A note about the future of both my blogs.

Okay, here’s the thing.
As some of you know, I currently have two blogs.  This one and the NERD ALERT! blog over at the official website of the book. And both blogs have been suffering as of late. The book one in particular.
Most of it has been due to my persistent writer’s block (Which thankfully, seems to be in it’s last legs.) But most of it is that when I have been able to write, it’s been primarily for this blog and most of those pieces (Either political or personal.) aren’t really suitable for a blog for a book of comedy sketches.
So, I’m going to try something new.
From here on out, this blog will be devoted to politics and personal stuff.  Meanwhile, all my pop culture/comedy/filmmaking stuff will go to NERD ALERT.
The up side is that by creating this clear distinction, I can give both blogs a separate identity and become more productive at both.
The down side is that this blog is going to get a helluva lot more depressing, particularly as we lunge full steam into the primaries.

So stayed tuned.  Hopefully, stuff’s about to get interesting.

Posted in Blogging, E-Book, Personal Stuff, Writing | 2 Comments

“GLENGARRY GLEN STYX” SCREENING ANNOUNCEMENT FOR SEATTLE!!! (Link Added.)

(Crossposted from my NERD ALERT! Blog.)

“Glengarry Glen Styx: Redux” is going to be screened as part of LAUGH! RIOT, a new monthly Stand-Up/Short Film/Sing Along Comedy Show at the Naked City Brewery in Seattle, Wa, hosted by Derek Sheen and Ryan Casey. The show in question will be on June 14th. And one of the headliners will be Shane Torres.
Who?
This guy.

So already, I’m guessing this show is going to rock.

Tickets are on sale here. I will be attending. I’ll be the guy in the Non-Men’s Rights Fedora and Sci-Five T-Shirt and my trusty Canon 70D to take it all in.
So come on by! The company should be enjoyable and from what I hear, the beer is spectacular!

EDIT: June 8th. Link to tickets added.

Posted in comedy, Comedy Short, filmmaking, Seattle, Vimeo Channel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Trying to get back in the flow…

You know, I figured that post vacation I’d have this sudden burst of creative energy and just start churning stuff out.
Turns out, not so much.
First off, it turns out that when you reach reach a certain age and have a history of back problems, going on rides that jangle and shake you may not be the most productive way of spending you time.
The good news is that I went to a chiropractor yesterday and that feeling of hot knives being shoved into my lower back has now been downgraded to hot thumbtacks.
It also didn’t help that, well frankly, shit has been coming down the pike heavier than usual. Ukraine, Middle East, Crazy ass shootey women haters, etc.
It’s like being Lucy in the Chocolate Factory…if the chocolate was actually shit being squeezed out of orphans who were being forced at gunpoint to watch animal crush videos.
Plus, I do have a new short that has to be written. The official Book Blog also needs tending.  Not to mention other personal matters that have to be dealt with.
So, please bear with me. I’m dancing as fast as I can.

Posted in Lame Bloging, Personal Stuff, Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Disneyland or Bust!

Well, I’m happy to report that the vacation to Disneyland was (Plus or minus the odd hiccup.) a success. Four days of thrill rides, fatty foods and Disney Princesses ogled from a respectful distance. I can honestly say that the trip has beaten the stress out of me with the tire iron of childlike enchantment.
What follows is some of the highlights of the trip.

-The two rides that pulled me back multiple times were Star Tours and The Indiana Jones Experience. Given Disney’s recent Borg like assimilation of Lucasfilm, (Which along with their other acquisitions, Marvel and The Muppets reveal an almost terrifying desire to own everything we loved as children. If they acquire the patent to Fudge and the likeness rights to Danny Kaye, The Justice Department may have to step in.) it’s no surprise that they feel a need to produce Giant E-Ticket versions of Uncle George’s big franchises.
And unsurprisingly, both rides share with their movie versions the same virtues. Like the Star Wars movies, Star Tours uses state of the art CGI and 3D effects coupled with the same kind of Motion Simulator tech you see at State Fairs and Science Museums (But amped up to 11.) to put you smack dab in the middle of a sprawling space saga. Minus the clunky dialogue and dodgy plotting. And while the ride itself has a fairly predictable three act structure, they’ve made several different planetary experiences that swap out for each ride, rewarding multiple ride throughs. (The down side of the random swap out is that it plays ducks and drakes with the Saga’s timeline. You may easily find yourself barely escaping the Ice Planet of Hoth from “Empire” and getting thrown into the kingdom of Naboo from Episode One. For old school fans, it’s a little disconcerting but I’m guessing that Disney hopes that most people will be too busy trying to stop their spleens from bouncing out of their bodies to notice.)
Meanwhile, Indiana Jones uses old school animatronics and projections to create a tactile sense of space as you’re hurtled through a cursed temple filled with hot lava, flaming idols, booby traps and enough Spiders and Snakes to make Jim Stafford regret ever writing that damn song.
Both attractions are superior examples of the Thrill Ride art. Able to deliver the experience of danger without anyone actually getting hurt.

-I also treated myself to lunch at Ralph Berman’s Jazz Kitchen. A New Orleans styled restaurant located in the newish Downtown Disney area. And I can honestly tell you that the lunch I had there was easily the best meal I have ever had in my life.
For the starter I had the Southern Garlic Cheese Bread which was easily The Best Garlic Bread I Have Ever Had. (And believe me, Garlic Bread is my carb of choice so I know from where I speak.) Eight pieces of bread cooked in a Olive Oil Puree, each piece separated by a slice of Mozzarella and topped with Garlic and Basil. And each bite tasted like a garlic infused cloud.
For the main course, I had the Southern Fried Chicken which had the perfect Breading to chicken ratio. Crunchy on the outside, moist and succulent on the inside. It was so good, I would up cribbing Ossie Davis’ line from “Let’s Do It Again”. “I tell you, I knew this bird in another life.”
It was so good, I couldn’t even finish my side of Corn Bread and thoughts of desert caused me to replay the Mr. Creosote scene from “The Meaning of Life” in my head. (It should be noted that the Corn Bread was a substitution for the original side dish in the menu which was Mac and Cheese. I can only assume that in certain parts of Louisiana, eating Fried Chicken and Mac and Cheese at the same sitting constitutes some form of manhood ritual. Like a more delicious version of walking on hot coals or having your foreskin removed.)
So yeah, damn fine meal and for under forty dollars. You’ll be burping garlic for hours afterwards but it’ll be totally worth it.

-Most of the non ride related attractions were enjoyable. “Muppetvision 3D” was a hoot and a half. The Golden Horseshoe show in Frontierland had a script that was cornier than an Iowa Farmer’s Stool but the cast of three were such strong knockabout comics that they were able to pass by the occasional groaner with ease. (And if you spend enough time in Disneyland, you begin to realize that Cornball Humor is central to The Disney Vision.)
The two disappointments were “Captain EO” and the Aladdin Stage show. “Captain EO” was clearly remastered in the latest 3D process but the print still looked splotchy. Jackson’s big song was surprisingly forgettable. And the effects (Even allowing for the period it was shot in.) looked they were done by ILM’s C team. And the whole thing felt like something Sid and Marty Kroft would have slapped together over a long weekend. I loves me some Coppola but this feels like he did it because he owed Lucas a favor. Frankly, I would have preferred to see a 3D remastered version of “Bad”.
Meanwhile “Aladdin” managed to turn a solid animated film into a fair to middling stage show. The sets were colorful and some of the staging was enjoyable. (I bet every time we saw the puppeteer handling Iago the parrot, Julie Taymor got a nickel.) But they screwed the pooch on the Genie. The guy playing him had the comedy chops but the people adapting the film forgot to write him any actual jokes. Instead, he merely shouted out random Pop Culture references. If “Aladdin” the movie is “Community”, “Aladdin” the stage show was “Family Guy”.
In fairness, the audience I saw it laughed. But I prefer to think that they were just grateful for the Air Conditioning. (Because seriously, Anaheim decided to demonstrate while I was there why California is in year two of a drought. It was in the high nineties my last two days.)

-Two mildly embarrassing incidents occurred while I was there.
The first was on Space Mountain.
The last time I was in Disneyland, I had chickened out taking the ride and I’d always felt like kind of a candy ass about it. So, this time around, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and took the ride.
That experience did little to de-candify my ass.
For those who don’t know, Space Mountain is an Indoor Roller Coaster where the cars travel through areas lit to look like star systems. Think of it as a Lo-Fi version of “Star Tours”. Only if the movies consisted of star fields for two hours.
Anyway, I get into the car, stow my stuff away and try to hook up my seat beat and realize that I do not have one!
You see, most of the other big rides I had already gone on had proper seat belts. But they were newer attractions. Space Mountain is an older attraction and instead of a seat belt, it had a roll bar.
A roll bar that you would see on the cars at the Haunted Mansion or Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
A roll bar that I was not entirely sure I had pulled down all the way.
A roll bar that at that moment, I firmly believed would come loose and send me flying out of the car, smashing against the walls of Space Mountain like a jar of tomato paste thrown by an angry chief.
Needless to say, this severely cut into the enjoyment of the ride.
I know that it cut into the enjoyment of the ride because the first thing I yelled when we took the first drop was “THIS WAS A MISTAKE!!!!”.
Which I’m pretty sure was heard by everyone in a five mile radius.
Anyway, the ride ends. I am somewhat happy to have survived. A happiness that is undercut when after the car reenters the start area, I say out loud “Well, I’ve done Space Mountain and now I don’t have to do it again”.
To which the guy in front of me replies, “Good”.
And I could tell that behind that “Good” was a desire to have me redressed in the garb of a Victorian Fancy Lad and given a giant lollypop for extra effect and then dropped into a pit filled with sexually insecure teenage males.
Not my finest hour.
An hour that was stretched out when I saw the photo.
I should explain. Some of the Disney Rides have photo kiosks where you can see pictures of yourself on that ride and gives you a code that you can write down and use to order prints.
I did not do that for this ride and I will tell you why.
In that photo, I have my chin tucked into my chest to protect my neck, (A technique I learned years ago, watching Stockard Channing in “Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story” on CBS.) and in the process, accentuating my neck and chin fat. Thus giving me an unfortunate resemblance to Jabba the Hutt. My mouth is wide open because I am screaming but my eyes are closed so I cannot witness my moment of death. These two things made me look simultaneously terrified and asleep. As if trapped in the grips of a psychosexual nightmare involving vaginas with razor blades.
I promise you, if that photo ever sees the light of day, it will get posted to Reddit and people will meme the fucking shit out of it!
The other occurred on my last day. I was heading for the restrooms down by Main Street USA. (Because the old saying is true, you only rent a Fanta.) And as I was closing in on the men’s room, I turned around and found my self face to face with Ariel, The Little Mermaid.
Well, obviously not the real L.M. but an actress hired by the park to play her. She was clearly playing the land walking version because instead of wearing a fish tale and clam bra, she was decked out in a turquoise ball gown. She had red hair, fair skin and had a smile that would have made August Strindberg rethink many of his life choices.
Needless to say, flirting with her was absolutely out of the question. (Ferchristsakes, I’m a middle aged man wandering around Disneyland alone. To quote a Sklar Brothers bit, I was already a red dot on a Google Map. Plus, she was being accompanied by a handler who, if I had done anything untold, would have blown a whistle. This would have been followed by me being grabbed by men dressed as The Beagle Boys and shoved into the rest room where they’d perform on me the Disney Version of the shower scene from “Born Innocent”.) So instead, I simply turned and executed a perfect smile and nod and received a very lovely smile back. A perfect moment…
That was ruined when I turned and slammed into the edge of the open men’s room door.
At that moment, all I needed was a football player to yell “Cool move, faggot!” and then dump my books to put the button on the moment.
Now keep in mind that one of the cardinal of Disneyland is that if you are playing a character in the park, you never, ever break!
So when the young woman saw me turn the restroom door into a metaphor for adolescent sexual panic, she turned around and said “Sorry, you must be having trouble with your human feet, too.” and then hustled herself into the backstage area.
Well played, mermaid lady. Well played indeed.

-Anyway, other then those two burps, the trip was a success. I had a very pleasant time and I think I was able to break out of the funk that’s been hanging over me for the past year. I bought back a Donald Duck Coffee Cup for Michael Bingham as a thank you for the lift to the train station in K Falls. And for me I got the Blu-Ray to “Frozen” and a pair of Mickey Mouse Slippers. (Both whimsical and comfortable.) And I have a ton of photos that I will be posting to the Photography Tumblr later this week. And enough video footage to cut together something for Vimeo.
But the important thing is that I returned ready to get back to work and start churning out the funny again…
Only to discover that Putin is still fucking around in the Ukraine.
Congress is still functioning as smoothly as a laptop running Windows 98.
And the Antarctica Ice Shelf melting is now irreversible, locking us into a rise in sea levels.


Gather Ye Rosebuds, bitches.
Gather Ye Rosebuds.

EDIT: 5/18 4:27 p.m. Added a link to the photography Tumblr.  Fixed a grammar issue.

Posted in Congress, Personal Stuff, Us putting the shiv to Mother Nature, Vladimir Putin | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Disneyland Trip Update.

Yeah, I was trying to squeeze out a post about The Death Penalty cock-up in Oklahoma before I left on vacation. But apparently every time I try to work on it, my brain starts screaming at me like Sgt. Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket”.

“WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION? DO YOU THINK YOU CAN TACKLE THIS TOPIC BETTER THAN JOHN OLIVER? YOU SLIMY LITTLE TINKLED-TOED COCKSUCKER! NOW HIT THE FLOOR AND GIVE ME TWENTY BEFORE I EAT YOUR HEAD AND SHIT IT DOWN YOUR NECK HOLE!”

Now you may ask why my brain is threatening to eat itself and then shit down my neck?And would it even be mechanically possible?
I personally choose not to entertain those questions.
I simply accept the fact that any attempts at serious blogging pre-vacation will end in tears and that I will have to pick it up when I get back next week. Hopefully, my brain will be in a…shall we say…less dickish frame.

In the meantime, here’s how things are shaping up.

-I got a call from Disneyland this morning in response to my E-mail query about bring my Canon 70D onto the park. There was some concern on my part now that we are living in post “Escape from Tomorrow” world.
The good news is that according the pleasant young woman I spoke to on the phone, the camera is fine as long as I don’t bring a tripod and don’t do anything to make security concerned.  And honestly, as a middle aged man with no children who is going to be wandering through Disneyland alone, you know security is going to be watching me like a damn hawk anyway. For a brief moment, I considered getting a T-shirt with a Pedo Bear with a slash though it but then I realized that it would create more problems then it would solve.
But yeah, good news is there will be high quality photos and video of the trip. Which means there will be full HD footage of me eating my weight in park food while Morrissey’s “You Have Killed Me” plays on the soundtrack.
You’re welcome, internet.

-Speaking of weight in food, I also made brunch reservation’s for Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in New Orleans Square on Sunday. Which will combine two of my favorite things, Jazz and Breakfast food.

-I also have a fresh collection of T-shirts for the trip. Two Doctor Who shirts from CD or not CD here in Ashland and two from Joel Watson’s store on the Internet. “British Knights” and “Sci-Five”. (I almost got the “Show me on the Trilogy where George Touched You” shirt but I decided against it because I’m not ready to cross Being Tased by Mickey Mouse off my bucket list just yet.)

Anyway, this will be my last post before I leave. If you’re at Disneyland next week and you see me, give me a wave!

More later.

Posted in Disneyland, Doctor Who, Hijinks Ensue, Personal Stuff | Tagged | Leave a comment

Operation “Gather Ye Rosebuds” is a Go!

All right. Here’s the skinny.
The train tickets have been bought. The hotel package has been purchased. Landlord informed of absence from Chez Jensen. Tomorrow, I put the hold on my mail, buy travel size sundries and get my hair cut for better aerodynamics on fast moving rides.
Yes, Fuck Putin! Fuck the GOP! Fuck Right Wing Gun Nuts!  Fuck Donald Sterling! Fuck The FCC! Fuck The Haters!
Operation “Gather Ye Rosebuds”is a GO!
Next week, I will traveling the rails towards Anaheim to spend a fun filled almost week in Disneyland!  I will be going on rides, eating my weight in fine park food, gawking (From a respectful distance.) theater majors dressed as princesses and generally geeing the fuck out!
I will be in The Lands they Call Disney from May 9th to the 13th. If you see me rocking my Geek Friendly T-Shirt and Non-Men’s Rights Fedora, feel free to wave and say “Howdy”!
I will try to pound out some posts before I take off. But while I’m there, I will be focusing purely on the fun that has been missing from my life as of late.
But hopefully, when I get back, I will be energized enough to hit the ground running.

I hope…

Posted in Disneyland, Personal Stuff, The Geekness | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cliven Bundy and the one thing he knows about “The Negros”.

Say kids, You know about the Cliven Bundy? The guy who’s turned a dispute over grazing fees into an armed stand-off with Federal Agents.  Well, The New York Times talked to the guy. And the results were…well, if you been following the rise of Right-Wing Militias for any amount of time…depressingly familiar.

 “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

First off: “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro”. WORST! TOASTMASTERS TOPIC! EVER!

Second, if you are a white male over the age of fifty, the last thing you want to do is put the words “Negro” and “Cotten” in the same sentence except in the context of Michael Jordon’s commericals for Haines.  And even then, you may want to rethink the word “Negro”. 

Third, strip away the racial context for a moment and you have a man wondering if maybe certain human beings would be better off living as slaves.
You may ask yourself, “Why does that idea sound vagely familiar?”. The answer is that you heard it in another form…FROM A SUPERVILLIAN!

Now I do not believe in violence. So I’m not saying that Cliven Bundy should be whacked upside the head with a Star Spangled Shield.
But if he were to be whacked upside the head with a Star Spangled Shield, it would be apt.  

And finally, we ask ourselves, where did Mr. Bundy get the information for his little theory?

Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas.

He drove by.  He did not stop and have a friendly chat with the folks on the porch.  If he had, he may have discovered that they had a day off from whatever crappy job they worked to enjoy a lovely spring day. Instead, he just drove by and assumed that they were just spontaneously aborting the hell out of each other!
That’s like me assuming that Denny’s is using tainted pork sausage in their Grand Slam Breakfasts by just driving past one of their diners.  

Let’s get this straight.  Mr. Bundy is not a Patriot.  He’s a Goddamn deadbeat who’s using threats of violence to get out of paying a damn fine. Period.
And The Right in this country, by embracing this jackass as a folk hero, is lighting matches in a fireworks factory. 

 

Posted in GOP, media whoring, Politics, Pop Culture Anology, Republicans shooting themseves in the foot, Right wing Idiots, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment