Friday, August 25, 2006

You can traverse the entirety of Wyoming and Nebraska, west to east, in a day on I-80.

I just wouldn't recommend it.

And don't just take my regular word for it--I'm staying in a Holiday Inn Express tonight!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Last day in L.A.! Tim and I embark tonight on San Fran where we'll be spending two nights and one day with our former USC roommate Dana. Then it's a whole lot of I-80: San Francisco to Toledo! Arriving in Ann Arbor Friday night, dropping stuff off, and down to Pittsburgh Saturday or Sunday. Back to Ann Arbor for good on Wednesday the 30th.

When I get a chance to breathe, perhaps I'll do a summer roundup post, since this was surely one of the more eventful and important summers of my life. Mostly for the good.

Friday, August 18, 2006

UDS - Deeper shade of soul

In case anyone out there has never gotten the joke...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My friend and former TRASH colleague Rebecca has recently been published in the London Times, and for me it's a very personal story about trying to go from being an outsized human being to a more "normal" sized one, without losing your identity in the process. Good stuff.

This whole not-working thing clearly agrees with me. I've seen three movies in the last two days, probably doubling my total for the summer. My critical faculties have been dulled through lack of use, but I enjoyed all three: Wordplay, Talladega Nights, and Miami Vice. The championship caliber puzzle solvers in Wordplay reminded me a lot of top-level quiz-bowl folks, and that was fun to see. Talladega Nights was a decent movie in addition to being a funny comedy--five or six fleshed out supporting characters who you actually have some interest in, and not just background props for the star. Miami Vice was not great and had some silly moments, but Michael Mann really knows how to film cities and action, and I appreciate that the gratuitous violence was very graphic, because it wasn't comic-book movie violence where people get shot but we don't really see the consequences of the violence.

If you see just one movie this summer, I'd still go with Little Miss Sunshine, but if you see a bunch then I'd add any or all of these three to the list.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The rest of the story alluded to in my last entry was that for being such a good sport as "William Shatner", Jeff Ross offered to try to get me tickets to the roast. I gave him my email address and figured I'd never hear from him again, but the next morning he wrote to get my full name and to confirm my interest, and then he wrote back on Friday saying that I was in, along with a guest. I figured the only decent thing to do was to offer the plus one to the guy who got us the seats at the Improv, and so we went last night to the taping.

Being at a taping like that is cool, but not so much as you might think, for the running into people factor: Hey, that's that guy from Reno 911! Hey that's that other guy from Reno 911! Hey are there any actual famous people here?!

I feel like it would be wrong to spoil too many jokes, so here's a quick rundown of what to look out for when it airs next Sunday on Comedy Central, and then about 175,000 subsequent times since it's Comedy Central:

  • a strong set from Greg Giraldo to lead off
  • an OK performance from Jeff Ross, but not his best work (although, to be fair, I was hearing most of it a second time)
  • good videos from Leonard Nimoy, Ben Stiller, and Jimrah Kimverman (i.e.: Sammy Silmel).
  • a nice try by Nichelle Nichols
  • a million billion gay George Takei jokes
  • many of them in Takei's own set, which killed
  • assorted weirdness from Andy Dick that will hopefully be cut down in post-production
  • since Richard Belzer didn't show up for once, Andy Dick showed up looking exactly like Richard Belzer to a creepy degree
  • solid work from Patton Oswalt, including the history geek line of the night
  • good stuff from Betty White, both giving and receiving
  • some Artie guy from Howard Stern who didn't interest me
  • some long boring stories from Kevin Pollack that will hopefully be cut down in post-production
  • Lisa Lampenelli just absolutely killing, and I've never liked her before
  • Shatner taking it like a man, and dishing it out pretty well in the end.
All in all it was worth it, although I was reminded again about the adage about loving sausage and the law and seeing them made. The first rule of taping: four hours without a bathroom break sucked. I was actually thankful we were in the bleachers and not at a table getting wine.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I'll start with the good news, then move to the cool. Good news: got my job offer officially today. Woohoo! And our summer class was 6 for 6, which is awesome because we all get along and it would have been reeeeeeeally awkward otherwise.

Last night a group of us from work went to the Improv, where a friend of one of the summer associates was performing. He got us what would normally be great seats, except when there's an insult comic involved.

The headliner was Jeffrey Ross, who you know (if you know at all) as the king of the celebrity roast. He decided to do something that he proclaimed was unprecedented for him, which was to try out some of his material for the upcoming Comedy Central roast. In order to do so, he wanted to call someone up onto stage to play Shatner. In case you don't see where this is going yet, 90% of Shatner jokes are either fat jokes or bald jokes.

Yes, I got to be William Shatner for 10 minutes last night. And I (sort of) got roasted by the king. Let's just say, awesome. There may be more to the story, but I'll save it for now.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I don't know if any movie has ever won my affection quicker than Little Miss Sunshine. The reason? Attention to detail. The detail that won my heart was one that I can't remember ever seeing in a movie or on TV. We get a scene of domestic life from the main family, in their modest house, and if you pay attention you'll notice that the house is a mess. It's not unclean, but rather untidy. Stuff is piled all over the place--not because it's been a bad week and mom has temporarily lost track of the housekeeping, I think it's safe to say, but because that's how they live. Never before have I seen a dramatized version of what's basically a middle- or working-class family--not the elderly, crazy people, or the drugged-out poor--that just can't keep up with the house. I don't know how many people's experience that matches, but it certainly matched mine.

If not for that detail I would have enjoyed the movie and would recommend it heartily; because of that detail, I trusted it and came to love it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Yep yep - Sesame Street Martians

I've really got to find an mp3 of these guys to download to my phone.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

So we did all sorts of the standard touristy stuff in NOLA--wander down Bourbon Street, get beignets at Cafe Beignet, get beignets at Cafe Dumond, get begniets at the airport on the way out of town, threaten to shoot the next asshole who offers you beignets, etc.

The work was hard, the fun stuff was fun, and the devastation was devastating. The first time I was ever shocked to see something in America was the massive number of soldiers carrying machine guns around the streets in the days after 9/11. The second was seeing entire, normal-looking, working-class suburbs simply abandoned en masse with debris piled up in yards, cars in trees, and utilities out for an entire year. The mint juleps at Emeril's, however, rocked.

And yes, the story currently circulating basically happened as reported.