A week ago today, I was somewhere in the middle of the Indiana, speeding towards Indianapolis and An Evening with Kevin Smith. We left from Milwaukee around 9:45 am, and I basically put the car on autopilot towards Chicago. We took 94 through the city, and my brilliant Yahoo! Maps directions told me to get off on Armitage, even though that really didn’t make sense. So I trusted my directions, instead of my instincts, and we ending up taking an unnecessary detour through downtown Chicago. No harm done, though, as we easily hopped back on the highway and headed towards Indiana. We stopped in Merrillville for lunch, and then drove until I was almost on E, about 25 miles outside of Indy.

Indianapolis reminded me of Milwaukee, kind of a mid-major as far as cities go. Their downtown is easily accessible, and we found the theater easily enough, despite my directions telling me to turn right onto a “local road.” They did not tell me what the name of this road was, but we guessed correctly. The Indianapolis Symphony is on the edge of Monument Square, where in the center sits an obelisk dedicated to Indiana veterans of all wars leading up to 1896 or so. We arrived in the city about 3 hours before the show, so we killed time by wandering a local mall. I was happy, since I got to have Chick-Fil-A. It sounds pathetic, I know, but I’ve wanted to eat there ever since it was mentioned in “Army”, so now I have. It was okay.

Around this time there was a whole lot of drama with Renee’s boyfriend and whatnot, but I tried to keep out of it. You can save the drama for your momma.

Kevin came on at 8 pm and told a great, long story about his previous experience with Indianapolis, then answered questions. Dave got in line right away, and he ended up waiting in line for 4 hours. Standing, in the middle of the aisle. There’s a picture of him on the View Askew website, click here. Kev went on for many hours, finally ending at around 2:30 am. His consistent topics throughout the night were the fact that his third grade teacher was in the audience, and his recent “health issues”. He also gave a lot of insight into the making of Clerks 2, as well as his future.

After the show, Dave took the first shift driving, and after I guided him out of the city and onto I-65, I dozed a little bit. Around 3:30 am, though, he pulled off into the world’s creepiest gas station, and asked me to drive, even though he had insisted that he would be fine to drive home, since he’s a night owl and all. After I gulped down 2 bottles of MDX, I drove the rest of the way, while everybody else just slept. It was ok, though, since I chose the music, and I knew where I was going. I made it from Indy to Gurnee without stopping for gas, and we ended up back in Milwaukee by 6 am. And I worked at 3 pm. Good times.

I took a bunch of pictures, even though the staff said no photography. Everyone was taking pictures, and Kevin didn’t mind, so eventually they gave up trying to get us to stop. I still wasn’t using my flash, though, so some of them came out blurry. To check out the good ones, though, click here.

The sad thing is, there’s another show, next Friday, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Drive-time-wise, it’d probably be a longer trip, but tickets are only 5 bucks. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to miss work again, much less with Dave, since there’s no one else to open the store. I’ll catch him at Wizard World, though, since Brian and I decided we’re going this year. I would love to be able to head out to Jersey for the Vulgarthon they’re doing in May, but I’ll be otherwise indisposed. On the beach. In Maui. Booyah.


It's time for the game that makes Wilbon cry in his pillow: Toss up!

So PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser is part of the new Monday Night Football announce team for next year’s switch to ESPN, along with Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann. Sounds good, sounds good. Maybe just replace Tirico with Michael Wilbon, and Theismann with Tony Reali, and we’ve got a pretty good lineup going here. Trim sideline reporters Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber, and add ATH’s Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti, and you will guarantee that I will watch every single MNF game next year. I don’t care if it’s the Texans and 49ers, I’ll watch.

All joking aside, Dennis Miller’s brief stint on MNF was a failed experiment in bringing a “different” voice into the booth, and I hope TK is able to avoid being pigeonholed as “the funny guy”. He is very funny, but he’s probably the most qualified of those three to step into Howard Cosell’s shoes, as he knows football, but is able to spin it towards everyman.

PTI will also go on the road each Monday, to broadcast from the site of that night’s game. This could be great, but I doubt it’ll be necessary if you end up with a terrible game like the aforementioned matchup. How much in-depth analysis do we need of a game that’s sure to suck? For nights when the Patriots play the Colts, though, PTI will rule.

I’ll be watching MNF when it premieres on ESPN in September. The team could be terrible as a unit, and I’ll avoid them when possible, but I’m hoping they’ll blend together well, for the kids’ sake. After all, we do it for the kids.

Do you want the mustache on or off?

Too bad.

I’m writing this at work, since I’m opening on a Thursday, and we are very, very dead. I usually have Tuesdays and Thursdays off, but since I’ve starting work at Children’s, I’m trying to just take all Wednesdays off, so as not to complicate things. It’s kinda awkward to type while standing, but I’m not that big of a slacker where I’ll just sit in the office and type. Funny, eh?

In the last 48 hours I’ve seen 4 movies at the theater, all checked off my Oscar list. On Tuesday, I saw The Squid and the Whale at Mayfair, then Brokeback Mountain at the Rosebud, with Kelsey and Dave. Wednesday, Kelsey and I saw The New World at West Point, then picked up Jet and saw Capote, also at West Point. So now I’m down to 7 movies to see before the Oscars, and only one of those, Transamerica, is a theater trip.

Like I said, I will have my Oscar picks up and running once I’ve seen everything I can, but early impressions from these recent movies I’ve seen have good. Is Brokeback the end-all be-all movie of the year like all the critics seem to think? Not really. I agree with Maxx’s assessment that if the movie had been about a man and a woman in love, it would have been the most boring movie of the year. Not that I didn’t like it, because I did. I just have the same feeling about it I did about Million Dollar Baby last year: its okay, not spectacular, and it’ll probably win Best Picture. I understand what the Oscars are about, and if it were up to me, A History of Violence would be up for Best Picture and Best Director, and there would be a whole different discussion going on.

The Squid and the Whale and The New World both deserve their singular nominations, Squid for Original Screenplay and New World for Cinematography. Both at least have “a shot” at winning, but as of right now, I wouldn’t expect it. Squid featured great use of Pink Floyd, and is exactly what I expected from Noah Baumbach, the co-writer of The Life Aquatic. The only thing it was missing was the quirky direction of Wes Anderson, who produced instead. The New World was quite the antithesis of Squid, as a sprawling, methodical look at the story of Pocahontas. Director Terrance Malick enjoys letting his narrative unfold on its own, building atmosphere through deliberate use of landscapes and sound. That’s nice and all, but the movie could’ve been an hour shorter, and just as good. Colin Farrell actually impressed me here, as did most of the cast, but the real star is nature itself. The interpolation between the wild and untamed forests of early America and the stoic and sculptured gardens of England makes a statement about our culture as strong as any of the so-called “political” movies of this year’s field. The New World is deeply flawed, but still beautiful.

Capote was great, and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance was extraordinary. He not only provided a believable imitation of an actual person, as Jamie Foxx did in Ray, but he infused Capote with such an otherworldly quality that led me to question where he ended and Hoffman began. For one actor’s performance to strike the defining chord in a film can be both distracting and pretentious, but in this case, it’s genius. It is a great field for Best Actor this year, with Joaquin Phoenix, David Straitharn and Heath Ledger all turning in excellent performances, but I’ll be shocked if Hoffman doesn’t win. Shocked.

So I’m getting down to the nitty gritty. I’m supposed to go to Brian and Collette’s tonight for Wallace and Gromit and fondue. I watched that movie last week at the hospital, but it’ll be cool to see it again. I have never done the fondue thing, so that’ll be new.

In other news, there’s a Ben Folds show at The Rave on March 12th. I am there, although I don’t think Brian and Collette are going. The next night, Jenny Lewis is at the Pabst, and I already have my tickets for that show. Add in the Oscar party, and the D.U.M.B. show and my March is shaping up to be pretty busy. I’ll have to throw some vacation time in there to balance things out. Also, V for Vendetta on March 17th. That’s a first-nighter, no doubt.

I was sorta right about the Super Bowl, I guess. If each team had scored two more touchdowns, I would’ve had the score exactly right. Jerome Bettis wasn’t as big a factor as I expected, and Hines Ward won the MVP, but The Bus was still the story and the star. I had forgotten all about Matt Hasselbeck’s taunting of the Packers in the playoffs a few years back, but once I remembered, I rooted hard for the Steelers. Screw Hasselbeck. He doesn’t look like any of the characters from “The Office”.

Jim and I went to Children’s Hospital last week, and showed Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit to the few kids who wanted to watch with us. It’s really a tough thing to schedule, due to different meal times or doctor’s schedules. We’re going to try to get this event happening on a weekly basis, at a set time, so that all the kids know that Wednesday night is movie night, and they want to come hang out. I even suggested getting one of those Projector/DVD/Sound System All-in-one deals, like this, but that would require a lot of fundraising. Maybe if we get more people in the district interested, we could make it happen. Our next event is February 22nd, while Jim is in Vegas. So I’m in charge, and Tim is my assistant. That’ll be interesting, to say the least, especially since we’re supposed to be bringing pizza and all that. Stay tuned on that one.


must.. see... movies!

So I'll post my Oscar nominee analysis later on this week, but for now, here's the list of movies I still need to see before March 5th:

1. Brokeback Mountain
2. Capote
3. Crash (on video)
4. Transamerica
5. Junebug (on video)
6. Hustle & Flow (on video)
7. Mrs. Henderson Presents
8. Pride & Prejudice (on video 2/28)
9. The Squid and the Whale
10. The New World
11. Howl's Moving Castle (on video 3/7) (!!!)

So after I see these 11 flicks, I will have seen all the nominees, except for the foreign, documentary and short film categories. And you can look forward to my Oscar Picks Generator V. 2.0, coming soon.

The Big Game

So I'm prepping for Super Bowl XL tonight, and I thought I should toss my sure to wrong analysis and predictions out there, PTI style.

Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Seattle Seahawks 24
MVP: Jerome Bettis (as if it would be anyone else)

I just think the Steelers are the more complete team, as I don't particularly trust Seattle's receiving corps, but a lot will depend on the health of Troy Polamalu. I don't think I'll be too surprised if Seattle wins, but I think Pittsburgh, with two TDs from Bettis, will pull it off.

The Steelers have the advantage of "Office" mojo, since Ben Roethlisberger is the football doppelganger of lovable everyman Jim, as evidenced in the above photo I stole from somethingawful.com.

A select few will be heading over to my place for the game, and I'll yet again be the only one interested in the actual game. That's okay, though. The commercials are good too. Especially since we'll be treated to trailers for Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest and Cars. Maybe even a new Superman Returns trailer. Tee hee.

So I'll be sure to check in with y'all on Monday, when I'll have to eat my words after the Seahawks win 432-3. Doh.


...and a liar to boot.

So I ended up having to close the store myself tonight, so my plan of parking myself in front of the laptop and updating to my heart's content was thrown out the window. Stupid Jet made stupid Dave drive to stupid Appleton with her to pick up Renee, so she can then ride with us down to Indianapolis tomorrow. Stupid.

So I'll post some stuff when I get back, maybe this weekend. K.Smith will definitely get my creative juices flowing.

BTW, the wolfen will come for you with his razor. Ignignot has foretold it.


I am a terrible person.

So I haven't been updating as much as I would like, even when specifically requested by the comments. I'm procrasting right now, writing this instead of performance reviews for work, so this doesn't even count. But after I go to the hospital tomorrow, I PROMISE I will post several updates to this here blog. I'm sure I have some good stories to post, and I'll have more after my magical mystery tour to Indianapolis on Thursday to see my man K.Smith.

I've been listening to a lot of new music recently, but I keep on drifting back towards Rilo Kiley and Jenny's new album. I bought tickets to her show at the Riverside on March 13, and it'll be the first non-Ben, non-Summerfest show I've been to in forever. You heard it here first: go pick up any of the following, and be a poseur indie hipster like me. -> clickity

Also, craigslist is awesome. Here's my diatribe against all the injustice in the world. -> clickaroo

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with more. Nighty night.