Words of wisdom

"Sure, hindsight is 20/20. But it's hard to see things when they're far away - doesn't matter if you're looking backwards or not. I actually bet it's harder because then you're trying to look over your shoulder while walking forward and that's just awkward. In summary, hindsight is all well and good, but the rear-view mirror only shows so much."

I'll be publishing a page-a-day calendar for 2007. I don't see how the world has survived without my special brand of wisdom for as long as it has.


From zero to Guitar Hero

Hey, remember a month ago when I bought a PS2 and Guitar Hero on eBay? Yeah, I do too.

Call me crazy, but when two weeks passed after my payment cleared and I hadn't heard from the seller or gotten my package, I started to get a little worried. I wrote the guy once just to ask what the deal was, but hadn't heard from him. So Friday, I got a little terse and wrote a strongly-worded message that basically threatened to get eBay involved and make things "a little less pleasant" if I didn't hear from him very soon.

People who know me know that I rarely do this. I am about the most mild-mannered dude this side of Metropolis and avoid conflict like the skin-festering plague. So it takes a lot to make me get harsh with somebody.

So imagine how I felt when I got this response just a few hours later:

"hey man, i'm really sorry about taking so long, but i just got out of the hospital. belive it or not i got in a pretty bad wreck and have to have surgery. once again i really do apologize i'll be sending it out on monday i promise. sorry again man."

I am the biggest jerk of all time. Of course he couldn't send me my PS2. HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL.

Ah gee.

Don't worry though. This story has a happy ending. Specifically, this story ends with me getting a nice big package from Swan Cleaners yesterday afternoon. Everything was nice and bubble-wrapped - the only thing missing was the guitar strap. (He still gets positive feedback. The dude WAS IN THE HOSPITAL.) So what does a resourceful young guitar student do?

He gets his own Two-tone flavored guitar strap out of the case and puts it to use. If they ever put out a ska expansion pack for the game, I'll be ready.

I rock my Guitar Hero on the upbeats, fool. RUDEBOY!!


April showers bring stupid pop culture

Scary Movie 4 won the weekend box office with an estimated $41 million gross.

There is a song on the just-released NOW That's What I Call Music 21 compilation by Trace Adkins called "Honky Tonk Bodonkadonk." It is about exactly what you think.

Deal or No Deal is the highest rated show on NBC.

America, I'm worried about you. Call me, okay?

P.S. I saw
The Wild this weekend, mostly for the koala voiced by Eddie Izzard, but also because...um...okay, entirely because of the koala voiced by Eddie Izzard. He did not disappoint.


Martin Luther was one of the few who could make the whole list thing work

Question of the day: Was America really crying out for Scary Movie 4 to be made?

Sub-question: When did Hollywood completely lose the ability to make a quality spoof?

Somewhere in between
Airplane and Scary Movie A Billion, things just went awry. My main problem with the genre as it's represented today? A disease that I have coined "Laundry-list Spoof Syndrome."

(Okay, so I think I got the laundry list phrase from a critic, but I was the first to make it a syndrome.)

What made movies like Airplane and Young Frankenstein so good was that their creators fully understood the elements of the genre they were spoofing and played with them for comedic effect. The result was a movie that seemed entirely familiar as part of that genre and yet subverted it without resorting to mocking specific movies.

Contrast this with today's efforts, where it seems screenwriters make a list of the films they'd like to poke fun at and proceed to write basically a series of mocking vignettes with only the most threadbare of plot connecting them.

Take Date Movie, for example. You can just see the thought process of the creators as you watch it (which, by the way, you should not). "Okay guys, we're going to start out with a little bit of Bridget Jones' Diary, then into The Notebook, and we'll end with Hitch and The Wedding Planner."

The result is pretty much a laundry list of movie references and is about as exciting as reading someone's actual laundry list.

To make things worse, Scary Movie 4 apparently ran out of scary movies to mock and has to look elsewhere for source material, including Brokeback Mountain and Tom Cruise going crazy on Oprah. Also, apparently Shaq and Dr. Phil are in a scene? Finally, in one TV spot, there is not one, but two nuts/balls double entendres.

If that's your thing, enjoy. It opens everywhere today.

But it's probably best if you and I stayed not-friends.


My car is rapidly depreciating

While I did promise to discuss today how someone stole my car cover, it strikes me that there's not much more to say than that.

Someone stole my car cover.

Although it was quite windy on Friday, I highly doubt that it was blown off and if it was, you'd think it would be somewhere in the general vicinity. And I certainly didn't misplace it. Which leaves someone taking it. I also doubt that the person that stole it also owns a '99 Dodge Stratus and just knew it would be a perfect fit. I bet it was just some stupid drunk Cubs fans (because Cardinals fans are classier than that) who thought it would be hilarious.

Thanks a ton, stupid drunk Cubs fans. I'm sure this will only be the first of many times I curse you this season.

I noticed my car cover was missing the same morning that the ComCast guys completely failed to show. Apparently, they called the number on the account about 2 hours after their window had closed. Of course, this connected them to Beth in Denver, who was no help in getting them into the building. I felt that the call meant they were at least trying, so they get one more chance.

I'm serious this time, ComCast. You blow this, and I don't care how much we love your Dating on Demand service, you're gone.

Then, just when I think Chicago's gone off the deep end, it gets to be 70 degrees and lovely ladies start jogging again.

Okay, Chicago. We're cool for now.


I never was your friend to BEGIN WITH, Vitamin C!

Thanks, Mr. Internet! With the Speech Accent Archive, I'll never wonder what an African accent should sound like again! Of course, now I'll forever ponder the differences between the speech patterns of Mozambique and Chad. (AND why they had the people read such an inane paragraph about Stella and her shopping list.)

Discussion topic for today: Graduation anthems: fluke or well-planned marketing strategy? Discuss.

Tara and I were talking about this issue last night. It seems that every year, there's a song that perfectly coincides with the spring transition of life's chapters and just happens to express some variation on that sentiment. It is enough to make the song a bona-fide graduation anthem.

The graduation anthem is a storied tradition, dating back to the 16th century, I'm sure, but for brevity's sake, I'll keep this discussion focused on recent history.

There was about a three-year stretch when the graduation anthem really made itself known. One year we got Baz Luhrmann's "Wear Sunscreen," which I hold to be the most inexplicable hit song of all time, right next to OMC's "How Bizarre." The next year gave us Vitamin C's "Friends Forever," which had the sheer audacity to actually name itself "Graduation (Friends Forever)." Then finally, the three-year trifecta was completed with "Here's To the Night," a song whose creators Tara and I could not for the life of us remember. (We finally googled it. Eve 6. Remember them*?)

I'm sure Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" was in there somewhere and quickly established itself as the premiere song for all nostalgic montages for TV and film for the next 2 years.

This year, I'm afraid the graduation anthem is pretty much a foregone conclusion. That's right, it's Nickelback with "Photograph," a song with the strongest leading stanza in history:

Look at this photograph
Everytime I do it makes me laugh
How did our eyes get so red
And what the hell is on Joey's head

This is a song tailor-made for Flickr slideshows, people. It's unstoppable. Here's the chorus:

Every memory of looking out the back door
I had the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor
It's hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye

Can't you just see the slightly-drunken revelers with their arms around each other, swearing to keep in touch and stay best friends forever even though they're going to colleges three states away**? Can't you just...picture it?

Anyway, feel free to share any favorite graduation anthems I might have missed, especially if they're by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

Tomorrow I'll talk about how much I hate ComCast and why in the world someone would steal my ruttin' car cover***.

*Here's what Tara gave me to go on, before we even remembered the song - "Uh...the video was the red-haired singer walking around a house party, but being nostalgic."
**Actually, typing that made me kind of sad. Sorry I blew it, high school classmates.
***Honestly, Cubs fans. I know it's opening day, but my car cover?


The best-laid plans of mice and nerds

You make a fair point, Scotty. I'm leaving out one of the best bits of the story.

One of the best parts of the weekend was that Scotty drove up to surprise me and come to my first show. A truly noble gesture that was only made more meaningful through the means it was carried out.

I'm hanging out in my apartment around 8:30, watching a downloaded ep of Everwood and trying to recover from a frustrating day at work because steaming anger doesn't lead to the best funny. Suddenly my phone rings and I see it's Scott. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hey Scotty! What's up?"

Scott: "Oh, not much, man. Say...got a question for you. Remind me how to get to your apartment. I'm at Belmont and Halsted."

That's right, he surprised me by asking for directions. Well-planned, mate.

He also surprised me by needing a ticket to the show and a place to sleep for the night. It was an all-around surprise-filled weekend!

Anyway, it was really nice to have Scott come up and cheer me on at my first show. I was glad to serve as a halfway point for his (apparently eventful) pimps and hos party.

The Senate had its first show last night, which was a blast. I feel super rad about how it went and about the cool people I play with. Long-form, everybody. Just another facet in the beautiful improv diamond.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see the lovely ladies (and a couple cool dudes) of Eisley.

(Yeah nerds, make more Star Wars cantina jokes. It's cool.)


Whole week catch-up

Sorry for the cliffhanger, folks. The Internet has been a little wonky around here. I scheduled an appointment for someone from ComCast to come and look at it this Saturday between 10-12. This is your last chance, ComCast. Don't blow it.

ComCast was not my only customer service call today. I also had to call Capital One about a mysterious charge on my statement. Apparently, Capital One charges membership fees now. Get over yourself, Capital One. You're not that cool of a club. Anyway, this blog heartily endorses GetHuman for dealing with customer service. Check out their extensive list of companies and the secret code to get straight to a real person.

It turns out that I inadvertently followed the code for ComCast without even looking it up, as one of the ways to get to a person is to just sit there silently. I must be amazingly intuitive.

Upon exiting the El today, I noticed a blind man selling flowers for "Blind Sports." If I were that guy, I think a good bit would be to pretend to see people.

My first CSz show was super fun and went really well. I had a great time playing the show with a bunch of other newbies and a couple veterans (who have seen a lot of first shows) said it was definitely one of the better first shows they've seen.

I did CSz 4 Kidz on Saturday, which was also super fun. Kids are hilarious. My most memorable moment came during a game of "Stage Directions" when I picked up a slip that said "Speak with an African accent." I don't know what exactly came out of my mouth at that point, but it sounded more Italian than anything. It was hilarious and awful.

Seriously, how do you do an African accent without being a bushman or being terribly stereotypical and racist? Talk like Titembay in Garden State?

Helpful hints are always accepted. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to practice my African accent on the El on my way to work.

I'll probably get shot.

P.S. This blog also heartily recommends the spoofs of NBC's "The More You Know" PSAs done by members of The Office. Could they put out something and it not be funny? This reporter says no.