Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Foolishness - February... Fritata?

Sometimes I try too hard for the alliteration.

Hey, it's Friday! Not only that, it's the last day of February, which means that spring is only a week to two months away, depending. Or else, it was already here and now it's gone again. I don't know. The weather has been pretty messed up lately.

Anyway, a couple of quick things for you today:

For Those Actor Types in Chicago looking for something to do, we're auditioning our upcoming sketch show next Wednesday. Slots are still available at 5:00 PM and we may be adding some slots for the 6:00 PM as well. Here's the post from earlier this week if y'all are interested.

Speaking of The Show we have a title: "Run, palindrome, nuR!" Part of me worries that it's a little egg-heady but we laughed the first five or six times we said it in our writer's meeting so it stays. I'm actually pretty excited about the show itself. It gives us a chance to use some of our favorite sketches that just for one reason or another haven't fit into our previous shows.

Speaking of Shows In General I recommend seeing the Second City Etc. show Brother Can You Spare Some Change. Too lazy to do a review or anything like that, but I thought it was quite funny and certainly funnier than the last couple of Etc shows I've seen.

And Finally, a picture of a drunken space monkey:


Why? Because I love you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Audition Notice

In lieu of writing something original today, how about an audition notice for an upcoming show?

Robot vs. Dinosaur is NOW CASTING for its new, fun, totally chaotic, high energy scripted sketch revue.

AUDITION TIME:
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
at THE SECOND CITY TRAINING CENTER (4TH Floor Lobby)

Slots available at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 pm. and the audition will be cold readings from the script with some improv.

PERFORMANCES:
DONNY’S SKYBOX, Fridays at 7:30 p.m., April 24-May 22
(Important Dates: You must be available on Wednesday, April 8 and Wednesday, April 15, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and be able to make all performances to audition. Any other schedule conflicts are negotiable.)

CASTING:
Looking for a variety of MALES and FEMALES.
This will be a large cast, experimental show. It will be a fun time and a great opportunity for all levels of experience.

To sign up for a time slot, please email Chris Othic at crothic@yahoo.com or call 773-314-3582 and leave a message with your name, phone number and preferred time slot. I will contact you to confirm your slot.

Please bring headshots and resumes (if you have them) to the audition, as well as your availability for rehearsals from now through April 24th.

I like how MALES and FEMALES are in caps.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras

Today is one of my favorite holidays on principle. I never do anything for it outside of having a doughnut because I am lame but the idea of today is very appealing to me.

For those who just woke up from a coma and are wondering what day and year it is, today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, or Carnival depending on who you are and where you live (and 2009 in answer to your second question).

Basically, it's the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the day when all of your Catholic friends are supposed to go have ashes smudged onto their foreheads.

Back in the day the Catholic Church decided that in order to properly celebrate Easter, all of the Catholic church goers needed to spend 40 days fasting, praying, reflecting on their sinful nature and to forgo having fun of any type whatsoever. And of course because Jesus was a fisherman (and to promote the fishing industry in general) no meat.

Naturally this pissed a lot of people off - particularly in Medieval Italy - because it sounded like a shitty way to spend 40 days so the Church compromised by giving everyone the day immediately before to eat, drink, throw beads, flash people, basically get everything out of their system and also to eat as much meat as they like (Carnival is a bastardization of the Latin 'Carne vale' meaning "eat as much meat as you can before it goes away for 40 days").

And, just like St. Patrick's day, you don't even need to be Catholic to enjoy it.

So go ahead and let off some February steam my friends!

Monday, February 23, 2009

RVD Monday - The OSCARS!!!

It's Monday, which means today's post is on the RVD Blog. To get to the post, just stroke the golden phallus below.


Stroke it I say!

Feels good, doesn't it?

Friday, February 20, 2009

AH! Friday!

My favorite day of the week, aside from Saturday of course. Or Sunday morning/early afternoon.

A couple of tid bits for you before you start your weekend.

Robot vs. Dinosaur, Round 5! Coming Soon!
Hey, my sketch group was picked up for a time slot at Donny's Skybox at Piper's Alley (the student theatre for Second City). Dates and times will be Fridays 4/24 - 5/22 at 7:30. We're planning something a little experimental - kind of a chance for us to take a look at some new sketches and new talent - so it's exciting. We'll have more info and audition notice information out soon, so check back.

Speaking Of, Have You Been Going to Robo-Blog?
I hope you have because if not you're missing out on some comedy. In addition to info about upcoming events for Robot vs Dinosaur, you can find daily postings by our writers as well. Check it out here.

Speaking Of Speaking Of, Completely Different Website...
...that was recently shown to me by Mr. Geoff Crump called This Is Why You're Fat. It's interesting to see what people are willing to eat.

Finally...
...in an addendum to my post earlier this week about the Alex Rodriguez steroids scandal comes this revelation that not only is he a steroid user and a liar, but he is also a liar who used steroids.

Wow. Consider my mind blown.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monkey Knife Fight - ON DRUGS!

Hey Chicago! Cold enough for you?

Ha ha ha lolz lolz lmao

Seriously, though, we here at the Clever Title staff (namely myself) often poke fun at monkey knife fighting and love to post this picture:


We (I) would like to remind the general viewing audience, though, that it's not really a joke. Primates can and will kill you.

Case in point, the sad story of Travis the monkey. Here is the headline courtesy of the terribly witty Daily Mail: "Drug-crazed Celebrity Chimp is Stabbed and Shot to Death After He Mauled a Woman and Attacked Police Officers."

With a clever title (YEAH!!) like that, why bother linking to the website? Habit, really.

So remember, folks, if you come across a domesticated monkey of some type, do not feed it drugs and do not provoke it.

As a side note, isn't it amazing how quickly something as stupid as a story such as the above becomes a racially charged hullabaloo? I mean, this chimp story came out yesterday and already we have Obama, the New York Post, protesters and Al Sharpton. I'm not going to get drawn into the what's offensive to whom and who has the right to do what argument. I'll just say it's fascinating how quickly a stupid little story becomes a big stupid argument.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Steroids - Who Is Still Surprised By This?

It is late February, my friends, which for whatever reason in the Baseball world means 'Spring.' This is the time of year when all baseball fans can look forward to the upcoming Baseball season and their favorite team's prospects of success before everything goes horribly, horribly wrong within the first month (see Tigers, 2008).

With these hopes and dreams comes the inevitable steroid controversy. This year, it's Alex Rodriguez, one of many very expensive stars on the New York Yankees' very expensive roster of superstars. Apparently, a few years ago the MLB player's union did some 'anonymous testing' that was supposed to remain 'anonymous' so that they could tell if there really was a steroid problem among their players which, like, no shit Sherlock look at the size of Barry Bond's neck.

Anyway, Rodriguez's name somehow came out as being one of those 'anonymous' players who tested positive for steroids. The media has since been flogging him nonstop and demanding an explanation, which he gave, although there is still some speculation on whether or not he incriminated himself enough to those seeking "the truth."

My question at this point, though, is who cares? I mean, steroid use (alleged or actual) has been a part of Major League Baseball for as long as I can remember - probably as long as I've been alive - and was a hot topic like a decade ago. We're still talking about this?

Yeah, I know, it affects a game that has a lot of tradition and puts a lot of emphasis on numbers and has a lot of 'national past time' baggage attached to it and it basically amounts to cheating etc. But (A) this isn't the first time a player has been revealed, and (B) it's not like we're talking about Roy Hobbes from the Natural. This is not a "Say it ain't so" moment. We're not talking about the shining white knight who has fallen from grace here.

This is Alex Rodriguez we're talking about here: the guy who goes by A-Rod; the guy who cheated on his hot wife with Madonna; the primadonna of the New York Yankees.

I'm just saying I'm tired of hearing about it. If you want to put a blurb about it on an ESPN.com sidebar or something, fine. But everyone is making such a big deal out of this thing like people are somehow surprised that A-Rod - A-Rod of all people! - could have possibly done what a huge percentage of professional baseball players were doing and could conceivably still be doing.

There's a problem, yes. Fix the problem, Baseball, and let the rest of us move on to more important things, like whether or not Joel Zumaya's shoulder will explode the next time he plays Guitar Hero.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm Alive, I Promise

Out of the office yesterday for President's Day. Follow Martin Van Buren's Crazy Mutton Chops for my RvD post!

Hooray!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Katie Meiners Is (Still) My Girlfriend (Thankfully)

One of the bad things about writing a blog is that eventually the more you write the less likely you are to remember when you've already written something.

This happened to me today when I went to write my touching Valentine's Day post, only to discover that I already wrote a crappier version last year. So now I will attempt to write about Valentine's Day without stealing too much from things already written.

Here goes:

My poor girlfriend.

She complained to me once that I never write about her in my blog. That spawned me writing this ridiculous post where I grabbed a bunch of of random biographies off of Wikipedia, pieced them together, and then replaced all pertinent names with "Katie Meiners."

I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend who either has the sense of humor or the kindness to say that she liked the post and that it was funny. Whether or not that's true, I don't know.

For such a funny, beautiful, intelligent young lady she certainly puts up with a lot though.

I'm not an inherently romantic person. I've tried, I swear. I tried in college writing sonnets and getting flowers and leaving love notes and all of that and it all repeatedly got me nowhere or gave me headaches. So my senior year I decided I would stop all of that. My college mind, in its primordially cynical state, reasoned that girls don't actually like nice guys. They like guys who ignore them completely.

That's right, I admit it. I had baggage.

So I started ignoring women completely and, lo and behold, Katie and I met. She hunted me down at a Halloween party - apparently part of my allure was that I was so aloof - and voila.

These results seemed to validate my thesis: that girls like guys who ignore them completely, which in turn reinforced my inherent lack of romantic sensibilities, and Katie (bless her) has had to put up with my nonsense ever since.

Periodically, though, she does plead with me to do something, anything, romantic.

"Why?" I think to myself, "So that I can prove to the Hallmark machine that I love you by buying a bunch of crap that's going to wilt or eventually be thrown out?"

(What a dick)

But then, one day - this was a while ago - I decided out of the blue to get her flowers. Just to try it out. Or, really, I probably did something stupid and I was trying to patch things up. And so I gave her the flowers and it made her so happy. Like, visibly so happy.

"What is it about some stupid plants wrapped in paper," I thought, "that made Katie so happy?" And I thought and thought and thought and I came to a very simple, very obvious conclusion. A conclusion so simple that we take it for granted. It's almost a cliche.

It wasn't the flowers that made her happy per se, although flowers are definitely pretty, but the fact that I had gone out of the way to show my girlfriend that I care enough to buy the damned things. And it's the act of showing that care that proves to her that I love her.

It was my Grinch moment. The moment my heart grew however many sizes and then I lifted the sled up over my head.

It's such a simple idea, this concept of showing people that you love them, and yet a lot of perfectly good loving people don't bother with it.

So what is Valentine's Day? Is it a day to run out and buy a bunch of crap that nobody really needs so that Hallmark can continue to turn a profit off of our ridiculousness? Is it a day for women where men have to bow down to them and present them with offerings?

Cynical mind says yes.

But I'm beginning to think that Valentine's Day is for people like myself. It is a calendar reminder to show your loved ones you love them.

Holiday rant over and out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Unseasonable

Hey Chicago,

What are you doing reading blogs? It's like 68 degrees out or something. In February. Go get your pasty winter-ridden asses ouside and enjoy it while it lasts. Because it won't.

Love,

-Nat

Monday, February 9, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Huzzah for Friday!

A couple of random tidbits to round out the week.


In the interest of educating my readership with random bits of information you'll probably never use, here's a wikipedia link I pulled off of there today about GIANT DINO-SNAKES!! "...Researchers estimated that the T. cerrejonensis reached a maximum size of between 12 to 15 metres (37 to 50 feet) in length...." That's a big damn snake ladies and gentlemen.


Also, for some good blog kharma, check out my friend Joe's blog. Formerly titled "Bite and Smile," he's converted it to host his 365 sketches project. The goal is to write one sketch per day for a whole year. He's on day eighteen - so eighteen sketches - and the quality of writing has been really good so far. Anyone who's ever written a sketch knows how much work goes into just a five page scene. Hell, I get tired writing my own name. So if you have a moment, go check it out and show the man some support.


And now, just for the hell of it, he's a picture of a monkey for good measure.



You crazy monkeys!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bill Gates: Philanthropist or Madman?

Once upon a time there was a young nerd from Seattle who went to Harvard but dropped out so that he could run the largest software empire ever to exist in the history of the world. This nerd ruled his company with an iron fist and violated a couple of anti-trust laws along the way to becoming the richest man in the world.

Then, for some inexplicable reason, his icy heart began to soften. He looked around at his trillions and trillions of dollars and decided that life wasn't about ruthlessly dominating the technology industry and that he would never be fully content with stomping out any and all opposition.

So he turned to stomping out disease.

He and his wife (nerd + money = great husband) turned their attentions to bettering humankind and various other altruistic causes.

Apparently, though, the ruthless habits die hard, as evidenced by an episode at the recent Technology, Entertainment and Design conference when billionaire Bill Gates unleashed a jar full of mosquitoes upon his audience during a speech about malaria.

"Here, I'll let them roam around," he shouted wildly,* "There is no reason only poor people should be infected!"

You might say he was just trying to get the audience's attention, but isn't releasing presumably infected insects on a room full of trapped people the kind of thing a mad scientist or a lunatic does? Shitty movies are made about that kind of thing. Of course the mosquitoes turned out to be harmless - well, I should say uninfected as I'm sure they bit a couple people and that's always irritating - thus turning a potentially evil moment into just a regular old fashioned dick move, but still. There have to be other ways of convincing people that malaria is bad (because I'm sure everyone need to be told that malaria is bad).

This guy invented PowerPoint, for chrissake.

I wonder what he has lined up for next week's conference on syphilis?


*I can't back up the "wildly" part as this is probably third or fourth hand information. But that's the great thing about blogging on the interwebs: spreading unsubstantiated lies about famous people.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Elevator Vignette - The Dog Walker

I’m standing around waiting for the elevator to show up on the first floor. Standing there with me is this guy wearing track pants and a winter coat. He has a dog with him, one of those little toy dog terrier types, on a leash. He’s brushing the slack of the leash across the dog’s head. I’m looking at the lit call button next to the elevator door.

“Watch this,” says the guy. I look over. “Watch this, he hates this.” He takes the slack of the leash and rests it on the dog’s ass. The dog scampers away, clearly as upset as a cuddly cute dog can get. “He hates having his ass touched.” The guy does it a couple more times. “Look at him, he’s walking sideways he hates it so much.”

I smile politely. I’ve never been a dog person since I’m allergic to them but I also typically don’t get off watching people pat their pet’s ass either.

The elevator arrives and we three get on: the track pants guy, me and the dog. The door closes and we stand together in early morning silence. The guy and I look at the dog, who pants and waves his tail. A couple of moments go by where we don’t say anything.

“You know, people really seem to love these things,” says the guy.

“Well, he is very cute,” I offer.

Guy nods. “It’s not just that, though. I mean, you see them maybe ten times a day and ten times a day they’re happy to see you.”

I nod back as we reach his floor.

“Unlike pussy,” he says as he and the dog leave the elevator. “Have a good one.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One Hit For Every Medal

According to Bob Costas during this summer's Olympics coverage, American swimmer and eighty-time Gold medalist Michael Phelps' typical breakfast includes "...Three sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions and mayonnaise, add one omelet, a bowl of grits, and three slices of french toast with powdered sugar, then wash down with three chocolate chip pancakes."

Why all the food, you might ask? Is it because he burns calories at a superhuman rate, which is what allows him to dominate the sport of competitive swimming?

No.

It's the munchies, son!

Oh Michael Phelps. Let the pot jokes begin (comedy writers, help yourselves to the comments section).

Monday, February 2, 2009