Monthly Archives: July 2013

Is this a test? I think it’s a test.

Er’body knows Julie loves a good craft fair, and the local high school throws themselves a doozy of a Crafts-trava-ganza each Fall. Last year, Juanita and I checked it out, eager to pour our money into handmade jewelry, keychains and all kinds of crap that we buy each year “for gifts” that we never actually give to other people.

And because the Craft-a-palooza is held at the high school (an absolutely humongous, maze-like building with no fewer than, oh, 18 gymnasiums and common areas), I get to sample a bit of what life is like for the students there.

…and I wonder about the quality of their education, because of things like this:

I... what?

I… what?


Mrs. Hays, do not drink and type.

good luck interpreting THIS.

Sorry it’s been a spell since I last posted. I’ve been busy, you see.

First, I flew to China. It wasn’t clear to me why I needed to go, but it seems like it wasn’t a pleasure trip. So yes. I had some business in China. Apparently. 

I took a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” there. In retrospect, the entire trip must have been incredibly costly. The passengers included myself, the pilot, and Lisa Kudrow, who was serving as flight attendant.


Flying in style

Though I’m not entirely familiar with aircraft design, it seems this particular 787 had some special modifications. Namely, some sort of pod attachment on the belly of the plane, separated from the 787’s cabin by some sort of airlock. 

Maybe this was actually a space shuttle. Who the fuck knows?

As it came time to land, Flight Attendant Lisa Kudrow needed to seal the airlock, because…well, because. But something malfunctioned and it wouldn’t close properly. We [the pilot and myself] knew something was wrong because suddenly we were picking up Mandarin pop radio stations in the cockpit. 


Oxford Comma – just as good in Mandarin Chinese

Yeah, I was in the cockpit with the pilot.

When I heard the Chinese version of a Vampire Weekend song, I knew we were doomed. Also, we were flying incredibly low to the ground. And not over any sort of runway, of course. We were flying over what looked like the freeway.

Cut to the emergency landing on China National Highway 1. The aircraft appeared pretty unscathed, but it didn’t occur to the pilot or I to evacuate until Flight Attendant Lisa Kudrow reminded us that the plane might explode.


Phoebe saves the day.

We high-tailed it outta there, running across an open field and reaching the other side in time to look back and see our 787-Space Shuttle explode into a ball of flame.

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A few nights later, I caught a ballgame.

I don’t remember how I got there, because the last thing I remember before I arrived was sitting in my childhood bedroom, using a vacuum cleaner to suck up an entire bottle of water that my friend Bob* had poured out just for spite. Douche.

Well, before that we were chilling in my parents’ living room – Bob, Bob’s friend John* and myself. Bob was pissing me off. But then I fell and bonked my head on the coffee table and he was nice to me. But then we started talking about diaries and journals, and Bob gets this look on his face and I know something Bad is about to happen and suddenly he and John jump up and run down the hall into my bedroom. He’s already found the key to the diary I kept when I was 7 years old and now he’s fucking tearing my room apart trying to find the diary. He finds it, but I manage to snatch it out of his arms. So apparently he’s being a douche again.

Barbara,* one of my coworkers, is sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. She’s half-assedly telling Bob to be nice to me when Bob dumps the bottle of water on the carpet. Thanks, Barbara. Good try.

Okay, but now it’s time for the game to start, so we all head up to the field. 

Because we were in the dugout before. 

Because the dugout looks like my childhood bedroom.


But I’m, like, some kind of big deal. Why else would I be on the field? Haven’t figured that out yet. Bob and John are gone, by the way. As is Barbara, big help she was.

A local Gospel Choir is performing God Bless America. They nail it. Day-um! Then Stevie Wonder starts singing the National Anthem. He’s backed by some sort of doo-wop group. 

Stevie’s struggling. He’s changing the lyrics. Then, he stops singing altogether. The fans and Gospel Choir pick it up, except the Gospel Choir’s changed the tune completely. No one can follow. What a train wreck.


Get it together, Stevie.

*Not their real names, because these are actual people who might actually read this. Maybe. Except “Barbara,” because she [apparently] doesn’t really do much of anything.

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And now, disclaimers: No, I wasn’t drinking/smoking/anything-ing before I went to sleep the night before. Yes, I am not making any of this up. Actually, there was/is more detail I could include but a) the China dream happened last week so it’s degrading in my memory-banks and b) the baseball dream also included a weird little segue involving making out with Bob in my parents living room after I was concussed on the coffee table so I was like “Nope, shouldn’t write about that one,” except oops, I just did.


why I’m not a television writer.

I used to think it would be super-cool to write for a television series. Better yet – how awesome would it be to create a new television series? I’ve even had ideas – ooh ooh ooh no one’s done something about this before! This would be freakin’ great! – but, really, haven’t we all?

But like anything that sounds all OMG THE BESTEST THING EVER! THAT WOULD BE THE SHIT! HOLY CRAP I WOULD DIE IF I GOT TO DO THAT! there’s a catch:

It’s all much easier said than done, because it has to actually start somewhere.

I just watched a premiere of a new show and ooh, I liked it, so I did that stupid thing where I went online to see what other people thought about it and got all disappointed when it seemed like so many others didn’t. Seems their main criticisms were of the feast-or-famine variety: too many characters with too much characterization, too many storylines introduced, too little depth, too little shown of x, y and z.

Okay, sure, fine. I get that. But here’s the thing: I challenge you to name ONE SHOW that had a simply OUTSTANDING premiere episode. Of course you’ve watched Episode 1 of something and thought “Hey, I like this, I will tune in next week to see what happens next.” Or maybe your reaction was even stronger: “Whoa, what the hell? Yeah, I really want to see more.” But were you also left with a bunch of unanswered questions? “Why did they mention that one thing? Is that gonna be important?” “How come they didn’t show so-and-so? I thought they were in this, too?” “Is this going to eventually suck? Because I could see this eventually sucking.”

The true test is whether you cared enough to stick around to find out the answers.

No pressure for the actors, writers, producers and network or anything. Yow.

To illustrate my point: if you’re ever bored or ill or both, watch the Very First Episode of a program you really enjoyed. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen that episode, prepare to be surprised. Note how much the characters changed over time – not just physically (see pic below!), but developmentally. The actors haven’t quite gotten into the rhythm of the series, and the writers haven’t  yet  entirely fleshed out their stories, so this sometimes comes across (in retrospect) as more caricature and less character. Story and character quirks that the creators hope to emphasize later must be included upfront, and there’s not always an un-awkward way to do so without just dumping it all in that first episode and hoping the audience will be able to sort through it all as time goes on.

So I’m inclined to give the first episode a break. Unless I find it truly unwatchable (usually because it’s simply not my personal taste), I’ll allow it some time to settle in if I’m not immediately sold.

I encourage others to do the same, if for no other reason than to have mercy on the poor writers who, like me, had dreams of being part of The Next Big Thing.

the ladies of Friends circa 1995-ish. Oh how times have changed!

the ladies of Friends circa 1995-ish. Oh how times have changed!