Friday, April 19, 2013

Full Interview With My Mom - How She Really Feels

I recently got the opportunity to interview my mom for an article with the website They're awesome and really funny and I was glad that I got to contribute. They ran the article but I had to cut a lot of it out. So here is the uncensored interview. I transcribed it word for word because I'm a dork.

Me: Did you ever think I’d become a comedian?

Mom: No b/c it’s too scary. Getting up in front of strangers and have to think of jokes real quick. What if they don’t laugh? 

Me: Have you seen me bomb?

Mom: One time. Down in Philly. I was with Aunt Mary and was like, “They’re not laughing!” When you first started. I wanted to cry. Nobody was laughing. I thought, “Let’s laugh real loud and then they’ll laugh with us.” I wasn’t embarrassed, I was scared for you. My hands were all sweaty.

Me: What was your first reaction when I told you I wanted to do stand up?

Mom: I was surprised. I thought you were crazy. You’re so quiet. To get up in front of people you don’t know and try to make them laugh.

Me: When I was younger, what job would you have thought I was going to do?

Mom: You always wanted to be on tv. You wanted to be Vanna White. You know, like on a game show. You loved games. Everything was a game. Even studying for school. 

Me: Do you think I’ll ever get married and have kids?

Mom: Probably not. Cuz you’re too fussy. Too picky. You have to be nice to a girl. And you don’t like to do that for very long. You’d be a good father. But I don’t know about married.

Me: What if I just knocked somebody up and brought home a baby and asked to move back home?

Mom: Oooohh. After I got over the shock and went to confession to see the priest (laughs). You know I’d accept your baby b/c it’s my grandchild. But don’t expect me to raise your baby. I’m getting too old for that. I’m not taking care of your mess.

Me: Do you think I’m funny?

Mom: Yes.

Me: Like when you see other comedians, do you seriously think I’m still funny?

Mom: I think you’re funnier than them. It’s not just b/c you’re my son. If I went to a show and didn’t know you, I’d think you were funny. I like your Wawapalooza thing. I like the people that do that. They’re funny. Some stand up people I don’t like them. I don’t like their language. That bad language doesn’t make me laugh.

Me: What do you do when I say that stuff?

Mom: It shocks me!

Me: What about when I talk about farts and diarrhea and stuff?

Mom: Oooh that’s just disgusting. You’re just looking for a laugh. You don’t really mean it. (laughs)

Me: What if I came to you and said I wanted to become a priest?

Mom: I wouldn’t go to you for confession. You’d probably stand up in front of everybody and tell them. Use the homily as your stand up.

Me: Going back to the game show thing, would see me doing that knowing me now?

Mom: Yeah. You can tell jokes or something in between. When you’re on stage you’re energetic. You’re not bubbly. You would like to cut people up. If you were a game show host, you could make fun of them but then it would be ok because you’d give them money and prizes. And then they’d like you. 

Mom: This is enough.

Me: No.

Mom: Do you like me as a mom?

Me: I didn’t know any better. I was happy when I was a kid.

Mom: You were a happy little boy. Then one day all of a sudden you weren’t.

Me: Let’s talk about high school. Did you hope that was just a phase I went through?

Mom: Oh your dark phase. Yeah. You’re still a little bit in it. I think you want to get out of it but you’re torn. People are still pulling you back. Certain people.

Me: Name names.

Mom: Yeah right.

Me: Do you think I could actually make a career out of doing comedy?

Mom: Yeah I think you could. Cuz you like it. It seems like that’s what you want to do.

Me: Do you think I’m going to keep my office full time job forever?

Mom: No. You don’t seem to want to be there. And I think you’ll do what you want to do. You always said when you were younger you didn’t want to wear a shirt and tie. You’d say, “I’ll never have a job where I sit in an office behind a desk all day.” But that’s the jobs that make money. You have to go everyday.

Me: What if I start going to NY by myself? To make it?

Mom: I know, but it’s better than Philly. I watch the Philly news. I don’t watch the NY news. So I won’t know. 

Me: Are you ashamed to tell your friends and family that I do comedy?

Mom: No. I love it. They always ask me what jokes you do and what you talk about on stage. I try to do your jokes but I will either forget how it goes or mess it up. Then they just laugh at me. But you were on Comcast on demand and we went to Aunt Anne’s to watch it and I thought she was going to piss her pants laughing. You did a joke making fun of us for watching the lottery and all that and she was laughing because she does the things you were making fun of. She got a kick out of that.

Me: Who do I get my humor from?

Mom: I think both sides of your family. Our side always jokes around and laughs and has a good time. Your dad always likes telling jokes. Whenever we visit relatives they always ask him if he heard any new jokes. But he just tells the same jokes that we’ve heard a hundred times. But we still laugh. 

Me: Do you remember the first joke I ever told?

Mom: Yes you were about 5 or 6 years old. Out of nowhere you came up to me and said, “Have you seen Dolly Parton’s new shoes? .... Neither did she.” And I was in such shock and I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t yell at you. My little baby was telling a dirty joke. That coming out of your innocent mouth was just too funny. You always went around telling people jokes from your little joke book. Your favorite one you told during dinner was, “What do you call a fish with two knees? .... A two-knee fish!” It was cute. We had a good laugh. 

Me: Ok now we're done.

Monday, December 24, 2012

What Horror Movies Need To Do

Warning: This post will contain spoilers for some horror movies. So if you haven't seen anything I'm talking about, avoid it.

Last week I rented a horror movie, or what I was told was a horror movie, called Silent House. It stars Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's younger sister, Elizabeth. I've seen a movie with her in it called Martha Marcy May Marlene and thought she was a good actress. I still do. The problem with this movie was that I loved 85% of it. Up until the last 10 minutes. It was so good. The movie is told from her perspective. The whole movie is in real time and it's made to look like it was all shot in one take. Quick plot summary, she's at her summer house helping fix it up with her dad and her uncle. Suddenly, her dad is attacked by an unknown entity. We're not sure if there is an intruder, or a ghost, or what. But she's freaked out and so am I. The uncle gets back to the house and then shit starts happening to him too. These people, whoever they are, are coming after her. She can't escape the house. Who knows what's going on, but I've taken up permanent residence on the edge of my seat. I even had to change my driver's license to say I now live there. 

So I'm all in to it, and just as you start to find out what's really going on, they pull out the biggest horror movie cliche going. Right before it happened, I even thought to myself, "I really hope this 'person' that is attacking them isn't really her the whole time and she's gone crazy and doesn't realize she's the one doing it." Big reveal, it's her. I let out a big groan and slumped back in to my seat. Really? This is what you're going to give us as the ending? I liked the idea of thinking some random people were in the house attacking them! What's wrong with that? It's simple! It's effective! We don't need some lame, outlandish reason for why this is happening. So after the big reveal, we find out that her dad used to molest her as a child and now she's getting revenge, per se, on him and the uncle because the uncle covered it up. My eyes are still sore from all the rolling they did. 

This kind of ending isn't surprising to us audiences anymore. We've seen it done too many times where the main character ends up being the killer and they chalk it up as them being crazy and hallucinating. Anyone remember Hide And Seek starring Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning? No? That's because it was terrible. So why are we using the same ending/big reveal!? Frailty? Remember that, starring Matthew McConaughey? Nope. Same thing. We can thank The Sixth Sense for these shitty movies because ever since that broke new ground with the twist ending, everyone was trying to do it after that and they failed miserably. The Others. High Tension. Identity. Just to name a few. They're all basically the same, with some minor differences.

Good horror movies are supposed to scare you. That doesn't mean the endings need to wrap everything up nice and neat and send us on our way. One of the most recent films I've seen that actually scared me and made me worried to sleep alone was The Strangers with the beautiful Liv Tyler. Oh man, even looking at the movie poster freaks me the hell out! The premise is simple: A couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. That's what it says on the IMDb page. That's all! And that's all I need. Why are these people attacking them? Who are they? Even after watching it, I don't know. And I don't need to know. That's what makes it so freaking scary! At one point Liv's character asks them why they're doing this. The one attacker simply says, "Because you were home." And I'm done! Clocking out! I can't! Just the randomness of it and them having no reason for doing it, is so scary in itself. Just random attackers coming in to your home where you feel the most safe and just coming after you for no goddam reason. It didn't need far out explanations, or have people going through hallucinations or psycho revelations. Nobody needed to be molested as a child, and certainly no one were ghosts or figments of anyone's imagination.

Growing up, the scariest person to me was Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street. As a kid, thinking there was a burned up scary man with knives as fingers coming in to your dreams and killing you? And your parents sitting there telling you that you have to go to bed? No thanks! That guy haunted me asleep and awake. But then when I was older, I went back and rewatched the movie again, coming to find out the back story was that he was a child molester and the parents of those children burned him alive and his revenge was to haunt their kids in their dreams. Really? You totally ruined it! Why can't we just have a scary monster haunting our dreams for no reason!? Another one that scared me growing up was Chucky from Child's Play. As a kid, I was terrified to think that my My Buddy doll was going to come alive and try to kill me. Watched the movie when I was older, come to realize that a serial killer transferred his soul with voodoo magic or whatever in to this doll and then continues on his killing streak. Thanks for ruining it again! Why can't my doll just come alive for no reason and kill people? That shit is way more scarier than just a random serial killer coming to get me in doll form. We'd sit there and ask, "Why is that doll killing everyone?" And then we'd say, "I dunno. But it's f***ing scary."

Some other good examples of some scary movies are The Exorcist. A demon possesses an innocent girl. Why? Who knows and who cares. It's scary as shit, dude. The Omen. So you're saying Satan had a kid? Awesome sauce. The Amityville Horror. A family has some bad luck picking houses. Shit goes down. Fire your realtor. Jaws. A shark eats people. Signs. Aliens are here and they're coming in your house. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. People being chased around by a guy wanting to cut them up with a chainsaw and wear their skin. Are you noticing a pattern? The best horror movies have the shortest plot summaries. The more you have to explain your horror movie, the worse it is. Keep it simple! 

Needless to say, Silent House isn't going to keep me from continuing to watch these movies. It'll just continue to disappoint me. The best ones are the originals that come up with something new and then we'll all go see it and then watch the 35 movies after it that try and copy it, but fail miserably. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

True Life Adventures

She is the kind of girl who dates the kind of guys who will ultimately screw around on her, guys like her brothers, who work with their hands and drink too many beers while watching football, and have a stupid tattoo of a dragon or the Rolling Stones' lips on their scapulas, guys upon whom she projects more romance and ambition than is actually there, and then she asks her girlfriends, who are hairdressers and medical technicians and tanning salon clerks and secretaries, why she can't find a nice guy.

And I'm dying to tell her that I'm a nice guy. I'm the last nice guy. And I haven't been kissed or rubbed in months, and I'm as horny as a high school kid, but I'm also dying to fall in love, and if you let me, I'll fall in love with you, and cherish you, and listen to your dreams and your hurts and I'll be faithful and funny and I'll never forget your birthday or make out with your girlfriend and blame it on too many shots, or come home from guys' night out drunk and smelling of strippers. 

That's what I want to tell her, but instead I say, "Can I have an envelope for that?" and if you want to know where all the good guys are, we're standing right in front of you, lacking the balls to actually make ourselves heard.

From the novel This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why I'm Quitting American Idol Cold Turkey

Starting Off So Innocent

The concept of American Idol started off great. Unknown singers can show off their talent and America can vote who their favorite is. It was a summer show on Fox, which just means it was fodder. Something to watch after you come in from swimming in the pool all day. America actually found a talented singer in the amazing, beautiful Kelly Clarkson. A person who is actually a superstar and can really sing. And being that the show premiered in 2002, it just shows how great she is, because she is still a star 10 years later. I've seen the girl in concert and girl can SANG! She's had a bunch of chart topping singles and we still forgive her after that one album, My December, didn't really do well. I actually liked the dark side that she was showing. Like a hot goth chick that hung out at the mall and smoked cigarettes. That was the live show that I saw when she was touring for that album. I don't consider her a pop singer even though that is exactly what she is. But the girl writes her music and lyrics. She doesn't just have someone else do it for her. Well, all the time. I don't think the big execs let her do everything. Just this month, she shown everyone just how amazing she is. After seeing a bunch of flops from people messing up the Star Spangled Banner (I'm looking at you, Xtina), she came out at the Super Bowl in 2012 and killed it. And she made it seem like this was something she does every day. "Oh what did I do today? Woke up, showered, brushed my teeth, sang the shit out of the Star Spangled Banner. You know, whatevs." But in another example of how much we love Kelly, we totally are pretending like From Justin To Kelly never happened.
This isn't an article about Kelly Clarkson though. So let's move on with the show. After discovering the greatness that is Kelly, the network saw nothing but money. So Season 2 began in January 2003. We had a huge showdown between a giant black man, and a skinny twink. Classic David and Goliath. We could say that one person was the winner, but really, did any of us win?

Kelly Clarkson Acoustic

The Downward Spiral

Ok now we are starting to lose it. Season 3 began in January of 2004. This season makes me want to ask you a question. Who do you remember more from this year: Fantasia Barrino or William Hung? Yeah, that's what I thought. I can't decide whose singing is more ridiculous. Luckily for us, Jennifer Hudson broke out from her 7th place finish and made America think twice about who wins this show.
Season 4 can be considered a life line in the history of all the seasons. Lucky for the producers of the show, Carrie Underwood strolled in to the audition rooms and revived it. Even though I don't listen to country music, I still enjoy seeing her sing if she's on a show that I'm watching. (i.e. The Grammy's this year.) This season I actually watched from beginning to end. And sadly, I am still plagued with having to hear about Constantine Maroulis. He just won't go away. And no, I will not go see Rock of Ages. Even if you're making it in to a movie. I refuse!
Season 5 premiered in January 2006. I watched this season too and still don't know why. This season gave us the gift of Chris Daughtry. As my friend Colleen always says, "Daughtry: For those who think Nickelback is too metal." So thanks Season 5, we still can't get the stank out of our clothes. For some reason, Taylor Hicks won. The "Soul Patrol" as he called his fans pulled for him to win the season. But apparently the Soul Patrol don't really feel like buying albums. I guess they have to draw the line somewhere. At least we got Katherine McPhee out of it. She's in the new NBC show "Smash", which is funny because all the promos for the show are saying "Introducting Katherine McPhee." So yeah, even she doesn't want to remind you about how awful American Idol is.
Season 6 happened. Jordin Sparks won. America forgot. Moving on.
Season 7 was the showdown of David Cook and David Archuleta. Who? I have no idea either. Apparently, it was compelling.
Season 8 answered the question, "How can we make this show shittier?!" The answer? Add Kara DioGuardi to the judges panel. That's like making a cake and then adding a huge pile of shit to it. Even after this season, Paula Abdul peaced out. I guess in her haze of pills, even she realized this show was a shit storm. America chose the straight Kris Allen versus the flamboyant Adam Lambert (or Glambert as we call him now). But don't worry, Adam is laughing his way to the bank.
Season 9 figured, "Hey let's add another judge to replace Paula Abdul. Should we get someone in the music industry? No, let's just get Ellen Degeneres." While I love Ellen to death, her and I both agreed she shouldn't be doing this. I think I was the one that called her and said, "Hey maybe you should get out while you can." America chose Lee DeWyze. DeWhy, you ask? No DeWidea. That's a play on words.
I watched Season 10 because the judge panel was cleared off. Even Simon Cowell left. And he was the only reason why I would actually pay attention to the show. Now we have Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. The one confusing thing about it though was when the judges came out and we just saw their silhouettes, I couldn't tell the difference between Steven and Jennifer. They both dressed like sassy Puerto Rican women. Jennifer actually is good on the show. She knows what's up in the business and gives actual feedback that can be used to benefit the contestants. Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson just interchange the same 5 phrases after every song. "That was beautiful." "It's a little pitchy, dawg." Getting to hear that every single time you sing just makes the contestants think, "Oh yeah, thanks. I'll try that. Super helpful. Appreciate it." I had a huge crush on Pia Toscano. But she was voted off early in the show. I guess the women in America can't handle it! But the big winner of this season was the guy from Mad Magazine. Good job.
In conclusion, every time I watched the show I kept thinking, "Why? Why am I putting myself through this?!" I literally cringe whenever all the contestants sing a song together on the results show. It's glorified karaoke. But this year I'm not doing it. I haven't watched any of the auditions and I am skipping my favorite Hollywood Week. I am quitting American Idol cold turkey. And you know what? I feel like I have more time on my hands. With these extra few hours a week, I have taken up knitting. I just finished a pair of earmuffs that I will wear when I tune in to the finale this year. It's not fully American Idol's fault. I'm totally burned out thanks to the commercials for The Voice and The X Factor. Yes, I said the commercials. I couldn't even make it to the actual show because if I heard Moves Like Jagger one more time on a commercial, I was going to move my fist in to the television at Adam Levine's face.

How Zooey Deschanel Won Me Over

The Beginning

This article is dedicated to the beautiful and "adorkable" Zooey Deschanel. This wasn't just a randomly celebrity crush like I usually have. This girl took a while to completely win me over. So I will be giving you the journey of how my relationship with Zooey came to fruition. (Please note: I don't have an actual relationship with her, as realistic as my dreams are.) This topic splits people in to two groups. People who love her and think she's so adorable. And then people who think that her whole act is a schtick and she's dumb. I'm not going to discuss this argument because it's not even worth it. I'm just going to talk about me and her. Her and I. .... Us. Swoon.
The first time I saw her was in the movie The Good Girl (2002) with Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal. I love this movie so much and at first glance, it's all about Jennifer Aniston. It makes me love Jennifer even more than I already did, but that's a whole other article. Zooey played Cheryl, who was the glum, sarcastic girl at the store that did not want to be there. I fell in love with her right away after seeing this scene:
Cheryl: Sit right down here, ma'am. We're going to make you pretty. Now how do you like your hair? 
Big Haired Woman: What are you going to do my hair? 
Cheryl: No, I just need to know if that's your usual way of wearing it, all big and high. If it is, I'll just put more makeup on your chin to offset it. You're going to want to take a whole bottle of this home with you. It's got quite a lot of ingredients in it, so you're getting a good deal. It's got ginkgo extract in it. Do you know what that is? 
Big Haired Woman: No. 
Cheryl: It's extract of the ginkgo, and it makes your skin real slick so that any liquid will roll right off you, be it water, or lemon juice, or urine. I'll put it in a bag for you.
I thought she was hilarious but didn't think too much of it. Lo and behold, this girl shows up again in the movie Elf (2003) with Will Ferrell. This time, it wasn't her comedy chops that got my attention. It was her voice! There were a couple scenes where she is singing Christmas carols and she has that distinct singing voice that grabs your attention. More recently, she started a group with Matt Ward called She and Him. They released their first album in 2008. This is one of those groups where you can just play the music, and chill out. Play it while taking a road trip. It's the perfect compliment to your journey.

Zooey Deschanel Sings in Elf

She and Him
She and Him

500 Days of Summer
500 Days of Summer

New Girl
New Girl

The Ups and Downs

Things sort of quieted down for a while for me. She was off making movies and doing TV shows and I was apparently missing them all. The next time I saw her was in The Happening (2008) with Mark Wahlberg. This is the movie written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Look, I know what you're going to say. But I love every movie M. Night does. As bad and cheesy as they are, I appreciate them because they are original ideas in a world full of sequels, prequels, and remakes. But again, we're not talking about him, we're talking about Zooey. She played the lead girl and was as dramatic and serious as she can be in a movie about plants and trees blowing suicide powder (potion?) in the air to kill off humans because we were super mean to them for some reason. Moving on.
Next up is the movie Yes Man (2008) with Jim Carrey. This is sort of the same as Elf where she plays alongside a funny man and gets to sing. We're in a lull in the relationship after the Happening and so I'm not overly impressed with what's going on. It's almost unforgettable. (I told you this was a journey. There's ups and downs.)
Then a big thing happened in 2009. She bravely portrayed the character of Summer Finn in the movie 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Why do I say bravely? Well for one she's playing the character of the girl that every guy has met and dated. The one that you're so insanely in love with and for some reason or another, it just doesn't work out. She drives you crazy leading you on and then leaves you shattered and broken. At the end of the movie, I hated her guts! But thinking about it, that just shows what great of an actress she is. She is playing a character whose guts you're supposed to hate. She was that girl that every guy has been in contact with that did that to them. This was the romantic movie from the guy's point of view. Do you see what you ladies put us through?!
Next Zooey made me laugh yet again just like the first time I saw her in The Good Girl. This time it was an online viral video from the website Funny or Die. It was called Drunk History Vol. 5. The video shows Jen Kirkman (Chelsea Lately) as she gets drunk and retells the story of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. Zooey played the character of Mary Todd Lincoln. These videos are amazing because while they're narrating the story drunk and getting everything wrong, they have celebrities reenact the incorrect scenes that they are telling. Here is the link to the video: Drunk History Vol. 5.
The thing that really sealed the deal for me and Zooey was just this past fall in 2011 when her show New Girl premiered on Fox. The movie star was breaking in to television. In the pilot, she played the lead character of Jess and basically had to carry the entire show by herself. Luckily, she does it with no problems. Also, luckily, the rest of the cast has grown in to their characters and I would now consider it an ensemble show. But I knew after seeing the first episode that I was hooked and I wasn't going to miss anything else this girl does. I almost want to believe that she is in real life exactly like the character that she plays on the show. And I keep having friends that are girls say to me how they want to be Jess and live in a place with 3 guys. Unfortunately, in real life, that doesn't happen. If you are a girl and you live with 3 guys, be prepared to live with some smells. You can't smell what's going on through your TV.
After her show premiered, I watched her in Your Highness (2011) and Our Idiot Brother (2011) and further sealed the deal with my love of Zooey Deschanel. But just when I thought she couldn't get any more adorable, she released a video online of her and Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing a song called "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Seriously? How can you NOT fall in love with this girl?
I can't wait to see what she's going to do next.

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Why 90s Music Is Better Than Everything Else

The Early 90s

I already know this will start some arguments. But I was inspired by my dearest friend Victoria. She is constantly on Facebook saying the 90s were the best time for music while subsequently posting a video of The Cranberries or The Gin Blossoms. But c'mon, let's get real here. The 90s really were the best. I'm going to give a few examples of the music that shaped me and who I am. Feel free to share your 90s music nostalgia!
The first group that comes to mind for me is Boyz II Men. I just remember getting the cassette tape and listening in my walkman, while sitting in the back of my mom's station wagon. Not the back seat, but the way back. That storage area/trunk space with no seats or seat belts that you apparently shoved your 3rd child in to and just hoped for the best. But while listening to CooleyHighHarmony, I heard about an East Coast Family. What? There's more greatness out there and they're all from around Philly?! Amazing. We got ourselves some "Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD." This was before the internet so I couldn't just Google what the hell that meant. I had to do some investigating. Luckily for me, I had older siblings who were probably so annoyed after I asked, that they told me with an annoyed sneer and shoved me out of their way, continuing on with their business. Another Bad Creation was next. It can be argued that Kriss Kross did it better, but ABC had more kids which made it more fun to listen to. This was awesome to hear kids around my age rapping and singing. Oh my gosh, it could happen to me! I had already been practicing my dance moves while watching Star Search. I'm half way there. If you don't know who they are, go on youtube and look up their video for "Iesha". Prepare to have your life changed. Then there's Bell Biv Devoe who were the bad boys of the group. I knew Poison was bad for you, but they sure as hell made it sound really good.

The Introduction of Compact Discs

I started to come in to my own in my pre-teens (as far as music goes) with the introduction of compact discs. I got a pretty sweet CD player/stereo but all I was missing were actual CDs. So off to the mall we go to visit the now-defunct-lifetime-music-guarantee-offering store, The Wall. I knew nothing about music except for what my siblings were listening to. But I wanted to mark my own niche. The first albums I picked up were (in no particular order) Weird Al's "Alapalooza", Janet Jackson's "Design of a Decade" and The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie soundtrack. Before you go judging, the Power Rangers soundtrack actually had good music on it and helped me discover some bands, mostly The Red Hot Chili Peppers. That's right, the Chili Peppers are on the Power Rangers soundtrack. Also the Janet Jackson cd was pretty good. I can get in to some R&B if I wanted to. Just picture a pre-teen suburban white kid in his room practicing dance moves to "If". This also proves that 90s Janet was better than 80s Janet and 2000-on Janet. (Ex. "That's The Way Love Goes", "Scream" with Michael, "Again".)
I began to watch VH1's Top 20 Countdown every week, now that I had access to music. This was in the day where everything on the countdown was good! I could watch the whole show and be cool with it! I definitely can't do that now.
Mariah Carey in the 90s was at the top of her game. She was sexy without trying too hard. Hanging out on roller coasters singing so high that only dogs can hear. Now she's trying to shove it in our faces. "Hey look at me! I'm not wearing much! I'm sexy! Remember? I'm sexy! Look at me dance sexy! I'm sitting on a car hood wearing a bra! Look! Do you see?!" Yeah we get it. Now stop it. Britney Spears was adorable in the 90s. She had the appeal to attract young girls and old creepy guys. Now today she needs to have constant supervision because who knows what the hell the girl is going to do. Madonna 90s is arguable. She was definitely better then, than she is now. But 80s Madonna was pretty hardcore. Madonna was usually the reason behind why I was confused with what was happening to my body.
To wrap it up, I'll just go through some bands/songs that got me through the confusing time of child to teenager.
Hootie and the Blowfish. They were everywhere! Listen to "Let Her Cry" now and tell me that doesn't hold the test of time.
TLC. Who didn't own a copy of CrazySexyCool?! R.I.P. Left Eye. Don't go chasin Waterfalls girl.
Alanis Morissette killed it in the 90s. Bitch was crazy! Then she runs off to India and now she's all zen? Someone needs to break up with her or maybe rob her house. I don't know. Just do something to piss her off and then shove her in a recording studio.
The Spice Girls. I added them mostly because I like that song "2 Become 1". Listen to it while you're hanging out with your significant other in a sexy setting. The title of the song is literally telling you to have sex. It's guaranteed. If you can't get laid while this song is playing, then you have no game, my friend, and probably shouldn't be having sex in the first place.
Lisa Loeb. Come on! "Stay"!?! This stuff is gold! If I was in the business of making movies, I'd play this song every time someone was falling in love with someone else. Every. Single. Time.
Marilyn Manson was brought to my attention the summer before I went in to high school. He was the guy that everyone loved to hate. My mom banned me from listening to him just like moms used to do with Kiss in the 70s. But of course, tell a high school kid they can't do something and what do you think is going to happen? I had the t-shirts, posters, every album, EP, single, necklaces and I went to every concert in the Philly area he did. I still do to this day. The only difference now is that no one is really that shocked by him anymore. So again, 90s Manson is better than current day Manson.
I'll list some random bands to show you how the music was better in the 90s, whether it be the actual band was better then, or just music was better in general. Radiohead. Third Eye Blind. Oasis. Green Day. Goo Goo Dolls. Collective Soul. Alice In Chains. Stone Temple Pilots. Soundgarden. Fiona Apple. LL Cool J. 2Pac. Notorious B.I.G. KoRn. Rage Against The Machine. The Smashing Pumpkins. Nine Inch Nails. Beastie Boys. Silverchair. Blind Melon. Veruca Salt. Garbage. Bush.
I am going to end this on the band that influenced me the most and I still love them to death. That would be No Doubt. I heard "Just A Girl" during the opening credits of Clueless and loved it, but didn't think it would relate to me as a young teenage boy. Then I heard "Spiderwebs" on the radio and fell in love. I was at the Jersey shore when I asked my mom if we could stop in the record store so I could pick it up. I saw that beautiful bleached blonde California damsel for the first time on the cover of "Tragic Kingdom" and my life was changed. Gwen Stefani was then quickly displayed all over my room. I actually had dedicated an entire wall of my room to her and the band. It covered every inch. Just ask my brother who was sharing the room with me at the time. After spending 17 of my 30 years obsessing over her, nothing has changed. I wanted to be Adrian Young, the drummer, so bad. I especially wanted his hair styles. I wanted to shave my head and have devil horns on the top. Leopard printed hair. Rainbow mohawk. Everything. I recently saw them in Philly in 2010 and at the end of the show, he threw out his drum stick right to me. It is still proudly on display. I am anxiously awaiting their new album and will be at their shows when they come back again.

Why I'm Too Old To Go To Hardcore Shows

I went to a hardcore show last night. Well, it was half hardcore. I call this a young people show. A show that I used to go to all the time when I was a young person. Now that I'm quickly approaching 30, I like to go to concerts where I have a seat and I'm not being pushed around and I don't have to stand. I like to sit and enjoy a show. Maybe have a few drinks. Yeah, I already said I was old. But I like the band D.R.U.G.S., which stands for Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows. I still like angry music every once in a while. It is funny though when my iPod is on shuffle and I listen to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" and then it's followed up by a hardcore screaming song. I like variety.
So I've wanted to see D.R.U.G.S. for a while but they kept opening for bigger bands in bigger venues that I didn't want to go to. So finally they announced that they were going to headline a tour at a small venue. $20, I was in. So last night was the big night. The show took place at Philly's own Trocadero Theater. Or is it Theatre? I have no idea. We knew there was going to be a lot of bands opening, so we tried to get there late. Unfortunately for us, we only missed the first band. Must not have been that late. We walked in and there was not a lot of people there. The band playing at the time were called My Arcadia. The only way I know this is because I found a friend of mine who was there and asked. She's more in touch with what was going on. I was showing my age. My Arcadia was like a junior Paramore, which is a junior No Doubt. So I guess My Arcadia would be No Doubt III? Either way the lead singer was a girl in a band full of guys. They were rocking out and she was singing all pretty. Adorable. I may have to check out their stuff online and see what it's like.
The next band were called Sparks the Rescue. They all came out and my first thought was, "Oh they are all 15 and I am not going to get this." I was definitely right.
The next band out was Like Moths to Flames. All these giant dudes came out on to the floor and there was this sort of energy starting. The band starts playing and the singer starts growling and screaming. The guys on the floor start a huge pit and they're running around swinging fists and kicking the air. That's their version of dancing, apparently. Now listen, this was not my first hardcore show. I've been to hundreds of concerts where there was moshing and punching. I've seen my share of blood and knocked out teeth. I'm saying it's not the concerts that are changing, it is me that is changing. I'm watching the pit and saying to my friend Beckie, "They need to be careful. Someone can get punched accidentally. They should be wearing helmets." This sentence sealed my fate as the old man at the young show. But I do have to say there still was a part of me that liked the heavy band and I still had that small flame burning inside that made me want to run in there and push around with them. But this face is my money maker, so I'll watch from the side.
The next band came out was called Hit The Lights. They were not as heavy and just sounded like any other band out there. My friend that I was speaking to before about what the band's names were, had a photo pass to take pictures of Hit The Lights. That was the only exciting thing about that band that I could think of.
Finally it was time for D.R.U.G.S. to come out! When I see shows, I buy the ticket for the headlining band. I don't want to see 500 shitty opening bands. So this show was a doozy with 5 opening bands. The band was a lot heavier than on their album. Granted, they have the heavy guitars and the screaming, but more so live. I kind of loved it and wished the album sounded like their live show more! The band only has one album so they played for 45 minutes. They even attempted an encore with 2 more songs. It was fun. But I was excited to leave for a couple reasons. I was cold, I was tired, my back hurt from standing and I was hungry. But hey, I am still young enough to enjoy a hardcore show. So I'm fine with that.