Tuesday, May 31, 2005


On Japanese TV, witches make you solve puzzles and magically make a clone of you while you try to solve them. Posted by Hello

Also, witches are always white people. Posted by Hello

I Haven't Been to the Bearcade In Awhile Because I Graduated College Two Years Ago


...but I doubt they have this one. Elaborate Alien-themed game on the "medal" floor of an arcade. The "medal" floor is where you find pachinko and slots and gambling games, of which this is one. That's not a screen, it's a window. There's an Alien inside. Posted by Hello

Lupin the 3rd typing game (left) and Typing of the Dead (right). Hard to play because you have to type Japanese words. Posted by Hello

"I Love Apples"


This giant Hello Kitty apple head is Stephanie's Japan souvenir showpiece.  Posted by Hello

Arcade


Rock star! Posted by Hello

Rock star! Posted by Hello

DrumManiaV and its companion, GuitarFreaksV. Posted by Hello

In Japan, they Taiko hardcore. Posted by Hello

Actually, we didn't play arcade Taiko at all. We spent all our money on DrumManiaV--you play a whole drum kit! Posted by Hello

Yuckytate


So we did eventually find one instance of Yakitate! bread. As Sarah suggested, it was at a Lawson Station convenience store, which were indeed more plentiful outside of Tokyo (not that we didn't see plenty there, too). However, we didn't buy it. First of all, there was only this one kind, and it was not in any interesting shape. Second of all, it was not merely bread but one of the gross sandwiches that you often see in Japanese convenience stores. This is some kind of egg and noodle sandwich. Third, even if you don't care that it's gross, it wouldn't keep until you could get it. You can see from this picture that this sandwich was made to keep until, well, today. Posted by Hello

Me-ouch!


Subway warning not to get your tail caught in the doors. Posted by Hello

We're Back!

Thoughts on returning

The worst part of traveling for me is getting to and from the airport. Actually sitting on a plane is great. Yeah, it’s cramped, but to there are worse things than having nine hours to do nothing but read, sleep or watch movies on a tiny, faraway screen. It’s a good thing we don’t have to bow to people here because people here don’t deserve to be bowed to (re: our shuttle service back from the airport). Ads are less annoying when I don’t understand them. When it’s just energetic gibberish, ubiquitous billboards and ad screens are kind of charming. When people ask me questions, my first instinct is to say “Hai,” and smile and bow. Stephanie worries where we will put all the stuff we bought. I say, you don’t have to worry about that if you put off unpacking, but Stephanie always feels the need to go ahead and do things.

Most of you will receive your gifts at Anime Expo.

A quick summary of the rest of our trip:

Hakone

Up in the mountains outside Tokyo. We stayed at a fancy hot spring, where they served us dauntingly elaborate meals in our rooms. Lots of the food was weird but we felt bad if we didn’t eat it all.

Osaka

We went to Osaka because we couldn’t get a hotel in Kyoto. We wandered around the shopping area that’s known as America-Mura because there’s a Statue of Liberty on top of a building there. It’s otherwise not very America-like, but there are a lot of hip-hop oriented stores. Also lots of great kitschy storefronts.

Kyoto

Much wandering around trying to get oriented. Saw a temple, saw a castle, saw some old-style Japan streets.

Hiroshima

Peace Park, Peace Museum.

See, this is why you need to blog about your trip as you’re doing it. I can’t be bothered to think about the details now. I’ll photoblog a few notable things and you’ll see it in more detail.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sayonara, Tokyo!

We're leaving Tokyo tomorrow, but we'll be back twice before we leave Japan. No telling if there will be Internet access as convenient or as free as the access here at the ryokan, so I don't know if the blogging will continue. We still need to see Tokyo Tower, so we'll do that when we stop back in town on Thursday.

Random stories:

A few days ago, when I was out buying some water, I stopped at a DVD store around the corner. We'd passed the store several times, and I was curious and wanted to go look at Japanese DVDs, even though they would be region 2 and I wouldn't be able to buy them. Since I was out on my own, I decided to stop for a minute and browse. But only the first shelves at the front of the store had the mainstream films advertised in the window. As soon as I went around the first shelf, I found myself surrounded by Japanese pornography. This section was much bigger than the regular section at the front of the store. This seemed to be a surprisingly prominent adult section. The store also had a second floor. I figured, well, I've already seen the porn section, so let's see what they keep on the second floor. Answer: More porn. Also, a bit surprisingly, the downstairs section stocked a selection of big vibrators, one of which was named "Hero." That must be a good one. This is for the porn consumer who also has an actual woman at his disposal. Also, when I was downstairs, I accidentally looked at the back of some of the packages and some of them were all-region, so they would play in America. So if anyone is interested in some authentic Japanese porn, let me know before I leave tomorrow.

On the way back from Shibuya the other night we sat across from a creepy woman who looked like either a facelift victim or a transvestite. Perhaps both. In any case, she had a weird dreamy smile on her face that didn't go away for the whole half hour we sat across from her on the train. It's very creepy when someone won't stop smiling. But she kept looking at her phone and kept that same faint grin.

There was also a guy on the train that night going to town picking his nose. He was shoving in not only his forefinger, but his thumb, as though to actually grasp each booger rather than merely prying it out with a single fingernail. This may not have been the best method. In any case, it must not have been the fastest, because he was at it for a good long while. According to TimeOut Tokyo, it's considered rude to blow your nose in public. This can be a real pain when fighting a cold or allergies. We've taken great pains to only blow when absolutely necessary, dabbing at a running nose that badly needs an actual blow, out of consideration for this country's social customs. And yet it's acceptable to set about excavating your nose with two fingers while sitting on a train? Come on!

Stephanie Health Update

Stephanie is still whispering. She can talk a little but it's still very hoarse so she probably shouldn't. She's getting around fine, though.

Shopping Update

We were having trouble finding anime merchandise in Tokyo, which sounds retarded, like not being able to find your ass with both hands. How is it possible to have difficulty finding anime stuff in Tokyo, right? But despite what you'd expect, it's actually not everywhere. We finally found some anime-related shops today, in Akhihabara, with all the duty-free electronics shops. I don't know why those things go together, but they do. Ample supplies of the ample-bosomed sexy character figurines in impossibly exploitative poses. We didn't get any of those, so I'm guessing you guys didn't want any. If I was wrong, you can pick up the slack at Anime Expo. Also, still no luck with Yakitate or Tsubasa Chronicles merchandise, though we did look. There's a show called Bleach that seems to be everywhere.

Ninja!

We dined at the Ninja restaurant tonight. Expensive, small, but tasty portions of food. As promised, you're led through corridors by a ninja guy who jumps around and yells out things to lower a little drawbridge, and the restaurant is a secret ninja village. Also, the ninja waitress burns your "secret" dessert menu after you use it. The regular menu is on a scroll, which they don't burn. While we waited for our check, another ninja came by to show us his ninja magic, which consisted of coin and card tricks. He left me with a card he'd torn up, which turned out to be merely folded when I opened my hand! Seldom do ninjas use their magic powers for coin and card manipulation, but I was glad he had. The ninja waitress walked us out when we were done and then swept open a scroll that read "Come again!" Also, Steven Spielberg was at Ninja in January of last year, and signed the wall.

TV

There was a kid's show today with S Man, a superhero in a yellow unitard, fighting a guy in a mushroom costume who tricked S Man into eating a mushroom that made him shrink. But then S man got a mushroom that made him grow and beat him. Also, they were fighting in a gym full of apparently real mentally and/or physically challenged kids, who looked a bit frightened when the mushroom guy was faux-terrorizing them before S Man arrived. Later S Man and some other character helped the handicapped kids have fun tearing up newspapers.

Yesterday there was a TV show with a big white guy speaking English.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Yakitate

Just to let you know, we are keeping an eye out for the Yakitate bread but whoever said it is sold in convenience stores is full of it. At any rate, it's not widely available in convenience stores. We hit 7-Eleven and am/pm regularly, and we tried a Circle K, too.

Stephanie made it through our night out two days ago. She was even pressured into having a beer and playing pool. In the past she's always sat out pool, so this was a big deal. She turned out to be good at it (as long as someone told her which ball to aim for), as she apparently has a talent for games that involve rolling balls at things. Unfortunately, afterwards, her voice was hoarse from all the drinking and talking and cigarette smoke in the air. Again, like Lindsay Lohan.

In the morning it was still hoarse and even a little sexy, but the more she talked the worse it got. By last night she was reduced to whispering and gesturing, which is still where she's at. Last night we met her friends for dinner again. It was really fun, but staying out late in the cold has not been good for us. We really need to work on not being sick.

The first night we also met Phil, an old friend of mine who I haven't seen in like eight years. Actually he's the brother of one of my friends from middle and high school. So that was cool, too.

Shibuya is really neat at night. We went to a department store there yesterday called Shibuya 109 or something, where they have all the insane clothes the Japanese girls wear. I was wrong about it all being ordinary. This shop is where it got intense. Floor after floor of brightly colored weird stuff.

There was one store that had these sort of samurai-influenced fashions, like jackets with pieces that looked like armor. That was the best one.

I have to go now. Stephanie is hovering over me and we are wasting our day.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Tokyo-Edo Museum

Today we went to the Tokyo-Edo museum, which covers about 400 or so years of Japanese history and gives a fascinating picture of how Japanese society has evolved into the way it is today, specifically Tokyo society.

It also has tons of amazingly detailed models of street scenes and such, filled with little 1.5 inch people. They have binoculars so you can look at the huge models up close, and you realize all the people are engaged in specific activities or reacting to each other, like a Where's Waldo picture. Absolutely incredible. Oh, and it helps bring each time period to life, too.

The museum did seem to gloss over the reasons for Japan's involvement in World War II. Apparently some "incident" in China, then another "incident," and they were at war. Later on, the US air raids started, for no particular reason.

The idea today was to take it easy, but while there was less walking at the museum, there was still a lot of time on our feet and Stephanie wasn't always up to it. She eventually got tired and there was so much to see it was hard to see it all in detail.

We had lunch in a restaurant on top of the museum and I got sashimi. One of the kinds of sashimi were little squids, whole. I ate them. They weren't bad.

The museum itself is entirely suspended in the air. Ground level is a big open area and the rest of the building is propped up several stories above you.

We took a taxi back. Our first time in a car on Tokyo streets. Much more fast and convenient than the subway. And it was the perfect distance to try a cab; not so far that it's expensive, not so close that it's pointless.

Tonight we're meeting Stephanie's friend Marcel in Shibuya for dinner and drinks, and supposedly some kind of party. This will be our first, and likely only, taste of anything resembling nightlife. Stephanie is taking a rest right now but it's doubtful how long she'll hold out tonight.

Speaking of parties, that festival here in Asakusa was raging this morning. The streets were blocked off and filled with people, with more pouring in from the subways every second. I don't know why, they were still just carrying the shrines around and chanting. You'd think they'd get tired of that after a few days.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sunday Gang in Harajuku

Today was Shibuya and Harajuku. We have been seeing a lot of historical stuff so far, so we decided it was about time to check out some of the shallow, modern stuff that so fascinates me. These hip, youth-oriented areas are very crowded. Plus it's the weekend now. Our neighborhood, Asakusa, has gotten crowded too, but that may have to do with the fact that the city's biggest festival has just started here. Something to do with the founders of the local shrine. We saw their three shrines being carted around yesterday by guys in yukatas and no pants.

Back to today. Thought it would be cool to get some Japan-trendy clothes. The thing is, once you're in the stores, you realize this is pretty much the same junk you find in American hipster stores, equally overpriced. What makes it Japanese is putting it together in combinations you'd never think of, and then wearing them on your Japanese self with unnaturally dark skin and artifically light hair. One thing they do great is making sneakers colorful. But the cool ones are like \15000 (over $150!). But the US is starting to get on board the colorful Nike and Converse thing, so I can always catch that train later.

We did eventually find a store selling "California style" T-shirts in the "vintage" style, but with distinctly Japanese slogans that made no sense. These, too, were expensive, but we let our amusement prevail over our tight wallets and reminded ourselves that we're in Japan, and even in America, a stylish T-shirt will set you back more than it has any right to.

Also, I picked up some J-pop I'm very excited about at the Tower Records in Shibuya. Not so much the cutesy stuff this time, but that's okay. I can get Morning Musume in Little Tokyo over on Sawtelle anytime. You'll see. Some of it was from the J-indie section, and the disc sampler was labeled "future pop," so I think that's the style. Very electronic and uses 8-bit sounds, but really well.

I only saw a few Ganguro girls, and only one of them was really hardcore grotesque. Saw a couple of Gothic Lolitas.

Then the bad news:

Stephanie has fallen ill! I would have liked to see Harajuku at night, but we had to leave. Stephanie was suffering from exhaustion, like a movie star! Just like Lindsay Lohan on the set of Herbie. We've been doing a lot of walking. I don't know how the people of Japan do it. There are more stairs in this country than I've ever cared to notice anywhere else. Oh, did I complain about stairs yesterday? Well, I'm doing it again. That'll happen when you climb a hundred flights or so a day. Even using the subway, you're constantly going up and down, from one platform to another, and there are seldom escalators. Anyway, to put this on top of all the walking and climbing we did yesterday, our legs are shot. Our feet were shot as of two days ago. We thought they couldn't get any more tired. Maybe we were right. But our legs have gotten more and more fatigued. Our calves are tight.

Also, Stephanie is suffering from the cold I gave her. I have a rich tradition of getting sick right before I go on major trips, from England to China and so on. If I didn't go on trips a little bit sick, I'd never leave the country. I was a bit sick all week before we left, but I was too busy with writing and working and entertaining Stephanie's family when they visited for her graduation, to get any rest and beat it. I'm still sick, but getting better (knock on wood) and totally functional (knock on wood). But Stephanie and I are developing our own rich tradition, where my pansy-ass immune system gets sick and she seems fine, then just as I start to come out of it the cold hits her and hits her harder, making me feel extra bad for passing it on. She's been a bit sick too, so we thought she'd already caught the brunt of it. But today, combined with exhaustion, it really started to take a toll. So we're back at the ryokan and she's resting in bed.

On the upside, we got a bigger room. On the night we arrived, the ryokan proprietor informed us that there had been a "mistake-u." We had requested a room with its own bathroom, but for our first three nights, we wouldn't have one. The shared bathroom turned out to be not bad at all, and only shared with one other room, the inhabitants of which we never saw. Our room was tiny and cozy, just big enough for two futons, a table and a TV. Now we moved into the room we were supposed to have. By comparison, it's huge. Extravagant and luxurious. When we were first moving our bags in there were four futons set up--apparently a whole family had been staying there. Not only does it have its own bathroom, it's got two sections--one for sleeping, one for the table and TV, and it's got a fridge. Even chairs! And floor pillows for sitting! It makes me feel spoiled.

So when we got back I ran out and bought a bunch of food for poor Stephanie to fight her cold. We'll take it easy tomorrow instead of killing our legs running around and hopefully that'll help. She's a tough cookie. I think she'll make it. We're supposed to meet Stephanie's friend Marcel, who's been living in Yokohama, tomorrow.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Blogging From Japan

Japanese keyboards have tons of keys, some of which turn your typing into Japanese, leaving you wondering how to change it back. They also do a pretty good job of hiding the apostrophe, so I will have to write without contractions.

Yesterday we saw Ginza. We ate lunch at a buffet where you cook the meat on a grill in the table. Like the former Hot Pot City in Berkeley, but somehow less retarded. Maybe because I was in Japan, which provided a better answer to the question "Why am I paying a restaurant for food I have to cook myself?" It was pretty good, especially after a not very filling breakfast at Japanese Denny's. (Found the apostrophe. It's shift-7.)

We also went to the Sony building and I saw Aibo the robot dog and PSPs. Those screens are pretty impressive. Stephanie likes Lumines and wants it, somehow. They're not putting that out for PS2, are they? Also I saw the most massive HDTV screen ever. It's rear projection but you can't even tell. Truly awe-inspiring.

We walked around the Imperial Palace because the tour is supposedly lame if you do not speak Japanese, and it was a really long walk. We saw a temple and Stephanie laid down on a bench and leaned her head on me, and a guy dressed in traditional garb told us "This is a holy place." and we felt bad.

There were tons of Japanese schoolchildren wherever we went. Apparently every school in Tokyo had field trips yesterday. One way to break someone of a schoolgirl fetish would be to sit them down and show them some actual schoolgirls. Like anywhere else, most of them are ugly. The high socks only serve to highlight their fat Hilary Duff ankles on these unfortunates.

Today we went to Niko, which is very beautiful and all uphill. We saw some shrines and temples and this shogun's very ostentatious grave, and climbed about a million stairs. Our legs are tired. Weird. For now the apostrophes come when I hit the key where they ought to be, not where they're marked.

We ate at a Japanese burger place called Mos Burger. They have regular-ish burgers, and also a burger in an Asian-bao-style bun, which doesn't really fit, size-wise.

Our ryokan has some very comfortable futons and pillows that seem to be filled with sand. I kind of like them but Stephanie finds them uncomfortable. I do like the cool robes they give us to lounge around in, and I'm a big fan of the woven mats on the floor.

I saw a kids' TV show yesterday where they raced a crab and a turtle pushing a ball through a plastic trough. The crab got a strong start while the turtle just sat there. Then the crab crawled around the ball and left it behind, and the turtle started catching up. Then the crab went back but ended up pushing the ball backward. The crab never got it together again so the turtle won. This made a guy dressed like a caveman very happy. He was rooting for the turtle.

They have cheesecake Pocky here. Stephanie got some today. It's not as good as chocolate Pocky.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ladder Day Saint


My dad sent me this email today:

Mom called me over to the house to keep an eye on a couple of chandelier installers while she stepped out. So I go over there and find this scenario. A guy over 20 ft off the floor, standing on the TOP step of a big step ladder, ladder supported by 2 wooden planks which were supported by two metal horses, the whole house of cards being held steady by a big guy with lot of hair.

Just after this picture was taken, the guy on the ladder gets a cell phone call from a customer, digs it out of his pocket and and stands there calmly talking on the phone like he's relaxing in a hot tub.

Later the guy tells me that nothing bothers him since he had a job training chimpanzees and other primates for Hollywood movies, which he found stressful.

...They did a great job installing two light fixtures but it made me very uncomfortable watching it.

 Posted by Hello

I Am Such a Girl

How lame is it when some dumb purse or shoe becomes a sensation because trend-chasing women saw it on an episode of Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives, or something?

Anyway, catching up on Veronica Mars lately (thought I missed the finale, so no spoilers please--not that anyone but Sarah, who knows this already, would have seen it) I saw Logan wearing this snazzy jacket in the episode "Weapons of Class Destruction" in the scene where he comes to Veronica's rescue and they kiss.

For the whole scene, I couldn't stop saying, "What a cool jacket."

So I bought it. The exact same one. I received it today. And as soon as it's not sweltering hot out, I'll wear it. Maybe I'll post a picture so you can see if I look as cool as Logan in it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Name-a-rama-thon Part Two

Thanks for the wealth of input regarding the name—an issue on which everyone can be an expert. Some background, which I omitted before to avoid poisoning the well: Stephanie’s brother-in-law, the baby’s father, is somehow genetically predisposed to cling stubbornly to the worst names imaginable. He agreed to name his son Liam only after months of debate forced him to relent on naming the child “Ulysses,” which he insisted on pronouncing “ulyssus.” In this light, “Liam” is a major triumph (though Liam’s middle name is Ulysses).

This time he’s hung up on some form of “Addy,” and the family is desperately trying to convince him otherwise. So this was kind of a secret way of gathering outside ammunition in case it became necessary.

While no one thinks much of either Adelaide or Addison, For some strange reason, the Woo girls, including Stephanie and Lynette, the baby’s mother, seem to consider Addison the lesser of the two evils. I’m not sure why. I know the reasoning is that Adelaide has a strong antiquated feel that makes it sound like an old lady name. There’s the feeling that naming a girl Adelaide would cause her to skip puberty and instantly become an eighty-year-old, horn-rimmed, silver-wigged librarian (no offense, Cynth). I disagree. Sure, Adelaide is an old-lady name, but when I picture an Adelaide, I picture an old lady who, in the 1890’s anyway, was as spry and fun-loving as any. Always bright, gay, and full of pep, she’d never say no to a hay ride down to the soda fountain for an ice-cold phosphate. On the downside, the name appears to make me write like Dave Duman.

Still, considering how outright dumb Addison sounds, Adelaide could grow on me. At least it’s, you know, a name. If I were to meet Addison one day, I would tell her, “Your mother meant to name you Allison, but she had a stuffy nose that week.”

If she were called Addy, I’d do the same joke, but say the name was supposed to be Annie.

So Lynette was almost set to compromise on Addy as long as it was Addison-derived, not Adelaide-derived. Now I hear they may be off the Addys, and on to a different name entirely, possibly Phoebe or Zoe, which were original favorites dismissed for being too trendy.

On the matter of Cordelia Madison Fornaca:

At first I thought the same as Sarah (“No”), but by the third or fourth time I read it, it approached the level of “so bad it’s good.” What a name! Can you imagine? “Hello, I’m Cordelia Madison Fornaca.” POW! It’s like a brick in the face! A heroine of Victorian literature and a Civil War officer all rolled into one!

And it preserves the Fornaca tradition of middle names being cities.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Name-a-rama-thon

Stephanie's sister is having a baby girl. Debate swirls regarding prospective names. The father is sold on Addy, short for Adelaide or possibly Addison. Thoughts?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Must-See

Everyone's caught up in Star Wars fever, announcing times, dates, and theaters where they'll be seeing Episode III and inviting others to join in. I too am resigned to viewing the last of the Star Wars films, as part of my near-contractual obligation as a member of the moviegoing public. Best to get it over with sooner rather than later, so you can be disappointed along with the first wave.

You see, if you go a few weeks later, everyone else will already know that it sucks. But what are you going to do, not see it? You can't not see the biggest sucky movie event of the decade. Such were the circumstances in which I saw Episode I, and was actually pleasantly surprised--in other words, I was out of touch with the zeitgeist. I had been led to expect such a disaster that I was instead amused by what a joke it was. Conversely, I saw Episode II at the appointed time, and was appropriately revulsed, along with the rest of the country.

Occasionally, I've been wrong about seeing bad movies out of obligation to keep up with the public. Pearl Harbor, Jurassic Park III, and even Matrix Revolutions were ignored to a degree I had not expected. I'm pretty sure this won't happen with Episode III.

Here's the trouble: I'll be in Japan when Episode III comes out here, so I have no choice but to pass up the chance to view it with my friends and classmates. Stephanie and I discussed possibly seeing it in Japan, which would be cool, since the Japanese subtitles might distract us from Lucas' leaden dialogue and disastrously undramatic storytelling. But now I learn that Japan is one of two countries in the world that will not see Episode III on or around May 19th. They won't get it until July, by which time I'll be back here among disappointed first-wavers, trudging to the theaters for a movie that has already proven itself to be the last nail in the series' coffin, rather than the hoped-for hand-clawing-its-way-out-of-a-premature-grave.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Magazine Unfamousness

Newsweek covered USC's FirstPitch event last week. I didn't pitch (that's for graduating students) but I was there helping to run the event. I'm not in the article about it either, but people I know are. My classmates and I were there, running the show, standing around, and having fun abusing our communications headsets.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

House of Buggin'

Our bathroom has a gnat problem. Lately we've been seeing gnats frequently, no more than one or two at a time, whenever we use the bathroom. It started slow. A gnat every once in a while. But now it's every time. And yesterday we started to keep count of how many we've killed, so we know when we're not dealing with recurring gnats. Stephanie and I killed a total of... I forgot already. But yesterday we had a combined total in the 13-15 range. Today I've killed eight already, and that's just me. When I first went into the bathroom this morning I killed five in a row.

They must be spawning somewhere, but where?

Update (4:00): Went to the bathroom again. Today's tally is now 12.

Update (5/9): Thanks to Tommaso for the bleach suggestion. After the first couple of bleach pours the gnats were noticeably down, but not out. At this point I'm afraid to say they're gone, but I haven't seen one in awhile. Also, there are green bleach stains around the rim of our drain, but it's a small price to pay.

Missed It By That Much

VH1 has a new reality show called "BSTV" that is pretty much the exact same concept that Dave Duman and I thought up a few years ago when we were pitching ideas to that guy from the Lampoon with the supposed college TV connections. Duman and I called it "Casting Call."

This is one of those things that's aggravating but vindicating. If only we'd had a chance to pitch this, we'd be on our way to being the next Mark Burnett, or Ashton Kutcher.

Meet people willing to flip the switch on a death row inmate live on TV. Meet the men eager to get on TV by moving to a remote island inhabited only with lap dancers, where the guys can look but not touch. Meet the men who have agreed to gain hundreds of extra pounds for the chance to be famous. Can't believe these people exist? Well, believe it, they're all on VH1's new social experiment, "BSTV."

Today, people will do just about anything to become a celebrity and celebrities are willing to endure just about anything to keep their fame. That has been proven no place more than on reality TV. Our nation has been glued to the television cringing as they watch people eat cow brains, lie to their family and friends and embarrass themselves all for a taste of fame. Just when you thought it couldn't go any further and people couldn't stoop any lower, welcome to VH1's new series, "BSTV," the show that tests people's limits to find out just how much "B.S." they'll put themselves through for a spot in the limelight.

Each weekly episode invites real people and celebrities to participate in what they believe to be casting calls and pilot tapings for the latest and hottest new reality shows. What they don't know is that every audition is 100% fake. Each concept is pulled off by our cast of improv actors posing as the show's producers and talent. No matter how much "B.S." is doled out by our cast of accomplices, eager reality show wannabes and celebrities always seem ready to believe any bogus concept for their chance at fame. Celebrities who participated include: Dennis Rodman, Rachel Hunter, Katrina Campins, John Salley, Kimberley Locke, Traci Lords, Erik Estrada, Cindy Margolis, Tara Lipinski and more.


By the way, does anyone know Duman's email? I was going to email him but all I have is his old uclink address.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Kenny Byerly's Magazine Famousness

For anyone who missed it the first time, my MAD feature, "Anakin Skywalker: The High School Years," is being reprinted this month in MAD XL, the current incarnation of Mad specials. The issue's cover shows Alfred E. Neuman as Yoda, with a limp lightsaber.

This issue also features my appearance as a caricature in Dave Berg's "The Lighter Side of..." (p. 34) and "MAD's Eight-Step Guide for WB Network Teen Wannabes" (p.54), the intro to which I wrote as an intern, making that the first thing I wrote to appear in the magazine.

This Time, It's Personal

My second semester at USC draws to a close. Shocking how fast the time has gone by. I'm halfway to getting spit back out into the world to fend for myself, except this time I'll have enormous debt and monthly payments to worry about.

Hope to get some serious scriptwriting done this summer. I'll also be doing some comedy writing for a small local talk show with the guy who hosted The Yesterday Show, which I worked on last summer. That late-night monologue a few posts ago was the joke sample packet I submitted, in case you were wondering.

Stephanie and I are preparing for our trip to Japan, take two. Having some frustration making the last of our non-Tokyo accomodation reservations, partly because we've put it off for so long.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fuck Monthly Payments

This is what I'm talking about. I was just ranting to Stephanie the other day about music services that charge monthly fees for access to music you'll never own. Way too many things now are all about the monthly fee. How many fucking things can you pay for every single month? Pretty soon you've signed away a significant portion of your income on an ongoing basis. How significant? Someone at Wired was thinking the same thing, so they did the math:

(Yeah, I'm reading the Wired site today and pretty much blogging everything I see.)

Cable or satellite TV (Comcast gold package): $87.94
Broadband Internet access (SBC DSL): $19.99
Voice-over IP phone service (Vonage Premium Plan): $24.99
Mobile phone and data service (Cingular): $39.98
Satellite radio (Sirius): $12.95
Streaming music service (Rhapsody): $9.95
Mobile headlines (SPOT watch): $9.95
DVR service (TiVo): $12.95
DVD service (Netflix): $17.99
Online news site (Salon): $2.92
Online game (X Box Live): $4.17
Total: $ 243.78

Honey, I Shrunk the Quarter

This is great! A guy is shrinking quarters using pretty much the same theories used by Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids:

... its molecules rearrange and nuzzle closer, shrinking the coin's circumference to that of a dime.

Fortunately, the kids didn't end up fat and deformed like these quarters. But clearly, the dream of accidentally shrinking your kids is closer than ever. Thank goodness we have guys like this building shrinking machines in the garage.

Creepy Kawaii

All-black contact lenses allow Japanese girls to supposedly emulate anime characters by having big black irises. It's oddly not as creepy as you'd think, mainly because it's hard to tell that she doesn't just have really dark eyes. But it's still weird.