. Tango. Etc.

More Beavis and Butthead. Beavis is dressed as Poseidon, the God of Water. Beavis is Serculius the Roman God of Feces and Manure. There was a Roman god of Feces and Manure? This is valuable knowledge that is being imparted, here!

Fat Joe shows up. He is aptly named.

Diddy points out that the VIP area has white carpet “and some lamps”. It sure does. Once again, classy. I’m surprised that there’s no “These VIP lamps were brought to you by the all-new Saturn Roadster!”

Here’s Pharrel. His face is oddly slick and streamlined. He looks like he’s designed for rapid travel in a fluidic environment. His face would _hydroplane_.

There’s a video by someone called “Jesse McCartney”. Jesse is the single least threatening boy _ever_. There’s exactly zero things about him that might cause alarm. He could not be more boyish if he tried. Actually made me laugh out loud. I postulate that his name is really “Corey” to Annette. We both say “… Story … Allegory” We watch far too much TV.

Kelly Clarkson wins an award. “I have no idea what’s going on!”. She’s genuine and adorable. If it’s an act, it’s so good that I’m willing to accept it on face value.

Jamie Foxx appears to be singing stuff in a Ray Charles style now. That’s … kinda creepy. I mean, it sounds _good_, it just seems _wrong_.

Dane Cook the comedian is on? In the middle of a bunch of musical acts? Not sure if this will play. Nope, it didn’t. He totally died up there. Which is a shame, because his stuff is actually funny. That was a very odd act to chuck in there. I feel bad for him. These terrible jokes fell flat and were brought to you by the all-new Saturn Roadster!

Heh. Lil John. WHAT?! WHAT?! YEAH! … I think Lil John is another person who must HATE Dave Chapelle. I mention this to Annette. Annette points out that thanks to Dave Chapelle, everyone knows exactly who Lil John is. And you couldn’t buy that kind of publicity with cash money. Valid Point. WHAT?! OKAY!

Kelly Clarkson performs live. I am not expecting much rocking. I am wrong! It’s actually live! And there’s a lot of rocking in there. She’s great. And cute. Miiiighty cute for a skinny chick.

They close out the whole gig by dropping water everywhere. Now there’s a _wet_ Kelly Clarkson gyrating and bouncing around. It’s a BOLD EFFORT to recover from that R Kelly act … but it fails.

As usual, I finish watching this stuff with a vague desire to get a couple of hours of my life back.

Highlights… none, really. I will admit that the R Kelly opera thing will stay with me. I’ll be dwelling on that one. Oh yes.

And on Miss Clarkson.

This journal entry was brought to you by the all new Saturn Roadster!

Goodnight!