Friday, September 28, 2007

REWRITE WEEK

I declare this week the week of rewriting.


I've been pumping out sketches and other hooey for my writing various projects for the past couple of months now. And by "pumping out" I mean writing a couple of lines of dialogue in between watching old episodes of Mr. Show. Now I have a whole pile of semi-funny paper that needs to be refined into mildly-funny paper.

So, since my next writing class doesn't start for another week or so I will be spending my evenings working on taking out lines that don't work, moving things around and generally hacking up my scenes. It should be a long arduous process.

I had an instructer at U of M say that "the secret to writing is rewriting." I think that's true. Writing is the process of taking a bunch of ideas and refining them into something legible. I don't think I've ever written anything that wasn't made better by at least a couple of minor changes.

So that's all I have to say today. Oh, one other thing: I called it in August.

Lions won, you Bears fans.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Semantics and Sentence Structure

Yesterday in my post I used the term 'wont' (as I am wont to do). A friend of mine, Patrick, informed me that I had mispelled the word, that what I meant to write was "want," and that the sentence didn't make any sense. When I told him that wont is indeed a word, a vicious email exchange ensued. Here is the entire email string from that exchange.


From: Patrick
To: Nat


Makes no sense. I understand that it is a word, but the fragment is poorly worded. Please consider revising.

Patrick



From: Nat
To: Patrick

Please consider learning to read first and then I will consider looking at the sentence again and determining that I am indeed correct.

Nat



From: Patrick
To: Nat

Please start at stage one. Consider reading:

1.) Where the Wild Things Are

2.) The Giving Tree

3.) Where the Sidewalk Ends

That way, you can understand how to form a sentence.

Patrick



From: Nat
To: Patrick

Patrick,

Thank you for providing me with your reading list for the next two months. I found the list to be quite illuminating. I am also glad to see that The Giving Tree is on your list of personal favorites.

I might recommend adding a dictionary or a style manual to your personal library or at the very least taking a course in English grammar. You may find that those scary words and sentences are no longer so scary once you have learned to understand them.

I wish you much luck on your quest to learn the proper usage of your own language.

Sincerely yours,

Nat



From: Patrick
To: Nat

Nat,

That is actually not my current reading list, but one that I had when I was at your intellectual level. Once you read these, as I did when I was five years old, you may find that you get a free personal pan pizza at your nearest Pizza Hut. Secondly, they place a gold star on a ribbon that you get to wear around all day so that others can participate in your progress.

I wish good luck and good eating.

Patrick



From: Nat
To: Patrick

Dearest Patrick,

I do not mean to nitpick, however I feel obliged to inform you that “I wish good luck and good eating” is not a proper English sentence. Had you included a valid direct object – for example “I wish her good luck,” or “I wish it good luck” – your sentence (and I use the term sentence lightly) might have made sense.

I suppose had you taken second grade English class, you might have caught that little faux pas (which is a recognized English noun despite the fact that it sounds French). As it stands, though, your last email was nonsensical. Although I do enjoy Pizza Hut from time to time.

Again, I would like to recommend that you consult an English language style guide.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

Definitions

Direct Object: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/direct%20object

Faux Pas: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faux%20pas

Sentence: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sentence

Sincerely,

Nat



From: Patrick
To: Nat

I am glad that my incorrect sentence fragment caught your eye, but it was only a test to see if you are actually mentally inept. When I was reading your blog, it struck me as odd that you would use such a ridiculous fragment. Congratulations, you have the mental abilities to learn from your errors.

Enjoy the pizza and please visit my cubicle when you wear the ribbon.

In Christ,

Patrick



From: Nat
To: Patrick

Brother Patrick,

Pardon my insistence on pressing this matter further, but am I to understand that you are now claiming that you were simply attempting to test my knowledge? Given your prior inability to understand perfectly legitimate sentences (per your “mentally inept” misunderstanding of the original sentence in question) I find this to be hard to believe. I am reminded of what the Ancient Greeks called hubris which loosely translates to excessive pride or arrogance. I believe you may be exhibiting some excessive pride in your refusal to admit that you are functionally illiterate.

To paraphrase an ancient Hebrew (the traditional language of the Jewish people) proverb, “pride goes before the fall.” I am also reminded of the seven cardinal sins, one of which is superbia – the Latin (the ancient language of the Romans) word for pride. As one “In Christ” I might remind you, despite falling prey to the mortal sin of pride, that “to err is human” and that salvation lies in humility. That being said, I would be delighted to accept your forthcoming apology on this issue and would be more than willing to accept a Pizza Hut dinner from you as a sign of recompense.

Big Words

Hubris: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hubris

Apology: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apology

Recompense: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=recompense

Yours truly,

Nat



From: Patrick
To: Nat

Nat-

I believe it was Socrates (Greek Philosopher) who once said “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” As well as…. “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.”

I am starting to regret posting these due to my lack of confidence in your ability to process information. It pleases me that you are knowledgeable of the “Ancient Greeks”. That being said, may I be so kind as to describe this as ‘learning to run before you walk.’ I suggest that you read the book list provided and meet with me in the conference room during our mutual lunch hour. That way we can have time to discuss in great detail the common themes these gems of literature provide.

As for my “In Christ” acknowledgement, I was simply observing the mere fact of how precious the learning process can be. I remember my timid days at the Pizza Hut with my kind mother holding my hand and giving me the nod to ask the attendant for a pride-filled personal pizza with sausage. I will, in turn, hold your hand as we embark on this journey of ‘literature’ and ‘sentence structure.’

Keep your chin up,

Patrick



From: Nat
To: Patrick

Pat,

I appreciate your ability to find quotes from famous people on wikipedia.org. It is a pity that the two quotes you provided state essentially the same thing, however I suspect with time and experience you will learn not to irritate people with needless repetition.

I see now that you are incapable of seeing the error of your ways. I wonder if perhaps you have been blinded by your own ignorance. As such, I will discontinue this dialogue with you, opting instead to remind you that you suck and that you smell bad. I will leave it at that.

Incidentally, I noted your desire to hold my hand, that you are preoccupied with “sausage” pizza, and that you have strangely fond memories of physical contact with your mother. While I do not swing that way and will not be responding to your veiled advances, I would like to recommend that you contact a Freudian analyst to work out your mommy sausage issues.

I wish you luck in your endless pursuit of eternal damnation through the sin of pride.

Happy hunting,

Nat



From: Patrick
To: Nat

Nat,

The only thing that I can imagine that is more disgusting then the sexual drives of my mother is a violent image of you having sex with a clone of yourself. Seeing your gyrating hips would honestly make me want to vomit multiple times.

Those quotes were similar due to the fact that two of them would help you register the point clearer, you simpleton.

I am always right.

Patrick



From: Nat
To: Patrick

Pat,

I already told you that I’m not continuing this dialogue and oh, by the way, nobody likes you.

Nat



From: Patrick
To: Nat

I am going to sit on your face and fart.

Patrick

And that is what I do with my day.

On Beard Upkeep

Last night, I buckled down and finally trimmed my beard. I had let the growth get a little bit out of hand. Typically, once I begin to find twigs, pebbles or pieces of food from meals a week past, etc. hidden within the beard I know it's time to trim again. This time, I let it grow a little bit longer than normal and as a result I found a family of squirrels nesting under my chin. They were very pleasant and well mannered squirrels and I considered allowing them to stay but ultimately I decided I needed to evict them on principle. I am not a tree.

The beauty of having a beard (apart from having facial hair to stroke so that you can look like you're thinking about something important) is that you do not have to shave. This allows me to knock a good five minutes a day or so off of my daily routine. I do not use this extra five minutes to maximize my productivity. I use it to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock one more time every morning.

Since laziness is the main reason that I keep my beard, I find it difficult to morally justify any beard maintenance whatsoever. I keep a beard so that I don't have to shave; why, then, should I have to trim the beard?

And then I realize that, when you have a big bushy red beard and a wild head of hair as I do, people tend to look at you as if you were homeless. Especially if you have a tendency to dress shabily (as I do). And also if you often smell like whiskey (as I occasionally do). And if you tend to loiter in front of drug stores (as I am wont to do). And if you are constantly asking people for their spare change (as I may or may not do). And if you sometimes wake up in a public park beneath a blanket of free newspapers and have no recollection of how you got there (as I have yet to do - yet).

So, in order to avoid this misunderstanding - I may be a slob but I am certainly not deserving of sympathy or charity from strangers - I must trim my beard occasionally. As I did last night.

But as I was standing in the shower looking down at the clump of discarded red hair at my feet, I thought of the squirrel family I had evicted and wondered where they would sleep that night.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Absence, Explained!

Hello faithful readers,

I haven't been ignoring you, I promise. For the past couple of days, I've been out of town helping my family move my little sister into her first apartment (awwww) in Kalamazoo. So I've been playing the good brother role. Consequently, the last couple of days have been nothing but driving, moving large objects up several very narrow flights of stairs and eating. Don't worry, though, I haven't forgotten you three people and I promise I'll write something interesting tomorrow.

For today, since I'm trying to get caught up at work from missing a couple of days, I'll provide you with this link to a geography test website. Test your knowledge! How much do you know about the geography of your country? Can you even find your own home state?

Talk to you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Nod - Tonight!

We're reading blogs aloud with a bunch of people tonight. If you people are free, y'all should come check it out. Here's the info:

THE NOD WITH DON HALL AND JOE JANES
Wednesday, September 19th @ 8:00 PM
The Uptown Writer's Space
4802 N. Broadway Suite 200, Chicago
(corner of Broadway and Lawrence)
$5 donation if you have it. Free refreshments.

Come for the free refreshments. Stay for the entertainment. And more refreshments.*

See everyone there tonight.

(*Second helpings of refreshments subject to availability. No purchase necessary, however you will be frowned upon)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

112 Years Young

Happy 112th birthday to you, Tomoji Tanabe of Miyakonojo, Japan!

Mr. Tanabe is now, according to the Guinness World Records, the world’s oldest man. What’s the secret to his longevity? Per the BBC:

“Tomoji Tanabe, who was born in 1895, says avoiding alcohol is the secret of his longevity. He drinks milk, does not smoke, keeps a diary and reads the newspaper daily.” He says later in the article, “I want to live indefinitely. I don’t want to die.”

I want to know what newspaper this guy is reading. I don’t speak or read Japanese, but it might be worth learning if that’s part of the cause for his long life. Although, every newspaper I pick up lately makes me want to rip my hair out. Maybe the milk counterbalances those negative effects. I wonder if that’s two percent milk or skim milk, because we all know whole milk kills.

Speaking of milk, did you know that we’re the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal? Some people would have you believe this is because our dietary traditions are backwards. I like to think that we’re the only animal polite enough to be allowed near another animal’s teat. Regardless, milk is delicious.

So, for those of you looking to live well beyond 80, avoid alcohol. Also, avoid cigarettes. And don’t go outside too often. And probably avoid television – mom used to tell me that it rots the brain. In fact, just avoid fun altogether. Avoid fun like the plague.

For anyone interested in joining me, I will be celebrating the life of Tomoji Tanabe tonight by downing Saki shots, smoking four packs of unfiltered cigarettes and snorting cocaine off of a prostitute’s chest (pending the location of an acceptable disease-free prostitute). If I don’t post anything tomorrow, you will know that it’s been a successful celebration. Also, call an ambulance.

So here’s to you Mr. Tanabe! May you live another 112 happy-ish years!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soire Dada - Nothing for Free!

Being a part of "the Industry," which is a fancy term for broke-ass actor, I was offered the opportunity to see a show called Soiree Dada this Sunday afternoon at "Industry prices," which is a less humiliating word for free. Never being one to pass up on a free anything if I can avoid it, I decided to truck my broke actor ass down to 77 E. Randolph to check it out. Not only was the show worth the price of admission, but I might even consider actually paying for a ticket. Not today. I have to wait for a check to clear. But later maybe.

From what I understand, Dada was an artistic movement that occurred between 1916 and 1920 - Wiemar Republic what up? - that was essentially a rejection of the rational and logical bias inherent in the bourgeois artistic status-quo which the Dadaists felt lead to the horrors of World War I. In fact, the show opens with one of the Dadas explaining what Dada is - a monologue which shortly becomes a series of loud nonsensical sounds. Basically, Dada can be described as violent nothingness.

As a result, I can't really tell you too much about the show. It's the kind of thing that you should really just go and see. The best that I can tell you is that the show felt like part carnival, part poetry slam, part Medieval Times, part anti-war demonstration, part period piece, part finger painting exhibit, part dirge and part roller coaster.

I found it interesting that, even though I knew that a lot of the Dada pieces were deliberately trying not to make sense, I couldn't help but make connections, look for patterns and come to conclusions. The mind needs to construct some sort of meaning out of the jumble of words and sounds. I couldn't help myself. The result was that I came away with a bunch of half-learned lessons that were never given to me by anyone. It was a bizarre but gratifying experience.

Ultimately I had a really good time, and when I came away I felt like I had just enjoyed a very unique theatrical experience. See the show because (a) it's very well done and (b) you will not see anything like it anywhere else in Chicago. It's the kind of show that will make you feel more cultured and intelligent, even though you won't be able to figure out exactly why.

Here's the info:

SoireƩ DADA: Blinde Essel Hopse

September 7 - October 14, 2007

Thursday - Saturday @ 7:30PM; Sunday @ 3PM

DCA Studio TheaterChicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph, Chicago

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sketch

At 6:30 on Thursday nights, as part of the whole robowriter deal, Joe Janes typically does a writer's workshop for anyone interested in getting feedback on their writing. People are welcome to show up, bring whatever they have or even just sit in, and get feedback on what they've written. Typically, people bring in comedy sketches, although people are by no means limited to that. He then asks for a $5 donation to help pay for renting the space. It's a good opportunity for you young writers out there to get the expertise of a Second City writing teacher for pretty damned cheap. I'd highly recommend at least coming once to check it out.


Last night, however, Joe could not run the workshop because he was performing in a show called Soiree Dada: Blind Esel Hopse. Chris Othic, who's one of the other robowriters working on our show and who has a weird obsession with the New Age artist Enya, ran the workshop and I decided to sit in with him so that I could ruin the developmental process for other young writers with my uninformed ramblings. I'd like to think I messed up a couple of people.


While there, I noticed a common issue that I run across occasionally as well while writing sketch, so I'm going to talk about that today.


(Please note, I'm about to offer uninformed rambling writing advice. For qualified writing advice, check out Joe's blog.)

Back in my early college days I wanted to be an architect so I did a lot of pencil sketching. When I think about writing sketch, I think about when I used to have to draw sketches for class. You use your penciled lines and broad strokes to flesh out your subject; you use a little bit of shading to give the picture a little depth, pop it out a little bit. It's not a photograph or a painting, though. If you overload the drawing with too much shading or too many little details, pretty soon the graphite runs together and the sketch becomes messy. Your work needs to fall somewhere between a stick figure and a Caravaggio painting.


I feel the same way about writing sketches, particularly when writing a first draft. If you overload it with too much information, too many details, too many layers it becomes difficult to read and difficult to watch. It's not a full length play, afterall. When I first started writing sketches I would try to do too many things at once and as a result a lot of what I wanted to get across did not read to an audience.


When you're a beginner (and I'm closer to that end of the spectrum than the master comedy writer end so take all of this with a grain of salt) I think it's important to focus on one thing that you want to accomplish. Sometimes, you'll hear writing instructers ask you "Whose story are you telling?" What they're asking you to do is find the main thrust of scene and focus in on it.

In the early stages of the Second City Training Center's comedy writing classes there is a lot of emphasis on structure. While taking those classes I occasionally felt frustrated that they were making me write to those structures instead of allowing me to just write what I wanted to write. I realize how valuable those early sketches are now that I'm actually writing from inspiration. They're the outline upon which you hang your story. You don't need to adhere to the strict guidelines of what constitutes, say, a "fish out of water" scene but you do need to know how to structure a scene so that you can shape your ideas into something cohesive.

This is not to say that good sketches don't have layers or don't have a lot of details or a lot of different ideas on the page. The best sketches can do a whole lot within those five pages. But I think when watching a really good sketch you'll notice that there's almost always a solid clarity that comes from the writer knowing where their focus lies.

Once you know that the outlines are there, you can shade in the details and the witty dialogue.

And then, end on a killer penis joke.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Babies = Global Disaster

I just thought this was interesting because typically I don't keep up on the most recent child-birth related news (contrary to popular belief), and yet I've come across these two articles on that very topic in the course of 12 hours.

I read this little snippet from an article on espn.com. Being an ESPN article, most of it deals with sports news, etc. (if you're interested in this history of something called the "shotgun spread", you can look through the article here; if not, I'll save you the trouble in a moment), but there are the occasional snippets on world news and other little fascinating tidbits from around the world. And links to cheerleader pictures. Hey, it's a sports article. What do you want? Towards the bottom of the article is this little piece of information:

"Last week, Chinese government officials told the United Nations climate change talks in Vienna that the country has taken a dramatic step against greenhouse gas emissions -- by preventing 300 million people from being born. China calculates its one-child policy has averted 300 million births, which "means we averted 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2005, based on average world per capital emissions of 4.2 tons," Chinese Foreign Ministry official Su Wei told the conference, according to a Reuters report."


What a uniquely totalitarian solution to the global warming issue. Not only do humans burn fossil fuels to drive to stores to buy their new iPhones which they must then charge at home using electricity that was generated by burning fossil fuels, but they also create carbon dioxide simply by breathing. Our lungs are miniature coal power plants! How are you going to deal that shit, Kyoto Protocol? Simple: just stop making the babies. No kids, no future oxygen consumers, no problem.

Johnathon Swift would be proud. Or might be, at least. Or he could be appalled.

Wait, what's that BBC news? What's happening in Russia? They're what? Humping?! Show me.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6990802.stm

Evidently, a paltry 3,000-some miles west of Beijing, the government is promoting procreation in Russia. Just when it looks like China is on the verge of saving us all from ourselves, along comes Russia to destroy the world - not with nuclear missiles but with pocket rockets. (I'm groaning too just writing that)

Not only are the Russians asking people to take the day off from work today to go have some sex, they're giving them prizes. This year's grand prize winner won an SUV - a gas-guzzling ozone-stabbing SUV! All they had to do was have a child born on June 12th and then... wait a minute. That's my birthday! Damn it; I always knew I was born 25 years too early in the wrong country.

All this being said, you can't really blame the Russians too much. Wednesday is, afterall, hump day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If I Could Change the Alphabet....

"...I'd put you and I together! Let's go make out."

Originally, I was going to write a post on something substantial, like that whole moveon.org General Patraeus Ad in the New York Times (If you haven't heard about it, you can find an article on it here. I'm not going to tackle the Iraq War question right now, nor the Freedom of Speech question, but seriously, fuck these people. The man has a very shitty job. You may take issue with war policy or the Bush administration - hell who doesn't - and you may accuse him of being biased, but treason is a pretty heavy charge to level against a guy who's just trying to fix a big freaking problem. Leave the poor bastard alone.) Instead of dwelling on that, I'm going to write about something completely frivolous: picking up chicks at bars.


I have never had the "privilege" of picking up a chick at a bar. I was and continue to be very awkward, but I was also lucky enough to be cornered by a beautiful blonde woman at a Halloween party a few years ago and have been off the market ever since. However, I do spend a decent amount of time at bars, and I have overheard a fair amount of pick-up conversations in my time.


Last night, a friend of mine and I went to a bar on Broadway to celebrate the fact that he was just cast in a show (I'm sure I'll be plugging it on this blog within a month or so) and whilst we were celebrating I was privileged to overhear possibly the most desperate pick-up conversation I've heard in a good long while. Far be it from me to make fun of a desperately lonely man looking for love at a sports bar - my woman whacked me over the head with a bottle of vodka and dragged me home. However, I would like to share some humble observations on what does not work when trying to extract "them digits:"


A: Ditch the whole pick-up line thing. I have never seen one actually work. Personally I think the sure-fire pick-up line is a myth.

B: Try not to use the word "fuck." Typically, the more you casually toss the "F-bomb" around, the less likely you are to leave the bar with anyone but yourself. You don't necessarily need to be the perfect gentlemen, but you should probably keep the profane cretin inside on the first conversation.


C: If you're going to ask a woman questions, be sure to actually listen to her answers. This is a good conversational rule in general. People typically love to talk about themselves, but they love it even more when you look like you're paying attention.

D: Don't overdo the compliment thing. One compliment is nice. Two compliments is also nice. An hour long diatribe extolling the beauty and virtue of a woman you don't even really know is not only desperate sounding but also a little bit creepy. Unless you are a world-renowned poet of some sort, in which case you might be able to pull that off, just settle on one good compliment and be done with it.

E: You don't need to go for the proverbial home run on the first swing. It's okay to settle for just a phone number.

F: Finally, when the woman says "Okay, let's take a break; you go over there and I'll stay over here," you're pretty much done for the night. At that point, you should go regroup and rethink your approach.

If anyone has any suggestions on what works and what does not work, go ahead and leave a comment in the comment section.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Nod

Well, now I have to write more stuff.

I have been invited to participate in something called The Nod. It will be on Wednesday, September 19th at 8:00. It's an event cooked up by Joe Janes and Don Hall as a chance for bloggers and non-bloggers to get together and do live what they can only normally do at home in front of their computers - namely to read their writing outloud in order to impress themselves. This is a little sin of vanity of which I am especially guilty, so I guess I must have qualified.

The night will be split into two halves. The first is a chance for local bloggers to read their stuff in front of an audience. Greg Wendling, who writes "I'm So Tired," and some other awesome people are going to read. Then, the second half will have Joe, Don, Dave Awl, Thea Lux and me reading from our blogs in a "free form wacky existential kind of style thing." I have no idea what that's going to entail - I thought existentialism was only for disgruntled Germans - but hey, I'll give anything a try.

So that should be fun. The thing is, I probably can't get away with writing three blogs a week like I did last week, so I'm going to have to put on the prolific pants and get to pumping out drivel. Otherwise, I might have nothing to say in a week and a half.

At anyrate, you can check out The Nod's website at: http://thenodwithdonhallandjoejanes.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 7, 2007

Presidential Solution #2

September 7th, 2007






My Fellow Americans,

I understand that the issue of immigration is one very close to the hearts of the American People. On the one hand, everyone on this continent is the descendant of an immigrant (even you, Native Americans, whose ancestors crossed over the Bering Straits on a bridge of Ice or across the Pacific Ocean on some sort of Polynesian boat, depending on who you ask). On the other hand, America is like an exclusive club – you don’t want to let just anyone into the country. They might commit horrible and atrocious crimes. Like perform cheap manual labor.

So, after meeting with one of my top aides on a fact-finding expedition to the Avenue Tavern on Broadway in Chicago, we have come up with a solution that I would like to make one of my campaign’s “Party Points,” which is a term that will replace the term “platform” by the year 2040.

The United States will build a seven-tier fence around the country’s borders. Hold on – I’m not done. In front of each tier of the fence there will be some sort of challenge to complete before one can move on to the next fence. Once the potential resident completes all seven challenges and gets over all seven fences, they will have effectively earned their keep and will be handed a green card.

Basically, we’re talking about a combination of immigration and Japanese game shows. In fact, the fence will be maintained using money accrued through selling video footage of people trying to get through the fences. We may even turn it into a full fledged television show. We’re still working out those details. I’ll probably be the host.

Here are my thoughts on the different challenges:

(1) The potential resident must get across an alligator infested moat.
(2) The potential resident must solve a giant sudoku puzzle in order to open a secret passageway.
(3) The potential resident must choose the Holy Grail from a collection of false grails and then drink water from the cup. If he picks the incorrect cup, the flesh will melt off of his body. If he picks the correct cup, he can proceed to the next fence where he will save Sean Connery’s life.

As always, I am open to any suggestions that the electorate might have regarding possible challenges.

Now that’s what I call a solution. Once you elect me president in 2040, you can expect all sorts of hair-brained entertaining solutions to world problems. Also, you can expect a lot of sex scandals. A lot.

Vote Nat Topping, SEXY! God bless America.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Death by Popcorn

For those of you who are thinking about maybe throwing a bag of delicious microwavable popcorn into the microwave oven and having yourselves an enjoyable little evening snack, think again. Put the box of popcorn down (slowly - you don't want to do anything to upset the popcorn) and then read this article immediately.

Evidently, the butter flavoring used in your microwavable popcorn may or may not potentially be at least partially responsible for causing one isolated case of lung cancer for someone (who remains nameless in the article) who microwaved multiple bags of popcorn a day for an undisclosed amount of years. "We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," quoth our popcorn related disease specialist Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."

I don't know about you, but "no other plausible explanation" is enough for me. I hope you all know what this means. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Orville Redenbacher is trying to kill you.

This looks like a man who likes to relax by spending an evening in front of his television in his plaid pajamas with a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan and a big ol' bowl of hot fresh human brains to snack on. Have you seen this guy's commercials lately? He's been dead for 12 years and he has new commercials running on the major networks. I'm no zombie expert, but dead guy doing commercial shoots? Sounds zombie-esque to me.

I don't know about you all but one day I hope to have at least one reason to fear absolutely everything in the entire known world. Finally I'll be free of the whole "enjoying things" so that I can focus on my true passion in life, which is to avoid doing, eating, saying or thinking anything remotely enjoyable. Thank God I can finally check microwavable popcorn off of that list, and thank God for you, media, for continuing to provide me with news that I absolutely can't live without.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Welcome to September (COUGH COUGH COUGH!)

Some of you may wonder where the hell I have been for the past couple of days. The last time I wrote anything for you I believe was Friday. Did I go jetting off to a beautiful Caribbean island for Labor Day weekend? No. Did I go on a horrendous four-day binge drinking extravaganza to cope with the pain of the Michigan Wolverines losing to the freaking Appalachian State Mountaineers? Not quite, but I was very much tempted. Instead, I spent the past several days holed up in my lousy studio apartment with the Malaysian Death Cold.

What's the Malaysian Death Cold? Well, I kind of added the 'Death' part because I wanted to make my illness sound grievous and life-threatening. And the 'Malaysian' part because I wanted the illness to sound exotic. Okay, so it's just a cold. But it sucks ass. And it's a bitch to get rid of it. Pardon the profanities, but I feel lousy.

I have been fighting the cold for about a week and a half, and late last week I thought I had the thing beat. That was until Saturday, when evidently my immune system started it's Labor Day break. I don't know if it was the shock of seeing my beloved college football team take one so graciously in the big blue behind or what, but suddenly the walls of wellness came crashing down around me. So I've been stuck in my room in a self-imposed quarantine for the past couple of days. I smell like phlegm. It's a pleasant feeling.

You might say to yourself, "But Nat, you've been in your room doing nothing for the entire weekend? Surely you could have written something!" Well, I suppose I could have. Had I not spent most of the weekend in a half-sleeping daze, shifting in and out of consciousness just long enough to exercises my lungs with a little bit of loud coughing. The most productive thing I did the entire weekend was make "soup." I write quotation marks around the word "soup" because it wasn't particularly soupy by the time I was done with it. More like chicken noodle clump-at-the-bottom-of-a-pot. Surprisingly, it was still delicious.

If the word clump sounds appetizing to you, then I would be more than happy to share the recipe.

So, in conclusion, Labor Day is a delightful holiday that provides everyone in the country with a last little bit of sunny goodness before fall begins and everything starts to die. The end.