Attention Whoring, comedy, Indignant, Lazy, My favorites, Pathetic, Selfish

Honesty: My Excuse

I’m often reassured that I’m the only one that enjoys myself. The mirror is the only audience I respect because it is the only audience that reacts appropriately to my misfortune. I see myself as powerless not because I aspire to be the victim, but because I aspire to fit in with the majority’s perception.

These oversimplifying statements of self deprecation mixed with self pleasure aimed at analyzing my neuroses are necessary cathartic lies.

After every sentence I want to stop writing because it feels like saying anything more would be giving too much away – taking away the journey that a reader has the opportunity to go on and making them see what you see as an author, as a creator of this story that you are supposed to paint a picture of because you have taken up the responsibility of leading this audience and asked to be paid attention to – to take time away from others’ lives in order to participate in your own because you believe your’s to be far superior, at least for the time being, and with that great demand comes great obligation to maintain enjoyment, but isn’t giving them, the audience, an invitation to join you as the creator the most selfless way to enjoy an art with someone? Probably not.

I ask myself stupid questions about when form and message intersect because I’m a stupid person with stupid thoughts. My answer is always that they do, but typically it is not a premeditated desire. In my case it is nearly always an accident. I’m still pleased with the result.

My work is almost always reddild with mistakes. ecause I only want to write about what I’m writing aboute. I start feeling dishonest when I’m presented art that has been edited. If that art is about me, ten it must be about me. I typed this entrie paragraph with my eyes losed.

Mrs. McIntire was my typing teacher in high school. Later she would become the vice principal for a year, but for now she only taught typing – a class where maintaining a watchful eye over child-soldiers completing mindless, useless tasks is your only duty. I was and am a good typer (or typist depending on which one is correct) and was/am able to complete my tasks at such a speed that large portions of class time would be/are dedicated to me finding other ways to occupy my time besides staring at completed assignments. This led to the game Wiz3. Whose instructions read/read: Guide Wizio the Wizard as he journeys through a magical land. Collect the potions as you go to create spells that will help you on your way. Use the keys to enter locked doors and hidden treasures. Throw the levers to get to reveal new routes and bonuses. It was a great game that I played/play well and played/play loudly. I liked/like perceiving the anger Mrs. McIntire directed towards my playing loudly as jealousy towards my playing well. That made/makes the competition more fun. She won/wins of course. She was/is the teacher. She instituted/institutes a rule wherein every time a student finished an assignment she would have to check over their entire homework before they could play games. Those two minutes of class where she would be/is hunched over my shoulder breathing in my oxygen displaying my total inability for full control were the worst two minutes of school every day.

I struggle with tense often in my writing, which I think is because I’m never sure whether I’m reliving by writing or perceiving by writing. My biggest struggle with writing is which version of myself am I. Since I can only comprehend the idea of writing through a self-manufactured lens that looks upon myself, my goal becomes to bend the funhouse mirror in a new and interesting shape. It’s selfish: the inability to focus the mirror elsewhere, but focusing it elsewhere sounds mean. Maybe that person doesn’t want to see themselves in a funhouse mirror. I’ll take the bullet. The selfish bullet.

I worry that humans won’t exist when I die, but that’s only because I define humans as me.

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Gender, Indignant, My favorites, Socialism

The Worst People in the World Were on the F-Train

She had gotten a salt bagel with hummus because “we’re in New York, honey” but now the hummus was spilling out the sides. As her jaw clenched around her breakfast, the bagel clenched and the ground garbanzo oozed outwardly.

“Here, honey”

He began uncrumpling the white paper bag that their Brooklyn experience had been served in. He blew into the bag to open it. This did nothing besides convince himself that he had helped.

“Put this under your bagel.”

He handed her the bag turned cumbersome bib proud that he had figured out his own what all New Yorkers had to be taught when they started eating bagels for breakfast at 4 years old.

“Wait.”

He explained his new realization that the age old bag under the bagel could be improved by tossing napkins in the bottom of the receptacle to soak up the excess bagel filling. He didn’t explain his even newer realization that this made no sense and was completely unnecessary because he was still on a high from improving on being a native New Yorker.

He thought about how “He kissed her” is a really nice sentence, but “she kissed him” seems scary. Before he had to worry about this anymore he decided it best to kiss her on the cheek and also offer his seat to a woman riding the subway alone. SHE was 40 years old and able to stand for HERself. Obviously it was necessary for HIM to find a place for the bag full of napkins and preparation for excess hummus that never occurred and the three shopping bags of Macy’s items. His bag of napkins was proving difficult to store appropriately as it was a little greasy and he was worried about leaving a grease stain on the subway floor.

He worried that a real New Yorker would have just carried the bag instead of shoving it face down under the seat where the grease stain would be less bothersome to other subway passengers. Then he was distracted by watching his girlfriend’s nose point at his navel.

“Why’d you do that?”

She responded to his poking of her nose accompanied by an exclamation of “boop!” He wanted to tell her “because we’re in New York,” but he knew that that didn’t make any sense. Maybe it was just vacation that was making him so giddy, he thought as he retook his seat that he had given up out of chivalry. Luckily he didn’t have time to think as another woman was standing alone. SHE was nearly 60 years old probably, though it was hard to tell with the Asians. He knew this wasn’t a very New York thing to do (standing up for two different people on a subway ride), but there were somethings that just needed to be universal.

“Or either of you.”

He didn’t really understand why the man wanted to take his seat while the woman didn’t, but maybe it was an Asian thing.

“Oh my god.”

She mouthed to herself but within vision of her boyfriend to express how strange it was to sit next to an old smelly Asian man on the subway. It’s too bad she had to marry someone so nice, but at least her parents liked him.

 

I have an obligation to society, that if society gives me more, then I must give more. And to those given least by society, we give more. I once argued with a woman in a bar I was working about chivalry and she questioned my lack of chivalry by asking if I would stand up for a woman in heels after a long day of work, to which I countered “would you stand up for a man in heels?” Let’s please be understanding of the things we give. That if the real distinction to be made is between person in heels and person in flats, then let’s not associate that with anything else even if they are correlated. My favorite first year statistics lesson is the lesson on correlation where the student is asked to think about why we can’t exclaim that ice-cream cures the common cold because there are less cases of the common cold when more people are eating ice-cream. The student rightfully ascribes both the lack of ice-cream eating and virility of the common cold virus to the common cold outside. Therefore correlation and causality are not the same. Therefore ice-cream does not cure the common cold. Therefore person in heels does not equal woman. Therefore getting up for a woman on the subway does not equal getting up for a person society has forced to feel a need to be gotten up for. It is fine to treat different genders differently as long as it is countering the difference that those genders are treated by society. Also: understand: historical prospective. That as a straightwhiteman I have been given opportunities that others have not, and therefore – especially if we are not going to allow our governments to redistribute power through socialism – I have a obligation to society to give more back to members of society – specific members of society.

 

I bet you that they had aspirations to be in a country club.

 

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Indignant, Selfish, Socialism

My Fucking Desk

Each Monday and Friday I go to work and pull my laptop off the shelf where I’ve stored it and plug it into a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. That becomes my workstation. My workstation is great. Mostly it’s the two monitor set-up, which is necessary because I need to both look a the data I’m analyzing and facebook/gmail/blogs. If I don’t have excel sheets up then it looks like I’m not working, and if I don’t have facebook/gmail/blogs up then I have to work… and that’s even worse.

I neeeeeed both monitors.

Today I came into work to realize that there was someone else at my desk. I came in today (a Tuesday) because yesterday was July 4th and I had to celebrate roofs. I put away my computer at the end of the day because Tues-Thurs this other person is at my desk. Today is Tues-Thurs. So, she was at my desk.

This is fair, and I don’t have a right to be mad. Until.

Until I realized that this woman who I didn’t know who shared my seat on different days was not using the extra monitor, keyboard, or mouse. She doesn’t fucking deserve my desk! My desk has resources. Use them, or give it up.

Why have something if you aren’t going to use it? I get that she feels like she deserves that desk, and she has the right to it, but if you aren’t going to use the resources available to you, you’ve lost the fact that you deserved that desk.

I hate money. I have none of it. People who have it aren’t using it correctly. I would use it correctly.

I can’t wait until I win the lottery so that I can buy a house with backwards escalators to start my performance art think tank.

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Indignant

Frustration With My People

I work (for two weeks longer) as a data-temp-analyst-bullshit-worthless work. One of my jobs is where I look through the responses to handwritten survey and decide which ones are “useful.” By “useful” I mean things we can send to our newsletter to prove that alums of Teach For America are interesting. Mostly this involves putting a “1” next to people who just got married or had a kid.

“A bilingual second-grade student of mine from my first year teaching, Juan Diaz, has been the world lightweight boxing champion.  More importantly, while boxing professionaly, he also graduated from college and is currently applying to law school.”

That’s what someone said.

Why?

This is why us liberal intellectuals are idiots. “More importantly?” What good has Juan Diaz done as a boxer? Using his celebrity he has been registering voters and specifically trying to get more women voters in the Houston area. Why is applying to law school more important than that?

Law school. Ugh. Hierarchy. Gross. Academia. Eww.

I’m done.

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Attention Whoring, comedy, Indignant, My favorites

I Always Wanted an Origin Story

A show that has been over a year in the making is finally happening. It’s called Drawn Out Storytelling, though I’m constantly trying to get people to abbreviate it to D.O.S. or Drawn Out. This show, which if you’ve spoken to me at all over the past month you will be far too acquainted with the idea of, is a stretching of the storytelling genre into a fully encompassing experience where your visual and auditory senses are bombarded with all of the elements of a story that we can so that it feels like you are there… maybe?

I don’t think that’s the point.

I constantly struggle with the point.

Here’s the evidence:

I moved to NYC and was immediately entranced by the storytelling scene – it was finally that melding of life and art that I had been searching for. Honesty had always been important to me in art, but specifically how to stretch honesty. I then saw that there were people stretching this “honesty” and pushing it further into the boundary of art. There was Mimsy – the experimental improvisation troupe of storytellers. There was the BTK Band – a band that played behind a storyteller with gogo dancers in front.

Then it hit me that one of my best friends is a comic book artist and drawing stories out would be awesome. But it couldn’t just be literal. The art had to bring out a truth that wasn’t able to be brought out through words alone. Then I added music. The music had to stretch that honesty even further. Now I have ideas of adding cooking, science experiments, dance, computer programs, and the list goes on.

Why is mixing media so important to me?

I told you: I constantly struggle with the point. Stop asking me.

Sophomore year of high-school Mr. Schaffer took us outside to the awkwardly placed turnaround on the side of our parking lot. He told us to stand at different points around this almost-road. Some of us were behind bushes. Some behind other cars. Some right on the road. Some inside a building. He then explained how a hypothetical car-accident was happening.

None of us understood how this lesson was supposed to teach us how the truth was a matter of perspective because none of us were listening because we were in high school.

Art can attempt to approach honesty, but by virtue of it being on stage an audience has altered expectations. Therefore we can’t actually provide true honesty. That being said the biggest enemy of honesty in art is genre.

Genre defines more expectations. Genre creates more preconceptions without providing more art. Genre is just what you expect to see, and as an artist I strive constantly to undo the genre I am “participating” in. Mixing mediums of performance defies genre. It demands that as an audience you come in with an open mind. It demands that you approach a show allowing yourself to be influenced.

I really struggle with the point because I think the point is often not the point. The point is so personal. The point is what you take out of it as an audience member – in so many ways it has nothing to do with the creator of that art.

Do you want to see if this makes sense? Come to Drawn Out Storytelling and find out. Tomorrow at 5:30 as a part of the Comic Book Theater Festival.

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comedy, Gender, Indignant, Math, Media, My favorites

Women, Fun, Math – A New Thesis.

“When I’m Ira Glass I’m gonna have chapters instead of acts.”

-Me, Right Now

I’ve shared three videos on facebook recently. I think they are the three videos that perfectly describe what my life is. This realization comes on the heels of a change in the domain name of my blog – a long needed change as the contents no longer fit what it was called.

Chapter 1.

We change the way we view things based on the context under which we view them, obviously. Information is so free though nowadays that anything that is imbibed comes with a whole set of preconceptions. Therefore we can never know if Bridesmaids was truly a good movie or bad movie. We demanded to know if a woman could make a Judd Apatow movie because we were confused about our role as an audience member and then Kristen Wiig did it – she made a Judd Apatow movie.

Guy has chance to have something super hot and rich yet unhealthy with one girl, finally finds joy in something more interestingly attractive and healthier. Screws things up with it, but gets it back in the end. = Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Switch “guy” and “girl.” = Bridesmaids

Two best dude friends have a constant passive aggressive battle because despite the fact that they like each other, the one that isn’t as much of a conventional “failure” feels like the other is holding him back. The “non-failure” also wants to hang out with an annoying person who is more successful at the next step in their lives. The two dudes make up in the end after a big blowout fight where they decide not to be friends anymore. = Superbad

Switch “dude” to “chick” and “him” to “her.” = Bridesmaids

“Screwup” man has a failure business that he put everything into despite the fact that he didn’t put that much into it. He learns to try by the end of the movie because a woman that he likes does try. = Knocked Up

Switch “man” and “woman.” Bridesmaids

A bunch of male friends rag on a dude who has still not done something that the rest of them have done. That dude feels likes an outcast, but then feels less like an outcast when he becomes comfortable with his own pace of doing that thing that he hasn’t done. = 40 Year Old Virgin

Switch genders. = Bridesmaids

But is it more important because it’s women? We as a society, unfortunately, but obviously treat genders differently – as should be realized by the fact that I equated a male’s loss of virginity to a female’s wedding night, but because we treat genders differently do we have to reward genders differently?

I am a straight male who looks and acts like a straight male and that gives me a key to a safe space that I don’t feel safe in. A safe space that does not need to be designated as a safe space because it is the controlling space. Straight males are the people most frightened of admitting women are funny because they’ve been given the monopoly on funny and losing things isn’t fun. The most common defense of their monopoly when they see funny women being gross in order to be funny is that that type of thing wouldn’t work for a man because the bar is higher for men. Pooping is hilarious when anyone does it, it’s just also important when women do it. If you’re jealous because a woman can get a laugh by making poop noises while she has sex with a blowup doll and you can’t, then try growing up in a culture that tells you that sex and poop are shameful and still make shitfucking sounds. The humor comes from the vulnerability that is inherent in admitting your inability yo conform to society’s demands of you.

Apatow has made his fortune on creating male characters that don’t quite conform to the expectation of men in our society. Therefore, when we asked K-Wiig to do the same for women, we didn’t give her a chance to succeed. Freaks and Geeks came out with no expectations and was cancelled after a season. Same with Undeclared. 40 Year Old Virgin came out when Apatow was still known as a guy who had something to do with Anchorman. It was going to be an mainstream comedy with offbeat antics, and it turned out to have heart. Knocked Up looked sappy and romantic from the trailers and when it turned out to have bong rips and birth video footage, people fell in love with Judd. By the time Forgetting Sarah Marshall came out Apatow had created a new genre of comedy that was only missing one thing: Developed female characters. He tried letting Aubrey Plaza create it in Funny People, but the movie was still about two men’s relationship and Plaza’s plot got thrown do the side. Wiig took the reins. The problem being that we all saw her take the reins. This movie had to be funny in the same way Apatow is, but about female dynamics, but it couldn’t be just about chick stuff because then it wouldn’t prove that women could do universal humor, but it had to have heterosexual attractive women because it couldn’t buy into the stereotypical lesbian imagery of the 1970s. We expected all of this from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. What we expected, at best, from Apatow was dirty comedy with heart. His task was easier.

Then there is the even bigger problem of succeeding. Which Wiig did. She did it. She made the movie we wanted, but in doing that, we all knew what was coming. She simply achieved our outlandish expectations instead of surpassing them.

There are two people in this world that I don’t think it’s okay to be mean to: Kristen Wiig and Christina Aguilera. It’s not because I think they are the best people. It’s because they are doing what has been asked of them by the brightest in society – and doing it with talent. Being mean to them doesn’t make sense because you asked them to do what they are doing. Get mad at yourself instead.

Jacob said it best.

Chapter 2.

Artists should not be asked to conform to a role imposed upon them by an audience. Their role should be self-determined. I want Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats to be the new Keenan and Kel.

I’m not sure if that’s racist, but I’m pretty sure that it’s hypocritical.

Hypocrisy used to be my main exploration as an artist. At another time it was the relationship between logic and emotion, and at another time it was the correlation between confusion and comfort (it was a negative correlation), and at another time it was “why doesn’t anyone like me?!”

I think the word artist should be spelled F-A-R-T-I-S-T. Because of the word “fart.”

If we’re going to pick a correlation that sums up my fartistry right now, it would be the correlation between fun and importance. This time is different though. This time I feel like the correlation I’m creating fart about isn’t about pointing out an existing statistical anomaly, but rather is about forcing a correlation to exist that I desire to exist. Fun and importance should be highly positively correlated. The only way to get people to do things is to make those things fun to do – nobody does for others, so as long as we make important things fun and fun things important than we will have a successful world.

This philosophy is not one I feel comfortable taking credit for. This is a philosophy that I have appropriated from Keenan and Kel. The message of their fart was a message of fun. Never was a motivation anything beyond attempting to have more fun accomplishing the tasks they needed to accomplish. OFWGKTA is also a group dedicated to the motivation of fun. Guns, eating bugs, vomiting and frightening rape innuendos may not seem fun to you or me, but they are teenagers with an excessive number of resources and an even more excessive imagination. They are starting a sketch show, but just as The Keenan and Kel Show was a far superior spin off of All That, I feel as though (Futurely Named) The Hodgy Tyler: More Than You Show will be a more focused version of exploring fun than the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s ragtag group of teenagers.

I just think people should have fun, and judging others’ versions of fun is rude.

Chapter 3.

Math education has been regarded as too unfun for too long. Math education could save our society. Math class from age 8-15 is the most important hours in the development of a child into a correctly functioning human. This has nothing to do with learning the quadratic formula or how to find the area of the space left over in a circle when a trapezoid is taken out, it has to do with a method of think.

Math teaches us how to discover. A good math education teaches us to find ways to learn from everything around us. It’s about understanding how to find a problem and then find the steps necessary to reach the solution of that problem.

1st Grade: Kids should be taught the coordinate plane. We need to understand what numbers are. How they interact. 1/2, one half, and 0.5 are not different things, they are all one thing split into two parts. Too often when I’m tutoring statistics to grad-students do they write 32.0650. That isn’t appropriate, and if people understood that putting a zero at the end of a number that has reached below zero specifics is useless than they wouldn’t do that.

Here’s a quick test:

1. Read this number out loud: 45.123

Did you say:

a) “Forty five point one hundred and twenty three”

b) “Forty five point one two three”

c) “Forty five and one hundred and twenty three thousandths”

If you said (a) you were taught numbers incorrectly as a child, if you said (b) you taught yourself numbers and are probably pretty good at math, and if you said (c) you are a goody two shoes.

2nd Grade: Kids should be taught long division. In the process of learning long division they are forced to learn addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

2. When you look something up on google maps do you:

a) Look at the directions on the left for indications of where to go

b) Look at the map for indications of where to go

If you said (a) you learned long division incorrectly and if you said (b) you learned long division correctly.

Long division is a unique step-by-step process unlike most processes that we see in our day to day life. Each step of long division takes the answer you found in your last answer and directly applies it to the next step to find the next step, and then repeats. Practicing long division is to logic what sit-ups are to your abs. Reading a map involves finding the connections between two steps and considering that connection to be a step of its own. Long division also demands patience and a respect for the journey toward the solution. Long division teaches you to care less for the final answer and more for the process getting you to the final answer.

Also, operations are not different. Multiplication is just addition done a bunch of times. Subtraction is just addition backwards. Division is just addition done a bunch of times backwards.

3. How would you say the following: sin(30), sin, 3*sin*10?

a) “Sine thirty,” “Sine,” “Three sine ten”

b) “Sine of thirty (I’m going to assume degrees),” “the word ‘sin,'” “that doesn’t mean anything, Nisse you are annoying, what is the meaning of this? I hate you”

Answering (a) means you never understood how operators (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) work. Answering (b) means you understand how operators work. I hear so many students say “sine 30” and when I clarify that it is “sine of 30” they go “yeah, yeah yeah, whatever.” It’s not “whatever.” This is a very important distinction to make. Trigonometric functions are operators like addition, they are not variables to be placed wherever. They function only if they are of a degree or radian.

None of that needed to make sense to you. What needs to make sense to you is that finding new things is fun. A new operator should be an exciting adventure into a new way to deal with numbers.

3rd Grade: Give the students an abacus, a protractor, a compass, and a slide rule. Don’t teach them anything for an entire year. Put different numbers on the board each day. Let them play.

Math is fun and given the tools to realize that, kids will find that on their own. If we tell them that it’s boring, then they will think that instead.

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comedy, Gender, Indignant, Media, My favorites

Why Are There No Funny Men?

I’ve tried for such a long time to keep an open mind to all comedy – to respect that all people, regardless of gender, can be funny. I can’t do it any more. Men just aren’t as funny as women.

Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. If we are going to have an open and honest discussion about the true gender divide in comedy, we have to all start at the same obvious conclusion.

I understand that this seems like a broad generalization, and it is. I don’t mean to imply that no men are funny, there are funny men, but for the most part they utilize gross exaggerations of the male ego for comedic effect or rely on jokes that point out feminine qualities (jokes that wouldn’t get laughs if a woman were to do say them). All male comedians that are decent fall into one of these two categories – they are overly masculine or feigning femininity in order to co-opt comedy. When Dane Cook or Daniel Tosh yell loudly about they’re penis or their erection, they are simply attempting to copy the women who have achieved comedy success through jokes about their menstrual blood and vaginas. Alternately, comedians like Michael Cera or Andy Dick enjoy humor-fame only because they fully commit themselves to femininity – awkwardly avoiding confrontation, refusing to take sexual agency: what’s more feminine than that?

Also Jews. Jewish males are allowed to be funny, but they are only funny because Jewish humor is inherently feminine.

Of course I’m no fan of the fact that when I go to comedy shows it seems as though there is some unwritten rule that you always have to have a male stand up performing about how his ex-wife is a cunt or how much pussy he can get or how big/small his penis is, but why I bring up this inherent comedic division by sex is because I see it permeating our day to day life. The average man just isn’t funny.

Obviously, there are far more terrible male comedians than terrible female comedians, but also I’ve begun to notice that the average male is drastically less funny than the average female. I can’t help but think that this has something to do with some sort of trickle down effect of comedy. Without funny comedian idols to look up to, how would any man become funny?

As a man interested in comedy, this troubles me. Is it impossible for me to be funny because the templates for humor contain curves and sensitive nipples? Does my hairy chest and flat ass prevent me from being able to provide laughter? No. I believe there is hope.

I believe that I can be both a man and be funny. I believe I can provide comedy without castrating myself. I just refuse to believe that comedy can only flow through fallopian tubes. I refuse to concede that testosterone is the biological antonym to humor.

So, please, give me hope. I ask each of you to look for a male comedian who will inspire me – who will not conform to the comedy of yesteryear- comedians equal, in any way, to their comedienne counterparts.

When will we have male comedians that stand up to the powerhouses of comedy like Phyllis Diller, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lucille Ball, Wanda Sykes, Kristen Schall, or Gilda Ratner? I pray for that day.

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