Campus

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I don’t consider myself a jealous person but since my oldest daughter started college almost two years ago, I’ll admit to a lot of envy of my 20-year-old’s life. The four and a half years I spent at the University of Alabama in the late 1980s and early 1990s provide a lot of fond memories.

Since I started doing stand up comedy again in May 2015, some of my best experiences have happened in Athens, Georgia, which surrounds the University of Georgia.

From headlining for the first time at the Office Lounge in January to becoming a regular at Livewire, Flicker Bar and Go Bar I’ve had the opportunity to become reacquainted with a college town.

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At 45-years-old, I’m way too “seasoned” to do more than perform at the comedy clubs, usually with a diet soda in my hand, but the feeling of a school town is always comfortable. It’s the opposite of whatever the suburb is, and I live in one of those.

Mondays are the (sort of) usual gig(s). Flicker Bar has taken the place of Office and Livewire as the “show up go up” venue for comedians. The comedy show is run by Alia Ghosheh and Veronica Darby. At the end of each month is the showcase, where a headliner act and a feature cap off the night. I had my shot at it back in January. Paula Gilchrist is the headliner for March 28th.

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Go Bar is another spot, with a bi-weekly open mic run by University of Georgia student and fellow stand up comic Caroline Schmitt.

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I’m not taking classes, but some of the social lessons I’m learning from being back in a college town are helping me relate to my daughter who is in downtown Atlanta at Georgia State University. It’s a lot easier to make fun of “millennials” when they’re sitting in front of you laughing, most of the time.

I’ll be at Flicker Bar March 21st and Go Bar the same night. Come to Athens, Georgia and see some funny people, and me too.

Here’s Vampire Weekend.

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

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To escape the insane American election season, many people are talking and writing about the 30 year anniversary of one of the finest teen movies ever made, Pretty In Pink. Most people are focusing on things that definitely made PIP so unforgettable. The soundtrack is one of the greatest in cinematic history, featuring 1980s alternative awesomeness of Echo and The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs (who handled the movie’s title song and theme), Suzanne Vega and Joe Jackson and The Smiths. Molly Ringwald was never better as the girl from the other side of the tracks who makes her own prom dress. And the movie’s ending was not only surprising but also unique. But the real reason why Pretty In Pink is mythical goes to one man, and that’s James Spader.

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He entertains the masses now on the show Blacklist after a movie and television career that has seen several acting nominations and amazing roles. It’s the work he does as Steff in Pretty In Pink that not only spring boarded his ride into the acting stratosphere but also saves a very flawed movie.

Steff is Pretty In Pink.

Like Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight, James Spader steals an entire film from the “superhero”, Ringwald’s Andie, and does so AS THE VILLAIN.

Think about it. You can’t watch The Dark Knight and think of anything but Ledger’s Joker. You also can’t imagine Pretty In Pink without realizing that Spader’s Steff carries the film’s plot, fashion (dude wears suits to school with no socks) and has the flick’s best lines.

Movie stills from "Pretty in Pink".

Without Steff, Andie doesn’t have an enemy to fight back against to win Blaine’s love. Without Steff, Blaine has, well no reason to do anything in the movie. Steff is Blaine’s conduit to the rich kid world he hates and is rebelling against. Without Steff, Duckie is just a second rate amateur stalker and has no one to use his unrequited love of Andie frustrations against. While Spader runs circles around the less capable actors in the movie, he also gives the viewer the only reason to care about the other characters.

The way Spader says ” Nobody appreciates your sense of humor, you know. As a matter of fact, everyone’s just about to puke from you. If you’ve got a hard-on for trash, don’t take care of it around us” and “That girl was, is, and always will be nada!” and “Money really means nothing to me. Do you think I’d treat my parents’ house this way if it did?” and Why don’t you go to take a shower, you look like shit.” and “Andie, you’re a bitch.” and the greatest moment in the movie, when he drops the most insulting fight words ever “you got a problem, friend” are so spectacular, they should be taught in acting classes across the world.

So, dress like Andie or Duckie or even Iona and head to the theaters or your DVD collection to rewatch Pretty In Pink for the 123rd time, but just know, it’s the bad guy who makes the movie go.

Please, Please, Please, let me get what I want, Academy Of Arts And Sciences; a retroactive Oscar for James Spader’s Stef. He deserves it.

You got a problem, friend?

Here’s The Smiths.

Everybody Knows That You’re Insane

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monkeywritingonline

Ten years is a long time to do anything, but in terms of writing online, it deserves to be considered an eternity. I sat in bed last night listening to a blonde on my floor to my left, my golden retriever, and a blonde in bed next to me to my right, coo themselves into beautiful slumber while realizing an anniversary was happening. Sometime this week, this month, a decade ago, I began writing on the internet.

It’s a bizarre “celebration” involving MySpace, a crumbling marriage to someone else and crippling loneliness. I can’t even tell you why I typed the first few words into cyber space (does anyone even use that term anymore?) but I think it was because I was looking for a connection.

The wheels had begun to turn that later became the machine of divorce, loss and a new way to become the writer I’d wanted to be for years but delayed out of fear and obligation.

I started a music blog to talk about the music I loved, the music I hated and the music I wanted to discover. That led to new friendships and a way out or in, I’m not real sure which, that later led to a completely different life. I eventually revealed a lot about who I was and wanted to be.

That blog lasted almost over a year, became a casualty of my broken firstmarriage, then I started another a year after that. This all snowballed, slowly, into what is now my existence as a published author of two books and active media that are social accounts that have seen me to travel and get my thoughts out to tens or hundreds or thousands, or well, more than a couple of people a day.

During my 25-year high school reunion two years ago, a long-time friend who knew me when, asked me a question that I couldn’t answer with a straight face.

What’s it all done for you?

I think I told her it had connected to me to like-minded people who’ve made me smarter, given me many laughs and taught me things I’d otherwise never known. That all may be true, but the harder perhaps colder truth, is the past 10 years have shown me that love is not inside a computer but in the hearts of people who are honest especially those I can touch.

I’ve been struggling in year ten of this adventure to the center of the screen. I haven’t become as successful as I thought I would be sharing my ideas. I’ve sold just enough books to say I’ve sold some books. I’ve garnered just enough fame on other sites to say I’m the guy to wrote that thing that ticked off some people. I’ve typed just enough to be able to shout “present” when the internet Gods, if there are still any left, do a roll call.

In other words, writing online is just like life. Moderating your expectations and counting your blessings will classify you as a survivor.

This blog turns five-years-old in a couple of months. It was inspired by the biggest change in my life over the past ten years, my second marriage. Shortly after we married in 2008, my wife said “you should blog all the time but do it right”. I don’t know if I accomplished the “right” part but having a place to show my general insanity has been cathartic and I’ve met some amazing fellow whack jobs while becoming a better person for my wife, kids and myself.

One of the first things I ever wrote online, back in 2005, was a CD review of the then new Queen Of The Stone Age disc, Lullabies To Paralyze. I gave it a B, I think, and it only took like maybe seven comments before someone called me an idiot preceded by an obscene action verb. Oh, internet, you’re so, well, whatever. I think they were right, it deserved a B+.

Here’s to 10 insane years.

Always On The Run

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Chewing my breakfast in the car, I ignored apple Danish smudge my thumb left on the phone screen. I typed good luck with first day of college classes to my oldest daughter while my middle one waved goodbye and walked into school.

 

http://yeahwrite.me/gargleblaster-176/

The ultimate question

Lace up those sneakers – this week’s ultimate question is designed to get you moving.

What are we running for?

Never Said

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It is a 20-year-old tale told by a fool, full of drunkenness and pity, signifying something, and when the Facebook friend request popped up I ignored her on instinct. The following message made me grin, wide, but guilt as cargo. My wife sat three feet away on the family living room sofa as I read.

What is the airspeed velocity of a flying monkey?

I remembered. Two decades earlier the person behind the message and I sat on a sad, yellowed couch watching The Simpsons. It was the episode where Mr. Burns unleashes his flying monkeys. We quoted every line, laughed at each joke, and plotted our own entertainment successes that never happened. Against better judgment, I answered.

Fly my pretties! Fly!

I didn’t wait for her response. I shut my laptop and walked into the kitchen to look for a diet soda. I opened the refrigerator, popped the top, and drifted into a memory.

I stood in front of a dirty fridge looking at a twelve pack of beer, a pack of cheese, some condiments and left over pizza. She had followed me into the kitchen, chattering about our plans.

“When we make it as comedy writers and stand ups, we’re never drinking cheap beer from a can.”

I swigged a Natural Light while tossing her one as she leaned against the lime green wall phone with a cord that could stretch into all five rooms; kitchen, bathroom, living room and two bedrooms. She caught it with her left hand and said.

“Tell me your first joke you’re going to do at the open mic tomorrow.”

I frowned at the thought of performing in front of just her. As close as we were, it was a competitive relationship. I didn’t trust her. If she liked my material, she’d downplay her delight. If she didn’t like it, she’s patronize my feelings. I took the bait like a hungry catfish.

“Hey, how’s everyone doing? I just graduated college and my post graduate work is making strangers laugh enough so that the important guy in the back running this place gives me a break and I’ll have my own sitcom by Christmas. So please, for the love of poverty, don’t forget to tip your waitresses. I plan on sweet talking one for a twenty buck loan at the end of the night.”

She drank her beer, then grinned. I fumed.

“What?” I demanded.

She stepped toward me, tossed back another drink, and answered.

“That’s so adorable, you’ll get laughs and get laid by the waitress.”

She patronized me. I knew her so well. I walked past her and looked for the black spiral notebook that contained my best stuff. I felt her hand on my back as I reached the bedroom.

“Who is she?”

The refrigerator door shut and I was back. My wife stood a few feet away with her arms crossed, holding her cell phone with raised eyebrows and a mischievous smile.

“Somebody I used to know from my stand up comedy days. I denied the friend request. answered her message, then walked away. I was going to tell you.”

She met me in front of the fridge and leaned in for a kiss. She brushed away strands of brown but gray-tinged hair from my eyes.

“I know, but I was bad. I looked her up on my phone. She’s not as pretty as me, and it looks like she’s unhappy with her life. If she messages you again, tell me, and I’ll have her killed by the end of  the day.”

We both broke into loud laughter. I composed myself, kissed her, then said.

“You’re the funny one, these days. Maybe I should take you to an open mic.”

I followed her into the living room. We never said anything else, about her, or my life, back then.

http://youtu.be/RCP-UIs2kpM

100 Word Song – Worrisome Heart

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No lead in or exposition, just a song, more Silas and Olive, and a request to go see my sometimes writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R from http://www.thinspiralnotebook.com. She chose today’s 100 word tune, a jazzy number from Melody Gardot called Worrisome Heart.

Here’s my 100.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/100-word-song-wish-i-could-fly-like-superman/

Silas swallowed, thought about Olive, then his hand shook. His finger was close to the trigger. He dropped it on the ground. Archie smiled. Kenny and Roscoe ran next to him, but Archie stopped them with one sentence.

“I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people with troubling ways and worrisome hearts.”

He stepped toward Silas. The gun was equal distance from both men.

“Everybody wants the short cut get to where they’re going. We’re not like that.”

Silas stared at the money in his other hand, then dropped it to the garage floor, too.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words off Melody Gardot’s Worrisome Heart, Use the media that are social to advertise your magic. Also link up to the green Mr. Linky button, below.

100 Word Song – Wish I Could Fly Like Superman

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Sorry for the lateness of this week’s 100 word song. Between work, being featured on my first ever podcast interview, and some Lefty Pop aka http://www.leftypop.com business, it was an overwhelming day. Wait, what? Podcast interview? Oh, yeah. If you do this blogging thing long enough, hit a BlogHer conference and treat people decently, someone will hand you a small snack of internet fame. My writer friend Poppy Marler aka aka @poppyjmarler hit me up in San Jose and asked me to do a Skype interview last Wednesday. It ran today. I wouldn’t shut up and used the phrase “be a whore” professionally. Here’s the link to Poppy and her friends Tammy and Vanita’s site Blogging Betties. They do a great job and were very nice to me. Hope you have 45 minutes.

http://bloggingbetties.com/episode23/

Today’s 100 word song was chosen by Dawn of The Dawnie Project http://www.thedawnieproject.com/ . She suggested 1979’s Wish I Could fly like Superman by The Kinks.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/between-something-and-nothing/

Silas scanned the garage. He saw nothing that Roscoe, Archie or Kenny could use as a weapon. Archie spoke.

“There’s 300 dollars on the red toolbox to your left. That’s what these two owe you from the deal with Bart and that shiner.”

Silas walked over, then picked up the cash. Kenny and Roscoe took several steps toward him. Archie shouted.

“No!”

Archie approached.

“I know who you are, Silas Royster, of Daily, Georgia. You’re better than this. But you’ve got fly away like Superman from those two girls.”

Silas pulled the gun and aimed it at Archie.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days to give up 100 words inspired by The Kinks Wish I Could Fly Like Superman. Use the media that are social to advertise you magic and the green Mr. Linky button to link up.