That's Pants! or Off The Cuff

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about how impressionable I am; how I absorb every bit of pop culture into my head-sponge, work it around, and the regurgitate it as something "original." This works for sketch comedy, so no duh why I'm pursuing that (and I typed "duh").

This also applies to my fashion. I'll run through a list of my past fashion choices and the person who inspired them. Thankfully, there is not much photographic evidence to support my claims. Trust me, why would I lie about wearing some of this stuff? Lots of embarrassment follows...

Black frame glasses - Drew Carey
Hawaiian shirts - Josh from Road Rules Latin America
Bowling shirts - Brad Sherwood from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Thift store t-shirts - Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Plaid pants - Tony Slattery from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Mod ties - Felix Unger from The Odd Couple
3 piece suit - Richard Dawson
Navy shirt with white polka dots - Charles Nelson Reilly
Adidas - Oasis
John Lennon sunglasses - Liam Gallagher
Black zip up jacket - Alan White (drummer for Oasis)
Beard - Zach Galifianakis, Obi-Wan Kenobi
Cap - Parrish Yaw (keyboardist of The Features)
Track jacket - Rivers Cuomo
Denim jacket - Oasis
Denim jacket/hoodie combo - Nick Valensi (guitarist for The Strokes)
Most everything I wore from 2001-2003 - The Strokes 2001-2003

And this brings me to the actual point of this blog...

Cuffing my jeans - Stephan Jenkins (lead singer for Third Eye Blind)

Now, keep in mind that a good portion of this list is from my formative years, 8th to 12th grade. I shouldn't be judged, everyone goes through phases. I started cuffing my jeans in 9th grade and did that until 12th. The idea came from Mr. Jenkins and stuck with me long after my interest in the band waned. However, when I got to college, I ditched that habit. I guess now is where I bring up the fact that I have weird legs. They look normal, don't get me wrong. I don't suffer from elephantitis. I don't have three knees. They're just a little short. In an ideal world, I would wear a 31 x 27 pair of jeans. These do not exist. I instead have been wearing the same two pairs of 31 x 28 (ordered from Gap online because short people do not leave their houses) jeans for the past year. Or more. Yeah, probably more. They have both started to fall apart, leading me to bite the bullet and buy a real, expensive, pair of Levi's. 30 x 30. I guess walking around New York has caused me to lose an inch (curses).

But this is the problem: I have to cuff these jeans because A) I can't get them hemmed yet, I'm poor and B) I will not walk off the excess length, because that makes you a redneck according to Jeff Foxworthy. Is cuffing jeans okay? Am I going back to my 9th grade roots? Will people think I support 3EB after their second album (which was AWESOME!!!11)?

This is a serious problem.


Hype Machine: August 2007

Time to take a look at Marvel's comic book solicitations for August. I'm definitely not buying many of these books, but I can still gripe about them!

There is a huge explosion in the side of the Triskelion—the side housing superhuman criminals. And from the acrid smoke emerges a man seething with vengeance—a man who wants Peter Parker dead! That man is Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin! And for the web-spinner, things are about to get out of control. All this and the Shocker, too! Ya can’t miss it!
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

You know what, I can miss it, but the promise of More Money August (still searching for a better name) means I will be there for this, the return of the Ultimate Green Goblin. Here's hoping he comes back as many times as his Marvel Universe counterpart...which I think is only one time. Okay, I'm a little fuzzy on my Spidey facts. I'm more interested in seeing how Stuart Immonen handles the drawing chores. He's a phenomenal penciler and designer, I just don't know how he's going to fit in with this all ages apeal book.

Pencils and Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
The X-Men have only been reformed for mere days, and they’re already in the middle of a national crisis. The Sentinels have been reactivated—mutants are once again hunted and killed like animals. But who's controlling them this time—and what does it have to do with the newly-formed Mutant Liberation Front?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

For Pete's sake, Ultimate Universe! Grow an original idea! I'm sure the M.L.F. are going to actually be time-traveling gnomes from Nightcrawler's home dimension, all with Wolverine hairdos in an attempt to seem edgy (like Kirkman turning Cable into a future version of Wolverine). But for reals, why must everything be rehashed? Did no one get super powers in this universe that doesn't already have them in the main Marvel one? But seriously, if Kirkman does Ultimate versions of Wild Side, Reaper, Tempo and Forearm, I'm way so there. I have a soft spot for that league of buffoons.

Written by TOM DEFALCO
Pencils and Cover by RON FRENZ
Not only has Carnage captured her father and baby brother, but Spider-Girl realizes that its new host is someone she knows! Guest-starring Kaine and Darkdevil!
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

You know how you always walk into conversations just as someone is talking about sucking on their mother's pig feet? You know the wrong time? Out of context? That's what this is to me. Kaine? Darkdevil? Is Halloween Jack far behind?

After taking a wrong turn on the dimensional super highway, the New Fantastic Four have just become the daily special in the Zombie Universe! Seated at table one: Zombie Galacti! At table two: Zombie Skrulls! And at table three: a Zombie Monster from the Negative Zone! Well the Black Panther, Storm, the Human Torch and the Thing better come up with a perfect escape plan…or are they destined to be zombified.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Marvel's done it! They know what sells more than Wolverine and his new sidekick, Topless Chick With Big Guns (And By Guns We Mean Boobs That Shoot Bullets); zombies. And more specifically, zombies of super heroes. And now that they've started popping up in the main Marvel universe (away from poorly constructed crossovers with other companies), there's no stopping them. "Zombies: The Initiative," "Civil War X: Zombie Battalion," "Marvel Adventures starring General Zombie," "Astonishing X-Corpse," "World War Z," the list goes on and on. And that last one was stolen. I'm just looking forward to the Power Pack/Zombie crossover. It's about time Mass Master got what was coming to him.

The Heroes for Hire find themselves in the middle of World War Hulk when their mission to Hulk's stoneship leaves them on the Warbound's death list! It's divide-and-conquer as each hero is hunted by a member of the Jade Giant's band of alien soldiers.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

This is the cover that's causing a big ol' roar, mainly due to it's allusion to tentacle rape. That's a link to Wikipedia, by the way. I don't go anywhere dirty while at work. Bets are off at home. Oh yeah... What am I doing...? Next.

Written by BRIAN REED
Cover by GREG HORN
A new story arc begins as Ms. Marvel drafts two recruits from the Initiative…Machine Man and Sleepwalker?! When AraƱa is kidnapped, it's time for Carol Danvers to use her newly expanded strike force to squash an evil that's hit too close to home! The ongoing team of writer Brian Reed and artist Aaron Lopresti kicks off the three-part "Puppets" with a last-page reveal that'll have fans of female heroes buzzing!
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

Sleepwalker! Ha! I love that Marvel is starting to embrace the f***ing insanity that was the early 90s. Anyone remember Slapstick? Or Death's Head? Or Dark Angel? The Darkhold Redeemers? Vengeance? Motormouth and Killpower? Everything 2099? Bring them on, Marvel!

Pencils by PACO MEDINA
Cover by NIC KLEIN
Sofia and Wondra face off as the New Warriors respond to Tony Stark’s offer of amnesty. But will they accept or reject it? Meanwhile, Detectives Sykes and Givens uncover a shocking mystery about the death of the original New Warriors, and a former member may hold the key. Plus, Wolverine shows up…and he ain’t happy!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

So M-Day happens and all the mutants on Earth, save 198ish, are left powerless. Except for Iceman, who got his powers back immediately. And Polaris, who lasted a couple more months. And Professor X, who just got his back. Chamber, who was repowered by Apocalypse. Feral, Wild Child, and Thorn. Oh, and Layla Miller says she lost her real powers, but now she has new ones. And Quicksilver is going around repowering people too, now that he has his powers back, sorta. Sticking in the grand tradition of making things stick, here's the new New Warriors series starring Night Thrasher whose death led to the Civil War. That big thing that Marvel shoved down our throats for a year. And. Here. He. Is. Again. Alive. In the fourth series to bear the name New Warriors. At least Bucky is still dead. Oh, wait...

And, lastly, a special section dedicated to the two Joss Whedon solicits.

Written by JOSS WHEDON
Penciled by MICHAEL RYAN
Cover by JO CHEN
Super-star JOSS WHEDON (Astonishing X-Men, Buffy) and rising star MICHAEL RYAN (New Excalibur, New X-Men) continue their landmark run. Pun intended. Love is in the air as the Runaways try and run back from 1907.
Part 4 (of 6).32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Written by JOSS WHEDON
Pencils and 50/50 Covers by JOHN CASSADAY
The end is near. The situation is dire. The outlook is bleak. But Cyclops has a plan.
Part 5 (of 6).32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Wow, Marvel is really trusting on his name to sell those issues. After reading those summaries, you can only be certain of this: stuff happens and it will be awesome. My favorite is Astonishing's which is comparable to the Rambo tagline "The first was for himself. The second for his country. This time it's for his friend." Things are near, dire, and bleak, but Cyclops has a plan. Woo wee, I'm first in line for that one! Actually, I am. The solicit could be "JOSSWHEDONLOLZ!!!11" and I would buy it.

August is going to be the most awesome month.


Memorial Day

I didn't even know. I didn't even know that one of my heroes died on Friday. Where have I been? More importantly, why wasn't his death everywhere, making it impossible to miss? What's going on? He died on Friday. Friday!

Charles Nelson Reilly is one of my heroes. You can see his face on my myspace page under the "heroes" section. You can see me dressed like him here. You can visit the cheap webpage I made for him as part of a computer class four years ago here. I can't express how important that man was to me. Ask me about it in person, maybe I can elaborate.

Chuck (as I call him, lovingly) was born in the Brox. I've been to the Bronx a couple times and I'm surprised I survived the experiences. I was always amazed that Chuck survived growing up there, but I'm sure the hardships are what helped form his insane sense of humor. That sense of humor was always on display on Match Game (albeit helped by a couple bottles of various liquors), a show that I came to love and be obsessed with a couple years ago. Chuck's honesty, charisma, and ability to be himself in the 1970s is something I admire. He really didn't let societies hang ups get to him. Of course, it didn't hurt that he was sitting above a raging sexaholic (Richard Dawson) and a host who could never hold his booze. Compared to them and his Flaming Contemporary Paul Lynde (who may or may not have died in bed with a male prostitute after using nasal stimulants), Chuck was a supremely classy guy. Actually, compared to most everyone, he was a supremely classy guy. Chuck's life was filled with blanks, wigs, and ascots, and I think the world of 1970s TV was a better place because of it. He is survived by Patrick Hughes, his partner of 27 years. Twenty seven years.

I'm gonna miss you, Chuck.


Icky Icky Icky

Summer is upon us and that means one thing: a new White Stripes album. Okay, so the candy cane party train is not synonymous with summer. Nevertheless, every other spring/summer since 2001 has birthed a new album and given me a dozen-ish hauntingly simple rock tunes to blast from my car. The, ah, car aspect is now gone so I'll be blasting the new album, Icky Thump, from my iPod on the subway. I will no longer be able to air guitar to Jack, not that I should air guitar while driving. Driving is made for air drumming.

This new album comes after Jack and Meg relocated to Nashville. Plans to visit Jack's house (my friend vows to either have his babies or care lovingly for his existing one) were never acted upon and I never saw Meg buying tattered country vinyl at Great Escape. Despite never making awkward eye contact with either of them, I now have a weird sense of hometown pride for the band. Afterall, they unleashed themselves on Nashville last week, their first performance in almost two years, much to the delight of my good friends and the city that I lived near and never figured out how to drive in.

So here's the new video, "Icky Thump" from the album of the same name. By the way, I love the title only because it's pronounced "Icky Fump" in the U.K.

I am absolutely in love with Jack's look. I'm glad that he's stopped taking looney pills and gone back to the simplicity of De Stijl. They look like the band and not the carnival they became after Elephant. Meg has a bit of Mary Jane going on. It definitely clashes with the red/white/black scheme but at least we now know Jack doesn't control her palette with an iron fist. The song is growing on me and seeing the band's new/old look ripping through it is reassuring. Is this album a return to the band's roots? Is this single a misdirection like "Blue Orchid" was?

Good video, good song. I will not eat for a day so I can buy the album.


Lost "Through The Looking Glass"

TEASER I'm freaking out already. This show needs to be impregnated by me, I love it so much. I can't even think about that crazy flashback with a bearded Jack and near suicide. What's important? JINN SPEAKS ENGLISH! Ah finally! And truer words have never been spoken! The dedication that these characters have for each other, something that I am amazed by. Hurley and Claire missing Charlie, Sayid talking to Jack, Rose to Bernard ("I'm a dentist, I am not Rambo")! I'm already freaking out, I don't think I can handle the next hour and fifty minutes.

ACT ONE I'm seriously pissed at my TV. It's snowy and I'm squinting. I'm squinting and I hear explosions and people possibly dying! Okay so, Naomi doesn't trust Juliette and I really don't trust Naomi. She's way too pretty, fell out of the sky, it reeks of deus ex machina. Plus, she healed at Wolverine speed. Second, I love that the Looking Glass Babes called Charlie one of "them." Way to keep that theme of "them" and "other" going, Cuse and Lindelof! Ben is batshit crazy, straight up, and that I can tell even through the blizzard on my TV. I'm fearing for Juliet; I feel revengeance from Ben! Um, and, yeah, that last minute or so. I cannot have Jinn or Sayid die. I feel like Bernard and Rose are easy targets just because they're not regulars.

ACT TWO Okay, how exactly can ones heart hold up during this? Sure, Bernard is a straight up pussy for telling everything and he's just put Rose and the others (see, I just used it) in danger...BUT...he is just a dentist. He did what Rose said. Yeah, I have a soft spot for wusses in stories because, honestly, I'd probably do the same thing (never get trapped on an island with me). I was seriously thinking I was going to see Jinn brains all over the beach. And how much head trauma can Sayid take? It's really time for him to go bonanza on all of these guys. He was trained to be a killing machine (or something), let's see him do some killing. Starting with that other guy, not Tom. I like Tom. Oddly. And was Jack's ex-wife pregnant? I can't tell with my TV but she really looked bump-y. And Charlie is so confident now that he doesn't care about dying. Maybe those girls will like the confidence and Charlie can get a good bye threesome. One of them is named Bonnie, I think. Was that Ben's girl's name? I don't think so?

ACT THREE And if they get off the island, first order of business for Kate? A guest spot on Maury Povich to make Sawyer PAY UP! He is sleepwalking and trotting dangerously close to Checked Out mode. He's pretty high up on my list of those to die, which is really no good. I can't wait to see Ben and Alex go on thier bonding backpacking trip. It'll be like A Goofy Movie except with a megalomaniac and no quasi-hip rap tracks. Kudos to Desmond for making it safely into The Looking Glass. I can't open my eyes underwater so I would be absolutely useless. Once again, I hope I never am stranded on an island.

Oh yeah, isn't Americal Idol ending at some point? I wish a cross-network promotional stunt would find the Others kidnapping Blake and messing with his ovaries...or really just something horrible. I don't like him.

ACT FOUR Boo ya Kate! You chose Sawyer, you guys are perfectly miserable together, stop pining for Jack. That was a satisfying kiss. I think Jack and Juliet have great chemistry (cheesy boat trip ending of that tattoo episode aside) and they have been through H.E.L.L. And yes, Juliet, you do have to go back. You're a big part of the current problem. I'm glad she's taking responsibility and stepping up to the plate. With Sawyer. Who I have marked for death (nooo!). So...they go back and both die, that's my theory. Did I mention I love Charlie? He's doing great. If I didn't squeal, I'd probably be as downright annoying as he is being if I were captured (I'm never flying again so I won't risk being stranded somewhere). I love the seeds of distrust being planted all up in the Looking Glass. I don't know if Mikhail is going to trust Ben now or not, but apparently Bonnie or The Other Girl is like that lady in T3; a total killing machine. At least that's what I gathered by the "you'd already be dead" comment.

ACT FIVE Walt has a man voice now! Or one in the making...I guess forced perspective and baggy clothes hide aging on the island. I'm freaked out a bit right now. Locke sees lost losties a lot (Boone before this). I wonder if there's a connection or if Walt has a bigger purpose. Is he Jacob, maybe? A vessel for him? And Hurley! I've had weird feelings about him being evil or that he might betray the gang. I don't know why, he's been acting weird ever since his van episode. Now he's been turned away by Sawyer...oy vey! He looked so upset and I don't want him to do anything rash. I really really like Hurley; so far he's been the only honest-to-goodness nice guy on the show. By the way, Jack was a hardcore drug addict and loser back in the day. Does he want to save that chick's life so she'll marry him since it happened once before? And no guns. Great, Juliet, lying again. At least she's hilarious ("You screwing Jack yet?") and lying for the right reasons.

Halfway through the finale and no one is dead yet. I'm putting money (blog money) on Sawyer, Juliet, Bernard, Jinn, Desmond, Mikhail. THose were quickly made!

ACT SIX A middle-aged man with a cane and no sign of muscle mass has never looked that intimidating. Showdown of the series about to happen. Oh, and, KILL THE LOVE TRIANGLE! Ugh! I mean, yeah, we've all known Jack has had a hard-on for Kate since the first episode (sutures do that, you know) and yeah, I know it wasn't going to be easy for him to get over her. But like, he's fine with Juliet. She's fine with Sawyer. Now that he's dropped the L-Bomb, she's going to ditch Sawyer straight up (and since both he and Juliet are probably going to die...). Okay...maybe if they do die, Jack and Kate can hook up and all this will end. The casket is a total mystery, but he's stressed out enough to be strung out about it. Neither friend nor family with no visitors? Could it be Alvar Hanso? Would that be crazy?

ACT SEVEN I'm dead inside. I don't trust the deaths of Sayid, Bernard and Jinn until I see their bodies, but Ben looks like a goner. And Mikhail too. Oh I'm just exhausted, that was intense. I've never, television has never been like this. I like that Ben has a motive now though and really, can't trust Naomi. She fell from the sky. I remember that Ben did too. I just, wow....Sayid! Without Sayid these guys are really, really lost. It's totally possible that Tom killed the other survivors, I dunno. I'm kinda nauseous.

ACT EIGHT YES! I just, I love Hurley. That was one of the most unexpected and downright exhilirating rescues I've seen in a while. Yes, Sayid, you kill him with your FEET! That's right! Sayid is merciless! And Sawyer, oh Sawyer, thank you for coming back. "That's for taking the kid off the raft." I forgot how Tom was the face of evil for season two, how we all thought he was the head other. His possible foppishness aside, he deserves what he got. ESPECIALLY from Sawyer. I love a good call back and that was a good call back. So the death count is up to seven random others, both Looking Glass Girls, Mikhail (maybe), and...that's it so far. Not that shocking. I love that only a musician can enter in the code. Great. It is Charlie's destiny.

ACT NINE No! There are TEARS! There are tears in my EYES! No, curses! Charlie! No no no! Such a great character, this was the obvious thing darnit! You're supposed to shock me and kill someone else! I knew Mikhail wasn't dead; he better be now. And no, darnit no no no, not Penny's boat? Not Penny's boat! I can't stand this! Things are now going so wrong! And Hurley, who knows if he may betray all of them on the beach for a last minute switcheroo. I bet the last shocker will be that they are all captured and all of next season is the entire cast being held prisoner on that boat. I hate Naomi. And I hate that it looks like Ben is right. W. T. F. I'm not feeling well.

ACT TEN I wish I had posted this earlier because now I'm going to seem like a total liar, but I was wondering if we were seeing a flash forward. Yeah, this is on the level of Sidney Bristow waking up after being dead for two years, maybe even more shocking. I have a lot of faith in this show and I know they know what they're doing. I do think that the flashback formula was getting a bit stale. Still great, mind you, but it's nice to ditch it while they're still interesting. I'm only worried about what flashing forward does to the dramatic narrative of the show. For instance, we now know that Jack and Kate are absolutely safe until the very last episode (unless the island time ends up catching up with the flash forward time). That's a weird feeling since I was actually pretty sure Locke was going to shoot the bejeezus out of him. I'm also concerned about my own mental health, now that I'll be trying to juggle the past, present, and future all at once. Thanks, Lost, for assuming that I'm smart!

So that was that. An absolutely stellar season comes to a close with a full on amazing season finale and a trip to crazy town in the last five minutes. I'm actually upset at the lack of death. I got emotionally toyed with for two hours, yes, but only one death to show for it. Cuse and Lindelof have really set the bar high now. Keeping dramatic tension when we know that they get off the island and that future flash forwards, if handled like the flashbacks, are going to guarantee the safety of everyone they touch. This show is approaching a shark and it's going to absolutely insane to see what they do with that shark next season. I hope they plow through it because I would hate for Lost to jump it.

MY SCORE: **** (out of 5)


The pic to the left is from the hilarious season 3 recap found here. It perfectly captures every dramatic moment and is the ideal source of hard hitting info on the show. LOLZ.

Anyway. I'm going to try and live blog the show tonight. Hopefully ABC will actually come in; this is one show you don't want to squint through. I swear, if I miss a Sawyer-ism, a Jacob-flash, a "my BAaY-BEE" shriek, or the words "brother" or "dude," I'm going to be way unhappy. And I'll have to spend $3.98 on iTunes. Boo. And I swear, if I have to see Hurley on a tiny screen, I'm going to be way unhappy.

I'm picky about Lost, much like I was about dinner when I was a child. Or teenager. Or now.

To celebrate, here are links to the second half of the season's best and worst episodes, reviewed by me. Uh, I missed a lot of episodes too (ba-zing) and had to watch them online.

Tonight's a Jack-back, so I have to wonder about the quality.


Grip Like A Vice

Thanks to Ashley for showing off her book last night at dinner. I now find myself in one of those. THANKS.

Since Ashley's been in town, it's been like the jolly old times of last fall. And yes, those were jolly times to me. I worked as much as I do now but I know I was a lot happier. Maybe it was because I love Late Show (yep), maybe it was the people (I trust them with my life), maybe it was the fact that there was a show every day and I got to see where all my work was going (sometimes my work even made it on air). I hit a high point in my life last semester, honestly, and retrospect and nostalgia is totes amplifying this.

And now that dream is dead. It hit me this weekend. Improv has taken over my life to the point that I can't realistically dream about working at Late Show anymore. I've known this all along. The weekend I spent working on my application for the job of research assistant was a grueling one, an intense one, and a non-fun one because I missed a concert. That's what that life is like sometimes, hello, and the idea of getting a job at Late Show right out of college was intoxicating. If that had happened, however, I would not be doing improv right now. I know I'm a better improviser than I am a researcher, by the way. So things worked out fine.

While walking to work this morning (in the 30 seconds it takes from R-train to front door) it hit me: I would be happier in Nashville working at Channel 5+. I would be happier directing a TV show again, even if it is about menopause, the Titans, and road work. I miss working on a television show that is being made now, that is active, that is live. That's what I did in college, that's where I thrived. I miss that urgency and I miss how I acted in that urgency. I want to see Decisive Director Brett again. It's been so long and I'm so lethargic at work that I think that Brett is dying. The only blip of life in that Brett is in improv.

And that's why I'm in New York now. That's where I get to be the Brett that I like, the Brett that I think actually has the ambition to have a career in this business (the business of comedy, preferably comedy on television). I organize, I schedule, I listen, I react, I improv.

Of course living in New York is really expensive. I have an expensive apartment that I will be alone in this summer after planning on having a roommate. Everything fell through and now I will be eating two sandwiches a day and, yes, ending my comic buying (we'll see how well that one goes). I also finally got my insurance card today, so I'm back on my allergy medication after getting pretty fugly. But in New York, I can only get 30 pills at a time instead of 90 and, the kicker, it cost me $67 when it normally costs me $10-$15. The pharmacy said this may go down eventually....but the thought of now spending upwards of $60 on medication a month when that is, seriously, 20% of my total spending money for an entire month is Freaking. Me. Out.

I. Need. More. Money.

Do. You. Need. Plasma?

Right now I'm grateful that I have "Grip Like A Vice" by The Go! Team to listen to (it's on my myspace page). Uplifting. For real.


The Kiss Hello

There are a couple of traits that bond me to my friends from home. There's awkwardness, self-deprication, and the complete lack of confidence (all of these best summed up in our ritualistic birthday greeting of "Here's your birthday present, you can throw it away if you want"). Granted, we've all overcome some of these faults (in society's eyes, not mine) and function (nay, thrive) in the real world now. But there is one thing that I just don't understand and can't get behind, no matter how confident I become.

The kiss hello.


It's understood in my circle of friends that we don't hug. We don't shake hands. We don't even look at each other. Okay, I'm lying on the last two and we hug occasionally, but physical contact is not a necessary part of our greeting or bye-bye process. A simple "hi," "hey," or "hello" does the job with the skill of an employee of the month. The kiss hello doesn't happen in Tennessee, not even amongst the other social groups I observed in the KUC on campus.

Up here in New York, especially in the entertainment business, the kiss hello is spreading germs all over the place. Just a couple hours ago, a man and woman came in for a meet-and-greet with my boss. Kiss hello. Really? I'm pretty sure all of these people are seeing each other for the first time and that is being accentuated with a kiss? A kiss? A kiss is the grand finale of a wedding, the biggest day of at least one person in attendance's life, not an acceptable substitute for a hand shake. "You may now shake the bride's hand."

I know this isn't a big deal. It's not a crotch-grab-hello (which I would maybe accept just because of the ridiculousness of it and the fact that no germs are being spread). I just still don't know what to do when put in these situations of saying hello to someone and suddenly finding them kissing me. Do I kiss back at the last second, going against everything I believe (EVERYTHING)? Do I let it slide? I normally let it slide and act like it never happened. Kiss hellos and goodbyes are only acceptable in dating situations, period.

So that's today's rant. I also have similarly backwards theories about bathrooms, elevator use, and saying goodbye. I'll get into those later.


Sketch 101: Sketch from your life

Last night was my first sketch class and, aside from the fact that I was a week behind in getting comfortable and therefore said nothing whatsoever regarding other people's sketches, it went very well. My sketch was well-received and there was laughter throughout. So, just furthers my belief that I have no clue what works and doesn't in my sketches.

Here's my sketch, based on something that happened to me. I took a lot of time reformatting this from my Final Draft Demo (me be poor) just because I know you're bored at work.

Post Office
Brett White

LIGHTS UP on STEVE, a young adult, waiting in line holding a small package. Behind the counter is a middle aged female postal worker, SHIRELLE. Next to Shirelle is another worker, BRANDY, and a line. The MAN in front of Steve leaves.


Steve approaches the counter. As he does so, the phone at Shirelle’s desk rings. She picks it up.

Yeah? What? What? No, I’m not paying $200 for that. I don’t care if it’s the law or whatever, I don’t have that kinda money...listen...no YOU listen, no...I’m NOT paying it.

Shirelle slams the phone down.

What do you want?!


I just need a fifty dollar roll of stamps and to...(lifting package onto counter)...overnight this.

Brandy, the woman next to Shirelle, leans over.

What was all that about, Shirelle?

SHIRELLE(angrily entering numbers into the computer)
Tasha found this cat out on the sidewalk. Little thing’s gonna cost me $200 in shots. Shots!

The phone rings again. Shirelle answers. Steve starts to look a bit disgruntled.

No, shut up Tasha. Go to your daddy with stuff like this. Go to your daddy...I know you can’t go to him! That’s the point of prison! You got me, Tasha, and me can’t pay no $200 for this cat! You want a leopard coat, you want your cell phone bill paid, or do you want this cat? No!

Slams phone down.

What do you want?

I was just, I need a fifty dollar roll of stamps and this overnighted.

Hold on, then. (to herself, typing)I’m fed up with cats. I’m fed up with kitties. I’m fed up with anything with cats on ‘em. I’m fed up with shots, with medicine. I’m fed up with vets. I’m fed up with doctors if any of them come near me.

MANAGER walks behind Shirelle.

Woo, I hear Shirelle all the way in the back, causing a fuss. This ain’t about you having to work the rest of Anita’s shift tonight, is it?

Shirelle picks up and slams down Steve’s package.


Oh no, no she didn’t! I said no, no way, I told her sorry ass no! I have a daughter I need to straighten out tonight, I don’t got time to be selling no stamps!(manager walks away, chuckling)I’m fed up with him! I’m fed up with his goofy ass haircut! Fed up with that trick knee of his, make him limp! I’m fed up with stamps, envelopes, anything you lick! I’m fed up with this shirt, I’m fed up with this computer, I’m fed up with this counter! Don’t even get me started on this window, I’m fed up with it too. If it had curtains, I’d be fed up with them!

Brandy looks over at her.

Yeah, I’m fed up with you too, Brandy! Fed up with your earrings, your socks that don’t match, fed up with your two shades of lipstick wearing at once. I’m fed up with it all!(to Steve)What was this?

It needs to be overnighted, please, could you just --

I’m fed up with customers too, so watch it!

Shirelle goes about entering in numbers on her keypad.

I need fifty dollars worth of stamps, too.

I’m fed up with stamps, remember?!

Shirelle angrily pulls out a roll of stamps, scans it, and slides it across the counter. She then starts manhandling the package, slapping labels and all that on it.

I’m fed up with the eagles on the stamps, the flag on them. I’m fed up with red, white and blue. I’m definitely fed up with the president. Don’t get me started on the president! I’m fed up with my apartment, my neighbors, I’m fed up with this country! I’m fed up! Know how Michael Douglas made that movie cause he was fed up? I’m like Michael Douglas in that movie!

Shirelle shoves the package under her desk, takes the money in Steve’s hand, and forces his change on him.

Fed up!

Steve leaves. Shirelle sits for a second, breathes in and out, Brandy pats her on the shoulder.


A WOMAN walks up to the window, package and paper in hand.

I just need to mail this to this address.

Okay, ma’am. I can do that for you.

The phone rings. Twice. Shirelle answers.

You know I hate that boy Tasha, he is NOT coming over for dinner! I’m fed up Hamburger Helper!


The notes I got were to make some of Shirelle's rants more specific (yes, she actually did say the Michael Douglas line) since those were the funniest. I could also make Steve's request be even simpler ("I just need that box, right there."). My teacher, Chris Kula of Reuben Williams, said the ending was fine but it would make more sense if something the Woman says triggered the last blow up. All things I'll probably work into this.


Bye 202

Tonight was my last 202 class at UCB and I'm not happy about that. This has been a great class and I really feel like I learned a couple tons of info. Most all of this is because of the teacher, Joe Wengert. He knows exactly what exercises to do and what notes to give to get the best out of each student. This meant more to me than Rob Riggle's class (which was an improv-changing experience, don't get me wrong) just because Joe is one of my favorite performers on one of the most consistently brilliant teams at the UCB. So, you know, making someone laugh that makes you laugh...it's pretty cool. I keep waiting to have a bad experience with a teacher, but they've all been so stupendous. Between Ari, Shannon and Joe, I have gained a solid foundation of improv skills that I will build upon. They're my improv parents. A weird threesome.

Speaking of weird threesomes, I got to give notes on one tonight in class. The abbreviated Harold we did for the last half hour featured me playing a dad who was way too comfortable giving advice to his daughter. So, you know, sex toys and tampons did fly. Besides that, I think I did some pretty decent scenework that got laughs and also attempted to put together everything I've been learning. There were only 8 of us in class ("this'll be like Harold team practice" Joe commented) so we all got scenes galore and individual notes. Joe's note to me was to make my scenes more active and to always look for the next object or move in the game. For some reason I thought that I had no problem with that, then I remembered that it was similar to a note Shannon gave me on Sunday. The scenes I did after that, gross sexual misconduct aside, were very active and full of game moves. Wow. Here's hoping I can hold on to that note. I also did the first diss Joe's ever heard in a pattern game (Mike: "Men wearing thong underwear" Brett: "What Mike calls Saturday night."). Unfortunately that scenario never appeared in any of the following scenes.

Tomorrow night I begin my sketch 101 class.



Now he's intimidating.

My television doubles as my alarm clock. I woke up to this on Today.
Does this mean that Dwight actually is manly?

And seriously, talk me out of growing a beard right now. I'm easily influenced.


Curse you, Bay!

I'm not pretending that the upcoming Transformers movie is going to be Oscar bait. I can also say that I've not liked any of the Michael Bay movies I've seen (okay, the only one I've seen is the awful Armageddon but I recall that one getting generally positive reviews from my peers...in 8th grade). But honestly, for a series that began as extended commercials for toys, I think Bay is an okay choice. Transformers was never going to be Million Dollar Baby.


I have serious issues with how the Transformers themselves look in the movie. I was never a die hard fan like some people I know (seriously, there's a devotion that rivals Star Trek to these automobiles) but I played with the toys pretty heavily growing up. And yeah, I get that things have to be reimagined for the big screen (thank God Wolverine didn't wear yellow spandex), but the level to which the Transformers have been changed is crazy.

They look like bugs. Metallic bugs. Look at this, two of my favorite characters with comparisons.


Okay, really, aside from the fact that Bumblee is gold, any similarities? If you traveled back to 1991 and handed me a picture of these two new versions (just a note: I'm wearing acid wash jeans with an elastic waistband, a Mickey Mouse hip hop gear t-shirt, and so many friendship bracelets), would I be able to identify them as Starscream and Bumblebee? No. I mean, Bumblebee maybe, if I looked closely enough to notice that there are tires hidden behind that lattice work of metal. But Starscream? He looks like a gestalt of angry forks. The fun for me, as a kid, was noticing how each robot still resembled their vehicular counterpart. Aside from hidden tires and a license plate cod piece, neither of these can be identified as anything other than Creepy Metallic Alien Bugs.

What's worse is that Starscream looks exactly like Megatron, Ironhide and Jazz. Yeah, all three are to the right. Can you pick out who is who? Megatron turns into a gun, Ironhide a red van, and Jazz a Porsche. Yep. Mmhmm. Bumblebee's not a Volkswagen Beetle anymore, so I guess they can alter the car modes...but still, can you tell which one of these is a gun and which other two are vehicles? Whatever. The one area that they could have adapted easily, the one area that matters the most, isn't even adapted: their heads and faces. The characters have always looked like robots, so why not keep the faces the same and bug out the rest of their bodies?


I'm still going to see this because Shia is wearing a Strokes t-shirt in it, giving my favorite band much needed publicity. Or something. Not.


Your favorite game

Which one of these is not like the other?

My guess is that the White Stripes made Interpol stop stealing their color scheme (that Meg is a spitfire) and the band found solace in the American Museum of Natural History.

Nothing says moody rock like a lion/antelope threesome.


Stars For Dinner: Joss Whedon

The last time I did a Stars For Dinner entry (a.k.a. "the only time"), I met the very man 17 days later. This has to happen a second time for it to be considered a pattern, so I might as well go all out and meet the man who set me on the course I am on today, and I don't mean a pudgy/pasty/balding course (then again....).

Without Joss Whedon, I would not be working in television.

My attention throughout elementary and middle school was focused entirely on comics. I don't regret this; the obsession provided me with hours of entertainment, a self-created universe of friends, and glimpses at popularity when other kids would notice that I was drawing a static-electricity powered monkey wearing head gear getting electrocuted by a teenage girl wearing a smiley face ringer tee and cut-off denim shorts (everyone misses 1996, right?). However, I never had the attention span to grasp anatomy, depth, or the fact that a couple of stray lines does not a cityscape make. I was in love with comics, but not really certain if I could pursue them as a career.

Then I saw Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it clicked. Comic book style storytelling on television, full of call backs, continuity, recurring characters, big time change, the works. I became obsessed with the show and that pretty much sealed the deal. Television, the box that introduced me to the life-changing Muppet Babies, was my true calling. I don't know why it never occurred to me.

Other factors have come into play, definitely, but Buffy in 8th grade was what started it all. And Joss Whedon is responsible for that. Sharp characterization, unwillingness to trap himself within one genre, the man was and is an inspiration. After Buffy, he created Angel and Firefly, two shows that are very Whedon yet completely their own shows. Angel, a dark noir drama set in the alleys of LA, became the funniest show on television for a brief time. Firefly is good too, but I think there are bigger fans of it out there. They're called brown coats. Or something.

Recently, Joss has entered the world of comics. He writes three a month (Astonishing X-Men, Runaways, and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight) and is now making me wonder why I gave up on my comic dreams. His spot on characterization of every character on all three of those books makes me cry the tears of nerd joy with every reading (don't even get me started on Kitty Pryde's speech to Emma Frost in Astonishing #2) and inspires me to aspire to take the reigns of one of my favorite Marvel books in the hopes of doing it as much justice as Joss does his.

It's a nerd stereotype, to be true. The man has a t-shirt and slogan after him that denounces Star Wars, for Kenobi's sake. But I can't help it. He's never lead me wrong, he's never let me down, and I know we could talk for hours about the X-Men. I mean, the first page of his first issue references Uncanny X-Men #168, one of my top five issues of all time. From there, who knows where the conversation could lead. Childhood superhero creations? Favorite candy bars? Tragic school stories, most of them involving Field Day?

Joss, let's do lunch.


Old Lady Clothes

In my attempt to make each blog entry a little less scattershot, I'm focusing on one topic today. As I take a wee break from the maelstrom of work that, straight up, came out of nowhere, I'm going to ponder the curious predicament of my mother and her "new" job.

My mother has been unemployed for a while, making the moneys tight. The only job that my mom truly excelled at (and by "excel" I mean a job she likes; she's been great/the best at all of her jobs) was her job as a buyer/window dresser/everything else at a dress shop in Mufreesboro, TN. A dress shop for old ladies. Rich old ladies. Lucille Bluth old ladies, fancy old lady clothes. My mom has always been creative. From making sweaters with lace on them and puff paint snowmen (it was the early 90s so it was acceptable; her putting me in said sweaters and taking photos was sheer manipulation) to her own purses and diaper bags for all the preggo women we know, she always kept herself busy with a project of some sort. Our backyard looks like the after on one of the more boring episodes of While You Were Out (the backyard episodes were never as good). When my mom got that job, it was perfect for her.

But, like most everything, there comes a metric ton of suck. My mom started spending almost every waking moment at the store, mainly because she wanted it to look good. This is mos def a trait I get from her; I'm a perfectionist and tend to go all in when I get involved in something (hello two improv classes a week and a practice group). This wore her out and other work scenarios were just not worth it.

And now, like, two years later, she's with them again. After a pretty long stretch of no-jobdom. I think there's mixed reactions in the family about this, but we all agree that the money is necessary. I'm not as mixed because I like seeing my mom do something that she's good at and something cool. She's so creative and, for someone who didn't go to college and was married with a kid by her late teens, she's done well for herself.

I'm thinking about this a lot lately just because I feel like I'm going to be hitting a cross roads soon, career wise. It's not really pressing; I'm only 22. But there's a gut feeling that in the next couple months, it's going to come time to really batten down my hatches and try for something big, most likely improv-wise. I'm not even making this sound right, I think. Maybe, maybe it means that every single job sucks but if it's what you love, it's worth holding on to and going back to. There were always parts of TV production that I hate but, as I sit at a desk for almost 50 hours a week, I wish I could go back and do it all one more time. I'd even lay cable or pick up yellowjackets.

Okay, maybe not, but I'd love to direct something again.


Notes From The Edge!!!

I was bound to crash after the heights (improv heights) I hit this past weekend, and crash I did. But it was a crash I walked away from; I did not end up on a tropical hellhole surrounded by mystery and dirty, world saving/ending (?) obstetricians. It was another good class that yielded many more things to add to my brain.

- Keep an eye out for character games or emotional games as opposed to just "this guy watched clown related crimes."

- Your characters always know! If they don't, then the scene becomes about solving a problem instead of about the characters.

- When possible, match your partner's energy. It's an instant agreement and scenes where people are on the same page are usually entertaining. Don't choose to intimidate or make your scene partner nervous. It's almost like arguing and kinda hard to heighten.

- Don't talk about it, do it. Don't practice or plan, do it. This is why scenes just before the "biggest play/concert/puppet show of your career!" are tricky.

There will be more blogs not improv related coming up. One may include Joss Whedon. One may include old-lady fashions.


Spider-Man 3

I've seen it.

Here's what I thought.

And I'm spoiler crazy.

I'm also completely biased, since Spider-Man 2 is constantly at war with X2: X-Men United for the spot of Digsy's Second Favorite Movie Ever. SM2's themes, it's acting, it's over the top direction, and that dang subway scene, they all get to me and stand together as many many reasons as to why movies exist. It's a perfect movie, in my opinion.

So not only does Spider-Man 3 have a lot to live up to, I'm also more inclined to look at it through rose colored black-rim glasses. And really, it does live up to it. I knew there was no way this would top SM2; I just hoped it would be good. And it is.

The acting is really kicked up a notch in this film. Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire have pretty solid chemistry as Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker and, goshdarnit, I root for them. I want those two to be together, even if their babies would have the most jacked up mouth ever (her gnarly front teeth, his awkward overbite). I've never been a huge fan of James Franco's Harry Osborn, but I love him on Freaks & Geeks so this may just be an annoying character. Yeah, Harry's annoying. He's like Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope but...he never grows up. He's whining about power converters for three movies.

The three new additions to the cast are so superb, they almost steal the movie. Sandman as a villain was, initially, a bore. Seriously, after Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus, Sandman was going to be the big bad? No? But Thomas Haden Church was great casting and he really makes you feel for poor Flint Marko. I mean, he gets a seriously raw deal and, thanks to his powers, can never enjoy a tasty beverage or take a shower again. Using very few words, Church sells Marko/Sandman as a realistic villain with a decent motive. Church manages to emote through sand, a lot of the time. Hard work, but he was up to it.

Bryce Dallas Howard took some time off from making the worst movies ever ("The Village" and "Lady in the Water" anyone?) to make a downright head turning debut as Gwen Stacy. Holy crap, she was born to play this role. She doesn't do much, but the few scenes she's in, she is Gwen Stacy. Blonde, confident, black headband, I was totally expecting her to get thrown off a bridge and hear her neck snap, I was that convinced. Kirsten Dunst can go join a Smashing Pumpkins cover band (she looks like Billy Corgan) for all I care, BDH is ready to go.

Lastly, can I please watch a movie starring Eddie Brock? Topher Grace has such a presence on screen and he just rules every scene he's in. He's hilarious, creepy, intimidating and pathetic all at the same time. This is the best thing to come out of "That 70s Show" since...ever. He makes a great turn as a villain and I wish there was more of him, even if it was odd seeing Topher Grace's head popping out of Venom's body.

The best thing about the movie is how it teeters from being straight up awesome and being downright creeptastic when Peter Parker goes Fall Out Boy with his symbiote hair dye and eyeliner. His libido-strut down the street is hilarious, as is his sexy stare down with Betty Brant. But the dance scene with Gwen and his subsequent rage at MJ is...wow. Something you don't want to see. There's also a butt load of action in the film, and while it's all emotionally charged and relevant (Peter reaching out for Aunt May's engagement ring while being attacked by Harry sticks with me), none of it is as moving as the subway action sequence in SM2. I also loved the scene between Peter and Ursula involving the cookies. Tobey plays a jerk acting sweet so well.

There's a big ol' sense of coincidence throughout this movie that can kinda distract if you let it. Like, the meteor carrying the symbiote just happens to land near Peter and MJ. Flint Marko really killed Uncle Ben. Harry gets amnesia from his fight with Peter just long enough to further the plot. Eddie is at the same cathedral as Peter when the symbiote gets knocked off him. It's all somewhat plausible and the film tries to explain away most of it, but sometimes it comes across as rather tiring. Also, really, darnit, I want a Spider-Man movie where he's just Spider-Man from beginning to end. No manipulation, no giving up, just Spider-Man versus his bad guy. Stiiiiill, it's all good and I think revenge is a fine theme to explore in this film and it finds it's way into every story.

The lack of stakes also kinda got to me, since the world is never in danger. But then again, Spider-Man is not Superman. He deals with his family and friends primarily; he's not going off to Russia to stop nuclear bombs or flying into space to destroy an asteroid. MJ being in danger is as big as the end of the world to Spider-Man, and the delicate pacing and complex characterization of the characters so far gets that point across just fine to the audience.

Overall, this was fine. This was good and worth the wait. Loads of action, loads of comedy. It's a fun movie with lots of fun moments, the fun moments and great acting overshadowing some of the more dicey plot elements.

And remember, I'm biased.

And love is blind.

MY SCORE: **** (out of 5)