A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

26 July 2006

Will SOAP Clean Up?

Sometimes when you least expect it...a series of otherwise unrelated events seem to converge together to point to one single event...for the case of storytelling in this blog, it's SOAP. What is SOAP you ask? To answer that question for the three of you who are asking, it's an acronym for the title of a film due out that's been given more hype online than probably any other: Snakes on a Plane.

Now, I've read some material about Snakes on a Plane quite a while back...this movie stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent designated to accompany a mob witness en route from Hawaii to Los Angeles...where open waters are just conducive enough to provide the requisite hours-long fodder to take place. What fodder is that? Namely unleashing 400 deadly "snakes with a vengeance" upon totally unsuspecting passengers on an otherwise routine flight...for solely one purpose...to kill said witness. You know, that's a lot of trouble to go thru...and almost on par with those James Bond villains...who concoct some elaborate scheme straight out of the mind of Rube Goldberg...just to kill one single individual.

Now, if I didn't know better, I'd say that the studio execs are masterminding some plot to ingrain this film into my psyche. Monday night, my daughter shows me an article about "Snakes on a Plane" in her September 2006 (okay, they are a little ahead of themselves here) "Reptiles" magazine. Yesterday, my son cleans out and redesigns his Kingsnake vivarium...he has a total of three snakes at the moment...he used to have ten. Last night as well, David Letterman had a guest on, reptile expert, Dr. Darrel Frost, from New York's American Museum of Natural History. He explained that snakes and lizards really should be characterized into one greater order...that being 'squamata'. So, I'm thinking that perhaps they should change the name of "Snakes on a Plane" to "Squamata on a Plane"...and technically they could still keep the same abbreviation.

So, where will I be on the 18th of August? Will I slither off to the theatre to catch the opening night of this movie? Will I be one of the many they are hoping to recoil in horror at the sight of hundreds of snakes? Will this film shed any light on how snakes really are...or will it just end up doing what Jaws did for sharks? Considering the magnitude of free publicity it's already had...on just what scale will this movie break any records? And will I be able to work in one more snake-related pun before this paragraph is completed? Oh, I mite...but I won't.

20 July 2006

Very Good Eats

What happens when you combine Julia Child with Bill Nye? No...not a science experiment gone horribly wrong...you basically, and very basically at that, get the premise of a show on the Food Network called "Good Eats" hosted by Alton Brown...and we wouldn't miss it. Yes, it is that good. He is that good. Would THIS happen if he weren't?

You don't cook? Can't stand Rachael Ray? Well, maybe that last one is just me...but chances are if you give this guy a watch or two...you will indeed watch again. In fact I've watched enough times to know that Alton lives in Marietta, Georgia...and annoyed his professors when he attended the New England Culinary Institute by continually asking "why" certain foods did what they did in recipes. Okay, I'll fess up...he didn't per se TELL us this...I kinda Google'd him after seeing a few "Whole Foods Market - Atlanta, GA" credits flashed at the bottom of the screen when he'd venture out of his kitchen to show us whatever it was he was showing us in that episode. Oh, yes...his show's not just a cooking show...he cleverly blends science and culinary know-how in between...so you actually come away not only knowing what an emulsifier is, but that eggs are one...what a mother is and why some vinegars have them and others don't, which rotisseries on grills work best...and just a whole bunch of other stuff...whipped up with an off-beat, quirky sense of humour. Even his episode titles reflect that this won't be your typical boring, run of the mill bland diet of pabulum that cooking shows of the past...or present for that matter...have fed us for ages. Sure, Emeril says "Bam!" a lot...but he couldn't keep my whole family entertained for 30 minutes (and he's got an hour-long show). On the contrary, Alton does...my 11-year-old likes him as much as my 18-year-old son...and nothing short of a role-playing action game on the computer holds his attention for long.

Now I've only tuned in to "Good Eats" for a relatively short time...the first episode I caught showed him grilling a potato (or was it an eggplant?)...with a Mr. Potato Head-type of face...and saying totally inappropriate things to it whilst it cooked. He was funny...and I was hooked. Due to that show I now know to spot the difference between male and female eggplants...and I've actually used that knowledge to pick out my very own eggplants...oh, okay...first and foremost to unsuspectingly walk up to people in the store in order to share my bit of vegetative trivia...which, by the way, eggplant is actually a berry. Nothing impresses people more than inane trivial knowledge about the sex of vegetables...unless it's sex WITH vegetables...and to the best of my knowledge, he's never done that show.

I've also deduced (no, I'm not really a stalker) that Alton likes to use the words "thusly" and "permutations", refers to items in the kitchen that perform only one job as "uni-taskers" and that he and I share a fondness of Martinis. And I know this might sound a bit odd, but each time he opens his fridge...I get a little happy, albeit maybe a little too happy, when I see the same item that I have in mine. "Ooooh...he buys the same organic cream as I do! Look...the same drinks!" But, he's just so 'gosh darned' (as he'd probably put it) entertaining, ...that it's actually fun to spy the same thing or to say why or what something is or does before he does...or to even imagine running into him in Buckhead one day. And maybe, just maybe...we could even reminisce about his "Raising the Bar" and "Olive Me" episodes while having a Martini...or two.

13 July 2006

Bulwer-Lytton Revisited

I've been told I'm egotistical...well, by one person...who lives in my house who shall remain nameless. I've also been told that the only way to get anyplace is to promote yourself. So, I tend to believe the latter as they say there's no such thing as bad press. Well, undoubtedly there have been some people who had bad press...and they aren't around anymore...but it certainly didn't hurt a lot of careers they said it was going to. Yeah, Hugh Grant certainly is hurting nowadays I'm sure. So is Paris Hilton...yep, whoa boy, she hasn't been heard from in nearly minutes.

So the topic of this blog will center around me...as they say you should write what you know. "They" talk a lot by the way...and I bet they rewrote a lot, too. I tend not to rewrite a lot...could you possibly tell? Well, it did get me somewhere once...I might have mentioned once or twice before...but I won a little contest back in 2003 called "The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest"...which, if you are good enough at writing bad enough...on purpose, mind you...you just might get praised for it. One night, after being told about the contest, I awoke and penned down my immortal entry, changed one word, and sent it off to the contest months later. Well, I decided to try my hand at it again this year...again, without rewriting...I sent off my solitary entry (okay, this time I did send in two...but I don't think the second one counted as I turned it in literally right before they announced the winners...so for technical and embellishment purposes, I'm going to stick to my claim)...and I was picked for a "Miscellaneous Dishonorable Mention". Don't let the title fool you, it's actually quite an accolade...granted not quite the accomplishment as the overall grand prize, but I really didn't think they'd pick me twice for that.

After reading the overall winner Tuesday, I scanned the rest of them...fervently scrolling, scrolling to see if my name popped up anywhere. Yes, I know I could have easily done a "find"...but that wouldn't have had the same effect...that 38 seconds of excruciating agony and anticipation as each passing name went by...was well worth it when I found mine...down near the very end of the list...where I've convinced myself they put all the "really good ones".

So, after I got picked this time around I got to thinking...what are the odds that a previous winner would enter knowing pretty much full well there is no place to go than down...and if I did get mentioned at all, could I handle the "shame" of it...and most importantly...could I parlay it into a few more minutes of fame? Well, let's find out! (Oh, after this I am so not going to get picked a third time.)

The first thing I did was harken back to my "glory days"...and how much I loved the press attention...and how much I thought my CNN Live interview was going to award me with the riches I so fully deserved...you know, the multi-book writing contract, Letterman's people calling me countering the offer from Leno's...who were also countering SNL's. You know...all that stuff that was now rightfully mine for the taking...only there was one catch...how to go about taking something that you aren't given. I still haven't been able to figure that one out exactly...but I had someone who played my HumorMeOnline site that knew someone who knew someone or something like that...at Conan O'Brien's show. Okay, I'm no fan of Conan's...but hell...I'll be his number one fan if I end up on his show. So, off I whisked my CNN videotape, with a little picture of Alabama with the arrow pointing to Wetumpka, apparently representing me as I wasn't in a studio at the time...only to hear back from Conan's people that "they weren't sure I could fill up a whole six minutes". Oh, right...I could fill up six hours...and still not be done saying what I came to say...Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of Mr. Smith in DC has nothing on me. Of course it remains to be seen if I am as interesting in others' minds as I am in my own...altho CNN's, David Lawrence Show's, and some other show's people assured me I was.

To best be the judge of this, I think I should be interviewed some more...that is why I got up this morning and rattled off an email to Craig Ferguson's show...explaining that since he wasn't around in 2003 when I first won...perhaps now they'd like to get around to it since I kinda "won" again. Tomorrow I write to Dave...Letterman that is...and certainly he won't pass this up...c'mon he's had a guy on the show who nail-gunned a nail into his own head...how many minutes can that take to go into detail about? How much could the guy remember afterwards? He had a friggen nail stuck in his head after all!

This brilliant idea of mine is surely going to get me all those perks I missed out on the first time around...or at the very least another interview with the Montgomery Advertiser people...they DO read this blog...right?

07 July 2006

Girls' Night Out

Well, I was going to write about how my computer died the other day...and how self-reliant we are on computers as a population...but you probably already are aware of this, as if you are reading this now, chances are you have dealt with your share of computer mishaps and inept "help".

What I'm going to ramble on about instead is sleepovers. The right of passage for every young girl...do guys even have an equivalent? I remember with extreme fondness, as a child, the anticipation of a "sleepover". I lived far removed from friends, and people in general, up until the age of 11...when we moved to a much more "inhabited" locale. Suddenly I went from total isolation, to having a friend directly across the street from me...Robyn H, if you are out there...you were that friend. Robyn was a whole year younger than me...or was it two. When you are 11...one year is a lot...two years is astronomical...now it's not so much an issue, but I would still love to be two years younger than I am...contrary to what "The Stones" say, time is not on our side.

But back to Robyn...Robyn had a sister named Patty...whom I "re-met" years after she did a stint in the Army and had "matured" quite a lot...she was actually a very nice person...but as she was a little older than me...and Robyn's sister, she was our nemesis when we were young...she was quite gullible. I think Patty came from a long line of gullible people...and Robyn and I used that to our advantage...I won't go into detail...but my, we had fun. I was never an "evil" child per se...but when a person is asking for it, and you are raised in New Jersey...well, you kinda oblige them.

I had no problem making friends, unlike poor Patty...I was quite outgoing...and as such had many sleepovers. I look back at it now, my childhood, and realize just how trusting adults were. I used to baby sit at the very slight age of 11...my daughter is 11 and altho I trust her, I wouldn't entrust the lives of my 3 and 5-year olds to ANY 11-year-old. I was quite mature for my age...my daughter is the same...but still...11??? That IS rather young. My first sleepover happened before then...so did my first cigarette...they both happened simultaneously. Trusting adults...and children who want to get over on them...do not mix. A word to the wise: parents who go to bed before their children when they have friends over...if you think nothing is going on...wake up...no one is that naive...let alone your children.

Again, I reiterate...I was a good child...BUT if I wanted to do stuff that was much less than on the "up-and-up"...I could have succeeded...I had so many opportunities...I remember sneaking out with my friends more times than I had friends...and because I remember being able to do it, no one is going to be able to do it on my watch.

So, as I realize my daughter is a product of genes...and my genes tend to stay up all night...I've done all I can to pound this knowledge into her friends' parents without sounding totally condescending. Okay, I did sound condescending...but I meant well...I am never going to be one of those parents who never did "anything" wrong. You know the type...the "when I was your age...I NEVER did blah blah"...oh, you did, too...we ALL did...don't go there. I KNOW what I did, therefore I know what you are capable of, as I was capable of it at your age...only I had better judgement than to do it...I had a mother who cared enough to listen to me...who was once a child herself, in an era where no one ever did anything...only she had the belief in me to be truthful. No man is an island...no woman is either.

02 July 2006

Fried and Scrambled

Just wanted to write to let everyone know that I haven't been a slug...but I haven't been able to post anything since my computer fried.

I've just now been able to get the information to sign on to post this...and I am sure I will be frustrated some more come this evening to rant on and on in a blog about computers and the evil ways they hold us hostage.

So, until then, you can rest assured I will be thinking of being in a much, much better place...