Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Season of Change

So for the last 3 years I've run the SaintMort's DorkTower blog.

But sadly the DorkTower name is used by a bunch of people online... so I need a new blog name. I was thinking Snap Crackle Pop Culture but that seems to be the name of a book. After discussing and brainstorming with friends we got it down to two names...

Please leave comments in this blog and vote for my new blog name (or tweet me @SaintMort)

Next week there will be a new blog name.

Your Options are:

1. Saint Mort Presents: Not Porn
2. Pure Mattitude

(also starting tomorrow I'll be blogging my last month in PA)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saint Mort Show Live Flies like a Lead Balloon

Last night was the first ever Saint Mort Show Live. It was described as a 'rough-test run' and it was the most honest and correct description of anything since The Streets said "a Grand Don't Come For Free".

So let's start off with this:

I'm a terrible brother the day of the show was the same night as my youngest sister's high school graduation. So I blew off her party for this event.

The event started at 7:00pm with a performance from horror-core group There Are Monsters. They performed a set exclusively for the wife and daughter of guitarist Jamie. After their performance I assembled my panelists.

What my original plan was this: 7 guests (but in 4 groupings) going up for about 12 minutes at a time. The first guest was my brother Brian. Despite all talk before going up he managed to be completely awkward and unfunny. He did show off his boxers to the audience however and began to have a Q&A with the audience.

My Next Guest was my best friend Jeff Shropshire. He came up on stage and read a chapter from 'Are you There God? It's Me, Margaret' by Judy Blume.

My Next Guests were Ryan Beatty and Matthew Bates. We talked about Ryan getting arrested in high school, his website DD2Night and Matt's recording studio/shitty DVD collection.

There Are Monsters came back on stage to perform two songs and then Matt, Ryan, Brian, Shrop and I discussed a few news stories specifically that the end of the world will be on Oct. 21st, Lady Gaga is insane and Matt explains why he thinks Nolan should have made the newest Batman movie inspired on the Knightfall story arch.

A random guy showed up assuming it was open mic night and we let him play a few songs (and man did he milk that 3 song set).

Finally we did a quizzo portion with the audience which was probably the most entertaining point of the night.

The few people who came (roughly about 15 people) seemed to have a good time; but I'd hardly call the night a success. It was like being on a Cruise Ship... that started sinking... but everyone on the ship enjoyed swimming so no one minded.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Life As Daria

Today is my brother's 21st birthday. This past weekend he had a party with a bunch of his friends during this same weekend I decided that since I'm currently unemployed I wanted to watch all of the animated series Daria. At one point during my viewing I posted this tweet

While at my brother's party the topic of Daria came up. It quickly became clear to me that these kids (only 4-5 years younger than I) didn't love or appreciate the cartoon to the same level that I did. It was also around this time I realized my tweet actually had more truth to it than I expected or intended.

Having just watched all 5 seasons as well as both TV Movies I feel like I can now explain why this show is actually worthy of most people's time; despite time not being kind to it. Daria was a spin-off of Beavis and Butthead, a cartoon that is frankly more brilliant in retrospect than it was at the time it was on. Daria was the only logical thinking person in Highlands and despite being sarcastic and helping with making Beavis and Butthead make fools of themselves, actually could tolerate the two. The only reference to Beavis and Butthead is found in the first episode of the first season when Daria's parents mention leaving Highlands. Like most TV shows, the first season is admittedly a little rough; it tries too hard to push it's concept 'Daria and Jane are the outcasts and thus the smartest and coolest kids at school despite being unpopular; meanwhile all the popular kids are shallow (cheerleaders, jocks and even Daria's younger sister) with the exception of Mac and Jodie the only black students at the school who are both popular and extremely hard working and intelligent.

Here's what I think is an extremely important thing about Daria and Jane; it's what made the show the most realistic depiction of high school; it's the reason why the show is loved by many and it's also the reason why the show should get a second chance. Daria and Jane aren't unpopular. They're not exactly popular, but they're also not constantly picked on or ridiculed. More so, they're not ignored by their fellow classmates. Despite them being two of the dumbest characters in cartoon history Brittany and Kevin are the Football and CheerSquad leaders; and they frequently socialize with our two main characters. Jodie and Mac are constantly seen talking to them and admiring them. The fact is this, Jane and Daria represent the average high school student. I know they certainly represent me.

I was never someone who was picked on in high school. I was on stage crew and TV studio and that was about it. I had a very small group of close friends and while I was never 'popular'. I'd say 90% of my graduating class knew my name and knew about me as a person or at least knew of my interest in making movies and writing. I recall one time a girl asking me about a party she was throwing. She wasn't inviting me to the party of course, but she wanted to have some really scary horror movies and asked me for recommendations since I was the 'movie guy'. That single story basically sums up my high school life pretty appropriately.

Beyond this Daria's family relationship is another extremely relatable aspect of the show and not just to me. Obviously not everyone's family life is perfect. The relationship that Daria has with her family almost completely mirrors my own family life (minus 2 siblings), specifically at that time. I have a Dad who is a little high strung at times. In high school I was always known as my sister's older brother (never the other way around) and I think she attempted to avoid me at all costs. My mother was a hard-working women as well. Neither of my parents had the high-profile jobs like Daria's but that didn't really matter. What matters was this, the parent (and even her sister) were depicted as many things... dumber than Daria (jake), putting their job before their daughter (helen), being selfish and shallow (quinn) but episode after episode we're still shown that deep down they're good people that care about each other.

Does every single joke work in Daria? No. In fact until Season 3 the show is mostly just chuckle worthy. But when the show hits it's mark, it hits it in a big way. The show manages to be both anti-stereotypical and yet tackles every possible stereotype. It's like an animated mid-90's version of a John Hughes film.

The TV Movie (which was basically a 90 minute Final Episode) Is it College Yet? isn't just funny, it's heartwarming and touching. Daria's graduation speech sums up the high school experience wonderfully. Take sometime to revisit a great show.

I'm not much for public speaking. Or much for speaking. Or, come to think of it, much for the public. And I'm not very good at lying. So let me just say that, in my experience, high school sucks. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have started advanced placement classes in preschool so I could go from eighth grade straight to college. However, given the unalterable fact that high school sucks, I'd like to add that if you're lucky enough to have a good friend and a family that cares it doesn't have to suck quite as much. Otherwise my advice is; Stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless experience proves you wrong. Remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor *is* naked. The truth and a lie are not sort of the same thing. And there is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can't be improved with pizza. Thank you - Daria

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Top 5 Greatest Closing Tracks

One of my favorite websites is Absolutepunk.net. Today one of the big topics was your top 5 favorite closing tracks. I scanned the list and wanted to avoid repeats so these were the top 5 favorite closing tracks no one else had mentioned. This basically meant that my list would basically be the same but with A Day in the Life by the Beatles on the list.

5. Castaway - Punchline - When I listened to Punchline's 3rd album Just Say Yes I was blown away. Everyone praised Action in my circle of friends. I enjoyed the CD but I didn't find it life-changing in anyway. So I never picked up their follow-up album 37 Everywhere. In the summer of 2007 my friend shot a pilot for a Fox Series called "Singledom" and their song Somewhere in the Dark was the theme song. Sadly the show wasn't picked up, but I fell in love with the theme song. As soon as Just Say Yes came out i bought it and was blown away. This was not the band I remembered. Castaway is a slow song but it perfectly sums up the message of the album. While 37 Everywhere dealt with rejection and break-ups; Just Say Yes was about overcoming that break up. Castaway is the perfect final note to that album.

4. In The Music Box - Atmosphere - When i first heard When Life Gives you Lemons, Paint that Shit Gold I wasn't a big fan. It was good, but i missed the bizarre beats like the one's Ant presented on Lucy Ford or the poetic personal lyrics Slug laid down in godlovesugly... but over time I started to appreciate the brilliance of the album. Instead of autobiographical stories Slug sang of fictional characters. Closing track In The Music Box tells the story of a struggling musician on the road with his father. It's beautiful, touching and also at time funny.

3. Stay Positive - The Streets - Original Pirate Material ranks with Dog Problems, Whatever & Ever Amen, Come away With me and Turn the Radio Off as one of my all-time favorite albums. The album presents a dreary portrait of life in London. The Album is also the number 1 reason why I want to eventually visit London. Track after Track Mike Skinner presents different versions of London, promotes the reasons why pot is safer than alcohol and taught us that 'birds = bitches in europe'. However the closing track Stay Positive is the highlight of the album. The Song just SOUNDS like a rainy alleyway. The lyrics are completely depressing a negative and then ironically followed up with "Just Gotta Stay Positive".

2. Evaporated - Ben Folds Five - As stated above Whatever and Ever Amen ranks as one of my five favorite albums ever made. Evaporated has been my favorite Ben Folds song since I first heard Ben Folds. I've written scripts named after it, I wrote climatic scenes around the song, I sing this song in the shower. It's so haunting sad but yet beautiful, but worse of all, it's catchy as fuck. The bridge "I poured my heart out, but it evaporated" perfectly sums up the emotion of being in love with someone and suddenly... you're not. You can't help it, you can't control it... it just happens.

1. Every New Day - Five Iron Frenzy - Five Iron Frenzy is my all-time favorite band. They were one of the most entertaining, energetic and funny live bands of all time. Their 3 hour documentary Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy is fascinating and nostalgia inducing. Every New Day has been the closing song to 3 Five Iron albums (Our Newest Album Ever!, Proof That the Youth Are Exploding, The End is Here) and has been the closing song to every Five Iron song since it was written. Seeing this song performed live was always a magical moment; regardless of your belief structure it's impossible to be moved by the overly poetic lyrics from Reese Roper and even more difficult to not become overwhelmed as the crowd around you sings along with the minute long bridge "Man vs. Himself/Man Vs. Machine/Man Vs. The World/Mankind vs. Me/The Struggles go on/The Wisdom I lack/The Burdens keep piling/ Up on my back/So hard to breathe/To Take the next Step/The Mountain is high/I wait at depths/Yearning for Praise/And hoping for peace/Dear God Increase/Healing hands/Of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again/Jesus Christ/Light of the world/Burning bright within our hearts forever/Freedom/Beens love without conditional/without a beginning or an end/Here's my heart/Let it be forever yours/Only you can make/Every new day seem so new"

Honorable Mentions:
Colin Hay - Just Don't think I'll Ever Get Over You (Transcendental Highway)
The Format - If Work Permits (Dog Problems)
Notorious B.I.G. - Suicidal Thoughts (Ready to Die)

Monday, May 9, 2011

True Love Will Find You In The End

I am in Love. But I am in Love with the Idea of Love. This is a long time problem of mine. I think I've fascinated about being in a relationship with someone as far back is 2nd grade. It wasn't so much about sex or kisses... it was just about having a girlfriend. Despite all of this, I've only had 3 official girlfriends, a small amount of sexual partners and the combined amount of relationship time totals to roughly a year and a half out of 25 years. My point being, I spend more time thinking about love than actually being in love and subsequently making love.

Since I "announced" my plans to move from East Coast to West Coast it's caused me to reflect quite a bit on my life and relationships. I've also noticed it makes people climb out of the woodwork to "confess secret love" relatively frequently. This has lead me to realizing that I've been cockblocking myself for 25 years through 3 major problems.

1. I have very little self esteem. This is normally a deal breaker, but you can get away with it if you're smooth. I'm not. Turns out self-deprciating humor and openly discussing your lack of self esteem doesn't exactly make panties wet. In fact, doing just that makes panties turn into the Sahara Desert.

2. Almost more of a footnote of #1 but... I don't make any moves. Like Ever! In fact the closest thing to a move that I have is the arm around a girl. Turns out that's rarely enough... it's a start but you gotta have the confidence to make that real first move, aka the kiss. To use a term from Geekscape I never seem to Cup the Puss. Recently a friend of mine told me that she used to have a crush on me back in college. She's engaged, I'm leaving in 2 months, so there is nothing to develop from this statement/information. What upset me the most was this... she'd had a crush on me for something like 6 years, I had a crush for the same amount time but I never had the balls to make a move. How socially retarded am I to "subtle hints" that i should make the first move? Here's an example: One day while I was working at MAB paint. This girl walked in out of the blue just before close. She wanted to know if I had plans that night, I did not. So we decided to hang out, I change into my normal clothes and we go to Giant and she buys a bunch of random ingredients and makes me a Chicken Alfredo Pasta (my favorite meal), then we watch Pootie-Tang and she started cuddling with me on the couch. Any person with an ounce of sense and little self respect would have gotten the hint, I was clueless. But I've learned from my mistakes. Next time a girl makes me food and puts on a Chris Rock movie... I HAVE TO FUCK THEM!

3. I take bros before hoes way too seriously. I believe in bro before hoes for the most part. If your best friend just had their heart destroyed by a girl; that girl is off limits between you and any of his other close friends. My problem is that I extended this rule to "anyone I know on a somewhat personal level" and it didn't just go with ex's but also "crushes, friends and relatives". As you can already see... this literally cuts off almost every girl that you meet. I'd say 9/10 of my female friends I know because they were (a) dating a friend, (b) Related to a friend or (c) a Friend of a friend. Of my 3 girlfriends only one of these wasn't the case.

LA I shall hopefully learn from the mistakes of a relationship-retarded 18-23 year old east-coaster and be a mildly smooth 25 year old West Coaster. At one point I considered supply a list of past crushes and relationships, but I mean... it seems like I already made this entry totally boring as is. Perhaps for a blog entry for another day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm just a man with cold lips and cold feet

Today I sprung out of my bed with a mix of emotions. The emotions were summed with one sentence "holy shit I'm moving to California in 60 days."

I can already tell the next 2 months are going to be intense and stressful. There's only a handful things that make me want to stay in PA which could basically just be summed up with Friends, Family and Nostalgia. Regardless, I still wake up terrified.

In 60 days I'm going move 3,000 miles away from everyone I've ever cared about. I worry that some of them I may never see again. People die, people move, people just disappear sometimes. I can't think of how many friends of mine I haven't spoken to in years; some of them I haven't a clue where they are now.

in 2004 I made the "memory tape" for my graduating class, currently I only consider 2 of that entire class of 200+ 'good friends' and only one of those two do I see on a semi-regular basis. Even my college friends are starting to thin out. My friend Jackie moved to Baltimore almost 4 years ago, Last year our friend Crystal moved to Japan, now I'm looking at LA and another friend may be moving around the same time.

To quote lyrical genius' Blink 182 - I guess this is growing up.

I guess what I fear most is that I'll move and no one will even notice. I know this sentence sounds like any emo kid in Jr. High, but what i mean is this... a few paragraphs ago I mentioned friends of mine who I haven't spoken to in years... I so rarely think of those people. I pick on my friend jackie and say "out of state, out of mind"... but it's sort of true. Who cares about someone you will never EVER see again in person?

I have a lot of friends who I know will write, call, facebook chat, etc while I'm gone. And that's awesome, but what sucks is that the people who I feel closed with, well... they probably won't. Some of them probably won't even acknowledge that I'm leaving and possibly won't say goodbye. I mean they'll say goodbye but they'll say it the same way you goodbye when you're leaving a restaurant and expect to see each other the following week.

Hmmmm.... this entry has really lacked the humor I tend to like in my blog and instead been a very Me Me Me centric whining. I'll lighten it up with a joke. I went to the bar the other day and there was a pirate there with a steering wheel sticking out of his pants, I said YO PIRATE, What's up with the steering wheel!? and he responded 'I don't know but it's drivin' me nuts'

I guess at the end of the day I don't need a depressing video of photos and videos of me and my friends sent to songs like "Saying Goodbye" from Muppets Take Manhattan and "Time After Time" (the super depressing Eva Cassidy version)... I just need to have someone I love and care about tell me that they'll sincerely miss me. I think we so easily mask things that make us upset or uncomfortable (like a friend leaving) that instead of accepting that we may never see that person again; we just try to ignore it... but we don't think about how it hurts that person.

When my friend Crystal move to Japan, I hardly did anything to show her how upset I was about her moving. I just couldn't think of a way to show how upsetting it was that there was a really really good chance I'd never see her in person again. and I still haven't, except I suppose for this entry in my blog which she may never read.

Memory tapes, good bye messages, postcards, letters, sad songs, photo albums. We're always trying to make sure that we capture those important moments that sometimes we forget the most important thing is just living for the moment. I just hope that I'm choosing the right moments and living them to their fullest.

"I never really said this; it's just something someone will quote on facebook and twitter and attribute to me" - Malcolm X

Monday, May 2, 2011

I saw the news today oh boy

"Did you hear the Good News!?" exclaimed the student in front of me at work. Now I work awkward hours. It's 230am and I've just gotten home from work. I didn't sleep much last night which was a bad idea, it's the last night before finals. Easily one of the top 3 busiest nights at the campus. I had no clue what news he was talking about, but he seemed excited and despite being pretty tired I humored him and ask "What's the news" and with a smile on his face he said "we finally killed Osama", being tired as I was... I heard Obama and was really confused how this was 'good'. Then he said "Bin Landen" when he saw the confusion on my face and it clicked.

Perhaps the delayed reaction was because Osama bin Laden is a name I hadn't heard in a long time. Or perhaps I was taken aback by the fact that I hadn't received a single text message about it.

This might be a strange assessment but it started to make me question my friends and family and their priorities. I found out about Osama's death at 10:45pm. As of the time of me writing this blog (2:40am), not a single person I know sent me a text informing of the news, but when Heath Ledger died I got about 50 texts within the hour of people telling me.

Let's flash forward to January 22nd, 2008 for a second. It's a day I'll always remember quite vividly, not because I had much of an emotional attachment to heath Ledger, but because what I witnessed was so intensely surreal that I thought I was in a movie. I was sitting in my Public Relations class when a girl raised her hand in the middle of class.

"Ms. Teacher (I'll leave her real name out), I don't mean to interrupt but... my friend just said Heath Ledger died."

now what did my teacher do? Yell at the girl for using her phone in class? complain about this had nothing to do with the less plan? No, she pointed at me and said "Matt, get on google and find out if this is true."

We spent the duration of the class on our laptops following the news reports as they came in. The professor even went as far as using this as a way to discuss to us Public Relations. I'm sure if this was a Math class, it may not have been as "cinematic". This moment in my life was only made mildly more surreal when I saw Scream 4. Early in the movie a bunch of students get texts in class letting them know their class mate was murdered and the professor is unfazed by the interruption and just wants to know "What the big news is".

Either way this is good news. I'm curious how much Fox will twist this, they've already announced it as Obama dead instead of Osama... but I'm looking for the juicer stories like "Obama murders friend Osama" and shit like that.

As for who took Osama out, I salute you... I've concluded it's one of two possible people: