Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Host Has Left the Building

Singer & actor Andy Hallett died yesterday. I just found out on the way home from work. He was only 33 years old, but his heart must have been much older. It gave out, and he is gone.

Many of you won't know who Andy Hallett is. For those of us who loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff "Angel", we know him as Lorne, the green-skinned, red-horned, lovable demon with a Rat Pack swagger and a heart of gold. Lorne ran a safe haven karaoke bar in Los Angeles where demons and humans came together without violence, and Lorne used his gift to "read" people's fate/path/you name it, as they sang. Sometimes horribly. Sometimes hilariously horribly.

But Lorne himself? Damn, he had a set of pipes on him.

Andy Hallett was discovered - if Wikipedia can be trusted - when Joss Whedon saw him singing in a Universal City Blues Revue gig. Based on his pretty fabulous singing gift, Whedon crafted a character for him on "Angel." Initially, the character, called simply "The Host" initially, was only supposed to be featured in a handful of episodes in the series' second season. But the character that Hallett brought to life was such a delight - funny, witty, and utterly L.A. - he became a regular, appearing in 76 episodes, right through the apocalyptic finale of Season Five.

We came to know him as Lorne (full name: Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan.) He was a charming musical misfit from another dimension - a dimension filled with bloodthirsty demonic "champions", no humor, and absolutely no music. (Did I mention his mother had a beard the Smith Brothers would have been proud to sport?) Lorne found a home in Los Angeles, where green skin, flashy suits, and a killer singing voice probably wouldn't make anyone blink. (I've seen worse at American Idol auditions.) Lorne was, quite possibly, my favorite character on the show. I was bummed when it went off the air in 2005, but it had run its course. And, of course, there are always the comic books that pick up where the show left off.

Apparently, shortly after filming the final episode back in '05, Hallett had a bad tooth infection. That, terrifyingly, led to a case of cardiomyopathy.

Friends, let this be a reminder - don't ignore your teeth. They might not only go away; dental infections can lead to serious heart problems. I can still remember my mom telling me that when I was a kid, which freaked me out so much, I have outrageously good dental hygiene to this day.

Sadly, Andy Hallett never recovered from his heart problems. What a shame. What a damn shame to lose someone at 33 - someone clearly talented, and, from all reports, a seriously lovely person.

For those of you who never watched "Angel" - and for those who just want to remember those sweet pipes that got him that wonderful gig in the first place, here's a little Lorne for you:

Goodnight, Lorne.

Rest well, Andy.

Thank you for charming the socks off me again and again. Tomorrow morning's "Angel" reruns on TNT just aren't going to be quite the same knowing you're gone.

UPDATED: Reason 514 why the GM President needed to be fired

This ad, which ran last night during the national broadcast of "Heroes" on NBC:


Here's the deal. If you're taking a massive pile of taxpayer money to keep your company afloat, the least you can do is have your people PROOFREAD YOUR FREAKING ADS. Seriously. America may be halfway down the crapper, but jeezus, kids, I thought they could still spell on Madison Avenue.

America really does derseve better.

I hope this ad agency gets fired.

UPDATE: please read the comments on this post to see responses from GM's Director of Social Media, Christopher Barger. I posted a link to this entry on my Twitter account and hash-tagged it with "GM." Mr. Barger found my Tweet, which led him here. Let's hear it for the power and reach of Twitter! And let's hear it for Christopher Barger for his excellent comments. Nicely done, sir!

Sunday, March 08, 2009


What's up, you might ask.

Well, my pneumonia is getting better by degrees, but it has spurred a (hopefully temporary) diagnosis of asthma. I'm now on steroids for the next several days and a couple of attractive inhalers for a while.

The directions for the steroids are insane: take four for three days, two for four days, three for three days, put your left foot in, put your left foot out, and dance the gawddang hokey pokey. But, if it helps me stop being wheezy and coughy, that's cool. I've read that extensive use of this particular steroid causes hirsuitism. LOVELY. Great if you're A-Rod, not so great for girls. But that's if you take this for months, so I think I'm pretty free of concern that things are gonna get hairy. (Wouldn't that just be the icing on the cake, eh?)

The hibernating stinkbugs that have declared my apartment Normandy Beach are waking back up with our insanely warm weather. There's a particularly aggressive one that just dive bombed my head and got into my hair. Normally, they don't bother me - they're kinda cool in a "prehistoric exoskeleton-wearing invader" way - but any bug that lands on my head is gonna warrant an arm-flapping, yelling, girly-girl response. (Hope you enjoyed the shrieking, upstairs neighbors from hell!)

I need one of those bug vacuums. Anybody know where you can get one cheap?

Time to get ready for bed. I'm sleeping in the living room tonight, since my bedroom is an oven.

More soonish - my muse has been on life support while I've been sick, but I think she tore up her DNR and she's back on the job. A little slow, sure - just like me - but she's here.

Later, gators.

I leave you with this - proof of life:

Yale Lake reservoir, up at Mount St. Helens
February 2009