Monday, November 19, 2007


So, yeah, I now know what a mucus plug is…

…as well as the bloody show, bag of waters, and a number of other cutesy names for some really un-cutesy stuff (I mean really, Bloody Show? Don’t you just picture some English chap with a handlebar mustache sporting a derby slapping you on the back while saying that?).

So, I took a walk with my very pregnant wife (due any day, maybe even any hour, now) yesterday. It was cool, but not cold in Chicago. A little rainy, but really, kind of a good day. Not nice or beautiful, but good. We were have a nice walk until we had to walk through a gaggle of kids (my wife thinks they were 12 or 13, I don’t know… bad with ages and names) blocking the sidewalk. And one of those little dicks started mouthing off to me because I “almost knocked into” him as I passed.

And it’s really put me in a foul mood… still. Because I’m about to have one of those dicks. And even if, by some miracle, I can keep my kid from becoming a total douche who would try to pick a fight with a guy walking with his pregnant wife, he/she is going to have to interact with these little pricks everyday at school.

How do you keep your kid from becoming an asshole? And how do you help him/her deal with the assholes that surround us – especially considering I don’t know how to deal with them (unless you count fantasies of walking back and beating the shit out of a 12-year-old dealing).

Well, on a more positive note, a buddy and roommate of mine from college who I haven’t talked to in years (seriously, like 12 years) is the creator and producer of a new cartoon airing on Cartoon Network. It’s called Chowder and I’ll let you go to the official Chowder website or his blog, the wonderfully titled Nerd Armada to learn more about it because it’s a typically wacky concept (when we roomed together he drew a strip for The Daily Texan called Durbingle the Goat Boy). I hope it does well because it would be pretty cool for my kid to grow up watching something created by a friend of mine (yeah, I know, 12 years… but since I never did anything to officially alienate him, he’s still a friend).

Good luck and congratulations, Carl.

Now, I gotta pull out the ol’ Durbingle books… God I hope I had you sign those.

Monday, June 04, 2007


What the Heck is a Mucus Plug?

Ever since we found out The Parasite is on the way, baby stuff seems to be popping up in all aspects of my life, including my most anticipated film of this summer being Knocked Up (especially after the disappointing Spiderman 3). Below are just a few examples.

Click to enlarge.

...and from The Onion

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The Parasite

My entries have been a little sporadic lately because my wife has been sick. It seems she picked up a parasite.

No, she hasn’t been swimming the Amazon River. She acquired the little thing somewhere in the United States. Apparently, it’s a fairly common issue. The doctor said there are over six million cases reported yearly in the US alone.

Weird, right? That’s not the half of it. Turns out this parasite is not from an external source. It was created by her body and even shares her DNA… and mine (I won’t even tell you how the doctor said that happened).

The parasite has now formed a symbiotic relationship with my wife where she shoves food in her mouth and the parasite takes… all of it, I guess. This parasite is slow evolving and will eventually develop a gender, something about sugar and spice or snakes and puppy dog tails. It’s a lot of medical mumbo-jumbo.

Apparently the parasite will remain in my wife for approximately nine months at which point it will leave my wife’s body (again, you won’t believe how the doctor says this will happen) and form a parasitic relationship with me, too… for the next 18 to 45 years of my life.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


"Job's getting life lessons all over the place."

The other day I got into an argument with a friend because of the British version of The Office. My friend, a fan of the American version who decided to check out the orginial, was shocked by the lax standards of British TV, specifically a joke whose punch line referred to… oh, let’s say a man trying to make a baby on another man’s face. “We’re very prudish in America,” was all I had to say on the subject. Wish I’d used the word “puritanical” (although just semantics, might have been easier to defend) because, three hours later I found myself stuck in the unenviable position of having to defend the need for more gay facial jokes on American TV. Ludicrous for a number of reasons, namely that I truly had no strong opinion on that issue – had never even thought about it before finding myself vehemently defending it… and it’s actually a fairly tough point to win.

So, that’s one stupid thing I’ve said recently, let’s look into some others.

First: violence on TV is out of control. I’m not talking about the shows (although, a couple of weeks ago, The Shield had the main character beat a guy with a chain – to the point that he was just a bloody lump hanging from a rope. And, while the character wasn’t “innocent,” he wasn’t guilty of the reason he was getting the beating. The whole scene was so disturbing I couldn’t watch it. So, either TV is getting too violent or I’m becoming a big pussy) – I still think as a parent you can keep your kids away from adult content shows at least until they are ten, after that you’ve lost them anyway so it doesn’t matter. No, the violence I’m talking about is something that was brought up by sharpstick in the comments to that entry: Violence in commercials. Specifically these new (actually revamped 1970s) torture porn movies, because these commercials pop up when you least expect it. I was watching the Daily Show and the first commercial out of the gate was for Vacancy, a film about a couple who find a mysterious video tape in their hotel room that shows a murder happening in the same room. And the whole commercial (not true, but it feels like it) focuses on the rape/murder on the tape with some poor woman screaming her head off while being chased by two masked lunatics. And this was at 9 in the morning. Not fun. I know I wasn’t watching the Bungles, or Mungles, or whatever, but still. This commercial is horrifying (also the Bud Light commercial where two men play rock, paper, scissors over the last beer – so one guy chucks a rock at the other guy’s head… seems inappropriate).

Second: I’ve had my own Janice the plant-lady experience, i.e. a minor character that I grew too attached to and was extremely affected by their death (this next paragraph contains spoilers about a film still in theaters so skip it if you care). The Lookout, a caper about a bank heist, has a police officer as minor character. This character is established as an expecting father and generally nice guy and, through the actions and missteps of the main character, he gets his head blown apart. I had genially grown to like this character… this secondary, nobody, canon fodder character. Sure I was minulipate into it by the screenplay, but then this character dies as a direct result of the main character’s screw-ups, and the main character doesn’t pay any consequences. As a result I liked the main character less. A lot less. So, apparently I can grow attached to minor characters that aren’t my own (although in my defence, I believe the killer of Janice does pay a price in my book).

Third: Grindhouse is the most dangerous film to hit American theatres in years. I still don’t think I was wrong about Grindhouse, but I think I was wrong in my approach to Grindhouse… as were most of its audience members… and the filmmakers themselves. I believe people went into this film with two different expectations: people expectating to see some cheesy films and people wanting to see the next Quentin Tarentino film. So, in the end, I don’t think anyone can be completely satisfied with the experience, at the very least you can’t walk out of the film and not think one was better than the other. See, the entire experience is flawed. Rodriguez made a cheesy, funny, self-referential film for the aughts while Tarentino made a quote good unquote film that would fit in the 70s. The results are an uneven experience and a mismatched double feature. I blame the filmmakers for not getting on the same page. I’ve seen countless reviews that said the Tarentino film was the better film. I even saw one that said it was his best dialogue in years. I still can’t fathom this… but that’s my point: the audience for this film is divided. And who is the audience for this film? Who are the people who like cheesy zombie films or Tarentino movies. They are the same people! People who know the Rodriguez and Tarentino oeuvre and would see whatever they do (Shark Boy & Lava Girl notwithstanding), i.e. college kids and geeky fanboys. And we are being pulled apart by this stupid, dangerous film.

Fourth: Turns out, unfortunately, I was 100% correct about Kurt Vonnegut’s death.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut, the smartest, funniest man I never knew, died Wednesday at the age of 84 after suffering brain injuries in a fall weeks ago in his Manhattan home. This is a drawing that Vonnegut himself did regarding his death. Go to his official web page and this is all you’ll see.

I was going to do my taxes this weekend, but instead I believe I’ll reread Breakfast of Champions, my personal favorite. Here’s what New York Times reviewer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt had to say about it. “Vonnegut's novel makes pornography seem like any old plumbing, violence like lovemaking, innocence like evil, and guilt like child's play.” That’s not what I remember getting out of the book, but whatever.

The irony that damage to that amazing, inventive brain is what killed Vonnegut is not lost on me.

So it goes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Quentin Tarantizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I know one thing for certain about Quentin Tarantino and have a suspicion about a second.

The first is that he is a terrible actor. Whenever he pops up on screen I cringe knowing one of two things is coming: smug Tarantino, or irritating Tarantino. Usually it’s both. So, unless he has a funny monologue about “Madonna’s big dick” and then gets shot in the head like Mr. Brown I don’t want to see him on screen.

The second thing is that I’m starting to think he’s a terrible director. You want (death)proof, let’s examine his oeuvre. Reservoir Dogs his first film, is nearly perfect. It’s thrilling, intense, and defies expectations. It’s populated with unsympathetic characters yet Tarantino makes you care about them, and every second of its 100 minutes is filled with interesting dialogue and character development that leads to a fantastic payoff. A masterpiece.

Pulp Fiction is a very good film that holds up on repeated viewing, but can you honestly tell me there aren’t parts you fast forward through now? I’ll even tell you where they are; it starts once Uma makes the square with her fingers and ends at the dance. The whole Jack Rabbit Slim scene could have been cut down to a minute and a half.

I was tempted to ignore his segment in the long forgotten Four Rooms, a snoozer with different stories directed by young, mid-1990s indie talents, but found I couldn't. Tarantino’s “The Man from Hollywood” is a rip off of any Twilight Zone which itself is a rip off of almost any Roald Dahl story, but that’s not my problem with it. The problem is that it’s a boring gabfest where nothing happens until the last five minutes – a sign of things to come.

Jackie Brown, runs the same length as Pulp Fiction, 154 minutes, and has a very good movie somewhere in it, but I’ll tell you where it’s not. It’s not towards the end of the film where Tarantino shows us the exact same thing from three different points of view without giving ANY new information that wasn’t there the first time we saw the scene.

Kill Bill Parts I & II could have just been Kill Bill – one 2-hour film. Kill Bill I is nothing but fight scene after fight scene. It was fun the first time but now I find it impossible to sit through while Kill Bill II is a boring soliloquy fest. “Are we going to fight or are you going to talk me to death?” The Bride asks Bill when they FINALLY meet and, as it turns, out he tries to talk her to death.

Which brings me to Grindhouse – a exceptionally fun film with Robert Rodriguez's best work to date except that, in the print I saw, some joker replaced more than half of Tarantino’s segment with the most boring teen sex comedy ever. Over fifty minutes of Tarantino’s Death Proof is filled with inane dialogue. “So, you seeing a boy?” “Maybe” “Well, are you?” “Yes.” “Have you kissed him?” “Maybe.” Well, have you?” “Yes, but we kept our clothes on.” And on and on and on, it doesn’t stop. In fact, nearly the exact same conversation happens AGAIN with a second set of characters. After the thrill ride Grindhouse had been, Tarantino’s segment stops the film cold and it never regains momentum. Yes, Tarantino’s segment finally pays off in the end, and I understand building character, but when does that become boring-the-audience? Ten minutes into Death Proof, that’s when.

Tarantino LOVES his own dialogue. He loves hearing himself talk whether he’s doing it or it’s through his characters. Now there’s talk of dividing Grindhouse and releasing the movies separately with added footage. A longer Death Proof, I rather take a ride in Kurt Russell’s passenger seat. (Speaking of Russell – he give his best performance in years and Death Proof is worth sitting through just to see him dismantle the typical serial killer movie stereotypes.)

I’m surprised to find I no longer enjoy hearing Tarantino talk. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed it for a while. So, was wrong. Tarantino is a fine director, he’s just a completely worthless editor.

Hey Tarantino: make a move that tops out at 100 minutes, maybe I’ll see it. But if you ever get around to making, Inglorious Bastards, the 3-hour plus World War II epic you’ve been talking about for years, count me out.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Janice's Violent Demise

Sorry it has been this long since I’ve posted. I’ve been a little busy packing and moving and then unpacking and then ignoring the blog. It’s been crazy.

Well, let’s see what happened while I was away. Valentine’s Day, The Ides of March, St. Patrick’s Day, the fourth anniversary of the War in Iraq (and Donald Rumsfeld said it wouldn’t last six months), A crazy astronaut lady drove cross-country to kidnap a romantic rival. Britney Spears got a haircut… and went crazy… -er. A Z-list celebrity of no real importance died, was equated to this country’s Princess Di (I heard more than one talking head say this), and the media then dry-humped her corpse to the grave.

Huh, gosh, with all that material available what should I write about?


Oh, okay.

I was recently having a discussion with a friend of mine about violence on television. He was against it while I came down firmly on the pro-violence side. His point was that there is an unnecessary amount on television these days and that people are being desensitized to it. He sited the new NBC show The Black Donnelley’s, which I haven’t seen, but according to him in the first five minutes someone was beaten with a baseball bat, someone else was shot or stabbed, and a goat was raped.

Fine, I’ll give you that the goat thing might have been a little over the top (although, he might have said that happened on 7th Heaven, I can’t remember). However, I will also argue that in exchange for certain television freedoms you will have to put up with lazy producers padding their shows with shock value. If it takes The Black Donnelley’s, 24, and 7th Heaven, to get me Lost, Rome, Heroes, and the updated Battlestar Galactica so be it.

How does this relate to me (other than my obvious couch potato-ness)? Recently, I had my first public book reading. A friend gathered a group together, some of whom I knew and some I didn’t, but all in attendance had read the book. The event went extremely well. Not everyone loved the book, which is to be expected, however one fellow (who I had never met before that night) compared it to The Catcher in the Rye. Now, he’s clearly insane, but what an amazing complement.

(This next part contains a little spoiler. So if you haven’t yet read my book, Irregardless [available on] you might not want to read further. And why are you reading this crap if you haven’t read the book?)

One of the biggest surprises to come out of the evening for me was that about half of the people in attendance were saddened, by the death of one of one of my characters, Janice, the Plant-Lady. Now to me, Janice was always a very minor character and, frankly, always going to die. I never even thought twice about it.

But some people were affected by it. I was even called “irresponsible” for thinking the audience might not care about this character’s death. Maybe I am. So, what I would like to know from you reading this is: Did you care about Janice the Plant-Lady’s death? Did it affect you in anyway? Do you even remember Janice the Plant-Lady? Should those who did care about the Plant Lady maybe focus more on plot and less on Z-list characters?

Let me know. Please respond to this thread. I’d love to get a discussion going on something other than the weather in Chicago.

Also, I’ll try to let less than a month and a half pass before I post again. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


yeah... um...

Wow, those pictures below feel like forever ago. The weather has changed and I don't even live there anymore.

Have you ever let a project sit around so long that even just the the thought of picking it up again becomes a burden in and of itself?

That's why there has been no updates for the past couple of weeks. However, there is more self-indulgence coming soon.

I promise.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


In case you can't tell, that is the condensation inside my guest room window. Looks like I forgot to close the storm window (thought I did that in November), so the condensation froze. That is a sheet of ice on the inside of my window.

Also, the news here did a story on Turner Broadcasting paying Boston two million (!!!) dollars because Boston is full of assholes, and when they showed the ATHF signs, they blurred out the hand giving the finger. Or, I should say, they blurred out the series of lights that kind of looks like a hand giving the finger or holding a sword or something.

Whole world is insane.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Brutally Cold.

That’s what the onscreen graphic actually said about Chicago’s weather today. As I write this it is negative 6 degrees. That’s not the wind chill. The actual temperature is -6.

Brutally Cold. Think about that. Think about what the weatherman is trying to tell us about this weather. This is the type of weather that, if you see it walking towards you, cross the street. This weather will do things to you… prison-type things. You can’t just scrub the effects of this weather away with a series of hot showers: it’s emotionally damaging as well as physically.

Brings to mind a line from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. “You know that sound when you walk around with your keys in your pocket. Yeah, that’s what every man sounded like today, whether he had keys or not.”

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