Is it just me, or is that intro rap song kick ass?  Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the rapper wasn't really too proud about the gig or whatever, but this was the early 90's--singing embarassing corporate jingles was one of the only ways a hardworking rapper could make a living.  Oh, the early 90's...It was a simpler time back then.  Vanilla Ice was on top of the charts, rappers hadn't turned scary and started shooting each other, and advertisers were still convinced that the best way to sell a product, any product, was by laying down some really awkward rap. 

For example, who remembers the Adams Family movie?  Really?  Who remembers the MC Hammer song they used to promote it? 

Or this Vanilla Ice gem from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: 

And who could forget this timeless classic from Tag Team:

A few thoughts after watching this video: 

1.  One of the producers for the Addams Family really had a thing for making struggling rappers lose their dignity. 
2.  The dance that Vanilla Ice is doing at the beginning of his video made me feel pretty uncomfortable.  Like, "my left arm is tingling, dear Christ I might be having a stroke" uncomfortable.  I must have blocked this from my memory when I first saw this movie in the theater. 
3.  Evidently, rappers couldn't turn down these gigs back in the early nineties.  And that makes me kinda sad for some reason.  Don't get me wrong, if somebody paid me enough money, I would totally sell out and change my book around to promote an Addams Family sequel (author's note to movie producers:  I wouldn't even charge you that much.  Please, somebody pay me.  I'm sick of eating off the dollar menu at El Pollo Loco) but it just bums me out to see an artist sell out their craft like that.  Even Vanilla Ice. 

God, I'm depressed. 

Hopefully Super Mario will make me feel better: 

Wait a minute...could it be...but I've been doing that dance for years.  Oh my god!  That explains so much!  I've been "doing the Mario" in bars and clubs since I was 18.  It's the only dance I know. 

And in case you're wondering, girls don't particularly like it when you "do the mario."  No matter how much expensive body spray you're wearing.    

This goddamn show has ruined my sense of rhythm.  It all makes sense now.  The Super Mario Brothers Super Fun show is the reason why I'm all alone...

I feel so dirty. 

Only one thing could possibly cheer me up now: 

Ahh...old cartoons set to Evanescence.  You make the world a little less empty. 

 

Author's note:  somebody took the video down.  Apparently the makers of "Best of the Best" are trolling struggling websites for struggling children's writers to make sure nobody is infringing on their intellectual property.  Though, to be fair, whoever directed "Best of the Best" probably has a fair amount of free time on their hands at this point. 

So, until I can post something better, I just want you to stare at the youtube box below, and imagine a bunch of sweaty guys doing bar dips...and the late Chris Penn really struggling to lift his leg for the karate kicks.  Seriously, how the hell did that guy get cast in a martial arts movie?
 
End of author's note. 

Just for the hell of it. 

Wow...I never realized just how homoerotic this movie was.  I guess you miss a lot of a film's subtext when you're seven. 

 

I've been thinking about Jeff Hornacek a lot lately.  Wow...that's kind of a weird thing to say. 

For those of you who aren't a basketball trivia geek or Steven Malk, let me explain who Jeff Hornacek is. 

Note:  Jeff Hornacek is the guy who isn't Gary Payton. 

He's that guy.  Doesn't quite look like an athlete does he?  I mean, if it weren't for the uniform and the upper thigh showcasing cut of his shorts, I would probably guess that this dude was a kindergarten teacher or a Mormon preacher or something, but Hornacek was a super good basketball player for the Sixers and Jazz back in the nineties. 

How good? 

Like twenty points a game good. 

Like good enough to get traded for Charles Barkley (well, it wasn't straight up Barkely for Hornacek, but still pretty impressive). 

Like good enough to get his own tasty mix tape. 

A couple of thoughts after watching the video: 

1.  I'm pretty sure I can jump higher than Jeff Hornacek. 
2.  If Jeff Hornacek showed up at an over 40's YMCA men's league and had a mustache or a perm or something to disguise himself, I'm pretty sure he would be the last guy picked. 
3.  That one hand tear drop he shoots over Shaq was insane. 
4.  I don't think there has ever been a more incongruous music to player pairing in basketball mix tape history. 

And while we're on the subject of old Utah Jazz basketball players, here's a video of Greg Ostertag getting dunked on.  Repeatedly.  Enjoy. 

Ahh...Greg Ostertag getting dunked on.  That never gets old. 

Oh, and I found some really cool paintings of athletes over at this guy's website.  Here's his depiction of Jeff Hornacek. 

Goddamn that's majestic...and sexually challenging.  I'm feeling a lot of things right now. 

 

I've decided to take a break from my usual posts about video games and Patrick Warburton to talk about what I actually do for a living.  So, here's the first in a series of my thoughts on writing and how I was able to somehow scam my way into doing this for a living.  Please enjoy:

Writing tip of the week #1: poking your muse

All writers are creative people, and as such are inherently self-absorbed and unpleasant to be around.  Don't get me wrong, we aren't as bad as actors or musicians or fashion designers (God help you if you have to spend any time with a fashion designer) but we're still pretty damn annoying to hang out with. 

But what is it about writers that makes us such terrible company?  I have a theory about this: 

1.  We incessantly complain about the easiest job in the world. 

That's the secret: writing is easy.  Seriously.  We get paid to play make believe and screw around with crayons.  That's the entire job.  And I think this is awesome.  I'm way too delicate for any kind of real work. 

Question: but if the job is so easy, then why are writers bitching about it all the time? 

Answer:  if people realize what a cush job this is, they might actually ask us to do stuff.  You would not believe how many times I've used the excuse of "I'm really struggling with a chapter" to get out of driving friends to the airport or helping them move.  On the list of effective excuses, it ranks just below "my grandpa died." 

Dude, it's a great scam, and I've used it a bunch myself.  I'll probably use it again before the day is over, but that doesn't change the fact that it's total bullcrap.  I just want to watch my youtube videos in peace and not change out of my pajamas. 

So, if we don't really need absolute uninterrupted silence for the creative process, then how do writers really get inspired? 

We get one of these. 

That' s my muse.  His name is Beppo.  When I need to work, I click him over for an hour and type until the buzzer rings. 

That's all.  Just typing.  No texting.  No email.  No searching through google to see if anyone has posted any "Sophomore Undercover" fan fiction (author's note to his fans: still nothing.  Would it be too much to ask for one MPREG story about Dixie Nguyen and Lord Voldemort?  Stephanie Meyers' fans are making you guys look like a bunch of chumps.  I know this is a lot to ask since the book isn't out yet, but come on!  You guys are better than this). 

If you're a writer, I highly recommend you get your hands on one of these bad boys and get to typing. 

I like to imagine my muse as an angry Italian chef who yells at me when I get off task-- 

"Don't use an adverb there, douche bag!" 

"You don't want to look at that internet porn!  Get back to work!" 

"Be funnier!" 

--And it's amazing how easy it is to be inspired when a small Italian man is yelling at you. 


 

And some girl yelled "nice ass" at me from a passing car. 

I'm pretty sure she wasn't serious. 

And now I have body image issues. 

bitch

 

In this game you drive around in a little flying car with a drill and dig around mars looking for gold and gems and stuff.  Okay, I guess that description makes this game sound kinda lame, but Mars Miner is legit. 

True story: my brother woke me up at seven in the morning screaming that he had found "Einsteinium" in the game and I wasn't even mad about it.  Hell, I was giddy.  Because now we finally had enough money to upgrade our hull strength so we wouldn't get blown up by the methane pockets. 

Wow...it's actually a little depressing to remember how happy that made me.   

Anyway, you should check out this game.  The link is here.   Mars Miner is hosted at freeonlinegames.com


 

For those of you who don't know, The Redbox is one of the coolest inventions of the last year.  Here's a picture: 

Basically, it's a vending machine in the grocery store that shoots out DVD's for a dollar a night.  This is amazing for a few reasons: 

1.  It's super easy to pick up a movie when you're at VONS at three in the morning and buying a frozen pizza and for some reason, renting a movie distracts me from the shame of buying a frozen pizza at three in the morning. 
2.  It's only a dollar. 
3.  There is no public judgment of your movie choice. 

The judgment factor is pretty important.  You see, before the invention of the dvd-robot, you had to actually hand a person the movie you wanted to rent.  This wasn't such a problem at Blockbuster, where the employees were all blank-eyed, soulless husks of people that were either A) too stoned, B) too apathetic or C) too illiterate to judge your movie selection, but the human interaction of renting a movie was problematic at regular video rental stores. 

For example, when I used to live in Berkeley, there was a video store downtown that I used to go to.  I hated this goddamn place for the following reasons. 

1.  The employees were judgmental assholes.   

Yeah, that's about all.  The selection of movies was fine and all, but I really don't need some pasty dude with a beanie snorting at me because I'm renting "Wild, Wild, West."  (Yes, the one with Will Smith and Kenneth Branagh and the giant scorpion spider...it was for a play that I was writing, I swear). 

I spent the next two years trying to rent a movie that was obscure or arty enough to impress the clerks, eventually got frustrated with crappy french documentaries and just alternated watching my VHS copies of "Hook" and "The Muppet Movie" (college was a lonely and confusing time). 

But you don't need to worry about all that with the Red Box.  The Red Box won't judge you.  You just tap the screen, swipe your credit card, and the robot will shoot out whatever movie you want to watch. 

Of course, this also presents a new problem.  Let me represent this with a formula: 

Lack of public judgment + minimal financial investment + DVD robot full of obscure movies = questionable movie selections. 

In the past year, I have watched some insanely awful movies from the Redbox, and I would like to share some of my favorite discoveries with you. 


It came from The Red Box #1:
     
The Civilization of Max Bright

The Civilization of Maxwell Bright

Okay, this movie had a few things going against it from the beginning.  It breaks two of the most fundamental movie laws: 

1.  Movies with long titles usually suck (see: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End").   
2.  Movies with a character's name in the title usually suck (see: "Patch Adams").
3.  Longish titles with a character's name in the title that star with "the" usually really suck.  

Actually, The Wendell Baker Story is the only other movie I can think of that qualifies for number three, and that movie was awful (with the exception of the fine work of Joe Wilson as a member of the Aryan brotherhood). 

Well, The Civilization of Maxwell Bright is even worse than that.  A lot worse.  Let me hit some of the highlights: 

Summary of the movie:  Puddy from Seinfeld (Patrick Warburton) plays an asshole named Maxwell Bright.  The movie starts with him having a naked argument with his girlfriend in the front lawn, ending with him getting hit with a rake and arrested by two female cops (female cops are all over this thing, by the way.  I think the director was trying to say something about emasculation or feminism or some such thing.  It got pretty weird).

Puddy gets out of jail, grows a beard, lets his life go to hell (as evidenced by the pizza boxes stacked in his apartment) and has his other asshole friends over to play poker.  Somehow Puddy gets it in his mind to get an Asian bride, then there's a really obnoxious montage of guys playing poker. 

He orders the bride, she comes over (the chick who played the Chinese bride is unbelievably hot, by the way), her and Patrick Warburton have sex for about twenty minutes of screen time (it was surprisingly horrifying to see Patrick Warburton in a sex scene, by the way.  Not like William H. Macy in "The Cooler" but still pretty uncomfortable.  I can't imagine it was much fun for the girl who played his wife, either...sorry, I lost my train of thought.  God, this movie was terrible). 

Okay, so some more stuff happens, Patrick Warburton does asshole things, the hot asian wife is really nice, Patrick Warburton does more asshole things, the hot asian wife is still nice, Patrick Warburton rips her clothes off in front of his poker buddies so they can see that she doesn't have a sideways vagina (yes, this actually happened.  It was one of the most surreal moments in a movie that I have ever seen), the marriage broker guy gets  mad (played by the villain from Ace Ventura 2 with a really bad ponytail.  It's good to see him working), it's revealed that the hot Asian wife used to be a buddhist nun...uhh...Patrick Warburton's still an asshole...something happens where he goes bankrupt...holy shit, the next part was insane. 

For some reason he barricades himself in his electronics store and starts shooting all the TV's, and it becomes this big hostage situation with all these cops outside (and they're all women, because that's how the director rolls) and then Puddy steps outside with a gun and him and the cops start yelling at each other and then he has a heart attack for some reason and goes to the hospital...

And nobody ever mentions the whole hostage thing again! 

It was completely insane!  I mean, waving a gun at the police has to be some kind of felony, right?  Not to mention the whole shooting a gun in a store and keeping his employees hostage.  I can understand that the cops would feel bad about him or whatever, but still, I don't think a heart attack buys you that much good will. 

This wasn't quite as surreal as the "sideways vagina" conversation, but still pretty damn close. 

Okay, so then Patrick Warburton goes to the hospital and the doctor (played by Jennifer Tilly, looking pretty frisky.  I'm still not sure if she's hot because of her voice, or in spite of it.  She should work more) tells him that he has cancer.  And not just any cancer, but movie cancer.  The kind where you only have three months to live. 

The movie then crams in a redemption story with a bunch of religion stuff (with a surprisingly good cameo from Lex Luthor's dad from Smallville playing a creepy preacher.  It must be difficult for that guy to find work that doesn't require him to play someone "creepy").  Eventually, Puddy finds buddhism, the Chinese wife falls in love with him, he shaves his head, she shaves her head, he dies, she says some more buddhist stuff, and then she goes back to being a nun. 

The end. 

Wow...I can't believe I spent this much time writing about "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright."   


Three good things about this movie

1.  The Chinese wife (Marie Matiko) is ridiculously hot.

I may have already mentioned this. 


2.  Eric Roberts. 

He has a supporting role as Patrick Warburton's best friend, and he basically plays the thing exactly like Forrest Gump which was awesome on many levels.  I love that Eric Roberts career has been turning around (well, with the exception of this particular movie). 

Does anyone remember "Best of the Best?"  How awesome was Eric Roberts in that movie?  Plus, it also had the late Chris Penn as the hill billy Tae Kwan Do expert...man, I really need to watch that movie again.


3.  The Chinese wife's ridiculously bad bald cap.   

Because it reminded me of this girl's equally bad bald cap in Shaolin Soccer

And that was a good movie. 

 

Adam Rex is really, really talented.   And funny.   And smart.  And nice.  And he's a pretty snappy dresser, too.  Yeah, dixienguyen.com has a pretty big man-crush on Adam Rex. 

In addition to his award winning illustrations and writing, Adam put out this video a few months ago: Hulk at the Tropicana.  

Pretty awesome, huh?  That's Adam singing.  And he drew those pictures, too. Unbelievable, huh? 

And do you know what's even more unbelievable?  "Old Spanish lady dancing" has more view counts than this.  A lot more.  I know it takes a volleyball shot to the nuts for a video to go viral, but come on!  This man is a New York Times best seller!  He's a national treasure.  He deserves more respect than this!

God, I'm depressed. 

 

The Sal and Einar show  were some of the funniest videos I saw all of last year, but they never caught really caught on.  At last check, there were only like 47 views for this thing on youtube.  47?  My god, that's a travesty.  Okay, I want you to watch this video, cherish it, then reflect for a moment. 

Are you done reflecting?  Good, now I want you to watch this. 

This video has over 14,000 views.  14,000!  Don't get me wrong, I think the whole "old spanish lady dancing and clicking those little finger cymbals" thing is pretty cool, but does it really deserve to crush "Sal and Einar" this hard? 

I am hereby making it my mission to make Sal and Einar beat the page count for "old lady dancing."   Tell your friends.  If episode one gets 100 view counts, I will post episode two, which is arguably even more awesome than episode one, and at least a thousand times more entertaining than "old lady dancing."

Let's make this happen, people.