Monthly Archives: August 2008

Radiohead @ The Hollywood Bowl

After all the drama associated with scoring the tickets back in April, Christine and I finally saw Radiohead in concert at the Hollywood Bowl this week. Hooray!

The band was in town for a two night stay at the Bowl and we saw the Monday night show (8/25), which according to the vastly different set lists I saw for both nights, seems to have been the better of the two shows.

For not only did the band play almost all the songs from their haunting new album “In Rainbows”, but they also did a beautiful, stripped-down cover of the Neil Young classic “Tell Me Why” from his “After The Gold Rush” album. Thom Yorke’s voice on that song was straight up beautiful. Really amazing!

And better yet, the band also dug deep into their vast library of tunes to play some of our favorite songs from “Kid A”, “Amnesiac”, “Hail To The Thief”, “The Bends” and even, to the delight of the crowd, one of their best-loved albums, the band’s seminal “OK Computer”.

Man alive, when those opening chords of “Karma Police” filtered through the Bowl during their final encore, you could probably hear the audience screaming from space. That place went insane!

Also surprising was a stirring rendition of the song “Cymbal Rush” from Thom Yorke’s underrated solo venture “The Eraser”. I thought it was cool that the rest of the band let him play one of his own songs during the first encore, and the fact that he flubbed up on the piano and actually had to start again was very funny and totally endearing. Yorke actually told the crowd to “Shhh” so he could remember how the song went…hilarious!

And though the music was absolutely transcendent, the things the band did with lights and video screens was out-of-this-world amazing. I seriously doubt Christine and I will ever see a show that beautiful, I mean, those lights onstage were just gorgeous.

I’m not sure how they worked the light magic, but the stage was draped with these kind of chandelier-like tubes (they might have been glass) that lit up, changed color and even simulated rain.

As you can see from the pictures — which appear here “on loan” from fellow Radiohead fan Amy who took them at the band’s Tampa show in May, thank, Amy! — the set was almost too beautiful to look at. Truly dazzling…

And cooler still was the way the band used the Bowl’s groovy new video screens. Rather than simply filming the performance, they actually split the screens into quarters with each section highlighting a different band member playing live.

Even more amazing was the fact that there were virtually no cameras visible onstage. So, I don’t know what kind of crazy hidden camera tricks they were working, but that shit was super cool. And just when you’d get used to the arrangement of the screens on the monitors, they would change up and rotate, collide, even overlap. I joked with Christine that it was enough to give you a seizure…but wow, what a way to go!

And though some of the jackholes seated near us were a little loud and totally annoying — one poserish ho bag spoke in a fake English accent all night…grrr! — the sweet scent of some fairly primo weed wafting through the multicolor air all around us more than made up for them.

All in all, a pretty amazing night under the stars with Radiohead…wow…

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Revenge of the Taco Trucks!

Woke up to some amazingly good news this morning. It seems that the ludicrous Taco Truck law we have mentioned more than a few times in these pages was overturned yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court by taco-loving Judge Dennis Aichroth. Olé!!

Actually, not sure if Judge Aichroth enjoys some spicy street taco action or not, but whatever he eats, he knows a stupid, deeply flawed ordinance when he sees one. And more importantly, Aichroth knows what we and our amigos at  SaveOurTacoTrucks.org have been saying for months now: “Carne Asada is not a crime”. Damn straight!

Aichroth declared in his ruling that the law effectively banning taco trucks was “arbitrary”, “too ambiguous to be enforced” and best of all, that “this attempt to restrict the operation of catering trucks…is a pretext for creating a ‘naked restraint of trade’ and, as such, must be declared invalid”.

So, while Supervisor Gloria Molina — the self-loathing Latina behind this inane law — stews over her appeal options, the rest of us will be celebrating in the streets tonight with a round or two of delicious street tacos!

Que viva la Superior Court!

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“The House Bunny”

I know there might be some haters out there who think this movie looks kinda lame, but let me tell ya, “The House Bunny” is one of the funniest, sweetest comedies I’ve seen in years. A candy-colored gem of a movie headlined by Anna Faris in a truly star-making role, “Bunny” is so funny that you actually miss some of the dialog from laughing so hard. Really!

And with a script this witty and fun, you don’t want to miss a word. I kid you not, amigos, you will be howling with laughter at some of this stuff.

And though some critics have slammed it as a female “Revenge of the Nerds”, as a serious fan of good college comedies, I actually think that is a huge compliment. For like “Nerds”, there is a sweetness beneath the laughs here that really elevates the material way beyond the typical frat/sorority house comedy.

Written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith — the team that brought us “Legally Blonde” and the vastly underrated “10 Things I Hate About You” — and produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison shingle, the movie is such giddy fun that the minute it ended, we wanted to see it again.

Seriously, I haven’t felt that way about a mainstream Hollywood comedy since “Knocked Up”. And though I waited a few days to buy that when it came out, I promise you, I will be first in line at Target when “Bunny” hits DVD!

Channeling Marilyn Monroe at the peak of her comedic skills, Anna Faris is not only hysterical, but also, like Marilyn in her best roles, almost heartbreakingly sweet. Playing a former Playmate tossed out of the Playboy Mansion on the day after her 27th birthday, Faris finds new meaning and her true calling by helping a group of misfit girls save their crumbling sorority house.

I know that sounds like a pretty basic premise, but, trust me, “Bunny” — mostly due to Faris’ sparkling presence — is anything but ordinary. And though she has lit up the screen with some kick-ass comedic performances in the past, this is the kind of role that will make Anna Faris a household name.

And with Reese Witherspoon long having moved on to boring, more so-called “serious” fare, the possibilities for our girl Faris are endless! So, go, Anna!

Of course, as fantastic as Faris is, the movie wouldn’t be complete without the amazing supporting cast, all of whom shine here. Colin Hanks, Christopher McDonald and Beverly D’Angelo (as the aptly named Ms. Hagstrom) all seriously rock, but the sorority girls at the loser house that Faris champions are incredible.

I had never seen Emma Stone and Kat Dennings in a movie before, but they are both spectacular. And I think the biggest surprise for me wasn’t that Rumer Willis can act — because she really can, and she is hilarious! — but that “American Idol” finalist Katherine McPhee can too.

Playing the pregnant sorority girl constantly eating from a jar of peanut butter, McPhee is a natural comedienne. The scene of her squeegeeing her pregnant belly at the car wash is already a classic, and watching her sing a horribly off-key karaoke version of “Like A Virgin” in a bar will have any longtime “Idol” fan rolling on the floor with laughter.

I should also let you know, that I absolutely loathed McPhee on “Idol” and was prepared to do the same here, but she won me over in a big way. I guess you could say that I finally caught the McPheever! Go, Katherine!

Oh, and speaking of singers…Tyson Ritter, lead singer of one of my favorite guilt-pleasure bands, The All-American Rejects, was also surprisingly good. Anyone who has ever seen one of their music videos knows that this dude has charisma, but the fact that he can back up that charm with some pretty decent acting chops is a pleasant surprise. And the goofy chemistry he shares with Stone in their scenes together is perfect. Really fun stuff!

So, if you’re looking for some sweet, frothy Hollywood comedy done right, check out “The House Bunny”. Who knows, if you see the movie in Burbank, we just might be sitting next to you…yep, it’s that good.

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Beijing Olympics: Week Three!

Everybody keeps saying that the Summer Olympics ended on Sunday, but according to our Tivo, Christine and I still have almost 48-hours worth of Olympics yet to watch. Weird…huh?

Well, the way I see it, until we finish plowing through the many moons of Olympic coverage we have stored up, the Games of the 29th Olympiad are very much alive and well in Burbank, amigos!

Now, before we get back to watching those rocking Synchronized Swimming and Modern Pentathalon finals, Christine and I just wanted to take a moment to wish that nice Michael Phelps boy well.

Man, we sure hope he wins all those swimming medals he came to Beijing for! Go for the gold, Phelpsy!

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A text message from Obama…

I don’t know why everyone’s all complaining that they didn’t their text messages from Barack Obama the other night when he chose Senator Joe Biden as a running mate. I mean, yeah, the story hit the internet fast and everything, but Christine and I got our text message from Obama just fine. See…

Ah, well, I guess he just loves us more. In any case, can’t wait to get our cool Obama-Biden bumper stickers! And though I still think an Obama-Clinton ticket would kick ass, we both actually dug much of what Biden had to say in the democratic debates earlier this year and his selection makes a lot of sense.

Plus, Biden has the all-important tragic backstory that wins us over every time. Biden’s first wife and infant daughter died in a car accident on their way to celebrate his first Senate win many years ago, and Biden was actually sworn in at the hospital bedsides of his two surviving sons. Wow…if we’d known that sad-ass story, we probably would have voted for him in the primary!

Seriously, that’s political backstory gold, baby. Man, I sure hope McCain likes the view from his seven houses, because something tells me he’s gonna be spending a lot of time in them come 2009.

Anyway, here’s hoping our guys have a rocking time at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. Christine and I loved that town almost as much as Nashville. Oh, and Barack, if you and Joe need any recommendations on where to eat or drink in Denver, text us, dude. We’ll totally hook you guys up. L8ter!

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“American Mall” song on Rock Band!

Heard the other day — from my non-gaming friend Ginger, of all people! — that the video game Rock Band is releasing some new downloadable songs to the Xbox 360 this week. And while the bands involved are both very cool — Duran Duran and Devo! — the biggest news in this household is that the other downloadable song is going to be “Get Your Rock On” from “The American Mall” soundtrack! Cool, huh?

Of course, I don’t own Rock Band (yet!) and we have a Wii, not an Xbox, so even if we did have Rock Band, we’d still have to wait a while to play the song. But how totally cool that MTV is releasing the song on Rock Band at all…yay!

I’m assuming Ginger heard about this latest development through one of her many visits to Duran Duran fansites and not from a sudden interest in hard-core gaming, but either way, thanks for the heads up, amiga! You rock!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go buy an Xbox and sneak it into the house before Christine gets home from work…

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“American Mall” t-shirts @ Sears

I know I already told you about the Arrive Lounge website a billion times, but actually had the chance to check out some of “The American Mall” t-shirts in person the other day at Sears, and despite the fact that they didn’t have my size (or my brothers) they still seriously rocked!

As expected, the women’s clothing selections are much more varied than the men’s, but my only complaint with the girl clothes was they didn’t have cool “The American Mall” labels inside. I don’t remember who made their clothing, but half of the fun of buying this stuff is that is has the name of the movie inside it, right? So, why not buy the stuff with cool labels?

Anyway, the two styles of men’s t-shirts they had at our Sears were a white version of the Weinerland shirt than Ben rocks so memorably in the movie and a black t-shirt with red guitars and the words “Get Your Rock On” splashed all rockerishly across the front of it.

Luckily I already have a Weinerland t-shirt that I scored at the post-premiere party at the Cabana Club, so I’m covered. But if you’re interested in scoring some of this cool swag for yourselves, you best get on down to Sears soon, because this week’s circular was all bout “The American Mall”, and from what I could tell, that stuff was moving fast.

And if after maxing out your credit cards at Sears, you’re still in the market for more cool “The American Mall” merch, check out the Seen On MTV shop at: MTV.com. They have some different t-shirts, purses, military style caps, beanies, and even a kick-ass 2009 wall calendar! So, check it out!

And no, I don’t get a penny from any of this stuff, I’m just a nerdy fanboy trying to steer you in the right direction, mall-wise…so, enjoy!

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Slovakian “Alice” wins the gold!

Alright, I know it’s kind of stupid, and totally un-PC, but sometimes when there are a bunch of people with really hard to remember names in certain Olympic events, Christine and I come up with nicknames to keep them straight. And as with most nicknames, the lamer they are, the easy they are to remember.

So, this past weekend, Slovakian kayaker Elena Kaliska became known in our house as Alice from “The Brady Bunch”. I know, stupid right? But all of those chicks kinda looked the same after a while, so whenever Kaliska did something cool, it was just easier to say: “OMG, Alice just rocked that slalom final!” than to remember her name and country.

And I ask you, does she not bear an uncanny resemblance to America’s favorite mid-70′s maid? Hell, yeah she does. And just like Alice, Kaliska cleaned house in the Women’s Single Kayak K1 finals this weekend and ended up taking home the gold medal for Slovakia.

I don’t remember watching kayaking before, but wow, that shit is exciting! Not only do the kayakers have to navigate an insanely choppy river of man-made rapids, but they also have to pass through a series of green racing gates on the way down and, get this, several more red gates that they must turn around and navigate through in the opposite direction. Insanity!

It was a fast and furious day at the Shunyi Rowing and Canoeing Park in Beijing — so much so that the silver medalist, Jacqueline Lawrence of Australia, actually sailed up off the course onto the grass at one point! — and just as we hoped, our tough-as-nails Alice, a gold medalist in the same event in Athens, won the day. So, rock on Slovakia. Somewhere, Sam the butcher is smiling…

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Beach Volleyball Cheerleaders?

OK, speaking of stuff NBC does not show in their extensive coverage of the Olympics from Beijing…did you know that those scantily-clad girls in the background on the Beach Volleyball matches were cheerleaders? Christine and I have watched hours of Beach Volleyball this past week and we sure didn’t!

It wasn’t until scouring the NBC and official Chinese website for the games that I even came across pictures of these bad-ass babes in action! And, man alive, it looks like these young ladies put on quite a show, I mean, they have like, actual props and shit too! Wow!

So, just to get this straight, NBC can stop everything to show us Mary Carillo chomping on a fried scorpion at a street bazaar, but they can’t show us even a little glimpse of these gals in action? How on earth does that make ratings sense?

Anyway, I learned online — since none of the Beach Volleyball announcers apparently thought this was newsworthy enough — that the Beach Volleyball cheerleaders of Chaoyang Park were trained by former New England Patriot cheerleaders on how to dance, move and shake up the crowd. Patriots, indeed! Thank you, New England cheerleaders.

Now, if I could only find some live footage of these chicks in action, my Olympic coverage would be complete. Hmmm, I wonder if Mary Carillo takes requests?

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UPDATE: Latvian “giant killers”, gone but not forgotten…

Though you wouldn’t know it from watching NBC’s frustratingly America-centric coverage of the games, two of my favorite Beach Volleyball players, the Latvian “giant-killers” Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs were knocked out of the running for the quarterfinals a few days back.

Honestly, most people never thought they had a chance at even getting past the preliminaries, but after killing Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in their opening game at Beijing, the “giant-killers” were on a roll. After a surprising loss to Argentina on August 11th, they beat Switzerland 2-1 on August 13th, and were seriously on their way to the quarterfinals before getting wiped out by Austria on August 16th in a crushing 2-0 match at Chaoyang Park.

But even if they didn’t get much screen time — I had to settle for photos of their matches online! — these Baltic beach bums kicked some serious ass in Beijing and certainly put Latvia on the map in my book.

So, rock on, my Baltic brothers. Hope we see ya again in London in 2012!

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Panda porn with Mary Carillo!

OK, Christine and I are still days behind in our Olympics coverage so this might be old news by now, but according to the fetching young lad on NBC, I think his name is Mary Carillo, panda experts in China actually show male pandas “panda porn” to get them in the mood! Crazy, huh?

And just in case we doubted the veracity of these reports, NBC actually showed us footage of a horny panda pacing back and forth in his cage while some juicy “panda porn” played on a TV nearby. Hilarious! All that was missing were some classic porno jams thumping away in the background.

And yes, I know Mary Carillo is a woman with a husband and two kids, but man, that old foghorn she calls a voice gives me the willies sometimes.

And though Ms. Carillo has taken a beating online for her looks, her voice and even the kinda borderline racist slant (no pun intended) to several of her reports from Beijing, we still love us some sweet Mary Carillo Olympic Moments. So, rock on, dude…er, Mary…and hooray for “panda porn”!

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A sad day in Memphis…

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. And though we didn’t get to travel to Memphis this year for Elvis Week, Christine and I did sign up for a free three-day membership to Sirius Radio so we could listen to the live broadcast of the candlelight vigil last night from Graceland.

And let me tell ya, not a dry eye in our living room. I know it sounds crazy, but that candlelight vigil is way up there on our list of life-changing events. It was just beautiful, and even hearing it on the internet feed this year was awesome.

Not only could you hear the crowd singing along with the music on Elvis Presley Blvd., but they also took some time to interview fans, friends and even an ex-girlfriend of The King as well. Touching stuff, baby!

And since no Elvis Week celebration would be complete without some major Elvis announcements, this year’s celebration has two really cool Elvis-related surprises up their sleeve.

One, is the upcoming release of Elvis Presley’s first duets album, “Christmas Duets” featuring current stars like Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and Anne Murray — whose own Christmas album is one of our favorites! — singing along with Elvis’ old tracks. Hmmm…normally, I frown on this kind of thing, but hello, it’s Elvis. So it could be either really cool or really creepy. I’m hoping for more cool than creepy, but you never know…

And the other major announcement from Elvis Presley Enterprises is the upcoming release of a Graceland-approved Elvis and Priscilla Wedding Day Barbie set. Holy crap! Could anything be cooler than that? Two words: Amazon wish list. Actually, I think that’s three words…

In any case, just glad to have some new Elvis stuff to buy in the months to come. And with Lisa Marie rumored to be expecting twins sometime soon — bringing the grand total of Elvis grandkids to four! — wow…this really is a good week to be an Elvis fan. Long live “The King”!

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Beijing ’08 Olympic Mascots

As any hard-core Olympic geek will tell you, the games are only as good as their cuddly little mascots…and this year’s batch is top-of-the-line, baby! Nicknamed the “Friendlies” or “Fuwa”, these Chinese “good luck dolls” outpace even the classic Nagano “Snowlets” from 1998 in the cute department.

Colored the bright hues of the Olympic rings, the “Friendlies” are Beibei (the blue fish), Jinjing (the black panda), Huanhuan (the red Olympic flame), Nini (the green swallow) and Yingying (the yellow antelope).

And though I jumbled up their names, when you put them in the proper order, it says “Beijing Welcomes You!” in Chinese. Or something like that…

Either way, as you can see, these guys are almost too cute for words. And though we only bought one of the plush “Friendlies” at the Chinese Pavillion at Epcot this past April — we have had Huanhuan, the red one, sitting on top of our TV since the games began! — I recently discovered a cool site where you can download desktop wallpapers of each and every one of the Chinese “Friendlies”.

And while you might not be crazy enough to place a stuffed one on your TV — or to have purchased a slew of “Friendlies” shot glasses, a softball and a crazy expensive “Friendlies” coffee cup at Epcot — you still might wanna have these guys on your computer screen for fun.

So, download away at the appropriately named: OlympicFunPage and, as those bad-ass, bronze-medal-winning Mexican diving chicas would say: “Que viva los “Friendlies”!

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“The American Mall” hits stores!

Sorry for not writing in a while, have been kind of crazy busy this week…working on the “American Mall” sequel, watching Olympics, and of course trolling around local stores looking for the best price on “American Mall” DVDs.

I know, I know, is there anything geekier than someone posing for pics behind a DVD display case at Sears? Probably not, but hey, how often am I gonna get a chance to do that?? I mean, come on!

Also hit up a gigantic Blockbuster Video on the Westside (see pic above) and to my delight, there was only one copy of “Mall” left on the shelf to rent…at noon! Wow…someone is renting my movie in Santa Monica!

Anyway, the DVD is for sale everywhere right now and though I recommend snapping up the Special Two Disc Edition at Sears — on sale for $12.99 through 8/16, and $19.99 after that — I did just find out that MTV.com has the standard Extended Edition DVD available for the low, low price of $2.79.

Yep, for the price of a corndog at the mall, you can own “The American Mall” on DVD. Somewhere the retail Gods are smiling…

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“The American Mall” airs tonight!

I’m sure I don’t have to remind you guys — after promoting the crap out of it for months now! — but my movie, “The American Mall”, finally airs tonight on MTV at 9:00PM. So, check it out!

And if for some reason you forget to Tivo it, no worries, because tomorrow, August 12th, “The American Mall” soundtrack and DVD go on sale online and in stores nationwide. I’m buying my copy at Sears of course, but I did scope out the Sunday supplements and Circuit City has the best price of the bunch. They are selling the DVD and the soundtrack as a combo for $20. Not bad!

Anyway, I gotta go “get my rock on” right now. Hope you dig the movie!

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“Smash” this, Frenchie!

Barely a day after cocky French swimmer Alain Bernard declared his intention to “smash” the American rely team in the men’s 4x100m Free Relay, Michael Phelps and company set the Frenchies straight with a record-breaking gold medal performance in the event.

As with the Latvian giant-killers the day before, this was a match for the ages, folks. The American’s and the French were neck in neck most of the relay, but in the last few seconds, 32-year-old Jason Lezak kicked it up a notch and managed to beat the former world-record holder — Bernard, who was swimming in the lane next to him — to the punch by 0.08 seconds. Insanity!

The look on Bernard’s face was priceless. And even with a silver medal spot on the podium for him and his team, that “smash” quote is gonna haunt his ass for a while. But the looks on the American team’s faces were just plain awesome.

Not only did they win the gold — Phelp’s second of a hoped-for eight at the Beijing games! — but the American Free Relay team also beat the world record by 1.30 seconds. Ha-ha…”smash” that, Frenchie!

Oh, and um…just for the record, I love French stuff, you know, movies, wine, bread, whatever. I don’t endorse “freedom fries” and any of that shit, but man, I could not have scripted a better comeuppance for that Alain Bernard punk. And you know what’s even cooler…?

At the medal ceremony, Phelps actually stepped off his gold medal perch beside his teammates and went over to shake the French team’s hands. A cool, classy move by a rock star swimmer who knows the true meaning of good sportsmanship, and yet another classic Olympic moment

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Latvian “giant-killers” rule the day!

OK, Christine and I spent almost all of our waking hours this weekend watching the Olympic coverage from Beijing and so far, we have discovered a few very interesting things…

One: the American female gymnastic’s team needs to seriously step it up, because those little girls on the Chinese team are AWESOME. Two: Chinese lady weightlifters kick ass. And three: Chinese people really, really love Kobe Bryant. Seriously, it’s kinda crazy…

And while Christine loved watching those sideways walking horses in the Equestrian Dressage events, I gotta say, my favorite moment so far was the way a couple of kinda stonerish Baltic beach bums kicked our American golden boys asses in the beach volleyball preliminaries.

It was a classic moment, the Latvian team, Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, came into the Olympics placed 23 out of 24 teams. The American team, Todd “The Professor” Rogers and Phil “The Thin Beast” Dalhausser came to Beijing expecting to clean house and go home with the gold.

But in a truly thrilling preliminary match up, the Latvians showed our guys what the Olympic spirit is all about. I’m not kidding you, man, Plavins and Aleksandrs kicked ass. It was like watching Rocky beat the crap out of Ivan Drago…really, a battle of total David and Goliath proportions. It was epic, baby!

And the story behind those crazy Latvians was even cooler. There are so few beach volleyball players of note in Latvia that Plavins and Aleksandrs actually trained by playing on the beach against six other guys. SIX! Apparently, that was the only way to truly simulate the caliber of players they would face in the games. Now that is Olympic spirit, amigos. Just awesome…

And though the Latvian “giant-killers” — as they’re quickly coming to be known online — were knocked down a few games later by some bad-ass Argentians, as of right now, they still have a chance at medaling. So, rock on Latvia!

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Warning: Olympic nerdiness ahead

Just wanted to give y’all a warning that there might be a whole lotta Olympic news coming your way in the next couple of weeks. With our Tivo taping round the clock — I’m not kidding, that red light is always on! — we have been insanely devouring Olympic coverage since the Opening Ceremonies on Friday night.

And though neither of us has cut or dyed our hair like this crazy cool Chinese fan below, Christine and I are all about the games, yo. So get ready for a whole lot of Olympic “See” action in the days to come…

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More shamless-self promotion…

After waking up this morning to find out that my ugly mug was appearing on the front pages of not just one newspaper, but two, all I can say is: wow, it must have been a slow news day in Burbank and Santa Cruz. Ha!

Seriously, I knew there would be a couple of Tomás-centric “American Mall” articles appearing soon, but I had no idea they would come out on the same day and both be on the front page. Crazy!

And while I haven’t seen the article from my hometown newspaper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, in person, I did receive an awesome scanned copy of the article from my Dad and it looked cool. Thanks, Dad! And it sounds like my friend Ginger — who is actually quoted in the article! — has secured me a goodly amount of Sentinels as well, so, I think I’m covered.

And I think I’m pretty good on the local front as well. After reading the Burbank Leader about twenty times this morning, Christine and I spent the rest of the afternoon snatching up free copies of the paper from news racks around town. She drove, and I jumped out and grabbed Leaders from every rack we passed. We were the Bonnie and Clyde of stolen local newspapers, but we had a blast.

Speaking of fun, the pics here were taken in front of this strangely futuristic video kiosk at the Burbank Town Center which was playing “TAM” previews of a loop. So, naturally, while hitting the mall with my brother on Friday, I forced him to take these spectacularly nerdy picture of me in front of it.

You can imagine the stares we got as Ryan and I stood there waiting for the kiosk to cycle through the ads for GNC and Forever 21. Seriously, I’m kinda surprised no one called Mall Security…we must have looked so creepy just lurking there with our cameras at the ready. Yikes…

Anyway, the good news is, we got the pics! So, enjoy. Oh yeah, and before getting to the actual article links, I gotta give a huge shout out to my boy, James for writing the juicy little press release that made all this shameless self-promotion possible to begin with. You rock, dude!

You can check out the Santa Cruz Sentinel article here: “Harbor High Graduate debuts show on MTV”, and the Burbank Leader piece here: “From malls to MTV”. And don’t forget to watch the actual movie this Monday night, August 11th, at 9:00pm on MTV. Rock on!

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Opening Ceremonies in Beijing!

Just finished watching the epically cool Olympic Opening Ceremonies from Beijing and all I can say is, rock on Zhang Yimou!

The most acclaimed of China’s Fifth Generation of filmmakers, Yimou has always been one of my favorites, but after watching the magic he worked as director of this year’s opening ceremonies, well…wow! Give this dude a gold medal already!

I already knew Yimou was a bad-ass storyteller with a killer eye for detail — if you haven’t seen “Ju Dou”, “Raise The Red Lantern”, “Hero” and the shockingly subversive “Happy Times”, rent them, immediately! — but who knew he could create something so breathtakingly beautiful on such a gigantic scale?

Utilizing upwards of 15,000 individual performers, Yimou crafted an opening ceremonies for the ages, and whatever you think about China and the power-mad oldies running the country, that show kicked some serious ass! The costumes, the movement, the scope…this show had everything.

And unlike previous opening ceremonies where details tend to get lost in the mix, Yimou took the time to highlight some really delicate, intricately beautiful moments. The little girl with the kite? The old dude at the end running sideways to light the Olympic torch?

Hell, even the way those crazy dancers moved around that glowing globe while Sarah Brightman sang her heart out (in what sounded like Chinese!) with Chinese pop star Liu Huan…amazing!

And though Christine and I reached for the kleenex more than a few times during the four hour-plus show, I think our favorite moment of the night was when nine-year-old earthquake survivor, Lin Hao lead the Chinese athletes into the Bird’s Nest beside the towering Yao Ming. Oh…my…God…so awesome!

And best of all, that was just the first night of the Olympics! Yay! Bring it on, Beijing! We won’t stop taping till our Tivo catches fire!

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Johnny, we hardly knew ya…

After hyping him up for months — actually years, if you go back to the 2004 election! — Christine and I have officially stepped off the John Edwards train this week. I know what you’re thinking, Clinton cheated too and we still love him…but the big difference is that President Clinton’s wife wasn’t dying of cancer!

I’m not condoning cheating, but I do think that what Edwards did was way worse and way more surprising. I mean, come on, Clinton just looks like a cheater. But our boy Edwards? What the hell, dude?! Your kick ass wife is bravely battling cancer and you’re screwing around with some butter face campaign lackey? Not cool, man. Not cool…

And if the reports from the National Inquirer are to be believed — and why shouldn’t they be? They’ve been right about everything else so far — and Edwards really has a love child with this chick, then, wow…you take the cake Johnny! Seriously, what were you thinking?

All I can say is thank God Edwards didn’t get the Democratic Presidential nomination this year! Can you imagine the shit storm this would have caused if he had? Whew…what a nightmare. Get you act together, dude!

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“The American Mall” billboards

OK, I know I probably sound like the world’s most self-involved goober right now, but after doing some business in Hollywood yesterday, I actually drove around looking for “American Mall” billboards.

I had heard from my brother Ryan and my friend Patty that there were several buses driving around greater Los Angeles with “American Mall” posters on them — Ryan said he even had the oddly surreal thrill of seeing my name scroll into view outside the window of the El Pollo Loco where he was eating breakfast! Ha! — but until yesterday I had not seen any of these posters for myself.

So, like all first-time screenwriters, I cruised Sunset Blvd. stalking buses and looking for billboards for my new movie. And to my amazement, I actually found three gigantic billboards within a few blocks of one another in the heart of downtown Hollywood.

The easiest one to spot was towering over a shockingly-clean Mobil gas station on the corner of Sunset and LaBrea. This was also the easiest billboard to take pictures of as they had a parking lot…yeah!

Next up was a billboard perched way up high on an office tower near Sunset and Las Palmas. This one was harder to shoot as I had to hurriedly park in a red zone, ignore the glaring Cholo gangbangers at the bus stop nearby and snap away. Yikes…don’t try this at home.

And finally, the last billboard I found on my adventure was placed right on top of a really lovely little “rooms-by-the-hour” motel about half a block from Las Palmas. Kind of a seedy locale for a squeaky-clean poster like ours, but hey, at least they had a parking lot!

So, as the mumbling homeless couple on the corner stared at me like I was crazy, I just smiled and thought to myself…hey, if you squint real hard, you can almost see my name! Yeah!

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Red carpet re-enactment…

Since a number of you have requested better, more detailed pictures of the ruby red Michael Kors heels Christine wore on the red carpet last week, we decided to stage a red carpet re-enactment. So, here, for your viewing pleasure are a couple of much better, totally staged, pics of Christine’s shiny, red-carpet-ready Mary Janes. Enjoy!

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Leave Rumer Willis al-o-o-ne!

For some strange reason my ancient WGA strike-era blog post “Golden Globes Update” has been inundated with literally hundreds of hits a week (sometimes a day!) in the past month or so. Looking into the matter I discovered that at least sixty people a day were finding our blog after doing a google search for last year’s Miss Golden Globes herself, Rumer Willis. I know…huh??

Since this made me even more curious, I did a little web investigating and found out two things. One, Ms. Willis — the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore for those of you unaware of her Hollywood lineage — is starring in her first big-budget movie, “The House Bunny” which comes out later this month.

On a totally unrelated note, I know the movie looks kinda goofy, but I will so rent it in a couple of months. Seriously, I think Anna Faris (the titular Playboy bunny in the film) is screamingly hilarious! I kid you not, amigos, she can make even the worst movie funny. Really, she’s that good. But, back to Rumer…

The second thing I discovered in my web investigation is that Ms. Willis has also been the subject of some pretty nasty internet buzz about her looks. And while no one has commented on my blog about this, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that’s what’s bringing in the hits lately.

So, for all you Rumer Willis haters out there, I say, LEAVE RUMER ALONE! Yeah, she’s got a big ass chin, but she is still really cute and after watching her chat up that old gas bag Al Roker on the Today Show this week, Christine and I are total fans. Ms. Willis was charming, funny and totally entertaining.

I can’t tell you yet if she can act her way out a paper bag, but hey, not being to act never stopped her parents from having long, storied Hollywood careers. So, there’s always hope!

And honestly, I am kinda dying to see how Rumer’s “House Bunny” character goes from nerd in bedazzled body brace — that’s her on the far left in the group pic — to super cute blonde (above) in the course of two hours! If that’s not acting, I don’t know what is!

Oh yeah, and just for the record, Ms. Willis was recently re-crowned as this year’s Miss Golden Globes since she was robbed of the chance to hand out shiny awards at last year’s strike-shuttered “press conference”. So, go on with your bad self, Rumer Willis! See you in January…

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“American Mall” magazine ads

Thanks to several of my readers and a very cool e-mail blast from my Aunt Debbie, I discovered that there were full-page “American Mall” ads popping up in several magazines this week. So, being the cheap bastard that I am I took my camera down to Costco and snapped a few pics from Us Weekly, People and In Touch magazine, and then headed home to blog about it. So…enjoy!

Oh yeah, and just for the record, I did purchase the rest of the items in my shopping card. Costco bagels rock!

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“American Mall” cookies!

Just realized that I never posted my pictures of the amazing “American Mall” cookies that Christine and I had at the post premiere party last week at the Cabana Club. Sorry…

As I think I mentioned more than a couple time, those big-ass sugar cookies were one of the culinary highlights of the evening. And the fact that they tasted as good as they looked made them even more enjoyable.

So, a big shout out to Jedi Master Melody Brandon for creating such beautiful edible art for the bash! You rock, Melody. And if you’re curious to see how Melody made such super cool baked goods, check out her rocking step-by-step photo gallery at mysweetandsaucy.com.

I only wish my jacket had more pockets so we could have smuggled more of those delicious cookies home with us…yum!

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Earthquake night on “Big Brother”

Just finished watching tonight’s episode of “Big Brother” and all I can say is…wow. Not only did we get to see the houseguest’s stunned reactions to the earthquake we had down here on Tuesday, but we also got to see one of the strangest Head of Household competitions ever.

And for some totally wrong-headed reason the producers decided to end tonight’s episode with an earthquake-themed HOH competition.

Yep, you heard me, two days after the Los Angeles area was shaken by a 5.4 magnitude tremblor, “Big Brother” staged a mock earthquake as part of one of their competitions. Wow, man…that takes balls!

I’m sure they figured: “Hey, nobody died, it’s cool to have a little earthquake-tastic fun, right?” But man, talk about bad taste. After this week’s eviction — I won’t spoil it for you by telling you who got the boot — the houseguests lined up on the ledge of a two-story building facade in the backyard.

The rules were simple, whoever stays put on the ledge wins this week’s Head of Household. For you non-BB fans, that’s means you are immune from going home and actually in charge of nominating two people for eviction during your one week reign as HOH.

So, after the housequests took their places on the ledge, the entire facade began to slowly rotate forward, forcing them to hold on tight or risk falling off into the padded plastic mats below.

And then, the real shocker came when our beloved Chenbot — who I’m sure had nothing to do with this tasteless ratings ploy — uttered these immortal words: “You all felt the earthquake the other day, houseguests? Well, you should know, when there are earthquakes, there are always aftershocks!”

And then, to our horror, the building facade began to violently shake as sawdust rained down upon the startled housequests. I swear to God, Christine and I just paused the Tivo and stared at one another: “Um…are they really doing this?”

I mean, sure, no one died in Chino Hills, hell, nothing major even broke or crumbled, but still…an earthquake-themed HOH so soon after a real earthquake? Really?? What’s next, flaming wildfire competitions? Yikes…

And to make matters even worse, they ended the show without showing us the result of the competition! Which means we have to wait till freaking Sunday to see who won HOH! Argh!!

For shame, Chenbot, for shame…

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