Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Favorite Movies of the '00's

I know, I know.  This is pretentious.  Who gives a hairy shit what I think were the best movies of the last decade?  Of course, I do, but then again, I am a shallow, shell of a man.

Well, my hope is that one person who reads this checks out one of these flicks that they haven't seen.  Enjoy.



1.)  Into the Wild - Pure poetry on film.  A soundtrack by my idol, Eddie Vedder, doesn't hurt.

Favorite Quote:
Christopher:  "It should not be denied that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations. Absolute freedom. And the road has always led west."

Trailer


2.)  25th Hour - I think that Spike Lee is one of the most racist people on the planet, but he is still a talented filmmaker.  And he hit it out of the park with this one.

Favorite Quote:
Monty:  "I need you to make me ugly."

Trailer


3.)  Almost Famous - Never have music and film melded so perfectly.  Bravo, Mr. Crowe, now where the fuck are you?  We have forgiven you for Elizabethtown.  Mostly.

Favorite Quote:
Lester Bangs:  "The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool. "

Trailer


4.)  Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer are a match made in heaven.  This is what good screen writing is all about.

Favorite Quote
Harry: "Wow, I feel sore. I mean physically, not like a guy who's angry in a movie in the 1950's."

Trailer


5.)  Finding Nemo - Does not, for one minute, pander to kids and forget about the adults.

Favorite Quote: 
Crush:  'Cause we were like, "woaaaah.", and I was like, "woaaaah." and you were like, "woaaahh..." 

Trailer


6.)  The Dark Knight - RIP Heath Ledger.  You were simply brilliant, mate.  You will always be The Joker, but your performances in both Brokeback Mountain and Monster's Ball will not be forgotten.

Favorite Quote:
Alfred:   "Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with.  Some men just want to watch the world burn."

Trailer


7.)  High Fidelity - One of my all-time favorite books, and despite the transfer from London to Chicago, an unbelievable book-to-film adaptation.  And just maybe the story of my life.

Favorite Quote
Rob: "I get by because of the people who make a special effort to shop here - mostly young men - who spend all their time looking for deleted Smith singles and original, not re-released - underlined - Frank Zappa albums. Fetish properties are not unlike porn. I'd feel guilty taking their money, if I wasn't... well... kinda one of them".

Trailer


8.)  Wonderboys - For any of you bloggers or writers out there - this should be our bible.  It is the very notion of what writing is all about (to me anyway).  And Michael Douglas ROCKS in it.  And smokes a lot of weed.
 
Favorite Quote:
Grady:  "Furthermore, it might surprise you to know that one book I wrote, as you say, "under the influence," just happened to win a little something called the Pen Award. Which, by the way, I accepted under the influence."

Trailer
 

9.)  Layer Cake - because I have an enormous man-crush on Daniel Craig.  And British gangsters are cool.
 
Favorite Quote: 
Nameless:  "Everyone wants to walk through a door marked "private."  Therefore, have a good reason to be affluent."

Trailer
 

10.)  In Bruges - Behold, the truly great actor that is Colin Farrell.  See a movie where he delivers his lines in his native accent, and you will change your opinion of him.
 
Favorite Quote
Ray:  "My date involved two instances of extreme violence, one instance of her hand on my cock and my finger up her thing which lasted all too briefly - and then I was away - , one instance of me stealing five grams of very high-quality cocaine and one instance of me blinding a poofy little skinhead: so all in all... my evening pretty much balanced out, fine."

Trailer
 
Honorable Mentions:  Cinderella Man, There Will Be Blood, Wall-E, Moulin Rouge, A History of Violence, United 93, Zodiac, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Memento, Michael Clayton, and many others.  Feel free to add yours.  I will watch anything, hit me with suggestions.

Friday, May 21, 2010

To My Mommy

In case I haven't gotten the point across in old posts - I have two true heroes in my life.  Two of the best friends that a man could ask for.  The fact that I am a direct result of them getting naked and playing a little game of Pickle Tickle does give me pause, but I try and push that thought out of my head.  My folks, James and Elaine Derby, are everything to me, even though I am quite sure that I haven't said it enough. 

On May 26th, my darling mother, retires.  A pediatric nurse of over 40 years, she embodies exactly what is right with that profession.  Forget the arguements over PPO's vs. HMO's - it is people like her that make you feel safe at a time when you are the most concerned, and have a smile even while delivering the worst of news.  I can't be there in Indiana for her party, so I wrote a little something that my father will read to her and their guests.  I hope it gets the point across to her.

"I remember a time, years ago back in Indianapolis, when I worked a 14 hour shift at the restaurant. I had left the building the night before – no wait, make it that same morning – at about 6 AM. I went home, made some eggs, took about a four hour nap, and jumped in the shower so I could be back by noon. The restaurant was at capacity from the moment I walked in the door, to the instant I locked it back up.  My bartender walked up to me with a bewildered look on her face after, and asked one question; “How the hell do you do it?”.

The answer was easy – whatever the restaurant needed me for, I found a way to do it. When it came to work, no matter the job, I was lucky, and always excelled in whatever I was doing.
And there is a reason for that – I was raised by two people who personified the term ‘work ethic’. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you looked up the term in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Elaine Derby right under the definition, hiding her face like she does in almost every picture. Or one of James Derby, raising one finger toward the camera….



But my darling mother – she was an inspiration to me my entire life. To this day, I have never met anyone who put their heart and soul into their profession more than her. It never mattered what happened during the course of any work day – she came home with extra energy, a special reserve that she kept for her loved ones. In a day and age when professional athletes will sit out a game because they have a hangnail, and Beverly Hills debutantes create empires with nothing more than a Chihuahua in their purse and a complete lack of underwear beneath their skirt – my mother dealt with pure hell and came home with a smile, so that her children never saw her defeated.

So on this day Mom, I want you to look back. Look back at all of the years of parents screaming at you, patients throwing up on you, and – pardon me – dumb shit ‘Head Nurses’ barking orders to you in front of other people, only to take you aside when no one was looking so they could ask your advice on how to do their jobs properly. Remember that you did it the right way. Ironically, you put the kids first, and always had to deal with the babies after – them being most of the adults you worked with on a given day.

When you look back on your career, remember how after 20 years those children you took care of, now adults, would come back to the hospital and thank you. Remember the smiles on those kid’s faces when they came to after surgery, only to see that familiar face that gave them the courage to go in to that room in the first place. And remember the effect you had on your own flesh and blood, molding them by example into the (mostly) responsible people that they are today. If I am to ever be a parent (a long shot, I know), I have one goal, to adhere to the values that you set and do my best to raise the bar even higher. I have said this before, but you have never heard it - everything I was; everything that I am; everything that I will strive to be in my own life – it is because of you and your role as ‘caregiver’. Not just as a nurse and mother, but as a friend and role model. I love you so much, and can’t wait to meet the woman you will be in your retirement.

So for the first time in your adult life, lady, relax. Watch a movie, smell the flowers, and enjoy your grandchildren. And do your best not to kill Dad in the first two weeks. Go have another glass of wine – and remember, in those times when you feel lazy and worthless (yes, I know you and how you think), that every single day that your son and daughter exist, your life’s work is still putting in a full day. I would give anything to be there with you today.

I love you, Mom."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

God I Hate You People

NOT YOU GUYS!  You guys are cool, you read my bloggy thing.

I'm talking about pet peeves here.  And you despicable people who bring them into the world.  Have you ever read that book, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"?  I haven't. 

Let me tell you about my demeanor.  Put me in a crisis situation, and I am cool as ice.  Seriously, I was born without the panic gene, I get it from my mother, a nurse of 40-plus years. 

But if I am trying to check MLB.com real quick for the Mets score before heading into a meeting, and my internet freezes, sitting there motionless except for that jerk off hour glass rotating round and round, laughing at me?  Makes me want to kick a puppy.  Seriously, put Marley in front of me in that particular instant - Jennifer Aniston is going to be in fucking tears.

In other words, when it comes to stupid people doing stupid things - patience is not a virtue that I possess.  There are two types of you people in particular, you know who you are.  And I am watching you.  No, no - look here (two fingers pointed at my eyes).  Watching you.

Couples who sit on the same side of the booth in restaurants.

You are not in high school anymore.  Knock it the fuck off.  I'm not talking about when you're with another couple, or when you specifically went out to have a drink and watch the game and it's the only way you can both see the TV.  There are exceptions.  But don't you want to actually, I don't know...look at the person you came out with?  Pay attention to them, engage them?

There are only two real reasons that couples sit on the same side.  One - you have heard every single story this person has had to tell, the sex is as cold as Corey Haim, and you have secretly fantasized about pushing them down a flight of stairs.   And the only way that you can hang out in public is to make sure that you have as little eye contact as possible, to keep you from snapping and going at them like Rhianna after she just checked her text messages.  What?  Still "too soon" for that shit?

Two - you are under the table either receiving a hand job or strumming your girl's sticky banjo.  Either way, grow up, zip your fly, and go wash your hands you dirty bastard.  Your chicken strips are getting cold.

People Who Have Personalized Liscence Plates

Yeah, I know.  At least a couple of you just winced out of guilt.  I have only seen one good personalized license plate:


At least that guy has a sense of humor.

But that asshole doing 95 mph in the far right lane on the 405 last week with the plate that read, "TODS BMR"?  I loathe you.  And no, I am not jealous of your ride, even though I drive a '98 Saturn that's missing the passenger side mirror.  I have no use for a sportscar - I am perfectly satisfied with the size of my penis. 

But you 'Todd'?  I know who you are.  You are the kid in high school who lied about losing your virginity.  You know, when you supposedly slept with that chick that no one knew, cause she went to a different high school in the next town? 

In reality, while everyone else was at parties dry humping on basement couches, you were alone in your room, listening to Bobby McPherin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy", furiously pleasuring yourself until you blew your load all over that picture of Lisa Turtle from Saved By the Bell.  No one cares about your Beamer, Todd!  Now go drink your 6th Red Bull of the day, get a running start, and take a flying leap off the roof of your favorite 24 Hour Fitness you pathetic, self absorbed frat boy!
.........

Whoo, what happened?  I blacked out there for a minute.  And....oh God, whose blood is this???  Shit, I gotta go....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Favorite 10....no, shit....15 Songs of the '00's

I am no music expert.  In fact, besides the Recorder I used to rock in 4th Grade (I played a mean 'Hot Cross Buns'), I have never picked up an instrument.  But I am constantly moved by music.  All types, Hard Rock, Soft Rock, Hip-hop, Classical, Punk, etc.  Well, except Country.  Nope, I take that back, I dig Lyle Lovett for some odd reason.

I don't know why certain songs hit me.  It's just a feeling I get; an instant sort of reaction.  Like when I'm at a party and the plain girl talking to me isn't really my type, or particularly interesting for that matter.  But for some reason, my Spidey Sense tells me that she's crazy in the sack.  I mean like Cybil Shephard-crazy.

Anyway, I'm getting off track.  If I get any one of you to add one of these to a playlist, then we both win.  My Top 15 songs from 2000 to 2009:

1.)  Mark Broussard - "Home"
2.)  Mos Def - "Quiet Dog"
3.)  Ray LaMontagne - "Trouble"
4.)  Kanye West - "Jesus Walks"
5.)  Fink - "Sort of Revolution"
6.)  John Legend - "Alright"
7.)  Jump Little Children - "Close Your Eyes"
8.)  Rise Against - "Swing Life Away"
9.)  David Gray - "Sail Away"
10.)  Damien Rice - "Delicate"
11.)  Glen Haarsgard & Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly"
12.)  Griffin House - "Waste Another Day"
13.)  Rival Sons - "Tell Me Something"
14.)  Pearl Jam - "Army Reserve"
15.)  Kings of Leon - "Closer"

And please, hit me with your faves. My iTunes always needs feeding.

A Mother's Honesty

A little girl walks up to her mother and says, "Mommy, where do babies come from?"

The mom is initially speechless.  But she is a hip, modern mother, and thinks to herself, "Why not, she needs to learn some time."

"Well honey, when Mommy and Daddy love each other, Daddy puts his penis in Mommy's vagina.  And that's were babies come from."

Relieved that the conversation is over, she looks down, only to see a confused look on her daughter's face.  "What's wrong honey?"

Her daughter replies, "But Mommy, last night I had a bad dream, and came into your room.  But you had Daddy's penis in your mouth."

The mom chuckles sweetly.  "Oh honey, don't be silly.  That's where jewelry comes from."

Friday, May 14, 2010

An Attempt


Ok, so if you have read any of my blogs, you can tell that I am kind of....verbose.  A bit long-winded, one might say.  The only way that I am going to keep this thing going is to get over my 'issue' - where I have to have a completed thought, from beginning to end, and read said thought 17 times before posting to be sure that I like what I wrote.  I need to let it spill out, to be more spontaneous in my writing.  Fellow bloggers, please give me tips on how you all accomplish this, I am so fucking jealous.  How do you do this every day, or every week? 

So here I go, an attempt at a short, quick entry:

I am moving out of my house of 6 years in just 13 days.  There are a ton of memories here, most of them good.  Then again, there are a few that I would love to purge from my mental rolodex.  One of them is embodied in a letter, written by a young woman that I hurt emotionally.  I constantly try to tell myself that I by no means intended to hurt her, that she unfortunately was a victim of Clusterfuck circumstance.  But I know myself (somewhat), and am very aware of how my view on relationships/love can draw women in, while at the same time set them up for what will inevitably be, heartbreak. I am by no means trying to be arrogant about this - on the contrary, I am trying to be more honest with myself than I usually allow (it is much easier to lie to myself than it is to other people).  But my romantic proclivities are for another post.  The important thing is that I have always kept this letter as a reminder that, no matter what your intentions are, you can still hurt someone just by being you.

So today, I made a run to the dump, looking to rid myself of the mountains of shit that I have hoarded over the years - carrying them from place to place like some sort of demented sherpa.  In one of the boxes was the letter; and I knew exactly what box it was in.  I got to the dump, and tossed that box into the pile of rubbish with a head-swelling sense of accomplishment.  Go me!

As I turned to get back in the truck and take off, I noticed the man parked beside me, gazing down at the last item in his load (God, that sounded wrong) - it appeared to be a picture frame.  Before I realized that I was uncomfortably staring at him, he looked up at me.  And I shit you not, a single tear was streaming down his face.  He freaked a bit, clutched the frame to his chest, and got back in his truck.  I sat there in silence as he tore the hell off, feeling like I had just infringed on a very important moment in his life.  One where he made a decision between letting go and holding on. 

On the way home, I held a slow and steady 45 mph down the Ortega, singing Van Morrison's 'Baby Please Don't Go' (one of the single greatest rock songs ever written) along with the radio.  On the seat next to me: that letter.  I know, I know....Trash Picker!  So, what do you guys think?  Was it a serendipity type kinda moment?  Or narcissistic, boderline OCD behavior?  You tell me, let me have it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Cop Out

Ok, so this is kind of cheating.  I promise, as of June 1st, I will throw myself at this blog again.  Until then, however, I am going to put up old shit that people may have seen before, but you newbies haven't.  At least its something, cause I need to keep this going - putting my thoughts on paper allows me to control when and where I let them escape the hole in my face.  So this is my 2007 End of Year Rant, written in early '08 (hence why it's a little dated).  Hope you enjoy...
_________________________________________________________________________________
2007 is about to end. I remember thinking a month or so ago that this year had been kinda dull. That I didn't have a lot of memorable experiences - no crazy stories to tell. But the more I think about it, ole '07 was a bit of a life changing year.
Mainly because I turned 30. Very ungracefully, I might add. I have been alive for 3 decades. 10,950 days. 262,800 hours. 15,768,000 minutes. 946,080,000 seconds. Here are some of the things that happened AFTER I was born:

1.) MS-DOS was invented

2.) Cabbage Patch Kids

3.) Pope John Paul II! Seriously, before 1978 he was known as Karol Józef Wojty.

4.) PacMan

5.) Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'

Needless to say, I struggled with it. Never more so than when I unexpectedly woke up on my couch with a 19 year old girl (I promise, she looked and acted much older). Although nothing happened, I thought to myself, "When did I become a creepy old guy?" I have a back problem, an emerging bald spot, a 401K, and a bedtime during the week. And, God/Buddha/Allah/Peyton Manning help me, there are even times (THOUGH RARE, DAMMIT) when I have reason to be fully erect, but Mr. Pointy only feels like putting in half the effort. It's thoughts like these that caused me to spend two weeks holed up in my room, watching old movies with a whiskey and water, and wondering if that birthmark on my arm really had changed color, or if I was just being paranoid.

But then I took a look at my friends, the people who I enjoy spending time with, the people who really matter to me. And I realized that they all fall into two categories. Those who were younger than me, but act older than their years. And those who were as old (or older) than me, who were just big kids at heart. And I realized that the old adage was true - you are only as old as you feel.

What they don't tell you, however, is that every day is different. Some days, when I wake up in bed still wearing my coat and shoes, or relish in the fact that I just said something completely inappropriate at a corporate function, or get in the shower in the morning and wince with delight as the hot water reminds me of the claw marks on my back - I feel like that big kid. The one that still yells at people if they try and talk to me while I am reading Harry Potter for the 7th time. The one that still reacts to my Colts losing a football game by striking an inanimate object. And the sorry sap who still giggles like a school girl anytime someone uses any one of the seemingly endless variations of the word "poo".

On the other hand, there are also those days when I bend over to tie my shoes and my back goes out. Or I yell "Fucking teenagers!" when one of them cuts me off on the freeway. Or when I notice a really hot girl walking down the street, only to realize that she is coming from the direction of Dana Hills High School - it is on these occasions that my mind, my body, and my spirit feel aged. And I wonder if my best, most creative, most attractive, and most exhilarating days are no longer on the horizon in front of me, but rather in the rearview mirror, growing smaller and smaller until they slip out of view and drift from my memory.

When I realize that I am having one of those days, one word always comes to mind. A great word - a word that expresses anger, joy, and surprise. A word that can be used as a noun, verb, or even a greeting. A word used by poets, politicians, and streetwalkers alike. And that word is.....Fuck.

So yes, it is true, you are only as old as you feel. But regardless of how optimistic you are, there are going to be days when life is going to do its very best to remind you that most of the "firsts" in your life have already happened; and that each year brings on more responsibility, more reasons to be cautious. So it isn't whether or not you say that wonderful four letter word; it is what you do after saying it. Are you going to immediately go lie on the couch, watch an old Saved By the Bell episode, and let the highlight of your day be when you finally allow yourself to scratch that itch that is hovering dangerously close to your butt-hole when no one is looking? Or are you going to go run on the beach, call an old friend, and then go out to a bar and hit on the first girl/guy you see that looks like they got in with a fake ID.....just cause you can?

So before I end with a list of the things I learned in '07, I will raise a glass to '08, and hope that it allows me to spend part of it with each of you. Cause all of us big kids, or young adults, we need to stick together. Experiences are what your life is made up of. But honestly, think back to all of your most memorable experiences....go ahead, I will wait.  Now count how many of them happened while you were alone. Probably precious few.

2007 proved to me that:
1.)  Men and women will never, ever be on the same page. Kudos to those of you who are still making your relationships work, and to those who were smart enough to get out cause it just wasn't working. My advice?  Grab onto the nearest guy or girl who makes you smile, and just go along for the ride. And give them a nice, hard slap on the ass while you're at it.

2.)  The days of looking up to professional athletes are all but over. So quit your bitching, enjoy the game, and if you need a role model, hang out with an elementary school teacher or volunteer firefighter.

3.)  My niece and two nephews may just be the most incredible human beings that ever lived.

4.)  Celebrities are so much more boring than they used to be. Remember when a celeb scandal meant Kurt Cobain putting a bullet in his temple, or OJ very slowly fleeing in a Bronco after cutting two people's heads off? And I am supposed to freak over bald - ass Brittney Spears flashing her cooch for the 37th time? At least she did answer the age old question of whether or not the carpet matches the drapes. And for those of you who truly think Jennifer Love Hewitt is fat, I have three little words: Go. Fuck. Yourself.

5.)  MySpace, the New England Patriots, Grey's Anatomy, and dog-fighting are all things that Satan came up with while he was touching himself.

6.)  If you haven't seen it already, run - don't walk - to the nearest independent theater to see the film "Into the Wild".

7.)  When the SoCal wild fires hit, my friend and I contacted three agencies trying to volunteer some form of help. We were denied and told that, to be honest, they had so many volunteers that they were running into each other. Think about that and remember that humanity still has a chance, even if it is a small one.

8.)  The difference between a friend and and someone you dislike usually boils down to a misunderstanding or a mistake someone made that could probably be forgiven. Take another look at it, and be the bigger person. You can never have enough friends.

But then again, some people are just cock-suckers. Happy New Year.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest Blogger - Laurnie

AN ODE TO MY BFF
Hello my fellow followers, and welcome to Andrew's space. If you are a follower from waaay back, then this little post is a repeat. But if not, then please sit back and enjoy...

Ahh my BFF Andrew. Today I blog about you. Because I think the world (or anyone who happens to read this) should know just how awesome you are. I mean, how many people can say their BFF kicks them when they're down (with love, of course)? Gets to hear about how a good BM made his morning? Never gets to be right in a conversation? And if you are right, and have proven it by googling and showing that you ARE right, he still believes that the internet is wrong. 

But really. I am very lucky in the sense that I have a male BFF who would rather eat his own puke than sleep with me, and vice versa. Who will sit and laugh like a child until he cries when I show him the fart application on my phone. Who will still, after 3.5 years, look at me with disgust when I say I haven't seen a specific movie. Who will in one sentence insult me, and then follow it up with a great compliment. Who will tell the world all the reasons why he HATES being called a BFF, but how he is ok with the fact that I do it, because Im special :) And who will read my blog, find some sort of mistake, criticize it, then maybe finally decide he needs to light that fire under his ass write his own blog. Because my BFF is one of the smartest, wittiest, cynical, hilarious, greatest writers Ive ever known, and he is wasting it away. I mean this out of love. But his end of the year rants are all I get, and this year 2008 came out in May 2009. He needs to get on it.

So today I waste 20 minutes blogging about Andrew, for no reason at all except the fact that Im bored. Andrew, please blog more so people have something more interesting to read. Love you!
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