Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Look Back...

First I just wanna say someone already claimed, but it's been removed by the site and the URL is unavailable. THANKS A LOT, BUDDY! When I come up with a good alternative URL, I'll post the link. And if anyone has some suggestions, please send 'em my way.

But for now, let's travel back in time through the year that was 2008, and how all that Yes fun turned out.

Bought an acoustic guitar. Remember that? Well, I don't. I did not keep up with playing, sadly, and gave up about February. But I have a lot of good excuses! Namely, that I can only practice when no one is home, and that's a rarity in this day and age. Also: busy. Also: lazy.

BUT... now that I'm unemployed, I might take it up again. Maybe switch off every other day between guitar and Wii Fit. I actually did play for a bit two days ago, but that might just have been in preparation of this blog post.

Hey, and this was when I first started watching LOST, one of the best decisions I made all year. What a great show! I can't wait till it comes back, Wednesdays at 9 on ABC! (Note: I don't actually know if that's the right time.)

Whoa, a sleep regimen where I would go to sleep by midnight? What was I thinking?

That didn't pan out.

However, my current goal right now is to not go back to sleep when Sarah leaves for work (at 8:50 a.m.). This is Day Two of that plan, we'll see how that turns out.

I will say, though, that lately my sleep patterns have been pretty good, but, again, having no day job and the opportunity for naps makes that a lot easier. I should note that the above goal does not allow naps. I didn't take one yesterday!

Ah, March, the month of St. Patrick's Day and The Song of the Irish Peddler. I'm very glad I did that show, though it was a pain in the butt lugging around a 3,000-lb. accordion to the rehearsals and shows.

But, hey, how many other Asian-Italians can say they were part of an Irish folk band?

(Photo by Keith Huang)

Lousy Smarch weather.

April and May
Ah, the months where I tried to be healthy in my eating and by signing up for Yoga classes but then not going to them. Yoga was a definite fail.

In an ideal world, 2009 would include some new physical classes, but since I'm now on a budget instead of Rich Uncle Pennybags, who knows if that will happen?

June spoon, to the moon! From where I'm from (Canada), that little rhyme is usually reserved for contemptuous feelings for something, but June was actually a fun month. It was my first trip to Maine, which is quite pretty during that time of year.

Also, I briefly changed my hairstyle. That didn't last long, either.

July held what was probably the best Yes decision I made all year, which was to go to Dragon*Con even after learning that I'd be losing my job soon. To be fair, I had already purchased the plane tickets, so it wasn't a real Year of Yes moment, but I stuck with the trip, and the world is a better place for it.

Dragon*Con! Oh, what a lovely time. I think about it when times are difficult, much like Bilbo Baggins would think of cakes and bacon when he was miserable and dreary. You guys remember that part, right?

August was an awesome month, since it also included a second trip to Maine and Terry Jinn's Enormous Television.

(Photo by Ari Scott)

All months should be like this: two vacations and a concert. And I usually hate August! It's the hottest month, and the summer heat turns me into a monster, but I also bought a portable air conditioner this year (this must have been one of those situations that were too personal to blog about), so it was pretty good.

Got my wisdom teeth removed. That sucked massive, but it could've sucked worse. At least, as my doctor pointed out, I didn't die. Sometimes the Year of Yes means you gotta do what you gotta do, and at least I got those bastards out of me before my insurance ended, unlike some other, more horrible things.

This got downplayed a little in the blog, but whoa, I moved into an awesome, huge apartment! October was easy, since it just involved watching movers move my crap, but September sucked, because adding on to my medical pain and penicillin allergies was the hassle of looking for an apartment, and I gotta tell you, I earned this one.

Almost every other NYC apartment I've found through good fortune - a friend of a friend knew about it, and voila - but, like in finding a job or landing a big score, you don't get the lucky break until you put in the work for it. And this year, damn, I worked for it. Usually while on Vicodin or something.

I must've looked at 3,000 apartments (all in Astoria), and then suddenly found two nice places. One was really nice, right down the street from my old place, but was more expensive and a hassle to apply for. This one, the guy was like, "Just give me the deposit, it's a done deal," since his dad runs/owns the building, and kaboom, the search was over.

But October, yeah, a good time. I braved ZombieCon by myself, and I got to play a comatose psychic during that live-action gaming event on Halloween, which was a good Yes. It was a very unique way to spend the holiday, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. I was drooling uncontrollably while strapped to a wheelchair!

Sure, this was the month where I started my novel and we threw that housewarming party, but really, all that matters is this:

Directed Lynn and Betsy's show... Wrestled at (but did not blog about) Hanukkaos: The Festival of Fights... Hated (or didn't hate?) Christmas... Spent the month writing... Grew a beard... Got new glasses that look a lot like my old ones but are slightly different and a lot more fancy-ass...

Not a bad way to end the year, I guess.

And Beyond!
Some previews for what's to come in 2009: Finally wear my gnome costume. Go back to Dragon*Con (those two aren't necessarily inclusive). Get into some new TV show. Finish this scarf I've been knitting for three years. Finish and post up my novel. Run a few more scenarios of Disney Zombies as an RPG. Keep playing the guitar. Outer space, maybe?! And fight a shark.

Happy New Year, everyone! See you in the new blog... and the future.

Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the Year... End of the Blog?

So 2008 is coming to a close. Will this be the end of the Year of Yes?

I'm still undecided.

On the one hand, did this blog actually accomplish anything? It forced me to write more, which is a good thing, though it was a time-eater, and I could've used that time on more creative endeavors or wasted it on nonsense. And I need a serious amount of nonsense in my life or I fade away.

But did I inspire other people to get psyched and say Yes (one of my original goals of the blog)? And more importantly, my point of view about life change for the better? I don't think so. I continue to be like this dog... the sense that I'm wearing my wonderful pink bunny rabbit suit and no one appreciates it properly, and I'm like, "What the heck is wrong with the world? I hate everything... and I'm thirsty."

Also, for every event I wrote about, there were probably two or three that I didn't mention, for whatever reason. Sometimes I'd forget. Sometimes I'd think, "Well, I don't wanna blog about something until it happens," but then once it did happen, I'd think, "It's old news by now, who cares?"

That's a pretty weak reason, though. Over the past 12 months, I'd learned that the best way to blog is to write before the event (to get psyched), and to recap afterward. Even if it sucked, it's enough to say, "It was sort of sucky."

But the main reason I omitted certain events are because I'm an incredibly private person, and I have no desire to talk about my medical misadventures or personal tragedies with my friends and family, let alone the Faceless Internet. Even blogging about my wisdom teeth was a struggle. For a long time, I didn't include my real name and picture until I realized it's pretty easy to find me, so why bother hiding?

Other Reasons to Stop: Laziness. Saying "No" to things is easier. That Yes Man movie kind of killed it for me.

And, to be honest, I don't take great joy in blogging. I've never felt like "WHOA MAMA I CAN'T WAIT TO WRITE ABOUT THIS!" with the exception of Disney World.

Finally, the year is written in the URL. Isn't that passe? Wouldn't I have to change it and deal with all the crap that such an effort would entail? 2008 is the past, man, I gotta quit living in the past! But I don't wanna start over on a brand-new blog, want to keep all these posts and stuff. Maybe I can just change the title or something. Is that legal?

Reasons to Keep on Bloggin': On the other hand, being responsible for the Year of Yes ensured that stuff would get done. I wouldn't waste all my time on nonsense, I'd go out and do things that aren't usual for me. Or I'd do easy Yes things (Friend: Want to eat this cheezburger with me? Kirk: OK.) and get an easy sense of accomplishment.

And (is this one lame?) I like having a record of my year. Even though I don't like blogging, I like having a blog. I can look back on past months and be like, "Oh, yeah, I did that!" instead of forgetting the mundane pleasantries of, say, eating a cheezburger with a friend.

In the past, I'd categorize each year by a month-spanning project: My Wife, the Ghost one year, Cakey! The Cake From Outer Space the next, then a Halloween karaoke musical. This year, I didn't do anything creative other than this blog. And that's OK, 'cause it was also a little personal project, too.

So will I continue it? I guess it'd be the ultimate No to be like, "And that's 365 days, I'm out, suckers!" However, it would be kind of funny.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry (Belated) Blechmas

You'd be surprised to hear it, but I'm not a big fan of Christmas. I mean, I like the idea of Christmas, and I often wear an Elf hat and excitedly shout "Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!" in the hopes that I'll get psyched, but at the end of the season, I'm as far from psyched as one can get.

I'm not into gifts, and that's really the reason for the season, isn't it? Just watch any Family Matters Christmas special (and I did, courtesy of Nick at Nite), and it always ends with them opening a mountain of presents. Eddie got that new boom box he wanted! It just adds up to too much clutter, and really, is that the payoff to 20 minutes of Christmas spirit? Presents?

I hate giving gifts! It's hard to figure out what to get people that isn't teh suck. One of my friends told me her family gave up on the act of gift-giving because it's basically "giving garbage to each other." And I agree! So much of the time, it's giving something people don't want or need. Maybe that's just my experience... or I'm terrible at giving gifts.

Buying gifts stresses me out so much, probably brought on by a lifetime of watching Christmas specials and being told it's very important to get the perfect thing, and I can never figure it out.

Then I thought about it, like, "What does Sarah really like?" and I got this very cool (to me) piece of gerbil artwork:

But let me tell you the ordeal it took to get this damn thing. First off, it was on eBay, but I couldn't Buy It Now, then it came in from France, and there was this huge self-induced stress of "Will it get here in time?" (since we both left town for the holidays), then I had to try and get the damn thing framed, and the whole thing was a nightmare.

Then I felt a little guilty because she got me a present I really liked, seriously, one of my favorite presents of all time: Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Wii. I've rarely gotten good gifts in my life, so it was a nice surprise. It perfectly fit my definition of a good gift - it's something I want (I really, really, really love this game) but would never buy for myself.

Most years, I try and alleviate this holiday hatred by taking part in the New York Cares Winter Wishes campaign. One would think making poor kids happy would make me feel better (and that's a selfish reason to take part in a charity, isn't it?), but no! All I remember from years past is how difficult and crappy it was finding and sending these gifts, and always being late about it, and feeling bad.

And yet, I enjoy those bad memories in the same way Oscar the Grouch enjoys hating the world. Ask me about how I had to deliver a very heavy wagon (admittedly, a really cool gift, I'm glad that today's youth still appreciate the classics) during the MTA transit strike a few years ago. I almost died.

Sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown, but on that note, even though I subjugated Sarah to hours of Christmas specials and I watch them in the hopes of finding spiritual fulfillment, they still piss me off. They're too trite and easy and never delve into a deeper meaning of the holidays.

Even friggin' Charlie Brown, especially Charlie Brown - they just decide to make the tree look pretty and then sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and that's the ending? That solves all his problems? I highly doubt it. He's going to kill himself come February.

Or the Grinch - I love the (almost) ending! The Whos sing without presents. Christmas doesn't come from a store after all! But then what does the Grinch do? That idiot brings 'em all back so everyone gets their material rewards. It undercuts the entire message! Eff that ess. I wish he would've burned it all and been like, "I'm sorry. I ruined Christmas. I'm an ass," and then the Whos would say, "It's OK. We forgive you," and that'd be it. No Christmas miracle, no appearance of Santa, just them singing without presents of foods.

Maybe I'm a misanthrope, but I prefer reading the Charles Ludlam (one of my favorite playwrights) adaptation of A Christmas Carol, where Scrooge realizes, bit by bit, that it's all about kindness. It doesn't cost anything, doesn't hurt anyone, and it makes it a difference. When he talks about how much he appreciated Fezziwig's parties, and they didn't cost hardly anything... isn't that what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown?

One final rant: Man, was church lame! I like my religion the way I like my coffee: full of mysticism and ritual and singing and weirdness. That makes it fun. And it's such a letdown when the priest just tells an amusing anecdote for his homily (Really? That's all you got? It's just the Birth of your Savior, padre, you couldn't mention that a bit?), everyone's shuffling their feet so they can go home, there's just no real joy or zest, just bored obligation, and there are at least three kids playing with their Game Boys. That part just killed me... parents really let kids bring video games to church nowadays?

Even the Christmas music was sang in a boring way, and that just boggles the mind. Christmas music should be the best, most-psyched music ever. And I listen to EPCOT's Candlelight Processional (of which I had the honor of being a part of, many years ago) and "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" on constant repeat during the entire month of December. I'm not kidding. To see that music fail to get people psyched... at a church... on Christmas Eve... it made me want to give up on everything.

And now for the topper: I had a pretty good Christmas this year! Both of my flights had zero problems, I got to go home for a longer amount of time (usually I just get to visit for a day or two), got to see most of my family, went swimming on Christmas Day, got a lot of writing done, played with the dog (at one point, I took a sword and knighted her Sir Stupid. I thought that was the most hilarious thing ever. Am I right, people? That's really funny, right? To knight a dog while she smiles a dopey smile and doesn't understand what's going on? And to use the name Sir Stupid for a female dog?), and had a good time.

So what the heck am I complaining about?

PS: I'm very proud of this post title. Let's all try to use the word "blech" a little more in 2009, shall we? 2009: The Year of Blech.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I've got a lot of writing going on. Always do. And now I've got some more.

I recently found out that Figment Theatre is running a contest for people to write a one-act play that involves classical movie monsters.

(Unfortunately, registration is now closed. I wish I could've posted about it earlier, but I found out about this less than an hour before the deadline.)

Sounds like fun, but here's a good reason why I shouldn't enter: I'm trying to finish the first draft of this novel, hopefully by the end of the year, so I can start putting it up on the blog beginning in January. Now that I'm unemployed, it's not that hard to get down 2,000 words a day, but I don't need any distractions.

Here's a bunch of reasons why I should enter: It's the Year of Yes. I like classical movie monsters. I like distractions. It seems like fun. It's due in 30 days, so this won't consume my entire life and creative self. I've got an idea that I've wanted to do for ages, but never did because while it's easy to write a script, producing and putting together a film shoot is a huge, huge hassle. And most important, because I want to.

So I signed up. Whee!

I might have bragged before that I have a somewhat easy time writing dialogue. At least, that's been my experience, because then you have actors to give it life and a director to make sense of it all, and you can always rewrite things if they don't flow.

Working on this novel has been a lot harder. It's a lot more final than any script. Scripts are joint efforts, this one is all on me. And that's scary because I don't have any decent amount of experience writing prose, I don't how to do it, and all my sentences start with a character's name or "The [something-something]."

It's weird doing something you're not good at and then putting it out there on display to be judged and critiqued and given cease-and-desist orders from corporate lawyers.

I saw an excerpt from a zombie novel that was posted online, and you better believe I judged it (it was pretty horrible!). What if people think that about my story? Man, that would suck.

Also, I'm fully aware that this probably falls in the realms of "fan fiction," and all the stigma that entails. Part of me doesn't care about that, and yet, I just thought about the Prologue, which features Rafiki (from The Lion King) reading the entrails of a sacrifice and being bothered by what he sees.

That's ridiculous. I know it is. I'm taking talking animals and putting them into a grim scenario that's already overdone (zombies are everywhere, even at the Bust Craft Fair, where I bought a nifty ring... but that's another story).

People are going to think that's stupid. So half of me is like "I don't want people to think I'm stupid!" while the other half is like, "Eff 'em. They don't have to read it. And really, the title should give them fair warning about what I'm going for, here."

Beh. For now, I'm just ignoring all the self-doubts and plowing through. Editing will take place in the second draft (I haven't read over anything yet, so maybe it's better than I'm remembering. Or worse.), the first is just to get the words (all the words - good and bad) onto the paper.

But writing a play that's got a monster in it? Man, that practically writes itself! How could you go wrong?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Post-Disney Interview with Sarah (Part IV)

And so we reach the final, long-awaited chapter in our Disney Adventure: Animal Kingdom.

K: We started out at the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. You'd never heard of this place, but I'm very familiar with it - we had one at Sawgrass Mills. What'd you think?

S: I made friends with an elephant.

K: This place must be a lot of fun for kids, but so annoying for everyone else. Every 15 minutes, the animals come to life, and every 20 minutes, there's a thunderstorm.

S: Actually, the kids didn't seem to be having a lot of fun.

K: Did you like it, though?

S: It was OK. It was funny. They had the best stuff in the gift shop, it was ridiculous.

K: And then we went into the park itself. First stop: Dinosaur!

S: That was cool.

K: Why?

S: Dinosaurs!

K: So you liked this ride?

S: Yeah.

K: It wasn't too scary?

S: No, you said it was going to be scary. And I did see a little kid crying on their way out.

K: But sometimes it moves fast, that's what I'm talking about.

S: I thought it was exciting, actually, unlike most of them. They used the effects to make it exciting, but not scary.

K: So then we went to the Asia animal trail. It was nice! It's very zoo-like there, and zoos are fun.

S: True.

K: This is where we saw tigers and bats.

S: We saw some ridiculous tourists. The "Nowhere Butt Hawaii" guy [he was wearing a t-shirt featuring airbrushed bikini babes in thongs] who kept on saying all the animals were "good eatin'."

K: They probably were. But what about the tigers and bats? Any comment?

S: I liked them. And they had a mouse that was pretty cool.

K: All right. After that we went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, featuring the most sarcastic tour guide ever.

S: Yeah, he was sarcastic.

K: But good! It was a lot of fun, and we sat in the front row!

S: Yep. We were the only people in the front row. It was fun. I thought we were gonna be better friends with the people at the end, but we all just went our separate ways.

K: What?

S: Remember the rapport we all had?

K: Oh, right. Some of those people were very chatty and jokey.

S: Actually, they were kind of obnoxious.

K: But we got really close to a rhino! And some deer or I don't know what they are.

S: That rhino is awesome. It was coming up to us. And it was big and cool. I like animals.

K: I like turtles.

K: And then we went to the Africa animal trail, where we saw that deer get on its hind legs.

S: That was adorable. Wait, that's where that ["Nowhere Butt Hawaii"] man was. Because he said that about the deer and some birds that we saw after that.

K: Right, that's right. And they had some gorillas, which I don't think I'd seen before, but it was pretty amazing.

S: I think people who don't love animals like I do get a kick out of gorillas, because they seem like people, only, you know, bigger and different. To me, we're all part of a global community...

(I give her a weird look.)

S: Hey, I'm trying to sound good for once. I liked the mouse, and I liked the gorillas.

K: I liked 'em, too! They were really big, and their faces are creepily expressive.

S: Mm-hmm, their eyes.

K: And in this week's episode of Survivor: Gabon, they went to Africa's Eden, a gorilla sanctuary. It was pretty impressive. You decided not to go on Expedition Everest.

S: Yeah, I watched about 12 of those cars go down the mountain, and I decided to not risk throwing up.

K: It wasn't that bad. I don't think the drop was as bad as Splash Mountain.

S: Really?

K: Yeah.

S: But it goes right into a turn afterward. That was the part I was worried about.

K: I didn't think it was that bad.

S: Plus, I didn't want to experience the fear of waiting in line and knowing I can't get off the ride, like I did on Splash Mountain.

K: With our FastPasses, I just waited like seven minutes each time. It was neat!

S: I would rather you have a good time twice than have you have a good time once with me possibly not.

K: That's very nice of you. That was about all we did, really. It was mostly a relaxing day in a zoo, with some rides. But I really liked Animal Kingdom! Anything else you want to say?

S: We didn't do anything else?

K: No, we just walked the animal trails. Oh, but we never talked about Downtown Disney!

S: True.

K: Downtown Disney had Earl of Sandwich...

S: Which was the highlight of your trip.

K: That was the best damn sandwich I've ever had in my life. It was the Holiday Special, with turkey and gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce. I wish to God I had taken a picture of it. I am not kidding when I say it was one of the finest meals I've ever had.

S: I actually enjoyed Downtown Disney, 'cause I like stores. And they had some pretty weird stuff.

K: Like what? The Ariel doll?

S: That was weird. It was weird that someone had, well, you know... undressed it.

K: And weirder still was that just one of the many baby Ariel dolls appeared to be anatomically correct. The Little Mermaid vagina. I just typed that so weirdos can find us on Google. Here's a pic!

S: Also, it was pretty cute watching the kids play in the fountain.

K: I ran through it! Remember? And I didn't get wet. Also, they had a Lego store.

S: Yeah, if I recall, you got scared in that store. You got scared a lot at Downtown Disney.

K: I sure did. It was weird and different. And nighttime.

S: And at Downtown Disney, I got to see my only triple [meaning a Disney character dressed up as something else as something else]. Well, some kind of merchandise representing three different...

K: Incongruous things?

S: Yeah. Like, I saw a lot of, you know, Holiday Mickey, or Pirate Mickey, but no Holiday Pirate Mickey.

K: I wanted to see Minnie Mouse as the Virgin Mary giving birth to Pluto, but that didn't exist. However, we did get the triple...

K: It's Disney characters as Tower of Terror characters and they're also sort of Clue characters.

S: Better than nothing.

K: I don't understand why they used Pete instead of Pluto.

S: He's a dog. Dogs can't be...

K: Pluto could've been the bellhop, instead.

S: Dogs can't be bellhops.

K: Pluto would make a better bellhop than Goofy. Goofy, as that kid said, is a weirdo. I also would've liked to have seen...

S: You wanted to see Kermit Mickey.

K: That would have been the stuff of nightmares. Anyway, that was our trip! Any final thoughts on the complete package that is Walt Disney World?

S: At least I know what you're talking about now.

K: Do you miss it?

S: Actually, I was thinking about it earlier today.

K: Oh?

S: I was thinking about what a good time you had, and how it was nice to watch you have fun. I guess now I know what it's like to have a kid.

K: I'm a big boy. Do you want to go again next year?

S: No.

K: Too bad. I'm taking you there for your birthday.

Oh, Disney World! I miss you already! I wish I was there right now. But we'll always have this flickr set to remember the good times. I'll close with a picture of all we could see during the parade at Animal Kingdom.

The End.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Pun That Started a Round of Applause...

Pam remembered it!

It happened after the fight between King Arthur and the Black Knight (who loses his arms and legs in the process).

A beggar walks by, calling out, "Alms for the poor, alms for the poor."

Then he picks up the fallen arms. Arms for the poor. Wokka wokka!

In retrospect, it's not that hilarious, but the timing was right to bust out the applause.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Last night, in what could be the final theatre-going event of 2008 (or longer, depending on how much I end up tightening the financial belt), Pam and I went to see Monty Python's Spamalot.

It's closing soon, they're offering $20 tickets (visit and enter the code SPBAL20), and it's the Year of Yes, so why not?

Plus, we'd seen a lot of downer theatre this year (Equus, All My Sons), so we thought it'd be nice to end the year on an upbeat musical.

The show was all right. I'd rather watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, obviously, but it was a way to spend the evening. And it had a lot of puns! I love 'em! I'm an idiot! They're one of my favorite things, I find them just punderful.

When King Arthur said, "The grail is a symbol..." and the percussionist in the orchestra hit a cymbal, oh, how I laughed.

During a dance number, when someone carried out a bale of hay and everyone on stage pointed at it and said "Hey!" rhythmically, I hit my knee and elbowed Pam painfully to let her know how much I appreciated that horrible bit of wordplay.

And there's one more, I wish I could remember it, but I just started applauding. And I didn't stop. Pretty soon, the audience picked up on it, and they were applauding their approval for some stupid pun.

I was pretty proud of that moment. If there's one thing I can do, it's incite a crowd to action - I once got everyone in line at Splash Mountain to sing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" or some similar song. Oh, and when we landed in Orlando last month, I got the other passengers to applaud. Yeah, I'm a regular John Candy from Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

I kept track of the number of puns in the second act - there were ten. I was curious if any of them would get spontaneous applause that wasn't started by me. No pun in ten did.

That's my show, good night, folks!

Monday, December 8, 2008


On Thursday our department was finally let go.

We were in good company, over 800 other people were laid off from Viacom in a big initiative of sadness.

At least our department had warning - a huge amount of warning, really, considering we were told at the end of July. But I still went from being a rich, rich man with more money than I could ever spend (remember that proposed trip to London and Paris?) and the savings just piling up to having to carefully budget my coins and be nervous about the future. Fun! And just in time for the holidays.

So now I find myself unemployed for the first time in about five years, wondering what to do and what will happen... along with thousands and thousands of other people.

Gone is my work ID, which always made me laugh. As you can see, I got it during a moustache period of my life. And when I finally shaved, everyone was like, "Wow, you look so different!" To which I responded, "Oh, this? This is what I really look like."

I'll miss the job. I liked the work, it was interesting and stress-free, I liked the people, and I had a plant that I didn't have to water for months at a time. It was without a doubt the best job I've had since moving to the city. Or in my life. I don't know what'll happen to the plant.

And there's a big, boring story about the MTV Closed Captioning Department and why things happened to us the way they did. Basically, in an effort to save money short-term, they're outsourcing us, even though short- and long-term, we were a profitable department. Long-term, they're probably making a mistake... but who cares about tomorrow when there are so many troubles today?

Our severance, which I was expecting to be a big fat zonk, was nicer than I could expect, so at least that's something. But everyone is unemployed these days... that's the part that worries me.

On the one hand, a steady paycheck is a great thing. But on the other, though 2008 was the Year of Yes, I don't feel like I got a lot done, writing- and production-wise. What did I do, what did I create, what steps have I taken toward my ultimate dream goal of turning into a Muppet?

Not much, honestly.

And so maybe 2009 might be a time to really work on that, instead of finding a 40-hour job that'll keep me rolling in the money. I think of some of the people I've met and admire, like Brian Huskey and Rob Corddry, who eschewed (God, I love that word) regular 9-to-5s in the pursuit of their comedy dreams. And maybe I should be taking similar steps.

Also, inspired by my friend DC's success in a similar venture, I'd like to work more seriously on my novel. That's right, the one from NaNoWriMo. Though the month is over, the novel isn't. I'm at about 33,000 words, hopefully done by 55,000. More on that in a future post.

So that's about it on the Employment story. Last Thursday, as I took my suitcase full of stuff home, I decided to Year of Yes the day, and not go home and sulk and watch Survivor: Gabon (one person on the show went to my high school, and another had a small part in a UCBW wrestling show last year - small world!), I'd take a coaching gig and do a commercial audition, even though it was raining and I wanted very much to sit and sulk.

I didn't get the commercial, but I think it's an auspicious beginning to my unemployment. I'm glad I didn't give up and go home. The coaching gig was a lot of fun.

Oh, and before I exited the office, I left them a little something on my bulletin board, to show them (whoever "they" are - it's not like the people who will be going over my desk are the higher-ups that cut all the jobs) that we're all real people, not just numbers:

I certainly was.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Post-Disney Interview with Sarah (Part III)

The Magic Kingdom - the mother of the four theme parks!

We went twice, once during the Extended Hours when the place was open 'til 2 a.m., and again the next day. Unfortunately, we didn't get a lot done (we spent a lot of time riding the train around the park), because Sarah was feeling sick most of the day, and I didn't want to drag her around. Also, it was pretty crowded, and that always gets my goat.

Anyway, let's get to the interview. Take us away, Dumbo!

K: Ah, the Magic Kingdom! What did you think?

S: It was the most typically Disney. It was what I expecting, with all the rides based on characters.

K: Well, we started out at the Carousel of Progress.

S: Oh, yeah. That was not what I meant.

K: Yeah, I know. Did you like it?

S: Um... Not really. It was ridiculous, I don't know.

K: But didn't you like their weird view of the future?

S: No, I definitely did not. It seemed like this old-fashioned thing, and then all of a sudden, it turned into just outdated.

K: They actually mentioned laser discs and car phones as being cutting-edge. CAR PHONES!

S: That was painful to watch.

K: But the rest of it's good. And the song.

S: That song got stuck in my head for days.

K: And what's wrong with that?

S: It's too short to be stuck in one's head, unless there's a bridge I don't know about.

K: Maybe "Man has a dream, and that's the start..."

S: No, that's part of what got stuck in my head. Oh, yeah, you were singing and everyone turned around to look at you. That was the most attention you got.

K: The ride was practically empty.

S: You were singing before the guy started.

K: It's a good song! After that, we went on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and you hated it.

S: I didn't hate it. I didn't hate the ride, I just didn't have a good experience because I didn't know how to do it.

K: Yeah, the guns are hard to aim, you just gotta keep an eye out...

S: I thought it was broken for half the ride, because they didn't explain there wasn't going to be a pointer all the time.

K: But you scored better than that little kid!

S: I scored three times what that little kid got, and you scored... 100 times what that little kid got.

K: More than that, actually. I've been playing for a while. And we also took advantage of the shorter lines at the Haunted Mansion. Did you like that?

S: Yeah, I did. It was spooky, but... it was sombre, you know, not terrifying.

K: What was your favorite part?

S: The new [attic] part, with the woman and the husbands, because it gave you the best story, I think. That's what I usually look for. You see the first one, and you're like, "What is this?" Then you see more and more, and then she [the bride] basically tells you. But it was visually interesting, and you get a sense of story.

K: We also went on Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland.

S: That was... You made that out to be one of the best things ever, I feel.

K: Well, it's extremely popular.

S: But it just seemed normal. You feel like you're flying, I guess, but not like Soarin', where you actually feel like you're flying. You've gotta have an imagination, which I don't have.

K: Dreamfinder and Figment told us that imagination is something that belongs to all of us.

S: OK. I didn't go on that version of Journey Into Imagination.

K: I know, and I'm sorry. Do you remember anything about It's a Small World?

S: It was more chaotic than I thought. Everyone was happy. I was expecting segments for different parts of the world, rather than a giant room full of everybody singing and dancing in various languages at the same time.

K: But each room is a continent.

S: I wouldn't have known that if you hadn't told me. Ask me what I learned.

K: What did you learn from it?

S: (Laughs) I learned that hula girls always wink, across the globe, in every country. It's universal.

K: Fair enough. They made the castle to look like it has icicles.

S: I liked when the little boy said, "That's so pretty." That was one of the highlights of the whole trip, because I was surrounded by this, like, Disney romance, you know, man/woman, prince/princess, little girls dressed up like Cinderella and little boys in stupid, dumb-ass t-shirts, you know. It was a really gendered place, and I wasn't expecting to hear a little boy to say that. And it's true, it was pretty.

K: It was. I was really impressed. We came back the next day and had lunch at Tony's Town Square Restaurant.

S: It was nice of the chef to make something special [to accommodate her vegan diet], but it wasn't that great. It might've been what made me feel sick. I feel bad saying that.

K: He was incredibly nice, though. And at least we got to see Mary Poppins outside!

S: OK.

K: We went on The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, any thoughts on that?

S: I was annoyed by the two new birds [Zazu and Iago]. Especially the comedian.

K: Which one is that?

S: Iago, right?

K: Yeah. The show was better without them.

S: Sounds that way.

K: Also, they look weird compared to the other birds. They look like they're made of plush toys or Muppets.

S: The red one looked like he was made of Telly Monster.

S: During our stay in Adventureland, we also went on Pirates of the Caribbean.

S: I liked the sleeping pig.

K: Why?

S: It was funny.

K: And what about the rest of the ride?

S: It was interesting. I like pirates. Apparently I don't have a lot to say, huh?

K: Nope. (Laughs) Adventureland was fun, though. I bought a little treasure chest full of six-sided dice (over 70!), made you try on a pirate hat, we did the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and I got a Dole Whip.

S: How was it?

K: Delicious! What else was there? Splash Mountain, we already talked about that.

S: Yep, I remember.

K: And Mickey's PhilharMagic.

S: Which you loved.

K: Yes, I did love it! It's cute and funny, and I wanted to hold Ariel's hand and I waved to Aladdin and Jasmine. Lynn told us to go on it a thousand times. I wouldn't go that far, but it's a really fun 3-D movie. What'd you think of it?

S: Uh... It was good for kids. I don't know, nothing much. I learned a lot about Donald.

K: Like what?

S: Just that he's kind of, I don't know, I just didn't know anything about his personality. I didn't realize he was such a curmudgeon.

K: He's a bit of a dickhead. But he loves dessert! Remember when that kid sat next to me the second time, and kept talking the entire time?

S: That was cute.

K: He said, "Goofy's such a weirdo."

S: And he is.

K: Overall, I don't think you enjoyed the Magic Kingdom very much.

S: Yeah, it was my least favorite park. And my worst experience was there.

K: Which was?

S: Splash Mountain.

K: Oh, I thought you were gonna say when you kept getting diarrhea.

S: Second worst, then.

K: Should I keep that in there?

S: If you want.

K: Done!

S: Wait... Are people gonna think you're serious?

K: I don't know.

On that note, we'll call it a day. Just one more park, Animal Kingdom, which, if you'll pardon a spoiler, was a really good time.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grandma and the F*ck Yous: Last Show Ever!

Tonight is the LAST SHOW EVER by the awesomest riot grrl band to ever come out of Elizabeth College, Grandma and the F*ck Yous. Come see it!

Grandma and the F*ck Yous: Last Show Ever!
A timeless tale of Riot Grrrls, Punk Rock, Love, Violence, Queer Action, Betrayal, Activism, & Hair Dye.
December 3rd, 9:30 PM

WRITTEN BY: Lynn Bixenspan & Betsy Todd
DIRECTED BY: Kirk Damato
FEATURING: Bob Acevedo, Eric Bernat, Lynn Bixenspan, Stan Laikowski, Sarah Nowak, Betsy Todd
LOCATION: UCB Theatre 307 W. 26th Street (@ 8th Ave.)
Call 212-366-9176 or click here for reservations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Don't Heart Heroes

Of the many things I said Yes to this year, trying out new TV shows was one of them, even though I knew it'd be a super-slow process (for example, it's December, and I've only watched two shows).

Lost was a huge hit, and I'm super psyched for January 21st, when the new season starts, but the second show... well, as you can guess from the title of this post, I'm not that into it.

And as you can also guess from the title, I'm talking about Heroes. I finally finished the first season, and the fact that it took me so long to watch 23 episodes is a good indicator that it failed to get me sufficiently psyched.

Which is surprising, really, it's a show about super powers, I should be interested. I loved the premise, actually, but the terrible writing just totally turned me off. Especially Mohinder and his ridiculously pretentious monologues, I wish that guy would shut up. Or die.

(BTW, I guess I should mention there might be spoilers in this entry, so if you haven't watched the first season of Heroes but might want to one day, stop reading.)

Also, and this is another slam against the writers, there were a lot of holes in the plot and in the reality of the universe. I write and edit scripts and stories and role-playing games, and if someone handed me some of these episodes, I'd be like, "Are you out of your mind?"

For instance, in Episode 2F09 when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

The other thing, and this is the only one I can remember since I watched this over the course of about three months, is that the cop is telepathic. That's his power. Yet characters get the drop on him all the time. What's up? His powers don't always work? Did they explain that at some point and I forgot it? Or does he have to be concentrating to find someone? Because if someone is sneaking around trying to kill him, he'd probably use his telepathic powers to find them first (and don't tell me he can't use his powers to find someone - his first instance of telepathy happens when he finds Molly Walker). Or do they just fail when it's convenient for the plot?

I persevered through the season, because I was told by several sources that it ends well. BUT IT DOESN'T. Parkman gets shot several times, but I know he lives... So unless he's wearing a bulletproof vest, WTF?

Also, Skylar got away? Like, no one noticed that he disappeared? Everyone is like, "Wow, we killed him! But no need to look over at the body, even though it's in plain eyesight, let's all go home." Really?

And before you defend me by saying it's a time-honored tradition for the villain's body to disappear, I say humbug. It's a cliche. And if you're gonna rely on every single one of these characters to not notice, I don't feel you're writing them to the top of their intelligence or potential.

So I will not continue with Heroes, which is fine, I've heard horror stories about the second and third season, and even if there are a few good episodes, I can just read about them on Wikipedia or something.

The next show I'm going for is Mad Men.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Post-Disney Interview with Sarah (Part II)

Where many were, how few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

-from "My Childhood's Home I See Again,"
by Abraham Lincoln

I no longer call it EPCOT Center. It's now just EPCOT. I hit this weird place during our vacation, when I realized it isn't my favorite park anymore.

The park I loved, EPCOT Center, no longer exists. Out of all the old rides from Future World, only one remains (I don't count Living With the Land since they got rid of the song). The World of Motion, Horizons, the real Journey Into Imagination, they're all gone. EPCOT Center is gone. There's only EPCOT now.

What did it for me was seeing a bunch of nostalgic vintage replica EPCOT Center shirts they made for the 25th Anniversary, and oh, that pissed me off. Because I was wearing an authentic version of one of the shirts they were selling. Ouch. So it goes.

But enough about me, let's see Sarah's take on EPCOT Center. I mean EPCOT.

K: So what'd you think of EPCOT? We went twice!

S: Are you interviewing me?

K: Yeah.

S: I thought it was interesting. It had different stuff that wasn't very Disney. The other parks had a lot of cartoon mice and ducks.

K: But the Mexico ride [now called El Gran Fiesta Starring The Three Caballeros] had crap like that. Too much Donald Duck, nothing about Mexico. It's more tourist-y than ever, since Donald plays the role of a ridiculous and embarrassing tourist.

S: Yeah, I could kind of see the shadow that you described to me of what it used to look like.

K: Let's go back to the front of the park. Did you like Spaceship Earth? We went on it twice. [And it's still good! I like the changes they made, and Dame Judi Dench can really tell a story about human communication. And they make stuff like this:]

S: It was kind of relaxing.

K: That's what most of the rides at EPCOT Center used to be like. Did you enjoy Soarin' [which, by the way, is pretty fun, but very short. My reaction here is way exaggerated. Also, note that authentic shirt.]?

S: Mm-hmm, because it's something I don't ever get to do. It's like an experience I never get to have, yet not scary and doesn't make me want to throw up.

K: What about the Imagination ride?

S: I don't think I liked that.

K: Me neither.

S: I didn't actually learn anything. What were they trying to say, what was the message there? I know they were trying to teach about imagination, but it was very vague.

K: And half-assed. I wish you could've seen the old ride.

S: Plus, Figment was kind of a weirdo.

K: Well, he's different. He's no longer voiced by Billy Barty.

S: Yeah, he's a little too puckish for my taste. And forceful. He was trying to order me around.

K: You didn't see the real Figment.

K: The real Figment was created by the Dreamfinder, not by Dr. Nigel Channing of the Imagination Institute. He used to have a dash of childish delight, not be a loose cannon. Also, let me add that the above pin pisses me off. Don't have merchandise for rides you've DESTROYED FOREVER. Anyway. What else did we do, did you like Living with the Land?

S: Yep, because it's in a boat and it was relaxing and there are dragonfruits. And there was a little boy who said, "Mom, look, a stone alligator!" And it had nothing to do with the ride, it was just a long stone. And he was looking at the fish instead of the alligators.

[Sarah enjoys people-watching more than actual rides.]

K: You seemed to enjoy Club Cool, the place where they give samples of foreign sodas.

S: That was fun, that was a highlight. I don't like or drink soda, but again, it was an experience I don't normally get to have. And it was nice of them to give me something for free, and I really wish this country had watermelon or apple or lemon soda, 'cause those were good.

K: I did like the lemon soda a lot. I drank so much soda!

S: And I didn't mind the disgusting one, it wasn't the worst.

K: Ugh, the Italian aperitif. It has a cologne-like aftertaste! But I drank it in honor of the father of one of my students (it was his favorite drink). Club Cool used to be "cooler" when there was snow and a caveman, but I do like that place. Test Track!

S: That was the sickest I got on a ride. If there had been one more turn, I would've felt ill.

K: You're a baby. How about Mission: Space?

S: That was a bit funny because we went on it with a little kid.

K: And that kid sucked! He didn't help out at all with our VERY IMPORTANT mission to space.

S: We would've been goners if he had been on our crew. I felt very unsafe with him as our Navigator.

K: Yeah, what a stupid kid. But otherwise, I was sorely disappointed. It's boring! (Though we did go on the weak-ass version.)

S: Yeah, and I'm glad we did. Lynn said they didn't have the two versions when she went to EPCOT, they only had the orange level.

K: Someone died, that's why they changed it. I think that covers it for Future World. Let's move on to the World Showcase. Did you like the Norway ride?

S: Yeah, it was kind of mild, though.

K: But they had trolls! And Vikings!

S: There wasn't actually a lot to it.

K: You're right. Just Vikings to trolls to polar bears to, like, oil rig, and then the movie. There's no story to it. Speaking of stories, you didn't like the American Adventure.

S: (Shakes her head.) I didn't. (pause) I didn't hate it.

K: Why didn't you like it?

S: I guess 'cause I don't like history. Or cheesy music.

K: Wait, you didn't like when they did the Civil War segment, with the two brothers on their way, one wore blue and one wore gray?

S: Yeah, I did, but you'd told me about that already.

K: Crap. (Pause.) And then at the end they added Run-DMC and, like, who else...

S: Tony Hawk. That was a little odd.

K: ...yeah, to the roll call of 20th century American heroes. And that was about all we did in the World Showcase, other than Reflections of China, the Circle-Vision 360 movie.

S: Which was awesome.

K: Why?

S: Another new thing [it's a movie theatre in the round], and it was really beautiful.

K: And you love China. Though I did think it was weird that they computer-generated a beard over the narrator's mouth so they could change the opening lines.

S: I would like to see it again to see what you're talking about.

K: It's too bad we didn't see the new Canadian Circle-Vision 360 movie. The old one made no sense. Now it's hosted by Martin Short. Oh, we saw Miyuki, the Japanese candy artist.

S: I liked that, it was fun to watch, but the things she was saying were a bit bizarre.

K: "Is candy, yum-yum, treat for you. One minute after." That's their patter, though. I saw her seven years ago (psst, it was a different Miyuki) and she spoke the same way. And what about the Japanese shop?

S: I actually liked the Japanese and Chinese shops. I wonder if that's just because I've lived in Asia and I've studied the languages and whatnot. All the stores were, like, Americanized version for tourists, but there was something about the aesthetic, and also, they were bigger.

K: And they didn't have, like, Mickey Mouse and pins and crap like that.

S: Yeah, I guess not.

K: We bought of stuff there. A lamp... A really great mug... Some Darumas... Snacks... Um, that's probably it.

S: I actually liked the World Showcase, because it's foreign, new. Plus, the best meal I had the whole trip was in Morocco.

K: Yeah, that's one of my favorite places to eat. And we got to listen to that Moroccan fusion band. And took this pretty picture...

S: Oh, also, I saw a manatee.

K: That's true! We forgot to talk about The Seas with Nemo and Friends!

S: Yeah, that's when you became six years old. When we were waiting in line for the Nemo ride, you said "Nemo, Nemo" repeatedly, I would say maybe 100 times.

K: It's very fun to say. I don't even like that movie, but I love saying his name. And they had Nemos there! Real Nemos!

S: And then after we got inside, you kept saying, "Sharks! Sharks! Sharks! Sharks!"

K: Well, they had sharks there.

S: You were also excited about the dolphins. They were cool.

K: Yeah, that was really exciting. I shouted, "Ooh, dolphins!" in a ridiculous-but-genuine voice. They had real dolphins swimming around. They're really big!

Sadly, I couldn't get a picture of the dolphins, they swim too fast. And no manatee pics, either - they look like majestic turds, and I couldn't get a good pic of their faces.

Going into this interview, I was kind of depressed (Lincoln's poetry does that to me), but by the end, I was accepting. "The Future World is born today," after all, and change comes to everything... even the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

Next time: The Magic Kingdom!