Heckler: The Documentary

A couple days ago, I was surfing through YouTube looking for clips of Maria Bamford doing standup. Go ahead, judge me if you want, but it eventually led me to a documentary posted in six parts called “Heckler”. It was co-produced by and stars Jamie Kennedy and I think it creates a really interesting narrative. Some people (including a bunch who wrote comments on YouTube) think he made it because he’s a big whiner, but the whole thing is pieced together with parts of interviews from a couple dozen comedians, actors, directors, critics, etc., so it’s way beyond one person saying, “Boo hoo, people are mean.”

In retrospect, it seems I’ve played both roles: the person being criticized (e.g., being on the first season of Beauty and the Geek) and the critic (e.g., writing about later seasons of Beauty and the Geek). I hadn’t thought much about it before, so it’s led me to a level of introspection that some people in the documentary probably wouldn’t waste their time on. (Incidentally, those people can suck it.)

I thought I could write down some of those insights down on paper… computer screen… which combined with watching the videos might lead to some revelations of your own. (Two people posted it in six parts; I decided to link to the account that put clean breaks between the parts as opposed to switching in the middle of sentences. However, this one cut out the final credits that the other left in, which includes a few more interview clips and Danny Trejo telling any critics watching, “I know where you live.”)

I’ll write more later, but if this has piqued your interest at all, watching the video below is the place to start.

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Christmas is getting longer

You’ve probably noticed that Christmas continues to get longer year after year. There used to be 25 days starting on December 1st. In 2014, it swallowed up my birthday — October 19th — with Christmas decorations and holiday music already in stores.

It doesn’t just start early, either. Now it sticks around for part of January as well. I didn’t really notice until this year that car companies’ “holiday sales” stretch into the middle of the month. Mid-October through mid-January. Four months of Christmas and growing. (Some people say there’s a war against Christmas, but if that’s the case, Christmas is kicking their asses.)

And just in case that’s not bad enough, I went to get a haircut yesterday, February 24th. They have a fridge in the back of the salon with pop, so I went to grab a Coke before I left. What did I see on the can?

A picture of Santa.

I love myself, diabetes be damned!

I went to the pharmacy today to pick up some medications. Since it’s in a grocery store, I opted to cruise the Valentine’s Day aisle to look at heart-shaped boxes of candy that were priced at 50% off. Not having a Valentine has its benefits: I can buy discounted chocolate to show me how much I love myself that I don’t have to share.

I went up to the counter, the pharmacist went to grab my meds, then she pulled out a sheet of paper next to the register. The heading was Eating Healthy with Diabetes and she explained that if I got enough “points” on the risk factor list (age, weight, physical activity, etc.), I could get a free screening for Type 2 diabetes and, well, I didn’t follow all of what she was saying. I was too busy looking down at the counter at four boxes of discounted chocolate that showed me how much I love myself that I didn’t have to share.

Asleep With My Eyes Open

I spent some time tonight searching through boxes of old stuff and opened one up that had a bunch of my old yearbooks from grades 1-10. I know, it’s hard to believe, but I was once young enough to be in first grade. In the middle of that pile, I’d also saved an old school literary magazine called Flash from Spring of 1992.

I’ve seen people post old pictures of themselves on Facebook with the hashtag #tbt for “Throwback Thursday”. While this is a couple hours late and not a picture, it’s a poem I wrote back in 9th grade. (As you can tell, my literary skills have improved immensely… or maybe not.)

Asleep With My Eyes Open

A ragged old man walks down the street.
His thunderous stomach wants something to eat.
Suddenly, he collapses upon my feet.
But I don’t notice
For I am asleep with my eyes open.

A skimpy-dressed woman is offering fun.
She suddenly jumps up, and then starts to run.
BANG! Another person picked off by a gun.
But I don’t notice
For I am asleep with my eyes open.

A man runs into me, skin of black.
As I get up, I hear a crack.
As I walk off, police club the man’s back.
But I don’t notice
For I am asleep with my eyes open.

Why is it that I’m so free?
That oppression can escape me?
I simply do not choose to see.
That’s why I don’t notice.
That’s why I’m asleep with my eyes open.

— Shawn C. Bakken

Find him before it’s too late!

My mom was watching NCIS: New Orleans earlier tonight, a show that my brain fights against every time it’s on TV. It might be good, but Scott Bakula is the main character and I just can’t make the mental shift away from him on Quantum Leap. Plus his southern accent is pretty terrible.

In this episode, an old friend came to visit him at the NCIS office, who revealed that he’d been poisoned, he’s going to die and there’s no cure.

“I need you to find out who did this to me…”
“Before it’s too late.”

Sure, it builds an appropriate amount of suspense right before the first commercial break, but it also brought up something else that my brain started fighting against:

Too late for what?

“Too late” suggests there’s a deadline, a point in time when you have to have solved a problem. If someone wants $1,000,000 by midnight or he’ll kill the person he kidnapped, get him the money by 11:59 or it’s too late. If a bomb is set to explode in ten seconds, disarm it before the timer reaches zero or it’s too late. You can prevent something from happening if you accomplish a task before that point in time.

Conversely, Scott Bakula’s friend has been poisoned and there’s no cure. His death is inevitable. So what’s the problem to be solved before the deadline? What danger can be averted? There’s no “Find a cure to the poison or I’ll die”, no “We won’t catch the culprit if I die”… it’s just a request for help to find the bad guy. There is no “too late” in this scenario.

If the threat had been “I’ve been poisoned, there’s no cure and if you can’t fake a decent southern accent by the end of this episode, you’ll never work in television again”, well, that’s another story. That’s definitely something he could do before it’s “too late”, but whether he could realistically solve the problem… I suppose he could always hope for a Quantum Leap reunion.