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Showing posts from 2010

My Holiday Dinner with Grimace

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The holidays are a spectacular time of year, a season where the chilly weather is counterbalanced by the warmth and cheer of spending time with our loved ones. I am a deeply compassionate man, though, and as a result such mirthful activities at times lead me to feel pangs of sadness for those among us who lack family and friends, who have fallen on hard times and who could probably use a little cheering up. Recently I decided to don my Santa hat and give the gift of conversation and whiskey to an old friend who has seen better days.
You probably know Grimace from McDonald's long-running and moderately emotionally scarring ad campaign for children, wherein Grimace is one of the characters often seen frolicking among sentient food items. Like his compatriot The Hamburglar, Grimace was introduced in a villainous role during the early days of the ad campaign, but Grimace was quick to change his ways (and appearance) to become the cuddly amorphous blob we all know and...well, not love…

The Steel & Marsilio Companion, Part 4: Like a Phoenix from the Ashes

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As the summer of 2003 set in, Steel & Marsilio was, at best, in limbo. Back then, uploading content to the internet was not so easy as it is today, so any potential projects Garrett and I might make had no clear method of distribution. Since we had never exactly been renowned for our productivity, the fact that anything we produced might never be seen by anyone (although, given the viewership of public access, one might venture to say no one had ever seen anything we’d done) meant that we simply didn’t do anything. Well, we went to Rasputin Music a fair amount, but I’d say that doesn’t really apply.
One day, our fortunes shifted, as Garrett received a letter from the public access station in Mountain View, KMVT15. Apparently, since the De Anza television station closed, the responsibilities for Cupertino’s public access now fell to KMVT, a larger and presumably more financially secure station. When Cupertino closed, I guess the Mountain View staff asked our old b…

The Steel & Marsilio Companion, Part 3: The S&M Renaissance

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Immediat- ely (relatively, at least) after the third episode of Steel & Marsilio wrapped, Garrett pitched a theme for our next project: “The Steel & Marsilio Halloween Spectacular.” My lifelong love of Halloween put me on board without hesitation. The idea of having a central theme for an entire episode was new to us, but we had made great strides in finding our voice, and it seemed like a good idea to take our usual random pastiche of skits and have some unifying factor tying them together, albeit loosely. That the factor in question was my favorite holiday made it all the more appealing.
The pieces were in place for our best work ever. Mikey agreed to continue handling our editing, so the usual scramble to find an editor was not an issue, and Garrett and I had a wealth of ideas. In addition, we had learned from some of our past mistakes, so we decided from the outset that this episode would be comprised of a greater number of shorter skits rather than our previous handfuls of…

The Steel & Marsilio Companion Part 2: Keep Firing

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The pilot of Steel & Marsilio was in the can and, minor glitches aside (for example, I thought I could watch the broadcast premiere at my parents’ San Jose home…turns out there’s a reason it’s called Cupertino Public Access), we were off and running. After a brief respite to bask in the glory of our accomplishment (read: get drunk and watch the pilot over and over), Garrett and I set to work planning our second episode. The idea was simple: as much as we liked the first episode, we were conscientious of its flaws and sought to improve our overall product.
In a sense, the second episode was a beefed up version of the pilot. It followed the same basic structure, but with a host of changes that, in large part, added to the overall experience. There was a brief, mildly surreal intro, followed by a lengthy opening credits sequence, just like the pilot, but this time the credits sequence had a discernible plot (in this case, a gangsta/drug dealer vignette) that ended in…

The Steel & Marsilio Companion, Part 1: Genesis (But Not the Sega Kind)

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With the upcoming release of the Steel & Marsilio: Season One DVD, several people have expressed curiosity as to what exactly Steel & Marsilio is all about. This, in conjunction with a puzzling lack of interview requests, has spurred me to pen a series of articles about S & M’s rich history, as well as its bright future. Without further ado, allow me to present Part One of the Steel & Marsilio Companion.

I may as well start in the halcyon days of my youth, before Steel & Marsilio (as a televised program, anyway) existed. Garrett Wroblewski and I met in 1999, when I was a senior and he was a junior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA. Destiny, for whatever reason (ed. note: Money. It was money) led post-graduation Joey to De Anza, the local community college, and Garrett followed me there soon after. Though in the interim year we hung out quite a bit and collaborated on some things (a skit wherein we played the biggest Kriss Kross fans in the world, complete…

Strange Days

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Events of late have made me wonder whether or not my reality has been supplanted by surreality. I don't know, perhaps it has something to do with my recent propensity for 48-hour waking periods, or maybe the oddness is some sort of a ripple effect from Mountain Dew releasing three x-treme new flavors and KFC dropping the gloriously apocalyptic Double Down sandwich within such a short time period. Regardless of the root cause, when I went to go see A Nightmare on Elm Street yesterday, I found myself sympathizing with certain characters in the film, not (only) because I was molested by a groundskeeper, but lately I've been questioning what is real and what (wait for it...) isn't.
For example, in what universe does the following make sense? I recently picked up a 10-pack of plain white Hanes crew socks, since the ones I have been wearing were purchased some time in the early aughts and are beginning to show their age...as in, I attempted to put on a sock and had it tear at t…

Vindicated

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Anyone who actually listens to and remembers my incessant babbling about trivial nonsense (a limited crowd, to be sure) is probably aware of a gripe of mine that I have held for some time. That is, of course, an overly vague and nebulous bit of information, as my list of gripes could probably fill your average grain silo, were they in some sort of tangible form; one way of achieving this might involve using a label-making machine to print out adhesive white stripes of bitching. So, in the interests of specificity, let me give you a bit of history, that you may understand the level to which this particular issue concerns me, and has for some time.
Back in January, 1995, Doritos introduced a radical (I may be using that term too loosely) redesign of their line of flavored tortilla chips, in response to what Wikipedia claims vice president of tortilla chip marketing Roger J. Berdusco claims was “greater competition from restaurant-style tortilla chips, that are larger and more strongly se…

Home Ec

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I've been trying to eat less red meat lately. Not because of its potentially detrimental effect on my health, but because red is the color of Communism, and Lord knows I don't want to get blacklisted. Then again, a friend of mine lives in a Communist country (China), and seems to enjoy the hell out of it, so who am I to judge? I suppose having to use a proxy server to log into Facebook has its own unique charms.
Regardless, I was feeling like steak today, and I don't mean the steak they serve at Taco Bell. Not that I want Taco Bell anyway, after the Five Layer Burrito took my digestive system through the Nine Circles of Hell. So I ventured to the grocery store and bought a steak, some salad and a Sapporo Reserve (it was on sale). Upon my return home, I slapped the steak on the old George Foreman Grill-still going strong seven years later-and poured my Sapporo into the only glass that could contain it, the Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer stein that I fought valiantly with B…

The Day My Hand Almost Got Turned Into Pulp, and How This Influenced My Opinions on Pizza

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When I was a teenager (a time period that has shifted in classification from recent past to quaint, nausea-inducing memory), I was involved in quite a string of malicious acts. Some were perpetrated by me, others against me. There's a reason, for example, that I don't particularly care for situations in which people sit directly behind me...I'm no longer actively nervous during these situations, but there is always a shred of paranoia in my mind. Some of these incidents taught me valuable lessons about my fellow man. Other just reinforced certain anxieties I had.
One such incident occurred on what I remember as a warm spring day. I was washing the dishes, as was my daily duty at the time, when my father sidled up beside me with an odd request. Before I go any further, you should know that I am no stranger to the machinations of the drunken mind (for example, I am two glasses of scotch in right now), but there are some thoughts/behaviors that even my mild psychosis cannot …