Friday, April 28

Sketch22 Has A New Member! (unofficial)

Well, we did it.  We finally chose someone to be the fifth actor in our stage show this summer.  After 19 auditioners (practically every one of which did a really good job), we couldn't narrow it down beyond a select handful.  So, we asked them if they'd come back and do a bit more script reading and auditioning with us.
That happened earlier this week, and after seeing them again, the decision was no easier.  It's a pretty good feeling to have to choose among people, all of whom would likely be a great addition.  Conversely, it's not so great knowing that some pretty talented people won't be joining us (not that "joining us" is any kind of end-all, be-all).  So, Thursday night, the four of us who are currently on the island, got together for a couple of hours, talked about all the strengths and pros of each person and tried to imagine some potential cons, and finally made a unanimous decision that we think is pretty exciting.
I'm not going to divulge the name quite yet.  While the person, when asked to become part of the group, was enthusiastic and excited, and agreed, we haven't talked money yet.  So, until those final details get worked out, and agreed upon by all, it's probably best to keep the name as under wraps as mildly leaked information can remain under wraps on PEI.
But we do have a new cast member for the summer show.  And it's going to be fantastic.

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Will You Be My Friend?

I just signed up to Frappr, which is a kind of cool Google Maps way to view where your friends and acquaintances are, globally speaking.  It'd be superkeen if you took the time to visit my map and add yourself.  Click the link, won't you?
The Annekenstein Monster's Friend Map - Friend Map by Frappr Maps

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Wednesday, April 26


A picture of Cameron's Lego Town. Posted by Picasa

LegoTown: My Son's Deadwood

My son and two of his friends have been playing what I would classify as a role-playing game, for about two years.  It's a game they made up themselves (although I believe it's mostly from the brain of my imaginative son), involving a town they built and the people who inhabit it.  It's pretty intricate in its mechanisms and history and rules and procedures.
Originally, it was called Lepodink, which was short for the three main elements of the game:  Legos, Pokemon figures and dinkies.  Sometime in the past few months, the Pokemon figures and dinkies have been abandoned in favour of 100% Lego-only.  Hence: Lego Town
From what I can tell, each of the three have several characters (who each have families) they're responsible for.  Each character has his or her own profession and associations with other characters.  It's all played on a couple of those play mats that have streets on them, etc., with Lego buildings and Lego people populating it.
Here's a picture:

Lately, they've felt the need to implement some rules, to make the town run more smoothly, and to protect themselves from the criminal element.  They've also made me Judge, and whenever there are grievances between citizens, or laws that are allegedly broken, they come to me, explain themselves, and I judge what I think is a fair punishment or fine (if the case doesn't get thrown out of court for any number of protocol breaches).
Here is the list of rules that they made up.  This is the list that they need to make their Lego Town run more smoothly.  I wonder if Charlottetown would do well to implement some of these:

  1. Do not steal.
  2. Do not kill or hurt any living thing.
  3. Must have permits to have a weapon or job.
  4. No speeding or bad driving.
  5. Two warnings and you go to jail.
  6. No mafias.
  7. Respect officers and the law.
  8. If you help in a crime you get blamed for everything.
  9. No threatening.
  10. Do not try to solve a crime yourself.
  11. Don't break people out of jail.
  12. Do not break into a house.
  13. Drinking and driving.
I like how number 6, "No mafias" is just sort of stuck in there, in the middle, like it's akin to jaywalking or something.  And I also like how number 13 isn't really a law at all, like an unfinished thought.  But I think I understand its meaning.  And as for mafias, they were a big problem in this town a month or so ago, and I believe that was the impetus for establishing a system of law and order.  The town was out of control, much like the town Deadwood in the HBO show, and, like that town, is only now taking the necessary early steps to make it a more livable, enjoyable place to live.  One difference, though, between LegoTown and Deadwood, is that there is far less swearing in LegoTown.  Now that law and order has been established, the mafias are quickly dying out as respectable businesses and owners take back the town.

I'm very thankful that they spend a lot of time each day playing this game, rather than spend it playing computer games.  Now that the weather is nicer, though, the challenge will be to get them outside.  Which isn't really a challenge at all.  We spent about an hour playing football in the backyard tonight, after they spent about an hour playing LegoTown.
Busy lives.  Busy lives.

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Katharine MacPhee's White Panties

I was a bit worried about American Idol's theme this week:  Love Songs, as interpreted by Andrea Bocelli (who, coincidentally, has a new album out!  Imagine that!  What luck that Mr. Bocelli is a fan of American Idol, and has an album to hock at the same time!), with help from producer David Foster.
Okay, I can handle Andrea Bocelli (who, it turns out, was a pretty ineffectual assistant to the Idols. At least what we saw on the show), but my fear came when I heard David Foster and his egotistical smugness would also be an on-screen presence.  I'm not a fan of the pap that David Foster puts out, and feared that this would be an hour of ugliness.  Turns out that Foster really seemed to put "the kids" through the paces and was likely a necessary alternative to the sycophants who most likely surround these people all week long.  So, my respect for David Foster goes up a notch or two, for giving honest criticism and, at the same time, trying to help the Idols do their best.
Katharine MacPhee starts off.  Has anyone else noticed, that in the last three weeks, Katharine has really amped up the "I am making love to you, through the camera" sexuality?  Last week it was atrociously obvious.  This week, slightly less so, but still a full blast of "I am HOT".  Her singing this week, I thought, was "meh".  Not the greatest, but nothing bad enough to endanger her.  I agree with whichever judge it was that said she is not at her best, vocally, when she tries to push it.
But, how she sings really doesn't matter at the moment, because right now, she is all about selling The Idea of Love.  Every ounce of her being is thrusting itself into Turning On The Boys.  Sex sells, baby, and I'm riding that pony all the way to the top!!  I'm wondering now, when they cut to her crying father, if he's crying because of the beauty he hears in the song, or because he's forced to witness the transformation of his virginal daughter into a high-class hooker?
Last night, she was literally spilling out of her yellow dress.  Her oh-so-tight dress.  Her breasts were pushed so high that I was scared they'd get nosebleeds.  And then there was the slit.  Near the end of her performance, when she really started pushing the song, a part of the slit on her dress comes undone (I assume it was taped together?) and she began showing a whole heck of a lot of leg.  As I was watching her performance, I was noticing what I thought was a panty line on the side of her hip (due, I guess, to the tightness of the dress).  I was thinking that she should have gone panty-less, to rid herself of the panty-line problem.  Well, good thing she wasn't panty-less, because when she started strutting up the stage, near the end of her song, her wardrobe malfunction gave us all the briefest brief look at her briefs.  Her white briefs.  I'm sure of it.  I wasn't imagining it.  And, yeah, it titillated me a bit.  I thought, for a moment, about searching the internet, to see if there was a picture of the moment somewhere (you know, to show you), but I didn't.  I also thought about downloading the show and getting a still image of "the event" from the video.  But I really don't want to be that guy.  I'd rather be the guy who advertises it in the title of the post.
So, Katharine will be safe, due to her sexuality.
Elliott, I had all but given up on you.  I kept hearing other people giving you credit for your talents, but I never saw them materialize, my friend.  You've always come up short.  Last night, though, you blew them all away.  The first 3/4 of the song, you were superb.  The last 1/4 you started to lose your sense of power, and I could feel the old trepidation and nerves seeping back into your performance.  But you held them off enough.  Easily, this was Elliott's best performance of the season.  Therefore, he will be leaving the show tonight.  Stupid voters.
The only reason Kelly is still around is that the stupid voters like her stupid personality.  She is an onion that they can relate to.  Last week, her singing was just awful.  This week, equally hideous.  And her makeup was ugly ugly ugly.  She looked like a whore.  A male whore dressed up as a woman whore.  An old, ugly male whore, dressed up as an old ugly woman whore.  I mean, it was terrible.  Kelly, I think the Stupid Train is leaving tonight.  You really deserve to be gone from the competition.  I don't even know if you ever belonged.  You are a robot.  A stupid robot.  A Stubot.
Paris' performance was powerfully understated, I thought.  She sang very well, didn't over-sing it, was full of emotion, and yet, it left me wanting.  I'm not sure why?  Actually, I think I do.  She sang "Memories" and I don't know if she knew whether she was supposed to sing happy or sing sad.  So she sang both.  I don't think she understood the song.  That, plus the song is shit.  Ugh.  I hate Babs so much.
Taylor gave another sub-standard performance that suffered from his flat, empty performance.  I don't believe he was "into" the song.  He was singing the words, but only pretending to feel them.  It showed.
Chris was the second best, last night, I thought, behind Elliott.  As good as he is, his singing bores me now.  Isn't that strange, how he can be the one you pin your hopes on (well, you know, your American Idol hopes, which, really, are the cheapest hopes in your chest) a few weeks ago, and now he just sits there, in his Alterna-Rocker Safety-Tub, bathing in his own wondrousness.  Who the heck are David Foster and Andrea Bocelli to dare try and teach Chris to be a better technical singer.  Like they said, he's all in his head.
Ugh.  Too many words.  Who cares!
Bottom Three tonight:  Kelly, Elliott, Taylor

The Idol with the lowest number of votes.... will be revealed, right after the break.
[break] [/break]

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Thursday, April 20

Christmas Driving Lights

Here's a video that was part of the Sketch22 Christmas show last year. I'm quite fond of it.

If you prefer to visit the YouTube page where it's located, here's the link to Christmas Driving Lights.

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Tuesday, April 18

I Can Make It On My Own - Li'l Brudder

Q: What's more inspirational than a two-legged dog?

A:  A one-legged dog.

Get out your hankies, folks.  These links are a-gonna make you cry.  For the record, neither link made me cry.  Or even come close.  Okay, Li'l Brudder did make me tear up.  Just a bit.  He's just... he's just so inspirational.

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Monday, April 17

Whatever Happened To That Audition Thing?

For those of you who have been bating your breath in anticipation of the announcement of who becomes the newest cast member of Sketch22, you'll have to wait and bate a while longer yet.
It's really a difficult decision we have to make, and we want to make sure we pick the best person for the group.  We've narrowed it down to a final four, any of whom would be excellent additions.  We're hoping to call back these four for another session with us, to see how we all react to each other on stage. 
And, no, we won't be saying who we have in mind, at this stage, so don't even ask.
Due to scheduling conflicts, it won't be until next week before we have our callbacks.  Hopefully, very soon after that, we'll have a decision that will make Sketch22 the SuperPowerRockComedyPhenomenon that we all hope it can be.
We'll let you know.  Because we know you care so very much.

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Leeza Gibbons, Billy Idol, Murders, and social disorders

On a blog that chooses to remain somewhat undisclosed, comes a post asking some interesting questions.  I thought that I'd answer them here:

1. In one sentence, describe to me the last nightmare you had. Don't go

on and on though, because I don't really care all that much.
I have a thematically recurring nightmare in which I find myself suddenly about to go on stage in a play that I'm not familiar with, with only a hazy idea of what the lines are that I'm supposed to say.  These plays are always different, always dramas, and I feel incredibly uncomfortable, in my dreams, worrying whether I can possibly pull off the trick of trying to get through the show without knowing my lines.  Sometimes, my dreams even go so far as having me go onstage and horribly stumble through a scene.  Sorry, that's three sentences.

2. Did you ever shoplift before?
I was never much into shoplifting or any deviant behaviour growing up.  I remember a couple of times stealing racquetballs from Towers when I was a teenager, so I could play handball.  My biggest, and final, shoplift, was stealing fake leather pants from Towers in 1985, so I could go to the UPEI Barn's Halloween party.  I ended up winning Best Costume.   The vest, coincidentally, was a black garbage bag.  A picture here:

3. Ever fantasize about killing somebody? Would you do it if you were guaranteed never to get caught?
I've fantasized about killing.  Not really anybody in particular, but I think I have the predisposition to murder.  I have a very cold-blooded side to my personality.  I wouldn't do it on a whim, though, even if I was guaranteed never to get caught.  Not the first one, at least.

4. Do you have any sexual fetishes? (Don't tell me them! Just say yes or no please)
Not really.

5. If you had the opportunity to blackmail someone, would you do it?
No.  I'd rather kill them, I think.

6. One night stand time! Name the celebrity that is worthy of your evening.
I don't really have the 'one night stand' personality.  I'm more of a lifetime stand kind of guy.  But, I've had a few celebrities with whom I've had infatuations.  Back in the day, I really wanted to put it to Leeza Gibbons.  Not because I found her that attractive, really, but because I thought she'd be someone who it'd be great to get wild on/with.  Hmm, maybe that question 4 needs more thought.

7. If an old nosy relative was coming to stay over, what is the one thing you would hide so he/she wouldn't find it?
I have nothing to hide.  I suppose I would be most uncomfortable with them seeing the general messiness of the house, though.

8. What political affiliation (if any) do you have?
I have liberal tendencies, but am personally very conservative with money.  I usually vote in favour of the more socially conscious of the candidates.

9. What religious affiliation (if any) do you have?
I am an atheist.

And the last question, as posed by my son, (because I couldn't think of any more) is:
10. Would you like to come over for a visit?
I would like to, but I never will because I am too shy.  I have serious fears of being in social situations.

Wednesday, April 12

My desktop's desk top

A picture of my office workspace. Unusually neat, at this moment. Posted by Picasa

%$&@ Bleepin' Telemarketers

I'm pretty sure they're telemarketers.  And I'm 100% positive that they are annoying the hell out of me.
It started yesterday evening.  A phone call, from an unknown name, and the number is a Toronto-based long-distance number.  That's always meant "telemarketer".  I answer it and say "Hello."    All I hear on the other end is beep beep beep, with the beeps about a second or so apart.   I figure it's their automated "an actual human answered the random phone number, so connect it with a human voice" machine not recognising that I exist.  Not too hurt that a machine doesn't recognise my being-ness, I hang up.
About five minutes later, another call, the same number.  Again with the beeps.  I hang up. 
Five more minutes later, the same thing again.  Shortly thereafter, a phone call to my son.  After his call is over, there is a message.  It's from the same phone number, and the message is this:  "beep... beep... beep...etc."  I am angry.  There is something unholy and wrong about going through the too-long automated procedure to retrieve a phone message which turns out to be a beeping automated machine.
I begin to search through Eastlink's website to see what I can do, and I discover their "call screen" option, which basically blocks the number from ringing through.  But before I trouble myself with setting that up, I get sidetracked by something else and forget about it.  There were no more calls last night to remind me.
This morning another call comes through.  A different long-distance number.  This one from Halifax.  I answer and get the beep beep beep.  It instantly, and only momentarily, infuriates me.  I begin to go through the trouble of screening this new number.
The wireless phone we have in our office is infuriating as well.  You really have to depress some of the numbers really hard before they register.  You have to press so hard that usually when it does register, the number is registered twice.  So often you have to hang up and start again.  Well, not only do I have that to contend with, but the Eastlink Call Screen thing doesn't seem to work from a wireless phone.  At least, not from this wireless phone.
So, to teach it all a lesson, I refuse to go into the kitchen, to the wired phone and enter the call screen number from there.  Besides, it doesn't seem right that one would have to block a number after the fact.  I think to myself I should call Eastlink to see if there is another, easier, solution.  I do not call Eastlink.
This afternoon, a different long-distance Halifax number, but the same result:  beep beep beep.  That's it!  Lesson over.  I go to the kitchen wired phone and instruct the Call Screen to screen that phone number.
My wife calls Eastlink to see what can be done.  The Eastlink Rep surmises to her that perhaps it's a fax machine trying to call through to our number.  She also recommends that we do the Call Screen thing.  She asks if there's anything else she can help us with, and then hangs up.
Not satisfied that it could be a fax, and a little bit angry that such a solution would be suggested, I call Eastlink back and get another Rep.  I tell him the problem, explain that I assume it's an automated telemarketer machine not recognising, blah blah blah.  He agrees, and offers to block the numbers for me, and tells me about the Call Screen service.  I ask, plead, that there must be another option that doesn't involve "after the bothersome interruption" reactive solutions.  He says "not really" but that he'd put a call into a long-distance repair specialist, and would email his supervisor on the matter.  I hang up, dejected, imagining three or four different autoated long-distance telemarketing machines calling me each day, forcing me to block all those numbers.
A few minutes after that, another long-distance call comes in.  Thinking it was another beep beep beep, I was delighted that it was an actual human:  the eastlink repairman.  I explain to him the problem and he gruffly says that it's telemarketing and that the only option is to do the Call Screen thing.  He then goes on to explain what Call Screen is.  I interrupt him to say that I know what it is, and in fact, I already entered the most recent culprit-number to be screened.  He informs me that there is no screened number on my account.  I assure him that is, or there should be, as I just set up the screen not five minutes ago.  He insists it is not and rather patronizingly instructs me on what I may have done wrong.  I accept the patronizing tone because I probably deserve it.  We hang up.
I dial into the Call Screen program, and realise that I did, in fact, enter the number, but failed to initiate the service.
So, I initiated the service, entered the phone numbers of the culprit-numbers, and hope that not many more try to contact us.  In the meantime, I've entered my info into the Do Not Contact service provided by the Canadian Marketing Association.  I doubt it'll do much good (it takes about six weeks to come into effect, apparently), but perhaps it'll help a bit.
Bleepin, Telemarketers!

Who Can Come Behind Freddy Mercury?

And that, my friends, is a loaded question.
Last night, the boys and girls of American Idol performed Queen songs.  Now, when a rock group's de facto leader, front man and perceived main talent dies, I think the proper thing to do is to fold up the tent, say thanks for the moments in the sun, and move on to other projects.  It is my belief that a band should not call itself Queen any longer if Freddy Mercury is no longer in the band.  I don't care who wrote the songs, who was the brains behind the group.  To me, Queen should not possibly exist anymore.  Freddy Mercury was Queen.  Queen should have died when he died.  Understand?  It's like if Sketch22 tried to continue on without Matt Rainnie.  It just shouldn't be attempt - okay, bad analogy.
So, when the remaining members of what-I-will-call Queen After Freddy Mercury, or QAFM  (a great radio station, by the way) come on to American Idol, to me, it's like two whores meeting each other on the street corner.  One whore is old and ugly.  Tired and cranky, she still insists on making tricks, even though her vagina was removed years ago.  She hangs out for a little while with the fresh young popular, Incredibly Vacuous whore, who would do anything, Anything, to become more popular.
So, big effin deal, QAFM is on the show.  Yay for AI doing a Queen night, but Boo for making us look at those ugly old snatches.
Onto the AI Whore-prodigies:

Bucky - Damn you, America, for not voting Bucky out earlier in the series.  Now I find myself actually starting to take him seriously.  In the past couple of weeks, he's performed better, looked better and probably secured himself a spot in at least the Top 5.  It's interesting: the more "seasoned" Bucky becomes, the less I like his personality.  Back in the early weeks, when he was a bit more naive and innocent, he had a wonderful "aw-shucks" personality.  Now, as his confidence and fame grow, he's becoming more like Kid-Rock.  And you know that ain't good.  Bucky did a pretty good job, turning a Queen song into a country-rocker.  And while I don't particularly like country-rocker songs, I think he is more than safe this week.
Ace - Here, then, is the most ironic moment of the night, for me.  Ace wants to rearrange a Queen song and QAFM act all high-and-mighty and say (paraphrased) "no, we won't consider such a thing.  The song will not be ruined in that way."  Yet, here they are, QAFM (still in existence without Freddy Mercury, remember), allowing middling-talent performers to sing their songs, which are, by the way, re-arranged to fit into a 1:20 time-frame.  I mean, seriously, QAFM refuses Ace a military marching beat behind "We Will Rock You" (something I would have been interested to hear, by the way), yet sees no problem in playing a 1:20 second version of Bohemian Rhapsody?  Isn't that a bit hypocritical?  Whores, I say!!  The judges didn't like Ace, Simon complaining that he was too karaoke.  Okay, so answer me this:  How can the song not sound like a karaoke version when the band refuses any other different arrangement of it?  It sounded karaoke because QAFM practically demanded it.  I thought Ace did an okay job.  I was surprised to hear the judges rail on him, and put it down to The Politics of Judging Favourites.  I did laugh when Paula said, as if sympathising with them, she understood that QAFM didn't want their songs"bastardized", realizing of course, that the audition weeks of the show are nothing more than hours full of glorified bastardizations of all songs.
Kellie - Like everyone else in the free-thinking world, I expected Kellie to horribly bastardize Bohemian Rhapsody. Like Simon said: "On paper, it shouldn't work."  I was saddened that she didn't ruin the song.  I am in the unwinnable position of wanting Kellie to a) stick around week after week, because she's the shows only non-singing entertainment right now.  Her idiocy  ("On paper?  What?  Simon, the phrases you use sometimes are beyond me!") equals ratings, and b) bomb badly, like I know she's always on the verge of doing.  Sadly, her bombing is becoming less rare, yet her stupidity seems to know no limits.  I wasn't nearly as whelmed by her singing and the judges were.  I thought she sang it a bit automatony.  She faked her way through it, as far as "rocking it".  And her southern accent is amazingly strong, even when she sings.  Most people have the ability to lose, somewhat, their accent when they sing, but Pickler's remains strong.  And a strong southern accent does not suit this song at all.  I didn't like it much.
Chris - I think Simon is onto something, when he says that Chris picks indulgent songs.  Or, rather, sings them (arranges them?) in an indulgent way.  He changes them into a way that suits his comfort zone, which is "heavy, alternative rocker".  I'm not sure if this is a bad thing, though.  After all, Bucky does the same thing (he "countrifies" all songs) and gets applauded for it.  I think what Simon is getting at is that Chris is getting boring and if he doesn't change up his routine pretty soon, we are all going to get really tired of him, even if he does what he does really well (and he does).  I'm getting bored with him.  It's really a double-edged sword.  He's constantly being told "sing to your strengths" and "mix it up" at the same time.  All of them are constantly getting that mixed message of course, but it stands out with Chris because he is so very much of one style of singing.  (I don't think Bucky gets harped on for his "countryfying" of songs because it's believed that's all he can do.  Chris probably has the ability to successfully reach out beyond his comfort zone).  Good job, last night, by Chris, but it's getting to the point where it's "who cares?"
Katharine - Personally, I was disappointed that she changed her song from a bouncy upbeat number to a stand-there-and-sing ballad.  I like seeing her bounce.  I am having a hard time remembering her performance, but I seem to remember thinking that she did a good job with it.  That, actually, is my problem with Katharine.  She's forgettable to me.  Yeah, she's pretty, seems like a nice person, does a good job each week.  But in the end, she is yawn-inducing.  She lacks spark.  She'll go far.
Elliott - Elliott did a better job this week than he's done in weeks past.  But I still cannot get behind him.  He just doesn't have the composure to be "STAR!".  I hope he proves me wrong.
Taylor - I was worried when Taylor changed his song to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love".  Scared when he wanted to highlight his dancing, which isn't strong.  In the past, when he's tried upbeat 50's-styled songs like this, he's pretty much failed.  I'm thinking of that Buddy Holly song he murdered a few weeks ago.  Good for him, then, for pretty much kicking the shit out of this song and owning it.  I thought he did a great job.  I still have a hard time buying his "antics", but I think he (and Paris) has a fantastic ability to own a song simply by singing the hell out of it.  Just don't like, so much, his wacky personality.
Paris - Despite a couple of pitch problems, I thought her performance was, by far, the best of the night.  She has incredible control of stage presence, and has the voice to back it up. 
Vocally speaking, I think the final two should be Taylor and Paris.  Final four should be those two, plus Katharine and Chris.
Bottom three tonight:  Kellie, Elliott, Ace
The One To Go:  Ace  (or Elliott)

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Sunday, April 9

Steve Livingstone Posted by Picasa

Titanic Two: The Surface

I will be *so* camping out in front of the Charlottetown Mall Cinemas the night before this opens.

This is a really well-made trailer.

The Audition Report

Sketch22 held auditions this weekend for a new castmember for this summer's production.  After it was all done, 17 brave people were wrung through our audition process.  A pretty good number, I think.
Before the weekend, I was a little worried that the vast majority of the auditioners would be, shall we say, less than qualified.  I expected that, for the most of them, it would be apparent, by the time they left, that they wouldn't be right for the group.  I thought that if we had 2 or 3 people from whom we could legitimately decide, we'd be doing great.
In fact, quite the opposite happened.  Out of the 17 auditioners, I'd say maybe only 5 or so didn't have what we were looking for.  Of the other dozen or so, it's going to be really difficult to settle upon a consensus pick.  About a quarter of the auditioners were female, which was fantastic.  And even more fantastic, they were, for the most part, really strong.   Many of them had a prepared monologue to show us, some of them wrote their own.  All were very impressive.  Boy, it's gonna be hard.   I think our task now is to try and agree upon maybe a top 3 or 4 of the dozen or so who really impressed us.
It won't be an easy task, narrowing it down to 3.  And even tougher to choose that one actor whom  we hope will join us this summer.

Stay tuned, because, you know, this decision could affect your lives.

Friday, April 7

Paula Abdul Tells Police She Was Assaulted

Yeah, I thought AI's "Country Week" was pretty horrible, but not to the point where a judge would want to press charges.

Okay, here's the real story.  Argued with a guy at a private party, grabbed her arm, threw her against a wall, she claims she sustained a concussion and spinal injuries.
I think it was her dealer.  She was a couple of weeks late in paying for her supply of pills.  You know, the ones that make her all "you are a wondrous waterfall of butterflies when you sing" and causes her to hear badly sung notes as if they are on pitch.  So, Dealer gets a little rough with her, doesn't give her this week's supply.  That's why she was so much more willing, this week, to actually criticize the contestants.  Did anyone else notice that?  She seemed much more cognizant and more willing to be honestly critical.
There, that's my theory.

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Thursday, April 6

The Annekenstein Monster Daily Trivia

I cannot believe the number of letters and emails I've received asking me to set up a daily trivia contest here at The Annekenstein Monster.  An unbelievable None in the last month alone.

Anyway, I was made aware of this site, and how one could set up one's own trivia game, so that's what I did.
You can play The Annekenstein Monster Daily Trivia here.  I've also added a link on the side of the blog here.  You do have to sign up to the site, but it doesn't look like your email gets harvested for spam, or anything like that.

It's pretty good, I guess, as far as online trivia goes.  Random trivia, daily. Answer questions as fast as you can, because faster answering reaps more points.  Keeps track of month-long scores, so, you know, you can beat me both daily and monthly.
One thing to note:  Apparently, each player each day receives different questions.  In other words, if 5 people play my trivia game today, each of the 5 would receive 10 different questions from each other.  So, some days, you might get easier questions and others get harder questions, but I assume it all equals out over the long haul.
And I know how into the long haul you all are.

So, play it or not. Play it daily, to ensure your monthly scores are as high as possible. Hopefully it'll catch on and we can have some impersonal fun together.

Wednesday, April 5

Just Like The US Army - We Want You!

Seriously, if you're kind of contemplating whether or not you should audition for Sketch22 this summer, stop contemplating and just do it.  Fifteen minutes, in and out.   You never know what might happen, and you just might be the one who gets to be part of what should be a crazy-fun summer of sketch comedy.
We're holding auditions this weekend, but you need to contact Jason - - to set up a time.  You don't have to have anything prepared (but if you do, all the better), because we have some sides for you to read.
Just like the US Army, We Want You.  Only, you know, it would be best if you didn't bomb.

Our Shiavoed Dryer

Yesterday, our dryer went on life support.  It was no longer functioning as a dryer should.  We suspected internal damage, perhaps beyond repair.  The washer, which has been "married" (but only common-law) to the dryer for maybe 30 years or more, wanted us to unplug her so she could die a natural death.
We couldn't do that.  We still had hope upon hope that there was life yet in the old girl; that she might come out of the coma and once again dry our clothes the way she used to.  So soft and fluffy.  And warm.  We couldn't let her go.  The washer said it's done (calling her "it" - so cold.  And damp) It was an impasse.
So, there we were, last night, the washer was on one side of her, with a full load of damp clothes, already ready to move on to a more modern and attractive model of dryer.  I couldn't believe its cold-hearted detachment.  I mean, what is the washer?  A machine!?  They spent 30 years together, washing and drying in harmony.  However it turned out, I knew that I would forever hate that bastard washer from here on.  I spent the entire night, on the other side of our darling dryer, sitting vigil, occasionally wiping it off with a fresh Bounce sheet.  I just knew she had some life left in her.
Here's a picture of our princess.  See how her mouth is still open, as if she's wanting to accept damp clothes:

Finally, after an arduous night, the decision was made to call in an appliance doctor and we agreed we'd both abide by his suggested course of action.  After a delicate operation, the doctor discovered that her heater was no longer functioning and while there was still power coursing through her, in her current state, she was no longer capable of functioning as a normal dryer.  He then said something very hurtful:  "As it is now, it's basically just a big metal piece of garbage.  Or art, I suppose."
I reminded him just how attached we were to the dryer, and that's when the appliance doctor said he could try and replace the damaged heater for another one (if he even had the proper replacement organ), but couldn't guarantee how long, if at all, she'd continue to work again.
We were 100% in favour of the operation, and the washer, too, reluctantly agreed that is was worth a shot.  So, after the appliance doctor discovered that he did indeed have a proper replacement heater, he went down to the basement to perform the operation.  After a gruelling, heart-wrenching 30 minutes, I heard the dryer start!  Was it heating?, I wondered.  Every step up the basement steps I heard the appliance doctor come, I knew it brought me one step closer to either wonderful or tragic news.
Finally, he came through the basement door.
"All done," he said oh-so casually.
"The heater working?" I asked, trying to hide my true, desperate emotions.
"Looks like it.  Hard to say how long it'll last, though".
Music To My Ears.  As he began to tell me of another dryer he recently revived, I couldn't help but think:  Whether it's only one more day of drying damp clothes, or another 30 years, I'm going to treasure every moment I have with that appliance.
So, there you go.  Praying does work.
And for those of you who thought Terry Shiavo was merely a mindless shell of a human, I offer you this story as proof that one never knows what is going on inside the mind of a machine.  Or a vegetable.  Except, well, you know.  Probably nothing.  Because machines don't have minds, per se.  And vegetables, whether human or actual vegetables, don't think.

Worst Episode Ever

Last night's American Idol was terrible.
The singing was almost universally uninspired.   I cannot remember one performance in which I was impressed.   Taylor was screechy and bland.  Mandisa belted well enough, but the song choice was awful. Ace came close to being good, but failed on a number of attempts to sustain those wispy, heartfealt notes.  Elliott started off a bit rocky (he always starts off rocky) and never really gained his confidence (not that he ever seems to have any).   Paris seemed nervous and unsure of herself and it resulted in, perhaps, her worst performance to date.  Chris did an okay job on his song, but I ultimately was bored by it.  Katharine, too, did okay with her song, but I did not like the song at all.  Kellie performed well enough to stick around for another week I think.  She was, as the panellists informed us, "in her comfort zone" and performed well-enough on yet another song that I hated.  Interesting, too, was Ryan getting her to admit that, yes, she is that dumb.   Bucky was supposed to be in his comfort zone too, but I thought his performance was terrible.
The judges/Ryan were in some weird World of Pettiness.  Usually that can be good for a moment or two, but last night it just seemed ugly.  The whole night seemed like visiting a home where you know everybody had just been fighting, but they're pretending to be cordial, but can't help slipping in jabs at each other, and it makes everyone uncomfortable.  Was it a failed attempt to inject some drama into a night that the producers perhaps suspected (rightly) wouldn't have any drama from the performers?  Or is there real animosity between some of these people?
Simon, more and more each week, looks like he'd rather be elsewhere.  Some of his looks imply to me "I can't believe how incredibly stunned and stupid and infantile you people are." 
Anyway, a very uninspired night.
Bottom Three:  Bucky, Katharine, Kellie

Bucky will be leaving the show this week.

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Tuesday, April 4

But I've Seen Everything

Season 1 of Ricky Gervais' newest comedy is over and done and old news, but I just found this video of one of the funnier scenes from the whole series.
Patrick Stewart makes perfect fun of himself.

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Saturday, April 1

My April Fool's Joke On You All

Oh my god, did you hear the news?  Well-Known Celebrity died last night.  That is so sad.  And I was so looking forward to Well-Known Celbrity's upcoming movie and/or song and/or book  (okay, well, not book, because, seriously, how many authors can be classified as a W-K C?)
Sorry I don't have a direct link to the news item, but I'm sure if you look on the front page of any news website, you'll find out all the details.  Apparently, it was a drug overdose, which is so unexpected coming from Well-Known Celebrity because of all the charity work s/he's done.

Okay, can't keep it up any longer!  You guys are all so pwned!!!  I made it up!  Well-Known Celebrity isn't dead at all!!  Ha Ha!!  Ummm, do you remember what day it is today?  It's April First, otherwise known as April Fool's Day.  And I can definitely say that YOU are the fool for being hooked into believing such a ludicrous story.  As if Well-Known Celebrity would ever die from a drug overdose.

Huh?  Whattyamean I "gave the joke away in the post's title"?

Oh.  Shit.  Guess the joke's on me then, isn't it.  There, you happy now?  With that superior, contemptible, pitious look on your face right now.  Yeah, okay, laugh at me.  I don't care.  You always were such an asshole!

Huh?  Whattyamean I "can delete and change the title of the post before I click on the 'Publish' button"?  What Publish button?  Oh, you mean *this* Publish button.  And you're saying I should click on it?  Okay, if you say so...