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2010: REWIND

And here we have the end of a year that's the beginning of a new decade we still have no decided name for (the Teens? The Oh-Tens?)...

The earth quaked. Volcanos erupted. Oil was spilled. Even a tornado grew in Brooklyn...After the beating we endured from Mother Nature one would think those 2012 predictions were coming two years too early. But not all was doom and gloom this year. Those Chilean miners were rescued. Democrats reclaimed California. And Modern Family won a well-deserved Emmy.

2010 wasn't without its lessons either. We learned that A) Zac Efron with a beard makes him look like...Zac Efron with a beard (In other news, Brad Pitt with a beard makes him look...homeless). B) Joaquin Phoenix ain't no Andy Kaufman. C) James Franco can do anything. D) Having Betty White Fever isn't such a bad thing, but a strict regimen of eating, praying, and loving can do wonders (just ask Julia). And E) Ricky Martin = yawn, while Amber Heard = jaw-dropper.
Simon left Idol. Lost le…


2010: A Look Back

Before I publish my annual year-in-review entry (you know it's coming), I thought I'd revisit 2010 with this five-and-a-half-minute video I threw together to remind me of the amazing company I'm in, the love I'm surrounded by, and the good fortune I should never take for granted.

And because I just love me a good old-fashioned montage. Let's take this trip together kids:


Mitsuzuka's Dictionary

prossibly (pross-uh-blee): adverb. a) in both a possible and probable manner. b) by any possibility or probability. c) a combination of 'probably' and 'possibly'. "Are you going to Bob and Mary's swinger party this weekend?" "Prossibly."

Lady Gaga: (lay-dee ga-ga) noun. Pop singer, performance artist and recently titled icon who has had a strong influence on the pop music (and fashion) of the 21st century's second decade and has rejuvenated the state of dance music in general. See: Usher's "DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again," Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart," and the putting-on-the-map of producer RedOne.

Dancing with the Stars: a popular reality-competition television show that thrives on gimmicks, exploiting has-been celebrities and manipulating the American masses. (See also: the TV equivalent of a cheesy cruise ship variety hour; a show no one I know watches).

TMT: acronym, noun. Totally My Type. A declaration, often…


According to Gym

I have found myself in an abusive relationship. With my gym.

The showers never work properly. And I keep going back. There's always one or two cardio machines out of order. And I keep going back. The air circulation in this underground facility is poor; just the other day I couldn't escape the stench of Dirty Old Man (a mix of armpit and Halitosis) while I pumped away on the elliptical. And I keep going back. It seems like the water is turned off "for maintenance" every other month, preventing me from refilling my bottle at the fountain or taking a shower and cleaning off the sweat and grime that has accumulated on me while listening to the new batch of tunes I've just downloaded to my iPod...

And I keep. Going. Back.

The gym in question is the 24-Hour Fitness on Pico Boulevard, just two blocks east from the skyscrapers of Century City. Besides the clientele not being the sweetest of eye candy one can ogle, the facility itself is in need of a major improvement. Whe…


Random Thought of the Week #18

Sure, spending 8 hours in a shopping mall is a great opportunity to people-watch, but after a while it gets hella depressing to see who (and what) is really out there.


Theme Song of the Month: November

Before I get my Christmas carol on and bust my belt at Thanksgiving, I'm going to play this track on repeat for a while. Cee Lo Green's "Bright Lights Bigger City" is one synthy jam of a single from his excellent album The Lady Killer. And maybe I'm drawn to its simple video because I too long for a little NYC action in the fall and enjoy surrounding myself with shiny pretty things while ridin' in Bentleys, sippin' on some Remy Martin and transporting mysterious suitcases through empty kitchens:


Farewell Sydney/Going Green

It happened sooner than I had anticipated.

She died in a small parking lot behind a Starbucks in Studio City on a hot Saturday afternoon. I walked out, iced coffee in hand, and attempted to get her going. I was planning to get a head start on some Halloween costume shopping with Christine, my wardrobe stylist friend who wanted to take me somewhere deep in the Valley for some warehouse deals. All I got was a p-p-puttering that made my heart sink. My 2002 Ford Focus, the first car I had ever owned, the vehicle that helped me navigate the traffic-riddled streets of Los Angeles for the past 8 years, had died on me. Luckily Christine had some jumper cables, but they didn't help. The battery was fine. My two-month-old service report had said so. The engine was what was on its deathbed.

My car didn't always have the name Sydney. In fact, she didn't have any name until Kathleen came up with it sometime in 2003 while we were participating in our weekly obsession over the jaw-dropping…


Theme Song of the Month: October

Coming to you courtesy of Pink...

"Raise Your Glass" is her ode to underdogs everywhere (as well as marriage equality). The new single, off her upcoming greatest hits collection, also happens to be a catchy party-starter. Favorite part? It comes in at 2:05.


My 1985

Back to the Future's doing it. So are The Goonies. And Growing Pains just celebrated a similar milestone: 25 years.

It appears that 1985 was a pretty great year. Among that year's other notable occurrences: The Golden Girls debuted on NBC, "We Are the World" dominated the pop charts, and yours truly entered kindergarten at Blessed Sacrament Elementary on Maple Avenue in New Rochelle, New York. 25 years ago I -- armed with a backpack, a plaid sweater vest and a hideous Dutch boy bowl cut -- began my full-time academic career at this private school which was located just a block away from the home my parents purchased one year later so that I could have a short and safe commute every day.

My teacher, Miss Sullivan, was a perky-yet-tough brunette with a bob (and stature) that may have caused parents to confuse her with Olympic sweetheart Mary Lou Retton. She drove a navy blue Honda Civic CRX that she would park next to the hopscotch grid that was painted outside the side …


Howl: 2010

I saw the best minds of my generation numbed by complacency, drowning themselves in music produced by computers, overfed, overstimulated, blinding themselves behind glowing boxes looking for an instantaneous fix, assembly-lined hoodlums plugging into a digital connection to the pixelated dynamo in the minutiae of the cybernight,

who glossy-eyed and high sat up puffing in the obligatory darkness of pet-unfriendly studios darting through alleyways contemplating techno,

who bared their souls to those disguised as Potential Matches in chat rooms and saw themselves slurping through Sunday brunches under umbrellas on boulevards,

who passed through Masters programs with hungry-wide eyes dreaming about mortgages and minivans among their bankrupt constituents,

who were ostracized by the mainstream for sketching off the page and coloring outside the lines with their own blood,

who were hunched over in shadowed bedrooms, typing in numbers, clicking their credit away and wondering what it would f…


Theme Song of the Month: September

The song is "Devotion." The group is Hurts. The sound is hypnotic, Depeche Mode-esque. And yes, that's the duo pictured above. Not to be confused with a Calvin Klein ad.

This is what's been playing repeatedly on my iPod for the past week. Play it all the way through to the epic end:


Cause for a Truffle Shuffle

To celebrate 25 years since the dynamic duo of Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner gave us The Goonies on the big screen, the Blu-Ray gods have blessed us with the above (available November 2).

Needless to say, I nearly hyperventilated when I happened to catch this announcement while browsing through Amazon. The film represents a true landmark of my childhood, one of the first movies I had seen in a theater (the first, or the earliest I can remember, was the re-release of Pinocchio sometime in the early 80s). I have vague memories of my grandmother taking me to see The Goonies in one of the old moviehouses on Main Street back in New Rochelle. It must have left a huge impression on me because whenever it showed up on TV, I would drop everything and glue my eyes to the screen. Perhaps it was the whole wonder-and-awe sentiment of the film, allowing millions of little boys and girls to indulge in their ultimate fantasy -- that there's adventure and excitement (and pirate's booty) j…


4

With my current state of affairs, I had nearly forgotten that TheFirstEcho.com turns 4 years old this month. Four years of "life updates" from Los Angeles. Four years of pop cultural commentary and numerous attempts to make sense of this odd planet we call Hollywood. Four years of trying to navigate my life through a gauntlet of rejections, celebrations, surprises and achievements.

Looking back at one of my first postings, I see that four years ago I was obsessed with a new local band called Under The Influence of Giants (and where are they now?) as well as Christina's then-released Back to Basics (a far cry from her Bionic plea for attention). Four years ago I just started working at Anonymous Content. Four years ago I joined a little event called Hot in Hollywood. Four years ago I clearly wasn't the same person who now writes this to you.

Where am I now? Well, if you've checked out my previous entries, then you should get a clear picture. Despite it all, however,…


The Big C: Part 2

August 16, 2010. 8:00AM

My mom had lung cancer.

Well, I hope that's true by the time you read this. Had. As in, gone. Done away with.

Where did we leave off?

This morning I was too lazy to drive to the gym, but I pushed myself out the door to go on a jog/walk in my neighborhood. I say jog/walk with an emphasis on 'walk' since my pathetic endurance allows me to jog three or four blocks at a time. With every step and every breath I took I imagined each inhalation of fresh air, by some way of divine magic, pumping into my mom's lungs from across the country. Each step, each sucked-in ounce of oxygen, was for her. If I sound like I'm getting all mystical and holistic on you, then blame/applaud Eat Pray Love. I'm 60 pages away from the end, and reading it couldn't have come at a better time. Sure, it's brought on the itch to drop everything and travel across the globe, but simply reading it every night before I go to bed is an act of meditation in itself. I'…


The Big C

August 11, 2010.

My mother has lung cancer.

I think the more I say it - or if I write it down several times - the less scary it will become. But right now, I'm not sure if it does. I'm also not sure if it was inevitable. Inevitable meaning: Life has treated me pretty well thus far (no abuse, no trauma, no life-scarring events), and I've been extremely fortunate without having to endure any extreme hardships, which only begs the question of What could possibly go wrong? Inevitable meaning: my mother had been a smoker for as long as I can remember, and as an f'ed-up sign of irony delivered from the Universe, she was diagnosed only two months after quitting cigarettes altogether. Inevitable meaning: I'm starting to think that Fate definitely doesn't like to be tempted.

This recent development has forced me to teeter closer to the edge of that Worst Nightmare I've had ever since I was a child: losing a parent.

But before some of you jump to express your sympathy (…


Theme Songs of the Month: August

That's right, songs. As in, plural. As in, more than one. The first you may recognize from a certain trailer for a certain movie starring a certain actress named Julia Roberts: Eat Pray Love. It's Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over," a joyous ode to...joy. And hope. Because without hope, there can be no joy. And right now, I need all the hope I can get.


The second tune, the rapturous "Drumming Song," also comes from the outstanding British band. Turn up the volume and let it recharge your mental batteries:


Treadmill Musings

Location: 24-Hour Fitness gym.
Time: 7:45am

Today, I will amp it up to Level 12.

That guy looks like LaFayette from True Blood.

Okay, is that smell coming from Old Dude Who Needs to Wear Longer Shorts?

Did I remember to turn on the dishwasher when I left the apartment?

Is it wrong of me to think that Fox News correspondent is hot?

Why is this TV tuned into Fox News?

"From here on out, I'll be your commander!"

I hope to God there's no one hovering near my locker when I go back in to shower. Out of all the lockers in the room, why does someone always have to pick the one RIGHT NEXT TO MINE?

Hey, where's that Wolf Blitzer lookalike? I haven't seen him in a while.

I'm hungry.

The water from this place tastes funny.

Does she really need to be wearing that much makeup on the elliptical? She's only going to sweat it off. Silly woman.

"That boy is a monster...m-m-monster..."

Must remember to edit that Comic-Con footage tonight on iMovie.

Shit, I have to be in the …


Random Thought of the Week #17

More like Newfound Discovery-Slash-Obsession than Random Thought...

"Oh No," by Marina and the Diamonds. I'm hooked. The new single (from the album The Family Jewels). The new video (it apparently came out two weeks ago). Where was I when this memo went out?

Check it:


Why I Love SYTYCD

It's routines like this that get me off the couch cheering and clapping. Mind you, the kid comes from the world of ballet. Other things to note while watching this outstanding choreographed number: 1. It's the first time a male competitor has been partnered up with another guy (other than group numbers). 2. Never have I heard the audience chant a dancer's name after a performance. 3. The judges rarely give standing Os, and 4. The. Kid. Comes. From. Ballet.


It's also another reason why I love Tabitha and Napoleon (Nappy Tabs, for you regular viewers).

Watch the entire thing HERE.

Bless you, summer television.

H.P.M.

P.S. - I want to have lunch with Mia Michaels.