I am fascinated by things that perpetuate their own stereotypes. No matter how many cliche stand-up bits are done about how slow the DMV is, if you go there, you realize that absolutely nothing has been done about it. They seem to delight in it. One time an old lady behind the counter looked at me sadly as if to say, "Yep. They're right about us."

I have not been to the DMV recently, but I did try to buy something from a vending machine. Honestly people. It's 2005. Has no one invented a better snack delivery mechanism than the rotating spiral coil?! For every stupid commercial that has some dude put in his last quarter only to have his snack fail to drop, there are probably 100 incidents of this actually happening. Today at the rest stop, I bit the bullet and put in another 75 cents, because two bags of Sour Patch Kids > one.

I realize now that this statement is inherently true. Two is obviously greater than one. I would therefore argue that two bags are, in fact, better than one.

On an unrelated note that will likely have great impact on this blog, one of my presents this year was a digital camera. Here, look how sexy it is.

Yes, I actually stood it on my guitar case in front of a mirror and used the timer function to make it take a self-portrait. And it's so modest, it didn't even put itself in focus. It instead made the artistic choice to put the focus on the TV, lamp, and Harry Potter figurine. It even reversed the Jimmy Eat World poster. How artsy.

Anyway, now that I don't have to worry about film, I'm free to sit in my car before my haircut appointment and take silly self-portraits. For example:

Check out my sweet new Seth Cohen sweater. Thanks Josh and Allyn.

And my fantastic Picassa software (thanks again, Google!) lets me crop and edit and do all kinds of things to turn my shots into emo MySpace photos. For example...

Oh...so emo.

Wait, no. I meant...

Yeah. So anyway, look for more stupid pictures of my apartment, roommate, cat, and pretty much anything I think of.

I'm off to Portland tomorrow for a wedding (maybe that would be a good thing to take pictures of. Hm.) so I'll check you in the New Year! Hope everyone has a safe and totally killer New Year's.

Preview of upcoming attractions:

This is Layla, my...second cousin? Whatever, she's first in the hearts of her countrymen. And she was hilarious at Christmas this year. I have more pictures of shenanigans and plenty of darned things she, being a kid, said. Prime example: the sole point of taking this picture was so she could do what she's doing to Lumpy's trunk. That's the focus point. Why? Because she's four, and it's hysterical.


Shalom, Tobit!

My ComedySportz student show was this Sunday - thanks to all who made the trip to see it. You guys rule. It was a pretty fun show to play in and I think that made it fun to watch, so I hope you enjoyed it. Don't worry, anyone who is mad that they missed it - there will be more and perhaps then we will do a better job of making up awkward white-boy rap.

Speaking of which, I think rapping about the Chronicles of Narnia is pretty funny too, everybody. I do.

To the guy who started talking to Andy, Keri and I as we crossed Clark St: were you quoting scripture? It kind of sounded like it, but then you started saying some really weird stuff about leaves that were the color of watermelons, and I don't think they had watermelons in biblical times. They're a modern day invention, creepy man. Maybe you were quoting from Tobit. There are bits in that "lost book" about killing dragons.

Big thanks to the squadron of Santas on bicycles who passed Marshall Fields on Saturday. You guys were great. SUPER big thanks to the guy at the back of a pack who was dressed as a dreidel. You have balls, my friend. Balls and a great dreidel costume.


The Apartment of Awesome

Life is never boring in this apartment. Of this I am certain. Living with improvisers is a unique experience. When I tell people I live with comedians, they immediately think that it must be the most hilarious place ever. Josh especially has in his head this idea of one person coming into the kitchen to make breakfast, then a second enters and immediately feels like they have to make breakfast in a funnier way, and it escalates until people are just doing pratfalls all over the place.

This is generally not the case.

However, we do have some fun times. And since the makeup of the place is changing slightly (we just had our subletter move out, which leaves Tara, Jon, Niles the Cat and me), I thought this might be a good time to summarize recent adventures.
  • On Sunday, Niles ate about 3/4 of a turkey burger I had thawing in the sink. It was in a Ziploc bag (open, admittedly), but apparently, this will not stop an aggressive cat from obtaining his treasure. He appeared to be a tad lethargic and in mild discomfort afterwards, but nothing more came of it. I thought Tara might be upset, but she rationalized it by saying, and I quote, "Well, tigers eat raw meat."

  • A new cell phone purchase by Tara led to a group discussion and Show & Tell of ringtones. Many were utterly ridiculous, including T-Mobile's "Ta-Da," which is simply a tone repeated twice. It is the least Ta-Da-ish sound ever. But taking the trophy had to be Jon's "Fab Farm," which, and I am not making this up, features a rooster clucking in a funky beat.

  • I was a little worried about living with a cat because I've had allergic reactions to them in the past, but I think I've acclimated. Niles hardly ever makes me sneezy anymore, but if he ever gets his claws in me, my skin gets kind of red and burny. I prefer to think of Niles as having poison-tipped claws. It's much cooler that way.

  • If he ever discovers you did stand-up, Jon will pester you to do your act. If you refuse, he will start performing the most generic and stereotypical stand-up bits you've ever heard. And he will continue doing so for 10 minutes.

  • This made Tara think about getting back into stand-up, but only for one bit - honest comedy. In doing this honest comedy, she would constantly correct herself and explain various comedy techniques as she used them. "So I was driving down I-80 to get to Des Moines today...actually, I flew into town. I only say that to make myself seem like I know the area, thereby making you think I'm approachable and more like one of you, rather than some outsider. Anyway, I was driving..." Just like that, but for THE ENTIRE SET. Come on, you know that would be a funny bit.

  • The other night, Tara, Jon and I stayed up way too late singing TV theme songs in the living room. Why? No reason, except to discover that Tara does a killer impression of Louie the Lightning Bug (who sounds a lot like the guy who sang "Conjunction Junction." She can do that too. It's hilarious.)
In short, thanks for being awesome, apartment. And don't forget to be cool with cords, my friends. You got to be cool with cords!

P.S. Anyone been watching Comedy Central recently? They're doing a series of station promos about an elf who's interning with Santa. Playing the part of the elf is none other than Mr. Kyle Cease. I opened for him at Drake. Remember that?


A History of Awesome

I am not a violent person by nature.

I am, however, a violent person by imagination.

This makes very little sense. Allow me to explain. I have never been in a real fight in my life. Josh and I always wrestled quite a bit, but it never really came to blows. And I am, by nature, a very meek, peaceful, conflict-avoiding person. But in my head, I am quite often pretty vicious.

I'm not exactly sure when it started, but it normally pops up when I'm walking through crowded spaces like airports or the dining hall back at Drake. I'll just be walking along, minding my own business, then all of a sudden, in my mind I'll clothesline someone or tip their tray up so their food gets all over their shirt.

Some of you may be reeling from this. Let me reassure you by saying that it is never done maliciously. It is always done hilariously.

There's something kind of funny about imagined violence, in the sense that it's almost cartoonish and the person never gets hurt. That's the kind of violence that happens in my mind, say when I imagine that I just did a 360 with my rolling luggage and hurled it, a la an Olympic hammer throw, into the face of that guy in the green shirt.

It strikes me that no matter how I try to explain this, I come off looking like a sociopath. So allow me to say that I got Josh to start doing it too. So now we mostly do it to each other and enjoy announcing that fact. We'll just be walking along in some city and you'll hear, "Hey Tim, I just pushed you over the side of the bridge." Sometimes Josh will get so excited about it, he'll just start laughing and bouncing around in his seat and say, "You'll never guess what I just did to you!"

(It should be noted at this point that when presented with a potential victim holding a lunch tray, Josh will always hit straight down, whereas I will hit up on the tray. He says his way doesn't give them a chance to recover. I wonder what this difference says about us, developmentally. Someone should write a paper.*)

Anyway, today I was walking out of Jewel with a milk jug in my hand. It was a full gallon, so it had some heft to it. I used it to hit a dude in the face, then launched it over the fence and it landed right on a girl's head.**

It was all cartoony, people. And all hilarious.

*I find that I end most of my psuedo-intellectual thoughts like this. It's kind of my "Well, we all have stories" for intellectual things. And by "someone," I never mean me. My paper-writing days are over, thank you.

**She crumpled to the ground, but only saw stars and cartoon birds. No permanent damage. Cartoon violence, guys. I'm not evil, I promise.

P.S. Somewhere in this great world, Jacob Eyers senses a disturbance in the Force. He then immediately experiences an overwhelming desire to move to the West Coast and follow this tour from beginning to end. Man, who remembers the Crouching Fish, Hidden Finger tour? I do.


Bus-ted in Croatia

Okay, so I know I haven't posted for over a week, but I seriously have a legitimate excuse this time. Last week, about this time, I started getting some weird system slowdown and lockups. Then on Thursday, after running some diagnostics, my laptop absolutely refused to boot up at all and instead gave me a really pretty blue screen that said "Unmountable boot sector." The next day I took it to Best Buy (because it was still under the service plan, sucka) and my suspicions were confirmed: the hard drive had committed hari-kari.

Got it replaced at no charge and was presented with a completely fresh system. I've spent the last few days trying to get it back up to snuff. Fortunately, this happened to Josh in the spring, which freaked me out enough to make me buy an external hard drive, so I didn't lose anything TOO vital. (All episodes of Firefly are safe, thank God.) But it's a hassle getting everything back the way I like it, especially with a network that's still super-sketchy.

So I didn't post because my computer was broke! There! Does that satisfy you?! Freaking jackals.

I'll tell a fun story to make up for it. It even involves a movie moment. How's that?

Tonight I took a trip downtown to the Chicago Cultural Center, because I need some freaking culture in my life, that's for sure. I saw on the front page of the Chicago Reader that there was going to be an academic panel discussion on "The Simpsons: Cultural Criticism and America's Favorite TV Family." Sounded kind of fun and I couldn't think of any better way to honor the day of The Meez's birth, so I tromped down there.

What the Chicago Cultural Center failed to take into account is that a listing on the front page of the Reader might increase your audience to something quite a bit larger than a normal academic lecture might bring in. By the time I got there (admittedly a little late), the room was overflowing. People were sitting on the floor, for goodness sakes. I realized there was no way I was going to experience any significant part of this lecture.

Altogether now...


But fear not, loyal readers. This story has a happy ending. Allow me to briefly describe the architecture of the Chicago Cultural Center. It's um...really really pretty and cool. Arches and domes everywhere, big stone staircases, just general awesomeness.

So I'm on the first floor, bummed about screwing up the cool lecture, when all of a sudden I hear something heavenly floating down from above. This is the movie moment, when I slightly cock my head and think "Where's that music coming from? It's...it's beautiful!"

I walk up three flights of stairs and come upon the atrium pictured in the second image I linked to up there. There, doing their sound-check for a concert later that evening, is...get this...an all-male acapella group from Croatia. Their name is Klapa Sinj, and they are amazing. About twelve of them there, I think. The basses rattled your skull and the counter-tenors lifted your soul into the dome of the atrium, which, by the way, had amazing acoustics. Basically, Mrs. Bear would have peed her pants if she had been there. So I grabbed some quick dinner and came back in time for a fantastic concert.

Chicago Cultural Center...if you're a place where a guy can completely fail to go to the free event he intended and still find a free event that is possibly even cooler, than you're all right with me.

P.S. I know, that movie moment would have been much better if I had met my soulmate at the concert or maybe just gotten really good at chess all of a sudden, but I take what I can get.

P.P.S. I only reference chess because I recently watched Searching for Bobby Fischer. That's a great movie that, for no good reason, has a ridiculous all-star cast. Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen are the parents, Ben Kingsley and Laurence Fishburne are the chess mentors, William H. Macy is a chess dad that shows up a couple times, Laura Linney is a teacher who has ONE SCENE, and Tony Shalhoub is a random guy at the chess club who says maybe three lines. Explain that.