The Occasional Blog of Jonah Weiland

April 19th, 2011

Chewing Gum, Xylitol and Your Dog

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

Orbit Strawberry Mint Gum is Dangerous to your Dog's health.

So, I got home around 10:45 tonight and about an hour later notice some chewed up wrappers lying around the house. What did my dog Yeager get in to this time?

I tracked it down and it was some gum that was in my bag. No biggie I thought.

Then I decided to do a Google search and suddenly I find, “Orbit gum with Xylitol is deadly to dogs!” Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener that is highly dangerous to dogs. Apparently it can cause a dramatic drop in blood sugar and liver damage.

I go look at the chewed up wrappers — shit, it’s Orbit gum!

Fuck.

I rush over to the 24 hour Vet (there’s one five minutes from my house) and they examine him and we call ASPCA poison control. Carrie from Poison Control asks what flavor the gum was — all I knew was the wrapper was pink. Carrie starts grilling me. How many pieces did he get? I’ve not clue, but I know the package wasn’t full. She again asks about the flavor. I say the wrapper’s in a million pieces and I have no clue. She tells me the pink gum could be one of three flavors — Bubble Gum (unlikely), Strawberry Mint (maybe) and Melon Mint (most likely, but I’m not sure). If it’s Melon Mint, there’s a very small amount of Xylitol and Yeager should be fine, but if it’s Strawberry Mint it’s dangerous and he needs to be put on immediate fluids and his blood sugar needs to be checked regularly for the next 24 hours. She suggested I rush home, gather up as many pieces of the packaging as possible, compare them against packaging I can find at 7-11 and report back immediately.

Yeager and I hop in the car and head home. I rush up stairs and start looking for more pieces of the chewed up wrapper. I’m looking over every piece I have and a couple of minutes later I find gold — the flavor is Maui Melon Mint!

I call the vet and they say OK, you’re clear, but being the overly protective dog father I am, I call Carrie back at ASPCA poison control. I tell her the details, she says no worries let’s double check. Yup, I lucked out – Maui Melon Mint has a very small amount of Xylitol in it and Yeager should be fine. She suggests I feed Yeager extra fiber over the next 24 hours to help him digest the wrappers by giving him a piece of whole wheat bread in the morning and evening. There may be some diarrhea, but beyond that keep an eye on him and unless I notice anything weird he should be fine.

If you ever have a question about something your dog ate, the ASPCA Poison Control line is a fantastic resource. They can be reached at 888-299-2973 24 hours. If you live in the Los Angeles area and have an emergency with your animal, visit the Animal Emergency Center located in Studio City at 11730 Ventura Blvd. and is open 6:00 PM to 8:00 AM.

Thanks to Carrie as the ASPCA and the vets at the AEC. Now let’s see if I can actually get some sleep tonight.

Also — FUCK SUGAR FREE GUM.

April 13th, 2011

Interviewing BREAKING IN’S Brett Harrion & Odette Annabelle

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General - Tagged: , , , ,

Fun interview, and don’t miss the credits where Christian Slater has a bit of fun off camera with his co-stars. The full outtake will be included in our blooper reel later this year.

April 4th, 2011

Interviewing Jon Favreau and Bob Orci

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

This was the interview I was looking forward to doing the most at WonderCon 2011 and it did not disappoint. Jon & Bob were great and I’m really looking forward to “Cowboys & Aliens.” Thanks to Lindsey for bringing them out!

March 17th, 2011

Jackass Sales Guy Of The Day

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

“Hey Jonah, it’s XXXXXXX from XXXXXXX, calling you like you asked.”

“Who are you?”

“Remember last week we spoke via e-mail and you asked me to call you this week?”

“Oh, let me check my e-mail to refresh my memory. Huh, interesting, in my e-mail I said I didn’t want to do a call with you until you pitched me your services via e-mail and I’d let you know, via e-mail, when I’d like to set up a phone call.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I’m looking at the e-mail I sent you.”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

AND that’s when the call ended.

I’ve had sales guys take this tactic with me numerous times. I get it, always keep the client talking, get your foot in the door, but there’s a point when you go too far and alienate the potential client. It’s absurd to me that these sales guys don’t get that very, very basic concept.

There’s following up, then there’s being a fucking jackass.

February 28th, 2011

WordPress Upgrading

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General - Tagged: ,

I’ve been meaning to get back to a bit of blogging for some time now, but the install of WordPress this site was running got hacked and there was some malware installed on some pages on this site. Blech! So, I’ve upgraded the blog tonight, resubmitted a request to Google to remove the malware warning page and once that’s done, I’ll get back to it.

Having not played on the technical/server side for almost three years now, preferring to pay someone else to handle that sort of work for CBR and what not, upgrading this blog wasn’t something I was 100% confident about, but I knew I could probably figure it out. First things first, I backed up everything — the database, the root directory, etc. Back up, back up, back up, back up, back up! Having made some serious mistakes when I first started playing on servers 15 years ago, I’ve learned my lesson and then some. And it’s a good thing, too, as during the upgrade I overwrote the themes file of this here blog. Once I restored that, I went in to config caching and what not and soon enough the blog was upgraded.

All told the upgrade took about an hour, which wasn’t as long as I thought it would take. And that’s something important for me to remember — I put off upgrading the software on this blog mostly because I was concerned it was going to take hours and hours and hours. I’ve had those nights in the past where upgrades took forever, but in this case it went smoothly and I worried for nothing. Something to remember for the future.

One note, I’ve removed the photo gallery from the site for now. It’s possible it was that old program that was distributing the malware, so let’s just dump that. Plus, I’d prefer to move all those photos over to Flickr or some other photo sharing site. A small project to work on in the future.

Well, that’s all sorts of boring, but hopefully we’ll get that malware issue squared away soon enough and I can get back to some original writing. Maybe I’ll even get in a bit of trouble.

September 14th, 2010

America’s Got Talent 2010 – The Final Four

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

Michael Grimm Points

Well, it literally has all come down to this. The final four acts, the final four performances. One of these individuals will win a 1 million dollar prize (BTW, paid out over 40 years – weaksauce!), will headline a national show and likely end up in Las Vegas for a major portion of their life. Let’s get to the acts.

Prince Poppycock — I don’t usually get upset when Piers buzzes someone. I got upset tonight. It was totally unnecessary. Poppycock’s performance was flawless, imaginative and an entirely new way of presenting a classic piece of opera. This guy has, throughout the competition, been one of the most compelling and entertaining performers this season and tonight was no exception. Gorgeous set design and costumes matched by an equally amazing voice. After the last two performances, which were over the top and hilarious, he went back to classic opera, reminding America of his range. Sure, not as wild or crazy as his last two performances, but incredibly touching. Prince Poppycock will definitely get some of my votes tonight.

Michael Grimm — Damn, man, you really did leave the best for last. Wonderful performance. Easily his best with a great group of back up singers and performers. Sharon said it – goose bumps. Nothing more really needs to be said, this was fantastic! Michael Grimm is for real.

Jackie Evancho — She did great, but it didn’t nearly affect me the same way Michael Grimm’s performance did. When it comes down to it, would I go see her in Las Vegas as a headlining act? No, absolutely not. She’s fantastic and she deserves all the accolades she gets, but she doesn’t get my votes tonight.


Now for this break …

WOW! Seeing all those acts perform together was great fun. Harmonic Pierre! Haspop! Michael Grasso! Anna & Patryk! Studio One! Those crazy fucks that fly around! Wonderful.

And back to our show …


Fighting Gravity — I wasn’t that crazy about the moon act last week, it was good, but they clearly needed more time. They made one small mistake tonight, which I have no problem forgiving. This was a brilliant continuation of the story they’ve been telling us. The light won over the darkness. Any way you look at it, this was incredibly inventive and with only one week of prep time, they did a fantastic job.


So, who are my votes going for? Let’s break it down like this, with 10 votes to be portioned out they would be distributed thusly:

Michael Grimm – 5 Votes
Fighting Gravity – 3 Votes
Prince Poppycock – 2 Votes
Jackie Evancho – 0 Votes

Good luck to all the contestants. A wonderful send off to this season.

September 7th, 2010

America’s Got Talent 2010– The Final Ten

Posted by Jonah Weiland in America's Got Talent -

Prince Poppycock is a Yankee Doodle Dandy

Here we are, the final 10 contestants on America’s Got Talent. But wait a second – wasn’t this the end last year? What’s this final four thing happening next week? Can you say stretching out the season and maximizing profits? I knew you could. Oh who cares, it means one more week of this crazy show, which makes me very happy.

As I’ve done the past two weeks, it’s time for my initial impressions for each of these acts. Who will make it on to that coveted Final Four spot? Let’s take a look.

Studio One Young Beast Society – OK, first off, I though they were Studio One Young BEATS Society, not Beast. What the hell? Anyway, this group is always impressive. Their level of skill is matched by the level of danger they bring to their dance act each week and this one certainly had that. Lots of really impressive tricks and stunts, executed perfectly. That said, their last audition was far more impressive to me and I think that’s because there was more dancing. I’m hoping to see a greater mix of gymnastics and dance if they make it through to the final four, but I doubt it.

Christina & Ali – I really hate saying anything negative about these young women, but what the hell was that song? That did absolutely nothing for me and I’m certain that the weakness of that song has seriously affected my enjoyment of tonight’s performance. Ugh. Christina’s really the stronger singer of the two, but Sharon is correct – they’ve both improved greatly throughout this show. That said, I’ll be very surprised if they make it to the Final Four. They just don’t compete with what we’ve seen thus far from Poppycock, Fighting Gravity, Jackie Evancho and Michael Grimm.

Jeremy VanSchoonhoven – After last week’s surprising and insane performance, my anticipation for this week’s was quite high and Jeremy did not disappoint. But dude, don’t tell me that when you saw his front wheel drop off his first bike you didn’t think it was all over? Then to find out that was planned? Nice. This guy is incredibly exciting. I really wasn’t a huge fan of his at first, but he’s grown on me in a big way. Nicely done, Jeremy. Really nicely done.

Taylor Matthews – OK, this is a couple of shows in a row where I’ve really been unhappy with the sound work on the guitars of our performers. The audio on Taylor’s guitar was so flat and not reflective of his enthusiastic playing. I really did like the arrangement, though, and the backup players worked nicely. He was a lot of fun. Kid’s got a bright future. Potential final four player.

Anna and Patryk – This is one of the most surprising acts in the Final 10, but it’s well deserved. They are incredibly skilled dancers. Now, when Anna fell coming down those stairs, like everyone watching, I gasped. There seemed to be a split second there where she thought about throwing the towel in, but she looked up and Patryk was ready for her. Just proved what a great team they make. It was so nice to see Anna smiling through the performance and you know what? It really was an excellent routine. I loved the added dancers and the song selection. It all worked, but Final Four? Here’s the thing – that was a trip down slippery stairs, not a move done poorly. I can’t give them too many negative points for that. Let’s see how America reacts, but I think that was the last we saw of Anna and Patryk and Anna, it’s not because you fell. We’re just not ready for you guys… yet.


Now it’s time to take a break for Enrique Iglesias.

Break over.


Fighting Gravity – Look, these guys are fucking awesome. Not as great a performance as last week, but possibly their most complex performance completed in just 7 days. The moon landing theme was a great choice and one that I think with more time could get even better. There’s no doubt these guys should be Top Four and I hope they have a big surprise up their sleeves for that final performance. Imagine these guys with some professional choreographers and a big budget – yeah, I’ll be road tripping to Vegas soon after their show is announced. That said, last year I really though Recycled Percussion would win, but they didn’t advance – no worry, they’ve got a headlining show in Vegas at the MGM Grand and these guys will, too.

Michael Grimm – Anytime someone covers an Al Green song, I get worried. It’s impossible to top the reverend and very hard to match him, but Michael did a bang up job – even without his guitar! He really did quite great – automatic Final Four performance, no doubt. Fantastic voice, confident performance, great song choice – Micahel, you brought it tonight, man. Can’t wait to see more from this guy.

Michael Grasso – Dammit, I did not expect that. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. The wild card who truly deserves it. Not just a great magic act, but an incredible presentation. I think this could be another automatic. Really proud of Michael Grasso.

Prince Poppycock – Outrageous. Outlandish. Outstanding. Every second this guy performs is wildly entertaining. I loved the wild camp of this performance. So unique, so much fun. Voting is going to be very, very difficult tonight. I have to see this guy one more time. What could he do to top this?

Jackie Evancho – This was a big improvement over last week’s performnce. Really quite chilling. What hasn’t already been said about Jackie? All that’s been said before in praise applies here again. My only complaint? All those sheets flowing everywhere were distracting. I half expected those crazy aerialists to come back and start flying around and dropping each other.


So, who gets my votes? Remember, we’re talking about a Las Vegas show. Who can I see headlining a Vegas show out of these 10 acts? Who would I pay to see in Vegas? This is a tough choice, this week. Really tough. Well, we’ve been given four choices and mine are: Fighting Gravity, Michael Grimm, Prince Poppycock.

Wait, that’s only three.

Shit.

Michael Grasso or Jackie Evancho? This comes down to one thing only – I would pay to see Michael Grasso in Vegas. I don’t see myself seeing Jackie in Vegas. Sorry, Jackie, I’m choosing Grasso.

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