Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good Old Fashioned American Ingenuity

I was thinking about posting a bunch of pictures of people sleeping today to stress how tired I am. But then this link came along to spare you from that.

Basically, a guy built a motorized bar stool out of a lawn mower. He then proceeded to get drunk and crash aforementioned bar stool. It's worth clicking on the link just to see what the damned thing looks like.

Why in the name of God would one build a motorized bar stool? Not important my friends. Just know that it has been done, and has since been involved in a drunken driving accident.

My favorite part of the article, though, is that the dude "pleaded not guilty and has requested a jury trial."

Warms my sleepy heart.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday and the Blasphemous Movie Concept

Hello Gentles,

It's Friday and the steady stream of coffee pulsing through my circulatory system is pretty much the only thing keeping me awake at this point. Here's some random junk to get you through the blog today:

(1) Blaspheme!! I realize that remaking old classic movies into new mediocre slush is in vogue these days (A la Pink Panther) but this? A new Three Stooges movie?! Starring Sean Penn?!

Is nothing sacred?!

(2) Speaking of Movies: and modern versions of classics, here is the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, which was one of my favorite books while growing up. Directed by Spike Jonze too. Unlike the Stooges abomination, I might actually see this one.

(3) This Week's Crazy Europeans Making Gigantic Phallic Symbols Award: goes to this little caper. Something tells my the gargantuan painting of a cock and balls was not part of the original blue prints. Oh you crazy Europeans.

(4) Shameless Plug Time: April, May and June will be a busy couple of months for me (in a good way). I have a sketch show courtesy of Robot vs Dinosaur coming up called ¡Run, palindrome, nuR! that will be showing Fridays, April 24th – May 22nd at 7:30.

Then, starting May 16th, I'm going to be in Measure For Measure with the Promethean Theatre Ensemble. That's right - someone's letting me do some serious acting again. Poor fools.

I'm updating the events sidebar dealy today with some information and will update with more as that becomes available.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sometimes, One Just Has to Masturbate

I have no idea who this person is, but evidently some semi-famous guy was caught masturbating on an airplane.

Hey, air travel is stressful.

That's all. Have a good rest of your day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The CTA: You Are Why We're Crazy

This doesn't excuse the crazy-ass CTA bus drivers who never mastered the nuances of gently applying the break or who scream at a packed bus about how everyone needs to move to the back despite the absolutely lack of space.

But I can see why some of them are crazy.

This morning I was sitting on the number 8 Halstead heading south towards work. Minding my own business. Casually leafing through a copy of the Redeye free newspaper.

Suddenly, a ruckus erupted towards the front of the bus. The morning commute chattle and I snapped out of our collective trances and craned our necks to see what the fuss was about.

A young lady was engaged in a spirited argument with the bus driver in which the young lady accused the bus driver of trying to splash her with water while driving through a puddle.

The bus driver was trying to explain that if she were trying to splash her with water while driving through a puddle she would have driven faster and also the young lady was not, in fact, wet so what the hell was she talking about, are you crazy or something?

But the young lady was convinced, despite the fact that she had been standing at the bus stop right in front of a puddle and that anyone driving a bus to that stop would have to drive through the puddle in order to get there and also despite the fact that she did not get splashed, that this particular bus driver was deliberately trying to get her.

It was the kind of uncomfortable thing where everyone else was pretending not to notice anything was wrong but it was clear they were all listening. I didn't care. I was staring with amusement.

I wanted to know why. Why would a bus driver deliberately try to splash a puddle onto someone who they knew was going to get right on that bus with them? More importanly, what scenario had crazy lady created in her head that convinced her the bus driver was out to get her? Or, was there a past history between this particular bus driver and this particular lady?

I figured if there were going to interrupt my morning somnabulance that they at least owed me a little back story.

But there was no back story and no explanation. One called the other crazy, then the other threatened to report her and took down the bus number, then the bus driver said something like, "what you think - I'm still gonna have my job, sit down."

It made me want to know how often bus drivers have to deal with that kind of random ridiculousness. I mean, no wonder some of these bus drivers end up shouting at passengers and blaring their horns at bikers and the like. I'm sure if I had to deal with 'the public' on such an intimately stupid level everyday I would probably crack too.

Doesn't excuse them. Just saying I understand.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blog-dentity Crisis

Oh boy, this is going to be a long one.

One of my favorite things to do when checking out a new blog is to take a look at their very first post. It usually provides some insight into the blogger and what their expectations are. You can then compare the expectations with what the blog has become. I don't know; I just find it interesting.

Today I read a post on Don Hall's blog "An Angry White Guy in Chicago." For those of you who don't know him, Don is something of an off-loop theatrical institution here in Chicago. Today's post was a response to a post written by some guy I've never met or previously heard of living in New York. The interwebs are funny that way in that you get access to the thoughts and ramblings of people with whom you will probably never interact otherwise. Another funny thing about the interwebs - one post begets another post which begot this post.

Anyway, this guy's post basically satirized people who write blog posts lamenting the state of the American Theatre and kind of reminded me of an essay I wrote back in college about the bullshit of writing short fiction for a class load of stuffy pain-in-the-ass fiction writers- the same kind of 'biting the hand that feeds' mentality.

Don wrote a response post that ended up basically defending himself and between his post and the comment section it basically (and possibly inadvertently) amounted to a microcosm of the whole concept of his blog: Don rants about injustices in theatre, art and politics and makes poop jokes.

I believe that would be a fair summary and would apply to most (though not all) of what appears on his blog.

Blogs are funny things. The idea of blogging gets a lot of flack from non-bloggers for being forums for narcissistic jackasses to bitch and complain about things that nobody else in the world would reasonably ever care about. I wrote about this topic a while back.

Essentially a blog is just a format. You log onto a site, write something in a white box (like I am doing right now) and then hit "Publish" and then your post shows up on the interwebs, tagged and dated with the newest post at the top of the page.

What you do with your blog is your business. Your blog can be what amounts to an electronic diary, as is so often lamented by nonbloggers as previously mentioned. But blogs can just as easily serve other purposes. My sister started hers as a trip journal for while she was going to school in France for six months. My friend Joe is using his (formerly titled "Bite and Smile") as a place to post sketches for his 365 Sketches project, where he writes a sketch every day for a year. My favorite sports website is called MGoBlog and, as you can probably tell in the name, runs on a blog format.

A blog format can also be used to post pictures of disgusting food, or pictures/movies of people doing stupid things, or any number of random things. All of these blogs have a purpose. Blog A is more or less about topic A.

So, being one of these aforementioned narcissistic jackass bloggers I read this microcosm of Don Hall's blog and began to think "Gee, what is my blog about?" and suddenly realize that I really don't have an answer to that question.

I write about all sorts of different things. I make fun of Chuck Norris and Richard Simmons. I write about politics and sports and theatre and sketch comedy and things I find on the Internet. I write about writing. I write about my life. I write about Chicago, and Michigan. I write about things I like or things that irritate me. I write little fictional pieces or fake histories. I post pictures of monkeys fighting with knives and medieval torture.

Some days I come to the post with an idea of something I want to write. Some days, I show up and have no idea what I'm going to write and then accidentally stumble on something. Most days, though, I have no idea what I'm going to do and I end up just making something up or posting a picture or not posting at all.

And the result is a blog that, as near as I can tell in looking back on a year and a half's worth of posts, just kind of wanders aimlessly from topic to topic without ever really sticking with anything. It's not a diary - I try not to bitch about my personal life as much as possible - but it's not focused enough on any particular topic to be about something either.

My blog's not really about anything.

Sudden confrontation with the lack of consequence or direction of one's blog might very easily crumble a blogger, especially once juxtaposed with such venerable blogs. Feeling a surprisingly desperate introspection, I looked back at my first blog post here at Clever Title - a fittingly vague name given the above realizations - to see if I ever left myself any clues on what I was about to do with a year and a half (and going) of my life. Basically what I find is (1) bloggers are narcissists who write things nobody wants to read, and (2) I'm doing this to keep writing.

That's it. That's all I gave myself to go on. Keep writing. Don't be a whiny jackass.

I look at my goals and I say "Have I kept writing? Have I been a whiny jackass?" And, since the answer is yes and no respectively (at least I don't think I've been a whiny jackass. I guess you readers could tell better than I) then I guess I've accomplished my goals.

So that will have to do for now. This blog is not about anything in particular, but at least there are goals here, as loose as they may be. And that's probably just as well, because for the moment I'm content just to wander around blathering.

Yikes. Tune in tomorrow for more pictures of monkeys.

Monday, March 23, 2009

RVD Monday - Shakes Our Fist Out The Window

Hi kids,


Today's Monday, and you know what that means! Click on the Cab to take your life into your own hands!


Hooray!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday - I'm Writing Up My Shit-List and You're On It, California!!

An unfortunate biproduct of putting down money on a NCAA basketball bracket is now I have a whole bunch of schools that I hate for no other reason than that they are conspiring to make me lose and look like a fool. Among those schools currently:

BYU
Butler
VCU - I needed that upset you bastards
California
and last but not lease...
Illinois - you lost to Western Kentucky?!
West Virginia - you just made the list!!*

I'm sure there will be more to come as the tournament progresses. So look for more spite filled posts directed at institutions of higher learning throughout the country.

Anyway.

Hey, how 'bout that Friday huh?

*Updated at 4:25 PM to include West Virginia, those deadbeats.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Transient Nature of Karma in the World of Sports as Brought About by Simple Office Betting

There is a reason why it isn't called "March Rational Tournament in which Everyone You Expect to Win Does So and North Carolina Ends Up the National Champions of NCAA Basketball."

No, my friends, it's March Madness. And March Madness is, if nothing else, Maddening. This is because traditional powerhouse basketball teams have a tendency to lose to weird little schools like Western Kentucky and East Tennessee State during the NCAA Basketball Tournament. And nobody can offer a sufficient explanation as to why this happens other than the obvious "well, they scored more points."

This is fine for simple tournament viewing, because it keeps things exciting and the underdog story and Cinderella and all that.

It sucks, though, when you're trying to fill out the old office bracket.

Sports are a notoriously superstitious affair for both players and fans alike. I have discussed the concept of the Sport's Curse on this blog before. The premise is that when I mention a team on this blog, that team inevitably falls apart and has a shitty season that year. It doesn't make any sense logically how mentioning anything on this blog could possibly alter events happening hundreds and thousands of miles away months and months after I write the post. Does it make any sense at all? No. Yet I am pretty sure, despite all things rational suggesting otherwise, that somehow I have that kind of season-killing potential.

All I know is, the year a certain college football team beat Ohio State and went to the Rose Bowl I was wearing a chip bowl turned helmet on my head. When I went to the Rose Bowl, that team lost to USC. I was not wearing my chip bowl helmet at that Rose Bowl.

Coincidence?

Today I have the opportunity to prove another of my sports karmic theories.

I went ahead and filled out my office bracket, threw down $20 that I will probably never see again, and am waiting to see if I will in fact ruin the lives of any number of championship bound teams.

So woe unto you, teams that I have picked. I may have just jinxed all of you. Of course, I hope that's not the case. I hope I can get my $20 dollars back. But I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saint Drunken's Day

In all of this hubbub and hullabaloo this past weekend, it is easy to forget about Saint Drunken's Day.


You don't know what Saint Drunken's Day is? Really?


I'll bet you probably celebrated it without even knowing it.


Saint Drunken's Day happens the second or third Saturday of March depending on the Holy Catholic calendar and usually corresponds coincidentally to the weekend before or the weekend after the popular Irish American festival of St. Patrick's day (which happens to be today, Erin Go Bragh, etc.) and is meant to celebrate the life of Saint Drunken.


Who is Saint Drunken, you might ask?


Saint Drunken is the patron saint of finding an arbitrary reason to drink alcohol to excess during the middle of the day.


Here's an ancient Medieval illustration of him performing his favorite activity: riding a horse while gesturing to a large phallic symbol.


A little bit of history for you: Saint Drunken reputedly lived in the 12th Century as a monk in a monastery outside of Flanders. He is also reputedly the innovator responsible for drinking his ale, brewed on location at the monastery, with a shot of whiskey.


He reportedly is the first person to urinate on a building. Quoth Saint Drunken, "I hath Christyned meself with all the holy spriryts I maye, and anon I Christyn thee, ye Bush that doth sit tidily beneath the Pryor's window, with what remaynes."*


Saint Drunken has also been attributed with the first recorded consumption of nachos as well as the invention of bacon and cheese potato skins, although that assertion has been disputed in some scholarly circles.


Unfortunately, Saint Drunken died at a relatively young age (some evidence points to between 26 and 29) when he fell over while doing quite possibly the first keg stand and snapped his neck. His first reported miracle occurred some two years after his death at the monastery's annual potluck.


"The lybations dwyndl'd unteel we wast drynk the dregs of th'barryl an indid the celybrations werst in jeopardie whyn throgh th'windew camest th' sainly visyn of Drunkyn hisself, carrion benuth hys arm an syckspax oth lym flavoured brew an' quoth he, 'Lord abuff, lessus keep th'partie goin anon!'"**


In November of 1187, Drunken was declared a Saint by Pope Gregory VIII, who also proposed the Third Crusade, with Saint Drunken's feast day assigned to March.


Traditionally on Saint Drunken's day celebrants are tasked with drinking Green Appletinis and various other vodka or tequila drinks during the middle of the day while wearing the color green as that was supposedly the color of Saint Drunken's vomit.


So next year (or really any time you're drinking in the middle of the day) be sure the raise your glass and toast Saint Drunken.



Source Material:


* From "The Chronicals of Saint Drunken," anonymous, anno domini 1156, translated from the original Flemish.


** From "The Passion of Sain' Drunken," anonymous, anno domini 1154, translated from what appears to be drunken Latin.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday - Me Can Haz Wekend LOL?!

Hi Friends. Today is Friday, which 'round these parts can either mean a horrendous work day (last Friday) or a posting of random foolishness.

Here's your random foolishness:

First and Foremost: If you're like me you're looking for somewhere to go where you can waste a couple hours of your life looking at something stupid and pointless.


That link is dedicated to Geoff Crump.

Secondly and of Equal Import: We had our first readthrough of ¡Run palindrome nuR!, our gigunga-cast sketch show. It went quite well and the actors seemed to laugh, which is always reassuring (I think I say that after every first read through for everything I've ever helped write). It's probably going to be a crazy rehearsal process - I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that - but I'm looking forward to it.

Tertiarily as an Afterthough: When's the last time you ever heard someone use the word "Rapscallion?" I say we make that word of the month.

Last but Not Least: More Chuck Norris Jokes, such as "Jesus can walk on water, but Chuck Norris can swim through dry land."

Finally: A funny picture from the past; a very frightening picture of Orville Redenbacher.


Also: I know this tempts the Clever Title blog sports curse, but what the hell. "Quemar los barcos."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chuck Norris for President... of Texas!

Last July I ran across a beautiful little tib bit of information about how Richard Simmons might consider one day running for Congress. My comic sensabilities rejoiced, which prompted me to run a short lived advice column featuring Richard Simmons' Dalmatians.

And now this: Chuck Norris is considering running for public office.

What public office?

The Presidency.

OF TEXAS!

That's right. In the not so distant future, in the crazy mixed up Chuck Norris alternate universe, Texas secedes from the union and then Chuck Norris rules it with an Iron Fist. Which has to be a movie title of his, right? And if it isn't then it should be.

You remember Chuck Norris. Walker Texas Ranger. He's the one who made chest hair fashionable (briefly) in the world of martial arts. He's the inspiration for a plethora of hyperbolous jokes. Example:

"If you see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death."

More can be found here, here and here.

Maybe he would be a good president. He could not be any worse than the last president from the state of Texas. And I would love to see him square of against Vladimir Putin.

But President of Texas? Didn't they try the seceding from the union thing with some friends? I seem to remember that not working out so much. I mean, yeah. Country has some problems, granted. Especially since we started paying for the Government's record high budget with money trees. But still, Chuck Norris: you know that sounds a little crazy, right?

Then again, we're talking about Chuck Norris here. "Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits."

How can you not love that? Now just imagine if Chuck Norris and Richard Simmons teamed up?

Look out Putin.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pornographone!*

Beginning post where I talk about something I heard about on the news.

...

Hey! Have ya heard about this sexting thing?

"What is sexting?" you ask? To which I reply, "Are you seriously too lazy to follow the link? It's the different colored word above. If you click on it with your mouse, it will take you to another page which conveniently is about 'sexting.' No? Okay fine. Here, you lazy bastard:"

It's a portmanteau (I love this word. It's when you take two words and throw them together to create a new clever word, kind of like the title of this post - HEY, CLEVER TITLE!*) of the words texting, which is the act of sending cryptic and/or vapid messages to people over their phone, and the word sex, which if I have to explain what sex is to you then you probably don't get about 45% of the jokes on this blog anyway.

And since I don't know what sex is that probably makes 45% of this blog not funny at all.

Sigh.

At any rate, put the two words together and you have people taking pornographic pictures of themselves or others and then texting those pictures to someone else.

One would assume that the goal of sexting is to take pictures of your genitals and then send them to your boss and coworkers to prove your superiority (okay, I might assume) but evidently that's not the case. Some people use it to send racy pictures of themselves to members of the opposite sex! To promote sex having! Using phones!

GASP!!

What kind of world do we live in, am I right?

The big concern, though, is that this practice violates child pornography laws. But not in like a 'there's a thirty five year old dude taking a picture of me with his phone over the top of the bathroom stall divider' kind of way, but in a 'hormone case teenagers taking pictures of themselves and sending them to other hormone case teenagers.'

I don't know why anyone is surprised by this. Teenagers will figure out a way to hump a sofa. Give them a camera phone and LOOK OUT!

And this is where we get to the end of the post. At the end of the post, I'm supposed to tie the subject matter into some sort of argument or lesson or moral nugget about what people should or should not do. But you know what? I'm not going to do that today.

And the reason I'm not going to tie it all together is because it would dilute the purpose of this post.

"What's the purpose of this post," you ask? I'll tell you:

To make jokes about teenagers humping couches.

And if that's not enough for you, then I suggest you waste your time here.

Seriously? You're still too lazy to click the link?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday - TRAPPED!!

A picture adequately describing my current state as of this moment of time on this lovely, warm Friday afternoon:
Sigh. If work was fun, they'd call it "play" and not "fucking hell, this conference call makes me want to leap out of a window onto a pile of iron spikes and glass shards." Hope everyone else is doing okay though.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Post Audition Post

I don't know if you've noticed - as I've used this as a substitute for actual blog writing as of late - but we held auditions last night for the new sketch show starting in April. Which reminds me, I have to update my "Events" thingy in the side bar. I'll get around to that.

It's always interesting being a performer who has to put up with all the foolishness of auditioning, and then turning around and sitting on the director's side of the table.

It was a somewhat late night last night (we cast the show immediately after the auditions over at Corcoran's across from the Second City) but the whole process was still a lot of fun and we had some very talented people audition. We deliberately cast a large group of actors - we're trying to create a really high energy show and we're experimenting with numbers of people to see what that does for us - and yet w still had to turn some funny people away.

I think this is my fourth time in Chicago holding auditions. I did a couple back at U of M during my RC Players days. I always come away with something new that I've learned.

For whatever reason, stripes seem to be the thing to wear at auditions. When you're auditioning large groups, the auditioners will be scrambling to write something about your appearance that will help them remember you later when they're casting the show. For whatever reason, I was always able to remember the people wearing stripes. You have five or six people wearing white shirts of all black and then you're sitting there wondering "who are these notes for?" and before long you're angry and confused. Yet with stripes, even when there are multiple people wearing them, you can still differentiate by color, by vertical versus horizontal, etc.

On a similar note, and this is something I've noticed before, don't wear all black. Particularly to a comedy audition. Not only are you indiscernible from the other people wearing all black, but you also look like one of those pretentious artsy actor cliches.

Also, you can't stress actor fundamentals enough in an audition. Eye contact, cheating out, listening to the other person while they're delivering their lines, reacting to them. I think that can be just as important as the choices you make in your reading. You can be funny and crazy all you want, but your director is likely looking for someone who can do the basics as well.

So that's it. I'm pretty happy with the group that we got. I'm sure you'll hear more from me on the show over the next two months so get ready for that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Auditions Tonight!

Holding auditions tonight for our new Robot Vs Dinosaur show: "Run, palindrome, nuR!" I'm looking forward to it, and it looks like we have a sizable chunk of people coming out for it. My favorite part of the process is, naturally, the power trip. It's been a little while since I've tripped on power. I think we might still have some slots open at 5:00 and if you or anyone else you know have always wanted to try out acting, come on down to the party! I think I posted audition information below in one of my previous posts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Subway - Eat Me

Anyone else tired of the Subway "Five Dollar Footlong" song? The song and the commercials, swear to God, can't get them out of my head. And not in a good way, like you hear a song and you say to yourself "wow, that's really awesome." This is a "why are they playing this fucking song all the time, it's terrible!" thing. I appreciate the promotion, I recognize $5 for a footlong sub is not a bad deal. And it was okay when it was just the construction workers and the office ladies singing. Fine. Still not a fan of the song, but I can handle it. But now, you got a whole chorus of random people singing a shitty song, basically repeating "Five Dollar Footlong" over and over and over again (whatever happened to subliminal messenging?) and all the while streamers are flying everywhere and they're dancing around like a bunch of morons over a stupid sandwich? It's too much!

So Subway, if you're listening, STOP IT.

STOP IT!

...

So that's today's post. Hey, they can't all be gems.