Monday, May 25, 2009

The Ignominious Return of Freelance Dramaturg

One more exciting, halfassed cartoon for the Freelance Dramaturg series! I drew this in an attempt to avoid clawing my eyes out from boredom last weekend at the National Restaurant Association convention.

My fervent belief: Shakespeare is better with nunchuks.

Collect 'em all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Double-Fisting At Minifist

Yet another Thunder Matt's Saloon archive piece.

An Attempt At Remembrance

Chaim's memories of last Friday has inspired me to dust off my keyboard and participate in this blog like an actual writer, as opposed to just drawing a salary and commenting on every fifth article written by someone else. So here's what I'm capable of remembering from the 2009 Minifist:

To catch those just joining us up, last Friday was the long-awaited Annual Thunder Matt's Saloon Gathering of Bartenders That Could Actually Make it To Chicago, or "Minifist" for short. I have been told this is a reference to a previous full gathering of bartenders known as "Thunderfist," but I suspect it's actually named after a midget porno that Dave Thomas kept trying to get us to go back to his house to watch.1

The reason for this gathering was to watch the Cubs play the hated Houston Astros. I'm not kidding when I tell you that the Astros are my "least favorite team that I shouldn't give a shit about" ever. I really hate the Astros. A lot. I'd be more eloquent about it, but the white-hot rage that fills my veins when I think too much about them is making it difficult to type, so I'm going to change the subject.

I was originally scheduled to attend this game, but had to cover for our receptionist, who was out of town. So I was limited to meeting up "after the game," where I expected to meet either several very annoyed or very excited bartenders for a post-game Celebration/Drowning of Sorrows. Then I learned the game had been postponed to another day due to the weather, which was about 10 different kinds of ass that day.

So, at about 4:30, I texted our very own Chaim Witz to ask if they were still at the Gingerman (on account of I was dreadfully sober), and received the following text:

Oh god yes
That's always a good sign. When I finally arrived at the Gingerman (at roughly 5:30, for those keeping score), I found Chaim (who was heroically warring with Sobriety and winning at this point), as well as fellow bartenders Chip Wesley and Dave Thomas in fine spirits. With them were Valued TMS Reader Nick V (whose real name, it turns out is Steve V), a friend of Chip's that I will call "Mark," to protect his identity, and my good friend, Dr. Scotch, whose company I greatly appreciated, considering that I was at least 5 hours behind everyone else on the booze front.2

Not in attendance was the legendary Tommy Buzanis, who had apparently left some hours before I arrived, muttering something about "ditching this sausage party to look for a steak and some broads." I still have yet to meet this mysterious, near mythical man, but his empty seat was treated with the greatest of reverence.

A raucous conversation ensued, whereupon I learned much about how to administer a throat-jab properly, the most obscene insults Lingering Bursitis had used in private correspondence, and the proper way to eat at Wrigleyville Dog (answer: apparently Not at All). At some point (about 3 pitchers in from my arrival), Chaim's head finally hit the table, and we all knew he had defeated Sobriety handily. We bundled him in a cab pointed towards his house, and staggered into the still sunlit evening to find the next bar.

This being Wrigelyville, the bar selection was wide, but shallow. Pretty much the only non-sports bar left open was The Irish Oak (where, incidentally, I spent a fascinating night last fall listening to the Clash's excreble Cut the Crap album and watching a friend of mine get hit on by a DEEPLY RELIGIOUS group of Suburban Cougars). So we went there, Chaimless, but proud. Dave Thomas and I shared a shot of Rumple Minze3, and I trace my ultimate downfall to this point.

Eventually, we left the Oak, losing Nick V and Dave Thomas in the process, and the remaining three (Chip Wesley, "Mark," and myself) decided to go to the Wrigleyville North (a delightfully rednecky and cheap bar not far from the Sheridan stop). Every trip I take to the Wrigleyville North is either a disaster or not memorable at all, so I don't know why I get drawn to it so readily. Unless it's because the drunker I get, the more I want to listen to country cover bands.

We had barely settled in when I got a series of texts from my fiancee, who was in nearby Boys Town, singing Karaoke with her friends at a relatively seedy gay bar named Bobby Love's:

Worst version of tiny dancer ever on the karaoke stage EVER! ;)

And I'm babysitting a sox fan glass. HELP!!!
So, I asked my companions if they minded swinging by, and when I assured "Mark" that there are tons of chicks at karaoke night at a gay bar (there are), and Chip that I wouldn't tell anyone about this (I did), we staggered drunkenly there. On the way, I almost got us lost twice, recieved a text that my fiancee was leaving soon, made it there in time for one more round, coninued to be collossally drunk, watched "Mark" make out with a friend of my fiancee's and mine, failed to sign Chip up for a song (I assume he was planning to sing "Two Minutes To Midnight" or something, but my memory is swimmy by this point), and finally left.

All in all, a fine night out.4

1. Not strictly a "fact," but I've never let that stop me before. In fact, anywhere from 50-95% of these remembrances might not be literally "factual." But dammit they are still The Truth.

2. Of course, I now know that any less than a 10 hour head start for Dave Thomas is not fair to the rest of the group...

3. I just googled the spelling. Huh. Two words. Weird.

4. Well, if you don't count the huge argument I started with my fiancee on the way home (entirely my fault; I was a mess), the fact that I had to get up at 6:30 am to work a convention, and that I spent all the next day shaking and covered in a thin, clammy layer of beer-scented sweat.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stan Lee: Still a Feminist

Why aren't more women reading comics?

I bet she accidentally rear-ended the Fantasticar when she was putting on makeup in the Quinjet. Because they're too busy doing their hair.

Am I right, guys? Huh? Am I?

Captain America's viewpoint is particularly disheartening. If I were his girlfriend, I'd shoot him for this:1

Captain America: Great at punching Hitler. Lousy with The Ladies.

1. Topical.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Freelance Dramaturg

A Poorly Drawn Comic Strip By Someone Who Normally Draws Better Than This

Some time ago, I drew a couple of halfassed comic strips on a sheet of 3-hole typing paper, reflecting my own semi-jaundiced view of my experiences in theatre. And this morning, I decided to do a third using my el cheapo pen tablet. I figured I'd share them.

Who knows? Maybe I'll make more one day.

Seriously. Go to hell, Folio.All directors look vaguely like Robert Lipton to Freelance Dramaturg.It was really hard to meticulously redraw the last 3 panels to look identical to each other, and only vaguely different from panel 3...
If you click on them, you can see them at legible size. I particularly like the way FD looks in the last few panels of the third one.

Disclaimer: Freelance Dramaturg is not NECESSARILY a self-portrait without a nose. For one thing, I hardly ever actually work as a dramaturg anymore. However, it's not NOT a self-portrait either.

EDIT: Jesus fuck, the spam commenters had a field day here (well, 3 comments, which is a field day by my standards). Seriously, spammers: this site averages about 40 hits a day, mostly from people doing image searches and not reading the words. It's not worth the effort to even run a bot.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This Filled My Tiny Heart With Joy

I'm sorry I've been neglecting this place lately (I didn't even mourn Bea Arthur yet, as the pain is still fresh), but I've been too busy Punching Hitler and slowly losing my mind over at Thunder Matt's Saloon.

But I saw this, and thought: "What an easy way to put up a lazy post!

Finally, a headline that says what we're all thinking.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blogging About Blogging About Not Blogging, Part 2

More TMS insanity.

Or, "This Isn't Working, But If I Talk About How Talking About It Not Working Isn't Working...It Just Might Work."

When last we met me, I was remembering how I came up with the idea to write about the sheer genius of Iron Maiden's Powerslave album vs. the sheer Power of Apples. And then I promptly passed out in a haze of "inspiration."

Which brings me to:

12:11 PM, Tuesday, May 5th:
After microwaving my lunch and sitting down to start composing the next chapter in this masterpiece, I decide how to begin this, and end up settling on:

1:24 PM, Monday, May 4th:
I give the following update to my fellow bartenders: "I ran out of lunch time. This will be at least a 2-parter.

Also, it probably makes no damn sense. "

I shortly receive this response:

1:26 PM, Monday, May 4th
Brant Brown:
"Jon, brevity is a virtue."

I immediately snark back. This devolves into one of our numerous pissing matches (I think he is trying to haze me or something). Nothing witty is said on either side, so I will not recount it here, and only mention it as a bit of local color (and proof that it was my negative attitude that killed Pomp Culture not some "editorial decision," as the press release stated).

3:00 PM, Monday, May 4th:
Part 1 is published according to schedule and meets with the following critical response:

3:03 PM, Monday, May 4th:
"My personal guideline:

The Serious Tip: 500 words or more
all other blogs: 300 words
Less than 144 characters: I'm Twittering that bitch"
That's right. Jordi even pushes his blog in our private conversations. What a whore. Wait: don't tell him I said that, though. He will totally suplex me.

3:10 PM, Monday, May 4th:
Brant Brown:
"Jon, I don't care for the direction of your post, but I do appreciate you working in the Tyler Perry quandary."
I take this as the effusive compliment it clearly is.

3:41 PM, Monday, May 4th:
Chaim Witz:
"Jon, though that post may not be fully appreciated until well after you've passed on from this Earth (quite possibly at the calloused hands of Brant Brown), let me be the first to recognize the tortured genius that emanates from those disjointed words. "
I am momentarily flattered, then realize that Chaim also thinks the finest work of Western Literature is the 1970s KISS Adventures comic book, because "it uses real KISS blood in the red ink. Let's see Tolstoy do that."

6:41 PM, Monday, May 4th:
In our comments section, Nick V states "It took a few minutes to realize what you were talking about Wolter, but by the end I chuckled"
By the end he chuckled. Exactly the response I wanted! Emboldened, I renew my vow to finish this, come hell or high water.
12:31 PM, Tuesday, May 5th:
I sit back for a minute and try to remember where the hell I was going with this. Oh yeah:

1:01 PM, Monday, May 4th:
I write something to this effect before stopping:

3:03 AM, Monday, May 4th:
I totally pass the hell out drunk, thinking I had a great idea for a blog post.
(I am paraphrasing here).
12:35 PM, Tuesday, May 5th:
I'm back on track!

6:48 AM, Monday, May 4th:
Oh god. Is that my cell phone alarm? Jesus Christ! I need to get up and go to work...holy god, my mouth tastes like country fried ass. Why do I do this to myself...

This goes on for some time, until...

10:13 AM, Monday, May 4th:
I step out of a near-endless staff meeting, still haggard and not-a-little-hung-over, yet determined to write the best possible blog entry on my lunch break.

10:16 AM, Monday, May 4th:
I realize that Powerslave vs. Powersauce is the stupidest idea I've ever had. Even stupider than those damn NES reviews.

10:18 AM, Monday, May 4th:
The following idea passes through my brain and is quickly discarded:

Iron Maiden:

1:55 PM, Tuesday, May 5th: I have no idea what to alt-text here.


1:56 PM, Tuesday, May 5th: I consider a Mario joke, but discard it.

Again, Jordi would totally nail me if I didn't fact-check this one.

10:37 AM, Monday, May 4th:
I come close to googling pictures of Iron Chef before banging my head on the desk in frustration. Bad idea, as it re-activates my fading hangover.

10:53 AM, Monday, May 4th:
I hit a spark of inspiration, moments after I nix a plan to write about the incredibly awesome religious NES game Exodus (in which one plays Moses and Smites Pagans With the Power of the Lord). That one will come back. Trust me.

The plan is simple: I will write a "behind the scenes" look at how one of my posts comes to be. The only problem is: I don't have any good recent posts that I could possible remember the conception of. But I always say "when life gives you lemons, make crap up until you've filled the blue book." So I decide to write about the fact that I'm writing about the fact that I'm not writing anything at all. And by using dates, times, blockquotes, and different fonts, I can make a silly and pointless verbal puzzle that will both confuse and annoy all readers, while still making some semblance of sense if the reader wastes the time reading it.

And if anyone questions it...I'll say it's postmodern!

Armed with this confidence, I get back to doing my actual job until my lunch break.

12:54 PM, Tuesday, May 5th
I check the original entry again to make sure I know what the hell I'm talking about before starting to wrap this up:

12:11 PM, Monday, May 4th:
I begin typing the following:
I am not a prolific blo
...before spilling hot soup on my desk.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blogging About Blogging About Not Blogging, Part 1

From the Thunder Matt's Saloon archive. This one's a doozy. As is the next one.

This picture is worth every word I wrote below.Or, "The Making of "The Making Of "Iron Maiden vs. [TBD]"""

I am not a prolific blogger.

There. I said it.

Some would theorize that the reason behind this is that I am simply lazy. Others might say that, when I do write, I pour so much of my heart, soul, and limited html programming skills into it that I'm bound to put out less posts than most. The latter group is being charitable. I'm pretty damn lazy.

I note that it has been ages since my last post here, and that was a list post. Ugh. Shame on me. Well, actually, shame on Neal Cotts. What a turd he is.

But I digress.

Anyway, one thing I think I can provide to the TMS reader is a free peek behind the scenes at TMS - what makes us tick, how we come up with what we do. And an that note, maybe I can give you a look inside the process of how looking into our process has affected me, both as a TMS bartender, and as a man.

And the best way to do that is a diary of my thoughts about the diary of the events that shape a typical blog entry on TMS:

11:47 AM, Monday, May 4th
I decide I should probably write that "Behind the Scenes at TMS" blog entry, as my lunch time is fast approaching. I then realize that I need to get something to eat.

12:10 PM, Monday, May 4th
A quick trip downstairs for a Coke and to the kitchen to microwave my soup, and I'm ready to begin. I start thinking about the events I'm going to have to recall to make this blog make sense...first I need to start remembering when the idea for a blog post about writing a blog post first came to me, then I'll have to OH HOLY CRAP!

12:13 PM, Monday, May 4th
I finish cleaning the hot soup off my desk, and get back to writing. I decide to start back last week, when Brant Brown was being a total Nazi about the "Gists," and my lack of particiaption in them. I begin to type:

Sometime Last Week
Brant Brown starts being a total Nazi about the "Gists," and my lack of participation in them.
I then look at that and realize that's a crappy thing to say and decide to cut that part. I decide a better place to begin is to start is my growing realization that I have not been adding much to the TMS landscape lately. I modify my statement:

Sometime Last Week
I begin to realize that I have not been adding much to the TMS landscape lately.

11:32 PM, Saturday, May 2:
Brant Brown writes: "Mookie. Write 200 words on how Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" differs from Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns". Due Monday, via TMS post."
[Note: Brant has taken to calling me "Mookie Blaylock," probably because he's bitter that I'm able to blog under my own name, whereas his real name (Perez Hilton), has apparently already been taken].

2:54 AM, Sunday, May 3:
I respond: "Perez: No." But the need to write something soon festers.

12:23 PM, Monday, May 4:
I realize that I should probably mention my current mental state, as a way of explaining this entry. I take a second to find the right phrasing, then type:

7:30 PM, Sunday, May 3:
I attend my fiancee's graduation from her acting conservatory.

9:36 PM, Sunday, May 3:
The word goes out that everyone is leaving the after-graduation reception to get a few drinks at Brehon Pub. I tell my fiancee, "You can stay out as late as you want tonight, but I'm want to be home and in bed by 11:00, because I have to work tomorrow."

1:17 AM, Monday, May 4:
I do a shot of Jameson's with all of the members of her graduating class that are still upright.

12:30 PM, Monday, May 4:
I stop to reflect on my hangover for a moment.

12:52 PM, Monday, May 4:
I remember what I was doing with this blog, and start writing about the moment I remember that I haven't written jack and/or squat on TMS for some time.

2:47 AM, Monday, May 4:
I decide that I need to write a TMS post. But about what? I think about maybe getting up to play a little NES, but someone apparently set the room to "spin," so I decide against it.

2:55 AM, Monday, May 4:
I have a brainstorm. Mentally, I begin typing out the following Genius Idea:





3:03 AM, Monday, May 4:
Satisfied with this incalculably brilliant concept, I drift into a dreamless slumber.

1:02 PM, Monday, May 4:
I realize that I need to stop writing this, as my lunch break is over. I decide to continue writing this one later, and break this entry into multiple parts. The next part will commence with my morning-after second thoughts about this formerly "incalculably brilliant" post idea. It will also include the angry responses from other bartenders that this entry will no doubt provoke.

End of Part 1.

Tune in tomorrow (no really) for the continuation of this in-depth look into my thoughts about my thoughts about something no one cares about,. Unless I am murdered by my fellow bartenders before I can finish it.