… and I am Somebody male. in my thirties. recovering alcoholic. live in minneapolis. work in progress. gay. serenity please.

The Dark Night

07.20.2008 · Posted in Entertainment, Uncategorized

I saw the midnight showing of The Dark Night on Friday morning at Block E in Minneapolis. They were showing it on at least three screens – and this theatre isn’t usually all that crowded. Young guys jumped at the opportunity to wear makeup, coming out in full Joker-drag. I saw at least twenty of them make an appearance.

Heath Ledger in The Dark Night

Christian Bale is still the hottest Batman yet, so I was glad he reprised his role.

Had I not been told that Heath Ledger played the Joker, I never would have guessed. It doesn’t look like him at all, and his acting is so phenomenal, one would never recognize him based on gestures or voice alone.

Ironically, Batman, the 1989 film, aired on ABC Family last night. I caught a bit of it. I have always liked that film, but not having seen it in many years, seeing it again made me feel like I was watching Adam West in syndication on FOX during the mid-1980s. POW. WHAM. SMACK.

Back to Heath. I think his performance was worthy of an Oscar. Ironic that he died before the release, too. He does this thing with his tongue while he’s speaking that I couldn’t replicate in 100 years. Reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

On my way to the cafe tonight, a new Audi A5 was in my rearview mirror and I couldn’t help but think that the grille appeared to be smiling at me. Those fancy new white LED lights looked an awful lot like the Joker’s grin.

Audi A5 Grille

My Directorial Debut

05.19.2008 · Posted in Autobiographical, Technology

After seeing Joseph Jaffe record himself on his fancy Flip, I had to have one. It was last month at an event organized by Tim Brunelle for his Future of Advertising class at MCAD.

I put this together today after fighting with iMovie trying to figure out how to make the playback speed faster and give a part of the video that “fast forward” effect. Turns out that it’s not possible in the newest version of iMovie – you have to download a two-year old version (v6) of iMovie to get that kind of editing functionality. Seriously – that’s what I said.

After the aforementioned finagling, I finally had something resembling a YouTube video. I uploaded it, waited about ten minutes for it to process, and viola – I’m a director, and a producer, and an editor, and a cinematographer!

Funny it only took YouTube three minutes after the ten minutes processing to inform me that I’d used copyrighted material (the soundtrack I added). They said I could either take the clip down, or agree to allow the owners of the material to advertise on the view page. Hmph. Oh, alright!

Nike’s latest product

04.29.2008 · Posted in Absurdity, Technology

I saw a facebook ad for this strange looking Nike product called the SportBand. Am I the only one who thinks this looks like one of those electric dog collars? I have images of people being forced to run farther and faster, trying to rip this thing off their neck as if it were a court-ordered home-monitoring device.

But in all honesty, the product looks very cool. NikePlus.com

4X4

03.31.2008 · Posted in Autobiographical

I was tagged by my friend Tim Brunelle, to post this meme. It’s been a while and this one looked fun, so I’ve obliged. Others in this storm include Matt Dickman, Valeria Maltoni, and Ann Handley.

4 PLACES I’VE BEEN

  1. In the shower of the Presidential Suite at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Just don’t ask how many others were in it with me.
  2. In Kevin Williamson’s backyard, watching Sade perform at the Hollywood Bowl from up on the hill. Best seats in the house, and they were free. Sans the HUGE spider that landed on my face. (Sade heard me scream. Which is ironic, considering the property owner’s film trilogy.)
  3. In the Emergency Room, watching a friend get a spinal tap. Never again
  4. The same rehab center, with fake plastic trees, as Augusten Burroughs wrote about in his memoir, Dry. Of course I was on the fast track and graduated in 21 days.

4 JOBS I’VE HAD

  1. McDonalds Fry Boy, Birthday Host, Griller, and finally, Manager – 4 years of extreme acne during high school.
  2. Data Entry, Customer Service, Gofer, Filer, Envelope Stuffer, Faxer, Copier, Collator. Grunt office work – you name it, and I probably did it. I have the paper cuts on my tongue to prove it.
  3. Executive Assistant to the President. This lasted about one month. I was filling in for the previous EA while they sought out a replacement. I think the President said two words to me the entire month. He was either scared of the flaming homo sitting outside his office, or didn’t think I could do the job. Either way, I had one easy month of long lunches!
  4. Extra on the X-Files, during it’s tenth season. Officially I was an alien-abductee, found along with Moulder, who had been missing for a number of episodes. I was on the set for 13 hours and got paid $86. At one point during the shoot I had my hands handcuffed behind my back and was manhandled by an actual LAPD SWAT Team Officer wearing a ski mask for twenty takes – the first of which had me all over Gillian Anderson’s chest (she missed her cue). The rest of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

4 OF MY FAVORITE FOODS

  1. Tuna
  2. Steak
  3. Potatoes
  4. Coffee (does this count?)

4 SCENES IN MOVIES I WISH I’D WRITTEN AND DIRECTED

  1. The pot-smoking scene in Eyes Wide Shut, where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are getting high, laughing, and she’s being brutally honest about an affair she had with a naval officer.
  2. The campfire scene in Stand By Me with River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton. Quintessential coming of age story.
  3. The courtroom scene in Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods drills the murder victim’s daughter and tricks her into admitting to the killing after getting all flustered about a hole in her alibi. She was supposedly in the shower, washing her hair, immediately after getting a perm. As if!
  4. Any number of scenes in Magnolia.
    – Julianne Moore at the Pharmacy, flipping out at “You people!”
    – Journalist interviewing Tom Cruise and confronting him about his true identity.
    – Cracked out junky at home when her dying father visits her.
  5. Do I have to be limited to four? There are so many others … What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Crash, Drop Dead Gorgeous

… and I would love to see some others answer these. One of the Joshes? Marty. Brechi, except his blog seems to have disappeared again 🙁 Aaron.

Me?

03.26.2008 · Posted in Autobiographical

I’ve never been a fan of school. I was always too antsy to sit through class. I was rarely interested in what the teacher was talking about, but tried desperately to convince them that that I was right there with ’em.

In high school I used to go to an extra class in the morning, just so I could leave earlier in the afternoon and get to my job at McDonalds. That way I made an extra $6 a day – which added up when you did it five days a week. Even while in college I worked full time. I used to have a mentality that I would start putting as much effort into my school work, as I did my job, just as soon as they began handing out paychecks when grades were posted.

I got into advertising by mistake. I actually felt a bit guilty when I saw interns at work. These poor saps had put in a good four or five years in college, gone to portfolio school for another two, and were lucky if they found a paid internship at an agency by the time they were through. Even then, only about half of any given group of interns are ever hired.

My story goes like this:

Drink and smoke a lot of dope in school. Drop out. Move home. Go to Junior college. Drink more – a lot more. Drop out. Get a temp job as a secretary for a four week assignment at a direct marketing firm (because I can type). Wham – I’m in the door and thanks to some amazing mentors, I somehow turn this into a career.

Believe me – this wasn’t in my plan. It was God. Divine intervention. Destiny. The path of the universe. Fuck if I know. I just know I was damned lucky.

Since that first temp assignment I’ve spent time with three agencies. Went back to school for a while. Spent six months in Los Angeles. Got sober. Started a couple of companies. Life has handed me a pretty good hand. I’m grateful today.

Around New Years I get an email from my friend Tim. He tells me that a local portfolio school is looking for an instructor to teach ecommerce to advertising students. He thinks I’d be perfect.

Me? Teach? Please, Tim – put down the crack pipe.

Three months later, another one of life’s little journeys is complete. I taught a class. And had fun. And I think I was good. The opportunity allowed me to pass on some of the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years and give back a little of what was given to me.

Thank you, Tim. Thanks, Alyn. And thanks to the class for putting up with their amateur instructor.

Hell Hath Frozen Over

03.25.2008 · Posted in Technology

My Dad started teaching me to code in BASIC when I was five. My Mom taught me about home row and how to type when I was in the second grade. I’m that guy you call when you can’t figure out how to connect to your wireless network.

I’ve been on a PC my entire life. I’ve always been an advocate for the PC platform. I grew up on MS-DOS and thought XP Pro was a pretty solid system.

I laughed at people on Macs, thinking they looked all hip with their cute little white laptops. I thought of a Mac as the dumbed-down version of a computer. They were for the weak. Those people didn’t know how to tweak a config.sys file or find the rogue service on their IIS server.

And then Microsoft released Vista.

Rewind back in time, about six months ago. My trusty Dell laptop was about to konk out for good and its warranty had just expired. Though I usually ordered Dells through their website, I was worried that this one wasn’t going to make it through the end of the week, so I went to Best Buy. I purchased a relatively high-specced Toshiba.

Arriving home, I plugged it in. My nightmare began.

Fast forward five months. I’ve decided to kick the Toshiba to the curb and go down the street to my local Apple retailer. I insert both feet (Pumas and all) into my mouth and slap down my visa on a MacBook Pro.

It’s now one month later. I’ve never been happier. And even though I learned about the home row a long time ago, the keyboard on this thing lights up and I think that’s really nifty. Oh, and it works – right out of the box.

I stole these images from the apple website.

MacBook Pro MacBook Pro MacBook Pro

My Last Day of Work

02.22.2008 · Posted in Autobiographical, Work

CL Exterior

My last day at the agency is here. Emotions are running through me; each of them trying to squeeze their way to the surface. Excitement, happiness, fear, anxiety, nostalgia, remorse, gratitude.

This is the first time I have quit a job in eight years. (I had been laid off from my previous two employers.)

I don’t like change, either. I prefer to stay comfortable in my own space. Shaking things up is something I’ve had to really push for in my own life. I’ll have to wait to see if that effort pays off. I think it will. I hope it will.

But why shake things up? Because it’s time. My needle wasn’t edging forward. I’m stagnant. Life is growing dull. Challenge and growth is somewhere out there, outside of my space, where I’ve been hiding from it.

I’m sitting in my cube pondering what’s next. This place has meant a lot to me. Opportunity has come my way here, growth has occurred here, learning is constant here. I will miss it.

I used to joke that all I ever wanted was retirement, and my goal was age 30. By the time I was 25 I realized I would never make enough money to retire by 30, so I revised the goal to state, “I’ll work for myself by the time I’m 30.” I’m 28 today and it’s actually happening. I am filled with gratitude for so many people in my life, circumstances, a higher power, everything.

Come Monday I’ll have started my own company. I’ll be doing similar work to what I do now, except for myself. I’ve secured a long-term contract with my first client that has enabled me to finally branch out on my own. I think I’m ready.

So with that, Goodbye, Agency. Hello, Me.

Design

02.21.2008 · Posted in Autobiographical

Apple MacBook Air

Apple – MacBook Air – Design

I’ve been a diehard PC user since I was four. I’ve used Mac’s here and there over the years, mostly in school and at the workplace. I’ve never felt totally comfortable with them. Either the software I need is available for the Mac or I feel like the options are too dumbed-down to make things plain enough for anyone to understand.

But this thing is different.

I appreciate design. Not so much in how something in appears, but in how an object, website or tool will combine asthetics, functionality, and maybe some innovation. When all of those things are combined, true art is achieved. The MacBook Air is the closest thing to true art that a computer can be at this time.

Another temptation that I’ve held out on is the iPhone. Initially I was hoping that Google would be releasing their rumored Google phone. When Android was announced as a platform instead of a phone, I was a bit disappointed, but the phones that the platform will pull to the market will be likely be spectacular and bring the mobile industry much farther than it has come in recent years.

Now I find myself wondering if I shouldn’t wait for an Android phone or the next-gen iPhone. In the meantime I’m stuck with my two year old Sanyo handset that gets spectacular reception, but not much else.

 

Hello, Moto!

01.07.2008 · Posted in Absurdity, Work

I’ve always been a fan of Motorola’s RAZR campaign. The “Hello, Moto” line is hillarious. I find myself saying it whenever I’m feeling silly. It’s not so much the contents of the sentence, but the way it’s said – a youthful, synthetic voice with an air of mischievousness in it. And shortening the Motorola name to simply ‘Moto’ makes it sound as if this voice has been plotting for some time – like it’s been eying it for years and tired of saying the full name, so it created an easier-to-say nickname.

Yes, I’m reading into it, but I just get a huge kick out of the line.

And I love when the gays are featured in ads – even if it’s in a somewhat creepy way. Honesty, though, this is just an everyday occurrence that could happen to any of us.

Made in America

12.19.2007 · Posted in Autobiographical, Opinions

I don’t intend on getting into what it means to be “Made in America” as there are countless arguments and nuances in every position, however I heard something I thought was funny today while sitting in the service lobby at the Nissan dealership while waiting for my car to be repaired:

“About the only thing that you can drive that is truly American, is a Harley-Davidson.”

I found this ironic, because the person was referencing a motorcycle in a car dealership, but also because he was bitching about the cost of a foreign car while he obviously owned one!

Now my rants. I’ve owned a Toyota, five Hondas, a VW, and I’m now on my second Nissan. I know, I know, you could say I am powerless over cars and my life has become unmanageable. I’m getting better – I’ve held onto my current Pathfinder for over two years. But it’s been a tough two years! It’s a 2001 model that I purchased in the summer of 2005 with 45,000 miles on it – it had new brakes just put on it at the time.

Since then, I’ve put more money into this vehicle than I have maintaining all of my previous vehicles combined! Here’s where I sit so far:

  • $650 – new front brakes and rotors (after the existing brakes had only 10,000 miles on them!)
  • $1,150 – four new tires after one went bad – it was recommended I replace all four because it’s a 4×4
  • $200 – new rear struts
  • $275 – transmission solenoid repair
  • $0 – new windshield after previous one began rattling when its seal broke
  • $0 – reprogrammed computer after Check Engine light went on – turned out to be a service bulletin and covered under warranty
  • $1,100 – six new ignition coils at 74,000 miles after Check Engine light went on with rough engine idling
  • $100 – two new front stabalizer links after one broke – it was recommended I replace both

That brings me to a total of $3,475 after owning the vehicle for about two and a half years. I’ve chosen not to have the power windows repaired, which during cold weather, they barely roll up and down. All of these maintenance needs seem excessive to me, and not something I’d expected from a Nissan. I’m completely disappointed.

Oh, and while I’m at it – the gas mileage on this vehicle is terrible. I drive relatively easy, set the cruise at 60 miles per hour, and I average 15 miles per gallon on a GOOD tank.