Monthly Archives: November 2011

I Will Post Again…

Hey guys, I’m going to post again soon, I’ve gotten behind. I’m fitting as much real life stuff in as I can this week before I move.

Something I’ve learned: if you want to increase page views on your blog, write a post regarding religion, you will literally get 10 times as many views as normal. If you make it well reasoned and not fanatical, you’ll get great, non-inflammatory comments from thoughtful people. Seriously, check them out, they’re really cool.

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Day 279. A Blizzard Fiesta. No Regrets.

Sunday, November 28, 2011

I can’t describe how much I love riding my bike in the city, I just love it, especially at night. I don’t know why I love it so much, but I do. Last night, I was riding down Hollywood Boulevard at about 11:00 pm soaking it all in. I will really miss it. There are a lot of things I’m going to miss. I don’t have many regrets, but there are some things I want to try to get in before I leave.

Mostly, I want to go to a cocaine party.

Hey, I think cocaine is bad, and gross, and illegal, and I don’t want to do cocaine in the least. I don’t even really want to be close to it. I just want to be in the same vicinity. It’s just so LA.

Here it is, I want to be at a party where someone says, “Hey, did you know they’re doing cocaine in the next room?” I’ll just smile and nod and know that I’m in the right place. There are certain stereotypical things that are just so Hollywood. I feel like the cocaine party is something that I have missed out on. I’m pretty sure that people at a cocaine party don’t call it a cocaine party, but when I’m there they’ll probably tell me what the proper name is.

Here’s the picture of what I want:

The party is at a house in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the city. The house is mostly white and shiny with a lot of glass. The furniture is spare in the big living room and most of it looks uncomfortable. I will sit down on something I assume is a chair, only to find out it’s a terrarium, or something like that. I will be wearing a suit, with no tie, and probably a black button down shirt, unbuttoned a few buttons more than usual at the top. Just for that night I will slick my hair back and wear a pinky ring.

I’ll arrive alone, but immediately people will know me. Chaz will be there. I’ll probably be a little bit sweaty, because it’s cool to have a good glisten, but also because I parked my 2001 Honda Accord about a mile away so no one at the cocaine party will see it.

I’ll tour around the house a bit when I get there appreciating the artwork, which will strangely be mostly nude paintings of the host. I’ll giggle when I see them. I’ll even come across the laundry room, which doesn’t look frumpy like a normal laundry room, they’ll have a bottom loading washer/dryer combo. Eventually, I’ll make my way to the shiny deck that overlooks the city and the pool. After awhile, people will jump in with their clothes on, and they’ll all be good looking.

There will be groups of people having conversations and as I walk up an opening in the group will automatically open. I’ll introduce myself and quickly realize that everyone is just lying. After a round of introductions I’ll ask people what they do.

They’ll say:

“Astronaut”

“Doctor”

“Financier”

“Venture Capitalist”

“Wealthy Industrialist”

Then, they’ll ask me, and I’ll say:

“Cowboy Surgeon”

They won’t ask me what that could possibly mean, because we’re all under the understanding that we’re lying, like when the dental hygienist asks you if you’ve been flossing. I’ll ask them if this is a cocaine party and they’ll say, “Hey, be cool Cowboy Surgeon, we don’t call it that. It’s called a Blizzard Fiesta.” I’ll think it’s a lame name, but I’ll keep it to myself.

I’ll make friends with a guy named Fransisco and we’ll talk about LA traffic and parking. A couple of times I will accidentally let it slip that I work at a mall, but I’ll quickly transition it into something else so Fransisco is none the wiser.

“I know what you mean, Fransisco,” I’ll say. “I was at the food court the other..”

Fransisco will say, “Food court? Like at a mall?”

I’ll say,”Fransisco, baby, do you think I would visit a mall? Gross. You didn’t let me finish. I was at food court because I was arrested for eating shrimp smuggled from Cuba, so they sent me to food court.”

We’ll laugh, me nervously, and Fransisco heartily, because everything I say at this party is comedy gold.

While we’re laughing, a smoking hot girl will approach us and say, “Hey Fransisco and Cowboy Surgeon, did you know that there is cocaine in the other room?”

I’ll just smile and nod as I walk away because I can go home now.

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Day 278. 20 Things You Want to Hear a Christian Say

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On October 2, 2006, Charles Robert IV went to the Amish community in Bart Township, Pennsylvania where he had often gone before often as a milk tank driver. On this day, however, we went to the small community and entered the one room school. He sealed off the exits, and for about an hour stayed in there with ten young girls, having let others go. Police arrived, but before they could stop him, he shot and killed five of them, execution style and then himself.

The first thought for everyone who heard the story is of vengeance and for justice to be done, it’s just natural. Yet, the horror of the situation was met instead with an unequal show of compassion. The Amish community showered Robert’s family with compassion and love usually reserved only for loved ones and victim’s families. The family of the man responsible for the ruthless killing of the Amish children was met with comfort, forgiveness, and even a charitable foundation set up by the Amish themselves.

This story is one of the most remarkable stories in my lifetime because it goes against every cause/effect, injustice/revenge, eye for an eye scenario we are accustomed to witnessing everyday. Their response doesn’t make sense, and I find that inspiring.

It stands out in both compassion and rarity.

These were people digging deep and acting out a “Christian” response that we so rarely see from Christians.

I am a Christian, I just am. I often cringe saying it, to be totally honest, maybe I’m just a weenie. Whenever I say that to someone, I almost immediately follow it up with, “but I’m the loving kind.” Not that I have the capabilities that I just wrote about, but because the prevalent voice of Christianity in America is just the opposite. The prevalent voice is harsh and judging with no room for compassion, and I hate it. If I wasn’t Christian, I would hate it even more. I get why people do.

With that in mind, I’m going to present, “20 Things You Want to Hear a Christian Say.” Now, these are my own thoughts, I don’t think any of them are offensive, but you never know when it comes to religion. I wrote about politics awhile back and a friend joked that I should do religion next, well, here it is. After this, I guess I will have to tackle race.

20 Things You Want to Hear a Christian Say

1. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the big things like the Crusades, The Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse, the Protestant church’s handling of various abuses. I’m sorry for the small things like individuals acting horribly in the name of Christ. They were wrong, and very hurtful.

2. I’m still sorry.

3. I don’t think that science and religion are incongruent. Boy, Christians have been on the wrong side of science so many times. All it does is communicate insecurity, in my eyes. The Earth being 4 billion years old doesn’t change anything to me.

4. We have really, really, really screwed up the homosexuality thing. What percentage of homosexuals feel loved by Christians? 9%? 3%? 2%? That is 91%, 97%, and 98% too low. Rarely do opportunities come along where love can shine, and we, instead, do the opposite.

5. Using the Bible to prove points to people who don’t believe in the Bible doesn’t make any sense intellectually.

6. A lot of the backlash in our society against Christianity is not about persecution towards Christians, it’s about the fact that Christianity became The Man. There is not much backlash against Buddhism, Buddhism is not The Man. Becoming The Man is one of the byproducts of being integrated into society and power. I don’t like most aspects of The Man either. Christianity was initially anti-establishment and things have gotten a little wonky when we became establishment.

7. The “best” Christians out there are the ones that you will never see in the media. Humility and TV appearance rarely fit together. Humility and behind the scenes volunteer work do.

8. The belief that God had a son who came to Earth and died for the sins of the world sounds crazy. Listen, I’m a Christian, but I just want to affirm that, yes, objectively, that sounds nuts.

9. We’re all hypocrites. Christians or not, we’re all hypocrites to some degree. Christians are often the worst because we profess very lofty things, while we often do the very base things that are the opposite. People who don’t profess lofty things don’t reach the same degree of hypocrisy in their failings. What if every time we profess something lofty, or are critical about a person’s failings, we immediately follow it up with ways that we personally don’t live up to it either. I think people could respect that. Hey, I’m writing a fairly critical piece about Christians who are critical, as we speak. Hypocrite!

10. We are rarely humble.

11. Using religion to divide is egregious. There are differences, but what if Christians emphasized the things we have in common as opposed to emphasizing the things that make us different. We’re all walking this road together, right?

12. We could stand to listen more and talk less.

13. A lot of the kindest people I know are not Christians. Some of the biggest jerks I know are.

14. On the whole,we have become known for the direct opposite of what we want to be known for. I think that for a lot of people if you were doing word association with them and you said, “Christian,” their response would be, “judging.” I’m not okay with that, and I don’t blame the person. Listen, there is an inherent tension in the Christian’s role. Along with grace, the Bible does talk about high standards for morality. So, the Christian is always walking that line. I’m just arguing that we are always going to err on one side or the other. I believe that on the whole, we’ve been erring on the side of morality judging for a long time. We could take the next 50 years to err on the side of grace and we won’t have gone too far. Christians believe that grace ultimately wins, so what if that was the word that came up in the word association?

15. If someone doesn’t believe in God, it doesn’t make them a bad person by any stretch of the imagination, yet we make them feel like it does. I can completely understand and respect people who come to an atheist position, we shouldn’t make you feel bad for it.

16. People’s negative feelings toward Christianity start with me. I’m probably the most spiteful, non-humble, not turn the other cheek person, hypocritical person I know. I do one thing and say another. I am the best at being hypocritical. Here’s an example. I work in retail right now, and sometimes I have to be in charge of the line for appointments for people to get their computer repaired. People get so impatient and rude toward me at times. In my head I’m thinking, “How are you so upset? Don’t you see there is a line, and that we’re working as fast as we can? Are you so spoiled that you can’t understand that? You are a bad person. I do not like you.” Yesterday, I was getting a prescription filled at a CVS and it was taking longer than I thought it would. In my head I was getting upset, thinking, “You should have this done by now, are you even working back there? How about showing some hustle? You are a bad person. I do not like you.” As a result, I was very cold and short to the woman. My hypocrisy list could stretch for miles. Miles, I tell you, miles.

17. Often times people argue Christianity more for the sake of their ego than for the sake of love. They want to prove that they are right, and lose sight of what it’s all about and that is hurtful to people.

18. I honestly don’t know if the Founding Fathers were setting up America as a Christian nation, that was a long time ago, all we have are hints on either side. If we are a Christian nation, then based on how we act, like me, we do a pretty good job of hiding it at times. The Founding Fathers did give us freedom of religion and I think that’s good enough.

19. Jesus talked about caring for the poor a lot, and we talk about it very little.

20. I’m not judging you, honestly, I’m not. I’ve tried it a few times and I sucked at it, so I gave up a long time ago. A lot of us have.

Bonus. Finally, on the whole, Christian music is not as good as regular music. There, I said it.

So, there it is. People can disagree, I probably got some stuff wrong, I can own up to that. Again, I’m no theologian, I’m just interested and vested in the intersection of Christianity and society. It would be great if society associated Christianity with the things that we profess. It would be mildly upsetting if things were just a little off base. It is crazy to me that, in fact, society associates the opposite with what we profess. I don’t blame society.

I recognize, I’ve been painting in broad strokes here, which I’m not entirely comfortable with. There are a ton of amazing Christians doing amazing work. I wrote this to address the overall sentiments of Christianity and society, and Christians’ role in that. What if people read the Amish story above and the compassionate response wasn’t rare? What if they read it and said, “Oh yeah, that’s how Christians handle things, they forgive.” What if that’s how I handled things? That would be amazing.

.

Note: Here is the link to my response to the overwhelming response of this post, published 12/16.

Editor’s note again:

Much of the time I write humorous things on this blog, but this post has proven most popular. Here are some other more sincere, heartfelt posts you might like if you liked this one.

I Actually Talk Politics. The UC Party || Open Letter to All Women || My First Appreciation of Memorial Day ||On Moving Home and Dreams ||  My Best Friend Matt || Could Have Done You Better || Letting it Happen || Two Types of Hikes

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Day 277. So You Want to Give it a Shot in Hollywood, Huh?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday was not too difficult actually, no pepper spray at all.

In July I wrote a post titled, 12 Things You Should Know When Moving to Hollywood.

Here is a follow up to that I’m calling, So You Want to Give it a Shot in Hollywood, Huh? I like to say the title in the voice of Jerry Seinfeld saying to George, “And you want to be my latex salesman.”

Of course, I have not made it to the big time, but I do know about giving it a shot.

1. Get a printer. Random, huh? No. You need to print out sides a lot to take with you to auditions. Not everyone has a printer these days, but you will need one.

2. Figure out what is motivating you. Fame? Okay, this is the place for that, too. There are a ton of postings for various reality shows that you can get on. If it is mostly fame then what you focus on in Hollywood looks different than if your motivation is your love for acting, or creativity, etc. If it’s more than fame, get involved in things that will make you better at it.

3. Have money. Everything is so much more expensive here than wherever you’re moving from, except probably New York or San Fransisco. I like just saying, “have money” as if it’s just something to check off of a list, but Hollywood will always be here, save up money before you come.

4. Have ideas for what you want to create. You can’t just audition for things and be at the mercy of casting directors. Maybe it’s a web series, or a talk show in your friend’s loft, who knows?

5. Film things before you get out here. Think about where you are now, you probably know people that can help you with filming something. When you come here, you will start out not knowing people. Doing it before you come will help you in two ways, you can gain confidence, and you can have video for your reel. A note on that, only do something that looks really good, AND sounds really good. It has to have both, or it’s not worth it here, make it shorter and better if you have to.

6. Pack cold weather clothes. Yes, it’s Southern California, cold is not cold, however, it does get chilly, especially at night. I’ve worn my wool “winter” coat a few times. Yes, I will hand in my Midwest credibility card by the end of the month.

7. Get in workshops. The big conundrum here is, “Yes, I have talent, now, how do I get seen by the right people?” This is one of the biggest frustrations. Casting directors, acting teachers, and various other professionals put on workshops. Your first response is, “Screw that, I’m not paying $250, for a stupid one night workshop.” Your second response should be, “Oh, this may be the best way to actually get in front of an actual difference maker? Okay.”

8. Actively pursue representation, while holding no expectations. This is something you just have to do if you’re serious about it, but that doesn’t mean that anything will come from it right away. Something might though, but probably not. However, something might, but realistically probably not, but it could happen…

9. Ask yourself this question, “Do I like the pursuit?” This one is key. You have to like pursuing things, this is mostly what you will be doing. If you’re having success, you’re only landing a few paid roles a year, the rest of the time, you’re pursuing. That’s if you’re having success. You have to like the pursuit for the sake of the pursuit, there has to be joy in that for you. Honestly, if not, you should consider if this is something that you really want to do.

10. Get married, establish a nice life, buy a house, then move out here, but don’t bring your wife, she needs to be your sugar mama.

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Day 276. The Blackest of Fridays Awaits

Thursday, November 25, 2011

I have rarely been away from family on Thanksgiving. Once, I was studying in Wales, and it didn’t matter too much because they didn’t care about Thanksgiving. Heathens. The other  time was when I was interning at Letterman. We shot an episode that day, so it felt kind of like work, although there was a Thanksgiving meal provided and an amazing view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We were eye level with a lot of the inflatable creatures.

Today, I went to my friend Evan and Kerstin’s apartment. They made a great Thanksgiving meal.

Here is a list of things that we did:

-Ate

-Played catch with a nerf football (I don’t like big footballs, my hands are too small).

-Sat on the couch and watched TV/movies.

That, my friends, is a great Thanksgiving. Friday, I will work Black Friday and long for a couch. I would like to live blog it, but I’m afraid that would result in my firing. I’ll see what I can remember.

Here are some alternate names for Black Friday:

-What our Forefathers Fought For Day

-Lose Your Shit Day

-Savings After Cravings Day

-The Wounds will Heal, Get the Deal Day

-The Botulism of Capitalism Day

-Camping for a Cause Day

-The Percentage of the Deal is the Same Percentage of my Mind I Will Lose Day

-You Can be Damn Sure that that Hussy with the Cankles, Stretchy Pants, and the Wolf Sweatshirt is not Going to Get to the Discounted Microwaves Before Me, I Will Cut Her if I Have to–Day

-Take That Communism Day

-Regret Day

-Black Heart Friday

 

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Day 275. The Story of the 7th Thanksgiving. Required Holiday Reading.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkeys made from construction paper, pilgrim’s hats made from construction paper, and maize made from construction paper. We have been celebrating the first Thanksgiving since we were little kids. Also, what’s the deal with construction paper? Was it really invented by construction workers? I would like to see them on the construction site using different colored paper to sketch out their plans with crayon.

Anyway, we always talk about the first Thanksgiving and how the pilgrims and the Native Americans came together and shared a meal. Great, it sounds very utopian. We also all know about what happened in the future, how the white man drove the Native Americans away from their land so we could eventually have things like Arby’s. What has been lost to history is the 7th Thanksgiving. You know, where the pilgrims and the Native Americans were more of a family, who only got together a couple times a year, and had built up baggage. Tell me about that.

Okay.

The Story of the 7th Thanksgiving

Paul and Chastity Smith, two pilgrims are preparing for Thanksgiving in their small home. Chastity is in the kitchen while Paul is on the porch.

Chastity: Paul, we don’t have enough wood in the fire, there needs to be more wood in the fire.

Paul: What? Oh, okay. I was watching the dogs wrestle.

Chastity: I don’t care, we need to get the fire hotter if we want the turkey to be done by 1:00.

Paul: But it’s almost halftime, one second.

Chastity: Now, I need it now, we have a lot of people coming over and we can’t be late with the turkey.

Paul: What does it matter? The Willinghams are always late.

Peter Willingham, his wife marry and 4 boys are now standing right in front of Paul.

Paul: Oh gosh, I’m sorry Peter, I was just joki…

Peter: It’s alright buddy, we are usually late, due to this one right here.

Mary slaps Peter.

Peter: I keep telling her to hurry up, ‘the Smith’s don’t care what you look like, there are only 200 people in our village, who see you everyday, and chances are you’re going to wear your bonnet anyway.’ Guess what she wore? You guessed it, her bonnet. What can I say buddy? Women, huh?”

Paul: Yeah, I understand. I made the mistake of letting Chastity make herself another dress. Do you know how many she has now? 2! For crying out loud, we can’t make it out of the house on time anymore.

The boys run off to sit and watch the dogs wrestle, while the adults walk in the house.

Paul: How was the drive in?

Peter: I tell you what, the road was a mess. We would have gotten here earlier, but we got stuck behind an old lady riding a mule for nearly the entire way, I swear, I don’t know how she even saw over the reins. Plus, the mule’s tail kept signaling a left turn, but never turned.

Paul: A mule, huh?

Chastity’s mother, Constance, walks in.

Chastity: Oh, mother, good to see you.

Constance: Yes, yes, good to see you. I had to park my mule around back.

Paul and Peter look at each other. Peter nods.

Constance: I don’t think your small cabin is going to fit everyone. It will be just like last year.

Paul: Constance, it’s big enough.

Constance: I still don’t understand why you married a settler.

Paul: We’re all settlers!

Constance: Some are more successful than others.

More family arrives with more children filling the cabin. There is a loud din of noise while children play, the women cook, and the men try to shoo away the kids from walking in front of the dogs wrestling. The food is just about ready as they wait for one more family.

Paul: I say we just start without them. I don’t even like maize or squash. We told them what time it started, they should know that if they aren’t here in time then we just start.

Chastity: Paul, we’re waiting. They’re practically family.

Paul: Practically, exactly. I’m legitimately hungry.

Chastity: Chief Massasoit and his family have meant a lot to us, their very generous.

Paul: Oh, that’s another thing, I’m not calling him Chief. Big deal, he got promoted.

Chastity: It is a big deal to him, you know he’s worked hard for that.

The door creaks open and two hands pop through holding maize. Nobody notices. The hands rustle the husks to make noise, still nobody notices. From behind the door there is muffled chatter.

Alaqua: Honey, just go in, it’s cold.

Massasoit: No way, I want to make an entrance.

Squanto: Seriously, man, just open the door.

Massasoit: Fine, fine.

The Native American family walks in with their kids in tow.

Massasoit: Guess who brought maize! Hello everybody.

Everyone greets and hugs them as they file in.

Paul reaches out his hand.

Paul: Mr. Massasoit, good to see you.

Massasoit ignores him.

Paul: Hellooo, Massasoit.

Peter: Try Chief.

Paul rolls his eyes.

Paul: Uh, Chief Massasoit, greetings.

Massasoit: Oh, hello Paul, happy Thanksgiving!

Squanto joins the others watching the dogs wrestle.

Peter: You like dog wrestling?

Squanto: Not really, I mean, if it’s on in front of me I’ll watch it. I’m more of a lacrosse man. Lacrosse, now there’s a sport!

Back inside the women are talking while they finish up the cooking.

Chastity: Oh, this is stressful hosting every year.

Constance: When I was your age we used to have twice as many people over for Thanksgiving and we got by just fine, just fine.

Chastity: Mom, Thanksgiving is seven years old, it wasn’t around yet.

Constance: I guess I’m thinking of Christmas.

Alaqua: Well, if you want, we would be happy to host next year.

Massasoit overhears from the other room.

Massasoit: Yeah, we could have everyone over.

Paul: You? There’s no way everyone could fit in your place, plus it’s made out of hide. How many square feet do you have?

Massasoit: We have a huge yard.

Paul: That’s just because you don’t believe in private property.

Massasoit: We could spread out over the whole Great Forest.

Eventually, everything is set. The food covers the length of the long table and all the adults have a seat. To their surprise, their is not enough room for the kids.

Peter: I have an idea! What if we had a separate table just for the kids?

Massasoit: That’s a great idea!

Peter: Yeah, we’ll call it the kid’s table.

They grab another, crappier table for the kids and set it up in the corner.

Squanto: I’m not sitting there.

Alaqua: There isn’t any room here.

Squanto: I’m 19!

Massasoit: Sit down with your cousins, they really look up to you.

Squanto sits. His knees are higher than the table.

Chastity: Alright, let’s say grace. Mother, do you want to say it again this year?

Massasoit: Can it be a little more tolerant and open minded this year? We’re not all Puritans.

Constance: This country’s going to hell in a hand basket. Next, they’re going to take God out of schools, will see where that leads. We need to take our country back.

Massasoit: Excuse me?

They get through the prayer and are enjoying a good meal.

Chastity: This squash is delightful, what is the secret Alaqua? I must get the recipe.

Alaqua: It’s all about when you harvest it, it has to be harvested at the right time. Oh, and I add a little brown sugar right at the end.

Massasoit: Isn’t it great. I tell you what, I wouldn’t be able to be a good chief if I didn’t have this one at home.

Chastity: Well, before you leave, I must get the recipe.

Massasoit: Just last week I had a tribe member ask me if it’s difficult to be in charge of so many people. I said, ‘Not everyone can be chief, it takes a special person.'”

Paul: We get it, we get it, you’re a chief. Congrats, you’ve been a chief for 3 months.

Massasoit: 3 and a half months.

Constance: I’m impressed, it takes a lot of hard work.

Things immediately get tense.

Paul: Oh, of course you’re impressed, Constance, of course you are. Why do you have to rub everything in?

Chastity: Honey, this is not the time or place.

Paul: I’m tired of your little backhanded comments. We all understand, you’ve never liked me, that’s fine because you know what? I’ve never liked you.

Chastity gasps, while Constance puts her hand over her heart looking hurt.

Massasoit: Hey, Paul…

Paul: What? You’re not the chief in my house, so don’t even try to tell me what to do. I’m tired of hearing about all the supposedly great things that you’re doing. You are not better than anyone and it’s time someone told you that.

Massasoit: Oh yeah?! Oh yeah?! You don’t think I notice? Do you think I’m blind? I know that every month you chop down more trees on the edge of my forest expanding your yard. Little by little. I know what you’re up to, you’re trying to take my land. I’m on to you.

Paul: So now the truth is out. The gloves are off!

Massasoit: First, I don’t think that the gloves are off is a saying yet. Secondly…

Paul: I don’t care, stop correcting people, everyone hates it. Right Peter?

Peter looks down at his gravy.

Paul: And you know what? How about you socialize your kids a little!

Chastity: Don’t bring the kid into this.

Paul: All the other kids are playing, while your daughter is in the corner just looking down at the blackberry in her hand.

Massasoit: She likes fruit, I let my kids be who they want to be.

Paul: I bet if you got rid of her blackberry she would do much better.

Massasoit: Bet? We don’t believe in gambling.

Paul: Whatever you say, savage!

Massasoit: Oh yeah, invader!

Everyone is sitting in stunned silence trying not to make eye contact as the food gets cold.

Paul: Feather hat!

Massasoit: Belt hat!

Paul: Indian! And I say that, hoping that one day it will be offensive.

Massasoit: Puritan! And, I say that, hoping it will one day be offensive in certain contexts.

Paul: Then you can just leave!

Massasoit: Fine!

Paul: Fine!

The room remains quiet as Massasoit, Alaqua, and their children gather their things and walk out the front door. They close the door and the silence remains. No one is moving.

Squanto: So, since they left, can I sit at the adult table now?

The End

It was on the 7th Thanksgiving that the tradition of tenuous family relationships boiling over from passive aggressiveness to loud awkward arguing was begun. This Thanksgiving, when Uncle Chuck screams and walks out of the room, don’t be sad, just remember that you are having Thanksgiving in the traditional way, just like the pilgrims and Native Americans, and we all know how that worked out.

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Day 274. Impressed by an Annoying Narcissistic Name Dropper

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tonight I went to a screening with my friend, Danny. We saw Tinker, Tailor, Sailor, Spy. It will be coming out soon and did well in Britain. I don’t know if it will have mass appeal, but will be critically acclaimed. That was my not my favorite entertainment of the night. My favorite entertainment of the night was most definitely the guy who sat down near us.

You see, there is one Hollywood archetype that I had yet to encounter. I’m talking about the guy who is an immediate name dropper and talks about his big project and how much money he’s dealing with. A general rule of thumb that I share with most of my friends and acquaintances is that you don’t want to come across too braggadocios, and you don’t want to talk too much about money. This character was the opposite of that, and I was loving every minute of it.

What did he look like? I’ll let you guess.

Yep, he was probably 50.

Yes, he wore a leather jacket.

Correct! He had shaggy blonde hair like Bo Duke.

Bingo! You’re doing great, he had a girlfriend who was too pretty for him.

One more?! Oh, you’re good. Yes, his shirt was unbuttoned a little too low.

A bonus one? Don’t push it. Yes, yes, yes, you’re right, he has probably commissioned a painting of himself shirtless that hangs over his fireplace.

Okay, okay, one more, but you have to promise this is the last one. Yes, you are correct, I did find his old MySpace page, and yes, he his profile picture is of him in a black suit standing next to a helicopter like he owns it.

No, I can’t.

Honestly, I can’t.

Okay, I’ll post it here, without any identifiers, so he hopefully won’t stumble upon it.

You’re going to get me in trouble.

We will call the man Chaz.

Danny and I got their early and got seats right in the middle. It was going to be full, so another girl sat down next to Danny. The place was filling up when Chaz and his woman arrived. There weren’t two seats together in the aisle, so we moved down to make room. They sat next to The Girl Next to Us. Chaz was immediately friendly, chatting us up. He and his girlfriend were actually very nice, it’s just that Chaz’s favorite person in the room was Chaz, and the person he wanted to hear the most from was Chaz.

Within minutes we learned a lot about him.

Chaz: “I’m directing a film with Samuel L. Jackson and Anjelica Huston.”

Us: “Oh, interesting.”

Chaz: “Yep, I wrote it and I’m directing it. I’m also doing the music for it.”

Us: “Wow.”

Chaz waits for us to ask a follow up question. We wonder what he wants us to ask.

Danny: “Are you a composer?”

Nail on head.

Chaz: “Yep, I composed for many shows and movies, many, you know, very successful TV shows.”

Chaz doesn’t wait for us this time.

Chaz: “Music changes a scene.”

Jeff: “That’s fascinating, what is the process for composing?”

Chaz goes on this for awhile. Eventually, I start wondering if Chaz thinks that we’re potential investors. Surely, my old hoodie and self trimmed around the ears haircut do not give that impression.

Here are some more quotes from Chaz:

“I believe the camera should be moving, we’re doing helicopter shots, crane shots, that stuff is expensive.”

“And I’m like, ‘We’re trying to shoot a $50 million dollar movie with only a $15 million dollar budget.'”

“West Virginia was trying to pitch us to have the movie there, and this place is in the middle of nowhere, and I’m telling them, I’m not going to make Robert Duvall stay in a Best Western.”

“I asked them, ‘How many hotel rooms do you have? They said, ’80,’ so then I said, ‘What about generators?’ They’re like, ‘Generators?’ I said, ‘You know, they provide power.’ They said, ‘Oh yeah, probably about 40 miles away.’ Probably and 40 miles away?’ We’re thinking we might shoot most of it in Georgia now.”

“I ran into Geoffrey Rush in Cannes, I stopped him and told him the whole story for the movie. He was like, ‘That’s brilliant.’ So, we’re sending stuff to his agent.”

“I can’t stand it when an actor is acting. I can’t stand it. We can see it, the camera picks up everything. Stop acting. Be in the moment.”

“Some others are just waiting to see if Naomi Watts will sign on.”

“Kathy Bates.”

After showing us pictures of his movie locations, he started strangely trying to get Danny and The Girl Next To Us to go on a date. He would say something subtle like, “You should ask her out. Shouldn’t he ask you out?” It was like watching a popular eighth grader say whatever he wanted to two less cool seventh graders. He wouldn’t let it go though, Danny and TGNTU had no choice. They ended up holding hands at his request, and exchanging numbers under his demanding eyes. It was strange. I’m glad things stopped there.

Did I want to get out of there? Yes. Did we keep talking to him? Uh-huh. Did we drop hints left and right, subtle and non subtle, about being in his movie? Of course. Did I also ask for his card? Absolutely. That is how Hollywood works, he was an annoying narcissistic name dropper, but, come on, he was making a movie with Samuel L. Jackson.

Aah, Hollywood.

Kathy Bates.

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