Saturday, December 18, 2010

Free 411 phone numbers

With the death of GOOG-411 (Google's toll free address service), I had to look for a new information line to fulfill my non-GPS, non-iPhone needs. Thank goodness for Wikipedia categories (at the bottom of each article)!
  • (800)373-3411 (800 FREE-411)
  • (800)843-4636 (800 THE-INFO) [Verizon]
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Directory_assistance_services

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alternative Nation: wut happen?

I stumbled upon this retrospective of the 90s today. Full of quotables, "I was there" moments, and brilliance.

Love this: "...With the Internet, we know about every promising band seemingly from the time it records its first demos. By the time the album comes out, the backlash has already kicked in. Now the challenge is to not be informed; surprising people has gone the way of putting current events on newsprint. It’s almost like we don’t want to be surprised anymore, because that means we’re somehow out-of-the-loop, or not savvy enough to be there first, which seems to be of the utmost importance when it comes to music these days."

A great read for those sitting at a relative's house, waiting for the turkey to burn.

What Happened to Alternative Nation?
http://www.avclub.com/features/whatever-happened-to-alternative-nation/

Thursday, December 2, 2010

EQ1 Map Archive

My current pet project (among other things, like life) for the past few months has been collecting all of the dwindling EverQuest drawn maps, storing them, and giving them to the public. I call it the EverQuest Map Preservation Society (maybe I should have a Donate button). Work in progress here.

www.steveprutz.com/eq

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Entry #005

Somewhere along the way
exacting vengeance gave excitement
Somewhere along the way
that excitement turned to pleasure
Somewhere along the way
that pleasure turned to madness
But sooner or later that kind of madness turns into pain

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tackleball


Week 2: Somehow Joe Paterno gets past state troopers and executes a three-punch combo on Nick Saban's hairpiece.

Week 3: The Nittany Lion mascot places a peace flower in the earhole of Shane Ewing's helmet.

Week 4: Hooty hoot!

Week 5: Iowa is finally overcome, with extreme prejudice. Goal posts are taken down by the White-Out faithful and transferred to a nearby corn field.

Week 7: The Victory Bell is fashioned as a hat and a drinking receptacle.

Week 10: Jim Tressell forfeits after seeing Rob Bolden's forearm from a mile away.

Week 11: The state of Maryland donates all land to Penn State University after just seconds witnessing the Nittany Lions take the FedExField.

Week 12: Nothing of interest.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup

Somehow, I became a worshipper of soccer. It started at an early age. No pee-wee football or little league for me--rather a midfielder for McDonald's in first grade. We won the championship in our age class, and we got a free meal at our sponsor's restaurant. I remember this because it was the first time I ordered food for myself... (I didn't know you had to wait for your food at the counter). I then left sports for Boy Scouts and music.

Later, in 1998, I came out of sports retirement. I joined the high school varsity team. I played midfield. My legs creaked and popped. I watched the Coupe du Monde (France) the same year. I was caught up in the haircut fever of Ronaldo. I didn't know how "Zizou" was, but I was getting there. I started to understand the simplicity and difficulty of this sport. No equipment required but a slightly-inflated ball... not even shoes. This prepared me to watch Brandi Chastain strip off her uniform in celebration in 2003.

In 2006, Germany (my favorite national team) was hosting the Cup. My roommate had a big-screen. I saw "Zizou" and the head butt. I saw the burgeoning boy-genius of Cristiano Ronaldo. This prepared me to watch the 2008 UEFA championships at 4 AM while in lived in Australia.

Now we are here, 2010. South Africa, more U.S. media coverage than ever. More games than I recall ever seeing being broadcast. Germany just kicked Australia's ass. England and the USA ended up in draw. Drooling now to see what other teams (Brazil?) can astound. Alas, too little time to see it all. Maybe I'll go to Brazil in 2014.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Random observation (March)

  • So, it looks like free government health care has finally come to the U.S. From the perspective of a poor person, this is a truly positive thing. And, to me, any argument against providing a free option is ludicrous. It boils down to the same economic concept of "earning it" vs. charity. Any person holding on to the old system of capitalism is delusional. That antiquated system does not account for the welfare of the losing side. Plus, you've got to ask yourself two things: what is the point of capitalism (advances in technology, etc), and what is the point of society? The answer to both is "bettering the human situation". Free health care is going to help my  situation... physically and (more importantly) mentally. Now, if we would only legalize marijuana, cocaine and LSD (and tax it)....

Monday, March 8, 2010

To Bill Brasky!

Best damn salesman on the market!









He once scissor-kicked Angela Lansbury!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Know Your 80s Charity Supergroups REDUX

(original post here)

Twenty-five freaking years ago, "We Are the World" was born from Lionel and Michael (their last names are not required!) Now, MJ is gone, and the airwaves are quite different. In the diverse and expanded universe we call "pop music" (read: R&B), EVERYONE wants a piece of the charity cake. If only some ground-shaking event would make an old song rise from the grave (read: subtle voodoo undead reference). Enter, Artists for Haiti!

I have to get this side-by-side comparison out of the way... Here it is, past and present.


USA for Africa (old)
Song title: "We Are the World"
People count: 45
Blind persons: 2
Ghostbusters involved? Dan Akroyd
Jacksons: 7
Dudes: 0
Actual Africans: 0
Country musicians: 3
Non-artist celebrities: 2

Artists for Haiti (new)
Song title: "We Are the World"
People count: 72
Blind persons: 0
Ghostbusters involved? none
Jacksons: 5* (*MJ posthumous)
Dudes: 2 (Vince Vaughn and... Jeff Bridges)
Actual Haitians: 2 (Jimmy Jean-Louis, Wyclef)
Country musicians: 2
Non-artist celebrities: 1 (Vince)


Food for thought?

I also wanted to cover the charity song by Little Steven (Steven Van Zandt). This guitarist for Springsteen thought apartheid sucked in South Africa. But, it was way too political of a song, and it didn't fare as well as the "peace, love" vibe of "We Are the World". There's even anti-Reagan sentiment to be had!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Who

The first time I took notice of the Who, it was via a pinball machine in my local bowling alley. I had no idea what "Tommy" was, and frankly it looked a little tacky.

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Tommy. I was fed up with not knowing what it was, and I knew there was a (more digestable) movie version available. I was sitting in front of a computer, and had accidentally downloaded the complete MP3 album instead of the musical version. My computer was on a coffee table, and I was wearing headphones. It was 3 AM. I was in the living room of a single-wide trailer in Key Largo, Florida. Then I heard the lines, "It's a boy, Mrs. Walker, it's a boy." I had no idea what was going on, or anything about the story, and yet I was enthralled. Some might say that I immediately fell in love, but I think that when I got to "Sparks" or "Underture" is when it happened. In 1969, the Who made an album, and a work of art. ...And it would not be their last. See? MP3 downloads do lead to record sales.

One band is unique to rock 'n roll: the greatest drummer ever and greatest bass guitarist ever, and the greatest guitar innovator of all time. I'm talking about Keith Moon, John Entwistle and Pete Townshend.

We're talking about a band here that invented the Guitar Windmill and innovated trashing instruments onstage. The Slide, before Springsteen slid. Pete Townshend almost killed Abbie Hoffman onstage at Woodstock! They were way ahead of their time. And even though they haven't had a great album in decades (what old band has?), they still rock.

Here's to staying sober until the Super Bowl Halftime Show!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Random observations (January-February)

  • Why is Shaq still playing basketball?
  • I've been thinking long and hard about this, and I believe that phone numbers are going to be irrelevant in about 10 years. I hate numbers. I want my phone number to be sp@phonenumberssuck.net! I can barely remember my SSN.
  • It's the Saints (finally) in the NFL championship. I hope they score at least once on Peyton...
  • In music, nothing is happening.
  • In television, nothing is happening (other than Conan has always rocked and Lost is about to start again!)
  • The Who are playing the Super Bowl. Maybe they'll sneak in the fuck during the "Who Are You" chorus, and bring some controversy and some mad props. I can just see Townshend scheming it.
  • I cannot make this stuff up. (Starring Denzel Washington as a "veteran railroad engineer".)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life Regarding Australia (Part 6 of 137)

The first icebreaker of my job was a Wednesday afternoon. I had stayed in my hotel room all day, venturing out only once to walk around. I even swam on the roof and took photos. I had all my lost bags now (they were delivered to my room). I wore my best-looking shirt and expensive shorts (I bought from the mall in Ft. Smith a few weeks before).

I walk to the office, which is in a weird mall-like complex and I try to pull open the door. Everything is not as it seems. I try the door again and Cherryn opens it from the inside, telling me to push. I smile and probably go red in the face... good at first impressions. I sit down with all of the employees of Reef Check Australia (all waiting for me). There is my boss, a beautiful thirtysomething with fair skin; a blue-eyed blond; and a dirty brunette with long, curly hair and nice legs. I don't remember what is said, but I remember trying to make eye contact with everyone I could. I remember Tara looking away in a coy way. She was young, I guess. Jo, when I looked at her, was more of a shark.

We go out for drinks across the seaway. There is going to be a lot of walking in Australia, but I do not know this yet. On Palmer Street, the bar is called Rhino, and all of us sit at a sidewalk table. Jos (my boss) tells us we "interns" need to find some good college parties and meet people. "Goat parties" or "pig parties" are occasions where said animal is thrown on a fire (to be consumed or desecrated). It seems that Jo has already met a guy-friend, and Tara is too destitute to explore. I never hear about any of these parties during my stay...

We eventually leave Rhino and head toward the yacht club (not far). I see a man who looks just like one of my best friends... beard, height and eyes. I tell him this, not realizing until much later that it is Jos' main squeeze. I meet a few others, and then we interns decide to go to Tara's hostel. We are all drunk by this time. It's pitch black, and the swimming pool is darkened. Tara swims while we watch.

Suddenly, it starts raining. Hard. There are no places to take shelter on the rooftop pool (a theme?) above the Indian restaurant and we are all soaked. It is a good hostel, and I plan on moving there.

Jo and I leave the walk to her hostel in the pouring rain. We skip down Palmer, past the upscale pubs and restaurants. I yell to some older people having trouble with their umbrellas. "It's raining, who cares?" They reply under their breath about hoonish behavior.

Jo and I walk and walk to her hostel, which is downtown across the bridge. We finally make it, and she tells me she has a television. She says "hi" to some big Islander looking neighbors and opens her room. Me and Jo shake hands, laughing (both cross-eyed drunk) and part ways at her door. It's 1 AM.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Best of 2009: Television

Delocated
One of the best ideas for a fake reality show ever. Follows a witness-protected guy (whose face and voice are hidden), and bromance with his bodyguard. Funny in a way that the Office tries, but cannot.

Californication
I got turned onto this a few years too late. It's marvelous. Every character is deep and interesting. Plus, the off-screen drama just adds to the complexity of this show (is Duchovny really banging all of these chicks in real life?)

Eastbound & Down
I really like Danny McBride for some reason. Maybe it's the hick accent, maybe it's the carefree gut. Maybe it's his tribute to all the oddball catch phrases ("fly as I say fly!", "master and commander!"). The niche of the white-trash-turned-baseball-star has never really been exploited in television, and never this way. It's hilarious. Sometimes I don't think he's acting.

More Best of the Year 2009 ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blog Move!

I am going to split this blog into two pieces, and Life As A Music Video will be moving all music video-related articles to:

http://lifeasamusicvideo.blogspot.com

The rest (random observations, rants) will remain here.

Update your RSS feeds
1. http://feeds.feedburner.com/lifeasamusicvideo
2. http://feeds.feedburner.com/steveprutz

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Best of 2009: Movie

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
I never read any of these children's books, but this movie is the perfect mix of darkness, humor and action.

(500) Days of Summer 
(Late entry, just finished it.) I replaced this film over Funny People, because Summer is just a tad better to be #6. It's rare to have a great movie about romance that isn't comedy or action. The fact that the narrator states it is "not a love story" at the beginning just totally goes against everything most films hold dear. Sure, it was being ironic, but there's some double entendre about it that makes it deep.

Star Trek
I really really reluctantly chose this one as a pick, because I have a prejudice for lasers on a starship, time travel films and  rewriting canon. The camera shots are shaky at times, but its utterly satisfying in a way the original cast could not have achieved. Why didn't Shatner make an appearance?

The Hurt Locker
Probably the only Iraq War film that will ever be worth its salt. Bonus: All these famous cameos... and they all die!

Where the Wild Things Are
Perhaps you have forgotten the genius of Spike Jonze. A children's book from the 60s may be his perfect project. Did you know Tom Hanks helped produce this, and that it sat on the shelf for over a year? That kid actor is perfect, and the story is as close to my childhood imagination as can be. The music is whimsical and haunting. Sure, the scenes are different but it's a movie forty years after the book's publication. My prediction for the Oscar nod!



More Best of the Year 2009 ...

MST3k Return thoughts

There used to be two camps when it comes to MSTies: Team Joel or Team Mike. I'm in the Michael J. Nelson camp (the 1997 Sci-Fi Channel ...