Friday, February 14, 2014

Hearts

♥ The other day I was reviewing some journals; performing valuable sociological research for the betterment of society. So you can imagine my surprise when, just a few pages into the Victoria Secret Swimsuit Edition, I realized that I had no idea where we got the heart-symbol from.

It's probably one of the first symbols learned by an American child, right after the Golden Arches. It's the life meter in video games, the defining mark of a Valentine and the seal of romantic missives. The heart is so predominate and learned at such an early age that it's never really questioned or examined. It bears no resemblance to its anatomical namesake... it's a seemingly arbitrary design.

A quick google search offers up some flimsy explanations. Depending on whether you look for the origins before or after Christianity swiped all the pagan symbols, it's either the shape of a leaf with medicinal properties (over-harvested into extinction) or a shape revealed to someone by god. Er, God. He's also the guy responsible for light and the Rams winning the superbowl.

The leaf explanation not withstanding, it still seems an arbitrary shape to attach connotations of life, love and romance... or to associate with that thing that goes thudda-thump thudda-thump. At least it seemed arbitrary until I saw this picture. Could it be that the heart's pictographical origin is really anatomical? Even if it's not the shape of the organ, could it be a distilled representation of a lovely lady? That would explain the life-giving, the love, the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa. Take out the appendages and the abdomen and you're looking at a very concise, stylized, full-frontal representation.

It raises the question: if our stone-carving ancestors were more interested in the gams and cans, would we be decorating our Valentines with spades? ♠


Originally written c 2005

Friday, November 19, 2010

National Unkumquat Day

This week Jimmy Kimmel sponsored 'National Unfriend Day', where he encouraged people to drop facebook relations. I think he's right, but for completely the wrong reasons.

Jimmy's position is that by adding people on facebook, you're devaluing friendship itself. Devaluing the word friend. My position is that a facebook relationship has absolutely nothing to do with friendship, and facebook only uses the word 'friend' as a (very successful) marketing gimmick.

Sure, there's going to be a fair amount of overlap between friends and, well, facebook "friends" (let's call them kumquats). But one's not dependent on the other. The way I figure, there are only 2 or 3 reasons to be kumquats with someone:

K1) Interesting newsfeed/commenting: You should be kumquats with someone if you like what they post or if you have nice chats and comments about what shows up in your newsfeed.

K2) Sharing actual, in real life, events: Facebook is really handy for coordinating events and invites. If you or your friend would be inviting each other to facebook events, be kumquats.

K3) Friends on ice: I guess there's a third category of people, maybe out of town friends, who you just want to have an easy way to contact if you're going to be in their neighborhood. Or people you're just e-stalking. ...creepy.

Now why would you want to add a real friend on facebook who wouldn't qualify as a kumquat by the above standards?

F1) Your kumquat count is actually a high score. More means you're cooler. Everyone loves you. All those people who thought you were a loser would be sorry now that they see you actually have 1800 associations that are called "friends".

F2) Getting someone's profile picture in your sidebar is a badge of honor. You gotta collect them all. Just look at those tiny little faces.

F3) Loyalty? That you're willing to associate with your friend on a random website on which you don't interact with them at all just because they dubbed the virtual relationship "friend"?

None of those are good reasons.

Now you might be saying, "But what's the harm? Why not just add everybody?" Well if you don't care about your privacy, you're also exposing your kumquats' business to random people, for anything they post on your wall, anything you're tagged in, and anything they have set to kumquats of kumquats.

But the main reason is that facebook doesn't scale well. They have a shitty consolidation function. Your news feed (even the "most recent" feed) will just drop random stories if it has too many to choose from. So you're missing out on items that you may care about for random spam from people you have no business associating with. Even if it didn't drop things, adding randoms will drop your signal:noise ratio, and what's the point of being on the site if it's no longer useful to you? Did you used to like facebook, but now it's just a bunch of random crap? That's on you.

If the last interaction you had with someone on facebook was accepting their kumquat request, drop them. They're not your kumquats. They're devaluing the word kumquat. Jimmy and I can both agree on that. If I'm not your kumquat, please drop me. Unless you're a smokin' hot babe. In which case, stick around, just in case.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

That Ass Won't Quit!

I'm rewriting "The Little Engine That Could" and setting it in South America in the 1800s. Working title: "That Ass Won't Quit" ...was the tweet that started it all. Then there was a long, extremely slow weekend shift that gave me the time to pound out a first draft. And a borrowed iPad to sketch a sample for the art treatment. Now I'm in negotiations with Random House for inclusion in their Golden Book series. Eat it, struggling authors.

The Lovely Lady and The Ass That Wouldn't Quit

It was a hot summer day,
and the Lovely Lady was far from home.
"I need to get back to my home,
on the far side of the mountains!"

But she couldn't walk that far,
She needed to get some ass
To carry her over the mountains

---

"Dear Vendor, I'm far from home,
and need to get over the mountain.
Could your donkey carry me there?"

"Carry you? Never! This donkey is much too important.
This donkey carries my cottage cheese to the market!
This fine donkey is much too good for the likes of you"

And the Vendor sent the Lady on her way.
The Lovely Lady did not have a cottage cheese ass.



---

"Dear Porter, I'm far from home,
and need to get over the mountain.
Could your donkey carry me there?"

"You? This donkey only carries the finest passengers!
It's extra fur is soft and plush, and we even have snacks!
This is a luxury donkey, not for the likes of you!"

And the Porter sent the Lady on her way.
The Lovely Lady did not have a saggy ass.

---

"Dear Astronomer, I'm far from home,
and need to get over the mountain.
Could your donkey carry me there?"

"Waste this donkey on carrying you?
Look at the perfect design, look!
His back is perfectly level,
to carry our expensive equipment,
not poor girls that are far from home!"

And the Astronomer sent the Lady on her way.
The Lovely Lady did not have a flat ass.

---

The Lovely Lady continued on,
until finally she met a 10 year old boy.

"Dear Boy, I'm far from home,
and need to get over the mountain.
Could your donkey carry me there?"

"This donkey's too stubborn,
you can't even get him to turn around,
and we've already passed the road to the mountains!
You can have him if you want"

The Boy gave the Lady his donkey,
and she backed that ass up.

The Lovely Lady had the ass of a 10 year old boy.

---

"That ass won't quit!", yelled the Boy.

Finally, The Lovely Lady had a way home,
She headed towards the mountains!

Seeing the Lovely Lady approaching,
the Astronomer was jealous,
"I'd love to ride that ass."

---

The Lovely Lady continued, passing the Astronomer.
"That ass won't quit!", he yelled.

But the Porter had spilled some of his snacks,
obstructing the path!

The Lovely Lady wasn't concerned,
"My ass can crack walnuts!"

Looking up at the Lady as she passed,
the Porter was jealous,
"I'd love to get all up on that ass."

---

The Lovely Lady continued, passing the Porter.
"That ass won't quit!", he yelled.

But the Vendor had tripped,
and his coin was flying right at the Lovely Lady's donkey!

The Lovely Lady wasn't concerned,
"You can bounce a quarter off my ass!"

Chasing his coin, the Vendor,
who had a bad habit of using anachronistic slang,
admired the Lady's donkey,
"Daaaayum, that's a tight ass!"

---

The Lovely Lady continued, passing the Vendor.
"That ass won't quit!", he yelled.

She was finally over the mountains!
She was so happy, she started dancing in her seat,
Swaying her ass back and forth,
Bouncing it up and down.

The Villager saw the Lovely Lady returning home,
"Look at her shake that ass!"

---

And then, for no reason evident in this story,
The Lovely Lady dropped it like it was hot.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Taken

A behind the scenes look at the making of the season's most unlikely action thrillerLiam Neeson Maggie Grace Taken movie poster

"What originally drew me to the project was the emotional journey. Here you have a father, trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, and just as he starts to make some headway, she goes on a trip to Paris and gets engaged. She goes right from the step-father to the fiance, leaving my character in the lurch." recounted Liam.

Hollywood insiders who had read the original script would be hard pressed to recognize the movie that premiered last week, which underwent nearly a complete re-write after shooting started. It is speculated that when Pierre Morel chose Taken as his second project, he may have been overmatched by Liam Neeson's three decades' worth of experience in handling directors.

"I think it was the third day of shooting when Liam asked if he could ad lib some lines", Pierre explains. "I said 'sure'. Then Liam started explaining how he was going to chop the guy in a throat. 'Liam', I said, 'You can change the lines, but...' (Pierre adopts a gruff Irish accent to imitate Liam) 'What speaks louder than words?', I wasn't quite sure what he was getting at, '...actions?' Then he just said 'Bingo', cocked his finger at me, winked, and walked back on the set. Sometimes, I guess, you just need to let these things run their course".

And that course was run, causing a frantic rewrite of the script as Liam's ad libs started piling up and building on each other. The change in direction effected more than just the writers, as prop master Donn Markel will tell you. "Usually you prep most your work before the shooting starts, and you've got to remember this was originally going to be a tween rom-com. I was up to my balls in glitter and balloons until a week into it then suddenly Liam's asking me for 3 Uzis, a dozen whore outfits and an exploding trailer". Luckily, not all of the prep was for nothing, "At least we found a way to work the horse into the picture. And that goddamn jacket. I damn near lost an eye bedazzling that fucking jacket."

Props weren't the only thing that needed to be repurposed after the changes. Unfortunately Pierre chose to shoot the most expensive scene first and was forced to find a way to tie it to Liam's narrative. "Originally, the finale was going to be Liam's character reconnecting with his daughter by surprising her with tickets to her favorite pop star, and we had all those shots in the can. But after Liam's changes it didn't really work... it just didn't seem to have the emotional punch necessary for the climax after you've seen Liam rip a man's testicles off [referencing a scene in the European cut], so I needed to just shove it into the beginning of the movie and add some guy with a knife or something, I'm not even sure how we ended up cutting that together."

Meg Cabot, who wrote the novel on which the screenplay was originally based, took her name off the project once she saw the finished product. "I don't understand what these people were doing. The father's relationship is an important B-story in the book, but it's about him learning that he needs to let go and let her live her life, and it's only that freedom which allows the daughter's love to re-blossom."

"It was obvious to me we were concentrating too much on the love story, and I wasn't sure the emotional turmoil of the father was making it to the screen. So I took that inner conflict, which you can't see, and transformed it into actual conflict, which you can definitely see." Liam sits back and chuckles, "Unless you get a chop to the throat. Then you're not seeing much of anything. BAM! Throat chop."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some of the reasons I'm not yet a "Real Adult"

#17 Doesn't own any Christmas music.


#28 Immediately reverts to 50s style "Thaddid be swell" mannerisms whenever meeting anyone's parents.


#32 Must actively suppress giggling when anyone addressing a group says anything that could remotely be considered a double entendre.


#33 Weighs the probable hilarity against the potential severity of an injury before issuing a warning.


#41 Doesn't drink coffee.


#45 Greatly enjoyed the movie 'Speed Racer' due to the bright colors and fast movement. And the monkey in a tux.


#56 Occasionally assesses the suitability of his surroundings if his personal gravity were inverted.


#64 Will usually choose to prove a point over achieving a diplomatic solution


#69 Hehehehehhe... 69!


#72 Always gets hung up on the rather juvenile issue of 'Where to hide the body?' instead of the more mature 'What does it mean to take a man's life?'


#85 The majority of his wardrobe was either bought at a concert or received as a bar promotion.


#88 Thinks even the most salient point can be enhanced by adding "Oh snap!", "BAM!" or just by slapping your chest and then holding your arms out.


#93 Owns no hair product and only has a comb because a halloween costume necessitated it.


#95 Decorates his place in the style of "Dorm Room".


#99 Will childishly delete any additions The Weez will doubtlessly make to this list.