The Occasional Blog of Jonah Weiland

August 31st, 2010

America’s Got Talent 2010 – The Semi-Finals Week 2

Fighting Gravity

While last week had a few outstanding performances – Prince Poppycock and Michael Grimm – the first week of Semi-Finals was really a disappointment. With this second week of Semi-Finals now upon us, plus the promise of another performance by Jackie Evancho and Fighting Gravity, expectations run high again, but will they disappoint like last week? Let’s hope not. Let’s watch.

Alice Tan Ridley – Well, well, well. OK, first off let me say I fucking hate, hate, hate, hate, hate this awful Whitney Houston song. Really, they’re all awful, but this one really bugs me. But this isn’t America’s Got Bad Taste In Music, it’s America’s Got Talent. She was good, better than good, but I worry she may not have been good enough tonight. The level of talent we’ve seen and yet to see thus far makes me think she’s got a big, big hill to climb. It was good, but I have my doubts. That said, no way this lady’s headed back to the subway, unless it’s for a sandwich. This woman will be singing professionally and starting her pro music career at 57.

Haspop – One of my absolute favorite contestants this year. Play back this guy at slow speed on your DVR. It’s absolutely incredible what he does. While this was a fun performance, it just didn’t “pop.” When it got started I was hopeful, but it never quite jumped. The last performance was far higher energy. He’s incredibly skilled, but I fear this may be the last we see of Haspop. Au revoir, Haspop. You’ll be missed.

Maestro Alexander Bui – This is one of those acts I am surprised is in the semi-finals. It’s not that he’s not talented, it’s just that first performance was odd, at best. Well, as interesting and fucking crazy as it was to play two songs at the same time on the same piano with the same two hands, bah. OK, sorry, it sucked. Play one song, dammit. Fucking choose! At times it sounded like a total mess, while at other times it sounded amazing. Just wasn’t enough consistency. Clearly talented, but no. Won’t get my vote.

Howie booing the audience cracked me up. He’s not a cultural ignoramous, he just gets it.

Michael Lipari and Ashleigh Dijan – Last time we had the stunt fall, which sucked everyone in. Can they top it? I doubted it and well … OK, that was pretty damn good. I liked the copious use of smoke effect to hide Michael. I liked the love story. Loved the change in aerial options. Overall, a very good set.

Michael Grasso – Mother fucker, three kidney transplants? Are you fucking kidding me? Stop making your kidneys disappear! OK, seriously. We’ve seen that trick before, on AGT even, but Grasso brings a certain flair and style to his act that’s really compelling. In fact, Murray did this same trick with a Tiger this season, but Grasso’s style carries him very well. I like this guy a lot. Would like to see him move on to the finals. Plus, if he wins he can buy a different kidney for each day of the week!

Debra Romer – One of my favorites. I gotta say I enjoyed the Fleetwood Mac song from her last performance far more than this one. I wanted some energy out of this performance, and we didn’t get it. It was a nice performance, but like Howie said I don’t know if nice is good enough. Keep trying, keep working at it, but I don’t think you’ll be back next week.

Studio One Young Beats Society – Outstanding! They danced their asses off! Some absolutely amazing stunts. Automatic! Final rounder’s! Really impressive, but in the finals I want to see them jumping off shit and coming close to dying. That’s what it takes to win this show, especially one that has Fighting Gravity as a competitor.

Jeremy VanSchoonhoven – Wow. Look, this guy is a fighter. The guy’s totally jacked up, yet he comes out and wows the audience. Dude’s a baller. I don’t know that I’d see this guy in Vegas, but there’s a very real future for this guy. Get healthy, man.

Nathaniel Kenyon – I was thinking to myself when they brought this guy on stage, “OK, I’m kinda over you now.” This performance did not increase my interest. And is it just me who felt like when he got buzzed he shut down?

Murray – Look, it’s simple, as both Murray and Piers stated, there’s not enough room in the finals for two illusionists. Nice trick, but Grasso has your number, buddy. That said, don’t cry for Murray – this guy’s getting an act in Vegas anyway.

Jackie Evancho – One of the two most highly anticipated performances of the night. Can she match her audition? SUPER duper close. That said, she’s so good, so appealing that you can’t help but root for her. Go Team Jackie!

Fighting Gravity – And now we have the other most anticipated act of the evening.

MIND. FUCKING. BLOWN. KILLED IT!

Howie said it right, only Fighting Gravity could follow Jackie Evancho. Really, there’s nothing more that needs to be said other than FUCKING YEAH BROTHER YEAH MAMA WOAH!

Yeah, they’re that good. Leaving me kinda speechless. The moving stage was a very nice touch. I just want more, more, more. The choice to take off a semester of school was the right one. These guys are guaranteed to show up in Vegas and I will make the trek there to see them. Can you say sold out shows? NO one touches these guys.


So who gets my vote? Pretty easy this week. Top picks are Fighting Gravity, Jackie Evancho, Michael Grasso and Studio One Young Beats Society. So who gets that coveted fifth spot? It’s between Jeremy & the flying crazy people and in this case performing injured gets some extra points. My vote goes for the gimp – Jeremy.

MUCH better Semi-Finals compared to last week. Thank you contestants – see you at the finals!

August 24th, 2010

America’s Got Talent 2010 – The Semi-Finals, Week 1

Prince Poppycock

Well, I’ve finally come to terms with my love of America’s Got Talent. I’m not afraid to talk about it publicly anymore, in fact I tweet about it probably more than most people appreciate. I’m at that point where I could go to the top of a building and scream out for all to hear, “I’m Jonah Weiland and I watch America’s Got Talent.” But I won’t.

With the show now in to the semi-finals, I figured I’d start assessing the acts a bit because this is where it gets good. This is where the finalists comes from and making those choices ain’t gon’ be easy. And I believe this year’s talent is better than last year’s crop, which was outstanding. Let’s get right to it.

Anna & Patryk – Look, these kids are great. It might feel odd watching them — first, watching ballroom dancing isn’t exactly something I make a habit of watching, and secondly, I’m not exactly in to watching 12 year old kids dance their asses off. But that being said, tonight they had a really fun performance and they danced their ass off. I don’t see them winning, but I do see a very bright future for them. That is, if they survive their teens without robbing a bank or turning to crack. Look, it’s not highly likely, but that would derail any chances of success.

Christina & Ali – I’ve loved these girls since the beginning and their story is very inspiring, but I really didn’t like this performance at all. The notes sounded a bit flat to me. I hate to say it, but I might not vote for them this week. Also, kids, don’t do crack.

Antonio Restivo – OK, this guy. I like his act well enough, but I’ve been getting so tired of him from audition to audition. This guy cries too damned much, and this comes from a guy who isn’t afraid to cry. Frankly his emotions just got to be too much. Get it together, man!
But, tonight? Holy Fuck, That Was Fucking Rad! Badass Mother Fucker! You killed it, mother fucker! BURN MORE SHIT! And Sharon, your comments were ridiculous.

Future Funk – Seriously cutest thing in the world. Won’t go through to the finals, but go ahead and give these kids a show on Disney or Nick. I’d even watch an episode.

Taylor Matthews – Wait, has he been singing Christian rock this entire time? WTF? I like him, not his best performance, but he could make it to the finals. But knock it off with the Christian rock. Sing songs about partying or crack use.

Connor Doran – Poor kid, he knew this was over for him. Just heartbreaking.

Dan Sperry – Dude, you’re pretty amazing. Your audition was amazing. This was not so much. Sorry, game over.

Kristina Young – Oh no. Totally didn’t work. Voice was way off. Awful. That judging was hard to sit through, but Piers actually showed some heart.

Arcattack – Agree entirely with Howie. Its neat, but they don’t get my vote. Would pay to see them live. Maybe at a burning man party. OMG, did Sharon say gooks?

Michael Grimm – Loved the voice despite illness, but did the guitar sound like it was sound engineered properly? Something was off thee, but he was great. He’s going through.

Ascendance – I liked the last performance better. It started out very cool, then lost it. Soon after the dude jumped up. They needed like fifteen people on that wall. And fire. Considering how weak tonight has been, they could make it through.

Prince Poppycock – Mother fucker. Mother fucker. That was amazing. That was just amazing. I mean, I feel very dirty right now, but in a good way. Absolutely amazing. Great music choice. Great performance. Incredible get-up. Fuck, someone needs to develop a “Prince Poppycock” comic stat! Guy is fucking funny, too. Loved the evolution of the character. Really outstanding.

Holy shit, Prince Poppycock already has a Web site. And apparently there’s a documentary with Prince Poppycock in it.


Rickey.org Prince Poppycock @ Yahoo! Video

It’s gonna be opera singer vs. opera singer in the final. Fucking amazing. OK, gonna go watch it a second time.


OK, we’ve seen all the contestants – my five votes go to: Prince Poppycock and Michael Grimm with big support from me. Anna & Patryk get my support, too. My final two are Antonio Restivo and Christina & Ali, but I don’t believe they have a chance against Jackie Evancho and Prince Poppycock. For some reason Antonio has faded on me a bit. It was close between him and AscenDance.

August 4th, 2010

America’s Got Talent – August 3rd, 2010: I went.

Posted by Jonah Weiland in America's Got Talent, General - Tagged: ,

So I did something tonight I never really thought I’d be doing if you were to ask me five years ago what I was going to be doing today.

I saw a live taping of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, the show that anchors Tuesday and Wednesday nights on NBC.

I accidentally became a fan of the show after that damned Susan Boyle mesmerized us all with her unusual looks and even more unusual voice. So after watching a bunch of BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT videos online, I decided to give AGT a go last season.

And, dammit, I’m a weak fucking child – I was hooked after a single episode.

The fact I’m sharing this love with you is a testament to my need to embarrass myself.

So when Meldoy’s friend Lynn offered to set us up with seats, I said, “FUCK YEAH MOTHER FUCKER LET’S GO FUCKER YEAH!”

Or something much less wannabe gangstah.

If you’ve never seen a television show taped before, go to one. It’s an odd experience. It’s usually long, a bit tiring by the end and you really feel like you’re living in a weird bubble while the show is being produced. If you’ve been before, you know how a taping can be challenging at times. AGT is that – you’re there for almost four hours by the end of the 2 hour live taping – but it’s much more manageable than most tapings. This is entertaining, it’s just long and it’s not like those seats are all that comfortable. But it was fun and there were a handful of fun live acts there.

The theater is of course smaller than you’d expect and also crappier. It’s in a sound stage on the CBS Studios lot in Hollywood and it’s actually pretty impressive. When I say crappy, I mean simple (and crappy), but dammit if it’s doesn’t look amazing on television. It’s definitely “good enough for television.” Loved the place.

One thing you come away from an AGT taping is after you’ve seen it live then watched it again on television some acts don’t connect well in the theater. And I figured I’d run down the acts one-by-one and talk about what worked better on TV.

Also, you can hear me “woo” in the background numerous times. Yes, I’m that guy.

Da Maniacs – this didn’t work in person or on tape. Loved it when that one dude lost his pants, but felt for him. They seem like great guys, but no.

Nu Covenant – just as you’re about to get on board, their harmonies fall apart. Nice group of guys, but that didn’t work.

Anna and Patryk – really great. Possibly works better on TV. You’e in closer with them on TV. Place was really going off about these kids.

Lindsey Sterling – Yikes! Didn’t work in person or on TV. Liked the idea, but it wasn’t a great performance.

Doogie Horner – this was good in person, but even better on TV. I don’t know if that’s because the camera angles worked better, or if upon second viewing I finally realized how brilliant his set was. Focused almost entirely on mocking the show, it really was a great comedic act and a great choice. The subtle racism of the great white shark joke is funny as shit. Hates talking to babies. The misogynist joke, The pig lady can can dancers. What the hell? His banter with Piers. So brilliant. I hope he goes on tour after this because I would see him for a set. Gets my vote for top four.

Rudi Macaggi – Holy crap, mother fucker! Awesome! Scary on TV, even scarier in person. Shocking. Love this weirdo. “Phisolophical.” Howie wouldn’t watch. Piers and Sharon were freaking out. So much better in person. That place was going wild at the end of his act. There’s one or two “woooooos” from me in the background, and a faint “RUDYYYYYY!” Gets my second vote of the night in a big way.

Taylor Matthews – like this kid a lot. Not his best performance, but would definitely get one of my votes if I’ve got any left over at the end. I think he may have been even better in person. Place did react well to him.

Mary Ellen – Jesus Christ. Scarier in person. Ridiculously anarchistic is the only way to describe this. It fought against any and all common sense. I actually made X’s with my arms. Yeager barked at the telvision. Small children almost died during this performance. It’s awful and almost great, but not really. It’s scary. This is a look in to insanity.

Arcattack – this was prerecorded, so we were just shown playback. It frankly did little for me in person. The dude’s explanation of MIDI made me want to shoot out my eyes. Frankly this was MUCH better upon second vieweing. I did not get the full effect from the playback in the studio. Impressive set. Gets my back up vote.

Prince Poppycock – holy crap. Great in person, wonderful on telvision. The costume was astonishing. It’s Rupaul for opera, but way better. Absolutely gets my third vote.

Murray – Dammit, dude. I’ve seen that act before, on AGT last season none-the-less, but not like that and that was enjoyable. Bringing a tiger in to the mix is always a good thing. How that is done is completely unknown to me. There’s my fourth vote. Sorry alternates, you didn’t quite match up.

Strikers All Stars – Really not bad at all, but after that other dance group from last weak they come in a close second. Really great stuff, but just misses it.

The Judges – they work great in person and possibly even better on TV, if only because it can be hard to hear the judges during the show’s taping. All mugged for the audience at various times between the breaks. A shout of “Howie” from the girl next to me got him looking in our direction with a wave. Sharon is loved by that audience.

July 29th, 2010

Chicken Kiev

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

“He’s like a chicken keiv: on the outside so delightful, on the inside he’s filled with jizzy evil.” — Jonathan Ross describing Jonah Weiland.

July 12th, 2010

Recognizing People in Los Angeles

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

Los Angeles is a strange place to live, for so many reasons. I love Los Angeles, it’s my favorite city in the world, but I recognize just how bizarre it is.

Of course one of the reasons why it’s so bizarre is the celebrity factor. We’re overflowing with famous people in Los Angeles and if you go out and about enough you’re likely to run in to a celeb at least once a week, if not more often. And see, that’s the problem.

Yesterday I went to the car wash and recognized a guy that was there. I thought to myself, “Damn, I know that guy, but I can’t recall from where.” I figured I met him at some party or some event or wherever and my first thought was to go over and say hi, so as not to be rude if we did know each other. But then I thought, “What if I don’t know him and I just recognize him from some movie or television show?” So, I decided not to say anything, in which case I was either A> right to ignore the guy because I don’t actually know him, celebrity or not or B> I have met him and was just totally rude.

This reminds me of a story from a few years back. My friend Jacob came with me to Lucha Vavoom and during the intermission we went outside for some fresh air. Jacob recognized a girl that was standing outside and started talking with her, convinced he had met her before. He thought maybe she was a friend of his wife’s or maybe they met at a club somewhere. He went down a long list of possibilities with her, but there were no matches. Finally she mentioned she was a contestant on WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO? Season 2. That’s where Jacob knew her from and suddenly things got a wee awkward.

I almost did this exact same thing about two months ago. I was playing tennis with a friend and we made our way out to the court. As we entered, a man and his son were leaving the same court, said hi to us and noted that his son had spilled some water over on the patio table and we should watch out for it. His voice and face was instantly recognizable and I was about to say, “Hey, don’t we know each other” when I, thankfully, realized that while I knew him, he did not know me — it was one of our many well-known Hollywood actors in Los Angeles, not someone I actually knew.

So, I’m starting to think unless I instantly recognize someone, I’m just not going to say hi. I realize that makes this closed off city that much more closed, but it’s better than coming off like some celeb-obsessed jackass.

May 31st, 2010

This Poor Blog

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

Like many a blog on the Internet, this one has become very neglected. Twitter and Facebook have threatened the once dominant blogging platform as the place to share your thoughts and rightfully so — most of us just aren’t long form writers and short form writing looks ridiculous on blogs.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll return to this here blog, but in the mean time if you’re really interested in stalking me you have multiple opportunities to do so:

– On Facebook, although I don’t friend everyone: Facebook
– On Twitter, where it’s not private and I can ignore you if I really want to: Twitter
– On Foursquare, where even I’m surprised by how much I enjoy this useless mobile social networking platform: Foursquare
– In Real Life, at my home or my office, although you really should be my friend if you’re going to show up randomly at my home. If you’re not my friend, 911 will be my friend.

Until I find some reason to blog again, see you around.

January 10th, 2010

Pulled Pork is Such A Crock

Posted by Jonah Weiland in General -

If by chance you’ve been following me via Twitter or on Facebook the last 48 hours, you know I’ve been preoccupied with only two subjects – the NBC/Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien fiasco and Crock Pot cooking. I know, I couldn’t have two more disparate subjects, but that’s how life is sometimes. While I won’t bore you (right now) with my latest musings on NBC’s mishandling of late night programming, I will happily bore you with my first ever crock pot cooking experience and, in the process, show the power of the Internet.

The other day I tweeted, “I got a crock pot for X-Mas. My first. I want to use it tomorrow, but what should I cook in it? Suggestions? Remember I’m a crock-newb.” I figured throw it out there, see what transpires, if I’m lucky someone will make a suggestion I’ll follow, if not I’ll just go looking for a recipe myself.

There were a number of suggestions via Facebook and Twitter, but the best one came from Jill Druschke who suggested this recipe for pulled pork. After I read the comments for that recipe, I was sold – it sounded excellent.

So, I began my first ever crock pot cooking experience. I’m not a regular cooker, so my selection of spices is meager, at best, so a trip to the store to stock up on spices was necessary. This would have been a very cheap meal if not for that, as the just under 5 lb. pork shoulder was only $9 on sale.

With the shopping done, it was time to prepare the rub. I measured out all the spices and mixed ‘em up nicely in a bowl. Now, the recipe calls for 2 tbs of salt, but I put in closer to 1 tbs, and it turned out fine. I don’t need quite that much salt in my diet.

photo1

The next step was to rub the meat with the spice mixture.

photo2

Once that was done, I wrapped it tightly in saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for three hours while I watched “Coming To America.” No, there’s no connection between the two, I just wanted to watch that movie. At any rate, there was less than 30 minutes of prep time for this meal and it was ridiculously easy to put together. Just before I went to bed, I pulled the pork out of the fridge, placed it in the crock pot and set it to cook on low for 8.5 hours. Time for sleep.

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I awoke to the smell of simmering pork – is there a better smell to wake up to in the morning? It appears my dog Yeager agreed with me – he left the bedroom, sat down right outside the kitchen and started barking for no apparent reason. It seems he was keen on the pulled pork as well.

photo4

When the 8.5 hours was up, I pulled the pork out and placed it on a cutting board. This was my only minor mistake – my cutting board has no gutters and the meat was rather juicy, so we had a bit more cleanup of the kitchen counter than was needed. But the meat was perfect – it pulled apart easily and literally fell off the bone. I discarded the fat and put all the pulled pork back in the crock pot. The meat tasted amazing – succulent and quite spicy!

With the pork pulled and meat placed back in the crock-pot, I poured a little less than half a cup of Trader Joe’s All Natural Bar-B-Que Sauce into the pot, mixed it all up and let the meat simmer for another hour.

photo5

Once ready, I invited my friend Dawn and sister Sharon over for lunch – well, to be my guinea pigs, really. Meat was scooped on to fresh buns and instantly devoured – we absolutely loved it. Just amazing flavor. There was still plenty of kick to the meat, but the BBQ sauce evened things out nicely. The five pounds of pork was enough to make probably 8-10 sandwiches. Next time I’ll probably go for a 5.5 or 6 lb piece of meat.

All in all, a great meal with left-overs for a couple of days. I’ll absolutely make this recipe again, but next time I’ll be sure to have some cole slaw to serve with it. It’s great solo, but the addition of cold vegetables sounds very, very tasty. I’ll also only use 1 tbs salt and only a 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce.

I’m sold on the crock pot. Next up is likely rice and beans, some ribs, possibly some chicken stock for a home made chicken pot pie and then maybe some store bough marinated meat. I don’t really have the patience to cook, but when it’s this easy, tasty and cheap, how can I not?

This recipe is highly recommended.

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