Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Show Journal

     My writing partner Dan turned me on to the idea of show journals. There are several different formats out there; there is no right or wrong way to do it. The idea is simply to journal about the creative process. And in this case, we're journaling on the internet, where everyone can read it.
     The beginning: We formed a team. I just said Dan is my writing partner, and that's not entirely true. Dan and I are on a team with great aspirations. We met in Sketch 101 class. We fell out of touch, but then back in touch. We would get together with a few other aspiring sketch writers and drink coffee, read sketches, eat burgers, drink beers, and laugh it up. It was all very nice.
     Right after the beginning: I had a hand full of sketches that were all pretty taboo. I loved them dearly, but there was clearly a pattern developing. At one point someone brought up the idea of a writing a show. We feigned to love the idea but we knew we didn't have the material. Then, about six weeks ago, I said "you know, I'd like to alienate about 12 people for 32-minutes with a show all about abortions." Dan, Sara, and Patrick were all on board. This kind of support feels amazing, by the way.
     I rattled through the abortion sketches I already had and put a few new pitches in my back pocket. Off to the writing board for me. That very same day Dan presented an idea for his show. Sara, Patrick, and I were all on board. Yes, we believe we can write two very different shows at the same time.
     Where we're at now: I'm working on broadening the world of my show. It gets "repeaty" and "samey;" it needs a stronger theme. Choices? Empowerment? Women's rights? Reproductive rights? I'm the head writer for this show, so I need to figure this part out before our next meeting.
     Dan's show has morphed from "Curious, MO" to "Pancake Day." I'm thinking of a few pitches for this show as well. Dan is the head writer for his show, so we'll see if he likes any of these ideas. He sent us the program from the real Pancake Day, and it was amazing and thought churning. First of all, the program was 16 pages long. There's a pitch growing from that fact right now.
     Next steps: We have a meeting after the new year. We've set goals for ourselves and we better damn meet them. Personally, I'm convinced it'll all come together when I get my new Chromebook. So come on Google, get to making more so I can finally be productive.

EDITED TO ADD: 1. Email chains are amazing. 2. I like that Dan consistently starts with the poster and tagline of a show/sketch/idea and then works backwards.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This is why.

I tried to be unpolitical for a while. Or at least just quietly political like my aging republican parents taught me. And then it just wore me down. I will unfriend you if you are pro-gun. My tumblr explains why.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Web Series

     I wanted to chronicle the making of my web-series as I was doing it, but a huge part of the idea was how all consuming it because, which means chronicling real-time was impossible. I still want to document it though; I want to cover all of those steps and lessons learned and relive the great moments.


Like that moment. I enjoy that moment. It's really just me, breaking. And then I put it on a loop because I'm an egomaniac.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Whoops, I let a month go by

     A whole month. And let me tell you, it was a crazy month. A lot has happened, I should have documented all of it. I tried--there are several drafts in the the draft folder for this thing. I swearsies, though I guess there is no way to prove it.
   
     Things that happened, a list:

  • Moved to Bay Ridge
  • Produced first episode of web series
  • Hurricane Sandy
  • improv shows
  • Snowstorm Athena
  • trip to the ER
  • unpacking woes
  • Pick up shots
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart-to-hearts


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Last Photo Day

     After two years, the "one day, ten photos" project has come to an end. It's been a fun project to be a part of. A group of us all spent the 11th day of every month documenting it through pictures and them posting the ten best for everyone to see. Funny, sad, beautiful, quirky, blurry; they were all parts of us, and it was very nice.

My last one day, ten photos contribution: http://oneday10photos.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-last-one-day-from-new-york-city-and.html

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Creation

Guys, I'm making something. And boy are my arms tired.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Changes

     Imagine David Bowie's "Changes" playing here, because when I say the word changes, that's what pops in my head.
     Changes are happening. They're exciting and scary at the same time, like all changes are.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vice

     Ah! I can't stop! That's the nature of vices, right? Vice is defined as "an immoral or evil habit or practice." When you look at it that way though, maybe a lot of the things we call vices aren't really vices. Maybe we're using a bit of hyperbole when we call drinking coffee a vice. IMMORAL? EVIL? Holy crap. I didn't know. I actually started this post thinking about how terrible biting my nails is and how it was a terrible vice of mine. But now I'm reconsidering because I don't classify it as immoral or evil. It's gross, but I don't think it's the main cause of my damnation to hell. Still, I need to make a better effort at not biting them. I hate that I do it but at the same time there is something oddly satisfying about it. Much like all those other immoral and evil things. Oh god, I'm doing it right now, between sentences. Stop it, stop it. When will I ever stop? Oh, it's a bait. So likely never. Great.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Expanding

     Even though posting on Oliver is getting less and less frequent, I'm still going to take it to the next level. I'm joining the party late and I've started a tumblr.  It can be found at nancymelchert.tumblr.com. If you check it right this second, the only content is a picture of me. But more will come. It will be more focused than Oliver is, so please still visit Oliver for my frenetic ideas on TV, books, and science. And anything frenetic.
   

Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh

     Sometimes that great thing that makes you feel great all the time can also make you feel shitty. Yep, sometimes improv makes you feel shitty. You read about how that can happen, but you secretly hope that will never happen to you. But it does and there is no amount of reading or anecdotes that can take away that sting of the shitty Harold you just did. And you know you have to shake it off, but maybe for about 20-minutes, you just want to dwell on it. You want to wash it down with some Sam Adams Octoberfest and replay the shitshow in your head 15 more times.
     Eventually, you can get off that bar stool and head home and know you'll be back to do it again. What are you going to do? Quit? No. Of course not. That would be ridiculous. You're going to do it again, and it might hurt again. But you spend some time staring at this poster and you know it'll be fine again.


(From http://improvartvice.tumblr.com/)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Moments I Love

     There are some moments that are just great. I had spent the majority of last night at the theatre--I did a marathon if improv shows, catching The Curfew, Death by Roo Roo, and Grandma's Ashes. All were wonderful and totally worth standing in the back of the theater for 4 hours. I started walked home and had that great debate of going out or going home. I had been alone at the theater, so there was no peer pressure to go out. Also, it was just after 11:30 and I was hoping to watch some of SNL. I knew one of my friends is very often at a favorite bar of ours on Saturday nights--not because he has a problem, it's just what is done--so I decided I would swing in the bar to see if he was there. If yes, I'd hang for a drink; if no, I would continue home.
     I walked into McManus at about 11:55pm and headed towards the back. There was my friend, sitting with several other friends and acquaintances, all watching SNL. I took a second to take it in. Ah yes, this is exactly what I wanted. To watch the season premier of SNL with my comedy friends at a bar. This is perfect. I stood a step back until commercial break and then approached the table. A great night was had by all.
     Also, more bars should just show regular TV shows.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wants and Needs and Wont and Kneads

     There are so many things to do! Just in the world, there are so many things that are available for doing. It's amazing. And sometimes it gets overwhelming. How to keep up?!
     "Wants and needs and wont and kneads" could be the title of this past year. I want to do it all. But I need to sleep and I need a job. I'm wont to jump in to so many projects and get in over my head. I don't knead all that much, but I could take the leap to say I'm kneading myself into the person I want to be. I have wants and needs and I wont and knead. Ah! It's so much.
     Usually it's so much in a good way. I meant to take a nap last night--I turned off the light but left the TV on and set an alarm for 2 hours--I woke up 12-hours later. Apparently I needed that. For a minute I felt guilty for sleeping so much and missing shows I was planning to go to. But again, I probably needed the sleep and in the long run, a healthier well rested me is better for all. This morning I watched a short clip of a Mad Men thing someone had made. I thought "oh man, I need to catch up on that show. I didn't know Rory was on it." And I started to try to figure out how to carve out weeks to catch up on Mad Men. And then all of the other TV shows I need to catch up on.
     I love TV. I haven't seen much of it recently, but not because I don't want to. Recently someone asked me if I watched something and I could hear myself being one of those assholes who starts with "oh, no, I don't watch..." I cut myself off but it was too late. I do watch TV. I love watching TV. I haven't recently because I was doing something else. But it's not a good excuse. I want to watch TV. I need it. I'm wont to watch TV all the live long day. I have no knead analogy for TV.
     I'm going to keep pondering this whole wants, needs, wont, kneads thing, but I think a lot of it comes down to patience. I see all of the things around me that I want to do. I think about all the steps I need to do to get to those wants. And I consider my wont behaviors--some are helpful, some not so much. And right now I think the answer is that in time, with the right balance, I will be able to catch up on Mad Men.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Songs Stuck in My Head

For some inexplicable reason, I get this song stuck in my head every day at work. From beginning to end. I sing the whole thing, out loud, at work.



I also get this song stuck in my head, because every day someone says the word Brooklyn, and then I go "I'm standin' in Brooklyn, waiting for something to happen..." and we're off.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Improv Makes Me Feel Good

     Uh oh, another feel good post!
     Improv makes me feel good. I was lucky enough to be invited down to Improvapalooza in DC yesterday to reunite with Neighbors, a team I had helped form a year ago before the move to NYC. It was a blast. The 11-minute set was totally worth the 8-hour bus ride to and from the city.
     Tonight I get to practice more improv with people I truly like. And then I get to watch improv performed by people who are truly awesome. And then on Saturday, practice more improv. And then on Sunday, improv class! Amazing. It fills my heart with happiness.
     Sometimes I wish I would have figured this out years ago; I've gotten a late start in life with improv. On the other hand, without everything that I did before, this might not seem as sweet. My previous life experience helps to color and inform my scenes and characters, so in that respect, I see this as the exact right path. And I've said it before, but I'd rather die face down in a gutter in NYC than live a boring life anywhere else.
     In the show I performed yesterday, I had a really honest organic moment that probably got the biggest laugh of the whole set, and it made me fly. It was super simple: someone offered me a cookie, I started to take it and then they told me it was a vegan cookie so I gave it back saying "Oh, then you can keep it." I was just having an honest reaction to someone offering me a vegan cookie. The audience loved it. I felt good.
     In real life, I have been offered vegan cookies and I have accepted them and they were fine. But I was being kind by accepting it in the first place; I am not a jerk. But that nuance doesn't play well on stage, and I didn't have time to think about it. I just made a choice and it was great. It was so simple, and small, but still, good. Thanks improv!

Revel in It

     It's been a really nice week, and I want to take a moment to revel in it. As a people, we spend so much time complaining--sometimes for good reason--it gets tough to really notice the good stuff. Or I guess just not the completely terrible stuff. But I want to take note that right now, I feel good. I don't have a cold. I'm not overly exhausted, hungry, or smelly. It's not raining outside. Or inside. Things are nice. Ahh, that's nice.
     Of course if I go on like this too long, I'll become a giant jerk. I don't want that. I just don't want to be ungrateful when things actually feel pretty good. Happiness feels like this sometimes:


Sure, I used an Instagram filter on that, but still, it's cool. And it makes me feel good.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Good Nap

     Today's nap was a damn good nap. Now I feel like I'm ready to take on the world! Or, if not the world, the rest of the evening. I'm proud of myself for being fully functional again. If I were a freak who took pictures of herself whilst sleeping, I would post it here so you could see just how damn good that nap was.
     I also had a really nice bathroom sesh afterwards, but that's too far for pics. And descriptions really. I can't talk about. It's not polite, so please don't ask.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's August

     I hate being that person, but can you believe it's August already? Well sure, because time is passing linearly, the way we all expect. So it's not really that weird. Ok. Fine.
     Have you been watching the Olympics? I haven't, but not because I don't care. I do; I think it's usually pretty fun to get emotionally invested in someone's athletic ability for about 25-minutes at a time. I just haven't been able to work a lot of Olympic watching into my schedule. I did, however, catch about 2-minutes of water polo today--it's weird. There was so much whistle blowing (literally) that I couldn't stand watching it. The sport itself is a more boring version of soccer; that's fine, I was content trying to learn an under-appreciated sport. But all the whistles. What the hell?
     I've caught a few of the other events, but like everyone else, I'm dismayed by the delay and the spoilers. If they make it into a movie though, then I'll watch it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars: A Review.

     I am the only person on the planet who did not like this book. It's been months since I've read it. I put off reviewing it because I knew I was the only person who didn't like it. I'm not saying it was all bad; it just wasn't for me. There was terminal cancer and love and teenagers. Only one of these things interests me, and even then terminal cancer can only hold my attention for so long. Eventually I need it to hold up to its name and end. 
    It was sweet, but dumb. I may be the only one who thinks this, but I'm not backing down from it. Too many things were coincidences and too many things could only happen in a fantasy world. Sure, a fantasy world filled with terminal cancer, but still. Fake make-a-wish foundations and trips to meet reclusive authors are part of a fantasy world. Also, really sweet teenage boys are part of a fantasy world.  
     There were parts of it I liked. Mostly the words John Green uses and the way in which he uses them. It is a nice, easy, pleasant read. I didn't have to flip to an index or keep a dictionary next to me to understand it. It's very accessible. Oh, that's because it's for teenagers. Right. I'm not its target audience so I should stop shitting all over it. It was fine.
     I know we were supposed to care about all of these people so much. It was a book full of empathetic characters; we're supposed to root for all of them and hope beyond all hope that a cure for everything is found and they all get to survive forever. Of course, they can't. They just can't and I think we're supposed to be completely devastated at this realization, but we're naive if we are. It's not a support group for the common cold and sore throats. It's a support group for kids with terminal cancer. We're being setup for heartbreak; you have to really deliver serious heartbreak.
     I just didn't care for it. Also, I'm a bit of a cynic. I do like its title though. It's fun to say.


Also, this exact same review can be found here: http://cannonballread4.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/banannerpantss-cbr4-review-7-the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green/

And hopefully, more reviews will be coming!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Power Naps

     Power naps are great, but you have to do them just right. I've read a lot about them, and the gist is that you should nap for about 20 minutes. Don't have a lot of caffeine or sugar for about 2 hours prior to the nap, make the room kinda dark, and your power nap will truly be powerful.
     I've taken two power naps in as many days, and it keeps me going. I should just sleep the requisite 8 hours per night, but who has time for that? I just don't always. But that's where power napping saves me. Also, it makes me feel like a superhero when others are all "oh, it's late, I need to go home and go to bed" and I can say "not me!" And then I don't let on that I power napped earlier because even though I'm currently touting how wonderful they are, talking about them seems weak.
     But seriously, I recommend it. Darken the room. Be pretty tired. Don't down espresso right before you nap. Set a nap timer for 20 minutes. Take off your pants. Lie down. Mmmmm.  It's nice.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Playing Dumb is Dumb

     And I will not do it. Not just in scenes, but ever. Not even when I'm trying to get along with a large group of people who I don't know all that well. Sometimes it can be attractive to just go along with the stupid thing someone just said and let them have their shining moment of stupidity. And as I type that sentence I see how un-supportive it can seem, but it's not because I was honoring the reality of the stupid person by calling out "uh, that sounds dumb."
     Gertrude (not her real name) is afraid of most modes of transportation. "Hm, ok. Why?" I was expecting a heartfelt story of fear and heartbreak about horrific plane crashes and auto accidents and dead puppies and parents. Nope. "It just doesn't make sense that something that big and heavy can stay in the air. Also, it weirds me out that something can be going one way while you walk the opposite way on it." No, that's not an explanation I can let go.
     First, I attacked the first part, like you do. It's science. Airplanes are designed to stay in the air. In its simplest form, the shape of an airfoil creates differences in air pressure--I drew an airfoil in the air with my non-beer hand to demonstrate--so there's low pressure up here and high pressure down here and then LIFT! The small circle of people agreed and all chimed in with "lift!" at the same time.
     Then our friend Johnny NewBoots (not his real name) attacked the second part. What about cars? You ride in cars, don't you? She conceded she rides in cars but that you don't walk backwards in a car. Well, have you ever had to climb from the front seat to the backseat while the car was moving? No, she had not. Well, can you imagine it? Let's say you left your charger in your bag in the backseat. You'd have to climb back to get it. She shook her head at us. What about bikes? If it was a really long bike--like a three person bike--and you had to climb from the font to the back, that would also violate your theory. "Hey Jerry, you take control, I'm just going to climb over you and grab something from the back of the bike." And well, from then on we just made jokes about people on weird bikes getting things from the back and let Gertrude continue to be afraid of science.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dreams Again

     I swear I've sworn off talking about my dreams, but here I am again, talking about my dreams. But get this--this time, I was precision driving a giant truck. I was in some pretty tight spaces but I maneuvered that giant 4x4 pick-up truck through a maze like nobody's business. I did some driving in reverse, which according to the meaning of dreams dictionary signifies major setbacks in goals. That's a tad depressing, and it was really good reverse driving, and then I did go forward again, so suck it dream dictionary. You don't know my life!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ten Things!

Ten Things! Ten Things! Ten Things! Hey hey! Ten Things!

Yesterday was picture day! Check it out! Nancy's Ten Pictures.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When We're Students

     Ego is a massive thing. A healthy dose of it is important; it helps you get through the day and make confident choices. Too much of it and you're just a douchehat. I've noticed a pretty consistent correlation between the "younger generation" and massive ego. The helicopter parenting method creates a population of individual special snow-flowers who can't hear they're wrong.
    The snow-flower ego can put up walls that I think might be a hindrance when trying to learn something. Because when we're students, I think it's important to consider everything. Even the the possibility that the things that just came out of your mouth are not the most brilliant words to be spoken. Slow down just a little bit. Listen to what others around you are saying. Consider it. It might be right. It might not be, but there's still a chance, and maybe it's kinda right. Or maybe it's just a different point of view you should be aware of. Consider everything. That's all I'm saying.
     Also, we should always be students. So we should always be considering things. And keeping that giant snow-flower ego in check.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

     Happy Birthday, America! I love fireworks. A lot. I don't like crowds, but I love America and fireworks and am willing to brave the crowds to celebrate America with fireworks.  They're amazing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sometimes It's All So Much

     I have opened a new post for Oliver at least four times, wrote some weird sentence to kick it off, and then stared blankly. Where to go from there? It was all too much. I was feeling and experiencing too much to whittle it down to a few cohesive paragraphs. So I simply exited the post and walked away. And then today it occurred to me that maybe that was the thing--that sometimes it's all just so much.
     I've been overwhelmed a little bit in the last few weeks. Not in a crushing way, which I suppose is what overwhelmed means, so maybe I'm not using it right. I just mean that it's all so much. And it get to the point where I feel like I stop for even a second, I will lose momentum. So I can't stop. So it continues to be so much.
     A few non-sequiturs:

  • The Del Close Marathon (#DCM14) is awesome. What an emotional rollercoaster!
  • I love fireworks. I like to watch a baseball game and see fireworks on the 4th of July because that's what America means to me. 
  • Yes, I am overqualified to make coffee. But I like coffee. 
  • Sometimes my mom is mean, and maybe that's where I get it from.
  • There are a lot of ways in which I am a human disaster.
  • I'd rather make people laugh than make electricity. 
  • I miss Mary.
  • I believe hunger is an emotion.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Striking a Balance

     There is a very specific balance of arrogance and humility that I work for every day. It is not easy. Sometimes the hubris takes over. You're pretty sure you know what's up and you tell everyone around what that is. You know your shit. You got this. And then sometimes you find out your friends are doing amazing things and you feel a little left out and you shrink back into your shell a little. And then the humility takes over.
     I'm even battling it right now; I've rewritten this post three times. Because at first it I was too full of myself. And then I was too meek. And then I was too bitter, which I realize isn't on the scale between arrogance and humility, but is sometimes a bi-product. A mountain-sized burning-tire-odored skinless-grape-textured bi-product.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Hot, Right?

     I mean, holy shit, it's hot out. And it's all we're talking about. And it's what I'm going to talk about.
     How do I cool this room down? Do I open a window and put a fan in it? Does that just pull more hot air in along with bugs and other potentially dangerous animals? Do I black out the windows and just lie perfectly still? What will relieve this heat? My roommate bought an air conditioner; I have never been more jealous of him. One, for the forethought, and two, for the means to purchase it. I have a fan that I accidentally stole from a friend while moving 5 years ago. Also, he has apparently cranked the AC so high that is actually cools down the foyer also. It's nice for the 10 seconds I'm standing in the foyer from stepping inside from the sweltering hallway. But then I make the trek down the hall into my room and it's like "POW, YOU CAN'T AFFORD COLD AIR, BITCH."
     Ugh. It's just hot. That's all I have to say about it. My wrists are resting on a blazing hot computer chassis, and it's making me uncomfortable. I mus remain perfectly still.
     Also, it's the humidity.

HEAT UPDATE: Oh My God. It's only the first day of summer and I'm melting. I have a pretty hard rule about not going out in public in shorts; I broke that rule today. I also wore flip-flops. And this fan fucking blows doesn't work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It Was Picture Day

Yesterday was One Day, Ten Photos Day. Check out my pics here: Nancy's 10 Photos.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How Good Moods Fade

     I was in a ridiculously good mood this morning. The type of good mood that pisses other people off. I had no real reason to be. It was 4am and I had only gotten about 2 hours of sleep. But I was standing in the train station outside of work, listening to my iPod, just doing a little dance. I was in that good of a mood.
     By noon, I was NOT in a good mood. I had talked to a lot of people by then, and most of the them were mad at me. One of them accused me of not speaking English based on the fact that I didn't hear him ask for a sandwich. By the way, this is unacceptable to me. I powered my way through the transaction, but I made sure he was aware that it is incredibly rude of him to ask me,while wearing sunglasses indoors, if I speak English simply because I didn't hear him. He won't change his ways, I'm sure-once an asshole, always an asshole.
     And that's how good moods fade. You put yourself in the real world where people are supportive and nice. In improv, people are supportive and nice. Even when they're not nice in the scene, they're nice in general. And they're supportive. They don't walk into a coffee shop looking for a fight. Or, if the scene called for them to walk into a coffee shop looking for a fight, they would, but still, they wouldn't be assholes about it. What I'm saying is that improv is better than real life. Improv creates good moods. Real life creates bad moods.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Slowly but Surely

     Oliver took a two month vacation, and it's taking a bit more prodding to get full on into work mode than was expected. My thoughts have been over taken by coffee and improv, sometimes at the same time. I have Netflix laying on my floor. I don't even know what discs are in the envelopes; it's sad. Unwatched Netflix is my primary indication that I'm just too busy!
     I'm not, of course, actually too busy. There are a lot, a whole lot, of people who are way busier than me. And who handle it much better. I'm just tired and lazy and don't want to pick the Netlfix up from the floor. And I like to sleep. So the Netflix go unwatched for a few days or a week. I'll get to it eventually, because it's in my list of priorities just below eating, sleeping, and improv, but above laundry and grocery shopping. So don't worry about me, I'll get to watching and reviewing movies and TV shows from 5 - 20 years ago soon!
     The 2 month break was somewhat of an experiment. It failed, really. I was experimenting with the idea that putting a pin in Oliver would give me more focus on other things. I beat myself up over not writing enough sketches and scripts, etc. What I failed to recognize is that Oliver was an outlet, and an outlet was good. Oliver is a bit of a conscious for me. Or he's not at all that, because that's a little too out there to say a blog I write is somehow another part of my brain that makes me know the difference between right and wrong. It's not that. I take that back. But he was important to me, so I'm bringing him back.
     I kicked it off with the homage to Best Friends Forever, my new favorite TV show. Hell, it's just my new favorite thing. We've been given six episodes, and I've already watched those 6 at least 5 times. The first Sunday after BFF day, my BFF and I made cinnamon rolls and had a BFF Marathon. It was amazing, and one of the only types of marathons I'd ever participate in.
     So, slowly but surely, Oliver will come back to life. He'll still be just as aimless as ever, because when you keep starting over, that's how your thoughts go--aimless and wandering.
     One other thing: I received the greatest compliment in quite some time the other day and I've been reveling in it ever since. I went to the improv jam on Wednesday night and was called up in a group that my teacher was in. FF to the next class and I said "I went to the jam on Wednesday" and she said "Yeah you did. And you crushed it." So when I feel even a little down, or I almost fall asleep on the train and miss my stop, I just hear her voice say "Yeah you did. And you crushed it." It makes me feel good, because crushing things feels awesome.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Watch Best Friends Forever

     I find it difficult to write about things I love because I just end up writing "I love it, it's amazing" over and over. I'm going to try to expand on that a bit, but seriously, I love Best Friends Forever and it's amazing. And yes, it's funny, hilarious even, and real. But also, seriously--just flat out amazing.
     Here's the thing too--this is the show that I wanted to write. I lay awake at night dreaming about a show I could create someday, a show with heart and comedy about amazing women living in the city and trying to make a life in some sort of triarrage situation. Really, I have treatments to that effect. I've written outlines. And maybe I came close to the idea I had in my head, but Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair nailed it. I actually went through a 5-second blind rage as I watched everything I was aiming for come alive on the screen. But then the white flash faded and I fell completely in love.
     I have watched the first four episodes at least 6 times each. I watch them on my phone on the subway on the way to work. Then I watch them on my break. And again on the way home. And when I can't sleep I lie in bed and watch them. It doesn't help me sleep, but it sure makes me feel good. I'm watching them again right now. Some people might say I have a problem. Those people can go to hell because damn it, I love it.
     I wonder how they made something so wonderful and so pitch perfect. But then I just accept that Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair are way better at comedy and life and being best friends than I'll ever be and I sit back and enjoy it.
     I read (or saw) an interview with Ms Parham and Ms St. Clair and they mentioned that while preparing for the show, they watched this Laverne&Shirley video a lot:
That actually made SO much sense to me. There have been a decent number of comparisons with Laverne&Shirley already, so I won't belabor the point. And I don't really appreciate when new things are just referred to as old things but for now. It's just that they're both magic.
     The show has reportedly been canceled and subsequently my heart broken. If I had the technology, I would make this show in my apartment. Hell, I would just put on the stage show in my apartment. (Hey Lennon and Jessica, can you just put on a stage show once a week? In my apartment? I'll provide snacks!) I'm having trouble processing that the one shiny spot in my television lineup will be gone. It also makes me worry for the future. And not just the future of television, but the future of civilization because this is the type of quality entertainment we should be making and consuming.
     I meant this post to be a simple call to your televisions tonight to turn on NBC at 8pm and watch the best g-d show there is right now. I went a little off track and maybe got a little too creepy with all the gushing lovey adjectives. But seriously guys, watch this show. And if you have a Nielson box, really really watch it. Watch it four times, in all your rooms (I don't know how those work).
     If the conclusion to this story is inevitable; if it is already written in the blood of Jeff Zucker's grandchildren, then I'll take the six episodes we were given and carry them with me and watch them at least once a week to remind myself what happiness is. But if there is even an iota of a chance that we can save it, damn it all, I will do whatever it takes to save it. Tell me what it is, and I'll do it. Sign the petition? Done. Buy the iTunes season pass? Done. Tweet #SaveBFF all the time? Done. Write an embarrassing feeling filled blog post? Done. Please, NBC, don't take it away. Best Friends Forever leads with its heart and it teaches us all how to actually be good friends, and good people, to each other. And it's fucking good, so watch it. Also, it throws in a lot of Michigan / Wolverine references, and I go ape shit for that.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Doomed to Repeat It

     Remember this post about sweet computer death? It happened again. It didn't take on the exact same form, but death became it nonetheless. I suppose I should applaud the computer for taking on a new and interesting way for it to kill itself. It was most likely a virus, contracted from irresponsible downloading. A blue screen I had never seen before popped up and basically gave me the middle finger. I attempted a few restarts. I was confident that most of my files had been backed up, so I attempted a respawn. Another middle finger. I think the virus the computer contracted gave the computer pneumonia, and it has infected every part of its hard drive.
      Another cruel joke of the respawn failure was the message that came up to inform me of the failure. It instructed me to visit a website to investigate further. Thanks, ass. It reminds me of when my neighbors would come over to call the phone company to report their phone problems. The company always asked if they were calling from their own phone. My neighbor would respond with "no, if I could use my phone, I wouldn't be calling to report it broken." I feel the same way about offering web help for a computer problem. Of course, clearly, I'm on a computer right now, so I could have maybe checked out that page they referred me to. But that's not the point. If my car broke down and I called a mechanic and he told me to drive down there, I'd have the same reaction. Sure, maybe I could drive someone else's car to get to the mechanic, but it doesn't help the problem.
     With this newest sweet computer death, I've starting thinking about a complete computer overhaul. I actually own three computers. That sounds like a lot. It is, but all of them were built before 2008 and have different uses. One of them only has one program on it and doesn't connect to the internet. It's basically a word processor. Another one is basically just a digital storage box and it can't be used for long stretches at a time. It still has a 3.5" floppy drive. The newest one is the one that just died. If it can be resurrected at a reasonable cost, I'd be happy to have it back, but I will not turn it into a lemon where I pour more into repairs than a) it's worth and b) the cost of a new/used computer.
     A friend of mine recently told me Mercury was in retrograde. She said it like I knew what the fuck she was talking about and would understand all of its implications. I didn't. But then I looked it up and it means that the universe has broken its mirror while walking under a ladder with a black cat crossing its path and we should just all stay inside and not touch anything because everything will go wrong. Touche universe. Touche Mercury. You win this round.
     As with the previous sweet computer death post (which I do think happened last time Mercury was in retrograde), I'm choosing to not completely lose my shit. It's just files; it's just plastic, metal, and glass; it's digital spring cleaning. Oh, but the one thing I will lose my shit about is if I tell anyone my computer died and they tilt their head at me and say "you should have gotten a mac." You know, maybe I should have.  But that kind of unsolicited time-travel-requiring advice is worthless and makes me hate you. So don't say it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

SPRING!

     Spring is here! Spring is great. I like it a lot. It's one of my favorite four seasons. Spring came in perfectly this year--March 20th was a picture perfect day for a vernal equinox. Ahh.  Equinoxes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Being Tired

     When I get overly tired, I develop a sort of ADD. There is no hyperactivity involved, but my thoughts just drift from one thing to another without ever coming to a conclusion. Now is an example of that, and my thoughts are drudging along like this:

Cookies. I would love some cookies. Those were good cookies I had the other day.
Look at the cups on my desk.
You know, Friends is still a good show.
I wish I had more wine.
It's hard to believe it's been off the air as long as it has.
Maybe there are crumbs in this package.
I should wash these.
Ugh. Brian Greene.
My feet hurt.
Ooooh. Head scratch.
Dishes.
I've seen the finale so many times.
There's that one spot I can't scratch.
I already ate the crumbs.
I'm sad.
SHOES.
That's a lot of cups.

And you know, it just goes like that for a while. And guess what? I'm not going to wash those cups while I'm tired.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Friday!

     It's Friday! How great. Now we can spend the day talking about Community's triumphant return! And 30 Rock, and Up All Night. Go.
     Also, I hope everyone made it safely through the ides of March. Woosh. It can be a tough one.
     And just because I love it, a great song by The Decemberists:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sometimes Science Is Hard

    I tried to make the argument that reading was hard, but Mary called me stupid. I suppose it's not the reading that's hard, it's the science. I've been trying to read The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene for about 4 weeks now. It's about 322 pages, so it really shouldn't take me that long. But I can only read about 6 pages at a time before my brain wants to explode.
     It's supposed to be about parallel universes. In fact, I was drawn in by the first few paragraphs and Brian Greene's description of potential multiple electron locations within their clouds equating to potential multiple everythings. If it was possible for an electron to be in one of two places, then it was actually possible for them to be in each place, just in different universes. So if it was possible for me to either make the train or miss the train, it was possible for both to happen, but in different universes. Basically, Sliding Doors could happen, but in parallel universes. Ooooh, intrigue.
     But then Brian Greene goes on and on about string theory. I've read (parts) of his other books, The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, and it's all just string theory propaganda. The fervent defense of it makes me skeptical of it, where I wasn't at all before. I'm sure there is a bit more nuance to it, but it seems like there are three full books just touting that string theory is the true wave of the future. They can't all say the exact same things, but they're not saying all that much that's different.
     The problem I've been having with The Hidden Reality and Brian Greene is that he claims he's explaining super complicated scientific ideas in everyman ways. He's on a bit of a high horse about his ability to break down the cosmos so the laymen can understand it. I call bullshit. He is not good at analogies. Now, I'm not great at science, but I know some things. Brian Greene attempts to use Archie (from the comics) as an analogy for something in science. If I were to do this, I would say something along the lines of "Archie eats an infinite number of hamburgers. You wonder how he does it, right? He just eats and eats and never gets full. Because it's an infinite amount, he'll never run out of hamburgers. If you tell him to cut down on hamburgers by, say, half, he's still eating an infinite number of hamburgers because half of infinity is still infinity. And in the end both will eventually kill Archie." Or, alternatively "Archie has a really hard time deciding between Betty and Veronica because they're both really hot. Parallel universes allows for him to never have to decide. He can have both, though he won't know he has both because he can't know about the other realities. Also, there is probably another universe where he's with neither of them and instead alone and miserable." Those aren't great, I know. But still, it gave you something to imagine, right? Brian Greene's "layman analogies" go like this: "Imagine Archie had a homework problem where he had to count to 10^155. And then imagine he had a radio telescope and was measuring the temperature of the universe to determine the value of the universal cosmological constant." Brian--that's just what you do. That's NOT an analogy. Saying Archie is going to do it instead of you doesn't help me understand it.
     He does this repeatedly, and I find it frustrating. I don't understand the science any better, and I just get irritated when he drags my favorite pop-culture characters through the cosmological background radiation mud. He's not fun to read, but he thinks he is. He's an arrogant physicist, and I find that insufferable.
     True, I have not finished reading the book. It does seem extra harsh to criticize the book before I finish it. But at this rate I'm not inclined to finish it because I get so distracted by his imperfect analogies. And his overzealous defense of string theory.I've probably missed a huge section of it, but I don't yet see how string theory or not string theory helps explain parallel universes. It seems to me like explaining how farmers deprive chickens of light to get better eggs while teaching someone how to make hollandaise sauce and perfectly poached eggs. (ANALOGY!) I suppose one leads to the other in about 125 steps, but I just want a goddamned eggs benedict. So sure, string theory might explain--or rather, mathematically justify--the forces of the universe and 125 steps later I might get to thinking "oh, so there could be parallel universes?" but I just want a goddamned eggs benedict.
     I know science well enough to have picked up this book and find its content interesting. But without a PhD in asshattery and physics, so much of it was lost on me. I prefer the astrophysics stylings of Neil deGrasse Tyson. He knows how to make analogies and he has a lovely sense of humor.
     Brian Greene can eat my hat. My infinitely large multiverse hat.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts on Smash

     I like about half of Smash. The other half is overwrought and makes me yell at my TV.
     I don't much care for Ivy, her breathless voice, and her premature divalation. As much as I understand how she exudes sex and practically already is Marilyn, I still want her to fall and break her ankle. And for that to somehow cause her vocal chords to sift into puberty or whatever it is that allow the sounds to come out as words and not the faint whispers of a breeze through a sexy haunted house. Even her tantrums aren't very tantrum-y. Her "we're not football players" speech was just plain childish. You might not be football players, but you are adults, so suck it up and do your job. Your singing job, by the way. You sing for a living. You didn't lose a big case and endure the judge raking you across the coals for an improper defense on CourtTV. You fell on a couch and were laughing when the director said "don't do that." He's right.
     I would guess I'm not supposed to like the director, but as far as I can tell, he's the closest to being a human being. Yes, he is a jerk. But so are most people, so it works. Again, he's trying to put on a Broadway musical so yes, he just cares about your voice. And that you can stand and dance. He doesn't care that you have to cry yourself to sleep or that you require the care of two grown men to sing you to sleep because you're too goddamned frail. You're not handling your downward spiral well. Take his terseness to mean that. As far as I can tell, he's the only one on the production staff who really cares about making the show good and not about everyone's feelings.
     Oh Julia. For fuck sake, Julia, what the hell are you doing? And where did you get those pants? And why did you just put pants on over your pajama top and then go outside in Manhattan. Even at 10pm, people will see you. I really hate this affair story line. I get that audiences might find it intriguing, but I think it's pretty gross. The only good that could come out of it is that maybe Michael knocked something loose and Julia can get over her writer's block. Of course, the affair is most likely the cause of the block. Oh, messiness. I get it from a dramatic point of view, it just doesn't do much for me. Also, while we're talking about Julia, what is the deal with her family? They all seem to land somewhere on the autistic spectrum. They're lifeless. It's like the producers built an extra set and needed to fill it with people and said "we'll just call this her family." And again, the director is right to tell the writer he doesn't care about her family problems because Julia needs to do her job--write the damn show.
     And speaking of writing the show, the original numbers written for this mythical Marilyn musical are quite nice. They're a really fun part of the show. Bringing them from the rehearsal space to the pretend theater will fill stage numbers is fun and exciting to watch. Watching Katharine McPhee sing a Florence + The Machine song at a bar mitsvah? That's time to use the bathroom and maybe do some household chores. I love the song. Florence + The Machine are great. But it has nothing to do with the show and Katharine McPhee beings nothing new to it. Also, those kids who were "into it" were clearly not. I would guess it was the end of the day and the director was yelling at them "pretend you really like this song. Put your hands in the air and sway like people used to do for hip hop songs. COME ON! Fine, fine, just wave around listless for 10 minutes, that's fine too. I want to go."
     Angelica Huston is great, but I'm losing interest in her character. She's becoming too cartoonish for me. And hanging out with Tom's assistant irks me. Tom's assistant needs to fall down a sewer drain or slip and fall on the A train tracks. He's a little bitch and I can't believe adults aren't putting a stop to it. Parents don't let toddlers get away with that level of tattling.
     Also, when Karen drops all of her crap behind the piano and then overhears the entire conversation between Tom, Derick, Julia, et al, how long did she have to stay hidden before she could leave? She's already been hiding. She can't get up! She has to stay there until every person has left the building. And then still wait 30 minutes after that to make sure nobody comes back to sex their boss. It must have ruined her afternoon. That's why she was late to the bar mitzvah. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quick Trips

     I think it's nice to leave a place wanting more. It usually means the visit was just right. I think it's easier to make a quick trip and leave it thinking "that was so nice, I want to do it again" than to do a long trip and think "I need a vacation from this vacation!"  did a quick weekend trip to DC, and it was nice. I'd like to do it again.
     My quick trip was full of meeting up with friends and just hanging out. Visiting a place you used to live is weird. Well, for me, visiting a place I used to live (just 5 month ago) is weird. It's all so very familiar, but pieces of it started to fade away. Someone stopped to ask me where Massachusetts Ave was. I said "Oh yeah, it's ... uh, huh. This isn't it. New Hampshire Ave is that way. It's not north. I guess I don't really know anymore." I was not helpful, and the guy thought I was a little nutso.
     The nice part about visiting a place you used to live is that you can just meet people at places because you know where things are and how to get there (as long as they're not on Massachusetts Ave, apparently). There's no pressure to take in the sights, visit monuments, or experience the local culture. Just going to Chipotle is a very real, viable option. You really just get to visit with your friends in their apartment with their kegerator, and that's very nice.
     Clearly, I'm just trying to say I had a nice weekend. It was very short, but full of laughs and beer. Nice!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friends With Kids. A Review.

     I really liked the movie Friends with Kids. Its strength was its writing—it had a clear voice and a clear point of view. It wasn't trying to be an Everyman movie and I applaud that. It had its piece to say and it said it so well. It was great.
     Of course the cast was also wonderful. Basically I think you could put Maya Rudolf, Chris O'Dowd, Kristin Wiig, Jon Hamm, Adam Scott, and Jennifer Westfeldt in a blank room for 2 hours, and it would be great. Their performances were pitch perfect. You'd want to be friends with these people and go on ski weekends with them and even be in the room during their most awkward moments.
     There was a moment I thought it seemed long. But I get like that because really, there was nothing you could cut out. In fact, there were things I wanted to see more of. In the end I retract it and say it wasn't too long. I think the feeling just happened because there was no clear, obvious place for the movie to go. There was no hit us over the head conclusion and that's a good thing.
     (This is cause for debate among other viewers. Some say that because it's a RomCom the ending is obvious. Or because it's a movie its ending is obvious. Well, sure, the nature of the story leads us to expect something in the realm of happiness. We know we're watching a film of the romantic and comedic variety so I suppose we expect the leads to get together. But based on the story itself, we really couldn't be sure of it. I stand by my statement.)
     The story spanned six years but we had no idea that was the case going in. The film played with its time jumps in nice seamless ways, only using the text-on-screen device once. We jumped from conception to birth and then hit birthdays and holidays. Time was passing, as it does, and we were ok with that. The ride felt natural. It's also what led me to that unsettling "when will it end" feeling. And I don't mean that in a mean oh-my-god-it's-taking-forever way. I mean really, at what point in their story does the film end?
     That makes it sound like I'm complaining about the structure or the end in some way. I'm not. Or I don't mean to. I think they ended it perfectly. I was surprised the end was THE END, but in a good way. I'm glad I didn't know that was the end.
     I would love to get into Jennifer Westfeldt's head. That was good writing. I barely have the words to say how good it was, which is unfortunate since I'm trying to write about it. She did what we all want to do. She had a point of view. Her characters were all grounded. They weren't caricatures of people. Maybe Megan Fox was (because she's Megan Fox and I don't care about her), and there was a moment later in the movie when I wanted Jason to stop being obsessed with tits. But then I realized he just took longer to get there. That's all that was happening. He just didn't realize it until late an that actually turned out great.
     This was that rare blend of comedy and heart. We laughed and we cried. Genuinely. And sometimes the laugh would come when we thought it'd be a tear. It was just so goddamn well done. That's a script that should be studied in school, I think. Jennifer Westfeldt should be nominated for an Oscar. Perhaps I'm gushing too mush. (This is very possibly overstated based on the high of just seeing the film and meeting the star. I swooned. So what.) Maybe it's too fresh in my mind. I already want to see it again. The ensemble cast was so very good. Gush gush.
     It's definitely an adult comedy. It deals with adult themes and things that really affect peoples lives. It's kinda big but also nice and small. It's about the families we make. And when we're grown ups we choose our families except we still kinda don't because we can realize after 20 years our family isn't the perfect guy we've been searching for but instead a giant ball of mess that's been with us all along. 
     My friends are having kids and talking about having kids and our conversations sometimes echo the ones in the film. Except my friends aren't as forthright, honest, or amusing as the folks in the movie. Friends With Kids is a movie that would make my one friend who gets uncomfortable watching movies that hit too close to home feel uncomfortable. And I love it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Thursday

     I love Thursdays. I bet I've mentioned it before because it is true. Usually, cool things happen on Thursdays. Or, nothing happens on Thursdays and it's a relaxing day and that's great too. It's just a nice day.
     It's my favorite TV night, and it has been as long as I can remember. I used to watch Cheers and The Cosby Show on Thursday nights when I was a kid. And then Seinfeld, and then Friends and Will&Grace and ER. And now it's home to 30 Rock, Parks&Rec,and Up All Night. And Community again, starting next week. Thursdays are great for staying in!
     They're also good for going out. It's the eve to the weekend, so like Christmas eve, you take the time to reflect on the day that is before you and get completely plastered. It's also a fun day for special events because a large percentage of the population will say "it's a Thursday? I'm staying in," like I usually do.
     Also, here's a fun way to remember Thursday, from a Thursday classic:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Sick Day

     I took a sick day yesterday. And I'm taking another one today. I tried to sleep this illness out of me, but it didn't quite work. It's embarrassing how many hours of the day I did actually sleep. But here's hoping that a little NyQuil, a roasted chicken, and some white wine will beat this virus right out of me.
     One thing I didn't take a sick day from was Parks and Rec. Their Paleyfest panel was last night, and even though I'm on the wrong coast, livestream saved the day. So, this:

Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones
in the 2003 pilot for Philly Justice.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Viewing Parties

     I went to my first viewing party this weekend. It was a great reminder as to what a communal experience TV can be. I rarely watch TV with other people in the room. Usually that's for good reason because other people like to talk over the TV or not pay attention and then spend time saying "what'd he say? who is that? what? I like her outfit" and then my head explodes. But when watching with a group of people who are just an invested as I am, it can be a nice experience.
     Paleyfest is happening right now in LA. There is also a Paley Center in NYC so the geniuses over there decided they could do a combined event between the two. So over here on the east coast, there was a Community viewing party in conjunction with the Community Paleyfest Panel. We watched a screen of a screen of a panel in LA. How exciting.
     That sounded sarcastic, but it was pretty cool. The Paleyfest in general is a really cool thing. People from our favorite shows come to sit down with some guy and just talk about their show. It's always a good time. I don't know who the guy asking the questions was, I wasn't paying attention to that part. I would guess he's from the Paley Center. That's fine. We're not really looking at him anyway.
     Since those of us in NYC are watching a screen of a screen, Paley Center tried to sweeten the deal a bit with cookies, fruit, and soda. That was nice. Also, there was a blanket fort. A few people were playing in it. I refrained because I'm either too cool or not cool enough. And they were strangers and if I learned anything when I was a kid it was do not get into a fort made of blankets with strangers. But still, it was fun. There was also a costume contest and a poster contest. (These things may have also existed in LA. I'm not sure.) The costume contest was a fun idea, but not wonderfully executed. There were only about 4 really inspired costumes--Professor Professorson, Pierce Hawthorne in his wizard robes, The Dean, and the dean's companion dalmatian--everyone else worse regular clothes and tried to be Jeff or Annie. But it was a nice idea.
     I assume because I am a nonmember, I was sent to the upstairs viewing room. This is where the screen of a screen thing comes in. There was a main auditorium downstairs where a host in NY had a podium and a screen was set up to livestream the event. Then in the small auditorium I was in, with about 50 of my new best friends, we were watching that other auditorium. There was discussion about whether or not we would be watching the screen of the screen, which was pretty small at that point. And for about 5 minutes we were, and the livestream buffered a lot. We grumbled. A lot. But then someone fixed it and we were able to settle in and enjoy it.
     We viewed the episode that will air on the 15th. It was great and everyone should watch it. People in groups really do laugh more! That was a nice communal experience, except of course for the few lines I missed because people were laughing too hard. But it seems silly to complain about people laughing too hard. The livestream of the panel was fun to watch too, even though some people yelled out during that too. It's probably available online now.
     Community is great so it was a worthwhile experience. (I will not be attending the Castle viewing party this coming Friday.) Of course actually being at Paleyfest would have been even better, but this was a close second. March 15th! Woo! Watch!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Maxwell House Commercial

     I hate that Maxwell House commercial. A lot. So much that I'm hitting the keyboard to tell others how much I hate it.
     It begins with a couple at a nice restaurant and a waiter about to plunge a french press. Then douchehat walks in carrying a Mr. Coffee coffee pot and a mug. He says "is this what we're doing now?" and then berates the french press and makes a potty reference with the word plunger. Then he talks about Maxwell House French Roast coffee, makes a comment about gravity, and eats a bowl of shit.
     This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. I realize it's not that guy's fault--it's a team of advertisers and marketers and probably some monkeys. But all of their idiot ideas and misconceptions are being transmitted through this douche-puppet, so I'm blaming him. The burden of perpetuating white-trash bad-coffee-drinking mentality is all on him.
     No, this isn't what we're doing now. It's how we've been making coffee for years. YEARS! Since the 30s, at least. It's also how we make coffee that doesn't take like shit. Pressing the coffee extracts more of the flavor out of the bean. It creates a three-dimensional cup of java. It's so damn good.
     French Roast has nothing to god-damn do with it. The roast is the roast is the roast. French roast just means it's a dark roast. It's not even a universal term across all coffee roasters. For some roasters, French is the darkest. For other roasters, it's not quite. It's a term we use that means it's probably a dark roast. With dark roasts, the flavor comes out of the roast and not as much from the bean. But it has nothing to do with how the coffee is brewed. You won't get the same brilliant flavor from a drip pot as you will from a french press, even if you use the same beans.
     Gravity? You ass. A drip coffee-pot uses more than just gravity to make coffee. A lot more. There are pressure valves and heating elements and all kinds of shit involved. You know what uses gravity to make coffee? A FRENCH PRESS! Also, the pour over method, but I doubt that guy knows what that is since it took him 80 years to stumble across a french press.
     The snide plunger comment is just uncalled for. It doesn't make sense. It's potty humor. The only people you're convincing to try your product are the slack-jawed two-tooth-mouthed morons who spend most of their day in the shitter anyway. You're pandering, and it's gross.
      They're telling lies to sell a shitty product; that's what irks me about it. If douchehat just entered the frame and said "Maxwell House has a new French Roast. Try it please." I wouldn't be nearly as riled up. I might snicker a bit because I still think they make terrible coffee, but I understand they have to try to sell their product, so fine. But damn it, they're telling lies. You know, you could make Maxwell House in a french press. It would still taste like shit and you'd get ground in the cup because it's not ground course enough, but you could do it.  They're a coffee company who don't know things about coffee. Or at least that's the impression their putting out there to pander. They're either idiots or their lying idiots.
     Drink good coffee! Make it in a french press! Use gravity!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's Leap Day!

     Happy Leap Day! What a wonderful holiday Leap Day is. It's rare and there are no presents involved! It's probably not really a holiday at all. It's a day for science, really. It's the opposite of those made up Hallmark holidays that exist only to make money and make single people feel shitty. Leap day wasn't made up at all, it was calculated by scientists.
     The sad part about leap day is that by mid-March, we'll probably forget it even existed. For the two months leading up to it we think "Ohhh, this is a leap year! What possibilities!" And then February 29th comes and goes and we carry on, not caring about that extra day we had this year. A co-worker will ask "is next year a leap year? Or was it this year? How often are they?" Oh poor leap day, how we take advantage of you.
     It's an extra day and perhaps we should embrace it! "Real Life is for March!" We get an extra day. In addition to allowing ladies to propose to their men, it can be a day for metaphorical leaps and trying new things. OR, for sleeping in and drinking wine because it's a free day so nobody will notice. Man, wouldn't it be great if everyone got their own private leap day? Just an extra 24 hours tucked away somewhere where nobody could find you. It'd be like going on vacation in a wormhole. Oooooh, wormholes. 
     I also wish the Leap Day William movie that 30 Rock made was real. Jim Carrey? Andie MacDowell? The basic plot of Groundhogs Day and Liar Liar wrapped into one? Yes, please! And while we're talking about Leap Day William, who wore it best?

Jim Carey in (the fake) Leap Day William
Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) as Leap Day William



   








   
Here's wishing you a day of leaps and science! Happy Leap Day to us all!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Speed Blender

     My blender is great. It has two speeds: high and low. I guess technically it has three speeds if you count off. It doesn't have frappe or stir or liquify. Just high and low and it gets shit done. My blender looks kinda like this:


Except that's a picture of the "retro style' blender, and mine is actually just that old. It was made in the 20s and passed down from generation to generation. Or it was made in the 40s and my great-grandmother just gave it to me because everyone else already had a blender. Either way, it's an old blender and it still works great.
     I attempted to use one of those magic bullet blenders a while back to make a smoothie. It was a bit of a pain and there were a lot of safety precautions all over. After a minute or two of pulsing, per the directions, my smoothie was still chunky. I was impatient and I drank it anyway. Also, there wasn't that much of it. That might be part of the point of the magic bullet--portion control--but it's a damn smoothie and mind your own damn business small kitchen appliance.
     I made a smoothie this morning in my relic Oster 2-speed blender and it was wonderful. I poured in however much stuff I wanted and turned the knob on. I turned it to slow at first, and then to high. And then--THEN--I went right back to off. Because that's how the dial is fashioned; it goes from off to low to high to off. CONVENIENCE! Also, the speeds are listed as "hi" and "lo" because the font is large and the dial is not that large. Anyway, my smoothie came out smooth and perfectly blended. There were no chunks and each gulp was the same consistency, which is really what I look for in a smoothie.
     This blender is practically between 80 and 100 years old and it blends great. It's the only blender I'll ever need. Forever. This is the thing I'll pass down to my grandchildren. They might have to power it with crystals, but hopefully they'll have a crystal to AC power converter because this is a fantastic blender. Mmmm, future smoothies.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh, The Weekend

     The weekend is a nice time to put all our worries aside. Put a pin in them, as the saying goes. Cut loose, let your hair down, Frankie Say Relax! I'm not trying to brag here, but I had a pretty awesome weekend full of improv, making an ass of myself, and the Oscars! Yay! Shiny!
     Improv Jams are awesome, and the Lady Jam is even more awesome, for two main reasons--1. it's for ladies, and 2. DANCE PARTY! It's fun that it's for ladies because the idea of ladies supporting ladies is really important. It's not about excluding guys (in fact, there were several gentlemen there, a Front Row Dudes chant, and the host brought a guy up for one jam). It's about including and supporting your fellow women players. And of course, the dance party. It's just effing fun.
     The other really fun part of jams is the party after the jam. All the cool kids head out to the same bar and enjoy a few drinks and some more good times. And that is where I am afforded the opportunity to make an ass of myself. I do it like this: experienced improviser whom I've watched for years introduces herself to me, I gush, she tries to get away, I feel foolish. Still though, I'd do it again!
     I also had my Improv 101 Grad show this past weekend. That was also very fun. People actually come to watch! Like woah! We're not awesome, but we try, and expectations are low. We said words, we made characters, we performed scenes, and people laughed. Success!
     After the show my friend Riley and I went on a search for a bar showing the Oscars. It was not that difficult. We sat and watched for a bit and tried to read lips since the bar didn't have the closed caption on. It was good times. Then I rushed home at a commercial break, missing Best Song and a few supporting roles, getting home just in time for the last three awards. My roommate said exactly what Meryl Streep said half of America said when her name was announced. I, however, feel this way about Meryl Streep:


Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice from Kristian Møller Jørgensen on Vimeo.

I like the Oscars because they're shiny.

Friday, February 24, 2012

For Inspiration Purposes

This video is over an hour long, just so you're prepared. But it's also great. Amy Poehler doles out some great advice. And she and Jane Lynch just have a great time talking to each other. My favorite bit of advice is about the decisions we make and how most of em are 51/49 anyway and then we kinda go "eh, i don't know. Fuck it, let's go."

amy-poehler-in-conversation-with-jane-lynch-live-talks-los-angeles-2197090086 - Live Talks Los Angeles Videos - Biography.com



Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Color of My Sleep

    Someone in my dreams last night told me "you're good at math, and that's good, but maybe you should learn some emotions." And I thought that was a little harsh, dream Tina Fey. We had just gotten ingredients to make pancakes and then I stopped a runaway van. The comment seemed to be from nowhere.
     But maybe my dreams have a point. It's nice to be good at math. But learning emotions is important too. Also, I'm not that good at math, so I need emotions to fall back on.
     We do emotion drills in improv where you enter a scene with a defined emotion and you stick with it. Recently a fellow player did this drill; he acted like he was on drugs. "Were you playing that you were on Ecstasy?" "Yeah." "You know that's not an emotion, right? It's not like 'Happy, sad, on ecstasy.'" We all had a good laugh. Good take-away--being on drugs is not an emotion.
   

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Betty White: If You Ask Me. A Review

     This is basically a picture book. The page count comes in at 258, but the margins are wide and the lines spaced far apart, like a burn-out's term paper. The book doesn't offer anything new. If you're not already a Betty White fan, there would be no reason to read this book--it's not an autobiography or historical fiction or even a call to decency. However, if you are a Betty White fan, you already know everything she talks about. So really, it's just a picture book.
     I should be more lenient considering she's a 90-year-old woman trying to write a book that isn't just full or sounds a drool stains. It's a valiant effort and it is her 5th book, and it only covers the past 15 years. Really, it offers what it promises. It's just a collection of short anecdotes. 
     She loves the business she's in, she doesn't like walking the Red Carpet, she talks about Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds more than necessary, and she loves animals, even sexual-harassing gorillas. Also, she was in a movie with Jennifer Love Hewitt and played off-type. I suppose that may have been new information because nobody saw that movie. Also, she promotes the hell out of Hot In Cleveland. That, in a nut-shell, is Betty White: If You Ask Me (And of course you won't).
     I'm being extra harsh because it's really late (or really early) and that's what I do when I'm not in my 7-minute window of kindness. Really, it's sweet that she likes to write books and that she's allowed to do it. I know there's a decent amount of Betty White backlash out there. People are tired of her--they say enough is enough. But I'm glad she still gets work and that she's still good at it. She wrote a little book to say she just likes it when people are nice to each other and to animals. (So maybe it is kind of a call to decency.) It takes about 2 hours to read, so it's not really a waste of time. And again, there are pictures.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two Holidays In A Row

     Paczki day right after Presidents' Day?! Woah, it's a piling on of minor holidays that don't mean much!
     I looked up my post about Paczki day from last year and I rambled on about the tradition of paczki and how they were think dense donuts. Mmmm.  I talked to my mother just the other day and she joked about shipping me one. I don't think it's a good idea, so I hope she didn't do it. I don't want to accept receipt for a smashed up box full of sugar and custard.
     For everyone else--Happy Mardi Gras, Happy Fat Tuesday, and Happy Lent, I guess.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tip Your Hat

     Happy Presidents' Day!
     It's one of those holidays that's not really a holiday, huh? The Post Office is closed, but UPS will still deliver.  The entire day is a mystery of what will and will not be open. It's also a day where you can save 20% on things. Oh, what a day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Do ya ever?

     Do ya ever? Do ya ever just? You do, don't you? The biggest dilemma of my day has been  red or white. And I mean the true meaning of dilemma. A dilemma is a choice between equally undesirable alternatives. Red or white? RED or WHITE? Eh, the end result is the same, so what does it really matter? So maybe it's not a true dilemma.
     I drank a little bit of wine tonight and watched the Thursday night line up. And then I rewatched Cougar Town. And it all made me cry. WTF? Really? Me? Crying? Well yes. It turns out, I'm a crier.  It's not my favorite thing about myself, but it's true. And since I'm still a little intoxicated while I write this, you (dear reader) get to be witness to my admittance of it. I'm a crier. It's sort of why by brother nicknamed me crier. He also nicknamed me rolls. He is not creative. He sees something and he goes after it.
     Do you remember Mary's post about The National? Well, it was about a different song, but I've been listening to About Today and it made me think similar things about the universe. All right universe--I'll pay attention. What do you have for me? I really hope it's good. Also, this song is really good.



     I specifically embedded that version because it comes from Warrior. Mary really liked that movie. I haven't seen it, but I take her word for it. I've been listening to it because it was on the Cougar Town playlist I made. Think about that for a second. This song is on both the Warrior and the Cougar Town soundtrack. Mary loves Warrior. I love Cougar Town.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jammy Jam

     Through a series of music searches, I found the song "Tickle Me Pink" by Johnny Flynn. I like it a whole bunch and have been jamming to it for a few days.



     Another kind of jam I like is an improv jam. In case you're not familiar, an improv jam is a special kind of format of improv where it seems like there's almost no format at all. The general guise is a (long form) montage where anyone can improv with anyone for a set. A set is typically 10 minutes long. When you arrive, you put your name in a bucket. The night starts by pulling 8 names from the bucket. Those 8 people go to the stage and get a suggestion. Then they improv a series of scenes. Boom. That's it. So simple, but so fun. People of all improv levels do it, so it usually all turns out fantastically. Everyone and every idea are supported. And sure, sometimes things fail, but in a good way. Because failing is how you learn. By the end of the night, every name has been drawn from the bucket.
     Another great thing about improv jams is they are often free. So if you're curious about it, just show up and sit in the back and yell out suggestions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breakfast Wine

    I'm looking forward to breakfast because I'm looking forward to breakfast wine. Breakfast wine is just wine you have for breakfast. It's probably more of a sign that there's a problem, but I'm choosing to ignore that giant blinking neon sign. Mmmm.  Breakfast wine.
     I made sure to chill a bottle of white for breakfast. It seems to me that white makes a better breakfast wine. It goes better with breakfast items like eggs and waffles and cheerios. Also, someone once told me white wine was was thinking wine. It makes sense to kick off the day with a glass or three of thinking wine.
     Another justification for breakfast wine is that it is a damn good deal. A bottle of Trader Joe's Chardonnay is only $3. Dollar per liter, that is just a damn fine deal. I pay more for coffee and orange juice combined. Breakfast wine is also the economical choice!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day

     Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!
     Also, the V could stand for so many things. Victory, for instance. We just don't celebrate a good V-E or V-J day anymore, do we? Or vagina! Happy Vagina Day! That could be a thing. I think a few years ago when The Vagina Monologues  were all the rage, it actually was a thing. It has since faded from our vernacular or our lexicon or our social conscious. I bet V-V day would be spectacular. Think it over.
     I've never given a shit about Valentine's Day. At all, ever. I used to get a small box of candy in a heart-shaped box from my dad when I was a kid. I guess that was nice. But I don't buy into any of it; I believe it's made up. I'm not trying to be cynical about it, but I don't celebrate anything else made up by Geoffrey Chaucer, so why this? It is a fun day to make fun of though. Below, a few clips from my favorite V-Day skewing show, 30 Rock.







Monday, February 13, 2012

Will Grayson, Will Grayson. A Review.


I really wanted to like Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I've heard such wonderful things about it and its authors. This may just be another case of not being its target audience; I'm no longer a YA after all. I didn't hate it and I can see the potential for others to like it. It does have a lovely fun gay message, surely we can embrace that. Also, it was well written. It was decently written, at least. I didn't love the style shift between chapters, but I got used to it. I actually feel bad for not liking it, because I'm sure there are worse books that are more worth my dislike. But I can only give it 2 Stars--an OK book.

Below is my review from Cannonball Read #4
The praise on the cover lied to me. I waited a few days after reading it to review it to allow my feelings to settle. I have to keep reminding myself that  am not this book’s target audience and that perhaps the parts I had trouble with are the parts that were the message to its intended audience.  
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a YA novel written by John Green and David Levithan. They each wrote half the book, alternating the chapters. Each had their own Will Grayson. With that, they each had their own style. On one hand the separate styles further distinguish the Wills from each other—their personalities come through in the way they’re telling their stories. On the other hand, it feels gimmicky; it’s an obvious way to show perspective shift hidden in a clever style-choice. 
There are two Will Graysons. Will Grayson doesn’t seem to be that uncommon of a name, however, I imagine when you meet someone with your exact name, you’re taken aback regardless. The book’s back cover would have us believe that the Will Graysons meeting each other has forever and drastically changed the course of each boy’s life. I find this hard to believe. 
First of all, we know they’re going to meet because 1. it’s almost the title, and 2. it’s the hook printed on the book to draw you in. However, this inciting incident doesn’t actually happen until Chapter 7, on page 110. If this were a David Foster Wallace magnum opus of 1200 pages, page 110 might be early for an inciting incident. This is not the case. 110-pages is almost halfway through the book. Therefore, I believe their meeting wasn’t really the inciting incident to the story at all; it’s a coincidence, an anecdote, a path to a catchy title. Of course, it didn’t do nothing, but it didn’t create cold fusion either. 
The praise on the front cover reads “Funny, rude and original.” I didn’t laugh and I wasn’t very put-off. As far as originality goes, it may be, but not always in the best possible ways. It seems original that Will Grayson #1 is obsessed with Neutral Milk Hotel. They’re a very original band. They released one 11-song album in 1998 that Will Grayson spends hours listening to and parsing apart, even though he doesn’t like all of it, but still, it’s his favorite band. That just seems sad. 
Perhaps it’s the antagonist of the story who is original—Tiny Cooper. He’s really less of an antagonist and more of just an anti-protagonist. In an attempt to not stereotype him, the authors failed to ground him in anything. I failed to connect with him; he remained an amorphous blob to me the entire time.  He is the biggest link between the two Will Graysons.  He’s the best friend and the boyfriend and his presence and subsequent absence in each of their lives is the engine of the story. 
The book isn’t bad, I just found a few parts hard to believe. I’m attempting to suspend my disbelief since I am not a YA, but I still have a hard time believing teenage boys talk to each other that much. Also, I don’t believe the musical described in the pages could have been produced in 9 days for $1000. I was originally critical of the musical itself—it was schmaltzy and over-the-top, and not realistic. At the same time, if I wasn’t such a cynic, I would have thought it was lovely, and its message was actually quite nice. It was about love and appreciating the people who are around you, so I guess I can’t shit all over a YA novel trying to teach that hard-learned lesson. 
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is an easy read and might be really enjoyable for an actual 17-year-old. Rumor has it, however, John Green’s newest—The Fault In Our Stars—is his real triumph. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bird by Bird. Not Quite a Review.

     I read Bird by Bird years ago. I think it was 2005; my life was changing in weird ways and a friend gave it to me, insisting it was good advice for writing and for life. And that's what I remember best about it. I remember the anecdote that inspired the title, and I remember the story about what inspired the book itself. Seven years later though, I doubt I could really tell you what it was about, except to say "well, it's a guide to writing and life."
     I'm not much of a re-reader. I recognize that I've read the sentences before, and then I skim over them, in search for something new. I've kept Bird by Bird next to my bed for reference for a while though. I often intend on re-reading, but it of course never happens. However, sometimes I feel like just flipping through it can retransmit the good advice it contained through me, through osmosis.
     I remember that I really liked Bird by Bird. I've recommended it to many friends. I also use it as an answer to interview questions. Some people like to hear that you can multi-task, but I believe the research that posits multi-tasking produces substandard work, and therefore I tackle my work bird by bird--one task at a time. Also, multi-tasking can mean different things to different people, and the right kind of person appreciates the bird by bird approach to multiple tasks.
     I remember that Bird by Bird was sad and funny. In 2005, I was also sad and funny, so it was right up my alley. The friend who gave it to me was neither sad nor funny, and it was up his alley too, so I think it's safe to say it can speak to anyone. It had good advice for being a writer. It also had good advice for running power plants and making movies, things I continue to waft between.
     It's a National Bestseller and it's not very long, so I recommend it. It gets five stars (out of five) in my mind. It's also a book I know a lot of my friends have. I've accused them of stealing my copy. Apparently all of us aspiring writers, moviemakers, and power plant runners read the same book--that must be how it became a bestseller. Also, multi-tasking is not always a virtue. Sometimes it produces shitty work. Just think about it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

1960s and British

     I have an odd knowledge base about 1960s British pop music. I barely remember what the actual assignment was now, but in 9th grade I did a presentation on the British Invasion. Of course, The Beatles were a part of it, but I delved a little deeper. Everyone knew about The Beatles, so to me, that was less interesting. I was interested in learning more about the rest of it, and the music my parents listened to.
     My parents would have been in high school in 1965, so I was trying to make a connection between my music obsession and what I was hoping was theirs. My dad kept all their old records from that time. He apparently didn't care much for The Beatles--he as used their album covers as a drop-cloth of sorts when painting. I'm guessing my mother bought the albums, and he passive-aggressively drew goatees on them and painted them blue. It's the type of thing they would do.
     I asked my mom, a lot, about going to concerts and whether she understood she was living at a time that would be considered a revolution as far as music was concerned. No, she didn't. She never went to concerts. She had a story about wanting to go see Elvis perform somewhere in Detroit but my dad wouldn't take her because he said Elvis would always be around and it was no different than listening to the record. Sometimes I wonder how I came from these genes. But I digress.
     The odd piece of knowledge that stuck with me throughout this research from this 9th grade project was my mother's favorite band was Herman's Hermits. The fact that she preferred Herman and his hermits to the much more popular Beatles was endearing. She also enjoyed Gary Lewis & The Playboys, but they were not British so it didn't factor into my presentation. However, I often get them mixed up now, and I'm embarrassed by that. All of this brings me to the point that if someone asks me to name a song from the 1960s that's British, I always refer to Herman's Hermits. So, earlier today, a variation of this conversation happened:
Mary: I have a song stuck in my head, but I don't know what it is. I just know it's 1960's and British.
Me: Maybe it's "This Diamond Ring," by Herman's Hermits.
Me: No, wait, that's Gary Lewis & The Playboys
Me: But if it's Herman's Hermits, maybe it's "Mrs. Brown, you've got a lovely daughter."
Mary: JESUS CHRIST, Nancy, it is! 
 The actual conversation was riddled with (my) typos, but that was basically it. Mary was thinking of a 1960s British song, and my mother's love of Herman's Hermits led me to correctly identify the song.
     Also, "This Diamond Ring" and "Mrs. Brown..." are a little similar.





Also, just to tie this up neatly, this was my parents' wedding song: