'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Thursday, May 30, 2002 ]

I had an odd lucid fantasy this morning.

In it, I awaken in a white room, wearing white pajamas.

When I get up, I don't feel tired,like I normally do. My bones don't creak, and I don't have that dread that I have somewhere to be.

I stand up, and find a note on the endtable by the bed. It's from my wife.

My Favorite Googly Bear,

Before you wonder what's going on, we're both dead and this is the afterlife.

Oh. Well. That's a corker.
I'm sure you've got lots of questions--it turns out you were right about a whole lot of stuff--just listen to the messages on the new machine...they'll explain a lot.

Love you!


I look across what is apparently our new bedroom, and see the answering machine blinking. I notice that this is some kind of new machine, that burns every message on a minidisc, in case I want to save my messages for any reason. Cool.

Eleven messages.


I hit play.

*BEEP* "Um, hello, Rob, this is John Woo. People keep telling me I should call you, and after reading all of your plays I can see why. Anyway, though I'd invite you to a barbecue at my house on Wednesday--Chow's dying to talk to you about your idea for a Charlie Chan movie, and before you ask, yes, you can play 'Number One Son.' But we'll talk later. Sam Raimi says 'Hi.'" *BEEP*

Ahh! You didn't give me your number, John!

Oh. I have Caller I.D., too.

*BEEP*"Betsy, this is Chuck Jones. Just calling to welcome you here, and tell tell you I've always regretted that I wasn't the one who got to marry you. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that John Lassiter and I are working on something we think you'd be perfect for. Give us a call. Oh, and Hello to Rob, as well. Pete Docter is just dying to meet him for some reason."*BEEP*

Pete Docter, SOOOOOOPAH-genius. Cool.

*BEEP*"Rob. Seth. Me, Takeo, Joe, Luke, Lenny, Mike, Tom, Brian, Baker, Jesse, Potch, Buck, Ethan, Steve, Casey, Alex, and Scott are all getting together at the diner tonight. So...uh...see you there!"*BEEP*

No chicks. Not sure what I should read into that.

*BEEP*"Hello, Betsy! This is...um, er...Eddie Izzard--fancy that! Tim Curry, Madeline Khan, Gilda Radner, Gene Wilder, Gene Kelly, and Bill Bixby are having brunch this weekend. Let us know if you're interested, sweetie. Oh, Rob can come, too. Someone told me he might be the one I'd want to talk to if I wanted to be a big action hero, and shoot guns, and all sorts of macho stuff. Byeeeeee!"*BEEP*

Man, I've always wanted to meet Bill Bixby.

*BEEP*"Hey, Rob, it's Russ. For some reason, the site is really popular here. Oh, but the reason I'm calling is that me, Spudnuts, Cherish, Mrs. Veteran, JSc, Wil, Greeny, Jbay, and Bluesman want to get together tomorrow afternoon, say 1:00, at The Original Pancake House for some big project. This was Colin's idea, by the way--he'll be there, too."*BEEP*

Hmm. I wonder if the wait at the Pancake House is still insane. I feel strangely optimistic.

*BEEP*"Rob, Russ again. We're probably gonna meet up tonight at the diner as well...what? Oh, okay, I'll tell him...Both Cherish and Wil want me to tell you 'Bingo, Fucker!'"*BEEP*

Bingo yourself, bastards.

*BEEP*"Hey, Rob, it's Ethan. Man, you've gotta see the size of the retro arcade they've got here, man. Baker and I are playing 'Renegade,' and he keeps saying you should be here. Catch you at the diner, man."*BEEP*

I wonder if they've got "Ring King."

*BEEP*"Betsy? Regis Philbin here, just letting you know that we've chosen you for 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.' We'll be in touch."*BEEP*

Great, Reege, just in time for money to be worthless.

*BEEP*"Rob, um, this is Chuck Palahniuk. Me, Garth Ennis, Brian Michael Bendis, Doug Reed, Matt Cibula, Alan Ball, Buck Hakes, Tom Fontana, James Yoshimura, Lisa Konoplisky, Evan Hunter, Tim Sandlin, Phil Heckman, George Orwell, Callen Harty, and Rod Serling are putting togther a writing group, meeting every Thursday at some diner that Serling owns. Hope to see you there. Oh, I've got a copy of Lullaby for you, if you want it."*BEEP*

I notice next to the answering machine is a new laptop, thin, light, has a dvd-rom and burner, wireless internet, and already has Final Draft installed.

*BEEP*"Rob. This is Joel Gersmann. I'm just calling to tell you that I'm never calling you again. Oh, and I'm supposed to tell you 'I was wrong.' I don't really get it. I know what all three of those words mean, but I've never seen them togther that way before. Anyway, I have to go. ...What? Oh, that's so infantile! ...I have to go. There's some really weird looking guy with horns here who wants to shove a trident up my ass."*BEEP*

*BEEP*"Hello, Rob and Betsy. This is God. Please come on down to the square. I'll explain everything there. Oh, Rob, your dad wants me to tell you that it's Poker Night at your mother's, tonight. He and Vicki don't know if they're going, but I wouldn't miss it. See ya!"*BEEP*

I shower, dress (there are a pair of jeans and a "New York Fucking City" t-shirt neatly folded in the dresser, as well as the Reeboks from the movie "Aliens," in black--of course ), and head down to the square--which, for some reason, is very easy for me to find without looking anything up or asking directions.

I notice the stores around me...Middle Earth Comics, Four Star Video Heaven, The Snoopy Store, The Cup And Chaucer Bookstore, The Collector's Armory...

Across the street is a Yaohan mall with a food court. I may pick up a Ginseng Up later.

Ahead is the town square.

I see two lines of people. One line is huge, but the other is much smaller.

God strolls up to me. He looks about thirty.

"Hey, Rob."

Hey, God. So what's up?

"The Taliban had suspected nuclear capabiltity. There was a war--they're calling it the '30 Second War.' Very quick. So, pretty much your whole country is here, as well as large chunks of the world here and there. It's all here."

He hands me a booklet called "The Record: 2002 edition."

What's this?

"It's the truth about a lot of things that most of you wonder about. The JFK assassination, The RFK assassination--pretty much all the assassinations are in there. The factoid pages, I think, are really interesting--those have all the stuff that almost happened that you never knew about."

I flip through it...

It says O.J. Simpson--

"--Yeah, that one's a no-brainer, but some people still don't accept it."

There's a whole chapter here on The Gulf War...

"Don't miss the Japanese Internment pages--thought you might find those interesting."

Holy crap! There's a whole section on serial killers! Did you tell--

"I told Betsy--heck, I even bookmarked the Jack The Ripper section. I earmarked The Zodiac Killer chapter for you, too. I think you'll be pleasantly suprised."

This is great...but...


Well, this is Heaven, right?

"It's not Hell. Although we have visitors from time to time who are from there."

Isn't all of the stuff in this book going to upset a lot of people?

"Wellllllll, yeeeeees, but at the same time we're allowed a bit of release--you know, let off some steam."

I notice the two lines, the really long one and the short one.


"This is that letting off steam thing I was talking about. People get to take turns kicking these guys in the asses." He points to the shorter one. "That one's Osama bin Laden."

Whoa. Who's on the longer one?

"You're gonna love this. George W. Bush."

Really? Why is his line so much longer?

God points to the end of the book, to a chapter labeled "2000 to 2002."

I read.

Well, I already pretty much figured the election stuff.

"Look at the end."

I read further.


I keep reading.

Son of a bitch!

"You get it, now?"

I'm getting on the long line, is where I'm getting!

"Hold up, partner. No need."

And God hands me a Fast Pass.

posted by Rob on 9:46 AM | link
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[ Wednesday, May 29, 2002 ]

Yet another one of my friends from high school has his own blog: Adam Spiegelman and his brother Mike snark off on popular and not-so-popular culture.

Dig all that is Media Yenta.

posted by Rob on 10:07 AM | link
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[ Tuesday, May 28, 2002 ]

You know, I don't know what's odder: This ESP gag, or these geniuses who couldn't figure it out. I figured it out in two seconds.

Although I hear this is how Florida has their ballots set up, now.

posted by Rob on 2:41 PM | link
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[ Monday, May 27, 2002 ]



You an Evil Dead fan?

Then look at this right damn now.

posted by Rob on 3:20 AM | link
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[ Sunday, May 26, 2002 ]

Is it me, or is the Sealab 2021 theme song so much better than it has any right to be?

posted by Rob on 10:47 PM | link
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[ Saturday, May 25, 2002 ]

It's altogether appropriate that Buck finally gets his own blog, considering I tend to cut and paste from his emails when I don't have any material.

Hey, and may the force be with you...for me to poop on.

posted by Rob on 8:12 AM | link
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[ Friday, May 24, 2002 ]

In the dream, I have been sleeping for hours--and I was supposed to get up earlier. My wife is nowhere to be seen.

I head downstairs to find that Cathy, my manager at the bank (who normally gives me a ride) has been waiting for me.

I head around to the back of the house (which has now become my mother's home in New Jersey), and discover a woman (who I only see in shadow) walking around my apartment.

Excuse me! I yell up to the second floor. That's our apartment!

"Oh, sorry," the woman says. "I'm looking for a new place and there's a sign out front."

That's for the third floor apartment. That one's ours.

"Oh," she says, and walks upstairs.

I walk back to the front of the house (without changing into my work clothes) to find Cathy no longer there.

I walk to work.

As I walk to work, I realize that I am in the world where all the commercials come from. All the people around me talk about or live their lives around are products--and I see several celebrities doing inane things--Alex Trebek is eating soup and worrying about gum pain, and perhaps this new cream will do the trick. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and some girl argue over who gets the last Snack Cake.

All of these commercials going on in real life, and all of them interrupting each other--disrupting each other.

And me without a product to plug.

And then I wake up.

For those of you wondering why I haven't put anything up yet about my recent vacation, that's only because I haven't got the pictures back yet, and want to put them up.

In the meantime, check out this trailer. This seems to be Brian DePalma's reaction to trailers that show too much. Kinda clever.

In an odd coincidence, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is in it--I'd had the dream before seeing this. I anticipate her being in a lot more of my dreams now, though.

posted by Rob on 10:11 AM | link
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[ Wednesday, May 15, 2002 ]


That's right, kids, we're Professor Griff. That means, we outta here.


posted by Rob on 9:33 PM | link
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[ Tuesday, May 14, 2002 ]

Congratulations, Thunderpants, you are no longer the most-dreaded film of 2002.

posted by Rob on 12:08 PM | link
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[ Monday, May 13, 2002 ]

Hello, chil'ren!

"Hey, Chef."

This week, Betsy and I are going to Disneyland.

I have never been to Disneyland and I'm excited. While we're there, we're gonna visit my brother in law and his family.

All of which will kick much ass.

I also have a new review on Unrealistic Expectations--"Blacktop," with Kristin Davis and Meat Loaf Aday.

Now, action-packed stick-figure violence!

posted by Rob on 2:58 PM | link
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[ Wednesday, May 08, 2002 ]

Hey, new review on Unrealistic Expectations, today.

It's of the unbelievably shitty "The Backlot Murders."

A movie so crappy I couldn't even find any publicity photos of it on Google.

Hey, look at this.

posted by Rob on 12:18 PM | link
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[ Saturday, May 04, 2002 ]

Hey, has anyone noticed that if you leave the cursor over any of the photos, you get secret messages?

posted by Rob on 9:06 PM | link
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[ Wednesday, May 01, 2002 ]

First off, Happy Birthday to John Woo.

Second--Adam, this is for you.

This is a cartoon I drew, that my friend Adam Spiegelman wrote, in which our hero ("Eyeball Bill" as named by Alex Dunne), is asking Tracy Madigan (chick we used to drool over), on a date.

With this kind of talent, it's startling that I never went pro.  Maybe it had something to do with my utter LACK of talent.  No, no, it's the other people who were wrong.

This was in the 1989 April Fools issue.

Also in that issue, was this story:

Food Mixup Kills Students
On March 8, six MHS students were sucked out of the main building cafeteria after they ate lunches which were mistakenly delivered by Pan Am's food service.

The airline lunches were delivered to the MHS cafeteria after a paperwork snafu delevered the wrong food to steel-workers and NBC executives in New York City and an airline routed to Pigmolar, Arkansas from the Newark International Airport.

The mixup was corrected and all food services involved received the correct food the day after the cafeteria incident.

Oh, and this was our credit in the issue:

What's the paper that makes you go out and drive your car?  M-O-U!  N-T-A!  I-N-E-E-R!  Mountaineer!  (Eat me!)  Mountaineer!  (Fuck you!)  Why don't you go and and take a long walk OFF!  A!  SHORT!  PIER!  Hey there!  Hi there! Ho there! Now, just who do you think you are?  M-O-U!  N-T-A!  I-N-E-E-R!  M-O-U...You should have KNOWN that was going to happen!  N-T-A....'Ay, Adam, your voice carries! I...N...E...E...R...   Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week.

posted by Rob on 7:36 PM | link
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So over at spacenerd.com, we got into a discussion over how no one had a "good" picture from the 80's.

Taylor Negron actually used to say this about the 70's, but I think it still applies.

So here comes:

Bad 80's Photos.

As I scanned in all of these, I was listening to "Tom Sawyer" by Rush. How perfect is that?

This is one of the gayest haircuts I have ever had.  Just so you know.

This was, in all likelihood, the first time I met Nathan and Jerah, my step-brothers. This is in Colorado, and this'd be around...um...1984, maybe? 1985?

Dig my jacket! This was before I'd discovered the joys of wearing all black.

I don't think this looks like me, either.

This was probably in 1987, maybe 86, when I was in the Youth Enrichment Program at Colorado State University.

YEP was a "college experience" program, where you took college-type classes (like college, but more fun), slept in the dorms, and such. It was kinda neat, actually.

I look like this because I'm pretty sure I was too embarrassed to use the showers in front of the other kids, so I didn't bathe all week.

Hey, it grosses me out, too.

My wife wanted me to put this here, because she says I look like Steve Van Haren in this picture.

I'm a loner, Dottie.  A rebel.

Aw, yeah. Dig me. I'm wearing a Members Only jacket.

And I think it's cool.

Plus, I'm wearing sunglasses in study hall.

Oh, yeah.

(The kid with the "white-man's fro" behind me is going to kick the snot out of me later.)

Braces!  Horrible, horrible braces!!!

Wow. This is in middle school, which would put it around 1985 or 1986.

Although it might be freshman year high school.

Anyway, this is me and my cousin Takeo. I can't get over the serious fro that Tak's got.

To say nothing of my seriously gay outfit.

I'm talkin' fuckin' LEE!

I put this here because I know he comes to the board. This is me and my buddy Lee Potcher, freshman year at Montclair High School. Chris Baker is probably taking the picture, since the skateboard I'm wielding is definately his.

Chris also used to have a thing about people taking his picture.

Oh, as a point of trivia, Montclair High is where they shoot most of the exteriors for the show Ed. If Baker turned the camera a little to the left, you'd see Stuckeyville High.

It's like Abbey Road, but for nerds.

Wow, is this proof that I'm not cool.

Okay, left to right, Takeo, me, and Chris Baker (wearing his trademark turtleneck). My dad must have taken this picture, since I think he was our ride. This has to be 1988 or 89.

Look how big my hair is!

Man, Takeo was really skinny.

Maya's teen angst bullshit has a body count.

Oh god! Unclean! Unclean!

This was a publicity shot for a show I did right after high school (making this 1989 or possibly early 1990) called "Footprints In The Dirt," written and directed by my friend Kevin Truex (under his stage name, Tyler Bartholomew).

Ooh, look at the angst!

Left to right, it's Bridget Meredith (now Bridget Summers, according to Classmates.com), Maya Townsend, and of course, me. I think I look kinda like my friend Casey Grimm in this shot, but there you go.

You know, I know I keep saying this, but there's only so not gay a man can look in one of those white sweatshirts.

I had crushes on both the girls in this photo.

Okay, moving on.

Woo hoo!  Check out the GAMS on Bridget!

Hey, here I kinda look like Tobey Maguire.

So much about this photo embarrasses me, I can't tell you.

Anyway, left to right, it's Bridget again, then Eric Grotenstien, then me. Look at the raw emotion.

By the way, Eric's arm is under his shirt, in a cast--he was having big problems with his shoulder. It liked to dislocate at random on him.

I had crushes on both the girls in this photo.

There is no spoon.

This is me.

This is my high school girlfriend's otter.

Any questions?

My wife looked at this and said "You still have that shirt, don't you?"

Yes. Yes, I do.

"Well, here's one where I think you look just the same."

Yeah, except for the copious amounts of neck-fat I have now.

And I had crushes on all the girls in this photo.

They say the lights are twice as bright...in MOOOOONTCLAIR!

And so we end this with my headshot from 1989.

Hey, at least it's not as bad as some people's 80's pictures...

posted by Rob on 10:00 AM | link
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