Tuesday, May 31, 2005

how the third time might indeed be the charm

i just saw "star wars episode iii: the one about the sith". i really loathed the first two movies. i just didn't think they really went anywhere interesting. plus, when you factor in how embarrassing of a writer and director george lucas is, they were really complete trainwrecks. i don't need to belabour this; nobody likes those pieces of crap.

howard stern mentioned that because those first two movies were so bad, george lucas shouldn't charge for the third one. i kinda agree. a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, corporate whores still moneygrabbed.

eh, what can you do.

so i fully expected to be nauseasted over episode three - okay, maybe not as nauseated. everyone who'd seen it told me that it was better than the other two, but that's like preferring brussels sprouts over dog shit and horse shit. in my mind, it's still brussels sprouts.

but you know what happened? i really dug this movie.

it's exciting. there was an actual storyline that moved (albeit with a fishing net full of holes). dialogue and deliberation were kept to a minimum. and it had a really cool ending - obviously.

but the writing was still terrible. in fact, two scenes were unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny (anakin's and padme's "you're so beautiful" conversation, and vader's "noooooooo!" yelp). i would say the acting was horrendous, but natalie portman, ewan mcgregor and samuel l. jackson are fantastic actors, so we should just blame it on the embarrassing directing and move on. i mean, it was flat and unemotional and boring. the script didn't help.

but still, it was a damn good movie.

in fact, if i had to rank them:

1. empire strikes back (great movie, great script, great directing - mostly because it was directed by irwin kirschner and written by lawrence kasdan)
2. star wars: a new hope (just something completely visually incredible at that time covers up all the flaws)
3. revenge of the sith (yeah, really cool movie)
4. return of the jedi (ewoks. in english, that means "merchandising gimmick" or "mailing it in")
5. attack of the clones (horrible movie, but the last hour wasn't so bad)
6. phantom menace (jar jar binks. me so embarrassing)

i can't wait for the next series of films.

oh, you mean there aren't gonna be more films?

how much did they earn?

Monday, May 30, 2005

how to correct a terrible, terrible error

in the post below entitled "how to dig a deeper hole", i stated that lynyrd skynyrd playing on "american idol" with "real rocker" bo bice represented the second plane crash in their careers. i was wrong.

i just watched a commercial for KFC, and they used "sweet home alabama" as the background music. the last time i looked at a map, alabama was one full state below kentucky. i saw this spot before "american idol" aired, as it has been playing for the past couple of months. i just didn't remember this when i posted.

so, to rerank:

plane crash #1: horrifying accident that kills ronnie van zant and destroys the band for ten years.

plane crash #2: "sweet home alabama" heard as background music for KFC.

plane crash #3: band performs with "real rocker" bo bice on "american idol".

my apologies for the errors.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

how sometimes i wish i were deaf

this is the scorecard from my trip on the n-judah downtown to the ballpark for the giants-dodgers game on 05.26.05 at 6:15pm.

number of nerds dressed almost head-to-toe in giants gear that sat near me: 6

number of times they sang "da dum dum duuum, da dum dum duuum, da dum dum duuum, da dum, dum, dum, dodgers suck" on the forty-minute train ride: 7

number of times the "dodgers suck" part was said so unemotionally that it seemed as if they were being directed by george lucas: 7

number of conversations that the nerds had about the actual game of baseball: 1

number of nerds who knew who the giants shortstop was: 0

number of times the giants shortstop has won a gold glove in his illustrious career: 9

number of nerds who knew who was pitching tonight: 1

number of nerds who knew that kirk reuter (the giants pitcher) is nicknamed "woody" because he looks like "woody" from "toy story": 6

number of times i wanted to pull a bernie goetz: 78

how the scent du'jour is now bullshit

is it too much to ask for someone to apologize? is it too much to ask for a little humility nowadays? and is it too much to ask for just a side of honesty with our entree of bullshit?

yes. it is.

i'd wish i'd written something as brilliant and as sad as this. there's no better peek into this increasingly hypocritical and hypercritical times we're living in.

and we wonder why people hate us.

how to dig a deeper hole

on october 20, 1977, an airplane carrying members of southern rock legends lynyrd skynyrd crashed in louisiana, injuring the band and friends on board. it also killed guitarist steve gaines and, most importantly, their ultra-talented frontman/songwriter ronnie van zant.

with his death came the death of the band.

but in june 1987, lynyrd skynyrd would reunite, this time with johnny van zant (ronnie's brother) as the frontman. but they weren't kidding anyone; their days as an influential band were well behind them, buried beneath the destroyed embers in that louisiana town.

yet riding a new wave of fake popularity from adolescents who never heard of them, on may 25, 2005, lynyrd skynyrd appeared live on "american idol", backing "real rocker" bo bice as he sang "sweet home alabama", basically and metaphorically recreating the plane crash of 28 years past except with a glorified karaoke singer.

and i ask the surviving members, each squarely in the eye, does your conscience bother you?

tell the truth.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

how technology doesn't necessarily mean advancement

tivo, directv and a momentary lapse of reason means these neurologists just stole 15 minutes of my life.

my television and sanity threatened to leave me if i ever watched another second of "britney and kevin: chaotic" again, but before you can say "y'all're just hatin'", or rather just the "y'all", it was already gone from my season pass.

if it weren't for technology, i never would have watched it. but if it weren't for stupidity, technology never would have taped it.

touche, technology, touche.

mankind begs forgiveness.

Monday, May 23, 2005

how expectations are mismanaged

i just watched "spanglish", a movie starring adam sandler and tea leoni that was killed by the public, and i understand why. this is nowhere near as funny as "billy madison" or "happy gilmore".

but then again, it's not meant to be. this isn't an adam sandler movie.

"what? who? huh? what do you mean? adam sandler's in it. i know who he is! i've seen him on 'saturday night live'. i've seen all of his movies, and he was great in all of them except 'punchdrunk love', which sucked."

okay, here's the deal. actors act. they take the words that are given to them, and they make it flow like seemless dialogue. some actors are funny; some are not. they add something to the script, but they don't create it. they are not the storytellers. they are the props.

directors direct. and, along with the writers, they are the storytellers. it's their point of view and their humor that you watch. and they use the actors to tell that story.

unfortunately, movie companies don't market films correctly because they're not in the business of managing expectations; they're just looking to make a buck. keeping the public entertained and satisfied is a byproduct, but not a necessity. so if they market it as an "adam sandler" movie, of course you're gonna be disappointed.

that's because "spanglish" is a james l. brooks movie.

who? what? huh? well, james l. brooks is a prolific writer and director, he wrote and created "taxi" (the show, not the jimmy fallon debacle), "mary tyler moore" and a small show that you might have heard of called "the simpsons". he also wrote and directed these films, among others: "as good as it gets". "broadcast news". "terms of endearment". and "spanglish", i agree, is not as good as those movies. but it was a nice little james l. brooks movie, and he makes damn good films.

if you want to see an adam sandler movie, pay attention. his writer is named tim herlihy. if he wrote it, you know what you're getting. if he didn't, think differently. actors don't want to do the same thing all the time, and you get that from working with different writers and directors.

(and, by the way, "punchdrunk love" was indeed a terrible tim herlihy movie, but that's because it was a great paul thomas anderson film. and if you haven't seen "boogie nights" or "magnolia" or "hard eight", then you're missing out on an amazing storyteller).

i guess what i'm saying is that manage your own expectations, and you'll know what you're getting into.

and watch a bunch of james l. brooks films. you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

how bad writing is funny

i just watched a commercial where a woman turns to camera and says, "i don't trust anyone to clean my carpet, especially not some strange men who come to my house." that was the copy. i swear to god. that's how the commercial begins.

and although it's for the stanley steemer and i guess it makes sense, how come there's nobody in the marketing department at stanley that said, "oh...hey, uh, guys...you know how people might read this?"

or maybe it's just me. whatever. i was laughing too hard to give a shit.

then i saw another commercial right after, this one for priosec (i think, but really, does it matter? all those pharmaceutical ads are the same). anyway, of course the funniest parts of those commercials are the legal warnings tacked on at the end. and since they are so brutal, it takes a deft hand to write a smooth segue from that into an effective and proper take-away.

you know, something not like this:

"side effects include nausea, constipation and blurred vision. so what are you waiting for? call your doctor..."

seriously. that's real. how does that get through?

oh, mighty and magnificent unintentional comedy. may god bless you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

how to set standards

just wondering: how many times is a phone allowed to ring until you resign yourself that voicemail has been disabled and is never gonna pick up your call?

and, on that note, how many rings need to pass until you begin to feel like a "creep" and "someone who should be watched by the authorities"?

i need a clarification.

please don't say nine rings.


how to hate and then not hate as much

reggie miller, i don't want you to retire. i want to watch you play basketball forever.

this is a long way from my feelings of seven years ago, where i wished rickets on you.

either way, thank you reggie. not really for breaking my heart in game 5 of the 1994 playoffs. or for those last nine seconds in game two of the 1995 playoffs, giving me a story to tell my future children about how i saw the impossible.

thank you for being the best villain a superfan can ask for. and i'm gonna miss booing the shit out of you. i wanted you to win tonight's game so i could boo you once more. that is how i show respect.

but don't let it get to that alien head of yours.

i still wish rickets on you.

just not as fatal.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

how it all begins to unravel

from dictionary.com:

lurk: (lûrk) 1. to lie in wait, as in ambush. 2. to move furtively; sneak. 3. to exist unobserved or unsuspected.

stalk:   (stôk) 1. to pursue by tracking stealthily. 2. to follow or observe (a person) persistently, especially out of obsession or derangement. 3. to go through (an area) in pursuit of prey or quarry.

so you see, there is a difference.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

how to shit your career away

read the blog below this for my inspiration. otherwise,


Your money don't mean much to me.
I've been out on my own
gonna got it alone now
'Cause that's the way it's got to be.
Ev'rybody tells me how I can beat the odds for now.
Well I've been standing by the fire
but I just can't feel the heat.

Heartbeat - I'm looking for a heartbeat
Heartbeat - I'm looking for a heartbeat
beating like mine.

Looking at me
it's easy to see
You think you know just how I feel.
If you do to me wrong and it won't take me long
Before my restless heart will heal
I'm looking for a love
love like mine
They tell me it's so hard to find
But I can feel it in the rhythm of the heartbeat in the street.

Heartbeat - I'm looking for a heartbeat
Heartbeat - I'm looking for a heartbeat
Beating like mine
beating like mine.

Tell me what you feel now without the heartbeat
Tell me is it real now without the heartbeat?
Heartbeat - I'm looking for a heartbeat. (12x)

how you get what you ask for

as many of you know, i get my hair cut at "nice cuts". there's a "supercuts" a couple of blocks away, but i feel that "supercuts" overpromises.

at "nice cuts", i'm getting a nice cut.

problem is that "nice cuts" is in the haight, which is a nice fifteen minute walk. on the other hand, i could count the steps to "supercuts".

so i ate some pizza and went into a sporting goods store that was playing "heartbeat" by don johnson and i left with a huge smile on my face and got some cash and then a "happy anniversary" card for my parents and...well, "supercuts" was right next door. and, flapping onto the back of my next was a burgeoning mullet.

(editor's note: is that the first time the words "burgeoning" and "mullet" ever appeared together?)

so i walked into "supercuts", expecting an overpromise.

i have an easy cut. "just cut it short" - that's what i say. "it's gonna grow back in a week. you can't mess this up." they usually don't speak my language anyway. doesn't normally matter.

most barbershops begin with the scissor. at "supercuts", however, they ignore the middleman and go right to the buzzer. and she mowed away at the side of my head. my surprisingly english-speaking cutter asked me, "is this short enough?"

"yes". followed by silence, my fatal mistake.

if i had my druthers, i would go back in time and ask "what size blade are you using?"


look, i know i'm losing my hair. and i know that unless i'm going "gabe kotter", there's very little to do with this afro soul-glo i got going on other than keeping it short.

but i shouldn't take that lightly. with less, i need to take extra care. which means, had i walked the extra twelve minutes, maybe i wouldn't have such a severe "7-10 split". or "power alleys". or "desperation peninsula." or "low tide".

ah, what the hell. it could be worse.

how not to garner sympathy

i just flicked on the telly, and came face to face with a charity informercial aimed to help children in third world countries. i'm always sympathetic towards these, but my sympathy is overturned by my laziness in doing the research in finding the most effective charity to donate to (the image of an ever-expanding sally struthers begging for more food irks me to this day).

anyway, i'm watching one for the christian children's fund (or something like that) where a man with a santa claus beard walks through some third world country, introducing us to the sad stories of the underprivileged.

and he puts his hand on the shoulder of one little girl and says, AND I QUOTE, "this is isabela. she lived in a cardboard hut at the edge of a cliff. one day, there was a terrible storm and it was blown away."

okay, so from this point on to the end of the commercial, i'm completely tuned out because i need to rectify this in my head:

1. who in their right mind would build a cardboard hut at THE EDGE OF A CLIFF? visualize that. these people are poor, not stupid. and if it were true, should we reward stupidity?

2. it's not stupidity. do you think you can build a cardboard hut? i'm not sure i could. i have trouble building baseball card houses. so i'm to think if they had enough sense to build a cardboard hut, they had enough not to set it at THE EDGE OF A CLIFF.

3. what type of cardboard did they use to build the hut? i'm sure it was corrogated materials. do they have corrogated materials in a third-world country? was it taped together? or was it just a TV box that our homeless lives in?

4. let's presume that they did live at THE EDGE OF A CLIFF. why? was the view that amazing? did their cardboard hut have windows? did the beauty of the scene counteract the thought that your cardboard house might flutter away?

by the time my head was fully wrapped around that this santa claus character was indeed a bullshit artist, the commercial had ended and i have no idea who to send any charity to.

my point: bullshit from santa doesn't pay off.

need more struthers.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

how insomnia manipulates your mind

one bad night without sleep.
two quotes that connected as the sun rose.

sunday morning, 5/15/05, 4:45 AM.
"and what the hell would you do, trautman? pay blackmail money to ransom our own men and finance the war effort against our allies? what if some burn-out POW shows up on the six o-clock news? what do you want to do... start the war all over again? you wanna bomb hanoi? you want everybody screaming for armed invasion? do you honestly think somebody's gonna get up on the floor of the united states senate, and ask for billions of dollars for a couple of forgotten ghosts?" - murdock, "rambo: first blood, part II", ABC-TV.

sunday morning, 5/15/05, 5:27 AM.
"everyone does everything just to get laid. " - jeff goldblum, "the big chill", STARZ!

the exhausted mind connects in strange ways.

how humor doesn't translate well

i have this costa rican guy coming to my house tomorrow night to do some voiceover work on a film i shot last year. his grasp of english is shaky - very shaky.

anyway, he called my cell, and my message picks up - "hey, you've reached steve. i'm not home right now, so leave your name, credit card number and expiration date, and i'll be sure to charge something expensive as soon as possible."

he left me this message: "no. i will not leave my credit card number so you can charge something expensive."

maybe we should export some sarcasm to central america.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Friday, May 13, 2005

how mankind redeems itself

i just read this on defamer.com, and it just made my year:

"Though they’re still dotting I’s and crossing T’s on the final documents, I’m told Fox network and 20th Century Fox studio are '99.9 percent of the way there' to reaching an agreement on the new season. According to these highly placed sources, it looks very likely that Arrested Development will be coming back not only for a full season of 22 episodes but actually two full seasons of 22 episodes. How freaking fantastic is that?"

which means more of this

and more of this.

how air pollution begins

anyone want to guess what dead rat carcass smells like?

things to consider:
1. he ate a half banana.
2. he also ate a half box of rat poison - twice.
3. he was both nimble and sly, as noted by his not breaking the dental floss tripwire that we set up.
4. i believe his deathbed is directly underneath my kitchen sink, in a hollow wooden area below where we keep our pots, pans and skillets. there's water pipes near there, so please, take mildew into your equation.
5. he probably didn't have proper hygenic habits.

closest description wins notoriety.

how to get free advertising

see below.

how to get under my skin

keep running these commercials:

1. those verizon camera phone ads where the jackass husband tells his wife, "i just sent you a photo of the syrup" as he mousily high-fives his son, who will soon embark on an academic career where he will be ritually bitch-slapped by the school bully. just like dad.

2. any of those cingular ads with the jackass who can't get reception on his non-cingular phone at the game, and his friend/nemesis asswipe chides him with snide pro-cingular remarks. in case you wonder where i stand on this issue: i recommend a 2X4 with a rusty nail, and i recommend it right between their eyes.

3. those hard to understand mcdonald's commercials, especially the one where the soccer-deluded moron dreams about heading a fiery soccerball against a team of women with horns, but then he hits the snooze alarm because he can eat a mcgriddle. i think. that was a guess, actually. and i just wasted a minute of my life trying to figure it out. bastards.

4. any non-sensical tie-in between the nba playoffs and "kingdom of heaven", like the ones where charles barkley says, "it's either win or go home" with a serious look on his face, followed by a clip of the crusades. actually, now that i write it out, it's genius.

5. everything else on tv.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

how movies can make a statement about the world we live in

i just saw a movie called "crash", which was written and directed by the same guy who penned "million dollar baby", which i'm sure you've heard of.

anyway, it's an amazing film being raved by every critic across the country about how different people deal with each other in different ways. there's no sidestepping the stereotypes about different races; they're all addressed, and you're made to feel extremely uncomfortable about it, and, in most cases, shameful. you see, it makes no bones about it - we're all human beings filled with our own life experiences and prejudices, and that's what makes the world go round. i also took from it that a lot of problems arise when people just lose their cool. and sometimes, you just can't escape trouble. there's a lot of shit going on here and, although i have major problems with some of it - like how it was too coincidental at times - it's a mirror on the society we live in, and therefore, a very important and ballsy movie.

but here's the biggest statement it made about this country of ours: more people this weekend decided not to see this deeply moving film. instead, they chose to drop $10 to see a movie generally reviewed as "a piece of shit". after all, it stars everyone's favorite no-talent, paris hilton.

touche, america. touche.

how to get away with the unproven

i just cleaned out my night stand, and suddenly i have a clear view of my bottle of vitamins. namely, centrum advanced formula, 250 tablets. on the top it says, "now with lutein. helps maintain healthy eyes*".

so i followed the asterick to the bottom of the bottle where it says, and i quote, "* this statement has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".

huh? what? are you serious? that's legal?

it's a powerful thing, the *. it's amazing what you can get away with if you can wield its power correctly.

"it's not you. it's me. i think you're great.*".
"i didn't sleep with that contestant.*"
"i don't know who's bra that belongs to.*"
"i respect your opinion.*"
"i'm listening.*"
"they are concealing weapons of mass destruction.*"

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

how a $10 cab ride becomes $15

i was too lazy to take muni home from fillmore street last night, so i decided to hail a cab and spend the $10.05 (seriously, that's exactly how much it costs) to take me home.

i got picked up by a london cab. there's a couple of them darting around the city, and this happened to be the second time i hailed one from the same exact location (incidentally, by the same exact driver).

so i get in, and the cabbie is blasting bill hicks from his cd player. in case you never heard of him, he was an incindiary comedian who spoke candidly and harshly about politics and religion and sex. whether you agreed with him or disliked him, you had to acknowledge the intelligence and sharp delivery of his routine. he died 12 years ago, but what he wrote and said is still viable today (especially with another bush in office).

i'm making him sound boring. trust me, he ain't.

anyway, for the three mile ride, for $10.05, i listened to bill hicks in this cab. in fact, i listened to this:

"That's another good thing about Bush being gone, man, 'cuz for the last 12 years with Reagan and Bush, we have had fundamentalist Christians in the White House. Fundamentalist Christians who believe the Bible is the exact word of God, including that wacky fire and brimstone Revelations ending, have had their finger on the fucking button for 12 years. [Eyes roll back in head] "Tell me when Lord, tell me when. Let me be your servant Lord." Fundamentalist Christianity - fascinating. These people actually believe that the bi.., er, the world is 12 thousand years old. Swear to God. What the..? Based on what? I asked them. "Well we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages - 12 thousand years." Well how fucking scientific, okay. I didn't know that you'd gone to so much trouble. That's good. You believe the world's 12 thousand years old? "That's right." Okay I got one word to ask you, a one word question, ready? "uh huh." Dinosaurs. You know the world's 12 thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, they existed in that time, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point. "And lo Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus... with a splinter in his paw. And O the disciples did run a shriekin': 'What a big fucking lizard, Lord!' But Jesus was unafraid and he took the splinter from the brontosaurus's paw and the big lizard became his friend. And Jesus sent him to Scotland where he lived in a loch for O so many years inviting thousands of American tourists to bring their fat fucking families and their fat dollar bills. And oh Scotland did praise the Lord. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Thank you Lord."

Get this, I actually asked one of these guys, OK, Dinosaurs fossils - how does that fit into you scheme of life? Let me sit down and strap in. He said, "Dinosaur fossils? God put those there to test our faith." Thank God I'm strapped in right now here man. I think God put you here to test my faith, Dude. You believe that? "uh huh." Does that trouble anyone here? The idea that God.. might be.. fuckin' with our heads? I have trouble sleeping with that knowledge. Some prankster God running around: "Hu hu ho. We will see who believes in me now, ha ha." [mimes God burying fossils] "I am God, I am a prankster." "I am killing Me." You know, You die and go to St. Peter... "Did you believe in dinosaurs?" "Well, yeah. There was fossils everywhere" Thuh [trapdoor opens] "Aaaaaaarhhh!" "You fuckin idiot." "Flying lizards, you're a moron. God was fuckin' with you!" "It seemed so plausible, ahhhh!" "Enjoy the lake of fire, fucker!"

You ever noticed how people who believe in creationism look really unevolved? Ya ever noticed that? Eyes real close together, eyebrow ridges, big furry hands and feet. "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks liked He rushed it. They believe the bible is the exact word of God - Then they change the bible! Pretty presumptuous, hu huh? "I think what God meant to say..." I have never been that confident. Next we have a bible out called 'The New Living Bible'. It's the bible in updated and modern English. I guess to make it more palatable for people to read. But its really weird, when you listen to it. "And Jesus walked on water. And Peter said, 'Awesome!'" Suddenly we got Jesus hanging ten across the Sea of Galilee. Christ's Bogus Adventure, you know. Deuteronomy 90210, you know.

Such a weird belief. Lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a fucking cross, man? May be that's why he hasn't shown up yet. "Man, they're still wearing crosses. Fuck it, I'm not goin, dad. No, they totally missed the point. When they start wearing fishes I might show up again, but... Let me bury fossil heads with you Dad, Fuck em - Let's Fuck with them! They're fuckin with me now, lets get em. Give me that brontosaurus head, Dad."

you bet your ass that's worth a $5 tip.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

how to get rid of your banana supply

after being rat free for two months, and after killing our previous visitor "angelo" using rat food and the guillotine, it seems that word/warning really didn't get around and we have yet another visitor - one who must be the size of a cadillac. the bastard ate half of my banana. seriously. check out these crime scene photos.

the audacity of this sunovabitch. sometimes i tink i hear him squealing. it's like he's taunting me, but he doesn't know what i have awaiting his fate. yes, i wonder if he likes his haircut scorched.

i'm gonna kick its ass.