Sunday, January 20, 2008

Swan Song

I have been part of a really great sketch team at the UCB Theater for the last 9 months or so. I have never been part of a more supportive and fun group of people --every meeting and rehearsal was guaranteed laughs, which can rarely be said. Sadly we are being disbanded as they are revamping the sketch team program and we are having our final show tonight. If you are looking for something to do tonight please come by to catch it. I am very proud of all of our work and this show in particular -- I feel like we took some risks and had a particular voice and it's been a blast. In short, my team kicks ass and I am so happy to have been a part of it.

iBadger final show!!
Monday January 21st
UCB Theater
26th and 8th

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Homeland Obscurity

I recently did an online search to see what items one can bring on the plane in carry-on luggage. I have finally decided to kowtow to the demands of heightened security after waiting forever at baggage claim and losing my luggage on more than one occasion. The requirements for bringing travel items is both disturbing and hilarious.

One can only bring travel-size items on board if you have them packed separately in a plastic bag. Apparently the size of the bag is VERY important:

"All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag."

Right after this very specific request the website reads:

"Please keep in mind that these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats."

Aha. The unknown threat of the gallon-size plastic bag! Here we all are, sleeping tight each night in blissful ignorance as our vigilant security forces uncover the myriad conspiracies that are slowly threatening to dissolve our wonderful Western democracy. We may not understand it, but let's just follow along, our lives depend on it. If they say quart-size bags only, then there must be a good reason for it. No rules are arbitrary in the fight for our nation's security!

There are exceptions to the 3 oz. rule of course. The TSA is not completely heartless. They understand that us lowly travelers have some needs that must be met. They allow baby formula, breast milk, water or juice (but only for people who medically require it, which I thought was every human being on earth, but apparently not), life support and life-sustaining liquids like bone marrow, blood, organ transplants, and "mastectomy products". They care, they really do. The best part of this list is that you ARE allowed to bring KY Jelly on the plane. Well thank God for that.

Among the other forbidden items:

-You cannot bring ice axes, sabers, or swords. Mountaineers and old-timey Sultans are screwed!
-Spear Guns. Is nothing sacred??
-Hatchets, Cattle Prods. Pretty prejudicial against cowboys and serial killers. Harumph.
-Throwing Stars. Ninjas are being targeted now. What the hell???
-Snow Globes. My grandma will be devastated.

Safe travels everyone.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Samantha Huh?

I finally watched an episode of Samantha Who?. the Christina Applegate vehicle on ABC. I didn't really know much about it. It turns out that this show is about a girl who suffers massive head trauma, loses her memory, and thus can't remember her former life: wacky adventures ensue! The twist is that her character used to be a total douchebag so now she has to spend her time making amends for things she can't remember. So it's sort of like the female version of "My Name is Earl" except with the hilarious possibility of aneurism or embolism that could occur at any moment. Wow, what a GREAT idea!

This show has inspired me to come up with some pitches, so when the writer's strike ends I am ready to go:

The Blind Leading the Mind: A misogynist male model gets blinded by acid while getting a facial peel and must learn to appreciate true inner beauty. Shallow Hal meets Awakenings. Wacky Adventures Ensue!

Lead Foot: An arrogant world-class athlete loses her leg in a freak strength-training accident. She must learn how to navigate the world with a new iron leg and her new job as a toll booth operator. Like My Left Foot but hilarious. Wacky Adventures Ensue!

Objection!: A snarky fast-talking lawyer loses the ability to speak and hear after a freak gavel-throwing incident. Now he must learn to navigate the world by using interpretive dance. Wacky Adventures Ensue!

Come up with your own! TV shows guaranteed!

Saturday, January 05, 2008


At the moment I am living in squalor. By the end of this day I hope to halve the said-squalor so maybe it no longer qualifies for that title and can be downgraded to minor disarray.

I am aided in this pursuit by the fact that my housemate didn't pay the cable bill so our service got shut off, thus disabling my unhealthy habit of watching 12 hours of America's Next Top Model reruns or Goodfellas which seems to be playing in an incessant loop on A&E lately.

To keep you occupied, I recommend you check out the blog of Dan Harmon, this post in particular. This will only work if you have a MySpace account. If you don't have one, sign up for one just so you can read his stuff. Whilst reading his rants I go between spectacular joy that someone can write something so weird and hilarious and clenched-fist rage that what he tosses off in two seconds with no thought whatsoever is a ten times better than any writing I spend ten hours laboring over. Seriously read it.

Until tomorrow. Or maybe later today depending on how my squalor bashing goes.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Let's Reevaluate

A number of things have come up recently that have caused me to reevaluate some fundamental points of my existence. But nothing as disturbing as this.

Yesterday my meals consisted of the following:

Chef Boyardee out of a can
Nissin Cup o' Noodles
Power Bar

Some things need to change.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Life in J-Pop

When I was bumming around the music biz trying to have a respectable career so that my parents wouldn't freak out, one of the many jobs I held was working for a music management company. They dealt exclusively in J-Pop, their main client being the band Pizzicato Five which at the time was a cult sensation signed to Matador Records.

We operated out of a small one room office on Broadway and 25th Street. I got paid a pittance and worked weird hours. We always had more money going out then coming in and a few times they didn't have enough money to pay me. My two bosses were an awesome lady named Terri who was a total Japanophile and a Japanese man named Tom. They worked, quite literally 20 hours a day. Often I would come in to find Tom sleeping on the floor. They really had to hustle to get their deals done.

Dealing with the Japanese recording industry posed a unique set of challenges. First of all there is the obvious time difference--we would come in to find faxes littering the floor and the answering machine filled with messages. The mastermind of the p5 duo was named Konishi and he would send long hand-written letters via fax complete with pictures he had drawn and little cartoons to illustrate his points. At that time p5 was pretty big in Japan but not so much in America, and Konishi perceived this to be an unfair disparity, which we heard about constantly.

They also had a completely separate management company and record label in Japan which caused a lot of problems and wrangling so we could do deals without fucking up the pre-existing deals they had made in Japan. Matador Records fits the cliche of indie record companies - their office was in a loft space on lower Broadway and people wore ripped jeans to work and smoked cigarettes at their desks. The Japanese record executive wore suits, bowed upon meeting you, constantly talked about honor and things of that nature. Bringing both sides to the table for import/export deals and the like was an exercise in diplomacy that I hope I never have to deal with again. One time I had to forge a letter from Matador apologizing for some faulty product.

Through this job I met Simon Timony and his mom who ran our fan club. Simon was in a band called the Stinky Puffs which he had formed with the son of someone from Sonic Youth when he was 7 years old. I think he was about 10 or 11 when I met him and I set up some gigs for them at dives like the Continental since in those days I knew everyone that booked everything in the downtown music scene. Simon's biggest claim to fame was that Kurt Cobain had been a huge fan of the band and they had become friends before he died and had played together. Lots of heavy stuff for a 10 year old kid. I think he has a band in San Francisco now.

Anyway, after about 6 months, my interest in this high-pressure low-paying job began to wane and I decided to kiss the music industry good-bye. My bosses were really sweet people, and I think were relieved to have me go, as I was beginning to have a pretty bad attitude. Right around the time I left they signed Buffalo Daughter which went on to some success here in the States. Last I heard the whole company had relocated to Japan where I assume they still are hustling and working exhausting hours.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day

I had a better than expected New Year's Day. Tens of phone calls, text messages, and IMs later, I realized I have an amazing support system of super great friends. My evening was spent with two of my housemates and my friend Nate Smith, who came over to hang out and be the awesome supportive friend he always is. My housemate Poker made us all an enormous dinner: roast, salad, veggies, black eyed peas, home made scones, and pie. After a few hours of awesome conversation and red wine I felt like a zillion bucks. Or more accurately a zillion bucks that had been fished out of the river of regret. But still, a zillion bucks.

I am following my friend Kate Spencer's lead and attempting to write in my blog every day in January. So look forward to more self-indulgent posts about what I ate for dinner. You're welcome.

**Edited to add: Please check out my friend Chris Gethard's blog. He is one of the best storytellers I have ever known, and the one who inspired my 30 Day Challenge blog last year. He is posting a new story every week, the first one having gone up today. Check it out.

Happy Fucking New Year Part 2

Within minutes of my last post I had three people call or text me to ask if I was okay. So my prediction was true. This IS the year of awesome friends.

In a related note, I got a MySpace message today from an old old friend I knew in the Scrap Bar days. He told me that the days of him being a homeless junkie are long gone and he is now married with a 9 year old son and has his own business. It's a nice reminder that things can turn around even after the worst of times.

I have been reading too much Deepak Chopra.

Happy Fucking New Year indeed.

Happy Fucking New Year

I had without a doubt the absolute Worst New Year's I have ever had in my life.

There is nothing like having an old good friend completely disrespect you without regard to your personal feelings to ring in the New Year. Fortunately my good friend Shannon O'Neill and her husband saw my utter meltdown and insisted in driving me all the way home to Brooklyn even though they live in far Queens. HEROES.

Plus I lost 50 bucks somewhere.

So I choose to see this New Year as out with the old crappy friends and in with the new awesome friends that step up and help you out in the worst of times. And the year that I lose 50 dollars.

Yeah I am putting a positive spin on this.

Happy New Year.