Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How the other half lives

Justin and I went out with his friends Dave and JD last night and had some dinner and then went to both of their places for a beer and to watch the Monday Night Football game. Of course that game starts at 5:30 out here so we only caught the like last ten minutes since it ended a shade past 8:30. One of the drawbacks of the west coast I suppose.

I gotta admit, they live well out here. About a half mile from the beach and in those really cool stucco split levels that you see so much out here. The vibe is so mellow and everyone constantly talks about going to Joshua Tree to climb or Mammoth to ski. Almost makes one think they could live here.

I just wish there were better agencies out here. There's only a few that are really good.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The sun may rise in the east but it settles in a final location.

Ahh, what a day. For the first time in recent memory I had nothing to do today aside from fly to LA. No work that really needed to be done. And it was a beautiful day for flying, cloudless almost the entire way out except for a brief patch over the Rockies, sadly.

Beautiful views of the plains while listening to The Doors:


Stellar desert colors, while listening to Zero 7:


And some crazy alluvial plains where you could almost see the mountains washing away while listening to Grandaddy:


We got in to LA and picked up our car and after we chucked our bags in the hotel, Justin and I hit the Pacific Coast Highway and headed up through Santa Monica and up to Malibu. We were literally howling as we came off I-10 and alongside the beach as the sun was shining off the water. It's been almost five years since I've seen the Pacific and even that was a cold rainy day in San Francisco.

So we hit the beach in Malibu:


And watched a little surfing:


And thought about having a drink with Mel at Moonshadows:


But we didn't. So we drove up Sunset and into Hollywood and the Sunset Strip and then a ate dinner on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Not a bad day.

And I decided on the flight in that I'm going to create a scene for a movie, a show, a spot or something that involves a plane coming into sunny LA tracked to "We are the Sleepyheads" by Belle and Sebastian. Dig it. You know it would rock.

Bu-du-du-du-du-du-du-du-du-bu-du.

Tomorrow we begin.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

If they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar.

Back to LA for the week for the big shoot. The reality of this thing is finally hitting now that we're seeing pre-pro pictures. This is quite a major production. But it's going to be awesome.

I may not come back.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cruel. Oh yeah, and unsual.

I noticed Big Mama was out walking the dog (and I use "walking" in the weakest sense as the entire exercise venture probably totaled 50-60 feet of actual walking out to the nearest grass and back.)

So I took a picture of her.



Hidley-ho, neighbor! Why don't you come on back up and drop some stuff in your apartment? Maybe walk around incessantly for the rest of the afternoon? Do whatever the fuck it is you do up there?

Oh, and if this you, I'm sorry. But come on down some time. Let's talk.

Boisterous and jumpy, disorganized and funky.

An amazing little performance fom my man, David Byrne.

Strings, right into funk.



And everyday he wonders what the hell she sees in me.

Beautiful.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tip of the hat, wag of the finger.

I rarely do this, but in the wake of Monday’s tire fiasco, I want to send mad props to two companies which do it right.

First, a tip of the hat to:
If you’ve ever changed a tire on a traditional ride, you know how bad it sucks. If you’ve ever changed a tire on a VW, you know how easy it can be. The VW jack has a spinning knob on it that shoots the jack right up, quickly. No long thingy that rubs your hands raw. And instead of lug nuts it has lug screws. What that means is you don’t have to lift up the tire and try to thread it onto five long-ass bolts. Using the jack, you simply match the height of the tire’s bolt holes, roll the tire off, place the other one in its place and put the bolts back in. No nuts, just bolts. Everything makes sense the way it should. Classic VW.

Another tip of the hat to:


Today I took the car in to get a new tire, fully expecting to pay $50 or whatever for it. It being pilot error and all. But no, free of charge, brand new tire. They’re fast, they’re nice and they’re everywhere. And that whole “free-replacement” service? Also free of charge when you buy the tires. And their logo’s a little wacky which is fun. But their store is all bidness. And staffed with people who actually know their shit. Ain't nothing discount about it.

Lastly, a wag of the finger to:

I bought a new tube of some fancy-ass Crest Total Health toothpaste in completely silvery-blue packaging. Got it home and it’s cinnamon flavored! What am I, having a snack before bed? A little cinnamon roll in a tube for breakfast? No, I’m brushing my teeth. What about this tube says “delicious cinnamon flavor?” Aside from that teeny-tiny little thing in the lower left, of course. Great, but why is the tube totally blue!!!!! Blue denotes some kind of mintiness, no? Shouldn’t it be red or something? Maybe a picture of a cinnamon stick on it.

Crimeny!

I’m off Crest.

And I grew up with those Crest kids. Although, "T" is still alright with me. He was always the coolest.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Everybody's been there and I don't mean on vacation

Back in Atlanta. It was a crazy little trip but a blast. It was one of those trips where you're like "no frikkin' way I get paid to do this."

So Tuesday morning we cruise out somewhere up in Simi Valley. We were imagining a warehouse or other industrial complex. The only thing was, this is where the directions had taken us:

Doesn't look too industrial, does it?

But it didn't take us as long as we had thought to get there—the 405 was actually moving. So since we had a few minutes to burn we decided to go for a little hike in a state park at the top of the road. You know, 10:00 on a Tuesday morning. Why not? Check it out:



Keith, our producer, and Justin.


Justin and Bill, our creative director.

Then last night we went out to Santa Monica to meet the folks we'll be editing with at their facility and then went to dinner with them in Venice for a multi-bottle-of-wine dinner.


Oh, and this was the view out of my hotel window. We were in kind of a weird residential neighborhood (Westwood) a few blocks from UCLA.

But LA's nice. Sprawled out to be damned, but nice.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

LA

So here's how my day went:

While reaching for my parking card this morning at the office, I ran over a curb and blew my tire out. Awesome. So I changed it over lunch (thank god it's cold) for my spare which ain't too long on air itself. Whoops. I'll worry about that when I get home I guess. Hitched a ride with Justin to the airport.

While trying to do some writing on the long-ass flight, my pen burst spewing ink onto my tray table and the dude's next to me. By some act of god it didn't land on his or my pants.

Then they lost Justin's bag.

But LA is LA.

It's so nice to be here. I'm anxious to see her again in the daylight as it's been kind of a mystery tonight. And this hotel room is one of those ones that sucks because you're not gonna spend a lot of time in it. It's pretty goddamn nice.

I foolishly forgot to bring my camera cord or we'd be looking at sweet-ass pics of said room.

Give me a couple of days.

I guess I'm gonna go to bed since it says 2:41 on my computer. But then the room clock says 11:41.

Sweet pseudo jet lag.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm not the only one

Dave posted up a super cool commencement speech that Steve Jobs gave and it's yet another example of people hitting their stride a little later in life. Check it:

okaysamurai.com

It's probably just 'cause I've been more attuned to it the last few years but I feel like I've noticed more stories of people kind of reinventing themselves. That book "What shold I do with my life?" certainly helped me realize I wasn't the first one to do it. I feel validated when I hear people like Steve Jobs (who's been pretty successful, even more-so after losing it all at 30) say "take your time and find something you love to do." I did and I have.

When I tell people the story of how I quit my job at the height of my success I usually get one of two reponses. One is the condescending "well, that seems irresponsible, what with lost salary and status and all." The other is something approaching admiration maybe mixed with a shot of envy. That response usually comes from people who perhaps are in my same spot and not loving what they do. And I totally understand. It's not an easy thing to do for sure.

In fact it was without question the hardest thing I've ever done.

My friend Danny called yesterday and said he'd been bragging me up in Dallas recently which was awfully nice to hear especially since I know there was alot of grumbling about decisions I was making back in 2003 to quit my job and go back to school. I'm finally getting some redemption with my recent successes.

And one last note, my folks are going to see the Stones tonight in Zilker Park in Austin. First time they've ever seen them. Which is weird considering they're the Stones' age and I'm the one who's seen them 4 times. After tonight, they'll understand why I've seen them that many times.

Off to LA tomorrow afternoon, back Wednesday night.

I'll try to post up some shiznit from the trip.

A squeaker

The ol' Texas-Nebraska game was a bit more of a nail-biter than I had anticpated. And it snowed in Lincoln. But then, despite Selvin Young and the rest of the offense doing everything they could to not win, a kid (I'm not kidding, he's a freshman) named Ryan Bailey came in and kicked his first ever field goal with under a minute left after our usual kicker was pulled because apparently he can't kick a doorframe let alone a 25-yarder. Until Ryan wrapped it up 22-20.

The best part? Ryan went to my high school.

Anderson High School.

In the house.

Oh and, how high is that little fella being boosted up there? Wow. And he was just the holder.

And this morning's soccer game was forfeited by the other team as they could only field like four guys. So we shifted over some people and scrimmaged it out. We beat the crap out of them and I scored a nifty top-shelf goal and picked up another bounce-pass assist off my knee. Too bad there's no photos of that one.

Although it was a rough one this morning after shutting down MJQ last night at their little anniversary party. It was, as they say, off the hook. Nice to see Bryan and Robin from school and Tyson, a friend of Josh's.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Paper thin walls.

I got a new upstairs neighbor recently and while she's better than Fuckhead Guy, Fuckhead Girl and their Fuckhead dog, she's not exactly inconspicuous with her ol' footsteps up there. Not that there is any connection, but she's a little on the portly side—I'd say easily pushin' a deuce or so. But hey, it's America. You got like a 40% chance, right? At least there's only one of her.

Anyhoo, I'm still giving her a chance to get settled but soon she's gonna need to find a seat. You wouldn't think at that size she'd be moving around so much, especially in like a 600 sq. ft. apartment, but she is. Almost constantly. From 8 or so when I get home to 11. Then I get some sweet peace for a few hours before I turn it in myself. Although now as I type this she's up and about. What can you do? On the plus side (no pun intended) she doesn't get up at 5:30 in the morning and I've taken to not sleeping with earplugs again. Which is nice. They hurt like a bitch in the morning.

I swear I'm not an apartment snob but I've lived in a lot of them that are a lot more rundown than this one and gotta admit, this one takes the cake in shithole construction. I swear to god it's two sheets of plywood and some insulation between me and her. I don't even know if that passes for a wall let alone a ceiling/floor. And we have full carpeting-this ain't no hardwood/high-heel thing goin' on. I think it's just hard for me to understand how when you cruise across a floor that's hollow underneath you wouldn't put two and two together and think for a second, "I wonder if the person beneath me can hear this." Yeah, I can. Thanks again to the crippling empathy, there.

I'll give her a few days to sort her shit out before I come pay a little visit. I'll be nice, don't worry. The first one's casual.

Or I'll just go to LA for a month, come back, get my shit and get on up out of here.

Somewhere. Else.

Entirely.

I'm losing it in here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Memories

I happened across the new first quarter Portfolio Center writers' blogs today via some other blogs. I only read a little tad of each of them but hearing them talk about their Clermont Lounge visits and all, I thought back on when Josh and Erik and I went there. Three strangers, three years ago. Three guys I'd end up going through the wringer with. Three guys now scattered about at ad agencies doing cool stuff that I know I wouldn't trade for anything. But there's something about the purity of the writing in those first couple of quarters that I miss. No clients, no account people, nothing but storytelling.

Yet every day I use those lessons. That's what I do. For instance...

In developing a recent spot, we've had to get our head around the motivations of the three principal characters. To do so, we've developed their fictional backstories. They're quite detailed, really. We've thought of everything from where are they from to what kind of things they do on the weekend to what are their values and their pet peeves, their educations? One person saw one of the guys in the spot as "he probably sings in the church choir." That's exactly how we had him written up. The guy develops good characters, you know.

So yeah, the same structure, character development and word choices and all that from Emotive Writing still apply. And one day, you suddenly realize that having to write a story about a 45 year-old kindergarten teacher and a coke dealer set in an Irish pub or a trip to a seedy, rundown strip club wasn't so silly, was it? It's all just observations and interpersonal dynamics made interesting.

Take something as simple as that Cingular "Battle" spot with the mom and daughter arguing (that's been going like gangbusters I'm told). It's nothing more than a dialogue between two personalities set in a entrance hall.

Or take something as inventive as the whole Counterfeit Minis campaign, which spent the spring racking up more hardware than an Ace store. It's just a story about people knocking off these cars because they're so desirable. The only trick is telling it not in one medium but several simultanaeously that cumulatively make up something grand.

It's all just stories.

Tell good ones.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Let's everyone gather in the conference room.

Thanks everyone for coming. I know you've got jobs to do. Well, some of you anyway.

Well folks, it looks like tomorrow we're gonna welcome the 300,000,000th team member into the fold. Woo-hoo! Not sure yet where we're gonna put them yet but we'll find a place. Probably in the south or southwest corner. That seems to be where most of the folks are going now.

Now, I know what you all are saying: "We've tripled in size in just 95 years and we've grown over 100 million in just the last 40 years. Is there any concern that we're getting overcrowded?"

Of course not. Quick show of hands, how many of you fought traffic this morning?

Eek. That many, huh? Anyone take public transportation. Anyone? No? Couple folks on the northeast side? Ok.

Well, how many of you own your home?

Great, wow, some of you.

And how many of you would say your homes are relatively close in to the city without bankrupting you?

No one? Well, looks like we got some suburb lovers, do we? Alright! Go suburbs!


OK, enough of that. A couple quick notes before we wrap up here. If everyone could start limiting themselves to one or two cups of water a day, that would be great. Some of the folks on the western side of the building have been complaining they don't have enough water. We tried not to put anyone over there, what with the AC out and all, but we didn't have a place to put them. So let's all be mindful of that.

Also, please be patient with the folks from downstairs as they come up. We simply can't keep them from coming so please be patient with them as they assimilate themselves. While they do take up space and use our resources and our lackluster healthplan, they really help out with alot of the stuff we don't like doing. I mean, I'm not going to change the empty water bottles, are you? Exactly.

Lastly, We're always looking for some new people so if you know anyone, feel free to send them over. Or just make some more. 3, 4, 5 per person would be great. Or more if you can do it. The more the merrier.

I'm off to the Hummer dealership.

That is all.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Scorched

Most of yesterday was spent praying Texas didn't drop one to Baylor after spotting them a quick ten points right off the bat. How bad would that have sucked? Then the wheels came off for Baylor. And we kicked it into high gear. Colt threw for a record 6 TD's. Final score. 63-31. Welcome to Austin. Bitches.

The other good news was Adrian Petersen broke his collarbone (I know, but he'll be fine), and Auburn did us a big 'ol favor by downing the #2 Gators. So we're in business.

Which brings us to today's soccer match. We were sporting our new red uniforms (myself in the glorious #2. Jeter's #) and came out with a vengeance. We lit them up for ten goals and I had two assists. I'm self-appointing myself the Beckham of the team, camping out on the right side and spotting the ball right to whoever is steaking on goal. We're getting scary good. And I gotta admit I'm really enjoying the hell out of myself out there. It's a blast and with a real-life referee and all the play is sharp and well-paced with a minimum of bitching. I'm kind of sad the season is already halfway over. It's a blast.

Then again, it could just be the new "boots".

Dope, right?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pro

This week at work there was a lot of talk about people being a pro. Our director was constantly lauded as being a pro so there was no concern over whether he could handle our shoot and give us what we need.

A creative director was referred to as a pro because he knew his shit and got it done, free from political and egomaniacal influence.

Which got me thinking.

Last night Jeff and I went to the Built to Spill concert and there were two opening bands. The first band, Helvetia, were alright. One might call them competent. The second band, Camper van Beethoven (sp?), were much much better if not my favorite. Probably pros. Then Built to Spill came on and laid down the law. Pros. At the top of their game. Locked in to what they're doing, what each other are doing and where the groove's at.

Total pros. With a total pro beard. The kind that takes dedication. The kind that blows in the breeze and says "hey, check out my beard. It is long."

You know who else is a pro? This guy.

Beck dropped The Information on us this week. And it rocks. Odelay-rocks, even.

"I think I'm in love" should have been the lead-off single, it's that good.. "Nausea", "Strange Apparition", "No Complaints" and "New Round" are stellar tracks. Amazing even. And for straight out space-funk it don't get much better than "Dark Star." To me this is easily his best "Beck-style" album since Odelay—I still think of Sea Change as its own thing.

Ever since Todd McCulloch came busting into my college apartment in Austin one day in '93 raving about some guy named Beck, I've been a huge fan. The guy cold worked a leaf-blower in his first video! In my opinion he's his own genre. I mean who else would you lump with him? Dylan if Dylan had a sampler?

The guy's a pro. Hands down.

I'm on my way.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Big Pimpin'. Perhaps even a wee bit too big.

So tonight I wheel into my usual spot here at Post Apocalypse apartments and parked next to this little gem:



Yeah, in case you can't make it out that's a BMW 745i. That's a $75,000 auto. With custom rims. And did I mention this is at Post Apocalypse apartments? Yeah, I said the same thing: thank god I didn't get shot photographing it.

But no, seriously.

Why the hell would you spend almost $100,000 on a car and still live in this shithole? Looks like someone's got their priorities out of whack. I'l ltell you who doesn't—the guy who drives that sweet red machine in the background. That guy is keepin' it realer than real! Yeeee-ah boy!

In other news, I've got to make a presentation tomorrow to some young up-and-comers who are part of a high school program. Thirty of them are gonna make their way around the agency in groups of six as we all present to them what it is we do. Let's see, we've got media, research, account service, print production/traffic, and then creative. Wonder which one will be the highlight?

We did have to sign forms today promising not to use any obscene language. Great. If they hadn't said anything I'd be fine. Now I'm gonna be in there like some kind out Tourets sufferer. Oh, and we also had to promise not to have any inappropriate contact with them as they are in high school. Thanks alot, Foley. Way to ruin it for all of us.

I'm clearly kidding. But not about the foul language thing.

Now off to decide how best to dress like a creative. We debated shorts and flip flops and ball caps to really make the point that we are "creative." But then again, it's October.

At any rate, we're gonna make the other departments look about as fun as a Chinese rivet factory.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Explosions in the Sky

This is either morphing into some sort of blog that reviews the new fall tv shows or a sad commentary on my sad social life that I come home and sit on my couch and write and watch so much goddamn tv. You make the call there.

However, on my parents recommendation, I'm really liking Friday Night Lights. And I'll tell you why.

Explosions in the Sky.

They're an amazing, cinematic band out of Austin that play what feel like film scores—and usually 8-9 minutes long. It's a patient listen but so well worth it. You find yourself imagining whole scenes in your head. Much like Sigur Ros or a softer Mogwai. They manage to wrench some pretty decent emotion out of a show that could have so very easily fallen into Disney/Laguna Beach/90210 melodrama-crap territory had Peter Berg not been at the helm.

His direction is pretty darn good.

The writing is smart and steers clear of the usual high school cliches (i.e. cheesy cliques, everyone being rich, and no real problems aside from "girls" and "dates" etc. ) and the casting is top notch.

And Explosions in the Sky?

Well, they make it all work like a champ.

----

Happy Birthday, John

Yesterday was John Lennon's 66th Birthday.

Happy birthday.



You're not the only one.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Columbus Day

For whatever reason, work added Columbus Day to our abundance of holidays this year. And as luck would have it, I spent it working. Granted it was split between Starbucks and home but nonetheless it was work. Classic.

Although we did have the ever-so-pleasant chance run-in with Tania at the ol' Starbucks. Always a pleasure to see her and hear the gossip from the old Portfolio Center.

Back to Studio 60. Gotta run.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Split

Today's double-header was a tough one but we are starting to come together as a team and the ol' conditioning is comin' around a bit. Two straight hours of running will still wear you out though.

The first game was filled with trash talking and ended in defeat, 5-3. Whatever.

We turned it around in the second game with yours truly even punching in a goal. It kinda looked like this:

Not really. The goalie dove right to block a shot that then rebounded right onto my foot. So I put it in the empty net. No jersey removal or knee slides. But thank god I ended my drought. We won the game 5-2.

A couple quick other notes:

1. While I may be one of like five people who watch the Amazing Race, I'm once again hooked on it. And I've got my favorite team: the coalminer couple from Kentucky. They're not world travelers by any stretch but their quiet tenacity and friendliness has kept them right in the hunt over all the prissy little teams that spend most of their time crying and saying "I can't do this." They're savvy enough to know that people in foreign countries are super nice so long as you're nice to them. On top of that they got that good old antiquated husband-wife hierarchy between 'em so there's no question who's in charge. Although the wife is great.

2. Why'd the Yankees have to up and ruin the playoffs for me by crappin' out in the first round? Now I don't care. For two more weeks. Overpaid bastards.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Like I said...

28-10. Texas over Oklahoma.

That's how we roll.

Don't bet against The Colt.

That guy's got it. Whatever it is, he's got it.

The importance of beating OU

As I've moved about the country I've always tried to convey to people how they can't possibly understand the importance of the Texas-OU game. I mean, I know there are the Florida-Georgia games of the world. But what is lacking in that comparison is that both of those states have something to offer the union.

Oklahoma sucks.

I mean, when's the last time you went there?

Exactly.

In fact, there is a part of our fight song I only know as "give 'em hell, give 'em hell, OU sucks!" And there's nothing better than being pretty tipsy (or downright drunk) on a beautiful fall day at the State Fair of Texas on the burnt orange side of the Cotton Bowl and hearing half the stadium singing it to the other. And then going out to the fair at halftime to pound a few beers. It's college, they don't sell beer in the stadium. So you got to smuggle in a flask of bourbon and mix it with Dr. Pepper. That's all there is. The Pepper's got a stranglehold on the pouring rights at the stadium! It's whacked out. But in some ways a good bourbon-Dr. Pepper can be tasty. I might just order one today. Who knows.

People always are amazed at how riled up I get talking about the game but if you are a great player in the state of Texas, you have an obligation to come to the University of Texas. Or if you're not that great, A&M. However, if you decide for whatever reason to go to Oklahoma to play ball, don't bother coming back. Ever. You cashed in your residency. Have a nice life drinking 3.2 beer and enjoying the "scenery". And dust. In Norman. *

So today is the day each year we like to remind those kids who's the king of football. And academics. And the arts. And coolness. And pretty much everything else.

Let's do this.

Hook 'em!

(* it should be noted that, in keeping with their weirdnees, the Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma City. Yeah, I know. Go figure. But that, friends, is it in terms of cultural contributions.)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rocket Man

I swore I'd never post someone else's writing on my sight but Justin reminded me of this today and I thought it was worht sharing. It's from McSweeneys. Have a laugh. On me.

---

Dear Mr. John,

This letter is to inform you of your termination from the NASA astronautprogram. Our decision comes after a great deal of deliberation, and while we take no pleasure in terminating you, we felt it was the only choice we had.

Your offenses have been many. To begin with, we had hoped that after all the hundreds of hours of training you received, you would understand the measures in place to prepare a crew for a launch. So when you showed up, preflight, with a bag packed by your wife, that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Jewelry? Oversize sunglasses? Sandwiches? On a rocket flight? That's poor judgment, Mr. John. I don't know if that's the way it's done in the rocky-roll world that you're used to, but at NASA we don't pack our own luggage.

You should also know that many on the ground crew mentioned that at zero hour (9 a.m.) you seemed to be intoxicated, possibly "high," as the hippies say. At the time, I thought that to be a baseless accusation and, since we had a mission to launch, I disregarded it. But the transmissions you made once the craft had entered its orbit made me wonder. Over and over we would ask for your readings on the effects of weightlessness, the craft's condition, and the status of the numerous scientific experiments onboard, but instead of giving us that information, you moped about missing the Earth and missing your wife and being lonely in space. Well, goddamn it, Mr. John, you knew what you were getting yourself into up there! It's not like riding on a rocky-roll tour bus! Of course it's lonely! It's space! Do you realize there are millions of people who'd give anything to be up there? It's a chance of a lifetime! And you're crying like a damn baby!

We expect a great deal from our astronauts, but perhaps the most important part of the job is an understanding of science. For our top men‹Armstrong, Aldrin, and the like‹understanding the science is more than a 9-to-5 job; they work at it seven days a week. Frankly, sir, I doubt your scientific acumen. After demanding data from you for days, you were only able to offer
this insight: "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it's cold as hell. And there's no one there to raise them if you did." First off, if you did what? That doesn't even make sense. Secondly, we did not send you up there to evaluate whether Mars is fit for human habitation or child rearing. Thirdly, your mission was not even going to Mars.

And another thing, the word is "astronaut." When you run around Cape Canaveral saying "I'm a rocket man!" it's embarrassing for everyone.

I am sorry to give you this information while you are still on your mission, Mr. John, and we realize that it's going to be a long, long time until touchdown brings you back here. But NASA felt that your performance was so dismal that we must act immediately. You are simply not the man we thought you were when we hired you for this position. Please consider all future assignments canceled. Your place will be taken by Major Tom, who we expect will be a more dedicated and reliable member of the team.

Sincerely,

James C. Fletcher
NASA Administrator


Fly on.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Heady

The last few weeks have been insane. Holy mother. Sleep in the grave, eh?

But the coolest thing in the whole world—and that is not an overstatement by any stretch of the imagination—is that between now and then we are gonna make our idea into reality.

Holy shit.

This is me right now.

Only not bald. And my tongue's not brown.

I hope we don't screw this thing up.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mr. November

Last night I was reminded of who my favorite ball player is from pretty much every sport.

Derek Jeter of the NY Yankees.

Last night, to kick off the playoffs he went ahead and went 5-for-5 with two singles, two doubles and a dinger. Nice night at the plate, right? A guy tonight made the case that he's the kind of guy that when he's on your team you know you've always got a shot to win. True dat.

The guy only gets better in October. Although my favorite Jeter story is from November of 2001.

Due to the playoffs being pushed back that year, the Yankees were playing the Diamondbacks in the World Series on Halloween night. Rather than take some bleacher seats I went out to dinner with Sam. Damnit. I ended up watching the end of the game on her couch as it went tied up into the bottom of the 11th inning. The time? 12:00, November 1st. The first time major league baseball had ever been played in November. Jeter came strolling to the plate literally as the clock tolled midnight. And he proceeded to hit a walk-off homerun. And, I'm not kidding, a guy in the stands had a sign that read "Mr. November." Amazing. I ran around the room screaming.

Then Scott Brosius did the same thing the night following. But still.

The guy is all hustle, incredibly well-mannered and behaved, waves to his folks in the stands every game, calls Joe Torre "Mr. Torre", and he never fails to deliver when it counts.

I once had to do a big old study on which athlete Nabisco should sponsor and while there was no question for me, I worked my ass off writing that thing and pulling up q-scores and facts and quotes from everyone I could about how this guy is one of the best athletes in any sport in the world's #1 media market. It worked.

They still sponsor him. They should never stop.

Oh, my second favorite athlete, you ask?

Vince Young.

I don't think there's anyone close to him.

Except maybe Jeter.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Music Reviews for October.

I finally got around to downloading some new albums. I gotta say that news iTunes 7.whatever is pretty tight. I like it alot. Here's what I've bought:

The Killers "Sam's Town"

Just got it tonight so am still warming up to it but screw all the Rolling Stone's of the world who gave it 2 stars. I think it has immense potential to grow on me. Then again, I'm a sucker for earnestness. They got it in spades.

I get a real Abbey Road-era vibe from the whole thing with lots of choral voices and set-up pieces. Sure, some of the songwriting is Springsteen, but the tracking and flow of songs is very late-era Beatles. Add to that it's a semi-conceptual album about America and places like Sam's Town where dreams may, probably may not, come true and I'm liking it. "Read my Mind" has a really cool sound, there are still plenty of glammy synths all over the album, and "Exitlude" is a really cool ending song to the album—a great choral close-out. "Outside the sun is shining, seems like heaven ain't far away." Quite a change from "heaven ain't close in a place like this." The whole "Enterlude"/"Exitlude" thing is a little silly, but I like albums that work as a cohesive piece and are built around a central thought rather than a collection of ten songs you wrote. Take the "Joshua Tree" for instance. Amazing. But that's a whole other posting.


Yo La Tengo "I am not afraid of you and will beat your ass"

Yeah, I said the same thing: "what's up with that title?" Don't know. But the music behind it is really good and much more back to their more melodic, up-tempo roots than either "And then nothing turned itself inside out" or "Summer sun." Easily their best since the frikkin' masterpiece of "I can hear the heart beating as one." Serioiusly, if you don't own that, let me know and I'll give it to you. It's a great fall album to boot. But this new one opens and closes with two nine minute songs which is always nice. And they're such sweet and unsupecting people to boot I can't help but love them. I mean look at 'em: Georgia, Ira and James. The best thing to come out of Hoboken since Frank.

How they get that much noise out of the three of them—a married couple (she on drums, he on guitar) and the big fella on bass—is beyond me.









Nada Surf "The Weight is a Gift"

This one's been out for a while but it's a winner. These poor guys got hosed in like '96 with that awful song "Popular" kind of like Radiohead did with "Creep." And they never recovered. But they've been quietly putting out great music for years. Really mellow pop with the occasional slinky mid-tempo number. My new favorite song is "Blankest Year" and "Your legs grow" is a beautiful tune." Check it out if you can.


It should be a good fall full of tunes.

Oh right, I almost forgot. Go Yankees.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The night SNL died.

Tonight while watching my new favorite show, Studio 60, it hit me: I think they killed SNL. During a little montage segment they had more funny sketch premises than I've seen in the last two years on SNL. That doesn't look good.

I managed to catch the tail end of SNL on Saturday and it was dreadful as usual, sadly. I caught the cold opening on YouTube and it was crap as usual.

Worst of all, they missed a golden opportunity with the whole Representative Foley thing. Here's how it should have played out:

OPEN IN A SUBURBAN HOUSE'S KITCHEN LIKE DATELINE'S "TO CATCH A PREDATOR". REPRESENTATIVE FOLEY COMES IN THE DOOR CARRYING A BOTTLE OF WINE AND WEARING CASUAL WEAR.

FOLEY: Hello? You here?

HE IS TOLD TO "HANG OUT" FOR A SECOND BY A YOUNG BOY'S OFF-CAMERA VOICE. THEN OUT OF A SIDE ROOM COMES CHRIS HANSON.

CHRIS: Wanna have a seat?

REPRESENTATIVE FOLEY LOOKS SHOCKED AND THEN CONFUSED.

FOLEY: Uhh, ok. I was just...

CHRIS: What brings you all the way out here tonight?

FOLEY: Nothing.

CHRIS: Well, it seems kind of odd to come all the way here from Florida in the middle of the night. Can I ask what line of work you're in?

FOLEY: I'm a US Representative. From Florida.

CHRIS: Well, I've got a copy here of some of your instant messages you sent. Mind if I read a few?

FOLEY: I guess not—I just came to talk to him for a bit, I swear.

CHRIS READS FROM THE TRANSCRIPT:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And there's more,

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

CHRIS: Congressman, that's pretty racy stuff to say to a 16 year old. What do you have to say?

FOLEY GETS MORE AND MORE AGITATED BEFORE FINALLY SNAPPING

FOLEY: Ok, fine! I came here to get it on with one of my underage pages. Can I go now? Please.

CHRIS: You're free to go anytime you want. But Congressman, there's just one more thing.

FOLEY PUTS HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS, NEAR TEARS.

FOLEY: Oh god, what? This isn't on national TV is it?

CHRIS: Actually, yes. In fact, live from New York, it's Saturday Night!

And, scene.


How did they miss that? It was right there.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Smoked.

Today's soccer match was brutal. We got hammered by a team that was like the Brazilians out there. You couldn't get the ball on your foot without there being like two guys on you. Immediately. I thought this was supposed to be like a fun amateur league composed of teams people put together at work. Today was like the cup final.

At one point I charged in on a ball in the box so feverishly I got leveled and landed on the goalie's head. I felt horrible but our only hope was to start creating some chances on the doorstep. If that means gettin' smacked into the goalie, so be it.

On top of that, the beautiful weather that had settled on Atlanta the last few days seemed to evaporate right when the ball dropped. It was HOT out there and our black jerseys did us no favors out there.

The score was probably like 5-1. I lost count after everyone on my team was gettin' all pissy and not having fun which to me runs counter to the whole reason I'm out there.

I'm just trying to have some fun and get a little exercise.

Next week I'm told we have a double-header to make up for last week's rain-out. And like three guys are gonna be out of town. And Texas plays OU on Saturday.

Sweet Jesus.