Thursday, March 29, 2007

My daughter is a nurse.

Today I saw a bumper sticker-- well, I don't know if it was a sticker. It was a shiny silver rear bumper with stencil black letters spelling out a message on one side of it. I don't know how those letters were on there, but it was somewhat like a bumper sticker. Anyway, it said, "My daughter is a nurse." Right. Okay. What is the point of this? Your daughter is a nurse. And? What? Is that-- are you proud or something? Is that like, "My son is an honor student?" Or is that meant to win the favor of the parking police, like one of those MD license plates? To me, it reads like, "I know someone who has this job." Like, why is that there? You can tell more about me by the dents and scratches on my car. They say, "I'm reckless and don't have a lot of spending money."


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ripped off.

Today I went to get a haircut at one of the Supercuts on Sunset. If memory serves, a haircut at Supercuts used to be no more than like $13. For all I know, back in Orlando or somewhere else, it might still be. But on Sunset, it's currently $15.50. And that's without the tip, you know. I used to always tip about $2. But out here (and I guess everywhere else), that's an insult. So I make it my practice to always tip $3, which is somewhere between 19 and 20% (for an already overpriced haircut, let's not forget). I guess they must consider THAT an insult too, because today, when I paid with my debit card, they charged me for a $5 tip (which, for those curious, is somewhere between an outrageous 32 and 33%). This may have been an accident, but I don't see how that's possible, considering I had written down $3 under "tip" and $18.50 under "total." Isn't this illegal? I didn't catch it till after I got home. But I wonder, what would happen if I went back and demanded my $2? This money errantly went to the cosmetologist who cut my hair, not the actual store. Would they give me the money out of the register or force someone to pay me out of their pocket? Is $2 even worth this kind of hassle? Probably not. Fuck these ugly whores. I'm changing Supercuts.


Saturday, March 24, 2007


I've been watching the show, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" on FOX. I don't have the inclination to describe every detail of the show's format, but I will say that you have but to answer 10 elementary-level questions (split between 1st-through-5th grade categories, two questions per) for the chance to win $500,000, with a shot at a cool million if you can answer a hypothetical 11th bonus question. I call it hypothetical because I still haven't seen anyone make it that far.

I don't know how they screen the contestants for this show, but something tells me it involves hitting them on the head with some kind of mallet. These are the stupidest people on television. I noticed that they take an extra long time answering ANYTHING, even when they know the answer. The fact that it happens for every question leads me to believe that they are probably coached to do so, in order to heighten the drama and really fill that hour slot. But they can't have possibly fixed this many people to walk away with their winnings from so many insanely easy questions. The other night, a woman was going through the questions, working her way from the 1st grade ones to the 5th. When she hit 4th Grade Algebra, she was asked this:

If Y=3X and 3X=12, what does Y equal?

Now, I don't know if this question even qualifies as actual algebra. A 4-year-old could solve this using simple logic (something that actually comes with most human brains). The woman theorized that the answer might be 4, then walked away with her winnings. I don't remember how much money she had, but it was too much. Then earlier tonight, I was watching the rest of that episode, and the next contestant was actually doing pretty good. She worked her way down the board from 5th to 1st grade, so that she could use her free helps on the harder questions, which is already smart in and of itself. At one point, they mentioned that she used to work for the U.S. Army. She got everything right, and it all came down to the 10th and last question that would win her a half a mil. The category was 1st Grade World Geograpy.

What is the only continent that is also a country?

She milked the moment in typical dramatic game show fashion. At one point, she mused aloud that "North America is also a country..." Wait, what? If she was playing dumb, this bitch was good. But as it turned out, she had not one fucking clue what the answer was. She then proclaimed that 3 was her lucky number, so she was going to walk away with her winnings of $300,000. When asked to throw out a guess for the hell of it, she said, "All of 'em!"

Something is not right with this show. Is this real? Like, did that really happen in reality? I just don't know what to think.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Maxim update.

So, right on the heels of my tirade about how Maxim sucks and I'm never going to buy their magazine again, I paid full retail price for their first issue beyond the umbrella of my former subscription. It's the April 2007 issue with Fergie Ferg on the cover, which I purchased for obvious reasons. And while going through my pre-reading ritual of tearing out all the inserts, I noticed that every single one was pushing the same subscription offer-- 18 issues for $10.00.

18 issues for $10.00?!

After they made such a huge deal about their last-ditch we-want-you-back mind-blowing-sex-position-of-an-offer of 12 issues for $11.97? Upon which I discovered this was only three cents lower than the offer everyone gets on their website (12 issues for $12.00)? This is disgusting. Here they are offering me a year's worth of issues at a dollar each, when people off the street are being treated to a year and a half's worth of issues at 55 cents each. We're talking MORE issues for LESS money. At first I thought this might be a new price for everyone, but their website remains unchanged. So unless their site just needs to be updated, am I to believe that different people are getting different offers for the same product? Let's review.

GROUP 1: Departing subscribers -- 12 issues for $11.97.
GROUP 2: Website visitors -- 12 issues for $12.00.
GROUP 3: Unsubscribed readers -- 18 issues for $10.00.

Do they figure the people in those first two groups are so much more likely to throw their money away than the faceless mass composing group 3 that they shouldn't be offered as good a deal? What kind of research is this based on? No one would willingly pay more money for a shorter subscription if they knew about this. You don't even need to buy an issue to get the little subscription card inside. Are they relying on consumer ignorance?!

I was talking to my brother about this, and he directed me to a website that lists deals for things, including some ways to get free magazine subscriptions-- in this case, a specific coupon code used at a specific website. So I went to this site and used the code to get 4 free years of Maxim. They also had Stuff, so I got 4 free years of that, too. If you're asking yourself, as I was, what the catch is, there seems to be no catch. The broham in fact claims that magazines don't make that much from subscriptions anyway. Most of their revenue comes from companies who buy ads in the magazine. And the more subscribers they have, the more they can charge for those ads. So, one last time:

GROUP 1: Departing subscribers -- 12 issues for $11.97.
GROUP 2: Website visitors -- 12 issues for $12.00.
GROUP 3: Unsubscribed readers -- 18 issues for $10.00.
GROUP 4: Me -- 48 issues for $0.00.

Works for me.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stupid bitches who want me back (and why Jeni shot himself).

This needs a bit of setup: One thing I usually like to do is talk about magazines I like and the infinite problems they create for me. Subscriptions in particular are the biggest irony about magazines, because they are simultaneously the best and worst thing about them.

- They come right to your mailbox lickety split so you don't have to seek them out in stores.
- No one has leafed through it before you, so it's a cleanest best read.
- It saves you shitloads of money because magazines cost thousands of dollars if you buy them at a store.

- They sometimes come absurdly late, like a month or two after the thing already hit newsstands.
- They can get bent or crushed in your mailbox if your mail carrier or mail center people are absolute retards.
- On months when the magazine has three or four collector's covers, you don't get to choose your favorite. You just get sent a random one that, half the time, you hate.

To me, the bad here overwhelmingly outweighs the good. Also, consider the fact that when I moved from Orlando to Los Angeles, it took several months to even be able to reach Wizard and tell them I wanted to change my address. Maxim, for all their bullshit, at least had a simple website interface that allowed me to easily change my address and see when my subscription would run out. I sent Wizard desperate emails, left them angry voicemails, even applied for jobs at Wizard so I could mention on my cover letter that part of the reason I was applying was so that I could get the address changed on my subscription. Eventually, after I intimated in one of my emails that I would never again renew my subscription, some schmuck actually replied to me and said they would make the change. What the hell were they doing that whole time?

But getting the address changed was only the beginning of the fuck party they were preparing to have on my ass. You might be wondering about that aforementioned Maxim bullshit. Well, for some reason, once I moved, all my Maxim issues started coming late. One of them didn't even come at all until it arrived at the same time as the next issue, and that was only after I complained. The same thing happened to my roommate with his Entertainment Weekly. What is the deal with this? This wasn't a problem in Florida. Are the publishers delivering these shits on foot, starting with the east coast?

Another thing I hate about Maxim is that every year, they print an issue that comes with a special bonus magazine where they count down the Top 100 Hotties of that year. FHM does the same thing, and I think Stuff does Top 50 or something. I don't know what's going on with Stuff. Anyway, I loved reading these special inserts and cross-referencing the Maxim hotties with the FHM hotties to see which hottie was most universally admired (I believe in 2003, it was Jennifer Lopez). I would also try to incorporate Stuff, but because they only had 50, I would have to administer two different point-based systems, which would leave me with two different sets of results. I don't know if I'd bother with that today, or if they're still even doing only 50 over at Stuff. Fuck Stuff. Anyway, this Top 100 insert was not included in your magazine if you had a subscription. So if you loved Maxim so much that you bought a subscription, essentially committing yourself to reading every single issue that year, you were also condemning yourself to having to buy that entire one issue again at full store price just so you could read their shitty list of 100 skanks.

My subscriptions to Wizard and Maxim ran out recently and I didn't renew either. I can get my Wizards before they hit bookstores because the comic book stores get them extra early, so I just go there every month and pick out my favorite variant cover. And I don't even think I'll read Maxim anymore, because they never feature anyone good now. Their issues are usually filled with models I've never heard of, with only a few interesting articles. Maybe if they were still convincing my favorite celebrities to pose for whorish pictures, I might be slightly more interested. So when they sent me two or three envelopes telling me to renew my subscription, I tore them up into little pieces. My issues never arrived on time, but they were sure as shit prompt with those renewal envelopes.

Yesterday, I got a thing from Maxim saying, "WE WANT YOU BACK!" Under that, it said, "Let us win you back to Maxim with this last-ditch-get-it-for-almost-nothing deal. (Just don't make us beg.)" Nice punctuation, shitheads. On the back it says, "Okay. Renew my one-year subscription (12 hot issues) for only $11.97 -- a "we want you back" deal that saves me 80% and is like getting 9 Free Issues!" They also pulled out all the stops and put the Jamie Pressly cover on the reactivation sticker. They ALWAYS use this Jamie Pressly cover to advertise their magazine. In it, she's topless, covering her boobs with one arm and pointing at you while winking. This is the magazine equivalent of that cowboy that fired into the screen and scared the shit out of everybody in 1903's The Great Train Robbery. But I started thinking to myself that this didn't sound like such a bad deal. It kinda was like buying three issues and getting nine for free. I was also intrigued by the fact that they were making this sound like a really hot thing that no one else gets. So I checked their website to see what kind of sucker deal everyone else was being offered. And there it was. "U.S. 12 issues for $12.00."


I may buy a Maxim issue in the future at a store if it looks interesting. But besides that, I shan't be reading their shitty magazine that isn't even right about half the shit it says, especially in their movie reviews, ever again. Or maybe I'll get the subscription, if I feel like it. I guess I better decide soon though, so I can get the special deal that saves me three cents.

Then today, I got an email from Universal Orlando encouraging me to come out and apply for another job with them.


(see my last entry)

And finally, someone got to the bottom of that Richard Jeni thing. It seems that, according to his family, he was diagnosed earlier this year with severe clinical depression coupled with bouts of psychotic paranoia. So the mental state that drove him to put a bullet in his head wasn't because of any kind of illness-- it WAS the illness. Another little thing I noticed is that all the websites now claim he was 49, not 45. That detail must have come forward when every person reporting on his death was forced to do research for the paragraph-long obituary at the end. In fact, if you were watching his Wikipedia page, there was no record of his birthdate until well after someone posted the date of his death. The page at one point actually said "(???? - March 10, 2007)." I don't like the fact that some people only get attention when they die. He was supposedly having a very prolific last few years, but I don't remember ever tuning into the news and hearing, "Richard Jeni still funny." Man. I would watch that news show.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Richard Jeni is dead and I still don't have a job.

Yesterday I auditioned for a plum job at Universal Studios Hollywood. It seems they are opening a scary house/maze called the House of Horrors at the end of March. This will be like a Halloween Horror Nights attraction, except year round. I worked Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando in 2004 and 2005. It's a fun job with lots of great perks, so this was perfect for me, since I'm still not employed here in LA. The open call for that particular attraction was at 2:30pm, but they didn't actually call us in till about an hour after that. The audition consisted of us going in about 10 at a time and being told to walk around in a creepy way to the tune of some scary music (I believe it was the theme from Halloween). The guy then shouted out surprise scenarios for us to react to, such as, "You're a zombie looking for brains," "You're dying from inhaling poison gas," and "You're coming back to life as the monster of your choice." Then they sent a woman out after us who called out the numbers of the people they liked, and mine was one of few numbers not called. I attribute this failure to a number of possibilities.

1. After standing around against a wall for roughly an hour, I was nowhere near the correct state of mind for jumping around and acting scary.
2. Being a careful listener and extremely literal thinker, I heavily considered the fact that they were mainly looking at movement, and that the position required us to wear a full latex mask, so I made no effort to project any scary sounds or even make a scary face. All I did was concentrate on my bodily movement.
3. My movement choices lacked variety, because I was thinking of zombies the entire time.
4. When I was asked to say my name and why I wanted the job, I didn't make any jokes or affable quips, so I came off about as forgettable as Haley Scarnato, when I should have been as memorable as Chris Sligh.
5. My number was 116, and when I looked down at my shirt, it looked like 911, which is cursed with bad mojo.
6. Most everyone else seemed to have a headshot/resume.
7. Body type? This one is probably irrelevant.

Anyway, I was sure that the failure was completely my fault, and it angered and depressed me to no end. I've been looking for a job that I can do without being completely miserable, that would also leave me with enough focus to do the primary thing I need to be doing, which is working on screenplays. This job was ideal for that, and I blew it.

Then I think I was later cheered up by something I saw on TV... can't remember what. And then later that night, I saw that Richard Jeni had died at age 45 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Richard Jeni was one of the comedians I kept my eye on because I loved his standup and hoped to see him live someday. I had managed to see Mitch Hedberg live before his untimely demise, but it looks like I completely missed Jeni. Why is someone just going to shoot themselves in the face? It says on news reports that his girlfriend found him alive in his apartment after the shot was fired, and that he later died in the hospital, and that although the investigation is still open, it was probably suicide due to some undisclosed supposedly-irreversible health issues. Well, someone better get to the bottom of this. I mean, good lord. Don't just shoot yourself in the face. Talk to people.

Maybe I should try to get a job as a standup comedian. Or maybe not.


What is this blog?

Too many people know about my livejournal for me to comfortably blog on there, so I started this new one. This one is not impossible to find, since there is a link to it on my blogger profile, which is available on my Ask Big D blog. Basically, anyone with the capacity to click on a link and scroll down has the opportunity to discover this blog. But I'm not going to list it on my site, because then it's the same deal as the livejournal.

The type of thing I will write in this blog is not stuff I mind people reading (I think writing to no one is about as insane as talking to yourself), but I'm not going to go around advertising it or anything. The point of this post is to establish policy. I seem to do this with every blog I start.