Friday, December 27, 2013

This Is So Us: Insert Both Feet Into Mouth


BRIAN is lounging, sprawled out all over the couch, watching television. He's only wearing boxer shorts. AVA walks through the door.

There she is, my lady, my lass, my love!

Ugh...Work sucks.

I know..."She left me roses by the stairs. Surprises let's me know--"

Please don't. No singing.

I'm serenading you (pronounces it serenodding).


AVA walks through the living room and heads toward the dining room. However, she trips and falls.

Why you trippin'? Haha!

Damn it!
Ava stands up and realizes that she tripped over a pair of Brian's pants.

What the hell are your pants doing in the middle of the floor?!

Oh don't try to act like you don't know my routine. When I come home from work I walk through the door and progressively remove every article of clothing except my boxer shorts. I do all of this in a fluid motion so I can get from the door to the couch all the while removing my clothes in a timely fashion. Time management, Ava. Fit it into your schedule.

I'm about to fit my foot in your ass. I'll make time for that. I'll make time for that all day.

Pfft. It wouldn't be the first time. Wait, what?

Seriously though Brian, I really don't ask for much. Why can't you just put your clothes in the hamper? Why?! Or at the very least put them off to the side...neatly.

Oh okay Ava. Oh okay! I'm so terrible. No, no, I'm so terrible!


It could be a lot worse. Do you know what I just saw on the news?

People that know how to keep their pants on?

Guess again.

A kitten that put out a small house fire with a bowl of milk?

Wow. Yes, actually, I did see that. It was amazing. But you know what else I saw? I saw people doing drugs, people doing other people for drugs, junkies, jokers, smokers, midnight tokers, alcoholics, scallywags, hornswogglers, crooks, creeps, cheaters, killers, crooked politicians, politicians with crooked looking faces, hoarders, and people with terrible, terrible fashion sense. Look at my pants. I wear non-pleated Docker slacks. I don't beat you, I don't cheat on you, and I don't do drugs. I would're one lucky gal.

Brian continues to lounge with one hand down his pants. Ava stares in amazement.

So, what's for dinner?


Brian is standing at the stove. He's sporting his boxer shorts, a Betty Boop apron and a sourpuss expression on his face.

So, surf and turf? Great choice. Do you really want Bearnaise sauce though? I was thinking more like a white wine reduction. No? No problem. Bearnaise it is. I'm sure we have some fresh tarragon around here somewhere.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

This Is So Us: Driving to Meet a Friend

(This piece consists of both fictional & non-fictional material)


AVA and BRIAN, a married couple, are on their way to meet a friend for lunch. Ava is driving. They're in mid-conversation.

Doug has nice hair.

I agree. It looks really nice when it's cut short.

Oh yeah? You think so? I kind of like it when he rocks it out and it gets all shaggy.

You just want to live vicariously through him.

Um, no. I live...through myself.

AVA don't.

Look, if I want to rock out my hair, then I'ma rock it out. I don't need to watch someone else rock their hair out and picture myself with their rocked out hair.

First of all, please stop referring to long hair as rocked out hair. Second of all, I'm the one who has to look at you. And trust me, it's not an easy task when your hair adds unnecessary volume to your otherwise abnormally large head.

Whoa...So you admit my hair has volume? I'm telling you, it's a nice head of hair. It's very full.

Yes, your head is very full.

Thank you.

You look more handsome when it's shorter and cleaned up though.

Brian puts down the sun visor and flips open the mirror.

I must agree...Oh no.

What's wrong?

I found a gray hair.

Here, I'll just pluck it out.

No! Pluck one, then five more grow in. That's a fact.

I don't think that's how it works. Let me get a good look at it. Oh hey, there it is. It's more white than gray. 

Ava attempts to pull it out.

Ouch! You pulled out the wrong hair! Now I'm going to need a hair plug! 


Nope. This is all your fault anyway. You're the reason I have this gray hair. And now you want to give me more. Do me a favor and just keep your eyes on the road and your mangy mitts off of my busted mane.


Ava and Brian sit in silence for a few moments. Suddenly, Ava is unable to contain her obsession with pulling out Brian's gray hair and attacks Brian. Brian turns, smashes his face against the window and screams like a woman.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

TV Shows That Should Be Produced

1. Long Lost Brohan

It's a dramedy about Frank, an American truck driver who accidentally smuggles in a man named Brohan, who happens to be his long lost Mexican twin brother. Frank is conflicted with following his morals or following his heart when he finds out that Brohan is on Mexico's Most Wanted list. Both roles will be played by Christopher Walken.

2. Phillip and the Shpants

It's a drama/fantasy about Phil, a tailor who hates midgets. One day Phil finds a magic time traveling coin in the pocket of a pair of short pants that he's hemming. He finds himself stuck in a land inhabited by midgets who happen to hate average sized humans who are tailors. The role of Phil will be played by Danny Devito. All of the midgets will be played by different versions of Will Ferrell.

3. Pink is the New White: The Arctic Ninja

Neil is a snow ninja and he always wears a white ninja suit. One day his mother accidentally washes his suit with a load of red clothes. Ut oh. Now his suit is pink. To make matters worse, Neil's mother is sick. Therefore, Neil has to go on a journey to acquire a special herb so his mother can live. Time is ticking and Neil has to get to the top of the mountain, unnoticed by the evil snow ninja. He just might get heckled on the way because of his pink suit. Then again, he might question his sexuality on this voyage. But, who knows? He just might take a liking to the new pink. Neil will be played by Charlie Day. His mother will be played by Betty White.

4. Don't Fill In That Hole

Chuckie has everything going for him. After watching Forrest Gump, Chuckie gets inspired and goes for a run in the middle of no where. Suddenly Chuckie falls into a sink hole. He awakes and finds himself in a land that's a cross between Fraggle Rock and the movie Labyrinth. Did he bump his head? Is he just dreaming? Or did he actually find some underground world? Or is he dead? Maybe there's some mysterious gas burning underground and he's just high as all hell. Either way, some villainous contractor is going to want to buy the land and fill in that hole. Chuckie needs to find a way out of this dream, find a way out of this world he fell into, or both. The role of Chuckie will be played by Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer from Seinfeld).

5. Write On, Man

Bonnie is a bona fide starving artist. She's a screenplay writer and she hasn't eaten in days. One night Bonnie gets drunk, watches Good Will Hunting, and gets pissed off because no one wants to buy any of her scripts. However, she finds inspiration in Good Will Hunting and decides that she's going to become a janitor in one of the movie studios near her house. When the time is right, she's going to write out an entire script on a dry erase board where everyone can see. Conflicts: Maybe they don't use dry erase boards. Maybe they use chalk boards and Bonnie doesn't bring a single stick of chalk. Maybe they can tell that Bonnie isn't really a janitor and get suspicious of her and the fact that she carries around Screenwriting For Dummies. I don't know. The role of Bonnie will be played by Amanda Bynes.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mr. Pick-up Man

Pick-up lines & Conversation Starters:

1. If I had a time machine, I would travel to the past just so I could travel...back to the see you. Get the Back to the Future reference? What? You've never seen BTTF? What kind of stupid idiot are you?

2. I know where I've seen you before. The waiting room. I was there to get a colonoscopy. You were there to get a colonoscopy. Man, we sure did have a lot in common. Do you want to get out of here and get something to eat?

3. Once I wrangled a snake with my bare my garden...Okay, so yeah, it was a garden snake. But, it put up a good fight, before I beat it with a shovel. I'm not proud of it. Actually I feel really bad. But, that's what life is about--making important decisions in dire times...So, anyway, I do have a garden--with the plumpest tomatoes.

4. This martini tastes like shit...more like a fartini. Am I right ladies?

5. Let's go back to my place (Lead her to the alleyway behind the bar where your cardboard mansion awaits). This is where I live. No, I'm not homeless. Clearly, this is a home--it has French doors. They're just made out of pizza boxes, plastic wrap  and other paper products that I may or may not have trash picked. The bar is my real home though. No, I'm not an alcoholic. However, I do drink every day--mostly beer that's leftover by the local patrons. Anywho, you should probably get going. My parents will be home soon. They don't like me bringing home strange girls. Can I get your phone number though? You can just write it on my roof.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Inner Kid

I love it when people call you a "big kid" just because you feel like acting like a child every once in a while. God forbid. They make it sound like it's a bad thing, like you're Lenny from Of Mice & Men. It's not like you're going to tend to some rabbits and accidentally kill them.
        It's all about keeping in touch with your inner kid. So what if I get giddy when I think of eating an ice cream cone with jimmies on top down by the sea shore? And so what if it's accompanied by a silly little dance that looks like I really have to take a piss? And so what if I do have to take a piss, but I'm just holding it in because I'm really excited about eating some ice cream with jimmies down by the sea shore.
        So what if I attend a wedding and all I want to do is drink Shirley Temples, run around in circles chasing the other kids, and occasionally dance, sweating out large amounts of soda pop? Sometimes I just want to get that good old fashioned sugar high until I crash in the middle of the dance floor--but not before throwing up. If I drink alcohol and dance the night away, at some point I will throw up. So, either way, be it by an excess of alcohol or an excess of sugar, I'm going to throw up.
        So what if I want to ride a big wheel for old time sake? I wouldn't fit on one of course. But, with the right modifications I could fit and I could be the coolest "big kid" on the block. That's part of the proverbial dream along with finding Never Never Land and always, always being a Toys R Us kid (if I could type the backwards "R" I would).
        When you have kids, you can live vicariously through them, which is the ultimate pass for reliving your childhood. If you're a man, you secretly can't wait to have a son, so you can retrieve your box of action figures from underneath your bed that you've been hiding there for like, well, ever since you discovered girls. But, then you'll get pissed off when your 1 year old just wants to smash the action figures together. You'll try to teach him about finesse, capabilities of each action figure, spinning back kicks and such--but unlike the action figures, he won't be so easily controlled. So, you'll have to wait until he gets a little older. Then you can help him become the coolest kid on the block, which would make you the coolest "big kid" on the block--sort of like Robin Williams from the film Jack, but with less hair hopefully. Then there'll come a time when you realize that you're not a big kid. You're not a big kid at all. You're someone's father. But, maybe you'll be the best damn father on the block--the cool dad. We all have to become adults, but it doesn't mean we can't feel what it's like to be a kid again. We'll do the same things we used to do, except we'll do it with beers in our hands instead of Capri-Suns.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Asshole Majority

You can’t be that person who goes around saying, “I don’t ask for much” with a pathetic woe is me overtone--because honestly, no one gives a shit. It’s never give and take. It should be. But, it’s not. If you’re not taking, then you’re most likely giving and people are just going to exploit the shit out of your generosity. Have you ever wanted to just say “No” for the simple reason that you just don’t feel like doing whatever it is that someone is trying to get you to do? Isn't that a good enough reason? For most people, it’s not. They’ll question your answer because they expected you to say yes in the first place. They’ll ask, “Why?” as if it’s any of their God damn business. And all you’ll want to respond with is, “Because I don’t want to motherfucker.” It’s exactly like saying no to drugs. A part of you wants to say yes because it’s easier to escape with drugs than it is to deal with reality. But you know deep down inside that drugs aren't good for you. It’s true. But, you know what? The stress and aggravation of giving in to all of these selfish bastards isn't healthy for you either. Isn't your health worth it? Yes. Yes it is my friends. So, the only way to rise above and truly be happy is to not give a shit and totally disregard any feelings--people's feelings and your feelings of guilt and obligation. Therefore you have to transform into an asshole. Not just any asshole, but an inconsiderate asshole. Furthermore, you have to own this new lifestyle,  be one with your inner asshole, and flaunt it. So, when it comes down to it, your goal is to be a proud, inconsiderate asshole. Just make sure you don't deliberately go around and carelessly treat people like shit for no reason. Because then you're just a dick. Don't be that dick--the dick who thinks he's just an asshole. It is possible to be a good person and an asshole at the same time. You can offer to do something really really really really great (because you genuinely want to) and then set the boundaries by saying, "Just know for the next time that I'm not helping out. I ain't helping out for shit. I'll let you know when I feel like being generous again. If you happen to slip up and ask me for a favor, I'm going to have to tell you to fuck off. Okay old lady that's bagging my groceries?" So, there it is. Just call all the shots and you'll have nothing to worry about. Sounds easy, right? I'll let you know, when I decide to stop being a little bitch.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Upside of Defeat

        Dead-end job. I feel a pivotal moment approaching. Sometimes I get this sudden jolt of adrenaline. It seems to come when I’m just sitting and staring—especially when I want to be anywhere but here. I picture myself standing up in an epiphanous rage, puffing out my chest, turning to the door, and running the hell out of this place. Then the realist in me says, “Hello. You can snap out of it now. You’re still sitting and staring. You’re not going anywhere. Are you? (Painfully sarcastic)”. Then in an attempt to defy my inner realist I shout, “Yes I am…going…somewhere (Painfully awkward).” I look down at my dress shoes wishing I had worn my running shoes that I coincidentally never use for running—maybe for casual Fridays, a quick run (and by run I mean drive) to pick up a gallon of milk, or maybe a brisk walk, but never for running. Then I sprint for the doorway, clumsily knocking over my trashcan which spills out crumbled up papers with doodles on them and half written plans for my future. I get ten feet and my moral compass directs me back to the trashcan where I clean it up and place it on that discolored spot on the floor next to my desk. I proceed to sprint, make it through the doorway and turn left. And there it is—the door to the outside world. It’s more than just a door (trying to be poetic). No…it’s really just a door. Like any other door, it opens and shuts. I don’t hesitate, not even for a second. Okay, fine, I hesitate for about 4.5 seconds, before I charge the door like a goat charging another goat, no…like a rhino charging some poachers. I slow down to the pace of careless mallrat to avoid an embarrassing slam my face into the door moment. Suddenly an elderly lady cuts me off and proceeds to take her time. Then, in one swift motion I cut her off and open the door for her. She eventually makes it through and says, “Thank you.” I take off running whilst shouting, “You’re welcome!” I make it like twenty feet (give or take a few size 11 footsteps) when the old lady replies, “Huh? What?” I turn around and run toward the old lady to reiterate my previous words. But, my long stride and intense look on my face scares her off. At this point I’m only 10 feet from my place of work. I stand and stare off into the distance, wipe the sweat from my forehead and exclaim, “God damn! It’s friggin’ hot out here!” Then I hear the words, “There’s always tomorrow,” echoing in my head. “Is it the realist in me giving it to me straight? Is it my moral compass steering me away from a rash storm into a rational peninsula? Or maybe it’s just my lazy conscience blowing smoke up my ass,” I whispered to an impressionable young boy. “Get the hell away from my son, creep! Get the hell out of here!” shouted the boy’s mother. As she shooed me away, I had an epiphany. “I will get the hell out of here, over-reacting angry mother,” I proclaimed. Then I started running. “Remember Benny, there isn’t always tomorrow!” I shouted. “My name’s Zack,” replied the little boy. I ran. And I ran. I ran so far away. Three blocks later I was gassed. It was at that exact moment when I realized that I had no idea where the hell I was going. Actually, I experience that moment almost every day. I guess the moral of the story is: If you’re not going anywhere, then you don’t have to run to get there. Essentially you’re running in place. So you might as well buy a treadmill. But, it looks like I’m exercising again. And that’s the upside.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Think I Get It Now

        I think I understand pessimistic people now. Whenever they experience some type of pain, they immediately have a diagnosis for it. It’s like they want it to be worse than it could be. It’s like they’re looking forward to it. It’s like they’re just dying to be right. Whenever I experienced some kind of pain I would say, “Oh it’s probably nothing. It’ll probably go away.” In most cases I was right. I always thought it had something to do with a negative or hopeful state of mind. But, no, that’s not it. Quite recently I learned that I hate my job. Then I started experiencing pain in my right wrist. “Hmm, could this be arthritis? Ew (the excited kind of ew), maybe it’s carpal tunnel syndrome! I believe you can get surgery for that, and who knows how long I’d be out of work (hopefully forever),” I whispered. Okay, let’s pros and cons the shit out of this mother lover.

Pros & Cons of surgery on right hand and recovering on Workers’ compensation:

-        I won’t be spending my days doing boring, monotonous work.
-        I’ll have time to work on things I’m passionate about.
-        I won’t feel like a useless zombie at the end of the day—a zombie who doesn’t want to eat brains, a zombie who especially doesn’t want to eat brains. I don’t want to eat brains.
-        Some of my soul might be restored.
-        I’ll be happier.
-        I’ll be living the proverbial dream.

-        I’ll have to use my left hand to wipe my ass.

Hmm. The pros severely outweigh the con. Well, it looks like I’m going to have to wipe my ass with my left hand. I guess I should practice. Excuse me. I’m going to get started.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Never Hurt Anyone

I was in the checkout line at Shop Rite yesterday. An old lady in front of me complimented the bag boy by saying, "You're doing a great job." I thought to myself, "That's really nice of her. It does feel good to know that you're doing a great job." Then she said, "A little encouragement never hurt anyone." This was where I interjected with, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up."

"I beg your pardon," said the old lady.

"You can't just go around lying to people, especially the people that bag your groceries. A little encouragement never hurt anyone? That's bullshit and you know it lady. I knew this guy, his name was Stu. He was afraid of heights. Long story short, Stu found himself smashed like a Stretch Armstrong shaped pancake underneath a bridge, all because his friends encouraged him to get over his fear of heights," I replied.

"Oh my word. I'm so sorry he died."

"Oh he didn't die from that. He survived the fall. Later on, his family encouraged him to compete in the Paralympics. They suggested that he train for Wheelchair Basketball. As a part of his training Stu went to the ghetto and played hoops with some hard knocks. He came out of it victorious...and full of lead. Stu got shot up fifty times."

"Heavens to Betsy. I'm so sorry Stu got murdered."

"Oh he didn't die from the gun shots. He lived for a few more years. Then he died from a heroin overdose. It was a probably the result of all that encouragement though."

"Oh lord. That's something awful. Well, I'm sorry your friend died."

"Oh he wasn't my friend. He was strictly my customer and I was strictly his drug dealer. Hey lady, it looks like you're all bagged up. Why don't you get the hell out of here?"

Then I turned to the bag boy.

"By the way, she's right buddy. You really did do a great job. Now what did you learn today?"

"Say no to drugs?" said the bag boy.

"Yes...but...if you are looking for some, give me a call first. I would never encourage you to use drugs...but I will sell them to you. That's a guarantee. And call me if you ever need a second job. You're pretty good at bagging stuff."

Thursday, May 30, 2013


        Celebration is often found in sports. Sometimes you can celebrate too much (excessive) and get penalized for it. You can spike the ball, do some trendy dance, start humping the air, hump the football, hump the refs, hump the opponents mascot, hump your own mascot, hump yourself…
        It's quite different in the courtroom. If I can be frank, I don't think there's enough celebration in courtrooms. If you're found not guilty, you should be celebrating...hard. Do a crazy dance. Don’t know any crazy dances? Make one up. Who gives a shit? You’re not going to jail for the rest of your life. That's worth a hop, skip and a jig. What's that you say judge? You want to hold me in contempt? Sure, that's fine. Just let me finish this sweet ass dance move. Worth it! Do that Harlem Shake thing that everybody's been doing. Hell, do the Macarena. It’s a little outdated. But hey, people just might join in, triggering an impromptu flash mob.

(Side note, no, sort of in the center note: Be sure not to do any crazy dances if you are found guilty. Because, in prison you’ll get your ass beat (in so many ways). Big black dudes will be scoping out the new inmates. “Hmm. Who should we shank today?” Pan to the white boy who just sprained his ankle while doing the running man. “There’s our bitch.”)
        Back to winning cases and celebrating excessively. After you dance, celebrate some more. Spike something, perhaps the judge's gavel. Hell, bring your own gavel and spike the shit out of that. Have one of your buddies throw you a football, then a beer, then a hoagie for some reason. Shotgun the beer. Then proceed to eat the hoagie in front of everyone. Wait for someone to say, "Is he really" then finish their sentence with, "Eating a hoagie?...Yes, yes I am. Now go fetch me a soda pop and some Funyuns."

        Or, you could just voice your excitement. Start reciting the most difficult rap lyrics that you can remember. Then, start skatting. Make the court reporter work hard for her money. Then let her know that she's working hard for her money by singing Donna Summer's "She Works Hard For The Money." Finally, exit the courtroom and every other room by kicking the doors open in a Michael Jackson-like fashion.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Popular Dance

I’d like to think that most popular dances were the result of some unfortunate condition which involves a story about an underdog. Take for instance, Timmy. Let’s say Timmy went to his senior prom. He went stag, not because he chose to, but because no one and I mean no one would go with him. It’s sad, but true. He had a reputation for being a terrible dancer and being…an epileptic. But, Timmy wasn’t going to let that stop him (Well, he would try anyway). Everyone knew Timmy had epilepsy, everyone but the DJ. The DJ had his disco balls spinning, colored lights flashing, and glow sticks twirling. At some point an angry student shouted, “I’m sick of the same old dance! I wish someone would come up with a new one!” Coincidentally, Timmy was walking across the floor toward the punch bowl when he had…an epileptic seizure. Timmy began to flail frantically like Mick Jagger after eating 50 pixie sticks. This was the first time people witnessed what would later become…the Harlem shake. Like a true teen coming of age movie, everybody joined in, doing the Harlem shake—making it damn near impossible to tell if someone (Timmy) was having a seizure. The next day a Harlem rapper saw a clip of these high school students doing this crazy dance and he said, “I’ma sample that like I’ma sample some 1970s song.” Needless to say he called this dance the Harlem Shake.

        The same goes for that “brush your shoulders off” dance move. I bet some kid, we’ll call him Timmy, just had some really, really bad dandruff and was trying really hard for people not to see it on his shoulders…at a dance probably. Next thing you know, people are joining in, and a dance sensation was born. White flakes filled the room creating a confetti-like spectacle. This would have been fine if it were the Snowball Dance. However, this was the Spring Fling. And the white confetti was actually Timmy’s dandruff.

Macho Men

I love macho man talk. Not Macho Man Randy Savage talk, however when guys talk about macho things. Most notably, hot chicks. You have that one friend who groans sort of like Macho Man Randy Savage when he sees a hottie. Hmm, maybe this has to do with MMRS more than I thought. Anyway, you have that friend that says, "Ughh. I would totally hit that. Would you hit it? Let's hit it together." Easy bro. You're not going to hit that. You're not going to tap that. You're not going to score. It always comes back to sports with macho guys.

        I wish I could hear a group of dudes just be honest with themselves. For example:

"Mmm. I would like to have sexual relations with her. But, unfortunately she appears to be way out of my league."

"I'm picking up some great vibes from this one over here. I bet she's a great conversationalist. It looks like I found a new girl friend. And by girl friend, I mean a friend that's a girl. Strictly platonic."

"Aww yeah. I would give it to her... on my mother's love seat, all through a long, very long...commercial break. Then we would finish watching the Notebook."

"Mmm. I'd love to bring her back to my place, cuddle up and show her photos from my childhood. Then I would give her money for a cab because my car is broke down in the driveway. It's been there for a while now. I should probably do something about it. Public transportation is the pits. There are a lot of smelly people on buses. Hey, you know what? Let's get out of here. That girl I've been checking out is actually my aunt. If she sees me she'll want to go back to my parents' house and look at pictures from my childhood."

"I banged her last my dreams."

This is for my co-worker that likes to spy on me.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Body Consultant

I like to jot down notes in my notebook. Sometimes I go back and check out what I've written just to see if I stumble upon anything that's actually good. Here's an entry from sometime in March of 2013. It's quite the hidden gem.

The Body Consultant:

You can't trust someone who measures a space by how many bodies he can fit into it. I bet every mob has a guy that's in charge of such matters--probably called the Body Consultant. "With a trunk this size, you can fit 5 average sized people & one tall midget, easy." "You can fit 2 average sized people in the fridge and one fat midget in the freezer." "You can fit 15 Guatamalean midgets in here."

This just in: Two average sized guys got caught smuggling in 15 Guatamalean midgets in a 1990 Honda Civic Hatchback. The Guatamalean midgets were smuggling in fruit stuffed with cocaine....Actually you know what? It turns out they're not midgets. They're just 15 average sized Guatamaleans. They're naturally tiny people.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reel Life: Finding The Door

As an avid, yet amateur writer, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of my own inspiring reverie. However, I deem my efforts to inspire people in the business quite trying. Professors, students and even a homeless man on the corner offered a sense of optimism. The homeless man, a beacon of a worst case scenario, kept his wisdom concealed but wore his regret on his face. He was and is a simple yet complex form of inspiration. I don't know him, but I would bet all of my grandmother's wisdom that he in fact has a story to tell. If "published" work and recognition are forms of currency then consider me the homeless guy on the corner. Because my grandmother's imparted wisdom and a bunch of untold stories are all I have left. This is in no way a "woe is me" tale of battered ambition, but a realistic scope of the industry from where I stand--the heart of South Jersey.
               College offered a great deal of empowerment. Professors instilled in me the proper faith needed to keep a dream alive, but also encouraged the fortitude to keep a thick hide for those bitter seasons of cold rejection. They served up a glass half full of aged aspirations. And believe you me--I drank it down because college students love free things that free their inhibitions. Soon I was drinking straight from the bottle. Once I finished the pilot to my sitcom, I took the proper steps to get it out there. The steps entailed writing query letters and proposing them to literary agencies in the hopes of finding representation. I sent out at least 25 query letters to agencies ranging from the cream of the crop to agencies that had lesser cliental. I patiently awaited a response, anything to show that I touched base with someone or something. Overall I received two responses. One came in the form of a courtesy email which basically stated that they didn't deal with screenplays and things of that nature. The other response came four months later in the form of a professional letter on a company letterhead. It stated that, because of copyright issues, they were unable to view my proposal. And if I happened to see anything on television similar to my idea, it would be just a coincidence. In a delusional state of mind I took comfort in knowing that my query didn't get lost in the mail and I'd be so lucky if this agency stole my idea. I haven't written a query since. After researching the formalities of such proposals on the internet, I became inundated with the realities of the business. It turns out one should acquire a manager before proposing anything to agencies. Whether my findings were fact or fiction, I was left baffled like the first time I discovered a catch-22. By the time graduation came, I felt like I had so much to learn. I guess that's why so many people go to graduate school. But, for someone who was already sixty grand in the hole, I wasn't about to ante up into the American dream pot. So, I took my B.A. and called it a day.
               Moving forward, I put my work on a shelf both literally and figuratively. This was my stage of trying to get my foot in the proverbial door--somewhere, anywhere that involved television or film. I've always been on the path of learning. And once I learned that there was a new film studio in Pennsylvania called Sun Center Studios, I knew I had to find the door. I contacted the president of the company to inquire about employment. I sort of figured that he wouldn't get back to me. It turns out, I figured right. So, I browsed the Sun Center Studios web site and made a stunning revelation--like most studios, this studio offers tours. I contacted the president, inquiring about tours this time. Surprisingly, he replied, quickly I might add. He asked me to state the purpose of the tour. I told him that I am a writer, director and I would love to use the facility in the future. Well, I guess he'll get back to me when the future arrives. Until then maybe I'll sneak into Sun Center Studios, pose as a custodian, find a dry erase board, write out a script and wait for someone to discover my genius (Mostly joking, partially sarcastic).
               People always talk about finding that one connection, that one in. I thought Curt was going to be my connection. A co-worker of mine, a title searcher, happened to golf with this man named Curt who is a writer/director/producer. Next thing you know I had a meeting scheduled with Curt at his office in New Jersey. He also has an office in L.A., but no big deal. I knew going into it that this wasn't a business meeting, however a sit down with a seasoned mover and shaker of the industry. Therefore, I needed to conjure up some intelligent and important questions like, “What are the intelligent and important moves I need to be making?” However, he answered all of my questions in one sentence that tortures me every time I hear it which was, “You need to move out to L.A.” Unlike most like-minded people, I don't have the luxury of making that move. Adulthood and local responsibility take top priority. From what I'm told, the chances of me getting into the film industry if I move out to L.A. are pretty good. But, I feel like there are a lot of opportunities in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Well, there was at least one.
               I had a chance to work as a P.A. on a local feature film. I would have had the opportunity to rub elbows with the likes of Cory Monteith and David Morse. Talk about stellar acquaintances, especially for my first feature length film. Unfortunately, I made one huge mistake, perhaps the most invaluable lesson yet. When the director's assistant called me and asked if I was available to work on the film, I hesitated. First of all I was flabbergasted by the fact that I was even called upon. My responsibility instincts kicked in and I tried bargaining with the woman, proposing something like, “Would I be able to work half of the shooting schedule?” This was a big no-no. The reason I suggested half of the shooting schedule was because I already had a full time job (clerk typist, mind you) and I'd have to clear it with my employer. I could have used two weeks' vacation. However, the entire shoot was four weeks. The woman seemed to be receptive to the idea and said she would get back to me. Translation: We'll find someone else who will work the entire shoot (someone less complicated). If there is anything that I learned from this experience it is to just say yes and adjust your schedule accordingly. Make it happen. There's no time for maybes. Next time my answer will be, “Yes, yes, a million times yes.”
               I picked up my first issue of IndieSlate about ten years ago--before I started film school. An article about story structure caught my eye and I've held onto it ever since. I thought about that article recently and it has inspired me to change my aspiration lens from a phantasmal dream to a celluloid reality. My focus now is on a short independent film which I'm currently writing. Like the essence of story structure, I will see it through from start to finish, hoping to bring it to full fruition. This is the direction that I'm going in right now. Perhaps it's the direction I should have been going all along.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Silver Screen Reflections: What's Reel?

        As viewers, we idealize the situations, emotions, and resolutions found in motion pictures. The feel good qualities in such films can cause cinematic swooning—a term that I think I just made up which is the heart warming sensation induced by charming cinematic moments. Because we've been predisposed to these strategically placed feel good moments, we subconsciously accept and expect a “standard” development to the story. Therefore we’re submissive to the same old soundtrack and choreography (so to speak) found on the silver screen--which reflects our reality. Many people feel that life imitates art. I agree, but not completely. Life and art have been performing an intricate dance together for quite some time—all the while interchanging the lead every so often. Film is a medium that’s influenced by life. However, life is very much influenced by film due to escapism. Sometimes the vestige of our celluloid dreams transfers to our reality and we long for those movie moments. We will never live the lives of our favorite characters. However, we can learn from their stories and what makes them so remarkable.
  Most films are written with a particular formula in mind which is called the Three Act Structure.  It is comprised of seven elements: the Inciting Incident, Plot Point 1, the First Culmination, the Midpoint, Plot Point 2, the Climax, and the Denouement. Most days in our everyday lives abide by a similar structure. It's similar because it's predictable not because we always have plot points throughout our day. For instance, we are familiar with today because it happened yesterday, much like we're familiar with most films because we've seen other versions of them. Great films and terrible films follow the same structure. However, what sets great films apart is the content, most notably the details and the moments. Details can be the smallest element in a story, but they can have the most profound impact on an audience. A simple melody played on a ukulele could accompany a simple piece of dialogue. Two characters could be exchanging passionate looks, which consequently signals a pivotal moment. It’s these “film imitating life moments" which make us wish life would imitate film. It seems like an impossibility. However, theoretically it should be feasible because if film is an image in the mirror, life is the muse standing in front of the mirror. Since we idealize these projections, they somehow become more real which inevitably amounts to an unrealistic expectation.
  It's the super focused eye for detail used in film which captivates us. Details such as proficient lighting, stimulating movement, insightful pauses, incendiary musical scores, the sound of silence, and last but not least, special effects. Unfortunately, for the most part, we seem to miss out on these things in real life. I haven't had the pleasure of growing up with the sound of a gradus symphony being played in my honor. And I doubt you have either. Unless you're listening to the classical station all day everyday, then maybe there's a slight chance that a cinematic-like score could sync up to a euphoric moment. But, you can't possibly fit all of these cinematic elements into your day without making it feel phony. I digress.
There are different details and moments that we can focus on in our everyday lives. Very seldom do motion pictures illuminate something unsuspected that's extraordinarily moving. If our mundane lives could speak, they would say something similar about themselves. Relatable things such as life lessons, especially that of our peers, are the details we often overlook. It is not unusual to be mindful of our own minds. However, I think we should be the audience of our surroundings, accentuate the details in life, and lose ourselves in the moment--even if it's a precarious one. Find the time to let alternate perspectives inspire you. Let celluloid dreams be dreams and an exciting, unsuspected reality be your future.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shit Revisited

        I can deal with someone calling me out for being a liar. I can deal with someone calling me out for being a sack of shit, on the rare chance that I am a sack of shit. However, I can't handle someone calling me a lying sack of shit. It's a double entendre. A double insult if you will, which doesn't sit well with me. It's like killing one bird with two stones--brutally excessive and covertly humorous. Actually, it's something of a quadruple entendre if there's such thing. It's quite befuddling. Let me break it down for you.

Lying sack of shit #1:

Dirty, rotten liar. This is the most obvious translation. Insulting? Yes. But it gets worse.

Lying sack of shit #2:

Lazy sack of excrement. So, basically, now I'm a "lying" sack of shit, which means I'm lounging around all of the time just stinking up the joint. It doesn't matter what kind of shit, because let's face it all shit stinks. So, in the end I'm a lazy sack of excrement.

Lying sack of shit #3

Mythical talking sack of shit that's very dishonest. This is what I call Absurdist Literal Expressionism. This one basically suggests that I'm a sack of shit that has the capability of telling fibs which means I can talk--mostly out of my ass. This sends me mixed feelings like, "This isn't possible. Now you're just insulting my intelligence, but tickling my fancy all at once. I always wanted to be a mythical creature. Hmm. Wait! This is ridiculous!"

Lying sack of shit #4

Possibly the worst of the four. This is where all four sides of the quadruple entendre dice are viewed. In this instance I'm a lazy, smelly, mythical sack of shit that likes telling fibs. Shit just got real...or really unreal.

        In a sense, there's always another insult within an insult, making it somewhat sophisticated in one respect and absolutely moronic in another respect. I'll choose to ignore the latter.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writer's Quarrel

I feel like the "simple life" is greatly underrated. I can't help but wonder how much more I would get done in a day if I didn't waste my time focusing on the wrong things. There are too many distractions, even in this quiet town. It's frustrating for a writer. I can easily get side tracked if there is a television on in the room (even muted), my phone starts ringing, or if I have the sudden urge to tweet some meaningless piece of dialogue that I overheard in the grocery store today. I should be contributing to a real piece of work and hone in on my craft.

And there I go, searching for an alternate word in the online thesaurus because I don't want to use the same word again. However, I accidentally click on the tab for Twitter. By doing so I illuminate the true redundancy in my life which encompasses the technology that we as humans are ever so magnetized to. This technology is wrongfully associated with our leisure time and the "simple life." As we know the "simple life" isn't all that simple. But, technology definitely makes it easier. Easy living. Simple life. They sound pretty similar. However, we know damn well how easily technology can complicate our lives. I mean, shit, we survive on our Keurig coffee machines and GPS units. If you remove these things, we may never find our way to work. It's a sad cup of coffee; half empty. But, hey, it holds some truth.

feel like I need to lock myself in an empty room with pencils and paper and just write. No. That makes me sound annoyingly proud and pretentious. So, scratch that. I'll lock myself in a room with a laptop. However, this laptop will only have writing software and that is it. But, you know what? It's hard to find laptops like that these days. They always want to fill it with junk and other things that take up space until you have 73 icons on your desktop. 

Back to basics. That's all I'm trying to say. Let me find inspiration in the wind, starry nights, and my weird neighbors again. And may I shy away from the temptations (not the Motown group, which I love) of day time television, the entangling web of sites on the...interweb, and all of the other distractions found in our lives.

Now quick, let me post this on my blog and tweet it to my 46 followers. Oh wow, what's this? A magazine which showcases the Bachelor, which I have zero interest in. However, there's a slew of attractive women hanging around him. What do you know? Sex does sell.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Third of a Life Crisis

     Things that are overrated: “stable” jobs, good benefits (a.k.a. bennies), and pension plans. It’s interesting. A stable job, which you hate, seems to make you quite the opposite: something like umm, unstable. This is due to the monotony that dictates your existence. Your passion lies dormant. By the end of the day your brain rests, smoking on a long Virginia Slim, as you sit and stare at a wall. The only thing you manage to mutter is, “Hmm. That sure is a wall.” Your passion, like an old friend says, “Hey man. Remember me? So…what’s new?”
     Benefits are actually really important. So, I can’t say with 100% conviction that benefits are overrated. This is one of the anchors of any job. Benefits alone can be the deciding factor when it comes to debating your next move. One thing is for sure though--the moment you decide to take a chance on your passion and forget about your great benefits is when life will say, “Hey, look out for…Too late. That sure looked painful. I hope you have good insurance.”
     A pension plan seems like a great, practical…thing. But, really, the only thing you’re planning on is living to see your pension. You might have been great at dodge ball in elementary school and maybe you still have moves like Jagger. However, sometimes you just can’t dodge cancer, heart disease, and that demon Mack truck heading your way. So, chances are this American "ideal" probably won't work for you. Sorry to sound so bitter. But, life is like that bitch in The Rolling Stones song, "She's So Cold"'s so cold.
     In conclusion, I probably shouldn't complain. But, what the hell, everybody else does. There's a time and a place to grow some balls. Usually that's in your mother's womb. In my case, it's right now...probably not though. I'm my worst enemy, my worst critic, and my worst nightmare--not exactly in that order. I guess I'll keep on keep keepin' on, doing what I'ma gonna do. Now I'm just rambling. 
     I'm going to write a second conclusion like a hobbit would eat a second breakfast. In conclusion, I'm just going to grab life by the...not balls because that's weird...not boobs because that's perverted. So, there will be no grabbing whatsoever.  Instead I will...eventually take a chance...and maybe get life into a headlock.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When My Dad Finally Sees the Redwoods

One fateful day my dad will trek through the mighty pine, through the mystical forest and leave his footprint next to the greatest Redwood anyone has ever seen! He will then realize that that footprint isn't actually his, but of a twelve foot tall Sasquatch. Suddenly, what should appear before his very eyes? Yes, the friendliest of squirrels named Chipmunk--he has quite the identity crisis. Then, suddenly, the biggest foot of feet smashes down upon the squirrel. Dad trembles and slowly looks up to see the montrosity before him. But, to his astonishment, it's just an average sized man lurking around with an over sized boot--maybe a Doc Martin, maybe a Timberland, I don't know. For some reason dad is without any shoes, boots, footware whatsoever because he wanted to be one with nature and feel the earth beneath his feet. Then he realizes that his foot pain tolerance is nonexistent and begins to freak out due to a baby splinter lodged in his toe.

"The sun appears to be falling away to the dark side of the Earth," says the man.

"Nope. That's just the shadow of a Sasquatch behind you bro," replies Dad.

The Sasquatch grabs the man.

"Ahhh!" screams Dad.

The man manages to get out his last words, "Here. Take my boot."

"I can't. It's your only boot," replies Dad.

"Take the boot man. Where I'm going, they don't wear boots or boot. Take it. I insist," says the man insistently.

Dad cries for what seems to be an eternity.

"I do have one last request. Can you tell my wife that I love her and that there really is a Big Foot?" exclaims the man.

But, it's too late. Dad has already made his getaway--both feet in one boot, hopping off in the distance.