Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thrifty Scotchman's Model

I have trouble sleeping sometimes and I've found the most comforting channel to serve as my white noise is BOOMERANG. Classic cartoons just really afford me some peace. Though sometimes they're a little too interesting and keep me up.

Case in point, this laughably out-of-date cartoon "T.V. of Tomorrow" above, from the legendary Tex Avery. The format allows the cartoon to simply be a list of gags.

This cartoon was immediately followed by Tex Avery's "Car of Tomorrow" and I noticed a running gag in both of them...

"The Thrifty Scotchman's Model":

"The Super Thrifty Scotchman's Model":

Of course, if you look up the UNCENSORED version of "Car of Tomorrow", there are *other* ethnic stereotypes depicted:

"The Indians go for this classic convertible."

"This sport roadster is very popular in China."

The take-away? It's still okay to make fun of the improbably cheap Scottish on BOOMERANG in 2013. And women.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

WEBISODE: Hank Dressed like Boss Hogg for his Wedding Day

... and he makes a confession to Walt.

I've watched this entire series twice but these "webisodes" are relatively new to me. Everybody remember when these shows were making fucking webisodes so the studios could tentatively dip their toes into the new media?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hank Schrader is a Bad Cop


That's right, I said it. Hank Schrader is not a very effective cop. So arrest me.


Vince Gilligan himself admits that he developed the character of Hank Schrader further as he got to know the actor Dean Norris and what he's capable of.

Hank Schrader started off as a frat-boy clown cop. The perfect buffoon to miss all the clues that his brother-in-law had turned into a drug kingpin overnight. But as his character developed and deepened, his weakness only became more pronounced.

Hank Schrader was a good-hearted cop who'd let his emotions get the better of him, almost always.

(I phrase this in the past-tense, of course, not knowing what fate befalls H.S. in the final reel. But I'm not terribly optimistic about his survival.)

Watch Hank beat the shit out of Jesse and almost lose his job over it. Watch Hank's numerous panic attacks. Watch Hank sucker-punch Heisenberg in his garage.

HONESTLY, World Audience... tell me you understand, if Hank had kept his cool he could have totally blind-sided Walt! He was able to keep his cool for a spell with Fring. If he'd held onto his suspicions a little more carefully, he could have gotten more evidence. He could have led Walt to believe they were still cool. Hell, he could have waited until his suspicions were absolutely confirmed. Instead, he goes ape-shit on Walt and lets him know everything. And he lets Skyler know that he doesn't have enough evidence to convict Walt.

And as such, Walt was gifted enough time and incentive to create his damning "CONFESSION" video that effectively neuters Hank.

An argument could be made that the shortage of time has made everyone in this show suddenly a LOT smarter -- has almost preternaturally heightened their powers of deduction. For now, until it fails to serve me, I'm giving it all a pass.

Five hours. Less than five actual hours. That's all the narrative we've remaining on this good ship lollipop. We'll see where it leads.

Monday, August 26, 2013

High Tension


Have to say, each new episode of BREAKING BAD during this final tour de force fills me with anxiety. I keep looking at the clock to see how much time we've got left on the hour. Every minute is precious now. Everyone and everything is fair game. Empires can fall and lives can snuff out in 30 seconds before a blackout.

The first episode of this last rush was thrilling. The second episode was crazy intense. This third episode...

... well, the thing is, everything is so volatile at this point, I'm just tensed up for the chorus of explosions.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Songs That Tickle Your Funny Bone"

I had this album as a child.

It featured a song where a woman sang sweetly:

I love you, I love you, I love you so well...
If I had a peanut, I'd give you the shell...

I love you, I love you, with all heart and soul...
If I had a doughnut, I'd give you the hole...

I was trying to find the name of it, so I posted something on a subreddit called TipOfMyTongue, and a kind stranger managed to find it on the internet.

Apparently, many children had this album.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

NSFW Weekend Horror Movie "Nightmares in a Damaged Brain" (1981)

Full movie here, for however long it remains on YouTube (which will not be forever).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Portrait of a Dead End

This happy graph depicts the pay rate trajectory over the course of my brief career detour as an accounting clerk. Note the trend. My projections suggest that if I continue along this path, I'll eventually be working as an unpaid intern.

Let's go into the silver lining analysis...

While I was saddled with twice the responsibility on the second gig — overseeing the payroll of all those fucking god-awful pathetic background actors — I *should* be dealing with the least amount of responsibility on this latest gig. (Once the secondary payroll clerk comes in.)

More importantly, I'm not being afforded the level of comfort that would allow me to forget about my real career goals. I'm earning the bare minimum to keep lights on.

Watch me bite this goddamn fucking bullet.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Tragic Case of Walter White Jr.

[ SPOILERS -- seriously, DO NOT READ if you're not caught up to this season ]

Right now, I'm wondering if Walt Jr. is dead.

If the flash-forward of the wrecked White house at the start of this season depicts a point in time wherein Walt's entire family has been killed.

At the very least, it depicts a point in time wherein Walt Jr. knows the truth about his dear old dad. That character has been kept in a bubble for all this time and I'm so curious what happens when that bubble bursts. The character, up to this late hour, has been more or less a pawn. A character that's primarily existed to ratchet up the stakes for Walt. (He doesn't just have a son, he's got a special-needs kid.) Show-creator Vince Gilligan has ADMITTED that he tried to overcompensate the sympathy factor for W.W. upfront with all of this because he knew how bad Walt was going to become and he wanted to try to get people to care about him for as long as possible... and in hindsight, he's been SURPRISED at how many people still maintain affection for Walt Sr.

There's a limit to what RJ Mitte has had to do so far as an actor. He's had to be perennially naive. He's had to be a petulant adolescent. He's had to enjoy breakfast.

I'm so curious what level of acting challenge they presented to him for this final stretch...

... or if they just end up killing him.

Walt Sr. doesn't really seem to take much interest in Walt Jr. There's never been much *serious* talk of college or higher education for him. Is he a good student? Does he have a propensity for the maths and science, like his old man? Walt Sr. has never spoken of him as someone who could carry on his legacy. As far as we've seen, Walt just sees his son in terms of the amount of money it would cost to take care of him for a lifetime.

(Not sure if this developed because RJ Mitte doesn't have a lot of acting experience and they never wanted to put too much on him.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard Has a Posse

Elmore John Leonard Jr.
October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard has a posse.

Breakin' Bad [1995]

Monday, August 19, 2013

Line in the Sand


Not committed to doing this for each episode but fuck it... here's just a mess of thoughts about the latest episode.

Another packed episode of the final run of Breaking Bad before it gets sent to Belize.

Love how they actually followed the cold open with a continuation of the HANK v HEISENBERG garage stand-off because everyone was making jokes this week about how tense it was at the end but that Walt would have to disrupt that tension by getting out of that garage somehow. And while it was appropriately awkward, I still think all their movements -- from the garage door opening to the garage door closing again -- formed a perfect little silent stand-off ballet.

That scene between Skyler and Marie was epic. Marie is sooo much more interesting now that she knows everything. (It's like a friend who's finally caught up with all the episodes of Breaking Bad so you can actually have a conversation with her about it.) I had an early sense that she would end up feeling betrayed when she did the math and realized how much her sister's been lying to her all this time. Did not expect her to flip out bitch-slappin' the way she did! And of course her klepto ways kick in and she tries to steal Skyler's baby! And then Skyler's all like, "Bitch, you AIN'T takin' my baby!"

"Buried" is an episode of (almost) everyone finally getting on the same page and choosing their loyalty. Hank and Marie in the car, both looking in the same direction for the first time as they're both determined to see Walt nailed to the wall. Skyler chooses to support Walt, which warmed my heart. It's personal to me but I like scenes where wives don't run off on their husbands. It's real escapist entertainment. Walt and Skyler versus Hank and Marie. I know who I'm rooting for.

Jesse has NO LINES in this episode. Jesse -- like Skyler before him -- has entered his own fugue state. The ending to this episode doesn't have the visceral punch of the season opener. It offers the opposite: a tease versus a full impact. Seeing how this was an episode about forces aligning, I'm a little nervous at the idea/inference that Jesse is going to "break good". I want to see Heisenberg fight Hank. The idea of Heisenberg fighting Jesse is a little more heartbreaking.

Speaking of heartbreaking, Lydia swooped in late in the episode and stole my heart. Arguably a little too convenient that they left her all alone in the meth lab to meet their deaths -- even the cooks walked out! -- but I'm willing to let it slide. This was the first time you really get to see her in Power mode. We've seen her meek and anxious and making breathless arguments for her life, but here we see her as Kingpin. And then immediately, the hilarious juxtaposition of her being too meek and delicate to physically face the aftermath of the massacre she just ordered. Be still my heart.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

ArScheerio Paul Show recreates Gary Coleman's Arsenio Hall Show appearance

Seth Rogen's performance as Gary Coleman is pretty good but you've got to watch the original painful footage below:

It's even more excruciating hearing him lie about how he invested his money properly. And he's only on the show to promote this fucking cameo on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I'm Gonna Live Forever

Baby, look at me.
And tell me what you see.
You ain't seen the best of me yet.
Give me time I'll make you forget the rest.

I got more in me...
And you can set it free...
I can catch the moon in my hands...

Don't you know who I am...?!

I'm gonna live forever.
I'm gonna learn how to fly.

I feel it coming together.
People will see me and cry.

I'm gonna make it to heaven.
Light up the sky like a flame.

I'm gonna live forever.


Baby I'll be tough.
Too much is not enough.
I can ride your heart til it breaks.

Ooh — I've got what it takes!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Teenage Dream's So Hard to Beat

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Average Frustrated Raccoon

Tuesday night, bar trivia with coworkers. Factoring in Friday night beers at the dock, it's less than a week into the new gig and there's already been 110% more socializing. Our team won the trivia night but it was probably the easiest, least competitive bar trivia I've ever participated in. (Our team name: Lee Daniels' The Trivia Team)

Why do people who work 9-5 jobs schedule drinking outings on weeknights like Tuesday and Wednesday? I guess it makes it easier than loading all the drinking on Thursdays and Fridays. Gives you a reason to look forward to a useless fucking day like Tuesday.

Gave myself advance permission to take Wednesday morning as a "cheat day" -- sleep in, skip the gym, etc. But I woke up even earlier than usual. 3:30am. To the sound of the absent roommate's cat crying at my closed bedroom door. I cracked it open and let her lie beside me for a spell until she decided to bite me (fucking cats), and I shooed her off. Couldn't get back to sleep.

Got to the gym even earlier than usual and took my own sweet time there. Listened to a Breaking Bad podcast discuss the first new episode of the final stretch. Watched two men almost come to blows in the gym lobby over some unknowable act of mutual disrespect.

Still finding my groove with this new schedule.

The summer's been a pain in the ass. Mainly because of apartment issues -- which will hopefully get resolved in a few weeks.

A lot of people take last minute summer vacations in August. That's why the business can get a little sleepy around now. I can't afford to kick back. While I'm waiting to hear back on X and Y, I've got to be working on Z. I will not give up on this year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things to Remember About Blood Money

Here's the thing about blood money — before you go throwing it all away in disgust, remember that you can still use it to pay for:

* Bills
* Rent
* Groceries
* Booze
* A Better Class of Friends
* Influence
* Respect
* True Love
* Clean Money

[Happy Birthday to my best friend's husband today!]

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why I'm Still Rooting For Walter White


In response to the question, "Do you still like Walter White...?", BREAKING BAD creator Vince Gilligan — on the eve of his show's final stretch of episodes — has been responding, "No."

This concerns me slightly, even though as a Walter White apologist I'm not even sure how I want the series to end.

Sure. I'll say it. It's personal. Walter White is a man who had great potential. Who could have had the world and ended up walking away from a company he co-founded that could have earned him billions. A man who had great ambitions, who's been humbled by fate. His Achilles heel is pride. Throughout the series, he defeats himself because of his deep-seated need to be regarded with a certain level of respect.

Of course, there are the issues of morality and points of no return. He begins his odyssey with a very simple goal: to earn enough fast money to clear his medical debts and set up his family to survive without him. And yes, he ends up doing horrible things along the way, by small increments. A Christian view of the world would suggest he can't get away with this without paying a greater penance. And I respect that Gilligan is the God of his own show and is in charge of dictating how that universe operates... but there's a part of me that has always felt that there IS a way for Walt to do all the terrible things he's done and still come back from it. I know it's a show governed by karma... but who says you have to pay for everything? As an audience member, I've seen this flawed character suffer a lifetime of indignities -- only to "break bad" fairly late in life for a relatively compressed span of time. There's a part of me that wishes his redemption could simply be him extricating himself from the meth business and living a long, full, mundane life for the rest of his days.

Vince Gilligan seems slightly surprised that audience members still root for this character after all he's done. There's a part of me that feels like he SHOULD know why we root for him. I'm still cautiously optimistic about them sticking the landing with this one.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"I Am The Future"

I was walking past Port Authority the other day and I saw this old, fat black man tugging a shopping cart behind him. He wore this faded black t-shirt — that he'd probably picked up second-hand from some homeless outreach company — which featured big, block, rainbow-colored lettering that read:


This struck me as sad and funny and ominous all at once. And then alternately.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Went to a Party Last Saturday Night...

Saturday night, got into this MASSIVE row with this girl at a party. Don't ask me how it started or what it was about but it just devolved into this loud, ugly shouting match where we were hurling the worst names at each other. Prior to this — don't ask me how — my brand new LG Lucid 2 phone got totally fucking shattered and I quietly thanked the gods that I'd gotten insurance on it, and my mind raced with thoughts about what I would replace it with, and how much it would set me back...

... and then I woke up from the bad dream.

Quietly took stock of reality:

1) Phone intact, unshattered.
2) The girl didn't exist.
3) Party I attended the previous night was fine and I departed without incident.

Friday, August 09, 2013

All Bad Things Must Come to an End

Final 8-episode run of BREAKING BAD begins this Sunday night. It has been an excruciating year-long wait.

If this were being released on Netflix, I'd binge the entire 8 hours this weekend. Alas, the final episodes will be parceled out in a traditional weekly manner, into September. (And then, at last, I can end it all.)

A certain dread comes with the approach to the finale. Many shows fail to stick the landing. I guess I'm more optimistic/hopeful with this because they've had such strong season finales, I want to believe they've built a path to the series finale that is appropriately awesome. One that strengthens the show as a whole. One that'll make you want to rewatch the entire run.

In any case, don't bother me for the next 8 Sunday nights...

Thursday, August 08, 2013

View from the Knick

Re-acclimating to the long days of working at a production office. Alarm goes off at 6am. Hit the gym. Straight to the office. Get out around 7pm. Five times a week.

I just need to get a rhythm going. First couple of days are a drag but you find a groove you can settle into.

Weeknights, I'll have to focus more. Such a scant patch of hours, it's too easy to waste them. The DESIRE is to waste them! But I've got to be smarter than that. I've got to dig deep and find the energy and focus to get some writing done at night. This job is BUYING me those few hours every night. And I've got to use it to gain ground on a better future.

There's still a lot for us to try to accomplish this year.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Knick Start Date

For future reference.

Once more unto the breach.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Hey You, Let's Party

Hey kids, it's August and I've just written a new script!

Okay, it's just about done.

It's like almost nearly complete as a really, really, really rough draft.

I've been keeping super shitty hours this week trying to polish it up.

My reps don't know anything about it. I've gone rogue!

It's not a horror movie!

It's called "PARTY".

It's about a party.

Sounds pretty sick, doesn't it?

You guys, we are about to get sooo fucking rich!!!!!

Dream Fragment

Fragment of an odd dream, recalled like a sudden flashback about half an hour after waking up:

Mom and I are riding in a cab... that's driving along the edge of a rooftop for some reason. Literally, half the car hanging over the edge of a building's rooftop in the city. (Some city, somewhere.) There's a safe way to get down to street level but the cabbie instead just floors it and we plummet two or three stories to the ground. We're all okay, it isn't as bad as it could have been (had it happened in real life, and not using dream world physics), but I'm pissed off. I start chastising the guy as we're closing out. He's profusely apologetic, but also inept. I gave him a $20 and he hands me all these quarters for change. "I'm sorry, it's all I've got!"

As we're getting out of the backseat, I'm noticing how messy the car is. Some sort of mouse (wearing a suit?) jumps out, lands in my suit pocket. Then jumps out of my pocket and runs off. Then this lizard jumps out of cab and into my pants pocket. I try to get it out of my pocket, it burrows into my pants and comes out the bottom of a pant leg. Now people on the street are gawking.

As I try to get rid of it for good, it bites my hand with its toothless mouth and won't let go.

This is the start of August. 2013.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Post-Millennial Tension

It was posted in the craigslist ad and I specifically discussed it with the millennial subletter when we met two month ago. This was an apartment where we "don't bring the party home". He agreed with this, downplaying the idea that he occasionally might bring a friend or two over. He had an internship in the city for the summer. Most of the people responding to the ad were millennials with summer internships. His mom was paying for his stay here and he'd even agreed to pay $50 above the craigslist quote for the room.

His look: schlubby, slightly nervous, poor ability to establish eye contact. Not Mr. Party Central.

And, for a good stretch, he was fine.

Until he started pushing the envelope.

Last Friday, I was changing some lightbulbs in the kitchen when the door opens and Subletter walks in with one of his buddies -- who's got a backpack and a suitcase. Subletter ducks into his room without even a hello, but his friend walks up to me and introduces himself.

Now, the previous weekend, he'd also had a friend come crash on the couch for a night. No permission asked, no heads-up given. They were looking for apartments and I let it slide. Was this going to be a regular thing now?

Jump to Friday night. I'm staying in, trying to finish writing this new script I've been working on, and I start to hear voices outside my bedroom door. More than two. More than three.

After an hour or so, there's a knock on my door. It's Subletter, asking if I know how to turn on the stereo in the living room. Then he invites me to have a drink with his friends.

He invites me to have a drink in my own living room.

I'm annoyed. I'm pissed.

But I don't want to be THAT GUY, so I join them for a few drinks and try to make conversation... until it bores me to death. So I go to my room and try to keep writing my script (ironically, called "PARTY"), but I leave my door open as a reminder that I'm still here. And they invite MORE people and now there's maybe 10 or 12 people mingling in my apartment, with music going, and I'm listening to these air-headed millennial girls talk LOUDLY among themselves about their promiscuous habits, and their first jobs, and their picks for the best neighborhoods in the city to live. And all the conversations sound so outrageously inane.

Saturday night, I go out drinking to celebrate a good friend's birthday. I get home around 3am and there are a bunch of millennial guys in my living room, doing fuck knows what. I nod to them in acknowledgement before retiring to my room.

Wake up Sunday morning and there are three or four guys passed out on the couch.

Throughout Sunday into the early evening, the uninvited millennial klan do not stray very far from the apartment for very long. I had to wait to use the bathroom because my fucking Subletter had turned the apartment into a goddamn millennial hostel.

Suffice it to say, admonishments were given when the weekend ended. It looks like I've got another month with the millennial, though it was originally supposed to be just two more weeks. Zero tolerance now that official warnings have been given.

I don't know if it's specifically The Millennials who are insufferable, or if it's every generation of kids who've just graduated from college. Maybe the ones who graduate from shittier colleges are particularly insufferable...?

But no -- it's The Fucking Millennials.

I would like to make enough money to not have to deal with this sort of bullshit anymore.