Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hype on Hype

[I had other plans for today but they fell through, which meant I either had to do more work, or run this interview (originally scheduled to run over the weekend). I've been interviewing the Monkey Barn members each day, and two nights ago at Denny's I interviewed Hyperion. It went much longer than the usual 7 questions, and ranged over a host of topics, so I decided to put it here instead. The other interviews can be found on Monkey Barn.]

Interviewer: Welcome homies, once again to, “Get to know your Monkey Barner.” Today we have Hyperion, one of the original members of the Barn. Hyperion, how did you come to be affiliated with this site?

Hyperion: I knew the guy who created it. I knew most of his secrets. That helps. Actually, I had a site called Hyperion Thinks Too Much, where I posted random dumb things I thought of. To my utter horror it went from a sideshow to the most popular site I had. At some point the decision was made to invite the people who always visited to join in a new Super Site, and Monkey Barn was born.

Interviewer: Love at first sight, eh?

Hyperion: Actually, I hated Monkey Barn for the longest time. I hated how something so inconsequential could be so popular. Here I was working my ass off, trying to offer the best in commentary, reflection and cutting-edge fiction, and I’m trumped every day of the week and twice on Sunday by a site where people post random links and inane thoughts.

Interviewer: But over time you came to have a grudging…

Hyperion: I’m not finished. The first 5 months of my original site I had to pull teeth to get anyone to comment, a trend which continued with the new people. I saw the visitors each day—knew they were there—but God forbid they throw the ball back once in awhile!

Interviewer: Come down, Messiah!

Hyperion: Sorry, but you can’t imagine how frustrating it was. I remember one time, when it was just me, when I declared it “Bar Joke Month,” and asked for people to send in Bar Jokes. I got a few, but then nothing. I finally wrote that there would be no more posts period until someone sent me a lousy bar joke.

I’m a paranoid guy, which I recognize, but you can’t imagine how hard it was not to come to the conclusion that people are conspiring against you when NO ONE, sent in a bar joke for over five days.

Interviewer: But once the others came on board you grew into a family and came to love them….

Hyperion: It was cool to have others around, but even that brought problems. We had three rules: Post at least once a week, get involved in group projects, and sign your posts. (For some reason older browsers can’t see who writes each post.) Getting certain unnamed Barners to follow these simple requests was like pulling teeth, and then turning those teeth into gold. There were times when I felt like I was running a nursery.

Then there was the fact—and I’m not proud of this—that I’ve been jealous of the site. I work very very hard on my posts, and often Monkey Barn readers would eclipse all the other sites put together.

Interviewer: That would be frustrating

Hyperion: It was. Sometimes people would come to the Barn and completely ignore the home page or other sites. I got to the point where I was devising ways where you couldn’t go to Monkey Barn unless you went through the Home Page.

Interviewer: What turned the Tide? (Or did anything????)

Hyperion: I think I calmed down some when I realized that whatever the reasons people were coming, they were coming. Even if it frustrated me that something mindless like Monkey Barn was more popular than my serious work, if people were coming back, they had to like what I’m doing, at least on some level.

The group projects also helped. They were/are difficult to coordinate, but I think they brought us together; especially the first set of Questions and the Campfire story.

Also, at some point we started to pull together as a family. I now love these people, and would do anything in my power to help them.

Lastly, I think I finally realized that my website might never bring in the masses I’m looking for, but if I identify a small number of people who believe in me and my message, then I’ve narrowed the search for disciples considerably, and when I make my move to take over the world I can take some of them with me.

Interviewer: Soon Come the Day!

Hyperion: Soon Come the Day.

Interviewer: Speaking of those Group Projects, what plans do you have in the future?

Hyperion: for awhile I’ve wanted to do some sort of Contest, either in Survivor mode, or American Idol, or even Men vs. Women Olympics. When I first brought it up I received a lot of support and some absolute balkiness, but I realized those people were just reacting to a perception that I was going to run a reality show, which I’m not interested in. It seems like we could devise a good contest, though, to make it fun for the Barners and casual readers too. I’m always open to new ideas too. As most people eventually realize, I’m not afraid to try new ideas. Even if they don’t all work, they’re worth a shot.

Interviewer: How do people actually get in Monkey Barn?

Hyperion: Sometimes I approach the person, because I like what they say on their own site, or they’ve been making insightful/funny comments on the Barn. Sometimes someone else recommends a person. If a current Monkey Barner vouches for you, that’s usually good enough for me. Sometimes people write and ask if they can be a part.

Interviewer: Are you open to new members?

Hyperion: Absolutely. At first I wanted to keep it small and exclusive, but Monkey Barn is growing, and I don’t want to run some sort of Good Ol’ Monkeys club, where you had to know me back when. If you’re new and you think you’d be a good fit, you should write and let me know.

Interviewer: What makes a good fit?

Hyperion: #1 important trait: your ability to mock everyone else.

Interviewer: What about hotness? It can’t be a coincidence how many hot women you have.

Hyperion: It’s a total coincidence! I’m interested in the minds of my people, not their bodies!

Interviewer: Then why all the “what are you wearing” “who would you sleep with” questions?

Hyperion: Okay, I’m interested in the minds first and foremost, but I guess I do like sampling all the meats of our cultural stew. The important thing to remember is that I welcome anyone. It is a total coincidence that all but one of the women are smoking hot.

Interviewer: Why do you say things like that? You know they are just going to obsess over it now, trying to figure out who…

Hyperion: (Snickering) I know. If women knew how easy they were to manipulate, they’d band together and take over the world. Actually they DO know this, but they can’t help it. Women are like raccoons who get their paws caught in traps. All they have to do is let go of the shiny thimble and they’re saved, but damned if they can do it.

Interviewer: You’re saying Women are raccoons. You’re either very brave or very foolish.

Hyperion: Hey! It explains why so many women feel compelled to wear 8 pounds of eye liner every time they leave the house. Seriously: who ever thought that was a good idea?

Interviewer: For realz. Let’s move on: Where’d you get the idea for the Monkey Barn clubhouse? I think that’s been the most popular type of question in your interviews (other than “those” questions).

Hyperion: Thank you. It actually just came to me when I was writing up the questions for Dominique (the first Monkey Barner interviewed). I’ve been very pleased with the Interviews, although now that they’ve started to run, you definitely see a “Real World” effect coming into play.

Interviewer: What do you mean by that?

Hyperion: I think it’d be fair to call “The Real World” the very first reality show. As much as living in a fabulous apartment with cameras rolling all the time could be real, they seemed to disappear into that world. However, at some point during the taping of the second Real World (and I remember watching the episode where it happened), the first Real World premiered on TV, and the current Real Worlders saw how life and career changing it could be. From then on, there was an incentive to “act” certain parts in front of the cameras, to get noticed, to increase the shelf-life of the person later on. (This totally wasn’t helped by MTV’s stereotypical casting, but that’s another story.)

Anyway, the first four interviews were done before any posted, but I knew that once people saw how great they were there would be a tendency to “top” what came before. Despite that, I’m very happy with them.

Interviewer: Tracy Lynn was right: you DO go on Tangents!

Hyperion: It’s one of my Super powers.

Interviewer: But back to the clubhouse….

Hyperion: Oh, yeah. Like I said it just came to me, but I instantly realized it was a great opportunity to explore. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I want to incorporate it into something bigger.

Interviewer: Bigger how?

Hyperion: When Monkey Barn started it was a stolen catchphrase…meant nothing. Now I feel like it is an actual Barn, maybe not a literal one, but a metaphorical one. In other words, it’s our clubhouse, where we can meet, hang out, just have fun.

Interviewer: All due respect, but how is that any different from what you’re doing now?

Hyperion: I hate when people say “all due respect.” They never mean it. Just come out and take your shot, assholes! Anyway, The Monkey Barn Clubhouse could almost be like a fan club or something.

If you extend my analogy, the Hyperion Institute is a place where people can come to learn knowledge, impart knowledge, have their souls enriched, become fishers of men. Whatever. Hopefully one day it’s an actual place, but until I get my 40 acres and a mule, the Institute exists only in Cyber-Space.

The Monkey Barn Clubhouse would be in back, where you go after a long day or philosophical discussion and art, just to chill.

I’m considering making tee shirts, hats, mugs, edible panties; the works.

Interviewer: (skeptically) Edible panties?

Hyperion: C’mon! Who wouldn’t want to be a Monkey Muncher?

Interviewer: (cracking up) You do know that “Monkey Muncher” will be the only thing people remember from this interview?

Hyperion: You remember those lame commercials awhile back for the Wheel of Fortune? People sang that insipid song, “I’m a Wheel Watcher…..I’m a Wheel Wathcher…..”

Interview: No!

Hyperion: Can’t you just see it? We make a web-commercial or something with Barners singing, “I’m a Monkey Muncher….”

Interviewer: You’re insane!

Hyperion: I know you are, but what am I?

Interviewer: Whoa! That’s a tad too existential, so let’s move on. Do you plan to ever build the actual Monkey Barn?

Hyperion: First I must build the Institute (for which I already have an architect, I’d like to add), but yes, I will one day build the Barn as well. More than that, though: if I ever make it big, selling a movie script or novel, I totally plan on flying all the Barners to one spot to meet each other and hang out.

Interviewer: Where would that be?

Hyperion: Well, it depends. If I’m so busy on Institute projects I’ll fly the Monkeys to the Barn. If it’s only one night, like a special dinner, it’d be Tampa and Bern’s Steak House. I can’t imagine a better meal than that. But if it’s a long weekend…..

Interviewer /Hyperion: (Together) VEGAS!

Interviewer: You sure do think big. This isn’t really Monkey Barn related, but while I have you here, what other plans do you have?

Hyperion: Glad you asked. As you know, I recently initiated several “Group Projects.” Progress has been slow, for which I take full responsibility. Some of it is I probably did too much at once, while part was I was hoping for a more egalitarian distribution of the workload, and when I realized it was going to rise or fall on what I did, I got a little discouraged. Nevertheless, I’m still fully committed to…

Interviewer: (interrupting) For new people out there, why don’t you tell us a bit about those Group Projects.

Hyperion: Oh, sorry. Empire of the Mind is a philosophical Discussion Group, founded by four people. The idea was to bring curious minds together and discuss…anything. We’re looking to define the universe.

Interviewer: That’s pretty ambitious.

Hyperion: I know, but I dream big. If we come up with anything—either on our big mission or more topical “Events of the Day”—then we’d even consider publishing it.

Interviewer: How does one get in?

Hyperion: There’s actually a formal application on the site. The application goes to the four of us “blind,” which means we judge it without knowing who it is.

Interviewer: What are you looking for?

Hyperion: The application is 5 questions, 1000 words. Basically we’re looking for someone who can make a cogent but somewhat concise argument. It’s not really important what they have to say, but can they defend it? Can they back up their opinions with logic?

Interviewer: What else?

Hyperion: Well, The Five Kingdoms is another project I started. Basically, we’re trying to create our own world.

Interviewer: What’s the point of that?

Hyperion: To tell stories. Once we have the geography and a few simple rules mapped out, we start telling stories of this place. I wanted a community project where people could practice their story telling in a safe environment, maybe work on stuff together if they want, or get feedback from their stories. Hopefully we’ll create a few “characters” that everyone can use in their stories.

Interviewer: That sounds cool. Is there an application?

Hyperion: No, it’s open to anyone. There is a “get to know you” questionnaire, but that’s once you already want to be in.

Interviewer: What else?

Hyperion: Well, the first group project (not counting Monkey Barn) was probably International_______Day. I liked the idea that every day could be a holiday. Every month I ask a few people to come up with several “holidays” we can celebrate. That site is open too, if people want in. They just have to let me know, and we’ll try to find a spot for them.

Interviewer: This brings us to our favorite site:

Interviewer/Hyperion: (together) Hyperion After Dark!

Hyperion: It’s funny how that came about. Initially it was just for fiction stories that were more “adult” than what normally went on Literary Hype. However, I casually mentioned once that if anyone had any erotic stories, I’d be happy to publish them anonymously. Almost immediately I got emails from several different people asking me if that was true. Once assured it was, the stories rolled in. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how popular that’s become.

Interviewer: What about the future?

Hyperion: Well, I have another year-long story planned, with possibilities that it could be expanded to allow others to write sections as well. Without Denny’s I’ve been slowed in this venture, but I have the idea all mapped out and plan to start as soon as possible.

Kapgar and I are working on a Movie project that will totally Rock if we can get the details right. More on that at a later date.

Ajax and I are toying with the idea of a modified role-playing game going through Monkey Barn. Logistically it’s a tough fit, but we’re hopeful.

Tracy Lynn and I have a plan for something…but I better not mention that until she says it’s okay.

I plan to increase the fiction on the site: more of my own stuff, and more of the painting/stories that we’ve done before.

I may do TV awards again like I did in 2003, and Lady Jane Scarlett has been developing an idea for “The Hypey” Awards.

Laureate and I are trying to get a couple of web comics off the ground…and I may start my own political party.

Interviewer: Those all sound like….(just catching up) WHAT????? Your own political party?

Hyperion: Well, I run for president every four years. Some people are slowly coming to the idea of how awesome a leader I would be. I hope to rule the world some day. Why not a political party?

Interviewer: I just meant, you HATE political parties. At least, the ones they have now.

Hyperion: All the more reason to start my own.

Interviewer: Wow. Okay. Uh, We’re getting long on time, so I’m gong to skip the rest of the questions and go straight to the last two. First: what’s your biggest Monkey Barn regret?

Hyperion: Forcing Bear out. Bear, if you are reading this, I was wrong. Come back to the barn. I need help with those bitches! (And I’m not talking about the women, but all of them!)

Interviewer: You make enemies like a welfare mom makes babies! Last question: We’re back in this mythical clubhouse of yours….who do you sleep with, and why?

Hyperion: Actually, I wouldn’t pick anyone. I mean, I’ve had Ajax’s wife, Koz’s wife, and Kaida’s boyfriend. Any more than that and I’m just being greedy.

Interviewer: And on that note, we’re out of here. Hope you’ve enjoyed this interview, and join us again when we discover, “What’s in Your Barner?”

Monday, August 21, 2006

Brittany Bratt

I looked at my numbers, and couldn’t believe it.

Saturday was super high, and Sunday we set a record for the Institute, as far as actual visitors is concerned.

What’s the deal?

Turns out it’s all about Brittany Bratt.

Miss Brittany Brat was recently crowned Miss Nude Australia. (I didn’t even know they had a competition like that, but I’d be open-minded and watch.)

Early Saturday morning I posted a British magazine’s top 100 bodies for 2006. I commented that I didn’t like how big the fake breasts were, unnatural on the small girls (larger breasts go for larger women), but that of all the too-large breasted women, Brittany Bratt pulled off having large breasts the best.

Then what happened?

People typed in “Brittany Bratt” and possible Miss Nude Australia into search engines, and low and behold, came up with Monkey Barn. How’d did they come up with Monkey Barn? You got me. The only time I’ve ever been on Page 1 of a Google Search before was for Graitch.

The dilemma then came: should I do my best to mention Brittany Bratt every chance I get, hoping to get more hits, and hoping that some of those visitors (the ones not pissed off about the lack of boobalicious pictures) would come back?

I seriously considered it. But I felt like whore, and decided that, no matter the temptation, that kind of thing just wasn’t for me.

Now, if anyone wants to send me pictures of Jessica Alba naked, I’ll make sure I give you credit on my site for sending me the nude pictures of Jessica Alba.

It’s the least I can do.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm so OUT, I'm IN

The following conversation took place the other night. I have excised certain portions of the conversation that were unrelated to the two topics below, but in no way have I altered the tone or timbre of our discussion, not even for spelling.

The way it started was that Sagar commented on a Rank Everything list I had (about TV characters). I couldn't find his email, but through his profile saw his IM and buzzed him. After a couple days of Yahoo tag we were finally on at the same time. After the brief hello and a webam request, Sagar jolted me with a question....leading to the following:

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:41:58 AM): i assume u r a female

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:42:01 AM): no no

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:42:02 AM): I'm male

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:42:23 AM): then y is there a picture of lady in ur window

[My Avatar is indeed a female. I’ve never really thought about it before]

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:42:25 AM): that girl just refuses to leave

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:42:35 AM): she showed up one day, and I've been stuck with her ever since

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:42:37 AM): anyways can i see u

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:42:44 AM): can you see me where?

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:42:53 AM): on webcam

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:42:55 AM): oh

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:43:01 AM): sorry. that's beyond my capabilities

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:43:06 AM): can't afford a webcam

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:43:20 AM): wats ur age

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:43:24 AM): 30

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:43:40 AM): wow man

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:43:47 AM): can you tell me how to pronounce Sagar? I really like that name. I may use it in one of my stories

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:43:48 AM): u dont sound 30

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:43:56 AM): Well, I'm a kid at heart

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:44:03 AM): its saagaar

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:44:34 AM): it means the ocean

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:44:39 AM): that's cool!

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:45:33 AM): thank you.

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:45:38 AM): its flattering

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:45:48 AM): can i ask u something personal.

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:46:02 AM): i dont mean to be rude or ill mannered.

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:46:47 AM): yeah

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:46:52 AM): r u gay

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:47:06 AM): no

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:47:13 AM): why would you think I was gay?

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:47:17 AM): have you read my stuff?

[I definitely seem a tad defensive at this point. I keep telling myself that he’s Indian, doesn’t know a whole lot about American culture, and I in email or IM things can come across differently. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken an interest in his name. Still, I’m sure it will just be a simple misunderstanding.]

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:47:33 AM): bcoz there is a picture of a girl in ur window

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:47:39 AM): of course i hv

[Looking back, the previous line is the key to the whole thing. This guy doesn’t know enough of American culture to be comfortable with idiom and our humor. Me writing “Have you read any of my stuff” is rhetorical, but he seems to take it seriously. I definitely shouldn’t have tried the humor about the girl just showing up. I’m feeling panicky over this conversation, which I really shouldn’t be.]

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:48:02 AM): that girl isn't me. She just showed up and refuses to leave, like a houseguest who won't depart the premises

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:48:02 AM): arent u the one who is a huge fan of tv ancharacters

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:48:27 AM): yes, that was the post you read: TV characters I wouldn't mind seeing on other shows

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:49:00 AM): but y would u be obsessed with other male characters

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:49:11 AM): i love watching tv but im more into women

[This line haunts me. I did only talk about Male characters. Is it A) because male parts are usually better (not enough good female parts these days)? B) As a male, I bond more with male characters, and would have more in common with a Homer Simpson or House than a Marge or Dr. Cameron? Or C) I’m a gay man, desperately in the closet. And why do I care what he thinks?]

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:49:30 AM): I'm not obsessed with male characters. I just liked those particular characters, and thought they would go well in other shows

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:49:39 AM): I SIMPLY LOVE AMERICAN CULTURE

[I’m editing out a little bit here, where I found out for sure he lived in India and we talked about what a kafila was in the context of a Rudyard Kipling poem. Also, right about here Mariemm3 showed up on IM and I told her about what was going on, which amused her greatly. Anyway, back to the insecurity that is my life…]

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:53:28 AM): I don't have any problem with gay people, but I think if you look over all my sites, you'll see I'm pretty far from gay. I have an entire site for only erotic stories, and I talk about my girlfriend on my site regularly

[My God….I’m like one of those racists who talks about his “black friends.”]

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:54:00 AM): thats good

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:54:02 AM): If you want, go to http://hyperioninstitute (my home page) and over on the left there is something called "Notify List" you type in your email, and it tells you any time I update any of my sites with new material

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:54:10 AM): u dont hv to prove anything to me

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:54:20 AM): not trying to prove anything.

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:54:28 AM): I'm just saying if you like the site and want to read the stuff

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:54:35 AM): that's a way to do it

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:54:36 AM): yaa

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:54:41 AM): or just stop by whenever you feel like it

[Now he’s comforting me? At best I come across like a needy person, desperate for attention. Honestly, I was just promoting my site. At worst, I come across like I’m trying to “prove” I’m not gay. I am very self-assured, usually full of aplomb. How is this dude disconcerting me so???]

[Fortunately, we shifted at this point into a different if equally bizarre topic of conversation: how all Indians are alike]

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:54:55 AM): anyways wat else do u know abt my country

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:55:22 AM): i know a lot abt usa

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:55:34 AM): i want to settle down in newyork

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:55:50 AM): im in love with it

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:56:10 AM): Well, a sizable pecentage of Kenya is Indians, so I grew up eating Indian food quite often, and still love it now. And my roommate was Indian in San Diego, and I dated a girl who was half Indian when I lived in Atlanta. I also had several Indians working for me when I managed a restaurant

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:56:21 AM): I don't know a whole lot, but I know a bit

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:56:35 AM): Obviously you can't judge an entire country based on a few people

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:57:08 AM): ofcourse u can if they share the same characteristics

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:57:55 AM): I disagree. You can't even judge me by my brother, and he grew up with me. I would never presume to judge a country of 1 billion people by the few relationships I've had with Indian people.

Sagar (8/16/2006 12:59:38 AM): listen dude, this may sound a little weird but the truth is almost every other indian is identical wether in terms of habits or behaviour

Hyperion (8/16/2006 12:59:55 AM): that does sound weird

Hyperion (8/16/2006 1:00:11 AM): Maybe being in America changes the ones I knew

Sagar (8/16/2006 1:00:27 AM): yes they r confused

Sagar (8/16/2006 1:00:38 AM): they dont know wat they shld be

Sagar (8/16/2006 1:00:53 AM): move on ort still struck to their values

The conversation continued for another twenty minutes, but at this point I began to relax somewhat. He wasn’t exposing me. It was him, the cultural differences, the distance.

Interestingly, Mariemm3 and I got into a political debate on whether you could “typecast” an entire culture. On the one hand, of course you can’t. On the other hand, India, with its rigid caste system and more homogynous populace probably does lead to uniformity in behaviors and habits (which is of course different than personality or soul). But that’s a discussion for another time.

For now, I need to take down the Tean beat posters of Corey Haim and Corey Feldman on my wall.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hillary for President

It seems to be the worst kept secret in the world that Hillary Clinton is running for President in 2008. I’m of two minds about this. (Analytically, that is. Politically is another matter.) On the one hand, there has never been a serious female candidate for the presidency, and women might collectively come together and support her, under the notion that if they don’t support a woman when they can, the next shot may not come for years, decades even. On the other hand, very people engender dislike like Hillary Clinton, and people will move here and become citizens just to vote against her.

Anyway, once she announces we can hash over her qualifications or not. For now, I thought we’d ask the question is Hillary Clinton the best Hillary for the job?

Candidate #1 – Hillary Clinton

Pros: Senator from New York. Spent 8 years working in the West Wing, so presumably won’t bump into the furniture, is married to a former president, and could presumably rely in his counsel and advice. Is by all accounts a very intelligent, ambitious and powerful woman.

Cons: Where to start? Perceived lack of qualifications, that she got her Senator seat on her husband’s name and the six month journalistic blow job that was the N.Y. Times. Often appears disingenuous, like claiming to be a Yankees fan when she started running in New York (when previously she was a self-confessed lifelong Cubs fan), or claiming in New Zealand to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary (despite being five years old when Hillary rose to fame by scaling Mt. Everest). Comes across very strident and politically opportunistic, makes Bill Clinton seem almost sympathetic.

Candidate #2 – Hilary Swank

Pros: Two-time Oscar winner, playing roles that are so difficult, it’s difficult to picture anyone but her doing them. Once worked with the immortal Ian Zierling on 90210; cleans up fairly well; can act like a “man” if protocol calls for it.

Cons: Totally emasculated her husband Chad Lowe (Rob Lowe’s brother) by not thanking him in her first Oscar acceptance speech; seems to only act well when trailer trash is involved (otherwise disappearing); looks vaguely like a younger horsey Julia Roberts; made Clint Eastwood cry.

Candidate #2 – Hilary Duff

Pros: Had a famous spat with (a then voluptuously gorgeous) Lindsay Lohan, giving hopes to the idea that a Cat Fight leading to kissing—or better—might occur; nice teeth; has mastered TV, Movies, a clothing line and a singing career, this giving hope she could handle foreign and domestic policy (okay a reach, but this is hard); still claims to be a virgin.

Cons: Legally not old enough to be president; makes Britney sound like a good singer; might be indirectly responsible for Lindsay Lohan losing all that weight; DuffStuff backpacks use “questionable” foreign labor (okay, I made that one up); doesn’t have a great body; annoying horse-like sister.

Candidate #4 – Sir Edmund Hilary

Pros: Distinguished War-service career (not like those draft-dodgers Duff and Swank); spend much of his life doing philanthropy, focusing on the Sherpas (a distant relative of River Midgets, which only affects Tobias, but still); famously was the first to scale Mt. Everest.

Cons: Got in a spat later on with Tenzing Norgay about who actually made it to the top first, in what seems clearly (at least according to this picture) to be a lover’s quarrel; is 87 years old, which gives rise to legitimate health concerns; is not from America, which would mean standing the entire Constitution on its head for one person.

The verdict? Sir Edmund Hilary. He might bring down the government, but at least he’s a man, baby.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reggie Bush is gone, and My Life is over

[The following is a lament about my Fantasy Football draft, which his currently underway.]

I think I figured out what my problem is. At least, what my Fantasy Football problem is.

Perhaps the only area I will allow this possibility, but I think I psyche myself out. Talk myself out of good decisions.


I think I think too much.

I’m sure the others in the league will disagree, but I believe I’m the best instinctive evaluator of talent, at least initially. My problem is that I get rid of the guys I know I should keep. Everyone in fantasy football says this, but consider:

Year one of our league I selected Peyton Manning and then Priest Holmes in the second round. At the time Holmes was not a known entity, and I took tremendous ribbing for taking him so early. What did Holmes do? Only run over the league for two and a half years, making him probably the best pick in my league’s history.

(I should explain that we have what’s known as a “Keeper” league, which means we get to keep up to three players from our roster from one season to the next, with the corresponding loss of draft picks in the opening rounds of the new season.)

Drafting Holmes was my masterpiece, and I’ve ridden that horse as far as I could. (I half wonder if his career-threatening injuries came about because I was riding him. Just kidding. Sort of.)

Manning had a pretty good season that first year, and then I traded him away to my friend Laureate, swindled by talk of maximizing touchdowns. Manning went on to have one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. Sigh.

Other players I’ve had I got rid of right before they went huge. I had Wide Receiver Chad Johnson, back when no one believed in him. I wasn’t patient and I got rid of him and he studded out. I had fellow Bengal Rudi Johnson, which I must admit was more luck than my good eye, and I dropped him, since I was keeping two RBs (Priest Holmes and Kevin Jones.) Holmes got hurt, but with his history was worth the risk. Jones sucked. And Rudi Johnson became another stud.

I had Priest Holmes’s back-up Larry Johnson, and again my impatience kicked in and I got rid of him. What’s the significance of that? Right now, Google “Fantasy Football Rankings.” You’ll see that Larry Johnson is the Consensus #1 pick everywhere. If only…..

It’s a weird thing to have people on your team who go on to be great later. Even if it was never a question of Keeper status (as we only get three), I often have an affinity to the people who’ve played for me. I consider them family. I get laughed at, but I’ve refused to draft players because I didn’t like them personally or their off-the-field behavior. Stupid, I know, but I’m proud of my team.

But this isn’t a post reminiscing about football. This is about my idiocy.

Last year I had this idea that Carson Palmer would be a good quarterback. But once again I outthought myself. Palmer was on nobody’s radar, and I knew I could get him much later in the draft than the 2nd or 3rd Round. The only thing better than drafting someone who’s not on the radar and turns out to be a fantasy stud is doing it in a much lower round.

You can already guess what happened. Another team owner drafted him. It’s my own fault, but I was blindsided because everyone who drafted before me already had quarterbacks. This guy Sandpiper—who had a stud QB—drafted Palmer on the theory of keeping him from someone else.

So anyway, during the draft last year I approached Sandpiper, and expressed interest in Palmer. What’s he do? Holds the man hostage for my top Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald and naked pictures of my sister. Yeah right! No way I give up Fitzgerald!

If you ask me that’s poor sportsmanship, but totally within the rules, so who am I to call him out? (Of course, this isn’t the only ethical gray area for Sandpiper, but I don’t want to run him down. He’s a good kid with a good heart, and has somehow overcome living in the shadow of a studly brother and crippling ugliness to be a contributing member of society.)

Speaking of Fitzgerald, I was back at my old tricks this year. Fitzy had a very good year last year, and I was on the fence over whether to “keep” him or give him up for the extra draft pick. For the first time—on the advice of Kaida, I want it known—I elected not to Keep anyone.

Of course Fitzgerald is one of the first guys taken, and I realized I had been a fool.

But now I think I’ve topped even myself.

Reggie Bush is the Heisman Trophy Winner from SC and expected to be a great player for New Orleans. However: no one expects Bush to be that great this year. (There’s already a great RB ahead of him.) Because of that, most Fantasy forecasting has Bush in the 5th or 6th Round.

When it came my turn to draft in the First Round, I got the idea to take Bush. Do I think he’s going to be super awesome this year? That’s iffy. I’ve already resigned myself to a bad season. However, Bush probably makes a great Keeper for next year, and my taking him now, I lock him up. True, I sacrifice getting a very productive player, but what a coup!

But proving I never ever (EVER!) learn, I thought to myself, “No one is going to take Reggie Bush until at least the 4th Round. I can wait.”

I talked it over with Laureate (the swindler of a few years ago), and he counseled that it was more important to get a QB than Bush. I wanted either Palmer or Tom Brady, and was worried neither would be available by Round 2. (My own fault: If I’d known Matt Hasselbeck was also undrafted, there’s no way I don’t take Bush in Round 1, as Hasselbeck would be a great pick in Round 2 as well.)

By now you know how this works. I take Tom Brady, already excited about my Round 2 pick, the talk it will generate on the Message Board (remind me to talk about that more another day), and I even idly fantasize about how Bush might be the starter by the end of the year, and by next season I look like a genius.

And the very next guy takes Bush. Rips my heart out. I realized that every mistake I’ve ever made in Fantasy Football has come back to bite me. I’m a total idiot, a loser, and facing the prospect of losing every single game this season.

For the record, so far I’ve also drafted Anquan Boldin (Wide Receiver), and two Running Backs: Joseph Addai and Warrick Dunn. Addai might be a nice pick up but right now isn’t even the starter, which makes him a HUGE risk as a #1 back.

I had to take Running Backs, as they are far and away the most important position. It sucks with who’s available. Virtually every blue-chipper was saved as a “Keeper.”

Looking for quality Running Backs in the draft when the top 15 guys are gone is like looking to pick up a girl in a trashy bar. You end up talking yourself into the idea that this girl will work for you, swallowing the bitter lie.

I mean, she may give you a great night, but can she hang for the long haul? Doubtful. In your heart of hearts, you know a good girl wouldn’t be in a bar like this.

That’s how I feel. I’m selecting players through the smoke-filled room, desperate to find someone before last call.

Kicking myself about letting the One get away.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dark Orchid Rides Again

I want to iterate--strongly!--this is not a meme. I abhor the use of meme for what is just a copied list.

For that matter, copying lists from other people's sites is lazy, but I'm feeling weird, so what the hell. This has made the rounds lately, but I got it from Kaply Inc.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current street name)

Ginger Roundtree - This sounds more like a porn name

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your mom's side, your favorite candy)

Wiley Mamba - This sounds pornish too. Still, I like the idea of Wiley Mamba. Sexy

3. YOUR "FLY GIRL/GUY" NAME: (first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your middle name)

H Rum - not that great.

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Periwinkle Falcon - If that's not a detective name, I don't know what is.

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)

Rumplestiltskin Jurachenal - sounds more like my Vampire name. I'm starting to think we need to come up with our own codification.

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom's maiden name and first 3 letters of the town you grew up in.)

Conhy DoAff - That sucks. I read once it's the first three letters of your first name and the first car you drove, which would give me Hyp Le Sabre. Now that's a Star Wars name!

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (your favorite color, favorite drink)
Dark Orchid Smurf Blood - Sigh. I guess I was born to fight for the Legion of Doom

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Carl Sagan

I watched CONTACT again last night. I absolutely love the bravery of the silent beginning and the worm-hole sequence. (BTW, am I the only one who thought CONTACT was better than FORREST GUMP, also directed by Robert Zemeckis? If this movie comes out earlier, doesn’t it get a Best Picture nomination? Yes it has that hokey compass that you just know will come back later, but Gump has dozens of gimmicks. Maybe I’m just bitter.)

Anyway, I’ve never read anything by Carl Sagan, but my understanding is that Sagan is a pretty famous Atheist, and I can only imagine that CONTACT reflects his position (voiced by Jodie Foster’s character, that Science revealed that God never existed in the first place). However, every time I watch the movie I’m struck by how much the film seems to affirm a greater power out there in the universe. Be it Aliens, God, or Aunt Jemimah, doesn’t CONTACT seem to argue there is something greater than us?

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Zemeckis has drastically changed the message of his adaptation. I’ve read Winston Bloom’s Forrest Gump, and its tone is completely negative and depressing. Actually, I think Zemeckis drastically improved the book by making it hopeful and optimistic, but then again, I saw the movie first, and you know the rule: you almost always like best what you see first.

But still, I have to wonder: did Zemeckis betray the vision of Sagan of a world without God?

Monday, August 14, 2006


Actual conversation with Kaida over the weekend.

Kaida: I was over at Carla and Ian’s tonight to watch a movie.

Me: Really?

[You have to understand: Carla and Ian are good people, but they have the worst—and I mean worst—taste ever (Ever!) in movies. Is it important what kind of taste people have in movies? More on that another time.]

Anyway, I steeled myself not to react to whatever she said. Every week Kaida comes back with a report that she’s watched some god-awful movie like She's The Man, and I always flip out and have a cow. This time I was determined not to react.

Me: (feigning nonchalance) How was your time?

Kaida: Great!

Me: Yeah? Uh, what did you have to drink.

Kaida: Diet Orange Crush. That might be my favorite drink.

Me: And to eat?

Kaida: Carla made me a chocolate cake. At least, I think she made it. I’m not sure. It was good.

Me: (deep breath, as my stomach clenches like I just ate some bad shrimp), and what movie did you see?

Kaida: Failure to Launch

Me: (in a small quiet strangled voice) I wasn’t ready.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nevsky and Tom Servo

I just wanted it known that I was on fire last night.

We watched ALEXANDER NEVSKY, which is in Russian, made in 1938, set in 1254. The translation would is so bad it'd make the "All your bass belong to us" people blush.

So, to keep up spirits, I began a one-man MST-3K vigil, and I was just flat out on. I'm not sure I have ever (EVER!) been that funny while comenting on a movie.

In fact, I was so good that it'd be worth hiring me to come watch the movie with you and fire my one liners.

Speaking of MST-3K, can we all just agree that it was one of the best ideas in history? The skits could be hit or miss, but the actual movies and jokes themselves...

Why can't we do something like this again? Would it really be so hard to bring this back? How about it, Science?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

So THAT'S what I've been doing with all my time

So, the way this works (and it's just a list, it's not a meme, don't even get me started, because I cannot handle it today) is that you put the tv shows you've watched in bold, and the shows where you've watched every single episode in red. (Special thanks to Wordnerd, who gave me the idea.)

I think the point of the whole thing is to laugh at the person for how much time they spend watching television, and then fill out the list yourseld and start bawling.

3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven

Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

American Idol /Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America’s Next Top Model/Germany’s Next Top Model
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Chappelle’s Show
Charlie’s Angels
China Beach
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Star
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci’s Inquest
Dawson’s Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Due South
Dungeons and Dragons (old cartoon)
Earth 2
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Family Guy
Family Ties

Fantasy Island
Fawlty Towers
The Flintstones
Get Smart
G.I. Joe
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Wing
Grey’s Anatomy
Growing Pains

Happy Days
Head of the Class
Hill Street Blues
Hogan’s Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invader Zim
Iron Chef (
Iron Chef (
Hell’s Kitchen
John Doe
Kath and Kim
LA Law
Laverne and Shirley
Law and Order
Law and Order Criminal Intent
Law and Order Special Victims Unit
Little House on the Prairie

Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
Magnum P.I.
Malcolm in the Middle
Married… With Children

Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown
My Family
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
Night Court
Northern Exposure
One Tree Hill
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Pirates of Darkwater
Power Rangers
Prison Break
Project Runway
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Samurai Jack
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
So Weird
South Park
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Square Pegs
St. Elsewhere
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis — New season
Stargate SG-1 — New season

Teen Titalns
That Girl
That 70’s Show
That’s So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Brady Bunch
The Colbert Report
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show

The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flintstones

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Jetsons
The L Word

The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters
The O.C.
The Office (
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Prisoner
The Real World

The Shield
Shirt Tales
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
Small Wonder
The Smurfs

The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wonder Years
The X-Files

Third Watch
Three’s Company
Top Gear
Twin Peaks

Twitch City

Upstairs, Downstairs
Veronica Mars
Voltron (the cool lion one, not the idiotic car one)

What Not To Wear (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will and Grace

Xena: Warrior Princess
Young Hercules

and, in a shameless bit of cross-promotion, did you know that Koz and I once ranked every sitcom every made?