Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Al Feldstein Has a Posse

Albert B. Feldstein
October 24, 1925 – April 29, 2014

Excerpt from NYT article, "Mad Magazine's Al Feldstein Dies at 88":
"Basically everyone who was young between 1955 and 1975 read Mad, and that's where your sense of humor came from," producer Bill Oakley of "The Simpsons" later explained, citing "The Simpsons" as a worthy successor.

Feldstein's reign at Mad, which began in 1956, was historic and unplanned. Publisher William M. Gaines had started Mad as a comic book four years earlier and converted it to a magazine to avoid the restrictions of the then-Comics Code and to convince founding editor Harvey Kurtzman to stay on. But Kurtzman soon departed anyway and Gaines picked Feldstein as his replacement.

One of Feldstein's smartest moves was to build on a character used by Kurtzman, Feldstein turned the freckle-faced Alfred E. Neuman into an underground hero — a dimwitted everyman with a gap-toothed smile and the recurring stock phrase, "What, Me Worry?" Neuman's character was used to skewer any and all, from Santa Claus to Darth Vader, and more recently in editorial cartoonists' parodies of President George W. Bush, notably a cover image The Nation that ran soon after Bush's election in 2000 and was captioned "Worry."
Al Feldstein has a posse.

Bob Hoskins Has a Posse

Robert William "Bob" Hoskins, Jr.
October 26, 1942 – April 29, 2014

Bob Hoskins has a posse.

(With his daughter, Rosa Hoskins.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII Official Cast Announcement

With one of the worst kept secrets ever, the official cast of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII has been announced, prominently including the leads of the Original Trilogy. The presence of Andy Serkis is a welcome surprise and I hope they've got something worthwhile for him to inhabit.

I assume you are NOT getting this news from me as it's been plastered all over the internet today. Still, I felt compelled to bookmark the occasion here.

I know I may have expressed similar excitement before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out. Harrison Ford reprising a classic character. But I think that both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg lost touch with what made those movies great. SKULL comes across as an older filmmaker trying vainly to approximate what he did as a younger filmmaker.

JJ Abrams gets a lot of hate but I think he has the potential make a real breakthrough here. He grew up loving these movies and is in a better position, I think, to really understand what they need to be.

A lot of skepticism about this one but I've got cautious hope. Episode VII: A Cautious Hope.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Nest Start Date

The Nest start date: 4/28/14.

No idea what to expect from this one.


Notably shorter break between gigs than usual.

We head into May, fifth month of 2014, five in a series of twelve. The clock is ticking.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Now I Have Reddit Gold -- HO! HO! HO!*

It costs real world money to give someone reddit gold. Someone has to really like a comment to bestow reddit gold upon the commenter.

Some of you are wondering, "What's reddit?"

More of you may be wondering, "What can you do with reddit gold?"

From the Wiki:
Reddit /ˈrɛdɪt/, stylized as reddit, is an entertainment, social networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links. Only registered users can then vote submissions "up" or "down" to organize the posts and determine their position on the site's pages. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called "subreddits".
When someone gives you "reddit gold" for a comment, you become a gold member for one month. The money goes directly to reddit but you are given a somewhat enhanced interface... which isn't honestly that noticeable.

But it's still pretty neat. Like being given a gold star on a paper in elementary school.

I've been a member on reddit for just over 2 years and received my first gold today.

I received *FOUR* of them. *

FOUR PEOPLE shelled out $4 each to give me virtual internet gold. *

For this comment/GIF:

Confusion... Shock... Terror... Guilt... Acceptance...

Link for context. It sounds much nicer in Italian.

As of right now, I've got
4 months, 3 days *
of reddit gold remaining.

(This should take me through the larger swath of the next gig I've got.)

Gifts on my behalf have helped pay for 18.43 hours of reddit server time. *

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Aaron Sorkin's The Foodroom

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, Jesse?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NYSC Will Find Your Keys For You

I somehow lost my keys yesterday afternoon. How I lost them is the big mystery. I seem to be having a terrible run of fortune at losing things lately.

However, not too long after the frenzy of trying to retrace my steps and track them down, I received a phone call.

Rather, two phone calls.

See — my keys are attached to my New York Sports Club membership card, and it seems that whoever found the keys kindly returned it to one of the many NYSC locations in this city. After they received it, NYSC called me to let me know that my keys had been found. For good measure, they also called the friend who I'd put down as my "Emergency Contact" all those years ago when I first signed up with NYSC.

So I get this phone call from this friend who I haven't spoken with in quite a while. He'd received this phone call letting him know that he was listed as my emergency contact and I imagine — in the few moments before they let him know that this about lost keys — he *probably* assumed he'd have to take time out to ID a body at a morgue.

Here's the thing: the gym location I usually frequent is in midtown and the gym location my keys were returned to... was near Union Square. I hadn't been anywhere NEAR Union Square yesterday, before I went down there to retrieve my keys.

The woman at the front desk couldn't shed any light on this mystery. She couldn't tell me who had dropped them off. Just that they'd been dropped off. And my membership card has a barcode which accesses all my information so they gave me a call.

For my own peace of mind, I'll try to reconstruct what probably happened:

I'd gone to my regular gym location earlier in the day. If I'd lost the keys there, they probably would have just dropped it off at the front desk, so I had to have lost it after I left the gym. After the gym, I went somewhere to have lunch and write, so I must have lost it on the way there, somehow. Whoever found it may have recognized the membership card and simply returned it to the gym location that HE/SHE frequents. That's the simplest explanation. Hopefully, it's nothing stranger than that.

In any case, having your NYSC membership on your key ring is a good way to make sure they get returned to you if you lose them. The more you know.

This is the second Almost-Loss I've experienced in about a month. I guess it's more fortunate than an Actual-Loss, but I really don't need these petty dramas.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reddit Already

Why do I not blog as often as I used to...?

A combination of factors including some people I refuse to name. (But you know who you fucking are. Yeah, YOU.)


Some reddit pages I've been keeping open in tab for a while now, for reference:

AskReddit: Have you ever experienced any paranormal activity?

CasualIAMA: I stayed awake for over 7 days. It was quite the experience. AMA!

CasualIAMA: I was at Disney World on 9/11. AMA

I've also created two new subreddits because what the internet really needs is more abandoned subreddits like its needs more abandoned blogs:



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Babylon Fields End Date

Last day of a one week gig. Is there anything better?

Perhaps not having to do these gigs at all.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Rule of Threes Finale

A few people have perished recently but I think the person who ends this particular Celeb Threes Series is The Ultimate Warrior.

Mickey Rooney, Peaches Geldof and The Ultimate Warrior have a posse.

(I'd like to imagine that they *are* a posse.)

Monday, April 07, 2014

Rule of Threes

First Mickey Rooney, then Peaches Geldof. Who's going to be the third beloved celebrity death?

What celebrity will match the unique charm exemplified by both Mickey Rooney and Peaches Geldof??

What celebrity death will be met by a collective shrug from humanity???

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Babylon Fields Start Date

Well, this was unexpected. My first accounting department gig outside the safety of my regular accounting crew.

The construction accountant on the last gig I worked recommended me as a payroll clerk for this pilot that's wrapping up. It's called "Babylon Fields". I think it might star Skeet Ulrich. It's a rejiggering of a pilot that was shot a few years ago (that you can view on YouTube). Oh, it's also about zombies, so if you've ever wanted to watch a television show about zombies... here's another one.

I think this gig should only last about a week. And I'm not in a position to turn down work right now because Unemployment, and God, and The Bible.

Anyway, Sunday through Thursday. I think that's the extent of this micro-gig.

And I've also got some goddamn writing to get done this week...

P.S. Steiner Studios is a fucking bitch to get to by trains.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Unemployment Routine

"To assist you in returning to work, we have scheduled a mandatory Orientation meeting for you on..."

This is the letter I received from the NY State Dept of Labor, threatening to halt my meager unemployment benefits if I failed to show up for an "orientation meeting" on Tuesday (April Fool's Day).

I only post this to help other people who might be dealing with a similar situation.

I've gotten into this cycle of doing these temporary film accounting gigs for a few months and then collecting unemployment while writing for a few months. Unemployment is a pittance and the latest rate I've been given is an obscene pittance, but this letter suddenly forced me to go out of my way to fight to maintain this obscene pittance.

A lot of film/tv production people live through these cycles of employment and unemployment. I've heard some horror stories about how the unemployment office doesn't historically understand the peculiar world of film/tv production, and braced myself for a difficult go.

And my anxieties were heightened when I arrived there. This was dystopian bureaucracy 101. Stand-behind-the-red-line-until-you're-called Culture.

Not too long after I arrived at the unemployment office on Tuesday mourning, however, my worst concerns were dispelled.

The little film camera icon on the upper right of my sheet separated me from the rest of the lost souls at the office. All the people with the film camera icons were gathered in a conference room dedicated to "entertainment industry workers". This made everything so much easier.

I wasn't forced to explain how this strange industry works in terms of getting jobs and ending jobs. There was a basic understanding that our industry is uniquely fucking weird. In fact, all we had to do was sit through a simple powerpoint presentation outlining all the resources the unemployment office had to offer us. And that was it. No one-on-one counseling session. No skills-assessment tests. Before long, we were all dismissed. In less than an hour, maybe.