30 October 2008

let's play 'funny not funny'!

funny not funny

Here's a sample: "With Potter teaching sorcery to the children, their guard is down when they get to college where almost every campus sports an occultic coven waiting for them. "

24 October 2008

Thursday night funnies...

Have you been watching "The Office" this season? I hated the very idea of it for so long; I thought the original British version was perfect and saw no reason to butcher it by translating it across the pond. Guess what, I was wrong--it's frakkin' funny! Sitcoms have been a dead art for years now, with very few exceptions, i.e. "Arrested Development", "30 Rock", and this American version of "The Office". Each of these shows has taken the idea of telling a funny story in 22 minutes and turned it into something new and bizarre and fresh; when you consider that the form has been around for so long and grown so stale, it's pretty impressive. "Arrested Development" was cancelled, despite the protests from the cast, crew, and a large, loyal, and devoted fan base; the latter 2 shows have become the anchor of NBC's Thursday line-up, which has been a juggernaut in the ratings since the days of "Family Ties," "Cheers," and "L.A. Law." 30 Rock comes back next week, and I wanted to talk about "The Office" anyway.

Pam is away in NYC at art school for 3 months; Jim is still in the office. They're engaged and doing the long distance thing, while Michael has been wooing and appears to have won Holly, the new HR rep, who replaced the hapless Toby, who quit to go to Costa Rica and broke his neck on his 3rd day there. Phyllis has replaced Angela as the head of the party planning committee, while Angela is engaged to Andy while sneaking off several times a week to have sex with Dwight in the ware house or the broom closet.

See, the main gimmick of the show is that the characters know they are on camera; the office is the subject of a long-running documentary. They are interviewed throughout in private, where they tell us how they're feeling, what they're doing, etc. This sort of faux-reality TV is very effective because they've taken the time to create real, 3-dimensional characters, people you can care about or dislike or distrust. They're each a little strange, but no stranger than any of the people you work with. Jim and Pam's romance is so well written, and acted brilliantly by John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, while Steve Carell's and Rainn Wilson's Michael and Dwight are the silliest management team ever.

I'm hesitant to draw direct comparisons between the UK and USA versions of the show. While each show has different versions of basically the same characters, there's a warmth to the American characters that is just missing in its British counterpart. British boss David Brent is a prick through and through; none of the workers really likes him; any consideration they show him is out of obligation or pure pity; he never redeems himself. American boss Michael is actually a very sweet man who has no idea how tactless and offensive his behavior is. Even Tim, the Everyman we're supposed to identify with, really inspires pity first and foremost, while the American Everyman, Jim, has a really endearing sense of humor and is quite likable. Maybe a British audience would identify and like the British characters more; perhaps we Americans just don't get the quiet British desperation in which most men live their lives.

That's not to say that the British version is not awesome. I meant it when I called it perfect. It's just that the American version is awful damn funny.

Did you know Dwight has a blog? Here's a portkey: Dwight's Blog

23 October 2008


Thanks to Google Analytics, I have found out that this site, my blog, which I maintain in my off hours, has been visited by someone at the headquarters of the corporation for which I work. I saw the name of the city where I know it to be located, and the network location is named for the name of said corporation. I don't know if I should be worried or flattered. I have never mentioned the name of the company here, or at least never admitted that I work for it. I don't talk about my job or what I do, nor have I ever divulged any proprietary information, such as a low level peon such as myself has access to. Those of you, my readers, who know me in real life, know what I do and where I work; some of you work for the same corporate monolith.

It feels like spying, like the thought police. If someone is interested, that's all good, but I find it hard to believe that 99% of my visitors come from my home city, but this one visitor accidentally found my site, just so happening to be on a computer at the headquarters in that unspecified city. If it is spying, I have nothing to hide, and I welcome a conversation from anyone above my paygrade about what gives them the right to check up on my off-hours internet activity.

21 October 2008

Like a lot of things in life, we laugh because it's funny, but we laugh because it's true.

Leonard Cohen lyrics, Vol XXVIII

- Leonard Cohen Lyrics

Saw 5

Really? Saw 5? Really, Hollywood?

This week...

Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama on Meet The Press. It was a good move, the right move, but it's going to take a lot more than that for Powell to redeem himself for his role in the Iraq War. If Obama is elected, Powell should be named Secretary of Defense or State, so he can clean up the mess and act like the honorable man we all hoped he was.

I got a new boss, and let me tell you, it's only been one day, but he's so much better than the old boss. The old boss is going to be one of those people that will make me angry when I think about her for years to come. I'm still looking for a new job. If you are looking to hire a near-genius with zero ambition and a bad attitude, let me know, I think I've got just the guy for you.

British rapper Mike Skinner, whose stage name is "The Streets," released his 4th and supposedly final CD under that name. It's called "Everything Is Borrowed," and I'm really looking forward to hearing it. I loved his first, and the second got me through some pretty tough times. The third one was ok, not great, but he did have the balls to blame the American people for the murder of John Lennon, who was arguably Britain's greatest musical gift to the world. I don't even really like hip-hop anymore, but he's just so damn good!
The Red Sox. (sigh) After their miraculous comeback in game 5 and a near-perfect bullpen performance in game 6, Jed Lowrie grounded into a force-out in the 9th last night, effectively signaling the unofficial start of winter in Boston.
Sarah Palin, despite a pretty good appearance on SNL, continues to be disgustingly unqualified to hold national office. John McCain continues to be hardly any better, although he did get off a great line at the Alfred Smith dinner: "It's gonna be a long night at MSNBC if I win this thing." Both candidates gave great, funny speeches at this event. Google it or search for it on youtube.
It won't be the same, this election night, without Tim Russert. "Florida, Florida, Florida"
Hermione, may I borrow your time-turner?

We help here.

The lights on the right side of the hemoglobinous torturesphere flash affectingly accelerating accolades up into the synaptical nimbusphere. I looked up from the horrifying hologram long enough to catch a beat or two, just a dot and a couple of dashes, job well done, but you're done, son.

The fire on the left side of the spheroid tortureglobin burns brightest at the close of day, at the break of day, in the empty solitary space in between, when the consciousness is unencumbered by strain and rumors of strain. I blinked and missed the heavy dragging boots, the slow methodical lurch of a stranger.

In the middle of a sea of torture-globinous hemospheres, we swim and drown, inhale and exhale, fill the solitary space with our lives like puffer-fish at the sight of a stranger. We love and live and lie and work and help.


16 October 2008

Homemade campaign video

This is a video that a friend and former roommate put together. It is a rather clever indictment of John McCain and his knowledge, or lack thereof, of the economy. Enjoy!!

14 October 2008

contrasts/measured intensity

stressed out/pissed off
had a key/lost it
medicine good/not working
economy bad/job bad
job search/ no jobs
sleep too much/keep waking up
Red Sox in ALCS/ losing
phone charged/low battery
Ben Linus bad/brought low
Daniel Faraday wicked smart/stranded
Obama winning/Bradley effect
Bush-lame duck/still dangerous after all these years
time running out/gotta go to work

06 October 2008

This is a video of my lovely niece Ruby Jean Toaster singing me Happy Birthday. There is no audio, because I am an idiot when it comes to converting video files. If anyone can tell me an easy way to convert 3ggp2 files and not lose the audio, that would be awesome!

Here it is:

05 October 2008

This clip is from last night's SNL, a digital short by Andy Samberg, starring himself and Kristen Wiig, two of SNL's funniest current cast members. Andy does dopy characters pretty well; he's the cute, dumb, sweet, goofy kid. But the secret is that he's a really talented comedian, as we see in his shorts, like the gangsta rap song he wrote for Natalie Portman, or the hugely popular "Dick In A Box." Kristen Wiig, for her part, has been hilarious in her 2 seasons on the show. She's the female half of the "2 A-holes," and her character Penelope, who makes up all sorts of lies to one-up the other characters in the sketch, is just awesome. " I used to go out with Tony the Tiger. so.. I broke up with him, so.." This short is a parody of a game called "Warioware: Smooth Moves," in which the player has to perform a series of simple tasks in quick succession, each with the same snippet of exciting music at the end. It works on a parody level, and it's great to see two comedians at the top of their game doing their thing, but I can't shake the feeling that the short is actually trying to say something about the intersection of competition, media, and sometimes filtered human interaction. I bet the folks over at VersusCluCluLand would have some ideas. Anyway, you'll have to stare at an adverstising screen for 30 seconds, but it's well worth it. This shit is FUNNY.

Bookends, of a sort...

The day after my 20th birthday, 2 things happened. I cut off the long hair I had been growing since I moved out of my parents' house, and OJ Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife and her lover.

The night OJ ran in the white Bronco, I was at an MIT frat party with my homie Nate. Someone had a little TV on the roofdeck and everyone was watching it live. "Run, OJ, run!" was definitely the most celebrated and oft-used party phrase of the night. Nate and I were joking about it all the way back over the Mass ave bridge. It was obvious then, as it is now, that OJ would not have run if he were innocent.

The day after my 33rd birthday, 13 years to the day after the acquittal, I find myself once again, for the first time since I was 20, with a full shaggy head of hair. I am itching to cut it off, but I know my days of being able to grow it are running short. If OJ hadn't been acquitted, I may not have cut my hair off. I'm not saying one caused the other, but do I really have to explain the Butterfly Effect to you? If OJ hadn't been acquitted, he definitely would not have been free in September of 2007, when he and some legbreakers burst into some guy's hotel room, guns drawn, demanding that the guy return some of OJ's shit that he had stolen. Borrowed time.

Every breath that OJ has drawn in the last 13 years as a free man was a breath on borrowed time. Yesterday, OJ Simpson was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping. He could spend the rest of his life in prison. The judge refused to let him free on bail, and he was taken immediately into custody.
What I need to figure out is whether I should keep my hair or shave my head again. I could reason it out 50 different ways. Is the simple fact of an OJ verdict a sign that I should chop it off, or does the opposite verdict mean I should keep it? Dr. Evil or The Dude? Tell me, what do you think?

03 October 2008

Quick Hits


So it's been a while since I posted. Generally, I find it hard to write when I am stressed out and pissed off. I was nearly on my deathbed when I wrote the zombie post previously, and the following 2 weeks have totally sucked at work. I hate my job, but I can't write about it because my employers roll deep on the interwebs and I'd probably be fired for disloyalty if I went into detail. Anyway, here's a few quick hits:

Sarah Palin acquitted herself fairly well last night, disappointing me and legions of liberals who would've liked nothing better than to see her at a total loss for words. True, it seemed like she was reading from a teleprompter and she did her best to dodge a lot of Gwen Ifill's questions, but she was a far cry from the woman who, a few days prior, couldn't even name a newspaper or magazine she reads. Don't get me wrong, I still think the McCain-Palin ticket is blockheaded, misguided, and dangerous for America, and I am convinced that they will lose on November 4, barring the unforeseen.

I recently sped through season 2 of 24 with my girlfriend. I've seen it a bunch of times, and it wasn't really shocking, but still a great way to spend 24 hours. For 15 hours, Jack Bauer runs, tortures, and kills his way to a nuclear bomb that terrorists have brought to Los Angeles. Afterwards, a piece of evidence, a recording, surfaces that places the blame squarely on 3 unnamed Middle Eastern countries. Every intelligence agency in the country authenticates the tape, but Jack believes it is a fake. He then spends another 9 hours chasing down proof that the recording was fabricated, hoping to stop the country from going to war based on false information. Who falsified the tape? Certain segments of the oil industry, of course, hoping that the nuke and the ensuing war would triple the value of their holdings in the Middle East. Did I mention that this season of 24 originally aired during the 2002-03 TV season, when America was about to launch an invasion of Iraq based on dubious evidence of complicity in terrorist acts against the US? Honorable mention to Sarah Clarke and Penny Johnson, who play two of 24's best villains, Nina Myers and Sherry Palmer, respectively.

Yesterday, October 2, was my birthday. I am now as old as Jesus Christ was when he died. Other notable events on October 2: In 1950 the comic strip "Peanuts" was first published. In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the 1st African-American Supreme Court Justice. In 2002 John Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo began their reign of terror as the first of the "Beltway Sniper" murders occurred. In 2006, a man walked into an Amish school in Pennsylvania and killed 5 little girls. Other October 2 birthdays include: Nat Turner, Mahatma Gandhi, Groucho Marx, Bud Abbott, Avery Brooks, Maury Wills, Moses Gunn, Persis Khambatta, Sting, Lorraine Bracco, Kelly Ripa, Tiffany, and my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Sweeney.

Anyway, that's about it for now, except to tell you that you only have a few days left if you want to get on board with the Dharma Initiative. The recruitment closes on October 7, and if you want in, you've got to do it now. Go to Dharma Wants You.