Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#215 In which our hero discusses, in rather sappy terms, his first visit to the city that never sleeps.

To catch everyone up, here's what I've been doing the past seven days or so:
  • I found out a week ago last Friday that I'd be going to New York to meet a client. So, hey, free trip to NYC, pretty cool.
  • We left Wednesday AM, came back Thursday PM.
  • Friday I had about 20 relatives up for a party at my house.
  • Then Saturday my drill sergeant father-in-law helped us dig a ditch in the backyard and do some landscaping--all in hopes of elevating the flooding problem.
  • Then on Sunday we all drove down to my hometown for a surprise birthday party for my Mom's 75th birthday.
So yeah, it's been a busy week. Especially for someone like me, who gets cranky if I don't get my afternoon nap on the weekends.

More details? Okay, in order:

New York City

I’ve never been to NYC. But, the trip was for business, and we were only going to be there for a day and a half, so I didn’t expect to see much of the city. And I wasn’t disappointed.

And here’s the hard part, Internet friends, what can I safely tell you about my trip? I mean, I don’t think any of my co-workers read my blog, but you can’t really be sure, can you? And I can’t afford to be fired, again.

So, some rather generic details:

The working part of the trip was really good… for me, at least. I’m new to this particular account, so it was great to hear the company’s big vision for the future, right from the horse’s mouth.

I noticed an odd phenomena, and I can only think it’s a woman thing: most of the agency team on this account have been working with their NY counterparts for more than a year… but they’ve never met them in person. So, during lunch, there was a solid 20 minutes of this conversation:
ACCOUNT EXEC #1: Y’know, I really thought you’d have blond hair!
CLIENT #1: Really? I thought you’d have dark hair!
AE1: But I don’t!
C1: I know!
AE1: But why’d you think I did?
C1: I’m not sure. Why did you think I had dark hair?
AE1: I don’t know!
C1: Well, I though Susan* would be taller!
AE1: Really?
C1: Oh yeah! I never got that she was the same height as me!
AE1: That’s so weird!
… and so on.

* Not a real name. Still don’t want to get fired.

I just can’t imagine having that conversation, as a man. I might think to myself, huh, she’s taller than I expected, but would leave it at that.

At the hotel, I stayed in the smallest room I’ve ever been in at a hotel. There was just enough room to walk around the bed. Not that I really cared. That is, until we met in the lobby for dinner that evening.
CO-WORKER#1: You’ve got to see my room.
ME: Oh, I know. Mine is tiny, too.
CW1: Oh no. My room has a separate sitting room, a huge walk-out balcony, a full-size bar, giant bathroom…
ME: What? How’d you get that room?
CW1: I just asked to upgrade to a king size bed, and they put me in the ambassador’s suite, no extra charge.

Dinner that evening was amazing. I’m a whore for a free lunch, but when you’re taking out the client you know it going to be more than pizza. And it was. We walked over to a Mediterranean place where six of the 12 entrées were lamb dishes. I’m generally not a huge fan of lamb, but it seemed to be the thing to eat. And it was delicious. And so was the lamb tartar we had for an appetizer. And the wine flowed like water.

The next day was less useful, in my opinion. I didn’t really learn anything new about the account. We could have left in the morning and I would have been perfectly happy.

So, my first trip to NYC was maybe a little underwhelming. I didn’t see much of the city at all. But still…

Maybe it’s all in my head, but I did feel like there was something different about the city. Certainly different from Cleveland… but it was more than the big buildings and the crowds of people. There was a feeling of motion, of activity that I don’t feel in my home city. It felt like an international city (which, of course, it is). No doubt the wonderfully diverse people I saw on the street helped give me that feeling. But there was more. A feeling of age, of history. That great (and terrible) things happened on these streets. The overwhelming hustle and bustle of NY was inspiring to this dumb corn-fed boy.

And at night… when the city slowed down, and the purposeful strides of businessmen in suites were replaced by the leisurely strolls of couples out for the evening… the city seemed more relaxed. Like I could put down my guard for a moment--even though I knew full well that that would be a stupid thing to do. As the merchants piled up the day’s trash on the curb and the honking of cabs was replaced by the laughter of lovers I felt like I was seeing the city from behind the scenes; it changed as it wound down for the night while simultaneously gearing up for the evening’s rivalry.

I long to go back and experience it again, as a tourist, and see all the touristy things. And to walk the streets in the early evening with my wife (with my wallet safely tucked into my front pants pocket to deter pickpockets, of course) and see a show, go out to diner, and just enjoy each other’s company.

Thanks for the brief introduction, New York. I hope we have time to get to know each other a little bit better next time.

NEXT: Family! Booze! Cake!





Things that I will do in the next five days:
  • Travel more than 800 miles, round trip
  • Wear a tie
  • Spend time with people I’d rather not spend time with
  • Host a party for 20 relatives
  • Dig a large ditch
  • Miss my wife and children
  • Order an expensive meal on the agency’s dime
  • Take delivery of a new washer and dryer, temporarily
  • Purchase an obscenely large cake
  • Party with a woman three-quarters of a century old
  • Lie to my mother
  • Chase my children
  • Curse, most likely
Things that I will not do in the next five days:
  • Update my blog




Oh, SciFi Channel, you never fail to provide entertainment that is so horrifying bad, that’s it’s good! Wait, no, it’s not. It’s just bad.

Take episode five of Who Wants to be a Superhero? Just when you think it can’t get any more cheeseball… it does.

So the superheroes return from the rooftop elimination challenge “stunned” that two of them were kicked off. But I have to say… really? Stunned? Isn’t one of them maybe, just maybe, thinking “Fantastic! That puts me one closer to the big prize”?

When they get back to the lair, they discover it’s been ransacked by Dr. Dark! And by “ransacked” I mean stuff’s been tossed around! A little bit! And, um, someone pulled the sheets off of one of the beds. And carefully tipped over a coffee mug. The heroes, of course, are shaken to their very core. Or so they say. However, I gotta think that at this point it’s becoming hard to really muster up a shit. They’ve been running around for a week in tights, and something must be chaffing. Does anyone really care that a poor AD had to come in and toss around some papers? Well, apparently Whip-Snap does, because the competition has become “too much” for her to handle.

At this point, I have to mention that I have no tolerance whatsoever for people on reality shows who start whining about how hard everything is. It’s a competition, you knew going in that you’d have to perform dumbass stunts and see your fellow housemates kicked out, one by one. Contestants who can’t differentiate between making friends and attempting to win a prize have no business being there. Suck it up. Stay in touch after the show is over, if you’d like, but keep your eye on the prize while you’re there.

But Whip-Snap starts to cry, again, saying how she doesn’t have any family, and this is her family and it’s so hard to see them go, blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard all about her problems by now. Matter of fact, Whip-Snap has received a lot to TV time. Certainly more than Basura or Hyper-Strike. It’s almost like the producers are letting us, the audience, get to know her better for some reason. Like, maybe, so that when she wins it won’t be a surprise? That she’ll seem like the natural choice? I give Whip-Snap a 60% chance of winning.

Back to the challenges.

The team has to go to a park and intercept a currier who is trying to pass off their secrets. But they have to be in disguise to do it. Because that’s what superheroes in the comics do: when a bad guy has sensitive information, they dick around and try to trick the bad guy into giving up the goods. Because using their super powers to get the job done would just be dumb.

But! The very best park is that their mission comes not from Stan Lee, but for “Erin Esurance” who is, I’m sure you know, the animated cartoon spy girl from the E-surance commercials. The heroes all pay close attention while she’s talking, but you know they’re thinking: good lord, SciFi, isn’t this taking product placement a little too far?

(Side note: when I did a Google:images search for the Erin Esurance image I linked to above, I got a distrubing number of returns with her naked. Just sayin'.)

And, of course, during the challenge there’s a secret challenge within the challenge. And Boob-sura misses the boat completely when a stranger asks, “Can you help me find my daughter?” and she doesn’t immediately drop everything to help. Thing is, on this show, if a stranger ever asks you for a favor, you need to be, “Can I help you? You’re goddamn right I can help you! What do you need? Money? A lift to the liquor store? Handjob? Name it and it is yours, citizen!”

As soon as she waffled, the producers probably all high-fived each other.

So Parthenon wins the challenge, and gets a phone call home as a reward. And he’s also allowed someone else to call home, too. Now, I know it can’t be easy to come up with totally new and original challenges/rewards… but does this show need to start cribbing from Survivor so soon? I mean, every season of Survivor has the phone home/visit from your loved one/video message/etc. reward. And by making one of the contestant pick someone else--but only one--it’s clearly designed to stir up some tension between players. Same thing with these dumbass “mission reports.” Blah.

And speaking of Parthenon… he’s a little gay, isn’t he? I mean, I’m not a homophobe, but… wow.

So we finally get to the elimination and to no-one’s surprise Boob-sura is booted. She turns in her costume and reverts to street clothes and, WTF? So, she’s a clown in real life? Is that what she was supposed to be? Huh?

Down to five. Half way there.

Oh! And did everyone catch the trailer for Feedback’s SciFi TV movie? MEGASNAKE! From the commercial it looks like it will live up to the high standards set by other SciFi TV movies, like Mansquito or S.S. Doomtrooper.

Next week! Dr. Dark has isolated Stan Lee’s DNA! Oh please, please, please let there be clone Stan Lee! And if it’s EVIL clone Stan Lee, all past sins will be forgiven!


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Thirty-nine years ago today my wife was born in Maryland. Forth months later, and three states west, I was born.

I’m more than a little stunned at the events that followed: she and her family moved to California; I never left Ohio. Then, for some unthinkable reason, she moved to Cleveland; I never got further north than Columbus. Yet, despite these considerable odds, we met, fell in love, and have been happily married for nearly six years now.

Happy birthday, sweets. I love you.


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Missed last week’s episode. It’s tough to tell what really happened from’s brief synopsis of the episode, but it sounds like more of the same old-same old. It’s becoming clear that the producers can find something to criticize any superhero for at any time, so actual performance seems to fall second to whatever scripted results they have in mind. However, I will give them credit for booting Mr. Mitzvah so early. This guy tended to rub the others wrong, so keeping him around would have been a nice source of tension. And they booted Ms. Limelight, too! This really surprises me, since she’s so young and there’s so much opportunity to what her grow and become a stronger person and a real superhero and blah-da-blah-da-blah. Out of all the cast members she bugged me the most, so no tears shed on her leaving.

Next week! The superheroes are shocked to find that the safe holding their secret identities has been compromised! Holy shit! I guess Dr. Dark figured out how to use IMDb!


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Hey Internet, wot uppa?

For reasons of national security I couldn’t revel this before, but now I can tell you that last week I was on vacation. The Scientist’s parents came up and watched the girls and we went camping (and to those of you who know us in real life, that would be “camping”) in western Pennsylvania.

So how was it? Perhaps it’s best to express my feelings in song:
Got home from camping last spring.
Saw people, places and things.
We barely had arrived
Friends asked us to describe
The people, places and every last thing.
So we unpacked our adjectives.

I unpacked "frustrating" first.
Reached in and found the word "worst".

Then I picked "soggy" and

Next I picked "foggy" and

Then I was ready to tell them my tale.
'Cause I'd unpacked my adjectives.

So yeah, it rained. And then rained some more. It’s been hot and dry all summer, and then last week--the only week-long vacation I have planned all year--was the wettest of the season. When it wasn’t torrential downpours, it was hot and humid.

But, we were still surrounded by friends, and we didn’t let the weather interfere with our drinking, so it was still a good time. Except for Thursday, which was my low point. After four days straight of being wet, I was extremely grouchy. So much so, that we did something we never do: laundry. The Scientist packed up my wet crap and went into town with a friend to wash and (more importantly) dry my stuff. It really made a difference in my mood. That, and all the booze I drank while she was in town.

Thank you, honey; I really appreciated it.

But now that I’m back I’m rushing around like crazy trying to get back into the groove, especially at work. Busy, busy. And I still have to set up my tent to dry properly (I can almost hear Jeff right now screaming, “What? You haven’t dried out your tent? Good night!”) and I need to hump all the camping crap back into the basement.

It is good to be back at home, to see those girls. Who, incidentally, were great for Nana and Pop-pop. But, as it turns out, Lily didn’t manage to stay dry the entire week, either.


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Mindset?! Ah, bullshit! As much as I love the camp of Who Wants to be a Superhero? the rampant hypocrisy and obvious scripting of this “reality” show drives me nuts.

I missed the very beginning of last night’s episode (damn kids! Can’t you just go to bed without all the brushing of teeth and reading of stories and tucking in? Don’t you see that daddy has TV to watch?!) so I missed the exchange between Miss Limelight and Mindset. Apparently, it went something like this:
MISS LIMELIGHT: People think I’m stupid!
MINDSET: I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you’re just playing a role.
ML: I’m not playing a role! This is how I really am!
MS: Oh, so you really are stupid. I get it.
Or something. But before this carefully edited drama can play out any more, the heroes are summoned to stop the newest super-villain in town, Bee Sting! The nefarious force of evil captures our heroes and forces them to… SPELL!

The horror!

I know these are just regular people and you can’t very well make them physically duke it out with super villains (actors) but come on… a spelling bee? Really? I guess you can’t make every challenge physical like the first one, but never in middle school would I have guessed that my destiny as a superhero would depend on “i before e expect after c.”

Full disclosure: even though I’m a writer by trade, I’m a terrible speller. If I was on that show when they revealed the challenge, I’d be all “Well shit. I’m done. Can I just turn in my tights now?”

However, as it turns out, most of them were terrible spellers. Even when they figured out the twist (“She’s BEE Sting, so everything has to be spelled with B-E-E!”) they couldn’t spell worth crap.

But I do have to say that releasing real bees in with them was pretty hard core. I don’t really think there were as many bees as they made them out to be (I suspect some sharp editing there) but it looked like people really got stung. I imagine the form you had to sign to get on the show read: Are you allergic to bee stings? Serious, we need to know, no fucking around: [ ] YES [ ] NO.

And here’s the first place I call bullshit on Stan. Mindset refuses to play along with Bee Sting’s weird spelling game. I was all, “Right on, Mindset! Stay true to your character! Live it, baby!” Yeah, his team lost points because of it, but fighting against the will of the bad guys is what being a hero is all about, right?

Apparently not.

Stan reamed him for letting his ego get in the way of helping his team. Said he was “a smart man, but not wise.” Stan seemed to be saying that sometimes you have to do the bidding of the bad guys in order to achieve “the greater good.” Really Stan? This from the “great power comes great responsibility” guy? I thought Mindset very elegantly stated his case, saying that to purposefully misspell a word would be tantamount to lying, and he respected the truth too much to do that. And that any of his team mates would risk minor injury in order to preserve the truth. To which I said, Fucking-A, Mindset! He was really playing the part of a comic book superhero; much more than any of the others.

But in the end, it wasn’t good enough. Clearly Mindset’s number was up, and no amount of well thought out rhetoric was going to save him. Pity too. As far as how to act like a hero in the made-up reality of funny books, this Mindset guy got it.

And this is what drives me crazy about the show. As Stan berated him his “pride” I could just as easily imagine Stan saying something like “A hero is always loyal to the truth! Even at cost to his own personal safety. That is what being a superhero is really about!” So Mindset, the ONE guy out of the entire cast to stand up to the villain gets the boot, and Mr. Mitzvah, who cowered under a blindfold whimpering “oy, meshuggna bees!” gets to stay. That’s great.

And the other great hypocrisy moment of the show: the heroes get their new costumes and Hyper-Strike doesn’t like his. He’s respectful about it, telling Stan that he just wasn’t digging the tights, and missed his old costume. Now, you’ll remember the hullabaloo from last season when Stan gave Ty’Veculus a ridonkulous costume, just to test to see if he’d object or not. He played along just to make Stan happy, only to be lambasted later for lying about liking his new outfit. He was ultimately told to put his old costume back on.

But this time, the heroes were all given decent costumes, and Stan seemed a little offended that one of them would dare to not like what he created. “I designed that costume myself, y’know” he chided Hyper-Strike. Instead of complimenting him on his honesty and letting him go back to his old costume, Stan motored ahead, saying “give it a couple days. See if you like it then.” And Hyper-Strike wisely got the hint, later in the show saying “Y’know what? Stan was right. I do like this new costume.” Silently adding, “There, I said it. Can I stay now?”

So my favorite is out. And, Whip-Snap’s story arc continues to build. The “overcoming adversity” element and “earning the admiration of her fellow team mates” story elements have been covered; I expect next week she will do something that “demonstrates her inner strength” or her “hidden bravery” or some-such.

I put Whip-Snap’s odds of winning it even-up now.

Oh, and if you’re not watching “The Aftershow” at, you’re missing some good stuff. Feedback, continuing his supergeek journey which will ultimately end in clinical depression and alcoholism, interviews those kicked off the show--in full costume, of course (him, not them). But Mindset is incredible in the interview, and just reinforced that this guy really committed to the idea of being a comic book superhero, and still is. His unspoken, "Stan, WTF?” is clear throughout. My favorite part, speaking of the spelling bee: “It was a boring challenge. Then they dumped honey on us. It was a little too Nickelodeon, if you ask me.”

For the future!


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