Thursday, January 31, 2008
Most likely, you were not looking for my Halloween post decrying the rampant sluttery of the season. I can only imagine what you were hoping to find when you stumbled in. Maybe you were just looking for jovial pornographic materials.
Or, maybe you were hoping to find another human being who shared interests with you, both "sluttiness" and "happiness," in the hopes of striking up a long distance relationship. Afterall, Vaxjo, Sweden is kind of a small town. Maybe happiness and sluttiness are frowned upon in the more conservative corners of rural Sweden. Maybe you're the son or daughter of the town's stern Lutheran preacher who only lets you out of the house on select Swedish holidays, like waffle day (March 25th - it's coming up baby!), but even then you must be escorted at all times and you are forbidden to talk to members of the opposite sex. As a result, your only recourse is that one part of your world that your overbearing parents cannot control: that infernal "interweb" land. So maybe you were reaching out in the darkness for a like-minded lonely soul.
Then again, for all I know "Happy Slutty" could be a brand of Swedish soap.
Whatever the cause, I want to thank you for your visit. I sincerely hope you found whatever it is you were looking for though, admittedly, you probably did not.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I know what you're thinking. "Nat, aren't you too cool for social networking websites?"
No, I'm not.
I keep seeing people hitting a link to this blog from a Facebook webpage (that's right, I'm watching all of you) but I can never visit the referring site because I'm not a member of Facebook. So today the curiosity got the better of me and I set myself up. I can already see this could potentially be a big black hole for my precious time.
So, if any of you people are on facebook, come find me.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Well, today I'm kicking myself because, after my nice stroll to work through the abnormally spring-like blissful warmth, I sat down at my computer to check the weather and lo and behold I am screwed.
Today's High? 51 degrees. Tonight? 5 degrees and snowing?! Oh yes, and a red banner at the top of the webpage that screams "SEVERE WEATHER WARNING!!!"
"Severe Weather Warning?" I said to myself. "But it's so nice out. This can't be possible." So, in disbelief, I checked the hourly forecast which, in Nostradamus-like fashion, cryprically details the coming wintery apocalypse. 1:oo PM 49 degrees with wind. 2:00 PM 38 degrees, thunder showers and wind. 5:00 PM 21 degrees and snow... blowing snow. Winds at a healthy 29 mph.
From there it only gets worse. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't typically take my lunch at 2:00 (thunder shower time) and leave work around 6:00 (snow... blowing snow). I briefly considered setting up a cot here at the office and just waiting it out, but that's not a very appetizing option. So, if anyone sees an underdressed bearded man collapsed in a snow drift between Lincoln and Mildred on George street, that's probably me.
Meanwhile, Katie is in Orlando, Florida today. Sunny, high of 71 degrees.
Monday, January 28, 2008
God that must have been boring. Yech.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Today, though, I will spurn my natural tendency towards laziness. Because I must deliver on a promise; a promise that I made to all (three) of you yesterday.
Ladies and gentlemen, sickness is rampant. I was out of the office with a stomach flu on Tuesday. People all over the office where I work have been missing because of various winter-related illnesses. Indeed, our very world seems ill. The global economy may well have the flu, our politics suffer from an excess of phlegm, and foreign policy appears to have a chronic case of explosive gastrointestinal distress. The Earth itself may have a fever or, at the very least, a substance abuse problem.
In short, we are all in need of some serious medication. But where can we go to find that wonderful panacea, that miracle drug that will fix all of our problems?
The answer may shock and surprise you, for the answer is right here:
IT'S A CLOWN-MONKEY!! YAY!!
God, he's so CUTE! Look at that little smile! How can that not warm your heart and make you feel like everything is going to be okay? Whenever you're feeling ill, or worried about the impending collapse of civilization around you, just look at the happy clown-monkey. Go ahead, stare into it's computer altered baby-blue eyes. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Aaah. See? Now that's good healing.
I wonder if one day I will look back at the past month and remember it as my monkey and clown phase....
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I wanted to apologize for not writing anything for almost a week. This was due to a combination of busyness, followed by laziness, followed by busyness again, followed finally by illness. I haven't forgotten you three people who check this regularly. No, I have simply been ignoring you.
I promise I will write you something tomorrow. Or at the least post a picture of a monkey. Or a clown. Or a clown-monkey. Today, though, I'm catching up on yesterday's missed workload.
Talk to you later,
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Number One, you might ask?
I wonder who would win in a fight? Anyway, rest assured that I plan on actually writing something of worth and value (or at least something over a paragraph) soon. For now, though, stare lovingly into the muscular clown's gigantic bicep.
Monday, January 14, 2008
On those rare occasions where I am asked by some curious and literate acquaintance about my reading list, I am happy to reveal the litany of rare raunchy pornographic magazines from the 1920's and historical fiction books that I love ever so dearly. Of course, most of those curious acquaintances walk away disgusted. I imagine because nobody likes historical fiction books, but what can I do? I can't change who I am.
In this instance, though, I'm going to make a recommendation. Go out and get a copy of Steve Martin's Born Standing Up.
The book is not a raunchy pornographic magazine from the 1920's, nor is it a historical fiction book, so it's a bit of a departure for me. My Dad bought me the audio book for Christmas, probably knowing full well that I would refuse to actively read anything other than my two favorite genres, and I loved the damned thing so much that I went out and bought a paper copy of the book.
Born Standing Up details the rise and eventual decline of Steve Martin's standup career. He could very easily have written about the wild success part and been perfectly fine. I'm sure he could have sold plenty of copied. Luckily, the vast majority of the book is devoted to how he did it and what he learned about comedy, performing, and the business of bringing that to a grass roots audience.
It's a useful book for anyone looking to have a career in comedy and performance, so if you are one of those poor sufferning fools then scrape together some change and go get a copy. It's also interesting for regular humans too, fans or no, just to see what all went in to creating such a phenom.
So that's what I think about books. Also, if you love rare 1920's pornographic magazines, I would recommend "Hairy Hags from the Harding Administration, vol. 4.: The 'Ohio Gang' Bang."
Friday, January 11, 2008
When we started the writing group that eventually created the show, we set a couple of goals for ourselves regarding what we were hoping to create. We felt that the majority of sketch shows feel rushed and underdeveloped (no disrespect to the sketch community but, with most everyone on fifteen improv teams and eight sketch groups, it's hard to focus), so we wanted to make sure that our work was developed properly and well thought out. We wanted to do something unusual with sketch, something that you don't normally see every day. We also wanted to make sure that we earned our laughs, that even our cruder jokes were at the least not come by cheaply.
I think the show that we performed last night was a reflection of those goals, and I'm really excited that the audience responded as well as it did.
I have to admit that I was worried, right up until that first laugh, that nobody would find the show funny or that they would get lost in the transitions, or that my performance was going to suck, etc. Most of that was irrational nervousness. Only most of it. But, I think when you spend so much time and energy getting a show together, particularly since we had been writing the show since May, you forget that what you are doing is funny.
So last night, as I was hanging out behind the curtain waiting for my first cue, I was able to breath that great sigh of relief when we got our first laugh a good fifteen seconds in. From then on out, the show was what we intended for it to be: it was a whole lot of fun.
We will be working on the show over the next month or so, expanding it so that we can do a longer run sometime in the spring. I'll keep everyone posted on that, but for the moment, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who came to see the show.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Come check out Robot Vs. Dinosaur in their inaugural show at Sketchfest this Thursday. Here are the details:
The Greatest Stories Never Told... TOLD!
-by RVD Chicago
At Chicago Sketchfest on Thursday, January 10th
Theatre Building of Chicago, South Theatre @ 8:00.
$12.00 for Humans.
FREE for Sketchfest performers (Mutants)
Appearing with Johnny's Regret.
Come one, come all. Bring a friend.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Case in point on point number 2: Read this article courtesy of MSNBC. Go ahead and read it. It's not that long, and it's about monkey sex - specifically about the lengths male monkeys will go to in order to obtain it. I'll still be here when you get back.
Everyone on the same page? Good.
How does this study serve mankind? Apart from inherent entertainment value, it doesn't. Will monkey sex lead to the creation of a new dazzling technology? Probably not although, if it does it's bound to be truly dazzling. I'm almost certain it's not going to cure any diseases though.
Then why even undertake the study? Because I like to read about sex. Especially bestial sex. And I particularly love it when I can draw some tentative parallels, however trivial, to our human experience.
According to the study: "...after a male grooms a female, the likelihood that she will engage in sexual activity with the male was about three times more than if the grooming had not occurred."
I did a little extra research on the subject and found a couple of pieces of information not included in the article.
For instance, a female macaque monkey is five times more likely to engage in sexual activity with a male who purchases a pomagranet-flavored martini for her, and seven times more likely with a male who listens and is attentive to her needs.
Also, a female macaque monkey is only one third as likely to engage in sexual activity with a male monkey who plays Everquest, an online fantasy role-playing game, then she is with monkeys who play rugby with ex-college roommates on a semi-regular basis.
Surprisingly, a male macaque monkey's propensity for flinging poo at zoo visitors has no affect on their sexual desirability for a female monkey. However, 75% of female macaque monkeys polled answered that they are less attraced to male monkeys who smoke tobacco products than to male monkeys who simply chew gum.
I plan to do some additional research on my own, which I will publish in my upcoming book, "Making it: Monkey Sex and Modern Man," coming soon to your nearest major book retailer.
Friday, January 4, 2008
One of the shows I saw last night was Locked in a Room with Don Hall and Joe Janes: 2 Guys, 1 Cup. I know both of these guys, so my creds as a reviewer are slightly skewed, but what the hell. I liked the show. I may as well recommend it.
Don and Joe were described as "Veteran Comedians" by the Chicago Reader. I believe that the term "Veteran Comedians" is code for bitter and angry, and boy are they ever. Their show dashes madly between disgusting (ass rashes) and disgruntling (commentary on the state of improv and of the country). I've seen shows half this ambitious fail. Luckily, Joe and Don have the chops to pull it off; mostly because of their experience and acting prowess (stoking the fires of their egos here; forgive me) but also I think because if you know or have heard of Don and Joe then you probably know what you're getting into before you even step into the theatre.
Overall, plenty of laughs throughout. They use some multimedia effectively during the scene transitions and the scenes themselves were fun and yet were often pointed with a message (gasp) so they actually meant something too. For me, the coolest part of the show was that they were both able to create great, unique characters during their scenework while also giving us a feel for their real life personalities during the same performance.
There were a couple of bits that fell flat, and the show gets pretty caustic at times in regards to George W. Bush, the Iraq War and health care policy. I have no problem with the point of view, however most of the audience was of the liberal leaning artistic type anyway and after a while it felt like they were beating a dead horse.
This was, however, their first performance of 2 Guys, 1 Cup so they haven't had the opportunity to sort through what works and what doesn't in front of a live audience. They have another performance of it on Saturday (January 5th at 7:00, go to the Chicago Sketchfest website for more details), so I wouldn't be surprised if some of the minor glitches are cleared up by then. If you're free that night and have $12 dollars, go check it out.
Also, just to warn any of you with a faint heart or stomach, the ending of the show is pretty damned disgusting. I don't want to ruin it (or relive it) so I won't say anything more about it. Luckily, they do offer you the opportunity to leave the theatre before the shit hits the... I just had a gag reflex.