Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Saddest Comedy in the World

A couple weeks ago I'm at the gym wondering why the elliptical machine insists on lying about the elapsed time (you can say 3 minutes as long as you want, Mr. Running Robot, but I think we both know I had to have been on you at least 10) and glanced up at one of the closed captioned TVs the gym offers. "Everybody Loves Raymond" was starting and since I needed something to take my mind off my lying robot coach, I started watching, pretending I had just been struck deaf from some terrible accident.

It's in the beginning, before the credits. Ray and his family are in the kitchen, trading barbs and insulting each other. Without sound or a laughtrack, the show was a bleak, depressing rumination on a family that hates each other with a blinding passion and takes every opportunity to point out each others flaws, yet is somehow determined to stick together. It also helped that I was translating everything in overly dramatic 'actorly' voices with lots of pauses, so that it went sort of like:

"Raymond. (pause) You did not empty the dishwasher again."

"I know, honey. I (pause) just (pause) forgot, OK?"

Here's an actual script I found off the internet:

Ray: Take a look at your daughter.

Debra: Yeah, so? She looks happy.

Ray: She’s happy, that’s very happy.

Debra: What, shall we call a doctor, Ray?

Ray: I… look, I’m just saying, look how good it is to be five. Oh, you’re truly happy at five. You’re happiness peaks at five.

Debra: Oh, come on, I’m happy.

Ray: You’re not that happy. You can’t be. Look at her. Ally, what are you thinking of?

Ally: Candy.

Fill that full of pauses and serious voices and you can see what a depressing view the writers of "Everybody Loves Raymond" have on marriage, childhood, and the elusiveness of happiness.

I can't wait til tonight when I get to dramatize "Two and a Half Men" in this manner.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40

I turned 40 Saturday. It really freaked me out. I never cared about birthdays before. Hell, I can't even remember a big stretch of birthdays from my 20s on, and not even in a "brah, I was so wasted" way. My parents would call, I got some presents, probably went to work, ate some cake and forgot about it.

But 40. 40 was messing me up. For about two weeks before I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache from nighttime worries that would jolt me awake but I couldn't remember. A lot of them were tied in to the fact that I just sort of assumed I would have accomplished a lot more by the time I hit 40. Or you know, accomplished something by now.

But the day came and I felt OK. The girlfriend went all out on the surprises, we went out to eat with a bunch of people, I got some nice gifts in the mail, and thanks to the facebook, people sent messages and whatnot. I think I'm feeling OK about the whole thing now, but who the hell knows.

Now all you kids get off my damn lawn. And you're not getting your frisbee back until you tell your parents.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Sociological Test

If you were ever a fan of any sort of non-mainstream music, no matter what it was - techno, punk, black metal, swing, goth, Peruvian folk music - whatever, and you run into someone who was into the same stuff years later, ask them about music.

They'll probably say, "Yeah, I don't listen to that stuff anymore."

Ask them what they listen to now. There is a 95 percent chance the answer is Wilco.

Me, I listen to about the same thing I did when I was a teenager.* Why? Well, check out this picture of DYS:

Look at that little guy with the guitar! Look how much fun he's having!

*Except for around Halloween and Christmas, when I revert back even further.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Real, Actual Promotional Quote from the back of a Book

"Like Hunter Thompson on acid." - P.J. O'Rourke.

Not only is the whole, "like X on acid (or steroids)" my least favorite critic phrase ever (well, 'Mats' for The Replacements is up there, too), but wasn't Hunter Thompson Hunter Thompson on acid? And it was written by P.J. O'Rourke, who actually knew Hunter Thompson!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

That Must Have Been Some Party

Went to a party last weekend. Ended up drinking way too much. When this would happen in the past, the night would be lost forever, living only in the memories of people I insulted or made feel uncomfortable. Thanks to technology, however, I have an actual record of texts (some failed to be delivered, as my coordination took a severe nosedive after the 30th drink) to document the night. Just like the brave actors on CSI, we can piece together a night from a sparse set of clues.

To Several Recipients: We are 138!!*

To Todd: Listening to Love and Rockets. Drunk.

From Todd: I'm watching Floor right now. Drunk.

To Todd: Dry Ice?

From Todd: They've got 2 smoke machines.

To Todd: Oy Vey. I love that shit.

To Pat: Love and Rockets id awesmm

To Pat (Undelivered) Now I'm wearing a boa and listening to show tunes. KICK ASS!!!

To Todd: I want to pilot

I have no idea what the I want to pilot thing meant. Was I revealing my secret dream of going to pilot school?

There ends our texts. Nothing like technology in the hands of drunk middle aged men.

* I have what I feel is an endearing habit of texting old punk lyrics after I've had a few.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Why I Am A Shining Star At Work

Boss: "I wanted to show you where the key to the laptop is since I'm going to be gone for a week."

Me: "It's in that drawer, right? In that secret thing right there?"

Boss: "How did you know that?"

Me: "You showed my like three years ago."

Boss: "And you remembered? Scotty*, I'm impressed!"

Me: "Actually, I know where the key lives because you told me it unlocks your secret candy stash."

Boss: "You should have stopped earlier. It would have been a lot more impressive."

* Yes, somehow Scotty became my work nickname.