Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dinner before a big game

Merry Christmas and back to work. Technically, I'm a temp here, so that means that compared to the full timers I get less pay, no benefits, no paid sick days, and I have to work normal holidays. I'm filled with anger and hate right now...but not because of being at work. I just made the mistake of going on a Colts message board after a loss and it's filled with Patriot fans being jackasses. I hate Bostonians. As far as I can tell, the area is filled with nothing but drunken, arrogant assholes who only derive pleasure by belittling as many people as they can. Explain to me why Patriot fans should hate the Colts. It makes no sense. They've won. Multiple times. The city of Boston has won tons of sports championships over the years while Indianapolis has never won any. So why would they feel such anger towards the Colts and Colts fans? Because they're a city full of jackasses. That's why. Oh, but Boston is such a wonderful city, people say. I've been there. I saw a bunch of one way streets, Dunkin' Donuts, Ivy League snobs, and drunks who are envious of the Ivy League snobs. Maybe I've gotten the wrong opinion of this city, but until someone manages to prove otherwise, this is the way it is.

F'ing fucking Colts, though. What an embarrassing defense. I wish I could stop caring so much. I actually got to go to the Monday Night game against the Bengals. I was going to go watch the game at a friend's house and that sounded like a lot of fun, but then my brother-in-law called at the last minute and said he had an extra ticket for me at will call. So I hopped in my car and headed downtown. When I arrived at the Dome a crowd of people were headed to the gates, but I still had about 45 minutes until gametime, and I wanted to get a couple affordable drinks in me before kickoff. I fought against the flow of the crowd looking for a bar. Once I got past the major crush, I saw something that was very special in my eyes. In fact, I've told people about what I saw since this moment occured, and I get the feeling that they don't believe me. But they should. People should understand that I have been blessed with the gift of witnessing amazing events, and that my purpose here on Earth is to share these moments with all of you. Now I'm not sure where this moment ranks compared to the time Erik Estrada asked me to get him a bucket of lemon slushie that had falled onto the pavement or the time I personally made the entire Hollywood Bowl sit down or the time when I saw Erik Estrada knock over a table of video games at Toys R Us...but it's up there. This night before the start of the Colts/Bengals game while the crowd was walking to the Dome, I passed under a bridge in downtown Indianapolis and saw...a man...a little chubby but full of energy...definitely drunk...skipping...wearing a #88 Marvin Harrison jersey...shouting, "Let's go fucking Colts! Mother fucking Colts!!" And as he skipped past me I realized that it was Jared from Subway. He seemed like a pretty fun guy. Honestly though, is anyone's life going better for them than Jared Fogle? That used-to-be-obese-but-is-now-just-a-little-fat fuck has the life. He makes millions of dollars doing commercials while holding up a sail-sized pair of pants, giving talks while holding up his sail-sized pair of pants to people who will never lose as much weight as he did no matter how much or little Subway they cram down their throats, and he gets free sandwiches for life! Free f'ing fucking sandwiches! I'd be skipping, too.

I found a bar, finally got the skank behind the bar to give me a drink after waving at her for fifteen minutes, and headed back to the Dome. My seat was way in the corner of the stadium. Waaaaay up there. You could only go one row higher than my seat. The good news was that the giant pillar in front of me only blocked the left endzone, but if I leaned to my right I could see, yet I risked propelling myself into the fans below. My brother-in-law was already in the seats with my nephews also there in football pads eating nachos. I had completely forgotten. They were on a junior all-star team that was playing the NFL mascots at halftime. That's how we got the tickets. And that's why there was a pillar in the way. I was sitting next to my nephew Race and one of his teammates was sitting next to him. They were buzzing with excitement. Perhaps they were a little too excited.

Some dude recording artist that I have never heard of was doing an average job with the national anthem, when I heard someone's drink spilling near me. I instinctively stepped away from the noise without looking. I noticed that this must be one helluva huge drink that this person was having major trouble corralling because it just kept gushing and gushing. I looked over to my left and there was Race's friend doubled over puking...everywhere! All over himself, all over his dad, all over the ground, all over our row, all over the row in front of us...it was a never ending geyser of vomit! Finally, the torrent subsided and his dad walked him downstairs, but that left us up in the stands surrounded by puke. The smell was less than pleasant. The stadium staff at the RCA Dome has learned something. They know that if some kid pukes in the nose bleeds, they don't have to do anything about it. They don't need to mop it up or water it down. Our seats have already been paid for, and they were the cheap seats at that. So, we did what we could with a couple cups of water and a roll of paper towels. I wiped enough vomit off one section of the row to sit down and fought my gag reflex for the entire game. All in all, I had a great time. Apparently, as long as I'm at a Colts game I'm happy, even if this means sitting in a pool of vomit in the nose bleeds behind a giant pillar.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I don't remember eating a fist.

Everytime a company provides lunch for its employees, it's cheese-based. I'm not just talking about my current company. This is true for every corporation in the nation. Today, we had a brain numbing meeting followed by intestine twisting lasagne. I prepared myself, though. I knew that management was providing lunch today, so I brought my Lactaid. But I only brought one pill, and it is currently losing the battle against at least three different congealing cheeses.

The fist I'm trying to digest is the only thing keeping me awake right now. I've held back on the caffeine today and am paying the price. By holding back, I mean that I've only consumed a morning Coke, one cup of coffee, a cup of Barq's (the one with bite) with lunch, and a 20oz Mountain Dew. That's holding back. I've got a serious problem.

The cartoon is really coming along. The second scene is well on it's way, and it's much funnier than I was afraid it might be. The webpage is also up, but it has no content yet as it's still obviously being constructed. Ivan probably doesn't want me posting a link to it yet. Just let it be known that the cartoon is called The Highly Effective Device. You don't have to be Sherlock Joelmes to figure out what the website might be called.

We recorded another voice last night, and here is the running voice tally:

Angie: April
Ivan: Guillermo
Joel: Dean, Carmine, Tentacle Alien, Plabberplabt, Martian Elaine, Jessica

It's time for Ivan to starting pulling his weight in the character voice department. I'm slated to voice the upcoming Flabular character as well, but that one just may have to become Ivan's baby.

I have absolutely no time to work on Untapped lately. That's fine. It will still be there when I have the time. My brother looked at them on YouTube and said that I should include sound. I don't know...that would mean a lot more work...and more voices...and possibly background noise...and I can't even get my audio recording program to work until I have internet access on my personal computer again! Perhaps he's just too critical of my work. I think they're pretty funny as they are. I don't think that the YouTube video is the best format for them, but I don't know how else to post them. Any ideas how I could post them in html on my blog?

I'm going to the Purdue/Butler game tomorrow in Indy with my dad and my brother. That should be way too much fun. I tell you, there is nothing I am more passionate about than Purdue basketball. I'm totally irrational about it.

I'll tell you what else is being irrational...this damn lasagne!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

God is gas station pizza.

Listening to the radio, I heard a commercial for a local chain of gas stations. They explained the features of their snack shop which included a pizza value meal offer. After they mentioned the affordable price for this meal, a sound clip played of a female saying, "This pizza is awesome!" She sounded serious. Awesome? This is pizza from a gas station we're talking about, right? Why would she deem this pizza as awesome? Has she never had pizza before? Maybe the only pizza she's ever had prior to coming to this gas station was frat house floor pizza. Or maybe she only recently gained the ability to taste, and everything is awesome to her.

Regardless of the motivation behind her comment, I feel that I have no choice but to amend my definition of the word "awesome". From now on, whenever I refer to something as "awesome", I don't just mean it's good. I mean it's gas station pizza good!

Monday, December 11, 2006

"What did you do to your face?" - my sister

"What did you do to yours?" - my response

I live in a world of perpetual change. The only things I can commit to are my sports affiliations (Purdue, Colts, Pacers, and Reds). Yesterday I carved my Christmas beard into a Christmas moustache. A Christmas Fu Man Chu, if you will. My ever rotating hairstyles and facial hair creations are a distinct indicator of my identity crisis. Refering to my life I've often heard from my mother, "You need to pick one thing and stick to it." Easier said than done. I would gladly do this if I could, but you don't choose your personality.

Perhaps it was all the acting I did while growing up. Constantly becoming different characters taught me that I could be whomever I wanted for a short while and then change into someone else. Perhaps it's because I was born in the Year of the Snake on the Chinese horoscope. Perhaps it's because I'm also a Scorpio in that other horoscope. Perhaps, as my parents lament, I wasn't raised with enough discipline. Perhaps, as I lament, I was too sheltered in my childhood. Well, whatever the reason, this is who I am, and I have to deal with it.

I'm going to finish that law school application today and work on getting that one last letter of recommendation. See? I've changed my mind again! Not that I'm excited about law school...I just feel that I need some skills other than these nunchuk skills.

Speaking of Napoleon Dynamite, I know that this is a movie that a subset of people don't like. The most common complaint I have heard about it is that there is no plot. That's just incredibly untrue. The movie's brilliant because the plot and motivations are subtle. The characters are so distinct and colorful that they overshadow the plot on some levels. LaFawnduh is what I like to refer to as the "Yoda" character. She brings wisdom to the story and enables Kip and Napoleon to overcome their insecurities and succeed. Uncle Rico is Napoleon's warning to take chances in life when they avail themselves. Before the climax where he dances in front of the school, Napoleon watches Rico throwing footballs in front of his video recorder becoming frustrated when he hits the camera with one of this throws. Napoleon realizes that he could also end up living in the past if he doesn't seize whatever opportunities that may arise, and he uses this info to save his friend and win the girl. I could write a paper on this film. What I appreciate the most about this movie is that it has lessons that I can apply to my life.

Friday night, Ivan convinced me to go see a comedy show at Morty's. I don't like paying to see comedy since I've witnessed hundreds of them already, but going out to a smoke-filled room sounded like it would be a healthy experience...for my mood. When I got there, Ivan and his friends already had a table. Front row. Middle. And what seat did they leave me? The very first one. Assholes. This is not where you place a comedian. I did my best to enjoy the show and not dissect all the jokes, and I only became part of the show once. After five beers, I needed to pee so bad that I started to fear for the integrity of the walls of my bladder, and the only way I was going to enjoy the rest of the show was if I did something about this, but of course I had to cross over the front of the stage to make it to the restroom which involved me actually "hopping" over the corner. My hopping was sufficiently critiqued by the comedian, Mark Ryan, when I came back, and I took it like a man. I'm just glad that he didn't ask me what I did for a living. I wouldn't know what to tell him. Overall, it was a pretty good time, but I am never sitting front row Joe for a comedy show again.

I spent all day Saturday working on the cartoon. Ivan said he wanted to finish the second scene, and I told him he was smoking. Of course, we didn't finish it, but I did manage to lip sync most of the second scene, my newly discovered talent. The characters really looked like they were saying their lines! This is a tedious process though an essential one. Ivan did the lip syncing on the first scene...so I'll have to go back and redo that. We originally we just going having the mouths bounce around when the characters speak, but after watching one actually talk I gotta have more. More! More I say! Give it!

Yesterday I drew a guitar in Flash for one of my comic strips while watching the Colts game. I was stuck between a rock of frustration and a harder place of frustration for those few hours. The Colts were inept and embarrassing, and my animation skills were much the same. Finally after the Colts were torn to shreds, and I finally created something that a five-year-old would look at and guess "guitar" in the first three attempts, I turned on Madden and trounced the Jaguars 91-0. I don't understand what was going on in that Colts game. I had no trouble stopping the run.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Most of my friends are cartoon characters.

Work is busy lately, and so is that cartoon project. I don't seem to have any time to myself anymore, let alone to work on Untapped. I've pretty much decided to go back to Los Angeles and succeed or starve, so I need to finish the first episode of that cartoon as fast as possible. We've recorded The Highly Effective Theme Song (which doesn't even make an appearance until the second episode), and I'm very happy with it. It's possibly the best song I've ever written, musically speaking. It builds appropriately, tells a story, and pays off with a catchy chorus. It might even be funny...I'm not sure. I've heard it too many times to tell.

Besides the song, we are working in the second scene of the cartoon and just had to do a major backtrack. I was lipsynching one of the characters and realized that I couldn't turn his head to the right. I asked Ivan, my partner and lead animator, about this, and he said he already knew about the problem. The character was created incorrectly, but he was planning to fix it in later scenes. I asked him how we were going to have our character have an entire conversation with a girl to his left when he can only face the right. He told me that his eyes can move and that's it. That just wasn't going to be good enough. The character couldn't just look through the side of his head at people. He'd seem creepier than he's supposed to. We had to redraw the character...and by "we" I mean "he", because I don't know what I'm doing. All I know is taht characters should be able to look to their right and their left. It's kind of essential.

While working last night, Ivan's new wife poked her head in the room to say hi. She then looked at me and said, "Joel, you haven't accepted me as your friend, yet." Whoa! What an intense and forward thing to say! My brain started flying trying to figure out how to handle this situation. I mean, Ivan and I were friends before he met her, and then I moved to California while they started their relationship. Now I'm back, and Ivan and I spend a lot of time working on this project while she goes to nursing school. It's true that we don't really hang out together, but it's not like she gives the impression that she wants to, and she definitely doesn't show any interest in our cartoon. Maybe I do seem stand-offish, though. I suppose that I could try to be more friendly when she's around or something.

"What do you mean?" I replied with the utmost delicacy.

"On Myspace," she said. "I sent you a friend request."