Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A neat thing

Friend Kelly of Stuff/Things had some rogue archaeologists raid her backyard and dig up a bunch of old crap, such as the above fetching ceramic booze bottles. Check it out. Odd story.

And for amateur achaeology giggles, I suggest you get your ass over, here post haste, to read a hilarious bit of weirdness from the early days of the web.


My two days with my new best friend.

Working with most run of the mill commercial directors, they act like regular middle class joes… sometimes you get a little film school horse puckey thrown at you, but for the most part they’re a vendor doing a job for you.

This was very different.

CG sort of never has to work every again. He picks and chooses what he’s going to work on, and so he doesn’t go crazy with the customer service. He assumes you hired him because he knows how to do his fucking job, so that’s what he does. His fucking job...AS THE GREATEST COMEDIC DIRECTOR WHO HAS EVER LIVED EVER.

Last Friday we had a meeting; something called the pre-pro, where the director sort of takes the client through how he’s going to do stuff. We flew down for the day, and we to the production company’s offices, a little bungalow slapped in the middle of a studio lot in Hollywood. Me, my new best friend CG, Gerald (my work partner), Vince the agency producer, the agency account executive, and two producers from the production company.

And we sort of just hung out and compared phones and took turns riding a Segueway. CG showed us his reading glasses. They were nice.

Mr. Guest is a nice-ish sort of fellow.

He has a reputation of being sort of difficult with agency people, but I think if you act like a grown-up and don’t ask him to say “it goes to 11”, he’s a nice enough chappie. Don’t expect HUGS obviously, but he was fun to be around. He’s your favorite professor.

He seems to respond to thoughtful questions, he’s not above joking around, and he can take and throw back jabs with the best of them. (Probably because he is the best of them.)

He has a very dry sense of humor, but you knew that. He’ll do little shtick with a shlub like you or me. (He told me I’m a good straight man, and then went on to explain that, yes, it’s a compliment.)

He has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports, fly fishing, baseball, football, golf, even frickin’ NASCAR, and he dresses like a middle aged dude. Proudly shows photos of his kids.

He sort of invited my work partner to play golf at his fancy pants club, not with him mind you, but he’d make it happen if my pal G. wanted to show up and hit a few. See? Nice.

He told us about working with John Belushi, and having to threaten Belushi with a phone call to the police because he was too high to get any work done. He told us dealing with Chris Farley’s drug addictions, and he told us that most of Altman’s films were a mess. Same with Cassavetes. He showed me his mandolin pick. AWESOME.

Mr. Guest lives a life that is very different than yours or mine.

Mr. Guest has never had what one would call a conventional life. This is a true fucking fact: he’s a titled, hereditary lord. His English diplomat father was awarded a baronage, or –nate, or whatever, and it passed down to our lad, CG. He has stood and voted in the House of Lords in a freaking wig, AND he’s married to Tony Curtis’ and Janet Leigh’s daughter, AND he was in Spinal Tap.

And… jesus. The anecdotes his producer told me.

To whit:

CG meets Steve Jobs at a dinner party. “If you ever have computer problems, here’s my card. CALL ME.”

So, months later, CG has computer problems. So what does he do? Well, he doesn’t do what you or I would do. Nope. HE CALLS FUCKING STEVE JOBS. A couple hours later, a bunch of IT guys show up with a brand spanking new G5, loaded with software, including Garage Band, which leads me to the next anecdote:

CG’s producer is on the phone with CG. “Hey, I made this song on MY NEW APPLE G5. I used GarageBand. It’s great.” (Oh, and CG plays some kind of crazy number of instruments really, really well.)

The producer: “Wow, that sounds really, really good.”

CG: “Yeah, well Dweezil Zappa, Elvis Costello and Jeff Beck were over the other day, and we were just fooling around. So, yeah.” (Note that this is my approximation of what a generic casual sounding dude sounds like. I doubt CG would say “So, yeah.”)

Mr. Willard is really, really good and very, very old.

I didn’t talk to him, simply because OH MY FUCKING GOD, HE’S FUCKING FRED WILLARD. He walks with a pronounced shuffle, but he is laser focused. It was tiny-hair-on-my-neck-standing-up-causing to watch other much younger actors try to stay in the same universe with him as he improvises complete insanity. The only time I saw CG laugh out loud was during FW’s absolutely twisted utterances. His character was very dark, very crass, and completely hilarious. So…FUCKING…AWESOME.

Mr. Hitchcock is a really, really good and a very underrated actor.

He played Parker Posey’s catalog loving husband in “Best in Show” and he’s currently on MAD TV.

For all of Willard’s diatribes, Hitchcock could upstage him with a look, with a knitted eyebrows, or quiet exasperation. He’s sort of my new hero. Jesus, I sound like a wee schoolgirl.

Here’s how he does the movies.

Over a year or so, he and his writing partner (usually Eugene Levy) write extensive 30 page biographies for EACH of the characters. Each actor then studies each biography, so his or her reactions to each other will be organic. Each scene is choreographed around certain points and the actors improvise until they hit the goal. CG gives notes throughout and then the funny troll comes and the magical elves sprinkle their gumgum twinkle powder aaaaand...JOKES!

Fred Willard made fun of my wife
We used my wife’s last name, Grech, for the name of a company Willard refers to in the thingie. “The Grech Group? I like to call it the RETCH Group… RETCH! RETCH!”

That’s the ramble. I’ll think on this some more, because it is so fucking cool and I will bother my wife with anecdotes all weekend, then I’ll bother you some more. Neat! I’ll try and post some of the film next week or so. It’s pretty fucking funny.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So far, so good.

Had my first face-to-face meeting with this person:

And... he wasn't a fucking bastard. In fact, he was nice. He did not slap my back, but we joked and talked about stuff like grown-ups.

I've spent weeks psyching myself up for this. I've dealt with demi-celebs in a professional capacity before, but this is the first person who I REALLY, REALLY admire. And there he was on the couch, eating a sandwich. Next to me.

His hair is snowy white.


Friday is the first interaction with the client and Monday is the big show. Jesus. I'm still giddy. Sorry if I've been harping on this... just, I mean, shit.

Anyway, exclesior.


What is this Music I keep hearing about, Greg?

Well, I'm glad you asked.


Music is the marking of time with sound. Practitioners of music arrange objects that bleat or thump in interesting ways, then sequence the bleating and thumping.

It is then that it is customary for the audience squat, stomp and thrust at predictable intervals during the course of the sound making.

Tonally controlled screaming of poetry sometimes accompanies the sound as well. Ideally the poetry’s internal rhythm will correspond roughly with the flow of the sounds as dictated by the sequence agreed upon by the assembled performers. People who scream in tonally predictable ways are held in high esteem, and they often are given license to cut their hair oddly or dress in a manner that doesn’t conform to everyday modes of dress.

The poetry often deals with romantic love and potential sexual congress with another person or persons.

However, this poetry may also deal with other subjects, such as:

-- the desirability of squatting, stomping or thrusting when hearing a discrete unit of music

-- a syncretic mythology, combining themes from near eastern death cults and northern European mythos. (Note: a repetitive and predictable shaking of the head and wearing of animal skins decorated with small metal spikes are often associated with this lyrical mode)

-- the internal combustion engine

-- psychotropic chemicals


This is music. Watch out for it. It’s quite popular.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Rip Taylor attacks Norman Mailer with a hammer

Unless you have had a spectacularly trying day, this clip promises to be the most disturbing thing you'll see today. It's not gross or bloody or anything. Just very, very odd.

Norman Mailer wrote and "starred" in a "film" called MAIDSTONE in the late sixties. He had the lead role of a successful film director considering running for president. Rip Torn played an assassin task with killing the director.

Rip Torn apparently tasked himself with killing the director of Maidstone and here we see him attacking a shirtless Norman Mailer with a hammer. Norman Mailer bites his ear. I love how they still manage to call each other "daddy" and "baby" throughout the altercation. Hipsters in a hobbesian state.

I hope that if you and I ever get down to it, we have the self-possession of these chaps to acknowledge each other coolness.

(Ripped off from Panoptist.)


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Three more blogs. Three more handsome blogs. And a site.

-- Meatspace Friend Kelly has launched a blog called Stuff/Things, so I guess she's my blogfriend, too. Kelly is very nice and charming and is tasteful, is funny, is blah blah blah. She's a graphic designer/art director. She has a nice house.

And if I may be bold this Saturday morning (at home with a young boy covered in angry red hives), I think blogspace/meatspace friend Kelly should be friends with San Francisco based blogspace/meatspace friend Tracy. Tracy is a writer and is very nice and charming and is tasteful, if funny, is blah blah blah. I have never been to Tracy's house.

Kelly, meet Tracy. Tracy, meet Kelly.

-- Meatspace Friend Kelly has a dreamy husband, the kind ladies have dreamy little dreams about. He has a blog entitled Logocracy. Apparently, he'd like to give Condi Rice's gapped teeth a rogering.

-- Cubemate, making things on the web person and general Englishman Alastair has a blog, called The Laconic. Is he, you know, laconic? A bit, though if you are going to call your blog "The Laconic", you had better be pretty fucking laconic. Will take this up with him next week.

-- Not a blog, but more of a proper site, that is what friend Dylan's site is to me. Has photos.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Yet another amazing local tv commercial

Two more gloriously weird dispatches from the edge of commerce

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ntude Lpesbian HOTGIMRLSs Fgondling & Fyingering Outdoor

Welsh people keep emailing my bulk folder.

To whit:

Pooor Gmay Bkoy Squcking GIGANTCBOCK In BkathtubM

I believe this is the first line of the Lord's Prayer in Welsh.

io offers up a truly pithy subject line: *mcLsb c0k"

This may be Scots Gaelic. Not sure.

Meanwhile, ¬ì Il, writes ²³¹¿µÄ¨èÜ· The last known speaker of Manx has contacted me! Honored, I am.

Ah, me. To live in an age that an anonymous Basque correspondent reaches out electronically to a foreign across the sea such as my self, with the poignant cry rendered in his mother tongue: "Ydoung HOQTGURLS In Jeans Tshong Swhowing On Vgoyeur Cham"!

What on earth is happening in the Basquish Lands that a lone Basquish locutor feels the need to contact me, a distant doofus. Animals!

Whoever you are, O Brave Basque, I will do what I can to ensure that the hoqtgurls will vgoyeur on chams, the best chams that money can buy, just as soon as I find out what chams are.

Thankfully, Arantxa Vanhoose, a kindly Internet stranger, has assured via email that "She will make the night memorable for lifetime!!!!"

It's nice to know someone out there is looking out for me.

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The sort of blog post that make me hate blogs

I am shy, kind of painfully shy, occasionally glowing hot walnut-of-pain-my-stomach shy.

It’s frustrating and it has led to all sorts of painful Larry David sort of moments for me. I’ve walked miles rather than ask an acquaintance for a ride, I’ve been saddle with awkward purchases because the thought of going to a store to return something makes my face hot.

Shyness maybe too small of a word. I don’t get people a lot of the time, and I think shyness is the remembering being burnt.

It comes across, I’m sure, as arrogance sometimes. I don’t talk to other parents when I drop Ruby off at school (this morning I was quietly cursing that we were going to get to school two minutes early and thus I might be forced to stare at my shoes in the gaggle of parents, waiting for the gate to open) and chit chat is an effort for me.

Funny thing is, some people I manage not to be shy around when I first meet them. They give off something that says it’s okay for me to joke around and be effortless. And in cases like this, I can carry the conversation and be witty and a good listener and all that crap. But some people I can never get to that point with, or at least I know it’ll take some conscience effort on my part. I make this judgment in the first few moments of meeting someone and it’s a hurdle that is pretty much unconquerable on my part, even though I know it’s totally irrational.

I think I need to read someone as intelligent, or I clam up. Yes, I’m intimidated by dumb people. When I feel like I can get away with flitty conceptual nonsense, crap that causes TWITTERING and GIGGLING, I feel more comfortable. I don’t function well on the weather/work/clothes/small talk level, and it’s beyond me how people KEEP THAT SHIT GOING for more than a few minutes. Stuff like that makes me miserable.

Seriously, I think I fall somewhere closer to the Ausperger’s end of things than most people do. Sometimes I hate that I’m that way, other times I wouldn’t have any other way. Depends on the day.

Today I’m wishing I was a little closer to average.


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My god crapping out baby lambs in hell crap oh mighty

So, I've been busy. I haven't been in a bloggable way, hence the not so much of the typing, yeah? (I knew a guy in High School that talked like that.)

The busy is good busy.

This guy has signed on the dotted line, and has convinced this guy
and this guy
to spend a couple of afternoons being improvish and funny, making the puerile crap I write for work seem less puerile, even sort of intelligent.

Isn't that a goddamn kick in the ass?

"There's some funny stuff here." He said that. About, uh, the thing I wrote.

It's for real. It's happening.

Christ Spider Egg Fuck Nuts, now I've got worry.