Category Archives: Humor

A Love Letter to California

Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Working at a country club in New Jersey affords me two months of “vacation” meaning that the club closes for January and February due to lack of interest in snow golfing, which to me sounds like a lot of fun, actually. Nevertheless, I’m free to collect unemployment and reconnect with my thoughts for two whole months.

How should I celebrate this wondrous lapse in obligation? There is a wild child within me, chained deep down in the cellar of my heart that sometimes screams loud enough to connect with my brain. This wild child screams, “Go to California!” And maybe he adds a few expletives, too for good measure.

Oh California, what a lovely thought. Ah Los Angeles, the only destination for an aspiring screenwriter/director seriously looking for validity. How nice it would be to axe the “aspiring” part when I tell people about my time spent pursuing filmmaking.

I would love nothing more than to pack my Chevy with copies of my screenplays, changes of clothes, camera, and paperback copy of Woody Guthrie’s Bound for Glory as I set off on the kind of cross country, coast to coast road trip that movies have been fawning over for decades.

How glorious to travel, stopping as I please, all in culmination of seeing the big, bold letters of the HOLLYWOOD sign. I could careen my car up and down Mulholland Drive, hoping desperately to not be sidetracked by amnesia-by-car accident or run off the road by any Mr. Eddy’s demanding that I get a driver’s manual. (I’ve been watching a lot of David Lynch lately.)

California is a place where a young man with long hair can get by on conversation alone; swapping anecdotes for bottles of booze, wisdom for a warm place by a beach bonfire. It’s a place where I can transition seamlessly from my dream of surfing the Pacific coast to doing what they call “couch surfing,” trading my board for a place to crash for the night. If not a sofa, then a fine patch of stained carpet on a guy named Brody’s apartment floor.

I could even march into one of the big name production studio’s lots, barging into a tired producer’s office, and slam down a copy of my latest script pointing a definitive figure to the cover page saying, “This is the next big thing.”

And that old, tired producer wouldn’t be able to hold back a grin at my outsider naivety, my out-of-towner’s courage, and he’d probably cut me a check right there on the spot because California is a place where people take chances on newcomers based on gut feelings.

But alas, this love letter, though straight from my heart (fucker) seems doomed to be only the meandering thoughts of a boy stuck in his Pennsylvania bedroom hacking out fantasy on a piece of paper. It takes a lot of money and a whole lot of determination to be spontaneous, it seems.

Why do we thinkers, us readers, we with such passion burning holes in our soul; why do we, why do I feel the need to restrict myself from such desires? Perhaps it is just fate, with a firm grip of my inner workings, trying to tell me that there is no perfect place, no place more pregnable with dream-realizations than the place your two feet are standing. Certainly this fact is grounded by the words I read earlier today in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, that my promise land “is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Sorry To Write a Book When I Was Only Required to Write a Comment

“Hey look a new comment! Oh…”

I’m just going to go ahead and start a new category for my blog posts titled “Blogging” because I seem to have been only blogging about blogging lately. This is another attempt at blogging quickly and regularly, without first starting out with a blank Word document and thinking it over to death, in hopes of freeing my mind of burden so I’ll post more often.

I enjoy looking around at other people’s blogs. I always check out the Freshly Pressed page and read the ones that stick out the most. I find I get some of my best independent journalism, funniest stories, and most interesting non-fiction from reading people’s blogs.

And when I like a post, I follow Word Press’ tips and am sure to “like” and comment on it. But when looking at the size of my multi-paragraphed comments compared to other commenter’s, I feel like an overachiever…or worse that kid everyone hates in the classroom.

I try my best to give at least one quoted line from the post and my comments on it as well as other specifics so the writer knows I really read through it and have something to say. And I like to be as positive as possible, always thanking the blogger for sharing, especially if it was a personally honest post.

I just hope people don’t get freaked out by my long-winded commenting approach. If I write a lot, it’s usually because I liked your post a lot. And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing.

P.S. I love when people reply to my comments with equally long-winded notes. That just makes me feel all warm inside.

 

Abuse of Social Media Makes for Good Entertainment: 2 Celebrities Who Stand Out Among the Rest

The internet is the modern day wild west. And just like every character in a western film owns a gun, everybody these days has a smart phone in holster linked to Twitter, Facebook, and blogging accounts. However, as westerns have shown us, not every gunslinger was a good shot and not every modern day corpulent social media cowboy hits the target.

“Sext me.”

Celebrities can be particularly annoying when stepping out of their field of expertise; whether that is film, music, science, etc, and start unloading their personalities on the world via tweets. There are those uber-cheerful celebs that ask their millions of followers “How are you today?” as if they care to read the responses of every ugly low-life on their feed. Sometimes there are even celebrities that just like to stroke the ego, via Twitter, of other celebrities so that everyone can see how cool they are, being famous together and all.

But sometimes you get those wild card celebrities that act out in social media. They use their accounts as a platform of assault on a world that doesn’t get to see them on a daily basis. Two people that use Twitter and blogging distinctly originally are author Bret Easton Ellis and pornographer James Deen.

Bret Easton Ellis is the critically acclaimed author of American Psycho and other novels, some of which have been adapted into Hollywood movies. Although Ellis has had his fair share of criticism regarding the harsh subject matter in his books, he is typically forgiven and seen as one of the greater writers of his generation.

But he seems to be less forgivable on his Twitter account with his harsh, criticizing, often explanation-lacking tweets that he tends to post manically in flurries spanning over hours at times. This barrage of opinionated messages can only be explained as a “tweet rage.”

The critical backlash for Ellis’ tweets are on display in an article from the Huffington Post titled “Why We’re Unfollowing Bret Easton Ellis” where they provide evidence of their disapproval in this section:

“Last year, he compared watching TV show Glee to “stepping in a puddle of HIV.” Last month, he said on Twitter that an actor was too openly gay to play a heterosexual character. In July he called an unpopular figure “a complete and total old-school fucking Hollywood loser.” When JD Salinger died, he tweeted “Yeah!! Thank God he’s finally dead. I’ve been waiting for this day for-fucking-ever. Party tonight!!!” Today he called David Foster Wallace (who didn’t like Easton Ellis’s work either) “the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation.”

So much hate from such a seemingly nice guy.

This disapproval is mirrored by the New York Daily News as well. It’s easy to see why so many people are bothered by Ellis’ unapologetic assaults in under 140-characters. But I personally think he’s the most interesting account I follow.

I can’t say I agree with half the things he posts about; particularly the awful, ignorant remarks about legendary author of The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger. I also find myself confused about his musical tastes which sometimes rival the rants of Patrick Bateman before axe-murdering someone.

And as a movie lover, I found his picks for best and most overrated films of 2012 quite skewed. His tweets state, “Most Overrated 2012: Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, The Sessions, Looper…” and “Best 2012 movies so far: The Kid With A Bike, Magic Mike, Prometheus, Chronicle. And with reservations: Argo and The Dark Knight Rises…” I wrote about my love for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and it is currently my favorite film of the year. Before that Moonrise Kingdom held that distinction. And although I liked Prometheus I can hardly hold back a laugh at the argument for Magic Mike or Chronicle but maybe that’s just me being too snooty and a movie-criticizing prick.

“I hadn’t noticed.”

Either way, I think Ellis is great for using Twitter to its fullest; as a platform for someone to send their most opinionated thoughts out into the world. As a novelist, he can weave his personal opinions into his fiction but unless he writes an autobiography, those words will never be completely true to his own beliefs, but instead those of the story. Twitter allows him to cast his voice over the microphone. And even if he’s spewing vomit at the audience, he at least does it in style.

Another celebrity that uses social media with some distinct flair is James Deen with his blog. Now “celebrity” is in the eye of the audience here. Deen is certainly a star in the adult film industry but it is also true that he is leaking into mainstream society with interviews in GQ and Esquire. He’s porn’s boy next door.

James Deen is the real life Dirk Diggler, for better and worse. Deen ditched Diggler’s foray into the music industry for a leading role in a mainstream Hollywood film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Canyons, starring opposite Lindsay Lohan. Am I throwing around the term “celebrity” too much if I call Lohan one as well?

Deen’s blog features a collage header of photos of himself ranging from him kissing a beer to posing alongside a porn actress with semen dripping from her chin. All of this labeled with a title and tagline that seems to sum it all up: “James Deen Blog: Boobs, Buttholes, Burritos.”

This site brings me such joy to read because it is everything I would have ever imagined a daily blog would be for a guy who gets paid to have sex with women every day of his life. Boogie Nights is one of my favorite films of all time and reading Deen’s blog is like sifting through the diary of Dirk Diggler if he were living in this decade.

His blog reads as a shining example of a generation of kids that have been typing most, if not all of their lives via texts, Facebook, Twitter, and school papers; but yet still see no use for punctuation or even capitalization.

“Hey, that’s not true about the punctuation. I’m always on time!”

His small paragraph rant-style blog posts consist of dozens of ellipses between sentences.

These posts also have such ridiculous, blatantly low brow, to the point titles as: “James Deen Lindsay Lohan Party Awesome Experience,” “Dillion Harper Vagina Tan Line Sex Bed,” and “Bondage BDSM Outdoor Rough Gangbang Sex Party.” And those are just the most recent posts. They go on and on like that.

Deen’s posts read like the disjointed stories from that cool, older kid that was held back a few years in junior high school; often mentioning a girl’s “really cool boobs” or how he “anally banged her asshole.” His words are enough to transport any adult male back to the gym locker room where we sat and giggled through a hand clasped over our mouths at smuggled dirty magazines.

Deen also seems to have zero attention span in his blog entries, which are probably typed out and posted from his phone while driving from one shoot to another around California. In one entry about a scene he was shooting, in what must be a form of flattery from Mr. Deen, he states: “i have never met christy mack before but she is pretty foxy and not too shabby at putting penises in her.” He goes on to display some serious drifting thoughts:

“i really adore asa (Akira) and want to make great things happen for her.  like build her a house or something.  i guess that is selfish because i have always wanted to build a house… maybe win the lottery?  nah, i would somehow try to get in on the winnings and get some money.  orgasms!!!!!!!!! i want to give her many many orgasms.  and hell i will throw in christy mack too.  FROM THIS MOMENT ON CHRISTY MACK IS THE PROPERTY OF ASA AKIRA.  it has been written therefore it is so.”

Deen stepped away from writing about sex for a moment in a post titled “VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE” where he used a bunch of exclamation points to urge his readers to go into the voting booths on Election Day and select “no” on Measure B, a California mandate requiring all porn performers to wear condoms. Deen was firmly against the act but later stated that he didn’t care if you voted for it as long as you made an educated decision: “therefore i believe you should make up your own decision based on whatever information is presented to you and i should have nothing to do with influencing your vote.”

Deen’s blog is very entertaining and never claims to be anything other than what it is; the diary of a young, successful adult film actor on the daily roller coaster that is his life. In short, it’s a blog about “boobs, buttholes, (and) burritos.” I can live with that.

After a year of blogging and using Twitter I sometimes find myself questioning the purpose of why I do either. My blog never really had a mission statement the way I see so many of my peers do. It’s always just been me talking about whatever I feel is interesting or necessary to write about. My Twitter is much the same; a micro blog for my opinions and a way of spreading links to my films and blog posts while trying to shout at celebrities.

Seeing two experts in their craft use Twitter and blogging to their benefit, the way Ellis and Deen have, gives me pride in where I’m going with my social media sites.

 

6 Pairs of Movie Stars I Get Confused

There are a lot of celebrities out there to keep track of. Sometimes I just get certain celebrities mixed up with others on a routine basis. The gods behind the Internet Movie Database help me clear these errors up but sometimes I still find myself fumbling for the appropriate actor or actress when watching a trailer or commenting to friends.

I know that some of these picks will leave you scratching your head and wondering what kind of fool I am for making such ridiculous errors. Please, don’t murder me in my sleep.

1. Amy Adams and Isla Fisher

I love both of these women. I enjoy their movies, I think they’re both very talented actresses, I get excited when I see them in trailers, and for the longest time I didn’t know which one I was getting excited for. My biggest goof was seeing Amy Adams’ wonderful performance alongside Meryl Streep in Doubt and thinking, “hey that’s that girl I love in Hot Rod! Man, she has such range as an actress!”

This can be forgiven, I think. I mean they really do have a striking resemblance to each other. Nowadays I avoid mixing these two beauties up by remembering that the Scottish darling Isla Fisher is the funny actress in Hot Rod and Wedding Crashers who is married to comic genius Sacha Baron Cohen while Amy Adams is the dramatic actress extraordinaire I love from The Fighter and Doubt.

Although, they’ve recently thrown me a curveball by swapping genres with Adams in The Muppets and Fisher in The Great Gatsby. Those rascals.

2. Dennis Hopper and Dustin Hoffman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two outstanding actors with one major thing in common: talent. I really do apologize for mixing two mesmerizing actors like them up, but I certainly have. I do so mostly when citing their names in conversation. It’s my borderline dyslexia I imagine that jumbles the two “D” first names up.

I distinguish the two more easily these days after having seen Hoffman’s beautiful performance as Ratso (“I’m walkin here!”) in Midnight Cowboy and knowing him from Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs. And as for Mr. Hopper, God rest his beautiful soul, I’ll always remember him as Frank Booth from Blue Velvet or for his cool-defining moment opposite Christopher Walken in True Romance.

3. Jeff Bridges and Jeff Daniels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, I think it’s the similar sounding names that gets me every time. Although it’s interesting to note they have similar acting careers in my opinion and they do look similar to each other. Maybe it’s the hair. Each is very talented dramatic actors who have a wonderful knack for comedy. Jeff Daniels will always go down as one half of my favorite comedy Dumb and Dumber while making news these days on HBO’s The Newsroom. Jeff Bridges is forever stored in my memory bank as none other than “The Dude” Jeffery Lebowksi in addition to his many great roles including his Oscar winning performance in Crazy Heart.

4. Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve brought this mismatch up to people before and they always look at me like I’m crazy for confusing the two but years ago I always thought they looked similar and were in the same types of chick flicks my mom loved to watch, like Hope Floats. I’ve since gotten over this mix up by remembering that Sandra Bullock is the one I don’t hate. I feel particularly bad for this confusion for Ms. Bullock because I really don’t mind her but I don’t care for Roberts at all. I’m not saying she’s a bad actress; she has an impressive career. I’ve just never enjoyed her performance in any movie. Bullock on the other hand is always entertaining and quirky to me.

5. Ethan Hawke and Edward Norton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used to crack my friends up, saying how I’d be all excited to watch a movie, I’d have my ticket and be sitting in the theatre waiting for it to start, and then I’d suddenly get real disappointed and say, “oh wait that’s not Edward Norton.”

Nothing against Ethan Hawke, I love Training Day and think he’s a solid actor but he hasn’t been in half as many movies that I love as Edward Norton has. Norton has a list of classic performances including American History X, Fight Club (which I’m not a major fan of but I know people love him in this), and most recently his gloriously humorous role in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

6. Michael Douglas and Martin Sheen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll admit that this is a little silly of me to get confused but there must be something about older actors that gets my thoughts all jumbled up. In reality, there’s not a whole lot I should be confusing with Emilio’s dad and Mr. Catherine Zeta-Jones but I do from time to time. Out of the two, Martin Sheen curries favor because I like more of his movies, in particular The Departed and the saga Apocalypse Now. He’s also the seed behind the spawn that is the ever-winning Charlie Sheen and The Breakfast Clubber Emilio Estevez. Thank you for all your contributions to the world, Mr. Sheen.

“You’re welcome.”

3 Tips to Avoid Looking Like an Annoying Photographer

 

If I’m honest with myself, I’m not much of a photographer. I’m one of those stereotypical girls (even though I’m a guy) who bought a nice DSLR camera and went picture happy with excitement. Then I noticed what great quality the camera has and mistook that for my photographical prowess and posted those photos like mad on Facebook. I’m proud of a few of those shots and think there’s some glimmer of a good hobby in there if I keep at it. But looking back there are some things that should be avoided to keep from looking like a mediocre beginner. As Scarlett Johansson said in Lost in Translation, “I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses… taking dumb pictures of your feet.” Well said, Scar Jo. Marry me.

Please.

1) Don’t Use Bold Personal Logos on Photos

Photographers like to use big, loud self-trademarks on their shots to designate the rightful owner. There are reasons for this; once the photo is posted to the web it can be copy and pasted anywhere or reused at anyone’s leisure. So photographers like to know they’re signature is there for the world to know who captured the shot. Makes total sense. But when you’re putting gaudy logos that are too big or too bright (as I’ve done here) it becomes extremely distracting and dramatically takes away from the quality of your photo.

If you’re going to use a logo keep it very simple and tasteful. Make it blend into a corner of the picture where it won’t be noticed and take away from the beauty you’re trying to convey. After all, everyone hates commercials and ads ruining what they really came to see: the Art. For more help, check out this site’s guidelines.

2) Use Filters Conservatively or Not At All

Instagram is either the coolest, most useful app on your phone (if you’re a teen girl) or it’s an annoying route for people to take crappy pictures and slap a gaudy filter over it. Instagram is neat and all but let’s remember that real photographers don’t usually use cell phone cameras or apps to edit their pictures. So if you’re trying to look like you have a shred of integrity, avoid dumbing down your photos with filters.

As a photographer, you want to avoid looking like the dozens of Instagram photos of food and people’s feet that clog everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feeds daily.

3) Be Selective

If you have a photo shoot, you’ve got an idea, you’ve got a subject, and you’ve got the means of making pretty pictures. You’re going to take an abundance of photos on this shoot because sometimes your lighting isn’t just right, some photos were a little blurred, or the model made a weird face or something. At the end of the day you could potentially have hundreds of pictures. There’s a reason that you shouldn’t post all or even most of these photos to the internet for all to see and that’s because most of them are like ugly babies, they’re only lovable to their creator. Only post the cream of the crop. If you have a problem with designating between which one of your children you want to slaughter, than get a friend with an eye for photos to be a second opinion. Be very selective. You only want to show the photos that make you and your model look good.

“That’s a keeper.”

I’m guilty of violating 2 out of these 3 tips and this is one of them. My first photo shoot I posted just about every blurred photo, every angle multiple times, and every downright bad shot I had because I was so jazzed up to show all of my Facebook friends. The result was less than savory.

When venturing into the wonderful world of amateur photography, remember that you’re not only as good as the expensive camera you use. Keep your photos tasteful and professional and set yourself apart from the rest of the girls’ feet shots. Make your feet photos look awesome!

 

A Shirt and a Psychopath: A Productive Day of Shooting

This has been a pretty productive summer so far. I’ve managed to stay fairly busy with writing and film production related gigs. Thankfully, I haven’t only been freelancing on other people’s shoots. I’ve completed two of the three days needed for production on my newest short film, an untitled addiction story about three people doing their best to cope with their feelings and drugs while being horrified to leave their house. In addition, I had a very successful day of shooting two skits for our YouTube channel. They’ve both been edited and posted and I’m proud of each!

“The Shirt” was the first to be posted followed by the first installment in a recurring character named Dr. Hank Ashley. Dr. Hank is a very weird character that I love and laugh at hysterically. His medical degrees are questionable as he fails to ever have any viable medical advice or expertise. For some reason he was given a self-help, Dr. Phil-style talk show on a public broadcasting network, and he continues to show almost no common sense, empathy for his guests, or understanding of how he should act on television. The results are grand! It was my personal pick for my best performance as an actor which is saying a lot as acting is far down on my list of film expertise. In addition, my co-star Sean Murray does a fantastic job as the scarred Vietnam War veteran. His portrayal is dark and captivating.

“The Shirt” is a little more straight forward, silly comedy. I think it came out great and it owes a lot of credit to the excellent editing of my Director of Photographer, Editor, and film partner, Mike Holst. The skit centers around a pissed off guy who can’t find his favorite shirt and is convinced that the other guy in the house; a silent Chris Holst, has taken the shirt to thwart him. Sean Murray is back in a much more subtle but equally comical role as the Good Cop until he blows up just as bad. When a discontent, side-ponytail wearing, gum cracking girl comes out of nowhere holding the shirt, Chris is immediately forgiven for all wrong doing. End skit. Big laughs. Super weird.

I’m proud of both of these skits and would love to share them with the world and thought a post to the blogging community could help. I think the acting is great, the shots are tight, the cuts are smooth, and the atmosphere is my trademark weird but silly. Give them a view and if you like them, feel free to comment and like the videos, share them on Facebook and Twitter, or even reblog this post! We’re a growing channel with a lot of potential. The hard part is getting our material out to the world. Any assistance in doing so would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading and watching!

Being a Werido Has Its Perks

I like to think that I’m a pretty abnormal person. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m real weird and can sometimes be sort of creepy. Sometimes I feel bad about making people feel uncomfortable with my eccentricities but like Bob Dylan says, “all I can do is be me, whoever that is.” So although I’m apologetic for making people feel awkward at times, I refuse to stop doing so.

I don’t try to stifle myself because I genuinely think I’m interesting and a fun person to be around. I try to keep things lively and original and if nobody else can appreciate that, I do. My wacky antics have livened up many boring days and nights. People should be shaking my hand for taking an interest in ensuring that life isn’t mundane.

Today was a shining example of how a little bit of effort goes a long way. I woke up after only a couple hours of sleep to get to a meeting at work at the ungodly hour of 8:00 am. It was a safety and security seminar that is held annually for everyone on staff at the movie theatre I manage. I’ve been to at least a half dozen of these meetings over my years in the company. One thing stays the same: they’re long and boring. Not if I have anything to do with it.

I ran the majority of the seminar which is basically supposed to be me reading off a bunch of PowerPoint slides to an auditorium full of barely-listening crew members. An hour of someone rattling off the same information yearly about how to pick up boxes safely, what to do in case of emergencies, and evacuation plans is awful and tedious. So I did my best to spice it up with commentary in between reading bulleted points.

I continually mentioned tips I learned from my “sensei” and referred back to my “dojo” regularly. I often tell my crew that I’m a major kung fu enthusiast and sometimes even add my varying degrees of black belts as proof of my Caine-like quest for knowledge. And even though I sometimes do a floor routine of martial arts moves on the job, I’ve never actually taken one day of karate training.

When we got to the sensitive issue of what to do if a gunman starts targeting random people, I naturally pointed my finger like a gun to the crew members and asked what they would do next. Depending on their answer I told them whether they were dead or alive.

All of this is a little odd and maybe not the most professional thing in the world. But by the end of that hour long meeting, my staff was wide awake and fully paying attention to the bulleted facts I mentioned in between my personal craziness. The mission was a complete success. They were informed and entertained. And for that matter, so was I. One of the positive things about being a fan of my own personality is that I am entertained by my own antics. My sensei would be proud. My dojo should be honored to have me.