Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've Loved These Days

I thought I'd recognize
more of my old classmates
The e-mail promoting my high school's 25-year reunion went out awhile ago so I had plenty of time to get used to the idea.  It's not so much the reunion part, but the 25 years.  25 years.  That's the kind of number you say over and over, as if it'll somehow get easier to comprehend with repetition the same way words lose their meaning when you hear them constantly. Has it really been 25 years since we were in high school?

Personal milestones of time are always put into perspective alongside other historical milestones.  1986: space shuttle explosion, Chernobyl, Sweden's Prime Minister assassinated (okay, I looked that one up).  But what really makes 25 years sound like such a long time is the fact that I work with people who weren't born when I graduated.  A kid born in 1986 could have grown up and graduated high school in less time.  I think I really feel old for the first time in my life.  Well for the first time since last Wednesday, anyway.

Say John, will you tape my
buns together in 25 years?
1986 was the perfect time to go to school as far as John Hughes movies go.  His so called "high school series" took place when I was in high school.  The movies still resonate with students today but they can't appreciate them they way we did.  It's almost like the characters in those movies were us.  Okay, I didn't know a Long Duk Dong but I could definitely relate to the angst of a Brian Johnson.  At the end of "The Breakfast Club," Brian wonders if their new friendship will last into Monday.  I wonder what they'd say to each other after 25 years.  I can imagine the anxiety each one of them would feel (except Bender, who would show up with a Turkey Pot Pie).

Time rears its ugly head.
What the members of the Breakfast Club didn't know was that there would be an internet within 25 years.  That internet would take away any nostalgia they may have for their high school years because the very real possibility of never seeing classmates again would disappear with Facebook, or even classmates.com.  The usual surprise of seeing who looks like what, who's successful, who just got out of prison, who changes sexes is rendered irrelevant because Facebook has allowed us to reconnect and stay connected.  Even the 80s music being played wasn't so nostalgic because you can hear it whenever you want on any one of a zillion internet sites.

But still, I saw the list of people attending and after realizing I didn't remember as many people as I thought I did, I wondered what I'd say to people I haven't seen in a quarter of a century?  Neither one of those had the influence of any social media at all.  The 25th was hyped for months.  In fact, it seemed like most people said they'd go once they saw other people that were going.  Without that, who knows who would have made the effort to go.  Who knows how many people would even have found out about it?  There was a lightly-attended 10-year reunion and I missed the 20th because I didn't know about it until after the fact.  The explosion of social media made it pretty hard to be unaware of it this time.

And it turned out to be a really great night.  The girl I had a crush on in 2nd grade was there but we didn't speak.  The girl I had a crush on in 6th grade was there too, but she never knew.  She knew she was there, she didn't know I had a crush on her.  Or maybe she did.  Anyway, it didn't seem to make our conversation awkward at all.  There was the girl I could have sworn would remember me but didn't.  But she did once she saw my yearbook photo and said I look so much better now.  But she said "so" in that way that implies I looked pretty bad in high school, with 3 or 4 "o"s (sooooo).  I reconnected with a few military heroes and even a Catholic who teaches at an Orthodox school in New Jersey (which will be the plot for my next screenplay).  I didn't solve the mystery of the woman who signed my yearbook hoping that I would't be mad at her anymore.  Neither one of us knew what it meant.  I guess I got over it.

The reunion went on for days afterwards as attendees posted photos and non-attendees posted their regrets for having missed such a great party.  They all said they'd definitely be there for the 30th.  30 years.  That's the kind of number you say over and over, as if it'll somehow...well anyway, that's five years from now.  You know what?  I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Gratuitous Look At The McCartney Concert

I finally got to see Paul McCartney in concert last Saturday.  He's one of those guys I've always wanted to see live and I thought I'd never have the chance.  Then he started touring constantly so it became a little easier.  It's been awhile since my last concert.  A combination of poor selections and super high prices have kept me away.  Plus, I'm cheap. 

Sir Paul was once known as the "cute Beatle."  At 69, he still looks pretty good.  He's definitely not the punctual Beatle, seeing that the concert started a half hour late.  Of course I would complain about that.  I'm old.  Unlike a Billy Joel or Bruce Springsteen concert where you see people of all ages, this wasn't the case at Yankee Stadium.  There were lots of people older than me, including the couple in the next row having a hard time finding the beat.

Paul McCartney before it got
too dark to take pictures.
I've also learned that the iPhone 3GS, while being a wonderful piece of technology, sucks at capturing concert footage.

"Magical Mystery Tour" kicked off almost three solid hours of one of the best concerts I've ever heard.  And I saw Chicago in 1985!  For the most part, between-songs banter was kept to a minimum.  There was a bit of a rant about the digital boards where lyrics and other dialogue appeared.  The spelling was pretty poor.  During "Hey Jude," the genius running the board spelled it, "Hey Jewed."  Seriously.

Use your imagination.  It's McCartney
wearing white.  So much for
decent pictures.


Set List

  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • Jet
  • All My Loving
  • Junior’s Farm
  • Drive My Car
  • Sing The Changes (I admit I had to look up this one.  The Fireman?  Huh?)
  • The Night Before
  • Let Me Roll It
  • Paperback Writer

(Paul moved up to the piano, which opened up a whole new list of song possibilities)

  • The Long and Winding Road
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (I had to look up this one, too.  I'd heard it before.  I just never knew what it was called.)
  • Let ‘Em In (These lyrics were odd in the 70s.  The band must know this because they were chuckling--even Paul.)
  • Maybe I’m Amazed

(Back to the guitar/bass)

  • I’m Looking Through You
  • I Will
  • Blackbird
  • Here Today (It sounded vaguely familiar.  It was written for John Lennon, which makes Ringo the only Beatle who didn't do a song for John.  George did "All Those Years Ago."  What did Ringo do?)
  • Dance Tonight (The drummer was fantastic.  One of those large guys with a ridiculous amount of energy doing an interesting dance routine.)
  • Mrs. Vanderbilt (Never heard of it.)
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Something (Paul said some nice things about George Harrison, then proceeded to sing one of his songs.  On ukelele of all things.)
  • Band On The Run
  • Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
  • Back in the USSR
  • I’ve Got A Feeling (Every concert has that one song where everyone decides to go to the bathroom.  This was it.)
  • A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance

(Back up to the piano.)

  • Let It Be
  • Live and Let Die (Not a song for the epileptics in the crowd.  The video guy had some fun with this one.)
  • Hey Jude

(First encore)

  • Lady Madonna
  • I Saw Her Standing There (Billy Joel came out for this.  The crowd went nuts.  Then as quickly as it began, the song ended and Billy left.  Seems like a long drive to play one song.)
  • Get Back
I'm pretty sure this is Billy Joel.
(Second encore)

  • Yesterday
  • Helter Skelter (Really?  Helter Skelter?  Well it was another chance for the video guy to go nuts.)
  • Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End

What a perfect way to end the show.  Someone asked if there was going to be a third encore.  After "The End?"  It's called "The End!"  What comes after "The End?"

Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium.  Great show.  Dumb fans.

(The video quality sucks.  But you can hear the music so check it out if you're so inclined.)

A Day In The Life...Paul's part
video


video

Let It Be
video

Live and Let Die.  I never thought I'd see pyrotechnics at a Paul McCartney concert. 
video


Monday, July 11, 2011

I Kill Me

"Everyone knows that comedy
is the lowest form of entertainment."
Another unforseen wrinkle in my world of unemployment is the loss of my audience.  I used to work with people who found me at least mildly amusing so I could rely on a good laugh at one of my "jokes."  Maybe a guffaw at the very least.  Fortunately, I still have one built-in audience who will laugh at pretty much everything I say.

My kids.

But knowing they'll laugh at everything means I need to be more selective in what I say.  Case in point: we have the Optimum feature where caller ID appears on the TV screen.  It's very handy and allows me to decrease the amount of movement I do on a daily basis.  I was watching TV with my kids the other day (something educational, naturally) when an insurance agent called.  I was waiting for this gentleman to call me with some quotes.  Unfortunately his name is Arthur Weiner or, as it appeared on the TV screen, A. Weiner.  So naturally, I said the first thing that popped into my head: "Hey look!  A Weiner is calling us!"

First of all, you gotta admit that's pretty funny.  Immature, but funny.  We got a laugh out of it and moved on with our lives.  That is, until the next time he called and my daughter ran through the house yelling, "hey dad!  Theres a weiner on the phone!"  It would have been funnier if I wasn't on the phone with him already.

I'll have to start saving my blue material for the later show.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Smile!




One of the most photographed things in Manhattan is the main entrance to the New York Public Library. Considering the amount of time I've been spending in there lately, I wonder in how many of those photos I've ended up.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:5th Ave,,United States

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Post About Punctuation!!

Aimee Lee Ball wrote a great column in last Sunday's New York Times discussing how e-mail has changed the way we communicate with each other.  It's not the first column to do this, but this one talked about the use of the dreaded exclamation point.  As far back as 1895, Mark Twain chastised any writer who used them and stated that their use "...is very depressing, and makes one want to renounce joking and lead a better life."

Ouch.

While I've never been a fan of the exclamation point, I don't have the same vitriol for it that Twain, or even an insane creative director of mine, had.  I had worked on a print ad for Panasonic many years ago and the headline used an exclamation point.  It was cheesy but intentionally so.  Anyway, I got called on the carpet by this guy.  I thought it was a joke but apparently, he had spent years trying to get this client to get away from exclamation points and I undid all of his hard work.  Ahh, advertising.

My problem with the exclamation point is the false enthusiasm it evokes.  I'm not a cheery guy.  I hate the cheeriness that it might force from the person reading anything I've written.  My hope is that if I do use it, it'll be obvious to everyone that I'm being sarcastic or intentionally goofy.  So I did an unofficial survey: I asked people what punctuation mark I remind them of.  (†=completely made up)


Friday, July 01, 2011

Nothing To See Here!

Another holiday is upon us and that means fun, sun, bugs, BBQ and, for many of us, traffic.  Being in the New York area, I've experienced many traffic jams.  They come in all shapes and sizes but they all have one thing in common.

Morons.
Speed trap moron. Fig. 1
  • Construction?  Usually morons who wait to merge until he last second.
  • The "Exit Only" lane?  Morons who can't tell where the arrow is pointing. 
  • Speed trap? Morons who drive 80 mph and then slow to 55 when they see a cop.
  • Accidents?  Morons who just gotta get a good look.
The last group of morons even have their own name: "rubberneckers."  There's nothing quite as breathtaking as inching along a highway at less than 2 mph, only to find that you can reach highway speed immediately after the people in front of you get their good look at the crash.

I have a solution.  What if emergency crews or highway patrol cops had some of these temporary walls with them?  They could set them up around the crash and then there'd be nothing for us to see.


For more decorative accident sites.











Nah, it'll never happen.

So as you sally forth into your weekend, here are some random car accident images I pulled from Google Images.  Look at them and then keep moving forward.  There's really nothing to see here.






Well, I'd stop for this.  There's definitely something to see here.