Monday, December 29, 2008

Secret Google agenda

Interesting that "Barack Obama" isn't passing GMail/Blogger spell checks yet, but "Zach Ayers" seems to be just fine. "Snuffleupagus" doesn't clear spell check either. Not even "Snuffy."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 4 - Completion


We're ecstatic and exhausted. Here's a link to more photos!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 3





It's been a long day. We got 2 inches of rain today. Everyone scrambled. I don't know how far behind we are, but I think the pictures depict a lot of activity. Note the painter's tape and a lot of unfinished wood. One more day! One more long, back-breaking day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 2




Well, the pictures don't say much about our work on Day 2. Kristina spent most of her day building wood boxes, routing the slabs of oak, and painting things white. Steve and I spent all day struggling with long division as we attempted to make even squares in our simple coffered ceiling.

Kristina has determined that being a television star would be an awful job because of all the repetition. I've said "Let's do it!" so much that the words have lost all meaning (thank you, Milhouse).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 1


Most of this is a paint job. And WHAT a paint job. Dig it? That's Carmen, one of the co-hosts, next to K.

The only other thing we've done is removed the baseboards. Tomorrow's post will show you why. K and I are still in the dark on a lot of the details, but we know the major build, and we love it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Demolition Day


Today, the HGTV show "Hammer Heads" begins to renovate our living room into a better living room. I'll try to continue to post updates about this. K and I are about to be interviewed about our own cock-eyed design work. It's 7am, but Kristina and I aren't dressed like it. We look good. Cable-TV good.

Here's the before shot of our living room:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Movies from the zeitgeist, but which no one has seen

- Powder
- Pay it Forward
- Child's Play
- Planet of the Apes
- The Blair Witch Project
- Kazaam

Anyone else?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Street smarts

Am I supposed to be quiet when I walk around a homeless person sleeping on the street? Is there a limit to being considerate? Like, do I have to whisper to my friend while I walk on Ventura Blvd. because there's a man on the sidewalk wrapped in a blanket?

Some not-quite-fitting comparisons for this situation:

- The homeless man is a non-smoker hanging out in my cigar bar
- The homeless man is an inert virus, and my friend and I are white blood cells just having lunch in a healthy spleen.
- The homeless man is one of the living, and I am a ghost in a haunted mansion.
- The homeless man is an Irish Catholic and I'm a stand-up in a Protestant comedy club
- The homeless man is a Fresca

For the record, I chose to whisper. I believe it's a lose/lose choice, though, because while I might be nice, I'm also letting the homeless win.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Freudian slip

Do you think terrorists make the Obama/Osama slip of the tongue the way that Americans do? Like, terrorist pundits say "Obama," but mean "Osama?"

Is there terrorist paparazzi? I'll bet some of those guys don't wear underwear when they ride limos.

I could laugh at this until the day I die

Monday, December 1, 2008

It wasn't me

Rodney, a full-grown man with top and bottom braces, approached me at a swanky gay bar this weekend and showed soft-core pornography(?) photos of an attractive, half-naked man to the two people I was with. Rodney and his friends at the bar thought that I was the man in the photos. I was not.

That felt really good, though.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Out of breath and close to death

I told this story at a dinner party last weekend and my friend Lisa P nearly pissed herself. So now that I've put it on a pedestal...

Freshman year at Ithaca College, and I'm really trying to stay fit. Except I'm not, since I have 8:00AM classes and I can eat all the Cap'n Crunch I want. So one Sunday night, I go to bed IN my shorts and hoodie so that when I wake up at 7, I can work out before class.

The alarm wakes me up. I roll out of bed. I step into my shoes and I am out the door in less than 10 seconds. I run down the hall. I run across the parking lot. I run along the large power lines that cut a path up the forested hill. The hill's getting steeper, the snow's getting thicker, and I start to run up on all fours like the training montage in Rocky IV.

A coupe months ago, my wife told me something about how you shouldn't work out, like, half an hour after you wake up because your lungs can put the right amount of oxygen into your blood. Something like that.

Which would have been nice to know on this morning, because as my run up the hill turned into a crawl, the crawl then turned into a belly flop onto the ground. And I passed out.

I woke up an hour and a half later. I missed my philosophy class because I was unconscious, alone, and in a snow bank for 90 minutes.

I gained a lot of weight that year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The differences

I don't know the difference between drunk and sleepy anymore. I mean, I know the difference between TRASHED and sleepy, but it just occurred to me that I have no idea what my tolerance is like because if I drink, it's always near my bedtime. So, either beer makes me very tired or just very bored.

I also don't know the difference between a sugar high and a caffeine high.

Or a bad day at the gym and malnutrition.

Or a girl who wants to be my friend and a girl who has sex for money.

It might be time for a doctor.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Haircut down to size

I hate making smalltalk with my barber. I prefer to spend the time in silence and just watch my hair in the mirror. But if the person cutting my hair does get me into a conversation, I also feel compelled to tip higher. Like they did me a favor by talking to me. Here's a little extra for asking what I do for a living.

And it's not just that I don't like to talk to this stranger with scissors. It's that I don't like the people next to me to listen in. Because then they judge me.

Yesterday, I had an argument with the man who gave me a haircut. A song from the management's mix tape came over the PA system, and the first thing the guy said to me as he put the cape around my neck was "How 'bout that Neil Young?"

It took me a moment to respond, because it was absolutely not Neil Young.

If I said nothing, that would mean that I've accepted his stupid music knowledge but I might get a better haircut. It would also mean that everyone within earshot would know that I'm an idiot too. So I decided to say something. A man's gotta have priorities.

"It's Tom Waits," I winced.

He insisted it was Neil Young. And as he insisted, his cutting got more erratic. He couldn't spit in my food, so he hacked at my head.

"No, no, no," I said. "Neil Young is Sugar Mountain. He's Rockin' in the Free World." I even did a little high-palate impersonation. No one came to my aid. I was alone in this soft-rock battle. Everyone chose to spectate.

Nothing was resolved. And I unfortunately got what I wanted in the first place: a silent haircut. He didn't even offer to show me the back. My sideburns were intentionally cock-eyed. I still tipped him way too much.

Then I got home and discovered it wasn't Tom Waits. It was Lou Reed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

So wonderful

GarfieldMinusGarfield.net



Thanks, Jessica!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nemises

What is with me and mortal enemies? At every stage in my life, I've managed to hate one person so much that I can't look them in the eye. Last week I discovered a new one.

And I'm not going to get into who he is or in what capacity I know him in. All I want to say is that I saw him last night, which was the day after the elections, and he was still wearing his "I voted" sticker. Should that really bother me?

Oh, and he/she has the face of a 60 year old with the haircut of a 15 year old. And he/she has a creepy smile. And tapered pants.

Somehow, I have the reputation for loving everyone and yet I don't. This must be how Jesus feels.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's in the box?

I finally cleaned out our garage yesterday. I had been avoiding the work because for one, it's a spider sanctuary--including many a black widow--and two, because since we moved in 5 months ago, we've heard strange rustling sounds coming from one dark corner.

The mysterious corner, in fact the whole garage, contains years of home-improvement leftovers. Twenty cans of paint, stains, sealers, and one large box of shingles. The sound was definitely coming from the shingles. I hadn't prepared myself for what was in that shingle box...

A dozen black widows wasn't even the scariest part, even though they scurried very close to my juicy fingertips when I peeled back their shingle front door. The cardboard top to the shingle box turned out to be an inedible wall for a colony of termites. Thousands of termites. With the top gone, it was like looking at...well, an ant farm. These termites had almost entirely devoured a bag of shingles. That's like 70 pounds! And I thought shingles were made of tar! Rock! Asphalt! Well, the box was nearly empty. The sound that we'd been hearing for months was that box of shingles caving in on itself.

After I disposed of the box like it was a bio-hazard (shovel, long gloves, lotsa termite poison), I called K to tell her we were safe now. She was very afraid that I had been bitten by a black widow, but hadn't realized it yet.

Like a zombie.

God, can that happen?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Here, fishy fishy!

K and I are having dinner with another married couple this evening, because that's what married people do--have dinner, then talk about what we'll be eating tomorrow. The difference is that this couple is 9-months pregnant. That essentially means we'll never see these two people again, until years later when we'll get a letter from the child asking us to buy magazine subscriptions.

But such is life, if you want to be married. And K and I will be no different someday soon. It'll be our 10-year dating anniversary in February (married for...3?), and we've long run out of funny anecdotes. We'll need to talk to and about our children very soon or else every dinner we'll be simultaneously staring into our stews, wondering when would be a good time to turn on Nick at Night.

But I do have some anecdotes that I've never gotten around to telling K. And if she knew them, she might think twice about whether children are really worth all the trouble.

I spent my adolescence in Alaska, which is a slushy, bright, blustery place with tall trees and thick beards. I couldn't have grown up in a better place. And although my parents weren't exactly from the wilderness, I think the Anchorage Welcoming Committee bestows hatchets and compasses to people in the airport, like Hawaiian leis. The moose can be violently territorial, though, so the socialized hatchets might have been the result of a lawsuit.

Anyway, my childhood memories are made up of mental slide shows, rather than one continuous film strip. But most of those pictures have trees and fish in them. My dad and I went fishing a lot. At least, it seemed like a lot. And one childhood trip stands out from the rest. This was the time that I had diarrhea. I was probably nine.

In order to understand the events of the day, I've gotta get some facts in:
- We usually river-fished, which I totally prefer.
- My dad always made sure that I somehow caught the biggest fish of the day
- I think I got sick a lot. I remember having a lot of canker sores. I believe I went an entire year with the same cold.
- A lot of what I'm about to say may have happened at different times, so this might be more Biblical than C-Span-ish (Wow, does C-Spanish exist?)

I was also a motion-sick kid. So much so that I couldn't fly anywhere without vomiting. And on this day, sitting in a boat with my dad and some guide who may or may not have been my dad's coworker on the choppy river in an aluminum boat with an outboard, the mixture of exhaust and fish smells weren't sitting right. Maybe I threw up? Maybe I didn't? I do know that I crapped my pants.

Things were going everywhere. We pulled off to the shore and my dad told me I should crap behind a tree. So he escorted me to a tree, where I let it all go. Keep in mind that it's pretty hard to crap in the woods, but also keep in mind that I was a gifted child. And if it wasn't enough for my dad to excuse himself from the boat because his son was gross, or to brace his son while he crapped on the forest floor, but he also found some moss to clean me off. And I think he did it. He wiped my ass with moss. This is the essence of my blog. This is as uncomfortable of a position as it gets. For both of us. I'm sure he'll get me back when he's old and incontinent.

I doubt I ever thanked him, but they don't exactly make Hallmark moments for things like that.

Then it got weird.

So now I'm totally dehydrated, my stomach's in knots, and we're miles from the car. Somehow, we come upon what I guess was a commune. I mean, I don't remember campers, just dozens of people living on the riverbank--kids and adults, sharing tarps, purifying water. I must have smelled pretty bad. Yet my dad must have negotiated with the tribe that I could do some recouping in their hammocks. I think they actually had television, and I watched it with some of the woodsmen.

I don't remember getting home, but I'm sure my dad does. We were a long car-ride away from home. He still probably convinced me that I caught the biggest fish that day. Whatever motivated my father (and mother, for that matter. She did the laundry, after all!) to be as selfless as they were and are, I hope I get that attribute when I have kids. I will pass on my angler skills. I will carry moss at all times.

So K, when do those newfangled robot children come out? Christmas?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gym Closure

Remember the "no hugs by the squat rack" guy from my September 11 post? Well I was at the gym this morning and saw my hockey friend again. Turns out he's a trainer there. Today, he wore a Detroit Red Wings jersey to work. And his trainee? A man in a t-shirt that celebrates the Mighty Ducks Stanley Cup win. They were laughing and squatting. Smiling and curling. It was kind of nice to see that there's someone for everyone.

We made eye contact, the trainer and I. I didn't get the sense that he remembered me, which is probably best. I bet the Stanley Cup guy's real nice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Give it a rest!

Bat Boy...again.

He really did the slow walk-around!

When I get old, I will not be the cantankerous man who insists that he was ahead of you in the ATM line. I will use words to respond to your protests, instead of walking around your body like a cloud casting a shadow on you. I will button up my shirt. I will wear a belt. I will do my best to speak to you in a language that you understand, rather than what is probably some Armenian thing. I will look you in the eye, instead of in your most vulnerable-to-punching points. And when I get to the ATM, I will not laugh at how weak you are to not have stepped to me. I will understand how to deposit checks. I will not carry my money and important information in a loose stack in my front pocket.

Most importantly, I will hide my PIN number from the people I cut in front of (1-9-5-8).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reunited at last

When I was growing up, I went to the same "hair stylist," who I guess I can now blame for making me look like the unsexy Kramer instead of the sexy Kirk Cameron. I'll be attending my 10-year high school reunion this weekend. Here are some of the other changes that my former classmates will hopefully notice on Saturday:

- I stopped wearing those Nike high-tops with the laces out.
- I've tongue kissed a girl
- I don't only wear Levi's Silvertab jeans anymore
- I'm 35 pounds heavier
- I'm over Quentin Tarantino
- I have less energy
- My parents don't make my lunch anymore--my wife does
- No more unibrow

Here are some of the things that have stayed the same:

- I still wear Hugo cologne
- My mom still buys me underwear, socks, and floss for presents
- Now, instead of the unibrow, I have this strange hair that tries to connect my eyebrows to my sideburns.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Recently, with Marc and Zach

This is a new show Marc Horowitz and I are doing, LIVE every Wednesday at 5pm PST. Check it.

Recently, with Marc & Zach

Friday, October 10, 2008

What a great moment

Have you ever been incredibly parched, so you chug your fast-food restaurant fountain drink through a straw. Then you run out of soda and you can't get refills and you don't have money for a second cup. But THEN you give the straw a push and realize that it wasn't at the very bottom, so you have MORE Coke than you thought?

Those are the lunches to remember.

Y'know, the straw thing could also be an allegory for sub-prime mortgage holders. Maybe I shouldn't have finished my drink...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My coffee shop

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but since I moved to Los Angeles I've been a frequent customer at Psychobabble in Los Feliz. The barista is friendly enough to me, and through a couple years of accidental lies, he thinks I am a world-class writer with a home in New York City.

Today I discovered that they keep The Onion under all the utensils. I pulled one out and chuckled at it while my barista friend made my large, non-fat iced chai. Then he saw what I was reading and scowled at me. "Do you like that stuff?"

He said stuff. I tried to be non-committal, since this guy can be pretty mean. "Well, it's hit or miss."

"It's terrible."

"Oh."

"You really like it? You think it's good?"

"Yeah, I mean. I guess so."

"Wow. I guess I never heard a professional talk about it. Maybe I'll give it a second try."

Wait'll he hears what I have to say about Arby's.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Full Sexy Dance



Despite the title, this is SFW. It's horrifying, but it's SFW.

Favorite comment: "This video made me want to do whatever the opposite of masturbating is."

Something I'll never get to do

I'll never get in a fist fight. That's really a shame. I just don't think I qualify anymore:

- I'm not a teenager
- I don't go to football games
- I don't live on anyone's "turf"
- I'm not a Wild West gambler
- I don't have a goatee
- No one I know plays Double Dragon
- It's been so long since I've seen The Matrix that I've lost the desire to learn a martial art
- I prefer assaulting people with snide remarks and limited eye contact

There were a couple of times in high school where friends of mine got in a scuffle. One of my best friends actually carried a roll of quarters in his pocket JUST IN CASE. I never wanted to fight at the time, but now I just want to know what it feels like to clock someone in the noggin. I don't want to hurt them, just punch them as hard as I can. This must be what Presidents feel like. "I don't want to kill anyone, I just want to see what a 100-megaton thermonuclear blast does to a hemisphere."

Yet, a fight club scares the shit out of me. I am very attached to my teeth.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Signature Series is complete

Over the summer I was a writer on The Signature Series for Crackle.com. Thanks to you guys, we've already had 1.2 million hits. All twenty episodes are now up. Catch 'em all!

www.crackle.com/signature


Here are a couple of my favorites:



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My children will be deviants

I was thinking about Alan Thicke, wondering if I'll be as good a father. But not a fictional one. A real-life daddy. No, we're not pregnant, but it's never to early to get distressed about your future. I'm just considering if I'll have the patience, the authority, and the camaraderie for my children the way Alan Thicke had for his kids Ben Seaver, Carol Seaver, and Kirk Cameron. Yeah, I know I'm being silly with my comparison. The point is that I was wondering if my kids will think I'm cool. And my immediate answer is "fuck ya."

Here's why: I'm empathetic. I'll preface this by saying that when I was a kid I didn't drink, do drugs, smoke, have sex, pillage, etc... I embraced my title as A/V Technician so whole-heartedly that I wore RCA cables like Rambo wears a sweatband. That pretty much excluded me from the high school, cigarettes-and-booze parties. The worst thing I ever did was race my '89 Beretta around Tacoma's tide flats. Or is that the best thing I ever did? Anyway, I wasn't a kid who got into the dangerous stuff, but if my kids do I'LL UNDERSTAND. I might even be happy about it.

I'm not so concerned with the smarts or looks of my kids. K will tell you that I actually HOPE my kids are ugly. (It'll build character.) All I want is for them to make good choices and to be confident. I think the worst thing to accumulate in life is a barrel of regrets, so what looks like a bad choice on the surface could be GREAT choices in the long run. For example, some parents would discourage their children from drinking or smoking, but if it's going to make my kid fit in--especially if he or she is ugly--I say go for it. Sex on homecoming night? If they're safe about it and have considered the consequences, sure!

I realize that asking teenagers to consider the future impact of all their choices is like asking Shamu to make me turkey pot pie. If I'm letting my kids smoke pot, they've gotta give me something in return.

(DISCLAIMER: The majorly-felonious/self-destruction/heroin/huffing caveat is in effect. I can't see how any of these would ever turn into great choices.)

What if my future kids find this post somewhere in the annals of Google's fusion-powered data banks, then use it against me? This will be their excuse to get reckless on some futuristic drug. I can only assume it's some hybrid of angel dust and Red Bull.

Uh oh. Now I'm considering retracting everything. Yes, yes, I've already considered what all you actual parents are saying. "You won't know how cool you'll be until you actually meet your daughter's boyfriend." But what kind of trouble is really, legitimately out there? Like, I know that blow jobs are popular (were they ever not in style?), and that kids are smoking pot, lookin' at Internet porn, being gay, stealing software, etc... I'm totally prepared for all of that. Because how much more extreme can kids go? BJ's and pot? Seriously. Even with my daughter and her burly, high-school boyfriend...

...oh my God, what if he looks like me?!

I'm considering the retraction because what IF things get more extreme? They certainly did for my parents. What's more extreme for a teenager than oral? Orgies? Oh God...incest?! Gay incest?! Don't say that can't happen because I'm sure there was a time in Roman and Greek societies when that was so couture and don't tell me that America isn't the next Roman Empire. And I can't even consider the future of the internet and the bounty of illicit activities that'll bring. Virtual murders? CYBER orgies? Holodecks? I'm not prepared for that. Don't tell me I'm blowing this out of proportion. I've seen Virtuosity.

Now I'm totally unsure. Pre-parenting is so hard. Now I see. It wasn't Kirk Cameron. It wasn't the kid who played Ben. It was Alan Thicke. Alan Thicke had the "Growing Pains." It was him all along. It was Alan.


This post was difficult to write because as I was composing it, a small man with a big hat was chanting to some birds in a nearby tree. It was at least a ten-minute session. Is he the bird whisperer? I smell buddy picture (again)!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Soliciti-zing!

A guy knocked on my door this afternoon:

Zach: Hi!
Guy: (out of breath) Ima...membera...organiz...(nonsense, nonsense) LA Times...
Zach: Slow down, dude.
Guy: Ima...neighbor...selling...subscrip...(totally incoherent)...subscrip...shuns...
Zach: Do you want to come inside? You look hot...
Guy: (paying no attention to me) Remehehehe...muhmuhmuh...
Zach: Like, would a glass of water help?
Guy: Forty dollars.
Zach: Ok, forty dollars...
Guy: Twenty Sundays.... muhmuhmuh...
Zach: Are you asking me if I'd like twenty issues of the Sunday LA Times for $40?
Guy: uh huh.
Zach: Well, I used to get the paper and I didn't read it as much as I should...
Guy: Okay, thank you!

And the guy BOUNDS off my porch and SPRINTS to my neighbor's house, like an out-of-shape Batman.

I love that I have a front door.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I yin your yang

Before I moved in with K, I used to cook for myself. Sure, they were the same four meals (meat loaf, chicken pot pie, meatball somethin', and some kind of rice thing with peas), but I cooked. I took time out of my day to make a meal. I made my bed. I dusted. I wrote thank-you letters. Now, I have a live-in wife. And I didn't intend on being a misogynist, but sometimes life just opens a door. Y'know?

I enjoyed cooking. I had some kind of knack for it. But now, it's completely lost. I have gone from cooking for myself to being on an unintentional raw-food diet. Unless melting cheese on toast is cooking, I only eat peanuts, fruit, spinach, Cliff Bars, and tuna. And crackers. And beer. And Subway Sandwiches. I don't mix anything, because mixing is like cooking. I don't even know what goes with what anymore. Another lunch of peanuts and spinach. I am not exaggerating.

This brings me back to a point I've often made: that I'm always trying to fill the gaps. What I mean is, if I'm in a group of perfectly normal people, I'll play the weirdo. And vice-versa. If everyone knows how to gather, I'll naturally be drawn to hunting. What's unfortunate for K is that she does everything. Which means I'm naturally drawn to the couch. And all those domestic skills I had before we moved in are gone because she was better at making the bed.

Simply put, I am a no-good husband, and this is all her fault.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More things I know

Subway's menu
How to type
The rules of college basketball
The rules of baseball
How to iron
Pi to 28 places
Recognition and recital of all the quotable moments from the following movies (some are standard):
  • Star Wars IV, V, VI
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Pulp Fiction
  • PCU
  • UHF
  • The 'Burbs
  • Lebowski
  • Caddyshack
  • Spinal Tap
  • Clue
  • Braveheart
  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Bueller
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Ghostbusters
  • Godfather I & II
  • Half Baked
  • Hunt for Red October
  • The Jerk
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Holy Grail and Life of Brian
  • Winnie the Pooh and Disney's Robin Hood
  • Rushmore and Tenenbaums
  • Swingers
  • Predator
  • Tombstone
I can also sweep real good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Because no one else will...

Leo is asking me to save the whales. I smell buddy picture!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

No hugs by the squat rack

I go to a predominately gay gym. Like 99% gay. Like I walk in there, and everyone looks at me like I should know better. I mention my membership to local friends and they give me that arched-eyebrow, bent-lip look. And it's starting to get to me. Today, a guy pointed at my shirt and said, "Minnesota Wild?" I said "Uh huh." "Nailed it!" he replied. (Minnesota Wild is a hockey team with a very bad logo. It was probably on sale, and that's why my mother bought it for me last year. I have a dozen of these shirts: University of Puget Sound, some semi-pro baseball team, a shirt for Dead-Guy Ale, etc...) This guy mistook me for a fan. And I don't know if he is gay, but I certainly felt like I was being hit on. He carried on and on about the origins of the NHL, the New York Rangers, the Red Wings, his season tickets. For the life of me, I could not reciprocate at all in this conversation. Not even to be polite. Couldn't even smile. There were pauses in the conversation for me to interject something. I had nothing. Like I didn't even speak the language. Like I was in a coma. So that long three minutes between preacher curl sets, I just rubbed my biceps and kept myself from withdrawing eye contact. I probably shouldn't have been rubbing my biceps. That may have encouraged him.

Because this is a gay gym, most of the members (99% of them) look pretty slick in their gym clothes. Some go over the top, like the 60-year-old, 6'5" guy who wears a black spandex onesy. But for me to say that I'm the ugliest guy in the room is probably an understatement. I don't primp. I roll out of bed and get to the gym. Sometimes my shirt and shorts are inside out. I have bed head. I have pillow lines on my face. My shoes have grass stains. And I wear headphones. For the first hour I'm awake, I try not to say a word. I don't even say hello to Reuben, the sincere gym manager.

Now I fear that I've become some walking storm cloud. The word is out that not only am I ugly, but I'm MEAN, and maybe even a mute. K stopped going to this gym a year ago, and people still remember her. Oh, she's so nice. What a wonderful smile. Her gym clothes ALWAYS fit. Frankly, they probably remember her because she's the only lady that ever came in. Maybe I want to be a walking storm cloud. I don't want to have to give obligatory hugs to the guy who's spotting me on the squat rack. Is that asking to much from a gay gym? I should start wearing a ski mask.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Guest blogging

I've written an entry for friend-of-the-blog, Millty. It can be found here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Something against Toyota

This morning I discovered that my car was tagged. But (I'm not so sure how to make this clear) it wasn't done in spray paint, or keyed into my paint. Much less permanent. Not permanent at all, actually. In fact, writing it in soap would have been more competent. The dude tagged my car with his FINGER in the morning dew stuck to my WINDSHIELD.

And not even where it'd bother me--up in the right corner, away from my eyeline. A very tasteful "TFL(squiggly)" deftly signed by the...artist? I'm hip enough to know that the first part is "Thug for Life" (thank you, public school education). The rest just looks like a bunch of arrows and sevens.

I didn't even wipe it away. Maybe he/she(?) signed my car because he thinks I'm cool, like when someone TP's your house? The guy was like "Hey, this cat here drives a Rav4. That's very sensible of him. Oh, look! He's also overinflated his tires to save on gas. Man, I sure love the environment, too. Mad props, yo." And he signed it. Maybe the arrows and sevens translate to "This guy's great," or "Two thumbs up!" or "Carry on my wayward son."

Then I remembered that I don't trust the youth of today. I started thinking like KIDS think. Now I'm almost certain that this is some kind of mark that "gangs" put on things they're going to fuck up in the FUTURE. Like when snipers hit targets with a laser to show the gunships where to unload carnage. Or maybe there's some REAL destruction somewhere else on my car and that this tag is just there to distract me from leaking brake fluid. Have they mistaken me for someone else? Someone else who's in a rival gang? I've been told I look like Seth MacFarlane. Oh God! Seth MacFarlane's in trouble! This is how The Big Lebowski started. My windshield really ties my car together.

I should have purchased their door-to-door candy bars and supported their "sports uniform" drive. I must be on a list.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So many people in the neighborhood

I don't know if they're very good people.

A couple nights ago, I went for an evening walk around the block only to be halted by police tape and the news that someone was shot in the face outside our local convenience store. All the hipsters came down from their lofts to gawk. What happened? Can anyone see anything? Are you still guest DJing at the bike shop tonight? Last I heard, it was gang related. I don't know if I should find comfort in that. I imagine gangbangers (white-kid language for people who have those long shorts/short pants) don't shoot so well, holding their gats like they do. I often find myself uncomfortably close to stray bullets.

Like the first time I hung out in Echo Park. I was FEET away from a drive-by. Again, another gang shooting. The guy got shot in the ass, and the victim did a good job of moaning, and writhing, and taking off his pants to gain a moderate following. What happened? Did anyone see who did it? Is that bullet in his ass? Who's the guest DJ tonight?

So only two bullet stories and they both take place less than a mile from each other and very close to our new home. Fortunately, we live on the top of a hill--just steep enough for only the most determined can collectors to find aluminum/plastic gold in our bins. Surely, bullets can't make it THIS far. It's hard to shoot UP, right? That's why tall people are never murdered. Never.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Spider's last stand

I feel like recently, the spider in my mailbox has taken over every part of my life--from this blog to my Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons. Rest assured, this will be the last spider entry. Why? Because that spider is DEAD. But not without a fight.

There's not much of a story here. Everything played out like I feared it would. K fetched the mail, brought it back to the patio, and held it while she talked to my parents who were visiting for the weekend. I hear my dad shout "Stop!" Dad swiped the mail and crushed the spider that had finally calculated her attack by attaching herself to a catalog for a community college.

Whew.

With any luck, that millipede I saw crawl into the house this morning wasn't best friends with that spider. Just in case, I'd better plug up my ears when I sleep...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pain in the rump

I read today that in the last year, over 200,000 children were SPANKED in American public schools. Spanked by teachers! In other words, in lieu of detention or other less-violent torture, the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM allows ADULT TEACHERS to SLAP the ASS of a CHILD! Am I the only Coastal liberal in America who thought we lived in an age of childhood due process? Checks and balances in the classroom? No red-butt retribution? Seriously, were any of you paddled in public school? By your teacher? Was it awkward? Look at all these question marks!

Call me oblivious or ignorant, but how does a paddling actually work? Let's take an example from, oh I don't know, when I was in 7th grade: while riding alone in a seat on the bus, I took a key from my pocket, jabbed it into the seat, and tore the whole cover off. Well, most of it, before the people who were sitting IN the seat stopped me. Anywho... I ended up in the principal's office, and he gave me three days of ISS ("in-school suspension" for the more namby-pamby teachers' pets out there). Are you telling me that instead of serving three days in solitary, I could have been spanked instead? Would Mr. Priest (don't forget to note the irony) have instructed me to drop trou' while he delivered mighty punishment upon my rear? Is he certified to do that? Would it happen in his office, or would he make some kind of 18th-Century French public display of me in the cafeteria? Is there a spanking permanent record? How many spanks are too many spanks for college recruiters? And how many is enough for seminary school? (hey-o!)

After the seat-cover incident, I never got in trouble again. I never had to be punished corporally. And frankly, I never even needed ISS. All I needed was for my parents to say they were very disappointed in me. Heaven forbid THEY spanked me. My dad has leathery, gnarled hands with pointy knuckles.

The caveat to this is, of course, that I don't have any children. And that reminds me of something the wise and sage-like comedian Louie C.K. says: when he sees a kid being scolded or manhandled in public by their parents, he doesn't step in. The kid probably DESERVES it. And why? Because kids are asses.

That doesn't mean teachers can slap those asses.

Give thanks, not spanks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Spider update

The family of spiders must have had an argument over dinner last night, because Mama Spider made dinner out of her spider family.

Every day, she gets stronger...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spider goes postal

If spiders have families, one exists in my mailbox. This puts me in an uncomfortable position because not only do I have a jittery case of arachnophobia, but I am also a Mail-o-phile. I really love mail. If there was a sliding scale to measure my adoration, I'd be up with the 80-year-old widows with Country Home Living subscriptions. I'm like a Labrador: when I think I hear the mailman, I will press my snout against the window. (HE should be the one who's embarrassed. At least I'm not wearing short shorts and long socks.) There's a little formula I've come up with, which unfortunately confirms that it's only going to get worse.

Spiders in mailbox = Time/Love of mail

Which means that the longer I wait, the more spiders there will be. And the more I let my love drop, the more spiders there will be. Granted, I think my units are all off (if anyone has a formula to convert spiders into time, lemme know), but spiders aren't good at math either so I think it's a wash.

As you can imagine, absolutely nothing can be done about this. The spiders are deep inside the box, so I can't just reach in and try to squish them. That's what they'd WANT me to do. I can't get a new mailbox because the guy with the short shorts and long socks will know that I'm weak and steal all my detergent samples because he'll know I crumble like a cookie.

Maybe I'll get some tongs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What I know

  • Monogamy (Some say TOO well)
  • World War II (history and video games)
  • Antarctica
  • How to get around in Los Angeles, Seattle, DC, and Disneyland
  • Most punctuation (Some say TOO well)
  • Television field production
  • Comedy writing (theoretically)
  • How to get along with children, ages 18 months to 11 years
  • They Might Be Giants lyrics, from self-titled to Factory Showroom
  • How to annoy Karen/how to bring cats into any conversation
  • Baseball cards (c. 1987-93) and their Beckett value (in 1993)
  • Electricity
  • Planets
  • Simpsons & Star Wars quotes
  • Fretting/guilt
  • Multi-tasking
  • Ant genocide
  • Weightlifting
  • Drinking/guilt drinking

Am I forgetting anything?

I'm gonna start going to night school.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sometimes I don't work

This afternoon I made the most of my expensive DirecTV subscription by actually watching DirecTV. The yard, as many of you know, has taken the premiere spot on my list of entertaining things. I couldn't have picked a better time to put down the shears.


Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo was on Showtime. If you're not familiar with this groundbreaking film, it's because it's terrible and it should NOT be on television.

Headband-clad street kid: Hey, look who's here! It's Kelly!
13-year old girl with one glove: Special Kelly!
13-year old boy with the other glove on: Special K!
Glove girl: Hey, Special K, look what Ozone taught us.
(She does the worm.)
Disembodied voices: All right, Kelly's back! All right! Hey, that's fresh.
(Kelly turns to Ozone.)
Kelly: So, you're teaching class?
Ozone: Yeah, I'm teaching class now.

(Everyone breaks into a hip-hop dance sequence though "The Avenue" that lasts 8 minutes and ends with some mime tour guide.)

No one wears a bra in this movie, and it's disgusting. All the men wear mid-drifts. There's more dancing than dialog! Everything's so jiggly...

The most thought-provoking part of this film isn't the race-relations/dancing undertones. I only had to get through the opening credits to have my mind blown. Menahem Golan produced this movie. Take a look at his CV. He's essentially the man behind EVERY BAD MOVIE IN THE 1980s, including my favorite "The Apple." Oh I wish...I wish...I wish...

James Lipton: The year: 1988. A young, flexible martial artist was not yet an international icon. But Menahem Golan saw something in Jean-Claude Van Damme, and cast the fit Frenchman in a little movie called...Bloodsport.

(some spattering of applause; mostly by Chuck Norris and guest.)

Menahem: You know when you just see a cross-eyed guy headlining a karate expo at the Staples Center and you think, "That guy's gotta be in pictures?"

James Lipton: Genius.

Is it sad that I immediately recognized Menahem Golan's name? No sadder than the fact that I'm addicted to weed-pulling. That reminds me...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The edge of adulthood

I think it speaks to the state that I'm in when my primary concern these days is the state of my front yard. After working and working for six months, I'm looking forward to pulling some weeds in my new home. Too bad I've got a couple of vacations planned in the next month.

I'm trying to think of a recent uncomfortable position I've put myself into. I've tried to write on a few that I was in over the course of the Sig Series. I just couldn't put Hannah, the girl who told us her "p___ is tight as f___," into a coherant anecdote. I guess that one will have to stay with me. But as I'm thinking about an uncomfortable position, I've also got my first mortgage payment staring me in the face. It must know I have my wallet in my pocket.

All the Sig Series pictures are up on Flickr. And please continue to check out the new episodes on Crackle.com. We need those hits!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The infinite errand

I know, I know, I know...

I got back on July 5, but really this is my first day being available. The moment I was finished with the Signature Series, I started production on another web series I had been writing since February. Then there's the new house I came home to. Then there's my wife thing I'm involved in. Then there are all those sentences that end in prepositions...for.

If you haven't already, please check out Signature Series. I think it's really good, and I hope you will too. My parents have laughed at a couple episodes. Given that they haven't liked any of my video projects since high school, that's a testimony as good as Zagat.

I'll get more pictures up. Come on. It's my first day. It's good to see you too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bible Lesson


This has happened a few times. I walk into a hotel room and someone has put the Gideon's Bible on display. This one was turned to Ezekiel and someone has conveniently bracketed the verse that seems to justify the state of Israel.

In Liberal, Kansas, everyone's room had a small shrine for their Bible: a Biblical table, lamp, two recliners, even a pedestal. No brackets, though. So while I appreciate Liberal's effort to make my Bible verse reading more comfortable, I'm more grateful to this motel in Bald Knob, Arkansas for abridging the Good Book.

Now if they could only pay as much attention to their wireless connections.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eastern bound

I've obviously spent a lot of time in the van on this trip. Today was a 10-hour drive, which wasn't so bad because we have an XBox 360 and copious indie flix. The XBox is fairly dormant since no one will play me in Call of Duty because I am "just too good." So today we watched Wizard of Gore. It's silly.

Now I'm in Booneville, MO. I picked this place a couple of days ago because of its proximity to the freeway rest stop we're using in our next sketch. It also happens to be in the middle of nowhere (It is not the birthplace of Boones Farm Wine). The only thing around here...wait for it...is a CASINO! So I'm on my way to the casino floor where I will get rid of all the change that I've been collecting from buying road Pepsis, Sixlets, beef jerky, and Necco Wafers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In the land of $2 beers

We just wrapped on episode 9, which makes us almost halfway complete with the show. Although I'd love to be back in LA, nestling into my NEW HOUSE, I'm still not tired of the roadside diners, early mornings, and low-ceilinged motels (This one in Walsenburg, CO is about 6'6"). We've just finished the "M" in Marc's signature. Now, after going up and down America, we start to go across. I'd be surprised if our drives will be any more majestic than they were over last few days in the Rockies, but every day I work on this show I'm pleasantly surprised. This country, and this project, don't get no better than this.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The roof blew off our motel!


IMG_0316
Originally uploaded by wojofan80

Pictures, as promised

I've added my Flickr account on my links list (down the right column). More as the trip continues!

Bury your problems

Craig newspaper article

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Brief update

We've been a week on the road and wrapped production on 6 shows. That's pretty good, huh? With 14 (13 really) to go and...29 more days, the worst is clearly behind us. It's been extremely hard to get anything done outside of work on Signature Series, so I'm sorry I haven't posted pictures or responded to phone calls or emails. Frankly, this is the first time I've had reliable internet service since I left. I'll be here one more night, long enough to upload about 300MB of photos.

One quick funny thing about America: there's absolutely nothing in the southwest of Wyoming. I stayed in the creepiest hotel last night--one that had everyone sleeping in their clothes and not taking a shower. In Wamsutter, WY, there's two motels. We stayed in the nice one. The other one looked like...some Soviet Motel 6. I think the walls were aluminum. Although in Wamsutter (where we were), no one lives in anything other than a trailer. The motel was actually pretty nice, considering. The water was brown, but it was pretty nice. Oh, and I got 3 Jim Beams at the Desert Bar for less than $10. Notice how I ordered something that would elicit a communal approval from discriminating rancher eyes which are always on the look out for homosexual cityfolk.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Semi-express yourself

The semi-nudity made the news!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Slow down, you move too fast

Ok, ok, I haven't had a clear moment to post here yet. I've been working far too hard and having far too much fun. I'm going to make it a point from now one to just write small posts, rather than compose long stories.

Here's a short vignette: Drinking at a dance club called Cowgirls in Nampa, Idaho, a "cowboy" comes up to our Cambodian director and jokingly does a Bruce Lee "hiYA!" in his face.

We are improving the country. Problem is we didn't realize how messed up it really was.

Pictures pictures pictures very soon. We sell Poop Shoes to Utah tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Signature Series


For the next five weeks, I'll be traveling across the country as a writer on Marc Horowitz's Signature Series. Here's the press release I just finished.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Silly Misclick

So sorry, readers, for the dearth of Uncomfortable Position posts. In a few days I'll be starting a five-week road journey to improve America for Crackle.com, so I'll be flush with happenings. Right now I'm just keeping my head above water with that show's preproduction, scriptwriting for another web series to be shot in June, and acres of home mortgage papers.

I had to get this one li'l uncomfortable position onto the blog. Many of you may already be familiar with my recent quarrel with Reunion.com. You may have even received an email from me stating that I would just love it if you "reconnected" with me on that website. Lies.

Some people who I haven't spoken to in years thought that this was how I would break the ice. In fact, people who KNOW I'm keeping my distance thought that I suddenly had a change of heart. Oh thank you, Reunion.com, for putting me fresh in the minds of former stalkers, wierdos, and psycho ex-girlfriends of friends. More than one tv network exec's assistant told me to take them off their mailing list. Now I've got a wider swath of friends, but none of them want to hire me anymore.

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be clumsy social networkers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hey, I'm in a magazine!

http://www.dazeddigital.com/features/best-of-me-and-you/

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The last Me & You Talk Show

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/me--you

Make sure it's playing "The last Me & You Talk Show." The good stuff is around the 1 hour mark. That is, the WEIRD stuff is around the 1 hour mark.

Back in the U.S.S.A

...I don't know how lucky I are, boy. (The extra "s" stands for..."Solid?")

The last Me & You Talk Show was last Saturday, the 11th. Can I say the show was a clusterfuck and mean it in a good way? Long story short, the guests and the audience had a bit of a riot and destroyed most of the set. Can I mean that in a good way? The show was the longest and most attended one of the series--standing room only and a huge amount of people watching on UStream.tv. I'll put it up on my next blog post (that's me in a smart-looking corduroy jacket). I don't know how watchable it is, but I'll tell you that it's probably something you've never seen before.

Anyway, I'm here. I'm home. It's nice to not be eating meat pies for lunch.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

That's when you're done

If I do it right, I can follow a night of torrential alcohol intoxication with a blissful, productive morning. Last night the crew went out for drinks and dinner and overdid it on both at The Sherlock Holmes. This morning, I woke myself up after five hours of sleep. My body said, "You are immortal! Go do something!" So I did. I had my oatmeal, I clipped my toenails (finally), I did calisthenics in a hot shower. You know those days when your eyes are just a little wider and your mind is all sunny? Oooh, this was going to be one of those wonderful days.

I still walk to work--from Camden to Southbank Centre. It's about 50 minutes and all the way down Charring Cross Road. I tuned my iPod to some Kevin Devine and then set out, 8:45 in the morning. But on this walk, I was starting to notice the small, funny things that I haven't seen on previous commutes:

- "The 'Hoolywood' Diner"
- A sign outside a convenience store that read "Only TWO schoolchildren allowed in at one time." Do they have a bouncer? Do they check IDs?
- I could fill a large envelope with all of the shit that people hand out for free to walkers in the morning. Today I got a bunch of newspapers, some Scientology pamphlet (THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!), a sample pack of mints, and a 250mL smoothie that had 250mL of sugar. Yuck.

I also tried to spread my cheeriness around, actually helping two people with door problems. An old woman with too many parcels and, I'm not trying to be mean, what looked like nothing but a female head on an electric wheelchair who wanted to get into an internet cafe.

I also noticed three things:
- I can't walk in this town because I always run into people. I think it has to do with the left side/right side driving thing.
- People are more affectionate in public here. Although that might just be a symptom of my wife withdrawal.
- People will generally do a doubletake when they see someone (me) laughing at myself while I walk down the street.

And I got into work, almost exactly as Kevin Devine's "Put Your Ghost to Rest" ended. I was the first one in the office, as usual, and I was still shining. Happy, happy, happy.

Then the malaise came on. Then the nausea. Then the headaches.

The whole morning had been fake. I wasn't happy and immortal. I was still drunk.

Now I'm hungover.

When you try to clear the nausea by eating a large baguette sandwich only to discover that, because you were eating the sandwich with your eyes closed to block out the headache, you also ate a large amount of wax paper, that's when you're done.

And I'm done.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Christmas Time is Here

I've recently moved from the Soho flat I shared with Marc to the assistant curator's townhome in Camden. Although this is a little further away from the Hayward Gallery, there are quite a few positives:

- I have a bed
- I have a shower
- I have a microwave
- I have a front door (in Soho, we lived at the top of a staircase. An intruder would have to key open the door to the apartment complex, but someone who already lives there could walk in and steal my socks.)
- It's 50 feet from Amy Winehouse's home. (That's probably not a positive)

So Monday morning, the first I had in this place in Camden, was so glorious. You know when you just suddenly realize that everything's all right and you should just be proud of what you've got? I had that epiphany as I was savoring a steamy bowl of oatmeal. And a shower?! I'd only had baths at the Soho place. How does anyone get un-scummy in a bath? I might as well have eaten a Tootsie Roll and then licked myself clean. And then, the best thing of all, I walked from Camden to London Bridge to the Hayward. I think that's about 4 miles, walking past St. Paul's Cathedral, The Globe, Tate Modern, etc..., IN THE SNOW. Until I got to the Thames, I was almost the only one on the sidewalk. It was a bank holiday, but I still couldn't believe that no one else was taking a walk in the early afternoon. Then I saw a city bus and realized that everyone was looking at me through the steamy windows wondering why I would be walking in the snow.

Anyway, the point is that I was so happy to be in London that I started singing Christmas Carols--the happiest song I could think of was Johnny Mathis's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Still in my head.

You can finally see pictures and our first real show on Marc's website http://www.ineedtostopsoon.com/

Friday, March 21, 2008

Drinks

There's a lot of "drinks" involved in this trip. It doesn't necessarily involve "drinking," at least for me. It just involves going to large parties or strange clubs and finding interesting people to bring to our show. This has become increasingly easy because people are now recognizing Marc on the street. He's been in what seems like every newspaper in town. It's strange to be popular in London, at least by association. When we get back to LA, I'm certain that our "fame" here will be like having a girlfriend in "Canada."

Look at all the quotation marks.

We haven't had a day off in a long while and this morning my eyes were so puffy that I couldn't find the alarm. I'm having a hard time even writing the blog (obviously). We've got a show tonight and tomorrow, but then we have easy days Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Maybe I'll finally get to posting the pictures I've taken.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In the groove

This is the most exciting time of my life. Every moment of my day is dedicated to either finding food or discovering new ways to make the Me & You talk show better. It's so much fun.

Marc's been in a photo shoot nearly every day. Did you see this? He was also in the London Times today, and then Getty images did a shoot on our set today.

Suddenly I feel like everything in my career has led me to this and I've done everything right. Isn't that grand?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unamused English

Somehow, Marc has managed to get about a half-dozen volunteers for this show. Almost all of them are great: reliable, interesting, intelligent. Not necessarily funny, though. Before I left for London, someone reminded me of the Seinfeld where Jerry does some stand-up in England and absolutely bombs. EVERYTHING bombs here. I have three people who I'm supervising in the writing department and when they pitch me jokes, they're all PUNS. "Whut ef we put on a MARCH en the month of MARCH?" And they all laugh, "Wof, wof, wof." It's no "joke" that British humour peaked with Python. Every reference they make points to them. And when I make a reference to The Simpsons "Whacking Day," I get NOTHING.

Without the ability to make someone laugh, I'm just an annoying dick. That must be how my wife feels! Wof, wof, wof. Of course, Marc and I can be annoying. Marc likes to walk down the street and say (In a rumbly British tone) "Mashed potatoes!" and I will reply "Plum pudding!"

I promise to post more often, but the only free time I've had in the last three days is in the morning when Marc's in the tub. That's right. No shower. Pictures to come, too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Drunks are Singing Love Songs

Some of you readers out there don't know that I've just flown to London for what may be many weeks. But even those of you who know I'm here don't entirely know why. My friend and writing partner Marc Horowitz has an art show at the Hayward Gallery. If you can find "The Me & You Show" on that link, it'll tell you essentially what's going on. I'll be leading a team of volunteer British writers and possibly co-hosting the show. I got in at 3pm GMT, which is 7 hours ahead of PDT. Now it's 2AM and, of course, I'm awake and ready for breakfast. Some quick things of note before the sleeping pill absorbs:

- It's very difficult to tell the fancy lads from the homeless. The smell is not always a give-away.
- This place looks like a movie set.
- In this neighborhood, men approach me for sex.
- Haven't seen an attractive girl yet.
- That doesn't mean I'm not curious to see what a London strip club looks like.
- One where WOMEN get undressed, of course.
- There are a lot of drunk assholes on the streets tonight, but when they shriek into the night they're able to retain a little bit of that British charm. Amazing.
- The flat I'm staying in is in a really great spot in SoHo and the place is actually real nice (I have a washer/dryer, Mom!), but if it existed in the States, it'd be condemned. The building has sunk so that the south side of the flat is about 6 inches lower than the north and the spaces between the floorboards are as big as a toe. Fortunately the couch I'm sleeping on slants the other way.
- Expensive. Everything. Maybe not the sex.
- This is the neatest place on Earth.

Pictures and more later!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Three! Three! Three!

I hide from confrontation. I might even hide from any interaction in public. If someone's walking in my opposite direction on the street, I usually try to find something interesting in my pocket or in the sky right above my head. I don't know why I do this. I hate that I do. I feel like I'm contributing to the downfall of decency and giving a career to value-mongers like Bill Bennett. But since I've committed myself to this blog and putting myself in uncomfortable positions, I'm making an effort to look people in the eye, or say hello to strangers...

...or agreeing to a Pop-A-Shot challenge against a hooky-playing high school student in a Tilt arcade in a San Diego mall...

...for $20.

Readers, I was thinking of you when I accepted the challenge. That's definitely out of my comfort zone. I don't think it's unreasonable of me to cower from a crowd of teenagers. Especially those that linger in arcades during school hours. I did have a laptop and several pawn-able items in my shoulder bag. For the record, they came to me. I was playing a casual game of Pop-A-Shot when the one in the straight-billed hat with rhinestones told me he wanted to play me. As soon as he asked, I of course looked for an authority figure--take the quarter jockey behind the ticket-redemption booth. He didn't have issue with some illegal gambling in his establishment. I knew this because even though he heard the proposition, he didn't lift his head from his copy of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Indeed.

Now I'd played one game prior (the one the kiddies saw) and shot a lousy 32. We played head-to-head, meaning we shot at the same time. Although I focused on the front of my own rim, I knew that we were going shot-for-shot because of the "awww"s and "DAY-m"s I heard at every bucket. And I was on fire. Seriously, I'd never played a better game of Pop-A-Shot in my life and the idea of this kid playing just as well scared me. Maybe the ticket-booth guy even started to watch. Ten seconds left and the rim pushed back to the 3-pointer range. The buzzer sounded just as my last shot went in, but it didn't register. We were tied at 61. Then that last one counted to push me up to 64. Day-m!

I had missed probably 3 shots in the whole game. It was fucking awesome. I took the $20 and ran out of there before I took a double-or-nothing gamble.

Last movie I watched: Be Kind Rewind. There's about 20 minutes of good stuff, and I think it's worth bearing the other hour-plus of horrible, horrible plot and sappy, saccharine love story.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Five for Fighting

Last weekend at our yard sale I put myself into an uncomfortable position by haggling with a shrewd, non-English speaking woman and her 8-year-old daughter. The item was a PS2 game--two of them actually. The prices were clearly marked, $5 a piece. Yet these two people insisted on paying, get this, THREE DOLLARS for TWO.

My parents never told me that you could haggle at a garage sale. Back when I was growing up, we bought everything from the front lawns of people better off than us. My mom still has the brown snowsuit that kept me warm from ages 2-5. Think about that. The appearance of a two-year-old and a five-year-old in that brown snowsuit is like examining the difference between a lumpy bag of Sugar Babies and a lean stick of Sugar Daddy. My mom is a meek, polite person when she's not alone with me. In public, she won't stir the pot and in yard sales, she will simply pay the sticker price. I honestly didn't know they were negotiable. Think of all the money we could have saved had we not paid original prices on all those Hasbro toys! So when we were pricing our items for this big yard sale, Kristina made it clear that we should price them high because yard sale patrons are bastards who don't see the inherent discount in a $5 PS2 game.

And they weren't even mine! I was defending an absentee seller's old videogames. She pulled out one dollar, then two, and then four quarters LIKE IT WAS ALL SHE HAD. She'd saved her change so she could purchase Gran Turismo 4 and Grand Theft Auto 3 for her poor daughter. I stood firm. "No, that's not enough," I said in English and in firm finger gestures. Of course, she walked away, tearing the games from her daughter's greedy fingers. You don't need a common language to tell someone to fuck off.

Woo, I got such a high standing my ground. Come on, she had more than three dollars. I mean, she's wealthy from years of undercutting weaker yard sale hosts. She's probably furnished her whole townhouse with second-hand Ikea furniture she paid for in nickels and threatening looks. Whadaya know, ladies and gentlemen? I discovered that she DID have more money because she came BACK. She marched straight to me and said "Five dollars for two." And I said "Sold!"

Now that I think about it, I still got really ripped off.

I'll be performing at an open mic for the second time a week from Wednesday. I don't mention this as a way of inviting you (note how I didn't give you the place), but to only publish that I intend to do it. This way, I have the pressure of keeping my promises to you guys. I need you to judge me.

Last movie I watched: "You Can Count on Me" Cute, nice moments. I'm glad that Mark Ruffalo has that kind of range. I still don't like Laura Linney.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Stand Up? Sit Down! Fight, Fight, Fight.

Last night I debuted a slushy, premature set of stand-up jokes at an open-mic in a cafe that is decorated like a 19th-Century general store. After delivering an impromptu riff on the similarities between this place and the computer-generated store at the beginning of MECC's "Oregon Trail," I jumped into my act. (Thank you, comedy-buddy-on-probation Marc for shouting "15 axles! Hire an Indian guide!" by the way.)

I knew I wasn't prepared. I had actually written the whole act during my ten days of solitude, but it wasn't until 9 hours prior to the show that I realized I needed to read it out loud. I hadn't memorized it, hadn't timed it, didn't even know how I was going to hold the microphone in my hand. I was preparing for total comic catastrophe. Half an hour before I left for the show, I drank a Red Bull like a nerve tonic and was still so melancholy that I took a 10-minute nap. And when I got to the venue, I did what any nervous 13-year-old would d0: I got a bottle of Mountain Dew and chugged it. Then the Red Bull started working.

After the Oregon Trail joke, I reached some hyperconscious neverland where silence is actually laughter and breathing is unnecessary. I had a case of caffeine overload, shrinking six minutes of material into three. Now, I didn't use my notes. Hooray for me, I remembered everywhere that I wanted to go. I just forgot all the punchlines. So I made them up on the spot. And transitions? They're for lightweights. One second I'm talking about eating green beans from a can and the next second everyone's mother is a fucking asshole. I remember saying what I thought was a joke, not getting a laugh, and then repeating the joke in case they missed it. I stammered. I looked into the bright lights. I shoveled my act with one scoop and flung it at the audience. The last thing I said was, "OK,IthinkI'mdonehereThank..." cut off by polite applause and the horrible low-frequency rumble of an amateur returning a microphone to its stand.

Today when I prematurely woke up with the sun, I didn't want to stay in bed. I actually wanted to go back and try it again. And do it much better. Maybe even make 'em laugh. I guess that's the best place to be mentally. So next week, let's do it again. Maybe this time I can even keep your mother out of it.

Last movie I watched: "Big Night" Really fun, sweet movie. Great characters. Stanley Tucci should get more respect. Five stars.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Name Game

As you can see, I've changed my name again. Lately, I haven't been motivated to post anything because I didn't want this to just be a place for stream-of-conscious idiocy. Not that that's what your blog is like. Your blog's great...

A few posts ago, when I was justifying my 10 days of isolation, I said that I like to see what my mind and body do when they're put in uncomfortable positions. So I'm going to continue embarrassing and challenging myself. That way, I've got something interesting to document and it keeps me in a steady state of self-loathing.

Plus, the name "Uncomfortable Positions" will attract a new audience...one I probably relate to.

Next Tuesday, I'll have my stand-up comedy cherry popped at an undisclosed LA open mic. Ugh, the things I do for my blog reader. Singular. One. It's you. Now get back to work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Medusa's on the loose-a

As I was driving into Echo Park (which is not a park, but a neighborhood), I saw a man who I assume was walking to work. But he wasn't walking anymore. He was motionless, standing on the corner of Alvarado and Sunset. He appeared to be mid-stride, a briefcase in one hand, looking straight ahead.

Remember "Awakenings" when all those catatonic patients are temporarily cured with doses of L-Dopa by the meek Dr. Robin Williams? I was really frightened for this man because I knew that no one had any L-Dopa in their car.

...now that I think about it, he may have been doing Tai Chi.

Last movie I watched: Like anyone who had access to it, I watched "Brokeback Mountain" last night and was reminded that Heath Ledger's portrayal makes me think of my cousin Michael. I hope Michael's all right.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Indie Hearts Unite!

I'm in the middle of watching a killer Duke basketball game, so I don't have the RAM capacity to write the couple of posts I've been formulating. So instead, here's my Best of '07 DIY mix tape list. In order on the album, not necessarily in order of greatness.

1. Grip It Like Vice - The Go! Team
2. Who Knows Who - Orgone
3. Night at the Knight School - Thee More Shallows
4. La Esquina - Fredrico Aubele
5. Down in the Valley - The Broken West
6. Home - Great Northern
7. Lost to the Lonesome - Pela (album of the year)
8. Elephant Gun - Beiruit
9. Your 8th Birthday - Cloud Cult
10. Every Line of a Long Moment - Roddy Woomble
11. Like Castanets - Bishop Allen
12. Expectations - Cut Off Your Hands
13. The Race - The Heavenly States
14. Dashboard - Modest Mouse
15. The Burning City Smoking - Kevin Devine (technically '06, but really hard to get 'til '07)
16. Black Like Me - Spoon

Honorable mention: Peacebone by Animal Collective
Old song, new fan: Whiner's Bio by Mates of State, 2003
Best song you'll all hate: Ham Beats All Meat by Dr. Humphrey Bate from the compilation "Black and White Hillbilly Music"

Recent Movie: "Juno" I don't see what all the fuss is about. Nothing happens. Oh, I get it. The girl's snarky and I can relate to her eclectic punk tastes. Wazoo.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm Coming Out....

Yesterday, I officially started taking calls and answering emails. Yes, I also watched my first--and last-- episode of American Gladiators. I'll admit, in the last few days there were a few hours where I did look at my MySpace page or actually hang out with a couple people. I still think that I did pretty well, considering it was 9 days and my social and entertainment blackout policy was unreasonable.

Now that I'm out, I'm a little disappointed that I can't go back in. Being an unemployed writer doesn't make every day a weekend. Every day is a weekday. Every hour, actually, to the point where I can never fully justify ANY action outside of working out, eating, and writing. So to announce to the world that I'm leaving all of it just makes my guilt much lighter. Of course, this is really stupid, because who are you in the end but stories your friends have? And the self-guilt is easier to put up with than my mother wondering why I won't take any of her calls.

Clearly, without my social life--physical and cyber--I go bonkers. Remember, though, that part of my isolation motivation was to do some introspection. I just took a walk and I felt like my right brain was examining my left brain and vice-versa. Like, I started smiling when the wind tickled my beard, and my left brain was all "that dude's crazy." One of my conclusions, therefore, is that sure I need all my friends, family, and my wife (Holla, Kristina!), but if I'm alone I keep myself really entertained. I'm glad I pulled out after 9 days, though, because another week of this and my two lobes would have been so enamored with each other that I would have been spinning like a top while they tried to get closer to each other.

I'm not so happy with the amount of writing I did while I was here alone. I still had the same urges to just pace the floor or suffocate myself with a pillow. Anything but write. I'm happy with what I worked on, but really I did as much as I would have if I had access to American Gladiators this whole time.

Initially, I wanted to conclude that I'm a terrible motivator and I can't focus on anything and I should probably be medicated or at least hit with a prescription mallet. But what about this: What if these results really mean that I've been working as hard as I can the whole few months I've been here? I got as much done in these past 9 days as I will in the next 9 days. Maybe I am motivated and I do work really hard every day of the week, even though sometimes I just tap my toes and nervously pull out my eyebrows. I like this idea because it means that while I am still going to be as neurotic as ever, I get to have whiskeys with friends and long walks with Kristina.

Speaking of, this is the longest time I've spent without Kristina since the overcast Seattle spring when I watched Saddam Hussein's statue get torn down. That was 5 years ago. I miss Kristina...and the years when America was an international sensation.

So here's to whiskey and webchats and Wii and wife. I'm glad to have you back in my life.

Another thing: I'm going to keep going with this blog. I didn't think I'd like it, but I was wrong. I'll just have to name it something else and come up with another theme. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Getting Out of Hand

I've now become so desperate for entertainment, that every scrap of paper is an impromptu art project. My water bottle makes for a percussion instrument. So, I've done what anyone would do in this situation: I've put in earplugs and pulled my hoodie over my head so that I can only see the computer screen. I'm sure even that won't suffice before the day is over. Soon, I'll mummify myself in medical gauze and scratch down my stories in the dark with a small piece of charcoal.

I think I have a problem.

What I miss: Large, non-fat, iced chai and an oatmeal raisin cookie. I don't know how it's possible, but this week-long crash diet has brought my resting pulse rate down from 61 to 49bpm.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Trembling with a capital "Tea"

You know that tingling sensation when you're just about to base jump or when you've mistaken non-dairy creamer for mountain-grown cocaine? I think I've done that with tea. Currently, I'm brewing my eighth cup of the day and the caffeine is making my teeth chatter and my nose run. I can't stop. Whenever I hit a snag--even a little one--in my writing, I look for some immediate distraction. Now that I've removed the traditional ones, I'm making them up. Like I said in my previous post, I am forced to find entertainment in the most unlikely places. Watching my plants grow, for one. Boiling water is another.

This brings me to my first solid theory in this two-week experiment: it's not the pull of the television, the internet, the phone, the sunlight, or the mail that takes me from my writing or a healthy lifestyle. It's my brain pushing my body away from what's difficult. I will say, though, that I'd rather be distracted by a tea kettle than a half-hour episode of Home Improvement. I don't know which is more detrimental, but at least the residual effects of the tea will wear off. Tim Allen will never get out of my body, like that nonstick chemical they put on pans. And, while I drink cup after cup of tea, I can continue to write. Hell, it probably makes my writing better! Now where did I put that non-dairy cocaine?

What I miss: Kristina, my LA friends, social drinking, and neon lights.

Stop imagining Tim Allen "getting out" of my body.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Things I've Been Doing to Kill Time

-Whitening my teeth, then flossing, then Scope-ing, then rubbing my gums with my finger.
-Finding hidden symbols in my wall hangings. I've found a lot of swastikas.
-Doing push-ups and sit-ups and lunges.
-Listening to Sufjan Stevens's album, "Chicago," over and over.
-Pacing.
-Drawing pictures of eyeballs.
-Growing. I've planted cilantro and lemon grass, but I only had soil and no pots. So they're in little fiber cups that hang inside mugs so there's proper drainage. I'm also growing my beard. My lifetime record is a lousy two weeks, but I'm at 8 days now and it looks like I can do another 10 before Kristina comes home.
-Stroking my beard.
-Scratching my beard.
-Making guttural noises just to make sure my vocal cords still work.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What's the Time? It's Time to Get Ill.

Another "modern" convenience I've shed is time. All my clocks are unplugged or turned around or covered with a Post-It Note. The sunlight still comes in and the obnoxious junior high kids still walk past my window, so I have some idea. After the sun sets, though, I'm clueless. I've been basing my bedtime on when my eyes get so puffy that Mick might have to "cut me." That's a terrible mile marker because at that point the body's working on fumes and things start to shut down--like the immune system. This morning, my cold is back in a big way. Although I can't be sure it's the same one, can I? I might be in quarantine here, but I suspect my appliances walk around in the rain without a jacket when I'm not looking.

I'm dedicated to punctuality, probably to the point of damage. I base my actions on the hour of the day. Without these clocks, I don't know what time lunch is or how long I sleep. My best guess is that I've been going to bed at 2 or 3, getting up around 8:30 (the kids are walking to school, which gets the barking dogs' attention), and eating lunch at 2. Before, I would go to bed around 11, but get more sleep. And I'd eat lunch before noon, sometimes even 10 if I got up early. I don't know which situation's better--when I'm Pavlovian or when I'm negligent. Either way, I wake up sick.

What I miss: Looking at real estate online

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

...but I didn't enjoy it.

So I had a relapse this morning. I couldn't get my head straight, so I turned on the television sans remote control. Without the remote, I couldn't turn the channel from TBS. Three hours. It was all unsatisfying and gross, like that bite of Spaghetti-Os you take to reminisce about those great childhood meals. First on was "Wimbledon," which is so outrageously bad that it must have been bullied into theaters by the heavy-handed Penn tennis ball corporation. Then back-to-back episodes of Home Improvement. I feel so betrayed.

Today, I will be much better. Sure, I won't shower, won't dress, won't get any fresh air, won't dance, but I definitely won't turn on the tele. TBS is the straight double shot of Moutai that I don't ever have to do again.

What I miss: the gym

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Food is Great, but the Company Sucks.

In addition to this sudden isolation, I've decided to change my eating habits. Tonight, I had a mixing bowl full of spinach and greens. No dressing. If you don't know already, I don't eat salads. In the interest of science, I read and wrote while picking leaves from a bowl and cramming them into my gullet like Big League Chew. I feel my ancestor, Ghengis Khan (I've got a 1-in-200 chance! Look it up), is shaming me. Before I locked the door yesterday evening, I loaded my pantry with low-sodium, low-fat foods. This morning, however, I discovered that I didn't get brown sugar for my oatmeal. Oatmeal without brown sugar is like cramming spinach down your gullet.

I've still got a bit of the technology fever and I haven't moved past the "Negotiation" phase (I'll just take a peak at Woot.com). I don't know what step that is on Kubler-Ross's chart. How tragic that I can't just go to Wikipedia, else I could prepare for what comes next. I'm hoping it's "Gameboy."

What I miss: Watching television while I eat.

The Theme

I think I've already adapted to my self-imposed imprisonment. It helps that I've been prolific so far, and I'm reading (a luxury I have allowed myself. What do you take me for, a masochist?).

The book is a collection of essays about the (lowercase "p") poles. Ironically, my writing, my reading, and my current lifestyle all follow a theme of isolationism. The exploration of the uninhabitable ends of the Earth don't interest me as much as the mental fortitude expected from the people who entrench themselves in those US Navy-built yurts. Read the story of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure. He left civilization in 1914 while European gentlemen were slapping their neighbors with dueling gloves. Months later, Shackleton's ship is crushed in the ice--he and his men marooned on a speck of sub-antarctic rock. After two years of eating penguins and lichens, he makes a dash for help in an open boat across 800 miles of white-capped sea. When he's found by the manager of a whaling station--his first contact with the world he came from--the manager tells him that, back home, millions are dying and the world has gone mad. What's his first thought? Does he think it's all his fault?

I'm only gone for a few days, and this apartment has a wall heater, but I am missing the New Hampshire Primary and a couple of Duke basketball games. Baby steps. At the end of all this, I'll have a lot of writing to show for it, but I think I'm more interested in seeing what lies in the cold, unexplored lobes of my brain.

What I miss right now: I can't believe I forgot to watch American Gladiators!

The Shakes

Holy God, this is terrible. While I try to write, my mind is negotiating with itself. "Just one game of Civilization III. That's not going to hurt. Then I'll quit." I really am addicted to stimulation! Forget living in that "19th Century House." I'd have a hard time surviving in a home from the 1980s, with nothing but books and basic cable and four square. I'm seriously starting to sweat and pace. I'm on my third cup of tea. I've written one page.
That is my intent, by the way. I'm doing this for the writing. While I generally dedicate my days to scriptwriting (I'm non-WGA, if you don't know), I'm always distracted. With Kristina gone for two weeks, I thought it'd be fun to make like Jeremiah Johnston. I was wrong. This is no fun. I miss direct sunlight.

I stopped the mail....

...which tells me that I'm serious about shutting myself off, because I adore mail. I've also hidden or taped over all the clocks, given Marc all the key components to my electronics, and I've turned off my phone. Of course, I still have the computer and my internet. I think this blog only works if I type and post in the moment, so I've allowed myself the luxury of the computer, but it's only for writing and posting purposes. It's going to be really hard not to check my email or track the pants I purchased across the interstate via UPS.
Oooh, cabin fever. I had forgotten that there was a word for this. It's only been about an hour since I started, and I'm already developing some nervous habits. I'm stretching my neck a lot, as if I'm about to start a marathon. I catch myself glancing at the television, as if I'm a dog wondering when my master's going to play with me. Spooky.