Archive | February, 2009

I’m Starting with the Man in the Finals

27 Feb

Alright. It’s still early in the season, and quite frankly, I’m not impressed with too many contestants in the so-called Top 36, but I think I’m going to go out on a limb now and predict that when all the votes are cast, Kris Allen will be our next American Idol. Don’t hold me to this. It’s just that of the 24 people who’ve sung these past two weeks, Kris, with his performance of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” was the one who impressed me the most. I’m actually glad he made it to the finals. Kris has a great voice and I really enjoy the way he feels the music when he sings. The kid’s got stage presence. No, he wasn’t perfect Wednesday night (the song ends better than it begins), but I think Kris will only get better from here. Will this be the year the Martin Pick actually wins? After all, it didn’t work for Haley Scarnato or Elliott Yamin. Let’s see how far this guy can go.

Kris-Allen-20090225.mp3 – Kris Allen

Nice Job

26 Feb

Any time I talk about my job these days it’s hard not to feel like I’m rubbing it in, especially since it’s so tough out there for so many people (I know it well, having spent the better part of the past year looking for a new gig). So as you might imagine, I’m a little hesitant to post a link to the story WBZ Channel 4 here in Boston aired about my company tonight — but I’m going to do it anyway because it’s really great. I’m just so happy and proud (and lucky) that I can’t help sharing this with y’all. And hey, before you get bitter, look at it this way: Getting a new job often comes down to who you know (that’s partly how I got this one), and I’m more than happy to be a man on the inside if you need some help. Of course, if you’re not in the market for a new job in Boston, well, then maybe you’ll just enjoy watching the video and looking for the quick glimpses of me. I’m the goofy-looking guy in the big conference room wearing glasses and a navy blue gingham shirt. At around the 1:03 mark there’s a great shot of my back, and at other points you’ll see me from the front and side. Here’s that link again. Enjoy.

Movies I’ve Seen (2008 Releases)

25 Feb

(click on the link for my review)

1. CLOVERFIELD

2. U23D

3. VINCE VAUGHN’S WILD WEST COMEDY SHOW

4. JUMPER

5. VANTAGE POINT

6. BE KIND REWIND

7. CHICAGO 10

8. LEATHERHEADS

9. SHINE A LIGHT

10. FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL

11. SMART PEOPLE

12. BABY MAMA

13. AMERICAN TEEN

14. HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY

15. MADE OF HONOR

16. 21

17. IRON MAN

18. INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL

19. SEX AND THE CITY

20. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN

21. THE INCREDIBLE HULK

22. WALL-E

23. HANCOCK

24. MAMMA MIA!

25. THE WACKNESS

26. THE DARK KNIGHT

27. STEP BROTHERS

28. SWING VOTE

29. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS

30. MAN ON WIRE

31. TROPIC THUNDER

32. VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA

33. BURN AFTER READING

34. RELIGULOUS

35. NICK & NORA’S INFINITE PLAYLIST

36. RACHEL GETTING MARRIED

37. W.

38. SEX DRIVE

39. CHANGELING

40. ROLE MODELS

41. SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK

42. QUANTUM OF SOLACE

43. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

44. MILK

45. AUSTRALIA

46. CADILLAC RECORDS

47. DOUBT

48. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

49. FROST/NIXON

50. THE WRESTLER

51. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

52. MARLEY & ME

53. GRAN TORINO

54. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

55. LAST CHANCE HARVEY

56. THE READER

He Didn’t Mean to Break My Heart … But That’s What He Did

25 Feb

The news today that Steven Page is leaving Barenaked Ladies effectively puts an end to my young adulthood.

I’ve been a BNL fan since my freshman year in college in the fall of 1992, back when the guys were overweight geeks, Gordon was their only album, few people outside of Canada or college campuses had heard of them, and I couldn’t get any radio station to take my request to play them. (For the record, my copy of Gordon has the original cover on it.)

Since then, I’ve seen BNL live about 15 times — more than I’ve seen any other singer or band — including a show at the tiny Somerville Theater and one on New Year’s Eve at the Fleet Center. I was even at the huge free show in Government Center the night before the release of Stunt, the one with the overwhelming turnout.

Over the years I’ve watched all the band members lose weight, raise families, deal with Kevin Hearn’s battle with cancer, become the house band for Mix 98.5, and mature as artists. Heck, I’ve been a fan so long I can even remember Andy Creegan, and I remember being bummed when he left the band before the release of Born on a Pirate Ship.

Steven Page, though … he holds a special place in my heart. Continue reading

Slanket Sadness

23 Feb

Life’s been so good lately that I knew eventually I’d have a setback. I just never expected it would come from my niece. Continue reading

Who Knew?

19 Feb

Tuesday night I took my friend Mike out for dinner to say thanks for helping me get my new job.

We had planned to eat at Legal Seafoods out in Natick, but he pulled a last-minute switcheroo on me and we ended up next door at Metro 9 Steak House, a place I’d never heard of before or even noticed when I’ve driven by.

Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

"Don’t Let a Cheese Hit Me"

16 Feb

The Amazing Race returned last night for its 14th (!!) season. Even after all these years, the show remains new and exciting every season because while teams will make similar mistakes, they never go to the same exact cities or do the same exact stunts. Case in point: Last night, in Interlaken, Switzerland, the teams had to walk up a steep, slippery hill, where they had to grab four 50-pound slabs of cheese per team, and then they had to bring them down the hill on a carrying device. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t so easy. You can watch for yourself right here:

(If you want to watch the full episode, just click here. It’s worth it.)

Ten teams remain (including one with the show’s first deaf contestant). The show airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS, and next week the teams really get creamed in Germany. One season, I’m hoping you may even see me racing. I mean, hell, if one of the stunts is doing a 70-story bungee jump, then I am so there. The world is waiting for me.

Not an Easy Read

15 Feb

A movie that explores guilt, secrets, and an illicit affair between an older woman and a younger man, The Reader certainly is provocative. The film tells the story of Michael Berg (played by David Kross and Ralph Fiennes), who meets Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) in 1958, when he is only 15, and begins an affair with her that lasts a summer. Hanna is turned on when Michael reads to her, so he pleasures her by reading The Odyssey, Huckleberry Finn, and other books. Then one day Hanna disappears. When she resurfaces 10 years later, she is on trial for crimes committed when she was a guard during the Holocaust. Michael, now a law student, must grapple with what he knows about Hanna, and must decide whether to divulge a secret that could hold the key to whether Hanna is found innocent or guilty.

In her Oscar-nominated role, Winslet is quite good. Maybe not blow-you-away good, but she’s quite effective in the role of a mysterious woman who puts her personal pride ahead of all else. (She’s as good here as she is in Revolutionary Road). I wish she looked more believable, though; when Hanna is older, she still looks like the 33-year-old Winslet, just with a lot of obviously caked-on makeup. Kross is also very good, but it takes a leap of faith to believe his aging as well; he looks the same at 15 as he does at 25, and then at 35 all of a sudden he looks like Ralph Fiennes.

Makeup aside, The Reader is a very good movie and I liked it. I thought the premise could have been handled differently, in a way that would have been more dramatic, but the high-minded, quiet tone here reflects Hannah’s inner turmoil and Michael’s conflicted feelings well. I felt uncomfortable being sympathetic toward Hanna, and I think that’s more a problem of casting, because Winslet doesn’t make it easy to dislike her, no matter how good her performance is.

Also, since I saw The Reader so late, after the Oscar nominations had been announced, I couldn’t help but judge it with its accolades in mind. Would I have named it one of the top five films of the year? No. The Dark Knight should have gotten The Reader‘s slot. This is a good movie to be sure, but I’m only going to give it a B+.

Crazy Love

14 Feb

I’m sure that when I’m actually in a relationship I’ll feel differently about Valentine’s Day, but since I’m single at the present time, I think that gives me the right to make fun of the folks I saw tonight in Harvard Square. (Yes, I know. Longtime readers of this blog will remember that I try to do things I love on VDay, and going to Harvard Square is not one of them. But forget that for a minute, alright?)

Anyway, where was I? … On Valentine’s Day, do couples know how silly they look when they walk around and the girl is holding a single rose with all the care they’d give a child? Or how it looks to all the non-coupled people when they see couples walking together holding hands and looking like they’re out having the single greatest night ever? And how phony it looks when the guy is holding some small bag containing the girl’s gift? Or, better yet, when they’re riding around town in a limo? I was out tonight with three friends — two women and one guy, just for the record — and even though two of them are a couple, it was totally casual. To all who could see, we were just a group of friends hanging out. And I don’t say that to be holier than thou. My couple friends are casual. There was no hand-holding, no PDA, no “couple stuff.” So it was really fun.

Now, I totally get that not every relationship is like that, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing when couples are affectionate. And I’m also not saying I have anything against couples. All I’m saying is that on Valentine’s Day eve of all nights, it’s amusing to be single and to see couples being all, you know, coupley, because it looks really forced and obvious. And again, I’m sure I’ll feel totally different about this when I’m in a couple; hell, I’m sure I’ll overdo it just like the rest of the folks I saw tonight. But until then … I think this is a funny night to people watch.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone

13 Feb

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