Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine

Life is a series of obsessions. Some are impulsive and fleeting, like Swatch watches, while others are deep-rooted and last a lifetime, like not trying not to die. Often, these obsessions are shared with those with whom we spend a lot of time. Such is the case at work where many of us are currently obsessed with "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia", the FX sitcom about a group of people on a quest to demonstrate the absolute worst manners, morals, and judgement in television history. In our office, the show is mentioned several times every day, whether somebody is quoting dialogue or reliving scenes from a favorite episode.
Yesterday, Billy went on the shows official website and downloaded an icon of Charlie for use on his Yahoo! messenger. I decided it was pretty cool looking so I went and downloaded it for my Yahoo! messenger too. Billy was not amused...

BILLY: Man, don't do that. I already have Charlie.
ME: I know. I want Charlie too.
BILLY: Well, we can't both have Charlie. That's stupid.
ME: Ok, take somebody else. You can have Sweet Dee.
BILLY: I don't want Sweet Dee.
ME: So get Frank. Frank is hilarious!
BILLY: I don't want Frank, Sweet Dee, Dennis or Mac. Charlie is mine. I had it first.
ME: You can't claim Charlie as yours. It's on the internet, free for anybody who wants it. And I want it.
BILLY: That's fucked up. I can't believe you're stealing my shit.
ME: It's not stealing. It's free from the FX network.
BILLY: You only want it because I have it!
ME: That is almost entirely true. But so what? It's not like you can do anything about it.
BILLY: You know what? Go ahead and keep Charlie. I don't care. I'm going to get a different one. But please don't copy me and steal that one, ok?
ME: Sorry, I can't make that promise. Actually, I'm already a little bored with Charlie and if I see something else I like better, I may change it.
BILLY: I hate you!
ME: Ha ha ha!
BILLY: Do you remember the other day when I stabbed your foot with that umbrella? I apologized and said it was an accident. Well, it wasn't an accident. I did it on purpose. I knew you were going to steal my shit so I went back in time and stabbed your ass in the foot. And I'm glad I did it too!!
ME: None of that makes any sense. It's obvious that you have no familiarity with the concepts of time travel or human anatomy. Therefore, you have demonstrated that you do not deserve cool chat icons. So go see if you can download a Liam McPoyle chat icon. Because you suck.
ME: Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Much Ado About Not Much

Here are three things that people are kind of worked up about right now and what I think about them. For what it's worth...

I must be missing something here but this was not the worst thing I've ever seen on television. Oh sure, it was awful. But Britney Spears and other performers of her ilk are always awful. But did anybody honestly expect Elvis in Vegas, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or James Brown at the Apollo? It certainly didn't merit the cover of Entertainment Weekly, did it? Sloppy and uninspired maybe but it's not like she pooped herself or even fell down. And as far as being fat, I'd like to be that fat. In fact, if I ever am that fat, I'll wear that outfit and expect to be worshipped as a god. What I wonder is if fashion models are too skinny and Britney Spears is too fat, exactly what can a woman weigh without being criticized?

Wow, in the World Series of Scumbags, who do you pull for, the guy who got away with murdering two people or sports memorabilia dealers? That's a tough one and I don't know the answer, but look at OJ. He's looking good for a 60-year-old man, isn't he? He looks fantastic! Man, that guy is livin' right. One question though: who even wants OJ Simpson memorabilia at this point anyway?

People are debating the merits of this new reality show on CBS, wherein kids, with minimal adult supervision, attempt to establish a functioning society. Some say the show provides valuable life lessons and teaches us about our own society. Opponents say it merely exploits children.
I don't watch the show and probably never will. But 'Kid Nation', along with every other program on television, exists for one reason and one reason only; as a vehicle to deliver advertising to consumers. The instant it fails to accomplish this, it will be cancelled and replaced by another show. As such,'Kid Nation' is no more a sociological experiment or teaching tool than 'Gilligan's Island'. Seriously, anybody who doesn't understand this fundamental, basic truth about television programming probably shouldn't have kids...or a television. People, for the love of god, please stop relying on television to raise your kids (and justifying doing so by calling it a "learning experience"). It didn't work for us, what makes you think it will work for them?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Catching up on CENFLO

I just realized that I never followed up on my promise to talk more about the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO) where we presented "Ten At The Top In Tampa Bay". I also noticed that I have only posted twice in the last two weeks and both times I bitched about what was on television, which would indicate that I've done nothing but sit around and watch TV. Far from it. So as promised previously, here's what happened at CENFLO.

  • The festival runs during the Labor Day weekend, so it started Thursday night and ran through Sunday. I had to work Thursday so I didn't get to Kissimmee until late. I did get there in time for the gala at the Osceola Center for the Arts. K and R were already there but had car trouble earlier in the day. Everybody was kind of wiped and we didn't feel like sampling any night life and we didn't stay very long.

  • Saturday and Sunday we hung out and watched tons of films. Some better than others, but I honestly didn't see anything I hated. This is unusual for me as I have an innate ability to find something to hate in almost anything, and I enjoy doing so. As a result, I was both pleasantly surprised and bitterly disappointed.

  • We didn't go out Saturday or Sunday evenings either. I didn't feel well all weekend long for some reason and I don't think K & R did either. It kind of goes without saying that it's extremely challenging to find good food in the Kissimmee area. It's Disney's doorstep so the whole area is choked with kitsch and clutter. And in an environment like that, it's no surprise that almost everything is served either in a plastic bag handed to you through a window or from a trough on a steam table, which is enough to make anybody feel queasy. I had very little appetite so I didn't eat much of that crap but something got me. I had to call in sick to work later that week. It was definitely a disappointment to not spend at least a little of the weekend partying up but none of us were really up to it.

  • My favorite film of the weekend was "Kreating Karloff" (you can watch it in it's entirety by clicking the link). I got to meet the star and creative force behind it, Conor Timmis. I had hoped to just say hello and compliment him on the film but we wound up talking for quite a while about all kinds of stuff. Conor's an interesting guy, with lots of opinions on a variety of topics. He's been doing the festival circuit for some time and had some great stories, successes and disappointments, about his experiences.

  • "Ten At The Top..." was shown twice and both times there were glitches in the presentation. The first time was in a small room that I think is a music rehearsal studio. Just after the film started, someone tripped and fell over some chairs. Then a couple of minutes later somebody hit the light switch which was actually in a tiny hallway outside the room. The next day in the big theatre, it started with audio but no picture. It only lasted about five seconds but it felt like hours. Plus, the color was kind of washed out for some reason. I think the DVD projector was over-adjusted for another, darker film. It was still a thrill to actually see it on a real, full-size movie screen.

  • Another thrill was autographing our poster for festival director Bob Cook and his wife and deputy director Ginger. I tried to think of something deeply meaningful ("War Is Over If You Want It"), spiritually cryptic ("May U Live 2 C The Dawn"), or sarcastically smarmy ("Get Well Soon") but couldn't think of anything that hadn't already been done or didn't sound full of shit so I just went with a sincere "Thanks!" and my signature, which sort of looks like "Clk Buh". I suppose I should probably be too mature (jaded) to get an ego stroke from being asked to autograph something but I'm not.

  • The festival closed with an awards ceremony. In spite of the fact that we didn't win anything, R wouldn't let me throw my program on the floor indignantly and storm out. Uh, hello? I thought we were filmmakers. If we're not going to storm petulantly out of awards ceremonies, what's the point?

Bottom line, CENFLO itself was terrific. Great films, well organized, beautiful facility, and extremely friendly and hospitable staff. I hope we have something to take there next year. I'll just bring sandwiches from home.

There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, on

Folks, forget the rain forest or whatever. Ominous signs indicate that we are dangerously close to completely running out of one of our single most precious resource: television. Need proof? Here's what's on ABC right now (8:00PM EST)...

"JUST FOR LAUGHS" - This a collection of blooper and practical joke clips from some old TV shows that originally aired in the sort of eastern European country where goats are treated both better and worse than you'd expect, accompanied by the kind of canned laugh track that hasn't been used without irony on American television in about 20 years. The on-screen guide's description says this is some of the imported hilarity you can expect to see on 'Just For Laughs': "A car door slams on a man's hand; a police officer borrows a pedestrian's cell phone; an arm falls out of a coffin". My god, we're not only out of television, we're out of humor!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I just spent the last three hours watching the film "Waterworld". On purpose. It was like eating an entire bag of Funnyons for dinner; I figured it couldn't possibly be as bad as I remember it but three hours later I find myself feeling bloated, disoriented and a little disgusted with myself. In my defense, there honestly was nothing else on TV tonight (aren't the new shows supposed to be on now?) so they caught me when I was vulnerable. Plus, I've noticed it's been on the local cable channels a lot lately. I flipped past it twice on different channels this past weekend before caving in tonight. I'm not sure if it's because somebody's decided with all the discussion of global warming taking place that this film is suddenly relevant but I sincerely doubt the solution has anything whatsoever to do with a urine-drinking Kevin Costner bungee jumping from a homemade zeppelin to save a little girl with a tramp stamp from a three way exploding jet ski collision.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Random Observations On Tuesday, September 4

Maybe nobody else finds this stuff odd or even interesting, I can't tell anymore, but I do. So I write about it. Here's stuff I saw and/or heard today:
  • Fans of the University of Michigan are acting like there were several untimely, grisly deaths in their immediate families over the weekend because they lost their season opening football game to unranked, lower division Appalaichan State. They had hopes of competing for a national championship and will now be lucky to be ranked anywhere near the top 10 for the rest of the season. I guess I understand their grief; it's not like there's a war going on or anything.
  • After a long weekend in Orlando (which I will write about soon) I had to do laundry. So I went to the laundromat after work tonight. While sitting there watching "Gilmore Girls" (there's only one TV), the woman who manages the laundromat, who I am positive is at least ten years younger than I am, was doing a crossword puzzle and asked me "What team does Joe Namath play for?". I answered "Uh, the New York Jets" and then added under my breath "about 35 years ago". I know time stands still at the laundromat. I didn't know it actually went backwards.
  • Also at the laundromat, I overheard a teenage girl tell her mother "Today in the hallway, my jeans slipped down and I looked back and like, every guy was looking at me and checking me out". Was mom appalled, nonplussed, taken aback or otherwise affected in any way by this declaration? Not that I could tell. Of course, she was folding a tee shirt that read 'RENT the hour' on it at the time, so maybe topics like that are commonplace in mother/daughter confabs. I don't know. For me, it just further reinforces that fact that I am not cut out to be a parent.
  • I had to buy a new phone charger because I left mine in Orlando so I went to WalMart. As I cruised the aisles, I heard a slow, solemn military drum cadence over the loudspeakers. It took me a minute but I realized they were playing Elvis's 'An American Trilogy', which is a medley of 'Dixie', 'The Battle Hymn Of The Republic' and 'All My Trials'. I'm sorry, I just think that in itself is kind of funny.
  • I did the self checkout thing, as usual, and was halfway to the door before I realized I'd left four dollars in the change tray. I turned around and got it and on my way back to the exit, the hatchet-faced receipt-checker, or scorn-wielder or whatever her title is said to me, "You don't have to worry, we wouldn't have kept it. We'd have taken it to the office". Her tone suggested that I was somehow insulting her integrity by remembering I had left change behind and coming back immediately to get it. I guess I was supposed to leave, give her an opportunity to graciously retrieve it for me and then wait an acceptable time (I don't know, three days? A week?) before returning to the office to claim it. Sorry, I didn't know the protocol. I tried to make a little joke about how I needed the money and she said, without a little joke, "Yeah, I know you do". Now what the hell was that all about?