I’d had it in my head that I could do a video blog in the airport and save myself from having to write an update, but then there were just so many people at gate C3. Sure, it’s 2010, and I probably wouldn’t seem crazy for sitting alone and talking into a Flip video camera, but at the very least, I’d get some strange looks.
“What’s he got to talk about? We’re all just sitting waiting for a plane. Maybe he’s talking about us… Let’s kill him!”
There isn’t one hell of a lot I can say about going to LA that I haven’t already said a few times. LAX is everything that PDX isn’t – cramped, dirty, stale urine fumes wafting from every darkened corner.
The plane ride down went fast enough, I had an aisle seat, the middle seat was empty, and the lady sitting by the window gave me her packet of salty snacks, so I’d say that it was basically the single greatest plane trip I’ve ever been on. The only way it could’ve been better was if they’d given us those delicious sausage and cheese breakfast sandwiches that the band got on the way down to the Rose Bowl, but I guess food lightning only strikes once.
It’s confirmed that I’ll be blogging for Flux magazine this coming term, so look forward to that.
Look, with respect to all of you, I’m tired as hell and nothing interesting happened today. By Sunday I’ll have been to a couple of interviews and will have something to talk about. So look forward to that, too.
Truman Capps SLEEEEP.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Man, you know what I’m getting tired of? Commercials for The General, and telling people when I’m going to England.
So for the last time, all of you: I leave Oregon on March 31st, and I leave America (from Detroit, unfortunately) on April 4th. I come back on June 20th. I will be using planes to get there. I will be traveling alone. Yes, I still hate flying with every fiber of my being. Yes, I do remember that time I freaked out because I thought we were crashing on the way back from the Rose Bowl. No, I don’t plan on doing it again.
But the fact remains: In a matter of days, I’ll be studying abroad in England. I’ve always wanted to go to England, because I have an inherent respect for the people who invented the one and only language I will ever speak, as well as the deep fried fish and the deep fried candy bar. I suppose that if there were any other country besides America that showed a stronger dedication to deep frying ordinary foods than England, I would study there, even if it meant learning a new language.
Academically speaking, my trip to England is going to be more or less a wash. I’ll be taking three general education classes that, while they appear to be highly interesting, will fulfill requirements I’ve already completed in the United States for a fraction of the cost. However, that’s the way I like it: I’m not going to England to take classes, I’m going to England to do literally everything. The last thing I want is my education getting in the way of that. This is the express reason that I pulled out of the internship I was going to do in London at the last second – making photocopies for some British TV station could take up time that I could be spending doing literally everything.
My trip overseas will not have an impact on the blog per se – if I can write 2000 words a week about the inane bullshit I do in Eugene, Oregon, then the only reason I would be unable to write that much during my globe trotting adventures in England is because I’ll be too busy doing literally everything to post an update.
One of the major changes you can expect while I’m away is that there’s going to be more multimedia content. Ordinarily, the pictures you see on this blog are barely-related images pulled from Google at the last minute before I post my blog and return to my regularly scheduled pornography. In England, though, I’ll be using both a digital camera and a Flip video camera to record everything of interest, and probably a lot of uninteresting things too.*
*On that note, I had been planning to do this update as a video blog, but when I looked at the footage I realized that video blogging really doesn’t have much on text blogging when it’s just a greasy dude who hasn’t showered sitting alone in his parents’ house in Oregon. It will, no doubt, be more visually compelling when I’m both clean and on the road.
The other major change is that I will most likely be blogging for an on-campus organization while I’m gone. I can’t say who just yet because I haven’t received official confirmation, but should I get the job, my blogs will be appearing both on their website and here more or less simultaneously. Their blog receives a bit more traffic than this one does, too, so there’s a good chance that in the future I won’t be able to name all of my readers in ten seconds anymore.
You may have noticed in my departure information that I’m leaving Oregon several days before I leave for England. The reason for this is that I’ll be spending a few days in Los Angeles to interview for summer internships at production companies, and potentially pitch Mike’s and my recently completed screenplay, should the opportunity arise. If I’m fortunate enough to land one of these internships, I’ll be spending my summer in LA, which means my blog will probably abandon its highly analytical dorkyness in favor of a more ‘coked out hot tub full of cheap strippers’ sort of vibe.
In one way or another, it’s all comin’ together for ‘ol Liz Lemon – for the next six months I’ll be either studying in the country I’ve always wanted to go to or interning at the heart of the industry I’ve always wanted to get into. It’s rare for all of my good fortunes to align like this – an apparent six months of Owen Wilson days – and so I’m somewhat nervous that on my way to the airport to start this grand adventure a giant Monty Python foot is going to come out of the sky and squish me.
Rest assured, though, that whatever happens over this next crazy half of a year, it’s going to be pretty thoroughly catalogued here. I’ve always been an on time update Nazi, but maybe give me a little leeway if I’m off by a day or so – for a long, continuous stretch, I’m going to have A Lot Going On, and I would be an idiot to turn down a chance to go steal silverware from Buckingham Palace because I’ve got to write an on-time blog that night. Some updates might be shorter, too, but they’re bound to be more interesting than 1000 words about cardboard boxes.
All I’m saying is, be ready to have your minds blown, even if it’s not in a necessarily timely fashion.
Truman Capps will probably listen to Rocketman on the plane.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Well, that happened.
In the last weeks of my relationship with The Ex Girlfriend, she and I went camping with our friends Whitney and Collin to a campground in Eastern Oregon. On the long drive through the Columbia Gorge, we talked about school, movies, TV, music, and just about all the normal, safe, nonpartisan conversation topics.
But then, we started talking politics, and within a few minutes we were yelling at each other.
Whitney and The Ex Girlfriend were of the opinion that all Republicans, everywhere, were irreparably retarded and needed to be wiped off the face of the Earth.
“They’re just so stupid.” The Ex Girlfriend said. “They’re totally evil. I just wish they would all die.”
I tried to point out that wanting everybody who had an opinion different from yours to die was, in many ways, not all that different from the way the Bush Administration had been running the show for eight years.
“Also,” Collin pointed out, “Just because somebody is a fiscal conservative who wants to preserve states’ rights doesn’t mean he’s automatically a Bible thumping racist.”
“All I’m saying is, Republicans aren’t doing anybody any good.” Whitney said. “All they’ve ever done is start wars and destroy the environment.”
“But Richard Nixon started the EPA.” I protested. “Teddy Roosevelt created the National Parks and won a Nobel Peace Prize, for God’s sake!”
“Jesus, Truman, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” The Ex Girlfriend snapped.
Keep in mind, everybody in the car classified him or herself as a liberal. However, Collin was a former Republican with fiscally conservative tendencies, and I know enough intelligent and reasonable Republicans to have some respect for their point of view, even if I don’t share it. But that’s the current state of political discourse in this country, I guess – we’re so divided that a political conversation between liberals and slightly less liberal liberals still degenerates into hysterics just as fast as a 5th grade slumber party where the pizza rolls are full of crystal meth.
My feeling is that an ideology, so long as it’s not one perpetrated on punching babies or disenfranchising minorities, isn’t evil in and of itself. Conservatism, Christianity, Islam, and the pro-life movement are not inherently evil. Fundimentalism is the real evil; the point at which people get so wrapped up in an ideology that they start hurting others. That’s why I make a point of seeking out and acknowledging fellow liberals who are totally full of shit a lot of the time – Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann, come on down!
But when I hear that Senate Republicans have their panties in such a tight wad over healthcare that they’re actually utilizing a Congressional loophole to walk off the job at 2:00 every day, stalling hearings on national security and homelessness to name a few, I can’t help but think that maybe Whitney and The Ex Girlfriend were right.
And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s other people being right, especially when I used to date one of them.
Matt Tiabbi wrote a story for Rolling Stone a couple years ago called “Obama’s Moment.” Written while Obama was still on the campaign trail, the story combines interviews with Obama supporters and the author’s own musings on just what, exactly, makes Obama so different from other politicians, who Tiabbi referred to as “bloated, hairy shitbags.” The article is a difficult read today, because it reminds us liberals of how we assumed that, realistically, Obama would be able to fix, like, maybe three or four things, in stark contrast to today, where the majority of Republican senators would ardently oppose an Obama-approved anti puppy torture bill.
I just can’t understand where the support for these tactics is coming from anymore. A while back I wrote an update about how liberals were trying just as hard to stall the Bush Administration’s progress a few years ago, but I have no recollection of them straight up not doing their jobs as revenge.*
*Of course, that depends on your definition of ‘not doing their jobs’, because for eight years there it was like half of Congress was just sleeping while wearing those novelty glasses with pictures of open eyes on them.
I’ve got Republican readers – and hello to you all – and I have to ask: Are you proud of this? I’m not blaming you for these actions and I certainly don’t think it’s your fault, I’m just genuinely curious. I just want to know if you see Republicans walking out on the jobs that you and me and everybody pays them to do and feel the same sort of “Go get ‘em!” thrill I felt when that Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at Bush.
I’m serious – either hit me up on Facebook or leave a comment below. I’m not trying to pick a fight, I just want to know how it makes you feel. I want to know where you’re coming from. If you support them, I want to know why you feel like it’s an okay thing for them to do. I don’t want to vilify you; I’d much rather understand you.
All I’m saying is, don’t laugh at President Obama’s failure to enact ‘change’ when this sort of thing happens. It’s not exactly his fault.
Truman Capps will give you all the details on London next week, barring any further shutdown of government.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Over the past three years of college, my interests, social habits, and living arrangements have frequently changed. The boxes I use, however, have always remained the same.
Cardboard boxes are designed to be a disposable container – once you’ve put a thing into it and taken the thing out again, it has no more purpose. Yet the men of the Capps family don’t seem to trust this characteristic of the box. My father and grandfather are both compulsive box-keepers; my grandfather primarily out of dementia and my father largely because he has a lot of oddly shaped technological doodads in his office which will be a pain to pack without boxes if ever we move, hence why he keeps the boxes they came in. For as long as I can remember, our garage has been a treasure trove of empty cardboard boxes (and sporadically used exercise equipment).
As a child, this was tantalizing for me, because avid Calvin and Hobbes readership had taught me that there was nothing no more fun than an empty box to play in. I had this idea that an empty box would be a vessel with which I could let my imagination run wild – I could pretend it was a spaceship, or a car, or… Well, come on, this is me we’re talking about; probably just a spaceship. However, my family didn’t buy a lot of things that warranted boxes big enough for me to play in, and whenever we did, Dad would set the box aside in the garage for safekeeping. Those boxes, I was told, were not to be played in under any circumstances, because if I damaged them, then we wouldn’t be able to pack things in them on the glorious day that we finally moved out of Salem.
It was sort of a boxes, boxes everywhere, but not a one to play in situation for me. Sometimes, I would just sit around pretending I had a cardboard box to play in, and would then pretend that I was pretending that the pretend box was a spaceship.
I did not have a lot of friends at that age.
Incidentally, last year my mother inadvertently started a grease fire in our garage thanks entirely to a faulty grease trap on our barbecue. To her credit, she also discovered the fire about 45 minutes after it started and was able to put it out before it did any serious damage. However, smoke had tinged the garage and everything in it with the smell of burned fat and misery, and we were forced to hire a professional cleaning service to remove the smell and throw away basically everything that the smoke had poisoned, which included many of Dad’s prized computer boxes. This night went down in history as The Night Mom Burned Down The Garage (and I can’t stress enough that this wasn’t her fault), and it still dominates conversations to this day. “We have to make do with this printer, Truman.” Dad will say. “We lost the box on The Night Mom Burned Down The Garage. We can’t return it now.”
This impression that boxes are a resource to be treasured has followed me to college, where, after six moves to and from school, I am still using the same set of boxes that my father tearfully entrusted to me when I prepared to come to school freshman year. There’s a big box with ‘MAYFLOWER’ printed on the side, a relic from our family’s move from Longview to Salem in 1995, which has traditionally been the home for my clothes, and a family of smaller repurposed Hammermill paper boxes to store desk trinkets and office supplies, along with two mid-sized boxes for kitchen items and DVDs and video game systems. They were intended to be used once and then cast aside into an alleyway for a hobo to take a dump in, yet they remain in diligent service, getting stuffed full of things, trucked down the I-5 corridor to Eugene, flattened and tucked away in my closet, and then reassembled a few months later to repeat the process in reverse.
I packed up my boxes early this year because I’ll be spending the coming term in England (more on that on Wednesday), and in the process noticed some of the wear and tear on these boxes of mine.
And I asked myself, Why do I keep using the same boxes? It’s not like they’re made out of gold. You can get boxes anywhere. There’s no reason to have this assumption that boxes are rare, or that these boxes of yours are intrinsically better than all other boxes.
Part of it is tradition, which, I will admit I’m kind of a stickler for. Every year I pack these same boxes, and while I pack them, I listen to ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel. This year, I also listened to ‘Rocketman’ by Elton John as I packed, and the combination of spacefaring imagery and a room full of cardboard boxes nearly brought me to tears as I imagined myself standing amidst a fleet of pretend spaceships.
I’d say the main reason, though, is that keeping the same boxes limits my consumption, as if to say, You can only have enough things to fill these boxes. If you get more things, you have to get rid of some other things. You can have exactly seven boxes’ worth of things. That is how many things you can have.
If I were to get even one new box that was bigger, it would throw off my Balance of Things, and then I’d have too much stuff. The boxes, along with constant moving, keep me from buying more stuff than I need – because I’ve been just fine with the amount of stuff that I have for the past three years. It’s basically me versus capitalism.
If the boxes were actually spaceships, though, I could have as much stuff as I wanted, and I could take it with me on wild interstellar adventures.
Truman Capps initially had a really different vision for the direction of this update, but then he started reminiscing about boxes.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Drew Carey is going to Google his name and find all the pictures on this blog, and he'll be all like, "Whaaaa?"
Once we’d been seated in the studio (which, might I add, is a good deal smaller in real life than it is on TV, leading me to believe that Mark Wahlberg’s penis at the end of Boogie Nights is probably half as big as it looked) the current announcer for The Price Is Right, Rich Fields, a former TV weatherman whose hair gets a solid 8.429 on the Capps-O’Brien Follicle Scale, appeared from backstage and greeted us.
I’ve sometimes wondered if voice talent like him are ‘always on,’ so to speak – that is, do they always talk in deep, booming tones, or is that just something they do between 9:00 and 5:00? In the case of Rich Fields, I’m inclined to think that he’s always got a throaty, grandiose lilt to his voice, because even when he was just shooting the shit with Drew during commercials it still sounded like he was talking about an amazing vacation getaway.
“Well, everybody,” he said to us all once we’d done away with the formalities. “I think we’re going to have a great show today, and you know how I know that? Because when I was walking from my dressing room down that big ‘ol hallway behind the prize door, it was full of BRAND NEW CARS!”
Everyone cheered, and I found myself cheering too.
You idiot! Common Sense yelled in my ear. You know that free cars on game shows are basically the world’s biggest scam! You get cornholed with taxes so bad that you’re better off selling the damn car!
“…and SPEEDBOATS!” Rich Fields continued, whipping his non-microphone arm around in a Pete Townsend windmill.
People went batshit, myself included.
Speedboats, Truman? You hate the water! Mean ‘ol Mr. Common Sense spat. And the taxes! Oh, the taxes you’ll pay! Obama’s going to laugh his way to the bank on your speedboat!
“Yep, those are all prizes for our second taping today…” Fields continued with a wry smile. “But for this show I saw a lot of really nice razor blades and vacuum cleaners!”
And we cheered regardless. At that point, he could’ve said, “And after the show, we’re going to take you all into a small room and fill it up with DELICIOUS ZYKLON B!” and we’d still be happy.
He explained the rules of the game to us – both in the sense of the games played on The Price Is Right and also the broader game of television with a live studio audience, wherein the one rule is that you have to cheer and clap for everything, but only when they tell you.
And then he said, “And now, who’s ready to meet our host, DREW CAREY?”
And the music started playing and the cameras turned on, and a bunch of production assistants onstage held up signs with the names of the first four contestants on them, and like that the taping had begun. Drew Carey came out from behind some wonderful door and presided over a few games until the first commercial break, at which point, cameras off, he stepped up to the edge of the stage and started an informal conversation with the audience.
I once read a glowing review of Drew Carey’s personality from someone who had briefly worked with him on a TV show. I believe the exact phrase she’d used had been, “He oozes cheeseburgers and love.” At the time I didn’t quite understand what she meant (nor was I enticed by the thought of cheeseburgers coming out of a rotund man’s pores), but what I saw at the taping really clarified it. Drew Carey is just plain nice. He’s just a really friendly guy from Ohio who also is a celebrity, which he treats as though it happened by accident.
Looking out at people in the crowd and reading their oversized nametags, he questioned them individually. “Hey, Carl! Where are you from? What brings you to LA?” When talking to an ex-cop from Nova Scotia, he suddenly burst into song. “Yes, we have No-va Scotia! We have Nova Scotia, today! Hey, hey!” People loved this and clapped along, encouraging him to go through a couple of choruses. When he was finished, he explained that he’d just repurposed “We Have No Bananas Today,” but if he hadn’t I’m sure most of the people who didn’t know would have nominated him for a Grammy.
This man of the people thing carried over to the on camera segments as well. During one game, a prop failed at the last second and the contestant was able to see the actual price of what he was bidding on. In the heat of the moment he still lost, but the producers decided during a break that they should reshoot him losing with the real price covered up, so that they wouldn’t look incompetent on television. The guy came back up onstage and diligently recreated his failure for the cameras. The producers were all ready to send him home empty handed when the audience began to boo.
“I’ll be right back.” Drew said, disappearing backstage. A moment later, he returned with $500 cash, which he handed to the double-loser. “Tax free.” He pointed out. “Thanks for helping us.”
Rich later said that this was Drew’s own money from his own pocket, upon which I called shenanigans – because seriously, who carries $500 cash around? – but the gesture was still heartwarming. Drew didn’t have to do a damn thing. He could’ve let the guy leave with some lame-ass consolation prize, and at the end of the day he’d still go home to his crystal kingdom at the center of the Sun with the undying support of all his fans, but he didn’t. He is a just and loving man, that Drew Carey.
Eventually during a commercial break, he saw us, a cluster of 20 people in the back, all wearing green shirts with “OREGON” written on them, and said, “So I guess you guys are from the University of Oregon. What’s your deal?”
We yelled to him that we were from the Oregon Marching Band.
“Oh, no kidding!” He said. “I used to play trumpet in the marching band at my high school. How many of you are trumpet players?”
He spent a solid five minutes talking to and about us. He asked my friend Jefe what kind of trumpet he played (for the record, Drew Carey is not a fan of the Bach line of trumpets) and told us about how he’d created the marching band for the Seattle Sounders, the soccer team he owns a quarter of. He talked about how he had a subscription to Halftime Magazine, and how whenever they show Drum Corps International finals on television he watches them.
“Hey,” he said to the whole crowd. “How many of you have seen the movie Drumline?”
About 30 people raised their hands, and we, the band, cracked up, because not a day goes by that we don’t make fun of that movie.
“Well,” Drew said. “Here’s what you do. Rent it and fast forward through all the plot and everything, because that all sucks, but watch the bits with the marching band in it, because that stuff is pretty awesome.”
And then one of the stage directors started playing one of the marching band hip hop covers from the movie, and Drew started dancing like a Southern drum major on stage, kicking his legs out and bending over backwards, and I suddenly knew what true joy was.
Truman Capps cannot comment on whether anyone in the OMB won or not, for fear of them losing their prizes which they may or may not have.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
When I was seven years old, my family moved from Longview, Washington, to the well of sorrows known Salem. This was a particularly difficult process for me because it isolated me from my best friend at the time: Television. Yes, from when we packed up the TV in Longview until it was unpacked in Salem, I was completely without entertainment. This was only for between 48 and 72 hours, but keep in mind that this was 1995. I had no Game Boy, I couldn’t ride a bike, and the Internet had not yet been invented. I had nothing to do but sit in a house filled with boxes while my parents unpacked, staring out the window at the children playing on the street and resenting them for not being able to show me Batman reruns.
A benevolent neighbor or perhaps my grandparents lent us a little portable television at some point during this dry spell, which I grabbed like a drowning man taking a fuzzy, low resolution life preserver. I set it up at the foot of the bed in my largely bare room, plugged it in, and fiddled with the rabbit ears. As the static waxed and waned, I could see a man’s silhouette emerging from the interference, accompanied by snatches of a catchy, upbeat theme song. At long last, I positioned the rabbit ears just so, and the picture came clearly into view.
He was an old man, even in 1995, holding an abnormally shaped microphone and standing in front of a colorful backdrop. Throngs of screaming overweight Midwesterners who had been shoehorned into a few hundred seats were hopping up and down, wearing colorful T-shirts singing this modern day messiah’s praises. He selected one lucky member from this mass of people and raised the microphone to his mouth.
“Come on down,” Bob Barker said. “And let’s play The Price Is Right!”
The only two channels the TV could pick up was some sort of Oregon-centric state capitol C-SPAN and this mysterious channel, which apparently only showed The Price Is Right. And so, for those two or three days until we unpacked our TV, all I watched was The Price Is Right.
And oh, how I hated it. I was seven years old, for Christ’s sake – I wanted talking dogs and fart jokes, not excitable retirees guessing the price of a dinette set. At the time, about the only game show I actively enjoyed was Double Dare, and as I recall the main hook there was that people would jeered and coated in slime if they answered a question wrong (a few years later, they called it college).
After that initial encounter, The Price Is Right and I didn’t have a lot of contact. As my life went on, I had a wider variety of TV channels to choose from, and I had more to do during the middle of the day when the show was usually broadcast. A couple of years ago, Bob Barker finally retired after approximately a billion years of service to the show, and was replaced by Drew Carey, which surprised me because I figured that Drew, like myself, had better things to do during the middle of the day.
At the time, I remember there being a fair amount of controversy about the change – a lot of people said that Drew Carey wasn’t as good as Bob Barker, that he didn’t do the show justice. I even took part in the Drew bashing myself, not knowing what I was talking about:
[From Writers, Episode 4:]
“Mike: Well, yeah, Truman, it’s just like what’s going on with The Price Is Right. They should’ve cancelled it when Bob Barker left. This beady eyed Drew Carey bastard thinks he can get up there with his Elvis Costello glasses and host The Price Is Right, but he’s wrong, because there’s a thing called manners, and a thing called decorum, and that’s how this show is done.
I, along with about 20 members of the Oregon Basketball Band, saw a taping of The Price Is Right on Wednesday, and all I can say is that I wholeheartedly retract any and all previous statements about Drew Carey and the show itself.
Contrary to popular belief, television is not as interesting in person as it is at home. I learned this the hard way when my parents and I saw a taping of The Late Show With David Letterman in New York a few years back – there were always several cameras blocking whatever was going on, forcing the audience to look up at the monitors instead, which begged the question of why we spent four hours waiting in line to see the taping in the first place when we could’ve just sat in our hotel room and gotten the same effect in more comfortable seats.
At the outset, I had similar expectations for The Price Is Right. We spent roughly four hours moving through a variety of less and less comfortable waiting rooms at CBS Television City along with legions of overexcited tourists. Dead eyed CBS pages guided us from one point to the next as we were screened for weapons, relieved of our cell phones (with all their potential price checking abilities), and interviewed by an energetic producer as a means to determine which of us had the right personality to be called down to play The Price Is Right.
We were among the last to be herded into the studio, which was full of cheering people dancing to YMCA by The Village People. In my experience, whenever The Village People are played, my mood tends to go south. This is primarily because I don’t like dancing, and the song YMCA sort of demands that you dance, especially when you’re in a room filled with people who are all dancing. If you’re standing there not moving your arms into the shape of the corresponding letters, everyone starts to look at you like you’re the crazy one.
“Hey! That guy isn’t dancing to this shitty, awful song! Let’s kick his ass!”
But then we were seated, the lights came up, and 90 minutes of pure joy began.
Truman Capps invites you to come back Wednesday and find out exactly how joyful it was.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This man is a kind and loving God of daytime TV.
I'm in LA for the Pac-10 Tournament, and we just got back from a taping of The Price Is Right. It was a massive experience which requires far more attention than I can give it right now, being as I'm in the middle of a band trip, but expect a full rundown on Sunday.
To keep you occupied in the meantime:
Best music video ever:
Truman Capps has earned this cop out update through years of diligent, loyal service to this blog.
To keep you occupied in the meantime:
Best music video ever:
Truman Capps has earned this cop out update through years of diligent, loyal service to this blog.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Red Carpet Prologue
I'll be the first to admit that the Oscars are an overly self congratulatory handjob to the film industry (which I love with every fiber of my being), but the Red Carpet show takes the cake.
5:12 - Steve Carell waved to the camera, and without even thinking about it I automatically waved back. He just seems so nice, y'know? Or maybe it's just that HD seems so realistic.
5:15 - Sarah Jessica Parker and Cameron Diaz both look horrible! God damn you HD for making hot women less hot!
5:18 - Whoopi Goldberg dressed as Cleopatra, the Mona Lisa, and the Statue of Liberty? And she's advertising... Diapers? Stop ruining the one good award show, Sister Act!
5:20 - I think those are the exact same accountants from last year.
5:21 - Steve Carell and Tina Fey sharing the same space. Make out. Make out. Make out. Tina Fey, incidentally, is looking way better than just about everybody else.
5:22 - Miley Cyrus looks really awkward on the Red Carpet. And what are you even doing at the Oscars, Miley Cyrus? This is a celebration of high quality acting and directing, not giving 13 year olds their first boner.
5:22 - Holy shit, it's The Dude in a tuxedo! Oh, wait, that's Jeff Bridges. "I'm all Gucci'd out!" He's definitely high.
5:24 - "So, Kate Winslet, you're just here for the party tonight, right?" "I'm actually here to present the award for Best Actress." BOOMTOWN. Suck it, Red Carpet interviewer!
5:26 - "So, Meryl Streep, what's your favorite thing about the Oscars?" "Getting inside." Clearly you forget, sir, that this is Meryl Streep, not the star of Twilight. She does not have time for your antics. She has to go win all awards, ever.
The Actual Ceremony
5:30 - What, we're starting with all the Actor and Actress nominees? Whatever happened to having the hosts tell jokes?
5:31 - Oh, nice of them to escort all the nominees to their seats.
5:32 - NPH. NPH!
5:33 - Thank you. Thank you Oscars, thank you Hollywood, thank you America. Thank you for making my life worthwhile.
5:40 - Katheryn Bigelow is quite a DILF, if you know what I mean.
5:41 - This "Oh look, there's-" routine is running a bit long, even if Steve Martin has got some real zingers.
5:44 - Hey Penelope Cruz. Lookin' good tonight, HD notwithstanding. Give me a call after the show.
5:45 - Yeah, Matt Damon in Invictus, OF COURSE Nelson Mandela wants his country to win the World Cup. Why would he want you to lose?
5:47 - Come on, Stanley Tucci, why do you look so uncomfortable after the scene where you try to rape and murder the girl? You did read the script, right? Did you think nobody would find out?
5:48 - Christoph Waltz just said Uber Bingo. On top of your well deserved Oscar, you have also won my heart.
5:50 - That speech about The Blind Side is exactly what I mean when I say "overly congratulatory handjob."
5:56 - If Steve Carell covered for Cameron Diaz with that joke on the fly, then good job, sir.
5:59 - Well, I shouldn't be surprised that Up won, but I was really pulling for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, if for no other reason than to give an award to a movie that isn't made in a computer. Pixar is the Meryl Streep of animated films.
6:00 - Hey Miley and Amanda, the prom called - it wants its dresses back.
6:03 - And the winners for Best Original Song are Truman Capps and Mike Whitman for "My Dick Don't Work."
6:04 - "I love you more than rainbows, baby." Now there's a man who loves his rainbows.
6:11 - Pretty huge savings at Bi-Mart. Two candy bars for 99 cents? I'd probably go with a Twix and a Payday. This bears further consideration - I'll get back to you later on this.
6:13 - Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey are doing a better job than the hosts.
6:14 - Read faster, Tina Fey!
6:15 - The Hurt Locker wins - good job. Let's keep this up, shall we?
6:19 - "THOSE AREN'T PILLOWS! AUUUGH!" Why didn't that movie win an Oscar?
6:22 - Wow, a lot of those John Hughes child actors didn't age so well. Except for Matthew Broderick, who looks like a teenager with grey hair, sort of like... Ooh, Samuel L. Jackson!
6:30 - I agree with what you said, John Lassiter - young filmmakers should just try to tell good, entertaining stories. Have you ever heard of a show called Writers?
6:35 - "Yo, Roger Williams, I'ma let you finish, but here's what I think you should be saying!"
6:38 - Thank you, Ben Stiller, for giving me nightmares. That said, far funnier than anything Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin did. "Don't worry, I brought a hairnet."
6:42 - Good job, Star Trek - this is really science fiction's year at the Oscars.
6:43 - Jeff Bridges will now introduce the newest Best Picture nominee, The Dude's Oscar Adventure.
6:50 - I can't say much about Best Adapted Screenplay, being as the only one of them I saw was District 9. Watching the Academy Awards when you haven't seen most of the movies is like watching the Super Bowl when you don't know any of the rules. Next year, even if I have to drop out of school, I'm going to see as many of the nominees as I can. Damn you, Academy, and your countless nominees.
6:53 - Hey, they gave Roger Corman an award! Now that's what I'm talking about! If nothing else, he at least deserves a year's free dinners at Qdoba for his impressive body of work.
7:00 - Wow, An Education looks good. Sure wish I'd seen it.
7:06 - Sigourney Weaver has aged so damn well. Can we get her a role on Cougartown?
7:09 - Keanu Reeves definitely didn't get the joke about clotheswhores. "Whaaaaaat?"
7:18 - Finally, Alec and Steve have a solid bit with some good chemistry! To borrow a phrase from the Internet, I loled.
7:19 - "Love to dare us/love to scare us?" God, why don't you go romance some whiny high schooler?
7:22 - Horror montage: Thank you for using a lot of scenes from The Shining and doing an Evil Dead shoutout. That said, I had to look away for the second half. Way to string together all the big shocks one after another.
7:23 - Can we have Morgan Freeman narrate the boring awards every year? This is way better.
7:28 - Sci-tech winners? NEEEEEEEEERD ALERT!
7:30 - Classy, Quentin. Just go on ahead and keep pumping your fist after the promo for your film. This is why they don't invite you more often.
7:35 - You're not going to show clips from each nominated film for Best Cinematography? Excuse me, but that's arguably the most important tech Oscar there is! It determines the look and tone of the movie, you assholes! No, no, let's just gloss it over so we can have a musical number from The Frog Prince and a tribute to 50 years of movies about cars.
7:41 - Hey, Quentin, they showed a shot from Kill Bill in the montage honoring recently deceased Academy members - are you going to pump your fist for that, too?
7:45 - So Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, huh ABC? I guess that means, in support of this bold attempt to fight obesity, that you'll stop showing ads for McDonald's and Snickers?
7:48 - Is he trying to interpretive dance an IED?
7:52 - And the award for Best Original Score goes to Michael Giacchino for Star Trek. Duh.
7:53 - That said, great speech, Mr. Giacchino. Just a really fucking good speech.
7:54 - Avatar won Best Visual Effects. In other totally obvious news, Chipotle Tabasco is the best Tabasco.
7:57 - I was really hoping that Will Arnett would appear and totally ruin Jason Bateman's presentation. "Oh, I guess I need a new flint... But where did the lighter fluid come from?"
8:05 - This just in: The Academy hates dolphins.
8:07 - Steve and Alec, why weren't you as funny during the opening as you are during the cutaway segments?
8:14 - Well well, Quentin, are you going to be an ass?
8:15 - Yes.
8:17 - "I would like to thank the Academy for not considering Na'vi a foreign language." Sick burn, brah.
8:20 - After the Avatar promo, James Cameron was just sort of sitting there nodding, as if to say, "Yep. I made this."
8:24 - Julianne Moore has Jessica Rabbit hair going on right now. Incidentally, I've seen her naked in multiple movies.
8:29 - Thank you, Tim Robbins, for totally blowing all the other speakers out of the water.
8:32 - The Dude abides.
8:35 - People are never going to stop calling you The Dude if you don't quit saying man, man.
8:38 - McDonald's, are you marketing to deaf Hispanics? God, you guys work all the angles.
8:46 - Yep, everybody's saying nice stuff about everybody else. Not much to blog about here.
8:48 - Congratulations, Sandra, but this doesn't make up for The Proposal and All About Steve.
8:53 - If Tarantino wins Best Director, he's going to make a real ass of himself. Just wait.
8:55 - Good job, Katheryn Bigelow. You directed a really good movie. Enjoy the hell out of that award.
8:58 - Best Picture. Make me proud.
8:58 - The Hurt Locker. And you did.
Truman Capps is glad that they gave the award to a movie he saw that wasn't Avatar.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Attention blog readers, Oregon Marching Band members, Taco Tuesday patrons, and assorted other friends of the library:
Some of you may have noticed my rather lackluster attendance at Taylor’s these past several weeks, particularly on Tuesday nights. I’ve been made aware of your anguish primarily by a weekly barrage of text messages and voicemails demanding to know where I am, which usually get far less coherent after dollar wells start at 9:00.
In the past, when pressed to know what I’m doing on those nights that is more important than watered down drinks and tacos most likely made from roadkill, I’ve told you that I had “a thing.” And in this regard, I was telling the truth, because on Tuesday nights I do have “a thing.” I have always been reluctant to tell what that thing is because I fear that it will make me look nerdier than my posts about Dungeons and Dragons, marching band, speech and debate, and Battlestar already do.
On Tuesdays, I attend a critique workshop for fiction writers – primarily, science fiction writers.
It’s difficult to admit this because amateur fiction is usually not associated with successful, well-adjusted people. The ‘guy writing a novel’ is usually the depressive alcoholic staring at his typewriter, bitching to his friends about constant rejections from publishers and making mental lists of the best possible ways to kill himself.
Barring that, he’s the quiet, mildly retarded janitor living in a tiny room at the YMCA, and only after he dies do family members discover a rambling 15,000 page manuscript about angels fighting dragons in space or something, punctuated with anti-Semitic rants.
Or, worst of all, he’s the guy who, shortly after his spectacular murder-suicide, is discovered by the police to have written multiple insanely violent stories detailing his plans to take revenge on the people who wronged him.*
*As if to prove my point, as I write this, a girl in the Duniway Center is telling her friend with absolute certainty that, if the people who made the Saw movies weren’t making movies, they would be “doing that stuff in real life.” The tone of her rant seems to be that anybody who writes something remotely violent is using that as an outlet to avoid going out and murdering people himself. She’s also said a fair amount about her Christian faith, but I don’t have the heart to mention that the Bible has a seven-figure body count.
None of these are stereotypes I’d like to be associated with. If my hobby were oil painting, or architecture, or teaching English to inner-city Hispanic children, there would be nothing to be ashamed of. I’d probably make T-shirts. To acknowledge that you spend most of your time making up fake worlds and situations and writing it all down for your own enjoyment is to basically admit that you never grew out of having imaginary friends and pretending that the white floor tiles were hot lava.
And then, to acknowledge that the fake worlds and situations you make up involve lasers and spaceships is to admit that even among your imaginary friends, you probably weren’t the most popular one.
And to admit that you gather with other people with the same inclinations to share this stuff is like telling your parents that you and your friends all watch porn together. And last night I submitted my first story to this group, a novella about love in the context of robot sex, which further cements my attachment to this stigma.
Sharing my fiction with others is a lot like whipping my dick out in public. The chances that everyone will be thrilled with what I’ve got to show them are miniscule; I tend to assume that they will be shocked and disgusted, and will perhaps have me arrested for it. For that reason, I seldom if ever do it, and never in front of children.*
*That said, the manuscript I submitted was really long.
This sort of pressure doesn’t exist with nonfiction blog entries, because at the end of the day this is just commentary with dick jokes thrown in. Fiction, on the other hand, is really a window into my mind, and I try to keep the curtains drawn on that window as much as possible.
This first story, I imagine, is going to be the most nerve wracking for me to show to people, because I still don’t know if it’s something to be ashamed of or not. I was recently looking over some of the Perfect Dark fan fiction I wrote in middle school, for example, and discovered that at the time I had little or no sense of propriety. In one of the stories, a character decapitates an enemy, sticks a hand grenade into the severed head, pulls the pin, and throws it at a crowd of oncoming adversaries, killing them and showering them in their departed friend’s brain matter. And that’s one of the good guys.
At the time, I had no idea that there was anything wrong with that, and what scares me is that maybe the story I’ve submitted is full of similarly reprehensible stuff that I don’t have the good sense to know is reprehensible yet. I could’ve just handed off a manuscript that paints me as a misogynistic sociopath without knowing it because the only other person to read it was a misogynistic sociopath himself (thanks again for the notes, Mike).
But that’s the benefit of getting my work out in the open while I’m alive, rather than waiting for someone to find it in a long-unopened drawer after I’ve died – at least this way, if it makes me look like I’m crazy, I’ve got the opportunity to defend myself.
Truman Capps would like to point out that J.D. Salinger probably had this same insecurity, to the point that he seldom went out in public for fear of inadvertently whipping his dick out.