Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Performance Enhancers

I was listening to a podcast today by Bill Simmons, and he made an interesting reference. He was talking about "Lost" and he made some comment relating to Sun (the Korean lady) going off the P.E.D.s. (Performance Enhancing Drugs) I found it interesting for a couple of reasons...

1) I knew exactly what he was talking about immediately, and it's the sort of reference that wouldn't have made sense out of context even 5 years ago. That feels like an absolutely upsetting factoid to me. Like... I hate that steroids have become so pervasive in our society that they can become colloquial.

2) It's really an interesting usage. He's basically saying that for some reason or another the actress has gone from being really good to really bad for no discernable reason (like Big Papi or Travis Hafner). The clear implication in sports is that these players have gone off the steroids and now are playing down to their natural level (or even worse due to the side-effects of the drugs creating an accelerated breakdown).

You all know by now how much I love my metaphors and the longer it'll stretch, the more self-satisfied I become. In honor of Bill Simmons, here's my list of things that suddenly are off those P.E.D.s. No real discernable logic to the categories... Whatever comes to mind.

Movie Series...
Indiana Jones. As much as it pains me to admit it... The most recent Indiana Jones movie really fucking sucked. I mean... there were things I liked, but I honestly can't tell if I liked them just because they were Indiana Jones related or if they were actually cool. Even the thing at the beginning with the action sequence in the warehouse in Area 51 was cool and fun, but the other night when I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade reminded me how effing awesome it was, and how (if I'm being honest) disappointed I was in the new one.

X-Men... Honorable Mention (Including Wolverine... what a mess.)

Juaquin Phoenix. Come ON dude. What the fuck happened? You were so great in Walk the Line and Gladiator. You were the only watchable thing in Signs. I just don't get it man... I know you've had some tough times in your life, what with the inevitable comparisons to your brother who was touted as the next James Dean or whatever. But you've gone and got insane. Not even a little. I mean... Sean Penn is a nut, and kind of full of himself in a totally insufferable and no-self-awareness kind of way, but he's stayed strong throughout all of the bullshit. If you could have seen yourself acting like Bobby Fischer on Letterman... that shit makes me sad. You've got skills.

Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Honorable Mention

Kate Hudson. This isn't exactly new ground, I realize, but Almost Famous was so, SO good. I realize that's a lofty bar to set for yourself right out of the gate, but Bride Wars and those horrible...HORRIBLE rom-coms with Matthew McConaughey (sp?) aren't exactly doing you any favors. I get they're popular, but please do something that's even remotely of the same quality once. ONCE. Are you just not getting any offers? I don't think there's any logically good reason for you to be in a movie with Dane Cook or Jason Biggs. Especially when you're not getting top billing. YOU WERE NOMINATED FOR A FUCKING OSCAR. God.

Mira Sorvino.... Honorable Mention

Television Show
The easy answer here is Heroes, because the first season was so good, and the next 2 seasons have been uneven at best, and at worst pretty effing bad. However... I'm gonna go with a far more universally beloved show... Scrubs. I'd put the first 3 seasons of Scrubs up against literally any show on television ever. It had everything... Hilarious episodes that make you laugh over and over again. Really, really emotionally effecting episodes that made you want to watch it again because you were just spellbound. And then... I don't know what happens. Season 4 wasn't BAD exactly, but it wasn't good either. It's almost like they read a little too many of their own press clippings (I'm talking to you Zach Braff). Actually... I take it back. I know exactly what happens. Zach Braff starts reading his own press, takes more creative control over the show, and loves himself just a little too much. J.D. became an imbecile. The supporting characters became more and more one-dimensional. It just started trying too hard. Yes... they've gone through a bit of a renaissance this year after they jumped to ABC, and yes...they're coming back again with no J.D. at all, which is only a positive, but it went from being a great show to being a decent show. That makes me sad.

Heroes... Honorable Mention

M. Night Shyamalan. Another no-brainer for me... His first 2 movies are, in my opinion, masterpieces. Not everyone agrees with me entirely about Unbreakable, but it's one of my favorite movies. Either way, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable both are great flicks. And then... we all realized what a one-trick pony the guy is. It's all about the twist with him. Once people started going in expecting the twist, they got exactly that and then where's the fun. The film-making itself was pretty strong still, but the stories just weren't. A lot of people say that he should try his hand at directing someone else's material. I dunno... You start off with "He's been dead the whole time!! Holy SH!T!!." and you get to "Samuel L. Jackson is a bad mother fuc!er!!" there's nowhere to go but down. The biggest tragedy is... both Signs (they're afraid of water?? BOOOO) and The Village (It's modern day?? BOOOOO) were good before they got to the twist and the twist is what fucked them. It makes me pretty mad just thinking about it, because his shit-face movies the past 10 years have basically queered the apparatus when looking at the good ones he made before that.

Cameron Crowe...Honorable Mention.

Tomorrow? The people who have gone the other way. We'll call them the Brady Anderson Awards...or the Bret Boone Awards.. The people or things that have suddently, and without warning gone from being pedestrian to being unstoppable for no reason at all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On a Mission

I guess I can be kinda single-minded sometimes.

After doing that "Mature" survey last week, and then being sorely disappointed in the whole thing, because let's face it... it was as lame as every other survey, I've been on a hunt for an actually interesting one. I'm not going to make my blog a survey machine or anything, but until my shows are over (Saturday!!) I'm not going to have a ton of time to ruminate on other things, so call it laziness or whatever you want, but here's the best one I've found so far. If I don't find one better by the weekend, I'm doing my own. (I know Annie... I've said it before.)

Oh and also... If anyone thinks this isn't just an excuse for me to talk about myself in some sort of pseudo-introspective way...you've not been reading my blog very long.

1. What is more difficult for you; looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when they are telling you how they feel?

I guess I'd have to say that it's harder for me to look someone in their eyes when I'm telling them how I feel. It's odd though, when I'm telling someone how I feel I usually have a very strong urge to look straight at them, and when I'm listening, I want to look away. It always ends up being the opposite in practice.

2. Think of the last time you were REALLY angry?

I've been pretty mad at work a few times lately, but not like REALLY angry. I don't know. My mom has made me pretty upset, but that's more exasperation than anger. I don't think I get super angry very often.

3. You are on a flight from Honolulu to Chicago non-stop. There is a fire in the back of the plane. You get enough time to make ONE phone call. Who would you call?

Before I answer this, I wanna know why the question feels compelled to provide a city pair for this imaginary flight. I think the situation would be the same whether I was on an 8 hour flight (like the one mentioned) or a 2 hour flight like Cincinnati to Orlando (far more plausible for me.) I mean.. come on Survey! Get out of your own way...you're doing so much better than the others so far.

Aaaaaanyway... I'm not sure I could call anyone in my family. I mean... my first inclination would be to call my dad, but if I'm reading the rules right I would only be able to talk to him, and then my mom would live with the idea that I didn't call her, and Dee Anne too... not that she'd expect she'd be the first call, but I wouldn't like knowing there was that proximity without being able to talk. Maybe Briana... Because she's my sister and I think I could say everything I needed to say to her, and she'd report it faithfully to all of the parties and nobody would feel slighted. Then again... maybe I'd call someone totally random... like I'd just call work or something. Tough question.

4. You are at the doctor's office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. (A) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? (B) What do you do with your remaining days? (C) Would you be afraid?

This is a good survey so far, but dark...geez.
a) I tell at least a couple of people. I don't know who, but I don't think I could keep it to myself. I do like attention sometimes...
b) I'd first make sure that everyone important to me knew exactly how much they mean to me. The challenge there is to do so in a way that isn't obvious or just because I'm dying (even though technically I wouldn't be doing it if I weren't). People need to know they're loved. Then I'd go to Disney.
c) I think so.

5. You can have one of the following two things: trust/love?

I think that if it means I'm only capable of one or the other, I'd go with love. If it means I'd only be either trusted or loved, I'd still go with love... I think. I don't necessarily think they are mutually exclusive.

6. You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. Do you save the dog?

I absolutely save the dog. No question. No choice at all. And c'mon... if your boss is the kind of person to fire you when you show up soaking wet, covered in dog hair, after saving a pooch... that job sucks anyway.

7. You are unfaithful to your spouse/significant other. Do you tell him/her?

I don't know... It's never been an issue before. Guilt does tend to make me sick, so I guess if it did happen, I'd eventually come clean, but I've never had the urge to cheat.

8. Think of the last person who you really knew that died. You have the chance to give them 1 hour of life back, but you have to give one year of your life. Do you do it?

I don't think so. That's not always the answer, but in this case... when the person in question didn't want to be living anyway, I think I'd keep my year.

9. Are you the kind of friend that you would want to have as a friend?

I try to be that kind of friend. I really try. Sometimes I fail... I recently missed out on something particularly important because I was bad at communicating. It makes me really sad actually.

10. Does love = sex?

I mean... the simplest answer is no. Love does not equal sex. I do think that sex is an important aspect of romantic relationships. Not just the having of sex, but the not having as well. Lack of sex can sometimes be a telling sign of problems. Sometimes it can be a sign of respect, or sincerity, or true feelings. Often sex and love aren't tied at all, and that creates problems too... People feel used, or neglected, or objectified. It's not a simple answer at all though... Sex and Love are related, but they are not equal. They can't be.

11. Your boss tells your co-worker that they have to let them go because of work shortage, and they are the newest employee. You have been there much longer. Your co-worker has a family to support and no other means of income. Do you go to your boss and offer to leave the company?

No. I've been without a job, and it absolutely sucks, but unless you know for a fact they'd do the same for you... It's too hard to find a job these days.

12. When and how was the last time you told someone HONESTLY how you felt?

Wednesday night of this week. And as for "how"? I guess only time will tell. My general feeling on the subject is that it's always better to lay it out there and hope they can handle it, as opposed to keeping it in and feeling all bound up.

13. What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?

Definitely the latter. If I love someone, they'll know it soon enough. I have a difficult time keeping that particular light under that particular bushel. It hasn't happened often, though, which is good. On the other hand... I am absolutely terrible at telling people bad news when emotions are involved. Or at least when I know them personally. I think I'd be a great patient advocate at a hospital, because I hear I'm very comforting, but when my own feelings are part of it, when it's something that I am doing directly... it's hard for me.

14. What do you think would be the hardest thing for you to give up?

I think my voice. Not just singing, but in general. I talk a lot. I love the English language. I love being able to articulate my thoughts as they are happening. That would be very difficult.

15. Excluding romantic love, when was the last time you told someone you loved them?

Wednesday night as well. A different portion of Wednesday night. I'll just say that I have good friends and I love them. I was going through something and they gots my back. This question could either be really cool or really boring...depending on how close you are with your family.

16. If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you have "no regrets" what would you change?

First... I do have regrets. I don't believe people who say they don't. Second... I don't think I can pick just one, so I'm going to do 2, which is still not even close to covering it.

a) I would absolutely have shopped colleges a bit more. After I got in to Wright State, my first choice (and least expensive that I'm aware of) I sort of stopped looking. That was a mistake.

b) I would absolutely have done everything I could to keep teaching. I left on my own because I was broke, but looking back, it was the only job I've had that mattered. And I liked it. And I was good at it.

17. Imagine. It is a dark night, you are alone, it is raining outside, you hear someone walking around outside your window. Who do you call?

I don't think I'd call anyone. I don't see myself calling anyone. Yeah... definitely not.

18. Would you give a homeless person CPR if they were dying?

This is tricky, because I don't know CPR, so... I'd likely do more harm than good. Assuming I did know it... yeah... I'd do it. Dirt washes off. Anti-biotics are readily available.

19. You are holding onto your grandmother's hand and the hand of a newborn that you do not know as they hang over the edge of a cliff. Which one do you save?

Sorry Grandma. I'd save the newborn. I'd like to think that you'd agree with my choice.

20. Are you old fashioned?

In some ways I'm VERY old fashioned. In many ways, I'm not. I'd say that I've got a fairly liberal world view, which is not old-fashioned at all. (The drag queens I call friends would agree). I am a firm believer in love, which is old fashioned. Some would even say antiquated. I'm a hybrid...but I'd like to think the good kind.

21. Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?

Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt... I choose love. Heart break is a fact of life. It sucks a whole, whole lot, but it's a sweet pain, because it tells you that you can feel. God that's sappy, but it's true. If you have lived a life where you can feel heart break, that means you lived a life with love. I'd rather that any day.

22. If you could do anything OR wish for anything that would come true, what would it be?

I think that, at the moment, I'd wish for financial independence. From whatever. I don't mind work at all, but I think the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do and not worry about money would be nice.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Quiz... Because I'm Lazy

Hey Folks-

It's been a while, due to my completely insane performance schedule (those little blue pills have been working overtime, let me tell you.) And I still have very little to say, so I've decided to do one of those quizzes that people put up on these interwebs and whatnot. It's being billed as a "mature" quiz. Not because it's about nudie mags or something, but because it was written by an adult as opposed to some high school kid with no spell-checker.

Here we go...

1)What bill do I hate paying the most?
That's easily my car payment. I hate paying my car payment more than I hate most anything. It's too much. It's endless. I have a sinking feeling that by the time I'm done making these payments that my car will be useless. I want to punch my car payment in the fucking face.

2) Where was the last place I had a romantic dinner?
On Valentine's Day I ate at Marrakesh at Walt Disney World. That was pretty cool.

3) What do I really want to be doing right now?
Playing Call of Duty. (And here you thought that a mature quiz would involve me acting my age... bah!)

4) How many colleges did I attend?
Two (Wright State and Thomas More), unless you count Hondros College where I got my real estate license. In which case... Three.

5) Why did I choose the shirt that I have on right now?
Well... I like black. It's a little cold outside, so I thought I should go with a sweater (even though I'm also wearing shorts.)

6) What are my thoughts on gas prices?
Haven't we talked about this shit enough? Those are my thoughts.

7) What was my first thought when the alarm went off this morning?
"Is my phone ringing, or is that the alarm? Oh... the alarm. Damnit."

8) What was my last thought before I went to bed last night?
"Tomorrow's gonna be a long day"

9) Do I miss being a child?
Yeah, for sure. The coolest thing about being a kid is that you have nothing to do. I mean... when I was a kid I felt like I was busy, but I didn't know what busy meant until now. I like the notion of being done with my responsibilities at 3 every day. I like the notion of having full weekends free. I like not having to pay for anything. Life was awesome.

10) What errand or chore to I despise?
I hate going to the post office. I feel like it always take forever, and the post office people scare me.

11) Get up early or sleep in?
Wow...isn't this a much more mature survey than the usual ones? Next they'll ask me if I like Coke or Pepsi.
Also, I obviously like sleeping.

12) Have I found real love yet?
I think if I had, I wouldn't blog so much. Or do so much theatre. Or... You get the idea.

13) Favorite lunch meat?
I've always been fond of Roast Beef, but I can't have much of it anymore.

14) What do I get every time I go into Target?
Hives? Swine Flu? An icky feeling? I dunno.

15) Beach or Lake?
Lake, but again...seriously with these questions? How are they better. This survey roped me in with it's promises of maturity and depth and here I am answering questions about the beach.

16) Do I think marriage is an out-dated ritual?
I don't think that at all, but I do think that people take it far too lightly. I'm all for anyone being legally allowed to get married, but I think 2/3rds of the people who do get married, should reconsider or wait.

17) Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Isn't this question like "Would you rather have a million dollars or herpes?". I mean... Wouldn't a better question be "Sopranos or Six Feet Under" or "Sopranos or West Wing" or "Sopranos or The Wire". Or even "Desperate Housewives or getting your period" or "Desperate Housewives or a spinal tap". Um yeah... Sopranos.

18)What famous person would I like to have dinner with?
Walt Disney. That was the easiest one so far.

19) Have I ever crashed my vehicle?
Well... I've been in a crash, but it wasn't my fault, so I'm not going to say that I've crashed my vehicle. I was driving while someone else crashed it.

20)Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for it's intended purpose?

21) Ring Tone?
I have the "Classic Ringer" tone.

22) Strangest Place I've ever brushed my teeth?
I honestly have no idea? My car?

23) Somewhere in California I've never been, but would like to go?
Clearly the answer is Disneyland

24)Do I go to church?
Not often.

25)At this point in my life, would I rather start a new career, or a new relationship?
I'm gonna go with relationship, though I am always open to career things. I'd be unlikely to leave the friendly confines of my current employer, but if I could go work for Disney, I'd be gone today.

26) How old am I?
Twenty Nine. What the fuck, survey? What a waste of a question.

27) Do I have a go-to person?
Yeah..a couple.

28) Am I where I want to be in life?
I dunno. I'm happy with what I'm doing for the most part.

29) Growing up, what were my favorite cartoons?
Ducktales, He-Man, and... yeah...those two.

30) What about myself has changed the most?
I guess it depends on from when you mean, survey, but I think that for the most part I've just sort of grown into the person I want to be. The clay is hardening a bit, if that makes sense. (Out of the gutter!)

31) Looking back on High School, were they the best years of my life?
God no. I liked my Senior year... it was awesome, but aside from that, I was a train wreck. On the other hand, I liked almost all of College. And there've been years after that that've been pretty solid. So..no. High school is vastly overrated.

32) Are there times I still feel like a kid?
I think a better question is "Are there times I feel like an adult. That would be a shorter list."

33) Did I ever own Troll Dolls?
I did not. And I think their bare asses are weird.

34) Did I have a pager?

35) Where was the hangout spot when I was a teenager?
I guess we went to Sitwells a lot. Coffee shop in Clifton. Aside from that, Paul Bohart's TV room.

36) Was I the type of kid would want my kids hanging out with?
Absolutely... I was way, WAAAAYYY too much of a pussy to get into too much trouble. Maybe I'd have tried to shoplift a Playboy or two. That's about the extent of it.

37) Who do I think impacted my life the most?
Probably my parents/step parents/step siblings. I think a lot of those relationships have molded me more than anything.

38) Was there a teacher or authority figure who stood out?
Dr. Ron Mielech. The dude is a genius and one of the nicest guys ever.

39) Do I tell stories that begin with "When I was your age..."?
No. I can't say that I do. I try to avoid it actually.

40) Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?
I guess so. That's a tough one. Like... on the one hand, love is great. But if you've never loved, you don't really know what you're missing. Also there's a lot less of the pain of losing the love... Ill go with yes.