Normally I’d tell you that a CD written primarily in another language is only for the taste of those open-minded and adventurous souls on the cutting edge of international music. But there’s something about Japanese sensation Puffy Ami Yumi’s “Nice.” It’s a surprisingly pleasant and compelling vacation from American pop rock-and-roll. From its very first track, you want to sing along, and you only know what you’re saying about 10 percent of the time. Lead singers Ami and Yumi’s vocal ability and catchy tunes snatch your attention and hold you captive. You can hear everything from Ska, to disco, to 80s electronic and mellow folk in this album and it’s seamless. These ladies have already made a name for themselves in Japan, and this album is a shining example of why.
Pennywise’s eighth studio release “From the ashes” re-establishes this band of 15 years as a pioneer in the world of punk rock. With everything from challenging those who may tell you how to think in track number 11 entitled “Rise Up,” to a more mid-tempo nostalgic ride with the song “Yesterdays,” Pennywise re-emphasizes the idea that their music exists to inspire people. They also said that they want people to be empowered by their music. To everyone who is saying that this 15-year-old band from Southern California should stop, my advice to you is to wait until Sept. 9, when “From the Ashes” is released. Talking politics has never sounded so cool.
Of all the trends in entertainment to catch on over the last few years, none have spread like wildfire quite like reality TV.
Who would have thought that the success of a certain survival show, not to mention the groundwork laid by MTV’s “The Real World,” would cause our televisions to be bombarded with such an abundance of reality-themed programming? Millions of viewers religiously tuned-in to root for their “American Idol,” to watch “The Bachelor” choose his bride or even to join two strangers in holy matrimony in “Married by America.”
Looking to ride in on this reality-crazed train, Spike TV premieres their new reality series, “The Joe Schmo Show,” this September. Here are the details: Ten strangers are picked to live together in a luxurious house. There they must compete in a series of wacky challenges. One by one, the occupants vote each other off until only one person remains. That person wins $100,000! Sound interesting? If you have seen or heard of any previous reality TV shows, most likely the answer is no. Thankfully, there’s a catch- nine of the “contestants” are actually actors who, along with the show’s host, must work together to convince number ten that he is in fact competing on a reality television show called “Lap of Luxury.”
“The Joe Schmo Show” rounds up the stereotypical cast of characters from reality TV to further the illusion. Among the players are Earl-“The Grizzled Veteran,” Ashleigh-“The Rich Bitch,” Kip-“The Gay Guy,” and “The Hutch” who plays “The Asshole.” And yes, these are the titles with which “The Joe Schmo Show” refers to its participants in their personal interview segments, a tradition in reality TV programming.
The Joe in the title refers to a law school dropout turned pizza deliveryman named Matt Kennedy Gould. Matt is your ordinary, average Joe and most likely leapt at the chance to be a participant in a new reality television series. Unbeknownst to Matt, though, the joke is on him, and will be for the length of the inaugural season of “The Joe Schmo Show.”
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Spike TV, it is the self-proclaimed “First Network for Men.” Current programs include “Stripperella,” an animated series about a crime-fighting stripper who is voiced-by and resembles Pamela Anderson, “American Gladiators” (that’s right…it’s back!), and manly action movies frequently starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
I talked with Debra Fazio, director of communication for Spike TV, about the show she calls, “The first unreality, reality series.” She pointed out that while reality shows in general tend to be skewed more toward women, that is not the case with “The Joe Schmo Show.” Fazio said that several aspects of what men like are present in this new program including competition, comedy and the fact that it is the ultimate prank.
“It doesn’t hurt that we have some attractive women in there,” Fazio said.
Fazio said the show went on a search of four or five U.S. cities in mid-America to find their man. They walked up to Gould when he was getting ready to go play basketball and proceeded to send him through the audition process for the fictitious TV series, “Lap of Luxury.”
So is the show as fun as it sounds? After viewing the series premiere episode, I was left with a pretty mixed opinion of what I had just seen. Despite the show’s edgy network and outlandish challenge competitions, including such titles as “These Drawers Aren’t Yours” and “Hands on a High-Priced Hooker,” I felt “The Joe Schmo Show” had a surprising lack of energy. However, the debut episode’s unnecessary length of two hours could partly be to blame for that impression. It seems to me that much of the appeal of reality TV programs for their loyal fans comes from characters that viewers latch onto as their favorites. However, “The Joe Schmo Show” does not really allow for that to happen because, besides Gould, it centers around a bunch of actors pretending to be “real” people that they, in fact, are not.
It is possible, though, that “The Joe Schmo Show” can survive on its gimmick alone. You cannot help but feel a little sorry for Matt as he confesses to the camera his reactions and experiences living in the “Lap of Luxury.” He is a nice guy who is oblivious to the fact that he is the butt of a series-long joke that is being televised for all to see. The “reality” excitement of the show comes from watching the actors strive to make sure they do not blow their cover or that of each other. Characters occasionally forget their “identities” and details of previous conversations with Matt about their lives, which results in them attempting to correct their slips.
For me, the most entertaining bit happened during the episode’s pseudo elimination ceremony. In true reality TV tradition, the proceedings when a character is voted out are ridiculously corny and dramatic. Gould and his housemates each have their own collector’s plate, which is thrown in a fire once that person is voted out of the house. When the first person of the show is asked to leave, they give an absurdly over-the-top farewell speech that was so laughably unbelievable that one of the remaining actors, as well as myself, felt for sure that Matt would begin to see the charade for what it really was.
Whether or not “The Joe Schmo Show” will prove a hit for Spike TV is yet to be seen. Viewers, especially reality TV fanatics, looking for a little something new and different might tune in out of curiosity. In order for the network to keep those viewers coming back week after week, though, I recommend that they add a little more spike to their newest experiment in reality TV.
The Joe Schmo Show” premieres Tuesday on Spike TV, channel 24
In this time of old punk favorites changing their ways and ending up on MTV, it’s good to see some classic bands fight the growing popularity of punk and stay true to their music. While The Bouncing Souls’ new CD, “Anchors Aweigh,” does have an unavoidable new sound to it, it still reflects the same style that the Bouncing Souls have come so far with. This new sound that appears on about half of the tracks will hold its own against most current competition. While some diehard Souls fans might not dig this new style, the majority of fans will rock this album much like all their others.
Every summer I work to save up some money for a few key school year necessities: clothes, food, and…drink. It may sound stupid to save money with the sole intention of pouring it down my throat, and that’s because it is, but it’s what I, and several thousand other students at CSU, enjoy doing. Whether it be the atmosphere, the drinks, the potential of meeting a significant (or not so significant) other, or whatever your fancy, there’s probably a bar in Fort Collins that has what you’re looking for. And though I am no bar professional (I haven’t figured out how to get paid yet) I thought I’d offer my tips for the places to go where the deals are hot and so are the…you know.
If you find yourself wanting to drink on Monday night I think you should ask yourself one question. Why not?
The hot spot on Monday nights is usually Sullivan’s Tavern. Monday night is flip-night at this sports bar, which means the waitperson will flip a quarter and if you are fortunate enough to guess the correct outcome your drink will be 25 cents. If you happen to guess incorrectly, your drink is regular price.
If you guess the same side of the coin every time, chances are you will get about half your drinks for a quarter. That’s an inside tip so don’t ask me what my sources are.
The Avenue is located on College Avenue just south of Old Chicago and recently I had the opportunity to indulge myself with several $5 fishbowls filled to the brim with a mixture of rums and fruit juices. Now although I did feel a bit silly sipping a bright pink drink out of a fishbowl with a straw, I must admit I felt much sillier after sipping several more.
For those of us who took Monday off, Tuesday is a perfect day to indulge. Why you ask? Because tomorrow is Wednesday. For those who didn’t take Monday off, we all know there is just one way to cure a hangover.
Tuesday nights belong to one bar and one bar only. At Washington’s Bar & Grill I can order two beers and a nasty shot of well tequila and lay down just $2. And that’s including a decent tip! Yeah the beers are a little small and the well drinks are a little ill, but honestly, it would be wrong to pass on 59 cent drinks.
Don’t order two beers and a nasty shot of well tequila for yourself, order them for your friend.
Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon in Old Town Square has $2 Guinness all day and all night so if you’re into gaining weight, pretending you’re Irish or drinking petrol then sit down and have breakfast, lunch and dinner in a glass.
You can’t spell Wednesday without having a couple drinks. Why you ask? ‘Cause seriously, somebody had to be boozing when they decided to put the letter ‘D’ in Wednesday.
Really it’s somewhat of a toss-up on Wednesday nights. Linden’s Brewing Company has $1 drafts of their own micros that I enjoy, but some complain about hangover effects, while Tony’s Restaurant & Lounge has $1 drafts of micros such as Odell’s Easy Street Wheat. A neat trick to remember is that these two bars are within walking distance of each other so if you’re not digging one you can easily get to the other.
Drinking too much of any micro will cause most people to complain heartily about a hangover. That is unless you’re like the old man who used to drink two beers in under five seconds at the end of every episode of The Man Show. I bet he never complained, even when he died from liver cancer.
If you’re down for a good snooze, check out The Matrixx. Seriously, that place hasn’t woken up in years.
Thursday has long been a day for celebration. Why you ask? Because it is only one of seven days of the week that ends with the word “day.” That and the fact that on our class schedule Thursday is abbreviated using the letter ‘R’, and everybody knows that ‘R’ stands for Red Bull & Vodka.
Sullivan’s has Thursday nights on lock. I have but one hyphenated word for anybody looking for a good time – four-for-ones. If you think I mean that you can get four drinks for the price of one then you are excellent at understanding the nuances of the English language. Most people follow Sullivan’s with a trip to Washington’s for $1 drafts . . . whether they remember they did or not.
Try not to drink so much that you don’t remember what you did the previous night. Seriously I did that one time and I don’t remember what happened but it probably wasn’t cool.
Thursday night’s sleeper bar is your bed. After a long night at this bar I am always well prepared for whatever Friday night’s bar might be.
After such a long week of bar-hopping I can’t see how I can justify going to the bars on these nights of the week. Oh wait . . . there’s no school the next day!
Wherever you end up there’s only one place to really start out. Tailgate Tommy’s has $2 U Call Its, a good crowd and a great location. Even though the service can be rough around the edges due to long lines and overextended bartenders, I still call it fantastic.
$2 U Call It x 5 Calls = 1 Bad Call
Hottest Tip: As much fun as the bars can be there is absolutely no reason to drink and drive. Although the public transportation in Fort Collins is far less than adequate, a 45-minute wait for a cab ride is worth it every time. Be responsible and you’ll wake up feeling better the next morning- guaranteed.
A young man with black hair takes the stage, picks up his guitar, sits on his stool and begins to play.
At first, the audience pays no mind to the musician. But, as his song begins to take shape, it demands their attention. From the blur that is the player’s hands and fingers comes a music that is inspired by something above. No words are needed, the acoustic guitar sings for itself.
As the music fades away, the crowd realizes what it has witnessed and erupts in adoration. It has just been attacked by the acoustic ninja.
Trace Bundy began playing guitar at age 11 in Buena Vista, Colo. He and his brother both pitched in $5 and bought an old acoustic from a guy named Herbie.
From there, Bundy began to teach himself basic chords and learn numerous Def Leppard hits.
“Def Leppard rocks, but Stryper rocks harder,” Bundy said.
As his talent developed, Bundy became more interested in music theory. He wanted to figure out why music sounded the way it did and what made his guitar sound so good.
The self-taught guitarist began to explore the vast musical territory of his fret board. His unique instrumental stylings came from discovering various techniques on his own, and incorporating them into his songs. After a while, Bundy stopped using a pick and found that he could play more complex rhythms with all five of his fingers.
“By teaching myself, it was easier to develop my own style of playing,” Bundy said. “When there are no words, the music has to be able to speak for itself. It has to be pretty original or it’s just going to sound like everything else.”
That style is exactly what sets Trace Bundy, now 26, apart from the rest of the guitarists in Boulder, where he currently resides.
Drawing from various influences, ranging from Bela Fleck to his hero Phil Keaggy, the fan-dubbed Acoustic Ninja has created a style most commonly referred to as a unique blend of progressive-acoustic-folk-latin-classical-ninja-core, or just ninja-core.
“The whole ninja thing came from when I was a little kid,” Bundy said. “I used to dress up as ninjas and draw ninjas a lot, and it just kind of carried over into my music.”
Seeing Trace Bundy perform songs such as “Adapt” and “Dueling Ninjas” live is to experience a swift musical kick to the head. The listener will often leave the show confused, not being able to comprehend how one man can do that with just a guitar.
Bundy does have one song on which he sings.
“It’s the first song I ever wrote when I was 11 called ‘Concrete Evidence.’ It’s about the adventures of this little concrete man. I’ll sing it when I know I have friends in the crowd. We all get a kick out of it.”
Bundy is not afraid to divulge one of his most important musical secrets.
“When it comes to the guitar I’d have to say that I have the Kung-Fu grip,” he said.
Besides playing his own shows and sharing the stage with Newcomers Home, and Derek Webb of Caedmon’s Call, Bundy has spent the last three years doing graduate work at the University of Colorado to help fund his music career. Now that he is finished, he intends to return to the studio in September.
Bundy plans to record several of the fan favorites that he plays live, as well as a few songs that are still in the making. This includes an arrangement of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.
“On the song I play the bass line with my right hand and the melody with my left and then I switch and then I switch again, it should be pretty cool,” Bundy said.
This fall the Acoustic Ninja will head out to play spot dates in northern Colorado.
“Music is my passion,” Bundy said. “It’s an excellent source of expressing what’s going on inside of you. I consider it a huge blessing to sit and play for people. It’s straight from the heart, and I haven’t opened for Lil’ Bow Wow, Yanni, or the Artist Formerly Known As Prince…yet.”
For live video, free music downloads and more check out www.tracebundy.com
Thanks to studying abroad and a summer internship, I’ve spent Valentine’s Day in Paris, St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Easter break in Italy and the Fourth of July in Washington this year. Oh, and I was in Vegas for my 21st birthday.
But I’ve been looking forward to Aug. 30 as much as any of those days.
To those who haven’t gone to a CU-CSU game yet, you are in for a treat. Some may not think so after the pathetic job ASCSU did with the Plaza line for tickets Saturday. About 2,500 students lined up orderly and our student government decided to start a sprint to the Lory Student Center doors. Thankfully nobody was trampled. For that sacrifice, students hopefully will be treated to a great game and a Rams win.
This game is about much more than football. No single event in the year brings more students of this campus together than the CU-CSU game. Pride in the football team spreads to pride in all that is CSU and pride in Fort Collins. Tailgating with your fellow Rams while trash talking to Buff fans before this game is as good as it gets.
My three previous trips to Denver for the game have all been great times, even the year we got slammed 41-14. Obviously we left that game in bad spirits, but the excitement, anticipation and tailgating more than made up for the loss. This year’s view from the press box probably won’t be as much fun.
Thanks to CU athletic director Dick Tharp, this is the last season the game is scheduled in Denver. CSU will head to Boulder in 2004 and 2005 and the two teams will not meet 2006 and 2007. So take advantage of Saturday, it will be your last opportunity.
With a No. 23 ranking and an easier schedule than last season, there have been some predictions by students and media of a Bowl Championship Series appearance and an undefeated season this year.
Even head coach Sonny Lubick has said the Rams have one of their most talented teams in his tenure.
However, the chances of an undefeated season are slim to none, no matter what the schedule. Usually there are two or less undefeated teams of the 117 in Division I-A at the end of a season. When our rivals from Boulder won a share of the national championship in 1990, they had one loss, one tie and one fifth down.
CSU’s schedule this year is also deceiving in some ways. If the Rams can win their first two games against two-time defending Big 12 North Champion Colorado and California in Berkley, the schedule gets much easier.
The next major test will come against Miami. No, not the Hurricanes, the RedHawks from Ohio, who boast a Heisman candidate in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Rams must also get over the hump against Fresno State. The Bulldogs have beaten the Rams the past two straight years by a total of five points.
Five days after a tough game against Fresno, the Rams must travel to Provo, Utah, to take on Brigham Young. BYU is picked fourth in the Mountain West this year, but the Rams have always had a tough time winning in Provo.
Finally, the Rams ran out of gas last year when they lost their last two games against UNLV and Texas Christian. Late season games at New Mexico and UNLV will be key if the Rams hope to win another Mountain West Conference title.
CSU is by far the best team in the Mountain West and I hope they prove me wrong and go undefeated. However, it is a long season where every team will be giving the Rams their best game. A 12-0 season for the Rams is about as likely as a 6-6 season, but you never know.
I really love the first week of school. I love it not for the classes, not for the hustle and bustle, but for the bust lines. Any guy who has spent any amount of time on the Plaza pretending to peruse the paper knows what I am talking about. And don’t call me a pig, XX’s, because you are just as guilty of this act as your XY counterparts.
This activity involves no spoken words and few obvious gestures, but rather is a passive game of seeing and being seen.
“It is my sole motivation for going to class the first week,” says senior Ed Sevadjian. “Is there any other reason I should be going?”
The first two days of school are the best people-watching days of the year for two reasons: the first reason being that everyone shows up to the first day of class and the second being that so many people dress up. How ridiculous is dressing up to go to school? Yeah, and you’ve almost certainly done it!
My favorite aspect of this charade is the anonymity. Faced with the bedazzling question of “where did all these beautiful people come from?” then wondering why I had to roll a four in the genetic crap-shoot of aesthetic beauty, sitting on the plaza allows for a benign way to observe all those girls I am too afraid to talk to and to wonder if I will ever get the nerve to strike up a conversation.
So this week my love-hate relationship with all you pretty girls definitely falls on the side of love. Oh, how I loathe the winter.
Hero/Zero of the week:
In a new segment, each week I will pick the hero of the week and the zero of the week. If you know any person or group who was a hero this week, email me telling me who and why they’re a hero. You can even nominate yourself if you feel you committed a commendable act (I will not mention your self-nomination) and deserve credit. Please do not send me zeros, whereas this world has no shortage of morons.
Hero of the Week: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who 40 years ago today made his timeless “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Dr. King was a hero in the purest sense of the word, and it is nothing short of tragic that after 40 years those who have done the most to advance his vision are icons of pop-culture while those in power pay little more than lip service to his ideas.
Zero of the Week: Whoever this purse-snatcher is on campus. If you get caught, and I hope you do, I will be at your sentencing. Why? So I can petition the court to make you wear a sandwich board around telling the whole world what miserable scum you are! You should have you hand chopped off. Punk.
P.S: I’m thinking about starting a coed, recreational kickball league. Tell me if you’d be interested next time you see me.
KR/PR – Return specialist Dexter Wynn will return CU’s punts and kickoffs and is one of the Rams’ most explosive players. He was named to the Mountain West first team all-conference the last two years and was ranked fifth nationally as a punt returner. He averaged 79.5 yards per game, 16.2 yards per punt and 22.3 per kick. Returning kicks and punts Wynn can jumpstart the offense and make it easier for CSU to score. The only problem may be that Wynn will be returning kicks and punts, playing defensive back and playing a few downs as wide receiver. His endurance will have to hold up.
K/P – If the Rams can’t convert third downs inside the 45-yard line, there is a good chance field goal kicker Jeff Babcock will still be able to put three points on the board. He set a school record with 24 field goals last year and also made 75 percent. He missed a few kicks against Colorado last year, but now has more experience and revenge on his side. Babcock is in charge of all of the kicking duties but could be rusty on punts, not having done it since high school. Right now he is in front of freshman Jim Kaylor, who has a good foot, but might buckle under the pressure of playing his first game in front of 75,000.
Last year Colorado punt returner Jeremy Bloom returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown against CSU. With Blooms decision to stay with the Buffs another year, the Rams will have to stop him from putting CU in good field position or from making it all the way down the field.
Sonny Lubick is arguably one of the best coaches in college football. After taking over a struggling team in 1993, Lubick has built a nationally respected program by getting the best out of his players. His accomplishments were recognized this year when the Bohemian Foundation and president Pat Stryker donated $15.2 million to the football program to rebuild Hughes stadium and rename it Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. Lubick has been awarded the conference coach of the year four times in his 10-year tenure at CSU. He has led the Rams to seven bowl game appearances and three end-of-season top 25 rankings. He is sixth on the list of active coaches with consecutive winning seasons with nine behind the likes of Florida State’s Bobby Bowden and Texas’ Mack Brown.
As a field goal kicker, junior Jeff Babcock had an impressive year in 2002. He set a new Colorado State season record with 24 field goals and scored 118 points, the second highest total in school history. He earned second team all-Mountain West Conference honors and was sixth nationally in field goals per game.
He converted five field goals (including a 46-yarder) in the opening game against Virginia, tying a school record. He even recovered a fumble against Air Force and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Babcock is also one of 30 preseason nominees for the Lou Groza Award presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding.
Now, Babcock faces a new challenge. Instead of just handling the place kicking duties, he will also be taking on punting responsibilities. He has trained extensively to be ready for his new role.
“This summer I kicked a lot more than I ever had before and I spent a lot of time on punting,” Babcock said.
Freshman Jim Kaylor has also been training for the punting position, but Babcock appears to be the leading man.
“At this point I am the punter, but that could change at any time,” Babcock said. “I’ve had good days and bad days. If I hit a good ball every time then they look like Joey Huber’s did last year, but sometimes they don’t. At this point I would like to punt all year. If Jim becomes the better man then I will shake his hand and it won’t be something I lose sleep over.”
Head coach Sonny Lubick believes that Babcock’s experience as a kicker in the league for two years gives him the advantage out on the field.
“He is very good and I have a lot of confidence in him,” Lubick said. “He has been with us for three years, so he is experienced and confident. There is not much substitute for a guy who has been under the fire.”
Babcock does have big shoes to fill with 2002 punter Joey Huber graduated. Huber averaged 40.3 yards per punt last year and his longest boot was an impressive 72-yard punt. He is now a punter with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.
In addition to his new kicking job, Babcock has also been working on improving his field goal kicking.
“I’d love to have a better percentage,” Babcock said. “I had a lot of field goals last year, but I also had a lot of attempts. I hope the offense pulls through and I won’t have to kick as many.”
Last year against Colorado, Babcock missed key kicks that could have prevented the game from being so close. He will look to remedy that on Saturday.
“One of my worst games was last year against CU,” Babcock said. “It is a huge rivalry. It has become a huge part of my life and I want to succeed at it. I have not stopped thinking about this game since the final whistle blew last year and I have been looking forward to going back to Mile High.”