Area Man Forgets How Internet Works

If you’re looking for the post, “Submitting a Packet to the Onion And How it Can Hurt Your Feelings,” it’s gone. I deleted it, because I didn’t really like it a lot, and that seemed to be the only reason that people come to this blog.

I wrote it at a time when I  was learning to deal with a lot of dumb anxieties that stopped me from doing the things I wanted to do the way I wanted to do them. I wrote the post because I was beating myself up about not getting this job (or fellowship, whatever), and I wanted to stop. I really wanted to write for The Onion, but I wasn’t ready, and writing this thing helped me be OK with that, sort of in the same way someone who gets divorced tells their friends, “I’m happy I’m divorced!” a week after they get divorced.

The headline I wrote based on advice I got during a blogging workshop to make your headlines very google-able. This was annoying, because I went to the workshop thinking I’d get a hot tip on how to write better content, but the basic vibe from the whole thing was, “Write about what you think people are going to google, and then include the specific phrase you think people are going to google like fifty times within your content, so that you’re the first result – like me, I blog about how to get more people to my blog, so I just write ‘how to get more people to my blog’ a bunch, and then I hold workshops and you all paid me twenty dollars.”

So on a lark, as an experiment, I figured, “Hey I googled ‘Submitting a Packet to the Onion’ and nothing came up, so I am going to test this theory,” and now, years later, the only traffic this goddmamn blog ever gets is the ten to forty people a day who googled “Submitting a Packet to the Onion” and clicked the second result.

And I know for a fact that at least one person who works at The Onion has googled “Submitting a Packet to the Onion,” just to see what’s out there and been like, “Who the fuck is this asshole with his fucking blog?” – I don’t want to be that jerk, riding the asshairs of a publication I value for views on a blog that I do not keep up.

Because here’s the thing, I would love to write for The Onion, but you don’t get to write for The Onion, by being like “wah! They didn’t let me write for The Onion!”

Also, in the two years since I posted, I’ve gotten another chance to submit to The Onion and I didn’t take it, because at the time, I was too busy making a motherfucking feature film. So I’m doing great.

If you are going to submit a packet to the Onion, my understanding is ten headlines, then three News-in-Briefs from those headlines. Then take a comedy writing class and wait to hear the whispers that they’re looking. But probably don’t blog about it.

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You Try Coming Up With 19 Days of Original Content With Very Few Restrictions When You Have Months That You Could’ve Spent Planning And See How You Do.

Eyeteeth Presents: 19 Days of Reliable Generation of Content – Sponsored by the Eyeteeth Kickstarter (Day Something)

The other day at work, I said to someone, without irony, “Cold enough for ya?” Then I quit my job and burned my wallet and donated everything I had to charity and moved to Nebraska and started over.

Because when you say something that means only “Now I am talking,” that’s what you should do.

I did move back.

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I’m Really Proud of Our New Video

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The internet really needs more thoughtful opinions on why someone doesn’t like something.

Eyeteeth Presents: 19 Days of Reliable Generation of Content – Sponsored by the Eyeteeth Kickstarter (Day 11)

I rented Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, thinking that it might be ok, and that I might like it, because some people told me that I probably would. But I’d read the reviews, and they said I wouldn’t like it, and I didn’t like most of it, but then it ended and I really liked it. I didn’t like it; I thought about it a lot. I still think about it sometimes. I won’t say my problems with the rest of the movie don’t still apply, but the end was right.

I need to spoil this  — they die. The thing that they said was going to happen the entire movie happened, and all along I’d been thinking, yeah, they’ll get out of it. The meteor will disintegrate in the atmosphere, or the world will shake and the characters will look at each other and realize that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be and now they have a new beginning. Then I’m supposed cherish my life or whatever – OK, but then they died, and I spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling being very honest with myself.

I had a lot of questions, from am I living a life I want to be living? to why did someone say to me, “you’ll probably like this”? I’ll admit, I watched it skeptically. I’ve seen it again since, knowing they die, and it is better. I don’t love it. I don’t not recommend it. I don’t recommend it if you don’t want to watch a scene where a beautiful white girl explains why records are so great to a sad white guy, however, they die in the end, and then the credits roll, so really anything could have happened to them, but they died. You know they died. And that makes it special, because even if they spent the entire movie doing dumb things, meeting other characters I don’t remember, talking about records — thought I am white and I do love records — in the end, they die, and that’s real.

You like real? Back!

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Everyone Should Pay Their Rent

Eyeteeth Presents: 19 Days of Reliable Generation of Content – Sponsored by the Eyeteeth Kickstarter (Day 9)

Now that there’s a man and woman in the apartment above me singing along with the soundtrack to Rent (and the guy just went “woo!” during the guitar part), I realize that I don’t like Rent as much as I used to. It’s not their fault. They’re doing a pretty good job. I think I just don’t like it in the same way that I don’t like the band Thursday anymore. I get why people love it. I get why people hate it. I haven’t listened to it all the way though since sixth grade, and now that I am, I don’t really miss it.

At the time, my sister had to explain to me what AZT was, and who loved who, and what gender they were. I wasn’t completely oblivious, but listening again, I definitely didn’t know what I was screaming about. I just enjoyed the music. It connected me to my sister the same way that Transformers connected me to my brother.  I’d put it on in my room or drag my CD player into the bathroom when I showered, and sing in different voices, probably very loudly, probably very badly.

One day though, I was sitting alone on my bed, singing my head off. My brother and his girlfriend at the time were hanging out one room over. I heard giggling, and mumbling, and then she walked into my room and said, “You know that’s two gay guys singing, right?”

I don’t remember how I responded in that moment. I felt very dumb, and I started skipping over that song whenever I listened, and then I stopped listening, which is a shame, because that is a beautiful song.

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26-Year-Olds are Allowed to Like This is 40

Eyeteeth Presents: 19 Days of Reliable Generation of Content – Sponsored by the Eyeteeth Kickstarter (Day 7)

I know I’m not the only person who watches movies for answers.  I stare and extrapolate and I turn my taste into my bible until I find a better one. It does work sometimes, not all the time.

When I was in college, I watched Igmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage. Afterward, I stared at myself in a mirror for twenty minutes, being deeply sad, knowing that a lot of my divorce-fears were real. As amicable as my parents are, my interpretation of my own relationships has always been skewed. At some point when I do the math on the people I care about, my brain goes, “Then I will make them mad, and they will leave,” which is annoying. Watching Scenes From a Marriage reinforced that, pulled knots tighter. It wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t look to movies for answers, but I did, and I do, and that’s where that left me at the time.

I think that enough people like This is 40, but it’s sort of indicative of the perspective that the movie was made from that so many people my age brush it off. I don’t mean to say that Judd Apatow wrote and directed it exclusively for people who are forty in the same way that Tyler Perry does, but there are airs that he doesn’t put on that make it sort of an acquired taste.

I saw This is 40 with Jen. And we certainly like each other a lot, but there were moments early in out relationship, where the divorce-fears became an issue. I’d think of us, and our future, and I’d hit blurriness. I’d be imagining our lives and I’d go, “then I will make her mad and she will leave,” which I would bottle up and not deal with, and then we’d get into fights and I’d clench up and close my eyes and think OK, here it comes. But then I’d open them and she’d be sitting there like, You done? We were mostly past that when we first saw This is 40,  but it reinforced something that needed reinforcing.

I get people’s complaints. It is long. Judd Apatow’s movies divide people because he tells stories about processes. He hones in on funny moments about things that occur over months. It’s easier to handle when it’s a story about losing your virginity or having a baby, because there’s discernible end points and it’s easier to track, but with stories about having a career in comedy or having a family, it could go anywhere, and that’s intimidating if you have somewhere else to be.

Where Scenes From a Marriage is literally six twenty-minute scenes about two people who’s relationship dissolves and ultimately becomes this tenuous, addictive bond, This is 40 is a lot of little scenes played for jokes, arranged more like a set-list where the length is part of the big over-arching joke. The other jokes cover intimacy, family, and people trying to improve themselves. That’s the main difference, Scenes From a Marriage is a beautiful, sad story about people unwilling to improve, and thusly disintegrating into beautiful, sad shadows of their former selves. This is 40 is a comedy about people at least willing to try. That’s what’s encouraging.

As dumb as it is to say out loud, I needed a movie that was honest about marriage in order to accept that marriage isn’t a machine built to fail. So many films and TV shows shove the idea into a story structure, or they romanticize, or they demonize it, and they make it something that’s only sort of correct. This is 40 says something that I like: we’ll get older and meaner no matter what, we’ll be unintentionally cruel, we’ll protect the things we care about to a fault, we’ll pass the blame onto other people, but if we try – even if in trying we prove how crappy we are – we will make each other better. And I want to be better.

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After We Saw The Lorax (In Theaters!)

Eyeteeth Presents: 19 Days of Reliable Generation of Content – Sponsored by the Eyeteeth Kickstarter (Day 6)

“The thing about that movie is-” I said, shutting the car door and settling into my seat.

Jen interjected, “I thought it was good.”

“I mean, the thing is-” I replied, fired up because we hadn’t seen a movie in theaters in months and I’d payed for both tickets, “Doctor Seuss – The thing about the movie is- That’s- That’s exactly what the Lorax isn’t. You know? Because it’s entirely a product.”

Jen gripped the steering wheel.

“It’s like, at the end you feel nice, and you shouldn’t. It’s like, the thing is, the Lorax is awesome because at the end, you feel terrible. You’re troubled, and you want to take action. This was- This was like- It’s makes me so mad because it reduced it to this meaningless- This dumb, safe-“

“I hear-” Jen started.

“That’s what makes Pixar so good.” I said, adding, “Pixar is so much better than this.”

“Here’s the thing.”

I continued, “It just makes me so mad- Like, the Lorax was fine as it was- And then you make this, and you know, the people who made it, I don’t think they’re bad people, but it’s like- It’s one of those sentiments that’s actually harmful to the case it’s trying to make, because now-“

“Here’s the thing.”

“Now kids will be like, ‘oh well- I guess everything turned out OK for the Lorax’-“

“Here’s the thing,” Jen said sharply.

“Like, are people not allowed to feel shame anymore?”

Jen stared at me. I stopped talking. She waited for a second, and then, very calmly, she said, “Sometimes I just like to watch movies that have bright colors.”

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