Thursday, March 31, 2005

Gimme Shelter

I'm downloading the new Weezer song off of iTunes right now, with "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills & Nash in the queue, mainly because I can't seem to find my copy of the new Billy Idol CD, which I desperately want to listen to, but I fear that it's out in my truck, all of fifty feet away, outside in the fifty-five degree heat of an Illinois spring. It's also two in the morning, and I'm simply not going to go outside at this hour. It's balmy outside, the sort of climate-controlled environment you'd expect lab technicians to culture massive amounts of life-threatening bacteria in. Which is to say that I think it's downright anthraxy outside right now.

The Weezer song has concluded its downloading. "Beverly Hills" isn't much of a song. Maybe it'll grow on me, but it's certainly not as catchy or fun as "Keep Fishin'," which is -for my money- probably the catchiest song of all time. Yeah, that was the one with the video with the Muppets. Suddenly I notice that Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame) has a new song out, so I add that to the queue, which takes five minutes because of my stupid dialup connection.

On a side-note, I should add that I just barely missed seeing Glen Phillips play in Chicago several months ago at some small venue or another. A couple of weeks ago, I was informed by one of my friends that who was playing bass for Glen Phillips but John Paul Jones. If it wasn't bad enough several months ago, it was now much, much worse, having missed not only Glen Phillips in concert, but also the bass player for Led Zeppelin.

Back to bitching about dialup, with any luck this will be the last time I have to do it, because I'm informed that a cable modem will be installed sometime tomorrow, which means a trip out to ... someplace that sells 802.11G wireless setups. After that, it's a matter of praying to god that it works, then locking down the system so that others can't access it while wardriving, let alone gain access to my collection of pornography, which is quite staggering in size considering I've been living on dialup all these years.

I like the Live-Aid version of "Teach Your Children" better. Damn. I consider for a moment downloading "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats, but I'm almost positive that I'd like the Live-Aid version of that better, too, and so maybe I should teach myself how to rip DVD's again, seeing how I've got the software lying around on my computer somewhere.

Trying to think of what movie to watch tonight, and I can't come up with anything. There's a ton of movies sitting on and around my desk, around because I've run out of desk space and they have a tendency to fall, and it was going to be Fight Club, but then I thought that was entirely too reactionary, given that I got shut down yesterday by the girl from my class and then again tonight by the Bozo Bucket ex-girlfriend, though she did so in passing, as though it were a standard part of every conversation she and I have. I consider for a moment Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but then I realize, what does that say about me? That I'm watching a movie that's essentially about a couple's attempts to erase each other from their memories, which makes it even worse. That's right, even if I wasn't writing this, I'd still be concerned about what others think of my DVD-watching habits. "I've watched three discs of Evangelion today, does that mean that someone might think I'm obsessed with anime and try to strike up a conversation with me about La Blue Girl? God, I hope not."

With my thumb, I scrape a layer of dust off of Rocky and think to myself that the layer of dust is probably there for a reason, and that I don't want to watch the movie so often that it loses its appeal. Dances With Wolves is always tempting, but then I have to switch discs halfway through, and I probably will have fallen asleep by then. That's the whole point of this, to put in a movie that I'll fall asleep watching, and it's as I type this that I realize that no movie in this world makes me fall asleep faster than Alien: Resurrection, which reminds me that one of these days I'm going to have to get the Alien Quadrilogy box set. I can do this because the extra money that I was budgeting just in case I was going to go out on dates with a certain girl is now recycled back into my entertainment budget.

I break out my now-underwhelming Alien Legacy box set, furious at Fox for double-dipping me on a box set. Okay, individual movies I can handle, but making me buy a whole new box set is simply unacceptable, and then I realize that I really want some of the ancillary materials from the Matrix box set, but not the movies. Lord, no, not the movies. I put the DVD into my DVD-ROM drive just as Glen Phillips's ... Phillips', Phillips's? I wonder what's proper in that case, and I know that the Bozo Bucket ex-girlfriend knows, but I'm not talking to her because I'm fantastically single and she calls me because she has nothing else to do on her hour-long commute home but talk about James Spader and how she wouldn't ever date me again.

But I digress. Glen's (yes, I know him that well now) song finishes downloading, and I realize that it sounds like Toad the Wet Sprocket, but not one of the songs off of Pale or Fear, which are really the only two Toad albums worth listening to, and Pale is only worth listening to selectively. Dulcinea is all right, and it's more like what this new song sounds like, but that album also has "Fall Down" on it, which was the only genuinely good song off of that whole album, which goes to say how much I'm liking this new song, and I wonder how it is that Paul Westerberg stayed good after the Replacements broke up, but Glen Phillips sucks in the post-Toad the Wet Sprocket world.

So that's three Pepsi bottle caps gone that I wish I could have back, and I think that I would have been just as well off if I would have gone and picked something off of that newly-added album by Chingy. Who the fuck is Chingy? I don't know, but I'm really fucking disappointed in Glen Phillips right now.

I considered yesterday getting the new Bruce Springsteen track, and it started out sounding like Bruce recorded the song with just him and an acoustic guitar in a run-down hotel somewhere off of the interstate (read: it sounded like Nebraska), and then came the string section and various other things that made me go, "Aw, why did Brendan O'Brien have to come in and fuck up another Springsteen album?" But I know that I'm going to buy the album anyway, and I'll say, "Wow, these songs sure are powerful, but goddamn I just don't like it," and then I'll start listening to Tunnel of Love, and I'll feel better. Or worse, but I'll like the music better.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Murder of One

Before I dispense with this evening's post -and I'm quite aware that it's been two weeks since the last one- I'm going to relate a story about my niece, Frodo, who happens to be the funniest person I know, including myself, which is kind of sad, given that I'm in a comedy-writing class. The other day, she was writing on a piece of paper with a crayon words that were not even comprised of letters, except for perhaps the occasional accidental stumbling upon a sanskrit letter or a Japanese kanji symbol. In any case, after an extensive period of writing all of this down, she hands the piece of paper to my mother and says, "It's Spanish. Read it to me." Precocious four year-old, she is.

In any case, tonight's class delved into character and motivation. I wasn't feeling particularly funny, given my day at work, but I can't say that I wasn't able to produce at the drop of a hat. Half of the people in class are virtually incapable of spontaneous writing, which makes sense, because it's not an improv program. Good writing takes time, and editing takes a lot longer. However, in class, we have to produce immediately, given a random prompt, no matter how absurd or bland it might be. The following pieces of writing came from tonight's class, with the prompt in boldface. Basically, given the prompt, you have to write for ten minutes.

Jumping off a tall building
Bob's mother was never a firm believer in the notion of peer pressure. She never went for the "but all the other kids are doing it" excuse, stopping just shy of bein gthe mother from Carrie and saying that all the other kids were going to laugh at Bob. Bob, on the other hand, was one of those societal followers who French-rolled his blue jeans in seventh grade and touted the Pixies as the leaders of the alternative-rock revolution, despite having never heard any of their albums. Today, he watches television every night and abandons his cubicle whenever possible to talk to others by the water cooler about whatever series won the Nielsen ratings contest the night before. He has an iPod despite not owning a computer, and thinks that Microsoft is evil, though he can't elaborate on why.

Two days ago, the company Bob works for was raided by SEC agents, with regard to some sort of stock fraud in the billions of dollars range. Mister Staley, the guy over in accounting who Bob believes himself to be the good friend of, having discussed the niceties of fine dining -such as foie gras, which Bob thinks is actually finely chopped lettuce, having never seen it except written on menus- and how great herbal supplements are, though Bob doesn't even take a daily vitamin, though he does take an aspirin every day because the television says it could save his life.

Anyway, Mister Staley, Bob's good friend who forgot the last two years to invite Bob to the summer barbeque, has taken stock of his life and came to the conclusion that prison isn't for him, even for a Martha Stewart sentence, and went up tot he roof to end his life in the dramatic fashion that no one ever really does anymore, since open-casket funerals are the in-thing. But Staley doesn't care, because he's a leader, not a follower.

After lunch, Bob gets word of Staley's high-flying demise, and -despite having nothing to do with any fraud- goes up to the roof to do the same, remembering his mother's rhetorical question of if all of his friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would he?

A Man Needs a McDonald's Hamburger - An exercise in motivation
Bob, seated currently in his living room, wants a McDonald's hamburger. Craves it, needs it, will die without it, because his bad cholesterol is entirely too low. He thinks, god, if not for this ankle-bracelet and detection system, I could just go out and get one. Bob decides, damn the law, which is not an outlandish thought, given his temporary incarceration and current house arrest, and he goes on the lam for that tasty bun, all-beef patty, pickles, onions, et cetera.

Once he gets out of the detection system's range, he's on the run, literally, hauling ass down the street like something out of a Will Smith film. He gets two blocks before running past a police car at a full sprint, wearing nothing but his Adidas, a t-shirt, his boxers, and the ankle bracelet. Now, all things considered, this piques the cop's interest and the spotlight is on Bob before his mind even registered that was a police car, though his attire is something he's still totally oblivious to.

He turns down an alleyway, knocks over a few garbage cans, and keeps moving, trying to slow the police car down enough to escape to the Garden of the Golden Arches. He tears his shirt on something along the way, exacerbating an earlier rip in the shirt, causing it to rip completely, so Bob pulls the shirt off.

Adidas, bracelet, boxers. Three blocks now. He can make it because the streets are virtually empty. Two blocks, what the hell time is it? One block, Bob looks at his wrist which has no watch on it, or I would have spelled that out earlier. He arrives at the door to find all of the chairs up on the tables and not even a cleaning crew to be seen. He screams in anguish, then sees a drainpipe which he believes he can shimmy up, given that he needs that hamburger and the police car's spotlight is on him again.

Up the drainpipe, but the only roof access he can find is a vent over the grill. He kicks it open and drops onto the grill, which was inadverdently left on the night before, melting his Adidas, causing him to slip to the floor and sprain his back. No shirt. No shoes. ... No service.

Back to Non-Class Writing

So during the mid-class break, I'm having a cigarette with the girl whose number I got two weeks ago, and she blurts out that she doesn't want to go out on a "date-date" with me. At this point, Marv Albert drives by in his convertible and yells, "REJECTED!" before turning down the exit-ramp of the Piper's Alley parking garage. To summarize what followed, any social outing between her and myself would now be termed as "a scam" in the Say Anything dictionary of social terms, essentially placing me only slightly higher than Timmy the Annoying Red-Haired Boy. Furthermore, the date which had been scheduled for this Thursday, which has since been reduced to being a scam, has been placed on indefinite hold, pending her finishing up some papers she has to write for her other classes.

I'm not holding my breath.

I had something else worth writing about earlier, but now it's gone. One of these days I'm going to have to sit down and write about the persistence of memory, both with and without regard to Dali. This is to say that it'll never get done, but it was a good idea at the time.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Do You Like Apples?

I got her number. How do you like them apples?

AIM: therbmcc71

Monday, March 14, 2005

I'm Goin' Down

Today's song comes from Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. album, and kicked on just as I started writing the bulk of today's post. I just love it when my Shuffle tries to be funny.

Chicago doctor Richard Phillips is suing his former lover, Sharon Irons, in civil court for emotional distress. This is after she sued him for child-support for their five-year old child, during which he filed a countersuit alleging that she stole his sperm during oral sex and used it to impregnate herself. The criminal court dismissed his charge of theft, stating that he gave it to her willingly and without expectation of return at any point, meeting the legal definition of a gift. In the civil suit, he will have to prove that he was the victim of Irons' sordid semen-stealing strategy in order to receive damages.

Also in Illinois legal news, the state House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send the Predator Accountability Act to the House floor for a vote; the act is written specifically to allow prostitutes the right to sue their pimps, which led me to ask what kind of a world we live in where hookers have a better lobby in state government than the environment or public transportation. Of course, getting a bill out of committee probably doesn't take that much work, though the prostitutes may very well have to seek "alternative means" of lobbying the hundred-plus members of the House in order to get the bill passed.

By the way, if you didn't understand the significance and sheer humor of the previous post, think of the movie Heathers. If you still don't get it, I don't want to know you.

AIM: therbmcc71

Thursday, March 10, 2005


ASPEN, Colo. -- Hunter S. Thompson's body was found in a chair in the kitchen in front of his typewriter with the word "counselor" typed in the center of the page, according to sheriff's reports.

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Tuesday's Gone

"Tuesday's Gone" is easily my favorite Skynyrd song, and has been ever since I watched the movie Dazed & Confused. I was actually fairly shocked to find that it was also included on Metallica's Garage Inc. album of covers, this being a recording from a live-radio session with a other musical stars, including Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, Faith No More's old guitarist Jim Martin, Jerry Maguire's "Jesus of the Copymat" Jerry Cantrell, John Popper on harmonica, and Les Claypool on banjo.

I went to my first class at Second City last night, and it went quite well, despite parking all the way over at Armitage and Larrabee in the bitter fucking cold. Before I got out of my car, I considered just springing the thirteen bucks at the Piper's Alley parking garage, and then I thought that New Yorkers walk everywhere, so can I. And, on my way back, the temperature having dropped twenty degrees in five hours, I began cursing at New Yorkers for giving me that stupid idea.

The class seems to be split between introverts who aren't especially funny, and those of us who either know or at least think we're funny, which then intimidates the introverts into not reading their work to the class. For example, one guy across the room -this guy is a fucking dead ringer for Pollux Troy from Face/Off- would just turn his page over when another classmate would read her stuff; and if her work even remotely decent, he wouldn't say anything, and would probably eat his own paper if pressured to read what he'd written. Quite frankly, I thought I was a good writer, but some of these people intimidate even me. Of course, a lot of stupid things intimidate me, like the guys who model summer-wear for the Tarzhay ad-sheets every week.

It's a class of seventeen people, of which fifteen showed up, and we're all crammed into a room about the size of my Tarzhay photo lab, which -for the sake of clarity- is about nine feet by fifteen feet. Looking around at my own bedroom, which is smaller than those measurements, I'm pretty sure that it's smaller than this. Call it eight feet by thirteen or so. Outside the room, the improv class occasionally performs tremendously annoying exercises in making animal sounds or orgasmic moans, and occasionally melding the two, I think; because when an improv group runs out of material, the show will always devolve into schtick about sex, and this group clearly knows that bestiality is a fucking humor gold mine.

My class discussed for a moment the notion of the writer as a classically tortured artist who tends to either kill himself or drink himself into an early grave. After discussing Virginia Woolf and her swim, Hemingway's last shotgun safari, Faulkner's drinking, Tennessee Williams' drinking, and the truly gonzo manner in which Hunter S. Thompson went out, we turned to music and people like Kurt Cobain, Jim Ellison, and Elliott Smith who warrants special mention for stabbing himself to death. In the heart. Twice. And through all of this, I couldn't help but think of the tragedy that was Mama Cass and her ham sandwich.

And I met a girl. I'm completely and utterly smitten, to the point that I actually asked her if I could buy her a drink after class, which I would never do in a normal situation. Of course, I'd also been awake for thirty hours and change at that point, and probably thought it was a perfectly rational act to ask a girl whom I'd known for about three and a half hours if she'd like to have a drink with me. I mean, she seems nice enough, having spent entirely too many underproductive years in college, she's nice to look at, loathes mediocrity, and -if that wasn't enough- she understood the Bozo Bucket reference, which is just unassailably cool. I mean, she got it on the first try, without having to stop and think about it or anything. I damn near blurted out, "I love you," at that point.

Of course, she had Bailey's and coffee waiting for her back at her dorm room, so I was off to my car, all the way back at Armitage and Larrabee, thank you draconian Chicago parking restrictions. When I got home, I had to ask myself the age-old philosophical question of where the line gets drawn between curiosity and creepiness; case in point: Is it wrong to run a Google search for a girl you're interested in? For women, I think this is a lot easier, because there's always the chance that the guy could be a sex-offender or something, whereas us guys are kind of hoping that the girl is a sex-offender, at least in the kind of way that could somehow be construed as cool. However, for a guy, you end up hoping that somewhere down the line, the cookie from this search doesn't end up as State's Evidence #1 for your stalking charge.

Anyway. I have to be out the door in seven hours, so I'm just going to cut this post off here before I incriminate myself any further. Maybe next week she'll take me up on my offer to get a drink after class, but the Magic 8-Ball's saying probably not. Now, I can only hope that she's not way better at Googling information than I am, because in the event that she finds this site, given all of this rambling, I'm sure that charges will probably be filed by the morning.

AIM: therbmcc71