Back to Virginia!
Haha, just kidding...
With our current lease expiring at the end of next month, Re and I wanted to get a new place. Our current apartment is in a real nice location but it's a long commute to work for her. Now anybody who's lived here or knows anybody who's lived here will tell you that finding an apartment in LA can be really hard. Not quite as hard as getting one in NYC, but it's right up there.
So we were looking for weeks with not much luck... places were either too expensive or they were in areas where we were likely to get stabbed if we went outside to get the mail. Fortunately, we stumbled onto a place in West Hollywood listed on Craigslist and quickly contacted the guy to arrange a viewing. We immediately liked what we saw. The place is on the top floor of the building, has hardwood floors and lots of sunlight (something our current place is lacking, if you ask me). What's extra cool about this place is that every unit in the building is a condo, so the various owners have customized the units to their liking. In our case, the person knocked down one of the walls and made a ridiculously huge walk in closet. You could practically much throw down a mattress in this thing and call it another room (Re, this does not mean you can fill it up with more shoes). The previous owner also installed Bose surround sound speakers in the walls and left them there, so that'll be pretty nifty once we get that hooked up with the TV 'n all. It supposedly comes with free basic cable too, but I'll believe that when I see it.
One of my favorite things is that the place has roof access where you can go up and get an amazing view of the city, sit in the lawn chairs and have a barbeque too. It's insanely cool at night to be up there. Perhaps a future location for a West Coast I-Mockery get-together? I've always had my eyes set on the Ground Kontrol arcade up in Portland for something like that, but who knows...
Anyway, the best thing about the place, though, is that it's one block away from where Re works. She can literally walk to work every day now instead of killing 2+ hours a day for a commute in the car. That's just something that does not happen in LA... everybody has some kind of a commute here, so we got really lucky. She'll have more time to work on her own art stuff after work and we can meet up for lunch all the time... or she can come home for it! That's gonna rock so hard. We can also sell off the 2nd car now... the old Honda Civic from '93 which is still running somehow even with the 180,000+ miles on it and having drove us across the entire friggin' country. That car has definitely earned its retirement.
So yeah, we're really excited about the new place and can't wait to be all moved in. I'll post some pics of it as soon as I have the chance. The landlord is really nice and even gave us our keys over a week in advance (our lease doesn't begin 'til August 1st) so we can move some of our smaller things in early. That's proved to be a huge help because the San Diego Comic-Con is coming up this week and we're going down there for a long weekend. Then after that, Jason (Protoclown) and Macon are coming to visit us for about 5 days. So yeah, it's gonna be one hell of a busy month between all of that and moving into the new place.
So whaddaya think, will we survive yet another move or will this be the one that finally drives us mad?
Survey #1: What's the worst experience you've ever had with moving into a new place. Share all the details of your horrific story whether it's dropping a box and breaking your valuables or the moving truck breaking down or what have you...
Survey #2: Who's going to the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend? I'll be covering the event with tons of photos just like I do every year, so keep your eyes peeled for me Friday through Sunday and I'll give ya some I-Mockery stickers 'n stuff. For those of you who can't attend, I'll do my best to get you plenty o' good photos. In the meantime, check our my photo galleries from previous years:
UPDATE (7/26): I should also note to anybody attending the San Diego Comic-Con that there will be a zombie walk starting at 6pm on Friday that will end up at the convention center! You can learn the details about it here. Also, I recently provided some background info on zombie walks for an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. It's a cool article that covers a lot of info on zombie walks in general and they even give us a nice lil' plug. Check it out here.
So the other night I was flipping through the TV channels when I stumbled on a commercial for a new documentary series reality show (docureality?) called Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel. At first, I honestly thought it was a joke because of the way they were promoting it and the fact that it didn't seem to be very "historical". Sure, ice road trucking is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, but that doesn't mean it makes for exciting television. Plus, it's quite obvious to me that they're just trying to cash in on the success of the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" show, which is extremely entertaining to watch. Still, I had to watch at least one episode of Ice Road Truckers to see if they could pull off an entire series about this occupation.
So the show itself covers the lives of these ice road truck drivers who work up in Canada's Northwest Territory to bring supplies to the diamond mines. Just like on Deadliest Catch, there are a variety of characters including veteran truckers and rookie kids in a race to make the most cash. The best thing about the show so far would have to be Hugh. He's the big guy who they all call "the polar bear". Honestly, they should give everybody on the show nicknames like that. Call the rookie "lil' penguin" or "baby seal" or something and you've got yourself an even better show, guaranteed.
Anyway, Hugh owns four trucks and drives one of them himself while his employees drive the other three. The first episode I saw was very exciting... what with all the green night vision shots of Hugh yawning inside his truck, staring out into the black abyss talking about how he's on his own when he's out there. Oh and there was a fender-bender too! ACTION-PACKED! There was also one guy who lost his license due to speeding, so he went to a bar, played some horrible song about the ice road and went back home, vowing to never drive a truck again and instead become a full-time musician. Good luck with all that, pal.
In some of the later shows, trucks fall through the ice, which is the big danger that they're hyping up for this show. Now don't get me wrong, these truckers have a hard job, it is dangerous and I'm sure I couldn't cut it out there on the open icy road (I can't even stay on the road in Pole Position), but come on... this just isn't something that you need to dedicate an entire TV series to. I can understand doing a single documentary about their job, but it's nowhere nearly as exciting or dangerous as watching the action of Deadliest Catch on the Bering Sea. There are no pots filled with king crab or ships named "Time Bandit" and "Fierce Allegiance" or even Bon Jovi singing "Wanted Dead or Alive" on this show... just yawning guys driving trucks. But hey, it still might be enough to hold your interest since every now and then you'll get to hear some wisdom straight from their lips such as this: "You gotta have a respect for the ice road. If you don't have a respect for the ice road, it'll come up and bite you in the ass." Classic.
So am I the only one here that even cares about looking into these kind of shows, or do you all dream of hauling in a big pot of king crabs some day too? Or perhaps hermit crabs?
As many of you know, I-Mockery spearheaded a big campaign to get the first season of the Upright Citizens Brigade released on DVD. Thousands of people signed it and some even hand-delivered it to Comedy Central's offices, and as a result, the DVD was released (and season 2 is finally on the way). The original cast members were even cool enough to send me a nice "thank you" package in the mail a while back. Truly spiffy stuff...
Well, I didn't really tell anybody about this, but over the past two months I've been taking long-form improv classes with the Upright Citizens Brigade. It's something I've always been interested in, and getting to train with the UCB alumni is one of those LA opportunities that I simply could not pass up while living out here. It also proved to be a great way for me to get out from writing behind the computer all the time and instead get up on stage. The class really kept all of us on our feet at all times... constantly making you think and act fast. Having seen UCB's "Asssscat" show live, this class only made me further appreciate just how talented those guys really are.
Anyway, for our final class assignment, we actually got to put on a show last night at the UCB Theatre here in LA. I, like many others, were worried we were gonna absolutely suck, so I didn't bother inviting anybody because I didn't want to waste their time. I mean, how could we not suck when you see what the UCB veterans were capable of doing? Amazingly enough, our class did far better at the live show than we ever did during our classes. I guess we all somehow reacted better to the added pressure of a live performance.
All in all, it's been a great experience for me and I had a lot of fun doing the show. I even got to emerge from a pregnant scientologist's womb as the almighty Xenu in front of a live audience! How many people can say that?
I definitely plan on taking the level 2 course, but I'll probably hold off 'til next month since the rest of July I'll be busy with hunting for a new place to live and the San Diego Comic-Con. Once that stuff is out of the way, I'll be signing up for my level 2 classes. Next time I promise I'll announce the show that I'm going to be in for those of you who are interested in attending. I'm also going to make a point to attend some of UCB's improv jams where we students can join in the action.
Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks to the other students in my class who were a lot of fun to work with and play off of, and of course to our ever-so-helpful instructor, Will McLaughlin.
Don't Think. Viva La Chaos!
You know, there's a lot of surreal stuff about driving across the country to live in LA. Checking out many of the places that I've seen in movies, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, laughing at the so-called "winter weather" in December... but nothing, and I mean nothing, is surreal as seeing Chyna hanging around your apartment.
So the other night, I'm sitting in my room at 3am, typing away on another article as usual (sometimes I work better late at night, less distractions) when all of a sudden I hear somebody talking really loud outside my window. I peek through the blinds to discover ex-wrestling superstar Chyna, stumbling around and talking so loud you'd think she was wearing headphones. Her speech was slurred and she was blathering on about her thoughts on some party she and her friend had just been to.
While I enjoyed seeing her fumble around quite a bit, I'm sure all the other neighbors didn't care for her loud drunken/over-medicated banter at 3am. What's funnier is that this isn't even the first time I've seen her here. I saw her once a few months back, late at night again, but she was so intoxicated that time I couldn't even tell what she was saying (nor do I have a clue as to what was keeping her from falling flat on her face). I wasn't even sure it was her at the time, but after getting a better view of her the other night, I'm 100% positive it was indeed "The Ninth Wonder of the World" herself.
So here's to you, Chyna... thanks for keeping me amused in the wee hours of the night. By all means, please stop by again. I'll even leave some meds and liquor out for you on my doorstep.
On a completely unrelated note, the Simpsons Movie soundtrack is the first soundtrack I've ever had the desire to eat.
Sure, the soundtrack itself may not be of any interest, but you've gotta admit... that's one hell of a good novelty packaging job.
And last but certainly not least, today is Friday the 13th so I expect all of you to bust out your Friday the 13th DVD sets (or you can watch the edited to hell versions that will surely appear on TV tonight. AMC usually shows some of the movies, but come on, you should ALL own that DVD set by now). Whether you enjoy watching Crispin Glover dance like a maniac or you enjoy watching Jason stab people... like a maniac, the movies are pure slashtastic fun. You can check out my features on Jason's 10 Best Kills, Jason Takes Manhattan and the godawful Jason X costume if you want to relive some of the memories online. Have a fun time celebrating one of our favorite horror heroes, and don't have any premarital sex tonight. The consequences could be dire!
Survey: If you had to pick one scene from any of the Friday the 13th films, what would be your absolute favorite one?
My pals over at Destructoid are in town for the E3 conference and we finally had a chance to meet up in person last night. We decided to eat at a place called "Ye Olde King's Head" - a British pub/restaurant in Santa Monica. Really cool place that's known for having really good fish 'n chips. Not being big into seafood, I had a burger which was pretty damned good, but the fish 'n chips were truly a spectacle. Those things were friggin' huge. It's like they yanked Flipper out of the sea, baked him inside a cake and then deep fried him. I think just one order of those could feed 3 people and then send 'em straight to the hospital for an emergency triple bypass shortly thereafter. Most impressive. We had a table for about 13 people and more kept showing up from all over including Dave from Cheap Ass Gamer who told me what it's like to be a tall American guy living in Tokyo. I still have to visit/live there some day. Domo-Kun demands it. Big thanks to our host, Niero, along with everybody else who helped make our table completely chaotic and fun time. It was great meeting all of ya!
Speaking of E3, Nintendo not only announced a Mario Kart online version for the Wii due out in early '08 (finally!), but they also announced Wii Fit which will apparently get people to start using their Wii as a legitimate exercise machine. You'll be able to do 40 different exercise routines including things like balancing and push-ups, and it will even track your progress as the months go by. As if the Wii didn't already dominate the market in sales, this is going to be sheer madness. I can't wait to post my progress charts... I'm soooo going to kick all of your asses. Actually, no... my chart will probably just have the word "FAIL" in big bold letters plastered all over it.
Anyway, getting back to the topic of eating at restaurants, Re and I have this one favorite little Italian place down in West Hollywood. It's one of those hole-in-the-wall places that I can't even remember the name of... something generic like "New York Pizza & Pasta" I think. Anyway, the food there is always good and they've got awesome garlic knots with marinara sauce (being from New York originally, it's hard to find really good/comparable Italian food on the West coast in case I haven't mentioned it before - watch "My Blue Heaven" for further proof). One of the bonuses about eating at this place is that you always get a laugh while reading the menu since there are a lot of misspellings on it. But that's not the best part... the best part is this:
Hrm, what's out of place in this picture? Gee, I wonder... could it be the Cigarettes in the Calzone category? Let alone the fact that it's amazing to see cigarettes on a food menu, the fact that they were just thrown in with the calzones because they couldn't find any other place to put them on there is hilarious. Now I don't smoke but I swear, one day I'm gonna build up the nerve to order a cigarette calzone so we can have a conversation that goes a little like this...
WAITER: Would you like to order now, sir?
ME: Yes, I'll have the cigarette calzone please.
WAITER: No, no, no! It's just a pack of cigarettes for sale, not a cigarette calzone.
ME: What!? You mean to tell me you don't carry cigarette calzones!? And you have the gall to call yourself a New York restaurant!? Good day to you sir!
WAITER: But I... I...
ME: I said GOOD DAY!
Look, sometimes I have to live these fantasies out in my head because I know there's no way in hell they'll ever happen like that in the real world.
SURVEY: What's the craziest thing, food or otherwise, that you've ever seen on a menu? Include any details you can about it including what establishment you saw it at.
As you've probably noticed, we covered a bunch of Transformers stuff on I-Mockery this week in preparation for the sure-to-piss-on-our-memories Michael Bay movie. Yes, I've been completely distracted by the fact that there is now a Kwik-E-Mart right down the road from where I live, but I refuse to let it stop me from getting my work done. Drinking 50 Blue Vanilla flavored "Squishees" can only make me healthier and stronger, right? Right! Anyway, for our Transformers coverage, Protoclown did a piece about all the cheesy new Transformers movie toys and a new Protocomic based on an old Transformers/Spider-Man comic book , Dr. Boogie covered a godawful Transformers rom hack of Super Mario Bros 2 which most likely came from the bowels of hell, and I did my best to remind everybody about how cool the Transformers really were back in the day with a look at the original movie.
Still, there were three things I wanted to touch on about the Transformers that didn't make it into any of our articles, so I'm gonna tell you about them here in the ol' blabber blog instead. Hooray for blabber! Hooray for blogs! Hooray for blobber! Ok, first up are the Transformers Movie Plush Dolls:
You wanna know what really pisses me off here? They made them look like the classics! Why couldn't ALL the new toys look like the classics? No, us fans of the original series get friggin' pillows. Not just pillows, but pillows which strip away ANY REMAINING SHREDS OF DIGNITY some of our favorite characters once had by giving them names like "Softimus Prime" and "Slumblebee". Not only do they look like wrinkly old men instead of robots made of steel, but now they have names that would surely make them cry out tears of energon. Thanks Hasbro. To their credit, they actually figured out a way to make these pillows transform from robot mode into vehicle mode (kind of like how the Popples changed from balls of fur to... uh... Popples), so kudos to the mad seamstresses over at Hasbro. We can't cure cancer, people, but we can make a pillow that transforms from a robot into a vehicle. Look, it's all about priorities, okay?
Next up is this little toy I stumbled onto in a Walgreens last week. Though it's not an official Transformers toy, nor does it give credit to them in any form whatsoever, Tech Deck Dude Evolution's "Minga" figure is clearly a blatant rip-off of Optimus Prime. He's super-excited about the fact that his arms bend and his bio on the back of the package is interesting too. Did you know he's from Kalamazoo, MI? Neither did I. Still, for you hardcore Transformers fans out there, you'll be hard-pressed to find another figure of Optimus Prime in which he is a) Riding a skateboard and b) Holding a light saber. And since I know you guys would hound me if I didn't post it, here's a nice big close-up of Optimus riding on his skateboard with light saber in hand.
Last but not least, my all-time favorite, completely random Transformers toy: The Optimus Prime Pepsi Convoy! We all know that Optimus Prime has always been a hero, but who do you turn to when your thirst is in its darkest hour? You turn to Optimus Prime and his Pepsi Convoy, that's who! He'll roll on out and fill your gullet up with peptastic goodness so you can go on with your day. The great thing about this toy is that it really does hold Pepsi bottles. Optimus Prime easily beats out one of those foam cozies as the best place to store your drink any day of the week. Unfortunately, this one was only released in Japan in 2005 (and at the 2007 BotCon) so you'll have to snag it on eBay, but it's definitely worth getting if you're a collector of oddball items like I am. I should note that there was also an Optimus Prime Pepsi figure promotion way back in 1984, but as you can see, it only comes with a set of stickers and is not nearly as good as the 2005 one that can actually hold soda bottles (not to mention they actually changed his paint job to match the Pepsi logo). And if you're still not sold on the Pepsi convoy, perhaps this print ad will do the trick:
Damnit, I want that Destructicon pizza box.
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