Sales tax revisited.

Posted in Affiliate Marketing on June 29th, 2011 by byronkho

The affiliate marketing world just experienced a major seismic event today. California finally made the brazen step of passing legislation that forces online retailers to collect California sales tax regardless of physical presence. Clearly, the governor’s office thought that this move would bring in more tax dollars for a state that is drowning like the Titanic. One can thank the reckless stupidity of the lawmakers that introduced Proposition 13 back in 1978, and the voters who passed it – an effective ban on hikes to existing taxes, as getting 66% of the populace to agree on an increase will never, ever happen. Thus, they’re stuck trying to find and create new taxes: surcharge this, surcharge that, and oh, by the way, an Internet sales tax that circumvents federal law about interstate commerce. It’s not so bad that Internet purchases require payment of a sales tax. It’s that one state decided it would make its own decision about what “nexus” means, and thus decide all these unknowns about online marketing that the federal government should be deciding. You know, so there’s fairness involved? Like not screwing all the other states out of their share, or enraging them to do exactly the same thing and just hurting the businesses and affiliates trying to market them? Imagine a sale made to a California resident by an Illinois company with servers in Texas, and 8% sales tax collected by each state because each decided that they had a case for presence (whether location of purchaser, seller or seller’s technology) for a wonderful total of 24% tax. It seems ludicrous now, but could very well go that way if other states follow suit.

Amazon has already fired all its California affiliates (meaning tens of millions of possible tax revenue gone, and just Amazon alone), and we have yet to see what other companies with any kind of affiliate presence will do. Many people seem outraged, but who knows how many of them will follow suit and actually move away from California. Some won’t be able to afford moving (what with the property market as it is), or unwilling to leave Silicon Valley behind, or even unable to leave the beaches behind… In any case, BIG business is bound to move to other states, because they have the resources to do so and have the profit motive in mind, which will be maximized by living in a friendlier state. The fact that the law seems to be vague right now (how does the law apply to agencies/networks, who are sometimes in a quasi-merchant role?) will also make it more likely that grey area companies will want to move. In all, it seems like it’s making California less money in the short-term, and give the state an anti-business reputation that might be hard to erase. It is fact that all previous states that employed this same type of legislation have all lost a lot of tax revenue from online marketers who ended up moving. Plus, those states lost out in other areas too: property taxes from those individuals living in the state, income taxes from those same individuals, plus sales taxes on anything local they bought – plus all the economic blessings they bestowed on local businesses while there. If Jerry Brown really wanted to do something revolutionary, it would be to destroy Proposition 13 so they had some room to maneuver. Personally, I think California is doomed to die a slow death no matter what they do -because they will never be able to destroy Proposition 13, short of a revolution. The worst thing is that they’re responding to big box retailers like Walmart (not even the mom and pop local stores, really) who have physical stores, and who want to crush all their online competitors who have successful affiliate programs to increase their sales. The end result (I assume) they hope for is that the online retailer with “no” physical presence decreases or loses all their sales in the state, and their affiliates no longer want to serve them… which leaves them open to servicing the big box retailers like Walmart who ALSO have an online presence and so are unperturbed by this whole sequence of events.

I’m not opposed to having a sales tax. I’m just inclined to think that the federal government should be the one mandating a national sales tax and setting the definition for Internet marketing nexus (with recourse to the Supreme Court if necessary), actually collecting it, and doing the monetary distribution to the states (this last part being extremely important). That would remove all possibility of unfair advantage and anti-interstate commerce (so businesses would not have to run away from any state), vague definitions of nexus without proper industry input (some dude in the CA tax department can’t just say you have a CA nexus because they say you do, and which is impossible to fight unless you have tens of thousands of dollars and oodles of time to prosecute the state) and the crushing tax paperwork that could otherwise swamp your business. How do small businesses remit to 50 states and fill out all the proper paperwork? They would have to waste way more time filling out 50 sets of confusing tax documents with so many extra traps to get caught in, and thus more tax penalties. Instead, they’d avoid doing business that would entrap them like that… which is what we see here, people moving to another state to avoid the burden, and even shutting down if there was nowhere they could go to avoid the tax headache – obviously bad for retailers who need the marketing exposure. This nexus and interstate commerce issue is an important one that needs to be covered by the federal government, much like mail-order businesses were decided not to have physical nexus just because they mailed catalogs to a state.

Next to Normal, The Hole.

Posted in Personal on June 28th, 2011 by byronkho

Watched Next to Normal on Sunday at the Academy. Alice Ripley replaced by Pearl Sun. I had seen Ripley do the job before and she fit the part to a T, though I was annoyed at how neurotic she played it. It was good precisely because it was somewhat annoying. Pearl was much calmer in the role, a little more sympathetic because she had much more mild “symptoms.” Additionally, she was a little better vocally. I noted somebody near me saying that “she looks Asian… but she sounds really good.” Clearly referencing the lack of Asians in musical theater, but unsure if it was an insult or not. I found myself thinking about the totally Caucasian progeny of an Asian mother and a white father, and how that would mean the Asian mom was an adoptive mother – and from there, how that would change the emotional landscape of the entire show. Decided that was too complicated, so just ignored the racial identities. Did not like the dad. Perhaps it was an off day, as it sounded like he needed a glass of water several times. The son was all right… his voice had some flair, but I felt like anything he sang that wasn’t showboating or strongly focused whisper singing was kind of flat (ie. the chorus would sound great, and the verse would be… dead in the water). I really liked the daughter in the Broadway version, as she communicated her sense of angst and frustration and eventual semi-resolution with the father so perfectly. Versus Sunday’s daughter, who didn’t do anything wrong but it just felt like she was going through the motions rather than inhabiting the part. Psychiatrist was spot on. Mics had a momentary issue during the show, and some of the musical cues weren’t perfect. I noticed the violin making a poor ending on one of the songs… nothing major though. Visually, they didn’t change anything. Almost exactly the same blocking, and the stage design wasn’t changed. I’ve never seen a show on Broadway than off it right away, so this was the first time noting what kind of changes they may have made. Seems to me the only real change was the cast.

B’way cast.

I bought the Next to Normal songbook, and was aggravated it missed out on a bunch of songs. For good reason, probably, since the missing songs would probably be really complicated to create a piano reduction for. Oh well. I dug through my old scores and played through You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and tried to do Falsettos… but that show is just too impossible to sing through by yourself. Technically, I can do so. But it’s not in the simpler style of older musicals, so it requires vocal parts that aren’t meshed in with the accompaniment, and with more mixed singing (sans harmony), thus requiring I at least double myself. I got the Last Five Years songbook dirtcheap, even though I have the scored version. Advantage, songbook, as it has some good reductions that the score doesn’t put in (seeing as there’d be an orchestra to take over those parts otherwise). After the musical jam, I went upstairs and listened to “The Ed Sullivan Show” from Bye Bye Birdie, and the Noisettes sing that Italian pop song from Nine. All good.

Note who didn’t get credit (before she was famous).

While reviewing hundreds of publisher applications, rewatched The Hole. Decent boarding school moody thriller flick… four kids play hooky during the hols and hole up in, well, a hole. A bunker, really. They get locked in and one girl survives. She retells the story several times, and the student hacker that altered school records to get them the reprieve also has a say after being charged with locking them in the bunker and being responsible for the subsequent deaths. I wondered where they’d find a bunker in THAT level of operation (electricity working!)… I know there are disguised bunkers scattered around the English countryside, built during the War as protection from the Blitz, but have no idea if there’s any sort of “Bunker Beautification and Renovation Committee” floating around. With a cast full of teen heartthrobs, the viewing audience is likely to be teens as well… and that makes it odd that the filmmakers would include a bunch of male nudity (girl walks into male dressing room and waits for naked guys to leave shower stalls so she can have some alone time with her man) and also Kiera Knightley (oh yes, it’s her) in the nude – but as a corpse. YAY!

[SPOILERS] When the credits rolled, all I could think of was “manipulative little bitch,” which seems like something some chauvinist pig would say, but when you consider a girl that coerces her best friend into letting her entomb herself with the man of her dreams (knowing full well that her best friend loves her) and the “popular kids,” gets her rival killed and then forces the guys to turn on each other, only reveals she has the key to the place after it’s only her and dreamboat left (at which point he goes ballistic and tries to kill her, but dies when the ladder breaks and makes him fall), blames the whole thing on her best friend after she makes her escape (which means he’s on trial for capital crimes, seeing as he supposedly locked them in there and was intending murder, even though he didn’t commit it directly), kills him to get him to shut up, and then clearly contemplates killing the psychiatrist working with her after she tells the real story to her in the Hole. The psychiatrist is like WTF, and can’t do anything since there are no other witnesses, everybody having died. History is written by the victors. I like complicated plots in “simple” genres. It makes for a refreshing movie that is great for rewatching. I can’t rewatch most of the blockbusters that come out because there’s no thinking involved. A rewatch usually involves seeing details I never saw before so I can reinterpret the whole movie, but there’s never anything new garnered from seeing Fantastic Four a second, third or tenth time.

Awesome beer.

Barbeque in West Philly celebrating Christine’s 28th and Andrew’s 30th. Saves money, I guess, if both partners can celebrate just one time! Tons of Yards’ around, I assume purchased at an extreme discount as birthday boy is a brewer for Yards. Must be a real sweet job. Apparently half the Yards crew went on holiday with him in Germany a month ago. Those who drink together… that’s what you call office bonding. Met a neuroscience researcher and talked animal death for a while. Speaking of animals, ya hear about San Francisco trying to ban animal sales? Supposedly to discourage puppy and kitten mills, but really just to bankrupt animal stores and put more people out of business. Those buying food for their snakes or trying to buy their pedigreed pups regardless will just go out of the city to get it, or go to the underground at which these animals will be brought up in worse conditions and sell for ridiculous prices. Anyways, after the whole death thing, I strolled over to the gas station with her while she bough a pack of human death. That night I had 11 beers and NO food. Until much, much later. Thought it’d be a horrible mistake, but not bad – still got up at 9 the next morning, and didn’t feel like crap! Christine knows Jeff Barg, so there goes another small world reference. She’s talking about moving to New Orleans, and I just saw that friend Julia just went to New Orleans, and god knows how many years I’ve thought about doing a New Orleans trip. Gah. Some other random fun people, including the kitchen manager at Local 44 and a programmer who made boring financial software but knew the value of a beer. Random and fun? LulzSec retires. Commence speculation.

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Hacking, MySpace, more Pottermore, William Gibson.

Posted in Opinion on June 24th, 2011 by byronkho

LulzSec making the news again… at least I assume it’s LulzSec, as if it weren’t, the real culprits SHOULD be clamoring for the attention and credit rather than staying quiet and letting LUlzSec take all the glory. Not that I would call it too glorious at this point. Lots of hacks of online gaming companies, for what purpose? Not sure. Seems like just another anarchist movement, not one trying to expose corporate weaknesses, corrupt governments, etc. Philosophically, how does hacking Bioware and exposing relatively poor corporate network security have anything to do with hacking and then releasing information on Arizona law enforcement and counterterrorism operations? They’re really not on the same level, and are either signs of a split personality within the organization (with divided goals), or a movement dedicated to Anarchy with a capital A (ergo, lulz). I resent them attacking PBS, as that was just a lame-o attack on sitting ducks. I also kind of resent the targeting of gaming companies. I understand targeting Sony for pursuing actions against people rooting and reverse engineering their software – which I consider to be morally permissible, as these people bought the equipment for their own private use and are not profiting by it in any business sense. I do not understand them attacking other MMORPG companies just because they can, without any real motive other than screwing with gamers, who are likely part of the grumbling herd of smelly humanity and not the head honchos and evil fat cats that they supposedly want to teach lessons to. I also don’t understand revealing information about counter-terror investigations into neo-Nazi groups and drug cartels, as that will directly get people killed. All people who likely have no power to write the laws or change them. I mean, if the hackers are employees of the cartels, it may make some sense, I guess…

MySpace is now worth somewhere under $100 million, which is the asking price by News Corp – who bought it for $500 some million. If I bid $50, can I have MySpace? I might even beat the other guy’s bid… the ‘other guy’ being an investors group including the MySpace founder and CEO as members. Nice. The former CEO says he cringes when he visits his MySpace page (well, could that be more his fault than MySpace’s?), and the first friend of every MySpace member doesn’t update his page regularly… March 2010 to be exact.

Reading is fun. I’ve found out that Warner Brothers owns the video game rights to the Harry Potter brand, so any video games would require their involvement and approval. That suggests that Pottermore, with its Sony association, will unlikely be able to make it into a genuine MMORPG (as it may involve distribution as a separate program, which may arguably make it a video game… I’m sure some legal expert could parse the real rules down to the bone here). Warner was rumored to be looking for a developer to make a Harry Potter MMORPG for the last several years, which made the acquisition of MMORPG developer Turbine in 2010 incredibly suspicious. But no, there are no plans from that quarter to make a HP game. So I guess Pottermore will stay as it is: just a fun exploratory venue for a franchise to flag or imbue interest in the series – enough to persuade people who haven’t bought the books already to buy the digital version. It’s also good and bad news for eReaders and their creators. Big entertainment franchises are supporting eReaders! Yay! People are not buying the eBooks at the eReader distributor’s sites and access points, and instead getting them through individual site distribution… boo. Her print publishers will be happy that Rowling is giving them a cut of the sales, though I’m not exactly sure why she is doing that other than to be nice. Also, no DRM on the eBooks. Which is awesome. At this moment, I am contemplating joining up on July 31 to find that magical Quill, as I love treasure hunts. But if it requires me to be too much of a HP geek (aka, I will need to consult the Leaky Cauldron or something), I may decide to leave it to the other 999,999 fans who have more than just my passing interest. One thought: perhaps the eBooks will be much, much more interactive than just text on a screen. I’m just picturing audio (those Screamers voiced by the actors actually shrieking at you) and video (no scenes from the movies, but perhaps re-enactments of spells) and games (Harry Potter kabbalic-Sudoku for a reading break). For somebody who hasn’t really cared about the series, I’ve sure typed a lot more about the series than I originally intended to.

Why nobody doing anything online should live in Taiwan: blogger jailed over critical restaurant review. Saying noodles are salty should not cost you a month in jail and $7000 fines. If criticizing a one-location restaurant can result in such heavyhandedness, imagine what saying anything about some bigger companies or entities (yes you, you possibly corrupt government agencies you!) would do to your career, your freedom and your wallet! No thanks. I wonder if they’d prosecute foreigners who visited Taichung, went to the restaurant, and then posted that it sucked from their Taichung hotel room. Committing “slander” on Taiwanese soil…. uh oh. By the way, I did have some nasty food at some restaurant in downtown Taipei a few years ago. If I remembered the name of the restaurant, I would commit a scathing review to print, but as it is, I cannot. I CAN commend the nameless street vendors whose food was actually good, but even that could be called slander if the judges decided that vendor’s food was actually really bad.


A good laugh on this one: Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime. If I’m too busy committing unspeakable acts against aliens in the dark of space, I’m not committing unspeakable acts at the bodega on the corner. I guess it makes sense… but it’s really a stretch.

Tyrion Fozzister, making a rare appearance outside of AWESOME. (Game of Thrones finale watching soon, long after everyone else…. sadly…)

Oh, and Georgia, Georgia on my mind. Because you followed Arizona, you’re set to scare off all your migrant workers and lose 30-40% of your usual $1 billion in agriculture revenues next year because you don’t have the labor to pick your crops and ready the fields, and the governor says that you can use PRISON labor because they’re, ahem, there and willing. When you got a hell of a lot of bankrupt farmers collecting welfare, you may want to reconsider laws that aren’t helping you and instead making all those people who shouted for that legislation the loudest… even poorer. (Directly, if they’re farmers. A little longer, if just due to trickledown. Less business taxes collected from farmers, increased taxes on population to make up tax revenue, etc etc.)

William Gibson gives awesome interview.

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City Hall.

Posted in Personal on June 23rd, 2011 by byronkho

This is Philadelphia.

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Wine, jazz and Pottermore.

Posted in Personal on June 23rd, 2011 by byronkho

Magnificent chocolate and champagne tasting at Lacroix. Having drunk many wines but never lectured on it by a sommelier, I am happy to now be a little bit more informed. No, Veuve Clicquot was not served, and neither was Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon or Bollinger.

Stored sloped downward.

Things learned: proper champagne made by Champagne rules is at least 3.5 years old, 3 years for the secondary fermentation and 6 months to sit after syrup has been added. Proper champagne is also made in-bottle rather than fermented in vats; in-bottle features small bubbles (one sure sign of a good champange) whereas vat or poor quality champagne making will feature larger bottles, which evidence an external injection of gases rather than natural processes. Snobby Frenchmen (who knew what they were doing, apparently) have decreed that only three varieties of grapes may be made into Champagne: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay. These are made into normal still wines. The suitably aged wine is then uncorked, and yeast and sugars added in for the secondary fermentation process. They are allowed to sit for three years (under the tight rules of the Champenois governing body) sloped downward, with occasional turns of the bottle to knock yeast loose from the bottoms and side so that the yeast settles on the cap. The cork is reinforced with wire (otherwise it would explode loose, as in the accidental creation of the Champagne sparkling wine by Dom Perignon in which he bottled a wine during a cold year in which the yeast did not develop the wine sufficiently before freezing… and then completed fermentation in the warm summer, leading to gas buildup in the bottles and explosions throughout the cellar). After 3 years, the cork is removed with the welded yeast and sediment, and the bottle is topped up with syrup and recorked, to sit for another 6 months before it is sold. This is the Champenois or traditional method (‘traditional’ since the 70s, after Champagne vintners complained about people mixing up the Champagne method with Champagne from Champagne), always done in-bottle. Non-vintage bottles only need to be aged for 1 year, plus the six months, instead of 3 years.

Our first champagne was a Paul Goerg, the international trade name for a Champagne (from Champagne, thus allowed to use that moniker) bottled by a coop of Champagne farmers, who bottle their wines and sell them under their own labels within France and parts of Europe but use a single trade name when selling overseas to reduce market confusion and maximize marketing efficacy and brand awareness. Paul Goerg was a mayor in a Champagne town during the 19th century who did not bottle any of his own wine, but encouraged the growth of the Champagne industry in his village – apparently a major contributor to be remembered thus by farmers in the 1950s. It was a “blanc de blancs” (white from white grapes) as opposed to a “blanc de noirs” (white from dark aka red grapes). Sipped with an apricot white chocolate cream, this pairing was my favorite. (All chocolates made by the in-house chocolatier under ingredient guidelines set by Julie from John & Kira’s Chocolates.) The second was a Vouvray made by the traditional method in the Loire Valley, thus unable to call itself a Champagne though adhering to the regulations. Not as tasty as the first but still fresh, flavorful and less acidic than most of the champagne I get served at dinner parties. The third was a Marquis de la Tour Rose, bottled by Remy Pannier, a really large bottler who does a lot of wholesale buying from the quote unquote little peasants who just grow grapes for sale. The Rose is made by leaving the red grapeskins in the wine for 12 hours up to a few days, rather than the whole month or longer that it would sit for regular red wines. This ensures that not all of the pigments have leeched into the wine, and more importantly, that not all the tannins are in the wine either. Thus saving everyone from the exceeding dryness associated with reds. This one was tasty, and paired with a wild strawberry pate de fruit with lemon milk chocolate cream… almost as divine as the first, but not quite. The last was a ridiculously sweet Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont, Italy, a sparkling wine much like the others but bottled in a vat with a lesser fermentation time – making for that syrupy flavor.

Korean food after that at Miga. The bulgogi tasted all right, but the flavor and quality of beef didn’t match the kalbi I had yesterday at Kum Gung San in Koreatown, New York, at midnight yesterday. Speaking of yesterday… I had an aggravating trip into New York. Megabus came super late, and then proceeded to wait in a parking lot for a long time while they probably waited for another driver to take over. Problem was, they didn’t announce anything so everyone was like WTF are we doing here. I got in super late, missing out on a couple appointments. However, still made it to Bento Burger – which was okay, but probably not worth the Groupon I almost bought. I should have gone to Death & Co. or even the Whiskey Room for the pickleback, which I’ve been meaning to try. I was there for a show at the Blue Note. My first time there, and it was less squished than I supposed it would be, and pleasantly surprised when the service and bouncers weren’t rude or forgetful as the reviews claimed. I hit the door and I run into McCoy Tyner… who ends up sitting at the table next to me with some hot chicas. Not bad for an old jazz hand. I was already giddy as a schoolgirl, and then the show started. Questlove from the Roots, Gary Bartz, Christian McBride, Booker T (sans MGs), Eric Krasno and some amazing soul singer whom I did not catch the name of. They jammed hard for 2 hours, which was more than I was expecting. Booker T didn’t do much showy improv, but he was doing his thing as a bandleader, setting tempos and corralling everybody, also introducing numbers when Questlove was fumbling with words. The man can drum, but he’s no MC. Eric Krasno was amazing, and McBride laid down the funk. Best of all was seeing Gary Bartz wail with that sax of his. Until the show, I was wondering why I had made the trip given the annoyances I had to go through to get there, but after it ended, I knew it was totally worth it. Too bad I can’t come in and see Estelle on Friday (though that would have been even more hellish to go to). Night ended with a $17 kalbi and soondubu combo that was kickass (compare to $33 for the same combo – and amount of food – at Miga), did a litle bit to stave off the drunkenness and allowed me to get to the bus stop and stagger on board. I met some Villanova dude waiting for the bus who was in more of a state of disrepair. He seemed to be coming off of a terrible interview, and had, um, drank his sorrows away.

I had to.

Last Muggle blogger J. C. (Penney? Superstar? Who knows???) publishes massive expose on Pottermore in International Business Times. Okay, all still speculations. I personally think it’s gonna be a MMORPG with a bit of social network thrown in. An MMORPG can let J.K. Rowling introduce new content whenever she wants to, provide entertainment for possible millions without having to always introduce new content, and can weave in fan requests and fan content creation, all the while providing profit to Rowling’s estate and her corporate backers. Everything else it could be is lame. Not a new book, as she said she wouldn’t write any for at least 10 years (unless she lied… but what would be the point?). A new compendium would just be retarded, as fans already do a nerdy job of that. A single player console video game? Uh… no, it’s been done. Another theme park? Unlikely they’d build up this kind of mystery over that. It’s likely purely digital and something for the fans to waste time and money on for endless hours… which means Harry Potter the MMORPG, where you can be a student at Hogwarts, a toady in the Ministry or continually being killed for incompetence as a crony of the Dark Lord. Yawn. I’m off to read some other children’s fantasy series… finishing the assorted novels of Madeleine L’Engle perhaps.

UPDATE: Turns out Pottermore IS kind of a social network. It’s going to have 18,000 words of new material for the Hogwarts universe, and will be a place for fans to explore everything Harry Potter AND share experiences and thoughts with each other. The primary goal, of course, is to generate new revenue opportunities for Rowling: in collaboration with Sony, the site will sell e-books for all the Harry Potter books in all formats. As Rowling owns 100% of the digital rights, it is certain she’ll make a mint out of the whole shebang. She can continue releasing spurts of new free content into the interactive site, or sell new content thru the e-book store, or even charge fees for certain on-site if she wished to. Not to mention the possibility of creating an MMORPG or a single-player adventure quest within the site, and more social networking type activities for the Potterheads to go nuts over. I’m still yawning regarding the personal entertainment I might derive from the site… but I can’t help but be in awe over the potential for Rowling, Sony and any of her marketing partners…. yeah….

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Posted in Personal on June 21st, 2011 by byronkho

Just helped out with auditions for a Fringe show whose composer worked with Philadelphia Weekly in the past, so pitched a story to the editor and got it accepted. Now, they’ve got a 3000 word advertisement, I mean article, for the show “from a first person perspective” that’s running as the cover article in Philadelphia Weekly a week before the show opens. That’s just nuts. Jeff Barg is composing, Sally Ollove is writing the book (with Shakespeare) and Ben Kamine is directing. Wars & Whores at the Rotunda, Sept 9-11, Philly Fringe. This will be my Fringe show for 2011!

The drink I remember as the Cockroach, not having any other name for the kick in the balls dirty brown concoction I had to slurp down that night: Reuven Bell says it’s the Kho’s Khatastrophe. This needs recreating, but not in a Purple Jesus way (aka one ingredient for color and then mixing every alcohol, antifreeze and paint thinner you can find for volume).

An actual cockroach (the drink), and definitely too pretty to be what I had.

A few months ago, I walked by a house where some 20-ish girl was standing by trying to explain herself to a policeman who was also fielding off worried outbursts from this old man who was saying that his granddaughter was disturbed. She was telling the cop that he was wrong and the old guy stopped her, explaining that he had found her with her mouth around the barrel of a shotgun. She said she was only joking, but the grandfather said that she had tried to kill herself before. I walked on. Too nuts.

She didn’t actually look like Lacey Mosley from Flyleaf. But she was a bit gothy.

Not as nuts as that woman on Market St (also a few months ago). Clearly ill. Looked to be 400 pounds at least, and shaking booty at 830 AM over a steam vent in a shirt (thank goodness) and just a thong, no pants. My eyes bled a little. I came back a few hours later, after church, and saw JUST the thong on the ground near where she had been dancing. I think I screamed.

Had 20 McNuggets (just to try the new sauces, plus that location had the 20 for $4.99 deal) plus a Angus Mushroom for dinner. Talk about worst dinner ever. Was jonesing so badly for Five Guys mushroom-pickles-relish-jalapenos burger and reg fries with white vinegar, but they were closed. Still wanting some, despite being full of questionable chicken, still, 4 hours later.

Hangin at the Corner this weekend for Elise’s goodbye party and we’re talking about some swim club in Bryn Mawr that has an 11 year waiting list. Yes, ELEVEN years. Nuts! And Cliff Lee from the Phillies signs up and immediately gets in. Oh, unfairness. But I have it on good authority that if he doesn’t pull in a World Series, his membership will be revoked and given to me. (And then talked South Africa with Elise and Alex, Rice to Riches with Jessica Waber, theatre with Sara Steinberger. But those parts weren’t nuts, it was off the hook. Bam!)

Just saw this band, Black Dub, with Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade and Trixie Whitley. They are freakin amazing. Trixie has such a powerful voice, and Daniel and the bassist bring in some great harmonies. Plus just awesome groovin’ all around. Watching Daniel and Brian just jam together on this one joint… no idea what it was called, but it was such magic. And they always look like they’re having such fun. Oh, and Daniel is Canadian. Another one! (This counts as madness! Awesome madness!)

Without the Farros. Still good?

Just found out Paramore lost 2 members in a bitter breakup in December. Since half of the songwriting team is now gone, who thinks Paramore will lose its sweeter edge and go more rock? I almost hope they do. I also think it’ll mean more pro songwriters coming in and taking over, and Paramore losing its defining factors and becoming, horrors upon horrors, some sort of drone band by next year, with every single note and lyric of music analyzed and changed by computer algorithms to make it more “appealing.” Madness? Maybe?

Last bit: Jameson’s, double, neat. $20. OWW.

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Sutton Foster and Elmo, the Tonys, Company.

Posted in Personal on June 15th, 2011 by byronkho

What would we do without Sesame Street (and PBS) to bring us helpful information about letters and numbers and levers from Broadway stars? Sutton Foster and Elmo = I can’t even imagine this baby combination without my head exploding a bit.

Also, Republicans always trying to chop funding for PBS makes Elmo cry. Stop hating on Elmo!

OMG. I’m a lever lover now. Also, “I’m a fool for the tool.” Hehe.

While on a theater kick:

Neil Patrick Harris and Wolverine aka Hugh Jackman duel at the Tonys.

NPH on the fly rap from Lin-Manuel Miranda, also at the Tonys.

Just finished watching Stephen Sondheim’s Company (the Kennedy Center performance with the NY Philharmonic) with J.C. and Sheim. Very funny rendition by some quality actors. The actors with less vocal talent (ahem, Colbert) were coached to minimize that fact, so their singing did not audibly stand out as much worse than the performances by real vocal talent. All the dramatic performances were pretty spot on. They kept in Kathy’s sexy dance number and simulated moans from April and Bobby… totally didn’t fit, which is why it was cut out of the Company I did 2 years ago. NPH did a great job in the lead; even though his voice isn’t as well-shaped as some other male Broadway belters, he more than makes up for it with an extremely fine sense of dramatic timing and delivery. Katie Finneran was fantastic as Amy (the histrionics were pitch perfect… tho I felt Marry Me a Little was too slow. Guess they had to slow it down to make sure the lines got delivered properly by her), and I really liked Martha Plimpton as Sarah – hysterical. Christina Hendricks was pretty adept at making April (usually a really, really boring character with a horrible song) into somebody actually a little bit interesting. I didn’t know Anika Noni Rose could sing, and well! Marta’s song is a complete bitch to do, what with the NO space for breathing. Colbert, Craig Bierko, Jon Cryer, Jenny Thompson, Jill Paice, all did decent jobs at their roles. They were funny but kind of blended into the background. That would the fault of the script though, as they’re barely given anything to do. Patti LuPone did a fine job as Joanne, but there was just something that didn’t click for me. I immensely enjoyed her performance, but the character of Joanne just rubs me the wrong way. Always has. Also, Patti LuPone bugs me a little: while singing Joanne, I could totally picture her as a REAL Joanne. Most emotional moment was Chryssie Whitehead as Kathy, doing the “here’s your last chance, buster” dialogue with Bobby before she gets all disappointed and tells him she’s getting married to someone else because he couldn’t get it up. I didn’t like the way they ended it, with Bobby sitting next to an open spot on his couch that clearly signals he’s ready and just needs the right person to fill the spot. My problem is not with that particular situation; it’s just that they didn’t deliver it properly and it seemed like a tacked on ending rather than a real one. I prefer the ending I used on my Company, which I’m sure Mme Director would be glad to hear. Oh, and NY Philharmonic were super awesome. Wish I had a whole orchestra to work with on my shows.

The Kennedy Center performance was awesome, whereas the Tony Awards one was ehh…. the actors were half spaced out.

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Posted in Personal on June 15th, 2011 by byronkho

Marina and the Diamonds. Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub and Jessi Teich (I believe she has to sell some tickets herself? if you wanna help her out). Gillian Grassie. Madeleine Peyroux. Questlove. Pomplamoose. Parlotones. Nikki Yanofsky. Blackberry Winter. Denise Reis. Possibly, Amy Regan (personal invite is a plus. However, Ardmore is a bit far… tho I haven’t tried Milkboy Coffee yet, so…)

On Philadelphia’s 10! Show.

I wanna see Gillian Grassie but might not make it: Saturday is…. busy.

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After rewatching Cry_Wolf, some late night hiphop.

Posted in Personal on June 15th, 2011 by byronkho

A weirdly catchy song by Miss Eighty 6, whose big claim to fame (at least to me) was doing “Ridin” for the Harold & Kumar soundtrack with Classic (who is even harder to find than she is).

More female rappers: Rae Chill, who also collaborated with Classic. She has a whole lot of great stuff but her debut single sucks… sure, production on it sounds expensive, but the song was terrible. With so many awesome ones to choose from, why Lucky Star? Blech.

And finally Classic himself. He does a lot of movie and TV soundtracks (a hell of a lot of Gossip Girl and Melrose Place, his agency must be tight with the studios) but he’s so unknown out there… unfortunate.

One item: how come it’s so hard to find anything about these guys? They’re good, but only Rae seems to have any marketing, and even that’s not getting her out there enough. As artists, you need to populate search results as much as possible and then also be consistent with your name… ie. is it Rae or Rae Chill? Why are you (or your agent) not clogging up the search results for your name? If I hear a song from you and try to look for you, you better work it so that you have something to find… or I’ll lose interest and there goes a fan.

Also, cry_wolf: awesome slasher flick. Even the category slasher may be the wrong one for it… Flipped through my DVD cases, happened upon it, and randomly decided it needed another go. Augh, I don’t actually have the time to rewatch stuff! I have work to do, and a whole list of TV and movies to watch that I haven’t even watched ONCE yet.

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Super 8, gripes. Plus some Freelance Whales!

Posted in Personal on June 10th, 2011 by byronkho

Super 8 tonite. All the black people in the theater when I was watching it thought it sucked, for some weird reason. I guess they never had a soft spot for The Goonies. What did they get shown at school when the teachers couldn’t be bothered teaching and all took off a day early for Xmas vacations and summer while the students squirmed in a dark auditorium with the lights off? Well, growing up with basically just white kids, I never had a chance to not be a Goonies fan.

In any case, Messrs. Abrams and Spielberg, I enjoyed Super 8. It was very ET-ish, and tho it was a monster movie, that was merely a vehicle for the real movie: an adventure for kids with explosions adults could relate to, and an adolescent love story. On a side note, they need to remake Adventures in Babysitting with Elisabeth Shue in the lead, but only after she gets in a time machine so she’s 24 again. I would buy tickets early for that one. And in 3-D. Great kids casting, as they were kids without being kids (you know what I mean, dragging down the other stars, etc.). Well, they kinda had to go whole hog casting this one cuz how do you do another Goonies if none of the kids can handle it? What did those Fanning kids drink as babies anyways? Elle was fantastic. She doesn’t look quite as glamorous as sister Dakota, but she’s perfect as the (little) girl next door in small town Midwest USA, complete with freckly mild-pimply freshness.

Ugh, waking up early to play a service tomorrow and then going, hopefully, to Hersheypark for the day. Unless it rains and lightnings like crazy, in which case no Hershey. Not going to ride rollercoasters and die. Day will end with North Star Bar, if I can make it, or else just poker and Kinect at my place. Randomly: JC going to get a Masters in Education, Corinn (new roomie) hopefully staying on at Fed, extreme jealousy of Diana at Bonnaroo RIGHT NOW, looking forward to some massive BBQ at my place some time soon with Cory/Julie as cooks and me laying about on lawn chairs and drinking cold brews. And Margate or Ocean City, hopefully soon?

Freelance Whales. I could be watching them at Bonnaroo, but of course, I’m not.

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