Saturday, May 27, 2006

You're All Sellouts!!!

The term "sellout" is a very stupid one. The people who use it as a common practice tend to be teenagers who like punk bands and probably aren't even sure what the hell they're implying exactly when they say it.

Here's the definition from good old dictionary.com:

1. The act of selling out.
2. An event for which all the tickets are sold.
3. Slang One who has betrayed one's principles or an espoused cause.

The easiest times in which to cry "sellout" are probably when you like an underground band, and then said band suddenly rockets to stardom and signs with a major label. Oh, no! Those bastards!! How DARE they make money!

Just because more people are now familiar with your favorite band doesn't mean you should get defensive. If anything you should feel proud of yourself for picking a band that clearly had talent long before the general public took notice (or they're just bucking the correct trend of the period, in which case your taste probably sucks anyway, so whatever).

If you're getting upset that your band had the gall to make some cash, well, that's ridiculous. Yes, punk rock is great, blah blah blah, we don't care about money, we care about the message, whatever, spikey. Sorry to break this junk to you, but your beloved band started their music career with the idea of making MONEY off of it. When the option presents itself for this band to either make more money doing what they love or to continue wallowing in obscurity doing what they love while balancing it with a job waiting tables, well, what the hell do you think they're gonna choose?

Not only that, they deserve it for being damn proficient at what they do (unless they're just bucking the current trend, in which case, fuck them). Sure, some artists got recognized for their talents after their deaths but, really now, how appreciative do you think they are of this? Not very! Considering they were poor and underappreciated while they lived as well as the fact that there's no afterlife! Yes! Dig at the pious!!! You weren't expecting that! CONTROVERSE SNEAKERS!!!!

The important thing is that, even while they're raking in the green, your band must keep focused on that which got them there in the first place: the music. The only time this band of yours (and, by the way, just because you like them doesn't mean they're yours) deserves any real criticism is when, for example, they play tons of small shows as a grindcore (yes, this genre exists for those of you unaware) band and then, suddenly, they're on MTV with a new single called "Love in a Candy Basket." In such a situation, it's hard to imagine that your band's thinking was something other than, "Well, making this music we like isn't working so let's churn out some crap for the money." But, EVEN THEN, you can't really say for sure this is selling out! WHY?!!? WHY, MOTHERFUCKER?!?!?!!?!?

Simply put, you don't KNOW what the members of your band are thinking. Maybe they had some kind of amazing realization and decided that grindcore blows (I know I'm not a fan) and gushy stink-pop is far more fulfilling. Unlikely? Certainly, but still, possible.

Hey! Maybe your band just wanted some quick cash and, now that people have noticed them, they'll steer the music back towards their original vision. A brief denial of principles, cry you?! So what?! Who do you know who's stayed true to themselves throughout the entirety of their lives?! Shit, kid! You're in school, ain'tcha?! Does school JIVE PERFECTLY with what you currently believe should be your main concern in life?! No! I bet tossing your hair flippantly and signing petitions to ban animal testing is of paramount importance to you right now! Damn, brotha, you a sellout!!

Just because someone or something doesn't behave in the manner you expect them to doesn't mean they're denying their principles, it means they're denying YOU of what YOU want THEM to do and, hey, you ever looked at it this way? Bending to the will of one's fans is a surefire way to sellout! Look what happened to Weezer! LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!!! The point of art is to grow, change, and experiment, stupid! If your band changes their dynamic and you can't roll with it, fine! Move on to something else. Nobody's asking you to stick around.

"But, Bobby," you say, because you haven't even had the courtesy to properly learn my name, "they aren't growing! They aren't changing! They just suck now! They changed from good to suck!!"

Well, that's your opinion, but, listen, if you're pretty sure your band truly did sellout and is now the total antithesis of that which they used to stand for and is just in it for the money or fame or whatever it is now, guess what? If they have any true, genuine bone in their body, it'll catch up with them! Soon they'll hate themselves pretty good! The fame and money will mock them and they'll go all crazy and pick up an (even worse) drug habit!! And if they don't, well, fuck 'em! They're soulless bastard what ain't really worth your time!!

I had a good friend and roommate who used to be way into the punk scene but then got out of it because it was too damn stupid. I thought it was really cool of him when he once told me that punk rock, contrary to some beliefs, is not a way of life, it's a genre of music, and nothing more. It's a messy, loud, sometimes violent genre of music, but it's just music. Yes, even back with the Sex Pistols. Do you think they ALWAYS did what they wanted and damned the consequences? Certainly not! I mean, they did sign with some record labels, for a brief period, after all.

People want recognition and money for what they do. I don't look forward to all the bureaucracy that comes along with entering into the film, television, or literary business, but I know I have to deal with it. Lame as this sounds, you have to play the game, but not let the game play you. (Wow, just awful.)

You have to enter into the den of crap and suck and stick to what YOU want in the middle of all that, screw what the businessmen think and screw your admirers. Be a beacon of awesomeness in a dark sea of shit by doing what feels right to you! You can't live outside the system (well maybe Ted Kaczynski did, I dunno), but you can rattle things up a bit by being yourself within it. We're all sellouts at some level. I mean, you're already a member of the most heinous organziation on the planet...DUN DUN DUNNNNN, the human race. Just try to be a better member than everybody else.

Hey. You're a good kid. You'll turn out okay.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Here's the Beginning of this Other Screenplay

HI. A friend of mine is trying to put together his own reel of stuff he can shoot and asked me if I'd write him a screenplay that incorporated some very basic ideas he had. It was supposed to be under ten pages but instead I wrote this goddamned forty-four page biopic.

It's all done now but I don't want to post the whole thing so here's just the beginning. This may not be how it inevitably ends up depending on what my friend thinks, but this is the how it is at present.

Action lines are in italics!!!

There's a lot of pubescent swearing, because that's pretty much all they do.

Also, I actually did have a teacher named Miss Stickle (and I believe it was "Miss" not "Ms.").


INT. BIOLOGY CLASS - DAY

A classroom full of kids. The teacher, MS. STICKLE, 40s, overweight, stands in front of the class, teaching.

JACKY, male, 13 years old, small but cute in a boyish sort of way, is sitting at his desk with his head on his hand. He looks half-asleep.


MS. STICKLE
All living things are organized into six classes:

Ms. Stickle writes on the board with chalk.

MS. STICKLE (CONT'D)
Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species...

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY

A school. There’s a lawn in front and a small ALLEYWAY to the left side of the building. A sign above the school entrance reads “GLENVALE MIDDLE SCHOOL.”

The bell RINGS. The front door opens and KIDS flood out of it. Jacky exits with his backpack slung over one shoulder. He walks off down the block.


EXT. JACKY’S HOUSE - NIGHT

A modest, two-level house in a middle-class suburb, with houses not unlike it to either side.

Ms. Preston’s CAR pulls into the driveway.


INT. JACKY’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

A small, carpeted room with a couch, a coffee table, and a TV. On the floor in front of the TV sits a Playstation. Behind the couch is a staircase and, just beyond that, a small dining room with another entrance to its right, which leads to the kitchen and the back door.

Jacky sits on the floor between the coffee table and the Playstation, watching Britney Spears’ “Toxic” VIDEO. He is borderline entranced. The remote control rests loosely in his hand.

The back door SHUTS softly. Jacky does not react.


MS. PRESTON (O.S.)
Hello!

Jacky snaps out of his stupor and fumbles with the remote, switching to a paused VIDEO GAME.

Jacky grabs the Playstation controller and unpauses the game.
MS. PRESTON, 30s, wearing business attire and carrying a purse, enters from the dining room and spots Jacky.


MS. PRESTON (CONT'D)
Oh, there you are.

Jacky continues playing his game.

Ms. Preston puts her purse down on the dining room table and enters the living room.


MS. PRESTON (CONT'D)
Jacky, honey, did you do your homework?

JACKY
I’ll do it.

Ms. Preston SIGHS and starts taking off her coat.

MS. PRESTON
Jacky...

Jacky turns around.

JACKY
Don’t call me that! I asked you not to call me that!

MS. PRESTON
But I’ve always--

JACKY
I’m not a little kid! Everybody calls me Jack now. Jacky’s a girl’s name.

MS. PRESTON
It’s not a girl’s name.

JACKY
It is a girl’s name. There’s a girl in my math class named Jackie.

MS. PRESTON
All right, all right, I’m sorry.

Jacky turns back to his game.

Ms. Preston heads towards the stairs, puts her hand on the handrail, then stops at looks at Jacky.


MS. PRESTON (CONT'D)
Just ten more minutes and then homework time, okay?
(beat)
Jacky.

JACKY
Fine, whatever.

Ms. Preston ascends the staircase.

EXT. SCHOOL - MORNING

The front lawn of the school is swarming with CHATTERING KIDS.

MR. SANDERSON, a man in a suit, stands on the school steps, keeping an eye on all the kids.

Jacky, TODD (13, short), and LLOYD (13, short, with a little pudge) stand off to the left. Todd is looking around interestedly off to one side.


TODD
You know Julia Lombardi? She’s over there.

Lloyd looks, searching. Jacky also looks, less obviously.

LLOYD
Oh yeah, with the brown hair?

TODD
Right.

LLOYD
Yeah, she’s fuckin’ hot.

TODD
I sit behind her in Algebra!

LLOYD
You always get classes with hot girls in ‘em.

Todd grins.

TODD
Every time she drops her pencil and goes to pick it up I can see her underwear.

LLOYD
Awesome. I bet you bump into her desk all the time.

TODD
Oh come now, those desks are naturally unstable.

Todd and Lloyd LAUGH.

JACKY
She’s stupid.

TODD
What?

JACKY
Julia Lombardi is really dumb. Last year in English she kept saying “Holden Cowfield.”

LLOYD
So?

JACKY
Cow-field.

TODD
Maybe she was trying to be funny.

JACKY
No, Miss Reynolds corrected her like a hundred times.

TODD
Maybe her sense of humor is just so far beyond yours and Miss Reynolds...

Lloyd looks up and stares across the street.

JACKY
Right, right, sure.

TODD
Anyway, who cares? Point is, she’s hot.

LLOYD
Jack just likes his women a little more mature. Kinda like that, right Jack?

Lloyd nods in the direction he’s been staring. Todd and Jack look.

On the opposite side of the street JAMIE, CHLOE, and SARAH are walking, TALKING, and LAUGHING. They are all about the same age, 17, and are taller than the three boys.

They are all attractive girls but Jamie is clearly the most beautiful one, and yet the least refined in appearance, with medium-length, somewhat wild, auburn-colored hair, blue eyes, and wearing jeans with a tear in one knee. The other girls look done up but Jamie’s beauty is seemingly effortless.

Jamie and Chloe smoke cigarettes.


TODD
Jesus...

LLOYD
And in a year we’ll be going to school with them.

JACKY
I know her.

TODD
What? Which one? No you don’t.

LLOYD
Yeah, I’ve never seen you talk to a girl in our grade.

JACKY
She was my sister’s friend. She used to come over to my house all the time.

TODD
Wait, which one?!

JACKY
With the shorter hair. Her name’s Jamie Sawyer.

LLOYD
Seriously?! Dude, she’s fucking incredible!

JACKY
She used to call me cute all the time and mess with my hair and stuff.

TODD
God! I wish I was you.

LLOYD
Hell yeah, you had her and your sister around?

TODD
And your mom...

JACKY
Shut up.

Todd and Lloyd SNICKER.

TODD
Look at how they all smoke.

LLOYD
Yeah...

JACKY
I bet it’s cool.

The bell RINGS.

The boys and the rest of the students turn to go inside.


EXT. JACKY’S HOUSE - NIGHT

Establishing shot of Jacky’s house. Ms. Preston’s car is in the driveway.

INT. JACKY’S HOUSE - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

A modest dining room consisting of little more than a table with two chairs on each side, a hanging lamp, and a clock on one wall. The kitchen can be seen through a doorway to one side of the table. Windows are on the opposite side.

Jacky sits in a chair on the window side picking at a plate of spaghetti.

Ms. Preston sits opposite of Jacky with her own plate of spaghetti, eating.


MS. PRESTON
Ms. Stickle called today. She says you’re failing biology.

Jacky looks down, lazily stirring his spaghetti.

JACKY
Sorry.

MS. PRESTON
I don’t need an apology, Jacky, I need you to do better.

JACKY
Okay, I will.

MS. PRESTON
Well I’m sorry, honey, that’s just not good enough. She says you’re getting bad test grades, you hardly ever do the homework-

JACKY
I’ll start doing the homework.

MS. PRESTON
No, sweetie, that’s not...I can’t trust you when you tell me these things anymore. I’m getting you...I got you a tutor.
Jacky puts down his fork.

JACKY
What?!

MS. PRESTON
Just till you do better. You’re supposed to be graduating this year, you don’t want to stay in junior high, do you?

JACKY
I don’t need a tutor!

MS. PRESTON
Well, I think you do.

JACKY
No! I don’t want a tutor.

MS. PRESTON
I don’t wanna argue about it, Jacky, you need the help and I’ve been working later anyway, it’ll be good for someone to be here with you.

JACKY
What, so you think I need a baby-sitter now?!

MS. PRESTON
No, but you obviously need someone around to make sure you do your homework.
(in a more subdued voice)
I don’t know, your sister never had this problem.

JACKY
Well, maybe me and Melissa are two different people, mom!

MS. PRESTON
Melissa and I...

JACKY
God, whatever. Anyway, I don’t need some old lady telling me to-

MS. PRESTON
It’s not gonna be an old lady, you know her.

JACKY
What? I do?

MS. PRESTON
Yes, remember Jamie Sawyer? Your sister’s friend?

JACKY
I...yeah.

MS. PRESTON
You know Mrs. Friedrich’s son, Steve? Jamie tutored him with Algebra, Mrs. Friedrich said it really helped him out.

JACKY
Oh.

MS. PRESTON
You always got along with her all right, didn’t you?

JACKY
Yeah.

MS. PRESTON
I knew you wouldn’t like it, but I just want you to do well, okay?

JACKY
Okay.

MS. PRESTON
You’re not gonna fight me about this then?

JACKY
No.

Ms. Preston looks into Jacky’s eyes, as though trying to discern whether he’s being sincere.

MS. PRESTON
Okay.

She picks up her fork and twirls some spaghetti.

MS. PRESTON (CONT'D)
It won’t be that bad.

Jacky sits still, thinking.

Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!!! Okay, that's all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Take a Friendship Intolerance Trip!

Here's another of the many reasons I need a girlfriend I really love:

I don't like anybody.

Okay, sure, I like people to SOME degree, but I can only take them in small doses, and that accounts for almost EVERYBODY. Now, I do believe I am more critical than a lot of people but, still, except for the people who love meeting new people and find everybody interesting (IN DENIAL!), I bet most of you folk don't like so many people so much as you just TOLERATE them.

Again, most of youse guys probably get along with more people or, at least, believe you get along with more people than I do. I'm just assuming this because most people I know have far more friends/acquaintances than I. Personally, unless I find something truly interesting about someone when I first talk to them, I'm probably fine to let them fall, fall, FALL from my memory like a stoolie off a cliff.

The test is truly this: go on a trip of some sort with your friend/signficant other/right hand (HAW HAW!). Depending on your annoyancy tolerance level (this will likely be especially high if you yourself are a pain in the ass), you may want to make this trip last anywhere from three days to a week. The most important part is that it be an excursion that results in you and your companion being in each other's company about seventy-five percent of the time. Cars, plane rides, and hotel rooms tend to make certain of this.

Hotel rooms especially are important in such a test. Here, you'll get a little sneak peek at what living with this person might be like. Do they leave stuff around with the idea that the maid will just get it later anyway? When you move in together, they gonna wreck yo shit! Best believe dat!

This test should root out a fair bit of enemies who you once thought were friends. You are under very active, strenuous conditions, and often in confined spaces with the people with whom you take vacations (which are strangely non-relaxing by nature and, yes, I know I'm not to the first to notice this). I often discover that I can only take my friends in small doses. Extended periods of time around them lead to me literally envisioning violent acts towards their faces. Yes, that's right, literally.

I'll be honest here. This test isn't going to work with every specimen. If you get along REAL well with someone, and a trip doesn't destroy your perception of them, moving in with them very well may do so. And, really, except out of convenience, you aren't going to move in with anyone and it isn't going to be with the idea of it being a permanent thing unless they are your believed to be significant other. Therefore, the general impression is that this is a unique situation and you will likely never spend this much time with this person again in the future, so maybe the negative aspects of them are, in the long run, more or less negligible.

I suppose this holds true for a trip as well. As long as you can understand that one day you'll probably, just as a result of the natural mechanics of life, fall out of keeping in touch and maybe only get together once in a little while, maybe the negative things are tolerable. Plus, I'm not saying go into things LOOKING FOR PROBLEMS. Actually, I guess I sort of did, but I don't truly believe people should live like that. I'm just saying if you start to feel irritated by something, don't just let it simmer inside. If you don't address it openly with the person, at least be aware of it yourself.

Examine it from every angle and question whether it's entirely their fault or if you're a bit of a nut too. Is this something that's going to always chew on your brain unless it's addressed or fled from? Or is it a mild annoyance that you can let go? Ideally, you do talk it over with somebody because maybe you are just a wackjob and you don't know it.

Maybe I seem sort of like an inhuman bastard (no arguments here!) with my flippant dismissal of friendship but, my point is, people seem to get into relationships (and I'm not just talking about romantic ones, although that's where this becomes most important) and end up complaining endlessly whenever they're away from the other person and yet still believing this companionship is an important or necessary part of their life. Hey! If it's just a few things, maybe yeah, but if all you can talk about is negatives, maybe this is a chunk of your life you can just slice right the hell out! It'll be better for both of yas!

Is it that easy to just get rid of people and move on? No, it isn't. That's the unfortunate part. I'd love to have some sort of friend kitchen timer that I could just hold up and go "DING! That will be all, thanks." Unfortunately, I haven't invented it yet. Again, hopefully, with life's natural progression, you'll move away from people or get involved with other groups and get to a point where the old people who kept you tied down, as it were, are mere glimmers in your memory, perhaps revived briefly by a (CHORE-LIKE) phone call once every couple of months, no big deal.

But then there are the ones that latch on; the people who can't seem to let go. They want to keep you in their lives no matter what and, again, I'm not even talking about girlfriends and boyfriends here. What about the old hometown friend who still calls you up to go out and get drunk all the time, huh? Yeah, that asshole. It'll hurt for them when you leave them behind but, come on, man, you can't let societal courtesy keep you tethered to your past and, one would hope, this person will take note of the fact that everyone has left him behind and will do something about his own life...at the very least, he can probably get someone else to drink with, or like a dog or something.

All I know is, recent adventures with some friends of mine have led me to believe I have to leave these people, I really hope sooner rather than later. One of them I will certainly still keep in touch with, but the other...my goodness. I do believe I've decided the negatives outweigh the positives. This was the benefit of the trip. I've learned far too much about this man and recognized that most of his value comes from favors rather than any sort of aspects of his personality I actually appreciate and, hey, that's really not a good reason to call someone a friend. I don't wanna keep in touch with him. I wanna be rid of him entirely, someday. I really hope I find some way to start this process soon, because I can only take so much bullshit.

PEACE!!!!!!!!!