Monday, March 31, 2008

NBC news starts to leak

Interesting last paragraph in this Variety article:

Shows returning to NBC next season include "ER," "The Office," "Chuck," "Life," "The Biggest Loser," "American Gladiators," "Deal or No Deal" and "My Name Is Earl." Also a safe bet to be back: "Medium," "30 Rock," at least one "Law & Order" skein and "Friday Night Lights." First-year drama "Lipstick Jungle" could also return.

That would seem to indicate that 'Friday Night Lights' is a GO for a 3rd season, confirming all of the circulating rumors.

Best news of my day, and it's only 9:15 AM!

Handstands Under Water

This is part 3 of a story started last week. It's long, rambling and is probably of no interest to more than 4 of you. So, I'm sure there's some TV news around here somewhere for everyone else...

Did you ever do that as a kid? If you did, you know how much fun it could be, your legs poking out of the water, sticking up in the air. Maybe you were graceful, like those aqua-ballet people, or maybe, like me, it was clumsy...legs more flailing than fluttering.

It didn't matter, though. The fact is, when you do a handstand under water, you still have to flip yourself over to come up for air.

So I'd arrived at the winehouse at the DeLoach Winery early. The limo has just pulled up, and out tumbles the hosts of this crazy impromptu affair. Kevin Rose. Robert Scoble. Tim Ferriss. Gary Vaynerchuk. A few friends, all laughing and talking. Tired from a day of tasting wines (how stressful, right?) but all ready for a party. As they flowed in around me, some cursory greetings. Scoble realizes who I am and gives me a hug. "You made it!" I'm not sure why the surprise, but maybe he didn't think I was real -- driving from L.A. to Santa Rosa for a party.

A few other party guests had arrived right after me, so there were already a half dozen of us wandering through the spacious house admiring antique corkscrews display boxes hanging on the walls, cookbooks and books on wine in the kitchen, and the pool area. The hosts scattered to shower, change, or at least put down their finds from the day before joining us for the fun.

It was at this point I realized how little food was around. There was some bread and cheese about, but nothing of real sustenance. And I hadn't eaten much on the road. I feared for my ability to last long with the wine without some food. Fortunately, someone else realized this also, and was taking up a collection to order pizza. I happily offered up a five for a couple of slices. Problem solved.

By 7:30, people were steadily flowing into the house. There were a host of 'names' which would be familiar to those who live and work in the 'Web 2.0' world, but are foreign to most everyone else. Messina. Morin. Sarah Lacy. What was amazing to me was the general high level intelligence in the room. This wasn't a "Hollywood" party, where the closest anyone gets to intellectual conversation is to discuss the attributes of their Prius. No, this was *real* intelligence, raw, hardcore. These are the people changing the web on a daily basis and loving it. I admit, it was heady. I felt immediately like some child pulled out of kindergarten to sit in the senior high school class. They talk about color spectrum, I talk about crayons. You get the picture.

And in all my discussions with people, NOT ONCE did anyone ask me *what* I was writing, which, of course, would be expected in H'wood circles. I would say 'I'm a writer", and I'd get the understanding nod and question about my drive up to Sonoma. My trip was more fascinating than my aspiration. Weird, yet, understandable too.

It made for a great topic upon meeting folks, and the hosts (okay, mostly Scoble) were eager to tell people I had driven SEVEN HOURS to be there. What dedication! What cool insanity! Yeah, it was kinda neat. And then, Gary Vaynerchuk rolled back downstairs. He greeted me, remembered I'd made the trek and was excited, no, REALLY, excited I was there. You know how people say 'oh I'm so happy you are here' and it just feels like a pleasantry? This guy says it and you believe that you made his entire day by just being in his presence. He asked me if I liked the wine I was drinking. Later he asked me to try some bubbly drink he had just popped open, and I was standing nearby. I wish I could describe how inspiring it was to just stand around him...it was like positive energy was flowing out of this guy in bucketloads. And I think he was just starting to realize it, too. Literally in the week after the party, he started doing new video blogs on his personal website, seemingly inspired by his fellow hosts during his weekend in Sonoma.

I had also wanted to meet Tim Ferriss, having recently read his book. He was gracious and attentive, but also knew how to get around to everyone. He was the only person who asked for my card. I pushed it on to everyone else I could. I don't know why...why not, I reasoned.

The wine flowed all night. I tried almost everything. The DeLoach wines were hit or miss, but the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay stood out as the best. There were a few other wines there, and I don't know where they came from -- maybe Gary had provided them? I tasted the two bubbly 'champagnes', another Pinot Noir, the DeLoach Zinfindel, the DeLoach Cab, and one other wine I don't remember (it was red and not very memorable). The hours rolled by, and I did what I could to break out of my shell and talk to some people. I did pretty well with a very nice couple from the Napa area, and a second couple from the Bay area. Lots of couples, but I'm used to that at wine functions now. It seems to be a 'couple' thing to do.

Around midnight with spirits still high, Gary decided to do a 'live' Wine Library TV show. It's much of the reason for his internet fame -- 400 plus videos of him tasting wines and talking wine, and doing so in a way that energizes young people. As he likes to say, he 'brings the thunder' to 'change the wine world'. So, you can imagine the energy from him to do this show, and surrounded by at least 50 people while doing it. In fact, you can watch the show here. (You can kinda see me in the back behind Gary wearing BRIGHT GREEN).

Around 1:30 AM a lively game of Werewolf started. I wasn't in the first 'round' but ended up in the second as a villager and was killed off very quickly.

By 3 AM the party was almost at an end. I had vowed to stay as long as I could having driven so far to be there. Ferriss had long gone to bed. Gary was talking with Kevin Rose...somewhere. Scoble and a few other guests and myself were all that were left of the party. We all had that same 'vibe' of the right time to leave and made for the door. A final goodbye from Scoble with a promise to keep in touch, and I drove back to the hotel.

My trip back home the next day was largely uneventful (save for the very weird grocery store I stopped in before heading back -- and the fact it was Easter Sunday practically nothing was open, not even the Wal-Mart!) I listened to my music, sang loudly, drank Rockstar (having gotten about 4 hours of sleep -- thanks to the young child with family who seemed to stand outside my hotel room door at 8 AM to serve as a wake up call). Of course, without that natural adrenaline of anticipation, the drive home seemed much longer. But I did have the satisfaction of a mission accomplished, a weekend not wasted (I'm sure some would say I 'wasted 14-15 hours in my car, but I really don't see it that way).

When I go back and watch the videos or read other blogs which mention the party, it seems very surreal to me that I was there, that this was a kind of 'flash mob' party -- arranged in less than 30 hours through Twitter. A success of Web 2.0 in bringing people together? It certainly seemed to be.

So what's the lesson learned? I suppose there were many, but the one that stands out to me was that I should not be afraid to be myself. Not be afraid to have my voice heard. It's something I've been struggling with mightily lo these many months with this blog, my writing...I kept feeling that what I had to say wasn't very important or at best certainly not interesting to listen to. I'm trying not to think that way now. I do have something to say, and it may be of interest to *some*body out there. And that's enough.

And who knows, maybe someday soon, I'll have a larger platform from which to say the things I want. It would certainly be nice to have a vision realized. Until then, I'll keep blogging, keep writing, and keep...well, shouting into the wind. Much of what I say won't be heard, but some of it might make it through. And that will make it worth it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Welcome Link Immigrants!

I'm seeing a lot of new 'faces' appearing here, so I want to give a shout out to y'all!

Those of you coming from tv.com I'll continue to post Californication news and all other show news as it comes in!

Welcome, Time Magazine Blog readers! Hopefully I'll have news on "Friday Night Lights" status very soon. In the meantime, the link to the Watch List can be found under "Best of Blog" in the sidebar (or scroll down the page, it gets updated at least once a week so it's usually viewable).

Those of you looking for info on Paris Hilton's lazy eye, welcome to my abode. I was very scared that I had contracted her lazy eye issue last year, but my friends have assured me that I was, perhaps, only squinting slightly.

And you people looking for "weird writing"...well, I don't know what kind of weird writing you are looking for, but I can assure that all of my writing is certified 100% strange, and perhaps only 57.8% can truly be classified as "weird." Sorry about that, I'm working on it.

Oh and I think I have some new blog readers coming in due to my recent appearances on the Shaun OMac Radio.

I'll be doing a new edition of my "TV Junkie" radio show on Sunday at 4 PM Pacific / 7 PM Eastern. It's live so feel free to call in with questions. I'll be talking pilot slates!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Swimming in the pool.

This is the second part of a story started here a couple of days ago. This is long and a lot of personal stuff (not tv news). Feel free to skip it.

I often think about the decisions I've made in life...going right when I could have gone left, you know what I mean. Big decisions. Life changing decisions. I've had a few.

I had always had an affinity for being on a stage -- singing, acting, etc -- but I was primarily a studious kid. I was labeled 'gifted' very early in life, and that for good or ill, dictated a lot of how I looked at myself. I was supposed to be better than people, and when I'm not, I'm letting everyone else down. After all, I'm "gifted" -- one of the chosen few from some IQ-test lottery deemed to have the potential to accomplish great things. This kept me from fully embracing my love of the arts, and grounded me to doing well at science, math, and English...all the things you'd need to succeed in college.

The first of my life changing decisions came in high school. As I said, I was pretty bookish as a kid. The only extra-curricular activity I had pursued as freshman was the Scholastic Bowl (or Quiz Bowl) team. But as each year past, and each school musical was performed, I found myself drawn closer and closer to my true loves. I had given up choir as a freshman for German class. I had given up studying novels for the college prep English. I compromised on some things, just so I could have others -- like being in the musical or the school play. As a junior I was pretty well cemented with the drama kids. I had joined the Speech Team and was performing dramatic interpretations of scenes by myself and with partners.

That led me to Speech Camp.

It sounds silly, I know. But that one week at a camp at Eastern Illinois University forever changed my life. I experienced great satisfaction in being a performer there. I wasn't the nerd girl who was trying to also be in the play, as I was often perceived at my school. At camp I was 'one of them'. No labels, no 'gifted'...just me.

When I got home from camp, my mom even noticed something different about me, and I remember her telling me as she left my room, "I like you this way." It was then I knew that this was a path worth following.

I give you all this background because I think it important to understanding how I make decisions. Every decision I make comes with a compromise of some sort. I participate in drama or music, but only if I maintain my workload for classes and college. I move to Los Angeles, but only after I was able to secure a transfer from Florida. I continue to work at my job, earning a good income until I'm able to support myself as a writer full time.

So, when I tell you that my trip to Sonoma was a decision which did not involve any compromise, perhaps you'll understand how monumental it was for me to make it.

Sure, I've made decisions to travel, some even short notice, but every trip involved me planning carefully for the time I would be gone from work. This driving trip I took was completely spur of the moment. Minimal planning.

If I had found someone to go with, I'm not sure it would have had as much impact on me as it did. Being alone out on the road for even seven hours provides good time to meditate (and sing really loudly in the car). I thought about the things that make me happy. The drive was easy. I had natural adrenaline, just from the high of being adventurous in a way I haven't been in quite some time.

So, I got to Santa Rosa and found a hotel right off the interstate. Checked in. Called Scoble to find out what was happening, as it was 4 PM and the party wasn't slated to start until 7:30. The gang was still out at a winery tasting wines, which gave me time to shower and change.

I arrived at the winery early. So peaceful...a chill was developing, but it was pleasant to stand outside and watch the sunset behind the vineyard. After about twenty minutes, a man exited the wine house and greeted me. He told me the "gang" would be back soon, as they had grabbed some dinner, something at that moment I hadn't thought to do.

He poured me my first glass of wine from the vineyard, a Chardonnay. I noticed all of the cases of wine -- 24 of them. A lot of wine. How many people would show up to a party announced primarily on Twitter and Qik? This would be interesting.

I heard a noise from outside. A limo had just pulled up. The gang's all here.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The water's fine.

"You don't even bother to check the temperature of the water, you just jump right in."

This is what a friend said to me today about how I treat my 'hobbies' and fixations. If I get interested in something I go at it full force, no messing around. I don't just dabble...I *live* it.

Some of you were around for my "Taylor Hicks phase", something I'm still grasping to understand myself. I just knew it was something that had taken hold of me at a particular time in my life when I needed something to excite me, and I went for the ride. And what a ride it was. It's still difficult to explain that Mr. Hicks really became a minor player in my hobby. Each time I saw him put on a show, it became less and less about him, more and more about who I was spending the time with, and all of the experiences I was having. I went to Birmingham, AL twice, Atlanta, New York, Las Vegas...all to experience life with this group of people who were becoming my friends.

I don't talk to many of them anymore, but the ones I talk to a lot are the ones I intend to keep forever. I'm sure I'll continue to have some conversations with a few of the others, but once this 'phase' was winding down for me, it seemed to be winding down for others...we just moved on.

So, now I've dived into my next hobby, phase or 'subculture' as I am frequently finding fascinating similarities and interesting differences between the various groups I mingle with (writers, blues and soul music fans, sci-fi geeks, tech geeks, etc).

I'm *really* into wine.

And that doesn't just mean I find a couple I like. Oh no. It means I 'found' the winebloggers, the vloggers, the wikis, EVERYTHING I can get my hands on that relates to wine. I track my cellar and tasting notes. I have 43 bottles right now, 15 of which I consider worth 'saving' and not just popping open to drink randomly. I'm learning how to train my palate to get better at tasting wine.

I live my passions.

So Friday, I'm checking in on my favorite wine vlogger, who is a cult icon with the wine lover set -- he has fanatic followers and has caused a lot of controversy in the staid wine business.

Meet Gary Vaynerchuk.

Gary took over his family's wine business many years ago and has built it into one of the premier wine businesses on the web. He embraces Web 2.0 (and I'll be posting about throwing myself deep into the social networking pool more in another post...this only scratches the surface of it).

So Friday, I learn he's up in Sonoma tasting wines with Kevin Rose, founder of Digg. Kevin was using a great new Web 2.0 tool Qik to broadcast LIVE from his Nokia phone out to the site and to the entire world. Further, you could chat with them through the phone as they were recording, resulting in some questions being asked by people to Kevin and Gary which they could answer (that is until the lag got kind of bad -- there's still work to be done on this technology).

Gary is also joined by Tim Ferriss, author of the NY Times Bestseller "The Four-Hour Work Week" and Robert Scoble from Fast Company. These four people are extremely successful with their business and a lot of it can be attributed to their shrewd use of Web 2.0 technology.

During the course of the video, Gary mentions it might be fun to host a party Saturday night for the Twitter followers -- yes, Twitter is yet another Web 2.0 technology that I have embraced (if you come here often, you've probably seen my recent twitter updates over in the sidebar).

So, a party? A WINE party? Hosted by *the* Gary Vaynerchuk and with the aforementioned internet 'personalities' in attendence? I instantly knew that I had to be there. Before they could confirm their musings I twittered Robert Scoble and asked if the party was a go. He told me it was, and I said I'd be there, in Santa Rosa, for the party the next night.

Crazy, right? Looking back, no crazier than my flights hither and yon to see the American Idol winner. In fact, this looked downright sane in comparison. So, I sought out travel companions of a female nature...my other thought being it would make for a good girl's weekend and I didn't need any of my male friends (who I cherish SOOOO much) to get in the way of any possible, ahem, romantic possibilities. Hey, some of these guys are wealthy. A girl can dream, right?

I had no takers on the trip. At first I was bummed, and almost talked myself out of going...seven hours of driving alone seemed too risky. But I didn't let it stop me. I got up Saturday morning, gassed up my car, packed a small bag and hit the road.

SPLASH. I am in the pool, and the water is fine.

(To be continued...)

Fox cancels "Jezebel James"

Fox has decided to pull "The Return of Jezebel James" from the schedule starting this week due to low ratings.

Watch List to be updated.

Just for kicks.

Because Lis started it.







Which Jane Austen Character Are You?




You are Eliza Bennett from Pride and Prejudice! Yay, you! Perhaps the brightest and best character in all of English literature, you are intelligent, lively, lovely-- in short, you are the best of company. Your only foibles are that you stick with your first impressions... and your family is quite intolerable.
Take this quiz!

Another fandom uprising

I'll have more to say about this later, when I have some time and can craft a good, thoughtful post about it. Here is the link to the article:

Fans press Weinstein on "Fanboys"

A large contingent of 'Star Wars' fans are threatening a boycott of this weekend's release of "Superhero", a spoof of the genre by Craig Mazin, which is also being released by the Weinstein Company.

"Fanboys" has been scheduled then postponed for release numerous times, and is currently without a release date, or a final version. Essentially two versions of the film exist -- the original vision of the filmmakers, which included (and this isn't really a spoiler) the motivation for the group of friends to travel to Skywalker Ranch to see a cut of "The Phantom Menace" before it was to be released in theaters -- one of the friends has cancer. The Weinstein Company (and particularly Harvey) have felt that the cancer story makes the movie hard to market, and so has tested a version, with reshoots to excise the cancer (he's cured! no cancer!!) as part of the story.

What has happened as a result...well, go read the article. I'll have more later.

Crossposted at Geekerati blog.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My media presence expands.

Did a guest spot on Shaun O'Mac's TV Talk radio show/podcast yesterday, and he's invited me back to be on every Wednesday.

At 3 PM PDT, if you can't get enough of me, tune in to Shaun's show to listen to me prattle on about whatever I darn well please. He has other tv bloggers/columnists on the other days of the week, so you can turn in those days instead if you are sick of me.

Crossposted at Geekerati Media

CBS cancels 'Jericho'

It's official. Sorry, 'Jericho' fans. It was a valiant effort. Your uprising is noted and will probably be a singular event in TV Fandom.

Link: Hollywood Reporter

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Casting a Long (Digital) Shadow

So I recently tallied up my various 'presences' on a variety of Web applications, 2.0 widgets, etc etc. Here's what I found:

This Blog
The Sistercritics Blog, which I run with...my sister.
Geekerati Media Blog
A LiveJournal account
A Facebook account
A Myspace account
Geekerati Radio Show
My (TV Junkie) Radio Show
A LinkedIn account
Twitter account
Pandora account
Photobucket account
Youtube account
Google News Reader/Google talk
AIM
Yahoo Messenger
MSN Messenger (which I never use anymore)
Yelp account
My CellarTracker Account (Wine)

And Fusing most of these together is my new FriendFeed account.

And we don't even want to count the forums I'm a member of...

Monday, March 17, 2008

PaleyFest

So, it has begun. Last year I couldn't get tickets to anything -- partly because I was out of town, partly the things I wanted to see sold out too quickly. I was so incensed (as I am every year) I swore I'd cancel my membership. But I didn't.

Lucky for me, they upgraded the Paley Festival this year -- snazzy name (PaleyFest), new venue (the Cinerama Dome at Arclight), online streaming of events...?

Wha?

Yes, for the first time ever, if you go to the PaleyFest website you can watch highlights of the panels!

Now, there was one panel that sold out ridiculously fast. That panel is the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Reunion panel. Apparently, the PaleyFest people have wised up, so this panel will stream LIVE on the 20th.

I already went to the "Pushing Daisies" panel, and I've three more I'll be attending -- "Chuck", "Friday Night Lights", and "The X-Files". But you can bet I'll be watching the others online.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What hath DST wrought?

So, as expected, daylight savings time is ravaging tv ratings. The #1 network last night (CBS) averaged less than 10 million viewers. And it isn't even summer yet!

Oh and Hulu goes live finally on March 12. I've been a beta user for a few months, and I have to say, it isn't too bad. I've watched quite a few clips from SNL, some older episodes of tv shows (Mr. T!! A-Team!) and I plan on watching "Journeyman" episodes on there to catch up, you know, just in case...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Geekerati Radio Show for 3/10

On tonight's show we'll be chatting with another of the great scriboshpere denizens, Lee Goldberg about writing for TV, his novels, especially his TV tie-in books.

Should be fun! Tune in at 7 PM Pacific / 10 PM Eastern

We'll have more at the Geekerati Blog later.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

24 comes back in fall, sort of

I was on a plane yesterday, so unable to report this news. Looks like Season 7 of "24" will get a 2-hour 'prequel' movie, which bridges the events of Season 6 to Season 7. It'll air in the fall, and hopefully help sate the appetite for the new season, which won't air until January 2009.

I hate that I missed this year's Talk Like Jack Bauer Day. Next year will be better, since the show will actually be on.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Geekerati Radio Blog Open for Business

We've been doing the show (almost) a year! We finally have the companion blog to the radio show up and running. Do check it out for links, stories and other stuff we deem geeky enough to publish.

Go Here!

CW Announces early pickups

So, here's the list for next season on the CW

America's Next Top Model
Gossip Girl
One Tree hill
Smallville
Supernatural
Everybody Hates Chris

Link: Breaking News - THE CW ANNOUNCES EARLY PICKUPS OF SERIES | TheFutonCritic.com