Thursday, January 27, 2011

I have this thing...

...And this thing is a profound respect for the scripts of movies and television shows. I like to hear every word. Every word, dammit, because if it’s a good show, it’s because they have really talented writers who write really clever words with hopefully with some subtle hints or jokes that one wouldn’t catch if one wasn’t listening very intently.

Here’s the deal, though. I also have friends who like to say things. And the things they say usually mean something to me so I like to hear them as well.

So let’s say that I’m watching one of my DVDs of Arrested Development, a cancelled show that had some of the cleverest and most subtle writing I’ve ever seen so of course I don’t want to miss any of it, and someone comes up to me to tell me something. They start talking, and I’ll pause it to listen to them. And then this happens…

Friend: So I was…

**I push pause**

Friend: Oh. Sorry. I can go if you want. I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Me: What? No, it’s fine. What’s up?

Friend: Well, I’ll make it fast—

Me: You don’t have to. I paused it.

Friend: O…kay…

And they tell a really quick, abbreviated story, which leaves me feeling like a total douchecopter.   

[It's actually pretty interesting that the way I wrote "click" in this picture kind of looks like "dick", because that's what I end up feeling like.] 

After that happens once, this is what happens from now on…

Friend: So I was…

**I push pause**

Friend: Oh, haha. Brian always has to pause it. Haha.

Me: Well, of course. I want to hear what you say. 

Friend: Awkward! Okay, I’ll make it quick.

Me: No, you don’t have to. I paused it. It’s fine. I don’t see what the problem is…

Friend: O…kay…

And another abbreviated story! What is this!

When did the pause button start meaning, “Ugh you’re wasting my time with your incessant talking and I just want to watch my f***ing show”?

This is a what pause actually means. If you look really close on your pause button you can read this: 

Sometimes you have to be sentimental to stop people from pissing you off.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Steve Carell: Secrets from His Butler (me)

I was visiting home for the weekend, which is quite a convenient place to get the flu. The night went badly; I was achy and I had horrible chills. This kept me from ever fully sleeping, so I stayed stuck in a kind of half-awake half-asleep limbo for most of the night. What made it more interesting, though, is that I was dreaming.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve dreamed about Steve Carell. He was actually Steve Carell in this one, not Michael Scott from The Office. And with quite a different economic status, too. In this dream, he needed help taking care of his humongous, gaudy, centuries-old mansion adorned with dusty paintings and bear rugs, and I was lucky enough to be hired as live-in butler. 

[I would do this constantly.]

Now here’s something that not a lot of people know, but I do because I was his personal butler: Steve Carell, when he comes home, actually becomes three very large, very old rich women in satin bathrobes with golden fringe. 

Hard to believe, I know.

He—well, they, feminine—is/are less funny, too. They just lie in their lavish beds adorned with overstuffed down comforters with floral patterns and numerous pillows with tassels on them, and moan while stroking their a**hole Pomeranians, at least twelve to a bed.

My job was to run from room to room to room taking care of the massive moaning triplets.

But remember what I said before: I was half awake the entire time, but still dreaming. As the butler, they way I would tend to these three dames was to lie on my left side, my back, or my right side. And at the moment of successfully repositioning, I would become one of them, lie uncomfortably in my extravagant bed and moan in influenzalic agony. After tending to one for a while, I would switch positions to become another, and then another. 


[All Pomeranians are a**holes.  They're the only kind of dog I would be willing to strangle. Just looking at my drawing makes me all, "Pffft. A**hole.]


So in a way I was those three whale-like women. And in some bizarre, fluish way…I was Steve Carell.

Note to Mom and Dad: Listen, can we get some NyQuil up in here so I don’t have to become morbidly obese triplets when I’m sick at home? They’re really a bare to take care of. And bitchy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My New Kite

I thought I'd take a little break from being funny to show you something awesome. I got a new kite. As of now, she's nameless, but I'm pretty sure she's a girl.

The day I bought my kite Christie and I found out that there was a kite festival going on on top of a freaking frozen lake in the middle of freaking winter. So we went.

 Christie tried out her camera for photography class for the first time, hence the black-and-white, scanned pictures, and I flew my new beautiful kite.

 [I'm not in this one.]

I've never been to a kite festival before.  It was fun, actually, to watch the sky being boring and gray until a gust of wind came up and suddenly it was filled with color. There was music playing like, Come Fly With Me and other flight-sounding songs.

Anyway. It's a busy one, this week. But life definitely doesn't suck. Hope yours is going well too.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Phrases of This Generation: EPIC FAIL

It’s everywhere. Every mistake, every blunder, every shortcoming, especially when they’re funny enough to tell in a story or post on a Facebook status, is an EPIC FAIL.

I will now discuss this, my latest installment in the series, Phrases of This Generation. My biggest challenge will be to talk about how this strange word-creature invaded my generation without sounding like an old man who starts every one of his arthritic, cynical sentences with “Kids these days…” Let’s break this down.


It’s been a big couple of years for epic. Before about 2003, epic was only used (1) as a noun, describing usually long poem about some sort of hero, or (2) as an adjective used only by people who would see, and then describe, things like an opera performance or some sort book that teenagers hate reading in high school.

But then someone cool somewhere who college-aged people listen to—probably Dane Cook or Daniel Tosh or someone—used it in a sentence and all was changed. Football games became epic. So did arguments and keg-stands. Epic epic epic.  Soon the overused “amazingly” became “epically,” and high-fives were exchanged all around.

Thus EPIC became the only way to say something was large and/or cool.


This is how I see it.

It’s winter. Four husky, off-season athletes are walking back to their dorms after a night at O’Malley’s, the bar closest to campus. They’re not drunk drunk, because they had to be sober enough to understand the goings-ons of the game played on the one flat screen at that bar. They are without chicks under their arms, but it’s okay; they’re with their buds. As they’re walking back, Dude #1 pulls Dude #2’s jacket over his head, leaving him with his stomach exposed and his arms and head trapped inside the now inside-out jacket. Dude #1 runs ahead laughing, and jacket-boy runs after him blindly, all the while trying to pull his jacket back down.

Neither one of them sees the patch of ice under them, and both are painfully leveled to their backs.  Dude #3 and #4 laugh stupidly, and Dude #3, the most grammatically challenged of them all, the one who is slightly less good-looking and slightly less lucky in love, but he’s still a really sweet guy, says, “That was a fail.”

“That was totally a fail,” says Dude #3.

Thus, fail became a noun. And in that same moment, it ceased being anything else. One cannot fail anymore; something can only become a fail. Not a failure, even; a fail.


Back to Dude #1, #2, #3, and #4.  A few days later they’re back at O’Malley’s. Dudes #1 and #2 have nursed their bruised elbows and tailbones. Dude #1 says, “I can’t even explain how big of a fail that was.”
“Such a fail,” says #2.
“When I seen you do that, I was like ‘that was such a fail,” says almost-illiterate #3.
“I can’t even describe how big of a fail that was,” adds #4, “It was huge. It was awesome. It was…what was it…?”
“I heard Dane Cook or Daniel Tosh or someone say epic the other day,” chimes Dude #1. It’s just the word #4 was looking for.
“Epic! It was an EPIC FAIL!”
Suddenly all four dudes say “EPIC FAIL” together and give a poorly thought-out, badly-timed, four-way high-five. (This could also be called a high twenty.)
“Oh man,” laughs #4, “That was an EPIC FAIL.” And the four friends have a touching moment of brotherhood that’s quickly cut off because of an interception in the game on the big flatscreen. 

[They won't talk about that moment tomorrow. But #4 will scribble in his secret diary about it.]

A few tables away, someone sitting at a table alone drinking a Guinness and cynically typing on his computer overhears what those idiots are saying and decides, “I shall create a blog called EPIC FAIL and everyone will love it and quote it and post on it and make their own EPIC FAILs and say the phrase constantly. The English language will take a hit, but I will finally get out of this godforsaken town.”  

[He will rue the day he got that idea. I will make sure of it.]

And that’s how it happened. Now you know the actual history of EPIC FAIL.  Still, whenever I come across a reason to say EPIC FAIL, I will probably say something like “That was an enormous catastrophe.” 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Road Retorts Revisited

Last August, I wrote this post analyzing the intensities of different kinds of road retorts. I introduced the subject by using this picture, explaining how I wish that my car could do this, because it would make me feel a lot better when I do something stupid on the road…

[You'll see later in this post that my car-drawing skills have not improved much since August.]

According to my Popular Post Counter, Three Levels of Road Retorts is my most popular post. Must be, because someone may have seen it. In October, two months after I posted, I noticed that one of my favorite bloggers of all time, The Oatmeal, posted a comic called This is What My Car Needs, and included this picture…

Shockingly similar, right? The red letters, the message...Same, same.

This is how starved for attention and recognition I am, though: I don’t care if he took my idea, which is very unlikely anyway. What I’m interested in is that there is a teeny-weenie, itsy-bitsy, miniscule chance that The Oatmeal, who has millions of readers, maybe perhaps kinda glanced at my humble little 34-follower blog and said, “Hey, that’s funny. I could use this. And nobody knows what the hell Popcorn Day is, so I’m fine.” Slim chance, but what if, right?

Anyway. Mr. Oatmeal, if you’re (impossibly) reading this, you’re off the hook this time because I’m too enamored by your fame.

And while we’re kind of on the subject of road retorts, I’d like to add one to the list. This would go between “The Bird” and “The Snarl.”

1½. The Honk.

So overused that I actually forgot it the first time, The Honk is one of the most passive-aggressive of the Road Retorts. The car horn was initially meant to be used as a warning to people and cars that one’s vehicle was approaching. It has now been entirely stripped of that meaning. Even if the horn is actually used as a warning, it usually ends up like this…

[Cars just aren't my area of expertise, I guess.]

But this is not necessarily what I’m talking about. The Honk is actually when the horn is used slightly after someone has done something stupid, like cut them off or change lanes without signaling. And this is how it turns out…

[Ladies and gentlemen, back by popular demand, it's...MAN DRIVING WITH A BLUE HAT ON!]

And then the original offender’s heart starts beating flusteredly because he thinks that honk was a warning of some dangerous approaching vehicle. When he realizes it was merely a “F*** YOU,” he then becomes just as upset as the other guy, and has the choice of three other types of road retorts. Cue this song...

[Or maybe just the's supposed to kind of be about an endless cycle, but maybe this song wasn't a good choice. "The Circle of Life," maybe? Who cares.]