Saturday, August 26, 2017

Voice Recognition: Activated


Tonight is Dr. Colosso night on Nickelodeon.

Who is Dr. Colosso, you ask?

He's the evil bunny on The Thundermans, one of the four shows my girls watch every day.




I've watched a few episodes with them, but it wasn't until the promotions ran for this specially-themed night that the voice of the bunny sounded very familiar to me.

Who is the voice of Dr. Colosso, you ask?


Dana Snyder, who also voiced one of my all-time favorite characters:


Master Shake, of Aqua Teen Hunger Force


 
Here's a clip of Master Shake turning into "Mocha" Shake:




And here's a clip of Dr. Colosso turning in to Dana:



Unfortunately I can't show my kids any of his previous voiceover work.


Also, D mentioned that if she could choose her ideal body type, she'd want to look like Thundermans lead actress Kira Kosarin:




Seconded. 



~

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Party Of No

When the month of August started, and my birthday was ten days away, I told my wife I wanted pizza. There are dozens of restaurants in our area, and her family goes out to eat a lot - but they always go to the same places. And her mother always pays for us. Her money, her choice.

But I thought that I would play the "birthday" card to go to a place I wanted to go to. And so I asked D if she wanted to invite the only two people I'm even semi-comfortable with - our only 'couples' friends, who have twin boys that have been friends with our daughters for years. 

They were not available on my birthday weekend. They were on vacation. 

But that's okay... Connecticut has better pizza anyway. My lifelong bff had e-mailed me a while back and asked when I'd be coming to town. I told him when I'd be in CT, and that maybe we could go to Bar. "Bar sounds good." He said. "I haven't had a mashed potato pizza in forever!"

I was looking forward to seeing my bff, splitting a pizza, and having some "bro time". There have been so many things on my mind that I want to share - and either D knows them all and dismisses them, or I can't talk to her about them.


My bff had plans for Saturday the 19th. If we had come to CT on Friday, maybe we could have met up. But D wasn't going to do that. So...no bro time, and no Bar.


At this point I am done with my birthday. My mother will be 75 at the end of September, and she had an idea. There is a lighthouse cruise in Connecticut that she would very much like to go on, and if I could tell my sister about it and emphasize to her that this is Mom's 75th birthday and she really wants to do this, she will make it happen.


When my sister popped in to Mom's for a visit on Sunday morning I pulled up the webpage for the CT lighthouse tour. I told her this is what Mom wants to do for her bday.

Older Sis looked at it for all of five seconds and said...


Yeah! Sounds good. Let's do it.



But wait... my nephew won't have his daughter that weekend. Older sis thought about that briefly and dismissed it. Not a deal breaker. She doesn't have to come.

But wait... now my wife has chimed in. Even though she agreed weeks in advance to go back to CT on the last weekend in September for my mom's 75th birthday... she hadn't actually looked at the calendar.

And now she has realized that her father's birthday is that Sunday. And she should be with her family that weekend. 

Now I'm pissed. This isn't even for me, it's for my mother. On her 75th birthday. 

But what could I do? My not-yet deceased mother can't compete with D's deceased dad.




On the way home from my mom's we passed the highway sign for White Plains, NY. I wonder what's going on in White Plains this weekend? I wondered aloud. As if I didn't know.

There is a major sports card and memorabilia show in White Plains every year on the third weekend of August. I have not been there in eight years. The first five years, we didn't go because we had very young children..and no money. Then, two years ago my aunt died and left me a check (through my mother) with three zeroes on it. My mom strongly encouraged me to do something fun with the money - and I could think of nothing more enjoyable than buying baseball cards guilt-free. 


Although..paying bills is fun too, I guess. 

Since then I haven't even bothered to ask; if I can't go when I have $1000 in my pocket I sure as hell cant go when I only have $100.

I can daydream about telling everyone to back off and let me do what I want, but it just isn't happening.


Which brings me to yesterday.

My bff e-mailed me a belated Happy Birthday and asked when I'll be in town again - so we can hang out and have pizza on not my birthday. 

But it doesn't look like I'll have any time for 'bro time"...


My sister suddenly decided that her grand-daughter should be with us for the lighthouse tour (so that D wouldn't have to be away from her family on her father's birthday) andso now she wants to re-schedule that for not my mom's birthday.

And our couples friends want to re-schedule our proposed pizza party for not my birthday.



I wish I could tell them all that I'm not interested.


~

 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Reality Slap with Brian Johnson


Years ago, while working on my second full-length screenplay, I joined a website called Simply Scripts..where aspiring screenwriters share their completed drafts in a message board and other aspiring screenwriters will read and critique them on the forum. That's where I met Brian Johnson, aka "The Crazy Artist."



Brian was the first person outside my friends/family/teachers circle who thought I had any kind of talent for storytelling. He was wrong...but his critiques and praise were most appreciated. "The Crazy Artist" was an awesome guy, and an even more awesome author. Among the two dozen or so scripts I read on Simply Scripts, his was by far the best. I actually printed out a copy of Justus and kept it in my collection (I still have it) because it's the kind of thing I would read again and again. 

Brian had submitted Justus to a script evaluation service, where it was given a grade of 98 out of 100. And the agency still passed on it. My script got a 60, mostly because I didn't make any spelling or grammar mistakes. The story itself was far inferior to a story that was not good enough to get Brian a screenwriting rep. And so, inadvertently, Brian was a big reason why I stopped writing screenplays. 

Brian's script didn't break down the doors of Hollywood, but he does produce low-budget horror flicks and even has a few iMDB credits. I bought The Black Mountain Madman for my horror-loving nephew a few years ago, and he dug it. Justus wasn't a horror story or a thriller, it was a teen romance for "bros" - if that makes sense.


A few years later I re-imagined my "kid with cancer" script as a young adult novel, but by then I had given up the goal of making some kind of career out of writing. All I wanted to do was complete the story, have fun writing it, and maybe self-publish it. If I had any allusions/delusions of becoming a published author they died for good when I discovered John Green.

I don't write stories anymore, but I've conjured up an alternate universe for myself to escape to every night - one in which I've corrected most of my real-life failures (while tweaking a few others to play out differently) and became a successful author and YouTuber. Basically I'm a younger John Green, but single and slightly more neurotic.

 Also, I look more like this guy...

   ...than this guy
 



Escaping to this world and expanding on my fake-life story satisfies my creativity while saving myself the time and energy of actually having to do the work (which would be impossible with my wife & kids anyhow.) Sometimes, farming reality for ideas keeps me going. And sometimes it makes me want to shut it all down.


I'm about to turn 30.. and I'm at a crossroads. Two years ago, my life was perfect. My third YA novel was a huge hit, I had 2.2 million followers on YouTube, and I was in love with a girl who was sweet and supportive and super fit, and she understood and enjoyed my sarcastic, scattershot sense of humor. Life was good.

My "side hustle" was a 9-to-5 gig building homes for my father-in-law's construction company. He was very flexible about me taking less hours whenever I was on deadline, and more hours when I didn't have anything to write or critique. Home building got me out of the house, gave me a sense of purpose (and decent benefits) and kept me in shape. 

And it helped me build my dream home.

Once I saw seven digits on my bank statement, I bought some property near Anaheim, California - where I've lived since fleeing my psycho father fifteen years ago. Over the years I had drawn and redrawn plans for my dream home, and promised myself that if I ever had the financial and human resources to build it, I would make that dream (within a dream) come true.

When construction on my home began, my girlfriend and I were getting serious. And so the rooms were built with her in mind - a large master bedroom with a walk-in closet, his and hers sinks in the bathroom, large kitchen, open dining room, sun room, home gym, reading room, etc etc. 

But then, just six months after the house was finished and lived-in...we broke up. Like many couples across the country, the election caused a rift between us. It was never an issue that I was liberal and she was sort-of conservative, but her parents were hardcore Christians and hardcore Trump supporters. It confounded and frustrated me that such otherwise pleasant people could be so gullible. I ended up arguing with my girlfriend by proxy, until she chided me for being judgemental.

It didn't help that I was less than supportive about her new sales job - which she enjoyed doing, and was quite good at it - because I saw how hard she had worked in college and believed she could do more. "I'm not a character in one of your stories" she said during one of our arguments, "you don't get to decide what happens to me."

It was around this time that I met my current girlfriend. She's intelligent and creative and funny, and our social/political beliefs are a perfect match. She's also established herself in social media, and has carved out a nice little career in the entertainment industry.

That's...sort of the problem.

You see, she can't do what she does from Anaheim. She has to live in L.A. And she wants me to live in L.A. with her. But... Orange County is my home. All of my friends are here, all of my family is here (except for a few aunts and cousins in CT) and my house is here. The house that I built exactly the way I wanted it, big enough for my future wife and our future kids and our future pets.

And so now I have to choose between two parts of a perfect life. Do I stay here, in the town I grew up in, and live in my dream home alone? Or do I sell it, rent it, leave it.. pack up all my shit, and live with her in Los Angeles?

Sometimes I think it's just a house. You'd really choose an inanimate object over true love? But is it true love if she's forcing me to make the sacrifice? "I'm not a character in one of your stories" I could say to her, "you don't get to decide what happens to me."

She's out of the country now, but she'll be back tomorrow. I have one more night to sleep on it. And when my head hits the pillow, I will imagine my life with her, and without her...




And then I wake up. And I am not in my dream home. I am not an author. I am neither famous nor successful. And I am definitely not dating Taryn.

You know who is?

Bryan Johnson.


That's Bryan with a 'y'...as in, Y don't you stop dreaming about my woman and worry about your own life, son. 


And so I shall. When I return from my brief blogging hiatus I will be more grounded in reality, for better or worse. I will write about actual, tangible things that happen to me - instead of obsessing over girls and whining about what I never got to do with my life.


I'm getting too old for this anyhow.


 ~

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Celebrity Soulmate

A long time ago, in the early aughts, there was a stupid little website that determined your celebrity match based on one thing: your birthday. Said website used that single piece of information to determine that I was a 100% perfect match with... 


 Dominique Swain

Yes, it appears that the star of Lolita and, um...other stuff? was meant to be the mother of my children because... we have the exact same birthday. (No wonder that website is long gone.)





There is a website that determines your celebrity match based on your Twitter feed... but I'm not on Twitter. However, I did find this The Astrologer thing, which functions sort of like the old website I remember - except it doesn't determine compatibility strictly by how close your birthdays are. (Which is good, cause I did not want to get matched with Cara Delevingne)

Here's what The Astrologer spit out:


MatchMe Profile
Rule



  harmony
Harmony
  excitement
Excitement
Soul Connection

Communication

Romance

Passion

Shared Values

Commitment

About
Rule

Heidi Klum
Age: 44
Gender: Woman
Bio: Model


  harmony
Harmony
  excitement
Excitement
Soul Connection

Communication

Romance

Passion

Shared Values

Commitment

About



Yasss! Suck on that, Seal. 

I don't know what those meters mean, or how they can produce such a detailed "compatibility report" based on my birthday and a general age range, but it was kind of fun to see the results (Besides, we all know who my real celebrity soulmate is..)

What celebrities do you share your birthday with? Do any celebs share your exact birth day? Who is your "celebrity soulmate", according to The Astrologer (or your own source)?


~




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Not Buying it

Three of my favorite artists have released or are releasing new music... and I'm not buying any of it. The reasons are as varied as the artists...

Muse released "Dig Down" as a stand-alone single:


Seems kind of pointless to download this track when it will surely be on the forthcoming album ..though there is no forthcoming album scheduled. I added it to Mah Birffday Plaeelisst, and I'll try to play it sparingly until there is an album. My wife is a hardcore Muse fan (they're called "Musers") and once the CD hits stores (if there are still CDs by then..or stores) she will play the crap out of it.  

As for my favorite band, and their forthcoming album...

Well that sucks. 


Here's a suggestion: ditch "Young & Menace", leave everything else alone. I trust you guys.

Tbh, "Y&M" will probably grow on me after a few spins..when Folie a Deux dropped I liked "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes" and "I Don't Care"..but I didn't care for the rest of the record. It took me three years to give Folie another chance..and now I love 90% of it.

As for this chick...

 
A post shared by Taryn Southern (@tarynsouthern) on



I have seen her American Idol fail, and I have heard of her comedy album (which is unavailable anywhere - and that isn't really her thing anymore) and I have played maybe one or two of her cover tunes.. but I have yet to familiarize myself with her original music. 

Now I have an opportunity to purchase an entire album of Taryn tracks.. and I don't think I'm going to. Electro-pop isn't exactly my genre, and I can't listen to it in the car - for two reasons. D is cool with me watching Taryn's videos, but spending $10-15 of my sports card money on an EDM CD would be a tough thing to explain. Plus, knowing how much TS is all into future tech, there probably won't even be a physical album - and I can't download iTunes just to buy this shit. 

All of this is outside the fact that I'm not in a good place with my Taryn crush at the moment. When I pulled that pic off her Insta this morning, I caught a glimpse of a more recent pic. Apparently she's in Tel Aviv, for some exhibit on 'the female form'. Cause she can just decide to go anywhere in the world, at any time, for any reason. Must be nice. 

I was feeling a little frosty towards her when I read some of the comments on the museum pic. All these anti-Israel people equating her visit with supporting terrorism. Just like the hyper conservative Hillary haters who loudly unfollowed her because she didn't bow down to the Donald. Sigh...

Naturally she was very diplomatic and doesn't ever fight fire with fire. She's too smart for that.

I have Jewish friends (okay, Jewish bosses) and I have Muslim friends...and I have liberal friends and conservative..family members (sooo many conservative family members...) and if you want to call me a snowflake because I cant handle the constant bickering and vitriol being thrown around from all sides, for any number of reasons (none of them valid) then fine. I'm a fucking snowflake. Melt my ass or leave me alone. 


What was I talking about? Oh yeah...music. 

I don't think I can buy the new Taryn Southern album, but if I do..I'll be sure to review it here. Cause I know y'all are as curious as I am haha.


Have you bought any new music lately? Let me know in comments :-)



~