Thursday, June 18, 2009

1st Annual "Ehch Is Bored" Contest on Twitter - come play!

Mmkay. The 1st Annual (or weekly, if these antibiotics keep me laying facedown in my bed for much longer) Ehch's Boredom Contest on Twitter will begin at 8 a.m. EST on Friday, June 19th. Up to three prizes shall be awarded (if there are enough people playing along to warrant a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish, that is), and they will be based on the recipient's taste (i.e. if the winner is a movie buff, s/he'll get a DVD; we'll discuss it once you actually win).

NOTE (Fri. June 19 @ 9:30 a.m.):

The complete rules etc. can be read


(I removed them from this post to un-clutter things a bit - my friends' progress has already begun to be posted below!


The winner(s) will be announced by 8 p.m. EST on Saturday!

I already have several challenges in mind, so I'll set about scheduling them into HootSuite ASAP. :) Let's have a little fun with our Friday, folks!


Wanna keep track of people's progress?


8 a.m. - #1. Upload a song about "morning" and post the link here on Twitter for me to download. GO! (Bonus points if it's "Friday morning"!)

9 a.m. - #2. Be the first person to find a celebrity whose birthday is today (June 19th) AND who has a Twitter account. (There's gotta be someone!)
  • @madam_mina - 1 point for PAULA ABDUL!
  • @pweifenbach - honourable mention for being so close with the same answer.

10 a.m. - #3. Six Degrees Of Separation: Connect any of the following (by musical association) to Level 42! : The Killers, Rod Stewart, Rihanna, INXS, Eric Clapton, Kanye West, Radiohead. (It's hard, so you get choices! There must be a MUSICAL LINK - played together, etc.) FYI re: #3 - you get a point for solving the link, no matter who's fastest, so no need to rush like mad on what I knew was a tough one. ;)
  • @madam_mina - 1 point for an INCREDIBLY impressive answer (which I won't post yet while others are working on it, but BRAVO)! "Dominic Miller played with them in '79 later played with Sting - "It's Probably Me" (Feat. Eric Clapton)"
  • @pweifenbach - 1 point for ANOTHER impressive (and totally different!) answer! "Mark King and Mike Lindup performed with Eric Clapton at Prince's Trust concert in '86..."
  • @ShayneWinters - 1 point for Lethal Weaponry! "Dominic Miller played with Sting, who sang "It's Probably Me" with Eric Clapton on the Lethal Weapon 3 soundtrack."

11 a.m. - #4.Name four Grammy-winning musical artists who are Canadian. Then link me to a video on YouTube by one of those artists. GO!
  • @madam_mina - a TIE! 2 points for being the first, with Joni Mitchell, Michael Buble, James Ehnes, The Band
  • @ShayneWinters - 2 points - a TIE for answering at the same moment as @madam_mina! Joni Mitchell, Michael Buble, James Ehnes, Celine Dion
  • @pweifenbach - 1 point for Michael Buble, Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, and Sarah McLachlan
  • @herstorian - 1 point for Alanis Morissette, Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen, and Celine Dion.
  • @aliciamcauley - 1 point for Joni Mitchell, Michael Buble, K.D. Lang, Diana Krall

12 p.m. - #5. It's lunch time here in Ontario! But here's a trivia question for you: How many time zones exist across Canada? (Ignore the DST thing!)

1 p.m. - #6. Scavenger Hunt! Find 5 photos featuring my 1st name (NOT handwritten; I mean street signs, billboards etc.)! Links ok here or at DW.

2 p.m. - #7. Will you be the first person to persuade a famous author to send me a get-well Tweet?

3 p.m. - #8. Find a complete stranger on Twitter, send him/her a note saying you have a crush on him/her, & link me to the tweet. Bonus for reply!
  • @pweifenbach - LOL at saying "NOT!"
  • @herstorian - she did it! (link pending - 1 point) 2 POINTS! !

4 p.m. - #9. Put all of the songs on The Beatles' "Abbey Road" in alphabetical order & tweet the first word of each to me. GO!
(I'm granting points to all due to the creativity of presentation)

5 p.m. - #10. Do you think you can bribe/talk a famous musician into sending me a get-well tweet before 8 a.m. tomorrow?

6 p.m. - #11. Name 3 actors or actresses who died on this day (June 19th).
  • @madam_mina - 1 point for
    Geraldine Brooks, Jean Arthur, Bobby Helms
  • @ShayneWinters - 1 point for Robert Shafer, Scott Merrill, and Zelda Crosby

7 p.m. - #12. Scavenger hunt! Can you find photos online of things that feature YOUR first, middle, and last name? (Each 3 can be separate pics.)

8 p.m. - #13. Tell me, in 140 characters, about your worst date ever. ("Didn't get laid" isn't quite detailed enough, FYI.)
  • @ANGRYSAM - 1 point! "In high school, first date, took girl miniature golfing, other friend swung club & slammed her in the eye. Had to go to hospital." Ouch.
  • @madam_mina - 1 point! "5 Arby's melts for $5 and he was cheap enough to be pissed that we couldn't share a soda because I drink diet and he doesn't" Creep!
  • @herstorian - 1 point! "Worst date=Awkward guy. In a comic shop we had something to talk about;afterward, he was almost silent for 2 hours. Excruciating."

9 p.m. - #14. Name 4 films that are based on conspiracy theories (and tell me which theories they cover). The Mel Gibson/Julia Roberts one = NO. :-P
  • @madam_mina - 1 point (great answers; will post 'em later so nobody steals 'em!)
  • @ShayneWinters - 1 point (though I should deduct one for your choice)
  • @herstorian - 1 point (I especially liked "there is no spoon")

10 p.m. - #15. Trivia: How many American states either begin or end with the letter 'A'?
Okay, there is some debate over this one; I'll have to verify!

11 p.m. - #16. Send me a link to the very first baby photo taken of you! (Hint: it was probably with your birth announcement...)
  • @herstorian - 1 point ( - aww!!)

12 a.m. - #17. Go to this optical illusions site - - and tell me how many you get right. (No cheating!) Highest score gets 1 pt.
Apparently I am the devil and this was a terribly misleading question; points for those who played along!

1 a.m. - #18. Write a Haiku for me about something we both love! Can it be done in 140 characters??
  • @ShayneWinters - 1 point for "Watching horror flicks. / "We're never going there." Bad / things happen in corn." (LOL!!)

2 a.m. - #19. Confess a slightly embarrassing factoid about yourself to me, something I didn't know before. (You can get back at me in one hour!)

3 a.m. - #20. Name 3 of the best guitarists EVER, then link me to a solo by each of them on YouTube. GO!

4 a.m. - #21. Only a scant few hours left to convince a famous actor/actress to send me a get-well tweet... Good luck!

5 a.m. - #22. Okay, it's officially Saturday morning. Upload a "Saturday" song and link to it for download! (hint: you can use MegaUpload/YouSendIt)

6 a.m. - #23. Find and post a picture of someone who shares both your first and last name, but is NOT you!

7 a.m. - #24. Only one away from the grand finale! Trivia: Name Canada's last 4 Prime Ministers AND the last 4 leaders of YOUR country.

8 a.m. - #25. LAST CHALLENGE! Find someone famous on Twitter, of whom I'm a fan but am not already Following, & see if you can get THEM to follow ME! You have until 7:59 p.m. EST (June 20) to accomplish that feat. The Follow only has to last long enough for me to know!

*** THANK YOU to everyone who devoted a full 24 hours to my amusement! I actually want ALL of your addresses - mail me at my username @ gmail!! ***

STAY TUNED FOR FINAL SCORES (Saturday 7:59 p.m. EST...) You have until then to answer the last few!

As of #18, here are the points:

You can still get more with the remaining challenges!


[Saturday night]
Health issues have sidelined me for a day or two; apologies for the delay, and I'll do the final tally as soon as I'm able. Thanks, guys. xoxo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Musings on Dunbar's Number: When do we "max out" on friends?

On Friday, June 13th, 2008, a 20-year-long friendship came to a sudden, though not unexpected, end. I'd thought it was one that would last a lifetime; people don't generally see each other through so many of life's obstacles, victories and rites of passage only to toss aside one's partner in crime. Precisely how something that had seemed so fireproof went up in smoke within only a matter of months is a mystery that will confound me for years to come, if I let it. It is, perhaps, energy best spent elsewhere - I'll get to that - but the fact remains that I learned a solid and valuable lesson from the experience: There is no such thing as a sure thing. Oh, and as a TV show once told me (I listen to what the television says, you know), "Trust no-one." Damn straight.

I preface my ponderings about Dunbar's Number with that bit of background mainly to exemplify one of its biggest points: Damage to our innermost social "ring" can knock you off your axis for an incalcuable amount of time, and you might surprise yourself with what measures you'll take to try to rebalance yourself. All of our "social networking" and society's sudden, strange fixation with "collecting" friends as Readers or Followers might be a direct result of us trying to fill a void - one that should be reserved for only a very few VIPs - by stuffing as many acquaintances into it as technology will allow.

"But what the hell is Dunbar's Number?" you're thinking. You don't really wanna read on if I'm going to babble and analogize and never explain the theory. I don't blame you. So here's the quick and dirty Wikipedia definition, for a start:

Dunbar's number is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restricted rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number, but a commonly cited approximation is 150.

Dunbar's number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who theorized that "this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size ... the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained." On the periphery, the number also includes past colleagues such as high school friends with whom a person would want to reacquaint themselves if they met again.

That is only one facet of the theory, of course, but at its basest, it shows us that we all have a limit on how many balls we can juggle, and how valuable our nearest and dearest are in the grand scheme of things.

If you're like my mother, your immediate reaction is to say, "Uh, no. My social circle doesn't come close to a hundred and fifty people." But when I started to elaborate - "Think of your Christmas card list, and all of the people who are offshoots of those people!" - my Mom had to admit that it sounded more plausible with an expanded definition. I used the analogy of our own personal universes having orbits around them, or Bohr's rings, each populated by different "levels" of people in our lives. The innermost ring, for most, would include a significant other, or one's children, siblings, or best and oldest friend. The next ring would feature other close relatives and friends who are central to one's life. The next might have longtime colleagues or in-laws. And so on. It's a highly personal thing, the organization of one's particular universe, but you get the idea. Once you start to extend it to include the other people who exist in your sphere, in whatever capacity - those you know through work, old friends you only see once a year, people you've met through your boyfriend/best friend/boss - it's not hard to imagine 150 as being a reasonable middle-ground kind of number.

I'd never heard of this theory before a few days ago - odd timing, really, since I hadn't realized that it was the anniversary of the annihilation of that aforementioned friendship upon which I stumbled across Dunbar. Of all days to be learning about the delicate balance of our social circles and the damage that can be done if an inner ring is somehow disturbed, I had a one in 365 shot that it would be that day. I hadn't even recognized it as being a day of any significance until I was reminded by someone about where I'd been a year ago that night, and things all fell into place from there. And yes, the theory is correct about just how whacked out your social connections can get when a fundamental party is obliterated by circumstance (death, divorce, drama). I'd experienced it before I knew that it had a name.

The theory goes on to explain that we, as social creatures, are in a constant state of flux - the outermost rings of people coming and going, changing in their composition or their degree of importance to us - but that it is more important than most of us realize to keep some semblance of sameness to, if nothing else, the sheer number of people we're trying to juggle. With the onslaught of new social networking media, like Twitter and Facebook, we're bombarded by (or is it "with"?) the minutiae of more and more of our most distant contacts every single day...and it's screwing with our heads. Those of us who used to have close-knit circles of only our dearest friends and family, numbering nowhere near that magic Dunbar figure, are now in constant contact with people who would otherwise be relegated to "work friends" or "old schoolmates" or people we had simply shed as part of the process of growing and moving on. That's not to say the internet hasn't been an amazing tool, helping us to reconnect with countless people with whom we'd lost touch and being able to pick up where we left off; I don't know anyone who doesn't have at least one happy "you'll never guess who found me on Facebook!" story. But there's a flipside to that element of our lives: The energy we each expend nowadays, trying to maintain all of these new or revived relationships, can be exorbitant, and I know of a startlingly high number of people who suffer from what I call Facebook Guilt. It's that feeling you get when you see how many messages have been sitting, unread, in your inbox for days, and the endless little comments or virtual gifts left for us each day - kind and thoughtful though they almost always are - that makes turning on your computer start to seem scary as hell. It's the cyber-version of drowning in paperwork. Throw Twitter into the mix, add in your 24/7 availability via text message on your cell phone, and the capability to IM anyone from anywhere...and I'm betting your number has soared well beyond 150 and into the realm of "holy HELL how do I make the BEEPING stop?!?"

It's not just me. Honest.

So Dunbar has applied the whole "apes grooming each other" thing to us humanfolk, and has postulated that we're in danger of being driven crazy by too many people in our sphere or having parts of our lives and personalities neglected if we have too few. A line from "Trainspotting" has come to mind frequently as I've pondered my own circle of friends: "It's a tightrope, Spud. A fucking tightrope." Truer words have ne'er been spoken. As our Contact Lists grow longer, our time spent cultivating the face-to-face variety of friendship grows inevitably shorter, and eventually we'll all find ourselves either loaded down with 400 expectant people or a scant few who can be bothered with us since we blew them off to catch up on our unanswered email or ignored them as we texted furiously under the table at dinner.

I didn't have to think for long before I could say with absolute certainty that the number of people in my life who deserve to be slapped with the Truly Important To Me label is laughably higher than 150. I say that not to boast nor to complain, but rather to marvel. I didn't do an actual headcount, but I didn't need to. A quick scan of the people who can read my locked blog + the number of contacts on MSN + the list of cell numbers stored in my phone + the friends and family on Facebook = a metric crapload. (I mean that in a good way.) The majority of those people are ones I've known either long or well (or both) and would never want to "lose" in a Dunbar shuffle. I think that puts me in the realm of Critical Mass. And one might make a good argument that spending so much time tending to so many, and wanting to keep up on the details of that many lives, has (and still could) cost me some of the relationships I've had since before I became @prettyh. Would I change it? Nope. Do I recognize the insanity of somehow really knowing such a high volume of people, and the effort it requires to be an active participant in their lives? YES. And since most of them (you might be one of Them, if you're reading this) are in the same boat, I think it's safe to say that they realize it, too. Thank goodness for that; I'm lucky to have a mightily forgiving lot of inhabitants in my life, all of whom know that the expected turnaround date for an email response or a phone call or a ReTweet or a night at the movies has grown exponentially longer because our social circles have exploded.

(Anyone who knows me at all just laughed aloud at the idea of me voluntarily making a phone call. It was just an example.)

It wasn't my ever-expanding clan that rendered my decades-old friendship extinct; the death of that relationship was inevitable, with or without 'net access. But I've seen it happen to other people, trading precious RL moments for a chance to bask in the adulation scrolling across their computer screen. I suppose the whole point of this blather is to say that we've lost sight of our Number and why it should matter to us. We expect ridiculous things of ourselves as we try to mete out the appropriate amount of time and attention to each and every member of our worlds and, without proper perspective, we're constantly in danger of denting our Inner Rings by letting the weight of the Outer ones crush toward the centre. Which is us. We are at the middle of our own universe by its very design; people are in our orbit. And we are in theirs. And we're no good to anyone if we're spread too thin, spending countless hours ignoring the relationships in front of us in favour of sending mass forwards to our 6,342 "closest friends." A tightrope, indeed.

Does it shoot all of my credibility to hell if I confess that I Twittered about this very subject only days ago? Ahem.

Take a good, hard look at your Number. Count your rings. Ask yourself if they're prioritized correctly. If the answer is no, it's time to back away from the mesmerizing pull of seeing lives in 140 characters. If the answer is yes...well, then, you're probably a lot further ahead of the rest of your pack. And Dunbar would be proud of you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NIN/JA, fickle fans, expletives and videos: My farewell to one of my favourite bands.

I was in the process of trying to find the exact set list for the NIN/JA show that took place on June 5th in New Jersey...and I'm coming across an awful lot of...well, frankly, bullshit.

Read the comments to this Rolling Stone article as a primer. Hell, just read the article itself. What the...?

I found out from a friend maybe three days ahead of time that NIN would be performing before Jane's Addiction. (If I'd had half a brain I'd have seen the huge notice on the NIN website.) I said, "Wha...?" and then got over it. Because despite not even owning any of JA's albums, I loved the '90s alt scene, and I don't care in what order they play; seeing NIN and JA share a stage is like a rock-gasm for people who were heavy into the club circuit throughout the last decade. Having Tom Morello tossed in for good measure was simply a cherry on top of it all.

I consider myself a pretty good critic as far as concerts go. Lord knows I've seen enough of them to be called, if not an expert, at least thoroughly informed on the subject. I've seen NIN five times (or is it 6...? Yes, it's six! HOLY CRAP), so I have a basis for comparison. And I would say that the NIN/JA show was easily the second best I have ever experienced. (The absolute best was on the summer leg of the With Teeth tour in '06 - it cannot be beat. Not only did Bauhaus open for them, but the electricity in the crowd, the gorgeous summer night by the lake - same venue as the one they played the other night - and the amazing set list and brand new light show were just unbeatable.)

Having said that, one could argue that it's because I've gotten to see them so many times that I can feel as fulfilled and as happy with whatever Trent wants to throw at us as I am. I do wonder how I'd have felt if the NIN/JA experience had been my first (and, as it appears more and more each day, the LAST). But on the other hand, I know NIN's catalogue backwards and front, sideways and then some, and I didn't learn it from seeing them live; I already owned it all going in. I'd be hard pressed to come up with a set list that would disappoint me, because I love stuff from every Halo that has been put out.

Trent made it very public that there would be no flashy light show this time, and that they wouldn't be playing Closer and all of the other mainstream pseudo-fan favourites. They just played those in November! (And, okay, AGAIN, I will grant that Toronto is insanely lucky because we've almost always gotten to see NIN both at the start and at the end of a tour, so we get two different shows with different set lists etc., while other cities get passed over completely. I saw one Fragile show, two on the With Teeth tour, two for Year Zero, and then the NIN/JA set. All in my own city. That's lucky. I do get that.) The point is that Trent made it abundantly clear that this was the Wave Goodbye tour, and it was for the die-hards, not the poseurs. Silly little blonde sluts who like to bump and grind to Closer at their local sleazy dance club were not the target audience.

(My clip, which sadly did not go far enough to let everyone hear me screaming, "IT WON'T GIVE UP IT WANTS ME DEAD GODDAMN THIS NOISE INSIDE MY HEAD"...because I wanted to dance, not film. Sorry 'bout that. I do know there's complete video of it elsewhere on YouTube, though!)

So instead of the same old regurgitated set list for the umpteenth time, Trent opted to give the fans something else. Something about which, at least at the Toronto show, people in the audience were SO pumped. Nearly every song they played, you would hear thousands of people exclaiming things like, "Holy shit!! I never thought I'd hear this live!!" I was one of those people. I had to apologize to Ian, my intrepid partner in concert-crime, who is a relative NIN novice, because I'd sent him a bunch of MP3s to prep him for what he was likely to hear...and I think only ONE out of the 30+ tracks I'd given him ended up being played. But he was pretty amused to see me jumping up and down - literally - because we were getting to hear Heresy instead of Closer, and I'm Afraid Of Americans instead of Only. (You really must check out this awesome footage of IAOA from our show.) And despite only even recognizing two of the songs at all, and never getting to see the mind-blowing light shows that had marked the previous Lights In The Sky tours, and being younger than me (just shy of 24) and therefore never being exposed to NIN as part of his nightlife, he enjoyed it. I don't think you could help but enjoy it; there was just an energy in the crowd that was infectious, and everyone was simply there to have a great time. And I think everyone did - certainly everyone around ME, and the reports from other friends at the show were the same. [ ETA: Browsing the NIN.Com boards, I see that the West Palm Beach thread is mostly negativity, whereas nearly everything said about our Toronto show was over-the-top positive. In the WPB thread, there is - seriously!! - a guy who says they were "entitled" to an encore. A contradiction in terms, to be sure, Einstein. ] It was a nice way to say goodbye to the longtime fans, and clearly it was enjoyable for some of the newcomers as well.

I'll have to ask my friend EmCee to weigh in on this, too, because we were at the same show and she was in the section ahead of me, so she might be able to lend more insight into the vibe. But from everything I witnessed, people were having a blast, even while the sun was still up! (NIN in daylight is, truly, a weird experience.)

[ETA: EmCee's response to all of this: Yeah, I was at that show and people were totally into it from my POV.

Hell, I know I loved it. I've never gotten to see NIN before and I am absolutely in no way disappointed with this being what is most likely the only one I'll ever see. IMHO, it was tight.

Those tickets are pretty. Shame mine says [my brother's name instead of mine]. Oh well. Still look all shiny. Nicest looking ticket I've got on my board.

Anyone who bitches and moans and acts all entitled can go DIAF.

Well said, my friend. ]

Back to the über-bitching that's spreading across the 'net, then.

(It's really not so bad, you know, once you get past the taste...)

what a fuckn letdown man. if theyre really gone now an that was what we were left with than FUCKYOU NIN.

I'm reading comments like these, and just shaking my head. Everyone's entitled to their (grammatically flawed) opinion, and of course there will be shows that are better than others, but come ON.

Went to the Austin show and it was awful. NIN was lackluster and sounded weak. Audience was not into the music. Trent recently tweeted about it: “Not one of our better shows. Despite our efforts we seemed unable to win over the crowd. Texas ends with a whisper.” about 4 hours ago from Tweetie -
Trent should buckle down and focus on the tour and not his cheapo girlfriend.

And then this:

There were a lot of very pissed off people at the West Palm show… NIN opened for Jane’s, but nobody knew that was going to happen. I guess my fault for showing up a little late, got there around 7:45 and NIN was already on stage. Then they didn’t even come out for an encore. The stage looked like they were going to come back out for a bit and then all of a sudden the lights came on and they started setting up the stage for Jane’s. Heard a lot of booing… Lots of pissed off people…


Now, see, here's the thing. A lot has to happen to make a concert orgasmic. There has to be a certain synergy between band and audience. Sometimes it happens organically; sometimes it has to be pushed a bit before things start rolling; sometimes there's a misfire and the connection just doesn't take. Keeping NIN as the sole example (just because it could get messy if I start comparing good vs bad shows when I'm talking about totally different bands/crowds/expectations etc.), I can say that I was underwhelmed at the winter show of the With Teeth tour. Part of it was probably because the one I'd seen in July, only a few months previous, was The Best Show Ever. But there were other elements, too - the electricity wasn't the same. The set list wasn't as good. Hell, our seats were crap. But not in a million years would I go and post something like those comments above just because things weren't firing on all cylinders.

I like this response, given by another Rolling Stone reader:

Hey Austin...How can you be mad at the band. They feed off the energy of the crowd. You got no feeling….you fail.

This is SO TRUE. Sometimes there'll be a crowd who come in with this indignant attitude right off the bat, thinking about what they paid for their ticket and having a specific set list in mind, and it's as though they've set themselves up to be disappointed. I've been to other shows like that, with other bands; you can feel it before the show even starts. Instead of there being a buzz in the crowd as everyone comes together in anticipation of what they're gonna see when the curtain comes up and the lights go down, there's an expectation. As though the band is a bunch of trained circus dogs who are expected to perform a certain set of tricks, and one false move totally kills the moment. The band is up there, working their asses off, and the crowd is barely moving. Because OH NOES THEY DIDN'T PLAY MY FAVOURITE SONG!!

To which I say, "If you want to hear your favourite songs in the 'right' order in the 'right' way, STAY THE FUCK HOME and LISTEN TO YOUR iPOD."

For the record, NIN has only ever played my "must-hear" songs once each. I wait with bated breath every single show, hoping to hear the first notes of Ringfinger and The Wretched. Only once, ever, did that happen. And y'know what? THE SHOWS WERE STILL AWESOME.

And god forbid if the band acknowledges a night when the crowd wasn't feelin' it. Because then you incite remarks like this:

Did you see Trent Reznor whining about the Austin show on Twitter? Really, is he surprised? IT SUCKED! HE SOUNDED LIKE SHIT. He needs to grow up and stop being a ass. He’s “sad” that the crowd wasn’t into it, well if he had put together a tighter show, we would have been into it.

Now, okay, I wasn't at the Austin show. I can say nothing with any authority about how good or bad it was. And I've seen Trent whine (OY OY OY), and I've rolled my eyes at it too. But the remark he made about that one concert wasn't whiny. And when fans take something like that and twist it around, why on earth do they expect their supposed favourite band to work nearly as hard next time?? If they can do no right, why bother?

I'm trying to find a comment that was made about how Trent "didn't interact at all with the audience" and that was a bad thing. I'll post it here if I can find it. But y'know what? TRENT DOESN'T TALK TO THE AUDIENCE. With the exception of ONE of the six shows I've seen - during which he actually dragged a stool to the front of the stage and sat on it to explain why he likes bringing NIN to Toronto more often than anywhere else, and what makes these shows stand out to him (it was quite a surprise to the whole crowd; fifteen thousand people fell instantly silent to hear what he had to say, and it was really very touching and kind of surreal) - he has always kept it to "thank you" and "good night" and that is IT. What the hell kind of NIN fan are you if you're expecting him to, like, get everyone singing Head Like A Hole in the round???

(The idea of that just made me LOL.)

Maybe it's just that the stereotypical NIN fan is all angsty and only happy when they're pissed off, or something. Get a load of this:

There was a BIG problem for those of us that bought Atlanta pre-sale tickets. This was COMPLETELY screwed up, they didn’t have the tickets ready at all! There were literally hundreds of people waiting in line to get their tickets. Once you got to the window (which took over an hour), you had to give them your name, and then someone had to run out and find them somewhere and bring them to the window. It was a total fiasco. I got there just before 7pm, and we didn’t get our tickets until almost 8:15pm. We missed Streetsweeper and half of the NIN set. And we were actually lucky because we were at the front of the line. I feel bad for all those behind us that were waiting. I WILL NEVER GO TO ANOTHER NIN CONCERT. That’s what you get for being greedy old man Reznor.


This is NIN's fault how, exactly...? Sounds to me like the venue is shit. 'Cos we got NIN.Com presale tickets, and we were treated like royalty. No lines anywhere, a separate entrance, better seats (without the insane "convenience fees" from TicketBastard on them, no less)... Hell, even the tickets themselves are pretty! (I still have to take a photo of mine. ETA: Okay...that was harder than I thought.)

It is a hell of a lot harder to photograph a shiny ticket in bad light than I expected it to be. Further attempts to show the shiny prettiness of my ticket did not turn out terribly well. But you get the point. Probably. It's SHINY and it has my name on it and it's purple and silver and stuff. Photos don't do it justice.

Anyway, I guess my point is that this is turning out to be one of the more controversial and talked-about tours that I've ever seen, and I'm genuinely shocked at how much of the talk is negative. I've done my fair share of bitching about certain concerts (is there a soul alive who hasn't heard my kvetching about the 2005 U2 gig where Bono lectured us all to call our PM - he even had the phone number up on all of the big-screens for us! HOW THOUGHTFUL - to get Canada to "drop the debt", and then told us how we could have better spent the $200 it cost each of us to see the fucking show???!?). Some concerts deserve to be bitched about. And as I've said, it is ALL a matter of opinion, and every show will strike something different in every member of the audience. But from where I was sitting (literally and figuratively), my assessment was that Trent Reznor went the extra mile to give his actual fans a proper farewell - from playing rare and thrilling stuff, to controlling the ticket prices (honestly, $75 to see three of the biggest music icons of my generation?!? WOW) and offering better seats/easier access/nicer treatment to the .Com crowd, to making sure that everyone was allowed to bring whatever cameras they wanted to bring without getting hassled by security - and for all of his efforts, he's gotten more shitty feedback than any of the truly awful bands or shows I've ever seen.

I don't blame him for waving goodbye. If my "fans" were as greedy and thankless as the most vocal ones I've seen thus far, I'd have quit long before Trent did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My DVD Collection - a partial list...

It's been suggested to me more than once that I try to get together a comprehensive list of every DVD I own, mainly so people can bug me to borrow stuff. So, at last, here is the beginning of said list. I'm nowhere near finished.

My DVD Collection at Listal