Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Paid Vacation: The BM Dome Scandal Pt. 1

It's BM. I have spent the last 6 days on paid suspension having been accused of abusing a mentally handicap client; an investigation is currently underway. These allegations are false, or misconstrued at best, but there is a strong possibly I could lose my job, and retain the stigma of being a "client abuser" on my permanent record. Let's begin...

The Pittsburgh based improv troupe I-Factor recently performed a private show for a company called Allegheny East. I am an employee of Allegheny East, a supervisor specifically. My job is to handle the daily affairs of 40 mentally challenged clients and 7 staff members at a vocational day program.
In the half hour preceding the show Joe, Larry, I-Factorers Anna and Drew, and myself were shuffled into the official AE conference room to await our turn on-stage. There is no conference room more "conference room" than AE's. The 6 framed inspiration posters blanketed the walls like newspaper cut-out Family Circus cartoons splattered on Aunt Wilma's fridge: Innovation, Make It Happen, Teamwork, Persistence, Integrity, and Courage. You know the type, a hokey picture of an Eagle flying and the caption underneath: "Innovation. Good fortune rarely falls into the laps of those who won't get off the couch." or something of that nature. The shelves were riddled with training tapes from 1973, HIPPA rules and regulations booklets, and the stench of rotting ambitions smothered under the irrelevance of tele-conferences long since past.
The five of us past the brief visit to the conference room by spinning dimes, looking for the videocamera in the air duct, and whirling quarters at an unsuspecting Drew. Minutes before our stage call-time, and prompted by the restless shouts from down the hall of "Fac-tor (thump-thump), Fac-tor (thump-thump), Fact-tor...," we placed one hand top another in traditional "Wo-Bundy/Go Time" fashion. However, rather than "Go Bundy" our battle cry was "Let's not get Matt fired."

The time was 12:03 noon on Wednesday, April 25. I had spent the last 5 days considering my vulnerable predicament. My time to testify had come, and I was waiting patiently for the investigator to arrive. Growing tired of verbally rehearsing the answer "Abuse? WTF are you talking about." I scanned the room for anything that would draw me from the moment. I looked down, a long table; I looked to the right, a tall plant; I looked straight ahead and up to witness a photo of a path forking off in the woods: "Integrity: Wisdom is knowing which paths to choose. Integrity is having the guts to take them." This was worse than a Family Circus cartoon.

I can not continue with this testimony because I can not legally do so at this point. (just in case) Part 2 will chronicle the exiting outcome of the investigation, which I have yet to learn, and detail the short and long term fallout.

"'Tis more plausible to pluck a thorn bush bare-handed than to pelt your scrote with a tuning fork."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dome and Domer

Dear Watergate Scandal,

Just who the hell do you think you are? Seriously you walk around like you are the only political scandal in the world. Just because they made a movie about you starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, you think you’re the ONLY SCANDAL THAT MATTERS. Now, you think you’re so hot. You’re the scandal all other scandals are judged by. Hell, they even name them after you. Every other scandal is gate this and gate that. Hell, baseball players start shooting ‘roids and all of a sudden we have BALCO-gate.

Well, I’ve got news for you, Watergate. You’re lucky. That’s it. You’re not that great a scandal. You just came along at the right place and the right time. Mass media was exploding. Big stars were available for filming. You had pornography references. Good for you. But you and I both know that you’re not all that. The American public has a short attention span. If they didn’t make a movie out of it, it must not be worth knowing about.

If I had happened 50 years later I would be top dog. I know it. You know. If only the American people knew it. I rocked America to its core, man. I practically brought Warren G. Harding to his knees. I had everything: intrigue, underhanded oil deals, the Ohio gang, all set against the backdrop of the roaring twenties. I even have a better name than you. Watergate? What’s that? It’s weak. It’s lame. It sounds like something a tug boat has to deal with. Now listen to this: The Teapot Dome Scandal. Now that’s a name. It’s quirky, but strong. The sound of it just makes you want to learn more about Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall and his shady dealings. You, Watergate, are named after an apartment complex. I’m named after a giant rock…that looks like a teapot. Now that’s bad ass.

So, why isn’t everything named after me? Why isn’t everything dome this and dome that? Why weren’t you Watergate-dome? I’ll tell you why: Americans don’t care about the past. No one made a movie about me. Was it my fault that I occurred in the early to mid 1920’s? I tried to get D.W. Griffith to make a movie about me, but he was too busy making heroes out of Klansmen. Now that’s a wise career move. Sure I was in some newsreels. I was sandwiched between a Laurel and Hardy short and a Betty Boop cartoon. Great.

Then you came along. The right scandal at the right time. Media was exploding. News papers needed something to print. People were making prestige pictures about hot button topics. Everything else is history. Now you don’t even hear about me unless you’re studying the Harding administration. So, nobody hears about me. You’ve buried me. And I’m not the only one. When was the last time you heard something compared to the XYZ affair? And don’t say the last time you got pulled over for DUI, jackass. Even I don’t know anything about the XYZ affair. Thanks to you American political scandals begin and end with Watergate. Seriously, how many worthy American scandals have you covered up? How many were dismissed as some lesser –gate? Share the love. America’s history is rich with scandal. Could you at least send some B-list talent our way? I’d be happy if they made a movie about me with Tom Arnold as the heroic crusading Senator Thomas Walsh? Seriously, send me Ralph Macchio and Cory Haim. I’ll get a treatment together. Please, help your scandal brethren.

The Teapot Dome Scandal

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I miss creativity

Am I the only one upset that there are people in Hollywood just remaking old movies and TV shows and they get paid for coming up with that idea? I've got an idea, let's make a movie of Sanford & Son. Hey, brilliant! Pay that man 1.5 million. Woah. I just think it's unfair that there are people who come up with new ideas and they're being shuffled away. Why is that? I don't get it.

Dan Brown who wrote The DaVinci Code, had a very good idea for a story based on real historical things. Now, I believe in Jesus, but I don't think Dan Brown is a heretic. The book is factual, but that doesn't mean that it's true. The facts are that Leonardo DaVinci thought some things were true and based a lot of his work on those thoughts he had. That's a fact. But because Leo thought Jesus got married and started a family doesn't mean it actually happened, or that Dan Brown believes what DaVinci did. So, a huge group of people is trying to stop people from reading a good book or seeing what will probably be an exciting movie because a painter (and what painter do you know that has a completely unskewed vision of Christianity?) thought certain things and put those things in his works hundreds of years ago. Weird.

Now, I enjoy the cable shows I've watched when I rent them from work since I don't have cable. Some have been mediocre, but two have really stood out to me: Deadwood and the L Word. Deadwood has amazing writing and characters that are unscrupulous, rambunctious, and show off the old west almost as dirty and awful as it really was. But people were up in arms about the language. Yet that is how people talked, in fact it might have actually been worse! The L Word which is basically a lesbian melodrama is great. The sad thing is that lesbians are all like "it's a show for us, about us." This is crap. Most of the characters are indeed lesbian, but they deal with everyday stuff. That is why the show is so good. It's not "lesbian" stories in each episode. Let's face it, that's exactly what killed Ellen Degeneres' sitcom. It stopped being funny and became all about a lesbian saying, "Hey I like me some chicks!" ha ha ha ha .... no. It's a well written show with compelling characters that draw you in quickly and hold you fast. Plus there's occasionally a scene of hot lesbian action. If this is not the perfect show, I don't know what is.

I do miss being creative though. I used to have jobs where I was creative all the time and had to be. Now I work in a video store, and my creativity is stifled. Writing this is the most creative thing I've done in weeks as long as you don't count plotting and strategizing the demise of zombie like creatures in Resident Evil 4. I like writing and acting and talking about important and philisophical high minded things, but that don't pay the bills.

Do I sacrifice a lot and go back to school to learn something else so that I can be creative in my spare time? I can't keep kidding myself that the arts are going to give me a decent job. Because they're not. They're just a tease. Everytime I'm going to give up on the arts something promises to be good and then lets me down. But where do I go? I have a creative edge, but the commercials during Jerry Springer have not convinced me to go to IADT or the Culinary Acadamy. That's not my bag, baby. If I knew people would read my writing and I could do well with it (and by well, I mean support myself and Zachary) then I'd write novels or be an op-ed columnist. Heck, South Western PA has produced more strong opinions than jobs in the past few decades and some were very successful like Dennis Miller.

But I digress, this need to create is strong, but it's only gotten me in trouble so far. I've got two degrees with no leads on a good job and my creativity created a son, who is awesome, but makes it tough for other things in life now. Where's my "pet rock" idea, dammit?

I was contemplating becoming a super hero. For real. I tried to figure out how to financilly keep afloat while saving the city at night. But then I'd get real tired and I'd have to start lifting weights. I think I'd need to hit the lotto and not work to save the city with a baseball bat, some karate, and a kevlar vest.

Why am I constantly on the edge now? ARGH!
Mike the Tall

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

To the person or persons who threw the raw egg from the moving car last night and hit me in the ass, thanks.

It’s a funny concept. One that came full circle last night and hit me in the ass in the form of a raw egg.
Now those of you who only know me as the fun loving, nice person that I am now might not know I have a bit of a checkered past. The finer details I don't care to reveal here publicly and in writing, but suffice to say tires, snowballs, rotten vegetables and sometimes gasoline were involved. Not usually on the same night.
As any kid, I thought it was a thrill to do slightly bad and dangerous things. But I never wanted to hurt anyone. It was just good fun. I didn't realize I might actually hurt someone.
But I can tell you now, from experience, that a raw egg in the ass at whatever speed the car was moving, hurts.
Not just physically, as the red mark on my right butt cheek will testify, but mentally.
The randomness and cruelty of it all.
The interruption of my exercising, the interruption of Babylon on BOB FM, the humiliation of arriving home with the slaughtered remains of the unborn chicken on my ass reminding me of all the cruelty I inflicted on strangers when I was younger.
It’s sticky.
I wipe away the splash damage on my tiny radio, the yoke covering my wrist, the shame and shell staining the back of my shorts and edges of my t-shirt, all the while imagining myself apologizing to all those people I affected in my own crazy carefree days.
To whoever owns the truck and trailer with the large dent in the side. Sorry.
To the guy I went to high school with, who walked the rest of the way home one night with tiny ice and cola stains from a mostly empty cup of Coke from McDonald’s; I hope we’re still friends.
To the hundreds of people who smelled burning rubber through the fall of my junior year in high school. Whoops, my bad.
To my friend who stumbled as we ran from the highway, being chased by two guys who’s car was just hit with a snowball, got caught and punched in the face. I just wasn’t thinking.
To the guys who punched him. He didn’t do it.
To all the people who were late for anything because of the tiny traffic jam the night Brodhead Road caught on fire. It’ll never happen again.
To the person or persons who threw the raw egg from the moving car last night and hit me in the ass; I laughed. I was stunned. I almost threw a rock at you. Thank you.
Thank you for bringing my karma full circle, thank you for allowing me closure, and mostly, thank you for not throwing hard boiled eggs, or metal tipped darts on a string randomly up into the air. (To whoever owns the camper with the dart in the roof, sorry.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

only in my dreams

I often find myself at the limbo between sleep and waking. That tiny niche carved out of time and reality that refusses to allow rational thought or understanding, those 10 or so seconds of disbeleif where a dream is real and your pj's are still camo pants and your alarm clocks still echo the sirens of your persuers. The time of truth, of pure desire, of madness. The breif moment where you must rationalize your dreams and try to discover why or how you did what you did, or said what you said. And it is in that time, that the guilt of unbridaled fantasy weighs heavily on a rational and real conscience.

Two nights ago at about 4 am I realized, in the afore mentioned 10 or so seconds that my real and rational conscience seemed to be slowy mimicking my unbridaled fantasy. I guess the place to start here would be the dream. We will save the panic and regret for a day i actually feel them.

As the camera operator of my dream slowly spiraled downward through the clouds from outerspace to a small wooded area, I noticed myself. ( keep in mind almost all my dreams are cinamatic and are like watching a movie, sometimes i even dream credits at the end, oh, interesting side note, john malkovich played the part of Mistress Bess in a dream a few months back.) in any event. i was standing blood stained and camoflauged, not out of the ordinary, i figured hey another war dream i wonder if i'll run into a Sheen. Unfortunately this dream took an unsuspected turn. As i stood amoung the now driping trees , for it had started to rain, i noticed in my hand, i held a hand, the hand of a small child. I wanted to drop it and run , but that scene must have got cut and reshot , for instead of running i packed the hand in a small velvet sack and headed off to the house in the background, illumitated by the lightning that seemed to strike in pace with my booted foot.

Upon entering the house i saw the carnage i had inflicted upon it's guests. Some were shot, but more seemed to have been ripped apart by hand held improvised weapons, one old man still had an extension chord binding his hands to his genitalia and about 30 golf tees pounded into his skull ( hey my have still been alive i dont remember) This was not the most horrific scene of my dream, in fact this is ice cream and candy compared to what my charactor had instore next.

i crept up the stairwell, lumbering on to the landing, i noticed the frantic shuffle of tiny feet above. With each step i took, the pain and fear seemed to stream heavier and faster from under the only door of the final landing. Pushing with what seemed no effort the door burst open and into a thousand perfectly equal and identical splinters. I reached for one, this venear coated wood chip would be the perfect weapon. looking up i saw her, a girl constructed of the most delicate bone china, white faced and wet, water soaking her eyes and flowing into parted lips. down her chin across her arm and stoping at the glowing seam where her arm should have met her hand.

I dangled it in front of her, watching her eyes to ensure that no trace of hope still lingured within her. now sure of it, i opend the velvet sack and held it out for her to see and grasp, inorder to reinstate the reality of her lose, she shook with a fever and paled at the sharp clap of her own hand striking her moist cheak. i was a monster.

I could hear them now, coming in the distance, the only thing that peirced the nite air was the wail of my eminant capture. yet i pressed on, slowly disecting the body of the child with my venear shard until i had piled her neatly in to a small box. only her head and torso remained in tact and i had politely gouged out an eye so she could more readily inspect her self, clinging to life but praying for death.

The door burst open from below and i new the game would end soon. so i sat, quietly rocking the child not unlike a mother would have. I called her beautiful and she could understand my every word and with an eye like a frozen lake, glazed and cold yet still maintaining to match any preception of beauty, she asked "why". I smiled and said "because i love you." that phrase was puncuated by the sound of sickness and disbeileif from below, and soon i heard the steps creek and found myself waiting for the horror, the discovery, the realazation of the limitless abandon that had by my hand unfolded. My persuer turned the corner and met my eyes. I smiled.

Upon waking up hazy and in the midst of those moments of rationalizing the irrational, i could only think how perfect , how gorgeous, how delighted i am with my work, and then, i realized, it was a dream.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Feminism Schmeminism

A mouse looked at me from under the stove. HE LOOKED AT ME!

So, that gives me leave to stand on my seat, Yell "Dave..Dave...DAVID!" and tell him: " you need to fix this because you are the boy." Right?

I looked around, and there was an terrified elephant standing on the kitchen chair holding a broom. The cloud of dust that Gloria Steinem left as she leapt to the top of our entertainment center was stifling.. And Dave put my remaining dignity in the trap with the peanut butter and cheese. What a night.

(this actually happened a few weeks ago, but I was hesitant to post it because I didn't want my mom to read it and worry that mice are eating me alive. Then I realized that she probably doesn't read my blogs, since she still asks me how to turn on her cell phone, the one she originally bought for emergencies. Think about that one.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Web Page Issues

I just wanted to let everyone know (before people start freaking out) that the website is experiencing some technical difficulties. This was the fault of our domain provider and should be fixed shortly. There isn't much I can do except wait for the DNS Records to be updated by the ISP. The Cellar Dweller webpage may appear for some people before it appears for everyone... sorry for the inconvenience.