Monday, September 30, 2002
Sunday, September 29, 2002
not enough energy or foresight to write a coherent article, so you'll have to bear with these unrelated paragraphs...
---Spent Friday night helping my female roommate pick out clothes for a booty call. That was an interesting experience to say the least. The psychology of booty call clothes in and of itself should be someone's Ph.D. dissertation. I guess my perspective on booty calls is one the "yes" has been established on the booty call, clothing is irrelevant since sex or some permutation thereof has already been mutually consented and therefore, extraneous things such as how one looks suddenly becomes moot. Then again, I'm a guy. But it's been about 3 years since I've either made or received a booty call. My favorite one I ever got went something like this:
"Well, I was just nearby your dorm..."
"BUt uou live all the way across campus."
"Well, I was at Lamont Library."
"That's 10 minutes from my dorm. That's still not nearby my dorm..."
After about 4 more exchanges where I blatantly did not get what was going on, I recognized it was a booty call. (Memory is hazy, but I'm pretty sure I woulda said something like, "But why are you telling me about your underwear?") I read about this stuff in books, you see. I'd love to say it's because I was puritanical, but most I was a dork. ("Was", the masses ask?) Getting the booty call completed was a tad bit difficult since Liz of the stripper fame was completely plastered in my room at the time and reciting Tennyson's "Ulysesses" ad infinitum, accelerating the speed of each repetition 'til she ended up sounding like the guy from the MicroMachine ads of the late '80s. Another in the "never happens anymore now that I am out of college" files.
---Saturday night's highlight including a near fist fight with one of those new-fangled self-serve machines at supermarkets. For those of you who don't have them, they're just scanners to supposedly "speed up" the process of getting out of a supermarket if you only have a few items. After about 10 minutes of this expiditious process, the girl and I were looking for the "ACME" sign on the machine and waiting for the Road Runner to pass us in the 12 and under lane four feet away. Long story short, we scan in 3 items, slip in a $10 to the proper slot, and then the machine pulls a Chris Farley in those "Da Bears" sketches on SNL: "Gack, piece of sausage, heimlich, heimlich, cough, BLERGH" and dies. While trying to find the paddles to start it's heart back up, an employee, who apparently has a beeper for situations like this hooked up to "MartMachine", walks over, shouts, "GODDAMNIT IT", and rhuffs and puffs her way to the back, the "Employee Only" sign swaying like a saloon door in and old Western. 5 minutes later, we're still hoping she comes back. Literally 5 yuppie/hippie couples try to use the machine in front of us, which has likewise broken down. By the end I was staving them off at the path, but watching pretty people not being able to use technology always cheers me up. Luckily, Angry Employee of the Month comes out with a new set of change, and we go on our merry way. Meanwhile, the couple in the automatic machine, who was there when we started this debacle, still had that confused, deer-in-headlights look as they stared at the screen. Ahhh, technology. Love it.
---I enjoyed a good solid weekend of pop culture perfection. Not only did I watch "Almost Famous" but picked up both the new Beck CD and the official soundtrack release of the Buffy musical episode. Pop culture at its best never has to say anything profound, it just has to comment on universal truths in a way you never thought of or expressed more eloquently than you could ever have yourself. Cameron Crowe's dialogue consistently has me green with envy. "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen" will forever be my favorite movie quote ever (followed closely by Jet Li's epic cry, "I am Hu Law! I am nobody's bitch! You are all my bitches!" at the end of "The One", the most worthless $10 I spent in the year 2002). Beck's newest record may be the breakup record to end all breakup records (well, it will never surpass Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks", but the fact I can even compare the two shows you what I think of the CD). Intimate scope, beautiful music, heartfelt lyrics...the age of irony is over for Beck and it suits him great. And "Buffy"...well, it's just freakin' perfection. Playing both within and stretching the boundaries of musical theatre genre, playing within the continuity of the show, amazing special effects, his dialogue...Joss is the next...well, Cameron Crowe. Both have an intensely close relationship to the pop culture pulse, can shape it to their own whims, and re-present it to us with an authorial voice that is at once original irreverent, heartfelt, and deeply poetic.
Friday, September 27, 2002
blogging has gone the way of avril lavinge
Marc Weisblott makes an interesting claim on his guest post on Dawn's website that
I believe that "the blogging phenomenon" is the biggest heap of hooey since Gretchen Mol making the cover of Vanity Fair.
Strong language. And I recently have been concurring.
I feel weird writing about this here, given the inherent meta-irony of it all. (Plus, this site has pretty much veered entirely into pop culture sarcasm with readers who don't really give a crap about the term "blogasphere" which has easily ascended to the top of "most hated words" on my list.)
The whole "you're not linking me cuz you're sexist" and "who cares who links who" volley of posts and comments a few weeks on various blogs I read just highlights that none of us seemingly have left the high school cafeteria. I was as guilty as any early on of basically having blogs that say "hey check out X" or "this person RAWKS" or any of the 134 tropes that have been established both before I came onto the "scene" and since as well. We want to be popular, we want to be in the in-crowd, we want to be liked by those around us. God knows I linked myself silly, posted on comments pages, and got caught up in what can be a very alluring sense of community extending far beyond your hometown. But the fact that certain people suddenly have actual POWER in the blogworld (power to drive large numbers of people towards specific content and by linking, in and of itself legitimizing said content as being worth someone's time) seems to me an amazingly interesting phenomenon that may itself signal the end of the First Era of blogdom and the start of the second phase which has yet to be named. The sheer venom poured forth on both sides, the sheer sincerity on both sides, speaks to me of something quite large and therefore quite relevent to the place blogging itself seems to be headed. (Check this out, it's as good a place as any to get into what little I myself have seen.)
The term "blogasphere" is one I hate since it belongs to the language of exclusion---people are either in it or they're out of it. Those who don't blog are out. Casual readers are likewise out of it since they can only visit from afar on the periphery. People are anxious to include themselves in this world in their blogs lest they be left behind somehow. So the word itself has exploded in terms of usage recently and it's making me vaguely queasy.
If i understand warblogging, it was to provide unbiased reporting or pundit-izing on issues outside of the corporate structure. REAL reporting, none of the washed-down, Time-Warner approved stuff we see as we eat our processed dinners with our 2.4 kids. A very punk thing to do, very noble, all that and a bag of chips. I am not a very (or even remotely) political person but I recognize that the distribution of information need not be controlled by a few sources and in fact, the distribution of information on a grass-roots level as about as democratic as you can get. However, we now have "established warbloggers" given both credentials and traffic because of these credentials (ie, everyone is 'supposed' to link to or read Glenn Reynolds). I don't know Glenn, I don't read his site every often, but by golly lots of people do. More power to him and I wish him tons of success. My problem here certainly isn't with Glenn or warbloggers like him.
My problem is instead, as mentioned before, the language and attitudes of exclusion that seem to be running rampant. Maybe I don't get it, maybe (most likely) I am extremely naive about what I am 'supposed' to be doing with my blog. Some people have outright accused me of being crazy that I wouldn't try and do as much as possible to drive as much traffic here as I can. The whole MSNBC thing was great and it was fun to see a few thousand hits in the space of a few days, but believe me, I am getting a lot more pleasure out of the 30-40 of you who seem to come back on a regular basis just to hear what I have to say. That's just mind-blowing and I can't thank you enough for actually thinking I am worth spending even five minutes a day on. But getting on MSNBC, getting a core of readers wasn't and can't be the point of what I do. Getting my site mentioned on various media and websites is terrific and surprising when it happens, but luckily I am in the position where it's really OK if none of that happens. I am not, as far as I know, in the "blogasphere" and that's really OK. I have my little, Blogger-published site here where I can spit off whatever's in my head without having to worry about what anyone thinks. Now, many of those seeking membership do their sites as their lifeblood, their livelihood, their very income. To get 5,000 hits versus 500 may in fact mean the ability to pay rent. Again, more power to you, if that's what you want. Would I like a few hundred dollars a month rolling through my PayPal account? Sure. I am writing this as a person lucky enough to have a steady income who need not rely on the charity of my readers to literally survive.
But what the blogging world is in danger of, so far as I can see it from my little perch here in Boston, is turning into exactly what it tried to step away from initially. We have this potential "Animal Farm" type scenario where those who led the revolution against "major media" are in fact themselves major media. "Legitimizing " blogs is a slippery slope, especially when it comes at the expense of exclusionary tactics. Again, let me make perfectly clear that I am not slamming individual sites for their content nor the status they have achieved through the collective psychology of linking and legitimizing. This is not a "Person X is ruining the Internet" because, well, that's dumber than the idea of a Tara Reid Movie Marathon.
In any case, now that people seem willing to subscribe to a hierarchy within a "blogasphere" created by the blogging collective, it should be interesting to see how this all plays out. To me, this belies the grass roots nature not only of warblogging, but blogging itself. I just know that all this drama isn't what I signed up for when I started this site, and, luckily, I still don't have to sign up for it. I am one of those on the periphery, always have been; only now, I've pretty much stopped looking in. They're doing their thing, I'm doing mine. We'll both be pretty much OK, I think. It's like two cars who are splitting at a slight fork in the road---neither of us is quite sure where they other's heading. Hell, neither party knows where they themselves are heading. Maybe we'll coverge somewhere down the line. I think I'd like that.
Then again, maybe we'll smash into a great fender bender. We'll just have to see. In any case, the punk days are gone, the TRL days are here.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
see saw theory redux
OK, I am going to revisit an old topic here, cuz hey, I actually have readers now. You can read the original article here but I am gonna repost it here pretty much verbatim anyways, so why go there? You have about as much reason to do that as pay for the Criterion Collection of "Van Wilder" on DVD.
Here's the proposal:
I've been kicking the basic tenets of this theory for a few years, but it really started to gel a few months back at work when a coworker insisted that no good could ever come out of one night stands, they were inherently evil, someone always got hurt, yadda yadda. Now, I was trying to insist she was wrong, since I myself have had one night stands that were totally chill, no harm no foul, all good the next day. I've also had year long relationships that were 12-month exercises in pain.
So, to account for the myriad of relationship possibilities, and gradations therein, the See-Saw Theory was born.
Simply put, assume a scale from 1-100. Break that down into increments of 4. So, we have 25 levels, each corresponding to a potential social relationship between two people, from platonic (0-4) to life-long mates (96-100).
Ok, so next find 25 animals that correspond in relative size to each to match with each of these twenty-five gradations. (so a badger is like 17-21, a lion is like 57-61, etc).
The trick to knowing whether you're gonna work with someone is if the two animals you and your partner represent could successfully balance on a see saw.
Note that this does not imply that you need be the same animal. A platypus and a hedgehog might get along just fine. But an elephant is gonna shoot a field mouse into the next county when its fat, commitment-heavy ass sits down on that contraption and sends Stuart Little's relationship-phobic booty out of the park.
I feel this can explain how one night stands can work (two hummingbirds decide to hum...uh, anyways...) and so forth, up and down the line from the "casual dating" to "we can see other people but if he does his testicles will end up somewhere unpleasant" to permanent monogamous bliss.
(Of course, this theory also assumes that a life-long loving relationship is the pinnacle, so the Freaker would be utterly lost here. He'd be too busy checking out the girls coming down the slide anyways, I suppose.)
Once again, I need your help, faithful readers. I need any and all suggestions for both the 25 levels and the 25 animals. this is important sociological work we're doing here, and i can't do it alone. (I could write overly melodramatic poetry set to Peter Gabriel's "Passion" about it, but this is an entirely different story). So post your suggestions, and I'll be updating the results periodically on this site. Hopefully I can also use some of your web-savvy talents to really make this sparkle. Get creative. "Puppies" are boring. "Marmasets"are fun. "Weekend fling" is bad; "get-your-freak-on-fridays" is better.
(btw---yes, this is what Harvard students do instead of actually dating. We spend hours coming up with stuff like this, involve Nietzche in the debates, and wonder why we're not getting laid. Somewhere right now my current girlfriend is checking the expiration date on her passport so she can flee the country to avoid ever having to see me again.)
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
OK, this may bore most of you, oh well, I do that anyways unintentionally most of the time:
An excellent first episode, not so much for the "plot" per say (zombies in a high school attack Scooby Gang Version 2.0) but for all the separate strands it has set up in just an hour. The creepy assasination in Instabul. Willow's coven training. Sunndydal High's return. Xander making coin over a building built on a Hellmouth. Buffy's new job. A new principal. Everyone and their sister going, "We're in for some majorly bad juju soon." And finally, the morphing end sequence. All set up in about 40 minutes of TV that lays the groundwork for the entire season.
About the morphing in particular: I love that Joss and Company seem to finally be ready to explore the very nature of the Slayer herself and the locus of what has been implied to be a struggle throughout millenia. The news reports have always leaked a desire by the writers to go "back to the beginning" so people took that to mean the show would return to Season 1, the Master, etc. But Joss went even beyond that, and shockingly morphed the Master into Buffy. The notion of the primal power of the Slayer has been teased on and off for the past 3 seasons (starting with the First Slayer in Buffy's Dream, the Dracula episode, and all of Season 6 with Spike consistently reminding Buffy of the incredibly thin line between them) will hopefully finally be explained within the mythology of the show. The only problem may be that, after going into the very root of Evil itself, there may be nowhere for the show to go (and given that SMG may leave, it's not a bad idea to really go for the gold here).
The season being about "power", as it seems to be, normally would sound annoyingly like a Literary Criticism class I took in college, but fits in nicely in contrast to last season, which was largely about impotence---inability to love, inability to connect, inability to change the terrible things coming down the pipe for each of the characters. Willow went completely the opposite of this at the end of the last season, overindulged in her attempt at potency, and damn near ended the world. This season may end up being a 22 episode search for the primal source of the good and evil in the Buffyverse---as Willow says, it's all connected. Buffy is connected to the Master is connected to Glory is connected to flowers from Paraguay. The Big Bad will most likely turn out to be someone trying to disrupt the balance of the these forces, a Lucifer-type figure who wants to finally tip the balance once and for all. The killing of the Slayer-in-training is just the start. The talisman is part two. Who knows what the next step will be? (I know, this sounds eerily like "Star Wars". God help me if someone takes Buffy's midichlorian count.)
Point of the matter is, we have already seen the Big Bad. It is haunting Spike, for reasons yet unknown, and has been for as long as he's been back in Sunnydale. My gut instinct tells me that even though we haven't seen it's corporeal form, in a sense, this Big Bad has ALWAYS been in the show, if Joss is going after what I think he is. The spectre of evil which has always been present in the Buffyverse, had guided everyone from the Master through Warren, is about to reveal itself. The interesting thing is, it most likely will be the very driving force behind the Slayer as well.
update: So Liz is mad because Dawn and her friends scream parallelism to the Scoobies way too obviously. Well, yea. But I don't have a problem with that. Whedon's a huge X-Men fan; he ripped off the Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix saga last year, and now he's positioning Dawn, Goth Girl, and Slater's Cousin as the New Mutants to the Scobby Gang's X-Men. Odds are about 3-1 at least one episode these year has the younger three acting EXACTLY like their older counterparts.
And it's clearly obvious that Buffy and Dawn don't have Sprint PCS for their provider of cell phone goodness; their reception is indeed way too good for that.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
best work conversation in months
me: You look kinda down.
co-worker: Well, yea.
me: What's wrong?
me: c'mon, you can tell me.
co-worker: OK. Well, thing is, my hair's not duckbutting.
me: Excuse me?
co-worker: You know, like the feathers on a duck's butt sorta curl up?
co-worker: Yea, duckbutting. My hair isn't doing that today. I hate this haircut.
So that's our new word of the day, kids. Repeat after me.
and the return of "Ryan needs to be home at 8 pm every Tuesday or suffer dire consequences" begins.
I have a fun habit of coming into every trend late in the game. It took me 19+ years to get into the Grateful Dead, and when I finally get tickets, Jerry Garcia up and died. I get into Phish about a month after they swore off touring (thought mercifully they are going back on the road starting on New Year's).
And in the first episode of "Buffy" I ever watched, she died.
Since then, phrases like "Big Bad" and "Scooby Gang" and all of the other phrases that I had heard betwixt my friends during college suddenly started to make sense. My hardcore devotion to the show started at the same time I got into "Alias" and "24"---I took my well-deserved and much-needed break from unpaid theatrical freelancing and needed something to fill the suddenly large amount of free time I had. Concurrent with discovering "Buffy" I also discovered reruns on FX 2 hours a night and sites like "Ain't It Cool News" which religiously details every bit of the show. I wanted to BE Xander. I wanted to date Willow. (Sorry y'all, gimmee Alyson over Sarah any day). I wanted to be able to write one-liners as effortlessly as these writers did. Everything about it just seemed way too good to be true.
I won't go too deep into what other people are much more capable of doing, namely delineating the web of metaphor the show employs (high school as a literal Hell, vampirism as rape, boyfriends who turn evil once you sleep with them, disguising fear and neuroses through various demon/mystical incarnations) but sufficed to say, as long as growing up was painful for you, "Buffy" will ring true. And since I know of none who enjoyed high school completely, you should watch the show. Period.
Most "Buffy" fans seemed to LOATHE last season. Me myself and I had nothing to compare it to, so for the most part I was much more lenient. Plus, for most of the year I was dizzy with how frickin' amazing "Once More With Feeling" was; just mind-blowingly good. It was plot-heavy, musically-savvy, and itself a dissertation and deconstruction of the musical theatre genre all at once plus with about 20 laugh out loud lines to boot. I may have to add Joss Whedon to my list of "dream roommates"; he's a god on earth. (Someday I might fully geek out and explain how I see “Once More…” both reacting to and exulting in the musical theatre paradigm, but for now I wanna keep the 8 or 9 readers who still come
Be that as it may, even _I_ couldn't take the "black magic as drugs" metaphor thrown about last year, even if it drove the season's plot to it's conclusion (Willow goes bad, which is turns gives you varicose veins apparently). (As Liz's boyfriend pointed out over the weekend to me, that whole story line was a simile, not a metaphor, and a crappy simile at that.) However, having watched all of seasons 1 and 2 (thank you DVD box sets!), plus most of the other seasons via reruns, I feel the last 5 episodes of the season were on par with anything the show's done. The stakes were enormous, the pain was real, and, given the mutli-year buildup for some of the storylines, the payoff was HUGE. They also left the season, at least in Sunnnydale, with the unspoken line which is uttered near the end of "Once More...": "where do we go from here?" you have most of the cast literally picking up the pieces from the mess their lives had become. (Spike being the exception, of course.)
I am looking forward to watching my first full season starting tonight. Let others make predictions, it's more fun to let it unfold (even as I have just read spoilers on AICN, stoopid curiosity). All I can hope for is the return of Red-Head Willow. Sigh.
(update: I'd give tonite's episode 7.5/10. Great, great set-up for the season: a bizarre intro, a killing ending, a dubious principal, and more good one-liners than the entire run of "Becker". Dawn's speech about liking "Britney Spears' earlier work, you know, before she sold out...her watercolors, for instance..." was priceless. And did I mention the ending rocked? My feeling is they are finally going to get down and descroibe what vampires and Slayers primally have in common, and perhaps locate either their common source or the source of the split; a sort of Lucifer figure that pre-dates the Master. Or Xander will kill everyone in an ice cream truck. Either one is feasible. More tommorow. "Its about power.")
Monday, September 23, 2002
new york, part 2
so about the stripclub.
Let me preface all of this by saying I am not into dehumanizing women. I respect women. You can tell my the “Freaker” saga that I feel your pain as a gender if not empathetically, than sympathetically. I deplore the debasement of your sex, I am all about the empowerment thereof, you’ll save the planet from the mess we men have made of it, etc etc. You rock and deserve not to be objectified.
That being all said, I had a great time at this strip club.
It was the third time I have ever been, the other two times were driven by outside sources (bachelor party and roommate’s request for her birthday) and this time, again, I was not the motivating factor in going. I didn’t object in this case however, unlike the first time where to be honest I was a bit queasy about the whole thing. I distinctly remember three mental phases of that first night.
1) “Oh lord, I can’t look, I shouldn’t look, what in the name of Zeus am I doing here?”
2) “This must be the single greatest night of my life.”
3) “If I see one more set of nipples so help me God I’ll light myself on fire.”
Number 2 was the longest phase of the night, to be sure, but even then was tampered by a strange feeling, one my friend Liz had on Saturday night. She said to me, “You know, I was all worried, thinking it would be all objectification, and that I’d feel bad for the women, but Jesus, you men are the pathetic ones here.”
I couldn’t agree more. I’d say maybe a third of the crowd was there under either a bachelor party (and bachelorette party, in one case) or like us, going for an almost comical shtick “this will make a good story” case. But that leaves two thirds of the crowd these horny, desperate guys who can’t get laid, yet inexplicable are at a place where not only will they continue to not get laid, but will come as close as a stupid man will think you could get laid and STILL not get any. Call me crazy, but dropping $20 per blue-balling doesn’t sound like the world’s best way to spend your hard-earned money.
And I am sure, lest you argue, that there are plenty of women who are hard-up, can’t find any other work, hate being there, types of women. Know what? People in my office hate their job and they’re fully clothed. At least strippers have the decency to hide their hatred from the clients.
What little interaction (if having your butt repeatedly grabbed without my permission qualifies as “interaction”) we had didn’t seem to be with these people. It took us a while to not feel like deer in headlights (a $20 admission fee and $10 Bud Light will set off the “we’re being rooked” alarm pretty damn quick), but pretty soon we get to the task at hand, which was consistently “get Liz lap dances”. Scott and I were perfectly happy to blow our hard earned money towards this purpose.
The problem was initially that this place was tiny---there must have been 4 breasts per square foot. Sorta overwhelming. And while Liz intellectually understood, she couldn’t emotionally deal with the fact that she could in fact be picky, since really, they weren’t gonna say no. Also difficult was the fact that hardly any chairs were available, and without being able to form a lap, Liz was gonna have difficulty getting said lap dance.
So she finally gets a chair, and I swear not 18 seconds later was a half naked blonde on top of her. (I’m telling you, this place was as efficient as DisneyWorld. It was like she had a mental “Fast Pass” for a chair.) So “Stella” is working her mojo, but my mind is actually reeling from the fact that the song being played is a remix of Sarah McLachlan’s “Sweet Surrender” and cursing the fact that this song has now been utterly ruined now.
Songs which later got ruined:
“You Shook Me All Night Long”
“Been Caught Stealing”
I got to thinking the strippers were all deaf, since no matter what song was on, their rhythm stayed exactly the same. This prompted Liz’s best line of the night: “Look, she must be new, she’s shaking her tits in time.”
So, Stella has come and gone, everything’s hunky dory. Scott paid for that one, now it’s my turn. We’re trying to figure out who will be next, and then all three of us laid eyes on “Vivian”, aka “Alterna Girl”, who was just a bombshell and a half. So it was clear from the line of drool from Liz’s lip to the floor that this should be the next girl. Sadly, most of the club pretty much agreed, so after about 15 minutes, we had to give up.
We moved around a bit, scoping what little other views there were to be had. After my initial $30 rooking I had managed to not spend any more money, and had only been asked by one girl if I wanted a dance. Oddly, I was insulted that not even strippers were hitting on me. (Just kidding, Jenny. Ha. Kidding. Put the knife down.) I give one dollar to one girl who winks, touches my face, and says thanks. She totally wants me. I know, I know, strippers are supposed to make you think they want you, but this chick was totally digging me.
Finally, Vivian walks back. I grab her by the hand and tell her, “You know, my friend loves your technique.” She is utterly confused. I realize she speaks barely any English. Whoops. “She likes how you dance!” Ahh, recognition descends. I ask her if she’s free, she says yes and grabs my hand. I tell her no, for Liz. She’s cool with this as well, and takes Liz away from me and Scott. Scott and I pursue with the tenacity of Javert pursuing Jean Valjean..
So Scott and I get a front row view of an excellently spent $20. About halfway through, completely out loud and in ear shot of the girls, Scott sighs, “Well, my mind is officially blown.” I casually remind him of the incredible sex he’s gonna receive later. He wistfully nods.
So the song ends (I think it was Pachebel’s Canon in D) and Liz is sorta sitting there, unable to move, with this ridiculous grin on her face. We ask her how she is, and she replies, “I need to go before I spend all my money.” Having satisfactorily completed our mission, Scott and I take her out (avoiding the ATMs), and we split ways.
new york state of sweat
ok, so someone forgot to tell mother nature it was supposed to be Fall weather this past weekend. opting for jeans on a humid new york saturday was one of the sillier things i've managed to do in a long time.
it seemed to affect everyone around me as well. for starters, the commander and i were starting out on the town around new from jersey city. a quick path and MTA ride later we were near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to meet our friend Matt. Matt never called, so instead of walking around Central Park as was the plan, we were smack dab in the middle of a German-American Pride Parade. Miles and miles of lederhosen. Shannon would have been in heaven. Sadly though the German population of the Greater New York area were a little lacking in the looks department o the whole thing was sorta scary. Not as scary as the Mime Duel nearby, however---It was "Gold Guy" versus "Cloth Man" as both vied for who could creep the tourists out the most, it seemed. I ended up rooting for Gold Guy, who at least stayed in character ("evil, creepy servant of Ganesh" seemed to be his character) whereas Cloth Man couldn't decide if he was "6 Million Dollar Man Running After a Bad Guy" or Red Skelton. He went from that reaaaallllllly slow mime to the over-expressive gesture man. Just weird.
We went through the park, finally reaping the benefits of the weather (bikinis in September? well, if you must...), saw a mini-castle (which prompted the commander's funniest line of the day, "wow, this doesn't suck nearly as much as i thought it would"), saw "cleopatra's needle" (which prompted a bevy of freemason jokes from myself that even tim didn't get, so obviously i was geeking to the max), and finally headed back into the Times Square area.
Our friend, it turned out, had fallen asleep, a victim of the weather. the commander himself was feeling quite under the weather. and the friend we had traveled to meet likewise was napping when i called her to find out where we were going for dinner. i was batting 0-3, is what i'm saying. the commander left to drink tea and read Homer, I eventually met my friend for dinner at an italian restaurant with a german waitstaff (again, the german theme), and finally got to the commander's show.
now, i knew going into this that, aside from the commander, this was going to be probably be a bad night of theatre. i might as well have urinated on the $18 i spent on the ticket and gotten roughly the same level of satisfaction. the guy taking tickets has a creep factor of 12 on a 1-10 scale. you take one look at this guy and you think, "somewhere, probably close by, this guy has a stash of kiddie porn." but the commander's my boy, so i went, met up with sleeping boy, and the commander's new girlfriend. all of us has psychically girded ourselves in anticipation of the theatrical onslaught about to level its hammer upon our brows.
(quick background---i had seen a production by this group before. the first act was a "comedienne/impressionist". god pity her. a typical joke from her was: "so, ever notice how there's nothing on TV? god, i haven't been laid in months!" we were stunned. a row of us just hiding our heads, unable to look at her. i willed myself to bermuda, mentally. the longest 15 minutes of 2002. you had to be there.)
the night was divided into 4 short one acts. no comedienne in sight. the first play featured "shoulder boy" and "forearm girl"....two physical specimens that you can't believe exist. they should be on "ripley's believe it or not". shoulder boy had neck and shoulder muscles so 'roided up that that got their own name in the program. forearm girl managed to wear just the inappropriate dress to think you were gazing at her through a funhouse mirror. we had no clue what it was about. but he was EVIL. supposedly. i started daydreaming about halfway through. i think he killed somebody. the play ends with the girl having to run off, SCREAM, and the guy walks towards her as the show fades to black. however, the commander is backstage, trying not to pass out from illness. the girl runs offstage. concerned, the commander says, "hey, you OK?" and she lets out a bloodcurdling scream right in his face. i love off-off-off broadway.
the second play was as if Harold Pinter submitted a draft of "Cocoon". two old people, enormously long pauses, plus a Fargo accent to boot. you learn the old man (played, of course, by a 22 year old kid) just had his wife die. "she probably died of boredom," sighed one of the commander's friends.
finally the commander comes on, actually employed diction and dynamics (unlike the first 2 scenes which were drowned out by the 8 oscillating fans in the 15'x15' room) and did a great job performing whitman's "out of the cradle endlessly rocking".
there's one more piece to go. 5 of us in the front row of an audience of 15. do we stay? hell no. we bolt at the last minute before the final scene change. to the day i die i will not forget the stunned, saddened look of the actors in the final piece as we barreled out like sailors on shore leave. oh well.
about 8 beers later, i've washed the bad taste of the first two pieces out of my pysche. almost everyone is exhausted except for me (ironic since nearly half the tab is my bar bill) and my friend liz shows up with her boyfriend. the commander and everyone leave like 10 minutes later, but since i have keys to the commander's fortress of solitude (jersey city can feel as far away sometimes), i stay out with liz and scott. so we're in the bar, chatting away, and the subject of strip clubs comes up.
and liz is intrigued.
and liz says "gee, i'd kinda like to go to one."
so scott and i take her to an ATM, and we head over to flashdancers...
...to be continued...
Friday, September 20, 2002
big apple bound
don't miss me too much, munchkins. off the NYC in a few hours to see the Commander throw the theatrical smack down. will be back monday.
for my NYC fans, I'll be signing copies of my new book at the Virgin Megastore in Union Square Saturday afternoon, 1-4 pm.
after the freaker
sorry if you've been coming back looking for chapter 4, but that's about all i can say on the subject for now. life went and got in the way of my blogging so it's been hard to add content lately. as much as i am sure you all want to here how i ended up nearly drunk at work at 11 pm meeting a deadline on wednesday well, you'll have to email me if you want the gory details. sufficed to say, there's a certain company in a certain eastern state that i wouldn't mind erasing from existence.
i realize i shouldn't complain, the job market being what it is...just having a job should be an automatic positive (unless you're my roommate, whose managers have read "The Art of War" via "Tiger Beat" so near as I can tell). and there are the occasional perks to working till 11 pm or midnight. these perks usually take the form of food ordered in on the company's bill. which is great and all, unless you consider the planned activities for wednesday versus actual happenings:
planned activities: go to gym (dips, bicep curls, bench press, lat pullovers, situps, 45 minutes cardio), healthy-ish dinner, read a book
actual happenings: work until 11:30 pm, eat half an extra-cheese with pepperoni pizza and down four Sam Adams' Octoberfest
calorically speaking i got bitch-slapped, is what i'm trying to say. work dropped the soap in the penal shower and i bent over like the little girl i am. but free food is always good.
unlike my roommate, however, i don't actually have to ask permission to go to the bathroom at work. hell, even morgan freeman with his supermarket gig in "the shawshank redemption" had it easier than she does. i've been carefully looking for carvings in the woodwork around our apartment, is what i'm trying to say.
i love college kids who tell me how much they love "office space". that's pretty much akin to me telling them how I much I love Africa having seen "Survivor". to all you kids out there: you...have...no...idea. that movie isn't funny because of how far it stretches the truth, but actually how close it adheres to it. i am fortunate in that my own office is relatively normal when it comes to those things, but the monolithic economic giants we work for absolutely rewrite the book on corporate stupidity. i temped here for three months before being hired, and upon being hired, i had the following exchange with our company president:
"so ryan, where do you think you'd like to try and further yourself in this company?"
"which area, specifically, deals the absolute least with our clients?"
seriously. i saw/see amazingly cool, amazingly nice people brought to tears by these clients. just stunning. said everything but their mother's a whore, it seems. (well, one company might have said something akin to that, if i remember correctly) we tend to deal with people who are the bottom of the totem pole in the power matrix of their particular division, and the only power they can exert is over us, it seems....same thing applies to my roommate's managers, so near as i can tell. when you have only a sliver of actual power in this world, you exploit it in retribution for all the unfair crap ever dumped on your doorstep. it's what most people refer to when they speak of "empowerment", i think.
so i opted to go the way of computers---desktop publishing in particular. i've been very fortunate to be in a position in a company that has basically offered me a "what do you want to do and how can we help you do it" approach which i realize more and more is very unusual and i am very lucky to be in it. not to say there are some days unemployment looks like a glorious alternative (see above, cf. Sam Adams) but on the whole, i work in a great office with amazing people who i try my damndest to shield from these pathetic people who's only consolation in life seems to be that they can step on my coworkers/friends/roommates.
yours truly from cubicle america,
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
final chapter in the freaker saga
I learned one more piece about the great epic that is The Freaker. As mentioned before, I left during the double-team action, which is why I didn't have the dialogue of those dances until Monday. However, apparantly the Freaker went above and beyond the call of cliché.
Not only did he pull a rear-end violation, not only did he repeatedly do so to everyone at the bar, not only did he then offer to buy the girl a beer after soiling her with his essence, but then, with the leftover dollar bill that he refused to give as a tip to the bartender, he wrote his phone number down, handed to the girl, and left.
Much merriment was had as the dollar bill then went to the super cool waitress who handled our tab all night.
Let's sum up some lessons which can be extracted from this specific tale which may be application to situations at large, broken down across the sexes:
A) "Game Plan for the Night"
Women: "Let's get some friends, have a few drinks, dance to some cheesy music, and have a great time."
Men: "Gonna grab me some boobs, so help me God."
B) "Scoping the Scene"
Women: "OK, you get the first round, we'll get that postage stamp-sized spot on the dance floor and hold it for us."
Men: "OK, so who's not wearing a bra?"
C) "Ordering Drinks"
Women: "3 drinks with hard liquor disguised by frozen fruit concentrate, please."
Men: "What's the cheapest beer that's not Natural Light?"
Women: "Woohoo! Come on Eileen!"
Men: "Damnit. You can't possibly freak a girl to a song featuring banjos." *keeps sipping his Red Dog*
E) "More Dancing"
Women: "Woohoo! Hot In Herre!"
Men: "Our time is nigh. Fan out boys."
F) "Initial Encounters, Mental Monologues"
Women: "Maybe if I just smile that half-hearted crooked way and try to walk away, he'll release the death grip on my hips."
Men: "Damn, this chick is SO into me. What a tramp."
G) "Monologues, 18 seconds later"
Women: "I wonder if my kick boxing training is about to get it's first real-world application."
Men: "I wonder if she has a sister."
H) "The Escape"
Women: "Whew, thanks for pulling me off and dancing with me Suzie."
Men: "She AND her friend want me. Score! I need another Molsen Ice."
I) "The Aftermath"
Women: "Can you believe the nerve of that guy? Thank God he's leaving me alone."
Men: "Pssst, Ted, gimmee that pen. Gonna write my number down on this dollar bill. That way, on the next wave I can tuck this inside her shirt."
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
I missed one of the seminal highlights of The Freaker, which was the "tandem freak" employed late in the night. As I mentioned there were 5 of us---myself, my girlfriend, two coworkers of mine, and a coworker's sister. Trying to freak one half of a sister duo is only slightly dumber than throwing a steak at a vegetarian. You're only asking for a world of pain.
When sisterhood is involved, the "anti-freak Jedi sense" leaps from Padawan- to Yoda-level instantly. (If you don't believe me, just look on a girl's face when a Freak is about to occur, and cross-reference it with Obi-Wan's face when Alderan exploded. It's the same face.) So the sister is constantly foiling the Freaker's attempts at various points of the night. Now, if we men truly weren't thinking, we'd eventually develop a Pavlovian response and equate "Girl X" with "failure" and move on.
But like I said, we men are always thinking, damn us to hell but we are. We're not thinking much, but we're thinking.
So after about 2 hours, The Freaker returns, after going through about 12 more girls in plain sight of all of us in the past 15 minutes since his last bump'n'grind extravaganza. The coworker goes in to swoop the sister away, but instead is met by The Freaker's friend who is, unbelievably enough, running interference for the Alpha Freaker.
Now this is pure, evil genius.
The Freaker actually went to his friend and developed a strategy. To call it tactical warfare is not too far-fetched. They established a target, developed an multi-layered attack plan, and executed. The timing was impeccable; as my coworker reached out for her sister, the friend descended out of nowhere, took the hand, and spun her away. Pairs figure skating isn't choreographed this well.
So now the scene is eerily like the end of the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance in "Back to the Future", with each sister simultaneously playing Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson, that combo of "I can't believe this guy is dancing with HER" coupled with "I can't believe this guy is dancing with ME" look on their face. Meanwhile I am playing the role of Christopher Lloyd, looking back and forth between these demented duos going, "Damn. Damn damn." My girlfriend is Michael J. Fox, the life-force being sucked out of her, thinking, "This is why I looked forward to finally turning 21?" while simultaneously summoning the primordial forces of the Earth Mother to whup some serious Freaker hiney.
So, this is apparantly the conversation between the Beta Freaker and my coworker:
"Don't worry, he's my cousin, I can vouch for him."
"Yea, well, I'm her SISTER, and I don't know either of you."
(typical male logic: hey, he's cool, i KNOW him. we know it's BS but our only hope lies in pulling off a sincere performance. unless of course you're dealing with someone of INTELLIGENCE. jackass. god i hated this undynamic duo.)
Concurrently, this exchange took place between the sister and the Alpha Freaker:
"So, want a beer?"
"How many times have I told you tonite that I am not interested?"
"So, want a beer?"
He slithers off, confident that "Operation: Cousin" has worked to perfection. Alpha and Beta give a high five on the way to the bar.
The sister turns to all of us and says, "He's buying me a beer. What a dipsh*t."
And people wonder why I don't go out to bars more often.
Monday, September 16, 2002
dance floor decorum
I’d like to turn away for a moment from the world of celebrity pop culture and instead focus on a more everyday, but nonetheless important, facet of pop culture which has touched each and everyone of us (literally) at some point of our lives. You’re on the dance floor, whether it be at a club, a bar, a dorm room, and IT happens. IT transcends race, culture, age, basically any demographic you can think of. IT binds us as humans, creating a global network of oneness so immutable that it could potentially render all conflict as we know it moot if only the eyes of the world could be made to see it’s all-encompassing totality.
IT, of course, is “the freak.” Not the person, but the action.
“The freak” takes on many shapes and sizes. “The freak” can be exemplified in many different forms, but one in particular, witnessed yet again by myself this past weekend will serve as our model for this heinous, global-bonding action.
The term “freaking” is fairly common, but for specificity sake let me define what I consider to be said action within the context of today’s analysis. To “freak” someone is to get right up into someone’s dance space without their knowledge and initial consent and do anything from that bizarre dance from “Can’t Buy Me Love” to sheer, full-on dry-humping. Both men and women can instigate the “freak”, likewise both can be recipients thereof. Now, there are three basic types of “freaking”:
A) After the initial “shock”, both parties are consensual on the matter and a grand ol’ time can be had be all. There are two basic subgroups---the “friends at a party decide to gang up on an unsuspecting member of said party and freak him/her for the amusement of themselves and all” and “I’m going to really embarrass my significant other in front of his/her friends cuz I am really drunk or it’s funny to see them annoyed in public.” Option 2 seems to be my preferred course of action here.
B) The across-the-board immoral “freak”. For example, on a nun at a Catholic high school dance. Or your friend’s mother. The kind where “deserve to be hog-tied and dragged across broken glass for being that weird” suddenly seems like a feasible option for even the most-liberally minded folk.
C) The “they didn’t expect the freak, but now that freakdom has been initiated, they want no part of it and seek the quickest and least painful way out”.
Option C is what we’re gonna discuss today.
Option C is almost 90% perpetrated by men. It may even be higher but I don’t wanna be labeled a playa hatah. (Heh, I always wanted to type that. Cross that off the big list.) For instance, my senior Fall, an Option C was unleashed upon me with great vengeance and furious anger. She was dubbed “The Barnacle” after this night. I don’t think I need to illuminate why. I’d really rather not dwell on it.
Anyways, Option C is the reason most women travel in packs when they go out together. Its in our genetic make-up to travel in herds, and this primal instinct is consistently engaged whenever girls try to go out and actually have a good time. We as men simply cant allow them to do that measly thing. I have no clue as to why. Now, I can understand the basic “wow she’s cute I’d love to talk to her/dance with her” instinct; however, these guys totally have ruined any chance I might ever actually do this because they are Class A Option C offenders.
This particular offender came across my path Friday night. The scene: a local bar. The parties involved: me, four women, and The Freaker. The Freaker obviously had read his manual on “How To Look Like a Freaker From Across the Room”. Let’s break down the list:
---cheap-ass beer in one hand: Bud Light, check
---shirt unbuttoned low but not showing nipples: 3 down, check
---hair that is highly flammable: heavy gel job, check
---has sufficient inability to dance but thinks he can: does basic “arm pump” while slithering through crowd, check
So we all notice him (I have the advantage of being 6’5’’, the ladies of course have the anti-Freaker Jedi sense imprinted on their chromosomes) but for the first hour he stays away. Again, the 6’5’’ isn’t hurting. He doesn’t know I’m a wimp. Go me.
But, soon enough, he employs my absolute all time favorite “freak” technique: the rear sneak attack.
To quote Saruman, “You know of what I speak.” It’s that come from behind, grab the girls hips, and shove your crotch into their butt and pretend like a) you have rhythm and b) you haven’t completed offended the woman’s sense of self.
If I could interview anyone, past or present, famous or infamous, I would want to interview this guy, right at this moment. Pull one of those world freeze frames, sit him down, and ask him what in the blue hell he thinks he is doing. It’s just stunning that any guy thinks this is gonna work. It’s as if they expect the woman to turn around, look longing into his eyes, and say, “You know, all night I’ve been wondering why I’ve been feeling so incomplete, so lost. But with your unwanted denim-clad erection firmly pressed into my unwilling backside, now I feel whole again.”
I’ve been wondering for a few years now what on earth these guys are thinking. Most of you would say “They’re not thinking at that moment, Ryan” but believe me, the smartest thing men have ever done is convince women that they are completely stupid. These guys are in fact thinking the whole time, I suspect, but I think what they may be onto is the same principle that guides the sales force of our company.
I know, bringing economics into this? I said men think, I didn’t say we thought nice.
Basically, we’re talking law of averages here. According to our VP, (and I’ll misquote the actual numbers but you’ll get the gist) is that you want to have 50 pre-emptive proposals sent out at any time to get 10 interested parties to eventually end up with 2 sales. So, you plug away at 50 companies to get a 4% success rate. You don’t actually expect most of your attempts to work; you in fact fully expect most of them to fail.
I am not suggesting the success rate of the Freaker is 4% (though wouldn’t it be fun to ask the government to look into grant money for this) but I think I may have finally hit on a possible reason for the activity of the Freaker. A simple mathematical postulate. Eventually, if they freak enough, someone will actually go for it. They are literally prodding women to get the response they want. Just amazing. Neuter me NOW, I hate being a man sometimes.
Anyone else have some theories? I am sensing important sociological work to be done, and I need your help.
Friday, September 13, 2002
writer's block? nay, i tell thee verily
A lot of people ask me if it's tough coming up with new content on a daily basis. (Well, OK, no one has asked that yet, but eventually they will.) And my answer is simple: as long as we have people like Jennifer Love Hewitt around, I'll never be short of content.
A few weeks back, in my post about the VMA's, I noted the curious title of "Singer/Songwriter Jennifer Love Hewitt". I figured it was a pathetic attempt to acknowledge her past "singing career" and try to answer the "what the heck is she doing here" factor. Sadly, I didn't realize she was planning to unleash another sonic assault on America with a new CD. (Blogging decorum would dictate that I link said album, but then again, I'm trying to prevent a tragedy here, people, so we'll remain largely link-less here, except for one important exception below).
Now, what I am about to link to is not for the faint of heart. Parents, make sure you're kids are well out of the room, preferably with earmuffs. I give you the link to this "singer/songwriter's" latest affront to humanity, "Barenaked".
here is a link to the video
so we're gonna go multimedia here today folks, and if you've never seen the video, or don't care to go see it, well, this will be about as much fun as Marxism for ya. but for the rest, read along to the video...
Video opens on JLH on the world's biggest bed and an amazingly sparsely decorated room. This may have something to do with the fact that the bed is bigger than most studio apartments. And why is she in a bed? Cuz the song starts off while a very non-cliched line of "Do you ever have that dream..." Ah, she's waking up from a dream...thus a bed! Aha! I get it. As a professor of mine once sad, there's a fine line between symbolism and completely sucking. JLH proceeds to get up and reveals an outfit of tank top, boxer shorts, and a pair of socks she must have stolen from the wadrobe of "The White Shadow".
Well, the director's waited a generous 25 seconds of so before getting to the money shot, JLH taking off her shirt and....DAMN YOU WICKER SCREEN. DAMN YOU. (Does anybody in the real world own one of these screens? Is there an actual need for one if you live alone? Exactly who are you hiding from?) Employing the best special effects 1954 has to offer, she walks from one side of the screen to another, magically switching clothes to create an entire ensemble with the fashion sense of those socks.
Cut to her walking down the street, presumably NYC. In a town where people step on dead bodies in the sidewalk, everyone is maintaining a healthy distance from our singer/songwriter. There's an at least 10' safety zone these folks are maintaining. The chorus hits and inexplicably horns kick in, presumably from a Santana outake that they never released. You could throw 10 llamas playing kazoos while being whipped into this mix and it wouldn't be less dissonant.
Cut to shot of girl and guy in a restaurant which is severely lax in its no shirt, no service policy. I think the director's instructions were, "OK, you're motivation is 'hey, JLH is there, it's time to make your move.' no, seriously. why are you laughing at me? i can have you replaced, pretty boy." The girl obviously isn't digging his move, deciding to leave the video for a Jay Z one. Having Cristal poured on you by Nate Dogg is apparantly less demeaning to your self-worth than being in this video.
Aaaah, the moment we've been waiting for---the performance shot. It's our hero Jennifer and a band full of guys with the "I went to Berkelee for THIS?" look on their face. Cut to African-American girl falling down on the sidewalk outside the performace space. I believe she's having a bad reaction to JLH's voice, a la Mary Hart's fan a few years back. Just knocks her to the ground senseless. She quickly gets up and smiles, which is the quickest recovery from severe trauma this side of Amidala on Geonosis.
Cut back to a wider shot of the performance, wide enough to include the angry mob waiting the signal from their leader to swoop in for the kill.
JLH nows has more poignant lyrics: "You ever try your luck with a pickup line...But you just sucked?" JLH is SO street, she swears! Cut to yet another guy who's topless (sensing a theme here) who uses the infmaous bad pick up line. I'm not a great lip reader, but I'm pretty sure he's saying "Hey baby, you remind me of a Jennifer Love Hewitt song." The girl, sufficiently horrified, walks away.
Picking up the pace, we cut immediately to another guy without a shirt, completing the trifecta. Right about now I am longing for the equal-opportunity pedophelia of that Jimmy Eat World video. At least in this vignette the ex-GF has the decency to throw him some clothes. Somewhere in the background I think I see three more people screaming, falling to the ground, clutching their ears, as JLH pulls a "Scanners" on them.
Ah, we mercifully reach the bridge of the song, and to quote Commander Foley: "Well, she finally took my advice to go and play in traffic." I heard rumors that it took two weeks to film this because the drivers kept trying to run her down. We then see an excellent sense of foreshadowing as she sings alone on a sidewalk with not one person paying any attention to her.
Bravely tightroping the symbolism line before freefalling into inanity once again, JLH ends the video by gradually losing all of her clothes, with the camera artistically showing us....her clavicle. Woohoo, break out the party hats, I love me a good clavicle. She ends up again in the bed big enough from which to launch Maverick and Goose, apparantly incredibly amused that she lost all of her clothes on the way home.
Like I said before, it'll be a while before I run out of stuff to talk about here.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
(true story, on the phone with a client...dialogue slightly embellished)
US: "So we're done the recolorization of the file, did you see it?"
CLIENT: "Um, yup."
US: "So the PDF came to you alright?"
CLIENT: "Um, yup."
US: "So what do you think?"
CLIENT: "Well..." (long pause)
US: "Well, we switched the colors of the headers, per your request, and added the correct Pantone colors to the bars below per the email you sent us..."
US: "And uh, we also replaced the icons."
CLIENT: "So I see."
US: "And we uh..." *starting to sweat*, "We uh, took out the garbage, did the dishes, and mowed the lawn."
US: "Yea, with the mobius strip pattern you like so much!"
US: (panic setting in) "We could always, you know, reverse it back, the way it was before, if you prefer that..."
US: "Or, you know, try some different colors."
*somewhere in a nearby cubicle, a tumbleweed blows aimlessly by*
US: "It was all Greg's fault, Greg broke the vase! I'm sorry I blamed Sam the Butcher!"
CLIENT: "You know, this would be a lot easier if I weren't colorblind."
*officemates looks quizzically at each other*
CLIENT: "Yea, if you say this looks good, let's roll with it."
US: "Um, do you maybe want someone else to look at it?"
CLIENT: "Nah, it'll be fine, I trust you guys."
Two weeks and three books with this design later, during the meeting with another member of the team:
CLIENT: "Yea, these colors look awful. Let's do the following instead..."
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
here's the pitch
Quick note---a lot of people will be writing a lot of things about the anniversary of September 11th. This site will not be one of them, not because I am trivializing the importance of the day, but a lot of people eminently more qualified to do will be making statements from the heart and mind that will do a much better job than I ever could. If indeed we are continue with our lives, lest evil triumph, I’ll just keep going on with the website as is. And if I make a few of you smile today, then I’ve maybe done a little something for the day.
It’ easy enough to criticize movies, books, and music once it’s been released to us public folk (hell, if it weren’t easy, there’s no way I could do it). But what about the creative process, the behind-the-scenes stuff we hardly ever see, but get tantalizing tidbits of on DVDs, TV specials, and so forth? I personally would just love to have been a fly on the wall at some of these pitch meetings, just to see the genesis of some of these end products. There’s not necessarily bad final works, mind you, but you’ve always got that nagging “How in the HELL did someone greenlight this?” feeling somewhere beneath the beer buzz.
“Things to Do In Denver When You’re Dead”
For those of you who don’t know this movie, it can be summed up as “The Best ‘Pulp Fiction’ Ripoff Nobody Saw”. Just too many bizarre things going on here. Let’s go to the fictional tape of the pitch meeting, already in progress:
Pitch Man: “So yea, we’re gonna capitalize on this new gansta craze. Hip, fresh, bloody, the whole works! Out-pulp ‘Pulp Fiction’!”
Studio Exec: “Sounds great, who do you have in mind for the gang?”
Pitch Man: “Andy Garcia, the guy who played ‘Jim’ on Taxi, Treat Williams, and the FBI agent from “The Rock” who isn’t Womack.”
Studio Exec: “ “Excuse me?”
Pitch Man: “Yea, it’s gonna be great.”
Studio Exec: “That’s the weirdest gang I ever heard of. You have to be joking. I can’t market that movie.”
Pitch Man: “C’mon, ‘Pulp’ is a lot of no names. We’re talking breakout roles for cheap costs.”
Studio Exec: “I don’t even know half these guys. Who’s this almost-Womack?”
Pitch Man: “William Forsythe”
Studio Exec: “Wasn’t he in ‘Raising Arizona’?”
Pitch Man: “Yup.”
Studio Exec: “Has he been in anything else in the last 7 years?”
Pitch Man: “Yea, like 143 movies where he plays a heavy.”
Studio Exec: “I’ve never seen any of them”
Pitch Man: “We’re gonna pull a Travolta, revive his career.”
Studio Exec: “What career? And who is Treat Williams? What's he been in?”
Pitch Man: “About 300 Lifetime movies where he beats the wife or beats the guy beating the wife. We’re taking care of the female demographic. He’s like a Don Johnson who works for scale. Trust me…”
Studio Exec: “Um, I dunno if I like the sound of…”
Pitch Man: “And check this---for the role of the world’s deadliest assassin, we’re gonna get Steve Buscemi.”
Studio Exec: “That ‘Fargo’ guy?”
Pitch Man: “YEA!”
Studio Exec: “Isn’t he like 120 pounds soaking wet?”
Pitch Man: “We’re not sure. Maybe 115.”
Studio Exec: “And he’s the world’s deadliest assassin….um, ok. Does he at least have an intimidating name?”
Pitch Man: “Mr. Shhh.”
Studio Exec: “C’mon on, really.”
Pitch Man: “That’s his name! It’ll be really, really scary.”
Studio Exec: “Um, moving on…Who’s up for the role of the Mafia kingpin?”
Pitch Man: “Check this---Christopher Walken.”
Studio Exec: “OK, now we’re talking—he can walk in the room, scare everyone…”
Pitch Man: “But he’s in a wheelchair.”
Studio Exec: “Huh?”
Pitch Man: “Yea, it’s what’s gonna set us apart. Ving Rhames has a bandaid, Walken gets a wheelchair and a woman to always be taking him for a bath. We’re talking Oscar caliber role. The Academy loves this stuff. Wheelchairs and soap. Can’t miss.”
Studio Exec: “So he takes out Jim from Taxi while in his wheelchair in a bubble bath? No one is gonna buy that.”
Pitch Man: “See, but that’s why we have Buscemi. He kills people by shooting them straight up the ass with a shotgun. They call it a “Buckwheat’. It’ll be the new hip term on the streets!”
Studio Exec: “Does anyone take out Buscemi?”
Pitch Man: “Yea, there’s a big battle in Treat’s living room, it’s a climatic scene.”
Studio Exec: “You want me to greenlight a film where the climatic action sequence takes place between a 120 pound frog boy and a
guy who’s claim to fame is being ‘almost Don Johnson’?”
Pitch Man: “Yea!”
Studio Exec: “OK, here’s $20 million.”
I didn’t even scratch the surface of this movie. Just has to be seen to be believed.
A Knight’s Tale
Pitch Man: “So it’s a medieval movie, but it’s got contemporary pop songs.”
Studio Exec: “So it's like Moulin Rouge, you mean?”
Pitch Man: “Well, no, in that ours completely sucks and makes people laugh uncontrollably at how bad the anachronisms are.”
Studio Exec: “Like what?”
Pitch Man: “Like 300 people singing ‘We Will Rock You” at a jousting tournament, keeping in time with quarterstaffs.”
Studio Exec: "Get out of my office.”
Pitch Man: “Wait, wait, we got Heath Ledger.”
Studio Exec: “Oh, well, he’ll bank us $100 million. Is there a scene in the movie where he rides slowly down a rainy street with his
Pitch Man: “We can write one today for you.”
Studio Exec: “Excellent. What about the girl?”
Pitch Man: “Well, I was at this bar the other night, and there were hosting a Lisa Bonet look-a-like contest for white girls…”
(Seriously. Look at the girl. I spent half the movie going “Damn, her ‘Cosby Show’ money bought her a serious facelift.”)
Now That’s What I Call Music
Studio Exec: “So what’s the pitch?”
Pitch Man: “Well, you know how most pop songs completely suck?”
Studio Exec: “Sure!”
Pitch Man: “I mean, drain your will to live?”
Studio Exec: “Absolutely!”
Pitch Man: “I’m talking drive off a cliff before you have to hear it again?”
Studio Exec: “Oooh boy, believe me, out on the PCH I’ve been tempted.”
Pitch Man: “So I was thinking---why not bunch of 20 of them together, remix a few to sound even worse than before, and sell it to 14 year old girls?
Studio Exec: “Why not?”
Pitch Man:" Exactly!"
Studio Exec:" Wait, wait, can we at least throw in one up and coming band that's actually pretty good so we can completely destroy their credibility?"
Pitch Man:" You're the boss!"
Studio Exec: "Hee hee, I am, aren't I?
Pitch Man: “Who’s up for sniffing cocaine off a stripper’s tummy?”
Studio Exec: “Me me me me me!”
Studio Exec: “So do we have Keanu?”
Pitch Man: “No.”
Studio Exec: “What about Hopper?”
Pitch Man: “He sorta died in the last one, sir.”
Studio Exec: “Bullock?”
Pitch Man: “Um, yes.”
Studio Exec: “OK, well 1 out of 3 ain’t bad. And a bus should be easy enough to get. Ha.”
Pitch Man: “Um, the movie takes place on a boat.”
Studio Exec: “A what?”
Pitch Man: “A boat.”
Studio Exec: “How are we gonna do a movie on a speedboat?”
Pitch Man: “Um, it’s a cruise ship, sir.”
Studio Exec: “Correct me if I am wrong, but it’s not as though a cruise ship will reads as, um, what’s the word I am looking for…FAST on camera, now will it?”
Pitch Man: “We’ll use CGI. No sweat. We’re saving money by not having Keanu. He’s doing some stupid sci-fi flick about a matrix or something, it’ll totally kill his career..that's what gets gets for missing out on 'Speed 2'.”
Studio Exec: “So who did we get?”
Pitch Man: “Jason Patrick.”
Studio Exec: “Corey Haim’s brother from ‘The Lost Boys’?”
Pitch Man: “Ah, you know him!”
Studio Exec: “So wait a sec. I have to front $120 million dollars to replace Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and a flying bus with Jason Patrick and the Love Boat?”
Pitch Man: “Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Sir…sir, please put the knife down…”
Studio Exec: “So what’s the pitch?”
Pitch Man: “Barely covered breasts.”
Studio Exec: “Here, just take all of my money.”
Monday, September 09, 2002
list-less part 2
Moving right along....
51) I invented kegels.
52) I am looking forward to seeing “Oscar Winner” on the VHS sleeve of “Swimfan”.
53) I think rice pilaf is a natural aphrodisiac.
54) I recently opened a sushi bar with Dustin Diamond.
55) I don’t regret for one moment having the words “nude” and “Avril Lavigne” exist on the same homepage.
56) I can’t imagine what life what be like if Michael Bolton hadn’t started covering every good song ever written and strangling the life force from it.
57) I once woke up handcuffed to Katie Holmes, who was in turn handcuffed to a camel.
58) I don’t think the world gives Rice-a-Roni nearly enough credit for maintaining détente during the Cold War.
59) I think the Bermuda Triangle is really more of a parallelogram if you think about it.
60) I want to someday be known as the greatest female flamenco dancer in history.
61) I eagerly await the eventual arrival of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s “Greatest Hits” CD.
62) The band Snap does not, in fact, have The Power; I do.
63) I happen to know that every Led Zeppelin song is in fact about Levar Burton.
64) I think “medieval stoning” isn’t used nearly enough as a party theme.
65) I wish more people would tune into “Sorority Life” if they want to know about the human condition.
66) All I ever needed to learned I learned in a Turkish prison.
67) I want to go to the “Kevin Costner School for Accents”.
68) I think professional wrestling is real but surgery is fake.
69) I think Ringo Starr still has a great record inside of him.
70) I once made out for 9 straight hours with a ferret.
71) I think if someone just did a simple Google search, we’d find this Osama guy a lot faster.
72) I really look forward to hearing the next brilliant thing to come out of Ann Coulter’s rectum. I mean mouth. Wait, same thing.
73) I really wanna know if you’re gonna finish those nachos.
74) And while you’re at it, what about the rest of those fries?
75) If you press me, I’d have to say "Lark Voorhies”/”Lisa Turtle” is the prettiest 1-2 name-punch in the history of Hollywood.
76) I’m pretty sure this “hip hop” thing is just a fad.
77) I really wish there was a way to exploit technology so I could download songs for free onto my computer.
78) I have a lush, full head of hair.
79) The “Harry Potter” books are based on my experiences in Outward Bound.
80) I don’t see why guys find two women making out so damn hot.
81) Speaking of hot, I would like to know what ever happened to George Wendt.
82) I miss the terrifying feeling of never knowing quite when my car battery would decide to die in the middle of rush hour traffic.
83) I am going to name my first child “Portabello”.
84) I’ll never know how Jason Biggs didn’t land the role of Gandalf.
85) I think “during surgery” is the best time to pick up chicks.
86) I really, really admire Britney Spears’ chord progressions.
87) I think “Freddy Got Fisted” is a sequel begging to be made.
88) Nothing makes my mouth water more than the combination of these two words: “McDonald’s Fajitas”.
89) The acting range of Freddie Prinze Jr. never ceases to astonish me.
90) I will never stop until I finally discover exactly who let the dogs out.
91) I hate people who take jokes that are at least a year old and recycle them like their brand spankin’ new.
92) I hardly every look at my stat counter.
93) Whenever I am stressed out, I find that Korn’s “Freak on a Leash” really calms me down.
94) I really think the entrances for the WWE superstars are just too darn short.
95) I bet everyone who reads this site will understand #94.
96) If they ever make a Lifetime movie about me, I hope it’s not called “Shot in the Ass With a Tranquilizer Dart By Accident One Night While Camping: The Ryan McGee Story”
97) It’s been a while since I chased down an ice cream truck and showed it who its daddy was.
98) I have a huge crush on Crispin Glover.
99) I also quite fancy his brother Danny.
100) I don’t want this list to end which will force me to return to my actual life.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
OK, so a lot of people have been coming back with their “100 Things About Me” Lists. Normally I am all for jumping on the current bandwagon and ceasing to be original, but this particular trend violates a major premise of this website, which is “Damnit McGgee, they could care less about YOU, give them witty banter and food for thought, you hussy”.
Having smacked myself sufficiently silly, I proudly present instead “100 Completely False Things About Me”. Gonna farm half of these out tonite, the other half tommorow.
1) I am the King of Poland.
2) I was gave birth to a koala.
3) I have Tedd Koppel on speedial.
4) I think elevator music is the pinnacle of art.
5) I think lawn mowers should be allowed to vote.
6) I wish Shakira would just put some clothes on, already. Sheesh.
7) I think alarm clocks are just a social construct perpetuated by THE MAN.
8) I happen to know that “THE MAN” is in fact Ted Koppel, which is why I have him on speed dial.
9) I think speed dial was created by Vincent Van Gogh.
10) I think Vincent Van Gogh was created by Shakira’s undulating buttocks.
11) I believe circular reasoning is cheap and tacky.
12) I really am looking forward to when “prithee” makes a lingual comeback.
13) I can’t wait for Lance Bass to save us from the aliens.
14) I think Pamela Anderson Lee has a back up plan in case Lance fails.
15) I think overalls will be the new suit.
16) I’m gonna invent rewritable breakfast cereals. Suck on THAT, technology industry.
18) I am going to outlaw the number 17.
19) I think bocci should be our new national pastime.
20) I once translated “The Merry Wives of Windsor” into Sanskrit on a bet.
21) I think Sanskrit is another of Koppel’s dirty tricks.
22) I think George Lucas should be commissioned to write all screenplays for all movies.
23) I think we need more Kathy Bates love scenes in movies.
24) I think “polka-punk” will be the new “rap-rock” hybrid to storm the charts.
25) I invented oxygen.
26) I want to teach the world to sing in complete and utter discord.
27) I think “November Rain” should be the default song for the bride to walk down the aisle to.
28) I think MENSA should stop playing around and finally allow Tara Reid into their group.
29) I think every DVD should have a special commentary track from Chris Klein.
30) Maybe, just maybe, I’ll tell you where the keys to the handcuffs are.
31) I can’t wait to sell my copy of “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” on eBay.
32) I think, in time, the true genius of Warrant will emerge.
33) I think Val Kilmer is fact completely sane and possessing all his faculties.
34) I think that the moon is fact made of Kelsey Grammar’s colon.
35) I can totally tell the difference between 98 Degrees, O Town, and LFO.
36) I think your AOL Instant Messenger name will soon function as your Social Security number.
37) I think my battery-powered battery will save the rain forests.
38) I think spam mail is a great way to get to now lots of people.
39) I think “circumvent” is used way too infrequently in everyday discourse.
40) I am patiently waiting for the day when “back hair” becomes the new “goatee”.
41) I think “training beer” is a great way to introduce teens to the wonderful world of puking at 3 am.
42) Any movie that hires Mickey Rourke is good enough for me to blow my hard-earned $10 on.
43) I think more sentences need to end on prepositions.
44) I think typos bespeak intelligance.
45) I wish there were more books about blisters.
46) I think “Back That Ass Up” should be the final song played at every prom, but people still have to slow dance to it.
47) I will ensure that every Mariah Carey album heretofore released will be packaged with a warning from the Surgeon General.
48) I think couples that have “their songs” which will haunt them forever after their breakups have the right idea.
49) I think anything is better once pickled.
50) I don’t think it gets much better than a winter’s night, a roaring fire, and a painful toe infection.
Friday, September 06, 2002
Thursday, September 05, 2002
the return of the top 5 lists
For the 6 of you who read before Sunday, you know I used to pull out top 5 lists regularly in my homage to the novel High Fidelity, which will until the day I day (much to my girlfriend's continuing angst) define/describe me more than any other work of art I’ll ever come across.
To wit---here's how every other conversation started out when the movie came out: "dude, they made this movie about you..." The other half started with, “Oh man, there’s this movie you gotta see…”
I own two copies of "High Fidelity", one I lend to friends who I think should read it, and the other one which is torn up, battered, and underlined with passages that hit way too close to home. So, in the spirit in that novel, along with quotes from the novel to supplement the choices below, we have the first in an ongoing series of lists...Tonight is “Top 5 Male Bad Asses in Cinema.”
More silence. Why are people---let's face it, women---like this? It doesn't pay to think this way, with all this mess and doubt and gray, smudged lines where there should be a crisp, sharp picture.
5) Jack Black as Barry, "High Fidelity"
Of COURSE this movie would be represented. Jack slid into the plum role of "Wacky Pal To John Cusack who happens to not be Jeremy Piven". I guess Jeremy had a thing that week. In any case, this is the only comedic role on the list, a tornado of a performance that blew just about everything else off the screen when he was on it. Reminds me of the famous quote attributed to Shakespeare who, in reference to "Romeo and Juliet", apparently said, "I had to kill Mercutio before Mercutio killed the play." I've tried unsuccessfully for 2 years to do that move where he machine-guns his hand into a middle finger gesture. He's got that "Really Old Golden Girl" Syndrome of saying everything on his mind the moment it comes to him. I used to have this syndrome around my girlfriend. I'm slowly learning this is fact NOT a positive attribute.
My friends don’t seem to be friends at all but people whose phone numbers I haven’t lost.
4) Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield, "Pulp Fiction"
Perfect quote for this loner of a character. Might be higher on the list if he had more screen time. Anyone who can make John Travolta seem hip deserves their own freakin' Special Academy Award. Alternating between likeable and terrifying, you don't know whether to buy him a beer or smash the mug over his head while he's turned around. The resonance of his character is felt right down to "The Sopranos". And can you imagine ANYONE else giving that last speech, being a peacekeeper in the middle of a John Woo-inspired triple standoff. Almost makes you forgive him for "The Last Kiss Goodnight". Almost.
Speaking of that, talk about your role reversals. Samuel L Jackson was under Geena Davis in the marquee. Don't really think that would be the case now. That's right up there with Richard Greico headlining over Tom Cruise. File under "not in our lifetime".
3) Keanu Reeves as Neo, "The Matrix"
Riiiiiiiiight. Just seeing if you're paying attention.
At around four o’clock most Saturday afternoons, just when I make us all a cup of tea, I have a little after glow on, maybe because this is my work, and it’s going OK, maybe because I’m proud of us, of the way that, though our talents are small and peculiar, we use them to our best advantage.
3) Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde, "Reservoir Dogs"
Laying the irony on thick with this particular quote. Hey, Tarantino writes great gangstas. This movie, along with "Chasing Amy", will be on a future Top 5 of "Top 5 Worst Movies to See on a First Date". My generation will forever associate "Stuck in the Middle With You" to him saying "Hello? Hello?" to a severed ear. Mr. Blonde also gave my college roommates and I a great threatening phrase: "Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie, or are ya gonna bite?" Course, in the movie there's almost a gunfight, whereas in the dorm the battle was over the 2nd controller to play "Super Techmo Bowl". Slight difference, is what I'm saying.
(Another side note---if you ever have a party, and someone thinks it'd be a really good idea to have a drinking game to this movie, where the simple rule is "whenever someone swears", just slowly back away, smiling, and then leave the country. Escape, say. Somewhere in a lab they've fossilized my former liver in the "Freaks of Nature" wing.)
Someday a sociologist will figure out exactly how Michael Madsen went from Mr. Blonde to "The Dad in 'Free Willy'" in less than a year. That's absolutely insane. That'd be like Ja Rule releasing a bluegrass album next month. That's just insane. Did I mention this is INSANE?
You think he ever lost it on set? Just got confused, regressed into Mr. Blonde and pulled a "You know, Willy, you don't I jump, I'ma pop a cap in your sorry orca ass" one day on set? Anyone?
OK, I'm digressing.
See where random acts of kindness get you? To fucking funerals, that’s where
2) Harrison Ford as Han Solo, "Star Wars"
You get the impression Han thought the above quote more than once during “A New Hope”? All I know is EVERY boy wanted to be Han Solo. Hell, most still do. Didn't matter than he dressed like he was going out to a gay bar most of the time. He was cooler than cool and had the waxed chest to prove it. Only he could make a line like "Laugh it up, fuzzball" sound almost Elizabethan in scope. He had by all accounts the Kia of spacecruisers (granted with some nice engine work) yet still slept with Princess Leia. That's the equivalent of me rolling up to Shakira in my '87 Cadillac and us snoggin' in the back seat later that night. But if Han pulled the same move, same car, he'd see some hip grinding in the 8'' of backseat space of that Cimarron. Like Jesus, he was way cool. (Ten points for the song reference. Liz, I’m counting on you for this.)
Harrison's Madsen-esque leap came much later, mercifully after about a dozen or so amazing movies. Sadly he seems to have not yet fully recovered from "Sabrina", one of the roughly 234 Julia Ormond movies which feature "Julia Ormond stuck between two very close people, and if we can let's make them brothers" as the basic plot. Seriously, look it up. She made "Legends of the Fall", "First Knight", and "Sabrina" in a row. Not even porn stars make a trifecta so similiar back to back to back.
It must be hard for parents, I guess, when they see that things aren’t working out for their children, but that their children can no longer be reached by the old parental routes, because those roads are now much too long.
1) Russell Crowe as Maximus, "Gladiator"
I blame all of my back hair on this movie. I grew every inch of it watching this flick. Good God, he's just the absolute coolest. My roomate and I would great each other by saying "Strength and honor" for about 6 months after seeing this flick. I don't know for sure who the Alpha Male is, but I'm pretty sure it's Maximus. If they called Harry Hamlin Maximus in "Clash of the Titans", well, it woulda been ridiculous. Right up there with Eddie Izzard's joke about the need for an "Emperor Fabulous". But Russell is just the frickin' MAN in this movie. I play this soundtrack a lot at work, basically because ANYTHING you do seems more dramatic when listening to Hans Zimmer. Trust me, play "The Battle" when you're making copies. Each time the copies collate, you can hear Maximus shout, "Hold the Line!!!!" and if the toner runs out, calmly call up HR, and insist that, upon your command, they unleash hell on Staples.
Or you could not do any of those things and keep your job.
Let’s just pray this guy doesn’t have Masden’s agent. Oh wait, Russell already made “Proof of Life”. Too late.
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
thoughts as i contemplate my next move towards world domination
---In Star Market last night, I bought my first Power Bar since middle school. The variety of flavors astounded me---Mocha, Cookie ‘n’ Cream, Banana, Oatmeal Raisin. I guess the Power Bar Marketing department did some research and realized the old flavors of “dirt, “gravel”, and “complete ass” were hurting sales.
---Am I the only one who sees the potential in merging MTV’s “Cribs” and TLC’s “Trading Spaces”? The potential here is unlimited. Hell, I’d pay for this on pay-Per-View. We can get the "girl from 'Northern Exposure' who flew the plane" to host, I’m pretty sure she’ll be free.
“This week on Trading Cribs, we have Method Man and Joey McIntire. Method, what are you doing?”
“Well, I thought I’d schizzle my nizzle and turn his bedroom into one giant bong, man.”
---Two VH1 Classic Tales
1) On VH1 Classic the other night I caught “Your Love” by The Outfield. What was amazing, other than the general “my God we used to think these videos were good in the 80’s” gut check I get every time I see a video on VH1 Classic, was the fact that this video featured the same girl from the A-Ha “Take on Me” video. (And yes, I realize it wasn’t necessary to insert “Take On Me” between “A-Ha” and “video”. Let’s just say “A-Ha Greatest Videos” wouldn’t be a very long DVD.) This girl is an E! True Hollywood Story waiting to happen. Where is she now? What was her resume like? I bet it looked something like this.
Amy “That Chick from the A-Ha Video” Nelson
Girl Who Reads Too Many Comics and is Attacked by Sweaty Swede in the End---“Take on Me”, A-Ha.
The Girl Who Paints For Absolutely No Reason Near the Band and Gets Her Shirt Looked Down by the Guitarist Who I’m Pretty Sure Ended up in Nelson---“Your Love”, The Outfield
Maria---West Side Story
At least she didn’t have to add “Girl Hosed down by Warrant during the ‘Cherry Pie’ Video” to that list.
2) Stayed home from work today, sick as all get out, and caught “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by the Beta Version Guns n’ Roses. Some thoughts:
--The odds that the band could look you in the eye and tell you even the first name of any of the girls in this video is so astronomical that I’d take the odds, bet the house, and retire in comfort.
---The video was the birth, so far as I know, of the “Axl Shuffle”, that side to side shoulder and leg thing where his hips were held rigidly in place by a force greater than that we mortals can comprehend. Just an insanely cool move at the time. Apparently when Axl tried that move last week at the VMAs, he tore a hip flexor. Just sad.
---When this video first came out, I was maybe 12, and what counted for fun in those days was “let’s see who can hold that last note along with Axl”. By the end you had 6 kids red in the face passed out in the floor. This is the same group of guys who thought it was would be fun to snort Pixie Sticks at a 6th grade graduation party. And we wondered why girls didn’t like us. (The father of the girl who hosted that party came blazing out of the house into the backyard to 10 boys writhing in pain and shouting “I’m blind!” Just a lovely image, I’m sure. Half an hour later, 12 or so couples were slow-dancing to “She’s Like the Wind” pulling the “look everywhere but at your partner” technique with enough space for a linebacker to squeeze between the two of you...in retrospect, I had more fun being blind.)
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
god may have spent a little more time on you, but wouldn't spend $20 million to send you into space
poor lance. first he's cursed with having the face of a toddler and the voice of barry white, but then he can't afford to go into space. it's bad enough when you can't pay your folks back, but this is a little extreme. i looked into some historical precendents for this.
Sept. 25, 1283: Local farmer makes fatal mistake of trying to barter with Genghis Khan.
June 18, 1815: Napoleon's forces defeated at Waterloo after his check for $12,245 Euros of Gatorade bounces at the local Stop 'n' Shop.
May 15th, 1937: The Hindenberg engineer's Visa is denied for $4,543 German marks of "fireproofing materials".
April 16th, 1999: Bret Michaels bums $5 from a roadie for some Camel Lights. Never pays roadie back.
Monday, September 02, 2002
behind the website
September 1st, 2007
It’s only fitting on today of all days, the fifth year anniversary of “The Link”, as it has been dubbed in public discourse, to look back on the rise and fall of a once-small time blogger who rose to the pinnacles of fame and came crashing down harder than Keith Moon after a night at the Holiday Inn.
It all started when The Juice, Jan Herman, linked his MTV Video Awards diary on MSNBC.com. A part-time hobby, “Wading in the Velvet Sea” suddenly saw more hits than a Cheech and Chong movie. Dizzy with power, Ryan soon indulged in excesses the likes of which have since been banished by Congress.
“I just don’t understand,” said Moxie. “I mean, yes, I supported him initially, even showed him how to make a few bucks off of the increase in traffic. But who knew it would lead to all this?”
“All this” indeed.
After moving into MC Hammer’s mansion (“It’s not like he was using it,” said Ryan in 2003), Ryan set up shop in a bout of bacchanalia that rivaled Nero. With Moxie as poet laureate of something he called “Ryanopolis”, he set up wireless connections that fed into a cybernetic implant in his skull.
“Yea, that was sorta painful,” said Ryan a few weeks after the surgery. “And if I stand in a certain part of the bathroom, I pick up Nick at Nite. But it’s all worth it. The people demanded more content, and by God I was gonna give it to them. Even at the cost of migraines so severe that occasionally I crumple in a heap of pained flesh in the corner.”
Ryan threw elaborate parties, attracting the likes of P. Diddy, Joaquin Phoenix, and Kofi Annan. “Seeing Annan do body shots off Michelle Branch is something I’ll never forget,” said Dawn Olsen, a frequenter of such shindigs. “Please, help me forget. I’ve tried electroshock therapy, hypnosis, even that weird worm thing from ‘Wrath of Khan’. I need help. Give me my life back.”
“Did that happen?” asked Ryan, when quoted the incident. “I’m not really sure. The skull-length scar that resulted from implant surgery pretty much guaranteed that no one came within 10 feet of me.”
At first the constant flow of content delighted his new fans, but delight soon turned to fear. In early 2004, the FCC enacted “The McGee Corollary”, which stated, among other things, “…and citizens from here on out are required to NOT read any posts made while Mr. McGee is asleep, insomuch as that content is really, really, really wrong. Dear god man. What on Earth was that about the twins and a bottle of Yoohoo….”
McGee is at a loss to pinpoint exactly when it all started to go wrong. “Well, I was rehearsing with my band, made up of Vince Neil, Leif Garrett, and that guy who was in Journey before Steve Perry made them a jillion dollars, and we were fine tuning out set of Perry Cuomo covers, and I could sense that Vince just wasn’t into it.”
“Dude, are you gonna finish that sandwich?” Vince asked, when questioned. “I haven’t been sober in 6 years. I don’t even know this Cuomo guy, but I hate him. If it wasn’t for the fact than McGee is paying me $5.75 an hour, I’d totally walk.”
Michael Jackson’s decision to also get a cybernetic implant certainly didn’t help matters either. “Sony is the Devil!” Jackson said in a prepared report written in crayon. “This implant will help me get my music to the fans directly! Thank you so much for this Implant of the Millenium Award!”
McGee called the move “totally whack”.
“Well, I was talking to Leif, and I asked him how he dealt with the impending loss of his stardom. And he told me what he did, step by step. And as I was sniffing cocaine off that stripper’s stomach, I thought, ‘Damn, Leif’s got it down. That sounds really smart.’ And that’s why I’m here, hanging out with the Olsen Twins at Bright Horizons rehab center.”
No one knows quite what the future holds for McGee. “Yea, I mean, I had totally forgotten about him until you brought him up,” said Moxie, who just finished her one-woman show “Me and My Shoes---A Love Story” which won 6 Tonys. “It took me a few minutes. I mean, I tried to block out all that ‘Ryanopolis’ crap. I kept telling him, “Ryan it’s just a rec room. Now please give me the keys to the handcuffs so I can go home.’” Moxie refused to say anymore, having retreated into a psychological prison so intense it drained the local power grid.