Sunday, January 31, 2010


For weeks (months?), I was getting calls from this number:


I don't answer the phone if I don't recognize the number. If it's legit, they leave a message. But this number kept popping up and I finally did a GOOGLE search.

Who is it, then?

Some marketing company connected to Verizon, apparently.

Some bonus information: 212-719-9393 is the Roundabout Theatre Company spamming you up.

Register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry if you're having troubles. Thought I did this already but I signed up again.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Harpo Productions Presents Jay Leno in "Spin City"

In case you missed Jay "Big Jaw" Leno's attempt to rehabilitate his tarnished image on the Oprah Winfrey programme, has all the juicy bits with appropriate commentary:

Jay Leno takes a drive through spin-city on Oprah.

And here's Jimmy Kimmel's reaction to Leno accusing him of "suckerpunching" him on his own stupid show.


What's Jim O'Connor Up To?

Anybody wondering where the perennially overenthusiastic host Jim O'Connor from The Food Network has gone...?

Anyone...? No one...?

He's playing a fake reporter on a Dateline-esque ONION NEWS NETWORK programme.

Next Level Shit

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Casual Gamer

I think it can be safely said that the Nintendo Wii is a videogame system made for people who do not like playing videogames. After a few decades of delivering home videogame consoles with the most advanced technology, featuring first-class games from the world's hottest software companies, Nintendo decided to play to the lowest-common denominator with their last console: the non-gamer.

"The casual gamer."

And as Jay Leno proves, you'll always end up on top by catering to the lowest-common denominator.

I bought into the hype and was treated to a gaming console with inferior graphics and a sporadically-responsive motion-based controller that is perpetually running out of battery juice.

But that's neither here nor there.

Here's a story about parents who didn't get their kids a Wii for Christmas:
My wife and I were planning to buy a Wii for Christmas. It would be my first video game system since my Atari back in the early 1980s. And I expected to wax joyfully about our family's plunge into the world of video games.

Except things didn't quite work out that way.

We did buy a Wii. But 24 hours and one panic attack later, I returned it with immense relief...
The article was linked to HERE and prompted a shitstorm of negative, damning, furious comments from gamers...

Which led to the author's response HERE.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger Has a Posse

J.D. Salinger
January 1, 1919 - January 27, 2010

J.D. Salinger has a posse.

Steve Jobs Introduces New Thing For You to Buy [UPDATED]

Your first day as a woman and it's already that time of the month!

Good thing Apple fought for this name. It's a winner.

I'm saving up for the iDouche this Fall.

(Oh!, we have fun!)

Did you hear that Steve Jobs is Iron Man?

This just in, true believers:
Meme barely a day old and already exhausted!

But wait, there's more from THE ONION...

Frantic Steve Jobs Stays Up All Night Designing Apple Tablet

CUPERTINO, CA—Claiming that he completely forgot about the much-hyped electronic device until the last minute, a frantic Steve Jobs reportedly stayed up all night Tuesday in a desperate effort to design Apple's new tablet computer. "Come on, Steve, just think—think, dammit—you're running out of time," the exhausted CEO said as he glued nine separate iPhones to the back of a plastic cafeteria tray. "Okay, yeah, this will work. This will definitely work. Just need to write 'tablet' on this little strip of masking tape here and I'm golden. Oh, come on, you piece of shit! Just stick already!" Middle-of-the-night sources reported that Jobs then began work on double-spacing his Keynote presentation and increasing the font size to make it appear longer.

[Note: It's hard finding a picture of Steve Jobs looking nervous because in every picture the smug bastard looks so damn self-satisfied.]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Zelda Rubinstein Has a Posse

Zelda Rubinstein
May 28, 1933 – January 27, 2010

Zelda Rubinstein has a posse.

Cross over children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the Light. There is peace and serenity in the Light.

Little Bit of Everything

Never let it be said that I'm above having a website challenge dictate what I'm going to have for lunch.

When SeamlessWeb issued the challenge to order the mystery-item ominously called "Little Bit of Everything" from Dong Hai Grille—an item with NO FURTHER DESCRIPTION, listed under "Chinese Style Cantonese Wonton and Noodle Soup"—I went for it...

When the order arrived, I ran downstairs and signed the delivery slip. The delivery guy handed me my prize, offering me a sly grin as he did so. As if he knew the adventure that awaited me...

BEHOLD, Ladies and Gentlemen... the 8th Wonder of the World...

"Little Bit of Everything"!!

What mysteries lurk beneath the murky depths of this culinary marvel...??

The soup: a cross between "sweet & sour" and "egg drop". Not as salty as you might imagine.

Swimming amidst a swamp of egg noodles: baby shrimp, beef, pork, chicken, egg, mushroom, tofu. Some of that is an educated guess since everything ends up looking and tasting pretty much the same in this delightful cesspool of love. (No wontons, btw.)

As I imagined, the name of this "dish" pretty much describes what you're getting. A clearance sale of soupy items packed into a tub.

Now please, pack your knives and go.

What's Eating Roger Ebert?

I grew up watching Siskel & Ebert back in the days when it was one of the few spots on television where you could see two educated adults argue passionately about film.

Gene Siskel, of course, has a posse.

And the big, abominable "C" has robbed Roger Ebert of the ability to speak, eat and drink.

So, what's he doing?

Blogging and Twittering like there's no tomorrow...

Ebert on his inability to eat and drink.
So that's what's sad about not eating. The loss of dining, not the loss of food... The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and shared memories I miss. Sentences beginning with the words, "Remember that time?" I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to break out in a poetry recitation at any time. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it's sad. Maybe that's why I enjoy this blog. You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now.

Ebert on his quest to find a suitable electronic speaking voice.
Computers can do just about everything these days, from running airplanes to carrying out labyrinthine mathematical calculations. It would seem to be such a simple thing I am asking. I would like a computer to provide me with my own voice. Many people have suggested this: "Why don't you get someone to take tapes of your speaking voice and create a voice you can use with your computer?" They make it sound so simple. They look like they've had a brilliant idea. But it is not so simple...

Ebert on on reading his reader's blogs.
One of my favorite pastimes, especially when I should be doing something else, is moseying around the blogs of my readers...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

500 Days of Malice

Threw another birthday party for myself Saturday night, which was an improvement over the first birthday party. All the benefits of a proper sequel: more advertising, larger cast, bigger explosions, more puking.

At the primary bar, I ended up scoring a bottle of (über-cheap) "champagne" since I managed to trick at least 10 people to show up as part of my entourage. I am enjoying this "champagne" as I write this entry. The verdict: it's sweet, it's dry, it's sparkly and it's a-gettin me effed-up.

Perhaps I should just keep throwing myself birthday parties all year long.

I just wanna be loved—is that so wrong??

Honestly, I adore all the friends who showed up, with particular appreciation for the super-troopers who showed up to both parties. You know who you fucking are.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Battlestar 24

Heyyy, Leoben and Starbuck are both mixing it up with Jack Bauer on the new season of "24".

"Who the frakk are Leoben and Starbuck?"

Well, right off the bat, this entry's alienating people who don't watch "24" *or* "Battlestar Gallactica". I'm totally screwing the pooch today, aren't I?

No spoilers here.

Though I'll say that Starbuck looks right at home at CTU because that office always looks like a fucking spaceship for some reason. Honestly, I know they want to glam things up for TV, but it looks like they should be firing laser torpedoes at The Borg from that office.

"24" is arguably the crappiest show that I still force myself to watch for the times that it's a little less than crappy. (Though I've got my eye on you, "The Office"...)

"24 Drinking Games" are a dime a dozen on the internet (1, 2, 3), so pardon me if I don't bother with the formality except to point out these predictable "24"-plot-maneuvers. They're not really spoilers because THEY HAPPEN CONSTANTLY...

+ Jack Bauer goes rogue.

Motherfucker goes rogue so often, he'd make Sarah Palin blush. And his gut instincts are always right and when he's eventually welcomed back into the fold, somebody's got to reluctantly admit that Jack did what was necessary to save Amurrrickkka.

+ Jack Bauer unnecessarily points his gun at someone.

Have you ever picked up and used a real gun?
They kill people dead. You can use them to shoot tin cans off a fence, but they're really just designed to kill. Jack uses them as a negotiation tactic—and not even as a last resort.

Whether you're a terrorist, a colleague, the President of the United States or his mother (or all four at once), Jack Bauer will NOT hesitate to point a gun at your fucking head if he wants you to do something. Whether it be unlocking a door or getting him a beer. That's how Jack rolls, bitches.

+ Clunky expository dialogue!

"24" is lousy with clunky exposition. A character will literally state, "I am the President of the United States!" to remind the ADHD audience that s/he is the President of the United States. They'll openly reminisce about old times with other characters, to remind the audience what happened in previous seasons or what happened between seasons.

The apologist may point out that the conceit of the show is that it takes place in "real time" and thus doesn't have access to a narrative device like "flashbacks", but really. There are still better ways to get information across.

+ Constant reminders of the time!

Yes, "real-time". We get it. But every time one of the characters asks for an estimate for how long it'll take to do something (drive from the airport to CTU, finish editing a Powerpoint slideshow, make Jack a sandwich), it just takes me out of it.

I also find it amusing that very dramatic twists tend to happen at the end of EVERY HOUR like clockwork. That, I forgive. It's cliffhanger television and if they didn't at least try to put me on the hook at the end of each episode, I'd be sooo done with it all.

Okay, those are my major issues. (Oh, and Jack never has to pee in 24 hours! Just once, I'd like to see him racing through a mall trying to find a bathroom.)

[Also: I love/hate Starbuck and would like to do terrible things to her. And several other cast members of "Battlestar Galactica". And "24". And pretty much any TV show I watch. I'm lonely.]

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Na'vi Girls Need Love Too

In case you haven't read about this, James Cameron cut out a Na'vi sex scene from AVATAR to get his preciousss PG-13 rating.

Excerpt from the screenplay can be found HERE.

And here's another article about depressed people enjoying AVATAR too much.

Saturday Morning Funhouse!

Friday, January 22, 2010

How You Like Me Now?

THE HEAVY performed on the rejuvenated Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week and blew the roof off the dump. I've rarely seen Letterman respond so enthusiastically to a music act. He even made them do an encore, which I've never seen on his show.

Dunno how long the embedded video will remain on YOU TUBE before the pigs yank it but you can viddy the full deal on at the link below, in which both Paul Shaffer and David Letterman get into the act.

"How You Like Me Now?" with full encore

Reusing Your Water Bottles

I was refilling my 1.5 L Fiji water bottle in the kitchen the other day when my roommate offered, with concern:

"You know, I heard that reusing water bottles is not a good idea. Supposedly, they aren't made to be reused and the plastic breaks down and carcinogens can leach into the water..."

Sounded suspiciously like an urban legend to me, so I did my due diligence (INTERNET!!!)... an excerpt from this article:
Back in November of 2003 there was a myth circulating that a graduate student's thesis at the University of Idaho showed that DEHA, a plastics additive, was a human carcinogen that could be released from a PET container. In fact, DEHA is not inherent in PET as a raw material, nor is it a decomposition product. Furthermore, DEHA has been cleared by the FDA for food contact applications and would not pose a health risk even if it were present. A review found that DEHA in the plastic items used in the laboratory was the likely source of the contamination in the study. The information about the dangers of water bottle reuse that was circulated back in 2003 was found to be baseless, but nevertheless continues to pop up from time to time.
MYTH BUSTED, suckaz!

Now, enjoy this Evian commercial from the 1980s:

And if you aren't entertained enough, THE ONION has an article that seems to be about my other roommate.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LOST Recap

Get ready for the final season of LOST!

Other People's Babies

Don't you heart seeing pics of other people's babies on Misanthropy Central?

This is some more imagery of Eve H. Cohen, daughter of Dave and Jenny.

D & J kept her name a guarded secret until she was born (the day before my birthday, HOLLA!).

Some people tried to guess her name beforehand.

My guess was "Threepio Armageddon Cohen".

Well, maybe next time...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Breaking Bad

After recommendations from everyone I know who enjoys tv stories, I finally finished tearing through both seasons of AMC's BREAKING BAD. A show that asks the age-old question,

What would happen if Mr. Wizard cooked crystal meth?

It's a bloody bad-ass show. Made even more bad-ass with the addition of the incomparable Bob Odenkirk in the 2nd season.

ANYHOOO, I know this'll only be of interest to people who've seen the show, but here are some interesting interviews with Breaking Bad show creator Vince Gilligan:

Vince Gilligan interview during Season 1
Vince Gilligan interview before Season 2 premiere
Vince Gilligan interview after Season 2 finale

Highly recommend Breaking Bad, for those who've missed it. Really well-crafted drama with a protagonist that becomes more and more flawed as the show progresses.

Season 3 debuts in the latter half of March.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Steve Guttenberg Has a Posse

Steve Guttenberg
August 24, 1958 - January 18, 2010

I'm not gonna lie: this is a real bummer.

I know there've been a flurry of reports but it seems confirmed now:

Steve Guttenberg has a posse.

While the conflicting details—no doubt—still need to be properly sussed out, multiple reports indicate that Steve Guttenberg has a posse.

It's always the celebs that you've just put out of your mind that seem to perish. I was never a particular fan of Mr. Guttenberg's, but he had a pretty strong career for a while. I'm certain that our thoughts go out to his loved ones during this tragic time.

[On the lighter side of the news, it appears that I've just won a major award!]

Create your own fake media alerts HERE.

Steve Guttenberg Presumed to Have Posse

Steve Guttenberg
August 24, 1958 - January 18, 2010?

The increasingly mysterious end to Steve Guttenberg's life gets curiouser and curiouser...

Steve Guttenberg reported missing!

How could he afford to be on a luxury yacht?

How did he get from a California Intensive Care Unit to St. Tropez France so quickly?


Monday, January 18, 2010

Steve Guttenberg... getting a posse...?

All right, I know I've joked about Steve Guttenberg's untimely demise before, but it's perhaps inevitable that something would eventually happen to the guy...

Steve Guttenberg hospitalized.


Rush Limbaugh is a Scumbag Troll

TROLL. (Noun) One who purposely and deliberately starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers.

Rush Limbaugh is a dick who says outrageously offensive things at the worst times. Agreed.

He's a hate-mongerer who soothes the souls of bigots, preys upon the ignorant and cannot really be stopped because trying to argue with him just feeds the beast. He's the embodiment of a troll. His career thrives on controversy. He is a career troll. I'm not sure that an afterlife exists but if this bloated, opportunistic sack of shit truly meant a fraction of what he says, he is surely damned.

While it may be best to simply ignore a troll, I think it's still imperative that some others call him out for his vile statements. If only because this cretin has followers and thus he's become something of a representative for the worst in this country.

Preaching to the choir, I know.

Of course, it should be pointed out that there is no real, hard evidence that Rush Limbaugh raped and killed a girl in 1990. Just as there is no proof that Jay Leno raped and killed a girl in 1990. Some might hear these nasty rumors and assume that Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno gang-raped and murdered an innocent teenage girl in 1990, but there is no credibility to these accusations, as far as the courts are concerned, at this time.

So please: though he may be a controversial figure, you should NOT assume that Rush Limbaugh raped and killed a girl in 1990 despite the number of times you've heard that Rush Limbaugh raped and killed a girl in 1990. The odds are, it's not entirely true.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nasim Pedrad Fan Club

Dearest Nasim Pedrad...

Prettiest SNL cast member ever. Let it be said.

In fact, the old show's probably got its foxiest lineup of funny women ever these days.

Oh, but my stalker heart belongs to the incomparably lovely Nasim.

(My weakness for the Iranians bleeds through...)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When We Was Fab

For all you kids out there, some footage of Jay Leno on Late Night with David Letterman way back in the Orwell days of 1984.

Note that Late Night debuted in 1982. I love how low-key the audience is. All talk show audiences these days are so overenthusiastic: laughter and applause keyed up way too high. The audience in this footage sounds more organic. There's laughter but it doesn't sound so terribly canned.

For a little ominous foreshadowing, notice how Letterman's trying to conduct an interview with Leno but Leno is just trying to run through his own prepared material.

Finally, Letterman says, "I don't really need to be out here, do I?"

Leno responds, "I've been telling the network that for 18 months!"


Of course, back in the day Leno and Letterman were friends. You can see their rapport. Leno was just all too ready to turn to the dark side.

Jeff Zucker's the Emperor of NBC. The man who orchestrated this fiasco.

Star Wars metaphors and Photoshop: the internet's gift to the world.

(This image took a lot longer to create than I'd like to admit... but it's worth it for the 20 people who'll read this!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Team Conan

And what about these Late Night Wars, eh...?

Suffice it to say, Misanthropy Central endorses Conan O'Brien.

We HATES Jay Leno.

It's a bona fide pr clusterfuck for Jay Leno and NBC (Jeff Zucker).

Leno hasn't been funny in decades. IN DECADES. "The Jay Leno Show" is as aggressively unfunny as his "Tonight Show" was. An awkward hour of middle-of-the-road wankery, catering to the lowest common denominator of flyover state hicksters.

It appears that Conan is essentially being squeezed out of the Tonight Show after 7 months because Leno is tanking at 10pm and he wants to remain on television because he is fucking mental. (Yes, the fact that Conan's Tonight Show has been losing to Letterman since it debuted facilitated his demise, but the guy didn't have the time to re-establish himself... and he had a really shitty lead-in. Leno was getting his ass handed to him against Letterman for a good stretch before he found his footing.)

All the major late night talk shows seem downright rejuvenated by NBC's F.U.B.A.R. situation.


Difficult to keep track of what's being said but that's what the internet is great for. has compiled pertinent clips from all the major shows for you. Highly recommended. (Check out Kimmel dissing Leno to his face on his own stupid show!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

[Blog Entry Goes Here]

14 days into the new year and I'm phoning it in.

Hi, how are you?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gold Star Me Kitten

Tuesday, I was officially granted the status of a STAR COMMENTER on Gawker.

"What the who?"

You see, to try to separate their comment section from the rest of the "Talk Back" bathroom wall of internet comment sections, Gawker established a hierarchy system to their comments. Just about anyone can leave a comment once you establish a profile, but commenters who've been granted a gold star are given higher placement. They are also given the power to "promote" other comments that they deem worthy.

Gawker overlord Nick Denton explains it all here, but here's an excerpt:
As a site gets bigger, the comments tend to get busier — and sometimes more annoying...

... the most pernicious comments don't come from trolls or spammers. Those can be easily identified and barred. What ruins a good discussion is what we could call the chatty commenter. They may be a devoted reader, someone we don't have the heart to ban. But they only occasionally contribute something to the sum of human knowledge. And the chatty commenters — because there are so many of them — set the tone. Their presence puts off the subjects of items — or other people with something interesting to say.

So we need to introduce another level — the power commenter — to the hierarchy. We used to refer to our comment environment as a club — with a velvet rope to keep the riff-raff out on the street. Well, now the club is too busy. If we're going to maintain credibility, we need a the equivalent of a VIP room. We'll populate the VIP room by giving special privileges to star commenters. They'll get prominence and space — as will their guests. And — we hope — it will be this salon that sets the tone of discussion.

Our comments have stood out amid the illiterate abuse and empty-headed wittering of the rest of the internet; we're going to make sure it stays that way as the audience continues to expand...
"Whoa, that sounds sort of obnoxious, Malice. How did you get a star?"

I guess I've left enough "brilliant, witty and informative comments" that one of the editors finally saw fit to promote me to starred status. (My Gawker handle, btw, is "dystopika".)

"Wow, Malice... you must be really satisfied with yourself!" the Gay Horse observed. "You've really made the most of your time being unemployed, haven't you! Your parents must be so proud that you've been recognized for leaving amusing comments on a snarky hipster news site. Have you shared the good news with your reps? And how's that original script coming along...? That new spec script that you're supposed to be writing...? What's the status of that one...?"

Eff you, Gay Horse. Go back into hiding.

"Homophobe!" whinnied the Gay Horse.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

When You're Not Feeling Blue Enough

I confess, this trend has me dumbfounded.

I love it when people get invested in a movie, don't get me wrong. I've seen AVATAR twice and can appreciate some real craft aspects of it, but it is not a movie that necessarily strikes my heart. There are others, though, who've internalized it on a whole different level...
Ever since i went to see Avatar i have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I cant stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers i got from it. I even contemplate suicide thinking that if i do it i will be re birthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in Avatar.. I cant find joy in this world since Ive seen it, and the only thing that makes me happy is thinking about it or when im seeing it next, which is Saturday at the imax..
There's more.

And more.

In fact, according to box office receipts, this may be a downright epidemic. As sad and bizarre as it is, in some ways I wish I'd seen the movie that these Avatards have seen. The sensation of getting sooo immersed in a movie is something that I can only recall from childhood. And yet, it's kind of the reason I'm pursuing the career path I'm pursuing.

If I could ever create something that would inspire sad people to cover themselves in body paint before committing suicide... well, that would probably speak for itself.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Todo Sobre E.V.E.

Uncle Malice here.

Yes, Misanthropy Central is an irreverent place to announce the birth of children, but this is part of the price of my friendship. (And if I'm going to be the last single surrounded by a sea of marrieds-with-childrens, the least I can get is a little BLOG FODDER...)

My dear, dear friends Jenny and Dave brought a baby girl into the world.

Eve Henrietta Cohen

January 7, 2010.

I can personally vouch for how realistic she looks up close. Tis a small miracle what they can do with practical effects these days.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Avatar Aspect Ratio

How much of AVATAR have you missed?

No, not from dozing off, silly!

This image depicts the difference between the theatrical 2D version and the IMAX 3D version. Note that this doesn't represent the full dimensions of a true IMAX feature, although IMAX screens are where you'll get the uncropped picture.

For full, true IMAX, you can check out those sequences of THE DARK KNIGHT that were shot with IMAX cameras. The screen fills up from top to bottom, completely immersing you. I admit, I thought AVATAR was going to be in full IMAX and was a little disappointed it wasn't.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Eve of Destruction

Today, I am 34.

How do I celebrate?

First off, by wasting my "WGA Preliminary Screen ballot". Today's the deadline for casting your nominating vote. Unlike previous years where every film released within the year was automatically in the running, this year the production companies had to actually submit a form for each movie they wanted to nominate for this.

Each member can vote for "up to 5" of the movies in each category.

My votes...


(Note: I would have voted for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS but this was inexplicably not submitted for WGA consideration.)

Therefore, I cast my votes for the following:

"The Hurt Locker"
Written by Mark Boal

"The Girlfriend Experience"
Written by David Levien & Brian Koppelman

"The Hangover"
Written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

"World's Greatest Dad"
Written by Bobcat Goldthwait

Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

[Please note, I've only actually seen two of these.]


Screenplay by Henry Selick; Based on the book by Neil Gaiman

"Sherlock Holmes"
Screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson and Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg; Screen Story by Lionel Wigram and Michael Robert Johnson; Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were created by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"Star Trek"
Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; Based upon "Star Trek" Created by Gene Roddenberry

"Where The Wild Things Are"
Screenplay by Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers; Based on the book by Maurice Sendak

"Hannah Montana: The Movie"
Written by Dan Berendsen; Based on characters created by Michael Poryes and Rich Correll & Barry O'Brien

[I've only seen three of these.]

Congratulations to everyone who became parents yesterday. Please note my restraint in explicitly blogging about it even though nobody actually reads this blog.

Friday night, I'll be at BARCADE, F.Y.I. Game Over, man. Game Over.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Game of Kings

I went to look up an old shopping mall I used to go to as a kid and found an article about something else entirely...
Nearly at the edge of Brooklyn, the Kings Highway Cinema isn’t your ordinary multiplex showing the latest Harry Potter movie. It’s actually a brothel doubling as an old-folks home...
READ MORE HERE if you dare.

[The less adventurous can peruse this Q&A with the LOST producers on their endgame season.]

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Trouble with Vorhees

I have a friend whose last name is "Voris", although we all call him "Vorhees" after Jason Vorhees in the Friday the 13th movies. He resembles a cross between David Duchovny and Ed O'Neill from MODERN FAMILY;

But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me back up... I've been having the strangest dreams lately... Vivid dreams with details that linger long after I've woken up...

In the quiet hours of Tuesday morning, I was trapped in a dream that involved our friend Vorhees trying to ruin my life and I could not escape. I will lay out all the details just to emphasize that while it was happening I knew it was too absurd to be real... but when you're trapped in a dream, what can you do?

Like most of these dream journeys, I'm not sure where it began. Suffice it to say, at some point I learn that Vorhees somehow managed to sabotage my movie at Paramount and now it wasn't going to get made. He somehow managed to get hired on as a writer to rewrite the script and purposefully bungled it enough... and furthermore badmouthed the whole project to the point where the production company agreed that it was going to scrap the entire endeavor.

When I learned of this in the dream, I could already appreciate the holes in the story. First off, Vorhees is a computer programmer by trade. Not a writer. He can barely write an email. Beyond that, he has no greater ambitions and is generally very good at not putting a lot of effort into anything.

All of which is not said to disparage him but to point out how patently absurd it was to imagine him going out of his way to purposefully derail my career.

I don't remember how I initially learned of this in the dream. At first, I thought it was a joke. When I confronted Vorhees, however, he owned up to the sabotage. Explaining that the project was getting ruined and that he didn't want to see me go through what he went through when HIS movie got ruined...

Yes, in the dream, Vorhees had written a movie that had been produced and it hadn't turned out well. I can't remember the name of it now (natch) but it seemed to be a period piece epic. And of course, when I looked it up in the dreamworld IMDB, it was there with Vorhees's real name credited as the sole writer. One far-fetched detail after another, screaming to me: THIS IS NOT REAL. And yet, I couldn't escape.

When I called him on the absurdity of this story, he claimed that he'd become good friends with the composer on his film and that had somehow kept him in the Hollywood loop. Enough to get hired on as a writer for my horror movie.

Who was this nightmare Vorhees? Certainly not the chronically depressed underachiever I'd grown to know and love over the years. It was further explained to me that he'd undergone a special operation: there'd been an inordinate build-up of fat in his head and chest that had contributed to his depressed demeanor and underachievement over the years. Once the excess was surgically removed, his head cleared right up. And he decided to ruin my life.

Need more indications that none of this made sense...?

Tony Kushner and his long-time partner were in the same dream. They were somehow friends with Vorhees. Roommates, even, perhaps. Kushner's partner had a pet pig that Kushner disliked—or perhaps Vorhees had the pet pig—but in any case, SOMEBODY wanted the pig dead and my movie not getting made somehow facilitated the murder of this pig!

Yes, it makes no sense. And it made no sense to me when it was happening. And yet, for some reason, I kept searching the (dreamworld) internet to debunk all of this and the (dreamworld) internet kept on CONFIRMING everything that Vorhees and Tony Kushner were telling me. And they both kept insisting that they were doing this for my own good.

This dream disturbed me so much that when I finally woke up, I went on IMDB to look up Vorhees's real name to verify that he had no credits.

I don't believe that dreams predict the future in any way. I believe they exist to play out deep, current concerns. But the way in which they end up playing out sometimes seems completely random. Betrayal and career failure are apparently my top concerns right now.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

License X-Press

After all the drama over getting a new passport a few months ago, I came to realize that my driver's license was actually expiring on my birthday in 2010.

January 8, 2010. AKA, this Friday.

I only really use it when I get carded, which is often. Still, I expect to have to go to L.A. at *some* point this year and possessing a current driver's license might be useful for that trip.

Last time I renewed my license was YEARS ago and I was always grateful that "2010" seemed like forever away. And suddenly it's here. It's NOW.

The address listed on my driver's license is an address from THREE MOVES ago, when I lived on Prospect Park West. (I was reminded by this when I got carded in South Jersey over the weekend, and the stupid bitch didn't think I looked like me so she quizzed me on my address; I guess I should be flattered that I'm about to turn 34 and not only am I still getting carded but some people actually think I'm trying to use a fake fucking ID, but it's still incredibly obnoxious sometimes.)

Anyway, I was dreading the process of dealing with the DMV because I imagined that I'd have to prove my residence by providing copies of utility bills and I just moved to my latest address in mid-November and all the utility bills are under my new roommate's name. So I decided to drop by the "License X-Press" on 34th Street on Monday afternoon just to ask about what I'd need to bring to get my license renewed.

Got there at about 4pm, just to quickly ask my question. In about 15 minutes, I'd managed to renew my license.

Didn't need to bring any mail to prove my new residence. Filled out a form. Brief, cursory eye test. They gave me my interim license. And Bob's your uncle and May's your auntie.

Seems that I arrived there at the very end of their day and I was the last person through the doors before they locked them, so I didn't wait.

Also: they didn't take a new picture. Which isn't the biggest deal because it's not often that people accuse me of not looking like myself (with the exception of stupid bitches in South Jersey RITE-AIDs).

Bottom line: the "License X-Press" on 34th Street in Manhattan is excellent. Check the hours. If you get there right at the end of a day, it might be faster, depending on the day. I've read that Tuesdays are good days, assuming that Monday isn't a holiday.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Blame it on the A-A-A-A-A-Alcohol

January 2, 2010.
Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Don't know what the place looked like about 24 hours earlier, but the day after: a ghost town.

"New Year's Eve" weekend in the Little Egg Harbor house, cooking meals and playing an endless string of games that incorporated alcohol shots as both a reward and penalty. Thursday through Sunday, but each day the equivalent of about 3 nights of hard drinking...

Frigid winds rolled in off the dark Atlantic waters. Half the party was gambling in the casino. I escorted "the kids" down the dark, desolate boardwalk: the Filipino, the Burmese and the Korean. All hovering around 20 years old yet projecting the lighthearted air of 10 year olds. Three exceedingly enthusiastic young men, not in the least bit concerned with acting "cool". Laughing and snapping pictures of each other and asking me to snap pictures of the three of them. I'd won their respect by beating them in a game of Monopoly earlier in the evening.

[Just as an aside, a game of Monopoly takes about 14 hours to play through. It requires someone constantly consulting the instruction booklet and the final stretch of the game is almost always a demoralizing affair for all but one of the players.]

Though nearly everything on the boardwalk was closed, none of them seemed particularly disappointed. I took some pictures of a self-rocking "Granny" figure in the window of a closed Horror Shop (above). The three of them asked me questions about being a writer and seemed genuinely interested in everything I told them.

Boardwalk being DOA, we eventually set about reconnecting with the gambling half of our party. Out of nowhere, the Burmese ("Bacon") asked me, with complete solemnity:

"What do you think are the pros and cons of a dictatorship?"

Arguably the most introspective of the lot, I didn't know what moved Bacon to ask this question or why he wanted me to answer it at that moment. But I didn't question the question. I responded to it honestly and he offered me his own carefully considered perspective on it.

What it boiled down to, I think, was that he was happy to be in America. Grateful for all the opportunities the country offered, for the things most of us have the luxury of taking for granted. All three of them were born elsewhere and seemed so grateful to be here. Even on a freezing night on a dead Atlantic City boardwalk.

Friday, January 01, 2010

We'll Meet Again

Welcome, 2010.

You and I are going to be friends, all right?