Friday, January 22, 2010

Movies I NEVER want to see but KNOW will be made

Three's Company II - Life Is A Ball Again

I'm Gonna Whoo! You Know What? Yeaaaah! - The Paula Abdul Story

Star Wars X - Return Of The Merchandise

Pretty Woman II - Back At 'Er

Twilight - Daylight Savings Begins

Harry Potter And The Fifty Year Old Teen Actor

Disney's The Little Bunion

To Do: The List

Titanic II - The Ice Berg's Story

The Mummy IV - Daddy's Turn

Mel Gibson's Passion Of The Christ II:  Jesus This Is Good Vodka

James Cameron's Xanadu (Director's Cut)

Big Breasts, Freaky Name:  The Jennifer Love Hewitt Story

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How DARE NBC do this to Conan... or Jay... or Johnny... or Ed

Well the war rages as thousands of people have begun wearing Team Leno and Team Coco shirts to proclaim their allegiance to either Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien.  I myself have decided to wade into the controversy by authorizing my people (Jenny down at the local Kinko's) to announce that I, Darren McLeod, DON'T CARE!!!!!!!  Stay tuned to see what NBC offers me to calm down.

All joking aside, I truly don't care about Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.  But maybe that's just me.  I can assure you it's part of a looooong history of not bothering to care about stupid, insipid rivalries that mean absolutely nothing to anyone other than two or three millionaires.  But it seems to draw all us poor people into a heated debate over a situation that has NOTHING to do with us.  AT ALL!

I've always felt this way.

For example, I chose not to take a stand over which soda I preferred.  Oh, I'm sorry, I  mean which 'Cola' I preferred.  Nor did I lose sleep when Coke changed it's 'formula'.  However the fact that people felt their entire identities depended on their brand of cola was a sad lead in to which computer manufacturer you march behind in the Mac vs PC war to end all wars.

Are you sitting down?  You really should be sitting down for this next sentence.

I own neither a Blackberry or an Iphone.  I will pause my typing until you come around...

<<Hank?!?  Can you get me a beer?  Because I'm writing in my blog!!  What?!?!  I CAN'T  HEAR YOU!!  WHAT?!?!  Oh for God's... I"LL GET IT MYSELF!!!  I SAID, I'LL GET IT MYSELF!!!!  NEVER MIND!!!  Oh, thanks, you didn't have to come all the way up here.  I said, I'd get it,  aww, you're sweet.  No, I'm just waiting for my readers to come to.  Oh, there they are!  Talk to you later.>>

Ready now?  Okay.  First, let me assure you that life is still livable here in my cave though  a feud is raging over which is a better boulder chair - granite or sandstone.  I'm thinking of tatooing 'Take it for Granite' on my forehead, but those Sandstoners can be pretty vicious if they catch you away from your pod.

If I sound condescending, it's because I am.  I was there for the VHS vs Betamax battle.  The  Cola war.  The computer feud.  The HD DVD vs Blu-Ray rumble.  And now, the Team Leno vs Team Conan talk show Cage Fight.

I can understand Conan and Jay caring.  The rest of us giving a rat's ass mystifies me.  YOU don't get the millions these guys do.  YOU don't have a television show.  YOU are not even known to them, so put it in perspective.  A man is giving up MILLIONS (and getting MILLIONS as compensation... WTF?!?!) because his 'time-slot' is being moved to half an hour later and he won't tolerate it. Two shows with miserable ratings are being re-arranged and suddenly people are wearing T-shirts proudly proclaiming which side they're on, and actually CARING.

The part of this whole thing that is really sad, though, is that this same T-shirt wearing schmuck is waking up every morning to punch in to his $12.00/hr job from which he's about to be laid off (don't tell him - it's a surprise!)  But when THAT happens, well, THAT he can accept, but The Tonight Show coming on at 12:05am instead of 11:35pm?  Call the Coast Guard!  Conan was betrayed!  Who does Leno think he is?!?!  Better to ask, who does Leno think you are?  Probably sheep number 2,045,938 who'll get him some more cash so he can buy some more cars.  I'm afraid he's right.

NBC, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno.  They can care about this.  Why not, it's about millions of dollars.  The rest of us cattle should probably care more about WHY they get that kind of money in the first place.  If they and the sports star, and the movie star, and the 'Tycoons' of this world, AND the studios all got $12.00 an hour for the work they did, like the rest of us, houses would cost $10,000.00, cars $400.00, movie tickets Seventy Five Cents and WE, the REAL people, could actually have lives that didn't revolve around how one poor millionaire got shafted by another, which sugary drink tastes better, which money pit cell phone tortures us less, or which computer makes us feel less stupid.  We could also stop being poor and start caring about what unfair acts are being done to US instead of millionaires.

And maybe, just maybe we could stop wearing 'team' T-shirts to proclaim how 'individual' we are and start thinking again.  Hell, it's not that difficult.  Start slow - put on a T-shirt that says, 'Team Poor'.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Complete and Twitter Confusion!

Almost everyone I know (myself included) signed on to Twitter and sat looking at our monitors and thought "Okay, what the hell am I supposed to do now?"
Then we almost inevitably typed into our 'What's happening?' box something like this, "Just testing" or "Trying to figure this out".  This was usually our last act on Twitter for the following 3 months as we threw up our hands in frustration and forgot about it.

For all of you, I have arrived to explain why you'll actually love Twitter even though you haven't used it since 2008.  I've also arrived to bring you a Pizza, but that's my job.  The Twitter thingy is my new internet love.

It's not your fault that you don't get twitter.  Thanks to Facebook, MySpace, and countless other networking sites, we're conditioned to post pics with captions like 'Carly and Me at Space Mountain - YEEEAAAHH!!!' or poke people (honestly?  I don't and never will understand that whole thing), comment on people's statuses, start a hobby farm, medieval village, or a private garden and try to entice people who now hate you into signing up too.  They're heavy on the DO and light on the READ.

Twitter is the exact opposite.

It's heavy on the READ and incredibly light on the DO.

First, it's basically a status update.  That's it.  Clipping your toenails?  Write that and you're done.  No squirrel to chase out of your neighbor's e-garden with a purchased squirrel bazooka for 75 e-farm doubloons.

Second, search for people (then click the FOLLOW button to receive their regular updates) like President Obama or Reba Macintyre or Save The Children Organization (timely thanks to Haiti) and find out what they're doing, or thinking, or stressing to the masses right now.  It's real time.  For example everyone is helping everyone donate to reputable organizations for Haiti.  There are real time updates from people in Haiti.  Links to photos taken right now in Haiti from those same people.

It's far more honest than the news media, far less commercialized and... instant!  And once you're in the loop of ordinary people all over the world you are truly in the loop!

Third, check out anyone you're following's lists.  Who they're following, who's also following them, what lists of people and topics have they got?  Before you know it, you'll be following 100 people.

Fourth, start deleting some people you're following.  Yes, you read that right,  DELETING.  I got rid of Kirstie Alley and 3 Star Trek actors because they just wouldn't stop tweeting!  You want a certain amount of 'what's new' from your favorites, but some people tweet idiocy in 3 minute increments (Wil Wheaton kept going on about some T-Shirt with a Wolf's picture for 3 HOURS!) and that's just too much.

Now, that's it for Twitter and what it does.  But it has extra features that take it from cool to Ubercool!  For instance, say my friend Jerry wants me to see he's mentioned me in a post.

Like, "bcdarr has a fat ass and I'm going skiing".  (That is typical Jerry!  It's why we're no longer friends with benefits!)  All Jerry has to do is put an @ sign in front of my name and I will see I've been mentioned.  Anyone else reading the tweet can now click on my name and see my profile and all my previous tweets too.  They'll laugh and applaud my creative genius (yes they will!!) and click my follow button and I'll have a new friend.

Or Jerry can type "@bcdarr has a fat ass and here's the proof! http://www.IdoNOT 1.jpg  he now has my profile and my beautifully toned ass pics as links in his message.

If he should type "I'm going skiing to get away from #bcdarr'sfatass" well, that bastard has just started what's called a trend.  Anyone else who includes "#bcdarr'sfatass" in their tweet will have their tweet (besides appearing on their own page) compiled with a list of other people commenting on my fat ass (WHICH IT ISN'T!!!! WHY CAN'T YOU PEOPLE LET THAT GO!?!?!) on it's own trend page.  The trend topics are amazing (and of course there is a #Haiti relief) and people love it.

I'll give you yet another example of a neat use of Twitter.  I follow the Dixie Chicks.  They have a #FridayFeature which is a trend for a song of theirs to be played on (you guessed it!) Fridays.  You tweet #FridayFeature a song you want to hear and if enough other people tweet the same title, you win the vote and that link is up for you on Friday.

I like the possibilty of talking to a star.  Don't act superior!!!  You do too!  Like asking for an autograph, if you type @Elvis (okay bad example but it does give me the opportunity to point out that Twitter VERIFIES the person is who they say they are and lets you know) it's very possible that they'll respond.  They do it all the time cause they @ someone who @'d them and you can read it cause you're following them.  Don't get your hopes up too high.  Some of these people have 2 million followers.  There's no way they will be able to read all the tweets that mention them, but they know that randomly finding a mention and responding keeps their followers, well, following, so who knows?  The next one might be you.  Just get ready to have their 2,000,000 followers check you out to see why Elvis tweeted you.

Myself, I like finding someone in someone else's 'Who I'm Following' list that I would never have known existed.  I found masarat (if you get on Twitter, follow her).  She's a lady in India who goes to rural villages and starts what she calls The Eight Day Academy.  It's designed to teach teachers to expand their base of instruction to help poor kids get a real chance at education, because there are so many who don't get any structured education - they're working at 6 years old!  She tweets her thoughts, projects, successes and failures and it's truly amazing that I'm up to date on a brilliant woman's attempts to affect change in rural India.

So, the trick with Twitter is to FOLLOW people.  Don't worry too much about 'DOING'.  You don't have to be brilliant on it, just real.  Start seeing how vast and astonishingly varied this world is, simply by hearing as many people as you choose, tell you about their day.  It's simple but it's POWERFUL.

bcdarr out!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Somebody's gonna write a book that compiles all my profound quottations, uh, quoatations, er, quotattions, sayings.

At 47 years old, I'm only now beginning to get a sense of my own greatness and... hold on.... uh oh... yikes!... I... okay, turns out that wasn't greatness I was sensing, just gas.  Oh well, I'm only 47, there's still time.

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he'll starve.  Old Gobi Desert proverb

Will somebody PLEASE put Madonna in long sleeves already!?!

What a bitch if WE turn out to be the most advanced civilization in the universe. Can you say welfare galaxy?

The other day I saw this gorgeous couple holding hands, staring into each other's eyes as if there was no one else in the world.  You know, if it wasn't for billboards I wouldn't believe in love or the importance of G3 networks.

Scientists now think that man first stood upright in order to be able to gather and carry more food to a female, who would then mate with him and thus continue his DNA.  What's so profoundly wrong about that whole 'theory' is the assumption that gathering more food for YOURSELF wouldn't be incentive enough.  Trust me, SHE'LL come to YOU if you've got the most food.

We are all hypocrites, we just prefer pointing out the other ones.

It's really weird that we use the one word, love, to describe so many varied emotions and connections.  That's like using the word vegetable for anything edible.

Rome was an Empire, Spain was an Empire, France was an Empire, Britain was an Empire.  Wonder if America's catching on yet?  Or if China will either in 20 years?

The refridgerator is high up on my list of brilliant inventions.  In fact, I think I'll go have a snack right now!  Years ago, I would have had to go out to the cache and hack off a bit of jerky.  Yup, lovin' the fridge!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Philosophically good, bad and ugly

Just random,  admittedly strange reflections on stuff...

Things work out.  Maybe not the way you wanted or imagined, but things work out nonetheless.  So relax a little and enjoy being alive.

There's no such thing as 'getting even'.  If you think you've evened the score, trust me, the other guy is definitely planning to 'get even'.

There's a trick to being confident, and it's not blowing smoke up someone's ass.  Try being right instead of selling it.

Kindness is not a sign of weakness.  Quite the opposite.

Money isn't everything, unless you have none.  Then, yes, yes it is.

I don't like 'It's not what you know, but who you know' because it's more complicated than that.  It's also who you know's opinion of what you know and if they like you and aren't distracted by who they want to know, blah, blah, blah.  You know what?  Now I'm confused so just concentrate on WHAT YOU KNOW and quit bitching!

Every journey begins with the first step.  Well so does every mis-step, so let's be honest, the larger the number of steps the more faith you can have in them. Just don't get cocky...

Look before you leap is good.  But you know, easing up on the leaping would probably solve a majority of the problems you're having too.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.  Again, I like it, but... I'm picturing Lucy here.  Perhaps, 'keep your chickens really close to your fridge' would reduce random, harebrained accidents.  Hey, I'm just trying to makes things less chaotic for poor Ricky.

Don't judge a book by it's cover.  I like it.  Alot.  However, I think we can definitely judge the Bookbinder by said cover.  How is he still working?!?

Concentrate on the good, the bad will make sure it gets attention with or without your help.

You can always say something but you can never take it back, so what's your hurry?

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.  I love that one.  It's not just true, but calls the person who's frustrating you a horse.  Take THAT Mrs. Jablowski!!!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Name Is Darren, And I'm A Milkshakeaholic

Every time I want something, my mind instantly says, 'Why not make/build it yourself?"  Mostly I've learned that's not a good thing.  Like the plywood trampoline I now own, or the blu-ray player made entirely out of old hoop skirts.

But sometimes it works so easily and wonderfully that I wonder why I never thought of it before.  I've discovered that last sentence applies to 95% of what I eat.  I'm a bachelor and the very idea that I can eat like a King without the 'Burger' in front of it is one of those life changing moments that only hit me 3 or 4 times a day.

Alright, it's not life altering.  But it is lifestyle altering.  And it's fun!  Anyone who knows me, knows the 'fun' part sealed the deal.  I won't even go to my own funeral unless someone can guarantee me it'll be fun.  One last poignant lesson?  Thanks I'll pass.  Aunt Sophie slips on a banana peel and knocks my casket over?  I'm there!!!

So, what's my point?  Doing something new is fun, but it also leads to a bunch of other new ideas, projects and thoughts.  THAT'S the best part!

For example, a while back I wanted a milkshake but I wasn't going to get dressed, hitch up the horses to the buggy, notify NASA it was a go, do my hair and choreograph a Drew Carey-like crowd dance routine all the way up to the fast food joint just for a milkshake.  For a burger and shake?  Well, sure, but all I wanted was the shake and that's just too much hassle.

Suddenly, Geraldo Rivera turned to me and said, "Hey!  Why not google online how to make a milkshake?"  I looked him right in the eye and said, "Sir, you may be famous and in EVERYONE'S living room, but that hardly gives you the right to break in to my house, read my mind and come up with a rather good idea.  Get out!"

So as I'm escorting Geraldo to the door, I'm getting more and more enthused at making my own milkshakes.  But I'm nervous too, will it be difficult?  Will it taste awful?  Will it give me pimples?

Anyhoo, it's sooooo easy, it's embarrassing.  For the best Vanilla Milkshake you'll ever have, here's what you'll need.

- A hand mixer or immersible mixer
- Really good ice-cream (don't be cheap you cheap bastards!): about 4 big scoops
- sugar: 3 to 4 teaspoons
- vanilla: 2-3 Tablespoons (generally match to amount of milk and your taste buds)
- milk: 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (this dilutes taste [thus the vanilla] but reduces thickness)

THAT IS IT!  Blend it all together for about a minute on high speed and USE A DEEP BOWL!  Ice cream tends to fly around at the beginning.

It takes 4 minutes to make 2 large size milkshakes with this, and my milkshakes were delicious the first go!  But remember, it's YOUR taste that matters so be brave and experiment with different quantities.

By the way, I LOVE vanilla shakes, so that's all I've made.  I have no idea what amount of chocolate syrup, or strawberries or different flavored ice-cream you'd need for different flavors but google it and I'm sure you'll have an answer in 1 minute.

So go on, enjoy.  Don't say I never give you anything.

Anyway, that's not actually the point of this blog.  The actual point is, I have gone through more Vanilla Extract in the last month than I've ever used in my life (1 whole bottle).  So, I google, 'How to make Vanilla Extract'.  What else would you expect from me?  My hair is still not done, what could I do?

Any bakers out there know that Vanilla Extract is expensive so I thought, 'Hey, I'll make my own!'.  It's mind-boggling easy!  Still expensive but here's what's needed.

5 ounce bottle with cap
1 vanilla bean
1 bottle 80 proof vodka

Now all you do is, you... 80 PROOF VODKA?!?!?!?!  I know!  That caught me off guard too!  It also explains why I've been missing my 12 step programs in lieu of my crazed nights of wanton vanilla milkshake rampages.

You cut the bean from tip to tip (but not completely - leave the ends attached), put it in the bottle, fill the bottle to cover the bean (but leave room for air) with said Vodka.  Cap the bottle and shake.  In fact, shake the bottle vigorously once a day for 6 months.  At that point you have home made vanilla extract!  Every time you use some, replace with vodka, always keeping the bean covered.  You have an endless supply of Vanilla Extract until it's no longer endless (you'll have to replace the bean every 2 or 3 years but otherwise, pretty endless).  Apparently it's great, not only for personal use but as a gift (in a fancy, schmancy bottle of course) that is sure to be unique.  No panic over hearing THIS at Christmas, "Oh John, look, Darren gave us a homemade bottle of Vanilla Extract!  Put it over there with the others."

But who knew Vanilla Extract was a shooter?  I didn't.  I DO know it's all incredibly easy except for one thing.  Where the hell do I buy a Vanilla Bean?!?!?!  I'm sorry, I'm not a kicky, trendy shop guy.  If it's not beside the bananas at Safeway, I'm screwed.  But maybe one of my trendy friends can tell me where to find that.  The Vodka I'm PRETTY sure I can find.

I know this was a long and windy blog about nothing but I wanted to inform you about 2 things.  Save money and make food at home.  It's fun, easy, and saves a fortune. And secondly, if you or anyone you know has a Vanilla Milkshake in their hand right now, there's help out there.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Some Songs From My Catalog

Those of you who know me, know there are 2 unchangeable facts about yours truly.

1)  I won't turn down a patient (I have a real patient fetish)
2)  The songs I write are from the heart - though rarely mine.

Here are some of the songs in my catalog, randomly selected from a list of well over 3.  Enjoy.

What's That Smell?  (Damn girl, I could have loved you)

I'm Coming Up So You'd Better Turn That Damned Music Off

Let Your Finger Linger (The Ballad of Tickle Me Elmo)

I Don't Care What The Test Results Say, I Didn't Do Billie Jean Either

T.R.I.A.L. S.E.P.A.R.A.T.I.O.N.

Boom Boom, Aint It Great To Be Crazy (Dance Re-mix)

THAT Does Not Go THERE (Oh Grease Girl)

I've Got A Crush On The New Church Elder

It Ain't Love Without The Plastic Sheeting

You Can't Always Get What You Ordered Online

I Changed The Baby Jesus, Holy Mother

You Don't Understand Him (But Yes I'm Still Pressing Charges)

(I'm Gonna) Put On My My My My My Kleenex Shoes

Kinda Built Like A Chevy But I Love Her (The Kinda Song)

The Greatest Could Take It Or Leave It Of All

Someone Call A Medic (Seriously Shot Through The Heart)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Smart Ass Statements I Regret

"And who died and made YOU Queen?!?!"
   Then I had to apologize to her Majesty for being so inconsiderate about her Dad's passing away.

"Oh yeah?! You and what army?!?"
   You know I just KNEW it was the wrong thing to say, but Patton had made me so damned angry.

"Genius move Einstein!"
   But then upon re-examining the board, I realized Albert had indeed put me in checkmate.

"I'd like to see you do any better!"
   Maybe I was too snappy with Bill Gates that day, but I was getting  frustrated trying to build my Ultra Typewriter prototype and having to listen to his 'helpful' suggestions.

"What was your first clue, Sherlock?"
   And do you think Inspector Homes would shut up after that?  Hooo boy!!

"Get a load of Greta Garbo over here!"
   I swear I didn't think they'd swarm her like that.  Greta Garbo R.I.P.

"Ooooooh! I'm scaaaaaared!"
   Actually the quote was, "Ooooooh! I'm scaa...." but then the rest is kinda fuzzy.  I didn't actually SEE what happened but it ws just me and Mike Tyson in the room, so I'm pretty sure he had something to do with all my teeth disappearing like that.

"Whoa!  Somebody's a little holier than thou!"
   Sarcasm is wasted on the Pope.

"You think you can steal my lyrics and get away with it?!  That'll be the day!!"
  Touche Buddy Holly, touche!

Darren - the unadulterated version

Tid bits about me.  See if you can spot the real from the not so real.  I certainly can't.

I'm balding.  That's the awkward stage between bald and 'worth cutting'.

I'm 47 but feel 25... until I get out of a chair, then I feel 68.

I actually know someone who won 30,000,000.00!!!!!  But, sadly, not well enough to get anything as a gift. sigh.

I'm 5'9" and weigh 185 lbs - but only in real life.  Online I'm 6'1" and weigh 190 lbs.  AND I'm tired of being treated like a piece of meat!  I have brains too ya know!

I don't actually have brains.

I believe in love, but not as much as I love being single.  Thank GOD I'm 5'4" and weigh 320 lbs - keeps that topic at bay!

I'm actually 4'5" and weigh 588 lbs.

I lie about my looks - but only in blogs, online dating sites and real life.

I was fired from my job as Julia Robert's stand in because I was 'too pretty'.

I have never eaten cheese on purpose - hate the stuff.

When I order a hamburger I ask for it to be 'plain, nothing on it, no cheese.'

When I get the hamburger I ordered it always has cheese, and the server always says, "Oh, just the bun and burger?  Really?"

I have always, make that ALWAYS had a problem with stalkers.  For some reason, some strangers take an instant like to me and won't let it go.

One year I let every call go to voicemail and (seriously - was before Caller ID)  after gaining the courage to live normally again, I picked up the phone after a FULL YEAR and it was the stalker calling!!!!  I finally told him to stop stop stop in the clearest and rudest terms I could and after 2 more months, he finally did.  I'll never avoid passively again.

I'm SO glad I'm 47 and balding now, I think that will ease up the stalker issues (if I ever go out again :-))

I LOVE HDTV!!!  How did I live without it?

Only 1 book has ever 'grabbed' me in the first paragraph.  Brokeback Mountain.  I love to read, and am usually hooked by the second page, but Brokeback Mountain really was by the second paragraph.

Favorite documentary is Alone In The Wilderness.  Absolutely the coolest story EVER!

I have never met someone who made me laugh that I didn't love fully.  Except that Clown who cheated on me!  I'll never forgive Mr. Buggles. NEVER!

I sometimes find it tiring having a first and last name that need to be spelled out for everyone and everything.  No one ever asks Bob Smith, "How do you spell that?"

I'm pretty sure it's obvious at this point, but I love what I call 'free typing'.  Just thinking and typing as I go.  Probably annoying to read, but what the hell?  I'm even more annoying in real life and it doesn't stop the stalkers, why let it stop you?  Oh, wait... unless you're a stalker too, and then, stop, stop, stop!  Seriously, STOP NOW!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Uncultured Project and Neil Patrick Harris' blind date

Remember I waxed poetic about how the internet can now allow us to change the world?  Go to The Uncultured Project and see it in action.  If you're on twitter, he's uncultured - let me rephrase that, he goes by the name uncultured :P  I highly recommend following him.  There's also I cannot stress how beautiful it is to see that one person can inspire thousands of voices, thousands of hearts and direct them to places that need help.

So here's what I am attempting to do (believe me, I know, it's small and lame and may not work - but that should never stop anyone from at least trying!), although I've donated to the Uncultured Project, I also twittered Neil Patrick Harris about it.  You put an @ symbol in front of their name and they can see it on a list of tweets that mention them.  Simple, no?

Why?  Well, look how enthused his followers were when he made a small request.  If he were to follow Shawn, the young man who took this journey (Ummm, you HAVE checked out his site by now, haven't you?!?!) with his 210,000 followers seeing it being followed, or maybe make another low key suggestion that they simply look at his website or consider following him (Shawn has 260,000 followers by the way, so he's doing pretty good without my help :-)) he could DOUBLE the awareness of this awesome guy and his awesome project.  The Power of Neil!!! (Must be nice).

Now, I understand that Neil probably gets 100,000 mentions daily and may never see mine through the clutter, but why should that stop my giving it a try?  I've never met Neil, I've never met Shawn, but that makes it even cooler if, via the internet - our new global coffee shop - I could facilitate a great synergy between two very cool folks I've never met!

I also like the idea that there's nothing in it for me!  Look at me ma, I'm selfless!! FINALLY!

Anyway, don't know if it will work, but I love that I can try (couldn't have said that 10 years ago).  So cross your fingers and let's see if my theory about the internet being an 'exponential us' pans out!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gutsy comedy is a tough game...

I've been working on my stand up routine.  Those of you who know me, know that I love nothing more than to bring a smile to the face of a drunk with a chip on his shoulder.

But lately, I've been having trouble with my  material.  I'm going to share it with you because I'm worried that maybe the punchlines pack too much sting and I'd love to hear your opinons.  I sure hope I'm not being crass but I think they're very topical and dead on.  Frankly, I'm at a loss but believe it or not (and you won't once you read this top notch routine) the clubs are pretty quiet during my set.

Q:  What do you call an Irishman with too many children?
A:  Blessed.  I think we can all agree that children are a gift.

(Pause, wait for laughter to die down)

Q:  How can you tell when you're in a lesbian bar?
A:  There's no easy answer to that because many lesbians are as nondescript as straight women.  Really, it's a misnomer to think you can 'spot' one and actually quite offensive.

 (Rim shot!)

Q:  How do you get a Mormon to settle down?
A:  Introduce him to a nice young woman he has something in common with.  Their religion encourages them to marry so that's really all you have to do.  They're just people looking for love like the rest of us.

(Take a sip of water)

Q:  How about the Jackson brothers and their new reality TV Show?
A:  It must be hard to lose a loved one.  I certainly wish them success.

(Rim Shot!)

Q:  What happens when a Rabbi and a Priest disagree?
A:  In my experience they both benefit from learning about another man's point of view.  Sometimes it's good to hear differing opinions.

(Take another sip of water)

Q:  You know we lost Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze AND Michael Jackson this year.
A:  A terrible thing, far too young, all of them.

(Pause wait for laughter to die down)

Q:  What do you call Father's Day in Harlem?
A:  Father's Day.  It's a misconception, really, that holidays differ from region to region.  Country to Country, well, you've got a point, but region to region?  No.

(Rim Shot!)

Q:  What did the French woman say when she caught her husband cheating on her?
A:  Let's be honest, that would really differ from one woman to the next, but I imagine she'd be hurt.

(Take another sip of water)

Q:  How do Porcupines make love?
A:  Animals mate, naturally, but make love?  Ha ha, that's more of a human thing, don't you agree?

(Rim Shot!)

It's usually at this point that I'm asked to leave the stage by management.  I'll tell you, I know my stuff is edgy, but I guess I'm going to have to tone it down.  Nonetheless, I sure hope you got a chuckle out of my comedy and remember, no insult intended to any of my subjects.

Next blog I think I'll share with you my operatic interpretations of some of the greatest Heavy Metal classics out there.  Ironically, I'm having a tough time with that show too!  Go figure.  I'll probably have to tone THAT down too.  I'll tell you this.  It's hard to be at the forefront of raw.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eat more, lose weight. Tighter Abs in less than a minute a day!

Oh My God!  You're reading this because you REALLY think I know how to give you tighter abs in less than a minute a day!  Have you never met me?  I'm the guy who's head is located 2 feet higher and 3 feet behind his stomach. What's wrong with you?!?!  You want tighter abs?  Get 'em the old fashioned way - buy a girdle!

I can't believe how easy it is to sucker you into reading these blogs!  Good Lord I could promise to teach you how to poop gold and you'd be... wait, never mind.  But I DO have a great idea for my next Blog title...

Okay, so what, then, IS the blog about, you wonder (in a tone I'm curiously able to hear and find just a little too uppity for my liking).  However, I DID trick you, so I guess I can forgive you, but next time let's leave the e-attitude in a different tab, shall we? 

Today the blog's topic is (drum roll please)... Fitness Commercials!  So the title's not toooooo far off after all.  Now aren't you ashamed to have doubted me?  No?  Well what about the shoes, surely you're ashamed of those?

Anyhooo, on with the blog.

Let's start with the spokespeople and work our way down.

- Who decided that putting a long haired wig and implants on a cadaver would convince me to buy their product?  Seriously, that's what all those women in their sports bras and lycra shorts look like.  And how do you make a cadaver appear more lifelike?  Color!  Yes, let's make sure they're tanned almost to well done.
God they repulse me, and yet, apparently that is the mass opinion these days of 'fit'.  Women are actually using that sickening image as their 'goal'.  Thank God most of them fail after the Abs Spinner (or whatever the stupid thing is called THIS week) arrives and promptly goes under the bed.  Right beside the Tush Push 3 Minute Body Twister.

- The guys are no better.  Why do they all smile the same way?  With those manic eyes?  And again with the tan.  Actually, they look just like their female counterparts but without the wig and sports bra, and oddly, their implants look bigger.

- I think the weirdest part of these commercials is the fact that they show someone uber-buffed using their 'revolutionary, new' doohicky that just came on the market last week.  What I'd really like to buy is what he used PRIOR to this product.

- Jenny Craig, Richard Simmons, Tony Little.  You know, if you spent as much time and money on eating as you do on their products, you could look like them in no time!

- Before and After pictures.  OMG!  You and I both know there's an AFTER the After picture.  Why don't they show us THAT one?!?!  I have never seen a 20 years later picture, but seriously, that's the one I want to see.

- All those people that are showed injuring their necks doing crunches before discovering the ease and comfort of the Abs Smart.  Weren't these the same people who injured their necks doing sit ups before discovering the ease and comfort of crunches?  I say we shoot 'em.  Put them out of their (and our) misery.

- Why do they keep stressing the 'in as little as 10 minutes, 3 times a week' theme?  We're watching their infomercial, obviously time is not an issue for us.

I say eat, laugh, enjoy life.  But you'll never see that in an infomercial until they can figure out how to charge you 3 easy payments of only $69.95 (plus shipping and handling) for it.  Sadly, we don't really need to worry, they will.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Neil Patrick Harris' Twitter war. This new millenium is really quite interesting

Remember I mentioned Neil Patrick Harris asking his followers to vote for him online as the Man of the Decade at  Well, John Barrowman in the UK did the same thing (he's in the contest too).  And now famous followers are asking their followers (which include MORE famous followers with MORE followers, and so on and so on) to do likewise and it's becoming a Twitter battle!!!  Of course, a fun one, but I'll be interested to see how many votes are cast.  I did vote for Neil by the way, like I said I probably would. If you want to follow the fun try

FYI - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog ROCKS!  But that's an aside.  The main point I wanted to make was how cool the internet can be when suddenly 2 people create a 2,000,000 people thing.  It's just for fun and laughs, but think what could be accomplished!  If instead of voting for 'Gay Celebrity of the Decade' we could actually raise money or start a movement for something essential, we could sincerely change our world.

I wish somehow we could combine the Internet age with the sixties sense of social change and really make the teens decade the one we look back on as THE ONE that changed the world.  In the sixties they really made a difference but they had no way of globally connecting voices.  Now we do, but we don't seem to have the naive belief in change anymore.

Let's be naive again!  Let's start reaching out and communicating in our new medium for more than what we're doing right now.  Let's, as a matter of course, raise questions, make suggestions for a better world, look for wrongs and ways to make 'em right.  Peace Love and Charity.  I don't think we're too old to give up on those childish dreams.  I think, rather, we're finally old enough to take those silly dreams and make 'em come true!

As an example, this site is the website for Food For The Poor
By mentioning it in a blog, hopefully someone will click on it, donate, mention it somewhere else online and so on.  They spend less than 4% on admin and the rest on the actual programs to help the disadvantaged in Latin America and the Caribbean.  They are a perfect example of how the web can make a HUGE difference.

I'm not saying that you need to visit the site OR donate, but why can't we as a routine, include chances for great change in our day to day use of the web?  That's where it's power lies you know.  Not in you, not in me, but in this exponential us that's been created.

If I sound crazily excited it's because I am!  You have, thanks to the internet, the possibility to change the world.  Yes, it's only a possibility, but that changes to probability if you keep trying.  Try it.  Think of something important like Food For The Poor and remember to include it when you're talking to the globe.  Ya just never know where your thoughts will travel.  We all might just be able to take back the future that the Eighties and Nineties made us think we'd lost.   Happy thinking and happy networking!

PS:  Don't forget to vote for Neil :-) (What?!?! We can't have fun AND change the world?)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Stop, oh yeah, wait a minut Mr. Postman

I wonder if anyone is reading this crap?  Er, stuff.  Yeah that's it, stuff.  I'll tell you this, I don't sit down in my big comfy recliner, cigarette in one hand (I'm gonna miss that), coffee in the other and type my random, and admittedly bizarre thoughts on my cordless keyboard just to revel in my own thoughts people!  I do it for you, the public, the great unwashed (you may want to re-think that by the way) masses.

This blog is for you, the downtrodden, the indigent, the lacklustre cadre that is the world.  Others may look down their noses at your sad, pathetic and repetitive lives but not me!  I write crap, 'er stuff, (I'll get it right, it's just tough to remember) to lift you up from your squalor, take your minds off your pitiful, dirty existence without once being condescending to you.  Hundreds of times maybe, but never once!

And what thanks do I get?  Do I get any messages left for me saying things like, "Darren, great post!  I laughed so hard I scared the chickens that I keep in my kitchen!" or "Hey my man!  Excellent post!  It's because of you I told the admitting nurse that laughter really is the best medicine and I didn't need this goiter removed after all!" or "Wow, your post changed my life!  I'm going to petition our government to allow electricity in our village so I can get a computer and read what I'm talking about, or writing for that matter"?

No.  I get nothing.  Nada.  Kablooey.  Every day I hop on my over sized bicycle (the one with the big wicker basket on the handlebars) and ride through the village waving to the locals as I head to the Post Office.  Every day I say "Guten Taag Herr Ball, any posted comments for me today?" with an adorably innocent hopefulness in my eyes.  And every day, Herr Ball says sadly, "Nein mein leepchen. No post for you today.  Perhaps they forgot, yah?."  He looks sad as I leave his shop to wander through the farmer's market outside singing about my angst.  Then I pick up some meat at the butcher's (he looks and talks ALOT like Herr Ball - actually all the shopkeepers do), and go back home to the Von Trapp estate which I purchased for a song (no, literally) from this really freaky family.  Man you should have seen the dutchboy haircut on the mother.  And I'm not sure, but I THINK the children were wearing curtains.  Well, that's another blog.

Anyway, long story short (hmmmm, how about long story less long?) I feel like I'm just a lonely little voice out here in the electronic wilderness.  Will that stop me from prattling on?  No.  Will that, ironically, inspire me to double my efforts and improve my writing talent in the process, thus leading me to a spectacular new career in literature? Uh, no, probably not.  But it will give me one more piece of crap, 'er stuff to post and really, isn't that the most important thing?  Again, no, but for some reason I can't stop asking rhetorical questions and then, blatantly ignoring the 'rhetorical', answering them myself.  The truth is it's too early in the morning to call anyone to gab.  So there ya go.  Herr Ball, I hope you have some posted comments for your leepchen today!

Friday, January 1, 2010

No New Year's Resolutions for me... at least no new ones.

Well it's day one of 2010.  Do I have resolutions?  No.  Will I?  No.  Do I have hopes?  Yup.  I hope to quit smoking - the money I'll save is mind boggling.  But addictions are hard things to break permanently.  I've decided to give myself some incentive by joining a contest with  Wish me luck.  I've gotta admit, though, it's a little creepy in that if your name is drawn you have to be 'tested' to make sure you didn't sneak a smoke.  How many contests (outside sports and Urine Clubs) require you to pee to collect your prize?  Considering how insultingly smokers are treated these days by the self-righteous law-makers out there it's rather mild really.
I have to admit, I think the non-smoking bandwagon is truly offensive but that doesn't mean I like being addicted to anything.  I truly do want to quit for good.  I just pray I'm not one of those 'Yuk!  You smoke?' people if I succeed.  The odds are against me though, because it's always the reformed smoker who's the rudest.  If, and that's a big IF, I am successful, I'm going to re-read this post to hopefully remind me to keep my big mouth shut when I see a smoker.

So, I have two resolutions after saying I had none.  To TRY and break an addiction and to TRY not to be self-righteous if I'm lucky enough to do it.  Pray for me children, I'm embarking on a journey through the bowels of hell and I ain't likin' it - no sir.

Actually I've got another resolution.  To win a huge lottery this year.  It's time to hunker down and get serious about that one.  Really, how hard can it be?  I might even aim for 2.

I've been following people on Twitter.  I finally decided in December to give it a whirl.  Although I'm not that good at it yet, I've discovered something surprising.  Celebrities are every bit as annoying, plain, dull, and only occasionally interesting as the rest of us.
I know, I know, why shouldn't they be?  They're only human.  I don't think they SHOULD be brilliant 24/7, I'm just amazed to find out that I expected them to be.  It's nice to know they're only richer and perhaps more talented than me, but otherwise they're just as dull.  Bless you famous folks for making me feel better (except for the 'richer than me' part)

Here's a list of 'famies' I'm following and my opinion of their tweets:

Brent Spiner (actor):  Wow, major negativity.  He spent the last few days arguing with followers regarding how many people will be happy for 2010.  Seriously.  Suffice to say, he thinks very few.  Ever watch House?  That's Brent Spiner on Twitter.  Don't get me wrong, he's being funny and probably cool to know, but sometimes humor loses something in the upload and comes across as simply snotty. Hey, it happens to me all the time - you losers!

Kirstie Ally (actress):  The woman is perky.  No, make that MEGA PERKY.  She must issue a new tweet (that's a twitter message) every 4 minutes.  I don't know how she's battling a weight issue (but I wish her success!) because I've lost 15 pounds just keeping up with her tweets.  She's certainly entrepreneurial cause she's started Phitter - a Twitter-esque site for people trying to get, well, phit.  I like her, but she really needs to avoid caffeine.  Seriously Kirstie, perky is painful after awhile - at least to the ones being perked at.

William Shatner (actor):  'My Best, Bill' is at the end of every 140 character Tweet.  No one understands the subtlety of plasticization like Mr. Shatner.  Probably politic to do that, but my God, there is simply no sincerity in the 346th 'My Best, Bill".

Neil Patrick Harris (actor, secret crush):  How could I not follow him?  He's the Neil!  Anyway, he's just a normal guy who's Tweets are non-controversial, sometimes funny, sometimes self-serving (he tweeted for Sushi restaurant suggestions once, and another time asked for his followers to, if they felt like it, vote for him at some Top Ten Gay Celebrities contest sitey.)  I like that he's slightly tacky at times - there's no 'All My Best' coming from him, just good old fashioned honesty.  I may even vote for him. for that reason alone :-)

Wil Wheaton (actor, writer, comedian):  If there is any celebrity out there who is more like the majority of my friends, I don't know who it is.  This guy is goofy, dull, nerdy, madly in love with his wife and family, and really does tell us what he's doing right now, whether it's what he's writing, what he's reading, how pissed off he is at someone's rudeness, etc. (in fact he twittered just recently about an annoying saleman at his door).  You can't not like someone that real and open.  I admit, I only followed him cause I'm a bit of a Trekkie but I'm glad I did cause he turned out to be cool as Wil and who cares about Wesley? No offense to the actor of course.

Danny Masterson (actor):  I'll be damned.  He wasn't acting on That 70's Show.  That's him.  Just check his tweets if you don't believe me.

Corey Stratton (legend):  Don't know him?  Are you CRAZY?!?!  He's only the most talked about Karaoke/Wii performer out there!  He's the new buzz word in 2010.  His tweets are vicious, malodorous, dramatic, scathing and a whole bunch of other words I rarely use.  Too bad about getting kicked off Celebrity Sex Rehab, but hey, he had it coming.

Anyway, I stopped adding celebrities cause I figured the bunch I got right now aren't following me, so why bother adding any more? :-)  It's a great grouping though.  They're just people.  Good, Bad and Ugly.

My Best, Darren!

Postscript:  Twitter is really fun and less cluttered than Facebook (though I'm on that too), and if you haven't tried it... do.  It's amazing the new slang you'll pick up, like tweet, retweet, trends and of course, William Shatner (Seriously, HOW do you not love that man? HOW?!?!)