Archive | November, 2010

Thanxieties

27 Nov

Guys,

Everything’s pretty great right now.  Like, all of it.  And given the season, I should be focusing on gratitude and appreciation.  But that’s what everyone’s doing.  So instead I will give you a list of my top ten Thanksgiving-inspired anxieties.

1. I think all this pie is really bad for my blood pressure.
2. Am I too happy to create anything artistically viable?
3. Can my fantasy football team make the playoffs?
4. Is everything going to be okay for South Korea?
5. Will my sister like her Hanukkah present?
6. Can I maintain my coveted status as “most famous person my parents know?”
7. Where’s that one sweater I like?
8. Should I move next year?
9. Is Duck Phillips going to ruin Sterling-Cooper? (Mad Men Season 2 specific)
10. Am I the world’s laziest workaholic?

But for real, things are pretty amazing.  It’s been a year of just about everyone giving me just about everything that I could want.  So thanks everyone.  If you’re reading this, it is one more joy in what is shaping up to be an exceptionally fortunate and exhilarating period of my life.  I’m a pretty lucky guy.

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Play On, Playwright

18 Nov

"I'm the greatest playwright aliiiiiiiiive."

Probably the best thing about being a rapper is that you can write raps about how good you are at rapping and writing raps.  That must be so great.  To just have your entire art form be a medium for boasting.  As a comedian, I can’t just write jokes about how funny I am.  Or blog posts about how bloggy my blog is.  I wish so badly that it were more acceptable in other art forms.  Like novels.  Or plays.  I wish more great literature were full of unveiled boasts about how great it is.  Like these examples:

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway…
“I named this book after the fact that I could have written it with my feet.  That’s how good I am at this shit!  Blam!”

Moby Dick by Herman Melville
“Call me Ishmael, biatch.”

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
“Two households both alike in dignity
In fair Verona where we lay our scene.
This shit’s about to pop off.  Watch it, son.
‘Cause Shakespeare’s in the spot, makin’ that green.”
(Bonus points for gangsta iambic pentameter.)

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer
“There is no joy in Mudville,
Mighty Casey’s not a player.  He just crushes a lot.”

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times.  I used to read Word Up Magazine.”

The Most Dangerous Game by R. Connell
“Don’t hate the most dangerous player.  Hate the most dangerous game.”

White Fang by Jack London
“Bow wow wow, yippee yo yippee yay.  White Fang in the mothafuckin’ houuuuse.”

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Biff: Willy Loman.  You ain’t no salesman.  You just a mark-ass trick.
Willy: Biff, please.
(That one doesn’t really fit the theme, but I love it.)

So…get on it novelists and playwrights.  I think we’ve got a pretty solid template here.

You’re welcome,
Josh

Slice of My Heart

17 Nov

Buttermilk Pie. Arkansas.

Here’s the thing about me, guys.  I don’t have a lot of vices.  I don’t like drugs.  I’m the worst at drinking. I rarely gamble.  Strip clubs creep me out.  In general, I am very little fun.  But strangely, I cannot resist pie.  Ever.

I have eaten pie in all sorts of circumstances.  In a bowling alley in Cambridge, MA (apple, the worst I’ve ever had).  During a blizzard in Montana at a rest stop near Glacier National Park (huckleberry, which is a real berry!).  Picnic style in the basement of the Brandeis University library (lemon meringue, from a grocery store, but not bad).  There are framed pictures of pie in my bedroom.  I will eat pie for breakfast, and/or lunch, and/or dinner, and/or a midnight snack.

Lots of people prefer other pastries.  I will not say that their opinions are wrong…wait, no.  I will say that.  They’re wrong.  People, notably comedian Paul F. Tompkins, sometimes assert that cake is a superior dessert. It is not.  First of all, the average slice of pie is way better than the average slice of cake.  If you buy a blueberry pie from your local Stop and Shop (or Trader Joe’s if you’re a cool dad, Whole Foods if you’re rich, or farmer’s market if you’re a hipster) it will probably be pretty decent.  Not gourmet.  But edible.  If you buy a cake from that same establishment, there is at least a fifty percent chance that it will taste like an airplane seat cushion that someone spilled sugar water on.  And the frosting?  Please.  It’s so cloying that I’d rather just eat a diabetic’s amputated foot.  Yes, a great cake can be as good as a great pie.  But you better hope that your friends break the bank on their birthday, or else you’ll be eating a bean bag chair covered in sugar paste.

And cupcakes?  Sure they can be delicious, but they’re new jack johnny-come-latelies to this discussion.  Just because a couple of precious twerps serve you at weddings (which is actually a pretty good idea) we’re supposed to take you seriously in this dessert game?  Come on now, cupcakes.  Grownups are talking.  Unless you’re a vegan.  For some reason, cupcakes seem to be the most commonly found vegan dessert.  So…props for that.

Side note: I prefer muffins to cupcakes anyway, most of the time.  They have less frosting, and no one looks at you like a psycho for eating a muffin at 9 in the morning.  A muffin is basically an acoustic cupcake.  Cupcake: Unplugged.  I do like a red velvet cupcake.  And I have also heard that there is such a thing as a blue velvet cupcake, which I imagine would ideally eaten with a Pabst Blue Ribbon while Dennis Hopper screams “Baby wants to [fornicate]!”

No other baked goods really have a place in this discussion.  Donuts are for people who would eat cake in the morning if it wouldn’t cause an intervention.  Tarts, crumbles, and cobblers are too seasonal/regional.  And if you eat more than one eclair per month, you will be dead within a year, mark my words.

Regardless.  My love of pie is enduring and well documented.  Three years ago I threw myself a Sur-Pies party on my birthday.  It was not a surprise party that I threw for myself.  That would have been pathetic.  It was a regular party, but the surprise was the type of pie that each person showed up with.  There were thirteen pies on my kitchen table.  It was the best birthday ever.

I love pie so much that if pie was like: “I’m in love with you.”  I would be like: “No pie, let’s not ruin what we have right now.  I could never stand to lose you.”  And then I would be like: “Stop talking to me, dessert.  That only happens when you’re crazy!”

I don’t even have a favorite pie.  It’s like picking a favorite child, I imagine, if all of your children have won the Nobel Prize in Being Delicious.  That metaphor went off the rails fast.  But you get it.  I will even eat pies with bananas in them.  And bananas are horrifying.

So there you have it.  If you are ever plotting to ruin my life, don’t try to get me to get hooked on cocaine or throw my money away on dog racing (worst way to gamble away your money, by the way.  just buy a dog with that cash and watch it run around your living room table.) or prostitutes.  Just let me in the back room of a bakery and tell me to go  nuts.  I’ll probably OD by morning.  But at least I’ll have gone out doing what I love.

Huckleberry Pie. Montana.

Staying Together for Sally Draper

16 Nov

Things are getting real serious, guys.

There are some standard markers that a relationship is progressing.  Certain points that mean irreversible forward progress has been made.  Meeting the parents.  Moving in together.  Kidnapping quintuplets (sorry, I really like Raising Arizona).  What I’m trying to say here, guys, is that my girlfriend and I just bought Mad Men on DVD together.  Gulp.

So here’s the thing.  She doesn’t know this, but I’ve never watched a complete series with a girl before.  Sure, I’ve seen episodes of 3o Rock or CSI while lounging on the couch with a lady, but I’ve never set out to watch an entire series from beginning to end.  It’s kind of a commitment, right?

Because when you’re single and you decide to start in on a new show, you can watch it whenever you want.  Do half an episode before bed and finish it the next morning.  But when you’re in a relationship, you’ve got to wait until it’s convenient for both people.  And since we’re both super busy, it could be next year by the time we finish Season 1.  Plus, Season 4 won’t even be out on DVD until next summer.  And the show’s still going!  So this could go on indefinitely!  Forget “If you liked it than you should have put a ring on it.”  Try: “If you liked it, you should have bought the Arrested Development box set.”

We’re both really into the show right now, and from all accounts it stays good throughout.  It’s not like Dexter, which got kind of weak in Season 3, giving any couples who were invested in it an easy out if their relationship had jumped the shark.  Nope, guys.  We’re really in it.  We need to see what plays out between Pete and Peggy.  Does Cooper succeed in muscling Sterling out of the firm?  Can Don Draper be an adequate father to little Sally and Bobby?  So many questions!  At this point, I think they are actually doing more for our relationship than asking real questions about our actual lives.  “Do you see yourself wanting kids?”  “Eff that!  How long can Sal stay in the closet?”

Also, if things don’t end up working out between us, what then?  Do we share custody of the DVDs one disc at a time until we finish the series individually?  Will I only get to see Betty Draper every other weekend?  This is uncharted territory for me.  I’m very fake-c0ncerned here.

Anyway, I think we’re doing okay.  When we finished Disc 2 of Season 1, my girlfriend looked me in the eyes and said: “Once we’re done with this, we should do The Wire.”

That’s commitment, guys.

 

 

Don’t Get Cute

15 Nov

More Pre-School Stories? Okay!

Francophile

Last Friday I was reading a book called Fancy Nancy to my students. It is about a little girl who wants her family to be fancier, so she makes a lot of suggestions of ways they could change. One of them is to start speaking French. I decided to ask an English/French bi-lingual student in my class if she thought that would work.

Me: Does French always sound fancy?
Her: Only when you don’t know how to speak it.

Served.

Gender is a Human Invention

So my girlfriend came to visit and read to my class, and all the kids really liked her. When she left one of the little girls told me: “When your friend leaves, I miss him.”

Wu-Tang!  Wu-Tang!

The last time I worked with another full-time male teacher, we created Wu-Tang nicknames for lots of the kids.  Some of the highlights were…

Jake-kwon the Chef
Inspecta Declan
Ghostface Charlie
Old Dirty Margaret

We also had an Eazy-Ethan.

Stay Positive!

11 Nov

Hey Guys,

The Boston Comedy Festival is in town!  (I mean, I guess where else would it be?  But the point is, it’s in town right now.)  It’s been a pretty good and exciting week!  I’ve gotten to see lots of friends from all over the country and make new friends and do comedy.  Those are all good things.

In fact, there is almost too much excitement.  This morning I downloaded a bunch of Hold Steady b-sides and covers, and it’s making me more psyched than I have reason to be right now.  Like, I have to work 10-6.  And all I want to do is get into a street brawl.  But that’s not safe to do while I’m teaching children.  Although, it would give me the element of surprise.  (“Look at that guy leading a group of 12 kids to the library…oh my God!  He just shanked Tony!”)  Not that I would ever sucker-shank anyone.  I believe in fair play.

Anyway.  I’ve been pretty motivated lately, and I’ve been writing a bunch of jokes and feeling pretty good.  And I’ve just worked with two of my favorite comics on their CD recording shows.  (Kelly MacFarland’s CD comes out in December, and Shawn Donovan’s CD is out RIGHT NOW!)  So I’m thinking of doing a CD of my own next year.  I’ve got some titles kicking around in my head.  Let me know what you think!  Or suggest an alternate of your own.  Here’s what I’ve been thinking:

Everything’s the Best
No Fun At All
Oh, Hey Guys
Josh Gondelman…Says the Darndest Things
The Future is Now
Nonstandard
Alpha Nerd

Just some thoughts.

Also, once more, I’ll be in the Semifinals of the BCF on Friday night at 10pm at the Hard Rock downtown.  Lots of my really great friends are on the show, too.  So hopefully it will just be a total crushfest (and not just because a girl I like will be there (see what I did there?  Pun!)).   Ramble ramble ramble.

See you soon, guys!
Josh

Pie-atus

10 Nov

Hey guys,

Not much writing happening today. I spent the morning baking a pie, you know, like men do. Here is a tiny piece of serious advice for dudes. Learn how to bake one thing really well. Girls never see it coming. Girls also never see it coming when you kidnap their dogs and hold them for ransom. But don’t do that. It kills the mood. Unless you want the mood to be the same as the movie Taken. In that case, kidnap away.

Also, in other news, I moved on to the semifinals of the Boston Comedy Festival. Hooray, me! The show is on Friday at 10pm. There are lots of other show dates listed on my dates page. They are in places such as Boston, New York, and Indiana. Fun times! Huzzah, team!

Thanks for reading!
Josh