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Supercool Blogs That You Should Read

19 Jun

People have been asking me lately which blogs I really love to read. I know I need to mention these guys more, but here you have it. Here is a list of blogs and other stuff I dig– similar content to Soul Lab, but also very unique indeed.

Idol Chatter on Beliefnet.com combines the latest pop culture news with sort of a spiritual spin on TJI_REV-RUNthings. Yes, it totally makes sense. Recent posts have talked about stupid antics that Christians on reality shows have been caught doing (yeah, we’re talking about you Speidi); The Jon & Kate Plus 8 dilemma asking readers to share heartfelt advice– remember this is Beliefnet, not E! News; and an enlightening post on the 10 most inspiring celebrities using Twitter in positive ways… from Rev Run to Paulo Coehlo.

On YogaJournal.com, there are a couple of areas to check out. First, let me just say that I absolutely do not do Yoga (I’ve tried– Lord I’ve tried), but I probably will some day again and I really like the idea of it. So, what the hell, I get into Yoga Journal when I can. Check out the Yoga Buzz blog and you’ll find posts about Janice Dickinson trying to find natural laxatives in the jungle on an episode of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” Then there’s the hysterical web series, “Ogden: The Inappropriate Yoga Guy.” Check it out:

rainn-wilson-the-rocker1Spearheaded by Rainn Wilson, Soul Pancake is an uniquely cool site where life’s big questions are just put right out there for spiritually-minded hipsters (or seeksters as I prefer calling them) to dicsuss. There is a great emphasis on the relationship between spirituality and creativity which I appreciate. A recent post asks the question, “Is fear learned or inherent?” accompanied by a video of Spike Jonze trying to freak out his son by wearing a prop head from his latest movie, Where the Wild Things Are (coming out in October). I have to say that the quality of the comments in response to some of these questions is refreshingly thoughtful on the most part. In another post, the question is posed, “Are you a social chameleon” trying to understand the concept of putting on various personas to meet the expectations of variety of audiences in one’s life (I talk about this in another earlier post). They showed this cool video with that question:

Good Vibes: Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent

14 Apr
Contestant Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent Blew the Judges and Audience Away

Contestant Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent Blew the Judges and Audience Away

Susan Boyle, a 47 year-old single British woman who is unemployed, “never been kissed” and was ruthlessly mocked as a child for a disability is my new hero. Let me say that again. She is my new hero. If you have not seen this clip yet (over 1 million have already) check it out now. Lesson to self: be exactly who you are all the time. Never give up. Never Surrender. It moved me to tears… in a good way. Enjoy.

Flight of the Conchords: My New Favorite Song

4 Apr

I still can not believe we got such awesome seats for the May 7 performance of Flight of the Conchords at Bass Concert Hall. I haven’t been this excited since the Seven and the Ragged Tiger Tour from Duran Duran in 1984. Oh yeah.

And I hopinghopinghoping that they play my new favorite song, “Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor.” Bret and Jemaine are dreamboats.

Regular Shuffleboil Blogger

8 Jan

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For those of you who have not checked out Shuffleboil yet, shame on you. I am so very proud of my friend and writing colleague John Mitchell who started this wonderful ezine last year. It is full of some of the most intriguing content I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve learned about graphic novels, wine, film, and even enjoyed a steady dose of humor, music and TV reviews and some great heads up in a lot of new things in the pop culture department. All in all, you should bookmark it, and not just because I’m on staff. Speaking of which, I will now be a regular blogger for Shuffleboil, so check out my latest entry on Michael Moore’s 2007 doc, SiCKO.

Pop Candy – Episode 3

14 Dec

The only things that had really ever changed in Alex’s room were the color of the walls which had gotten darker over the years like dried blood, his posters and a black computer desk he had stolen from the neighbor’s bulk garbage pickup five years earlier. He had meticulously steam cleaned the exterior and used an exacto to remove stickers bearing the likenesses of Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Usher. He lay in his twin bed gazing out the screened window and listened to the whoosh of maple leaves that signaled a coming storm. He could not see the stars anymore. They had cleared the wild meadows near his house to put up a new subdivision – “Whispering Willows”- and the street lights, along with the ever growing population of outdoor shopping plazas (strip malls) had stained the night sky that he grew up with. It was black now. And that made him nervous.

It annoyed him that he knew there were stars in the sky, but he couldn’t see them. Though he had spent most every night with eyes squeezed shut listening to wind and crickets and the sound of Nightline blaring from his father’s office, he had suddenly realized that he absolutely must see the stars… or he would do something drastic. It slowly became a compulsion, but he did not realize how severe the itch to see the stars had grown until one night he burst out of his room, ran to the car and started the ignition all with the intention to drive far into the countryside until he could see the Big Dipper. That was the plan. But once he put the car into reverse, Alex blacked out and awoke to paramedics slapping his face. In the corner of his eye he saw his Dad’s car neatly tucked into  the side of the neighbor’s Suburban. The white steam slid into the night air and he thought how nice it would be to go to a sauna tomorrow. Just get all the toxins out, sweat out the pain and the chemicals and the crap he had been breathing in that disgusting room over the garage.

The next day, he had forgotten all about his night terror. He had blocked out all conversation with others throughout the day until it seemed he had only been awake for an hour or two. He was a stoic genius waiting. He knew that he had been born for a reason, and that all was not lost for his lack of work, ambition or focus these last few years. He discovered, during his blackout, that he was waiting for an idea. Just one, simple, exquisite idea that would shoot him out of this house forever. Maybe it was a household invention. Or a mathematical equation. Or an engineering breakthrough. Or something to help babies or dogs. He didn’t know. But he felt good knowing that it was just a matter of time until something happened.

Alex’s confidence soared while he shaved, clipped his toenails, washed his face and applied his topical ointment to the eczema on his feet. But for all the fantasizing about getting his due someday soon, his anxieties returned once the lights were out. He tried to focus on the crickets, but they would not chirp to the rhythm that was in his mind playing over and over. Ode to Joy. He had to quickly abandon the crickets. The trees were no better. Where there was wind last night, tonight it was as still as death. It seemed everything he wanted wasn’t there.

Alex felt his heart racing. His body was one large itch that could not be scratched. If he didn’t hear the crickets play Beethoven or see the hidden stars or hear the song of the trees that was soothing and sweet, he didn’t know quite what he would do. His mother had the only key to the liquor cabinet, and he was fresh out of the two liter plastic bottle of vodka he had finished the day before yesterday.

Alex reached over to his clock radio and looked at the time. It was 10:33 p.m. He tried to hold his breath for a full two minutes. If he could do that, he could do anything and everything would be OK. After 45 seconds, he let out a deep gasp followed by an alarming squeal and burst into tears. Alex’s hands darted toward the clock radio to hurl it against his bathroom door. It fell to the floor and the crackling volume pierced the air. He went to grab and adjust it, but he inadvertently tuned to the Co-op station. He heard the unmistakable voice of Kate Bush and felt that at least he had been thrown a piece of driftwood tied to an old boat on a tumultuous sea.

Alex pulled himself together, crawled into bed and tuned the station in so it was clear and uncluttered by static. He adjusted the volume. Not too soft so he couldn’t hear it, but not too loud that he couldn’t go to sleep. He lay flat on his back, palms up and spread out, face relaxed and he listened. He couldn’t remember when or if he had ever heard a Kate Bush song on the radio. Her voice was an instrument. He wished that Kate was actually his sister or cousin or aunt. Mostly, he let her birdly voice sing of a lonely woman waiting for her long lost love to return from the sea. It was haunting, and he fell asleep just as Ava’s voice pushed him into a dream… “thank God for Kate Bush. I’ll be back tomorrow. Until then, I’m Ava and this has been Pop Candy.”

The Conversation: Britney Spears

12 Dec

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(I’m Not That Innocent… ringtone)

Me: Hello?

Britney Spears: Hey, girl! Wassup? Where you at?

Me: Britney?

BS: Duh… wait. Hold on. (inaudible scuffle followed by) That’s right you fat cow, you better run! Or I swear to god…

Me: Britney!

BS: Oh hey Jen! You need somethin’? What’s up?

Me: You called me?

BS: I did?

Me: Yep.

BS: Oh yeah! Sorry, just some skanky ass bitch with a camera phone got all up in my…

Me: Britney.

BS: Oh yeah. Anyway, why don’t you come over for a playdate this weekend? I have the boys for a couple of hours and we can get tan and let the kids play in the pool and just, you know, chill.

Me: Um, I just don’t think that’s a good idea right now.

BS: Why not? Wait, just a sec… SHIT! I just hit something, but it sounded like a rock or something.

Me: You should go back and see.

BS: Naw… it was a squirrel. Man, that little guy sure had a death wish. You know my daddy used to…

Me: Please do not tell me you used to eat squirrel.

BS: (Pause) Okay.

Me: Listen, Britney?

BS: Uh huh?

Me: You know I’ve been a publicist for, like, almost 20 years, right?

BS: Uh huh. And how come you won’t let me hire you? It would be freakin’ AWESOME! Do you know how much work it is to figure out where to go to and who to go with? I mean, even though you don’t hardly drink or anything, you could still par-tay! And I wouldn’t have to drive.

Me: I can see where that would be a bonus for you. But for me…

BS: I’ll pay you like, how much does it cost, like, $15,000 a month, or $20,000 or I don’t EVEN know. Just whatever.

Me: It’s not about the money. It’s about, well, you’re out of control and you really need to get your act together, Britney. If not for your sake, for the sake of your kids. I’m being totally serious here.

BS: (hangs up)

Me: Hello?

(1 minute later)

BS: J-Ro?

Me: Yeah.

BS: It’s me.

Me: I know. You hung up on me.

BS: I thought about what you said and I know you’re right.

Me: But…

BS: But I am young and rich and sexy.

Me: You’re not that sexy…

BS: What?

Me: Nothing.

BS: I don’t want to talk about this. So, you coming over this weekend or what? I’ll let you give me some of your PR advice and junk. Oh, and there’s this new place on Robertson that sells little minature Hummers for toddlers and I want to get you guys one and a couple for the kids. I think they come in, like, 8 or 9 different colors and…

Me: Um… I live in Austin and I’m a writer and I really don’t have time to get to LA on a last minute…

BS: Uh huh… hold on my phone is ringing.

Me: But you’re on the phone with…

BS: The PINK one is ringin’. Hold up…

(Background: No I did NOT let the boys drink Pepsi and eat pop rocks at the same time. It was Coke and I was sittin’ right there with them and… hold on.)

BS: Jen, I’m gonna have to call you back. OK, so we’re on for New Year’s right? Vegas, baby! Yeah! It’s so cool you called. Bye!

Me: Huh? Yeah, right. Vegas. Listen, take care, Brit. And just love those boys. They really need you and…. hello? Hello?

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