Backyard BBQ

I also take REQUESTS!!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Google Adwords/Adsense - Scam and Scam Again

Today, I received in the mail, what I thought was a happy harbinger of good tidings from Google. I've used their Adsense for the past 3 years, placing their scrolling banner ads across the pages of my website, in the hopes (and according to their contract)that they would pay me a small amount each month to do so. I rarely even think about it anymore, since they've never paid me one red cent. After having their advertising splayed out across my site for about a year, I once wondered "Why haven't they paid me?". I get clicks all the time to my site. Surely Google will make good on their promise of sending me at least one check, in due course, for having advertised them for so long. Nope. Read the fine print. They don't ever have to pay you if your site doesn't garner more than 15,000 hits a month. Doesn't seem like a lot when you consider that Perez Hilton gets a million hits a day, but I'm just an average working stiff. I don't advertise my site every second of every day, and I don't update it every day either. Still, Google has had 3 years of free advertising from me, and enough is enough.

So today, when I got a hefty envelope labelled "Google Adsense" I thought, "Hmm, maybe they made good on their promise afterall." I opened the envelope, and was mildly surprised, and only slightly annoyed. They had sent me $100 "Thank You Card". It actually says that on it. Seems like not too terrible a deal, right? They eventually sent me $100 gift card to use online. NOPE. Wrong again. What they had sent me was a $100 promotional card to use on some service they called GOOGLE ADWORDS. After a little research and signing in to the site, I found out that they now wanted ME to pay for THEIR FREE ADVERTISING ON MY SITE. I seriously almost shit my pants.

After a little more research, I found that these troglodytes actually wanted me to pay for THEM advertising MY site on those little sidebars, everytime you search in google. Okay, I thought, that makes a little more sense. And they did give me $100 to start my account with. I'll check it out and see if I can't direct a little more traffic to my site with this promotion that they're using. It makes more sense now.

In fact, it doesn't make any sense. I jumped through the twenty minutes of hoops setting up the account, and guess what? It won't accept the promotional card code without entering either A: A bank account number or B: Credit Card number.

Thanks Google, but FUCK YOU.

I'm so sick of these legal corporate scams. Why don't you just play ball the old fashioned and honest way? Instead you try to put so many hurdles in front of the rabbit, that he can't even see the carrot anymore. Pucker up buttercup and kiss my motherfucking, no longer advertising your stupid shit, ass, GOOGLE.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Dear Data Recovery Douchebags,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for disregarding fair business practices and trying to screw the little guy over a barrel. It's refreshing to know that in this dire financial market, there are still some companies that put themselves and money before disposable things like ethics, and making the world a better place, or helping others.

You probably don't remember me, even though I was just in your disgustingly shabby crack den/ storefront 20 minutes ago. I'm the guy that wasn't willing to pay $1200 for $4.95 worth of your services. Let me recap so you can know from whence I bleat. ie: where I'm comin from.

I brought my corrupted external Maxtor hard drive in just over a week ago, under the pretense of getting some personally valuable data off of it. It had crashed the night before and since I, like many others, don't fancy opening up a hard drive to screw around with it, I consulted the first name in Data Recovery Services that I found on Google. That would be you guys. The ad said "FREE DIAGNOSTIC" so I thought, great. Then I called to get a ballpark figure for how much it would cost to retrieve my lost data. The guy on the phone "Scott" gave me a figure of "starting at $300". So I thought... hmm.. that's not so bad. I could pay that if I have to... but nah, they wouldn't charge me $300 for retrieving two pdf files... That's silly. So I brought the drive in.

At your shop, I asked again for a ballpark figure, and was told by the guy at the front desk "Well it can be anywhere from $300 to $2500, depending on how difficult the data is to get". I thought, that makes sense. The tougher the job, the more work involved, the more you have to pay. That's how it works. Solid. So I went home and waited for the call I was told that I would get telling me that my drive was ready. It never came. You asked for my phone number, and never used it. Instead, one of your staff "Eric" lazily sent me an email and never bothered to call. Just curious to know how "Eric" thought I was going to get that email if my computer wasn't working because of a busted drive. I'll grant you that the drive is external and generally people have alternate sources to check their email. I digress.

I got the email, and had to call you for a quote. I was told by "Eric" that there was nothing physically wrong with the drive and it would be an easy retrieval, just a couple bad logical units, he said. I asked for the cost quote at that time and nearly s*it my pants when he said $1200. That's twelve hundred, not twelve. Twelve hundred dollars to retrieve two pdf documents from a working hard drive. At which point I laughed and said I'll be in to pick it up tomorrow. His response "Uhhhh ohhhh..." I said "Well it's a free estimate right? I can come get my drive anytime right?" to which he said "Uhhhh.. ohhhh... yea, but give us a day to put it back together, we'll give you a call when it's ready." That was three days ago. No one ever called me back.

Today, I called to find out the status of it and was told "It's ready come on down". So, again, thanks for not calling me back and following through with anything at all. I went down there and was handed a bag full of screws, a bent framed shell casing, and the actual hard drive in a small bag. That is not the way I dropped it off, and it's not the way I was told I was getting it back. Thanks for being such lazy f*cking a*sh*les, that you couldn't be bothered to screw in a couple of screws once you found out I wasn't giving up $1200.

I brought the drive home, promptly plugged it back into my system, downloaded a little program called Power Data Recovery, and, in less than five minutes, had ALL OF MY DATA BACK. Let me type that again. I GOT ALL OF MY DATA BACK FOR FREE IN FIVE MINUTES WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO CHARGE ME $1200 AND A WEEKS WORTH OF WORK FOR.

Here's a little tip for free (although I should charge you $1200 for it). If your clients are willing to pay $300 (which I was) for something that costs you nothing... take it. Your business model works the same way an illegitimate auto mechanic's does. You prey on people who aren't tech savvy and hope that they don't know anyone who is.

Little FYI, since I'm going to be posting this warning all over the net. You might want to rethink that money making scheme you're working on. It's only going to work for so long. DATA RECOVERY SERVICES - only use em if you wanna get screwed.

Brian T.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Screenwriting Career: Day 5

Screenwriting is not for the weak of heart. It takes skill, talent, patience, and a lot of hard work. At least according to the un-sold.

The pros make it look like going fishing. They make the end result seem like it came down out of Mount Ararat. They're masters of storytelling... and I hope one day to be one.

For today I'll just have to settle for telling a few stories that are important to me. Zombies that devour Los Angeles, astronauts and other dimensions, a guy with such bad luck that he might destroy the world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Screenwriting Career: Day 4

So I've got this script (among others) finished and pared down. It's my masterpiece I think, my Citizen Kane, my Chinatown. It's exciting, dramatic, heartbreaking, and epic. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to make it into a major motion picture...

...and then I post it to the screenwriting forums.

The feedback I get basically tells me that in no uncertain terms, my opus is garbage. A proper agent or producer wouldn't touch it with a twenty foot pole and latex gloves. I should quit writing and go back to scraping the lichen off of rotting trees in the Yucatan.

I am shattered. I am utterly and completely broken both as a man and as an artist. What do I do now?

I start over. I drive all the way back to where the road diverged in the wood and I choose the other path. I re-think and completely re-write the story from a completely different angle, using all the story elements I've created and the characters thus far. I burrow in and drive all night if I have to, to get the story moving in the right direction.

It's the plight of the writer nowadays. Everyone IS a critic, and like it or not, their opinion matters. Maybe not to you, maybe not to an agent or producer or actors or anyone but themselves, but it still matters. Over the past few weeks I've come to the staggering realization that when you find the guy that actually hates what you've written, you've found solid gold. He's the guy that won't pat you on the back and say "nice try". He's the guy that WILL tell you when your shit stinks and how to un-stinkify it. He's the guy that just saved your ass from making a fool of yourself and the only guy that even knows which way IS the right way. Or at least he thinks so.. and he's often right.

Listen to that guy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Screenwriting Career: Day 3

Still looking for an agent. Today, I'm doing a lot of research. Research on yoga, research on future propulsion systems. Related stuff. I find that the beauty of film is that it can be anything that you want it to be... literally anything. If you want a goat eating ice cream off the ass of William Shakespeare while painting Van Gogh's Starry Night, it can exist in the medium of film. I think film is sort of the majestic meeting place of all the other arts. Let me explain. Film is basically the meeting point of three other forms of art. Literature (in other words, a story), Music, and Photography (well moving photography). You can read a book and your imagination takes over. Your brain is forced to create a little world that you can't even really see, except in your subconscious. The words tell you what is there, and you perceive it in a very personal way, creating your own interpretation. Music, on the other hand is very literal. What you hear is what has been specifically put there. There are horns, you hear horns. There are drums, you hear drums. There isn't a whole lot (if any) personal interpretation about what a song consists of, until you get to the lyrics, but I feel that falls into the literature category because it's not music, it's words. Photography is also very literal, but the meaning and the emotion it draws is extremely personal. Two people can look at a photo of a man on a horse and see two very different things depending on their own interpretation of what the man and horse are supposed to signify. Film, to me, is the pyramidial point at which all of these things meet. When it's done right, it's something to behold. Something to tell others about. It's something that makes you feel an emotional reaction that, again in my opinion, none of the other art forms can quite reach.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My Screenwriting Career: Day 2

Day 2: I Quit!

Just kidding. I don't quit. I just get told eventually that it's not worth my time, and apparently at that point my time begins to be worth more, which is great! I was never good at math so maybe that's why I'm so stubborn. In any event, writing is tough. If you've ever tried to write something meaningful, then you know what I'm talking about. A poem, a story, a Birthday Card for someone you only sort of know. Words can be fluid and beautiful and when they come together properly, it's like magic. It's like finding a twenty dollar bill on the street. At all other times, writing is frustrating to say the least.

Writing something with a particular set of structures, like a screenplay, is doubly tough. Not only do you now have to write something mesmerizing and gripping, you also have to know, with a high amount of exactness, the proper format in which to write your opus. I see on the writing boards all the time, writers whose grasp of the english language is comparable to that of a soft shelled crab, who seem to be living under the delusion that they are the next Robert Towne, or Charlie Kaufman. I myself suffer from this malady from time to time... A writer really needs to do two things to be successful, and neither of them is "make money". In my opinion, a writer needs to 1. Write well 2. Write often. That's it. You do those two things, and you can be proud of yourself.

Here's a list of the 100 greatest screenwriters of all time. Well in one guy's opinion anyway, but I agree. I think he got em all:

So, Day 2. On the hunt once again for a screenwriting agent, and putting out another of my works for review on the boards. If anyone would like to read MAN-X, feel free to email me or just imagine how good it is... or isn't.. Hagga Dagga.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My Screenwriting Career: Day 1

Well, technically it's more like Day 78, but I'm officially blogging about it from now on, so that would make today Day 1, right? Right.

Okay, so I started writing a screenplay back in May when I got fired from a really crummy job. I decided then that I would pursue my lifelong passion of making a film. I soon realized that to make a film you need at least two things: 1. camera 2. money. Since I had neither, I thought maybe I could take my talent to the page instead. So, to make a long and boring story, slightly shorter and possibly just as boring, I started writing my first screenplay titled I AM BECOME DEATH. The title is from an Oppenheimer mis-quote that I happen to like about the end of the world. I think he got it from the Baghavad Gita. I'm sure I spelled that wrong. Anyway, I wrote the script and have been passing it around to any friend or flake that says they'll read it. Thus far, I've gotten positive reviews from several people who have absolutely nothing to do with the industry, and here we are.

Day 1. Trying to sell it.

Trying to get anyone to even read a screenplay is like asking if you can move in with them for a couple weeks. They say, "of course" "no problem", and then when you have all your stuff in the car, they don't return your phone calls for a year and won't answer the door no matter how many jelly donuts you throw at their windows.

I've just scooted over to the very helpful and uber friendly screenwriting forum called Screenwriting Goldmine

and the guys and dolls over there have been the bear's tits at helping me navigate the world of what to do with a finished screenplay. I highly recommend at least checking out the wealth of info on that site, even if you don't want to post anything.

I'm also looking at which seems like a pretty legit site to get your screenplay at least looked at, if not outright sold. Hopefully something will come from that as well. I'll keep you posted.

Ciao for now.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Woodpecker: a movie that will touch you in ways that I never could... and you wouldn't want me to. At turns touching, idiotic, fantastic, sad, inspiring... Just watch it and thank me later. The film is about the search for the long thought extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Directed by Alex Karpovsky.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Audit highlights excessive FBI overtime in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI agents temporarily deployed to Iraq received an average of about $45,000 in excessive overtime because they billed the government for 16 hours a day throughout their 90-day assignments, according to a Justice Department audit.
Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine released the audit on Thursday.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine released the audit on Thursday.

The audit, released Thursday by Inspector General Glenn Fine, found the agents routinely submitted the overtime with the blessing of their managers from 2003 through 2007. The report says the excessive overtime totaled $7.8 million.

"The FBI inappropriately permitted employees to regularly claim overtime for activities that are not compensable as work, such as time spent eating meals, exercising more than 3 hours per week, and socializing," the report said. The socializing included going to movies and cocktail parties.

The FBI promptly responded to the report, acknowledging the overtime policy was designed to encourage FBI employees to volunteer for Iraq duty, but should not have been used and has now been corrected.

The 88-page report documenting the overtime issues found the FBI had initially approved the policy of paying for 16-hour days because conditions were harsh, there were few recreational opportunities and employees were always "on call."

But the audit said that violates federal pay guidelines.

The FBI admitted that "a flawed system was allowed to develop and remain in place too long," but it also sought to explain how the practice started.

"Early in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq FBI managers traveled to those war zones and saw first hand the challenges of a 24/7 threat environment. FBI employees lived with sniper attacks, mortar fire, and roadside bombs as part of their daily work environment. They attempted to adapt a long established domestic pay system for domestic law enforcement to unprecedented wartime assignments for FBI personnel."

FBI agents in Iraq perform a variety of duties, according to the bureau's Web site. Agents interview suspected terrorists captured by the military; gather intelligence; collect evidence from crime scenes like car bombs or mass graves; and investigate crimes committed by Americans against Iraqis, as well as those that Iraqis commit against their fellow citizens.

The inspector general's report said overtime pay was less excessive for FBI personnel in Afghanistan. The report also found that somewhat less excessive overtime was paid to agents from other Justice Department agencies who were sent to Iraq, including deputy marshals, and ATF and DEA agents.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

10 Christmas Songs That Don't Suck

Seriously, there are like 20 christmas songs in the world that don't immediately make you want to beat yourself unconscious with a yule log. Here's 10 of them:

Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto - James Brown
Do It Yourself Christmas Rappin - Kurtis Blow
Mistress for Christmas - AC/DC
Thank God it's not Christmas - Sparks
Ring Out Solstice Bells - Jethro Tull
Blue Christmas - Porky Pig
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits
Father Christmas - The Kinks
Get Behind Me, Santa! - Sufjan Stevens

and if you want to hear them - just click!


let these be an oasis to you in the desert of shitty christmas muzak.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Metallica- New Album Review

Metallica's new album comes amidst a shit storm of controversy. The band is up in arms about any journalists, pre-reviewing it before the album comes out, and fans are up in arms about Metallica sucking for the last 15 years. Here's my two-cent review of the newest offering from the band that used to rock!

Metalllica - Untitled As Yet

Metallica's 9th studio album feels like a true throwback. Supposedly the missing link between ...And Justice For All and the star-making Black Album (Metallica), it feels more like a throw-away. For fans of the hard core metal gurus earlier catalog it might be a little too limp, and for fans of everything the band has released since, say 1991, it might feel a little hard edged.

Track 1 comes out strong, and just when it seems like we might be seeing a re-birth of a band...quickly loses steam and collapses into a modicum of forgettable riffs and overproduced pop-metal posturing...

Track 2 tries to take it down a notch and give the fans that "other side of the coin" sound that transposes the hard with the soft sounds that the band has proven itself capable of time and time again.

Tracks 3 through 8 all suck.

Track 9 is actually my favorite, but has a fatal flaw in the bridge, that renders it almost unlistenable.

Track 10 more syrup and not enough muscle. A poseur of what Metallica used to be.

Track 11 is yet another attempt at reclaiming their pop-metal throne, with little success.

Metallica, maybe you should spend more time recording and writing songs and less time worrying about people reviewing them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why I Will Never Join The Armed Forces: Volume 1

Thanks to George Bush, that Cheney guy, the unskilled contractors making twice what our soldiers make to do shoddy work, and all the little people in the bomb making industry that made today possible. Asshats. So fucking sad.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A highly decorated Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth died a painful death in Iraq this year. He died not on the battlefield. He died in what should have been one of the safest spots in Iraq: on a U.S. base, in his bathroom.


Ryan Maseth, a 24-year-old Green Beret, died in his shower January 2.

The water pump was not properly grounded, and when he turned on the shower, a jolt of electricity shot through his body and electrocuted him January 2.

The next day, Cheryl Harris was informed of his death. A mother of three sons serving in Iraq, she had feared such news might come one day.

"I did ask exactly, 'How did Ryan die? What happened to him?' And he had told me that Ryan was electrocuted," she said.

Her reaction was disbelief. "I truly couldn't believe he would be electrocuted ... in the shower," she said.

Maseth, 24, was not the first. At least 12 U.S. troops have been electrocuted in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, according to military and government officials. Video Watch mom describe horror, heartbreak over son's electrocution »

In fact, the Army issued a bulletin in 2004 warning that electrocution was "growing at an alarming rate." It said five soldiers died that year by electrocution, with improper grounding the likely culprit in each case.

The Army bulletin detailed one soldier's death in a shower -- eerily similar to Maseth's case -- that said he was found "lying on a shower room floor with burn marks on his body."

Maseth's mother says the Army was not immediately forthcoming with details about her son's death.

At one point, she says, the Army told her he had a small appliance with him in the shower on his base, a former palace complex near the Baghdad airport.

"It just created so much doubt, and I know Ryan, I know Ryan, I know how he was trained, I know that he would not have been in a shower with a small appliance and electrocuted himself," she said. Video Watch "I can't make sense around Ryan's death" »

The Army refused to answer CNN's questions about the case, citing pending litigation by Maseth's family.

Maseth's mother says she pressed the military for answers, eventually uncovering more details about her son's electrocution. The surging current left burn marks across his body, even singeing his hair. Army reports show that he probably suffered a long, painful death.

Fellow soldiers had to break down the door to help, said Patrick Cavanaugh, an attorney for Maseth's parents.

"When they kicked down the door, they smelled burning hair, and they rushed over, saw Sgt. Maseth lying there unconscious, and one of the rescuers himself was shocked electrically and sustained a fairly good jolt because the water and the pipes were still electrified," Cavanaugh said.

Army documents obtained by CNN show that U.S.-paid contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) inspected the building and found serious electrical problems a full 11 months before Maseth was electrocuted.

KBR noted "several safety issues concerning the improper grounding of electrical devices." But KBR's contract did not cover "fixing potential hazards." It covered repairing items only after they broke down.

Only after Maseth died did the Army issue an emergency order for KBR to finally fix the electrical problems, and that order was carried out soon thereafter.

In an internal e-mail obtained by CNN, a Navy captain admits that the Army should have known "the extent of the severity of the electrical problems." The e-mail then says the reason the Army did not know was because KBR's inspections were never reviewed by a "qualified government employee."

Larraine McGee is the mother of Sgt. Christopher Everett, another soldier electrocuted in Iraq.

"The impression I got was that this was the first time that it had happened," McGee said.

Her son was cleaning a Humvee on his Iraqi base with a power washer that was not properly grounded in 2005.

"I thought Chris was the first and that because of that, they were going to correct the problem, and it wasn't going to happen again," she said.

When she learned of Maseth's electrocution, she was stunned.

"It makes me very angry, because there is no reason for this to be going on," said McGee.

The electrocution of soldiers is prompting anger in Washington.

"How did this happen?" asked Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Waxman has called for an investigation. "Why wasn't it corrected when we had the first signs that people were dying from electrocutions?"

In a statement to CNN, the U.S. Department of Defense said it "considers this to be a serious issue and has referred it to the DoD Inspector General's office for action."

The Defense Department said that there are nearly 40,000 structures and housing units in the Iraqi theater and that "we believe there was adequate oversight of the KBR contractors."

"In the past 12 months, KBR performed over 2 million service or work order repairs across the theater," the Defense Department said.

It went on to say that the Pentagon has "no information" that personnel with Defense Contract Management Agency, which handles the KBR contract, was aware of the 2004 Army bulletin or that they "failed to take appropriate action in response to unsafe conditions brought to our attention."

The Defense Department inspector general's office said it could not comment on the new investigation at this time.

KBR declined a CNN interview, but in an e-mail the company said it found "no evidence of a link between the work it has been tasked to perform and the reported electrocutions."

The Defense Contract Management Agency declined to answer CNN's question.

Harris says she will continue to fight to make sure other soldiers don't die similar deaths.

"I'm not going to sit around quietly," she said. "I want the answers surrounding Ryan's death -- the accountability. And even further, I want to make sure that our troops are taken care of that are left on the ground ... [so] they don't have to wake up and worry about taking a shower and electrocution."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Bobby Conn

I don't know how you feel about psychedelia, but I can tell you for sure that Bobby Conn totally digs it. The man is like a tasmanian devil in both performance and musicianship. Why he's not the talk of the music biz and selling out shows left and right, I can only guess.. Anyway, click on the picture and enjoy the show!

Top Five Songs of the Day

1. Mr. Lucky - Bobby Conn
2. Memory Lame - Jim O'Rourke
3. I Lost You (But I Found Country Music) - Laura Cantrell and Gordon McIntire
4. I Like the Name Alice - Eleventh Dream Day
5. Flew Out My Window - Pit Er Pat

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Charles Manson Superstar

Charles Manson, as well as being a grade A nutjob, is a fascinating historical figure, whose strange connections to Hollywood are at this point, well documented. What many people don't know is that the antichrist was also an aspiring musician who recorded his first album in Brian Wilson's basement. Click the picture for a link to his discography, or ignore it like the rest of us.

Top Five Songs of the Day

1. Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden
2. Beautiful Girls - Sean Kingston
3. The Underdog - Spoon
4. Alimoney - Ry Cooder & David Lindley
5. Cinnamon Girl - John Entwistle

Monday, April 28, 2008

Douchery most foul

I want to live in a world where everyone wears patent leather all the time, even the babies. I want Rhapsody (pictured above) to write and record my personal theme song. Not because I like their music, but because I absolutely love epic melodrama. And these bards have that shit in spades babe. Rock out, cock out, knock out. Click the pic for the link and Enjoyyyyyyyyyyy!

Top Five Songs of the Day
1. Baby's In Black - The Beatles
2. Do What Ya Wanna Do - Acid House Kings
3. Jugando Con El Corazon - Corazon
4. Are You Asleep - The March Forth
5. The Twist - Frightened Rabbit

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to blah

There is a certain satisfaction one gets from knowing his life is near rock bottom. It's a goal that can be reached with a little perseverance and simple lack of self respect. It's like winning a race by finishing dead last. You don't get a trophy, but you do get to keep the shoes.

I suppose it's normal to reflect over one's life when their birthday comes around. My own is breaching with the sun and it makes me wonder... It makes me wonder where the dancing days have gone and why I'm still no closer to the guy I always said I'd be, than I was when I was ten. I might as well still be eating bubblegum off the sidewalk and prattling on to anyone that listens "Jimmy Carter is the president and I'm going to be a marine biologist!"

I'm 31 years old and I live in the city of angles. I work 40 hours a week and make $35,000 a year, which means I can afford a can of soup every other day and, occasionally, pants. My net worth is approximate to whatever change is in my pockets and I'm pretty sure I've achieved legendary status at my bank for having the least amount of money in my account at any given time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not lazy. I'm a very talented artist. I just have the worst agent in the history of the profession... me. Art for love of the game is great in theory, but it doesn't taste very good and, of course, can't buy you pants. James Whistler, the painter whose famous portrait of his mother always begs the question "Huh?" says it best as quoted "An artist's career always begins tomorrow." The problem with that being, as we're all aware, tomorrow never comes, it's always today.

In the end I suppose this birthday will slide by in succession like all others, in between tomorrow and yesterday.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Martina Fugazzotto

Oh, the Feminimity!
The new design of the female mind,
as seen through the art of Martina Fugazzotto

September 07th, 2007

Teenagers and the Internet are a no-brainer combination, and websites from Facebook to Pitchfork are well aware of this. They know those fickle beasts called “trends” are more than alive and kicking, but they also know that loyalty and honesty can’t be put on the back-burner: they need to be squarely front and center. Martina Fugazzotto, a 25-year-old self-described designer based out of Brooklyn, New York USA, makes sure this happens at, a content site and online community aimed at teenage girls, and with her own personal work, which she showcases on her website, It’s difficult to pin Fugazzotto’s work; some images look like they belong in a lusciously illustrated graphic novel, while others seem to embody a sense of frenzied, rambunctious kitsch. A constant thread found weaving through most of her work, however, is the intricate mix of loud and subtle takes on gender, emotions, and physical development, and the ways in which sexuality, stereotypes and frankness play into those topics. … (More…)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This Cookie is now fully Operational!!

I'm pretty sure my friend Jenny is the ultimate power in the universe, and I'm damn sure she could cold cock Darth Vader's nerd-o ass. Just check out what she does with some cookie dough and a Saturday afternoon. A little thing called the Death Star.

Sorry dudes she's taken.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bob Barker - Retired

Bob Barker, television legend and avid ASPCA spokesperson, taped his last hosted episode of the super-popular Price is Right gameshow on Wednesday, June 6, 2007. For more than 35 years Barker has summoned contestants to the stage on over 9,000 episodes.

Here's a little history for you braniacs out there, complements of the great and powerful Wikipedia:

"The original format, which first aired on the NBC and ABC television networks in the United States from 1956 until 1965, hosted by Bill Cullen, generally involved four contestants bidding on lavish prizes; after a predetermined number of bids, the player whose bid was closest to the correct value of the prize (without going over) would win it. At show's end, the player who had won the most (by dollar value) was declared the champion and returned to play again on the next episode.

In 1957 an Australian version made its debut on ATN-7."

"An updated version of the format premiered in the United States on the CBS television network on September 4, 1972 [1]. In this new iteration, contestants place one bid on an offered prize; the player who bid closest (but not over) then got to play one of several mini-games (dubbed Pricing Games in most countries) for an additional prize. One contestant, through various elimination formats, could find themselves winning a large showcase of prizes at the show's conclusion. Originally thirty minutes long, the show was expanded to its current hour-long format in the fall of 1975. At this time, a new feature was introduced, involving a large wheel with various amounts up to one dollar, which contestants were asked to spin. The contestant who came closest to one dollar in either one or two spins, without going over, was brought back to compete in the Showcase at the end of the show. The three winners of each half-hour segment get the chance to spin the wheel, with the winner of each spin competing against one another.

The 1972 American version, hosted by Bob Barker, is still currently airing as of May 2007 on CBS and is believed to be the second longest-running game show on television, trailing only the Spanish-language variety show Sábado Gigante [2]; it is also the longest running five-days-a-week game show in the world. (Wheel of Fortune began its syndicated run in 1983[3], and Jeopardy! followed in 1984.[4]) The Price Is Right is one of only two game show franchises to be seen nationally in either first-run network or syndication airings in the US in every decade from the 1950s onward; the other is To Tell the Truth, another show created by Bob Stewart for Goodson-Todman."

Thanks for all the good times Bob, we're gonna miss ya.


Friday, June 01, 2007

15 reasons why Mr Rogers was the best neighbor ever

I won't even pretend to have written this excellent article, but I also couldnt' find the name of the person that did. If anyone knows, please let me in on it. It's really excellent, and apropos. -Brian

15 Reasons Mister Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever

1943-1-photo.jpgBack when I was in 7th grade I stood up in front of my English class and delivered a tongue-in-cheek, poorly researched presentation on why I thought Mister Rogers should be the next President. I ate up the first few minutes zipping up my cardigan, and putting on some sneakers, and then I proceeded to mock him roundly. It was a riotous success. Fourteen years later, I’m using this post to repent. The following are 15 things everyone should know about Fred Rogers:

fred-and-Koko.jpg1. Even Koko the Gorilla loved him
Most people have heard of Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in American Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English. What most people don’t know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fan. As Esquire reported, when Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she’d always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off!

2. He Made Thieves Think Twice
According to a TV Guide piece on him, Fred Rogers drove a plain old Impala for years. One day, however, the car was stolen from the street near the TV station. When Rogers filed a police report, the story was picked up by every newspaper, radio and media outlet around town. Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it was taken from, with an apology on the dashboard. It read, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”

3. He Watched His Figure to the Pound!
274149.jpg In covering Rogers’ daily routine (waking up at 5; praying for a few hours for all of his friends and family; studying; writing, making calls and reaching out to every fan who took the time to write him; going for a morning swim; getting on a scale; then really starting his day), writer Tom Junod explained that Mr. Rogers weighed in at exactly 143 pounds every day for the last 30 years of his life. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t eat the flesh of any animals, and was extremely disciplined in his daily routine. And while I’m not sure if any of that was because he’d mostly grown up a chubby, single child, Junod points out that Rogers found beauty in the number 143. According to the piece, Rogers came “to see that number as a gift… because, as he says, “the number 143 means ‘I love you.’ It takes one letter to say ‘I’ and four letters to say ‘love’ and three letters to say ‘you.’ One hundred and forty-three.”

FredRogers_BigBird.jpg 4. He Saved Both Public Television and the VCR
Strange but true. When the government wanted to cut Public Television funds in 1969, the relatively unknown Mister Rogers went to Washington. Almost straight out of a Capra film, his 5-6 minute testimony on how TV had the potential to give kids hope and create more productive citizens was so simple but passionate that even the most gruff politicians were charmed. While the budget should have been cut, the funding instead jumped from $9 to $22 million. Rogers also spoke to Congress, and swayed senators into voting to allow VCR’s to record television shows from the home. It was a cantankerous debate at the time, but his argument was that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family.

5. He Might Have Been the Most Tolerant American Ever
Mister Rogers seems to have been almost exactly the same off-screen as he was onscreen. Despite being an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first. Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, “God loves you just the way you are.” Often this provoked ire from fundamentalists.

6. He Was Genuinely Curious about Others
Mister Rogers was known as one of the toughest interviews because he’d often befriend reporters, asking them tons of questions, taking pictures of them, compiling an album for them at the end of their time together, and calling them after to check in on them and hear about their families. He wasn’t concerned with himself, and genuinely loved hearing the life stories of others. Amazingly, it wasn’t just with reporters. Once, on a fancy trip up to a PBS exec’s house, he heard the limo driver was going to wait outside for 2 hours, so he insisted the driver come in and join them (which flustered the host). On the way back, Rogers sat up front, and when he learned that they were passing the driver’s home on the way, he asked if they could stop in to meet his family. According to the driver, it was one of the best nights of his life—the house supposedly lit up when Rogers arrived, and he played jazz piano and bantered with them late into the night. Further, like with the reporters, Rogers sent him notes and kept in touch with the driver for the rest of his life.

7. He was Color-blind
Literally. He couldn’t see the color blue. Of course, he was also figuratively color-blind, as you probably guessed. As were his parents who took in a black foster child when Rogers was growing up.

nyctransit051223ap.jpg 8. He Could Make a Subway Car full of Strangers Sing
Once while rushing to a New York meeting, there were no cabs available, so Rogers and one of his colleagues hopped on the subway. Esquire reported that the car was filled with people, and they assumed they wouldn’t be noticed. But when the crowd spotted Rogers, they all simultaneously burst into song, chanting “It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood.” The result made Rogers smile wide.

A few other things:
9. He got into TV because he hated TV. The first time he turned one on, he saw people angrily throwing pies in each other’s faces. He immediately vowed to use the medium for better than that. Over the years he covered topics as varied as why kids shouldn’t be scared of a haircut, or the bathroom drain (because you won’t fit!), to divorce and war.
10. He was an Ivy League Dropout. Rogers moved from Dartmouth to Rollins College to pursue his studies in music.
11. He composed all the songs on the show, and over 200 tunes.
12. He was a perfectionist, and disliked ad libbing. He felt he owed it to children to make sure every word on his show was thought out.
13. Michael Keaton got his start on the show as an assistant– helping puppeteer and operate the trolley.
misterrtrogers.jpg 14. Several characters on the show are named for his family. Queen Sara is named after Rogers’ wife, and the postman Mr. McFeely is named for his maternal grandfather who always talked to him like an adult, and reminded young Fred that he made every day special just by being himself. Sound familiar? It was the same way Mister Rogers closed every show.
15. The sweaters. Every one of the cardigans he wore on the show had been hand-knit by his mother.

I can’t sign off with out citing: Tom Junod’s wonderful profile of Fred Rogers and his obituary for him. They are two of the most lovely pieces I’ve (re)read in a very long time. Our researcher Kara Kovalchik also deserves credit for digging them up on an internet archive located here