My pop culture addiction is well documented.
This little column is weekly proof that I spend far too much time thinking about music, movies and TV than can possibly be healthy.
Luckily for me, I've been able to parlay my obsessive interest in all things entertainment related into a career.
But as I track my addiction through the years, I realize that one thing above all others has helped keep me the junkie I am.
Never miss a local story.
That's right, it's the Internet.
Thanks to Al Gore and his little invention, I now can effortlessly get my daily fix. The web is my primary source of entertainment news — above TV, magazines, radio and (don't fire me) newspapers. However, much of what I read online is from magazine and paper sites (whew, job saved).
So, imagine my chagrin last weekend when, out of nowhere, the technology gods struck me down with one swift, cruel blow. My DSL modem blew out. Poof. Goodbye Internet.
My Internet service provider had promised to send a new, faster modem by mid-week. As of mid-week, I am still waiting.
Now, any sane person would welcome the respite from the non-stop checking of email, surfing of entertainment sites and clandestine reading of gossip blogs. Any sane person would say, thank heavens I can no longer succumb to my temptation to check Go Fug Yourself every 5 minutes.
Thankfully, I have never claimed to be a sane person.
So, this break from the Internet is an unwelcome intervention. I wasn't ready for cold turkey, nor was I prepared for the night sweats or muscle spasms as my index finger kept clicking an imaginary mouse.
There could be a new band out there just waiting to be discovered. A new movie trailer just waiting to be dissected. A new YouTube celebrity just waiting for me to send her clip on to all my friends and family members.
Think of everything I could be missing right this very second. The horror, the horror.
Of course, I haven't gone entirely cold turkey. At work, I have unfettered access to all the Web has to offer.
As I do my morning rounds through my regular haunts (Entertainment Weekly, USA Today's Pop Candy, Defamer, Cute Overload — wait, how did that get in there...) a sense of calm comes over me.
Plus, I own a laptop with wireless access. Still, as much as I'm willing to admit in these pages that I am a pop culture junkie, I am unwilling to be seen out in public perusing Perez Hilton. I may be a junkie, but I still have my pride.
Elsewhere around the Scene:
Oh, kiddies, you know you're excited about this one. American Idol reject extraordinaire William Hung will be in Modesto Saturday.
Please, stop squealing with delight. The "She Bangs" crooning contestant became a media phenomena for his lack of singing skills. Not that that stopped him from releasing an album.
See him from noon-2 p.m. at Modesto's Leer Automotive, 3120 McHenry Ave. KHOP95.1 FM is sponsoring the event....
Valley favorite UVR returns to perform at Central Valley Rocks today at Stockton's Empire Theatre. Also playing are Erik Andersen and the Bel Air Academy. Music at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8. More at www.myspace.com/stocktonempiretheatre....
If you happen to be in Los Angeles this month, check out the first solo art show by former Grandaddy drummer Aaron Burtch. The valley native's work will be on display at Los Angeles' PopKiller Second, 343 E. Second St. His work will be on display through April. Call (213) 625-1372....
And finally, the new downtown Modesto restaurant The Nines celebrates its grand opening today. The upscale Las Vegas/Bay Area-style restaurant on the corner of 10th and J streets takes its name from the phrase, "Dressed to the nines." So, come in your finest.