Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taking a Risk

Yesterday would have been (i suppose in theory it still is) Jim Henson's birthday. In honor of that I started to retweet my article I wrote back in May. I was excited to have two semi-celebrity contacts when Brian Lynch (writer of my all-time favorite comic book "Everybody's Dead") retweeted the article as well and furthermore when I got a personalized message from Zach Pearlman, star of Virginity Hit.

I had a pretty exciting day yesterday beyond Jim Henson articles. I got to spend some time with friend's I haven't seen in a while, but even more importantly was today I scratched off yet another one of the things on my bucket list. Today saw the completion of #5 Risk Night. It was extremely exciting (despite getting kicked out of the game early on). The game was a good one starting at around 330/400 but ending at 10PM. So it was 6 hours at least of dice rolling. Congrats to Chris Culp for his victory.

Finally I have a new Saint Mort Video Up where i perform my Eminem Parody "Chemistry"

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gleekonomics: A Social Bingo Game

There is a student who attends the school I work at whom I'm fairly convinced is gay. I don't know why but because of this fact I always want to talk to him. I however am straight as an arrow (*Although sometimes many people would question that statement*). It made me start to think about how we sometimes treat different people in our society. Sometimes I think that we play a game of Social Bingo. We're all collecting as much diversity in a circle of game, almost to show off how open-minded me are... but is this being open-minded? I wonder if the fact that I have multiple openly gay friends makes me want to talk to this person, but that's literally saying "I have gay friends, we should hang out".

The fact is having a diverse group of friends is something practically praised like winning a super bowl trophy. Do you have both a Gay Male, a Lesbian and 2 bi-sexual friends of different sexes? You're at a good start. Are you friends with every type of Asian possible? Doing even better. In your circle of friends are you the only straight, white male? You've won the game. BINGO!

Currently nothing showcases this type of extreme diversity like the explosion of popularity of the show Glee. The show has proven to be more than just a flash in the pan hit. It's a full on phenomenon, among the ranks of Star Trek, Harry Potter and Twilight. Fans of the show (or Gleeks) often praise the show for it's diversity. The show has literally a little bit of everything.

In that picture we have a handicapped kid, an asian girl, a jock, a gay male, an african-american female, a cheerleader and our man character (the determined feminist). If only more shows had such diversities! Something I like to call Gleekomonics.

Okay, so bringing up Extreme Ghostbusters is sort of a moot point. It's mostly just an excuse to remind people of this spin-off that I loved, but everyone else just called "Ghostbusters PC edition". My point is, packing a show full of minorities isn't always progress, it's just trying to have a massive appeal. I don't hate Glee; I don't want to send that message, but I'm not also not in love with Glee. The pilot episode sets the show up to be almost a TV version of the underrated High School film Election. Our main character Will Schuester plants marijuana in Quaterback Finn Hudson's locker in order to blackmail him into joining the Glee club. This is delightfully dark, but as far as I know (and I admit I only watched the first 13 episodes) this plot point is NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. The general tone of the pilot is brilliant and fun and slightly dark. However as the show continued it turned into a bubbly, upbeat underdog story that starts to wear thin.

The problem with the show is that it leans on the musical numbers to carry it. I sincerely think the reason I don't love the show is because I didn't watch the show as it aired. I watched all 13 episodes in one day. When you're getting slammed with 13 hours of this show, you start to really notice the extreme amounts of filler that the series has. For roughly 5 episodes nothing happens but life lessons. And while sometimes the life lessons are well-written and have great dramatic marks ("Wheels") other times it just really feels like needless filler ("Mash-Ups"). I suppose Glee just isn't for me. By the end of the show I decided all I need to enjoy the show are the soundtracks; maybe I'll give it a second chance with the full first season being on DVD now but that's for another blog on another day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In Memory of Jack

Yesterday marked the 9 year anniversary that my grandfather died. People who know me know how incredibly important he was to me. The last 9 years have been rough ones. I remember the first year or so, I felt like I lost the only person who truly believed in me and understood me. That of course was the opinions of a 16 year old kid with self-esteem issues; at 24 (soon to be 25) I've noticed how wrong I am.

I have family that supports me as well as Friends that know me better than I know myself. I enjoy the work I do (except for the work I get paid to do haha) and I'm finally attempting to follow my dream after 6 years of just SAYING I was going to do it. Every single day I'm hit with something that makes me go "I really wish he was here right now". But I don't want to thing of the bad times when I need him most, I want to think of the great things he meant to me.

I still have the cassette tape he made for me of Spike Jones, Stan Freberg and Benny Bar songs. It was Grandpop that sparked the creative spirits in me. He gave me a sense of comedic timing in those old tapes, he gave me a love of music as a form of comedy, something I still use in Saint Mort. While it's obvious that "Weird Al" Yankovic and Flight of the Conchords are influences, I've probably listened to Spike Jones' discography more than any of those artists combined.

But it wasn't just silly songs that I connect with him. He showed me some of the most beautiful songs ever written. Be it when you're smiling, It's a sin to tell a lie, or even Babyface; the songs he knew seemed never ending. The way he'd light up a party, make people smile, sing along and clap. Watching him perform will always be some of my happiest memories. Even when I watch my uncle's band Chico's Vibe entertaining hundreds of people at Rose Tree Park. I can't help but wish I was watching my grandfather up there; just his guitar (without the bottom string of course) just playing classics songs.

I think of the song Rainbow Connection, my all time favorite song; and it's that because of him. Him play guitar and my uncle Tommy singing with his Kermit Puppet. The love of the Muppets coming directly from him as well. How do you sum up the most important person in your life, when you haven't been able to communicate with them in almost a decade? I guess the answer is staring back at you whenever you look in the mirror. I am the example of his influence. In the way I speak, act and treat people, it's always slightly influenced by Jack Gebhart. I've been told by many that I sometimes have an old soul and that's because of him. Just looking at my DVD collection is a clear tribute to the things that he showed me; be it my Marx Brothers Silver Collection, Charlie Chaplin films, Every Muppet Film or classic universal horror movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Wolf Man.

Memories are what keep me smiling and keep my going every day; the problem is when you create new memories and that person isn't there anymore.

I miss you Grandpop, I love you and I think about you every single day. I was going to put a video of something deep and serious; but that's now how Jack would want it. Grandpop... this one is in memory of you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Awesome Rock Band Game Idea

Sometimes I try to think of something funny that I can one day turn into a stand-up bit. Sadly, I thought of something that started off as a funny idea, and turned into an awesome idea for a video game I'd actually play... what I'm pitching is Rock Band: VMA edition.

All the songs are live performances from the VMAs: Madonna's Like a Virgin, Michael Jackson Bad, Nirvana Rape me/Lithium among others.

But here's the best part; While in normal rock band, when you fail a song they unplug you and the audience boos; in this edition different shit happens, Kayne West Interrupts your performance, Vince Neil Fights you, Your bassist throws his bass in the air and it hits him on his head.

It's just a rough idea but someone needs to hook me up with the Rock Band designers and MTV; if we get on this soon, we can get this out in time for the next VMAs as a cross promotion.

ON a side note, I wrote an article about the top 10 90's one-hit wonders that deserve more credit; check it out here

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September Mix

My Mix for the Month of September is now up to download at rapidshare and mediafire. It's a pretty damn good mix this month with some quality songs. It kicks off with Lanemeyer's opening track to their EP Stories of the Big Screen. Lanemeyer never received the love and praise that they deserved in 1999/2000 but their side projects "Day at the Fair" and "The Gaslight Anthem".

Track 3 contains the song I've Got the Love by Gene the Werewolf (Jon Belin of Punchline) which is an extremely catchy and fun 80's hair-metal sound. The song was shown to me by Jonathan London of Geekscape. Jonathan also played me the new Steel Train album which is where track #8 came from.

The biggest reason I think people should check out this mix is track #12 Clockwork Creep by 10cc. This 70's band has had such a huge influence on Indie rock that it's disappointing they don't get more attention. The bizarre blending of genres in this song is clearly comparable to Steel Train and fun.

Full Track List:
1. Me and You and the Big Screen - Lanemeyer
2. JAR - Green Day
3. I've Got the Love - Gene the Werewolf
4. Big Rock Candy Mountain - Harry McClintock
5. Young Forever - Jay-Z
6. Ain't That Love - Brenda Lee
7. Don't Dream it's Over - Crowded House
8. You Are Dangerous - Steel Train
9. It's Gonna Rain - Violent Femmes
10. Lonesome Kicker - Adam Sandler
11. A Man's Gotta Do - Dr. Horrible
12. CLockwork Creep - 10cc
13. Flaming Moes - The Simpsons
14. Forget and Not Slow Down - Relient K
15. Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine
16. Identity Crisis - Pigeon John
17. Maddog 20/20 - Teenage Fanclub
18. What is this? Love? - Jason LeVasseur
19. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye - The Casinos
20. Say Shhh - Atmosphere
21. I Am the Doctor - Socratic
22. Between Now and Then - Element 101
23. High School - Nerf Herder

In other news, if you check out my Bucket List you'll know I've had 15 things I wanted to do before I move to LA in 2011. I have officially crossed off #11, playing Munchkin with my D&D friends. Next Week I'll be crossing off #5, Risk Tournament.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Undercover Geek 2: The Star Wars Edition

Episode 2 of Undercover Geek's 3-part Wizard World Philadelphia coverage, this time specifically interviewing star wars characters

Undercover Geek Episode 2: The Star Wars Edition from PowerDownProductions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Harry HOOTer

I've been re-reading/re-watching the Harry Potter books/movies in order to prepare myself for Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows part 1. I couldn't be more excited for this movie, the trailer proudly declares "The Motion Picture Event Of a Generation". I couldn't think of anything more truthful. In the world of "Super-Fandom" Harry Potter has rightfully earned it's place among Star Wars & Star Trek. Bands, Fictional Books on Tape, Fan Art, Youtube Series', College groups... the list is endless. People love Potter but there's just... one thing that doesn't stick with me, I never understood it until now.

I started re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (or Part 3) and early on Harry talks about getting in trouble with the Dursley's because of a phone call from his best friend Ron Weasley. Ron and the rest of the wizarding world aren't familiar with phones. Which is all well and good; they're fucking wizards you know? They can't understand a lot of things like that, who needs a car when you can use Floo Powder to get places? Who needs boring & slow Football (or Soccer to us Americans) when you've got NASCAR on brooms with violent blood-thirsty balls (Quidditch)? Every in the wizarding world is faster and better than our Muggle world. Why should Ron know how to use and outdated phone when they've got...Owls? Owls deliver their message?


In what world does tying a letter/note to an owl and having it fly to a location seem like a timely way to spread information? I mean we won't even factor in that PETA would be flipping a shit over this type of Animal Labor, but for example... I live in PA, I work for a website in CA. If I need to ask them a quick question, it's a phone call, 3 minutes conversation, answer. With the Harry Potter owl system it'd take like a week just to get the answer to the question "Should I put this interview up on youtube?"

I mean the Weasley's in particular should be leading the way in this new technology, Ron is constantly worrying if the family owl Errol will die while delivering letters/gifts. That is no way to live! Shit! In The Chamber of Secrets (Part 2) all attempts to contact Harry have failed because Dobby the house elf kept intercepting messages. The Weasley's thought something was wrong with Harry. A simple phone call would have let them know he was alive and would have even let them know he wasn't getting their packages! I mean understandably, Ron and the Weasley's live in the Wizarding world with a Mail-system that apparently stopped at the world war 2 carrier pigeon, but Hermione should know better!

You know what... Fuck Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows Part 1... stupid fucking cell-phoneless Wizards!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When this Boy Meets World

With Lionsgate re-releasing the first three seasons of Boy Meets World on DVD and their announcement of season four on December 7th, 2010; I've been feeling nostalgic for this show. While most people are able to write it off as just a kid's show from the 90's, for the people who watched it those 7 seasons growing up, it holds an extremely special place in their hearts. It started off as "just a kid's show" for a few seasons; by season 3 it started to turn into a very funny kid's show with occasional touching moments and then it finally by season 7; it ended the only way it knew how to... in one giant touching moment.

Over seven years we watched these characters grow, go to college, get married, go through serious fights and arguments. I think the first time I ever had a truly emotional reaction to any TV show was watching the Series finale. While re-watching it I couldn't help but still get emotional but also think about this move coming up. My own personal fears and worries, my concerns. I'm so scared to be alone, to miss important moments in my friend's lives, to miss moments in my families lives. Some morning I wake up and think "I shouldn't do this, I should just stay here"... but I know if I do that, I'll never be happy.

I leave you with the final scene from Boy Meets World

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Old School Power Down: Eco-Safe Summer

Power Down Productions presents our newest web-show "Old School Power Down" where I present embarassing and bad (but sometimes funny) videos from past years. This first one features a video I did as a last second Bi-Sci Final.

All that we have, is just stuff

When I started to take this blog seriously, I decided I wanted to use it as a way to inspire. I wanted to make people laugh, maybe pass the blog to their friends and say "read what this kid said". I also wanted to inspire the writer in myself. I wanted to give me a way to take my life and put a fun twist on it whether people got the joke or completely missed it. The one thing I never wanted to do is post "woe is me" type entries. When I first started the blog almost two years ago it was a very "personal" and sometimes whiny blog. Which is why I stopped writing it. It's very easy for what I want to talk about to come off as whiny but I promise that I'm trying my best to just look at things from the most honest and sincere perspective possible. The fact is I'm actually really upset and a little angry about what I'm about to write about and writing is my therapy.

Tonight some friends and I went to a play in Philadelphia. We had a really good time and went out for drinks afterwards with the writer/director. When we returned to the parking lot i discovered that my car window was busted open. With further inspection we discovered that my CD player, my iPod, my GPS, my wallet (no bank cards or money in it though, just a driving license) and about $100 worth of Comics were stolen. Furthermore they clearly attempted to hot-wire the car. When that was unsuccessful they throw my trash around inside the car. Upon returning home I posted this on twitter "To the dick who busted my car window and stole my CD player & My iPod. Fuck you! I had to listen to the radio driving home asshole!"

I feel like while this is an insincere expression of anger, I wanted to make light of the situation. The fact is I did and have remained calm over this. Half of me wants to cry and the other half of me is extremely angry. Luckily I was born with a 3rd half (or an inability to understand fractions and other simple math problems) which understood something. All that really happened to me was that i was inconvenienced and lost some stuff, and nothing important. My GPS sucks because I use it alot, my CD player I use alot too... but I bought it in 2004 for $30, the iPod well... it sucks since it was new... but it's just an iPod, even the months worth of comics I'd just picked up... it sucks but it's just stuff. The window sucks too, but I still HAVE a car. I'm refusing to let this put a dent in my "moving to LA" plans.

Why am I awake at 3am right now writing this blog? Is it really for anyone other then me? I don't want your sympathy or comments saying "sorry Matt to hear about this" or people telling me what to do or even compliments like "you're handling this so well"... the fact is I want to remind people that sometimes life sucks. Part of the reason I was upset/angry was because I felt like this was a personal attack. I found myself thinking "Why Me? What did I do wrong?" but the fact is... I just lost some money in life's game of poker. The plus is that this is a really long game of poker, and I'm not completely broke yet and chances are I can start winning again. I still have a car that can get me to work so I can save money for the move (and perhaps to fix the window) and more importantly the friends who love me, family that loves me even more.

Thanks to the readers of this blog, the people who love me, and to the people who helped me remember to always keep my head up. I attribute my look on life to my grandfather who died years ago. One of my first entries was about the incredible impact he had on my life. This was one of his favorite songs and it's a song that always reminds me to keep my head up. To my grandpop, I dedicate this song to you. To the person who broke into my car, fuck you... but thank you... for reminding me there's more important things in my life than just stuff

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running With Scissors: The Album was Better

So despite being almost 8 years behind the rest of the world I finally gotten around to reading Running with Scissors Augusten Burroughs novelization of "Weird Al" Yankovic's hit 1999 of the same name. I really think Mr. Burroughs really missed the mark here. What was a delightfully entertaining and funny album full of songs about Star Wars, Computers and even a Polka was turned into a whiny story with lots of gay sex with underage folks. Truly confusing! If you asked me Augusten didn't even LISTEN to the album and just made shit up as he went along!

Okay... so I thought i could run with that joke better and longer. I was wrong. Thank you to my readers who chuckled a little bit while reading it, even if it was a nervous/awkward laugh slightly out of pity.

I did however finally get around to reading Augusten Burroughs "memior". In 2005 there was a lawsuit between Burroughs and the family that the family "The Finches" were based on. You can read about this lawsuit here. I have some problems with this lawsuit. The character in the book is named Natalie Finch, Theresa Turcotte sued Burrough and the publishers alleging defamation of character and invasion of privacy. The first thing that I think is that it'd be difficult for MOST people to make the connection between the two names. The only way you'd figure it out would be if you knew one of the parties involved, and if you did, you'd know if what was written was true or not. Theresa has put herself in the public eye. I didn't read this memior and really know/care who these people were based on. I really didn't buy most of the "Memior" regardless. It just seems so back-tracking to me. I've written countless scripts inspired by my friends, family and ex-es. While I don't advertise these as "memiors" or "Autobiographical" scripts, still it bothers me that despite name changes and taking some liberties with dialogue I could still get sued for defamation.

I'm not even a big fan of the memior/book. I read it quickly because i found it interesting, but it came off pretty cliche' despite being supposedly a true story. As far as memiors go I'd prefer David Eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius released two years previous to Running With Scissors. Eggers has fun with "memior" style and constantly is acknowledging that the dialogue throughout is 75% how he "remembers it" and 25% how he wishes he would go. All in all we have to remember that all Memiors are based on people's memory strength. My memior would be terrible, I can't even remember real events from my life vs. dreams I had.

Sidenote: Please read my tribute to LFO Singer Rich Cronin who sadly died of Leukemia.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Shameful Life I Lead

I have a dirty little secret that I've been holding on to. I feel like a terrible person about this but I need to release this. Back in March I agreed to a "Mixtape Trade" for However despite getting all the songs put together and burning the albums and even making 2 awesome "booklets" to accompany the mixes, I never sent them. I'm even more upset because both of these forum members haven't really posted on the site much since and I can't help but feel like I'm to blame. What makes it worse is that there literally isn't a single good reason for it. Basically I forgot to mail them, then every time I woke up I'd think "I'll mail them on Friday on my day off" and then forget until Sunday. Eventually it got to the point where two months had passed and it'd just seem ridiculous to mail them at this rate, but regardless both mixes sit on the table next to my computer staring me down.

It's insane the things I'll do to not look stupid. I could have been in advanced placement english in 12th grade (which is impressive because I have terrible grammar and spelling). The first 2 semesters I had A's in 11th Grade Honor's English. But the 3rd Semester I received a D in the class over a paper I never handed in. Why didn't I hand it in? Well I forgot about the paper at first, then I realized that I had NO CLUE what to write about and somewhere in my mind it was better to not hand in a paper and be thought of as "lazy" then hand in a bad paper and be thought of as "stupid".

What to do with these mixes, they're pretty awesome mixes. My art work/booklet I'm extra proud of. I was thinking about mailing them in March 2011 and try to claim that I got confused with when we were supposed to send them, but again... that makes me look really dumb.

Better to be thought lazy then dumb

amendment to the bucket list
16. Mail both mixes

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Bucket List of 2010

As of last night, I now have a place to live when I move to LA. I'm going to leave early January (2nd or 3rd) and will be moving into the house of one Brian Gilmore

Photographed Here

Now before I move into the Bog of Eternal Stench I have a few things I still want to do while here in PA just one last time. They are my bucket list!

1. Big Birthday Bash with Friends
2. Go to Medieval Times
3. Have Steak Night with Matt Voigt
4. Game Night with Den & Char
5. Risk Night with whoever wants to come
6. Get looking like a website
7. Start pre-recording Celluloid Freaks
8. Get "Movies & The Munchies" started
9. Release "Musicians Celebrate Jim Henson"
10. Finish "Fluffy the Zombie Slayer"
11. Get People from my D&D group to play Munchkin for a Night
12. Have an all night horror movie marathon on Halloween Night
13. Throw one last concert with all my favorite local bands and myself playing (ideal line: We Are, Punchy's Pilots, He's the Hero, Team Goldie, Nitty Gritty, Soletta, Roots in Stereo and ME!)
14. Have a huge New Years Eve Party
15. Have sex with every female I've ever met on the east coast

I'm confident in the completion of all but one of these, which is disappointing because I was really looking forward to steak night.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I said Fuck You

Right now Cee Lo Green has a viral sensation on his hands. He also has arguably the best single of the year on his hands. The song I'm referring to is the incredibly catchy and fun song "Fuck You". If you haven't heard this song then you're in luck.

Why is this song so popular? It's not laugh out loud funny, but I think the answer is simple. Cee-Lo Green is cashing in on a fact that we ALL know but we don't realize we know. The "Motown" influence is obvious and Motown is hands down without a doubt the most loved style of music ever!

Think for a second, do you know anyone who HATES Motown? The answer is NO! because A) everyone likes motown music and B) If people DIDN'T like Motown, we'd assume they hate life and everyone would avoid them at all costs.

Motown was/is/will always be incredible because no matter how bad of a day you're having, you hear "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day" and you instantly smile. You can't help but tap your foot to "The Way you Do the Things you Do". Were they the best songwriters in the world? Not really? But Do we care? Not At ALL!

People from all ages jump up to sing along with "Build me Up Buttercup" if it comes on at a party. Cee-Lo Green's song is most likely going to be the same way. The only thing hurting it is the lyrics which will turn off most older people. I know for a fact that my mother would enjoy it but say "Well, that's not very nice" about the lyrics.

Actual Photograph of my Mom

Regardless of lyrical content this song is so vintage that it's amazing. I pray that this will never ever die. I hope it will live forever like other Motown classics.

I DJ Weddings, I've gotten random lists of songs to NOT play. Sometimes a couple will say "Don't play anything older than the 80's or older than the 90's" and I'll ask "Does that include Motown?" and they always say "Oh no, play motown, we LOVE motown". I swear if someone said "no, I hate Motown" (which would never happen as explained earlier people who dislike motown don't exist) I'd refuse to DJ their wedding assuming that they are actually demons from Hell.

So after you listen to that Cee-Lo song like 5 more times (don't act like you haven't listened to it more than once already) go pop on some Little Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Ruffin, The Four Tops or Jackson 5.