Sunday, March 20, 2011
"I think anyone who tries anything, ever, deserves to be buffeted with insults and abuse. They "put themselves out there," right? High five!"
I like it. The sarcasm is so thick I could slice off a piece, dip it in batter, and toast it, french-style. Which I did. And it was delicious. Also...organic maple syrup is way too expensive.
So I'm going to stop trying. At certain things. And focus on other things. Other things which I can only hope to get in trouble for at some point in the near future. Because like people who sometimes strip & write movies, I can make up quotes, too:
"Nobody ever succeeded by sitting on their hands & doing exactly what they were told."
Okay, not the most eloquent quote. Let me try this again:
"Sharks can't swim backward. If they do, they die."
Hm. Or this:
"Be average with a C average."
No, wait. That last one doesn't work at all. I guess my whole personal mission statement can be summed up by my latest & greatest catchphrase:
"Get on it."
You sort of say the "on" like "own." So it's something like "G-G-G-Get owwwwn it." It means to go with your gut. It means to trust yourself. And it means to try. Don't be like Jeremy Bonderman or Ian Snell (especially Ian Snell). Snip off the bullshit & try a little harder. Because not everybody does. Most people don't. And that's a good thing. Except when you get in trouble for trying because other people didn't try. But in the end, you DID try. You see what I'm trying to say?
And enjoy some toast from France every so often. Its such a nice treat after such a trying week.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Let me start off by saying I'm not a sports writer. Gross. Unlike those guys, I played competitive sports growing up and even went to college on an athletic scholarship. Okay, it was for track & field, but still. I also want to clarify that I haven't exactly followed your career under a microscope. I work for a team based in the National League, so the closest I've come to critiquing your game is through MLB the Show on PS3. All that being said...I think you're making a mistake by sitting out the 2011 season.
For some reason, the speculative tweet I read this morning about your current dilemma struck a chord. Following the speculation (which unfortunately about 80% of sports writing is (zing!)), it was written that either the free-agent offers you received this winter were not at the level you deemed acceptable OR that you don't have the energy for more rehabs and do not want to fight during spring training for a shot in a major league rotation. I don't want to believe, nor to I find acceptable, either of those reasons for taking a year off from your job. Tell me its for personal reasons, health reasons, that you don't have a love for the game anymore, or retire. There are many things that an individual can offer the world, and without a doubt your life extends well beyond pitching and baseball. But sitting out because you didn't find the offers to your liking? Sitting out because you don't want to be your best and compete to prove yourself? Unacceptable.
Now, before I continue to run my mouth like some smug jackass (too late?), I should let you know just a slice about me. I'm a mild-mannered video editor for a regional metropolitan sports network. So yes, I sit on my ass all day in front of a computer. I'm 29 and have been doing this for about 6 years. Its what I've always wanted to do. Getting to watch baseball, edit promos, short music videos, and be told that I'm pretty good at it...well, that's just fantastic. And like all people who get what they want, or are in the process of getting further with what they're good at, it was a lot of damn hard work. I took 2 years off after I graduated from college, so I started 2 years behind, and was reminded of it everyday. I lied my way into my first editing job and had to teach myself how to edit over that weekend. Long hours. Terrible content. Heartbreak (that's for another letter). Weight gain (sitting+tv+beer...we don't need a mathematician to crack that code). Six years later and I'm exactly where I want to be and can't wait to get to the next level and see what happens then. Huzzah. (One paragraph doesn't even begin to scratch the surface, but I'll save that for my unauthorized autobiography in 30 years).
I can't even imagine what it's like to be a baseball player. My brother was an All-American shortstop in college and I've never been more envious watching somebody else succeed. I threw a baseball against a radar gun once. 68mph. Straight fastball. Naturally, you have a gift. You're a professional athlete. And shoulder problems are no joke. 2010 was a year to forget, if you want to look at it that way. For me, every year is a year to forget, in the sense that the next year is going to be the year to crush it even more. I look back at my accomplishments from 2010 and kind of shudder. 2011 is the year for me right now. Right now I want to make 2010 look like a pile of puke. On top of 2009's pile. And such and such.
You were drafted after junior year of high school. You were the youngest opening day starter since Dwight Gooden. You made $12.5M last year. You're 28 freakin' years old. If the marathon has you bested, if the shoulder won't let you pitch anymore, then yes, hang 'em up. It sucks, and I can't even begin to image walking away from the game you love. But if it's because you weren't satisfied with the offers you were receiving? Because you can't find it in your heart to compete anymore? Well sir, that's a recipe for playing for the Cleveland Indians (it's 2011...I have nothing against the Indians. If this was last year, I'd say Diamondbacks. No hard feelings).
So Mr. Bonderman, and I call you Mr. even though I am technically your elder, I implore you to give 2011 a shot. Not for me. For baseball. The only way so many of us can get close to this game only results in being tackled or tased by portly security guards during the late innings of a reverse world series. Play the game because you can. Take a minor league deal with incentives (incentives which pee on my yearly salary). Compete. Crush it. Prove somebody wrong. Prove more people right. Do it because you can. Do it because you want to.
Now, I'm going to go play a round of MLB the Show to unwind. And I think I know who I'm going to pitch with tonight.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
No, I get it. You're in your mid-20's. You've fallen into what you can only relate to as a personal wasteland. You've moved away from home. You don't have a fulfilling job, or maybe even any job period. You've never had really good sex. You're white. When you break it down to its basics, take a step back for a hot minute....you've never really had any REAL problems.
Why haven't you had any real problems? Because you haven't tried. You've sat back and "observed." But let's be honest, you weren't even fucking paying attention, were you?
Garden State is the result of Zach Braff not really paying attention. You've got a roof over your head. You've got food on your table. There aren't any wars going on outside your window. Stop being a dickhead and man up for a fucking second. Shit.
If you're going to make a movie about a bunch of random bullshit and string it together to try and make it pretty, then make fucking Amelie. At least Jean-Pierre Jeunet established from that get-go that you, sir, have no chance in the slightest with Audrey Tautou. Yes, Amelie is a bunch of bullshit, too. But its a fairytale. Braff tries to make Garden State real. Dumb shit.
Braff's "Large" is an upper-middle class white man. Mom was in a wheelchair. Dad was a dickhead. Dad puts him on all kinds of drugs. Large takes them consistently for 10 years. Boarding school. Moves to LA. Mom drowns. In the tub. Suicide. Large comes home. Parties with some friends. Decides maybe he doesn't want to take the drugs anymore. Is tired of being "numb." Meets Natalie Portman at the doc's office. Over the course of about 11 or 12 inane set pieces, they fall in love. Almost a bullshit cop out sad ending, then a bullshit cop out happy ending. Yay.
FUCK this movie, man. I could probably write about 20 pages on all the bullshit that goes down throughout, but I'll limit it to the two things that bug me the most. No wait, three.
1. Andrew Largeman is an ACTOR. Are you kidding me? So, after the movie ends....he's in love with Natalie Portman. He's off the drugs. Mom's in the ground. His friends are bums, but one of them is a millionaire, so there's no real conflict there. So, eventually he's going back to LA, right? To be an actor? Because its been established that he's got no real life skills. What the fuck is he going to do? Hey Zach, are you saying that being an actor, pretending for a living, isn't important enough to continue to pursue? Because you're an actor, bro. I'll tell you what...after banging Natalie Portman for a few days, Andrew Largeman is getting back on that fucking plane and going back to LA. "Large" is the star of his own movie, like we all are...there's no fucking way this kid isn't a born actor. What, he's going to go back to school with Titembe, become a lawyer? CSI? Fuck off.
2. The working title of this movie was "Large's Ark." Really? How does that not register to you as the worst fucking title of all time? Oh right...because your masterful centerpiece of the movie...some fucking ark in the middle of a nonexistent canyon in north jersey. Who lives in this ark. Some dickhead and his wife and their asshole baby. This dickhead buys jewelry that has been delivered to him by graverobbers. But he gives it back to Large, so we're cool. And this dickhead just loves life, man. He loves living in the bottom of this hole in a boat with his family. Yeah yeah, I get it. You can be happy anywhere. Cool. But its the exchange between Large and this dickhead at the end of the scene:
"Hey dickhead [Albert], good luck exploring the infinite abyss."
"Thank you. And hey, you too."
What the fuck?! Boo-hoo middle-20's white boy, so now I'm going to try to have fun exploring my "infinite abyss." Fuck you. Oh my god, fuck you Zach Braff. How do we escape this infinite abyss...besides, of course, getting a fucking clue and getting off your ass?
3. Oh right, meet and bang and fall in love with Natalie Portman. The original "manic pixie dreamgirl." OH! So THAT'S how I escape my infinite abyss. My fucking horrible pointless life. Because she's got epilepsy and wears a helmet when she works and is obviously single. Here's a test: go out and find yourself a Natalie Portman manic pixie dreamgirl while you're in your mid-20's. Oh my god, she's amazing, she makes me think, she's charming and adorable and great in the sack. Perfect. Well, guess what...you've decided to hang back in Jersey for a while instead of going back to LA to act. Okay, so once all this bullshit, vacation-style amusement ends, real life starts back up. I'm going to tell you something...when everything settles down you're going to realize something: this bitch is crazy. Why is she single? Fate? Coincidence? A convenient plot point I? Yes, all of those things. Large is an actor, she's really eccentric, they're a match made in heaven. Gimme a fucking break. He's a dumb fuck, she's nuts...I give it a few months before they realize that they're both a couple of fucking losers and he goes back to LA. The end.
I'm amazed when I hear that so many people can relate to this movie. What about this movie is realistic? Your real life is in your hometown because of memories? I'll be fucked if I'm ever moving back to Phoenixville. There's a Natalie Portman out there somewhere for you? No, there isn't. Love is something you're going to have to seek out. Work for. Its not going to hump your leg in some fucking waiting room. People change. You've gotta adapt. Natalie Portman's character lives at home like a damn child. Zach Braff is an actor who just stopped taking the dope. But they find love. Huzzah! Problem solved!
PLEASE, Zach Braff, please make a sequel to Garden State. You can still call it Large's Ark. Or how about Largeman Almighty? Take that Season 7 Scrubs money and make shit happen, son.
I can't wait to find my manic pixie dreamgirl so I can have a sleep over with her and then never call her again. Because that bitch crazy.
Shake well, bitches.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
As the contest neared its conclusion, I checked out a few of the other submissions. Horrid. Really...not a good one in the bunch. The ones with nice production values had shit acting and writing. The ones with decent acting and passable writing had shit production values. Now, bear in mind that I spent a total of $3 on my video. The lighting was decent. The audio was audible. The acting was par at best. The premise was clever. Nothing original...but nothing unoriginal either. The contest rules stated that you didn't need to use the original stain voice. The contest rules stated that you could make up your own premise. I did both.
I lost. By a lot. At least 10 people beat me. So whatever, right? I do on to fight another day. I really didn't give a shit about the contest anyway, I was just bored one Sunday afternoon. My friends seem to think my video was funny, so cool, I'm happy with that.
But then I saw the winner. It aired during The Office last night. I almost threw up. Not because I wished it was MY video playing during the commercials (shit son, I've got commercials playing on TV all day everyday), its just the winning video was SO F-ING BAD, it made me lose my appetite (and being on a diet these days, its quite a vicious appetite).
So for shits, here's the winning video...followed by my submission. I won't quit my day job...because its the same damn thing.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
So, I'm not going to officially write up my remaining top 3 Simpsons episodes, but here they are, truncated, for your reading pleasure:
Friday, April 4, 2008
"Lisa on Ice"
This classic might not be higher on the list simply because of the fact that this is Deric's favorite episode of all time...and we know how I need to be original...even to the point of the Simpsons. Yes, I'm an idiot. But let's not dwell on that...let's dwell on this great episode...and my new love of ellipses...
"Now, here's your Action anchor: Kent Brockman."
"HELLO, I'M KENT BROCKMAN!!! Our top story tonight: a tremendous EXPLOSION...inthepriceoflumber. President Reagan dyes..........his hair. Plus, Garry Trudeau and his new musical comedy revue. But first! Let's check the death count from the killer storm bearing down on us like a shotgun full of snow."
"Well, Kent, as of now the death count is zero. But it IS ready to shoot right up."
"Oh my God. Damn you snow!"
Like my #5 pick, this is a true Simpson's one-off story that never comes back to merrily haunt us in the future (unlike Lisa the Vegetarian). The Simpsons kids playing hockey? Absolute randomness that pays off in comedy spades.
"Me fail English? That's unpossible."
This episode has so many instant classic moments that I remember busting my proverbial gut to when I first saw it all those years ago. This came out in 1994...and is still funny today. And THAT is the definition of classic, my friends.
I'm sure another universal aspect of this ep has to do with Homer (once again, after Dead Putting Society in season 2) being the overbearing, horrible sports father (I'm sure there's a better phrase for that). While South Park may have taken the cake with this stereotypical, albeit quite true to life, portrayal of an overbearing father...
...but I think the scene of the Simpson family riding in the car on the way to Bart's hockey game is a groundbreaking one in the overall development of the humor and bite of the Simpsons writing. Homer tells Bart to remember to just have fun out there today..."but if you lose, I'll KILL YOU." And everybody laughs. But before the scene ends, Homer reminds Bart that he really isn't kidding...and Bart knows it. Terrifying stuff that happens everyday with real fathers & sons, but mined for comedy here...and absolutely golden.
"Well boy, you won. So I'm going to live up to my side of the deal....here's your turtle...alive and well."
I can't imagine just how much fun it is to write for Homer. The gag with the pie is among one of his best. He's got so many great lines in this episode, it's ridiculous. And it's not just all stupid moments...he treads the line between idiocy and just flat-out horrible parent...and it's just great. An amazing bit of writing when you can make a character so despicable and endearing at the same time.
And this gag is one of my all-time favorites...but I don't have to tell you that...because, well, it's on the list, isn't it?
"All right, I'm going to make a little deal with you mugs. I'm going to let you all out to see my team play the hockey game IF you promise to return to your cells."
"Sorry, pig, we can't make that promise."
"All right...all right, I'll sweeten the deal. You can see the game, you don't have to come back,, BUT you have to promise not to commit any more crimes, OK?"
"I'll take that as a yes."
So, not to repeat myself...but I will anyway...just a classic episode all around. Pretty much every joke is a winner, it has a happy ending...everything a classic Simpsons episode has. Well done, #4, well done.
GREATEST MOMENTS #4
Now, "The PTA Disbands!" used to be my favorite episode, simply for the fact that it has two of my favorite jokes in Simpsons history. Upon reviewing the episode, overall it just didn't do it for me to make the top 5, but these two gags are simply amazing:
"Um, Skinner says the teacher's are going to crack any second purple monkey dishwasher."
A great whisper-down-the-lane joke, but the key to it lies in the words they choose to put at the end. For some reason the combination of purple, monkey, and dishwasher, and Hank Azaria's impeccable delivery, just hit all the right notes. I don't know...I feel this joke might be a bit underappreciated, especially when they beat it into the ground with Edna K.'s next line "especially with that purple monkey dishwasher comment." But as we all know, I love the stuff that slips through the cracks the most.
And the other one is just...I don't know...100% Simpsons:
"The PTA is disbanding?! Ahhh!!!"
[guy jumps out window]
"No! The PTA is NOT disbanding!"
[guy leaps back into room through broken window, dusts himself off, and sits down happily, like nothing happened]
See you soon w/ #3!!!!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
So making this list has had me doing a great deal of Simpsons introspection. Some of the results surprised me. Some didn't, in a good way. But every episode & moment on this top 5 list is an absolute classic, so let's get this party started.
To both minimize & maximize anticipation of the final 5, here are my favorite episodes that DIDN'T make the list (in no particular order):
Homer vs. the City of New York
Mountain of Madness
Itchy & Scratchy Land
Lemon of Troy
Marge on the Lam
Homer at the Bat
Lisa the Vegetarian
Krusty Gets Kancelled
Last Exit to Springfield
Last Exit to Springfield just might be the greatest Simpsons episode ever put together, and leaving that and Homer v. the City of New York off my final 5 was truly heartbreaking. This was a hard list to put together, almost impossible, but I did. So...coming in at #5:
Episode 3F23, original airdate November 3, 1996
"You Only Move Twice"
"Can't a guy walk down the street in this country without being offered a job?!"
I contemplated reviewing each episode on the list with just quotes from each, but alas, not. I'll just pepper each review with my favorites.
"So long, stinktown!"
Perhaps Albert Brooks's greatest of all his guest performances is that of Hank Scorpio. Homer takes a job with Globex Corporation and the rest is history.
"Ever see a guy say goodbye to a shoe?"
This episode was written by the great John Schwartzwelder, who has probably written all the greatest, if not funniest, Simpsons episodes ever. The Simpsons has had plenty of amazing runs, but this episode contains one, if not the best, between Scorpio & Homer:
"Uh, hi, Homer. What can I do for you?"
"Sir, I need to know where I can get some business hammocks."
"Hammocks? My goodness, what an idea. Why didn't I think of that? Hammocks! Homer, there's four places. There's the Hammock Hut...that's on third."
"There's Hammocks-R-Us, that's on third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There?"
"That's on third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot... Matter of fact, they're all in the same complex; it's the hammock complex on third.
"Oh, the hammock district."
Now, I know when you break a joke down, it becomes less funny...but the fact that Homer, needing "business hammocks," knows the whole time that there's a "hammock district" in town...a town he's lived in for less than a week...and that he still feels the need to ask Scorpio about it...is just pure genius. I will never stop laughing at this scene.
There's another great scene that gets cut in the syndicated version of the episode that is just fantastic. It doesn't really translate when I write it out, but here you go anyway: Bart's been placed in the remedial class and he's depressed after realizing what's he's gotten himself into. In the syndicated version, the scene ends with him sitting at his desk all sad. The cut scene involves one of the kids coming up behind him and comforting him...slowly patting him on the back. But the pats quickly become harder and more rapid, until the kid just slaps Bart as hard as he can on the back and gets yelled at by the teacher. An amazing bit that had slipped through the cracks until I got the DVD.
On the commentary track, they talk about how Albert Brooks does a lot of improvising. Who knows which lines were scripted and which were improvised, but there are just too many to pick a favorite...hmmm...like this list in a way.
"Uh....you have any sugar around here?"
[Scorpio fumbles in his pockets, takes out a few handfuls of sugar]
"Here you go...sorry it's not in packages."
The b-story of Bart, Lisa & Marge not having the great time Homer is in this new town may not be the most compelling, but Homer's side of it make up for them in spades. Project Arcturus...the Denver Broncos...Homer getting "Mr. Bont" killed...the weather machine & germ warfare divisions...all amazing. So kudos to "You Only Move Twice"....coming in strong at #5.
GREATEST MOMENTS #5:
So after each of the top 5, I'll also be posting some of my favorite moments from episodes that didn't make the top of the heap. Here's batch number 5, from Itchy & Scratchy Land:
"We're now approaching our final destination, Itchy and Scratchy Land: the amusement park of the future where nothing can possiblye go wrong."
[Everyone looks worried.]
"Er...possiBLY go wrong. Heh...that's the first thing that's ever gone wrong."
"There's no need to murmur, ma'am. Here at Itchy and Scratchy Land, we're just as concerned about violence as you are. That's why we're always careful to show the consequences of deadly mayhem so that we may educate as well as horrify."
"When do you show the consequences? On TV that mouse pulled out that cat's lungs and played them like a bagpipe, but in the next scene the cat was breathing comfortably."
"Just like in real life."
"Hey, look over there!"
[family does so, he takes off quickly]
"Cool...personalized plates! "Barclay"..."Barry"..."Bert"... "Bort"? Aw, come on. "Bort"?
"Mommy, mommy! Buy me a license plate."
"No. Come along, Bort."
"Are you talking to me?"
"No, my son is also named Bort."
[as the bird sancutary is in chaos, Hans Moleman in the telephone booth making a call]
"I'll take the largest seed bell you have."
"No, that's too big."
"Dad, the flash must have scrambled their circuits."
"What are you, the narrator?"
"As Roger Meyers Jr., the owner of the park, I'd like to thank you for stopping the killer robots. And to show my appreciation, here are two free passes.
"But there are five of us."
"Here are two free passes!"
Man, I just gotta say that Itchy & Scratchy Land definitely comes in at a close 6th. Geez, what a classic.
Stay tune for pick #4...coming your way in a few hours. Oh, you know the anticipation is killing you...because I just assume all of you read my blog in real time. M'yes...