Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I have just heard about the plagiarism lawsuit facing Coldplay. It was filed by (my personal guitar hero) Joe Satriani and alleges that they ripped off "Viva La Vida" from his "If I Could Fly." You can read a longer article about it here, and below you can watch a YouTube video comparing the two songs.

To me, it seems pretty undeniable that the songs are strikingly similar. I hope Satch wins and I hope he takes a sh*t-ton of those wankers money!

I've had a personal vendetta against Coldplay ever since their last album was released. They've been compared to U2 ever since they arrived on the scene several years ago. They always downplayed these comparisons and/or "honorably" stated they could only hope to be as great a band as U2. However with this latest album, it became suddenly obvious that Coldplay really did wish they were U2. Or maybe it was that they wished we all thought they were U2.

First there was that iPod commercial which looked strangely similar to the U2 one from 2004. Then there were the new stage moves copied straight from U2's Live at Red Rocks performance, the outfits and decor alluding to the Vertigo tour (including the giant red graffiti "V" on the kick drum!), and of course, the songs with amazingly similar sounds to U2. "42" gets a particular nod with regards to the last of these. Homage to "40" or simply band with no more ideas of their own? This all culminated with their SNL appearance, in which they performed three songs, as opposed to the usual two allotted for musical acts. The only band to do this before Coldplay? You guessed it, U2 and not even until 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was released.

Personally, I don't know how Bono & Co. can stand these pretentious (and not in the Bonoronic sense), wannabe jag-offs! Why are they not suing Coldplay, or at least giving them a stern talking-to? Maybe my Irish boys think audiences will know who has the real goods. Maybe they know Coldplay can't touch their millions. Or maybe they're laughing too hard to do anything. After all, these guys are so talentless and unoriginal that the band they are obviously trying so desperately to be isn't even the one suing them!

Guess John Lennon was right. Instant Karma really is gonna get you! Well, may you pay that piper dearly, Chris Martin. Dearly!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Oh dear god! I just saw this on TV and had to find it online to share with all of you. This is the best thing I have ever seen, and if you know my history, you know why! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What the Public Wants...

It has been brought to my attention by some of my faithful fans that I need to update this puppy a bit more. I do apologize to y'all for slacking so much lately on this ole' blog. I promise it is not that I don't love you all to pieces or that I have nothing to say. I've really just been struggling a bit with the shift in workload for the new job. Instead of having the cushy single course load of a graduate student, I now have a real world full course load of teaching. I have quickly learned that one needs to alter assignments and schedules to be both appropriate for students and manageable for oneself (who knew!).

Anyway, the semester is almost over and I promise to be much better about adding new posts soon. But in the meantime, below are some fun things I've been doing and pondering the last several weeks. Enjoy!

What I'm Hearing...

While working, I've been listening to a lot of music lately. It helps keep me sane when the students don't. Anyway, here are a few of the things I've been enjoying lately.

1. The Black Keys - Okay, so I'm probably the last person on the planet to "discover" these guys. I had actually heard of them before, but just never got around to checking out any of their stuff. Well, I recently rejoined emusic and once again stumbled across their name while searching for something-or-another.

They have one of the most incredible sexy-dirty-crunch (my own term) sounds I have ever heard. When I listen to their stuff, I can't tell if I want to make out with someone because it's hot or slap someone because I'm offended. But either way, I like it! Some will probably call this group alt-country, but as someone who doesn't always love everything in that genre, I would add that they are all the good stuff and very little of the yawn stuff.

2. The New Slipknot's Disc - This has been a tough one for me. I have a long history of dislike (or at least great apprehension) for this band. They came out in my former Hot Topic days. I initially found them to be an overrated gimmicky nu-metal band amongst a heap of thousands. I saw them once back in '00 or '01 and they were pretty terrible. At the time, I also had a friend from Iowa (where they're supposedly from), who told me that there was no way the band now going by the name Slipknot was the same band that played the bar scene of Des Moines, because that band was a god-awful talentless mess. I also had a great unease over the fairly well-documented story of how Slipknot and their record label ripped off their look and story from Cleveland-natives, Mushroomhead.

Anyway as a result, I avoided the group for many years. But, I had recently been hearing really good things about their new album, All Hope is Gone. So when I came across a used copy in Boston last week, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I must admit, I'm glad I did. While many of the bands of this era have disbanded (System of a Down), lost their edge (Korn), or simply become ridiculous (Limp Bizkit), Slipknot has hung around and, to my astonishment, gotten immensely better! All Hope is Gone is one of the tightest and more inventive albums I've heard in awhile. I also appreciate their ability to stretch their sound into other metal genres instead of beating the proverbial dead horse. I don't know who these guys really are or whether or not they really pull this off live now, but damn they know how to make some awesome s**t in the studio!

3. The White Tie Affair - J and I went to see Kill Hannah a couple months ago. They were playing at this tiny club in St. Paul called Station 4. It actually reminded us of the hallowed ground that is Howard's in BG. But anyway, the White Tie Affair was one of several opening bands for KH, and they were a super high-energy, electro-pop, funfest! The singer kept alternating between hanging from the support poles and getting the entire crowd jumping up and down in sync to their technopunk beats. Much fun to be had! I've been digging their disc ever since. It's like Mono in a college dorm during February! Fast, hard-hitting, and infectiously catchy!

4. The New Metallica Disc - Oh yeah, you read that right! I have not forgotten my previous post of doom and dread. However, remember all of those qualifications of unless the initial tracks were not indicative of the remaining album? Curiously, they were all right on. The new album is well...quite impressive. Is it the disc that should've come between Justice and the Black Album? Maybe, but I would actually say it should've been where the band went after the Black Album instead of wallowing in the "Load and Reload of Crap" era. Death Magnetic is beautifully tight and assaultingly heavy. By far, "The Day that Never Comes" and the oh-so-unfortunate "Unforgiven 3" are the only weak spots on the album. The rest is the onslaught for which I've continued to carry the Metallica torch all these years, ever hoping they still had it in them!

What I'm Watching...

To unwind after a long day of posting/grading/posting/grading/replying to whining/grading some more, I've been chilling with J and watching a lot of television in the evenings. Here are some of our favorites.

1. 30 Rock - Oh, my beloved Tina Fey! No one makes me laugh like you. It's so refreshing to laugh with my brain as well as my gut. So far the season is off to a HI-larious start. Jennifer Aniston stalking Alec Baldwin, Night Court reunion, Oprah Winfrey, and Princess Leia on jury duty! What more do I have to say? Oh and by the way, Fey also gets a tip of the hat for getting me through the election season. Of course, she had help from SNL, The Daily Show, and The Cobert Report.

2. Life - This is one of the most underrated shows on TV right now. It has been a victim of time-slot jockeying and poor promotion. It almost feels like NBC wants it to fail. But still, Damian Lewis and Sarah Shahi's perfect chemistry and offbeat humor continue to prevail. Sure, its a crime drama, but it's not exactly run of the mill. After all, where else does fruit help in the solving of crime?

3. House - This show makes my hypochondria surge into hyperdrive, but yet, I can't stop watching. Hugh Laurie's portrayal of caustic, yet strangely loveable, Gregory House is flawless. Plus, this season's tension between House and Cuddy is hot, yet sweet!

4. Life on Mars - This is my favorite new show of the season. I know this is a "reinvention" of a British series (which I haven't yet seen), but I'm still diggin' this version. Strangely, my attraction is not really for the storylines, which are often a bit weak. Instead, I'm loving the characters, especially Harvey Keitel's Lieutenant Hunt and Michael Imperioli's Detective Carling, and the beautifully shot and carefully crafted look of the series. This show recreates the 1970s so slickly, it makes you wish it really had been that way.

What I'm Learning...

Of course, my students are not the only ones learning things this semester. In the spirit of collaborative education, they have taught me much. Here are a few gems.

1. The [insert cultural issue here] is over.
2. The gays are everywhere on TV now, and the lesbians are all over films.
3. It is totally acceptable to use derogatory terms, such as queers, a queer, colored people, and hermaphrodite (especially since all that stuff doesn't matter anymore - see #1).
4. "Many singers have died trying to do anorexia."
5. It is not necessary to actually read the syllabus, but rather imagine its contents.
6. No matter how explicit you state something, it makes absolutely no sense once a student reads it.

And, my all-time favorite lesson...

7. "The closet" is not a real closet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Psst...Pass it On!

I'm sure some of you have already seen these videos, or something like them, but I just stumbled across them on Brave New Film's YouTube site. They are really powerful and I think deserve as much exposure as possible. So, please link or pass them on to others.

This one is on McCain's health. It's really scary, especially in light of his ever-so-precious VP candidate, who according to this will very likely be running the country!

This second one is on his contradicory stances regarding important issues. How this guy isn't being called a "flip-flopper" I'll never understand!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Well, Now I Know Why They Titled It That

I really hope that the new Metallica song ("The Day that Never Comes") is an ironic reference to the fact that the day will never come when Metallica once again kicks ass!

Today I finally heard the the two new Metallica songs that are floating around the Internet. The first, mentioned above, was officially released by the band on Thursday, and the second, "Cyanide," is a live version of a new song from a recent gig. You can hear them both streaming on the band's MySpace page here. But, before I go into why the songs disappoint, I should explain where I stand on the once-impressive metal giants.

I got into Metallica around 1987-88, and the first album I ever heard was Master of Puppets. That album freaked my sh** out! It was incredible stuff and I had heard little like it. I quickly scarfed up their other releases and even scoured used and collectible stores to locate a copy of the then out-of-print Garage Days Re-Revisited. I was hooked.

This was also the moment in time when Metallica was on a "reinvention hiatus." Now, I am very different than many music fans in that this does not automatically spell doom for me. In fact, one of my favorite bands, U2, made their best album to date (along with the best tour of any band) after a similar break.

The album that emerged from this time was the now infamous "Black Album." I (unlike many die hard fans) found it pretty cool. Yes, it was a departure, but I also felt at the time that it not only demonstrated growth, but guts. I think what many people forget is that when the album was made it also sounded unlike anything before it. In other words, not only had Metallica ushered in the age of thrash back in the early '80s, but they also ushered in a new age of metal for the '90s. I saw Metallica three times on the monster tour that followed this release and they are still some of the best shows I've ever seen.

Unfortunately, if the "Black Album" was illustrating growth, the growth ended there. Load and (the even more ridiculous) Reload felt like rehashed and/or remixed versions of the songs found on the "Black Album." Innovation became formulaic and stale. Evolution had ceased.

I then looked forward to the promised departure of St. Anger and while the songs were much better, the production was (as many others have said) too disagreeable for me to fully enjoy the album.

Metallica has been making news for close to two years now with reports of another new disc. I have heard many good things. I read that it was 'the album that should have come between ...And Justice for All and the "Black Album."' I also heard that it would continue in the direction/vein of St. Anger, but did away with the production experiments. Try as I might to ignore, I began to find myself excited once again for the possibility of recapturing the magic spirit of Metallica.

What I heard today appears to signal a sad closure of the door to hope for that magic. "The Day that Never Comes" is a ballad-esque yawner in the style of "Until it Sleeps" or "Bleeding Me," instead of "Fade to Black" or "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)." About 4 minutes in, it becomes an thrashier instrumental, but is sloppy and uneven rather than tight and daring like earlier tracks (or even stuff on St. Anger).

The other track, "Cyanide," shows slightly more promise in its thrashy time changes and unusual structuring. My only hope is that the studio production allows for a more even and tight sound.

So, I'll still check out the disc when it's released, but this may finally be not only the end of an era for me (I know many would argue it ended long ago), but also the end of hoping for that era to be recaptured, if even for a moment.

Maybe the boys really just don't have it in them anymore. I Guess I'll go listen to the new Testament album instead.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Doctor, Doctor...Can you Hear Me Calling...

As of Saturday August 9th, I am officially Dr. Thmarn.

Despite the best efforts of the Graduate College with its paperwork, The L Word with its spin-offs, and the ceremony with its inferno heat and heavy velvety gown...I have prevailed! Academia beware, there's a new sheriff (Read: tiny and lowly newbie on the academic ladder) in town!

You may address me accordingly.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe...

As you all know, I study the queer cultural phenomenon that is The L Word. I have published a couple articles on it and just finished the ole diss. I also hope to work this into a book proposal this fall. But after that, I really hope to move on to other things. Related theories, but new case studies.

The show was bringing me a nice bit of closure as well, in that the final season (6) was supposed to be airing on Showtime this winter. But, in true "TLW taunts me" fashion, I just read in Entertainment Weekly and had confirmed at one of the leading websites that creator Chaiken and Showtime will be developing...yes, you guessed it...


This both enrages and intrigues me so much...I just might 'splode!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Not Just About Guitar Lust!

I recently learned about this new guitar. It is a special edition model to celebrate Joe Satriani's 20 year relationship with Ibanez guitars. I absolutely love it and am seriously considering purchasing it. I have never spent this much (around a grand) on a guitar and in fact, never really thought I would. After all, I'm really only a "hobbyist." But, this guitar symbolizes a lot of important things to me.

If you've ever played an instrument, you know there is a moment after you've been playing a while when you begin to plateau. You cease to advance quickly and learning becomes more gradual. This can be a very frustrating moment, and in fact, is responsible for many people giving up.

Around the time that I was reaching this point, my guitar teacher at the time asked me if I had ever heard of a guitarist named Joe Satriani. He then played me a few minutes of his most recent release (Surfing with the Alien), which is the artwork that graces this killer instrument, and suggested I pick up a copy.

What I hear on that album, starting with the very first notes to the last amazing riff, blew my freakin' young mind! I had never heard shred guitar. I didn't even know you could do that kind of stuff on the thing! It was incredible and I was hooked! Frustration over my plateau was out the window.

The Satch Man had saved my desire to play, inspired me endlessly with each new note, and perhaps done even more (since I poured myself into my guitar during my awkward and depressed teenage years).

Many years ago, I even got the opportunity to meet the man. I was nervous, because you never know what can happen when you meet your idols. He was a genuinely great guy and very gracious when I told him what his playing had meant to me.

So, this guitar isn't simply about lusting after a beautiful instrument. It is also about what playing has meant to me throughout my life. A hobby, an escape, a comfort, and a whole lot of fun. It may be expensive, but we only live once, right?

Refocusing my Efforts

If you know me (or if you have read any of this blog!), you are likely to also know that I like the Boston Red Sox. Slightly fewer of you probably know that I also love the Milwaukee Brewers. In fact, I still consider them my "home team," despite my unfortunate location in Twins Territory.

Why might I be less forthright with my Brewers fandom? Well basically, I have grown tired over the years of being laughed at! I know, I know, Brewers fans are not one of your traditionally "cursed" teams, but mind you we have never won a World Series and haven't even been to the postseason (which we only did twice, if you count the strike half-season) since 1982! If that's not the making of a team to be ignored and a fandom to be ridiculed, I don't know what is!

In fact, being a Brewer fan is likely why my love of the game went onto the back burner for many years, finally being rekindled by a trip to Fenway Park a few years back. What I learned at Fenway was not only that the Red Sox have an incredible story and an awesome ballpark, but also that anything can happen in baseball (or, maybe I was just reminded of this).

Well as many of you probably know, the Brew Crew has been making the news a lot lately. Everyone is saying that this is their year. For a while, I have tried to remain calm. I do not want to be too disappointed if/when they don't go to the postseason. But, I have recently changed my approach. I have decided to throw my fandom behind them full-force.

I am tired of hiding!

I am no fair-weather fan!

Ridicule or disappointment be damned-I love my Brewies!

This even got me in trouble last night at a St. Cloud River Bats game (our local minor league team). I wanted to get my picture taken with their awesome mascot, Batty, but he insisted on throwing my Brewers hat on the ground and stomping on it first.

But, you know what? I don't care! My Brewers are kicking butt and takin' names this year! They may not make it all the way, but hey, maybe they'll at least make it possible to wear Brewers apparel without a full-scale interrogation behind your bizarre fandom choices.

Go, Brew Crew, Go! Remind the country once again that Wisconsin has another sports team besides those damn Packers!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

I just got wind of the following report about AC/DC's new studio album, which apparently will only be available through Wal-Mart. This really disturbs me on many levels. I have been super-psyched about the release of their new album, but now I'm totally shocked and disappointed.

They don't seem like the kind of band that would strike any type of "exclusive" deal, much less one with Wal-Mart. Besides, I thought the trend of making deals with WM was waning as a result of their scandalous practices of selling only edited albums (Does this mean that AC/DC's new disc will only be available in an edited form?). Their music isn't even available on iTunes or other major download sites, so I guess if I want to avoid giving my money to "Satan's Palace" (as a friend of mine calls it) I have to hope I can buy it directly through them or find it used somewhere.

Now, I realize that the argument against WM isn't that simple. A good friend of mine's family recently benefited greatly from the retail monster. But honestly, I get a little nauseous when any artist decides to pull these "exclusive" deals with major corporations (I'm even a bit nervous about U2's recent deals with LiveNation). There is "selling out," which can't be avoided and happens the second you form a band with the intent of garnering an audience, and then there's "SELLING OUT."
Maybe it's in their best interest, but I wonder if they're remembering to consider their fan base.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Day's "Crack Me Up" Moment #2

The best email spam I have ever received arrived today. It was totally blank, except for one line, which simply read:

Your life is crap.

The Day's "Crack Me Up" Moment #1

With regards to the announcement that the NFL was now going to make a concerted effort to fight the poor and unruly behavior of football fans at games, JS replied:

Well, that sounds like fighting the "war on terror."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vacation in Another Nation.

On Friday, J and I took off for the Twin Cities to partake in some much-needed R&R. I distributed the diss to my committee on Friday (oh yeah, forgot to mention that!), and she finished up her hellish teaching semester. Conveniently, one of our favorite sports teams, the good ole' Boston Red Sox, were in town for a four game series against the Minn Twins. Of course, if you follow sports at all, you know how the BoSox did. Not so much, but that's okay. It was just great to be in the actual ballpark with them, cheering them on, seeing all their preparation ticks live, shouting "Yoooouuuk!" in person, and seeing Manny hit home run #498! Besides, even though they didn't do so hot, they put up a great fight, and the games were anything but boring.

But I also experienced something else for the first time, in that I actually got a glimpse of what Red Sox Nation is all about. All weekend I kept having interactions (some very brief) with other individuals purely because I was visually a Red Sox fan (I wore my jersey and well-worn black Sox cap). And Sox fans were out in force in The Cities this weekend. In fact, I would estimate that there were almost an equal number of Sox and Twins fans in the Metrodome each night. This, of course, did not make the Twins fans happy, and they kept reminding us of it all weekend (booing our cheers of "Let's Go, Red Sox!," throwing Crisp's and Lowell's home run balls back on the field, taunting us anywhere they could find us, etc.).

But, this only seemed to make Red Sox Nation feel closer and more obligated to acknowledge each other in this hostile foreign "Twins Territory". For instance, there was the guy at the bus stop, who offered us help with navigating the public transit (he was wearing a Sox cap) and asked if we were in town for the games. Then there were all the other "visually Sox" fans at the games, who would either smile, nod, or even greet me as I passed them in the corridors. This happened at venues outside of the game as well, such as the mall, museums, and restaurants. Our hotel also appeared to be a common residence for many of the out-of-town fans, and we often would briefly greet each other in the hallways. And just to point out - I am not jumping to conclusions, this does NOT normally happen to me! People generally ignore (or are rude to) me.

It was a cool feeling to connect with others over our common interest, and of course, the academic in me was reminded of Henry Jenkins' theories on fandom and knowledge communities. In his most recent book, Convergence Culture, he talks about how popular culture fandom sometimes brings very different people together, who would otherwise have no reason to interact. He believes that if we could find other ways to do this over more serious social and political issues that we might harness a very powerful resource.

This weekend I more concretely visualized what Jenkins was talking about. Many of these people would never acknowledge me in my normal daily life, but suddenly in this moment, they found it important to not only greet me, but align themselves with me. Did it matter that I was a radical, lefty, queer academic? Nope - I was a Red Sox fan!

If only the rest of life was this simple...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Uh Huh Her Live at ... The Planet?

J and I went to see Leisha Hailey's (formerly The Murmurs and Gush and yes, Alice from The L Word) new band, Uh Huh Her, last night at a place called the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, Minneapolis. It was pretty cool to see a live show again. We actually haven't been to one in quite a long time, which is quite strange for me. It was just nice being in a hip crowd of people, listening to trendy, indie music. There is so little of any of that here in SC. It also didn't hurt that the majority of the crowd appeared to be queer.

And here is where my moment of disorientation comes in. The Varsity Theater is an ambiance-filled place to see a show. It has lots of leather and velvet furniture lining its perimeter; the ceiling is complete with disco balls, holiday lights, and chandeliers; and there are two bars with a decent (and fairly reasonably-priced) selection of beverages. It was actually more like someone's living room, than a rock club. Now add to this the fact that almost the entire audience actually looked like the cast of The L Word. I'm not exaggerating, here. When we first walked in, I was speechless because I actually thought I had somehow been transported into the show's Planet or SheBar. It was incredibly surreal.

So, here lies the irony as I finish my dissertation: A significant number of the viewers I discuss talk about how no one looks like the women on the show and that "real" lesbian life is not like that. But apparently, when that "real" lesbian community wasn't looking, it suddenly did begin to look like that show and those women. Generally, the women at this gig were younger - probably coming to their identity through The L Word, and this type of image-construction is not unprecedented, by any means, within queer culture. (Women in the 50s modeled themselves after Radclyffe Hall and the 90s brought the Riot Grrrl/Alterna-chick image.)

But, it's still a bit strange for me and this project. It doesn't contradict my conclusions or anything, just adds a new element that I'll have to address at some point.

Perhaps we all want to live in The L Word so bad, that we now do. I guess there are worse places...at least it should be an absurdly fun ride!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thanks! I needed that!

They say that you can measure a person's wealth by looking at their friends. If that is the case, I must be the wealthiest person on Earth!

I just came home yesterday from my trip back to old BG. It was such a great time! I didn't actually realize how much I missed that place and all those people until I was back. And I just want to thank all of you who came out to say hi. It is really heartwarming to know I haven't been forgotten and that I am connected to such amazing people. I can't wait to come back in a few weeks for the defense. (BTW-my meeting with my chair went great and I will be distributing as planned).

One last thing, I noticed that an underlying theme of the evening was that many of us are facing scary times in the next few months (or years). Try to stay positive. The only thing that keeps me going some days is just blindly stumbling forward and refusing to even consider that I could fail. I really believe that somehow the Universe always takes care of those who deserve to be taken care of, and you are all remarkable people with incredible things to give this world! I wish you all the best - don't give up at what you want. It will not be an easy haul, but each battle we win, is one they lose. Okay, enough "sap" for now (at least I don't do this often, huh?)

Thanks for the awesome times-I'll see ya again in a few weeks!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Back to the Old Stompin' Ground.

For those of you still in BG (or the area), it looks like I will be returning for a very brief visit next week. I will only be there from the Mon (21) afternoon - Wed (23) morning, but perhaps I will be able to see some of you. I'm sure there will be at least one trip to Howards, so that might be a good time to check in with many of you. You can reach me via email or my cell (it's still the same number it always was). If not, don't worry (how arrogant of me to assume you were), I and my partner plan to come back around the end of May. I'm hoping to defend the ole' diss around then. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

N'sync and Outta'Sync...Together at Last!

Oh yes, this IS a picture of two members of the famous (or BG infamous?) Outta'sync with the sorta well-known Lance Bass of N'sync! In other words, you are looking at "Lance Bass," Lance Bass, and "Justin Timberlake." I know you are all jealous!

How did this amazing meeting of talent occur, you may ask? Well, the non-ironic Lance Bass came to speak at St. Cloud State last night in promotion of his book, Out of Sync (yeah, where do you think he got that title?!). He spoke about being in a boy band, trying to fly in space, and coming out in the public eye. It was pretty cool, and he was really funny.

From a scholarly point of view, it was fascinating to see all these young women, who were huge fans of his several years ago, still swooning over the guy. The last time I saw this dude (yes, truth be known-I have seen N'sync in concert!) he was about a quarter inch tall, hundreds of yards away from me in Miller Park, Milwaukee. Now, I'm standing next to this guy in his "dressing room," which is really a classroom inside a fieldhouse in EastJesus, Nowhere. Same guy, same fans, different pop culture landscape...weird.

But c'mon, was I starstruck just a little bit? Of course, like Henry Jenkins, I'm a fan of being a fan. I got excited when he signed my book and took this picture with us. And of course, when another audience member asked if he would dance, it was pretty cool to see him do five seconds of the "Bye Bye Bye" dance. (Don't worry, Outta'sync - he was rusty, we could have taken him!).

But all that aside, what struck me is how human he was. Rarely do we get to see celebrities like this, just hang out and talk with people. Although his responses to questions were probably coached and his stories were often "appropriate," he was still letting people ask him whatever questions they wanted about his life. He was very gracious and super polite (a nice southern boy) to everyone, no matter how crazy they seemed. And some of the stories he told were quite revealing - like the vulnerability you feel when fans chase you rabidly around the world; the way the press orchestrates your life and decides who you are; or his concern for the safety of his next door neighbor, Britney Spears. But, my personal favorite was the horrible homophobia he experienced at the hands of the Russian space program (and he wasn't even out yet). Clearly, no matter who you are, you experience these things.

So, is Lance Bass a radical queer activist? No, not by any stretch. But I do think that he serves a purpose. I mean, really what other way would you get a few hundred conservative college students from a campus in the rural Midwest, that is in the midst of a swastika graffiti controversy no less, to come see a young gay man talk about his life and experiences. If even a handful of these students think differently about "homo" or "fag" jokes now, he's made a difference that much of the faculty isn't able to do over the course of a semester. Sad, but true.

So, you go Lance Bass - spread your moderate and pop culture-infused message across college campuses! Change is slow, every chip counts. That said, those of us in the real Outta'sync will be expecting our royalty checks in the mail!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How Cool is This?!

You should all know who this book is by, despite the fact that I brushed out her name and only left the initials. It was nice of McFarland to use a still from one of my favorite films, too!

I feel like I'm married to a rock star! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What's Wrong with this Man? (aka: The Curse of Eric Gagne)

Yesterday I got to watch the Brewers play the Cubs for the latter teams home opener. It was terrible weather and the poor players were clearly struggling to stay warm, focused, and even upright, as many of them slipped and slided all over the field. It was tough to watch - they really didn't look like they were having much fun. To top it off, it was a close game. No one scored anything (and hardly even got anyone on base) until the 9th inning! In that inning the Brewers scored 3 runs, and Cubs fans began to get discouraged and actually left the stadium. But, apparently no one informed them that they had a big weapon on their side.

No, not their new Japanese acquisition, Fukudome.

No, not all the Cubs fans that were still left and cheering them on.

No, not the sheer odds that say this is their year to finally win it all.

No, no, my friends...they had Eric Gagne. "What?" You say, "He plays for the Brewers!" That is exactly my point.

I watched this guy come over to the Red Sox last year mid-way through the season and he did nothing but screw things up. I don't get many Sox game here in the Mid-west and I still witnessed him single-handedly blow numerous games. This includes one that was a 6 run lead and another that was during the AL Championship series against the Indians. I kept hearing that this guy was something special, that he rocked with the Dodgers. They suggested that perhaps he could not adjust to the set-up role (he's normally a closer).

So, the Brewers acquired him this off-season (amidst his implications in the infamous Mitchell Report, no less). I had hope for him. Perhaps he could wipe his slate clean and perform for the Brew Crew like he had for the Dodgers. After all, the Crew needed a good closer, since they had lost Cordero.

Well, yesterday Gagne proved to be the same old Gagne that the Sox had last year. He immediately blew that 3 run lead and barely ended the inning. Thank goodness for Tony Gwynn Jr.'s sack fly in the tenth!

Well, unless you're a Cubs fan...buy hey, cheer up! - It's a long season and the Brewers have Gagne all damn year long!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mutha-F*%@kin' Drum Roll Please!

As of 1 minute ago...

I finished the initial writing of my dissertation and am now officially in revisions!

Now, get me a drink!

The Genius of an Executive Transvestite

I've started watching the second season of The Riches recently. If you haven't seen this show yet, I highly recommend it. Not only is it superbly acted, but it is also some of the best dark comedy I've seen in a long time. It has also reminded me of just how much I love Eddie Izzard. He is one of my favorite comedians. I've actually seen him live once - I laughed so hard that I may have peed my pants a little. He's actually on tour again and I highly recommend him if he's in your area. If you've never seen his stuff (well, even if you have), I've posted one of my favorite clips below. The second clip is something I also found on YouTube. There are a bunch of clips of people "acting out" his stand up bits through legos. I'm not sure that anything can get more awesome than that! Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Metal, Metal Everywhere (just as it should be)!

My friend M.D. recently had a post on his blog (here) about one of his favorite metal albums of all time, Metallica's Ride the Lightning. I've also been listening to a lot of metal lately. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it provides me with some sort of necessary mental escape from the stress of the dissertation. Perhaps I wish to relive my younger days. Or perhaps much of what else is out there passing for music just sucks and I want to listen to something good.

Well, whatever the reason, M.D.'s post encouraged me to make a list of my favorite metal albums of all time. This proved much more difficult than originally anticipated, but below is what I came up with. I avoided "best of" and live albums, because those are sort of cop-outs to me. Although, I did include two entries for AC/DC and Ozzy, which I guess is also a cop-out.

But, without further ado:

Thmarn's 15ish Essential Metal Albums of All-Time (in no particular order)!

Metallica-Master of Puppets (Sorry M.D., chalk it up to the fact that I'm a few years younger and thus, this is the first one I heard.)
Slayer-Seasons in the Abyss
Guns and Roses-Appetite for Destruction
Def Leppard-Hysteria
Motley Crue-Shout at the Devil
AC/DC-High Voltage (Bon Scott)/Back in Black (Brian Johnson)
Judas Priest-Sad Wings of Destiny (This is even one of Halford's faves)
Iron Maiden-Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (This may have been the toughest decision on the list.)
Anthrax-State of Euphoria
Black Sabbath-Paranoid/Ozzy Osbourne (solo)-Blizzard of Ozz
Dio-Holy Diver
Megadeth-Rust in Peace
Pantera-Vulgar Display of Power
Queensryche-Operation Mindcrime (The best concept album ever!)
Motorhead-Ace of Spades

As I said, this was tougher than I thought. So, I also compiled a short list of runners-up. (These also give nods to several sub-genres of metal.) They are as follows: Whitesnake-Whitesnake, Bon Jovi-New Jersey, Skid Row-Slave to the Grind, Lamb of God-Sacrament, Korn-Korn, Prong-Beg to Differ, Nine Inch Nails-Broken, Testament-Practice What You Preach, Suicidal Tendencies-Lights, Camera, Revolution, and Sepultura-Chaos A.D.

Now I'm sure some of you take issue with my list or have some additions. So, bring 'em on! I'm sure I've made at least one major omission. Rock On!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Bat, A Clown, and ...A Cat?

I just read an update on the new Batman flick, Dark Knight, in Entertainment Weekly. I am super-psyched for this movie because the first one (Batman Begins) was not only the best Batman film ever, but also one of my favorite super hero movies ever. Finally! Someone got Batman/Bruce Wayne's character right!

Anyway, the article was mostly a discussion of the unfortunate loss of Heath Ledger and how the director (Chris Nolan) now feels a responsibility to the actor to present his role as he would've wanted. Apparently, Ledger was very proud of his performance; it should be awesome.

But, that still isn't my point...the article also mentioned that Christian Bale (who plays Batman) and Nolan are interested in doing a trilogy.

And my response? : WOO Frickin' HOO!!!

And my advice? : Catwoman! (of course!).

My partner and I thought about this today and tried to figure out who we would cast as Catwoman this time around. I argued that since the acting has been so awesome in these movies thus far, that it needs to be someone who has chops and isn't all star power. A couple names that came up were: Kate Beckinsdale, Drew Barrymore (I'm convinced there's more than romantic comedies in there), and Ellen Page (it could really expand her possibilities). But finally, I decided on my top choice. Drum roll please...

Drea de Matteo!

She has the right combination of acting abilities, slightly dangerous/psychotic, sex appeal, and intrigue. Not to mention, she sort of already has a bit of a feline nature. She also happens to be in one of my all time favorite films, Prey for Rock and Roll (check out the trailer below).

Anyway, I'm sure Nolan and the Hollywood Big Wigs won't listen to little ole' me, but well...they should - 'Cuz I'm the S-M-R-T, when it comes to Catwoman! Any other great actors you'd like to nominate for the role? I'd love to hear 'em!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Of course, this holiday gives me an opportunity to put a picture of my favorite thing about Ireland on my blog - me boys in U2! (Not to mention, the sexiest - I mean, just look at that man! Damn!)

So, drink up with your whiskeys and Guinness to leprechauns, clovers, snakes, and pots of gold! Stay safe and may your hangover be kind!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hee Hee Hee...Sports are Funny!

Growing up in the middle of Packer-land when you hate football is not easy! I hated having Brett Favre shoved in my face everywhere I went and NO! I absolutely am NOT and NEVER was a f*%$kin' cheesehead!! Those people make Wisconsinites look like morons! Anyway as a result of this traumatic upbringing, I found this story to be pretty hilarious.

Now I know there might be a few Packer fans that read this thing, so just to show you that I'm a good sport I thought I'd post this one, as well. If you find other parody stories about my favorite teams - bring 'em on! I could use a good laugh.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Flu Sucks - My Swee' Rocks!

I have spent the last 24 hours out of commission, either on my couch or in bed, only taking a break for the occasional sprint to the bathroom. Yes, the stomach flu! It came on suddenly Monday night/Tuesday morning and still hasn't left completely. I feel worlds better than I did, but I'm still a bit woozy and generally apprehensive about most things edible. I suppose I was due, though. I haven't had the flu for ten years. In fact, it may be almost exactly a decade. I remember it was spring of 1998 when it last hit me...strange the things you remember. I can't remember to buy toilet paper when I go to the grocery store, but the last time I spent two days with my head in a toilet - 'oh yeah, March of 98!'

Anyway, I digress. What I really wanted this post to be about is how awesome my girl is. She took extra-special care of me yesterday. Not only did she cancel her office hours and stay home with me, but she also ran to the store, made me food (what little I could stomach), and did the other household stuff (tending to the kitties, doing the laundry, dishes, etc.). I am a lucky, lucky person.

She keeps saying that it's no big deal and doesn't know why I'm being so appreciative. But, I don't know how I would've made it through yesterday without her. Not to mention, I'm one of those people that just needs to be pampered big time when I'm sick. So anyway, she is 'da bomb and if you see or talk to her, you should tell her so! I hope you all have or find someone as awesome as her to clean your puke bucket! Cuz' that's love, dude!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dissertaion Update #6,785 (or at least I'm sure it feels that way for those of you who read this thing!)

Near the end of when my partner was writing her diss a couple years ago, she had a particularly bad day. It was a day where she was so sick and tired of writing the damn thing that she could hardly get out of bed and when she did, she could hardly get off the couch. During those last few days of her major writing, it was visibly harder and harder for her to just get motivated to kill it off.

I remember this time pretty vividly. I remember wishing she could find the strength to power-through, because I knew she'd feel so much better once it was done. But, I also remember knowing that I couldn't make that happen and I just didn't know how best to take care of and help her through those days. Finally, I remember thinking that I was pretty sure I understood what she must have been feeling.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha - oh silly me who was not writing and had not yet written a dissertation.

I am now to that point in my work. If I could just push through like 20 more pages - I'll be done! Yes, 20, 2-0, TWENTY! I used to write that in an evening when I was taking classes! But now it feels like when you were in high school and you were assigned your first 10 page paper, that was the entire semester's project, and felt like the scariest thing in the world. After all, who can actually write 10 pages about the same thing!

I have now written somewhere around 180 pages on the same topic. I do recognize that yes, I would feel better if I could just get it done. I also recognize that my partner is now doing her best to take care of and motivate me (especially when I got to suffer through my first panic attack the other day - woo hoo!). But, I am also finding it hard to locate that motivation. Everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING seems so much more interesting and fun than writing about the damn L Word, Internet, fandom, or whatever the frick else I'm inanely talking about.

So, I now also recall fondly how my good friend MG described this feeling to my girl during her cirisis time, in hopes of consoling and commiserating with her. She said that it's like you've been in this tunnel for months, it's a super long and dark tunnel, and you can finally- finally-see the light at the end. You're so close, but also so so tired. So, rather than run to the end, you'd rather lie on the florr of it and shout "C'mon! Dammit, Tunnel - Just f*%!kin' end already!!!" Hoping you might just be able to will it into happening.

I know it won't. ...Sadly...So, I guess I just best get back to writing.

So, to all my friends also currently writing - I'm right there with you and we CAN do it!

To all my friends who will take on this mess soon - good luck, you CAN do it!

And, to all my friends who have already completed this process - thanks for the advice, but you suck! (hee hee hee).

Love ya' all!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Here They Come...Woo Hoo!!!

Today I get to watch my first Red Sox game of the new season and I'm just about splitting at the (baseball) seams! I know, I know...it's only spring training, but I'll take what I can get! I only get a handful of Red Sox games period all year, so I'll watch whatever I can. Being blacked-out of games really sucks. I'm not even able to watch Brewers games and I'm like an hour and a half from the Wisconsin boarder! It's all Twins-all the time up here. Of course, I just love the game, so I'll watch practically any team. It's kinda fun sometimes to not have any investment in who wins or loses and be able to just enjoy the sport for what it is.

But anyway, here's to a beautiful new season of baseball and a clean slate for every team! May the best one win it all, but more importantly...let's have fun doing it! Wheeeee!

Oh yeah, and by the way, this picture is especially for my girl, who digs the Tek!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

To the fans of 450...

If you spent much time at our place on S. Grove St, you no doubt heard the rumors of the "Nazi Gold." Perhaps you are even lucky enough to have witnessed the "basement" or attempted to sneak into the mysterious shed in the backyard. So, for all of you who helped break the steps and deposit beer cases below (you know who you are), check out this link.

We all know they're digging in the wrong place and where the white plastic tarp covers the real Nazi treasure!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Knight Rider for a Queer Generation??

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I recently watched the TV movie remake of Knight Rider. I loved this show as a kid, but really, didn't everyone of my generation? When they first released the show on DVD a couple years ago, I had to race out and buy the first season. I was sad to discover that it didn't really hold up as well as I had hoped. The shows were a little redundant, but not in a cool Scooby-Doo kinda way, and the other cinematic elements felt much more stale than my inner-eight year old remembered. Although, one of my all-time favorite TV bloopers is an episode in which you can see the Psycho house in the background of a car chase scene (the entire series was shot on the back lots of Universal Studios).

So, I have to admit, I was terribly curious as to how the show would fare with an update. Honestly, it was not that bad. The new car is pretty awesome (it even has Val Kilmer for a voice) and the story was actually pretty well put together. It still had a bit of that '80s style of acting, but somehow that seemed acceptable for this project.

But, that brings me to my query. There is a cop in the film, played by Sydney Tamiia Poitier (above image, far right), who is trying to help the protagonists. We first see her at her home within the first 15 minutes of the flick. She comes into her apartment after a beach front work out and wakes a person that is still sleeping in a nearby bed. This person is a young, blonde, attractive, nude woman. They exchange a banter about whether or not Poitier is worried about leaving someone she just met the "night before" in her house alone. She replies, "not really" as she loads her gun and the scene cuts to a new location.

Please challenge me if you feel otherwise, but I can't imagine a reading of this scene in where Poitier's character is anything but a queer woman. However, the scene or her sexuality is never addressed in any way again throughout the rest of the two-hour movie. At first, I was excited by the inclusion of queer female content, but became confused as to why it was never brought up again. I considered it for a moment and then found myself wondering why. After all, if she had woken up a man when returning to her apartment and we never saw him again, would I have thought anything of it? I suddenly realized that I'm so use to queer content being depicted as "an issue" that when it wasn't, I became confused and felt let down. Now, I find myself wondering if this low-expectation, somewhat cheesy, remake of an '80s TV show just provided one of the most progressive and inclusive representations of a queer female character I have ever seen on prime-time TV. Thoughts???

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Excuse me Academy...I think you missed something.

I finally got around to seeing American Gangster last night and damn, that was a fine flick. Ridley Scott is responsible for one of my all-time favorite movies (Thelma and Louise) so I was psyched to see it, but unfortunatley had missed it in the theaters.
Considering this director and the cast he acquired, you can assume it is filled with fine acting (especially Ruby Dee) and composition. But, it is also a great story that once again highlights that sometimes real life is better than fiction. It really gets under your skin and makes you consider who the "bad guys" really are and why they might be that way. No one is entirely a hero or a villian, just as it should be.

After viewing it though, I was really dumbfounded as to why the Academy Awards overlooked this film. I know they aren't really the ultimate judge of good film, but it was also a big Hollywood money-maker, which usually is a plus for a film when it comes to Oscar nods. I haven't actualy seen most of the films that are nominated. I might go see them this Saturday at a nearby theater that is showing them all back-to-back for $30 (with free popcorn!). So, maybe I'll change my tune after seeing the lot of them, but as it stands now, this films appears to be sadly overlooked.

Oh Fey can you See?

I just learned (while watching the remake Knight Rider movie on TiVo-but that's another story) that Tina Fey is going to come back and host Saturday Night Live this weekend.

Oh glorious, glorious world! I can't wait! So much Fey, such wonderful Fey!

Since she was mostly a writer (except for the news), hosting will probably produce even more Feytime than when she was actually part of the cast. Of course really, it was only a matter of time before they asked her back...they've been tankin' big time since she left. So, if your a fan of her work, it should be worth checking out this Saturday.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'm already sick FROM the election!

I recently saw this short film on the Sundance Channel and it really spoke to me right now. It is still so early in the whole election year Crap-A-Thon and I am already soooo nauseous. Just as with every other year, I'm expected to vote for a candidate that somehow compromises my beliefs, my politics, and my sense of self. A candidate who will say ANYTHING to get my vote and then never deliver! Why? Oh right - because they are better than the other alternative!

I was excited by the prospect of "the first woman" or "the first black" president for like 20 minutes and after a few days, I've realized they're playing the same damn game as every other runner. Not to mention the fact that I'm not sure we should be advertising the hell out of the fact that it's taken us this long to elect from either of these groups. Besides, why don't we talk about McCain as being the 100-something straight, white, rich, boring-ass-f**k, candidate?

Is Clinton really going to deliver us from a lack of adequate health care? -Doubt it.

Is Obama really going to end the war/occupation? -Unlikely.

Do either of them actually view me, a queer woman, as someone that deserving completely equal standing with the straight family down the street? -Um, no!

Do I still want them to win over somebody like McCain. Well, obviously! But when is that mentality going to finally not be enough? Maybe I'm still bitter from the last two elections. Sorry, if I've upset anyone with my grouchiness. But, here's to going down with the ship...cuz' nobody ever lets the people who really belong behind the wheel drive. How many more months? That Green Day song should be "Wake me when NOVEMBER ends."

Sometimes I'm Eight Years Old.

Oh my wonderful readers, you must check out this article.

After all, isn't any story that starts with the line: "At the Warner Middle School in Farmington Hills Michigan this morning a fire broke out in a young boy's pants" worth checking out!
Hee Hee Hee...

Monday, January 28, 2008

So, I've been admonished for not updating my blog...

...And I'm very sorry about that! I've been neglectful of it lately, I admit it. The worst part is that I get all bummed when other people don't update their own blogs. But, now that I'm back I thought I'd dedicate a post to a list of what I have been doing. (I love lists and since I've missed the boat on any "year-end" ones...you're stuck with this).

1. Visiting family. Yep, I spent almost 3 full weeks down in SC. It was fun and good to see them. It meant a lot to them that I could spend that kind of time there and since I don't know what my life will be like soon, I was glad to be able to do it, as well. Although, I did get pretty homesick by the end.

2. Working on the dissertation. Update - So, I'd say I'm a little more than half done. I would've liked to have been further than that by now, but hey what are ya gonna do, life intrudes. I've been pushing hard the last few weeks, though and I'm still pretty much on track.

3. Watching lots of TV. I caught up on some viewing that I had Tivoed...like Dexter Season 2. If you haven't seen this yet, I highly recommend it. Both seasons are incredible, but season 2 is really awesome!

4. Started watching The L Word's Fifth Season. Ah yes, I do love my research. Actually, I've decided that I can't feasibly include much on this season in the diss anymore, so I've basically been watching as a fan and it's been fun. This season so far is pretty cool; there has been lots of yelling at the screen and that's always good!

5. Working on the dissertation...did I mention that already?

6. Watching Award Shows. Oh, wait...that's what I haven't been doing, thanks to the ole' writers strike. Well, I did get to see the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night and it did not dissappoint; especially since they were celebrating their 75th year. Other than that, I have only three words about it...Tina 'F-ing' Fey!

7. Counting down the days until spring training. And related to this...counting down the days until the F*^%in' Football Season is over. Sorry to offend my football loving readers, but I really can't get into that sport. I actually think my deep distaste for it is even worse now that I'm back up in the deep Midwest where I learned to hate the damn game in the first place. But, before I get myself into trouble, I will shut up.

8. Dissertation writing...oh, you heard about that one already?

9. Shopping. I've always known that I have a shopping problem and nothing has changed in that regard. Although, I really just like to shop, I don't actually have to buy anything to make myself happy. So, is it still a problem then?

10. Wishing I was in Boston...Or, lived closer to Boston...Or, was moving to Boston...Or, had the money and time to visit Boston...Did I mention I love Boston?

11. Disliking my neighbor. Is it really necessary to play Guitar Hero loud enough that you can hear it two floors down on the other end of the building, or perhaps in the parking lot outside? I would like to kill the person that gave him that thing for Christmas!

12. Playing video games. Okay, so my neighbor makes me hate HIS games, but I love mine. I dug out the old N64 and PS1 and then found a pawnshop in town that sells lots of cheap games for them. I've been addicted to the Tony Hawk series. It's always funny to discover why people were really into stuff several years after the craze. It's almost like its your own little discovery then. TH2 is also really cool because it's loaded with music that was all popular when I worked at Hot Topic...ahhh, takes me back.

13. Explaining to my cats ...why they haven't been able to update their blogs for awhile either. They'd like me to tell you that they think their mom is just freakin' lazy!

14. Reading other people's blogs. Just cuz' I'm not on mine, doesn't mean I'm not on yours.

15. Oh, and there's some thing about a dissertation...

Miss you all...I'll try to be better about this darn thing!