Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas in the city

Christmas Eve Eve. Dec. 23rd. It's here. Whoop de do.

I used to anticipate Christmas so much. I guess every kid did. The entire month of December was a huge excitement ramp-up to the payday of the 25th. School was out, there could even be snow outside my door in Connecticut. Lots of candy, cookies. And presents for everyone.

I remember when I was in 3rd grade, I wanted a Transformers watch for Christmas so bad. The Transformers rocked. I watched the cartoon nearly religously after school, the show was paired nicely with G.I. Joe as an hour long block of greatness. The similarity of these two shows is an uncanny coincidence, two evil leaders always at odds with each other (Megatron and Starscream, Serpetnor and Cobra Commander [voiced by the same guy as Starscream, I'd bet], rogue evil group loyal to their leader (Dreadnoughts, Insecticons.) The plots were like a kid soap opera, an ever evolving storyline detailing the struggles between the Autobots and the Decepticons (or Joe and Cobra.) My favorite episodes were the five parter story arcs that spanned a whole week's worth of shows and usually added characters (read: more toy sales) like the Dinobots or the Constructicons. I added to their stories by acting out intricate scenarios in my bedroom, complete with all the battles and betrayals that two rival groups of toys could have (I had more Autobots so I had to have a few switch sides to even out the numbers, I was nothing if not a fair God.)

Wow, I just got way off track there. Transformers will do that. Anyway, that Christmas in 198?, I had a list of toys and shit that I would recite in my prayers every night (yeah, I prayed back then.) One of the most hoped-for was a Transformers watch, which I thought would be the penultimate time-keeping device of my short life. It was detachable robot that I could wear on my wrist. Hello? That's freaking cool.

I couldn't sleep the night before Christmas. I went to bed way early so that I could bring the morning all that much closer. My eyes were wide open in the darkness of my room, imagining all the wonders of my Transformers watch. I don't know how it happened but all of a sudden, the sun was out and it was 5:57 am. I ran down the stairs to check out my shit.

My parents were different, they never wrapped the gifts from Santa. I guess they were tired of the expense of wrapping paper (the U.S. had a huge wrapping paper shortage back then) but I think they were just lazy. They just piled up everything for me and my siblings in separate piles and left a little notecard scribbled with my Dad's handwriting that read, "To Greg, From Santa." Genius.

So I could tell right away that, although I got tons of shit, I didn't get my Transformers watch. All the anticipating for that whole month was wasted. I felt like I got punched in the stomach by Santa, that fat fuck. Why wouldn't he give me the Tranformers watch I prayed for every night? What's the point of praying if you don't get the shit you ask for for christmas? On top of that, I found out later at school that Mark Swensen got a fucking Transformers watch and he didn't even want one. Upon examining Mark's watch, I also found out that the watch was pretty lame, the robot didn't detach very easily and the display was just that one line digital thing all cheapo watches had back in the 80s. But still, Santa should have gotten his act together and gotten me one so I could have hated it on my own, instead of only hating Mark Swensen.

Christmas was a huge event when you were 7 years old. A year seemed like a really long time, and Christmas was the only time you got a whole bunch of new stuff (along with your birthday.) Somewhere along the line, Christmas a got less important. In high school and college, Christmas still meant time off from school, but I found myself longing for that "Christmassy" feeling of excitement felt in my bones. Sometimes, it didn't come until midnight mass and I smelled the mixture of incense and evergreens. Sometimes it didn't come at all. Twenty years later, I guess Christmas still means traveling to see family, eating cookies and candy canes, but the only excitement I have now is experienced vicariouly through the little nieces and nephews I'm going to visit. They look forward to Christmas as I once did. They still have the wide-eyed love of anything red and green. They still anticipate the coming of December 25th with an excitement and glee that I have lost.

I suppose I need to have kids pretty soon or I'm going to end up being one of those characters in literature who curse the holiday with vehemence. I'm beginning to see why there are so many suicides during Christmas. They all must long for that feeling they had as a child, only to have it replaced by lonliness and the terror of growing up. It makes sense to me now.

Merry Christmas. Bah Humbug.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Larson knows what I'm talking about

"No day but today."
-Rent (2005)

For years, I did not really consider myself a musical guy. I mean, I liked the random songs of my childhood from "The Hills Are Alive" to a rousing Muppet Love Song. It didn't help that the only music I listened to in my room were the Disney movie soundtracks of The Jungle Book and Cinderella. I always liked the fast, witty songs with lots of clever rhyming lyrics. The "Spoonful of Sugar" (I must have some weird obsession with Julie Andrews) and the Dentist song. Any slow love song would bore the crap out of my 8 year old mentality and when the movie was on VHS, I would usually fast-forward.

Last week, Mephistopholes and I went to go see the movie verision Rent the day it came out. I found myself watching the film with tears in my eyes for most of its duration. Not because of it was sad and not because I was gay (well, maybe), but because it is so emotionally charged. I had the same feeling when I saw "The Lion King" on stage or the national tour of Superstar.

There is so much power in someone belting out exactly how they feel in song. Laying it all out in clever turns of phrase. The sheer performing of it is powerful too. The characters, more often than not, are singing to each other. Some people don't like musicals because it doesn't make any sense for someone to start singing when they should be talking. But that's exactly what makes musicals cool, the characters get say what they are feeling in somewhat poetic language. Sometimes it is the magnitude of having such a vivid stage picture with singing dancing and moving sets that makes my eyes well up with the beauty of it all. (I don't get it. I'm not a very emotional guy but nearly I every time I go to these shows, I end up sobbing like a little bitch.)

MINIREVIEW OF RENT THE MOVIE: I've never seen Rent on stage but I've had the original cast recording for years. The movie is set in 1989 New York, the dirty crime infested peak of the city's sordid past. It made sense to keep the original cast from the musical, even though most of them were too old for the roles, it didn't matter. The magic of movies is that a 26-year-old can play a teenager (Can't Hardly Wait) and nobody bats an eye. Anthony Rapp (better known as Tony from Dazed and Confused) was great as the dorky filmmaker and I liked the original Tom Collins and Angel. They kept most of the songs from the score, even though they "musicalized" the script a bit. Rent was actually an opera where all the words were sung. In the movie, they spoke some of the lyrics and added bits of dialogue and, sometimes, whole scenes. This works for the most part but I missed two moments. One is the "Christmas bells are ringing" medley that probably wouldn't work on film where all the characters have their different plotlines mingle right before Maureen's performance. In the movie, these events are stretched out over several days. But one song, or portion of a song really, that was wrongly cut was Mark's and Roger's fight near the end of Act Two. It's really the only time that anyone calls out Mark as being the only one who is A) not in love B) not gay and C) not dying of AIDS. Without Roger telling him off, we are left to question Mark's place in the whole movie. Why is he there? Why does he merely observe as opposed to actively participating? And the weird thing is, I'm almost positive that scene was shot and it ended up on the cutting room floor. The next scene is "Living in America" in which Mark and Roger sing about their fight (it also has a cheesy montage of intercut scenes of Roger on a butte in Arizona and Mark on the roof of a building in NY that is laughably lame). That song makes no sense if the previous fight is cut but yet they did it, probably for "pacing reasons." (How many director's commentaries have you heard where they describe a deleted scene was cut because of fucking pacing? Who cares about pacing?)

Anyway, the movie was good. And I like musicals. There I said it. Fuck off.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

There is a battle

I've spoken before about the wonders of New York City. I stand by my words, that NY is a city of superlatives. So many of its denizens are striving to succeed, like so many weeds spreading their leaves to catch a few rays of sunshine. The city is not easy to live in, but that is what makes its success stories so valuable. You can also argue (and I have told myself this over andover again) that merely existing here for so long (5.5 years) is an accomplishment in and of itself.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. Not really. I don't even know if the two subjects are necessarily related. Maybe they are a little. Can you tell I'm hving trouble starting this bitch?

I have two people inside me. One is a recluse. He would like nothing more than to go home after work, play World of Warcraft, eat Ramen and tomato soup and never speak to anyone. He smokes and jerks off on a consistently disgusting pace. He drinks coffee and blackberry brandy. He stays up until 4am playing Civ4 and then sleeps until 2. He watches all the LOTR movies in one day, buys the Xbox 360 on Ebay, and satisfies his every nasty whim. He is selfish, never giving time to his wife or his friends. Just coasting on whatever makes him happy at that given moment. I am totally capable of turning into this person, sometimes for long stretches of time.

The other person in me is the acheiver. He is the guy who wanted to be a writer since he was a kid. He does everything he can to make something. He loves stage managing theater, but gave it up because it interfered with his dream. He is the guy who writes plays about writer writing plays. He has a great idea for a fantasy series. He produces movies and plays because he loves to create. He is married (to Mephistopholes, but that's a different story.) He goes to the gym. He plays basketball. He gets up in front of people and tries to make them laugh, because he likes it. He blogs. He puts too much on his plate, because he knows about the other guy.

These two parts of my psyche are always fighting. The acheiver feels guilty when I spend too much time as the Recluse. Perhaps it's my Catholic upbringing, but guilt is a big part of my motivation. And yet, the Recluse is the carrot held up before the Acheiver. "Just makes this movie, and you can spend some time as me." It's a weird, freaky relationship. It's one that I end up talking about often in my writing. I wrote a short film script in which the two characters are the two I'm describing. It sucks, but it clearly outlines this distinction.

Recently, I've realized that everybody fights this battle. I am not unique. My situation may be more pronounced than non-artists, if only becuase my chosen vocation (writing, art) is not the same job that I go to every day. I see Mephistopholes go through this battle when she talks about auditions. But I also see Rain Delay talk about it when he describes his cases at work. It's not easy to fight this battle, especially when you don't understand it.

It is crucial to grasp this concept though, because it is at the core of what makes us human. We are not content to just eat, sleep and live until we die. We must acheive something. Even if it is just to pass on one's genes to the next generation, we all have the need to create, to get that raise, to improve our lot. The choice to NOT create is the same as choosing death.

But you don't have to take my word for it. (Ba-da-bump!)

Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.
-The Shawshank Redemption(1994)
Rob: I guess it made more sense to commit to nothing, keep my options open. And that's suicide. By tiny, tiny increments.
-High Fidelity (2000)

Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [narrating] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?
-Trainspotting(1996)

Monday, November 14, 2005

I hate to do this

I find the "Sorry I haven't posted in so long, I'm so busy," posts to be freaking annoying but it's been really true in my case. Here's an incomplete list of the crap I've had on my plate lately:
  • I have to write another videogame article that’s due tomorrow which I haven't started yet. (it's all in my head, I just ahve to get it down on paper)
  • I have to edit and send off a full-length screenplay by Friday for the second round of a screenplay competition
  • I have to keep up with producing the short film for Movie Making Madness 2005 which needs to be postmarked on Saturday.
  • I have to write a play by December 7th for a playwright's discussion
  • I have a basketball game tonight and if we win, we'll make the playoffs
  • My 2nd wedding anniversary tomorrow and I haven't bought anything for my wife yet.
  • I have a comedy show that noone is coming to on Wednesday (9:00pm New York Comedy Club , 241 East 24th St, bet 2nd and 3rd) and I haven't written any new material in weeks. Plus I have another show on Saturday (9pm, New York Improv , 318 West 53rd Street, bet. 8th and 9th) which no one is coming to either.

I’m freaking swamped. But I kinda like it. Thank God my Dungeons and Dragons game has been cancelled this week or I'd go crazy. (Yes, I realize the irony in that statement)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

D&D = Dorks and the Devil

I've spoken in depth before of the prejudices against those who play video games in our culture. In some people's minds (read, assholes), gamers are all wasting their time when they should be doing their homework. If they are too old for homework, then they are peter pan-types who desparately need to grow up and/or become miserable like the rest of the country. Most of you can agree that this line of thinking is complete bullshit. Of my circle of friends, I may be the most voracious gamer but I am not alone.

But there is one game for which I receive plenty of scorn and derision.
My wife Mephistopholes, god bless her, is the worst culprit. She practically holds up a cross every time I tell her that I'll be playing that night. But even my dorkiest friends shudder when I mention that I play *gasp* Dungeons and Dragons.

I don't get it.

I mean, I suppose that most of this bad reputation comes from the whole D&D backlash in the early 80s. Two suicides, 1 in 1979 and 1 in 1982, were blamed in the press on the victim's obsession with D&D. Never mind that these 2 kids were extremely sick mentally, were drug-addicts and exhibited all of the warning signs typical of suicides months before their deaths. No, let's blame it all on a game that not many people knew about at the time, that makes more sense than placing any kind of responsibility with the parents.

One of these mothers, Pat Pulling, did more for damaging D&D's public perception than anything else by forming
Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (BADD), an effective propaganda machine. Of course, the tactics employed by this radical group are just as much in question as their stance against role playing games. They were thrown out of courtrooms throughout the 80s and even committed mild brainwashing of an accused murderer, Darren (not Paul) Molitor, into releasing a statement which blamed D&D for his actions. PS. I got all this from a quick Google search which brought up this page.

While BADD was eventually discredited and dissolved, the attitude of the Christian conservatives and nervous mothers across the country were irrecovably aligned against a game where the players pretend to be fantasy fighters and elves. I'm not sure how religion got mixed up into it but you need only read this Jack Chick pile of shit to figure out how easy it is to damn something you know nothing about. (The advocation of burning books in that comic is more creepy than D&D if you ask me)

Growing up in an extremely Catholic environment (I was forbidden to watch the Simpsons, MTV, Steve Martin), I was never able to play D&D as a hobby. Having been an avid reader of fantasy since my introduction to the Hobbit, I was fascinated with a game that would let me be a part of the great epic stories I was reading. I guess it was the writer in me wanting to imagine wonderful, complex worlds and create characters which would have compelling stories to tell. At any rate, my mother, being the impressionable Catholic she was, listened to all the warmongering of the above-mentioned crazies and did everything she could to discourage my interest.

I can understand my mother having a attitude predilection against D&D, my mother is nothing if not predictable, but I don't understand my recent conversations with my peers. The trickle-down effect from people like my mother to New York City hipsters is quite surprising.

Let me try to explain what exactly happens when one plays D&D, to avoid any confusion. One dude is a DM and he's the one who, in effect, writes the story. He figures out what challenges we will face over the course of an adventure. The players, which have invariably formed some kind of team like The Fellowship of the Ring and have as many disparate parts, then go about solving the mystery, defeating the monster or finding the treasure, whatever the case may be. This is done by saying stuff like, "I search for secret doors" or "I attack." Whenever something like that comes up where there is a chance for failure, a die is rolled. That's it. The players must continue to communicate, work together, and problem-solve until the goal is reached.

It's important to keep in mind that D&D is just a game. It is no different than poker, or chess, or Monopoly, or Pictionary, or fucking anything made by Milton Bradley. Sometimes there is a board or map which you can place miniatures, but that is really just an aid to help the players visualize their relative positions. The majority of the game is played in your imagination, like a book.

Which is what appeals to me about role-playing games, really. It is different from its computer or console counterparts which show you exactly where your chracter is at any given moment. Traditional pen &paper D&D forces you to imagine what the DM is describing to you, which, if he is worth his salt, can be as interesting as any novel. But unlike a book, I am able to act in this imaginary world as if I was a character.

When I talk about playing D&D with my peers, I invariably get the same response. They think it's somehow terribly uncool. "Only dorks with no friends play D&D. You don't want to associate with some pimply-faced nerds, do you?" My own Mephistopholes has gone so far as to accuse all roleplayers as gay faggots who all want to penetrate my virgin ass. Why would I want to spend my time with such losers? "Why are you such a loser?" "It's weird." "Do you all prance about in costume casting spells at each other?"

The closemindedness is somehow frightening to me. Have we not graduated past all of that prejudice when we graduated from high school? Are you all as impressionable as my Mother and the Christian right?

Let me dispell a few demons: The handful of people I've met who play RPGs in New York have not been weirdos or rapists or devil-worshippers. They have been mostly male 20-40, professionals, about 50% are either married or married with children. One works in the administration of U.S. congressman. One was a teacher in a Manhattan school for 20 years before becoming a live-at-home Dad. Two were illustrators, one just staring out and one accomplished. In short, they are kinda like me. They are on average more intelligent, better spoken, and more well-read than the kind of people I meet at my boring job full of people who "are normal."

We don't sacrifice animals while playing. There are no occult symbols drawn on the floor or demon summonings going on. There is no mind-controlling or brainwashing from death cults or homosexuals. D&D is just a bunch of guys sitting around playing a game they are all interested in.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish making my half-elf ranger.

Friday, October 21, 2005

National Fuck Challenge

This weekend, I am participating in the NFC which basically goes down like this:

  • 7pm on Friday, receive a genre, a line, a prop and a character via email
  • Write a fantastic short film
  • Saturday, begin filming said short film
  • Sunday, edit footage of fantastic short film, begin to panic because you only took one take of a very compelling scene in which the protagonist tells the antagonist to fuck off and the antagonist's toupee is awry
  • Monday, slap shit together, burn a dvd, put a stamp on it and send it off to be judged by those who judge such things
All in all, it's a great way to spend a weekend. Despite the above tone, I am actually pretty excited to embark on this challenge. I've been trying to convince Savage to do one of these things (there are several such contests including the 48 hour Fim Project, NYC Movie Madness, and the 24 Hour plays) for many years. There is something great about being forced to make a movie in a such a constrained time limit. And seeing as I haven't made anything since August 2004, this is long overdue.

I'm trying to speculate what genre we are going to get. The examples are things like Sci-Fi, Comedy, Romance, Police, Superhero, Fantasy (which should be lumped in with Sci-fi in my opinion but who's counting?) and Action. We have tried to brainstorm what we would do if we had each of these genres, but what if they throw us a ringer?

Could we make a Porn in a weekend? If so, we will die trying.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I will not blog about the Red Sox until 2006

The title says it all. After reviewing the last few weeks of posts, I see that most of my rambling has been about the team from Beantown. At the risk of alienating my fans, I promise not to indulge in any more Red Sox related ranting until the sun has risen on a new year and spring training is imminent. I will not participate in any hot stove discussions involving Millar or any other ineffectual first-basemen. My mind will be devoid of any musings involving Damon's (lack of) contract or Scott Boras's assholeness. I will not even consider whether Papelbon should be converted back into a starter or if Kelly Shoppach should be used as trade bait to secure some decent releivers. From here on out, I will not think about the Red Sox anymore.

...


...


...

Jeter swallows!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Word of the Week: schadenfreude

Dictionary.com says:

scha·den·freu·de (sh├Ądn-froid) n.
Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

I've seen the word on at least two Sox-related sites in the last few days. I have schadenfreude because the Yankees tanked in Game 5 against the Angels, looking like fools no less. The headlines in the city today, which I read every morning on the subway when people hold up their papers [who actually buys the Post or the Daily News?], are all about how George Steinbrenner is going to nuke the team. Joe Torre's once-secure job is in danger. Everybody is pointing fingers here in New York City, at Gay-Rod to the Big Unit (I don't even have to come up with a snappy re-nickname, he's already known as a Big Dick.)

And I couldn't be happier.

The only downside to the Yankees being out of the playoffs is that I now don't have any team to root against. I guess I'd like Guillen and the White Sox to succeed, ending their drought but also (and more importantly) making the Red Sox lose to the eventual World Series Champions. It's somehow better to lose to the best team in baseball.

Incidentally, a co-worker (Mets fan, not Yankees) pointed out a piece in the Wall Street Journal describing the Soxaholix. I realize I am late to the party but this site is, in a word, fucking awesome. It's 1 part webcomic, 1 part blog, and 1 part literary journal. The author uses allusions to poems and literature to describe the typical Sox fans in an Office-like environment. All the art is clip-art that shipped with Microsoft Office XP and the text is actually html, which means you can copy, paste, and hyperlink it. He even annotates each comic so that you know where the more obscure shit comes from. Soxaholix basically proves the famous quote:

“All literary men are Red Sox fans. To be a Yankee fan in literary society is to endanger your life.”
-- John Cheever

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I knew it

I hate to say that i called it, but whatever. These Boston players didn't look like men poised and ready. They didn't look like they were ready to pounce on any pitch left in the strike zone (there were a lot of called first strikes.) Boston didn't look like the same team, ready to pick each other up and work together to manufacture a win at whatever the cost. They just looked tired.

It's a shame really. An embarassment. To be swept like that in Fenway with a billion fans watching is a crime which will not be forgotten easily.

The team knew that they were on the ropes. Despite amazing shots from Ortiz and Manny (2,) the offense which led the majors couldn't string together any kind of hits. They're best chance in the sixth, bases loaded with no outs, was squandered. When Varitek, our supposed captain, fouled out, it set the tone. We would get close, but never close the door on what is a inferior Chicago White Sox team.

That's right, I said it. The White Sox, to a man, were not better than their Red opponents. But they played like they were. Konerko and Everett do not compare to Manny and Ortiz. I would even argue that their pitching staff doesn't have the same raw talent that ours does (or did.) But the performance wasn't there because Boston didn't want to win.

Who can say why? They could have had enough. After 162 games in 5 months, they wanted to go home to their families. Damon is more worried about his contract. The big news on Friday was Ramirez's search for a new agent, not what he was going to do to win that night. And even after hitting two home runs, manny didn't seem to care that the season was over.

And I'll reiterate what I've been saying to Rain Delay for almost a year. It was a mistake to let Pedro and D-Lowe go. The 2005 postseason might even be a refutation of the whole Money Ball concept. The numbers were there, but OBP doesn't mean crap if nobody wants to win. I do think Epstein is a brilliant young GM, and it would have been impossible to recreate the magic of 2004, but the gambles didn't work this year. The OC would have been a bigger asset than Renterror, and I'd rather have D-Lowe as a No. 3 starter than Wade (shoulder never healed) Miller.

We can play second-guessing all winter long but the fact is that the season is over. I predict the core team of 2004 will dismantle. Damon is gone. Manny is gone. Schilling will retire (if he knows what's good for him) and so will Wells. Varitek and Wake are locked in, but you can kiss Millar goodbye. If Epstein is smart (which we all know he is,) 2006 will be about bringing in the young talent. Papelbon, Shoppach, Hanley Ramirez and Craig Hansen will get the time they need to develop into the stars they have the capability to be. And hopefully Theo will get a us a fucking bullpen.

But overall, the 2005 did more for Red Sox nation than is first realized. The Red Sox are not comfortable being favored to win anything. Defending Champions is a hard moniker to bear. Every team has your number and wants a piece of you. Let's face it, the Red Sox are not built to be a dynasty. How many fans were quoted, "I don't know what to do, now that we've won"? And it's true, the Red Sox are underdogs. We'd rather be losers with a fool's shot at winning than a powerhouse that everyone expects to dominate. Leave that to that evil franchise to the south.

So the real Red Sox are back. We have a new hard-luck story (Graffanino's gaffe [how's that for an already overused headline?] in Game 2) and our underdog status has returned. 2004 is part of the history now, not recent news. We have a new cross to bear.

And to be honest I felt like they did. I was tired. I didn't know if I could wear my heart on my sleeve for the rest of the postseason. I was not looking forward to defending my passion for the Sox against the onslaught of Yankee jeers at work. It's over. It was a good run, I invested a lot of emotion into that team, but now I'm busted. I am at zero.

The perfect place to start 2006.

Friday, October 07, 2005

My First Escapist

In other news, the article I mentioned earlier ran here today.

I love the way The Escapist crafts their pages and they did a great job with this article in particular. I like the quill on paper with a computer screen in the background. In fact, that actually looked like my room when I was in Montauk (except I was using a stylus on a clay tablet but who's counting?)

Take the oppurtunity to look at the whole magazine, there are some good pieces in there. Mark Wallace's piece is intriguing for anyone who has lived through a beta-test and/or an economics class. There's one piece in there about the American Girl phenomenon and why there should (or should never) be a video game based on those buxom ladies of history. There's even a meet-the-press kind of section in which all the contributers were asked a question. I won't spoil it, but my answer involves tranmogrification and forever altering the space time continuum.

There's also a mini-debate surrounding this issue's inclusion of full-page advertisements (for beer!? how could they?!) I personally don't know what the hell these "irate" readers are talking about. The Escapist is a magazine, albeit an online one, how do you expect it to make any money (or pay me any) if it doesn't sell something? And the only thing it can sell is space. These guys who are writing into the editor, saying that advertising doesn't effect them and that beer ads shouldn't infect their precious independent games magazine (saying that only ads for games would be acceptable) need to step back and look at publications as a whole. Does the New York Times selling of its advertising space make it any less credible? Publisher Alexander Macris makes a good point, it's probably BETTER that The Escapist sells advertising to other products besides video games lest the advertisiers begin to expect favorable reviews. To all the naysayers, fuck off.

Red Sox - Champions of Choke

That's a little harsh, but they had Game 2 of this ALDS in their hands. Wells was pitching well (aptly) and the offense had provided ample runs to support him. All it took was Graffanino's glove to not reach the ground and a hanging curveball (thrown immediately after a ... hanging curveball) and the game was over.

There are tomes written about how the Sox have been in this position before, how they know about adversity, etc. I don't refute those but I don't think this team has the same magic as in '04. They are not the tight-knit bunch of idiots who buckle down and get things done when it's needed. They don't have the desire to win.

I'm not giving up all hope. I am still going to watch the game and want the Sox to win (or listen to the game as I will unfortunately be en route to Boston with Mephistopholes and her friend in the car. We are going to my father-in-law's 60th birthday party, which should be a hoot. I'll be sure to turn WEEI up as loud as I can to drown out the catty conversation of who was wearing what on Laguna Beach last night. I can't wait.)

Anyway, it's not over till it's over but i'm prepared to wait till next year.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Boston Red Sox - 4 Time Wild Card Champions

I can't help but feel a bit disappointed. The Sox led the way in the AL East most of the season after taking the lead from the O's in July. Then they fall apart in the final weeks as the Damn Yankees surge. Still we battled back and tied the bastards in the last series. I was getting ready for a showdown at that Cess Pool in the Bronx the likes of which hadn't been seen since Bucky Fucking Dent in 1978 (which incidentally happened 4 months after my birth whilst my parents were moving to Southeastern CT from Syracuse, NY, forever cementing my fate as a Sox fan).

But no, the rules state that a one game playoff for the AL East crown would be redundant, as the sox and yankees both qualify for the playoffs after Cleveland tanked in Chicago. The game would basically determine who was champ and who was the wild card. I admit that is kind of pointless but then again, we've been second banana in the division to the Yankees 3 years in a row (even though we all know who came out on top last year.) Christ, the Jankees have won the division something obscene like 8 times in a row. That's just wrong and should never happen again. I thought we deserved the chance to put those suckers in their place (2nd) to signal the end of their money-grabbing dynasty. Alas, Bud Selig could not be reached for comment in the commissioner's office, despite my clamoring for his head. He was probably stroking Raffy's biceps while testifying before Congress that noone in MLB takes steroids anymore.

Anyway. The Sox did make it into the playoffs, something I was not positive about one week prior. Tonight, they open up against the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park. The Battle of the Soxes begins. The White Sox haven't won a world series (let alone a playoff series at all) since 1917, one year longer than the fabled 86-year drought of the BoSox. They don't tecnically have a Curse associated with them, unless you count the fact that the last time they were in the World Series in 1919, they lost on purpose creating the biggest scandal in baseball until ARod wins the 2005 MVP. 8 players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, aka Ray Liotta, were dubbed The Black Sox and banned from playing professional baseball. If that doesn't start a freaking curse, then Babe Ruth is a slender shortshop and a doting husband.

In this best-of-five Division Series, the starting pitchers will determine everything. The team which has their starters go 6+ innings before turning it over to the bullpen will be the winners. Call me biased, but I have a feeling that Boston's bats will punch a huge hole through Chicago's league leading ERA.

But you don't have take my word for it. Matt Clement goes on the mound today against Jose (I used to suck as a Yankee) Contreras. Clement was amazing in the first half but went 3-4 since the All-Star break. Contreras on the other hand has been lights out, winning 12 of his last 14 games. All is not lost, however. Clement has been underacheiving and is due to have a fucking great outing. And this Boston lineup has seen a lot of Contreras from his days int he Bronx and have alway been able to hit him. That's why George got rid of him, in fact, he just never pitched well against the BoSox.

All in all, I know I will get no sleep over the next 3 weeks as Boston succesfully defends it's first World Series title since 1916.

Edit: I just remembered that today's game starts at 4pm today. That means in addition to wasting my time blogging all day, I can also waste my time watching the game via MLB.TV.

Edit: Or not. I just checked and I won't be able to watch it online during any nationally televised game. Which means all of them. Dang. Well, I'll be forced to follow the stats a few seconds after they happen. Wee.

Linkage

I also updated the links section over there. I've mentioned a few of them before like the POD and Alien Loves Predator, but there a couple I didn't.

  • The Daily Photo Project. This guy is an artist who is doing something pretty interesting. For the last 7 years, he has taken a picture of himself everyday with a digital camera. He always has the same expression-less face yet he looks very different now than he did. Sometimes he has glasses on, sometimes his hair is long, sometimes he is not wearing a shirt. The project is staggering. He began the project when he was 22, I don't like to see how much he is aged in that time. It makes me think about my own mortality.
  • NerdNYC.com. Just as it sounds, this site is all about dudes with like minds getting together and playing games. Nearly everything is represented here from tabletop strategy games like Axis and Allies (plus a bunch you've never heard of) to Dungeons and Dragons to World of Warcraft. This is where I found my recent group of gaming nerds, much to the chagrin of Mephistopholes and Savage. Next game is coming up in a week, I'll fill you in on what's happening with my fighter/cleric while we attack a castle of hobgoblins in a whole 'nother blog.
  • The Escapist. I like this gaming mag. Instead of the standard preview, first-look, review articles, the writers here talk more about what it's like to be a gamer and actually play games. It's not about the next big thing, most often the articles are about the golden days of the 12-year-old fascination with electronic media. They are critics of the current gaming landscape without being pessimistic or pedantic. Maybe I'm biased because I've been writing for them recently but you should all check the shit out.

Some new blogs that I check:

  • Popstar. She's the new kid on the blog but I like her lawyering talk. Expecially since she's hanging out in southeastern connecticut where I used to live.
  • Singapore Sox Fan. This guys lives and works halfway around the world but he still follows every sox game as if he were on Landsowne Street. An inspiration for us all.
  • The Baseball Collector. He has collected over 2000 baseballs from major league games over his whole career. The blog is entertaining for anyone who has a passion for the game, regardless of team loyalties. Over the years, he has picked some uncanny talents like being able to judge a foul tip from merely hearing it and coaxing a baseball from a player during batting practice.

Selling out

I didn't really expect to get in.

On a lark, I applied to the Google Ad Sense program. It will basically give me money everytime one of you clicks on the brand new adds I placed in the sidebar. I have two thoughts on this:
  1. I get money for doing absolutely nothing.
  2. It's kind of ugly

The former only works if people actually click on the ads, which means I will probably not get any money whatsoever while I've tried to alleviate the latter by making them unobtrusive and to complement the color scheme of the site. We'll see how it goes.

One thing that I'm actually kind of pysched about is the google search bar. I get to add functionality and get money for it each time people use it.

Jesus, this blog is turning into an Ad for the Ad-Sense program. I have sold out. I'm going to stop before I make myself choke ... on all of the pennies I will earn from this charade.

Friday, September 30, 2005

In other news...

FALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

or as they say in France,

"Autumn"

So I guess I fucking love the fall. Last night it was downright cold in Brooklyn, despite what Rain Delay spouts out. And I couldn't be loving it more. I didn't realize how tired I was of sweating through 3 shirts on my way to work or getting assaulted by heat every time I ventured out of an air conditioned space. Don't get me wrong, I love the beach and summers and all kinds of great summery things. But nothing makes me hard quite like a stiff wind and being forced to wear jackets.

Speaking of which, I brought out my wool blazer for Casual Friday. It was like greating an old friend. I wish I had a picture here to illustrate what I love about that blazer. Alas, you'll have to make do with a photo-montage which I will now call "AUTUMNAL GRACE or What I Gleaned From a 15-minute Google Image Search While Being Bored at Work."

The road less taken . . . by assholes!

BITE IT, BABY!

Do you like my Mighty Oak?

These kids are having a great fricking time in an orchard which is exactly what I'm doing this weekend. I'm going up to good ol' hometown New England to partake of the autumness.

  • I expect it to be perfectly clear-blue skies, shining sun, and just a touch of chill in the air.
  • I'm going to Scott's Yankee Farmer.
  • There will be McIntoshes, Golden Deliciouses, Empires, Cortlands and McCouns all picked by my hands.
  • I will go on a Haunted Hayride!
  • I WILL DRINK CIDER!

You are all my witnesses.

I fucking love the fall.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Alien Loves Predator


Possibly the funniest web-comic ever made. I just discovered this today while checking out MacHall. This guy is from New York so a lot of the jokes resonate with me but you have to admit there is something hilarious about using digital pictures of toys to suggest that Alien and Predator are roommates. They are up to 200 something comics and I just started reading them from the beginning until I got to this one. My cubicle-mates think I am retarded to be laughing at something like this, maybe you will too, but I had to share.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Another article

Next Generation has updated their look and I think it is much better than it was. They also posted the last of the articles I wrote a while ago but I forgot to link it. It's right here.

I am writing a few articles for The Escapist, which is a kind of alternative E-zine on video games. Even though it's on the web, it is designed as if it were a slick magazine with pages and well-placed photos and graphics. I discovered it when Tycho linked to it from PA and have since fallen in love. This month, I wrote and submitted a piece about Alpha Centauri which should come out in the oct. 4th isue. I'll link to it when it comes out.

And in basketball news, not to jinx it or anything, but Ill Wind is 3-0 this fall season. We won last night on a buzzer-beater 3-point shot from WInston. If only the Red Sox had swept the doubleheader yesterday in Fenway, it would have been a perfect day for me. Alas, they are still tied atop the AL East and Wild Card with those damn yankees. Sad face!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ok

So I haven't had anything to say lately. I have been without inspiration for blog-type things. I can't say why. I was going to write about doing standup comedy last Friday but I think I got too nervous. I've also been thinking about my play a lot lately. I recently worked very heavily on revising the Creation Play from a version that is almost 1.5 years old. Which isn't that long considering I began writing the play, in its first iteration, in January of 2002. Just for shits and giggles, I am going to post that first scene here. This may not be the best place to do so, nor can I guarantee that this scene is even that entertaining. Fuck it. Do with it what you will:


Lights come up. The stage is completely bare. No adornment whatsoever.

We wait for thirty seconds. Maybe more. Nothing. No noise. No action. Nothing.

Suddenly, two men stumble on stage.


Manny- Hey, shit, where’s the bathroom?

Evan- It’s so bright in here.

Manny- I thought you said this was the bathroom.

Evan- It is, isn’t it?

Manny- Do you see a toilet anywhere?

Evan- I can’t see anything. It’s so fucking bright.

Manny- Don’t open them so wide. Yeah, I don’t think this is a bathroom. It’s too big.

Evan- There are big bathrooms. I was in this guy’s apartment in Fort Greene and his bathroom was bigger than his whole apartment. Of course he had to share it with the whole building.

Manny- But this is Manhattan. There aren’t big bathrooms. Unless you’re in midtown.

Evan- Maybe this is midtown.

Manny- I don’t think so.

Evan- It sure is quiet in here.

Manny- Yeah. Can you see any better?

Evan- A little bit.

Manny- Do you see that red sign that says exit over there?

Manny points to the back of the house.

Evan- Yeah.

Manny- Maybe there’s a bathroom over there.

Evan- It says “Exit.” Not bathroom.

Manny- Yeah, but there’s always a bathroom near the exit.

Evan- Right. Let’s go.

The pair start to walk towards the audience and almost into the house before Manny stops and holds back Evan.

Manny- Wait.

Evan- What is it?

Manny- Do you see all these people?

Evan- What people? Oh my God.

Manny- Why are they all looking at us?

Evan checks his fly.

Evan- I don’t know.

Manny- (to audience)Hello. I’m Manny. This is Evan.

Evan- Who the fuck are you?

Manny- Quiet, Man. (to audience) Where are we?

Evan- Speak up!

Manny- I don’t think they can talk.

Evan- What, they’re mutes?

Manny- Maybe.

Evan- What are the chances of a roomful of people being all mutes? Every single one? Look at this guy. I know he can talk.

Manny- Maybe they’re all choosing not to speak.

Evan- Oooooh. But why the fuck would they do that? I mean, we asked them a question.

Manny- Think, man. Where is the only place where a bunch of people are quiet?

Evan- The library.

Manny- No.

Evan- Funerals.

Manny- No.

Evan- Uh. Well, it’s got to be bloody boring.

Manny- No, Jesus. Look. There are forty-two people sitting in chairs looking at us.

Evan- Yeah. We established that.

Manny- And we are standing on an open space. A stage, if you will.

Evan- I got it!

Manny- Good.

Evan- It’s an experiment! And they’re all doctors and we’re the test subjects and we’re supposed to run around like we’re in a maze or something.

Manny- Right. That’s it. I knew you would figure it out.

Evan- So what do we do now?

Manny- I don’t know. Do you know any tricks or anything?

Evan- Tricks? You mean like skateboarding or something like that?

Manny- Yeah, but we don’t have skateboard.

Evan- I know, I could breakdance.

Manny- You know how to breakdance?

Evan- I saw these guys on the subway. This little kid, he couldn’t be older than six or seven, he was dancing for money.

Manny- Really?

Evan- Yeah, his older brother had a little boombox that was playing a beat and he just started dancing and clapping.

Manny- And you can do that?

Evan- Sure. It didn’t look that hard. But I need you to give me a beat.

Manny- A beat? I can’t give you a beat.

Evan- Why not? You’ve seen people do it.

Manny- But I’m white, Evan. I don’t have a beat.

Evan- Just try it. Here I’ll start it for you.

Evan starts a beatbox.

Evan- Now you join in.

Manny- All right.

They both start beatboxing. Manny does the low and Evan takes care of the high.

Evan- Ok keep it up.

Evan attempts to break dance. He kicks his leg around. Spins on his back. Does the Worm, then

Evan- Ow.

Manny- Wow. That was amazing.

Evan- Except I think I tore my sack.

Manny- How did you learn that?

Evan- Well, it hurts pretty bad.

Manny- No, to breakdance.

Evan- I used to watch dudes all over the place. This was the first time I tried it myself. I guess I didn’t learn that good though, my balls are killing me.

Manny- That’ll show those doctors that we’re not to be toyed with.

Evan- Yeah. Fuck you, you lab-coat wearing motherfuckers!

Manny- We’re not just little lab rats anymore.

Evan- Yeah!

The pair high-five and give a “Whoot!”


Manny- Ha! I bet they’re shitting all over they’re clipboards. Assholes.

Evan- Manny, I have to piss even more than I did before. I think the Worm squeezed my bladder.

Manny- I know, me too. Let’s get out of here.

Evan- Follow the exit sign?

Manny- Damn right. This place is dead anyway, man.

Evan- Do you think the doctors will just let us go?

Writer- What are you two doing?

Manny and Evan share a look. It sounded like that voice came from the house.

Manny- What?

Writer- I can’t take it anymore. You guys are ruining everything.

An attractive woman enters from the house. She is carrying a script.

Writer- Do you realize how long it took me to write this script? Three years. I painstakingly crafted every line. Every word, Every syllable, so that it would be just right. Just perfect. Just what I wanted to convey. And you two fuckers decide to just throw the whole thing out the window.

Evan- Are you a doctor?

Manny- Where’s her coat, man?

Writer- Are you retarded? Doctors! That’s the most horrible ad lib I’ve ever heard.

Evan- We’re not retarded. You are.

Manny- Maybe we are retarded. Maybe that’s why the doctors are experimenting on us.

Writer- There are no doctors!

Evan- Then who are those people?

Writer- That is the audience. Those poor people actually paid to watch you ass-pirates prance around the stage.

Manny- The audience? So this is a circus?

Writer- No, you morons. This is a theater. You are actors. I am the writer of this play. Not the play that is going on but this one.

She brandishes the script.

Writer- This masterpiece. The one that I crafted with the precision of a Swiss clock-maker, or an Austrian jewel-smith.

Manny- Austrian?

Writer- Yes, Austrian. I think that lends a bit of mystique to the metaphor, don’t you?

Evan- No.

Writer- Well, who asked you? (before Evan can reply) The point is that every page of this play has been pored over and discussed and researched for years. Years. Do you realize the magnitude of this, my life’s work?

Manny- I guess.

Writer- You guess. Is that the sum total of your confession? You don’t care enough about what you have done to me, to the product of my toils, to art itself to properly address your crimes?

Manny- Look, lady. We don’t know what you’re talking about. Evan and I just stumbled on to this stage, we don’t even know where we are.

Writer- Is that so? Have you contracted amnesia then? Have we come so low that we must revert to a soap-opera plot device?

Evan- We don’t have amnesia, you bitch. We just don’t know where we are or how we got here. We’re not stupid.

Writer- Oh, I see. My mistake. And here I was thinking this whole time that you were stupid. Hmm.

Manny- You can drop the sarcasm. All right? Now who are you?

Writer- I told you. I wrote this play.

Manny- What play?

Writer- This play. The play that’s going on right now.

Manny- So this is a play. I’ve always wondered what a play was like.

Evan- You’ve never been to a play, dude?

Manny- Well, yeah. I’ve been to a play, I’ve just never been in a play before.

Evan- Yeah, me neither now that you think about it.

Writer- Boy, I could sit here forever and just listen to you guys talk but can we get back to the script?

Evan- The script?

Manny- Wow. We have a script.

Evan- Here let me see that.

Manny- Hey, what’s it called?

Evan- “A Play to Remember.” What kind of shit title is that?

Writer- It’s a working title. This is just a workshop people.

Evan- Oh.

Manny- Well, what’s it say?

Evan turns the page.

Evan- (Reading)“Two men in their twenties stumble on stage. Manny is dressed casually in khakis and a button-down while Evan is wearing jeans and a tee-shirt.” Hey, that’s us.

Manny- Weird. (to the Writer) How did you know what we’d be wearing?

Writer- Shut up. Go on.

Evan- “Manny- Hey, Shit, where’s the bathroom? Evan- It’s so bright in here.”

Manny- Isn’t that what I said already?

Writer- Yes. You guys were on for a while. Then you came up with that shit about doctors experimenting on you. I mean, we just did a run-through last night.

Evan- We did?

Writer- And you had the lines down flat. What the fuck happened?

Evan- There’s nothing in here about doctors?

Writer- No. You two are supposed to have a insightful conversation about the meaning of theater. What it means in our society.

Manny- That doesn’t sound like us.

Evan- (skipping a few more pages)Here, man, get this: “Evan- Modern theater has become so commercialized. All anyone cares about is how to make the almighty dollar.” I don’t even know what that means.

Manny- Right.

Evan- And here, this is what you say: “Manny- I know. And the only way to do that is to have musical based on a movie or something. Can you imagine what that will lead to? Apocalypse, Wow! Based on Coppola’s screenplay.” Then you are supposed to laugh.

Manny- Nope. I wouldn’t say anything like that.

Writer- Look. I don’t care what you think you might say. I created you and I want you to go on with the script, kapische?

Evan- You Italian?

Writer- Shut up. Now, take it from the top of page two. I’m serious.

Evan- Page two. Page two. All right dude, it’s your line.

Manny- (looks over his shoulder)“I was just in Times Square the other day.”

Evan- “What were you doing there?”

Manny- “I hadn’t been sickened by capitalism in a while. No, seriously, I had to get my cell phone fixed.”

Writer- Good. Great. Do you think if I leave you guys you can handle it on your own?

Evan- I don’t know

Manny- (quickly)Yeah, sure, no problem. We’ll just read it.

Evan- Dude—

(Manny kicks Evan’s shin.)

Manny- We’re okay. Thanks for setting us straight.

Writer- Ok. I’ll let you goes go. Is it okay if I go back here? (pointing to backstage) I’ll won’t get in anybody’s way? Don’t worry, boys, everything will be great once you get through this. Break a leg!

(She exits backstage.)

Evan- You break a leg, you bitch.

Writer- (offstage)I heard that!

Manny- Would you shut up? Let’s just say a few more these lines and then get outa here. I still gotta piss like a racehorse.

Evan- You and me both. Okay. Let’s go from your line about your cellphone.

Manny- I already said that.

Evan- Yeah but my next line is about that one, I need you to lead in again.

Manny- All right, all right. “I hadn’t been sickened by capitalism in a while. No, seriously, I had to get my cellphone fixed.”

Evan- “Aren’t those the same thing?” Cellphones and capitalism? Get it? This stuff is pretty funny.

Manny- Right. Uhh. “Right. Anyway, all those blinking lights and Disney shows. Is that what Shakespeare had in mind?”

Evan- “Yeah, I read somewhere that he always wanted to turn Andronicus into a musical.”

Manny- “Can you imagine?” Wait, and then we’re supposed to start singing?

(music starts playing)

Manny- Wait, wait. Hold on.



And that's where I stopped. From that little scene I wrote a whole play. Things are very different but the skeleton of what I wanted it to be abut were there. It's pretty neat, actually to read this and then look at what it's been expanded to. I'm calling it Creation Play and I hope to produce it this winter. Which will make it about a 4 year journey from this scene to its completed form.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

You know you are badass when...

You use too many elipticals in your titles.

No, I mean, when you use this:


Typing without seeing the goddamned letters. I dare you to get one. If they weren't 80 bucks, I'd get one myself. But who has that kind of dough to spare on a keyboard that will drive you insane faster than a Chinese hamburger.

Who knew...

Republicans could be cool?



http://www.cafepress.com/rightwingstuff

Does anyone think this is weird?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

No, but really...

I've read my share of dork books, and the covers ALWAYS make them look a lot dorkier than they are.

But this one, jesus. There is not one iota of character or description or anything interesting at all. The only thing that's remotely of note, even if it is fucking tasteless, is that the book makes heavy allusions to September 11th. At the "climax" of the book (even though nothing is at stake) two volcanoes (unimaginatively called "twin fire mountains" by the low-tech peoples in the book) erupt and wreak havoc upon the enemies, who happen to be mindless insects, get this, hiding in caves.

After this blatant crap, the woman protagonist leaves the war, because she's seen too much. I will add the quote when I get home (I neglected to bring that reeking pile of fecundity to work today) but it's something like, "Something got messed up. We did things we weren't supposed to do." Kind of like the Iraq war, bitch?

Eddings wrote some decent shit in his day. The Belgariad wasn't bad and it's sequels had some merit. I always thought he was one of those guys who made changes to previous details in his books when he needed a plot point in the later ones. He was never consistent, except in his bad jokes and eye-rolling mention of body odor. But now, I'm convinced he is just senile (he is 74) and it was a bad idea to put his wife on the cover. Apparently, they've always kind of worked together on ideas and writing, but now she's on every book, and they've pretty much sucked since he started diluting his talent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Book Review

This Book sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Interesting side note

After sleeping fitfully through the last two hours of my "shift" (waking only to have a very jovial man deliver two Genie lifts at six thirty, giving him the key to a forklift so that he could carry them two blocks from his 28 foot truck which was parked on Water St. and "Could not even think of getting his truck up Wall St." [incidentally, i had a moment of panic after i gave him the key to the forklift, wondering if this was all some weird ruse to steal a forklift and I just watched speed away at 5 mph] [incidentally again, at 7:45am there were not one, but two 28 foot trucks full of scenery on Wall St. proving that the jovial fat man was in fact full of poop]), I awoke to Raemo bustling in at 7:30am. I made some sembalnce of awakitude, filled out paperwork so I could get paid for my 9.25 hours of non-work and got the hell out of the business district.

I arrived at my car only to see the dreaded orange envelopee under my windshield wiper. I don't get it. I stood and studied those parking signs like they were the SATs last night, assuring myself that I parking as legally as the law allows. And here I owe Mr. Bloomberg $115. There goes my extra money for the night.


But I'm going to fight this one. You can contest any ticket, even if it only means that you don't pay until 8 months later. I think I actually have a case with this one. Of course, I didn't have my digital camera with me to document my innocence, but let me try to clarify. I was parked in a space with a parking meter (which usually means your safe), the signs (plural) said no parking from 8am to 8pm MON. -> FRI. (this being a saturday, I didn't sweat it) and there were thre other vehicles parked on the same side of the street with no apparent ticket. Upon looking at the ticket further, I see that it says "Temporary Construction Posted" (whatever the fuck that means). I looked down the block and sure enough, behind some trees, was a 8" x 12" sign that said "no standing anytime, special construction notice." Wouldn't you have put that over by the real permanent signs? Wouldn't you put a bag or a sign on the parking meters so you didn't induce people to pay precious hard-earned quarters to park illegally? I was livid. I slammed my volvo door and broke some more interior plastic. Sorry, Sparky.

Oh, and I checked the time on the ticket. It was issued at 7:45am. It was 8:05am when I got to my car. Fuck you M. Charles, whereever you are!

Missing the War

It's 3:13am and I'm trying to make some extra money. No, I'm not whoring myself around the streets of NYC, not exactly. I am sitting in an expensively decorated room adjacent to the ballroom at 55 Wall Street. Right now, in the huge room next to me, riggers are putting together 51 16'X4' panels of mirrored mylar ceiling, rigging them to a truss and flying them 28 feet in the air. It's all part of the Adidas Y3 fashion show which is taking place sometime next few days during Fashion Week. I'm told that the show, which will last no longer than 20 minutes, will cost approximately 1 million dollars.

I used to do this shit all the time. Well, not Fashion exactly. (Although I did drive a lighting designer around NYC for one fashion week. He had a brand new BMW which he actually let me drive through rush hour traffic, all the time telling me to drive faster and cut off taxis. One day, I had over 8 hours of spare time with the car and I drove around and around, eventually picking up some dudes trying to hail a cab and only charging them 10 bucks to take them to a bar on the West Side. But that's a whole different bucket of chicken.) I used to be a stage manager, you know, for theater. Actually, I was more often an assistant stage manager. My stage manager was a great lady by the name of, what should I call her? I'll call her Raemo. She'll love that.

Raemo called me on Monday and asked me to come in tonight ostensibly so she could get some sleep. I got here at 10:45pm. She didn't leave until 2am. We got to sit in the "production office" and shoot the shit for a few hours. Mostly, I was listening to random war stories about what had gone wrong that day at "The Tent" in Bryant Park. I missed stuff like this. Sitting around, jabbering about how people are idiots and how no matter how much you plan something always goes wrong. I missed hanging out with Raemo and makingher laugh.

Then thirty minutes pass and we're still talking about the same thing. Then an hour. Pretty soon, I remembered what I hate about production. Everyone wants to talk talk talk. If there's a problem, we need to everybody to give their opinion from the Production manager down to the measly rigger. There's way too much talking, way too much discussion without anyone making a decision. I would love to be the guy to step up, but hey, i'm just subbing tonight.

It's 5am now. Everyone has left the building except for Glen, the rigger who is in that huge room playing with motors and moving tons of weight with the push of a button. I had big plans for this blog but to be honest, I'm just fucking tired. I'm going to ctach some winks until Raemo comes to releive and give me my fucking 16 bucks an hour.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Robin Williams

So apparently Rain Delay has become a blog crazyfool. He posts 2-3 times per day and suddenly my once or twice a week posting seems horribly inadequate, not unlike my penis. I shall attempt to post more but as I am on vacation next in hurricane-ridden Florida, I doubt I will have the wherewithal or the electricity needed to post on the Interweb. We shall see. This could all just be a passing thing.


Taking a slight inspiration from RD, I wanted to expound on the subject on sports. I like them. It seems in our culture that liking sports places one in the jock category, the meathead, 350 pound hick who loves to watch men tackle/bump/slide into other men. The artistic community (and by this i mean the fru fru wine and cheese snobs who love Kubrick but hate Bruckheimer) look down upon sport as mean, crude or just plain uninspiring. Whether this comes from a lack of athletic ability in themselves (imagining their frail buliemic bodies playing a pickup game of basketball makes me smile) or a supreme distaste for all things outside the intellectual realm, I think these poor bastards have got it all wrong.

To paraphrase Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society, "Sport is a chance for other human beings to push us to excel." In every sport, you are locked in a struggle to be the best. The only thing that prevents you from that goal is that other humans are trying to do the same thing. Some say that it's not whether you win or lose, that the struggle is just as important. In that case, style and expression in a game mean just as much as the final result. Hmm, sounds a lot like art.

Take baseball for example. Baseball is a deceptively simple sport that has been likened to strategic games like chess or poker. There are moves that a manager can make which can be called brilliantly effective or devastatingly stupid, depending on the swing of a bat. One of the most common is the having left-handed pitchers throw to left-handed batters. But one must also consider that some left-handed batter do better against left-handed pitching, but only during night games. It gets complicated, there are some players and managers who pore over stat sheets and study trends and patterns in the opposing players. But then there are others who don't even know the basics of pitching and do incredibly well by just swinging the bat intuitively. In both extremes, the player is putting their personality on how they play the game.

Baseball has become a passion of mine in recent years as I've watched the Sox overcome 86 years of failure. This is a franchise which has so much history and character associated with its years in Boston. From their eternal struggle with the Yankees, to their self-destructive nature on the field, to their notorious fans, through it all, the Boston Red Sox have a certain style. These past few years, their character has been described as idiotic. They are baseball's crazy bunch of overacheivers. The long hair and the handshakes only point to how much they love the game, how much they love pitting themselves in the struggle of sports every night. The roster reads like a playbill, with characters like the Sad Clown (Manny Ramirez), Big Papi, Johnny D., the Texas Yokel (Millar), the quiet, skillful Mueller, Rock Star Arroyo, Big Mouth (Shillling), and Explosive Renteria.

How can you not be inspired by a team like that?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Picture of the Day


I've been relying on the National Geographic Photo of the Day for my desktop backgrounds for years now. They are always great shots, usually simple enough to put behind the plethora of icons i like to keep on the desktop. (I know Savage hates my desktop, both the virtual and actual but he that's whole 'nother blog.) I mix the shots I get from NGPOTD (i love acronyms) with my own pics taken with my Cybershot. They stay up for a few months until I get bored of looking at the same open road, or the same shot of Mephistopholes rolling her eyes at me.

The pic above will stay on my work desktop for a while, I love the sense of travel and adventure it gives me while sitting in my lonely cubicle. I will prolly replace it with something like this:

Or maybe this:


Ok, maybe not that last one but you have to admit that Google's image search can be very misleading. That pic came up after I searched for "grotesque." Racist bastards.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Natural State

As I climb my way out of what I like to call My Six-Month Depression, I find that two of my closest friends are going through some serious issues and life changes. They are two very different people (understatement) but they seem to be expereiencing similar feelings of self-analysis and doubt. You know, general feeling like shit. It stems (and here I'm speaking about myself but i think it applies) from just getting old. From being 27 and wondering what there is to look forward to. There may be other issues on the surface (both of them are single while I am completely happy at all times with my marraige to Mephistopholes) but I think it boils down to the fact that we are not in high school anymore. Our failures and missteps are no longer learning experiences, to be used when we grow up, they're just failures.

I want to help. To tell both of them that it gets better. To keep on keeping on. But I realize my greeting card sentiments might not be what is needed. No one wants to hear that crap when they feel like crap. I didn't anyway. But the stupid thing is that it's true. It does get better.

Think about this way: what is the natural state for a human being to be in? Before we had all these complex emotions and careers and shit like that, we were animals looking for food. Humans didn't have time to be depressed or to feel bad about themselves because they would starve. Caveman Johnny didn't pine over lost chances or regrets, he just went out and got more food if a deer got away. The natural state is to be happy.

There has been a shift in our culture, where we exalt those who are depressed. Much of our music, art, tv, and film focuses on how "cool" it is to be depressed. I hate the movies that are just full of unhappy people who never make any struggle to change. It's not cool to self-medicate with legal or illegal drugs. There are definitely people who need medication, I'm not saying that people who take drugs are bad, but we don't need to ALL be on drugs. That is not the natural state.

Ok, I've gotten a little preachy. That's exactly what I wanted to avoid. Basically, all this can be summed up in something my Dad used to say to me when I was growing up. "Don't sweat the small stuff," he'd say when I skinned my knee or got in trouble at school. He amended it as I got older, "And it's all small stuff."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This is all over the place

I've seen about 4 other sites link to this one article over the past couple of days so I thought I'd give it a read. The guy is pretty funny, and what he's talking about is certainly plausible. The article is called World of Warcraft World: 10 ways MMORPGS Will Change Your Life. David Wong basically predicts what's been touted in sci-fi since Snow Crash and Otherland, but uses real life examples. Worth the read.

He claims that all of the illustrations in the article were created by using the Nedroid software.
"Each [pic] was rendered automatically by a remarkable piece of software called
Nedroid, which can scan any piece of text, "read" it for comprehension and,
incredibly, render artwork to match the context. Did you even know that was
possible before now? Truly, this morning's science fiction is this afternoon's
science not-fiction."
Intriguing. Is it real or an elborate ruse?

A quick jump to Nedroid.com brings me no further explanation. It is a page of text that is almost 75% links. The site has a tongue-firmly-in-cheek quality. For example, testing out the sample Nedroid algorithm at the top of the page a few times yields hilarious results.

Checking a few of the links proves what I had pretty much guessed all along. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Bacon, Scientifically



A Collection of Animals Barfing





Secret Shame



Monday, August 08, 2005

The Economist is on my side

Just to hammer the point home from a post I made a few weeks ago, I wanted to link this piece from the Economist that a coworker sent me on the viability of video games as a new art form.

My favorite point that the author makes: All we have to do is wait for the video game critics to die, then we gamers will finally be respected.

Edit: My boy from Next Generation has posted this little tidbit. It appears that the legal system is also on my side.

Edit again: That tidbit link should work now.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Third post! In One Day! I must be hopped up on goofballs.

I just realized that my third article is up on Next Generation. It's a profile on the upcoming Fable: TLC. Here's the permalink. It made the front page again, that's 3 for 3 for me.

I don't think I told you guys about my modding article when it ran on July 12th. There's a lot in there that I didn't write. My article was about the whole concept of modding but the editor decided to run it after the whole GTA:SA thing broke. Basically, the first paragraph is mine while the next 3 about GTA were prolly written by the editor. It makes sense to run that shit higher on the page as news but it's a little weird to see your words changed. And I even got my first response from a fan... of Animal Crossing? I think that game is the definition of gay.

Anyway, I just turned in two more articles on Monday. I'll keep you bitches posted on when they get published.

I hate apple

Apple recently announced a new mouse design. It's being dubbed Mighty Mouse or as I like to call it, gay. While the thing looks great and all, I get bugged by apple's take on the whole mouse thing. They've been adamantly one button mouse for years, forcing people with applications that use a right mouse click to make do without. Now suddenly they come out with a pretty redesign of a mouse that has been available for over 5 years, and Apple makes it sounds like they are the innovative ones.

The scroll button and the touch-sensitivity sound neat but it's essentially old technology being passed off as high design. And is anyone else getting bored with the whole white motif?

Apple's deal is also charging way too much for way too little. The Mighty is retailing for $50. Want a mouse with a horizontal scroll wheel, 11 configurable buttons and is WIRELESS (something the mighty mouse ain't)? Try this. Oh, and it's only 43 bucks.

Are you feeling Randy?

The Ayn Rand bit I mentioned in the New York post wasn't just a throwaway joke. I'm rereading Atlas Shrugged for the 4th time right now. It's not a small feat toting the 1000 page tome around NYC. Luckily, I was able to scavenge a yellowed paperback copy from 1985 and didn't have to resort to carrying my hardcover copy.

I decided to reread the book because, in all honesty, Ayn Rand makes me feel like a man. I first read The Fountainhead when I was 15 years old. All of my teenaged self-esteem issues melted away as I learned about how Howard Roark lived his life free of other people's criticisms. I followed it with reading Atlas Shrugged, which showed a much wider view of Rand's Objectivist philosophy.

The characters in her books are surrounded by people who are incompetent. Not just incompetent, but they suck the energy and production out of the people who have talent and ambition. They suck the energy in order to feed the machine of their own ineffectual lives. Which is pretty extreme, Rand's books do a great job of using extremes to prove a point.

What they mean to me: reading Atlas Shurgged make me feel that producing something is the most moral thing a man can do. Making something from nothing is exactly what sets apart man from animal. And anyone who prevents you from doing that is merely sucking energy.

The last time I read the Fountainhead was in 2000, I hadn't picked up Atlas Shrugged since my junior year in college. I used to pick up one or the other when I was feeling down. When I was feeling like I was a piece of shit who never does anything. And in my recent depression, I suddenly realized what would pull me out. Reading about Dagny Taggart and Hank Reardon fighting the moochers has indeed given me a jolt of pride. I know that I can make something. I am making something right now. And that's all that fucking matters.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Been meaning to post this for a while



This game is really addictive. It makes a mosaic of pictures gleaned from Google's image search and you have to guess what the search term was. Sounds complicated but it's really intuitive and fun.

Score is all based on time and there's a listing for the top scores of the day. See you on the list.

Little warning: I just played a game of this in my cubicle and one of the pictures in the mosaic included a woman's naked breasts! How scandalous! The search term was beer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NYC, cont'd

So, back to what I was saying about Paris, Fran-- New York. I remember, don't worry.

Let me start be addressing the illustrious Bernadette and her comment. In no way did I mean to suggest that anyone living outside of New York (of which group, incidentally, Bern is a part) was acheiving less important things. As she said, there is nothing wrong with living your life the way you choose. And there are millions of people who acheive very great things outside of New York or any other urban center.

What I love about the city, though, is that you are forced to make something great. Because so many people flock here, the deed that distinguishes yourself must be superb. Average doesn't work, neither does pretty good. You have to be great to make it in New York.

This is not always the case, not all 10 million people in the 5 boroughs are great at anything. But all of those 10 million people consider themselves New Yorkers, which means something. And the reason it means something is because of this underlying need to acheive something great.

Can you tell I've been reading Ayn Rand?

But on to the second thing I'd like to discuss, why I get angry when people curse the city. The main reason I get pissed when someone says, "I hate the city," is that usually they are damning it for the exact same reasons that I love it. They hate the feeling of competition. They crave the slowed down, "easy" lifstyle of the suburbs, where everyone is perfectly happy taking their 6 kids to soccer practice in their new minivan. They wish they didn't have this need to acheive.

What people are really saying when they blame the city like that is that they feel inadequate in the face of so much greatness. Which is understandable. Which is totally ok. I'm sure that the same people who acheive the great things also feel like they are inadequate. It's what pushed them to acheive what they did in the first place.

But don't curse the city because it makes you feel inadequate. It's not an external source that is making you feel the way you feel. It's something internal. The people who say, "I hate the city," are going through their own personal issues. Whether it's loneliness, or lack of a career, it is not the City of New York that is making you feel bad. Everyone has problems. Everyone can be unhappy, even people in the suburbs. My dear wife Mephistopholes likes to imagine that if we move out of New York, life will be peachy and nothing will ever make us sad. That's a vicious case of Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome.

Yes, in the suburbs, you would probably be a big fish in a small pond. People will look up to you for even having been in the city for only five years. You could have the easy life of BBQs and blowjobs.

But isn't it better just to have that chance at greatness. To be a part of a truly magnificent community. To live in view of the Chrysler building. To walk down fifth avenue just to find a sandwich. To not only be able to eat good cheap Thai food but have a choice of at least five Thai restaurants in one neighborhood. To be able to go to movies with Jimmy Fallon behind you in line by himself (this just happened to Mephistopholes.) To be able to perform at open mics with people that you know will be on Comedy Central one day.

Isn't that better than saying, "I hate the city"?

Monday, July 25, 2005

New York, New York

I live in the city.

I moved down here in June of 2000, with the wide eyes of a 22 year old who's most vivid memory of NYC was a school trip in the 6th grade. The city seemed large and magnificent compared to my little beach hometown in CT. It was also really hot, but more on that later.

It's been a little over five years of living here. Mephistopholes and I elected to settle in an up-and-coming part of Brooklyn all those years ago and we haven't strayed far. Williamsburg and the L train have meant home for five years, even though we've lived in 3 different apartments. My neighborhood is 1 part hipster, 1 part Polish immigrant and 1 part other (being the general city mix of black, latino, homeless, junkie, Asian, prostitute). Williamsburg is just an East River away from the majestic skyline of Manhattan and I like that.

Friends of mine moved down to the city with me or shortly after. There was a sharp transistionary period for most of them as they figured out how to cope with the hardships of urban life. I think most of this hardship had to do with not knowing exactly what to do with their lives, something that I even grapple with now. Each one of them got over the Six-month Hump and now lives a somewhat productive life either taking away my hazardous waste or teaching children how to make movies or keeping money out of the hands of accident victims.

But I've noticed a recent trend amongst my circle of friends, even infecting my dear Mephistopholes. "I hate this city." "Nobody cares about anyone here." "This is not how people are supposed to live." "I would never bring up a child here." "This place sucks your soul." I honestly do not understand these sentiments. This is not to say that I don't feel unhappy sometimes. Any reader of this blog will know that I haven't been a Smiling Sam these last few months, but I never once accused this great city of being the cause. When I hear these accusations, I get upset. There is a physical feeling of hurt that contracts my chest when I hear, "I hate this city." I've been trying to understand a couple of things, why people say these things, and why I get so affected by it.

There is so much oppurtunity in New York. Maybe too much. If you want to be a musician or a publisher or an actor or an investment banker or a construction worker, New York is the place to do it. It is a city of superlatives. It is a city of acheivement. For many years, I considered merely living in the city as an acheivement. But all of the possibility for acheivement also makes this city feel extremely competitive. There are no longer any small ponds. There are only big fish eating the smaller ones in the largest pond in the world.

So I can understand feeling that there is a lack of compassion in the City and that is because everyone you meet is trying to acheive something. They don't care if they step on you on the subway or in their climb to the top. This can be frustrating or hurtful but I got over it during the Six-Month Hump. It is precisely what makes the city so great, this need to acheive. Without it, there would be no skyscrapers or Broadway shows or New York Yankees (yes, I hate the bombers but you have to admit they are a part of the greatness of this city.) The alternative is a podunk town in Montana with one gas station and a second-run movie theater. People are nice and happy as punch in Montana but they don't really do anything, do they? (This is in no way an indictment of Montana and if anyone from Big Sky Country actually reads this, please note that I could just as easily use Michigan or Missouri or any other state that starts with an M.)

Now as to why it bothers me so much when people curse the city, this enters the grey area of public opinion.

**********************************************

I have to stop here as I am now about to go home. As much as I like blogging, it is not enough to keep me here at work past 6pm. I will pick up this discussion on the morrow. Farewell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Posting for the sake of Posting

Haven't had a lot of free time at work lately. I still owe you guys a treatise on Star Wars, but that will take a while. Some news:

  • I got another couple assignments from Next Generation. They finally ran my modding article but the editor added a bunch of stuff about the GTA Hot Coffee Mod that's in the news. The first few paragraphs aren't by me but the rest of it is. Check it out anyways.
  • The short film I produced last year is going to debut at its first film festival in a couple of weeks.
  • I am not gay.
More on this later.

Friday, July 15, 2005

What the Fuck?

Not that I'm an angry or jealous person or anything, but when blogmate Savage takes an unannounced month-long leave of absence from blog-writing, he's suddenly bombarded with comments when he posts a few pictures of Belize. And from stangers too! At least people that I don't know. And here, I've been pretty prolific in the last few months and yet the comment-train on this blog has stopped pulling into the station, even from my "friends."

What gives? Do I need to start posting more pictures? Or posting less about angry basketball games? I ask you, my faithful readers, what do I need to do?