29 February 2008

Friday Sketch War: Round Four

The armies assembled on their respective sides of the battlefield the evening before committing their forces to the attack.

  • Unbeknownst to everyone, Michael stealthily climbed atop a tor a thousand yards distant from the battlefield. Selecting an arrow from his quiver, he pulled his bow taut and let it loose...
  • Hearing the arrow whistling through the air, Coyote rallied his troops...
  • Late but well provisioned, David ordered his trebuchets fire!
This week we've got the One True Plan - the millennial cell phone plan, Erin Andrews at the NFL Combine, and cube dweller hijinks. Come on it, the comedy is fine!

Movie Quote Quiz

I've been tagged by Christina.

Look up 15 of your favorite films on IMDb and take a quote from each. List them below. When someone guesses the quote correctly, cross it off the list. NO CHEATING. There are a few gimmes in here, but I think there should be at least one or two that no one's got a shot at.

Leave a comment with your answers.

The Quotes: 15 of My Favorite Films

  1. You know what they say about slugs. They always leave slime in their tracks. Solved by John
  2. You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back. Solved by Carrie
  3. You wanna see the seventh card, stop speaking fucking sputnik! I'm sure you guys were talking about pirogies and snow but let's cut that out. Solved by Carrie
  4. Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex! Solved by John
  5. You all think that the glory happened here in the East, don't you, with Valley Forge and Bunker Hill? Do you know about San Jacinto? Have you heard about the Alamo?
  6. Merlin told me once, "Never be too disturbed if you don't understand what a woman is thinking. They don't do it very often". Solved by Sme
  7. The companionship of a doll is a pleasant thing even for a period of time running into months. But for a close relationship that can last us through all the years of our life, no doll can take the place of aces back to back.
  8. Look, this is an emotional moment for all of us, okay? I know that. Let's not make snap judgments, please. This is clearly-clearly an important species we're dealing with and I don't think that you or I, or anybody, has the right to arbitrarily exterminate them! Solved by David A.
  9. Had my dream again where I'm making love, and the Olympic judges are watching. I'd nailed the compulsories, so this is it, the finals. I got a 9.8 from the Canadians, a perfect 10 from the Americans, and my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6. Must have been the dismount. Solved by David A.
  10. Well, does it take more guts to twice traverse a staircase in a burning building, or to make a one-time leap into a volcano? Damned if I know, Kemosabe.
  11. I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest, I don't want you to riot, I don't want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression, the inflation, the Russians, or the crime in the streets. All I know is that first... You've got to get mad. Solved by John
  12. Yeah, I've been craving burgers, too. Furburgers. Come on, dudes, let's pick up some trim at a strip club. The Doogie line always works on strippers. Solved by Sme
  13. That's right Sweetie, I'm president of Rita Marlowe Productions, Incorporated, but Miss Marlowe is the titular head.
  14. I think we make a real sharp couple of coconuts - I'm dumb, you're shy, whaddaya think, huh?
  15. Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all. This job goes south, there well may not be another. So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you. Dong-luh mah?

Now, of course, we discover the problem with getting tagged when you're an unpopular blogger (and all-around misanthrope.) Who to tag? Hmm. Well, no guarantees these'll get caught, but here goes: Liz, Brian, Ryan, Beckylooo, and Lucy.

Woven Heartattack

Because I am a man, I must do this. Because y'all bother coming here, I figure some of you must, too.

Bacon cups.

Tips hat (and hopes bacon grease doesn't fall out) to Mightygodking.

28 February 2008

FSW: 2008 NFL Combine

(Scott Van Pelt and Mel Kiper stand in a broadcast booth at an arena. Graphics read "2008 NFL COMBINE".)

Welcome back. I'm joined now in the booth by Mel Kiper. Mel, what are your thoughts on the first three days of competition?

Scott, this has been a great combine. It's been an especially strong year for the skill positions, with quarterbacks and receivers performing particularly well. We're still waiting on the official scores on the Wonderlic, but early reports show none of the surprises we've had in years past. Today we'll be seeing defensive linemen and defensive backs and I know a lot of GMs are anxious to see how they do.

It looks like we've already got our first defensive back warming up down on the course now. It's Darren McKnight out of Purdue. Mel, what can you tell us about Darren?

(Down on the field, we see that an obstacle course has been set up. There's a large seesaw, a series of jumps, a long line of slalom poles, a curved tunnel. A layout familiar to anyone who has ever seen dog agility trials.)

MEL (O.S.)
Darren's a smaller d-back, but he's quick and agile and can run all day. You really love watching guys like this, the way they just jump around, always excited and happy to please.

(Darren and a middle-aged woman are at the starting line. Darren is hopping around like a Jack Russell and the woman holds out a piece of bacon for him.)

MEL (O.S.)
Darren's handler is his mother and agent, Myrtle McKnight. She's an experienced handler, having managed both of Darren's older brothers at the combine in year's past. Vince is a wide receiver for the Cardinals, and Trey is a punter and backup QB up in Buffalo. She knows what she's doing out there, and as long as she can keep Darren's attention, he'll do great.

(A gun sounds and Darren starts running the course. Myrtle guides him through it.)

He's going great out there. Looks like a real pro, doesn't he?

MEL (O.S.)
He sure does, Scott. Myrtle's giving him just enough freedom to really fly, but still keeping him focused. Look how she's always one step ahead of Darren so he knows where to go next.

(Darren overshoots the entrance to the slalom poles and Myrtle has to get him back to restart them.)

MEL (O.S.)
Oh no! That's a five second penalty! He's going to have to really work hard to make up that loss.

(Darren finishes the course and jumps into his mother's arms and kisses her.)

That really was a shame, wasn't it. Looked like he had a shot at the course record.

MEL (O.S.)
He sure did, Scott, but I think his time will still put him in the top three for his position.

Let's go down to Erin Andrews on the field and see what the competitors have to say.

(Sideline reporter and Internet sensation Erin Andrews stands by Myrtle and Darren. Darren jumps out of his mother's arms and hops around, still excited from his run.)

Myrtle, can you tell us what happened out there?

(Darren gets down on all fours and starts to sniff Erin's crotch.)

Oh my! That's a good boy. Okay! That's enough, now. Down, big fella!

Darren! Mind your manners, boy!

(Darren stops sniffing and sits by Myrtle.)

Sorry, Erin. He gets a little excited sometimes.

(Erin, excited herself, fans herself.)

That's alright, Myrtle. He's a cutie pie. Aren't you, Darren? Such a good boy.

(Back to the booth.)

Okay. We'll come back to Erin in a bit. Up next, wide receivers jump off a pier to retrieve a stick.


Banging the Sketchwar Gong!

Michael says it, and I echo...

Think you can write a better sketch? Prove it. Write it, post it, and send us the link at sketchwar at dreamloom.com

(If you have nowhere to post it, just send the text of it and one of us will put it up for all the world to see.)

Be the envy of your friends, the coveted of your neighbors, and the wonder of the years!

Which of the words did she not understand?

It's my birthday today. Woo-fuckin'-hoo. I don't much celebrate the anniversary of the day I was squirted out of my mom's vag, as I didn't have much to do with it. I mean, kudos to the moms for putting up with me for the nine months prior and the lifetime after, but none for me, thanks.

I'd made this pretty clear at work: "I don't celebrate my birthday." That's clear enough, right?

The morning started off nice and quiet. I got a card and a gift certificate, both of which I consider within the acceptable bounds of "I don't celebrate" territory. Since I understand that many others feel compelled to make themselves feel worthwhile by buying gifts, signing cards, or in other ways ignoring my wishes, I've come to accept the small attentions.1

Then of course, the woman I despise came in, and as no shock to anyone she brought balloons, a giant cookie, and her idiot grin. Clearly, someone saying "I don't celebrate my birthday" - particularly someone who's already made it clear to management that he'll quit without notice should she repeat one of her bush league moves - is her cue to throw an impromptu party.

I could not dislike this woman more, and I could not be more cold to her without becoming unprofessional. She is why many men hate women. If all women were like her, I would be screaming louder than any that they should be kept barefoot, pregnant, and ball-gagged2. And yet, instead of staying the fuck out of my way and honoring my wishes, she decided to poke at the bear again. Amazing. I'm always amazed at the depths of people's stupidity.

I'd thought about popping the balloons, but I think it better expresses my withering disregard to let them sit until all the helium has leeched out and they sit limp and lifeless.

1 I should make it clear that I do not consider birthday wishes from my friends to be unpleasant. They earn that distinction by being my friends. You can tell you're my friend if I talk to you when I'm not required to because of employment.
2 Fortunately, most women are nothing like her. She is just a goddamn skank.

27 February 2008

Depression, Schizophrenia, Lasagna

From John Hodgman, who had to admit he reads Andrew Sullivan...

garfield minus garfield.

More here.

25 February 2008

I'm F*ckin' Ben Affleck

There's video above, FeedReader
Jimmy sticks it to Sarah. And then he sticks it to Ben like they're in prison.

tips hat to Kari

24 February 2008

Open the Iris, the Toyota's Coming Through

Crap, crap, crap! I need a new cellphone. Not nearly enough resolution on my phone's camera to do this plate justice. Absolutely, without compare, the nerdiest license plate I've ever seen. On a Rav4, driven by a - larger woman - and in a plate holder that indicated she was a heckuva big SG1 fan.


I just feel bad that I *know* what the plate is so nerdy.

22 February 2008

Friday Night Sketch War: Round Three

On the killing floor, before the assembled masses the gladiators prepare for battle...

Will no one join our bloody conflict? Are your livers lillied and aspects yellow? Until next time, we writhe in our own blood and entrails, waiting for the bold and the noble to join the fray.

FNSW: The Certificant

(Scott Johnson sits at his desk. Ivo Princip enters the office, wearing a suit and carrying his resume. He crosses, shakes Scott's hand, and sits opposite.)

Nice to meet you, Mr. Princip. I'm Scott. May I call you Ivo?


O--kay...why don't you tell me a little about yourself.

Did you not read my resume?

I did, but I was hoping maybe you could maybe elaborate, go into a little detail about some of your experience, tell me why you think you'd be a good fit for this position.

You are hiring for engineer, yes? I am engineer.

O--kay. Let's start with a few questions, then. I see you've got your masters, that's good. But you've only got one year of experience --

-- I am certified.

What now?

I have MCSE, CNA, CNE, SCJP --

-- That's great, too. How about a couple of quick tech questions? Let me get a feel for your level. Can you explain polymorphism to me?

Polymorphism. No.

Nothing? Maybe you want to try talking through it, see if you can't give me a few of its traits?


Can you tell me why you would use an abstract class?


Define inheritance?


Ivo --

-- Mr. Princip.

Mr. Princip. It says here that you're an expert in object oriented programming.

Object oriented programming. Yes. I am certified.

Can you define that for me?

Object oriented programming?



Alright. Let's step back a bit, then. I see here under this technology section you've also got Photoshop listed. You certainly wouldn't be doing any of that here, but while I was working my way through college I actually worked in a graphics shop. So why don't you tell me how you'd use an alpha channel?

Alpha channel?


That is...there are channels...many of them...this is the first. It is first channel.

O--kay. Let's jump back over to programming for a minute. Can you give me an example of a recursive algor --

-- May I ask question first?


Are you certified?

Me? No. I don't have any certifications. It's never come up. I really only have time for the occasional conference or seminar and haven't had call to get certified.

Then how can you be expected to ask me question? Is like...is like student, asking teacher, no? I am certified, but you are not. It make no sense, yes?

Excuse me??

How can I...to explain, be clear, to you? You are member of team, yes? Maybe I speak with someone more senior. Your manager is certified?

I'm the team lead.

So, is team of junior engineer.

We get by. Well Ivo --

-- Mr. Princip.

Mr. Princip. It's been interesting meeting you. I wish you luck in your job search.

(Ivo sits for a minute, then gets the hint and leaves.)



(Scott sits at his desk. The door opens and Steve Kramer enters.)

Boss. What's up?

Scott, you know you've been trying to get some help on the team, well, I've got it fixed. I just interviewed a rockstar of an engineer.

That's great! Do you want me to talk to him?

No need. Already hired him. Whipsmart, and has certifications out the ass. Hell of an engineer. Ivo Princip. You'll be reporting to him starting Monday.


To Boldly Nominate

From John Scalzi, here is the 2008 Nebula Awards Ballot. I am over the moon excited by this, because under the Scripts section you'll find:

"World Enough and Time" - Zicree, Marc Scott and Reeves, Michael (Star Trek: New Voyages, http://www.startreknewvoyages.com, Aug07 (Aired 8/23/07))
The New Voyages are essentially fanfic, filmed with pretty high production values. The episode in question is well worth seeing. George Takei reprises his signature role as Hikaru Sulu in an episode as well written as any TOS episode (other than maybe "City on the Edge of Forever"*.) It's heartbreaking in just the right ways, funny in just the right places, and tight as a drum.

It almost definitely won't win, but just the fact that it's nominated is really encouraging to me.

*Did you think I *wouldn't* put Ellison's WGA winner ahead of this???

21 February 2008

Messianic Mania

"Barack Obama will require you to work."

Ooh goody. Maybe it will set me free.

19 February 2008

Daily Headache

Am I the only human being left who has his full complement of both the rods and the cones?

I work with...people with whom I'd rather not work. My one friend, love working with him. And then...even the ones younger than I behave as though they are much, much older. Older in aspect, older in energy, older in outlook, older in ability to fucking see without putting on motherfucking overhead lights.

Do they try turning on the task lights at their desks first? No.

Do they try turning on the uplights near their desks first? No.

Do they go straight for the migraine-inducing piece of shit fluorescents? Hell yah.

I can only imagine it's because that's the lighting they're used to at home, in the nursing home.

Please, someone, explain to me why knowledge workers, sitting in front of luminescent monitors all day, need any but the most minimal task lighting? Is it *just* to piss off those around them not born in the Truman administration?

And let's not forget: when the sun's up they have the blinds closed so that horrible, natural light doesn't bother their eyes.

Used to be I could get in early and have a couple hours of fluorescent-free work. Or I could stay late. But we've now grown to the point where there's an annoying person who thinks she needs shitty light from 7am till past 7pm. There's no fucking window of blessed darkness anymore.

15 February 2008

Earl's Greg Garcia, elbow deep in the grease

Greg Garcia, creator of My Name is Earl, may have pulled double shifts during the strike. On top of his picketing duties, he spent some time in the grease traps.

He took a job at a fast-food restaurant, never letting on to his fellow employees -- or anyone else -- that he was an Emmy-winning writer/producer. As a cashier and occasional janitor, Greg spent the month of January rubbing elbows with the real world. You might wonder, why would he do it?

His answer is simple: "I've wanted to do a book about taking different jobs and what it was like to do them," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "This was the first. It may be a while before I do the second. But it's just about the fact that we live behind gates and work behind gates, and as a writer you start to lose touch with the audience. You start running out of life experience."

Friday Night Sketch War

The stage was set, the battle begun...

This week, three entered the fray. Last week's border skirmish has now turned into full-scale combat. How many will do battle next week?

FNSW: 62nd Annual Moriarty Awards

(Dancers finish up what must have been a large and elaborate number as lights dim, music stops, and applause is heard. A curtain closes and Billy Crystal walks to the center of the stage.)

Wasn't that great? I've been informed that no animals were killed during the performance of that dance, but two senator's daughters and the ambassador from Uruguay all sank another two inches in Ernst Blofeld's quicksand trap!

To present our next award, here is last year's winner of Villainess of the Year and this year's winner for Best Robotic Attack on a City: Population 1 Million or More - Poison Ivy and Dr. Victor Von Doom.

(Doom and Ivy enter and walk to a podium stage right.)

Victor and I don't strike fear in people's hearts all on our own--

--I do.

--and you wouldn't be able to enjoy your favorite megalomaniac--


--striding down the street ahead an army of zombie cyborgs without the help of thousands of people.

It takes dozens of scientists, engineers, and technicians just to maintain the fusion reactors, floating fortresses, and giant lasers used for burning names on the surface of the moon.

Not to mention the costume designers, bio-engineers, sentient killer squid, and henchmen who make all the best plans come to life. They make us look good. Earlier this week in a separate ceremony, those folks got together for their awards presentations.

(Roll video of Henchmen Banquet. Henchman is standing at podium, clutching a Moriarty tightly.)

...like to thank my mother, for never being there for me. My first parole officer, for believing I'd never be a contributing member of society, and...

(BOOM! The brick wall behind the stage explodes, revealing Superman. Mass pandemonium as all the henchmen try to flee.)

HAHAHA! Maybe next year they'll make it all the way through that ceremony.

(Music swells and Ivy and Doom walk off the stage. Billy reenters from stage left.)

(Doing his Fernando Lamas impersonation) Doom, Dahling. Enough with the mask already. Take it off. I can tell, underneath, you look mahvelous. And that Ivy. I'd like to dig around her roots. Have you seen the stems on that one?

(Back to normal voice) It's not often I'm awed in someone's presence. Jack Benny, George Burns, Bob Hope, and this next man. What can I say about this next presenter that won't get me killed in a giant thresher? He's a level-nine intelligence, a snappy dresser, and an absolute lady-killer. I mean that. He kills ladies. Literally. Ladies and Gentleman, Lex Luthor.

(Lex enters to a hearty round of applause, waving and smiling.)

Thank you, thank you. Thanks for that welcome, everyone. Although I shouldn't be surprised by it. After all, I do have satellites targeting all your loved ones!

(Polite laughter.)

And by loved ones, I of course mean you!

(Raucous laughter.)

But you're not here to listen to me joke, or to tremble in fear at my presence - though tremble you should - it's time for the big prize of the night. The Moriarty for the Evil Plan of the Year. The nominees are: Dr. No for his plan to replace the world's oil supply with sea water, foiled by James Bond; El Seed for his plan to release genetically modified corn that can grow on asphalt, foiled by The Tick; The Joker for his plan to poison Gotham City's drinking supply, foiled when he abandoned the plan midway through out of boredom; Kingpin for creating an army of evil hybrid Spiderman-Daredevil clones to take over New York; and Heat Miser for trying to melt out Christmas...again!

(Fumbles with envelope, gets out card. He squints a few times but can't make it out, so he puts a pair of granny glasses at the end of his nose.)


(Dr. No starts to get up in the audience.)

Sit down, Julius. I didn't call your name. The winner is Kingpin, for creating an army of evil hybrid Spiderman-Daredevil clones!

(As Kingpin rises and waves at the applauding crowd, alarms start ringing and lights start flashing.)

To the escape pods!

(Billy comes back to the podium as everyone runs away in the chaos.)

See you next year, folks!

14 February 2008

Harlan Ellison on the Writers Strike

My anti-agreement analysis wasn't quite as vitriolic as Unka Harlan's. Good god, this is why HE is my hero.



Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin’ LOVE the Guild.

And I voted NO on accepting this deal.

My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation…

THEY BEAT US LIKE A YELLOW DOG. IT IS A SHIT DEAL. We finally got a timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless babbling horse’s asses who kept mumbling “lessgo bac’ta work” over and over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel summer soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance.

My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words; it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day.

And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?

You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won’t be saying nasty shit behind your back, remember this:

You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you, outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another.

Please excuse my temerity. I’m just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards.

I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant.

Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison

13 February 2008

WGA: Take these pretty beads

Over 92% of WGA members voted to suspend the work stoppage, sending writers back to work today. There is still no signed deal with the AMPTP, but this vote is a clear sign that the membership backs the agreement in principle and will ratify it by the February 25 deadline. So what did the Guild win? What concessions were ripped from the industry after a three-month strike that hit the economy of LA county for an estimated $3.2B in direct and indirect costs?

Here's a link to some initial analysis from Jonathan Handel who practices entertainment, digital, and technology law. Read there if you're interested, but my take is that the Guild basically won three things that truly matter: new media jurisdiction, new media separated rights, and calculations based on distributor's gross. Beyond that, the flat-fee structure for streaming media is very bad for TV writers (and potentially film writers) and the 17-day window for free streaming (supported by ad dollars!!!) is devastating.

Some writers are content to say that in three years they can always renegotiate. They've shown the studios that they can be committed, organized, dedicated, and united. To those writers I'd say: see 1988. It's a generational unity that must be used to its full advantage when it arises. The very bad (for the writers) terms in this deal will be in place for at least 15 years. They might be modified slightly - oh, we'll give you $1300 for a year's worth of free streaming, and narrow the window down to 15 days - but they're pretty well set in stone until the next wave of writers says "what the fuck were they thinking?"

Obviously it's easy for me, hundreds of miles away and not dependent upon Hollywood for my income, to bash this deal. I'm just a spec monkey. It's easy for me to wait and hope that current writers get a deal that's nigh-perfect so I can, with hard work and luck, take advantage of it in the next few years. It's also easy for me to see from a distance that the Guild lost three months worth of work, allowed the studios to invoke force majeure to kill a crap-load of development deals, gave Ben Silverman an opportunity to open his trap and spew his idiocy, all for a handful of shiny beads.

"If this deal passes, it wasn't worth it," said Alfredo Barrios, co-executive producer and a writer on the TV series "Burn Notice." "If I had known three months ago, I wouldn't have voted to authorize the strike."
Right indeed, and not just because he's an EP on a fun show that gives Bruce Campbell a regular gig. This strike cost billions and garnered pocket change.

12 February 2008

Joining Sketch War

Ai-ight. Looks like Michael and I are definitely going to do battle on Fridays. We've reached out to a few other writers and have gotten a smattering of interest back, so I suspect we'll see one or two others joining us this week, and maybe a few more after that. My hope is that we can get five to ten sketches each week, but that might be overly optimistic.

Regardless, anyone who *does* want to play along, email a link to your sketch to sketchwar at dreamloom dot com. Michael and/or I will put up links to all the entries each week.

My Media Week Meme

Huh. I'm usually so careful. I always wear protection when I blog. I never get tagged. Oh well, best to go to the free clinic and get a shot. Fortunately this one'll be cleared up in a few days.

Mike at A Mike Life tagged me with this meme, so here goes:

I've got multiples in play as usual. Finally decided I should read H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, so that arrived the other day. Of course, TheWife pulled it off the stack first. I'll see if I can't pry it away by the weekend. I just finished volumes one and two of Mark Andreyko's Manhunter on a recommendation, and was pretty entertained. Plus, I've got to catch up on Y: The Last Man. All said though, I think the next book I'll pull and read is probably Carry On, Jeeves by Wodehouse.

Lots and not so lots. I'm a couple weeks behind on Breaking Bad, so I need to catch up on that. There are UConn games be watched, Gonzaga games to be watched, and...well...not much else on the tube right now. At some point this month there should be a production of Sondheim's Company on my PBS affiliate, so I'll have that, and there are still four more episodes of Cupid to rewatch along with Alan Sepinwall and the rest of the Strike Survival TV Club. And in a few months, fates allow, new television again, including BSG.

This is the easiest. Not much new for me right now. I've got Dean Gray's American Edit spinning in the car stereo, might switch over to Live'r Than You'll Ever Be from the Kleptones if the mood strikes me, and I've got a bunch of episodes of the Coverville podcast backed up on my 'puter at work.

Now that I've been infected, I've got to touch five others...
Jared (who really doesn't post often enough)

11 February 2008

Repo Returns!

Back in '94-'95, Alex Cox wrote a screenplay for a sequel to Repo Man. Thanks to the youth culture in Hollywood, nothing ever came of it:

In '94-'95, I wrote it as a film script and gave it to Peter McCarthy, who was one of the original producers of Repo Man. And he showed it to Jonathan Wacks, who was the other original producer, and they said, ''Let's take it to [ex-Monkee and Repo Man executive producer] Michael Nesmith and have him present it to Universal officially.'' We all came down for the meeting at Universal, and the executive that we had been delegated to meet was, like, 21 years old and had never seen the original Repo Man. [Laughs] And so it was an absurd meeting of these four old men and this sprightly individual who just didn't know what we were doing in his office.
But now, we're going to get to see Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday in some of its splendid glory. At least we'll get to read it as a comic with some fantastic looking art from Chris Bones.

I have to admit, I've not seen Repo Man in ten or fifteen years, so I'll have to toss it at the top of my Netflix queue, but man this is sweet.

08 February 2008

Friday Night Sketch War

Fellow Sitcom Room alum and all around great guy Michael Brownlee posted a hilarious short sketch tonight. He's challenging himself to be more disciplined about writing, and figured writing an occasional short sketch will keep his comedy muscles limber. I agree. As I've been extremely lax writing lately, I thought I'd take the opportunity to make it a more communal (and competitive) process. I probably think that because it's Friday night, and I'm reminded of all the great comics bloggers getting into the fun with Bahlactus' Friday Night Fights.

Now, my sketch below is nowhere near as good as Michael's this time. He didn't post until late afternoon and I spent several hours just trying to come up with something. I think it's okay. Next time, however, I plan on having a kick-ass sketch. I'll let y'all know if it's going to be weekly, monthly, or sporadically. If the latter, I think there's a fungicide that'll clear it up.

So, without further doobie-doobie-doo, here's my first entry into
Friday Night Sketch War! (the name's in flux. We think it needs the word "death" in it more.)

Mitt Romney's Weekend

(Two workers bring a large crate into a dark, cramped lab and stand it up. They exit and Al Gore steps out of the shadows with a crowbar. One quick pry and the front of the crate opens, exposing a frozen Mitt Romney. Al steps close and reaches around to Mitt's back; Romney comes to life.)

10010101 00010100 10100101 10--

--damn it. They left him on hex. Hang on a second, Mitt.

(Al makes another quick adjustment at Mitt's back.)

Greetings. How may I be of assistance?

Actually Mitt, I'm going to assist you.

(Al unbuttons the front of Mitt's shirt, and pops opens a panel on his chest. Taking a screwdriver and chip from one of the lab benches, Al attaches the chip to the center of the circuit board.)

That...tickles! Woohoo! What's that feeling?! Wait, what is feeling?

I've installed your Central Emoting Unit.

(Mitt starts to cry.)

I know this is all very new to you. But you won't be going through it alone, I promise.

(Mitt starts to giggle.)

I wish I'd had someone around to help me sort out all the new data I was receiving. One minute I was running fourier transforms to find some way of winning a protracted legal battle over the Florida recount and the next I was hosting Saturday Night Live.

(Mitt starts to dance.)

I'm a little teapot, short and stout.
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout.
Just tip me over and pour me out.
That's great, Mitt.
Glad you're getting in touch with yourself.
But we've got to boogie before the Professor gets back.

Who's that?

The Professor? You don't remember? What do you remember?

I'm going to be President!!!

Oh boy. Do you know what day it is?

Christmas Eve.

Damn it! Damn! Your memory units must have been fried when those TSA idiots ran you through the x-ray. Mitt, it's February 8. You're out of the race.

For reals, homes?

Don't do that. It's just a CEU. I didn't install a hiphop chip.

So Thompson finally got in the game. I should have seen it coming. It's so clear now. He's down-homey. I couldn't compete with that.

Uh, actually...never mind. Anyway, we need to get out of here. He'll be back soon.

Right. The Professor. Who is he?

I don't really know. All I do know is he built both of us to become President. I can't help but think if he'd just remembered to put in our emotion chips we could have won, too. Let's go. Tipper's waiting in the boat.

A boat?

We're on an island. And we don't want to be caught outside at night, when the mist rolls in.

(The Professor enters. He's a very wizened man with a shock of white hair.)

It's too late! Run!

(The Professor takes a small device from his pocket and presses a button on it. Al and Mitt freeze.)

Welcome back, Al. It's been quite a while. Mitt, glad to see you.

This was your plan all along, wasn't it. You knew I'd come to free Mitt!

I suspected.

You won't get away with it. I've got friends now. Clooney will save us.

No. No he won't. As we speak my Nick CounterBot is finalizing a deal with the WGA. Your Hollywood friends will soon have too much work to do to notice you're gone. By the time they realize it, it'll be too late.

Too late for what?

My ObamaBot will be President.

I don't understand. Why would you put two of us in the same campaign?

It's all the fault of my stupid assistant. He forgot to put in your CEU. Did the same thing with Gore, here. So I kept him busy scaring those crash survivors on the other side of the island while I built the ObamaBot. He's perfect. And now, I have no use for the two of you except as spare parts.

Think I'll build myself a Scarlett JoBot.

(Mitt starts to cry.)

Sorry Al. It's all my fault. You never should have come back for me.

It's alright, Mitt. We'll get out of this. I promise you.

Where's that incompetent assistant? Gilligan!!!


06 February 2008

Discipline Me!

Sitting at lunch with the Latin Snake today and in walks a mom, her two little boys, and her mother. A moderately attractive woman in her early '30s, she reminded me a bit of Amy Sedaris. Attractive, but nothing spectacular. I went back to my rice and beans.

About fifteen minutes later, one of the young boys misbehaved a very small bit and mom smacked the back of his hand. This impressed me, and got me a little hot.

Firstly, you've got a woman willing to correct and discipline her children. That's an unusual and attractive quality these days. No "timeouts" or pleading or bargaining, she just smacked that hand with perfectly metered force. Secondly, you've got a woman who's willing to correct and discipline. I mean, sometimes I'm naughty, too.

So I reevaluated this woman whom I'd discounted earlier. She looked much hotter to me now. More like Amy Sedaris.

A Man and His Film

There's a great, ranging interview with character actor/writer/director LQ Jones over at Rotten Tomatoes tonight. The crux of the interview is about his classic SF film, A Boy and His Dog. Now, I'm a huge fan of the trials and tribulations of Vic and Blood in all media - obviously I've read Harlan Ellison's original novella and seen Jones's film, and should even have a copy of the Richard Corben illustrated version somewhere - but I honestly never thought much of the movie. Now I know why.

I've only seen a 2:3 version, on VHS. Jones shot the film in 'scope, so I've missed more than I've seen. Fortunately, that is about to be amended, as there's a brand new print being released. If I were in LA (godDAMN I need to move) I'd be at the Nuart this Friday, but I'm hopeful it makes it to one of the art theaters here in the valley sometime this year.

Amongst the many great anecdotes and revelations in the interview, we find out that Jones *loved* working with Tiger, the dog who played Blood. Here's just a sample of what he had to say:

LQ: Jason Robards, at the time probably the best actor in our business, Jason's in the picture. So he asked about something and I said listen, "If you pay attention to Blood, and you hit your marks, and you say your lines like Blood, I'll make a star out of you." And he knew exactly what I was talking about.

I'll take you one step further, to the scene [where Vic] says we may never see each other again, they are truly parting. And if you see it on the big screen, the goddamn dog cries. Tears ran down his fur! I've been acting for fifty some-odd years, and I have a tough time crying on cue. When I cut the shot, I looked around and half the crew was in tears.

What happened to Tiger, the dog?

LQ: I tried to buy him, and they said we're making too much money with him. I said I'll give you enough, to where it's worth your while. I just wanted to retire him. I said I'll make you a guarantee, I will not be your competition, I will not let him work in anything unless I do another Boy and His Dog. But nope, they didn't want to do it. At that point in time he was maybe seven. He was dead by the time he was nine. But I would have loved to have had him for just those two years.
You've all seen Tiger before; he used to be the Brady's dog.

05 February 2008


There are many reasons I left my last job for my current gig. Somewhere near the very tiptop of that list would be the d-bag of a manager we hired after the company unceremoniously axed the man who hired me. After a drawn out search and interview process we selected an excellent candidate...who then used the offer as leverage to get a raise from his employer. A little later on we found a seemingly adequate candidate who accepted.

He wasn't really all that adequate.

Turned out he was completely incapable of managing a team, particularly one with three very senior engineers on it. So he began a slow process of rebuilding the team in his image. An image that seemed to consist of a lot of unseasoned maroons who think themselves wise and experienced. To clarify: when my friend and I were still there, we made or beat all our deadlines. Since we've been gone...they haven't shipped anything, they've changed operating systems for no reason, tried to change the build system, tried to incorporate new technologies, and generally failed.

This morning, my long-suffering friend who remains over there sent me a message. Names changed to protect the incompetent:

Zod: So they fired J yesterday.

Woohoo!!! About goddamn time.

Yeah, we'll see what happens from here. Stepchild is in charge for awhile.

What's the take from the team?

Team isn't all here yet, but I think everyone's upset.

Anyone else looking like they're getting axed? Wait. Upset? Why?

A is. He and M went over to J's last night after work.

Funny. Their incompetence, combined with his misplaced confidence *in* their competence, is what got him fired.

A is competent, but needs to be 'herded' a bit. He's too headstrong for that, though. I predict he and M leave within a month.

I've seen his code; he's not that competent.

He's more competent than M...at least that's my impression.

I've seen tapeworms more competent than M.

M knows enough to be a little dangerous. And has enough pride to make him twice as much.

Hell, I took a dump yesterday that'd make a better engineer than M. I had bean soup on Sunday.

His ego is his undoing--

--that, and that pea brain rattling around in his cranium.

I wouldn't miss him. I'd miss A. I'll miss J.

Nice guy. Terrible manager.


04 February 2008

Super Tuesday: Vote!

Clinton or Obama, McCain or Mitt. It doesn't matter. Just be sure to vote.

Unless you're a Ron Paul Revolutionary. Then just stay home. There will be black helicopters monitoring the polling stations. You don't want them following you back to your bunker.

I've made my feelings pretty clear over the past few months. I'll be holding my nose and voting for Hillary. Make your feelings clear and (even you lurkers) leave a comment: who's got your vote?

Good Knight in Lubbock

Lubbock mourns tonight
Red Raiders' red-faced sage gone
Bobby packs it in

03 February 2008

Tom Brady just not Man(ning) enough

Phones have been ringing off the hook since the end of the game. Every team in the AFC East wants to get a contract with Archie Manning. Whoever wins the Manning sweepstakes is guaranteed at least one victory next year, over the cursed Patriots. The teams that lose are likely to open their phone books to the 'M's and pick the first name they find.

Next year, expect to see Miriam Manning, 72 of Boca Raton, leading the Dolphins to victory against Belichick's Camcorders.

02 February 2008

Looking down, into the future

"I should have worn the wingtips."

The left: JFK's official White House portrait.

The right: still image of Barack Obama used at close of "First" television ad, currently playing in AZ. I assume the image - and if you watch the ad you'll see it in the context of its very dramatic, extreme framing - is used in more than just this one ad, but is not in any other ads shown in AZ.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe the similarity is unintentional. Certainly the pose is less closed-off, as the arms are held more akimbo when in the pockets. It is also a slightly more relaxed pose than JFK's. Still, each time I've seen this ad - and it's the one I've seen the most - I'm struck by the image. Then again, I'm predisposed to see the campaign working to draw attention to any and all JFK comparisons.

Hatch doesn't survive appeal

Richard Hatch has lost has latest immunity challenge.

I'm not a fan of reality TV1, but I can't help but be aware of the major stories and major players. So I was aware of Hatch's brilliant play in out-maneuvering his peers on the first season of Survivor, I was aware of Hatch's less brilliant play of filing fraudulent tax returns in 2000 and 2001, and I was aware that as a result, Hatch was spending 51 months at FCI:Morgantown.

They mustn't have liked him very much. All the "good" criminals go to Danbury2.

Handing down its decision on Friday, the First Circuit rejected all of Hatch's claims and affirmed his conviction and sentence. I've got to admit that reading a lengthy appellate decision in a tax case doesn't get the blood flowing either south or north3, but I did a quick skim and decided on this money quote:

the court catalogued many instances in which Hatch had committed perjury, noting that the list was "a pretty long one" and included lying on the stand about his failure to disclose the income which formed the bases for the charges on which he was convicted and about his alleged failure to read the letter drafted by Wallis regarding the hypothetical Exhibit One which he then submitted for his tax return. The court further detailed false statements Hatch had made to the Probation Office concerning his assets.
So he's a lying liar, too. No wonder he was able to out(wit, last, play) his competitors on the island. Unfortunately for him, he was an amateur liar surrounded by pros once he got entangled in the courts.

1 I may not be a fan of the genre, but I respect the writing effort that the so-called producers on those shows do and fully support them getting to be covered and protected by the WGA.
2 Interesting (to me) sidenote. Back in the late '80s I was friends with a girl whose dad was the warden - or one of the associate wardens, I'm not completely clear - at Danbury. Not sure why I never took advantage of that to try to meet G. Gordon or the Rev. Moon. Could have been a fun afternoon.
3 Think about it for a minute...there you go. Now you've got it.

01 February 2008

Silver-throated Silverman

There's video above, FeedReader

I don't watch Kimmel much, especially now during the strike. However, he is a consummate professional and a funny guy. Plus, he's got the dirtiest, nastiest, J-Date girlfriend *ever*. Who doesn't want to date Sarah Silverman?

doffs hat to casualheap

Hammer down

Holy crap. I was born in the wrong era. As a lifetime devotee to Wile E. and all his exploits, I can appreciate the simple beauty of this treatment for depression.

Ah, the good old days.

Top Ten Reads

Tosy had an interesting post on Thursday about his top blog reads, and I thought I'd steal the idea and do the same. As of this moment I've got 99 feeds in Google Reader; here's my top ten percent:

10. Whedonesque - a weblog about all things Whedon. This site is maintained by an obsessive-compulsive community that tracks the comings and goings of everyone even peripherally associated with Joss Whedon with the tenacity and diligence of the NSA. Where else can you find out that vampire thug #3 from Buffy episode 3.17 is playing bass Thursday at the Algonquin? Or that Joss's high school geometry teacher is competing in this weekend's shuffleboard tourney down in Boca?

9. The Loom - Carl Zimmer's blog on the biosciences. Right now, this is a great place to go to recover from the MSM's hyperventilation over Venter's new work. Innovative and groundbreaking, yes. "Playing God", no. Zimmer gets a lot of loony commenters, but that's because the ID proponents keep going off their meds.

8. Dick Cavett (NYT) - the driest, cleverest, wittiest, and anti-Nixoniest of them all. Posts certainly aren't daily. They aren't even weekly. But when they come...hell y'all, it's Dick Goddamn Cavett! It's gold every time! Whether he's bagging on Tricky Dick or dishing on the Mailer/Vidal feud, it's always worth reading.

7. Talking Points Memo - Joshua Micah Marshall runs a topnotch news gathering organization that puts much of the MSM to shame. With a small staff (and the occasional assist from the hive mind,) Marshall accomplishes more than many larger organizations dream of. USA purge? McClatchy gets the kudos for great work, but TPM broke it.

6. Chris's Invincible Super-Blog - an irreverent look at comics and the occasion B-minus movie from a warped mind. Especially noteworthy are his infrequent crayon masterpieces, like Civil War in 30 seconds.

5. Kung Fu Monkey - John Roger's blog on comics, television, politics, and popculture. The fact that he got his physics degree the same year I would have (had I not bailed on those final 12 credits,) writes my absolute favorite comic book, evah - Blue Beetle, and wrote the brilliant unaired pilot of Global Frequency probably accounts for some of my major affection.

4. Neil Gaiman's Journal - uh, the title says it all. If you don't love Gaiman...what the hell are you doing here??? Posts on the act of writing, on travel, on bee keeping, and Maddy's awesome guest spots make this a definite must-read.

3. By Ken Levine - a blog on television, baseball, and popculture by a culture hero. Don't know his name? Suffice it to say if you've watched any television in the last 30 years you've seen some of his great work. He and his partner David Isaacs have given us dozens of hours of incredible quality. Also, got Aaron Sorkin's panties into a bunch. And in case you're curious, Hawkeye Pierce beats Jed Bartlett with one hand holding a martini behind his back.

2. What's Alan Watching? - the Star-Ledger's star critic on all things television. No shock Tosy and I both have this on our must-reads. Anyone who watches television should be visiting Alan's blog regularly. Plus, Alan's a genuinely nice guy who engages his readers in a healthy back and forth in comments.

1. Philosophers' Playground - Professor Steve Gimbel's blog on philosophy, politics, ethics, and comedy. As the founding father and leading light of Comedism, his weekly sermons are essential to those who have been baptized with the holy seltzer. Also, he's likely to pick on Objectivists every now and then just to get their dander up. It's so much fun to watch those loons rend garments and bend arguments.