My Subterranean Autumn

From a 2001 paper by George R. Priest, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Newport, Oregon:
Cascadia subduction zone tsunamis could conceivably cause the loss of tens of thousands of lives on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Paleoseismic and other data support Cascadia earthquakes with moment magnitudes of >9, rupture lengths of >1000 km and recurrence of 400-600 years; the last event was 301 years ago, so the conditional probability of another occurring in the next 100 years is high.

Ben Marcus in the LA Weekly:
—Similar to the megathrust fault in Sumatra that caused so much destruction throughout South Asia and East Africa, the Cascadia fault is a subduction zone where two massive tectonic plates meet in slow collision. From Cape Mendocino in northern California to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the Juan de Fuca plate is sliding under the North America plate and building up tremendous pressure.

This is the last day of 2004.

In September, I visited the Pacific Northwest to enrich my life and down cheap beer with various people I met online. I never finished reporting on my trip up north, so here goes.

Pretend it's September.

"Seattle, WA: University District"

I tag along with Mike to a housewarming party held by some of his friends from university. One of the housemates is sickeningly charming. He cooks, he cleans, he drinks wine, he listens to classical music. Worst of all, he gives me an extremely firm handshake.

God, I hate confident men.

"Seattle, WA: University District"

Chris didn't know the difference between a llama and a camel.

His housemate Chris Cheshire talks a lot. When's he's old enough, he should run for Congress just so he can filibuster. Seriously, this guy will talk at length about anything, accurate or not. Shoe repair, animal husbandry, Christopher Columbus…

Chris' other housemate Robert brags about how he once had sex with his girlfriend in a department store dressing room. He likes to eat uncooked hot dogs wrapped in tortillas with mustard and listen to Joy Division.

The housemates banished a television from the living room in order to "promote human interaction." That, and make room for a large hookah.

"Newcastle, WA"

Chris' brother Tim shares an apartment with Tony, who spends weekdays at his other apartment at school in Tacoma.

Tony's parents fled to Panama when the FBI set out to indict his father on charges of tax evasion and fraud. Apparently, Tony's father didn't pay taxes for many years and ran a pyramid scheme involving a guide on how to avoid paying taxes.

Tony pays for everything in cash. He accesses funds though a lone teller card issued by a foreign bank. The apartment in Newcastle is in Tim's name and houses many of Tony's family's belongings, including their big screen television.

While watching Entourage on HBO on Demand, Tim received a phone call from Tony's parents. They wanted him to fly their birds down to Panama. Tim eagerly agreed to embark on the all-expense-paid overnight trip to Central America with generous payment for "labor" upon delivery of the birds.

"Seattle, WA: University District"

Chris insisted that I smoke a cigarette with him.

I politely declined.

Chris Cheshire then explained to everyone on the porch that "more people smoke in Washington than in California because a study found that workers pools contain the highest concentration of smokers."


"Vancouver, BC: Downtown"

Vancouver is a lovely city. It is, according to Mike, the only place he's even seen a person actually smoke crack.

I saw a Mexican restaurant called "El Furniture Warehouse."

I saw Todd Bertuzzi jerseys on sale in a store on Robson Street. Needless to say, they were flying off the rack.

Dollar stores in Canada are a bargain for Americans if the exchange rate is low…and you like crap.

"Burnaby, BC"

At a Salvation Army store, I bought a shirt that says "Justice Institute of British Columbia."

I feel so awesome when I wear it.

—Why, yes, I am a member of the Justice Institute.

You know what's not so awesome?

"The Simon Fraser University Clan."

The Clan.

What kind of moniker is that?

I wonder if TSN sportscasters refer to SFU teams as the "Clan."

—Highlights of the Clan rally before the big game against UBC Tuesday.

Also: Who picked a Scottish Terrier to be the SFU mascot?


"Vancouver, BC: Chinatown"

At lunch, I realize that the text I brought to pass time during my side-trip to Canada is America: The Book.

"Vancouver, BC: Downtown"

Over the consumption of alcohol, Robbie remarks that if he could, he would never leave "Kits," short for "Kitsilano," an area southwest of downtown Vancouver.

Every time he says "Kits," I hear "tits" and immediately think of my boss' annoying catchphrase "that's tits!"

I decide to check out this provincial Eden known as Kitsilano.

"Vancouver, BC: Kitsilano"

To my dismay, Kitsilano is suburbia with more skate/snow shops.

I saw a bunch of stores with amusing names:
"Generic Computer"
"No Name Optical"
"The Limb Salesman"
"Cummings Cleaners"
and my favorite, "Chinese and Canadian Restaurant"

What, exactly, does Canadian food taste like?

Robbie is officially the only person I've ever met who prefers life in the suburbs.

Of course, Canadian suburbs are probably different from American suburbs. For one, as Michael Moore pointed out, nobody in Canada locks their doors.

"Vancouver, BC: Granville Island"

Mike's girlfriend Tiffany suggested that I visit the Granville Island Public Market.

After visiting it, I recommend everyone visit as well.

I bought a few gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free "cheesebread" loafs from a "cheesebread" vendor. They were delicious.

Outside the Market, I encountered a crowd gathered around a gawky teenager wearing an over-the-ear microphone like a pop star. He spoke with a lisp like Daffy Duck.

When I joined the circle, he was about to juggle flaming torches.

—Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to see some tricks!

The torches wouldn't light.

Two minutes later…

—Hold on, folks. The tricks will begin shortly. Let me just cue the music.

He couldn't locate his desired music on his iPod.

Two minutes later…

—Bear with me, folks. Let me just re-light these torches and then you'll see some tricks!

I felt embarrassed for him.

Finally, the music started and he performed a gay choreographed dance routine before segueing into torch juggling.

I re-entered the Market.

In the food court, one tenant put a little white board on its counter with a trivia question written on it. Next to the question was a picture of Quagmire from Family Guy.

I saw a boy (eight years old, maybe?) wearing a WWE hat and a t-shirt merchandising the HBO prison soap Oz. This must be the rampant Canadian liberalism that Democrats speak of, I thought.

I stopped by the teenage circus performer again as he was about to step onto a wooden plank resting on a ball six feet above the ground.

Two volunteers held the plank steady.

—Do not move or let go. If you move or let go, I could die!

I re-entered the Market and came across a female panhandler dressed like a spinster who lives with lots of cats. She had a sock puppet on her right hand dressed exactly like her. The spinster sat silently and still. At her feet was a briefcase with a sign that said "Make Moise Come Alive."

A young girl approached with her parents, tossed a loonie in the open briefcase and Moise "came alive."

The ensuing display of puppetry was absolutely pathetic. The spinster opened and closed her right palm repeatedly while moving her right arm back and forth in random directions.

That's all she did!

If I were the girl's parents, I'd be pissed. The man who pretended to be a robot near the coffee stand at least earned his donations.

I stopped by the teenage circus performer once more.

—Uh…this was not supposed to happen, folks!

There he stood, balancing himself atop a wooden plank atop a ball six feet above the ground with his pants around his ankles.

—What are you doing? Don't take pictures! Please!

"United States/Canada Border"

Two old ladies walked out of Customs and one of them exclaimed, "I thought they'd have a restaurant in there!"


The taste of ink is getting old

America's fastest growing franchise in the private education industry is Tutoring Club, or as my mother calls it, the Stupid Gentile Children Club.

I don't like how the spine of the "k" is truncated on posters for Meet the Fockers. It's poor typography and aesthetically displeasing.

Meet the Fockers, Ben Stiller's sixth film released in 2004, rips off the premise of the sitcom Dharma and Greg. Ben Stiller's first film released in 2004, Along Came Polly, also rips off the premise of Dharma and Greg. Both films were written by the same man, who, evidently, was a big fan of Dharma and Greg.

Maria Full of Grace? More like Maria Full of Baggies of Cocaine! Ahahahahaha!

In The Woodsman (released last week), Kevin Bacon plays a convicted pedophile who returns to society after a 12-year jail sentence. Damon Dash, CEO of Roc-A-Fella Records, signed on to executive produce the indie project, and Mos Def and Eve agreed to co-star for little pay.

Hip hop community members support a white pedophile. Where have I heard this scenario before?

Kanye West in the January issue of Spin:

Do you feel you deserve to be the Artist of the Year?
Yeah, I do. […] When you remember 2004, you will remember Kanye West. [Was there] any awards show, any category, anything I wasn't nominated for? Think about it.

Bob Simon from 60 Minutes asked if you thought you were a prophet.
I said no. But I was probably trying to conform to America. The answer, actually, is yes. Undoubtedly.

"Arrogance" by Kanye West. Do they sell that at Macy's?

Dear BOD for Men:

If your target audience is men, don't fill your television commercials with shots of inherently attractive half-naked men.


An astute observation has led to laughter

I saw Wake Up, Ron Burgundy.

Chuck D, of all people, plays one of the villains.

A few of my favorite lines:
—Eli Whitney's nose!
—Son of a man nipple!
—I'm Ron Burgundy, reporting from life!
—Spider-Man's balls, that hurt!
—It hurts like a bitchy-bitch!

Dreamworks packaged Wake Up, Ron Burgundy with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Best Buy packaged the set with an exclusive bonus Anchorman disc.

The Anchorman DVD includes over 60 minutes of bonus features, while Wake Up includes over an hour of bonus content and the Best Buy exclusive includes over 30 minutes of bonus material. That's a lot of bonus nonsense for an inconsequential film in the long run, especially considering that Wake Up is a 90-minute movie assembled from footage that would in any other case exist as bonus content.

I'm not thrilled about the addition of latches to DVD cases. Was this really a necessary packaging development? My other plastic cases shut (and remain shut) fine without the help of latches.

Letters and Tomatoes Department

I received a strange letter in the mail yesterday.

The envelope is addressed to "Jonathan Yu" and the return address says that the letter is from "The John Hawthorne Family" of "Puposky, MN."I have no idea who these people are.

I opened the envelope and inside was a letter printed within a watercolor border of mistletoe and ribbon. Here are some excerpts:

Dear Friends and Family,

The Christmas Season finds us snug and warm in our little cottage in the north woods, as the blizzard winds howl outside. We have been at Sweet Dreams for over three years now, becoming country folks as fast as we can!

At Country Faith Church we continue doing our Bible studies, attending services and small weekly care groups. Jacey and Corrine recently found out they had BOTH been praying for God's transforming touch, as fast as possible.

Mihai and Gabriela are attending seventh grade at Heartland Christian Academy (their 2nd year there after 4 years of home school). They receive much personal attention as well as the Bible study and character development emphasis missing from the government schools.

Jacey is busy with teaching business appraisal all across the country and even taught in Istanbul and Taiwan this past year. He continues writing evaluations in his charming little home office/log cabin.

So we count our blessings and thank God for them and thank God for you. God bless you very much this coming year. It would be great to see you.

Our Love,
Jacey, Corinne, Mihai, and Gabriela

…it would be great to see me?

Included with the letter is a glossy photograph of (I assume) the Hawthorne family in the middle of a snow-covered forest with two snow dogs. The son looks adopted.

The date on the photograph is (suspiciously) December 20, 2002.

The letter, however, appears to be legitimate. On the back of the letter are the family's home telephone number and personal e-mail addresses.

If this is a joke, it's certainly an elaborate joke.


Why did this family send me a Christmas letter and a photograph of themselves?

I'm going to call them.


All around Los Angeles, I've seen ads for an upcoming Discovery Channel special called Pompeii: The Last Day. The ads feature slogans like "Where do you run when the sky is falling?" and "How do you escape what you don't see coming?"

This is all, of course, squandered marketing. Discovery Channel would be foolish to air a special about a submerged island only a few weeks after the tsunami catastrophe in south Asia. I'm personally not very sensitive, but Disney delayed the late September 2001 release of Big Trouble (based on a novel by humor columnist Dave Barry) for eight months post-September 11 because of a scene involving a bomb on an airplane. Mind you, this is the same movie in which Stanley Tucci licks a woman's toes for pleasure and Patrick Warburton runs through an airport naked.

ALSO, ALSO, ALSO RELATED: Fuck you, America.


Last Tuesday, I visited the local Best Buy in the evening and learned that it had completely sold out of Napoleon Dynamite DVDs.

According to executives at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Napoleon Dynamite sold 60 percent of its initial shipment to retailers during its first day on store shelves.

Today (Tuesday), I visited the local Best Buy to acquire Wake Up, Ron Burgundy and Garden State and saw a table near the entrance to the store with at least 300 DVD copies of Napoleon Dynamite resting atop.

I hope a similar table will be set up next Tuesday with a bounty of Garden State DVDs atop it.

I should be the fuckin' home entertainment buyer for Best Buy. The chain is always slow to capitalize on a hot product. I remember last year, they didn't stock Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume One at all until a month after it had completely sold out its initial shipment on its first day of sale.

Non-Zero Possibility

Sonic Mania is a consecutive-day music festival in Japan in early February. Organizers assemble two different line-ups — one line-up plays Tokyo on day one and then Osaka on day two, the other plays Osaka on day one and then Tokyo on day two.

For Sonic Mania 2005, line-up one includes The Mars Volta and line-up two includes…Sparta.

Okay, now they're just taunting ATDI fans.

P.S. I wonder how painful it must be for Cedric and Omar to have to open for Good Charlotte. Haha.

Popn' Off At The F

Did anyone see yesterday's episode of The Price Is Right? A contestant successfully bid for a grandfather clock and then Bob showed her the prize she would be playing for: an all-expense-paid trip for two to Thailand.


Bob: Jeanette, you're going to play "What's Worth Less Than Laura Bush?"
Jeanette: Yay!
Bob: Over here are six items. Four of them contribute less to society than First Lady Laura Bush. In order to win the trip, you must identify those four items.
Jeanette: Okay.
Bob: Rich, what do we have for Jeanette today?
Rich: First off, counterfeit Monopoly money! $5,000 in Monopoly money we paid a hairy Greek man at the FedEx Kinko's down the street to reproduce.
Rich: Next up, a public service announcement by Paris Hilton! A 30-second television spot in which the hotel heiress espouses the benefits of "being yourself."
Rich: Next up, RealPlayer or Real One or whatever the hell it's called this week! A bloated, invasive media player with a media format that is still inexplicably used by some.
Rich: Next up, the complete Sonic Youth discography! Over 20 years of iconoclastic coasters that also play music in the event that you run out of Scent Stories.
Rich: Next up, Wyoming! The 44th state admitted to the Union whose motto is "equal rights," despite having a state law that defines marriage as a union between men and women only.
Rich: Finally, used toilet paper! Pungent burnt-sienna-streaked Charmin from my bout with diarrhea 15 minutes ago in the employee restroom.
Bob: Okay, let's see how much Laura Bush is worth today.


Bob: Now Jeanette, which of these items do you think are worth less than $0.13?

Audience: Monopoly money! RealPlayer! Wyoming!

Jeanette: The Monopoly money.
Bob: Okay.
Jeanette: The public service announcement by Paris Hilton.
Bob: Okay.
Jeanette: The Sonic Youth discography.
Bob: Okay.
Jeanette: And…um…

Audience: Wyoming! Toilet paper!

Jeanette: The toilet paper.
Bob: Okay, Jeanette. You selected the counterfeit Monopoly money, the public service announcement by Paris Hilton, the Sonic Youth discography and Rich's used toilet paper. Show us the value of the counterfeit Monopoly money!


[loser music plays]

Bob: I'm sorry, Jeanette. Let's see the values of the other items. $1.00, $0.67, $0.18, $0.73, $0.42. Well, it seems that nothing is more worthless than Laura Bush. We'll be back with Showcase Showdown #1 after these messages.

I'm gonna burn this city, burn this city

I saw an ad for Xzibit's latest album.

"Pre-loaded with high-impact, bass-blessed, agressive [sic], street-hardened, West Coast hip-hop [the copywriter must really like hyphens], 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' finds Xzibit digging deeper into his soul to create scorching salvos that get the party started while setting fire to your intellect."

"Scorching salvos that get the party started while setting fire to your intellect" — am I the only person who finds that clause hilarious?

I'm listening to the album right now and I just feel like dancing…and discussing Marcuse. Track 5 es muy caliente! Someone get my brain some water!

A Jaw-Grind Disposition to a Panic Attack

Very rarely am I hesitant to see a movie, particularly a horror movie, but I'm currently torn over whether or not to see this one horror movie.

The movie is Murder-Set-Pieces by Nick Palumbo (Nutbag), which opened on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles and will open January 7 in New York City.

This is the pro argument:


Murder-Set-Pieces is allegedly the first American horror film ever rated NC-17.

Moreover, it is the first film ever rejected by all three major film processing laboratories in the United States: Technicolor, DuArt and Deluxe.

Technicolor called the police and the offices of the film's producers were raided by the California Attorney General's office.

In addition, the film features the only 35mm footage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.Horror legends Gunnar Hansen ("Leatherface"), Ed Neal ("The Texas Chainsaw Hitchhiker") and Tony Todd ("Candyman") make cameo appearances.

This is the con argument:

Murder-Set-Pieces graphically details the sordid exploits of a neo-Nazi fashion photographer who slaughters showgirls, strippers, prostitutes and, ultimately, children in Las Vegas.

Film Threat:
"Often we wonder when the violence will stop. Surely there must be some way to end the aggressive and unrelenting bloodbath…"

LA Weekly:
"After about an hour or more of this stuff, I couldn't [continue]…"

"It's like being forced to watch one gratuitous torture-death scene after another, after another, after another, until you just want to stop and turn on Jay Leno…"

"I stopped caring long before the 15th naked stripper had her throat slit in gruesome close-up…"

Critics agree!

Do I want to really want to pay money to watch a 100-minute simulated snuff film in a grindhouse theatre? What does it say about me if I do?

I have until Friday to decide.


Gus at Waxeater voices my feelings about the supposed "battle for Christmas" that Bill O'Reilly couldn't shut up about throughout December.

I know a few people who feel shortchanged because this year, Christmas and New Year's Day both fall on Saturday, a day on which people usually get off work anyway.

In the northern hemisphere, summer and the holiday season are the two major vacation periods of the year. It must suck for Australians having to celebrate Christmas and New Year's during the summer.

I'd rather people give me nothing for the holidays than saddle me with boxes of See's Candies that usually end up half-eaten with holes poked in the snubbed candies.

I might enjoy See's Candies more if so many of them weren't utterly unpalatable. I mean, buttercream with chopped apricot and toasted coconut? Yuck.

I hate Christmas cards too.

Don't send me a card if all you do is sign it. Why do I need a mass-produced card with your signature on it? Save some trees. My holidays will likely be happy either way.

What is it about the holiday season that compels people to feed the needy? Why don't we hold food drives in March or July? The needy still need to eat the other ten months out of the year, don't they?

Did you know that ducks are birds?

Second place is first place for losers

In an interview in the December issue of Spin, Fred Durst says:
—I was one of the trench-coat types [in high school] in this rural North Carolina town, and there was this guy who used to hang out with us, a friend of a friend, who was an outcast too.

I think anyone who refers to themselves as an "outcast" should be punched.

Cut the "woe is me" crap.

True outcasts would never refer to themselves as "outcasts" because it's a pejorative used by those who supposedly cast them out.

It's like a NAMBLA member calling himself a "pervert."

I was at an AMC theatre recently and before the screening, Movie Tunes played a song by 2001 "flavor of the week" American Hi-Fi called "The Geeks Get the Girls."

This is the chorus of the song:
Tonight, tonight, he's gonna get it right
Even losers can get lucky sometimes
All the freaks go on a winning streak
In a perfect world, all the geeks get the girls

Anyone who identifies with those lyrics deserves to be called a "loser."

How can you desire a certain type of feminine ideal while decidedly swearing allegiance to what is considered being a "loser" or a "freak"? "Freaks" and "geeks" are supposed to hate the "girls" in context, not pine after them. Occasional lust wouldn't be contradictory, but they're not supposed to want to date them! By valuing the "girls," the "geeks" effectively condemn themselves.

when i came into this world i wanted to be premature

Sometime that night at the Video Game Awards, Jose received a phone call from PJ, the principal of my high school and one of my nemeses.

Here's the story:

In high school, PJ lived with her husband in Gilroy. My high school music director Robin (female) lived in PJ's guest house.

PJ allegedly had an affair with Robin.

My junior year of high school, Paige joined the faculty. She later incited the movement to kick me out of high school for indecency and thus became another one of my nemeses.

PJ called Jose that night to inform him that she and Paige just purchased a house together.

Apparently, PJ fell in love with Paige and divorced her husband.

Thank God the two can't have children together. They'd re-define the term "evil spawn."

Best Music Video 2004 nominees
"Always" — Blink 182 (dir: Joseph Kahn)
"All Caps" — Madvillain (dir: James Reitano)
"Big Brat (Uncensored)" — Phantom Planet (dir: Spike Jonze)
"Y Control" — The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (dir: Spike Jonze)
"Blinded by the Lights" — The Streets (dir: Adam Smith)
"Dream" — Dizzee Rascal (dir: Dougal Wilson)
"Steppin' Off" — Jason Forrest (dir: Jon Watts)
"Mad World" — Gary Jules (dir: Michel Gondry)
"Walkie Talkie Man" — Steriogram (dir: Michel Gondry)
"Year of the Rat" — Badly Drawn Boy (dir: Monkmus)

You're about to begin your ever…quest…

prerequisites: my 12.07.04 and 12.09.04 updates

Jose: Is "The Reason" nominated for any Grammys?
Me: "The Reason"?
Jose: Yeah.
Me: I know it's nominated for "rock song of the year."
Jose: Okay. [to himself:] …performing their Grammy-nominated song "The Reason."
Me: Wait.
Jose: Yeah?
Me: "The Reason" is not a Sum 41 song.
Jose: But it says "The Reason" on the production schedule…
Me: No, it says "No Reason." "The Reason" is a Hoobastank song.
Jose: Oh.

He earns $60,000 a year doing this.

I attended the 2004 Spike TV Video Game Awards on Tuesday with my buddy Jose, the game beat reporter for the Washington Post.

I picked up a press pass and entered the press tent.

I have never seen a sorrier group of people in my life. I had to make sure that I didn't accidentally walk into a comic book shop.

Jose needed to file a report under deadline, so he sent me out to cover the red carpet. I stood next to the female reporter for EB TV and another dubious broadcast reporter who went to his Sadie Hawkins dance freshman year of high school with Laci Peterson and kept dropping crass comments about Scott Peterson into his interviews with celebrities.

Among the celebrities I saw up close: Bam Margera, Green Day, Kelly Hu, Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boyz, Method Man, Tara Reid and Tony Hawk.

The actual awards show left much to be desired. It was an improvement over last year's trainwreck, but that's not saying much. Being a prisoner of war is less painful than last year's show.

I watched this year's show with a copy of the production rundown in my hands. I knew every aspect of the show in advance. It definitely sounded better on paper.

What I read:
"Ludacris re-enters & jumps from bridge."

What you saw:
Ludacris floats down to the stage via wires.

(Who is that midwestern-looking white dude posing as a hardcore singer during Ludacris' recent "rock" performances of "Get Back"?)

What I read:
"Tommy Lee flies in on drum kit & lands in…
Pyro: Ring of Fire."

What you saw:
Wires slowly lower Tommy Lee down into a ring of flames that, with enough lighter fluid, I could easily re-create in my barbecue grill.

You know an awards show is lousy when Anna Nicole Smith cancels, the host of the show performs twice with the same partner, the evening's main attraction is Mötley Crüe, and the best person they can find to introduce them is the host of the pre-show.

Snoop Dogg was supposed to perform his remix of "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors with The Doors, but evidently, Ray Manzarek still possesses some integrity.

The problem with a video game awards show is that few video game designers are recognizable, and at the same time, it's strange to see the actor who played Hellboy accept an award for Halo 2. It doesn't work either way.

During every commercial break, Funkmaster Flex would implore the audience to "make some noise" and be livelier on camera for this pathetic spectacle.

Because Flex yells everything he says, his little motivational speeches quickly grew annoying.

I kept imagining how mortified Anne Frank would be if Flex was stuck in that attic with her.

When introducing presenter Danny Masterson, Fuckmaster had to mention Demi Moore. The teleprompter spelled her name "Demmee Moore."

Katamari Damacy looks really fun.

Me: Who wrote this headline?
Jose: What does it say?
Me: "King Pong."
Jose: What?
Me: The headline for your article is "King Pong."
Jose: What does that mean?
Me: I assume it's a combination of King Kong and Pong, you know, the first video game.
Jose: Who's going to get that?

The final edition of the article ran under the improved headline "Major Players." The subheadline still stunk, however.

"Are Video Games, Like, Huge? Dude, They've Got Awards, Even."

Apparently, Don Graham put valley girls in charge of writing subheadlines for the Style section.

I contributed this graf to Jose's article:
—Tuesday night's show was a long way from last year's not-so-spectacular one, taped at Las Vegas's MGM Grand and featuring a wrestling match between WWE "superstars" Chris Jericho and Rey Misterio [sic], with porn star Jenna Jameson as the ring announcer. Back then, many hard-core video gamers, a devoted and possessive lot, were ticked off — was this about video games, or was it about Spike TV? How could Madden NFL have won game of the year yet lose to Tony Hawk Underground for sports game of the year?

I informally dictated all that to him! Me!

Jose's flying back to Los Angeles next year to cover E3. He says he might be able to secure credentials for me. Woot.

Lamest Video Game Based on a Television Show 2004 nominees
American Idol
Cold Case Files
CSI: Miami
Law & Order: Justice Is Served

Nuclear Waste? Bring That Shit (We Want a State Full of Radiated Super Heroes)

It's time for the belated news round-up!

This is how you write "Obama" (as in Illinois state senator Barack Obama) in Chinese:

O. Ba. Ma.

And this is how you write "Alan Keyes" in Chinese:

Two people got that joke.

Sports Illustrated on Campus reports that Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia Tech are just a few of the schools that have knockoff "LiveStrong" wristbands.

Soon, enough different-colored wristbands will exist that college students can play their own version of the jelly bracelet game "Snap".

According to "Snap" color definitions, an Illinois wristband would be good for a kiss, while a Michigan wristband would result in a blow job. There is no definition for maroon, so let's add red and purple together and say that an Oklahoma wristband would beget a lap dance simulating anal sex.

Colleges might as well sell knockoff magnetic ribbons too.

Here's my design for a Michigan ribbon:

Get it? "Blue" sounds like "troops" and it's also what Michigan students refer to Wolverine athletes as! How clever am I?

Then like the Illinois magnetic ribbon could say "Support our…uhh…umm…

I don't know what Illinois' mascot is.

The Steamers? (No, that's Cleveland…) The Steamboats? Steam… I believe it's "steam" something… Steacon Steamons?

Screw it. I'm going to call them the Never-Nudes. It's definitely not that, but "The Illinois Never-Nudes" is rather catchy, don't you think?


Jesus ranch, the fuck is Illinois' mascot?

Stupid Big Ten. Can't even count the number of schools in the conference properly.

UCLA has a new logo.

Keith Bright Strategic Design created the new logo at a cost of $98,000.

Daily Bruin columnist Daniel Miller:

"UCLA could have paid me $50 and I could have typed out 'UCLA' in Helvetica font, italicized it and it would've been a done deal. Here, I'll try it: UCLA.

That looks pretty good, doesn't it?"

I learned that my boss used to work at a record store in St. Louis with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and that the Wilco book quotes some of their former co-workers.

Apparently, all you need to do to score airplay on VH1 is be shot to death at point blank range.

Best Tinnitus-Inducing Album 2004 nominees
(Adam Robot refused to cut it down any further)
Charmer — Breather Resist
Christmas — Old Man Gloom
Leviathan — Mastodon
Lickgoldensky — Lickgoldensky
Panopticon — Isis
Terrifyer — Pig Destroyer
The Eye of Every Storm — Neurosis
Within Dividia — The End

Best Wrestling Match 2004 nominees(if Robot gets to indulge, so do I)
Royal Rumble — WWE Royal Rumble 2004
Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero — WWE No Way Out 2004
Rock 'n' Sock Connection vs. Evolution — WWE WrestleMania XX
Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels — WWE WrestleMania XX
Mick Foley vs. Randy Orton (Street Fight) — WWE Backlash 2004
America's Most Wanted vs. Triple X (Cage Match) — TNA Turning Point 2004

Q: Which celebrity does your daughter look like?
A: Chris Farley

— from a commercial for Date My Mom

The complete 2004 Adam Riff™ archives are up.

In Hornblower's update from May 20, 2004, he wrote about reading an article about three teenage boys accused of gang-raping an unconscious minor in Orange County to Jord, Jon Wilcox, Warp Pipe Chad and I when the guys were in town for E3.

I saw this in yesterday's paper:
—A 14-year-old boy accused of robbing and raping boys near an Anaheim junior high school is a "little" boy who should be charged as a juvenile rather than an adult, his defense attorney said.

—The boy is charged with four attacks on boys walking near Ball Junior High School. Authorities say he threatened them with a knife and demanded money. In two cases, he allegedly took the victims in an alley and sexually assaulted them.

—He is believed to be the youngest person ever charged as an adult with rape in Orange County.

Underage. Homosexual. Rapist.

Man, teenage boys in Orange County must be really desperate to get laid.

I got soul but I'm not a soldier

Memorable radio moment:
I turn on the radio. Live 105. Commercial. "Now you've got a friend in the diamond business…" Pre-recorded news. "Former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell…" Station program director Sean Demery interrupts to mock Pantera. Haha. Caller requests Soul Coughing. Good choice. DJ plays "Super Bon Bon." Typical. DJ asks listeners to identify a sound clip. Easy. "Tonight, Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins. DJ plays "A Letter to Elise" by The Cure. Sweetness.

I attended Live 105's Not So Silent Night winter music festival on Friday.Lots of thirtysomethings dancing.

New rule: Girls 5'6" or shorter who try to squeeze by me toward the front of a pit will have their ears ripped off. As for the guys who do, I'll leave them alone. I can beat up girls though!

In summary:

Taking Back Sunday
Nolan wisely left.

Stole the show, in my opinion. Matthew Bellamy is a total rock star. I want his keyboard with different lights triggered by each key.

Paul Banks wore a bucket hat and looked like Johnny Depp. His mic was jacked. Carlos D looked like a Nazi played by Crispin Glover. I liked when the drummer simultaneously drummed and smoked a cigarette.

The Killers
Brandon Flowers looked like a cross between Scott Weiland and Joel from Good Charlotte. Easy on the eyeliner, buddy. Also: What's up with the diamond-studded keyboard stand? You're not Paris Hilton. The band sounded weak when Brandon wasn't playing keyboards. Consider hiring someone.

Franz Ferdinand
People say Franz stole the show. To each his own, although the audience did mark out like whoa for "Take Me Out." Alex Kapranos looked like Geoff Rickly of Thursday dressed like a Hive.

Modest Mouse
Played nine songs, only four of which were off the hit album, among them a particularly crappy version of "Float On." Needless to say, the band did not endear themselves to any non-fans. Again, to each his own. They played all my favorite songs. Plus, I admire artists that don't give a shit about what the audience wants. We try to do that on this website.

Isaac mumbled something about how he thought radio shows usually suck and how he actually dug all the bands that played Not So Silent Night, adding that "any show without Blink 182 is good with me."

Dan The Automator
Spun hip hop during set changes. Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz tracks sound "ear delicious" on a massive soundsystem. At one point, Lyrics Born joined him to perform "Callin' Out." Time flies…

Best Movie Trailer 2004 nominees
The Day After Tomorrow
Garden State (the trailer, not the teaser trailer)
Spider-Man 2

Kiefer Madness

I attended a screening of first three episodes of the fourth season of 24 on Thursday.

Judging by the people in attendance, I'd say that 90% of 24 fans cannot menstruate.

For the alleged final season of 24, only Jack Bauer, President John Keeler and…Chloe O'Brian return.

Fired for being a heroin addict, unexpected terrorist activities drag Jack back into the world of CTU. Chloe is his accomplice, probably because she's the only person at CTU who remembers him.

This go-round, the terrorists are good ol' Arabs. Among them is the Araz family.

The actors who play the mother and son of the Araz family also played the mother and son of the Arab family in the 2003 film House of Sand and Fog. Suddenly, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jonathan Ahdout are to Arab mother and son roles what Pat Morita was to Asians up until the 90s.

The fourth season of 24 premieres January 9 and 10 on Fox — two hours on Sunday and another hour on Monday, the show's new broadcast night.

The second half of the first hour is particularly sweet.

In other news, I graduated from UCLA with a degree in English on Thursday.

Before you mock my degree, I'd like to point out that Jack Bauer also graduated from UCLA with a degree in English, and people think he's badass.

Granted, I don't have a second degree in criminology from Berkeley, but I'm working on something.

Someday, I will be a badass English major.

Best Cameo 2004 nominees
Arnold Schwarzenegger — Around the World in 80 Days
Lance Armstrong — Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Chuck Norris — Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Neil Patrick Harris — Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
Topher Grace — Ocean's Twelve